Mage Vs. Machine – The Sheens

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“Machine, meet Mage!”

Rumors tell of impossible machines, constructs built by the bashers of an exceptionally accursed prime space.  Such a place was long buried deep in the dead book by its own hubris and acceleration, despite the warnings of their Powers.  The barmies kept on going, crafting up one of the most heinous things to pollute the multiverse.  I speak of the Sheens.  Baator-fed buggers seem to self-replicate and thrive, despite attempts to wipe them out.  They’re not just constructs either, but true thinking machines!  They lack souls, but have the mind and bone-box alike to surpass most eggheads.  Needless to say, this place burned down hard.  The Land of Blackmoor was no more!  However, their creation escaped far beyond its Crystal Sphere and beyond.  So, go ahead and kill one, multiple will show up out of no where to take you down!  The Metal berks burnt my tail bad too! – Geber Reynardt, Kitsune Alchemist and Sensate, survivor of The Sheen Invasion of Ignis

Who says sci-fi and fantasy don’t mix?  It’s been a thing for decades, eons, at least a century!  Even in D&D, we’ve had all sorts of strange crossovers.  The aforementioned Blackmoor has been around since the beginning.  That setting was a somewhat dirty and gritty medieval world that contended with a crashed alien space ship.  The result was an AWOL officer starting an uprising with a “frog cult”, as well as the ship thrown into other forms of turmoil.  The end result of the mess caused Blackmoor to experience technological leaps before ultimately blowing itself up.

And in the case of the Sheen, one of my favorite articles from Dragon Magazine (complete with a follow-up), they’re very much science-fantasy too.  The articles tell of the sheen, a strange and mysterious menace.  These constructs were made by a society more advanced in technology and probably magic too.  Their genuine origins are a mystery to most, but their desire to consume and conquer makes them a massive threat.  Plus, they have numerous forms that can adapt to different situations.  And while the sheens tear through organic life, they don’t do so out of malice or hatred, but a survival for their own “machine kind”.  Fortunately, countless defenders have learned enough to fend them off and even reverse engineer some of their own contraptions too.  In a sense, think like Horizon Zero Dawn!

Author’s Note: This one has been a long time coming!  The Sheens are by far one of my favorite obscure D&D monsters (or set of monsters).  Beyond two magazine articles, there hasn’t been too much buzz around them.  Hopefully, I can help to change that!  Here’s the first part of that, with a mix of both articles.  Sure, I’ve made robots already, but I really love these ones too!  Plus, should I find the time, I might be interested in converting the Kits and Spells introduced by the article too… eventually… hopefully.

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Rise of the Machines – Robots and Androids

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Robots – 1, Organics – 0

The Machine.  A testament to engineering and ingenuity.  Artificial life taken to the next form!  Whatever the case may be, these constructs are forged from a truly advanced form of artifice.  Many are made through a high technology not unlike many forms of magic.  Some are even crafted through rare forms of magical infusion.  These constructs are far more capable of thought that many predecessors.  Beyond their elaborate programming, some prove more than capable of having souls.  Such constructs truly achieve the joys of sentience.

Author’s Note:  ROBOTS!  I made a post many moons back, that I have since wanted to remake.  Plus, here are a few more ideas I’ve tossed around for general science-fantasy robot fun!  Plus, I decided to tie the Pathfinder settings(s) into Planescape/Spelljammer… for some reason.  Since my schedule is limited this week from preparation for and volunteering for a fair, things are broken up into chunks.  Expect more soon!

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Planar Double Feature

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I’ve been quite busy, especially with an expo.  However, here’s my means of catching up on things.  In fact, two critters popped out to me when I was combing through the Monstrous Compendiums for Planescape.  Here are my takes on the Rast and the Bloodthorn.  Enjoy!

Author’s Note: In which the author covers up his posterior by posting two new creatures.

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Planejammer Forever! – Creatures of the Planes

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A Book of Monsters? A good choice!  Zam’dul is happy to bestow such a tome upon you.  The cost is effective too, for you invest in knowledge!  Even with such knowledge, be quite careful.  The planes themselves are very unforgiving and care not for visitors. – Zam’dul, planar merchant.

As you might have guessed, I love the multiverse created by AD&D 2nd Edition and tend to have a bias in favor of it in some capacity.  By all means, you are correct….  Not that there’s anything wrong with my favoritism, of course!  Anyway, I wanted to convert over a few more creatures featured in Spelljammer and Planescape before I hop over to other things.  That said, there are a fair number of D&D-adjacent things outside of both of those settings that would be fun to tackle.  So, I’ll probably consider some of that too.

In the meantime, I wanted to bring back some other favorite creatures of mine.  As always a healthy mix of aberrations, constructs, undead and the like.  Don’t worry, no fiends this time.

Author’s Note: I’ve covered the whole Planar theme for a while.  I might do a few more things before I switch gears.  Personally, I’m feeling a return to either Gothic or something else entirely soon.  Who knows?  I certainly don’t!  I just pull ideas either out of my brain or out of my bum and go from there.  If I actually had a plan, I’d probably have a production studio by now…

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Highway to Hell – Things of the Lower Planes

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Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me for me for me

The campaign pushed into the Grey Wastes themselves.  We were readied for countless fiends, all battling in the name of their dastardly causes.  We even were readied to control the sinister magics of the Night Hag.  But, something unexpected and foul caught many by surprise…  Aberrations formed and mutated through necromancy.  Surely, these beasts weren’t native to the plane, but something brought them there.  Something perfected them.  The casualties within my own legions became astronomical, even with pushing the abominations back long enough. –  Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.

My series of planar monsters continues with a healthy mixture of folklore, pop culture and crazy custom creatures.  This time, a post devoted to horrible things to crawl up from the Lower Planes!  Fiends, hellish constructs, necromantic mind flayers, cursed souls and more!

Author’s Note:  In addition to some more planar threats, I wanted to ramp things up a bit with some more out there experiments.  Also, shout out to Brynvalk for inspiring one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard of.  Also, I’m back to bringing in a fair number of fiends to horrify my mini-bestiaries!  I love making fiends!  Also, pardon the classic rock references.  But, it wouldn’t be my first time.

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Planar Mania – Monsters Continued

Wildspace Explorer | Into the Night by sdavis75

“Today, you have entered as cadets, mere trainees with little knowledge of the cast worlds beyond and the infinite stars that surround them.  Through extensive courses and simulations, you exit as readied soldiers.  The vast empty void is your grounds to explore, to understand, to build upon.  Be brave, mighty warriors, mages and more!  Go forth, into wildspace!” – Graduation at the Rock of Bral Spell Flight Academy

To some, a trip into fantastical space is a simple feat.  They’re quite far from the truth.  In reality, it proves to be quite the challenge for those who aren’t initiated.  And even once one travels into space, that’s not to say it’s just a lifeless and black nothingness.  Countless hazards threaten the discerning traveler.  Most poorly calculated move and you sail into a deadly trap!  While not all life beyond a material world is inherently deadly, there is still much to be weary of.

Author’s Note:  More Spelljammer!  This time, I’m sampling a little bit of Star Wars influence too.  Starweirds, Ysalamiri, maybe a few others.  Also, there seems to be an unintentionally recurring theme of racial tension in this post.  I guess the theme for this post is part Star Wars, part “racism is bad”?  I dunno.

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The Eldritch Unity – Amalgamated Horrors from Powers Beyond

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JOIN US!

Unification.  Usually, this concept is seen as a positive.  Coming together for a common cause.  However, not all things use it for the betterment of all life.  Some use it for the betterment of themselves, sometimes to literally propagate themselves; an all out cosmic domination campaign.  For survivors sane enough to resist its curse, they will recant tales of an entity more than capable of unraveling all reality… and rebuilding it in a gruesome image.

Despite hailing from some alien dimension, accessed through planar loopholes and demiplanes, this entity is not driven by chaos or randomness, as we might assume.  Scholars believe that this thing has taken interest in our takes on law, order and of course unity.  However, it strives to perfect it.  To material plane minds, the result is a sickening perversion that inspires madness and revulsion.

Author’s Note: The culmination of all sorts of cosmic and body horror.  Here are a few powerful creatures that could make for some truly horrifying end game baddies, short of an elder god itself.  Mix a little Dark Souls, Halo, Innistrad and Warhammer 40K and you have these abominations.  Also, I realized that my homage to Hanweir is quite similar to Kor-Artificer’s.  Great minds think alike, I guess.  Either way, I can certainly say that I’ve created one of he most horrifying things I can imagine.  All for a part of the Unity!

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