Even during your travels through the rather alien hub known as Sigil, your eyes latch onto a few familiar sights; goods and magicks from your prime material, creatures and cultures you have encountered in your travels and one very familiar and eager merchant that seems to follow you wherever you go. Zam’dul too has seemed to appear in this fantastical city of doors.
“Hoohoohoo, traveler! Zam’dul knows you to be an excellent customer! Fear not, there is no stalking happening here, but simply travel to the places that adventurers go to! As always, wares find their way to Zam’dul and prices remain fair. Plus, a rather intriguing guild known as “The Fated” seem to have Zam’Dul’s interests in mind, should ruffians appear. In the meantime, please sit upon a meditative cushion. It is fluffed for long term discussions over philosophies and trading.”
Author’s Note: Magic items are always fun to make. In fact, they might be the most fun thing for me to make. So simple, yet there’s potential to create truly fantastical things! Read onward and continue your adventure.
A familiar face comes into view as patrons briefly part into a narrow opening, it’s a cloaked humanoid with a strange helmet! The creature gets up from a meditative stance, acknowledging your presence. His relaxed and idle stance changes into a beckoning yet inviting gesture.
“Ah, Zam’Dul has not forgotten you, traveler! Many of my old wares are gone… The rest? Well, a bored mind tries to see what can be done with spare parts. You’ll see some older oddities as well as some new creations. Please, relax and observe what the shop has to offer! Never be afraid to ask questions, Zam’Dul knows all!”
He lifts a curtain beyond his little stand to reveal a massive archive of the wonderful and weird, seemingly infinite space is filled with encased treasures and incredible artifacts. The helmed monk shuffles to a counter, seemingly observing you wherever you go.
Author’s Note: These were always fun to do! Also, I’ve been messing around with some of my magic items. Some needed a fair bit of overhaul, while others weren’t developed enough. Plus, I have a few ideas I’ve been kicking around in general. So, let’s get shopping! (Or something!) Keep an eye out for the Tomb of Annihilation nods, for any gamers eager to run the major adventure book for Fall 2017. Also, this post was made in support of the November 2017 RPG Carnival with the theme “The Past, Revisited“. Check out the post and its contributors!
Hey, ghosts and ghoulies! Doc is back at it again! This time around, I have an assortment of werebeasts at your disposal. The document includes new content including: a werebeast never posted on the blog, new NPCs inspired by each animal stock, cleaned up versions of two previously existing sub-classes and more!
You may find the document HERE!
Welcome back, gamers! I usually homebrew stuff and this is a complete change of pace for me. That said, I’ve been meaning to write pieces examining things within games in addition to homebrew. As it is, I’ve branched out with gaming recaps and those seem to reach some sort of audience, so I’ll continue to experiment. That said, homebrewing is still my prime focus.
Back on topic, last time I opened up the carnival by looking at why I think people like darker genres and topics in their games! Today’s post is deeper focus on dark settings in regards to conflict; whether it’s problems from society, the self, the environment or even forces beyond our control. One can’t have a darker story without extreme conflict, to the point it’s usually quite oppressive, or repressive in some cases. Sure, there are more examples than what I’m talking about, but I could go on and on about that. Also, I like rambling some anecdotes about old games I’ve played it, because I really love sharing gaming stories with everyone when I get the chance!
Author’s Note: I know, it’s a change of pace. Like I said, I’m not abandoning homebrewing. I promise. Also, this one is a little more mature oriented than other posts, touching upon rougher subjects.
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.)
Tales of wretched beasts, disturbing men and unspeakable evils pierce our ears and chill our souls. Countless villages, kingdoms, continents have stories of sinister monsters that seek to end us at any moment. Their motivations might differ or be strangely similar. Likely born of pure wickedness, these dark spirits haunt those who get too close to their very brand of malevolence.
Many of these monsters are often accompanied by tales of caution and woe. Those who drift too far off a righteous path are often victims of these horrors. Those who feel they’re too good for the morals of a realm or a certain way of life should always stay careful and alert, lest they fall prey to the evil that lurks nearby… waiting, stalking, preparing…
Author’s Note: Here’s another list of monsters, taking inspiration form creatures around the world. Also, here’s another case where I have 2 creepy horse-themed creatures… for some reason. Maybe I just find horses to be creepy? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s pent up horror caused by seeing that disturbing Archie McPhee horse mask? I don’t know.
“One vampire, I can handle! But, a whole army? I didn’t sign up for th- AAAAHHHHH!”
The vampire, an immortal creature of darkness. These creatures are soulless and damned, cursed by a thirst to leech off of human blood; they are parasites upon the living. Those who had a fateful encounter with them were likely to either die or worse, become recruited to their dastardly cause. For the longest time, it was assumed that those who succumbed to a vampire’s dark powers suffered one of two fates: those who did not drink a vampire’s blood would become a ghoul with some slivers of their original self and those who drank the blood would become vampire spawn that were driven mad and violent by the corruptive power. Such creatures range from mindless abominations to frenzied and insane mockeries of their former selves. They are nothing like the true vampires that recreated them as they are now.
This leads to a strange new revelation, it’s more than possible to create more true vampires. While usually not as powerful as a vampire who has fully mastered their abilities, they are an incredible force none the less. Such creatures are more than capable of using their talents learned as a mortal with the unnatural abilities of the vampire. Their progenitors are already a menace to those around them. Combined with potent magics or martial prowess though and such an opponent becomes all the more deadly.
Author’s Note: Inspired by my “Vampyr” post from last year, I wanted to make a small handful of vampiric minions to throw at players that aren’t like the quasi-ghoulish spawn or the very powerful MM vampire. Also, I decided to marathon through the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga after the Adult Swim announcement some time back, so I took some inspiration from the first and third arcs… and a little from the second.