“Give ya the dark for some good jink! I know tons, lots of things about distant sights and travels. Don’t let the grungy look dissuade you, I know all about the realms beyond the cage!” – Lanky, Ultroloth-blooded Tiefling Rogue/Planar Fighter, The Hive of Sigil
I’m back at it once more, bringing in some more classic monsters of the Planescape Campaign Setting. While Wizards might eventually port all of these over, I thought I’d bring my take here in the meantime. While I’ve made a reference to the current layout, I should note that my take on Planescape looks back to the AD&D take on it, mostly ignoring any newer creations (such as Post-Spellplague Forgotten Realms, new cosmology elements a la Shadowfell and Feywild, newer takes on races like Tieflings and the like) outside of respective settings such as the Nentir Vale. But, I’ve tried to make that apparent as much as possible in previous posts.
Author’s Note: December is Planescape Month, I guess? Why? Because I love Planescape, that’s why! Also, I noticed I haven’t really tackled enough lawful monsters, so here’s some more from planes of law. Plus, I wanted the squeeze in the Hellcat and the Bladeling in last time, but ran out of time. Also, I wanted to convert a creature from the Dungeon Adventure, “Deep Freeze” (again). Enjoy! Happy Crimbo!
“How could such an environment lead to this? Is this a dragon? It barely seems to qualify. Unlike others, it shoots a strange, destructive light from its mouth… It baffles the mind.”- From the journal of a traveling scholar.
Star Dragons, born from the deep cosmos, are a rare draconic breed. Some think they are crossbred between a true dragon from another realm and something truly alien. Others believe that they are another reality’s manifestation of dragon. They could very well be an evolution of primordial energy from the distant depths, gaining awareness as it gained form. None the less, such a creature is capable of unleashing a fearsome power that is true to their kind. Unlike any element, they can release a matter consuming light. Few are sure if it is a kind of radiation, a laser beam or something else entirely. On top of that, it is said that they hold the ability to phase through reality and travel among the stars themselves.
Those who have encountered them have either contended with a brutal foe or an incredible ally. Indifferent to plights, powers and people; the star dragons prefer to distance themselves from conflict. But, if one is convinced to aid, they will become an invaluable source as long as there’s something in it for them. In fact, they’re more likely to remain away from plane jumpers and ships alike. Those who interact with such travelers always have a personal agenda in mind. Despite this, they are not typically egoistic, as they often have a communal aspect to them. They travel the stars in pods, similar to whales in the sea, doing all they can to prevent anyone from falling behind in the galactic reaches. Protection of clan and extended family is an important virtue for such creatures.
Author’s Note: I wanted to do a little bit more with my list of classic D&D monsters ported over into the realms of science fiction… Well… science-fantasy. Will these manifest in something else at one point? Most likely, yes! Anyway, here’s my take on a cosmic dragon that was scrapped from last week’s post due to time. Also, I’m going to be taking a little break from planar/science-fantasy.
“Corpses. Lumbering, rotting cadavers. What contrivance could have wrought this… this abomination!? Diseased science…? Blasphemous occult rituals? How can something so… so dead, be so alive?” – Maximilian Roivas, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
The Ancients are awakening, as they gather forces to fight in their onslaught on the grounds below. And what better army than the countless dead, reconstructed to work as puppets for more death. And once more are slain, they too are recruited to the shuffling mindless masses. This doesn’t even take into account other vile things, far detached from our own realities. Whether born of brutality, the esoteric or the absolutely mad; these zombies exist in agony and awareness that cosmic forces use them as toys. Worse yet, they often have no capacity to do anything about it. Many of these undead puppets are merely just that, puppets. They have no control over their actions beyond the necromancer-like orders that the old ones give. For the most part, they are told to attack the living as well as defeat any old one creature with a rival alignment.
While more numerous than the eldritch horrors conjured from the realms of the ancients, the undead are terrifying for a different reason… they were once us! They are but mere corpses reanimated and altered to serve their respective aligned ancient. They are often spawned where the lines between our world and the realm of the ancients tend to be weaker and where rifts can be more easily established. This is often the resting place of dark powers, sites of deranged rituals or former homes of those terrorized by ancient horrors.
Author’s Note: Eternal Darkness is one of my favorite games of all time. Some of the madness effects still give me chills. So, why not bring even more monsters from the game to D&D 5E? Here’s a handful of the variant zombies you encounter throughout the game.
Xoriat, it’s kind of like that.
If you thought their creations were scary, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The terrifying masters of Xoriat are a seemingly all powerful alien force. For ages, they’ve been behind much of the tension and turmoil in Eberron. Some suspect that they control the realm best known in the multiverse as the “Far Realm.” In fact, some scholars think it to be the very same plane as Xoriat. No matter the truth, this fleshcrafting menace has goals still mostly unknown to everyone else. For all we know, the denizens that visit the material plane could just be foot soldiers… The worst could be yet to come! Perhaps even more disgusting mutants and experiments await those unfortunate enough to get too close to their clutches. And that’s not the most disturbing things about the Daelkyr. The most disturbing part is they look like us! Or should I say, WE look like THEM!
Is this a Daelkyr lord or one of their warriors that slipped through reality? You decide! Either way, get ready to lose A LOT OF SANITY!