Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Convert 5e monsters to OSR standards

I can't remember what group I was in, but someone asked about converting 5e monsters to OSR/BFRPG. This is how -I- would do it. I usually work with S&W so this answer is specific to that, but all the OSR games are pretty close, so...

If you don't want to do this, that's fine! It's YOUR game, play it how you want!

- - - 

Only four things really matter in OSR: HD, AC, Saves, and Damage. Save(s) are HD-related, so we're down to three.

HD - Do NOT use as written. Compare Challenge and attack bonus. HD will be somewhere around there.
AAC - use as written +1 (since AC 10 is unarmored in 5e, vs AAC11 in S&W). 5e has a reduced AC range compared to 3e, so it works fine.
Damage - Damage is tricky. Very roughly, add the creature's damage dice together, then divide them by either 2 or 3. Divide those between the creature's attacks. Drop modifiers for now.
Special Attacks - In OSR, saves are based on the defender, not the attacker, so you don't need a number here. Maybe a bonus or penalty if it's particularly weak or strong. Divide damage by 2 or 3, as it pleases you.
Note - Advantage - The exact benefit of Advantage varies depending on the target (which is usually a save.) If you don't want to use advantage, consider it to be a +4 bonus/penalty to a save. If you want some variability, you could consider it a +3/-3 in attack/defense situations; a +4 to saves; and a 25% magic resistance. Or you could roll 1d4 and add that to the save or attack. Whatever pleases you.
Ability Scores - I keep the ability bonuses, but drop them by ONE, so a +1 is +0. Str can get added to damage if you feel like it, and possibly attack rolls. No bonuses over +3 unless it's truly epic. Con gets added ONCE to HD, so Con +3 would be 5d8+3 on a 5HD creature.
- - -

Example: 5e Harpy has 7HD, AC 11, Challenge 1, a claw attack (+3/2d4+1) and a club (+3/1d4+1). The only notable stats are int -2 and dex +1, which adds to AC so we'll just pretend we're actually adding up ACs.

  • 1 HD is probably too low, so 2-3HD is logical. 
  • AC 11 is a AAC12, or 7 [12] in S&W format. 
  • Damage added together is 3d4 . 
  • OSR monsters tend to have multiple claw attacks, so 2 claws at 1d4 each and a club at 1d4. 
  • A -1 to Int puts them in the "Low" range if that matters.
The actual S&W harpy has 3HD, AC 7[12], 2 talons at 1d3 each, and a "weapon" at 1d6. A S&W club actually does do 1d4, so either the harpies are using upgraded clubs or something else, like heavy maces or shortswords. The special abilities have the same overall result in both systems (harpy song charms and attracts victims), but 5e has more detail if you want that. Basically, nailed it.
Example 2: 5e Annis has 12d10 HD; AC 17; Challenge 6, a bite (+8/3d6+5); 2 claws (+8/3d6+5), and a Crushing Hug that does 9d6+5/round if it grapples. Ability bonuses, subtracting 1, are Str +4, Con +1, Wis +1, Chr +1. The spell abilities (disguise self, fog cloud) are minor.
  • Again, 12HD is too high, so we'll drop it to 7HD (right between Challenge and attack bonus). 
  • AC 17= 1[18]. 
  • Total damage dice are 9d6; annis are combat monsters so halving and rounding up makes sense - call it 2d6 per claw, 1d6 per bite. Even a strength bonus of +4 seems high though, so we'll go with +3 (2d6+3/2d6+3/1d6+3) 
  • Crushing Hug would do 5d6+3. S&W doesn't have disguise self, change self, or alter self, so just use the 5e spell for its effects. Obscuring mist replaces fog cloud
Looking at Monstrosities, the canon S&W annis has 8 HD. AC is 1 [18]. Attacks are 2 claw attacks at 2d8 each, and a bite at 1d8. If they hit with both claws they can "hug and rend", hitting automatically with all 3 attacks each round thereafter (ie 5d8/round). We were a touch low on the HD. Damage-wise we were closer than it looks: 1d6+1 for these purposes averages to the same as 1d8, so we end up with 2d8+1/2d8+1/1d8+2 and 5d8-2. I'd call it a wash. (Rend is a frightening ability anyway; running a game back in the day I hit an NPC fighter/m-u with rend and she went from 75% of full hp (the initial attacks hadn't done too much) to something like -20hp instantly.) 
- - - 
Summary: 5e and the original OSR mechanics have more in common than a lot of people give them credit for. You can absolutely convert monsters from 5e to OSR standards with a pencil and a post-it note (post-it optional; I might just start writing notes in the margins). At the table, even!

Addendum: Look at existing monsters if you're not sure! If you are using S&W, there are monsters in the core rules, plus Monstrosities and Tome of Horrors Complete S&W edition. It's very possibly S&W has more monsters than any other OSR system already. The 1e MM, FF, and MM2 are the original source for many creatures. Blood & Treasure has two very full monster books that are OSR-compatible (B&T started off as a S&W/5e hybrid and I believe maintaining compatibility was a big factor - most of the monsters there can be played straight out of the book, and there are a LOT of monsters.) This isn't an exact science - relax and have fun with it!

Anyway, I hope this helps someone. Cheers!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Minor Planes

 I posted about 17 years ago on ENWorld, in a thread describing minor planes in a paragraph. (Note: It's wicked cool this stuff is still around and discoverable; I re-found these when someone posted new stuff just the other day.)

Asath: This wasteland bears a striking similarity to another isolated plane, but those who assume everything is the same are in error. Here, powerful dragon-kings, their exemplar servants, and the arcanist Filers are the protectors of life and civilization against the Servers and druids, minions of the mindless, fecund, chaotic Green. Without their constant erosion of the Green's energy, Asath would be overrun in a matter of years, all of its inhabitants absorbed, and the Green would subvert the reality of Asath itself, extending tendrils into the multiverse itself.

Azult: Light permeates this orderly realm. Fields of crystalline emerald grass shimmer under the white sun, while the stars are radiant beacons in the silky-black sky. Golden-skinned humans, opalescent elves, bright steel dwarves, and silver-hued halflings all rule prosperous and peaceful nations, but judge good and evil by how reflective and bright one's skin is.

Edge: This lonely and desolate realm is like no other, rising out of the silvery Astral like the dark shore of a unknown land. No more than ten miles wide, but infinitely long, a harsh wind endlessly races from the Astral, over the stony wasteland, and into the lightless abyss on the other side. The inhabitants here are the cast-ashore detritus of the Astral plane; lost travelers, abandoned victims, and a thousand thousand others. The unchanging, unending timelessness of it drives many to despair and suicide, and they cast themselves over the edge of existence and into oblivion.

Minos: This lush, pastoral world is the domain of the minotaurs and related bovine races. Despite its gentle features, many travelers are uncomfortable here. The native humans, gnomes, dwarves, goblins, and similar races never developed past an animal intellect, and are treated as animals by the minos races. Ogres draw ploughs in the fields, humans do lighter duty in the cities and towns, and halflings are kept as pets for the elite. Dwarves and gnomes are feral diggers, sometimes domesticated for hunting rare roots or valuable gems, while goblinoids are exterminated as pests wherever they can be found.

The Web: Massive strands of silken webbing interlace this twilight void. Smaller webs festoon each strand, or drift softly through the air. Spiders of all shapes and sizes hunt throughout the realm, devouring victims brought in by countless natural transient portals. Native areana sometimes rescue inadvertent travelers, ransoming them or demanding a period of servitude. Drow have recently found their way into The Web and established several powerful beachheads; some areana have become allies, while others seek to exterminate the invaders. What the drow are only starting to realize, however, is that humanoid creatures mutate in the arachnoid plane, and many susceptible drow have already become driders.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dragons are a pain

 It makes me nervous to say this, but I appear to be writing again. It's been itching at me for a while (my gf can tell you about the endless stacks of RPG books that pile up by the bedside as I "research" things, but I think things have finally stabilized enough to let me do it. I've been in this apartment for almost 4 years, and since it's family-owned, I have no intent of moving for at least another 10. I've made enough room for a workshop (, so I get to scratch that itch whenever I want (it's directly downstairs!). Spotify provides music. And my gf, bless her, bought me an under-desk foot warmer.

Generally I get consumed with woodworking from about August-December, and writing from December - March/April. This is the first time in a long time I've been able to DO both of those (I didn't get to do much woodworking, but I CAN now), and it's funny how the switch gets thrown. Also, I love winter but working IN the cold sucks.

But after a bit of December and all of January, I've got "monster manual" that's currently at 55 pages of creatures and another 20 of notes, plus a lot more lists and jottings. I need things to LOOK right, so there's a fair amount of goofing around with layout, but it worked out pretty quickly. The system though - that was the big hurdle.

I default to S&W in writing nowadays, but it's a little barebones for my taste. to run anything. And OSE is eating up all the word-of-mouth space, or was, and it's...fine. B/X reformatted. I did a sort of dual-stat block for a while, but while OSE xp calculations are fiddly, they actually don't come out much different than S&W. Then a brief exchange with Dan Proctor on FB and the WotC OGL shenanigans led me to what I felt like. 

I forget what Dan said exactly, but it was basically "do what you want and your audience will come to you". 

So the core is S&W, with extras. I got pissed about treasure and threw together something I actually really like in about 30 minutes. Intelligence is back in as a guideline, as is morale (2d6) despite the fact I never used it - I've formatted it like intelligence, so there's a descriptor word and a (number), so zlatorogs are Cautious (6). No. Appearing and Movement might still get some adjustment, or maybe Movement will just get a conversion chart.

In many senses this has been a work-in-progress since the 1990s. I went through all my old files and threw it all into the pot. The mreen and tarikik from 2e; paija & aev from 3e; etc. The core was a Bestiary of Heraldry Creatures I had intended as an OSR supplement, but that was a LOT of "head of X; body of Y, tail of Z; forelegs of Q". I also have pretty good mythology/folklore references and have a working list of at least several hundred creatures from there. Plus reworking concepts from other sources that I find interesting or fun. (I'm NOT reworking things that are already in common parlance - I'd rather present something new.)

I don't know when or if this will see the light of day. I have a cover, because I commissioned one in 2002 (yes, you read that right) and it's still awesome. 

Today I decided to work on some dragons. Do y'all know how many different "schemes" for dragons there are out there? Oof. Sometimes there's a clear standard for something, and other times...dragons. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Monster WIP: Tuliiha (Fire-tailed Dragonet)

Tuliiha (Fire-tailed Dragonet)

Tiny Dragon   Chaos (CN)
Hit Dice: 1+2 (6 hp)
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Save: 17 [T2]
Movement12 (fly 18)
Attacks1 bite (1d2) & 1 tail slap (1d6 fire)
Special AttacksFiery tail, thief skills
Special DefenseImmune to fire
No. Appearing1d4 (2d4)
IntelligenceLow (8)
Morale: Wary (5)
Treasure Type: None/Wealthy1,2,5 (Hoardx4)
Load: 25/50cn

Tuliiha are tiny winged dragons, just two feet long. They have fine soft scales that resemble fur from a distance, dark gray or black shading to scarlet or gold at the tip of their tail. They prefer to act as pets or familiars for powerful and wealthy creatures; like true dragons, they are avaricious and desire gold, and they quickly abandon masters that don’t reward their affection with coins for their nest. Tuliiha can speak, mostly about themselves and how wonderful gold is.

Tuliiha avoid combat whenever possible. Their bite is barely effective, and their claws are simply too small to do damage to anything larger than a mouse.  They also lack a breath weapon, but can instead cause their tail to ignite with an intense flame that inflicts 1d6 points of fire damage on anyone they strike with it. Tuliiha themselves are immune to fire, and often bask in braziers and fireplaces.

Tuliiha are proactive in acquiring riches for themselves and their masters. They have the Delicate Tasks, Open Locks, Hide in Shadows, and Move Silently abilities of a 5th-level Thief, and often embark on nocturnal careers of larceny and burglary. Their small size makes it a simple task to slip down chimneys or other small openings, and they can open small strongboxes, jewelry cases, and so on. It is for this reason that, while tuliiha are much prized as pets, their owners are regarded with suspicion.

A group of tuliiha is known as a conspiracy, and any gathering of 5 or more will have a leader of 3 HD and the abilities of a 7th-level thief. Independent conspiracies of tuliiha (those not beholden to a stronger creature) rarely last long, since none of them are particularly interested in what other tuliiha have to say.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Afterlife of the Shadowend

Beings in the Shadowend are composed of three parts: body, or corpus; mind, or spirit, called the essae; and soul, or vitae. The body, the physical aspect of a person, is exactly as one would expect. The mind, or essae is not just the conscious thoughts of a person but their essence; the "themness" of them. The soul, or vitae, is the animating force, the "aliveness".  

Death is a discarding of the body and a migration of the soul and the spirit. Unless interrupted, these travel by various means and ways to Orod's realm, where the two are separated and the soul remains. The passage to his realm can take some time, and the dead are vulnerable during this time, but may also be recalled to life or contacted with relative ease. 

Accounts have described the souls as candles, illuminated jars, or crystal stars; these are gathered and guarded by Orod until such time as Aeva, the Lady of Life, calls for them to return to the Wyrld. They are sometimes stolen by necromantic magic and used to animate undead constructs.

After travelling through Orod's realm, only the essae remain. Hitherto the dead appear as they did in life; now they assume somewhat lesser forms. Faithful dead are gathered by their deity or its servants; others are dispersed to the various petty realms, usually (but not always) under the care of Aeva or another protective divinity. Spirits attacked and killed in the petty realms reform whole and intact within a day. Spirits assigned to a realm reform there; manes generally reform in the realm that they died in, but occasionally in other random places (it makes no difference to them, really).

Lares: Good, virtuous, and beneficent spirits become lares.  Lares resemble themselves in the fullest bloom of life and health, but viewed from behind are hollow, lacking their vitae. Despite this they are happy and content, dwelling in the petty realms much as they did while alive, but without disease, hunger, or woe. Some, the penates, find themselves returned to the Wyrld as guardian spirits of their family or clan; others, the einherjar, become crusaders against their foes, the baleful spirits of lemures and fiends. 

Lemures: Malicious, cruel, or vengeful spirits become lemures, hollow waxen creatures with melted features. Faithful lemures are gathered by their patron deities; others are seized by whoever can take them and carried off. Some manage to return to the Wyrld and plague the living as undead, but most fall into the "care" of various fiends, where their experience is much as one would expect. Lemures universally hate and envy lares, and continually seek out ways to find and destroy them.

Manes: People who were neither particularly good nor evil become manes. Like lares, manes resemble their living form, except manes are hollow from the front, faceless and empty-torsoed. They instinctively keep this concealed from others, usually by turning their back, but occasionally by wearing concealing robes and masks. This affects their movement and perception not at all.  They can be encountered almost anywhere among the petty planes, but generally lack motivation or desire. They may act much as they did in life, but without a care for success or failure. Others simply wander, acting out a deep-rooted dissatisfaction with their bland existence. 


I don't usually crib wholesale from existing mythology (I prefer to steal it piecemeal), but this just clicked for me. I was thinking about the "petty realms" of the gods (and other beings), and specifically Broken Emr. As (technically) an "outer plane", it seemed some spirits of the dead might be found there, but Enyo doesn't care about the dead, so they had to be placed there by some other semi-random mechanism. (The whole "death is just like life" aspect of the Planescape Campaign Setting always REALLY bothered me.) Then I had an image of a spirit that you could only view from behind; a spirit lacking. Thus, manes. The tri-part identity is rooted back in college.

The many, many divinities of the Shadowend practically dictate that most people worship the gods collectively, favoring whichever is most applicable to the current endeavor. Thus, people with a patron deity are relatively rare. Most people are simply "one of the dead".

Aspects of the Shadowend afterlife are still in development; fiends and celestials are not evolved spirits, for instance, but some of the races that sprang up in the footsteps of the Elder Host when they first came into the Wyrld. Still, it ought to be possible for a particularly accomplished spirit to become something like that. Not sure that's a question that NEEDs to be answered anytime soon, though.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

3e Remnants

 I decided to compile and release all the various 3e things I've done over the years. Most of them were already in one of two documents, and it's a totally bare-bones effort - I even used a stock Word cover page. My goal is to clear my metaphorical desk and move past this stuff!

I broke them into four files: Monster Templates; Monsters; Character Lore; and Magical Lore. Templates and Monsters are 32 pages each (4 pages of cover/ToC/OGL); Character Lore is 24 pages; Magical Lore is 20 pages. Right now any effort to throw art in seems like too much, but I might do it for Character & Magical Lore (easier to use stock art in those).

I just uploaded Monster Templates to DrivethruRPG and will post a link when it goes live. My inclination is to do one a week.  $1.99 for this and Monsters; probably a little less for the other two.

"3e Remnants: Monster Templates is a collection of 15 monster templates and 10 sample creatures for 3.x and compatible RPG systems.  These templates were written between 2000 and 2010 for my home campaign.  Rather than let them continue to gather dust on my hard drive, I decided to compile and release them in the hope others will find them useful and enjoyable. 

The following templates are included: Ancient One; Blind Horror; Cloud Creature; Daemanthrope; Equitus Creature; Half-Equitus; Half-Nomos; Half-Shambolic; Half-Sphinx (plus Half-Andro/Crio/Gyno/Hieracosphinx variants); Lokiskinder; Mi'Raj; Mundane Beast (and the Mindless Beast variant); Nomos Creature; Shambolic Creature; Warmonger. Several entries have new or sample creatures and adventure hooks. 

This is an OGL product and all text is OGL except the names Xevber, Azezel, and Darkwater Press."

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Feral Fey

 There are lots of homebound fey spirits in mythology and folklore. Lots and lots and lots. Which makes sense; that's the most important place and most occupied place in everyone's life. But how do they translate into an RPG, which is (lets face it) generally about conflict?

There are a lot of ruins in D&D and similar games. And a lot of ruins in real life. Without modern building materials, buildings decayed and fell apart. Streams moved, families died out or went elsewhere. What happens to the fey of those places?

They go feral. Spriggan. Redcaps. Buckawn. Field fey that are left with gifts and a good-bye party might dwindle and become grig or pixies. Those abandoned become will-o-wisps.

Neutral or good fey might be domesticated or reclaimed if people return, but fey that have "gone sour" must be removed before a field or foundation may be reclaimed. And that is an adventure. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Planar Domains I: Broken Emr

 Broken Emr, The Domain of Enyo the Leveller

Emr  is a land of rubble and ruin, of shattered cities and tumbled walls. Scrape the ground anywhere in Emr and you’ll uncover a road, or patio, or foundation. Carvings and writings are worn to indecipherability; paintings and murals little more than scraps of color hinting at what they might have been. Springs flow from broken fountains, forming streams and rivers that course through canyons of worked stone. Trees break through cobbled streets, and vines pull inexorably at the remaining walls.

Enyo seemingly takes little notice of who lives in Emr, and it is relatively safe by most standards. Its principal inhabitants are scavengers, hunter/gatherers, and beasts of all sorts. These live by their nature, ignoring visitors unless hungry, or tempted by something they’ve brought from outside. Building and constructing is the only taboo in Emr; erecting any sort of permanent structure immediately draws the attention and wrath of all nearby natives, who will attack and destroy any such attempts.

Artificial and worked materials more complex than leather, pottery, or simple knits degrade quickly in Emr. Even iron, if worked, rusts to uselessness within a decade. Spells and magic items that create or preserve physical items (including structures) do not operate, and may lose puissance and become wholly powerless if they remain in Emr too long.

Entering Emr is achieved from within a ruined structure, where the appropriate spell must be cast. and each person seeking entrance must destroy an object of value. There is little traditional treasure in Emr, but it is believed that every ruin there is the mirror of one in the Wyrld, and searching one can give clues to the other. Broken Emr can also serve as a shortcut: two ruins many miles apart in the real Wyrld might be adjacent in Emr, and travelers can enter through one and depart via another. Finally, no few people have found Emr a useful place of exile or seclusion. The One Tree, Gray Road, and Wyrldflow also touch upon Emr.

Encounters in Emr

Emr can be considered a stereotypical wilderness, except fey and undead are very rare and there are no organized societies beyond small tribes.
  • Orbin Scalmon (hm F7) and his surviving retinue (2 guards, 1 sergeant, and a cleric of Adosil who is secretly Orbin’s bastard sibling). They are searching for clues to the rumored treasure-laden subterranean vaults beneath his deposed family’s ancestral castle, slighted nearly two centuries ago. They’ve been here a month without success supplies are gone, clothing in tatters, and desperately want to get out. They are being followed by a pair of ogres who are anticipating a good meal or two.
  • The Vermilion Locket, a cog-type ship that travels the myriad branches of Wyrldflow, has gone aground in Emr. Ships travelling the Wyrldflow are typically immune to Emr's deleterious effects, but the Vermilion Locket is aground and Emr has begun to shift the channel of the Wyrldflow away from the stranded ship. The characters are dispatched to locate the ship and its Very Important Passenger (which might be a royal bride; an evil cleric; a powerful magic item being sent as a bribe or payment...). They're not the only party searching: the owners are looking for the ship, and a faction opposed to the characters' is also closing in (who is looking to rescue the passenger, and who is looking to stymie any rescue, is left up to the GM).
  • A mongrelfolk hunting party, with 3d4 members and 1d4 hyena companions. The mongrelfolk aren't interested in eating them, but a bit of robbery is fine. The hyenas have no such compunctions and may circle back once the party is weaponless and devoid of armor....
  • 1d4 stinking leucrota, screaming and shrieking at each other. They aren't particularly hungry, but absolutely won't pass up a chance to torment the party by following them for a day or two.
  • A regal leonine lamia and her two sniveling jackalwere servants. The lamia is finding it hard to live in the luxury she prefers, since everything keeps rotting, and is willing to bargain in exchange for a way out of Broken Emr. The jackalweres like it here, and may not support their mistress's plans to leave.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Typhos I: The Leveller



The Leveller, Scatterer of Stones

AoC: Destruction of Cities & Civilization
Symbol: A foot crushing a building
Allies: Tamati, Talabas, Samaan
Enemies: Ados, Kaduv, Madate, Palanar
Avatar: Barbarian 20/Fighter 10

Enyo takes the form of a heavily armored woman of near-giantish height, or a thick-plated monstrosity large enough to topple towers and city walls. In humanoid form she uses her powerful fists to smash opponents. In ancient days she sometimes appeared as a woman carved of stone bearing a two-handed greatmace called Nem, or Breaker, but that avatar has not been seen in many centuries.

The Leveller is a great and ancient Typhosian power, strong enough to surpass most Envidier and rival many of the Dalerain. She is the child of Tamati and Samaan, and serves both of them when they wish it, destroying cities and towns, scattering people, and erasing their works. She is capable of subtlety and patience, particularly when serving the Forestlord, whose plans tend to grow slowly but steadily, like trees, but better known for the devastation and destruction she brings in the Bloody Queen’s service.

Enyo’s own goals are hard to discern. Unlike most Typhos, she serves her parents willingly when called and otherwise keeps to herself. In keeping with her nature she has no dwelling or court but simply travels the wild places of the world, sleeping under the trees and stars like the force of nature that she is.

Enyo occasionally creates monstrous beings or races devoted to destruction; certainly the bulette is hers, but also the rust monster and disenchanter. She may empower ogres and giants; those touched by her wrap themselves in armor or chains and set out to destroy. She is a scholar of siege machines and siege warfare, and sought for that information (although those seeking it try not to draw her attention to their own castles and cities). She is equally often called upon by nihilists, vengeance-seekers, and zealots of nature.

Cult Servitors: Servitors of Enyo summoned by her cultists appear as heavily armored monstrosities (see Bulette, Monstrosities pg.54; CL varies*) or statuesque women of bronze or stone (see Chalkeion, Monstrosities, pg.64; CL 5, 6,7, or 11; or Caryatid Column, Tome of Horrors pg.83; CL 7) and can have the following special abilities: Extra Attack (+1 CL), Improved Armor Class (+1 CL), Improved Damage (+1 CL), Magic Resistance 25% (+1 CL).

 *The bulette’s Challenge Level is increased by one for purposes of summoning as a servitor.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Great Paths

Astral Sea

Best known and most used of the Great Paths, the so-called Astral Plane surrounds the Wyrld.  Anyone with knowledge can open a portal (known as color pools) from a planar realm to the Astral Plane, and from there to another realm. 
No deity has dominion over the Astral Plane, and its infinite expanse has allowed individuals, organizations, and even entire races to settle there.  It is the most commonly used of the Great Paths because of its lack of divine affiliation, and accessing it is slightly easier for arcane casters than reaching the other four Paths.

City of Brass

Sometimes called the City of Doors, reaching planar realms from the City of Brass is a matter only as complicated as opening a door.  With keys, codes and tokens, nearly any door, arch, or gate in the City can be made to reach a desired destination.
The City of Brass is in the hands of the efreeti, the fiery geniekind.  Travel from realm to realm is faster here than on any of the other Great Paths, but travellers are also the favored prey of the efreeti slave-traders, and many planar adventurers never manage to exit the City.  The efreeti are currently embroiled in a civil war between factions loyal to Umoth and those loyal to no divine power, but normally only druids and clerics of a fiery or metropolitan power use the City of Brass as one of the Great Paths.

Gray Road

Also known as the Path of the Dead, the Gray Road leads from the center of the Wyrld to the palace of the Lord of Souls in the Outer Realms, with smaller tracks leading to anywhere a creature has died in the entirety of time.  It takes the appearance of a time-worn, cobblestone road atop a grassy bank.  Because of the unusual nature of the road, anyone walking directly away from it soon (within a hundred paces) finds themselves approaching it from the other side, as though they had just walked around the outside of a cylinder.  Smaller paths and trails lead off of the Gray Road at intervals; much like color pools in the Astral Plane, these allow travellers access to and from other planar realms.
The Gray Road is travelled by the souls of the dead, (escorted by minions of the Lord of Souls), druids, and clerics whose god possesses an affinity for earth, roads, or travel by walking or riding.  Arcane spellcasters can access the Gray Road, as they can access any of the Great Paths, but most prefer the unaligned Astral Plane.  Portions of the Gray Road are regularly patrolled by guardian spirits, but others are lawless and unsafe for the ordinary traveller.

The One Tree

The One Tree is rooted in the Well between Worlds, and the highest of its branches reachs the outermost of the Outer Realms.  Travelling the One Tree is more taxing than walking the Gray Road or sailing the Wyrldflow, but most destinations can be reached in a day or two, instead of the week or longer common to the less trying Paths.
The One Tree is most frequently used by druids and clerics aligned with air, plants, or nature.  Some sections are the domain of a self-appointed guardian, and the safety of those branches is entirely dependant on the guardian’s good wishes.

The Wyrldflow

The Wyrldflow is a great river, flowing from a  thousand thousand headwaters in the Outer Realms together into a vast torrent that plunges into the Well Between Worlds.  Sailing the Wyrldflow is the calmest and most sedate way of travelling the Great Paths; many creatures have taken up lives as ferrymen and offer comfortable passage to anyone able to meet their price.
The Wyrldflow is used by druids, and clerics aligned with water or sailing.  The Wyrldflow supports a vast ecology, and many races spend their existence sailing its waters.  Most of these are friendly, but a few are tyrannical pirates more interested in plunder than trade.