I LIVE… AGAIN!

“Open for Business!”

So, what gives? I vanish from you fine people for a long time with barely a word.  Well, I owe at least some explanation.  In short, things have not been exactly exemplary, tearing me away from creative stuff.  Lots of personal problems I may divulge in another post.  On top of that, being hardcore burned out on D&D has made things a bit rougher in general.  Either way, I’m back with a bit of an announcement.  Without telling you too much about my life, things have been a bit hectic during my semi-hiatus from the page here.  But, I’ve still kept busy with at least something.  

So with that, I’d like to inform that my contribution for Threshold Magazine is nearing completion.  The theme?  More victims of the Dark Powers hailing from the world of Mystara.  Read the frantic notes of the Black Rajah of Jaibul as he tries to make sense of his own situation.  Dare to seek more on other prisoners of the mists, even a word on Meredoth of Nebligtod!  While two of these domains are based on previous creations seen on my blog, this article expands a little on Vasfar and Ylar.  Joining them is a domain that connects to the mysterious pocket domain of Acotlaza.  This is the Scarred Crags, a mockery of Tiger Clan attempts to conquer their siblings of the Atruaghin Clans.  While the themes of fighting lycanthropy, colonization and oppression are no strangers to the Demiplane of Dread, hopefully this new Darklord’s pain pleases the Dark Powers.  And likewise, I hope that those reading this are just as eager as I am to make some more mad creations for the Demiplane of Dread.  Should things prove popular enough, this might continue.  Beyond Threshold, I might make a follow-up for Fraternity of Shadow’s Quoth the Raven or perhaps Threshold once more.  Likewise, musings on converting Ravenloft content to BECMI.  The Darklords and related creatures get only minimal mechanical considerations in the current article though.  In the meantime, the mists are parting once more and something dark lingers nearby.

Burn out never, Steam Forever – More Steamspace

The Aftermath by RhysGriffiths on DeviantArt

Steamspace, that which holds the greatest minds in the greatest crystal sphere.  Should you seek glory, invention and the power of a new age; Steamspace is for you.  Consult with the Steam Corps Recruitment Agency, found next to Lorenzo’s Museum of Wildspace Weaponry.
– From a flyer posted around The Rock of Bral

Steamspace is an odd land of many extremes.  There are miniature worlds with diametrically opposed harsh weather.  There are havens for artifice, but one of the most hostile refuges of nature found in the multiverse.  Ideal landscapes for urban empire exist in some realms, such as the Moon of Victoriana or the world of Valiance.  For the rest, it is a testament to ingenuity and innovation; powers of arcane engineering battling the deadliest that nature and the supernatural have to offer.  Beyond deserts of sand, icy tundras, wastelands under darkness and strange seas of green; there are other perils too.  Shadowy drow conspire while ancient elves channel forces of the light.  Battles still wage for the powers of lightning to some day overthrow dependence on steam.  Many mysteries line the sphere too.  The most advanced of the people here are actually ancient tribes that once belonged to a unified world, long blown up by mysterious tragedies.  Numerous societies hoard secrets on the creation of deadly weaponry that could risk annihilation of whole regions.  Many hide the literal deeper layers and depths to even their cities.  None the less, this does not dissuade brave souls looking to reinvent both themselves and reality around them.  Should success come to all and peace ring true, then there is hope for these wondrous creations to spread to the multiverse.

Author’s Note: One more for Steamspace!  Yes, I realize that Bashar and Destiny Expanse are getting a fair bit here.  Beyond that, references to silent horror cinema, Stephen King and various dystopian fiction.  Just because I’m not letting this get too dark doesn’t mean I won’t stuff plenty in there.

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Spelljammer’s Steamspace – Light and Dark

Take heed, mighty explorer!  Danger is afoot!  Always prepare!

Free D&D playtest hints that Spelljammer reboot is on the way - Polygon

You are among the brave few, those who readied themselves for the great journey into a breathtaking new world, one of many that swarm around the very source of much great power.  The Steam Titan, as many call it, as a colossal body that anchors the many sites we aim to use for our cause.  Far from alone, there are others like us who remain friendly for now.  Likewise, other beings have existed on the micro worlds far before us.  Tread lightly and with caution.  For the environments beyond and their lifeforms?  Steady and prepare.  A carefree adventurer is a dead adventurer.  The Queen’s Voyage Adventure Charter will explain more.  Please report to them post-haste.

Author’s Note: Obligatory Victorian steampunk, almost arbitrary…  Likewise, far more grimdark steampunk, because that’s really the only way I like the genre.  Though, not enough look at over industrialization, to complete “Victorian High Tech, Low Life”.  Well, here’s a continuation of my mess.  Why am I tying all of these things into Spelljammer?  I’m not sure.  At least steampunk isn’t super trendy anymore, if I wanna be all hipster about it.

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Planes of Terror and Madness: Dark Shadows of the Wheel

Some mad scholars and greybeards speak of the Demiplane of Dread in hushed whispers. But, this is not the only accursed place to float within the Wheel. No. Other planes have been covered, including rather lightly from Ramon the Planes Chronicler. But, his information is too sparse to be helpful to many. I, a humble scribe assisting “The Narrator” shall regale you with wonders and horrors alike. Know that the planes isn’t just dangerous at times, it’s an unending nightmare.  Prepare to never wake up again and let us continue our journey.

Author’s Note: Happy Halloween from The Planes!  I figure it’s time to mix things up.  So, RavenScape madness continues as I also look at nightmares of the Great Wheel both canonical and fanon.

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Rumors in Mists, Endless Whispers

skulls | Skeleton art, Art, Skull art

Autumn harvest draws towards a close as the heat dies down.  A dull wind wraps along the lands, bringing in disquieting eeriness and a spine-chilling cold.  The time of phantoms returns, as the bridge between worlds living and dead lowers once again.  This is a time when spirits observe our realm, or so the stories say.  Those within Darkon are clever enough to document and comment on such things.  You would be wise to as well.  Beware, for upsetting the souls of the damned is a fool’s task!

Author’s Note: Whispers of secrets always travel the mists, at least as long as I can think of cool characters and places.  Also, more Prisoners of the Mists references.  Likewise, my homage to the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.  On one more note, please pardon the previous post, I was on vacation and was very tired.  Hopefully, all of the goodies in here make up for it.

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Within Doors of Darkness Everlasting – Misty Prisons within a Misty Plane

Horror House by Metalius666 on DeviantArt

Dare you seek shelter in places where solace cannot be found?  They have roofs and walls, but they are not homes.  They are prisons all their own, where cries of horror and derangement mix with the maniacal methods of their overseers.  Enter through these doors and never leave, for your caretakers have other plans for you now.  Below are a few buildings designed to ensnare, persecute and afflict.  They are not prisons in the traditional sense, but the dark powers have a habit of changing all to accommodate the punishment of another.  Some existed prior, such as a place of holy contrition and a house of state security.  Others came about as domains are built from a darklord’s sins or as a consequence of them.

Author’s Note:  This one slides a bit into mature content, warranting a word of warning.  As it is, one of the domains was built on a dare to make something quite disturbing.  It is disturbing.  Is it wholly original?  Not really, it’s basically The Golden Cat from Dishonored meets dark aspects of Planescape and Ravenloft; plus the House of Lament.  Will I use it for something?  I don’t really know, but it’s now a piece of the Demiplane either way.  Likewise a few other things slide well into proper Ravenloftian grimdark.  Debauchery, zealotry and totalitarian horror await.  For what it’s worth, more Planescape and Mystara references are here as well.  And while I’m at it, very very few WotC-era references, hehe.  But, even if this version is slightly tamed down, some viewer’s discretion is advised.

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Conspiracies and Terrors of Wildspace and More

I realize that my lesson started and shifted a but abruptly.  But, you seek the worst and weirdest that arcane space has to offer.  Why would I slouch on a golden opportunity to explain all that is delightfully dooming in the stars beyond?  Ah, yes.  Do stop me at any moment.  As much as I relish spreading nightmares, it could be bad for the tutoring contract.  So, young one, let us talk particular subjects involving space today.  After all, fear not when being taught by the famous Jermaine the Arcane.  I always provide means of rescue advice.

Author’s Note: Spelljammer, at last!  All the same, October kinda of usurped a bit of that.  And so with that, have some RavenJammer!  Likewise, conspiracies and mysteries within the setting too.  Also, the largest heresy to the alternate cosmologies, they’re just Crystal Spheres with Planar elements…  Don’t be mad at me!  Plus hey, I love a good conspiracy angle, the retcon fits the Great Wheel and its many mysteries to some extent.  Primers be damned!  (But, mostly Clueless.)

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Grim Rumors Eternal – More Ravenloft Plots and Places

The Darkness lasts forever!  Don’t think the Light is still your friend though.

Author’s Note: Mystaran homage, more lands based on Philippine folklore, more on the undead of Rockbaecche and a native of Kalidnay experiencing Abaddon.  Also, two more references to the excellent Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  If you love the Campaign Setting, it’s one of the best sources that keeps it alive.  Also, I’m aware that referencing Abrahamic religion in D&D is controversial, but thanks to Prisoners of the Mist, it could be a fascinating thing to examine in brief.  I should really pick that up again, it was good fun.

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Gazing upon a Misty Void

TAE _ - Sea Zombie-2

“This is the Alleigosto Exploration Team, is anyone out there?  Anyone on the Cog Auditory-Wave Line, please respond!  We are lost on the Ichthyan Sea.  We’ve observed and overheard terrible creatures.  Send help immediately.  These waters are dangerous, arm yourselves by all means.  I repeat, arm yourselves.  Air waves will remain open, in hopes of response.” – The distress signal of Her Heavenly Embrace, sunken wreck

It is time once again to gaze into the mists and see what gazes back.  I bring you tales and people traversing the mists, woes of the occult, crime never paying, schemes of a warmonger and rising spirits assembling a demonic gallivant.

Author’s Note: More ambitious conquering for Drakov, Victorian spiritualism, Japanese ghosts and more on a thieves haven homage to Yojimbo.  That is what to expect from this post!  Also, I know I’ve griped about it before, but I feel like I should cover and flesh out my own worlds.  I don’t really want to play D&D anymore, even though I like pondering about the settings.  It’s this weird paradox for me.  I have more posts I want to do, so we’ll see how quick I can get over this funk.

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Further Glimpses Upon The Mists

Tristram In Skyrim - A Homage To Diablo -- Project Shelved at Skyrim Nexus  - Mods and Community

Problems, we all have problems.  Day to day life is riddled with them.  This is nothing to say of toils beyond town walls, behind closed doors and just outside of the naked eye.  There are things that bring deeper problems, rooted in our own deepest fears.  Attempts to banish them are fool’s errands, adaptation and readiness is a more apt truth.  So, do not fear the problems of what lies beyond, but prepare.  The darkness always lingers and waits, so too must you.

Author’s Note: My continued take on Eberron meets Ravenloft, more Thief love, More BLOOD inspiration in the multiverse, ongoing agonies of new domains and more.

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