Friday, December 28, 2018

The Outsider Megapost or Angels, Demons and Spirits, oh my!

                                                            by Will Burke

Hopefully, this is the final word for me on Angels, Demons and Spirits.

Let's lay some ground rules, and then we'll get started.

First, what's already been established:

1. Outsiders come from Outside or Beyond. 

Outsiders come from Outside of the mortal realm.  They have come down to slum it with us poor, desperate things for their own inexplicable reasons.  But they are clearly not from around here- they have come from a higher place.

2. Angels, Demons and Spirits are related in the same way that butchers, bakers and candlestick makers are.

Angel, Demon and Spirit are titles bestowed by mortals on Outsiders.  "Good" Outsiders are called Angels because they come to aid us, speak useful prophecies, and bless children.  "Bad" Outsiders are called Demons because they give powerful, dangerous magical items to people who shouldn't have them, overturn centuries old doctrine for a laugh, and steal babies for their own inexplicable reasons.  Spirits are the Outsiders who fall in the middle, neither aligning totally with a "Good" religion or being truly altruistic, but not being actively malicious enough to torment us for asinine reasons.

3.  Outsiders have a strange psychology

(See below.)

These previous rules are things I've largely gathered from other people's posts.  The following rules though are my own.

4.  There are no "established" Outsiders.

In Arnold K. Centerra, Angels are part of the Hesayan religion, part of the Universe.  They don't mess things up.  Same with his Demons.  But he also includes other, weirder beings, these are the only ones he calls "Outsiders", because they come from outside of the cosmology.

And while I'm not sure about Nukaria, that is definitely not the path I am taking in Those who Know.  In that setting, all Outsiders are from outside our universe.  An Angel is just as mysterious and strange as any of the freakish things knocking at the door to the Centerran universe. 

All Outsiders, whether good, bad or neutral, are not from Around Here.  They all have mysterious agendas and strange powers and evoke the same emotions of awe and fear.  They all strain the fabric of reality, causing rippling shifts as they enter.

5.  All Outsiders have to be invited

Outsiders do not arrive naturally.  They have to invited into our Universe by a willing, foolish, or malicious party.  I wrote about how to summon Outsiders here.

6.  All Outsiders need a host
Outsiders do not have bodies of their own.  They must borrow a body to remain in our Universe, otherwise the disturbances they caused upon entering will never abate, intensifying until they are blown back home.  But if an Outsider can hide inside a native, then the disturbances stop, as the intruder is "gone".

An Outsider can take any living creature as a host, but if the host is not strong enough, the Outsider will burn through them.  They can possess animals, but the animal will only a few minutes before it expires.  Instead, they need something that can tolerate a great soul.  A Human being is best, but any intelligent species with free will and a soul can also work.

When an Outsider is inside a body, it almost always calls the shots.  Fighting an Outsider is always difficult, but the hardest place to fight one is inside your own head.  But it need not be that way.  Many people would love to allow an Outsider to dwell within their body, merely for a chance to taste its semi-divine power.  And even if you didn't realize what you were agreeing to, it's best to remain on good terms with your body-mate, because whatever happens to the Host happens to the Outsider they're carrying with them.

Note: Outsiders also tend to "burn out" their Hosts in the long run, forcing them to either remain only for a brief period or constantly to be looking out for their hosts.  As a rule, if an Outsider's Damage Threshold is less than or equal to someone's level or HD, then there are no problems.  But if the Outsider's Damage Threshold exceeds the Host's level or HD, then the Host will only survive for a number of days equal to the average between the two numbers, rounding down to the nearest whole number.  For example, if an Outsider with a Damage Threshold of 7 was using a 1 HD commoner as a host, then the commoner would only last four days before the Outsider's power burned them up, killing them.  An examination of the corpse afterward would conclude that the deceased died of exhaustion, massive stress, or multiple simultaneous organ failures.

7.  Exorcisms are meant to exploit the weakness inherent in Rule 6.

An Exorcism is a ritual through which a creature that is bound, whether by its own will or by events beyond its control, is set free and forcibly removed.  This means that Exorcism is a valid tactic against Ghosts, as Ghosts are bound to cursed objects or people.  But while they can be used for this, their primary purpose is to be used against Hostile Outsiders.  If you can separate an Outsider from its Host, it must take a new Host or be forced out of our universe by the passive defenses built into our reality.

                                                                  by Will Burke

Outsider
SHP X*  AC Varies Atk Varies
Mor 10  Saves (7+X) or less is a success

Damage Threshold X: All Outsiders have a Damage Threshold.  They only take damage from sources if the amount of damage equals or exceeds their Damage Threshold.  If a source of damage cannot equal or exceed the Threshold, instead ignore it, as if it did no damage.  To determine the Outsider's Damage Threshold, consult the table labeled "How strong is it" below.

SHP: Stands for "Super Hit Points".  All Outsiders have a number of Super Hit Points equal to their Damage Threshold.  Each time the Damage Threshold is equaled or exceeded, they lose 1 SHP.  When they lose them all, they die.

Host: All Outsiders need a host in order to enter our universe.  The host can be willing, or they can be possessed by the Outsider.  See 'Possession' below.  Any damage done to the Outsider is also done to the host.  An Outsider can leave a Host if it wishes, but if it does, it can only remain in our universe for X rounds, where X is equal to its Damage Threshold. 

Possession: If an Outsider has abandoned its host or currently does not have one, it can attempt to take over the body of someone nearby.  To do this, as an action, the Outsider makes a mental attack against someone.  They must make a save.  This save should only be conducted once per day, not before every attack.  If they failed their save, for the rest of the day, they take 1d6 CHA damage from the Outsider's mental attacks.  On a success, they take half damage from each mental attack.  If this CHA damage ever equals or exceeds someone's CHA score, they are possessed, and the Outsider takes control of their body.

If the person the Outsider is attacking does not possess a CHA score, instead calculate their Charisma score equal to their Morale+1 per class level they have.

Finally, if someone doesn't resist, the Outsider can possess them as a free action.

Shape-changer: When inside a Host, the Outsider can change their host's body at will.  This does not change its stats, but it can change the host's shape, appearance, scent and everything else about them.  These changes can go away when the Outsider leaves or they can be permanent, Outsider's choice.

Tactics:
- Value your own life above all else
- Take a Host that your enemy would not like to kill
- Toy with your foes, manipulate them into doing what you want, if possible


                                                  
To customize an Outsider, roll on the tables below.

What signs foretell the Outsider's arrival?

All Outsiders are proceeded by signs, which are scaled based on the scale of the Outsider.  Stronger Outsiders make it rain frogs, blood or acid, mirrors crack and all music on the radio become Cannibal corpse for days, while weaker Outsiders cause the local poet to have a surreal dream the night before and for a couple hours, every cat within 20 miles starts flying off the handle.


The weird happenings began...

1d4
1- An hour ago
2- Yesterday
3- A few days ago
4- About a week ago

It all started with...

1d6
1- Certain members of the local population started having weird, similar dreams.
2- Strange bouts of amnesia.
3- Lights in the sky.
4- Strange odors.
5- Voices from an unknown source speaking out of the static on un-tuned TVs and radios.
6- Phone calls from an unknown number.

And escalated too...

1d6
1- Local animals, such as livestock or pets, began mysteriously dying.
2- Strange weather phenomena
3- Horrific nightmares, night terrors and sleep paralysis for some local people.
4- A local went insane and committed some horrific crime.
5- Certain people began suffering vivid Hallucinations.
6- The flow of time seemed to change, suddenly moving too fast, too slowly, or chunks of it seemed to be missing.

Then when it arrived*...

1d20
1- Statues, and pictures of people start to weep blood.
2- All food is suddenly swarming with maggots and weevils.  Any liquids that can be drank (water, alcohol, etc) became undrinkable.
3- All water within 1 mile turned to blood.
4- The wind picked up and began shrieking and howling.  Windows rattle in their panes, loose objects are flung around, kites were yanked out of the hands of children.  The wind sounded like a scream or wail.
5- Clouds gathered and acidic rain starts to fall.  The acid did no damage, but it burned and irritated the skin and damaged buildings, paint and statues.
6- The lights went out, and all electronics failed or malfunctioned in spectacular fashion.  Analog devices are fine, but digital and electric devices were destroyed.
7- All radios and phone lines stopped working.  Picking them up or listening to them only lets you hear a specific phrase being repeated over and over.  TV and streaming services also stop working, instead playing distorted clips that have surreal hidden messages in them.
8- Mysterious graffiti started appearing all over the walls, in the margins of papers, and written on people's bodies in pen.
9- People's reflections became distorted and disfigured.  Looking at the altered reflections too hard causes the mirrors displaying them to crack.
10- You all suddenly forgot the last 1d10 minutes.  For the players, skip ahead to the next room, and pick up as if they had just been playing for the last couple minutes.
11- Time begins to move at an accelerated rate.  This effects only the local area, but the players won't know that.  Living beings age faster, watches begin turning faster, and natural processes accelerate.  A cloth that gets wet from the rain will seem to dry in minutes, and days will take only hours.  This rate also accelerates the longer it is allowed to go on.  First time will move at double speed, then triple, then etc, and etc. 
12- Strange music begins to play from an unknown source.  It can be a relevant song from in-universe or something ethereal and alien sounding, produced on toxic, forbidden instruments.
13- Memories overlay reality, transforming this current location into one formed out of the character's memories.  The characters are suddenly children exploring their grandparent's basement, or they are back in school, hiding from the school bully.  This area is a mash-up of all the character's memories, so it should be disjointed and odd.
14- If there are any corpses within a mile, they rise from where they have fallen and begin to cavort and dance with each other, engaging in a silent, forbidden dance.  Anyone who attempts to stop them is attacked with deadly force and forced to join the dance.
15- Animals begin to speak, babbling in languages both human and alien.  This doesn't make them more intelligent, just gives them the ability to voice their inane thoughts.
16- All prey animals within the area sense the arrival of a greater predator, and behave accordingly.  Birds stop singing, small animals hide, and you see larger creatures fleeing through the open.  A deer sprints by, you see a brood of rabbits hiding under a fern, horses start kicking on their stalls, etc.  Domesticated dogs and cats start barking and yowling, and if let loose, flee.
17- A delectable, pungent or strange odor fills the air.  It is overpowering.
18- One door within this location now leads to an alien world, a distant dimension, or an alternate universe.
19- All within range must save or become overpowered with some incredibly strong emotional urge.  This can be fear, happiness, rage or anything in between.  Those who save are unaffected, though they can still feel the Outsider's presence weighing on their minds.
20- The sky suddenly changes, altering to have two suns, or display strange planets or constellations that have never been seen in the sky before.

*This sign also repeats itself when the Outsider uses its powers.  When the Outsider is pretending to be normal or just wandering around, it doesn't cause any signs.

What does it look like?

It first appeared as...

1d6

1- As its host, nothing was strange about how it looked.
2- An idealized version of its Host.
3- A strange, beautiful and inhuman humanoid.
4- As a completely different, but normal looking person.
5- As a living object, such as a piece of furniture or a vehicle, ex: A car with eyes growing out of its headlights, a refrigerator covered in skin with organs inside its chilled walls.
6- A person you know, from either the past or present, anything from your current girlfriend to your boss to your 5th Grade Teacher, Ms. Swanson.

But when angered, (or looked upon with Sight Beyond Sight (true sight) it revealed itself to be...

Generate a suitably freaky appearance here.  This is also how the Outsider will look under Sight Beyond Sight, no matter what exterior form it takes.

How strong is it?

1d6
1- Damage Threshold 3.  This Outsider is small and pathetic by their own standards, and those of its kind.  Likely to be far more subsurvient than others of its kind, though that doesn't mean much compared to other outsiders.  Most comparable to an Imp or Putto.  Favored type of host: A child. 
2- Damage Threshold 4.  It has 1 lesser Demonic Gift, roll for it on the table below.  This Outsider is weak, but will pretend not to be.  It will try to bluff.  It's too proud to beg, but it will negotiate.  Most comparable to a divine messenger or saint.  Favored type of Host: An elderly person.
3- Damage Threshold 5.  It has 1d3 lesser Demonic Gifts, roll for them on the table below.  This Outsider is just strong enough to recognize its own weakness.  It is insecure about this fact, so it postures extensively, and responds badly if any attempt (or perceived attempt) is made to destroy its carefully crafted image.  Most comparable to an Old Testament style Prophet, calling down miracles and speaking prophecy.  Favored host: A virgin. 
4- Damage Threshold 6.  It has 1d3 lesser and 1 Greater Demonic Gifts, roll for them on the tables below.  This Outsider is strong enough to feel secure in most locations.  It knows that most things on this planet not designed to kill things like it are about as dangerous as a beesting.  Thus, it is calm and rarely worried.  Life is a magical adventure, and the Outsider has just stepped through the looking glass.  Most comparable to an Archangel or an Elemental Governor.  Favored host: An especially virtuous or wicked person (depending on the Outsider's intentions).  
5- Damage Threshold 7.  It has 1d4 lesser and 2 Greater Demonic Gifts, roll for them on the tables below.  This Outsider regards the world with a saintly air of grace and a distant attitude.  All these things around it are pointless and irrelevant.  It will ignore everything in pursuit of its goal.  It will respond to attempts to distract it with gentle dismissal that rapidly escalates into hideous violence.  Most comparable to an Archangel or Duke of Hell.  Favored host: A person of exacting specificity, coming from a specific geographical area, of a specific bloodline, specially prepared for the Outsider.
6- Damage Threshold 8.  It has 1d4 lesser and 1d3 Greater Demonic Gifts, roll for them on the tables below.  This Outsider regards the world the same way a child with a sack full of quarters regards a candy shop.  Everything is interesting, everything is special and wonderful.  A cup of coffee is a treasure worth more than a pile of gold, a gentle stream is a masterpiece painted on the ground itself, and every single person they meet is the most interesting thing in the universe.  Most comparable to a God, though only someone who never met a God in person would say this.  Favored host: A worthy person.  The Outsider's definition of 'worthy' is likely to be odd, but it will make sense, in its own way. 

What protects it?

All Outsiders have an AC equal to 18-X, where X is equal to the Damage Threshold.

How does it fight?

The Damage an Outsider can do is Dependent on the Outsider's Damage Threshold.  First, roll for the method of attack, then secondly, roll on the second table for the damage a successful attack does.

It attacked with...

1d8
1- Massive claws and teeth!
2- It lit itself on fire and tried to hug me.
3- It spewed acid from (1d6) pulsating orifices.
4- It had dozens (1d10+1) of tentacles, each one tipped with a poisonous stinger
5- Electricity runs through its body.  Anything it touches was electricified.
6- It stole our weapons and utilized them against us.
7- It wielded strange, alien tools that cut, melted or disintegrated.
8- It fired strange rays from its eyes or hands.

Which it used to make..

Damage Threshold 3 = 3 attacks, each dealing 1d6 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +2.
Damage Threshold 4 = 2 attacks, each dealing 1d8 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +3.
Damage Threshold 5 = 1 attack, dealing 1d10 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +4.
Damage Threshold 6 = 2 attacks, each dealing 1d10 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +5.
Damage Threshold 7 = 3 attacks, each dealing 1d8 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +6.
Damage Threshold 8 = 4 attacks, each dealing 1d8 damage of an appropriate type.  The Outsider's attack bonus is +6.

It was a formidable opponent because of its...

1d6
1- Great strength!  The Outsider's STR is 18(+3). 
2- Impressive Speed!  The Outsider's DEX is 18(+3).  It moves frightfully fast, and adds double its DEX modifier to initiative rolls.
3- Terrible Resistance!  The Outsider's CON is 18(+3).  It can stand up to a terrific amount of punishment.
4- Amazing Technique!  The Outsider's skill in combat is legendary.  When rolling damage for attacks made with natural melee or ranged weapons, it can roll twice and take the higher result.
5- Superb Defense!  The Outsider can parry attacks and reduce them by its damage dice once per round.  It can only parry attacks that could be parried.
6- Ferocious Charge!  The Outsider, when it attacks, inspires fear in its opponents.  Every time the Outsider gives some a terrible wound, kills someone, or does an impressive amount of damage, all should save vs fear.  On a failed save, they take 1d6 CHA damage each round they are in combat with the Outsider.  If this CHA damage ever equals or exceeds someone's total CHA score, they must flee at the first opportunity, and gain the conviction, "I will never fight [The Outsider] ever again, unless I have ABSOLUTELY no other choice.  I will also avoid them.  Even their name makes me nervous." 

What Demonic Gifts (additional powers) did it have?

Lesser Demonic Gifts
1d20

1- Can't see me.  The Outsider, as an action, can turn invisible.  It may remain invisible for as long as it likes.
2- Dragonsoul.  As a full action, the Outsider may breathe fire from its mouth or orifices.  This does 3d6 fire damage, save for half, unless you have a shield, in which case save to avoid all damage.  The fire lights anything flammable it touches on fire.  The Outsider can only use this ability every 1d4 rounds.
3- Bright Eyes.  The Outsider, as a full action, can fire 1d4 lasers from its eyes.  Each laser does 1d10 damage, and requires an individual attack roll.  The Outsider can only use this ability every 1d4 rounds. 
4- Chemical Warfare.  As a full action, the Outsider may exhale a cloud of gas from its mouth or orifices.  This gas requires an immediate save. On a success, nothing happens.  On a failure, the effect takes place.  This Outsider's gas specifically does 1d6 [1= Causes you to start crying uncontrollably; 2= You take 1d6 damage a round exposed and go blind temporarily; 3= You start chuckling and can't do anything coordinated; 4= You mutate; 5= You start wildly hallucinating; 6= You and everything exposed starts getting heavier].
5- Wall-crawler.  This Outsider can climb walls like Spiderman. 
6- Hot-blooded.  This Outsider is Immune to fire damage and the negative effects of heat.
7- Hard to Kill.  This Outsider is Immune to either blunt OR sharp (cutting, piercing, slashing) damage.
8- Winter-proof.  This Outsider is Immune to cold damage and the negative effects of frigid temperatures.
9- On Heartburn Medication.  This Outsider is Immune to acid damage.
10- Fit as a Haunted Fiddle.  This Outsider is Immune to poisons, toxins or disease.
11- High Roller.  This Outsider is Immune to damage from falls.
12- Death can't keep me down.  The Outsider regenerates, recovering 1 SHP a round as it heals.
13- Muscle-bound.  Even for an Outsider, this one is super strong.  It has a STR of 19(+4).
14- Greased Lightning.  Even for an Outsider,, this one is super fast.  It has a DEX of 19(+4) and always go first in initiative order, unless surprised.
15- Made of Iron.  Even for an Outsider, this one is super tough, with a CON of 19(+4).
16- "Prick" goes the Demon's Tail.  The Outsider has stingers that it can use to inject people with venom.  This venom does 1d4 [1= 1d6 extra damage a round, until you pass a save or 3d6 damage is done; 2= paralyzes until you pass a saving throw; 3= Makes you take 1d6 damage a round as blood pours from every orifice; 4= save or die].
17- Acid Rain.  As a full action, the Outsider may spew acid from its mouth or orifices.  This does 3d6 acid damage, save for half, unless you have a shield, in which case save to avoid all damage.  The acid destroys everything but plastic and glass.  The Outsider can only use this ability every 1d4 rounds. 
18- Frogmouth.  The Outsider has a long and sticky tongue.  It can use its tongue to grab things and pull them toward it, tie people up, or swing from high places like Spiderman.
19- Pyromaniac.  The Outsider can, as a full action, light itself on fire.  These flames do not hurt it.  Anyone it touches takes 1d6 damage, and it does an additional +1d6 fire damage when making melee attacks.  It also sets anything around it on fire.
20- Cursed Blood.  Anyone who drinks, is injected with, or otherwise finds the Outsider's blood flowing through their veins goes temporarily insane, suffering from wild hallucinations for 1d10+4 minutes. 

Greater Demonic Gifts
1d20

1- Star-Man.  The Outsider can fly.
2- Unfooled.  The Outsider has Sight Beyond Sight (true sight) that it can turn on or off as a free action. 
3- Electro-Lord.  The Outsider can make itself or another object or person magnetic.
4- Flame Drinker.  The Outsider can, as a free action, absorb fire, extinguishing it.
5- Higher Being.  The Outsider is Immune to non-magical weapon damage.
6- Great-Souled.  The Outsider can give its Demonic Gifts to others for a limited time.  While its Demonic Gifts are being used by others, it cannot use them itself, though it can revoke them at any time.
7- Friend to All.  The Outsider can charm people and get them to serve it.  It does this as per the Possession rules, though once someone has been charmed, they only remain that way for X hours, where X is equal to the Outsider's Damage Threshold.  If the Outsider cannot "refresh" this person before the time runs out, then they are no longer charmed, and will act exactly as if they had just awoken from being charmed.
8- Puppeteer.  The Outsider can make people fly into mindless rages, deep depressions, or have psychotic breaks.  This works as per the Possession rules, but instead of being mentally dominated in the end, the person affected becomes overcome with the emotion the Outsider desires them to be with.
9- Mindblade.  The Outsider has Telekinesis.  It can move things with its mind as if it had a STR of 10+X, where X is equal to the Outsider's Damage Threshold.
10- The First Vampire.  The Outsider can, as a full action, drain life energy from living things.  On a touch, the Outsider does 1d6 damage a round to the person it is touching.  It then can use this energy to heal itself.  8 normal HP equals 1 SHP.  It can also distribute this plundered life force to anyone else it touches.
11- Solemn Mother.  This Outsider can speak to and charm animals as a full action.  Animals charmed this way remain this way until the Outsider releases them or they get more than X miles away from the Outsider, where X is equal to the Damage Threshold of the Outsider.
12- All-Seer.  The Outsider can see a short period into the future.  At any point, once per encounter, the Outsider may call a "do-over", and you go back in time 1 round, as what just happened was just what the Outsider perceived in its third eye.
13- Father Time.  The Outsider can make objects decay, degrade and crumble with its touch.  Living creatures merely age 1d20 years upon it touching them.
14- Bombshell Blonde.  The Outsider can make its bodily fluids, execretions or any part of its body it wants into explosives.  These body parts explode with a force equal to their size.  An eyeball or a cup of blood explodes for 1d6 damage, but an organ or horn would explode for 2d6 damage, and something even larger would explode for 3d6 damage.
15- Keeper of the Sword of Hell.  The Outsider has a magical weapon that it can summon from anywhere to its hand.  The weapon is ghoulish, mired in tragedy or stolen.  Regardless of its origin, it is terribly strong.
16- Mother of Suns.  The Outsider can, as a full action, detonate itself and self-destruct, and then regenerate its body afterward.  This explosion does Xd10 damage to everything within X*100', where X is equal to the Outsider's Damage Threshold.  After the explosion, the Outsider regenerates at a rate of 1 SHP a round.  However, while it is regenerating, it is in great pain, and cannot use any of its Demonic gifts.
17- Iron Father.  The Outsider can, as a full action, make its skin as hard as steel.  While its skin is hardened, the Outsider cannot be hurt by anything that could not hurt a grizzly bear wrapped in chain mail.
18- Density-Governor.  The Outsider can, as a full action, make itself intangible for a round.  During this time, it cannot affect any physical objects, but it also cannot be affected by them either.
19- King of Space.  The Outsider can, as a full action, instantly warp through space to any location it can see or has been to in the past.
20- Chrono Hunter.  As a full action, the Outsider can Stop Time for 5 seconds.  It can take 1 action while no one else can.  The Outsider can only use this ability every 1d4 rounds.  This is what it looks like to be fighting someone who can stop Time.  Good luck.


Outsider Psychology

I feel this has already been covered in various places by people more creative here.  So you can read about these here, here or my own take here.

                                                                    by Keith Thompson

The Rogue's Gallery


Here are a list of all the unique Angels and Demons I've written up, along with a few honorable mentions.

Angel of Isolation or Demon of Solitude

Angel of Luck or Demon of Fortune

Angel of Time or Demon of History

Angel of Despair or Demon of Hopelessness

Angel of Fate or Demon of Causality

Angel of Preservation or Demon of Stagnation

Angel of Pride or Demon of Hubris

Angel of Avarice or Demon of Greed

Angel of Mercy or Demon of Suicide

Sunday, December 16, 2018

OSR: The Handsome Men

These are my Elves, long deliberated.  However, much of the work for this was already done by Arnold K and Skerples, so take what they've written and dump it into a blender, then mix well.  I've added my own touches, so if anything below contradicts the above, then that's how it is in my setting.  For example, my Handsome Men are jungle-folk and swamp dwellers, rather than lurking in the classical forests of Medieval or Gaelic art.

Appearance

The Handsome Men are beautiful.  They possess pleasing faces and delicate, tapered ears.  They are tall and graceful, with watchmaker's hands and long, pianist's fingers.  They move with speed and liquidity, such that every movement seems to be a dance.  Their hides range in color, from off-white to dark black, but also more eccentric colors, such as dandelion yellow, robin's egg blue and rouge red.  Their eyes are similarly hued, brilliant, a million stark colors.  Many of them have eyes of two different colors, while others merely have eyes of bright blue, red, or purple.  Others have even more exotic colored eyes though, such as gold, silver, or eyes that are a fusion of two colors interwoven together.  They all possess radically different hair colors as well.  Some are brown, black or fair-haired and some have red hair, but others have purple, green or blue hair.   

However, despite their narrow builds and graceful movements, you must not underestimate them.  Handsome Men's thin limbs possess surprising strength.  Though this won't be a surprise to anyone who has spent any amount of time around them.  Handsome Men seem to possess limitless energy and never sleep.  They do actually, but only for about four hours a day.  This is not a fact you will discover easily though, as no Handsome Man will ever tell you he is going to sleep.  Besides their limitless energy however, they also do everything in an excessive way.  They do not merely walk anywhere, they strut and stride, posing when they arrive.  They do not merely clean their homes, they parade around and slide down their halls.  To them, everything is a performance, and all the world a stage.

Racial Archetype:
Handsome Men are generally:
- Theatrical
- Consummately Polite
- Unwilling to acknowledge the ugly aspects of reality/life
- Mercurial
- Great appreciators of skill and beauty
- High Energy
- Opportunistic  

Speech ways:

The Handsome Men have carefully scrubbed their speech of anything that might be hurtful, ugly or offensive.  They do not discuss unpleasant topics openly.  To discuss things of an unpleasant nature they pad it in layers of euphemisms and pretense.  Handsome Men do not fight other people, they "dance" with them, or "Serenade the wind" with them.  This applies to all their speech as well.  Anything that could be considered an unsettling or unsafe word has been given a cuter, friendlier name.    

Examples:
Prostitute --> Cuddle Buddy
Constable --> Smile Insurer
Soldier --> Martyr-Maker
Assassin --> Crossing Double
Spy --> Surprise Master
Lawyer --> Guideline Inspector
Slaver/Master --> Absolute Custodian
Man-Catcher --> Wanderering Friend/Glomper
Clown --> Subjugulator
Slave --> Dependent Employee

Building ways:

Handsome Men are said to live like savages, squatting on the earth in placid communion with Nature.  However, anyone who knows anything knows that the Handsome Men curtail Nature, and work to control her, just like any other people.  The forests of the Handsome Men resemble parks, with very tall trees and plenty of space for sunlight to slip through the canopy to cover the ground in lush grasses.  You may not notice it, but each of these forests have been specially cultivated and modified to make them more beautiful, but also to preserve the appearance of being natural.  For example, a Handsome Man have have had his Dependent Employees carefully paint some of the rocks in a stream bed a different color, or filled the woods with the animated corpses of deer, who are instructed to prance around and act like deer, but when or if you strike them, you will find nothing but bones beneath their artificial fur.

Similarly, Handsome Men structures are designed to accentuate and fit into Natural Spaces, at least for the Handsome Men not privileged enough to live in the cities.  Though these natural spaces have usually all been modified, at least slightly.  Handsome Men use their magic to command nature, so they are fond of doing that.  Handsome Men will modify the way trees grow to shade their paths and dye wildflowers different colors, or poison the local stream with chemicals to make it sparkle more in the sunlight. 

Handsome Men cities, on the other hand, are the only obvious thing the Handsome Men build.  Their cities are full of great manses and lavish public works.  Every surface there is carefully designed to either display a work of beauty, draw attention to some other work of beauty, but most importantly, to not class with the surroundings.

                                                                  by TARGETE

Family ways:

Handsome Men have extreme difficulty conceiving children.  This is usually not due to lack of trying, or their women perishing in child-birth.  Their families tend to be small as a result, with one or two children per couple, assuming they have any.

As a result, Handsome Men build large households around them, recruiting and controlling servants, monsters, Dependent Employees (slaves), spirits, and Magical Beasts bound to them through those same magicks.       

Marriage ways:

Handsome Men weddings, despite their odd customs and ceremony, are not as odd as one might think.  They usually marry for love, and the parents of the bride and bridegroom have a limited role in the wedding, except what the bride and bridegroom will permit them to have.  The only real restriction on who can marry who is a cultural one, and that is that the bride and bridegroom should be of the same rank.  As the Handsome Men see it, smallfolk should marry smallfolk, royalty should marry royalty, and Handsome Men, which are above all the other beasts of the field and peoples of the world, should only marry each other.

Handsome Men Patriarchs are also known to oversee marriages between members of their household.  If you wish to marry one of the members of a Handsome Man's household, you will need to ask the permission of that person's "Father" or "Mother".

But while the marriage itself may be rather normal in function, the ceremonies are most certainly not.

Firstly, the bride and bridegroom, will be dressed in layers and layers of cloth.  The bride will wear her under-garments, then her petticoats, then a corset, then a large dress, then a headscarf, and etc.  She will continue until she is covered head to toe in fabric.  The bridegroom will be dressed the same way, covered head to toe in fabric.  Their outer clothing will usually be primary colors, such as blue and red, yellow and blue, or red and yellow.  They are then brought before an official to officiate their union and take their vows.  For two Handsome Men, it might be an Angel or a Demigod, but for two members of a Household, it might be the Patriarch of that Household, and for two Dependent Employees (slaves), it would be their Custodians (masters).  Then vows and oaths of fidelity will be exchanged and made, and once the marriage is officially sealed, the bride and bridegroom will then be then shed their outer garments, to reveal that their garments underneath are a blend of the two colors.  For example, after the bride sheds her red wrappings and the bridegroom his blue shroud, they will both be revealed to be wearing purple.  This is a practice always greeted by thunderous applause.

Then their will be a feast and games, though for the uninitiated, Handsome Men feasts and parties can be extremely disconcerting, even frightening.  These entertainments and activities last as long as needed, and can vary from wedding to wedding, so there is no point in discussing them.  However, their is one last custom that is almost universal among the Handsome Men, and that is the concept of stealing the bride and bridegroom's clothes.  Throughout the evening the games and festivities will continue, with the bride and bridegroom going to participate in all of them, usually together.  As they do, enterprising party guests will sneak up on them and take pieces of their clothing off.  To aid in this, Handsome Men wedding dresses are losely tied together, so they can be pulled apart with minimal effort.  This continues, depending on the region, until both of them are down to their under-things, naked, or one is deprived of all their clothing.  In some regions, the bridegroom is expected to surrender a piece of his clothing to cover his bride, but not the other way around.  In either case, once one or both of the newly-weds are sufficiently undressed, they will dismiss the precedings and send the guests home, while they retire to their bed chambers.     

Divorce among the Handsome Men is similarly eccentric.  For starters, due to the long lives of the Handsome Men, marriage is not as treasured as it is in some other societies.  Handsome Men themselves generally only marry for a period of decades, usually between twenty and fifty years.  This period varies and is usually negotiated before the marriage itself.  After the period has elapsed, the couple can decide whether or not they wish to stay together.  If they wish to, they may renew their marriage for another period of decades or years.  If they do not wish to, it is not seen as impolite or unkind to part ways here. 

Divorcing before this period is up is considered to be an egregious violation of custom and is seriously punished. 

These laws also extend not just to the Handsome Men but to their client races, who marry and get divorced in similar ways.  However, unlike the Handsome Men, if you are a laborer and you get married at 16, then promise to stay with your wife for twenty years, that is likely to be if not a lifelong commitment to include the vast majority of your life.

When a divorce does occur though, the husband and wife have their property divided between the two of them.  For smallfolk this is usually not that big a deal, but for the Handsome Men and their households, it can be world-shattering, as Dependent Employees are part of a Handsome Man's property.  This means that servants who may have served together for decades might be separated, or the families of Dependent Employees might be torn apart.  These divorce proceedings are usually rife with betrayals and intrigue, as the agent's of the husband and wife try to get the members of their separating household to follow one or the other.  These proceedings rarely go smoothly, with much negotiating, arm-twisting, bribery and back-room dealing proceeding the formal divorce.

Gender ways:

I have been using the term Handsome Men to refer to them throughout, but I use "Man" in the older sense, to mean "person".  This is the term that is applied to them by outsiders, and the Handsome Men do not protest it, having largely adopted it.  But what I've said here largely applies to male and female Handsome Men equally.  The Handsome Men have liberated their women, allowing the wealthy females of their kind to attain all the privileges and rights of a wealthy male.  They largely do not treat females different than males, in outsiders or in their own kind.    

Sex ways:

Handsome Men have liberal attitudes toward sexuality, a fact that horrifies their neighbors and enemies.  Their are lurid tales told in all the surrounding lands of their degenerate sexual practices.  These stories, despite their lurid and sordid nature, are rarely exaggerated.  Handsome Men are perfectly comfortable with unwed people sleeping around, as long as the two people are of equal rank and it is consensual. 

They do have pleasure domes and party palaces in their cities, where vast orgies are held, though these are often dismissed by outsiders as mere scuttle-butt.

As such, the Handsome Men are generally tolerant of sexual deviance, with the exception of when two people of sufficiently different ranks are together, either sexually or romantically.  If a Handsome Man were to be caught with a Dependent Employee, it would be a severe scandal, though in such cases, the lower ranked one is always punished more severely, and depending on the heights the higher ranked one has reached, they may not be punished at all.

That being said, the Handsome Men still demand that all sexual activity be kept behind closed doors, and have taken great pains to remove all mentions of sex and sexuality from their speech.  Anyone holding hands or kissing in public would be punished, and anyone caught committing a sexual act where someone else who did not wish to see it could see it would face severe sanction.

                                                               by TARGETE
Age ways:

The Handsome Men are an ageless people.  Once their bodies mature, they cease to age, remaining young and beautiful forever. Their souls are so strong that they can halt the natural process of decay and entropy, protecting the Handsome Man from the rigors of age.  Couple this with the Handsome Men's easy access to magic, including healing and restoration, and in theory, a Handsome Man can live forever, assuming they are not killed through violence or suffer a catastrophic accident.

As such, as Handsome Men age, they tend to grow more skittish, more cautious, and in some cases, more paranoid.  All Handsome Men know that on a long enough timeline, the odds of being attacked by an opponent they cannot defeat or being caught in some kind of natural disaster, or being afflicted with a disease that their magic cannot drive out grows to a near certainty.  As such, while a young Handsome Man may be willing to fight you head-on, an older Handsome Man would rather seal you inside a building, set fire to the structure, then wait outside, waiting to riddle anyone fleeing the flames with arrows.     

Death ways:

For a people as long-lived as the Handsome Men, death is not a mere tragedy, it is a catastrophe.  They mourn any member of their household that passes, down to the lowliest Dependent Employees.  Even these lowly ones can receive somber and dignified funerals, paid for by their masters.  But when a Handsome Man perishes, it is a blow to all of society.  All parties cease and all the Handsome Men who knew the deceased clothe themselves in sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on them.  While at all other times Handsome Men will keep their heads, now they will wander the streets, singing mournful songs, composing morbid poetry, and weeping openly.  Colorful banners will be brought down and replaced with banners of black, and skulls and other symbols of death displayed openly.

For the first time in a while, the streets of the community at night will be silent, and all Handsome Men will be encouraged to think of what they are not doing.  After all, even for them, life is not infinite.  They are not immortal.  These are times of oaths and promises made, of renewal and new life, as the living use the wake as an excuse to examine their own lives, and try to remedy any regrets they may have.

Finally, a note.  If the deceased died violently, this will be the time where oaths of vengeance are sworn.  Depending on the rank of the person who perished, this can mean anything from a few family members strapping on their swords to go hunt down the perpetrator to an entire army being marshaled to drown the perpetrator's land in war-blood.

Religious ways:

The Handsome Men are said to pray to themselves.  But this is misunderstanding.  You can't pray to yourself.  Prayer requires one to look up, and it's impossible to look up while staring at your own feet.  The Handsome Men revere the All-Mind, a transcendent, universal force that infected our universe with consciousness.  They believe that the All-Mind is the source of all life, especially intelligent, conscious life. 

All souls inevitably attempt to return to the All-Mind upon death, but not all make it.  This is the final goal of all souls, to rejoin the All-Mind and enter into sacred communion with the rest of the cosmos.  However, unless one knows about the All-Mind and wishes to join it, it is impossible to do this.  Instead, most souls are guided merely by primordial instinct, which can serve someone well, to a certain extent.

The greatest of souls climb into the Heavens, where they become Angels or Gods (depending on what sect you ask).  Less moral but still somewhat virtuous souls cannot climb so high, and fall back to Earth, where they are captured by a woman's uterus and transferred into the growing shell of her child.  This process of descent and re-capture erases the soul's old memories and personality, and the soul is born again to try.  This is the fate of most souls, the Handsome Men say.  Furthermore, what kind of uterus a failed soul is trapped in depends on how they live.  Their is a vast hierarchy of intelligent races in the Church of the All-Mind, with Handsome Men being at the top of, and primitive races like Gnolls, Orzane and Dwarves at the bottom.  However, some souls are too wicked even for that.  They are so heavy with sin that they plunge past the Earth, falling into Sheol.  There they are twisted and changed, transformed into abominations, deathless creatures who attempt to defy the natural laws of death and reincarnation.  The Handsome Men call these creatures Hungry Ghosts or Narakans.  Other peoples prefer to call them by their another name- Demons.

The reason why some souls are heavier than others is based on one thing: duty.  Handsome Men do not believe in a centralized structure, per say, but they do trust very strongly in their customs, include their racial caste system.  They say that the weight of one's soul is determined by how virtuous their past life was and the primary ways Handsome Men recognize virtue is through duty.  In Handsome Man society, to conform to custom and to obey your superiors is considered virtuous.  The other primary aspect of virtue according to them is to carry out the role your previous life handed to you, through the status that was assigned to you at birth, to the best of your ability.  If you do that, you will have lived a good life.  Once you die, you may be reincarnated as a higher type of creature, or you may reach blessed union with the All-Mind, becoming one with all consciousness. 

If you reject your duty on the other hand and seek to rebel against your natural status, you are acting in a wicked way and weighing down your soul.  This will not only guarantee it will make your attempts to climb up toward the All-Mind harder, but it also guarantees that your next life will be harder, or at least not better, then the one you have now. 

Notable Gods:

The Handsome Men have no Gods.  To them, the Gods are not worth worshiping, as they are merely aspects of the All-Mind, just as they are.

Angels:

Angel of Pride

Arnold K already did the definitive one here, so I'm not going to even bother.

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Demons of Hubris.

Angel of Dominance

These creatures look like Mustachioed humanoids with rippling muscles and glowing eyes, and wings of golden feathers.  They get stronger and grow more powerful as they more damage.  The only way to beat them in combat is to deliberately pull your punches so they won't get stronger, or to finish them off before they can get stronger than you.  These Angels seek to remind those who attempt to rise above their station of why the hierarchy exists.  They, and the Handsome Men, refuse to acknowledge the irony of such an arch-conservative being praised by a society that so values freedom.  If you can't defeat one of these creatures, try grovelling.  It's not going to kill something that accepts its place.  This Angel's only weaknesses are its pride and its own tendency to underestimate its opponents.

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Demons of Oppression or Demons of Hierarchy.

Angel of Need

Angels of Desire resemble the thing that a person values most.  If someone is sexually deprived, they resemble that person's most eccentric fantasy of a perfect partner.  If a person values money, the Angel will seem to either be a person carrying some fabulously valuable treasure, or the treasure itself.  If attacked or threatened with destruction, the Angel will transform into a modified version of its original form, now possessing wings, barbed flagella, and other intimidating things. This Angel wants to encourage people to give into their desires, whether good or bad.  They can be defeated by an iron will and a stern refusal. 

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Demons of Desire or Demons of Vice.

Demons:

Demon of Humility

Demons of Humility come to check the proud and knock down the haughty, to reveal to the narcissistic just how vulnerable and weak they actually are.  They walk with bowed backs and speak with firm, but plain language, not favoring flowery speech or elaborate ceremony.  They have long horns like a ram's and knotted beards.  Their faces tend to resemble either goats or apes, and they wear homespun or other modest garments, usually disguising themselves beneath hoods and cloaks of simple fabric.  These Demons have the power to make you miss, make others resist your abilities or spells, and allow you to be blinded by your own pride, so you misunderstand what you are seeing.

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Angels of Meekness or Angels of Modesty.

Demon of Obedience/Service

Demons of Obedience come to encourage the greater to give of themselves to the lesser, to advocate that the King serve his people, to demand that the aristocracy prove its superiority by sheltering the underclass.  They are proud firebrands, standing with unbowed backs, bound in spectral shackles of transparent, hardened blue smoke.  They have lupine muzzles and are covered in dense fur, and their faces resemble dogs or horses.  They have hooves, and can run incredibly fast.  They also have the power of being able to strike and bind people with their spectral chains, to cause damage that would strike someone else to strike them instead, and to heal with a touch.  These Demons however, also have one major weakness.  They cannot make their own choices except when they are alone.  When presented with another being with a will of its own, they can only follow orders.  They choose to follow the orders, but they can only take actions that others suggest.  As such, they will usually bring along some mortal followers, to give them suggestions and make full use of their pwoers.

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Angels of Orderliness or Angels of Duty.

Demon of Temperance

These creatures come to remind everyone that there is nothing worse than getting exactly what you ask for.  They resemble gluttons of a specific kind, either immensely fat men, or lascivious women, or greedy misers.  They come and offer someone what they most desire, and try to tempt them into going too far.  They might encourage a glutton to attend a cannibal feast, or a lustful man to engage in a degenerate act, or a miser to rob an orphan.  If the glutton passes the test by refusing, the Demon will reward them with a small boon, and encourage them to work to improve themselves further.  If the glutton indulges, however, the Demon of Temperance will transform into a righteous judge, clad in mirror-bright clothing, face uncovered to reveal a bald head covered in eyes, a crown of fire and holy words floating above their heads.  These Demons can curse people, breathe fire from their mouths, and speak magic words that can blind, stun or imprison.   

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Handsome Men refer to these creatures as Angels of Moderation.

Magic ways:

All Handsome Men, with a few exceptions, can do magic innately.  As such, magic isn't a strange and terrifying supernatural force, but a mere fact of life.  Not all Handsome Men are Wizards, as wizarding is like getting a college degree.  Additionally, becoming a Wizard is not a difficult thing for a Handsome Man, but it is largely a niche application.  For the Handsome Men, using magic is like being able to operate a computer in the West in 2018.  Almost all people can do it, at least on a basic level, but only a some of the more educated classes really know how they work, or how to repair them.  This is how Wizards are generally treated, they are respected as understanding things most Handsome Men know innately, but are generally thought of as weird, in the same way that someone who obsesses over trains or antique telephones is in our society.

Dress ways:

The Handsome Men prioritize two things when dressing, fashion and non-offensiveness.  All Handsome Men strive to outdo each other with lavish outfits and elaborate fashions.  Handsome fashion is strange and alien, utterly impractical and barely understandable. 

The second thing they strive for is to make sure that their outfit won't be thought of as upsetting or offensive.  For this reason they usually dress modestly when out in public.  They also avoid decorating their clothing with religious or political symbols, as well as things that they feel the people in an area might be bothered by.

Handsome Men also possess one other thing that I feel I should mention- the War Face.  You see, Handsome Men compartmentalize parts of their identity in very literal ways.  For example, if the Handsome Men works a job that is not ideal, they will sometimes adopt a different persona for working hours, sometimes taking a new name or even appearance, using their innate magical abilities to alter their appearance.  But while not all Handsome Men do this for work, they all do this for combat.  All Handsome Men are trained in combat, but they regard violence as ugly.  So when attacked, they will run away, change into their War Faces, then come back.  For little brothers and sisters, who also use War Faces, their War Face is usually just some clever weapons, a mask and a change of clothes.  For the Handsome Men, it is done through magic that physically alters their bodies, allowing them to fully channel the immense strength of their souls into their bodies without damaging them.
                                                                  by TARGETE
Rank ways:

The Handsome Men are bound by a rigid class hierarchy.  At the top of the hierarchy are the wealthiest of the Handsome Men, the elders of their cities and the proctors of the pleasure-domes or the party-palaces.  These Party Patriarchs are the social and cultural elite of their society, and usually hold great political influence, even if they dwell in a theoretically democratic system.  Next you have the Handsome Men who are allowed to attend their galas, but not to host them.  Then we have the Handsome Men not permitted to dwell within the cities and banished to the wild lands beyond.

From there we have the lesser members of the Handsome society, the other species and peoples brought into their care.  These "little brothers and sisters" as they are collectively known are each regarded as less than Handsome Men, but still possess some political rights within society.  They usually must attach themselves to a Handsome Man's and join his household, but this is not always the case.  And even if they do join a household, this is a voluntary association.  Additionally, the "little brothers" and "little sisters" can receive wages for their work, own property, but they cannot vote or take Dependent Employees in.  Then beneath them there are the Slave-folk, which are the people from outside lands.  Anyone who is not a member of a Handsome Man's household and/or someone who pays taxes, obeys the law or a King, or is aligned with a Lawful religion will be considered one of the slave-folk.  These people have few political rights, but generally are to be pitied, and not oppressed.  If you are a foreigner traveling through Handsome Man land, this is your status.

Finally, at the bottom we have the Dependent Employees, who have no rights, and are treated like livestock.  They are protected by their Custodian's property rights, at least in theory, but have no real rights or protections beside that.  Their treatment is entirely dependent on their Custodian.  However, due to the Handsome Men's squeamishness, most are not treated any worse than smallfolk in some brutal lands, or slaves in more gentle ones.   

All the upper ranks are regarded with respect, and far greater consideration is given to their opinions, as in any society.  However, in Handsome society, in the absence of written constitutions or laws, the opinion of the elite carries the same weight as a king's decree.  What the Party Patriarch declares to be rude is evil, and what he praises is virtue.  So if you offend an elite Handsome Man, you could find yourself staring down an angry mob.

Furthermore, there is no uniform justice system among the Handsome Men.  Instead, their criminal-justice system is basically street justice, but bound by strict tradition.  The most air-tight of these traditions is that someone can only be accused of a violation of a compact or agreement by someone of equal rank or higher.  Thus, those at the bottom of the society are at the mercy of the elite, with no written law to defend them.  As such, for those low on the hierarchy, justice is either swift and brutal or non-existent, depending on whether or not what they are being accused of is true.

Much of this justice is also carried out not by the Handsome Men themselves, as distributing justice is such a messy, emotional task, but is done by a special caste of "little brothers" called Subjugulators.  These are gigantic beings, specially modified to be strong, tough, and terrifying.  The Subjugulators set up their tents of justice outside of cities and try "little brothers", Dependent Employees abandoned by their Custodians, and slave-folk.  Their rulings are arbitrary and often seemingly senseless, and their judgements are always excessively violent.  All non-Handsome Men regard them with hysterical dread.  The Handsome Men think them hilarious. 

                                                                      by TARGETE

Order ways:

The Handsome Men believe that the perfect society is one where no one bothers anyone else.  As such, in the lands of the Handsome Men, if you smile, keep any ugly or unsightly things behind closed doors, and make polite chit-chat, no one will question you.  The Handsome Men are immensely concerned with constantly keeping up appearances.  They are usually too busy to notice what other people are doing, as long as it is subtle.  Additionally, even if they notice, they are skilled at ignoring things, so they will likely ignore it. 

However, if an offense is too extreme, the person being interrupted or aggrieved by your act of rudeness will go speak to the immediate superior of the person responsible, usually their Custodian or the Patriarch of their "Family".  Depending on the seriousness of the act of rudeness, ugliness or violation of taboo, the superior may elect to deal with it behind closed doors.  However, if an offense is too large, or involves a large proportion of the party, a "Party Punishment" will be ordered.  These are grim affairs where the aggrieved gather at the superior's home, along with the accused, and set about detailing their grievances with the accused, and inflicting punishment upon them.  These punishments can be anything from rebukes and insults to lashes from a whip.  These "Punishment Parties" can be anything from a small group of friends pulling aside one of their own to rebuke them to a Handsome Man being called before an entire community, to be pelted with insults, rotten fruit and stones.

When the Handsome Men execute people, this is also how they do it, by organizing so-called "Last Dances" where they lure the unsuspecting rule-breaker to a friendly person's house, then the aggrieved come out of hiding and attack them, either stabbing them to death in the parlor or beating the accused with staves, then dragging them outside to be hung.

Power ways:

The Handsome Men are Chaotic in nature, and tend to hold political power in suspicion and active contempt.  They do not have organized nation-states or central government.  The Handsome Men do not have an Empire or even a unified state, instead each Handsome Man city-state largely does as it pleases, while the Handsome Men who are not high-status enough to live in the cities live aloofly, free of anyone's authority but their own.  The Handsome Men who live in the wild lands around the city rule over their lands and house-holds like petty kings, exercising absolute authority to punish or pardon as they see fit.

Most Handsome Men city-states share this same stubborn independence, most forming Republics or Democracies.  The form of a Handsome Republic or Democracy is usually something like this: Everyone gets 1 vote per lifetime lived.  Usually this is around 50 years, or however long the non-Handsome population live.  If you are a citizen and you've lived less time then that, you get 1 vote.  If you are a citizen and you've lived longer than that alloted time, you get an additional vote.  This continues up and up, so the older a Handsome Man is, the more political power he receives.  This was intended so that the older members of a community would be able to always to hold sway over the young, and to guide their earnest passions with aged wisdom.  In reality, however, it means that politics is the domain of the old, and the elders of a Handsome Man city are always making the important decisions, with the young either falling in line or abandoning politics.     

Freedom ways:


The Handsome Men believe in Freedom in the same way the Virginia Chavaliers did.  They believe that they are the most enlightened and virtuous of all people, thus, they deserve to be free.  Other intelligent species are less virtuous than them, thus it is okay to make them into Dependent Employees (ie- enslave them), as they were clearly less virtuous and need the gentle hand of their Custodian to achieve true enlightenment and union with the All-Mind.

This belief in Freedom is also why the Handsome Men revere Angels and Fear Demons, even as they do not honor any Gods.  Angels are clearly special as they are born freer than any mortal, their wings allowing them to be free even from the ground. But Demons are also special, in that they are gross and repulsive, enslaved by their past sins.  Of course, you must remember that the Handsome men do not hold the same virtues as you.  To the Handsome Men, their Angels are prideful, full of passionate, uncontrollable desire, and seek to dominate those beneath them, as is their right.  Their Demons, likewise, are humble, unwilling to take control and lead those weaker than them, and restrained by foolish false religions and incorrect philosophy.   

                                                                  by saeedramez

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

OSR: The Elemental Court of Fire

This wasn't a post I really wanted to make, but Arnold K. forced my hand.  So I'm going to make it.  Also, this is inspired very heavily by this post.

Boring Lore stuff

Consciousness precedes existence.  Before there was anything, there was thought.  Then through thought, the world was created.  As such, consciousness underlines all matter.  To a certain extent, everything is alive.  Even the things that you might not suspect are alive.

But as with all living things, there are layers.  In the world of the animals, there are long chains of obedience and dominance that bind all living things together.  Mosquitos feed on plants, but they are eaten by frogs.  Frogs are eaten by birds, and birds are eaten by men. 

But this is not where the chain ends.  The great chain of being extends up even higher.  Above Men we have Magical Beasts, and above them, the Spirits, then finally the Gods.  The Magical Beasts are creatures that have strange power, but are not supernormal.  They are paranatural, just of a higher stature, in the same way that an eagle is higher than a sparrow.  Then above them we have the Spirits, the Angels and the Demons, the beings who can leave the world of the mortal and ascend into the heavens to speak with the Gods.  The Gods form the top of this hierarchy, or at least, as far as we mortals can look.  The Gods dwell in Heaven and in the Higher Realms, and can only enter our world through rituals or the confluence of Fate.

And in the world of the Elements, the same is true. 

Let us take Fire, for an example.  A lit match is equivalent to a bacteria or an insect.  A torch is like a small hare, and campfire a wily fox or faithful hound.  A bonfire is equivalent to a great beast such as silverback gorilla or a water buffalo.  And of course, wild and forest fires do not really have a clear comparison, but could be compared to a great living mat of algae living in a symbiosis with each other, or perhaps an ant colony, if the colony was all one massive organism.

But the chain of dominance does not end there.  It keeps going up.

The System in Theory or Why Fire is Hot

The universe is a very complicated place.  So like our world, Nukaria does not have laws of nature, albeit in a slightly different fashion.

Let's say you want to start a fire.  Here's what you do.  First, you gather your materials, and then create a spark, and then hope it catches the tinder on fire.  Then you feed it kindling, and eventually, proper firewood.  And boom, fire!

Now here's what you didn't see.  As you began attempting to start a fire, a primitive fire spirit, similar perhaps in intelligence to an individual cell in your body noticed, and recorded the data, which was then transferred to the nearby fire spirits, and so on and so on.  This transfer of information continues until a fire spirit reaches the sun.  There the request is acknowledged and evaluated by a Burning Bureaucrat, who works in one of the golden office-complexes of the sun.  There the Bureaucrat consulted the current status of the area around where you are trying to start the fire, the presence of any local water spirits (dampness and moisture), and the method through which you were attempting to start the fire.  

If this Bureaucrat thinks that a fire here is appropriate, the report is stamped and a copy of it is sent back from the sun, along with a small pile of primitive fire spirits.  These fire spirits then come down and flare to life, and you have a fire.

This is the Elemental Court of Fire.

It is the regulatory body through which all fires are authorized and monitored.  At least, in theory.  In practice, there are illegal blazes, border jumpers, defectors, and other blemishes on this otherwise highly efficient system. 

Still, the system mostly works.

The System in Practice

All fire comes from the Sun.  Whenever you attempt to light a fire, somewhere above in one of the golden office complexes of the Sun, a clerk working in the Burning Bureaucracy is evaluating your request, based on the wind, moisture, and numerous other factors.  Then, if they approve your request, the fire starts.  The clerk must then notarize the paperwork and send it off to be properly tabulated.  Usually this system works very well, as the Sultan of the Sun is an administrative genius, and has taken great care to ensure all the legal formalities have been worked out with the other Elemental Courts.  This is a feat that should not be underestimated, considering that the Elemental Court of Fire is currently at War with the Court of Water and is involved in a series of wild diplomatic maneuvers with the Court of Air.  Earth is sort of their ally, occasionally.  The Court of Earth is an impossible mercurial thing, even more than the Court of Air.

Still, the Sultan manages to keep things functioning smoothly, and most of the time, every fire is properly authorized, notarized and catalogued in triplicate.  But mistakes are made.  Paperwork is misfiled, or a Burning Bureaucrat falls asleep at their desk, or any number of other snafu can occur.  As such, the Sultan needs more than mere paper-shufflers and pencil-pushers to keep his Empire working.

                                                                     by ARTdesk
Base Fire Elemental Statblock

HD Varies  AC Varies  Atk Varies
Mor 7  Saves Varies

Elemental: Elementals are alive, but not in the way that you are.  They do need to eat, sleep and drink, but not in the way that you are.  In this case, Fire Elementals need oxygen and fuel to continue functioning.  As long as they are on Earth, they must "eat" or consume something flammable every hour or start to wither.  They also need oxygen, and take 1d6 damage a round they spend in a vacuum. 

Perfect Fire Resistance: Fire Elementals are not negatively affected by heat, fire, or anything related to those effects.

Water Damage: Fire Elementals take 1d6 damage if water is poured onto them.  They avoid it like the plague.

Tactics:
- Varies
- See below

Elementals of Note


                                                                        by Zlydoc
Sun-Brothers

Sun-Brothers are beautiful, sanguine creatures, their flesh unmarred by burns or ash, tanned and well-formed.  They tend to be quite beautiful, with skin ranging from the soft yellow of a beeswax candle flame to the russet red of leaves falling in autumn.  Their hair is similarly colored, though it can often come in bright shades of blue, white, or gold.  They clothe themselves in gossamer robes of embers and adorn themselves with molten jewelry, their rings and necklaces still glowing red-hot from the forge.    

These are the children of high ranking Ministers in the Bureaucracy or the spawn of Solar Governors who simply could not fit into the strict Solar Society, were incompetent, or committed some kind of faux pas that got them punished.  But since they were nobility, they could not merely be killed.  So they were instead assigned to some minor administrative task on Earth, which is largely a backwater, as far the Solar Court is convinced.  And compared to the glass halls and the endless heat of the Sultan's palace, Earth certainly seems far too cold, dark and dank for their liking.  These poor fools are left to attend to their largely meaningless work in miserable conditions, a fact that is now doubt incredibly obvious as very little of their work is actually important.

And while I use the term Sun-Brother, there can be female Sun-Brothers.  They are called Sun-Sisters.

Statblock Changes:          

HD: 4

AC: 13

Saves: 8 or less is a success

Atk: Heated Dueling Blade 1d6 + 1d6 fire damage

Abilities:

Regeneration: Sun-Brothers regenerate a HD per round they are in sunlight.

Solar Flare: As a full action, the Sun-Brother unleashes a blinding flash of light.  All who can see the Sun-Brother must save.  If they are close to it or looking at it directly, they get a penalty to their save.  On a failure, they are blinded, and as an action each round, they can save again.  A successful save means their vision comes back.

Magnifying Ray: The Sun-Brother can use this attack every 1d4 rounds.  As a full action, the Sun-Brother can concentrate all the sunlight falling on the area into a single blinding bolt that does 3d6 fire damage on a hit, save for half if you are merely attempting to dodge, or if you have a shield or a mirror, save to resist all damage.  Also, anyone who takes at least one point of damage from it is blinded as "Solar Flare".

Tactics:
- Wear down your foes
- Drag out the Fight
- Only fight in the sunlight, where you can heal


                                                            by IvanLaliashvili
Burn Wardens

Burn Wardens are as intimidating as they are overworked and underpaid.  They wear robes of pressed smoke and masks of glowing metal, carrying clipboards and ledgers, trailing notes and discarded pieces of paper behind them.  They speak quickly and tersely, and are always fretting over some minor matter that concerns no one but themselves.  They are rarely violent, and will usually ignore those who don't interfere in their very important work.  They are always nervous, but rarely as observant or clever as they think themselves to be.  They won't fight unless you force them to, but if you do, they will use "Ember Storm" which is where they conjure a cloud of burning papers and project them with magical force.  This is not as harmless as it sounds.   
   
These are overworked, underpaid bureaucrats, likely deployed on their first mission.  They work in teams, and usually have the task of directing larger fires, and making sure they do not burn past their legally allotted area.  This is never an enviable task, as directing a forest fire or a fire on the plains is like herding a flock of vicious, flying cats. 

Statblock Changes:

HD: 2

AC: 14

Saves: 7 or less is a success

Atk: Ember Storm(+4) - see below

Abilities:

Ember Storm: Does 2d6 damage, save for half.  Also, anyone hit by this attack is set on fire, and takes 1d6 damage a round until they take an action to extinguish it.

Burn Notice: If there is any fire within 100' of the Burn Warden, the Burn Warden can use it to immediately make an attack against anyone with range.  It may make as many attacks as their are fires.  Any fires affected by this ability temporarily grow huge and launch themselves at the target.  These attacks are made as if by Ember Storm, except they only do 1d6 damage, but still have the chance of setting someone on fire.

Cancel: A Burn Warden may, as a free action, cause any source of fire within its field of view to immediately go out.  It can also cause spells or magical items to produce fire to not produce anything.

Tactics:
- Use Ember Storm to set flammable things on fire
- Start as many fires as possible
- Use those flames to pick off the weaker people



                                                             by Artofryanyee
Smoke Heralds

Smoke Heralds were a compromise.  They look like aerial creatures, made of wispy strands of black, grey and white folded around a burning heart, glimpses of fire spilling out of their eyes, mouth and wound.  They are warm to the touch, if you can manage to actually grasp them.  Most likely, if you try to touch one, you'll merely get a handful of air and have to pull back from the heat.  Though you might not even get that far, as Smoke Heralds are swift and very hard to catch, even if you don't include their ability to fly.    

Smoke Heralds are a relatively new office, recently created after several Pantheons of Gods allied and threatened to invade the Sun and replace the Sultan with someone more even-handed, unless the Sultan would stop fire from being so hot.  The Sultan was unwilling to compromise his principles like that, but in the end, war was prevented due to a clever compromise.  Fire could still burn people, but now it had to announce itself first, by sending forth a herald.  This herald was dubbed smoke, and all fires have one, from the smallest candle to the largest inferno. 

The Smoke Heralds are the same thing, but meant to serve not mere Fires, but the Fire Elementals.  While Smoke Heralds will often be seen flying around large fires, they also precede larger Elementals to warn those nearby that someone powerful and dangerous is coming through. 

Statblock Changes:


HD: 1

AC: 16

Saves: 9 or less is a success

Atk: Breath of Fire 1d6 fire

Abilities:

Choking Cloud: As a full action, a Smoke Herald can produce a choking cloud of smoke.  This smoke does 1d6 CON damage to anyone who spends more than 1 round inside it, and then 1d6 additional CON damage for each round after that.  If this ever equals or exceeds someone's total CON score, they collapse and pass out.  It also blinds all within it.

Flier: Smoke Heralds can fly, and hove in mid-air.

Tactics:
- Use "Choking Cloud"
- Stay out of the way
- Fly away if in danger

This monster was originally thought up by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess.

Sunset Storks

They are enormous birds, as tall as giraffes with long beaks and delicate legs, and wide, gleaming feathers that glow the low red and pale orange of the Sunset.  They are often seen at Sunset near large fires or lava flows.  There they can be seen fishing ethereal fish from the blaze or dark, jewel-shelled fish that dwell within the lava itself, to gobble down these creatures.  They are cordial and willing to speak to you, though they will not brook any interfere with their vital duties.  It is said that if they do not return by the time the Sun sets, they will perish, and that is why they are always in a hurry.  This is not quite true.  

Sunset Storks are the censors and book-keepers of the Solar Bureaucracy, given the important duty of ensuring no fire burns past its due.  You see, when a request for a fire is approved, it is given an alloted time it is allowed to burn.  But when the fire's time is up, it must cease burning and return to the sun.  The Sunset Stork is there to ensure that everyone is accounted for.  It has a long list of memorized names and identities relating to the request for fires, and which of the fire spirits must return by the time the Sun sets.  Then, when all those who need to return are accounted for, the Sunset Stork flies back to the sun, and then, when it leaves, it will signal to the Sun that everything is in order.  When all Sunset Storks have given their affirmative, then and only then will the Sun set, and dive into the Sea of Night, returning the Heavens to the Moons and Stars.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 2

AC: 12

Saves: 10 or less is a success

Atk: Beak(-3) 1d10

Abilities:

Space-Bird: Sunset Storks can take objects or people to and from the Sun with ease.  They are not affected by the vacuum or any other perils of space.

Perfect Memory: Sunset Storks never forget anything.  They know every fire spirit they are supposed to be picking up, where those fire spirits were originally dispatched, and all other data contained in the original report. 

Flier: Sunset Storks can fly.

Tactics:
- Don't bother fighting
- Fly away
- Be cordial, but never forget your time-table

                                                                    <source unknown>
Ashen Assassins

They are gloomy and hard to see, soot-grey and black, with a few small, glowing patches all over their body.  They are hot to the touch, and their heated grip allows them to melt stone and metal to create handholds.  They can scale walls, sheer cliff sides, and other impossible obstacles with ease.  They are very sneaky as well, preceded by only the slight smell of something having been burned.  To us, they are sneaky.  To most Elementals, they are all but invisible.  Then, when they find what they are looking for, they explode into motion, burning blades protruding from their wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.  They attack swiftly, with overwhelming violence, then retreat just as fast.  They often travel alone, but sometimes they work in small, highly lethal teams.  They will avoid all combat that might endanger their mission, but will defend themselves with shocking violence. 

All fire comes from the Sun, but the process is not as clean as I have been suggesting.  There are those who bribe bureaucrats on the Sun, or illegal smugglers who can get some enterprising fires off the Sun, for a proper fee.  Or sometimes, a fire request is approved and a mass of fire is sent to the proper location, but once the fire gets there, it can refuse to cooperate.  Or it may start out loyal, but as it burns, decides it doesn't want to stop.  To bring these dissident elements into line, the Ashen Assassins are sent.  They come in the shadows, sneaking up to the rebellious fires and extinguishing them.  This is their most dangerous ability, though it is useless against fleshlings.  Then they retreat, bringing the fire's ashes back with them as a sign of their victory.  They are often followed by Burn Wardens or other Burning Bureaucrats, who come to make sure everything then proceeds as scheduled.

Ashen Assassins are also deployed in the Vapor War against the Court of Water, against disloyal Governors or officials in the sub-Court of Magma, and against Air Elementals that are too capricious to be reasoned with.     

Statblock Changes:

HD: 3

AC: 14

Saves: 11 or less is a success

Atk: Burning Blades(+2) 1d6/1d6/1d6

Abilities:

Sneaky: Ashen Assassins get +2 to all stealth rolls against fleshlings, and +6 against Elementals or Magical Beasts.

Extinguish: Ashen Assassins can extinguish any fire that they touch, and when they do, that fire cannot be restarted by that same source until the Assassin has given its permission, or an injunction has been filed in a Solar Court.

Acrobatic: Ashen Assassins are skilled climbers, jumpers and acrobats.  They get +4 to any feat of agility or flexibility.

Tactics:
- Sneak up
- Pounce from a place unexpected
- Attack, then run away
- Repeat as necessary

                                                               by theDURRRRIAN
Pyrocrats

Pyrocrats are tall and saturnine, stoic and imperial, unflinching like iron.  They wear formal garments befitting their station and have immense gravitas.  They do not suffer fools lightly.  They usually wear belts of sashes of molten gold to mark them as officials, and carry rods of burning iron as badges of office.  They are usually surrounded by thin clouds of smoke, usually something sweet-smelling and white, but if they grow angered, this smoke changes, becoming a choking cloud of black, smelling of sulfur and roasting pork.  People often mistake them for Demons, and flee from them.  This is not the concern of the Pyrocrats, who are content to ignore everything beneath them.  And make no mistake, you are beneath them.

Pyrocrats are governors, rulers and high-ranking Ministers.  They are rarely seen, and only come to Earth for matters of extreme importance.  A large rebellion that needs to be put down, for example, or to negotiate another peace likely failed peace treaty with Water, or to speak with the Parliament of Stone, because one of its many sub-sub-committees found a discrepancy on page 366, section K, sub-section 3 that needs to be discussed before they can continue, or to adjudicate some issue with the sub-Court of Magma or to go to war.  They also show up to supervise large fires or volcanic operations, so if you see one of them and everything is not currently on fire, then you should probably be evacuating the area.    
                    
Pyrocrats are not unwilling to speak to you, but their is virtually no chance that anything you say will affect them.  They consider you gnats.

Statblock Changes: 

HD: 5

AC: 10

Saves: 13 or less is a success

Atk: Iron Rod(+2) 1d6 + 1d6 fire/1d6 + 1d6 fire

Abilities:

Planned Combustion: Pyrocrats may use this ability every 1d4 rounds.  Pyrocrats can, as a full action, fire off 1d6 glyphs of Combustion.  Each of these requires an attack roll of (+4)  These glyphs, once they strike a person or object, must germinate for 1 round.  After that, they combust, lighting the object on fire.  This fire will continue to burn until the object or glyph is destroyed.  The glyph can be destroyed by carving through it.  If a glyph has struck a person, they must take at least 1 point of damage to destroy it.

Fiery Holocaust: Pyrocrats can, once per day, cause one person or object to erupt into flames.  This person immediately takes 3d6 fire damage, save for half.    

Tactics:
- Begin with "Fiery Holocaust" unless you know these guys are strong
- Then bluff and say you can do that all day
- If they don't back off, use "Planned Combustion" to target their armor, weapons or squishy members
- Beat the rest to death with your metal stick