ZOMBIES! – Variants of the Dead (Reanimated)

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The living dead.  What brings about such perversions of life?  Rituals derived from dark sorceries imbue a dreadful force into corpses, creating a puppet bound in necromantic power.  These zombies are crafted by the spells and rituals of adept necromancers, aiming to create a slave or build an army.  Plagues created by the most vile of creatures corrupt and sicken victims, eventually overwhelming them and turning them into walking diseases of their own right.  These are often accidents, potentially prevented by proper preparation rather than giving into hysterical campaigns.  Even alien horrors have their means of parasitically bonding to a host, creating their own version of zombie.  Some of these victims aren’t just alive, they have some level of consciousness.  However, not all origins are evil.  Some were created as punishment at the hands of powerful spiritual priests.  However, the zombie created by necromancy is by far the most common sight.

No matter their sources, the terror of the zombie is a known one.  Shuffling corpses, either confused by their existence or enraged by it, find themselves at odds with the living.  Some of these abominations are at the whims of a mad master.  Others are distorted by outside forces, left to rampage against all in their wake.  And even worse, the zombie will never give up.  While it is devoid of emotion or any ideology, the zombie is relentless until it’s impossible for it to continue.  Some will fight until literally falling apart.  Converted into killing machines, these mockeries of life are a blight to all who are haunted by their presence.

Author’s Note: I’m back.  Pardon these disappearances.  Things have been a little rough, I’ll spare the details.  In addition, I haven’t been happy with a lot of things, hobbies included.  That’s made it a little harder to work on these posts.  Admittedly, one of things keeping me going is created content for settings that WotC has forgotten.  The people deserve to learn at least a little about these cool places!  Anyway, here’s my updated take on some variant zombies!  Ooooh, spooky!  Also, to the one of my friends who wanted me to tack on a tacky coronavirus reference on this?  You’re welcome.

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Death Machines! – Killer Robots

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“Automatons.  Blasted things keep ruining my day.  They killed my grandpa ages ago, took over our jobs, destroyed life as we knew it!  Darned things gotta be taken down, by the peoples’ wrench!  We’ll unite to give the metal monsters a clobbering!  We ain’t gonna take their inorganic presence any longer!” – Gristle Pete III, current proprietor of The Cascading Ridge Saloon

Not all “thinking machines” are friendly.  In fact, many prove to be outwardly malicious.  Many were built for war, while others are simply experiments gone awry.  Either way, there is a danger when building an automaton to think and fend for itself.  While many cases can lend it to building a positive life, other cases can turn out far more grim.

Author’s Note: Have some evil robots!  This is an expansion of my previous post.  Enjoy.

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More Creatures from the Planes Beyond

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Good crew.  I address you all because we are about to embark on a journey that is likely to rend your minds and tear at your souls, should you stop being pure of heart and sound of mind.  Stay close and my allies will protect you.  Tonight, we discover the source of the soul-draining plague!  We descend into the land of fire and fell sorcery, Gehenna! – Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.

The planes are ever rife with mystery and wonder, just as they are with conspiracy and horror.  And its inhabitants are equally curious beings, incarnate representations of the very domains, dimensions and demiplanes whence they came.  Many creatures are born with a purpose, while others came into being from circumstance.  A mixture of creatures of destiny and lost souls of chance.

Author’s Note: Plane-Jammer stuff is back!  This time, more monsters.  As always, I love coming up with all sorts of downright bizarre creatures to help and hinder your heroes.  This time, it’s one half trip to Wildspace, one half trip to The Bleak Eternity of Gehenna.

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Legion of Entropic Gloom – A Dastardly Undead Cult

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“You’re just in time for our weekly Necronomicon Study! Sit down, have a glass of kool-aid.”

The concept of death inspires some of the oldest fears known to civilization. The end of life, the end of all we have worked for. The finality to our existence. While many fear death, the idea of undeath proves to be far more horrifying to many. The idea of losing ones self, the very essence, coming a shriveled shell that exists as a mockery of its former self. These are the fears of the undead. For that reason and more, they are a menace to civilization on the average.

Why are the undead are considered a menace to the living? For a variety of reasons, of course. Many of these reasons derive from ethics over necromancy, while others are because of their often destructive ways. None embody the latter more than a secretive cabal known simply as “the entropic gloom”. This quasi-religious order is dedicated to eradication of the living, assimilating them into the ranks of the dead. The reasons for this? Cloaked in shadow, much like themselves. It could be out of contempt for the living, some utopian ideal of unity or perhaps even a penchant for heinous acts of violence. While much of the ranks of this cult are typical undead, some have been transformed into truly incredible servants of dread forces.

Author’s Note: I loving making undead nasty nasties! This is no surprise, for those who know me well enough… So with that, here’s an assortment of living dead monsters to torture your players with. After reading up on monstrous synergy via Tome of Foes, I’ve plucked a few ideas to boot! Also, priest characters, you’re gonna have a bad day.

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May 2018 RPG Carnival – What Scares You?

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Heya, Doc here!  I wanted to do a slight change of pace from the norm.  In support of a theme I have been waiting to look into for a while, here is a sampling of creatures based on fears that I’ve come across at some point in my life.  Now, which ones genuinely effect me?  I’d rather not say.  But, here are some creepy critters inspired by various existing bits from the D&D multiverse as well as my own twisted psyche.

If you wanna jump on board this month’s theme, the theme is “What Scares You?”  Read on here!

Author’s Note:  I really wanted to update the Walking Disease.  Since diseases disturb me, I figured it was a good excuse.

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Forgotten Souls: A Tomb of Annihilation + Dark Souls mashup

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The so-called Death Curse seemed like a contradiction at first… we were robbed of our ability to die! Oh, how wrong we were! – A tattered letter from Camp Righteous

A dark shroud has enveloped fair Toril, it is not of this world. A powerful force of raw necrotic energy has made its way into this world. What was once a mere Lich is slowly becoming something more, in part from his Death Curse. Worse yet, a powerful artifact is making the effects of this hex far greater and far more widespread too. But, for what purpose? Perhaps to empower him or possibly provide an endless font to create feats of magic locked away from even the gods! Adventurers are needed, as always. Many have fallen to the madness of the curse, becoming little more than empty husks who attack anything with a semblance of life force left. Go forth and bring life back to this world and don’t you dare go hollow on me!

The world of Abeir-Toril is fairing poorly against a strange incursion by a powerful entity known as “Acererak”. Stories travel around other prime material planes. These stories tell of foul magic, undeath and annihilation. Not long after the monster’s arrival, people found themselves somehow alive when they should have been dead. At first, people rejoiced! But soon, they caught on. Their hearts had stopped, their complexion faded, they began to look more like walking corpses. Many lost their mind, aimlessly attacking those who still show some signs of life. Some fear that this Acererak is not alone, aided by a far more malevolent force.

Author’s Note: Sure, the new adventure is coming soon or whatever. That said, here’s an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while! What if, instead of merely wasting away from the Death Curse, victims would lose themselves to a slowly spreading and corrupting undeath. Then it hit me, this is Dark Souls! So, I mashed the two together in a sense. Below are a retooling of my Curse of Undeath as well as how to mesh it with Tomb of Annihilation. View the original here. Also, find more content for Chult here.

One final thing. This article contains major spoilers for much of the module. Do not read on if you plan on playing this module!

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Diseases and Plagues – Sinister Sickness for D&D 5th Edition

EDIT: So, I might clean this up as part of a DM’s Guild post in the near future.  Also, be sure to check out the various creepy creations I’ve made besides this by clicking here.

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Journal Entry 183

Illness.  A force capable of wiping out an entire city, if not civilization, if left unchecked.  My superiors theorize that it is the result of the machinations of the lower planes.  I know better though, I’m well aware that life so evil need not come from other planes, but from our prime material.  Sicknesses come from small germ-like creatures, accidentally bred through hosts and environments, but that’s as far as I can gather on my research.  By all means, I’m sure fiends can create their own diseases though… and I shudder at the thought.

That said, I will never rule out an element of the supernatural in plagues.  I’ve witnessed many things while acting as a physician: pustules emitting acidic vapor, coughing fits leading to burning alive, previously rotting and wasting victims returning as the undead, demonic incubation.  The list continues onward.  In fact, some of these cases I plan on covering more in depth, in addition to some new discoveries I’ve made.  I must go back into plagued lands to dive deeper.  However, one can’t venture into these dark depths without proper protection.  As unnerving as it may be to the public, the plague suit has proved quite effective.  Aromatic contents treated with protective wards is helpful enough, after all.  Now, I ready myself for travel throughout the planes, in hopes of understanding disease throughout all realities.

Author’s Note:  My avatar on many of my pages tends to be a plague doctor.  So, what could be more appropriate than analyzing diseases with such a character.  Also, I guess this marks a return to planar and sci-fi content, right?  Plus, one of the things that inspired this was Russet’s Mold and Vegepygmies from Expedition to Barrier Peaks… a module I had previously converted!

Also, be warned!  If you do not like Body Horror or other forms of Medical Horror, I do not recommend continuing.  While I don’t go into grotesque detail, I’ve still tried to capture both to the best of my ability.  And even then, many of the diseases here are quite deadly and have the capability to kill an entire party.  As such, use them sparingly.

Also, please pardon the lateness of this post.  I’ve been under immense stress for the past month and a half.  Things haven’t been going too well for me and I’m doing my best to manage.  That said, things are getting better and I’m trying to make things go back to normal.  As always, thanks for understanding.

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