Most spirits cluster around the Core Realms of the Multiverse – the realms of mind and matter, of more or less comprehensible space and time, of life and death, of sanity and order, and of a fairly reasonable number of dimensions. Others voyage outwards, to the outer rim of the great spiral of infinity, to realms incomprehensible to any normal mind, where alien powers hold sway.
Some few of those remember what they once were, and occasionally yearn to experience solid existence once more. When properly called with a summons cast through the unseen labyrinth of the dimensions, those few will answer – sharing the strange energies of the realms beyond with their hosts, while their hosts share their lives and material existences with them.
Few mortals learn such lore, for many fear and beings that may be summoned – whether they call them Apparitions, Daemons, Eidolons, Imprints, Loa, Remnants, Residues, Residuum, Shades, or Vestiges. In truth, however, as long as one resists the temptation to attempt to truly comprehend the mind-shattering nature of such spirits existence there is little danger in it. Still, mad men are all too often drawn to such studies – and whatever standards such spirits may hold, they bear no relationship to the morality of the Core Realms. Whatever they are called, they will lend their power to enterprises mad, petty, or malevolent as readily as to purposes sane, grand, or benevolent.
In game terms the Houngan Conjurer only needs two powers:
- Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable to make one-point relics, only usable with points from Enthusiast, requires that the user come up with a neat ritual, and all relics carry a disadvantage – although this does help reduce their cost (2 CP). If you’re in a hurry add Adaption (using the same limitations to reduce the cost to an additional 1 CP) so you can change them around in a day or so if you need to.
- Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (a total of six “floating” character points)/points may only be used to create relics (known as “conjures”), relics have a maximum cost of one point and no one can use more than one at any one time (6 CP for the ability to create a similar number of one-point relics).
That allows our Houngan to maintain up to six “Conjures” at a time – presumably one for each member of the party. Of course, as Relics, to be really effective they’ll need to be tailored to each recipient. With a disadvantage on the relics to help, a Houngan Conjurer can squeeze up to twelve points worth of powers into each one – enough to provide the equivalent of two feats. If a Conjure gets broken, destroyed, or discarded, he can make another as soon as he can find a few hours (mostly spent laying out the diagrams) to perform another ritual.
Yes, this guy is going to be a POPULAR party member.
As examples, here we have some conjure-creating rituals created by Narthion, a quasi-demonic mystic who’s magically-charged blood burns when exposed to air, which gives him some fun special effects to play with…
The Amulet of the Lidless Eye:
For our resident Ur-Priestess.
The diagram on the floor is a triangle, with curious sigils at the points, and a swirling, distorted, seven-pointed star surrounding a stylized eye at the center – all of which start to glow as the summoner sets a mirror of gold and obsidian at in front of the diagram, places a rough amulet on a chain in it’s exact center, and traces each symbol with his wand. As he squeezes three drops of his burning blood onto the mirror, the smoke of it’s black and crimson flames entwines above the symbols in strange signs as the summoning chant begins.
- “Hidathia, who Foresees Disaster, Unheeded Prophetess!
- I Whisper your Name Upon the Hidden Paths, the Forgotten Ways.
- It echoes within the Void, the Invisible Labyrinth!
- Hear Us and Waken, Arise from the Void Between the Worlds.
- We share with you Vitality, share with us your Power to Foresee, the Shield of the Infinite Night.
- By the Sigil which Calls, the Sign which Anchors, Let the Binding be Forged!”
The triangle flares brilliantly before shifting to a black which sucks all light that comes near it into it’s endless depths. When the claimant applies a drop of her blood to the amulet to complete the binding, a portion of the power of Hidathia will be hers until the binding is broken.
Hidathia, the Unheeded Prophetess, foresees many paths, and can reveal them to those who call upon her – but foresees only darkness and disaster. To walk the paths she shows you is to rush into doom, and that anguish makes her power bittersweet. The Amulet of the Lidless Eye is a channel for her power, granting some tiny portion of it to those who dare to bear it – and often allowing them to take another path at the last second.
Disadvantage: Accursed. The bearer of the Amulet is occasionally compelled to warn complete strangers of the dire consequences of some cherished plan or scheme, speaking dark prophecies that few heed and many resent (-3 CP).
- Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
- Block (Melee and Missile), Specialized/the user must spend a spell point and cry aloud a Word of Negation (in some terrible, tongue-twisting language) yo shunt an incoming attack into the void between the worlds.
The Sigil of the Elder Beast:
For the parties resident shapeshifting hyena-warrior.
For this ritual the sigils and diagrams are crude scratchings, marks as if made by claws ripping into trees to mark territory. The “name” is a strange rumbling, a heavy, predatory, scent, a dreadful fear, and an impression of fangs and claws. The summons is a series of defiant bellows, an offering of meat, and growling which mixes challenge – to once again hunt – with an invitation to once more experience life in the world directly. A few drops of blood from each participant are still required however – and as they strike the center of the ritual’s symbols the floor will seem to shimmer and heave, humping itself up and rippling as a vast, barely-detectable, presence climbs up out of it as it it was emerging from a pool of water to momentarily touch it’s nose to the recipients – and then swirl down, spinning into a scattering of drops of blood across the recipient’s flesh.
Before the blade and bow, before the rise of mind, were tooth and claw and red, red, rage. This remnant of that primordial world has a scent, an impression, an image, and and an emotion of terror – but no name. The Sigil of the Beast lurks upon the user’s form like a thing alive, crawling across their skin like a living tattoo, all the stronger when merged into a bestial form. The force it channels – primal and terrible – is filled with feral rage, which constantly strains to escape when confronted with the incomprehensible oddities of “civilization”.
Disadvantage: Uncivilized. The user will find it quite impossible to deal with complex social situations and the chaos of crowds. If the user already suffers from this disadvantage he or she becomes Accursed – and the Uncivilized disadvantage becomes obvious to others at a glance (-3 CP).
- Berserker (Standard Bonuses) with Enduring and +2 Bonus Uses (12 CP).
A Shard of the Shattered Mirror.
For the parties resident dual-minded psychic, who happens to be using Green Ronin’s Psychic Handbook (a skill-based psionics system).
A complex branching spiral pattern of glyphs and mathematical symbols lies within a circle of mirrors, reflecting that pattern and each other into a myriad branching lines of possibility which twist and change unsettlingly in their depths. They hang unsupported, and reflect nothing but the unsettling spirals, no matter if someone passes in front of them. As the summoner applies a drop of his blood to each mirror, the spirals it reflects will ignite with black and crimson fires – and the spiral on the floor will fade away as the blazing vortex of mind-tearing symbols becomes self-sustaining in non-existence. The whisper trembles on the edge of inaudibility, but seems to bypass the ears to well up directly from the depths of the mind.
- “Tekili-Li, who is the Gate and Guide and Guardian of the Gate to the Realms Beyond.
- I set your Sign upon the Mirrors of the Gate, the Myriad Paths.
- You Dance within the Void, where the Mind recoils, the Invisible Labyrinth.
- Rise from the Places that Are Not, the Depths Within.
- We share with you the Places Left Behind, share with us the Thoughts we Cannot Hold.
- By the Paths which Beckon, the Mind which Hosts, Let the Binding be Forged!”
With the summons the mirrors will flare blindingly – and one will almost explode, shattering into a thousand shards, one glowing with a single arcane sigil still burning within it’s depths. A drop of the recipients blood upon the glowing shard will complete the link.
In the early days of Creation, before the walls between the worlds were firm, Tekili-Li sought out the outermost limits of creation and the mind, passing at last beyond the limits of the imaginable, of life and death, and of existence. There, beyond space, time, and mind, the vortex of power and identity that is Tikili-Li delves forever into the incomprehensible. A fragment of shattered mirror linked to the equally incomprehensibly fragmented identity of Tekili-Li opens a channel for his terrible power to flow into the bearers mind, expanding it perilously beyond all normal limits.
Disadvantage: Incompetent. With his or her mind filled with the incomprehensible power of Tekili-Li, the user will find it near-impossible to relate to normal people – suffering a -3 modifier on all such attempts.
Granted Abilities: These vary with each invocation, but are always related to expanding the user’s mental powers. In this case it’s bestowing…
- Activated Potentials: Occult Skill/Access to Psychokinesis Skills (3 CP) plus one skill point each in Apport, Telekinesis, and Telekinetic Shield (3 CP).
- Dual Consciousness: Strengthened by the power of Tekili-Li, the two halves of the recipients dual mind mind can operate semi-independently. Sadly, they’re still sharing the same body, and so only one can act physically at a time. Companion (“Familiar) with +2 ECL Template, Specialized/has no physical existence, cannot move independently, only one can control their shared body during any one round. The Template powers are essentially just the base characters, and only amount to +1 ECL (6 CP total). The ability bestowed by the “Familiar” is Enhanced Fine Control (Augmented Bonus / Adds (Dex Mod) to Psychic Skills, 6 CP).
Psychic Familiar Template (30 CP):
- Assistant and Aide, Specialized for Double Effect/Primary Consciousness Only, Mental Actions (including Perception) only (12 CP).
- Grant of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses Specialized (for Double Effect)/only for healing hit point/strain damage (12 CP).
- 2x Mystic Link, Corrupted for Increased Effect (User may simply spend 1 strain point to make mental contact as a free action), Specialized for Reduced Cost (Has no passive function) (2 CP).
- Luck with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for use with skills, only works with psychic skills (3 CP).
- +1 Skill Point in Mind Reading (1 CP).
The Hearts Blood Blade
For the parties resident swordsman of course.
The diagram for this ritual is relatively simple; a triangle formed by three interlocking swords, surrounding a shield bearing the emblem of a mighty bear, salient, in plate armor, and bearing a sword. Around it wraps a swirling banner. A sprinkling of powdered magnetite and iron lends it shading, somehow falling perfectly. As the summoner drips three drops of his blood into a glass of brandy and scatters the now-flaming fluid across the diagram, the swords bleed – filling the banner and the shield with crimson hues. The recipient will need to set his or her sword in the center, aligned with the sword the bear carries as the summoner begins tapping gently on a small iron gong or cymbal with a wand – but the sound will be deep, and roll like the surf upon the shore as it calls the heart to dance to it’s rhythm.
- “Vierdan Sanguine, thou Bloody General! We’re very thirsty, very dry!
- The Cry of War Resounds, Drink Deep! Awake the Iron and the Storm!
- The Battle-Thunders Call Through Darkness, Echoing in the Invisible Labyrinth!
- Turn from the Stilled Wheel, be Sheathed Once More in Blood and Bone!
- We share Breath and Flesh with you, Walk with Us the Paths of Destruction!
- By Blade and Blood, by the Beat of Blades and Heart, Let the Binding be Forged!”
Most the blood and powdered iron will be drawn into the sword, tracing shimmering ruby veins within the steel. Completing the binding will require a drop of the recipients blood upon the steel – and when that drop of blood falls upon the sword, the remaining magnetite powder will swirl around him for a moment – and then pour into the skin of his sword-arm, tattooing the symbols of Vierdan Sanguine upon him for the duration.
The sword shimmers with crimson traceries, shining within the steel, as if blood has been absorbed within the metal, and pulses within the blade with the strength of a thousand stolen lives. When drawn, it fills the user’s mind with whispers, faint echoes of the battle-cries of ancient wars and feuds, for Vierdan Sanguine, the Bloody General, Lord of Iron, War, and Storm, has walked in spirit in them all – and his dread presence pulses within the steel, guiding it’s wielders hand. It is a good day for someone else to die.
Disadvantage: Insane: Gods too fall before the blade, and the Iron Lord has seen a myriad pass while he endures. Their priests and may wield a power they call “divine”, but they will fall before the blade as easily.
- +12 Skill Points in a martial art of the ritualist’s choice, Specialized for Double Effect (one technique per level for a total of 12)/only usable with the blade, not with any other weapons or with unarmed techniques.
The Cloak of Shadows:
In this case two slight variations on the same relic – for the parties resident dragoness and the resident mystic martial artist (who happens to be using Witchcraft to represent C’hi Powers).
The floor seems to ripple like the surface of a pond, and from it wisps of dark mist rise and coil, striking outwards like reaching serpents. Apparently deep within it, lines of blackness crawl; as the light dims and the area fades into shadow, the dark patterns half-seen beneath the mist remain visible by their own radiant darkness, deeper than the depths between the stars. Around it are placed seven short cylinders of green stone, each anointed with a drop of the ritualists fiery blood as he walks counterclockwise around the circle – and burning with the dark fire that drinks light and warmth. There is a terrible chill in the air, and a faint, sweet, scent of corruption as the ritualist carefully positions the skull of some strange beast in the center of it all.
And the shadows and mist will lend ethereal flesh to the skull, as it whispers in the deep voice of some great beast, long passed:
“In ages long past, in the beginning of days, Nidhogg the Formless, The Living Dark, First Wyrm, rose to burrow between the worlds. In it’s wake followed men, and it swallowed their forms and took them, walking among them beneath a thousand skies, secret and unknown, taking their deaths into itself and avoiding it’s own. But men, at last, could not follow where Nidhogg led, as it passed beyond the worlds of form, to become the shadow of all things, And in every shadow Nidhogg lurks, shapeless and unknown, watching and waiting to walk the worlds once more.”
And the ritualist replies…
- “Blacker than the Deepest Night, Shining Dark like Gold within the depths of Hvergelmir!
- Great Nidhogg who Crawls Between Life and Death, Shadow of All Things, hear my call!
- You ARE and ARE NOT; You Shatter the Walls of the Invisible Labyrinth!
Rise from the Endless Void, the Realms Beyond, Return to the Flesh you left so long ago!
- We give you Shape, grant us the Twilight Paths, The Strengths of a Thousand Worlds!
- By Fall of Night, by the Darkness and the Light and the Paths of Souls, Let the Binding be Forged!”
And the tendrils of mist weave around the recipient(s), becoming a subtle silken cloak. It must be marked with a drop of the recipients blood lest it drift away between the worlds once more – and when the recipient does so, his or her blood will sink into the silk, becoming a crimson personal sigil worked into the very fabric.
The cloak of Shadows clings like a wisp of finest silk, a subtle thing that drifts between the worlds, merging with the darkness – and the strengths of many worlds.
Disadvantage: Anyone who wears the Cloak of Shadows will find themselves attuned to the shadows; they will be easily mistaken for others (whether for good or ill) and will find themselves inclined to irrational secrecy.
- Shapeshift with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted/Humanoid Form Only, does not actually change any game statistics beyond losing access to things like claws, wings, and fangs, and allowing the user to fit into smaller places if he or she is larger than medium sized (4 CP).
- Hysteria, Specialized and Corrupted/only applies to one particular subset of abilities (in this case it was their Breath Weapon for the Dragon and their Witchcraft/”C’hi Powers” for the Martial Artist (2 CP).
- 2d6 (10) Mana, Specialized and Corrupted/only to fuel Hysteria (2 CP).
- Rite of Chi, Specialized and Corrupted/only to refill mana pool, requires ten minutes of meditation
The One Ring (no, not THAT one ring)
In this case it’s a booster for our Demon Mystic himself – although it’s an enhancement that he, once again, intends to share with his companions. This actually makes seven relics in this particular set – but our ritualist opted to invest another character point so that he could have a toy too…
The lines of the summoning diagram are laid out with geometric exactitude, strange symbols from a world unmade laying out a schematic of a device of unnerving simplicity and subtlety, a functional Hieronymus Machine – the Final Gate. Around it lay a dozen tokens, small products of craft and artifice. As three drops of the ritualist’s blood fall into the center, the diagram takes fire – and the void opens, a doorway into a nothingness that the eye cannot accept nor the mind comprehend.
- “First and Last the Hammer Falls, Ringing like a Thousand Bells, Sounding Death and Renewal!
- Somon, Mastercrafter, Smith of the Unmaking, hear my call among the Endless Paths of Time!
- Ages like Drifting Leaves are gathered into the Vaults of Time, you Shape and Reshape the Invisible Labyrinth!
- The Gate of the Mind is Opened, Let Artifice come forth to break once more Obdurate Fate!
- We share Time and Destiny with you, share with us the Skill that Transcends the Final Night!
- By Craft and Coil, by Shattered Chain and Worlds Departed, Let the Binding be Forged!”
And the recipient may reach into the eye-twisting nothingness – and withdraw his hand bearing a strange ring, tarnished as if ages-old, yet clear in every detail – and covered with strange sigils that, for the moment, blaze with the fires of a single drop of his blood, although the sigils swiftly fade to blackness, unseen beneath the tarnish of the ring.
A night had fallen that would never see another dawn. Times End, the Triumph of Entropy was nigh, the last embers of consciousness and purpose drifted in gossamer illusion, fading memories of a dying universe remembering it’s lost children. Somon the Artificer, Last Craftsman, wrought at last the Final Gate – and the Endless stepped from Worlds End to Times Dawn, where Death itself might not follow. In ages passing, Somon creates and destroys, stealing energy from realms that will never be, wrenching the course of time into a new path, and unmaking his own past. Times End will never come, for when it approaches, Somon emerges from nonexistence once more.
The One Ring is metaphor and truth, myriad yet singular, merely a token and yet the endless cycle of time. Because of it’s existence many futures will never be, and their power flows through the legions who bear it.
Disadvantage: Any bearer of the One Ring is driven to manipulate and change the course of events, exerting their skills to change situations – whether for the better or for the worse is irrelevant, as long as stability and the humdrum course of bland destiny is diverted.
- Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (level one and possibly weak level two) effects/can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans are modestly tricky to make and take some time to attune for use (6 CP).
- Shared Multiple Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted/Only to share the Shaping Package, secondary users get only three charms and one talisman instead of seven and three, all such Charms and Talismans are marked by the Sigil of Somon (6 CP).
Yes, this is pretty much the standard “you get to use Charms and Talismans” effect – but they are pretty handy, especially when the group is actually of fairly low level.
Relics are fairly powerful things – and because they’re amplifiers for their user’s own powers never really lose their usefulness. This particular set is designed to counter some of their bearers major weaknesses, but the special disadvantages they bring should add more than enough interest to things to make up for THAT.
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