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 cames 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 mrely 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 alloted 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 whispy 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 of 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

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Blue People

These are the Quarrians, a race inspired by one of the works of Daniel Stone, a young author and close personal friend of mine.  I failed to promote his last book, to my eternal shame, so now that he's released his latest one, I am going trumpet this fact from the rooftop.  The newest one is called Color Me Blue, and you can find it here.  But the race described below is actually based off the people in his last book, which can be found here.  He gets all the credit for the broad strokes and the main body of this post, I merely adapted it and filled in the gaps he left behind.

There are many intelligent races in the world of Nukaria, but a few of them have risen to prominence, to dominate their neighbors and rule over them, forming great land Empires in the process.  There are four that have done this, the Orzane, the Dwarves, the Handsome Men, and, of course, the Quarrians.  It is that last group that we will be discussing today. 

                                                               <source unknown>

Appearance

Quarrians are universally dark-haired and dark eyed, their eyes being solid black, their sclera matching their pupils.  Their skin is blue, ranging from the deep navy to cobalt, depending on the Quarrian's breeding and lineage.  They have short claws on the end of their fingers, though these are too short to be used as anything other than a weapon of last resort.  Other then that, they are otherwise fairly normally, physically.  They bleed purple blood. 

Quarrians are also crepuscular, sleeping during the middle of the day and in the middle of the night, and doing most of their business in the evenings or mornings.  They see well in low-light, though not in perfect darkness, and wear hoods and veils to shade their eyes against bright light. 

Racial Archetype:

Quarrians generally are:
- Family-Oriented
- Loyal
- Slow to Anger
- Distant
- Generous and Merciful
- Magnanimous in Victory

Quarrian culture strongly advocates familial and social obligations.  They have a very restrictive class structure, one enforced by iron tradition and long history.  They are known to apply the iron hand to their own people, but are generally welcoming and tolerant of outsiders, as long as they do not seek to interfere with their traditional ways.  There is no prohibition on mingling with foreigners or outsiders, but if a Quarrian associates too much with those not of their own kind, they are likely to be labeled as "outlander", so they keep their distance.  If you are not one of them, Quarrians are likely to come off as kind, but distant.  They prefer the sort of generosity that does not mean you will stay.  If your city is destroyed and they are your friends, they will send men and material to rebuild it, but if you ask them if you can settle in their lands, they would laugh and politely tell you "No."  If you tried to come in anyway, they would kill you.  So go to the Quarrian trade cities, purchase your goods, spend the night, then bid your hosts farewell.  Overstaying your welcome is the fastest way to earn a bad reputation among the Blue People, as they are often called.

Family ways

All Quarrians owe a debt to their families.  Each family is a near-autocratic structure, with the oldest male acting as patriarch, directing and establishing relations between members of the family as well as between families.  These families are often vast and elaborate, with feuds and bonds of filial loyalty to each other, entangling all Quarrians in nets of social responsibility and bonds.  No Quarrian is ever alone, they are constantly linked to all their family, which is linked to their clan, which is linked to all the other clans.  As such, information spreads fast through these chains of people.  If you have ever done anything meaningful for a Quarrian, their family has heard of it, and odds are other families have.  Thus it is said that you should never do a favor for a Blue Person, unless you want to start getting requests from their relatives and friends for the rest of your life.  Of course, this is not always a bad thing, and their are foreign questants who linger in Quarrian trade cities, exclusively serving either the Blue People in general, or occasionally specific clans.

Quarrian families are also known to act as political units.  The whole family is governed by the Patriarch, who commissions the members to engage in labyrinthine schemes.  There are sayings about this, such as, "A family that rules together rues together," or "A family that plans together is placed together", though most of these are apocryphal or merely attributed to Quarrians.  However, one thing that is not invented by outsiders is the famous quote of Governor-General Jamie Mazzon; "Quarrian politics was decided a century ago, we are merely the actors carrying out our roles."  Families are known to hold grudges and feuds that they pass down from father to son.  Quarrians have long memories, and their families forget even less.  A Quarrian clan will remember what you have done for them, whether good or bad, for many, many decades, if not for generations.  So be careful if you find yourself opposing a Blue Person.  You might prevail today, only to find their relatives wish to speak to you years from now.

                                                                      by ValentinaKallias

Marriage ways

Quarrian marriage is dominated by the family.  The Quarrian clan looms so large in their society, it subsumes everything around it.  No marriage to any member of a family can go forward without approval of the Patriarch at the very least, and usually from the leading women of the family.  For Grandfather may be in charge, but he would never marry off his granddaughter without the advice of his wife and sisters.  Grooms in search of a bride must walk into another family's domain, and complete any tests the bride or her family might put before him.  Quarrian Courtship is a delicate dance of romance, passionate vulnerability, adamant defense of one's own character, and fierce negotiation.  Grooms are expected to swear, or promise to swear, oaths of fidelity and loyalty to the bride, as well as to profess friendship toward her father, brothers, and kinsmen.

This process of negotiation can sometimes last for months or years, but usually falls somewhere in between.  Sometimes it takes place almost entirely by the trusted members of the family, with the bride and groom pining away, waiting anxiously for an answer.  Though this isn't usually the case.  That being said, while the stories often exaggerate this process for cheap comedy, it is usually not inaccurate that Quarrian marriage is trying affair.  So when a marriage actually does occur, it should be no surprise that the Quarrians throw themselves entirely into the occasion.

Firstly, the entirety of two clans, or at least the members of that clan that approve, will gather.  These gatherings can number from a few dozen to hundreds of Quarrians, all gathered in one place.  There they conduct the religious ceremonies, either orchestrated by a Cleric or by the Patriarchs of the two clans.  Then, when the bride and groom are officially wed, the feasting will begin.  The feasting usually lasts a minimum of 7 days, one day for each of the Quarrian Gods, though larger ones can last for weeks or months.  It's not uncommon for wealthy clans to throw month long parties involving thousands of animals, dozens of casks of wine, and elaborate gamesmanship.  Besides feasting and drinking, these parties also include other contests, such as ritual combat, religious ceremony, feats of strength, spear-chucking and archery contests.  The biggest clans sometimes also have tournaments where warriors clash for glory and honor, and the privilege of earning one of the bride's flowers.  These large clans also sometimes bring along jugglers, fire-spitters, bards, gleemen, trained animals, exotic slaves, and other entertainers. 
    
Finally, one final note.  There is no law against it, only strong tradition, that a Quarrian must marry another Quarrian.  Marrying outside of their race is generally frowned upon, though for Quarrian women, it is sometimes allowed.  Quarrian men are never permitted to do this, except on rarest of occasions.

Finally, on the issue of divorce.  Divorce is completely legal, though incredibly shameful to Quarrians.  When a married couple splits up, their is always a scramble to obtain their property and divide it evenly among the two clans.  Of course, evenly has massive quotation marks around it.  The larger clan usually wins these legal squabbles.  If the groom's clan is larger or wealthier, his wife was a depraved harlot who bore children that were not his, and if the bride's clan was the one with the upper hand, he was an abusive, degenerated man, unworthy of her, and they are reclaiming her for her own safety.  For this reason, divorce is rarely pursued, as it can lead to many more problems then it solves, even if technically legal.

Gender ways

Quarrians practice strict gender segregation.  All young Quarrians are taught to serve their clans and be virtuous, though expectations obviously vary.  Boys are usually expected to pursue their father's profession, unless they have clearly demonstrated that they have no talent in that area.  Girls are expected to get married and have children, and to pursue and observe romantic love then maternal duty, in that order.

These rules are strictly enforced, though not by legislation, but by the families and the overwhelming weight of social custom.


However, there is one aspect of the relationship between the sexes that is enforced through law.  In all parts of Quarry, it is illegal for women to practice to magic, or to become Stars.  As such, female Magi must conceal their power, or they could face very severe penalties.  The West is more tolerant of such things, and will usually only use shaming or social pressure, but in the east, angry mobs are known to burn Sorcerers and Magi.  Whether or not the people being hurled onto pyres are actually Magi is rarely an issue that concerns the mob.

Sex ways

Quarrians take the concept of pre-martial sex very seriously.  For two unwed people to be caught in the act, or one to confess, will usually lead to the woman's male relatives tracking down and beating her male partner.  They usually won't kill him, though it does occasionally happen.  Usually they say it was accidental.  Sometimes it even is.

Adultery, on the other hand, is a capital offense.  To breach a marriage covenant is blasphemy to the Quarrians, and anyone who violates it is likely to suffer the most grevious punishment possible.  To temper this, Quarrian law demands at least two eye-witnesses to prevent the innocent being sent to the chopping block.  But while this has saved some, it often just outsources the work of punishing adulterers, or suspected adulterers, to the victim's family.  The aggrieved clan will usually put together a posse to hunt down and kill the adulterer.  Sometimes, if the evidence is irrefutable or the adulterer confesses to their own family, they are often abandoned and left for the posse to find, usually tied up or otherwise restrained so that they might not escape justice.

Thus, Quarrians take accusations of adultery very seriously.  It is one of the most serious accusations a Quarrian could make, and never made lightly.  To insulate themselves, Quarrians who feel they might be targeted by such often avoid intimate spaces with members of the opposite sex without a reliable witness, such as a Patriarch who refuses to go into a room with a woman without his faithful wife, or a young maid who clings to her sisters, making them her castle walls. 

Virginity is valued, but it is never as important as fidelity, which is the crowning virtue for the Quarrians.

For other sexual deviancy, their are few laws against them.  But depending on the accused's status in their clan, the evidence may be covered up, or they may be disowned by their family, the most serious punishment a Quarrian can suffer.  To be without a family is to be an "outlander", a thing to be pitied, but not associated with.

Death ways

Quarrians die, just like any other men.  The primary method used to dispose of a Quarrian's mortal body is to burn the body at night, so that their soul might be free to rise into the heavens, where they may meet their Gods once more in the Sea of Night.  These are somber occasions, where all the members of the clan that can will gather around the pyre.  There they will tell stories and rebuke the honored dead, accusing them of moving on without saying goodbye.  Here stories are told of the dead.  Not just tales of joy as well, the dead is celebrated and accused in turn, their sins and their glories expounded upon.  Only when a Quarrian is dead can you truly know who he is.

After that, the Quarrian is placed on the pyre and set alight.  Then, once the fire has gone out and the corpse has been largely consumed, the bones are removed and cleaned of flesh.  The bones are then wired back together, dressed and adorned with ritual garments, and the skull is covered in a mask of gold and other metals, usually sculpted into an approximation of the dead.  The wealthiest can afford jewelers and goldsmiths for this process, but poor families must settle for crude masks of copper, etched with only the faintest impressions of faces.  These corpses are then taken to a crypt, where they are seated with their ancestors.  These crypts are usually carved of stone or buried beneath the ground, but they do not resemble normal tombs, but homes.  The dead are arranged on pillows of silk or stone benches, posed and arranged to suggest life still remains in their gold bones. Their remaining possessions that the clan cannot or will not use are then taken down with them, to be placed in drawers, on shelves, or in the hands of the dead themselves.

                                                                  by MeganMissfit

Religious ways

The Quarrians were, until relatively recently, a bunch of scattered tribes who fought for supremacy and squabbled with each other.  The idea that they were all "Blue People" was not a foreign idea, but one they heavily resisted.  But then, along came a Quarrian named Amanaxes Gollow.  Amanaxes sought to unify the Quarrians and resist their foreign neighbors, who had continuously bullyed and abused the Quarrians for generations.  Then one evening, when he arose to begin the business of the day, he saw a sign in the heavens, where the seven Moons aligned themselves into the symbol of his family's crest, and white fire flowed from these orbs, falling in a silver rain and running down over his head.  Amanaxes it was then said, became overcome with a righteous, holy madness.  He ran and roused his generals, and told them they were going to war.  Amanaxes then began a series of wars to pacify the other tribes and unite them under his rule.  However, Amanaxes was a radical, and rather then dominating the other tribes, instead organized his conquests around a small local religion, the Church of the Moons.  And while Amanaxes would never complete his conquest of all Quarrians, his succeeded in spreading the Church of the Moons to every corner of the Blue People's lands, where it was rapidly adopted by many, for its self-evident rightness and correctness.

In the centuries that followed, The Church of the Moons developed a strong orthodoxy, a flat hierarchy built around peer review of clergy by other holy men, and became a unifying factor for all Quarrians.  So while clans still warred against each other, now they all had at least one thing in common, and a few good arguments about why they shouldn't fight.  And while this didn't prevent all fighting, it did give the Quarrians a unified identity that they could all rally around.

The Church of the Moons believes that the world is a battle-field, a hobbesian nightmare where all groups are pitted against each other in a ruthless battle of supremacy.  They believe their Gods are part of this struggle, wandering through the Night Lands after dark, then hiding during the day, from the Hateful Eye, the Sun.  To the crepuscular Quarrians, the Sun is a ruthless, judgmental figure, who scours the world with painful light and blistering heat.  They know the Sun's name, but dare not speak it, as it is said to bring bad luck and occasionally, immolation.

They believe that their Gods are fighting a covert war against the Sun, and one day they will capture and muzzle him, reducing the world to eternal twilight and putting their enemies to sleep forever, while they will inherit the Earth.  Until then, they must wait and endure.

Quarrians also believe in an after-life, of sorts.  If a Quarrian is good, they will ascend into the void after death, and join one of the God's warbands, joining the eternal war against the Sun.  But during the day, these souls must return to their mortal vessels to hide from the sun.  This is also why Quarrians build underground crypts, so the Sun is not able to find their ancestors.

It is also a common practice to make offerings and pray to one's ancestors.  This is a practice the Church of the Moons has been trying to stamp out, with very little success.                 

Notable Gods:

Ishane is their God of War, Family and Weather.  He is also the oldest of the Gods, the Father of the other Moons.  He is the head of the pantheon.  He bring srain and stir up the Quarrian's inland seas with storms, and when displeased, dumps hailstones or shuts up the heavens and brings drought instead.  He is said to resist the Sun by bringing rain, which cools the Quarrians and hides them from the Sun. 

Marx is their God of Agriculture, Laborers, Travelers and Trickery.  He is the second oldest of the Gods, and Ishane's sometimes rival for the throne.  However, in the stories where he attempts to overthrow his brother, he is usually brought down by his own foolishness or arrogance, and thus taught a valuable lesson, which he humbly accepts.  He resists the Sun by, in a stroke of cleverness, creating plants.  Plants give shade to people and rely on the Sun to survive, so as long as plants exist, the Sun will be hesitant to scorch the world with fire, as the Sun considers plants it's adopted children.

Jazz is their Goddess of Maidenhood, Theatre and Madness.  She is the youngest of Ishane's children, and his most treasured. She is said to protect young girls and children, and has a habit of driving those who oppose her mad, and her prophets are maddened fools, wandering the hills, eating rocks and attacking shadows as spies of the Sun.  She opposes the Sun by stripping those who oppose her Father or older brothers of their imagination, driving them insane, and usually making them fall in love with her.  These so-called "Moon-kissed" are poor folks, hunted by reasonable men and ignored by others.  They gather in quiet corners and moonlight nights to sing songs or read their poetry glorifying her, asking her to be their bride. Jazz has never acknowledged their pleas.

Yono-Gazai [Yo-no Gahh-zai] is their Goddess of Motherhood, Death and the Calendar.  She is Ishane's wife, and actually a loan from another pantheon.  This is evident by her appearance, as while the other Quarrian gods look like idealized Quarrians with marks on their bodies reminiscent of the craters on the surface of their moon, Yono-Gazai is a screaming centripetal creature with long, twitching antennae, 5 breasts, 7 arms, 59 legs, 36 eyes, and a massive, bulging egg-sack that she carries around with her.  Despite her terrifying appearance, however, she is actually said to be compassionate and loving to her adopted children, and her festivals are some of the most rowdy in the entire Quarrian religion.    

Angels:

Angel of Reason

Also called Lunar Angels, these are creatures woven of moonbeams and liquid silver, dripping mercury from their semi-liquid bodies, their four wings shining with bronze and copper feathers.  They can poison people with the mercury on their bodies, but their favorite thing to do is to rob people of their ability to imagine, of their mystical instincts.  This swiftly drives people insane.  This is not always done out of malice, as Angels of Reason are also known to bless prophets, and create Jazz's holy fools.

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Demons of Madness, or the Sons of Selene.

Angel of Family

These beings resemble muscular, statuesque Quarrians, covered in shifting tattoos of black, white and yellow.  They help to minister to families and matters relating to families.  They come on wings of raven black, to punish and deride, but also to comfort and console.  They are often seen whispering in the ears of widows, or hunting outlanders.  Angels of Family have the power to mold and sculpt flesh like it is wet clay, and they use this to twist their foes into freakish grotesques, or to fuse two individuals into one body, as a overly literal metaphor of explaining how a family should work. 

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Demons of Obligation, or Demons of Blood.

Angel of Clememancy

These figures are white and flawless, 10 feet tall and wearing stern masks of iron, their eyes glittering behind like diamonds.  Their wings are snow-white, and they usually have up to six.  These Angels are experts of law and custom, and they come to see justice done.  If a miscarriage of justice has occured, or if the Gods favor one person, an Angel of Clemenancy will come and pardon them.  Angels of Clememancy can also forgive damage that has been done, dissolve contracts, wipe away enchantments and break curses with a touch. 

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Demons of Exemption, or Demons of Injustice.

Demons:

Demon of Fantasy

These creatures are brilliant and glorious, with skin like polished bronze and glittering steel wings.  Their smiles light up the room (literally), and they are beautiful, from their ticking cogs to the warm flush of their metal bodies to the golden wire that makes up their hair.  They bring with them insight, knowledge, and revelation, revealing terrible things that others might not want to hear.  When one of these creatures is spotted, the Quarrians flee, singing songs and throwing rocks so that they might not hear its rhetoric.  They are widely believed to be liars, encouraging ridiculous notions in the young and stirring up artists to create degenerate works.  As such, the Stars work quickly to expel these creatures.  But be warned if you cannot wait for one of them, Demons of Fantasy are very strong.  They are impervious to fire and blindness, and can blind others, and control fire.  But their most fearsome ability to overload the mind with raw color, firing lasers that induce genius and elaborate feats of fancy. 

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Angels of Inspiration, Artist's Angels, or Solar Angels.

Demon of Freedom

These are creatures that exist to break tradition and custom, to bring about anarchy and revolution.  They do this for no real reason, the Quarrians say, other then because they can.  The Demon of Freedom usually looks like a Quarrian or a handsome foreigner, always tastefully dressed, with shifting, multi-colored eyes.  They will often pretend to be a Magi or a mystic, and occasionally a Star.  They will then whisper ideas into people's ears, spreading dissent and fomenting dissent and revolution.  Then, once discovered, Demons of Freedom will reveal their true power, disengaging gravity, slipping out of restraints, and casting spells.  Be very careful around them. 

Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Angels of Liberation, Angels of Freedom, and Holy Reformers.

Demon of Punishment

These are creatures that come to destroy and maim people, to take the law into their own hands.  They are ugly and scarred, wearing forbidding coats of violet and capes of royal purple, crowning themselves with circlets of barbed steel wire.  They descend on featherless wings of red, or they slide down robes of light dropped down from the clouds.  They have the power to inflict wounds on people with a touch, to recruit weak-minded or troubled souls to their cause, and to cause pre-existing wounds to worsen.  These creatures come to destroy those who have been pardoned or escaped the maximum penalty, making a mockery of justice and legal procedure.  They are terrible and dangerous, and insist on their own moral superiority, even as they are killed. 
   
Other cultures that do not share the values of the Quarrians refer to these entities as Angels of Justice, Divine Judges, or Sons of Vengeance.

                                                                   <source unknown>

Magic ways

Quarrians abhor magic as the work of the Sun or his many illegitimate, illuminated children.  It is zealously controlled by Clan Patriarchs and the Grand Court of Elders, which is the legislative body that theoretically governs all Quarrians (its more of a loose confederacy than a federal republic).  Still, the Grand Court maintains as one of its few powers to administer the Stars, which are an order of Wizards that attend to them exclusively.  The Stars act as the martial arm of the Grand Court, enforcing its rulings and helping keep peace and dissuade rebellion.

The Stars also work to make sure the practice of Magic is regulated, and seek to punish any who violate these precepts.  To practice magic without the authorization of a Star or the Grand Court is commit the crime of use of or possession of "unlawful powers".  The Stars are technically allowed to terminate such individuals on sight, though they rarely do so, as the power of the Grand Court is not great outside of certain urban zones or the heartlands, and especially along the frontier, where Patriarchs hold more power than the Learned Elders, many clans will have unlicensed or unregistered Magi.  Sometimes these Magi hide in the shadows, while others walk openly, much to the distress or amusement of the locals. 

But make no mistake, while often flouted, usually secretly but occasionally openly, unlicensed magic is very illegal, according to the Church of the Moons and the Grand Court.  Suspicious commoners are likely to run suspected Magi out of town, or if they know the person is a Magi, to condemn them to the pyre.  Governmental authorities are no better, though they have been attempting to crack down on non-governmental burnings, with mixed results. 

Rank ways

Quarrians have an elaborate system of social caste based on family lineage, occupation, and current situation.  Many of these castes also have certain clothing that only they wear, though it is not against the law to copy their styles of dress, but it is heavily frowned upon and a good way to earn a scolding.  Stars usually wear their armor, bearing their family's seal and the icon of the Grand Court, while Priests wear silver or pale blue, Teachers, whether they teach violence, philosophy or religion wear white robes, healers wear robes of black, and even common folk wear tokens to indicate their profession and family.  Quarrians can automatically determine someone's social position through the small indicators they weave into their wardrobe, but outsiders are likely going to admire the Quarrian's alleged fashion sense and not see anything further.

Additionally, one thing common to all the classes is hair and claws.  For Quarrian women, the longer and better cared for her hair is, the better.  As such, the daughters of aristocrats and the upper classes never cut their hair, seeking to make it as long as possible.  Quarrian men, on the other hand, show their class through their nails.  The lower classes usually trim their nails short to keep them manageable, with the exception of those who grow poppywine, who usually keep a single long nail to cut the heads off the insects that drink the narcotic fluid from the stems of the poppy plants.  The upper classes, on the other hand, generally let their nails grow and file them till they are square.  The wealthiest and richest also lacquer them as well, usually painting them bright colors, or at least something that will stand out against their blue skin.     
This elaborate dress code is to maintain the elaborate social dynamics of Quarrian society, where the family is acknowledged, but also allowing people from opposite clans to understand how they should treat each other.  Thus, even if he is a Mandelain and you are a Klugi, if he is wearing a robe of white, you know how rude you can be to him, without disrespecting him an unworthy amount.  This is something the Quarrians do so instinctively that if they see someone of higher rank berating someone of lower rank, they will usually dismiss it out of hand as part and parcel of normal life, and not think twice about it.  

Thus, if you have any knowledge, you can learn a lot about a Quarrian from just looking at them.  But be careful, clever Quarrians are known to exploit this.  For example, a Quarrian who pins their hair up, wears gloves and does not adorn themselves with any sign of family or rank is likely a thief or other scallywag.

Quarrian Plot Hooks
1d12

1- The PCs are suspected of being Magi or Sorcery, and thus all the nearby Quarrians begin spying on them, to see if you do anything magical.  Even if you don't, there is a 50% chance they run you out of town anyway, on the basis that it's better safe than sorry.
2- You find a Quarrian lashed to a tree by the side of the road.  They are accused of adultery, and their clan decided it wasn't worth the effort of protecting them, so they were abandoned and left to die.  The accusation may or may not be true.
3- A group of armed Quarrians confront the party on the road.  They demand the party turn over their pack animals and any corpses they might have.  They want to eat them.  This is because they are actually the attendants of a lavish wedding feast that ran short of meat, and they are desperate to keep the party going.  They may be open to paying the party a pittance, but not anything more.
4- A Quarrian wedding feast is being held in town.  Tons of Blue People are running everywhere, performing bizarre magic tricks, singing songs, and drinking hundreds of gallons of ale as well as every animal they can get their hands on.  There are plenty of people to socialize and/or rob, but the party could also participate in the tournament being held by the Patriarchs of the Clan.  The prize is one of the blue roses the bride has, and a big pile of gifts.
5- A groom-to-be needs to impress hsi bride's clan that he is worthy of her.  So he hires the PCs to be his character witnesses and come along with him for dinner.  Just make sure you don't say anything that might ruin his chances with his love, or get you all run out of town.  Bonus points if the PCs actually do know this Quarrian, and aren't just making stuff up.
6- A group of starving, impoverished people have gathered outside a Quarrian town, and are asking to be let in.  The Quarrians have barred the door and informed them that they are not getting in, and if they try to, they will be killed.  Things are rapidly spiralling out of control, and at this rate, violence is inevitable.  Can you negotiate between both parties, or just exploit the chaos?
7- A local person of interest hires you to hunt down a group of Quarrians.  Recently, the person of interest accidentally/purposefully killed one of them, and the Quarrians are going to return to their clan.  If they can reach the rest of their kinsmen, they are likely to return with a small army to destroy the person responsible, along with anyone who has the unfortunate luck to be nearby.  Will you go hunt down the Quarrians and prevent them from spreading the word, or will you kidnap the person of interest and deliver them into the power of the Quarrian and hope for clememancy?
8- The PCs are roped into joining a posse to pursue a pair of adulterers who eloped.  However, the posse also includes armed elements from two separate clans, each the relatives of one of the adulterers.  These two elements despise each other, and blame the member of the other clan for the adultery, and pin all blame on them.  So tread carefully, as the posse is a powderkeg, and the leaders of the armed excursion are like men smoking in an arsenal.
9- A prophet of one of the Gods of the Blue People approaches the PCs and begins to tell them of their glorious destiny.  All they will have to do to achieve unimaginable fame, fortune or glory is to partake in something insane, dangerous, or hideous. Probably all three.
10- It's time for one of the festivals of Yono-Gazai.  A local city is taken over by an insane festival to the centipedal goddess of motherhood.  Expect ugliness contests, ritual theft, farce marriages, boisterousness and hooliganism.  Lock up your daughters and valuable or breakable objects.  Also, there is definitely someone trying to exploit the party to do something despicable in the midst of all the chaos.  However, no matter what this crime is, the revelers will not stop until the festival is over, though they will slow down at sunhigh and midnight, and will take breaks to sleep.
11- The Moon-kissed.  The PCs are hired to kill a bunch of monstrous wild-men called the "Moon-kissed".  The person who hires them has you promise to return with their heads, then dispatches you.  However, the Moon-kissed turn out to be a bunch of half-sane weirdos prancing about in the moonlight, wearing silly outfits and reading poetry in the hope that it impresses their love, one of the Moon Goddesses, Jazz.  The Moon-kissed are not evil, but they are largely crazy and indifferent to you, and will defend themselves with shocking violence.  Also, you definitely weren't the only one hired to kill these guys.
12- You encounter a young Quarrian girl far from home, all alone, with a wounded leg.  If you know anything about the Quarrians, you can clearly tell that she is one of the elite, the uppercrust of uppercrust, but she has no family crest.  The girl will ask you to help her return to her family.  Anything you do to this girl, whether good or bad, will be noticed and rewarded or punished.  This is because this is actually the Goddess Jazz in disguise.  If you treat her well, she will bless you.  But if you mistreat her, she will reveal her divinity and punish you harshly.

                                                                    by Elovera

Thursday, October 25, 2018

OSR: Prophets and Clairvoyant Monsters

This is a post about seeing the future, and some other monsters who can do it too, sort of.  So first, I would recommend reading this post, as its where I got the idea of Prophets for.  Secondly, the two monsters below are inspired by Fire on the Velvet Horizon, and as such, are mostly the work of Scrap Princess and the fabulous Patrick Stuart.  Also, you should read that book anyway, not just to get their takes on these creatures, but just to read the book, as it is well worth you time.  Additionally, for further reading, you may wish to consider the Angel of Fate.  Now the formalities out of the way, let's get started.


To see the future is a boon, yet is not granted without a heavy toll.  The few people who have this ability are called Prophets.  Prophets suffer from the ultimate curse, and the greatest blessing.  They lose the ability to do anything normal, but in exchange, you can gain almost anything you desire.  For one blessed with foreknowledge and foresight, talking to people is often an irritating formality, sporting events and political contests are tedious exercises in futility, and wars are massive tragedies, one the Prophet may have attempted to stop, only to reason that they could not, most likely too late.  But while Prophets cannot engage in such things, they gain much.  Prophets can see into the future, and knowing the outcomes to almost any event, they can manipulate the future to their advantage.

How it works


Prophets can, before taking an action, see all the possible outcomes of doing so.  For example, if they are about to roll a d6, they can see all the outcomes, from 1,2 and 3 to the one where the die goes  flying across the room and getting lost under the couch, etc.  This ability to foresee events and outcomes is limited from Prophet to Prophet.  Some can only see the most likely events, while others can see almost all of them.  Though even for the most astounding of Seers, no one can see all the outcomes.  There are simply too many, and Prophets rarely have the time to meditate and consider all of them.  There is always a chance that the person they are speaking to suddenly dies from a falling piece of debris, for instance.  Sure, this is the slimmest, most infinitesimal of chances, but it still exists.

But even for the more limited of Prophets, they are set above almost all other mortals, granted power over history and the future, a power of powers.  They usually use this power to obtain wealth, prestige and power.  Even in cynical times, Prophets amass great wealth and fame, their names known to all, or at least whispered in seedy wine-sinks and run-down brothels.  The greatest Oracles live on desolate moors, surrounded by slaves and servants, but even the lowliest of Seers can afford a few retainers and a roof over their heads.  For even for the largely untalented, there is no shortage of customers.  From Kings to beggars, all desire the Prophet's counsel.

To receive their wisdom, all you need do is seek them out, and ask your question.  After a suitable fee has been paid, of course.

                                                          by Aranthulas

Prophet
HD Varies  AC Varies  Atk Weapon
Mor 10   Saves 9 or less is a success

Future Sight: For purposes of Combat, Prophets can see X rounds into the future, based on the table below.  When entering combat, have everyone roll a number of d20s equal to the Prophet's abilities, and arrange them in a row.  Every time the player would take an action that would require a d20 roll, instead merely use the first number on the list.  After that, the number is expended, and the player must roll the d20 again, and add it to the bottom of the list.     

Curse: If a Prophet is near death, they can curse their opponents with any number of grisly fates.  Even the weakest Prophets can do this.

Tactics:
- Check everyone's numbers, eliminate the person with the highest overall numbers
- Ignore those who have low numbers, unless they might threaten you
- Run if you see two many foes with high numbers.

How powerful is this Prophet?
1d10

1: Weak.  This Prophet can see 1 round into the future.  They have 1 HD and an AC of 11. 
2-3: Mediocre.  This Prophet can see 2 rounds into the future.  They have 2 HD and an AC of 12.
4-6: Average.  This Prophet can see 3 round into the future.  They have 3 HD and an AC of 13.  They cannot be surprised.
7-8: Strong.  This Prophet can see 4 rounds into the future.  They have 4 HD and an AC of 14.  They cannot be surprised.  Additionally, the first attack against them always misses, no matter what. 
9: Mighty.  This Prophet can see 5 rounds into the future.  They have 5 HD and an AC of 15.  They cannot be surprised.  The first attack against them always misses, and they get a +4 bonus to their saves if foreknowledge of the situation could give them an advantage. 
10: Nigh-Omniscient.  This Prophet can see 6 rounds into the future.  They have 6 HD and an AC of 16.  They cannot be surprised.  The first attack against them always misses, and they get a +4 bonus to their saves if foreknowledge of the situation could give them an advantage.  Additionally, their first attack always hits, no matter what.   

Ideally, if you know your players are just going to visit a Prophet, you should write out unique prophecies to give them.  However, if you can't be asked or you don't want to do that or for any other reason, when a player asks a Prophet a question, roll on the table below.

What do they foresee in your future?
1d6

1- Catastrophe!  Something hideous is going to happen to this person soon.  It may be avoidable.  It may not be.  Either way, this person is bad juju to keep around.  Ex: They are going to be fatally wounded and die alone in a dark sewer, while all their friends run away or die as well. 
2- Mostly bad things.  This person is about to have a string of bad luck.  It might not be life-destroying, but it will be unpleasant.  Ex: This person is going to lose their job, their car/horse will break down/die, and their dog will run away. 
3- Misfortune.  This person is about to have something unpleasant happen to them.  It might not be the worst thing in the world, but it won't be fun.  Ex: This person is going to get drunk the day their mom gets out of prison, and she's going to be incredibly angry.
4- A trial.  This person is about to undergo a trial, but luckily, this is something they could turn to their advantage, and possibly gain a boon.  If they are clever, that is.  Ex: They are about to be framed for a crime, but they will be given a chance to prove their innocence. 
5- Good luck.  This person is about to have a sudden stroke of good luck.  Ex: They win a raffle, they suddenly meet their twin with whom they were separated at birth, or they encounter a celebrity while out grocery shopping.  
6- Triumph!  This person is about to be monumentally blessed.  Ex: They find a winning lottery ticket stuck to the sole of the shoe worn by their long-lost father.


The Eaters of Fate

Oranorns are also known as Prophet-Hunters, Prophecy Breakers, Seer-Killers, and Fatebreakers.  They are Thieves of Time, contaminated flows of pure Chaos that seeped out of some crevice in the cosmos, droplets of insanity in a world of normality.  They lurk in dark places, whispering prophecy to themselves and chuckling with their many mouths, laughing at the outcomes they foresee.  When this happens to us, it's going to be so funny.  They just cannot wait to see it.

Oranorns are aware of the future, and of possible outcomes, and seek to drive the future toward the most interesting or amusing one.  They would prefer the world where the King, upon making a big, dramatic gesture to rally his army, trips and falls off a cliff and dies.  They love anti-climax, sudden reversals, and twists of fate.  Nothing amuses them more than the seemingly chaotic and indifferent machinations of this cruel universe.  This is the reason why they hate the Stars and Prophets.  The Stars they despise because they are the cogwheels of Fate, and Prophets because they are constantly altering the timeline with their predictions, forcing the Oranorn to re-evaluate all their predictions, all their calculations suddenly rendered worthless.  This is why they hunt Prophets, and try to eat them, if they can.  They don't always succeed, but they never give it up.  Every experienced Prophet has at least heard of these creatures for that reason, as they are known to make snacks of Seers.

But Oranorns do serve other purposes, besides thinning the local soothsayer population.  For a desperate person or one not accepted in civilized lands, an Oranorn can be an Oracle of last resort, though Oranorns are unlikely to tell you anything accurate if it will benefit you.  Though if your future is likely to lead to death, tragedy or some other hideous fate, it will gleefully spill the beans on whatever horrors you are likely to endure.  They can do other things as well though, as their unique abilities make them useful for several unique services.  For example, some have found success in hiding rare treasures with Oranorns, as the creature's unique aura renders foresight and divination useless.  Of course, Oranorns are also insane and crafty, and just as likely to give the treasure to a bunch of interesting strangers as guard it, but this is simply an unfortunate reality when it comes to employing Oranorns.  Finally, for the Cursed, the leper of lepers, the Oranorn can be the physician they need.  Oranorns are experts on curses and other forms of future manipulation, and can easily identify any Curse, and what actions are required to break it.

In appearance, Oranorns are quite ugly, with low, squat bodies, hard basins out of which springs a thick trunk of flesh like a tree limb, topped with a dozen twitching eye-stalks.  It's flesh is like that of a crab but pale fleshed and without armor, instead dabbed with light oranges, soft blues and the palest of yellows.  It's eight limbs each end with a sticky, three-toed hand, allowing it to grip and climb with amazing strength.  Oranorns are rumored to be able to climb walls and hang from ceilings, and this is, unfortunately, not idle rumor on behalf of common folk.  But of their strange bodies, the central trunk is the oddest, covered in dozens of whispering mouths, along with one central one that resembles a thrashing food processor.  This larger mouth is primarily used to devour prey, while the smaller ones are used to converse, speak prophecy, or engage in endless, circular debates with each other about the nature of reality, divinity, and what is the best fluid to swim through.  The last one is currently a dead-lock, stuck between melted cheese and wine.

                                                      

Oranorn
HD 3  AC 14  Atk(+3) Grabbing Hands 1d6/1d6 or Bite(-2(unless target is restrained/grappled)) 1d10
Mor 10  Saves 10 or less is a success

Foresight Gap: Everything within 30' of the Oranorn cannot be detected through any form of divination, and the Oranorn itself cannot be seen in any possible future through a Prophet's vision, a spell, or any other mechanism.

Oracle: Oranorns can predict the future, though they are unlikely to tell you what your future is if it might benefit you.  However, if you are headed toward a "Bad End", they will eagerly inform you.

Sticky Fingers: Oranorns can stick to walls and climb any surface that is solid enough to support their weight.  Additionally, anyone it successfully hits with a "Grabbing Hands" attack is grappled, and must succeed a DC 15 STR check as a full action or take 1d6 damage and a full action to free themselves from its sticky, sticky grip.

Voices: Every round the Oranorn is in combat with the players, the Referee should read one random line from their notes to the players.  This should be phrased as "in-character" knowledge, so it's describing events within the fiction of the game, but otherwise, do not bother translating any of your shorthand.  If you do not use notes, on the other hand, instead state the outcome for something that is happening in the game world that affects the players.  If after learning this the players want to alter their actions or plans, let them.  Encourage meta-gaming as much as possible.  Let the players go wild with their own bizarre theories about what each line means.       
 
Tactics:
- Jump on people
- Grab onto someone and run up a wall
- Threaten to eat them
- Throw them if they refuse to sit still
- Use Verticality, climb out of reach of people who might be dangerous

                                                            by StDamos

The Ferry-women of Fate

The Medictor is a strange creature, even by the standards of magical beast.  They are large, grey-scaled beasts with humanoid torsos and delicate hands more suited to knitting than hunting.  Their faces are sanguine and maternal, soft-lipped and heart shaped.  If they covered their strange hair, you mistake it for a human face, if not for the scales and slit-pupil eyes.  But the hair is difficult to ignore, as her flowing trestles are made of long, coiling, multi-colored serpents.  These snakes dart around her head, snapping but rarely biting, and even when the snakes do, they never use their venom unless she feels her life in danger.  She can usually soothe the snakes and keep them calm, but they reflect her emotions, and if she is not tranquil, they lash about her, hissing at anything too shiny, too fast, or too unfamiliar.  The snakes reflect part of her nature as a cold-blooded creature, though this fact is easily grasped if you look below her waist.  For there her humanoid torso ends and you see her lower body is a powerfully muscled snake tail, thick around as a column and strong enough to crush a cord of firewood into sawdust.  Still, despite the fearsome power that Medictors possess, they are well known for being civilized, cultured creatures with well developed understanding of language, law and order, and courtesy.  In almost all regions, they are considered Urban Angels (or Civic Devils, depending on who you ask) and welcomed by those who value Law. They are one of the few magical beasts allowed to enter cities and behave as an ordinary traveler would, because of their consummate manners and impeccable respect for law and order.  But this is not the only reason why the City Elders are so eager to welcome the Medictor.           

The Prophet studies the intricate flowing rivulets of time, the drops of possibility falling from the heavens, each moment laden with possibility.  The greater the Prophet, the more droplets they can see, and the more efficiently they can see how light bends through each one, the chain of casuality that flows from moment to moment, stretching all the way back to the Prime Mover, the Unmoved One.  This allows them to look ahead, and see where the next link of the chain is to come from. 

But the Medictor takes a different approach.  Rather then focus on the details of each raindrop, they instead take a step back, looking not at the drops, or even at the storm, but at the river that these drops are falling into, and how this transforms a mere creek into a raging torrent that sweeps away whole towns.  These creatures can see not each individual moment, but the grand arc of history, the cycle of the ages is laid bare before their enchanted eyes.  According to Prophets, Oranorns and Medictors, an individual has many possible futures.  But the crowd, the city, the nation, it can only have one. As you zoom out more and more, you see how forces far greater than any current individual's action have already determined the path of history, regardless of if their descendants know it or not. 

The Medictor can see this grand passageway of time, and as such, see far more clearly than any prognosticator.  Unlike the Prophet, which can usually only see the immediate future or near certainties, a Medictor can predict the next golden age, the fate of a tribe, or the destiny of a whole clan.  This makes them prized by Kings and Priests and well-to-do people, who do everything they can to lure the Medictor to their domain.  Once they bring her there, they lead her up onto a hill or atop a great ziggurat and she as looks out across the city, she begins to speak.  She closes her eyes and the snakes composing her hair begin to move, rising up to survey the city from all angles.  Then, with a hissing chorus backing her, the Medictor speaks her prophecy, detailing the fate of the city, the nation, and occasionally, the people.

She is never wrong.

                                                       by yingakirah

Medictor
HD 5  AC 12  Tail Lash(+0) -special- or Venomous Bite(+3) 1d6/1d6 venom damage + see below
Mor 7  Saves 11 or less is a success

Venom: If one of the Medictor's snakes bites you, you must save.  On a failure, you take an additional 1d6 venom damage.  On a failure, you take 1d6 venom damage each round until the venom has done 3d6 damage, and then it goes away.  You can only suffer from the effects of one failed save at a time.  The Medictor's venom isn't potent, so she pumps you full of them stuff.  As such, if you failed a save but get bitten again, you take the base 1d6 damage and nothing else.

Tail Squeeze: If a Medictor makes a Tail Lash attack against someone, the attack does no damage and instead restrains the person hit.  Then the Medictor can, as a free action on her turn, do 1d6 HP damage and 1d6 CON damage to the person.  If the Amount of CON damage taken by this equals or exceeds the person's total CON score, they pass out.  If the Medictor is allowed to continue dealing damage past that point, they die, no save.  If not, they can be revived. 

God's Eye View: All opponents fighting a Medictor, if greater than 1, when rolling a d20, must roll Xd20s, where X is equal to the number of total combatants, counting the Medictor.  Once they have done so, the Medictor can choose from the outcomes she would most prefer, and the combatants must use that result. 

Tactics:
- Flee if possible
- Avoid duels or single combat
- Grab the weakest looking person and squeeze, then bite those who try to come rescue them

                                                                  by spawnofblacksheep

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

To all those who worry


Don't. 

We have 10 months to find a solution to the demise of Google+.

The Adam's law of slowing moving catastrophes states that even if a problem is big and potentially dangerous, the further off it is, the more likely someone will have solved it by the time it arrives.  And ten months is a pretty long time.

Consider me as an example.  Ten months ago I had 37 posts and wasn't within the same neighborhood of having a clue of what I was doing. 

Now, I have over 139 and dozens of people read my posts where before I was excited if  I get 11 views.

And I am by far one of the least original and clever people in this little community/sphere or whatever we are.

So just sit back, relax, and really consider your options.  Don't worry about the collapse of Google+, or how people are going to find your blog.

Everything will work out.