Modern Masque of the Red Death – Some Horrors of Gothic Terra

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Here at the Hoffman Institute, we specialize in chronicling the strange, the distant, the shadowy.  Xenoforms and other horrors have found methods of breaching through thresholds and corrupting our very world.  Unless we’re prepared, a whole otherworld of monsters could bring Earth to its knees.  However, the future lies in both our veteran members as well as readied recruits.  Through honor, teamwork, diligence and knowledge; the forces of darkness will not prevail over the best humanity has to offer against evil.

We have a few notes from some upcoming assignments.  These will tell you what to look out for.  Above all, while protecting the public, we must keep these incidents secret.  We can’t let too much paranormal news get out to the public.  After studying these cases, be prepared to secure and contain the threads that they are attached to.  The Hoffman Institute is counting on you.  Best of luck.

Author’s Note.  So, some of the monsters here take inspiration from the previous post.  And no, I’m not trying to cheapen what I made before by giving creatures stats.  A few of these are directly tied to one ghost story, bu that’s okay.  Also, keep on the lookout for some more foes of gothic earth!  (A mix of Masque and D20 Modern inspiration.)

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Creatures of the Mists – Dark Denizens of the Domains of Dread

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“Chroniclers from “some outside world” kept babbling about Shadow Powers and Fell planes.  These people are fools.  They know not of the mists, they know not of true nightmares.  I live in them, just as I do in the rare dream.  Some day, our people might escape through these gates, through the endless worlds of dream and into paradise.  Perhaps these outlanders can take our place…  As far as I’m concerned, they don’t truly exist anyway.” – a rather rude Aabber Shaman of the Nightmare Lands, according to Ramon.

The Mists house many untold and unspoken evils and perils.  They’re usually the results of twisted minds and nefarious plots.  Some are just sad souls that have long since fallen from grace.  In more than one instance within the demiplane, some were merely evil souls from the beginning.  Such a twisted menagerie exists within the Domains, it’s a miracle that they haven’t escaped to torment the outside worlds.

Brace yourselves and survive the monsters of the night!

Author’s Note: While Ramon bumbles in Ravenloft, let’s bring in a mixture of classic monsters and some new creations!  Since I already have various Ravenloft critters in my Vampire and Were-beast books on DM’s Guild, I have not included them here.  Also, please pardon the rampant song references…

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Ramon’s Guide to The Mists

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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.

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Eerie and Sinister Monsters – Creatures of Dark Realms

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“Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper”

Many creatures were described in my previous travels.  It would be only fair to elaborate on them slightly.  Ready yourself for those who lurk in darkness and dread, friends!  Allow this small bestiary to inform you on the powers and potentials of these morbid friends and foes.  Or should this fall into more diabolic hands, beware of the heinous horrors that you so choose to wield.  Righteous comeuppance will likely find its way.

Author’s Note:  A companion piece to Ramon’s explorations!  Here are some monsters referenced in the post or in their respective planes and dimensions.  Enjoy!

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Ramon’s Guide to Places of Shadow and Sorcery

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“They’re already dead, they just don’t know it yet!”

Instead of a normal lecture, I figure I’ll just chronicle my own travels and recant later.  The realms of dream proved invigorating, mortifying, thrilling and so much more!  However, my desire for adventure has taken me to far more chilling places.  Lands of Death, Darkness, Disaster and so on!  As always, I am forever devoted to pursuits of knowledge.  And through my travels and magical catalogue of thoughts and sights, you too may travel with me to parts unknown and dreadful.  Should anything unfortunate happen to me, let this document be a word of warning!

Author’s Note: I did an old school reorganizing of 4e’s (and I guess 5e’s) Feywild, I figure it’s the Shadowfell’s turn.  Many of its ideas were appropriated from past sources already, so that makes things a little easier.  As for the other stuff?  Well, once again, time to improvise!  Also, keep an eye out for some crunch that relates to this post.

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Horrid Things From Beyond the Veil – Aberrant Evils

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Heroes of D&D meet their match!

Among the most foul creatures within the realms of D&D is the aberration.  Some hail these terrors of entities spawned from a distant realm unlike anything else; The Far Realm.  Others fear that they are perversions of our own reality, distortions that prove how horrible magic can truly be.  No matter the case, they lurk in dark shadows and hover beyond the veil, as the fabric of reality is slowly torn asunder.

Author’s Note:  I haven’t really tackled too many aberrations in a while.  Considering they’re among my favorite monsters, I need to fix that!  This time around, I have conversions of 3rd edition creatures, as well as some of my own creatures.  Star Vampires, Hulking Illithids, Dragon Illithids and one of the most nefarious parasites to show up in D&D!  Ready yourself for some truly menacing Elder Evils!

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More Creatures from the Planes Beyond

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Good crew.  I address you all because we are about to embark on a journey that is likely to rend your minds and tear at your souls, should you stop being pure of heart and sound of mind.  Stay close and my allies will protect you.  Tonight, we discover the source of the soul-draining plague!  We descend into the land of fire and fell sorcery, Gehenna! – Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.

The planes are ever rife with mystery and wonder, just as they are with conspiracy and horror.  And its inhabitants are equally curious beings, incarnate representations of the very domains, dimensions and demiplanes whence they came.  Many creatures are born with a purpose, while others came into being from circumstance.  A mixture of creatures of destiny and lost souls of chance.

Author’s Note: Plane-Jammer stuff is back!  This time, more monsters.  As always, I love coming up with all sorts of downright bizarre creatures to help and hinder your heroes.  This time, it’s one half trip to Wildspace, one half trip to The Bleak Eternity of Gehenna.

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