ethereal plane

A Guide to The Adventure Zone metaplot

So recently, I re-listened to the entirety of TAZ in prep for the ending and took notes; as we head into the finale next week, I wanted to share them! This is a comprehensive look at every plot thread, bit of foreshadowing, and yet-unresolved ideas as we head into endgame. This involves heavy spoilers through the most recent episode (66) and assumes you have already listened or read the content before.

The full is under the cut!

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Making Dragons Deadlier...

D&D Stands For One Thing - Dungeons & Dragons!

And what’s the second part of that name?

DRAGONS!

One of the most famous, if not the famous, creatures in all of D&D History.

And so for the Reptile-Lovers and Exceptionally Cruel Dungeon Masters who just happen to have a few dozen Dragons in their Settings and Campaigns, here’s a selection of Traits and Weaponry to armor-up those special little guys and girls and turn them into the world-destroying weapons of D&D, that we all know and love…

Note: Here is 80+ Traits, Actions, Reactions, Attacks and Much More for all your Dragon-Making Needs…

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How to make a Servitor.

Servitors are artificial spirits that are made by the practitioner, and are used to complete tasks, or goals set by the petitioner to help him or her in their life, or magical practice. Before you jump right into creating a servitor there are things you must plan out beforehand. It’s a lot like building a blueprint. You don’t just start making the house before you have a blueprint. Here are the things you’re going to need to think about  before building your very own servitor:

1) Purpose

Everything needs a purpose, and it’s your job to pick your purpose for your servitor. A purpose can be anything. You could want your servitor to protect you, or your family. You could want your servitor to help you pass a test. You could have your servitor torture people in their dreams… You know whatever you want. It is important to give your servitor a purpose, because it is dangerous to make a servitor without a purpose. If your servitor does not have a purpose it may go rogue, and we may have a situation like that Jewish story of  "The Golem of Prague", who goes on a murderous rampage. Once you have your purpose feel free to move on to the next step.

2)Spiritual appearance

Now you must create an appearance for your servitor that it will take on the astral, and etheric planes of existence. It is important to keep in mind when making your servitor’s spiritual appearance that the spiritual appearance should reflect the task that they were assigned to complete. If the servitor is for better communication with your peers, then it’s spiritual appearance shouldn’t be a Azathoth looking creature, but maybe perhaps some type of human or anthropomorphic entity. Besides that the you can create any type of spiritual appearance you would like. Male, female, tall, short it’s up to you. You can even say “f*** it, and I’m making this one a shapeshifter”. So have some fun, and do whatever you would like. You also might want to draw a picture, or get some representation of their form once you decide upon it for later steps in the servitor creation process.

3)Personality

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, and again you can pretty much pick whatever you would like. All we’re going to do is think of some personality traits that you would like your servitor to have, like charming, intelligent, funny, friendly, loyal, etc…  So this one is pretty easy, and now that I think about it I have no idea what happens if you don’t give them a personality. I guess they turn into Kristen Stewart, or something. Anyway pick out your personality traits that you like, and move on to the next step.

4)Feeding

You like to eat, so do servitors. Feeding a servitor is a lot like charging a Sigil. and you can use all the same methods in order to feed a servitor in the same way you use to charge a sigil. You can also set up some methods of feeding for the servitor that the servitor can do on their own behalf. You could tell your servitor to feed on something like sunlight, or crystals that you have lying around. Not setting up feeding methods, or not feeding your servitor will result in it going rogue, or it finding its own food sources which may not always be more preferable.

5)Lifespan

There are some people that say the servitors lifespan should not be very long, but in my experience this has not been a problem. In my experience servitors only act up once they do not have a purpose anymore, or if acting up is programmed into their nature, or if they are not being fed. Life span is very based on purpose. If you want your servitor to help you pass a test, then its lifespan should only be until after the test then it will return back to the energy of source. If you wanted your servitor to protect your property then you would need a lifespan that you can end at any time. So then you would need a phrase, or ritual to end its life when the time comes. This phrase, or ritual would not have to be elaborate. It’s never happened to me before, but being on a system like that one could in theory make the servitor want to have self preservation. You would be the only thing that could kill it. So if they took you out then they could go on living. I don’t know if it happens, or not, but that’s just a theory. A Servitor Theory! Thanks for watching…. <– (Tell me if you get that joke.) I always tell my servitor if they try to harm me or anyone I care about they will be terminated immediately. That’s a good enough safety net I guess let’s move on to the next step.

6)The Housing

Now we need housing to ground the servitor to the physical plane. Housing can be things like a rock, a staff, a doll, something you made out of clay, etc… Servitors by nature do not need housing, but it is better to have a physical representation of them for control, and feeding purposes. Housing can be anything, but I would stay away from certain metals because energy does not flow as good through them as it does other materials. It is also better to have a housing made, or created by you, and your hands. Once you find what housing you would like to use you are ready to go onto the next step.

7)Naming

This one is super simple all you have to do is pick a name for your servitor. Literally can be anything Meaningful, or otherwise. All you have to choose a name, and then you can move on to the next step.

8)Making a Sigil

Now you should make a sigil out of the name of your servitor, or out of the purpose of your servitor. You will use this sigil as a true representation of your servitor. If you do not know how to make a sigil you can always Google it, or you should be able to find it by searching back through my posts.

Once you have your sigil you can draw it, or carve it into your housing for your servitor. This would be recommended, but if you do not want to mark the sigil on the housing you can always put the sigil on a piece of paper, and put it underneath your housing during the “Bringing the servitor to life” step.

9) Bringing the servitor to life

Now we just bring together all the materials that we have gathered thus far into a ritual. First thing you’ll want to do is cleanse the area. This can be done through any cleansing method such as the Lesser banishing ritual, smudging, or clap cleansing. Next you’re going to want to cast a circle or use some other form of protection technique. Then you’re going to want to start charging your housing, and your sigil through any form of charging method. Now you’re going to want to enter a Gnostic state of consciousness where you can strongly in vision the energy that you are manipulating. Close your eyes, and in your mind’s eye begin to mold the energy into the spiritual appearance of your servitor. Strongly visualize every little detail of your servitor’s being. Then breathe life into your servitor by just intending for the energy to be alive and to be conscious. Once you have molded your energy into the spiritual appearance of your servitor, then in your head, or out loud call to the servitor. Tell the servitor it’s name, it’s purpose, it’s personality, it’s feeding methods, and it’s lifespan. More focus, and intention you use to create the servitor more put together the servitor will be. Now your servitor is done, and it is alive. Undo your circle, and before you send out your servitor for the task you want them to complete I usually wait one day, and feed my servitor a couple times. I find when I first create a servitor it is incredibly weak so I gave it one day to become a little bit stronger before it starts its task.

adventure zone boys as instances of "boy" said in monster factory
  • a true rowdy boy: magnus
  • justin's special boy: taako
  • a fun-havin’ fun-lookin’ dirty boy: merle
  • a big ol' boy: klarg
  • a perfect boy: angus
  • a space-faring kissboy: kravitz
  • garbage boy: lucas
  • beautiful boy: garyl
  • sweet boy: avi
  • cream-faced business boy: garfield the deals warlock
  • softboy: graham/percy the juicy wizard
  • kind of a greasy boy: robbie pringles
  • the boy family: boyland
  • a regular boy: barry bluejeans
  • a nervous little punk boy: kurtz
  • nasty crime boy: magic brian/jenkins/all the hammerheads
  • a couple of genuine wrestleboys: jeff angel and deathman
  • a field with 30 ghostboys: those creatures taako sees in
  • the ethereal plane when he blinks

We are playing a homebrew game and the party has just entered a pizza dungeon. They are in a fight with Pizza Piranhas.

DM: This fish in the corner is just gonna stand there to block the door.

7(our Xenomorph): Stand?

DM: *sighs* Yes. It grows legs.

Valley(our Mewman): They’re evolving!

Every turn afterwards that fish would ‘evolve’. A few turns later:

DM: You punch that fish and it dies. Now the final fish goes. It evolves into a state of sentience that allows it to exceed to the ethereal plane. Combat is over.

Cole(our Alloi): Guess that’s one way to do it.

A non-exhaustive list of the antics the crew got up to at IPRE boot camp, because really, there’s no way these hooligans acted like actual professionals the whole time. 

  • The illicit kitchen Taako and Lup set up underneath a desk and stocked with transmuted ingredients, because they refused to accept the Institute’s food. They had a little camp stove, some knives and a lot of magic and more or less fed themselves for a year with it. Everyone else opted for the more conventional route and just snuck in tons of snack food. 
  • Given that the pool of candidates was probably pretty broad there was a lot of diversity in age and species. You had all sorts of adventurers, arcanists, mercenaries, scientists. Lots of types of folks, who all cliqued up pretty fast. And since the group was constantly being whittled down, those lines kept shifting. It was hard to keep up with. Most of the people who ended up on the Institute’s short list in fact distinguished themselves by ignoring all of this. World famous botanist? Distinguished adventurer? Magnus hugs all equally.
  • One of the Key Bonding Moments of Magnus and Taako and Lup’s friendship was pretty early on when they were hanging out and got distracted by how big Magnus’ hands were compared to the twins. Lup and Taako thought it was ridiculous and proceeded to drag him around IPRE bootcamp comparing him to various other people’s hands. When they found the tiniest person on campus (a very small gnome woman) and got her to hold her palm up against Magnus’ they nearly cried.
  • Merle got a religious exemption for everything. A few months in it became a game of what he could argue to Institute staff about. Some of it was well justified. Pan was well known for approving of revels, the religious exemption to have Cocktail Hour was probably legit. Nude yoga was just him messing with people though. 
  • Lucretia loved the chance to get stories from so many people. After her initial shyness, she more or less pinned every person in the Institute down and asked them about their life before the mission. She ended up soliciting more cool stories than anyone had realized lurked among their midst. Her lunch table was very popular because that was where you went to hear seasoned adventurers talking about their exploits. 
  • You know those ridiculously intricate pranks engineering students pull to put cars on top of major campus monuments and stuff? Now imagine that times ten because magic. The twins and Magnus were terrible about this, but Barry enabled them and provided scientific assistance, and they had lots of help from other sources within the Institute. Once they transported an entire building to the ethereal plane for a whole morning. 
The Etheric  Plane Of Existence

The etheric plane is a plane of existence that rests in between the physical plane, and the astral plane. This plane is the world between worlds, and is also sometimes called the in between. This is the first non physical plane of existence, and is also the only other plane of existence that is not on the other side of the veil, which makes it very easy to enter, and to work with. By understanding this plane of existence you can understand a lot more about the planes of existences in general, and how the universe is connected between these different states of vibrational frequencies.

The etheric plane is a plane of existence that you don’t hear too much about. A lot of the time this plane of existence is greatly associated with the physical plane, and is usually regarded as the highest vibrational frequency of that plane of existence, so much so that it is usually not separated out when talking about planes of existences. Most of everything that exists in the etheric plane of existence is grounded to something in the physical, making it the closest place for spiritual entities to interact with the physical plane. Spiritual entities who have not passed through the veil also reside in this plane of existence, and will usually be grounded to something in order to stay. This Plane of existence is said to be where ghost reside until they cross over. These entities will usually attach themselves to something in order to remain in the etheric plane of existence. This Plane of existence is also said to be where a lot of elementals are. It is said that they can reside there, because they can attach themselves to the element in which they come from.

This Plane of existence is still very dense, and vibrates at a lower frequency compared to the astral plane. The consciousness is said to travel here in the etheric body in order to rest, and rejuvenate, while the body is sleeping. It is the place where we are said to go when we dream, or enter a very deep meditational state. The etheric plane is in the third dimension, though time, and space are a little bit different on the etheric plane, but are not quite four dimensional like the astral plane. The etheric is also a space in which you can grow, and learn, and test out things as if it were a dream. This Plane of existence is also where  the spiritual energy of physical things resides, and culminates through all things. this close proximity spiritual energy is the subtle energy that interacts with the physical world in order for magick to take shape, and to manifest desires, and will.

Monster Mondays 10: The Ghost

When to introduce a Ghost into your campaign.

Simply put, a Ghost is perfect for a party at any collective level because they are better suited for role-play encounters, with the possibility for a combat in your side pocket. While you don’t need to fully understand all the intricacies of death in your home-brew world before starting a campaign, you may want to put some thought into what happens when people die. 

The DMN says that souls travel to the deity of their alignment in life after death, and that the Ethereal Plane is a transitive world spirits (and eventually the PCs) can travel through. With this in mind, bring a Ghost into your game when you’d like to introduce other planes of existence in a safe way, before your players are really able to travel through them. Set up that player knowledge by showing what this monster can do.

 If you’d like your world to feel bigger, introduce a Ghost: an undead who is denied their afterlife and remain here with us. Their existence implies there is something greater, and that a peaceful end isn’t guaranteed. 

How to introduce a Ghost into your campaign.

Ghosts, in popular culture and folklore, either haunt a particular location or person, and they are either aware of their denial of an afterlife or are oblivious of their situation entirely. In my campaign, Ghosts obsess over one emotion: either grief, anger, or fear. These were their last moments in life, and it guides my role-play lines with the players. 

I also make it a rule that all ghosts are ‘locked in time’ and so they refuse or cannot understand events that took place after their death. Through dialogue, Ghosts can drop hints about plot points from the perspective of someone from long ago, a perfect interview subject. 

If you’d like to use Ghosts in combat, I typically warn the players of their Horrifying Visage ability through storytelling. Leave clues or have the Ghost warn them not to insult them further, etc. before firing off a spell that could potentially kill Human characters. Remember that there are other Ghost-like undead that can probably put up a better fight, so lean on Ghosts for good role-play moments during combat instead of daring feats… although any Possession-like ability is frightening to anybody. 

For the person who asked about the corresponding gemstones/planes, Griffin answered this on facebook a while back!

External image

Text version:

Prime Material Plane - Alexandrite
Elemental Plane of Fire - Ruby
Elemental Plane of Water - Aquamarine
Elemental Plane of Air - Citrine
Elemental Plane of Earth - Topaz
Plane of Shadow - Onyx
Plane of Light - Pearl

Plane of Magic - Amethyst
Plane of Thought - Emerald
Celestial Plane - Diamond
Astral Plane - Sapphire

Ethereal Plane - Quartz

The Hunger - Opal


Thank you! 

Through some mystical or occultist event, I successfully transcend my physical form and enter a higher plane of existence. In this enlightened state, I am able to reach the Etheric Plane and gain access to the Akashic Records. I gaze upon its sheer vastness; a compendium of all human events, thoughts, words, emotions and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present or future. My spirit wanders the immense halls for a timeless interval before encountering a being composed of pure light. It communicates to me, “Of which information does a mortal inquire?” I telepathically envision what I am searching for, and we are instantly transported to a specific location deep within the endless cosmic archive. “Behold…” the creature hums eternally, “the greatest artistic achievement mankind has ever known… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4bgI9tv9nw.