May 2018 RPG Carnival – What Scares You?

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Heya, Doc here!  I wanted to do a slight change of pace from the norm.  In support of a theme I have been waiting to look into for a while, here is a sampling of creatures based on fears that I’ve come across at some point in my life.  Now, which ones genuinely effect me?  I’d rather not say.  But, here are some creepy critters inspired by various existing bits from the D&D multiverse as well as my own twisted psyche.

If you wanna jump on board this month’s theme, the theme is “What Scares You?”  Read on here!

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Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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Bizarre Bazaar – Beyond the Infinite Staircase

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Even during your travels through the rather alien hub known as Sigil, your eyes latch onto a few familiar sights; goods and magicks from your prime material, creatures and cultures you have encountered in your travels and one very familiar and eager merchant that seems to follow you wherever you go.  Zam’dul too has seemed to appear in this fantastical city of doors.

“Hoohoohoo, traveler!  Zam’dul knows you to be an excellent customer!  Fear not, there is no stalking happening here, but simply travel to the places that adventurers go to!  As always, wares find their way to Zam’dul and prices remain fair.  Plus, a rather intriguing guild known as “The Fated” seem to have Zam’Dul’s interests in mind, should ruffians appear.  In the meantime, please sit upon a meditative cushion.  It is fluffed for long term discussions over philosophies and trading.”

Author’s Note: Magic items are always fun to make.  In fact, they might be the most fun thing for me to make.  So simple, yet there’s potential to create truly fantastical things!  Read onward and continue your adventure.

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Gloomy and Gothic Story Hooks

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.

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Lovecraftiana – More Items & Monsters from the Cthulhu Mythos

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Upon a distant plateau lies foul denizens of Leng.

While many horrors beyond our reaches have found their way into the material, other things creep into reality and bring chaos with them in more subtle ways.  Some lurk just beyond the veil, while others find others to do their bidding.  Whether they seek to destroy us or take over, eldritch powers are slowly becoming more pronounced.  It is unlikely that we’ll ever be ready for them. – Finnemin Cobblertoe, Halfling Archivist

Author’s Note: I wanted to make another contribution to the December ’17 blog carnival.  So, true to Doc tradition, here’s some more H.P. Lovecraft creations for 5E!  You can find more cosmic horrors throughout my blog via relevant tags like ‘lovecraft‘ and ‘cthulhu mythos‘.  Read more about the RPG Blog Carnival Blog here.

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Murderous Maniac – A Slasher Villain Template

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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.

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Therianthropes! – A Collection of Werebeasts for D&D 5th Edition

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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!