Spirit of the Festive Season – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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It is not certain if these spirits are of the deceased or the emotion of yuletide joy that persists after one is lost.  Perhaps they’re not even ghosts at all, but a powerful embodiment of the season itself!   Perhaps they’re divided courts of the fey, likely a Winter Court.  It is quite likely that they’re spiritual manifestations of Celestials and Fiends, who take a different role in good and evil.  No matter their origin, these beings are dedicated to their cause of taking part in a yuletide celebration.  All of these spirits are decorated with assorted garb.  Crowns of wreaths, fanciful ball costumes, monk robes, simple cloth, peasantry garments, regal/noble outfits, etc.  It’s rare that any two spirits at all resemble each other.  In fact, they often go out of the way to look different from each other.

Their other reason for appearing, beyond overseeing festivities, is to visit those in dire need.  In the case of good spirits, they lead the subject on the right path through showing them the error of their ways.  In other cases, they give rewards to the just and noble.  In the case of bad spirits, they torment souls who have dared to stray away from the spirit of the season, rendering them horrified or mad.  Or even worse, they might even further a victim’s descent into damnation.  No matter the case, they materialize during season festivities and carry a certain power allowing them to perform incredible feats.

All are tied to a point in time, capable of incredible feats of divination and conjuration.  Memories of the past, mirrors of the present and visions of the future.  When such abilities prove to be not enough, they are even capable of gathering more spirits to aid them.

Author’s Note:  Faith from Brynvalk is hosting RPG Blog Carnival and I’m more than happy to contribute again!  Last year, it was all about the faerie folk.  This year?  Literature.  So, with a dash of “novel inspiration”, I’m focusing on Gothic literature (and some related genres and authors, like more Lovecraft!)  For starters, I’m going to do something in the name of the yuletide season and make a semi-modular creature based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  I might do one more entry to fit the general season, who knows?  (That said, I’m busy with work being a real pain, so it’s hard to say.  Hopefully, I won’t delay too much.  We’ll see!!)

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Plantfolk, Revised

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Born (Or Reborn) among Wild Realms

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The Plant Folk were created within another reality known to scholars as “arcadia”.  What exactly is this realm?  Not fully known, except it is the origin source of several types of magic as well as the fair folk.   Besides the native denizens, many fantastic creatures have been created through use of their alien magics.  Among these mystical sights and strange places is the Wyld, a sprawling plane of untamed wilderness.  Its alluring and inspiring atmosphere is quite deceptive, as terrible monsters and far worse curses dwell within the spacious demiplane.  Those who become trapped are doomed to become one of the many kinds of wildlife that inhabit this realm.  The plant folk are one such creation.

Native to a domain known as the “Wylds”, a planar place of natural beauty and (at times) savage brutality, the plant folk are at home within the bounds of their typically serene wilderness.  Like the beastfolk, many of these created beings weren’t originally humanoids.  In their case, they were merely plants that were animated and given new life through powerful sylvan magic.  Many have taken after the realm that created them, in hopes of creating a utopia of the organic, while defeating the inorganic.  Despite this, many are by no means evil and aggressive, some don’t even follow the cult-like ethos of their home plane.  Many grow tired of the semi-comprehensible rules, hidden behind the alien chaos of the primal realm.  As such, they’ve set out to explore other possibilities within known (and unknown) reality.  Some still retain attachment to their original home, but hope to “put down roots” elsewhere.

Author’s Note: Looking back at what I made last year, I was wasn’t satisfied with my concept for races of magical plant people.  They seemed really derivative and some decisions felt like rehashes of previous posts, with a different theme.  Now, I’m still struggling a tad with the concept, but here’s my updated take on the idea!  Some of the ideas are something I wanted to try and might be revised in another draft.  Also, I’m sorry for that one pun…  Really, I am.

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Monsters in Space! The Sequel: Star Dragons (and Dragon Variants)

“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.

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Amphibi -An Amphibian race for D&D 5th Edition

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Born Strange, Drawn to the Strange

Amphibi, a species of humanoid amphibians.  These creatures have been called many things; bullywogs, grippili, frog demons (though, these comments hail from another plane of reality entirely).  Some dimension hopping amphibi have even been worshiped by a deranged cult from a plane called Terra.  In truth, these are quite distant from the truth.  Like many beings descended from Arcadia, realm of the Fey, they were sculpted from strange magic and other creatures.  Unlike other beastly folk, the Amphibi are a mystery.  Some figure them to be the remains of a fae worshiping cult from a swampy demiplane that wanted to embrace true faerie power.  There is little proof of that, plus the amphibi themselves don’t seem to know much about it either.

No matter their origins, they tend to dwell in lush and murky habitats; whether that would be a temperate or a rain forest environment.  Their skittish nature pushes them towards isolationism, more than anything.  However, they are also quick to attack anything that they cannot trust.  Despite all of that, they’re both clever hunters and crafters; creating a bunch of strange little contraptions to make day to day life more interesting.  In fact, some have returned to their odd routes and have begun to worship an entity they call “The Fallen Glow.”  To them, it is an animated chunk of star that flew into their territory.  In reality, it’s an alien being locked in a semi-conscious state… but just powerful enough to be influential.

A Friendly, but Quirky Folk

While decently trusting of others, many of them also have a slightly skittish side.  It is typically not hard to frighten an Amphibi.  How they react entirely depends on whether they prefer fight or flight responses.  While many will seek an opportunity to run away, others will use innate poisons or their own weapons to strike back.  This isn’t to say they’re not open to negotiations and diplomacy.  Many attempt to reach out to other lands in effort to expand networks and create allegiances.  However, common flaws of an unintentionally cold nature and situational awkwardness have hampered this to an extent.  In spite of that, observers tend to notice an often relaxed demeanor among the Amphibi when they’re not under intentional stress.  A popular phrase among their people in response to a soothing environment is “feels good.”

Author’s Note:  Well, this was a strange request.  But hey, amphibious humanoids are an essential part of D&D!  So, how could I resist?  Besides the tongue in cheek pokes at D&D inspired products and real life happenings/memes, I wanted to make an homage to David Arneson’s Blackmoor; Egg of Coot, Temple of the Frog, Beagle and all!  Also included is a new deity for science-fantasy games.

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Horrors from Durlag’s Tower – Monster Variants

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We don’t go to Durlag’s Tower.

 

Durlag’s Tower, an abandoned dungeon that sends shivers down the spines of many.  For some, it’s a cautionary tale about love, obsession and paranoia.  For others, it’s a giant grave that acts as a memento for dwarven kind.  For some, it’s the ultimate treasure trove that’s just waiting to be explored!  Eternally notorious for a variety of reasons, this accursed place rests a distance from both Beregost and Nashkel.  If traps aren’t the cause of death, the terrible monsters that lurk in the depths likely are.  Or worse yet?  It could the party’s very vices that lead to their own downfall.  Needless to say, the only people that would explore such dangerous ruins have a death wish.

Author’s Note: The Adventurer’s League has recently released an adventure inspired by the classic Durlag’s Tower dungeon from the Forgotten Realms… but more specifically, Baldur’s Gate.  So, I figure, what better time to revive some of the classic monsters from the original dungeon!  Granted, most of them were easy to build variants of classic/existing monsters already in 5E.  So, without further ado, enjoy!  Also, pardon this one being a bit sparse, I’ll post something for the weekend too, I promise!

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Bizarre Bazaar Addendum – More Spooky Items

“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.

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Plant Folk – A Flora-based Race for D&D 5th Edition

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“Don’t worry, we’re not all born this ugly… I’m just really unlucky…”

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Born… or Reborn from Strange Realms

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The Plane of the Wyld is a strange realm of relentless nature.  Beauty is balanced by all natural brutality.  To those of us well accustomed to civilization, such a realm is almost alien in nature and psychology.  It’s a realm that preserves the world of the organic, while trying to purge the world of the inorganic.  Not evil by any means, this misguided concept of nature taken life has been alluring to countless factions and disturbing to countless others.  Among one of the more notorious products of the Wyld are creatures it forcefully mutated into something for fitting for its image.  These beings were typically kidnapped from their own realm and forced to live in this strange new world.  Those cursed  by the Wyld are typically associated with savage beasts.  However, not all afflicted become like untamed fauna.

Some take the characteristics of flora instead.  The many that weren’t kidnapped were plant life that was forcefully changed into a walking and talking being, in an attempt to infiltrate and assimilate into civilization.  Such creatures made in this manner had no concept of sentience, let alone much thought at all.  Unlike the mutants, most of the grown plant folk served with rigid obedience.  However, becoming a new form of life proved to be too much for some.  Many went insane from their revelations and new found abilities, as with mutants that cracked under the cruel side of the Wyld.  These broken ones were dejected, much like the beasts who broke free of the Wyld’s grasp.

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Earthy Explorers

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The Plant Folk are the survivors of such mad experiments.  Many become brainwashed by the mad auras and powers of the Wyld.  Those who break free suffer much like the Beast Folk do; attempting to reclaim their lives, start new ones or craft an identity all their own.  More often than not, they adapt to environments suitable to their plant-forms on the material plane.  More adventurous among the plant people seek out realms beyond comfort and try to understand the dangers of the mortal plane.  Some have reconciled with their dark faerie overlords, while others loathe the very fiber of their beings… despite technically being fey beings themselves.

Being creatures made of earthly matter, they are more attuned to the world around them.  As such, many consult them as guides and trackers.  Some try to push their abilities, becoming seers who read the very dirt and underbelly of the world itself to better understand reality as a whole.

Author’s Note:  I’ve made plenty of beast races, so I wanted a change of pace.  Why not a race inspired by various kinds of plants instead?  Besides, plenty of creatures in myth take motifs of plant life, such as the Dryad.  I figure it’s a niche that has been much ignored by the game in terms of player content, for the most part.  No matter, enjoy.

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