Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Pentan Pack Spider

The Pentan Pack Spider


The pack spider has its origin in the Hellcrack, but has spread since the Darkness to a number of cliffs, chasms and plungeholes across Pent.  These creatures are communal and non-competetive, although rivalry over breeding rights does occur between the males.  There are, in fact, two distinct sub-species of the pack spider, Pentas Yarae and Pentas Communalae.  
Both grow to the size of a wolf-hound, and their patterns of behaviour are very similar to each other.

One web unites the community, which may hold up to 200 adults.  Only 10% are males, which leads to a dangerous level of inbreeding.  To counter this, groups of 1-3 dozen will migrate between the settlements (how they know where the others are remains a mystery), and it is these groupings that are generally encountered.

Whilst these numbers may not offer a threat to an organised warband, they are very dangerous to the herds of the Pentans, and to unfortunate scouting parties.

They move at a speed and with a style similar to a wolf pack, pursuing and exhausting prey before the final attack, leaping from 3-4 meters away.



Pentas Yarae
Black bodied and red legged, these have a paralysing venom.  After biting they will withdraw until their prey collapses, at which time they will return to feed.

Pentas Communalae
Black pneumothorax and legs with a golden abdomen, they have an agonising venom.  Each member of the pack will attempt to bite a large prey, overwhelming it with pain.  Once the prey has been rendered unconscious from overwhelming agony, they feed.


NB Please pardon the lack of illustrations.  I am an arachnophobe, and just writing about them gives me the jitters!

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Mystic Schools of the Steppe

File:Oxherding pictures, No. 7.jpgThe Mystic Schools of the Steppe


The system of Mysticism being used here is based on that in Hero Wars, but developed rather differently.




Zho Lath Ey  (Mysticism, Illusion)
“All life is slavery”

Mythos and History
Zho was a great practitioner of some of the magics of Aptenace the Sage, who saw that the rules to be applied to life in the Kralorelan Empire were simply restrictions.  He meditated on how to live a life that was unbounded, and came to the realisation that any interaction with another being imposed limitations.  Over time he encountered illumination, and as Zho Lath introduced a reclusive Way that distanced the practitioner from all others.
This served him for two centuries, until he realised the isolation from others was also a chain.
His subsequent period of meditation brought him to the realisation that he declaimed to the Exarch of Boshan, “All Life is Slavery, including your life and that of the Dragon Emperor”.  His mystic powers enabled him to avoid further restraint and execution.
As Zho Lath Ey he introduced a new Way, one that people of all ranks could embrace, seeing all the enslavements of life, and choosing which to accept and which to reject.

Depiction
Open coffle chains.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
No great favour to any, but absolute detestation for any who place others in chains.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
Each Dojo is independent, with absolute disobedience being as accepted as absolute obedience.
Holy Days
None as such.

Physical Training
All methods of escapology and gymnastics.  There is no Martial Art within the way of Zho Lath Ey.
Mental Training
The mystic is taught extreme introspection, with the ability to see any restrictions being imposed, by community, self, or other individual.
Spiritual Training
The mystic is taught the magics that allow them to shatter restraint, and to discard slavery.

Powers
Escape Physical Restraint
Identify Restraint
Overcome Restraint
Escape Slavery
Gymnastics


Novice
Anyone with a Mysticism rune may join.  They are schooled in the basics of the Way at their Dojo, discovering the hidden powers of slavery in the world.

Mystic
Anyone with 1Ш in either of the cult runes may attempt to convince their Dojo’s Enlightened E y that they are fit to be a Mystic.  This is overcoming a Hard resistance.  They learn all the Powers as indirect magical abilities.

Enlightened Ey
A Mystic with 11Ш in the keyword must overcome Very Hard resistance to be accepted as an Enlightened Ey.  The Enlightened must depart their Dojo, and have the option of starting one of their own.
The Enlightened use their Powers as direct magical abilities.

Changchun-Temple-Master-and-disciples-painting-0316.jpg
Sheng and his first seven disciples in Boshan



Immanent Mastery (Mysticism, Dragon)
“Let us shorten the Path”

Mythos and History
The form of the School of Immanent Mastery which has been brought to the plains is similar, yet distinctly different from that of Kralorela.  The powers that are available are those of draconic humanity, not of dragons limited by human form.

Depiction
A naked bisexual figure covered in scales..
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Likes any draconic power.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
Each Dojo is independent, with absolute disobedience to the Incipient Dragon as a requirement.
Holy Places for the cult are those where dragons are known to dwell or frequent.
Holy Days
None as such.

Physical Training
Strength and endurance.  The Martial Art of The Growing Dragon is both an armed and unarmed style.
Mental Training
The art of Draconic Thought is taght, along with Auld Wyrmish in both written and rudimentary spoken form.
Spiritual Training
The mystic is taught the magics that allow them to imitate draconic powers.
  
Powers
Skin hard as dragonscale
Health as impervious as dragonsgut
Shrug off flame as if draconic
Kata of the Growing Dragon
Claws sharp as dragon talons

Novice
Anyone with a Mysticism rune may join.  They are schooled in the basics of the Way at their Dojo, discovering the hidden dragon within themselves.

Mystic
Anyone with 1Ш in either of the cult runes may attempt to convince their Dojo’s Incipient Dragon that they are fit to be a Mystic.  This is overcoming a Hard resistance.  They learn all the Powers as indirect magical abilities.

Incipient Dragon
A Mystic with 11Ш in the keyword must overcome Very Hard resistance to be accepted as an Incipient Dragon.  The Incipient must depart their Dojo, and have the option of starting one of their own.
The Incipient use their Powers as direct magical abilities.
Drago 1.jpg




Third Eye (Mysticism, Storm)
“Now I see your inevitable defeat”

Mythos and History
When Shavaya opened the Third Eye of the Solar Storm, some of the cultists discovered that they had found a different way to power, while they had lost their original contact with the Solar Storm.
The cult is highly secretive, and has established a presence in and beyond the Jankley Bore, where they seek to grow in influence without becoming tools of other powers.

Depiction
A mighty king and mage with three eyes, the third central and upright.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Detest Shavaya cultists, and intensely fear Can Shu.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
Each Dojo is independent, with absolute obedience to the Open Eye.
Holy Days
None as such.

Physical Training
Running, swimming, climbing and leaping.  The Martial Art of the Whipping Wind is both armed and unarmed.
Mental Training
The mystic is taught to judge the intentions of others, and to hear lies and false friendship.
Spiritual Training
The mystic is taught the magics that allow them to shatter the rocks of the Bore, and to hide their path.

Powers
Kata of the Whipping Wind
Hear deceit in your voice
Blow rock apart to release the Inner Wind
Whip scree across my path
Snatch weapon away with Wind Whip

Novice
Anyone with a Mysticism rune may join.  They are schooled in the basics of the Way at their Dojo, discovering the benefits of an opened Third Eye.

Mystic
Anyone with 1Ш in either of the cult runes may attempt to convince their Dojo’s Open Eye that they are fit to be a Mystic.  This is overcoming a Hard resistance.  They learn all the Powers as indirect magical abilities.

Open Eye
A Mystic with 11Ш in the keyword must overcome Very Hard resistance to be accepted as an Incipient Dragon.  The Incipient must depart their Dojo, and have the option of starting one of their own.
The Incipient use their Powers as direct magical abilities.

Hadad.jpg
Setting forth to fight Shavaya,
before the opening of his Third Eye



These are the three Ways with an 'organised' presence on the steppe.  There are others that may be found in individual communities that have no other fellow groupings in Pent.

The Sorcery of Orathorn

青玉福在眼前 照片 024.jpg
Pendant from Orathorn

The Sorcery of Orathorn  (Death, Darkness)


Mythos and History
Foremost amongst those who followed the Devil into the world was he who  commanded the forces that ravaged Genert’s Garden, slaying the god himself.  He fought Basko on the borders between the steppes and the Eastern kingdoms.  He pretended that he held the Mistress of Light and Knowledge, and captured the god of knowledge – her lover – in order to supplant him. 
That coward-god escaped and fled, making vile alliances to hide his cowardice.
When the Great Darkness came, Tien hunted for the missing goddess.  He found her, slew her, and stole her power of Truth along with her head.  When Wakboth fell, Tien was pursued to Hell by a Storm beast, where he in turn was beheaded, losing that power of Truth once more.  He took the ,Darkness.

In the Dawn Age he provided power and inspiration to those who took others’ powers through headhunting.  While his severing had lessened his powers of theistic magic, his ability to write knowledge became the heart of a new way of power for one family that had survived the battle against Basko.  The family of Orathorn adopted the magic of Sorcery to venerate Tien.
When Atyar’s Skull became known, they attempted to find sorcerous ways to gain that power also, but have never found a way to do so.

The Cult In The World
Orathorn is both cult and family, with necromantic servants ‘recruited’ from slaves.  They practise headhunting as a way to garner knowledge, and meticulously note all that may be recalled for storage in their library.  Funeral customs are non-existant, with family members staying around for a very long time.

Nature of the Cult
Self-sustaining, the cult of the Dark Library of the Bone-White Tower gathers more and more information, in an attempt to find the way to re-unite the head and body of Tien.
Depiction
A robed male body with a Truth rune where the head would be.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Friendly with Thanites, loathers of Storm cultists, and neutral towards everybody else.  They particularly hate the Pentan Paths of the Storm.
Holy Places
File:Bertall - Piratenspuk.jpg
A group of 're-used' Teshnans
The tower itself.
Holy Days
None as such.

  
Grimoires

The Tome Of Undying (Death)
This grimoire provides the ecology of Orathorn, and provides for its defence.  The standard form in which it occurs is a hymnbook of a dozen leaves between lacquered bamboo covers, each leaf holding a different hymn.  The majority are simply praise to Tien, but not all:

It provides the following spells:                 

Dirge of the Dancing Bones  (Death, Movement)
This spell will animate a skeleton, with the physical skills they had before death, and permit them to be commanded by any member of the Orathorn family.

Chant of the Fresh-Risen Corpse (Death, Movement)
This spell will animate a corpse as a zombie, clumsy but with massive strength, and permit them to be commanded by any member of the Orathorn family

Calling the Mighty into Mortal Remains                 (Death, Sorcery)
Summons one of the cult’s essences to inhabit a fresh corpse, to act as a Guardian for a Mage or a part of the Library.                                             
                                                                
Lay of the Loquacious Relic (Death, Communication)
Allows the caster to create a cult ‘Head’ from a prize she has taken. It will respond honestly to any query from the caster.
                                                                                                                               
File:Magical book Kircherian Terme.jpg
Ebon Scroll on lead sheets

The Ebon Scroll (Darkness)
This grimoire counters the Solar powers of Kargzant, and empowers the killer-collectors of the Library.  It is most frequently found as thin plates of inscribed lead or tarnished silver.
It provides the following spells: 




The Truelight and The Tracker (Darkness, Truth)
This spell will ignite Darklight, and permits the caster to see clearly by it.  The flame may expand to no more than a bonfire in size.

The Shade and The Summoning (Darkness, Mastery)
This spell will conjure an elemental essence to animated pool of Darkness, with a volume of no more than 3 cubic metres.

The Guardian and The Gaeas (Darkness, Sorcery)
Summons one of the cult’s essences to inhabit a statue or unintelligent beast, to act as a Guardian for a Mage or a part of the Library.

The Decapitator and The Dead (Darkness, Death)
This spell enables a cultist who has used stealth to strike with a Garrotte and slay their prey in an instant, sending their soul to Tien’s Hell.

                                               

The library holds a vast number of grimoires, books, scrolls, tablets and scraps of payrus that can provide many spells.  However, most are in foreign and, not infrequently, extinct languages.

Apprentices
A member of the family becomes an apprentice from the age of 12.

Adepts
Apprentices graduate at 17, becoming Adepts.
An Adept starts play with one of the Grimoires at 17, knowing all of the spells therein.  They may pay for knowledge of the other Grimoire during character creation.

Mage
Once an Adept has reached 11Ш in one of the cult Grimoires, they are accepted as a Mage.  Since the family wish to strengthen themselves, there is no barrier to advancement. 
Learning other spells from the library requires an Essence Plane journey with a dangerous obstacle, and then taking a test of knowledge of the source againsta Very High resistance.
The Mages administer the Library, the Tower, the defences, the servants, or reaping expeditions, as their abilities and preferences dictate.

The Dark Library of the Bone-White Tower
This repository of stolen wisdom and knowledge is closed to any but the Orathorn family, and is spread over three floors of the Tower.  The Tower is simply the heart of a complex of workshops and residences, but it is the only place of learning within the settlement.















Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Basko on the steppes

File:Sun black icon.svgBasko on the Steppes



Rune   Black Sun     





Mythos & History

The Dark came about because the sun was diminished, and Zerel Fan had to find a new way to be manifest within the world.  The Uz found that diminished form of the True Sun, without recognizing what he was.  Xiola Umbar healed him and Zorak Zoran roared on his behalf.  Dozaki sacrificed to him, and his Darkfire Blaze sprang forth.  The Uz followed him as he came to us, since he could only rule again by returning to the East.  He destroyed the city of Zakarath because it did not respect Blood Sun as the Fifth Manifestation, and he fought and defeated Chaos, burning and beheading Tien, and driving off Pocharngo.  He was called into the heavens once more and from there he sends his rain of blood, signifying his nature as Sixth Manifestation, including the powers of the Fifth.
He is the father of Sekever, our great and mighty Emperor, whose memory we praise forever, Lord of Maniacs,
Sender of the Blood Rain, Burner of Corruption, Sixth Manifestation of Zerel Fan and Master of Chern Durel.

Nature of the Cult

The national identity of Chern Durel, but also followed by those who live beyond the notional boundaries of the state.  He brings the Darklight and the Darkflame, heralding a New Dawn under Can Shu.
Depiction
A black sun

Rune Affinities

The Black Sun is his own Rune, and thereby the source of many powers. He needs no other.

Black Sun Rune Affinity
Basko has undertaken many different acts since he was rediscovered, and these can all be accessed through his one rune.  This affinity has been used for a wide variety of purposes including: negotiating with Uz, finding a path to Chern Durel from the west, seeing by Darklight, facing Chaos without fear, burning away Chaos-taint, and defeating those who doubt the authority of each of the Manifestations of Zerel Fan. The affinity can also be used for warding off any wandering cult specters.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

Likes all Uz, hates all Chaos.  Despise all Kralorelans as stupid, misunderstanding the truth.

Cult Organisation

Rigid and rigorous, with absolute obedience required within the local temple, each community being part of the tribal/national structure, and those in turn owing obedience to Chern Durel.

Priests

Any who meet the standard requirements may join the priesthood.  

Holy Days and Sacrifices

Darkness and Fire Days are equally holy, and blood sacrifices are performed on each day, although - due to Uz influence - these are normally of animals only.  The greatest sacrifice is held on the darkest day of Ice Season, with blood from the screaming human victims freezing on the temple steps.

Bloodfeasts are held only on occasions that the priest wishes to summon a specter.

Initiates
All approach through the Black Sun rune, and are expected to show the cult virtues of Loyal and Pious.

Subcults


Lord Sekever (Mastery)
This is the subcult for community leaders, and only they may join.  The Rune affinity may be used to command other cult members, although it is useless against Uz.

Sekever the Warrior (Death)
This is the subcult for warriors, and only they may join.  The Rune affinity allows them to make their weapon flare with Darkfire, burning their opponents with unseen flames, or to face the Kralorelans, whatever their numbers.

Devotees

Any who meet the standard requirements may devote themselves to Basko.  

Basko's feats are limited in nature, given that they all devolve from the one Runic power.

(Black Sun)  The Darklight Feat 
Blazing with Darklight and Darkfire Basko led the Uz into the East.  The light was their guide and the fire his weapon against Chaos. This Feat can be used to ignite a Darklight, to Burn Chaos or to raise a Darkfire Blaze.

(Black Sun) The Bloodfeast Feat 

Basko is able to turn anything to his purpose, being the greatest of all the gods and the Sixth Manifestation.
This Feast and Feat requires that body parts be placed within a communal cooking pot and boiled together.
When all the flesh has fallen from the bones, then the feast is shared between the officiant and all the other worshippers.  A Specter is summoned, inhabiting an illusory body whose parts resemble those of the creature parts which were contributed to the pot.  It is under the Command of the officiant. 

Caacrinolaas.png
A summoned specter

(Black Sun) The Bloodrain Feat 

The Blood Sun gave this power to Basko in return for reconfirming his authority in the land.  The Feat may be used to Call Blood Rain At Planting, to Fertilise the Field, or to Wash Chaos-Taint Away.

The 10,000 Maniacs

These raging Uz spirits are only accessible as Guardians for devotees at the cult centres in Chern Durel


Agents of Reprisal

The apostate appears rimmed in red flames to any form of spiritual vision.  Their flesh, if contributed to a Bloodfeast, will increase the officiant's success with the Feat by one level for each limb or major organ.

Xiola Umbar among the Chern Durelites of Pent

Xiola Umbar among the Chern Durelites of Pent


Runes   Harmony    

Mythos & History

Xiola Umbar is a goddess of the world, not the Underworld.  She was discovered when the Uz came from the Hellcrack in fear and in pain.  She calmed the fear and eased the pain.  When Dozaki brought the Uz to live with us, they introduced her tough love and forceful healing to us.  While we are not her main subjects of attention, when we suffer sufficiently she will turn to us.  While the Uz worship her for powers of reproduction, we do not.

Nature of the Cult

Rough healers in an even rougher world, the cult is treasured amid the violence and warfare of the other deities of Chern Durel.
Järnåldern, Lerkärl, Nordisk familjebok.jpg
Shrine Pot

Depiction
A pot with a mouthless face at the bottom.

Rune Affinities
The only rune the Chern Durelites associate with her is that of Harmony.  

Harmony Rune Affinity
Xiola Umbar brought peace to fury and healing to harm, and still continues to do so.  However, since humans are not her primary concern, there is little that Initiates can perform with this affinity.  It may be used to sooth anger, calm fear and overcome pain.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

She likes all Uz, and hates all Chaos.

Cult Organisation

There is none to speak of, with priestesses wandering between communities and bringing healing whenever they conduct worship at a shrine.

Priestesses

Any initiate who matches the standard requirements becomes a priestess by virtue of their power.

Holy Days and Sacrifices
Entirely at the priestess' whim

Initiates
All approach her through Harmony, and initiates are required to show the cult virtue, Compassionate.

Subcults

None are followed among the humans of Pent

Devotees

Any who wish and meet the requirements may devote themselves to Xiola Umbar.  Devotees are both respected and derided for their compassion.  They have no place in war-counsel, since that virtue makes them unreliable.

(Harmony)  The Peace Feat 
Xiola Umbar calmed the fears of those who spilled from the Hellcrack.  She encouraged those who faced Tien and Pocharngo.  She heartened those who discovered new fear, facing the dragons of Kralorela.  To some degree, she will do the same for us.  
This Feat has been used to Soothe The Dying, to Overcome Our Fear, and to Unite The Community.

(Harmony) The Healing Feat 

Xiola Umbar healed the burns inflicted on the Uz when Burner entered the Underworld.  She healed the little death that had encompassed Basko, when they found him.  She heals those who turn to her in dire need. However, we have less access to her healing than do the Uz.  
This Feat has been used to Heal Burns, to Heal Chaos Wound and to Heal Injury.  
File:Color post card. Indian witch doctor ("shaman") healing a sick woman. - NARA - 297728.jpg
An attempt to neutralize
the bite of a Huan To



Agents of Reprisal
An apostate may never benefit from her healing, nor enter into her peace.




Zorak Zoran among the Chern Durelites in Pent, and the way he uses it to puroify

Zorak Zoran among the Chern Durelites in Pent

Runes   Disorder    Death

File:Multi-eyed oni.jpg
Zorak Zoran killing a cyclops

Mythos & History

Zorak Zoran was a god, not of the underworld, but of the surface.  At first he found not who merited his patronage, but when the Hellcrack opened and the Uz raged onto the world in agony and fury, he knew he had found those who could be his warriors.  In the Dark he fought Chaos time and again, and finally broke it.  The sun emerged from where he lay hidden, and the Black Sun came to blaze for us.

Nature of the Cult

When Dozaki came to us he brought the pure rage of Zorak Zoran into our hearts.  Not many can aspire to be his warriors, but those who do are mighty champions pf the people against the Chaos on the steppe.  The cult is very simple, since the emotions it embodies are very simple, yet satisfying.
Depiction
An uz skull with a third eye painted in black in the middle of its forehead.

Rune Affinities

Elsewhere Zorak Zoran is known for the Dark in which he met the Uz, but not with us.  We know his power over Death, and the way he uses it to purify the world, and his power over Disorder, which he uses to rage against the evil that is Chaos.

Death Rune Affinity
Before we knew him we knew his power, as Death took us.  We discovered that this was necessary as part of his fight to hold back the Void.  Initiates use this affinity to empower their maces to crush their opponents, to appear gaunt and horrific, to lay ghosts to rest and to command the cult's undead.  It can also be used to sense when Chaos is nearby.

Disorder Rune Affinity
When Tien came, he came with a disciplined army.  Zorak Zoran taught us how to disrupt this loathsome order, and how to turn our rage from emotion into destruction.  Initiates use this affinity to intimidate the soldiers facing them into breaking ranks, and to fill themselves with hatred for an opponent who would otherwise fill them with fear.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

All of Chaos is utterly hated, all Uz respected.  Romal confuse them.

Cult Organisation

A temple is a warband, and is headed by a warrior-priest.  Any cultist will acknowledge the power of a priest, but would never accept the authority of one other than their own.  The priests are not organised into a hierarchy, and may fight (though seldom to the death) to establish relative rank.  Any Uz Zorak Zorani outranks the most powerful human priest. 
Mace LACMA M.2002.1.582 (1 of 2).jpg
Priestly Maul

Priests

Any initiate who meets the standard requirements may challenge their priest or may move to a community without a temple and set one up.  Having the power to do so is ordination in itself.

Holy Days and Sacrifices
According to the whim of the local priest.

Initiates
Zorak Zoran is approached through his aspect as Death.  Initiates are required to show the cult virtues of Fearless and Angry.

Subcults

None are followed among the humans of Pent

Devotees

Any who wish and meet the requirements may devote themselves to Zorak Zoran.  Devotees are both respected and shunned.  They have no place in war-counsel, since their rage makes them unreliable.

(Death)  The Dead-Raiser Feat 
As Lord of Death, Zorak Zoran has power over all the dead.  This Feat has been used in many ways over the years, including (but not limited) to Raise Zombie Warrior, to Raise Ghost, to Bind Ghost, to Command Undead and to have an Aspect Of Horror.

(Disorder) The Battle-Rage Feat 

The berzerker against Chaos, Zorak Zoran takes the rage that Chaos evokes and turns it into insane violence.
This Feat can be used to Break Weapons, to Fight To The Death, to empower an Oath Of Blood Vengeance, and to invoke the Berserker Rage.
Heracles slaying the Lernean Hydra.jpeg
Zorak Zorani slaying Chaos-Hydra

Agents of Reprisal

Any attempt to Sense Chaos will produce a positive response in the apostate's presence.

The Blood Sun in Pent

The Blood Sun In Pent



Runes   Blood Sun     Illusion

Mythos & History

Following the Fall of the Solar Storm a new manifestation of Zerel Fan, the Blood Sun, came to reign over Chern Durel.  This brought stability to the otherwise demoralized and weak nation and, in return for blood, gave power and life.  There was always a cost to this, and for many it was too high. However through the actions of his Prophet, Jorazzi Redhand, it came to dominate the land until the arrival of the Uz.  The Wizards of Gore formed the priesthood, physically weak yet spiritually powerful, and apparently almost invulnerable.
Since the coming of Basko, and his recognition as the sixth manifestation, the cult has declined in numbers and influence.  It has also never had the strength amongst the Chern Durlites in Pent as it had in the homelands.
File:Albrecht Dürer - Apollo with the Solar Disc - WGA7055.jpg
Idealised depiction of Jorazzi


Nature of the Cult

Blood is power, and there is power in blood.  The cult exploits the availability of blood to extract the maximum power from it that it may.

Depiction
A red sun, dripping blood.

Rune Affinities

The Blood Sun is his own Rune, and thereby the source of many powers.  Illusion is inherent to his nature, since his promises always have an unstated cost.

Blood Sun Rune Affinity
The Blood Sun is hope in adversity, pride amidst shame, life amidst death.
Initiates have used this affinity to aid in agriculture, to leech disease from a sufferer, to undertake first aid, to poison blood-sucking insects and the like, to become unpalatable to vampires, and to enhance the blood-letting capabilities of their flaming, dripping weapons.

Illusion Rune Affinity
The Blood Sun gives power at a cost, and the Illusion of free power is powerful in itself.
Initiates have used this affinity to conceal their wounds, to ignore pain, and to make themselves appear healthy and powerful even when in the grip of disease.  All of these illusions will be paid for later, with increased blood loss, agonising pain which will not permit the sufferer to pass out, and an apparently comatose condition.

Kudurru Melishipak Louvre Sb23 Ishtar-star.jpg
The Blood Sun, inscribed in lead.  In ritual, all the
grooves are filled with sacrificial blood.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

All solar cults are favoured, apart from those of Kralorela.  All Kralorelan cults are anathema.

Cult Organisation

Strictly hierarchical, lay serving initiate, initiate serving priest, then chief priest, then the High Priest in Chern Durel.

Priests

Any who meet the standard requirements are welcome to aspire to be a Wizard of Gore.  They are required to undertake Blood Sacrifice each year (see below).  They long to be known for their outward show of power, and for the agricultural wealth of their community. 

Holy Days and Sacrifices

The second Fire Day of each (Pentan) season is celebrated with feasting and communal blood letting.

The formal Blood Sacrifice is an annual event for each priest, on the anniversary of their arising to priesthood.  It involves the weakening of a physical characteristic, e,g. taking traits of Weak, Sickly, Unattractive.  The first instance of the Blood Sacrifice, the trait is taken at 13.  Each time thereafter it may be increased by up to 3 more.  For each point beyond 13, the priest's Blood Sun keyword increases by the number 'sacrificed'.

Initiates
The Blood Sun is approached through his own rune.  Initiates are required to show the cult virtues of Ambitious and Self-Sacrificing.

Subcults

There are none

Devotees

Only Wizards of Gore may become Devotees.  They are expected to sacrifice 3 points to the Blood Sacrifice each year, and generally have to be protected from the outside world by cultists.

(Blood Sun)  The Sacrifice Of Blood Feat 
Blood Sun showed how to bring wealth from the fields with the sacrifice of blood, and how blood may be used to bind the people together in hope.  This Feat has been used to Fertilise Field With Blood, to Propitiate Hostile Landscape Daemon, to Warm The Field when winter ends, to Bind The Community As One through the communal blood-letting of the sacrifice, and to Find Hope Through Sacrifice.

(Illusion) The Illusory Warrior Feat 

Blood Sun also used Illusion to conceal from Kralorela the dire weakness of the nation after the fall of the Solar Storm.  This magic is very costly, since after it is completed the cultist will be helpless for a complete week.  This Feat has the very special effect of Ignore Pain, Conceal Wound and Appear Mighty all in one.

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Cylinder seal from the Hot Lake area, depicting a sacrificial procession.
Note the priest's knife about to enter the sacrifice's stomach


Agents of Reprisal

The sacrifice of an apostate's blood may be used to gain a 1 point boost in Blood Sacrifice without a commensurate increase in a trait.




Monday, 8 June 2015

The Earth Eater as worshipped on the steppe

The Earth Eater as worshipped on the steppe

 

Runes   Earth    Devouring

Mythos & History

An ancient god of Kralorela, the Earth Eater was one of those non-draconic powers that was expelled during that period called 'the Balancing'.  Thereafter the worshippers fled to Chern Durel, and a few to the Hot Lake settlements.  The Earth Eater is the main bulwark against earth dragon influence in Pent.  Much that is evil has spread throughout the earth, but the Earth Eater has driven it off, time and again.

Nature of the Cult

The Earth Eater is a great defender of the people in their new life on the plains.

Depiction
Each clan has its own way of portraying their god, involving the parts of various earth-associated creatures.

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Earth Eater at rest

Rune Affinities

The Earth Eater is primarily associated with the Earth, but is also the side of it that is constantly being devoured, the sink-hole and the chasm-edge, the lake rim that crumbles, the Devouring rune in action.

Earth Rune Affinity
The mighty Earth, with all its power and expanse.  Initiates use this affinity to explore the world, to negotiate with non-draconic earth powers, and to avoid the attention of earth-dragons.

Devouring Rune Affinity
The process by which the earth decays and disappears into the void.  Use of this affinity inevitably brings the end of the world closer, but is also very powerful.  Initiates may use this affinity to find a sink-hole, to run along a crumbling cliff-edge, to devour draconic magic, and to empower weapons to destroy any metal of stone based armour.


Particular Likes and Dislikes

The cult is friendly towards all cults of Chern Durel, and loathes all draconic powers and creatures.

Cult Organisation

All temples and shrines acknowledge the supremacy of the cult in Chern Durel.  Otherwise, each is a law unto itself, ruled by whichever is the most senior priest.  They are, however, all friendly towards each other.

Priests

These are appointed as and when a willing candidate meets the requirements.  All priests are under the authority of their clans' Chief Priests.  For preference all weapons and armour worn by priests are made from draconic materials.

Holy Days and Sacrifices

Each Earth Day is a holy day, with sacrifices being Earth rune associated creatures.  The most highly valued are Mostali creations, or Mostali themselves.

Initiates

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Earth Eater and
reindeer head


The Earth Eater is approached through the Earth rune, since it is necessary to understand its creativity before you learn of destruction and Devouring.  Initiates must have the virtue Hate Draconics


Subcults

There are none

Devotees

Anybody with the standard requirements may devote themselves to the Earth Eater. They are required to kill a draconic being every season.




(Earth)  The Rich Earth Feat 

The Earth Eater appreciates the beauty of all that has grown upon the wide span of the world.
Cultists have used this Feat to Find Peaceful Camp-Site, to Find Healing Loam, to Find Path, and to 
Command Earth Daemon.

(Devouring) The Earth Devouring Feat 

The Earth Eater opens the gaps in the world that lets the Void peer in, and fights against the insidious influence of the Earth Dragon.  Cultists have used this Feat to Smite Dragon, to Reveal Dragon, to Reveal Sink-Hole, to Open Chasm, or Erode The Edge.

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Castle undermined and wrecked near the Hot Lake


Agents of Reprisal

The apostate is accounted still more valuable as a sacrifice than is a Mostali.


The Three Guardians and the Vile Demons

The Three Guardians And The Vile Demons


Runes   Hell  Earth  

Mythos & History

The three guardians of the Dara Happan Hells have been adopted and adapted by the Pentans, and are worshipped together as those who keep the powers of the Underworld from being let loose.
The numerous classes of spirits and demons they hold back are available to cultists on ocassion.

Son of  Deshlotralas and Oria, Veskerele is the lord of the Second Hell, home to mystics and lesser Earth deities.
Deshlotralas, subterranean Lodril, rules the Third Hell with Oria.  This is where the greater deities of the Earth live.
Deshkorgos is ruler of the Fourth Hell, where he holds Hunger, Madness, Fear and Disease behind gates of adamant.
  
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The Hell of Deshkorgos

Nature of the Cult

A cult that acts as gatekeeper to the powers that may be called from Hell, and from the Hellcrack.

Depiction
The three are depicted stood side by side in many cult sculptures and embroidered hangings.
Veskerele is naked and faceless male human.
Deshlotralas is a skeleton, elevating a carved bone 'staff' above his head
Deshkorgos is a  humanoid with a monstrous head (details depending upon the clan), with a whip
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One form of Deshkorgos

Rune Affinities
The Earth rune is that which marks the boundary between world and underworld, and the Hell rune is the power that the cult exercises over those within that realm.

Earth Rune Affinity
The Guardians use the earth to pin the Vile Demons in place and to weaken their power.
Initiates use this affinity to neutralise underworld magics and to empower weapons to strike demons with great effect.

Hell Rune Affinity
The Guardians have power over the inhabitants of the Hells, and Initiates use this affinity to summon and command the Vile Demons.


Particular Likes and Dislikes

The cult has no great liking for anyone, but detests those who breach the walls of Hell without the agreement of the Guardians.

Cult Organisation

The cult allows each subcult to rule itself, but if more than one is present in a clan, the Deshlotralas priest takes precedence over either or Deshkorkgos over Veskerele. 

Priests

When an individual is capable of passing the requirements for priesthood they may become a priest of that subcult, however, each clan may have no more than one of each subcult.

Holy Days and Sacrifices

Entirely at the Priest's whim.

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Deshlotralan Lead and Tin Demon Chest



Initiates

People approach the 3 Guardians through both runes, since the two are necessary for every initiate.  Each initiate must also join a subcult, and must share that subcult's virtues.

Subcults


Veskerele (Earth)
This subcult provides bodyguards to priests, shamans, mystics and others who are at risk of demonic attack.
They can use their affinity to make armour resist demonic attack, and to enchant walls and doorways against demonic intrusion.

Deshlotralas (Mastery)
This subcult rules the cult and commands those of the underworld.  They can use their affinity to summon and command Earth daemons and Underworld demons, and to over-rule commands given to them by members of the other subcults.

Deshkorgos (Hell)
This subcult guards and controls the Vile Demons imprisoned by the cult.  They can use their affinity to return any of the Vile Demons to Hell.

Devotees

Any cultist with standard requisite ratings may become a devotee.  Devotees are expected to cover anywhere they sleep with a layer of soil, which usually means sleeping beneath your horse-blanket on the open plain.

(Earth)  The Delving Feat 
Hell is beneath the surface world, but Deshlotralas formed the halls and passages within it. This Feat has been used to Open Chasm, to Bring Lava To The Surface and to Tear Earth Elemental Apart.  It can be used in a controlled way to Dig Tunnel.
This is only available to the Veskerele and Deshlotralas subcults.

(Hell) The Vile Demons Feat
The Fourth Hell contains the Vile Demons, and this Feat enables the cultist to force a Demon to divulge its true name, allowing them to be Summoned and Commanded or Bound with ease.  It also permits one to be forced to Hell at a word of dismissal.
This is only available to the Deshlotralas and Deshkorgos subcults.

The Vile Demons

The cult has access to four distinct classes of Demon. 
The first three are Passion demons, those of Hunger, Madness and Fear.
The fourth are Disease spirits, but ones without linkage to either Malia or Chaos.

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Hunger Demon-mask

Agents of Reprisal

The apostate will be attacked by one of each class of the Vile Demons.  If they are not possessed by any of them, the apostate will be ignored thereafter.