DM’s Guild – A Planar Grimoire

Planar Grimoire Cover Image

Pardon the somewhat inconsistency in my posts.  I’ve been trying to revise old work while work on some personal projects I hoped to get out on the web (like this one), while balancing a stressful work life and home life.  But I digress, I was never too happy with my original planar spells posts.  Some were blatant rip-offs of previously existing D&D spells, while others were just poorly worded.  So, I did a fair bit of clean up while making some other not-so-subtle homages!  But, no matter, here’s over 15 pages of extraplanar goodness for your 5E Spellcasters!  Enjoy.

A Planar Grimoire is Pay-What-You-Want, you may find it here.

XENOS! – Aliens for D&D 5th Edition

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“We’ll be taking that world of yours!”

Extraterrestrials, xenoforms, space beings, aliens.  These are all methods to categorize something not from this world, something so detached from us in almost every way possible.  The thought of something we can’t quite comprehend frightens us, because we can’t anticipate their next move or attempt to understand their motives or culture.  For many, the Alien is the fear of the unknown and distant realized.  Some end up trying to learn their ways and branch diplomacy further.  Some react in hostility and branch war further into the known universe.  Either way, an encounter with an alien is one that will be known for ages to come.

While aliens have been documented across space and time, many popular ones keep show up in scripts, tomes and records.  These are the Greys, the Reptillians, The Children, Invaders, many more.  Many of these accounts have been destroyed, for many of these beings are inherently domineering and malicious towards “outsiders” or creatures they plan to conquer.  Others are merely just scholars trying to keep their research a secret, as they chronicle all know realities.  Some seem all too eager to share their knowledge with whoever will listen… almost to an imperialistic extent.

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Gnolls – A Ferocious Race for D&D 5e

A Gnoll Matriarch Defender

For ages, the Gnoll has been viewed as a threat to developing civilization.  Tales of savage beasts with hyena heads mauling travelers and attacking city walls have struck fear into even the most trained of soldiers.  Their origins are equally mysterious, shrouding them in further mystery and fear.  However, as information spreads and reality dispels mythology, many people driven by old ways began to witness that Gnolls aren’t inherently evil.  Despite their bestial appearance and instincts, they’re more than capable of rationality and guidance.

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Wild Hunters, Clever Survivalists

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Despite many misconceptions and stereotypes, tales of gnolls being able to take down incredible prey as well as stories of them enduring brutal deserts and unforgiving wastelands contain more than enough proof.  For this reason, more accepting lands view the gnoll as a testament to the tenacity of the wild.  Within their own lands, Gnolls forge resourceful societies capable of repurposing much of what they come across, due to harsh lessons learned in barren wastes.  Also, many Gnollish culture have gained infamy for creating little of their own; relying on the ideas and supplies of others.  This has also lead to the troubling assumption that gnollish travelers are actually raiders looking to jump the unlucky wandering that crosses their path.  Being both scavengers and hunters, they’re able to adapt to any land ripe with hunting game or the barest of dead lands.  Such experiences have hardened them as both nomads and settlers.  Besides their impressive endurance, they’re viewed as incredible hunters more than able to thwart the mightiest of beasts.  While this leads to misconceptions of them being savage brutes who care for little more than brutality and bloodshed, they often save “The Hunt” for when they’re certain they’ll need the resources.  While they find little wrong with hunting other humanoids, this is often for the sake of meals rather than pure sport.  However, some populations have made a sport of hunting anyone who comes too close to secretive grounds.  Granted, they usually post significant warnings first.

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Strangers in a Strange Land

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No one is sure of where Gnolls came from, and to be honest, neither do the Gnolls!  Some have rumors that they’re the creations of mad cultists and druids, crossbreeding hyenas and humanoids.  Some suggest they’re the spawns of demonic plane-jumping conquerors, set out to hunt all in the name of Yeenoghu.  Maybe they are the result of a mad Bouda Witch corrupting the nearby lands.  Perhaps they’re just beings exposed to the arcane forces of the Plane of the Wyld, forcefully morphed into bipedal hyena creatures.  No matter the truth, Gnolls take pride in what they are and will defend their existence till the end.  Outside of their own tribes and settlements, they are the epitome of outsider though.  While many beastly folk are infamous for coming across as uncivilized and feral, gnolls face this situation far more often.  Their tendency to feast upon carrion, as well as their bone chilling cackle sound is off putting to those outside of their circles.  Their animalistic instincts have also had tendencies to kick in at bad moments.  While many traditions and actions are socially acceptable at home, they are likely taboo elsewhere.  Horror tales of a gnoll making its way into a funerary service, only to feast upon the corpse have become drunken racist jokes at bars.  Other rumors of gnolls mating or hunting in open streets have only further hindered their social status.  One famous tale that circulates through Gnoll-kind involves a wandering starved outcast gorging himself on the foods of a bazaar, before guards arrived and slew him with extreme prejudice.  This story is often toted as propaganda by those who seek to enforce xenophobia within Gnollish society.

But, this doesn’t mean that gnolls are savages without culture or morality.  Gnoll society is typically matriarchal in nature, with a high queen who proves herself through rigorous challenges.  To the outside eye, most gnolls look the same due to lack of dimorphism of their hyena ancestors.  Despite a matriarchal society, male gnolls do not suffer from discrimination like with the Drow.  However, important choices tend to be favored by females of each clan.  Many societies not dictated or ruled by sex/gender tend to view gnolls as a curiosity or are outright hostile towards their approach for many a reason.  Some view them as inherently sexist or biased in nature, whether or not these claims are actually true.  However, many gnolls from other material planes tote a much darker side.  Names such as Lamashtu and Yeenoghu imply an abyssal origin for countless legions.  These gnolls are creatures of chaos and evil, derived from both hyena and demonic bloodlines.  Their values lie within savagery, butchery and dark tributes to their demonic masters.  While it is uncommon for gnolls to become adventurers, it is even rarer for demonic gnolls to explore with creatures outside of their kind.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Gnolls!  I figure I’d give them some vanilla fluff to make them feel a little closer to actual hyenas rather than stick to the generic D&D lore.  Of course, they wouldn’t be gnolls unless I threw a bone here or there (haha.)  With that, enjoy my take on the race (including an inside joke toward the bottom.)  No matter, here’s another entry in support of the RPG Blog Carnival, particular the Homebrew Holiday Gifts theme for the month of December!

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Meles – The Mutated Results of Dwarven Explorers for D&D 5th Edition

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“Few will admit it, but our people were once great and powerful dwarves, not talking fuzzy forest animals!” – Torg Stoneforger, Meles Warrior

In ages past, a huge colony of dwarves sought out to adventure the planes beyond.  While many establishments were temporary, they settled on a mountainside and forest that reminded the colony of their material plane home.  Many planar explorers know such a place, the Fae World of Arcadia.  However, the powerful spirits of this wilderness plane took ire of their presence in a relatively short time.  As such, they placed a hex upon them.  At first, nothing seemed off; the dwarves had a stronger sense of smell, they gained a taste for new things, they became more active at dusk through night time.  In the weeks following, they began to take on physical traits of badgers, as panic set in.  As time went on, the explorers became less like dwarves and more like badgers.  Revolts against the fey and attempts to escape happened less and less as their minds faded into something somewhat sentient but beastly at the same time.  Their newly formed badger bodies and minds became comfortable with the dens they built as they truly became a part of their strange extraplanar home.  Only a rare few had their minds kept intact enough to inform any willing to listen about their dwarven heritage.

Meles, to the untrained eye, appear to be awakened badgers.  However, they are semi-humanoid creatures that look like badgers.  While most of them argue they are badgers given expanded minds by their gracious hosts, the ones that know the truth are stubborn about it, despite not valuing intellect as much as their descendants.  Ironically, these “Dwarf Minded” are typically viewed as social outcasts and oddities by their people.  That doesn’t stop them from trying to seek a way to become dwarves again.  No matter, they often send out adventurers to explore the boundless reaches of reality and bring new information back.  In a sense, their drive to explore and learn hasn’t left since the colony first arrived.  In fact, the some explorers have encountered their old clans from the Material Realm.  Sadly, neither of them were able to recognize each other, beyond a sense of comradery they re-established.  In a sense, they’re outsiders for choices that their ancestors made.  For that reason, many “Dwarf Minded” go on quests to become dwarves, in hopes of reintegrating into the societies their ancient explorer families hailed from. Majority of Meles are deemed the “wild” social caste, living as beasts given some semblance of thought and guidance.  However, they use their somewhat intact minds to bolster their instincts and savage fury. The “Throwback” caste have done all in their power to rekindle their lost heritage by any means possible.  To them, balancing the past and the present is the only way to stay sane.  They are typically more aware and knowledgeable than their more bestial relatives.  However, they are still aliens among dwarven society, friends at best.  However, more sinister wild Meles have taken notice of this, channeling dread spirit magicks in an effort to infect other planar dwarves with the same power that created them.  Most extarplanar Meles that aren’t Dwarf-Minded explorers or feral scouts were likely created this way.

Author’s Note:  I had a discussion about stupid D&D races and among them was the Wildren.  They’re dwarf spirits that bump uglies with celestial badgers.  Yeah, that’s kinda weird and something I wouldn’t plan on using.  So, I babbled about how I could create a better race. Instead they’re ex-dwarves cursed by fey magic, some embrace their wild status while others try to desperately try to remain dwarven in some way.  Plus their name comes from Meles Meles, the name for the European Badger.  Also, I stumbled across a cool reiteration by Dungeon Hacking, which you should check it!

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