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Mirrors of the Abyss

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IN VULGAREA YOU TRUST:

Official Coin of Vulgarea

"For untold eons, Eshebala ruled over Vulgarea, the 193rd Layer of the Abyss...content to revel in hedonism, corrupt the hearts of her dwindling followers and inflict petty cruelty. Yet, if there are days in the Abyss, there came one when she realized she despised her own province. She hated demonkind. She hated the Abyss. It had become unbearably tedious, spent...done. The burgeoning goddess decided she would dip her toe back into the lives of mortals, and quest to remember...to understand her own existence...But that was a lofty goal for a mind that had long ago begun to unravel. Instead...She is learning that all she has left is cruelty...and it was always cruelty that gave her power, so she now believes, to the woe of any who cross her path."

Partly inspired by a scant notation by Carl Sargeant in 1992's TSR book Monster Mythology:

"Eshebala is the foxwoman deity of vanity, charm, greed, and cunning. Her symbol is a female fox. Eshebala appears as a foxwoman, a shapely fur-covered female with a fox’s head, or as a beautiful young elf maiden. She is bedecked in rich clothing and jewels, and carries a silver mirror. Eshebala’s realm of Vulgarea can be found on the 193rd layer of the Abyss. She is wily and vain. She favors beautiful things and collects jewelry and art, the tackier and flashier the better. She prefers to overcome her opponents using subtlety rather than force, seducing and devouring out of boredom. She loves gossip, and always insists on being the center of attention. Eshebala is a patron of evil shapeshifters who use their wits and wiles before resorting to violence."

Eshebala is a true chaotic evil demon goddess, behaving 100% true to form, and an extremely challenging opponent to take down for your players.

An unforgettable 262 page jaunt for Levels: 15-17, with multiple possible modes of play, including Party Mode for up to 12 players.

Profusely and paintstakingly illustrated over the course of several years by an award-winning professional illustrator. No stock illustration in this beast!

  • A loving, dark & insanely detailed exploration of the 193rd Abyssal Plane
  • An exuberant nod to the most grueling, deadly dungeons ever created
  • Rich encounters that play out in a unique way each time
  • 100 + NEW CREATURES
  • 200 + NEW TREASURES (& possibly the most illustrated treasury ever provided)
  • 82 BOOKS for PCs to discover
  • 70 + NEW SPELLS & RITUALS, INCLUDING DETAILED OPTIONS FOR DEMON SUMMONING
  • 50 + NEW TRAPS, HAZARDS & EFFECTS (guaranteed to run amuck)
  • 4 RANDOM TREASURE TABLES, including a TABLE OF GEMSTONES that would be useful in any campaign
  • 2 NEW CLASS SHIFTS: the Demonologist & the Exorcist!


PREVIEWS:

Eshebala's Hall of Mirrors

Eshebala's Hall of Mirrors ~ 6 doors that would make Acererak blush

The Only Map of Vulgarea

The only known map of Plane 193: Vulgarea

Floating the River of Snakes

They will have to traverse Bitewater River upon floating lily pads or perish!

Eshebala's Courtyard

If Eshebala's neglectful rule isn't enough, Far Realm invaders lay waste to her courtyard

The Room of Falling Leaves

Chambers that are difficult to imagine are mapped or illustrated

The Rusted Guardian

Chambers so full of dark secrets, they play out differently each time!

Necronomicon Ex Vulgareas

A book so evil, it was banned by Eshebala herself! ~ Necronomicon Ex Vulgareas

Exploding Mirror Gremlin

A hero has hurled the Throwing Pentacle and shattered the Mirror Gremlin!

Onoskelis by the Sea

Secret Areas span several pages! Here, they are dared to traverse deadly coastal statues

Vast Treasures

50 pages of new treasures, including legendary items and many with their own secrets!

Vulgarean Propaganda!

Vulgarean propaganda! (A poster that tells the history of Eshebala, with secret magic)

Sea Monks

Here, Sea Monks threaten them with their oceanic lice and a dangerous stolen staff

Spirit Boards

Vulgarean Spirit Boards let you contact the dead in her realm

Exorcist Class Shift

Class Shift from Cleric to Exorcist (an option for Level 15 to the End)

Demonologist Class Shift

Class Shift from Wizard to Demonologist (an option for Level 15 to the End)

Dweomer Curse Magics (a new spell)

New and dangerous dweomer curse magics (new spells) from the Necronomicon

Handouts

Handouts for your players when their luck runs out

Disarming Eshebala

Don't you hate it when a ruling deity isn't statted? No worries here!

 
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (6)
Discussions (16)
Customer avatar
Lucas M May 21, 2019 4:21 am UTC
Hi, I've been looking through the preview. This is a beautifully-made module and I want to show my support for POD. I'm excited to have the option!
Customer avatar
Jacob H May 11, 2019 4:04 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, does this contain high res maps suitable for Roll20 users?
Customer avatar
Ryan D May 14, 2019 8:52 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Jacob,

Thanks for supporting this book. If you also want it in paper, please add a note here requesting it.

Due to severe life interruptions, I have not been able to finish my planned update, but I will definitely have those maps for you soon!

Customer avatar
Adelino B April 26, 2019 5:05 am UTC
Does this include separate map files for Virtual Table Top play?
Customer avatar
Ryan D May 14, 2019 8:51 am UTC
CREATOR
Hello Adelino,

I plan on addressing this in a future update. Unfortunately, time is not on my side right now but you can assume that I'll definitely have those added.
Customer avatar
ROY D April 18, 2019 8:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hello,

Thank you for putting this up. I'm very happy reading it so far. You've mentioned below that you might, maybe, possibly put out the Shadow Over Mt. Tiberius as well. Is there any further thought to this? I'm looking to start a long-ish campaign and would like to know if you have an plans or eta on this? I'm not looking to start my campaign till Oct '19, just curious about future plans. Thank you!!

P.S.
In the book it lists an Etsy page, I searched for said page and Etsy said it didn't exist. Did you decide to not put up 3d printed stuff?
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 19, 2019 3:46 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Roy,

Thank you for your faith in the other 2 pre-existing modules (prequels, I suppose now). Both are about 3/4 complete, but that last 4th is a doozy, as that's the remaining illustrations and editing.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and say that, YES, I might make it with both of them by then. I really, really want to finish them. There is way too much already done to let them go idle again.

My (loose) hope:

The Level 6-9 (gothic horror, set in the lower valley preceding the mountain): Planning to publish here on the Guild by mid-summer!
* This adventure hearkens back to the original Ravenloft, and sources like old black-and-white horror movies of the 50's and 60's (and of course generous heaps of
80's horror!). If you like old movies that united a lot of classic monsters (Dracula/Mummy/Witches/Creature from the Black Lagoon) or newer films like "Cabin in the
Woods," mixed with old mythology, Lovecraft, Stephen...See more
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 19, 2019 4:09 am UTC
CREATOR
Oh, as for the peripheral aids, like printable miniature terrain and such...I am afraid that the license here precludes that?!

I am not sure if I am allowed? Does anyone know for certain?
Customer avatar
ROY D April 19, 2019 11:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
I will eagerly await the release of the other modules. The timing should be near perfect! Thank you!
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 19, 2019 6:22 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks again for the vote of confidence, and I will try my best!
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 13, 2019 8:22 pm UTC
CREATOR
*General Note*

I am having difficulty reaching approval for print. Many of you have kindly written to me in other ways, asking for it. I want it too.

If you are 100% sure you want to own this work in print, please leave a note here to pledge that feeling, and hopefully that could help!

~Thanks in advance~
Customer avatar
Marie F April 20, 2019 3:29 pm UTC
+1 for print, I want to be able to see the artwork on paper. (Am going to hold off on the pdf for now but defintiely planning to use this when my party of players reaches 15!)
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 23, 2019 6:02 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks Marie,

I appreciate it a lot, and I know Christopher Rush (mechanics and co-writing) is proud of this too, and wants paper soooo badly.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H May 15, 2019 10:47 pm UTC
My preference is always print, and I'd love to see this adventure show up in the POD section! :) Good luck, Ryan!
Customer avatar
Ryan D May 15, 2019 10:53 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks, Jeremy,

I keep asking for this option. The book was designed with print in mind.
Customer avatar
Samuel R March 13, 2019 5:06 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I wanted to thank you for putting a lot of effort into this module and I can see you put a lot of love into it. I have enjoyed reading it.

I am going to do a one-shot this weekend using "Ryan's one-nighter mode for maximum fun & interest" with 5 players
I will be using the intro, chamber 00, chamber 04, chamber 19, chamber 20 (with #87) and finishing with the Forgotten Narthex.

I did have some questions:
1. How do you typically handle resting/recovery in the abyss? Do you allow long/short rests and if so, are there consequences?
2. For Room 04, Door 1, do they need to make Int checks each time they try to match the etchings to the names or can they match them without the check?
3. For room 04, once players enter a doorway, can they backtrack, leave that hallway, and try another door?
4. Some damage for enemies say multiple types of damage. For example: 2d10 +4 piercing and slashing damage. Do you roll separately for piercing and slashing damage,...See more
Customer avatar
Ryan D March 13, 2019 8:22 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey,

Thanks for the kind words. I worked very hard on it, indeed. There were many moments when I feared it would never be completed, just like its two predecessor adventures, which I am now revisiting.

Wow! Samael! Good choice for a tough bunch of adventurers. There may be no greater threat nor apocalyptic type demon in the book than Samael. He really brings the doom. It's actually pretty hard for him to call the End Fiend if players are constantly breaking the statue state, but man-oh-man, if he does, they better watch out.

1. (A): Short rests are possible at least at the end of most chambers. There are very few cases for a long rest--truly maybe only one! One would be "Chamber 10: Her Garden of Reflection," where the PCs * might * be able to finagle a long rest, though Eshebala gets pretty mad if they do (which players will find funny!).

2. (A): You have good DM instincts! Yes, for that door, I truly wanted it solved in almost a roleplay mode without...See more
Customer avatar
Samuel R March 13, 2019 9:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Wow! Such a quick and detailed response! Thanks for the clarifications and answers. I look forward to running it!
Customer avatar
Ryan D March 13, 2019 9:34 pm UTC
CREATOR
No problem!

I just want people to have a fun, creative session with this.

Post me some highlights.
Customer avatar
Ryan D March 13, 2019 9:35 pm UTC
CREATOR
Oh, and if everyone has fun, please ask for some ratings here, perhaps.

Thanks!
Customer avatar
Samuel R March 13, 2019 9:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Will do!
Customer avatar
Brian M February 24, 2019 5:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
I would like to say that this is such a good read so far. Currently on room 5 and I am in love with the storytelling, mechanics, dungeon, and artwork. You should be proud of your hard work. I have a few questions so far:
1. The section that describes the Naked and Afraid stats: Does this mean the party will spawn in the dungeon with no items everytime?

2. In chamber 4, the door of cunning, whats the best way to play the dials out? (Ill be DMing your campaign via Roll20).

3. Am I supposed to choose a new chamber at random each time they move to a new one? Or should I just go in order?

4. Treasure: Do not all chambers guarantee treasure? I looked at the back where the printouts and treasure are listed, but reading through so far (just got to chamber 5) I haven't seen any treasure awarded to the players.

Thanks so much for the help, and congrats on an awesome story and setting. Bravo!
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 24, 2019 9:45 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for the kind words, sincerely. I am very thankful for so many people complimenting the work and I know Christopher appreciates it too.

1. (A): Only certain effects/traps/portals cause the character to re-appear completely stripped (which is an ode to "Tomb of Horrors"). They don't start out without their gear in the beginning, but traps like Eshebala's 6 doors and some effects incurred by Demonic Aspects can leave them with nothing. My personal favorite is when they find the a**-end of a portal and think they are going to hack the portal system, they end up either stripped or in the Special Vault. *NOTE that some players will throw a very real tantrum about losing their gear! It might be necessary, sadly, to give it away to them, that yes, there is a chance, at least of getting it all back.

2. (A): With the "Door of Werefox Cunning" you have to make sure to track each time the PCs match a dial with the wrong label. Each time they do, their punishment is more...See more
Customer avatar
Anthony R February 21, 2019 6:25 pm UTC
Just finished reading the 36 page preview... MESMERIZING. I couldn't stop reading it; just had to know what was gonna happen next!
I plan on getting this for sure. It has a level of detail that makes my job as the DM so much easier. Like how you have different levels of knowledge available depending on a PC's roll. Something WOTC should do for their published adventures. I get so tired of guesstimating what to tell someone depending on what roll they get.
Have a couple of questions:
- Do you read all levels of knowledge up until the roll level or just that levels text? (Sorry if the answer seems obvious, I just wasn't sure.)
- Are there pictures of the monsters that you've made up? (I like to print out tokens for my players to see.)

The dialogue is also awesome. I always feel the need to modify dialogue...because sometimes it's so bland. Didn't feel that way after reading yours.
Anyways, simply fantastic. I'm so glad you put this on here.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 21, 2019 7:09 pm UTC
CREATOR
After this comment, there is no question that it shouldn't be on here. Thanks for making my day.

Some of the comments have been so uplifting that I'm considering adding a few illustrations to say "thanks." I wonder if it would annoy people to have to download it again for new art?

As for your Q's:

Levels of knowledge: It's funny--I've just always played this way. It works well unless a PC is not sharing their knowledge with their allies (because then you have to pass a note and the game slows), but yes, if they are sharing their knowledge, I find that reading everything up to the die roll they scored keeps the storytelling parts alive.

Pictures of Monsters: I like illustrating monsters and artifacts the most, but, I saw people's faces going blank when I described my PLACES during early testing, so...I rolled up my sleeves and worked on places like "Her Gallery" and The skulls of "Bitewater River." But, yes, there are some decent...See more
Customer avatar
Elliot V February 19, 2019 9:24 pm UTC
What level PC is this good for
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 9:28 pm UTC
CREATOR
They should start at 15th Level.

They should not be allowed to equip themselves as if they know where they're going.

No "I used my gold to buy 100 healing potions" or "I am bringing 3 trained monkeys to trigger traps."

Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 9:31 pm UTC
CREATOR
That being said, if you only have 2 or 3 players, you could try allowing them to bring 2 characters per, or use the optional "Death is Not the End in Vulgarea" variant.

Honestly, though, a smart group of Level 15's can survive all night.

The real danger is a group who gets caught up in the minutia. You might find that you only complete 3 chambers in 6 hours, lol.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 9:32 pm UTC
CREATOR
Make sure to end with Eshebala's "Inner Narthex" if you want it to be a one-off.

OOoooooohhhhhhhh the things that have happened in there.

What happens in the Inner Narthex, stays in the Inner Narthex.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 8:24 pm UTC
CREATOR
Anybody like visual riddles?

There is a hidden nod to a certain popular fantasy TCG in this book!

(First person to solve it here will get a prize from Unknown Tome)
(I know I've told a few people already--don't spoil it if I told you!)
Customer avatar
J S February 19, 2019 6:02 pm UTC
Is there any chance of adding a print on demand option? This deserves printing!
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 8:08 pm UTC
CREATOR
Truth be told, this book was designed for print.

I have been told that if I achieve Copper status, I can be part of the experimental POD program here.

I appreciate that, since, I would've published it elsewhere (ugh, and I would've had to gut the pronouns and the story) if print wasn't ultimately an option.

When we get to print, if you send me a book with a SASE, I will draw whatever you want in it and sign it!
Customer avatar
Jeremy H February 20, 2019 4:51 pm UTC
Looks like you made it, Ryan! Hooray, and congrats on Copper! Can't wait to see the POD option pop up! :D
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 20, 2019 6:32 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks!

I sent a note to this site's overseer the moment I hit 51. I am awaiting a response.

Believe me, I am more excited about this than anyone.
Customer avatar
J S February 23, 2019 9:44 pm UTC
That's going above and beyond and is absolutely appreciated.

I look forward to a signed and artified book!

Cheers,

Jim
Customer avatar
Roy B February 19, 2019 6:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love this story (tend to love everything regarding demons)

But I have one question. You refer to a campaign called "Shadow Over Mt. Tiberius" as a prequel. But I cannot find anything regarding it's existence and I am kinda interested in that story also to have a more complete overview.

Could you help me out?
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 7:00 am UTC
CREATOR
Hello,

Alas! I wrote and ran that campaign for 3 years straight. It is 412 pages (!) and I couldn't quite get it published yet.

I am making an attempt to finish it this year. I'm putting together a small team. I need to now concentrate on the illustrations and cartography, whilst my A-Team converts all of it from 4E to 5E. I REALLY enjoyed running that as my long term campaign with my steady group.

It features an arctic mountain as a constant backdrop, with live weather and crazy snow storms and really dangerous wildlife encounters...BUT, it secretly seeks to answer one primary question: "What would happen if 3 Brain Collectors (Neh-thalggu) were nurtured and fed brains for hundreds of years?"

There is also a "Sister Mountain" (which resides in the Shadowfell!).

Prop Note: I was one of the last people to get a bunch of those clear-resin ice terrain pieces (they appear to still be gone now!) from FRP Games. There is SO MUCH ice...See more
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 7:04 am UTC
CREATOR
PS__I don't know how to package 412 pages.

Would you purchase a 412 page black and white arctic campaign book?

How should I price it?? I really don't know right now. I guess estimate the paperback and the digital version should be one half the cost?
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 7:09 am UTC
CREATOR
PPS__Thanks--I really got into researching the myth history of demons and trying to make them:

1) Interesting and individualistic (sorry, no mindless Goristros here)
2) Capable of storytelling in their own right (like Castigor and Onoskelis (my favorite demons in the book))
3) Tied to more of our earth's demonology
Customer avatar
Roy B February 19, 2019 11:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
In this case yes I would purchase it just to read it. I freaking loved this one and I would love to read what happend before this.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 20, 2019 12:47 am UTC
CREATOR
Wow--OK, that should put some wind into my sails to finish it!

And, there are actually 3 before it. There is also a lower valley, before the mountain, where things literally go to Hell. It's a smaller story, but I really liked some aspects of it. That one is connected by region but not too much else.

My first attempt was a ghost story for 4E called "Trial of the Underkeep." It needs converted to 5E, but it's still available on Amazon. I mixed art styles in that one wildly. Embarrassingly, there are some spelling and grammar mistakes in it, to which I was ripped on for in old reviews, haha. Whoops.

My 2nd book was a supplement called "The Devious Book of Fumbles," (again for 4E, and again on Amazon currently). Christopher has helped me convert most of that one already, but, I want to do something MORE for it, for 5E, and I can't quite figure out how yet.


Customer avatar
Anthony R February 21, 2019 6:30 pm UTC
Paizo breaks up their Pathfinder adventures into smaller, logical & more manageable, modules. That might be the way to go.
Customer avatar
Martin H April 12, 2019 7:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Let me be another satisfied customer who would love to gain access to the previous campaign as well. Will be an instant-buy for me once/if you get it published here at some point!
Customer avatar
Ryan D April 13, 2019 8:18 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey, thanks Martin,

I am revisiting those books. By gosh--I left off on them when they were both far along. I hope you like Gothic horror and for the other, a highly detailed arctic mountain!

Customer avatar
Ryan D February 19, 2019 2:27 am UTC
CREATOR
Behold! My limited web prowess has managed an awkward string of vertical previews!
Customer avatar
nick P February 18, 2019 3:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The dedication is plain to see on this project.

Just got it
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 18, 2019 7:55 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks, man.
Customer avatar
nick P February 16, 2019 9:23 am UTC
PURCHASER
Is it mainly a dungeon crawl?

The link to the preview seems broken.

Are the monsters new? Are they high level?

This may be something I may want to get
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 16, 2019 5:24 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes, all that's left of her citadel amounts to a brutal dungeon.

"Eshebala collects art." I was forced to imagine what kind of art she would collect (probably raid and steal mostly).

And so, she admires the most homicidal dungeon lords throughout time. In her gallery, she has collected trophies from all the worst places an adventurer could go. She has a piece of Acererak's infamous tomb. She has a small pool of acid from the Temple of Elemental Evil. She has Stephen Amber's lantern. She wants to be elevated as an arch villainess, and it's up to the players to be more than just meat for the grinder.

The monsters are all new, and they hit hard. Level 15+

There is a Pentacle Witch, a foxlike dragon, invaders from the Far Realm, aaaallllll sorts of mirror entities (Bloody Mary!) and 50 new demons, with very original characteristics.

I can't promise you will love it, but I can promise that you will see the 4 years in it, that it took me to...See more
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 16, 2019 6:43 am UTC
CREATOR
Ask me anything. :D
Customer avatar
Trevor A February 16, 2019 4:59 pm UTC
262 pages... can we have a preview? It is hard to assess the quality of the work without one.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 16, 2019 5:12 pm UTC
CREATOR
Let me troubleshoot that, because there should be previews indeed.
Customer avatar
Ryan D February 16, 2019 8:20 pm UTC
CREATOR
Man, I had multiple problems getting any semblance of previews to work.

I had to upload again and again, and at least now SOMETHING is working for previews.

Thanks for letting me know.
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262
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Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
February 15, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on February 15, 2019.