Category Archives: Campaigns

The Adversary’s Dungeon

Following is a background sketch for a potential campaign.

The rapture has come and gone. Any chosen departed. From below came the Adversary, no longer constrained to the Dungeon, to claim tyrannical dominion of what remained.

Though eternal, hubris afflicts the Adversary. Clever magic applied with savvy and sacrifice casts the Adversary back down into the Dungeon. Even the Adversary is part of existence and so subject to fundamental relations properly deployed.

So organized, the world staggers through cycles of evil and reprieve. When imprisoned, the Adversary cultivates temptations and treasures below. Invitation from those above alone is how the Adversary can return.

Inevitably, memories of past horrors fade and once vigilant guardians become complacent. Some come to doubt the existence of the Adversary below and ridicule the old rituals. Beliefs notwithstanding, opening the Dungeon’s gates requires only will and black magic.

Though deep seals prevent the Adversary from emerging fully even once the gates fail, lesser monsters are not similarly constrained. First as a trickle, then as a torrent, they come, messengers proclaiming by their rampage the Adversary’s impending arrival.

Again the gates are open. Strongholds stoke sentinel bonfires to keep the monsters at bay. Danger challenges the fellowship of humanity as alliances agreed in times of plenty crumble. As armies are tender fodder for greater monsters, only infiltration has any hope of success in reaching the inner sanctum. From the Adversary’s broken body renewed Dungeon gates may be fashioned.

To close the doors and renew all seals, venture below and defeat the Adversary. Or, seek wicked wages by breaking the seals to earn the Adversary’s acclaim and gratitude, inaugurating a new long night.

Under the Eclipse

Eclipse image by T. Kuboki

Eclipse image by T. Kuboki

History has never recorded more than temporary stalemates in the wars between the city-states of the Shallow Seas. Proud Patmos, our city, was one of the greatest. In a daring gambit our admirals sought to build a flotilla in secret with which to crush our greatest rival and establish unassailable command of all other cities. However, the plan was discovered, by treachery or ill luck, and our enemy struck first, burning the warships in their hidden coves and striking the forts on our shores with a ferocity that overwhelmed our unprepared defenses.

Our navy smoldering and our armies in retreat, the Primarchs were desperate. The sorcerer Ascidia Bel, long bereft of influence though as yet unbanished, took the crisis as an opportunity. He promised to defeat the invaders with ancient war magic if the coffers were put at his disposal and his fellow magicians were allowed back to aid him in the weaving of the great spell. With the bonfires of the enemy sighted from our towers and only days away, the Primarchs acquiesced.

Bel put out a call for his dispersed fellows and over the course of the next day a carnival of witches, warlocks, and diviners answered his summons. They worked feverishly through the night, preparing tribute and sacrifices. The wizards dug trenches in forbidden patterns and filled them with the herbed blood of oxen and prisoners. They stacked treasure in pyramids that reflected the light of tall cylindrical bonfires and chanted sibilant magic words that slid off the ears and defied comprehension despite superficial simplicity.

Ascidia Bel uttered the final syllable almost in a whisper but it was clear as a trumpet call. All was still for several moments. Then the ground began to shake and Bel began to scream. His face melted off and his body crumpled forward. His flesh ignited, burning with an intensity reserved for lost chemistries. Still it lies to this day in the central plaza, always burning, never consumed, too hot to approach closer than ten paces. Several of the taller towers, built by secret societies of masons using hidden techniques, collapsed. The faces of the other sorcerers burst into flame but they did not die. They scattered, crawling on all fours, scurrying like insects, fleeing from their fallen chief into the shadows.

We heard strange drums far off. Lights flickered beyond the hills and over the Shallow Seas. From the mist and smoke and raining ash they came. Some shambling, some stomping, some prancing like acrobats. The smallest was the height of four tall men and no two were alike. Hefting terrible weapons, all rust and spines and cleaving iron, they clustered near the radiant beacon of the ruined sorcerer husk, milling like bees around honey to receive their charge, then like wolves scenting prey, set off into the night.

The next day the sun rose shedding little light, obscured by a disk of blackness in permanent eclipse. After the sortie, no foreign travelers arrived. The roads were empty. Venturing forth, our envoys found abandoned way houses. Only dust inhabited nearby towns. Scouting parties spotted unmanned galleys drifting aimlessly, directed now by only tides and winds.

An outrider discovered one of the summoned creatures in a field outside one empty town, standing almost motionless, hundreds of vultures perched on its shoulders and the trees nearby. Soon after, three of Ascidia Bel’s giant avengers returned. At first we fled in panic, thinking that they meant to finish what began the night before the eclipse, but they seemed not to see us. Now, one walks up and down the river ceaselessly. Another stands by the great sundial. The last waded into a storehouse, structural timbers snapping like twigs, then halted as if it had forgotten its intent. They ignore us like we do not exist. Some of us call the creatures Guardians, and lay wreathes and fresh sacrifices at their titanic feet, to which they pay no attention, inscrutable.

Crops were left to rot in the fields. Some saw these events as heralding the dissolution of mortal law, and there was brief unrest, but the troublemakers were either slain or exiled. We do not know if the calamity outside our walls has claimed them. Grain stores remain plentiful, though they will not last indefinitely, and the river is lavish with fish, so our stomachs are filled though our spirits remain anxious.

Around this time beasts began to change, growing to unnatural sizes. We noticed first with the fish from the river, then stray dogs and hounds. The larger the animal, the more feral. Wicked hawks grown large have snatched lone venturers into the sky.

Our city is the last city. The day is drenched in shadow like constant twilight. The night is warm and fetid. I fear we have called up the agents of the end of the world. The bravest of us have formed small companies to venture beyond our walls, but others, terrified of the unknown, form coteries to safeguard what remains inside.

This is the setting background for a Hexagram play test.

Weapons of unusual size

Young Guts from Berserk

Young Guts from Berserk

Hexagram characters begin with stats rated from 0 to 3, using the arrays I originally developed for Gravity Sinister. (There is a random determination table for players that do not like to bother with making choices.) Then, each level, including first, players choose one stat to improve. The same stat cannot be improved two levels in a row. The max character level is 10, which means that the highest a stat can be naturally is 8 (3 initial + the 5 for every other level increases).

Among other benefits, characters with higher strength scores can wield ever more obscenely scaled weapons. There are three size categories beyond standard: huge, giant, and colossal. They require, respectively, strength scores of 4, 6, and 8, to wield effectively. (Category names are subject to adjustment.)

For normal weapons, strength adds to melee damage, up to +3. Larger weapons can express strength beyond this limit. Huge weapons allow up to +5, giant up to +7, and colossal up to +8. (In general, the max bonus is one less than the ability threshold for the next largest weapon category.) For simplicity, there are no special encumbrance considerations for oversized weapons. Each counts as one significant item. They do, however, cost more to repair (an additional 1d6 * 10 SP per exceptional size category).

Larger weapons retain any type benefits. Thus, a giant axe can express up to +7 melee damage from strength and also provides a sunder bonus to damaging enemy equipment. Oversized missile weapons apply strength to damage rather than perception, but are fixed at +4, +6, or +8, depending on the size category. For example, a huge elephant gun deals +4 damage even if the wielder has 5 strength. Such weapons still use perception for attack tests.

Though this system is designed with big weapons in mind, it would be easy to adapt to enchanted weapons that would only serve worthy warriors (that is, those strong enough or with large enough attack bonus for D&D), and so could be another way to explain and manage the traditional restriction that only fighters can use magic swords.

For AD&D (1E and 2E) ability scores, use the strength damage bonus rather than the Hexagram strength ability. For something like D&D 3E or 5E, use the ability modifier. The mappings are not perfect, but they should be good enough. Some other rulings may be required, given that HP quantities in 3E or 5E are higher that the OD&D standards I tend to assume, so adjust accordingly.

Edit: though above I noted that there are no special considerations regarding encumbrance, I am not fully convinced that is the right way to go. I think as written there may be insufficient incentive for diversity of weapon choices (that is, anyone with high strength would prefer an oversized weapon), which is perhaps uninteresting. I will need to see how this plays at the table, but one potential modification would be for each extra size category to count as a significant item, though I am wary of slipping graduated encumbrance in via the backdoor.


Pursuer's Ultra Greatsword from Dark Souls 2

Pursuer’s Ultra Greatsword from Dark Souls 2

Guts from Berserk

Guts from Berserk

Monster Hunter concept art

Monster Hunter concept art

Cloud from Final Fantasy 7

Cloud from Final Fantasy 7

Saw spear from Bloodborne

Saw spear from Bloodborne

Monster Hunter concept art

Monster Hunter concept art

Bow from Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter concept art


Firelink Shrine from Dark Souls

Firelink Shrine from Dark Souls

In the Afterlands, also called the Quiet Lands, the dead no longer hunger. They abide, mostly content, eternally. Following the Great Conjunction, after death many mortals began to find themselves aware again after death in that spare place. The Afterlands is far in the Southwest, beyond the deserts, and is marked by crisp air, green rolling hills well suited to sheep, and skies so blue they seem to go on forever. Not all dead find themselves waking from life in this place, and none know where the others go, if anywhere. The borders of the Afterlands are marked sporadically by a low, broken stone wall of no more than several feet in height, like the remnants of some previously proud fortification.

Some of the undying dead preserve a sense of self and memories by continuing the habits and practices of life, though to persist they no longer truly need sleep or sustenance. However, those undying dead that neglect such needs slowly lose individuality, becoming more inert, contemplative, and complete in themselves. There are exceptions to this majority. Some feel a nagging lack of completion, unsatisfied by eternity, and journey back into the world seeking what fortune still remains. Others have a consciousness not suited for long reflection, and go mad, hungering for lost vitality. These few hungry dead are driven from the heart of the Afterlands, either east across the desert, or into the caves deep below.

The living are welcome in the Afterlands, as long as they do not cause too much trouble. The pace of undying life is languid and the atmosphere is peaceful, though dangers remain for travelers. After death, emergence in the Afterlands happens in a multitude of ways. Some rise from ponds, at first confused by the water and lack of breath. Some sit up from shallow graves, surrounded by rich loam. Some wake in the warm embrace of cremation ash, flesh already stripped from pale white bones. Many undying dead have found meaning in cultivating these places of emergence. They tend cremation gardens, dig graves, plant tombstones, and inscribe guest lists of those likely to arrive soon using long quills dripping with rare imported green ink.

Adventurers wishing to know an aspect of their uncertain fate may visit the Afterlands and seek out a future ungrave. The undying cultivators know this service is valuable to mortals, and further that it is only valuable if it is valued. Thus, they take payment for this service. By seeking out an ungrave, an Adventurer will wake upon death as a skeleton in the Afterlands, bereft of all gear, but retaining memories and experience.

Though the conjunction of the material world with this afterlife is strongest in the realm now known as the Afterlands, pockets of afterlife can be found scattered across other lands. Afterlands expatriates sometimes tire of the exploration life and decide to settle down, but for whatever reason choose not to return to the lands west of the sands. Such emigrants may build and tend their own cremation kilns or ungrave cemeteries. Given that they are often mistaken for the hungry dead, such establishments are usually hidden. It is possible to stumble upon them or seek them out given knowledge of the signs. An Adventurer can even dig their own ungrave with a Gravedigger’s Shovel, or leave an offering at the ash pits surrounding a cremation kiln. Such ungraves work just like those in the Afterlands, though they lack the permanence of the true Afterlands.

Gravedigger’s Shovel. To make a temporary ungrave, spend a Haven Action and dig a shallow grave with a Gravedigger’s Shovel. A gravestone slowly rises from a properly formed ungrave. After use, a Gravedigger’s Shovel becomes a mundane shovel. Cost: 200 SP.

Cremation Kiln or Ungrave Cemetery. For a small fee, an undying attendant will fashion a permanent ungrave in this Afterlands outpost. Cost: 500 SP per Adventurer Level. (Similar services in the Afterlands proper cost 250 SP per Adventurer Level.)

The gear of a fallen and abandoned Adventurer will generally remain together, either left on the corpse or taken by a monster, for at least a few Haven Turns. However, if not recovered promptly, all bets are off and items may sold, traded, lost, or destroyed.


Mysidia from some Final Fantasy game

Mysidia from Final Fantasy IV

The greatest known college of magicians was founded thousands of years ago by the long-dead conqueror Alexander as a gift to his magician lover Hephaestion. Alexander’s dynasty collapsed after several generations, but the school thrived, accumulating all the sorcerous knowledge that mortals could structure, systemize, and preserve in magical taxonomies.

However, attendance in latter days has dwindled as fewer applicants could pass the stringent entrance exams, developed by some long dead master and now operating autonomously. Currently, most of the school is no longer occupied by mortals, with only several smalls wards housing the Magicians and their few pupils. The rest of the academy is sprawling halls filled with ignored and forgotten spells. Lacking proper oversight and maintenance, the spells, often lonely, now rule the far parts of the Alexandreum as dwimmers.

Legend has it that any spell ever harnessed by mortal minds (and some that have imagined themselves into existence) can be found somewhere in the Alexandreum. Many, however, have become uncooperative in their isolation. Though it is against the rules to enter the cordoned-off parts of the Alexandreum, in practice it is not hard to sneak in, and adventurers have been known to venture within seeking spells and other treasure.

So strong has the power of mortal authority over reality become within the grounds of the school that not only can divinities and their supernatural agents not affect the school, it does not even exist for them. Though covenanted adventurers may use boons within, deities are remote and unreachable. Spirit Points only replenish during Haven Turns spent in the mundane outskirts of the Alexandreum, a small area of coach houses intended for travelers and visiting merchants.

The appearance of the Alexandreum can be a surprise to new visitors, who often expect soaring and fantastic architecture in keeping with the wonder of a school for magicians. The outer district is highly traditional, with separate spired towers for each robed master and squat dormitories for apprentices. The grounds between are landscaped and crisscrossed with paths tracing out arcane geometries interspersed with gentle streams crossed by low bridges. Closer to the heart of the school the towers give way to low, ominous archive piles along with archaic groups of standing stones, often in abstract and disquieting patterns. Below lie the twisting tunnels and mineral-shielded experimentation chambers of the abandoned wards.

Magicians can consult the archive catalog, still maintained in the outer district, for directions to particular spells, though addresses so obtained can sometimes be difficult to interpret. However, sometimes it takes the master archivist several haven turns to locate the relevant information (which is convenient, given that the referee may need to map and stock that particular dungeon area).

Copernican Sovereignty principles

I am going for several things with Copernican Sovereignty both in the setting and with the rules.

Copernican Elect (Gunka no Baltzar)

Copernican Elect (Gunka no Baltzar)

The setting is not supposed to be gonzo in the genre-bending sense, but it does shift aesthetic and technological registers dramatically between campaign regions. The lowlands controlled by the Copernican Elect serves as a kind of metropole in contrast to the adventurous hinterlands. The style of these two areas is thus intended to be different. I see the Elect with a vaguely Napoleonic or even Axis styled militaristic demeanor, though not mapped to any particular Earth culture. The more extravagant Elect may present themselves in a fantastic and less conventional manner. Ideologically, they are half scheming Roman patricians building family dynasties and half messianic modernists. They have managed to subdue the gods and harness their power for mortal benefit and certainly this is Progress with a capital P. Many “monsters” in the lowlands are creations shaped from god-matter or artifacts powered by god energy, such as the multi-hued Dractonothopter airships or the giant Panzer armor suits piloted by Copernican Knights.

Adventurers (Final Fantasy Legends)

Adventurers (Final Fantasy Legends)

The simultaneous existence of different levels of development, with adventurers coming from the wild side, is something that deserves a separate post. I want to emphasize that the Elect are not supposed to serve as an evil empire. Though particular members of the Copernican Elect may be adversaries, I could just as easily see them as allies or patrons to adventurers.

In terms of game details, though I have been using some monster books, I do not plan to use any modules. This is approximately the inverse of my last few campaigns, where I often used adapted modules but made up most of my own monsters. I want to focus on building more original dungeons from the ground up. Also, I want to play test the Hexagram rules, and parts of the setting have been tuned for that purpose. For example, I would be lying if I said that the setting backstory of embodied divinities was not largely influenced by my desire to have many gods available for the covenanting rules.

Copernican Elect (Aldnoah.Zero)

Copernican Elect (Aldnoah.Zero)

This brings me to the gods of the setting. If you have been reading my sporadic notes, you may have noticed that I am using many historical deities. For example, both Hades and Osiris are likely wandering around the setting somewhere (and likely at odds, given that they both claim to be lord of the underworld). Part of this is me wanting to use Deities & Demigods as a monster manual. This approach is also influenced by the unapologetic abandon with which many anime and manga drop different cultural elements into a blender. In terms of setting metaphysics, the Great Conjunction merged many or all deific conceptions with material reality, including potentially those from other possible realities. Which is to say, Hades does not imply an identifiable Greece analog within the fictional world. In general, I prefer syncretic fictional cultures over direct references. Though I realize the practical benefit of being able to say Fantasy Japan (or whatever), with a few exceptions (like Hyboria or the Warhammer Old World) I tend to find that kind of setting less interesting.

Adventurers (Final Fantasy 3)

Adventurers (Final Fantasy 3)

This is a lot of telling rather than showing, and I hope the various principles come out more naturally within setting materials as I develop them, but I find it useful to state these things directly both to use as personal guidelines and to give players a sense of what key to play in.

Boons of Ares

One of the base features of the Copernican Sovereignty setting is that characters can form covenants with any god to gain access to the deity’s boons. Clerics begin covenanted, but other characters may opt to form a covenant during play (though no more than one), if they have an exceptional Devotion* (3 or higher). Each god has a specific set of aspect-relevant boons.

Here is a list of boons from Ares, war god.

  • Recruit: weapon becomes hovering minion (L1, A1**) until end of combat.
  • Withstand: cancel up to 1d6 incoming damage (reaction)
  • Smite: add 1d6 damage to successful blow
  • Fortify: a failed morale check becomes a success
  • Persevere: slain combatant fights for one extra round***
  • Arm: conjure a mundane weapon (persists until next resource result)
  • Ignite: wreath weapon with magic fire (persists until end of combat)
  • Encourage: allies inflict +1 damage this round due to war drums

Given the multitude of deities, it would be impractical to create boon lists for every potential god. However, they can easily be created as needed using the existing King of Life boons as guidelines.

* Devotion is one of the six abilities in Hexagram and is kinda sorta like charisma.

** L1, A1 means level 1, armor 1. Traditional equivalent stats are roughly HD 1, AC as light armor.

*** For best effect, the boon caller should shout Fight On!

Daniel Sharman as Ares in Immortals (2011)

Daniel Sharman as Ares in Immortals (2011)

Defeating gods

Following the Great Conjunction, deities can be confronted and defeated in material combat as any other creature. Though embodied gods are extraordinarily powerful, they are also conceptually myopic, limited in their thought to ideas and plans consistent with their aspect, and often arrogant. They have the ability to, through covenants, grant boons to devotees and so are often served by fanatics. Bound gods retain their ability to grant power via covenants. Most clerics of bound gods seek primarily to free their patron.

When a god is defeated (reduced to zero hit points), the victor may either destroy the god and diminish the associated reality principle, collect the remnants as a deindividuated talisman that can be incorporated by another deity, or bind the god to service (though this requires magics known primarily by the Copernican Magisters). Bound gods can then be used to power Copernican devices or spells. However, bound gods remain sentient and wrathful, and until destroyed continue to be connected to any covenanted clerics (considered power thieves by Copernican law).

Given that no god is now safe from direct assault, many deities also scheme against each other, seeking to become sole claimants to ideal offices. In this way, for example, Zeus may seek to defeat and incorporate reality principles currently presided over by Thor, since they both claim the endless principle of Thunder. Gods of opposed concepts, such as darkness and light, also are often at odds.

The Great Conjunction and Copernican Sovereignty

In the old books of magic, learning was esoteric. Magicians immersed themselves in study and long practice. Through gradual enlightenment, a magician was able to work their will upon reality, sometimes unearthing lost secrets, sometimes creating new formulas. Those who wanted an easier way, the oath-breakers, bargained away their humanity or the souls of others and welcomed other powers into the world. Wiser (or perhaps more cautious) thaumaturges petitioned divinity for a sliver of power in return for furthering an aspect’s ideal. The many principles of creation thus ebbed and flowed with the strength of mortal devotion.

Then, during the Grand Conjunction, the First Copernican Magister called forth in service all the spirits of hell and heaven at the top of a great great tower constructed as key to the divine mystery. On that day, many suns rose. The night following lasted for a week and skies hosted strange bodies. The Magister opened a spiritual door through which to welcome a divine legion. However, the Magister’s calculations were incomplete or the beings invoked were beyond mortal comprehension. Whatever entered the world that night consumed the Magister. Shadowy giants stepped from this door at the top of Conjunction Tower and were seen walking across the mountainous skyline. The great door remains open.

Magicians and their coteries were not the only ones affected by the Grand Conjunction. In one place, a wolf shaman may have called upon the strength of her patron spirit and rather than the expected rush of hunger and rage, found herself staring eye to eye with the god itself. The aspects of divinity, once abstract and distant, now are clothed in newly wrought flesh, still wracked with birthing pain and half blind in the weak light of constrained ontology. Their new home is strange and confusing, but they remain comparatively the greatest beings across the folds of time and space. The gods are like children walking in a garden of insects, crushing mortals mistakenly or maliciously, cultivating them like prismatic butterflies, surprised at the pain when sometimes stung or bitten.

After the loss of the First Magister, his students scattered from the tower across the land. Some are now mad. Others drive before them chained gods and angels. Many found their way to the old kingdoms of the listless lowlands. With their god powers they defeated the old authorities, and founded the new Copernican Sovereignty.

The Copernican Sovereignty is governed by a class, the Elect, that attempts to subdue and exploit this newly conjoined reality. Elect Citizenship requires demonstration of chained divinity. The ruling families and guilds of the Copernican Sovereignty hand down the god-binding and divinity extraction secrets. The Sovereignty is a loose confederation, led by the Copernicus Prime, a general with ultimate authority but limited to a single five year term. The Prime has no power over law. This power is reserved to representative gatherings of the Elect. While the Sovereignty is not explicitly expansionistic, in practice its influence has slowly spread beyond the lowlands despite the dangers of rogue gods escaping captivity and laying waste to mortal towns before fleeing into reality warped refuges based on their ideal, but now embodied, aspects.

Dark Lords of Necropraxia

I don’t even know what this is, but certainly it is something.

darkseid 789121-byrne_darkseid_d___k copyThe overworld of Necropraxia consists of the moon, ruled by Darkseid, and an orbital weapons platform directed by Lord Vader. Both lords occasionally intervene on the surface, but generally prefer to work behind the scenes and rarely deploy their forces directly, beyond the occasional bombardment from outer space. Darkseid is slowly expanding his mining operations over the entire surface of the moon, and has constructed many transportation gates to the surface to facilitate his eventual invasion. He abandons his lunar complexes regularly, however, which are quickly taken over by other, often nameless, things.

Star Wars AnniversaryAfter a freak accident in a research and development project, Vader and his starship were transported into orbit over Necropraxia. Lord Vader surveys the lands below from an orbital platform while he builds an artificial moon battle station and second moon, the Death Sun, which is designed to use newly discovered Necropraxian technology to channel energy directly from the sun. The chief scientists in his entourage believe that given control of the arcane resources on the planet below, a gate could be opened back to Vader’s original universe. The only problem with this plan is that those resources are currently under the control of other dark lords.

dracula Christopher Lee-DRACULA,PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966) tumblr_mzex947QRr1spnykgo1_1280 copyThe surface of Necropraxia is the location of most active conflict, with the various dark lords in constantly shifting alliances. The seeming center of the world is mythistorical Transylvania, the domain of Count Dracula, which transects space and time, and is riddled with portals and doors to other places. Though Dracula’s military forces may seem limited compared to many other lords, the rocky landscapes and deep defiles of Transylvania are easy to defend, and the count is one of the least expansionist of the great dark powers, content to lurk within his realm, making temporary alliances only as needed.

hero-envy-doctordoom04The land of Latveria is ruled by Victor von Doom. One day, soon now, when his dark schemes come to fruition, he will march across the lands Necropraxia and all will bow before his rightful rulership. That is, if all those pesky adventurers stop getting in the way.

skeletor blog_skeletor_has_the_powerSkeletor, during one of his many attempts to seize the power of Castle Greyskull, disturbed some fundamental cosmic constraint and was flung, along with the castle, to Necropraxia. He has carved out the domain Terminia around Castle Greyskull, which he still has been unable to conquer. He seeks adventurers to venture into the depths of the castle and disable its defensive systems and guardians so that he may take full control of its power. He cares not about any treasure or minor technological weaponry recovered in the process. Rumor has it that the true power of the fortress can only be mastered by the possessor of the great power sword, which was split into two halves and lost. When the time is right, and Skeletor feels he has accumulated enough power, he plans to open a gate to Horde Prime and force all the other dark lords to bow to his inevitable supremacy (backed, of course, by interdimensional vampiric might of Hordak).

Magneto_Ascendant_Vol_1_1 copyIn New Utopia, Magneto’s realm, the vast majority the human population live as slaves to serve the superhuman mutant upper class. Actually, there are few mutants in Necropraxia, so Magneto has had to settle mostly for wizards, because at least they have some apparent powers, and thus a claim to superiority over mundane humanity. The psionically gifted are particularly welcome in New Utopia, and magneto regularly sends out undercover missions searching for worthy citizens.

bryagh Flight_of_Dragons_BryaghThe last of the surface realms is barely a realm at all, but instead a great smoking wasteland, presided over by the chaotic preeminence of the dragon Bryagh. His ruined lands were once rolling hills, but are now blasted with craters from his rage. The few civilized enclaves are tightly walled, and armed with great surface to air siege weapons. Despite the danger from dragon attacks (Bryagh has a preternatural nose for treasure, and will attack caravans and adventurers whenever possible to augment his glittering hoard), there is a strange attraction to living in this land of peril, it being one of the few states not ruled by the iron fist of a dark lord.

Lucifer_Liege_Luc_Viatour copyThe underworld is divided between Lucifer and Hades. Both claim dominion over the afterlife. Cast down from Heaven for hubris, the fallen angel Lucifer, the Morningstar, found himself in the depths of Necropraxia, a land already claimed by the older god Hades. Lucifer quickly rallied other fallen angels, demons, and those bored by Hades’ unchanging court to wage war for control of everything below the surface.

sean-opry-0004 copyThough Hades was taken by surprise by this radiant upstart, the Plutonian forces rallied, and a stalemate currently reigns, with a vast no-man’s land separating the domains of two underworld powers. Hades has the advantage in power, but the ambition of Lucifer is without limit, and he dreams of uniting all the dark lords (or at least their armies if the lords won’t submit), and leading the combined forces of Necropraxia in a siege on Heaven to redeem his wounded pride.

While discovering Necropraxia, I noticed the slightly disquiting fact that there were absolutely no women dark lords. Though there is no arguing gender politics with my twelve year old self, as partial recompense here is a list of some badass evil overlords who are also women.

  • Kitiara the Dragon Highlord
  • The wicked queen from Snow White
  • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
  • The Wicked Witch of the West
  • Soulcatcher and The Lady from The Black Company
  • The White Witch of Narnia
  • Morgan le Fay
  • Kushana from Nausicaa
  • Queen Bavmorda from Willow
  • The Queen of Hearts from Wonderland

Thanks to folks from G+ for helping me augment this list a while back, and also for suggesting a few of the pictures above.