Unification. Usually, this concept is seen as a positive. Coming together for a common cause. However, not all things use it for the betterment of all life. Some use it for the betterment of themselves, sometimes to literally propagate themselves; an all out cosmic domination campaign. For survivors sane enough to resist its curse, they will recant tales of an entity more than capable of unraveling all reality… and rebuilding it in a gruesome image.
Despite hailing from some alien dimension, accessed through planar loopholes and demiplanes, this entity is not driven by chaos or randomness, as we might assume. Scholars believe that this thing has taken interest in our takes on law, order and of course unity. However, it strives to perfect it. To material plane minds, the result is a sickening perversion that inspires madness and revulsion.
Author’s Note: The culmination of all sorts of cosmic and body horror. Here are a few powerful creatures that could make for some truly horrifying end game baddies, short of an elder god itself. Mix a little Dark Souls, Halo, Innistrad and Warhammer 40K and you have these abominations. Also, I realized that my homage to Hanweir is quite similar to Kor-Artificer’s. Great minds think alike, I guess. Either way, I can certainly say that I’ve created one of he most horrifying things I can imagine. All for a part of the Unity!
The monthly market at Granite Well Station’s market is rich with life as it always is. Amateur crafters alongside trade professionals, artisans both local and well out of region, even a few arcanists willing to share a secret or two. Among the oddest is that “metal head” fellow who just showed up at the last minute. He calls himself “Zam’dul”, sounds like some really far eastern name. Either way, he has a haul of junk to investigate. It’s all pretty odd stuff, I have a feeling he’s making dirty money on pick-pocketed goods, but that’s just me. – Constable Taranath Glistendawn, long time officer of Granite Well; a town known for its eponymous well, where an evil creature was thwarted decades ago.
The Granite Well Station sports a diverse rummage sale and market at the start of the month. As far as flea markets go, Zam’dul is no stranger to this. While a somewhat dusty, but sprawling city space; it already sports a diverse array of fascinating vendors to choose from. To compete, Zam’dul only brings the most fascinating odds and ends from around the world. As always, he promises quite the show!
Author’s Note: Zam’dul travels to a city anew! Since I’ve been doing a fair share of player options as well as monsters, why not items as well? Like before, they have a gothic, victorian, western, dime novel or relate theme to them. In addition, I wanted to add some more gun augmentations.
“Why do they always faint when they see me?”
The streets are seemingly cast in a dark and gloomy shade among the lit up lamps. Flittering insects cast sinister shadows on the cobblestones below. However, the chill down your back is far from a winter wind. You feel it, don’t you? A cross between a clacking of razor blades upon your coat mixed with the sharp feeling of exposure to ice. It’s right behind you. As to what it is? You dare not find out, but your doom is likely spelled out for you, regardless. Before you can react, the words, “I have use for you” buzz in your mind before all turns to black.
Author’s Note: Weird Western stuff is fun, but it’s only a single flavor of the Gothic. I’ve always been one for horror in an urban environment, such as jolly old London. Plus, I wanted to switch gears to something a little more traditional D&D. Also, I was really eager to bust out some references to Castlevania! (Yes, most of them are Symphony of the Night.)
“The vast frontier. It’s a place of wonders, of possibility, of a quick and easy death! Don’t let the charms of a free and open land fool you, traveler. It’s a killer place out there. But, the market’s wide open for the taking if you know where to look. There’s a lot of devils in mortal skin looking to sell you a miracle tonic or a little company. If you’re smart, you’ll keep your wallet hidden and find a way to pull a fast one of your own. Or if you’re stuck in the wastes beyond town? Best pack well and ready more than one gun. You don’t know if it’s a pair of fangs or a bandit’s gun that will do you in out there. Of course, you can always drink and gamble your troubles away with us, stranger! We don’t cause much harm, mostly to ourselves… The ladies of the tavern are good at taking care of ya though. Or if you prefer, there’s a handful of men who are good companions too. I’m not just saying that as a recurring patron, either…”
-Rowan T. Jammerson, Human Maverick Rogue, drunken troublemaker, despised wandering womanizer, bastard son of Ex-Mayor Jammer J. Spellman, denizen of the town of Cactus Sting.
Whether in the “civilized” frontier or the badlands beyond, tons of terrors walk the weird western soil. From bandits beyond the grave to massive parasites that love the smell of gold, settlers and pioneers have more than their fair work cut out for them. Even the native locals are wise to keep away from many dangerous lands. And for a good trade, they might even be willing to disclose such information.
Author’s Note: Most of this comes from a mostly forgotten mini d20 setting that is chock full of cool inspiration! Spellslinger was part of the Horizon line by Fantasy Flight Games, who are mostly known for board games. Horizon was a series of D20 books that twisted the system into various new forms, continued through Legends and Lairs. These books allowed for play in steampunk, mecha, horror, weird western and other genres and were all around a good find! Sadly, they’re a bit rare. However, one need not obtain the books to enjoy these monsters. Also, I twisted around some of the magical “brands” into NPC monsters of their own… twisted versions of the old player options, if you will. Look out for a handful of other references too!
You can also find a variety of NPCs at your disposal over on this page.
“You’re just in time for our weekly Necronomicon Study! Sit down, have a glass of kool-aid.”
The concept of death inspires some of the oldest fears known to civilization. The end of life, the end of all we have worked for. The finality to our existence. While many fear death, the idea of undeath proves to be far more horrifying to many. The idea of losing ones self, the very essence, coming a shriveled shell that exists as a mockery of its former self. These are the fears of the undead. For that reason and more, they are a menace to civilization on the average.
Why are the undead are considered a menace to the living? For a variety of reasons, of course. Many of these reasons derive from ethics over necromancy, while others are because of their often destructive ways. None embody the latter more than a secretive cabal known simply as “the entropic gloom”. This quasi-religious order is dedicated to eradication of the living, assimilating them into the ranks of the dead. The reasons for this? Cloaked in shadow, much like themselves. It could be out of contempt for the living, some utopian ideal of unity or perhaps even a penchant for heinous acts of violence. While much of the ranks of this cult are typical undead, some have been transformed into truly incredible servants of dread forces.
Author’s Note: I loving making undead nasty nasties! This is no surprise, for those who know me well enough… So with that, here’s an assortment of living dead monsters to torture your players with. After reading up on monstrous synergy via Tome of Foes, I’ve plucked a few ideas to boot! Also, priest characters, you’re gonna have a bad day.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe
Beyond the realm of Khorvaire lies many horrible things. Some exist upon the Prime Material Plane, while others are haunted remnants of old conflict. The wasteland of Cyre lures curious onlookers hoping to know more of the Last War. An empire of the undead waits patiently while assembling its forces. A deadly draconic power below prepares for an onslaught like none have seen. However, these threats and more are far more terrestrial. Within the realms of a sleeping mind lies a gateway into a dark unknown. It is here that the Mi-Go flutter, elementals of dream gather and the Quori plan their dreadful deeds.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I love Eberron… a lot! Now, I wasn’t the first to convert some monsters over to 5E and I won’t be the last! Given my posts about dream-related content, it’s likely Dal’Quor content will show up in something else if Eberron isn’t unleashed to the public any time soon. So as always, continue to divine in the realm of dream and you too might learn a thing or two. For more dream wandering content, check out The Dreamlands tag.
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.