Endless tomes tell tales of brooding beings locked in wretched crypts, of things we are not meant to know dwelling beyond the skies, of shocking creatures that terrify as they stun, of punishment for grievous sin and decedent folly. These stories of old have fueled events to come for generations. History has a habit of repeating, especially the negative…
Author’s Note: What? Something non-crunch related??? That hasn’t happened in a long time, I know. I prefer the mechanical bits, myself. That said, I wanted to do something a little different. I’ve made backgrounds, NPCs, monsters, class options, a race and then some with a gothic theme… why not stuff on the campaign itself? Plus, this example is literally about literature. So, here are some hooks inspired by various stories. I’ll post something else later in the week, I promise.
One might wonder, what is the power of a spiritualist? It’s very much laid out in their name, someone who works with the spirits of the deceased. Such sorcerers are fabled for calming angry spirits who lacked desire to move on to the after life. In some instances, they have found ways to harness the spirits, whether out of mutual pact or magical extortion.
For most of your life, you have felt a connection with spirits. Over time, you tried to develop talents to reach out to the realms beyond. While not a bloodline in its own right, you have been touched by the nether realms, planar domains where souls travel upon death. Harnessing your talent, you are more than capable of communing with spirits either through seance or through a known spell.
However, conjuring and working with spirits is often taboo, and is such practiced in secret. While some may hear of you and seek you out for counsel when dealing with the dead, others might see you as a second rate necromancer. Some orders have even formed within various religious organizations as exorcists, while others revel in individual freedom when dealing with the shadows beyond our world.
Author’s Notes: I’m back with Blog Carnival content once more! This time, I thought I’d dabble into the Occult theme by making a Spiritualist based circle for the Sorcerer. While other classes also felt like good picks, this felt like the quickest match for me. So, let’s speak with the dearly departed as we explore the Nether World with the Spiritualist. And as a bonus, have a background on exorcism.
You may find more on the May 2017 Blog Carnival here! Alternatively, you may be interested in the Sage Variant: Occultist background that I made last year. This would better fit a medium who contacts spirits through seances and the like, should you favor a more gothic flavor over a high fantasy one!
Also, this is the first pass for this sub-class, it will be due for revision in subsequent weeks. This first draft is experimental and possibly volatile.
Tales of wretched beasts, disturbing men and unspeakable evils pierce our ears and chill our souls. Countless villages, kingdoms, continents have stories of sinister monsters that seek to end us at any moment. Their motivations might differ or be strangely similar. Likely born of pure wickedness, these dark spirits haunt those who get too close to their very brand of malevolence.
Many of these monsters are often accompanied by tales of caution and woe. Those who drift too far off a righteous path are often victims of these horrors. Those who feel they’re too good for the morals of a realm or a certain way of life should always stay careful and alert, lest they fall prey to the evil that lurks nearby… waiting, stalking, preparing…
Author’s Note: Here’s another list of monsters, taking inspiration form creatures around the world. Also, here’s another case where I have 2 creepy horse-themed creatures… for some reason. Maybe I just find horses to be creepy? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s pent up horror caused by seeing that disturbing Archie McPhee horse mask? I don’t know.
“One vampire, I can handle! But, a whole army? I didn’t sign up for th- AAAAHHHHH!”
The vampire, an immortal creature of darkness. These creatures are soulless and damned, cursed by a thirst to leech off of human blood; they are parasites upon the living. Those who had a fateful encounter with them were likely to either die or worse, become recruited to their dastardly cause. For the longest time, it was assumed that those who succumbed to a vampire’s dark powers suffered one of two fates: those who did not drink a vampire’s blood would become a ghoul with some slivers of their original self and those who drank the blood would become vampire spawn that were driven mad and violent by the corruptive power. Such creatures range from mindless abominations to frenzied and insane mockeries of their former selves. They are nothing like the true vampires that recreated them as they are now.
This leads to a strange new revelation, it’s more than possible to create more true vampires. While usually not as powerful as a vampire who has fully mastered their abilities, they are an incredible force none the less. Such creatures are more than capable of using their talents learned as a mortal with the unnatural abilities of the vampire. Their progenitors are already a menace to those around them. Combined with potent magics or martial prowess though and such an opponent becomes all the more deadly.
Author’s Note: Inspired by my “Vampyr” post from last year, I wanted to make a small handful of vampiric minions to throw at players that aren’t like the quasi-ghoulish spawn or the very powerful MM vampire. Also, I decided to marathon through the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga after the Adult Swim announcement some time back, so I took some inspiration from the first and third arcs… and a little from the second.
You see an eerily familiar sight; a sinister cottage building with a poorly written”antiques and oddities” sight nearby. As you draw nearer, a dreadful sense of deja vu pours over you. You’ve been here before. Upon entering the door, all comes back to you as you see a hunched over sales person, obscured by a cloak. The humanoid creature cracks a smile from underneath the cloth, as if it recognizes you.
Welcome to Rare and Magnificent Antiques and Wares! I haven’t seen you in quite some time. Hopefully you learned from last time you foolishly made a purchase without heeding warnings. Or perhaps you’re a new customer, no… you’ve been here, I sense it! Unlike other curio shops and antique specialists, I focus on the morbid and bizarre; artifacts found no where else in the world! But remember this, all sales are final. If you fear obtaining something, let me enlighten you on all there is to know. Granted, you already knew the rules, didn’t you?
Sadly, we’ve sold the wears that you’ve seen last time. But fear not, thanks to various benefactors as well as generous adventurers, I have replenished my stock with a satisfying assortment of new items to examine. Also, do be careful when handling the items. You don’t want to activate or awaken something by accident, do you? Of course not! And so, simply point to something and I’ll be right over to get it for you.
Author’s Note: The Hunched Over Salesman is back with all sorts of creepy magic items to dive into! I wanted to do a followup to my Gothic items from back in April, so here we go!
The fog’s rolling in and it’s been a long day of travel. The countryside would be much nicer if it wasn’t for the fact the sun barely pierces through the clouds, the locals look grey and depressed, an unnatural force seems to linger in the air. All isn’t as it seems. Up the road from the Inn you booked for the night, a cozy cottage holds a sign stating “Rare and Magnificent Antiques and Wares.” Your curiosity piqued, you decide to go in. At the counter, a hunched over figure in dusty garb greets you. As he prepares to speak, he also beckons you to a back room. Here lies a collection of dark and abominable additions to his collection.
Welcome! Please, peruse! I know a discerning group of clever treasure hunters when I see them! I encourage onlookers to become properly acquainted with their purchases, before everything is set in stone. We have incredible wares from all corners of the world, even worlds beyond our own. From artifacts of dread cults to supposedly cursed crafts. Pay no mind to the strong storms and green tinged fog outside, that’s normal weather for these parts. Of course, you’re safe within the confines of my shop… so long as you purchase something. If you need anything explained or elaborated upon, I would be happy to do so. Just be warned of one thing, all purchases are final! Once we part with an artifact, it becomes your problem, hehe.
Author’s Note: Welcome back to another installment of Bizarre Bazaar, in which I craft a whole bunch of thematic magical items. This time around, it’s items for my Gothic and Gaslamp theme. We have a few Weird West, Steampunk and Weird Fiction items thrown in for good measure. Also, this post is a collaboration with Bound-Incubus. A big thanks goes out to him for the awesome ideas as well as helping me with designing some of the items. Also, please pardon posting a bit later than usual. I wanted transition back to posting on the weekends anyway. Also, keeping with the gothic theme, many of the magic items are cursed, with a foreboding side effect to their boons. Without further ado, please enjoy my largest collection of items for Bizarre Bazaar yet!
While many have heard the story of the troubled monster hunter, there are other heroes that struggle against deadly foes and unspeakable evils as well. These unsung champions of the light do all they can to keep all hope from being extinguished in a dark and desolate world. Not all heroes are born from myth and legend. Many are souls who have faced great adversity, pushing them into impossible odds. Those souls have either become broken or are seeking ways to prevent them from collapsing under pressure. Whatever the cause, they have witnessed terrible things that pose a grave threat to them, as well as others. Perhaps the conflict isn’t so much external as very much internal. These troubled heroes seek retribution, redemption, truth and understanding.
In endless realms where mad lords and mysterious mists survey and control all, hope is all one has. Without it, one simply cannot live. And those who cannot hope anymore will likely be consumed. Many have tried, but many have fallen to the darkness as well. How will you fare differently?
Author’s Note: In celebration of Curse of Strahd, I wanted to make some backgrounds with a distinctly Gothic theme to them. Sampling from history and literature, here’s 3 new ones! Of course, you could easily reflavor my Researcher and Lost One backgrounds from the Fey post into something more gothic with ease. Also, I truly love the Haunted One background quite a bit! It’s why I referenced it in my first sentence, hehe.