Exploring Custom Domains

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Doc Necrotic
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Exploring Custom Domains

Post by Doc Necrotic » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:49 am

I've made a fair number of Domains of Dread over the years, as many others have as well, some of which almost jumped to the wider world during the 3e era and 4e era of Dragon Magazine. Needless to say, these were rejected submissions. However, one of them has made the jump the DM's Guild, the Colony of Dawnsveil (A mix of early Colonial American settings like Roanoke, Jamestown and Salem; with hints of later Colonial American developments, like Williamsburg). The Darklord is the former governor, whose trapped in an endless cycle with an evil witch that he created from his own fears. And worse, the more he uses his people to pursue her, the more they're afraid to help their very own leader.

On top of that, here are a few other domains I've come up with other the years.

Königreich des Feuers -
Darklord - Gunther Drachenblut
The overall domain has a Teutonic Knights feel to it, corrupted by a fiery reign of terror. Drachenblut's strong religious upbringing lead to a narcissistic and violent mentality in his rule. Even before becoming a darklord, he was a deranged tyrant that used his beliefs as an excuse to torture those around him. Few, mostly his clergy, have anything kind to say about him. His anger and zealotry cause him to turn into a rampaging monster of fire when he leaves his castle, a fate he is not aware of. He becomes an avatar of all the torment inflicted on the land. Meanwhile, within the castle, he seeks to send his knights on a quest to slay the unholy demon that plagues the lands, while executing or brutalizing anyone who dares to conspire with it. The lands and its people always have a lightly burned and lifeless look to them. His knights are particularly inhuman upon leaving the castle, as if they were brutally scorched corpses that still channel fire through them.

Darklord - Maryanna
A druid without a circle, she haunts the last living oasis of a destroyed wasteland. Any sembleance of culture is long gone, below even stone age at this point. Eons back, to a point she can hardly remember, she was a member of a druidic circle who used the powers of life to enhance and aid nature. For Maryanna, life was a bargaining chip. She'd offer services to adventurers, all while trying to bend life forces toward her. As ages passed, she became stronger, while alienating the people of her tribe and circle. In her travels, her magics gleamed an impossible vision of a far off world, where mages literally stole the life of the land to bolster their magic. Inspired, she sought to do the same. All but abandoned, she finally unleashed her experiment. Before former allied druids were aware, a wave of death was unleashed upon the land; with Maryanna reaping the benefits. Nearly immortal and ageless, the mad druid began sapping away at the land without regard for control, slaying and druid or beast that got in her way. Prayers for intervention came from a mixture of other druids and clergy from nearby civilization. Their answered prayers? The Mists. Now, Maryanna finds herself in a ruined land. Only pockets of natural world allow her powers to still work. Beyond these oasis? She is useless and the wastes crawl with undead horrors. And worse, the moment she leaves, her near-immortal positive-infused body acts as a beacon to all of those she has wronged. However, outside help cannot save her. Over time, her almost vampiric hunger for life force will take over and she'll try to kill them, creating more hateful undead. (Admittedly, this one wasn't overly gothic, but it was a fun domain to explore). Oddly enough, Maryanna hails from the same Prime world as Gunther Drachenblut.

Darklord - Clement Weir Jr.
Originally, a somewhat cozy town that boasted the talent of several playwrights, poets and later even novelists. Among locations in Mordent, this was among the more hopeful. Among them was Clement Sr. Among his specialty was tales of the Fair Folk. He would claim that his stories were based on his treks into the woods as a ranger and a deputy of a ruined town before that. Jr's father was a sullen and reclusive man who had moved to the town some years ago, but remained quite popular. He recalls scars of a terrible fallen artist enclave known as "Bohemian", but he escapes through his writing. His most famous character, the Cheerful Stalker, remained popular for ages. As Jr. tried to get into writing, he was always compared to his father, despite being far more social and outgoing. Years passed and few people saw Jr as the rightful successor, the public valued his father more. In a fit, Jr stabbed his father with a sharpened ink quill, as he was preparing to visit the Stalker one last time. Soon after, the Mists claimed the town and recreated closer to the image of the Cheerful Stalker stories. Now, a mad killer stalks the streets, constantly reminded Jr of both his evil deed and his father's success. Attempts to thwart the creature at the hands of Jr always fail. And those who stop it? They only do so temporarily. As for Jr? All he writes are works that inspire mockery, as he can't even capture his better works prior to the murder. As such, he has become more introverted, like his father, a trait that he greatly resents. The domain exists in a newly formed cluster called the Fell Craft Cluster, alongside Odiare, Bohemian and some others.

Cabin within the Woods
Darklord - Prof. Herbert Nelsby
The domain is a blatant homage to The Evil Dead I and II, and more recently Ash vs. Evil Dead. The basic premise is the Nolby expy became a Darklord after experimenting with a similar-to-necronomicon tome and unleashing demonic spirits in a wooded area. Since it was enjoyed by players, I kinda retconned it into a Pocket Domain within Dawnsveil, upping the Roanoke aspect of that domain too. In short, Nelsby became obsessed with Dawnsveil's vanishing, studying into the occult to pry what info he could. Oddly enough, one relic was left behind (as a result of Grand Conjunction shenanigans), an evil grimoire. Ironically, it pulled him into the very place he was interested in. However, he and his possessive demon hordes are locked into one part of the forest. Given that it takes in the future of Dawnsveil's prime world, it's more advanced than its parent domain.

Darklord - Jasper Bernard Alabaster
The abandoned village was once conceived as an artist enclave, to escape the judgemental ways of larger society. Doomed from the start, an artist named Fitzroy teamed up with Alabaster to open a studio. The former favored realism, while the latter enjoyed a surreal macabre. However, a bad partnership with the sculptors lead to a deadly retaliation. The studio that started the town was burned to the ground, with one of its creators still inside. Alabaster was scarred and deformed, driven mad by his life's work ruined. Soon after, a gruesome act of revenge rocked the outsider collective to its core, as Fitzroy was killed and made into a sculpture for his treachery. The Mists responded in kind. Now, he lures poor souls into his wax works, where they are made into living (and unliving) works of art. After years as a pocket domain in Mordent, the amassing army of undead wax horrors caused the abandoned artist town to become its own domain within a cluster. Bohemian grew into a city, rife with new potential victims. However, Alabaster hates this new vapid public, as they are too oblivious to appreciate his take on the arts. Plus, the ruins of the enclave ward people away, with no one interested in venturing into the warn down "arts district". While he is doomed to never find love or work with a partner again, he uses the blase attitude of the city as a cover to harvest more victims, while finding ways to cover up evidence.

So, that's enough from me. What have your domains been like? Tell me about them.
Follow my delves into madness via the Daemons & Deathrays blog!

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