Misty Rumors – Dread Tales of Ravenloft

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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!

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Legion of Entropic Gloom – A Dastardly Undead Cult

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“You’re just in time for our weekly Necronomicon Study! Sit down, have a glass of kool-aid.”

The concept of death inspires some of the oldest fears known to civilization. The end of life, the end of all we have worked for. The finality to our existence. While many fear death, the idea of undeath proves to be far more horrifying to many. The idea of losing ones self, the very essence, coming a shriveled shell that exists as a mockery of its former self. These are the fears of the undead. For that reason and more, they are a menace to civilization on the average.

Why are the undead are considered a menace to the living? For a variety of reasons, of course. Many of these reasons derive from ethics over necromancy, while others are because of their often destructive ways. None embody the latter more than a secretive cabal known simply as “the entropic gloom”. This quasi-religious order is dedicated to eradication of the living, assimilating them into the ranks of the dead. The reasons for this? Cloaked in shadow, much like themselves. It could be out of contempt for the living, some utopian ideal of unity or perhaps even a penchant for heinous acts of violence. While much of the ranks of this cult are typical undead, some have been transformed into truly incredible servants of dread forces.

Author’s Note: I loving making undead nasty nasties! This is no surprise, for those who know me well enough… So with that, here’s an assortment of living dead monsters to torture your players with. After reading up on monstrous synergy via Tome of Foes, I’ve plucked a few ideas to boot! Also, priest characters, you’re gonna have a bad day.

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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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