“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe
Beyond the realm of Khorvaire lies many horrible things. Some exist upon the Prime Material Plane, while others are haunted remnants of old conflict. The wasteland of Cyre lures curious onlookers hoping to know more of the Last War. An empire of the undead waits patiently while assembling its forces. A deadly draconic power below prepares for an onslaught like none have seen. However, these threats and more are far more terrestrial. Within the realms of a sleeping mind lies a gateway into a dark unknown. It is here that the Mi-Go flutter, elementals of dream gather and the Quori plan their dreadful deeds.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I love Eberron… a lot! Now, I wasn’t the first to convert some monsters over to 5E and I won’t be the last! Given my posts about dream-related content, it’s likely Dal’Quor content will show up in something else if Eberron isn’t unleashed to the public any time soon. So as always, continue to divine in the realm of dream and you too might learn a thing or two. For more dream wandering content, check out The Dreamlands tag.
There exists dimensions beyond our own. And what dwells in those realms? Entities far beyond our comprehension, of course! Only a fool would research too deeply into such theories, as they’re liable to go mad from either dark truths or being constantly called a liar and a fool.
Author’s Note: It’s been a while since I’ve done something truly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s brand of horror. While my personal campaign has inject Lovecraftiana into a Barrier Peaks homage (making it more Firestorm Peak), my blog has been lacking in that. So, let’s revisit Cosmic Horror by revisiting some of my older monsters! Enjoy.
“THEY ARE AMONG US!”
At long last, the players are ready to embark into the mountains ahead, unsure of what strange things await them within the jagged lands beyond. What dangers will they face? Will their ranks thin? Will some go mad? Will they awaken new horrors upon the land? Only time will tell!
Author’s Note: Due to a handful of things, part 2 was cut very short. As such, I decided to merge the recap with part 3. Stay tuned for more after the jump!
“Haven’t had enough of the ol’ hunchback shopkeeper’s wares, huh? Well, there’s more where that came from!”
Here is a small helping of even more magical items for Halloween. Enjoy.
Author’s Note: I wanted to make a few more magical items in addition to what I made before. Also, more JoJo references? I figured why not, since Part 1 is airing on U.S. television. I had to hold myself from making anything Vento Aureo, Stone Ocean, Steel Ball Run or Jojolion because not enough people read the manga… and they should. Also, be on the look out for how many Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem references I can squeeze into one item.
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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“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.
EDIT April 2018: Check out my updated take on this alongside some neat ways to change up Tomb of Annihilation (again) here!
“Yooou who reeeekindle the Flaaaame, embraaaaccceee deeaatttthhhh!”
Sometimes, the sweet embrace of death is all but impossible for countless damned souls. They are forced to continue to walk a dark path. For them, they seek to regain an essence of life and restore their shattered minds, lest they be lost to an abyss of emptiness and madness. Such a curse can be from a variety of sources; an exploitation of a life source at a deific level, exposure to/using evil magics for too long, a hex brought upon by a powerful caster or even a destructive force bent on draining life from all reality.
The Curse of Undeath is a vile magical power that breaks the soul and leaves the body as little more than a husk. These drained husks share little with their once living counterparts. They are merely corpses controlled and warped by dread energy. Any remnants of mind left in these creatures are stretched to madness and driven to violence. While many of them retain enough knowledge to fight as though could in life, it is impossible for them to engage in rational dialogue let alone interact peacefully.
Author’s Note: Dark Souls III is out and I love it! With that, here’s an optional rule for handling a curse similar to the Undead of the Dark Souls universe. If you don’t want to literally be running Dark Souls, it shouldn’t be too hard to reflavor this into a different dread curse of sorts. If you’ve ever played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Anthony’s chapter certainly comes to mind. One last disclaimer, these are mostly random ideas in my head, in an attempt to make a Dark Souls inspired mechanic. As such, it’s more than likely that this idea is a bit clunky. It will probably receive a revision in the future, if reader interest is there.