Humanity holds the world of Atheria, not by divine decree or right of conquest, but by oaths and pacts with the nigh-immortal fey, the land-spirits, and the domain lords, whose realm it truly is. After more then seven thousand years, those near-immortals still regard humans as but transient guests, refugees thrown upon their shores of wild magic.
In maintenance of those ancient pacts, throughout the Alarian Empire and the domains nearby, there are still gardens and groves being maintained, symbols being cut into hills, casks of mead being delivered to entities unseen, statues being dusted, songbirds being fed, music being played, and occasional slaves being sent to spend several years being badly confused in the service of the fey.
But after seven thousand years, humans sometimes forget. For one reason or another, traditions are lost – and the ancient pacts waver. The land begins to reject humanity and the forces of nature turn against them.
At such times a Landkeeper is summoned, to search out the failure and to take whatever steps are needed to placate the powers of the land, to atone for the lapse, and to reinstate the ancient pacts. That may require strange measures, fearsome sacrifices, or bizarre quests – but there is no choice.
- (Minor) Favors/The Fey, Specialized/requires a formal ceremony and offering (1 CP).
- +3 Specialty in Knowledge/History/Fey Pacts (1 CP).
- +3 Specialty in Knowledge/Religion/The Fey (1 CP).
- Augmented Bonus/may add their wisdom modifier to their intelligence-based skills, Specialized and Corrupted/only for knowledge skills, and only for rolls made in working magical rituals (2 CP). Note that Atherian Ritual Magic is based on knowledge skills.
- Occult Sense/The current relationship between the spirits of the land and the local mortals, Specialized/Provides only a vague sense of ease or unease until the user spends at least several hours meditating in the affected area (3 CP).
- Occult Ritual/Specialized in rituals related to the Fey and History only (3 CP).
- Privilege/Landkeepers are respected across Atheria, and can usually claim minor support and favors from the locals, Specialized/only as long as they’re actually working to correct a lapse in one of the ancient pacts (or are just looking for lunch) (1 CP).
In general, Landkeepers are regarded rather like wandering priests or monks; you don’t need one around all the time – but it’s nice to have one drop by once in awhile to check the lands spiritual pulse.
Uniquely, a portion of the Order Birthright can be granted to people who weren’t born to it – but only as long as they fit themselves into the hierarchy of the Empire, find a high-ranking imperial patron to channel that power to them, and keep that patron happy with them.
That’s actually mildly difficult. For the most part, the Empire has plenty of citizens, and semi-citizens, and native-born slaves, and foreign slaves, to meet it’s needs. Becoming a personal friend of a high-ranking official of the Empire is easier said than done – especially for a foreigner. Still, there are ways.
One can become a local official in the imperial government, administering to the outer provinces. The job is often dull – although rumors that some such “officials” are actually special agents is so persistent that it may well conceal some grain of truth. Diplomats and other emissaries of the Empire also often take on local associates – although the total number remains small.
One can join one of the few powerful organizations that require the services of outsiders, such as the various trading houses or the imperial academy. While the number of foreign employees in such groups remains small, the chances of a promotion to a position inside the empire is fairly good – which can be a shortcut of many years compared to the usual route of joining the legions.
Joining the Legions is by far the most common route to gaining a share in the greater magics of the empire. In a mere few decades of service under military discipline, you can prove that you’re worth allowing into the Empire and earn a lifetime of magical patronage from the officer corps of the Imperial Legions. This certainly isn’t the easiest route, or the quickest – but it is one of the most sure; serve out your time in the Legion successfully, and – barring some blatantly criminal or traitorous behavior – you’ll have a modest pension and a patron for life.
- Privilege/High Imperial Patron, Corrupted/requires regular services to maintain (4 CP).
- Bestowed Order Birthright (due to Imperial Patron): Innate Enchantment. Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6 CP/10,000 GP). Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Personal charms only, 8400 GP) and Inspiring Word (personal only, +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage, 1400 GP).
- Speak Language/Havril (the language of the Imperium) (1 CP).
- A +3 Speciality in Knowledge of the Imperium – including its Laws and Customs (1 CP).
As part of a well-organized society, and with access to the best Charms and Talismans on Atheria, even the active-duty members of the Imperial Legions tend to enjoy what most of the rest of Atheria sees as a privileged lifestyle.
- Eclipse d20 – Darius Metaxis, Level Ten Siege Engineer (ruscumag.wordpress.com)