The Mad Mage, he holds a key to various incarnations of reality, jumping from one image to the next. This portal gateway is unlike any other, as it explores different timelines and possibilities rather than other planes and worlds alone. Should you make your way beyond Halaster Blackcloak and his minions, you may unlock countless possibilities.
Who I am is not important. I leave all public record and identity to my humble guide, another reality traveler. The bipedal feline creature, known as Ramon DeLeon, has had experience with dark mirrors adjacent of reality on the Prime. The one I gaze upon, a Toril shredded by seemingly unending violence, this one frightens me. However, his words are reassuring. What is disconcerting is that “few will remember him”, whatever that is supposed to mean. But, when one has a reputation that precedes them, events can transpire almost any way.
Author’s Note: A post about the Forgotten Realms itself? Impossible! And yet, here we are! Many of my earliest gaming days were spent in Abeir-Toril. This post was meant to be made and posted a while ago, but yet that didn’t happen till now. Well, here is an expansion on an old post detailing parallel universes. The Torilian one, torn by war, is actually the version of the Realms I’ve played with for over a decade. Also, behold the final piece to the Antorek plot thing… even though it’s actually the first thing that started this whole mess. Literally. This is where the character came from. Is this the last of my looks at D&D realities? Probably not, but perhaps this is another sign I hope to move away. Anyway, Happy New Year, to arms and battle stations! Likewise, stay tuned for my January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival! I have a few more tricks up my sleeve! Also, thank last year’s Twilight Zone marathon for inspiring the thick of this!
Take heed, mighty explorer! Danger is afoot! Always prepare!
You are among the brave few, those who readied themselves for the great journey into a breathtaking new world, one of many that swarm around the very source of much great power. The Steam Titan, as many call it, as a colossal body that anchors the many sites we aim to use for our cause. Far from alone, there are others like us who remain friendly for now. Likewise, other beings have existed on the micro worlds far before us. Tread lightly and with caution. For the environments beyond and their lifeforms? Steady and prepare. A carefree adventurer is a dead adventurer. The Queen’s Voyage Adventure Charter will explain more. Please report to them post-haste.
Author’s Note: Obligatory Victorian steampunk, almost arbitrary… Likewise, far more grimdark steampunk, because that’s really the only way I like the genre. Though, not enough look at over industrialization, to complete “Victorian High Tech, Low Life”. Well, here’s a continuation of my mess. Why am I tying all of these things into Spelljammer? I’m not sure. At least steampunk isn’t super trendy anymore, if I wanna be all hipster about it.
Dare you seek shelter in places where solace cannot be found? They have roofs and walls, but they are not homes. They are prisons all their own, where cries of horror and derangement mix with the maniacal methods of their overseers. Enter through these doors and never leave, for your caretakers have other plans for you now. Below are a few buildings designed to ensnare, persecute and afflict. They are not prisons in the traditional sense, but the dark powers have a habit of changing all to accommodate the punishment of another. Some existed prior, such as a place of holy contrition and a house of state security. Others came about as domains are built from a darklord’s sins or as a consequence of them.
Author’s Note: This one slides a bit into mature content, warranting a word of warning. As it is, one of the domains was built on a dare to make something quite disturbing. It is disturbing. Is it wholly original? Not really, it’s basically The Golden Cat from Dishonored meets dark aspects of Planescape and Ravenloft; plus the House of Lament. Will I use it for something? I don’t really know, but it’s now a piece of the Demiplane either way. Likewise a few other things slide well into proper Ravenloftian grimdark. Debauchery, zealotry and totalitarian horror await. For what it’s worth, more Planescape and Mystara references are here as well. And while I’m at it, very very few WotC-era references, hehe. But, even if this version is slightly tamed down, some viewer’s discretion is advised.
“Meikridas Steamships, are they not marvels?” The hand of a flamboyant man outstretches towards his wondrous sea craft. While he somewhat resembles a vistani in a few regards, he is clearly not of their ways. The sailor man smiles with the genuineness of an eager salesman, “come friends! The warm shores of Alleigosto are a mere boat ride away. I offer you leisure and hospitality unlike what is seen here in fair Dementlieu.” The pitch continues, as the showman distributes pamphlets detailing incredible works of art and technology, a history spanning empires of old and “magnificent” relations with nearby nations. While the man’s vessel is spotless and a marvel of engineering, the owner of this enterprise comes across as insincere and just as full of steam as the ship. “We board now, don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime!” It is at this moment that you can swear the man’s eyes bulge unnaturally, even for a second. And at that, unblinking. Such a voyage would indeed bring wonders, but also new terrors to behold. What visions of the future does this “cog cluster” bring?
Author’s Note: I’m always good for more Ravenloft. Cursed robots, a zombie apocalypse, manipulative shadows, killers on foggy streets, the successor to the Atlantean Neur-Maise, the refuse of industry, fanatic technophobes, the distant (and not so distant) looming shadows of totalitarianism, utopian idealism crushed by said dark tidings, Deep Ones and more haunt a new cluster. Here is a new pocket domain, as well as a new cluster to house old domains (like how Fell Arts houses Farelle and Odiare). Major props to ScS of Fraternity of Shadows for inspiration on Nosos and other advanced domains. And with that, here’s my take on a Steampunk-ified cluster much like the proposal from Quoth the Raven issue 2, with The Shining Bay cluster. But, unlike that mixture of just Paridon, Timor and Nosos; this adds in several Islands of Terror I devised many years ago… some more recent than others. One is a plague-ridden urban sprawl taking notes from the 19th century United Kingdom, Prussian Empire and Northeastern Coastal U.S. (especially from the fiction of Lovecraft and King). Another is a mix of drama, Luddites, robotic horror and more in a Mediterranean based land. It is next to decaying Greek-inspired splendor spliced with The Shadow over Innsmouth. And finally, a somewhat Balkans inspired fake utopia. Plus, as an added bonus, an homage to the classic Thief games. And with that, enjoy one of the longer posts I’ve made. And should anyone be curious, I have no interest in anything Wizards of the Coast. I don’t want their new book, as I don’t care for the Post-4E/Shadowfell take on things..
The Mists choke figuratively and literally, standing as an ever oppressive and overbearing force. But, what are they? This is a mystery that will continue for all time. What is known are the more tangible entities that haunt the endless realms of this demiplane space. Many of these are tragic figures who fell from grace, while others are condemned for absolute wickedness. As I have already uncovered, many places in the Prime Material have either fallen victim or been alleviated of their worst… This depends on your perspective. What is certain is that those removed have become the things of myth and legend in their home world. But here, they are forever trapped. The few who have escaped are anomalies, truly lucky. Of course, this could be just weavings of The Mists. After all, tales tell of Vecna’s paradoxical victory and failure. But, what could foil a demigod?As for me? Not certain. Beyond some vague words and promises, it would seem that I should seek out Darkon. However, it would appear that The Mists have other places to “distract” me with. Or at the very least, slow me down. Either way, I continue through the clouding vapors, until I see sites anew. I still mull over the fact that I wasn’t taken this time by some trap of the Powers. No, instead of going back to Gloomwrought, I found myself a prisoner of Azalin’s very contemplations. But, again, why would his own minions be found in the Prime or even the Planes beyond? It baffles the mind. What has stuck with me is the tarot card given to me prior to the ritual. It is a symbol of Death. But, why is that significant? I have heard of the pocket realm caused by Azalin known as “Necropolis”. Is “Death” somehow involved too? So many mysteries, so many questions. In time, I hope I will find some answer or be consumed trying to understand. Let us hope for the former, shall we? And with that, we venture onwards.
Author’s Note: One more trek into the demiplane of dread, at least for Halloween. Also, I wanted to think of a possible outcome for yet another mad plan of Azalin… Or rather, a plot made by outside help. In addition to a look at more core domains, I made two cluster contributions originating from Mystara (including the Hollow World). Plus, even a tribute to Planescape makes its way here. There is an homage to the “Set Wands to Warpdrive” game I played in, back before this blog made it over to WordPress. A heavily abridged version of that is noted in the darklord story, but that might appear in a future post instead. Also, enjoy a reveal that pays homage to the Gazetteer series. Of course, I might say that. Also, I realize the picture I used for Darkon is from Night of the Walking Dead. I couldn’t find proper art… oh well.
Allow me to recant and give you words of caution. Remember, only take jobs that you can verify first. If you don’t, you might find yourself bound, gagged and stuffed in a warehouse in the Lower Ward… And from there? Well, read on and find out. Take it from a personal experience, at least I got some jink from a Sensate interview out of it. But, if you are more streetwise than I, then you will ahead of whatever challenges and traps lurk behind every corner. And yes, this includes the countless wonders of Sigil, the City of Doors.
Warning bashers and berks isn’t the purpose of this little session for today. No! Rather, I’m picking up where I left off from before. I’ve continued to take notes of all sorts of wonderful places and things in the multiverse. As always, revisiting a few places while finding new ones. So, let us find old friends and seek out new ones. Off I go, to places unknown and places barely known.
Author’s Note: As always, I love adding places to Planescape and beyond. One of my creations was actually a series of notes from years ago. If I found it before, something would have been said on it in the past. But, here’s my cobbled together take on developments on top of The Slags, the most infamous part of The Hive Ward! Joining that is a return to some previous concepts that I failed to really flesh out. And as always, a few other ideas are tossed around. Enjoy! As always, reference nods usually get a tag.
The multiverse is already a confusing concept. Now, couple that with the concept of parallel realities? Your hurting mind now roars in a throbbing migraine at the thought. But, believe me, such things are fact. Many can attest that traveling through time is just the creation or accessing of a different reality.
Author’s Note: Oh boy, here’s a complicated concept I’ve been eager to tackle. Also, here’s a chance to pay homage to various What If articles/adventures as well as fan-created takes on settings and lore. Also, what if The Grand Conjunction succeeded? Strahd and Azalin aren’t even the worst of it! And, save for one published article or concept; all these make homage to some work of sci-fi or horror.
Just beyond the veil of reality exists an entire bestiary worth of wretched things. These monsters and entities lie beyond our grasp, waiting for the right moment to strike. Many of these creatures are quite similar to the everyday and mundane aspects of life we take for granted, while others are incomprehensibly alien. While in the comfort of our homes, we take much for granted. But, on the road? We are much more vulnerable. The elements, wildlife and even fellow people can prove to be potential hazards. But, even more troubling is the strange and supernatural sights that we all hope to never encounter…
Author’s Note: If there’s one thing I love in a ghost story, it’s encounters on the road; when you’re traveling, far away from home and quite vulnerable. And worse yet? Many of the things stalking you take up the guise of something far from insidious at all. While some predators will fight head on, others are bit more crafty. And some? They’re just quasi-mindless masses of hunger.
Also, special thanks to Ian for helping to create the Haunting Traveler. I shall inform you on how many people it kills, I promise!
Across the wastelands and into the mega-cities, all sorts of people dwell in truly dark places. Many fall to corruption, whether from inside of or outside of its “protective” walls. Many adventurous folk are not merely content with a mediocre life as a drone or even the life of a delivery courier. While the latter explores the world outside, they are still tethered to a track, lest they quickly find themselves in over their head. The rest who make their way across the strange and bleak world? Thrill seekers, mercenaries, civilians on a vital but deadly mission, absolute maniacs! But, haven’t adventurers always been this way?
Author’s Note: Yes, I know my RPG Blog Carnival is done. But, I’m still quite inspired! With that, here’s a couple of new backgrounds and how to incorporate them into a more average fantasy setting… and not so average settings. Dark Sun, Ravenloft and other darker worlds might make for good fits.