Friday, March 10, 2017

Gods of the Fall - Rock You Like a Hurricane

Here I am ... with another look at the setting of the Afterworld. Or more accurately, one part of it; one feature really, and the secret I think it may contain: The Eye of Elanehtar.

The Eye is a complicated feature. One part everlasting storm, one part magical fallout, one part howling gang of ravers. Oh and the great granddaddy of ravers, the Delirium. The book dedicates only a small bit of space to the Eye, and with reasonable cause given that the majority of the Eye is centered over the sea-filled crater of what was once Cavazel.

As you can see there's a lot going on there. An everlasting storm by itself would be an interesting feature for a fantasy setting, but we get to add a bunch of other goodness to that. It's almost too much. But not really. I've discussed my thoughts on ravers before. The Delirium is basically a raver on steroids, inflicting madness on anybody nearby and spawning curses and chaos. It very likely represents the nearly complete soul of one of the dead gods, one whose death agony was so extreme that it lost all sanity. The Delirium may even be the "queen" raver, spawning and controlling its lesser brethren. Heck I could probably write this whole post just riffing on the Delirium.

But I won't.

The magical calamity that occurred when Elanehtar "smote" (Bruce's word not mine) Cavazel is very probably fueled by a great deal of released divine energy. The chaotic and sudden release can help explain the massive storm, and the curses that it flings about like almost living creatures. As does the presence of the Delirium.

Entering the storm is likely incredibly dangerous for gods and is surely lethal to mortals, though one can assume that such a death would be of the most unpleasant kind. Some may even posit that the danger is sufficient to make any entry entirely pointless. After all, Cavazel is gone there's nothing left but a watery grave presided over by a deadly storm. Who would ever find reason to enter and why?

For the first part: gods on the rise. For the second: Elanehtar's ruins.

Gods of the Fall is a Cypher System game and so it needed a reason for Cyphers. Bits of crystalized divine energy precipitated (literally) by the fall of Elanehtar provided more than enough reason and context for Cyphers in the game setting. There's even talk that people of the Afterworld believe that maybe, just maybe, Elanehtar could be restored if enough of its energy could be freed from Cyphers. But what if Elanehtar isn't utterly destroyed or cast asunder as Cyphers? What if the remains of Elanehtar are intact and whole and shrouded from the prying eyes of mortal ken by the everlasting storm known as the Eye of Elanehtar? What better place to hide the remains of a one-time heaven than in the calm center of a storm? In its eye?

Then again maybe a storm is just a storm. I dunno...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #110 - RPG Blog Carnival - Out in the Dark

Once again the circus ... err, carnival, is in town! This month's topic is "Things in the Dark" which is pretty awesome in both its breadth of scope and possibilities for getting just about any RPG and genre involved. You can read the kick-off post here.

The Dark. Sometimes it's literal, sometimes it's figurative, and sometimes it falls between the two and straddles that line. In space operas and science fiction the latter is often the case. The literal dark of space combined with the figurative dark of the unknown. The realms of space beyond our solar system, or humanity's empire, or even the galaxy. The Dark, at the edge of all we know, an abyss that holds seemingly limitless potential and danger.

True darkness in space is difficult however. The universe is a vast place but it is also full of galaxies and stars and the light of these islands of matter can, and does, travel throughout the cosmos. There's not many places where one can go in space and truly find darkness. Unless one risks the most powerful and destructive objects that we know of: Black holes.

Nobody knows what happens past the event horizon of a black hole. Does matter simply collapse into infinite density, being ripped into atoms in the process by tidal gravity difference due to the exponential relation between the strength of gravity and distance from it's center? Do objects continue to exist in a surreal world where even light cannot escape and space is warped into an infinite curve before they eventually fall into the singularity at the center? Or are black holes just the opening of a wormhole in space-time leading to some other where, when, or even another universe?

Or maybe something stranger? Depending on how rigorous you want your science to be there's probably other theories you could mine for ideas, and if you are leaning toward something a little more "science fantasy" you can do whatever you want.

The fact that light and electromagnetism cannot pierce the event horizon of a black hole may mean something different if you are using magic or psionics. A Spelljammer type setting may find that black holes are also massive anti-magic disruptions. Does the Force bend around a black hole, or pass through it? Alternately maybe black holes are transformers, converting matter and energy into magic or aether, or even providing some kind of baseline field of the Force that Jedi manipulate.

But what's inside? Again this would depend on the rigor of your science and the specifics of your setting. If black holes are massive magical batteries fueled by the matter and energy they consume does that make them gods? Could black holes be aware and intelligent? More horrifying, if they are what happens if you make them unhappy?

What the heck is the RPG Blog Carnival? Check out Johnn Four's header page for the circus here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Story Seed - Barter

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"What are you doing here?" the man asked. Tall and thin he held himself stiffly upright, gazing down with contempt at my companions and I.

"We seek council. The wisdom of the Order of the Hollaston is known far and wide." I bowed as I spoke, hoping the others behind me were following suit.

The figure regarded us silently, his inhuman eyes looking down a long nose as me. He did not look amused or terribly impressed with my attempt to curry a favorable disposition. After what felt like a millennia her spoke. "Our wisdom is ours. We do not seek or require trade. You have nothing to offer us for our wisdom."

I'd expected this. The Order was well known for its xenophobic isolationism. I bowed my head, "Indeed, I am sure that is often the truth, but in this instance your wisdom is superseded by a gap in you considerable knowledge." I reached under my cloak and produced a thick tome. Bound between brass slabs etched in hair thin tracings of runs and sigils, three hinges and three locks held the contents firmly shut, and secret.

"This tome we retrieved from the deep ruins of the fallen tower of Ullbac. Surely it contains knowledge long since forgotten within the realms?" I held the tome out with both hands, offering it, "Surely your council is but small payment for the ownership of such an ancient tome?"

The wizened figure stood silent, peering down at us through those strange eyes. I found ti unnerving, and swallowed hard to stand my ground. At last the silver grey eyes shifted from me to the tome. I drew a ragged breath, only realizing I'd been holding it as I drew in a chest full of fresh air. I waited and hoped, and wondered if such as the Order could be trusted with whatever lay within the book.