Tales of the Astral – The Gith

Dak'kon by Grosnus

“Endure, in enduring grow strong.” – Dak’kon, Zerth Disciple

The endless struggle in the planes beyond.  This is brief summary of the Gith, a displaced and wounded people.  Long ago, they came to know suffering under a domineering race of creatures known as “Illithid”.  The horrid creatures broke and enslaved these beings into servitude, harvesting them when it became convenient.  In a showing of will and defiance, rebellion lead to the gith breaking free.  However, factions arose over what to do with their newfound freedom.  The split lead to the rise of many new groups rife with their own strange philosophies and viewpoints.

Despite this fracturing, each respective faction remains strong and proud in their own manner.  Each continues onward in their ideals.  Each finds their place in the multiverse.  However, they remain sullied by hatred and biases of the past.  Many refuse to deal too much with their kinds, lest they risk getting dragged into Gith politics.  However, a wise and powerful ally is usually welcomed within a team.

Author’s Note:  Wouldn’t you know it?  I’m not overly satisfied with a non-core book on races, once more. Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is by all means a great book in terms of conflict inspiration as well as monsters, but I was eager to do my own take on things.  As I’m a master of reinventing the wheel, here’s my own take on the Gith.  But, in all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to this for a while.  Even before Tome of Foes was announced, I wanted to do a whole assortment of Planescape races.  The new book just encouraged me to get to it.  Mind you, most of this was already pondered when the initial unearthed arcana article came out.

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DOC’S WRITING SPELLJAMMER!

Image result for spelljammer: ad&d adventures in space

Wizards gave the A-OK to drop their news early, so I figured I’d help share the fun.  In short, I’ve been contacted by Wizards of the Coast to help craft their latest product, a world-related expansion book as well as tie-in adventure.  While I can’t say too much, all I can say is that Spelljammer is indeed confirmed.  On top of that, I’m helping the write the sections on it.  As for plot, it will be an overarching multiverse story, akin to the previous modules… but on a much grander scale.  I’m not allowed to disclose further on that though.

If you wanna see more, hop on over here to check the entire announcement on the D&D Youtube page!

A Tout’s Look at the Extraplanar (Part 1): Tieflings Expanded

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“I’ve never had someone make a portrait of me, so I guess we’re even on that favor…” – Rhys, Factol of the Transcendent Order, to Kylie the Tout

The Planetouched, truly incredible beings.  Such people can trace their ancestry to a powerful planar phenomena.  Perhaps they were literally born from an ancient union of mortal and creature.  Perhaps they are the result of arcane dabbling with such powers.  Maybe they’re the consequence of a warlock’s pact!  No matter the cause, the planetouched are usually the result.  Outside of hubs like Sigil, the City of Doors, such beings are extremely rare.  Some can be found in more accommodating locales like Mulhorand on Abeir-Toril or The Rock of Bral in Wildspace.  Either way, it’s likely that the average person will either never encounter such people or never know that they have.Image result for planetouched

Despite contrary claims, it is quite challenging to pin the plane-touched to a unified species or entity.  While some are indeed more unified than others, this is not the case as a whole.  You may see a Tiefling with horns and a tail; another with large monstrous clawed feet, a serpentine tongue and scales traveling parts of their body.  Likewise, you might see the most gorgeous Aasimar in existence, while another one is uncanny and horribly alien.

No matter whatever the case may be, I’m so glad you chose me as your Tout…  That’s cager for (usually paid) source of information, a guide of sorts!  So, plant your hind in a decent enough seat, now’s your time to learn a thing!  (It might save your head later!)  Also, please focus on me.  My little friend Dib will behave himself, I promise you… as long as you cork your bone-box and open an ear.

Author’s Note: This was one I’ve always wanted to do.  While not much of a “challenge” for me to tackle compared to other stuff, it mostly came down to filling gaps I noticed in 5E.  A lot of awesome planar flavor was missing and I wanted to remedy that the best I could.  So, here’s some extra options for planar races and then some!  Many tend to stick to a formula of sorts, but that’s what you get from sampling from similar races from various similar sources such as the Planescape setting, various Dragon articles and Pathfinder.  Sure, it’s not as open as the original charts, but this is a compromise of old and new.  Also, with the amount of attention touts such as Kylie have gotten recently through podcasts like Commander Holly’s “Trapped in the Birdcage”, I had to borrow her for an article! Enjoy.

*XGtE refers to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
*SCAG refers to Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

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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.

Monsters in Space! The Sequel: Star Dragons (and Dragon Variants)

“How could such an environment lead to this?  Is this a dragon?  It barely seems to qualify.  Unlike others, it shoots a strange, destructive light from its mouth…  It baffles the mind.”- From the journal of a traveling scholar.

Star Dragons, born from the deep cosmos, are a rare draconic breed.  Some think they are crossbred between a true dragon from another realm and something truly alien.  Others believe that they are another reality’s manifestation of dragon.  They could very well be an evolution of primordial energy from the distant depths, gaining awareness as it gained form.  None the less, such a creature is capable of unleashing a fearsome power that is true to their kind.  Unlike any element, they can release a matter consuming light.  Few are sure if it is a kind of radiation, a laser beam or something else entirely.  On top of that, it is said that they hold the ability to phase through reality and travel among the stars themselves.

Those who have encountered them have either contended with a brutal foe or an incredible ally.  Indifferent to plights, powers and people; the star dragons prefer to distance themselves from conflict.  But, if one is convinced to aid, they will become an invaluable source as long as there’s something in it for them.  In fact, they’re more likely to remain away from plane jumpers and ships alike.  Those who interact with such travelers always have a personal agenda in mind.  Despite this, they are not typically egoistic, as they often have a communal aspect to them.  They travel the stars in pods, similar to whales in the sea, doing all they can to prevent anyone from falling behind in the galactic reaches.  Protection of clan and extended family is an important virtue for such creatures.

Author’s Note: I wanted to do a little bit more with my list of classic D&D monsters ported over into the realms of science fiction…  Well… science-fantasy.  Will these manifest in something else at one point?  Most likely, yes!  Anyway, here’s my take on a cosmic dragon that was scrapped from last week’s post due to time.  Also, I’m going to be taking a little break from planar/science-fantasy.

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Monsters IN SPACE – Sci-Fi twists on Classic Monsters

Vampire by Saindoo

Even vampirism has evolved alongside growing technologies…

“Magick…” he grumbles in a hoarse whisper to himself, “the force we all thought would hamper progress.  And here we are, traveling the stars with it.”  Letting out a sigh, he pushes his hovering seat away from a messy desk.  “If we were truly destined to separate ourselves from magick, the horrible monsters would have been vanquished long ago… not terraforming entire planets.”  The man slightly grips his teeth as he rises from the floating chair, joints popping from ache and wear.  The spacefaring man gazes into a mirror before continuing to shuffle.  The marks of fatigue and age on his face contrast the shining gleam of his badges, reflecting light from the ‘glow panels’ dotting the ceilings and hallways throughout the vessel.  Over towards a huge glass pane, the elder military man observes systems of stars with planets seemingly nestled in perfect viewing spots by ancient giants or celestial creatures.  “And this ship, it has served more of a home for me than it deserves.  But, through the mad crusades and bloody combat, it has served me well.”  The tranquility of an empty space fades as ships pull into view, built with alien geometries and operating through impossible physics, they charge weaponry for an epic battle.  The man cracks a faint grin as similar weaponry opens fire on the enemy crafts.

The worlds of magic and monsters don’t need to end when civilizations have advanced themselves into new eras; feudal worlds give way to industrial, which give way to information, which give way to hypothetical new technologies that Earth can only speculate about.  Even a world of fantasy can and should advance and change with the flow of time.  All too often do these worlds stagnate in the endless mush of quasi-medieval high fantasy.  Now, this isn’t to say that such a thing can’t be good and doesn’t still have a place.  It’s just that for many fans of the genre, such things have grown stale and resistance to change.

In a fantasy future, adventurers will continue to carry on their business.  Perhaps new sanctions are in effect and new regulations are in place.  However, there are still dens filled with malicious monsters and strange sights to behold.  There are gnoll raiders who operate miniguns instead of wield war-axes, elementals from a plane composed of radiation, beholders who bolster their psychic power through cybernetic enhancements, orcish biker gangs terrorizing the streets through their “hover hogs” and much more.  Granted, most of these will not be appearing in the article below.  However, they are ideas on how someone can twist a classic monster for a more Modern/Sci-Fi inspired setting.

Author’s Note: I figured this is a great way to close out the theme, a look at some classic monsters transferred to a new genre.  And by this, I mean transferring classic D&D monsters into classic (as well as some less standard) science fiction.  Also, please don’t mind the cheesy space-opera-meets-D&D blurb from up above.  I’m not quite what I’d call a writer, but I figured it would be a fun change of pace.

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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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