. It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs at the top of the page. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right. The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE and – for those who like to rummage at random – the full post-by-post index can be found occupying a great deal of space in the lower right column.
. Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet / Sample Character List – Character Creation Primer – Compiled Martial Arts.
. Subindexes: RPG Design – Twilight Isles – Battletech – Champions – d20 – Legend of the Five Rings – Shadowrun – White Wolf – Other Games – Battling Business World – Star Wars
Recently the members of Aurora Ward – in their own eccentric fashions – were helping to put together a coalition of mostly-good and somewhat-good imaginary entities to help drive back the advance of some of the very worst ones in areas where pure good could not reach. They touched several realms along the way, including the Pirate Seas, the Anime Worlds – and the Pony Realm.
There Ameobo – shapeshifting, magic-absorbing, and able to split off miniature versions of himself as weaker minions – got cast as Queen Chrysalis, while Armageddon was General Armageddon, her Pegasus General. In the confusion of not following the plot, Armageddon wound up (thanks to 10d6 of Unluck) accidentally “married” – and mystically linked – to Prince Blueblood.
Whether either of them liked it or not.
Drawn over to Earth in Aurora Ward’s wake, Prince Blueblood is currently a junior editor at the paper where Armageddon works in his secret identity.
Prince Blueblood is not so bad as all THAT. Yes, he IS a bit snobbish and vain – but if he was truly useless and unendurable, Celestia has had a LOT of practice in shipping annoyances off to jobs where she will never have to deal with them again. Confronted with what was – at first glance – just another social climbing, gold-digging, girl – obsessed with FASHION in a minimal-clothing world of all useless things – he turned up his “obnoxious snob” routine to the maximum and promptly drove her off.
Unfortunately, in a reality shaped by the thoughts of the shows audience, that left him with all kinds of ill-wishes raining down upon his head.
Personally, Blueblood is a decent tactician (a distinct rarity in a world of cartoon ponies), a reasonably skilled commander, knows a few basic unicorn and military spells, and has the compass-related magic of his cutie mark – the ability to locate things, to find routes, to teleport himself and others short distances, and to modify distances to gain tactical advantages. He’s no professional superhero – but he is a competent mage-commander with a package of cartoon powers to back it up with. There are worse allies.
That doesn’t mean that he isn’t pretty upset about all this.
WHY IN TARTARUS AM I ALWAYS THE BUTT? I GIVE THE OLD BRUSH OFF TO ONE SUPERFICIAL FASHION-OBSESSED GIRL WHO JUST WANTS NOBLE CONNECTIONS AND EVER SINCE I’M A TARGET FOR EVERY DAMNED POSSIBLE IRONIC IDIOCY!!!
|35||Cartoon Character Package Deal|
|(7)||Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½|
|a-7||Armor (10 PD/10 ED)|
|b-7||Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20|
|c-4||Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2||0|
|(1)||Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(1)||What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(1)||In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common|
|(1)||Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common|
|(1)||Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(1)||Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(1)||The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(1)||I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common|
|(0)||All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much can be swallowed at one time.; Frequency: Rare|
|(0)||There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare|
|(1)||Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common|
|(0)||It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare|
|(1)||Immune to Aging|
|(1)||Immune to Disease|
|(1)||Life Support: High Radiation|
|e-5||2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment)||3|
|(20)||Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|(20)||Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)|
|(10)||Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0|
|(5)||Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)|
|(5)||Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0|
|20||Multipower: Unicorn Magic (50-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Only Basic Spells and those related to his Compass Rose Cutie Mark): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½|
|Basic Unicorn Magic|
|u-2||Telekinesis (STR 15); Range: 240; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½||0|
|u-2||8d6 Energy Blast: Telekinetic Blast; Range: 250; Versus: PD; Reduced END: Half, +¼||2|
|u-2||Force Field Dome (8 PD/8 ED); Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½||0|
|u-2||6d6 Suppress Magic; Range: 225; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼||2|
|Cutie Mark Magic|
|u-1||Detect Distance and Direction to desired item (+3 to PER); Time Required: Half Phase, +0; Range: Ranged, +5; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½|
|u-1||Detect Route (+6 to PER); Variable Special Effects: Certain Group, +¼; Time Required: Half Phase, +0; Range: Ranged, +5|
|u-2||10″ Teleportation (Long Range 160″); Increased Range: ×16, +20; Long Range: 160″; Long Range (miles): 0.20; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0||2|
|u-2||Change Environment: Manipulate Direction and Distance (8″ rad.); Effect: Variable, +1; No Range: -½; Trigger: Set, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼
While employing his signature spell Prince Blueblood may, once per segment, gratuitously either expand or reduce the distance between two things within his area of effect by up to 8″. For example, he could decree that a character was 8″ further from the center of that fireball that had just gone off, or that the evasive martial artist was 6″ closer (and thus effectively adjacent) to his friend the brick, or that someone was off to the side of that attack that would have otherwise hit them.
|13||Running (+4″, 10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18||2|
|12||+12 CP to All Attributes Great Blessing; Modifications to Primary Attributes do not affect secondary attributes. Aid to Defenses has half effect per standard rules.|
|(12)||2d6 Aid (All attributes) (Fade/turn, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Personal Only: -1; Increases maximums only, does not speed healing: -1; Difficult to Dispel: ×2, +¼; Aid to Defenses is halved per the standard rules. Aid to primary attributes does not affect secondary ones.||0|
|Points||Skills, Talents, Perks||Roll|
|5||Member of Aristocracy|
|3||Bump of Direction|
|36||Total Skills, Talents, Perks|
|18||Lucky Charms (Luck) (10d6); OAF (Assorted Good Luck Charms): -1; Fragile Focus: -¼; Linked (With Unicorn Magic): -½|
|2||Additional Multipower Slot: 5d6 Entangle, 16 Charges, 0 End. OIF (Telekinetically-hurled Bolos). (0kg)|
|2||Additional Multipower Slot: Sphere of Light (3d6 NND (Vrs not being a demonic entity) Energy Blast, 3″ Radius, 1/2 Endurance Cost (1), OIF – Sacred Sun Symbol, (0kg)|
|2||Elemental Control: Enchanted Royal Armor (5-pt reserve); OIF (Symbolic Barding): -½; Visible (Magic Armor): -¼; Generic Limitation (Passive Protective Effects Only): -½|
|a-2||Armor (4 PD/3 ED)|
|b-2||Power Defense (10 pts)|
|c-2||Mental Defense (13 pts)|
|15||Mystically linked to Armageddon (Frequently, Greatly)|
|15||Snob (Common, Strong)|
|10||Loyalty to Equestria (Uncommon, Strong)|
|5||Slightly reduced manual dexterity (Infrequently, Slightly)|
|5||Watched: Equestrian Nobility (8-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Limited, -5; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5|
|4||4||5||13||25/14||21/13||4, 8, 12|
Height: 132cm, (4’4″), Weight: 74kg, (163 lbs), Sex: Male, Race: G4 Unicorn Pony
Yes, this is likely a little more magically powerful – and far more boosted – than most baseline ponies. I’m presuming that he IS a member of the royal family and that things are stepped up a notch because the base setting is a superhero universe where magic is common enough that people can take courses in it in high school.
The Kyinn are one of the universe’s elder species, at least six billion years old (and possibly nearly twice that). Why they have not yet Transcended is an open question, although it’s possible that their existence in a universe which is blatantly ill-suited to them, or their apparent immunity to boredom, is having some delaying effect.
They seem to be best adapted for life on gas giant worlds; they move by flying, thrive in a rather cold reducing atmosphere (although they are capable of tolerating others), draw much of their metabolic energy from atmospheric electrical discharges, and are far more tolerant of temperature variations than humans – to the extent of being able to operate (albeit
slowly) at temperatures approaching -180 degrees celsius and even being able to survive being frozen solid, provided that it occurs slowly enough for them to shut hemselves down and go into archival mode. Existing on worlds with more earthlike atmospheres requires that they periodically absorb small quantities of various gases (or, according to some reports… salads).
Physically the Kyinn consist of a matrix of gases typical of jovian-style reducing-atmosphere worlds, compressed and contained by magical fields anchored to a material core – preferably a chunk of nickel-iron or similar material. Their “metabolism” employs electrical energy (absorbed periodically) along with hydrogen, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, water, nitrogen, ethane, acetylene, and modest amounts of other compounds and elements to build up complex, information-storing, organic molecules.
The Kyinn – or at least the ones “built” on sufficiently stable material cores – seem to be functionally immortal; as long as there is a bit of ambient magic and electrical energy, they seem to be able to sustain themselves indefinitely – and apparently quite happily. Kyinn do not seem to suffer any ill-effects from thousands, or even many millions, of years of imprisonment. If and when released… they simply go on about their business (another argument for them being constructs or at least EXTREMELY alien).
Kyinn reproduction requires a solid chunk of dense material, around which one or more (preferably a group) of “adult” Kyinn will intentionally construct another specimen – an involved and difficult process that requires a good deal of time and magic as well as “copying over” a great deal of information to the new specimen. While there is a “childhood” period, it’s relatively brief compared to most higher life forms and involves relatively little “education”. It’s mostly a time in which the new Kyinn gets its “inherited” information sorted out and (possibly; communication with the Kyinn is extremely limited) develops it’s own personality and traits. Alternatively, they can reproduce by “adoption” – converting other creatures to their own structure and metabolism. Unfortunately, such “hybrids” tend to gradually go mad (or possibly simply develop into full-fledged Kyinn) – although their mentalities may be recognizable for many centuries. Still, the temptation of near-immortality has been known to bring in willing recruits.
While little can be said to be impossible given the scale of the universe, and it is possible that – at some point – the Kyinn re-engineered themselves, most observers feel that the evolution of such a species is fabulously unlikely. Thus most biologists classify the Kyinn as either incredibly sophisticated constructs or true artificial intelligences. They are considered to likely be patterned after the Elder Ones, rather than following the natural patterns of life in this universe.
Their “natural” capabilities include flight (and possibly sublight interstellar flight), some shapeshifting (they are basically amorphous after all), exquisite sensitivity to atmospheric vibrations and composition, natural air-magic, the ability to exert fairly strong concussive forces by touch (via relaxing the magical field that keeps their internal pressures under control for an instant), some ability to absorb electrical energy to strengthen themselves, and minor resistance to most forms of injury – although if you exceed that tolerance their underlying structure is quite fragile. They are more powerful than baseline humans – but, at least as individuals, they are generally no match for superheroes.
Very little is understood about the culture of the Kyinn; they seem to be permanently happy, they tend to be quietly expressionistic, absorbing other races and transforming their worlds atmospheres when the opportunity arises – but they have been known to intervene on behalf of endangered worlds. While it is speculated that they simply believe that it would be a terrible shame for something to happen to a world before its inhabitants got a chance to become Kyinn, there’s no real evidence for or against that idea.
Unfortunately, the Kyinn are extremely vulnerable to the influence and powers of the Elder Ones – to the point where exposure to even moderate levels of “Darkstorm” energies can have major effects on their behavior and outright possession is not uncommon. Thanks to this, and to their tendency to absorb other species and their worlds, the Kyinn make difficult neighbors – to the point where it’s generally seen as best to seal them away if that is at all possible.
|4||Elemental Control: Gaseous Form (10-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (User is blatantly alien, akin to the Elder Ones rather than to any natural life form): -½; Generic Limitation (User is extremely vulnerable to the Darkstorm energies, to possession by the Elder Ones, and to their manipulation and corruption): -½; Generic Limitation (Considered a pest species by most of the universe): -½|
|a-4||10″ Flight (NC: 20″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 22||2|
|b-3||Shape Shift (Limited Group; Variously “blob” shapes, with or without tentacles); Generic Limitation (Always semi-translucent, somewhat ill-defined, and usually a bit smelly): -½||2|
|c-4||Damage Reduction (Physical, 50%).|
|d-3||Force Field (5 PD/5 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On.||0|
|e-4||Pressure Wave Hand-to-Hand Attack (7d6, Total 8d6); Range: 0.||2|
|f-7||Life Support (total); Generic Limitation (Does require small amounts of electrical energy and various gases from time to time.): -¼; Generic Limitation (Subject to upper and lower limits: Kyinn can handle a considerably larger range of base temperatures, pressures, and radiation levels than humans, but it’s nowhere near “survive on Pluto” or “swim in the core of the Sun”.): -¼.|
|g-4||Wind and Pressure Control Telekinesis (STR 14); Range: 105; Manipulation: Coarse, +0.||2|
|h-6||2d6 Transform Gases (Minor, Limited Class); Range: 125.||2|
|i-9||4d6 Aid: Air Magic (Fade/hour, Max. 42); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Trigger: Changeable, +½; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Maximum of seven prepared effects.: -½; Increased END (2 per turn over the one-minute usage time): ×5, -2; Visible (Extremely alien power signature): -¼.This ability is used to create new Kyinn, although the process is difficult, requires time and skill, and cannot be attempted very often.||25|
|(8)||Spatial Awareness; Generic Limitation (Not effective in excessive turbulence, underwater, or in vacuum): -½.|
|(3)||360-Degree Sensing (Unusual Senses); Generic Limitation (Not effective in excessive turbulence, underwater, or in vacuum): -½.|
|l-4||Enhanced Perception (Hearing, +10 to PER).|
|m-4||Detect Atmospheric Composition (+5 to PER); Addition (Analytic): +5; Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Touch, +0.|
|n-4||2d6 Absorption (Electrical to any one Attribute) (Fade/hour, Max. 12); Extra Time (Only effective once per day): 1 day, -3½; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2.|
|-12||Running (-6″, 0″, NC: 0″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): -13||1|
|Points||Skills, Talents, Perks||Roll|
|1||Immunity to Boredom; Frequency: Rare|
|1||Immunity to normal limits of verbal information transfer with each other while touching; Frequency: Rare|
|2||Cramming; Generic Limitation (Only for languages): -1|
|0||Language: Kythin (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|10||Total Skills, Talents, Perks|
|20||No comprehension of normal life forms (Frequently, Fully)
The Kyinn do not comprehend the thought-patterns or emotions of “normal” creatures: They do not see why EVERYONE does not want to become a Kyinn, and apparently think they are helping out by generously turning people into more Kyinn and transforming their worlds to suit their new forms.
|10||Cannot reproduce sexually; must “construct” new Kyinn (Infrequently, Greatly)|
|15||Subject to warding and containment magic (“Change Environment”) keyed to their extradimensional nature. (Infrequently, Fully)|
|5||Permanently Happy (Infrequently, Slightly)|
|30||Vulnerability: Extreme Heat and Cold (1½× STUN and BODY); Attack: Very Common, +15|
|5||Vulnerability: Magic Disruption (1½× Effect); Attack: Uncommon, +5|
|15||Distinctive Features: Gaseous Tentacle Monsters; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5|
|10||Reputation: World-Consuming Gaseous Horrors (8-, Extreme)|
|30||Susceptibility to Platinum and related Chemical Catalysts (1d6 STUN and BODY/Phase); Condition: Uncommon, +5|
|15||Hunted: The Firstborn (8-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Mild, -5|
|20||Vulnerability: Knockback, Being Thrown About, Etc (2× Effect); Attack: Common, +10|
|6||6||4||0||7/5||7/5||4, 8, 12|
As eldritch horrors from beyond go… the Kyinn are, in their own way, quite friendly. They just have no real concept of “boundaries” or “not melding with people”. Why WOULDN’T any thinking being not want to be become a part of the Kyinn? The Kyinn are the happiest people of all, and are close enough to immortal so that any “individual” (whatever that means when they can use their air magic to share memories) can continue to enjoy being a Kyinn for billions and billions of years! Life is PERFECT, except for those pesky people who (for some crazy reason) don’t WANT them absorbing every other lifeform in the cosmos while being open to the Elder Ones. Silly people! You try and do some folks a favor…
Height:188cm (6’2″), Weight: 36kg (79 lbs)
Appearance: By default the Kyinn are swirling blobs of translucent tinted gas, their slightly “fuzzy” surface defined by the faint glow of magic. They usually seem slightly egg-shaped, if you can envision an egg made of a vortex of wind with an assortment of tentacles coming out of it.
Basic Kyinn – even with another twenty points spent on customization – really aren’t all that formidable. A well-equipped competent-normal human has a pretty good chance to take one out – but they do have more than enough standard disadvantages for the occasional higher-powered specimen to achieve fairly high power levels. While this isn’t too common it does happen – and is perhaps one of the best arguments for them being truly “alive”, whatever their origin.
Hel, the Hidden One, Queen of the Underworld, Guide and Guardian of the Dead, Goddess of Death, Arbiter of the World’s End.
Ages past, when three tribes of the North sought refuge among the Limbs of Yggdrasil, the powerful among them took on aspects of Ymir – and so gained some control over the forces which governed existence upon the World Tree. The Aesir aligned themselves with the powers of will and magic, the Vanir with fertility and the local powers of individual biome-realms, and the Jotun with the forces of the elements.
But one of the great powers, the entropic force that flowed into the realm of destruction, Niffelheim, and from there beyond the borders of existence, none sought to claim. With that failing, the spirits of the newcomers were not properly bound to the flow of life and death – and so they wandered, confused and lost.
But Hel, a sickly daughter of Loki who masked her weakness, and the slow failing of her body, with her own spells, came forward. She mastered that power, and paid the price. She opened her eye to death, accepted the dying as the only children that she would ever have – giving guidance to those who departed, and structure to those who lingered. Accepting also the fear of those who did not understand, the visions of destruction, the shadow of death in every life and triumph, and the chill of the grave within herself.
Hel is not pleasant company for the living. Her presence brings with it shadow, her gaze carries the weight of a billion cries, and her heart has heard ons of hopeless pleas, for some things are not within her powers – and others she would rather were not.
And still the lives pass, a cascade of fading sparks against the darkest night.
Like Death itself, Hel is a dark mirror in stillness, utterly implacable, concerned with the necessities of the future and the natural order, teaching hard lessons – and often oddly kind. She can rejoice in the joy of a child – but if that child must fall to the dictates of fate, or to forestall some greater doom… then so shall it be, and she will not withold her hand. For men, gods, places, cities, idealogies, philosophies, and worlds all must pass – and until her own time comes, it is her task to guide them on their way.
If she holds out her hand to you… then take it. If it is in aid, rejoice! And if it is to guide your passing… there will be no escape in any case.
|7||Elemental Control: Avatar of Death (15-pt reserve); Visible (Blatantly obvious to other mages and sensitives): -¼; Generic Limitation (All powers are dark, mysterious, and scary): -¼; Generic Limitation (Life and Death Related Powers Only): -½|
|a-11||1d6 The Face Of Modgud / Transform (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 0; Autofire: 20 shots, 1¼; Affects Desolidified: +½; Transdimensional: Group of Dimensions, +¾; No Conscious Control: -2; Always On: -½; No Range: -½; Invisible: Two Sense Groups, +¾; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +2; No Normal Defense (Only works on those who are soon to die): +1; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 16000000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000000, +5½This transformation eliminates the pain of the dying, purifies spirits which are about to depart, lets them slough off lesser bonds, shows them their possible paths – and allows them to step into the afterlife smoothly and easily. Now that Hel is once more active – and present on Earth – her influence will gradually spread across the Earth and it’s various secondary dimensions.||0|
|b-10||Sight Of The Darkened Eye: Clairsentience (Hearing, Sight); See: Future, +20; Dimensions: Current, +0; Range: 250″; Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Conscious Control: -2; Generic Limitation (Only for seeing dread warnings): -2Hel forsees death, disaster, and destruction. While she may attempt to stop it if she wishes, she will need to attend in her “official capacity” if she cannot.||0|
|c-9||Queen Of The Dark Realm: Summon Self (1 250-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Single Type, +0; Trigger (When Slain): Set, +¼; Active Points: 100; Extra Time: 1 week, -4; Charges: +3, -1¼; No Conscious Control: -2Barring very special methods, Hel is impossible to kill; she will simply return a week or so later.||0|
|d-14||The Realms Of The Dead: Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: Group, +10; Time Travel: None, +0; Variable Limitations: -½, -¼; Mass Multiplier: ×64, +30; Carrying Mass: 3200; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½||6|
|e-10||3d6 Tap The Lore of the Dead / Aid to Skills (Fade/hour, Max. 24); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼||3|
|f-8||Voices Of The Dead; Generic Limitation (As Hel can see and understand the dead, so they can see and understand her – and will often appeal to her for help.): -½|
|(8)||Detect Death-Related Energies (+2 to PER); Addition (Analytic): +5; Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5|
|(6)||Detect Spirits (+2 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5|
|g-6||+30 The Dark Command / PRE; Generic Limitation (Only for intimidation versus the living, works normally against the dead and unensouled imaginal beings.): -½|
|h-7||Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20|
|i-7||Mental Defense (35 pts); Add to Total|
|j-7||Power Defense (30 pts)|
|k-7||Life Support (total)|
|l-7||Armor (10 PD/10 ED)|
|m-26||3d6 Aid: The Magics of Life and Death (Fade/turn, Max. 50); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Personal Only): -1; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Autofire: 10 shots, ¾||0|
|70||Variable Power Pool: Personal Magic (40-pt Pool); Control Cost: 20; Change Powers as 0 Phase Action: +1; Variable Limitations: -½, -¼; Visible (Blatantly touched by death magic, signature reveals various details about the user): -¼; No Skill Required for Change: +1; Restricted Type of Powers Available (Sorcery Only): -½;
Hel normally maintains a bit of Flight – enough to avoid falls and to conceal her limp – and a subtle low-level protective force field. She deals with most casual problems with her social skills, reserving her greater powers for situations of true importance.
|1010||Sample Boosted Effects|
|(90)||1d6 Mistress Of Shadows / Transform Imaginal Realm (Major, Limited Class); Range: 450; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 8000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×8000, +3¼Given a few moments, this allows Hel to transform the imaginal realms of the dead as she desires. Normally her realm is dark, but autumnal, pleasant, and starlit.||9|
|(90)||Summon Skeletal Warriors (250 100-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Single Type, +0.The hordes of the dead – or at least animated versions of mortal remnants – are at Hel’s command. They aren’t all that effective in a superhero fight, but can serve other purposes than combat. Sadly, they are not too bright.||9|
|(90)||6d6 HKA Hand of Glory (Total 8d6); Range: 0;The touch of Hel can inflict many ills if she so desires – but simple destruction is usually all that is required.||9|
|(60)||2d6 Chill of the Grave / Energy Blast; Range: 0; Versus: ED; Area Effect (Radius): 448″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×64, +1½; Autofire: 45 shots, 2½; No Range: -½; Invisible: To All Senses, +1; Reduced END: Zero, +1; No Normal Defense (Full Life Support or other Immortality, Necromantic or Life-Based Powers, Not Being Alive): +1.Life, heat, and strength all mean little against death – and will drain away before it’s power. Few mortals can stand against the presence of Hel unleashed.||0|
|(80)||4d6 Meeting Death’s Gaze / Entangle (DEF 4); Range: 400; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1Only the strong of mind will break from meeting the gaze of Death without aid. Most will stand in dread fascination.||8|
|(90)||Reveal (Detect) Karmic Destiny (+5 to PER); Usable Against Others: ×4 mass, 1½; Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1; Continuous: +1This effect shows its targets – in detail – what likely awaits them both in life and beyond the grave if they continue their current course. It is strongly slanted towards negative consequences however; it will not show you the pleasures that might come of your criminal lifestyle – but it will let you experience the betrayals, overdoses, prison time, wounds, miserable death, and horrific afterlife which such a lifestyle makes all too likely.|
|(90)||The Embrace of the Ancestors / Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Area Effect (Radius): 256″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×64, +1½; Usable Against Others: ×1 mass, 1The Embrace of the Ancestors raises a shining, hemispherical, dome of swirling mist – a ward capable of withstanding enormous forces, whether to shield the area inside or to contain something terrible. Any effect that cannot cross dimensional boundaries will not penetrate the ward.||9|
|(90)||Within The Presence Of Destruction / Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Addition (Time Travel; Forward, one second per second while sustained.): +10; Usable Against Others: ×1 mass, 1; No Normal Defense (Versus being a natural, non-imaginal, non-extradimensional inhabitant of the local universe.): +1; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None;When it comes to things which do not belong in the current universe, their time in it is always approaching an end – and endings are within the dominion of death. With this power Hel can hold such a creature out of time – leaving it entrapped and harmless, if quite invulnerable, as long as she maintains the effect.||9|
|(90)||2d6 Eternal Stillness / Suppress Natural Disaster; Range: 450; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Area Effect (Radius): 20000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Penetrating: +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Difficult to Dispel: ×2, +¼; Continuous (Ends when the forces that would otherwise drive the disaster quiet. ): +1; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Uncontrolled: +½Natural Disasters too fade and still with time and entropy – and so it is within the power of Death to still the winds and waters and to quiet the shaking and erupting of the earth, even if it may take a few moments for such things to yield to the user’s authority.||0|
|(60)||18d6 The Voice of the Dead / Aid to three-point skill levels in Conversation, Interrogation, and Persuasion,. (Fade/turn, Max. 108); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Generic Limitation (Levels only work versus entities that fear death.): -½||9|
|(90)||Barring The Path / Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Area Effect (Radius): 20″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½Whether this is a spell of life or of withholding death, the effect is much the same; as long as this effect is sustained, none within it’s reach can truly die – a very handy effect for those who simply need time to recover.|
|(90)||1d6 The Viral Wind / Transform (Minor, Limited Class); Range: 450; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 64″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×16, +1; Continuous: +1; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Uncontrolled: +½; Sticky: +½; Penetrating: +1; Invisible: Two Sense Groups, +¾; Difficult to Dispel: ×4, +½This spell subtly rewrites the genetics of a particular type of target – contagiously. Casting it will send a wind of change sweeping across the world – instigating an illness, bestowing some immunity, or making some other subtle biological change. While such effects are never particularly major, spreading a plague – or stopping one – can be a most useful talent.||0|
|12||+12 CP to All Attributes Great Blessing; Modifications to Primary Attributes do not affect secondary attributes. Aid to Defenses has half effect per standard rules.|
|(12)||2d6 Aid (All attributes) (Fade/turn, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Always On: -½; Personal Only: -1; Increases maximums only, does not speed healing: -1; Difficult to Dispel: ×2, +¼; Aid to Defenses is halved per the standard rules. Aid to primary attributes does not affect secondary ones.||0|
|Points||Skills, Talents, Perks||Roll|
|30||+3 level w/Overall Level|
|10||Base: Niffelheim: 50|
|10||Vehicle: Nagalfar: 50|
|3||Professional Skill: Queen||16-|
|2||Knowledge: The Realms Of Death||16-|
|2||Knowledge: Mythic Creatures||16-|
|2||Knowledge: Magic Theory||16-|
|2||Knowledge: The Hundred Realms||16-|
|2||Knowledge: Dark Futures||16-|
|0||Old Norse (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|0||English (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|2||Japanese (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|81||Total Skills, Talents, Perks|
|20||Dependent NPC: Spirits of the Dead (Incompetent, 11-); Skills: Normal, +0|
|15||Reputation: Death Goddess (11-, Extreme)|
|10||Distinctive Features: Goddess of Death (Aura of Decay, Pallid Skin, Cold Touch, Etc); Concealability: Easily, 5; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5|
|15||Susceptibility to Healing Powers (1d6 STUN/Turn); Condition: Common, +10|
|5||Undead Physiology; -3 on taste, smell, and touch perception checks (Infrequently, Slightly)|
|5||One Eye (Or at least one that looks only into death)|
|30||Vulnerability to Flame (1½× STUN and BODY); Attack: Very Common, +15|
|10||Cold and Calculating (Common, Moderate)|
|15||Feels responsible for the care of the dead (Common, Strong)|
|20||Cannot Tell a Lie (Common, Total)|
|5||Tries to offer comfort from the prospective of an ancient death goddess (Uncommon, Moderate)|
|15||Hunted: Dark Necromancers (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|10||Watched: Death (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|10||Hunted: The Knights of God (8-); Capabilities: Less Powerful, 5; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|8||8||8||35||22/10||22/10||2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12|
Height: 145cm (4’9″), Weight: 43kg (95 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 27, Race: Jotun, Avatar of Death
Appearance: Hel usually appears as a young nordic woman, with dark hair and eyes of utter blackness. An aura of cold and decay surrounds her, as does an awareness of death. Those who peer past her minor illusions will see that one eye – the one which sees only death – is white and dead, while one half of her body seems oddly sagging and still, moving only jerkily, like the victim of a major stroke.
Hel has one of the standard pieces of cheese – the great blessing to her attributes. Otherwise… Hel is a powerful mage within her specialties, but she really isn’t much of a combatant; she’s the ruler of an afterlife-realm and a guide for the dying. Sure, she COULD unleash terrible things that would cast vast amounts of damage, but she generally has no reason to.
Jormungund-Aegir, the World-Serpent
It was the nature of the realm.
Energies flowed between the twin points of Creation and Destruction.
A cascade of matter, and energy, and mana – the stuff of life.
A vortex of potentiality, that created and destroyed without end.
Between the dipoles of Muspelheim and Niffelheim, the Ginnungagap.
And life stirred.
Where the chill of destruction brought order to the chaos, Ymir woke.
A vast and formless being, a consciousness within the vortex of chaos.
Woden, Vili, and Ve – Knowledge, Will, and Power – arose in Ymir.
And there was growth. Matter was bound to life and consciousness.
Within the Ginnungagap, Ymir became Yggdrasil, the World Tree.
It’s branches taking the power of Muspelheim, it’s roots passing it into Niffelheim.
To bridge the fire and the ice came that which endured.
With the energies of the Ginnungagap channeled and muted.
Smaller lives burgeoned within the branches of the great tree.
Drawing upon the powers and spirits of nearby Earth.
Adopted Biomes bloomed like twinkling stars.
Glittering fruit on Yggdrasil’s myriad limbs.
New aspects rose, governing the myriad forces of the elements and of life.
Fertility and Growth
The Light and Fire of Creation.
The Cold and Darkness of the Unmaking.
The Rushing waters and their Depths.
Life and Death.
And then came a time of desperation.
The Great Mages of the Aesir, the Vanir, and the Jotun sought refuge within the branches.
The seized upon the Aspects, Binding them to their Wills to find safety within Yggdrasil.
A time of Strife and Alliance.
And Men passed, as Men Will.
Yet the Imperishable Aspects to which they were bound could not.
The Destiny of the Gods – Ragnarok – had both Come and was Yet To Be.
For someday, a power greater than Theirs will once more open the way between Life and Death, to grant renewal to those stranded upon the borderline.
And now Aurora Ward and the White Necromancer of the Mandate have, indeed, opened the way once more.
Ages past, Jormungand-Aegir, Son of Loki, took upon himself the mastery of the waters and the deeps, of the storm that shakes the branches – and of the waters which carry the lifeblood of civilization. As do the waters, he has two faces – the Midgard Serpent, the storm that swallows up the world, and Aegir, the father of commerce, who bears the wonders of the world upon his waves.
For an age is ending and the cycle turns. The Lords of War will no longer reign supreme, the wolf-age approaches, and the old ways shall pass into history.
Personally, Jormungand is a rather pleasant and youthful-seeming man – but it isn’t a good idea to get him upset. As an “apocalyptic monster” he can be pretty hard to stop. As the Lord of the Oceanic Abyss his domain is the great depths, and all that lies within them, passes over them, or arises from them.
|9||Elemental Control: Apocalyptic Monster Powers (30-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Colossal Serpent Powers Only): -½; Visible (Extremely magically conspicuous.): -¼; Generic Limitation (Quasi-independent; powers he doesn’t use often enough occasionally wander off to empower others and make trouble on their own.): -1; Generic Limitation (User is a primordial godling, and will tend to encounter related myths, draw strange challengers, be sucked into mythic events, attract awkward cultists, and similar problems.): -½|
|f-9||Armor (16 PD/16 ED); Hardened: ×1, ¼|
|g-9||Regeneration (2 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20; Autofire: 5 shots, ½|
|h-9||Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Hardened: ×4, 1||0|
|i-8||Growth-12 (×4000 mass, ×16 height); Mass: 240,000 kg/528,000 lbs; Height: 2,672 cm/87’8″; Extra STR: 60; Knockback Reduction: -12; Extra BODY: 12; Extra STUN: 12; DCV Penalty: -8; PER Penalty: +8; Generic Limitation (Turns him into a giant serpent.): -½||6|
|j-9||4d6 Killing Attack (HTH) (Total 8d6); Range: 0||6|
|k-9||Power Defense (40 pts); Hardened: ×2, ½|
|l-9||Damage Reduction (Physical, 75% Resistant)|
|m-9||Damage Reduction (Energy, 75% Resistant)|
|n-9||4d6 Aid: Add Any +set of Advantages totaling +1 or less to Str 60 (Fade/turn, Max. 24); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect/strength enhancements, +¼; Autofire: 10 shots, ¾; Reduced END: Zero, +1||0|
|o-9||Running (+30″, 36″, NC: 72″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 134||7|
|p-12||Swimming (+60″, 62″, NC: 496″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×8, +10; Non-Combat (MPH): 1,071||12|
|q-11||1d6 Divine Venom / Drain Body (Return/hour); Range: 0; Area Effect (Cone): 88″ long, +1; Increased Area: ×8, +¾; Difficult to Dispel: ×4, +½; Continuous (Deactivates with antidotes.): +1; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Penetrating: +1½; Affects: Single Power, +0; Generic Limitation (Only takes effect once per minute): -1||0|
|10||Clinging (Clinging STR +0)|
|7||2d6 Aid: Add Sea, Storm, or Earthquake-related Elemental Control slot. (Fade/hour, Max. 18); Range: 0; Activation: 14-, -½; Increased END: ×5, -2; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼||10|
|15||Mental Defense (17 pts); Add to Total|
|30||Life Support (total)|
|10||360-Degree Sensing (Unusual Senses)|
|6||2d6 Aid: Produce Minor Gadgets (Fade/min., Max. 20); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only to produce ordinary gear that has been shipped by, or lost at, sea. ): -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Activation (When this ability fails to “activate” it actually produces something quite useless): 11-, -1||1|
|Points||Skills, Talents, Perks||Roll|
|35||+7 level w/HTH Combat|
|10||Money (Filthy Rich); Generic Limitation (Jormungand’s wealth manifests as salvage and resources from the sea, which is often quite awkward.): -½|
|9||Professional Skill: Annoying Thor and Odin||18-|
|4||Knowledge: The Oceans||14-|
|1||Knowledge: The Imaginal Realms||11-|
|2||Professional Skill: Brewer||11-|
|0||Old Norse (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|0||English (Native Accent); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|2||Japanese (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0|
|66||Total Skills, Talents, Perks|
|20||Berserk when fighting Thor or Odin (11-, 8-, Berserk); Circumstances: Uncommon, +5|
|10||Hunted: Various Monster-Slayers (8-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|15||Hunted: Thor (8-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|10||Hunted: Oceanic Rivals (Whether Hero or Villain) (11-); Capabilities: Less Powerful, 5; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0|
|15||Overconfidence (Very Common, Moderate)|
|15||Greedy (Common, Strong)|
|20||Possessive of the Oceans and all within (Very Common, Strong)|
|10||Loyalty to Loki (Common, Moderate)|
|15||Reputation: Apocalyptic Serpent (11-, Extreme)|
|5||Rivalry (Dragons); Situation: Romantic, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0|
|5||Rivalry (Sibling) Fenris; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0|
|10||Accidental Change (Growth turns off, reverting to Aegir) when Propitiated (11-)|
|20||Distinctive Features: Apocalyptic Norse Monster; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Extreme, +10|
|5||Dependent NPC: Various daughters (Slightly Less Powerful, 8-); Skills: Normal, +0|
|7||7 / 0||4||17||38/26||34/26||2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12|
Height: 167/2672cm (5’6″/87’8″), Weight: 60/240000kg (132 lbs/528,000 lbs), Sex: Male, Age: 27, Race: Protohuman / Avatar of Water
Like all our Champions characters, Jormungand is allowed one big slice of cheese – in his case loading all those characteristics and powers that wouldn’t normally be allowed in there (no matter how much it fits) into an Elemental Control. In actual combat, he’s pretty hard to stop; given that he automatically recovers 50 points of Stun and Endurance on each of his actions, his massive damage reduction, and the assorted tricks he can play with his basic 60 Strength, defeating him physically is just not in the cards for most groups. He is, however, fairly vulnerable to mental powers
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Back in his workshop in Aden – another speciality factory-cathedral manse of course – Charles was considering. He WAS very good at artifacts, but for these he would need the assistance of a Raksha – and preferably one who’d originated out in chaos without his meddling rather than a Mardi Gras Raksha. A high power level would be best; proficiency in shaping went with that, although a reasonable level of sanity might or might not. It would be best if they actually were a reasonably skilled artificer, although knowing how to play the drums was obviously more important. Having some reasonably content (if heavily mutated) humans under their control would also be useful. It would help provide the link via a few prayers.
He asked Kierroth if he had any advice; it seemed like he’d be looking for an Entertainer / Worker noble, whether by notifying freeholds or by sending out a call – and it would be best to have something to offer the noble in return for such aid. He was sure that the price one of his peers would ask is going to be steep. Raksha don’t meddle with Primordials unless they’re certain they can get the better end of the deal. He had to admit that that was very likely with Charles though.
(Charles) “Well, I can make them some artifacts and things!”
That WAS his purview, and they did have benefits that fey treasures didn’t.
Still, he had books to read, geomantic artifacts to make (he still needed some of those for the Song of Creation)), manses to build (to expand Aden) – and, for that matter, various girls climbing into his bed.
Malinda kept saying that would lead to all kinds of complications, but nothing too odd had happened so far! Maybe she meant later?
It wasn’t long before the Balgrogs and Kickaha reported that he had some visitors aboard!
- There was a mass of golden fire that had popped up in one of the concert halls and plucked the orchestra’s drums up into itself (It had a nice rhythm, though!.
- A rather imposing looking avian lady had arrived at the Mardi Gras Manse.
- And General Koiiyana (the rabbit-army guy whom Charles had met earlier) had responded to the message – although he hadn’t actually come aboard.
There might be more later; Charles hadn’t really explained much beyond the fact that he was making some high-end artifacts dealing with Wyld powers, and was willing to pay with more artifacts and/or immunity to calcification and the ability to respire in creation at a substantial rate, for a couple of day’s assistance (from individuals meeting thus-and-such requirements) in making them.
He went to see the golden fire with the drums first. Gothmug approved! The beat was not at all bad – although they had to be careful approaching that concert hall. The vibrations were making the ground rattle even outside, and golden light was spilling from the windows and doorways. It wasn’t much trouble for Charles and Gothmug – but it was quite a problem for nearby mortals and supernaturals without eye and ear protection.
And yes, that was an amorphous golden flame infused with rhythm and the beat, playing the entire drum section! That was some impressive drumming!
(Charles) “Hello there! That’s very good!”
He wasn’t sure about the humans – but the drums and power level seemed high enough, and he could always get the human input from someone else!)
(Drums, in Morse Code) “Are you the one who sent that message? You are very small and fleshy, but the drums are of fine enough quality.”
(Charles) “Yes I am! I’ll need about a day of your time to make things… What do you need in payment?”
(Drums, still in Morse) “I must spread the beat everywhere! Even into the things that cannot hear or feel!”
(Charles) “Hrm… EVERYWHERE is a bit large! To a really large audience then? If they remember it, they will produce secondary echoes for a very long time to come!”
It looked like… its definition of “audience” included the environment, too. Ideally, even the stones should dance!
(Charles) “How about a specialty manse for the performance? It can be an amplifier and have all kinds of music-related powers and share those with you everywhere!”
Drums found that awfully tempting – but held out long enough to get Charles to throw in some anti-silence measures (and the drums; they had a really good resonance and the sticks weren’t melting or shattering like a lot of them did). His flame-and-music assumption made silence effects quite awkward however interesting and fun it was!
Hm. Perhaps throw in “producing instruments” as a minor power?
Next up… it was General Koiiyana, the rabbit fellow! Charles had saved him a lot of trouble retrieving his brother’s birthday present – those rabbit-soldier poppets. He wasn’t in Kadia, but he had responded to Charles’s message. He wanted Charles to drop by and have a meeting!
Well, why not? It looked like… he was in the cabin of some craft, having his tea. He was very rabbity, as always. Charles brought along a selection of herbal teas with a randomizer so that which one would always be a surprise!
The craft… turned out to be a giant rabbit flying fortress, crewed by rabbit airmen and pilots a lot like the ones that Charles had returned to him!
(Koiiyana) “Ah, Aden! Thank you for replying… what a pleasant gift. I do like a good herbal tea.”
(Charles) “Ah good! And I like the flying fortress… Is it by any chance the Ether Bunny?”
(Koiiyana) “No no, the Moon Jumper. It’s my own design.” (Although he had an aide write that one down – and sank into thought)
(Charles) “Also good!”
(Koiiyana): “I was wanting to stretch myself a little. My Brother, President Noriishana, is back to being an Imperial Raksha thanks to you and is leaving me alone for the time being. Thus, no need to build vehicles to protect myself! Tell me a little more about this project of yours!”
(Charles) “Well… Fundamentally it’s a big repair project! But to make it work I need assistance from some very old powers indeed – so I want to make some artifacts to pay them for it!”
(Koiiyana) “Ah, maintenance! A chore to be sure, but not as much for one such as yourself. What are you repairing?”
Well it wasn’t much of a secret any more at this point!
(Charles) “Yu-Shan and some chunks of the universe!”
(Koiiyana) “The Celestial City… or the Celestial Plain? I’ve heard some bizarre things from the Unshaped, you know, and it’s a distinction.”
(Charles, happily) “Both!”
(Koiiyana) “Hmm…” (He leaned back in his seat) “You’re going to keep that Gallery of Captured Dreams in check, yes? One such as myself would no doubt get its attention. Its? She? He? I suppose it’s immaterial with devas.”
(Charles) “I think I might be able to get some of the people there free of it… And it kind of is!”
(Koiiyana) “Wouldn’t that be nice… hmm. I could loan you some of my troops and craft. The crew might not look it, but some of them were originally of human birth. You human born are so malleable without that divine power! And the craft… well, I’d need at least one to command from! I doubt your project will go unopposed, and the Plain is just like Creation for calcification!”
(Charles) “Well, that should work! And Immunity to Calcification and related menaces is part of the payment!”
(Koiiyana) “Hrm. You can do that… could you give it to Brother, too? If I had THAT, and he didn’t, it might cause another (cringing) incident.”
(Charles) “Certainly! But he’d either have to come to see me or wait until I dropped by to see him!”
(Koiiyana) “I suppose I could stall him. I warn you, though, he loves big tastes and big entrances, so be ready if you want him to visit!”
(Charles) “Thank you for the warning there!”
(Koiiyana) “And a nasty temper!”
(Charles) “Well… THAT can probably be managed if he wants something from me!”
(Koiiyana) “Yes… well, let me know when you need me and my men! And do get those Shapeless free!”
(Charles) “I shall see what I can do!”
And it was off to see the Avian figure! It was a rather stunning emu-like lady poking around in the Mardi Gras Manse, asking questions and examining the merchandise. She made Charles feel just a little funny again! Pesky Primordials, making the standards of beauty so universal! Still, for once having multiple aspects might prove a defense… If she got too distracting, he could always run on computer HERE for a bit and let some of the girls distract him from HER. Still, that wasn’t necessary at the moment…
(Charles, somewhat hesitantly) “Er… Hello?”
She looked up at him, and met his eyes – and the gaze was quite enthralling!
(Nimue, Radiance of the Heavens) “Hello. I am Nimue, Radiance of the Heavens… Are you the master of this place? You’re younger than I thought. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This place has a child’s imagination about it.”
(Charles) “Well yes! And I do like making things… Can I help you?”
(Nimue) “I had heard that you needed assistance with a project. You had some most fascinating requirements for it… what were you going to make?”
(Charles) “A few devices to tap some of the greater creative powers of the Wyld mostly – to empower solipsism and multipresence mostly!
(Nimue) “What a fascinating idea.” (Scooting in closer) “Surely you wouldn’t be using these on yourself? Especially the solipsism.”
Oh dear! She was being even more appealing now!
(Charles) “I might make a set for that too – but it’s somebody else that might need them!”
(Nimue) “Well, if you insist on making them… I can help you! I’m good at dealing with creative things.”
She casually adjusted a nearby musical note so that it played tones that you couldn’t normally hear in Creation.
(Nimue) “You don’t need to play the drums if you can do that.”
(Charles) “Well, the drums are more of a metaphysical requirement – but the creative abilities could really help! It should only take a day or two though. So… what were you looking for?”
(Nimue) “I would like some time with…” (She delicately touched his chest with a finger -and there was that funny feeling again) “you.”
(Charles, becoming more than a bit flustered) “Uhrrm… doing what?”
(Nimue, looking mildly disappointed for a moment) “Oh, all manner of things. In bed, even”
(Charles) “Er… blank checks are a little… worrying! Tell you what… if you’ll talk to Malinda about what you have in mind, I’m quite willing to accept her judgment on the matter.”
Malinda… was a little concerned about this one; whatever Nimue’s narrative was, she’d very much like a romantic involvement with Charles! She’d like a token of his affection, and sympathetic links weren’t good things to give out to fey! That was just WEIRD! Even if Nimue knew for sure what Charles was that would be worrisome – and if she was that willing to gamble on a mystery things might get very odd indeed! Still, there was no point in evading her; any stone or flower from Aden was as much a part of Charles as any link he could create (or you could just get some human to pray) – and she apparently wasn’t intending to use any horribly addictive charms or anything.
Secondarily… she wanted Charles to make her an artifact – although she didn’t much care what! It just had to be an artifact, made specifically for her. Charles would doubtless give her some extra defenses of course, but that was just Charles being Charles – and he made personalized artifacts for anyone who asked for them anyway.
Malinda approved, if rather reluctantly – and Nimue gave Charles a deep kiss. That left him pretty fuzzled! The girls who’d moved in on him weren’t so… weaponized!
Back on Earth, Gri Fel and Terapishim had examined the maps of the upcoming “gates” – and the set of new, underground (and totally environmentally friendly) support-and-transport manses that had been installed in the hills around Arcosanti and linked to the city – and the concealed security-manses that would mark the earth terminus’s of the gates.
Arcosanti – or at least the massive-capacity transport and storage ring now placed about the city – was about to become the central nexus point for the trade and communications of twelve extrasolar planets. Had… had Charles KNOWN this? Was THAT why he’d wanted two fairly major gods for this position – including the old god of the biggest and most magical city in creation – and had provided a legion of material gods to help out?
Had he ARRANGED this? It was hard for them (and for not a few others…) to believe that Charles hadn’t had motives beyond charity for this!
To be fair, Charles probably wouldn’t have picked Arcosanti as a major nexus if Gri Fel and Terapishm hadn’t been there… Those positions had mostly gone to larger cities with existing transportation networks! But Gri Fel would like a major city and Terapishim would like more importance… and so they’ were getting what they wanted!
In an otherwise-unimportant school in Middle America, Dubai was finding out that his middle-eastern concubines – and two of his high school girls – were pregnant.
In the Middle East… Leon was finding that there were more fanatics needing to be turned into things than was at ALL reasonable!
Out beyond the borders of shaped existence, on the edge of the Deep Wyld (it hadn’t been much of a trip compared to making it to the Empirical Galaxy in the first place)… Charles was looking for Hannya. Perhaps foolishly, he had very little fear of the Unshaped. Of course, with protection from shaping, multiple aspects, unbreakable sanity due to his privacy manses, and multi-tracking, he really could handle most things.
Even if they “caught him” it would simply stall that aspect – and there were plenty of unclaimed waypoints to pass through. Or would that be missing the point?
The Tsunami spread through the Wyld, touching, evaluating, and discarding a hurricane wind of seething narrative fragments, it’s own form of Wyld-Seeking sifting shimmering fruits of exotic materials, essence-constructs, strange realities, and curious artifacts to ornament it’s fractal branches.
For Mothra Leo the sparkling essence of chaos curled away from his wings in a contrail of brief, twinkling, realities where his immutability momentarily gave stability to the wonders cast up (and normally dissipated again in instants) by the energies of the Wyld. Trailing a cascade of change and wonder He flitted through the narrative waypoints of the Deep Wyld at what would have been great speed in Creation,, represented in the Deep Wyld by the rapid fluctuation of existence around him. He was bound to run across some unshaped at some point!
And Charles… was considering!
Ooh! New colors! Wait… my brains only wired for a limited set; how can I perceive new colors if the automatic reshaping doesn’t affect me? Ah! It’s produced by a mental impression – a memory of incomprehensibility that cannot be described! Rather neat! It goes well with the new tastes, new smells, and new textures not of the existence he was born in. There were even spaces of sensory deprivation that worked much the same way, interwoven with great coils of ever-shifting elemental, Celestial, Exotic, and Primordial Essence – or at least with reasonable simulations thereof anyway.
Wait! Was that twelve impossible things? That meant that it was time for PANCAKES! With peanut butter and jelly rolled up in them!
Er… Where had THAT come from? Oh! The Wyld couldn’t alter him DIRECTLY – but it was feeding him sensory inputs and experiences that didn’t fit into any pattern at all. Of COURSE his brain was throwing up random thoughts and finding short-term apparent patterns that fell apart as soon as they formed! It was being subjected to a random stimulus! It was probably a bit like being drunk or drugged!
Booze for Primordials? Was Creation an… addiction treatment center? A cosmic drunk tank? Or just a drug-free zone?
GAH. BAD BRAIN! BAD! STOP THAT! He needed to keep his mind on what he was doing! You cold lose yourself FOREVER out here!… Was that why the Primordials original quest was so indefinite?
STOP THAT! FOCUS!
Wait, could he see new colors if the necessary interpretive neural network was set up on the adenic-manse network that was integrated into his mind?
It got somewhat better with a little more practice. No WONDER people ran into Hannya! They had SOME sort of structure to immerse yourself in and that was what you’d be desperate for… unconscious Wyld-Questing in search of… random encounters.
Oh, that was just WRONG.
Did Hannya actually EXIST as something separate from the Unshaped Raksha, or was it just that Creation’s Raksha had gotten so used to elements of the world being stable that they were subject to wyld intoxication like a creature of creation was?
And then, after all THAT, there was something comparatively mundane. There was nothingness, then a shimmering in the waypoint of faux-Martian Essence, then, of all things, a heavy wooden locked and barred door, reinforced with metal. There was a face on the door, made of a black metal, that leered at him – but no apparent operating mechanism.
(Charles) “Allo! Since you’re not a featureless portal, that means that you can be opened! That’s good!”
(Face) “Allo! Are you another adventurer, come to brave the Donjon of Ineffable Menace? Hello, tree-adventurer!”
(Charles) “I think I’m more of a contractor, come to install some conveniences and new functions!”
(Face) “Whaa… you do not want to brave the dungeon, the horrible traps, and the adventurers inside for the treasure room?”
And he was being scanned! Rather extensively – and it was sizing up both HIM and everything inside of him… Well of COURSE an unshaped would be capable of that! It was like recognizing faces for a human…
(Charles) “I’ve got lots of room and treasures Mr Dread Portal! But I wanted to offer the Hannya some presents!”
(Face) “Ah, you wish to offer tribute! But I warn you, Mr. Rival Dungeon, the monsters, traps, and adventurers beyond will want to test your mettle! They are discerning of quality, you see!” (Leering more) “And you are full of tasty baubles indeed!”
(Charles) “Well, OK! I have lots of metals! Copper is really useful for mortals, and alloyed Illusium makes good stuff for shaped Raksha, and there’s always osmium, which makes great pens, and…” (he went on for some time. After all… indefinitely large quantities of metal were available).
The face licked it’s lips as it listened to that description! Charles was really making this easy by listing everything like that…
There was a familiar sensation of multiple sets of eyes (or the Hannya equivalent) on him – so he waved cheerily! After all… he had some artifacts to offer!
(Face) “Delicious. Why don’t you hook yourself up.”
If Charles had been more socially aware, he might have realized that the tone wasn’t exactly trustworthy! Still… he really wouldn’t have cared much.
(Charles) “Well, here’s an artifact for you! It will let you not be here to get past if adventurers are too powerful! It does only work as long as you stay reasonably friendly with Creation and I though!”?
(Face) “What, you mean shaped reality? That really hurts! And then there’s that ring around it that grows all these defenses…”
(Charles) “Well, you don’t need to go there – and with this you won’t have to be available when anything bothersome comes out of it!
Hmm… there was someone in Aden, skulking around near some of the mines… That really was to be expected! He provided a coupon book! After all, the mines were more theoretical than anything else…
The humanoid figure in dark leather armor (carrying a big bag and ludicrously stylized daggers) was quite surprised. The Donjon of Ineffable Menace was surprised too – mostly because Charles had neither begun smiting, Wyld-questing, or running. That was the usual reaction to hannya! Not… providing intruding emanations nice luncheons (with peanut butter cups for dessert) from hobbit inns.
The Emanation wandered off towards the inn, snagging trees, rocks, grass, and other stuff and sticking it into his bag along the way – pretty much all of which promptly restored itself in one way or another, which was apparently very frustrating for him! He seemed to be quite the kleptomaniac… As he reached one of the hobbit villages he started extending his efforts to roads, fences, idyllic hobbit-holes, and hobbit children – although Charles quietly took away all the non-plant living things that he tried to stick in the bag.
(Emanation, puzzedly) “Peanut butter?…”
(Face, meanwhile) “You smell kind of like that ring, you know!”
(Charles) “Well, there is some resemblance!”
(Face) “Not enough to hurt, somehow. Must be all that Wyld Essence in you… why don’t you come in”
(Charles, wandering on in) “OK!”
The door opened up into a red-hot corridor just wide enough for a single human-sized creature.
Charles pretty much ignored the heat. He was pretty well protected! It was sad Tsunami had to go back inside though. Fortunately, Mothra Leo could just shrink down and ride on his shoulder.
The corridor was full of twisty little turns, all alike!
Charles simply strolled along cheerily, with harmonica – until, as he rounded a corner, something clicked behind him. A rolling sound started following him, rapidly increasing in pace, even as the heat grew – and he continued blithely onwards.
Eventually he did look back.
(Charles) “Ooh! A giant rolling ball! I always wanted one of those!”
Unfortunately it turned out to be impossible to simply take that one to put in a temple somewhere, and install an upgraded one, with homing system and accelerator! (which, would, of course, have gone around him somehow). This giant red hot rolling ball had a great big glowering face on it! It was pulsing with the energies of a shaping attack intended to snatch one of HIS waypoints!
(Charles) “Would you like something? I’m not sure I have anything ready for giant rolling balls; could you give me a clue here”?
The ball opened it’s mouth most menacingly – so Charles gave it delicious pie! If it didn’t give up… he could launch a staff-shaping attack to make it enjoy pie!
He did indeed have to resort to staff-shaping attacks, and it had a prefect defense – but Charles was a great deal more mote-efficient, and had a lot more motes anyway. He could just spam it until is succumbed since it WAS insisting.
Meanwhile, Mr. Big Bag / Larry Craft, Dungeon Raider – seemed to be scouting out Aden and grabbing stuff. He’d figured out that living things were a no-go though. He couldn’t find much of anything in the way of traps either, unless it was eating too much and getting fat…
Back in the Dungeon, the chase through super-heated tunnels, attacks by hordes of fiery goblins, and tripping of all manner of traps, ended with the ball enjoying a tasty pie.
(Charles) “Do you need anything?
(Ball) “I can pop out spikes if I want to, and go all superhot, and… okay, I can’t make pie.”
(Charles) “Would you like to be able to make pie?”
(Ball) “Pie is yummy now! But I’m supposed to snatch away some of your waypoints and make the dungeon bigger!”
(Charles) “Would you like some extra waypoints? They can come in convenient chancel form!”
(Ball) “Ooh! You’re just going to give me waypoints? But it’s no fun if you just give the dungeon waypoints! You can’t savor them that way!”
(Charles) “Oh… Well… maybe if they’re already dungeon-flavored”?
(Face) “Can they fight back”
(Charles) “Why not?”
The ball got a highly combative chancel, full of monsters and a boss! Distracting it enough for Charles to make his dramatic escape!
Or at least to wander off. He did feel a tingle; the dungeon, as focused through Mr. Larry Craft, was trying to analyze his interior fully! Charles wished it good luck with that! The Sidereals hadn’t been able to (much to their geomancers frustration), and they had made a pretty big effort! Still, a hannya had more familiarity with multi-bodied beings structure, and – as the effect was dancing along Aden’s dragon lines – it tickled with greed!
Charles offered the analytic spells some nifty artifacts – with the usual contingent effects! After all, if it just wanted to use them without side effects… all it had to do was wander away from Creation and not go out of it’s way to direct hostile creatures of the Wyld back to it. And if it wanted to stick around and protect Creation the benefits were even better! Besides… he didn’t mind being scanned a bit. All the really private areas were behind perfect privacy defenses anyway – although those were noted!
(Charles) “Could I just talk to everybody? I’m not really wyld-questing against you…”
Suddenly the ball got an odd expression on its face.
(Ball) “Um . . . they’re not available right now!”
It… seemed mildly concerned, actually!
(Charles) “Huh… is somebody following me and wyld-questing against you”
(Ball) “Err . . . everything is fine!”
(Charles) “You’re sure? I could make you a tailored artifact to help out!”
(Ball) “I can point you in their direction! They’re really busy though!”
(Charles) “That should work!”
The dungeon shifted with a loud rumbling, as the corridors straightened out. Way off on the other end he heard… gunfire and explosions.
Charles headed that way fairly quickly. Was another unshaped raiding this one?
At the end of the corridor the explosions and gunfire became louder, and he could hear loud shouting. There was light here, too., and beyond it… an open field. There was a small river flowing up ahead, and a bridge. On HIS side of the bridge, there was a fiery fortress with ominous faces lining the walls. They were much like the one on the initial door. There was also a small medieval style farmstead. On the other side, there was another fortress, although it was much more modern in construction, with turrets and spotlights – although it also had a farmstead, albeit a far more modern one. The essence felt different over that way.
Currently… there was a fight going on the bridge. A humanoid figure in black iron armor with fire bursting from it was engaging a soldier in modern body armor, wielding a machine gun! They both had military forces engaging each other too. It looked like… more soldiers on the modern side, and goblins for the knight. Bullets and ballista bolts alike were flying!
(Charles) “Erm… Am I interrupting something?” (Extra Loudly) I have tea and biscuits! Intermission!”
Unfortunately, the Black Knight and the Soldier were too busy fighting each other to listen to him. The Sword was strong with those two! The armies, however, were much lesser raksha tied to the emanations – and were more than willing to take a break. It looked like the Dungeon was having a territorial war with anither Hannya.
Charles sighed – and put a barrier between them for a moment anyway.
(Charles) “Excuse me! It’s break time!”
The two combatants found the barrier very annoying, as bullets and greatswords alike deflected off of it!
(Soldier) “Do you Primordials have to meddle in EVERYTHING?!”
(Charles) “Uhm… it’s only for a little bit, and since I found the way in first, it IS sort of my turn!”
(Knight) “Ooh, he has big innards…”
(Soldier) “And a tasty narrative of generosity.”
(Knight) “A little unsatisfying over the long term, but not bad for a snack.”
(Charles) “Well, I need a couple of favors – nothing major, or even specified, since all they have to be is solidified favors – and I can trade artifacts and waypoints and things! And that will give you extra prizes to fight over!”
(Soldier) “He DOES have big innards! Rip and tear!”
(Charles, after a moments consideration) “You do realize that that won’t work? Comeon! You’re a soldier! Strategy, Tactics! (He started rummaging in his pack) “I have some here somewhere…”
(Soldier, sighing) “I was joking… you’ve got protection against that. I’d have to send in the engineers. And even then… they’d have to be subtle about it and you’ve got anti-shaping up the keister. Sort of like those things the dead place keeps popping out sometimes.”
(Knight) “Ugh, I hate those. Not even good eating.”
(Charles) “Well, there is a relationship really, but I do get along with Chaos a lot better!”
(Soldier) “And they always have lots of demons, too.”
(Soldier) “Hey, can you do something about those? You seem to be related. Can’t you talk them into NOT eating everything”
Hm… The yozi’s?
(Knight) “Or lobotomizing us and using us as pack dogs.”
(Charles) “That’s not at all nice! I’ll make some artifacts to keep that from happening…”
(Soldier) “No, no! This roving book eater I assimilated had stories about the creators of the dead place getting maimed. You’re… like them, but not. THESE things are also that way, but . . . trust me, they’re not like you either.”
(Charles) “Hm… I bet they keep the same set of forms all the time… what do they look like? It could be Deathlords, lost neverborn souls, or a lot of things!”
(Knight, pulling a tankard of ale out of nowhere) “Same form as you, but USUALLY older. Some of them have mutations like the Shaped of old. Oi, Piercer, you fox, what did that one doing the eating look like”
(Soldier) “That depended . . . either an older humanoid woman or a collection of spheres. It was hell getting into her world-body! And that place was a jungle of poisons that ate everything. General sent in Skimmer and the cavalry and she didn’t come out, despite the flamethrower and the grenades.”
(Knight) “I wondered why she wasn’t on the assault.”
(Charles, once again clearing several conclusions and likely going entirely wrong with a single mighty jump) “Hm… Could be Deathlords! They don’t have direct internal access to chaos, and so – to build a tomb-body… they’d have to come out here and swipe waypoints to incorporate! They may not be able to truly create either, which could limit their shaping so that they’d need some preset themes. Were they picky about what waypoints they took?
(Soldier) “Pretty picky – seemed to be going for ones without any construction on them. General complained about it.”
(Charles) “Were they styled? You know… haunted forest, plains and mountains, or whatever?”
(Soldier) “The engineers were making them plains. Don’t know about haunted-that’s usually not good for digestion.”
(Charles) “Well, it would just be styling… Still, I guess that wouldn’t be required!”
(Soldier) “Took the engineers too… they walked off in this labyrinth pattern.”
(Charles) “Ah! That would handle it… just control THEM to give it structure… it wouldn’t be quite the old labyrinth – the power levels would be lower, even if it incorporated a demesne – but you could make it RESEMBLE the old labyrinth to any degree desired, and it would be effective as long as you were inside…”
(Knight) “What IS he talking about”
(Soldier) “The creators who weren’t maimed died.”
(Knight) “Oh. Well, not going to cry for them.”
(Soldier) “They want to eat us.”
(Charles) “Well, not exactly! The main part of the dead creators mostly went off to remake themselves and do something else! The Deathlords are sort of their creations after death. They were originally a way to try to get revenge on EVERYBODY, but the ones who currently possess that power have much more varied objectives… they’re still stuck being more or less dead though!”
(Soldier) “Dead, and not good eating!”
(Charles) “And probably well protected from it anyway!”
(Soldier) “Found that one out the hard way.”
(Charles) “Well, I could make something that lets you automatically slide a few hundred waypoints away whenever one of them comes close. At least that way they won’t be bothering YOU. There will always be other people for them to bother no matter what I do though.”
(Knight) “Do we really care as long as it’s not us”
(Soldier) “Huh. We actually agree on something!”
(Charles) “Would that be worth a favor?”
(Knight) “Depends on the favor! What were you wanting? Your own army? A big castle with walls that can’t be eaten”
(Charles) “Oh, it would be a charm activation of an unspecified but possible charm that you might in theory know! But it doesn’t need to actually be defined as anything in particular, so that can just be manifested with a few motes. That shouldn’t really cost you anything as far as I know. I just need a few to make more artifacts!”
(Knight) “Hah! As long as it’s nothing too complex, sure!”
(Charles) “It doesn’t have to be anything in particular really!”
Charles cheerily traded various artifacts for a selection of… hm. Raksha promissory notes? Materialized reputation points? Odd sparkling crystals of no apparent function?
Ah! Materialized achievement points from the soldier, and sparkling crystals from the knight that he referred to as “XP.” That worked!
HE provided various various artifacts that would (1) be protective, and (2) probably make them the terrors of the Hanya world! (But so be it! Random terrors of the Wyld… wouldn’t really change anything. Really, “look, in the infinite random chaos you found something marginally more dangerous than the average of complete randomness! How shocking!” It might be a problem later – but almost ANYTHING might be a problem later!
Aikiko… had quietly slipped away from the Deathknight after she’d started to explain the details of super-accurate clocks. Maybe it WASN’T an intentional attempt to bore her to death, but it was still pretty unbearable – and she wasn’t looking for Deathknights anyway.
Most of the list from the tabloids was still looking good though… that HAD to involve Sidereal meddling SOMEWHERE. How else would normal human being find out so MUCH?
Wait… Had someone just put an astrological inclination towards “publishing accurate reports on magical occurrences” on them and made it broad enough to cover every step of reporting, writing, and editing? If you ran the writers random fantasies through enough stages with that effect going – like the way that the tabloids picked up and “improved” each others stories – you’d eventually start… pulling meaningful information out of random noise. Even better, while you’d probably only get partial and confused clues with any reasonable number of cycles… there was almost no way to block THAT. They weren’t even divining at anyone in particular!
And across the universe, mortals who studied thermodynamics, physics, encryption, and information theory found themselves abruptly troubled.
Hm… that bit about the Antarctic seemed the most meaningful at the moment!
Satellite Surveillance had revealed a massive structure in the antarctic after a massive iceberg – some 115 miles long and 16 miles wide at it’s widest point- had cracked off of an ice shelf. It had apparently been buried under the ice for millennia, and appeared to be made of crystal. Current speculation was that the pictures have been doctored to add a “Fortress of Solitude” for publicity for the new Superman movie; it would be twenty-seven (nineteen now) days before the satellite was back in position for more decent shots.
And… there wasn’t usually a lot of activity in the Antarctic. Sure, that would probably keep – but there had to be a dozen human expeditions getting ready to head that way, along with a terrestrial concealment effort – and not even the gods would know what the Raksha might be getting up to; hadn’t there been some of them living down there?
She’d need a ship though. Of course, that was easy… although she had to turn down Doc Smith’s offer of an Invisible Atomic Zeppelin with Electro-Rays. As amusing as that sounded… he had to admit that it wasn’t nearly as fast as a regular shuttle.
She took one of those, albeit one with a cloaking field installed. If there was something that required an electro-ray around, Skoll could provide!
Heh… no doubt the mad-scientist Deva would GLADLY have provided her with a whole pile of mad-scientist devices – which would no doubt malfunction and have all sorts of crazy side effects. Ah well! Maybe next time if he was extra put out – or when she investigated Scotland or the Beavers!
The Doc wasn’t especially put out; he was well aware that not EVERYONE liked mad science – which put him well ahead of 95% of his field.
Aikiko got to the Antarctic in short order – and Skoll handled the environmental problems quite readily. It was nice carting around what was essentially a miniature vehicle; it was SO handy for exploring Neverborn remnants!
And – not entirely unexpectedly – somebody was already there. It looked like another expedition rather than some antediluvian survivor of an elder world though. That was something… It could even be some normal scientists! After all, the region had a LOT of international research stations.
Nah. That “geodesic dome” was showing an essence-aura of considerable potency – and at least one human-looking individual was currently examining the top of the structure ih his or her shirtsleeves – at -40 and windchill of -80. That was kind of impressive really! Some kind of thaumaturgic warding, Air Aspect Survival, some other Exalted Survival capability, or not at all human – and the aura from the dome was… very similar to the one from the guy who was poking about, carrying weird overtones of lightning and iron. DEFINITELY not a familiar aspect!
Possibly Autochthonian or Alchemical? She didn’t know that much about them… Charles had a few visiting though; he’d probably share if she asked.
That at least identified the auras as Alchemical – albeit with a serious hint of something nasty about them!
(Aikiko) “Charles, didn’t you have to talk down some of them?”
(Charles) “Well, yeah! They had something called “Gremlin Syndrome” – a corrupting insanity! Rather dangerous really; it infects the physical side of exalted artifact bodies, and machine spirits, and so on…”
(Aikiko) “Ew! Could I get a detailed comparison of the essence signatures?”
(Charles) “And then they lose all empathy, and get REALLY arrogant – at the toxic level really – and they tend to go berserk whenever anything confuses, upsets, or annoys them… And sure!”
(Aikiko) “That’s horrible! That sounds like pretty much the opposite of what Autochthon would want.”
(Charles) “I kind of think so! Hm… Judging by what Yu-Shan said, I think it’s an expression of his neverborn aspect starting to creep into things now that he’s so sick… I’ve got to work on him after Yu-Shan!”
There was an awful lot of white and blue – and occasional small avalanches along the face of the ice cliff where the ice-shelf shift had left things unstable – but no apparent signs of environmental trouble from “Gremlin Syndrome” (if it even did things like that outside of Autochthon). The structure itself appeared to be made of pure crystal, symmetrical and beautiful, an iridescent white, with a trace of an inner glow. There was, however, no obvious entrance. Assuming that it was some sort of geomantic construct, it probably opened only for attuned individuals, or at an attuned individual’s command.
The guy up on top seemed to be searching, and occasionally using some sort of probe. So they might not be connected… well, it had worked with the Abyssal! She walked right up to the top of the dome.
(Aikiko) “What’s up?”
When the structure had been exposed it had radiated a VERY powerful signal for those attuned to machine-magic – and there were a few alchemicals around who were desperate for anything which might help them recoup their recent setbacks. Harmonious Smith Of Accords was busy deploying his system probes to tap into the apparent artificial intelligence of the manse. While this newcomer was obviously some sort of Exalt (and did bear some resemblance to an Orichalcum Caste Alchemical!), she would be dealt with if necessary! Already the primitive defenses of the AI controlling this structure were failing before his system probes, and it’s resources – including a small swarm of rather high-end combat/engineering constructs – would soon be theirs. It would not make up for their vanished companions, but it might well help to recover them!
And if this intruder got in the way of that… well, Celerous Dart Of The Heavens had the firepower to help out with any such difficulty! It would be best to determine what it was she wanted as quickly as possible!
He employed The Demanding Multitude (a computerized charm that flurried a social attack in combat time and made four rational-sounding, urgent, persuasive, demands at once!
(Harmonious Smith) “Identify Yourself, State Your Purpose, Reveal Your Nature, and Stand Down!”
Aaargh! Skoll was no use at all against THIS! The man wasn’t USING any UMI to block! He was just… persuasive and somehow speaking in many voices at the same time!
Aikiko… found herself answering the first three questions before she really even thought about it!
The fourth demand “missed” – but the player, as a non-social character, elected to save her will on the others. It wasn’t critical, so why not capitulate?
(Aikiko) My name’s Aikiko Tanaka! I’m here investigating some disturbances I heard about. And yeah, you’ve got me. I’m Exalted.”
(Harmonious Smith) “What sort of Exalt? I think that there is little here for anyone save one of us!”
(Skoll, privately) “Warning! Entropic cascade! Possible compromise of systems with continued exposure!”
(Aikiko, privately) “Oh oh… how long do you have? Give me an estimate.”
(Skoll, privately) “At current rate of progression… 2.78 minutes. Increase in exposure may accelerate this progression. Direct contact not advised. From earlier conversation, possibly “Gremlin Syndrome”.”
(Aikiko) “I’m not sure it means anything, but… Solar.”
She prepared for an emergency, as-fast-as-possible exit! She couldn’t risk Skoll getting infected by THIS!
(Harmonious Smith) “Solar? Have you come to take control of this planet? We could combine our efforts, and at last bring efficiency and proper order to this world!”
(Aikiko) “Oh, for the Primordials’ sake, if you say you’re my father…”
Aikiko engaged the thrusters!
(Harmonious Smith, with some astonishment) “What a peculiar person!”
He wasn’t well versed in earths popular culture. Why bother? It was all silly non-Autochthonian media valuing individual heroism over the collective…
Skoll flashed into the air, leaving behind the corrupting mist of void energies which had been sinking into his systems.
Harmonious Smith lacked flight capabilities – but it was a tossup! Ask Celerous Dart of the Heavens to pursue or continue attempting to gain control of this powerful resource? A tough choice!
Hm… not so tough after all! The visitors thrust-systems were powerful, and additional, potent, acceleration magics were being deployed. Celerous Dart… probably would not be able to catch her while remaining in the atmosphere – and sending her up would blow their cover for sure unless she used a remote – and that was too limited to have much chance of success. The odds… favored gaining control of THIS resource as quickly as possible, before effective interference could be deployed!
Harmonious Smith redoubled his efforts – and the AI’s barriers crumbled before him.
And Aikiko… was worrying! No one-manse computer intelligence was really likely to stand up to a pair of Alchemicals – and from what she’d been able to get on it… that place was likely to give them quite a power boost! It had a guardian force of first age automatons, massive computing power (at least compared to current earthly systems), and plenty of reserves of machine-magic… NOT a good thing!
Maybe somebody else would show up before they got it sorted out?
Yeah. Alchemicals dealing with a machine-magic manse. SURE someone would make it before they could take control… She called Charles since he was looking for them anyway!
(Charles) “Oh boy! And with access to a Yu-Shan gate too… Drat it!”
(Aikiko) “Yeah… now they’re after me instead of you, but if they realize what you are…”
(Charles) “Urm… Maybe I can get the Celestial Lions to help out? This IS sort of their thing…”
(Aikiko) “Wait, the place is a Yu-Shan gate too? Oh yeah… this WOULD be a hole in Heaven’s security.”
(Charles) “I’d say so… Botheration! I did NOT need any more complications at the moment! It’s almost time and I still have manses to build and artifacts to make!”
Charles called the Celestial Lions – and found that they were QUITE unhappy about having a set of high-end Alchemical Exalt Sidereal Hunters seizing control of one of Yu-Shan’s gates and a set of guardian constructs to go with it.
They were definitely interested in coordination. Shining Barrator and the other senior lions did NOT need known Sidereal hunters coming up to Heaven and wrecking stuff while a major geomantic operation was going on!
They deployed assorted forces, let Gothmug put up his impenetrable barriers to keep Celerous Dart Of The Heavens more or less grounded, had Aikiko return to wade through the automatons (since she could easily handle a LOT of them that way and she’d always been more overtly combative anyway) – and coordinated with the Celestial Lions pouring through the Gate.
It was loud, and messy, and brought down a lot more ice – likely a good thing; burying the place again once they let the wards down would probably be a good idea – but two Alchemicals and a Manse were no match for the Celestial Lions, Aikiko and Skoll, two of Charles’s Devas (Gothmug and Seiden, Master of Energetics), and Charles’s supporting staff and troops. They were simply far too outnumbered by creatures of similar power.
It was still more of a hassle than was needed at the moment – but getting the last couple of the “Starbreaker Sponsors” in for treatment was something Charles had been working on for a good long time now! Aikiko had done him a great favor!
Aikiko, however, had messages waiting afterwards…. Toho Studios was calling in it’s various actors! It seemed to be their version of “Circle the Wagons!”.
Well, she DID have a contract! Best answer the call!
The Japanese Government was wanting some explanations… that thing flying towards Tokyo had been identified via several different systems – photo enhancement, satellite imaging, radar, and more – and it had been bloody MOTHRA. Just like in the movies. Ergo, Toho presumably knew something. Toho – which didn’t really know anything – was calling in its actors, consultants, and staff for briefings, pooling of information, and setting up a movie which would explain why they were NOT to blame.
And then there’d been reports of King Ghidorah being spotted. And even before that… there had been reports of Mechagodzilla. There were even rumors that the governments of the world were sitting on Godzilla sightings!
Whaaa… stupid Cauldron-Born! Even CHARLES was more discreet than THIS!
And checking with Mechagodzilla… HE’D been out and about in Oregon stopping a variety of local disasters.
Quite a LOT of people were getting nervous; if Toho monster movies were prophetic instead of entertaining… things could be getting VERY weird! And very dangerous too!
And Aikiko… was left wondering whether she should admit that she knew something. It seemed pretty unfair to stick Toho with this mess without doing what she could to help them. It would be hard to convey it without seeming crazy or blowing her cover though.
Oh well! She’d blow her cover if she had to.
(Aikiko): “Yeah… there’s some truth to that report. Blame the Americans! (Thinking) “I think. I know there are some Americans involved.”
(Yuichi Ueno): “I’m fairly sure that those scriptwriters were NOT prophets! Much less all the costume makers and such… So… stuff that people IMAGINE is coming to life? (Muttering) A bad day to be named “Sarah Conner”…”
(Aikiko) “Not so much coming to life. More like you’ve got really powerful beings using it as inspiration. I know that anime does things with the Fair Folk sometimes. It’s like that, except they’re not QUITE as amoral and alien.”
(Yuichi Ueno) “A two-hundred foot high monster is a bit more than INSPIRATION!”
(Aikiko) “This is going to sound crazy… but I can get you in touch with one of these things! He can even get here without the government noticing.”
(Yuichi Ueno) “Hrm… well, that makes at least as much sense as the rest of this! Who is he?”
(Aikiko) “Mechagodzilla! I met him in Oregon… it’s a long story.”
She sighed and revealed Skoll to add some credibility.
And there was silence! Evidently she’d learned the Sidereal art of Assorted Endings, and had reached “Slay Conversation”” (A perfect defense against social skills). To be fair, that really wasn’t unexpected (and that WAS the sort of thing she’d expect a Sidereal to come up with).
She sent Mechagodzilla a prayer… was he free for an interview?
He could stop by in a few days – if they didn’t report her to the mental health authorities first.
Mechagodzilla arrived at Toho Studios, “accidentally” putting a hole in an (unimportant) wall because it had a Godzilla poster on it…
(Aikiko) “Hey, that’s no way to treat your temple! Um… I guess you would consider this a temple.”
(Mechagodzilla) “Of course!”
And MechaGodzilla removed the silly hat and put on six feet of height to help him glare at the security guards – who were pretty startled by the sudden growth, and fell back in confusion (not to mention more than a bit of panic; they weren’t equipped to handle Mechagodzilla!
(Aikiko) “Don’t worry, he’s quite friendly if you don’t attack him.”
Mechagodzilla cheerfully explained (with Aikiko interpreting where necessary) that the world was changing, and the direction of that change… would be decided in a battle between many of the mighty! Amongst those… the great dreams of men would stand as champions of humanity. He suggested sending at least six film crews to get the raw footage – and a dozen would be better!
(Aikiko) “Though considering where you’re likely to go… film permits might be a problem. I bet the God of Blockbusters would be all over this, though!”
Fortunately, anyone who might be checking permits would be well-distracted!
She offered to get them access. The filming would be dangerous, but some of the scenery, before and after the battles, would be to die for!
Toho… was more than a bit intimidated and confused – but if this was a battle to determine the fate of mankind and the Earth… they wanted it. Sure, that might be all that they could contribute – and documentaries were not really their speciality – but they wouldnt miss it for ANYTHING.
Besides, if it went badly… presumably they were all doomed anyway! But… shouldn’t they warn the military and such? Or perhaps the priests? Or the new-age mystics? Or SOMEBODY? After all… they had an interest in the survival of the Earth too!
(Aikiko) “Hrm… I have an associate who’s probably put out the word in the occult community. But yeah, we should let the military know. I expect a lot of this to take place elsewhere, but it’ll probably spill over to Earth.”
(Director) “Oh that’s just WONDERFUL… Oh dear; is this going to be like “Final Wars”?”
(Aikiko) “Ergh… it wouldn’t surprise me.”
(Yuichi Ueno) “Oh boy. Well… at least half the governments are already presuming that we have some special source of information, so they should be willing to give us a hearing at least.”
(Aikiko) “I’ll see what I can do off planet. If it makes you feel better . . . It probably won’t leave the solar system!”
Sadly, MechaGodzilla was no prophet, and his details were sketchy; still… he knew some things, and the bit about dark powers rising from the underworld was ominous anyway – whether it was Deathlords or Neverborn Kaiju or both.
The Director was considering Skoll…
(Director, sighing) “I take it that YOU will be participating in this great battle directly then?”
(Aikiko) “I don’t have much of a choice! The universe getting destroyed goes against this guy’s (patting the breastplate) interests too.”
(Yuichi Ueno) “Not just armor then… (Looks at Mecha-G)… will you be growing into a giant robot to battle Kaiju too?”
(Aikiko) “Hey… Mechagodzilla, can you really do that? Skoll and I might need it!”
(MechaGodzilla) “That power is available through prayers to me!”
(Aikiko) “Yeah, I think so!”
(Director) “Huh… can that suit of yours record?”
(Aikiko) “Ohhh… I see what you’re getting at there. Yes, he can.”
(Director) “Well, that should be pretty interesting if we all live!”
(Aikiko) “I hope so!”