July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival: Doomsdays & Dystopias (Dark Genres and Settings)

Abandoned Environment Concept tutorial by maciejkuciara

While I enjoy tons of heroic settings with noble characters ensuring good in the world, I’ve always loved truly grim and dour settings.  I speak of worlds that fit the “GRIMDARK” moniker that’s been affectionately used.  For those who don’t get the reference, it refers to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K tagline, which states that “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!”  I’m speaking of places blighted by impossible evils, dystopias where any sort of righteousness and passion is repressed, a sinister universe that is out to destroy you, nuked out wastelands where the remains of society struggle to continue or scrap the last bits of the old ones… but you get the point.

So, why is my theme essentially “dark settings and dark themes”?  Sounds depressing, I know.  After all, spending too much time in an overly dark and oppressive world can wear one down, right?  Not exactly!  There are many reasons why dark settings are truly fascinating.  Before I turn the carnival over to you, let’s take a look at why starker settings can be awesome.  (Or if you prefer, skip down to the bold text.)

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DM’s Guild – A Planar Grimoire

Planar Grimoire Cover Image

Pardon the somewhat inconsistency in my posts.  I’ve been trying to revise old work while work on some personal projects I hoped to get out on the web (like this one), while balancing a stressful work life and home life.  But I digress, I was never too happy with my original planar spells posts.  Some were blatant rip-offs of previously existing D&D spells, while others were just poorly worded.  So, I did a fair bit of clean up while making some other not-so-subtle homages!  But, no matter, here’s over 15 pages of extraplanar goodness for your 5E Spellcasters!  Enjoy.

A Planar Grimoire is Pay-What-You-Want, you may find it here.

Bizarre Bazaar Forever – Even More Planar Items!

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Welcome back, weary traveler!  Please, as always, you are more than welcome to observe my inventory.  Should anything be particularly fascinating to you, signal me and I’d be happy to tell you more!  Of course, some of these artifacts are VERY dangerous and should be handled with care.  Fortunately for you, the GREAT Zam’dul is happy to provide assistance!

Author’s Note: Making magic items from around the planes remains to be one of the most fun topics for me to tackle.  As such, I really wanted to return to it so soon.  With that, enjoy another sampling of weirdness from many a reality.

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More DOOM Monsters!

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Incoming transmission! “There’s even more of them captain!  We thought we were finished, but they’ve only just unleashed even more of the damned things upon us!  Many of these wretched hell things feel even stronger than the last ones we fought!  We can’t hold out for mu-” Transmission ended!

Author’s Note:  Sorry for being late on this one.  I found out last minute that my group wanted to postpone my game, so I would have had a game synopsis last week.  I also got very sick following a busy work week.  With that, here’s a handful of more DOOM monsters.  I might do an update later on with another popular monster in mind… Arachnotron… Mancubus… Something like that!

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Plantfolk, Revised

Image result for plant people

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Born (Or Reborn) among Wild Realms

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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.

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Monsters of DOOM, Revisited

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Hell.  Many thought of it as a mere theological concept, written in ancient scripture.  A team of scientists, corporate representatives and military conglomerates one day discovered that there was so much more.  On martian base, an experiment was conducted to reach into other realities.  They got an alternate dimension the denizens called Hell.  Perhaps it wasn’t what many considered, but Hell had come to that reality and tore it asunder.  Thanks to the impossible efforts of one space marine, referred to as “The Doom Guy”, the forces were pushed out of our world… for what we hoped was for good.

Since that incident, the malevolent armies of this underworld realm have discovered other Prime Material Planes and have continued a campaign of multiversal conquest!  Parallel realities and other planes entirely have faced off against these things.  It has even been rumored that some of these fiendish terrors have faced off in the eternal battleground known as The Blood War.

Author’s Note:  I wasn’t too satisfied with my original creations, so I decided to have a bit of a do over!  On top of that, I wanted to expand the monster list a little more by adding a few essential classic creatures.  Enjoy.

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Bizarre Bazaar Returns from the Planes! – More Planar Items

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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.

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