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Setting: Myddea Luminastra

November 17, 2012 1 comment

I made a comment earlier that if anyone else were to run a game in the Age of Stars setting I’d want to play a young version of the Astrosage. She’s one of my favourite icons and has what I consider the most interesting backstory of all of them. Somehow that translated into me actually drawing her and statting her for 13th Age. She’s an Aasimar Sorceress with strong ties to the Archmage and his arcane magic, and the High Priestess, though her relationship with the latter is not nearly so positive. I know I’ve always referred to The Astrosage as a wizard, but a Sorceress would really be the more accurate description for the way her powers manifest.

All of Myddea’s powers are space themed.

But before she ascended to greatness she was cast out from the church of Corellon, and left to wander the lands gathering her arcane power and slowly coming to understand her unique situation. As an Aasimar, Myddea has supernal blood flowing through her veins, and comes from a long line of high priestesses – a role she can no longer fulfill. As she travelled her priest’s robes became tattered and she traded her ceremonial staff for a more practical spear, spending what little money she could scrounge together on protection from both her enemies, and the remote reaches of the galaxy.

You can see the original 13th Age High Priestess on which she was based here. Her costume might have initially looked something like that.

Categories: Setting

One Unique Thing

November 15, 2012 14 comments

This isn’t really a setting post so much as a thought experiment. If you had to name one absolutely unique thing about your character, what would it be?
Some seem obvious like Aladraian’s apprenticeship to The Psiontist, but it could be argued that’s merely a manifestation of his icon relationship, not a unique thing about him specifically.
Obviously if you haven’t thought of one feel free to make it up. While it can be tied to an existing aspect of your character (i.e. Zasahl’s high intimidate is the result of people literally seeing the furious visage of Bahamut through his eyes) it could be totally unrelated. Just nothing with a combat bonus, OK?

If they don’t contradict anything I might let you treat them as canon. If you can come up with an in-game reason to have it then even better (i.e. contact with Grayson’s staff awakened your latent psionic ability and now you can wield a glowy, telekinetic version of your favored item that behaves just like the real thing).

EDIT: Also is it more convenient to run the game at the usual time (plus an hour for American Daylight Savings)? So Saturday for the majority of you? Because Ranneko can’t make it Friday.

Categories: News

Session 6: Stealing Hearts

November 11, 2012 33 comments

This was a short session because apparently AMERICA (!!!) controls the flow of time and therefore the rest of us are expected to know when they have daylight savings and adjust our schedules accordingly. If indeed you guys want to start one hour later that’s fine though – Discuss in the comments.

~~~

Not pictured: Citizens huddled atop giant rocks screaming in terror, the giant flying squid*.

Having narrowly escaped the dismantlement of the colony, the party found itself within a forest consisting of a hoard of golden-feathered ostrich-birds that was slowly being rooted to the spot via living metal. The colony was ruined and the ancient city below it was visible, wreathed in a bright green glow.

Understandably, those of them that cared about the colony (read: not Crias) were a bit upset at the development that left their homes suspended far above their heads on jagged metal vines. To that end they demanded some proof as to the assassins’ good intentions.

Dak’kel insisted she could not have been responsible for sabotaging the tower because she came straight to the camp upon leaving the biome. In addition, her feet had no cosmic paint on them, nor did her boots. She suggested that the trees covering the door were placed there by Tuatha himself, citing the fact he was the only druid who knew they were going into the tower, and he would easily have the power to summon some trees that wouldn’t cut. The party didn’t totally buy it, even though Bob pointed out that the defining feature of a druid was the ability to shapeshift.

He also offered up a signed letter from the Huntsman which Julie and Lachlan were able to verify, the ink shifting so that the party could read Bob’s orders. Basically the assassins had given him a note explaining in as many words “You owe me, do what you can for the people holding this” after killing Kraall and Yorick, and signed it so that only his allies could read it. After they did so he threw it in the orrery that they were using as a campfire, incinerating it in the miniature sun. He also took the opportunity to confiscate Crias’ damaged shock stick because it was technically stolen. For those following on at home, this means that Bob was not one of the assassins, and did not lie about having no idea Yorick was dead – his only involvement is as a facilitator, and he doesn’t particularly like being associated with any of these people.

The party then confronted them about their allegiance with the Astrosage to which they responded by summoning Kraall’s spirit. It turned out that Kraall had been working with Tuatha to reinvigorate the primordial heart (literally the heart of one of the old gods), but after he began to suspect his friend of infernal dealings, he began to get cold feet. Verifying his suspicions through a bound demon in a secret room within his tower, he confronted The World Builder, soon realizing there was nothing he could do to stop him. In secret, Kraall began working with the Astrosage to stop Ceylon’s plan. He locked the controls of the tower so only the apprentice of Grayson Faraday could use it, not anticipating Aladraian. After doing so he had himself assassinated, replacing his own soul with one of the local ghosts (hand picked), in order to deny Ceylon himself as a resource. Believing his tower could not be piloted he was rather dismayed to find the plan going ahead anyway.

He explained that Tuatha had come into possession of the true name of the Primordial whose heart rested beneath the village – With that name he could command the heart to do his bidding, though there was always the risk of those who chose to bend it to their will falling under its control themselves. Tuatha was arrogant enough to disregard this caveat, and set in motion a plan to access it. To do so he would need Kraall’s expertise in opening the primordial seals located the ancient city under the mountain. Luckily, Crias through an act of extraordinary incompetence(?) had destroyed Kraall’s notes on the procedure, denying Ceylon an important resource and buying them all some time.

The Astrosage was vehemently against The World Builder’s plan, and hired the Huntsman to steal the name, which he did, storing it in an ornate pendant, that when either invoked or broken would sear the name into the mind of whoever used it either until it was spoken correctly or forever, respectively.  Bob, being the Huntsman’s representative gave it to Zasahl for safe keeping, and because he and the assassins meant to return to the colony, help the people there and hopefully distract Tuatha until the party could put the heart back to sleep using the name. In theory this should prevent it from waking up again, and set the colony back to its original state. Of course, it would be at the cost of keeping the world a barren desert for the rest of time.

The party decided it might be a good idea to take a rest before they did anything else.

Meanwhile, Zasahl confronted Dak’kel about murdering Yorick, which she expressed regret about, though justified her actions by pointing out that not only could Yorick be raised (she’d do it herself if need be, though she suspected Ceylon would deal with it first) but she had acted under the assumption that their success would save the colony. She revealed that she had been brought up as a street thug, and that the church of Bahamut had taken her in, asking her to use her more unconventional skills to help others, which she agreed to do even at the cost of her own soul. As such she felt obliged to make tough decisions so long as eventually her actions ended up helping people. To that end the fact she’d killed two innocents (despite one being a favour) for an ultimately futile purpose was weighing rather heavily on her conscience. She nonetheless refused to turn herself in to the World Builder’s justice under any circumstances.

Afterwards, Aladraian talked to Kraall about where the Psiontist was. Kraall stated he was unsure, but suspected this to be part of some grand design on Grayson’s part. He had provided Grayson with the  location and astronomical details of the Bellerephon Cascade – it’s a nebula that apparently doesn’t give off primal magic, instead it’s surrounded by masses of dark matter and charged with abundant amounts of dark energy. Those qualities make it difficult to analyze, but Grayson seemed satisfied enough to presumably leave to go to it. Unfortunately, The Psiontist was just as cryptic as his destination so Kraall can’t be of much help until he gets himself raised.

*The scene is shot from the squid’s point of view.

Categories: Session Log

Session 5: Calamity

November 3, 2012 12 comments

With the party having regained consciousness they set to work dealing with the engine situation. Luckily, Julie had shown up and was able to help. They identified that it had overloaded after being disconnected from several systems and was currently hypercharging the door systems. The group set out to find a control room, and after locating the observation deck, Kraall’s bedroom and a room full of replacement mechanical parts  they managed to do just that. Kraall’s bedroom held a diagram of a massive arcane leyline running straight through the colony, but Aladraian dismissed it. They then set to messing around with the settings in the control room, redirecting power to the shields for the time being, thus allowing the tower to vent its excess power into them. This had the unintended side effect of blasting away most of the nearby ground and rendering the tower, now clearly revealed to be a spaceship, unstable.

They immediately set to putting out the raging fire, using one of two enchantment-triggering buckets that caused torrential rain in whatever room they were emptied in. This did the trick and Crias, for reasons that are not clear to anyone at all, promptly used the second bucket to douse Kraall’s study, destroying the remainder of his notes, charts, journals, tomes and scrolls. Aladraian was then able to repair power to two systems – the air conditioning and the engines, which promptly ignited, sending the group on a pre-planned course straight through the leyline.

As Aladraian struggled to regain control of the ship, Zasahl prayed in the observation deck, watching the ground recede and the tower turn to fly over the colony. His prayers might have been answered as Phillipe, the giant aerosquid showed up and smashed his way through the observation deck window. Crias noticed and tried to calm Phillipe down, only to find out that Phillipe was being ridden by Druid Bob, a gnome, the elf from the shooting range and a female dragonborn, who Crias immediately (and correctly) pinned as Yorick’s killer. Perplexingly they did not appear hostile, and instead invited the party down onto the squid with them.

His paranoia vindicated, Crias immediately leaped down, executing a fantastic acrobatic maneuver that impressed all who saw it, with the intent to just kill the assassins immediately. Zasahl clumsily jumped after him, and landed on the vengeful warden. He was followed by Julie, who landed on the two even more clumsily. At this point, Knostril and Lachlan entered and wondered what the hell was going on. The assassin’s shouts to join them were met with confusion and Bob revealed himself to be an agent of the Huntsman. Meanwhile, Aladraian had managed to gain control of the ship, but not before it flew through the village’s leyline.

With the leyline charged, the primal heart that it pierced was invigorated and the unstable reaction from the two sources caused it to begin reasserting the nature this planet once posessed. The lighting bubbles popped and the colony began glowing. Spikes of living metal shot out from within the mountain, skewering chunks of Ferrosa on their jagged ends, tearing the colony apart and suspending the chunks in the air. The Assassins informed the party that this was exactly what they had been sent by the Astrosage to stop, and by killing Kraall they thought they had foiled the World Builder’s plan. They assured the party that the huntsman’s patronage would hide them and implored them to join them, which Knostril and Lachlan did. Meanwhile, Aladraian was able to reprogram the autopilot to send the tower back to the spaceport before jumping down himself. From their vantage point they could see the buried city within the mountain, now revealed to the surface world for the first time in untold centuries.

As they sailed down to the forest, the assassins relayed the Sage’s instructions, explaining what they believed to be The World Builder’s plan. The unique nature of Ferrosa trapped the souls of the dead, allowing them to be deposited into new bodies after an arbitrary amount of time. The Sage believed that if Tuatha were given control of this process he would have untold power over life and death – preserving those he wanted kept, eliminating those he wanted gone without a chance of conventional resurrection, and selling the remaining bodies to the highest otherworldly bidders. The fact the Touchdown festival attracted a lot of powerful aristocratic types makes this a disturbing possibility.  She contacted the Huntsman an the two conspired to stop it, sending in a team of assassins, and calling in a favour that Druid Bob owed to shelter them. Unfortunately the job didn’t go as smoothly as planned – They were spotted by Yorick and Dak’kel, the dragonborn killed him to silence him, a fact she appeared uneasy with. They proceeded to nearly kill Kraall, but the subsequent lightning strike forced them to flee before the job could be verified. Upon discovering his possession they speculated Tuatha’s intervention and resolved to keep an eye on the situation.

The tower taking off confirmed their fears that his plan was still in motion. Unable to stop the colony from being destroyed, and suspecting the World Builder would try to silence his pawns, they set out on Phillipe to investigate, and potentially recruit some new allies. Whether they were correct or the party will simply kill them for their crimes (or worse, give them up to Tuatha) is not yet known, but the group have convened in the assassin’s camp, where they are deciding what to do next. Luckily, Aladraian’s piloting abilities should have thrown Tuatha off their tracks for now, as he should still believe the group to be in the tower. Of course, Phillipe isn’t exactly inconspicuous so whether Bob was correct in suggesting that they would be concealed is far from certain.

Categories: Session Log

Setting: The Four Sources

November 2, 2012 4 comments

Magic in the Age of Stars is defined as a product of four different power sources – Arcane, Divine, Primal and Psionic, each with their own unique properties and effects. Because they define a lot about how the universe works, here’s a bit of an explanation of what they are and how they interact. All magic draws on different forces inherent to the universe, and can be wielded through different thought processes, with some being more amenable to certain kinds of thinking than others. Different kinds of magic may be inherited from one’s ancestors or learned as a skill, though not everyone is able to wield it effectively. Often non-magic users are able to unconsciously draw on it in order to perform superhuman feats, but they can’t shape it in the way an actual mage can. These aren’t comprehensive descriptions, as so much about the nature of magic is either unknown or involves conflicting schools of thought, but people tend to agree on most of these facts.

Primal

Primal Magic was the first kind of magic discovered on Nasca and is perhaps the oldest in the universe. It flows from the creative aspects of elemental chaos, rewriting the fundamental nature of the universe, and as such is highly concentrated in nebulae and within stars. This connection to the fundamental forces of the universe has earned Primal magic a reputation as “nature magic” because it is at its most potent where nature has been allowed to grow unchecked. Primal wielders tend to be tribal and traditional, acting on instinct more than reason, strengthening their connection to the primal forces through their passion and more animalistic qualities. As such you get barbarians who perform extraordinary feats through bestial rage, and druids who assume the forms of the animals they live in harmony with. Of course, for different races “getting in touch with nature” means different things, but the broad strokes are similar for most sentient creatures.

Divine

Divine magic is the magic of the Gods, or to be more precise the magic of faith. It flows from widely held ideas strong convictions, and is generally wielded in the service of great causes or steadfast ideologies. As a magic of order it works to impose belief on the universe, reshaping reality to the will of sentient beings. Divine magic does not come from the gods, so much as the Gods come from it. Each one represents a massive concentration of belief, which is what gives them their powers, while their personality comes from a mass cultural personification of the idea. For example, Bahamut originated as a powerful metallic dragon who stood for justice and protection, and in death he became synonymous with it, giving a life and a persona to the concepts as the new god of Justice.

Primal magic is often at odds with Divine magic, and the two tend to aggressively counteract one another. A sufficiently powerful Primal power source such as the one beneath Ferrosa has the power to alter the nature of life and death, allowing for the physical manifestation of souls under certain conditions, even if that soul would not normally manifest*. The gods meanwhile can overpower the magic of nature, resurrecting the dead or performing miracles. Because of this Primal/Divine paradox mages tend to have great power over the fabric of the universe, but their constant spiritual imbalance can result in the effects of their spells being corrupted, sacrificing specific effects of one source with the effects of another.So smiting someone with a lightning bolt might cauterize their wounds or even heal them unintentionally.

*Souls manifesting through primal magic are called spirits and tend to do so because of a powerful emotion or significant event. Souls manifesting through divine magic are ghosts and tend to stick around as a result of unfinished business or to aid a cause they served in life. Psionics can’t cause a soul to manifest but a sufficiently powerful psionicist might leave a psychic imprint on an area, which will resemble their consciousness, but isn’t actually them. Arcane magic doesn’t manifest souls, but necromancy can be applied to an already manifesting soul for fun, profit and undying horror.

Arcane

Arcane Magic involves harnessing raw chaotic power to break ordinary physical laws, and as such can be highly destructive. It seeps through the universe via leylines – magical hotspots that occur through as-of-yet unknown means. Sorcerers, dragons and demons favour this kind of magic because it’s very direct and highly flexible. On the flipside, statistical analysis and complex mathematical operations can be employed to use arcane magic in highly ordered, structured ways. Reducing the uncertainty of certain events happening to a statistically negligible amount is how wizards and artificers operate.

Arcane magic reacts with primal magic by resonating and amplifying one another – Arcane/Primal Paradox Mages can amplify primal spells with arcane power, and imbue arcane spells with unpredictable primal effects, whether intentionally or otherwise. As such, these kinds of mages rarely occur naturally, and often destroy themselves and others with their untamed magical energy before they can fully gain control of their abilities. A notable exception is when one becomes a paradox warlock, in which case the effects of the interaction are much easier to control with two entities managing them.

Divine Magic reacts with Arcane as a lens does with light – focusing or shaping it, changing specific properties to reflect the mage’s beliefs. An Arcane/Divine Paradox mage manifest their spells differently to their peers – a fireball may be cast as a cleansing holy flame for example. Meanwhile a divine ward against physical harm may prevent other magic from affecting the target instead. These effects make arcane/divine paradox mages highly versatile within their chosen fields.

Psionic

Psionic magic is the power of the rational mind created and centered around conscious thought processes. Where Divine magic is concerned with what people believe, Psionic magic is about how they believe it. Whether practicioners being monks seeking to free their minds of earthly distractions to achieve transcendence, or psions using their understanding of physics or psychology to apply telekinetic forces or mental suggestions respectively. This is why psionic knowledge is often considered less important to the skill than the process of attaining the knowledge in the first place. Being able to comprehend the mechanics or influences behind a subject is what grants a psionicist their power, which is why psions tend to gravitate towards scientific understanding and study.

Psionic power tends to be highly opposed to the primal way of thinking, or to be more precise the lack thereof. Where Primal power requires emotion and instinct, psionic power favours logic and rationality. Because of this, Psionic/Primal Paradox mages must reconcile their conscious thought with their unconscious instinct, learning the triggers and connections of their own minds and how even the most logical thought derives from innate primal instinct. Doing this grants a strange kind of focus, turning the manifestations of their abilities from organic shapes to crystalline lattices, making them much harder to dispel or interrupt. It is conjectured that shardminds evolved in such a state, becoming highly intelligent in an environment of extreme primal magic. Much like a diamond is forged through heat and pressure, the shardminds became the way they are today.

Arcane magic tends to be similarly opposed to Psionics, with the chaotic forces of arcana rendered static by psionics. The spontaneous manifestations of Arcane magic defy causal reasoning, so a Psionic/Arcane paradox mage will often cancel out their own abilities. This means the most common paradox mages are some variants of Wizard, using their understanding of arcane theory, rituals and spellcraft to satisfy the requirements of psionic reasoning.  This expertise tends to be highly rewarding however as Arcane/Psionic mages are masters of their craft, shaping new spells from raw effects and manifesting psionic enchantments that confound the mind or heighten the senses. The highest concentrations of such mages are found within the Faraday Corps, which is famous for its use of mental magic in ways that for centuries only wizards could dream of.

Mastering both Psionic and Divine magic requires not only strong convictions but rational philosophy and reasoned logic backing them up. Given the right cause, this kind of mage can have their faith bolstered by logic and their curiosity satisfied by a well explored worldview. This strengthens both aspects of a Psionic/Divine mage’s spellcraft and is considered by monks and clerics alike to be a state of enlightenment, compared to understanding the fundamental nature and meaning of the universe. The level they describe however is rarely achievable, but it is something aspired to by many, even those who cannot wield both powers. Nonetheless, a Psionic/Divine paradox mage is a force to be reckoned with.

Categories: Setting

The Cast (Sketch)

October 30, 2012 11 comments

Left to right: Knostril, Crias, Julie, Lachlan, Zasahl, Aladraian

Here’s a very simple depiction of the party. Stuff like shading, colouring and backgrounds might come later if I get the time.

Most of the characters were based on the portraits supplied by the players, while I filled in the blanks. Neither our rogues, nor cleric have portraits so their appearances are made up from whole cloth. So if I’m way off how you pictured your character looking let me know.

Categories: Behind the Scenes

Session 4: The Duel that Never Happened?

October 28, 2012 9 comments

The session started with Crias making a fumbled attempt to get Zasahl’s shock stick. He was intimidated into submission and spent the rest of the session cowering in a corner.

Fun fact: Intimidate is a straight up roll vs Will, and Zasahl has a godly intimidate bonus!

From there things got a bit strange – Zasahl and Knostril  began to see each other as enemies and began a fight to the death. Both were well armoured and had trouble doing any real damage to one another, and any time that Zasahl was hit he simply healed himself. The two fought through the lobby, wearing each other down slowly, as their battle spilled into the hall. Zasahl retreated into the Faraday memorial room hoping that its enchantments would distract his foe. Unfortunately the room’s effects only render its contents uninteresting, not its occupants, and Knostril found himself free of distraction and utterly focused on Zasahl’s end. Realizing his mistake, Zasahl allowed the psionic effects of the room to free his mind of distraction as well, and the two began beating each other bloody (repeatedly). Before the final blow could be struck, Knostril hesitated, unwilling to gamble what little energy he had left on one last attack.

As he began to make his move, the two found themselves floating in a stellar void, before being returned to the lobby  – apparently the Astrosage had her own agenda with this fight. Thinking no more of it, Knostril charged, only to miss, as he no longer had the focus the Faraday room provided. Zasahl went to burn him with a sacred flame only to find that he had not been fighting Knostril after all – he had just shattered the Psionic Nexus of a Faraday Corps defense construct. The machine had sensed the damaged Arcane battery, and detected intruders, using its psionic abilities to wipe the minds of most of the party, and project hallucinations into the mind of the remaining two. Knostril’s final blow and Zasahl’s holy fire had shattered the source of its power, breaking the illusion and narrowly averting disaster. After salvaging the shards of its nexus and the twin daggers it wielded, the two threw its body into the Arcane fire, and the conflicting magical power sources reacted to slow its spread. With any luck, the party should now have enough time to come up with an escape plan, but they won’t be able to depend on any healing from Zasahl.

Bonus Feat for Zasahl and Knostril: Fire-Forged Friendship

Through their duel, Zasahl and Knostril gained an intuitive understanding of each others’ fighting styles and capabilities. Now when they aid one another, either through a skill check or in combat (through flanking etc), they get a +3 bonus instead of +2.

New Mechanic: Escalation Die

In addition, we’re going to use the Escalation die mechanic from 13th Age in combat – each round of combat with a successful hit increments a d6 by 1. The value on the die (1-6) is added to all attack rolls the party makes. So if the ED is 4 everyone gets +4 to hit. Enemies don’t – it represents the party learning their foes’ weaknesses and being able to better circumvent them.

~~~

That was a fun fight but a lot of people were busy today and couldn’t make it. Would it be more convenient to move the game back a day to Friday (US etc)/Saturday (NZ/Australia)?

So the next session would be 6 days from now instead of a week.

Let me know if you can make it.

Categories: Mechanics, News, Session Log

Setting: The Obsidian Vault

October 24, 2012 3 comments

I mentioned on twitter a while ago I might write another Age of Stars campaign for my friends at home. Whether it pans out or not is yet to be determined, but I thought you guys might find my pitch interesting. It occurs pretty far away from the goings-on on Ferrosa, with different icons to the ones you’ve seen, but there’s some relevant info on Nasca here that you might like.

Categories: Setting

Session 3: The Bellerephon Cascade

October 21, 2012 4 comments

As a note, I’m expecting people to get to level 2 as of next session, provided they escape the burning tower. I’m tracking XP kind of informally and I figure level ups will be at suitably dramatic moments, rather than after an arbitrary point total. If you want I can try formalize the whole thing a bit more, but I think it’ll be more fun to have level ups be defined by something awesome happening instead.

~~~

As our heroes were debating what to do, Aladraian returned with help from the colonists. The Duchess, after initially discovering Yorick, panicking and flinging wild accusations at the group sent a bunch of people to dig out the entrapped druids, while asking the party to investigate the assassination covertly so as not to cause a panic. She, meanwhile would post guards around the shuttle bay and attempt to keep the Assassins from fleeing. Zasahl was able to clear his own name thorugh Yorick’s testimony that the assassin who killed him was female. Unless there’s some really weird alternate universe time travel going on. They decided the best way to do this would be to investigate Kraall’s tower, in case his soul was bound to it, or in case there would be anything suggesting a motive for people to kill him. They noticed the lightning storm had been coalesced into a series of water globes filled with arcing electricity.

On the way, they encountered Ceylon Tuatha, who thanked them for dealing with the Biome problem, agreed to look into the matter of Yorick’s ghost, and took an immediate interest in his possessed friend. Tuatha, being familiar with the history of this place, was able to interpret for the spirit in Kraall’s body who referred to herself as “Glissa of the Caverns”. She informed them that she “lived” within the mountain on which Ferrosa is built, in a subterranean village. He offered to answer the group’s questions as promised, but they instead asked his help in getting by Kraall’s defenses first. He agreed on the condition he could be allowed to continue to question Glissa, which the party agreed to allow. Despite evidence that Tuatha was some kind of Paradox Warlock.

Ceylon opened Kraall’s door by reverting the wood into seedlings, and the party began exploring. Crias came across a fancy walking stick engraved with the eye Seal of Grayson Faraday (Note: The Faraday corps symbol is identical, but with a star, not a galaxy as the eye’s “pupil”). They also broke into a room containing an active starship engine hooked up to an Arcane battery, and a small closet that Kraall had apparently been painting with a substance that resembles space when applied. The paint was wet so Zasahl and Crias began trekking nebulae through the hall. Lachlan meanwhile found a spyglass that seems to clearly show shadows but not people. In the next room, rather than a spiral staricase they found a grand hall, with a series of sliding staircases leading to various doorways set at varying heights along the walls. One was a kitchen (Kraall likes spicy food), while another seemed to be a portal leading to the other side of the room. However, upon being approached by Aladraian, holding the Psionstaff the portal shifted to a room full of Kraall’s Faraday corps memorabilia. The room was protected by an psychic effect that caused individuals with will less than 15 to lose interest in it.

It seemed Kraall had once been Faraday’s personal apprentice, and while he was not a psion (indeed Faraday has no restrictions on those he takes as apprentices) he had worked closely with the Corps. There were several portraits of old campaigns and star maps,  as well as a crystal containing a memory of the day he shot down a craft of escaping convicts, only to find out later that his sister Pyxis was one of them. Pyxis Tyrulian was a pyromancer, who had evidently become estranged from her family and incarcerated.

Moving on, the group managed to access his study, coming across scattered papers suggesting that Kraal was aware of Ceylon’s arcane dealings, and confronted him about them. He had also done some research into the Primordial Seals below the village, and theorised that they could be opened somehow. Perhaps if Glissa had been available she might have been able to offer some insight, especially now that they had a mind reader, but as it stands they’ll have to go back for her. Nonetheless, Aladraian came across a locked journal, which Crias promptly attempted to shock, and the resulting clash of enchantments drained the two effects, bringing the leatherbound volume to life. It has roughly the personality of a spiteful cat, but none of the ability to move.

This explains why natural paradox mages are so rare.

The diary contained an account of Kraall meeting Grayson Faraday, who seemed interested in the Bellerephon Cascade – an obscure nebula with strange and unpredictable properties. He then left his walking stick with Kraall and vanished not long after. At this point, his whereabouts is completely unknown, though the Corps has denied it. As they continued to search through Kraall’s stuff, they began hearing an ever louder hum. Moving downstairs they saw the door locked, the Arcane battery ablaze and the entrance regrown into sturdy, regenerating oak trees that could not be felled despite Knostril’s best efforts. Suspicious Draconic footprints lead from the star closet to the door, meaning the assassins seem to be involved. Their attempts to fell the trees unsuccessful, the party will have to search through Kraall’s abandoned, chaotic tower to hopefully find another exit.

Or be burned alive in arcane fire.

~~~

At this point, the killers could be working for any of the icons except Grayson Faraday, on account of him being missing and that making no sense.

Categories: Session Log

Setting: The Thirteen Seals

October 20, 2012 1 comment

Each Icon in the Age of Stars has their own seal, representing them in some abstract way. These seals are unique to the icon, and are not used by anyone else, except when referring to them. The seals are used by agents of their respective icons to verify that they act with that person’s authority. Often such insignias are used to tag certain areas where the icons’ influence has been exercised as a way to signal other agents. Such marks are typically enchanted by a glamour, allowing only the icon’s allies to see it. Such enchantments can easily be dispelled, but doing so will erase the glyph, and being able to detect an Icon Seal is not the same as being able to read it. That said, some with conflicted or even negative relationships with certain icons have reported being able to detect and read their seals, though it tends to require more effort than otherwise.

Each icon has a corresponding seal, whether chosen by themselves or associated by them by others.

Some Icons choose to use the insignia of their organization as their seal, while others simply use a personal logo. They can be a statement of intent, something the icon believes reflects their personality, or simply a design their followers refer to them by.

What to they all mean?

Ceylon Tuatha chooses to identify himself through his terraforming efforts, the ones that earned him his title. He is immensely proud of it.

The Huntsman’s spiderlike insignia reflects his name and Drow heritage. It is functional, but the Huntsman would prefer to have no identifying marks.

Grayson Faraday encourages others to see the universe as it is, and his icon is about as clear an illustration of his teachings as he could muster. As such, it adorns the uniforms of the Faraday Corps.

Diin Aradesh refuses to use the symbol of Ioun unaltered, though he has had trouble disassociating himself from it due to his station. He insists Ioun’s symbol should be revered, not misattributed to him. As such his symbol is ever so slightly different.

Myddea Luminastra founded the Galactic Order of Astronomy and as such bears it’s symbol. After stepping down as the high priestess of Correllon – a position her preincarnations have held for a millenium – she proved to be an arcane prodigy, earning the right to bear the Star of Correllon once more.

Oona’s many avatars sign her name with a smile. It is customary for her foes to cross her seal’s eyes to prevent her from spying on them.

Shahrukh’s seal came from a political cartoon depicting her holding the fate of the universe within her claws. The webbed wings were meant to compare her unfavorably to Lolth – spider-goddess of the Drow, however she reportedly took a liking to the depiction. That said, she doesn’t breathe fire, she breathes poisonous gas. The cartoonist was reminded of this in the manner befitting a fine steak dinner.

The Blood Emperor’s seal depicts a heart cut in two. Opinions are divided as to whether he uses it literally to refer to his title, or metaphorically to refer to his sensitive, poetic side. OK, so they’re not really divided so much as people like to make fun of him from a very, very safe distance.

The Wild Man’s seal reflects his views on the duality of nature – it’s serenity, contrasted with its ferocity. The fact his ferocity is apparently tearing serenity apart is a connotation he has never explicitly rejected.

The Dwarven Hammer above Briginan Earthroot’s mountains is said by his political rivals to represent the size of his ego. He however would state that it merely refers to the Dwarves rising above their station. With overwhelming force.

Darvill and Amelia represent themselves with the ancestral seal of the house of Whitecliffe, the sun representing a new dawn for humanity.

Quartorzi’s seal is the subject of great debate. The fact she refuses to explain it is only partially owed to her muteness. Most people just settle for crystals=shardmind and leave it at that, but few seriously actually believe that’s all there is to it.

The origin of The Revolutionary’s symbol is unknown. It is used by her followers or supporters to show solidarity, but it is unknown if she ever uses it personally. It is unique in that it is only ever inscribed under glamour, and appears as another icon’s seal to anyone who is not already sympathetic to her cause.

What does this mean in-game?

Spot a seal, an icon had some influence here. You might spot a seal as a result of a successful relationship roll, or simply come across one if you’re in their territory. What it means can vary greatly, but seals are almost always beneficial to those they reveal themselves to. They will show up via detect magic as an indistinct blob splattered onto a surface, but can only be identified through either  successful relationship roll with the icon it represents (positive relationships identify them automatically).

You can also use a seal to identify yourself or others to an icon’s followers, or their enemies.

Categories: Setting