“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!
Even great evils can fall from grace or power. However, that isn’t to say they aren’t inherently powerful beings. In many cases, diving too deep into their tainted powers may make them stronger. In many cases, these pitiful creatures are proof that depravities and wicked ways rarely turn out for the better. All the same, these wretched terrors find their own boons in further exploring the path of evil.
Author’s Note: I was tossing an idea in my head for a little bit and figured, sure why not? By the way, the degenerated vampire might make an appearance in something else relatively soon. Let’s just say a successor to a previous book project of mine is in the works.
The settlements and towns of the west have always been weird. The supposedly more natural things out there? They are far weirder. While the natives are not overly inclined to disclose much about the local wildlife and mythic beings, any information that can be gathered will save your life. You’ve already heard about a fair bit of some of the strange critters in prior lessons and briefings, but there’s a fair bit more to behold.
– a snippet from The Cactus Sting Rangers’ Handbook
There is tons of fascinating mysteries and legends that are indigenous to these regions, much like the people who have long since lived here. Some of the natives know these secrets quite well and most prefer to keep them hidden from outsiders. Whether out of a mutual sense of racism or a fear of what might be done with such knowledge, it remains as strange as the creatures that dwell just beyond one’s vision.
Author’s Note: While a lot of classic monsters are punted around all willy-nilly, a lot of awesome creatures from various native nations often got left in the wayside. While not exact adaptations, I wanted to highlight a few creatures that might appear in a Weird Western type game (or regions a little outside of that, which I started to do with some creatures that have origins in Mexico, the Appalachian mountains, the northern states/Canada and then some). And what better creatures to show up than the folklore and stories of the Americas? For the time being, this will close out the “Weird Western” theme I’ve been doing, at least in terms of monsters. I might be up for crafting magic items or doing something else, but we’ll see. See the previous post for the Wendigo.
Yeah, a lot of monsters lie out there. What do you wanna read about? We got tons of dusty tomes we’ve accrued from the old world, some from the new world. Of course, lots of folks here care very little about reading…
Author’s Note: Beyond a handful of homebrew reflavors of existing monsters, here’s a sampling of creatures from one of my favorite 3rd party books, Tome of Beasts. I’m not sponsored by Kobold Press to do this, I just figure I’d continue my reflavoring posts by expanding to another book this time.
“Lemme tell you ’bout this really freaky gent, just lingered outside of town for a bit. He got this big ol’ rictus grin, like someone who died clenching their teeth. He asked me about my evening. ‘Course, it was lovely. One of the men of the inn helped me relax real well upstairs a bit, hehehe. Anyway, the mad smilin’ man vanished after I told him off. Damn ghosts. I need some rest, so I don’t cleave off someone’s face…” – Booker L. Wyatt, Human Barber, owner of Wispy Cliffs Barbershop
Dark spirits gather in these parts. Maybe they love the sorrow and struggle that comes with developing frontiers; the lawlessness, the adverse environment, the lonesome people. All sorts of negative traits and qualities seem to lure all sorts of vicious monsters to prey on the miserable locals. Many of the monsters themselves were once the very same miserable locals, in some cases brought back from the grave to terrorize anyone who dares to live life well. Some are just manifestations of pure evil, formed upon this world to destroy.
Author’s Note: You can’t have most weird west tales without a degree of horror. So, let’s dive into some particularly nasty creatures. Some of them are homages and conversions of beloved and infamous monsters from various games; such as Darkwatch: Curse of the West and Deadlands: The Weird West. You could say, I like both… a lot. Also, good lord, are the Hangin’ Judges SOOOOOO 1990’s! I love them, but they are a trope of their era.
Our dusty little library ain’t much, but it’s a miracle that we can bring literature to this equally dusty frontier settlement. All I care about is getting the know-how to these folk. An informed folk is a healthy folk. As it is, they keep their bodies active, nothing wrong with stimulating the mind too! While you’re here, check out some of these accounts from travelers. We’ve been collecting them here. Tons of stuff on some of the fearsome critters to wander these parts… Some even come from parts unknown! You’re a traveler, this sort of stuff will keep you in the loop. – Anna Von Hindervoltdheim, Gnomish librarian of Wispy Cliffs.
One need not travel far to see familiar faces out west. Sure, they’re a bit different in many ways, but something’s kinda uncanny. Creatures, like people, have a habit of traveling too. One could say their ancestors might have found their way much like we did. Lots of science folk wanna document these differences to put forth some big claim. I dunno what it is yet, but it’s probably as odd as dinosaurs flocking to some hole inside of the world. But hey, at least these folks don’t think the world is flat or something. Everyone knows it’s really a cube!
Author’s Note: A lot of existing monsters, as well as creations of my own, can easily be fit into this quasi-setting/idea I’ve been playing around with. So, let’s dive into it! If you have any other ideas, let me know! Also, yes I know, this isn’t really a full post from me… just a list of ideas that use existing stuff… I promise I’ll have some original stuff ASAP! Consider this an interlude of sorts!
“Are you still here? It is good to be a dedicated shopper, but closing hours draw near. A busy body must always prepare for the next day’s wave of customers and curators. But, Zam’Dul is patient! You shall be helped in finding what you seek. Rest assured, the store likely has it. Now, do follow and be shown many fine wares! But, please do so quickly… Pushing customers after closing is such a bother.”
Welcome back to another revisiting of the bizarre bazaar! As always, Zam’Dul awaits customers with a fine assortment of majestic and obscure magical treasures. Sure, he’s looking to close down for the night, but mark my words, he has plenty of oddities to showcase as always! Sure, some seem familiar, but others are new sights to behold.
Author’s Note: It’s kinda ironic and hypocritical of me. I’m not too content with reprints of spells and whatnot in the currently-new Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. And yet, here I am, posting updates of older items I made in the past. Not really a statement, just an observation. Anyway, I hope these updates address some mistakes I made in the past, while highlighting which items I really liked a lot!
While I got a fair bit more last year, I still enjoyed this theme quite a bit! The GRIMDARK theme might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps less than science-fantasy. But, oh well, this was a theme I wanted to do for a long time. None the less, this has been a learning experience. All the same, some of the bloggers who participated last year weren’t able to join in for this year. But, to those who were able to join in? You have my thanks! Thanks for making this celebration of the dark and dreadful a truly fun one! That said, onward to other things. But in the meantime, here are this month’s contributors for my theme! Please, check out what they have to offer! And as always, give the RPG Carnival a try yourself! It’s tons of fun and well worth the effort!
Anyway, enough babbling out of me! Here are the contributors for “Doomsdays & Dystopias”:
Stay tuned for Kobold Press and their theme of “Magic” for August 2017! You can find out more here! Again, a big thanks for everyone who was interested in the darker side of gaming fiction! Till next time, gamers!
IMAGE CREDIT: Wasteland 2 Promotional Image – Obsidian Entertainment