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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in layniapetrovna's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, January 4th, 2014
1:45 pm
Stability: Same Test, Six Years Later
I had already done the same test (What D&D Character Are You?) six years ago but I wanted to check if there was some reliability. (I also tried to stat myself using GURPS with - 50 points).

The result did not change (except the Level, which got an upgrade). Oh, ok, I lost an IQ point and a Constitution point. :)

I get the Wizard part (scholar) but I am still a little disappointed by the Alignment.

I Am A: True Neutral Elf Wizard (5th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-9

Dexterity-9

Constitution-9

Intelligence-15

Wisdom-10

Charisma-10


Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Detailed Results:
Alignment:
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (20)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (21)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (21)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (22)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (17)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXX (6)
Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XXXXXXXXX (9)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Chaos --- XXXXX (5)
Good & Evil:
Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Evil ---- X (1)
Race:
Human ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Dwarf ---- XXXX (4)
Elf ------ XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Gnome ---- XXXXXXXX (8)
Halfling - XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Half-Elf - XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Half-Orc - XX (2)
Class:
Barbarian - (-4)
Bard ------ XX (2)
Cleric ---- (-4)
Druid ----- (-6)
Fighter --- (0)
Monk ------ (-15)
Paladin --- (-19)
Ranger ---- (-6)
Rogue ----- (-2)
Sorcerer -- XX (2)
Wizard ---- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Friday, July 6th, 2012
12:10 am
Of Memory and Oblivion
At the beginning of Hesiod's Theogony, there are two odd verses (v. 54-55):

Μνημοσύνη, γουνοῖσιν Ἐλευθῆρος μεδέουσα,
λησμοσύνην τε κακῶν ἄμπαυμά τε μερμηράων

Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns over the hills of Eleuther, gave birth
to a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow

The Nine Muses are daughters of Memory and the gift of Memory is Forgetting (through the Arts). 
Nice pun on Μνημοσύνη ( = ἀλήθεια) and λησμοσύνη (= λήθη). The Greeks identify Memory (ἀνάμνησις) and Disclosure of Truth (ἀλήθεια) but here Hesiod also says that Oblivion is the godly gift by Memory, instead of its negation.  

The Muses have just defined themselves by the verses:
ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ᾽, εὖτ᾽ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι.

we know how to speak many false things as though they were genuine;
but we know, when we will, to utter Truths


The Muses are Memory and Oblivion because they are beyond Truth and Falsity through poetry. 
Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
11:14 am
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
6:39 pm
Of Thirteenth Age

I've not been an official playtesting GM for the new game 13th Age but have seen some parts of the background as a player and I really like the High Fantasy setting the authors designed. As usual, I think I may steal some parts and change them but I hope I will not end up with a sum of too many plagiarisms. 

A few examples of the setting I loved : 

  • Omen is a weird island (in the Midland Sea) which creates Dungeons magically ("linving Dungeons freely pop to the surface"). An endless reservoir of Mazes and Adventures.

    I think I will turn that into some kind of Akashic/Dream Plane where Secrets and Forgotten Lore are symbolized by hidden fortresses. Dungeons would be metaphors and not material places. 


  • There are two seas:
    The peaceful Midland Sea has been magically transformed by the Archmage of the Empire for communications. It has an unnatural controlled weather where storms are repressed. The Druid wants to set free the natural balance of this captive sea.

    The Iron Ocean is exactly the opposite: it is constantly covered with tsunamis and sea monsters, as if it was the price to pay for the calm of the Midland Sea. There is a large Wall to protect civilization from all the creatures who hit the shore.

    Since the Chimerian Coast has already a Sea of Dreams or Sea of Souls (the mouth of the Lethe), I could use some kind of Sea of Nightmares.


  • The Gate of the Abyss: instead of a Gate, there is a Great Gold Wyrm (the main LG entity) who sealed the hole with his own body. He has to stay there to prevent demons from entering. I really like this: there was not a real sacrifice, the Wyrm is still alive, but he cannot intervene and the Paladins who follow him must act in his stead. 
Saturday, April 28th, 2012
7:00 pm
Crossing the Boundary

The Psychopomps of Limen can offer some very limited "safe-conduct" (laissez-passer) or passports to the Land of the Dead. Usually, there is a price to pay and you have to do some service to be able to enter the Here-after. 

Some passports are weapons and you have to sacrifice an innocent first. They can also be "oboli" to pay the Wardens. Sometimes the passport is a spirit or a ghost-servant. 

The passport has usually a expiration date. Some Lords of the Netherworld even have the courtesy to include a magical hourglass. 

There are a few mercenaries and heroes who claim to have travelled a few times in the Great Beyond. They say that the Land of the Dead has its own laws and that there are wars and factions which can use mortal agents. But they also say that space is too weird in Hell for maps. Hell is still uncharted and made of Oblivion. 

There are forged passports which are quite dangerous. Some sorcerers created Helmets which can make you look like a ghost but it is no guarantee you will be able to return to the Material World. 

Notes: I still hesitate between making the Nekuya/Catabasis very challenging or easier than in most settings. 
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
8:34 pm
Of Alchemy
Necromancers from Urn were the first who tried to synthetize the "Elixir", the Eucharist from the City of Relic. It failed and they got the Withering Curse. They were able to stay alive but in their horrible decomposed forms. Many people say that the Empire of the Ghouls come from the same origin: the crime of cannibalism to find immortality. A rumour says the same fate can happen to people who eat the real Eucharist and that the Lords of Relic are now Vampires and Trolls. 

The Alchemists founded Athanor because they did not want to finish like the Necromancers and the Ghouls. They looked into new ways to find immortality. Since the living body was too fragile, they tried to sacrifice their flesh for a mineral new "Glorious Body" (corpus gloriosum). 

But they had another problem. Their new bodies were robust and almost indestructible, but without the anchor of Flesh, they found that their souls and their minds could be damaged.

They lost many feelings and emotions and they have the nostalgy of their five senses. Some of them became insane and they keep looking for the Great Work, a Living but Immortal Body instead of their Golem simulacra. They change the Vessel of their body to improve the sensations. 

The Founders of the great Alchemical Colleges are divided between the Seven Great Metals (Tin, Copper, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Silver, Gold).  
8:09 pm
Of the Wild Hunt
In the City of Limen, the Horned Hunter of Fury has antlers and he/she rides evil Perytons (flying stags), who are said to have the souls of murderers (their shadow is human-shaped). Each time they slay another victim their antlers grow. 

The Horned Hunter looks for escaped ghosts and it is ironical that he has a shape of the Hart. Some people saw him with other chimerae like Valravn (raven-wolves who ate the bodies of heroes), with shield-maidens or with three-headed hell hounds. 

The Order of the Peryton is an Order of Noble Ghosts who police some parts of the Haunted Limen. 
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
7:11 pm
Of the Song of Siren

Siren is one of the cities of Dreams in the Chimerian Coast, like Ivory Gate.

It is the City of Temptation and Desire, the City of the Five Senses. It is the place where you can find the greatest Opera House in the world and the huge Panopticon Theater where everybody can see and everybody can be seen. You want to hear the songs until you die of bliss and exhaustion. Harpies, lascivious Lamias and Sirens rule over the Festival and Orgies. They make you pay until you have to sell yourself as slaves. Siren is the most perfect trap and a golden prison. 

There are many different pleasures in Siren. First, there are songs and so many Bards that people travel there to hear echoes from the whole world. The Moon of Labram (The Ear of the Labyrinth) catches every sound. The Bees and the Birds all sing around the City and poets are said to have tongues covered with the Royal Honey of the Gods. The Syrinx Woods and the Beehives of Siren are filled with eerie sounds. 

But all the other senses are satiated too. There is
(1) the nectars, the elixir, the cakes, the secret diamond spices, the Chimerian milk, the Pearls in Vinegar, and the Royal Honey of the taste,
(2) the Five Perfect Perfumes of the Hanging Gardens,
(3) the soft spider silks from Arachne, the hot baths, pools and dark rooms of the Caresses of the Succubi/Incubi,
(4) the mosaics and paintings of the Theater,
(5) the dances and the "Ilinx" (Vertigo) of the Ropes,
(6) The Dark Laughter and other addictive drugs where you can lose your sanity,
(7) The Sublime Infinity where your imagination is destroyed by contemplating fragments from the Map of All Realities. 

But the Dark Delight of Siren is darker still. There is the Vertigo and Thrill of death, the call of Oblivion, the Thanos Pulsion. The Great Game of Siren is the Game of Life and Death. Masochists who were able to go beyond the other pleasures can reach the Dark Desire itself. Then they become Spectres and are usually sent to the City of Limen. 

The City of Ascesis was founded by rebels who fled Siren. Some have trained themselves to ignore all their senses. Some of them are deaf and blind because they removed their eyes. Many of them are crazy. They want a crusade against Siren, to purge the world from this alienation. The Order of the Silent Sisters I mentioned about Gnomon may come from Ascesis. 

Inspirations
The original inspiration was The City of the Seven Dark Delights in the comic-book Weirdworld by Doug Moench. I think they mentioned only "Dark Laughter". I did not put any games of chance because I think there will be another city about Lottery and Chance. 

But the new inspiration is mainly Spasm, the City of the Thirteen Pleasures, an old adventure for the Rêve de Dragon RPG. I stole especially the idea of Man-hunt from the Most Dangerous Game. There was also a counterpart to Ascesis in that adventure, called Neurosis

I still hesitate if I should separate Siren and my original idea of Carnaval. Carnaval was supposed to be a kind of Venitian city (with perpetual Saturnalia) where the main pleasure was Gladiatoral Games. But the Gladiators became the best army of mercenaries in the world. 

Ok, it's time for yet another Index of the Cities of the Chimerian Coast

  • Ailuria, City of Cats
  • Anvil : City of the forge, traders of magic weapons. 
  • Arachne, Web of Spiders
  • Archive, the Mountain-Book, the City of the Zwerc Librarians
  • Ascesis, City of Apathy and Temperance
  • Athanor, City of Metamorphoses : City of Alchemists
  • Blackwell : the Vertical City in the depths
  • Eclipse, the Dark City under the Moon
  • Electrum, the miniature Metal City. 
  • Gnomon, the City of Time under the Moving Shadow
  • Ivory, the Sleeping Castle, the City of Dreams
  • Leviathan, the City in the Belly of the Sea Dragon
  • Limen, City of the Threshold, City of Twilight, City of Ghosts : Gate between Death and Life. 
  • Mother-City, surrounded by the Thornwall. 
  • Oracle : the city of the Seer
  • Relic : City of the Holy Host of Eternal Life, the City built on a Behemoth
  • Siren : City of the Songs and the Temptations
  • Urn, the Ossuary : the City of Ash, Bones and Marrow, City of the Necromancers
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
6:15 pm
Of the City of the Blackwell

The City of Blackwell (see Previous Entry) leads to the Underworld but there is hellish warmth coming from below, maybe from a secret dark fire in the depths. That's why the air glider can rise from the slopes of the vertical city. There are three main levels: 

(1) The Day Heights where the light of the sun comes more or less naturally. 

(2) The Mirrors where the light of the sun has to be reflected. 

(3) The Shadow levels. 

Some people claim there are deeper levels where creatures live in lava and volcanoes. 


Saturday, September 17th, 2011
5:59 pm
Of a Preliminary Timeline of the Chimerian Coast

Mythical Time

The Palace of Memory or Map of All is folded in Oblivion. It is the first Limit. 

The Dark Age
According to a gnostic version, the Ancients build Giants and the Giant is sacrificed by Dragons to create the World-Soul. The Fire of the sacrifice threatens to destroy everything and the Flood extinguishes the Holocaust. 

Historical Time
There are now two species: the Mortals (subjects to Oblivion) and the Unseen (or Spirits who can remember their previous lives). 

The Unseen split between the Zwercs (Sign) and the Fairies (Nature). The Zwercs build the first Book to rewrite the Map. The Book grows and become the Mother-City. The City is besieged by Fairies and enclosed in the Thornwood. Start of the Century Siege.

Rune-Scales escape from the Mother City and spread the first books. First prohibition of Writing by orthodox Druids. 

The Zwercs build other Cities, like Archive, which was an index, a summary or a sketch of the Mother-City, and Anvil, the City of the Forge. The Behemoth and the Leviathan are childen of the ancient Giants or of the Mother-City. Zwercs build Gem-Cities but some are lost by Dragonfire. 

Eclipse, the City under the Moon, is the first of the Dark Cities. 

Crusade of Mortality. 
Luna, the most beautiful Mortal dies.Mortals go to the Gates of Hell on the Chimerian Coast to free Luna and end Death itself. The Crusaders are crushed in Limen-on-the-Lethe. The City of the Truce allows a neutral city between Life and Death. Its symbol is the Snake of the Chimaera. 

Blackwell (la Margelle) is another open gate to the World-Soul. 

The Holy City of Relic is built by survivors of the Crusade with the Eucharist of the Dying Immortal (the Behemoth). The Lords of the Manna become undying guardians of the "Holy Grace". Its symbol is the Goat of the Chimera, symbol of Cornucopia and fecundity. 

Necromancers, who refused the truce with Death, build Cinder (also called Urn), city of Undead. Its symbol is the Green Lion of the Chimera, because they challenge Death. 
Alchemists build Athanor, city of Golems, Mind-Jars and Metamorphoses. Seven Oneironauts escape to the Ivory Gate

Unknown Date: the Gnomon appears. The Gnomon Guard keep the watch under its shadow. 

Carnaval, the City of the Seven Dark Temptations, appears. It is an antinomian place where laws are inverted. The Carnaval Games start the first Gladiator Companies, armies of sell-swords.

Myrina slays her cousins, the Snake-Women (Gorgons), tames the Unicorn and create the first Empire of the Horse-Maidens. 

4:21 pm
Of Gnomon City, the City of the Moving Shadow

Since the Chimerian Coast is not supposed to be original and I do not plan to publish it, I can steal other parts. 

Gnomon City is called thus because of its weird axial Spire or shadow-casting Edge, as if the city was a sundial. This monolithic shape cannot be natural but there are many theories about its true origin. Some believe ancient wizards and astronomers (called the Gnomes) built the Gnomon. There is a Tower or an Observatory at the top but few people dare to climb the steep peak. Other believe it was built after Eclipse, but it is not in perpetual shadows.

Some say it may be related to a secret society called the Hollow Cone or the Vortex. The Gnomon would be a kind a magical accumulator, a monolith at the center of many ley-lines. The Hollow Cone is supposed to draw the power from the Edge. 

But a legend says there was once a hero who decided to store on the Gnomon many cursed relics, including machines which might have come from the old Mother-City. But this hero was corrupted by his museum of evil magic. The Earth itself cast away the reliquary and that explains the isolated Spire and its shadow.

Like other cities in the Chimerian Coast, Gnomon City is covered with Lanterns and Lighthouses because the sun sets early under the Spire.  There are also many hourglasses and clepsydras (waterclocks). Some people say Gnomon is a place where Time is not linear and that the sands of time flow in many currents. 

The City is ruled by a council. The Eparch Egor the Earnest is the old leader of the Gnomon Guard, which used to be the old Watch of the Spire. They do not only protect the Gnomon, they are keeping the watch on it if something came from the top. 

The Mother-Superior rule an old female monastic order, the Silent Sisters who communicate only through signs or with a few eunuchs. 

Notes
You may have recognized elements from Monte Cook's Ptolus, the City by the Spire. I really prefer the idea of a Gnomon instead of a Spire although I don't know yet how to connect the astronomical element of sundials with Cook's idea of a Dungeon which is a warehouse of cursed items. The Eparch is called a "Commissar" in Ptolus but I want a more "byzantine" feeling. In Ptolus, the Vortex is called the "Inverted Pyramid". 

Gnomon could be almost the reverse of the city of Relic. Relic sells parts of "manna", ambrosia of longevity and there are many pilgrims in search of immortality. Gnomon stores evil sorcery but attracts dangerous thieves who crave power. 

I could separate two levels in the City, the ground-level and a Sundial above. It would be like Skypoint/Vivane but then I would have yet another dark city and I have already too many of them!
Sunday, June 26th, 2011
7:35 pm
Of Genders

I want to add more importance to Genders in the Magic of the Chimerian Coast (my new name for the setting) but I don't want to be too "sexist" if it is possible. I don't know yet how to do it. I simply wanted to use a kind of Yin/Yang opposition like Saidin/Saidar in Wheel of Time

My original idea was to imitate the scandinavian opposition between  seiðr  and normal galðr (although seidhr uses galdhr). Seidhr was supposed to be "female" witchcraft, more indirect than "male" wizardry, although some men use seidhr also. 

In WoT, the Yang source is corrupted and it drives male sorcerers mad. I could tone it down and decide that the Yang magic is addictive and more violent. 

I don't want a manichaean opposition like Yang= Evil or Yin = Good. I once wanted a Yang magic which would be more "matter/energy-based" and a Yin magic which would be related to living and the body (including "physical adepts" and martial arts). But the sexist metaphysics (Form and Matter) doesn't really appeal to me. Or Yin could be more extrinsic, related to Outer Entities (hence the reputation of demonology for female Witches). 

One of the advantages of this gender-based magic is that it could justify nations of "amazons" and I wanted to add allusions to Myrina in the Chimerian Coast.
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
12:24 am
Of Dark Cities

The City of Blackwell was built on one of the chasms which leads to the Underworld, one of the Seven Gates. It is a hollow, seemingly endless crater. The top of the crater is the Upper City and it has light. That's where the aristocracy and the rich merchants live. The Middle City is very dark and needs torches. The Lower City is pitch black and it is populated by intelligent Shades and some people who can split their souls and send their shadows. Blackwell sells its Stygian Elementals which are used for Darkshields. 

Or I could decide the world is "tidally locked" with a perpetual Sun on one side (like Mercury was thought to be). This would use once again the theme of the "threshold" or the twilight zone. This would explain why people want to live in shaded areas. 

Inspiration:
The City shaped like a Well comes directly from the French comic L'Incal. I still hesitate: there are too many "dark cities" in this setting (Limen, Eclipse). I wonder if I could use a kind of Stygian Falls instead of a Well. I really want to "steal" Cataracts, the noisy city in Robin Laws' Korad setting. 

There is also a troll city called "Tarpit" in the 

The sentient shadows are from the new RPG, Shade

I need to do an Index of the Cities I have already alluded to: 
  • Anvil : City of the forge, traders of magic weapons. 
  • Archive, the Mountain-Book, the City of the Zwerc Librarians
  • Athanor, City of Metamorphoses : City of Alchemists
  • Blackwell : the Vertical City in the depths
  • Eclipse, the Dark City
  • Electrum, the miniature Metal City. 
  • Ivory, the Sleeping Castle, the City of Dreams
  • Leviathan, the City in the Belly of the Sea Dragon
  • Limen, City of the Threshold, City of Twilight, City of Ghosts : Gate between Death and Life. 
  • Mother-City, surrounded by the Thornwall. 
  • Oracle : the city of the Seer
  • Relic : City of the Holy Host of Eternal Life, the City built on a Behemoth
  • Urn, the Ossuary : the City of Bones and Marrow, City of the Necromancers
Monday, April 25th, 2011
5:32 pm
Of Eyes

There are many Invisible beings in the World and this fact makes everyone a little paranoid: you never know if someone is watching you. That's why everybody try to find magical "Eyes" which are supposed to distract unwanted gazes. Most "eyes" are useless superstitions but there are few real amulets, talismans and items of warding

Limen has been called the City of Eyes, because there are so many ghosts and they are not always visible to the human eye. Some believe that if you sacrifice an eye of a living being, you can use it as a ward against ghosts. Many buildings are covered with ornamental eyestalks, cyclopses or real "mommified" or "crystallized" eyes. 

A rumor says there is the Ghost of the old zwerc Library of the Ashes which is covered by sacrificed Eyes. They are the Keepers of the Library but also its Readers since they can decipher the burnt echoes of the old tables. Some people give one eye voluntarily to the Library so that the forgotten books can be read. 

There is another obscure legends about the Giant of the Hundred Sparkling Eyes. The Deceiver told him he would become a Dragon and even a God if he stole eyes from living creatures in his celestial forge. When the Giant stole one hundred eyes and covered his wings and his tails with eyes, he changed, he became wiser and he could see through the evil illusion of the Deceiver. He gave all his Eyes to the Lady of the Night. They became constellations and butterfly wings and he became the faithful watcher of the Dark Lady, the Peacock-Dragon. The sect of the "Peacock-Hydras" (also called Rainbow-beholders) try to become Dragons by opening their Other Eyes through mystical means. 

Sources: 
The spectral Library of Ashes come from the French comic-book Capricorn (and the Library of Alexandria in Wraith). The talismans are of course the Nazars, not the Tekumel Eyes. 
The story of the draconic Giant (I already put some parts there) mixes the gnostic Yazidi Melek Taus and the Greek Argus the Many-Eyed, plus the Third Eye from Cyril Hoskin a.k.a. "Tuesday Lobsang Rampa" and Dr Strange
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
11:35 pm
Of the Maiden and Death
 
Luna was the most beautiful mortal. She was so perfect that pilgrims came to worship her appearance. 

When she died prematurely, the whole world was shocked. The great artist Pumayyaton made a wonderful statue, the Perfect reflectance, Pandora. It could speak, sing and dance like Luna, but it was still only a shadow. 

Her lover Alcest raised an army of lovers and they decided they would go up to the country of fog called "Gameria" or "Kimeria" where the pale waters of Lethe fall in the mouth of the Sea of souls, on the Isthm of the Asphodels. There were many of them and the Pandora was guiding them. 

Some of them may have been cynical. Maybe they wanted to find immortality. But most of them were sincere: they could not tolerate that Luna would die so early. 

But the War against Death was a disaster. They were able to crash the Gate of Death and they went beyond to build a fortress in the Land of the Dead. But the Psychopomp Horizon raised a great wall of bones and stones and the Mortality Army was trapped in the Wall. They became the famous "gargoyles", half-stones, half-demons. 

Pandora still lives in Limen and she claims she has the real soul of Luna. But there is another being, called Lila, the Queen of Night, spouse of the God of Death, and some says she is the real Luna. 


Inspirations:
They are obvious. Luna/Alian is Helen of Troy+Persephone+Eurydice+Alcestis (and Alcest is Orpheus+Menelas+Psyche). Gomer or Gimirri is the Homeric Cimmeria. Pumayyaton is Pygmalion (+ Daedalus?). Lila is Lilith+Persephone. 
6:51 pm
Of the Ghost Quarter

The Haunt (in French: Hantise) is the Ghost Quarter of the City of Limen, on the shores of the Lethe. 

The Ghosts are very common in Limen but the Haunt is the spectral place, near the old Sunken Sign, where most of them can be "seen", especially if you have Second Sight.  

Most Ghosts are there because they are waiting for something. They lack some sense of  "completion". Some of them even escaped from the Psychopomps and are refugees in the mazes of the Haunt.  They are hunted by the Soul-Collectors, other ghosts who work for the Psychopomp.  There is also the Grand Huntsman who wander around the City with his Hell-Hounds. 

There are different categories of ghosts.

"Echoes" are diminished versions of the dead: they often repeat the same scenes over and over before they dissipate (or before they are captured by the Soul-Collectors). Ghosts of non-sentient animals or children are often simple "Echoes". 

"Whispers" are weak ghosts who cannot do much except transmit a few informations. There are "sensitive" Mediums who can hear Whispers all the time in some places of the Haunt. 

"Deniers" are ghosts who refuse to believe they are dead. Some of them use spells or drugs to become more "solid" even in the Fleshworld. Ghostweed junkies often become Spectres (see below). There are a few living people who have the reverse condition.

"Cuckoos" are ghosts who take possession of living bodies. Exorcists and Soul-Collectors try to eliminate all the Cuckoos. Some of the Cuckoos are not malevolent and can bargain with their host-body. They may be called Parasites, Possessors, Puppeteers, Skinriders. 
"Crusaders" have a mission. They cannot leave Limen but will not cross the Gate of Death and the Sea of Souls before they finish their mission. They often try to find mortal agents but they sometimes have to find something to pay them without leaving the Twilight City. Some of them are so obsessed that they become Spectres
"Spectres" are psychopathic Monsters of the Id. They lost their sanity (if they were sane in their previous life). 
"Dreamers" or Hypnonauts can travel in Dreams. Some of them belong to a secret society (the Reconciliation) which try to cure Spectres and Deniers. Some try to investigate beyond the Ivory Gate (the Sleeping Castle where the most awful Nightmares are created). Some of them can manipulated memories. 
"Shades" are not to be confused with the Spectres. They are often creatures from the City of Eclipse and can travel through shadows. Some of them can also be Cuckoos when they control parts of the khaibit. People who cast no shadow can be possessed by a Shade. There are some Magic Lanterns which are supposed to expel Shades. 

Inspirations
Wraith; the Oblivion, Orpheus.  The Guilds were almost exactly copied. 
Ghostweed comes from the Ptolus comic-book by Monte Cook. 
The world of Les Terres Suspendues (the Floating Lands) has the land of Tremble where some ghosts deny their death. 
The idea of Dreaming Doctors was inspired by the French RPG, La Méthode du Docteur Chestel.  

6:10 pm
Of the Archive and the Cataglyph (and a Note about Lethe)

There used to be a symbol, called the Map of All. Some say it was the place of all the Eternal Ideas after the One became Many. 

When Oblivion was created, the Map was lost and we can only find tiny remnants of the Map. There was a place where the Map was sunken by the River Lethe. It was drowned under the Falls of the Lethe, destroyed and erased by the waters of Time. That's where the Limit is, the first Gate of Death (the City of Limen). 

After the Mother-City became mad and was surrounded by the Walls of Thorns, the old people of the Zwercs covered themselves with Runes and Tatoos and they built Archive, the Mountain-Library.

They say the destruction of the Map left a kind of Echo in the Limen city and many Archivists try to study the Sunken Symbol under the Lethe to find traces of the Map. The Drowned Sign is also called the "Cataglyph" (the Under-Sign). There are some weird stones and shells under the Lethe where you can find fragments of the Cataglyph. It may include some predictions of events which took place long after the destruction of the Map. 
 
****

The waters of the Lethe are dangerous. They can make you forget everything and leave you as a blabbering idiot. Some depressed people throw themselves into the waters to forget parts of their life. Some people drink the Lethe because they misleadingly believe it is a Youth Elixir. Even rain near Limen can be contaminated by the Lethe and many people can become distracted, especially during "Oblivion Storms". 
 
The inhabitants have to use alambics from Athanor and special decanter which purify the Waters. More suspicious people always use a special alchemical test to be sure there is no Lethe water in their cup. 
 
Priests of Lethe are great specialists who make normal waters for the citizens of Lethe. The Truth Fountains (Aletheia) are great marvels of the cult. Some of them are so "pure" that they can even make you remember things you had forgotten. 
 
In that case, some Fountains of Truth can even resurrect memories of your previous lives (see the Random Table of Karma and Jātismara in French). 
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
10:24 am
Of Dreams
 
Ivory Gate, the Sleeping Castle

Ivory Gate is a noble castle, founded by a group of powerful wizards. After the failure of the War against Death, they were afraid and did not trust the necromantic technics of Urn the Ossuary, the religious theophagy of Relic or the self-transformation of Athanor. They decided to create a city which would be beyond Death, like the legendary Almond City

They decided to escape Death and Time in Dream. As long as they slept, they would not age or suffer, they would live forever in Nod's Land. Some call them the Travellers of Sleep but their travel was motionless. They built a castle out of the white bones and tusks of elephants. 

They had put guardians around their slumbering maussoleum but something went wrong.

They started to have so many nightmares that the whole place started to shift into another plane and was infested with dreams and illusions. 

The Nightmares travel through the Ways and if you use one of the old Ways you can be trapped in the Ivory Labyrinth. That's why nobody should fall asleep within the Ways, it would attract them.

Some say there are at least Seven Sleepers and that you would have to wake at least some of them to be able to escape from the Sleeping Castle. 

But some say that one of the Sleepers has already awoken and that he trapped the others. 

Another theory say that if the Sleepers are awaken, the whole world would cease to exist because we are all figments in their imagination. 

Sources : The Sleeping Beauty, Gates of Ivory (false dreams)Aristotle, Physics. IV ii (2I8b), the fabled sleepers of Sardinia and its later variant, the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. 
Monday, April 26th, 2010
8:15 pm
Of Vegetal Walls

That story about the Great Hedge of India (see also the entry on Wikipedia) is really amazing. I will have to steal that.

The Great Hedge and the Thornroad

The Giant Hedge was created by the Druids of the Sylve to stop the Mother-City. It is thick and so high that it could stop an elephant.

The Thornroad used to be a stone road built by the Mothercity when it spread its crystalline structure. It is now completely covered with thorns, spines and poisonous prickles which stopped its growth before it could go beyond the Hedge.

But some people say the Mother-City was able to send other "Ways", magical gates which was able to pierce the Woodwall. The Arches around the world are the old Ways of the City.

Inspiration: Bloodwood in Earthdawn, Hornsaw Forest in The Scarred Lands.
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
9:10 am
Of Idea 'Appropriation'

One of the advantages of designing your setting without any intention of publishing it is that it allows more straightforward plagiarism. But I will try to acknowledge any conscious "borrowing".

For instance, I read a lot of Pathfinder supplements and some of them can really be used as idea mines.

The Haruspex

In the City of Live-Giving Relic, the three mysterious Haruspices are famous and effective Oracles. They read the future in their own entrails, in their liver ("auto-hepatomancy").

But their secret is that when they consummated the Holy Host (the Regenerating Manna), they became partly "Trolls" and their precognition is now part of their digestive system. To be fully effective, the Soothsayer have to bite a part of the person in order to foretell their future.

Inspiration: Stolen from the Troll Augurs of Kaer Maga (Pathfinders #3). The Sourcebook about this weird city will be published in July. It suits really well the theme of holy cannibalism in the City of Relic

I am not sure if I want to adapt their "Hematomancers" (who power their spells with their Blood but have to cover their body with leeches to avoid bursting). I wonder if I could add some Hippocratic theory of Humors to get four different HumourMages (Melancholymancers, Phlegmmancers, Cholermancers). Maybe in Athanor, the City of Alchemists?
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