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”

Mirrors below Waterdeep – Alternate Realities Continued

Twilight Zone Opening - Modo 801 - YouTube

The Mad Mage, he holds a key to various incarnations of reality, jumping from one image to the next. This portal gateway is unlike any other, as it explores different timelines and possibilities rather than other planes and worlds alone. Should you make your way beyond Halaster Blackcloak and his minions, you may unlock countless possibilities.

Who I am is not important.  I leave all public record and identity to my humble guide, another reality traveler.  The bipedal feline creature, known as Ramon DeLeon, has had experience with dark mirrors adjacent of reality on the Prime.  The one I gaze upon, a Toril shredded by seemingly unending violence, this one frightens me.  However, his words are reassuring.  What is disconcerting is that “few will remember him”, whatever that is supposed to mean.  But, when one has a reputation that precedes them, events can transpire almost any way. 

Author’s Note: A post about the Forgotten Realms itself? Impossible! And yet, here we are! Many of my earliest gaming days were spent in Abeir-Toril.  This post was meant to be made and posted a while ago, but yet that didn’t happen till now.  Well, here is an expansion on an old post detailing parallel universes. The Torilian one, torn by war, is actually the version of the Realms I’ve played with for over a decade. Also, behold the final piece to the Antorek plot thing… even though it’s actually the first thing that started this whole mess.  Literally.  This is where the character came from.  Is this the last of my looks at D&D realities?  Probably not, but perhaps this is another sign I hope to move away.  Anyway, Happy New Year, to arms and battle stations!  Likewise, stay tuned for my January 2022 RPG Blog Carnival!  I have a few more tricks up my sleeve!  Also, thank last year’s Twilight Zone marathon for inspiring the thick of this!

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In Which Calamity Reigns – More Planescape Lore

Street Riot | MTG Arena Card Library
“To the Armory, CHAAAAARGE!.”

“Those Anarchist twits, sparking more violence within The Cage.  They think they’re turning the people against the factions, all of them…  Not quite.  It all plays into our hands.  Besides, this has lead to our greatest dabbling, remote shops to distribute weapons from The Armory better!  Tuck them under the Legals’ noses, give ’em the laugh at the right moment!  The smell o’ fresh blood wafting along the Lower Ward smog, ain’t it just grand?  Besides, nasty things are brewing in the planes, it’s best for the locals to arm themselves.  Bloody shame with those pirates though, I wish they were working for us…” – From the letter of a Sinker, commenting on recent “acceleration” within Sigil

Horrible things transpire across the planes, but what do they mean?  Likewise, dread things from realms unknown have found their way into The Cage.  The few paranoid greybeards within The Dark point towards The Demiplane of Dread and its machinations.  But, they can’t say for sure and can’t say why.  Through the Prime Fabric, a version of Terra languishes at the wrath of the planes beyond too, something that should be impossible.  As it is, rising tensions within Sigil point to something grim.  Some figure that Factol Darkwood is up to something, but he has been on the hush since violence against any faction/non-guild has been on the rise.  Even laws passed and enforced by the “lawful three” have been subverted and sometimes abolished by outside forces.  The Lady, as always, has remained silent until her call to action draws near.  In the meantime, both Anarchists and Indeps are getting much of the heat of the blame, alongside various Guilds of the Guildhall and Market Wards.

Author’s Note: This post is all about two themes: darker things in the planes… and war.  By war, I mean urban warfare, world war, proxy war, war of ideals/words and war over technology.  But also, we have more Planescape content, as well as potential “Ravenscape” material.  As always, references galore!  This includes some personalities in real life.  Shout-out to The Foxy Bard of Renaissance Faire performance fame.  I still say if you toss on a monocle, you could rock a Harkon Lukas cosplay!  Mind you, Lukas was an inspiration for my character too.  Also, this one is a smidge rougher based on looks at an apocalyptic Earth, as well as uproar in the Cage.  Keep an eye out for many, many callbacks throughout the post.  I love to self-reference.

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Of Lands Beyond Castle Ravenloft – Mad Plots and Grim Conspiracy

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Sitting around a polished oaken table, an assortment of well-dressed individuals act locked in place upon simple chairs.  Only when one shadowy figure emerged into dim lamplight do the other figures seem to respond.  A woman clad in red finery more suited to a special gathering or wedding emerges forward, the wrinkles on her face accentuated through her sneering expression.

“I’ve long awaited this gathering here.  Influences of the supernatural want to have their way with the villages, precious cities, establishments of higher learning.  Such things are abominations that attack Reason itself.  Despite my origins elsewhere, you know my dedication to Lamordia.  My aspirations of Ludendorf Academy of Science cannot occur without your aid, even with its rivals.  While nestled in a quiet land, the school would bring enlightenment to those who seek it.”

She glances around, none of the other members of this meeting look in particular disagreement or contradiction.  One figure arises to meet her gaze, raising from his chair.  His garb is far less ornate, but still of quality and professionalism.

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Natalya Bogdanoff, former headmistress of Kantora University.  Fear not L’Académie des Sciences of Dementlieu either.  We are researching them as we speak…  But, where are my manners?  We welcome you to our organization and acknowledge your concerns wholeheartedly.  You are a friend here in Lamordia, and a friend of the Syndicate of Enlightened Citizens.  The Academy has had our backing since its announcement.  Should you be concerned about suspicious influences among staff and students, say no more.  We’re happy to provide you assistance.  And everyone else in attendance, let us please applaud our newest member.  No longer are you merely a guest of honor.”

The gathered company arise to clap for Natalya, who clasps her hands and twists her face into a devilish smirk.  After an appreciative nod, everyone returns to their seats.  Natalya unveils documents from a case, one of which entailing plans for the Academy of Science.  Passing the documents around, the members of the syndicate nod and chatter with each other in excitement.  As the papers make their way back to their owner, the mood turns from welcoming excitement to a sinister cabal of shadowy plots.

Author’s Note: 4 posts in a row?  I guess my disappointment and frustration is a good motivator after all.  Not a long-term one, but I’ve certainly felt pretty damn creative.  But in all seriousness, I’ve been more motivated to read the books I do like and it has inspired me.  Also, let me bring in some more Dawnsveil content from my prior DM’s Guild version.  And on a final note, let’s explore some of the motivations behind past weirdness, shall we?

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More Misty Rumors

Thief 3: Deadly Shadows", full walkthrough + 100% loot, Mission 1 -  Checking Inn, Cashing out - YouTube

 

“Don’t worry, I have more to offer. After all, this trade appeases my true master. So, just as before, present your trade.”

Rustling into your pockets, you feel crumpled pieces of parchment, a cold sweat drips from your fingers to nearly stain the hidden papers. You realize what else you can offer, things far more taboo than prior offerings. Hesitant, you remove your clenched hand to reveal more documents. The scribe taps his fingers, quietly chortling to himself in dark glee.  “Ah, now there we go.  I’m a man of my word.  When you deliver good content, I will supply far more.  Ready yourself, more things we prepare for here within our great Darkon.”

Author’s Note: My first set of rumors and happenings were enjoyed, let me craft some more.  For the time being, there is no marked time on the Barovian Calendar.  As an aside, this isn’t my first reference to the Prisoners of the Mist server for Neverwinter Nights.  My hints of Gundarakite rebellion took notes from there too.  I should really get back into that, it was good fun!

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Monsters of even more Forbidden Realms (Raven-scape Monsters Part 2)

15 Best Cosmic Horror Movies Inspired By Lovecraft | Cultured Vultures

You awaken to find yourself chained against a damp and musty cave wall.  What you see before you was likely once a man, but his flesh sways and twitches in ways not befitting a natural creature.  As he glances at you, several copies of his face seem to project, as if to magnify his speech. Multiple uncanny smiles form in disjointed succession, as the space-warped thing speaks.

“You thought you escaped?  What a foolish notion!  The Mists are eternal and you are a puppet!  A wise adventurer would best research on things that dwell in darkness, lest they be another story of the Dark Powers.  In the end, you are all the same.  But, a fighting chance is too irresistible to ignore.  So, fight on and fight well, mortal.  If you were wiser, you could have read onward about the awful things that sprawl and crawl.  I was once like you, but then I was chosen to be beyond human.  The cosmic eternity takes the worthy, granting them a new story.  But first, allow me to do the honor of ending yours.” 

Shadowy projections of his hand reach over, to simply touch your forehead.  Protrusions and mockeries of the flesh extend from the tainted thing’s arm.  The mass plants itself upon your head, as you feel its horrid pull.  The force of a thousand realities tries takes your essence.  All goes black, the alien void has won.

Author’s Note:  I had more planned, I just wanted to space them out instead of cram it all into one post.  I’m still pondering where to go next.  But, the Stars are Right for… something.  And yes, The Thing was one of the inspirations behind The Paradox.  But, how would you conduct a blood test for it?

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Traversing the Mists – Ramon’s Research of Ravenloft

Castle Avernus | Tertius: Ravenloft Redux | Obsidian Portal

The journeys through the lands of the mists continue.  I find myself lost after leaving the dark clutches of Inza.  It wasn’t my place to fully stop her.  While the Black Rose is distant and gone, maybe someone else will thwart the usurper.  In the meantime, the strange powers that be seem to carry me, as if they too wish to see my quest for knowledge fulfilled.  But, they have an ulterior motive, for they never help one for free.  Perhaps I can be of use to help put Darklords in their place?  Given how I haven’t done much of that before, this is likely not the case….  But, something to ponder about later.  Something to deeply ponder about.

The meddlings of displaced Kargatane is most disconcerting.  Tales tell of Azalin’s meddling in an attempt to escape.  And yet, I have successfully escaped… all the more reason to use me in an experiment.  I’m not sure if I’m at the agenda of the dread lich or the Dark Powers.  Either way, it’s likely that little good will come from this, save for me documenting these awful places for posterity.  With any luck, I will be granted the same courtesy as before.  Every time though, it feels like escape was from sheer luck of nothing bad happening or just the smallest window of survival.  We shall see what awaits me then.  With any hope, I can evade these agents of the lich for as long as possible.  If I benefit with learning along the way, that’s certainly a positive, no?

Author’s Note: Ravenloft had a tendency to make crossovers with other settings.  So, let’s pull from their dip into Dark Sun as well as Spelljammer, even examining a possible domain from Eberron!  In addition, I look at a cluster I very much enjoy.  Also, what is Ramon seeking?  Why does he hide from Azalin?

 

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Time Marches On: Blog Carnival Wrap-Up

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Thanks for marching along with me, as we traverse the endless streams of time!  While I was hoping for a few more, I’m glad all of you took the time to see how time marched on in your games.

Here is the list of contributors:

Stay tuned for next month’s theme “Gamemaster’s Cut” from Codex Anathema!  If you wish to know more about the RPG Blog Carnival, please go here!

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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.

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