Gloomologist's Guide to Glooms and More, Third Edition

Started by ZDavidMan, August 03, 2023, 02:21:47 AM

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Extraordinary arcane manifestations seeming to appear out of nowhere must always come from somewhere – The First Rule of Conjuration


Gloomology is best defined as a formulaic study of the various otherworldly contaminant zones we call Glooms. These relatively novel phenomena can impose physical, life-altering augmentations upon living creatures (or Hosts) who are exposed to them in especially high doses. This leads to immense pain and discomfort for the Host, as well as for anyone who has the misfortune of encountering the Host in such a dangerous and unpredictable state.

Given that these phenomena are a relatively new appearance in our realm, reliable source material is entirely nonexistent. So where do they come from? Our strongest theory asserts that Glooms constitute the various residual remnants of other worlds that were left behind when those worlds were violently sealed away from our own. What remain are mere cosmological orphans weeping for a place in our world, creeping in the darkest corners of our realm, eager to latch onto the mortal fabric of any suitable creatures that might give them a real home again.

If you are as eager to wander the desert as you are to dance with a blade or cast a spell, then beware o' traveler: you will inevitably encounter this terrible blight in at least one of its many forms. The following compendium is designed to ensure that you do not perish in the act. These are the very fundamentals of Gloomology, and they will help you to survive.

Should you ever suspect that you have encountered a Gloom variant that is not documented in our latest version of the Gloomologist's Guide to Glooms and More, we highly recommend using the following conditional logic pattern to identify its behaviors and effects before you are compelled to suffer them.


All threat levels listed below are subject to change as new varieties of the Gloom are discovered, observed, and documented. Future editions will also include increasingly comprehensive collections.


Dominant Signature: A bright orange glow radiating from the Host.

Although this should not be considered among the deadliest of Glooms, it nevertheless irradiates its Host with a burning desire to commit indiscriminate arson on anything and everything in its path, and that includes you. Signatures include spontaneous combustion, burning whipcracks of fire, and scorching bolts that erupt out in all directions from the Host's glowing anatomy. Fortunately, these signatures remain consistent with the element of fire alone, which makes mitigation a trivial affair. Preparing basic elemental abjurations will render the Host's amplified abilities virtually useless, and because any self-respecting wizard will always have these wards prepared, you have very little to be concerned about. Unless you don't have them prepared. It could be argued that a wizard who finds himself in this situation deserves to catch on fire.

Threat Level: 3/5


Dominant Signature: A bright cyan glow radiating from the Host.

You feel your hair rising heavenward. A faint, intermittent crackle echoes in the distance. And it's getting closer. And it's getting louder. More frequent, more aggressive. These context clues typically indicate that you're soon to experience the Gloom of Elemental Air, and please trust me when I tell you that you are going to experience it very painfully. The most terribly afflicted among the Hosts of this Gloom will pulse with a bright cyan glow, emitting deadly electric charges to all those in the vicinity. The electric current pulsing through their veins appears to augment their physical capabilities as well, making them both faster and stronger. You will also notice that irradiated mages have the power to summon storm elementals to their side. The sole purpose of these heart-stopping zephyrs is to put you to sleep forever.

Threat Level: 3/5


Dominant Signature: Wisps of pale pink phantasma swirling around the Host.

In life, few things are worse than staring at your own reflection in the mirror and being disappointed in what you see. However, there is absolutely nothing worse than seeing your own reflection materialize into a physical apparition whose sole purpose is to kill you with extreme prejudice. This variety of Gloom makes that very nightmare a reality through the powers it bestows upon its Host. I strongly advise that you do not summon conjurations while under the influence of this Gloom, because they can fall victim to illusory duplications just as easily as everything else. The only reasonable strategy here is to neutralize the Host from a distance, or as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your last moments will probably involve being stabbed by your own sword in ten different directions by ten different versions of you.

Threat Level: 4/5


Dominant Signature: The smell of fermented juice beverages in the air.

This variant of the Gloom poses a special danger to fools and weak-willed Scorch addicts. Its Host is typically contaminated with an unseen aura of Suggestion, but can absolutely be detected by an individual's primal sense of smell, and is identified by the following signatures: circles of hallucinatory wine waves, dazzling orb arrays, and ripples of induced slumber. That being said, our limited observations suggest that a simple mind ward against the forces of evil can offer sufficient protection. It is worth noting that, because this variant's behaviors manifest through a cognitive medium, you will not easily observe any major physical deformities upon its Host. In the unfortunate event that you should encounter it without the aid of mind wards: do not, under any circumstances, convince yourself that this is a good time to drink heavily.

Threat Level: 2/5


Dominant Signature: A translucent-green crystalline barrier engulfing the Host.

I have a moral objection to the existence of this variant beyond all others so I will be very brief: this Gloom physically augments its Host with a thick barrier of what we believe is a mixture of coagulated and crystalline mucous that is nigh impossible to cut or pierce. If you are a budding hero of the martial persuasion, be prepared to use the dullest weapon you can possibly find or otherwise suffer the consequences of your actions. We also advise that you wear a reliable pair of non-slip adventuring boots. That being said, further observation is required to fully document the signatures belonging to this variant. But I never wish to encounter it again. In conclusion, beware the ooze beneath thy shoes and always carry a hammer.

Threat Level: 3/5




Dominant Signature: A deep purple glow radiating from the Host.

This variant of the Gloom promises nothing but bloodshed and wanton violence upon those who encounter it. Its presence will inevitably attract the spirits of ancient warriors whose blood-curdling battlecries rouse the afflicted Host with a burning desire to inflict as much pain and devastation as possible. You will know them by a tranquil white mist that heralds their arrival, and they will know you by the spilling of your blood. The only defense against this Gloom is a powerful offense. You must kill or be killed, otherwise your shield will serve no other purpose than to act as a lid for your coffin. An equally effective option would be to run as fast as you possibly can in the opposite direction.

Threat Level: 4/5


Dominant Signature: A thick layer of ice and hoarfrost coating the Host's skin.

Imagine you have been wandering the desert for hours under the burning gaze of Pra'raj. A tranquil cave beckons you forth, offering peace and respite. But as you begin to make camp within its solace, you notice something strange begin to happen. The walls of the cave have glossed over with permafrost, sucking what little moisture the air had to offer. Your heart pumps faster as you realize that your own breath is visible in the torchlight. And before you have time to react, you see tortured figures wrapped in elemental ice shambling toward you. Shards of ice erupt violently from their skin, threatening to pierce your own. Should you ever find yourself in this situation, you should hope and pray that you didn't have enough time to cool off before the encounter.

Threat Level: 3.5/5


Dominant Signature: A malevolent red glow radiating from the Host.

This Gloom is the nightmare your nightmares have nightmares about. Highly afflicted Hosts burn with a malevolent red pulse that can only be dimmed by their sudden and ultimely end. They hunger for the lifeforce of others, emitting harmful rays that feed off the strength of their prey. But theirs is a hunger that can never be sated. Their gluttonous consumption serves an appetite that yearns to swallow everything in sight, yet consumes nothing for itself. This vicious cycle ends upon death, but not before imploding in a wicked burst of dark energy that is sure to knock you off your feet. I highly recommend the company of a priest during encounters with this variant. If not to shield you from harm, then to serve you your last rites.

Threat Level: 4/5


Dominant Signature: A bright yellow (sometimes orange?) glow radiating from the Host.

Your blades and spears will glance ineffectively on impact with the afflicted. On occasions when the Host has achieved its apex state, you will be unfortunate enough to witness them hurtling large rocks and arcs of sand in your direction. They possess a unique affinity for rocks. Their proficiency and borderline obsession with rocks cannot be overstated. They are also capable of summoning earth guardians to do their bidding, which as you may have gathered by now, are comprised chiefly of rocks. In summary, expect copious amounts of rocks alongside a majority of characteristics typically associated with rocks. Rocks. Rocks.

Threat Level: 4/5




Dominant Signature: A bright azure glow radiating from the Host.

Say what you will about the Gloom of Arcana, but through it, great workings are indeed possible. Ripples of raw magic surge and swirl, dancing like the flames of an otherworldly fire. This stunningly beautiful variant is exceedingly rare, and an unforgettable sight for those who are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to witness its presence. Mortals attuned to this beguiling variant are accustomed to feeling the very essence of magic course deeply through their veins, empowering their own blows and shielding them from magical threats. This attunement also allows the Host to manifest beings of unchained arcana known as Nyths, whose instincts compel them to blast you into your requisite parts until there's nothing left of the person you were before.

Threat Level: 3.5/5




Dominant Signature: An iridescent, oily sheen enveloping the Host.

There is an incalculable fever in the air, and you can't tell the temperature because it's always changing. Highly irradiated Hosts are often bathed in an oily, irridescent sheen that shifts and swirls in the light. Attempts to break through this barrier will be met a burst of anarchic resistance, causing waves of unpredictable energy to backfire on the attacker. You could find yourself knocked down in the blink of an eye by the sheer force of this defense mechanism. Your ankles clenched by impenetrable stone. Your mind infiltrated by captivating nonsense. The possibilities are endless because they cannot be measured. Is that rosemary you smell? No, it's the unmistakeable scent of burning rubber. Nothing makes sense within the scope of this Gloom's influence, so stop making sense.

Threat Level: 3/5