Traversing the Mists – Ramon’s Research of Ravenloft

Castle Avernus | Tertius: Ravenloft Redux | Obsidian Portal

The journeys through the lands of the mists continue.  I find myself lost after leaving the dark clutches of Inza.  It wasn’t my place to fully stop her.  While the Black Rose is distant and gone, maybe someone else will thwart the usurper.  In the meantime, the strange powers that be seem to carry me, as if they too wish to see my quest for knowledge fulfilled.  But, they have an ulterior motive, for they never help one for free.  Perhaps I can be of use to help put Darklords in their place?  Given how I haven’t done much of that before, this is likely not the case….  But, something to ponder about later.  Something to deeply ponder about.

The meddlings of displaced Kargatane is most disconcerting.  Tales tell of Azalin’s meddling in an attempt to escape.  And yet, I have successfully escaped… all the more reason to use me in an experiment.  I’m not sure if I’m at the agenda of the dread lich or the Dark Powers.  Either way, it’s likely that little good will come from this, save for me documenting these awful places for posterity.  With any luck, I will be granted the same courtesy as before.  Every time though, it feels like escape was from sheer luck of nothing bad happening or just the smallest window of survival.  We shall see what awaits me then.  With any hope, I can evade these agents of the lich for as long as possible.  If I benefit with learning along the way, that’s certainly a positive, no?

Author’s Note: Ravenloft had a tendency to make crossovers with other settings.  So, let’s pull from their dip into Dark Sun as well as Spelljammer, even examining a possible domain from Eberron!  In addition, I look at a cluster I very much enjoy.  Also, what is Ramon seeking?  Why does he hide from Azalin?

 

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Ramon’s Guide to the Outlands and Beyond

The Outlands (Planescape) | Fantasy map, Dungeons and dragons ...

I have touched upon The Outlands, yes.  But, there is still more to see.  The Concordant Opposition, a name with more than one meaning.  To some, it’s the center point where all things converge.  To some as well, it is the force fighting all planes at once.  At least, this is what that Acts of Balance sect/faction proclaim.  Beyond them, there are many more sights and sounds to observe within the center ring within the Wheel.  With such a variety of experiences alone, a Sensate could spend a lifetime here.

Author’s Note: I enjoy doing these.  As such, I have to return to this!  Now, thanks to the Torment conversions and some of my own, that takes care of a number of monsters at least.  The one bit from the Elemental post felt a bit tacked on, but it only made me wanting to do more.  It begs the question, what happens when I run out of planes?  Well, I’ve been making plans for another project.

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Ramon’s Guide to More Elemental Planes

Cloud Elemental ∙ Magic: The Gathering ∙ R. MICHELSON GALLERIES

The search for all that the elements have to offer continues.  To put things simply, the elemental planes converge into their own realms of sorts.  These fusions act as elemental planes in their own rights, the para-elemental as they are known.  In addition, I can’t help but research some hypothetical planar fusions that come up in various lectures and notes across the planes.  Someone’s idea of a practical joke?  A sinister piece of the chant?  Who knows?  Either way, there is knowledge to find!

Author’s Note: The Inner Planes.  Yeah, you gotta stretch the imagination a bit.  All the same, I hope this thought exercise proves you can mold something out of a tough template.  Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration too.  Though, not necessarily references to say /tg/ classic lore, DOOM or Warhammer or many other things either.  Also, shout out to The Pathology Guy, whose take on the Inner Planes has been a large inspiration for me.

 

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Planejammer Forever! – Creatures of the Planes

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A Book of Monsters? A good choice!  Zam’dul is happy to bestow such a tome upon you.  The cost is effective too, for you invest in knowledge!  Even with such knowledge, be quite careful.  The planes themselves are very unforgiving and care not for visitors. – Zam’dul, planar merchant.

As you might have guessed, I love the multiverse created by AD&D 2nd Edition and tend to have a bias in favor of it in some capacity.  By all means, you are correct….  Not that there’s anything wrong with my favoritism, of course!  Anyway, I wanted to convert over a few more creatures featured in Spelljammer and Planescape before I hop over to other things.  That said, there are a fair number of D&D-adjacent things outside of both of those settings that would be fun to tackle.  So, I’ll probably consider some of that too.

In the meantime, I wanted to bring back some other favorite creatures of mine.  As always a healthy mix of aberrations, constructs, undead and the like.  Don’t worry, no fiends this time.

Author’s Note: I’ve covered the whole Planar theme for a while.  I might do a few more things before I switch gears.  Personally, I’m feeling a return to either Gothic or something else entirely soon.  Who knows?  I certainly don’t!  I just pull ideas either out of my brain or out of my bum and go from there.  If I actually had a plan, I’d probably have a production studio by now…

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Tales of the Astral – The Gith

Dak'kon by Grosnus

“Endure, in enduring grow strong.” – Dak’kon, Zerth Disciple

The endless struggle in the planes beyond.  This is brief summary of the Gith, a displaced and wounded people.  Long ago, they came to know suffering under a domineering race of creatures known as “Illithid”.  The horrid creatures broke and enslaved these beings into servitude, harvesting them when it became convenient.  In a showing of will and defiance, rebellion lead to the gith breaking free.  However, factions arose over what to do with their newfound freedom.  The split lead to the rise of many new groups rife with their own strange philosophies and viewpoints.

Despite this fracturing, each respective faction remains strong and proud in their own manner.  Each continues onward in their ideals.  Each finds their place in the multiverse.  However, they remain sullied by hatred and biases of the past.  Many refuse to deal too much with their kinds, lest they risk getting dragged into Gith politics.  However, a wise and powerful ally is usually welcomed within a team.

Author’s Note:  Wouldn’t you know it?  I’m not overly satisfied with a non-core book on races, once more. Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is by all means a great book in terms of conflict inspiration as well as monsters, but I was eager to do my own take on things.  As I’m a master of reinventing the wheel, here’s my own take on the Gith.  But, in all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to this for a while.  Even before Tome of Foes was announced, I wanted to do a whole assortment of Planescape races.  The new book just encouraged me to get to it.  Mind you, most of this was already pondered when the initial unearthed arcana article came out.

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July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival – Mutant Monsters

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They shouldn’t have existed, mistakes of nature and mistakes of humanity!  These abominations were the accidents as a result of careless experiments and deadly warfare.  And the result?  Worse than we could have ever feared.  Confused, angry, resentful, hateful!  These things seek to destroy both their creators and the world around them.  Much like the forces that spawned them, destruction is usually their goal.  But, these creatures are no villains, but the consequences of arrogance, apathy, discrimination and violence.

Author’s Note: As a continuation of my theme, here’s a plethora of horrible mutants and mad experiments.  While much of it is revisiting old monsters, there’s a good amount of new goodies to toss into your wastelands, super secret labs and other such locations.
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July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival – Post-Apocalyptic House Rules

Most creations of the apocalypse are accidental.

The end of the world happened as we expected, too many people squabbling over too many things.  And with their super weapons, a new breed of terror was unleashed.  Not only did the radiation spread, it became aware, it gained its own life.  And what followed?  I dare not say…  All that is certain is the horrors of this war spawned all of them.  Protect yourself at all costs, should you run into such a mockery of life.

The post-apocalypse, a staple of darker science fiction.  There are few greater fears than not only one’s own death, but the death of the world we live in.  Or at the very least, the death of civilization.  In most cases, we wouldn’t have roaming raiders, so much as starved out and depressed barbarians.  But, since science fiction gives some leeway, we’re able to explore the grittier side with the likes of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to the more gonzo like Mad Max and all of the bootlegs and homages that it inspired!  (And ’70s/’80s Italian post-apocalyptic bootlegs are simply incredible.)  Or go even further with the likes of Adventure Time, especially in the more recent years as the old world was further expanded upon.  Even if settlements are rebuilding the old world and some semblance of stability comes to the wastes, there are still many hazards that roam the blasted out reaches.  Just like the dungeon crawls and treks of D&D fantasy, the world has regressed into an age of buried secrets, monstrous threats, lost knowledge and high adventure!

With that, today I’m going to focus on retooling some old ideas I’ve had for post-apocalyptic settings.  Effects of radiation, as well as enfeebled equipment and ruins of buildings are given some spit and polish.  Plus, I wanted to bring back a fair share of gruesome and ghoulish creatures I had worked on in the past.  Whether it’s an elemental power of radiation itself or the many mutants that is probably created, there are tons of familiar faces.  While I wanted to make a scrapping based craft mechanic, I couldn’t really settle on a base craft mechanic.  To be fair, neither has core D&D really.  And until we have an expanded idea, there are tons of concepts floating throughout the web.  So, I’ll likely come back to that in the future.

Author’s Note: Here’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while!  In fact, it’s part 1 for that matter.  Expect a heaping helping of horrifying mutants within the next couple of days to next week!  Stay glowing, my radioactive muties!

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July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival: Doomsdays & Dystopias (Dark Genres and Settings)

Abandoned Environment Concept tutorial by maciejkuciara

While I enjoy tons of heroic settings with noble characters ensuring good in the world, I’ve always loved truly grim and dour settings.  I speak of worlds that fit the “GRIMDARK” moniker that’s been affectionately used.  For those who don’t get the reference, it refers to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K tagline, which states that “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!”  I’m speaking of places blighted by impossible evils, dystopias where any sort of righteousness and passion is repressed, a sinister universe that is out to destroy you, nuked out wastelands where the remains of society struggle to continue or scrap the last bits of the old ones… but you get the point.

So, why is my theme essentially “dark settings and dark themes”?  Sounds depressing, I know.  After all, spending too much time in an overly dark and oppressive world can wear one down, right?  Not exactly!  There are many reasons why dark settings are truly fascinating.  Before I turn the carnival over to you, let’s take a look at why starker settings can be awesome.  (Or if you prefer, skip down to the bold text.)

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GIANTS – Massive Humanoids for D&D 5th Edition

https://dnd.wizards.com/sites/default/files/media/StormGiant_Gallery_Thumb.jpg

The very word “giant” evokes fear and admiration.  In fact, the creatures known as giants practically invented new definitions for the word, in response to their incredible size.  Giants are titan-like beings born of the world in some manner.  They are raw forces given some manner of thought. One giant alone is an engine of destruction, capable of razing several lands in its wake.  To some giants, we are merely insignificant insects that act as an obstacle to our goals.  They have no inherent malice towards us, we’re just annoying to them.  The Church of the Cosmic Colossal preaches these values, proclaiming that Giants are Cosmic Entities that are far superior to other Material Plane creatures.

To some researchers, they are the first beings who emerged from a lifeless world of nothingness and chaos.  Some even say that they sculpted the world as we know it today.  To some, they’re early creations of the Gods that were in time rejected in favor of the smaller folk.  Perhaps they were once humans who embraced incredible energies of the planes, thus being transformed into massive beings of power.  Like many theories surrounding various creatures, they’re not totally conclusive or have too much evidence to support their truths.  All that is known is that each giant holds their own origin stories and epic tales.  Lest you be a fool, never challenge them on their mythologies.

Author’s Note: GIANTS!  I figured I’d write at least one tie-in to Storm King’s Thunder while the module was still relevant.  Since I’m not as into it as I was with Curse of Strahd, this post won’t likely be expanded into a theme of any sort.  No matter, I wanted to convert some classic giants to D&D 5e and this was my excuse to do so!  In fact, many of these come from some of my favorite settings.  In addition, I converted a giant that was made for a 3E campaign eons ago.  Enjoy.

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Grittier Arms and Armor: Enfeebled Equipment

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Diving into my old and new Dark Sun books (as well as replaying Baldur’s Gate) gives me an interesting idea, a weapon property that characters can obtain (BUT DON’T WANT!)

Feeble: “The quality of you weapon has seriously degraded overtime.  Perhaps the materials that crafted for your weapon were either meant to be temporary or not intended for constant stress.  While wielding this weapon, targets have resistance to its damage.  Targets that have resistance to non-magical weapons are immune to attacks from this weapon.  Furthermore, rolling a Natural 1 on the die destroys this weapon.  In addition, armor with the feeble property grants -1 AC penalty upon any armor above leather.  If a target scores a natural 20 against your armor, it shatters.  However, if either the target or attacker is wielding a feeble weapon and the other has feeble armor, this quality is ignored.  However, the Nat 1/Nat 20 rule still applies.”

Now, this is pretty damn harsh!  How would it be applicable?  Perhaps a recreation of the Iron Crisis/Bhaalspawn saga would work for this?  Maybe the majority of weapons in Athas would carry this trait (considering they’re mostly made of rock and bone, something I can’t imagine taking too much abuse before breaking.)

On top of that, I’d probably replace the Rust Monster’s ability with the ability to make weapons feeble.  Furthermore, if it attacks a feeble weapon, it is automatically destroyed.  5E Rust Monsters are a lot more intimidating than their 4E counterparts, but they’re still not scary.  To be fair, the Tarrasque needs some fun buffs as well.

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