Doomsdays & Dystopias Wrap-Up

While I got a fair bit more last year, I still enjoyed this theme quite a bit!  The GRIMDARK theme might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps less than science-fantasy.  But, oh well, this was a theme I wanted to do for a long time.  None the less, this has been a learning experience.  All the same, some of the bloggers who participated last year weren’t able to join in for this year.  But, to those who were able to join in?  You have my thanks!  Thanks for making this celebration of the dark and dreadful a truly fun one!   That said, onward to other things.  But in the meantime, here are this month’s contributors for my theme!  Please, check out what they have to offer!  And as always, give the RPG Carnival a try yourself!  It’s tons of fun and well worth the effort!

Anyway, enough babbling out of me!  Here are the contributors for “Doomsdays & Dystopias”:

Stay tuned for Kobold Press and their theme of “Magic” for August 2017!  You can find out more here!  Again, a big thanks for everyone who was interested in the darker side of gaming fiction!  Till next time, gamers!

IMAGE CREDIT: Wasteland 2 Promotional Image – Obsidian Entertainment

 

More DOOM Monsters!

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Incoming transmission! “There’s even more of them captain!  We thought we were finished, but they’ve only just unleashed even more of the damned things upon us!  Many of these wretched hell things feel even stronger than the last ones we fought!  We can’t hold out for mu-” Transmission ended!

Author’s Note:  Sorry for being late on this one.  I found out last minute that my group wanted to postpone my game, so I would have had a game synopsis last week.  I also got very sick following a busy work week.  With that, here’s a handful of more DOOM monsters.  I might do an update later on with another popular monster in mind… Arachnotron… Mancubus… Something like that!

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Monsters of DOOM, Revisited

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Hell.  Many thought of it as a mere theological concept, written in ancient scripture.  A team of scientists, corporate representatives and military conglomerates one day discovered that there was so much more.  On martian base, an experiment was conducted to reach into other realities.  They got an alternate dimension the denizens called Hell.  Perhaps it wasn’t what many considered, but Hell had come to that reality and tore it asunder.  Thanks to the impossible efforts of one space marine, referred to as “The Doom Guy”, the forces were pushed out of our world… for what we hoped was for good.

Since that incident, the malevolent armies of this underworld realm have discovered other Prime Material Planes and have continued a campaign of multiversal conquest!  Parallel realities and other planes entirely have faced off against these things.  It has even been rumored that some of these fiendish terrors have faced off in the eternal battleground known as The Blood War.

Author’s Note:  I wasn’t too satisfied with my original creations, so I decided to have a bit of a do over!  On top of that, I wanted to expand the monster list a little more by adding a few essential classic creatures.  Enjoy.

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Horrors from Durlag’s Tower – Monster Variants

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We don’t go to Durlag’s Tower.

 

Durlag’s Tower, an abandoned dungeon that sends shivers down the spines of many.  For some, it’s a cautionary tale about love, obsession and paranoia.  For others, it’s a giant grave that acts as a memento for dwarven kind.  For some, it’s the ultimate treasure trove that’s just waiting to be explored!  Eternally notorious for a variety of reasons, this accursed place rests a distance from both Beregost and Nashkel.  If traps aren’t the cause of death, the terrible monsters that lurk in the depths likely are.  Or worse yet?  It could the party’s very vices that lead to their own downfall.  Needless to say, the only people that would explore such dangerous ruins have a death wish.

Author’s Note: The Adventurer’s League has recently released an adventure inspired by the classic Durlag’s Tower dungeon from the Forgotten Realms… but more specifically, Baldur’s Gate.  So, I figure, what better time to revive some of the classic monsters from the original dungeon!  Granted, most of them were easy to build variants of classic/existing monsters already in 5E.  So, without further ado, enjoy!  Also, pardon this one being a bit sparse, I’ll post something for the weekend too, I promise!

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Oath of the Blasphemer – A Blackguard Oath for D&D 5th Edition

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For some, the antipaladin and the oathbreaker represents a fall from grace.  These are the exiles and the heretics whom must be stopped at all costs!  But, what happens when an entire oath is distorted by gradual influence of the darkness itself?  The Order of the Blasphemer is one such atrocity that arises.  These distorted paladins have lost their way much like the blackguard, but are convinced they serve a divine or holy cause.  This could be from sheer madness or from a dark revelation that the order itself is corrupt.

While many devotees of dark forces are aware of how far from grace they have fallen, the blasphemer order is tragic and ironic in their ignorance.  Driven mad by their past oaths and ideals, they have become delusional in the corruption they carry.  Many mad blasphemers have reached a level of insanity typical in the most devout of abyssal followers as a result of their broken minds doing all they can to refute their wretched existence.  Those who manage to break free of their mania typically become oathbreakers.  Some try to atone and become cynics.  The rest die from despair or failure to absolve themselves of their sins.

Author’s Note: Ah, deconstructing the Paladin… it’s always fun!  As written above, I’ve done this before with the Cynic.  Here, I have a new twist on the antipaladin/blackguard, a reluctant one who clings onto their old hopes and views while unwittingly (or perhaps willingly) committing great evil.  Also, take note!  This concept was an experimental idea I came up with to expand the oathbreaker archetype.  Some of the ideas are volatile and will be patched up in the weeks following.  Also, the original idea was far closer to Artorias from Dark Souls, but I figured it would have been too much of an homage.  But enough from me, subscribe today and a faustian bargain can be yours!

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Gnolls – A Ferocious Race for D&D 5e

A Gnoll Matriarch Defender

For ages, the Gnoll has been viewed as a threat to developing civilization.  Tales of savage beasts with hyena heads mauling travelers and attacking city walls have struck fear into even the most trained of soldiers.  Their origins are equally mysterious, shrouding them in further mystery and fear.  However, as information spreads and reality dispels mythology, many people driven by old ways began to witness that Gnolls aren’t inherently evil.  Despite their bestial appearance and instincts, they’re more than capable of rationality and guidance.

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Wild Hunters, Clever Survivalists

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Despite many misconceptions and stereotypes, tales of gnolls being able to take down incredible prey as well as stories of them enduring brutal deserts and unforgiving wastelands contain more than enough proof.  For this reason, more accepting lands view the gnoll as a testament to the tenacity of the wild.  Within their own lands, Gnolls forge resourceful societies capable of repurposing much of what they come across, due to harsh lessons learned in barren wastes.  Also, many Gnollish culture have gained infamy for creating little of their own; relying on the ideas and supplies of others.  This has also lead to the troubling assumption that gnollish travelers are actually raiders looking to jump the unlucky wandering that crosses their path.  Being both scavengers and hunters, they’re able to adapt to any land ripe with hunting game or the barest of dead lands.  Such experiences have hardened them as both nomads and settlers.  Besides their impressive endurance, they’re viewed as incredible hunters more than able to thwart the mightiest of beasts.  While this leads to misconceptions of them being savage brutes who care for little more than brutality and bloodshed, they often save “The Hunt” for when they’re certain they’ll need the resources.  While they find little wrong with hunting other humanoids, this is often for the sake of meals rather than pure sport.  However, some populations have made a sport of hunting anyone who comes too close to secretive grounds.  Granted, they usually post significant warnings first.

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Strangers in a Strange Land

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No one is sure of where Gnolls came from, and to be honest, neither do the Gnolls!  Some have rumors that they’re the creations of mad cultists and druids, crossbreeding hyenas and humanoids.  Some suggest they’re the spawns of demonic plane-jumping conquerors, set out to hunt all in the name of Yeenoghu.  Maybe they are the result of a mad Bouda Witch corrupting the nearby lands.  Perhaps they’re just beings exposed to the arcane forces of the Plane of the Wyld, forcefully morphed into bipedal hyena creatures.  No matter the truth, Gnolls take pride in what they are and will defend their existence till the end.  Outside of their own tribes and settlements, they are the epitome of outsider though.  While many beastly folk are infamous for coming across as uncivilized and feral, gnolls face this situation far more often.  Their tendency to feast upon carrion, as well as their bone chilling cackle sound is off putting to those outside of their circles.  Their animalistic instincts have also had tendencies to kick in at bad moments.  While many traditions and actions are socially acceptable at home, they are likely taboo elsewhere.  Horror tales of a gnoll making its way into a funerary service, only to feast upon the corpse have become drunken racist jokes at bars.  Other rumors of gnolls mating or hunting in open streets have only further hindered their social status.  One famous tale that circulates through Gnoll-kind involves a wandering starved outcast gorging himself on the foods of a bazaar, before guards arrived and slew him with extreme prejudice.  This story is often toted as propaganda by those who seek to enforce xenophobia within Gnollish society.

But, this doesn’t mean that gnolls are savages without culture or morality.  Gnoll society is typically matriarchal in nature, with a high queen who proves herself through rigorous challenges.  To the outside eye, most gnolls look the same due to lack of dimorphism of their hyena ancestors.  Despite a matriarchal society, male gnolls do not suffer from discrimination like with the Drow.  However, important choices tend to be favored by females of each clan.  Many societies not dictated or ruled by sex/gender tend to view gnolls as a curiosity or are outright hostile towards their approach for many a reason.  Some view them as inherently sexist or biased in nature, whether or not these claims are actually true.  However, many gnolls from other material planes tote a much darker side.  Names such as Lamashtu and Yeenoghu imply an abyssal origin for countless legions.  These gnolls are creatures of chaos and evil, derived from both hyena and demonic bloodlines.  Their values lie within savagery, butchery and dark tributes to their demonic masters.  While it is uncommon for gnolls to become adventurers, it is even rarer for demonic gnolls to explore with creatures outside of their kind.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Gnolls!  I figure I’d give them some vanilla fluff to make them feel a little closer to actual hyenas rather than stick to the generic D&D lore.  Of course, they wouldn’t be gnolls unless I threw a bone here or there (haha.)  With that, enjoy my take on the race (including an inside joke toward the bottom.)  No matter, here’s another entry in support of the RPG Blog Carnival, particular the Homebrew Holiday Gifts theme for the month of December!

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Arcane Corruption: The Dark Side of Magic for D&D 5th Edition

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Wizards are weird.

In darker settings, distant beings and magical powers are hard to trust… and for good reason.  In older iterations of the game, as well as darker fantasy RPGs like “Dungeon Crawl Classics”, delving into the supernatural had a risk far beyond a price tag and losing a spell slot or gaining the ire of a church.  Exploitation of eldritch powers could leave the victim becoming mad, diseased, or both.  Turning the forces of chaotic energy into an orderly event is by all means a paradox in and of itself, taking its toll on those who craft too much.  Likewise, making bargains with incomprehensible entities too takes its toll.  Those who take either too far risk becoming mad or warped beyond recognition.

And worse than exposing yourself to the unknown in immersing yourself is realms tainted by absolute corruption.  Desecrated lands, alters to dark gods, creatures that are the truest essence of evil and so on.  These sources of the most vile powers in existence are just as likely to twist and decay the soul into something it is not… or was not.  While some struggle with sanity, distortion at the hand of dark powers are far worse.

If you prefer, here are some alternative lists that can work as well.  Mutations – Part 1 (Benefits), Mutations – Part 2 (Drawbacks), Wild Magic Surge (Alternate)

Author’s Note: This is inspired by corrupted magic from Dungeon Crawl Classics, Carcosa, Taint from D&D 3.5 Heroes of Horror and the Insanity option from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.  At its core, this is a variant of the Sanity and Madness rules from the D&D 5E DMG.  Also, this is merely a draft for my concept.  Expect revision at some point!

Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.

IMAGE SOURCE: Dungeon Crawl Classics

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