Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

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Sisters of the Swan (A to Z Challenge, S)

22 April, 2015

Sisters of the Swan

Enjoying a swimThe Abbey on the Lake of White Lilies was famous for the honor and learning of its sisters and the beautiful swans that populated the lake.  They were not warriors but healers, scholars and gardeners.  When the Dragons launched their attack on the gods, all the sisters could do was pray.

When the Empress visited the Abbey after the sundering, a fragment of a heaven had lodged in the lake and the lilies had changed to gold and the sisters and the swans had been melted together.  The transformation was rough for some, wings for arms or exceeding long necks, others had been killed outright, their new bodies unsuitable for the world.  The Empress used her magic to heal and reform them, making the form of woman and swan, separate, but allowing them to switch between the two.

The Abbey on the Lake of Gold Lilies remains under Imperial jurisdiction and remains a center of learning.  It exports fine lace, goose down and illuminated manuscripts.

Physical Description: The Sisters of the Swan are willowy and graceful with long necks and usually pale skin, pale hair is common as well but their eyes are dark.  Their faces tend to be narrow with large eyes.  They have long delicate fingers and long toes on their feet, with webbing between their toes.

Very rarely a Sister is born with feathers rather than hair, goose feet or other more visible reminders of the bond their share with the swan.

Relations: The Sisters of the Swan have no serious enemies, they keep to themselves and rely on their isolated location and the watchful eye of the Empress to keep them safe.  They manage a small amount of trade but not so much that they are much noticed.

Their numbers are retained by magically induced pregnancies, the rare lover and the even rarer marriage to a man.

Alignment and Religion: The Sisters of the Swan are very dutiful, working hard to support the Abbey.  The goddess the abbey was originally built to honor has been long since forgotten and the Sisters follow the Way and offer good wishes, but not prayers, to the Empress.  Occasionally their devotion to the Empress approaches worship, but it rarely crosses that line.

Lands of the Sisters of the Swan: The Sisters of the Swan are at home in the land surrounding the Lake of Gold Lilies rarely venturing beyond those confines except in times of great need.

Adventurers: The Sisters usually keep to themselves but occasionally one of the Sisters will feel and overwhelming need to travel and explore the world before returning to settle down in the Abbey.

Names: The Sisters are fond of virtue names such as Charity, Honor or Loyalty.

Sisters of the Swan Racial Traits
•    -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma: the Sisters of the Swan are graceful and confident, but not physically strong
•    Medium: Sisters of the Swan are medium-sized creatures and suffer no bonuses or penalties due to size.
•    Low-light Vision: Sisters of the Swan can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination.  They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
•    Animal Ancestry: due to their unusual heritage, all Sisters of the Swan are affected by spells that target animals.  However, they do receive a +4 circumstance bonus to resist such spells.
•    Natural flyers: a Sister of the Swan always has Fly as a class skill and gains a +2 racial bonus to Fly check when in swan form.
•    Perfect Grace: The Sisters are graceful in all things, gaining a +2 racial bonus to Perform (dance) checks and a +1 racial bonus to Acrobatics checks.
•    Shapeshifter: All Sisters of the Swan have the shapeshifter subtype.
•    Swan Form: A Sister of the Swan may change to and from the form of a swan a number of times a day equal to half their level (minimum one) plus their Charisma modifier (if positive).  Up to a light load (for their humanoid form) transforms with the Sisters of the Swan, any additional weight falling to the ground where they transformed.  While transformed they are small sized, move 5/fly 30 (average), +1 natural armor, beak 1d6/19-20, -6 Str, +2 Dex, and cannot speak or cast spells that require verbal component.
•    Languages: Sisters of the Swan speak the Imperial Tongue and their own Language derived from the language spoken in the Nunnery before the Sundering and now known simply as Swanspeech. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Portals (A to Z Challenge, P)

18 April, 2015

Portals

Will you pass through?Following the Sundering, the dragons ruthlessly attempted to close any permanent link between this world and another seeing them, reasonable, as potential invasion routes.  Stone circles, holy windows, gates to hell, all were forcible sealed often destroying them in the process.  Though there were so many that some, inevitably, escaped, a few were hidden before the dragons could chase them down, and some that require specific alignments of circumstance to open were either missed or ignored.  Some of the more ambitious dragons hid gates with the intention of using them to their advantage, not all survived to do so.

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Oracles (A to Z Challenge, O)

17 April, 2015

Oracles

Looking to the stars, looking to the future(In a general sense, not directly referring to the Pathfinder class.)

It is widely believed in the Sea of Stars that the future can be predicted, perhaps not precisely, but the general flow of events can be learned.  The most popular and effective means is astrology, reading the future in the patterns of the stars.  Almost every settlement that is at least the size of a town has its own astrologer, trying to untangle the threads of the future.  The skill and accuracy of the astrologers vary widely, but very few courts choose to go without having at least one.  The Draconic Houses rarely have obvious astrologers, unless one of the family chooses such a path, but almost certainly has one in a tower hidden somewhere writing predictions for them.

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Moon Sect (A to Z Challenge, M)

16 April, 2015

Moon Sect

Lady Moon SmilesAlso known as the Moon Cult, Order of the Moon and scores of others names, it is a fragmented religion found in isolated corners of the Empire hidden and hiding from Imperial enforcement.  It has to remain hidden as the Moon Sect is proscribed by the Empress with a sentence of beheading for any confirmed member of the Cult.  The individual dragons do not have to enforce the dictate in their own lands but most have no love for the Moon Cult though they are usually happy to turn over enforcement to Imperial agents.

The Moon is the only surviving god beside the Sun, she escaped death at the hands of the dragons and fled to hide among the stars.  The long years of hiding and avoiding the dragons have, it is said, driven her mad, or perhaps it was the death of the other gods that drove her into insanity.  In any case, her appearance in the sky, always as a crescent moon or less, heralds interesting times.  “The Moon smiles and chaos follows,” it is sometime said.

The Moon Sect exists to bring down the current order.  What it seeks beyond that as varied as the number of cults but they are all willing to cooperate until the hold of the Imperium is finally shattered.  They are one of the most successful revolutionary organizations in the Sea of Stars if only by the fact that they have survived so long.  Surprisingly, since membership is so dangerous, the Moon Cult has members hidden everywhere.

Clerics of the Moon Sect have access to the Chaos, Madness, Travel and Trickery domains.

Notes: The Moon Sect can make surprisingly good allies, as long as you are working towards the same goals.

Moon photo by Wendy and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

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Lash of the Overseer (A to Z Challenge, L)

14 April, 2015

Harsh discipline“I don’t like the look of that red-skinned fellow or his whip,” said Voddick in a low voice.

“No one likes a slaver,” replied Gollaon, equally quietly.

“We had best return to rescue the slaves after he leaves.”

“But will he?  He seems to enjoy his work too much,” said Gollaon with another glance.  “Let us find a wine house and refine our plans, keeping him in mind.”

“Always new problems,” muttered Voddick following his friend.

“At least we are rarely bored,” retorted Gollaon cheerfully.

Lash of the Overseer

These cruel items were originally made for priests of the god of slavers but their use and construction has outlived the death of that power.  Made of woven leather made from demons, humans and beasts of burden and tipped with infernal iron, the handle is made of rune-carved bone wrapped in leather and gold wire.

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Judge, one of the Empress’ Seven Stars (A to Z Challenge, J)

11 April, 2015

the Judge

Quote: Law serves Justice and Justice serves the Empire.
    A perfect legal code is impossible.

Sometimes like thisDescription: In his true, draconic form, the Judge is a large dragon with scales a dark, charcoal grey edged with a dark silver, his wings are darker than his body, nearly black.  The Judge’s eyes are a dark blue flecked with silver. His claws, a deep silver-grey.  His voice is dark and controlled.

The Judge’s usual human form is tall and well built with wide shoulders, dark grey skin and black hair with silver highlights.  His eyes remain the same.  He favors whatever is worn as judicial grab where he is, in the Capital, he favors dark robes with a silver chain of office.

Background: The Judge was one of the first dragons recruited into the Empress’ grant vision and one of the Seven of them who survived the War with the Gods.  He was instrumental in defining the doctrine of Dominae which underpins the Imperial philosophy.

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Incursions (A to Z Challenge, I)

10 April, 2015

Incursions

Here or thereWhether it was planned or it was a side effect of the Sundering, after that event, transitioning to other places, such as the realms of the Fae, the Shadowed Land and the various heavens and hells become more difficult or nearly impossible without extremely potent magic.  At least, most of that time, that is true.

But sometimes, the walls between the world and one (or more) of the worlds beyond thins.  One of the reasons that the study of astrology is such a refined art in the Sea of Stars, for the alignment of the stars predicts and reveals these periods of thinning.  Yes, the stars will be right.

Even with the walls between worlds being thin, it usually takes some sort of event to create a door.  A storm, a stone circle, a good old fashioned ritual, these and more can all act as the final key to open the door between worlds.  These doors can be opened by accident as well as by design and occasionally dangerous -or just odd- creatures are released into the world.  Sometimes they are snapped back to their side when the alignments change, other times they are trapped.

These alignments are the best time to summon creatures to be bound.  Summoners call and bind angels, demons and other more exotic metaphysical creatures for different tasks, usually considering them to be nothing more than tools for various jobs.  It is said that the Empress disapproves of such dealings with outer beings but she has not imposed legal sanctions against such actions.

Notes: In one of the earlier adventures, the player characters had to deal with a guardian angel who tried to warn them off and almost killed their best fighter.

Photo by Forest Wander and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

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