Monthly Archives: December 2007

Player Diary

This is a set of notes of public actions done in game to serve as a reminder for players.   Players are urged to add comments agreeing or disagreeing with my poor recollection as well as adding additional reminder notes for themselves.  Just try to record whatwas actually seen and said or known by all three players.  This is a public area so characters’ motivations and suspicions should not be placed here that were not shared among all the players. The goal is to help keep the game fresh between 2 week sessions.
 
The current roster of characters for Session 1, 12/29/2007 was:
 
Rihan, Chris
Nurn, John K.
Kohl, Joe
 
Rihan, Nurn, and Kohl are three young but prominent wizards of Sanctuary, who, having heard of the problems of New Candide wanted to help.  However, the amorphous ruling body of New Candide would not sanction them on an official mission.
 
Rihan shared a dream image of an ornately crafted bird of what looks like stone and metal.  The image woould appear and dissapear.  Rihan shared this image through mindlink with Nurn and Kohl.  He mentioned something about people communicating this information because the bird had suddenly appeared and that in New Candide he could cast a spell with it.  I’m not sure if Rihan mentioned why.
 
Shortly afterward a Vikhayyat appeared in Sanctuary, allowed in past the befuddlement charm by a young wizard named Thom at the behest of the very old and seemingly retired wizard named Andelius who sits at the pool on the side of the entrance cavern to Sanctuary.  Andelius and the Vikhayyat, Irene, had what could be subscribed as an argument in silence.  Afterwards she implored assistance for finding an objecty of power to give to her sister whom she believed would give it to the Great Thaumaturge Tobin!  Irene drew the pictograph in the stone floor with her sword.
 
 
The young wizards (in Sanctuarian terms under 100 years of age is young) followed the lady outside.  Rihan offered her to grow a variety of vegetables through his sorcery.  She ignored him.  Kohl chalklenged her motives for coming to Sanctuary; whereupon Irene displayed temper for the first time.  She shouted in a rather garbled fashion that "The mother of Swords" had commanded her and that this was for the good of the world and that her sister Laerya would most likely hand this thing to Tobin and that Sanctuary across the world was said to look for the good of the whole world when such powerful totems appear and so it was reasonable to get wizards to assist her with this task.  Whereupon she seemed to pout.  She also mentioned that the mother of swords had talked with Tobiin.  Her expression at the name Tobin was not one of approval.  Later she shared a meal offered by Nurn who shared it with her.  They spoke courteously to each other.  Irene apologized to Kohl for her outburst.  Kohl accepted the apology graciously.
 
The prophet Carter told them the "Vikhayyat’s tale".
 
Irene is very loosely based off of a character in the brilliant manga Claymore written and drawn by NoriHiro Yagi.
 
 
Later it was found that Irene found Sanctuary  by means of Northrenrir runecasting and now that the black bird was being used she could locate it by means of runecasting.  She led the wizards along with a wilderness guide named Levy who has dogsleds pulled by trained doberman like dogs to where the excavation site was whereupon they not using stealth approached the camp boldly and were rudely attacked by men in Upper Saracean dress.  They were martial artists but some of them fired beams of coruscating magic from their martial staves.  Irene charged them as did Nurn.  There was the effluvian of a powerful spell in the air which then faded before their magesight.  Kohl appeared suddenly behind the Upper Saraceans and attacked.  Rihan dissapeared.
 
Despite a thouroughly overwhelming attack, the Upper Saraceans never made a morale check and fought to the last man.  Nurn, Kohl and Irene made a bloody hash of the aggressors.  Many are dying from wounds; others not so severely but are unconscious.
 
 

Daoine Blade Generations

                                                       Daoine Blade Generations

 

Seelie Swords of the Good folk drank friend and foe alike, but more often foe of the races of Hu if truth be told.  And if truth be told we owe each other nothing.  Let that satisfy Mistress Fate.

 

Swords forged in the land of faerie go further back even then the first known Human records of Sidhe in the age of Hu when the Sidhe other than the Mayet bound began appearing in the hardworlds (as they call Oco) to Humans.   The Hunym claim a meeting further back, besides their fey Queens, but I have no evidence of it.

 

These swords are not iron make but true silver and on these swords is generally a yearning geas, a yearning to use, and this yearning keens the blade with a literal keening that can only be heard by faerie ears, faerie swords and faerie shields.  Such are the Daoine Sidhe workmanship

 

The Daoine do not smith to no purpose and their wiles were not unfamiliar with the fates and destinies.  A few said to be most dreadful blades of S shape and a keening that was audible and dreadful on the hard world to make friend and foe alike quail.  So very rare that any remain unclaimed by faerie, but it would be possible in an ancient, ancient ruin moldering well below the earth that a few may lay where their masters and mistresses have long since faded.  On such fragments do young warriors dream and in one case, won a kingdom.

             

I am sorry.  Herewith is what little I gathered of the Generations of the Daoine Blades

 

The Age of Pain: Ut Tuell GodezzJest carved out from the fields of screaming Essites the yield for his people for their sustenance in that indeterminate age.  Tuell forged it with the ouroborous as his hammer and quickslysilver as its metal.  Tuell named it “Sweet Whimperer”  These are the only known records of this thing.  If it exists it would be, scholars surmise, the only Daoine blade that had no runecarvings of power, for it predates all rune lore.  There are no other records of the word “Essite” nor of “quickslysilver”.

 

Age of Law: Runed Daoine Blades were first forged for the purpose here recorded in an onyx tablet thence recopied in the age of HU before its loss: “We did Truesilvermake in Gladden fields found.  Whither it cut the eye could not see, not by slender arm but by quickest sliver of intent, quickening the blood.  Oh dreadful Shredded Hilt!  I love thy relentless plea for my being and we rending things without shape, sentience without pathways into corpus bloated to reside for time unmarked by me runed in Aten’s name!”

 

After the Age of Law, Mayet created the Faerie Lands and established the Seelie Courts in payment for the binding.  What blades are forged there mortal man can know only at his peril.  Still, faerie Seelie court wars have spilled across notably what is now called The Wendrian Hills and the Baija road.

 

In the Generation of Preponderance of the Seelie Court in the age of Darkness, many blades were made.  Many of the most puissant Daoine Sidhe those who fought the Fomorians  have thin flexible swords of longsword length.  They are not known to exist such was their keening for Fomorian blood the blade would mist for thirst.

 

In the Generation of First Hardworld Assays in the Age of Darkness, blades were forged to fight the Felinix Nox and their gibbering servants and these blades would have a sheen of light in Daoine Hands and puissant against things of Darkness.  The Nox were of the hardworld and many of these battles though not all for the Nox were puissant mystics.   Some of these still show up in tales today and Endla a duke of Uyea of Faerie Favor wore one on his side when he wed Allearea of the Goldenrod Elegies.

 

There 444 generations in the age of Hu and not counting all the nymish tales far more prolific then human faerie interaction given their heredity, Daoine blades were generally still of truesilver make but of simpler fashion and put to more ordinary use, drinking blood.  In these ages, Nymish Koral learned the mining of Truesilver and other secrets of Mt. Koral and toward the end of these generations their finest work rivaled the Daoine work.  Some say the Daoine pursued other arts, but they did not serve them well.

 

There was one generation in the age of dreaming, and though the blades of truesilver were puissant, when Paragrond ascended Mt. Glered-nigh signaling the end of this age the Daoine withdrew from the hard world.  Blades of this generation may still be found and a mass of them are said to be in the depths of Mt. Glered-nigh.  Some keen for Imperial Dragon blood.  Dural-Ahn wore such a blade for seven years wherein he used it in the wars of the Koradesh and the untranslatable of the jungle.  In that seventh year Dural-ahn and his triad were suddenly beset upon by Fectha of Fifth Tier and Dural his Triad and his blade were never seen again.  Some lesser blades puissant for unhomed serpents and wyrms have been reputed to not arouse the twin pupilled eyes of Glered-nigh.  Such blades burn brightly and in addition to being baleful extremis they strengthen the heart to resist draconic glamour.

 

These days, other blades of Daoine make have appeared and faeriewalkers tell of seeing S blades again hilted to the Daoine of the Seelie courts.  But rarely and not so unified of purpose and said to weave things of a more mystical nature requiring much puissance to wield effectively, yet performing feats to rival the sorcerer Queen Shere and for all it is still too a baleful blade. In crystalline hands bent to honor.

 

A brief note on other blades, pixie blades no larger than a hatpin, Good Seelie Giant blades all most remarkable, but none so suited for wizard hands as those of the Seelie Court.

 

A Daoine blade with one notable exception is known by its Daoine runes.  These runes are power and unlock the faerie glamours, but only Daoine and those few favored by them either capriciously or by some deed are taught in dweomer of sealing lips the true meaning of those blades.  I only know of one legend, King Eryx of Seeva what is now Upper Saracea who built his Kingdom on the sword which survived even the rack of his ruinous dissolute son before crumbling to baronies again.

 

Of the wicked faerie blades I will not write.

 

Character Creation Guide Section 5

Section 5: Crystal Wizard Power listing*

*Special note: Power notations listed in section 2 always supersede any power notation in section 5 if there is a conflict.

 

This section applies to wizards not other special effects like fetishists, nym or gypsies.  Some physical effects a wizard could achieve through magical objects or control of some other creature that can perform the power.  This chart is limited to Crystal wizardry and effects native to crystal wizardry.  You can have a wizard who has gained additional powers through other means.

 

A common Sanctuarian Definition and cautionary note on Wizardry:

 

The subjective passion, metaphysics and spirituality of the wizard effects a change in the world and aligns the wizards metaphysics to the world.  This symphony between Oco and the Wizard allows the manipulation of the raw building blocks of ocoan magic itself, i.e. magical fibres permeating reality just beyond normal perception.  The wizard’s awakening in the master crystal also gives them the metaphysical opportunity of placement of themselves in time and space and other dimensions allowing a few wizards to move or see through alternate planes of awareness. 

 

A wizard can go beyond this definition but then he becomes dedicated to whatever direction he chose, i.e. pyromancy, healing, necromancy, and starts to lose control of the basic magical fibres and therefore lose his crystal wizardry or is very weakened.  Keep that balance in mind if you value your magesight.

 

Special effects rule.  Although tunneling is not native if your special effect for tunneling is creating a “tunnel into the spirit realm and “spirit walking the party to the other side and coming out in the physical dimension displacing the earth into the other dimension. I may allow it, but such really wild effects would have really wild consequences as in things in that spiritual dimension leech onto you…

 

The List

 

ABSORBTION—because crystal wizards use the building blocks of magic they can have absorption that breaks down opponents’ magical effects into raw crystal wizardry.  Absorption of raw physical effects, .i.e. a forest fire would be much more problematic.

 

AID—possible for mental and spiritual effects more problematic for physical effects

 

ARMOR—no.  Choose a fetishist or magi if you want physical effects.  You could have magical armor independent or just regular armor, but crystal wizardry requires end, buy forcefield instead.

 

CHANGE ENVIROMENT—possible as a mood changer but physical effects are more in line with fetishists or nymish magi

 

CHARACTERISTICS—fetishist potions?  Mental effects could be bought this way

 

CLAIRSENTIENCE—yes

 

CLINGING–no

 

DAMAGE REDUCTION—for ego damage yes, vs. stun yes (spiritually resistant to being stunned like some yogi)

 

DAMAGE RESISTANCE-no, yes for mental

 

DARKNESS—yes light and darkness besides being physical effects also can be generated spiritual effects, like mental blindness (the Shadow) but objectively real so it does not depend on the victim’s awareness.

 

DENSITY INCREASE—no

 

DESOLIDIFICATION—yes special effect planar travel/spirit world or even another dimension touching Oco?

 

DISPEL—yes vs magical effects

 

DRAIN—yes (not versus body or con—that’s thaumaturgy-necromancy)

 

DUPLICATION—possibly a spiritual double, golem or familiar.  I could see using crystal wizardry to split your consciousness in two; and using some other rites to create a golem or duplicate astral bodies only as a limitation.

 

EGO ATTACK—yes

 

ENDURANCE RESERVE-yes with a journeystone

 

ENERGY BLAST–no

 

ENHANCED SENSES—yes with a spiritual special effect

You have a pet cat and can see through its eyes.  The cat has nightvision; the magic is seeing through the cats consciousness.  Various once with +1/2 phase to activate for magical senses/detects (see section 2)

 

ENTANGLE—no

 

EXTRA-DIMENSIONAL TRAVEL—yes.  Ref basic map

 

EXTRA LIMBS–no

 

FASTER-THAN-LIGHT TRAVEL—no

 

FIND WEAKNESS—yes but could be problematic  Find the weak spot in living chi; non animate is more a nymish magi thing

 

FLASH—no

 

FLASH DEFENSE–no

 

FLIGHT—no

 

FORCE FIELD—yes, must cost end no red. End.  The wizard can bring the fibres into the physical world and form a barrier temporarily.

 

FORCE WALL—yes must cost end no red end see ff

 

GLIDING—no

 

GROWTH—no

 

HAND-TO-HAND ATTACK—no

 

HEALING—no (not native but some wizards bend themselves to it weakening more native abilities)

 

IMAGES—no, yes as a light source (blue fire illumines)

 

INVISIBILITY—yes as a mental special effect

 

KILLING ATTACK (HAND-TO-HAND)— not native to crystal wizardry

 

KILLING ATTACK (RANGED) not native to crystal wizardry

 

KNOCKBACK RESISTANCE—yes.  You could have a wizard who can “fix” his metaphysical point in time and space dimensions.

 

LACK OF WEAKNESS—yes

 

LEAPING—no

 

LIFE SUPPORT-not native

 

LUCK—yes

 

MENTAL DEFENSE—yes and can be hardened

 

MENTAL ILLUSIONS—yes

 

MIND CONTROL—yes

 

MIND LINK—yes

 

MIND SCAN—yes

 

MISSILE DEFLECTION AND REFLECTION—not native

 

MULTIFORM—not native to crystal wizardry

 

POWER DEFENSE—yes, not hardened

 

RUNNING—no

 

SHAPE SHIFTING– not native

 

SHRINKING—no

 

SKILLS—variable—I could see a wizard stealing skills

 

STRETCHING—no

 

SUMMON—yes—this usually is combined with rite based magic, binding circles, journeystones, an artifact, but it is possible to use crystal wizardry as the summoning energy.  “Do not summon that which ye cannot put down.”

 

SUPRESS—yes

 

SWIMMING—no

 

SWINGING—no

 

TELEKINESIS—no

 

TELEPATHY—yes (limited); can be bought as empathy or as aura read—or aura read could be bought as a detect and analyze…

 

TELEPORTATION—yes, but difficult and rare. Similar to planar travel and NOISY

 

TRANSFER—necromantic, but not impossible

 

TRANSFORM—yes if non physical.

 

TUNNELING–no

 

 

Character Creation Guide Section 3-4

Section 3: Initial Character Creation Background Mileus

 

  • Morality: Characters should have a reasonable moral compass.  This is a heroic game and the milieu will be plenty dark.  Think if wild west Tombstone was the size of a city with hellish magic thrown in. 
  • RACE RESTRICTION: Only races of Hu (Human, Hunym) are allowed as player races
  • SPECIAL EFFECTS: What powers are available to you are entirely dependent on the background of your character.  No power is off limits; however, wizards will not have weather prediction of a storm shaman and necromancers won’t have heals!  The energies available to each branch are different.  But both may be able to astral travel given the right conditions.  It’s your job to make a character that fits the milieu. 
  • Sci-Fi Variant: Outworlder devices allowed: This was the center of the Outworlders.  Their buildings and foundations still exist as well as some of their devices.  Some of the devices have come to work via blood thaumaturgy such as the rifles used by some of the elite guard and the city lamps that burn during the night to cast a red pall upon the streets.  The government claims ownership of all Outworlder technology within city limits.
  • Unusual Effects are disallowed.  There are no mutants like wolverine, no aliens from Krypton! 
  • Magic comes from a wide variety of traditions: All magic of hu have traditions behind them, which the individual practitioner customizes and is customized by the magic.  Your character needs to have a history of how they came to their powers ad who gave them training. 
    • Nymish magic is passed on tribe and race
    • Fetishist magic skills are passed on by mentors or family lines
    • Sanctuary is the home of all wizards who gain the “blue fire” by ritual
    • Thaumaturges (Necromancer) are corrupted wizards or apprenticed by Necros, usually undead or in bondage to another Necromancer.  New Candide is so overflowing with necromantic energies that its practice is known and it is the one place in the world it is not an automatic death penalty.  In New Candide Necromancy is known publicly as Thaumaturgy also known as Blood Sorcery.
    • You may always buy a detect and analyze for a branch of magic that is the one you study.  You may always buy a detect for related branches.  Depending how mystical (non-physical) your character is you may buy further detects.
  • General Guidelines
    • Possible base character types  (These are NOT character classes but sociological, anthropological and mystical groupings at a very high level.  You can drill down on these general types to create unique characters, e.g. you have a wizard from sanctuary, but he specialized in swords and now his energies are in blue flaming crystal swords and that’s all the magic he can do, but he has many skills and elongated life from being a wizard…A nym who was an ahn but lost a limb in a boulder accident deep in the caves of Mount Koral and dreamed at the point of death and so became a Mer, but has many Ahn skills and can maniferst a dream ahn arm with a dream sword….I am looking for specific backgrounds for your characters to help me integrate diversity into the game and not storyboard one adventure and be done.  Look at these types as idea types from which to spring.

 

·        Fighter-(sub categories include gladiator, thief, assassin, mercenary, thug, Ahn, farmer with a pitchfork) Hey, you don’t give a rat’s patootie about magic.  You went and bought a big honkin’ sword and maybe some martial arts and some skills.  Something gets in your way, chop it down.  Sometimes not being able to see is the best way to remain unseen.  A fighter could have independent magickal objects.  Some independent objects require knowledge or mystical acumen to use despite being independent.

·        Fetishist-(sub categories include gypsies, fortunetellers, leech mongers, smithies, craftsmen, jewelers, hermits, magi, animal totems, druids, lycanthropes, shamans, rune casters, vikhayya, mediums, sages, lore masters, monks)-Fetish magic, while weaker on spiritual effects than Thaumaturgy, Wizardy, or Sorcery, the fetishist makes up for it with physical effects whether it is sudden dust storms by a weather shaman or the skin shifting of Kardulam the Great Broken Bear who pulls Tobin’s City Chariot.  Indeed given time and preparation their highly ritualized style of magic of some fetishists can in concert rival the spiritual acumen of wizards, but never with the ease and alacrity of the sons and daughters of Sanctuary (wizards and sorceresses) They do not use raw magic nor life magic (anima/animus) rather they use spiritual magic of Oco drawing from objects the accretions of magic that has settled into the bones of the physical world, Oco.  Fetishist magic is the least “noisy” of magic branches though the rule still applies.  The following are only examples but any character concept will need to include the who and how and why the magics were handed down.

·        Skinshifters and Shamans use petitionary magic of the avatars of the animal races.  They may do this consciously or sub consciously.  Feral skinshifters are not uncommon, so there is a healthy amount of fear and respect for those who practice it. Their skinshifting allows for WEAK regenerative abilities (self only)

·        Gypsy-Classical traders caravan mystics.  They are NOT wizards but use objects and non necromantic life energies through cursed or blessed items.  Feared for their whispered rapport with the forces of destiny.  They are a traveling clan power.  Spirits hearken to their call.  A common legend speaks of them capturing wraiths (The astral form of necromancers) and placing them in bottles at their command.   No significant combat magic, but their predictions are to be feared.  Some can astral travel but usual with no ability accompaniment and requiring effort and prep time

·        Tribal Fetishist-This could be your classic witch doctor from the plains of Glered or beyond the black mountains.  Unlikely that such a character will have any knowledge of civilized culture unless through magical means.  Powers similar to a gypsy with a voodoo flair or amazon flair…Distinctive looks for this game.  It would be very odd for one to be in New Candide

·        Human Wizard or Sorceress-may use a journeystone as a focus.  Wizards use a “spiritual fire”  They use the raw magic of the world.  Limited physical effects, less limited when self only.  Wizards who do not value the sanctity of life run the risk of becoming necromancers.

·        Widest latitude for detect/analysis, talents

·        Wizards may buy ECV based speed: add 1, 2 speed points at half price, those segments only ecv crystal wizard based actions may be taken.

·        all powers by default are visible (unless bought with effect: ONLY affects DESOL (re-spirit world)) including ecv unless you buy the invisible advantage

·        powers should have limited physical effect (GM discretion particularly–if significant side effects or end costs are put in)

·        physical effects are “Noisy”

·        may buy astral travel including usable on others/spirit walk  (inherently dangerous particularly if you bring your bodies along).  Their abilities function fully in astral form, e.g ego blast will blast another who is desol, but not a norm while you are desol.

·        May buy powers with a +2 limitation: only function in spirit world that exceed restrictions.

·        may have ego defense resistant, may have power defense

·        may buy “blue fire” ego based KA*, area effect, noisyx2, causes burns on living things.

·        may harden ego def/power defense

·        allowed detect magic, analyze all special effects, based on roll with minuses applied.  Only Wizards, Sorceresses, and Necromancers* who were once wizards have this.  It allows some analysis if bought to that level but analysis gets weaker as magic becomes increasingly diluted from basic crystal magic, e.g. analysis of a nymish spell would be at a considerable minus.

*Wizards who do not value the sanctity and dignity of human life run the risk of their powers mutating into necromancy.  Wizards who take/acquire 30 point disads psych also risk perverting their magic.

·        Thaumaturge (Necromancer)—Instead of using the blue fires of crystals they have learned to tap directly into the anima of living beings.  They tend to use drains, transfers and transforms.  They too do not create physical effects.  They may use their Detect to disguise their aura though this becomes increasingly difficult the more powerful they become.  They may also have spiritual powers as well as astral travel as a wraith with their abilities undiminished in astral form. 

·        Witch or Warlock– Feared.  They curse.  Their curses can shake the roots of destiny; upend a noble house for generations.  Yet, their life is a curse.  PC requires secret id and gets x2 points  (yes, it’s that bad).  Frequently drowned when found.

·        Lower Saracean Druid-Original Philosopher-judges under Meara; they have been displaying minor magicks similar to crude Darkenkell magicks.  It would be odd for one to be in New Candide

·        Human Thoth Originally policemen instituted by Shere for Upper Saracea.  They have Martial arts augmented personally by Shere’s magic for a specific purpose.  Many were augmented to find and communicate back necromancers of the Anubis cult that sprung  up while Shere was away during the Outworlder invasion.  It would be odd for one to be in New Candide.

·        Hunym-sidhe are a kind of tri jointed, tri segmented humanoid.  Each Hunym sidhe race is tied to a particular eco system.  They are tribal and use a kind of nature magic in place of tool use.  They can form their environment to their needs.  It would be odd for one to be in New Candide, but trade and hiring out does occur between Darkenkell and Saurian nym and New Candide.  Other tribes would require distinctive looks.

The four known races of hunym-sidhe are

1.      Darkenkell-This is a temperate forest..  They are the most likely to be friendly to humans, particularly Lower Saracea.

2.      Koral-Cave dwellers and miners, secretive.  Rarely traveled, but make alliances as they often have troubles with Glered-nigh.

3.      Koradesh-Some of the most powerful physical effects.  Read the Ebon.  From a thick amazonian like jungle surrounding Mount Koral.  Somewhat Xenophobic.

4.      Saur-swamp in their bloodline is the spoor of dragon and magic beyond despair.  Tempermental, subject to insanity.  Subtract 10 from their initial starting sanity, but may have int and pre maxima to 25.  (still x2 cost after 20)

·        Hunym-sidhe have several castes in their societies.  The cast becomes a suffix on the first name when coming of age.  Each has powers similar to their ecosystems, but also to temperament

·        Ecosystems (listed in order of tribe size):

o       Darkenkell-Deciduous forest

o       Koradesh-Jungle

o       Koral-Moutainous/caves

o       Saur-Swamp

·        Nymish Caste System cuts across all Nym races.:

o       Zen-These people take care of the day to day needs of the clan.

o       Ston-Leaders and Councilers who wield binding magics on nature and faerie.  Usually have strong political obligations.  Perfect for big elemental commands J

o       Nor-Apprentice (Or perhaps free-pledged) to Ston.  Usually wielding slightly lesser magic.  Ston and Nor often work together to perform mightier magics than can be done singly.

o       Mer-Cognitives, pre and post.  They can bind spirits (and be bound by spirits!)  Can see and travel the spirit lands though not bodily.  They have no specifically combative powers and generally do not fight.  There precognition is “being” based not object based and is referred to as destiny sense.

o       Ahn-These are the hunter/warrior cast.  Darkenkell Ahn are feared for their spear and javelin throwing abilities.  They have small magics that augment their hunting abilities (usually plant based)

 

Section 4: Mysticism on Oco

 

1.      Note on religion.  There is none on Oco.  Every being has spiritual beliefs but for some reason these beliefs do not serve as a binding agent to groupings.  Various fetishists do share a metaphysics passed down but it is seen more as a foundational tool of their trade.  There’s a universal acceptance of the Gods of Life (Shi) and Law (Mayet) as well as a general knowledge of the splintered (now reintegrate) portions of Shi that had a tremendous impact on magic (Shivrael, goddess of Creation, and Nef-Shivrael-e goddess of Destruction and damnation) Despite this almost universal acceptance of Oco’s origins these beings are not worshipped but seen as historic forces that shaped the world, clockmakers who have left the clock tower.  It is worth noting that this knowledge/sentiment is universal cutting across time and space on Oco and seems immune to dilution or perversion..

2.      However, the concepts of good, evil, holy and defilement all have meaning to the races of Hu and have a reflection either ontological or as a self fulfilling prophecy generated by the races of hu themselves.  Holy things are seen as good and loving and manifest as unicorns, doves and symbols of purity such as virgins.  Holy is sometimes used as a synonym for unattainable in New Candide.

3.      Evil is seen as selfish and life draining and associated with Necromancy and also associated with pain and oddly enough a lack of prudence.  Necromancers outside the City-state area are killed on sight and may be so even just outside the borders of New Candide.

4.      Those who do more than dabble in Necromancy but practice the “mysticism” of it soon do acts of evil perversion, e.g. not selfishness for some gain, but cruelty on whim or spite, where the antecedent is not related to any precedent.  No PC is allowed to engage in Necromantic mysticism, but common thaumaturgy exists at much lower levels, still troubling but not in and of itself directly evil, because the source life energies have often been more than once removed from their source.  Confused yet?

5.      There is a general belief in life after death, but no specific codes: “beyond blue” with the gods that will be non-corporeal and not based on specific deeds.  The horrendously bad, undead, and Necros end up in the underworld, a dark bad place.  Fear of this has led to superstitions.

 

Character Creation Guide Section 1-2

 

 

Oco Campaign: Birth of the Necropolis Character Creation Guide

 

 

Section 1: History

Section 2: Character Creation RULES

Section 3: Initial Character Creation Background Mileus

Section 4: Mysticism on Oco

Section 5: Crystal Wizard Power listing

 

 

Section 1: History

 

Oco is my classical fantasy world based on various short stories and an old manuscript I wrote (The Unwilling God, found on this site).  The foundational roots of the world are directly derived from earth’s western culture through the originating gods of Oco (see below).   The Necropolis is an exploration of the largest city on Oco post Outworlder banishment.  Unlike other Oco games, Birth of the Necropolis will focus inside the city of New Candide after an initial journey to the city.

 

o       What has gone before you?

 

First there was the manuscript the Unwilling God, where the Outworlders and the dragon Erador and the god-splinter Nef-Shivrael-e warred for control of Oco.  Their struggles ended in the banishment of all three and an era of peace and beneficent magic which flooded the world. 

 

Then came the river barony campaign as humans warred with each other in and on the river.  The blasted area of Jezric, a city that was destroyed in a nuclear firestorm launched by the Outworlders, was explored and necromancy was found to still be on the world.

 

Then another campaign in 2004 as heroes came to stop great evils infesting the Darkenkell Hunym-sidhe as well as Lower Saracea.  Strange and apocalyptic prophecies abounded, a monstrous evil from the pits of the underworld.  The 2004 campaign ended with the return of Erador, dragon Emperor of Glered-nigh, the Lord Predator of the World.  From the underworld stirred entities that were never thought to exist; nameless formless despairs yawned at the edge of consciousness.  The birth of a new race of Sidhe influenced by the spoor of Erador, the saurian Hunym-sidhe, now live outside the river in a dank swamp just outside the Darkenkell forest.

 

Now 60 years have passed.  The Mountain of Dreams, home of the imperial dragons, sleeps quietly.  The saurian Hunym-sidhe have grown, yet neither numerous nor visibly political.  They are prone to madness, swift and deadly warriors but whose bones are fragile and whose magic is unknown.  They are an obscure tribe, though they are occasionally seen as hired guards by other civilizations.  The lands of the Darkenkell once again enjoy peace and trade with the city-states as does Lower Saracea.  The small villages and the river baronies still engage in petty squabbles and trade but the river does not route to the city states.  Therein are mostly tales of pirates and lost princesses save for the coffin caravans that bear the dead for the peacing.  The city-states where you live are in an uneasy alliance.  The far away lands such as the Koradesh Jungle and Upper Saracea you know of them only myth and rumor.

 

o       Current Events, General Knowledge, Starting Point

 

Should you survive the journey from Sanctuary, where you are currently living, you will find yourself in the most magical city in the world, a city of riotous free trade, a city that attracts travelers from all over, and a guiding star to fetishists for the magical omens bubbling across the city streets.  Originally ruled by an oligarchy, then the capitol of the Outworlder invasion, then ruled by one man, one power, one wizard who survived and stayed in the city through the depredations of Outworlder enslavement and led the city into the new dawn.  That man was and is the great Thaumaturge Tobin.  The city he rules sprawls out across the hills and boasts the greatest sophistication by his blood sorcery that turns the city gears and grants to all who die a peaceful rest, for no human in the city-state region who dies fails to have his family bring him to New Candide, which has recently come to be called in whispers the great Necropolis.  Such sojourners seek a “resting preservative” to lay his body to rest so that he does not become a Jezrite, the walking dead.  Not only such wonderful spells, but in New Candide a nexus of necromantic—ahem, I mean thaumaturgic energies spill over to the other fates and such drippings can be collected by all manner of seekers of power and sophistication.

 

o       Basic Information you have about New Candide:

o       Tobin is known as the Great Thaumaturge

o       Thaumaturgy is blatant Necromancy, which is uncommon knowledge to norms, but evident plainly to wizards and necromancers.

o       There have been no military threats to New Candide for the past 60 years.  The same is not true for other city-states

o       New Candide boasts the most advanced “civil engineering” in the world.

o       There is some mighty spell called the blood tax that causes wounds to admit a wispy visible to normal sight puff of aether (?) that goes to the funerary tower (?)

o       At night the streets are lit by Outworlder lamps in a blood red sheen

o       The Funerary Tower at the heart of New Candide (–of Oco?) is crafted after the fall of the Outworlders but with Outworlder metals and by Nym from Mount Koral who now live as residents in the funerary aegis.

o       New Candide is one of the few cities that welcome all races including Saurian Nym who are often seen on the city streets and often employed by some Aegis.

o       Nona Cloaks are popular in many sections of New Candide—these are cloaks of a full length with a deep hood which tend to obfuscate appearance and even race.  Some may be minorly thaumaturgically magical, e.g. – to per rolls for identification purposes and weaves and quality vary greatly.  Most reduce movement by -1 or -3 depending on quality.  Comparison: Popular as Cowboy hats and special holsters are for wild west cowboys; they obfuscate but advertise a certain badass welcoming trouble.

o       The city is divided into 6 Aegis, which are also the months in the New Candide Calendar.  Each governed in a loose confederation.

§         The Funerary, ruled by Tobin directly.  The center of the cult that performs the peacing, the center of New Candide and a significant draw of capital and thaumaturgic energies

§         Ein- (also a person.  The second most powerful Thaumaturge in New Candide, or so reputed) The region is known for the annual festival of Ein, city wide which takes place in the Coliseum.  In the Month of Ein, there are no coliseum games.  The Ein Aegis becomes like a Saturnalia during this time with frequent outbreaks famed for both their group mania, licentiousness and “fainting ecstasies”.

§         Divyune-?

§         Freewings-?

§         Fiero-?

§         Free Legion-grants asylum to any who sign up. (or is it an asylum?) Famous for their slum region, known as the “rotgut hells”

§         Six Servants of New Candide: An area ruled by 6 servants owing Fealty directly to Tobin, even though they are not known to be thaumaturgic or related.  Laerya, the Northrenrir, being the most unusual and renowned.

o       Prism Village-a free-state under the protectorate of Fiero just outside of New Candide which allows free display of all magic and customs.  Normal penal laws still enforced.

o       Villages and Farms ring New Candide like a hazy un-designed cloud

 

Section 2: Character Creation RULES

 

  • POINTS: 300pts, 250 power points + 50 Disadvantage points.
  • RULE VARIANTS
    • I will use  basic hit location and allow placed shots
    • I will use bleeding.  (You will keep track of your PCs)
    • Healing will be per dice maxima and may be applied per wound.  Whether it is additive is dependent on special effect:
      • A healing of a different special effect will be additive, e.g. a shaman heals your head wound repeatedly for 1d6 body then a white magic based wizard heals your head wound repeatedly for 1d6 body for an eventual total of 12 body.
      • Healing of same special effects will not be additive.  Two wizards in the same scenario channeling crystal magic using the white magic healing effect often denoted by lighter blue fires will only net a max of 6 body.
      • Healing is very difficult to get approved and handled on a case by case basis.
      • There are unguents and potions which may exist and rites and all manner of hocus pocus that would be independent
      • As a final alternative, you may have other PCs purchase the peacing for you in the Funerary in advance of your demise.
  • CHARACTERISTICS
    • Maxima are entirely dependent on special effect (you may add advantages so long as they do not increase damage): 60 points worth of damage dice, 15 resistant defenses, 15 ego defense, 15 power defense.  Some special effects such as wizardry may mean you get NO latent resistant defense beyond physical armor.  Most special effect will not allow ego defense.  Wizards specialize in ego defense; Necromancers in power defense.  Most people who can wield a form of magic may opt to have 5 pts of power defense to represent their grounding in their magic; wizards and necromancers may have more.  These are maxima; you should expect to have 15 power def turned down on a wizard because power defense is not their specialty, unless your wizard variant has some object or special effect that would be resistant to thaumaturgy.
    • Char. maxima=20.  Justify above 18 and double cost above 20
    • Ego/5=base mental defense free for all players
    • Ego x 5= initial sanity.  Your sanity drops to zero if you become undead.  You lose sanity when you fail an Ice role.  Effects include, but are not limited to, temporary rages, withdrawal tendencies, enhanced senses, hallucinations, cognitive abilities.  These abilities/disads have no impact on Character point values.  They are just added to the sheet.  Mild effects tend to be temporary.
      • Expect minor deleterious effects at each -10% value
      • Expect a major deleterious effect at -50%
      • When you’re a zombie everything will be fine
    • ICE Figured Characteristic: How frosty are you?  How well can you hold onto your sense of self when under mystical duress? 
      • (Int X 2 + Con X 1  = Pre X1 + Ego X 2)/6 == Your Ice characteristic value.  ICE roll is “9 + ICE/5“
      • Ice figured Characteristic/5 = power defense for free
    • SPEED
      • 1 Slow people like your GM
      • 2-3 Norms
      • 3-4 Guards, professional bouncers fighters
      • 5 elite martial warriors (I mean like 300 point physical warriors)  This is an allowable max speed which requires justification.
      • 6+ Extraordinary Supernatural Creatures.  Allowable 6 if "Speed" is your characters Fortissimo! Other stats are below maxima significantly
      • Wizard +1 limitation Speed points:  Speed points only allowed for Crystal Wizardry only.  A player could be speed 2-3 +3(+1 only with wizardry) or 3-4 +2. ((+1 only with wizardry) You could even do a speed 1 +5  This is Tex Avery’s Droopy.  Don’t mess with Droopy.
  • SKILLS
    • Knowledge skills and Professional skills are the same.  Just use, ks and scholar for skill purchases.  This will save you points if you want skill enhancer as scholar now covers both PS and KS.  Still need to justify it in the character.  Wizards are not smiths unless they want to augment smithing with magic and those are not PCs (task leaves no time for adventuring)
    • All Special effect Magic must be rooted in an accompanying skill roll.  Knowledge is Power.  The Shaman’s Journey.
    • Martial arts are allowed but should be integral to the character.  Thoth have them, Gladiators too.  Must purchase at least 10 points to have them.
    • Area, Professional and Knowledge Skills increase in efficacy in direct proportion to their specificity, e.g. the city will be large. AK: New Candide will not buy you much.  You may be very specific, e.g. AK: New Candide, Divyune Aegis, Bars, Taverns, and Inns

POWERS

  • FRAMEWORK NOTES
    • Frameworks for fetishists must have a tight special effect to be approved, e.g. a the totem aspects of your fetish.  I do not want VPNs or Gadgetpools, but I encourage/allow talent/.
    • Wizards may have a loosely based Magic multipower as their effects are generated by crystal wizardry, even shamanic effects if their history includes shamanic training.. 
    • Wizards may not take an elemental command.
    • No VPN; No Gadget Pool
      • Special note: skills like gadgeteering, or deduction based on your branch of magic are encouraged
  • LIMITATION NOTES:
    • NOISY +1/2: Over 60 active points on any spell with attack powers automatically has noisy.– Those who can when they are actively detecting magic will know the direction and strength of the spell that went off in a 10 hex range/point of the spell.  Invisible power effects would negate this but PCs are not allowed to buy invisible with powers of 60active points or > (intentionally).  This counts on astral plane attacks also, which are normally invisible, but you need some astral sensitivity to hear the noise.  There is a low level “magic” street noise any wizard will hear walking new Candide.  The player must inform the GM when the PC is invoking a noisy power.
    •  +1/2 SKILL ROLL REQUIRED for MAGIC: Mystical Powers and Magickal Powers must all have an associated skill roll: Mysticism is magic talent and belief and will directed at magic.  It does not allow for replication, experimentation and controls.  There is only a little speculation as to why since the scientific method itself is in its infancy outside of smithies.  Unusual rolls produce unusual results; unusual environments will produce unusual additional effects.  Usually 14- unless special effect is focused.  (PC is an idiot savant, PC trained extraordinarily)
    • +1/4 UNPREDICTABLE on all magical special effects. This means under unusual circumstances beyond your ken there may be unusual magical effects occurring in any spell unaccounted for by training or environment.  This is not an activation roll.  The base power still works but it may manifest differently on different occasions in different realities due to ?  It will be applied whether you take the limitation or not as it is a fundamental characteristic of the interdependency of Ocoan magicks.
    • INDEPENDENT: Magical foci exist, magical independent foci exist.  To start with one you have to pay the points and work with me on the history of the foci.  Famous forges are the Koral Mountains and Sanctuary, both very far away.  Your foci will be rooted in a magic; to others within your tradition, your foci will be independent.  Items like shields which also have a mundane use, you may take the full limitation.  Not taking the limitation does not protect the item from the GM’s NPCs who share your abilities.
    • +1/2 REDUCED END  Reduced end advantage/charges not allowed/highly restricted for wizards/necro combat powers
  • DETECTS Do not buy detects as a sense.  I want it to take a ½ phase to activate.
  • DETECTS for magic may only be bought within your special effect for analyze and within your branch for general.  Note Crystal Wizardry exempt.
  • MAGESIGHT It’s the sight of magic, and one of the very few detects allowed as a sense, and also indirectly allows you to see in the spirit world by the distortion of magic (think Bleach before Ichigo became a Shinigami)  It would not be quite as good as following it up with clairsentience for spiritual planes or adding spiritual planes as related dimensions, but it is still a very powerful base and will let you sense ghosts, wraiths and ell sorts of unusual spiritual elements.  Notice the secoond power does not operate as a sense, but requires time.  The Fibre perception is unique to wizards and requires no action; it’s always up for wizards.
    14  

    Detect Magical Fibers 14- (Sight Group), Discriminatory and Analyze, Perceive into a single other dimension (17 Active Points); Limited Power: Unpredictable (-1/4) 

    0

    0

    5  

    Detect Magic 14- (Sight Group), Discriminatory and Analyze (12 Active Points); Instant (-1/2), Limited Power: Unpredictable (-1/4), Extra Time (Half Phase, -1/4), Nonpersistent (-1/4) 

 

 

  • ExtraDimensional Movement.  By the book.  See the PC map attachment. Other dimensions exist and slide through Oco even as they are a part of the Ocoan that is the circumscribed infinite.  They can be traveled or just communicated with.  You don’t need powers to get this info, just a purse to visit your local medium  (dime a dozen in New Candide), but if you want powers in this vein, Mer, Wizardy are the strongest backgrounds, but thaumaturgy and fetishists to a lesser degree can access some planes.  Alas, so can witches with a sledgehammer’s grace.  I don’t have a system, but intend to have multiple systems, because different groups see mysticism in radically different ways and that alters how and what one can do mystically which alters how you buy it.  Always it will have some basis in a KS of your mysticism.
  • Power defense refers specifically to Mystical attacks against self, such as drains and transforms.  Power defense is also limited by special effect. (this is reflected by piercing drains where the pierce is bought only against wizards for example because the type of power defense a wizard has may be no good against papa Smurf’s type of ego destruction attack.
  • Teleportation is always +1/2 noisy.
  • Telepathy is roleplayed/experienced, not like reading a book. It carries inherent dangers unlisted.   Thaumaturges may only have telepathy by linking it to domination (mind control).  It also opens a 2way “mind link” and “karma merge” between target and destination.  People with psych disads may inadvertently damage the caster
  • Desolidification is available as spirit travel.  It functions like normal desol except it includes the spirit world/astral plane which becomes accessible to you as you use desol and you become more accessible to its non-euclidean geometry and its non-linear sentience.  Some NPCs may have Desol and can also attack non-desol.  If no player character takes some form of this, you will need to find NPCs (should not be hard) or buy extra running (which usually works, crazy as that sounds).
  • Desolidification most commonly known as spirit travel (the spirit plane on the map) is vulnerable to magic special effects.
  • Aura reading-detect mystical strength, emotional state and physical state all in one roll.  This is separate from a general detect magic.  This could also be bought as a skill roll (3pts) or as telepathy, limited empathy.  It depends on how you came to this mystical awareness.  And will vary what you get from it.  Many mystics have this of many types.
  • Pre/Postcognition aka Destiny Sense– that allows one to sense a confluence of events around a person or item.  However, the seer is also seen.  This would only be available to the most mystical of character conceptions and could allow probability travel.  It carries inherent dangers unlisted. 
  • Keen Sense-usually a draconic ability but known to Saur nymish magi as well as some wizards:  It’s the ability to sense a beings unique karma so that one can immediately recognize the being again regardless how many metaphysical planes may separate you.  A power bought as a skill, gen.  May not be frameworked.
  • Wizards! See the wizard section in Section 3: Initial Character Creation Milieus for additional power notes.
  • Wizards 2! See Section 5: Crystal Wizard Power listing for a more granular look at powers.  This listing will bend to your special effect somewhat 

dimensions

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A Vikhayyan Tale

 
 
Those stars up there, do you see them?  Between Garrow the Great Bear and Orion the Hunter?  Well those three and the one above them that shines blue that we call the master crystal’s daughter?  Those four stars are known by the Northrenrir as The Superior Tetrarch.  I’m not sure if that’s a description of their place in the sky or a Vikhayyan comment on their Tetrarch.  You can decide that for yourself after hearing this tale.  It was told to me by a Vikhayyat for a rabbit supper in the wilderness and I’ll never forget it–or her–for my heartspan of days.

 

So the northern Lands, fierce fierce lands, they have many problems like Ice trolls—which are pretty much like trolls on Glered except a bit craftier and sturdier and maybe a bit hungrier for manflesh.  Like an 800 pound troll with a crocodile’s eyes and cunning.   That’s an ice troll with really long arms.  They squeeze their prey.  Quite fond of manflesh.  Did I mention that? You probably want to remember that if you’re ever in the Northlands.

 

A Tetrarch is only brought together for matters of great consequence.  The warrior women cult of the Northrenrir known as the Vikhayya tend to be self sufficient for things short of a dragon.  But when something dragon nasty shows up they’ll bring together a Tetrarch these days.  This is the story of the first Tetrarch.  It’s a big deal because there aren’t many mature Vikhayya at any one time, so 4 willing to work together is unusual.  The Mother of Swords calls them to a conclave.  She’s a smith, would you believe that?  They’re ruled by a smithie woman, one Mistress, the VikhayyaSklarNochTeglir.  That’s a mouthful.  It means She who cuts between Night and Day.  I guess it makes sense.  It’s said a Vikhayya is only as strong as their blade, they say that themselves, so a smithie ruler….

 

Well, this was a very long time ago and I don’t know the line of the Twilight Dynasty as the vikhayyan rulers are called, but in this story Her majesty was Elflar and she was quite intent on scouring the borders of her lands of any dangers and so securing her renown from any siege .  One of those sleeping dangers buried in a shallow iceflow was GoreMonger.  A terrible spirit in wolf form, said to have a man’s cunning that feasted on its own pack, such was this infamy and steeped in blood that its fur never came clean and befouled the rivers wher’eer it swam with its matted coat.  Each packmate slain grew out as a shadow of shame from the neck of Goremonger and the heads relentlessly growled and snapped at each other. It was said only another life—for all it hated life—would cause the heads to stop worrying at each other.  Its life was a tribute to torment.  Some called it the Northern Erador for it never stopped growing.  The Vikhayyan said its shadow was the New Moon; whether this was an augur of its power or poetic justice to its power doesn’t matter.  The true testimony to its strength was that no Vikhayyat, so reputed for their resolve, would assay its strength.

 

Mother of Swords heard these whispers and they offended her, though since she wasn’t the one holding the sword I can’t say as to her right to be offended.  Anyway, Goremonger, it was said, had been asleep since the age of Darkness, and so the phrase let sleeping dogs lie was born to the Northrenrir.  She who cuts between Night and Day set out the call for a conclave.  On a new moon night the Vikhayya gathered and of them all only 4 would agree to assay the beast.  Shame dogged the rest who slunk away and their names are lost in history ever after.  Thus was the first Tetrarch born against and above the shame of their comrades.

 

They were Taicho among their people: Cinder Irongrasp, Menolly Cedarthew, Seely WindfollowsDeath and Tessen HeartThrallcutter.  You can imagine these four were as good as their names.  For the surname of a Vikhayya only comes from a great deed. 

 

GoreMonger smelled them from afar and shook off his winter coat of ice.  Hungry as he was he smelt their resolve and ran.  The Ice flow Chasm is called Coward’s Flame Creche where Goremonger finally turned and faced his fear.  So small were these four compared to him that his belly burned with Shame for having turned tail.  And a fiercer hate bellowed through his chest and he howled and yowled and begged in gutterspeech for them to come throw themselves in his slavering jaws.

 

All four processed forward for this was a thing that knew no honor.

 

Cinder Irongrasp was slammed by its front paws into the ground opening a fissure in the ice.  Cinder held onto the leg and snapped it.  Goremonger’s jaw bit through its own leg which it hated anyway and through Cinder’s shoulder, but her sinews did not fail her.  She held with her feet fast against the crevasse, for a Vikhayyan walks on ice as you and I would a summer’s field.

 

Seely WindfollowsDeath cut its flank just narrowly escaping a pair of shadow jaws. 

 

Then Tessen spoke, “One head rules the others, the one above, that only slavers, but does not strike.  Menolly!”

 

And Menolly Cedarthew leapt on Tessen’s clasped hands and vaulted in front of the beast’s emporer head and stuck her shortblade in its snout and with her long sword in hand that splits the cedar trees she parted its lower jaw from its body.  This feat earned her the rightly feared name of Menolly Jawrender.  Blood gouted out and it is said that Goremonger‘s black heart burst for knowledge that it could never consume again rather then from the wound itself.

 

In glory they brought back the pelt.  The first Tetrarch now dissolved in joyous tears that ran to red down their bloodstained cheeks.

 

Some said their fame and the love of the people for them—for surely they were the people’s pride—bestirred some other flame in the Mistress of Swords.  I cannot say that.  I cannot read a heart long dead.  In any event, Mistress of Swords Elflar summoned  Tessen HeartThrallCutter and issued a command whose fruit owned a wormy core.

 

“In the North is a woman, Hectha, she is a witch.  Poison seeps from her camp and mourning has come down upon the village of Aroll.  Go there and kill this woman.”

 

Tessen left her homeland and journeyed to Aroll and in truth the townsfolk wore black and much grieving was to be found there.  Four youths by their own hands had taken what was not theirs to take and ended their dawns forever.  Tessen went to the home of this Hectha ready to dispatch her.  And there she found the old crone with bent back and in her eyes Hectha welcomed the sword.

 

“Take me, Take me.” Hectha cried, “My life is ash; my heart run through.  Favor me with your blade.  I cannot go on.  My Husband has gone and for forty summers 80 are their toll upon my body.  My children, they were mine.  Ever was their a more worthy scabbard for you?  All love is truly dead within me and I will own the name witch they give me for my heart is bereft.”

 

Tessen processed her to the village square and as people are wont to do they gathered to see the execution.  But Tessen HeartThrallCutter was named so for her wisdom and what she saw in Hectha’s tears was love itself and no witchery at all.  Tessen, whose heart had no thrall, could take within the tears of a grey winter storm and yet be unbowed.

 

She sheathed her blade and in the presence of all she kissed the lady on her forehead, gently.  Though she had the immortal youth of the Vikhayyat still she kissed the crone as a grandmother would kiss her granddaughter, newly born.

 

And the years melted from Hectha and her tears became adorienne that rained upon the ground as light and as a thousand springtimes all at once and the wheel of fate for this village turned in each heart; the smallness of their lives and the enormity of their hearts.  There was no festival, there was no celebration—a quiet thing, the rebirth of this village.  And many an orphan found a warm hearth in Hectha’s home for years afterward.

 

When the crow delivered to the Mother of swords the news that Hectha yet lived, her heart quavered, for as you know, true witchery is a dreadful thing.  And who can say that there was not some of that witchery within the Mother for Tessen? 

 

For a Vikhayyan, with all their power, Honor must rule their blood.  Who could she send to make aright this disobedience and quickly!  For whose neck is safe if Tessen HeartthrallCutter of the famed Tetrarch was now a traitor?  And to whom would the people truly rally?  But of course the other 3 leapt through her mind and what’s more if dishonor embroiled them so then the Mother of Swords would have her rightful place again among the people.  All this ran ephemerally through her mind in but a few seconds after the crow had whispered to her its news.  She summoned Cinder Irongrasp, Seely WindfollowsDeath , and Menolly Jawrender.

 

“Hectha remains alive.  Tessen’s famed heart quails within her.  Do your duty.  Restore the honor of the Vikhayyat; then split this witch from her skull to her thigh.”

 

Tessen well aware of what would come met her Tetrarch outside Aroll village.  It is said that she would not have her blood mar the village so tender in its healing.

 

“She was not a witch”

 

“Your command was to kill the woman.  Such judgments are not yours to make.”

“But I have made it.  You may not pass.”

“She has bewitched you”

“The adorienne answered my plea”

 

At this, and all could have turned here, some say Cinder’s heart fluttered in doubt, whose wings then touched Menolly and Seely, but the ice winds of the Northrenrir, which have claimed so many lives, scour sentiment. 

 

After a long moment, Cinder Irongrasp processed forward.

 

“You have been bewitched.  You must let us kill the woman.  Obedience is a thing honorbound.”

 

It was as if you could hear the synchronous breaths of four sisters, so quiet it became, when Tessen answered: “I will have my heart’s honor.  You may not pass.”

 

Cinder’s sword clanged against Tessen’s and the short knives came out.  No shields here for this was a Vikhayyan honor blood duel.  Twice Tessen parried Cinder’s short strokes and on the third Cinder sought to bring her longsword down on Tessen’s head and end this in one fell stroke, but Tessen stepped to the side and inward.

 

And the flat of her blade kissed Cinder’s neck.

 

At this wrath flared in Seely and she processed forward to Cinder’s shame.  Cinder cried out, but Seely spake, “Can you not see it? She mocks you!  The bewitched traitor mocks the Vikhayya!”

 

Wrath was ever a poor guardian and as Seely put both hands on her long sword and drew back for a deathblow, Tessen parried Cinder with her short blade and with her long blade—with the flat of it, she kissed Seely’s vital thigh.

 

At this, with fear blooming in her heart for she felt the hand of fate upon her as two who should be dead fought on, Menolly Jawrender advanced. “Yield, Tessen!  There is still time to reclaim your heart’s honor”

 

With her Longblade she parried Seely; with her shortblade she parried Cinder, and with her eyes she parried Menolly.

 

Yet still Menolly’s short blade in years of battle so practiced the mind barely birthed it to reality in a move so simple a tender Vikhayyat could parry it, swooped up with death’s delight which is at the heart of every blade and lodged in Tessen’s guts.

 

Tessen’s sword parried backward Seely’s sword, spinning the vikhayyat slightly offbalance; then, Tessen, falling into deaths maw, brought her short blade around.

 

The flat of it gently kissed the lips of Menolly Jawrender.

 

With that final kiss, the strength left her body.  Seely and Cinder struck true and then for a cold honor’s sake, Menolly ran the quieted body of Tessen HeartThrallCutter through.

 

“It is done.”

 

“She retained her honor.”

 

“We are not wounded, but in truth we are dead.  Tessen Heartthrallcutter claimed our lives and in undeserved mercy spared us who fought by her side”

 

“The dead have no Mistress of Swords.  By Tessen’s blood which stains our blades, none shall take what Tessen treasured.”

 

Three blade points touched; an oath committed.

 

The crow brought news of this to MotherofSwords and therein another old adage was born as she ate her shame in ignoble defeat.

 

Now the Vikhayya honor the three in the night sky for fulfilling honor at great pain, yet Tessen HeartThrallCutter remains honored above those who in honor smote her down.

 

What this says of the Vikhayyan I leave to you, but they treasure this tale such that it is one of the few bruited as far as the shores of Glered by those stoic peoples.