Lest you think that Challenger D&D is less weird than BECMI because the Rules Cyclopedia left out the Immortal rules box set, well, here’s Wrath of the Immortals (1992), the Challenger version of the Immortal rule box set.
The core philosophy of Mentzer’s rules remains largely intact, though much smoothed smoothing and developing. For instance, the new version pitches the idea that there are a limited number of Immortals (they used to be limited to experience levels). The entire process of becoming an immortal is less onerous and there are more options for immortal characters once they achieve it. In a lot of ways, immortality is the equivalent of a videogame’s New Game Plus — you’re going to be doing the same thing with the same systems at a different level of difficulty. And also you can create stuff, like demi-planes and intelligent life. You know, no biggie. I still suspect that no one ever seriously played an Immortals campaign.
This is sort of supported by the fact that the actual campaign frame that is included in the box is one for regular characters (though it should encompass their entire careers and leave them on the threshold of immortality). The events of this campaign, The Immortal’s Fury, are divisive as they reap major changes to the Known World. This rightly annoyed folks who invested in the 15-volume Gazetteer series that detailed the world as it was. But any time you’re going to blow up a beloved world, folks are going to be annoyed (and this is literal — there is a meteor impact that knocks a whole continent into the Hollow World). I will say that I like both states of the Known World, the classic version and Mystara, but I am not really a fan of how Wrath of the Immortals goes about the transition. That’s pretty par for TSR’s track record though.
Finished the first arc of the tabletop rpg game I’m GMing, I can finally post all the art! More about the worldbuilding under the cut:
Sauris is a white moon who’s visible surface is mostly composed of clouds. It orbeting around a gas giant, Caelophy. Millenias ago one of the pieces of the crust rolled over in the sea, exposing its side to the sunlight above, past the violent chemically active (and colorful) clouds inbetween. Life boomed on the continent, giving birth to complexe lifeforms such as plants and animals. Currently, civilisation is on the verge of an industrialisation, with a wide and diverse range of trades, for the first time spanning the massive and entire continent.
The active Inner Cloud layer, in an event called the Cloud’s Shift, can burst outwards. When it touches the continent it is believed to be the cause of creation of magic, causing all kinds of odds events as well, like making felines walk on two legs, plants change color, or give mysterious abilities to hidden creatures.
Any magic needs to be cast with a magic circle, each categorised by naturally occuring sigils at the centers. There is 13 known sigils, each named and tide to the planets and moons of Sauro. However tides are about to move, with a few wary travellers coming across a 14th unknown sigil, with the only proof of it being a reserved kid and a suspicious necklace.
Dinosaurs are the prominent life form on Sauris, with only a few mammals (mostly rodents and our beloved humanoids), fish in the rivers, and giant insects in the bogs. Here is a world where dinosaurs are found as locomotion, pets, food, and terrifying predators. It being very cold on Sauris, all year round, they also all rock some fluffy feather/proto-feathers coats.
The seasons no Sauris, are divided into two summers and two winters, spending a large portion of the year partially obscured of Sauro by Caelophy. The highest temperature is around 10°C , and the lowest -30°C
Here on the continent:
- The Tower of Almonious: A distant land discovered by a great sorcerer who has constructed a massive tower on top. Not much is known to the common people of Sauris, and stays inaccessible even today.
- Pol Malleo: An Active volcano, that unlike the ones on Earth does not eject lava, but a hot water-like liquid. Said liquid, named Azura, has a bright blue-turquoise color that glows a powerful green when it comes in contact with certain gases. The jets can go as high as 50 km high in the sky, forming a long colorful trail as it floats away.When an eruption occurs during Altieme, the droplets of liquid tend to freeze instantly in contact with the cold air, forming icicles that drop on the land below, often causing great problems as they bullet the surface.
- Tiacus Mire: It is currently the land in which resides the biggest city of Sauris; Aegyp. It also has the biggest lake: Great Ophora. During Primaestas, the majority of its land gets flooded, creating humid bogs, prospice to massive creatures, such as insects, Spinosaurus, and water dwellers like the massive mosasaurus.
- The Isles of Breviq: It probably has the most unique land shapes of the entire Continent. Long, relatively thin pillars of land have slowly come apart from the main land mass over many centuries, resulting in its numerous islands appearing to float between the clouds. The people of Breviq are known for having tamed the difficult beasts of the sky; riding pterosaurs.
- Pol Incus: The tallest mountain of Sauris, and so the tallest point of the entire moon. Its difficult climb has challenged many minds to reach its freezing top where the air grows thin. Temples and even old artefacts lie across the peaks or hidden under it’s rocks, proving the curiosity this mountain has always inspired.
- Thyreophor: The biggest land of Sauris. Thyreophor is most defined by its lush forests with massive trees and year-long colorful plants capable of holding under massive amounts of snow. It still holds the title of largest population in total.
- The Sdomorphia Wild Plains: Long stretches of grass and brush-like plants extend for as far as the eye can see. Sdomorphia is the land of nomads and the biggest of the animal kingdom: the Sauropods. It might not contain many streams or lakes, but it’s vast stretches borrow perfectly for herd hunting.
- The Austro Tundra: Unlike the other more South lands of Sauris, the Austro Tundra’s soil never melts away. Its rock-solid earth and ice makes it difficult to build houses on, but it has not stopped villages from sprouting even on the coldest land.The Austro Tundra is the land of Theropods, having the biggest number of raptors alike, many of which have prized feather coats.
- The Coelorus Coast: It has some of the biggest rate of precipitation of Sauris, standing on the right side of Pol Malleo against the strong air currents brushing the clouds below. Perhaps from the warmth created by Pol Malleo, the snow in Coelorus tends to melt a lot quicker than the other lands, and with the high amount of rivers and streams lining the soils, it also is one of the most fertile places. The steep sides of the volcano create perfect ranges for step agriculture, and primarily corn and rice.
- Cephalia: It currently has the title of the land with the biggest number of farm-land. Cephalia is often defined as the most friendly populace. With its loudest voices being farmers and workers, it has a particular streak of freedom and carelessness attached to its name.
- The Shantung Sway: A land carrying its own ecosphere, the people of Shantung have remained centuries without connection to the rest of Sauris. The current path to its land is extremely recent and trades have yet to be initiated. Apart from a very few explorers that have left Shantung to see the lands, and all described as fairly eccentric, interactions have been minimal so far.Shantung has been described as odd and fairy tale-like. With plants that glow in the dark, upside-down trees that prevent snow from reaching the ground, and weird spiky structured rocks. With bizarre animals, dinosaurs naked without feathers, small floating octopus creatures, and long leg-less organisms that slithered like tree branches.
- The Tenonto Canyon: The great divider between Malleo and Incus, the canyon expands down as far as can see, battered with wild winds and dangerous looking tornadoes beneath the clouds. A single bridge has been built on the closest edges, where the trade route quickly bustled with life, and ultimately created Mer, an unique city split in two across each side, one in the Tiacus Mire and the other in Thyreophor.
I’d like to say a big thank you to the players for being so patient and being so invested in this world i created, I love you guys. And thanks to anyone who actually read this!
When playing with miniatures, any interaction with the play area or the miniatures themselves by pets (cats, dogs, birds, etc.) should be played as the vengeful acts of an eldritch deity, regardless of the campaign setting or plot.
I really thought I was going to hate Poor Wizard’s Almanac and Book of Facts. It is, after all, a support book for the campaign portion of Wrath of the Immortals, which I don’t really like. It also doesn’t feel like an enthusiastic TSR product at a glance — it is digest sized, for one (maybe the first time TSR returned to that sizing since the original D&D?). And that’s Forgotten Realms’ Wulfgar on the cover there for another. I really hate it when TSR recycled art of identifiable characters like this. And yet, I really dig it!
The bulk of the book is given over to establishing the new status quo in the wake of the Immortals campaign. This is the least satisfying part of the book — though the info is necessary, it just doesn’t have the space to rise to the level of the Gazeteers series (or even the Princess Ark articles in Dragon Magazine). This stuff isn’t bad, it just isn’t awesome, and it takes up two thirds of the book.
The final third, though, is the good stuff. It’s a day by day chronicle of every noteworthy event in the Known World following the conclusion of the Wrath of the Immortals campaign. Each event has a synopsis followed by notes on what the players, if they’re in the area, can do about it. So on one level, it is just a massive list of adventure seeds (though, using the gazetteer information in the first part goes a long way toward fleshing them out), but it also turns the proceedings into a sort of (but not quite) living campaign world (the Great Pendragon Campaign does something similar). It reminds me a lot of the news dispatches in each issue of the Journal of the Travellers Aid Society, pushing events of the war Traveller’s Spinward Marches forward, in real time, every three months.
There are two more of these, the third of which makes the transition from Challenger to the AD&D Mystara campaign setting. I need to snag them.
The Dungeon Master, fifth of the 14 designs I made based on the dnd classes! The DM isn't a class, for sure, but I felt like they needed a design too. DMing a campaign was a great decision for me! Do you run any campaigns? What are they like?
pieces i did for the rusty quill charity zine last year in honor of the finale tomorrow <3
i’ll put alternate versions/ sketches etc under the cut if anyone is interested !!
[ID: two drawings of locations from the rusty quill gaming paris arc in a postcard like style. The one on the left depicts eiffel’s folly in an orange/ yellow color pallette and has the words Paris, you’ll never want to leave. The one on the right shows the characters standing in the mr. ceiling brain room with the words Paris, you’ll never want to leave!.
The Eiffel’s Folly drawing shows it centered with a minimal skyline and fluffly clouds in the background. The tower is surrounded by a barbed wire fence and guards. The tower itself is filled with small houses and structures, built on the support beams from a variety of materials.
The Mr. Ceiling drawing shows a small Sasha, Hamid, Bertie, and Zolf from left to right standing among towering collumns that have multiple brains in them as well as wires and tubes connecting them. The columns go off into the gloom without a clear endpoint, and the drawing is done in perspective so the columns shrink upwards as well.
Sasha is a thin white woman with short black hair and a scar visible across the right side of her face. She wears a leather jacket with spikes over a white linen shirt and grey pants. She is looking up at the brain columns. Hamid is an egyptian halfling with dark brown short hair. He is wearing a purple jacket and red scarf with a white shirt and black pants. He is also looking up and to his left. Bertie is a large white man with short blonde hair and a beard. He has his arms crossed and is wearing golden armour with falcon imagery on it and brown boots. Zolf is a white dwarf with light hair and a long beard sitting on top of a floating disc. Both of his legs end at the knee. End ID]
A sentient golem, a dazzling ballet, and a monster from beyond the stars. |✨| the golem of dwell
had the honor of helping out @avas-poltergeist with the art for this adventure and i cant begin to describe how amazing and fun it is 👀 if y’all like adventures inspired by Jewish folklore and the Underdark, go check it out NOW