Archive for the ‘Things’ Category

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A to Z – Giant Bone

9 April, 2018

Bone“Weapons made of bone,” Voddick shook his head.  “I cannot help but find them distasteful.”

“Understandable,” said Gollaon inspecting a dagger carved from bone.  “Using what was once an animal, or a person, as a weapon has a stench of necrourgy to it.”

“Agreed,” nodded Voddick.  “I will stick to steel and bronze.”

Giant bone is a prized material, as hard as metal, it can be shaped and it easily accepts enchantments aligned with the elemental nature of the giant it was harvested from.  The larger the bone, the larger the giant and the more elementally powerful the giant was, all play into the value of the a piece of giant bone.

Since the aftermath of the Gods War, the number of giants has declined precipitously and new giant bone has become increasing rare, though some Draconic Houses are said to retain a considerable stockpile of giant bones.

One of the rarer classes of sky ships use alchemical treated bones, usually the ribs, of the sky giants incorporated into the hulls to provide lift.  Their magic has proved very potent and many of these ships still travel the skies even today.

Notes: Many, many years back I remember reading an article, I think it was in Sorcerer’s Apprentice magazine, that discussed giants and if a humanoid was as large as a giant, it would have to have bones like structural steel and blood like acid.  This has always inspired my thinking about giant bone.  Additionally, in the RuneQuest book of treasures, there was a legendary lance carved from the thigh bone of a giant (because giants in Glorantha are really big).

Image cropped from “Bokeh Bone” by Al King is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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A to Z – Fantastic Foods of the Sea of Stars

6 April, 2018

The Sundering and the release of strange magics in the aftermath of the Gods War has produced many odd things to mix with the many foodstuffs that existed before.  Most anything sort of food that exist here in Earth can be found in the Sea of Stars.  Additionally, there are many stranger and more unusual edibles to be found, such as:

  • Food!Eternal apples from the Stone Forest of Vut, while their fruit is grey, and the flesh slightly grainy, they keep indefinitely (or at least for centuries).
  • Self-cooking barley from the Sulfur Hills, the grain tossed into water boils the water and cooks itself but it does taste of mildly of sulfur.
  • Fish from the Fish Trees of Malabar, packed and salted in barrels.  Their wooden bones can serve as toothpicks.
  • Blue honey from the giant sapphire bees of the Karulean mountains.  It is said that the mead brewed from it can provide the ability to fly.
  • Rat steaks, and other cuts, harvested from the giant rats of Tikk Most, where there are raised like pigs.  Sadly, the merchants of Tikk Most have not been able to convert rat meat into much of an export commodity.
  • Rainbow wheat from the fields of Khelm are extremely colorful, though it takes considerable work to sort the grains by color.  Chickens, or other foul, fed the grain produce eggs with shells of the same color.
  • The glowing shrimp netted in the waters off the Pearl Cities, cooking in the proper spices will adjust the color of the glow from yellow to orange, pink or even lavender, the most difficult color to obtain.

There is more, much more, but that is all I have for you today.

Notes: Image “Food” by Ray_LAC is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

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A to Z – Dragon’s Blood

4 April, 2018

It only takes a dropThe very essence of dragons is magic, no where is this more apparent then in their blood which is a potent magical enhancer . . . and addictive to any magic user who partakes of it.

This is the real thing, the blood of a dragon, alchemically refined to keep its potency. (Though fresh dragon’s blood has the same effects, it must be drunk quite soon after it is spilled or the magic is lost.) The appearance of the dragon’s blood depends on the type of dragon it came from.  It also carries a ‘taste’ of sense impressions which give a sensorial clue to the personality, elemental alignment and soul of the dragon it was drawn from.

Consuming dragon’s blood fills one with power and confidence, heightening natural magic use and washing away cares.  However, the users is filled with a overwhelming sense of power and desire and the consumer may indulge in actions and activity they would normally consider unthinkable as it also washes away inhibitions.  Unfortunately, it also burns through the body’s energy reserves, leaving the user tired and weak when it wears off (though a good meal will help recovery).

Using actual dragon’s blood as a base, alchemists have developed a substance that is close to dragon’s blood, though not as potent. To those who have not tasted the real thing, the synthetic is sweet and potent, but to those who have tasted the true blood, it seems bitter and incomplete.

Those unfortunates who have tasted and become addicted to dragon’s blood often turn to the use of the synthetic to satisfy their cravings for power.  The synthetic requires a trace of dragon blood or a larger amount of blood from one of the dragonkine or false dragons as a base.

A small number of debased dragonkine sell their blood to alchemists for such uses.  Some true dragon consider the manufacture of synthetic dragon’s blood (or even the refining of true dragn’s blood) an insult and will destroy the laboratory and maker of such.

Notes: Dragon’s blood is an interesting lot device which I have only rarely used in my campaign.  Dangerous to use but some will pay any price for power.

Image “Blood Hibiscus” by Kryziz Bonny is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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A to Z – Armor in the Sea of Stars

1 April, 2018

The level of manufacturing technology in the Sea of Stars ranges from late stone age in some isolated pockets to nearly industrial levels with wind, water and magically powered machinery at the other end of the spectrum.  So a wide variety of types of armor can be constructed but what sorts of armor are useful?

Buff CoatFirearms and gunpowder artillery are not a factor but battlefield magic is.  This means that just choosing the heaviest armor is not always the best choice as mobility can be as important as protection, so most seek some sort of middle ground between defense and maneuverability.  Thus the humble buff coat, a think leather coat that other armor can be worn over as needed, is often the basis for many a warrior’s defensive gear.  Inexpensive but versatile while providing a foundation for heavier armors, it is popular across all social classes.

For those wearing heavier armor having it forged from Dragonsteel is the pinnacle of light weight yet protective with Dragonsteel mail and breastplates common among the nobility but rare among most soldiers.  For those who cannot afford that, dwarven wrought steel is prized and most of the dwarven holds export armor.  A full suit of armor is still considered to be the mark of the martial nobility in many lands and remains a common sight in war.

More exotic armors exist but with increasing rarity, the elves and nature cults make suits of living vines and wood, the dwarves work living crystal, wizards craft bloodstones and bracers to magically guard their wearer.  There is even armor made from salt and the legendary god-forged armor which is not in the claws of the dragon.  There is something for every taste and purpose if one searches hard enough or has a deep enough purse.

Notes: The A to Z Challenge begins!  You can help me decide what to post, go here to read more.  Armor is always an interesting subject in a fantasy world.  What do you think about about how armor and magic interact?

Image “Buff Coat” by European via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0.

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Umbra, shadow between the stars (A to Z Challenge, U)

25 April, 2016

Out thereBeyond the space between the islands, between the stars is the darkest of shadow, known as the Umbra to those who study such things.  But there are being that live (or at least exist) in this strange space, the darkness between, is the home to a host of strange beings, many inimical to life as it is known on the islands, though they rarely venture into the Sea of Stars unless summoned by the foolish

These sub-umbral creatures come in a bewildering and frightening range of sizes, shapes and geometries, in some cases their mere presence warps and damages what is around them, others come from space so far removed from the standard conceptions of being that even looking upon them risks one’s hold on reality.  The danger of summoning such alien creatures is often lost on those who have access to the tools to do so, as often their is no indication beyond some flowery description (“The darkness without”, “the infinite shifting flower” and such) about what they are bringing into the world.  Once brought here, they are extremely difficult to control, fortunately in some cases the world is as inimical to these bizarre being as they are to the world, which does not prevent them from causing a great deal of harm before they die.  They that the summoner can control sometime pose an even greater threat as the summoner will probably with to bring more and eventually they will break free.

The sub-umbral beings can be classified into families of strangeness each with similar characteristics but each branch is radically different from the others making classification difficult even when reliable data can be gathered about the sub-umbrals.

One of the secret tasks of the Imperial Navy and other Imperial forces is to locate and root out infiltration of these sub-umbral beings, luckily such tasks are rare as they can be exceedingly dangerous and dragons in Imperial service are routinely called in to support the sealing of such threats.

Notes: For those that want Lovecraftian or Far Realm strangeness in their Sea of Stars campaign, this is where it comes from.  Umrays are one of the least strange of the sub-umbrals being from near space.

Photo by Jun and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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Jade, a magical material (A to Z Challenge, J)

12 April, 2016

There is power in jadeIn the Sea of Stars, jade is prized both for its beauty and for its innate magic.   That is it is easily treatable, either through magic or alchemy, to make it as hard as steel allows it to be shaped into weapons as well as hard-wearing jewelry and other useful objects.  Traditional alchemists especially prize tools and bowls shaped from magically hardened jade.

The most important property of weapons made from jade is their effectiveness against ghosts and other forms of returned dead, making jade weapons prized among ghost hunters and spirit slayers.

Jade is often worked into protective amulets, such as those against ghosts, but rarely into to armor though such is extremely effective at defeating the attack of unliving beings.

For those with the wealth to build such thing, Jade serves as a barrier that ghosts and other spirit beings cannot pass through and ghost cages and traps are usually made of this material.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Fae in the Sea of Stars (A to Z Challenge, F)

7 April, 2016

From here to thereThe fae otherworld was once tightly woven into the structure of the world with portals crossing between the two realms and the Courts of the Seasons playing its political games here and there.  But then came the Sundering, tearing the world apart and away, the majority of the portals between the two were torn apart, some changed into new and different paths, and only a few maintained their previous link.

The Courts of the Seasons were still reeling from this disaster when the new draconic lords started destroying or warding the most obvious of the surviving passageways.  Spurred into action, the Courts, fully cooperating with each other for the first time in the long memories of the fae, began to conceal the existing pathways and restore those of the damaged one they could before they were sealed off from the mortal world.  Their efforts were successful but at a cost, not only were many of the best portals destroyed but no small number of skilled fae perished either in magical accidents or at the hands of the dragons.

The first century of dragon rule would be a difficult one for the fae, cut off from most of the mortal realm and its resources they learned how dependent they had become on materials and magic harvested from the mortal realm and they had to find substitutes or do without, not an easy thing for the fae.  But they managed, though a handful kinlines vanished unable to survive the changed world, and planned to rebuild their pathways to the mortal realm.

It was a slow and cautious process, taking several centuries, but aided by the goblins, the warped fae who had been trapped in the mortal realm, secret pathways were reestablished and the fae again gained limited -but reliable- access to the mortal world.  The fae remain exceedingly cautious and try to avoid being spotted by the dragons or their agents, conveniently most of the people the fae interact with feel the same way.

The fae presence in the Sea of Stars is there, but always around corners or over the next hill.  Finding the fae is the first challenge, dealing with them is the second for they are suspicious at best when dealing with outsiders.  That being said, the fae do have unusual items and magics that can be found in no other place.

Recently, some of the fae -especially those from the Court of Winter- have been reaching out to the Sen’tek as both share a common foe, what will become of such remains to be seen.

Notes: A little more on the other realms of the Sea of Stars setting.

Photo by Ruth Hartnup and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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