More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3

Outlaws, Oddballs and Cultist Fanatics

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Seelie, Unseelie, Four Seasons and a few minor houses.  There is more from there.  And by all means, all of them scheme and dream.  All of them seek to triumph over the rest.  And worst of all, to see one of them fully succeed would spell the end of the fey.  Even those devout to Rhiannon would bring about their queen’s deepest fear.  In the end, the politics and ways of these creatures are too alien to fully understand.  How would they avoid absolute destruction?  How would they rebuild?  It would take a lot of speculation to imagine how pieces would be picked up by such truly unique creatures.  But, a mix of Real Speak and Chant alike has been formulated into some well crafted notes.  So, by all means read ahead and dare to discover how much of it is actual truth.  Normally, I strive for truly gripping information that holds the tests of scrutiny.  But, for cabals and corridors this deep, such endeavors are impossible.  Perhaps I have been mislead by rivals?  It is the fey way, after all.

Author’s Note: The last of them, at least for now.  These remaining sects, like the three before, hold less overall political power and tend to be less centralized.  However, most of them are some level of crazy, even by fey standards.  Also, huge shout-out to The Piazza forums.  Their ideas helped really bring this to life.

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Planes of Terror and Madness: Dark Shadows of the Wheel

Some mad scholars and greybeards speak of the Demiplane of Dread in hushed whispers. But, this is not the only accursed place to float within the Wheel. No. Other planes have been covered, including rather lightly from Ramon the Planes Chronicler. But, his information is too sparse to be helpful to many. I, a humble scribe assisting “The Narrator” shall regale you with wonders and horrors alike. Know that the planes isn’t just dangerous at times, it’s an unending nightmare.  Prepare to never wake up again and let us continue our journey.

Author’s Note: Happy Halloween from The Planes!  I figure it’s time to mix things up.  So, RavenScape madness continues as I also look at nightmares of the Great Wheel both canonical and fanon.

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The Cluster Sphere: Spelljammer… in the Mists?

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Fantastical Space would be one of the last things people associate the Demiplane of Dread with, but it exists even there.  The recently discovered “Castle Darkspace” is a testament to that.  While T’laan stews and broods in nihilistic apathy, he knows that it’s possible to break the veil into greater space.  But, this is but a facade meant to give false hope.  And by all means, others who have touched a Spelljammer have fallen to the Dark Powers.  Even the maligned and much ignored “Port Barmy” has its roots in a Spelljammer ship.  Save for the latter domain, all things Spelljammer have found their way into a unique “Cluster” or rather “Mist Sphere”.  The Mist Sphere works much like a Crystal Sphere, complete with Wildspace connecting the worlds.  However, there is no true world, solely the domain and lands trailing off into mists.  However, they can be accessed by spelljamming.

Be warned though, for those who sail their incredible ships in this sphere cannot leave normally.  Trying to seek the Phlogistan has disastrous results.  Consistently, a spelljammer will explode upon impact.  Likewise, entering other domains and clusters beyond this one spells doom.  Doom already comes for all who dare to trifle with the mists.  As of 740, even arcane space (excluding the phlogiston beyond) was not immune.  Tower Darkspace was taken into the mists.  By 743, Rogerport and Gnomonia had joined.  Primordium Station was taken in 748 and The Chariot fell in 757.  By 758, these were no longer islands of terror.  The Mists unveiled that the spelljamming days of yore had returned, but with a dark twist.  A new Sphere of sorts revealed itself, but those within were very much trapped.  And worse, new locales and minor domains continued to appear, such as the Sparkling Halls in 759.  Perhaps the Arcane Space is doomed to fall to the Dark Powers in due time?

Author’s Note: Spelljammer in the Mists! They said it couldn’t be done, but I proved them wrong! Ahahahahah!  I know Ravenspace has been a thing for years, but here is my own take on a cluster in the style of a Crystal Sphere.  Also, there is plenty of opportunity to reference bits of space horror, such as System Shock!  Also, more Eberron crossover!  And even more crazy, Returned Blackmoor makes a cameo as a domain all its own.  Is it canon for my Threshold series?  Hard to say, but it’s certainly a possible ending for it!  Also, Port Barmy remains a joke.  I have no plans to do much else with it, maybe I’ll add it to here one day.

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Grim Rumors Eternal – More Ravenloft Plots and Places

The Darkness lasts forever!  Don’t think the Light is still your friend though.

Author’s Note: Mystaran homage, more lands based on Philippine folklore, more on the undead of Rockbaecche and a native of Kalidnay experiencing Abaddon.  Also, two more references to the excellent Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  If you love the Campaign Setting, it’s one of the best sources that keeps it alive.  Also, I’m aware that referencing Abrahamic religion in D&D is controversial, but thanks to Prisoners of the Mist, it could be a fascinating thing to examine in brief.  I should really pick that up again, it was good fun.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Gundarak

“Ah, there you are” chimes a snide and sneering scribe, “I was hoping you weren’t too distraught from your assignments.  As it turns out, something of a thorn in the side of His Highest’s rival has resurfaced.  You know of whom I speak, the Devil Strahd of the County Barovia.  Tales tell of an enemy, Duke Gundar, that he has returned in revenge.”  The scribe lays out an assortment of maps, parchments and sealed documents.  “Be a good adventurer, by the master’s decree and look into it.  I suspect someone is imitating that bumbling lord who gave The Devil Strahd a hard time.”  The mysterious scribe rubs his hands, giggling madly as you are supernaturally compelled to gather the supplies and head out.  For some reason, you can’t remember what lead to your arrival at that building, save for that you were returning to Darkon.  You were always returning to Darkon.  But, what matters now is another land.  What matters is Gundarak.

Author’s Note:  Behold, more details to the underdeveloped Gundarakites, Gundarak and Duke Gundar.   My plan was to have plenty of things involving other domains, as well as a Planescape-inspired Cluster to build off of Reality’s End.  Anyway, that will be another post.  My stuff on Gundarak took over.  Also, once again a huge shout out to the Prisoners of the Mist community!  A minor character in this whole mess has its roots from there.  But, hopefully this will be my last post on that domain, so I can focus on other things?   Also, why was Jacques Renier never really brought up in canon after the Realm of Terror boxed set?

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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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Blackmoor Week 2020: Blackmoor, Into the Future

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Blackmoor week celebrates the birth of Dave Arneson and his creation of the Blackmoor setting.  As the co-founder of the game and other grandfather of roleplaying games, he deserves some love as well, hence this week on the web.  You can click the image above to see more of what Blackmoor Week has to offer.  But, should you be interested in my own mad ramblings and homages to Arneson’s setting and beyond, do continue here as well!  Doc’s Laboratory awaits!

Since its inception, there have been a number of iterations of the lands of Blackmoor.  The ones most tied to Arneson were the first and last incarnations.  And to an extent, even the alteration into Mystara’s history counts.  My experience with Blackmoor started mostly with the final versions, the 3rd edition and 4th edition source books provided by Zeitgeist Games at the time.  While I knew it was put into the distant past of The Known World and beyond, I never had a chance at the Mystara friendly version of it for a while.  None the less, I favor a blend of the classic vision with the Mystaran one.  It even factored into a game friends took part in long ago.  Said game was a multiple campaign arc in Mystara, with tons of crazy time travel and other antics with reality.  The last game ended after our travels back and forth into Blackmoor’s history.  For numerous games, we were called to deal with progressively evolving threats in the kingdom-turned-empire.  However, our final threat was something we weren’t prepared for, a Blackmoor in the modern age.  Sadly, the campaign ended as we caught a glimpse of an imposing and bleak city over the horizon.  Mind you, this was during the days when many of us still thought Blackmoor would be fit in the Broken Lands, before we realized that later developments changed that.

This isn’t the end of Returned Blackmoor, just it in active campaign form.  Years and years passed, before the Mystara Reborn Facebook group became the encouragement I needed to give life back into this new Blackmoor.  With old notes in hand and scrambled bits from the rest of the old table, I cobbled together an image of what a Blackmoor might look like if it used time powers to survive its doom in the Mystaran world.  It turns out, having your land rotated into a frigid wasteland can massively throw one off.  This, combined with plague and political instability lead to a trusted member of the military staging a coupe and establishing a harsh dictatorship.  While the arcane-infused high technology of Blackmoor recovered and developed anew, the culture became far more stagnant and stale, as leadership forbid it to develop further.  As the decades passed since it leapt into the near-present, the leader began to lose a grip on reality as well as physical health.  Ultimately, he would become something of a quasi-undead cyborg, a major campaign reveal.  (A brain-in-a-jar piloting a robot body, a staple science fiction trope.)   Meanwhile, movements arise in the shadows to oppose him, some more extreme than others.  Other forces stir, many of which driven by wicked ends.  All sorts of enemies roam this new Blackmoor: wasteland raiders, rogue robots, mutant animalmen, atomic undead, acolytes of new dark Immortals or even the slumbering Egg of Coot!  Those are only a few examples.

Now, how does this involve the players?  Well, many games could involve them in the mayhem and wonder of this forbidden land.  For starters, they could help shape an uprising against the corrupt usurper state.  Heroes may choose to help remnants of the old ways help restore classic order within the realm.  They might consider radical change instead, favoring one of several other factions, ranging from reformists to new potential overlords.  They might even earn the trust of the regime and become ambassadors to the greater world.  Over time, the current ways of Blackmoor may become less extreme in their own way.  For the more Arneson approved old school experience, there are a number of dungeons both classic and infused with gonzo science-fantasy, even Castle Blackmoor has received modifications over the eons.  It seems with time that many of the kinks that caused Blackmoorian tech to go haywire are more properly ironed out too.  Or at least, more attention to potential sabotage.  Potential for larger plots exist too:  Blackmoor trying to integrate safely into the greater world, the Immortals having none of it and punting the land into the Hollow World (alongside the Blacklore Elves), a massive war risking a Greater Rain of Fire, the rise of a new Blackmoor Empire and much more.

To dive more into Returned Blackmoor, check out Threshold Magazine!  Issues 20, 22 and 26 (edited) have articles by me.

Ramon’s Guide to The Chant of Sigil

2016 366 Project #153: Sigil, City of Doors — Elisa Shigehiro Art

Well met, primers!  Oh, I mean, friends.  When in Sigil, do as the Cagers do.  You’ll have to forgive such tone, being a long time resident, myself.  I’ll spare you little in The Cant, the strange dialect of the city.  But please, blame me not if a bit of it leaks into my mannerisms and speech.  You see, Sigil is a place unlike many others.  The anomalous city hovers inside of a ring-like formation that floats just above the peak of the Outlands Spire.  While the spire is quiet dangerous, especially to forces of the supernatural; these threats don’t necessarily affect those who make it here.  But, these are replaced by a trove of new potential dangers.  After all, this is the meeting place of the multiverse.  So, let us take our journey into that wondrous center of countless realities.  I speak of none other than Sigil, the City of Doors.

It has been far too long since I’ve actively returned home.  Too much has happened, including the scrambling of reality itself!  Thanks to that strange man in the machine cart, I’m here now though.  With any luck, that fading city found its peace too.  In the meantime, I’ve found mine.  Of course, both dangers and delights line the streets, so one must always stay aware of their surroundings.  And if you are from the Prime, do your best to not look too lost.  Too many prey on “The Clueless”, whether through scams or more direct means.

Author’s Note: Good old City of Doors!  Few things have inspired me more within the realm of D&D than Planescape.  That setting has affected me when I tinker with other systems too!  And by all means, Sigil is a center of that.  So, here are a number of ideas that have come up either through various games or just ideas of my own.  And, it was from said games that the Gamma World/Planescape crossover ideas spawned.  Also, please pardon the fact that a tropical storm knocked out my power for a few days.  My data wouldn’t even let me use my phone to edit things.  Time to save up for a generator, right?

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Defense-Unit 78’s Guide to Dimensional Convergence

The Void

Convergent.  This is described as multiple facets of something coming together, usually to form something completely new.

You might inquire the relevance of this definition.  This is simple.  Reality as properly defined by both The Ancients and the Scholars of Gamma Terra is crumbling.  And not only that, a possible new dimension, known to many as “Void Space” has opened up.  Sensors detect that other possible realities have indeed converged upon this meeting point within space and time.  Even stranger, these fragments of reality have merged together at points, making rather alarming hybridizations between worlds.  Gardens with wires and machines growing instead of plants, octagonal platforms and hallways turned into castle-like labyrinths of stone and wood, whole buildings breaking off into floating land chunks in the cosmic soup.  Completely unrelated confines and compounds have blended alongside others.  A piece of a cabin has become tethered to a segment of an industrial warehouse, linking to a medieval dungeon.  This dimensional space does not operate on principles of mundane logic.  Data does indicate that these pieces are fused to instill stability between realities.  This alternate world acts in a manner of coping mechanism.  More information is required to properly analyze.  Deployment is requested.

Author’s Note: What sort of mad crossover nonsense is this?  Well, exactly that.  Thanks to a long finished game, as well as the BLOOM mod for Doom 2, I’ve worked up some level of inspiration to cobble all means of absurd mash-ups.  Also, I’ve been weaving some mythos-horror content into Planescape for a while.  For the few people that played in crossover games with me, many of these games are directly referenced here.  Set Wands to Warpdrive, in particular, literally broke realities.  (It’s probably archived on my old tumblr page.)  Technically, this exists outside of typical Planescape, but I’ve always pondered a nexus space between realities.  It kind of worked for RIFTS already, why not in other things?  Ramon is a background character as well. 

As for crunch related stuff?  I’ll get around to something.  As I’ve already stated, I’d rather use a different gaming system, honestly.

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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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