Am I fully back to things? No. I’m still somewhat on hiatus. However, I am putting in something for Threshold Magazine Issue #30. This continued Mystara – Ravenloft crossover contains two more ancient domains. The first looks at the later years of Blackmoor, as a crusade against the Beastmen truly kicks off. And for a post-Great Rain of Fire realm, there is one taking from Taymora.
The former examines a torn apart colony besieged by endless war and enemies on all sides. A glorious admiral is not the man he once was, lacking the confidence and passion to truly bring a new age for Blackmoorians under his protection. And worse, he can’t even bare to fill his ego by looking at himself, as he only sees the beast that he acted like. However, in rare moments, he can muster enough of himself to gather volunteers to always fight back and uphold their sense of ancestral pride.
The latter explores a post-apocalyptic wreck, degraded from their days of glory, but still advancing and moving forward. This corruption of Taymora is a warped look at an old culture. And despite their attempts at pushing towards a better vision of the ways, they are viewed as backwards by the seas at large. As for their leader, once a great daughter of one of the many Vampire High Priestesses, she is cut down in both beauty and sanity. Still very powerful, she alienates and horrifies the public, as her gifts will never work as she desires them to again.
Likewise, I elaborate on some of the tortures facing the Black Rajah of Jaibul. Lifted right from the words of the Voyage of the Princess Ark, the Rajah faces new troubles in the Demiplane of Dread. Likewise, his call for allies falls on mostly no ears.
As I’ve posted before, I have an article in the current issue of Mystara’s greatest fan magazine, Threshold. The article, “Beyond Nebligtod: Mystara in the Mists” explores three new Domains of Dread that have a distinctly Mystaran influence/perspective. Likewise, check out the other amazing contributions as well. Also, shout-out to the editors and layout designers for their amazing work.
So, what gives? I vanish from you fine people for a long time with barely a word. Well, I owe at least some explanation. In short, things have not been exactly exemplary, tearing me away from creative stuff. Lots of personal problems I may divulge in another post. On top of that, being hardcore burned out on D&D has made things a bit rougher in general. Either way, I’m back with a bit of an announcement. Without telling you too much about my life, things have been a bit hectic during my semi-hiatus from the page here. But, I’ve still kept busy with at least something.
So with that, I’d like to inform that my contribution for Threshold Magazine is nearing completion. The theme? More victims of the Dark Powers hailing from the world of Mystara. Read the frantic notes of the Black Rajah of Jaibul as he tries to make sense of his own situation. Dare to seek more on other prisoners of the mists, even a word on Meredoth of Nebligtod! While two of these domains are based on previous creations seen on my blog, this article expands a little on Vasfar and Ylar. Joining them is a domain that connects to the mysterious pocket domain of Acotlaza. This is the Scarred Crags, a mockery of Tiger Clan attempts to conquer their siblings of the Atruaghin Clans. While the themes of fighting lycanthropy, colonization and oppression are no strangers to the Demiplane of Dread, hopefully this new Darklord’s pain pleases the Dark Powers. And likewise, I hope that those reading this are just as eager as I am to make some more mad creations for the Demiplane of Dread. Should things prove popular enough, this might continue. Beyond Threshold, I might make a follow-up for Fraternity of Shadow’s Quoth the Raven or perhaps Threshold once more. Likewise, musings on converting Ravenloft content to BECMI. The Darklords and related creatures get only minimal mechanical considerations in the current article though. In the meantime, the mists are parting once more and something dark lingers nearby.
Steamspace, that which holds the greatest minds in the greatest crystal sphere. Should you seek glory, invention and the power of a new age; Steamspace is for you. Consult with the Steam Corps Recruitment Agency, found next to Lorenzo’s Museum of Wildspace Weaponry.
– From a flyer posted around The Rock of Bral
Steamspace is an odd land of many extremes. There are miniature worlds with diametrically opposed harsh weather. There are havens for artifice, but one of the most hostile refuges of nature found in the multiverse. Ideal landscapes for urban empire exist in some realms, such as the Moon of Victoriana or the world of Valiance. For the rest, it is a testament to ingenuity and innovation; powers of arcane engineering battling the deadliest that nature and the supernatural have to offer. Beyond deserts of sand, icy tundras, wastelands under darkness and strange seas of green; there are other perils too. Shadowy drow conspire while ancient elves channel forces of the light. Battles still wage for the powers of lightning to some day overthrow dependence on steam. Many mysteries line the sphere too. The most advanced of the people here are actually ancient tribes that once belonged to a unified world, long blown up by mysterious tragedies. Numerous societies hoard secrets on the creation of deadly weaponry that could risk annihilation of whole regions. Many hide the literal deeper layers and depths to even their cities. None the less, this does not dissuade brave souls looking to reinvent both themselves and reality around them. Should success come to all and peace ring true, then there is hope for these wondrous creations to spread to the multiverse.
Author’s Note: One more for Steamspace! Yes, I realize that Bashar and Destiny Expanse are getting a fair bit here. Beyond that, references to silent horror cinema, Stephen King and various dystopian fiction. Just because I’m not letting this get too dark doesn’t mean I won’t stuff plenty in there.
The Steam Titan is a curious host. The world itself is hostile to most life, but its moons offer a diverse array of habitats and beings. None the less, the gases within the world have proved most useful in propelling already technical societies far forward, with fascinating innovations. But, what of other worlds within the sphere?
Author’s Notes: To keep in line with the fiction of the era, many of the worlds refer to various dime novel/pulpy tropes and then some, such as the lost world, masked heroics, divine revelation, proto-cosmic horror and then some. Likewise, a poke at the genre mashup and rules-Frankenstein needed to make all of this possible. Hell, one of the worlds is even more tie-in to my RavenScape stuff. Anyway, here’s a post JAM PACKED with content! Enjoy! Perhaps at some point, I’ll return to Steamspace.
Dare you seek shelter in places where solace cannot be found? They have roofs and walls, but they are not homes. They are prisons all their own, where cries of horror and derangement mix with the maniacal methods of their overseers. Enter through these doors and never leave, for your caretakers have other plans for you now. Below are a few buildings designed to ensnare, persecute and afflict. They are not prisons in the traditional sense, but the dark powers have a habit of changing all to accommodate the punishment of another. Some existed prior, such as a place of holy contrition and a house of state security. Others came about as domains are built from a darklord’s sins or as a consequence of them.
Author’s Note: This one slides a bit into mature content, warranting a word of warning. As it is, one of the domains was built on a dare to make something quite disturbing. It is disturbing. Is it wholly original? Not really, it’s basically The Golden Cat from Dishonored meets dark aspects of Planescape and Ravenloft; plus the House of Lament. Will I use it for something? I don’t really know, but it’s now a piece of the Demiplane either way. Likewise a few other things slide well into proper Ravenloftian grimdark. Debauchery, zealotry and totalitarian horror await. For what it’s worth, more Planescape and Mystara references are here as well. And while I’m at it, very very few WotC-era references, hehe. But, even if this version is slightly tamed down, some viewer’s discretion is advised.
Arcane Space, a strange place for those not initiated. Plus, for those lacking the essential tools of travel, it’s deadly. There is no natural air here, likewise the heat is very unnatural. This is especially the case within the traveling warp known as the phlogiston, a realm of burning energy that can shuttle protected spelljammers in rapid time. Yes, it truly is wonderful. And for many, it’s a far more logical alternative to the planes beyond. Why discover what lies beyond life when you can learn all that life truly has to offer? There are countless worlds already out there, all within the Prime material. Plus, the metropolitan space hubs prove far less pretentious than the likes of Sigil anyway. No weird slang to make yourself feel smug. Or well, less of it.
Author’s Note: Spelljammer? But of course! October will probably make a shift back to Ravenloft, but Spelljammer always needs love. And past that, more Docker’s Catch, crossover with other settings and a massive reference to Sea of Thieves (again). So with that, have a double post… IN THE SAME WEEK! Give or take.
Oh, so you’re in need of a tout? Yeah, I could do that. What’re in the need for, chummer? You gave the jink tip, so I’m all bone box gab. Juggling Monk Way holds the chant on good eats and bub, little cost. You gots yourself 3 different taverns, all good options. What’s next, yes? Oh, Easy workin’s. Aye. You can help patrol against Cranium Rats. Yeah, office right down where I’m pointing. There’s also the labor yard, a bit more north in the Hive here. They need bashers to haul bunches o’ junk, probably for trade. But, real thrills? Follow me down this burned alley, I gots something that’s a real once in a lifetime treat! Promise ya that! Haha.
Author’s Note: Continued influence from Eberron, the High Society and the near-end of the Antorek metaplots. And just below, things deep in UnderSigil. I know I brought that blasted mad dragon and his fey helpers back, but this is what happens when you port Mutant Plants and Mutant Animals from Gamma World into AD&D… among other things from Gamma World. The Bathysphere is from that too, as well as some planar weirdness. More is on the way, as things have been split up once again.
The Darkness lasts forever! Don’t think the Light is still your friend though.
Author’s Note: Mystaran homage, more lands based on Philippine folklore, more on the undead of Rockbaecche and a native of Kalidnay experiencing Abaddon. Also, two more references to the excellent Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights. If you love the Campaign Setting, it’s one of the best sources that keeps it alive. Also, I’m aware that referencing Abrahamic religion in D&D is controversial, but thanks to Prisoners of the Mist, it could be a fascinating thing to examine in brief. I should really pick that up again, it was good fun.
“This is the Alleigosto Exploration Team, is anyone out there? Anyone on the Cog Auditory-Wave Line, please respond! We are lost on the Ichthyan Sea. We’ve observed and overheard terrible creatures. Send help immediately. These waters are dangerous, arm yourselves by all means. I repeat, arm yourselves. Air waves will remain open, in hopes of response.” – The distress signal of Her Heavenly Embrace, sunken wreck
It is time once again to gaze into the mists and see what gazes back. I bring you tales and people traversing the mists, woes of the occult, crime never paying, schemes of a warmonger and rising spirits assembling a demonic gallivant.
Author’s Note: More ambitious conquering for Drakov, Victorian spiritualism, Japanese ghosts and more on a thieves haven homage to Yojimbo. That is what to expect from this post! Also, I know I’ve griped about it before, but I feel like I should cover and flesh out my own worlds. I don’t really want to play D&D anymore, even though I like pondering about the settings. It’s this weird paradox for me. I have more posts I want to do, so we’ll see how quick I can get over this funk.