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What Love Made Us Make

Magicians are so rarely lovers. Those few that are have made some of the most beautiful and most heartbreaking things.

 

Lovely ArtifactsRoll
1

Heart's Guide

2

Soldier's Hour

3

Bottled Scorn

4

Promise Drop

5

Forget-me-not

6

Narcissus Mirror

 

Heart's Guide - Compass
A rosewood compass with carvings of flowers and anatomical human hearts. It points to the nearest loving couple.

A desperate young mage made it after becoming separated from his parents while travelling through the deadly Greay Swamps which drain the emotion from people who dwell in them too long and is filled with all manner of evil creature or band of threatening men. The only thing he could count on to bring him to safety was his parents love for each other. The telling of the story differs on whether or not the compass pointed him to them or not.

 

Soldier's Hour - Hourglass
An hourglass filled with black sand made of enchanted diamond powder. There are many of these, sold for absurd prices to soldiers about to go to war. The fact is, most do not survive in the wars against monsters and dark magic. These pieces of magic are made to provide some solace to those who face war, both for the drafted and those that they leave behind. Two people touch the hourglass. Upon the first touch the sand will change colour. The colour is unique to each person and will be for them most soothing and pleasant to behold. The second touch will cause it to change colour again, a blend of both of their colours. They then turn the hourglass over, together. While the sand falls, the two will be lost in a dream of a happy lifetime together whatever that may look like for them. The dreams always end the same way. With the couple about to die, ready to accept the loss of the other. They wake, and often, are better able to accept their parting.

The sand dissappears as it falls, meaning the hourglasses can only be used once. Nontheless, some get addicted to living out full and happy lifetimes as well they may. Those that do are swiftly bankrupted, and can find difficulty in their search for someone to share an hour with them. There are others who have sought to use the hourglasses forcefully. An extreme form of emotional manipulation, it can be incredibly effective. A debt-collector, for instance, might be much more lenient to someone who they have loved for a long and happy life even if they know that life was never real. Though this is not an especially reliable technique, even if you are cold enough to attempt it. Waking up and remembering that a whole lifetime was forced upon you by the one you thought you loved often feels like a terrible betrayal by the person you trusted most. It is much like adding a huge amount of gasoline on to a fire. Certainly, you might smother it if you're lucky, but you might also have just added a huge amount of fuel to make it burn ten times as much.

 

Bottled Scorn - Potion
A vial of thick murky green liquid. Requires a clipping of someones toenail. Used to help, or force, that someone to move on. Causes fond thoughts about the target to turn into bubbling disgusting bile that forces its way into your mouth and coats your tongue lingering there while the thoughts remain.

The effects can be cured by drinking three pints of your own freshly drawn blood all at once. This is a dangerous amount of blood to lose. As you drain it out of you into a pitcher, you will quickly decide whether it's truly worth it or not. Oftentimes those that deem it worthwhile will not have the medical knowhow to prevent the loss of more than three pints or aid their own recovery afterwards. And if they do die, the Bottled Scorn still achieved its goal of ending their desire.

Promise Drop - Glass Raindrop
A blown-glass raindrop that has been magically linked to a promise. If the promise is broken, the glass shatters. Used by some cultures in place of wedding rings and make promise drops of incredible beauty. They can be used for all sorts of promises, however. One particularly untrusting Lord required his subjects to sew the promise drops under the skin of their right wrist when they swore loyalty to him. Needless to say breaking those promises became a thoroughly messy affair.

Forget-me-not - Wrought silver flower
Requiring a drop of someones blood to make, the Forget-me-not allows you to see a persons face when you meditate on it for a short while. It will show you their face currently, howver it may look, but it will not show any other details nor external things that have been attached to or rest on the face. Even tattoos do not show up.

Narcissus Mirror

Those who look into it see visions of their desires and their loved ones, so vivid and real that they pay rapt attention for anywhere from 10 minutes to hours. Some have wasted away looking into them, usually those who desire much and have little. Whilst someone else is bewitched by the mirror, everyone else only sees regular reflections in it giving the impression that the bewitched person is staring longingly at themselves. Breaking eye contact may not break the spell, as they will no doubt clamour to see the mirror again. Only strength of will can pull you away. It was originally comissioned by a sailor who asked the local wiseman for a way to see his family while he was away. The ship became quickly mutinous as people began to fight over the marvelous mirror.

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by Rhys McMillanComments (1)

Don't touch

There are some things that are better left alone. I have done my best to detail them here.


Mindfire

Mindfire is a dark red powder that tastes of blood and tea leaves. It can be found coating the valuables in many an ancient tomb in the Azerkine where it is said to have been created by one of their God Knights (a hero in the mythic sense, there are eleven in all each one having killed the previous in order to take their place. They all turn evil towards the end so as to allow the next to kill them in good conscience. Except the last God Knight who died of old age). As you approach it your heart speeds up and adrenaline courses through your body. Excitement. Anticipation.

Do not touch it.

It is evident to those who know the name, but when one sees glorious treasures with a spot of dust or dirt griming it up ones first response is often to wipe it away. It makes you feel like you have caught on fire. You feel your flesh burning and your fat sizzling and your cartilage melting away. But you never do burn up. The pain never subsides though healing spells are able to quiet the pain for a short time. There is no easy way to cure it, no Mindwater to douse it. But there are ways. If you do not die of exhaustion, or end it yourself, before then.

Oblivion Stone

You've heard about it, of course. Dreamed about it maybe. We all have regrets. Things that we can't do anything about but wish we could. It would be easier, then, to simply forget.


The slick black stone of Mt. Orphinus has been carved and chiselled into a massive altar dedicated to a long forgotten god. The Oblivion stone, the alter is called. The stories say that if you want to forget something forever, you can simply travel to Mt. Orphinus and whisper a prayer to forgotten things at the foot of the altar. The altar stands before you.

Do not touch it.

For it does not simply wipe the troublesome memory away. It rips it out with a black stone scalpel made of memory. You wake with a painful black scar and so much taken away. Though it may not feel like it. People might tell you about things that you could never imagine yourself doing, because whole veins of your self have been mined away into oblivion. You are a different person now, the other you has killed themselves and you have been stitched together from what remained of their memory and flesh. Those who knew you before barely recognise what you have become. Your friends, even the ones you remember, may turn away from you.

Roll 2d4, there are that many significant portions of your life that you do not remember. These will all come back to haunt you in some way.

The gm spends these like points. 1 point for each (can spend these multiple times):
- you were involved in something that you now find reprehensible
- you have forgotten something that it was important not to neglect, but because you no longer know about it you have neglected it and the worst has come to pass
- Someone knows that you went to the oblivion stone, and under the pretense of being someone who you have forgotten tries to manipulate you to their purpose
- You are rejected or denied something you want due to a past slight that is not explained or remembered

The Gift-Givers

The gift givers are fey creatures. They look much like high elves with smooth skin and piercing eyes. Except that their slender builds appear to be due to severe malnourishment rather than elven purity. Their necks are perilously thin, their bared torso's show skin stretched tightly over ribs and collarbones.

They approach slowly with their arms extended, carrying their offerings. Each will offer varying sumptuous gifts of food, perhaps accompanied by and served upon glowing gem encrusted plates and goblets of glistening gold. They are only ever found in groups, each one proferring their food insistently competing to gain your attention. They will circle you with their slow, careful movements, offering, offering. They drool over the food in their hands but will not eat it. They will follow you until they die of starvation (they drink greedily any water they can find). In a group of 10 expect 1 to die every day. They offer you a gift.

 

Do not touch it.

 

Those that do are overcome with an insatiable appetite. Fine. You could afford all the food you needed by selling a single gem from one of the cups. Ah, but it is not merely food that you hunger for. Your hunger directs itself at whatever it is around you that you most desire to keep. Perhaps you are starving and desire to keep up your supply of rations. You cannot help but eat them all in one go. Or perhaps it is your trusty sword that fends off the evil in the dark? Never mind the blood and teeth that fall out as you devour it, the hunger is sated for now. Then you are left without supplies, without equipment, with only your companions to rely upon. But do not fret too much, they are tastier than you expected.

(Once a day you must eat the thing you most want to keep, you are able to chew it and swallow it and digest it no matter what it is, though it might hurt a lot)

Perfect-Amount-Of-Force, Godblade

God of power, god of strength, god of wrath, god of near-perfect calculation. There once was a god like this, though it assumed it was infallible and never dreamed of being only near-perfect. This angry god thrust its sword into the earth. Not wanting to exert more energy than needed, it calculated exactly how hard it would need to thrust its massive blade in order to split the earth in two. It made an error in its judgement. The sword almost split the earth in half. But a fraction more force was required to do so and something got to the god before it could finish the job.. Instead the sword simply rests, buried to its hilt which is the size of a mountain, sticking out of the earth.

Do not touch it.

It only takes the slightest of touches. You will note that there is nothing living nearby. The air is perfectly still. It does not rain. If anything touches the sword, the earth cracks. Two perfectly hemispherical pieces separate from each other. I would not like to see it.

Posted on January 20th, 2018 by RhysComments (1)

Something is Wrong in the border town

Living on frontiers of evil, magical wildernesses can be harsh and unforgiving. There's usually something wrong, something unseemly, going on under the surface. Mostly you try to ignore it. But there's always talk.

  • What's wrong with this town?Roll
    1

    What's wrong with them?

    2

    What's wrong with the earth?

    3

    What's wrong with the water?

    4

    What's wrong with the air?

 

  • What's wrong with them?Roll
    1

    They are posessed. They've lost all sense of right and wrong and will simply do what suits them best with no remorse. Sociopathic. The demon was brought back to the town in an ancient chalice that some adventurer sold them in return for supplies.

    2

    An invisible ghost of a dead lover is trying to tear out their heart. They are constantly cold, almost freezing. They feel a chill emanating from their heart. They will get colder every day, and their extremities will begin to become frostbitten before they succumb to hypothermia. If discovered they will most likely be completely frozen.

    3

    They have had a curse put on them. Everyone who lives in the town will perceive them to be more and more repugnant and will ostracize them and spit and swear at them. This will escalate until the town attempts to lynch them.

    4

    They've been replaced by an empty copy. The empty copy will go through their routines and try to corner people and turn them into empty copies. They will only do this if there are more empty copies present than people. The people will all be trapped somewhere but kept alive. If the people die the copies die too. This started when the original person went out into the wilderness and drunk from a perfectly reflective pool.

    5

    They heard the music of a fawn and now it is stuck in their head.It makes them want to party and dance all the time. They will drink and drink but they will not eat, they are too busy dancing and having fun. If you dance with them for too long then you'll start to hear the notes of a fawn song and soon it will be stuck in your head.

    6

    They are in love with a fey who asks for gifts without regard to the damage they might cause. They are compelled to put all their energy into procuring the gifts through whatever means necessary.

 

  • What's wrong with the earth?Roll
    1

    A muck demon has taken up residence nearby, feeding on the townsfolks misery, and the earth is slowly turning to tar-like sludge

    2

    Nothing will grow in it. A lumberjack cut down the tree a nature spirit was living in and now it has died and the soil is left barren.

    3

    It is but a thin shell over an extensive tunnel network. A demonic wurm and its following of rat-people have expanded their tunnels to underneath the town. The wurm is eating their dreams which it excretes as a hallucinogen that messes up the rat-people as they breathe in its fumes.

    4

    Things won't stop growing in it. A hunter killed a unicorn and buried it (sans horn) near the town. The decomposing body and unicorn blood spark incredible growth.

    5

    A contingent of spiteful farmers from a nearby town are sowing salt upon it to drive business to their town.

    6

    It is bleeding. Geysers of putrid blood occasionally erupt from its surface. The blood causes rapid cellular growth in animals and humans. An adventurer wounded the leviathan which the town happened to be built atop. Though the landscape around has seemed like natural ground for a long time and nothing outwardly suggests it is a monster, it has been a sleeping leviathan, dormant for thousands of years.

 

  • What's wrong with the water?Roll
    1

    People are seeing their dead loved ones in it, as a result of someone trying to bring their loved one back from the dead.

    2

    It is poisoned. Someone in the town is killing people with poison, dumping their poisoned bodies in the water, and the poison leaks out of them.

    3

    It's all dried up. A falling star landed in it and its intense heat has caused it to evaporate. The star shows no sign of cooling.

    4

    It is in a constant tumult and people who draw near are in danger of being pulled in by an errant wave. Someone naive from the village found a small orb which called for the water and dropped it in. The orb was a water elemental which now controls the whole body of water

    5

    It is growing day by day, flooding more and more. Someone attempted a weather spell and now a rain cloud sits permanently above the water.

    6

    It is filled with tiny biting insects. Someone drank some and was eaten from the inside. A plague has been summoned due to a villager not observing the proper rituals.

 

  • What's wrong with the air?Roll
    1

    The wind is blowing thoughts out of peoples heads. It starts off harmless but soon people are forgetting important things like eating or that they have a child. Someone made a wish on some bones to forget something they deeply regretted.

    2

    It is filled with a pollen that causes extreme drowsiness. If people breathe too much and sleep, a plant grows explosively up from their pollen filled lungs.

    3

    There is a constant low wind that emits a constant droning whistle. It sets everyone on edge and keeps people up. Eventually it will drive people insane. There is a rip between dimensions from which the wind comes, a wizard stepped through it and left the hole behind.

    4

    A mist descends at night time. Those caught outside run the risk of disappearing without trace. People blame goblins, vampires, fey magic. In reality, the fog itself is alive. And hungry.

    5

    It is filled, swarming, with the souls of the dead. Breathe in too much of the cocktail of human essence and it will be mixed in with your own, adding fragments of personalities to your own.

    6

    Hot ash falls from the sky. Breathing it in can burn your lungs. Occasionally rains of warm tar. Two demons are having an extended battle in the clouds above the town.

Posted on December 5th, 2017 by Rhys McMillanComments (0)

Hedge Witch

A little RPG about being a Hedge Witch and solving peoples problems with your magical garden. I set myself a challenge of making an rpg that was focused around gardening, and this is what I made. It's designed as a duet game.

1 Page Rules: Hedge Witch
Play aid: Character Sheet

Posted on October 29th, 2017 by Rhys McMillanComments (0)

Valley of The Headless Kings

This is a little adventure designed to populate a hex in a hexcrawl. It's essentially six little vignettes around each of the towers with a climax in the castle in the middle. You could easily add additional details but in this version I've just kept it to the essence of what you will find in these areas, leaving it to a gm to fill in the rest.
My starting inspiration was just coming up with the names of each of the towers, without any real idea of how they would connect or what the names implied.

So come, explore the Tower of Umber, Tower of Ochre, Tower of the Holy Dark, Tower of the Yesterday King, Tower of the Familiar Face, and the Tower of the Fool.



In a valley encircled by harsh peaks stand six towers around a great keep. Around the towers are the war torn remnants of a once populous city. Great empty plains intersperse collections of burnt out rubble, and warring factions of knights can be found clashing all throughout. These knights are sworn to one of the six headless kings. The kings themselves keep to their towers. And no-one goes to the keep.

Read more...

Posted on October 28th, 2017 by Rhys McMillanComments (0)

Whispers

Nothing spreads faster than rumour. Enterprising wizards noticed this and began conducting experiments. This is how whisperspace was discovered.

Whisperspace

It's not just that rumours travel as quickly and widely as people do and so unless you're first the rumour is most likely already there, whispered things actually travel in their own dimension. A critical mass of rumour-spreading or secret-sharing leads to a story breaking through into whisperspace from which point it can wind up nearly anywhere that stories are being swapped.

The whispered stories might slip into the head of a struggling playwright, or pop into the mind of a bombastic storyteller in a bar who was running out of new stories to tell, or be half-remembered by the old lady who sells necklaces on the street as something her son told her, or was it the local drunk, or a sailor perhaps? Either way, they can end up places they have no right to be.

Common Knowledge

When things begin to be seen as true, or old hat, they are ejected from whisperspace. This would typically be entirely unnoticeable. When wizards started messing with whisperspace, however, it became relevant. It placed a hard limit on how long you could keep something in whisperspace, and on what kinds of things you could send through it.

Very few wizards study whisperspace. Many wizards make use of it, however, as certain spells that have entered into common wizarding knowledge (eg Message, Suggestion) take advantage of whisperspace. The key is that only a few know these spells do so. If everyone knew, they very well might not work.

In fact, those wizards that study whisperspace also do their very best to spread misinformation and doubt about it and dissuade others investigating it. The concern is that if whisperspace itself became common knowledge the whole incredibly useful system would come undone.

Whisper Chamber

Suruscant the Sculptor was the first notable whisper wizard, as notable as they get which is typically not very notable once they work out how to remove things from whisperspace. His specialty was shaping stone. For years he lived a druidic lifestyle and shaped stone sculptures that whispered as the wind passed through them. He meditated in small forests of the sculptures to learn the secrets of the land. (A nature-oriented magic-user such as a druid can meditate in one of these sculpture forests for an hour to find the answer to one of the following questions: Where is clean water? Where is food? Where is safety? Where is danger? The answer will be from the perspective of the animal and plant spirits in the surrounding area, so might not necessarily align with the askers ideas of good answers to those questions)

He began to follow the whispers and started to hear the whispers of not just the earth and the trees and the beasts, but of other people. He followed them and the whispers got louder and louder. He eventually came to a city where over the course of many years he shaped a smooth stone chamber underneath the city with hundreds and hundreds of tunnels of all sizes which came out in hidden places all over the city. The tunnels amplify the whispers of the city and carry them to the chamber (spend ten minutes here for a random piece of gossip, it mostly sounds like white noise so you might be better off in a pub but there are some things that aren't whispered in pubs that wind up in the whisper chamber).

It was here that he began to study and learn about whisperspace. He documented ways to send objects into whisperspace and keep them there, noting the side effect that people would start thinking about objects stored this way more often without knowing why. His writings are highly sought after, but very difficult to find. It is rumoured that they span only a few weeks, after which nothing more is left of Suruscant except his whisperchamber.

Some think that he removes everything he does from whisperspace and that is why there is no more information.

"But then why do we still whisper about him?" Others whisper, "Clearly he must be in whisperspace and that is why we cannot find him."

Getting into Whisperspace

No one really knows how to get a person into whisperspace. There are plenty of rumours, of course.

Whisperspace RumoursRoll
1

Noone can have a memory of sensing you, not even yourself

2

If you meditate in a whisperchamber for long enough you will hear a whisper that tells you how to get in

3

It's just like any other plane, a dimension door'll do. The problem is staying in there once you arrive. Most people slip out almost instantly

4

Become the subject of a scandal that people whisper about, capture those whispers in a whisperstone then perform a ritual with the whisperstone as a focus

5

Go deep into the ground where the earth itself whispers and let the whispers fill your head

6

Commit an Unspeakable Atrocity, then speak of it


Whisperstone - Small foggy white gem. When rubbed will capture up to one minute of whispered conversation within 60ft. Rub again to release the whispers (makes a noise like running a wet finger round a wine glass which morphs into voices)

Whisperspace

Whisperspace is a vast desert with a raging tempest of thoughts swirling around it constantly. A strong gust of wind could knock out some or all of your thoughts and memories, replacing them with new ones. Thoughts that you lose could end up popping into anyones head. Its a good idea to have some kind of psychic protection or you might soon become a random collection of misheard stories, scandals, and secrets.
You can make a will save to prevent loss of thought as well, but that will only hold out so long. Wizards and other magic-users can easily lose their memorised spells this way.

There is a kind of a sun (it's heavily obscured and dull) that travels east to west (analagous to east to west in the real world). The scale of distance (and time) is all messed up and inconsistent, however, so a couple steps might equate to a few meters or a few kilometres depending on where you are going and in what direction you're travelling. If you stop and listen to the whispers for a while you might pick out something that gives you a clue as to where you are relative to the real world, but the wind carries whispers all over so its not a guaranteed method.

You are ejected from whisperspace when you think clearly of, or explicitly refer to, yourself. A mirror is an easy way to achieve this.

Collectors

Image of robed collectors
The collectors are tall robed figures with spindly stilt-like legs. Their heads are all shaped differently, but they look similar to the sculptures of Suruscant and all interfere and interact with the thought wind in different ways. Apart from their contours and the holes that reverberate with the wind, their heads are completely featureless.

They are nomadic. They follow the type of secret they collect. Once they catch up to a swirling vortex that contains some ideas they are interested in they will sit and begin rapidly scrawling them out on paper, angling their head this way and that to catch the wind just right.

They also carry around some junk secrets they picked up that they aren't interested in collecting. They will trade these with other collectors, or whoever comes along, for secrets more to their liking.

When a collector dies (they don't put up much of a fight), their collection is swept up into the tempest. If you kill a collector, some people somewhere will spread a rumour about you. The rumour pops into your head straight away, so you know what it is. It oftentimes has more relation to their collection than to the truth.

Whisperglass
The sand in whisperspace can be used to make whisperglass. When whisperglass is shattered, those who hear it will blurt out an uncomfortable secret. If the person has no uncomfortable secrets they will lose their voice for 6 seconds (or until everyone has finished telling their secret, which is usually within that timeframe since they aren't required to give lots of detail).

Some Collectors have whisperglass jewellery. Carrying whisperglass makes it a lot easier to stay in whisperspace as it mitigates the winds that might carry whispers of you off into someones head and pull you out.

Hearing whisperglass in whisperspace also pulls you out as it forces you to consider yourself.

Suruscant's Prison
You know all those stories you hear of terrible monsters, bogeymen, indescribable horrors that lurk on the edges of our lives? Fortunately, most of these things are merely rumoured to exist. Which, unfortunately, means they do exist in whisperspace. When Suruscant first found a way to travel into whisperspace he immediately realised his mistake. Him getting in, meant other things could get out. He had not planned on staying in whisperspace forever. But now, he must. He must maintain his prison and ensure that none of the things people tell whispered stories about become more than just stories.

With his powerful magics he hunted down these monsters and trapped them in a vast whisperglass prison of his own creation. If he dies, they will no doubt escape.

Death
The one rumour Suruscant could not imprison was Death. Death that whispered of being that noone has ever seen but which takes lives and harvests souls. Yes, Death lives in whisperspace. In reality, Death eats the souls of everyone who dies. Death is skilled at navigating whisperspace and at moving between whisperspace and reality, which is how they can visit every single person just as they die.

If you meet Suruscant he would certainly appreciate you capturing Death, though he does not believe it possible.

If Death is prevented from leaving whisperspace, or from returning to it, souls will start going to the proper places and ghosts will be a bit more relaxed (they didn't have to slip away from a terrifying multidimensional being just after they died to become one).


So, that's whisperspace, don't tell too many people about it.

 

Posted on October 13th, 2017 by RhysComments (0)

d20 Interesting Magic Item Drawbacks

I wrote a small hexcrawl for http://www.gauntlet-rpg.com/keepers-of-the-gauntlet-contest.html this week, I'll release it when the contest is over.

For now though, here's a table of drawbacks that can be added to magic items to temper their power and add a bit of extra flavour. The idea is to make something that isn't purely numeric so it could potentially have a creative use / workaround.

d20 Magic Item DrawbacksRoll
1

Extremely brittle in light

2

Screams into the hell-plane Screams can't be heard under normal circumstances, but will alert any demon or devil to your presence

3

Rings loudly when the owner lies

4

Shrinks a little bit each day. 1d6 weeks before it is too small to see

5

Hivecaller Attracts any hivemind creatures. If stationary for one hour will be covered in a swarm of insects

6

Immuno-deficient. Each week you carry this item roll 1d6, on a 5-6 contract a minor disease

7

Melts nearby metal. After 24 hours up to 10lb of nearby (5ft) metal will be liquid. The metal does not get hot, but it melts anyway. (So liquefies metal might be more correct, though it appears to melt)

8

Dysconstellatia The stars in the night sky appear as though from a completely different spot and rotation on the world to anyone within 30ft. Navigating by stars and ready peoples fortune by stars is very misleading

9

Food and drink tastes like refuse and excrement to anyone who has held this in the last hour (if not used to eating such things you will probably have to make a roll to stomach any food or drink, potions included)

10

You dream of a man with a terrible smile and a shining white suit. Any civilised place you go, he's been there before you and spread some mistruth about you (1-2 (its a mildly beneficial lie), 3-4 (its inane), 5-6 (its bad))

11

Small birds that can fly will swoop at you on sight

12

All rings are too big for you they will fall off if you aren't paying attention and haven't secured them to your finger in some non-standard way (standard being just shoving them on)

13

Pieces of paper that describe violence cut at you like blades, 1d4 damage if you turn or hold such a page

14

A contract with a devil is slowly being written on your body. It will spread over all your skin in 1d12 months. When the contract has been fully written up, the devil will appear to insist upon your signature

15

You are followed everywhere by a light breeze (can make detecting secret passages and ways out difficult, also sneaking if what you're sneaking up to takes note of such things)

16

Your appreciation for art vanishes, you are compelled to voice your reasons for not liking a piece of art when you see/hear/read (etc.) it

17

You remind everyone of: 1-3 their father, 4-6 their mother, 7-8 themself

18

You would love to swim in any body of water big enough for you to submerge yourself in

19

Keys you hold don't fit their locks, bottles and waterskins you hold won't pour

20

You know a name, and you know that if you speak that name bad things will happen. (Hand them a piece of paper with a name on it) (Writing or otherwise communicating the name counts too)

Posted on October 3rd, 2017 by RhysComments (1)

Sleepless in Braegensaet

Ever heard of Braegensaet?

Everyone knows that sleeping is outlawed in Braegensaet. The reasons given for why vary based on how far from Braegensaet the tale is being told. In order of furthest away to closest by you might hear:

"Braegensaet the capital of festivals and parties! You know the King there was so upset at people leaving his parties early that he put a ban on sleep. It must be a wondrous place, all that flowing wine, all those lovers waiting to be loved."

"They know how to get things done in Braegensaet. They got a wizard to kill sleep there so that they could work all hours and become the richest city in all the lands. So count yourself lucky I only make you work from dusk til dawn. Oh the money I'd have if only I were born in Braegensaet."

"Can't be good for ye, sleepin' so little. Like in Braegensaet. Oh sure lots o' people find it quite to their likin'. But I've met more n' one traveller who near lost their mind from months without sleepin'. And thats with the magic they've got that keeps 'em awake too. So go on, get to bed you rascal."

"Braegensaet's a queer place. Plenty of wondrous sights, true. Plenty else that don't get mentioned so much too. I near went there once. But as I was walking up the road to those great big white gates... It just felt off. Felt it in my bones. Turned around and came right back here. Besides, I enjoy a good sleep."

"They pretend like they're cultured but when it comes to sleep they are downright barbaric. If you're lucky you'll be exiled for nodding off. But I have heard the most terrible stories about the unlucky ones. Oh no, I couldn't possibly. It doesn't bear repeating. There's a reason though, why the road to Braegensaet is so wide yet so empty."

"Braegensaet? Listen to me. Don't go to Braegensaet. Just put it out of your daft head."

"I... I think we should turn back. Don't you? Hello? Are you listening to me? I said it doesn't feel right. Where are you going? Just stop will you! Please!"

The City is a Drug
It's strange how far and wide the name Braegensaet is known. Especially given how few people leave the place. Even if you've never heard the name in your life, when it is said it calls to mind a sense of bacchanalian delight. Those who are drawn to such pleasures will undoubtedly entertain thoughts of making the journey there, no matter how long or impractical that might be. The closer you get, the stronger the pull. Luckily, the warnings get stronger as well. Most will allow the warnings to persuade them and give up their journey, though they will feel a niggling at their brain whenever the city is mentioned.

For some though, the warnings are not enough. Either the pull is too strong, or they are merely not the type to heed warnings or let the crawling of their flesh as they walk that long road to the coast where the immense city sits surrounded by cliffs dissuade them. When you enter the city, regardless of if you could resist before you're really hooked now. Deciding to leave feels worse than kicking a hard drug habit.

The punishment for sleeping is, officially, exile. This is not a merciful punishment. Those who are exiled will never feel right again. Many commit suicide, or just waste away at the cities gates. Any exiles are kept away from the gates during the day, to keep up appearances. At night, however, they will come out of their hiding holes and press themselves close to the wall, hoping to breathe in a gasp of city air.

DONT SLEEP
This should be obvious by now. But seriously: Do not sleep in Braegensaet.

The people of Braegensaet use many methods to avoid the need for sleep.

There are some cheap substances that you can smoke (moonleaf) or ingest (cinnamon mixed with magical runoff -- nicknamed 'Sunshine') to keep you awake, but after a week or so of consecutive use you will start to get severe withdrawal symptoms sooner and sooner. Splitting headaches, nausea, inability to focus. Some simply keep smoking or eating the stuff all day to avoid the withdrawals but that opens them up to some negative longterm effects. Sunshine leads to ocular necrosis and boils on the skin. Moonleaf makes it harder to breathe in daylight overtime, until you won't be able to breathe at all. These longterm effects can take a year and more of heavy use to develop, but different people are more or less susceptible.

The most well-to-do employ a rotating shift of magic users to channel a mix of spells. First is Insomnia, which prevents a target from sleeping for 24 hours but leaves them open to the effects of exhaustion, the other part being Greater Restoration. Clearly an expensive proposition, but void of any potential side effects.

Surely these spells could be used to create an enchanted item that produces the same effect. Well, yes, but magical items are not easy to create and the last time someone tried such a thing there was an all out riotous war as near every inhabitant of the city tried desperately to get their hands on the rings in question. The rings were supposedly lost in the chaos of it all, as was the King's head. The monarchy is now ended and in its place Chancellor Kwyorn governs -- which consists primarily of arranging festivals and ensuring taxes are paid.

The final tactic is through controlled meditation. If mastered, sleep becomes unnecessary. If not mastered, you are likely to doze off. Or tap into the level of unconscious thought that is the reason for sleep being outlawed in the first place. A risky proposition for beginners, but there are many schools -- of varying levels of repute -- that are dedicated to the teaching of this art.

Surely I can just take a quick nap...
DONT. Are you listening at all? DO NOT SLEEP IN BRAEGENSAET. Fine. Maybe if I tell you why, you'll stop entertaining the idea.

DREAM RADIATION
The city is built on top of the brain of a long-dead ancient primordial being. The brain does not rot, but it does decay. In the radioactive sense. The energy that the brain produces as it converts from organic primordial tissue into inert grey rock is highly volatile when it comes into contact with dreams. The effects are poorly documented and unpredictable. Suffice to say the few times it has happened have been horrible enough for all involved that they've taken hundreds of longlasting precautions to intercept any potential dreamers and punish them severely.

Sometimes it's a mere explosion. Other times a hideous mutation of all those in the surrounding area. Once it split the personalities of all the inhabitants of Braegensaet in two (see Sunface Moonface below). The worst is when it calls into being some incomprehensible creature from another place. Those few who risk studying the subject theorise that the ancient energy manifests the essence of the dreaming thought.

Sleep is not the only method of causing these disturbances. Anything that activates the subconscious in similar ways, such as psychedelics, unconsciousness, and comas can cause the same results and will be met with the same reprimand. There are products on the market to quickly wake someone knocked unconscious (though in most cases they will be disorientated and practically useless until they would have woken), if not administered quickly enough it is often best to kill them.

Dreamspikers
The Chancellor employs some Dreamspikers to detect and respond to potential incidents of dream-thoughts. Rumours say that the Dreamspikers were born of this dream radiation, the Chancellor maintains that they are merely well trained special operatives. Either way they can detect spaces that dreams might slip into and travel to them incredibly quickly by jumping through thoughts (You will often find yourself suddenly thinking about Dreamspikers for a moment or two, this might be because of your wandering mind or because they have just travelled through your thoughts). If they are quick enough, which is not a given, they will cursorily attempt to wake the offender, immediately followed by attempting to "safely disable" (more like shove a large spike through) the brain.

Sunface Moonface
The legal system in this place is even weirder than what we've covered so far. No one is really sure who is in charge of it at this point. Probably the Chancellor, but he finds the whole crime and punishment thing dull. Really it is wildly variable depending on where you committed the crime and the time of day. That last part was literal. You won't be held to account for crimes committed during the day at night time, and vice versa. At dusk all the day prisoners are let out and the night prisoners rounded up, and vice versa again.

In fact the entire culture observes this practice of "Sunface" and "Moonface". Essentially you are treated as an entirely different person during the day as opposed to the night with dusk and dawn being transitionary periods that most people spend resting. Not sleeping, mind. A happily married banker might go to work all day keeping records straight, then rob that same bank and make love to his partner in crime at night. Though of course in that case the Sunface banker could be charged with aiding and abetting his Moonface self since he did provide information of the layout and workings of the bank by leaving them carelessly in his brain. Though the Sunface banker could easily make an argument that the information was not provided but stolen. In this case the Sunface wife of the banker would have no problem that her Sunface husbands Moonface counterpart had sex with another person, but if the same happened during the day while her husband was Sunface then she might very well murder him.

The only thing that transcends this Sunface Moonface business is sleeping. If you sleep then both halves are punished. Or both wholes are punished, depending on your philosophical perspective.

It is generally considered unseemly for your Sunface and Moonface to be too closely related to one another. You would usually run in seperate circles and not act on knowledge your other part has. This isn't enforced of course, but it is seen as odd and distasteful. Different people view this differently with it being looked down upon most by those in high society.

Moonface is also more typically associated with crime and debauchery, but this is not necessarily the case. Braegensaet is markedly more dangerous at night time, however. Which is saying something, considering what the day times are like.


So come on down to Braegensaet. It's like a dream come true

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 by RhysComments (0)

Drowning Pools


They are Old

There are many of them, countless hundreds. Any that are known are kept guarded. Despite their ubiquity, the art of making them and linking them has been lost. Usually found in small stone structures akin to mausoleums, they are deep circular pools of icy water. Many have been forgotten, many more have decayed, the thick stone that surrounds them not enough to stand against time.

All is not lost

But many are not lost, and the method to use them is still known. First, you must submerge yourself in the water. Completely. It is not recommended for the weak or aging as the icy water can easily sap the warmth from your body entirely. Then, a covering is laid across the pools entrance. This is anything from a metal grate to a stone slab. There must always be a gap between the covering and the water, however. This is for when you come out the other side.

Then, you hold your breath. You have to hold your breath up to the last possible moment. If you time it correctly, as you take your final desperate gasp for air you will appear at the exit pool. Well equipped drowning pools will have someone waiting at the other end with warm blankets and a fire. Less reputable pools leave you to take your own chances, though you still have to pay the fee of course.

Drowning

If you go up for air too soon, the pool rips your soul from your body. This happens because the soul is transported much faster than the physical self, so as you push up for air you ground your body in the entry pool while your soul has already passed fully into the exit pool. This results in immediate death. A soul cannot survive for very long without a body, but given the right circumstances they will become ghosts. Many poorly maintained exit pools are haunted. Any professionals will keep a trained exorcist on the pay roll.

Sabotage

The Emperor Feyus, a confident swimmer, made regular use of drowning pools to travel between the bedrooms of his twin palaces that ruled the East and West of Dran. When Empress Direnz in West Dran discovered he also had an Empress in East Dran, she boarded up the exit pool on her side. It is generally considered unwise to use a Drowning Pool regularly, especially as a public figure.

Shady characters have also used Drowning Pools as a simple, more deadly alternative to highway robbery. After all, if your victim ends up drowned halfway across the continent it will be a long time before your reputation gets back to you.

Posted on September 18th, 2017 by RhysComments (0)

The Crepuscular Wall

'Do you know the purpose of the Crepuscular Wall?'
'It separates good from evil. It holds the shadows in so that we may walk in the light.'
'And the town we marched through earlier? Every man, woman, and child slaughtered. The houses all ablaze. Had not evil been committed there? Under the banner of a human lord who has spent his entire life on this side of the wall? No. The Crepuscular Wall does not separate good from evil. It keeps the evil we can kill separated from the evil we can't."

- Sergeant Gared preparing his new recruits for a foray beyond the Crepuscular Wall

The Crepuscular Wall divides the Land of Man and the Twisted Lands. It reaches all the way to the sky, a vast inky black expanse that whirls with shadow and emits a low unsettling hum. As day fades, so too does the wall. The wall melts into the nighttime as though it were merely a slice of night that refused to go away when the day came.

For ages past, despite blending into the night like this it retained its solid, impenetrable form and continued its duty of keeping out the things beyond. But no magic is eternal. The wall is weakening. No one can be sure why, but formless horrors and mutated demonspawn have been able to push their way through from the Twisted Lands during the night when the wall fades.

Nightfall

Nightfall in the context of the Crepuscular wall is thought to be a result of the walls decay. Every now and then vast cracks will form in the surface of the wall and collosal splinters of night will shard off the wall and plummet to the ground. Despite this the wall appears unmarked after the splinters have fallen off.

Being caught in such a fall does not crush a person. In fact it feels like nothing more than a strong wind. However, most who are caught suffer a far worse fate. The falling night strips the light out of a person. They become blind and invisible. Most who suffer such a fate die of thirst, or if they are unlucky they stumble onto a body of water and die of starvation instead.

Travel


Travelling through the Crepuscular Wall is only possible from dusk til dawn. It takes a nights worth (8 hours) of travel to make it through the wall. This is irrespective of how fast you are actually travelling, so long as you are moving forward. The wall's depth cannot be measured traditionally, it is the depth of one night.

You need a Sunlamp to make it through without the darkness permeating your skin. There are 23 of these lamps, each with a sliver of sun inside them and most kept in the castles that border the Crepuscular Wall. They were gifted to the Vathadi by the Sun, who they befriended by banishing the moon to the night time in ages long past. The number 23 is regarded as a lucky number, though noone is quite sure why exactly 23 lamps were created. Much analysis has gone into the special properties of the number 23, but no convincing results have come from these.

Without a sunlamp you will catch Nightsickness, a disease that can be cured through exposure to the light of the sun. Nightsickness makes you weak during daylight reducing your movement by half, granting disadvantage on all rolls, and requiring a will save to willingly go into sunlight.

The Wall Is A River

Strange creatures live within the wall. Creatures of bright white like starlight, pale blue like moonlight, or the black of darkest night. The strange creatures that live inside the wall are not like the weird ones in the Twisted Lands. The creatures here are beautiful, apathetic, and hungry. They swim through the night on unseen currents. If you're lucky they will ignore you. If you're not, you will discover that they kill with grace and beauty.

Crepuscular Wall Creature Templates

 

Roll
1

Starlight: +1d6 radiant damage, Star-streak: move 30ft through a target 2d6+4 damage once

 

2

Moonlight: Sleep spell

 

3

Night: +1d6 necrotic damage, Will save against blindness on hit

 

 

Sword that Burns the Dark

The Sword of the Vathadi, kept in Vathadi castle just east of the wall, is said to keep the darkness at bay and give power to the wall. All who touch it burn. Perhaps if one could wield it the weakening wall could be reinforced and the Twisted Armies driven back.

Beyond The Wall

Beyond the wall lies the Twisted Lands of the Wizard Kings. Their armies are gathering in warcamps at the Crepuscular wall. Some parties of monstrous horrors and mindless thrall have made it through the wall, but the full force of the Wizard Kings is still kept back by the fading enchantment of the Crepuscular Wall. Dark things do not live long in the light.

Plant a rose at day,
Love comes your way.
Plant a rose at night,
Death takes its flight.

-Commonly recited extract of an old nursery rhyme thought to be about the wall

Posted on September 8th, 2017 by RhysComments (0)