“Some trails are happy ones, Others are blue. It’s the way you ride the trail that counts, Here’s a happy one for you. Happy trails to you, Until we meet again. Happy trails to you, Keep smiling until then. Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather. Happy trails to you, Until we meet again.”
– A local favorite song written by a traveling group of musicians, known to many saloons across the frontier.
Sure, tomes and bestiaries aren’t as easy to come by out west. But, plenty of folks are filled with tall tales and plenty are still recorded in a helping of journals and logs. These stories might some day become traditions, passed down to both entertain and frighten listeners. But beware, many of these tales are quite true. They exist as warnings to watch your back and that your fear of the dark is probably a legitimate one! And sure, lots of the local tunes folks write are pretty cheery, but that’s just a means of keeping people with it. Now, when you have outsiders start dying off by the droves? They’ll either make songs to mourn you or outright mock you. The western frontier is a harsh place, the residents are almost as harsh as the monsters.
Author’s Note: Outside of a tie-in here or there, I’m gonna wind down on the weird western content as the summer begins to close. Of course, I’m down for going a bit longer, having the more traditional gothic wait till the Fall (or as I call it, “Halloween season”)! Either way, this is the last of my weird western (or rather, Weird America) monsters for now. I’ll have a few more in the future, in other posts… probably.
What a wild night I had. I got kicked outta Wicker Valley by a bunch of complainers, stumbled drunk in the desert, was chased by giant wolves and met the most beautiful wandering honey! She took me to some big tent or whatever, gave me the best boozy juice I’ve ever had. When I came to in the morning, I was face down right outside of this town. Lucky break, huh? Granted, my ears and nose look a bit weird and I look a bit mangy. Must have been out of my mind for weeks, but my luck got me to survive! Anywho, you want some info on the weird critters I stumbled upon? I got a whole notebook’s worth! – Rowan T. Jammerson, Cursed-Human Maverick Rogue
All sorts of incredible things lie in the reaches beyond the boom towns, outposts and whatnot. Some might be potential allies, while most will kill you for survival’s sake. And, the farther from main parts of civilization you go, the lower your likelihood for survival is. The wilds sports a wide variety of strange flora and fauna alike, some with minds all their own.
Author’s Note: Originally, this was supposed to be a conversion of Spellslinger. That fell through. So, that’s pretty much it for my take on Spellslinger related content, unless there are requests for more NPCs based on the Brands and the like. By the way, keep an eye out for more weird western creatures, as well asa few conversions from other games.
“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.
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.
While not fallen knights, these are holy warriors who have fallen on hard times none the less. Certain orders of the paladin are not seen as the high and mighty crusaders of justice and good, but a necessity for dealing with evil… while preventing troubles members from falling themselves. Many of the more righteous minded are uncomfortable around such types, as they tend to be far more dour, jaded and even looking they have the life taken out of them.
For many their path is seen as one of ultimate damnation, getting too close to that which they fight… or at the very least, losing sight of what’s worth fighting for. Among their darker orders, they are the realists, the last line of defense, those who know too much about their enemy and the like. Only a fool would turn down the aid of a dark oath member. These crusaders are typically infiltrators, veterans, lore keepers and specialists against specific threats. This of course assumes that suspicion doesn’t lead to their banning or worse.
Author’s Note: While these sub-classes are meant to be neutral/anti-heroes, they could be twisted into alternative options for Fallen/Oath Breaker Paladins. All in all, I wanted these sub-classes to convey an almost gothic theme, alongside other inspirations. Furthermore, I really wanted to experiment with these sub-classes, totally overhauling my original ideas for the “Oath of Blasphemy” and the “Oath of the Cynic”. However, these sub-classes could easily fit vibes like Mythos Cultists, Instruments of Chaos and Trickery (i.e. Loki, Tzeentch, Cyric), Corrupt Clergymen, Fanatical Crusaders, agents of the Shadowfell or even servants of a less malicious God of Death (i.e. Wee Jas, The Raven Queen, Kelemvor, Anubis, etc).
I made a slight addition to my supply of Lovecraft inspired monsters, after there was request for more! Plus, I ran out of time on the other post and wanted to squeeze one more nasty thing in there. Here is the Gug, the Elder Thing and the Ghoul. Please enjoy, don’t go insane though… like the last group.
Welcome back, my cultists. Back for more horrors from beyond the void and beyond reason? I’m more than happy to provide. Here are some classic creatures, as seen in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Be sure to check out my other post about Lovecraft inspired monsters from last week. They’re updated versions of earlier posts on my blog. While they needed a new coat of paint, I’ve been eager to bring them up to date. And, if this proves popular, I might continue to bring Lovecraftian monsters into D&D 5th Edition… Hell, I might compile them for DM’s Guild or the like.
As for using the content in other worlds, the easiest solution is The Far Realm, a weird demiplane just outside of reality that has been messing with the multiverse since late 2E! Barring that, there’s always the classic method of weird and aberrant things in dungeons and the underground depths (like the Underdark). And with that, here is my take on The Deep One, the Nightgaunt, the Mi-Go and the Shoggoth.
“How could such an environment lead to this? Is this a dragon? It barely seems to qualify. Unlike others, it shoots a strange, destructive light from its mouth… It baffles the mind.”- From the journal of a traveling scholar.
Star Dragons, born from the deep cosmos, are a rare draconic breed. Some think they are crossbred between a true dragon from another realm and something truly alien. Others believe that they are another reality’s manifestation of dragon. They could very well be an evolution of primordial energy from the distant depths, gaining awareness as it gained form. None the less, such a creature is capable of unleashing a fearsome power that is true to their kind. Unlike any element, they can release a matter consuming light. Few are sure if it is a kind of radiation, a laser beam or something else entirely. On top of that, it is said that they hold the ability to phase through reality and travel among the stars themselves.
Those who have encountered them have either contended with a brutal foe or an incredible ally. Indifferent to plights, powers and people; the star dragons prefer to distance themselves from conflict. But, if one is convinced to aid, they will become an invaluable source as long as there’s something in it for them. In fact, they’re more likely to remain away from plane jumpers and ships alike. Those who interact with such travelers always have a personal agenda in mind. Despite this, they are not typically egoistic, as they often have a communal aspect to them. They travel the stars in pods, similar to whales in the sea, doing all they can to prevent anyone from falling behind in the galactic reaches. Protection of clan and extended family is an important virtue for such creatures.
Author’s Note: I wanted to do a little bit more with my list of classic D&D monsters ported over into the realms of science fiction… Well… science-fantasy. Will these manifest in something else at one point? Most likely, yes! Anyway, here’s my take on a cosmic dragon that was scrapped from last week’s post due to time. Also, I’m going to be taking a little break from planar/science-fantasy.
The hustle and bustle of the market gives way to something you’ve seen before. Ahead lies a familiar tent and sitting underneath is a figure wearing spacefaring gear over robes. Their head tilts in your direction, acknowledging your presence and expecting reaction. Upon getting closer, the creature straightens its back as it lifts from the ground with seemingly little effort. Facing you, they extend a cloth covered arm in greeting, it is Zam’dul the Plane Traveler. The thick breathing from a chamber in his mask lightens up as you can hear sounds like a throat being cleared.
“Hail, friend! It has been a while, has it not? Please, do not shy away. Since your last visit, I have procured many new items from the distant cosmos and beyond. I open my collection for you, if you can handle a potentially steep price.”
The dusty, wrinkled merchant shuffles over as an arm extends to highlight various wares. Much like before, you bare witness to a wide variety of truly odd looking crafts and artifacts. Some resemble items you’ve seen in your travels, others are far too alien for you to fully comprehend. Zam’dul surveys the crowd while ringing a strangely shaped bell, hoping to garner interest.
Author’s Note: We’re slowly closing out our planar theme for the time being. However, I figured it would be fun to return to another installment of Bizarre Bazaars! This time, I’m going back to my roots and doing another planar theme, including the truly bizarre and perhaps even horrifying aspects of the planes. But, if you wanted normal items, you wouldn’t have come here. As a bonus, I’ve converted over some items from Planescape Torment. No matter, take it away, Zam’dul.