July 2017 Blog Carnival – Conflicts in Dark Worlds and Genres

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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.

Continue reading “July 2017 Blog Carnival – Conflicts in Dark Worlds and Genres”

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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MAY BLOG CARNIVAL – Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background

Image result for Pathfinder spiritualist

One might wonder, what is the power of a spiritualist?  It’s very much laid out in their name, someone who works with the spirits of the deceased.  Such sorcerers are fabled for calming angry spirits who lacked desire to move on to the after life.  In some instances, they have found ways to harness the spirits, whether out of mutual pact or magical extortion.

For most of your life, you have felt a connection with spirits.  Over time, you tried to develop talents to reach out to the realms beyond.  While not a bloodline in its own right, you have been touched by the nether realms, planar domains where souls travel upon death.  Harnessing your talent, you are more than capable of communing with spirits either through seance or through a known spell.

However, conjuring and working with spirits is often taboo, and is such practiced in secret.  While some may hear of you and seek you out for counsel when dealing with the dead, others might see you as a second rate necromancer.  Some orders have even formed within various religious organizations as exorcists, while others revel in individual freedom when dealing with the shadows beyond our world.

Author’s Notes:  I’m back with Blog Carnival content once more!  This time, I thought I’d dabble into the Occult theme by making a Spiritualist based circle for the Sorcerer.  While other classes also felt like good picks, this felt like the quickest match for me.  So, let’s speak with the dearly departed as we explore the Nether World with the Spiritualist.  And as a bonus, have a background on exorcism. 

You may find more on the May 2017 Blog Carnival here!  Alternatively, you may be interested in the Sage Variant: Occultist background that I made last year.  This would better fit a medium who contacts spirits through seances and the like, should you favor a more gothic flavor over a high fantasy one!

Also, this is the first pass for this sub-class, it will be due for revision in subsequent weeks.  This first draft is experimental and possibly volatile.

Continue reading “MAY BLOG CARNIVAL – Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background”

Super-Science and Sorcery Roundup

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For starters, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to this month’s theme.  While many themes have come and gone through carnival history, I’m not too sure many have really tackled this idea in depth.  Perhaps it’s due to the fact the genre hybrid of science-fantasy isn’t as popular as it once was.  Perhaps people just wanted to tackle something else that tickles their fancy.  Both are very fine reasons.

At first, I was hesitant to make the theme about science fantasy.  The reason was that it’s very much a niche flavor within a niche hobby.  I love it, but I figured not too many other people shared that same love.  None the less, plenty of fans came out of the wood work to support a pretty cool concept, if I do say so myself!  Mages and dragons meets techno-crafters and giant robots!  I mean, come on!  That’s pretty darn cool!  Also yes, RIFTS was one of my favorite settings way back when… how did you guess?

Anyway, I’m gonna stop prattling here and get to showcasing this month’s RPG Blog Carnival posts.  Here are the posts for the August 2016 theme, “Science Science and Sorcery!”

EDIT: Added missing links

 

 

6d6RPG: The Monster in the Machine – jfoster merges machinery with the strange and supernatural to create some fascinating and unsettling new monster ideas!

Anarcarnivàle: Any technology sufficiently advanced… – Clark proposes ideas on fusing magic and technology together with the help of historical scenarios.

Brynvalk: Cold Iron Corruptor – Faith from Brynvalk mashes classical fantasy creatures of the Fae with Sci-Fi elements such as cyborgs and mutants.

Crossplanes: F@NE For Savage RIFTS – Mark from Crossplanes creates a creature for the science-fantasy world of RIFTS, now compatible with Savage Worlds.

Daemons & Deathrays: Expedition to Barrier Peaks – Brian (Me) of Daemons & Deathrays has devoted the month to converting a classic module to D&D 5th Edition.  These posts consist of:

Forgotmydice: Astounding Tales of Science Fantasy – Grynning examines Clarke’s Third Law in its relation to the Sword and Planet genre, as well as figuring out how to run such games in D&D.

Forgotmydice: Warlock Patron of Interest – Griss makes a pact with a new warlock patron, The Machine.

Forgotmydice: ‘Tis New to Thee – Trevor transports people from a Modern world into the realm of Fantasy thanks to a new background!

Forgotmydice: From the Red Hills of Mars – Robert channels John Carter in the blog’s August 2016 finale by creating Green Martian stats.

Forgot my dice: Allons-y! – Trevor makes an intellectual and scientific sub class for the Ranger.

Mythus Mage: Are You Sure? – Alan dissects genre and treats magic as a science.

Notes of the Wandering Alchemist: Science-Fantasy Trinket Table – Based on the PHB, John has made a table of random trinkets you can incorporate into your games.

Rollcall: Reskinning to Maximize a System’s Range – Rollcall shows how simple it is to reflavor fantasy RPGs into science fiction.

Tales of a GM: Serpentfall in Heroquest – Phil takes from “The Day After Ragnarok” setting to build an epic interlude with a helping of science-fantasy!

Temple of Ravens: Super-Science and Sorcery – Anthony of Temple of Ravens ponders Sci-Fi series like Star Trek and how to run them within the realms of D&D and beyond.

 

If you would like to participate in an upcoming  RPG Blog Carnival event or host your own event, please check out this page to learn more.

Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 5) – Technological Artifacts, Exploration, Odds ‘n’ Ends

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“I want to go somewhere nicer, like The Tomb of Horrors…”

There is much more to the Barrier Peaks than a romp against alien monsters.  The mechanics and workings of the downed ship are far more complex.  Access cards, radioactive hallways, infested hives, among other things await our heroes as they make an… Expedition to Barrier Peaks!

Author’s Note:  This is probably the longest post in this series.  It’s a bunch of notes on running the module itself, as well as the technological artifacts you’ll find.  The cards are in the first part, as they don’t really have much mechanical depth aside from a McGuffin.

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Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 3) – Mutants and Monstrosities

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“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!

Continue reading “Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 3) – Mutants and Monstrosities”

Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 2) – Flora Folk and Mold Men

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“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!

Continue reading “Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 2) – Flora Folk and Mold Men”

Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 1) – Robots and Androids

RPG Blog Carnival LogoTo kick off the August 2016 RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Super-Science and Sorcery”, I thought I’d show a part of a conversion I’m working on.  This module has always been a special one for me.  Not only was it a crazy fun house dungeon crawl, but it’s a bizarre crossover of D&D elements with the likes of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha.  Plus, I’ve always loved conspiracies revolving around Ancient Aliens.  With that, I’ll be hoping to transfer Barrier Peaks to 5th Edition to the best of my abilities.  After it’s complete, it might go up on the DM’s Guild.

To kick things off, we’ll start the conversion with an assortment of robots and androids.  Now, you may be wondering, what do robots have to do with D&D?  I’m not entirely sure, as I’m running on coffee and sheer determination.  Granted, that hasn’t stopped me from finding a way!  Needless to say, the rest of the module is being converted in chunks, to be collected in a megapost in the end.

Author’s Note:  You read that correctly!  More or less, I’m going to be dumping some time into converting this module.  It’s very likely that this will take up a chunk of the month, itself.  Luckily, the Playtest made work a lot easier on me.  I’ve found help from other bloggers as well, thus making the journey a non-arduous one.  Plus, I’ve made a helping of techno goodies in the past too.

Continue reading “Expedition to Barrier Peaks – D&D 5th Edition Conversion (PART 1) – Robots and Androids”

RPG BLOG CARNIVAL AUGUST 2016: Super-Science & Sorcery

This has been quite an exciting year for Daemons & Deathrays!  It marks me expanding my site content through new ideas and concepts.  It also will mark me making the leap to digital distribution and sales!  *fingers crossed!*  Above all, it’s the third time I’ve participated in the Blog Carnival.  In this case, spearheading this month’s theme!

On that note, the theme for this month is “Super Science & Sorcery.”  In other words, science fantasy.  This hybrid genre embodies a mixture of motifs found in both science fiction and fantasy fiction.  The origins of the genre stem from a time when speculative fiction was significantly less concrete in its terminology.  On one hand, you had harder science fiction typically written by people in directly scientific fields of study.  On the other hand, you had lighter and pulpier science fiction.  While they explored a variety of themes found in the genre, they weren’t as concerned with creating a world cemented in tested theories or making it feel exactly like our own world.  These range from Buck Rogers radio serials and b-grade midnight movies to fantastical epic stories like Star Wars and The Masters of the Universe.

In terms of tabletop hobbies, the concept of science-fantasy is as old as the grand parent of roleplaying games itself!  David Arneson’s Blackmoor made homages to aliens, high technology and even Star Trek.  Gary Gygax brought a spacefaring vessel (likely from Metamorphosis Alpha) into the world of Oerth via Expedition to Barrier Peaks.  The Post-Apocalyptic wastes of Gamma World and the western frontier of Boot Hill had options to bring strange gizmos across the planes via the Advanced D&D DM’s Guide.  Gygax’s friend and co-founder of TSR, Don Kaye, made a character that transported to Boot Hill and learned the art of the shootist.  Upon returning to Greyhawk, he was decked out in cliche cowboy gear and sixguns.  After Kaye’s passing, Gygax honored his character as a minor deity of magical technology.  During 2E’s run, Dragon Magazine had a plot involving invasive evil robots called “Sheens”, as well as an adventure called “Tales of the Comet” with a similar theme.  As the years continued, we saw a few steampunk articles for Dragon magazine, the D20 Modern roleplaying game, Gamma World revisions for new editions, Dragonstar, 3rd Party settings like Amethyst, among countless other genre mashups for the game.  With that, the concept of Science-Fantasy within the realm of Dungeons & Dragons (and roleplaying games in general) is far from new and far from over.  Beyond the realms of D&D, we’ve all sorts of works arise over the years: Warhammer 40K, Titansgrave, Shadowrun, Skyrealms of Jorune, RIFTS, the list goes on!

So, you may be wondering where you all fit into this strange theme?  For this month, I’m asking you to share any Science-Fantasy RPG goodness you have with me!  Stories, homebrew, etc!  Please, comment down below with a link to your creations.  Despite the D&D-centric nature of this blog, I encourage you to explore any RPG game or story within the realms of science-fantasy that works for you.  At the end of the month, I’ll do a round up post involving all of this month’s contributions.  Here’s to a successful month of mutants, magitech, machine men and more!

For more information on the RPG Blog Carnival, please visit here.

Image Credit: RPG Blog Carnival – Reis O’Brien