Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Que sera, sera

Good evening, gentle readers!
Today has been a rough day for yours truly.  
Actually, it's been a rough month.
As I think I mentioned previously, the shop that I work at will be closing down at the end of the year. In anticipation of that event, I've been putting out feelers, trying to get a job lined up for the new year.
Initially, I had some strong possibilities, but they didn't amount to anything. Then, last month, I was advised to apply at a regional insurance agency.
I sort of shrugged my shoulders and put in an application. I was pleasantly surprised to get a telephone interview with their HR Department. Later, still, I was invited to their office for a face-to-face interview with one of their managers. It lasted about 45 minutes and I thought it went pretty well, even though I had to scramble at the last moment to find something "businesslike."
That was about a week ago. 
I thought I had the job nailed down, but then I got a call from their HR Department advising me that they had gone with someone else.
I was somewhat disappointed, but not as much as I probably should have been. It would have been a nice job, with some nice benefits, but I'm not sure I'm cut out for that whole nine to five gig.  I'm not a morning person and I hate the idea of having to wear a tie.
I keep joking that I'm going to get a real phone and just Uber for a while, but now I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't dismiss it.  But then I think about having complete strangers in my car and I just go, "No."
Still, you can't sit on your ass, and expect the world to hand you a golden ring.
That's why I just applied at another place.
What next?
I don't know.
Let's find out together.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stuff and Nonsense

The first book that I can ever remember hating was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
I was still in elementary school when I stumbled across a copy of it, sitting on a dusty bookshelf at home.  I was familiar with the name and had seen bits and pieces of the old Disney cartoons, so I pulled it out, made myself comfy on the couch and started to read.
I didn't get very far that first time. After a couple of chapters I shut the book and, if I remember correctly, throwing it across the room.
I had never done that with a book before and I haven't done it with one since.
I didn't like that book, but I kept going back to it. Perhaps I thought it would get better? It was supposed to be a great classic, wasn't it? It was supposed to be wildly popular with kids?
Mostly, I remember feeling incredibly frustrated when I read the book. Maybe it was Carroll's language? Or the fact that Alice was a bloody irritating girl! She was the sort of person who thought math jokes were fun.
It took a while for me to finish the book. I had to read it in snips and snaps. When I finally turned the last page and closed the book, it was winter. I was on the couch in the living room. There was a fire in the fireplace.
I sat there on the couch, holding the book, peering into the fire, seriously thinking about burning it.
Yes.
I hated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that much.
No. That's not right.
I didn't hate the book, I loathed it. Even now, just thinking about it sets my teeth on edge and makes my skin itch.
People have described that book as charming and whimsical.
I disagree.
I think that book is mad. I used to wonder if Carroll was high on opium when he wrote it.
It is the one book that I never recommend to anyone to read. Ever.
My reaction to it is visceral.
If it were a person, I would punch them in the face.
Repeatedly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the latest cinematic child of world-famous author, J.K. Rowling.  Best known for her Harry Potter books, Fantastic Beasts is set in that same world, but seventy years before the events of the Potter books and across the ocean, in New York City.
I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I did. Although not a Potterhead, I did enjoy most of the Potter films.  Fantastic Beasts? Not so much.
The cast is talented. The settings are lavish. The creature effects are really quite wonderful. However, the story is not so great. The first sign that things are amiss is the opening; there's no buildup. The viewer is simply dumped into the story, which proceeds to move along in a jerky, disjointed manner.  There's no real character development and we can spot the big bad coming from a mile away.
The film isn't bad, it's just not that great. And it is obviously meant to set things up for the rest of the franchise series.
Bearing all that in mind, I have to give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them only 2 stars out of five.  It's matinee worthy, but, really, you should just wait for it to come out on video.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Death of X and the Decline of Marvel Comics

Cover from Death of X #4

The following post will contain spoilers for Death of X. Read on at your peril!

I called it.
I totally called it.
Cyclops was dead at the start of this whole fiasco. Emma Frost was the person behind it all, maintaining and projecting a psychic image of Cyclops into the minds of his friends and allies.
It was entirely predictable.
And that, my friends, is the reason 99% of Marvel Comics suck so hard these days. 
They are predictable. Nothing is truly shocking. None of their 'events' have any lasting consequences. 
Granted, I am somewhat jaded. I've been reading comics since before Jean Grey died the first time. So it's going to be pretty hard for the so-called House of Ideas to surprise me.
That's not to say they haven't produced some interesting content over the last few years. The recent Vision miniseries was excellent, for the most part. 
But the X-Men books suck. If you believe the hype, that's deliberate. Part of a convoluted plan on the part of Marvel/Disney to make the characters unappealing to the fanbase, so they won't go and watch the Fox movies.  
Yeah, and if you believe that I've got this swell bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you!
If Marvel/Disney wanted to shut down the X-books, they would just do it. The x-books make money, but let's be honest, Disney is using Marvel as an idea farm. They can make more off a shitty movie with toy tie-ins than they can from the actual books that Marvel produces.  If they really wanted to make a profit, they would just shut down Marvel Comics altogether and maintain copyrights and trademarks by reprinting graphic novels ad nauseum while saturating the hell out of the toy/collectibles market.
But instead, they keep producing comics. And the comics they produce are, generally, of poor quality. The stories are rehashed. (Civil War II, anyone?) Character are recycled, often recast as a different gender/ethnicity/sexuality, etc. ( see Ms. Marvel, Thor, the Sam Wilson Captain America, Captain Marvel, etc.).
It is a glorious soap opera gone horribly, horribly wrong.
And nothing exemplifies this more than the Death of X mini-series.  This four-part series was meant to reveal what Cyclops did that polarized the world to such an extent, making mutants feared and hated more than ever.  It was meant to reveal how he died and the fate of Emma Frost.
It tried to do that, but in the most hackneyed, shitty-as-possible way that they could.  It is the mini-series equivalent, almost, to the infamous dream sequence in Dallas, where viewers discovered that the last few seasons of a t.v. show were, in fact, nothing but a bad dream.
Only the creators didn't even do that. Instead, we got Cyclops dying from M-Pox and Emma Frost keeping his death a secret, creating a psychic projection of Cyclops and using it to puppet the X-Men into a war with the Inhumans. It lacked drama and pathos, and, ultimately, felt cheap and tawdry, a $20 whore decked out in designer glad-rags,but still crawling with syphilis.
For shame, Marvel! For same!
The fans deserve so much more.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gobble!

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
As I'm writing this, the sun is pouring through my bedroom window and I have a load of laundry going in the washing machine. The combination of the two, plus the addition of a softly purring laptop, makes me feel incredibly homey.
The only thing missing is the smell of apple pie drifting up from the kitchen.
But there will be time for apple pie later this week.
Yes, it's THAT time of year again. Thanksgiving.  That time of the year when Americans, like moi, gather with friends and family around the dinner table and pretty much eat ourselves into oblivion. Turkey and ham are traditional fare. Stuffing and cranberry sauce are practically de rigeur. Then there are the vegetables: mashed potatoes, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, peas, perhaps a nice salad. Finally, there is the desert. Or deserts, in some cases. Pie is probably more traditional than cake, but I've known people who serve ice cream sundaes or homemade peanut butter milkshakes. Desert is where you can go a bit nuts.
Yes, that's the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast.
I grew up eating big dinners like that with my parents, grandparents and cousins.
These days?
It's just me.
I have pizza.
Pizza with a bit of garlic bread on the side and a glass of rum & coke.
Thanksgiving, now that I think about it, is the one holiday, aside from New Year's Eve, when I usually have a drink.
Sometimes, I might have a slice of apple pie or a bit of carrot cake.
But that's it.
Thanksgiving, for me, is not a holiday of excess. I call my family, post something nice on social media to my followers, and then eat pizza while watching bad movies.  I don't even watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade any more.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the holiday. I think it's nice to get together with the people you love. But you shouldn't need a holiday to do it.
And, really, these days, I'm not a big eater.  I might even forgo my traditional pizza for something lighter.  Maybe a turkey sandwich w/a nice salad.
But I'm not giving up the pie.
You can take the pie when you pry the fork from my cold, dead hand.

Monday, November 7, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE


I went and saw Doctor Strange the other night and thought it was okay.
Just okay.
Like most of the Marvel movies have been 'just okay.'
On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give it a solid 3.
And that, gentle readers, is somewhat disappointing to me.
To me, Doctor Strange felt like any other Marvel movie. And it really shouldn't have, because while the other movies and their characters have mostly been grounded in Science Fiction or Fantasy, Doctor Strange should have fallen more into the Horror category.
Since the character deals with threats from beyond the universe, you would think the producer/director would have gone for a more Lovecraftian vibe. Instead, they went for a weirdly generic origin story with generous lashings of kung-fu and a slim veneer of generic magic.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's definitely worth paying full price to see, but I think it could have been so much better.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Something for Halloween...

A dark cave. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
Thunder. 
Enter the three Witches

First Witch 
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch 
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch 
Harpier cries "'Tis time, 'tis time."

First Witch 
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

All
Double, double, toil and trouble; (10)
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch 
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

All
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch 
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe (30)
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

All
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch 
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

[Enter Hecate, to the other three Witches]

Hecate
O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' etc, Hecate retires]

Second Witch 
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hashtag Poetry

Hashtag poetry
sits out there in empty space,
waiting to be found.

Like a lonely child,
abandoned at a Wal-Mart,
waiting to be loved.

Hashtag poetry.
Just there. Drifting. Silent. Still.
Waiting just for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lovetalk

Say that you love me.
Make me believe that it's true,
'cause I don't love you.
'Cause I don't trust you.
Yeah, you talk a real good game,
but I play better.
And I play to win.
So talk your talk, walk your walk.
I ain't buyin' it.
You're just a liar.
A snake with poisoned honey,
concealed in your words.
A cold-hearted snake,
with a body build for sin.
So shut your damn mouth.
Just take me to bed,
with no more sweet promises.
I'll settle for sex.
And save my poor heart,
for someone better than you.
Do you understand?
Keep your damn mouth shut,
'cause I don't care what you say.
'Cause it's all just talk.
Just sweet, nothin' words.
Your lovetalk. Empty and cruel.
Just part of your game.
So bite your damn tongue,
or I'll bit it out your head.
Your lovetalk is dead.
Let it rest in peace,
in pieces with my broke heart.
No more time for talk.
No more time for you,
outside this bed, this minute.
No time for fake words.
Shut up and get up,
walk your ass out my front door.
Take you talk with you.
Walk away with it,
locked away behind white teeth,
so all is silence.
Slink out my front door,
'cause your sad, bad game is done,
and lovetalk no more.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Port Babbage

Followers of the blog know that I've gotten back in D&D over the last year or so.  I have, in fact, become the de facto DM for the group I belong too.
This past Sunday we started a new adventure in a steampunkish/fantasy city called Port Babbage. I thought I'd share some of the details of the city here, since I doubt my players have much of an interest in them. 

The City of Port Babbage

Port Babbage is a large city established on the northeast coast of the country of Parnival. It has a population of over 32,000 souls.  The majority of the city's residents are human, but it has large populations of gnomes and elves as well.
The city was established 310 years ago as a trade port, but its reputation as a trading post was quickly eclipsed with the establishment of the Patrium Ingeniium.  Originally conceived as a Temple to the Crafting Gods (Gond, Reorx, etc), the Patrium Ingeniium had soon expanded to include the University of St. Arnus.
The Patrium Ingeniium attracted inventors, engineers, mad scientists and eccentric geniuses. Soon, Port Babbage had acquired a reputation as a tinkerer's paradise.
Several notable inventions and inventors are connected to the city.  The first firearms were conceived and constructed in Fort Babbage by the Weith family.  The Bluenoses, the gnome clan responsible for the otto-mobile, hail from the city.  The Victrola was invented there, as were the first diving suits and, more recently, hot air balloons and zeppelins.
Indeed, the city itself is a model of modern architecture and engineering.  Its streets follow a precise grid pattern, and those streets are illuminated by gas lamps and, more recently, electric lights. Port Babbage's sewer system is one of the finest in Parnival.
Many public buildings in the city have been equipped with coal-fueled furnaces and gas jets. However, candles and oil lamps remain popular in residences.
The city is divided into ten districts: Parriger, Kestfield, Zorville, Kells, Naylock, Sterling, Veter, Sibson, Regis and the Docklands.  These are known as the Inner Wards.  The Patrium Ingeniium is located in Sibson, which is generally considered the nicest residential neighborhood in the Inner Wards. Just south of Sibson, Regis has become the heart of Port Babbage's commercial and industrial interests.
Kells is the worst neighborhood in the city.  It is, essentially, a huge slum housing sweat-shops and tenements. Crime is rampant in Kells.
Just west of Kells is Parriger.  Parriger is the site of the Port Babbage Hospital for the Mentally Challenged.  This insane asylum houses the poor and the mad.  It is less interested in healing the sick than containing the city's homeless riffraff.  The public can tour the facility for a few coppers and the orderlies are known to offer other services for a few coppers more.  Occasionally, an inmate will vanish. Officially, these souls escape.  Unofficially, they were freed by paying the Warden a large sum.
The neighborhoods outside of Port Babbage's walls (Annelle, Happ, Jolaire, Hunterson, Nutch, Silman, Cullen and Opal) are collectively referred to as the Outer Wards.  They are primarily residential neighborhoods with a smattering of commercial and light industrial business concerns that cater to their needs.
Also outside of the city walls is the area known as the Pledgewoods.  This is a large section of forest, sacred to the local druids, and left untouched by a royal decree from Parnival's monarch.  The Pledgewoods are the home to various woodland creatures, as well as small fey, such as pixies and sprites.  A druid named Barimor protects the Pledgewood from those with evil intent.
Port Babbage occupies an unusual space, politically, within Parnival.  For centuries, the city existed as an independent political entity within the larger Duchy of Seahawk.  It was governed by the Vicount Babbage, a title held by the Persis family.
When the Insurrection against King Leopold II began, the Viscount Babbage declared the city neutral. He swore not to give martial aid to either side, but to provide humanitarian assistance to all. The vicount kept his word, but when the Insurrection was put down, King Leopold could not ignore the fact that Port Babbage did not rally to his banner.  He had to punish the city.
As a result, the title of Viscount Babbage was abolished and a Royal Governor was appointed to oversee the city.  The king chose Baron William Hinderstone for this position.  Also, the political and legal authority of Port Babbage was curtailed, restricted to the wards inside the city's wall.  The Outer Wards now fell under the authority of the Duchess of Seahawk.
Since the end of the war, a curious series of incidents have occurred in Port Babbage. Priests of the Crafting God, Arx, have fallen into divine trances and begun assembling clockwork men. These clockwork men are empowered with life and sentience by Arx and then sent out into the world. Their purpose is unclear, even to the priests of the Patrium Ingeniium, but they seem to be interested in exploring the world. The 'birth' of these automata are heralded by the ringing of bells and the shriek of steam-whistles across the city.

Swords overhead

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
So, October has been a lazy month for me, at least as far as blogging goes.  After last month's blog-o-thon, it feels quite decadent to post an entry when I feel like it, and not because I HAVE to. 
Sadly, while my blogging life has become sedate and lazy, my personal life has not.  I've had all sorts of things happening this month that have kept me on the go.
I swear, some days I've felt like that baby from the bible story. Y'all know the one? Two women go before Solomon, both claiming a baby belongs to them.  Solomon resolves the situation by ordering his guard to cut the baby in half.  Immediately one of the women gives up the child. Solomon, of course, gives the child to this women, as he reasons only the mother would give up the child to save it.
I feel like that child. Pulled in multiple directions, with the threat of a great, bloody sword hanging over my head.
I shall not go into the details here, but suffice to say, I'm under a little stress.
Just a smidge.
A chocolate bar's worth of stress, instead of a bottle of vodka level of stress.
But it's consistent.
Still, I persevere. Or try to.
On that note, I'd like to thank everyone who's bought one of my stories in the last month or so. I appreciate your patronage and hope you've enjoyed the stories.
That's about it for now.
Hope everyone out there is having a fine October!
- xoxo George

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Celestial Warlocks

Miriam Briggs stood in the center of the road, all too aware of the soldiers standing behind her. As they shifted, she could hear leather creak, the soft scrape of sword against shield.  She wanted to turn and tell them to spread out a bit, that they were packed too close, but there was no time.
The orcs were already approaching, walking forward at a measured pace, their bestial faces grim. They already knew how this fight would go, knew it would end with them sitting by a pile of corpses wiping blood off their blades.
Or maybe not, thought Miriam. Gods willing.
She shut her eyes and reached for the power, felt it flow into her.  Tightening her grip on her silver staff, Miriam drew a breath.  Lowering her staff, she let the light pour through it.  It erupted from the staff’s head, a bolt of lambent force that slammed into one of the approaching orcs.  The eldritch blast knocked him on his back, throwing the orc’s orderly march into disarray.
“Now!” shouted Miriam, raising her staff. “Now! For Gird! For Riverkeep! For Parnival!”
And with that, the Battle of Nunker’s Road began.

Celestial warlocks are a different breed of warlocks. Their patrons are not evil fiends, capricious fey or inscrutable outsiders.  The patron of a celestial warlock is a being from the Higher Planes, an emissary of good. This patron could be an angel or an empyrean, a saint or possibly a demigod. They empower good people to do one thing: spread good in the Material World.  As such, all celestial warlocks are of a good alignment.  Whether they are lawful, neutral or chaotic doesn’t matter.  All that matters is their desire to serve the cause of their patron.  For this service, their celestial patron grants them a portion of their power.
That said, good can be subjective. A celestial warlock of a lawful good alignment might support a king who is taxing his people harshly to pay for a war.  Another celestial warlock in the same kingdom, might be allied with the rebels seeking to overthrow this regime.  Each side thinks they are doing the right thing, the good thing. Who can say that they’re wrong?
Celestial warlocks can be difficult to work with in an adventuring party. They’re going to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences.  In this, they’re like paladins. Indeed, paladins and celestial warlocks get along fairly well. And, like a well-meaning paladin, their good intentions can often put a party through hell.  Sometimes literally.

Otherworldly Patron: The Celestial
You have made a pact with an entity from a higher plane of existence, a being whose aims are noble, if sometimes mysterious.  Such beings are good by nature and will not form pacts with any creature of non-good alignment.

Expanded Spell List
The Celestial lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Celestial Expanded Spells
Level 1: Command, Detect Evil and Good
Level 2: Calm Emotions, Zone of Truth
Level 3: Glyph of Warding, Protection from Energy
Level 4: Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature 
Level 5: Planar Binding, Teleportation Circle

Celestial Awareness
The presence of strong evil registers on your senses like a noxious odor, and powerful good rings like heavenly music iin your ears.  As an action, you can open your awareness to detect such forces.  Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial, fiend or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type of being whose presence you sense, but not its identity.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Luck of the Blessed  
Starting at 6th level, you have advantage whenever you must make a saving throw.

The Fearless Heart
Starting at 10th level, you can’t be frightened while conscious.

Cleansing Touch
Beginning at 14th level, you can use your action to end one spell on yourself or on one willing creature that you touch.
After you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Celestial Warlocks & Pact Boons
At 3rd level, the patron of the celestial warlock bestows a gift upon them for their service, just as other patrons do.  However, the nature of their patron influences the forms some of these pact boons take.
If a celestial warlock takes the Pact of the Chain, the find familiar spell works as usual. When you cast it, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: a faerie dragon, a psuedodragon, a sprite or a pixie. A celestial warlock cannot take an imp or quasit as a familiar, because they are considered evil creatures.
The Pact of the Blade and the Pact of the Tome work as usual for celestial warlocks.  However, celestial warlocks do not refer to their tomes as a Book of Shadows, but as a Book of Illumination.  Also, their pact weapons appear to be made of precious metals, often decorated with glittering jewels.

Love/Hate/You

I fall into you
like tears into the ocean.
I make no impact.

You take all I am
and just wash it all away,
diminishing me.

You don't care at all.
Not for me or anyone.
You are a cold fish.

Colder than the sea.
Heartless as the fishy friends
you catch on your hooks.

I want to hate you.
It should be so damn easy,
but you're beautiful.

Beautiful as ice.
More beautiful than the sun.
I want to hate you.

Why can't I hate you?
It would make things easier.
Simpler at the least.

Love's contradiction.
It lifts us up, throws us down.
Love is a traitor.

Love is your weapon.
Love and beauty both. Defiled.
Diminished. Beggared.

But I still want more,
still want you and your cold kiss.
And so I am done.

Sacrificed to love.
Stretched out on its cold altar,
waiting for the knife.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Odekor - Day 30

Thirty Days of Odekor

You would think that after writing about Odekor for thirty days, this final entry would come as a relief.
You’d be partially right.
I am looking forward to putting aside Odekor and focusing my attention on other things.  That said, I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed myself building this world. It was challenging, creating a world where the traditional fantasy races are not the dominant ones. If I had to change anything about them, it would be the troglodyte stench trait; I would have made it a voluntary ability, turned off and on by a bonus action. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with the way the races came out.
I hope I managed to project the feel of the campaign world. Broken and bruised, shell shocked and suffering, but still defiant.  The survivors slowly gathering, thumbing their noses at gods and prophecies, and getting on with the business of living.
I hope I managed to shake a few expectations and, maybe, made some people reconsider the so-called monstrous races.
Is Odekor done?
Oh yes.
At least, for a while.
But I might come back to it at some point.
It’s a Crooked World, but that’s what makes it so intriguing.
Anyway, I hope that those of you who were checking out the blog-a-thon this month got some entertainment out of it.
Odekor is done for the time being.
What’s next?
Wait and see. ^_^

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Odekor - Day 29

Orbero Candun, L1 Gnome Bard

Ability Scores
STR 09 (-1)
DEX 11
CON 09 (-1)
INT 14 (+2)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 16 (+3)
HP 07
AC 11

Traits
Size. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Languages. You speak Gnomish and Common.
Gnomish Madness. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma saving throws against magic.

Proficiencies: +2
Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Tools: Drum, Fiddle, Pipe
Skills: Arcana +4, Performance +5, Persuasion +5

Equipment:
Leather armor; AC 11 + Dex
Rapier; +2 to hit; deals 1d8 piercing dmg; Finesse
Dagger; +2 to hit; deals 1d4 piercing dmg; Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)
A diplomat’s pack
A fiddle

Feats:
Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration

Spellcasting:
# of Spells Known: 4
Spell DC: 13
Spell Atk Modifier: +5
At-Will: Dancing lights, Vicious Mockery
L1 (2): Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Thunderwave

Background:
Orbero Candun is a typical Odekor gnome, which means that he is crazier than a bag of assholes. In Orbero’s case, however, his madness has taken a peculiar manifestation; he believes he is a noble prince from a far off land, trapped on Choan and is actively seeking a means to return to his homeland.
As long as Orbero’s madness is indulged, he can be quite the charming fellow, if somewhat condescending. But the minute someone starts to pick apart his story, Orbero flies into a murderous rage and attacks with anything to hand.
Orbero joined the Checkered Band when he woke up next to Oris in a jail cell in Alsnoc’s Hollow.  When a band of outcast troglodytes attacked the town, the kobold and the gnome fought side by side and back to back.  Afterwards, Oris invited ‘Prince’ Orbero to meet his friends.
To say that the Checkered Band was a little taken aback by Orbero would be an understatement. But after Oris revealed what the ‘Prince’ could do, Arrodeth immediately changed her mind.
The group has gotten quite used to Orbero since then, and he has proven himself quite useful. Although they don’t encourage his madness, neither do they seek to dispel it.  The noble gnome prince is far superior company to the wild-eyed madman unleashed when anyone calls his past into question.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Odekor - Day 28

Oris, L1 Kobold Cleric 

Ability Scores
STR 11
DEX 16 (+3)
CON 14 (+2)
INT 11
WIS 15 (+2)
CHA 11
HP 10
AC 16 (leather armor & shield)

Traits:
Size. Your size is Small.
Speed. You have a base walking speed of 25 feet.
Languages. You speak Draconic and Common.
Darkvision. Within 60 feet, you can see in dim light as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern colors, only shades of gray.
Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally is not incapacitated.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Proficiencies: +2
Armor: Light, Medium, Heavy, Shields
Weapons: Simple
Tools: None
Saves: Wisdom +4, Charisma +2
Skills: Insight +4, Religion +2

Equipment:
Leather Armor; AC 11 + Dex
Shield; AC +2
Mace; +2 to hit; deals 1d6 bludgeoning
Dagger; +5 to hit; deals 1d4 +3 piercing; Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)
Explorer’s Pack
Holy Symbol

Feats:
Spellcasting
Divine Domain: Life
 - Bonus Proficiency: Heavy Armor
 - Disciple of Life

Spellcasting:
# of Spells: 2
Spell DC: 12
Spell Atk Mod: +4
Domain Spells: Bless, Cure Wounds
At-Will: Mending, Spare the Dying, Thaumaturgy
L1 (2): Guiding Bolt, Healing Word

Background:
Oris was born in the imperial capital of Askir, the youngest son of loving parents.  His mother worked as a florist’s assistant while his father was a priest in the Cult of Tytan.   When the War came and then the godstorms, Askir was the only member of his family to survive. His parents and siblings were killed by the storms.  Oris survived, barely, and made his way to what he considered the safest place in the ravaged city, the Temple of Tytan.  The young kobold spent the first few nights, shivering on the floor of the Temple, sleeping at the feet of a statue of Tytan himself.  And he dreamed.
Oris dreamed of a beautiful garden.  His parents were there, smiling, waiting for him. With them was a tall, kind human man in flowing red robes.  The human rubbed Oris’s head and gave him a sweet.  Oris woke with a start, the taste of the sweet fresh on his tongue, and the certain realization that he had been chosen by Tytan to be one of his clerics.
Oris left the temple as the half-dragons were returning to Askir.  He crept out of the city and fled into the stonewood south of the city.  There, he found a group of wandering kobolds and joined them as priest and healer.  He stayed with them for several weeks until an encounter with a gibbering mouther again left Oris an only survivor.
He walked south and west, traveling by night, avoiding trouble when he could.  When he slept, he dreamed.  He dreamed of Tytan, holding him on his lap, cuddling him, whispering secrets into his ear.
It was the dreams that led Oris to the wounded aarakocra, Arrodeth Graywing.  He saved her life and was invited to join her Checkered Band.  Oris agreed and traveled with the party back to the shadowtown of Alsnoc’s Hollow, where Oris has become quite well known as healer and espouser of Tytan’s greatness.
What no one has realizes is that Oris has a divine mission.  He has been ordered by Tytan to save the Empire. He must develop his powers to the point where he can cast resurrection. At that point, he will be instructed by his god to resurrect certain human persons, who will restore humanity, expand the worship of Tytan and build a whole new Empire.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Odekor - Day 27

Yi, L1 Kenku Ranger

Ability Scores
STR 07
DEX 13
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 14
CHA 12
HP 11
AC 12 (Leather armor)

Traits:
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. You have a base walking speed of 30 feet.
Languages. You speak Auran and Common.
Ambusher. You have advantage on attack rolls against any creature you have surprised.

Proficiencies: +2
Armor: Light, Medium, Shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: None
Saves: Strength, Dexterity +3
Skills: Insight +4, Perception +4, Survival +4

Equipment:
Leather armor; AC 11 + Dex Mod
Shortswords (2); +3 to hit; deals 1d6 + 1piercing; Finesse, light
Longbow; +3 to hit; deals 1d8 +1 piercing; Ammunition (range 150/600), heavy, two-handed
Quiver of 20 arrows
Explorer’s Pack

Feats:
Favored Enemy: Undead
Natural Explorer: Forest

Background:
Yi was born and raised in a kenku monastery.  The monastery’s day-to-day life was not impacted significantly by the War and the fall of the Empire.  Things continued as they had for centuries. Then, one night, someone left a gate open and undead swarmed into the monastery.  Many of the monks survived, but some died, including Yi’s master.  After order had been restored, Yi left the monastery and began to live in the stonewoods and the shadowtowns that had sprung up near the aarakocra citadels.  He lived off the land, occasionally hiring himself out as a guide.  And everywhere he went, he killed undead.  Zombies mostly, but he also encountered wraiths and specters.
One day, while escorting a pilgrim caravan toward Temm, they were attacked by a large swarm of zombies.  Yi fought bravely and well, but the swarm would have overwhelmed him if not for the timely arrival of an aarakocra fighter called Arrodeth.  They fought side by side and afterwards Arrodeth joined the remnants of the caravan as fighter and scout.
When the caravan reached Temm, Yi insisted on sharing his payment with the aarakocra. She told him to keep the money, then they found a bar and, over drinks, began to form a lasting friendship.  When Arrodeth began to put together her Checkered Band, Yi was the first person she recruited.
Yi hasn’t regretted joining the Checkered Band. Not even after a near fatal encounter with a wight.  He blames himself for that, as he is the group’s acknowledged authority on undead.  Yi has sworn to make amends, even though his comrades hold no grudge.  As such, he has become quite reckless lately when confronting other undead.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Odekor - Day 26

Arrodeth Graywing, L2 Aarakocra Fighter

Ability Scores:
STR 09 (-1)
DEX 10
CON 15 (+2)
INT 09 (-1)
WIS 09 (-1)
CHA 07 (-2)
HP 19
AC 11 (Leather armor)

Traits:
Size: Medium
Speed: (walking) 30 ft; (flying) 50 ft.
Languages: Auran, Common
Dive Attack. If you are flying and dive at least 30 feet straight toward your target and hit it with a melee weapon attack, your attack deals an extra 1d6 damage to the target.
Natural Weaponry. You possess talons that you are proficient with. They deal 1d6 + Dexterity Modifier of slashing damage.

Proficiencies: +2
Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: None
Saves: Strength +1, Constitution +4
Skills: Insight +1, Survival +1

Equipment:
Leather armor; AC 11 + Dex Mod
Javelins (20); +4 to hit; deals 1d6 piercing; Thrown (range 30/120 ft)
Scimitar; +2 to hit; deals 1d6 slashing; Finesse, light
Daggers (2); +2 to hit; deals 1d4 piercing; Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60 ft)
An explorer’s pack

Feats:
Fighting Style: Archery (+2 Attack Bonus with ranged weapons)
Second Wind (1/Rest)
Action Surge (1/Rest)

Background:
Arrodeth Graywing was just a chick when the War occurred and the Elemental Plane of Air collapsed into what would become known as the Elemental Plane of Fury. Like her kin, she found herself transported via planar rip to Odekor.
Arrodeth doesn’t remember much of the Elemental Plane of Air and, to be honest, she doesn’t understand why the elders moan endlessly about Odekor. In this, as in many aarakocra things, Arrodeth has always been just a little out of step with her fellows.  
Like most aarakocra, Arrodeth joined the military when she was old enough, but it was a bad fit. The mindless obedience to orders that her fellow soldiers exhibited, that their superiors expected, wrankled her.  She questioned her orders and her supervisors, enough to be labeled a ‘disruptive influence’ and encouraged to leave. Arrodeth served her initial term, then left the military to strike out on her own.
It’s been a couple of years now and Arrodeth has made a home and a name for herself in the southwestern Mountains of Desh.  She’s been in a few scraps and earned a few choice scars. And although she’s never quite fit in with her own kind, Arrodeth has found a niche for herself in the fighting company she founded.  Other aarakocra may look down on Arrodeth and her Checkered Band, viewing them as untrustworthy and disruptive, but the group’s members are fiercely loyal to one another and dangerous to cross.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Odekor - Day 25

Death, Dying and the Undead

Zombies shamble through the ruined streets of ravaged cities.  Wraiths drift through the stonewoods. Wights rise from their tombs, hungry to slay.  At present, there are probably more undead on Odekor than living people.
When the godstorms swept through creation, the delicate process of death was disrupted. Previously, when a living being perished, psychopomps in the service of Eligel would escort them to their final destination, either the Fields of Joy or the Plains of Agony.  Now, when someone dies, their soul is vulnerable. Psychopomps do not come to escort the departed away from the Material Plane.  Rather, the departed must set out on their own, to find their own afterlife.  Those who linger in the Material World too long can become undead.
The prevention of physical undead, like zombies and wights is fairly easy. You simply burn the body.
Spiritual undead, however, are more difficult to prevent.  Wraiths and spectres haunt the five continents, seeking to extinguish all life.  Its possible they would have done so already if their undead natures had not been altered by the godstorms.
Sunlight damages and can destroy a wraith or a spectre. Wights have never cared for the light of day, but now they flee it to preserve their existence.  (In game terms, most undead lose half their hit points if they start a turn in sunlight, and they do not get any sort of regeneration while they remain in the light.)
Only zombies do not take damage from exposure to sunlight. Indeed, Odekor zombies are difficult to destroy. The world is drenched in necrotic energies, so that if a damaged zombie does not lose all of its hit points, after eight hours it regain its original hit points.  Because of this, when facing zombies, adventurers know to ensure their destruction.
Of course, not everyone becomes undead.  Most of the deceased gravitate naturally toward their intended destination.  Some find unexpected help on the Dead Roads from those who have gone before them.
Wizards, oracles and seers exploring the afterworld, have spoken of a rumored city called Torin, made all of glowing white stone, standing on a bone shore next to a black sea. Here, they say, the Dead Gods reside in cold splendor, with their fallen armies.  Fresh souls are welcome in Torin, where they can reside for as long as they wish, before continuing on to the Fields of Joy or the Plains of Agony.  Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, but most are skeptical.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Odekor - Day 24

The Plain of Kadath

On the Last Day, as laid out in the Prophecies, the Armies of the Empire gathered upon the Plain of Kadath.  There, they stood in gleaming armor, beneath fluttering banners of etherial silk. There, the Armies of Heaven descended: angels, empyreans, saints and other odder, stranger creatures.
It was on the Plain of Kadath that the Prophecies were derailed. The Legions of Hell did not rise to meet the righteous. The Armies of Heaven and the Empire descended into the Hells to fight the War and the Universe broke.
The Plains of Kadath remain.  They stretch from the ruins of the Imperial Capital west, toward the Mountains of Desh.
No one travels the Plain of Kadath if possible. Planar portals open at random throughout the area, offering a brief glimpse into the chaos of the Outer Planes.  Occasionally, creatures from other planes emerge from these portals.
The aarakocra’s patrols skirt the edges of the Plain, wary to enter the region, but vigilante for any threats that might emerge from it and threaten their citadels.  The troglodytes are too far away to concern themselves with the Plain of Kadath.  The kenku are too smart to traverse the area and the kobolds too cowardly.  Only the gnomes will dare the Plain of Kadath, simply because they are mad.
Occasionally a benevolent creature will appear on the Plains, a survivor of the extraplanar chaos sweeping the multiverse.  If they survive the trek across the Plains and reach either Askir or the Mountains of Desh, they might find welcome and respite in the aarakocra protectorates or the half-dragon controlled imperial capital.  Both groups are hungry for news of other worlds.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mystery Girl

Trine Hampstead knows everything. Just knows it. Ask her a question like "Where are my keys?" or "Is my husband cheating on me?" or "How can there be perfectly preserved mammoths in the ice of Siberia when the ice isn't that old?" and she just knows the answer.  She's the Mystery Girl.
The only thing she doesn't know is how she got her ability. But that's a mystery for later.  The mystery for now is about those mammoths.  Trine knows why they're there but surprises anyone who knows her by leaving her London-based sidewalk-detective setup to go to Siberia and see them for herself. And close behind is a vicious killer who is targeting her for reasons even Trine doesn't know . . . yet.

This was a very entertaining trade with likeable characters. Trine's gift does make her a bit of a duex ex machina, but it's handled very well and the character's innate likability doesn't hurt either.
It's a bit different, but give it a try. You might like it.

Odekor - Day 23

Grayhold.

In the heart of the Afaraq Wastes, far from any habitation, stands a solitary mountain. It is known simply as Grayhold.
Grayhold has a secret.
Buried beneath its cold stones is a complex.  It was designed by the finest dwarven minds on Odekor, built with slave laborers who were executed upon its completion.  Not long afterwards, the dwarven overseers and engineers succumbed to various accidents and calamities, until the Emperor was certain Grayhold’s secret would remain secret.
Grayhold is a prison. Not an ordinary prison. Cutpurses and rapists weren’t sent to Grayhold. Threats to the Empire were sent to Grayhold. Revolutionaries.  Anarchists. Heretics. For three hundred years people deemed to dangerous to simply kill were quietly spirited away by Imperial Intelligence, transported via magic to Grayhold.
Many of the prisoners expected torture and death when they arrived at Grayhold. What they got was much more peculiar.
Upon arriving at the prison, inmates were isolated. Then, one by one, they were escorted by the prison’s adamantine golems to meet with the Governor of Grayhold: Her Grace, Duchess Amaia Rentru.
Duchess Amaia Rentru is a medusa, the last survivor of an ancient branch of the imperial family. Cursed by a demon from the Abyss, the duchess is immortal, intelligent and fiercely loyal to the Empire.  Her curse and her loyalty made her the perfect choice to oversee the Empire’s most secret prison.
Indeed, Duchess Amaia’s medusa nature made her an integral part of the facility’s success. New inmates were escorted to her chambers, where her adamantine golems held their eyes open while forcing them to look at Amaia.  The inmates would transform into stone, after which they were safely stowed in one of the cubbyholes scattered through Grayhold.  Before the War, there were 571 people imprisoned as statues within the mountain.
Since the War and the fall of the Empire, Grayhold remains secure. Designed to be self-sufficient, it has its own sources of water and food.  Besides the Duchess, the only living beings in Grayhold are her servants and slaves, beautiful blind elves who obey her every whim.
It is conceivable that Grayhold could endure for centuries, but the Duchess Amaia is not content with mere existence.  A powerful wizard, she is probably more aware of what is transpiring across Odekor than anyone else on the planet.  She has a plan; she intends to restore the Empire and humanity.
Most of the prisoners in Grayhold are human. With the right divine magics they could be restored to life. And the qualities that led to them being imprisoned, would lend themselves well to restoring the Empire and humanity.
To accomplish her goals, the Duchess spends most of her time scrying.  She is looking for someone who can cast the greater restoration spell.  Once she has found this person, the Duchess will dispatch two of her adamantine golems to bring them to Grayhold.  If necessary, she’ll go after them herself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Odekor - Day 22

Skarn the Eternal

Five hundred years before the War, the Emperor at the time was a man called Skarn. He was a formidable leader, intelligent and even-handed, but utterly ruthless when the need arose. He was also a talented and powerful wizard.
In his later years, Emperor Skarn chose to abdicate from rule, passing on the reigns of imperial power to his son, Selenn.  Skarn retreated from the Imperial Capital of Askir, retiring to a private island off the northern coast of Choan.  There, he lived in quiet study and contemplation, communicating with his son a few times a year in the form of long, poetical letters.
No one is certain when the letters stopped, but it took a while for the Emperor to notice. When he did, he dispatched an emissary to his father’s island, to assess the situation.
When the emissary returned, he had a terrible story to tell the Emperor.  The Emperor’s father had used his wizardry to become some kind of undead monstrosity.
Not long afterward, a letter arrived from Skarn to his son.  It was just as long and poetical as his earlier writings.  In it, he stated that he had found a way, with Eligel’s blessing, of transcending death. He stated this very matter-of-factly, then went on to complain about the state of his roses.
The Emperor was unsettled by his emissary’s report and his father’s letter.  He sought counsel with the Temple of Eligel.  The priests confirmed that Eligel did know ways to transcend death, but that it was anathema to use them.
There was nothing in the Prophecies regarding this, so the Emperor was left with no guiding hand to point the way.  He had to decide what to do on his own.
Initially, he waited.  The letters from Skarn continued to come. The Emperor was informed that his father’s household expenses had decreased considerably.  He did receive reports that his father was sustaining himself by sacrificing slaves, but no one cared about slaves.
By this time, Eligel’s priests had discovered Skarn’s transformed nature. They informed the Emperor that his father’s physical body must be destroyed, that the vessel containing his soul must be obliterated.  That his existence was an affront to Eligel himself.
The Emperor was not accustomed to being given orders, and balked.  He refused to raise a hand against his father, and ordered the offending priests sent to Skarn’s home for his father’s delectation and amusement.
Once this information became known among the priests and the imperial court, Emperor Selenn was quickly and quietly murdered by his own family.  His cousin assumed the throne and ‘pruned’ that branch of the family tree, executing Emperor Selenn’s wives, concubines, heirs, bastards, as well as his siblings and their children.  Once this was done, the new Emperor turned his attention to the matter of Skarn.
Although respectful of the priests, the new Emperor was not going to do their bidding.  Instead of sending an army of soldiers to destroy Skarn, he sent an army of priests to bind him to the island. Then patrols were established beyond the island, to ensure that no one ever landed there again without imperial approval.
The High Priest of the Temple of Eligel protested. The Emperor had his tongue cut out and his lips sewn shut.  The remaining priests got the message and did not publicly bring up the matter again.
Skarn, now referred to in lore as Skarn the Eternal, remained bound to his island. Occasionally, a ship of criminals was sent to the island, manned by golems. Eventually, Skarn began husbanding the living inhabitants of his island, breeding a steady supply of sacrifices for his phylactery.
Centuries passed and then came the War and the godstorms.  The Empire collapsed. Humanity was reduced to mindless, shambling zombies.  The divine wards binding Skarn to his island vanished.
Recently, a black ship set sail from the island, crewed by golems. Skarn the Eternal was returning to Choan, after five centuries, hunting for answers to the disaster and fresh sacrifices for his phylactery.  He is making his way toward the Imperial Capital.  What will happen when he arrives and comes face-to-face with the half-dragons currently occupying Askir is anyone’s guess.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Odekor - Day 21

Dragons.

Dragons do not currently exist on Odekor, but they did in the past.  Approximately eight thousand years ago, dragons dominated the planet.  Their empires stretched across all five continents and they used the other races as pawns in their wars and conflicts.
Some dragons were benevolent rulers. Others were cruel tyrants.  In the end, Odekor fell under the domination of eight dragons.
On Ashada, Bloody Narj ruled the southern portion of the continent with an iron fist.  Sedaa the Silver controlled the northern half.  Between these two, Dejema the Viper, a cunning green dragon had carved out and successfully held a territory of her own.
Birichir fell completely under the authority of Bhashaba the Wise.  An ancient copper dragon, Bhashaba is believed to have taught the dwarves their famous skill with forge and hammer.
Ancient Choan was hotly contested by three dragons: Ranog the White, Sapphire Idasha and Urus the Green. These three were utterly ruthless in their quest for power and untold numbers of humanoids died because of them.
Leam fell under the control of a red dragon known as Dhin, the Scarlet Death.  Although the youngest of the dominant dragons, Dhin was probably the most ambitious.
The dragons would probably have retained control of Odekor if they had not become arrogant. They came to believe themselves the equal to the gods, and some, like the Scarlet Death and Sapphire Idasha, ordered their humanoid slaves to worship them as if they were gods.
The gods responded to this hubris by diminishing the dragons, making them small and mortal. Seeing this, their humanoid slaves rose up in rebellion.
Most of the dragons were slain. Those who were not slunk away to live out their long lives in misery and fear.
Only Bhashaba was spared the gods’ ire.  He lived out the rest of his life among the dwarves of Birichir. When he died, his remains were secured within a secret vault, far beneath the earth.  Its location has been forgotten but Bhashaba’s Tomb has become legendary.  There is a story that when the dragon died, his entire body was transmuted to purest gold.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Odekor - Day 20

Player Classes - Part Two

Paladins. Clerics are rare, but paladins are nonexistent. None of the Common Races are inclined to go about thwarting evil for its own sake.  That said, it’s possible that a kenku druid or a kobold cleric might decide to take a level in paladin, but not very likely.  The only Odekor races that I can think of that might produce a paladin would be half-dragons or dwarves.

Rangers.  Given the fact that much of the planet has been reduced to a wild state, rangers would have an important role in the new world.  Aarakocra citadels would want to know the number and disposition of the creatures near their territories, as would the troglodytes.  Gnomes would want to know who or what is skulking about their villages, and wandering kobold tribes would want to know what dangers lie ahead.  Kenku would have a natural affinity for this class with their Wisdom and Dexterity scores.

Rogues. After fighters, rogues are the most popular class among the Common Races. Kobolds make excellent rogues, thanks to their natural Dexterity, as do aarakocra.  Some kenku cultivate stealth, especially monks of the Way of Shadows.  Gnomish charisma makes that race particularly adept at deception and persuasion.  Troglodytes already have a natural stealth-like ability to hide, so a troglodyte rogue specializing in assassination would be absolutely terrifying.

Sorcerers.  Since the War and the godstorms, Odekor is saturated in supernatural energies. Sorcerers are fairly common, particularly those whose powers originate from Wild Magic. Draconic bloodline sorcerers are extremely rare and would only be found among half-dragons.
Among the Common Races, sorcery is most common among the gnomes.

Warlocks.  The Seven Hells are a wasteland. To those who know, the Fey have greater concerns now than Odekor. Things From Beyond stir beyond the Outer Planes and actively seek those who can give them greater access to the Inner Planes.  All that said, warlocks are a rare breed on Odekor.  Some minor devils did flee to Odekor, but whether any of them have the power to spare to a warlock remains unknown.  The Archfey might be interested in having agents on Odekor, given their own problems, and, as noted above the Things From Beyond are definitely interested in the Material Planes.  Warlocks should be rare among the Common Races, and uncommon among the others.  It’s possible that new Patrons might appear: demons seeking to expand the chaos currently gripping the planes, powerful djinn living in exile, the Lord of Order seeking agents to curtail the spread of chaos.

Wizards. Before the War wizardry occupied a curious place on Odekor. Arcane magic was viewed with distrust by the Empire and the Cardinal Church. Its study and use was tightly controlled, restricted to only the most trusted individuals.  Most of it was practical, employed in the creation of imperial weapons, such as the dragonships, and the network of portals that once linked all five continents. Wizards were necessary, but never completely trusted.
Since the War, few people have had the time or resources necessary to study wizardry. Some, however, have managed to find fragments of spellbooks and wizards are popping up everywhere.
Gnomes, of course, are innately magical and their Intelligence makes them naturally adept at wizardry. The gnome wizard has practically become a stereotype among Odekor’s survivors. The fact that gnomes are, universally, insane, makes gnome wizards universally feared and respected.
Kobolds are fascinated by arcane magic but never had any opportunity to really study it. The kenku, on the other hand, had ample opportunity to study wizardry, but have a stronger affinity for the more spiritual magics associated with druids and monks.  Aarakocra hold wizards, as a class, in no special regard; they prefer straight-up fighters, but certainly won’t turn away someone who can hurl lighting bolts.  As for the troglodytes? They tend to eschew magic, viewing it as seductive and untrustworthy; among them, wizards are viewed as sometimes necessary, but never trustworthy.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Odekor - Day 19

Player Classes - Part One

Barbarians. Since the War ended and the godstorms ravaged Odekor, you would think barbarism would be the norm for most of the world. However, even though the Empire may be no more, its trappings and influence remain.  The majority of the Common Races seek to reestablish some form of civilization. An aarakocra barbarian is almost a contradiction in terms. Outcast troglodytes might descend into savagery and naturally gravitate toward this class, but not the majority. Only the kobolds might fit easily into this class, given the fact that so many of them now live in the wilds.

Bards. Even in the harrowing world, people will still want to take some time to enjoy life. Bards might be rare, but they would definitely exist.  Gnomes would be the most likely to gravitate toward this class, but it wouldn’t be hard to envision any member of the Common Races as a bard. Elderly aarokocra, no longer fit for fight or flight, might find a niche in their citadels, recounting deeds of valor from the past.  A kenku bard would naturally gravitate toward the College of Lore, learning a little of everything.  Troglodyte bards might spend their time composing and reciting poems to preserve their people’s history.  Kobold bards would excel at storytelling and, possibly, shadow puppetry.

Clerics. Religious faith is in short supply on Odekor.  Three of the Cardinal Gods are dead, Ledara and Ormothir don’t seem inclined to answer prayers, and the afterlife is in disarray. Nevertheless, some faith does persist. And where there is true faith, there is the possibility of the miraculous. That said, clerics are extremely rare on Odekor and the class is restricted to kobolds.

Druids.  Odekor was ravaged by the War, but nature is nothing if not adaptable.   There weren’t many druids before the War, but in its aftermath the class has exploded.   In many cultures, druids now occupy the position once held by clerics thanks to their ability to heal. They exist on the fringes of the world, preserving and protecting the fragile natural domain from those who would despoil it. Kenku are the most likely of the Common Races to be druids, thanks to their innate wisdom, followed by the aarakocra.

Fighters. Odekor’s history is one of martial conquest and domination. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this trend continues.  Fighters exist among all the Common Races, but are most prevalent among the aarakocra and the troglodytes. However, the fighters of each race usually embrace different traditions.  Aarakocra are most likely to become battle masters, while troglodytes and kobolds embrace the champion archetype and eldritch knights are most common among kenku and gnomes

Monks.  Even before the War, the kenku were practically synonymous with monks. That hasn’t changed since the War ended.  Kenku monks are common, especially along the Pilgrim’s Road.
The monastic life appeals to many troglodytes and their monasteries generally focus on the Way of the Open Hand. Some aarakocra monks exist, embracing the Way of the Four Elements, while kobold and goblin monks tend to embrace the Way of Shadows.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Odekor - Day 18

The Races of Odekor

The Common Races
Aarakocra. The most populous race on Odekor, some 250,000 aarokocra now call Odekor home.  Most live on Choan, in the Mountain of Desh, but there are aarakocra citadels on almost every continent.

Kenku.  Some 230,000 kenku survived the War and the godstorms; most live on Choan, although a large number also inhabit Ashada.

Troglodytes.  Approximately 200,000 troglodytes survived the creation of the Undersea; most live in the southwestern section of Choan which contains their city of Ykysno.

Kobolds.  There are about 190,000 kobolds on Odekor and the number is steadily growing.

Gnomes.  At present, there are an estimated 170,000 gnomes scattered across the face of Odekor; most reside in their homeland on the continent of Leam.

The Uncommon Races
Duergar.  Although they bare a superficial resemblance to dwarves, duergar are not dwarves; they evolved independently, in the Underdark, where they were involved in a byzantine conflict with the drow and the troglodytes. When the Underdark flooded, the surviving duergar immigrated to the surface. Today, there are some 62,000 duergar alive on Odekor.

Half-Dragons.  An engineered race created by Imperial wizards, half-dragons were humans endowed with draconic enhancements. The half-dragons formed the core of the Emperor’s body-guard and enjoyed special status within Imperial society. Some 60,000 of them survived the War, to claim the Imperial Capital of Askir for themselves.  Sterilized at their creation, the godstorms somehow undid this so that the half-dragons can breed true. Most see themselves as heirs to the Empire and plan to subjugate the other surviving races beneath their heel.

Hobgoblins. A goblinoid species that evolved on Choan, they were the first species the humans subjugated and integrated into their Empire. Hobgoblins thrived in the Empire and many were perfectly content with their lot.  After the War, about 58,000 of them survived, scattered at Imperial outposts across the planet.  Their famous discipline has given the hobgoblins a marked advantage over many other survivors, and most would be pleased to ally with the half-dragons and build a new Empire.

Bugbears.  Another goblinoid species subjugated by the Empire, the bugbears were never happy under the Imperial heel. There were frequent bugbear revolts and uprisings, leading the Empire to take draconian measures with them, relegating them to a slave caste scattered across the world. Today, some 54,000 bugbears remain. Disorganized and violent, they seem not to care that the world has been turned on its head.

Drow.  Like the duergar, the drow evolved independently in the Underdark. Their resemblance to elves is purely coincidental and largely superficial. The drown had a vast empire in the Underdark, and had established formal relations with the Empire. Since neither the Empire nor the drow were very interested in the other, they mostly ignored each other except when necessary. When the Underdark flooded, some drow managed to flee to the surface. Today, some 53,000 drow struggle to survive on Odekor’s surface.  Many have claimed small human settlements in the stonewoods for their own. Some have established villages on the subterranean shores of the Undersea, mourning their lost empire.

Jackalwere. There are about 47,000 jackalweres living on Odekor today. Incredibly, their numbers have actually grown since the War.  A race of monstrous humanoids, they survived for centuries thanks to their ability to shapeshift into humans.  They hid in the Empire, living quietly among the very people who would have killed them.  With the humans gone and the Empire fallen, the jackalwere’s live openly in their natural form, building communities of their own in the wilderness.

Lizardfolk. The lizardfolk were an imperial slave-caste for over eleven hundred years. Originating in Western Choan, they were never particularly numerous to begin with.  Since the War ended, there are only 45,000 of them left. The death of humanity and the fall of the Empire has done little to improve the lizardfolk’s lot; most now serve the troglodytes in the same capacities that they once served the Empire: as slaves.

The Rare Races
Dwarves.  Once one of the most influential and admired races on Odekor, when the Empire fell and humanity was wiped out, the dwarves were also cast down.  Today, there are only about 10,000 dwarves remaining on Odekor. Most of them can be found on Birichir, although members of the race can be found on all the continents.

Quaggoth.  Once the scourge of the Underdark, hunted to near extinction by the drow and duergar, the quaggoth survived by fleeing deeper into the dark places of the earth.  They would have stayed there, too, if the Underdark had not flooded, forcing the quaggoth to flee toward the surface.  At present, there are between eight and ten-thousand quaggoth left alive on Odekor.  They live in savage tribes, preying on anyone or anything foolish enough to cross their path.

Elves.  The elves of Ashada were victims of their own hubris. Declaring war on the Empire, they were defeated and brutally subjugated as an example to the Empire’s enemies and allies. Serving predominantly as a slave race, the elves were devastated when the War occurred. Most died. Some survivors remain in the zombie-haunted cities of the Empire, while others have fled to the wilderness. None of them are having an easy time of it.  At present, there are approximately 6,000 elves remaining on Odekor, most of those on Choan.

Yuan-Ti.  The yuan-ti were not native to Odekor, but arrived via planar portal two hundred years ago.  They sought to open diplomatic relations with the Emperor as part of some convoluted plot to seize control of Odekor.  The Emperor saw through their deceit, had the portal destroyed and most of the yuan-ti ‘delegates’ executed.  The only ones he spared were the yuan-ti purebloods, whom he turned over to imperial wizards for study and research, hoping to glean something useful from the situation.  Over two centuries later, the 4,000 descendants of these yuan-ti purebloods managed to survive the War and claim their freedom.  They have also claimed the island of Ikara as their own, and defend its shores with serpentine ruthlessness.

Gith.  Like the yuan-ti, the gith were not native to Odekor. Unlike the yuan-ti, however, their arrival on the Crooked World is much more recent.  During the planar catastrophe predicated by the War, over a thousand Gith found themselves trapped on Odekor with no way to escape.

Orcs. There weren’t many orcs left when the War began and even fewer when it ended. The Empire had been deliberately winnowing the orc population for decades, relegating them to unskilled slave-labor.  Today there are only about 800 orcs remaining, mostly on Birichir where they remain enslaved by the dwarves.

Kuo-Toa. The kua-toa were on the verge of extinction when the Empire discovered them about fourteen hundred years ago, and they remain on the verge even today.  Mad, bad and dangerous, the kuo-toa who survived the War have immigrated into the Undersea where their population is actually increasing.  At present, there are about 800 kuo-toa nesting in the Undersea.

Doppelgangers. Like the half-dragons, doppelgangers were another race engineered by the Empire.  In their case, however, the Empire used the illicit spawn of human/elf unions to create the doppelgangers, a creature capable of fitting in anywhere thanks to its shapeshifting ability. There weren’t many doppelgangers around before the War and all of them were agents of Imperial Intelligence.  Since the War, there are only about 500 doppelgangers remaining. Free agents for the first time in their existence, many doppelgangers live life on the edge. Others have sought out old allies, like the half-dragons and hobgoblins, and continue to live the only life they’ve ever known, as spies.

Goblins.  Once one of the most populous races on Odekor, goblins were everywhere in Imperial society. They were servants and soldiers, merchants and miners, sages and scientists.  They were often overlooked and underappreciated, but could exert considerable influence on matters from behind the scenes.  Sadly, the goblin race was hit hard by the War and the godstorms. Less than 300 goblins survived the War, scattered across the planet.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Odekor - Day 17

The Prophet’s Stair

When the Prophet ascended to the Fields of Joy, in the Grand Cathedral of Ormothir, she did so on a divine staircase.  It was made of silver and adorned with precious jewels.  After the Prophet’s ascension, this divine staircase vanished.
However, it would return on at least three different occasions.
A century after the Prophet’s ascension, the Prophet’s Stair would reappear in the Grand Cathedral.  This time it came for a priest of Ormothir named Uzka of Elydyl, during a tumultuous time known as the Doubting.  People began to question the gods and the Prophet, but Uzka remained steadfast in his faith.  This angered some of the doubters who decided to kill the priest within the Cathedral. As they drew near, however, Uzka prayed for help and the Prophet’s Stair appeared.  He stepped onto it and vanished in a blaze of light.  This miracle ended the Doubting, and Uzka went on to be declared an Ascendant Saint of the Cardinal Church.
The next time the Prophet’s Stair appeared it did not appear in the Grand Cathedral but in the square outside the temple.  Six hundred years had passed since Uzka’s ascendance, and the Cardinal Church had started to mark the occasion with an unofficial holiday, the Feast of the Ascendents. The story goes that, as clergy and laymen made merry in the square, a beggar-child collapsed among them and not a single person went to her aid.  The child cried out to the gods for succor, and the Prophet’s Stair appeared.  A wingless angel descended the stair, striking the celebrants dumb with awe and terror.  He went to the beggar-child, picked her up and returned to the divine stair which he ascended without looking back at a single soul.  The Prophet’s Stair vanished and the assembled merrymakers were so ashamed that many took vows of poverty and service, abandoning their indulgent lifestyles to minister to the poor and homeless.
The final time the Prophet’s Stair manifested was three hundred years ago.  A pious young noblewoman named Dhama was betrothed to the cruel son of an influential Imperial family. Dhama had appealed to the Emperor himself to annul the betrothal, but the Emperor refused. Distraught, Dhama went on pilgrimage to the Holy City of Kirr.  She prayed at each of the temples and churches of the Cardinal Gods in the city, then did the same at the Grand Cathedral. At each altar, she appealed to heaven for aid.  As she knelt in the Grand Cathedral, the Prophet’s Stair appeared before her and Lady Dhama was whisked away.  Not long afterward, the Emperor who had denied her request, abdicated to spend the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation at an
Eligelic monastery.
Legend and lore state that the Prophet’s Stair reappears during the anniversaries of these three ascensions, albeit briefly.  It is widely speculated that the kenku are attempting to purge Kirr of its undead so that they may use the Prophet’s Stair to ascend to the Fields of Joy and confront the gods.  Others think they seek to find it in an effort to control it, so they can abandon Odekor for some other world, untouched by the War.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Odekor - Day 16

The Prophet

Her real name was Atira but no one ever used it.  Very few people outside of religious scholars even knew it.  She was better known, simply as the Prophet.
Born in a flyspeck village called Temm, the woman who would become known as the Prophet had a fairly conventional life. She was part of a sprawling farm family. At the age of thirteen, she was betrothed to a neighbor boy.  At fourteen, they were formally married, but did not establish their own household until a few years later.
According to legend, the Prophet received her first vision on her wedding night.  She predicted the victories of Sagatus, who would establish the Empire of Choan.  Most people just thought she had had too much wine and dismissed her prophecy as the ramblings of a nervous new bride.
However, after that first prophecy came others.  They started as a trickle, but soon grew into a raging river.  Atira began to drown in a sea of prophecies.
Eventually, her husband divorced her and cast her out, claiming she was mad.  Atira began to wander the countryside, leaving a trail of revelations in her wake.  Some people began to notice. She began to attract followers and patrons.
Heleal of Nassus, who would become known as Saint Heleal, offered Atira a place in his own meager home.  She accepted and it was at this time that her prophecies began to be recorded.  The act of recording them seemed to lessen the impact of her gift on her and Atira spent days dictating prophecies to Heleal and the scribes he hired.
Eventually, she left Heleal and traveled to the Holy City of Kirr.  The route she took later became known as the Pilgrim’s Road.  At the gates of the Holy City, she was met by a delegation of priests, who took her into custody.
She was sequestered in a tower cell, her physical needs seen to, while she continued to record her prophecies.  Twenty years passed this way, until the morning Atira simply walked out of her cell. She made her way through the city to the Temple of Ormothir, where a bejeweled silver stairway appeared.  Witnesses reported that Atira climbed the stair, pausing after a few steps to look back and smile sadly. Then stairway and woman vanished in a shower of golden light.
The city’s priests declared it a miracle, stating that the Prophet had ascended to the Fields of Joy, her work on Odekor complete.
After her ascension, the Prophet’s writings were gathered and secured within the vaults of the Holy City. They remained there until the third Emperor took formal possession of them and had them relocated to the imperial capital at Askir.  There, they were entrusted to the gnome sage, Kish Ayeto, who was ordered to encrypt them so the Empire’s enemies could not use them. Presumably this is when the gnomes began their long joke.
Since the War, the Prophet’s name has become a curse among the survivors.  Many wonder if she lied about how the War would play out. Others think it possible she was duped by the gods.
The truth may be known only to the Prophet herself and Ormothir.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Odekor - Day 15

The Cardinal Gods

At the time of the War there were five principal gods worshiped by the races of Odekor. Each of them corresponded to a particular point on the compass and so they were commonly known as the Cardinal Gods.

Tesenre was the God of the North. He was usually depicted as a tall, weatherbeaten man wearing a gray cloak and carrying a staff.  Tesenre’s domains included Nature, Trickery and Destruction. He did not survive the War.

Ledara is the Goddess of the South. She was usually depicted as a tall, attractive woman with dark hair dressed in robes of red.  Ledara’s domains included Life, Peace and Secrets. She did survive the War.

Eligel was the God of the East.  He was usually portrayed as a barrel-chested man with a flowing yellow beard carrying a lantern.  Eligel’s domains included Cities, Death, Knowledge and Tempest.  The Emperors of Choan claimed to be descended from him. Eligel did not survive the War.

Ailiel was the Goddess of the West. She was usually described as a silver-haired woman dressed all in blue, armed with a burning sword. Her domains were Darkness, Light and War.  Ailiel did not survive the War.

Ormothir is the God of the Center.  He sits at the heart of all things and his domains encompass all of the other gods as well as Fate, Luck and Prophecy.  Ormothir is usually described as an old man, either blind or just blindfolded, sitting on a mat and holding the world in his hands.  Ormothir survived the War.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Odekor - Day 14

Player Races

Aarakocra
Ability Scores.You get a +2 to your Dexterity score and a +1 to Wisdom.
Size.  Your size is Medium.
Speed. You have a base walking speed of 30 feet and a flight speed of 50 feet.
Languages. You speak Auran and Common.
Alignment. Aarakocra tend to be lawful neutral or neutral good.
Talons. You possess talons and are proficient in their use as a melee weapon. On a hit, they inflict 1d6 + Dexterity Modifier of slashing damage.

Gnomes
Ability Scores. You get a +2 to your Intelligence score and a +1 to your Charisma score.
Size. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Languages. You speak Gnomish and Common.
Alignment. All Odekor Gnomes are chaotic. They are never lawful.
Gnomish Madness. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma saving throws against magic.

Kenku
Ability Scores. You get a +2 to your Wisdom score and a +1 to Dexterity.
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. You have a base walking speed of 30 feet.
Languages. You speak Auran and Common.
Alignment. Kenku tend to be lawful or neutral, although any alignment is possible.
Ambusher. You have advantage on attack rolls against any creature you have surprised.
*Note that Odekor Kenku do NOT have the mimicry ability and that they CAN speak.*

Kobolds
Ability Scores. You get a +2 to Dexterity and a +1 to Constitution.
Size. Your size is Small.
Speed. You have a base walking speed of 25 feet.
Languages. You speak Draconic and Common.
Alignment. Kobolds can be any alignment but are most often neutral.
Darkvision. Within 60 feet, you can see in dim light as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern colors, only shades of gray.
Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally is not incapacitated.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Troglodytes
Ability Scores. You get a +2 to your Strength score and a +1 to your Constitution.
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Languages. You speak Troglodyte and Common.
Alignment. Civilized troglodytes are usually lawful neutral. Outcast troglodytes tend to be chaotic evil, but other alignments are possible.
Chameleon Skin. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide.
Darkvision. Within 60 feet, you can see in dim light as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern colors, only shades of gray.
Stench. Any creature other than another troglodyte that begins its turn within 5 feet of you must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the start of their next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature becomes immune to the stench of troglodytes for 1 hour.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Odekor - Day 13

Dwarves.
Dwarves hail from the continent of Birichir, in the southern hemisphere of Odekor.  Birichir is a cool, rocky land. It has a mountainous interior and vast stretches of subarctic desert. Forests thrive only on the northern edge of the continent, where it rains constantly.  This is the land that the dwarves called home, and, like Birichir, the dwarves could be harsh, cold and surprisingly fecund.
Dwarven society was divided into various tribes which belonged, in turn, to various clans. Each dwarf clan claimed ownership of a certain area and defended it zealously.  It is widely said that the first dwarven structure was not a home, but a fortress.
For centuries, the dwarves lived in fractious bliss, delving deep into the earth for metal, to feed the clan war-machine.  War was a way of life among the race and every dwarf child longed to serve his tribe and clan as a fighter.
Among the dwarves, war was a way of life. There were strict rules and etiquette to follow before, during and after battle.  Those who violated these rules invited merciless reprisals from their enemies and the condemnation of their allies.
When the elves arrived on Birichir, the dwarves they encountered were simple fishermen from a minor tribe.  They seemed strong and sturdy and easily charmed.  The elves took them as slaves and so the enmity between elves and dwarves begun.
For centuries, the elves tried to establish a foothold on Birichir. They never succeeded. The best they could do was raid the coast for slaves.  Over the decades, hundreds of dwarves were taken as slaves by the elves and shipped back to Ashada.  The only thing the elves managed to do was unite the dispirate dwarf clans into one homogenous nation.
Then, one day, a new race arrived on the shores of Birichir.  They were humans from the continent of Choan.  Initially distrustful of the humans, the dwarves soon forged an alliance with them when the elves foolishly declared war upon Choan.
Elven arrogance would lead to the destruction of their homeland, the erradication of their culture and the enslavement of their race. It would also lead to an extremely profitable alliance between dwarves and humans.
After the Elfwars ended, the dwarves went from formal allies of the Empire to loyal subjects. The unification of the dwarves with the Empire was even formalized with several ritual weddings between humans and dwarves.
In the Empire, dwarves served primarily as soldiers and craftsmen, although dwarf administrators and sages were not uncommon.  Dwarf names became popular and the fascination with dwarven martial culture never completely died out among the Empire’s human nobility.  Dwarves embraced the humans prophetic religion wholeheartedly and a dwarf general led the Empire’s forces on the Day of Judgement, when the Forces of Heaven descended to Odekor for the Last War.
Sadly, the dwarves faced a similar fate to that of their human comrades.  Most of the dwarves were killed by the godstorms that ravaged Edokar.  Today, dwarves are rare and most can be found in the mountain-fortresses of Birichir.  They have neither the numbers nor the interest in rebuilding the Empire and keep themselves to themselves.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Odekor - Day 12

Kobolds
They survived when humans were wiped out, when the elves and dwarves were reduced to a few thousand, scattered across the face of Odekor.
Kobolds.
Small. Reptilian. Craven.
They appeared on the continent of Choan, and were considered pests by most of the other races. Even the goblins looked down their noses at the kobolds.
The kobolds were simple hunter/gatherers who were enslaved, or more often slaughtered, by other races.  In civilized society, they were used as dim-witted servants or stupider-than-usual slaves.  Their best quality was that they could be cowed with a threat.  Longer lasting loyalty was assured by a steady supply of meals.
Emperor Tytan had an inordinate fondness for kobolds.  During his reign the race flourished and when he died, the kobolds began worshiping his spirit as an ascended god.  The established religious authority didn’t much care for this, but they were forbidden to intervene.
When the War happened, and the godstorms ravaged Odekor, the kobolds managed to survive. Since the end of the War, the race has thrived.
Today, there are more kobolds than dwarves, elves or gnomes. They are the fourth most common race on the planet and, if they continue to reproduce as they are, they may soon become the third.
Most kobolds on Odekor have returned to the wild, managing to eek out an existence among the stonewoods of Choan.  Some work as servants for the kenku, or slaves among the troglodytes. Gnomes appreciate kobolds; they can do simple tasks reasonably well and when they inevitably mess up, kobold flesh tastes surprisingly like chicken.
Most kobolds, however, live in the wilds as hunters and gatherers. Their culture is simple, with the best provider leading the pack.  Weirdly, they still revere and pray to Emperor Tytan. What’s stranger still is that there are functional Clerics of Tytan among the race, making them unique among all the survivors of Odekor.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Odekor - Day 11

The Undersea.
When the gods died and reality fractured, thousands of planar microportals opened across Odekor. Most of these breaches sealed almost immediately.  Some, however, lingered.
One of the largest and the worst occurred in the Underdark.  The planar breach was large and opened onto the Elemental Plane of Water.  Before the breach sealed, billions of tonnes of water had poured through it, flooding the Underdark.
Untold numbers died in the subterranean flood.  Those who could, fled to high points in the shallowest portions of the Underdark.  Eventually, even the Underdark’s shallows flooded, and these holdouts were forced to abandon the subterranean world for the surface.
The planar breach responsible for the flood has sealed, but the subterranean world remains flooded. Now known as the Undersea, it is a mysterious and alien place, but hardly lifeless.
Abolethic mermaids haunt the lightless depths of the Undersea, nesting in the drowned cities of the drow and duergar.  Water elementals prowl the flooded caverns and tunnels. Swarms of quipper catch the unwary by surprise.  Kuo-Toa now make their homes in the deepest depths, far from any light, while powerful marids establish magical fortresses illuminated by shoals of luminous jellyfish.