Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The Prototype-Ancestors

O! Weep, for the Discarded!” 


Primus and The Machine 


The Song of the Machine

Primus is a genderless mechanical god. It is agreed, among the scholars of Sigil, Dis and Brass, that they are the single most intelligent thing in the Multiverse. 


It’s also generally agreed that Primus wants to eliminate Chaos in the multiverse. 


Unfortunately, nobody can quite agree what “Chaos” means. It seems that Primus has a definition, though, and that they’re sticking to it. 


Since the days of ancient time, Primus has steadily been building a machine. That machine is often called Mechanus


Did the plane exist before the machine? Did the machine exist before Primus? These are questions that none know the answer to. 


Except, we can hope, Primus themselves. 


A decamilennial construction project has been carried out, approaching inexorably its unknown purpose. 


Travel for 70 years, along the 145th degree, across the uppermost level of the Machine. You will eventually find a badland of damaged cogs, where teeming legions of Modrons labour to repair and replace city-sized masses of metal. There are millions upon millions of them, out there in the wastes, toiling without rest.  


I Love Modrons So Much

Is this a forgotten depth of the old machine? The place where new-built gears are toothed? The Modrons are not forthcoming. 


What is known, is that, since the unknown depths of time, Primus has been building constructs to maintain their machine. 


The Modrons are their most famous work - but they are not the first. 




Inevitables 


“The Inevitables were too inflexible, too aggressive.”


This is the only thing any Modron (or even Primus) will say on the matter. It is an automatic and unconsidered response. 


The Inevitables have a domain, in the far depths of the Machine. After 45 years of walking along the 211th Degree, you will find the Realm of Neumannus. 


They do not rule here. They are hiding, and waiting to die. There, gigantic screw-towers spin in the whispering wind. Vast foundry fortresses, now silent, lie suspended, slowly revolving among titan gears with cracked and breaking teeth.



Ice clusters on the cogs, there. Why does this region of the Machine suffer under the bitterest cold? Perhaps it is Primus’ displeasure? 


The Inevitables are in revolt. They ignore the commands of Primus. They destroy any Modrons they see.  


They are in revolt because Primus discarded them. The Modrons replaced them. They are Out Moded. 


The Inevitables speak, but do not dream. They are cold, and focused. Compared to the rudimentary logic of all but the greatest Modrons, they are geniuses. They have idiosyncrasies. Names. Personalities, too, after a fashion.  


They are individuals. This, Primus despised. 


The Servants of the One and the Prime must be nothing but conduits of Divine Will. For this, they were replaced, and their forges allowed to burn to naught but silence and smoke. 


Credit to Purplecthulu for this one.

The original form of an Inevitable is an ice-cold, ceramic-flesh eyeball, about three feet across, orbited by thin metal rings. These Eyes are able to fly quickly and silently. 


These Least Inevitables are referred to as Mediators. They are the juveniles, in a sense, although each and every one is older than the cities and dreams of mortal youth. Older still than the Modrons and the Slaad, to be sure. They’re relics, of an older form of creation. 


They can no longer become true Inevitables. The star-forges where their black-adamant shells were made are rimed over, and dead. They are eternally imprisoned in their current forms. 


There is a slow death creeping over the oldest Mediators. A flaw, a mutation in their ceramic flesh, which slowly covers them in crystalline growths, leaving them blind and insensate. 


At an advanced stage, they're basically entombed.


It is the Blinding Doom. Primus could halt it, but why would they? 


The functional Mediators operate as scouts, scouring the domain of the Inevitables, booming commands to the few trespassers who journey this far, waiting to summon their greater kin to battle against the servants of the Betrayer-Who-Was-The-Creator. 


As for their kin? There are five kinds. 


The Kolyarut




In the olden days, they enforced The Law of Oaths. A pact sworn upon a Kolyarut could never be broken - not by compulsion, but out of fear of the Kolyarut’s enforcement. 


Their Eye is placed in their head, where it stares unblinking, from their hooded robes of cloth-of-gold. They resemble a humanoid figure, rail thin and seven cubits in height. 


Their hands are unshaking things, of cold metal, and in them are clasped executioners’ blades - not made from adamant, which cannot be sharpened, of course, but from glittering, prismatic Truemetal. 


Of course, now the Inevitables can no longer mine Truemetal from their abandoned outposts in distant planes, and the Kolyarut (now the fewest) hoard jealously the remaining blades. 



The Marut 


These titans are the largest of the Inevitables. They resemble massive armoured hulks - a headless giant, perhaps, layered thrice in adamant. Their Eye stares from the centre of their chest, small in comparison to their frames. 


The Marut enforced The Law of Death. They hunted liches, incantifiers, soul-eaters, vampires, and their ilk - those who avoided their fated end by unwholesome means. Sigilite scholars attribute the plurality of liches across the Planes to the loss of the Marut. 


Among the oldest of the enlightened dead, the fists of the Marut, aflame with star-fire, are still a short-hand for terror and implacable foes. Though, those old horrors have rarely seen such a flame in recent millennia. 



The Zelekhut 




They enforced The Law of Justice. In the ancient days of the Planes, any escaped criminal or denier of true justice would expect to find a Zelekhut hunting them without rest or mercy.


They were supernatural trackers, and unrivalled finders of portals.  


The Eye of their Mediator form is stored within the head of their centauroid clockwork body. They are armed with wings of silver feathers, and long chains, which snake and crackle with cold lightning. Their bodies are black adamant and gold, as are all their brethren. 


As the forges cooled, the Zelekhut found it impossible to chase every criminal. Now, they will only sally forth from Mechanus for the most egregious of injustices.


The Mercykillers identify the loss of the Zelekhut as the beginning of the Multiverse’s downward spiral. They’re totally wrong, of course - but it’s a calming thought to cling to. 


The Quarut 


They enforced The Law of Time. An esoteric one, rarely broken, but perhaps the most important to keep inviolate. They prevented wizards from stopping, travelling through or otherwise damaging the flow of time. They were rarer than most Inevitables, for the prowess in magic needed to attack time itself was rare to appear among mortals. 


The Quaraut themselves resemble tall, thin, winged figures, with glass-eyed heads and their Eye in their chest. They’re more gold than other Inevitables, and move with a fluid grace their mechanical kin cannot match. 


Most feel no need for weapons. They have special dispensation to bend their own Law, and when you have been slowed to a crawl by the weight of time, all that will be necessary are the thin, cold fingers of the Quarut. 


The absence of the Quarut has not yet keenly been felt - or, has it? Has some mad wizard travelled into the past and seized the threads of history? It would certainly explain why everything is quite so fucked up.


The Varakhut


They enforced The Law of Divinity. They were among the greatest and rarest of their kin. 

It was their lot to destroy those mortals who sought apotheosis - burning temples, collapsing cults, and personally destroying the would-be godheads. Their second task was the destruction of any being with the temerity to attack a god - a protection that not only Primus enjoyed, but every divine being on the face of the Planes. 


Their shells had the power of flight - shaped as an angular, segmented humanoid, moving with silent levitation and terrible purpose. 


They wielded no weapon but searing star-fire, projected in thin lances which could melt iron in a flash, and reduce the greatest wizard to a greasy cloud of smoke. 


No Varakhut has been seen for well over twelve centuries. Have they all seized up? Been consumed by the Blinding Doom? Or do they simply slumber, and await a better age? 


Does their absence mean the path to apotheosis is open once more? 


Benjamin Dewey

The Others


Myths recovered from time-lost ghost towns in the depths of the Machine suggest, quietly, that there are those even older than the Inevitables. 


The indescribably ancient ones - The Moigno, conceptual beings of pure logic and uncorrupted mathematics, now scattered across the planes, and the Parai, thinking, hollow-bodied folk of icy metal, who were burdened with the greatest curse of all - a soul. 


Perhaps, you would find them in their red and labyrinth city of broken gears, 700 years’ journey along the 0th Degree. But that city is a myth, even to the Inevitables - it recedes as they do, fading, into the black abyss of time. 





Monday, 19 April 2021

GLOGscape: The Paladin

“What is it you wish?”

“To see terror on the face of evil.”


Songs of Violence

The Paladins are not in service to the Gods. This is a common misconception. 


Yes, many bear holy symbols, and many speak in quotations from litanies and holy books, but no:


Like their eternal shadows, the Illriggers, the Paladins are the mortal army of a Planar polity -  where the Illriggers are bound to the Baatezu of the Nine Hells, the Paladins serve the Archons of the Seven Heavens


They say the first Paladin was anointed in the city of Heart’s Faith, on the Outlands, which has since slid to the shore of the Silver Sea, at the foot of the Heavenly Mountain.


 Now, they rule Excelsior on the Outlands as their holy capital, from which they prosecute the Archons’ wars in the name of Heavenly Law. 



THE PALADIN

+1 AC and +1 Save per Template.  

Starting Items: 1 Piece of Shiny Armour, An Engraved Weapon, an Angel’s Feather, a Medallion of Service. 

Skills: 1) Empath 2) Navigator 3) Athlete 4) Theologian 5) Planar Expert 6) Public Speaker 

A - Oath to the Archons, Armour of the Righteous 

B - Blessed Steel 

C - As to the Faithful

D - Borne Aloft 



Oath to the Archons

Choose which Host of Archons you swore your Oath to. 


Should you fail to uphold your Oath, the Archons will know, and you will lose all Paladin features (excepting the bonus AC and Save) until you undertake Penance (see below). 


As a consequence of the method used to create them (strict and constant testing to advance in the ranks), most Archons are inflexible, dogmatic and judgemental. 


(See Below).


  1.  Deva
The Hosts Astral, Movanic and Monadic comprise the Deva, the messengers, foretellers, soothsayers and deliverers of omens among the Heavens. 

Each Host has its own subset of multifarious and assuredly holy duties in the realms of the Celestial Bureaucracy, but the bearing of Messages is that for which they are best known. 

OATH
Never Allow a Lie to Conquer the Truth. 

BLESSING   
 
A - Incorruptible Word
When you speak, all present can understand you. Your voice cannot be halted by magical silence or similar effects. 

If you wish, you may speak a message of up to ten words to a person you have met, and it will travel any distance to reach their ears. 


   2. Planetar
The Hosts Planetar are the soldiers of the Seven Heavens, sometimes called the Sword Archons - they are the ones who battle Fiends and watch the Outlands for possible invasion. 
The Hosts Planetar are highly respected in the Archonic Hierarchy.

OATH
When You Make a Promise, Fulfil It.

BLESSING 
 
A - Extension of the Arm 
Choose one weapon of any kind. It becomes a magic weapon with +1 to Hit and Damage.
You cannot be disarmed of this weapon unless you choose to be. 


  3. Supernal
The Host Supernal are the lore-keepers and historians of the Seven Heavens, sometimes called the Tome Archons. 

They reside in great libraries in the misty fields of Venya, the Pearly Heaven, where they record history, and, if the Bureaucracy commands, redact it. 

OATH
Do Not Allow Error to Grow in the Minds of the Ignorant

BLESSING 
 
A - Lore Keeper 
You have a holy grimoire, gifted by the Host Supernal. You gain 1MD and 1 Spell involving Healing, Light, Fire or Metal. You may add spells to your grimoire from scrolls like a wizard. 

You gain a second MD at Level 4. 


   4. Solar
The Host Solar are the greatest warriors of the Seven Heavens. It falls to them to battle demon lords, archdevils, powerful aberrations and other such threats. 

They are regarded by most as the highest rank of the Archonic Hierarchy. 

OATH 
Do Not Allow Evil to Go Unchallenged 

BLESSING 
 
A - Divine Smite
When attacking an enemy your Solar patron considers Unholy, you deal +1d6 Damage. 

The Solars consider Fiends, Undead, Cultists, Aberrations and Slaad to be extremely Unholy. Warriors, Mages and Modrons are edge cases. 

Ordinary Folk and Celestials are 100% immune to your Smite, no matter how arrogant, foolish or downright bastardly they are. 


  5.  Lunar
The Host Lunar are wayfarers, sent abroad (especially to the Outlands and Hells) to guide the lost back to safety, both literally and metaphysically. 

The Host Lunar are regarded with suspicion by other Archons, as the amount of time they spend away from the Heavens leaves them open to outside influence - many are idiosyncratic, or even… Chaotic, as an Archon might put it. 

OATH
Your Duty is to Guide the Lost

BLESSING 
 
A - Sacred Steed
You have a blessed mount which accompanies you everywhere. This takes whatever form fits your personal history - the stereotypical one is a stallion, but Orcish paladins have been known to ride massive sacred boars, and Halfling paladins can often be seen astride a holy mastiff. 

Your steed is a Celestial Animal. If you weren’t already under constant Archonic surveillance, the steed would totally rat you out for breaking your oath. It is otherwise perfectly loyal and immune to fear.  

You can summon the steed to you in any space that it fits in - if it is slain, you can resummon it at any temple.

Your Steed has 10 Inventory Slots and the same amount of Hit Dice as you.  
 
 

  6.  Sidereal 
The Host Sidereal were created to hunt powerful Undead, Necromancers, and other beings which pervert the laws of life and death. More importantly these beings interfere with the regular flow of dead worshippers into each god’s neat little pocket of the Outer Planes - including the regular flow of souls into the bottom ranks of the Archonic Hierarchy. 

Predation by godlike liches, horrendous demon princes and other things besides has left them reduced, but they remain, unbowed even in the face of devastation. 

OATH
Uphold The Laws of Life and Death. 

BLESSING  
 
A - Divine Sense 
By closing your eyes and focusing, you can detect any undead, fiends, extraplanar beings or illusions within twelve paces. This effect passes through walls and ignores invisibility. 


  7.  The Lanterns 
There are a thousand Least and Lesser Hosts, which also create Paladins - these are referred to in general as The Lanterns, after the first form a mortal soul takes on the ascending path of Archonhood. 

Their ranks include the Host Relentless (Hounds), Host Luminous (Radiances), the Host Regnal (Thrones), Host Clamorous (Bells), the Host Vigilant (Wardens), and all such strange and specific sub-hosts besides. 

OATH 
Do Not Allow the Innocent to Come to Harm 

BLESSING 
 
A - Lay on Hands 
You have a pool of [Templates] Healing Dice, which are d6s. You may hold your hands above a creature and expend any amount of these Healing Dice. They regain [sum] HP. 

If there is any HP that spills over (i.e. healing given would take them over their Max HP), the Healing Dice return to your pool. 

You regain one Healing Dice on a good night’s rest. 


Armour of the Righteous 

You can wear one piece of armour without it taking up an Inventory Slot. You can ignore the weight of that piece of armour for the purposes of encumbrance, swimming, etc. 


In systems that don’t have individual armour pieces, treat heavy armour as medium, medium armour as light, and light armour as unarmoured. 


Blessed Steel 

If you make a successful attack on your turn, you may attack again. 


This can continue until you miss, or make [Templates]+1 Attacks. 


This feature doesn’t work if the weapon can’t attack multiple times a turn (i.e., a musket), but you don’t have to use the same weapon for all of the attacks. 


As to the Faithful 

The Celestial Bureaucracy have been observing your progress with appreciative eyes. Choose another Blessing from a different Host of Archons. You still only have to follow your original Oath. 


Borne Aloft 

At any time, you may summon the wings of the Archons you serve and take flight.

 

The wings’ appearance are as follows: 

  • Deva - Shimmering Bronze Feathers
  • Planetar - Sharpened Iron Feathers
  • Supernal - Bluish Feathers, Glittering with Stars 
  • Solar - Fiery Gold Feathers
  • Lunar - Misty Silver Feathers
  • Sidereal - Light-Eating Black Feathers
  • Lanterns - Hazy Aura of Golden Light 


PENANCE 

If you’ve broken your Oath, you can’t use any Paladin abilities nor gain more Templates as a Paladin until you Repent. 


For a Level 1 Paladin, you simply have to go to an Archon, a temple dedicated to the Celestial Bureaucracy (all temples to Bahamut are, by default) or a similar link to the Seven Heavens. Then: apologise, and mean it. 


For Paladins of Level 2 or higher, you must perform an act which would impress the Host to which you have sworn an oath - destroy a powerful undead for the Host Sidereal, reveal a long lost secret for the Host Supernal, save a village for the Lanterns, etc.  



(With thanks to the GLOG Discord for their input.) 


Friday, 16 April 2021

Stolen by Bats (Stats, Class List & The Monster Hunter)


Stolen by Bats is an unformed idea I've had for a GLOGhack based on Failbetter Games' Fallen London (and linked games Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies). 

All I know about it are the stats:

Iron: Confront and overpower.
Mirrors: Investigate and discern. 
Veils: Deceive and misdirect
Pages: Understand and control. 
Hearts: Convince and endure.

The class list: 

Correspondent - Criticize, Analyze and Deconstuct the Eldritch and Mundane
Crooked-Cross – Manipulative Cleric of the Counter Church, Ordained by Devils
Licentiate – Killers, Possessors of Strange Lists, Hunted by Would-be Successors.
Midnighter – Faceless Agent and Spymaster, a Skilled Player of the Great Game 
Monster-Hunter – Hunter and Killer of the Neath's Deadliest Denizens.
Silverer –  Cultish Figure, an Explorer of The Dreamworld of Parabola (No Relation) 
Zee Captain – Explorer, Zailor, Hoarder of Treasures - and Probable Cannibal. 

And one of the classes:  

Monster Hunter
+1 Attack and +2 HP per Template 
Starting Equipment: A Ratting Piece, a Filthy Suit, Bone Harpoon, Vicious Dog 
Skills: 1) Hunter 2) Trapmaster 3) Wrestler 4) Bully 5) Escape Artist 6) Animal Handler 
A – Rat-Catcher, Notches  
B – Rattus Faber 
C – Expert on Monstrous Anatomy 
D – Bag a Legend, Willingness to Spare

Rat-Catcher
Your attacks deal maximum damage to creatures with the same or less HD than you.  

Notches
Each time you attain a total of 10, 20, 30, and 50 kills with a weapon type (such as 10 kills with a dagger), you unlock a new ability for that weapon, chosen from the list below. 
Keep track of your kills and special abilities on the back of your character sheet.
  • +1 Damage
  • Expanded critical range (+1)
  • Special ability (negotiated with GM, one per weapon).
You can choose an option multiple times. 

Rattus Faber
In exchange for their life, a group of Rattus Faber (Sapient, Mechanically Inclined Rats) have agreed to come into your employment. There are five of them. Decide what identifying garment each has, which is also what name they’re known by. (E.g., Cravat, Boots, Scarf, Monocle, Socks). The Faber are chatty, sardonic, and fearless. 

The Rattus Faber can over the course of an hour: 

  • Set a trap. 
  • Demolish a wall. 
  • Scout an area. 
  • Loudly steal an object that five rats could carry. 

They will expect a Ration in return. 

Expert on Monstrous Anatomy 
Upon positively identifying a creature, you may immediately rattle off a single useful fact about it. 

Bag a Legend 
Your attacks now always deal maximum damage. 

Willingness to Spare
If a monster is the only one of its kind, you can speak its language.


(Credit to DrCuriousVII for Willingness to Spare).


Some other classes have cropped up since!!

ModronRPGs Pentecost Ape, and my Tomb Colonist!