Law, Chaos, diametrically opposed forces! Is it not splendid? To me, this is the true clash in the end. People speak of the everlasting fight of Good vs. Evil, but just look at The Blood War! It is multiple ideologies of badness competing for supremacy! Simply fascinating! But, of places less outwardly malicious, what of them? Well, I would be happy to pop up this nice bestiary, which can be yours for simply a handful of jink-jink, chummer! – Gilbert Marazmus, Gnome scribe and former ghostwriter
The multiverse as plenty of mysterious forces, the forces of darkness and the light have already been discussed at length. The means of order, disorder and everything in between. These things can be quite concrete but also vague in other areas. Here’s a sampling of monsters that exemplify the planes (and demiplanes) they call home.
Author’s Note: I know everything is taking a long time, I’ll do what I can to get back on track. Recent times haven’t been easy. That said, I hope many of you have found ways to still play from a distance. Even if it’s through a digital space, doing things with people matter. Stay connected and stay cool!
Currently, I find myself researching into the boundless possibilities of parallel universes, alternate realities if you will. Such a pursuit is a headache. But, no matter! An explorer must persevere for the good of all! Throughout all means of realities, little pockets of truly wondrous strangeness hide in their own obscure places. For the time being, let me chronicle some travels to other strange places in the multiverse! Who knows what there is?
Author’s Note: It’s no secret, I keep coming back to the planes, especially Planescape. As always, many of these ideas are 3rd and 4th Edition concepts retrofitted into AD&D (rather than 5th Edition’s approach). This time around, a little more Shadowfell and a bit of Elemental Chaos get reshaped to (better) fit the Great Wheel. However, I wanted to pay homage to some other concepts from settings like Mystara, which takes a much vaguer approach to the planes. Also, H.R. Giger inspired nightmare fuel! Also, where details on original content were sparse, I twisted things around and added some of my own ideas.
Enter a Domain of Dread born from paranoia and fearmongering, where your neighbor conspires against you and practices wicked sorcery… at least, by your observations.
Ruled by a once-beloved governor, now fear is there ruling force! The colony still expands and progresses, even as its appointed ruler acts from the background. However, his control is far stronger than most realize. Face an endless battle between a crazed governor and the dark witch that haunts the lands.
Domains of Dread – Dawnsveil is an expansion for the Ravenloft Campaign Setting. However, it is fully compatible with the Curse of Strahd adventure. Inside, you’ll find a history of a fallen trade colony, dark tales of a dark witch taken form and terrifying creatures that dwell in the darkness.
You can find this product here. Happy Halloween!
Mordent, considerably more progressive than other domains by a distance. Curiously, its presence in the Mists is the fault of Strahd and Azalin. They devised a scheme to exploit an apparatus within the realm to free themselves from their imprisoned domains. This failed, sealing Mordent’s fate as well.
A fair share of oddities drift in and around the domain. The Darklord himself, Lord Wilfred Godefrey, certainly counts. Once a backstabbing aristocrat, he slew his own wife and daughter. He covered the incident up as it were an accident. But, their vengeful spirits drove him to suicide, forcing him into the ironic fate of a trapped spirit too. Since then, he has collected the souls that are beckoned to his house on Gryphon Hill. He has even used the trapped souls to his advantage at times, creating networks of informants and spies within his domain.
But, what is beyond the house? The Great Moors risk dense moss and trees to get lost in, while ghost towns just beyond prove to be less than salvation. The river ways and moors are mucky and thick, the perfect predatory grounds of the bog hound. A ways off the path was an off beat enclave of artists, creatives and non-establishment people who failed to fit in with the norm. Save for the waxworks, there is no more life here. No true life. Despite much of it burning down, wonders of art are mixed with the macabre to unveil an art show unlike anything before.
Author’s Note: Yet another double-feature! This time, the Domain of Mordent as the theme. The first creature is based off the Howls of the Night adventure, prominently featuring the Bog Hound. The second is from a homebrew pocket domain within the domain itself. It’s a meshing of wax museum horror tropes. And for added creepiness, some extra homage to one of my favorite parts of BioShock!
“Chroniclers from “some outside world” kept babbling about Shadow Powers and Fell planes. These people are fools. They know not of the mists, they know not of true nightmares. I live in them, just as I do in the rare dream. Some day, our people might escape through these gates, through the endless worlds of dream and into paradise. Perhaps these outlanders can take our place… As far as I’m concerned, they don’t truly exist anyway.” – a rather rude Aabber Shaman of the Nightmare Lands, according to Ramon.
The Mists house many untold and unspoken evils and perils. They’re usually the results of twisted minds and nefarious plots. Some are just sad souls that have long since fallen from grace. In more than one instance within the demiplane, some were merely evil souls from the beginning. Such a twisted menagerie exists within the Domains, it’s a miracle that they haven’t escaped to torment the outside worlds.
Brace yourselves and survive the monsters of the night!
Author’s Note: While Ramon bumbles in Ravenloft, let’s bring in a mixture of classic monsters and some new creations! Since I already have various Ravenloft critters in my Vampire and Were-beast books on DM’s Guild, I have not included them here. Also, please pardon the rampant song references…
“Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper”
Many creatures were described in my previous travels. It would be only fair to elaborate on them slightly. Ready yourself for those who lurk in darkness and dread, friends! Allow this small bestiary to inform you on the powers and potentials of these morbid friends and foes. Or should this fall into more diabolic hands, beware of the heinous horrors that you so choose to wield. Righteous comeuppance will likely find its way.
Author’s Note: A companion piece to Ramon’s explorations! Here are some monsters referenced in the post or in their respective planes and dimensions. Enjoy!
“They’re already dead, they just don’t know it yet!”
Instead of a normal lecture, I figure I’ll just chronicle my own travels and recant later. The realms of dream proved invigorating, mortifying, thrilling and so much more! However, my desire for adventure has taken me to far more chilling places. Lands of Death, Darkness, Disaster and so on! As always, I am forever devoted to pursuits of knowledge. And through my travels and magical catalogue of thoughts and sights, you too may travel with me to parts unknown and dreadful. Should anything unfortunate happen to me, let this document be a word of warning!
Author’s Note: I did an old school reorganizing of 4e’s (and I guess 5e’s) Feywild, I figure it’s the Shadowfell’s turn. Many of its ideas were appropriated from past sources already, so that makes things a little easier. As for the other stuff? Well, once again, time to improvise! Also, keep an eye out for some crunch that relates to this post.
“Metal things, metal things, why do you get in my way? My favorite ditch, destroyed! They ate my gold! One of them stole one of my axes! Tin can bastards are going in my book, my book of grudges! Blasting that damned fox into near-dust was entertaining, but I still hate them! Back to the chained islands with all of you! A cursed land, of course it’s the place they crawled out of! I’ll make them crawl back!” – Boron, Unhinged Dwarf Warrior/Rune-Crafter, “Ally” of Geber, survivor of The Massacre of Ignis
Lesser Sheen models have proved to be quite destructive. However, far worse ones wait for their chance to strike. Some seek to hack through organic like, while others harvest whatever secrets they have to further help the sheen agenda. Their mechanical terror knows very few limits, expanding and changing at rapid rates. In fact, new forms of sheen have emerged from their studies of the prime material plane itself.
Author’s Note: Here are the rest of the Sheens from both articles. These baddies should prove to be far more formidable than the previous post, especially the massive power tree! That’s an end campaign boss, more or less! With the Sheen out of the way, I think I’ll slowly move towards my horror/dark fantasy theme I do every autumn.
Robots – 1, Organics – 0
The Machine. A testament to engineering and ingenuity. Artificial life taken to the next form! Whatever the case may be, these constructs are forged from a truly advanced form of artifice. Many are made through a high technology not unlike many forms of magic. Some are even crafted through rare forms of magical infusion. These constructs are far more capable of thought that many predecessors. Beyond their elaborate programming, some prove more than capable of having souls. Such constructs truly achieve the joys of sentience.
Author’s Note: ROBOTS! I made a post many moons back, that I have since wanted to remake. Plus, here are a few more ideas I’ve tossed around for general science-fantasy robot fun! Plus, I decided to tie the Pathfinder settings(s) into Planescape/Spelljammer… for some reason. Since my schedule is limited this week from preparation for and volunteering for a fair, things are broken up into chunks. Expect more soon!
Githyanki. Like the Yuuzhan Vong, but not garbage
“So, you’re a fancy crew cruising around on your nice spelljammer. And then all of a sudden, some ghost thing makes your captain go mad and he’s killing all of ya! Then what? That’s why you prepare for the worse out in those spacial depths. Who knows what nasty things will be lurking out there! You certainly don’t!” – Glass-Eye Erg, Dwarven Trader from Rock of Bral.
This time around, a few homages to Spelljammer and Star Wars. Long and short, one of my friends showed me the revised d20 Star Wars. It’s better than I recall it being, still no D6 though. Needless to say, those very familiar with Star Wars will get some of my references. The same goes for Spelljammer, but I’ve been making a bit of spelljammer stuff for the past couple of months.
Author’s Note: I figure some more nods to Star Wars are a great way to transition to more science fiction inspired content. For the next couple of weeks, I shall continue to expand my endless bestiary. And no, this post isn’t about the Githyanki… I just wanted a swipe at how the Vong kinda look like them. While I plan for the future, here are two entries based on existing Star Wars monsters as well as my take on the Neogi (as I don’t care for the official take for 5e… but I usually don’t in general.)