Ramon’s Guide to the Lower Planes

Just… do as she says.  Fewer people get hurt that way.  Also, please don’t bring up Gehenna!  Other ‘loths anger her.  She won’t say why!

“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.

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Great Evils of the Underworld – Killer Fiends

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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.

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Eerie and Sinister Monsters – Creatures of Dark Realms

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“Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper”

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!

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Ramon’s Guide to Places of Shadow and Sorcery

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“They’re already dead, they just don’t know it yet!”

Instead of a normal lecture, I figure I’ll just chronicle my own travels and recant later.  The realms of dream proved invigorating, mortifying, thrilling and so much more!  However, my desire for adventure has taken me to far more chilling places.  Lands of Death, Darkness, Disaster and so on!  As always, I am forever devoted to pursuits of knowledge.  And through my travels and magical catalogue of thoughts and sights, you too may travel with me to parts unknown and dreadful.  Should anything unfortunate happen to me, let this document be a word of warning!

Author’s Note: I did an old school reorganizing of 4e’s (and I guess 5e’s) Feywild, I figure it’s the Shadowfell’s turn.  Many of its ideas were appropriated from past sources already, so that makes things a little easier.  As for the other stuff?  Well, once again, time to improvise!  Also, keep an eye out for some crunch that relates to this post.

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Ice Domain – A Chilling Cleric Domain

“We come from the land of the ice and snow, From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.” – A passage written by a traveling skald companion accompanying a communion of frost clerics.

Elemental Powers circle throughout known reality.  Heat can transform into fire or lightning, gusts of wind can carry even the mightiest of rock and the water itself can become a solid sheet of ice.  In a sense, a rival to the Tempest Cleric, the Ice cleric is at home in the realms of bone chilling temperature, the stinging sensations of ice and the comfort of powdery snow.  For them, the cold isn’t just the absence of warmth, but a holy communion among frigid elements; a raw and unforgiving form of nature.  Like the northern air, a frost cleric can travel gently like a light flurry or bombard foes like the harshest of blizzards.

Many Ice Clerics accompany hunters or are hunters themselves.  Through their devotions, they can trap creatures through sheets of ice, hollow snowy holes or other wintry tricks.  Like the ice cold, many of these clerics tend to be rigid and devoid of emotion and often passion too.  To some, it’s as if the cold has influenced their own convictions and values as well.  As such, neutral alignments tend to be the most common among their orders.  Likewise, neutral elemental gods of ice empower such clerics.  That isn’t to say that beings like Auril don’t use such power for evil though.  Many dress modestly, bundling up at almost all times.  In warmer regions, many of these priests might quickly feel out of place.  The idea of shedding layers is foreign, outside of bathing.

Author’s Note: There are plenty of elemental niches covered in the cleric, but a cold one is lacking.  So, let’s tackle that!  Also, I found my set of Reign of Winter books for Pathfinder.  So, there’s a big inspiration.

It looks like someone channeled the same idea as me several months beforehand.  Well, this is an awkward coincidence.  But, I assure you that this is literally the first instance of seeing another homebrewed take via D&D Beyond or the like, as I don’t go there for homebrew.  None the less, here is the version I stumbled upon a couple hours before posting this.  But, how much can you do with an ice theme, I guess?  Well, I may as well not name this Frost Domain anymore.  On to something more generic, I guess!

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Dark Legacy of Evard – 5th Edition Conversion

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The small town of Duponde has a haunting legacy, for they claim to hold the final resting place of the infamous mage known as Evard! It is said that whoever disrupts his slumber will be cursed with an endless .  Will the sleepy plot of land be consumed by shadow or will the light find a way to liberate the encroaching darkness?

Journey into the darkness with this adventure, previously available to 4th Edition D&D Encounters, converted to 5th Edition through the DM’s Guild.  Inside of this document, you’ll find a variety of monsters and some alternate mechanics for running this adventure in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.  In addition, a blurb is included on the Forgotten Realms, Eberron and Ravenloft settings.

Author’s Note: Here it is!  One of my favorite adventures from running stuff in the D&D Encounters program, now in 5th Edition!  Or rather, here’s some conversion notes so you can play this nicely crafted ghost story.  Also, you will require THIS ADVENTURE in order to use my conversion notes to the fullest.  Enjoy.  Also, this was my way to close out the summer and welcome the autumn!  Enjoy!  On that note, more updates for other products coming soon.  In addition, keep on the look out for more gothic and gaslamp posts on this blog!!

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Dark Legacy of Evard – 5th Edition

Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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