While I got a fair bit more last year, I still enjoyed this theme quite a bit! The GRIMDARK theme might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps less than science-fantasy. But, oh well, this was a theme I wanted to do for a long time. None the less, this has been a learning experience. All the same, some of the bloggers who participated last year weren’t able to join in for this year. But, to those who were able to join in? You have my thanks! Thanks for making this celebration of the dark and dreadful a truly fun one! That said, onward to other things. But in the meantime, here are this month’s contributors for my theme! Please, check out what they have to offer! And as always, give the RPG Carnival a try yourself! It’s tons of fun and well worth the effort!
Anyway, enough babbling out of me! Here are the contributors for “Doomsdays & Dystopias”:
Stay tuned for Kobold Press and their theme of “Magic” for August 2017! You can find out more here! Again, a big thanks for everyone who was interested in the darker side of gaming fiction! Till next time, gamers!
IMAGE CREDIT: Wasteland 2 Promotional Image – Obsidian Entertainment
They shouldn’t have existed, mistakes of nature and mistakes of humanity! These abominations were the accidents as a result of careless experiments and deadly warfare. And the result? Worse than we could have ever feared. Confused, angry, resentful, hateful! These things seek to destroy both their creators and the world around them. Much like the forces that spawned them, destruction is usually their goal. But, these creatures are no villains, but the consequences of arrogance, apathy, discrimination and violence.
Author’s Note: As a continuation of my theme, here’s a plethora of horrible mutants and mad experiments. While much of it is revisiting old monsters, there’s a good amount of new goodies to toss into your wastelands, super secret labs and other such locations.
Born (Or Reborn) among Wild Realms
The Plant Folk were created within another reality known to scholars as “arcadia”. What exactly is this realm? Not fully known, except it is the origin source of several types of magic as well as the fair folk. Besides the native denizens, many fantastic creatures have been created through use of their alien magics. Among these mystical sights and strange places is the Wyld, a sprawling plane of untamed wilderness. Its alluring and inspiring atmosphere is quite deceptive, as terrible monsters and far worse curses dwell within the spacious demiplane. Those who become trapped are doomed to become one of the many kinds of wildlife that inhabit this realm. The plant folk are one such creation.
Native to a domain known as the “Wylds”, a planar place of natural beauty and (at times) savage brutality, the plant folk are at home within the bounds of their typically serene wilderness. Like the beastfolk, many of these created beings weren’t originally humanoids. In their case, they were merely plants that were animated and given new life through powerful sylvan magic. Many have taken after the realm that created them, in hopes of creating a utopia of the organic, while defeating the inorganic. Despite this, many are by no means evil and aggressive, some don’t even follow the cult-like ethos of their home plane. Many grow tired of the semi-comprehensible rules, hidden behind the alien chaos of the primal realm. As such, they’ve set out to explore other possibilities within known (and unknown) reality. Some still retain attachment to their original home, but hope to “put down roots” elsewhere.
Author’s Note: Looking back at what I made last year, I was wasn’t satisfied with my concept for races of magical plant people. They seemed really derivative and some decisions felt like rehashes of previous posts, with a different theme. Now, I’m still struggling a tad with the concept, but here’s my updated take on the idea! Some of the ideas are something I wanted to try and might be revised in another draft. Also, I’m sorry for that one pun… Really, I am.
When magic is involved to experiment with life, the results can be horrifying and sickening. So-called Freaks are born from careless tinkering with supernatural forces. These “freaks” are often driven to madness and hostility by either their inability to grasp the world around them or reacting to a harsh and judgemental society. Those who lack sentience tend to go mad from their tormented existence. Most of the time, their creators have little care for their warped creations. Those who do seem them as the perfect meat shield, whilst they continue their depraved and disturbed experiments.
While many are the result of mad scientist, evil alchemists and deranged wizards; some are victims of corrupting powers and incomprehensible forces. These powers greatly vary. Forces like abyssal underworld hexes, maddening voids of realms beyond, places of raw and untamed energies. Creatures born from such mysterious planes and domains are often thralls to their mad overlords. Those who break free often became chaotic and destructive forces prone to rampage, much like material plane “freaks”. These planar-blighted beings were often enslaved as living machines of destruction. They serve as pawns in warfare, conquest or acts of terror.
Author’s Note: Many of these are original with the help of some of my friends (Thanks Bobby, Centaurpede will give me nightmares!) Also, the creepy horse mask inspired some of the flavor text… In the case of some of the others, they are homages. The Cosmicoid is both a nod towards Alien and the equally inspired Wanamingo from Fallout 2. The Hulking Mutant is a more clear reference towards the Super Mutants from Fallout. Meanwhile the Atomic Beast was my translation of Keith Thompson’s Pripyat Beast and Psi-Zombie is Zombified Stalker from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. meets the Witch from Left 4 Dead. Also, Atomic Beast and Centaurpede are conceptually very similar… Granted, one’s alive while another is a From Software staple.
“I want to get off Barrier Peaks’ Wild Ride.”
Much of the art of conversion can be much more simple than one thinks. Minimalism is something I’ve been meaning to toy with, as well as looking at my previously available options. With that, here’s a list of existing monsters to modify for the adventure as well as creatures that already exist in some capacity. Enjoy!
“Two of our party members died, but check out this shiny ray gun!”
“It looked like some sort of badger-like animal, until I noticed the eight legs! Each of them had barb-like claws attached. As the creature faced us, its jaws dettached and let out the most horrid of shrieks. It pounced upon and tore apart the bardic minstrel in moments before we managed to put it down. What other twisted beasts dwell here?”
-A survivor’s brief encounter with the Aurumvorax
Beyond machines and flora, countless species of fauna populate the strange wreckage. Whether they’re organic forms from realms unknown or mutated experiments gone horribly wrong, their alien nature and ferocious abilities make them formidable foes to fight off.
Author’s Note: Beyond some easy to convert monsters using the monster manual, here’s a helping of monsters and beasts that roam the downed ship. Some of these were pretty easy to tackle, considering many of them had been ported over to other systems (beyond the Next playtest) such as Pathfinder. Stay tuned for my take on pre existing monsters as well as adding new monsters to the ship!
“Why did the wizard explode into mold people?”
“The Grand Duchy of Geoff has sent a messenger out to you with an urgent alert! Sightings of strange creatures and stranger devices have been found somewhere beyond the hilly range known simply as “The Barrier Peaks.” All parties sent to investigate have failed to return for a while now. Rewards will be negotiated, alongside relics you may find in the threatening area you are sent to explore. All demands and discussion will be handled with the Duke of Geoff.”
We continue our conversion, this time with plant-based life forms and related creatures. Included is one of my favorite monsters, the vegepygmy. Sure, their name is weird, a bit too cutesy and possibly a tad racist; but I’ve always liked the ever strange mold men. Not to mention, their thorny companions were always fun too. With that, I give you more monsters from the Barrier Peaks.
Author’s Note: I’m still chugging away at the monsters from this module. Don’t worry, after this post, I’m over half way completed! After that, I’ll tackle some room specific bits as well as treasure. Stay tuned!