Ramon’s Guide to the Outlands and Beyond

The Outlands (Planescape) | Fantasy map, Dungeons and dragons ...

I have touched upon The Outlands, yes.  But, there is still more to see.  The Concordant Opposition, a name with more than one meaning.  To some, it’s the center point where all things converge.  To some as well, it is the force fighting all planes at once.  At least, this is what that Acts of Balance sect/faction proclaim.  Beyond them, there are many more sights and sounds to observe within the center ring within the Wheel.  With such a variety of experiences alone, a Sensate could spend a lifetime here.

Author’s Note: I enjoy doing these.  As such, I have to return to this!  Now, thanks to the Torment conversions and some of my own, that takes care of a number of monsters at least.  The one bit from the Elemental post felt a bit tacked on, but it only made me wanting to do more.  It begs the question, what happens when I run out of planes?  Well, I’ve been making plans for another project.

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Ramon’s Guide to the Inner Planes

The inner planes | Fantasy map making, Sigil, Astral plane

Details on more comes later!

Circling the prime are realms where natural life is abundant, even the opposite is present too! This is the circle of the Inner Planes. Looping forms of elements dancing endlessly, the fabric of natural matter locked in a glorious display. So, why not explore them? A novel idea, and what better host for such an adventure? If I do say so, myself. Follow my mad scribblings and even madder musings as we quest to see the workings of the Inner Planes, uncovering many secrets and hidden goodies along the way.

A word of warning, many of the inner planes are truly primal. You feared the forces of the Outer Planes, but many of these are broken into base primordial essences. And no, I don’t mean like Primordium; such a strange place is still rather dangerous in its own right. I talk of the place that gave the inspiration to build Primordium in the first place! It’s amazing how something so simple can be so awe inducing. To me, those are the Elemental Planes. Let us not dally.  Admittedly, my venture to the Upper Planes lasted quite a while, the better part of many primer yearly calendars. So, do stay close and protect yourself against the correct force, one of many elemental vortexes are just a jump away!

Author’s Note: Before we continue, because I don’t say it enough, a big thanks to Todd Stewart for being a huge inspiration.  His work in pathfinder’s planar content gets a nod from me partially because of it!  While I doubt I’ll ever really jump back to Paizo, I can appreciate the work the some of the people over there are doing.  Besides, I’m more so feeling Cyberpunk 2020 or one of many other seemingly relevant dystopian games for this day and age…  Anyway, jokes and other topics aside, the Inner Planes always felt like they needed more to them.  The Inner Planes book itself jokes about this while giving some neat suggestions, but I want to add my own touch.  Hell, it calls out the people who aren’t imaginative enough to make those planes work.  I’ve seen too many silly complaints about the Inner Planes too, in part because it puts your mind in a challenge…  Anyway, here are the results of my own elemental plane challenge.  Well, part of them.  I have much more where this came from!

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Goodness

At long last, an expedition I can embark on without fear of certain demise at every corner!  Salvation, at last?  Perhaps.  As it is, several forces and powers would practically salivate at the chance of stopping my addle-coved quest to document taboos and forlorn places.  I’m surprised The Mists, as the denizens of Dread call them, haven’t taken me back and rubbed me out of planar existence.  Know-how of the Demiplane of Dread is something the best greybeards can speak little on.  And, the forces below!  The Lower Planes would thrill at the chance of claiming a chronicler, either to enforce their own propaganda or a glorious poaching prize.

But, no matter.  That isn’t to say that the Good planes are inherently easy to traverse.  No, friends, quite far from it.  Shadow wars and clashing ideologies still rear their heads.  However, the planars within these realms tend to be more discreet and friendly about it.  That isn’t to say that a leather-headed move won’t be costly.  Plus, there is an inherent trap within the allure of the Upper Planes.  It’s easy to get as lost as one would within the Sylvan Realms.   But, matters could always be worse.

Author’s Note: Hmmm, what do I do from here?  I was hoping I could wait out isolation by writing tons of blurbs on the Great Wheel?  I suppose I could tackle the Inner Planes and bring more ideas to that.  Primordium is just the beginning of that, I guess.  Also, I always felt like the Upper Planes could use a little more umph in some spots.  The Lower Planes are much cooler to adventure in.  And to be honest?  The Upper Planes need the most improvement, especially the top middle three!  Let’s see if I can’t come up with a few cool ideas, huh?  Also, don’t mind the many squeezed in references to things…  D&D has been guilty of it throughout time.

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Order vs. Anarchy

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“Law and Chaos, two diametrically opposed sides, no one will refute this.  However, what oddities and secrets do they hold?  Why, I’m happy to show you.  While I have covered a little on Pandemonium and Acheron, it’s only fair to look at the other mostly-neutral planes of Law and Chaos… plus a few looks at other related realms, and a few returns to some less than savory burgs and blights.  But, all in the name of granting knowledge to you, fair scholar!” – An introductory speech for Ramon’s Lecture on Planes of Law and Chaos, at the Civic Festhall, in the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil

Planes of Law, rules taken physical form!  While Acheron has shown the order of war at its most harsh, there is far more to explore within the possibilities of Law.  One must account for concepts of atruism, unity, conformity and direction.  While these topics can overlap between planes; they all have their respective places.  Likewise, their inevitable counterpart is the eternal testament to disorder.  The Planes of Chaos are a lack of rules turned physical.  Chaos need not be just madness, like Pandemonium.  Plenty of free thinkers are driven by many other passions.  These don’t have to be completely selfish either.  Some people just want a good time, consequences be damned!  Others just want free reigns to express themselves, judgements be damned.  So, as these two forces butt heads, let’s take a deeper look at some overviews as well as some of my own dug up finds.  Join me as I return to the planes once again!

Author’s Note: More Planes!  This time Law vs. Chaos.  This was a fun chance to revisit my fey post from last Summer!  (Shout out to Brynvalk for partially inspiring this brief revival!) Also, yes, Augmental probably won’t see use in MOST sane campaigns, considering it’s supposed to be a blend of Phyrexia, Hellraiser and H.R. Giger art in a blender.  Though, I can hope some more tongue-in-cheek segments make up for my usual delves into grimdark.

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Ramon’s Guide to Strange Realities and Stranger Planes

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Currently, I find myself researching into the boundless possibilities of parallel universes, alternate realities if you will. Such a pursuit is a headache. But, no matter! An explorer must persevere for the good of all! Throughout all means of realities, little pockets of truly wondrous strangeness hide in their own obscure places. For the time being, let me chronicle some travels to other strange places in the multiverse!  Who knows what there is?

Author’s Note: It’s no secret, I keep coming back to the planes, especially Planescape. As always, many of these ideas are 3rd and 4th Edition concepts retrofitted into AD&D (rather than 5th Edition’s approach).  This time around, a little more Shadowfell and a bit of Elemental Chaos get reshaped to (better) fit the Great Wheel.  However, I wanted to pay homage to some other concepts from settings like Mystara, which takes a much vaguer approach to the planes. Also, H.R. Giger inspired nightmare fuel!  Also, where details on original content were sparse, I twisted things around and added some of my own ideas.

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Ramon’s Guide to Realms of Dream and Nightmare

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Dream big.

“Hark!  Dear scribe, should you find this letter, I have likely been lost to The Dream.  A dream, you ask?  Preposterous!  But, not at all!  The Demiplanes of Dream and Nightmare are more than true.  To find them, one must traverse into the depths of the fair folk dominions, already a deadly task.  In truth, the dream creatures are primordial entities, predating even the sylvan folk.  They’re something raw, primal, coalescing into parallel creatures far more detached from logic.  Tread carefully, friend.  Even within the confines of this letter, its eldritch energies stir.  Do not try to look for me, lest you become stuck too.” – A letter from Ramon DeLeon, planar traveler and bard.

The Dream, an essence of energy so wild we can never truly ponder it.  It’s far more morphic than even Limbo!  This energy is neither chaos nor law, but something perhaps beyond it.  Scholars speculate its relation to a distant void known as “Far Realm”.  Currently, the forces of darkness are on the warpath to completely control all that is light within the Dream.  Should this happen, no one shall sleep soundly again.  Already, the Dream is a strange place full of the impossible, with logic far beyond anything akin to reality.  However, shaping dreams comes with its own dangers.  Particularly powerful minds are sought out… and not necessarily by forces for good.

Author’s Note: A mashup of faerie mythology and H.P. Lovecraft Mythos!  Would you expect anything less than me?  Plus, I figure this is a way to drag things into my yearly horror theme while revisiting my Planescape Fey lore by request!  (Also, no more robots for a while!  I promise!)

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June 2019 Blog Carnival – Ramon’s Look at the Fey

ecstasy_by_Jeff_Laubenstein

Ramon speaks to guests in the Gatetown of Ecstasy

The marvel and whimsy of the fair folk, is it not breathtaking? Ah, magnificent! Incredible! I tell you, there is much to tell. However, the Primers have it all wrong. That is something I wish to set straight, for all of you. Please, indulge me a moment as I tell you all there is to know!

The fey, alien and majestic. They follow a sense of wonder that is mostly alien to material plane denizens. However, despite being distant from the creatures of the mortal realm, these spritely spirits embody many emotional extremes and ideals. But, where would such creatures dwell? A Mirror Plane, some say. That is poppycock, mere propaganda made by Lords of the Courts to seem akin to true deities. That isn’t to say that fey gods don’t exist, but many of the leaders of the courts are far from gods themselves. Sure, you can find them on Arborea, Ysgard, Limbo, Pandemonium and even the Abyss… But, what other such wondrous places might they hide? I have just the answer for you!

Author’s Note: Another post for the June RPG Blog Carnival? Why not!? Find out more here!  And by all means, this might be one of the longest things I’ve made yet!  As in, Wall of Text long!  Why?  Because I like to challenge myself with new ideas and new things to tackle.

This time, my relatively grognard-y ways revive an old character of mine while trying to figure out a greater place for the fey in the Planescape/AD&D Great Wheel. As I’ve made it clear, I don’t care for the 4th edition take on things and care less for stuff like Feywild being in the Great Wheel.  Okay, that’s a lie…  I like to modify some things when I do the Nentir Vale, especially with making the planes more alien and hostile. Despite being a curmudgeon for old school lore, I figure it’s time to make do and repurpose things!

In this, I try to sample the Fey Wild books themselves, alongside Planes of Chaos, Legends & Lore and The Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (from BECMI); in order to build my own Planescape-y proof of concept. Plus, this allows me to tie in some new ideas brought in through 5th edition as well!  So, for those who’d like to indulge my experiments in world building, here’s a lengthy prose about the life of the fey in the Great Wheel.  Enjoy the words of Ramon DeLeon, Priest and Planes Traveler.

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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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Bloodlines of the Planes! – More Planetouched PCs!

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Planar-based parties are weird.

Planetouched.  Such a term can be used to describe humanoids that have an ancestry shared with an extraplanar creature.  The blood of fiends runs through a Tiefling, the blood of celestials in a Aasimar and the blood of elementals in Genasi.  But, these are but a handful of creatures gifted by strange sources lurking in the known multiverse.

Among their ranks are other creatures, either blessed or cursed by their strange bloodlines.

  • The Changeling is the result of a union between a mundane humanoid and an ancient magical creature empowered by corrupting sorcery, a hag or a bodach.
  • Dream-Touched are born from the powers of two fallen archfey; one of pleasant dreams and one from nightmares.
  • The Eldritch-Touched is an unfortunate creation of mad cultists, victims of dark gods and overly curious lunatics.
  • Fey Dog Barkers are the result of Fey Dogs who wandered too far into the Maddening Winds of Pandemonium… those who didn’t go insane were changed, perhaps for the better.
  • Finally, the Vitalborn are a race of creatures much like the Genasi.  Their elemental nature, however, comes from the Positive and Negative planes.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Not 1, but 5 new races!  (Well, 3 new races, a sub race and a remake)  I wanted to continue my planar/weird fantasy theme with some more player options.  Most of this started with a player wanting a hag-blooded tiefling in an early 5e game… which didn’t quite feel thematically right to me.  Though, it ended with the loss of famous meme “Gabe the Dog”… otherwise, the sub-race wouldn’t exist.  Granted, Fey Dog was a meme-based joke creation to begin with.

All in all, I got carried away with a whole assortment of planar themed racial options at your disposal!  While they need some playtesting (and some more than others), I’m still happy I managed to get all of this done.  Enjoy.

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