Monday, September 30, 2019

Elves and their Cities

by Candra
Elf: Reroll DEX and another score of your choice until you get higher results. Roll a negative mutation whenever wounded by an iron weapon (or other industrial source).

Elves are fragments of a god-machine. They look like humans, just better - taller, lither, stronger-sensed (from their large eyes and pointed ears), perfectly symmetrical, moving with silent, practiced ease. They're hyper-optimized for specific roles, and cutting into an elf reveals twisting, arcane biologies that are nigh-impenetrable to any mortal physician. Such is the physiology of an elf, that every component depends on every other component for every task, interconnected deeply and powerfully in ways only gods (or elves) can understand. They are smarter than you. They are stronger than you. They are more elegant than you. And if anything goes wrong, they fail in catastrophic ways.

Elven reproduction is slow and rare. As each elf is a unique piece of a god-machine, they will tend to take on forms of dead elves, lost pieces, rather than appearing similar to their parents. This is how they instinctively take their names; an identifier for their place in the Machine. These are arcane, obscure, and complex - this is how you get elf-names like Aetenathir, or Lirael'thelian. The names were not meant to be pronounced by mortals, rather, merely to be recognized by gods and other elves. Names are all unique among living elves. What do they mean? What does Part A mean in furniture assembly instructions? Elven rebels and hermits tend to strip themselves of names, or take on obscurative ones, so as to prevent other elves from interacting with them in ways that reproduce elven culture.

They are masters of the emergent. An elf can trace an event back to its thousand thousand causes, each no more significant than a butterfly's wing-flap. Humans instinctively calculate the path of a moving object in their subconscious, then move their hand to catch it. Ask one how they did it, and they'll shrug. An elf will explain each facet of wind speed, of rotational motion, each piece of calculus they went through in parallel to put their hand exactly where it needed to be. Every piece of data that an elf acquires, through its hyper-attuned senses, goes through its thousand parallel conscious processes and comes out collated and factored into its behaviors and knowledge. An elf knows exactly which question to ask to get exactly the answer it needs.

Elves were designed to be perfect, infallible parts of a perfect, infallible machine. But gods are fallible, and petty, and malicious, and shortsighted. They did not account for a changing world. So elves, designed too cleverly for their own good, have residual, debilitating allergies to iron, and to smog, and to every other part of human and dwarven industry - things the gods did not see, and never predicted. They can't evolve past this; they don't evolve at all (for if they did, they'd no longer function for their intended purpose). Because of this, an elf's supposedly immortal life is always cut short by painful, inevitable attrition. Their wounds spread, changing their bodies in unpredictable ways, causing systems to fail and cancers to grow in utterly unexpected parts of the body. An old elf may scarcely resemble one of its younger brethren, with forests of fingers, bark for skin, and toxic fruits hanging from its limbs.

One of the pre-eminent scholars of Elven language has published a fantastic treatise entitled The Perfect Languages of Elves, to which this author makes frequent reference.
by Nadegda Mihailova
Elven societies have no government. Each elf acts on its own, as a perfect cog in a perfect machine. This is what they were made for, after all. All communal needs are met, all resources gathered, all crafts produced in eerie silence and harmony of purpose. If there is noise at all, it's of the wind blowing through carefully sculpted archways, ringing in perfect tones to convey information to elves in frequencies too high and at rates too fast for any other creature to deduce. It is the philosopher-king's utopia, with no dissent, no want, and beauty in every corner. An elf city expands slowly, almost on its own as each action and footstep over the course of decades slowly weathers the surroundings into more city.

If these societies are pushed out of balance, they cannot course-correct back towards perfection. Elven societies are each a horrific dystopia pretending towards perfection, covering their sins in porcelain and greenery. They may keep slaves of the "lesser folk," scurrying around hidden pathways to move products of elven perfection precisely where they need to be. They may poison the soil, their bleaches and chemical disinfectants leeching life out of their surroundings, an oasis of flora in a wasteland of ash. They may eat the brains of the dead, and go to war to find more dead to eat. They may use powerful magic to shape fortune to their designs, cursing all who know of their existence to destitution and hunger. Elves may rediscover hierarchy, and enshrine immortal royals to enforce brutal perfection at the expense of all others within and without. Elves, to those who know them well, are nightmare-creatures. The word commonly taken up for these elves, desperately trying to compensate for unexpected change and spiralling into horror, is drow.


Drow-cities fail. The downward spiral into dystopia inevitably collapses, through scarcity, through revolution, through disease, through infighting, through ennui. The cleaning-hexes run out. Buildings are overtaken by their no-longer-trimmed foliage. Porcelain cracks. Heartwood rots. Fungi and decay spread everywhere, taking what is rightfully theirs from the loosened grip of eternity. The last few elves retreat further and further into the core of their halls, attempting to maintain any semblance of normalcy and purpose in the face of implacable entropy. They take on absurd titles, fight over petty grievances, spiral into mutation, burn their priceless art for warmth. Eventually, the entire city falls to ruin, taken over by scavengers and even perhaps mortals who see the shattered spires as a convenient shelter from the elements. The elves scatter, or die off, or languish for aeons in melancholy and grief.

What was the elf-machine supposed to do? The Purpose of Elvenkind, as the question is phrased in the hallowed halls of elfdom, is the contentious heart of elven religion. Often, this question is taken up by drow-lords trying to repair their failing cities, to find the missing pieces and replicate them through arcane science. Religion becomes engineering, research, experimentation. Holy texts are filled with biotechnical diagrams, musings on the nature of elven-kind merged with histories of failures and speculation on their error. Some believe the machine will bring peace and harmony, that holy grail that so eludes elves and mortals, freeing them from the cycle of decay to which all elves are doomed. Some believe it will birth a new god, merging the elves into a deity that exemplifies all their best qualities. Some believe it's nothing but an art-piece, a proof of concept that is nonetheless so beautiful that it deserves creation solely on its own aesthetic merit. Some think this question is immaterial, and want to unite all elfkind in one great city, bring all the pieces into one harmonious symphony, and let nature shape the machine as it will.

Given the evidence of the drow-cities, some believe the machine's ultimate nature is evil, or a trick to consume elvenkind as they stray from whatever the true path may be. The only moral way for an elf to exist is to disobey their purpose, and venture forth among other mortal folk, never meeting or speaking with another elf. They often turn to adventuring, their own self-hatred and pursuit of alternative religious frameworks pushing them to ever-stranger modes of existence.
by Ukitoki
Not all elven cities fall to drowdom! Or rather, not all have fallen yet. All begin with high-minded visions of being the one to succeed, or at least one that won't fail. Some maintain elven normalcy for decades, or even centuries. Still, the longer one lasts, the harder it will someday fall. Many larger cities find their end in civil war, as passive-aggression spirals into full-on war. Sides are taken, districts are claimed, and battles are fought as part of radical political debate, every destructive alteration of the city as part of a reshaping work that will overhaul the entirety of the society in question - if and only if one side is unquestionably victorious. More often, the war takes too many lives, and either breaks the city into two competing drow-cities in an endless Orwellian cold war, or one side wins a pyrrhic victory and for decades hence must contend with the form-traps their enemies set throughout the course of the war to avoid their inevitable descent.

Elven warriors fight with seemingly wild abandon. They dance through combat, wielding blades and spears many times the lengths of their bodies. When they emerge from the fray entirely untouched by their foes, spattered with little bits of blood that they quickly scrub away, they seem to be just showing off. In fact, their every move and tactic is calculated to minimize their risk of injury, staying physically out of reach, moving too fast for their enemies to figure out how to hurt them. They opt for minimal armor (chainmail or steel plate, of course, gives them monumental hives), so they can maximize their natural speed and grace. Magic augments their prowess. Often, elves (or serfs, for the drow) act as moving loci for powerful enchantments, throwing themselves headlong into battle to put a spell in the right place to turn the tide. Elven wizards have no compunctions about using their magic to fight dirty. Better the enemies fall to horrific means than the enemies inflict horrors upon the elves.

Elves in other societies are typically adventurers or traders. Elven shops are common in many cosmopolitan cities, trading their supernaturally elegant crafts or intellectual services for rare materials, favors, or secrets seemingly irrelevant except to the inscrutable minds of other elves. Elves who wish to  find a way to better themselves against their nature, or who know their place to be in a far-off elven city, or survivors of and rebels against drow-cities, or hermits finding a place entirely divorced from their mechanical purpose, will all turn to the jobs-for-gold mercenary-explorer life. Occasional elf neighborhoods may grow in the largest cities, their particular experiment with elven society leading them to seek interaction with others. These are typically neighborhoods of outcasts and rebels who have no moral antipathy against other elves, and still resist the common elven dogma that other folk disrupt their paradises. As they pretend not to form utopia, their settlements last longer, but fall to simple attrition as the industrial hazards of city life slowly degrade their forms.

Elf-Cities
Location
1. Boughs of enormous tree
2. Artificial island in picturesque lake
3. Oasis of green in dessicated desert
4. Tallest peak of mountain range
5. Back of titanic fauna
6. Outlying district of a multicultural metropolis

Feature
1. Crystalline domes and spires
2. Built seamlessly into natural features
3. Lights and bridges of magical force
4. Menial jobs done by by elegant constructs
5. Filled with elaborate, exquisite artworks
6. Extends deep underground

Hiding
1. Have enslaved and purpose-bred goblins to hide between the walls and make all the "magical" feats possible. 3-in-6 chance the goblins are just about ready to revolt.
2. Forcibly control dissenters and visitors with airborne spore-clouds and surgical interventions
3. Unsustainably drain magic from nearby areas to power magical creations and effects, need to expand violently to maintain quality of life
4. Anyone who enters is cursed to never leave until they have performed a number of services for the elven archmage who has deemed themself lord of the city
5. Active, brutal war between two elven factions who disagree over a minor point of decorum
6. All residents have been dead for centuries, replaced by unthinking necromantic effigies living half-lives, killing newcomers to prolong existence

Friday, September 27, 2019

Darkspace Star-Ships

Star-ships are the most advanced arcane creations of a thousand civilizations. They ply the night as symbols of prestige, power, commerce, the conquest of inhospitable realms and twisting of base nature to fit useful ends. Fleets of star-ships are the iron fist of empires and the last best hopes of revolutions, the long arms of the law, the explorers seeking out new worlds, new magics, and new civilizations. Any adventuring party who sees eternity as naught but a new challenge for their skills needs a ship.

Space Galleon 01 by SkullGarden
by SkullGarden
Ships follow Vehicle rules, with a different set of chassis and a larger assumed scale. Despite the 3D nature of space, combat is simulated on a 2D plane, on account of properly 3D grid paper being nigh-impossible to create or feasibly manipulate.

Ship Stats
Power: Acceleration or deceleration
Handling: Changing heading quickly, maneuverability
Durability: Saves, defense rolls
Fuel: Every week of travel, roll the fuel die to see if it depletes (depletes on 1 or 2). On depletion from d4, out of fuel, can't change heading or accelerate/decelerate.
Life Support: Every week of travel, roll the Life Support die to see if it depletes (depletes on 1). On depletion from d4, air quality downgrades by 1 step each day, and gravity stops working.
Hit Points: All mortal-scale weapons deal minimum damage to a ship. Also determines Cargo Capacity. 1 point of cargo capacity is enough for either 1 crew member or 1 tonne of cargo. Equals HP. Whenever you lose HP, lose that many cargo spaces (empty space first).

Ships need a minimum of 1 crew member per 6 HP to function. If you have fewer, the ship has disadvantage on all tests, as the few remaining souls frantically scurry around to keep it running.

Ships can attack once with each crewed weapon they have. Crew members can only crew one weapon at a time, and can't do other things while crewing a weapon.

Chassis
Shuttle: d6 HP, 4d6k3 POW, 4d6k3 HAN, 2d6 DUR, d4 Fuel/Life Support
Corvette: d6*10 HP, 3d6 POW, 4d6k3 HAN, 3d6 DUR, d8 Fuel/Life Support
Frigate: 2d6*10 HP, 3d6 POW, 3d6 HAN, 3d6 DUR, d10 Fuel/Life Support
Cruiser: 4d6*10 HP, 3d6 POW, 2d6 HAN, 4d6k3 DUR, d10 Fuel/Life Support
Dreadnought: 6d6*10 HP, 2d6 POW, 2d6 HAN, 4d6k3 DUR, d12 Fuel/Life Support

The Helm
From whence the ship is sailed. A great wooden wheel is traditional, as is a captain’s chair. Comms are also controlled from here, on a scrying orb enchanted to allow for ship-to-ship communication.

Life Support Sigils
Air needs recycling, gravity needs to hold the crew down, light must illuminate the corridors (and torches obviously won’t do, fool – do you want to ignite the ship?). For all of these, series’ of intricate sigils dot the ceilings and walls. They gain their magic from the painstaking act of inscription itself, and burn out over the course of a voyage. Like Fuel, life support sigil integrity is measured by a depletion die. It begins at the same size as the fuel die (or higher, if you’d like to spend on more intricate and durable sigils). Each week, roll to deplete (depletes on a 1). When you’re out of life support, depletion instead decreases the air quality by 1 step.

The question of toilets is perhaps the most eldritch function of the life support system. Plans for an ideal, multi-species, zero-G-capable toilet escape even the greatest artificers in the cosmos, and many a genius has been driven to madness pursuing this holy grail of space travel. As it stands, the solutions are varied and all insufficient. Single-body-plan crews; using disintegrate spells on the waste; polymorphing toilets; simply venting waste into space out airlocks...

Air Quality
Full Air: Act as normal.
Half Air: Disadvantage on CON and STR rolls.
Thin Air: Disadvantage on all rolls.
Vacuum: Disadvantage on all rolls, save vs. unconsciousness each round; once unconscious, save vs. death by suffocation.

Air Venting: d6 rounds for air to decrease 1 level. Can slow down venting by patching leaks, summoning more air, etc. Can mitigate penalties by reducing personal air consumption, etc.

The Engines
The beating heart of every ship. Six common types of engine are described below.

1. Locomotive. Burns coal, or souls, or in a pinch anything living or once-living may do. Creates great gouts of flame to propel the ship. Covers engineers in soot, leaves trail of darkness across the sky (or brightness, if burning souls).
2. Solar Sails. Stars emit tides of passion-light into the cosmos. Know what the stars feel, raise the sails of the commensurate color, and let winds of fury or love or sadness or greed push you towards your destination.
3. Weaver. Climbs through the stars with an auspicious number of legs, clinging to webs of gossamer starlight that underlie reality. Slow, but steady, and highly maneuverable. Can slip between spaces to emerge on odd trajectories.
4. Lodestone. Magnetize the stone to its target, and have it pull you through space. Larger stones pull faster. Only works on trajectories towards stars, but can "sling" between different stars to reach new destinations. Instantly changes heading. Favored by dwarves and lizardfolk.
5. Oars. Acts upon the same strands that a weaver-engine does, but pushes through rather than gingerly striding between. Slow, steady, requires nothing but the power of the rowers.
6. Sacrifice. The stars’ sole truth is death, and they look upon it with grim favor. This is the rudest, most base form of calendrical mechanics (described below). A ship needs not even a proper engine to fly with sacrifice, merely enough to sate the call of the stars it sails under. Sacrifice a captive to the constellation-alliances that rule your location, and they will move you for a week. Betray them not, or find yourself becalmed in quiet, airless hell.


The Calendrical Drive
(many kudos to Yoon Ha Lee and his excellent Machinations of Empire series, which I’m shamelessly cribbing from)

Space is time, time is space, and both are the dominion of the stars. You mark years and days and hours by the suns, and the times change with their whims. Accurate time keeping is essential to ensure a semblance of normality between the stars (and it's the subject of many a cosmic treaty - and casus belli for many a war). Inaccurate timekeeping, on the other hand, can create vast and powerful exotic effects that defy the laws of sun and sky. This field, calendrical theory, can hurl ships across the cosmos, scour planets, transform death into life and life into art.

These effects are created through the observance of holidays, particularities of societal structures, implications and deeper meanings and interpretations of portents. If tarot met analytic number theory and had a drug-fuelled threesome with astrology, their child of uncertain parentage would look something like calendrical theory. A ruler who follows the right calendrical mathematics may force the stars themselves to bow.

Ships turn calendrical theory into stellar speeds through the operations of a particular kind of calendar-stone, part sundial part abacus part grandfather clock, and particular sorts of sacrifices and observances at holy hours and on holy days. The calendar-room is often by the helm of the ship, including not only the great calendar-stone but also a small podium and benches for the crew's observances and altar for sacrifices. The art of piloting includes training in calendrical mechanics, so that a ship's captain will know the proper observances to follow on major trade routes, and be able to calculate the days and times and forms for other observances when travelling off the beaten path. Some sample observances are listed below.

Calendars may have d20 months, each with d8 weeks, of d12 days each. It’s not particularly important. What matters more is how many holy days (and therefore how many observances) may occur during a trip. This can be used by a GM to provide some semblance of time passing on a long-haul voyage.

12 Holy Days and their Observances
1. Journey’s Eve. For luck, and speed, and the willingness of the thirsty stars to speed your passage. Let 1 HP of blood from each crew member, mingle them in a bowl, then use the blood to trace your route on a map of the stars.
2. The Traitor-Saint’s Feast. Memorializes a day of betrayal, when a general slew not only the entire enemy force but his own as well. The captain and first officer must duel to first blood with ceremonial knives.
3. Grievesgiving. For morale purposes, to ensure that the crew shares in everything – the good and the awful. Dissect a small creature alive while each crew member announces a personal grievance they have with another crewer. Each crew member must eat a different organ, raw and dripping.
4. Lessenday. Let go of the burden of old doubts, old connections, old horrors. Make room for the new. Burn a meaningful journal page from each crew member’s diary. The memories on it are lost.
5. Strifemorrow. Scarify each crew member. The lines, together, form a picture of some relevance to recent events.
6. New Star’s Day. A star has pronounced a new year. Light a candle for each day of the voyage, let them melt down over the course of the day, then each crewer drinks a sip of the scalding wax.
7. The Funeral of Night. For the dead between the stars, always remembered, though never named. Draw lots. The loser must spend the day strapped to the hull in a vac-suit, meditating upon infinity, and gains d4 Stress.
8. Culling-Fast. All crew must act as if dead, carrying out their duties in solemn, sullen silence. None may acknowledge each others’ presence. Disadvantage on all tests, as if operated by a skeleton crew. The captain may not issue orders without breaking the Fast.
9. Justice Day. A member of the crew (chosen by lot) recounts their sins. They must be thematically punished for each.
10. Hedon’s Hour. For an hour, the crew participate in substance-fuelled debauchery, then return to their work. Roll on a Carousing table if you’d like.
11. Talk Like The Captain Day. Started as a joke. Everyone played into it. Now it’s not a joke anymore and the worlds are poorer for it. Everyone’s the captain today. All orders must be followed as if they came from the captain. Minor mutinies are unfortunate but expected.
12. All Hallow’s Eve. Everyone dresses up. Sweets are distributed. Roll for a random encounter.

Using calendrical mechanics on the scale of societies produces vast arcane effects. Locally, it's far weaker and more unstable, yet may be harnessed by a cunning or desperate crew. Emergency observances can be made to roll for Calendrical Distortions upon the laws of nature; for every observance you make, you get to roll on the spell list and choose between all the results. Cast it at starship scale, with (dice) equal to the number of different observances made. Mishaps are on the following table.

Distortion Mishaps
1. Space Invades. One inhabited compartment at random is filled with vacuum and stars for (dice) minutes.
2. Star Light, Star Bright, Last Star I See This Life. All ship’s sensors are whited out for (sum) rounds. Navigate and fire by memory or not at all.
3. It Is Not The Day That It Was. Local calendars all move (sum) days into the future.
4. Crunch Time. The ship takes (dice)*3 damage.
5. Morphological Breakdown. Everyone aboard saves or mutates. The mutation lasts (sum) minutes. Save at the end of the duration vs. permanence.
6. Yearning, Burning. A star is here. It asks for a sacrifice. Choose someone aboard and inflict (dice) wounds on them. Every major wound you inflict this way lets you add an additional die to the spell.

by Adam Burns
The Hull
It’s all that protects you from falling forever. Damage follows the vehicle rules. Damage below 0 HP inflicts a Breach. When a ship is reduced to -max HP, it's Wrecked. Warning klaxons scream their final screams through the thin, venting air. All hands scramble to abandon ship, or die in the frigid airless dark. The wreck remains, floating through eternity, a warning to all that there is no mercy and even less justice in the dark. Depending on the nature of the final blow, the evacuation procedure may be easier, harder, or impossible. A result of Wrecked always results in an inoperable ship.

Breaches
1. Punctured. Air stars venting. Patching breach ends Venting.
2. System Shocked. Random accessory stops working until fixed.
3. Engines Cut. Can't change heading until engines repaired.
4. Fuel Breach. Ship takes (Fuel Die) additional fire damage. Deplete Fuel die 1 level.
5. Cargo Ruined. (damage) units of cargo destroyed. If more damage than cargo, excess damage goes to crew quarters.
6. Life Support Failing. Air stops being recycled, and gravity shuts off until life support fixed.

Wrecked!
1. Torn In Two. The rending shriek of metal, then it splits down the middle. Half Air, air starts venting.
2. Behelmed. A precision strike or lucky shot annihilates the bridge. Everyone at helm saves vs. death. Air starts venting.
3. Hulled. The outer plating has been blasted away, and all the insides are bleeding out. Everyone aboard saves or is blown out a breach. Thin Air, air starts venting.
4. Core Breach. The ship's engine is a source of incredible power, and now all that power is released at once. Every breach occurs simultaneously. Everyone on board takes 3d6 fire damage (save for half) as the compartments fill with roaring flame. Half Air, air starts venting.

Sometimes you’ll need to figure out which specific compartment gets hit, or infested, or irradiated, etc. This table is organized roughly by average mass in a ship. Replace areas as necessary to fit the plan of your ship.

Random Compartments
2. Captain’s Quarters
3. Lounge
4. Engines
5. Random Accessory
6. Access Corridor
7. Crew Quarters
8. Cargo Bay
9. Random Accessory
10. Fuel Storage
11. Sundial
12. Helm

20 Accessories
1. Ablative Plating: 1 cargo slot of plating = +3 ablative armor (destroyed before HP loss).
2. Autobrain: Doesn't need a pilot, will follow simple orders (a short program of directional and acceleration instructions) input through levers in pilot's seat and continue executing them until complete or OVERRIDE switch thrown. 1-in-20 chance to fail to execute any particular order.
3. Cannons: Old-fashioned broadsides. Works at short range. d8 damage per cannonshot, requires manual reload. 2 cargo capacity.
4. Cargo Straps: Can hold (capacity/4) cargo on outside of ship. This cargo is automatically destroyed when damage occurs.
5. Escape Pods: 1 slot per 3-person pod. Pods are self-propelled at 4 Power, 4 Handling, 4 Durability, 1d4 Fuel, 1d4 Life Support. Manually launched in emergency.
6. Exo-Butchery: Lets you carve your way into dead star-beasts and wrecked enemy hulls. A tube through the butchery apparatus lets brave crew enter the target to harvest the internals. Butchering a resisting target requires the target to make a Durability save, or take d6 damage. Must be in docking range to butcher. 4 cargo slots.
7. Grapples: On hit, locks you to your target. Whoever has more Power gets to determine the course of the two ships. Can pull closer to target on successful Power test. 2 cargo slots. Works at short range.
8. Hangar Bays: Can take up to half of the cargo slots of a ship. Includes launching and docking mechanisms for vessels of a size up to (slots).
9. Hushfields: Ship can’t be detected until short range unless it’s being actively looked for. 1 slot per 10 HP
10. Inkburster: Nulls light in a 10-point radius. Even suncasters can’t penetrate it (or fire out). Each inkburst takes 1 cargo; so does the apparatus to launch them.
11. Luxury Berths: 1 slot per luxury berth. Fit for a mid-level bureaucrat, an easily-pleased noble heir, or your inconvenient aunt.
12. Magic Missiles: A spellbook and auto-reader that casts an amplified form of Magic Missile. Works within visual range. d4 damage per missile, ignores Shields.
13. Mines: Dropped in wake, detonates when something comes within 2-point radius dealing d10 damage. Each mine takes up 1 cargo.
14. Mining Array: Can mine valuable materials from objects in the sky. 4 cargo slots. Mangles whatever you’re mining with it; this matters less for a chunk of ore than the hull of a station.
15. Observatory: Can make out close details of objects from edge of visual range. 2 slots.
16. Ramming Prow: Deal ramming damage with advantage and take damage when ramming with disadvantage (see Vehicle rules).
17. Shields: Soaks damage each round before damage goes to HP. Regenerates each round. Fails at 0 HP. 1 Shield per 2 points of cargo capacity taken up by shield generators.
18. Suncasters: A miniature sun, amplified and emitted through a metalwork tube of lenses. Very angry. Works within visual range. d6 damage per caster, overheats on a 5 or 6 (recharges manually). 2 cargo capacity.
19. Tactical Sundial: By performing a particular Observance, you can reliably trigger a particular Calendrical Distortion at 1 die. Rolling a 6 on that die triggers a random Distortion Mishap. Requires 5 cargo slots, and only one tactical sundial can be present aboard a ship at once. Calendars brook no disagreement.
20. Thaumion Torpedo: Launcher takes up 2 cargo, one torpedo takes up 1 cargo. The payload is a powerful scroll, and is exactly as expensive as that implies. Mechanizes the spellcasting process by forcing a load of thaumions through the scroll, casting the spell at maximum power. Spells cast through Thaumion Torpedoes are cast at 1 die.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Darkspace

(by ashpwright)
I'm embarking on a new worldbuilding endeavor! Inspired by Sunless Skies and its incredibly compelling gameplay loop, I'm writing a space fantasy sector for players to venture through in a spelljammer or some other sort of suitable starfaring vessel. It'll be procedurally generated as players explore, with encounters and locations discovered on the following tables.

Beyond the compelling setting and beautiful backdrops, Sunless Skies generates really neat situations as you travel around its regions from port to port, merely through putting a few actors in the same area and letting them blow each other to bits. Sometimes you'll run into a rebellious scout trading cannonfire with an imperial dreadnought, or swarms of space-bees mobbing a fungal mass that's intruding on a hive. Driving into a massive god-storm while a radiant dreadnought and crystalline dreadnought pound each other into flaming husks, while you pilot your own to capitalize on the engagement, is a fantastic encounter not easily forgotten.

RPGs make this medium even more interactive. Put a few actors and locations in the same place, figure out what they think about each other, and then throw the PCs into the situation - with tools outside of "fire cannon," "dodge," and "run away." Far more possibilities than a standard random encounter table, with just a little bit more work. Truly emergent behavior is one of the strengths that tabletop has over video games, and it's one I've always wanted to delve into.

The tables, right now, are just lists of evocative names. I'll be fleshing them out over the next few weeks, interspersed with my regular content.

Darkspace
Cool Digital Space Art by Flavio Montiel
(by Flavio Montiel)
Welcome to the edge of the cosmos. Stars fan out below. Only darkness lies above, save for the single illuminating peak of Monarch Mountain, the King of Space. Mages come here to seek knowledge washed away by the brightness of stargods, to study the true heavens untainted by starlight. Forgotten things come here to die. Would-Be-Kings come here to seek rulership, to chip shards of monarchium (the metal of royalty, the alchemical right to rule) off of the Mountain-King. Utterly dark, colder than a dragon's heart. The promise of riches beckons. The promise of death reigns. Venture forth, and seek destiny.




Your voyage begins at the Last Lighthouse 'Til Never. A small settlement of a scant hundred permanent inhabitants, but sometimes ten times as many adventurers/criminals/refugees using it as a staging point for expeditions into Darkspace. Try the locally-brewed mountshine, and stay a day or two (but never too long) at the Inn Error. Sleep through the public discussions at Assembly Hall (or, y'know, participate in democracy for once), where residents and renowned sky-captains bitterly battle over the future of the Lighthouse, and where to point its night-piercing beam . Sell your wares for painfully low prices, or buy vital supplies at markups that'd put the greatest imperial monopolies to shame. Fight off the gleaming call of petty kingship, or succumb.

At his heavenly court, speak with the thralls of Voamithrax, the Dragon Vampire King, and marvel at his twin hoards of art and blood. His viziers scheme and game in cavernous halls for his favor and the barest fraction of his riches and attentions. Become a donor, of beauty or elan vital. Become a thrall. Win his favor yourself; the more outrageous and soap-operesque your schemes, the better. Slay his rivals, or become a dragonslayer where so many others have failed, and died, and been reborn as bone-statues in his undead gardens.

Dwarvengineers chart the night, seeking chronotite, monarchium, and other rare metals to mine and add to the glory of Emperor Kharun. Their spell-engines are wonders of stone and steel, each a unique marvel incorporating its master engineers' and artificers' personal magnum opi. Help in their missions will be rewarded with machines unlike any in the cosmos; opposition will be met with the same. Of course, plundering one returning to the Emperor would be a trove of riches...

The Guillotine Light opposes the Mountain King with the harsh brutality of unfiltered idealism. When the stars find the mountain infringing on their rights as gods and rulers of physics, they unleash a hail of light that slaughters kings and lords and emperors and captains alike. It's pure anti-authority, controlled powerfully by the stars themselves, but tossed freely into the realm of rulers like landmines into a demilitarized zone. Many a vessel cruising through darkspace will find a crowned head or neckless robed body splattered on their helm, a victim of the dread Guillotine Light.

You Encounter...
1. a Location! Perhaps a port in the infinite void, or a small settlement - or a wondrous thing, or a horror beyond mortal ken. Reroll the result if the players have already found it.
2.  a Being! From beasts to broadsides, the void is anything but empty. Roll on the reaction table to see what it's doing.
3. an Event! Something's happened. Fortune favors the prepared.
4. a Location, and a Being nearby!
5. two Beings, interacting!
6. a Being and an Event
7. two Events, simultaneously
8. Roll twice!

Locations
1. The Court of the Dragon Vampire King
2. The Crownless Bastion, where all go as kings-without-crowns
3. Emperor Kharun, the King Under The Mountain
4. Admiral's Haunt, the staging ground for a fleet that will retake a kingdom or die trying
5. Library of Brains, tended by illithid mind-gardeners
6. Carcica, the pirate-prison
7. Port Manteau, an observatory run by a cabal of wizards staring deep, deep into the dark
8. Forge Finality, where darkness was once spun into weapons and spelljammers and scrolls
9. Idols' Idyll, a temple-city built of forgotten holies
10. The Last Lighthouse 'Til Never, a village of wanderers on the edge of the bright and the night
11. Rock of Cats, many cats, people never stay long
12. Temple Yesterday, where adepts train to wield weapons of chronotite
13. Portal to Everywhere
14. The Last Light, a cryo-frozen refugee wreck
15. Colosseum of Kings
16. Monarch Mountain, the King of Space
17. The Crown-Well, a black hole that crowns those who venture in and return
18. The death-ship Ultima Ratio Regum, covered in dessicated crowned skulls
19. Apocalypse Nebula, where Eschaton Elementals are born
20. Beholder God-King-Corpse

Beings
1: Floating Dead
2: Hole Wyrm
3: Adventuring Party
4: Shelljammer
5: Chronotite Daemon
6: Bat-King
7: Minor Beholder
8: Caravaneers
9: Librainrian
10: Eschaton Elemental
11: Prince Elemental
12: Crownless Glory-Hungry
13: Dragon Vampire Thralls
14. Admiralty Crew
15. Dwarvengineers
16: Kingslayers
17: Oracle Mages
18: Yesterday Adepts
19-20: Roll twice, both

Roll on reaction table (2d6)
2-3: Hostile. Gunning for a fight.
4-5: Hunting. On the trail of something they desperately want.
6-8: Voyaging. In transit from one place to another. Perhaps they don't yet know where.
9-10: Hungry. Out of supplies. Willing to do anything to make it to the next port.
11-12: Hailing. Want something from you. An alliance?

Events
1. Well-Wind
2. Prionic Space
3. Guillotine Light
4. Mountain-Loom
5. Fire Aboard!
6. A Mutinous Plot
7. The Nightmares Inescapable
8. It Is Not The Day It Was
9. Monarchium Deposit
10. Chronotite Deposit
11. A Wreck
12. A Corpse (roll for what it once was on the Being table)
13. Crowned!
14. Bastard Fields
15. Stars Align
16. Distress Call
17. Far-Off Lights!
18. The Trail of a Great Beast
19-20. Roll twice, both

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Facts About Dwarves


Dwarves are made of solid stone. They carve each other into being. Stocky figures of strata, built short to more efficiently use tunnel-space and wide so the rumblings of the deep-core cannot shake them. They live until their bodies erode, or the exertions of mining and carving prove too much and their form cracks irreparably.

Carving a new dwarf is a labor of two or more dwarves. They don't have gender as such, though some holds restrict who can work together on dwarfcarving for practicality's sake. The dwarves who carve a new dwarf together enter into an arrangement similar to marriage; it's not a thing done lightly. Collaboration on anything is an intimate and personal sharing of ideas, techniques, and even sometimes tools (never use another dwarf's tools in public or without permission, that's obscene). Working alone to create new dwarves is similarly obscene, like incest in human cultures. The combination of multiple dwarves' creative forces is essential to creating well-adjusted new dwarves, for those all created in the image of a single creator will inherit and magnify their creator's worst excesses. This isn't a magical process; it's just how collaboration works.

Counter to popular belief, dwarves don't actually only build each other in the shapes of humanoids. However, only the humanoid dwarves are given legal rights as fully-recognized beings, the rest are treated as a variety of servant castes and tools. The commonly-seen dwarves are merely their workers, though as this work is essential to dwarven society, they're also the most respected caste. When dwarves go to war with surface-folk, they send in soldier-dwarves, as tall as an orc and as broad as a wagon, armed with great weapons that can cut down swathes of enemies. The pinnacle of dwarfare, however, is their siege engines. Elephantine stone turtles with iron shells and battering rams for heads, many-legged stone centipedes carrying dozens of soldiers strapped to their sides, even the occasional giant rising from the earth as tall as a castle bastion. Felling them is a task better suited to pickaxes than spears and arrows.

Not all dwarven creations are dwarves. Their hand-tools are merely tools, their exports have no minds of their own. Anything with smelted metal is certainly not a dwarfmind, the melting and casting process makes sure of that. However, the dividing lines between dwarf and non-dwarf are strange - and none are stranger than their rulers, the dwarven emperors.

Dwarves are no more a hive mind than humans are, though they're commonly stereotyped as such by above-ground folks because of their superficial similarities to ants and termites. The metaphor of an anthive and its queen is actually insufficient to describe a dwarf-hold and its emperor. If you could see through stone, a dwarven hold is just a great skeletal figure, the negative space of tunnels are its bones and the great work-caverns are its organs. Its fingers stretch as transport tunnels and its many, many legs run deeply and greedily into the earth. It grows as the dwarves within excavate. Dwarves in all their forms are a sort of microbiome of their emperor's hold-body. The emperor is the hold, the hold the emperor. It speaks to them in the rumbling drum-speech of the earth. They speak back, with the same reverence humans reserve for their kings and their gods.


The structure of an emperor determines the structure of society within, mediating interactions by their very existence. Every building is the panopticon realized, where surveillance is not merely possible but certain. To revolt, dwarves must literally tear down the structures that imprison them, killing their ruler in the process. Regicide is impossible without changing society. Dwarves hold lively debates, but know always that the walls have ears. A dwarf revolutionary travels far away by rule, not to escape a society that ostracizes them, but because they literally cannot plan revolution within the confines of their emperor.

An emperor has no wasted space, its tunnels barely wide enough for two dwarves to walk abreast, with only just enough vertical clearance for a walking dwarf to avoid scraping its head. However, it's far from spartan - a long-lived emperor is immaculately decorated with carvings and memories of its inhabitants' deeds, with polished floors and gemstone-inlaid furnishings. Dwarves as a rule are not claustrophobic, and live in either communal barracks or have small personal rooms for rests and recovery (they must sleep as any other mortal race does; though large enough dwarves (like emperors) need only put half their mind to sleep at once).

Dwarven nobility direct the expansion of the emperor where it deems delegation necessary, mining deeper, marshaling defenses, and calling for the construction of new dwarves. They live in comparative luxury, speaking with the emperor on closer terms, but always knowing that their dwellings and privileged positions are granted at the emperor's behest and can be taken away at any time. The emperor may feel the agonizing pain of caving-in to kill dissidents, but it's undeniably an effective remedy to sedition or disloyalty.

by Börkur Eiríksson
Dwarves are famous for consuming alcohol above all other forms of nourishment; and any alcohols of dwarven make are famously potent and utterly nauseating to everyone else. As they're made of stone, they lack tastebuds, and they can't easily metabolize anything else. Alcohols are a potent energy source, and dwarves ferment vast quantities of any biological matter they can find (from mushrooms to root vegetables to tree bark) in great pool-caverns underground. These pools not only act as reserves of unspoilable nourishment for dwarven holds, but as food for the hold-emperor itself. One could look at these caverns as a titanic digestive system, with the base of the pools constantly digesting alcohols to power the emperor's omnipresent cognition. Kegs are like fuel cans for the dwarven engines, and a common sight is a dwarf tapping a keg to refill an engine's stone stomach after a busy day of work.

Dwarves of a religious persuasion know that the world itself is the Ur-Dwarf, the crust and magma beneath fuelling a intelligence vast, slow, and very much interested in the antics of its fast-living stone children. The conceptions of mind, soul, and body are all one (and the separation of such is confusing to dwarves who haven't studied human religion). When a dwarf dies, its constituent parts are buried and returned to the earth from whence it came, in striking parallel with human burial customs. Statues of the deceased are considered the highest honor in some holds, but in others such a precise replica is disconcerting.

Human dwellings are uncanny and disturbing to dwarves. They cannot hear the thrum of the emperor, or request service from the furnishing-dwarves. It's like if you moved into a house without windows, lighting, or running water. Dwarves feel similarly uncomfortable under the open sky. They expect to look up and see stone they can speak with, familiar as their own maker. The emptiness of the sky and space and horizon makes them profoundly lonely. This is why you find dwarven emigrant communities in cities; while the dead buildings are uncomfortable, it's far better than having to adjust to the empty, barren expanse of sky. In locations where it's practical, some dwarven communities carve new emperor-districts into the stone below the city or the mountains it's within. These emperors are stylistic and cognitive hybrids, incorporating mentalities from the other architects in the city, sometimes expanding into existing districts built in alien traditions. Older dwarves worry about these emperors greatly.

In human language, the word for human is Wise Folk. In elf language, elves call themselves the Beautiful Folk. Dwarves call themselves the Making Folk. Their personal names are a rumbling hum, like an avalanche played in slow motion. This is usually transliterated with lots of hard consonants and elongated, open vowels, though more cosmopolitan dwarves prefer to have their names translated directly - traditionally a type of stone connected with a certain value set, combined with the chosen name-marks of its creators.

Don't cast Stone to Flesh on a dwarf. That's rude.

Dwarves (GLOG Race): Reroll CON or WIS. Speak with stone at will (1-in-6 of it responding). Made of solid stone. Can't run.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Chromatomancy: the Colors of Magic

Wizards pretend that magic follows laws and can be uncovered through careful experiment, but that's all for the benefit of their donors. True power is felt, is meant, is inspired like the greatest works of a generation. Color is a power all its own - more than drab fractions of sunlight, it taps into the most primal parts of the mortal mind, and brings out the best, worst, and strangest in all of us.

A collaboration with Micah of Nuclear Haruspex!

The Chromatomancer
(by Algen Fleger)

"It's the arcane arts, not the arcane sciences. Now sit down, if you please, and turn your head just ever so slightly..."

Perk: You know the secrets of paint-mixing and spectrum subversion. For each wizard template you have or gain, learn a Color of Magic at random. With access to a studio, you can mix that color of paint, and you can manipulate it in your spells as if it was part of the visual spectrum.

Downside: You must suffer for your art. You only have access to one Magic Die unless you’re under the influence of drugs, illness, exhaustion, heartbreak, or some other mind-affecting condition.

Cantrips
Enhanced Spectrum: Your rainbow extends far outside the drab, peasant visual spectrum. You have not only ultraviolet and infrared vision, but hypergreen and metablue as well. This lets you see spells that would otherwise be invisible.

Take Commissions: All things considered, your magic makes you a half-decent artist. You can make provocative art that sells for 10*(templates)gp while you’re in town. When you do, pick a group who will pay for it, and an opposed group who'll take issue with it. If the opposed group finds out you're making it, they'll try to get you to stop. Violently.

“It’s so deep, man, you wouldn’t understand”: You can convince others of the worthiness and inherent artistic value of virtually anything so long as you don’t stop talking. CHA test every five minutes you do this to keep your audience engaged.

Spells
1. Turn to Art
Range: touch; Target: object or creature with (dice) or fewer HD; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/years (1/2/3/4 dice)
Target becomes an object of art for the duration. You can choose the type of art, though it must retain the target’s equivalent dimensions. The target’s HD determines the quality of the art; 1 HD may be a slapdash effort, while 5 HD would be a masterpiece. Creatures get a save to resist, and another save each time unit (based on duration). Damage or changes to the artwork are retained by the target when it returns to its base form.

2. Animate Scribble
Range: touch; Target: scribble you drew; Duration: (sum) minutes
Touch a scribble on the ground, wall, or other surface and animate it to do your artistic bidding. The scribble may be small/medium/large/humongous (1/2/3/4 dice), and acts according to your wishes. A doglike scribble can run and bite, a squidlike scribble can grab onto things, etc. The scribble has the following stats: (dice) HD, and 8 in each ability score with (sum) points to distribute between them as you choose.

3. Chromatic Form
Range: touch; Target: self; Duration: (sum) minutes
You turn a collection of up to (dice)+1 colors of your choice. You can change the pattern of these colors during the duration, but not which colors you’ve chosen. For each color that matches the color of the area, you get +2 to stealth rolls. You can also rapidly modulate these colors, creating a dazzling effect that confuses and confounds those looking at you (WIS save or they’re blinded for a round, works (dice) times on targets).

4. Interior Design 
Range: touch; Target: flat surface; Duration: until removed/defaced
Paint a new feature of the area on the surface, like a passageway, small room, or pit trap. It must project into the surface, and cannot be more than (sum) ft in any dimension. You can paint items into the feature, but they cannot be removed from the painting and cannot affect anyone outside. If you’re making a passageway through a surface, you must know and paint what’s on the other side. The longer you spend painting it, the less likely others are to notice it’s a painting. Anyone who knows that it’s a painting can choose to be unaffected by it.

5. Prismatic Spray
Range: 100’; Target: (sum) points; Duration: instant
Up to [dice]+1 beams of colored light project from your hand and burn whatever they touch, dealing (sum) damage total divided as you choose between the beams. You may have all the beams deal one damage type of your choice, or each deal a different type chosen at random.

Beam Effects
1. Red. Fire.
2. Orange. Bludgeoning.
3. Yellow. Lightning.
4. Green. Acid.
5. Blue. Cold.
6. Indigo. Psychic.
7. Violet. Necrotic.
8-9. Esoteric (a random Color of Magic you know).
10. Struck twice. Roll a d8 two times.

6. Chiaroscuro
Range: 100’; Target: (dice)*2 points; Duration: (sum) minutes
Create (dicr) points of bright light and (dice) points of utter darkness, that cast light/shadow around them within (dice)*5’. You can control the colors of the light, and which points are in light or shadow, but you cannot move them once they have been placed.

7. Surreal Form
Range: self; Target: self; Duration: (sum) minutes
Become (dice)+2 colors in a garish, jagged patten. You can also interact with objects and creatures within artworks as if they were real. Furthermore, choose (dice) of the following effects.
Become 2-dimensional. You can be invisible to anyone looking at you head-on
Exaggerate one of your features to excessive powers and proportions
Gain a new ability based on one of your personality traits
Take on a great and terrible meaning. Instill a complex emotion in those who gaze upon your visage (they get a save against harmful effects).

8. Prismatic Orb
Range: 100'; Target: point; Duration: (sum) rounds
Create a glowing rainbow orb at a point within range. It fires (dice) beams (as ranged spell attacks) at random targets (including allies) within 10' each round. You can move the orb 30' per round. Roll a d10 for the damage type of each beam; they deal (sum) damage.

Beam Effects
1. Red. Fire.
2. Orange. Bludgeoning.
3. Yellow. Lightning.
4. Green. Acid.
5. Blue. Cold.
6. Indigo. Psychic.
7. Violet. Necrotic.
8-9. Esoteric (a random Color of Magic you know).
10. Struck twice. Roll a d8 two times.

9. Duplicart
Range: touch; Target: object or creature with (dice) or fewer HD; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/months (1/2/3/4 dice)
Takes the same duration to create as it will last. Create a copy of the target, made of art supplies you can acquire on hand. You can make (dice) edits to its physical qualities or what it carries. It behaves as the original would given the new edits. When the duration ends, it returns to its nature as a mere artistic creation and loses any properties gained this way.

10. Raise Dead Movement
Range: 10^(dice)’ radius; Target: area; Duration: (sum) minutes/hours/days/years (1/2/3/4 dice)
You bestow the style and qualities of a passe art movement upon the area. You can pick the movement any from the following list that your dice showed the corresponding number of (so if your dice show 2 and 3, you can pick movement 2 or movement 3). In the area, your artwork in that style behaves as if it was real, and you can edit things in the area with your art supplies (if you can physically perform those edits). At 3+ dice, you can enforce your own movement and qualities instead of one from the list.

Movements
1. Dada. Nothing has meaning. Creatures must WIS save to perceive any sort of cause and effect.
2. Numinism, evoking the raw power of divinity in artistic covenant. Summon a petty god of the current situation. It’s all-powerful over the area, capricious, and won’t follow your orders unless you sacrifice to it.
3. Prehistoricism. The art-before-art, the first movement, the dawn of pretension. The area is transported back to how it was in a past geologic era. Things that didn’t exist then are transmuted into their nearest period-appropriate equivalent.
4. Inhibitism, the art that constrains the viewer. You can enact (dice) new laws within the space. Breaking one causes (sum) damage (CHA save for half).
5. Post-Spectralism. Light and life were once both considered beneath the consideration of true artists. They painted death in uncolors from beyond the pale. Everyone in the area becomes a ghost of themself, intangible, weightless, and driven by their darkest passions.
6. Icosahedronism. The platonic form, triangles upon and within each other. It reveals truths about the structure of the world better left unremarked upon. Roll (sum) d20s when you cast the spell. You may substitute any of them for your d20 rolls in the space. Use each result only once. Any remaining results will substitute for your next rolls once the spell ends.

Emblem Spells
11. Summon Installation
Range: 10*(dice)’ radius; Target: area; Duration: until destroyed
For every (dice) hours you spend building a piece of installation art here, you can imbue the installation with one of the following effects.
- Apply one of the Movement effects of Raise Dead Movement
- Everyone in the space gains 1 additional MD which they can use to cast a single non-Emblem Chromatomancer spell of your choice
- The installation applies a Color of Magic to the area and everything in it
- Instill a powerful emotion upon all who gaze upon it

12. Mass Inspiration
Range: 100’; Target: (sum) creatures and yourself; Duration: instant
The targets are afflicted with inspiration. Until they have realized their visions, they must save or work tirelessly to create utterly incomprehensible artworks. They will use any materials at hand, up to and including themselves and each other. This takes (sum) rounds/minutes/hours/days (1/2/3/4 dice). Any completed works are truly unique and visionary, likely sellable for vast sums or (for the less inclined to sell out) meditatable upon for insights into the fundamental truths of mortal existence or the firmament of the universe.

Mishaps
1. Erased. Lose a random item on your person.
2. Colorblinded. Lose your paracolor vision, and your senses are all dulled. Take disadvantage on sensory tests until you daily rest.
3. Washed Out. -2 to a random ability score until next daily rest.
4. Discolored. Gain a mutation from color you accidentally splash on yourself. If you don’t wash it off within the day, save or it becomes permanent.
5. Artist’s Block. Can’t cast spells until you create a work of art (takes at least an hour).
6. Lost in the Depths. You’re overcome with the significance of your own work. Become utterly pretentious until someone’s knocked some sense into you.

Dooms
1. You become addicted to inspiration. If you go a week without seeing something that you then proceed to make art of, take -2 to a random ability score (regained once you create art from inspiration).
2. Art consumes your motives. Your passions are entirely funneled towards creation, with none left for self-sustenance or relationships with others. You cannot gain the benefits of rests unless you are creating art during them, and even then you regain HP at disadvantage.
3. You and your art are inseparable. Become a being of raw creative force; a monster with no purpose or drive other than to create your magnum opus. You are removed from the game, cocoon yourself in paints and canvas, then emerge as a monstrous creature and become an NPC, hostile to anyone and anything that would stand in the way of your art.    

The Spectrum of Magic
1. DevouRed. It eats light, and sound, and smell, and thought. Pulls your eye towards it, then pulls you in. Observers slowly become transfixed, unable to perceive anything besides devouRed. The maws of ghouls and krakens, the most poignant works of the Inhibitist movement, and the gates of Hell - all devouRed.
2. ᵒʳᵃⁿᵍᵉ. The smallest color. Anything painted ᵒʳᵃⁿᵍᵉ is perceived as and behaves as if it was half its size, though it’s still the size it originally was.
3. Wolley. An uncolor, the absence of a specific hue of ochre, or ochre corrupted. Hasturized milk is this color. Eyes slip right over wolley, unless drawn to it by one who already knows it’s there.
4. Auric. Gold is the metal by which all value is judged, and auric is its hue. Something painted auric takes on the value of the color, rather than its own. Of course, you cannot get something from nothing (except with certain quite forbidden magics), and so this costs an equivalent amount of gold. 10gp of auric paint will make something fully coated in that paint cost (fairly, and without further trickery or barter) 10gp.
5. Groon. The brown-green-grey-yellow-purple of things rotting in the deepest darks, covered in pus and decay. It feels spongy to the touch no matter the surface, and things sink into its pungent shades like quicksand. Prolonged exposure forces saves vs. nausea, then infection with groon, then necrosis into groon sludge.
6. Turquoi. An open question. An unverifiable claim. A mind open and unfillable; the curiosity of sky-watchers and seafarers. Turquoi things move faster and travel further before needing repairs or resupply, so long as they have never been there before.
7. Undigo. Undoes, unmakes, brings things to their end - or perhaps to their neverbeens. Undigo things move backwards through their time-tracks, at one second per second. This erases the memories and skills of living things, and repainting an item from undigo to a new shade is dangerous business. Time claims its own, and all is Time's, whether in beginning or end.
8. Ultraviolent. The color of violence, and of blood shed in the fires of passion or rages of war. Hurts to look at, deeper shades hurt more.
9. Vantabeige. Utter neutral. The color of law. Things painted in this shade instill a sense of profound boredom, if your eye can remain on them at all. One can gaze at a vantabeige wall for hours on end, in a stupor to rival any magical sleep.
10. Argent. Realer and more tangible than other colors. Locks things not only against magic, but trickery and sleight of hand. All dealings with argent things must be above-board, honest, and straightforward. Violence is the most honest and straightforward tool of all.
11. Null. Colorless. The uncolor. Leaches color from the universe. Items painted null don’t even turn greyscale (white, black, and grey are all colors, after all) - they truly lose all hue and shade, turning a mono-un-chrome undifferentiable from other null objects. A person colored null slowly loses all other definition - personality, then emotions, then physical form as they dissolve into more null paint.
12. Octarine. The color of magic, which all are familiar with even if only through stories.

Mixing colors from the spectrum of magic may create entirely new colors, or turn you new and exciting shades of dead. As spells are living creatures, magic hues live a sort of half-life, and are as temperamental as the thinned-out and forgotten ghosts of artists who never made it big.

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