The opening text to the first Resident Evil game. Those words present a theme and a mood. You are leaving your own world. You are entering a dark and foreboding world where you must use your wits and preserve what little resources you have to endure a horrible nightmare. And with that,
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SURVIVAL HORROR.
Author’s Note: Let’s add some atmospheric music, shall we? Ah, there we go. Anyway…
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Also, I welcome you to the November RPG Blog Carnival for 2019. The festivities may wind down in most places, but they continue well till Thanksgiving here at Daemons & Deathrays! You can have your extremely early Christmahanukwanzica, Doc keeps the Halloween vibe going strong! And with that, the survival horror begins…
For most people, the cemetery is a place to reflect and remember. But, dark powers have other plans for these resting places. Thus, the safe haven for the dead becomes a grounds for corruption. Dare you see what wicked deeds taint once sacred memorials?
Author’s Note: What do Tom Waits and cemetery-themed monsters have to do with each other? I’m not sure. But, here are an assortment of higher level foes to fill your boneyards with. A few of these critters make nods to editions past as well as other media. In this case, I wanted to give some pretty powerful undead to face off against. Also, I won’t lie, the recent Joker movie inspired my take on the Wheep to take shape.
Ravenloft! The Demiplane of Dread! The Mists! All names for the same prison dimension for the foulest in the multiverse! Those within the clutches of the Dark Powers must suffer, whether or not they deserve it. These Dark Powers overseen all sorts of truly awful Domains of Dread, plots of artificially constructed spaces where the Powers observe the truly damned in the places of their own damnation. The Darklords are those who have doomed themselves through acts of ultimate evil. They preside over the aforementioned domains to remind them of their sins. Usually, they don’t take kindly to visitors like myself.
Author’s Note: The Lovable World Traveling Bard vs. The Demiplane of Dread! I always love writing bits on Ravenloft and this is a good way of introducing some of my favorite domains to players who might not be as familiar with them. Of course, there are MANY domains that I wish I could ramble about, but I have only so much space and time to play with, unlike the Dark Powers. In fact, their ability is limitless! Plus, this is a good way of building up my own domains, Dawnsveil, Within the Woods and Feuer! (Yes, the second one is Evil Dead 1 & 2.) Keep an eye out for those new domains, by the way… Also I continued a piece cut from my prior post. The Black Lanterns was part of my Shadow Fell to Planescape conversion concept from before.
“Sometimes, dead is better.”
In particularly cursed places, the very ground itself rebukes death and damns the souls of whoever is buried there. This could be from the sight of a great war, a disturbed burial grounds or more. No matter the case, the land is tainted. And for those who dare to gamble against the forces of life and death within these corrupted lands? They may become something equally as wicked.
In other cases, the world may just have stacked odds against the heroes. The world may be kept in the clutches of dark forces that conspire to corrode and twist all in their path. Malevolent entities are challenged by heroes of horror, those who take a stand against the darkness at all costs. They too may face trauma when losing an ally… and having them come back wrong.
Author’s Note: This RPG Blog Carnival post came out of a few things. In a game I was part of, the DM wanted to make resurrection a risk. In that world, that sort of art is lost and things tend to not work always right when this is tried. The idea was also going to be used in a Gothic Earth one-off I wanted to do at some point too… Plus, I watched the original Pet Sematary recently. So, here’s my revised take on risky resurrection!
Learn more about the October RPG Blog Carnival theme here!
Traveling at night on an unfamiliar path can prove to be particularly treacherous. Beyond the threat of bandits and wayward brambles lies the supernatural. Thick forests and foggy meadows often carry dark creatures lurking about. Ranging from the bothersome to the lethal, these dastardly foes take glee in anyone foolish enough to get lost at night, far off the beaten path.
Author’s Note: I’m trying to get some updates to old projects ready. New spells and monsters will hopefully be made available soon! In the meantime, I really wanted to make more monsters along my “lost on the road” theme. This time, I sample a mix of folk tales and horror movies.
The act of killing by itself is a heinous thing, something adventurers often have to cope with on a common basis. Often it’s self defense against monsters and bandits, other times it’s for more insidious reasons. Some snap amidst the violence, losing any attachment to empathy or reason. Such people degenerate into cold blooded killers, driven by the thrill of slaying whatever prey comes into their clutches. After a while, it becomes less about adventure and discovering lost treasure as it is an unrelenting bloodlust and hatred for all who oppose your goals.
This path of bloodshed and psychosis is a chilling and horrid one, the basis for many stories of terrifying villains and disturbed madmen. Much of the time, these evildoers prefer to scare their prey as much as possible before causing them to meet their untimely end. Such tactics are more than butchery and savagery, as the power of psychological terror is essential for weakening their foes. Often, they’ll do whatever to take away their power and isolate a target as much as possible, finding impossible ways to stalk them as well. And when all hope is lost, the killing strike is unleashed! Few have survived the wrath of a murderous maniac… and they usually die in the sequel anyway!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve rediscovered an awesome expansion for World of Darkness known as Slasher. It’s built on the Chronicles era Hunter game, in which Hunters succumb to their own inner darkness and become the very villains of horror cinema lore… essentially. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but whatever. Anyway, here’s a template that borrows heavily from slasher cinema, in an effort to translate the idea into D&D. Enjoy! (I might update with a “Supernatural Slasher” in the near future! Who knows?) Also, as for the picture? I’ve always loved this scene from the original Halloween. Something about that shot highlights a character’s seeming futile attempt to hide from a masked madman… and said murderous pushing into a claustrophobic space, where everything seems lost. Did I mention that movie is one of my all time favorite films?
Also, this one will probably be revised once I get more accurate math for this one, maybe swap out one thematic ability for another. I’ll see what people say first.
Hey, ghosts and ghoulies! Doc is back at it again! This time around, I have an assortment of werebeasts at your disposal. The document includes new content including: a werebeast never posted on the blog, new NPCs inspired by each animal stock, cleaned up versions of two previously existing sub-classes and more!
You may find the document HERE!
While not fallen knights, these are holy warriors who have fallen on hard times none the less. Certain orders of the paladin are not seen as the high and mighty crusaders of justice and good, but a necessity for dealing with evil… while preventing troubles members from falling themselves. Many of the more righteous minded are uncomfortable around such types, as they tend to be far more dour, jaded and even looking they have the life taken out of them.
For many their path is seen as one of ultimate damnation, getting too close to that which they fight… or at the very least, losing sight of what’s worth fighting for. Among their darker orders, they are the realists, the last line of defense, those who know too much about their enemy and the like. Only a fool would turn down the aid of a dark oath member. These crusaders are typically infiltrators, veterans, lore keepers and specialists against specific threats. This of course assumes that suspicion doesn’t lead to their banning or worse.
Author’s Note: While these sub-classes are meant to be neutral/anti-heroes, they could be twisted into alternative options for Fallen/Oath Breaker Paladins. All in all, I wanted these sub-classes to convey an almost gothic theme, alongside other inspirations. Furthermore, I really wanted to experiment with these sub-classes, totally overhauling my original ideas for the “Oath of Blasphemy” and the “Oath of the Cynic”. However, these sub-classes could easily fit vibes like Mythos Cultists, Instruments of Chaos and Trickery (i.e. Loki, Tzeentch, Cyric), Corrupt Clergymen, Fanatical Crusaders, agents of the Shadowfell or even servants of a less malicious God of Death (i.e. Wee Jas, The Raven Queen, Kelemvor, Anubis, etc).
Welcome back, my cultists. Back for more horrors from beyond the void and beyond reason? I’m more than happy to provide. Here are some classic creatures, as seen in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Be sure to check out my other post about Lovecraft inspired monsters from last week. They’re updated versions of earlier posts on my blog. While they needed a new coat of paint, I’ve been eager to bring them up to date. And, if this proves popular, I might continue to bring Lovecraftian monsters into D&D 5th Edition… Hell, I might compile them for DM’s Guild or the like.
As for using the content in other worlds, the easiest solution is The Far Realm, a weird demiplane just outside of reality that has been messing with the multiverse since late 2E! Barring that, there’s always the classic method of weird and aberrant things in dungeons and the underground depths (like the Underdark). And with that, here is my take on The Deep One, the Nightgaunt, the Mi-Go and the Shoggoth.
Stories of monsters changes through the ages, adapt to different societies and views. Some tales and creatures alike die out, while new ones are born. These can be from new developing trends or even tragedies. Wherever they’re spawned from, their dastardly ways will terrorize much like their predecessors before them.
In a world closer to our own, when the stories truly connect to us on some level, we truly begin to think about it… and when we dwell on the thought, then we get scared. This is the true effect of horror. Now please, look behind you so we can be properly acquainted…