I LIVE… AGAIN!

“Open for Business!”

So, what gives? I vanish from you fine people for a long time with barely a word.  Well, I owe at least some explanation.  In short, things have not been exactly exemplary, tearing me away from creative stuff.  Lots of personal problems I may divulge in another post.  On top of that, being hardcore burned out on D&D has made things a bit rougher in general.  Either way, I’m back with a bit of an announcement.  Without telling you too much about my life, things have been a bit hectic during my semi-hiatus from the page here.  But, I’ve still kept busy with at least something.  

So with that, I’d like to inform that my contribution for Threshold Magazine is nearing completion.  The theme?  More victims of the Dark Powers hailing from the world of Mystara.  Read the frantic notes of the Black Rajah of Jaibul as he tries to make sense of his own situation.  Dare to seek more on other prisoners of the mists, even a word on Meredoth of Nebligtod!  While two of these domains are based on previous creations seen on my blog, this article expands a little on Vasfar and Ylar.  Joining them is a domain that connects to the mysterious pocket domain of Acotlaza.  This is the Scarred Crags, a mockery of Tiger Clan attempts to conquer their siblings of the Atruaghin Clans.  While the themes of fighting lycanthropy, colonization and oppression are no strangers to the Demiplane of Dread, hopefully this new Darklord’s pain pleases the Dark Powers.  And likewise, I hope that those reading this are just as eager as I am to make some more mad creations for the Demiplane of Dread.  Should things prove popular enough, this might continue.  Beyond Threshold, I might make a follow-up for Fraternity of Shadow’s Quoth the Raven or perhaps Threshold once more.  Likewise, musings on converting Ravenloft content to BECMI.  The Darklords and related creatures get only minimal mechanical considerations in the current article though.  In the meantime, the mists are parting once more and something dark lingers nearby.

Traversing the mists with Mistfactor Press

I’ve been in chats with the fine creators at Mistfactor Press, a group effort to properly update the Ravenloft Campaign Setting for the D&D 5th Edition DM’s Guild. Despite my misgivings towards the current edition, they’ve done a fantastic job and are more than deserving of a look over. They’ve even made 400 page volumes examining said domains in great detail. By all means, consider at least the digital copies. You can find more on their user page, looking under Van Richten’s Encyclopedia of Darklords and Domains.

And with the project leader’s permission, I’m also helping to launch an effort to convert mechanics to 2nd and 3rd Editions. This will only cover things not found in each respective edition, not the entirety of the books (as much of Volume 1 alone can be found in each respective edition). Furthermore, this project will not include any lore that isn’t tied into the mechanics somehow (such as the Darklord’s curses). And as a slight disclaimer, this project is not meant to take away energy or success from Mistfactor, but only help to spread interest and attention by opening the gates to classic fans who might not otherwise be interested in 5th Edition. Stay tuned as always, including for Threshold Mystara Magazine #29. This too will involve Ravenloft.

Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business

I've Seen Your Tears Before by Eriyal on Newgrounds

This is all I have to offer for now.  I assure you that much more lurks beyond.  There is much yet that they fair folk would prefer to presently keep hidden.  Is there something worse than a nightmare conspiracy, cross planar war or the elimination of countless lives?  Hard to say.  The fey will remain an eternal enigma to even most planars.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to King Corn and ripvanwormer of thepiazzaforums for some incredible ideas!  Anyway, that’s it for me in terms of fey politics, intrigue and factions.  Additional thanks to everyone who participated in the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  More after the jump.

Continue reading “Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3

Outlaws, Oddballs and Cultist Fanatics

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Seelie, Unseelie, Four Seasons and a few minor houses.  There is more from there.  And by all means, all of them scheme and dream.  All of them seek to triumph over the rest.  And worst of all, to see one of them fully succeed would spell the end of the fey.  Even those devout to Rhiannon would bring about their queen’s deepest fear.  In the end, the politics and ways of these creatures are too alien to fully understand.  How would they avoid absolute destruction?  How would they rebuild?  It would take a lot of speculation to imagine how pieces would be picked up by such truly unique creatures.  But, a mix of Real Speak and Chant alike has been formulated into some well crafted notes.  So, by all means read ahead and dare to discover how much of it is actual truth.  Normally, I strive for truly gripping information that holds the tests of scrutiny.  But, for cabals and corridors this deep, such endeavors are impossible.  Perhaps I have been mislead by rivals?  It is the fey way, after all.

Author’s Note: The last of them, at least for now.  These remaining sects, like the three before, hold less overall political power and tend to be less centralized.  However, most of them are some level of crazy, even by fey standards.  Also, huge shout-out to The Piazza forums.  Their ideas helped really bring this to life.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 2

“We are friends, come join us.”

Your journey went as well as ours?  Good, good.  At the very least, you have gained a larger understanding of the mainstream political groups that dwell within the so-called Good Kingdom, Wyld Realms and many other a name.  Regardless of what they courts may call themselves in that moment, they still hold sway and much command.  Do not let their chaotic forces fool you, those who fully oppose them can for the moment unite in near legion.  That Narrator is certainly not welcome within their grounds, letters within Sigil have made that clear.  Though, I’m not sure that this mysterious figure is as insensitive or cruel as many make them out to be.  That’s a matter that shall be discussed later.  In the meantime, let us form a lecture around more looks into the fey.  For the time being, we shall continue to look at the major power groups found within their realms, who they cooperate with and how they maintain a very tenuous cease fire.  After all, tales of the epic sylvan war resulted in no winners and no conclusion.  Fully realized organizations and groupings came from the schism.  But in the end, none came to a common consensus or attempted to reconcile in full.

What has been stated before covers the 4 primary courts of the seasons within the Deep Ethereal pockets belonging to the Fair Folk.  Many fey exist beyond the bickering of four seasons.  Once one leaves the Ethereal and reaches for the Outer Planes, they may witness conflict over two distinct “newer” courts.  The two so-called “traitor courts”, as they are called by the traditional fey of the Ethereal, act within Upper and Lower Planes.  They are the Seelie and Unseelie respectively.  For the Seelie, they are often found in Arborea, but not always.  Likewise, the Unseelie typically dwell within the most wicked pits of Pandemonium.  But, who are they?  Likewise, the Seasonal Courts aren’t alone in the Ethereal.  There are those who are not aligned with mainstream fey politics?  Why certainly!  There are tales of outsider societies as well as religious sects dedicated to ancient ways, ancient even by sylvan standards.  From obnoxious rebels to the fey equivalent to heretics, many divisions and groups have formed.

Author’s Note: Part 2 of my look at fey factions, politics and the like.  As I’ve said before, spirit type creatures needed more umph for the Planescape setting.  So, this is my way of accomplishing that.  So, let’s look at Upper Planes, Lower Planes, outsider societies and cults.  By all means, most of this is supplementary (and some minor degree of altering) to what has been written about Seelie and Unseelie via the Monstrous Mythologies as well as Planes of Chaos and Planes of Conflict.  In terms of outsiders and cults, that’ll need another post too.  Stay tuned for that!  This does not cover everything in detail, much like with part one.  Consider looking under this link for much more.

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Mirrors below Waterdeep – Alternate Realities Continued

Twilight Zone Opening - Modo 801 - YouTube

The Mad Mage, he holds a key to various incarnations of reality, jumping from one image to the next. This portal gateway is unlike any other, as it explores different timelines and possibilities rather than other planes and worlds alone. Should you make your way beyond Halaster Blackcloak and his minions, you may unlock countless possibilities.

Who I am is not important.  I leave all public record and identity to my humble guide, another reality traveler.  The bipedal feline creature, known as Ramon DeLeon, has had experience with dark mirrors adjacent of reality on the Prime.  The one I gaze upon, a Toril shredded by seemingly unending violence, this one frightens me.  However, his words are reassuring.  What is disconcerting is that “few will remember him”, whatever that is supposed to mean.  But, when one has a reputation that precedes them, events can transpire almost any way. 

Author’s Note: A post about the Forgotten Realms itself? Impossible! And yet, here we are! Many of my earliest gaming days were spent in Abeir-Toril.  This post was meant to be made and posted a while ago, but yet that didn’t happen till now.  Well, here is an expansion on an old post detailing parallel universes. The Torilian one, torn by war, is actually the version of the Realms I’ve played with for over a decade. Also, behold the final piece to the Antorek plot thing… even though it’s actually the first thing that started this whole mess.  Literally.  This is where the character came from.  Is this the last of my looks at D&D realities?  Probably not, but perhaps this is another sign I hope to move away.  Anyway, Happy New Year, to arms and battle stations!  Likewise, stay tuned for my January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  I have a few more tricks up my sleeve!  Also, thank last year’s Twilight Zone marathon for inspiring the thick of this!

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Dread possibilities and other heresies – A Last Look into The Mists

One last trek through the mists, friends.  One last trek is all it takes.  Will it spell the end?  A new land?  Unsure.  May something out there pity us.

Author’s Note: The year is ending and it’s almost Christmas…  Will I do more Ravenloftian goodness?  Well, someone has to in the face of Poseurloft!  But really, we’ll see.  I’m tired of D&D, as has been noted by the lack of crunch for a long time.  The good thing about a lot of my creations is that I can rebrand them as something else, if it came down to it.  Anyway, hope your days were jolly and nice.  Or at least, more so than in the Lands of the Mists.  Perhaps this is goodbye to the Demiplane of Dread, at least for now.  Likewise, a few more metaplots are looked at here for now.

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Troublesome Timelines in Sigil and Beyond

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Gather quickly, my free time is limited. I have dire and gruesome fortunes to unearth.

Alleissa, the protege of Midwife Mebbeth can do more than treat what ails ya and talk about the art a bit.  Did you know I have some knack for fortunes and looking at possible events?  Don’t just take my word for it…  Gaze into this crystal ball and allow me to show you.  Why are you reluctant?  Despite this adorable fuzzy rodent face, I swear I won’t call ‘The Us’ to you.  Between you and I, the Brain-Muncher Vampires from the Below make better friends than the Cranium Rats… at least the ones who aren’t too barmy.  Anyway, divination.  Sure!  Let me see likely scenarios and the unlikely… 

Hmm…  Hmm…  Oh my… All of these look rather grim.  Day to day in the Cage already brings its own ample bad news.  But, one always finds a way to adapt and perhaps normalize the horrors around them.  On a much better note, good can always come from these bad events.  After all, a mad tinker “pure blood” married I, a witch and a mutant.  I already know the next of kin will be healthy.  Plus, I’ve made sure many young in The Hive live and grow, in addition to seeing their own first light of day.  Even the aging and old, they’ve continued better thanks to my mentor and later me.  So, perhaps that’s a sign of positives among rather negative days.  But, onto the readings themselves, I warn you that the foreboding you sense is warranted.  Dark things lie ahead.  Do you still want to hear more?  Should you not want to, it’s understandable.  

Author’s Note:  Alleissa, the rat mutant, returns.  This is just a series of scenarios based on what CAN happen with the plot hooks I set up.  I don’t know if I’ll touch on them beyond this or the after effects.  After all, you’re all free to use my plot hooks as you’d like.  And yes, I straight up ripped off the Halo trilogy and a bit from Buckaroo Banzai!  Likewise, let’s tie up some plots with the Acts of Balance.  For now, I want to close the door on some Planescape metaplot.  And with that, have some Sigilian nightmares this chilly season.

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Burn out never, Steam Forever – More Steamspace

The Aftermath by RhysGriffiths on DeviantArt

Steamspace, that which holds the greatest minds in the greatest crystal sphere.  Should you seek glory, invention and the power of a new age; Steamspace is for you.  Consult with the Steam Corps Recruitment Agency, found next to Lorenzo’s Museum of Wildspace Weaponry.
– From a flyer posted around The Rock of Bral

Steamspace is an odd land of many extremes.  There are miniature worlds with diametrically opposed harsh weather.  There are havens for artifice, but one of the most hostile refuges of nature found in the multiverse.  Ideal landscapes for urban empire exist in some realms, such as the Moon of Victoriana or the world of Valiance.  For the rest, it is a testament to ingenuity and innovation; powers of arcane engineering battling the deadliest that nature and the supernatural have to offer.  Beyond deserts of sand, icy tundras, wastelands under darkness and strange seas of green; there are other perils too.  Shadowy drow conspire while ancient elves channel forces of the light.  Battles still wage for the powers of lightning to some day overthrow dependence on steam.  Many mysteries line the sphere too.  The most advanced of the people here are actually ancient tribes that once belonged to a unified world, long blown up by mysterious tragedies.  Numerous societies hoard secrets on the creation of deadly weaponry that could risk annihilation of whole regions.  Many hide the literal deeper layers and depths to even their cities.  None the less, this does not dissuade brave souls looking to reinvent both themselves and reality around them.  Should success come to all and peace ring true, then there is hope for these wondrous creations to spread to the multiverse.

Author’s Note: One more for Steamspace!  Yes, I realize that Bashar and Destiny Expanse are getting a fair bit here.  Beyond that, references to silent horror cinema, Stephen King and various dystopian fiction.  Just because I’m not letting this get too dark doesn’t mean I won’t stuff plenty in there.

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Spelljammer’s Steamspace – Beyond Steam Titan

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The Steam Titan is a curious host. The world itself is hostile to most life, but its moons offer a diverse array of habitats and beings. None the less, the gases within the world have proved most useful in propelling already technical societies far forward, with fascinating innovations. But, what of other worlds within the sphere?

Author’s Notes: To keep in line with the fiction of the era, many of the worlds refer to various dime novel/pulpy tropes and then some, such as the lost world, masked heroics, divine revelation, proto-cosmic horror and then some.  Likewise, a poke at the genre mashup and rules-Frankenstein needed to make all of this possible.  Hell, one of the worlds is even more tie-in to my RavenScape stuff.  Anyway, here’s a post JAM PACKED with content!  Enjoy!  Perhaps at some point, I’ll return to Steamspace.

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