In the Heart of Clockwork: Factions and more for Alza’um

Typical Mayhem in the Streets…

The smoke bomb, particularly the toxic vapor.  Only one group could produce something like that in such short notice, the Chymists!  How desperate someone must be to turn to terror, such inadequate rubble will be eliminated from the city in due time.  Mark my words, the Consortium shall rightfully reign over the future. – Gelzeer, Assistant Lead Mechanic for the Consortium of Machine, at Primus Security Foundation HQ

Despite splitting off from the world above, internal politics breeds their own issues; whether in the splendorous city proper or its bayside proxy.  Various guilds vie for dominance, whether through honest or underhanded means.  That’s not to safe that attempts at sales within the market can’t be a front for devious sabotage and spying… if not acts far worse.  Some could argue that those who protect the city from these biased extremists are biased and extreme in their own right, favoring a repressive status quo and neutrality that inhibits both progress and tradition alike.

Even before these new issues had arisen, turmoil stewed within the city since early days.  Wicked cults that twist the worst of ancient tradition, cruel slavers and exploiters masquerading as market movers and shakers and general violent madmen.  None the less, the city boasts quite the strange history for one that is otherwise pretty young.

Author’s Note: I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, create a timeline as well as faction related stuff for my mini-setting.  Plus, maybe an extra monster or two in an update.  Also, the factions, alongside the monsters, can easily be repurposed for a more steampunk-oriented setting.  Though, there’s no need to have the setting a dark and gritty urban setting deep within the ground.

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The Mechanical Bits of Alza’um

Image result for victorian factory machine

While Alza’um secludes itself in secrecy, the land is still quite populous.  While the population is predominantly made of humans, gnomes, dwarves and even ratfolk; it’s still bristling with its own unique vibrancy and charm.  Much like the machines that operate on clockwork, so do the denizens.  Life is a chaotic schedule balanced under the facade of order.  This insular technical revolution is made under the assumption that the outside world isn’t ready, but they’re more than enlightened.  Whether this is truth or unaware foolishness hasn’t been determined yet.  Either way, strange adventures and even stranger locals await those granted the proper access.

Author’s Note:  It’s a pun!  But seriously, I felt like I was leaving out a lot of goodies.  At some point, I’ll want to flesh this out for say an OGL product or something, once I can get help with maps, layout and artists eventually.  In the meantime, here are some underground dwellers of this outlandish city of high magical technologies.  Of course, many can be repurposed for more steampunk oriented games.

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Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 1. Bashar

scifi desert landscape by Bawarner

Just a normal colony, nothing to see here…

 

Bashar.  It’s a city of splendors!  A glowing beacon amidst sloshing sea and dead desert.  Beyond it?  A wasteland riddled with pillaged tombs, booby traps and a rare village or two.  Those who do make the voyage are treated to a gathering place of delights and fancies.  The bazaar attracts and sells some of the finest wares in the world, as well as domestic items beyond words.  It is here that new forms of magic have been unveiled as well as incredible forms of technology dubbed “magitech”.

However, life in this metropolitan hub is not what it seems.  While a paradise for the discerning buyer or the exotic seller, a sinister shadow is caste upon those who live within the dusty streets and winding alleyways beyond the market.  Few care or look out for each other.  While backstabbing is rarely literal, there isn’t much trust between neighbors.  Help is looked upon with a sense of dishonor and ascension up the social ladder is rife with self-sacrifice or betrayal.

Your ship is closing in fast to the docks ahead.  Greetings traveler, welcome to the Bazaars of Bashar!

Author’s Note: I’m back at trying my hand at world building once more!  And like always, I bend things away from typical pseudo-euro high fantasy and towards other genres and ideas.  I’ve always been fascinated with massive urban hubs, even in fantasy fiction.  One of the earlier cases of this was the setting of many Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, which provided a level of inspiration.  Beyond Lankhmar, Planescape’s Sigil, Conan the Barbarian, Arabian Nights and Magic the Gather’s Ravnica have proved to be fair resources for ideas.  Anyway, this is what I have so far!  Enjoy!

 

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Dark Descent into Dawnsveil

F._Marion_-_LOptique

I wanted to expand on the previous post.  While the domain offers a fair bit of flavor to run Ravenloft games of your own, it still requires a few more things: stats for the domain lord, as well as stats for his nemesis, other monsters common to the area.  Take note, some of these monsters will be very deadly for a lower level party.  However, the more dangerous creatures are often brought upon by specific circumstances relevant to the setting.

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Domain of Dread – Dawnsveil

Tombstone

During the 4th Edition era of Dragon magazine, I recreated an idea for a 2E domain that I never got to run. Only a few notes were ever made, so it’s not like I got too much done in terms of progress.  This was mostly because Wizards advertised an article search, including the domains of dread column.  While I didn’t care too much for the 4E Shadowfell take on domains, I was more than eager to more or less make my own mark on Ravenloft.  Needless to say, the concept was rejected and has long since stayed on numerous hard drives over the years.  However, I’m gonna pilfer this grave and unleash the contents within!  Here’s my attempt at fleshing out this concept for your enjoyment.
Note: This post will focus on the lore of the area.  Stats are provided in a separate post coming shortly after.  This will include the Darklord, his foil and various other creatures native to the realm.  Also, I found out that my domain’s name shares the name of an expansion to MapleStory more or less.  Granted, I don’t know if my idea predates it or not (2011, I have the rejection date from Wizards of the Coast somewhere!) Also included is a modest attempt at a map, albeit without more in depth tools.

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Things of the Multiverse – Even More Planar Creatures

Image result for civil Festhall sigil

“Endless planes, endless ideas, endless possibilities!  That doesn’t mean a berk should go sniffing out any planar out there.  Tons of nasties will pen you real good in the book, but all of you have the common marbles to listen to the dark beyond!  For starters, some planars will want you for supper, others will ask you pay the music and enjoy a good garnish, some are just barmy psychotics!  And with that, we begin.  Don’t worry, the good scrape comes later!  Also, no interruptions.  I’m very hungry and not against eating poor listeners!” – Geber Reynardt alias “Pew Pew”, Chaotic Evil Foxfolk Lupin Alchemist Sensate, Lecturer at the Civil Festhall in Sigil

As always, one must be careful when wandering the planes.  Beyond the beautiful and scary sights to behold, there are denizens that are much like their surroundings.  Some can be invaluable allies, while others are the most fearsome of foes.  Great good and evil have there places in reality, places you can find if you look hard enough.  But, it begs the question, is it worth wandering too far off the beaten path?

Author’s Note:  What’s an homage to Planescape without Planescape Torment!?  Besides the usual planar beasties, I tossed in a reference or two to one of my favorite games.  On top of that, a creature inspired by my Bloodied Wyvern Peaks adventure and more!  Plus, some obligatory gothic horror that is one part Frankenstein, one part The Golem and one part Doppelganger.  Also, a twist on a Lower Planes classic!

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It Came From Another World – More Planar Creatures

There are a lot more strange planar creatures where that came from.  In fact, we’ve only just scratched the surface.  From technomagical bioweapons to distant watchers to strange experiments, the planes offers many mysteries.

Author’s Note: Last week had all Planescape stuff…. and this one has a couple that, well, aren’t.  I dunno what prompted me to convert an obscure Pathfinder monster from Reign of Winter adventure path, but it’s in there too.  Likewise, I added a jokey monster my sister came up with.  Enjoy!

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