More Misty Rumors

Thief 3: Deadly Shadows", full walkthrough + 100% loot, Mission 1 -  Checking Inn, Cashing out - YouTube

 

“Don’t worry, I have more to offer. After all, this trade appeases my true master. So, just as before, present your trade.”

Rustling into your pockets, you feel crumpled pieces of parchment, a cold sweat drips from your fingers to nearly stain the hidden papers. You realize what else you can offer, things far more taboo than prior offerings. Hesitant, you remove your clenched hand to reveal more documents. The scribe taps his fingers, quietly chortling to himself in dark glee.  “Ah, now there we go.  I’m a man of my word.  When you deliver good content, I will supply far more.  Ready yourself, more things we prepare for here within our great Darkon.”

Author’s Note: My first set of rumors and happenings were enjoyed, let me craft some more.  For the time being, there is no marked time on the Barovian Calendar.  As an aside, this isn’t my first reference to the Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  My hints of Gundarakite rebellion took notes from there too.  I should really get back into that, it was good fun!

Continue reading

Monsters of even more Forbidden Realms (Raven-scape Monsters Part 2)

15 Best Cosmic Horror Movies Inspired By Lovecraft | Cultured Vultures

You awaken to find yourself chained against a damp and musty cave wall.  What you see before you was likely once a man, but his flesh sways and twitches in ways not befitting a natural creature.  As he glances at you, several copies of his face seem to project, as if to magnify his speech. Multiple uncanny smiles form in disjointed succession, as the space-warped thing speaks.

“You thought you escaped?  What a foolish notion!  The Mists are eternal and you are a puppet!  A wise adventurer would best research on things that dwell in darkness, lest they be another story of the Dark Powers.  In the end, you are all the same.  But, a fighting chance is too irresistible to ignore.  So, fight on and fight well, mortal.  If you were wiser, you could have read onward about the awful things that sprawl and crawl.  I was once like you, but then I was chosen to be beyond human.  The cosmic eternity takes the worthy, granting them a new story.  But first, allow me to do the honor of ending yours.” 

Shadowy projections of his hand reach over, to simply touch your forehead.  Protrusions and mockeries of the flesh extend from the tainted thing’s arm.  The mass plants itself upon your head, as you feel its horrid pull.  The force of a thousand realities tries takes your essence.  All goes black, the alien void has won.

Author’s Note:  I had more planned, I just wanted to space them out instead of cram it all into one post.  I’m still pondering where to go next.  But, the Stars are Right for… something.  And yes, The Thing was one of the inspirations behind The Paradox.  But, how would you conduct a blood test for it?

Continue reading

Blackmoor Week 2020: Blackmoor, Into the Future

https://daemonsanddeathrays.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/8b57f-blackmoorweekbanner2020.jpg

Blackmoor week celebrates the birth of Dave Arneson and his creation of the Blackmoor setting.  As the co-founder of the game and other grandfather of roleplaying games, he deserves some love as well, hence this week on the web.  You can click the image above to see more of what Blackmoor Week has to offer.  But, should you be interested in my own mad ramblings and homages to Arneson’s setting and beyond, do continue here as well!  Doc’s Laboratory awaits!

Since its inception, there have been a number of iterations of the lands of Blackmoor.  The ones most tied to Arneson were the first and last incarnations.  And to an extent, even the alteration into Mystara’s history counts.  My experience with Blackmoor started mostly with the final versions, the 3rd edition and 4th edition source books provided by Zeitgeist Games at the time.  While I knew it was put into the distant past of The Known World and beyond, I never had a chance at the Mystara friendly version of it for a while.  None the less, I favor a blend of the classic vision with the Mystaran one.  It even factored into a game friends took part in long ago.  Said game was a multiple campaign arc in Mystara, with tons of crazy time travel and other antics with reality.  The last game ended after our travels back and forth into Blackmoor’s history.  For numerous games, we were called to deal with progressively evolving threats in the kingdom-turned-empire.  However, our final threat was something we weren’t prepared for, a Blackmoor in the modern age.  Sadly, the campaign ended as we caught a glimpse of an imposing and bleak city over the horizon.  Mind you, this was during the days when many of us still thought Blackmoor would be fit in the Broken Lands, before we realized that later developments changed that.

This isn’t the end of Returned Blackmoor, just it in active campaign form.  Years and years passed, before the Mystara Reborn Facebook group became the encouragement I needed to give life back into this new Blackmoor.  With old notes in hand and scrambled bits from the rest of the old table, I cobbled together an image of what a Blackmoor might look like if it used time powers to survive its doom in the Mystaran world.  It turns out, having your land rotated into a frigid wasteland can massively throw one off.  This, combined with plague and political instability lead to a trusted member of the military staging a coupe and establishing a harsh dictatorship.  While the arcane-infused high technology of Blackmoor recovered and developed anew, the culture became far more stagnant and stale, as leadership forbid it to develop further.  As the decades passed since it leapt into the near-present, the leader began to lose a grip on reality as well as physical health.  Ultimately, he would become something of a quasi-undead cyborg, a major campaign reveal.  (A brain-in-a-jar piloting a robot body, a staple science fiction trope.)   Meanwhile, movements arise in the shadows to oppose him, some more extreme than others.  Other forces stir, many of which driven by wicked ends.  All sorts of enemies roam this new Blackmoor: wasteland raiders, rogue robots, mutant animalmen, atomic undead, acolytes of new dark Immortals or even the slumbering Egg of Coot!  Those are only a few examples.

Now, how does this involve the players?  Well, many games could involve them in the mayhem and wonder of this forbidden land.  For starters, they could help shape an uprising against the corrupt usurper state.  Heroes may choose to help remnants of the old ways help restore classic order within the realm.  They might consider radical change instead, favoring one of several other factions, ranging from reformists to new potential overlords.  They might even earn the trust of the regime and become ambassadors to the greater world.  Over time, the current ways of Blackmoor may become less extreme in their own way.  For the more Arneson approved old school experience, there are a number of dungeons both classic and infused with gonzo science-fantasy, even Castle Blackmoor has received modifications over the eons.  It seems with time that many of the kinks that caused Blackmoorian tech to go haywire are more properly ironed out too.  Or at least, more attention to potential sabotage.  Potential for larger plots exist too:  Blackmoor trying to integrate safely into the greater world, the Immortals having none of it and punting the land into the Hollow World (alongside the Blacklore Elves), a massive war risking a Greater Rain of Fire, the rise of a new Blackmoor Empire and much more.

To dive more into Returned Blackmoor, check out Threshold Magazine!  Issues 20, 22 and 26 (Coming Soon) have articles by me.

Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Order vs. Anarchy

Image result for AD&D cosmology

“Law and Chaos, two diametrically opposed sides, no one will refute this.  However, what oddities and secrets do they hold?  Why, I’m happy to show you.  While I have covered a little on Pandemonium and Acheron, it’s only fair to look at the other mostly-neutral planes of Law and Chaos… plus a few looks at other related realms, and a few returns to some less than savory burgs and blights.  But, all in the name of granting knowledge to you, fair scholar!” – An introductory speech for Ramon’s Lecture on Planes of Law and Chaos, at the Civic Festhall, in the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil

Planes of Law, rules taken physical form!  While Acheron has shown the order of war at its most harsh, there is far more to explore within the possibilities of Law.  One must account for concepts of atruism, unity, conformity and direction.  While these topics can overlap between planes; they all have their respective places.  Likewise, their inevitable counterpart is the eternal testament to disorder.  The Planes of Chaos are a lack of rules turned physical.  Chaos need not be just madness, like Pandemonium.  Plenty of free thinkers are driven by many other passions.  These don’t have to be completely selfish either.  Some people just want a good time, consequences be damned!  Others just want free reigns to express themselves, judgements be damned.  So, as these two forces butt heads, let’s take a deeper look at some overviews as well as some of my own dug up finds.  Join me as I return to the planes once again!

Author’s Note: More Planes!  This time Law vs. Chaos.  This was a fun chance to revisit my fey post from last Summer!  (Shout out to Brynvalk for partially inspiring this brief revival!) Also, yes, Augmental probably won’t see use in MOST sane campaigns, considering it’s supposed to be a blend of Phyrexia, Hellraiser and H.R. Giger art in a blender.  Though, I can hope some more tongue-in-cheek segments make up for my usual delves into grimdark.

Continue reading

ZOMBIES! – Variants of the Dead (Reanimated)

https://i2.wp.com/www.medievalarchives.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Knights_VS_Zombies.jpg

The living dead.  What brings about such perversions of life?  Rituals derived from dark sorceries imbue a dreadful force into corpses, creating a puppet bound in necromantic power.  These zombies are crafted by the spells and rituals of adept necromancers, aiming to create a slave or build an army.  Plagues created by the most vile of creatures corrupt and sicken victims, eventually overwhelming them and turning them into walking diseases of their own right.  These are often accidents, potentially prevented by proper preparation rather than giving into hysterical campaigns.  Even alien horrors have their means of parasitically bonding to a host, creating their own version of zombie.  Some of these victims aren’t just alive, they have some level of consciousness.  However, not all origins are evil.  Some were created as punishment at the hands of powerful spiritual priests.  However, the zombie created by necromancy is by far the most common sight.

No matter their sources, the terror of the zombie is a known one.  Shuffling corpses, either confused by their existence or enraged by it, find themselves at odds with the living.  Some of these abominations are at the whims of a mad master.  Others are distorted by outside forces, left to rampage against all in their wake.  And even worse, the zombie will never give up.  While it is devoid of emotion or any ideology, the zombie is relentless until it’s impossible for it to continue.  Some will fight until literally falling apart.  Converted into killing machines, these mockeries of life are a blight to all who are haunted by their presence.

Author’s Note: I’m back.  Pardon these disappearances.  Things have been a little rough, I’ll spare the details.  In addition, I haven’t been happy with a lot of things, hobbies included.  That’s made it a little harder to work on these posts.  Admittedly, one of things keeping me going is created content for settings that WotC has forgotten.  The people deserve to learn at least a little about these cool places!  Anyway, here’s my updated take on some variant zombies!  Ooooh, spooky!  Also, to the one of my friends who wanted me to tack on a tacky coronavirus reference on this?  You’re welcome.

Continue reading

November 2019 RPG Blog Carnival – Electronic Terrors

Image result for welcome to the survival horror

From thresholds and barriers, many terrible things break free to cause mayhem. Among them are things from a digitized and electronic world. These monsters may have strange origins, but the evils they unleash are no less dangerous.

Welcome to the realms of electronic terrors, creatures that originate from incredible devices known to some as “video games”. These creatures hail from a variety of supposedly fictional universes and realities, where they do all in their capacity to torture brave and cunning protagonists within a digital landscape. These tales may just be works of fiction, but they could very well be alternate worlds held back by a pixelated veil. Perhaps this could mean an expansive frontier within the Prime or perhaps a demiplane of its own.

Author’s Note: Another blog carnival post! This time, it’s a bunch of monsters from horror (or at least suspenseful/horror-related) video games! Yes, the Zombie Dog is a repost…

Continue reading

Bizarre Bazaar – Items of Castlevania (November 2019 Blog Carnival)

Image result for Netflix castlevania art"

As the fog begins to roll in, a comforting light barely breaches the blanket dead ahead.  A vardo wagon sits idly, alongside a crackling fire pit.  One lone man clad in ornate robes and a ceramic plate covering his head beckons you over.  His body language seems friendly, but he is clearly interested in business.  A quick wave of an arm showcases all means of strange and wondrous trinkets to behold.  The cloaked humanoid shape picks itself up, addressing the party, “Ah, well met!  All of you seek to fight off the legions of the damned?  Surely, you are in need of proper supplies.  You are fortunate to stumble upon this traveling merchant!”, hoarsely croaks the muffled shape through his sculpted helmet.

Author’s Note: While Castlevania is more action-horror, it’s still very much part of the history of horror gaming.  One could argue the early entries are a proto-survival horror too!  Plus, there’s the classic fiasco of Konami supposedly taking from TSR for their box art.  In general, Konami sucks and will probably always suck (unless some day they magically don’t), but we can still appreciate the classic franchise.  While this one focuses on the first game, fourth game and Symphony (because those are my favorites, I know… original); I might come back and do some items based on other titles at some point… not just the most popular ones.  So with that, here are a couple of items that pay homage to the franchise!  Enjoy and happy vampire hunting!  Also, I’m aware I reposted the solomon seal.

Continue reading

October 2019 RPG Blog Carnival – Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard!

https://66.media.tumblr.com/f094ac296113571a036d46bd62efd0c2/tumblr_o6ejkcDTnD1v8fyfwo1_1280.jpg

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.

Continue reading

Ramon’s Guide to The Mists

https://daemonsanddeathrays.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/5f28c-ravenloft.png

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.

Continue reading

Revenge of the Sheens – More Mechanical Horrors!

Revenge of the Sheen

“Metal things, metal things, why do you get in my way?  My favorite ditch, destroyed!  They ate my gold!  One of them stole one of my axes!  Tin can bastards are going in my book, my book of grudges!  Blasting that damned fox into near-dust was entertaining, but I still hate them!  Back to the chained islands with all of you!  A cursed land, of course it’s the place they crawled out of!  I’ll make them crawl back!” – Boron, Unhinged Dwarf Warrior/Rune-Crafter, “Ally” of Geber, survivor of The Massacre of Ignis

Lesser Sheen models have proved to be quite destructive.  However, far worse ones wait for their chance to strike.  Some seek to hack through organic like, while others harvest whatever secrets they have to further help the sheen agenda.  Their mechanical terror knows very few limits, expanding and changing at rapid rates.  In fact, new forms of sheen have emerged from their studies of the prime material plane itself.

Author’s Note: Here are the rest of the Sheens from both articles.  These baddies should prove to be far more formidable than the previous post, especially the massive power tree!  That’s an end campaign boss, more or less!  With the Sheen out of the way, I think I’ll slowly move towards my horror/dark fantasy theme I do every autumn.

Continue reading