January Concludes

For anyone interested, you still have a day to join in on my RPG Blog Carnival theme for this month. Again, it involves in-game politics, factions, and all sorts of intrigue based drama. Please, share what you have! If you’re outside of the traditional blog sphere (such as Youtube videos), that’s fine too!

Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business

I've Seen Your Tears Before by Eriyal on Newgrounds

This is all I have to offer for now.  I assure you that much more lurks beyond.  There is much yet that they fair folk would prefer to presently keep hidden.  Is there something worse than a nightmare conspiracy, cross planar war or the elimination of countless lives?  Hard to say.  The fey will remain an eternal enigma to even most planars.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to King Corn and ripvanwormer of thepiazzaforums for some incredible ideas!  Anyway, that’s it for me in terms of fey politics, intrigue and factions.  Additional thanks to everyone who participated in the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  More after the jump.

Continue reading “Sylvan Strangeness – Weird Courtly Business”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3

Outlaws, Oddballs and Cultist Fanatics

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Seelie, Unseelie, Four Seasons and a few minor houses.  There is more from there.  And by all means, all of them scheme and dream.  All of them seek to triumph over the rest.  And worst of all, to see one of them fully succeed would spell the end of the fey.  Even those devout to Rhiannon would bring about their queen’s deepest fear.  In the end, the politics and ways of these creatures are too alien to fully understand.  How would they avoid absolute destruction?  How would they rebuild?  It would take a lot of speculation to imagine how pieces would be picked up by such truly unique creatures.  But, a mix of Real Speak and Chant alike has been formulated into some well crafted notes.  So, by all means read ahead and dare to discover how much of it is actual truth.  Normally, I strive for truly gripping information that holds the tests of scrutiny.  But, for cabals and corridors this deep, such endeavors are impossible.  Perhaps I have been mislead by rivals?  It is the fey way, after all.

Author’s Note: The last of them, at least for now.  These remaining sects, like the three before, hold less overall political power and tend to be less centralized.  However, most of them are some level of crazy, even by fey standards.  Also, huge shout-out to The Piazza forums.  Their ideas helped really bring this to life.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 3”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 2

“We are friends, come join us.”

Your journey went as well as ours?  Good, good.  At the very least, you have gained a larger understanding of the mainstream political groups that dwell within the so-called Good Kingdom, Wyld Realms and many other a name.  Regardless of what they courts may call themselves in that moment, they still hold sway and much command.  Do not let their chaotic forces fool you, those who fully oppose them can for the moment unite in near legion.  That Narrator is certainly not welcome within their grounds, letters within Sigil have made that clear.  Though, I’m not sure that this mysterious figure is as insensitive or cruel as many make them out to be.  That’s a matter that shall be discussed later.  In the meantime, let us form a lecture around more looks into the fey.  For the time being, we shall continue to look at the major power groups found within their realms, who they cooperate with and how they maintain a very tenuous cease fire.  After all, tales of the epic sylvan war resulted in no winners and no conclusion.  Fully realized organizations and groupings came from the schism.  But in the end, none came to a common consensus or attempted to reconcile in full.

What has been stated before covers the 4 primary courts of the seasons within the Deep Ethereal pockets belonging to the Fair Folk.  Many fey exist beyond the bickering of four seasons.  Once one leaves the Ethereal and reaches for the Outer Planes, they may witness conflict over two distinct “newer” courts.  The two so-called “traitor courts”, as they are called by the traditional fey of the Ethereal, act within Upper and Lower Planes.  They are the Seelie and Unseelie respectively.  For the Seelie, they are often found in Arborea, but not always.  Likewise, the Unseelie typically dwell within the most wicked pits of Pandemonium.  But, who are they?  Likewise, the Seasonal Courts aren’t alone in the Ethereal.  There are those who are not aligned with mainstream fey politics?  Why certainly!  There are tales of outsider societies as well as religious sects dedicated to ancient ways, ancient even by sylvan standards.  From obnoxious rebels to the fey equivalent to heretics, many divisions and groups have formed.

Author’s Note: Part 2 of my look at fey factions, politics and the like.  As I’ve said before, spirit type creatures needed more umph for the Planescape setting.  So, this is my way of accomplishing that.  So, let’s look at Upper Planes, Lower Planes, outsider societies and cults.  By all means, most of this is supplementary (and some minor degree of altering) to what has been written about Seelie and Unseelie via the Monstrous Mythologies as well as Planes of Chaos and Planes of Conflict.  In terms of outsiders and cults, that’ll need another post too.  Stay tuned for that!  This does not cover everything in detail, much like with part one.  Consider looking under this link for much more.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 2”

More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 1

Kips in the Cage: Custom Lifestyle Expenses for Planescape's Sigil - The  Planar DM

Ah, here we are again!  The Civic Festhall!  Some time ago, I was here to deliver my information on the fair folk, after a wondrous trip to Ecstasy.  Since then, I have been criticized and lambasted with an incomplete or biased take, especially by the mysterious Narrator.  After all, focusing on such matters can deeply upset the fey.  And that can cost one an eye *tap*… or even your entire being.  Just look at me, I’m a one-eyed cat man now.  But, I am not here to defame or bring attention to various characters.  Likewise, my own association to a bookshop should not paint any bias either. Let us speak on more joyous occasions, the realms of knowledge.  And specifically, let us study more on society and politics of the fey.  For you see, they are far more complicated and organized than we could initially fathom.

I speak of the faerie kind that span the many planes.  We know to some degree what they are, but how do they operate?  What can we learn from their daily directions and general politics?  Let us dive a little further into their own planes, as well as their own takes on our fair City of Doors.  I shall await all to seat and properly get comfortable.  I assure you that once I start my lecture, I shall continue through conclusion.

Author’s Note: The ways of the fey!  Why not?  I keep coming back to this topic one way or another, so let’s go!  At this rate, I may as well be making my own fey content for a new setting.  Also, it happens to coincide with the January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  Should you be interested, please jump on board.  Also, if you’re curious about my writing process, let this video explain it for you.  Also, accompanying each part is some artwork from DiTerlizzi.  This is mostly because I love his style and it’s perfect for this, considering he did artwork for Planescape, Spiderwick, Changeling and more.

Continue reading “More Politicking and Intrigue of the Fey – Part 1”

January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival – Political intrigue, Courtly drama and Factions

Drama takes many forms.  And by all means, politics is no exception.  There is no denying the power of factions vying for dominance, tricky games of diplomacy that seek a common goal, the fear of relations failing in the event diplomacy isn’t enough, the relief of different groups joining under common goals, the behind the scenes backstabbing and trickery that pulls the strings and the front and center conflict that comes from all of it. Of course, gamers are no stranger to politics either, in or out of game. But, for the purposes of this blog post, we shall focus on the in-universe topics. And on the subject of setting, you’re bound to find something to pull from. Ranging from the meeting room drama mixed with warfare found in A Song of Ice and Fire to the escalating fire pit that is the Factions of Planescape, one can pull something from anyway. But, perhaps you want to start on something from scratch?

So, where to start? First, one could create a plethora of different perspectives for your worlds and examine how they contend with each other. As with all ideas, they will attract their followers. Sooner or later, one set of ideals will likely take the crown. But, not everyone is happy, nor should they be. And from there, lines become drawn as plans too are drawn. How does one procure power? Why is your faction more worthy than another? What lengths will you go to ensure control and relevance? Who are your allies and who are your enemies? Is there hope for cooperation? Why do you remain dedicated to your cause? Do conflicts stay to the shadows, building something of a cold war? Have they heated up, unable to sustain themselves through deception and intrigue? All of these are viable questions for building the politics and groups of your world. And by all means, they aren’t the only ones. These are just a few ways I’ve mused on these matters. If you find another way that works for this sort of worldbuilding, please use that! In fact, please share too!

So, who operates what in your games? What groups vie for what spots? What conflicts have bubbled from all of this? Game stories, mechanics, ideas and more are all welcome!  But, due to the controversial nature of such a topic, I do again request you maintain this within an in-game universe.  Last year was already rough.  Let’s leave our own baggage at the door and roll some dice together…  And bash each other’s heads in over who killed the Crown and who will take their place!

Image Credit: Ofdiceanddragons – RPG Blog Carnival Logo

Monsters of Forbidden Realms (Raven-scape Monsters Part 1)

The Mists have spawned all manner of atrocities and abominations to traverse its foggy murk.  These creatures are usually the physical embodiment of either a darklord’s sins or the horrors of our very existential condition.  Some are merely pulled into the Demiplane of Dread and enhanced into something so much more, even replicated to bring new methods of terror to the native populace of the lands.  No matter the origin, they stand in opposition to heroes who challenge the everlasting darkness.  Whether they are pawns of the dark powers or operating on their own accord is up for debate, but their haunting presence shall be known to those unfortunate enough to encounter them.  In fact, some creatures are capable of removing you from known reality.  All the more reason a monster hunter be readied and prepared for such evils.

Author’s Note: Nightmare Fuel, Body Horror, Terrors of the Cosmic and more!  Yes, Halloween is done and plenty of real life horror may get in the way, but nothing a little pretend horror can’t distract from. So, let’s take a moment to enjoy the monsters of some chilling tales.  After all, it doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween, they always lurk and await new victims.  Here are a bundle of monsters inspired by the Planescape/Ravenloft posts, from various domains or dimensional spaces.  Also, the inclusion of the Wolfwere was done in support of the November RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Faith of Pratfalls and Pixies.  Find more here!  Also, look out for part 2 soon.

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Bizarre Bazaar – Eccentricities of Eberron

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The Port City of Stormreach, a fascinating and bustling mixture of people within the otherwise mysterious land of Xen’drik!  The district that should be of most interest to Zam’dul is Marketplace, of course!  It is here where many incredible wares have once again been collected for viewing pleasure and purchasing potential.  Please, stop by and observe what new goods there are to offer!

Author’s Note: I’m done hosting the RPG Blog Carnival, at least for next year.  But, I still wanna participate in others’ themes!  Anyway, I got inspired by reading through various bits of 3E Era Eberron books and took a number of creative liberties.  Zam’dul returns once more, this time to Khorvaire!  Also, big thanks to Catilus and the D&D Fantasy Art page on Facebook for some evil inspiration for one of the items!  Though, tales from Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were also an inspiration.  Also, yes, I’m guilty of reprinting ideas.  But, a lot of them fit Eberron quite well.  That said, I hope some of my ideas don’t mutilate canon too much…

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November 2019 RPG Blog Carnival – Electronic Terrors

Image result for welcome to the survival horror

From thresholds and barriers, many terrible things break free to cause mayhem. Among them are things from a digitized and electronic world. These monsters may have strange origins, but the evils they unleash are no less dangerous.

Welcome to the realms of electronic terrors, creatures that originate from incredible devices known to some as “video games”. These creatures hail from a variety of supposedly fictional universes and realities, where they do all in their capacity to torture brave and cunning protagonists within a digital landscape. These tales may just be works of fiction, but they could very well be alternate worlds held back by a pixelated veil. Perhaps this could mean an expansive frontier within the Prime or perhaps a demiplane of its own.

Author’s Note: Another blog carnival post! This time, it’s a bunch of monsters from horror (or at least suspenseful/horror-related) video games! Yes, the Zombie Dog is a repost…

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Bizarre Bazaar – Items of Castlevania (November 2019 Blog Carnival)

Image result for Netflix castlevania art"

As the fog begins to roll in, a comforting light barely breaches the blanket dead ahead.  A vardo wagon sits idly, alongside a crackling fire pit.  One lone man clad in ornate robes and a ceramic plate covering his head beckons you over.  His body language seems friendly, but he is clearly interested in business.  A quick wave of an arm showcases all means of strange and wondrous trinkets to behold.  The cloaked humanoid shape picks itself up, addressing the party, “Ah, well met!  All of you seek to fight off the legions of the damned?  Surely, you are in need of proper supplies.  You are fortunate to stumble upon this traveling merchant!”, hoarsely croaks the muffled shape through his sculpted helmet.

Author’s Note: While Castlevania is more action-horror, it’s still very much part of the history of horror gaming.  One could argue the early entries are a proto-survival horror too!  Plus, there’s the classic fiasco of Konami supposedly taking from TSR for their box art.  In general, Konami sucks and will probably always suck (unless some day they magically don’t), but we can still appreciate the classic franchise.  While this one focuses on the first game, fourth game and Symphony (because those are my favorites, I know… original); I might come back and do some items based on other titles at some point… not just the most popular ones.  So with that, here are a couple of items that pay homage to the franchise!  Enjoy and happy vampire hunting!  Also, I’m aware I reposted the solomon seal.

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