The robber barons are a band of noble knights that have secretly rejected the concept of property. Bored with their affluent lives, the now amuse themselves by attempting, in person, to steal the goods of their fellow robber barons. They meet each winter solstice to compare score. Last year’s winner was the Duke of Taunton who successfully stole three ships of the line belonging to Lord Brighton.
The Lore Lords are a group of learned bards that are the highest seat of trivia appeal. Should there be controversy or conflict on a point of lore, the Lore Lords will research and give judgement. The rulings are of limited use as the Lore Lords often choose or make up a new story that is better drama rather than actually correct. Not helpful if their definition of orthodoxy means you’ve brought the wrong herb to ward of wights.
The night knights are a civiarlic order cursed by a wizard queen for failing to safeguard her treasury. Partially banished to the plane of shadow, they are twilight creatures forced to forever stand watch over a ruined keep.
The oils from the wells of Xarax are noted for how greasy they are. The Fastsaf Space Guild maintain their pre-eminent position as interstellar couriers thanks to their exclusive rights to these oils. They use it to lubricate the biomechanical palindrome machines that compute their FTL courses. Only the slipperiest can find the fastest routes.
Turns out that the ancient magical power source that was separated and scattered by the old ones is a processed uranium core. Putting the pieces back together doesn’t give you unending power, that’s a mistranslation. Instead, it just goes critical.
A gripped grumbler is a small mouse sized creature that feeds on unhappiness. It climbs onto clothing and hides itself where it can be heard. They in gripes, grumbles and groans misery into the host, poisoning their psyche. It feeds until it becomes too fat to hold on. For the unluckiest hosts it will fall off in a bed, where it will then nest and feed on the bed’s occupants whilst they sleep.
The Shield Legion are a troop of elite soldiers that forgo weapons in favour of a tower shield as tall and as wide as themselves. They operate as a separate formation to be deployed into crunch points on the battlefield. With their charging and stopping power they can either plug holes in defences or punch through weak points in the enemy’s line. Members must be disciplined to keep the shield wall intact and physically strong to carry the heavy two handed metal shield.
6d6 Path – Shield Legionnaire – Brawn, Discipline, Shield Expertise, Legion’s Shield [Equipment], Protect Ally, Shield Bash [Explode 6s], Hold Fast [Free, if 2nd or more attack suffered that round], Courage, Battlefield [Environment]
The Shield Surfers are a mobile marine unit that use short surf boards to take beachheads. Said surfboards then become a light shield. Surfing gives them a fast and silent approach ideal for night raids. Shield surfers use short knives as longer weapons would inhibit their swimming. They prefer to use the tactics of mobility and surprise as they lack the armour for a lengthy fight. Despite their courage, the unit is not suited for holding territory unsupported.
6d6 Path – Shield Surfer – Man Dex, Swimming, Surf [Movement], Surf Shield [Equipment], Balance, Dodge, Stealth, Cunning, Water [Environment]
The Shield Crashers are shock troops who are experts at getting around magical defences. They portal in at high altitude, well above the range of any protection from portals spells. Plummeting to the ground, their shields negate the impact provided they’re stood on correctly. All the energy of the fall is converted into a shock wave of air that blasts out from where the Crasher lands. Only a particular mentality of soldier can cope with the stress of deliberately falling for thousands of feet with no way of slowing down.
6d6 Path – Shield Crashers – Reckless, Plummet Shield [Opportunity, Equipment, Blast], Balance, Martyr, Speed, Noisemaker, Sprint, Battle Cry, Shield Expertise
A race of sentient buckets, created by a wizard that needed to bail water out of the foundations of his tower. Not knowing anything about pumps or screws, he enchanted a large numbers of buckets and compelled them to endlessly collect and dump water. To ensure no loss in numbers, he gave them the ability to create new buckets to maintain their number and to repair themselves. These wooden creatures can each contain 1 gallon of water, though their little legs move slowly under the heavy load. They have two legs sticking out beneath bottom and a pair of small arms instead of a handle. No one knows how they sense anything but they seem to. They communicate by banging their hands on their bellies. A party of heroes found still doing bailing the tower’s ruins and brought into town. They were sold into work for a tidy profit.
A tear stained scarf, belonging to the arch wizard Ririoshi. After his beloved was killed in an accident of his own making, Ririoshi was overcome with grief. The scarf was a gift from his lover, that he refused to part with. The tears have magically imbued the scarf so that it gives a large boost to the wearer’s own abilities. The price is a penalty to feeling any sense of happiness.
The collaboration between the departements of time, space and cartography produced the historisats. Each satellite was a simple planetary observing payload attached to a time drive. They were programmed to go back in time in 1000 year blocks and survey the planet. So far the project has produced incredible data that is building a new understanding of our planet’s history. But historisat 4 experienced a programming fault and instead jumped 1000 years into the future. It’s back, but it’s sending out some very strange signals…
The planet Anasic was surveyed as an ideal location for colonization but was bought by the entertainment trillionaire Lorenzi to become an amusement park. An avid wannabe hunter, Lorenzi sought to get around the laws that prevented hunting in the known systems. As Anasic has no life more complex than single celled organisms, Lorenzi had free reign to introduce new species. So they set up a gene and cloning lab to populate the planet with short lived monsters to hunt. Unsurprisingly, it all went horribly wrong. Now Anasic is abandoned, overrun by millions of dangerous animals that are randomly generated by the automated machinery. Sounds like the perfect place to hide something from scrutiny. The only orbiting presence is a bio-science station monitoring the planet below.
The most glorious regime of Orav wanted a new vanguard for the military designs on nearby systems. Their most loyal scientists set to work creating regiment of bio-engineered super soldiers. From samples of the best of Orav’s army, the created the ideal specimens for replication. As these fast matured, they were indoctrinated with the ideals and principles of the regime. Experimental gene mods were used to grant them physical perfection and they were trained with the most advanced weaponry. Those involved mistakenly assumed that the 1st Solar Supremes would be loyal to the regime. Instead, their creations found the regime to wanting, a government and people that did not live up to it’s own propaganda. Civil war now rages across Orav space as the solar supremes fight to take over.
First the crown prince died in battle with nomadic raiders coming across the border. Before his sister could be named the new successor, she was killed when her entire caravan was swept away by flooding. The old king died along with the council and the duma when a separatist destroyed government house. This has left the crown in the hands of 14 year old Lyri. There’s few, if any, nobility left, so she reigns without a regent or a council. Her realm is beset by troubles, within and without, and the people fear that the 300 year existence of their country is about to end in strife. Lyri’s plans are thus working perfectly.
Curious mice are curious. Amongst their rodenty activities, they like to stop and watch what’s going on. Ever felt like you’re being watched when in Moorfell city? That’s because the place is overrun with curious mice. Always watching; gazing with those big golden eyes that seem so deep when you look at them. It’s a penetrating stare that rarely blinks when it catches and holds your eye. It would help if the citizens would stop leaving food out for the mice and making sure there was plenty of shelter for them.
The Grand Temple of Vertigios is a tall building that descends for dozens of metres deep into the ground. The main altar sits atop an exposed spiral staircase. Everywhere you look there are dizzying heights and terrifying drops. The buildings lines and structure gently curve so that no surface is quite at the angle you expect. The sky god accepts as sacrifice all those who fall.
All adventurer’s companies need somewhere to start up. Most taverns don’t take kindly to poor people in cheap armour taking up seats and not buying drinks. A small monthly fee will get you a desk, access to parchment and post box at the Westward adventuring incubator. An office block in one the new leafier suburbs of the city, it keeps the adventurers out of the city centre cafes and provides a great place to network and plan raids.
A carousel but rather than prancing ponies on parade, these are warmounts in armour. As well as horses there are camels, spiders, ants, beetles,elephants, hawks, and hounds. As the carousel spins a battle charge is played and the mounts feet stamps the ground faster and faster until the ground around the carousel shakes. When the song finishes, the carousel slams to a halt. The children love it but many soldiers say it brings back bad memories.
Across the plains and steppes of slaad, the nomads fear the silent storm. Whipped by magical thermals, the dark clouds move quickly across the the sky bringing brutal rains of hail. Despite the strong winds and tonnage of falling ice, there is no noise. The blows but does not howl and the hail strikes but does not drum.
A horn that: summons goats, banishes mice, breaks glass, deafens dragons, upsets bears, boils pasta, objects in court, turns wine to curry, stuns sparrows, masks perfume, highlights demons, raises walls, insults goblins, and encourages moles.
Giant bears that have learnt to carry weapons. The magic in the area that causes their great size has also increased their intelligence. They’ve learned through mimicry how hold and wield weaponry. They like the extra reach it gives them when hunting. Staves, hammers, and maces are preferred as they can be carried safely in the mouth.
Tiny Adventures Inc offers incredible shrinking adventures to those who can afford it. Built into their warehouse is a full size three bedroom house. Tiny Adventures use their patented shrinking ray to miniaturise you and your friends by a factor of 50. Equipped with climbing gear and parachutes, you get to experience life at 1 centimeter high. Find out what’s actually under the fridge, ride the plumbing, and sneak about under the floorboards.
The queen is on the run. With her army broken and scattered, she was would and taken off the battlefield by her few remaining loyal retainers. With airspace above the capital under enemy control, they have flown north deeper into rebel territory. The rebel prince has placed a high bounty on her head, adding a greedy civilian populace to the soldiers already out hunting. The queen needs medical treatment before her retainers can even think about getting her onto a ship to safety.
The hammer of judgement is the sacred seal and weapon of the Order of Judgement. Wielded by the order’s founder Sir Herth of Kander, it contains powerful magics to compel speech and honesty. The order’s knights wield smaller and weaker versions as the travel the land serving as magistrates and marshalls. All the lesser hammer derive their power from the true hammer. It is enchained in the great courtroom of Hammer Keep.
Path – Hammer Judge – Knowledge [Law], Brawn, Cunning, Keen Senses, Hammer Expertise, Compel Speech (Spell), Compel Truth (Spell), Punish (Spell), Truth Hammer (Equipment)
The wedding of Lady Averyx and Duke Kodyn promises to be the most expensive, expansive and extravagant for a century. The two wealthy nobles are determined to show off their riches with a three day ceremony and exhibition. Such a display has attracted many ambitious thieves and conmen. Rumours suggest that there will be more criminals at the wedding than actual guests. The wedding party are unperturbed by this, apparently so secure in their wealth that they see the entire thing as a game and part of festivities. Any heist at the wedding will have to get past the other thieves before it can worry about the security.
The entire mountain of Ait is a decoy. Kagym the dragon became tired of all those heroes and adventurers trying to kill him and take his treasure bedding. Notionally Kagym resides in a cave at the peak of Ait. This cave is several miles of looping tunnels that form a nondescript maze of curves and backstracks. The entrance is glamoured so as to be hidden from those inside the maze. Kagym pays some kobolds to sweep the it clean of corpses once a quarter. The dragon is actually hibernating underneath derelict log cabin in a nearby wood where the only thing that bothers him is the occasional nesting bird.
The coins of Ulune are small tetrahedrons of bronze and brass. There were once discs until the war of the three fools. The three challengers were vain and petty princes unable to share or compromise their mother’s legacy. The lengthy war ended when the peasants rose up in rebellion against all three. Bitter fighting was replaced by unpleasant negotiation. The solution was a triple monarchy, with the princes acting as a three member crown council as heads of state for an elected parliament. To satisfy the royal egos, the tetrahedral coins were minted so that each prince would have a coin face to themselves that was equal to their rivals.
Beneath Castle Granfuss is a dungeon of cunning design. Lord Riethhook has a unique take on punishment: those found guilty of crimes in his realm are sentenced to attempt to escape the dungeon, armed only with their underwear. If they can survive the traps and monsters then freedom is theirs. The deeper floors of the dungeon contain greater dangers for those who’ve committed more heinous crimes. Taking advantage of adventuring skill to repeatedly commit crimes will see a criminal sentenced to increasingly deeper floors.
It’s taken months to organise but finally all the high gods are gathered in one place for the third conclave. The first order of business is the admission of a new minor god to the extended pantheon. Enindar claims dominion over Sugar. No other deity claims this realm, so that hurdle has been cleared by default. The conclave will need to hear from Enindar’s Prophet before determining if being the god of sugar is worthy of recognition in the liturgies. As the next item on the agenda is the excommunication of Niz the god of Satire, expect shenanigans.
The student wizards of North Fall were bored in the summer months when the lake wasn’t frozen. Seeking entertainment, they cast water walk spells and adapted one of the southern heathen games. Water Ball is played on any body of water deeper than you are tall. The ball is fixed to the water’s surface. One team plays on the surface above the water, the other on the surface below the water and the change surfaces every quarter. So far no-one has drowned, but the game gets weird if played with waves.
The silver dragons of the Sky Spike Mountains are a monastic order dedicated to contemplation and philosophy. To pay for their upkeep and maintain the monastery they work as a postal service for the communities around the mountains. The Sky Spikes are such a tall and steep range of peaks that it can takes months to cross them. The silver dragons don’t take passengers as they are too small to carry such a large load. Twice a day a dragon will collect and deliver a few kilos of letters, bringing them to the monastery for sorting and distribution.
Mega Venice – as temperatures cooled and sea levels receded, Venice grew. The arriving refugees from the north found more and more land to build on as the Venetian Lagoon emptied. A century later and the capital of the Venetian Republic has expanded to fill the entire lagoon and twice as much again into the Adriatic Sea. The original city remains but it ever in the shadow of the surrounding hundred storey skyscrapers. The canals, new and old, are kept clean by an extensive filtration network run by an army of sievers and chemists. The air is filled with sky gondolas that flit between the mid-level landing decks of the towers.
Like old magical items, old magic users have to be treated with care. Even the most powerful mage is no match for the march of time and eventually their their health will fail. It’s a lots easier to look after physically disabled wizards as their lack of mobility means they can’t complete the somatic parts of the spells. Old wizard’s home therefore tend to keep a careful eye out for any still spellcasters. Mental illness is a cause for great concern, and not just to the mage’s family or dependants. A mage who’s losing their grasp on reality can rapidly become a danger to themselves and society around them. It’s common for mage’s colleges to have a dedicated set of extraplanar rooms to allow these unfortunates to live with dignity whilst minimising risks others.
The Tango Apple Adventuring Party have got their hands on the Amulet of Shine, almost entirely by accident. Word of this has only just reached the Moonlord, but they will surely begin to hunt the party soon. None of the local towns or forts will off safe haven to the party or take the Amulet of Shine from them, such is the fear inspired by the Moonlord. The only safety the party can find is an long abandoned and ruined keep with an extensive dungeon beneath. Maybe they can repair the traps and find some non-sentient monsters to guard the artifact before fleeing.
The price the forge god Cytho pays for being able to craft any weapon conceivable is that they must honour any request from a fellow deity. Thus they were pulled into the bitter war between the twin goddess of the Moons Jeao and Thas. Finally, both demanded a bow powerful enough to destroy their sister’s moon. Cytho built the bows and one arrow for each but found that they could not deliver them in fear of the damage they would do. Instead, he separated string from bow and flights from arrow. He took the pieces and scattered them across the planet, where the moon goddesses never visit. The moon war descended into an uneasy ceasefire as the followers of both sides search for the weapons.
The juice of the Xyv fruit contains such an unstable mix of isotopes and chemicals that it sends the drinker’s mind into unspace. In unspace there are no dimensions, with things existing at once and at one point. To those untrained in the mental martial art of Not, the experience is nauseating and petrifying. Why visit unspace at all? The secret Order of Never, who cultivate the Xyv fruit, use it to communicate across space and time. An apprentice of Not can to talk to others in unspace. A master of Not can communicate with their past and future selves. The Order of Never keeps its findings and workings highly secret, so that unspace can be utilized without crowding.
“Everything in its place and a place for everything.” The phrase strikes fear into the survivors that hear it. For it mean that the invested had emerged from their cubes again. The alien parasites had spread quickly through the population via a contaminated energy drink. The hive mind’s purpose was singular: the imposition of organization for Earth was far too untidy. The infected humans are puppets of the creature inside them that has them relentlessly catalogue and organise. Where there were once cities there are now rows and rows of perfect concrete cubes neatly filled with the sorted remains of human civilization. The uninfested are greeted with rageful violence. Survivors give themselves time to escape by creating noisy chaotic piles of stuff to distract the approaching infested.
A sudden fog makes any sailor cautious but sailors on the Sespia sea have a reason to fearful. The Vengeberg haunts these waters. Long ago the snow pirate Garside cruised the Sespia sea with a cruel impunity. She took great pleasure in torture and barbarous acts, giving no quarter even to children. Simonte was but a simple blacksmith travelling to a new land with his family when Garside captured the ship they were aboard. A passing iceberg inspired Garside and she marooned the passengers on the frozen rock so that she could watch them slowly freeze. Simonte was the last one left and in his anguish he recite an ancient curse of his culture against all who sail. On his death his vengeful soul merged with the iceberg, creating an eternal and wilful block of ice. Though Garside was its first victim, the curse holds and the Vengeberg attacks all ships it encounters.
The isolated nation of Yacrya is surrounded on all side by near impassable mountain and volcano ranges. The country is broken by a decades long civil war between city states competing to be become the capital city and thus ruler. However the population of Yacrya grows slowly without immigration, so it is a war without death. No side can afford many casualties from direct combat or the loss of resources from damaged infrastructure. The fighting has been reduced to mass brawls. Through there are clear winners of the battles, the lack of permanent reduction in a sides fighting power has prevented any city from making progress or forcing terms.
Even with a hundred years of warning, the last ships only just escaped in time. A century of preparation, planning and construction had ensured that everyone who wanted to leave Blemhiem was able to escape the planet before the star’s explosive death. The last evacuees now have a decade of travel before their primitive starships will reach on the four world settled by pioneers. News from these worlds is good. They are alien landscapes but crops and livestock from Blemhiem thrive there. The prospect of rebuilding their nation on world with untouched natural resources encourages many. They hope that with the death of Blemhiem the judgement cults will no longer be a cause of strife and fear.
The town of Herebey solved their labour shortage by putting the dead to work. A decade of war and drought had left the town and surrounding lands badly deploulated. The simply wasn’t enough able bodied people left to work the fields. So the city mayor turned to the necromancer locked away in the castle dungeon. In return for moving her to a more pleasant house arrest, she reanimated the dead to serve as farmhands. In deference to the people’s sensitivities, she was directed to use corpses from the nearby ancient tomb of warriors, rather than the graves of the recently deceased. The surplus food is attracting many immigrants from the across the stricken region and the necromancer finds her skills in demand for the factories.
The Red Skull are an all female pirate band that protect an ancient tapestry. Nothing grows on the tiny island where their castle is built, so they have to survive by raiding. They forcibly recruit new members from the passengers and crew of the ships they raid. The tapestry shows a set of runes that if spoken aloud will release a monster of the deep. The pirates maintain and preserve the tapestry as its destruction or removal would also release the monster. Tensions exist amongst the band about the need for violence to gather supplies.
Despite the best efforts of the Galactic Hegemony, humanity has completely failed to make contact with alien life. All the loitering scout ships, targeted transmissions and ancient ruins have been missed or ignored. Worried that without hegemonic guidance and support the humans might develop support technologies, more direct methods have been authorised. Existing observation posts on Terra are to be upgraded to infiltration bases and key humans are to be replaced by operatives. The conspiracy to ensure that the humanity joins the Galactic Hegemony in the appropriate manner has begun.
There are dozens of models of little friends on the market but they are all basically the same set of charms. The small fabric doll is enchanted with a set of wards to protect and locate children. As long as the child has the little friend on their person, mind affecting magics are drawn to the doll instead. The little friend fully experiences the spell but as it’s a doll there’s little it can do beyond make facial expression and wiggle it’s tiny limbs. The charms eventually wear off with use, so it’s worthwhile getting a service contract when you buy one. Why the charms don’t work with adults is still being researched.
The law can’t regulate your genetic code but it can regulate the act of changing it. Most countries allow medical procedures and some limited cosmetic changes. If you want to get some illegal modifications, you’ll have to a boat out to a gene ship. These converted tankers and freighters stay out in international waters where the work the do isn’t regulated at all. In exchange for a large sum of currency they’ll splice in any DNA you want. Anything goes wrong though, and they’ll dump you back ashore rather than waste resources helping you. Talking too much about where you got the modifications will also garner the displeasure of the involved gangs.
Most of interstellar space is empty but for some highly dispersed gas clouds. However the cruise ship Beauty still managed to beat the odds and crash into a rogue dwarf planet while travelling faster than light. The public outcry wasn’t dissuaded by talk of how improbable the accident was and so the stellar navigation bureau was tasked to track and mark all potential hazards. Normally concerned with mapping gravity wells and traffic control, the SNB now had to build lighthouses in space. The first was on object TRT-E56P, the rock that had claimed the Beauty. Keeping these lighthouses is dull and pointless job with competition fierce to avoid service on them.
The Great Dananada has escaped from every prison and dungeon she’s been incarcerated in. Originally imprisoned for banditry and burglary, she is now more famous for being a wanted escaped prisoner than for her original crimes. Her secret is her enchanted tongue piercing. When Donanada is not observed the piercing’s magic allows her to become completely incorporeal. She then simple walks through the walls until she reaches freedom, taking care to stay within the walls to prevent her being seen and ending the spell. That she must be unobserved is why she can be captured and restrained. She could probably have escaped to a far off place and started a new life, but she really enjoys stealing things.
Matchstick men are infantry crafted by the tree folk in the wood war. Being much smaller in number than their city dwelling enemy, the tree folk needed to bulk out their forces if they were to drive the urbanites into the sea. Made from fallen wood that is bound together my magic and reeds, the matchstick men are quite poor at combat. With only a rudimentary magical intelligence, they can just about march in formation and stab forward with spears. They are very vulnerable to fire. Their success lies on their immunity to pain and that they need no logistical support. With the matchstick men proving the army’s bulk, the tree folk are free to pursue more mobile roles as archers and spell slingers.
There’s a new player in the criminal underworld of Alpha Theta City. Criminals all over the conurbation are talking about a criminal they call the Cat Master. The gossip is this; Cat Master is making a wicked profit manufacturing and selling the new drug Delve. Like all start up drug lords, they’ve attracted the attention of the Named Brokers. Except this time, three of the Named Brokers have ended up dead. They say the cops, despite all their tech, have got nothing but some cat hair. Those who’ve dealt the with Cat Master say there is always a half dozen cats with the man and that they seen see the Cat Master talking to them like they were giving orders or taking advice. There’s even a couple of nutters saying that it’s the cats that are actually in charge.
The best ink for writing magical scrolls comes from the mines of Wendark. The mine digs a vein of the darkest inkstone in the known world. Once crushed, the rock is fired to melting point. The released ink is caught in reservoirs and then pumped into outside for air cooling. It is theorized that the inkstone was formed during the wars between the gods of writing when the ink blood of the deities was spilt across the ancient rocks. This would account for the low level magical aura of the refined ink and why it enhances language based spells.
It is not poetic metaphor to say that Valerio sings the artwork into being. Valerio particular mutation has given him exceptional control over the air around them, manifested through his voice. As long as Valerio is singing the winds follows his command. The most striking form of this takes is when Valerio paints. Sat or stood away from the canvas, he sings the paint into the canvas with the mood and melody of the song is reflected in the art work. Valerio prefers to work alone in a private studio but has been coaxed out to perform large scale works for charities.
The Babish people of Ravelon are born with colour, for such a thing is not native to their world, with all things a being shade of grey. When a Babish reaches the age of 13, they undergo the colouring. With a guidance from the colour sage, they experience an adventure in the dream world. Surreal and unworldly, the adventure reveals to the Babish knowledge about themselves, their future and the colours that will form their pallette. Often a Babish will awake with two or three colours with one of these as their primary trim. Some will only know one colour and are pitied. A few learn many colours and may become a so colour sage. Rarely a Babish will know no colour and they are feared.
Lord Sinaut was deeply upset that his beautiful new palace’s aesthetic was spoilt by the presence of the palace guard. No matter what the shape or colour of their uniforms, they stood out and were unbearably noticeable to Lord Sinaut. Thus he commanded that he, his guests, his family and those of noble birth should even again see a guard inside the palace grounds. It would have been simple for the guard to fall back to the outer walls and never enter gain. However, Lord Sinaut has many powerful enemies and a defense in depth is needed. So the palace guard became masters of camouflage, disguise and stealth. Many a would be intruder has found themselves caught by what they thought was just a flowering bush or a statue.
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There are 16 tiny dwarf stars in the Benera system, all orbiting the vast blue giant at the system’s centre.That’s why this research station is here; to try to find out such an improbable arrangement occurred. The station barely counts as being in the system as it has to to avoid all the heat and radiation of the system’s interior. Most of the station has been rush built to get it and the instruments ready for the alignment. Once every orbit of the outermost star, Benera Q, all the dwarf stars align and point directly at the galactic core. There’s gossip that the system was actually built by an advanced civilization, hopefully for benign artistic reasons.
After two thousand years of eking out an existing on geothermal power and mushroom paste, the doors to the vault were opened by outsiders. The aliens exoskeleton was covered in fur and the exosuits carried a fanged emblem. They immediately collapsed the entryway, sealing us back in. There is discord amongst the people. The surface is now clearly habitable again but it has been claimed by another starfaring species. Should we restart the ancient war machines and drill up to the surface or stay hidden far beneath in fear of the alien’s advanced technology. A scouting party is being prepared but they must be cautious, lest the xeno decide we are threat and come for us.
“Ssssh, try not to think too loudly, lest you give yourself away. No, you’re not going mad, those are other people’s thoughts you’re hearing. My little experiment appears to have worked perfectly. So, what will you do now? The authorities will think you mad at best and dangerously interesting at worst. You could keep quiet, maybe use the insight into people’s brains to make yourself rich and powerful. Or will you become a hero and solve crime! Well, do something. Just sitting there isn’t very interesting. I didn’t elevate you above the rest of your species for you to be boring. Move human and provide me with entertainment lest is decide to experiment on you further.”
The interface between machine and mind opened up sentient cognition to new realms of senses and sensations. But this access came at the cost of openness. The serous mind crime unit was formed to deal with the growing spread of memory alterations. Amongst the witness manipulations and harmful jokes, they found a frightening new crime. Organised crime, always in need of funds, had started to kidnap memories for ransom. Unless the victim met with the demands, the memories would be kept or even deleted. With little overhead in hiding and keeping the data, it was an easy. It is so lucrative to exploit the grief and love of strangers that some gangs have stopped their other operations. A even more worrying escalation has seen the kidnap of entire personalities.
When the city of Alont collapsed into civil war, the people went about it like they did everything else, with bureaucracy and organisation. Once it became clear that only armed conflict would settle the disputes between the five warring political parties, plans were made. Those not willing to fight or neutral were ejected from the city into a refugee camp. Everyone else moved into their assigned section of the city an waited for noon on midsummer. On the last chime of the temple bell, the war began. A year later and the strict rules imposed to minimise the damage to the city have resulted in near stalemate. One faction has been reduced to a terrorist cell and another holds only a sliver of the city’s edge. The other three trade streets but cannot make any meaningful progress. More time is spent fighting about rule interpretation than competing for territory. Meanwhile, the evicted across the river have turned the refugee camp into a bustling city.
“Keep your cannon loaded.” It wasn’t the official motto of the Snow Guard, but it was the one drilled into the new recruits and veterans alike. Once the snow closes in, the only warning you’re going to get is your dog growling, for nothing can be seen or heard under all that falling ice. You don’t expect the the rest of your party to cover your back.This is the Snow Guard and we’ve a three thousand mile frontier to patrol and only a few hundred volunteers to do it. We’re alone when we’re out here and it is always dangerous. Yes, the days are gone where an entire platoon would go missing, but now we’ve the cannons we can hit back just as hard. So if you want to survive the season and you get your next set of tattoos, you keep you’re cannon loaded. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a chance to reload.
It took a millenia for a mortal to finally beat the sphinx Hyaell at a game of riddles. The strange young woman kept referring to a glowing object in her hand before answering. With the temple she was guarding now opened, Hyaell found herself looking for new employment. She was not prepared for how much the world outside had changed. Where once her temple had be surrounded by nothing but empty meadows there are now bustling villages and busy farms. On the horizon is a city made of gleaming glass. The authorities were wary of her originally, but after she answered some off questions they gave her a farmhouse and a credit card in exchange for not killing people. Bored and lonely now that the temple’s time spells aren’t keeping her paused between intruders, she fill her days reading on the internet.
Demon F9-4. Codename – Harpy. Threat Level 16. Unlike many other demons thus catalogued, the F9-4 is not a threat due to its strength and nor is it highly rated because of its excellent flight capability. It is their intellect and leadership skills that cause concern. A physical description is limited to: Horns, white fur and feathers, seven feet tall, red jewellery and armour, claws and talons. No F9-4 has been captured and no corpse has been recovered. Only six known engagements that included a harpy have been reported. All of these were during the last year’s alpha grade incursions. They were seen coordinating the attacks and one was seen leaving an incursion zone carrying a large wooden box. Observe and report. Do not engage, do not reveal presence. Intelligence is considered the higher priority over engagement at the this time.
Though the other craft masters may achieve greater art or function in their work, it is the innovation of the mechanical design bureau Tripdenhorn that has built its reputation. They are the only manufacturer of flight capable armour. The metal ore itself is not rare, but the processing and enchanting is known only to mechanical design bureau Tripdenhorn. The finished armours allow a wearer to flirt like a bat and soar like an eagle. The elite dwarven flying dragoons use the gained mobility to strike across caverns and ambush from above. The tide of the dark war now turns to the dwarves favour but their allies’ eyes turn greedily to other things.
Soaring on three meter wingspans, the Nandaunt watch the horizon for clouds. It is the dry season and the Nandaunt cities and farms below are in need of water. Cloud shepards are chosen for their endurance, as to successfully ensnare and bring back a cloud to harvest tcan require a Nandaunt to stay aloft for days. Though clouds can be found inland, the larger wetter ones are out to sea. The risks are great. Nandaunt are graceful in the are and dignified on land but they are appalling swimmers. The sea is thus a place of death and not react to any Nandaunt weary of flying. Once a cloud has been found, the cloud shepherd will fly around it to snare it in a magic threat so it can be towed home. City contracted cloud shepards often work in teams to share supplies and the towing load. Independent contractors have to make do by themselves.
With their long lives, deep intellect and magical prowess, it was not surprising that the dragons were the first to launch a rocket into space. What shocked the rest of the world was that the first sentient into space was an adult red dragon, named Dalzrim, not a kobold slave. The lower stages of Nithom-3 rocket were enormous so that they could lift the dragon containing upper stage. That the rocket lifts at all is due to the cunning exploits of the draconic engineers. Testing reveal that the fire immunity of a dragon is effective against the heat of reentering the atmosphere. The final stage was simply a pressure suit with a thruster pack. After Dalzrim had performed her experiments, she used the thruster pack to control her descent until the air became thick enough for winged flight. The only moment of alarm was when the thruster pack burnt up early, but Dalzrim expanded her natural magics to maintain control. The dragons now greedily eye the riches of the moons.
No true Mors is without a hearth in their home. The richest build ornate constructs of stone and metal whilst the poorest make do with scavenged bricks. With a hearth an Mors can perform the daily rites and give honour to their ancestor spirits. All fortune comes to those that do give the spirits their due sacrifice of food into the hearth. Calamity is certain for an Mors careless enough that their hearth fire should go out. Those Mors who are bold enough to travel far carry with them a tiny hearth with a fire lit from their home. Such lone adventuring is rare because the risk of losing the flame is so great. So the AAA travel in large conveys with a hearth on wheels at the centre. To tamper wit the a a hearth is the greatest crime and is met with unrestrained violence.
Bubble magic is derided by many mages as being a children’s party trick and suitable only for the most basic of lessons. This is true for the basic forms of the school. These simple spells create magical bubbles that float and move as the caster desires. Whilst they can be used for art or dance, the bubbles pose no threat and have little practical utility. The dozen masters of Bubble magic are content to let the public perceive them as harmless. The truth is that while there are no middle or high order bubble spells, the master forms of the school delve into the power of boundaries and separation. The creation of a bubble is to define a location and determine its contents. This magical foundation can be used to create pockets where the rules of reality can be divided and separated. In the wrong or clumsy hands, such a spell could cause devastation.
Even in the wild, the mask wolves of Sangrdrifa forest can live up to seventy years. Highly intelligent, a mask wolf is a natural spell caster in the school of wood. Their name comes from the ornate spell shaped wooden masks they wear. Position in a pack is displayed by the size and decoration of the wolf’s mask. They hunt all wildlife that the pack is capable of bringing down. This is nearly all creatures as the killing power of a mask wolf is greatly enhanced by their magics. Mask wolves do not domesticate or serve other sentients. They will rarely enter into a partnership with a non-mask wolf if they developed a bond of friendship. A pack will not abide the captivity of a member and will react with extreme violence if a cub is threatened.
Arcane cartography, the study and measure of magical geography, attracts a particular type of mage. Whereas their brethren prefer laboratories and libraries an arcane cartographer desires to be outside. The department of arcane cartography at Kird University started when a research group found a map of the city’s mana wells to be woefully out of date. In updating the map, the mages became fascinated by the connections between the type of mana and the landscape around the well. The department expects its students to contribute by mapping new territories and recording any drifts in existing maps. Recently, the departments arcane cartographers have encountered acolytes in grey and red robes at several sites along the east coast. These acolytes carry oversized drawing otools as magical foci and appear to very interested mana sites tied to trees and forests. They ignore all attempts at communication and leave if pestered, disappearing into shadows.
As you walk the streets at night in safety, spare a thought for those whose name you did not know who died for your safety. The gas lamps may light up the main roads, but there are still many places where the shadows are dominant. The Order of the Lantern is a society of knights who have spent three hundred years bringing the light to darkness. Though small in number, they have managed to protect civilisation from even the knowledge of the monsters. Once this was a costly fight as the knights had only sword and flame as weapons. The progress of industry now equips them with ballistics and unwavering light. However, the progress of the light is not destroying the monsters but instead is pushing them together. As their enemy’s density increases, the Lantern Knights must work ever harder to contain them.
They watched anxiously from the tree line. The shiny giant seed had fallen out of the sky at noonsong on a pillar of fire. They had hidden, scared of the noise and the light. When nothing more happened, they came down from their trees and out from their burrows and watched. Was this a new spirit? There were many many spirits in the forest already and there didn’t seem room for this one. Why would the moon watcher send this? A pop and a hiss came from the seed. It is opening, but not like any seed they recognised. Only a small part moved and first one, then four figures emerged. The figures were tall, nearly twice the height of a bush. They were white with large round heads. There spirits of the forest fled and watched no more, for the demons had returned.
The wizard Mazzaem kept a diverse menagerie of animals that they used as practice targets for their magical experiments. After Mazzaem was arressted and imprisoned for animal cruelty, the collection ended up at Farnsharp Sanctuary. Most of the animals were suffering from treatable conditions but there was little that could be done for the hippopotamus. The recipient of the most magic, the animal has become inherently magical due to the number of spells cast on it. Though just as intelligent as the rest of her species, Kyou can now cast most low level spells intuitively to solve her needs. Water spells help her swim and ability boosts are used if she feels threatened. Last night thieves broke into the sanctuary looking to steal a prized singing parrot. Kyou killed them all when they wandered into her enclosure, but she has since escaped via the thieves way in. A hefty reward is offered.
Copy masks are fragile things that only last a few years under careful care. It’s not just their paper construction that fall apart, the duplication spells are unstable and will unwind under stress. When worn the masks let the user access the powers, skills and ever memories of the person the mask represents. The mask are not perfect physical copies of the original face. Instead they are a caricature of appearance, personality and alignment. There is technically no limit to what the masks will allow the wearer to mimic but any effects are fueled by the wearer’s energies. An inexperienced apprentice trying to use a mask of an archmage would quickly find themselves exhausted. The masks creation spell require the presence of the original person but not their cooperation.
Two decades later and Gridda City is still plagued by dire rats. The creatures were unleashed on the city by a besieging army. Lord Arrud, bored after only a week of the siege had the rats snuck into Gridda City’s food stores. With its food stock either eaten or spoiled, Gridda City surrendered but Lord Arrud had no interest in fixing the problems he caused. The sewers, the basements and even some ground levels of Gridda City are all but abandoned as they aren’t safe from rat attack. Any food brought into the city has to be eaten immediately to avoid it attracting the hungry rodents below. All those with the resources to have left and half the city is now empty and falling into ruin.
Short Little Ideas:
- A demon obsessed with lemons
- A bag that contains a box filled with minor irritations
- Tens of thousands of small bitey mice
- The palm fish tree, that grows upside down into lake
- A wishing ring that only grants wishes about changing past mistakes
- Crabs that live in the always flooded gutters of the rain city of Pelogisia.
- Frogs that secrete a dark green staining ink.
- A leech with a screw tooth it uses to burrow into flesh.
- Monkeys with metre long prehensile tongues.
- Sharks that have learnt to jump up cliffs and waterfalls.
- Cricket that increase in noise the closer it is to magical items.
- A brain parasite that increase the arcane power of the host at the cost of headaches
- An utterly delicious seas slug
- A salamander that eats ore and secretes pure metals
- Baboons that communicate over long distance using organic lasers.
- Cows with thick woolly beards
- Journal Entry by Joel Montes de Oca – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Keniworth Castle by barnyz – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Oil Wells in CA by Dave3006 – CC-By-ND-2.0
- Shield by Autumnal Hedge – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Deer Isle by Diana Robinson – CC-BY-Nc-ND-2.0
- Star by Julian Peter – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Baby Mouse by Nick Harris – CC-BY-ND-2.0
- The Cavalry Horsemen by lensmatter – CC-BY-2.0
- Bear by Holy Smokes! Pham – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Knight’s war hammer by Nenad Stojkovic – CC-BY-2.0
- Mountains by Abdul Rahman – CC-BY-2.0
- Sugar by minjungkim – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Venice by Cliff Hillls – CC-NC-ND-2.0
- Forge by Andrés Monroy-Hernández – CC-BY-SA
- Iceberg by Jullen O – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Garage of Green Furrows by Ian Sane – CC-BY-2.0
- Curly Haired Dolls by Kate Henderson – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Macquarie Lighthouse by Steve Dorman – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Cat by Anaa Yoo – CC-BY-ND-2.0
- Colours by Danna and Curious Triangles – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Orient Line Guide by The British Library
- Memory by Clive Darra – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Sphinx by Franz59 – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Clouds by Edward Stojackovic – CC-BY-2.0
- Bubbles by zacktionman – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Image Credit – Hippo by LongitudeLatitude – CC-BY-2.0