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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Lost Chapters of the Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 4

Alanik Ray - Dungeons & Dragons Board-Game Campaign (house-rules)

“Alanik, come quickly! I have found yet another one.”

A man in physician’s finery beckoned another to his side. A well-dressed man of elven descent followed, emerging from the darkness and into the lantern light. The two gazed down, a crumpled body laid at their feet, hastily disposes upon a cobblestone street corner. Alanik hunched closer, while reaching for a small viewing glass. His gaze met a symbol etched into the body’s shoulder, revealed through a series of gash marks.

“Indeed, it’s the same accursed occult symbol. But, what does it mean? All of these victims have similar traits in common. Each body was struck down in some means of brutal combat, holds torn up or destroyed parchments and carries this accursed mark upon their flesh. From what I can gather, they are some sort of messengers. Given the common origins of the clothing styles and some adorned belongings, they all likely share a common ancestry in Darkon.”

Joining Alanik the detective, the physician stoops forward with tools at the ready.  With tools in hand, he too examines the corpse and does so with medical precision.

“Astute observation, detective. But, the deaths. I must know. From a glance over at the wounds, it seems to follow yet another trend. All of these bodies faced similar slashing wounds from a particularly long blade. The marks indicate a similar fighting style or means of combat. Or at least, it would seem someone is good at replicating them. Did you know I’ve taken up a fair bit of swordplay in my youth? I’ve even had some goes at fencing. And… what’s this? A parchment that hasn’t been destroyed! It’s hidden in an insular breast pocket.”

The physician’s face rapidly changes from excitement to a rather grim shock. The letter addresses a Dr. Arthur Sedgewick, that the body before him was once compelled into the service of a scribe who serves the mighty Wizard-King Azalin. Even when not under control, he feels the tugging presence of magic upon his mind and that he isn’t alone. Countless other glorified slaves have found themselves gathering information in the name of a mad wizard and his lackeys. In the night before his death, he desired to seek the doctor out in hope that non-magical means could break his curse, since attempts from spellcasters have failed.

Author’s Note: Alas, poor scroll trader, now another victim of The Mists. And with that, let’s look at some more canon domains within the setting. Many of these are ones typically overlooked to some degree.  Joining them are some new domains, fit around various fan ideas as well.  Also, big thanks to the Fraternity of Shadows community as always, especially Ryan Naylor and John W. Mangrum.  Likewise, the extra eyes who brought a Philippines horror inspired domain to life.  And on that note, this is probably the longest concept for a domain I’ve made.  And yes, I used the silly trading card over the goofy looking new art, I’m aware.

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Of Lands beyond Castle Ravenloft: Forgotten Domains and other Tales

These 5 Haunted Libraries Will Give You the Heebie Jeebies

“Bard’s tales for sale!  Scripted and sold by an honest book keeper!  All of the stories in these tomes are completely real!  I offer tales of bravery, terror, exploration and more!  Please, step inside for more!”  A familiar Darkonese man hocks various loud proclamations in the light of day, a fine market square acts as his stage.

Author’s Note: The setting is no stranger to B-Movie trash and neither am I…  So, there is plenty of that here too.  You have blobs of rotten food, plant hybrids, murderous ball ghosts and more.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Mad Plots and Grim Conspiracy

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Sitting around a polished oaken table, an assortment of well-dressed individuals act locked in place upon simple chairs.  Only when one shadowy figure emerged into dim lamplight do the other figures seem to respond.  A woman clad in red finery more suited to a special gathering or wedding emerges forward, the wrinkles on her face accentuated through her sneering expression.

“I’ve long awaited this gathering here.  Influences of the supernatural want to have their way with the villages, precious cities, establishments of higher learning.  Such things are abominations that attack Reason itself.  Despite my origins elsewhere, you know my dedication to Lamordia.  My aspirations of Ludendorf Academy of Science cannot occur without your aid, even with its rivals.  While nestled in a quiet land, the school would bring enlightenment to those who seek it.”

She glances around, none of the other members of this meeting look in particular disagreement or contradiction.  One figure arises to meet her gaze, raising from his chair.  His garb is far less ornate, but still of quality and professionalism.

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Natalya Bogdanoff, former headmistress of Kantora University.  Fear not L’Académie des Sciences of Dementlieu either.  We are researching them as we speak…  But, where are my manners?  We welcome you to our organization and acknowledge your concerns wholeheartedly.  You are a friend here in Lamordia, and a friend of the Syndicate of Enlightened Citizens.  The Academy has had our backing since its announcement.  Should you be concerned about suspicious influences among staff and students, say no more.  We’re happy to provide you assistance.  And everyone else in attendance, let us please applaud our newest member.  No longer are you merely a guest of honor.”

The gathered company arise to clap for Natalya, who clasps her hands and twists her face into a devilish smirk.  After an appreciative nod, everyone returns to their seats.  Natalya unveils documents from a case, one of which entailing plans for the Academy of Science.  Passing the documents around, the members of the syndicate nod and chatter with each other in excitement.  As the papers make their way back to their owner, the mood turns from welcoming excitement to a sinister cabal of shadowy plots.

Author’s Note: 4 posts in a row?  I guess my disappointment and frustration is a good motivator after all.  Not a long-term one, but I’ve certainly felt pretty damn creative.  But in all seriousness, I’ve been more motivated to read the books I do like and it has inspired me.  Also, let me bring in some more Dawnsveil content from my prior DM’s Guild version.  And on a final note, let’s explore some of the motivations behind past weirdness, shall we?

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Of Awe and Contempt

Horrific Facts About Bedlam, History's Most Notorious Mental Institution

“I tell you, we are prisoners!  There is no such hope for us!  The governor holds us in an endless war against an eternal foe.  There can be no salvation in this doomed colony!  There is no hope and the divine has abandoned us!  Lock me up all you wish, in time you all will know the grim reality that you suffer from!  May the rats eat your eyes!  I am now lost to your cause, the darkness comes!  IT WILL DAMN US ALL!!” – Eustace L. Flanagan, Scholar within the colony of Dawnsveil, upon being sent to  Trinity’s Passing Hospital for the Mentally Ailing.

The Demiplane of Dread is a grim place, but its darkest secrets are indeed hidden for the better.  Even the doomed and imprisoned are largely unaware of the full details.  And those who are?  They are drawn into madness and obsession, in hopes of escaping or destroying the demiplane as a whole.  However, there is something to be said for ignorance being bliss.  While life in the Lands of the Mists is hard, those who don’t know full truth exist within their own lives and internal dramas.  But, what is known is that the strange and supernatural lurk just beyond reach.  And from those places, eyes stare back at you.  Dare you stare too long, you might see even more eyes.

Author’s Note: I’ve been thinking about ideas for the future, but I always do that.  If I get ambitious enough, maybe I’ll get around to making an OSR bootleg of some “Dominions of Darkness” or something.  I wonder what that would be?  But for now, just mad musings.  In the meantime, I give you more gothic goodies to greatly enjoy, including my own take on new ideas.  By the way, Dawnsveil is a custom domain.  Check the Doc’s Multiverse tab above for more.  Also, more looks into the future of the Time of Unparalleled Darkness, as potential plot hooks in time are fun.  Also, I was waiting to squeeze a reference to Eternal Darkness somewhere.

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Lost Chapters of the Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 3

More Forgotten Places and Hidden Realms

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“That is all from me.  I must close for the night.  Should you wish to aid my master in some other way, do not hesitate on it.  The Wizard King will not turn away valid support…”

Author’s Note: I was never interested in covering ALL known domains, mostly just the core and former core ones.  However, I wanted to use this to help flesh out a disliked domain or two.  Also, huge credit to Ryan Naylor for reinventing Jack Karn and being the basis of my Farelle post.  Likewise, shout out to the Fraternity of Shadows for making I’Cath so much better. Also, my take-that at the lack of appreciation for the Birthright setting only succeeded in making me sad, hehe.

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Lost Chapters of The Mists – More Domains of Dread Part 2

Forgotten Lands & Dark Seas

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“Of course, I have more notes.  It’s the least I can do for your glorious donations to our information treasury.  Of course, these are copies.  The originals reside with my master, or at least his own private resources.  Enjoy what I have to offer and don’t hesitate to ask questions.  But, be careful what you ask.”  The scribe continues to pour through his acquisitions, before giving a satisfied nod and granting you access to another set of information.  “This begs the question, since you’ve done so much for our fair liege, surely you have shown interest in recruitment?  He has sensed the future and knows one thing for certain…  Doom awaits.  Only his land and his hand can protect you.  But first, the Blighted city must be dealt with.  This “Death” is only an obstacle for greater victory.”

Author’s Note:  A look at more aspects of the Demiplane of Dread.  I never got around to this originally, as my focus was on the journey to Darkon more than anything.  Enjoy my take on some more canon domains of Ravenloft, reaching beyond the Core and into the Nocturnal Sea and Sea of Sorrows.  Also, since not much fleshed out Bluetspur, I got creative!  Surprise, it’s a Spelljammer inspired domain now!  Also, yes, I always thought Professor Arcanus was a stupid character.

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More Misty Rumors

Thief 3: Deadly Shadows", full walkthrough + 100% loot, Mission 1 -  Checking Inn, Cashing out - YouTube

 

“Don’t worry, I have more to offer. After all, this trade appeases my true master. So, just as before, present your trade.”

Rustling into your pockets, you feel crumpled pieces of parchment, a cold sweat drips from your fingers to nearly stain the hidden papers. You realize what else you can offer, things far more taboo than prior offerings. Hesitant, you remove your clenched hand to reveal more documents. The scribe taps his fingers, quietly chortling to himself in dark glee.  “Ah, now there we go.  I’m a man of my word.  When you deliver good content, I will supply far more.  Ready yourself, more things we prepare for here within our great Darkon.”

Author’s Note: My first set of rumors and happenings were enjoyed, let me craft some more.  For the time being, there is no marked time on the Barovian Calendar.  As an aside, this isn’t my first reference to the Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  My hints of Gundarakite rebellion took notes from there too.  I should really get back into that, it was good fun!

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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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Drawn back to The Mists – Ramon’s Return to Ravenloft

The Ravenloft (setting) thread | RPG PUB

The Demiplane of Dread, house of the Castle Ravenloft and the prison of countless conniving souls.  It called to me once more.  I find myself not in the known lands, but a different cluster set.  Words and people tell of creatives whose processes lead to their own dooms.  Tales of toy makers, playwrights, sculptors, painters and even bards…  All of these haunt me more than they would the layman.  But, what goes beyond this troubled region?  Whose to say?  With any luck, I’ll find my escape beyond the Lands of the Mists in due time.

Author’s Note:  I wanted to bring things back to Ravenloft, as last post showed.  Like before, I wanted to bring in a mix of my own content and the classic domains of the campaign setting.  In time, I might supply more from my own, fleshing them out much like I did for Dawnsveil.  In the meantime, take a look at a domain cluster dedicated to artists and other crafting geniuses gone horribly wrong.  And on top of that, my summary of some other domains that I love.  Also, another shout-out to Knott’s Berry Farm!  2020’s Scare might be cancelled, but you remain an amazing inspiration for me.  Some day, I’ll actually be able to attend the Halloween seasonal attraction…

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