Preview 13 Fighting the High Lords

Stelae still the same distance, and six connection.
AY, CP, and LL “Stelae” are pictured. Not terribly subtle. Instead of a coin its a Dark Shrine. Instead of an altar its a cathedral. Should be much easier to find. Despite this they claim that ripping stelae is an optional game element, and the game should focus on playing in the realms.

Axiom Wash – Bridge Zone starts Dom then flips Pure. Others start Mixed, HL can spend PE to make it Dom, or it will shift in 3-6 months.
Inanimate stuff transforms in 1 day (pure), 1 week (dom). 1/3 population changes instantly, the rest per the old transformation table.
This is good, I recently discovered that the PCs could rip up a just activated stelae within a few hours and have fewer casualties than the invasion would cause.

Eternity Shards
Are supposed to be artifacts. The sample is a Tharkold E-shard. Improves a vehicles Maneuver Rating +2, can tap the 3P for piloting or negating vehicular damage. Tapping DN 16 – which would be low under the old rules, but much harder with the lower numbers in this edition.
No Group Power.
This is an “artifact”? Its a slightly impressive magic item.

Torg Eternity Preview 12

Preview 12 Villains and Foes

Special Abilities
Dread – really scary creatures make the scene dramatic if they show up. Sounds cool. I’ve kinda wanted something like this.
Fear – Much weaker than the Orrorsh Fear. A simple +/- 4.
Large – There is a bonus to hit big creatures. But they get extra shock and wounds. There was a similar large/small trait in D6. I had to add a house rule. Otherwise the bonus of being big is negated by the additional margin of success on the attack roll. Bigger creatures can take more damage, but you automatically do more damage to them – in some cases you successfully hit and do damage at all because of it.
I ruled the To-hit bonus margin does not count toward MoS.
Mindless – Another good rule. Old school had similar rules but they differed from creature to creature or book to book.
Swarms (and Mobs) – some more rules I think sound good.

Villains
Have special abilities as well.
Minions – Works like the Alpha Stech spell. You shoot the big guy, and one of his minions takes the hit. Great way to stop PCs from taking out the big bad without going through his mooks.
Gloater and Insidious – works like the Interaction rules of old. If they perform such an attack they can take cards from your hand/pool. Also, they can do this as a One-on-Many without penalty.

Sample Villains
So I see why attributes are cheaper. Average values are lower. Not sure by how much. Shocktroopers have 6-8 values.

Nile Shocktroopers
Are no longer armed with KK81s but Nazi German MP-40s (Damage 13 – keep that in mind).

Infected
Pan-Pacifican Zombies – not much to comment on.

Dragon
1) It appears that these are a single creature type. The multiple types of OG Aysle are gone apparently.
2) Breath Weapon – Damage 14 (only 1.5 times as deadly as a Shocktrooper’s rifle.
3) Claws – STR+2/19 (don’t worry about the Dragon breathing on you – just don’t get close. They are 10x more deadly than the breath weapon. And 15x more deadly than a Assault Rifle.)

These numbers seem ridiculous. Again, maybe they make sense in context. But they sound absurd so far.

I’m really thinking we’ll be buying the books, using the setting, and making a Frankenstein hybrid of the new rules and old.

Some News and Opinions

I finished writing my Magna Verita Cosmbook a few minutes ago. On the writing side, I have Gaea (and eventually Terra) to finish. On the Uploading side, Khem, Star Sphere, and now Magna Verita need to be edited for HTML and posted. I will try to get Khem done in the next month, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Gaea’s first two chapters, axioms and world laws, and the rules chapter, are both done, and some work has been done on the Cosm itself (Chapter 3). Chapter four will cover the realms in Indonesia and New Orleans (and what Heketon is up to presently). Chapter Five will briefly update us on the Ravagons – since the Lost Worlds Cosmbook didn’t touch much upon them. This would normally be the Pocket Dimensions chapter, but those pocket dimensions (Nolava, Lereholm, Aztec Empire, etc. are covered in the other Cosmbooks). So with any luck, I’ll have this book done by summer. (Fingers crossed).

On to new business:

Preview 11 Combat Options and Vehicle Chases

Full Auto
uses 7 bullets, not half the clip so its really a glorified burst, not really rock ‘n roll full-auto.

Called Shots
Head (and presumably hand and heart) are much easier to hit. But the damage bonus is reduced as well.

Firearms in close combat
No minimum bonus for point blank range. Only pistols possible in this situation. Not shotguns or SMGs? Because those are used in CQB irl.

Area effect
Simplified rules, easier to determine how many people are hit.

Combat Options – Shotguns
A bonus at short but a penalty at long? The bonus applies for minimal spread, but becomes a penalty at maximum spread? I’d have made it no bonus (short), minor bonus (med), full bonus and damage penalty (long).

Vehicles
Vehicular Stunts work like Maneuver and count as such for Interaction purposes. I think everyone house ruled that one anyway.

Shock from vehicular damage carries over to the passengers. This makes a lot of sense, I’m glad they added it.

Earth Cosmbook

EARTH COSMBOOK

CHAPTER ONE

AXIOMS AND WORLD LAWS

Magical Axiom: 8

Core Earth is relatively poor in magic. Divination is the only magical skill that works with any regularity, and conjuration is not possible. Apportation magic is possible, but it is not that powerful. Alteration magic can occur, but the effects are minor, short-lived, erratic, and take a long time to cast.

Magic takes many years to learn in Core Earth, and the effects will nearly always be minor. However, using conjuration substitution and the reawakening of possibility energy, Core Earth magicians are becoming a more potent, if incredibly small, force.

Core Earth magicians have to deal with high Difficulty and Backlash all non-contradictory spells from other cosms used in Core Earth or by Core Earth characters have a +5 to both, numbers. These increases reflect the resistance the low axiom level puts up against the casting of the spell. Since the spell was, presumably, created using either the conjuration skill or some other method foreign to Core Earth reality,and has that process built into the spell, the spell cannot work as well in Core Earth as it did in its original cosm. The modifiers allow these low axiom spells to be cast without contradiction in Core Earth.

[As the war went on, magic became more common on Earth. “Wild” effects have gone away, and magical creatures, such as elves can now exist on Earth without fear of magic deprivation.]

Social Axiom: 22

The Social axiom of Core Earth allows for the existence of democratic nations, in which different groups fight for political dominance. The beginnings of supranational organizations are seen, such as the United Nations and mulli·national corporations. Aside from these organizations, Core Earth has a multitude of private and governmental organizations which are fighting the invaders. Several of the most powerful of these organizations have been listed in this sourcebook, but there are still many more that are not as potent. The Social axiom allows for this, but does not yet allow for their complete cooperation. At this point, each of these groups believe that they and they alone know how best to wage this war. They see other groups as standing in the way, or think that the other groups have been infiltrated or corrupted by the invaders. Temporary or even semi-permanent alliances are possible, but there will be no true long-term cooperation until a strong leadership arises to bind these groups together (and thereby increase the Social axiom of Core Earth). The Social axiom, along with the Technological and Spiritual axioms, allows for the existence of psionics.

[Alliances and agreements established in the most desperate times, have yet to fall apart. The day that nations give up their sovereignty to the UN is still a long way away. However, trade and the exchange of information has been globalized. Products manufactured in China and India can be shipped to any first world nation in under a week. Through the new Internet, scientists in America, Europe, Asia, etc. can share their findings and debate instantaneously. This is leading to a greater understanding of a great many things.

The “Green” Movement, spurred by the beliefs of the Akashans and Living Land, has gained considerable traction, with recycling and social programs to encourage renewable fuel sources becoming trendy in most first world nations.

Among young people popular trends include “Retro” – a love of clothes and entertainments from the early twentieth century, and “Goth” combining elements of Victorian and Cyberpapal fashion.

Efforts to promote the rights of non-human immigrants are gaining popularity in America and Great Britain.]

Spiritual Axiom: 10

Core Earth is about average in terms of Spirituality. There is a definite divine agency, the form of which depends on the worshipper. At this level, direct intervention of the divine is possible, but not necessarily at the request of the faithful, and any form of intervention is a definite sign of the divine. This means that, at times, characters may be the point of attention of some divine being.

At any given point in time, a character may become the object of divine intervention – but there is truly no pattern by which this intervention works. A character with a high faith skill seems to have no better chance of being aided in time of crisis than one with no faith at all. Characters with high faith, however, recognize the signs of divine intervention far easier than those who do not possess this skill.

Miracles are possible in Core Earth, but there is not enough spiritual energy in the cosm for everyone to learn the focus skill. It is still very hard to learn the focus skill in Core Earth, and it usually takes a lifetime of devotion to be able to call upon miracles. Only Core Earth characters who start with faith or focus as their tag skill can begin the game with the focus skill. Core Earth characters who wish to learn the focus skill after play begins must have an unshakable faith (at least five adds in faith to learn the skill. Focus is also something that cannot be taught, so it always costs 10 Possibilities to learn the first add.

Since the invasion, it has become obvious that there are benefits associated with being one of the faithful. The fact that a Core Earth priest can heal with a touch or ward enemies with any consistency was something not commonly accepted before. Now, it has become more prevalent. It is theorized that the attack of the Possibility

Raiders somehow allowed those with the faith skill to gain focus and fight the Invaders. That is perhaps the most significant benefit Core Earth has seen.

Note: Due to the “reawakening” of spiritual energy in Core Earth, characters who have the focus skill should not have access (or even knowledge of) all the miracles available to them. A character with the focus skill can never have more miracles at his disposal than he has faith adds, and he usually has less.

[“There are no Atheists in foxholes” is a old saying. As the war continued, Earth clerics had the opportunity to learn much from their counterparts from other worlds. As a result, more have answered to Call, and have expanded the knowledge of what is possible with Faith. Focus can now be taught, and clerics may have a greater number of prayers and rituals.]

Technological Axiom: 24

One level below that of Nippon, the Technological axiom allows Core Earth to have a wide range of equipment and weaponry. Portable radar, infrared detection equipment, “stealth” technology, and organ transplants are all possible. Primitive lasers exist, and there is some microtechnology. The Tech axiom of Core Earth has a good chance improving due to the war. Research teams across the world have been working to unlock the secrets of the advanced technology of France and Japan. Each success brings Core Earth closer to a higher Tech axiom.

On the cutting edge is nanotechnology, virtual reality, and energy weapons. Some places in Core Earth have actually raised their axiom level to Tech 24, but, because of the war, the spreading of this knowledge has been so slow as to be almost non-existent. Over 98 percent of Core Earth still exists under the Tech 23 axiom level.

[Earth has successfully pushed its Tech axiom, allowing all Marketplace technology to function without contradiction.

Computers: The Microsoft Corporation of Silicon Valley has been making revolutions in computer technology about every six months, and it shows little signs of stopping. Current computers feature multi-gigabyte memory, CD- and even DVD-RW discs – though they are compatible with Japanese Thumb Drives. All have integral modems, though cutting edge wireless technology is available. The new Internet allows instant communications around the world, and is compatible with the networks of Nippon Tech, and the GodNet and Grid.

Medicine: continued improvements in prosthetic limbs, artificial organs, as well as promising results in finding cures for AIDS and other diseases. Cloning and genetic modifications are possible, though heavily restricted.

Military: Stealth Jets, Drone aircraft, faster, and better armored ground and water craft, improvements in body armor and personal firearms.

Power Sources: Fusion power is possible, though the breakthroughs have not yet occurred. Advances in solar, and other alternative sources have been happening.

Transport: Hybrid electrical car prototypes are being tested. Some of the military developments in propulsion are making their way into the civilian market.

Daily Life: Cellular Phones the size of a deck of playing cards are quite common among the middle and upper classes. DVDs and disc based video games are replacing older video cassettes and cartridge-based consoles. However by the time the prices of these come down enough to be truly commonplace, it is likely that even more advanced versions will be on the market. Long-lasting, more energy efficient light bulbs are for sale, though many are holding out to upgrade until Nippon-style LED bulbs are available. The use of the internet for shopping, social networking, and even watching television shows and movies are all common in those homes with computers – somewhere between a third and half of all first world families. Because of the Comaghaz, and viruses created by the Cyberpapacy and Tharkoldu, antibacterial hand wash can be found for sale in every convenience store.]

World Laws

The Power of Hope

Core Earthers tend to be a tenacious lot, holding on to their world, their lives, and their reality with great ferocity. Their will to fight, and not just lose hope and give in, helps them to replenish the Possibilities of the Earth. As long as Core Earthers have hope, they can succeed and overcome adversity, for the loss of hope can have a devastating effect.

This world law has already come into play. When the mass disconnection/transformation numbers were originally computed, it was realized that it was much more difficult for Core Earth characters to be forcibly transformed than people of other realities. When using this table to determine mass transformation for characters from other realms, decrease all the difficulty numbers by one step (for example, a Core Earth Ord who disconnects in an alien pure zone needs to roll a 105 in the first second to transform to the alien reality. If the character was, instead, from Aysle, he would only need to roll a 90. After a month, the Core Earther needs an 18. Another character from a different realm would need a 12).

But there is another aspect of the Law of Hope that has only recently been discovered. Perhaps it is because the people of Core Earth have only now begun to win back territory from the High Lords. Whatever the cause, it has been revealed that a party containing a Core Earth Storm Knight, once per Dramatic scene, can seize initiative as if he had the card in his pool. But, no matter how many Core Earth Knights are in the party, initiative can only be seized once per Dramatic Scene.

The Law of Hope is a contradiction anywhere but in Core Earth. In an alien pure zone, the character must put up a reality bubble up before invoking the Law of Hope.

The Power of Glory

Again, because of the unprecedented victories achieved by Core Earth Storm Knights and their allies, another World Law of Core Earth has shown itself. This law deals with the planting of story seeds. A Core Earth character who plants a story seed, or who is involved in the planting of the seed, adds an additional +2 to the persuasion attempt necessary during the planting.

Law of Prodigy

Some people in Core Earth are born with greater abilities than others. There is a small percentage of humankind that seem to have innate talents, or who can figure out even the most difficult problems in certain areas with minimal effort. These are the people that have been influenced by the Law of Prodigy.

Any Core Earth character, prior to the start of adventuring, can purchase a prodigy package for three Possibilities, but only one can be purchased. There is no adventure cost assigned to the prodigy package. A character who buys a prodigy package has her tag skill increased by +3 before adventuring begins. This means that the Prodigy starts the game with a tag skill of six adds rather than three.

Ords can also be Prodigies, though this is very rare. An Ord character can become a Prodigy in one of two ways: either she can sacrifice six beginning skill points to buy the package instead of the normal three skill points (leaving her with only seven skill points because Ords only start with 13) or she can take a severe physical or mental handicap. This includes blindness, loss of a limb, or even a severe mental handicap. These options are not normally open to Storm Knight characters, though it is certainly possible that an Ord Prodigy could, at some point, transcend.

[If the prodigy skill is Difficult, it is not difficult for these characters. All Storm Knights may select a Prodigy Skill in character creation. They may choose a skill not native to Earth, and take it at 3 adds, however if it is a Difficult skill, it remains so.]

CHAPTER TWO

NEW RULES

Character Creation

Earth characters follow the standard rules with one exception. Earth Storm Knights all possess a Prodigy Skill – as per the Law of Prodigy. Earth characters may have access to special abilities and tools normally restricted to a specific reality. These still cause the relevant contradictions.

Advantages

Note: Prodigy skills are recommendations and are not required.

Bionic Man (1-5 point) Cyber Rating 3/point for starting cyberware. Prodigy skill Cyberdeck Ops or Cybertech.

Biotechnician (1-4 points) begin play with one implant per point of advantage. Prodigy skill Science:Biotech.

Gadget (Cost of Gadget) The character begins play with a Weird Science Gadget. Prodigy skill Weird Science.

Jakatt (3 point) Includes the Miracles advantage, requires Faith:Keta Kalles skill and Devotion:Keta Kalles (3+). Prodigy Skill Faith. The character may attempt prayers without the Focus skill, at a 1-case contradiction.

Null (3 point) The character is immune to all psionics (for good or ill), but may not learn psionics, or use psionic devices, including TempTrodes orother devices that read neural signals.

Storm-Crossed (Varies- see chart) this character is native to a region where Earth’s reality has merged with another. As such they have an effective ‘dual citizenship’. They may use the highest of the two realities axioms, and all relevant world laws. For costs and link difficulties, see the charts below. If acquired in play, this advantage costs advantage cost x 10 in skill points. In play characters do not gain Prodigy, Ayslish birth magic, or similar benefits that can only be gained at character creation. This option is only available for Earth and one of the original invaders. Two invading realities can not take this.

Tower Trained (4 point) Includes the Magic advantage. Choose Alteration, Apportation, or Divination as Prodigy skill. May use Conjuration as a contradiction. The character begins play with a grimoire of spells as per Ayslish wizards.

Unaligned (3 point) Includes Psionics advantage. Prodigy skill Psionic Manipulation. The character may learn skills from the Aligned power groups as part of the four standard groups – see Psionics below.

Realm Suggested Prodigy Skill options

Marketplace Business, Martial Arts

Orrorsh Research, True Sight

Disadvantages

Directionless (1 point) You can get lost in a department store. May not take the Direction sense skill.

Evil (1 point) You are not a nice person. In the Nile Empire you are of Evil inclination, and pay the Price of Evil. You begin play with Orrorshan Corruption at 8 (minimum success), and 1 add of Ayslish Corruption (Trick +1). Additionally, you gain the following benefits under the Marketplace Law of Intrigue: +1 to Stealth, Charm and Persuasion based on lies/deceit, Trick (does not stack with Ayslish bonus), and Disguise.

These bonuses are not considered contradictory for this character (using the full World Law is still contradictory).

Grognard (2 point) May not learn Non-Earth skills including: Biotech Weapons, Energy Weapons, Cyberdeck Operations, Master Criminal, Research, Biotech, Conjuration, Cybertech, Mindsense, Nile Engineering, Mile Mathematics, Occult, Weird Science, Ayslish corruption, Ayslish honor, Cyberpsyche, Frenzy, Occultech, Pain Weapons, Possibility rip, Possibility sense, Shapeshifting, spirit Medium, swami, True Sight, and all Attributeless skills.

Non-Believer (3 point) you can not use beneficial enchantments or magic items. Hostile spells still work normally.

Rejection (2 point) You can not take Cybernetics, Biotech implants, or even modern prosthetics. Any attempt to use Symbiotic Biotech devices causes 2 shock per use for active items. Passive items (such as suits) cause damage value 10 +1 per additional day worn. Any damage can not be recovered until the biotech is removed.

Axioms

Cosm                Cost     Magic    Social    Spirit.    Tech.    World Laws
Aysle                 5           18           22          16           24        Observation, Magic, Honor, Corruption
Cyberpapacy     5           10           22          14           26        One True God, Heretical Magic, Suspicion
Earth                 —           8             22          10           24        Hope, Glory, Prodigy
Lost Worlds      4            0(12)      22          24(17)    24        Lost Things, Savagery, Action, Wonders
Marketplace      3            8            22          10           25        Intrigue, Profit, Vengeance
Nile Empire      5            12          22           17          24        Morality, Drama, Action
Orrorsh             4            15(20)    22          17           24        Fear, Corruption, Call to Glory, Mandate of Heaven, Occult Mysteries
Space Gods      4             8            27          13           30        Religious Compatibility, Acceptance, Zinatt
Tharkold          5             12          22          17           26        Ferocity, Pain, Domination
Link Difficulty Chart
Character is From: Earth/ Character is in:
|AT AV AY AZ CP CE KA LE LW MV MP NE NO OL OR SG TE TH TZ
Aysle (AY/CE)                  |16  13   3    12  12   3   17   23  23  12    17   10   17  16   9    13  14   9   15
Cyberpapacy (CP/CE)      |15  13   13   12  3    3   14   24  20   13    12   8    16   16  10   7   12   5   16
Lost Worlds (CE/LW)      |14   13   12   12  12  3   19   22  3    12    16   11   25  16   11  12  17  10  15
Marketplace (CE/MP)      |14   12   11   12   7   3   9     22  18  12    3     7     12  16   16  4    8    5   16
Nile Empire (CE/NE)       |14   12   12   11   8   3   14   23  19  12   12    3     18  16   8    8   12   5   15
Orrorsh (CE/OR)              |16   12   12   12   9   3   15   23  18  12   15    8     18  16   3   11   11  7   15
Space Gods (CE/SG)        |17   16   16   16   12 3   13   28  24  16   11   12    15  20   13  3    12  10 20
Tharkold (CE/TH)            |15   14    14   12  8   3   14   25   20 14   13   13    18  17   9    8    12   3  16

Magic

The Delphi Council Worldbook discussed the Voodoo Style of Magic. But there are many others. Here we shall discuss two others.

Irish Bards

Irish Bards (found primarily in Ireland, but also anywhere the Irish can be found in the world) work magic through the power of legends and song. In place of Conjuration, Bards use any Artist or Performing Artist involving music.

Used to inspire, strengthen and aid their friends, and dishearten their foes. The Bard’s spells work through other agents, whether they be people, animals or nature. For this reason the Bard values knowledge and wisdom above all else.. except perhaps a good tale, a rousing ballad, or a dangerous romance.

To create a spell, the Bard must not only spend the requisite time researching and testing his theorems and patterns, but must also spend an equal amount of time composing a song or tale that summons the power. When finished, he will roam the land, inspiring all who hear him.

Bardic magic most commonly employs Principles, Mixed Forces, and Kindred, particularly spells to heal, enhance, or to create illusions.

Some common spells include: Away Sight, Communicate with Animals, Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Find Things, Jump, Touch of Healing, Understand Language, Visions of the Past

Charm
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Alteration/Folk 16
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 15
Effect Value: 14
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 2 (2.5m)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 12 (4 minutes)
The Bard plays a song to his target, and if successful, the Effect Value is compared to the target’s Willpower. If successful, the target’s base attitude is treated as Friendly (friendly or Loyal characters can not be affected – except to be reduced by the knowledge of the attempt). This spell is Illusory, and can be disbelieved with a Willpower check, DN 12.

Buff Spell Template
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Alteration/Folk 15
Backlash: 18
Difficulty: 15
Effect Value: 17
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 2 (2.5m)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 12 (4 minutes)
This is a template for any spell that enhances the target’s Attributes. The Caster performs a song, comedy routine, or any other sort of performance relevant to the Attribute to be affected. When cast, compare the Effect Value to the target attribute on the Push Table, and increase accordingly – the attribute can not exceed Cosm Limits however. The Effect is Focused on the target, so he may leave the caster’s presence and still benefit from the spell.
Movement Rates can also be affected with this spell template. The Effect is compared to Agility (or Strength for Climbing) on the Speed Push Table – the results replace the target’s own speed push results.
This template can also be used to create a spell to reduce the attributes or movement rates of a target. In this case the push results are subtracted from the target.

Inspiration
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Alteration/Light 15
Backlash: 12
Difficulty: 10
Effect Value: 15
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 5 (10m)
Duration: 14 (10 minutes)
Cast Time: 12 (4 minutes)
By playing a rousing song, the Bard raises spirits, provides courage, and rallies his allies. If the spell is successful, all characters in range are inspired – removing all shock and KO. Furthermore, the Effect value is compared to any Intimidation attempts, either prior to the spell’s casting, during it, or during the duration. All allies in range may choose to use the effect value instead of their own value to resist Intimidation.

Shaman
Similar to the Voodoo priest, the Shaman communes with spirits and ancestors to gain her power. The Shaman is the spiritual guardian and teacher of her tribe, keeping them safe and helping them to live with nature. Shaman can be found among the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa and Australia.

The Shaman seldom breaks the “natural” laws, preferring to work with them. While the plains may need rain, or the mountains an early spring, the Shaman knows there is balance. Instead of constantly using her power to shape nature to her desire, she instead tries to use her knowledge of the spirit world and natural world to make the most of what her tribe possesses.

The Shaman’s skill is Faith:Animism or Tribal Spirits, or the like, and she works to increase her knowledge of all the spirits. But a Shaman must also deal in the concrete as well. The knowledge of plants and animals possessed by a Shaman are as valuable to her tribe as the spirit shapes only she can see.

The Shaman uses her power to talk to the spirits, her ancestors, and the wild creatures. She summons the spirits of the forest, so she may maintain the balance of nature – it is right that the Deer should be eaten by the People, just as it is right that rain should fall at a certain time.

Dealing with the gathering of knowledge and the interpretation of signs, the Shaman looks after her people by safeguarding against the future – but also by looking to the present. While a Shaman may not have the devastating power of an ayslish mage, the prevention and knowledge-gathering magic of a Shaman command much respect.

Shamanic magic focuses on Kindred and Elemental magic. Shaman have access to all Core Earth miracles, particularly Communicate with Animal, Elemental, and Plant Spirits. Their spells include: Communicate With Animals, Communicate With Birds,Detect Magic, Fish Eyes, Fog, Jump, Pathfinder, Tracker.

Dream Walk
Spiritual Rating: 10
Community Rating: 16
Difficulty: 13
Range: Touch
Duration: Instant
Ritual Length: 9 (1 minute)
Attainment Rating: 18
The Shaman may travel into the Spirit World – known to the Australian Aboriginals as the Dream Time. He may also take anyone he is holding hands with.
In the Dream Time, characters use their Perception attribute in the place of Agility and Dexterity, and Spirit or Mind in place of Strength, Endurance and Toughness. They may see the physical world, but are invisible, and can not affect it in any physical way. They can however interact with spirits – animal, plant, elemental, or ghosts.

Miracles

While the Spiritual Axiom of the cosm has increased, Earth’s clerics did not instantly gain access to every miracle with a Spirit Rating of 10. However, Earth is extremely flexible. Priests may attempt to gain any miracle – by attempting the Attainment Rating. GM approval may be required as well, does Animate Cables suit Buddhism?

Martial Arts

Previous sourcebooks covered the fighting styles of the East, but the western world has many styles of their own.

New Maneuvers:

Lock (3) a grapple maneuver, designed to render the opponent immobile. If the Wrestler succeeds on the Martial arts attack with a Average or better success, the hold only causes STR-2 damage, but may be maintained until the hold is broken.

Choke (6) a combination Heart Punch and Grapple. The wrestler grasps the opponent with both hands around his throat, and seeks to crush the wind pipe. -8 to the Acting Value to hit, and requires a goods success. If successful the maneuver causes STR+12 for the first round, and STR+6 each additional round until the hold is broken.

Capoeira a style of Dancing Martial Art created by African slaves in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Minor:
Fade
Feint
Instant Up
Spinning Kick
Spring Attack
Major:
Hail of Blows
Iron Kick (as Iron Fist)
Master:
Thunder Kick
Requirements: Dance, Acrobatics

CQB (Close Quarters Battle) Developed by NATO military and Police Forces for hand-to-hand armed or unarmed combat. It is particularly noted for its use in conjunction with guns and both lethal and non-lethal grenades to secure an area rapidly.
Minor:
Palm Strike
Shout of Warning
Fade
Disarm
Crushing Block
Major:
Invisibility
Nerve Punch
Master:
Cyclone Attack
Requirements:Stealth, melee weapons, fire combat, thrown weapons and scholar:small unit tactics.

Kenjitsu A Japanese form of Sword Combat.
Minor:
Entangle
Disarm
Dragon Flight
Lightning Strike (as Lightning Fist but uses the Sword)
Weakness Probe
Major:
Iron Strike (as Iron Fist but uses the Sword)
Sword Master (usually Katana, though modern Kendo uses the Bokken staff instead)
Master:
Cyclone Attack
Requirements: Meditation, Melee Weapons, all maneuvers require the use of a sword (or Bokken)

Krav Maga A lethal unarmed style created by the IDF which focuses on Punches and low risk kicks to disable or kill an opponent swiftly.
Minor:
Palm Strike
Sweeping Kick
Heart Punch
Lightning Fist
Spring Attack
Major:
Iron Fist
Resist Damage
Master:
Thunder Kick
Requirements:Maneuver, Melee Weapons and First Aid.

Pankration A lethal Greek Wrestling Style originally developed over 2500 years ago.
Minor:
Hip Toss
Drop Kick
Shoulder Throw
Palm Strike
Lock
Major:
Choke
Resist Damage
Master:
Judge
Requirements: Running and Lifting for endurance training, First Aid for anatomy.

Savate A French Kickboxing style, dating back to the 19th century.
Minor:
Sacrifice Kick
Sweeping Kick
Crushing Block
Spring Attack
Entangle
Major:
Nerve Punch (or Kick)
Hail of Blows
Master:
Thunder Kick
Requirements: Acrobatics and Maneuver

Systema/Sambo An unarmed combat style, derived from Jujitsu – with later Akido influences – created for the Russian Army and Inform.
Minor:
Throw
Leaping Kick
Instant Up
Lightning Fist
Disarm
Major:
Iron Fist
Resist Damage
Master:
Death Touch
Requirements:Meditation, First Aid, Maneuver

Psionics
Earth’s Psychics do not possess the Way of Zinatt, and have no alignment. With the use of the Unaligned Advantage, they may still learn the powers of the Aligned Groups.

Kinesis
Enhanced Adrenalin
Pyrokinesis (New)
Suspended Animation
Telekinetic Attack

Psionic Defenses
Accelerate Healing
Charisma Control
Clear Thought
Living Harmony
Mind Seal
Psi Scrambler (requires Psychic Screen)
Psychic Willpower
Spirit Enhancer

Psychic Senses
Alignment Discovery
Astral Projection (New)
Psychometry (New)
Reality Probe
Sense Past

Telepathy
Domination
Ego strike
Mind Probe (requires Thought Scan or Mind Meld)
Project Emotion (requires Empathy)
Psychic Assault
Skill Search

New Powers
Pyrokinesis
This power functions exactly like Telekinetic Attack, except that it creates fire, which can ignite easily flammable substances.

Astral Projection
Base Difficulty: 10
Base Range: skill value +3 in meters
Base Effect Value: 15
Bonus Number To: range
Description: Free spirit to wander
Psychics with Astral Projection may leave their bodies behind, wandering the world in spirit form – travelling far more rapidly than is possible while confined within their bodies. Psychic characters may sense the physical world with any of their normal senses, but they cannot affect the physical world while in astral form. However, while in astral form they may use any other psychic skills they possess. The strain of using two such skills at once adds an additional +2 to Psi Strain difficulty.
Astral Projection is not a simple skill to use. For every hour beyond the first the character wishes to remain outside of his body, he must make an additional roll at DN+2 per hour. Failure means the character’s spirit is automatically drawn back into his body.
Note that the body is an empty vessel while the spirit is traveling, and will need to be protected. If the body is moved, the spirit will have to search for it. If the body is killed, the spirit will have no place to return to – eventually he’ll fail a skill roll and his spirit will dissolve.

Psychometry
Base Difficulty: 8
Base Range: skill value in meters (must touch the tool)
Base Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: effect
Description: gain impressions about people or places
This ability allows the character to sense information about a person, place, or event by handling an object connected to that person or place. This skill can be a very useful tool in investigations. After initiating the skill the psychic must handle the object, and concentrate on the desired location, event, or individual. The chart below shows sample results.
Level of Success   Result
Minimal               Character receives vague, dreamlike impressions of recent activities involving strong emotions
Average                In addition, the psychic receives a snapshot-quality image of the person most closely associated with the object
Good                    Can register the gist of an event and the number of people involved. If concentrating on a person, can learn
                            general information on subject, like age, emotional state, personality, etc.
Superior              Can clearly visualize event, or the actions of the individual for the last twenty-four hours
Spectacular         Psychic understands the context of all interactions at the event, or into the plans and motives of the person when                               last in possession of the object. Also receives vague impression of the owner’s whereabouts.

New Equipment

The war prompted a rise in the Tech Axiom, and with it many new developments in weapons, vehicles, and civilian consumer goods. Here are some of the most cutting edge tools Earth Storm Knights might call upon.

New Currency – The European Union has adopted the Euro. While there is some fluctuation, it is essentially the equal of the American Dollar.

Weapons

AK-107 – Used by Inform’s elite Alpha Force, Spetznatz, and other special units of the Russian Federation. Comes equipped with a underslung grenade launcher.

Barrett M-82 – American .50 caliber sniper rifle.

Dragunov SVD – Russian 7.62mm sniper rifle.

Spas-12 Shotgun – An assault shotgun used by European and American law enforcement.

HK UMP – German heavy submachine gun, used by special forces in western Europe.

XM-29 Rifle – An experimental combat system developed by the Shop for the Companies’ Storm Knight operatives. Both a 5.56mm assault rifle and grenade launcher with built-in electronics enhanced scope. The system is link to electronics in the helmet. The user may selectively target grenades for specific detonations – such as through a window and precisely 2m inside. The weapon’s laser sight may act as target designation for heavy weapons through the helmet’s communications.

Weapon                    Tech   Damage   Ammo   Range                  Price(Dollars)
AK-107                     23       21             25(B)     3-40/200/400       1500(16)            GP-30 Grenade Launcher
Barrett M-82             22       22             10           3-250/1k/1.8k     8900(20)             Scope
Dragunov SVD         21       18             10           3-250/800/1.3k   6000(19)             Scope
Spas-12 Shotgun       23       17             8             3-15/40/60          1500(16)             semi-auto, recoil compensator (+1 bonus to-hit)
HK UMP                   23       20            10            3-15/60/100        500(14)               Flashlight, sights, laser sight (+1 bonus to-hit)
XM-29 Rifle              24       20            10            3-100/600/1k      NA                     +1 bonus to-hit (+2 with One Warrior System)
Grenade Launcher              *              6              3-25/150/600
Frag                                       22                            2/5/10
Gas                                        22stun                      8/15/40
Stun                                       22stun                      3/8/15

Air Vehicles

A-10 Thunderbolt II – An older heavy aircraft, found in use by most American military branches, and many allied nations.

F-18 Hornet – Developed early in the war, and used heavily by the US Air Force.

F-22 Raptor – A new fighter undergoing trials with the USAF, the Raptor employs advanced stealth technology (negates Tech 24 or lower radar, and smart weapons).

MiG-29 – The backbone of the Russian Air Force.

Su-35 – A modern upgrade to an older Russian fighter, incorporating Stealth technology.

J-10 – A recent development from the Peoples’ Republic of China. Comparable to the heavier Su-35.

Predator UAV – An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or drone, used by the US, its allies, and the Company.

Land Vehicles

BearCat – An armored vehicle intended for use by SWAT forces, but also employed by military units. The battering ram allows the vehicle to ram other vehicles or buildings without taking serious damage. The rear is equipped with a ramp that allows the soldiers carried within to easily enter a second floor window. The BearCat can be found at home in the wilds of the Ohio Valley, or assaulting Demon strongholds in Los Angeles.

HumVee – The modern answer to the Jeep. Produced by the thousands in the factories of Detroit. Civilian models are available in most countries, while heavier, armed models are in use by North American, European, and even Middle Eastern militaries.

T-90 MBT – Introduced during the war, the T-90 is rapidly becoming the backbone of the Russian Army.

Type 88 MBT – A Chinese tank, which is in heavy use.

Water Vehicles

Nimitz-Class Carrier – The pride of the American Navy, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, surrounded by 4-6 capital ships – recently Aegis Cruisers, and numerous support ships, and a Los Angeles-Class Submarine. There are ten in operation. The USS Enterprise is the most famous, and is a mobile harpoint.

Note: The Phalanx CIWS is a pair of 20mm cannons, tied to advanced sensors and computers, and used to shoot down missiles.

Aegis-Class Cruiser – A heavy missile cruiser, intended for the protection of an aircraft carrier.

Typhoon II-Class Submarine – A prototype Russian Missile Sub, equipped with a nearly silent propulsion system, and other stealth technologies. The prototype was stolen by its captain, and is in use by the renegade elements of the Psychic Research Bureau. It was last seen in the vicinity of Cuba, opposing the Ayslish advance.

Vehicle                Tech    kph/mph/value   Man.   Wt.   Pass   TOU   Price(Dollars)
air
A-10 Thunderbolt II   22        560/340/16           +2         21     1        22/+5   $11.8M(36)    30mm Cannon, 11 Hardpoints
4 2.75” Rockets, 2 Sidewinder, 6 Maverick, 1 Bomb, ECM/Flare/Etc., 2 800 Gallon Drop Tanks
F18 Hornet          23        2100/1300/19       +3         21     1         20/+3    $30M(38)     3 Missiles, 20mm Cannon
F22 Raptor           24        3600/2200/20      +3         22     1         22/+3    $150M(41)    Stealth, 6 Med. Missiles,
2 Sm. Missiles, 20mm Cannon
MiG-29                22         2400/1500/19     +3         21      1         20/+3    $29M(38)     30mm, 7 Hardpoints
Su-35                   24         2400/1500/19     +3         22       1        22/+3    $50M(39)     30mm, 14 Hardpoints, Stealth
J-10                      24         2400/1500/19     +3         21       1        22/+3    $28M(39)     20mm Cannon, 11 Hardpoints, Stealth
Predator UAV      24         217/135/14          0          17       —        15         $4.5M (34)(plus armament)
2 Hardpoints: 2 Hellfire, 4 Stinger, or 6 Griffin
land
BearCat                24         120/75/13            -1         22      2+10   20/+5    $200K(27)
Remote Turret MG, Gun Ports, CS Gas Nozzle, Mobile Adjustable Ramp System, Battering Ram, Thermographic Camera,
and Radiation Detector
HumVee               23          113/70/13          +2          19      5          20/+5   $38K(23)
Military Models: 2 M60s, Turret .50 MG (total cost: $45k (24))
T-90 MBT            23          60/40/12            -3           24      3          22/+10  $4M(33)     125mm, .50 Cal.
Type 88 MBT      23           55/34/12            -4           23      4          21/+10  $2M(32)     105mm, .50 Cal., 7.62mm
Water
Nimitz Carrier      23           56/35/11           -4           39      5680     41         $4.5B(49)
24 Sea Sparrow, 4 Phalanx CIWS, 90 fixed wing and vtol craft
Aegis Cruiser       24           60/38/12          -3             35      400      40          $3B(48)
2×61 Mk 41, 122 Tomahawk, 8 Harpoon, 4 30mm, 4 .50, 2 Phalanx CIWS, 2 Mk 32 Torpedo, 2 vtol
Typhoon II            24           80/50/12         -3             35       50        33         $2.5B(47)
Stealth, 8 Torpedo Tubes (40 533mm), 1 Ballistic Missile Tube

CHAPTER THREE

NORTH AMERICAN FREE STATES ALLIANCE

NAFSA is an economic and military alliance formed from the United States of America, Dominion of Canada, and the remnants of Mexico. As of 1 January, 1999, a full political union is still under debate.

Each region is semi-autonomous, with independent military commands. It is thought that through this, future invasions can be blunted – since the region can act swiftly, without the need for permission or the decision-making of distant capitals. But regions also assist each other, through trade, or lending military or humanitarian assistance.

East Canada

Consisting of the provinces Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the newly created territory of Nunavut. Regina, Saskatchewan – the provisional capital of Canada since the beginning of the war – is the official capital of the region.

Canada has two chief concerns. Firstly, Prime Minister Joseph Christian, has made the liberation of Ottawa and Toronto a priority. The US has rebuilt its capital, Washington D.C., and its greatest city, New York. It is a matter of pride that Canada do the same. Unfortunately, thousands – perhaps more – Ravagons have migrated into the region, and roost in the bones of the lost cities. The mountain range surrounding the Land Above also makes it difficult to move large numbers of troops and equipment.

Detroit, has responded. A new offensive is scheduled to begin by spring. The Canadian military will airlift personnel and supplies in from the west, and take possession of a convoy of M-1 Abrams, HumVees, and BearCats. They will cross from Detroit to Windsor, and cross 230 miles through Leopard Man territory to Toronto. If they can drive the Ravagons out, further troops, and engineers can enter the region.

There is also the concern regarding Quebec. The independent, Cyberpapal, nation has not shown signs of active hostility, but the sermons of Cardinal-Deacon Claude Rousseau make it clear that the CyberChurch still has the goal of converting all unbelievers. So border defense is a priority. Especially for the isolated maritime provinces.

New England

New England is comprised of the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and East New York (in the Cyberpapal-influenced north); and New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia inside the Land Above.

While Washington D.C. Remains the US capital, New York City has become the NAFSA Capital. Taking advantage of the reconstruction, a government building was built facing the UN Assembly.

Land travel between Boston and New York City has been restored, and roads to Philadelphia and Washington are open – if not as wide, or sturdy as they once were. The next goal – in addition to rebuilding the cities and towns that once covered the region – is opening roads from Richmond to Norfolk through the Mehret Range, and pushing through the Appalachians into the Ohio Valley.

President Nicklaus knows that the road to recovery will be long, and that some scars will never fully heal. “But we owe it to our children to give them their rightful inheritance.”

[For a greater look at New York City, see below]

Dixieland

The southern states of North and South Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The former national capital of Miami serves as the regional capital. Much to the displeasure of George Young and his Confederate movement. Young continues to object to the use of taxpayer money – particularly from Dixieland – to rebuild the Land Above, Western Land and other realms.

He does however support the use of the Atlantic Fleet in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to contain the Ayslish and Aztec fleets, and keep those realms from expanding.

Southern Louisiana is another concern. New Orleans is still under the influence of Orrorsh. And the western gulf coast is influenced by the Nile, with an increasing number of criminal activities tied to the Baron of Texas.

The region has also seen the influx of a number of manufacturing concerns. Particularly civilian automotive factories to replace the Detroit factories now geared to military vehicles and semi tractors.

Ohio Valley

The Land Above realm, west of the Appalachians, including the newly resurgent Living Land. Cincinnati, Ohio is the regional capital, though a goodly part of the region is unaware of the existence of NAFSA, or any understanding of a government greater than their own tribe. It should come as no surprise that Ohio Valley has the weakest economy, and a small, scattered, military; relying mainly on independent resistance communities.

Darooni hold much of western New York, and Pennsylvania, including the cities of Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. Ohibi tribes live in eastern Kentucky, and Mehret-Ahn has determined that no trespassers shall enter their lands and live. The rest of the state is slithering with Serpentors. In Iowa, Minnesota, and Northeast Missouri, the Pyrians have managed to cross the Mississippi for the vulnerable lands of Illinois and Wisconsin. They have no concern for the struggle between Edeinos and Ustanah, and attack both – and seek to conquer any human settlements they encounter. Ohio, Indianapolis, and Michigan (outside the new stelae zones) are relatively stable. Though there are Keefee, they have proven friendly. They even warned of an Ustanah stelae being planted near Akron which would have captured Detroit.

The presence of Helephez in the region has proven a hardship, as it has disrupted the natural – by Earth standards – cycle of day and night. [For more details on the Living Land realm and the struggle within it, see the Lost Worlds Cosmbook.]

There is one positive development, construction crews across the region have been reporting deposits of gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious stones. A fantastic mineral wealth, which could fund the reconstruction many times over – if the region can be stabilized. And if unscrupulous parties (such as Boruzai Construction) don’t claim the land for themselves.

Midwest

Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and the Dakota. This narrow strip serves as the breadbasket for the continent. St. Louis also works to provide assistance to the Ohio Valley.

Tex-Mex

Houston – despite being at the heart of a surprisingly expanding Nile realm – serves as the big brother that Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Durango, Sinaloa, and the Baja Californias need. The conscious desire is for Texas to aid these states – lacking a central government – not to dominate. Nor to be dominated.

Kanawa Enterprises has moved into the region with a vengeance, hiring the American refugees to fill new factories and offices throughout the region.

Naturally, the Aztec empire is the greatest worry the region has. Recently, that realm has focused on its eastern border, and the Nile incursion. But that could change. [For more details on the Aztec empire see the Aztec Empire sourcebook.]

A secondary concern is the criminal, and economic empire of The Baron. A mastermind who reputedly holds vast amounts of cattle, oil, and even the railroads themselves – despite no evidence to prove he exists. [See the Khem Cosmbook for more on the would-be overgovernor.]

Southwest

Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, and Hawaii are governed by Denver. The region is dominated by Nolava, Marketplace, and Ravagons – with remnants of the Living Land and Tharkold. The priority is neutralizing and containing the realm of Bloodshadows and demons.

Marketplace’s influence isn’t deemed hostile, but rather an ally and useful component of the reconstruction. A peculiar secret of the San Fernando Valley is a small town with a secret. It is the home of the Lotus Blossom Clan – a ninja clan comprised of western recruits. These shadow warriors are skilled in disguise and Ursan Ninjitsu. Their greatest weapon is the fact no one would suspect a European-descended white of being a ninja. 7710 uses these corporate ninja primarily for the assassination of business rivals. But they are also deployed for intelligence gathering and sabotage.

The island state of Hawaii is included in this region, despite its distance from the mainland. With the Guildmaster gone, the Storm Guild is forgotten. The islands are considered too small to merit a High Lord’s attention. But this isn’t entirely accurate. Several realms have agents present. Ironically, each is there to spy on the others.

Northwest

Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territory, Yukon, and Alaska comprise the final official region. Vancouver is the capital. The recent Lereholm invasion is swiftly fading, but the Western Land continues to be a source of mystery and surprise. Recently, big game hunters have claimed their expeditions found their way to strange ancient cities, or even the Trandala Grathteen mountains.

Caribbean

NAFSA considers Puerto rico, the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and Antilles as protectorates. There are efforts underway to make this an official part of the alliance. But the region is an escalating war zone.

Cuba has responded to the threats of a rogue Russian submarine by calling in the Russian navy. NAFSA has protested the presence of Russian ships so close to the American mainland, but thus far it has fallen on deaf ears. In the meantime the Atlantic fleet has had to devote efforts to monitoring their cold war foes. Both sides have skirmished off the coast of San Cristobal. Inform has also staged a covert assault on the Company fort on the island. It may become necessary for the base to relocate to a more secret location.

Relations

NAFSA is allied with the European Union and Pacific Rim. A truce or military pact exists with the Nile Empire, Peoples’ Republic of China, Kanawa Enterprise of California (Marketplace), and Kadandra. Declared hostilities with Nolava, Tharkold, the Aztec Empire, Dark Aysle, and the Living Land. A cold war exists with the Cyberpapacy – but the new Cyberpope has made efforts to appear friendly.

New York City

Once the largest city in the US, the city has grown to 2.5 million people, and is increasing by approximately ten thousand per month. Immigrants from other realms were already starting to arrive when the newly elected mayor – Rudy Guliani – reached out to the various realms, and invited them to join in the rebuilding, to make the city the greatest in the world (and beyond). Several Burroughs are now mixed zones, and incorporate architecture, cultural identity,language, and cuisine from their homeland.

Aysle has taken up a portion of Staten Island, with preserving the natural beauty of the island a priority. Cobblestone streets are lined with buildings of stone, wood and thatch. Unique construction allows for lower floors on some buildings to accommodate Centaurs and Minotaurs, while upper floors have wide windows for Harpies to come and go. Enchanters’ Row offers magic for sale. And the Amphitheater offers weekly plays serializing a dramatic recreation of the War of the Crowns.

The Cyberpapacy has rebuilt Harlem around a CyberCathedral, and a neighboring CyberHospital. Archbishop Marcellin, and Bishop Ambrose Mathys, a Martineist priest, actually have civil debates on a regular basis, as they as both members of a fledgling City Council of Religions.

A mixed species Jakatt tribe and the remaining Living Land creatures in the city have been contained in Central Park. They have inducted and ‘rehabilitated’ the remnants of the Darooni in the city. The rest of the city treats them like a zoo attraction, and they use that to spread the love of Lanala.

Kanawa has rebuilt the East Side of Manhattan from the ports in the south, to the wealthiest of the cities districts in the north. In between are factories and shops, producing and selling goods once found only on Marketplace. Ichi-FOX has a studio in town. The Network offers afternoon Sentai action serials, during the evening they offer police procedurals, tween soap operas, The Simpsons, The Tomorrow Show with Ed McGinty, and a mid-season replacement about space cowboys.

Nile immigrants have found Brooklyn to be much to their liking, and the Burrough looks as though the clock has been turned back sixty years. Gangsters who had to get out of Cairo have settled in. But Maat, the domino masked ‘goddess of justice’, is out to put them away. Ptah Labs is a private Weird Science Institute. Baseball has returned to the city, as the Brooklyn Dodgers are set to play their first game since the War forced them out of LA in April. And luxury airships to Europe and the Nile are available daily.

Victorians have begun established an enclave in the neighborhood previously known as Hell’s Kitchen – or Five Points as they now call it.

Kadandra has also answered the call, importing Synthcyclers and UltraCAD to rebuild wide swaths of the Bronx into a futuristic landscape. The Kadandran Embassy provides botha Gate and DataGrid link to their cosm. The Cobalt Club is the hottest night spot in town, offering first class dining, and big name New Jazz Swing acts, with a large ball room dance floor. The ruins of Yankee Stadium are now the Possibility Wars Memorial.

The surviving resistance communities, returning refugees, and newly arrived Earthers have taken responsibility for the most of the west side of Manhattan, Queens, as well as parts of Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

CHAPTER FOUR

FATOR HUMANO

South America has had a loose association of nations since the Akashans arrived. Most of the continent, excluding Brazil and Argentina, joined in a council to deal with the Space Gods – and, they hoped, reap the benefits of their advanced technology. But in the end, the Akashans brought the Comaghaz, violent aliens, created the southern Land without the permission of anyone whose land was to be used, and their technology mainly found its way into the possession of storm knights and criminals.

Though they did provide a cure for the Comaghaz before their departure, the Fator Humano saw their visit in negatives. And so, the Nations of South America made a new alliance. They turned to Gods Word Industries, and the Cyberpapacy. Inviting them to bring their advanced technology, the prospect of wealth, and even their religion. The decision was made by the entire continent, and it was deemed best that the Cyberpapacy establish itself in Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires. And then the Antipope of Magna Verita got involved seizing the northern half of the realm in the first stages of a new crusade. Before long, the Elves of Aysle invaded the northern coast, looking to wage war on their ancient enemies – the Akashans who remained.

Columbia

The Akashans and the Jakatts of the Southern Land have responded to the Ayslish attack, and have worked to keep them from moving further south. The Columbians presently see the Elves as the greater evil, and actually favor their defenders. Though Jazuit missionaries have begun seeding the region with pro-Cyberpapal attitudes.

Venezuela

Caracas has seen the arrival of Cyberpapal ships, a naval base, GWI factories and hospitals. It could be any day that new stelae permit the Techno-theocracy to spread along the Ayslish border.

Brazil

The northern Amazon Jungle is now the Southern Land. Edeinos, Stalengers, Benthe, humans, Gudasko, and Larendi roam freely. And the jungle teems with dinosaurs and other creatures, disrupting the ecosystem. Zinatt scientsts are working to send their migrations back into the realm – or even the home cosm.

The southern region has seen Roman Catholics supporting a resistance based on the statue of Christ the Redeemer (a hardpoint), while the Magna Veritan church focuses on the greater heresy of their cyber-sibling.

Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina

The Cyberpapists support governments that are little more than puppets. Mass recruiting drives have seen much of the able-bodied men recruited into the army, while women work the factories. This invasion has seen improvements in health, standard of living, and public morale – since propaganda has driven the populace into a fanatical zeal – focused on driving the Dark Medieval Church out.

The Pax Dei, aided by the Inquisition hunts Comaghaz cells – a convenient label applied to anyone who opposes the church. On occasion they have actually infected heretics in order to provide evidence in support of their actions. Unfortunately, the hive mind was therefore warned by the new additions. It remains to be seen how the virus will react.

Pax Dei and Catequil agents known as “Antibodies” are deployed in areas near Chile. They wear GWI Chasseur or Armor of God, with full gauntlets, and enclosed helmets, to prevent infection. Squads are armed with GWI Hellfire Rifles with underslung grenade launchers. A heavy weapons specialist carries a GodsFire Plasma Rifle. Officers are armed with Radiance Laser Pistols. Their duty is to prevent the infected from crossing the border and causing a new outbreak.

Note: for more on the two realms, see the Magna Verita cosmbook.

Chile

The country is devastated. An estimated 75% of the population is dead. Survivors – those not infected – lack most modern technology, and struggle just to find food and fresh water. Rumors have begun emerging from this no man’s land of surviving Comaghaz bases, or even a lightship. Akashans, Kadandrans, The Company, Kanawa, the Cyberpapacy, the Catequils, and the Magna Veritan church are all investigating. The latter are posing as missionaries, offering aid to the locals, and preparing the region for invasion.

Peru

Lima is the seat of the continental government, and has representatives from nearly every realm. Macchu Picchu has been cordoned off. The Peruvians have insisted the Akashans not leave their city – unless it is to leave the planet. There is no real means to enforce this.

Relations

The Fator Humano maintains good relations with Quebec Liberte and CyberFrance. Russia is concerned about the presence of so many psionicists in the region, leading to a close working relationship, but no firm alliance. NAFSA and the EU both disapprove of the Cyberpapal presence, and both are engaged in espionage on the continent.

Latin America

Uthorion captured Gerrik ships bound for Belize, and transformed the crews and soldiers to undead, unleashing them on the small nation. Belmopan is under siege.

House Vareth is financing warlords and revolutions in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador to keep the region unstable. The Dalerons have also been investigating rumors that the renegade Joseph Daleron has moved to aid the Army of the Light. (This is actually a false rumor he started in order to conceal his actual plans: mustering in Rimward Daleron territory to aid the Tancreds and Gerriks in the defense of the Valley of the Sword.)

Panama is safe for the moment with the failed Ayslish push to capture the canal.

CHAPTER FIVE

EUROPEAN UNION

Europe was united against the invaders, and has managed to extend that beyond the initial threat. As of 2 October, 1997, the member nations have open borders, a common currency, and a joint police force – Interpol. Each member retains its internal government, military, and for the next few years – currency.

Ireland

Capital: Dublin. An economic powerhouse, specializing in computers and electronics. Relations with the UK and Aysle are very cool.

United Kingdom

Capital: London. London has resumed rule of law on Great Britain. Oxford is now merely a oversized embassy.

The Ayslish invasion has brought a resurgence of the nobility. With communications and national forces uncertain, the nobles serve as regional law enforcement and militia. A noble funds (and often heads) a small contingent of soldiers who act as army or police as needed. This has helped to curb malevolent Ayslish creatures. Scotland’s interior is much less tamed.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Antony Lynton head the government. The royal family survived the war, only to lose Princess Diana on a diplomatic mission to Paris two years later. Her eldest son, Prince William is serving his required term of military service. His brother, Prince Harry, is only 14, and is serving as a squire while finishing school.

The Tunnel connecting Britain and Free France has been completed, allowing both rail and ground vehicle traffic.

Scandinavia

Norway (Capital: Oslo), Sweden (Capital:Stockholm), Finland (Capital: Helsinki), Denmark (Capital: Copenhagen). The Scandinavian peninsula has portals to the realms of the Ice and Fire Giants. Fighting off the Dark Ayslish has brought about the birth of a new generation of Vikings. These warriors defend their homeland with both traditional weapons and firearms, as well as the blessings of the Aesir, and the wisdom of the skalds (Norse analogues to the Irish Bards).

Iberian Peninsula

Spain (Capital: Madrid) and Portugal (Capital: Lisbon). The economy has been strengthened by ties to Italy, Ireland, and Germany. Both countries support Rome, and there is popular support for the invasion of CyberFrance (fanned by Magna Veritan agents).

Currently, many people are being employed in the construction of an undersea tunnel – running under the Straits of Gibraltar to connect to Morroco. Both the Cyberpapacy and Magna Verita have agents assisting Basque, Catalonian, and other separatists.

Throughout the country there are several Bruja communities. These witches are a mix of Magna Veritan expatriates (both traditional and technomagical), and core earth practitioners. Some are interested only in being left alone, others use their abilities to help their neighbors, and others are active servants of the devil.

Free France

Bretagne, Normandy, Loire, Calais, Picardie, The Centre, Champagne-Ardennes, Alsace, Lorraine and Paris (the capital) all have broken free of Avignon. The remnants of the old government, military, and the Parisian resistance, have reestablished the Republic. The Knights Templar and several corporations support the capitalist government.

Benelux

The lowland countries of Belgium (Capital: Brussels), Netherlands (Capital: Amsterdam), and Luxembourg are over run by brigands, drug dealers, arms merchants, witches, and other criminals. The EU tolerates these ‘victimless’ crimes so long as the government keeps it in check. Benelux is the business/vacation destination for illicit activities.

Italy and Sicily

(Capital: Rome, unofficially Vatican City). The Vatican has dominated the political and military scene since the war began. The government chafes a bit and many of the younger generation has embraced cybernetics, witchcraft, or the old gods.

The Nile empire has supported the Nova Roma Movement. These people maintain temples to Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo, and a growing militia. These legionnaires wear kevlar ceramic lorica, and train with both gladii (short swords) and KK-81 rifles.

John Paul II is an unofficial head to the EU, since most member nations respect his wisdom – even those who don’t follow Catholicism. He works tirelessly to help Europe, and the world recover from the war, and move forward into a new age. Some among the College of Cardinals believe he works too hard, and is putting his health at risk. As such they have quietly begun considering potential successors, so that when the Pope is called home, a swift transition will be possible.

Switzerland

Capital: Geneva. EU Capital, and a major UN center. Economic heart of the Union. The Tharkoldu are long gone, though Marketplace has a foothold.

Germany

Capital: Bonn (plans to relocate to Berlin are in motion). Berlin has been mostly pacified. New Alexandria and the Tharkoldu Occupation Zone are still considered hostile. Victoria Mandate, Kanawa Development Zone, Cyberpapacy Sector, and Aysle Zone have independent governments, but respect the rule of law and support the Zonder Zone.

Marketplace has been trying for years to subvert the Bonn stock market, but the German financiers have subverted their influence and are staging a counter-offensive.

Austria-Hungary

Capitals: Vienna and Budapest. Budapest has become a proxy battle zone as Overgovernor Ramses, Cyberpapacy, Russian and EU militaries fight each other. The Union has tried to force the others out – as Hungary is a member state – but none will back down first. So the fighting continues.

Poland

Capital: Warsaw. Poland fears the renewed expansion of Russia and has applied for membership in the Union for protection. There is strong support for the move, but some fear it will compound the troubles in Budapest, and lead to outright war with Russia.

North Africa

Morocco (Capital: Casablanca), Algeria (Capital: El Djazair), Tunisia (Capital: Tunis). These nations have asked for, and been granted, Associate Status in the Union. They have asked the EU for protection against the Cyberpapacy and Nile Empire. Having trade ties to Europe dating back millenia, these nations have much more in common with their Mediterranean neighbors than with Sub-Saharan Africa.

Eastern Europe

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey. These nations are not a part of the Union. Most are former Warsaw Pact nations – and after a brief period of independence, Russia is seeking to bring them back under their domination again. Though there is considerable resistance, without EU help it is a lost cause.

In the south, the Nile has effective control, even beyond the limits of their former stelae zones. Turkey remains free, but Nile agents have been destabilizing Istanbul for months.

Relations

The EU is allied with NAFSA, the PacRim, and Tolwyn’s Light Aysle. There is a working relationship – definitely not a friendship – with the Triad of Marketplace. A tenuous peace exists with the Nile Kingdom, though negotiations are ongoing. Likewise for the talks with Kadandra’s diplomatic envoys.

The Cyberpapacy officially is seeking to be on friendly terms with its neighbors, but their policies have maintained numerous hostile acts. And a state of war with Mobius’ Imperial Nile remains in effect.

CHAPTER SIX

AFRICA

While much of Earth is coming together, uniting in the face of the new reality, Africa is falling apart. The Mediterranean coast consists of two regions. The Nile dominates the eastern half, though the benevolent Nile Kingdom is working to oppose the villainy of Doctor Mobius. [See the Khem Cosmbook for more details.] The rest of the coastal nations have thrown in their lot with the European Union (see Chapter Five).

The remaining portions of Africa are divided as follows: West Africa, Central Africa, the Horn, and Southern Africa.

West Africa

The nations of Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Faso, Togo, Benin, Mali, Niger, Nigeria. For some of these nations recovery may be a hopeless cause. Many relied on trade Europe and the west, and the war cut off their trading partners. For others, aid (food, medicine, money) was cut off. Corruption and opportunism took over. Starvation and disease run rampant.

And if their troubles weren’t bad enough, there have been demons striking at political and religious leaders. The populace is primed for an invasion.

The Horn of Africa

Ethiopia has effectively ceased to exist becoming part of the Imperial Provinces of the Upper Nile, realms of Natatiri and the Red Hand. Somalia remained opposed to the Nile for years. But the fabulous wealth of the Land of the Dead has allowed the Gangster Overgovernor to buy the Somali government.

Today pirates and freebooters from Aysle, the Nile, Marketplace and Gaea, mingle with those of Africa and the Middle East, and high seas terror is matched only by their violence toward each other on land. Queen Khemintiri has sent the Mystery Men into this powder keg. It is her hope that the rule of law can be restored to the country.

Another element has entered this situation. From the caverns beneath Ethiopia, creatures have been attacking Nile soldiers and gangsters. So far they have only struck the evil, and only in isolated areas. Who knows if this will change?

Central Africa

The nations of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Central African Republic, Chad, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi are little better than their northern neighbors.

Chad, Uganda, and Kenya have all lost territory to the Nile, and are braced for renewed hostilities at any time. The Central African Republic is less afraid, having practically given over their country to Russia. The Congo meanwhile has made friends with the Cyberpapacy.

Much of the rest of the region has been driven into civil war for the benefit of foreign powers. Corporate powers from Earth and Marketplace have armed one side or another, in order to gain access to various natural resources. And, as has been the case for centuries, the natives are the ones to suffer.

Southern Africa

Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, and South Africa are in much the same shape.

Angola is presently under the dictatorship of a rogue army from South Africa. Zambia and Namibia are under Kanawa control, which might actually be a good thing, as the corporation is maintaining law and order – even if they take the countries wealth. Tanzania, Malawi, and Botswana, face famine and other hardships as shortsighted practices and warfare have left the nations in ruin. And Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have fallen into civil war, with Japanese corporations largely driven out by the conflicts. Mozambique and Swaziland are dominated by the religious soldiers known as the Spirit Warriors.

South Africa itself is actually better off than it was before the Possibility Wars began. Apartheid ended in 1994, and a new, inter-racial government was established. At present the nation is healing old wounds, and remaining out of the troubles in their neighboring nations. Troubles the previous government often started.

CHAPTER SEVEN

ASIA

Asia has no single government. The largest nations are the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and India. Numerous small nations make up Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Old alliances are giving way as new threats emerge.

People’s Republic of China

Marketplace, particularly the Kanawa Corporation, pushed for the creation of additional Special Economic Zones. Much of the coastal provinces were opened to foreign investors. Despite this, the Central Committee initially kept the populace ignorant of western ideas. But with the internet becoming more important to business, and even daily life, it is becoming harder to isolate their nation.

And so they have changed. The government has deemed that the people are strong enough to hold proper values even if exposed to foreign thoughts. So, where outside corporations have failed, and retreated, the government has taken over, creating a strange mix of communism and capitalism.

The Jhou invasion of Hong Kong has left much of Guangdong outside Chinese control. Lacking experience with fighting the Possibility Wars, the Public Security Bureau and People’s Army have turned to Storm Knights – particularly Agents of Raaru Block – for help.

North Korea

Caught between South Korea and China, North Korea is isolated, and getting desperate. Russia has been providing covert military aid, and the small nation has begun making threats.

Mongolia

An isolated nation seeking to stay out of Russia and China’s relations.

Southeast Asia

The nations of the region have seemingly created their own horrors. It is unclear if Orrorsh is even present.

The PRC has loosened its hold on Tibet, but has not officially relinquished rule.

India

India has found itself playing host to Karthusa Inc., Shori Petroleum, and other powerful corporations. And Skutharka at least has brought his reality with him. Planting a reality tree near Mumbai, and sowing the region with Horrors to exploit the Hindu faith.

Orrorshan reality has also brought about the rebirth of the Thuggee cult. This secret society is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali, and shows its loyalty with blood sacrifices. A rival society of Swamis has risen up to combat the wickedness.

Middle East

The Nile Empire has captured much of the region. Yemen has welcomed in the Sons of the Prophet to maintain its freedom. The rest of Arabia relies on Swords of Saladin rebels, even as Mobius tightens his grip. In Palestine the PPL has gained nominal leadership, and works with Israel, the Swords of Saladin and the Nile Kingdom to drive back Mobius.

Jordan, Iran, and the remnants of Iraq are divided between the Sons of the Prophet and the Nile.

In the Empty Quarter, the gates to Mythic Arabia are open, it remains to be seen if that realm will aid against the invaders.

Turkey has received Russian aid against the Greek Nile.

Russian Federation

An alliance consisting of most of the former USSR, built on fear, intimidation, and corruption. President Marco Alexi Vazhin, and his wife Petricia, were the founders of the Psychic Research Bureau. They personally lead the defense of St. Petersburg. And they died.

But their souls are not at rest. Their bodies still walk. It was the things that walked out of St. Petersburg that assumed the presidency, and began rebuilding the Soviet Empire. They have set the military to securing territory. Inform’s internal desk roots out all foreign (non-Earth) elements trying to infiltrate Russia. The only exception is Kanawa Enterprises. A reward for their aid in stopping the Tharkold invasion while Moscow was dealing with a hardliner coup. Kanawa has holdings in Kiev, Minsk, St. Petersburg, and Moscow, as well as rights to Siberian Oil. This largesse has made 7710 willing to overlook National Policy.

The Psychic Research Bureau saw what was happening. Most of the agency opted to follow the president’s sister-in-law, Captain ‘Lisa’ Taramasky into exile, working from the shadows to take back their homeland. Some few approved of the change, or could not escape in time. Those who would serve have been absorbed into Inform proper. The rest are imprisoned somewhere in 17 million square kilometers.

Inform also hides another secret. The foreign desk is a smokescreen for a terrorist organization made up of the vilest stormers of nine realities. [See Chapter Ten for more details]

The Nightmare known as President Vazhin has seen the planting of Orrorshan Reality Trees, filled with wicked souls. Six trees cover most of the country around St. Petersburg, Moscow, Gor’kij; Minsk in Belarus; and Kiev and Kharkiv in the Ukraine. This realm is virtually undetectable – not even to Dr. Hachi Mara-Two’s orbiting R-Scan satellites. It is a stable mixed zone, with Earth’s Social and Tech axioms, but the Magic and Spiritual axioms of Orrorsh. Unlike other realities, Heketon can still draw Possibilities in a mixed zone thanks to the Power of Fear.

CHAPTER EIGHT

PAC RIM

The nations of the Pacific have also formed an alliance. It is tenuous, and in many cases unofficial. At the heart is the Operations Arm of Raaru Block. The corporate powers that made up the block have turned on each other. But their muscle remains a potent force. Still using the Raaru name they have allied with the Swords of the Sacellum, Australian Defense Corps, and other Storm Knight organizations to continue the fight against the High Lords and other extra-cosmic forces.

Japan

The fall of the Kanawa Corporation has lead to a corporate war. Nagara Corporation, Shodan Metals, Kokaru Automotive, Dokaru Chemicals, and Allied Technologies have been picking over the corpse. And matters have gotten worse with the arrival of Kubaicho Entertainment and Misaki Computers. Each company is using its own corporate security force, hired ronin, yakuza, and ninja to soften up potential purchases, as well as fight off their rivals. And collateral damage isn’t their concern.

Marsec is divided, unable to determine where their loyalties lay. The Diet can’t come to a decision due to different members being bribed by various factions. And so the Emperor has turned to Raaru Block. The covert force has answered the Emperor’s call and are working to cripple the megacorps, and purge the Diet of corrupt members.

South Korea

With the increased threat from the North, the border has been reinforced with Marsec agents equipped with Rijato Electronics Battlesuits and Oda hovercraft. Rijato has also begun selling armor to China for use on the Tharkold border.

Taiwan

The People’s Democratic Republic of China has been invaded by Jhou. Both Marsec and Raaru have risen to the defense. But the superior technology and combat miracles of Tharkold are proving insurmountable. Kaohsiung is fully under Race dominance. The rest of the island’s population are retreating to Taipei, and overcrowding and shortages are reaching a crisis level.

Philippines

The island nation spent most of the last decade preparing for a war that never came. Now, the arms and soldiers amassed for fighting Orrorsh are being used to that purpose – as Manila has allied with Sydney to reclaim Oceania for Earth.

Indonesia and New Guinea

Horrors still run wild in the islands, but the natives have received aid in the form of the Swords of the Sacellum, ADC, and Raaru Block. The fighting is particularly hard near Borneo, where Ravagons are targeting any Storm Knights attempting to make land fall.

Malaysia

An Associate Member of the Pac Rim alliance, Singapore’s strong economy and modern technology have been welcome to Storm Knights fighting Orrorsh. Unfortunately, this aid is coming from Skutharka. The wolfman is playing both sides in order to ultimately render the liberation futile.

Sidebar: Magestic

Dr. Wells Gate between London, Victoria and New London, Magestic is once again open. And a horribly overcrowded island is bleeding away its wretched refuse onto the shores of another cosm. With such a deluge of immigrants, the natives have been further displaced. An uprising is underway, and modern technology once again has become reliable. However, the industriousness and rugged nature of the Victorians has the upper hand so far.

Australia

Though new Horrors do crop up from time to time, the mainland is largely free of alien influence. As such, the ADC has gone on the offensive, liberating New Guinea, and Indonesia.

CHAPTER NINE

POCKET DIMENSIONS

Atlantis

Thousands of years ago, the island nation of Atlantis boasted a great civilization whose scientific and cultural advances put all others to shame. There is no telling just how high a Tech level they had reached, but what has been pieced together is that work had begun on reality-warping technology.

In 9560 B.C., two Atlantean scientists tested a device somewhat similar in principle to that used by Dr. Alexus Frest to send Storm Knights from Terra to Earth. The machine backfired, tearing a hole in reality and blasting the entire island through it and into a pocket dimension. Atlantis’ cities were devastated by the force of the abrupt shift and the scientists responsible were destroyed along with their device.

Shortly after their arrival, the Atlanteans discovered that much of the world they now inhabited was composed of great oceans, with no land masses near their location. They also discovered, to their horror, that Atlantis itself was sinking, albeit extremely slowly. It was estimated that, within one thousand years, the island would be completely submerged.

This came to pass, but the Atlanteans did not perish. Instead, the constant encroachment of the sea, the knowledge of their plight and the strange nature of this dimension’s waters combined to evolve them into merpeople. Now able to survive beneath the water, the Atlanteans set to work rebuilding their cities, using coral and other materials that could survive immersion.

Today, Atlantis rules a mighty empire that spans six of the seven great oceans of their dimension. The seventh ocean, dubbed the “Sea of Blood” due to its reddish hue, is home to barbarian races who have threatened Atlantis on more than one occasion.

The gateway to Atlantis is a whirlpool in the Mediterranean. Statistics for a typical Atlantean are given below. Cosm attribute limits for Atlanteans are 13, save for Toughn.ess, which can go as high as 14.

Standard Atlantean Warrior
Reality: Atlantis
AGI 10 DEX 9 STR 10 END 12 TOU 11 PER 9 MIN 8 CHA 8 SPI 9 Possibility Potential: some (45)
Dodge 13, maneuver 12, melee weapons 15, stealth 12, swimming 15, unarmed combat 12, vehicle piloting:water 10, Find 11, tracking 10, trick 10, Survival 10, Taunt 9, Faith:Talumnor 10, intimidation 11, Additional Skills: three at +1 adds
Equipment: spear or trident (STR+3/13); sword (STR+4/14)
Description: Atlanteans resemble humans in most respects, save that their skin is made up of smooth scales and is greenish in color. They also have two sets of gills along the sides of their faces and necks. They are capable of breathing and speech underwater, and are prodigious swimmers. Most Atlanteans cannot function out of water for more than a few minutes, though a few exceptional individuals have been amphibious- rare (75). Of course, very few of the amphibious Atlanteans would ever experiment to find out their true nature.

Axioms

Magic Axiom: 10

Enchantments are not a major part of Atlantean society, although the Empress does maintain a wizard at court. But it rapidly became clear after the Cataclysm that this pocket dimension contained creatures that were magical in nature and could not be defeated with normal weapons. Thus, the primary duty of Atlantean magicians is the creation of enchanted weapons, talismans, etc. for hunters and warriors.

Within the markets of Atlantis, one can buy amulets to protect one from harm or disease, or aid in the tracking of an enemy. There are also magical objects that can help detect dishonesty, and even some that can be used to create “something from nothing.” (These tend to work poorly, as the conjurations vanish after a brief time and rarely resemble what they are supposed to be.)

Magic in Atlantis is either looked at as a toy for the amusement of the knowledgeable (or the deceit of the gullible) or as a very useful and expensive tool. It does not fit into any middle category. The magic available to the general populace is unreliable or minor in nature – but there are powerful spells and artifacts all over the Atlantis dimension. They are just hard to come by.

Social Axiom: 10

Atlantis is the seat of an empire, ruled by the Empress Marissa. Repeated attacks by barbarian raiders, as well as encounters with monstrous native creatures, have prompted the city to maintain a standing army 10,000 strong. Over the last 10 millennia, Atlantean forces have conquered much of the planet.

Atlantis enjoys a code of laws, called the Writs of Kancree (after the Fourth Emperor of the realm), which prescribe harsh penalties for all who transgress against them. The area immediately surrounding the city is littered with the mummified bodies of those who have broken the laws, preserved for all time in their agony.

The Atlantean economy is not terribly advanced. The unit of currency is the silver nol, and trade with other parts of the empire has only just begun to take place. Most Atlanteans serve in the army, work as farmers or hunters, or pursue careers as craftsmen. Despite being led by a woman, there is not equality of the sexes in Atlantis – women are expected to care for their families and their husbands, although some have made careers for themselves in science, medicine or the arts.

Male-female segregation is the norm in most of Atlantean society, and both sexes seem to prefer it that way.

Spiritual Axiom: 13

The priest caste in Atlantis is composed of clerics who lead the daily worship of the sea god, Talumnor, and lesser divinities, and the seers. The latter are responsible for voicing prophecy, and most suffer from some physical disability (blindness etc.) that acts as compensation for their second sight abilities.

Priests are capable of performing miracles, and none who have witnessed one can doubt that the power of Talumnor is genuine. But the god is a capricious one, like most sea gods, and has been known to deny his aid on a whim.

There are rumors of a cult that worships Dark Gods, a twisted religion that dates back to the days on Earth. It is not known if this sect truly still exists. There are, however, constant reports of cultists – or pretenders of the cults – waylaying travelers, or attacking settlements in the outlying reaches of the empire. The Cult of the

Deep Gods is the most popular of these “bandit divinities,” and the most powerful. While no reliable witnesses can testify that they have seen anything other than robbery at work, others, some mad with terror, preach that the Cult is the harbinger of doom and darkness for Atlantis.

Miracles of Atlantis

The Miracles of Talumnor are very similar to those found in the Torg basic set, and the more low-powered ones in the Aysle sourcebook.. Usually, they deal with healing, prophesy and protection against enemies. Many miracles also include blessings on births, plantings, and harvests, but very few player characters will be interested in those rituals.

Technological Axiom: 19

Atlantis was, at one time, at the pinnacle of technological achievement. But after the Great Cataclysm, the people turned against advanced technology, and many of the ancient marvels were scattered to the seas and abandoned. Much of the old knowledge has been forgotten, including the means of creating gunpowder and explosives,and the Tech axiom slipped to 19.

The Atlanteans remain relatively advanced in the fields of chemistry, medicine, architecture and other sciences. Their weapons, however, are crude – consisting of tridents, spears, nets, swords and others made of rustproof metal or stone. The need to travel great distances to visit outlying portions of the empire has led to the development of submarines, but these are not armed.

Many of the ancient artifacts are still operational, but few attempt to use them, fearing the punishment of the gods. Only in some isolated portions of the empire have the Atlanteans begun toying with the wonders of the past: personal and heavy energy weapons, incredibly fast underwater craft, etc.

The occasional visits by air-breathers from other cosms has led to the construction of watertight rooms for their convenience. Most of these are located within the capital itself.

Fuels for machines (and some weapons) are chemical-based. Obviously, fossil fuels and the like do not bum under water, so the Atlanteans have learned to harness chemical and biological catalysts and energies. Their fuels are extremely efficient, surpassing anything on Earth, and very clean. Unfortunately, this efficiency is made up for by the general lack of power their fuels can produce.

World Laws

The Law of Artifacts

Although they are regarded in many places in Atlantis as evil, most of the pre-Cataclysm technological devies still survive. Like “weird Science” in the Nile Empire, although their functions require a Tech axiom higher than that of the cosm (roughly 26), they can still be used within Atlantis without fear of contradiction (by natives of this reality.) Storm Knights not from Atlantis with Tech axioms lower than 26 may also make use of them, but it is a one-case contradiction within Atlantis.

Often, finding the artifacts is more difficult than making use of them. Many are buried, hidden in undersea cavems and protected by beasts, in the hands of barbarians, or cursed. Once found, it helps to have someone with knowledge of the Atlantean tongue to decipher the inscriptions on the artifacts, lest a disaster along the lines of the Cataclysm take place.

Most of the artifacts buried in the silt and hidden in the trenches of the Atlanteans domain have forgotten, but generally harmless, functions. But that does not keep the Atlanteans from practicing their fierce superstitions. Many Atlanteans would rather fight to the death rather than let anyone activate the least of these mechanisms – and Atlantean knowledge is almost certainly needed to make use of the artifacts.

Note that no remnants of the reality-warping technology. that forced Atlantis into the pocket-dimension are known to have survived.

The Law of Prophecy

This world law states that prophecies made by seers of Talumnor will come true. Divine intervention, when it occurs, is direct and it is important that the gods not be made angry by mortals willfully ignoring the words of the seers. The words spoken by the prophets detail what the gods wish accomplished – they are scoffed at only at great peril.

Unfortunately, the seers tend to be somewhat vague in their prophecies. Something is apparently “lost in translation” between the words spoken by Talumnor and those that pass the seer’s lips. Prophecies such as, “The light will fail, only to be rekindled by a beast of iron,” are not uncommon, and divining their meaning can be as difficult as acting upon it.

Characters receive a +1 to any action that aids in a prophecy coming true. Characters do not receive a penalty to actions that run counter to a prophecy, but divine wrath may be visited on them at some point in the future for doing so.

Do not let players know whether or not they are receiving a bonus in this situation. After all, they may have misinterpreted the prophecy, but would have no way of knowing without further investigation. Their actions may very well be the opposite of what the gods desired!

Also note that not all seers in Atlantis are truly in contact with Talumnor. Many are simply frauds looking to make some money by mouthing prophecies. Their words are not governed by the Law of Prophecy.

Player characters who want to be oracles of Talumnor can, but they are difficult on the gamemaster. As a general rule, over the course of an adventure, no character should be allowed to make more prophecies than he has faith plus focus adds divided by two. And then, the gamemaster should only “speak the prophecy” to the player running the character, telling him or her what Talumnor has decided he or she should know. Usually, these prophecies will be used to start an adventure (“The Great Trench will be the font of great evil unless the Spoken Word is brought to its very depths”), give hints along the way (“If the Beast of Raluum is not harnessed by the blue of day, it win cause great suffering in Mere Klinior”), or to finish up an adventure with a flourish (“The last Power of the Dark Regiment has fallen. No more will They trouble the waking world, ’til all else has grown evil again”). These prophesies are seldom of immediate use, though they should come into play enough to make the players pay attention to them. They are more to add flavor to your Atlantean adventures than anything.

Avalon

Somewhere in Southern England, there exists a beautiful lake with a single island in its center. Here, the wind does not blow, and rain and snow have never been known to fall. Here, as well, is the primary gate to the pocket dimension of Avalon, home to the legendary warriors of England.

And “legendary” is an accurate description, for this is a realm formed from the tales told around hearth fires for hundreds of years. The Arthur who resides here is truly the Arthur of myth, the ruler of Camelot and husband of Guinnevere. Here light and dark magic do battle for eternity, while noble knights go on mystical quests, risking both life and soul.

Avalon itself resembles a slice of medieval England, with its rolling hills, massive fortresses. and dark and ominous forests. At its center is the court of Camelot, where reside the knights of the Round Table. In this land, the final battle between Arthur and Modred has yet to be fought; Lancelot has fled Camelot with Guinnevere, no one knows to where; Merlin remains sealed in stone; and the hours weigh heavily upon the king as he plans the next stroke in the war with his evil half-sister, Morganna Le Fey.

Unlike most pocket dimensions, there are known to be at least two other gates leading to it, both in England. One exists at Glastonbury Tor and the other at Stonehenge.

Cosm attribute limits for Avalon are 13.

Standard Knight of Avalon
Reality: Avalon
AGI 11 DEX 10 STR 10 END 10 TOU 10(17) PER 9 MIN 8 CHA 10 SPI 10 P 5-10
Beast riding 15, maneuver 13, melee weapons 16, unarmed combat 15, Find 11, scholar:Arthurian law 11, tracking 11, trick 11, Charm 11, persuasion 12, Faith:Christian 13, honor 13*, intimidation 13, reality 11, willpower 12
Honor Abilities: Provide Inspiration to one other character once per act. * this is the minimum honor a True Knight of Avalon may have – most have more. A False Knight of Avalon is usually a bewitched creature – often controlled by a sorcereror the powers of Evil – and has corruption adds of at least four or more.
Equipment: plate mail (TOU+7/17), broadsword (STR+6/16) lance (STR+5/15)
Description: The True Knights of Avalon are all heroic, legendary figures – as are their ladies, their squires, and their foes. They are truly larger than life, and they embody nobility and strength at all times.

Or so it was. Now, with the disappearance of Lancelot and Guinnevere, the evil of Modred and Morganna Le Fay, and the melancholy of King Arthur penetrating the land, the Knights have gotten grimmer, less heroic, and more desperate. Most of them still struggle to hold on to the legends that made them – but it was never a struggle before.

Axioms

Magic Axiom: 17

All four primary types of magic are practiced in Avalon, but not everyone can cast spells. Rather, certain people (such as Merlin or Morganna) are gifted with the ability to work powerful magics, both for good and evil. There is no white or black magic, as such, in Avalon – all magic is a combination of the two. Because of this, sorcerers cannot benefit from the effects of the Law of Right Makes Might (see below), as they are not pure of heart.

The most common types of magic in Avalon are alteration and divination, although conjuration sometimes comes into play. Many lords have sorcerers or wizards in their employ as advisers, as Arthur once employed Merlin. Others use them to aid their armies in battle, and some – like Modred – have even ordered their dead raised to fight another day (one of the foulest acts imaginable).

Many wizards, of varying degrees of power, live in the forests and may aid or harm travelers. Often, they appear to be no more than eccentric hermits, but woe betide the man who scorns them or takes a crust of bread from them without paying. Entire areas of a wood, and all the creatures therein, may be under the command of a single sorcerer.

Social Axiom: 12

Avalon operates under a feudal system. Arthur is recognized as king by most lords, and they had pledged their service to him. They, in tum, have vassals pledged to their service, and so on down the line to the peasants.

The economy is small-scale, with produce and crafts sold at market. Weaponsmiths are in great demand, as are armorers and virtually anyone else skilled with a forge.

After the monarch, the most powerful force is the church. Arthur has, for the most part, been successful in keeping the bishops on his side. But doing this has required sending some of his most noble knights to their deaths on holy quests, and it has been a dear price to pay. Also, more than a few monasteries are havens of corruption and dark practices, and a knight would be well advised to investigate such a place thoroughly before venturing within.

Parts of the realm – those under the sway of Morganna Le Fey and Modred – remain in anarchy, with no real government and no written laws binding the people. Within Arthur’s area of dominion, all are required to obey Arthurian law, which protects the weak and defenseless from those who would prey on them.

Hedge-knights and Bandit Kings are becoming more prevalent in these troubled days. While they do not, as yet, threaten the power in the center of Avalon, they do pose a problem for the people and places they are nearest to. If the Knights of Avalon do not ride against such robbers and usurpers, they stand unchallenged in their small domains. Their subjects are slaves and their power comes from evil and corruption.

Spiritual Axiom: 19

Many places in the cosm of Avalon are holy sites, where miracles occur on their own with no aid from a cleric. Among these are hills where many have seen visions of great and bloody battles being fought, springs whose waters can heal, and caverns where dark and malignant spirits dwell. Weapons forged in these places are among the most powerful objects in the cosm, and knights have been known to go on quests that lasted years for an opportunity to wield a sword blessed with divine power.

Another benefit of the high axiom is that one need not be a cleric to call upon miracles. If one is pure of heart (see the Law of Chivalry, below), it is possible to call upon miracles to aid one in a holy cause. Lancelot was said to be able to give life to the dead, but it is not known if his affair with Guinnevere has so tainted his soul that he has lost his ability to perform such deeds.

Use the miracles of Aysle for those in Avalon, but also create some for your adventures. Most miracles deal with healing and cleansing, though a very few also deal with the Wrath of God. Because of the high Spiritual axiom, miracles do not need to be as structured or as formalized as those available in most other cosms. They fulfill immediate needs and come from a fairly attentive higher power.

Technological Axiom: 15

Technology in Avalon is strictly on the medieval level. Although some crude firearms are available, most prefer swords, pikes and bows as weapons. Knights wear plate armor, while lower-level soldiers wear chain mail or cuir boulli.

While medicine is advanced to the point that anatomy is understood and many ailments can be treated with some certainty of success, most people still go to local healers who use leeches and worry about bodily humors. Others tum to magicians for cures for what ails them.

Printing is possible, but generally only done by monks. Monasteries are the seats of knowledge in the realm, and it is here that one turns to get a glimmer of what terrors await on a quest. The monks compile bestiaries and other volumes of use to a knight heading into unknown lands.

Printing and scribe work not done by court clerks and monks is often associated with evil. A knight or squire may know how to read and write, but the written word is a powerful tool indeed. It is not to be abused or debased, lest it be turned to the working of evil.

World Laws

The Law of Chivalry

The Law of Chivalry rewards, in its own way, both good and evil. The good are expected to defend the weak and fight for just and holy causes. Most of all, they are expected to resist the temptations of evil, which has power of its own and can warp the soul in such subtle ways that the victim is not even aware of it until it is too late.

One noticeable difference in Avalon is that “too late” is a very malleable term. Ogres and evil knights have “seen the light” in the heat of battle, becoming honorable and good in a second. This does not happen often, but it is possible for a truly evil being to convert over to good – if the impetus and the desire are right.

As the gamemaster, you should not overuse this. Only beings with a true desire to repent will do so – the honor inherent to the realm will see to that. Most would rather die than give up their ways, but a few can overcome evil through love or strength of heart.

The Law of Chivalry is essentially similar to the Ayslish Laws of Honor and Corruption, and the Spirit skills honor and corruption are a part of this reality as they are that one. See the Aysle sourcebook for details on this. Note that “patchwork realm” rules do not apply in Avalon. One more note on this law: to win in the realm of Avalon is to defeat evil – not necessarily to destroy it. Converting evil to good is the greatest victory possible in this realm – killing an enemy without giving him a chance to repent is the greatest evil.

Characters with four or more honor adds have the ability to try to invoke the power of God once per act of an adventure. The character must be in desperate circumstances (one of her friends has been mortally wounded, or she is beset by terrible evil) and she must be acting out of pure nobility of purpose. If this is the case, then the character needs to “pray'” using her honor adds as faith adds, and making a roll.

The base difficulty to invoke the power is 18, modified by the gamemaster, up or down, depending upon the desperateness of the cause, the nobility of purpose, and the willingness of the character to “follow the true path.” Characters who try this invocation may not abuse any of their powers or privileges, and must act in a manner true to the Knights of Avalon. Non-Knights of Avalon who are in Avalon may attempt this (as a one-case contradiction), but automatically receive a +5 to the difficulty number (though other pluses and minuses may apply).

A successful total means the character receives aid – though what kind of aid is totally up to the gamemaster. Often, it will be what the character wanted to happen – her friend may be healed, or she may receive assistance – but not always. It is not uncommon for the aid to be indirect or seemingly useless, but it is never really useless. Often, the power in Avalon does not step forward and directly aid its champions not because they aren’t worthy, but because that is not “according to plan.” For example, Arthur is destined to kill Modred in battle, and be killed by him. Even though Arthur fights for right, and is a true King and Knight of Avalon, his aid does not save his life. However, it does allow him to live on forever as a legend to inspire good deeds and justice, and he triumphs in the end.

The Law of Right Makes Might

Characters in Avalon who are willing to fight for right receive special benefits under this cosm’s world laws. Characters with seven or more honor adds are considered “pure of heart.” In addition to other benefits, this gives them the ability to be up once per act in an adventure, providing the action they are attempting advances a just cause.

Note that, if a character’s honor adds drop below seven because he has committed a corrupt act, he loses this benefit.

This ability is in addition to all others accrued through gaining honor adds. There is, however, a dark side to this law – characters who are “pure of heart” will be targeted by agents of evil, determined to tempt them or, failing that, kill them. As one gains more honor, quests become more challenging and infinitely more dangerous. Great warriors benefit from this law more than others, not only because of increased opportunity to do good, but because they are the only ones who have survived long enough to gain sufficient skill adds.

Also in Avalon, characters can lose honor adds without performing corrupt acts. They do this by doing nothing. Each adventure must be a battle that challenges the character’s faith and honor as well as his strong arm. A king gains and keeps honor by ruling justly and making hard decisions well. A lady may do so by retaining her virtue and helping her chosen knight on his quests – or taking on her own (in a ladylike fashion).

The Law of Legends

Avalon is a place where legends live, and so tales of heroes and villains have great power here. A tale that is believed by the majority of people in a given area will come true. For instance, stories have been flying around the village of Murton that a dragon emerges from the bowels of a nearby cavern at night and stalks the streets, slaying livestock and those foolish enough to wander about in the dark. If most of the people in the village come to believe this tale – locking their doors at night, seeking out talismans to protect them against dragons – the dragon will be brought to life by their belief.

By the same token, a local legend that says that a mountain spring has the power to wash away wounds to the soul may be sufficient to infuse the waters with just that ability. Naturally, one must be very careful about what stories he tells late in the night, lest they have come true by morning. And, of course, the people of Avalon do not ‘”have a care'” about what stories they tell- they are, afterall, within the realm of stories.

Characters can aid in the formation of legends. Subplots and Campaign cards can be the spark to start tales about their deeds,and the Martyr card is a powerful legend maker. Any character who accepts a Martyr subplot while in Avalon gains a bonus during his last adventure: a +1 bonus number is the lowest he can roll during his last, heroic quest. All bonus numbers lower are treated as +1 (this does not include other modifiers – a character who performs a multi-action or vital blow attack may still end up with a negative total bonus. The die roll itself is the only part affected). This is the character’s “road to glory.'”

However, if during the last adventure, the character begins to “stray from the right,” he forfeits the bonus number until he gets back on track. Also, if the character decides at any time to not play out the Martyr sub-plot, then he loses the bonus number modifier and two adds of honor for “backing down in the face of danger.” If the character has less than two adds in honor, then he loses points from his Spirit to make up the difference. Often, only performing more heroic sacrifices are enough to get the honor back.

Olympus

With Dr. Mobius’ invasion of Greece, the imposition of Nile axioms on the land has led to the opening once more a portal to the pocket dimension of Olympus, the cosm of classical mythology. The main point of access is Mount Olympus itself, but other points may be found on the islands of Hespera and Crete in the Nile Empire and (possibly) a whirlpool in Atlantis.

Magic Axiom: 15

A look at the Greek legends will show that highly sophisticated magics, such as alteration spells to permanently tum living beings into another form, are possible here. However, only a relative handful of the cosm’s inhabitants have the ability to work spells. Indeed, in the myths, the witches Circe and Medea are almost unique. Such spellcasters as there are will either be court sorcerers fora powerful ruler, or they will be recluses living in the wilderness somewhere, enjoying their privacy as they experiment with their powers.

Thus, magic will be almost as legendary to the majority of the realm’s inhabitants as it is to the people of Core Earth. There is little or no cooperation among spellcasters, and certainly no compilation spells such as can be found in Pixaud’s Practical Grimoire in Aysle.

Social Axiom: 10

This axiom is high enough (barely) so that democracy is possible, and some city states, such as Athens, even practice it. The majority of the city states, however, are ruled by petty kings and tyrants, though few to the extremes of Sparta. There is a standard coinage to encourage trade between the cities, but “brushfire” wars can break out at any time to cut it off. No one even dreams of uniting the entire realm under one ruler.

Spiritual Axiom: 14

Olympus’ Spiritual axiom is identical to that of the Cyberpapacy, with religious miracles far more common in the realm than conventional magic. However, even miracles are rare and tend to take place only at shrines and other holy places. Virtually no priests or priestesses are feared because of their connection with the gods.

(In one of the last tales to come from this dimension, the Odyssey, the hero slaughtered the suitors who courted his wife, finally coming upon a poet and a priest who served them. When they fell on their knees to beg for mercy, Odysseus said he was loathe to slay a man who was taught his craft by the gods. That said, he slew the priest and let the poet go.) Any Storm Knight who thinks cozying up to the priesthood will give him influence in Olympus is in for a rude awakening.

Technological Axiom: 11

In Olympus, spears are the major weapon of war, with the primary battle tactic the conventional phalanx. Cavalry and archers are auxiliary troops at best, while swords are mostly short and are used as back-up weapons. The catapult would be cutting-edge military technology here, but as yet, no one has gone to the trouble of inventing it. In a relationship similar to that of the automatic machine gun and Gaea’s Victorians in Orrorsh, the realm’s military men are so satisfied with what they have that they are not pushing the Tech axiom to the limit in their quest for new weaponry. Iron armor is worn by the heavy infantry, or hoplites. At sea, oared galleys fighting via ramming tactics or boarding are supreme. In civilian technical matters, all the city states are slowly developing decent road systems, whi1e stone bridges and aqueducts have been introduced. Medical care is as good here as one can possibly get at this low Tech axiom, with physicians having a wide array of herbal concoctions and other natural drugs available. Crude but effective surgery is also available.

World Laws

The Law of Humanity

The Greeks were the first people to truly celebrate the human form, being unique for the time by making their gods completely in the image of humanity, instead of having beast gods or man/animal hybrids, as the Egyptians and others did. The realm’s reality reflects this in the Law of Humanity. Essentially, it makes things easier on humans who try to accomplish tasks. Any action a human takes receives a -1 to the difficulty number. Thus, a human character attempting a stealth check while under closer scrutiny would have a difficulty modifer of 0, rather than +1. While this may not sit well with edeinos, stalengers, Gudasko, elves, dwarves, et al, it is a fact of life in Olympus.

The Law of Beauty

The Grecian appreciation of humanity was shared by an intense appreciation of beauty, as demonstrated by their art. Their gods were not only of human form, but their bodies were those of the finest athletes. Even the witches Circe and Medea were young and beautiful, unlike the hideous old crones common elsewhere in the world. Thus, in a law that may be more to those interested in interaction rather than combat, anyone with a Charisma of 11 or higher gains a +1 bonus to all Charisma-related skill checks. And yes, Olympus’ two world laws are cumulative, so a human Storm Knight with a high enough Charisma will find that Charisma-based skills (and only them) will be significantly easier for him or her.

The Cosm

Preliminary exploration seems to indicate that the area of the pocket dimension corresponds to the world known by the ancient Greeks: Greece, a portion of the Balkans north of Greece, Asia Minor,Scythia (the southem part of the former USSR), Italy, Egypt and the rest of North Africa, and the Middle East as far as Iran (not including the Arabian peninsula). The familiar city-states of Athens, Sparta, Thebes, Corinth, etc. are all there, and the setup is roughly that of the Trojan War circa 1176 BC. Troy, however, is no more, though “dungeon crawler” characters would have fun poking through its ruins.

All the monsters of Classical mythology are present: hydras, sirens, satyrs, etc., including some species also found in Aysle. The non-monstrous wildlife is dangerous, too, and those Storm Knights who are only familiar with present day Greece will be surprised to learn that in past centuries, the country hosted wolves, wild boars, bears, leopard, lions and the now-extinct auroch (a massive wild ox with a short, goat·like beard). Tigers are also found from Asia Minor eastward, while the Egyptian Nile has as many crocodiles as it does in Mobius’ realm. Deer, elk, and other game are plentiful, so Storm Knights who are skilled hunters need not starve in the wilderness.

The realm wide love of beauty has its advantages for Storm Knight Jakatts from the Living Land. When the first party of Knights entered, a satyr bewitched a female Knight and was leading her away when an edeinos comrade hit him with sensory explosion. Once the satyr came to, he proved to be so grateful for the experience that he became a trustworthy guide for the party. Other Jakatt successes with that miracle, as well as lesser ones such as heightened sight, heightened hearing, etc. led analysts to conclude that many of the realm’s denizens could be readily converted to the worship of Lanala, and that it is just as well that the Living Land is undergoing a period of decline.

As can be readily understood, the Nile Empire has more agents in Olympus than in any other pocket dimension, save perhaps the Land Above/Land Below. The Living Land has none, while Nippon agents are, of course, everywhere. Teams from Aysle and the Cyberpapacy have entered to investigate the new cosm, but the Tharkoldu in Berlin are apparently too absorbed in their struggle to conquer that city to pay much attention to a mere pocket dimension. A band of Horrors have captured an echidna (a monster that can change its shape from that of a beautiful woman to that of an emaciated centaur with sharp teeth and claws) and are taking it back to Orrorsh in an attempt to curry favor with the Gaunt Man. Core Earth efforts to investigate Olympus are sporadic at best, due to the recent intensification of the war.

The Gods

As far as can be determined, the ancient gods of Greek mythology do exist in Olympus, and are taking a hand in the war. However, their aid is uneven, being as capricious as these strange beings themselves. Moreover, some gods and goddesses who opposed Mobius’ initial invasion may be ready to switch sides, or at least remain neutral.

The gods’ lack of a united front goes back to the Trojan war, when the divine beings split down the middle over the Greek·Trojan conflict. Many still harbor resentments toward Zeus for not openly supporting the Greeks’ cause sooner than he did.

Mobius’ invasion threw all factions into confusion. Pluto openly supported the High Lord, seeing him as a being of ultimate destruction who should naturally be favored by a god who rules the dead. His most significant contribution was modifying the flames fired by Mobius’ RoboTroops to affect the target’s very soul.

After numerous skirmishes, the other gods supported the Greek defenders in a big way, creating a massive storm front that deprived the Nile troops of their air support. The resulting darkness also aided the Greek resistance by limiting visibility, as the only Nile foes who could see in the dark were a handful of properly powered pulp villains or those with the appropriate weird science gizmos. Confusion reigned among the battlegroups, and the Greeks, taking the initiative,began to force them back.

Alas, the Nile withdrawal never turned into a rout thanks to some last ditch weird science weapons Mobius had rushed to the front. These strengthened the resolve of his troops and allowed them to retake what territory they had lost. Ares, Greek god of war, was so impressed with the Nile troops’ performance that he has allied himself with Mobius and persuaded Aphrodite to do the same.

Then Mobius sent appropriately powerful pulp villains to Olympus as informal ambassadors to meet privately with Queen Hera. The royal household is not a happy one, as Zeus’ numerous love affairs are literally the stuff of legend. Zeus himself was simultaneously receiving a “private audience” with the Scarlet Asp (on loan from her duties in Berlin). Mobius attempted to create more rifts in the ranks of the gods, though with limited success.

Today, most of the Olympians have placed their support behind the Greeks, in opposition to Overgovernor Ramses forces. Even those who openly supported Mobius initially have been forced by Zeus to return their support to their own worshipers.

[The axioms and world laws of Olympus appear to carry over to Mythic Persia – a realm of Djinn, flying carpets, and dread Assassins, and the Norse pocket dimension the Ice and Fire Giants, Rock Trolls, and Aesir originate from. It is possible that mythic realms of India, China, Meso-America, or other lands may exist, but have yet to be discovered.]

CHAPTER TEN

ARCHER FOUNDATION

During the Cold War, a terrorist organization, the World Espionage Bureau, was formed. Its purpose to create chaos for their own profit. The United Nations responded by forming ORION. By 1986, ORION had located and destroyed the leadership of WEB. Its purpose served, ORION faded away.

Five years later. The Gaunt Man’s invasion plans targeted most of the world’s capitals over the first week. But there was a deeper purpose – not initially seen. Within a week, the CIA, Ministry of Intelligence, KGB, Mossad, among others would have been out of commission. All the agencies from which ORION had drawn membership.

Fortunately, the plan went awry. And not all of the world’s covert agencies were incapacitated.

During the war, someone began recruiting dark stormers, forming a renegade agency. Offering its services to whoever could pay, or simply escalating conflicts for their benefit. And increasingly, it seemed that somewhere, in the shadows, someone was orchestrating events. Financing, recruiting, providing intelligence.

And as the first phase of the Possibility Wars ended, a cabal of veterans looked to the next phase. And they realized that it was necessary to create an agency capable of organizing Storm Knights and battling threats that governments could not, or would not.

And the Archer Foundation was born.

Board of Directors

The Board consists of a triumvirate: Peter “Savage” Hawkins, Captain Michaela “Lisa” Taramasky, and Kazuo Kojima.

Savage

An American, former Navy SEAL, Freelance Executive Protector. Savage worked for both sides during the Cold War. But always for the right reasons. After the rise of Delphi Council, Savage began organizing CIA operatives who wouldn’t be party to Ellen Connors’ immoral activities. Later, he expanded his net to include the British, French, and other NATO countries.

Savage is a realist, but believes that some lines shouldn’t be crossed, and that the ends do not justify the means.

Lisa

Younger daughter of Vladimir Kryuchkov, sister to Petricia Vazhin. Lisa trained as a KGB assassin, Submarine officer, and Nuclear specialist. Her only loyalty has always been to Mother Russia. She realized that something had changed in her sister and brother-in-law after St. Petersburg. And she wasn’t alone. The most adept of Vazhin’s PRB also saw it.

And so she did something rash. She stole a prototype submarine, becoming a nuclear power unto herself. And while Inform and the Navy were looking for her, her allies scattered, going to ground in safehouses across the world.

Lisa was always the sort to want to see the world burn. So long as Russia survived. She can not rest until the cancer in the Kremlin is gone.

Kazuo Kojima

Ex-Japanese Secret Service, Director of Raaru Block’s Operations Arm. And an old contact to both Savage and Lisa. One of the first to recognize the Kanawa invasion. And a dedicated agent who would not be bought.

Each of the triumvirate is responsible for their own agency, and the Board also coordinates with allied agencies in other parts of the world. Storm Knights work for one of these divisions, though trades, and loans are common.

Divisions

The Company

The Company is the largest division of Archer, covering the Western Hemisphere, and most of Europe. The Company has bases in New York, Washington DC (technically Langley, Va.), London, and San Cristobal, with safehouses in almost every major city. The Langley office includes the Shop, an R&D group developing new weapons and gear for the agents in the field.

The Company is engaged with nearly every invader on Earth. Though not affiliated with Team Omega, they have an understanding. And several high ranking military officials respect Savage, and trust his agents for ops inside invading realms.

Psychic Research Bureau

The PRB is of course, made up of Psionic Talents. But in the mass desertion, they were aided by traditional KGB agents, including Alpha Team – the elite black ops military force. Their primary goal is learning the secret of what is going on in Russia, and how the new WEB is connected. PRB shares its Psionicists with other Divisions.

Raaru Block

Though the corporate backers are gone, the Operations Arm retains financing, thanks to insider trading and embezzling. Raaru has expanded from Japan to the Pacific Rim. They work closely with the ADC and Swords of the Sacellum.

Army of Light

The Light Ayslish will proudly stand beside any who fight for honor. Ayslish Storm Knights are often asked to provide their magical abilities to aid against the other High Lords.

Mystery Men

A collection of Costumed Adventurers working for the Queen of the Nile Kingdom. Allies to anyone seeking justice. Enemies to evildoers.

Swords of Saladin

Formed by the Saudi government to fight the Nile Empire, this agency now serves as the resistance, fighting to reclaim their nation from Dr. Mobius army.

Swords of the Sacellum

A Victorian secret society opposed to the Horrors of Orrorsh. A few members of the society have offered their expertise to assist fellow societies in the Pac Rim.

Organization

The Foundation’s Divisions deploy Storm Knights in teams of four to six. Each generally has: a Soldier, Mage, Cleric, and a Specialist (also known as a Rogue or Point Man).

Soldier – Combat specialist. Generally heavily armed and armored.

Mage – some teams will replace this with a Psionicist, Netrunner, or other special talent. Provide extraordinary abilities to the team.

Cleric – an effort is made to arrange teams by religion. Where this is not possible, or where the spiritual axiom is too low, a healer is preferred.

Rogue – a jack of all trades. Fills all other needs for the team.

Larger teams may also include:

Face – Social specialist, often also a disguise expert.

Scout – Expert in survival, tracking, and reconnaissance.

Wheelman – driver or pilot. Generally equipped with a vehicle.

Or additional Soldiers or Rogues.

WEB

The Archer Foundation’s dark twin. Comprised of such outlaws as Delphi Council Spartans, Inform agents, Dark Ayslish, rogue Inquisitors, Pulp Villains, Ninjas and Ronin, Corrupt Secret Societies, and outcast Race. WEB’s goals are often unclear, as they will oppose one High Lord in favor of another.

The answer is that they are another means by which Orrorsh spreads fear. And how those High Lords and Darkness Devices opposed to Heketon’s cabal of High Lords are kept in check.

Nolava Realmbook

NOLAVA REALMBOOK

SOURCEBOOK OF THE PULP NOIR REALITY

CHAPTER ONE

AXIOMS AND WORLD LAWS

Axioms

Magic 18

Marl is a highly magical world, comparable to Aysle. Though not every denizen possesses magical skill – unlike Aysle with its Law of Magic – many know at least a few spells. And enchanted items are common enough to be bought in stores.

Marl’s magic is heavily influenced by the World Law of Arcana (see below). In addition, the Law of Darkness ensures that magical creatures from this cosm are dark and forboding.

Social 19

Society shares common slang and social structures from 1930’s Earth, such as police, elected officials, newspapers and the like. The base Social axiom for Marl is 19, allowing for the existence of economics and psychology. The Law of Darkness acts to limit the Social axiom, however, making it effectively a 13 for most other purposes. This means that Marl has no nations or extensive bureaucracies, and is far more “medieval” in its social structures than Core Earth. For instance Guilds serve the same purpose as Unions.

Spirit 1

Marl is the site of a massive Godswar, orchestrated by the eternal and transcendant forces of Order and Chaos. Cults of both Order and Chaos exist, but there are no priests (at least not with the focus skill), no religious congregations, and no evidence of miracles. Instead, the cults gain their powers through magic.

The cosm’s Spirit axiom of 1 allows for the concept of, and belief in, Gods but spiritual energies cannot be called upon. In game terms, the faith skill is available to denizens of Marl, but focus is not, and using it is a contradiction. Use other self, or touch, is a long-range contradiction.

Tech 21

For the most part, Marl evinces technology typical of Tech 21- Tommy guns, motorcars, pistols, and so forth. However, Marl seems to have no knowledge of airplanes or aviation. These inventions are possible, but no one has yet to develop them, as airplanes are of limited use in the cities and flying over the Wilderness likely a hazardous or lethal activity.

World Laws:

Law of Order and Chaos

The Godswar between Order and Chaos rages in back alleys and city streets. No one can escape this covert struggle, and choosing one side over the other may bring safety or all new dangers.

People can have one of five alignments: Order, Chaos, Oathbreaker-Order, Oathbreaker-Chaos, and “none.” Choosing an alignment affects a character’s relationships with the various factions and also affects their ability to use certain magical spells. When casting a spell of your own alignment, your Alignment Rating is subtracted from the Feedback value. If casting a spell of the opposing alignment, your Alignment Rating is added to the Feedback value.

All cults of individual “deities” are also linked to the various factions; gaining an add in faith in any cult automatically gives you an alignment with the faction backing that cult. Having an alignment indicates your character accepts, implicitly if not explicitly, the tenets of their alignment. Allegiance and alignment are discussed on pg. 16 of The World of Bloodshadows sourcebook.

Law of Darkness

Despite the outré environment and oddball denizens, Marl society resembles film noir movies. Femme fatales exist (many of which are vampires and succubi) as do mobsters and detectives.

This is a “color” World Law, which enforces noir genre trappings. Betrayals are common, nobody is really pure, everyone has secrets, and so forth. Look to a good discussion of noir movies and the genre for ideas.

This World Law has another effect. Marl has a high Magic axiom, and so supports a variety of magical creatures. However, Marl’s supernatural creatures are not leprechauns and fairies. Instead, they are undead, ogres, and various demons and demon halfbreeds.

This World Law has affected the magical creatures native to Marl, in order to mold them into terrifying and unnatural shapes. In play, entities are by far the most common Marl magical creatures. Elementals and enchanted beings are very rare and those that exist are twisted in some dark and threatening way. (Hey, if you want pixies and fairies, go play a nice fantasy campaign.)

In addition Marl denizens, despite their knowledge of psychology and economics, have a functional Social of 13. For most interactions use a 13, for psychology and economics use a 19.

Law of Arcana

This World Law is what gives Marl’s magic its distinctive feel. Under the Law of Arcana, magic is divided into many schools, each with its own theme and idiom. The four magic skills are limited skills on Marl (much like the science skill is), each limit corresponding to a specific school (such as divination: necromancy). Each spell corresponds to a specific school, and the schools are limited to effects that match its idiom.

Instead of taking Mental stun damage from Backlash, Marl’s mages suffer weird side effects from Feedback (which can, as an example, cause the caster or others to begin vomiting nails). Spell designers use the MasterBook SFX system to create spells (instead of the rules in the Aysle Sourcebook). Cantrips and permanent duration spells are possible and Aysle’s Arcane Magic chart is unknown.

Nile Engineering and Mathematic may function in Nolava without contradiction, but Earth, Aysle, Cyberpapal, Lost World, Orrorsh, and Tharkold spells are all contradictory.

CHAPTER TWO

RULES

Character Creation

All characters may take Magic skills without taking the Magic Advantage. Not all characters will possess Magic, but it is commonplace. For specific advantages and disadvantages see the Bloodshadows Worldbook. Otherwise use standard character creation rules.

Racial PackagesThese are some of the most common races in Nolava – that are suitable for player characters.

Ghoul (6 points)
– STR+3/13, Claws (STR+2/15), Teeth (STR+3/16), 1 point of additional Horror Powers
– Nutritional Requirement:Human Flesh (2), Prejudice:Ghoul (3), many have Rot or Stench

Gris (1 points)
– Omnivorousness (1)
– Prejudice (1+)

Hugor (2 points)
– STR and END +1/14
– Symbiosis:Life-Mate (Lose 1 point from STR and END for every 100m separated max. -4; -4 if mate killed)

Succubus/Incubus (6 points)
– CHA+3/16, Life Drain (Mental Attribute, SPI+15)
– Nutritional Requirement:Sexual Energy (2), Prejudice:Demon (3), Nymphomania (1+)

Vampire (8 points)
– STR+3/16, Life Drain (SPI+15), Fangs (STR+2/18), 2 points of additional Horror Powers
– Infection (SPI+5), Nutritional Requirement:Blood (2), Prejudice:Vampire (3)

Werewolf (8 points)
– Shapechange Skill, Resistance to Normal Weapons, Nightvision, Claws (STR+3), Teeth (Damage Bonus = Shapechange adds)
– Infection (SPI+5), Vulnerability:Silver (3), Secret or Prejudice:Werewolf (2)

Skills
The following skills are new to Nolava, or function under these altered rules. Note: all skills operate under the TORG rules and not Masterbook. Skills not found in TORG, and not listed here, are not available. Martial Arts is not available, as it violates the Social axiom, characters are limited to Unarmed Combat.
Endurance
Resist Shock – is available to some races.
Perception
Language – the dominant language of Eln is virtually identical to Earth English, but numerous ancient tongues and regional dialects exist.
Research – as the Orrorsh skill, Research is used to gather information from books and other records.
Scholar:Nolava Lore – characters must take a focus in a specific city. They may take more than one Nolava Lore, other cities are standard skills.
Regions (such as the Pendar Mountains, Dirak Desrt, Alerios Jungle, Boiling Swamps, and Grand Eaton) may be taken (by those who travel thewilderness) but these are considered Difficult skills due to their extensive nature.
Spirit
Shapeshifting – as the Orrorsh skill, requires the Shapeshifting advantage.

Magic

Two new Magic skills were discussed in Bloodshadows. Summoning is to be considered a form of Conjuration. Cantrips simply utilize the standard four skills, but the skill total requirements are so low that most characters need only a single add in the skill and relevant arcane knowledge to cast. Speaking of Arcane Knowledges, spells will have required skill totals just like in other TORG settings.

Feedback

Spellcasting functions slightly different than in other cosms. A skill total using the magic skill (with appropriate focus) is applied vs. the Difficulty Number of the spell (Arcane Knowledge adds are not added to this value). The Result Points are subtracted from the Feedback Value. If the spell has an Alignment, the caster subtracts (or adds) his Alignment Adds as appropriate. The results are read on the Damage Column. If a wound occurs roll on the Feedback chart. Add +10 per wound result. The GM rolls a D100 roll, plus any results from extra wounds. Note: Shock, KO, and Knockdown are suffered normally.

This system replaces Backlash for foreign spellcasters, in addition to their magic probably being contradictory.

Money
Currency Exchange Rates
Galitia    Selastos    Albreduran    Albreduran    Gwalior    Earth US
Vens       Selasts      Marks            Drelmarks     Gelans      Dollars
Vens            1             1/2           1/2                 1/20                1              5
Selasts         2             1              1                     1/10                2             10
Marks          2             1              1                     1/10                2             10
Drelmarks   20           10            10                   1                     20           100
Gelans         1             1/2           1/2                  1/20                1             5
Notes           4             2              2                     1/5                  4             20

CHAPTER THREE

MARL AND THE REALM

On the world of Marl, the Possibility Wars are spoken of as the Godwar. A conflict between Order and Chaos, fought across many worlds, from the dawn of time, until the inevitable end.

The Godwar came to Marl many thousands of years ago. Though what records of the time exist on that world are sketchy and often contradictory, there is an account – possibly apocryphal – that claims it began when a bridge of lost souls writhing in agony dropped from a hole in the sky. A gaunt man, dressed in black, lead an army of undead, shapeshifters, and other monsters. Then he began recruiting the most promising agents of Chaos to his cause. Chief among these was Basjas, a Spider-Demon.

Though, Orrorsh did in fact destroy the cosm, the Gaunt Man had Heketon recreate it as a Pocket Dimension. Which was in turn reinvigorated by the World Storm caused by the Gaunt Man’s death at the Nexus of Reality.

From the perspective of the people of Marl, their world has always existed. They have stories of the devastation of the Godwar. But they believe it ended inconclusively.

Since that time, the survivors have mostly lived in a handful of cities. Each isolated, and surrounded by a blasted, broken land, filled with dangers. Agents of Chaos and Order returned to daily life. Some passing down their responsibilities to descendants, while those with longer lifespans hid their true selves, becoming unassuming figures.

Now, the Godwar has returned to Marl, even as Basjas has brought he followers to Earth at the advice of Heketon.

Sidebar:Marl vs. Nolava

Nolava is the name of the Cosm, including all its attendant neighboring dimensions – home to various demons and other creatures. Marl is the name of the world that is the largest part of the cosm. Natives will tend to refer to their cosm as Marl, other than those who work directly for Basjas. The realm on Earth is referred to as Nolava.

Confused yet? So are most of the people of the cosm when trying to comprehend the Possibility Wars as described by outsiders.

The Continent of Eln

Eln is a very large continent, and has little contact with the rest of Marl. Eln is divided into five major regions, from north to south: Pendar Mountains, Dirak Desert, Alerios Jungle, Boiling Swamps, Flendar Mountains, and Grand Eaton. (see Wilderness for details).

The Pendar Mountain region has three major cities Guildsport (see the Fifth Horseman), Dela, and Galitia (see Galitia Citybook). Southwest of the mountains lies the Dirak Desert, where the mining town of Selastos was founded (see World of Bloodshadows). Heading west across the Choking Sea leads into the Alerios Jungle, and from there to the Boiling Swamps. The southern coastal region is the rare imperial power Grand Eaton, which includes the titular city and several satraps, notably Gwalior (see Blood of Tarrian). Northwest of the Boiling Swamps is the Flendar Mountains, which house Albredura (see Mean Streets) and the port city of Tarik.

Races of Eln

The humans of Eln bear close resemblance to those of Earth’s Europe, with pale white skin common in Guildport, and a swarthy olive coloration common in the south. However, these are not the only races to be found. There are also humans resembling the natives of Asia, Africa, and the Americas – presumably from more distant continents. Such peoples tend to congregate in communities of their own, but are better regarded than most Unnaturals. Some have fragmentary legends of their ancestral homelands, but these tales are from the time before the Godwar, and likely bear little bearing on the present reality.

The Godwar vs. the Possibility Wars

The gods of Chaos are aspects of the Nameless One – at least from an Akashan perspective. And the gods of Order, are likewise aspects of Apeiros. However, the two conflicts are not entirely the same. Forces were aligned to one side or the other long before the coming of the Gaunt Man. And they would have fought a cataclysmic war – blamed on the gods – inevitably.

But the Gaunt Man was renowned for keeping his word, something more appropriate to a servant of Order. In fact it was the devastating chaos of the Nolava invasion that helped guide him to the orderly Fear Colony plan that he enacted on Gaea and Earth. It would be more accurate to say that the Gaunt Man found the agents of Chaos to be useful pawns and servants in his invasion.

He found Basjas, and others, to be useful. But ultimately, most were discarded once Nolava had fallen to Orrorsh.

After the last stelae was planted, and the armies and kingdoms of old destroyed, He chose to preserve a fragment of the world as a pocket dimension – a gift to Basjas for her service. Or perhaps a reminder of the destruction her betrayal help make happen.

To the people of the Pocket Dimension, the Godwar moved on to another plane. (True, both because their gods turned their backs on the devastated world, and because the Gaunt Man had turned his attention on the next step in his eventual journey back to Earth.) They had no concept of what had truly happened. How could they understand that their reality had been destroyed? That their world was cobbled together from the remains?

When the Gaunt Man died, Heketon conceived a new plan to spread Fear using multiple Pocket Dimensions and splinter realities, each lead by a member of the Hellion Court. It granted Nolava a second chance as Basjas domain to lunch an invasion of Earth from.

On Marl, at the same time, the leaders of Order and Chaos were given word from their patrons – or so they told their followers – that the Godwar was returning to Marl. Agents who had been in hiding for centuries returned to duty. And plots to turn whole cities to one cause or another were put in motion.

Though Basjas has brought those who would follow her to Earth – twice – most of the cosm is unaware of the invasion of Earth. Or considers it to be none of their concern.

Basjas, High Lord of Nolava

Basjas is a giant, intelligent spider. She stands about three meters high and her body is about four meters in radius. She has the ability to shapeshift into a human form, and does so when traveling amidst humans suits her purposes. She has two human forms available to her – a young girl about five years old, and a tall, attractive woman in her early thirties.

Like many women, she was – and still is – in love with the Gaunt Man. And therein lies the reason for the conflict between Nolava and Lereholm. Despite the Gaunt Man having no feelings for either Basjas or Sabathine, they have carried on a conflict for centuries. This culminated in an actual war on Earth before the Gaunt Man’s death. Heketon made both swear to put it aside when it made them High Lords for the renewed invasion – but of course, both lied.

Beyond proving herself over Sabathine, Basjas has another goal – find a way to restore her love from True Death. Heketon has encouraged this, suggesting that if she were to gain the destructive energy needed to become Torg, she could use it to resurrect him.

Basjas does not work well with many members of the Hellion Court. In addition to her feud with Sabathine, she is suspicious of Manwaring – as a vampire, she assumes he will always side with Sabathine. Her initial realm in Texas prompted conflict with Heketon’s Aztec High Lord, Cartzantovatli, and both are at best neutral now. She has little contact with the High Lords created for the Lost Worlds and Magna Verita, but her past history with Thratchen and current occupation of former Tharkold territory has made her a new enemy.

She is on passing good terms with Uthorion and Skutharka, but knows better than to trust such ruthless monsters.

Basjas was surprised that Heketon allowed her to claim a realm so close to the place the Gaunt Man died. She knows that he was there because of the proximity of the Nexus of Reality, and has made it a priority to find it.

It is uncertain where Basjas will expand her realm. West into the mixed zone still under Kanawa protection. North into the Western Land. Or into Core Earth territory toward Denver or Phoenix.

Sidebar: Maelstrom Bridge, Stelae, and Gospog

Nolava borrows quite a bit from Orrorsh. As in, Basjas barely made any changes to the Gaunt Man’s original designs.

The Maelstrom bridge is paved of cobblestones the color of dried blood, with bone white cement.

Stelae are arcane relics, imbued with Sorcery magic. This does two things. First, Nolava stelae are harder to locate than any others (reduce the level of success on Stelae Sense, or similar ability by one level). Second, if a mage, skilled in Apportation:Sorcery, and appointed by Basjas is within range (their Apportation skill value in meters) they may relocate the stelae to prevent its destruction. The actual shape of the stelae varies (like Orrorshan stelae) but it is always some form magical artifact. Some may also have individual powers, making them valuable if not destroyed.

Note: Heketon modified the stelae used in all its new realms. These stelae will form a link to any available stelae within range, so long as the other stelae has not already connected to six others.

Nolava Gospog use the same designs as Orrorsh with the following exceptions:

Second Plantings are armed with Gelvash Thunderer Shotguns rather than blunderbusses.

Third Plantings are Werespiders, their statistics are in the Creatures section.

First Plantings, Fourth Plantings (Scarabus), and Fifth Plantings (Wraiths) are unchanged. However, most Fourth Plantings are taken by Heketon for its own reasons, and are rarely seen in the realm.

Texas Failure

When Heketon planned this second phase of the Possibility Wars, it thought that targeting areas previous claimed by other High Lords, with similar realities would give it a strong population of those willing to accept the new reality.

This plan would work when creating an altered Magna Verita reality, or bringing Arachnidia to Takta Ker. But on Earth, it failed. When given a choice between two similar realities, the Power of Hope allowed the natives to turn away from the Grimdark choice.

The affect on the Nolava realm was immediately noticeable. Basjas planted six Stelae to form a triangle around the Nile zone in Texas. Despite being inside Nolava reality, the original zone remained a stable mixed zone of Earth-Nile reality. Within six months, the Dominant Zones to the east and south had turned to Mixed Zones – violently shifting between Nolava, Nile, and Earth reality. And the Pure zone to the west had been reduced to Dominant.

Knowing her realm was failing, and that Heketon would not easily forgive failure, Basjas formed a plan. She sent a Succubus to New Orleans – without the knowledge of that realm’s ruler, Baron Victor Manwaring. Her agent assumed the dual role of housekeeper and muse to Dr. Terrence Daniels, an Occult Scientist who had some luck in capturing and imprisoning the Wicked Souls of Horrors. She persuaded the Doctor to turn his attention to saving the world from the Lereholm realm’s threat to the Yellowstone Caldera. He proceeded to build a device which functioned like the Stelae Sense power, but which only detected a key, central stelae in the Lereholm realm.

Basjas then allowed agents of Order to learn of this – with the belief it could be used in fighting Chaos. This lead to the death of Dr. Daniels, and Storm Knights gaining his last invention. What she hadn’t known was that Lereholm’s realm was already reverting to the Western Land. But the Knights succeeded in uprooting the stelae, and with it six zones. The rest of the realm followed shortly thereafter. With her attention on the invasion of Marketplace – which was going much more successfully – Sabathine is unlikely to seek a return to Earth soon.

But the Vampyress suspects her old enemy to be involved in the matter, and has dispatched agents to investigate.

By this time, spring of 1998, Basjas was forced to destroy the Maelstrom Bridge between San Antonio and the Pendar Mountains west of Galitia. If she hadn’t, the backlash caused by the zone failing, would have devastated Nolava – much like Tharkold was wracked by the destruction of the stelae outside Moscow at the start of the war. This might well have destroyed the Pocket Dimension.

Second Try

Basjas had already been granted seven additional stelae, which had been presumed to have been planted as back-ups for the Texas realm. She had planted these to form a wheel covering much of Nevada, and parts of Utah, Arizona, and southern California. Faced with the need to keep Earth’s Storm Knights off balance, and continue the spread of Fear, the Darkness Device needed to grant the Spider-Demon another Maelstrom Bridge. And a realm that claimed two of the former Nippon-Tech zones, as well as much of the region 3327 shared with Tharkold.

Basjas was surprised that the Obsidian Heart was willing to grant her a realm so close to the Nexus without complaint, but pleased that her plan had succeeded.

The Realm

Basjas established a common stelae wheel. And gained two mixed zones as a bonus – both created from the region once divided between Nippon-Tech and Tharkold. She recruited a Chaos cult from Khufal, and refugees from Gwalior, including remnants of the Red Hand cult. And to ensure sufficient strength for the invasion, she gated the entire city of Khufal as well.

Khufal, is – or rather was – a port city northeast of Gwalior, and like that devastated settlement, a satrap of Grand Eaton. The former kingdom was left without leadership at the end of the Godwar, and eventually came under Grand Eaton’s protection. During the war, the city was home to the Grand Temple of Beraie. Her congregation was mostly killed in a final battle, and her worship outlawed by the Grand Eaton Governor.

But hatred of the invaders swelled the ranks of the Cult of Beraie. When events in Gwalior prompted Eaton to send forces there, Khufal rose up and overthrew the satrapy. And the satrapy represented the forces of Order in the city.

Basjas arrived at the pivotal moment of the uprising, claiming to the rabble to be last descendant of the royal family that ruled before Grand Eaton – and a High Priestess of Beraie. She helped to fan the flames and get the bulk of the city to rise up. Effectively ending any opposition to her faction in the process. Even many Oathbreakers, seeing the writing on the wall, returned to the fold while they could.

With her new followers readied, Basjas began the invasion. She had Heketon use a massive Dimthread and Occult magic to relocate the populace, and portions of the city with them, merging them with Las Vegas, Nevada. Simultaneously, she dropped a Maelstrom Bridge from the site of the now empty ruins into the Hoover Dam.

The massive dam was an obvious, and dangerous, hardpoint. The Bridge caused considerable damage, weakening the dam for what came next. The arrival of Nolava’s reality impacted the San Andreas Fault, striking Southern California, and much of the realm with a massive Earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale. Then entire region was changed in moments, becoming almost unrecognizable in places, as quake and axiom wash transformed the realm into a piece of Nolava.

The quake utterly destroyed Hoover Dam, taking with it the electricity and water supply for much of the American southwest. Yamaguchi Energy has come to the aid of Los Angeles, and NorCal (Northern California) with Solar Power Plants and desalinization plants. Consumers in these regions are however faced with 167% increases in the bills.

The Cult of Beraie

Beraie is the goddess of the moon, chaos, fortune (both luck and wealth – especially silver) and transformation or change. The cult includes many shapeshifters, breeds, and mages specializing in Alteration, Photomancy, and Sorcery. She is also the traditional patron of Khufal, which made her a rallying force for the city’s liberation.

Basjas has claimed a past association with the cult. Though it is a lie, her sheer power convinced most of the leadership to accept her. Those that didn’t met with spider-related deaths.

Entering the Realm

Air travel is technically possible. The tech axiom supports Nile/Early-20th Century aircraft. However the storms along the border are quite severe. In addition to Reality values of 15-19, the wind sheer and weather necessitate Vehicle Piloting:Air difficulties of 18 or more (generate a bonus number, any value less than +1 is treated as 18).

Most of the roads have been totally destroyed, and those that haven’t likely are missing bridges or have sufficient damage to make then unsuitable for anything but offroad vehicles, mounts or foot travel. Interstate 15 from Los Angeles and I-93 from Arizona remain viable routes to Las Vegas, though the military may soon change the fact. Many Realm Runners and Prospectors use these routes to head to the city, and its reported Sapphire Mines. The roads from Reno enter the realm, but do not pass through the Great Sand Lake. The same is true of the highways from Salt Lake City.

A wide variety of mountainous and desert wilderness creatures and other dangers can be found along the way for those foolish enough to brave the realm.

Bakersfield (Southwest, Dominant)

This zone matches the southernmost zone of the former Nippon-Tech realm, and the city benefits technologically from that past occupation (when it works). The quake, as well as the appearance of various wilderness creatures, has cut off this city of 350,000 from the outside world. Fortunately the city has oil production and refining, as well as agricultural and food processing resources. This has left the city in good stead for the time being, though walls are being erected to keep out the creatures. At present, the police, and volunteers are patrolling the city to round up monsters that have already entered.

Of particular fear is a species of parasitic larval worms which tend to crawl into living organisms for protection while they finish gestating into their adult form. Their eventual exit tends to cause severe injury – especially if they were residing inside the ear canals of human hosts.

Several hundred people have been transformed into Gris, and their unsavory appetites are proving another threat to the city as well.

Edwards Air Force Base also lies within this zone, a testing ground for the Predator UAV, and one of the landing fields for NASA’s newest orbital spaceplane, a Mitiya Low Orbital intended to replace the aging Space Shuttles. The base is under a hardpoint of Earth reality which allows the modern technology to function normally.

Fresno (Northwest, Dominant)

Fresno is also an agricultural center, and houses elements of all four branches of the US military, the California National Guard and Reserves. While many of these forces had previously been transferred to the borders of Tharkold, or the Western Land, only token forces remain since the World Storm rendered those realms largely under control.

That has allowed the military to focus on rooting out the forces of the Demon Lord Drortuli of Tharkold. Unfortunately, both sides now find themselves faced with a Relkazar infestation.

Great Sand Lake (North, Dominant)

Central Nevada has become a massive quicksand lake, which effectively cuts off any travel through this region. And those who come close are faced with Sandsharks.

Sidebar:Desert Hazards

Dehydration

Humans of require about a gallon (approximately 4 liters) of water per day of exposure, failure results in 2 shock points per day – which can not be recovered until they have a chance to get out of the heat, drink fluids, and rest (or undergo magical healing). A half gallon (2 liters) halves the damage to one shock. Non-humans may be affected differently, at GM discretion.

When water runs low:

Heat Exhaustion

The victim is immobilized. Treatment requires a ½ gallon of water, and First Aid DN 12 within a number of minutes equal to the subject’s Endurance + Survival:Desert adds (may be self treated). If this fails or is not possible:

Heat Stroke

The victim goes into seizures, and will die within a number of minutes equal to the victim’s Endurance + Survival:Desert adds without magical healing or water. A half gallon of water and First Aid or Medicine DN 18 will halt heat stroke. The victim must then make an Endurance check, DN 10 + the number of minutes the stroke lasted to prevent brain damage. For each point of failure, the character loses a point of Mind or Perception.

Sand Storm (Sirocco)

Flip a card for every hour of travel. On a D, a sand storm occurs. Alertness, or Survival:Desert DN 10 will spot it coming with time to seek cover.

Consult the table below for Damage Value and Difficulty Modifier for Perception and Ranged actions. Characters who find cover are not wholly safe. Every minute, flip a card, if the storm continues (D is still on the card) roll one die. On a 1 the characters are buried, and must hold their breath (½ END rounds) or take 2 shock per round.

Sand Effects
Card                                    Damage*    Modifier
AD                                      13              +5
BD                                      15              +7
CD                                      18              +10
ABD/BCD/ACD/ABCD    26              +18
* roll a random bonus

Quicksand

Dramatic Skill Resolution, each letter indicated ¼ the total distance for normal pools. Each round wading in quicksand roll strength. Waist deep DN 8. Chest deep DN 10. Neck deep DN 12. Over the head DN 14 (and must hold breath as per buried alive above).

The Great Sand Lake is about 100 miles (160km) in diameter though it is less than a meter deep in most places along the perimeter. The central region (about 15 miles (24km) in diameter) is closer to 4m deep.

****

Utah (Northeast, Dominant)

Most of this zone is empty desert, with Salt Lake City and Provo outside the realm. Only a few small cities in the southwest corner of the state existed before the invasion, all of which now face great danger from Qweskworms.

Grand Canyon (Southeast, Dominant)

The Grand Canyon, and the entire northwest corner of Arizona are inside the realm, with Flagstaff just beyond the border. The Canyon is now home to hordes of Slashtors.

Palm Springs (South, Mixed-Tharkold)

Part of one of the former Nippon-Tech/Tharkold Mixed Zones. The city, renowned as a tourist destination has been infested with undead, notably ghouls and vampires. Throaths prowl the wilds beyond the city, as well as many of the former attractions.

Santa Barbara (Southwest, Mixed-Nippon-Tech)

Also part of a former Mixed NT/TH zone, as well as a tourist destination. Modern technology functions normally, and Earth’s defenders consider the zone relatively secure. This is of little comfort since the region was practically flattened by the earthquake and drowned by the subsequent tidal waves.

Beyond the Realm

Los Angeles (and its suburbs within the Tharkold Mixed Zone) has been badly damaged by the quake. Demon Lord Orcantur and his pride have used this to resolidify their their hold on Bellflower. And Boruzai Construction, Yamaguchi Energy, and Ichi Entertainment are all making great advances in the region. Despite the devastation, the San Diego Naval Station, Miramar Naval Air Station, and Camp Pendleton are all still in operation.

San Francisco and Sacramento have been less badly affected, and were mostly recovered within a month. The Sacramento office of Team Omega – the American Intelligence Agency, which still uses Storm Knights extensively – has deployed most of its agents to perform reconnaissance of the Nolava realm.

East of the San Andreas Fault, and outside the realm, the quake was less severe, causing little significant damage.

Las Vegas (South, Pure)

Las Vegas has faced both Nippon-Tech Yakuza, and Tharkoldu Techno-Demons. The mixed zone, and presence of universally high axioms values, made the city a popular destination for other non-Earth folk looking to get away from their home reality for whatever reason. Following the end of the war, and with 3327 no longer providing active support to the Yakuza, and Sterret too busy in the cosm to offer much support to its submissive, Demon Lord Ataz, Earth’s military, law enforcement, corporate interests, and organized crime largely regained prominence over the city.

Some of said organizations had flipped to Marketplace reality, but were not allied with the former invaders. Overt Tharkold elements were eliminated, forcing the demons into hiding.

In short, the city was almost fully recovered.

And then Nolava arrived on April 1st, 1998. The Maelstrom Bridge destroyed the Hoover Dam cutting off power to much of the city for days. Earthquakes caused little damage to the city itself, but cut off roads, and exposed new dangers and opportunities in the desert. At the same time portions of Khufal were merged with the city – or the city altered in places to appear that way, in the end the results were the same.

Basjas, as leader of the invaders, assumed a de facto position of control. She opted however to grant some districts self-governance, provided the city law (such as it is) was enforced.

The city as a whole – not counting districts claimed by other cosms – has no actual government. But a massive bureaucracy is in place. A complicated, often contradictory bureaucracy, that leaves both Khufali and Vegan confused and often in trouble. For example, property taxes are paid monthly. They must be paid on the date specified, not before or after. But the specified date for some citizens is on the weekend, when the Tax Assessor’s office is closed. The solution is to go on a day prior, wait through long lines, fill out many complicated forms, and offer the Assessor a bribe to accept early payment. Or pay the even greater penalty for delinquency – which also necessitates complicated paperwork.

LVPD remains in operation, and is expected to enforce city laws. However, there is no single book (or series of books) defining the city laws under Nolava occuption. Forcing the Police to use their own judgment. Which may not always be correct.

Many police officers have joined the Resistance.

A cornerstone law is that all citizens, residents, and transients must be able to pay all debts immediately. Anyone unable to do so – be it a hotel guest who goes broke at a casino, or a jaywalker who doesn’t have their wallet on them – is considered to be in violation. First offenders may have someone else pay their debt, and fines, and be set free. Repeat offenders are sent to Public Works Projects as manual labor. There are three chief projects at the moment.

The first is construction of a new dam, which will convert hydraulic pressure into power via Inanimate Forces and Technomancy. (A small portion has been finished and provides power for the Strip). The second is building walls around the entire city – though district walls are also being erected as well. The third is the city-owned claims in the new Sapphire fields and Silver Mines in Red Rock Canyon.

The city still operates on Core Earth Dollars – though other currencies may be used in some districts, and exchanges are made by banks and casinos – though at rates that favor the house. Khufali prefer silver or a silver standard. Coinage (dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars) is minted locally, and local greenbacks ($1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100) are all backed by silver.

What Follows is an overview of the city’s districts, working counterclockwise from the northwest.

Sun City

A retirement community in the northwest corner of the city. Predations by Yakuza and Tharkoldu are a thing of the past. Shadowers have largely wiped out the elderly, forcing the survivors to flee into better protected parts of the city.

Summerlin

A large area, subdivided into several planned communities. The main portion is nominally populated by Core Earth natives.

Canyon Gate

A subdivision of Summerlin, now home to the wealthiest of the Khufali. Imram Abujamal is one of the wealthiest of these. Though opposed to Grand Eaton, he is no ally to Chaos. Owner of several major industrial concerns, he employs perhaps 5% of the population.

The Lakes

Father Gerard Paget, a Cyberprotestant has turned a former wedding chapel on the edge of the Strip into a Cyberchurch. He has converted a former cybergang to followers, and charged them with the protection of his district. Demon Lord Ataz has agents in the region, stealing cybernetics, and power cells to maintain their own equipment.

The church is a hardpoint (about 100m), and contains a small fusion plant, which provides power for the district. Father Gerard views magic as the Devil’s work, but still trades with Summerlin South for food for his people.

Though not all the residents of The Lakes are members of his congregation, Father Gerard at least is tolerant of other Christian denominations.

Summerlin South

Lady Priscilla Bendes holds this western district for Aysle. Elementalist mages have found they have only minor trouble with magic, and are able to provide both water and agriculture. These feed the locals, and the surplus is traded with The Lakes and Spring Valley for other resources.

A number of Breeds have flocked to the district, where a temple of Celay has taken them in. Temples of Areel and Darsot are also found in the district.

Spring Valley

The Tarot Gang makes their headquarters in the Luxor, but they have also laid claim to the southwest corner of the city. They operate an Eternium Power Plant, and trade power to the Bendes (who don’t have much use for it themselves, though their subjects do) for food and water.

The Tarot Gang maintains 40 squads of shocktroopers uniformed in the manner of the Lesser Arcana, 10 Squads per Suit. Coins act as security for the Luxor. Cups guard the district’s resources, and take in money for the sale thereof. Swords man the border, and keep out both wilderness creatures, and undesirables – meaning anyone the Tarot Gang considers trouble. And Staves act as a Protection Racket masquerading as a police force.

Green Valley

South of the Strip, and technically a suburb of Henderson. This district is predominantly under Nolava control.

Henderson

Site of the work on the new Dam, this district is mixed Earth/Nolava. The majority of the cities’ Elementalists are employed in constructing and operating the city utilities – water and power. A goodly number of the rest are presently building walls to protect the city from Wilderness Creatures.

Winchester

East of the Strip, a former middle-class district, now under the control of Ataz and the Tharkoldu. The Tharkoldu raid other districts for whatever they need. This is permitted due to a deal, and hefty bribes offered to, the temple of Beraie.

North Las Vegas

This middle-class district is home to residential, commercial, and industrial concerns – run by Khufali, Marketplace, and Core Earth concerns. Alchemist’s Row is in this district, home to both apothecaries and physicians.

Nellis

Formerly an Air Force Base, crushed by the Tharkoldu. Yamaguchi Energy has bought a portion of the land, and was building a solar power plant. The facility is shut down for the moment, and considered under threat by Qweskworms. It serves as a secret base for Marsec, Police, and Mob forces – allied for the moment against the invaders. The air fields are still operable and some covert flights are capable of running the storm to provide needed weapons and supplies.

The surviving Grand Eaton soldiers in Khufal have allied with the Core Earth resistance – though they believe they should be in charge due to their greater experience and the fact their leader Colonel Yorick Eban Harlan-Fletcher is a ranking member of the forces of Order.

There are also refugees from Lereholm hiding among the ruins of the district. A small tribe lead by a priestess named Witha who enjoy the warm weather and relative safety found outside their own reality.

Paradise

Also known as The Strip. This district continues to operate essentially unchanged. Casinos are treated as temples – and Nolavan run casinos maintain a shrine to Beraie – and are exempt from certain secular laws, and are largely sovereign territories. The strip has (mainly because they can afford it) power, food, water, and anything else needed to keep a steady stream of business.

At the very south is MacCarron International Airport, which is technically open, though few pilots are willing to risk the storms. A Cyberpapal cathedral was located just north of the airport, but Fra St-Pierre and the clergy of Our Lady of the Electronic Salvation was slaughtered on the first night of the invasion. A pack of werewolves just didn’t like the place. A GodNet uplink, and several secure datafiles remain in the ruined building.

The Luxor is under the control of the Tarot Gang, a group of Nile Empire villains. They have built a shrine to Bes, god of luck, in order to take advantage of the religious laws of the city. The High Priest is at a serious disadvantage due to the low Spiritual Axiom.

An Ogre named Golug has taken charge of a gang of Hugors, and in turn – while using a Facade spell to appear human – he has taken over the Excalibur. He has established a shrine to Kalim, though there are no formal priests.

A consortium of Core Earth and Marketplace casino owners retain control of Tropicana, the Palms, Flamingo, The Mirage, Riviera, Sahara and the Convention Center (the latter serves mainly as a supply depot). Unfortunately the Law of Intrigue works against them, Yamauchi Hikaru has fallen in with the invaders, and provides regular reports on the plans of the resistance forces. For now, Basjas lets them scheme, but she knows right where to strike to eliminate their weapons caches.

Caesar’s Palace is now owned by Rais Hussan, a vampire. A skilled necromancer, he uses zuvembies as guards in the vault and counting rooms.

The Golden Palace, a former yakuza stronghold, is now the Silver Palace, temple of Beraie, and home to Basjas, and her chief Sorcerer, Dalri Blackstorm. The latter monitors the realm’s stelae, and may utilize spells to relocate them if they become threatened.

The same werewolves who destroyed the Cybercathedral infected key personnel at the Circus Circus, which they renamed Cirque de Lune. Benjamin Ajam, the alpha maintains his rule through brute strength, and by allowing his pack to run wild periodically – slaughtering denizens of a foreign reality.

Many of the casinos employ Photomancers as entertainers. Esmond Adair, an incubus, is head of the Association of Waitresses, Showgirls and Whores, and has his offices at the corner of Flamingo and Paradise. Anyone practicing any of these professions must be a member of this guild. Male counterparts in the entertainment industry have a separate guild. And men in the other two professions need not belong to a guild at all.

Red Rock Canyon

West of the city is the former national park. Since the discovery of sapphires and silver in the hills, mining has begun. The Temple of Beraie, and other organizations connected to the city, own the largest and most productive claims. But independent prospectors hold small claims throughout the region. Sadly, ownership of these claims is hard to prove. Many false papers are issued by the unscrupulous. Worse, there are three different offices associated with the city that have the right to issue claims, there is no cooperation between them. So multiple claimants may have equal rights to the same plot.

Miners – specifically the unfortunate slave labor – claim to have felt a chill presence in the depths. They are frightened of certain tunnels, and refuse to enter them. It has gotten worse since the bodies. Miners’ bodies, dead, without a mark on them. The mine supervisors need some brave, skilled souls to go down and find the cause.

Ravagons

A flock of Ravagons has taken up residence in the desert outside Vegas, preying on newfound stormers, and visiting Storm Knights.

Personalities of Vegas

Aysle

Lady Priscilla Bendes – Though somewhat young, only in her early thirties, Lady Priscilla has gained considerable power. And she is quite proud of her success. Though not directly involved in the war brewing on Aysle, she has made herself a vital part of the efforts of her House to regain all that was lost to the Tancreds. The resources gained from control of Summerlin South, are being sent home to finance the families’ intrigues.

Priscilla is sympathetic to the Khufali who merely want self rule, free of Grand Eaton. And she is sympathetic to the people of Core Earth, who are fighting to save their very reality. As such, her knights and mages may be allowed to give aid to people or factions on both sides of the conflict in the realm.

Golug – an opportunist who has been in the right place at the right time. Sick of the racists of Aysle claiming his kind are Lesser Folk, he enjoys the – almost literal – worship of the Hugors. He has no grand scheme, simply to run his casino, become rich, and lord his success over the Ayslish.

Core Earth

Robert Moretti – An Italian-descended American, in his mid-fifties. Handsome, with graying hair. Owns the Riviera, the Tropicana, and is building a third casino.

Robert’s grandfather built Vegas. His father was a close personal friend of Sinatra. Vegas is his city. And he will take it back.

The Yakuza, who once tried to take it from him, are now reduced to not quite lackeys, but not truly allies. The Tharkoldu have fallen from near masters of the city to scavengers. The Nolavans will be working for him in a few years.

Drawing on the lessons of the past, he has become an ally to any Storm Knights who seem capable, a friend and patron to the people, and a seemingly legitimate businessman. But when his soldiers strike, they do so without mercy.

Ben Chou – The Chinese-descended CEO of the Mirage, seems like the consummate Marketplace Corporate. Money is all that matters to him. He supports the Resistance because tourists equals dollars, and the current state of affairs has limited the tourist trade.

The Mirage is scheduled to host the Miss Cosmverse Pageant in a few months, and the possibility of losing that influx of guests is unconscionable.

Maxine Cousins and Dean Fletcher, Team Omega – Maxine is a Houston native lounge singer, who went undercover in the harem of the Field Marshal of Super Battlegroup Mobius, in order to keep tabs on him for the US. A doe-eyed blonde, seemingly frail and helpless, but with a strong right hook, and a crack shot with a pistol.

Dean was an exchange student in France when the war broke out, and studied technomancy, before returning home to try and save his Iowa home. His skill at stage magic, as well as the real thing, has proven useful in his work for the government.

The two were assigned by the Sacramento office to infiltrate the city, and gather intelligence, so that later teams may be able to liberate it. Both have taken gigs at Caesar’s and are already learning a lot about the leaders of the Chaos Cults.

Cyberpapacy

Father Gerard Paget – Born on Magna Verita, and raised on the doctrines of the Avignon church. On Earth he preaches a mixture of Roman Catholicism, Martyred Hospitaller Jean LeClair – a Storm Knight who died defending Earth from Malraux and his High Lord peers. Though technically a part of the CyberReformation, his sermons bear little resemblance to Earth Protestantism. As such he is often mistrusted by Storm Knights. It does not help that he employs former Tharkold Gangslaves – who seem more like criminals than the police force they are supposed to represent.

Lost Worlds

Witha – An elder, at the ripe age of 38. A priestess of Vassen, and leader of a tribe of about eight hundred. Despite being the spiritual leader of her tribe, she has come to face her mortality. And realized that vampirism could be an answer.

Sabathine suspects that Basjas is involved in the fall of her realm on Earth. She has suggested to the priestess that finding proof could get her what she wants.

Elvis the Edeinos – The ever-popular Edeinos Elvis Impersonator is still performing at the Sahara. The influx of Nolavans, who have never heard of Elvis Presley, or Edeinos, has given him a whole new audience. Making him one of the most popular performers in Las Vegas today.

Marketplace

Yamauchi Hikaru – A former lieutenant of Izumi Shinano, Oyabun of Las Vegas. Izumi-sama died in the fall of the Golden Palace to the Cult of Beraie. What no one knows is that he was shot in the back. Hikaru cut a deal with Basjas. He serves as acting Oyabun, and a spy within the resistance. Hikaru will be well rewarded once the resistance, and the realm’s Storm Knight defenders, are dead. Basjas has promised him control of all Organized Crime in the city. For now he makes due with running the Palms.

4940 – Head of MarSec for Las Vegas. She is nominally loyal to 7710 of Kanawa Enterprises, as the chief Marketplace CEO, and Triad member on Earth. However, fighting the Nolava invasion, and defending corporate interests in Vegas is just a paycheck. Succeed or fail, she is due for reassignment in a little over a year.

Not that it matters since her home in Donglin is gone.

During her spare time, 4940 goes prospecting in the Canyon – hoping to strike it rich, and have enough to retire someplace nicer than a single room apartment on Marketplace.

Nile Empire

The Emperor – Loves his new found power, and wants to expand. He has no greater goal, and despite himself – and the money, women, and other perks – he is becoming a responsible community leader.

The High Priest – has made it his ambition to become the next Imperial High Priest to Doctor Mobius. To that end, he serves as an agent of Janya Peterksi, watching Basjas and her plans. In the course of his activities, he might even aid Storm Knights.

The Hierophant and The Fool – while the other half of the gang are busy with their own schemes, these two are searching for the Nexus of Realities. When they find it, they plan to pull the ultimate heist – and become High Lords of their own cosms.

Tharkold

Demon Lord Ataz – This subordinate of Prince Sterret can not admit defeat. Its decision to kowtow to Basjas has brought treachery and rebellion from the rest the pride. Which has required the visceral execution of several Tharkoldu.

Ataz is shifting to Order. It has conceived a plan to kill Basjas, and take her place – bringing all of the Nolava Realm under Its Domination.

Tz’Ravok

Diwarza – Chief Tzullat of the Grand Canyon Tribe. Several thousand Ravagons from Kth’Geddo migrated to the region, at the behest of Parok, migrated to the region. A fact unknown to Basjas when she established her realm. Diwarza has been tasked by Heketon to relocate the Nexus -which does not appear to be where it was. He is to guard it, and keep everyone out.

Diwarza has noticed that the tribe has faced an increased birth rate, but the cubs are weaker – lacking the connection to Tz’Ravok reality, and not faced with the same deadly dangers that Ravagons should experience. Continued life on Earth will make the Ravagons no longer Ravagons. And this fact is the heresy the Denyers warned of.

Nolava

Chaos

Dalri Blackstorm – A powerfully built man, with jet black hair – which is often wildly arrayed. A master sorcerer, he has cast spells connecting him to the stelae of the realm. Should any become endangered, Dalri will sense it almost simultaneously with Heketon. And even if Storm Knights block the Darkness Device, he can project spells through the stelae – even teleporting it to a new location if necessary.

Dalri is not entirely stable. He once accessed some other realm – either a dimension of Nolava, or perhaps another cosm entirely – and his main concern is to find his way back. What he saw there, and why he wants to go back, he will not say.

Rais Hussan – The Vampire owner of Caesar’s Palace. Rais has been a Vampire since the later days of the godwar, when he was conscripted by the forces of Chaos. When he awoke from his transformation, he tried to go home – and saw his wife – he felt uncontrollable hunger, and killed her.

For over a thousand years, Rais has only desired to reclaim his true love. And every generation, Chaos taunts him. A woman, who resembles his love appears, he tries to win her – and inevitably something happens and she dies.

Most recently he encountered Julia Blaise, a Galitia born woman. He wooed her, setting her up in luxury in the Hotel Penthouse. And when she learned he was a Vampire, she hurled herself from the balcony. This time, Rais turned her even as she was dying. And she is still striving to end her existence.

In the casino vault, Rais keeps a treasure trove of magical artifacts, many of which are reputed to restore the dead, transfer souls, or otherwise aid in Rais efforts regain the love he lost. Rais is only loyal to Chaos, and Basjas, because it is the only way to regain his Love. If Order, or anyone else, had ever given him an option, he might have turned. But he has come to accept that Chaos is his only option.

Benjamin Ajam – Where Rais is a tortured figure, who hates what he has become, Benjamin Ajam is a Werewolf – and proud of it. He is a strong, powerfully built figure, notable for excessive body hair, a unibrow, and his third and fourth fingers are the same length. Despite this, he has animal magnetism, that makes men fear him and women desire him.

Ajam has made a pack of followers, and anyone who he deems strong and skilled enough is added to the pack. Eventually, there will come a recruit strong enough to defeat Benjamin, and that individual will be the next pack alpha.

For now, Benjamin rules the Cirque de Lune, and the presence of werewolves is made a part of the casino’s charm. Shifters are part of the stage show, and lycanthropes patrol the game floor.

Simon Reuter – Commissioner of the Department of Water and Power. With limited energy production, he runs a lottery. Every district – except Paradise – gets power for the day, only if they win the lottery. With six districts, and not enough power to go around, that means a lot of people go without several days a week.

There have been numerous businessmen who have tried to bribe Reuter for power. He keeps the money, and has them arrested – and sent to work on the dam.

Reuter is obsessed with chance and gambling. Many fear that even when the dam is finished, and there is enough power to go around – he will still run a lottery.

Desiree Roux – Basjas’ Succubus agent, responsible for setting plans in motion to destroy the Lereholm realm, leading to the current Nolava realm. For her efforts, she now has a mansion in Canyon Gate, and a suite at the Silver Palace, as well as more money than she can spend. But if anyone were to connect her to those events, she is evidence that could destroy Basjas.

And Desiree knows this. She is looking for a way to get back to Dela, where she can disappear. If she gets wind that Storm Knights could help her, she will reveal all she knows about Basjas, Heketon, and the rest of the High Lords.

Oathbreaker-Chaos

Sanya Anush – Preta High Priestess of the Orthodox Church of Beraie. Sanya was High Priestess of the Cult for centuries – starting before her death. When the godwar returned, she began agitating for Khufali independence – as a prelude to the subjugation of Eaton by the native population of the region.

And then Basjas stole her cult out from under her. And stole the city of Khufal, merging it with Las Vegas, and off Marl.

So now, Sanya has split from the cult, established her own sect. And stands in opposition to Basjas, and the cult she founded. The Orthodox Church has its temple in North Las Vegas, and Basjas would love to shut it down. But Sanya knows the truth about Basjas, and the source of her power. If Basjas moves directly against the Oathbreakers, both will burn. Sanya has a number of volunteers who provide her with the use of their bodies. Even without them, she can steal another body if needed. So Basjas can not be certain to eliminate her rival before it was too late.

Esmond Adair – as noted above, Adair is the head of the Association of Waitresses, Showgirls, and Whores. As an Incubus, this job allows him to constantly surround himself with women. Which is a lot like a fat kid running a candy store. Esmond doesn’t abuse his power greatly, but that does not mean he doesn’t.

Despite rumors, he does not force waitresses and showgirls into prostitution if they do not sleep with him. He doesn’t need to. All he needs, is to get his prospective meal in the same room, and his magical talents do the rest. Nor does he kill – unless he has a reason to do so.

His power and position provide for his survival. They do not give him a reason to live. Esmond is bored. He may take an interest in any intrigue he discovers – either getting involved for a cut, or thwarting it for a favor. And he knows that the change in Khufal is a part of something big.

5847 – A Marketplace native, transformed to Nolava. 5847, owns the Sahara, and is a member of the resistance. He has sworn vengeance on the Demon Lord Ataz. He is currently studying Nolavan Technomancy, with an eye toward the death of his enemy, and – of course – profit.

Oathbreaker-Order

Elijah Atteberry – Preacher for the Cult of He Who Is Called I Am, a Pro-Magic sect of Christianity based in North Las Vegas, just outside Paradise. He has lead his church for decades, guiding the faithful through the invasions of Yakuza and Tharkoldu. The existence of other realities has forced Elijah to re-examine the bible. He has reconsidered old, deeply held beliefs – and has deemed that magic must have been a part of God’s plan.

With the arrival of Nolava, and neighbors that many believe have always lived here, Elijah believes that God has called him to spread the Word to the people of Nolava. He has even found new believers. And since Divine power does not flow naturally in the realm, he has been fortunate indeed, that many Vitomancers have joined his flock.

The Cult also runs the only Bloodline in the city. Elijah asks for blood donations from the congregation, as well as the few homeless that have avoided being press-ganged (he pays them with food, shelter, and when he can a little cash from the offering plates). There are those that resent this. Those who feel the undead should be eradicated. And those among the undead who feel that the bloodline is demeaning – that vampires should hunt for their food.

Elijah, and his church are not formally aligned with Order, though they serve the cause in their own way.

Malachai Sokolof – The head of Illusion Studios, now based in Henderson. The studio makes Conjurevids, as well as performances for the crystal sets. (The Core Earth natives in the city have taken to calling it “DM Radio”, DM for Divination Magic).

Malachai locks his stars into long-term contracts. Though paid almost meagerly by the standards of the cosm, they are also given nice houses, cars, clothes, and other luxuries. All of which belong to the studio, and if an actor wants to quit – they must relinquish all these perks, and pay for the months or years they have been using them for free. Needless to say, his stars don’t quit lightly, and those in the know fear being fired.

Malachai is nominally an agent of Akar. However, he has refused to answer the call from Colonel Harlan-Fletcher or Prelate Cyrilla. His efforts could easily have turned the tide, preventing Beraie from taking control of the city. Instead he opted to not to take either side. But his news broadcasts, and editorials did limit the riots and revolution to removal of government officials, and some property damage. And once it was over, most of the general public went back to worrying about paying the mortgage.

Order

Police Chief Kendall Malloy – A Las Vegas native, Kendall has transformed to Nolava reality. To maintain the police force he has had to implement changes. In lieu of taxation, he has persuaded community leaders to finance the police directly. He has also gained assistance from Core Earth government officials outside the realm, since his force serves as a resistance. He has also begun employing Forensic Mages, and purchasing runeslugs and other arcane tools.

While the police are becoming an organized resistance, Kendall’s personal life has suffered. His son, Patrick, has dropped out of school, and has been spending time in the company of known Beriae cultists.

Colonel Yorick Eban Harlan-Fletcher – Descended from ancient Eaton Nobility. He truly believes that he is destined to lead, and that if he can rally the city, he can make everything right, and return Khufal to its proper place on Marl. He is a good leader, and skilled at both administration and strategy. But his arrogance makes it hard for anyone not born in Grand Eaton to find common cause with him.

Though facing the middle age spread, Yorick is still a muscular man, who insists on keeping his attire and person immaculately groomed. Though he has been forced to put away his uniforms for secrecy, he still wears crisp, well tailored suits.

Yorick has tried to rally the Yakuza, Syndicate, and Police under his leadership – but while they respect his experience, the leaders of the other factions refuse to give him direct command of their own people.

Prelate Cyrilla Tamsyn – Another Grand Eaton expatriate. The local head of the Order of Akar, and direct subordinate to the Pontifex. She was also nearly killed multiple times during the revolt. Even now, Benjamin Ajam’s pack are hunting for her.

Having suffered such a humiliating defeat, followed by the cities’ transformation, Cyrilla is suffering from depression. And her faith has been shattered.

Unaligned

Imram Abujamal – This industrialist is aged and sick. Despite his vast fortune, he is dying. And desperation has lead to a plan. First he hired Private Detective Toni Blaise to follow his young, third wife. Blaise proved his wife was cheating on him, and he then implicated Blaise in his wife’s death. With her dead, Imram has no heirs – except the one he intends to create.

He has learned that Rais Hussan has an artifact in his vault. One which can transfer a person’s soul into a new body. He plans to force a group to steal it – inviting Hussan’s wrath. And then use the artifact to take over a chosen, young, healthy, body.

Lou Nichols – A small, scraggly-haired man in his early thirties. He runs a pawnshop on the edge of Sun City. A pawnshop that serves as a front for scavengers in the district, as well as a variety of black market sales. Lou is also a wererat, which makes a great many potential customers leery if they find out.

Pascal Zacharias – This Shipping Magnate appears to all eyes to be a legitimate businessman. Except nothing about him is true. Firstly, he isn’t human. He is a Gris, born Psishaj Zhatsoghoz, using a Facade spell. He began as a street pusher, and worked his way up to bootlegging Tarik liquor. With the transmigration, he lost most of his fleet. He has invested in smaller ships to bring goods in along the Colorado River, and has hired technomancers to invent a device used by Core Earthers – the airplane.

Aysle Cosmbook

AYSLE COSMBOOK

Sourcebook of the Fantasy Reality

INTRODUCTION

The Creation of Aysle

Excerpt from The Dwarven Book of Tales:

In the beginning, there was Nothing. Timeless, unchanging, eternal, Nothing had always been there and, it seemed, would always be there.

Then the Creators came, riding mighty beasts and scattering stars about as they traveled. Once they had been great builders, constructing vast worlds with a wave of their hands, and long and hard and well did they labor for others. But then their masters turned upon them, and spat at them and called them foul names, and so they fled.

They journeyed far, enduring much hardship and misery and pursued by the creatures of their vengeful masters. But they persevered, searching for a place where they could be free to create for themselves and not for others.

Finally, they arrived at this place. They knew their masters would never think to look for them in the midst of so much Nothing, and here, they felt sure, they could build something all their own.

Building Something when Nothing is all there is means much hard work, even for Creators. But were they dismayed?

No, indeed, for they were the greatest craftsmen of all. Stopping only for a quick bite of lunch and a puff on their pipes, they rolled up their sleeves and began.

Fordex the Elder looked about him. “This Nothingness offends me!” he cried. Reaching into his sack, he brought out a single grain of dust. He blew it into the Nothingness before him and shouted, “I banish you!”

Now that it contained Something — yea, though naught but a grain of dust — the Nothingness was no more. For the Book of Laws says, “If a thing be one thing, it cannot also be another.” Since a thing cannot be both Nothing and Something, the Nothingness was banished forever.

Exhausted by his labor, Fordex rested.

Errog the Mighty spoke next. “Yes, this is Something, but it stretches unto Forever! Even we cannot work our will on Forever! I shall create a Limit!” Reaching into his sack, he pulled out a handful of sand. Placing it in his pipe, he puffed mightily, heating the sand until it melted and became glass. He shaped the glass into a ball and placed it around the grain of dust, saying, “This shall be the Limit and Extent of our Creation!”

Exhausted by his labor, Errog rested.

Terrin the Bold stepped forward, reaching into his sack and producing a round, flat grindstone. Using his smallest finger, he carefully poked a hole in the center of the stone. He placed the stone within the glass ball, surrounding the mote of dust. “Is that not fine?” he asked his fellow Creators.

Exhausted by his labor, Terrin rested.

Movin and Weeble, the Sculptors, worked next. They drew hammers and chisels from their sacks and carved the stone, sculpting deep pits, high mountains, ocean bottoms and riverbeds.

Then they, too, rested.

Ghanthor the Pure brought forth a flask of water and poured the liquid on to the stone. Charon the Gardener took a twig from his bag and planted it by the water. Mhyrron the Gatherer brought forth an egg and set it next to the twig. Plantir the Hunter drew his knife, cut off the tip of his finger and, after carving it into the likeness of the Creators, placed it next to the egg and the twig.

They rested.

Then it was the turn of Harp, the last Creator, the Bringer of Life. He looked into his sack, but it was empty! “Alas! I have nothing to give to our Creation,” he cried, sadly. Then he brightened. “Ah, I know! I shall give life!”

Speaking thus, he breathed upon the twig, and lo! it grew into a mighty oak!

He breathed upon the egg, and lo! It hatched forth a beautiful bird!

He breathed upon the image of the Creators, and lo! it became a dwarf.

Giving Life, Harp died.

When the other Creators awoke, they were dismayed. “Alas! Poor Harp is dead! He died so our Creation could know life.

But look! The oak withers; the bird huddles upon its branches; the dwarf is sore afraid. Our Creation is flawed!”

Fordex the Elder spoke. “Fools! Living creatures cannot be in the Dark! We need to give our Creation Light!”

So saying, he reached out and picked up the single mote of dust in the center of the Creation. He placed it in his pipe, and puffed mightily. It began to glow in the hot embers of his fire.

When it was all aflame, he placed it back into the Creation. He tapped it with his finger, causing it to move within the globe, giving the Creation Day and Night.

The oak thrived in the Light, giving birth to all manner of trees, grass and flowers.

The bird thrived in the Light, giving birth to all manner of birds, beasts and fish.

The dwarf thrived in the Light, giving birth to many strong sons and daughters.

Well content with their Creation, the Creators rested.

Soon, however, they became dissatisfied once again. “It’s fine,” said Errog the Mighty. “But I’m not really happy with the Limit. Perhaps something could be done with infinity …”

You know, I don’t quite like the flatness,” said Terrin the Bold. “Maybe a round world …”

Movin and Weeble, the Sculptors, began excitedly discussing the possibilities of continental drift. “Let us try again!” they demanded.

The others agreed. Their Creation was very nice and all, but they were sure they could do better next time.

Shouldering their packs, they cheerfully set off to try again elsewhere.

CHAPTER ONE

AXIOMS AND WORLD LAWS

Magical Axiom: 18

Magic defines much of what Aysle is. Everyone believes in it, uses it (to varying degrees), and understands it as a part of everyday life. Spells and spell effects handle many of the tasks Core Earth uses technology for. Aysle is a static world, and advancement only comes through the use of magic, which makes the impossible real for a

temporary period. At this axiom level, even the least skilled can use magic to some degree, but training confers huge advantages to those who undergo its rigors. Because of this, magic even branches into economy as it is the standard by which prices are set and the market fluctuates.

Under the axiom, spells and spellcasting are possible. Enchanted items exist and can be created, and even kindred that depend on magic to survive thrive in the cosm and realm. Spells allow mages and others to take the unobservable force of magic and make it observable. The reality is enchanted and full of magical power just

waiting to be put to use.

Social Axiom: 18

On a social level, Aysle resembles the medieval world with a few notable differences. Life is not as hard or taxing for the Ayslish as it was for their feudal Core Earth counterparts. Magic has seen to that, providing conveniences and a better standard of living which our world did not see until after the Industrial Revolution. Aysle is a vastly independent place, made up of vastly independent peoples. These separate groups were united for a time under loose treaties devised by Uthorion and enforced by his power. With Uthorion’s original power base out of the picture, the cultural, racial and geographical differences worked to break apart the alliances. Throughout all of this, magic remains the equalizing factor that places all of the folk on the same level. Women, who in Earth’s medieval times enjoyed few freedoms,

are seen as capable of the same jobs as their male counterparts.

The Delegate Legacy remains the highest ideal in the land, a system of government where the people and the nobility meet to decide laws. However with the fall of Ardinay, it is only a dream.

The thing to remember is that while Aysle has a relatively high social axiom, it is just coming out of a long period of darkness into a period of war. No single authority remains, though Uthorion and Tolwyn are the most powerful leaders in Aysle. In the cosm, everyone with any claim to power is seeking to benefit from the vacuum left by their absence (both remain in the realm).

Spiritual Axiom: 16

Both the cosm and the realm of Aysle have a high spiritual axiom, granting those with the ability to tap it another type of power beyond magic. The gods of Aysle can be contacted to gain this spiritual energy which folk can convert to miracles of faith.

While the gods of Aysle do not regularly appear in town squares or within sanctified temples, their influence can be routinely observed. They bestow miracles on the faithful, they aid followers with additional magical abilities, and they dictate the opinions and actions of whole nations. Magic may dominate life in Aysle, but religion comes very close and is intertwined with the magic of the land. Of all the races of kindred and folk living on Aysle, only the dwarves (for the most part) refuse to

utilize this avenue of power.

Technology Axiom: 15

Technology in Aysle resembles that of the late medieval to early Renaissance periods of Earth’s history. Sails move ships across the seas, the more advanced dwarven culture uses steam power, and crude firearms (such as the wheel lock) are coming into more common use. Still, melee weapons and various bows are more reliable. Even the dwarf with crossed wheel lock pistol holsters carries a battle-ax for when the guns fail or run out of ammunition.

Magic, of course, makes up for a lot of what technology cannot yet do, and in some ways it has even hampered technological growth. Better sail and ship development has been postponed because water and air mages can keep vessels moving in even the most severe storm or on the calmest sea. Talk of improved firearms fails in the face of fireball and lightning bolt spellcasters. Currently, there is nothing that technology can do better, faster, or more conveniently than magic can.

The World Rules

The Law of Observation

Reality is defined in Aysle by what one can observe through the senses. Everything is the result of a previous event (even though the event may not yet be reasoned out). If something cannot be sensed, it holds no reality. The exception to this law is magic, which has its own governing law.

Observations give rise to theories, unlike in Core Earth where theories require testing by observation. So in Aysle, that which is observed is true. The sun rises and falls through a hole in the center of the world. The Ayslish observe this every day, and therefore know it to be true.

Under Aysle’s Law of Observation, everything that is perceived is real, and everything that is real has been previously perceived.

Interaction with other realms on Earth has lead to new developments on Aysle due to this law. Dwarven tinkers, inspired by the technologies of Earth and the other realms, and the Tharkoldu ability to meld magic and technology, have invented their own Dwarven Occultech (which has been replicated in the realm by Goblins). In short, the use of magic allows these crafters to create devices and vehicles that would normally require Tech 20 (roughly WWI on Earth) through magic.

The Law of Magic

Since they were brought to Aysle by Dunad, the magic skills and arcane knowledges have been an integral part of the world, unlocking the natural magic of Aysle reality. The Law of Magic states that magic is real. While it cannot be observed by the usual senses, it can be perceived by those who are sensitive to its power and thus made manifest through spells. Further, magic is available to all folk due to Dunad’s gift, though not all take full advantage of this. No matter, because through this world law all Ayslish folk are born with one magic skill (at one add) and one arcane knowledge (at one add). [The magic skill is not difficult for that character.]

Additionally, because of magic the land and its people have been imbued with higher attribute maximums. However, if an Ayslish character ever disconnects from his reality, he is subject to the attribute maximums of the reality he finds himself in. Reduce all attributes to the new maximums until the character re-links. Certain folk can go beyond these maximums due to their inherently magical natures. However, those kindred who rely on magic for their very existence suffer when that magic is not available.

The Law of Honor

The Law of Honor permeates the land, declaring that honor cannot be hidden – the good that folk do is reflected in their spirit and is discernible to those who can sense such things. Further, the more honorable a folk is, the more that honor is reflected outwardly as appearance and bearing.

Those traits (and their associated actions) considered honorable include faithfulness, loyalty, being true to yourself and your word, respect, and valor. Honor, truth and justice demand to be recognized in Aysle, and those of noble heart gain advantages from the Law of Honor. The law is primarily interested in defending the rights of

the folk and maintaining the status quo of goodness throughout the land.

The law states that when there is danger or trouble, when injustice shows itself, then a hero of honor will appear to right the wrongs and save the day. Under Uthorion’s reign, this law was masked by the rise of the Law of Corruption, and even those who heard the call of honor tended to ignore it in the face of Uthorion’s legions of evil.

The law further states that a new Spirit skill exists in Aysle – the honor skill. Those who take this skill (or earn it by doing honorable deeds; see below) must follow a code of honor. In general, the code of honor must include faithfulness to a god, loyalty to a country and ruler, respect for those less fortunate and in need of aid, staying true to yourself and your word, performing glorious deeds of valor and goodness, and courageousness in all things.

Note that honor is not just a province of Upper Aysle. The giants of Lower Aysle, and even the other Upper Aysle races that the humans consider evil, operate under the strictures of the Law of Honor and can be honorable. They can be faithful to their gods, loyal to their rulers, friends and families, true to their natures, respectful of others (but that means different things to different cultures), and valiant in combat. The truly corrupt and evil go against even these basics of honor to the detriment of

themselves and others.

The Law of Corruption

The Law of Corruption fills the land, declaring that corruption cannot be hidden – the evil that folk do is reflected in their spirit and is discernible to those who can sense such things. Further, the more corrupt and evil a folk is, the more that corruption is reflected outwardly as appearance and bearing.

Those acts considered corrupt include spiritual weakness and immoral character, disloyalty, lying, cheating, stealing, deception, cowardice, premeditated crimes, and other acts of evil. Evil and corruption demand to be recognized in Aysle, and those of evil intent find it hard to keep their intentions secret. The law is interested in

revealing evil in all its forms through the corruption of spirit, mind and body. The law states that when evil is done, it will be known by those of honor.

Uthorion perverted this law, subtly changing it throughout those parts of Aysle under his control. By modifying the world law, Uthorion was able to defer his past evils to the land instead of building up the detectable corruption within himself. In that way, no one was able to detect that Lady Ardinay had become corrupt, and

Uthorion’s deception held. To this day, those portions of the land under the dominion of darkness still have the look of corruption. The soil becomes hard and brittle, trees and plants whither and gnarl, and the sky darkens, throwing the corrupt lands into perpetual shadow.

The law further states that a new Spirit skill exists in Aysle – the corruption skill. Those who take this skill (or are cursed with it by doing foul and evil deeds; see below) must follow a dark path and a god of corruption, becoming more and more evil as they grow in skill and perform foul deeds. While this grants terrible power, it

also draws the attention of the Law of Honor and its advocates. Aysle cannot abide corruption, except where Uthorion’s will still holds sway.

Honor and Corruption Skills

Honor and corruption are two sides of the natural balance of the world. Honor seeks to build up and protect, corruption seeks to destroy. When an Aysle character is first created, you may choose to have the character side with either honor or corruption (we do not suggest allowing player characters to choose the corruption skill,

however, unless a very good story reason can be decided upon and the character is working to cleanse his soul of the corruption). In any case, a character is not forced to take either skill.

If the character does take either skill, it can only be at one add. All other adds must be gained as defined below (see “Gaining Honor and Corruption” below). These skills have benefits and disadvantages built into them that make them different from other skills. Honor and corruption cannot be used unskilled.

There are four levels of honor and corruption, each tied to the arcane knowledges. The first level of each, either “honorable” or “corrupt,” is tied to the kindred and element knowledges. The second, “noble” or “wicked” is connected to living forces. The third level of honor and corruption, “pure” and “foul,” is tied to the knowledges of light and darkness. The final level, “good” and “evil,” is connected to the knowledges of life and death.

Honor Skill

A character with the honor skill is striving to be noble and heroic, a symbol for all that is right and true in Aysle. As such, he has high ideals that he must maintain at all times. Failure to do so can allow corruption to stain his spirit and lead to his eventual doom. All honor advantages are cumulative, except those which replace a previously earned bonus. For example, at two adds a character receives a +1 to his melee weapons value. At three adds, that value is replaced by a +2 melee weapons.

If a character does not possess a skill he receives an advantage for, then he adds the advantage to his unskilled value. For example, if the character has a Charisma 9 but no charm skill, he adds the advantage to his attribute for the use of charm only.

Corruption Skill

A character with the corruption skill is out for himself, seeking the quick and easy road to power no matter what the cost. As such, he promotes destruction, evil and death. Failure to do so can allow honor to cleanse his spirit and save him from eventual doom. All corruption advantages are cumulative, except those which replace

a previously earned bonus. For example, at one add a character receives a +1 to his trick value. At three adds, that value is replaced by a +2 trick.

If a character does not possess a skill he receives an advantage for, then he adds the advantage to his unskilled value. For example, if the character has a Perception 9 but no trick skill, he adds the advantage to his attribute for the use of trick only.

Gaining Honor and Corruption

Even if a character doesn’t have the honor or corruption skill, he is still affected by these universal forces. Certain acts are, by their very nature, either honorable or corrupt, and performing these acts can stain or cleanse the soul.

The difficulty number to gain honor or corruption is 15 + the new number of adds, and a character must use Spirit or one of the two skills to generate a total after performing an honorable or corrupt act. If the generated total is equal to or greater than the difficulty number, then the character gains one add in the appropriate skill.

A character cannot spend Possibilities on these rolls. When generating this total, use the honor and corruption bonus modifiers.

Honor and corruption tend to cancel each other out, so most folk have little if any of either skill. But the heroes and villains of the land usually have some of

the appropriate skill. A character cannot have both skills. If a character has honor adds and then gains adds in corruption, these corruption adds are subtracted from the honor adds (thus lowering his honor skill). Once all of a character’s honor is subtracted, then he can begin to gain corruption adds. If he later gains new adds in honor, these are subtracted from his corruption adds in the same fashion.

Honor Bonus Modifiers

(+1 to +5, +5 per category above your current level, maximum of +15)

Honorable acts that are basic to the tenets of honor and not beyond the bounds of normal activity: Not cheating, keeping one’s word, never killing or attacking an unarmed foe, never harming innocents, always helping others, respecting authority, helping a friend, etc. Such acts do not gain honor unless performed by a character with corruption (in which case the modifier will be +1 to +5).

Honorable Honorable acts for the greater good which place a character at more than normal risk to life and limb.

Noble Honorable acts of self-sacrifice which further the cause of good and honor.

Pure Honorable acts which inspire others and result in the successful play of a glory card.

Good Honorable acts which further the will of the gods of honor against ultimate evils, regardless of the danger to life and limb.

Corruption Bonus Modifiers

(+1 to +5, +5 per category above your current level, maximum of +15)

Corrupt acts which are basic to the tenets of corruption and not beyond the bounds of normal activity: Lie and cheat anyone, attacking an unarmed foe, using an innocent,betraying friends, etc. Such acts do not gain corruption unless performed by a character with honor (in which case the modifier will be +1 to +5).

Corrupt Corrupt acts which help a character attain his goals through force, power and intimidation while following a twisted set of ethics (defining his own terms and living by them, whether they are honorable or corrupt).

Wicked Corrupt acts which are self-serving and unscrupulous, which help a character attain power, glory, wealth and position regardless of who gets hurt or worse; communing with lesser evils in the hopes of gaining a good result.

Foul Corrupt acts which are violent and despicable, which are cruel and brutal just for the pleasure of it; communing with lesser evils for personal gain.

Evil Corrupt acts which are heinous crimes against the gods or the tenets of goodness itself: murder of the just, the innocent, the pious; betrayal of one’s people or family that leads to mass death; acts of wanton destruction for the sheer pleasure of it; communing with true evil for pleasure and personal gain.

Honor and corruption can only be taken as skills when you create a character. They cannot be learned later by spending Possibilities. Additionally, the skills can only be purchased once; if a character loses the skill he cannot learn it again. He can, however, earn it by performing honorable or corrupt deeds (see above).

At three adds, the gods of the opposing pantheon will no longer answer the prayers of the character. So, a follower of a god of honor who has corruption at three adds is cut off from his god until he performs the proper penance and reduces his level of corruption.

At four adds, a god from the corresponding pantheon will select the character as a follower, if the character is not currently worshiping a deity. For example, Corun cannot choose to be without faith once he achieves four honor adds. He automatically receives one faith add (if he doesn’t have any) from a god of honor.

At seven adds, characters begin to show physical signs of honor or corruption. By 12 adds, a character is recognizably good or evil (unless he has deferred his corruption to the land).

Certain advantages list difficulty numbers based on levels of honor and corruption in the target character. If the target character has no honor or corruption, or is from a reality that does not measure such things, then the difficulty is based on balance and is 25. Target characters from the Nile Empire are either good or evil, as per their world laws.

Patchwork Realm Rules

Due to the perversion of the Law of Corruption by Uthorion and his god Corba’al, characters with a high enough corruption skill can deflect the corrupting effects away from their bodies and spirits and into the land itself. But with the return of Lady Ardinay of the Light, the Law of Honor reasserted itself. This has caused a

checkerboard effect throughout the reality, creating places where the land is dark and twisted according to Uthorion’s will, and areas that are full of light which banishes the shadows where corruption normally hides.

To reflect this in the realm, refer to the “Light and Darkness” map. Areas within a stelae triangle can be either light (“L”) or dark (“D”), and they have a difficulty number as well. When making a patchwork check, roll a die. If the final roll (rolling again on 10s) is equal to or greater than the difficulty number, then the area flips.

Example: An area is listed as D18. On a roll of 18 or better, the area becomes L18 and is now under the world laws of Honor.

For simplicity, areas will always retain the same difficulty number, even though the letter designation (L or D) may change any number of times.

Make a patchwork check for an area whenever any of these conditions are met:

Once every month of game time.

Once per week if the Darkness Device is used specifically to cause a check (but only on one area per week).

A glory card is successfully played in a dark area.

A character with 14 corruption adds specifically calls for a check (which he may do once per adventure).

In the cosm, where there are no stelae zones, light and dark zones are determined by less specific regions. This would be an area roughly the size of a Barony. The state of the region will be determined by the most powerful figure in it. This might be a noble, a guildmaster, a priest, or a wizard. If the area is contested between the forces of Light and Dark, checks may be made as per within the realm. The difficulty is based on the strength of the leaders:

Good/Evil – 40
Pure/Foul – 25
Noble/Wicked – 18
Unlike the realm, the strength of a region’s affiliation with honor and corruption may change over time.

Honor Advantages
Honorable
1 +1to faith:honor
2 +1 to charm, melee weapons, and first aid
Noble
3 Provide Inspiration to one other character once per act; +2 to melee weapons
4 +1 bonus to melee damage; +1 to dodge and persuasion
5 Gain healing miracle; +2 to faith:honor
6 +2 to dodge and unarmed combat
Pure
7 Gain ability to hit and damage non-corporeal beings; +3 to melee weapons; +1 to willpower
8 Gain ability to detect corruption and level of corruption; difficulty based on target’s level: corrupt 30, wicked 25, foul 20, evil 15
9 Provide Inspiration to all characters once per act; +3 to dodge
10 +3 bonus to ward enemy miracle; +4 to melee weapons
11 Gain the ability to perform a personal flurry once per scene; +3 to faith:honor
Good
12 Gain the ability to cause opponents to break once per act; +5 to melee weapons
13 Gain the ability to cause companions to be up once per act; +3 to willpower
14 Gain the ability to count any one drama deck card as a glory card once per adventure; success triggers a patchwork check
15 Gain the ability to give life to the dead once per adventure; can only be attempted on those who have recently died (within an act), can only be attempted once in an adventure (whether successful or not); difficulty based on target’s level: good 15, pure 20, noble 25, honorable 30, corrupt 35, wicked 40, foul 45, evil 50

Corruption Advantages
Corrupt
1 +1 to trick
2 +1 to taunt and intimidation
Wicked
3 Cause one opponent to become fatigued once per act; +2 to trick; +1 to maneuver
4 +1 to stealth, dodge and persuasion; gain the ability to defer your own corruption into the land (difficulty 10 in dark portions of Aysle, 25 in the light; check must be
made once per month; if successful, subtract the number of result points from your corruption adds to determine what other characters sense you as throughout the
month in question)
5 Gain harm miracle
6 +2 to dodge, maneuver, and intimidation; +1 to lockpicking
Foul
7 Gain ability to hit and damage non-corporeal beings; +2 to persuasion and taunt; +1 to willpower
8 Gain ability to detect honor and level of honor; difficulty based on target’s level: honorable 30, noble 25, pure 20, good 15
9 Cause all opponents to become fatigued once per act; +3 to dodge and maneuver
10 +3 bonus to ward enemy miracle; +3 to trick
11 All attacks are now made as blindside attacks; +3 to taunt
Evil
12 Gain the ability to cause opponents to become confused once per act
13 Gain the ability to cause opponents to break once per act; +3 to intimidation
14 Gain the ability to trigger a patchwork check once per adventure, success gives character three Possibilities; +4 to trick
15 Gain the ability to slay opponent once per adventure by touching him; can only be attempted once in an adventure (whether successful or not); success inflicts Six wounds upon the opponent; difficulty based on target’s level: good 50, pure 45, noble 40, honorable 35, corrupt 30, wicked 25, foul 20, evil 15

CHAPTER TWO

GAME SYSTEMS

Character Creation

Ayslish Characters follow the standard rules for Attributes and Skills.

Advantages

Magic (Free) All Cosm natives begin with 1 Magic Skill add (this skill is no longer difficult) and one Arcane Knowledge add. Mages (characters who make one of the Magic skills their tag skill) gain 12 free adds in arcane Knowledges. Mages who study at one of the colleges gain CHA+SPI additional spells from their chosen school in their grimoire which they may learn later. Mages may take a Devotion:School flaw. Priests who take a Faith specialization in a specific god also gain free bonus Arcane Knowledges.

Characters who transform to Aysle also gain Magic as a free Advantage, but any free advantages from their original cosm are lost. They do not gain Birth Magics, and all four skills are difficult for them.

Disadvantages

Born Contrary (1 pt. Flaw) Backlash +3 for any spell using their birth Arcane Knowledge.
Entity Hour (2 pt. Flaw) this is either a Secret or a Prejudice.

Racial Packages

Centaur (5 points)
– Hooves (STR+2/17, MRG 12), END+3/15
– MIN-1/12, Prejudice:Half-Folk (2), Size +2 (Stealth and Dodge-2)

Elves (6 points)
– AGI, DEX, and PER +2/16
– END -3 (Max 10), Magic Dependence, Bigotry:Akashans (1)

Giants (6 points)
– STR and END +3/18
– MIN and CHA -2/11, Size +3 (Stealth and Dodge-3)

Gnome (2 points)
– Size -2 (Dodge and Stealth +2)
– Prejudice:Lesser Folk (2)

Harpy (4 points)
– Wings (MRF 16), Claws and Fangs (STR+3), Hide (TOU+2)
– STR and END -1/12, Prejudice:Half-Folk (2)

Kobold (2points)
– Size -2 (Dodge and Stealth +2)
– Prejudice:Lesser Folk (2)

Minotaur (4 points)
– Teeth (STR+3), Horns (STR+4), Hide (TOU+7), Size +2 (STR+2/15, Lifting Limit 11)
– Prejudice:Half-Folk (2), Short Tempered, Size +2 (Dodge and Stealth -2)
Troll (4 points)
– Claws (STR+3), Size +2 (STR+2/15, Lifting Limit 11)
– Prejudice:Lesser Folk (2), Size +2 (Dodge and Stealth -2)

New Skills

Agility
Mechanical Maneuver – Specific Armor/Machine

Perception
Language – Ayslish, Barbarian, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Ice Nomad, Lesser Folk, Viking
Scholar:Aysle Cosm Lore – Specific Great House Territory, Barbarian Islands, Elven Lands, Mage Islands, Freetrader and Corsair Ports, Viking Islands; Land Between; Arland, Chamkatt, Volcan Isles, Polja, Rakholm, Ugorland, Broken Land, Dulge; Specific Pocket Dimension

Spirit
Corruption – no specialties
Dwarven Occultech
Honor – no specialties

The Four Magic Skills – On Aysle are specialized by school: Elements, Essences, Kindred, Mixed Forces, Principles

Magic in Aysle

On Aysle, all characters have some magical talent, but not all take the time and effort to develop it. There is a very great difference between what a simple peasant farmer or craftsman might do and what a Archmage can. This section has spells from both extremes. Cantrips are spells that can be used by most people with only a few weeks of study and practice. They are easy to cast, but have little, lasting effect.

This section also demonstrates the limits of what Ayslish magic can do – the tremendous power that Axiom 18 allows.

ESSENCES

Midwife’s Prediction (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Divination/Life 7
Backlash: 6
Difficulty: 4
Effect Value: 10
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 5 (10 seconds)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
The Midwife lays her hands upon the belly of a pregnant woman (or animal) and thinks of a healthy birth. The spell reveals a number of details equal to the level of success. Details may include: number of offspring, their sex, general health, and approximate due date. The latter is in weeks, until it is about a week away. Then in days until the last day. And finally in hours.
The cantrip will not reveal a miscarriage caused by the actions of the mother or others after it is cast.

Breath of Life
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Conjuration/Life 29
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 19
Effect Value: 27
Bonus Number To:
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 30 (10 days)
Cast Time: 18 (1 hour)
Manipulation:
Focused, Impressed. The caster holds the body of a recently dead person – which is still largely intact – and breaths into the nose or mouth. After an hour of this, the recipient regains six wounds, returning from the dead. The spell remains in effect for ten days, one day more than the minimum time needed to heal a mortally wounded person. During this time he must undergo normal, or miraculous healing, in order to remain healthy.
Should he be injured again before that is done, all untended wounds immediately return. And he may not be subject to the Breath of Life twice within ten days.

Create Greater Undead
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Alteration/Death 30
Backlash: 24
Difficulty: 21
Effect Value: 20
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 7 (25 meters)
Duration: 43 (10 years)
Cast Time: 25 (1 day)
Manipulation: cast time, control, duration, range, speed, state
This Focused, Impressed, ritual allows the caster to transform himself, or a target within his casting circle (willing or not) into an intelligent undead. This may be a ghoul, vampire, lich or any other form the caster desires. The spell requires a complex casting circle, which the target must remain within for the entire casting. The target must also be prepared with blood and oils rendered from corpses of humans or other folk.
While the spell has a limited Duration, the new undead may remain indefinitely, so long as it consumes the life force of sentient victims regularly. The undead gains the Life Drain power, and the Nutritional Requirement:Life Force. If the undead fails to consume life to remain in its’ undead state, it will experience a final death.

Know Time/Pocket Watch (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Divination/Time 9
Backlash: 8
Difficulty: 6
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 0 (self)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 0 (1 second)
Manipulation:
This cantrip allows the caster to know the time in years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. The caster will glance at the sky, his wrist, or some such simple gesture, and the time will fix in his mind.

Replay Reality
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Divination/Time 13
Backlash: 9
Difficulty: 8
Effect Value: 6 (Second Chance)
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 14 (10 minutes)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
Focused. The caster, or a target of his choice, is imbued with a small amount of chronal energy. At any time in the next ten minutes (or longer depending on the skill of the caster) the recipient may employ this energy to repeat one action. This acts as a Second Chance card.
The caster repeats a simple action over and over while intoning a simple chant.

Greater Teleportation
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Apportation/True Knowledge 30
Backlash: 25
Difficulty: 20
Effect Value: 25
Bonus Number To: Range
Range: 20 (10 kilometers)
Duration: 14 (10 minutes)
Cast Time: 9 (1 minute)
Manipulation:
This spell allows the caster to cross vast distances instantaneously. Anyone who steps through the 3m radius portal finds themselves at the target destination. The spell allows up to 100 tons to pass through at one time. The mage must know the target destination. He must have been there or have a reasonably accurate image of it (painting, model, scrying pool). During the casting he focuses his mind on the destination. The portal will be accurate to within about 100m, adjusting itself to avoid solid objects or living beings.

PRINCIPLES
Shade/Sunglasses (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 10
Skill: Conjuration/Darkness 8
Backlash: 6
Difficulty: 4
Effect Value: 4
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 1 (1.5 meter)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 0 (1 seconds)
Manipulation:
When faced with bright light (sunlight or artificial lighting) the mage may summon up a patch of illusionary darkness, either to provide a patch of shade of roughly human size, or to cover his eyes. Either way, this spell negates penalties for bright light, to a maximum of +4. This spell may be disbelieved with a Willpower total of 8.

Eclipse
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Conjuration/Darkness 26
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 15
Effect Value: 15
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 15 (1 kilometer)
Duration: 15 (15 minutes)
Cast Time: 18 (1 hour)
Manipulation:
This impressed spell requires a large piece of obsidian, which is consumed in the casting. While performing the ritual, the mage must remain in total darkness, and focus on nothing but the darkness, while intoning a complex litany. When the spell is released, it blots out all sunlight in an area one kilometer in radius. Within that area all actions requiring sight face a +15 difficulty modifier.
All natural light, man-made light sources, and any light spells with an effect value less than Eclipse, can not be seen within the eclipsed area.

Candle/Penlight (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 10
Skill: Conjuration/Light 11
Backlash: 9
Difficulty: 7
Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 5 (10 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 0 (1 second)
Manipulation:
The mage exclaims “lights!” and focuses a small source of light in a convenient object. This allows the mage and those with him to see about 10 meters without penalty from natural darkness. This light is illusory, and may be disbelieved with a Willpower total of 8.

Daylight
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Conjuration/Light 26
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 15
Effect Value: 20
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 10 (100 meters)
Duration: 18 (1 hour)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
This impressed spell creates a 100 meter radius zone of sunlight. All natural and magical darkness with an effect value less than 20 is canceled. And any creatures vulnerable to sunlight treat the effect value as damage (with minimums based on their normal weakness to sunlight).
Casting this spell requires a diamond, into which a beam of light is projected, when the spell is finished, the diamond is consumed.

Detect Magic (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 5
Skill: Divination/Magic 11
Backlash: 14
Difficulty: 10
Effect Value: 10
Bonus Number to: Effect
Range: 10 (100m)
Duration: 8 (40 seconds)
Cast Time: 8 (40 seconds)
Read the result points (that is the bonus number) on the general success table.
Minimal/Average general direction of any magic within range.
Good specific location of any spells or items with range.
Superior the skill and pattern knowledge of those spells.
Spectacular the full details of the spell/item. This information requires one action per spell or item to process.
Note: this is the same spell from the Pixaud’s Errata – it is included here as it is functionally a cantrip.

MIXED FORCES
Prestidigitation (Cantrip)
Axiom Level:
Skill: Alteration/Inanimate Forces 5
Backlash: 4
Difficulty: 3
Effect Value: 3
Bonus Number To:
Range: 4 (6 meters)
Duration: 5 (10 seconds)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
This spell allows the caster to make subtle changes to objects in his presence. He may make one such change per casting, but the changes may last beyond the end of the spell. Examples include lifting 4 kilograms and moving it up to 6 meters, altering the color of an object, cleaning or soiling one object, warm or chill a plate of food or mug of drink, or similar effect.
This spell can not create anything (that requires Conjuration), cause damage, or any form of interaction result.

Floating Castle
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Apportation/Inanimate Forces 24
Backlash: 16
Difficulty: 12
Effect Value: 27 (250 tons)
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: touch
Duration: 44 (15 years)
Cast Time: 32 (1month)
Manipulation:
Through the use of several rare and expensive components, all incorporated into the mortar of the foundation of the structure, the mass may be lifted into the air, and even move at a rate of 9 mph (8). More powerful versions, capable of levitating whole cities are rumored to exist. The tower of Inanimate Forces on Bridge Isle utilizes a permanent version of this spell.

Remove Fatigue/Massage (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Alteration/Living Forces 6
Backlash: 5
Difficulty: 3
Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: touch
Duration: 5 (10 seconds)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
The caster needs only touch the target, and all fatigue and tension is eased, as if she had been given first aid, or had a full massage. The effect value is read on the first aid chart.

Restore Youth
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Alteration/Living Forces 22
Backlash: 15
Difficulty: 14
Effect Value: 22
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 38 (1 year)
Cast Time: 25 (1 day)
Manipulation:
The mage creates a silver mirror, inlaid with jewels, with a minimum value of 20,000 trades. The spell is cast while looking into the mirror. She cuts a lock of her hair, and places it into a small compartment in the mirror.
When cast, the mage does not age for the duration of the spell. If she wishes to continue to benefit from the spell, she must recast it before the duration ends. Many sorceresses do this on their birthday each year. If the spell is not renewed, she suffers damage as if she were attacked by a damage value equal to the effect value of the spell, increased by the value in years that she has been using the spell.
This spell may be used to live beyond the natural life span of one’s race, without facing the penalties for old age. Most assumed that a version of this spell was responsible for Ardinay’s five hundred year lifespan.

KINDRED
Fishing Lure (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 8
Skill: Alteration/Aquatic 9
Backlash: 7
Difficulty: 6
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 8 (40 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 9 (1 minute)
Manipulation:
The caster sits quietly along a stream, river, pond, or other body of water that contains fish. He drops his fishing line, and some form of bait, into the water, and concentrates silently on the line. The Spell compels fish to come investigate. The spell acts as a Survival:Fishing skill total of 18. The margin of success of the survival roll indicates one fish per level. But this requires at least five minutes per level to catch more than one.

Bird Call (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 8
Skill: Alteration/Avian 9
Backlash: 7
Difficulty: 6
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Range
Range: 8 (40 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 9 (1 minute)
Manipulation:
This spell must be cast outdoors, or in an area where birds can hear and gain entrance. The caster whistles an imitation of the call of the bird he is summoning, and it is drawn to him in response. This spell works best on trained birds, such as a hunting falcon, as the spell only calls the bird to the caster, it doesn’t imbue any desire to cooperate or be friendly. The spell will succeed if the Effect Value is greater than the target’s strength.

Vermin Shield (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 8
Skill: Alteration/Earthly 9
Backlash: 7
Difficulty: 5
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 0 (1 second)
Manipulation:
A less powerful version of Animal Shield or Insect Repellent, the caster smudges himself or another with a bit of ash, and casts the spell. Rats, snakes, and insects are repulsed, and do not cause any problems. This spell is extremely short-lived, and is intended for brief encounters. Most Vitomancers learn this cantrip as a prelude to learning the longer, more potent spells.

Faerie/Fey Shield (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 9
Skill: Apportation/Elemental 12
Backlash: 8
Difficulty: 7
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 7 (25 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
The caster must possess a cold iron nail. When threatened by Faeries or Fey, she invokes this cantrip. Any Faerie with a Strength less than the Effect Value is driven beyond the spell’s range, but is otherwise unharmed. If the caster has done nothing to actively offend the Faerie, this spell should be sufficient to make them leave her alone. If they are offended, they may still take harmful actions from beyond the cantrip’s effect.

Command Dragon
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Alteration/Enchanted 27
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 16
Effect Value: 30
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 20 (10 kilometers)
Duration: 18 (1 hour)
Cast Time: 22 (four hours)
Manipulation: cast time
To cast Command Dragon, the mage must possess a coin or other bit of treasure suitable for a hoard, and two scales from a dragon. The mage draws a pentagram on the ground, places the treasure in the center, and walks the circumference of the circle while holding the scales. Once the spell is cast, he must lure the dragon into the circle within the spell’s duration. Once the dragon has done so, and touches the treasure, the spell takes effect.
The Effect Value is compared to the Dragon’s Willpower, and if the spell succeeds, the Dragon must obey every command – that is not life threatening – for the rest of the spells duration. Unfortunately most dragon’s tend to be quite resentful of being so compelled, and are likely to seek revenge afterward.
Despite this, many Dark Ayslish Elven wizards used this spell over the centuries to acquire mounts for their Dragon Riders.

Control Undead
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Alteration/Entity 25
Backlash: 19
Difficulty: 15
Effect Value: 20
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 10 (100 meters)
Duration: 25 (1 day)
Cast Time: 20 (2.5 hours)
Manipulation: Duration
This is an Impressed, Focused spell. The Necromancer must prepare it in advance, with a human (or other sentient) sacrifice. Once done, he marks the victim’s skull with a sigil, drawn in the victim’s blood. Upon encountering undead – either wandering, non-sentients – such as zombies or skeletons – who are not under the command of another Necromancer, or an intelligent undead such as a ghoul or vampire, the Necromancer presents the skull (some make it into the figurehead of a staff). The spell will effect all undead within a 25m radius. The undead, if it is capable, may resist with a Willpower check against the spell’s Effect Value.

Cause Fatigue (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 8
Skill: Alteration/Folk 9
Backlash: 8
Difficulty: 5
Effect Value: 9
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 7 (25 meters)
Duration: 0 (1 second)
Cast Time: 3 (4 seconds)
Manipulation:
The mage waves their wand, staff, or other casting implement about. The spell acts as a form of Maneuver check and the Effect Value is compared to the target’s Maneuver on that table.

Stall Labor
Axiom Level:
Skill: Alteration/Folk 11
Backlash: 9
Difficulty: 6
Effect Value: 14
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: Touch
Duration: 22 (6 hours)
Cast Time: 18 (1 hour)
Manipulation:
The Midwife has someone boil water, and another would-be helper gather clean linens. She will then apply cold compresses to the pregnant woman’s forehead, and seek to relax her.
This spell delays the birth of a child, to avoid the Entity Hour, or being Born Contrary. However, wealthy families will pay to hold off labor until a more advantageous date. When the time is right, the midwife may cancel the spell.
This spell may only be used once, and then labor sets in. It is unhealthy for the child to attempt to recast it.

ELEMENTS
Fan (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 7
Skill: Apportation/Air 10
Backlash: 8
Difficulty: 6
Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 3 (4 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
The caster fans the air with her hand, or some useful implement for a few seconds, this starts the air flowing, producing a continuing fan effect for the duration. While it is not enough to render excessively hot, humid air comfortable, it is at least provides some air movement.

Tornado
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Apportation/Air 28
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 19
Effect Value: 21
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 12 (250 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation: speed, range, control
The wizard stirs the air with his staff, and summons up a tornado which he may direct for the duration of the spell, at any targets within a quarter kilometer. The funnel cloud has a radius of 25 meters at the base. Note, the spell can not differentiate friend from foe, and the caster is not immune.

Earthquake
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Apportation/Earth 25
Backlash: 23
Difficulty: 20
Effect Value: 21
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 10 (100 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 18 (1 hour)
Manipulation: control, range
The caster stomps his feet upon the ground again and again. When he is ready to release the spell, he grabs a handful of dirt and hurls it in the direction he wishes to affect. The spell targets an area 100 meters in radius. The ground in the target area shakes and buckles. In addition to taking the effect value in damage each round, those in the area are knocked down. No armor, and most magical protections will not provide protection.

Fire Finger/Zippo (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 10
Skill: Conjuration/Fire 6
Backlash: 5
Difficulty: 3
Effect Value: 10
Bonus Number To: Range
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (4 seconds)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
The caster conjures up a tiny flame, by snapping his fingers, producing just enough flame to light a candle or pipe.

Chelsea’s Colossal Conflagration
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Conjuration/Fire 25
Backlash: 19
Difficulty: 16
Effect Value: 33
Bonus Number To: Range
Range: 5 (10 meters)
Duration: 7 (25 seconds)
Cast Time: 2 (2.5 seconds)
Manipulation:
This spell requires a ruby worth 2000 trades as the focus. It creates a 2.5m radius fireball (+3 bonus to-hit) powerful enough to do serious damage to a galleon, or any fortification less than a castle’s stone walls. Where this spell differs from most offensive fire spells, is that the bonus is to range not effect, making it effective in large scale combat.

Polish Metal (Cantrip)
Axiom Level: 8
Skill: Alteration/Metal 6
Backlash: 6
Difficulty: 3
Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: Range
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 0 (1 second)
Cast Time: 9 (1 minute)
Manipulation:
This spell polishes all metallic objects the wizard can see within range of the cantrip. This includes removing dirt and grime from swords and armor, and tarnish from coins and household fixtures.

Identify Plant (Cantrip)
Axiom Level:
Skill: Divination/Plant 7
Backlash: 7
Difficulty: 4
Effect Value: 8
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 3 (4 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 9 (1 minute)
Manipulation:
The caster uses the effect value of this spell in place of Survival or Scholar to identify any plants he sees. The spell will also provide him with important knowledge, such as whether the plant is poisonous, is edible, has medicinal properties, or is otherwise useful.

Chill/Boil Water (Cantrip)
Axiom Level:
Skill: Alteration/Water 12
Backlash: 9
Difficulty: 7
Effect Value: 12
Bonus Number To: Duration
Range: 0 (1 meter)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation:
This cantrip takes a small quantity of water – or other liquid of similar freezing and boiling points – and heats it to boiling, useful for cooking; or chills it to just above freezing, which is good for drinks. The duration determines how long the water will remain at that temperature despite the relative warmth of the area.

Tidal Wave
Axiom Level: 18
Skill: Apportation/Water 28
Backlash: 20
Difficulty: 19
Effect Value: 21
Bonus Number To: Effect
Range: 14 (600 meters)
Duration: 9 (1 minute)
Cast Time: 5 (10 seconds)
Manipulation: speed, range, control
The wizard strikes the sea with his staff, and summons up a tidal wave, which proceeds in a straight line away from him at 100 meters per round, for the duration of the spell. The wave is 50 meters across, granting a +7 to-hit bonus against all targets (friend or foe) in the area of effect.

Mages and their Titles

Those who opt to take the arcane academy route must make their way to the Mage Isles and offer themselves to a particular academy. While they can learn from the other academies (and are encouraged to do so) they must pledge themselves to one particular body of knowledge. Then they undergo a test. If a would-be mage comes through the test whole and unharmed, then he or she may join the academy. When an apprentice joins an academy, he gives up his family name. So, Belder of House Gerrik becomes simply Belder for the remainder of his apprenticeship. Once he has achieved 12 adds in arcane knowledges (at least two of which must be from his pledged body of knowledge), then Belder can call himself Belder the Mage. Belder’s next goal is to achieve 20 adds in magic skills, 10 adds in any two knowledges of his academy, and at least one add in every other knowledge of his academy. Once he does that, then Belder can claim the title of his pledged body of knowledge. For example, Belder of the Three Towers, which makes him a master mage specializing in the Principles.

Sidebar: Birth Magic
Month          Arcane Knowledge                     Divination Day 1-18
1 Arthuk       Water                                            Apportation Day 19-27
2 Asten         Aquatic                                         Alteration Day 28-30 (Midnight to 5:59am)
3 Harang       Avian                                            Conjuration Day 30 (6:00am to Midnight)
4 Darsot        Air
5 Shali          Enchanted                                     Entity 6:00am to 6:59am and 6:00pm to 6:59pm (Dawn and Dusk)
6 Celay         Metal Contrary Born during the day (7:00am to 5:59pm)
7 Endrak       Fire
8 Minthod    Elemental
9 Mesus       Earthly
10 Borl         Earth
11 Dunad      Folk
12 Rak          Plant

The Cost of Magic
Magic is a major part of the Ayslish economy. Magic can be bought in sold in four different manners: hiring a caster, purchasing a spell, buying a magic item that provides the necessary arcane knowledge and spell – but relies on the user to provide the magic skill, or items that function on their own.

Hiring a Spellcaster
Assuming you can find a mage who knows the spell you want cast, getting them to cast it – or impress or focus it as appropriate – has a price. Most mages charge a price in trades equal to 20 x the spell’s Difficulty number x the school modifier.
School Modifiers/Cost Chart                             Item Modifiers                          Impressed Item Modifiers
School             Spell Modifier      Item              Cost Armor/Weapons  x3          Divination x1
Kindred           x1                         1000              Attribute Modifier      x2           Apportation x2
Elemental        x1.5                      1500              Combat Use                x1.5        Alteration x3
Mixed Forces  x2                         2000              Non-Combat Use        x1           Conjuration x10
Principles        x3                         3000
Essences          x10                       10,000
Synonymous Knowledges cost 150% more than their more common versions.

Buying a Spell
For those who want to do it themselves, this means either buying a copy of the spell, or getting someone to teach you. The seller may charge three or more times the casting price. Negotiate as normal, with level of success applying as follows:
Botch                  No sale
Simple Failure    x10
Minimal              x7
Average               x6
Good                   x5
Superior              x4
Spectacular         x3

Arcane Knowledge Items
The majority of magical items in Aysle provide the spell and the arcane knowledge, but require the user to actually provide the magical skill. Most such items are Divination, or Apportation, with a much smaller number of Alteration. Conjuration items are the most rare.
In general, these items have a base cost determined by school, modified by the type of item, added to the base cost of the item. For example the Enchanted Bow costs 6800 trades (Mixed Forces (2000) x weapon (3) + Composite Bow (800)).
More rarely, items may be crafted that contain the magic skill as well. Such Impressed Items are more expensive, due to the extra difficulty in creating the item.

Weapons

Enchanted Bow – 6800 trades – A Compound Bow, with the Enchanted Bow spell. When the spell is not active, it has the following stats:

Tech 13 Damage Value +7/22 Range 3-10/60/250

The user may spend one day, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 10. The result points are read on the power push table (minimum bonus of +1). The spell remains active for 1 month, at which time it must be recast. The bow may not benefit from another Inanimate Forces spell while the enchantment is active.

Dagger of Throwing – 4700 trades – A Throwing Dagger with the Dagger Throw spell. When the spell is not active, it has the following stats:

Tech 7 Damage Value +3/18 Range 3-5/10/15

The user may take one second, and generate an Apportation total against a difficulty of 7. The result points are added to an Effect Value of 18. On his next action he may throw it, using the Apportation total instead of Thrown Weapons to hit, at a range of up to 10 meters, doing damage equal to the Effect Value. The dagger may not benefit from another metal spell while the enchantment is active.

Sword of Keen Blade – 5300 trades – A Broadsword, with the Keen Blade spell. When the spell is not active, it has the following stats:

Tech 9 Damage Value +6/21

The user may take one minute, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 11. The result points +4 are read on the power push table (minimum bonus of +1). The spell remains active for one hour. The sword may not benefit from another metal spell while the enchantment is active.

Armor

Light Shield – 10,500 trades – A Medium Shield, with the Shield of Light spell. When the spell is not active, it has the following stats:

Tech 12 Value/TOU +5/19 No Fatigue

The user may take one minute, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 9. The result points are added to 15 and compared to the user’s Mind or Spirit (whichever is higher) on the power push table. The shield protects against mental or spiritual attacks (including psionics, pain weapons, pulp and horror powers), adding the push value to the normal defense value. This is Illusory, and may be disbelieved with a Willpower total of 19. The shield may not benefit from another light spell while the enchantment is active.

Enchanted Chain Mail – 21,000 trades – A suit of Chain Mail, with the Enchant Armor spell. When the spell is not active, it has the following stats:

Tech 12 Armor Value +6/25 Fatigue

The user may take one day, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 9. The result points are read on the power push table (minimum bonus of +1). The spell remains active for 1 month, at which time it must be recast. The armor may not benefit from another Inanimate Forces spell while the enchantment is active.

Enchanted Plate Mail also exists, Cost 26,000 trades.

Breastplate of Vigor – 26,000 trades – A Breastplate, with the Vigor spell. The Breastplate has the following stats: Tech 13 Armor Value +5/25 No Fatigue

The user may spend 4 seconds, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 11. He then compares a value of 18 to his Toughness on the power push table and adds the result to his Toughness. This bonus lasts for 40 seconds (a value of 8) plus the result points of the casting. The wearer may not benefit from another Living Forces spell while the enchantment is active.

Sidebar: Less Potent Items

Ayslish Magic, and magic Items are incredibly powerful. Only the Miracles of the Living Land come close – and at a higher relative axiom level. For GMs that want to curb the power of magic, there are three solutions.

Firstly, outside Aysle, Enhancement spells, such as Enchant Armor or Improved Dexterity, use the general success table instead of the power push table. This limits the bonus to a maximum of +5, just like Miracles for most cosms.

Secondly, for Aysle, such spells and magic items may be modified, so that the Bonus Number is to Duration instead of Effect. If GMs wish to make such a modification, simply inform the players, of the substitution. The by the book versions may still exist, but as now considered rarer. Perhaps only a powerful evil wizard knows such a variant.

Finally, to discourage the purchase of the more powerful Keen Blade or Enchant Armor items, there is a cheaper alternative, Magical Metals.

Metal Type                                 Bonus        Cost                 

Hermium (True Mercury)  +1              1000 trades

Kyprium (True Bronze)      +2              1500 trades

Lunargent (True Silver)     +3              2500 trades

Orichalcum (True Gold)     +4              4000 trades

Mithril (True Platinum)     +5              6000 trades

Bonus – The Damage or Armor Value, and the Maximum are both increased by this amount.

Cost – This is added to the cost of the standard steel version of the item.

Rings

Ring of Evil Detection – 3100 trades – A simple bronze ring, with a clear gem, which contains the spell Detect Folk Evil. The wearer may take 15 seconds and generate a Divination total against a difficulty of 7. The result points are added to an Effect Value of 19. For the next ten minutes, he may compare the Effect Value to the Spirit or Faith value of anyone within 40 meters of himself. The gemstone will darken based on the evil intentions of the target.

Minimal/Average – evil intentions to be put in effect within the spell’s duration.

Good – evil intent toward the wearer, or an individual he thought about when activating the ring.

Superior – evil intent, and the degree of harm planned.

Spectacular – the wearer knows who the target intends to harm.

The wearer may not benefit from another Darkness spell while the enchantment is active.

Ring of Zero Light – 4600 trades – A simple bronze ring, with a onyx, which contains the spell Zero Light. The wearer takes 10 seconds, then generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 13. The result points are added to an Effect Value of 15. The ring drives all light out of a 80 meter radius area anywhere within 100 meters of the wearer. Any light spells within the area must exceed the Effect Value of this spell to function.

Ring of Facade – 2200 trades – A silver ring, which contains the spell Facade of Normality. The wearer takes one hour, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 13. The result points are added to a duration of one hour (a value of 18). Others will see the wearer as no one out of the ordinary, and not give him a second glance. As per the spell, unusual actions, grant observers a Mind total against a difficulty of 18 (with bonuses depending on the action). The wearer may not benefit from any other Living Forces spells while the enchantment is active.

Ring of Sense Undead – 2000 trades – A ivory ring (crafted from the bone of an undead), The wearer concentrates on the ring for 10 seconds, then generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 11. The results are added to a range of 100 meters (a value of 10). For the next minute, any undead who come within that range of the wearer may be sensed by comparing an Effect Value of 20 to the undead’s Spirit.

Minimal/Average – sense presence

Good – direction and distance

Superior – activity level (moving or at rest)

Spectacular – the creatures’ Spirit value

The wearer may not have any other Entity spells active on himself while the enchantment is active.

Ring of Detect Truth – 1400 trades – a gold ring, set with a gemstone, which contains the spell Detect Truth. The wearer takes 4 minutes, and generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 8. The result points are added to an Effect Value of 27. The gem will glow for the next hour, but if anyone attempts to lie to the wearer, they must generate a Persuasion total, the results are read on the Interaction Table. If the target knowingly lies, and the results are less than his loyalty to the subject, the gem’s glow dims. The wearer may not have any other Folk spells active on himself while the enchantment is active.

Windy Ear Rings – 1900 trades – a pair of gold and diamond ear rings, which contains the spell Windy Ears. The wearer takes a minute, and generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 12. The results are added to a range of 10 kilometers (a value of 20). She may hear what is happening in the direction she cocks her ear, up to the range of the spell. The wearer may not have another Air spell active on herself while this enchantment is active.

Wands/Staves

Light Wand – 4500 trades – A simple wooden stick, about 30cm long, and highly polished, which contains the spell Mage Light. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 10. The result points are added to the 1 hour duration (a value of 18). The wand creates a 25 meter radius area of light.

Staff of Lightning – 6000 tradesAn iron shod wooden staff, which contains the spell Lightning. When used as a staff it has the following stats:

Tech 7 Damage Value +3/18

The wielder may take ten seconds, and generate an Alteration total against a difficulty of 11. The result points are added to an Effect Value of 20. Over the next 40 seconds the wielder may produce four lightning bolts. He must make an Apportation total for each in order to hit his intended target within 40 meters.

There are a number of similar staves, which use other offensive spells such as Deadly Darts (9000 trades), Whirlwind (4500 trades), Conjured Fireball (4500 trades), or Ice Bolt (4500 trades). Many mages find such weapons to be a status symbol – even if they can cast the spell themselves.

Belts

Belt of Light Levitation – 2000 trades – A finely tooled leather belt embossed with feathered wings, which contains the Light Levitation spell. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 8. The result points are added to the duration of 6 minutes (a value of 13). The wearer, and anything he can carry, to a total of 600kg may rise into the air, or descend, at a rate of 25 meters/round. The wearer may not benefit from any other Living Forces spells while this enchantment is active.

Belt/Girdle of Strength – 5000 trades – a fine belt or girdle crafted from leather, and worked with precious metal and gems, which contains the spell Improved Magical Strength. The wearer takes 6 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 16. The result points are added to the Effect Value of 14 and compared to the wearer’s strength on the power push table. The results (to a maximum of 21) are added to the wearer’s Strength for ten minutes. The wearer may not benefit from any other Living Forces spells while this enchantment is active.

An Impressed version exists which contains the full spell for 15,000 trades and provides a permanent +3 bonus.

Clothing

Cape of Flying – 1500 trades – A feathered cape, which spreads like wings when the Fly spell is active. The wearer spends 10 seconds, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 8. The result points are added to the duration of 1 hour (a value of 18). The character gains a Flight speed of 13 (400 meters/round). The character must use the Flight skill, or Agility, to maneuver or make speed pushes while airborne. The wearer may not benefit from any other Avian spells while this enchantment is active.

Vest/Corset of Disguise – 2000 trades – a fine silk corset (for women) or vest (for men), which contains the Disguise Self spell. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 10. The result points are added to a duration of four minutes (12). The spell is an illusion, so rather than a Deduction, Find or Perception total, a Willpower total of 15 is needed to see through the Disguise. The wearer may not benefit from any other Folk spells while this enchantment is active.

Scarf of Evil Concealment – 3000 trades – A simple piece of black cloth, which contains the spell Conceal Evil. The wearer spends one minute, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 10. The result is added to the Effect Value of 15, which is compared to the wearer’s Spirit on the power push table. The results are added to the wearer’s Spirit for purposes of resisting Detect Folk Evil, Detect Corruption, or similar spells or abilities. The protection lasts for one day or until the scarf is removed. The wearer may not benefit from any other Darkness spells while this enchantment is active.

Lenses

Glasses of Magic Detection – 3010 trades – A pair of wire-rimmed lenses, which contain the spell Detect Magic. The wearer generates a Divination total for 40 seconds of use. The bonus number is read on the general success table against any spell or item within 100 meters:

Minimal/Average – general direction of any magic within range

Good – specific location of any spells or items in range

Superior – the skill and pattern knowledge of those spells

Spectacular – the full details of any spell or item (requires one action per spell or item to process the information)

The wearer may not benefit from any other Magic spells while using these glasses.

Glasses of Eagle Eye – 1010 trades – a pair of wire-rimmed lenses, wrapped with the feathers of a particular type of bird, which contain the spell Eagle Eye. The wearer takes one minute and generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 15. The result points are added to the one hour duration (a value of 18). For the next hour, the caster can see through the eyes of any bird of the proper type within 10 kilometers. The wearer may not benefit from any other Avian spells while this enchantment is active.

Boots

Boots of Haste – 2000 trades – A fine pair of leather boots, tooled with wings along the ankles, which contains the spell Haste. The wearer spends 6 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 15. The result points are added to the Duration of 4 minutes (a value of 12). The Effect Value of 21 is compared to the wearer’s Agility on the power push table. The results are added to Agility for the purposes of calculating MRG (which may exceed the normal maximum). The wearer may not benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Boots of Jumping – 2000 trades – A fine pair of leather boots, tooled with crickets, frogs, or other animals known for jumping, which contains the spell Jump. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 10. The result points are added to the Duration of 4 minutes (a value of 12). The Effect Value of 20 is compared to the wearer’s Agility on the power push table. The results are added to Agility for the purposes of calculating MRJ (which may exceed the normal maximum). The wearer may not benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Boots of Stealth – 2000 trades – Fine leather boots, either black or forest brown, which contain the spell Stealth Walk. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates an Alteration total of 9. The result points are added to the Effect Value of 21. Compare the results against the wearer’s Agility on the power push table. The result is added to the wearer’s Stealth skill value for the duration of 2.5 hours. The wearer may not benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Gloves

Gloves of Dexterity – 4000 trades – Fine leather gloves, which contain the spell Improved Dexterity. The wearer takes 6 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 12. The result points are added to the Effect Value of 15 and compared to the wearer’s Dexterity on the power push table. The results are added to the wearer’s Dexterity for the duration of 10 minutes. The wearer may not benefit from another Living forces spell while this enchantment is active.

Gloves of Open Lock – 1500 trades (illegal) – Fine leather gloves, tooled with a key, which contain the spell Open Lock. The wearer touches a lock for 15 seconds, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 5. The result points are added to the Effect Value of 16 and compared to the Lock’s difficulty number. The spell remains in effect for 15 minutes, and the wearer may not benefit from any other Metal spells while it is active.

Headwear

Helm of Fear – 5300 trades – A plate mail helmet engraved with intimidating symbols, which contains the spell Create Fear. The wearer takes 10 seconds, and generates a Conjuration total of 14. The results are added to the Duration of 15 minutes (a value of 15). The wearer compares the Effect Value of 26 to his Intimidation of the power push table, and adds the results. The spell is illusory, and may be disbelieved with a Willpower total of 19. The wearer may not benefit from any other Darkness spell while this enchantment is active.

These Helms are more common among the Army of the Dark than among the forces of Honor.

Tiara of Enhanced Aura – 14,000 trades – A golden tiara, or crown, worked with numerous gems, which contains the spell Enhanced Aura. The wearer takes one hour, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 11. The results added to 21 and compared to the greater of the wearer’s Charisma and Spirit on the power push table, and both attributes are increased by the results for one week. The wearer may not benefit from any other Living Forces spells while this enchantment is active.

Circlet of Mental Acuity – 3000 trades – A simple band of silver, which contains the spell Ritual of Mind Preparation. The wearer takes one hour, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 7. The result points are compared to the wearer’s Mind on the power push table, and the results added to that attribute for one day. The wearer may not benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Circlet of Perception – 3000 trades – A simple band of silver, which contains the spell Ritual of Perception Preparation. The wearer takes one hour, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 7. The result points are compared to the wearer’s Perception on the power push table, and the results added to that attribute for one day. The wearer may not benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Circlet of Telepathy – 2000 trades – A band of silver, which contains the spell Telepathy. The wearer must have a lock of hair or personal item of the person he wishes to communicate with. He takes 10 seconds, and generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 6. The results are added to the range of 1 kilometer (a value of 15). The wearer and his chosen recipient may speak to each other for one hour. Neither may benefit from another Folk spell while this enchantment is active.

Amulets/Necklaces

Broach of Hide from Magic – 4000 trades – a silver device, often set with a large gem, which contains the spell Hide from Magic. The wearer takes one minute, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 9. The results are added to the duration of 1 day (a value of 25). While it is in effect, any Divination spells cast against the wearer face a resistance value of 20, but the wearer may not benefit from any other Magic spells.

Collar of Obedience – 6500 trades (Illegal in Light Territories) – A collar, usually made of steel, which has Impressed the spell Command Obedience. These collars are normally crafted by House Vareth, though other Dark wizards may make them as well. The lock mechanism has a difficulty of 15. The Collar’s effect is permanent, whoever places the collar on the recipient generates a bonus number, and adds it to the Effect Value of 20. The wearer must generate a Willpower total against that value. If it fails he may not disobey the one who placed it on him. If commanded to commit a self-destructive act, or an act against his nature, he may try to resist again.

Necklace of Pathfinding – 1500 trades – A simple leather thong, with an iron nail tied into it, which contains the spell Pathfinder. The wearer holds the necklace in his hand, and concentrates on the object or place of his search for 1 minute, then generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 5. The results are added to a range of 400 meters (a value of 13). The nail will point toward the object of his search. If the object is within one hour’s walk, he can reach it before the spell expires. Otherwise he must recast. The wearer may not benefit from another Earth spell while this enchantment is active.

Gorget/Choker of Gills – 1500 trades – This item may be crafted as a leather neck guard or a silken ornament, and contains the spell Corgain’s Gill Spell. The wearer takes 10 seconds, then generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 11. The result points are added to the duration of 1 hour (a value of 18). The wearer gains the Advantage Water Breathing, granting a +3 bonus to the wearer’s Swimming, and allowing underwater breathing. The wearer may not benefit from any other Water spells while this enchantment is active.

Bracers

Steel Bands – 10,000 trades – Three metal bands, which may be worn as bracers when not in use. When the user wishes, he takes 10 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 10 to active the Ryggin’s Steel Bands spell. He then generates an Apportation total to hit a target within 10 meters. If successful, the target is held for 40 seconds (a value of 8), or he generates a Strength total of 20. If the target knows the spell is Illusory, he may generate a Willpower total of 15 to disbelieve. If the target has an active Magic enchantment with an Effect higher than 20, this spell will not affect him.

Bracers of Agility – 4000 trades – Fine leather bracers, which contain the spell Improved Agility. The wearer takes 6 seconds, and generates an Alteration total against a difficulty of 12. The result points are added to the Effect Value of 15 and compared to the wearer’s Agility on the power push table. The results are added to the wearer’s Agility for the duration of 10 minutes. The wearer may not benefit from another Living forces spell while this enchantment is active.

Other

Broom of Cleanse Area – 3000 trades – a simple broom, favored by the very wealthy because it contains the spell Cleanse Area. The user takes 10 seconds, then generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 6. The result points are added to the range of 6 meters (a value of 4). Over the course of 25 minutes, the spell cleans a 2.5 meter radius area to a height of 1 meter each area, each round. All the dirt and refuse is moved into a pile within the range of the spell.

Pool of Fish Eyes – 1010 trades – A simple bowl, crafted from coral, which contains the spell Fish Eyes. The user must catch a fish, and place it in the pool for a second, then take one minute and generate a Divination total against a difficulty of 7. The results are added to the duration of 1 hour (a value of 18). The user may see in the pool whatever the fish sees, so long as it does not go beyond the 400 meter range.

Scarecrow – 1200 trades – A mannequin stuffed with straw, and wearing old clothes, which contains the spell Scarecrow. The user places it in a field he wishes to protect from birds and other avian creatures, spends 10 hours walking the perimeter of the field, touching the plants that are to be protected, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 12. The results are added to the Effect Value of 21, the results are read on the power push table, this is the value of the maximum weight (in kilograms) of birds that can be moved out of the field, or prevented from entering. The scarecrow protects a 100 meter radius area to a height of 6 meters, for a period of 10 months.

Fireplace of Visions – 3500 trades – A brick fireplace, which contains the spell Fiery Visions. The user builds a fire, 4 meters high, by 4 meters wide, for one hour, the flames will show an image if the user makes a Divination total of 9. The results are added to the range of 10 kilometers (a value of 20). If the subject the user wishes to see is within range, the flames will take on the appearance of that subject, and everything within a 4 meter by 4 meter area around it. If the flames are extinguished, the spell ends.

Precious Metal Plate – 1525 trades – A scale plate made of Iron Pyrite, which contains the spell of the same name. The user takes 10 minutes and generates a Divination total against a difficulty of 11. The results are added to an Effect Value of 32. For one month, the effect value is used to analyze any metals placed on the plate. If the metal is genuine and valuable, the plate will make a tone when the metal falls on it, if it is not, there will be no sound. If the metal is Illusory, the Effect Value is compared against the Disbelief value.

These plates are crafted to recognize most known precious metals.

Water Valley Keel – Increases the cost of the ship by 1500 trades – The enchantment Aeluin’s Water Valley is placed on the Keel of an Ayslish ship during its construction. When the Captain or Helmsman wishes to employ it, he takes one hour, while at the helm, and generates an Apportation total against a difficulty of 12. The results are added to the duration of 4 hours (a value of 21). Compare the Effect Value of 30 to the Speed Value of the ship on the power push table, the results are added to the Speed, but the Shock Points are applied – unless the user opts to limit the push. The ship, regardless of its’ normal maneuverability, may not turn more than 10o every 25 meters.

These Keels are most commonly found on Elven or Freetrader vessels. However, Vareth and Corsair ships with the modification are becoming more common.

Magic Enablers

Though extremely rare on Aysle, in the Realms there is a need for items to make up for a lack of a lifetime of Magical study. These three items make use of the Folk Synonymous Knowledge: Human, and allow Humans from other realities, who do not have the Magic Advantage to make use of Ayslish magical items. In all three cases, the wearer compares the Effect Value of 15 to their Perception (for Divination and Apportation) or Mind (for Alteration) and treats the results as skill adds in the relevant magic skill. Note: the wearer may only have one of these items active at a time. Also, if a Conjuration item were to be crafted, it would cost 31,000 trades. However, while the Tharkoldu may have no compunction of making an Occultech Conjuration item, the Ayslish would never destabilize

Diadem of Divination – 4000 trades – A silver band with a large gemstone set in the center of the forehead. The gemstone will take on the color of the wearer’s eye when it is being used.

Armband of Apportation – 7000 trades – A silver bracelet and fine chain, leading to a matching ring, with a gemstone. The gemstone glows while the item is in use.

Amulet of Alteration – 10,000 trades – a silver disc, set with a large gemstone, worn on a heavy chain. The gemstone glows while the item is in use.

Dwarven Occultech

Dwarven Occultech is the skill which blends Aysle’s Magic Axiom, Law of Magic, and Law of Observation to enhance their technology. With it, Occultechnicians can use Aysle World Laws, and High Magic Axiom to simulate purely Technological items up to Axiom 20. This skill requires a Magic Axiom of 17 or Higher, and the Laws of Observation and Magic.

Dwarven Occultech is used instead of Craft or Science to build, improve, and manufacture all kinds technomagical devices.

Technomagical devices are constructed using the same procedures as non-magical devices, but only Dwarven Occultech skill is used. Craft skill is neither needed nor effective.

The process takes one day per bonus point. At the end of that time, a Dwarven Occultech check is made. The difficulty number is 12 plus the item’s stat bonus modifier. Example: a Broadsword would be Difficulty 18 (12+6=18). For items without modifiers, gamemasters should use the Difficulty Number Scale to determine appropriate modifiers based on the complexity of the item being produced or repaired.

If the item incorporates a spell effect with charges, the difficulty number is the spell’s difficulty number plus 8. The device has one charge for margin of success, unless the spell normally has Bonus Number to Duration, in which case it is determined normally (maximum bonus of +15). At this time permanent technomagical devices are not possible without a Vril Battery.

The success level of the Dwarven Occultech check determines how effective the device is.

On an abysmal failure (the difficulty is at least 10 greater than the Dwarven Occultech total) the parts are damaged and useless.
On a simple failure the Dwarf can try the job again.
On a Minimal success, the piece is a faulty and malfunctions on a roll of 2 to 4.
On an Average or Good success the item is made to specification. It will function normally.
On a Superior success the device cannot suffer systems failure. Any adds or other score that measures the item’s performance is increased by one point, and will shorten the process by one day
On a Spectacular success, the item gets the same benefits as on a superior success, and will shorten the process by half (round down).
Occultech cannot be used unskilled.

Repairs: Repairing damaged technomagic devices takes one day. The Dwarven Occultech total must beat a difficulty of the wound level. Each level of success reduces the time value for the repairs by two.

Thus, on an average success repairs take 10 hours. Good success takes 4 hours. Superior success takes 90 minutes and a spectacular success takes half an hour.

Making Vril Batteries: To make vril batteries, the occultech must first prepare a number of battery casings. Generate an occultech total. This is the number of casings that the character can prepare in a day.

Once he has prepared the casings, which may be made in advance and stored until needed, the dwarf needs a living, possibility-rated prisoner.

The process of charging the casings is a single ritual, measured in one hour increments. During each hour that the ritual continues, the dwarf generates a Dwarven Occultech total and compares it to the victim’s Spirit. The results are read as Spiritual damage. For every three points of shock damage that these attacks do, one of the victim’s possibilities is drained into a battery casing, charging it so that it becomes a vril battery.

The ritual must continue until the damage kills the victim, whereupon his remaining possibilities will charge an equal number of batteries, or until the victim runs out of possibilities or the dwarf has charged all its available battery casings. In either of these cases, the dwarf simply kills its victim.

If the ritual is interrupted while the victim is still alive, then all the stolen possibilities flow back into him. Interrupting the ritual means preventing the dwarf from performing the occultech ritual for a few seconds more than an entire hour; an hour plus ten seconds is enough. If the victim dies through other means before the process is complete, any remaining possibility energy is lost. It does not charge the batteries. However, any batteries that have already been charged retain their power.

Creating Vril Batteries is a Corrupt act. (Note: a possible alternative exists, but as yet there has not been enough interaction between Ayslish Mages/Occultechnicians and the Scientists of Terra. Once suitable Observation of Synthesized Eternium has been done, Vril Batteries (or Eternium Batteries) could be manufactured in this manner.)

Sidebar: The Price of Magic

Buying Magic Items has a set cost, which limits the ability of players to overpower a campaign. But what if there is a wizard in the party? Can’t he just make any items the party wants?

Yes. If he can afford the materials. Unless he can make the item itself, he will have to buy it. And cheap components are not suitable to hold the magical pattern. Even if he can make the item himself (say he is a sword smith) he needs raw materials equal to one half the cost of the finished item.

Then of course, there is the inherent -15 penalty to the Casting Total and Backlash Resistance of the caster. It is assumed that NPC Artificers have the Specialty Artifice on their magic skills, and also use modified spell designs to make the initial construction easier. Players may do the same thing, but it requires taking time to research the spell, and a lot of skill points to buy up the necessary specialties.

Occultech avoids the casting penalty, but is plenty difficult already. Items created using this system will cost roughly the same as items made using traditional magic, and construction will require components equaling half the sale price. GMs should calculate the cost at the same time they calculate the difficulty and construction time.

For some examples of Occultech, see the New Equipment section below.

Religion in Aysle

Religion plays an important part in Aysle society, and in many ways religion is simply an extension of the natural magic that permeates the disk world. But in other ways, religion is of a separate, more spiritual nature. Like magic, religion requires a leap of faith as it deals with matters beyond the normal perceptions of the populace. In a world where observation is everything, this is important to remember.

The major faiths are built around strong gods and legendary heroes. In general, the three major faiths are those of Honor, Corruption, and Balance.

But in practice, the folk follow a particular god and his or her agents in the world. The followers of Honor tend to consider themselves good. The major tenets of belief center around faithfulness, loyalty, respect, and being true to yourself. The followers of Corruption see themselves as opposed to the followers of Honor. Their actions could be considered evil, and they take the form of both overt and subtle activities. Their tenets incorporate de-structive and disruptive tendencies. The followers of Balance try to walk the middle path, leaning neither toward Honor nor Corruption but incorporating both into their tenets. They believe in balance, and strive to maintain a balance in everything.

The gods, while real entities whose influence in the world can be observed, are nevertheless apart from daily life in Aysle. Legends persist of actual appearances by the gods in physical form, but these occurrences are rare and only happen to the most holy members of the faith.

The use of spiritual power is common in Aysle, for there are a vast number of gods granting miracles to the faithful. These range from highly beneficial rites to obscenely corrupt and destructive ones. The number of individuals manifesting the ability to invoke miracles is fairly high, both in the service of Honor and Corruption.

The Spiritual axiom of Aysle is 16, meaning that invocations are possible in the cosm and realm, though extremely difficult (DN 37). Ayslish clerics and the faithful can gain benefits from the Laws of Honor and Corruption, though in different measures. For example, a character with one add in Honor gains +1 to his faith skill. However, a cleric of Corruption will receive no real benefit until he has achieved five adds in that skill, at which point he gains the harm miracle.

The Law of Observation also comes into play in Aylish religion. The influence of the gods can be observed in Ayslish life, and therefore the gods themselves are deemed to be real under the tenets of this law.

Items may be imbued by the community of the faithful with spiritual powers, and this occurs with great frequency in Aysle.

Aysle’s religions can be divided into three major categories: those aligned to Honor, those aligned to Corruption, and those which worship gods of Balance. Characters may choose either of these three as their Faith Skill. Clerics must specialize in a particular deity, doing so gives a bonus to the arcane knowledges under that gods influence. Also each god has one or more miracles associated with them. When invoking that miracle, the specialization adds to faith may be used. (These will be noted in parentheses in the list of Prayers and Rituals). Some gods have unique miracles (noted below) which are only available to their priests.

Honor

In the great war between the pantheons of Aysle, Honor has matched steel with Corruption on many occasions, with mixed success. At present, Honor has enjoyed an increase in power in the Aysle cosm, while seeing its influence dwindle in the realm.

Clerics of Honor are taught not to fear the tide of evil that surrounds them, for a servant of Dunad can never be truly defeated. They are entreated to protect those who cannot defend themselves; sacrifice pleasure and comfort, disdain vanity and pomposity, for these things will only lead to Corruption; be harsh when it is necessary, and show mercy when it is possible; spare those who surrender in battle, and lead them to the right path through example; use wisdom to see through the deceptions of the corrupt, and deal justly with all who seek their counsel.

Honor clerics are also supposed to respect all beings, regardless of status, but this particular credo is often not adhered to. There are those within the Honor religions who point out that Dunad never intended for non-humans to have magic, and that half-folk and their kind are abominations in the sight of the god.

Within the cosm of Aysle the followers of Honor are concentrated primarily in Upper Aysle. Among humans, the houses of Tancred and Gerrik represent the cause of Honor. However the ravages of corruption have inflicted much suffering upon the inhabitants of Aysle. Despite Tolwyn of Tancred’s recent victories in the cosm, there remain many who believe that the gods of Honor have abandoned them.

House Liandar, formerly a strong adherent, has shifted to Balance in the wake of the Fall of Ardinay.

Gods of Honor often grant the prayers of their followers, and legends persist of direct intervention by these deities. Whether true or not, there can be no doubt that their influence on their followers’ lives is direct and powerful.

The servants of Honor consider all those who follow the gods of Corruption to be enemies of the faith. This designation may also apply to gods of Balance who act on behalf of Corruption.

The Gods of Honor

Dunad
Major God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: time, life, magic, living forces, fire, folk
Symbol: Dunad Cross
Dunad was a human male who released his people from the bonds of giant slavery and brought the arcane knowledges of magic to Aysle. He traveled beyond the Limit to seek out a way to help his people, and returned with a powerful enchanted sword named Aurel. The sword contained all of the magic skills and knowledges, and made Dunad almost invincible. But he could not defeat the giants on his own. In the end, he traveled to the Valley of the Sword and shattered the blade of his sword, thus releasing the skills and knowledges into the air. While he meant for these skills and knowledges to be used only by humans, magic saw no difference between one type of folk and another. So, all folk were blessed with Dunad’s gift.
Dunad’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Their weapon of choice is a sword, and they tend to be warriors as well as clerics.

Shali
Major God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: life, true knowledge, light, inanimate forces, air, enchanted
Symbol: The Eye in the Sun
Shali was the first true mage of Aysle, a female human who sought to learn everything she could when the knowledges first became available. She was also Dunad’s love, and though she remained on Aysle for many years after Dunad gave the gift of magic and disappeared, she eventually went in search of her lover. Together, they became the first true gods of Aysle (not counting the dwarven creators). Legends state that Shali created the arcane academies after the giants retreated to Lower Aysle.
Shali’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Her followers tend to be mages, and most who follow her look for peaceful solutions instead of the ways of war.

Argon
Minor God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: light, earth, avian
Symbol: The Hawk in the Sun
Argon is a male human said to wander the world in the company of an earth elemental and a hunting hawk, seeking to find and destroy the hated Harang and her followers. This legendary battle is carried on by the followers of Argon, who seek to destroy the corrupted avians which have fallen out of the light and now reside in the darkness beneath Harang’s outstretched wings.
Argon’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Their weapon of choice is the long bow.

Sidebar: Miracles of Honor

Argon also grants his priests the Miracle Hawk of Horus, which they call Hawk of Argon. Asten’s followers may learn Illusory Dragon. And Mesus’ Centaur followers are known to possess Run Like the Wind.

Mesus
Minor God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: living forces, plant, earthly
Symbol: Crys Flower
Mesus takes the form of a female centaur, and she is revered by the half-folk of Upper Aysle. Her symbol, the crys flower, has only recently returned to the world in great number. Under Uthorion, the beautiful blue-red flower was allowed to be trampled to near extinction. It, like Mesus’ followers, remained hidden in solitary, out-of-the-way places. Now, with the return of Ardinay, the god and her followers are trying to regain a place in Ayslish society. Nature and the land are Mesus’ chief concerns, and her followers tend to be rangers, woodsmen, farmers, and the like — all folk, although the majority are half-folk.
Mesus’ priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Elmiir
Major God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: true knowledge, magic, water, elemental
Symbol: Two Stars over Water
The most influential of the elven gods, the male Elmiir is an enigmatic and mysterious figure. His symbol represents the arcane stars of magic and elemental knowledge rising over a body of water, and some believe it actually stands for the elven homeland, Elveim. Legends say that Elmiir brought his people to Aysle from somewhere beyond the Limit, and he took his place beside the other gods to make sure the elves would always have an advocate within the spheres of power. It is because of the tenets of Elmiir’s teachings that the elves remain apart from the other folk.
Elmiir’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Asten
Minor God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: inanimate forces, metal, aquatic
Symbol: The Star Gem
Asten is said to be a beautiful elven maiden, the mate of Elmiir. Her symbol is the holy star gem, a rare gemstone found only on Elveim. This obsidian stone shines with an inner light, as if a star was captured within the mineral. Unlike her mate, Asten teaches that the other folk are not to be feared or looked down upon. But her followers have little influence. They must be content with their posts on Elvenport as the only place of contact between the elves and other races. Still, they maintain the vow of secrecy as prescribed by Elmiir long ago, and refuse to speak of their past or the forbidden continent to outsiders.
Asten’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Mithorl
Minor God of Honor
Arcane Spheres of Influence: time, light, living forces
Symbol: Pan Pipes
A friendly, fun-loving, and most of all, lucky, satyr god. Mithorl strives for peace and happiness, and his followers seek equality and acceptance from the other folk of Aysle. Followers of Mithorl are often brewers, musicians, bards, or philosophers. It should not be surprising, that in a world as dark as Aysle has become in recent centuries, Mithorl is the least well known of the gods of Honor, and has the fewest worshipers.
Mithorl’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Prayers of Honor
Armor of Dunad (Dunad)
Banish
Bless
Bravery (Dunad, Argon)
Calm (Mesus)
Captivate (Asten, Mithorl)
Cleanse
Cure Poison (Mesus)
Death-Sleep (Mithorl)
Detect Deception (Shali, Elmiir)
Detect Miracle
Elmiir’s Ring (Elmiir)
Endurance (Mesus, Elmiir)
Fertility (Mesus)
First Strike (Dunad, Argon)
Inspire
Language (Asten)
Muse Tongue (Mithorl)
Presence of God
Read Aura (Shali, Elmiir)
Reduce Toughness (Argon)
Soothe (Shali, Mithorl)
Spell Shield (Shali)
Spirit Shield (Elmiir)
Spirit Sword (Dunad)
Spiritual Protection
Sword of Dunad (Dunad)
Transfer Damage
Ward Arcana (Shali)
Ward Danger
Ward Enemy
Wings of Sparrow (Argon)

Rituals of Honor
Beacon
Beauty (Asten)
Bless Battle (Dunad, Argon)
Bless Weapon (Dunad, Argon)
Blessing Vow
Bounty (Mesus)
Bow Master (Argon)
Cure Disease
Divine Intuition (Shali, Elmiir)
Faith Armor (Dunad)
Feast
Great Heal (Dunad)
Healing
Hearth Blessing (Mithorl)
Heroes’ Feast
Mystic Armor (Shali, Elmiir)
Object Blessing (Asten)
Painless Kill
Penance
Portent (Elmiir)
Prowess
Refresh (Shali, Elmiir)
Ritual of Hope
Ritual of Purification
Sacred Barrier (Shali)
Staff of Swift Iron
Sword Master (Dunad)

Balance

The war between the gods was begun by Dunad and Arthuk and the violence they unleashed has threatened at times to consume the world.  Were their struggle to end, the catac1ysmic destruction of one or the other would destroy all. It is therefore the task of the gads of Balance to ensure that neither Honor nor Corruption ever achieves total victory.

The religions of Balance incorporate elements of both Honor and Corruption. In general, a follower of this faith will take neither side in a conflict and act only to preserve the Balance. During the initial invasion of Earth, the increasing influence of Corruption, in the realm especially, lead many clerics of Balance to act on Honor’s behalf. With the defeat of the Warrior of the Dark, and the collapse of her army, the Balance was largely restored.

Houses Bendes and Liandar nominally adhere to the Balance – as they stand between the Light forces of a Tancred-Gerrik alliance and the Dark forces of Daleron and Vareth. Many half-folk, enchanted and elemental kindred serve the Balance as well.

Priests of Balance are granted prayers by their gods to aid in the restoration of the universal equilibrium. Prayers and rituals are most often accompanied by some observation of the wondrous aspects of the natural world around them. The gods of Balance appear even less frequently than do the gods of Honor or Corruption. They intervene only when no other force can prevent the harmony of the natural universe from being unduly disturbed.

This faith recognizes anyone who shifts the balance significantly, for good or ill, as an enemy of the faith.

Sidebar: Apotheosis

Though Dunad’s ascension is clearly identified, and defined in the history of the cosm, other gods’ divine origins are less well known. One thing that can be said for certain: Mesus, Mithorl, Minthod, and Harang must have been born sometime after the War of the Crowns. Probably after Uthorion’s invasion – since there were no half-folk in the cosm prior to the arrival of the Kantovian and his Orrorshan army.

Since the first generation of transformed half-folk were ords, it is likely they were born during the early years of Uthorion’s rule. The decisions they made, which lead to divinity, would almost certainly have required a moment of crisis – and subsequent imbuing of Possibilities.

Likewise, Argon, who hunts Harang, must have lived in those times.

What this means, is that as recently as five hundred years ago, new gods joined the Ayslish pantheon. How?

Simple, the Law of Observation at work. These figures performed major acts – well known to the people they touched. Their respective races in the case of the half-folk. These new races were in need of spiritual guidance, and thus they began to worship their mortal leaders – who eventually ascended as the people believed them to be divine.

Argon was a noble warrior. And Dunad had become tainted by the acts Ardinay and House Tancred performed in his name. The followers of the Light seeking a champion, turned to Argon, and thus bestowed divinity upon him.

How would a new god be created?

First, there would need to be a great need, one not fulfilled by the existing gods. Second, the individual would need to perform truly great acts. In the case of Honor or Corruption – likely enough to be truly Good or Evil (12 adds minimum). For Balance this is harder as the Laws of Aysle do not grant any special benefits to those in Between. Most likely though, a god of Balance would arise only to counter a newly ascended god of Honor or Corruption (or both).

Finally, the people would have to truly believe in this being. Frighteningly, Uthorion and Drakacanus meet these criteria. Apotheosis could be the gateway to Torg.

The Gods Between

Minthod
Major God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: time, magic, inanimate forces, earth, elemental
Symbol: World Disk
Minthod takes the form of a huge minotaur, and is the patron deity of adventurous half-folk. His symbol is the world disk of Aysle, complete with a hole in its center, and shaded half light and half dark to represent the two sides. It is said that Minthod wanders the world disk, traveling across Upper and Lower Aysle when he is not at home in his hidden temple in the Land Between. The followers of Minthod believe in absolute patience, in magic as the factor that makes all folk equal, and in a true balance between honor and corruption. Minthod’s followers rarely take sides unless it is to help restore balance.
Minthod’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Celay
Major God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: life, magic, living forces, metal, folk
Symbol: Star Mushroom
Celay, a female gnome, is the most powerful of the lesser folk gods. She is also the least followed, as most lesser folk prefer Kalim’s corrupt ways.  Nonetheless, Celay’s faithful seek to correct the deeds of Kalim’s followers and restore balance to the lesser folk. For this reason, Kalim’s followers kill Celay’s whenever they are able. This religious war has lasted since the gift of magic and the coming of the gods. The tenets which Celay’s faithful follow celebrate life, living forces, and the magic that balances the world. This is symbolized by the star mushroom, a plant that thrives even in the darkest regions of the Land Between. They love all folk and seek to bridge the gap that exists between the major races and the lesser folk.
Celay’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Darsot
Minor God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: light, air, aquatic
Symbol: Winged Fish
Darsot is one of two human gods in the Between Pantheon. He embraced the ways of balance and his followers are usually diplomats and peacemakers, striving to bring balance to the world. But their job is hard, all the more so because of their reluctance to strike back at their attackers. This would not lead to balance, they believe, but would instead aid either honor or corruption.
Darsot’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Areel
Minor God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: darkness, water, enchanted
Symbol: Dark World Disk
Areel, the other human god in the Between Pantheon, is the god of night. All things of darkness are hers, for they balance the things of light and day. Unlike her mate Darsot’s followers, the followers of Areel make war. They do this to balance Darsot’s influence in the world, and they never battle for victory — only to maintain the status quo. They are fierce warriors nevertheless, and many losing sides have given hefty donations for their services. Once the two sides are again at even power, the Areels abandon the fight and go in search of another battle to balance.
Areel’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Their weapon of choice is the mace, but they are usually skilled at a number of weapons.

Ugorl
Minor God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: inanimate forces, fire, avian
Symbol: Fire Bird
The giant Ugorl teaches moderation in all things, including the basics of giant life such as violence, primal urges, and corruption. Because of this, she is not a popular god in Lower Aysle. But to those giants who seek adventure and to live with the folk of Upper Aysle, she is an alternative to the teachings of Arthuk and Borl. Ugorl’s followers do not go against the teachings of the corrupt gods, they simply control their urges and direct them toward a balance that allows them to mingle with the folk of Upper Aysle.
Ugorl’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Rak
Minor God of Balance
Arcane Spheres of Influence: living forces, plant, earthly
Symbol: Lush Tree
Unlike Ugorl, Rak is a popular god among the giants of Lower Aysle and the Vikings of Upper Aysle. He is the god of living forces, teaching that nature has its own ways of balancing honor and corruption. The strong survive, the weak perish, and balance is maintained. That is the basic tenet that Rak’s followers hold to. Everything that exists in nature strives to maintain the world’s balance. All urges must be indulged, for that is nature’s way of showing the folk how to keep the balance.
Rak’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Sidebar: Miracles of Balance
Minthod and Celay encourage their followers to practice magic, and grant Refresh. Followers of Ugorl and Rak have been known to possess Warrior Madness.

Prayers of Balance
Alter Disease (Areel, Rak)
Bless
Blind (Celay, Areel)
Boost Damage (Minthod)
Call Animals (Rak)
Calm (Darsot)
Captivate
Catalepsy
Cleanse
Cloud Minds (Celay)
Conflict (Areel)
Cure Poison (Celay)
Curse
Deafness
Death-Sleep
Detect Deception
Detect Miracle
Ease Frenzy (Ugorl, Rak)
Endurance (Ugorl)
Fertility (Celay, Rak)
Flame Burst (Ugolr)
Flame Ward (Ugorl)
Heightened Hearing
Heightened Sight
Heightened Taste
Illusory Dragon
Inspire (Darsot)
Language (Darsot, Ugorl)
Mage Net (Minthod, Celay)
Miracle Shield
Mists of Areel (Areel)
Oracle (Minthod)
Petrify (Minthod)
Protective Ring
Read Aura
Soothe
Spell Shield (Minthod)
Spiritual Protection (Darsot)
Ward Being (Darsot)
Ward Danger
Ward Enemy
Wisdom (Minthod)

Rituals of Balance
Beacon
Bless Weapon (Areel)
Blessing Vow
Blight
Bounty
Bow Master
Common Ground (Darsot)
Communicate with Animal Spirit (Rak)
Communicate with Elemental Spirit (Minthod)
Communicate with Plant Spirit (Rak)
Dispel Curse
Divine Intuition
Enhance Food
Healing
Heroes’ Feast
Introspection
Mental Link (Celay)
Mystic Armor
Passing Shadows (Minthod)
Pathway
Penance
Prowess
Ritual of Hope
Ritual of Purification
Sacred Barrier
Sanctum (Darsot)
Spirit Flight (Celay)
Staff of Swift Iron (Ugorl)
Stay Disease
Tempest (Rak)
Tongues (Darsot, Ugorl)
Transmute Staff
Trap

Corruption
The faith of Corruption has always been a part of Aysle, but truly became ascendant during the 500 year reign of Uthorion/Ardinay. In the past, those who were Corrupt saw their evil manifested in the appearance of their face and form. Uthorion changed all that, redirecting the dark energies into the land. Thus, the Corrupt remained fair of feature, while the land became twisted and barren.

There are as many gods of Corruption as Honor in Aysle, with the most powerful being Arthuk and Corba’al. Corruption is most prevalent among the giants and half-folk and is widespread throughout Lower Aysle. It also had a firm hold of the Aysle realm following the successes of the Warrior of the Dark. Since the end of the war, the European realm has shifted away. But the new realm in the Caribbean is heavily dark.

The faithful of this religion place selfish needs above all else and have shown themselves to be willing to consort with dark and demonic forces to gain the power they crave.

Corrupt clerics view followers of Honor (and those of Balance, when acting in Honor’s name) as enemies of the faith.

Sidebar: Miracles of Corruption
There are fewer miracles in the Dark faith, and not all of the Corrupt gods grant unique miracles. Harpy followers of Harang are granted Bless Wings and Catalepsy. Estar’s Dark Elves may Cause Confusion. It is possible that Corba’al would grant Sundering – though this ritual is contradictory.

The Gods of Corruption

Arthuk
Major God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: death, true knowledge, darkness, inanimate forces, water, enchanted
Symbol: Dark Skull
Arthuk, a male giant, was the leader of the giants enslaving Upper Aysle during the time of Dunad. Dunad killed him with his enchanted sword after a terrible battle, but Arthuk overcame death and became the major force of corruption in the world. His symbol, the dark skull, brings fear to the followers of honor the world over. His followers still attempt to exert their influence on the smaller folk, and they revel in war and violence.
Arthuk’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Their weapon of choice is the war club.

Borl
Major God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: time, life, magic, living forces, earth, folk
Symbol: Gnarled Tree
Borl, the giantess mate of Arthuk, has influence over life and living forces, and uses this influence to corrupt them. She is considered a fierce warrior and the greatest of the giant mages ever to walk the disk world. Like most of the gods of corruption, Borl is more feared than worshipped. Her symbol is a gnarled and withered tree. While Borl has more of an innate connection with all folk, she still looks upon her giants as the true folk — all others are lesser folk fit only to serve the giants.
Borl’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Harang
Minor God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: living forces, air, avian
Symbol: Black, Poisoned Feather
The harpy half-folk Harang is a god of pain and torture. Her followers claim that they use pain to teach others of the suffering of the half-folk, but their gleeful inflictions go beyond mere lessons. They wage an unending war on the followers of Argon. Harang appears as a female harpy with black feathers that drip poison. Her priests carry replica feathers as holy symbols.
Harang’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Estar
Minor God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: magic, plant, aquatic
Symbol: Two Stars under Water
Estar, the corrupted son of Elmiir and Asten, has gained a following among certain elf, half-folk, and lesser folk communities. It is said that Estar helped Arthuk in his domination of Upper Aysle, and even taught Borl how to use the magic that was within her after Dunad gave his gift to the folk. She quickly became more powerful than the corrupt elf, and she convinced him to betray his people and join the Corrupt Pantheon. Like his mother, Estar believes that all of the folk should be viewed equally — but to him this means they should all be used to further his own causes. To show his opposition to Elmiir, Estar’s symbol is the stars of magic and aquatic knowledges beneath water. 
Estar’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Endrak
Minor God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: darkness, fire, elemental
Symbol: The Dark Sun
Endrak, the human male god of fire and darkness, teaches that the night fire shall someday claim the disk world and wipe it clean of honor and balance. In its wake it will leave only corruption, and that is what Endrak’s followers look forward to. The night fire will come with the darkening of the sun, just as the last great change on Aysle occurred when the sun flared brighter. Until that day comes, Endrak’s followers will wreak what corruption they can in their god’s name.
Endrak’s priests get a +2 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Kalim
Minor God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: inanimate forces, metal, earthly
Symbol: The Obsidian Hammer
Kalim, the corrupt god of the lesser folk, appears as a mighty troll wielding an obsidian hammer. He is a war god who delights in battle and chaos.  The corruption that such activity propagates is just an added bonus. Kalim and his followers detest the higher folk (humans, elves, dwarves, and giants) and have only a passing tolerance for half-folk.
Kalim’s priests get a +1 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence. Their weapon of choice is a war hammer.

Corba’al
Major God of Corruption
Arcane Spheres of Influence: death, true knowledge, time, darkness, living forces, air, water, folk, entity
Symbol: Crossed Bones
Corba’al, the entity god, is a god apart. Even though he is part of the corrupt pantheon, he is also the only god who regularly communes with the things that are not of the folk. The dead, decay, and corruption are his tenets, and Corba’al’s followers are granted the ability to see the flow of time and decay in every living thing. Few follow the ways of the entity god, and those who do specialize in entity magic and necromancy. Uthorion is Corba’al’s high priest in Aysle.
Corba’al’s priests get a +3 bonus when using any of the arcane knowledges under the god’s influence.

Prayers of Corruption
Banish
Bless
Captivate (Harang, Estar)
Cure Poison (Borl)
Curse of Arthuk (Arthuk)
Death-Sleep (Corba’al)
Detect Deception
Detect Miracle
Endurance
First Strike (Arthuk, Kalim)
Illusory Dragon (Estar)
Inspire
Inferno (Endrak)
Muse Tongue
Plague (Corba’al)
Read Aura
Reduce Toughness (Corba’al)
Spell Shield (Borl, Estar)
Spirit Shield (Estar)
Transfer Damage (Arthuk, Borl, Kalim)
Ward Arcana (Borl)
Ward Enemy
Warrior Madness (Arthuk, Kalim)

Rituals of Corruption
Beacon
Bless Battle (Arthuk, Kalim)
Bless Weapon (Arthuk, Kalim0
Bow Master
Cure Disease
Feast
Great Heal
Healing
Mystic Armor (Borl, Estar)
Object Blessing
Portent (Borl, Corba’al)
Prowess
Reanimate Dead (Corba’al)
Ritual of Hope
Ritual of Purification
Sacred Barrier
Sword Master

Secular Dwarvenism

After creating the world and giving the dwarves dominion, the dwarven gods left Aysle. Since then, due to flaws inherent in the world’s creation, other sentient races have come into being to contest the dwarves’ dominion. Naturally, this has given the dwarves a somewhat jaded view of the competence of gods in general, and the ones who created them in particular.

In short, the dwarves don’t like gods and want nothing to do with them. They hold in pitying contempt all those who look to higher agencies to solve their problems for them. If dwarven religion has to be classified, it should be thought of as secular dwarvenism — they know there are supernatural agencies out there somewhere, but they’d rather like to be left alone, thank you very much.

Still, many dwarves look upon the gods of the other folk as either heroes or villains, and some have even adopted their religions in absence of one of their own. Dunad is a particular favorite, as is Minthod. Arthuk, Kalim, and Rak are seen as enemies, as their followers tend to delight in killing dwarves.

Some dwarves actively seek to curtail any religion, no matter who or what practices it; these might more properly be called secret societies than sects. There are a few small communities which worship the Creators, attempting to bring them back to “right the wrongs of their creation;” however these are too small in number to have any real religious or political clout.

There is no formal religious community in dwarven society. Many dwarves are taught the faith skill (in the “religion” of secular dwarvenism) at one add. There are no strictures for dwarven belief — if a dwarf is foolish enough to believe in a religion, as long as he does it in the privacy of his own home, that’s his business. There are no priests of secular dwarvenism. Some dwarves are more virulently anti-religion than others; these might be titled “Philosophers,” “Pragmatists” or “Dwarvenists,” and have the faith skill at from two to four adds. Except for being respected in the community, these dwarves gain no other special benefit.

The dwarves can use their faith to attempt to cause a miracle to fail. A dwarf may generate a faith:secular dwarvenism total when a miracle is performed – this is an action – if this total is greater than the faith total of the miracle, it fails. Also, any miracles which would benefit the dwarf, or are directed at him, have their difficulty increased by his faith adds.

The Elven Path of True Knowledge

The most prominent elven sect is the monks of true knowledge, a small group of followers of Elmiir who believe that the path to true knowledge may be found by studying it: that is, by taking a look at the cosmverse and everything in it. There are about 50 followers of the sect; at any given time, half or more are journeying across Aysle, attempting to gather as much information as possible and returning with it to their temple, which is rumored to have the single finest library on the planet — though no one outside the temple has ever seen it. The monks are fascinated by new experiences, and have embraced Uthorion’s methods only in the fact that new worlds have been opened to them, with plenty of untapped knowledge to explore.

The monks are expected to return to the temple once every decade to report on what they have seen since they last left. If they learn news of great importance, they are expected to return as quickly as is possible.

The monks are forbidden to ingest liquor, drugs, or any mind-altering substance; it is felt that such things damage one’s ability to see and understand the Path. The monks are forbidden to reveal the temple’s location to anyone, unless that person evinces a strong desire to join the Path. Once someone has learned the temple’s location, he must join the Path or die.

Typically, monks spend up to 30 years at the temple before venturing out into the world, studying, meditating, and learning the skills necessary to survive. The monks are trained to rely on their own abilities; they will use only weapons which are powered by their skill and strength — i.e., missile or melee weapons — they disdain weaponry which relies on chemical, electrical, or magical power of any sort — it disrupts their connection with the Path.

In addition, they refuse to wear armor which hinders movement (in game terms, that which gives a fatigue penalty). They feel that the added protection is not worth the loss of mobility.

The monks are forbidden to acquire wealth, except as necessary to help further their quest for knowledge. A monk rarely owns more than he can comfortably carry on his back. And monks can be either male or female.

Elven Monks of Elmiir gain access to special Disciplines. In exchange, they may not improve their skill in the four Arcane Magic Skills (they may still improve Arcane Knowledges). For each add in Faith (Honor):Elmiir, the Monk gains one Discipline at one add (if the Monk has more than 7 adds, he may gain an additional add in an existing Discipline, or speak to the GM about creating more Disciplines). All Disciplines are Difficult Skills. If the Monk loses access to Faith, he also loses access to all Disciplines.

Disciplines
Clear Thought Adds to Mind, Spirit or Willpower to resist mind-altering drugs, illusions, mind control, charm or persuasion.
Clear Senses Adds to Perception and any Perception skills relying on his senses.
Fade Adds to Stealth.
Focus Power Adds to Melee Weapons or Unarmed Combat skills.
Grant Knowledge For each add, the Monk may loan a Mage one add of a Arcane Knowledge he knows, but shares any Backlash the Mage suffers while borrowing the Knowledge.
Resist Pain Adds to Endurance for purposes of resisting Shock Damage/Fatigue.
Reaction Adds to Dodge or Maneuver to avoid attacks.

Equipment Charts
Weapon                Damage   Ammo    Range             Cost (Trades)
Flintlock Pistol     14              1             3-5/15/25        750(15)
Flintlock Musket  14              1             3-25/40/100    750(15)
Vareth Rifle          16              1             3-40/100/250  1200(17)
Blunderbuss          17             1             3-12/20/30       1000(16)
Vehicle                    kph/mph/value    Pass    TOU    Man    Cost (Trades)
Air
Balloon                    10/6/7                   4          10          —        15K(20)
Dirigible                  100/60/12             35        26 –        5        160K(27)
Land
I. Steam Carriage     8/5/7                     3         10           -2       6000(18)
Steam Train             40/25/10               80        28           —       30M(36)
Water
Clipper                    40/25/10                140      26          -1       40M(37)
Steamer                   30/18/10                24        30          -2       60M(38)

Equipment

General Equipment

From Core Rulebook – Telegraph, Telephone, Refrigerator, Wood Stove, Gas Stove. These items utilize Dwarven Occultech and function under Ayslish axioms. Both the Telegraph and Telephone are very rare, since the infrastructure (i.e. miles of wires) does not exist.

Note: all Dwarven Occultech items require a Magic Axiom of 17 or higher and the Law of Observation to function. Otherwise they are a contradiction.

Weapons

Flintlocks – based on the technology of Earth, Terra and Gaea’s pasts. The use of flint strikers, and magical improvements, which make the weapons more accurate, at longer ranges. These weapons still use black powder, and balls, requiring considerable time to reload. The muskets may be affixed with bayonets.

Vareth Rifle – a flintlock musket, which features a rifled barrel – part of the incorporation of inanimate forces or air magic. This makes the weapon capable of firing vastly greater distances, and nearly twice as deadly.

Blunderbuss – a flintlock musket with a flared barrel, which incorporates a version of the steel shower spell. This functions as a scattershot weapon.

Vehicles

Air

Balloon – useful mainly for observation. These craft can carry only minimal cargo and are subject to the winds for maneuvering. More expensive versions cost 1700 trades, and incorporate Zephyr of Flight. The operator generates an hourly apportation total, which is read on the speed push table and added to the flight speed value. The apportation total is also used for piloting checks.

Dirigible – an aerodynamically shaped envelope, filled with magical gases. The Gondola requires a crew of 12 and can carry up to 35 passengers in relative comfort. The alloys used in the envelope are light weight and surprisingly well armored. And unlike their counterparts from Earth or Terra, the gases are not flamable.

Land

Improved Steam Carriage – Not the most efficient method of transportation, but considerably cheaper than the Fey Carriage (R&E or KLV).

Steam Train – an improvement on the Mine Carts in use for centuries. Larger, capable of holding an older dragon, these engines can carry serveral cars – with cargo or passengers. Numerous trains are utilizing tracks already laid on Vareth and in the Land Between. New spurs running to cities in Tancred and Bendes lands are proposed, but await negotiations. Plans to run a Maelstrom Bridge line to Haiti in the realm require the approval of Uthorion.

Water

Clipper – smaller and more maneuverable than the galleons used by the corsairs and freetraders. Use of Aeluin’s Water Valley on the keel allows this class to function with smaller sails, thus smaller masts and hulls. This does reduce the cargo and passenger capacity, but this is a small loss compared to the gains.

Though intended as a lightly armed transport, most in the Vareth fleet carry over a dozen cannon.

Steamer – Utilizing Heat Object and pumps to draw water from the seas it travels. Strange looking on the seas of Upper Aysle, these ships do not employ sails. Though slower than the Clipper, the Steamer class does not require wind. The class currently in use is quite small, carrying little cargo or passengers, but once the concept proves itself, larger vessels, such as those used by the Victorians, will follow. These will likely employ improved Naval Guns currently being researched.

Clockworks

Clockwork automatons are capable of performing a wide variety of roles, including surveillance, defense, or menial tasks. Clockworks are immune to poison, disease, and most forms of mental or spiritual attack. Short of installing a Vril battery, clockworks are not possibility rated.

Warrior
Based on the classic Iron Golem, this is a full suit of Dwarfmail, capable of following simple instructions such as “guard”, “follow”, or “attack” – as well as differentiating friend from foe.
AGI 10 DEX 10 STR 15 TOU 15(22) PER 8 MIN 8 CHA (8) SPI (11)
Melee weapons 12, unarmed combat 12, Trick (12), Taunt (13), intimidation 14
Tools: Dwarfmail Armor (TOU+7/22, +8/23 vs. Magic), They often carry weapons such as swords (STR+6/21) or maces (STR+4/19).
Creation Cost: 180,000 Sale Cost: 360,000

Guard Beast
A quadruped design, somewhat like a large dog. Though technically capable of nearly the same tasks as the Warrior clockwork, these automatons are intended for patrolling a set area, from a single door to the perimeter of a castle. Their intellect is much simpler as well, which can result in confusing friend and foe. Generally only the creator or owner will be recognized automatically.
AGI 10 DEX 3 STR 14 TOU 12 PER 10 MIN 6 CHA (8) SPI (8)
Running 11, unarmed combat 13, find 13, taunt (13), intimidation 12
Tools: Bite (STR+4/18), Claws (STR+3/17)
Creation Cost: 90,000 Sale Cost: 180,000

Spy Bird
Though not likely to be confused with a real bird on close inspection, from hundreds of feet up they are unlikely to take undue notice. They are capable of observing, and transmitting that image back to the owner – who views it on a crystal ball, or other divinatory object. A variant, resembling a rat, also exists. Aquatic versions are not practical, as prolonged water submersion tends to disrupt the mechanisms.
AGI 10 DEX 5 STR 6 END 6 TOU 10 PER 16 MIN 5 CHA (6) SPI (6)
Dodge 11 Flight 14 Maneuver 11 Stealth 11 Unarmed Combat 11 Find 17 Tracking 17 Trick (16) Taunt (14) Intimidation (10)
Tools: Wings (MRF 10 – 15mph), Talons (STR+4/10), Beak (STR+3/9), Eagle Eyes (Rng 10km) Creation Cost: 80,000 Sale Cost: 160,000

Eternity Shards

Aysle has many Eternity Shards. However a great many were lost over the centuries of Uthorion’s rule. Those that remain were hidden in distant places in the cosm, or even in the realms Uthorion was conquering. At one time, there were Shards representing each god of Honor and Corruption. But at this time, it is believed that all the Dark shards were consumed by the Black Crown, and are no more.

AUREL
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: Hundreds
Tapping Difficulty: 19
Purpose: To fight for Light and Magic
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Dunad +5) and Talisman (Aysle – Dominant/Light (25))
Group Power: Mind Expansion
Restrictions: May not be used by any individual with less than 7 adds Honor
Description: The hilt and remains of a ornate broadsword. Several emeralds and rubies are embedded within.

Shards of Dunad’s blade (approximately 100)
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: up to 10
Tapping Difficulty: 16
Purpose: To promote the spread of Magic.
Powers: Varies – each item has a permanent magical effect impressed.
Group Power: Create Talisman
Restrictions: None
Description: Varies – the fragments of Dunad’s sword. Each piece has become a part of a magical item. It is believed that there were at least half as many more existed at one time, but they were destroyed by Uthorion. It is possible that these were the inspiration for Detrimentals.

CHRYS FLOWERS
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 10 to 50
Tapping Difficulty: 16
Purpose: To maintain the circle of life.
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Mesus +3)
Group Power: Send (not all have a Group Power)
Restrictions: May not be tapped to break the circle of life. Such as to kill for any purpose but food or defense. Or creation or support of undead.
Description: A red and blue petaled flower – similar to an orchid.

AMULET OF SHALI
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 200
Tapping Difficulty: 20
Purpose: To promote the learning and discovery of Magic
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Shali+5). Impressed with the following spells: Detect Magic (at will), Shield of Light (1/scene), Blink Walk (1/adventure), Shards of Ice (1/reality add the use possesses per act). These use the Tapping Difficulty as a skill value.
Group Power: Shift Possibility
Restrictions: The Amulet may not be used by someone with Corruption.
Description: A golden amulet, with the image of a (blue) eye in a (red) sun. The Amulet has a faint glow to it.

THE ORACLE OF ELVIEM
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 50
Tapping Difficulty: 23
Purpose: To reveal knowledge of the past and future
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Elmiir+5). May be used to see the past or future. This utilizes the spell Visions of the Past (with the tapping difficulty acting as the Divination skill value). However, the user may attempt to see into the future as well as the past. If the user has the capacity to scry, this shard may show the past or future of some other place, rather than just the surrounding area.
Also grants a +3 bonus to any Divination, or Water Spells the user casts. Divination/Water spells gain a +5 bonus.
Group Power: Insight
Restrictions: May only be used by Elves. Tapping Difficulty is increased by 20 for anyone else.
Description: A golden scrying bowl, with two star-shaped gems, one a sapphire, the other a ruby. It is important that the water added to the bowl not rise above the level of the gems. If if does – emulating the symbol of Estar – the visions it reveals will be warped or distorted. Not outright false, but with enough deceptive information to make the results useless.

THE STAR GEM
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 60
Tapping Difficulty: 20
Purpose: To protect the Elven Race from their Akashan enemies.
Powers: Holy Symbols (Faith:Honor:Asten+5), Whoever holds the gem benefits from the effects of a Hide From Magic spell, and the Tapping Difficulty acts his defensive value against Divination spells, Psionics, or similar powers from other cosms.
Group Power: Gate
Restrictions: May never be tapped by an Akashan, anyone of the Star Sphere Reality, or psionicists.
Description: An obsidian stone which shines with an inner light – sparkling both red and blue.

HAWKSTRIKE
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 45
Tapping Difficulty: 18
Purpose: to battle to corrupt forces of Harang
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Argon+3). Grants the wielder +3 to all Missile Weapons:Bow, and all sight-based Perception skills. Functions as a Enchanted Composite Bow (Magic 17 Tech 13 STR+7/22 R3-10/60/250). Spend one day, and generate a total, using the Tapping Difficulty, subtract 5, and read the results on the Power Push Table, and add the results to the Bow’s Damage Value for the next month.
Group Power: Judgement
Restrictions: May not be used by anyone with Corruption, or any Harpy or Avian Kindred.
Description: A Composite Long Bow, Carved from redwood. In the sunlight, the wood grain looks blue.

MITHORL’S PIPES
Cosm: Aysle
Possibilities: 25
Tapping Difficulty: 15
Purpose: to bring joy and happiness to the world
Powers: Holy Symbol (Faith:Honor:Mithorl+3). Grants Artist:Music+3 when playing these pipes.
Group Power: Uplift
Restrictions: May not be tapped to for actions that would cause sadness or harm.
Description: A set of pan pipes, wrapped in bands of red and blue leather.

CHAPTER THREE

OVERVIEW

Aysle’s Cosm and Geography

The universe that the dwarven gods created is a fascinating and wondrous place. When Mighty Errog set the Limit around the world, he defined the extent of the Aysle cosm. If anything exists beyond the Limit, no one knows what it is. Ages later, when Dunad smashed his enchanted sword andreleased the arcane knowledges of magic into the world, those knowledges floated up into the Limit and settled into place as stars. The Essences rose to the highest portion of the Limit, followed by the Principles, the Mixed Forces, and finally the Kindred and Elements, which formed stars along the Limit on the same level as the world itself. They are sometimes called the rim stars. The way the arcane knowledges settled is shown by the seven tiers within the Limit. The sun bounces against the unseen boundary that separates the Kindred and Elements from the Mixed Forces, defining the extent of its rise and fall through Aysle.

The Limit itself oscillates once per day, causing the stars to travel from the horizon to their positions in the sky, and back down again. This oscillation follows a pattern that sees the stars move up from the horizon for six hours, back down for six hours, and then repeats the process on the other side of the world. The Limit also has an axis of oscillation that rotates once per year. While these unseen forces cannot be observed, their affects on the Kindred and Element stars can. As the Limit oscillates, the Kindred and Element stars rise and fall in the sky. During Arthuk for example (the first month of the Ayslish year), the water star is the highest of the rim stars in the night sky. The star of ascendency at the time of an Ayslish folk’s birth determines the Kindred or Element arcane knowledge the folk is born with. The day of the month determines the magic skill. See “Magic in Aysle”, page 23, for more information.

Neither Aysle nor the Limit revolve in any way. The Limit does oscillate (the dwarves call it wobbling), causing the stars to rise and set, but they remain within a fixed position relative to the land that allows them to be used for navigation and travel, and to determine other directions besides rimward and sunward.

Aysle is a flat disk-shaped world 9,000 kilometers in radius. It is thickest in the center, approximately 100 kilometers from top to bottom, but thins out toward the rim. The plane of gravity cuts through the center of the disk, which looks like two pie plates connected at the gravity plane. “Down” is toward the center of the planet, no matter which side you happen to be standing on.

The accompanying cut-away view diagram (page 14) shows that Aysle is more than just a flat disk, however. It is composed of Upper Aysle, Lower yellow sun constantly rises and falls through an opening in the middle of the disk, called the Sun’s Path.

Upper Aysle is home to the human and elf races, but humans are clearly the dominant folk. From the World’s Rim sunward (toward the center of the disk) is a variety of climates marked as circular bands radiating out from the sun. The Frozen Land is a massive area of ice and snow that completely covers the rim of the disk. Temperatures here are constantly far below freezing due to the distance from the sun. Next is the Frozen Sea, which is not actually frozen but is extremely cold all year round. Large mountains of ice float in this arctic region, and temperatures rarely climb much above freezing. While there are hardy folk living within this zone, most of the people of Upper Aysle find the region harsh and inhospitable. The temperate zone, called the Living Sea, is where most of the population lives. Temperatures in this area never fall below freezing or rise much above that of a warm spring day on Earth. The Trade Sea is that area which is tropical in nature. Most islands in this region are covered in thick jungle or rain forest. Finally, the Boiling Sea surrounds the Sun’s Path. While brief excursions into this extremely hot region can be tolerated, no folk live here. The great falls that spill into the Sun’s Path are a mixture of bubbling water and hot steam that sends clouds of vapor into the air.

It should be said that temperatures are not constant within a zone, but they are gradational. Basically, the closer one is to the sun, the warmer it gets. There are no seasons on Aysle — temperatures within a given circular band vary little throughout the year. Wind and water naturally move sunward. So, by definition, any wind or water moving rimward or in some other direction is unnatural and must be the result of magic or elemental forces.

The largest land mass on Upper Aysle is the Aysle continent, which touches all of the habitable regions. The second largest land mass is Elveim, the forbidden continent. This is the mysterious home of the elves. Compared to these two areas, everything else is little more than an island. Due to the sun’s never-changing pattern of movement, areas located behind large hills or mountains are wrapped in perpetual darkness.

Lower Aysle is home to the giants, who live primarily on the four main continents, Chamkatt, Polja, Rakholm, and Arland. Another notable area is the Broken Land island range, which supposedly shattered as the result of some long-forgotten cataclysm. Being much more literal, the giants have named their zones the Ice Sea, the Warm Sea, and the Hot Sea. The Frozen Land and the Boiling Sea are named the same on both sides of Aysle.

The Land Between is a reflection of the lands above, complete with seas, continents, and islands. But instead of looking up to see the stars spread across the Limit, the dwarves and lesser folk that live below can only see the top of the great cavern they live within. When the sun passes through the Land Between, its light is diffused through the steam, waterfalls, and cavern walls that line the Sun’s Path.

The History of Aysle

Excerpt from The Dwarven Book of Truths:

Hearken to these writings, for they are the Truths of Aysle:

Many years ago, more years than anyone can count, the Creators left Aysle, seeking new Nothing in which to build Something. The sons and daughters of the first dwarf spread throughout the land, had many more sons and daughters, and soon they built great cities on the surface.

All the dwarves lived in harmony and peace, until one day when the sun began to grow angry. It spat streams of fire in all directions, grew so bright that nothing but it could be seen, and then faded to almost nothing. The dwarves were much afraid at this, and they left their cities seeking a place they would be safe from the sun’s rage.

Soon the dwarves discovered the Land Between, and finding the tunnels and caves to be to their liking, they decided to live down there. Above them the sun grew angrier still, but they were protected by the stuff of their world.

The dwarves lived well in the Land Between, but as the years passed, some longed to return to the Land Above. And so the bravest warriors were chosen to venture through the tunnels to see if the sun had calmed, and the dwarves could return to the surface in safety.

When they reached the end of the tunnel, the warriors were shocked. Moving in and out of the cities were ugly creatures who did not know the right way to use their tools, and who babbled and chattered and made great noise everywhere they went. The dwarves thought of attacking these intruders, but there were too many of them and too few warriors, so they wisely decided to return to the Land Between.

On the way there, they discovered another tunnel, and this one led to the Land Below, now known as Lower Aysle. There they found very ugly creatures who towered above the rocks and the trees, and carried big sticks with which they smacked each other. The dwarves were ready to attack these monsters, but then thought better of it, and once again turned for home.

When they told their tale, some believed, and others did not. Thus they offered to take the leaders of the tribe to the Land Above to prove the truth of what they said. They showed them the ugly, noisy creatures and also saw something new; rather handsome and industrious beings were building a city apart from all the others.

Although the origins of all these new creatures was a mystery to the dwarves, they decided to attack and conquer them and rebuild their cities above. But when the dwarves attacked the Land Above, many were hurt and many killed; when they attacked the Land Below, many more were hurt and many more killed. Then the dwarves realized that the Land Between was really better than the Land Above or the Land Below, and they decided to stay there.

About that time, the powerful creatures from the Land Below (who the humans in the Land Above named “giants,” at the suggestion of the dwarves) discovered the tunnels. Eventually, they reached the Land Above and a great war began.

The War of the Giants

The War of the Giants lasted for thousands of sunrises and sunsets. The dwarves decided they liked the humans better than the giants, and so fought by their side (also, the dwarves felt that the war was partly their fault, since they did accidentally show the giants the way to Upper Aysle). The battles were long and horrible, with sword and ax crashing together until the din threatened to drown out all else. The humans fought with skill and daring, and of course, the dwarves were the bravest of all, but the war did not go well. The dwarves asked the handsome creatures, who called themselves “elves,” to join in the struggle, but they refused, preferring to just sit and watch.

When all the noise was over, the giants had won, and the humans had to do what they said, while the dwarves went back underground. That was the way it stayed for 500 years, with the giants very happy, the humans and dwarves very unhappy, and the elves minding their own business.

Then, when it seemed as if nothing would ever change, there came a very special human, a human even the dwarves felt was unique. This human did not talk and talk. He took action. His name was Dunad, and soon he would be hailed by human and dwarf alike as a great hero.

Dunad stood apart from the other humans, in that he would not bow down to his oppressors. He went where he willed, and even the giants were loathe to oppose him, for he carried the magic sword Aurel. With this mysterious and powerful weapon in his hand, he was invincible — yet even his great strength and the mystic might of his blade were not enough to free his people from their chains.

After much thought, Dunad knew the answer to all his questions. He walked alone to the place now known as the Valley of the Sword, and there he drew Aurel and shattered it across his knee. Instantly, the arcane knowledges that had been in the blade flew to the heavens and became one with the stars. Then the knowledges rained down on the world, and all the folk grew strong with it. And so, the keys to the magic that always existed in Aysle were made available. The humans learned to use this power, and the dwarves and elves too, but the giants had difficulty with this new thing and could not master it. The humans and the dwarves rose up and used Dunad’s gift to slay many giants and force the rest back to the Land Below.

Dunad himself was never seen again, but the humans say he went to the stars through the magic of Aurel, and remains there to this day. The ornate hilt of his sword was found in the valley, and serves as the holy symbol of Dunad. Although many have claimed to have the blade of Aurel, as far as is known it vanished along with its owner.

The religion of Dunad dominates on Upper Aysle, and many a dwarf has joined with the worshippers of the great hero. Although dwarves as a rule frown on such things, the miracles associated with Dunad are truths that cannot be denied.

The War of the Crowns

Freed of the oppression of the giants, the humans set about reclaiming the Land Above. Instead of one vast kingdom, the humans divided the continent of Aysle into a number of little kingdoms, each ruled by a different family. In one of the wisest decisions in their history, the humans gave a little kingdom on the surface to the dwarves, which is now ruled by the Vareth clan. Other families that were given kingdoms of their own, called Houses,” included the Tancreds, the Ardinays, the Dalerons, the Gerriks, the Liandars, and the Bendes.

But now that they had no common enemy to fight, the humans began to fight among themselves, and then the dwarves joined in. Each House wanted to rule the other Houses, and the feud that resulted was known as the War of the Crowns.

Like many a war, there was no winner. The fighting ended when Lady Pella of House Ardinay called for a truce and met with the heads of the remaining six Houses. She proposed the creation of a system called the “Delegate Legacy,” wherein only property could be owned by the Houses, never people. She dissolved House Ardinay, gave her lands to the Tancreds, and declared herself the Speaker of the People, who would now have a voice in how things were run. Each House would send a representative to Castle Ardinay on the banks of the Inland Sea, and there they would meet to discuss grievances in peace, rather than with swords drawn and bows pulled back.

Uthorion’s Conquest and the Spreading of ‘Enlightenment’

So it was, for many a year. Then the Dreaded One, Uthorion, arrived. Across a bloody bridge he came, leading an army of horrid monsters and determined to conquer Aysle or reduce it to ashes. All of the Houses united under Lady Pella, and each sent their bravest knight to serve under Tolwyn Tancred as a Knight Protector. Many of these were the children of the Dukes of the Houses, and they served as generals to the troops and advisors to Pella Ardinay through the battles to come.

Uthorion’s army, borrowed from his master, the Gaunt Man, entered the cosm in the Kelor Mountains of House Gerrik, and made their way across the continent to the Valley of the Sword. Along the way, House Daleron threw in with him, and others of Corrupt natures made their own bargains. While his army fought, and ultimately was defeated by the Ayslish forces, Uthorion teleported into Ardinay’s chambers, and confronted her. He sundered her soul, and took possession of her body. Then he presented his own corpse to the forces below, signaling an end to the battle. Though by this point Tolwyn, and most of Ardinay’s closest friends and allies were already dead.

For five hundred years, the people of Aysle were fooled, believing Ardinay the victor, and the invader dead. For this reason, they continued to grant her vast power, which should have belonged to the Delegate Legacy. Nor was there any organized opposition as she rewarded those who had aided in this conquest, at the expense of the honorable.

And when she proposed traveling to other worlds to bring the ways of Aysle to those in need, no one questioned their ‘good’ and ‘wise’ ruler. And so it went, until Earth, and the fulfillment of the prophecy of Tolwyn Neverdeath.

For more on the conquest of other cosms see Chapter Six: Pocket Dimensions

Money and Economy

Like many things in the Aysle cosm, the Ayslish economy is based on magic. Specifically, it is based on the conjuration magic skill and the principle knowledge of magic combined with a set duration. Thus, the monetary standard of Aysle is a conjuration/magic spell with a duration of one hour.

Since all money must have some tangible basis for its value, Ayslish economists spent many months determining just how much such a spell would be worth in precious metals. For instance, the standard conjuration/magic spell is worth .5 ounces of platinum, one ounce of gold, and 1.85 ounces of silver.

A standard spell is worth, in Ayslish currency, 70 conjs, 300 lemays, 600 trades, and 1200 wolacs. In U.S. Currency, it is equal in value to $300, or 206 British pounds.

Although the Ayslish government in the realm does keep a stock of precious metals on hand, the true worth of the currency is determined by the number of sorcerers capable of performing conjuration/magic rituals. Since such individuals are relatively rare (when compared, say, to those who are able to do divination/water spells) the value of Ayslish money remains fairly stable. If some disaster were to take the lives of a group of such wizards, the money would become vastly more valuable, as there would be a shortage of people able to use conjuration/magic. If, on the other hand, a large segment of people were to learn the necessary spells (as may happen within the realm at some point), the currency’s worth would plummet and inflation would result.

The conj is the only paper currency in the realm, with the rest being coins. Most moneylenders and bankers within the realm are possessed of the divination/metal skill to enable them to detect forgeries. It is also possible to pay for goods and services with raw metals, something favored by the dwarves, who are adept at mining.

The primary business in the Aysle cosm, and among many in the realm, is magic. A powerful sorcerer can become a wealthy man at a relatively young age, particularly if he has skills and knowledges that are uncommon. A magician can sell his services to a large market, both to people who have no talent for magic but who want a spell cast, and those with arcane abilities who wish to learn a new spell. An object with a focused spell within it sells for as much as twice what a grimoire spell will, since the purchaser of the focused spell does not actually have to learn and cast it.

Naturally, this situation has wrought havoc with the London Stock Exchange. Although magic is not considered a fitting basis for a monetary system, a wizard who can cast a mage light spell in a blacked-out area can still command a high fee. Since the metals are considered to have some value, the Ayslish are, reluctantly, willing to accept pounds for their services, which they then exchange for conjs somewhere else (in Aysle dominant zones, the pound is not accepted, and shoppers must either pay in Ayslish currency or trade goods).

New stocks have appeared on the London Exchange, including dwarven mining and magic futures. Naturally, the Ayslish (particularly the dwarves) have opportunities to gather inside information on these subjects, and thus have done extremely well for themselves. Core Earth traders have protested that the dwarves are using unfair practices, but the directors of the Exchange feel they have limited authority under the circumstances.

How long the Ayslish economy will thrive in the realm is unclear. With the large number of Storm Knights seeking to learn the most powerful types of magic available, the value of the magic may take a plunge as a result. There is also the possibility that an ambitious conjurer may try to “corner the market” and increase the price of his services by murdering other practitioners of the art.

The Sexes in Aysle

Equality of the sexes has been a fact of life in the Aysle cosm for a thousand years, and the folk carried that concept with them to Earth. With Pella Ardinay as its leader, and the legends of Tolwyn Tancred so ingrained in the Ayslish consciousness, it would be surprising if they did not view women as the equal of men, and just as capable of being leaders.

Although Uthorion probably does not share this view of women, he could not allow it to be undercut during his time in Pella’s body, lest his authority over the cosm be undermined. However, during his 500-year reign, the Houses gradually went back to a patriarchal system, although women warriors are still a common sight in Ayslish battalions.

How the sexes are viewed by nonhuman folk is another matter entirely. While dwarves regard their women as equals, giants do not. They gained a grudging respect for Ardinay during the time Uthorion possessed her, but lost it again when she called for a truce. Lesser folk, such as ogres, do not have observable sexual differences, and so there is little evidence of any discrimination on that basis. No one knows how elves feel on the subject, although many of their leaders are said to be women.

The Class System

As in many societies, there is a class system in place in Aysle. The foundations of this structure is the ability to make use of one’s sorcerous abilities for profit, although the species of folk to which one belongs is also a factor.

At the top of the scale are human sorcerers. With the majority of the folk in Aysle being human, a human sorcerer is more likely to be trusted with a complicated magical task, and thus more likely to attain great wealth. Much of the Ayslish nobility is made up of magicians, and with the exception of great warriors (such as Tolwyn Tancred), the rulers of Houses are almost always skilled at wizardry.

The second rung on the class ladder is human priests, followed by warriors. Despite their brutish behavior, Vikings are respected in Aysle for their martial skills, and save for those groups that practice blatant piracy, are afforded the same honors given Ayslish warriors.

Freetraders occupy the next level. Despite their importance to the society, merchants and moneylenders have traditionally been looked down upon as interested only in the pursuit of the conj. While some are disturbed by this, most Freetraders feel they get their revenge by getting the highest price for goods that they can.

The lowest place on the scale is occupied by the ice nomads, barbarians and Corsairs. The nomads and barbarians are considered to be, respectively, simple peasants and savages, with little to contribute to society as a whole, and little money with which to purchase goods and services. They are largely ignored by the rest of the human population, although Vikings have been known to associate with barbarians and hunt ice nomads for amusement. The Corsairs are thieves and outlaws, and thus are not respected.

This basic structure holds true for the other races on Aysle as well, with mages being the dominant class and the poor, the brutal and the criminal lumped together at the bottom. In Aysle as a whole, the dwarves are considered to be the closest species to the human, though rarely spoken of as equals. The status they have achieved is largely because of their pacts with humans against the giants, but they have been stigmatized by their connection with the merchant class. The dwarves mightily resent this state of affairs, and consider most humans to be dullards who are unable to accomplish anything without making a great fuss and bother about it.

Elves are considered to be roughly the same as dwarves, although their place in the social hierarchy is nebulous, primarily because they have limited contact with other races. There are some, both humans and dwarves, who believe that the elves think they are better than everyone else and criticize them as being snobs, but most folk don’t spend much time worrying about the elves. Until and unless they become a threat, they are left to themselves.

Where the giants stand is an interesting question. By their own account, of course, they are the best of Aysle, but humans detest them and regard them as lower than the lesser folk. Taking the average of these two opinions, giants can be placed somewhere between elves and dwarves and half-folk.

Half-folk are the slave class in Aysle. Humans want nothing to do with them, and the other folk refuse to welcome them either. Many are denied any way to make a living, and must prey on others to survive. Those that do find work are forced to do the most menial of labor, and often are paid slave wages. In Lower Aysle, as well as in the realm, half-folk are enslaved by the giants, who despise them even more than normal humans.

Finally, the lesser folk are on so low a level they are, for all intents and purposes, off the ladder. Gnomes, goblins, ogres and trolls tend to be vicious, slow-witted, and violent, and are notwelcome in Ayslish society. Even half-folk fear and hate them, and many humans will kill lesser folk on sight.

Justice in Aysle

In addition to the world laws, there are some civil statutes in effect in the Aysle realm. Most of these were put in place in the Aysle cosm by Ardinay, but overturned during the period Uthorion possessed her body. She has recodified them in the realm, but they are enforced only in those areas of the realm controlled by Houses loyal to her.

The Aysle Book of Laws contains statutes condemning murder (a capital crime), theft, and assault. There is no law against the bearing of arms, but the carrying of concealed weapons is strictly forbidden. This regulation grew out of the Law of Honor, for to hide a weapon is tantamount to masking one’s true intentions, and falsehoods are frowned upon in Aysle. Only those capable of circumventing the Law of Corruption can hide a weapon on his person for any length of time.

Among humans, Ardinay’s Home Guard bears the responsibility for enforcing the law, although it is not unusual for villages to form vigilante groups to hang murderers and thieves, or drive out half-folk. Other folk, such as dwarves, are expected to police themselves, and generally have reason to do so — a race that gains a reputation for lawlessness will find the Freetraders reluctant to do business with them.

Fashion

The Ayslish favor a style of dress that would be considered “medieval,” in Core Earth. As their tech level does not allow for the production of synthetic fabrics, natural fibers, particularly wool, dominate. For the upper classes, elven silk is very popular, both in ladies’ gowns and men’s formal wear.

Most humans wear layers of wool clothing in the colder areas of the cosm, which has stood them in good stead in the damp climate of the Aysle realm. Vikings, barbarians, and ice nomads wear the hides of animals, Corsairs favor breeches and bright silk shirts, and dwarves wear wool and/or fur and favor woolen caps on their heads. Elves wear green and brown outfits, made of a material unknown in the rest of Aysle. Members of the Home Guard wear full armor with chainmail underneath. Giants, ogres, trolls, and half-folk generally wear rags.

The establishment of Aysle on Earth, however, changed this. Many members of the nobility have discovered Simpson’s in Piccadilly and began wearing more modern fashions, much to the distress of Aysle purists. Giants and trolls, particularly those working in London (usually in unsavory positions), have begun raiding Big and Tall Men’s Shops for suits (few have mastered the art of the tie, though). Elves and dwarves, for the most part, stubbornly refuse to change their mode of dress in this new place.

Sidebar: Axioms of Past Ages

Age                           Magic*   Social   Spirit**   Tech
Dwarves                   Unknown, records of the era are anecdotal, and not accurate
Giants                       8              8           11              8
Magic                       10            12         16              10
War of the Crowns   17            15         16              12
Enlightenment          18           18          16              15
* Functional Level, the actual Magic Axiom has always been at least 18. Some believe that the true value is actually even higher.
** Prior to the Age of Magic, Faith in the Philosophies of Honor and Corruption was possible, without belief in specific gods.

CHAPTER FOUR

THE GREAT HOUSES

The Continent of Aysle

Largest land mass on Upper Aysle, along with the large islands under the Earth and Water stars, are the home to the Great Houses. In the ancient times before the Sun’s Rage, Dwarves lived on Aysle. Ruins of their once great civilization can still be found across the continent, particularly in the Kelor Mountains.

Under the rule of the Giants, crude cities were built in the tropical and temperate zones – what is now the lands of House Daleron and Tancred. The cooler lands along the outer edge were less heavily subjugated, and saw the rise of Human rule much faster, once Dunad released the power of magic into the world.

This chapter discusses the six remaining Great Houses: Bendes, Daleron, Gerrik, Liandar, Tancred, and Vareth. Each section will discuss the history of a particular House, starting in the Age of Magic, through the War of the Crowns, and the Age of Enlightenment, to the present. The next section will concern the current state of the House, including a look at major locales and personages, as well as their relations to their neighbors. Each House also contains a Sidebar concerning advice for character creation, noting professions and skills most common to each.

Sidebar: Naming Conventions

Names and titles are quite important to the peoples of Aysle, especially to the Humans of the Great Houses. Chapter Two included the conventions for Ayslish Wizards.

John of House Tancred, would be a noble of the Great House itself, and would claim a title, such as Sir, Lord, Baron, or Earl. If he were a member of a Lesser House, and a Vassal to the Tancreds, he might be named Sir John Travers of House Tancred – A knight, who’s family lands secure a river crossing on the Thamas.

Commoners will tend to take the name of their village, city, or profession as their surname. So John Smith of Tancred, and John Leshope of Tancred are both common names.

House Bendes
Symbol: Lion on a field of white
Colors: Red and white

The oldest of the Great Houses, the Bendes family built their domain in the city of Adige in a swampy river delta. The surrounding territory was difficult to travel. Thus the giants largely ignored the area. After the release of Magic into the world, Bendes was in a position to take advantage. From their small isolated city, they swiftly moved outward, driving the Giants back into Lower Aysle, and conquering the lands of the continent.

The Armies of Bendes, aided by mages and priests, swept over the continent, bringing the lands now claimed by the Tancreds, and Gerriks under their rule. They met with reversals when the barbarians of the Sunward Plant region defeated their army. These barbarians, the Dalerons ended the Bendes dreams of dominion, starting the War of the Crowns.

Emboldened by the Bendes defeat, numerous Houses in the provinces rebelled, beginning a long period of reversals. Though the Great House would rally on occasion, and regain territory, they would never again be as powerful. Duke Ephraim Bendes saw nothing to lose in acceding to Pella Ardinay’s peace proposal. Indeed, with ports like Orraine and Adige, and the increase of trade with the dwarves – as well as the promise of opening the distant lands of the cosm for trade, or expansion – House Bendes swiftly became fantastically wealthy.

The Bendes family is one of the wealthiest in the Aysle cosm, with the talent of spotting a profitable investment long before anyone else. Despite their love of the Old Ways, House Bendes played along with Uthorion, secretly providing aid to rebel forces. The last 15 generations of the Bendes family have played a dangerous game, indeed — while pledging their loyalty to Pella Ardinay loudly and often, they have subsidized rebellious forces in other Houses, ferried supplies to the Liandars, and made their lands available as a refuge for runaway dwarves from the slave pens of House Vareth. Through it all, their wealth was their shield. Watchdogs of House Tancred who have came too close to the truth were bought off, or silenced in other ways. The Bendes did their best to stay on the good side of Ardinay, the Vareths and the Dalerons, while all the time working against them in hopes of a general rebellion at some point in the future.

That point seemed to arrive when Ardinay called for an end to the war in the cosm of Earth. If she was truly withdrawing her support from the more brutal Houses, this was the time to strike and eliminate them. The Bendes helped both the Gerriks and, to a lesser degree, the Liandars rebuild their armies. They began mobilizing themselves as well, with an army made up of humans, half-folk and dwarf mercenaries.

All of this activity caught the attention of the Tancreds, but Gareth was occupied with other matters, and thus they did not act before Tolwyn reclaimed rule of the family. The Bendes tried to convince their allies to crush House Vareth first, thus opening up sunward ports under the Earth star for use by the Corsairs, who might be willing to join in the fight for the right amount of money.

During the last several years, Duke Mordecai Bendes oversaw the activities of the House in the cosm, while his son, Earl Thomas Bendes, lead their forces in the realm. Despite holding a relatively small area of land in the rimward section of the continent beneath the Earth star, the Bendes have some of the most fertile acreage and a good portion of their domain is in the temperate zone. Although some crops have suffered from the world flux, most were successfully harvested and sold to other Houses whose food supplies have been less certain.

When Ardinay’s spirit was returned to her body, she offered House Bendes its choice of lands in the realm. The family chose a large section of Wales, the area least devastated by the initial invasion. They took advantage of the relative calm of the area to develop it economically, improving farming methods and overseeing the construction of weapons that could be used against the Dark Forces. Part of this territory served as a base for the dwarves, led by Gutterby, who were rebelling against House Vareth.

House Bendes’ lands included the counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, Cardigan, Brecknock, Hereford, Worcester, Shropshire, Radnor, Montgomery, Merioneth, Caernarvon, Denbigh, Flin and Anglesey.

When Ardinay returned to her Dark ways, Mordecai suspected she had never truly reformed. He suspects that the supposedly noble Tancred and Gerriks, now allied by marriage have designs on continuing her plans. That the subjugation of Bendes lands is now imminient. The Agents of the House have been working to manipulate the two houses to conflict with the Dalerons and Vareths. And at the same time, the Duke has offered letters of marque against the Gerrik fleet in the cosm. Buying time while Thomas seeks to bring their forces home from Earth, and grant the Bendes an advantage.

House Bendes has secured an alliance with House Liandar through their latest actions. House Daleron was given precise details of the defenses on the Tancred border. Stripping troops from the Naenia Islands, the Dalerons made a push. And House Liandar capitalized on the situation.

Adige

The Bendes Capital is built in a river delta, on seven large islands, and dozens of smaller ones. These have been connected by bridges, and built up over the centuries to keep the city above water.

Numerous statues and monuments of past greatness adorn many squares and causeways, and marble temples dedicated to Dunad, Shali, Argon, Darsot, Areel, and – secretly – Harang, can be found in Adige. The temples of Honor, especially Dunad have fallen into disrepair over the centuries. Few locals seek to join the clergy of these temples, preferring more Balanced gods.

A number of smaller islands have become ghettos populated by dwarves and half folk.

Sidebar:House Bendes
The Nobles of House Bendes are spies and duelists. Common skills include Melee Weapons:Rapier or Dagger, Stealth, Deduction, Trick, Charm, and Persuasion.

House Daleron
Symbol: Swooping hawk
Colors: Black and red

This most martial of Houses has an usual and bloody history. During the Age of Giants, the region under the Plant Star was among the most rebellious. This only grew greater as vikings, driven from Scania, colonized the region and interbred with the natives. The lessons learned in those times have remained in the hearts and minds of the Daleron people to this day. Never did the giants truly rule this lands. And they were swiftly driven out after the sacrifice of Dunad.

When House Bendes crossed the Thamas River, and entered the region, it was Gerwulf Daleron who united the tribes, driving the invaders back. His clan spent the next several centuries, solidifying this union, and battling the Ardinays, Gerriks, and Liandars.

Roderick Daleron was the last to accept Ardinay’s peace plan. And only did so in the end with the threat of facing a single enemy on three fronts, rather than three separate ones. And to add insult to injury, Daleron was poised to seize the Creant peninsula when he was forced to the table.

Afterward, he played at loyalty, buying time. When Uthorion came, Ardinay relied heavily on the Daleron’s military might to ensure the safety of the cosm, and Duke Roderick did send his eldest son, Kwev, to join the Knight Protectors, along with a token force.

But it was all a feint. Roderick had little regard for Kwev, whose merciful nature was not in keeping with the philosophy of conquest that had shaped the Dalerons. As soon as Kwev and his troops were on their way to the Valley of the Sword, Daleron ordered all his other troops into battle — at the side of Uthorion.

The House’s troops crushed the flank being manned by the Liandars, and that was the start of their outright theft of territory on the continent. They soon controlled the rimward and sunward portions of Aysle beneath the Folk star and the Naenia islands, and served as Uthorion’s strong right arm against rebellious Houses. The Dalerons ‘liberated’ much of the Gerrik lands from the Orrorshan Horrors, and were supported by Ardinay in their claim to those lands. They were also strong supporters to the Crusades, and fought in nearly every one. In fact Daleron’s can still be found in several.

Although publicly submissive to House Tancred, the Dalerons long coveted the Tancred holdings. With Castle Ardinay abandoned during the invasion of Earth, they considered that land ripe for conquest. But they waited too long for a report from their spies on the condition of Gareth Tancred before launching a strike.

Of all the Houses, only the Dalerons came close to suspecting the truth about Ardinay’s “change of heart” after the war, and so they were disturbed, but not shocked, at reports of her altered nature once in the cosm of Earth. The current duke, Manfred Daleron, who had personally led his troops down the maelstrom bridge during the initial invasion, chose to remain on Earth to attempt an overthrow of Ardinay that would allow his House to rule in the cosm. With swift, decisive strokes, Daleron conquered a large chunk of eastern England, and only the lands of Tancred stood between him and Oxford, site of Ardinay’s court.

As in the cosm, House Daleron is one of the strongest of the lot militarily, and has embraced the changes in the world laws caused by Uthorion.

Daleron will strike any deal with any House in the realm that will advance his own interests, and just as quickly betray his partner.

House Daleron held the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, Lincoln, Leicester, Nottingham, and Rutland, and the cities of Cambridge and Norwich. When the Warrior of the Dark rose to power, he was forced to ally with her, but was largely ignored in favor of half folk troops. The Dark Army would eventually make its home in Daleron lands before the final battle. When the war was over, Manfred was left with little of value, and held on only until the return of Uthorion, and the promise of new conquests.

Manfred’s only son, Frederick, was left leading the House in the cosm. Its outlying lands were hard hit by the changes in the Law of Corruption, but the cities of Harak, Creant, and Xandel remained largely dark. Then Joseph Daleron staged a revolt, and overthrew Frederick, taking all Dalerons who would follow him back to the realm, and an alliance with the Tancreds.

Harak

The Daleron capital is a Fortress over a thousand years old. Though the local forests are twisted and gnarled, populated by many foul creatures, and the river downstream choked with sewage and silt, Harak remains strong. This is thanks to slave labor – dwarves and half folk, under lesser folk overseers.

Temples to Endrak and Areel stand prominently near Castle Daleron, in the heart of the city, teaching each generation the values of war and victory.

Numerous schools, both large and small, train the people of Harak in the arts of war. These range from small halls teaching swordsmanship, to a military academy that takes children just into their second decade, and trains them to be utterly loyal to the Daleron cause over the span of eight years of grueling hardship and near-constant combat.

There are recent rumors that deep in the Drohend Forest is a Gate, which is claimed to travel to Lykofos – see Chapter Six for more information.

Creant

Long ago, this city was the Capital of House Liandar, and surrounded by fertile farmland. Since the Daleron conquest, these lands have become barren. Many of the young locals have joined the Daleron Army in order to leave the desperate straits of their parents behind. Those who stay behind must rely on food imported from neighboring lands – which is bought only through virtual slave labor.

Xandel

Built on the site of the Bendes defeat. Xandel has some of the finest smiths on the continent, forging swords, armor, and guns for the Dark forces. At present, the Dalerons are gathering forces here before launching against House Tancred.

During the planning for the invasion of Earth, Uthorion allowed Baruk Kaah to plant a Maelstrom Bridge a few hundred miles clockwise from the Thamas River. Since the Worldstorm, the local flora has overgrown the small stelae zone (which has burned out), and is spreading. The Bridge itself has become a permanent Gate connecting the region to southeastern Jister.

Despite the loss of a force of levees due to this Gate, the Dalerons have pressed the Tancreds back to the Thamas River. Gaining almost as much territory as they have lost in the Creant peninsula.

The Rimward half of the Daleron kingdom is dominated by the Plant Range of the Kelor Mountains. Though officially Daleron territory, the mountains have become no man’s land – since Joseph Daleron has granted the region to Storm Knights. Castle Storm was built to watch over the valley where Uthorion began his invasion. Today Storm Knights, gathered from the various realms of Earth, watch over a region populated with Orcs, Ogres, Undead, and Lycanthropes. And somewhere below, beneath the ruins of a dwarven citadel, the is a Gate leading to the remains of Uthorion’s home cosm, now reshaped into the likeness of the Aztec Empire.

Sidebar: House Daleron
Fierce warriors, the Dalerons are renowned swordsmen, grenadiers, and knights, and are often skilled in Dodge, Maneuver, Melee Weapons:Sword, Fire Combat:Wheelock, Scholar:Tactics, Corruption, and Intimidation.

House Gerrik
Symbol: Three stars
Colors: Blue and silver

The Gerriks are a rugged family, well suited to the rough terrain that makes up their holdings in rimward Aysle, under the Folk star. Included within their lands are the Sashni snow fields and the treacherous Kelor Mountains, which tower up to 280 meters above the Valley of Skulls.

The Gerriks have a history of able seamanship and exploration. It was a Gerrik who first mapped much of Upper Aysle, and named many of the islands in the Trade Sea and the Living Sea. The Gerrik’s preoccupied with circumnavigating the disc, colonizing Tradeport, Haven, Pelk Cove, establishing trade with the Vareth dwarves, and discovering the elves, had little involvement in the War of the Crowns – beyond driving the Bendes from the mountains – preferring to hold their own territory, and expand beyond the continent.

Uthorion’s bridge landed in an isolated portion of Gerrik lands during the initial invasion five centuries ago, and since the Dark High Lord’s plan did not involve a great deal of destruction in the cosm, his forces were able to make it to the Valley of the Sword without attracting a great deal of attention. Gerrik troops made a noble effort to outflank them, but were butchered by ghouls and a flight of Draconis Teutonica who took Uthorion’s part. Many of Uthorion’s creatures still live among the Kelors, thriving in the shadows cast by the peaks. Despite the best efforts of the Gerriks to root out and eliminate them.

The Gerriks had ranked as one of Aysle’s most influential families, along with the Tancreds, until the invasion. After that, the possessed Ardinay raised the statuses of House Daleron and House Vareth, eclipsing the Gerriks. Ardinay allowed Daleron to annex a large portion of the Gerrik lands, all of which drove the noble family into a self-imposed isolation. Protected from attacks by other Houses by natural boundaries, the Gerriks managed what was left of their domain and did very little else while Ardinay’s forces pillaged and sacked other cosms.

The family was initially suspicious of Ardinay’s “conversion” upon reaching Earth. But the House’s leader, Duke Augustus Gerrik, was willing to gamble that the change of heart was genuine, and he dispatched extra troops under the command of son Duncan to aid her fight.

On Earth, the Gerriks have come out of their isolation with a vengeance, making guerilla-style raids against the Dalerons and the Tancreds.

The Gerriks formed an alliance with the Bendes clan, keeping the other Houses off-balance and prevent them from sending more troops to Earth. Their long-range goal was to take Castle Ardinay and thus control the bridge (there are forces within House Gerrik who believe Aysle would be better off if the mercurial Ardinay were not allowed to return).

Their House was the strongest militarily of those that backing the Light on Earth. House Gerrik was crucial to Tolwyn’s plans to defend Oxford from assault. Besides being renowned for its able soldiers and seamen, this House suffered the loss of much of its land and power in the cosm under Uthorion, and longed for revenge against those families (like the Dalerons) that made it possible.

House Gerrik received its lands in the realm from Ardinay who, on the advice of Tolwyn, granted them much of southwestern England. Thus, Gerrik’s troops can protect the western flank of Oxford and join with Tancred in guarding the southern coast.

Gerrik’s territories included the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucester, Monmouth, and Glamorgan, including the cities of Exeter and Plymouth.

House Gerrik is controlled by Duncan Gerrik, eldest son of Duke Augustus Gerrik. As a youth, Duncan discovered in the cellars of House Tancred one of the few unburnt portraits of Tolwyn, and promptly fell in love with the legendary warrior. When the legend of “Tolwyn Neverdeath” came true, Duncan dreamed of marrying her and uniting their two Houses. A dream he made reality in the days following the Light’s victory over the Warrior of the Dark.

On Earth, Duncan and Tolwyn lead their Houses as allies to the people of Earth, combating Uthorion, and the other High Lords in the Caribbean and Central America. His father, unwilling to forget the misdeeds of centuries, has largely kept the House to itself, rather than giving support to the Tancreds. He has even forestalled efforts to reclaim lost territory from the Dalerons, waiting for them to become so embroiled Sunward, that House Gerrik might overwhelm both of their old enemies.

Sashni Snow Fields

Along the Rimward Coast, the Gerrik people live in a number of Fishing and Whaling Villages, as well as true sea ports, such as Gandia and Allacant. The Shipwrights of these cities can produce hundreds of galleons a year, and employ elementalist mages to provide a steady supply of wood.

Kelor Mountains

These mountains form three distinct ranges, each named for the star they are found under. The Earth Range is mostly in Bendes territory, counterclockwise from the Gerrik lands. The Plant Range, once part of Gerrik territory, is now nominally Daleron controlled. And the Folk Range runs between them. Numerous mining towns carve iron, and precious metals from the land, and serve as starting points for adventurous parties seeking to explore the lost ruins of the ancient dwarves.

The Olot Pass is one of the most important trade routes on Aysle, connecting the Gerriks to the Valley of the Sword and Thamas River. Though the Sunward portion of the Gerrik realm can simply trade across the Inland Sea, and the coastal cities could sail around. For much of the kingdom, this pass is the fastest route. It was for that reason, that Uthorion chose his invasion as he did.

Valley of Skulls

Known long ago as the Valley of Gold, this stretch of lowlands on the Inland Sea was known for its grain fields. But since the devastation of the invasion, these fields are barely able to feed the Gerriks, let alone the rest of Aysle.

In the area where the Orrorsh Bridge once stood, there is now a Gate connecting Aysle to the remnants of Kantovia, now a part of the Aztec reality.

Along the Inland Sea, Coria, capital of the Gerriks stands. Like its counterparts on the Frozen Sea, Coria is a prosperous port, with regular travel to Bendes, Tancred, Daleron, and the former Ardinay lands.

Sidebar: House Gerrik
The nautical Gerriks are quite skilled at Swimming, Vehicle Piloting:Water, Climbing, Linguistics, Scholar:Any Lore, Survival, and Honor.

House Liandar
Symbol: Oak tree
Colors: Blue and green

Prior to Uthorion’s invasion of Aysle, House Liandar controlled the rimward and sunward section of the continent, beneath the Plant star’s light, as well as the island of Liandar and the Naenia island chain. They held these lands even at the height of the giant’s rule. However, this left them behind as the War of Crowns began. The Liandars were about three axiom points behind the rest of the Houses in Magic, Social, and Technology.

The Liandars actually began as a human tribe in the Creant peninsula, and migrated to the Naenias and Liandar Island – at first conquering, then assimilating with the native people.

In the War of the Crowns, Liandar Archers were able to hold the narrows into their peninsula against the might of the Dalerons. And they were the first to agree to Ardinay’s peace proposal. And during the invasion, they sent as great a force as they could muster to defend Aysle from Uthorion. This left them open to the Daleron betrayal.

And after the war, Lady Ardinay supported efforts by House Daleron to steal Liandar land, and with the House weakened by the ravages of the Orrorshan monsters, it was unable to mount any effective resistance.

soon, the House controlled only the island of Liandar, much of which is located in the Frozen Sea. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for farming, and this was blighted for centuries under Uthorion’s rule – compelling the Liandars to join in the Crusades in order to feed themselves.

With Tolwyn’s return, the Liandar’s holdings became a stronghold of the Light, and thus regained fertility. The House was not immediately able to attempt regaining its lost territorie. But Liandar eyes turned toward a House Daleron weakened by the absence of many of its troops and its patriarch, Manfred.

William Liandar, ruler of the House, inherited along with the mantle of power the family belief that Ardinay was tainted with madness centuries ago. For a time, he believed her recovered. Being an extremely religious family, the Liandars believe too many have turned away from Dunad, and the Valley of the Sword is now cursed with evil. Once free of its confines, Ardinay was able to return to her benevolent ways once more. When she fell, this made many, including the Duke, look to the Balance.

William negotiated with representatives of House Gerrik, whose lands adjoin those of the Dalerons, attempting to forge an alliance.

Progress was slowed, because many supporters of the Liandars remembered how the Gerriks did nothing to prevent their House being driven from the continent.

Liandar Island also became known as a haven for the Ice Nomads who wander the Frozen Land. Often, the wounded or the sick are brought to Liandar, where the family shares its meager supplies. With the outbreak of war with the Dalerons, the Liandars can rely on support from the Nomads.

On Earth, the denizens of House Liandar maintained a tenuous grip on their land in the north, despite pressure from Uthorion’s forces in Scotland and House Vareth to the south. House Liandar controlled the smallest area of any of the seven, the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland and Durham, and the city of Newcastle.

Despite being decimated by Uthorion in the cosm, House Liandar was able to muster a large enough force to move down the bridge and aid Ardinay. The House on Earth is led by Cedric Liandar, brother of William, who convinced his followers that Ardinay was the victim of sorcery that brought on some form of madness, and that the House must follow her again, now that she was restored to her former self.

But when the Warrior of the Dark pressed Liandar eventually crumbled, and the remnants were forced to retreat to Oxford. Presently they are seeking to return home, leaving the forces of Honor and Corruption to fight without them.

Duke William has allied, at least for the time being with the Bendes – thanks to their aid in the recapture of the Naenia Islands. It is hoped that in addition to the Ice Nomads and Bendes, the Barbarians might join in the campaign to retake Creant. But a shortage of lumber for ships faces both brothers. Slowing the search for a Gate back to Aysle, and the transport of troops to the continent.

Sidebar: House Liandar
Liandar Folk are hearty, more concerned with day to day living than with grand schemes. When they must fight, they are skilled archers. Common Skills: Dodge, Missile Weapons:Bow, Craft:Farmer, Survival, Faith:Balance, Willpower

House Tancred
Symbol: Crossed swords
Colors: Brown and gold

The sunward lands under the Earth star were the last holdouts of giant occupation. The natives traded them for Bendes overlords, and remained subjugated for centuries. Among the first lands to learn of Dunad’s deeds, his worship has always been the dominant one in Tancred territory. This faith, shared by Tancred commoners, and Bendes nobles, alike, lead to intermarriage, and blurred the lines between them. Until eventually, Warlord Roland Tancred lead the province. And when the Bendes were weakened by the defeat at the hands of Dalerons, he declared independence.

The Tancreds long coveted the Valley of the Sword, most holy of holies for the Dunad faith. House Ardinay respected their faith, and sought a diplomatic solution – for the people. But it took centuries before a true peace could be achieved.

Duke Bordal accepted the Delegate Legacy proposal, but he was still surprised when Pella outright ceded all her families lands to the Tancreds.

Aysle tradition calls for the eldest son or daughter to inherit upon the death of the reigning duke in a House. A middle child will be given a high rank and the management of some of the family’s business affairs, while the youngest is commonly sent into the priesthood, as he has little chance of attaining power in the House.

In the case of House Tancred, at the time of the invasion of Aysle, Duke Bordal’s eldest child, daughter Tolwyn, was expected to assume those responsibilities when he passed away. The second in line, Alistair, looked after the family’s gamelands, and the youngest, Gareth, had come of age and was about to be sent to a seminary to become a priest of Dunad.

But Gareth’s soul was foul with corruption. He coveted the wealth of his father, and longed to lead men into battle in the manner of his sister, Tolwyn. When Uthorion attacked, he saw his opportunity and seized it — as the Knight Protectors battled the Dark Forces at Castle Ardinay, Gareth revealed his treacherous nature and slew Bordal and Alistair. If Uthorion lost, he planned to say the two were felled while fighting to protect the cosm from the invaders, weep some false tears, and then conceive a plot to dispose of Tolwyn as well.

To Gareth’s delight, Tolwyn died in battle (or so it seemed) — but when the monsters retreated back across the maelstrom bridge, he knew he would have to feign mourning so Lady Pella would not suspect his role in his kin’s deaths. When Lady Ardinay granted him an audience, he discovered to his shock that not only did she know of his bloody deeds, she approved! She struck a bargain with him: he could have control of House Tancred, and virtual immortality through her sorcerous might, in return for his unquestioning obedience.

Gareth never suspected that the Ardinay he dealt with was possessed by Uthorion, but did realize that there had to be some connection between the invasion and Ardinay’s radical change of attitude. He kept to his word for 500 years, crushing any sign of rebellion and lending troops to Ardinay’s invasions of other cosms. But he was haunted by the prophecy that Tolwyn would return one day, and when he learned that she was leading the forces of an altered Ardinay on Earth, he devoted his energies to planning the true and final death of the rightful ruler of House Tancred.

House Tancred grew wealthy and powerful under Uthorion’s rule, and controls much of the sunward portion of the continent, beneath the Folk and Earth stars, including the trade center of Leshope and the port cities of Orraine and Eufemiast. In Orraine, Gareth’s troops were declared peacekeepers by Ardinay, needed to control the threat of lesser folk. He avoided eventual revolts by swiftly replacing the ‘soft’ Bendes lords with his own followers. Commoners from his occupied lands were sent as levees to serve in the Crusades – and often abandoned on the dead worlds when the invasion was done.

To Gareth’s anguish, the flux caused his features to change without warning from youthful and handsome to rotten with age and corruption. His sanity was rendered fragile by this, and he locked himself inside one of the towers of Castle Tancred, allowing only his most trusted adviser, Mokai, to see him. Even his most recent bride, Marlena of House Daleron, was not allowed at his side. Under Gareth, House Tancred enjoyed an uneasy alliances with House Daleron and House Vareth.

With the reincarnation of Tolwyn Tancred, rule of the House in the realm passed over to her, much to the consternation of some. House Tancred on Earth was a mix of those fiercely loyal to Tolwyn, those who still owed their allegiance to her traitorous brother, Gareth, and those torn between their desire to follow the path of Light and their doubt about whether the body of Wendy Miller housed the true spirit of the woman warrior.

House Tancred’s lands encompassed the southeastern section of England, including the counties of Hampshire, Wilts, Berks, Buckingham, Bedford, Hertford, Warwick, Northampton, Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent, and the cities of London, Reading and Portsmouth.

Tolwyn pledged the House to the service of Ardinay, and resumed her duties as commander of the Army of the Light. She did so despite the Fall of Ardinay, and her own dark clone assuming leadership of the Dark.

She, and her Storm Knight allies, were able to defeat Gareth, and Tolwyn assumed full leadership of the House, though the Warrior sought to trap her on Aysle for her efforts. She also made alliance with Lord Joseph Daleron, and her sister-in-law Marlena.

Sidebar: The People’s House
The People’s House was the name given by Lady Pella to House Ardinay after its lands were donated to the Tancreds. Encompassing Castle Ardinay, the Valley of the Sword and the banks of the River Thamas and the Inland Sea, the People’s House was the meeting place of representatives of the other six Houses during the era of the “Delegate Legacy.” This small area in central Aysle bordered the lands of House Gerrik, House Bendes, House Daleron and House Tancred.

The People’s House, as such, no longer exists in the cosm of Aysle. It was dissolved during the period that Uthorion possessed the body of Ardinay, along with the “Delegate Legacy,” and the Dark High Lord used the area as a base of operations during his reign. The main maelstrom bridge between Aysle and Earth was located in the courtyard of the castle.

The castle was abandoned by Uthorion when he traveled down the bridge to Earth’s cosm. It is left guarded by a tribe of Vikings from the isle of Skani, who intended to stay at their post until their chieftain returned with the head of Ardinay. Gareth Tancred had originally intended to move into the castle during Ardinay’s absence, but the sudden shifts in the world laws (and his own appearance) forced him to change his plans. The eventual death of Thorfinn Bjanni, and Tolwyn’s return to Aysle, saw the Vikings swift defeat, and Castle Ardinay back in the hands of the Light.

Leshope

Castle Tancred was built on an island in the Sernas River. Over time, a city grew on both shores, with five bridges connecting Leshope into a single city. The first Grand Temple to Dunad was built in even before Leshope itself could truly be called a city.

Gareth saw his capital greatly improved with the use of dwarven slave labor, and the spoils of five hundred years of conquest may be found here.

After Tolwyn’s return, she left Count Paris Lyonas – a priest of Dunas – as acting ruler. He has proven a good general chafing under civil laws. Especially since a Daleron assassin slipped past his protection, and into the bedchamber of Lady Marlena. He has vowed to bring her killer to justice.

Orraine

Built on a coastal lowland, Orraine saw regular flooding, until dwarven slaves built a sea wall. This allowed the city to double in size. Presently the Thieves Guild controls the city – running smuggling, black marketeering, and thinly disguised slavery (expanded to include even humans).

The Seneschal, Kalen works for the guild. Countess Julia Shannis accepts his reports and trusts him to carry out her wishes, so she can focus on painting. And he keeps her isolated from the truth.

Her daughter Cerise didn’t leave to take an apprenticeship on Pure Isle, but was actually sold to a Corsair captain. She killed her captor, and took command, leading her new crew in preying on the Tuonetar-Orraine Shipping Lane. Kalen and the Duke Dwyvan Vareth have both placed a bounty of one hundred thousand trades on the captain of the Shark.

Sidebar: House Tancred
The Tancreds are renowned as the finest Cavalry in the cosm. They often possess the skills Beast Riding, Maneuver, Melee Weapons, Persuasion, Faith:Honor, Honor, and Willpower.

Eufemiast

On the Citrus tree-lined hills of the Thamas Delta is the city of Eufemiast. Home to temples of Areel, Shali, and Dunad, as well as a Mage School for Water and Aquatic magic. Count Gilbert Yannic, a wizard himself, rules a city that has been very prosperous for centuries.

House Daleron has recently laid seige, with their navy, and a kraken. Count Gilbert has rallied his people, and organized the use of Fog and Tidal Wave spells to hold off the Dark Forces.

Valley of the Sword

Much of the valley remains undeveloped, held in trust by the Church of Dunad as a shrine to the site of their god’s apotheosis.

On the shores of the inland sea, in the shadow of Castle Ardinay, is the fortified port of Gleddau. Gleddau maintains its own rule, with all citizens allowed to vote for the City Council. The current council consists of five members. Mayor Clement Mercer – the wealthiest shipping merchant in Gleddau, and one of the wealthiest on the Inland Sea. Rhys Black – Guildmaster of the Smiths Guild. Brook of Shali – High Priestess of the local temple. Captain Lise Ward – Head of the local watch. And Paden Porter – Guildmaster for the Teamsters. An advocate for Half Folk Rights. Paden employs a large number of Half Folk (Centaurs and Minotaurs mainly), and if he can persuade his fellow Councillors to grant Half Folk equality, their votes would make him the most powerful man in Gleddau.

House Vareth
Symbol: Hatchet and spade
Colors: Orange and gray

The ancestors of the Vareth clan were good, hard-working dwarves who blamed themselves for the giants finding their way to Upper Aysle. They made amends by establishing a base of operation – Vareth Island – from which they established tunnels to the Aysle continent and aided the humans in escape or resistance. After the war, they were rewarded for their services as the human Houses recognized the Vareth Clan as a Great House.

During the War of the Crowns, the Vareths grew wealthy by selling to everyone. Though the humans resented this, they paid, because their neighbors were. Ardinay invited them to join the Delegate Legacy in order to check their mercenary ways.

Unfortunately, this newfound wealth and the resulting soft lifestyle corrupted the Vareths over the years, until the thought of doing actual labor is repugnant to them. In one of the most heinous acts in Aysle history, the Vareths began kidnapping dwarves from the Land Between and enslaving them to work the fields. Other dwarves and half-folk were sold to other Houses, and soon the name Vareth was considered a curse in the Land Between.

The Vareths long for wealth and power, it is true, but more than anything they desire to be considered the equals of humans, specifically the Tancreds and the Dalerons. Ardinay pledged this to them after the invasion of Aysle, but the other Houses still consider them, at best, nouveau riche, and at worst, deride them as “slavers.”

Thus when the opportunity arose to invade a rich cosm on Ardinay’s behalf, Duke Dwyvan Vareth leapt at the chance, sending his son Taleron and thousands of hand-picked troops down the bridge to Earth. Here at last would be the opportunity to prove to Ardinay and the rest of the humans that the dwarves were as good, if not better, at the art of war than they.

Then, to hear Dwyvan tell it, they were betrayed by Ardinay. As the Vareth troops were about to win a great victory, Ardinay called for the fighting to cease. Some dwarves laid down their arms, others fought on, and still others became extremely confused and were not sure what to do.

This incident reinforced Dwyvan’s instinctive distrust of humans, and made him reluctant to heed the calls of the Tancreds and the Dalerons for aid against the other Houses.

Even if Dwyvan had known the truth about Uthorion and Ardinay, it would not have mattered a great deal to him. As far as he is concerned, one human is much like another, and he marks as his allies those who will help him turn a profit. The Vareths remained in the war on Earth simply because, since Ardinay opposed slavery of any kind, it seems wise to fight alongside those who oppose her.

The Vareths currently hold the rimward and sunward portion of the continent under the Earth star, along with the island of Vareth in the Frozen Sea. The island has remained dark despite the flux, and is the site of the city of Tuonetar, home of the Vareth clan.

The infamous House of Dwarves has continued its dark practices in the realm, supplying enslaved dwarves to the forces of the Dark, as well as any half-folk it is able to capture. Vareth strike-forces are feared throughout Aysle, for their engineering skill has enabled them to send minotaurs with machine-guns into the field. But the betrayal of the Land Between dwarves has tainted the House, and even the Dark Forces look down upon it.

Taleron Vareth runs the House on Earth in the stead of his father, Dwyvan. Much like his sire, he believes in the use of violence and torture to achieve his ends, and has found a number of new technologies on Earth capable of inflicting pain (his engineers’ work with batteries, for instance, resulted in a breakthrough in the use of interrogation through electric shock, for instance).

House Vareth’s lands included the counties of York, Stafford, Derby, Cheshire, and Lancashire.

Gutterby Vareth began a rebellion in the cosm of Earth, but the effects of it were not felt in Aysle. Though aided by House Bendes he was unable to win victory.

During the height of the rebellion, they struck at Vareth’s slave centers throughout the realm, the most spectacular incident being when three rebel dwarves crashed a double-decker bus through the gates of the Walsall prison and freed over 300 of their fellows. The rebellion had the full support of Ardinay, and she has sent what supplies and troops she could spare to aid the cause. For a time, the rebels were safe in Shropshire, since Taleron was reluctant to anger House Bendes by marching into its domain.

Assassins sent by the Warrior of the Dark put an end to Gutterby, and his defiance to the Dark. The rebellion seemed to die out. However, after the defeat of the Army of the Dark a joint Ayslish-British force was able to recapture the Vareth fief, and scatter the dwarves.

Tuonetar

The City of Tuonetar looks more like Victorian London (Earth’s or Gaea’s) than a part of Aysle. Natural Resources for miles have been clear cut, and exhausted. The city is packed with Mills, Foundries, and Sweatshops. The sky above is filled with smoke, and everything is covered in a sticky film. [Foreigners take a -1 penalty to all actions and are always considered fatigued.] Dams power Steam Engines, which in turn power everything else. And most recently, Duke Dwyvan has ordered the enlargement of the shipyards. In addition to the production of Steamships, the yards construct dirigibles and are working on a true airship.

Sidebar:House Vareth
Vareths are Slavers and skilled in advanced technology. They are skilled at Melee Weapons, Fire Combat, Vehicle Piloting:Air, Land or Water, Craft:Any, Corruption and Faith Secular Dwarvenism.

CHAPTER FIVE

OTHER KINGDOMS OF AYSLE

Along with the Houses, which govern the continent of Aysle, there are a number of kingdoms, both large and these formed strong alliances with Uthorion during his reign, others isolated themselves from the Dark High Lord’s doings and pursued their own interests.

The following is a summary of the kingdoms of Aysle, the lands they control, and their role in the increasingly violent power struggle in the cosm. It is divided into Upper Aysle, Land Between, and Lower Aysle, and will generally follow a clockwise order.

Upper Aysle covers the various other human kingdoms, and the Elves – though some Elves live in the Land Between. The Land Between is mainly considered Dwarven land, but it is also home to various lesser and half folk. And Lower Aysle is almost entirely Giants.

Two races are found extensively across the cosm, Half and Lesser Folk.

The Half-Folk

The bizarre creatures called half-folk have, in a sense, every kingdom and none at all to call their own. There are half-folk virtually everywhere in Aysle, save perhaps for Elveim. They have been found everywhere from the islands bordering the Boiling Sea to the farthest reaches of the Frozen Land, and nowhere are they welcomed. The humans consider these half human/half creature mixtures dangerous monstrosities, the Vikings regard them as fit only to be beasts of burden, and the barbarians and Ice Nomads consider them befouled by dark magic and thus unclean.

When Uthorion first invaded the Aysle cosm, the reality storms transformed the folk into beings that were bizarre hybrids of man and monster, who eventually became known as half-folk. First-generation half-folk are never possibility rated, but each succeeding generation produces more possibility-rated beings.

The overwhelming rejection they have experienced has had several negative effects on the half-folk. Some, particularly the minotaurs, have reacted by lashing out at every other race, and as a result there are areas of Aysle where the man-bulls are killed on sight. The harpies tend to hide themselves away from everyone, staying in dark caves and grottos — often the combination of their isolation and the sight of their horrid appearance in a pool will cause them to go insane. Of all the half-folk, it is the satyrs, and to a lesser extent, centaurs, who seem to adjust most quickly to their new state — they flock to the hillsides of the Aysle continent, grazing on vegetation and not particularly caring what anyone thinks of them.

Bitter and frustrated, the half-folk were easily recruited by Uthorion, in the guise of Ardinay, for his army. At last, they felt as if they were accepted in truth, Uthorion had need of expendable fodder to soften up enemies before the Vikings went in for the kill. The Warrior of the Dark continued this practice to great effect. In the aftermath, most seek to find their own lands, away from the Ayslish, or migrate into Core Earth, where they are regarded as freaks, but not hated.

The half-folk live under the laws and political system of whatever kingdom they happen to be occupying, but have no legal rights under any system currently operating in the cosm.

The Lesser Folk

The lowest class in Aysle, the lesser folk — the gnomes, trolls, kobolds, and ogres — have no true social structure to speak of, beyond the occasional loosely-knit group seen wandering through the mountains of Upper Aysle. In general, the lesser folk lead independent existences, taking care of themselves and caring little for anyone else. They favor caves, tunnels, and other dark places, particularly in the Land Between, and shun gatherings of humans, dwarves or giants.

A lone Ayslish is another matter entirely. Cosm residents roaming too near the homes of lesser folk have been killed for no more reason than that the resident troll was in a particularly foul mood that day.

Lesser folk are normally of low intelligence, although they can recognize a profit-making venture when they see one. That is why so many of them have gravitated to the Dark Forces, a troop that allows them to pillage and burn and pays them well for it. There are few lesser folk among the soldiers now following Ardinay, and since neither humans nor dwarves care to associate with them, that is probably just as well.

The lesser folk are also the only group which doesn’t care that crops cannot be grown in huge areas of both Upper and Lower Aysle. This is because lesser folk tend to be meat-eaters, and will feast on anyone or anything they can get their hands on. For that reason, they make for dangerous allies — if an ogre gets too hungry, the ideas of “friendship” and “cooperation” will swiftly be replaced by less lofty ideals, and a traveling companion may find himself the main course on the dinner menu.

Like all folk, the trolls, ogres and such have some magical skill and knowledge, depending on their birthdate. But fewer of their number have become adept at the use of the sorcerous arts, due to the refusal of the academies on the Mage Islands to admit them and the unwillingness of the lesser folk to trust each other with any knowledge they do gain.

Trolls make up the majority of the lesser folk, and along with orcs, gremlins, and goblins, are the most likely to band together of any of the various monsters. Ogres and kobolds tend to be solitary beings, carving out their own little territories in the hills or caverns — and woe be unto anyone who ventures into the area.

Trolls are large creatures, roughly 2.5 meters high, covered with a coarse orange fur. They prefer caves, and their unpleasant smell and brutal natures make them difficult companions.

Ogres are a bit smaller, at two meters, with red eyes, sharp teeth and claws. Avowed man-eaters, they have been known to consume whole families of Ayslish at one sitting.

Orcs tend to be nearly as tall as Ogres, with greenish skin and porcine features. They have tusk-like incisors, but use them only in desperation. Orcs are one of the most intelligent of the lesser folk races, and as such were hunted to near extinction in the last five centuries. Only recently have they achieved the numbers needed to risk notice again.

Kobolds, roughly half a meter in height, look as if they should be benevolent folk, with cherubic faces and bright red hair and beards. In truth, they are malicious, hiding under floorboards and in the walls of houses and coming out only to demand food. If they are refused, they will set the house ablaze.

Gnomes exhibit similar behavior, often breaking pottery or stealing objects from houses. Although only about one meter tall, they can be fierce fighters when pressed.

Goblins

The goblins currently plaguing parts of the Aysle realm are not natives of the cosm. When Aysle’s reality washed over Core Earth, some people transformed into the malevolent lesser folk. Goblins have large, oversized heads and slender, twisted bodies. They are, as a rule, malicious

beings. Some folk claim that goblins can command lower orders of life, like insects, but there is no proof of this. It is just as likely that bugs congregate around goblins because of the foul odor they give off.

In an ironic twist, goblins have begun to emigrate to the cosm, and their depraved and antisocial natures are causing a variety of problems, particularly on the continent of Aysle. Goblins have proven a surprising affinity for Occultech, and produce devices which seem almost whimsical or absurd. Until they explode, or begin carving into flesh and bone – usually not the wielder’s.

Gremlins

Gremlins are a malicious and impish race, 60 cm in height, with hairless, black skin and sharply pointed ears and teeth. They dress in crude leathers or animal hides and carry small spears. They number among their favorite pastimes such things as killing, torturing, vandalizing, and looting. They despise dwarves, and generally dislike giants, who tend to enslave the little race. Gremlins cluster in large tribes of thirty to a hundred individuals for protection from larger races. Anyone unlucky enough to venture upon the warren home of a gremlin tribe usually finds themselves facing early retirement as scores of the little creatures attack the intruder from all directions. If the gremlins lose a battle, they duck into tunnels too small for most creatures to follow. The grem1ins taunt intruders with numerous small attacks before launching a serious attack. Very tough intruders are usually annoyed from a safe distance, or herded towards one of the many pits or snares set about the gremlins’ cave area.

Sidebar:Half and Lesser Folk

Both groups must be hearty and largely self-sufficient. Half Folk commonly possess Running (Flight for Harpies and Swimming for Merfolk) , Lifting (Centaurs and Minotaurs), Artist (notably Wind Instruments for the Satyrs), Craft and Survival.

Lesser Folk focus on combat, and traps. As such they may possess Melee Weapons, Stealth, Unarmed Combat, Missile Weapons, Thrown Weapons, Craft (particularly trap making), Survival, and Intimidation. Goblins will generally know Dwarven Occultech as well.

Sidebar:Barbarians and Ice Nomads

Both of these races are less technologically and magically advanced, and rely on crude gear. Almost all are skilled in Missile or Thrown Weapons, Tracking and Survival.

UPPER AYSLE

The Ice Nomads

These wanderers of the Frozen Land have been in Aysle for as long as any humans can remember. Where they came from — whether they were originally cast out of Ayslish society or left of their own accord to seek a better place — no one knows. But from that day to this, they have trekked through the harshest terrain of the Upper Aysle and braved biting winds and killing temperatures that no one else would dare challenge.

Despite their lack of comforts, the Ice Nomads have survived. In part, this is because no one particularly wants to conquer a barren, snow-covered wasteland, but it is also because the Nomads seem to have developed skills denied those in the more comfortable areas. The barbarians speak of them with something akin to awe, saying that they have seen Ice Nomads bring down a Draconis Teutonica and then feast on its carcass.

Cut off as they are from modern society, nothing is known about their social structure or their loyalties. Whether they are able to comprehend the concept of a People’s House, or the roots of the Ardinay-Uthorion conflict, is unknown. They have, however, evidenced a great deal of loyalty to the Liandar family, and they have spoken to William Liandar of a tradition among their people, that of sacrificing one’s life for a friend and the rewards in the afterlife for such an act.

The Barbarians

The people known as “barbarians” in Aysle are actually members of a tribe called Uygdir who reside on the island of Bar’aan in the Living Sea.

They have the reputation of being unfeeling savages, and have been branded as everything from giant-lovers to cannibals.

In truth, the Uygdir are none of those things. They are warlike and brutal, but no more so than the Vikings, and they have been dismissed as little better than beasts primarily because they have no system of government as the term is understood on Aysle. Although technically under the leadership of self-styled warrior king Yon Taal, the Uygdir believe in each individual looking after himself and pursuing his own destiny. Anyone who wishes to obey Taal is free to do so; anyone who feels he knows better than the king can assemble a group of followers and do as he pleases. Taal has made a few half-hearted attempts to bring the various cliques into line, but even those he has successfully won over to his side do not remain there long.

Under these circumstances, it is impossible to say if the barbarians are for or against the Light. Some are fighting furiously for the Dark Forces, others just as strongly for the Light. Bar’aan itself reflects this split, as parts of it are blasted with corruption, while other regions are green and lush.

The barbarians were initially reluctant to invade other cosms (preferring to choose their own wars), but the Vikings destroyed several coastal villages and Ardinay told them more deaths would result if they persisted in their cowardice. The positive aspect of joining in the invasions was that it afforded some the opportunity to get away from Bar’aan and see other lands, and there are now Uygdir on the continent of Aysle, the islands near Elveim, and even a few working in Tradeport.

The primary source of income for the barbarians is mining, chiefly for iron, which they then exchange for food with the Freetraders. Bar’aan is rich in other minerals as well, such as gold, but the Uygdir have no idea of their value, and refuse to let other races come in and work their mines.

That has made them a number of enemies, including the Vikings and the dwarves of House Vareth, all of whom would like to see the barbarians driven off Bar’aan and into the Frozen Land.

Sidebar:Sea Kingdoms

Corsairs, Freetraders, and Vikings are all skilled in seamanship, commonly possessing Swimming, Vehicle Pilot:Water, Direction Sense, and Craft:Sailor. Freetraders also rely on Charm, Persuasion, Linguistics, and Scholar (any culture). Vikings and Cosrairs take what they want by force, and are more likely skilled in Maneuver, Melee Weapons, Unarmed Combat, and Intimidation. Vikings often learn to Frenzy, while Corsairs rely on Stealth and Fire Combat.

The Vikings

The fierce warrior race of Aysle occupies a string of islands in the Trade Sea, the Living Sea and the Frozen Sea. All of the waters around the islands of Holm, Skani, Scania and the Nolfgar chain are considered the domain of the Vikings, and to enter them is to invite the pillaging and burning of one’s vessel and the slaughter of the crew.

The Vikings first appeared as such in Aysle roughly 650 years ago. Speculation is that they are the descendants of humans who escaped the domination of the giants and fled to inhospitable Holm. The difficult living conditions on that snow-covered island toughened their stock through the generations, until they were taller, more muscular, and better able to withstand extremes of temperature than the average human.

The Vikings’ great strength has made up for their relative lack of magical knowledge. They rely often on great wooden oars to move their ships, even in the face of winds that blow perpetually toward the hole in the center of the disk.

The Vikings made themselves known through raids on shipping in the Trade Sea. Goods were stolen, women were carried back to Holm as mates. Eventually, the Vikings expanded their empire to the other islands in the area, and the various tribes united under one chieftain, Grettir Bjanni. This brought an end to the civil strife among the Vikings, and enabled them to increase the profitability of their raids.

The Vikings embraced the alteration made by Uthorion in the Law of Corruption. Since they did not work the land, they did not care that it had gone dark, and as long as Freetraders continued to ply the seas, they would have supplies. Prior to the invasion, Ayslish soldiers had begun to travel on the traders’ ships, making it more difficult to sack them. After the war with Uthorion, Ardinay proposed an alliance with the Vikings, a condition of which was that Aysle would no longer extend protection to shipping.

The Vikings participated in a number of the invasions of other cosms, and found great glory in it. But when Ardinay declared a truce in the cosm of Earth, the Vikings were reluctant to accept it. Then their chieftain, a descendant of Grettir named Thorfinn Bjanni, seemed to find new strength, and declared that Ardinay was weak and cowardly, and he would lead the Vikings to victory. Unaware that the spirit of Thorfinn had been driven from his body and replaced with that of Uthorion, the Vikings gladly followed him into battle.

The Vikings in the cosm were led by Rolf Bjanni, the elderly father of Thorfinn and the former chieftain (that title is passed down from father to son in Viking society). They communicate with a representative of Gareth Tancred, and had the singular honor of guarding Castle Ardinay and the bridge within. When Tolwyn returned to reclaim her House from Gareth, the Vikings were also routed from Castle Ardinay.

Since that time, Sigurd Finnsen – secretly the son of Thorfinn Bjanni – has lead the Vikings.

The Freetraders

The Freetraders are a mixture of Aysle folk, united by their love of commerce. It was love of conjs and lemays that led them to cross the treacherous Trade Sea and dare the wrath of the elves by approaching what is now Elvenport. It is they who keep the various continents abreast of the news of the cosm, provide markets for goods and sell food to areas where none can be grown because of the corruption of the land.

Unfortunately, it is also the Freetraders (or some of them, anyway) who ferry enslaved dwarves from the markets on Vareth to their new masters.

These slave ships are the favorite targets of Corsairs, who massacre the traders, keep whatever gold they find, and either add the freed dwarves to their crews or return them to the Land Between for a substantial reward.

Save for the slavers, most of the Freetraders consider themselves to be on the side of Light. Being the first to learn anything of import in the cosm, they heard the whispers that perhaps Ardinay wasn’t really Ardinay at all. Then all military protection for their ships was withdrawn by the Aysle government, leaving them perfect victims for the pirates and the Vikings. Thus the Freetraders feel they have a vested interest in the return of a benevolent Pella to the throne, if only to get House protection back for their vessels and saving themselves the high cost of hiring mercenaries to guard their goods.

A number of Freetraders traveled to Earth during the invasion, seeing the potential for great profit there. They discovered that ferrying refugees could be a very lucrative business indeed, although they avoided Scandinavian waters, preferring to stay as far away from the Vikings as possible. Since the defeat of the Dark Army on Earth, they have sought to find gateways back to Aysle.

The Corsairs

The rogues and scoundrels known collectively as the Corsairs travel under no banner in Aysle, and relish the freedom this brings. Their vessels sail the Trade Seas, plundering merchant ships at will before vanishing into the safety of Pelk Cove and the infamous isle of Haven.

The Corsairs are a relatively recent branch of the Ayslish family, having come into existence after the War of the Crowns. Soldiers and seamen who found a life of peace not to their liking settled on three large islands between Aysle and Elveim, and used these as a base from which to raid their rich neighbors. Unlike the Vikings, it is rare for the Corsairs to sack an entire town, not having the manpower for that sort of an operation and unwilling to provoke a war with any race. The Corsairs much prefer plundering without violence, as repairing ships and replacing crew is highly expensive.

The Corsairs’ usual method of attack is to converge on a Freetrader ship with three vessels, in the hope that such steep odds will discourage their quarry from fighting back. The Corsairs’ fiercest opponents are the Vikings, who regard the pirates as competition and have long eyed their islands as sites of possible expansion. Attempts by the Vikings to mount full-scale attacks on the Corsairs have been frustrated in the past by the superior speed and maneuverability of the pirate vessels and their knowledge of the waters.

Along with the Freetraders, who also rely on the sea for their livelihood, the Corsairs often hire mages to sail with them and communicate with air elementals. These elementals can redirect the winds away from the Boiling Sea and allow sailing ships to reach their destinations with ease.

The Corsairs probably come the closest to a democratic form of government of any of the races on Aysle. Captains are elected by popular vote, their platform usually consisting of how much booty they’ve accumulated. There are normally eight Captains, with the best strategist among them acting as the overall leader. On issues of great importance to all (a proposed plan to burn the Viking fleet docked at Scania, for example), every crew member is allowed one vote, and each captain has two.

This system has worked well, in general, but has been no help in deciding which faction to back in the cosm. Some of the Corsairs enjoyed the rule of Ardinay/Uthorion and are willing to aid the Dark Forces. Others balk at the idea of siding with Vikings for any reason. One Captain, Benjamin Westbrook, went so far as to gather his crew and travel down the maelstrom bridge to Ireland, and he was soon followed by others. This has left the Corsairs in the cosm at roughly half-strength, and thus they are treading warily whenever in Viking seas.

Logan Portman, a former sergeant in the army of House Gerrik, remains first among the Captains in the cosm, though Lady Marina Waverunner leads a Corsair force among the Dark Forces in the Caribbean.

Note: There are two definitions of captain among the corsairs. Each ship is commanded by a captain. The Eight Captains of the corsairs are more accurately Commodores or Admirals, with the support of an entire fleet.

The Elves

Very little is known about the elves of Aysle or their domain. Ayslish histories relate that they appeared on Upper Aysle shortly after humans and giants were first seen, and they established themselves on the land mass now known as Elveim (also referred to as “the Forbidden Continent”) and the outlying islands.

Their only contact with the rest of the cosm has been through dealings with the Freetraders, who are allowed to dock at the isle of Elvenport. There they exchange human and dwarven goods for the valuable elven silk used to fashion clothes for members of the great Houses, and the light but strong elfmail armor. But not even the Freetraders know very much about them, as the elves refuse to discuss their origins or history.

All other lands besides Elvenport in the kingdom are forbidden to outsiders, and this restriction has generally been respected by the various races in the cosm. There are reports that a Viking longship once docked at Elveim, its crew planning to plunder the wealth of the elves. But none of the Vikings ever emerged, and the wreckage of the ship washed up on the Mage Islands. That account is centuries old, but the Vikings deny that there is any truth in it.

The elves remained neutral during all the cosm’s wars, and have avoided any involvement in the troubles between the Houses until recently.

Elves entered the realm, usually aiding the forces of Ardinay, but they would not reveal their reasons for doing so. Some have exhibited the incredible ability to ride the fierce dragons that roam throughout the cosm.

When the Akashans arrived on Earth, many elves flocked to the Dark, swearing their enmity to the Space Gods. Eventually it was revealed that the elves origins were on the world of Elvenos, in the Star Sphere. Long ago, the elves and Akashans came into conflict. And the elves were defeated. Their leaders Elmiir and his wife Asten lead them across the cosmverse by means of the Star Gem. But they have not forgotten their ancient home, or their defeat, and regardless of their affiliation to the Light or Dark, they seek vengeance.

Elves are slightly taller than humans – averaging two meters in height – but with slight builds. The majority of elves seen by outsiders are olive skinned, similar to the Mediterranean races of Earth. Blue skinned elves have also been seen on Earth. Though the immigrants tend toward cobalt or sky blue, some of these elves have coloration more sea green or forest green. In the Land Between there is a race of pale white skinned elves.

Elves reach maturity at the age of one hundred, and are known to live at least six centuries. They are highly magical creatures, and require a Magic axiom of 8 or higher or they suffer the “wasting disease.”

[Note: Most of the information in this section requires either 5 adds in Scholar:Aysle Cosm Lore, or the specialization Elveim – which is only available at character creation to Elves.]

There are Six “Houses” of elves – the term House is the closest translation of the elven term. The Houses of Elenar, Valanel, and Tryllystyn are Olive skinned, Malaan is Blue, while Quenior can vary into Green. The Ivory skinned Elthorlas are considered a myth to the surface elves, and are unheard of by humans.

Each Kingdom – again the closest translation – is ruled by a prince or princess. This is a hereditary position, like humans. Though most of the current rulers have held their position for centuries.

Like the Ayslish, gender equality is the norm – since both sexes can possess potent magic. It is common for elves to learn basic aspects of many professions before settling on the one they will spend the next several decades apprenticing to. Though elves will undertake most of the same professions as humans, there are a few notable exceptions. All elves undertake magical training to enhance their skills. Not as in depth as the studies of true mages, but certainly more than the cantrip or two known by most humans.

Elven warriors are renowned as Rangers – who use magic to blend with the natural world, communicate with animals, and enchant their bows. Another elite elven warrior class are the Dragon Riders – elves who have allied with a dragon (mostly Draconis Aysle (Light), Teutonica (Dark), or Crotolaria (Balance)) – and ride their mounts into battle in elfmail. The bond between elf and dragon is close, and the two can generally communicate by magic, and cast spells to complement each other.

Though elves study at the mage isles, there are also schools of magic in Elveim. These schools focus mainly on Elemental and Kindred magic, with some study of mixed forces. Every major elven city has such a school.

Elven clerics hold exclusively to the service of Elmiir, Asten or Estar. The most dedicated of Elmiir’s clergy are the monks of the Path of True Knowledge – who can focus magic and spiritual energy into incredible disciplines. Elves who maintain the balance will still tend to worship Elmiir. The Elthorlas worship Estar, but also an Elven aspect of Harang.

Elenar

The Elenar are the rulers of Elvenport – and the neighboring island of Thelione – and worshipers of Asten. They are the most open to dealings with humans, and other races. In recent years they have actually started traveling, with many siding with the Army of the Light. For the most part, they have opted to ignore the Akashans. Prince Aegan has chosen to “be the bigger man” as the humans say. He has directed his people on Earth to seek to help fix the Akashans mistakes and aid the forces of Earth and the Army of the Light against the forces of Uthorion, and the other High Lords.

Those who visit Elvenport speak of its beauty. Wood and Stone seem to have been shaped into form, rather than cut and carved in the manner of other races. The natural world blends with the city rather than being cut away to make room for it.

Valanel

Most powerful of the elves of Elviem, controlling the majority of the continent. Their lands are shared with Green Men, Trelantors, Celosia, Dryads, and other enchanted kindred, as well as Pegasi, and Unicorns. Elmiirs greatest shrine, where the monks of the Path of True Knowledge train, is hidden deep in the heart of their kingdom.

Few Valanel have ever left their homeland. The greatest exception are the monks. Though Valanel do not like association with non-elves, the monks travel widely, in the cosm and beyond, in their quest to gain greater understanding. Some of these have even learned to get beyond their bigotry.

Princess Enwen is old enough to still recall the War of the Crowns, and sees this new conflict as merely the continuation of that one. She sees this as proof of the violent, and barbaric nature of humans. Enwen is not expected to live more than another decade or two, and her son Prince Elror is already preparing to take the throne. Where Enwen has been content with isolation, Elror believes that the appearance of the Akashans on Earth means it is time for his people to reclaim their stolen homeland and bring justice to the usurpers.

Malaan

Controlling the Vallande peninsula, under the Metal star, the blue skinned Malaan are the finest smiths of elvenkind. They are a Balance House, but seem drawn to darkness, found in Paris, Los Angeles, Lima, and other cities touched by the High Lords on Earth.

Princess Anidril does not encourage such travel, but neither does she forbid it. She has come to accept that events on Earth have conspired to bring great change to Aysle – and the elves.

Quenior

At the far end of the continent from the Malaan, under the Fire star, lives the other kingdom of Balance. Quenior on the mainland tend to shades of green skin, while their kin on the large island of Quelione, and the smaller islands rimward of it, share the blue skin of the Malaan. The islanders have a strong fleet of ships, crafted from living trees. Though this fleet serves solely to protect the coasts of Elveim from invasion, they are easily the equal of the galleons of the Corsairs.

Prince Finasaer has no strong feelings about outlanders, but he is determined to preserve the Elmiir’s Secrecy. He maintains a potent force of Elementalist Mages, and Enchanted Creatures. If he could be persuaded to side with the Light or Dark, his army could shift the balance.

Tryllystyn

Beyond the Nyamaress Mountains in the rimward reaches of Elveim, the Tryllystyn live. The Corruption of the Land by their Darkness is barely noticeable in this icy, rocky, terrain. The mountains and inhospitable nature of their kingdom serves to make it almost unassailable. As such Prince Eohin has granted the bulk of his army to follow Delyndun, High Priest of Estar, and fight on Earth. Tryllystan was responsible for the Swarm of Dragon Riders that provided the Dark one of its most potent advantages. Doubtless, it is only a matter of time before these feared warriors bring their Arctic power to bear against the Human Factor and the Akashan remnants in South America.

Elthorlas

These elves live on the shores of the Elven Sea in the Land Between, and are feared by their neighbors over nearly a third of the Upper Vault. Elthorlas warriors constantly seek out dwarves, half folk, and other races – looking for new slaves to work their mines, and perform all the other menial labor that is beneath the Superior Race.

Princess Serinde is a High Priestess of Harang – in elven form of course. Her people are skilled poisoners, and constantly seek out the weaknesses of others. These can be exploited to subjugate, or destroy, in order to bring personal advancement. The city of Sironde is built within the great Elveim Pillar, and is divided among various ruling families – each consisting of a Lord or Lady, their household, and all subordinate elves, with over a dozen slaves per elf. Serinde has heard of the war on the surface, and she has decided that Drakacanus is hers by right – since a human – even a lich – is inferior to an elf.

The Mage Isles and the Arcane Academies

The great schools of magic can be found in the Trade Sea of Upper Aysle. Here, on the Mage Isles, apt pupils study the arcane knowledges to become competent spellcasters and work their way up to master wizards. The four charted islands are Being, State, Bridge, and Pure Isle. The rumored fifth isle, Pinnacle, has never appeared on a navigation chart. Each of the four charted isles has a port which is open to friendly vessels, and ships come here with passengers and to trade. The islands are administered by the archmages, the four ancient wizards who have each specialized in a particular body of arcane knowledges and oversee the four arcane academies. Legends speak of a fifth archmage who deals in the Essences, but neither he nor his island have ever been confirmed.

The Isle of Being contains the Seven Towers of Kindred Knowledge, and is run by the archmage L’lana of the Seven Towers. This mage allows all manner of kindred to wander the shores of her domain, but none save the serious mage-born can pass the tests that allow them entry into the towers of arcane knowledge. Normally, only six of the towers can be seen rising over the trees from the port town. But every day at dawn and dusk a seventh tower appears beside the others — the hauntingly different Entity Tower. To look upon the tower is to invite the notice of an otherworldly being, or so the legend goes.

In addition to the mages of the seven towers, Being is home to the Bestiary-Keepers of Aysle, who have made it their life’s’ work to learn all that they can about every animal and race in the cosm – as well as the many realms opened up by the Crusades.

Most Seven Tower Mages are Vitomancers of some form, though those who study in the dreaded Tower of Entity are Necromancers.

The Isle of State is home to the Six Towers of Element Knowledge, and the arcane academy administered by the dwarven mage Dalen of the Six Towers. Each tower is set within a park dedicated to one particular element, and those visitors lucky enough to travel beyond the port town are amazed by the rivers of metal and the tower that floats in the air.

The Tower of Air floats over five hundred meters above the island, and can be reached by hardening the air to walk up, or summoning the wind to fly there. The Tower of Water stands above a great waterfall, which drops all the way to the shore of State Lake in the Upper Vault. This is the easiest method of access into the Land Between – though the journey takes several hours of constant falling, and is one-way without magic.

Six Tower Mages are of course Elementalists.

The Bridge Isle, or the Island of Two Towers, contains the arcane academy of Mixed Forces. The elven archmage Thelim of the Two Towers oversees the academy. Two Tower Mages may practice such disciplines as Alchemy, Technomancy, and the basics of Dwarven Occultech.

The Pure Isle houses the Three Towers of Principle Knowledge, and the arcane academy dedicated to the pure forces. Magellan of the Three Towers wears the high robes of Principle Knowledge and splits his time between the towers of darkness, light, and magic.

The Tower of Light bathes its third of the island in constant light – the closest any part of Aysle comes to moonlight. The Tower of Darkness is in perpetual eclipse, and many followers of Endrak have studied here in their quest to bring on the Evernight.

Obviously Photomancy and Wizardry are the disciplines of the Three Towers.

Beyond these four isles, legends speak of Pinnacle and the Four Towers of Essence Knowledge. If this fabled isle does exist, only those of the highest order of magic can pass through its veil of secrecy. And if the archmage Kalilor of the Four Towers is a real person, then he must be truly powerful indeed. Should such a place exist, students of the Four Towers must clearly have already studied at one of the other islands, and likely still claim their affiliation to that school when they return to the outside world.

Essence Mages might come from Vitomancy or Necromancy disciplines, seeking to further their knowledge. Others come to Pinnacle (if it exists) to study Sorcery or Chronomancy.

Sidebar:Elven Kingdoms

Most Elves who leave the Forbidden Continent – as well as the warriors who defend it – are skilled in Beast Riding (Dragons, Pegasi, or Unicorns), Stealth, Missile Weapons:Bows, Direction Sense, Divination, Tracking, Alteration, and Willpower.

Sidebar:Mage Academies

Rather than skills, other than those that might complement their Art, Mages focus on their Arcane Knowledges. Most will Specialize in their school: Essences, Principles, Mixed Forces, Kindred, or Elements – or in one of the disciplines practiced by their School.

Fernao Islands

Captain Fernao of House Gerrik discovered a chain of nine major islands, and numerous smaller ones, under the Enchanted Star centuries ago. During the War of the Crowns, many commoners from the Houses, tired of the fighting, colonized the chain. However, after Uthorion assumed control of Aysle, the islands became over run by Half and Lesser Folk – with many of the human colonists slaughtered or driven away.

Today, these islands are largely avoided, as they have nothing of sufficient value to make dealing with the monstrous folk worthwhile.

As a side note, there are three larger islands under the Metal Star. Though a handful of humans from the Fernao Chain live here, they are largely unclaimed. Most races avoid them due to the proximity to Elveim, and the Elves are not numerous enough to need the land. The most populated, Evissia – which is the furthest from Elveim, and under the Enchanted Star – is ruled by Count Draco of House Ardinay, a Storm Wraith.

Horseshoe Island

At some distant time, the great pillar which supported this island in the Upper Vault shattered, taking with it more than half the island. Without the pillar, the central portion of the island sank into the Living Sea, and the rest of the island continues to sink a few centimeters a year.

How this happened is a matter of debate and conjecture. Popular theory on the surface is that the dwarves found valuable minerals in the pillar – and mined too heavily without caution. The dwarves themselves claim it was a deliberate act. When the giants were seeking a route to the surface, at the dawn of the Age of Giants, the dwarves sabotaged the pillar, taking with it thousands of the giants.

In more recent years, the island – under a variety of names – has been settled by the Corsairs. Only two permanent ports stand, both along opposite sides of the bay. As a general rule vessels with grudges will make port in one or the other, with little contact. The Earthly Freeport is in danger, with the continuing erosion have come quakes, and only the use of potent Elemental magic has kept the area from sinking.

The rimward portion of the island is largely unpopulated, but has numerous hidden treasure troves. Pirates have hidden their loot here for centuries, but the dark corruption of the land, coupled with the islands instability, has destroyed the landmarks that make the maps to those treasures useless.

Another threat in the region, Cacharia and Thessarians lurk in the waters about the island, and hunt the corsairs.

Uthorion has recently found a use for the island as well. Were he to open a Maelstrom Bridge on Elveim, or even one of its neighboring islands, the Elves would unite against him. So he has placed one near the rimward coast under the Elemental Star. Here the warriors of House Tryllystyn may cross over into South America. For more details on this see Chapter Seven.

LAND BETWEEN

Aysle is much like two pies placed top to top. If one were to cut a slice, they would see:

Upper Crust – roughly 2.5km, the surface upon which Upper Aysle rests.

Upper Vault – 45km of empty space, interrupted only by the great pillars which support the land masses above.

The Core – roughly 5km thick. Kindred live upon the Upper and Lower surfaces, as well as inside. The center of the Core is the Gravity Line – the point where “Up” and “Down” reverse. Those who live on the two surfaces are considered to be in the Upper and Lower Vault – see below.

Lower Vault – 45km, as with the Upper Vault, it is empty save for the pillars.

Lower Crust – approximately 2.5km, the Lower Ayslish surface.

In total Aysle is approximately one hundred kilometers thick.

The Core of Aysle is divided into the Magma Ring – an area beneath the Boiling Zone, where everything is burned away by the sun in its daily journey through the center of the world. The Desert Ring is next, analogous to the Trade Sea and Hot Sea. The Temperate Ring lies beneath the Living and Warm Seas. And the outer edge of the world is the Arctic Ring – too distant for the limited sunlight to make much impact.

Where Upper Aysle has daylight from 6am to 6pm, and vice versa for Lower Aysle, the Land Between has two short periods of daylight each day, from 3am to 9am and again from 3pm to 9pm. Despite this, the Entity Hour remains constant.

The air of the vaults is very dense, humid (throughout all but the arctic ring). Mists limit visibility to a maximum of about a kilometer. This mist diffuses light, maintaining daylight illumination throughout the two six hour periods. During the ‘night’ the mist still provides a dim light – comparable to moonlight in many other cosms. [No visual penalties under 1km in daylight, and -10 beyond that (or no possible sighting at GM discretion). During the night, penalties are -5 within 500m, and -10 beyond that. Darkvision halves these penalties as normal.]

Upper Crust

Beneath Upper Aysle countless caves and tunnels burrow into the crust. The largest populated area is known as the Vareth Reach. It includes the crust beneath House Vareth’s territory; as well as a swath of land under House Tancred, Bendes, and Gerrik; and the pillars of Vareth, and the three Folk Pillars of Aysle. The Vareth reach extends into the Upper Vault and includes two vassal realms.

In addition to the dwarves, and various mines controlled by humans and elves, there are vast regions of the Upper Crust populated by Minotaurs, Kobolds, and Gnomes. As well as other Lesser Folk who simply shelter in surface caves, in between their acts of predation.

Upper Vault

The Upper Vault is a mirror to Upper Aysle. Where the world above is solid, the world below is water, and where there are seas land may be found. Two great oceans, the Aysle and Elveim may be found. Though several massive pillars rise out of these bodies to hold the continents above. These pillars are never less than a kilometer wide, and most are as much as a hundred.

Numerous smaller lakes litter the rest of the vault, The Naenias, Liandar, Klaww, etc. Of particular note is Rock Lake. This is the body of water beneath what is often known as Horseshoe Island. The pillar that emerges only rises about twenty kilometers, with the ruins of the upper portion now littering the lake and its nearby shore.

Dwarven clans rule over the vault, and most of its pillars, clockwise from the Elemental Star to the Aquatic. Gnomes are the dominant race from Lake Bar’aan to Lake Scania. And much of the remaining Upper Vault is the seen as Elven Territory, and as noted House Elthorlas enslaves any who dare to come within their reach.

Draconis Terra and Metallica may also be found among the pillars and caverns of the vault. Though even they might fall prey to the Vareth and Elthorlas.

The Dwarves

The dwarves actually occupy two distinct “kingdoms” in the cosm of Aysle, the Land Between and the territories controlled by House Vareth. As the Vareths have been dealt with the previous chapter, we will focus here on the dwarves who occupy the “middle ground” between Upper Aysle and Lower Aysle.

Along with humans and giants, the dwarves are one of the dominant races of Aysle. Although they do not have a reputation as great warriors, they are fierce and tenacious, and make up in cunning what they lack in brawn. The dwarves realized how easily their land could be conquered, or turned into a pathway for the invasions of others, and took steps to prevent this from happening. Using their engineering skills, they booby-trapped many of the tunnels which connect Upper Aysle to Lower Aysle, and this has lessened the number of disturbances by giants in their kingdom in recent years.

In fact, the greatest threat to the dwarves over the last five centuries has come not from the noisy creatures above or below, but from their own kind. Raiding parties from House Vareth appear once every few weeks, and carry off the healthiest and strongest dwarves to be sold in the slave markets. Attempts by the Land Between dwarves to stop this have been largely unsuccessful, and every dwarf family has lost at least one member to the slavers.

This situation has engendered a great deal of resentment toward Ardinay in some quarters, and over time some of these dwarves have organized into small resistance bands. They have proven very effective saboteurs, and many of the groups mingled with the Vareth troops and traveled down the bridge, hoping to do their bit to aid the cosm under attack.

When Ardinay announced a truce, the dwarves were divided. Some took this to mean she had not been herself over the last 500 years, and was not responsible for all that had happened in Aysle; others claim she simply saw the battle was going against her, and decided to try the “Did I do that? I can’t remember!” trick that many a dwarf has pulled after a long night of lager. Regardless of their opinion, these bands continued the fight against the Dark Forces in the realm.

Other dwarves from the Land Between have less noble natures. Some came to the conclusion that the only way to avoid becoming a slave was to become a slaver, and went to work for the Vareths. These dwarves dismantle alarm systems in the tunnels to allow the raiders to come down safely, and in return are well paid and promised that their families will not be harmed. Of course, if one of these spies displeases the House, the Vareths will not hesitate to leak his name to the dwarf families who have been victimized, ensuring that the offender will be dispatched in an exceedingly painful manner by his outraged neighbors.

Unlike many other Ayslish races, the dwarves do not choose their leaders based on strength or material wealth. Although an especially militant dwarf can always gather a small group of followers, generally the eldest and the wisest in a community are the de facto leaders. The primary responsibility of the Council of Elders is to provide for the safety of the kingdom and closely monitor the supplies of food.

The latter is a constant problem for the dwarves. Living underground, they have never had the most fertile soil to work with, their primary crops being mushrooms and some forms of moss. With the world flux, even those often will not grow. Thus they must forage or trade for what they need, usually in Upper Aysle. Trading with humans is fairly easy, as the dwarves have an abundant supply of gold, silver and other precious metals and minerals to offer. Foraging has been less successful, since so many parts of Upper Aysle have been ravaged by the changes in the Law of Corruption and food is in short supply.

Along with mining, the dwarves rely on their skills as craftsmen for their livelihood. Their most lucrative pursuit is ship repair, particularly with the Freetraders taking such a pounding from the Vikings and Corsairs. A team of dwarves can patch a hull in a matter of minutes, and a number of Freetraders have taken dwarves on as crew members to effect emergency repairs.

Dwarf mages are also in high demand in Aysle, primarily because they cannot demand the same high prices a human sorcerer can, and Ayslish enjoy getting the same magical effect for less money. (Of course, dwarf mages do have a reputation for casting spells that don’t do quite what the customer expected — like the person who purchased a floater spell at a cut rate and then painfully discovered the duration was not quite as long as he had been promised.)

Five dwarven clans are known to reside in the Upper Vault. Two are Vareth Satraps in and around the pillars of Vareth and the nearby portions of Aysle. The other three live below.

Kagred

A Vareth Satrap who rule the surface of the Upper Vault along Lake Vareth and the rimward coast of the Aysle Ocean. Loyal followers of House Vareth, who stalk the Holahi, Galid and Rohni Clans to provide new slaves for the surface. On rare occasion, younger Kagred dwarves feel pangs of conscience. If they act on these feelings, they may find themselves – or even their families, on the auction block.

Torallan Kagred, eldest of the Clan Elders, sees himself as a Duke, like the Vareth. He ‘humors’ the other elders, and allows them to feel they have a say in Clan leadership. However, Torallan’s personal guard is strong enough to eliminate them if they ever get out of line. A few Elders – realizing this – would like to work against the system that has lead to this state of affairs. But centuries of hostility have left them with no allies.

Tirhal

Another satrap, centered on Pillar Island. Though the Elders comply with their Vareth masters, they have encouraged their youth to search for options, and work toward a time when the Tirhal can rebel. As a consequence, the Tirhal seldom meets its quotas, and has aroused the suspicions of the Vareth.

Holahi

Long ago, the Holahi Clan fished on the Aysle Ocean. But centuries of slave raids have driven the few remaining Holahi into small settlements set along the Liandar, Klaww, and Bar’aan seas. Even these remnants of the “aquatic” dwarves will likely be rounded up and enslaved within another century unless there is a major change in the political reality of the cosm.

Holahi are skilled fishermen, and shipwrights. Indeed, their skills are prized by the Freetraders of the Upper world. The clan elders have no other alliances, and are considered to follow Balance. However, they encourage their people to trade with the surface world, offering their goods and services.

Galid

Empty ruins dot the rimward shore of the Aysle Ocean. A handful have been occupied by the Kagred, Tirhal, or other things. The original builders of these cities are now desert nomads, ranging from the Mage Lakes to the Trade Lake. The are constantly pushed deeper and deeper. Some risk the very edges of the Magma Ring, while others have delved into the Core, and sealed the passages behind them.

The Galid are no longer a Clan, but rather a collection of tribes, ranging from a few dozen, to as many as a thousand. The Galid elders hold their word as bond. If a tribe chieftain welcomes a stranger to share their tents and food, he will be welcome by all, and treated as family.

Rohni

The Rohni Clan have ventured far from the hunting grounds of the Vareth, and into the land claimed by the Elthorlas. Many now slave in their mines, forges, and households. But others others have gone deep into the Core. There, at the very heart of the world, they search for the grain of sand from which Fordex the Elder began the creation of Aysle. They believe that it is their duty to find the gods of the dwarves.

In Rohni beliefs, if the Seekers fail, and the dwarf gods do not return, a great disaster – far worse than the one which drove the dwarves below ground many thousand years ago – will befall the cosm.

Alone among the clans, the Rohni have priests. They hold to the tenets of Honor, but they do not worship the gods of the humans, elves, or other folk. Because their gods are absent, priests of the Rohni do not gain any powers. They may not invoke divine power via prayers or miracles. And they have no bond with the Arcane Knowledges.

Every year, on the anniversary of the Death of Harp – the sixth day of the Arthuk, young members of the Clan may petition to become Seekers. Seekers travel the length and breadth of the cosm, through gates, over maelstrom bridges, and across the cosmverse. Everywhere they go, they search for signs of the gods, or new lore to add to the clan’s legends. In many ways, they are like the Elven Monks, and those who know of them ascribe special powers to them as well.

Sidebar:Dwarven Clans

The dwarves of the Land Between are quite different. But despite this, they have many traits in common. Every dwarf will know at least one Craft skill. Other common skills include Melee weapons, Vehicle Piloting:Land or Water, Direction Sense, Survival, Faith:Secular Dwarvenism (or Honor for the Rohni), or Willpower.

The Core

Beyond a handful of paths to the Lower Vault and beyond, the Core remains largely unknown. Tunnel Dragons, Gremlins, and other dangers roam the uncharted caves of the Core, making travel along all but those charted routes highly dangerous. Rumors abound that somewhere between Pillar Island (the land mass beneath the Inland Sea of Aysle) and the shores of the Ocean of Arth (which is beneath Arland) there is a Gate which leads to the Land Below, and the Lost Worlds.

Lower Vault

Like the Core, the Lower Vault has seen little exploration. Or at least, few expeditions have made it back to share their discoveries. Much of the Lower Vault’s land is home to Monoliths, though Giants, Trolls and Ogres, and Earth and Metal Dragons may also be encountered. There may also be dwarven clans, long cut off from their kin above.

Monoliths

Monoliths are a mysterious race of folk whose origins are unknown, even to the people of Aysle. Their appearance is rare even in the Land Between, and so their rumored appearance in the caverns beyond the Lower Vault is a shock to many dwarves. No monoliths are known to have come over the bridge from Aysle. Dwarven lore holds that the monoliths are created by the gods of Aysle to track down and destroy those who have offended them.

Monoliths appear as huge men, over four meters tall, with skin the color of stone and faceted like a cut gem. They wear simple clothes bound with iron bands and carry large battle axes with shafts of iron and a blade of faceted stone. They always travel alone, never speaking or communicating with any other beings. They often seem preoccupied with their travels, only taking notice of those who bar their path. Anyone who obstructs a monolith (accidentally or otherwise) is attacked until the way is clear. The origin of the geas which compels the monoliths is unknown, as is the race’s origin, but it is bad fortune indeed to be the target of a monolith’s quest, since the creature never rests until the quest is complete (it moves at a speed value of 12). It is known that monoliths require neither rest, nor food, and possibly can exist without air.

The monoliths use the tunnels to follow their chosen prey wherever it may go across the disc. The creature will surface only to attack its target and then immediately disappear back into the tunnels of Aysle.

LOWER AYSLE

Lower Aysle is home to the giants, who live primarily on the four main continents, Chamkatt, Polja, Rakholm, and Arland. Another notable area is the Broken Land island range, which supposedly shattered as the result of some long-forgotten cataclysm. Being much more literal, the giants have named their zones the Ice Sea, the Warm Sea, and the Hot Sea. The Frozen Land and the Boiling Sea are named the same on both sides of Aysle.

The Giants

The giant race controls virtually all of Lower Aysle, occupying most of the major land masses there, although they have only a few settlements in the Broken Land, which is a haven for lesser folk, half-folk, and creatures of all descriptions. The giants have had minimal contact with Upper Aysle since the War of the Giants hundreds of years ago, except for meetings with Uthorion that resulted in many of them joining the Dark Army.

Contrary to the belief of many in Upper Aysle, the giants are not one united bloc of oversized bullies. There are fierce rivalries between different groups, the bloodiest thus far between the giants of Chamkatt and those of Polja. The feud started 300 years ago over a stolen cow, and now many joke that it is easier to conquer an entire cosm than to get a Chamkatt and a Polja to agree on anything.

The giant tribes, major and minor, live under a system in which the strongest warrior rules, and can be replaced at any time, providing the claimant to the title bests him in battle. For this reason, there are few elderly giant leaders, nor are there very many wise ones.

The giants rely on brute strength to accomplish their ends, eschewing strategy and tactics and often meeting defeat as a result.

The giants have a particular hatred for humans, especially those who worship Dunad. Giant histories make no mention of Dunad or his deeds, but refer instead to a traitorous giant named Lafetor who betrayed his race to the humans. Those giants who have taken the side of the Light tend to be followers of Ugorl or those who have ventured into Upper Aysle and been awed by the riches and the different races found there. A giant in Upper Aysle can find work fairly easily (there’s always demand for someone who can lift boulders and considers two wolacs a fair day’s wage). Other giants who oppose the ravages of the Dark Forces have formed a community on the isle of Ugorland in Lower Aysle.

The giants have varying degrees of dislike for all the other races in Aysle, but reserve a special enmity for the dwarves of the Land Between. No giant has forgotten that the dwarves fought against them in the war for Upper Aysle, and the uneasiest alliance in all of Uthorion’s vast army is that between the giants and the dwarves. In fact, the giants have taken to blaming the dwarves for any setback the Dark Forces meet (there is an old saying among the dwarves, “In the eyes of a giant, the dwarves were showing Dunad how to take a sword apart one day, and things just got out of hand”).

Travel between continents is no simple matter. Giants are not as skilled at building as the folk of Upper Aysle. Giant-sized Longships and Triremes are the most common form of ocean travel. Just as often, giants use tunnels through the Lower Crust to make intercontinental journeys.

The Continents of Lower Aysle are quite large, the smallest being almost 5000 kilometers across. Giants are not as unified, or Socially adept, as humans. Each continent has numerous ‘kingdoms’ – some merely large tribes, while others are worthy of the term. What follows is an overview, clockwise from the Elemental star.

Polja

Six major kingdoms live in Polja. And they face grave times. In addition to the ongoing feud with Chamkatt, their has been a recent earthquake and three volcanic eruptions on the Sunward side of the continent. These are related to a Gate connecting to Muspelheim. Already the Fire Giants have conquered one kingdom. If the remaining five can not unify, they will be taken one by one.

Rakholm

Mainly in the tropical zone, Rakholm has the advantage of warm climate, and good crops – by comparison to the other lands of Lower Aysle, Corruption having darkened the land here as much as any other. But relative bounty has allowed the four kingdoms of Rakholm to make advances in Magic, Technology, and Socially. Most notably, dwarven slaves have built and help operate galleons, as fine as any in Upper Aysle.

King Ugrym of Jarvi is the most powerful of the Rakholm rulers. His neighbors at least fear him, if not respect him. As such, he is one of the most powerful rulers on Lower Aysle. It does not hurt that his brother, Borrugh represents the race in the Court of Uthorion.

Ugorland

Long ago this land was dominated by the worship of Ugorl. But they were cursed by Arthuk for their weakness. This lead to the creation of the Fomorions – twisted creatures that now live on the two nearby islands. The truth of this has been forgotten over time, and their fanatical devotion to the Dark Giant god is assumed to be the cause, and not the result.

Near the rimward coast, there is a Gate leading to the North Sea, of the coast of Scandinavia – where a Maelstrom Bridge once stood. There is also a Gate in the rimward reaches to Jotunheim. Like Polja, the island has been invaded. Without aid – and there is none coming – the Frost Giants will rule Ugorland by year’s end.

The Broken Lands and Dulge

Largely unpopulated territories, Wild Lands. Dangerous creatures such as the chimaerae make these lands less than desirable for settlement.

Arland

The giants of Arland claim that the race originated on their shores. And that Arthuk and Borl were born there. One kingdom claims the tropical reaches, another the arctic and rimward temperate zone, with two more between them.

The City of Arrut is the capital of the Sunward kingdom of the same name. Built in the Age of Giants by slaves, and maintained by slaves taken in Uthorion’s Crusades. The Grand Temple of Arthuk is the crown jewel of Lower Aysle. But temple and city are crumbling, and in need of repair.

Fekdor, High Priest of Arthuk, is one of the most powerful giants living. He hates Uthorion and Drakacanus for the destruction of Arthuk’s war club, an Eternity Shard of great power. For this reason he counsels against any aid to the High Lord.

The Borl Island Chain

Ruled by a dozen giantess witches, or priestesses of Borl. The most powerful, Elahs, recently was granted a tenfold increase in her skill of Conjuration by the Darkness Device – an action which has ensured her loyalty to Uthorion. Or perhaps, she is now a rival, should he fail again.

Chamkatt

Largest of the continents of Lower Aysle. Twelve kingdoms stretch across it, and seven are currently engaged in feuds – the origins of which are over a thousand years old, and largely irrelevant, where they are even remembered. The one thing every Chamkatt can agree upon is that all Poljas must die.

Volcan Isle

A volcanic island chain. Like Polja, these have seen a major increase in activity in the last three years. As such what little settlement once existed has fled. Even the Buthidae scorpion men are taking to the tunnels seeking refuge in the Lower Vault.

Sidebar:Giant Creatures

Like the folk of Lower Aysle, their flora and fauna are often quite large. Normal creatures from Aysle and Creatures of Aysle may be modified by adding the advantage Large (+3). This increases the Strength and Toughness of the creature by three, as well as granting a +3 to intimidation vs. smaller creatures and folk. However, they are more easily hit, suffering a -3 penalty to dodge and Maneuver against human sized opponents.

Sidebar:Giants

Three skills possessed by nearly every giant are Melee Weapons, Unarmed Combat, and Intimidation. Corruption and Faith:Corruption are also very common.

CHAPTER SIX

POCKET DIMENSIONS

Following the victory over the invader Uthorion,Lady Pella Ardinay declared the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment (A.E.). This age was defined by the crusades, in which the people of Aysle traveled to other cosms, to spread the ladies’ ‘enlightenment’. For five hundred years, Aysle invaded nearly one hundred other worlds, draining them of their Possibilities, and abandoning them.

When the Gaunt Man died on Earth, the Worldstorm covered that cosm, transforming invading realms into permanent, stable, mixed zones. Then Maelstrom Bridges (or some of the places Bridges once stood) were shattered and replaced with Gates. And the storm crossed through these gates to the invading cosms – and to every cosm they had consumed.

On Aysle, this lead to several of Uthorion’s past victories being resurrected. Three new pocket dimensions – Antenotus, Lykofos, and Vinacia – have recently been discovered by master wizards skilled in True Knowledge. A gate between Lykofos and the Daleron lands is known to exist. And researchers and explorers believe that the others are now linked to Aysle as well.

In addition to these three, there may be other dead cosms – as yet undiscovered.

This chapter will discuss these three, Farchnad – also known as the Demon Dimension, and the Elven homeworld, Elvenos.

FARCHNAD (the Demon Dimension, the Bazaar)

Axioms

Farchnad’s Axioms are the same as Aysle (Magic 18, Social 18, Spiritual 16, and Technology 15).

World Laws

The Laws of Magic and Observation function as they do in Aysle. These are the reason the world can be both formless, and take on solid reality.

Law of Profit, as per Marketplace. Those with annual incomes of 50,000 or more trades receive a 10% discount on goods and services.

Home to numerous species of demon including Gurlth, Lygellwyr, Ulanu,and the dreaded Mage-Killers. Farchnad can be reached via the Extradimensional Gate spell from anywhere in the cosm of Aysle, its pocket dimensions, or realms. It may be accessed from other parts of Earth as well, but these are not reliable connections.

Most of the cosm is a place of swirling mists, which resolve into shapes, places, and even beings, in accordance with the needs and desires of the local denizens. But there are small pockets where reality has solidified. The most famous is the Bazaar, a vast marketplace where nearly everything is for sale.

Corporeal Kindred from other dimensions have tried for centuries (maybe longer) to chart and quantify Farchnad. Their efforts have created small pockets that conform to the expectations of these explorers, and all who have studied their writings. These pockets however may move about, seemingly at random. At times, they may take days to walk from one to another, and at others, be in direct contact.

Gurlth are intelligent, skilled mages, and capable of altering their appearance as easily as the world around them. A majority of the vendors in the Bazaar are Gurlth, as they are shrewd negotiators, and are reputed to be able to sell ice to the Ice Nomads.

Llygellwyr are small, and physically weak. Like the Gurlth, they are intelligent – commonly known as Library Demons. They tend to live peaceful lives, and are eager for contact with Aysle, where they might acquire new books to read. The largest known concentration of Llygellwyr gather in a stable region of Farchnad, known simply as The Library. A vast repository of books, scrolls, and even rare works or art – gathered from Aysle, and every cosm it has ever conquered. Indeed, for some worlds, this zone is the only reminder that they ever existed. Outlanders are allowed access for a modest price – new books or knowledge are preferred, but valuables will be accepted as well. Value is not a matter of a set monetary amount, but rather value to the petitioner.

Ulanu are slightly more physically powerful, but comparable to humans in mental faculties. Despite their fearsome appearance, they are not overly aggressive, and are often summoned by mages seeking bodyguards or muscle for their work.

Mage-Killers (their true name remains unknown), are dangerous, and are summoned to hunt mages in Aysle. Their reasons are their own, and few of these demons show themselves openly in the Bazaar.

The Bazaar

A vast marketplace, where one can buy and sell anything. Sadly, this includes poisons, dark magic, and slaves. The only law in the Bazaar is that commerce may not be impeded. Theft, or any attempt to close a business down through intimidation, is a criminal act – punishable by fines, banishment, or even death.

Though the Bazaar is a fixed zone, the actual businesses may change regularly. Hundreds (or more) stalls line streets, in front of larger, and more permanent buildings. Since the Earth invasion, numerous new businesses have arrived. Businessmen from Marketplace are at the forefront of the influx. They have brought advanced technology, including weird science, cybernetics, biotechnology, as well as other commodities not found on Aysle.

Cash Exchanges may be found in the Bazaar, to convert Dollars, Yen, Credits, Sterlings, or Royals into Trades – the preferred currency of the realm. There is a 10% charge for this, but the Law of Profit permits those making large enough transactions to do so without the surcharge.

The more high-tech, or unusual the item – the greater the cost. Non-Ayslish goods will always cost more here than in their native reality – the cost of their import, and rarity. However, any goods that are readily available in their home cosm may be found normally here.

Price Modifier Cosm
+1 Orrorsh/Gaea (Occult items must be negotiated – if they are available at all)
+2 Nolava, Khem/Nile Empire (Weird Science related goods are +5 or higher)
+3 Magna Verita (including Blessed items)
+4 Earth, Marketplace, and Cyberpapacy (non-cybernetics)
+5 Kadandra, Cyberpapal cybernetics, Khem Weird Science
+6 Tharkold (Occultech may be much higher)
+7 Space Gods

VINACIA (Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy)

Axioms

Magic 8

Long ago, Vinacia was a thriving magical society, with an axiom of 24. Today the axiom is barely enough to support the existence of minor magical beings – for now.

Social 12

Small kingdoms dot the surface of Vinacia, built from the ruins of vast nations that once spanned it. Trade is possible, but not easy, due to the hazards of travel.

Spirit 9

At the height of civilization, magic had become so powerful, that the people largely considered the gods to be unnecessary. Whether this was a cause of the great disaster, or merely a side effect, is unknown. But in the centuries to follow, whatever connection once existed has not been restored. Though priests exist, few have true power, and miracles are nearly as rare as magic. In the last several centuries, the gods of Aysle have taken an interest, and are worshiped in most kingdoms.

The other religion of Vinacia is I’lani. This is the world crafted from the body of a dead goddess. Though it is a matter for priests to decide whether her murderers were the same gods who crafted Aysle. Or if they have merely been cast in that role by the victim’s of Ayslish aggression.

Tech 13

Technology was once somewhat higher, but only in terms of theory. In practical terms, it served only to provide a basis for magical effects. Today technology is the most important axiom on Vinacia. Not surprisingly, weapons and armor are the most advanced aspects of Technology, making full use of the axiom. Other aspects may be as low as 10.

World Laws

Law of Artifacts

As per Atlantis, this Law permits the existence of objects, buildings, or other relics of the ancient past. These may be as high as Magic 24, and function without contradiction. However, they are irreplaceable, as no one exists who understands how they were created. So if broken, or destroyed, they are gone forever.

Law of Ferocity
As Tharkold

A once thriving magical society, until a great disaster occurred. No one is certain what happened, whether it was a war, a plague, or a magical discovery gone horribly wrong.

The world was devastated, and few survived the chaos that followed. Those who remained, fought for water, steel, and other necessities. Constant warfare became a fact of life for untold generations. And then in 34A.E. The forces of Aysle came to Vinacia. They found a world that greatly resembled Upper Aysle – if nearly all water were gone.

Ayslish forces swiftly covered the cosm. The Vinacians were no match for them. And in less than a generation, Vinacia was gone, all its Possibilities drained. Uthorion and his followers never looked back – presuming the world dead. And he is not wholly wrong.

But Vinacia has endured.

Dwarves, elves, humans, and giants are the dominant races on Vinacia, though some half and lesser folk – created by the Ayslish invasion may also be found.

Dwarves are reviled by the other races, seen as greedy and gluttonous. Though they have settlements along three lakes – roughly corresponding to the Horseshoe Island bay, the straits between Pelk Cove and Haven and the deeps between the Mage Islands and Elviem – and numerous viable iron mines, they are not satisfied. They are intent on stealing lands, and waters, that belong to the elves and humans.

To be fair, the elves and humans are trying to do the same. But the dwarves are also the chosen race of the murderer gods. Which they do not deny.

The elves of Vinacia claim that the goddess was their creator. That the cosm rightfully belongs to them. That the other races are interlopers and trespassers. The Elves hold a lake in the region corresponding to the Living Sea between Elviem and the Fernao Islands, and a larger one between Elviem and the Frozen Lands. They are isolationists, and will not trade with the other races. Or permit any to trespass and live.

Humans control nearly ten lakes stretching across the southern half the world – analogous to Aysle between the Plant and Air stars. Most of their kingdoms are ruled by powerful warlords or charismatic priests of Endrak and Areel.

The largest human city, Brithiskali, has a population of nearly a hundred thousand – the majority slaves: taken from other races, as well as unfortunate humans from rival cities. Slaves mine the nearby plateau for iron and other valuable minerals, act as beasts of burden, and fight each other for the entertainment of the cities’ citizenry.

A single kingdom of giants lives along the eastern highlands (where the inland sea is on the Aysle continent). The giants are rumored to be cannibals. Travelers facing capture by giants are known to kill themselves rather than be taken alive.

A Gate between Aysle and Vinacia may be found on one of the larger islands in the Hot Sea on Lower Aysle. It opens into the central desert, in a region contested by elves, humans, and dwarves.

ANTENOTUS (Primitive Fantasy)

Axioms

Magic 13

Rare, mistrusted, but potent. Only a handful of true wizards exist, though hedge magicians might be found in nearly every village. All four magics may be utilized, and charged items are possible. However, it is very rare that a wizard will entrust such power in the hands of anyone other than themselves.

Social 8

While a few city-states have elevated themselves to true kingdoms, most of human and edeinos society is comprised of small tribes.

Spiritual 11

True priests are as rare as wizards. Each tribe or kingdom has a god or totem spirit.

Tech 9

Bronze age technology is giving way to iron – but slowly. Triremes are the most advanced form of watercraft, though longships are more common.

World Laws

Laws of Savagery and Wonders

As per the Lost Worlds.

Antenotus consists of a large continent, which is divided between two races, humans and edeinos. Each race is vying for supremacy. Only one race can survive. Humans controlled the colder northern territory, while the jungles of the southeast are the homeland of the reptile men.

Prior to the invasion of Aysle (in 265A.E.) three actual human kingdoms had set themselves apart from the city-states of their neighbors.

Geraki

Controlling much of the northwestern peninsula, with an army that utilized the social and tech axioms to their limits. Geraki fought the hardest against House Tancred’s army. Once defeated, the remnants of the Falcon Phalanxes were conscripted into the Ayslish forces, which found little true resistance in the rest of the cosm.

The Tancred’s ruled Geraki – and indeed most of the cosm – for centuries, before they were overthrown by a new dynasty. The new king, Astrarius, maintains order with mercenaries hired from the neighboring tribes, and keeps the people happy with bread and circuses.

Fidi

South across the inner sea from Geraki is the kingdom of Fidi. Here a Snake Cult rules through fear and treachery. Any who speak out against the High Priest Asemed are sacrificed to the snake god.

House Bendes was ordered to conquer Fidi, and their initial invasion was quick. Holding the region proved harder. Eventually the cult was suppressed, but it eventually resurfaced, and the invaders were sacrificed to consecrate Asemed’s ascendance.

Now, Asemed has set his eyes upon the city-state of the bull god to the east.

Nefritis

A legendary kingdom of the far northeast, said to have been fantastically wealthy – and to have fallen to an army of giants and half folk. The fate of the kingdom remains unknown.

Minor Human Tribes

An island north of Geraki is home to the Lion Tribes, the second fiercest people in Antenotus. Far worse are the Bear Tribes of the far north. The vast empty plains between the Geraki and Nefritis is home to dozens of tribes, chief among them the Horse People, who proved a challenge even to the Tancred cavalry – for a brief time. The southwestern coast, beyond the great desert is home to the sea wolves – not a true tribe, but criminals from across the world, who’s ships prey upon any they find.

The Jungles of the Lizard Men

The actual shape of lizard society is at present unknown to humans. Dark elf Dragon Riders wiped out whole tribes and cities during the invasion. And for centuries, there has been no sign of them. But recently they have again made themselves known, spreading into the central plains to attack the Horse Tribes.

Though not yet discovered by Ayslish or Antenotuans, a Gate connects the Mountains east of Geraki with the Upper Vault of the Land Between between the lands of the Rohni Clan and the Elthorlas Elves.

LYKOFOS (Pulp Fantasy)

Axioms

Magic 17

Though powerful, magic is fairly rare. Most casters are hedge magicians or shaman, able to cast only a few Pulp Sorcery spells.

True Mages are very rare. Indeed, the entire Dark Side had none before the Ayslish invasion, as the lack of light had limited advancement. Today, they remain rare, as those who have power are loathe to share it. Light Side wizards are hunted by the Dark, and must live in seclusion or be killed.

Social 22(13)

The cosm has a form of social equality. Those of Good Inclination see all people as equal, regardless of race, sex, or other beliefs. Evil folk see things different, only in that they are superior to the weak Lightsiders.

However, governments and economies are effectively at a 13. Kingdoms may not all have hereditary monarchs – but monarchy and feudalism are the order of the day.

Spirit 10

The native religions were very similar to Ayslish faiths & have since become indistinguishable. However, there is less organized worship, and the priests who have actual divine power are rare.

Good priests and folk favor Darsot and Areel, and other Balance gods. They have no love for the gods of Honor, who are patrons of the Ayslish. Evil folk favor Endrak above all other gods.

Priests select their miracles from the Balance and Corruption prayers and rituals, but are limited to Axiom 10.

Tech 15(26)

Roughly equal to Aysle, except in the matter of firearms. The local World Laws permit a form of Occultech which can create weapons, gadgets, and vehicles up to Tech 26. Thus soldiers might ride to battle in a tracked armored carrier, wearing plate mail, and armed with maces and laser guns.

World Laws

Law of Morality

As the Nile Empire. Supports the high social axiom. On the Light Side, roughly 2/3s of all folk are Good. On the Dark Side, where harsh conditions make survival difficult, almost ninety percent are Evil.

Law of Action

As the Nile Empire. Supports Pulp Sorcery, and Occultech.

Cosm

The ‘world’ of Lykofos, is a moon, which orbits a bright gas giant every 24 hours. The north pole points directly toward the sun, providing the Light Hemisphere with twelve hours of daylight, and twelve of twilight. During twilight, the planet crosses through the northern sky, providing dim light (somewhat brighter than Earth’s moon at full, but not enough to read by). Stars can be seen to the east, south, and west.

The Dark Hemisphere always points away from the sun, and has twelve hours of twilight – corresponding to daylight on the other side of the world – as the planet moves across the southern sky. The remaining twelve hours, the Dark Side is lit only by stars. Without the sun, active volcanic ranges provide warmth.

History

Prior to the Ayslish invasion there was little conflict between the hemispheres. The Light were largely content to live in peace with their neighbors. And the Dark were so engaged in conflict against each other, that few ever discovered the existence of the far side of the world. The first bridge was dropped at the equator. And while Daleron and Gerrik lead forces spread to the north, while ‘Ardinay’ recruited the Dark southerners to ‘her’ cause.

Once the Ayslish were finished, a token force from the Houses remained to oversee the northern satraps, while those loyal to Uthorion among the Dark were allowed to rule the southern kingdoms.

With the world storm, Lykofos own reality has reasserted itself, and few seem aware that anything has changed. Even the Dalerons and Gerriks have largely transformed, though their motives and natures have been little changed. The Dalerons are tyrants and hold their kingdoms in thrall. The Gerriks have made common cause with the natives under their rule – and in some cases even returned native rule.

Kingdoms and Races

Note: Each entry includes a Racial Package, each receives a Pulp Power or Powers, some also have drawbacks.

Gripi

Fterotos (Flight)

Avian humanoids with feathered or butterfly wings, their kingdom is built in the clouds of the Light Side. Lacking in ground based resources – such as agriculture – they had become a satrap of the Gerriks. Today, they are free again. But they lack in both weapons and motivation to aid their neighbors.

Ydrovia

Psari (Water Breathing, Swimming, Stymied:Land)

Waterbreathing humanoids, who command the northern seas. Their isolationist stance has allowed them to remain independent. They have little concern for Gerrik ships on the surface, or their rule over various islands.

Note: the waters of Lykofos, on the Light Side at least, permit the transmission of light much farther than in other cosms.

Leimones

Catfolk (Adrenaline, Claws (2), Short Tempered)

Long ago, thecatfolk had great cities in the western equatorial region. Today, those cities are either in ruin, or under Daleron rule. The catfolk are either slaves, or nomads on the grasslands struggling to survive and remain free.

Dasos

Green Men (Emotion Control (choose one), Stymied outside the Forest)

Bordering the eastern equator, Dark forces are harvesting the trees, which are almost unknown in their lands. The Green Men, a race of humanoid plant folk, are being hunted into extinction.

Aionoitita

Humans (player characters begin with 3pts in gadgets)

A large, human kingdom on the Light Side. A continent that stretches over more than a quarter of the north, including the pole. And the Dalerons hold all but a tiny part. Heroes have recently liberated the city of Tarsia. Now they seek to find allies, and spread freedom. The pale skin of the Dalerons stands out among the dark tan flesh of their subjects.

Ifeisteio

Humans (TOU+10 vs. Fire/Heat and Cold/Ice, Nightvision)

Largest and most widespread of the Dark Kingdoms, they live in the territory ringed by the Fovos and Tromos volcanic ranges. They have evolved to live in their environment, and their skin ranges from red or gold to obsidian. King Malek rules not only his kingdom, but dominates the rest of the Dark Side with his mastery of magic. But that is no longer sufficient, and he is mustering an army to finish the invasion of (forest), and then to face the Ayslish, and conquer Lykofos for himself.

Telma

Edeinos (Edeinos racial package, Darkvision)

The western equatorial zone is a vast swampland, ruled by edeinos. They are the second largest Dark race, and their king, Ssavra, bows to Malek only because he knows he can not stand against his magic.

Erimos

Scorpion Folk (Poison Stinger (Damage Value END+10, 6 uses per day), Nightvision)

Erimos spans the eastern equatorial desert. The fierce Scorpion Folk have pressed deep into the Light forests, and trade the harvested wood to their neighbors, growing wealthy in the process.

Scorpion folk are humanoids, with prehensile tails, tipped with a poison stinger.

Vouna

(Bat folk) (Flight, Sonar, Lightblind (Twilight+5, Daylight+10))

The bat people of Vouna rule the mountains and caves around Erimos, and have seldom been seen by the Light races. This will soon change, as their power of flight figures greatly into King Malek’s war plans.

Chioni

(Werewolves) (Shapechange (AGI+3, DEX-3, STR+4, END+4, PER+2, MIN-5, CHA-5, Claws & Teeth (STR+3), Resistance to Normal Weapons ), Vulnerability to Silver, Short Tempered)

The frozen southern pole is home to a race which appears human when they wish. Indeed, they can pass for pale northerners, or possibly Ayslish. But they may transform at will into Werewolves. This makes them useful both as shock troops and infiltrators. And King Morainos realizes this value. He has plans to seize power when Malek least expects it.

Equipment

Here are a few examples of the vehicles and weapons found on Lykofos. All are built using local World Laws and are thus in excess of the standard Tech Axiom.

Land Vehicles

Track Carrier

An armored, tracked vehicle, moderately armed, and capable of carrying a ton of cargo or a platoon of troops. Slight variations of this design are found in every army.

Tech 21 Speed 55kmh/35mph/11 Man. -4 TOU 20(25) Wt. 20 Pass. 22 (Pilot, Gunner, 20 Troops) Double Barreled Turret Cost 100K (25)

Attack Sled

A four tracked vehicle, resembling an Earth Snowmobile, with a high back and armored wind screen, to provide the pilot with cover. Used by the Aionoitita Rebels, the high speed allows them to hit and run.

Tech 23 Speed 100kmh/60mph/12 Man. +1 TOU 16 Wt. 12 Pass. 1 (a second can sit in the pilot’s lap, but this is not comfortable for long trips)

Forward Blaster Cost 25K (22)

Juggernaut

as per Creatures of Aysle. The Daleron forces have a great number of these living tanks. Some have been modified with Turrets.

Air Vehicles

Sky Sled

An airborne analogue of the Attack Sled. In place of the tracks, the Sky Sled has a rocket engine and wings. These craft are used by the Gerriks and some have been delivered to their allies the (avians).

Tech 24 Speed 250kmh/150mph/14 Man. +2 Wt. 12 TOU 15 Pass. 1 (or 2) Forward Blaster Cost 40K (23)

Airship

A large armored vehicle, resembling a Nile Dirigible. The control gondola functions much the same, however the envelope is not hollow, but has several decks of cabins and cargo. The forward section opens, to permit the launch and recovery of Sky Sleds. The Gerriks use these craft to ply the sky.

Tech 26 Speed 40kmh/25mph/10 Man. -2 Wt. 24 TOU 31 Pass. 24 12 Sky Sleds, 4 Double Barreled Turrets Cost 20M (37)

Water Vehicles

Surface Vessels include Galleons and Steamers – though the latter are powered by power cells functionally identical to Eternium Batteries. When armed, they utilize local weaponry.

Weapons

In addition to the various melee and missile weapons, Lykofans often carry Blasters. These energy weapons come in a wide variety of options. Light Side forces most commonly wield Light Blasters – Lasers. While their Dark Side foes wield Dark Blasters, which fire Amplified Darkness. Other variations fire elemental blasts: Electrical (which can be stun or lethal), Fire, Ice (the damage value is compared to the lower of the target’s AGI or DEX on the power push table, and both are reduced by the result for an hour). The element of Earth is simply bullets.

Otherwise, all Blasters have the same basic statistics. Hand held weapons have limited power cells, and must be recharged from a vehicular or larger power cell. This requires ten minutes per shot. Earth Blasters reload like normal semi-automatics.

Type                                     Tech   Dmg   Ammo   Range                Cost            Notes

Pistol                                   26       18       10        3-10/25/40         1000 (15)    counts as a 1pt. Gadget

Rifle                                    26       20       20        3-25/50/100       2000 (17)    counts as a 2pt. Gadget

Cannon                                26       24       –          3-25/60/200       4000 (18)   vehicular mounted, draws power from the vehicle

Double Barreled Cannon    26        26      –          3-100/250/600   6000 (19)    vehicular mounted, draws power from the vehicle

Sidebar: Lykofan Occultech

Though it is called Occultech, the gadgets of Lykofos are not magic – technically. Nor are they created using the Occultech skill described in Chapter Two. In reality, it is Weird Science.

The power source for the gadgets of Lykofos are also slightly different. Ley Lines run across the cosm. On land, sea, and air. Magical (Possibility) Energy flows through these lines, and concentrates in certain places. Most major cities, fortresses, and other places of importance, all rest above the intersection of multiple lines. The people of Lykofos can tap these lines, to provide limitless power – light, heat, as well as energizing various gadgets, through the use of power cells that function just like Eternium Batteries.

ELVENOS (Homeworld of the Elves)

Axioms and World Laws

As per the Star Sphere.

History

Long ago, Elvenos was the home world of the Elven Race. But the elves and Akashans went to war for the future of the Star Sphere, and the elves lost. Utilizing the Star Gem, the survivors fled across the cosmverse, until they found Aysle.

For more than two thousand years, Elvenos has been an Akashan colony. Other than archaeological sites, nothing remained of the elves. But for the Akashans, Elvenos was a utopia. A breadbasket world, producing food and biotech from micro-organisms to starships.

And then the Comaghaz came.

Elvenos is a world in ruin. Handfuls of free people hide from the infected, and the shipyards are mostly destroyed. Unfortunately, this was not completed before the infected built ships to spread across the stars.

In the Deep Core, beneath the Elviem Ocean, the Rohni found a Gate into the Land Below, and traveled through Lost Worlds. [See the Lost Worlds Cosmbook for specifics.] And they found Elvenos.

The Rohni found the last remaining spaceport, and have erected battlements to secure the area from the infected. Under the relative safety of an Ayslish hardpoint, they have begun construction of their own spacecraft – in the belief that this strange new world may lead them to their gods.

For more information on Elvenos, see the Star Sphere Cosmbook.

CHAPTER SEVEN

CARIBBEAN AYSLE AND THE DARK COURT

The Dark Court

With the death of the Warrior of the Dark, disappearance of Drakacanus, and the collapse of the Army of the Dark, Light Ayslish forces assumed dominance in the realm. The remnants of the Dark were forced to hide, or flee. Their counterparts in the Cosm still had power in Lower Aysle, as well as Daleron and Vareth territories. But both sides were without leadership.

Then Heketon contacted the most powerful leaders of Corruption in Aysle. It spoke of a gate in the Caribbean Sea linking to the Trade Sea. This allowed covert travel between cosms, the formation of new alliances and plans, and the first step to restoring the power of the Dark in Aysle. Heketon convinced the Priests of Corba’al to send one of their own to join agents of Thratchen, Basjas, Parok, Manwaring, and Gen. Sandoval of Mexico in a journey to recover the soul of a dead High Lord, who would be essential to the next phase of the Possibility Wars. Some believed they were going to resurrect the Gaunt Man himself. But the Entity Priests knew that it was their own leader who was to be brought back.

The soul of Uthorion was recovered on Kantovia, and brought to Haiti. In the mean time, other Dark agents recovered his corpse on Aysle and brought it as well. Then the High Priest Coriambos and the greatest necromancers in Aysle performed rituals to unite them once more.

When it was done, Uthorion was an unliving creature. Like his mentor the Gaunt Man, he is no longer troubled by the needs of the flesh, and is able to focus purely on his plans. He immediately set about locating Drakacanus so that he could establish his own realm, independent of Heketon’s cabal. He also organized his Court. Where before, he had ruled basically alone, now he has ten lords and ladies to handle the day to day activities of the new invasion, and of regaining control on Aysle.

The Spectral Knights

The four remaining Knights act as the High Lord’s personal Guard. His creations from long ago, they are absolutely loyal. They have no wants, needs or desires, except to serve him. And their presence, in addition to Uthorion’s unmatched magical ability, insure that none of his lieutenants are willing to challenge him. So far.

Both Tolwyn Tancred, and Kwev Daleron’s bodies have been laid to rest. This leaves the former scions of Houses Bendes, Gerrik, Liandar and Vareth.

Wotan the Horn Master

Once considered a High Lord candidate, Uthorion keeps him close. The Wild Hunt acts as Uthorion’s hands, going anywhere, doing whatever he needs done. Wotan himself is kept at the High Lord’s side the rest of the time. Wotan still harbors ambitions, but he fears his master. Uthorion has the power, and the will to eliminate or dominate the Horn Master if he desires. Some think he may have already done so.

Duke Manfred Daleron

For five centuries, House Daleron has done the bidding of Ardinay, and been enriched. Throughout that time, they were forced to stand side by side with their traditional enemies, the Tancreds. Now Ardinay is gone, Uthorion resurrected, new conquests await, and the Tancreds are again the enemy.

Frederick has four goals:

1) Bring the renegade elements of his House in the realm back into the fold. The traitor, Joseph Daleron is to be killed, and all Dalerons on Earth made to return to his side, or killed for their betrayal. Once he has them back, they will be utilized for his next two goals. Marlena Daleron was once a target as well, but Manfred’s assassins have dealt with her.

2) Destroy House Tancred. Manfred intends to see Tolwyn dead, her House crushed, and her lands on Aysle absorbed into his own.

3) Bring the other Houses to heel. Gerrik, Bendes, and Liandar must bow to Daleron, and recognize Frederick as King of the human lands of Aysle.

4) Destroy Uthorion and claim the Black Crown. Once he has control of the Houses, he will move to control everything else. He has his trusted men watching and listening for the means to destroy the Lich. When he has found it, he will reveal himself.

Daleron forces have control of the Dominican Republic.

Manfred’s son, Earl Frederick Daleron, is in charge of the House in the cosm, and is leading the assault against the Tancreds. His youngest child, Veronika, had renounced her name and title to study at the Three Towers, but since achieving the rank of Master, she has returned to the fold. She is presently engaged in a quest for her father, which is taking her to the ends of the cosm and beyond.

Duke Dwyvan Vareth

For too long, humans and giants have ruled Aysle. On Earth, Vareth Dwarves have studied the strengths of the other realms, for the purpose of making their House the strongest force on Aysle.

They studied Tharkoldu Occultech, how the techno-demons use the Law of Domination to meld magic and technology. They conceived of a means to use the Laws of Observation and Magic to utilize Aysle’s potent Magic Axiom to create technology more advanced than the Tech Axiom allows. They have studied Earth, and Gaean history for shortcuts allowing centuries of advancement overnight. And they have researched Nile Weird Science, as well as Thakoldu technomagic, in order to design advanced magical creations, unlike any in Aysle.

When Heketon informed the Duke of the gate home, he returned in force. Now, Vareth slaves labor night and day to turn raw iron into an army of steam-powered machines.

If not for the direct orders of Uthorion to commit his forces in the realm, House Vareth might have had the power to conquer Upper Aysle within months. Now they must share their weapons with the other vassals of Uthorion, and bide their time. Of course, Dwyvan doesn’t share everything. He keeps his best weapons, and hides his true numbers. When the time comes, Aysle will bow to the Dwarves.

Taleron Vareth officially controls Haiti, though there is still local resistance. Additionally, his people have discovered Land Below tunnels connecting Trinidad and Tobago to other islands in the Realm. Vareth merchants are operating in that region, bringing in useful resources, and exporting spoils acquired from the Vikings and Corsairs. They are planning a economic takeover of the oil fields, if the realm doesn’t swallow the islands first.

Delyndun of Estar

When the Elves were exiled from their original home, it was Estar, son of Elmiir and Asten, who bade his people to return and take revenge upon the Akashans. For this he was cast out.

Like his god, Delyndun was cast out. He traveled Aysle, studied magic at the Mage Isles, and sought a way to fulfill the will of Estar.

And then came Uthorion. The High Lord’s Crusades were the answer. But how to find the Akashans in the infinite cosmverse?

After five hundred years he found success. The Akashans had visited Earth, and left their mark. Delyndun recognized the Cerne Giant for what it was, and sent agents to scour the world. He secretly aided Storm Knights in lighting the Signal Fire, bringing the enemy to him.

The reborn Uthorion, has granted Delyndun the power and authority to lead the advance of the Caribbean Aysle realm south toward Macchu Picchu. Once the Space Gods on Earth are dead, Delyndun will lead his people to the Star Sphere as conquerors.

Though the Elves respect few outside their own kind, Delyndun has been loyal to Uthorion, and was indispensable in his return. So long as Uthorion keeps his promise, Delyndun will not betray him. And the Dark Lord has no reason to do otherwise.

Sigurd Finnsen of the Vikings

A mighty chieftain, and son of a chieftain. Since his father’s death at the hands of Storm Knights, almost five years ago, he has lead his people, with promises of continued glory and battle.

He has pledged his forces to Uthorion, to hunt his enemies in the Caribbean, on both sides of the storm. But secretly, he wants vengeance for the soul of his father, Thorfinn Bjanni. When he finds the way, he will kill Uthorion, permanently this time.

Sigurd is the least corrupt of the Dark Court, coupled with his goal, he could be swayed to the Light.

Lady Marina Waverunner, Pirate Queen

A grizzled woman in her early sixties, but as tough as any corsair. Marina has sailed the seven seas of Aysle, and plundered from Murmansk to Mogadishu. Uthorion was loath to trust such a strong, independent, woman in his court. But he could not afford otherwise.

Firstly Marina is a master mage of the six towers. And secondly, she has the loyalty, or at least fear, of the Corsairs. And her fleet was already in the Caribbean before anyone else. They had been using the gate to travel back and forth, raiding in both cosms at will.

However, the arrival of the Viking fleet, means that conflict is inevitable. Marina has already begun preparing, refitting her ships with magical and technological advances. Her own ship, the Siren, is a over-gunned galleon, outfitted with a mobile hardpoint (4km radius Dominant Zone, 400m Pure Zone) for a figurehead. Her squadron has ranged as far afield as Bermuda and the Antilles, as well as probing the defenses along the Spanish Main. When the time comes to take Panama, her ships will carry the Dark Army to the canal itself. Marina has been consulting with Vareth Technomages on the means to adapt it to function under Ayslish axioms.

Marina has no loyalty to Uthorion, or any great patriotism. She simply intends to die as she has lived, a pirate.

Razakk, Troll Lord

A simple brute. He became general of the Lesser Folk under the Warrior, not through tactical brillance, or charisma, but through force. Over four meters tall, and possessed of the power of regeneration. He is an unstoppable killing machine. The High Lord has him deployed in Haiti, dealing with Earth resistance, and close enough to be deployed to Cuba if Castro ceases to support Uthorion’s allies.

Uthorion considers the Lesser Folk to be expendable, and employs these Shock Troops often.

Nestra, High Priestess of Harang

Nestra has suffered greatly in her life. On Aysle, she sought to live in isolated places, away from humans. She crossed over to the realm, believing that the people of Earth would be more accepting of her kind. But like many others, her new life was destroyed by Agents of the Dark, pushing her into their camp. Nestra went farther than most, pledging herself to the Dark goddess, vowing to make all those who have ever looked down on Half-Folk suffer.

The High Priestess has no illusions that Uthorion is any better than the Warrior of the Dark. She, and her followers, support the High Lord only as long as it suits them. Rumors of Merfolk have her sending search parties to find them. They could prove a powerful addition to the Half-Folk forces in the realm.

Borrugh, Giant Chieftain

Current leader of the Ayslish Giants on Earth, Borrugh heard rumors of a gate back to Aysle in the Caribbean. He orchestrated the capture of a Victorian trade fleet, and took his followers to the east end of Cuba. They terrorized the island for weeks, using physical strength and the powers of the Arthuk and Borl clerics against the armored vehicles and automatic weapons of the natives.

After the formation of the realm, Uthorion made a deal with Castro. He will keep the Giants inside the Ayslish zone, and not expand further, so long as Cuba offers no resistance, and provides covert political assistance against the US. Borrugh’s compliance required being made a general in the Army of the Dark, and control of Jamaica.

Coriambos, High Priest of Corba’al

An adventuring daughter of House Gerrik, a devout follower of Shali, was serving in one of Lady Ardinay’s Crusades, when she became pregnant. Differences between Cosm and Realm, meant that her son was born during the Entity Hour. This became obvious years later, as the boy, Coriambos, took great pleasure in the torture and death of animals.

When he turned fourteen, he raised one of his victims as a zombie, and was cast out of House Gerrik. Corba’al lead the boy to his cult, where he was taught the secrets of Necromancy. After the death of the Gaunt Man, Coriambos was one of those who Heketon spoke to. He told the Priest of the plan to raise the Dark Lord. Over the course of planning, and undertaking the quest, both the Entity god, and the Darkness Device granted the priest great power.

Upon returning to Earth, he brought the soul of Uthorion to Haiti, where the Cult had brought Uthorion’s body. Coriambos lead the ritual to restore the High Lord. While the country is officially under Dwarven rule, the Dark Priests are the true power. The native Voodoun community is proving a stronger opposition than expected, thanks to the Ayslish Axioms.

Resistance

Honor

House Tancred and Gerrik

Tancred and Gerrik ships had been exploring the region for the rumored Gate when the Stelae activated. Currently they operate out of the Belize, the Bahamas, Florida, and the Antilles. Tolwyn has sent her paramour, Duncan Gerrik to Belize, where he is coordinating Light forces to fight Uthorion’s new invasion.

Dwarves

Tunnel Fighters, part of the Light contingent, have found tunnels into the Land Below, and are using them to support resistance forces in the realm. They have established a base on Puerto Rico temporarily for supply reasons. If Uthorion were to discover this, the natives would suffer. For this reason, they are looking to move into Vareth controlled Tobago.

Elves

The Elves not in the service of the Dark have no significant presence in the region. Antipathy for the Akashans is too great.

Balance

Freetraders

Ayslish merchant vessels discovered the Gate months before Uthorion’s return, and were using it to bring goods back and forth. The invasion has made things difficult. But it is also an opportunity. Many have chosen to cooperate with the Light, providing transport, and war materials. This is not about, altruism. With the Corsairs under Uthorion’s banner, this is a chance to break them, making the seas safer for trade.

House Bendes and Liandar

The Balance Houses migrated from Europe, through the Gate, and up the Maelstrom Bridge to return home. With their Houses reunited on Aysle, they hold an advantage. Neither has a significant remnant on Earth.

The Realm

Cuba

Uthorion captured eastern Cuba, and cut a deal with Castro. Aysle would not advance further, so long as Cuba provided resources to support the Dark Forces. This agreement remained in place for a short time.

And then the renegade Typhoon-II-Class Submarine arrived. Its captain, is the head of the PRB, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Archer Foundation. She has made it quite clear that if any more of Cuba is threatened, she will respond with nuclear force. Normally, this would not be taken seriously. But Captain Taramasky understands that the sacrifice of a storm knight is necessary to ignite the bomb. And she has captive Tharkoldu at her disposal.

Cubans in the occupied zone are resisting the Giants, and are desperate for outside assistance. Thus far it has been limited.

Jamaica

Giants have crushed the local population, and most are too busy scrabbling to make ends meet.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic

DeMignaut’s voodoo priests and warlords have lost control. However, the heightened magic axiom is working to their advantage. DeMignaut has begun creating a new, stronger breed of Zombie, and has set his people to gathering personal items, hairs, blood – or the like – from the Vareth Overseers and Corba’al clerics.

The Dominican military has lost its technological advantage, and has been forced to take up a guerilla battle against the Dalerons. Thus far they are losing at every turn to the better trained Daleron men-at-arms.

Turks and Caicos

A battleground between Freetraders and Corsairs, as well as a point of entry and evacuation between the realm and Earth.

San Cristobal

A small island about 100 miles south of Haiti, and a hardpoint of Earth reality. The Storm Knight/Freelance Intelligence Archer Foundation has a major station in the capital, Eden Cay. The local station chief has several teams operating from the island to gather information and aid rebel forces in the realm.

Columbia

When the Akashans left, Monitor Dragnor and his team stayed, to help with the damage caused by their people. With the arrival of the Dark Elves, the Hunters became the hunted. Despite that, they, and their native allies, fought back for nearly a year. They staged regular attacks against the Elves, and kept them from getting into Cartagena. Dragnor had Clairvoyants watching for Stelae teams, and they had foreseen that Delyndun was going to send mages to kill them when the time came.

But eventually the elves got through. Uthorion opened a new Maelstrom Bridge, allowing more Elves to cross over and attack Dragnor’s forces from behind. Cartagena became a charnel house. But the remaining Akashans on Earth, and their allies, both Jakatt and native South Americans, are pressing them in the southeastern corner of Columbia. The Human Factor, and their Cyberpapal allies form a third faction in this conflict.

Panama

Akashan Peacekeepers had broken the Medellin influence, and assisted in reopening the Canal by early ’96 – despite the loss of resources and support from Macchu Picchu. They are began constructing Air and Sea vessels to use for offensive actions. And once the U.N. Sanctioned NATO forces to get involved in the region, both US and British navies joined them in patrolling both Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

The Canal Hardpoint, and the strong presence of Earth’s defenders, including the mobile Hardpoint, USS Enterprise, have caused the entire zone to remain Dominant-Core Earth. Ayslish forces that entered the area following the recent expansion were devastated when the defenders’ technology remained active, and their own magic failed.

Beyond

Bahamas and Antilles

The other Caribbean Islands are facing regular raids by Ayslish Pirates. They have discovered that their aggressors do not reliably show up on radar, and are difficult to target with guided weapons. And Ayslish raiders’ magic is far too often effective. Both Chains fear they will be invaded in force as soon as Uthorion decides he wants to.

Florida/US and the Spanish Main

Initially, America was spread thin. The Atlantic Fleet was extensively deployed to the Med. and North Atlantic to counter Cyberpapal and Nile threats. And Norfolk had only recently resumed operations. A smattering of smaller warships, and two Los Angeles-Class subs were the only available assets.

But a lot changed in the past year. The UN resolution allowing NATO to enter Latin America to fight the invaders was a start. President Nicklaus redeployed ships from the Pacific Fleet, as well as the Enterprise Carrier Group, all with the support of the British and Belize. And Norfolk, along with several other Atlantic shipyards are once again at full capacity.

The recent Nile entrance into Mexico (supplanting Tharkold in the Yucatan) brought with it a pledge from Doctor Mobius. If the US remained out of Nile affairs – including staying out of the fight between Mobius and the now-liberated Nile Kingdom [See Terra Cosmbook for details], Mobius would be able to fight against the Aztecs in Mexico, and free up Earth’s defenders for other fronts.

Nicklaus doesn’t trust Mobius, but he has officially agreed, for now. This has allowed the Gerriks to devote more manpower to ship construction instead of border defense.

The Space Gods

Macchu Picchu is currently divided between two courses of action. Most Coar advocate meeting this aggression, and defending South and Central America from invasion. Zinatt members of Those Who Remain wish to learn the reason for the Elven hostility toward Akashans, and seek to negotiate with them.

Some of the Client Races are considering joining up with the Elves. Others have allied with the Jakatts of the Southern Land, and are working with them, and the Coar to fight the Elves.

Human Factor and the Cyberpapacy

For details on this alliance see the Magna Verita Cosmbook. But with Ayslish forces pressing into South America, Cyberpapal Frigates are already being deployed to the region.

Green Dragon reacts to Torg Eternity

I’m going to react to the previews for Torg Eternity – the new 2.0 RPG from Ulisses Spiele. Firstly, let me emphasize that I am looking forward to the game, and I am reacting solely to the information in the previews. Some of the issues I’m seeing may be accounted for in the finished product.
What I’m afraid is that the game has been designed for the instant gratification crowd, and will prove unplayable in an extended campaign.
Overall, I’m liking the setting information and changes. Its some of the mechanics that feel too simplified.

I’m posting this here, as I don’t want the opinions of a 25 year veteran to taint the game for potential new players. Also given some of the changes they’ve made, I’m going to try and get my cosmbooks posted before the release, so it doesn’t look like I was making decisions based on their work.
(Technically, Aysle, Nolava, Khem, Earth, and Star Sphere are on the blog. I just need to fix the HTML errors to make them readable. Magna Verita is about 2/3s done, and is my current focus. That leaves Gaea and Terra.)

Preview 1 Updating a Classic

Success Levels
It sounds like the removal of action and effect totals means they are using the standard 1.0 glass jaw ninja rule – as opposed to the optional rule.
Also success levels now are basically: Minimal, Good, Spectacular. Omitting Average and Superior. Or for interaction purposes, people can now be friendly/neutral/unfriendly as opposed to Loyal/Friendly/Neutral/Hostile/Enemy. The margins (DN/DN+5/DN+10) are simple and don’t require a chart, but I’d have liked DN/DN+1/DN+4/DN+7/DN+10 or somesuch. Not every systemic needed the five levels, but some (charm/persuasion) did.

Bonus Die
Part of the reason for the Glass Jaw Ninja rule is that damage is now standard/+1D6 (exploding)/+2D6 (exploding). With the odd rule that a “6” is treated as “5 roll again and add”.
Given what we’ll see in the combat preview, this seems potentially over powering against normal (PC) level characters.

Preview 2 Reality

Axioms
Axioms now range from 0-30 (not 0-33). There are no gaps in the chart. And Magic has been revised – so Aysle Magic Axiom is now comparable to the Tech Axiom of the high tech cosms. Sounds good.
No split axioms (Orrorsh and Tharkold Magic, Tharkold and Cyberpapacy Social Axioms).
Psionics is solely based on Social axiom, so each axiom controls a specific FX (Magic – spells, Spirit – miracles, Social – psionics, Tech – weapons, armor, cybernetics). Good.

World Laws
3 per cosm.
Can’t be used outside the cosm – except where they can. Huh? This will probably be better explained in the finished version. But if a Nile character (for example) can’t behave like a Nile character outside the Nile, then it takes away from playing that reality in the first place.

Contradictions
No Long Range contradictions. This doesn’t seem too bad. A fireball was not a LRC because the contradiction was made at the caster, a plasma cannon creates the contradiction in the users hand, but a grenade is an LRC. This sounds OK – in theory.
Passive contradictions were supposed to work as follows, for every item you are carrying that violates your reality of the local reality but don’t generally require a skill check (armor, wrist watch, glasses) you make a reality check (each), at the start of every scene. No one ever actually did this. Or did a single check once per act. Now, it is make a check, if applicable, if the cards say so. Simple. I like it.

Disconnection
Characters Transforming, like EM-Girl from the fiction, is now possible.

Pure Zones
Are not as overpowering as before. What it is saying makes me think that it was done to do away with every PC needing a Talisman. Sounds OK.

Preview 3 Characters

Attributes and Skills
Reduced # of skills and attributes, and attributes are cheaper. And possibilities and experience are separate.
In my experience, if you play a set of characters in the first session, you want to be playing them 5 years form now at the end of the campaign. But under the old rules, playing 1/week, every week, with average possibility awards, you would outgrow realities.
Living Land ceased being a threat in standard scenes after about three months, and at 2.5 years it became necessary to replace it with a different primitive reality just to stay relevant for another few months.
Likewise PCs outgrow Aysle and the Nile. Cyberpapacy and Tharkold with their powerful guns and armor tend not to be outgrown.
What I mean is, PCs stats reach the point where they can take down a standard encounter (1-5 times PCs numbers) without sustaining wounds – barring extreme dice improbabilities (PCs can’t roll anything higher than a 10 while villains can’t roll less than 18).
These changes could make the situation occur dramatically sooner. Making ongoing games boring.

Generally, the way we handled it before was characters had to die, or go into a semi-retirement from about month 25 to month 55, coming back with six months until the end. Which again, is not satisfying. It would be preferable if you could play the same characters for all 60 months (assuming the new game is planned as a five year campaign like before).

Specific Changes
Perception (aka Intellect) and Mind were merged. And Strength and Toughness (the exact opposite of what I did when playing WEG’s D6 system).
STR determines your defensive values (Toughness and Armor), while Spirit determines how much shock you can take. And Physical, Mental, and Spiritual damage all tracks as a single total (some systems previously tracked it separately). Aside from the merged Attributes this doesn’t sound bad.
In theory the reduced skills may be all right as well. I want to see a skill list before I decide. For example, if Scholar is a single skill, allowing the character to know stuff about Ayslish religions, Core Earth politicians, and Star Trek with equal ability, that is a problem.

Races
Humans, Edeinos, Elves, Dwarves are standard. Sounds fine. Stalengers, Keefee, and Tharkoldu were not races I saw as being suitable to the typical game.

Perks
Sounds like the Advantage/Compensation system from Masterbook – minus the Compensations. In theory, this is fine, but flaws could have been a nice addition.

Gear
No maximums to armor and damage. So it is now possible to wrap your aircraft carrier in leather to increase its Toughness. But that’s fine, because I can use a 6” knife to puncture that armor. This is a problem.

Preview 4 Core Earth and Living Land

I’m calling it now Quin Sebastian and Delphi Council are the revised analogue to the Storm Guild and Ayroa.
Law of Prodigy is replaced by Law of the Underdog. Prodigy as written didn’t get much use – I revised it to apply to all Storm Knights. This new rule sounds like it is more befitting the setting.

Living Land
It sounds like the Land Below/Merretika was incorporated into the setting, and the changes many made to Keta Kalles are also incorporated. World Laws are basically those of Merretika. This sounds like it will make for greater variety, and feel more like an ERB adventure novel.

Preview 5 Aysle and the Cyberpapacy

Aysle
The method of invasion was changed, creating vast underground “dungeons”. I like this.
The references to LotR, GoT, and OUaT make me hope the setting will be played up a bit more than “generic D&D” setting. With more emphasis on the Houses and other factions.

Law of Observation replaced with Enchantment – sounds interesting.
Honor & Corruption merged into a single law – fine. I have a concern but I’ll get to that with the Nile.

Cyberpapacy
Has been a Cyberpapacy. No Magna Verita as separate reality. No Kadandra. (Also changes to Tharkold make CP unique). Hopefully the setting will get more “screen time” this time around. Between the fear of upsetting parents and religious groups and the introduction of the Uber-reality Tharkold, the Cyberpapacy was forgotten and ignored.

Law of the One True God renamed to remove “God”, simplified modifier applies equally to Earth Catholics, Ayslish Corruption, and Palanism. Not liking this. Seems over simplified.
Law of Ordeal removed. It was seldom used anyway.

Preview 6 FX

Some tweaks. Each Cosm specifies which FX are available. Each FX requres a Perk.

Magic
Available to AY, CE, CP, OR (Occult now part of standard magic apparently), and TH. Nile magic will be a pulp power. I’m hoping that Pulp Sorcery will be reskinned to incorporate astrological aspects from Mathematics, and that Engineering will be an aspect of Weird Science.

Backlash simplified, but ti sounds like it will be a relevant thing. In the old rules, characters could easily reach the point of being skilled enough to ignore Backlash. Different rules for CP and OR.

PER skills now MIN-based, MIN skills now SPI-based. OK.

Miracles
No Focus skill, only one skill requred. Real cheap to become powerful. This is a problem.

No spiritual struggle. Something I liked about Torg and hated about D&D. Party could have a cleric of a deity that another party member actively despises and doesn’t accept as a legitimate divine source – and the miracles still work just fine. Also no more Atheism.

Psionics
Psi Manip and Resistance replaced with three skills – basically the power groups from the old rules. Also, uses three attributes. Looks like Tharkold will be the big Psionic reality. Also what was formerly Nippon-Tech (now Pan-Pacifica) has Psionics – sounds like it will be more of a wuxia/anime setting.

Preview 7 Nile Empire and Tharkold

Nile Empire
As CP did away with Magna Verita and Kadandra, it sounds like Terra is gone.

Law of Heroism
from Terra is now a NE law. Source for Pulp Powers and Gadgets.

Law of Morality
Gone.
Here we get to the issue I brought up with Aysle. It sounds like morality will be very much grey. As in, players don’t want to be told they will be penalized if their hero does something evil. Or be told that torture and murder of the helpless are evil acts.
I’m not liking this.

Tharkold
The invasion of Russia succeeded.
Tharkold is not as technologically advanced, has a weak spirit axiom, magic has the same # – which means probably slightly weaker. But they have the highest social axiom – hence my theory they will be the big psionics reality.
Also explains the Russia invasion – as it involves the Psyvhic Researh Bureau.

World Laws
Same in name. Hopefully, they won’t be quite as “Law of What I Was Going to Do Anyway”.

Preview 8 Pan-Pacifica and Orrorsh

Pan-Pacifica
Not Nippon-Tech. Not Marketplace. Realm now encompasses a big piece of China.
Magic is higher, but still very low – probably comparable in what it actually means.

Law of Tenacity
Not Law of Profit.

I suspect that the realm will feature a more chi-mysticism/wuxia element. The realm has psionics. I suspect martial arts will be more the Masterbook version with a single bonus per style. And psionics will provide the more fantastic elements.

Orrorsh
Now set in India, not Indonesia. Using the High Lord Points system it is the largest and most powerful realm.

World Laws
Law of Eternal Corruption (merger of that law and Power of Corruption), Law of Fear (per Power of Fear, and for some reason Law of Perserverance. This is now a separate law and not a part of Fear.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. And I would have still like a law that more favors Victorian/European society, rather than strictly the horror elements. Previous games, player usually only choose OR if they were going to play Occultists.

Also Occult now functions as a part of the Axiom 16. I’m guessing more specific spells, less wish spells.

Preview 9 Cards

There are now three decks, one for the GM (Drama), one for the players (Destiny), and one for the Cosm.

Drama Cards (40 cards)
Function basically like the gm side of the old cards. Passive Contradictions are now made if it appears on the conflict line.

Test of Wills is gone.

Vehicle chases now use the Dramatic Skill Resolution.

Destiny Cards (90 cards)
Players get 4 – just like the standard rules. I used the optional rules and gave out fewer due to the large number of players. This is an issue for two reasons.
1) players may trade at will.
2) players get an additional card (5 total). See Cosm cards

Players still have hands and pools. This is intended to weaken cards in combat. In practice most groups I played with ignored the rule as it slowed down play by being cumbersome. Jury is still out on this.

Glory now automatically refills ords in the zone. No story seeds. Simpler, but might be too easy.

Subplot cards
Players can now choose when to play these, not the GM. This can be easy on the GM as the players have to find a reason for the plot, or it can be a problem.
Example 1:
Player: I’m fighting this shocktrooper. Can I play the Nemesis card?
GM: Sure. He’s not just a foot soldier, he’s actually a sgt. And like you, and expert swordsman. En garde!

Example 2:
Player: I want the Princess to be my Romance.
GM: There are a few problems with that. One: she’s already in a serious relationship. Two: you’re female, and she doesn’t swing that way. Three: you’re an Edeinos.
Player: the card says I can play it on anyone.

Cosm Decks (10 per cosm)
The old rules had one card per cosm (LL, AY, CP, NE, OR – none for NT, TH, SG or the rest).
These would seldom come up. They would usually come up in the wrong realm.
Now there are 10 per cosm, as a separate deck. These provide the flavor.
Each player gets one card. They only get one per act. If going to a new realm during the act, cards are immediately discarded and replaced.
I like this, but I don’t like it being in addition to the regular cards.

Preview 10 Combat

Drama Deck
Still using the by the book card decides which side goes first, then attribute decides order. I’ve always preferred a house rule of attribute decides who goes first, and card decides which side in the event of a tie. It favors people spending points to be fast. By the book, the ninja (DEX 13) and fast hero (DEX 16) can be outwitted by a 1st planting Gospog (DEX 8). Under house rule, they go first, but the wizard (DEX 8) must rely on the cards as to whether he goes first or is jumped by the Gospog.

Move
DEX in m, or run DEX x 8m – this counts as an action. I’m curious if movement pushes will remain.

Multi-action
-2 per action. Simple, easy. I like it.

Interaction
Results are simplified. Enemy takes a -2 to all actions or a -4 to all actions. Or the PC gains +2 or +4 against the enemy. As opposed to lose roll-agains, lose skill adds, lose action.

Attacks
To-hits work basically the same.

Damage
simplified. Good or Outstanding success adds +1D6 (exploding) each to the damage.

KO and Knockdowns are gone.
Damage is as follows: (s=shock, w=wound)
MoS    -4 to -1    0-4    5-9       10-14       15-19       20-25
Dmg    1 s             2s       2s, 1w   4s, 2w     6s, 3w     8s,4w

Possibilities
Negate 1 wound or 1d6 (exploding) shock – taken now or previously. Added to removing KO it is much more likely to kill a character than knock them out.

Damage Results
-1 penalty to all actions per wound. 1 wound puts an ord out of action, 4 for a stormer.

Death and Defeat
Roll lower of STR or SPI. Failure – character takes one last action and dies. Success, character has an attribute permanently reduced. Good – this is temporary. Outstanding – only KOed.
Personally, I think I’d rather fail the roll than only get a standard success. Unless of course the use of Healing spells/miracles ignores this rule.