Alza’um, Land of High Artifice Part 2. Alza’um City

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Welcome. Please, step into the elevator chamber at the end of the hallway.

Alza’um, the true city beneath the smoke and mirrors. Life is far more controlled than in the port city of mysteries and merchants. However, that doesn’t make life any easier. Only the lucky and the blessed get their way in, without tricky maneuvering. Stowaways and thieves don’t make out too well. For those who make it? It’s a long way down the ladder and back up. Life in the city is a climb towards excellence. Of course, too many refuse to let others into their station.

In the beginning, a large caravan of outcasts, tinkerers, mages and artificers came together with a common goal.  They wished to craft and hone their abilities in peace, trading and sharing knowledge within their enclave.  For a while, it was a place of common ground and unity.  Racial differences of these sages and inventors mattered little, but rather their devotion to their creations and the quality of their work.  An ideal lead to a city, which fled underground after conflict with the outside world.  This racial harmony ideal lasted… until the denizens of the darkness below found themselves in inevitable conflict with the city dwellers.

Author’s Note: Part 2 continues with the namesake city! In addition, I might make some extra crunch bits soon too. Needless to say, I’m having tons of fun with this.

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Divine World Building – Arothe

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Say hello to the “Overgod”

The RPG Blog Carnival for January 2019 is more or less concluded, but I wanted to return to it once more with my own home setting.  I’ve talked about tons of aspects of the world already, but not too much in terms of “the divine”.  Though, to be fair, that’s a bit of an odd subject for my universe.

Similar to Mystara, deities are much closer to the “Immortals” of that world.  Heroes train, prove themselves and ascend beyond the prime material.  Out of a pact with other “Ascended”, interaction with the mortal plane is rare and only in dire emergency, where it can’t be helped.  Upon ascending, they become the embodiment of the ideals that they believe in, empower those who follow such beliefs and ethos.  Unlike the traditional D&D worlds, believers connect on a level of domains and ideology.  Those who try to directly connect to an Ascended usually go insane, as they’re unable to comprehend the sheer power and form that such beings wield.  Most religions of the world have adapted to fit this harsh truth.  In fact, most religious revolve around various metaphysical concepts as well as ideals.  Like with other traditional worlds, one could still see various religious groups inspired by a cause.  However, this world will not have them tied to a deity, unless they’re a mad cult.

But, what came before the ascended?  And what helps them move beyond mere mortality?  To answer both questions, one must look at what came before.  Arothe was created from an experiment on another world, trying to use transdimensional technology to create a wholly new universe.  The same laboratory reached out to countless realities (including a few versions of Earth).  Something terrible resulted in multiple malfunctions in the experiment at once.  Multiple old realities collapses and folded on themselves, while being absorbed into the new one.  A strange energy was discovered thanks to the experiments though, psychic power.  The power preserved the millions of minds of the victims, binding and bonding them to a single entity.  The mad hivemind eventually formed into a chaotic and discordant entity within the new universe.  Basically, a psychic powered Azathoth that’s too confused and lost to be fully aware of what it does.  However, this doesn’t mean that the Ascended escape its wrath.  Those who ascend are tethered to this mighty being.  And, in the off chance that they are slain, they can be eaten by this star horror should it desire more power and minds to sustain itself.

As for reality building itself anew, the hive at the center of the universe mostly shaped things from afar.  Terrain shaped itself naturally, as forces and energies of life spurred on evolution.  However, the hive itself influenced sentient life forces through subtle implanting of thoughts to outright bizarre visions.  As much of the hive is composed of former Earth humans, subjects of the world are slightly pushed in a direction similar to Earth’s many cultures.  Some mortals feel that they’re being manipulated by something, but few can ever prove it.  Many take the visions, strange dreams and signs as their own creations and go from there.  But all along, distant thoughts from Earth from equally distant sources find their way into the life of this strange, but oddly familiar world.

So there you have it, a little insight into how divinity works in the weird world of Arothe.

IMAGE CREDIT: Azathoth – Andy Tantowi

Cosmic Domain – A Domain of Distant Divinity

alienist - dennis crabapple mcclain

Some Cosmic Clerics revel in the horrors beyond.

“The ANCIENTS awaken!  It is my duty to see that they are ready to take hold of what was once theirs.  The time of the material plane denizens is numbered!” – Xel’lenia, Human Cleric of Cosmic and Elder God Cultist

“The space beyond is more than proof of the Gods!  While many hide away in small pocket realms of their own design, some are brave enough to face the great aether at large!  The wilds of space itself is home to many great beings and I am a disciple of them.” – Torrean Guildlight, High Elf Cleric of Cosmic and Eccentric Researcher

The Cosmic Domain offers a pinch of Lovecraft, a bit of Spelljammer and the vast knowledge of a far greater universe.

Author’s Note: I wasn’t overly fond of my original Eldritch Domain from a ways back.  So, like with the Nightmare Sorcerer becoming the Dream Sorcerer, the Cosmic Domain was created.  I wanted to come up with some abilities that scream “outer space”, but I had a bit of a struggle.  Hopefully, you enjoy.  And, if you have ideas on how to build those ideas, let me know!

 

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Deities

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Won’t you take a ride, ride, ride
On heavy metal
It’s the only way that you can travel
Down that road

Amidst the vast multiverse, there are many powers that govern over various forces.  Some crusade for justice, while others seem to rot reality in cruel ways.  Some, plain and simple, are here to ROCK and ROLL!  This strange pantheon emerges from realms of alien sounds to unleash new incredible philosophies and visions upon the awakened masses.

Author’s Note: BALLS TO THE WALLS!  What better way to welcome the new year than with a return to some really gonzo stuff!  Just like the American version of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure did, I twisted the names around… in case I use this stuff later.  Surely, you’ll get the references to things though, even though dub names suck…  Also, yes, I did make a jab or two at various rock personalities, in addition to some homages.

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Friends and Foes of the Multiverse – Planar Monsters

Planescape map by monorok

“Across countless planes and dimensions lie incredible creatures.  Such beings may be as mundane as one’s neighbor or far too alien to fully comprehend, perhaps even somewhere in between.  Different realities hold different possibilities… including different possibilities for existence as a whole.  I, your humble xenonaught, shall explore and chronicle the vast reaches of this known realm and beyond!” – Garvin Gorb, Fire-Blooded Genasi Sorcerer, Planar Researcher for the Great Library of Sigil

Throughout the D&D multiverse, there are a plethora of powerful monsters and strange foes.  In some instances, their desires and goals can be met easily, gaining a trusted ally in an alien realm.  Many wield powers never before seen by a denizen of the prime material plane, while others seem like familiar variants of the all too familiar.  Here is a list of a few examples of fantastical planar monsters and NPCs encountered on various worlds, planes and the like.

Author’s Note:  So, I’m getting back into the swing of things, slowly but surely.  Or at least, as best as I can during retail holiday season, as day jobs help pay the bills.  Anyway, I kinda dropped my horror content out of the blue.  Usually, I keep that ball rolling well into December, but I kind of dropped it this year.  Likewise, my patreon needs more updates than what I’ve been giving.  Anyway, I’ve been finding either older books or reprints on DM’s Guild lately and it has made me quite nostalgic.  While I can’t recapture those days with older editions, I figure I can transport some of my favorite things to the current edition.  I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I do.

 

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Bizarre Bazaar – Even More Strange Items Return

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“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!

Also, I hit 250 posts!  Hooray!

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Return to Bloodied Wyvern Peaks

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We were once cowards, existing within a small bubble… Then, they came and lit they way.  With the help of portal devices and the temporal displacement fields, we did the rest. – Unnamed Fraal Engineer.

DISCLAIMER: Spoilers for the original Bloodied Wyvern Peaks adventure!

Background.

Several months ago, The King Orvaldt, the kingdom’s eponymous leader and House Patriarch, sent a group of adventurers to uncover the strange happenings in the mountainside.  Not only has trade and mining been disrupted, strange poisons had messed with the soil and water supply of local villagers.  As the adventurers ascended, they uncovered wreckage from some sort of advanced faring vessel, akin to a Spelljammer.  Encountering several constructs and mutated horrors, they were lead through a cave into some strange temple-like building.  Only, little did they know it was actually a part of a larger spaceship.  The team struggled as they made their way through winding corridors and abandoned halls still rife with devices that were literally alien in nature, as well as even stranger creatures that lurked the derelict wreckage.

By some miracle, the power source had enough juice to boot the battered ship back up.  Doing this alerted the remaining denizens, who were cornered in a secret room.  Slowly but surely, the team pieced together that experiments with portal technology lead to hostile coup by another species called “The Reptoids”, a race of scaled shapeshifting aliens.  The fight caused the technology to go haywire, slamming it into the depths of a mountain.  Much of the ship was crushed, even more totally destroyed.  Attempts at freedom were failures, as the Reptoids saw their chance to hijack the remaining operations on the ship.  Eventually, they were confronted by the team, who managed to defeat them in impossible odds.  The Fraal had emerged from their hiding and did all they could to rebuild elsewhere, after solving the very mess they caused initially.

Following the Fraal’s retreat from the mountains into the forest below, things have remained silent under an opaque energy dome for countless months, some say at least 5.  Occasional trade was made with The Kingdom of Orvald, greatly bolstering its defenses with both the mystic arts and strange innovations.  Some stuck around a while to help royal crafters learn the art of artifice, only to return once lessons were complete.  In addition, many of the Fraal could commune with important figures within the kingdom to discuss matters.  Sometimes, said figures would speak at some mid-point created by the Fraal, which was none the less a technical marvel. Some chose to join them in their hidden communes.  Others followed the beastmen and other mutants that lived in territory close by, who proclaimed a faith in the Fraal themselves.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Depending on the outcome of my mini-dungeon, the landscape of your world might be drastically changed forever!  Aberrant plants and animals, Reptoids, Greys and more!  That doesn’t even account for the strange technologies that fill the crashed spaceship.  Like Blackmoor, this is a world that is being changed by an encounter with a technologically advanced race.  Granted, the alien visitors have also learned from the magical mysticism of the world they’ve inhabited.  More or less, this is an adventure location with plot seeds and ideas to sample from.  I might combine this with the module to create a product if reception proves positive.  While not typical for this blog, I wanted to try my hand at expanding my own little universe.  Sure, I’ve been reluctant to share it (in light of recent events),   Needless to say, my campaign isn’t even done, so this post might be entirely moot in regards to my own group.  None the less, here’s my take on an expanded world.

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