Friday, October 11, 2019

The Beyond - A Modern Dimension of Supernatural Horror & Depravity For Your Old School Campaigns

I've been wrestling with my a Godbound/Cha'alt campaign set in Las Vegas especially how the undead lords & the underworld are gonna fit in into a modern occult setting. Funny thing is I've already done all of the heavy lifting with the public domain setting of the Beyond ages ago.
There are weird and modern realms of supernatural horror where Dark Forces can snare the living and adventurers might be forced to deal with the horrors and demonic fury of 'The Beyond'.

Bordering the realms of the Afterlife & the living is 'The Beyond' a place of supernatural horror where the forces of the Undeath and the Demonic draw the living into the cross hairs of this realm. 'The Beyond' can cross dimensions and can draw the living into its clutches. The ancient texts of wisdom define the Beyond thus: 
The Beyond was a mysterious plane of existence which occasionally encroached on the physical world. A shadowy limbo vaguely akin to the Afterlife, it served as the source of the many supernatural menaces which threatened the "Realm of the Living." In a number of cases, it was a gray, lifeless purgatory inhabited by rotting corpses; in others, a place of perpetual torment akin to hell (although rarely defined as such).
The Beyond was depicted as the abode of all of humanity's worst fears; vampires, ghosts and demons existed alongside ghouls, witches and harpies. All seemed generally hostile towards mankind, some periodically crossed over to prey on selected victims or to seek vengeance on former tormentors. The traffic appeared to flow in both directions; mortals could inadvertently find themselves trapped in the Beyond before the end of their natural lives.
The demonic forces of the Abyss & Hell are often recruited by the powers of the 'Beyond' in their machinations and efforts.  The forces of the Beyond often have cults and other organizations of occultists who are in the service of this realm.
The Beyond is a realm that can show up in any number of worlds from alternative Earths to post apocalyptic wastelands. The 'Beyond' is far more influenced by modern technologies and societies boasting demons and undead monsters who both familiar with these modern amenities and capable of using them. 
The Beyond is a supernatural limbo where the souls of the damned and dying are often sent to their final rewards but not before being tortured and demeaned by the  demonic forces that reside there. Often adventurers and outlaws journey to the beyond in efforts to bargain with these demonic monsters often for theses souls in an effort for occult rites of resurrection and a return to the world of the 'Living'. There are forces of ancient order and hellish law that keep such events from taking place. 
The forces of the Beyond have a number of locations within its confines that allow it to interact and yet remain unseen by the average man. These locations include the following : 
 Castle Valord  - A legendary ruin and  megadungeon of epic proportions that is under the dominion of the demonic ruler Countess Siroon who rules a small and ancient European kingdom that calls to adventurers and promises adventure. 
 Thirteen Long Road - The departure point for the haunted Last Express train that roars to life traveling between the worlds of the Living and the realms of the dead, this demonic express train is often caught by adventurers to enter the Beyond and some times the Abyss. Those who find this platform to haunted adventure rarely return to the worlds of the Living. The Last Express is often used as means of traveling from one world to another but because of the proto demonic staff of the train this into itself can be a dangerous and weird experience of a most harrowing nature. 
The Salem Bookstore - This legendary place is an exchange of powerful occult and forbidden knowledge where wizards and witches go trade swap and gain extreme insights into the nature of the worlds of Dark Forces. It is also under the control of the The_Shop_Keeper. To most it appears to be a burnt out vacant lot but to those with the 'sight' and the gift of occult observation it is a business of power and wisdom that calls to those of mystical power. The place moves across the planes and dimensions. 
City of the Fearful Night- This gray and strange urban location often lays itself over an existing city like a shroud, populated by the recently dead this place often acts as an intersection between the world of the living and the limbo of undead. Various demons and hellish forces lurk in the background read to snare the Living and drag them into the clutches of the Beyond. Many occult treasures are sometimes found here tempting and drawing in adventurers. 
The World of the Dead - This is one of the inner rings of the Beyond and the domain of the ghostly souls of the damned; this a grey depressing world within the dominion of the Courts of the Damned who lay claim to those who come under the call of the laws of the afterlife. Those who try to defy these esoteric and strange laws often find themselves at the mercy of these weird and powerful undead lich gods. Powerful undead bailiffs and bounty hunters often work for the The Judges of the Dead enforcing their wills and judges. 

Hell Level - The ultimate circle of torment for the Beyond this realm is under the dominion of  demonic powers of the Beyond.  Known as the 'World of the Evil Ones , this supernatural wilderness and wasteland has portals that lead to both the proper Hell and Abyss. And it is the zone of rulership for the gods of The Beyond.  This region is a place of perpetual torment for any mortal unfortunate cross its boundaries, regardless of their innocence or guilt. Hell appears to have a number of 'masters', including Mephisto Satan,Countess Siroon and The Shop Keeper. The ultimate power in this region appears to be Dr. Death, to whom all others must defer - even it seems, the devil himself.

The Beyond  is a dimension of horror, depravity, and functions as a sort of limbo dimension that menaces the world of the world of the Living. The ancient texts describe it thus : The Beyond was a mysterious plane of existence which occasionally encroached on the physical world. A shadowy limbo vaguely akin to the Afterlife, it served as the source of the many supernatural menaces which threatened the "Realm of the Living." In a number of cases, it was a grey, lifeless purgatory inhabited by rotting corpses; in others, a place of perpetual torment akin to hell (although it was never specifically defined as such).
But even the Beyond while a hellish realm of horror and depravity has its demonic god like rulers. Beings of power who can bring incredible supernatural power to bare on those of the world of the 'living'.

Doctor Death Living Embodiment of 'The Beyond'
 A the top of the pyramid of horror and undeath is Dr. Death himself, an incarnation and avatar of death and unlife. This being is both the embodiment of the concept of Death and its incarnation made unliving flesh. As the instrument of Death itself he has sovereign power over witches, demons, vampires and various other supernatural beings, which are charged to do his bidding. Dr. Death has the ability to assume the form of a human being and even in his human guise retains a good deal of his god like magical abilities and is a able to cow even pit fiends and arch devils  into submission. It is said that "Mephisto Satan") is described as his lieutenant. There is a rivalry between Doctor Death and the demon lord Orcus which has existed for thousands of years. Doctor Death travels between the world of the living and the dead with easy and influences the living in subtle and very dangerous ways. 

Cults : A number of modern Lovecraftian ghoul families, necromantic cults, wasteland wizards, and many other black magicians worship this being. Those in service to the Beyond chose from the Grey and Black schools of magic from the Fantastic Heroes and Witchery rule book. 
Areas of influence include: Death, Undeath, Demons, and all aspects of the Beyond plane of existence.
Once per day Doctor Death may a horde of 1d100 undead and damned souls from the Beyond. 
The Mummy
The mummy is thousands of  years old and while a contemporary of Dr. Death retains his independence and dececdantly dangerous sardonic wit. This being is a mummy and lich far out of his time. He is a minor power in the Beyond but is a very active. The mummy has the abilities of a tenth  level occultist and is able to call upon any spell of the black school of magic with easy. Anyone trying to engage the Mummy in hand to hand combat is likely to catch mummy rot with a 60% chance of contracting the disease for every round spent in hand to hand combat with this fiend. Once per hour the mummy can raise dead as soulless zombie warriors
. The mummy may grant 1d4 spells from the Black school of magic to a worthy agent of the Beyond.

Countess Siroon

The demi goddess of decadence and depravity, this demonic princess is the custodian of the megadungeon Castle Valord, she was guardian of the doorway to The Beyond and one of Dr. Death's many supernatural vassals. To the casual observer she appeared as an educated and strikingly beautiful woman, but beneath her enchanting facade lies the soul (and appetite) of a bloodthirsty demon. Feared as a vampire by the local population, she frequently lured young men to their doom, torturing her victims for days on end before finally draining their life-forces. She is one of her master's most trusted vassals and rules the Beyond in his absence. Countess Siroon has all of the powers of a succubus and is able to grant vast supernatural knowledge to those who sign a pact with her. She uses a rite of rejuvenation using the blood of the living to allow her agents to regain 1d20 years once they have murdered someone with blood ties to pact signer. The victim must retain close ties with the pact signer. The Princess is one of the Doctors agents who moves freely between our space time continuum and the Beyond. Once per day she is able to gate in 1d6 warrior demons. At the lowest levels of Castle Valord is a gateway between our world and the Beyond. 
The Judges of the Dead

The Judges of the Dead are the spectral and highly dangerous lich kings of an ancient and forgotten set of judges who enforce the ancient and highly esoteric laws of the Beyond and the Dead. They have all manner of agents working among the worlds of the living to ensure that the trust between the dead, the nearly dead, and the undead are not violated. They have a number of supernatural bailiffs and bounty hunters who carry out the will of their court. Not mention the fact that the Judges of the Dead, also retains the status of all souls within their purview for resurrection this includes PC's souls. The Judge's are all knowing as well and are able to see into the past and future. They will advise on all matters of the dead and living. Their agents are granted spells that carry out the will of the court in the world of the living. They may give an agent 1d6 spells and will keep close magical tabs on their agents. 

The Serpent Queen 

This vile villain of the highest order is a fallen goddess of the ancient Atlantis pantheon whose manipulations ensure the agendas of the Beyond in the world of the living continue. She has more then a mere shadow in the real world but is a demonic entity ruling a hidden kingdom within the cliffs of Mount Cudado.

She is a foul demonic princess and under her alluring disguise is a dangerous demonic hell spawned demon. Those who sub comb to her charms are found dead a few days later and from within her hidden kingdom she guards a very dangerous portal into the Beyond. She has influence over the worlds of the living and dead while offering bits and pieces of forbidden or demonic lore. She will grant 1d4 spells per day to her pact signers. Any minor undead will bow and scrap at her appearance and she is a goddess of many minor necrotic cults. 

The Shop Keeper
The patron of wizards, occultists, and other black magicians of all stripes. The shop keeper runs a chain of occult book shops and resource centers throughout the world. The shop keeper appears to be a man in his early sixties but is actually thousands of years old. He will always grant a wizard the proper book of forbidden or supernatural knowledge and is one of the most active of all of the Beyond demonic entities. He will appear to those who seek out his shop in his seemingly human guise and have a wide variety of occult artifacts or spell books of forbidden Lovevcraftian knowledge. The Shop keeper guards one of the many central gates to the 'Hell Level' of the Beyond. And is one most trusted of the demonic powers of the Beyond.
He is served by an army of faceless demonic doppelgangers whom he can gate in 1d6 every three hours. For his agents he will grant 1d8 1st and 2nd level spells. All minor demonic or undead monsters will submit to the Shop keeper and those who interferes with this entity will die within 1d4 days of an encounter with this fiend.He will always have 1d6 scrolls, minor magic items or spell books.

These entities are only the tip of the iceberg of the Beyond . These entities have all of the minor powers and immunities of demons from the Monster Manual 1st edition. In addition these minor demonic divinities have been known to actively have roles within the various alternative Earths especially where post apocalyptic wastelands occur. The souls of the dead and undead are especially prized by these entities and various forbidden or dangerous cults have truck with these beings. 

These entities are all public domain and appeared in the golden age of comics book 'This Magazine is Haunted' and are going straight into my campaign. 

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