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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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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Revenge of the Sheens – More Mechanical Horrors!

Revenge of the Sheen

“Metal things, metal things, why do you get in my way?  My favorite ditch, destroyed!  They ate my gold!  One of them stole one of my axes!  Tin can bastards are going in my book, my book of grudges!  Blasting that damned fox into near-dust was entertaining, but I still hate them!  Back to the chained islands with all of you!  A cursed land, of course it’s the place they crawled out of!  I’ll make them crawl back!” – Boron, Unhinged Dwarf Warrior/Rune-Crafter, “Ally” of Geber, survivor of The Massacre of Ignis

Lesser Sheen models have proved to be quite destructive.  However, far worse ones wait for their chance to strike.  Some seek to hack through organic like, while others harvest whatever secrets they have to further help the sheen agenda.  Their mechanical terror knows very few limits, expanding and changing at rapid rates.  In fact, new forms of sheen have emerged from their studies of the prime material plane itself.

Author’s Note: Here are the rest of the Sheens from both articles.  These baddies should prove to be far more formidable than the previous post, especially the massive power tree!  That’s an end campaign boss, more or less!  With the Sheen out of the way, I think I’ll slowly move towards my horror/dark fantasy theme I do every autumn.

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Mage Vs. Machine – The Sheens

Todd Lockwood - Mech Hunter

Rumors tell of impossible machines, constructs built by the bashers of an exceptionally accursed prime space.  Such a place was long buried deep in the dead book by its own hubris and acceleration, despite the warnings of their Powers.  The barmies kept on going, crafting up one of the most heinous things to pollute the multiverse.  I speak of the Sheens.  Baator-fed buggers seem to self-replicate and thrive, despite attempts to wipe them out.  They’re not just constructs either, but true thinking machines!  They lack souls, but have the mind and bone-box alike to surpass most eggheads.  Needless to say, this place burned down hard.  The Land of Blackmoor was no more!  However, their creation escaped far beyond its Crystal Sphere and beyond.  So, go ahead and kill one, multiple will show up out of no where to take you down!  The Metal berks burnt my tail bad too! – Geber Reynardt, Kitsune Alchemist and Sensate, survivor of The Sheen Invasion of Ignis

Who says sci-fi and fantasy don’t mix?  It’s been a thing for decades, eons, at least a century!  Even in D&D, we’ve had all sorts of strange crossovers.  The aforementioned Blackmoor has been around since the beginning.  That setting was a somewhat dirty and gritty medieval world that contended with a crashed alien space ship.  The result was an AWOL officer starting an uprising with a “frog cult”, as well as the ship thrown into other forms of turmoil.  The end result of the mess caused Blackmoor to experience technological leaps before ultimately blowing itself up.

And in the case of the Sheen, one of my favorite articles from Dragon Magazine (complete with a follow-up), they’re very much science-fantasy too.  The articles tell of the sheen, a strange and mysterious menace.  These constructs were made by a society more advanced in technology and probably magic too.  Their genuine origins are a mystery to most, but their desire to consume and conquer makes them a massive threat.  Plus, they have numerous forms that can adapt to different situations.  And while the sheens tear through organic life, they don’t do so out of malice or hatred, but a survival for their own “machine kind”.  Fortunately, countless defenders have learned enough to fend them off and even reverse engineer some of their own contraptions too.  In a sense, think like Horizon Zero Dawn!

Author’s Note: This one has been a long time coming!  The Sheens are by far one of my favorite obscure D&D monsters (or set of monsters).  Beyond two magazine articles, there hasn’t been too much buzz around them.  Hopefully, I can help to change that!  Here’s the first part of that, with a mix of both articles.  Sure, I’ve made robots already, but I really love these ones too!  Plus, should I find the time, I might be interested in converting the Kits and Spells introduced by the article too… eventually… hopefully.

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Far Outsiders – More Cosmic Terrors

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Githyanki.  Like the Yuuzhan Vong, but not garbage

“So, you’re a fancy crew cruising around on your nice spelljammer.  And then all of a sudden, some ghost thing makes your captain go mad and he’s killing all of ya!  Then what?  That’s why you prepare for the worse out in those spacial depths.  Who knows what nasty things will be lurking out there!  You certainly don’t!” – Glass-Eye Erg, Dwarven Trader from Rock of Bral.

This time around, a few homages to Spelljammer and Star Wars. Long and short, one of my friends showed me the revised d20 Star Wars. It’s better than I recall it being, still no D6 though.  Needless to say, those very familiar with Star Wars will get some of my references.  The same goes for Spelljammer, but I’ve been making a bit of spelljammer stuff for the past couple of months.

Author’s Note:  I figure some more nods to Star Wars are a great way to transition to more science fiction inspired content.  For the next couple of weeks, I shall continue to expand my endless bestiary.  And no, this post isn’t about the Githyanki… I just wanted a swipe at how the Vong kinda look like them.  While I plan for the future, here are two entries based on existing Star Wars monsters as well as my take on the Neogi (as I don’t care for the official take for 5e… but I usually don’t in general.)

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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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