Dear reader, I admire your dedication to my works. But take heed, such dedication also puts your life in danger. No doubt, when these scrambled notes become an elaborate codex, such books will see ban in no time. You wouldn’t believe the among of jink offered to hack my head and serve it on a Lady’s grade platter. As always, their hunt continues. Mine continues in the expanse of knowledge. Plenty of conflict bubbles and oozes beyond your surface. Ready and prepare, the safety of the multiverse always hangs in the balance. Let me serenade you with many tales. But, these aren’t tales of joy or triumph, no! Tales of woe await you.
Author’s Note: “The Editor” is back, not content with simply The Factol’s Manifesto! Plenty of things going on, the fall and rise of deities, more on the fey, dark conspiracies of intrigue, a look at my old table’s post-2008 take on the Forgotten Realms, a further looks at my zany Ravenloft-Planescape crossover and more! And of course, Baby Vecna! And as always, The Editor proves an ever unreliable narrator, as some details might be fabricated or stretched for his convenience.
A clamminess completes the foggy night sky of Karg, refuge of Il Aluk’s intellectual schools of thought. But your journey has lead you to a simple building, hiding place of a scribe in service to Azalin Rex himself. In lieu of recent events, Toubirj the Quickened Hand has found himself waiting the darklord returning to “normalcy”. But, a network of underground thieves, vindictive academics and disgruntled mages has lead you to an otherwise humble abode. A short, meek and disheveled looking man answers, his ill-fit body frame moving like a tower of junk ready to topple. A gangly left arm extends to usher you inside quickly, as he soon slams the door and closes several locks. And with a few muffled words and motions, a spell further seals the way out. Shuffling to a chair, he lurches over while placing his head upon his hands. He studies you, inquisitively before cracking a smile. Rather than speaking, he simply hands over a piece of parchment.
“Hail to you, reader. You sought this scroll expecting that strange bard, yes? Pity, he still has not been found. I am but a humble scribe, commissioned by his mighty majesty, Azalin. Divination boons have gifted me with the joys of deeper knowledge, if only to satisfy my liege. While he has returned to a period of deep contemplation, I continue to collect and gather. Times in Darkon have been an overflowing cauldron, bubbling and dripping, awaiting tipping point. That time is passing, as my master returns to dark recesses. Should you have particularly juicy information, less vulnerable information can be extended in trade… Just, do it quick. I know he listens, my arcane senses have made this known! But, you care for Ramon. Luckily, I have a few of his journals in my possession. Allow to extend some of his knowledge to you. But first, I simply desire to know what you offer in return.”
The frail and strange man finally opens his mouth, “Well, I’m waiting. If you’re here, you have good information to share.” He taps his fingers together, expectantly. Reaching into your bag, you open a carrying case for various parchments, handing them in the direction of the squat man. His grin widens as he gracefully accepts the documents. Scanning them in rapid pace, he quickly jumps between pages of notes. “Ah, this will do well. First edition notes from the bard. Let me offer some fine bits of my own in return. And mark my words, we are safe from interlopers. Do not fear these secrets being overheard… save for by his highness. That isn’t an issue, is it?”
Author’s Note: Am I done with Ramon? What does the future hold in general? I’m still not sure with either. In the meantime, let’s return to various domains of dread. And with that, plenty of secrets and rumors!
You awaken to find yourself chained against a damp and musty cave wall. What you see before you was likely once a man, but his flesh sways and twitches in ways not befitting a natural creature. As he glances at you, several copies of his face seem to project, as if to magnify his speech. Multiple uncanny smiles form in disjointed succession, as the space-warped thing speaks.
“You thought you escaped? What a foolish notion! The Mists are eternal and you are a puppet! A wise adventurer would best research on things that dwell in darkness, lest they be another story of the Dark Powers. In the end, you are all the same. But, a fighting chance is too irresistible to ignore. So, fight on and fight well, mortal. If you were wiser, you could have read onward about the awful things that sprawl and crawl. I was once like you, but then I was chosen to be beyond human. The cosmic eternity takes the worthy, granting them a new story. But first, allow me to do the honor of ending yours.”
Shadowy projections of his hand reach over, to simply touch your forehead. Protrusions and mockeries of the flesh extend from the tainted thing’s arm. The mass plants itself upon your head, as you feel its horrid pull. The force of a thousand realities tries takes your essence. All goes black, the alien void has won.
Author’s Note: I had more planned, I just wanted to space them out instead of cram it all into one post. I’m still pondering where to go next. But, the Stars are Right for… something. And yes, The Thing was one of the inspirations behind The Paradox. But, how would you conduct a blood test for it?
“The multiverse, she is a cruel mistress. For much time, things have looked up for me. But for so long, my luck is rather dreadful. While my poems and records will be the stuff of legends, a break from this figurative and literal hells would be quite nice too! I preferred my luck with just the King of the Cross-Trade in Sigil.” – Ramon DeLeon, Planar Traveling Bard
Of Bards and Bad Places
While I assure you that not all planes are mortifying and deadly, I tend to have rather bad luck. This luck has sunk even lower, finding myself in the dark planes of the fiends. Races of creatures built from pure literal evil, formed into physical manifestations. Only the most noble and just and survive a trek into these wretched places. As I can assure that I’m not, I have my work truly cut out for me.
Let us discuss The Lower Planes of the Great Wheel. This is a place for not just creatures made of evil, but the most equally evil souls that find themselves punished or harvested for the creation of more fiends. The most worthy petitioners even gain the chance to become fiends of their own! To make matters more hostile, each plane has its own challenges within the environments themselves. Acidic air, dueling erupting fissures, grey murk and more await the most intrepid and foolish of explorers.
Now, where do I fit into this? A valid question! An attempted escape from strange realities proved rather flawed. My grasp on the planes is quite good, within my rules of reality. Parallel versions of the Wheel has all sorts of alterations, to say the least. With some level of luck, this is the “true reality”, however escaping the Lower Planes proves to be far harder than expected. Even any portals and keys that should work mysteriously fail. Well, through narrowly dodging fiends and escaping hostile environments, I’ve found my way across the Planes Below. Impossible as it may be, I find myself not too damaged by this. But, a Planeswalker has already seen a lot, no?
Author’s Note: I’ve been feeling a little down, so things have slowed a bit as a result. Plus, I junked a previous post that I couldn’t find myself completing, which slowed things down more. My apologies. Anyway, here is something I have been sitting on for a while. My Look at the Planes have focused too much on Ramon flailing about and finding danger, rather than describing locations and happenings in the planes, with Ramon as your guide. Let me change that. Also, I figure I may as well toss out a reference to the recent adventure. In addition, plenty of references to classic D&D lore, as well as my own mad musings.
Behold, The Lower Planes! These are places of divine punishment, the quarantine zones for the foulest evil next to Ravenloft, these lower planes are the birthplace of The Fiends and so much more. It is inhospitable, destructive and the ultimate test upon the good soul! Petitioners who find themselves upon these planes more often than not deserve their grim fates. Those who fell into these lands of evil? Far more sympathetic. Many were merely curious travelers and clueless primers; now burning against the fiery walls of The Hells or within the acid swamps deep in Carceri. – Ramon DeLeon, Plane Traveling bard
Within the Great Wheel, there are countless forces embodying equally countless ideas and visions. Within the Lower Planes, evil thrives. The Lower Planes contain Baator (the Nine Hells), The Smoking Towers of Gehenna, The Grey Wastes of Hades, The Tartaran Prisons of Carceri and the Endless Layers of the Abyss. To some, the Eternal Battlefields of Acheron and the Howling Tunnels of Pandemonium certainly count too. Whether or not they’re accounted for, the rest of this linked macrocosm is the most interaction forms of evil one could hope to find. The Lower Planes are the home to true oppression, savagery, malice and more. Each fiendish creature has their own way of causing ruin to all around them.
The powers of the Lower Planes are simply evil incarnate. The Primer usually has a surface level idea of what horrors lie beneath. Sure, some make their holy orders to fight off whatever might spill onto the prime, but that’s a mere trickle compared to the raging torrent on the Outer Planes. Devils, Demons and other fiends have more than earned their dark reputations. Even those who have prepared to take on these twisted adversaries have found themselves either falling in battle or falling in principles. The pull of Evil is sometimes that strong. Careful on your own journeys.
Author’s Note: FIENDS! A lot of this post was because of the latest adventure for 5th Edition. While I wasn’t a fan of the recent module, “Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus”, I always look for an excuse to tackle all means of demons, devils and more. So, there you have it! So, let’s dive into the worst places imaginable to ring in 2020! As the new year continues, let us descend into the void. Well, in gaming, at least.
EDIT: The url was “__trashed”? Aww, come on! I’m usually better at spotting things than that. But, the cat’s out of the bag. I originally wasn’t gonna do this. But, I’m glad I changed my mind. I don’t wanna screw with the URL though, as it’ll mess up all links.
“Chroniclers from “some outside world” kept babbling about Shadow Powers and Fell planes. These people are fools. They know not of the mists, they know not of true nightmares. I live in them, just as I do in the rare dream. Some day, our people might escape through these gates, through the endless worlds of dream and into paradise. Perhaps these outlanders can take our place… As far as I’m concerned, they don’t truly exist anyway.” – a rather rude Aabber Shaman of the Nightmare Lands, according to Ramon.
The Mists house many untold and unspoken evils and perils. They’re usually the results of twisted minds and nefarious plots. Some are just sad souls that have long since fallen from grace. In more than one instance within the demiplane, some were merely evil souls from the beginning. Such a twisted menagerie exists within the Domains, it’s a miracle that they haven’t escaped to torment the outside worlds.
Brace yourselves and survive the monsters of the night!
Author’s Note: While Ramon bumbles in Ravenloft, let’s bring in a mixture of classic monsters and some new creations! Since I already have various Ravenloft critters in my Vampire and Were-beast books on DM’s Guild, I have not included them here. Also, please pardon the rampant song references…
Many creatures were described in my previous travels. It would be only fair to elaborate on them slightly. Ready yourself for those who lurk in darkness and dread, friends! Allow this small bestiary to inform you on the powers and potentials of these morbid friends and foes. Or should this fall into more diabolic hands, beware of the heinous horrors that you so choose to wield. Righteous comeuppance will likely find its way.
Author’s Note: A companion piece to Ramon’s explorations! Here are some monsters referenced in the post or in their respective planes and dimensions. Enjoy!
The campaign pushed into the Grey Wastes themselves. We were readied for countless fiends, all battling in the name of their dastardly causes. We even were readied to control the sinister magics of the Night Hag. But, something unexpected and foul caught many by surprise… Aberrations formed and mutated through necromancy. Surely, these beasts weren’t native to the plane, but something brought them there. Something perfected them. The casualties within my own legions became astronomical, even with pushing the abominations back long enough. – Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.
My series of planar monsters continues with a healthy mixture of folklore, pop culture and crazy custom creatures. This time, a post devoted to horrible things to crawl up from the Lower Planes! Fiends, hellish constructs, necromantic mind flayers, cursed souls and more!
Author’s Note: In addition to some more planar threats, I wanted to ramp things up a bit with some more out there experiments. Also, shout out to Brynvalk for inspiring one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard of. Also, I’m back to bringing in a fair number of fiends to horrify my mini-bestiaries! I love making fiends! Also, pardon the classic rock references. But, it wouldn’t be my first time.
Good crew. I address you all because we are about to embark on a journey that is likely to rend your minds and tear at your souls, should you stop being pure of heart and sound of mind. Stay close and my allies will protect you. Tonight, we discover the source of the soul-draining plague! We descend into the land of fire and fell sorcery, Gehenna! – Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.
The planes are ever rife with mystery and wonder, just as they are with conspiracy and horror. And its inhabitants are equally curious beings, incarnate representations of the very domains, dimensions and demiplanes whence they came. Many creatures are born with a purpose, while others came into being from circumstance. A mixture of creatures of destiny and lost souls of chance.
Author’s Note: Plane-Jammer stuff is back! This time, more monsters. As always, I love coming up with all sorts of downright bizarre creatures to help and hinder your heroes. This time, it’s one half trip to Wildspace, one half trip to The Bleak Eternity of Gehenna.
“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!