July 2017 Blog Carnival – Conflicts in Dark Worlds and Genres

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Welcome back, gamers!  I usually homebrew stuff and this is a complete change of pace for me.  That said, I’ve been meaning to write pieces examining things within games in addition to homebrew.  As it is, I’ve branched out with gaming recaps and those seem to reach some sort of audience, so I’ll continue to experiment.  That said, homebrewing is still my prime focus.

Back on topic, last time I opened up the carnival by looking at why I think people like darker genres and topics in their games!  Today’s post is deeper focus on dark settings in regards to conflict; whether it’s problems from society, the self, the environment or even forces beyond our control.  One can’t have a darker story without extreme conflict, to the point it’s usually quite oppressive, or repressive in some cases.  Sure, there are more examples than what I’m talking about, but I could go on and on about that.  Also, I like rambling some anecdotes about old games I’ve played it, because I really love sharing gaming stories with everyone when I get the chance!

Author’s Note: I know, it’s a change of pace.  Like I said, I’m not abandoning homebrewing.  I promise.  Also, this one is a little more mature oriented than other posts, touching upon rougher subjects.

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MAY BLOG CARNIVAL – Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background

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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.

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Diseases and Plagues – Sinister Sickness for D&D 5th Edition

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Journal Entry 183

Illness.  A force capable of wiping out an entire city, if not civilization, if left unchecked.  My superiors theorize that it is the result of the machinations of the lower planes.  I know better though, I’m well aware that life so evil need not come from other planes, but from our prime material.  Sicknesses come from small germ-like creatures, accidentally bred through hosts and environments, but that’s as far as I can gather on my research.  By all means, I’m sure fiends can create their own diseases though… and I shudder at the thought.

That said, I will never rule out an element of the supernatural in plagues.  I’ve witnessed many things while acting as a physician: pustules emitting acidic vapor, coughing fits leading to burning alive, previously rotting and wasting victims returning as the undead, demonic incubation.  The list continues onward.  In fact, some of these cases I plan on covering more in depth, in addition to some new discoveries I’ve made.  I must go back into plagued lands to dive deeper.  However, one can’t venture into these dark depths without proper protection.  As unnerving as it may be to the public, the plague suit has proved quite effective.  Aromatic contents treated with protective wards is helpful enough, after all.  Now, I ready myself for travel throughout the planes, in hopes of understanding disease throughout all realities.

Author’s Note:  My avatar on many of my pages tends to be a plague doctor.  So, what could be more appropriate than analyzing diseases with such a character.  Also, I guess this marks a return to planar and sci-fi content, right?  Plus, one of the things that inspired this was Russet’s Mold and Vegepygmies from Expedition to Barrier Peaks… a module I had previously converted!

Also, be warned!  If you do not like Body Horror or other forms of Medical Horror, I do not recommend continuing.  While I don’t go into grotesque detail, I’ve still tried to capture both to the best of my ability.  And even then, many of the diseases here are quite deadly and have the capability to kill an entire party.  As such, use them sparingly.

Also, please pardon the lateness of this post.  I’ve been under immense stress for the past month and a half.  Things haven’t been going too well for me and I’m doing my best to manage.  That said, things are getting better and I’m trying to make things go back to normal.  As always, thanks for understanding.

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Horrors of Myth and Folktale – Classic Terrors for D&D 5E

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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.

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Vampiric Henchmen & Overlords – Forces of the Living Dead for D&D 5th Edition

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“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.

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Bizarre Bazaar, Back from the Grave! – More Horror Items for D&D 5th Edition

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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!

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Oath of the Blasphemer – A Blackguard Oath for D&D 5th Edition

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For some, the antipaladin and the oathbreaker represents a fall from grace.  These are the exiles and the heretics whom must be stopped at all costs!  But, what happens when an entire oath is distorted by gradual influence of the darkness itself?  The Order of the Blasphemer is one such atrocity that arises.  These distorted paladins have lost their way much like the blackguard, but are convinced they serve a divine or holy cause.  This could be from sheer madness or from a dark revelation that the order itself is corrupt.

While many devotees of dark forces are aware of how far from grace they have fallen, the blasphemer order is tragic and ironic in their ignorance.  Driven mad by their past oaths and ideals, they have become delusional in the corruption they carry.  Many mad blasphemers have reached a level of insanity typical in the most devout of abyssal followers as a result of their broken minds doing all they can to refute their wretched existence.  Those who manage to break free of their mania typically become oathbreakers.  Some try to atone and become cynics.  The rest die from despair or failure to absolve themselves of their sins.

Author’s Note: Ah, deconstructing the Paladin… it’s always fun!  As written above, I’ve done this before with the Cynic.  Here, I have a new twist on the antipaladin/blackguard, a reluctant one who clings onto their old hopes and views while unwittingly (or perhaps willingly) committing great evil.  Also, take note!  This concept was an experimental idea I came up with to expand the oathbreaker archetype.  Some of the ideas are volatile and will be patched up in the weeks following.  Also, the original idea was far closer to Artorias from Dark Souls, but I figured it would have been too much of an homage.  But enough from me, subscribe today and a faustian bargain can be yours!

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