First of the posts covering a single plane or "realm" as I called them in an attempt to file the serial numbers off from classic d&d. This is one of the more complete realms but after playing Hades I think I could of put more fights in it. Thanks to Patrick Stuart for writing the knights and providing feedback on this , ultimately doomed, project.
Here's the links to the planescrap primer:
THE PINNACLE OF VIRTUE
The titular Pinnacle of Virtue can be seen be from anywhere on this realm. It it stretches up to infinity, becoming a vast needle. Approaching it reveals two other peaks, topping out long before Pinnacle starts to become impossibly thin.
The needle peak is climbed by those seeking purity,shedding ego and pride, and rising above the sins and illusions of the worlds.
The sub-peaks are for those that will not leave the less righteous behind.
One is entirely composed of a sprawling citadel.
A defiant, squat thing, build in a bewildering range of architecture.
Homages and recreations of lost castles and forgotten palaces, edifices of monumental heroism, seized and preserved trophies. Flags, banners,standards and crests.
Here is the Final Fort. Warriors from a dizzying variety of cultures have gathered here.
Each has chosen righteous conflict instead of spiritual perfection, and each has found no pantheon matching their zeal.
As any pantheon is primarily focused on soul collection and too often has deals or arrangements with its “opposing” half in another realm. Good deeds by the pantheons agents are likely to be about PR than actual concern for others. The rank and file in a pantheon won’t have this “big picture view” but as they under the orders from the members that do, angels and other forces of good can be surprisingly inactive considering the many many wars and conflicts going on in numerous worlds.
The Final Fort does not have “big picture” guys. It has the stubborn, the indefatigable, the most relentless idealists, immortals who just keep sticking up for people. While highly individualistic, especially for place that tends to attract team-players, they do fight under a single banner, that of a flat top mountain.
This has given them the name the Levelers.
The Levellers do not have the backing of a pantheon and the Realm itself seems indifferent to them. This would normally mean that their progress in power would be slow, however they have the Arch-Type.
The Arch-Type is a language found written deep underground in Pinnacle, carved in a anomalous tree root of goliath size.
Not all the language of it could be transcribed before a vast underground spasm buried the root again. Enough of it was transcribed to discover its power.
When used to describe a deed, it empowers the object the words are on with the might of the deed. Unlike other languages, it can not be used to lie, and cannot be distinct from the author. One cannot write of strength unless one is strong, nor write of something they have not seen or done.
It is engraved on armour, the armour becomes part of the immortal and becoming their body.
It is written on prayer wheels, their turning animating wooden limb and more intricate device.
It is sewn into cloth, igniting it with light and the character of steel.
The uses of the Arch-Type enhance but for it more than a fancy raiment, it has to be used as a restoration, after a sacrifice or maiming.
A Leveller losing an arm, engraves the deed of it on their armour and now the armour is their arm. Burns are tattooed over and the skin becomes resplendent in glory.
As all the small parts of a heroic life become eclipsed by their legacy, so do veteran levellers become like figures more suited to monument and statue.
The Arch-Type can also be used for oraltry, ballads, sagas. The first telling will be in Arch-Type and although will understood by all who hear it, the audience then remembers in the language of their childhood.
The Leveller who commits themself to oral saga, has their form become an more of hazey impression than the heroic exaggeration of other Arch-Type enhancements.
Whoever is viewing them has them appear as their cultural idea of a hero, but this memory changing and updating as their understanding of a hero shifts.
Once a Leveller has committed enough of themselves to ballad, they disappear completely existing now only as their oral legacy. The stories of them will be ones that appear in multiple forms in multiple worlds, defying suppression, integration or subjugation.
Leveler, Unique individual
1. Mo’Mo’Boom, wields over sized nunchucks, basically 2 massive over sized iron studded clubs linked with chain.
Arch-type scarified on skin in a flowing calligraphy. Jovial, loves quick wits, brawls, and chaotic situations.
/Likely to be in Spanish revolution type situation, where embattled occupants of a city fight a war against totalitarian powers on two fronts
2. Granddad, now entirely made from Arch-type engraved armour, each piece a trophy from villains and blackguards, and mockingly modified. Kindly, a gentle teacher and observer, humiliatingly effective and effortless martial skill.
/Likely to detaining malcontents, reactionaries, or violent radicals, jovially dismantling their ideology on its inconsistencies and unconsidered consequences. If they get worked up enough to attack him, he disarms and rebukes them almost without noticing it.
3.Piss Rat, a short gnome, halfling, dwarf? Hard to tell under black bottle brush beard and menacing conker spiked armour, like a Brian Froud goblin. Foul mouthed, and fast speaking to the point of nigh incomprehensibility. Uses some kind of contraption like a grappling hook, fishing rod, hand cranked taser and morning star. Endlessly tinkering with it. Actually extremely friendly and curious about people but manner of talking means they come across like they are furious at you.
/ Likely to be engineering an extremely destructive trap to be unleashed on a unjust usurpers coronation, other Levellers concerned about scale and risk of collateral damage
4.A Knight The Cheesiest Ye Knight Of King Arthur knight ever. Actually a insect that got magiked into a humanoid and learned how to be human from plays
Looks like a plate armoured knight but close inspection reveals it’s actually the exoskeleton of A Knight. Uses a lance but without a steed so just kind of like spear or staff, or sometimes just charging people with it. A flag attached to lance documents A Knights deeds in the Arch-Text
/Likely to be rescuing Damsels, fighting ogres, dueling blackguards
5. Charlie Knuckles, pugilist dollymop. 2 red circles on their checks in rouge, a nose countlessly broken, a mean squint, and a foul tobacco chewing habit. As they got older they didn’t have the looks or the charm to make it from trollop to a mistress, so became security instead. Loves a good brawl.
Arch Text tattoos mean they can punch through steel and deflect weapons like they were made of it.
/Likely to be putting down bullys, chasing down marauding army stranglers, punishing wife beaters, or disposing of cruel pimps
6. Ten Five: A sad looking women of 45, simple green silk tunic and a straight sword.
Has not used Arch Text yet, their skill with the blade is legendary, though it brought them only sorrow in their life. Skills are pure Wuxia
/Likely to be trying to save doomed lovers, demolishing small armies, or protecting the naive and hopeful
7. Ever-Buzzing-Worlds Ex-mocker, a savage elven art critic, too critical for his own good, got frustrated with the Mockers “absolutely confused fuckery”, “when it’s not wank, it’s banal wank”. Likes an argument, could start a fight with an empty room. Body patchily replaced with (left arm, right foot, left eyebrow, some ribs) thin black iron sculpture, like something scourged from the guts of typewriter. The Arch Text is engraved on it. Stuff fails spectacular around Ever-Buzzing-Worlds, his opponents have there fumble range increased by 2 and he can dispel magics by kicking at them
/Likely to showing up to a pompous celebration of tyrant and picking a fight with everyone, vandalizing displays of wealth and excess, or distributing food and reclaimed taxes
8 Hemi a smiling soft mountain of man, wielding a sharks half jaw of goliath size, scrimshawed with his deeds in the arch text. Generous and endlessly social, looks pacific islander or Malaysian. Sly humor. Sharks jaw has mismatched teeth of all kinds that Hemi can sow to summon various beasts who feel fiercely indebted to him. Also he hits like his name sake.
/Likely to be rebuking and befriending rampaging monsters, cooking prestigious feasts, locating and returning sacred treasures
Levellers: Non-specific mob
1: heavily armoured, Japanese, but demon face motifs 90% of armour
2; Heavily armoured, middle eastern cataphract but with volcanic glass
3. heavily armoured, european but celtic knot work in metal cable
5. Goat men
6. Excitable fish man
7. Demon with cut off horns
8. dinosaur looking fellas
9. Naked with blue paint
10. Swashbuckler but with claymore
11. Super colourful ninja
12. Robin Hood but with long rifle and musketeer hat
1. rescuing, losing battle
2. rescuing, refugees
3. enforcing cease fire
4. Wanton destruction of dark forces
5. rescue, execution freedom fighters
6.rescue, natural disaster
7. monster slaying
8. hunting down marauders
9. grain tax robbing and redistributions
10. raid to kill enemy general or king
11. making up numbers in great batter
12. harassing raids against large force
2. horns of winds
3. resistant armour
4. Haste effect
5. Elemental weapons
6. Super jumps
7. Cauldron of resurrection
8. weapons inflict near siege weapon damage against inanimate objects
9. Storm cloud brought down for cover, rain, sometimes lightning
10. Can grow and shrink
12. Massive tower shield, practically a portable wall
Dust rolls in from Starry Night, and the mismatch of the realms different essences spark off into fierce storms. The Levellers will catch them with harpoon and hook and ride them out into the many worlds ringed by the realms.
It’s an effective if not easily directed means of travel but is the one most often used by the Levellers.
Riding these broiling purple black clouds they will strike against tyranny, rescue the oppressed, and see justice done.
Other forces for good and order grumble about these expeditions are often condemned as short-sighted, escalationary, and destabilizing.
The other peak resembles a androgynous benedicative figure, the viewer will have difficult deciding how much is serendipitous rock formation and how much is deliberate and subtle craft.
. First Here is immortals that choose to remain, so they can tend the sick and pained.
Panacea a place of peace, of gentle meditations, scented gardens, flowing fountains and simple song. The stone here looks worn, like a favourite path, or river stone, and is gentle earth tones, early light yellows, and shallow water blues. There always seems to be at least one endearing songbird or singing cricket near.
It is a Hospice where you will be guided through the curving corridors inside the peak itself, given a private consultation with a cup of tea, the necessary exchange of the service discussed, and nearly any ailment cured.
The immortals here tend to simple dress, but most stick with the costume of their original culture. They are known informally as the “attendants”
They do not change form or gain personal power, but the ones here the longest seem to exist with such gentle serenity in every action, that they are unmistakable an attendant.
No being of less power than a god can willing harm another creature with a soul here, and the Levellers keep an eye on the roads approaching Panacea.
These roads have scattered groups of travellers coming from portals and other realms, the numbers swelling towards the base of Panacea. The hospice itself has numerous paths and entrances and attendants will gracefully guide visitors to separate room; it never feels crowded or hurried.
In exchange for the healing a service must be promised.
The service will not be to Panacea but whoever the recipient next encounters in need.
If the recipient of the healing does not give aid, the “debt” of the service increases.
The greater healing the great the service required.
Degree of debt
Restore hitpoints to full:
Cure debilitating (but not likely to be fatal) poison or disease
Cure permanent infliction (but not one involving missing organs or limbs)
Restore a limb or organ
Misc Really Big Problem like being made out of Stone or Serious Curse
Bring someone back to life (will need intact body and the Soul)
If the ailment is due to the debilitate actions of a Pantheon or its agents, add another 30% to this.
The debt’s percentage refers to how significant to the life of debtor it is.
“10%” means the help they give should use or significantly risk 10% of their resources and capacities.
If it’s a “100%” this means the service required will one requiring total devotion of the rest of debtors life.
Ignoring an opportunity to do a service adds an interest of 10%. If the debt ever goes over 100% the debtor immediate turns into a useful item and will remain in this form for 10 years X the debt. This time will not pass if the item is not being used, and will shortened to weeks instead of years if it used in way that benefits 100s of people.
The exact type of item will be one most likely to be usefully to the person either most likely to help others or most in need, in the surrounding area.
The transformation cannot be reversed in any other way short of a direct action of a god.
The item will be extremely resistant to damage but not indestructible. If destroyed the soul of the debtor moves into another item, which won’t have any particular resistance
WHO IS HEALING YOU?
(if the healer takes a liking to character they will attend to them next time)
1 Potions, elaborate glass wear everywhere. Some worryingly rattling and bubbling
2 Mud baths, brightly coloured mud baths
3 Massaging. If inflicted is giving cheek, it will be brutal
4 Acupuncture. The needles comedically range in sizes but still cause no pain when insert and sporadically wiggled.
5 Cupping. Slight cuts and heated glass bowls pull weird sick blood from the character.
6 Herbal poultice. The Healers place is overgrown with plants and they are constantly having to move pots around and tuck under vines. The poultices will leave strange, not entirely but definitely slightly unpleasant smells
7 Droning singing and “psychic surgery”, the healer pulls (without injury) horrible looking fleshy globs from the inflicted.
8 Pep talk and really good listening
9 Sweat lodge/sauna/weird smokes
10 Emetics! One treated will throw up some real weird shit like half formed bugs made of knifes and the healer will swat these into a fire.
11 With strange bone needles they hook and wind the sickness out of the character,the sickness appearing like an unsettling mix of wool and water-born ink
12 Guided hallucinogenic experience
- Bumble bee, name is ChaCha
- Lizard person , MiddleBubble
- Very wrinkly old person, possibly a tortoise, Master/Madam Fizazel
- Like a living caricature of a motherly cook, Aunty Plum
- A sage of stiff posture and formal poise strokes beard when thinking, Lup Grandmire
- One armed veteran, covered in scars, looks around 70, Tun’g
- Plant women in formal silk with flowers blooming from her skin and hair, SweetSingSour
- Nethanderthal , W’t
- Booming voice scholar and drinker, Bombo
- No nonsense aunty, Florence
- Glowing moon child, Misa
- Seemingly stoned snake like women, Sunday
- Endlessly curious
- Gently scolds
- Solemn, methodical. Will smile just once with a wink
- Very concerned, gentle and caring
- Pontificates on their practices and theories, good natured but pompous
Lost knights are immortals that have quests, missions,obsessions or moral codes that have little chance of resolving anytime soon.
Some are like ghosts or the past-locked elderly, others more lucid but still hyper focused. The more aware ones are sometimes found in the ranks of the Levellers but their own callings prevent them from staying long.
Also for a Lost Knight to be around so many different warriors and heroes is disquieting. Amongst such a multiplicity their relevance and importance seems lessened
This could be because of the nature of the realm shifting, a panethlon they follow collapsing or the path of the knight is so difficult.
They can occasionally drift into Grinder, Starry Knight or Blazing World but core values of martial and ethical duty keep them orientated here.
(individual knights by Patrick Stuart)
Name; Asapatish NoMass
Form; A Noble poltergeist animating empty armour. The horse is real.
Origin; The ‘Good’ half of a magically-divided being, The Asapatish remains active through sheer force of will, determined to oppose the ‘Anathema’ an insidious, disgusting and extremely freaky shapechanger which makes up his other half.
Challenge; Obsessively tests the morality, combat capacity and blood of all he meets to see if they are the monstrous and cunning Anathema.
Name; Sir Graviton Beam
Form; A desiccated revenant.
Origin; The one remaining member of a culture which ascended bodily into the afterlife, leaving only clothes. At the crucial moment he feared leaving his wife and child behind and experienced a single doubt. They did not. Now he wanders bound to immortal flesh and awaits the judgement of a ‘higher power’.
Challenge; Obsessive in the protection of family units, regardless of whether those families are good or bad. If the PCs have killed someone’s parent or child, Sir Beam may challenge or question them.
Name; Laoshi Cerulean Blue-Dawns-Annihilator
Form; As part of his blessing/curse he ages throughout the day from youth at dawn to aged fellow at midnight. Is reborn each morning.
Origin; The shamed survivor of an apocalyptic battle that saved the entire cosmos, Laoshi Blue-Dawns-Annihilator failed to die nobly with his Lord and instead must remain as the only person who can tell the tale of his cultures tragic victory and extremely noble end.
Challenge; He hopes to one day fight and die in another apocalyptic battle against absolute evil and will fiercely question/provoke the PCs to make sure they are doing enough to battle darkness. As in right now. Right. Now. He literally dies at midnight comethefuckon people!
Name; Aswaran Eternity, Speaker of Blood
Form; Closed helm. Seems super-masculine but underneath is… a woman! (This may not be a big deal to the PCs but absolutely is to Eternity.)
Origin; Eternity was thrown through time to an age long after her friends and fellow heroes were forgotten. Only she remains to carry on their story and embody their high ideals.
Challenge; Aswaran Eternity can be somewhat preemptively chippy about the gender thing.
Name; Youxia Lu-Shan, Companion to Chance
Form; Bearded, hairy, wearing furs and sandals. Wields a huge tree-root. Somewhat woodwosey.
Origin; Heroic, noble, self-sacrificing, honest, kind, imaginative and a massive glutton, drunkard, gambling-addict and slut. As a terrible hedonist Lu-Shan could never be fully accepted in most afterlives. As a 100% good guy, he can hardly be kept out.
Challenge; The main challenge is not being sucked into his whirlwind of hedonism.
Name; Lady Mitosis, the Nuclear Saint
Form; Super-Magnificent gilded armour. Blazing dragon headpiece. Jewelled and enamelled gothic plate. Super-old inside, grey hair flows out when visor opened.
Origin; Only remainder of an honour-bound reality which has literally passed into Legend. As in, been curled up inside its own dimension and removed from history and entropy. For this to happen, one individual had to be left behind as an anchor and gateway to that hidden world.
Challenge; Lady Mitosis generally thinks travellers are trying to get access to her hidden world and is pretty tough about making sure no scumbags get in.
Name; Nomarch Corona, to Katharisméno Nou
Form; So pure that he lacks colour, depth and mass, being composed only of lines. His body borrows pigment, texture and weight from the environment around him, making him seem like an artists palette in the shape of a Knight.
Origin; Nomarch Corona is the last, and finest, Nomarch of the Empire of the Ashen Shard, considered a largely bad effort by most people, though with some notable achievements. The Nomarch of the Ashen Shard set out to retrieve the Redeeming Crystal Thought of the Mad God which, if they had achieved it, would have freed a staggering number of dead and mortal souls from terrible madness. Nomarch Corona is determined to fulfil this quest and have his Empire go down in history as Largely Good, with some downsides instead of Broadly Terrible, with some upsides.
Challenge; He really wants that Redeeming Crystal Thought and will interrogate the hell out of everyone just to make sure they don’t know something about it.
Name; Voivode Vantablack Blade (“Simple Victor”)
Form; Dressed in a nobles impression of a peasants dress worn in a sincere attempt to humble self. Carries iron-bound staff. Clearly enormously strong, educated, noble-born and way too clean.
Origin; Formerly a fallen voivode and chief enforcer for an utterly evil regime, Lord Blade was redeemed at the very last moment and struck down his evil master, thereby saving the kingdom. Now he quests to atone for his evil deeds. Unfortunately, his evil deeds are very, very numerous and very, very evil. The number of people legitimately enraged with him is enormous.
Challenge; A really large number of people quite reasonably want to kill him. It’s likely that PCs will end up in the middle of that.
Name; Sar Varsha, Jal Script.
Form; Pale and slender on a pale and slender horse. The weather changes dramatically whenever he silently arrives. Sun becomes storm, storms ease into sunshine.
Origin; An exceptionally noble and pure individual with a massive headwound which has completely destroyed his ability for form long-term memories. Despite this, Sar Varsha core principles and personality are so excellent that he is almost impossible to pervert from a noble course of some kind.
Challenge; If the PCs have genuinely wronged anyone they may well have appealed to Varsha Jal Script, who will not remember any previous meeting he has had with the PCs, positive or no. PC attempts to manipulate him to their advantage will always go horribly wrong
Name; Saint Orcbone Ideal, Knight of the Stone
Form; Lumpy, rawbone sun-browned peasant girl in super-clean armour. Ugly, visionary and intensely charismatic.
Origin; Saint Orcbone successfully faced a complex series of spiritual challenges before she duelled, and defeated, The Tectonic Emperor, an embodiment of the earth's raw geological fury, thereby ending an age of deadly earthquakes, saving the lives of millions and forming the template for a famous Chivalric Order, the Band of Stone, who take her heroism as their ideal. However, during the ordeal she told one lie, and kissed the wife of the Tectonic Emperor on the cheek. She lives overwhelmed by spiritual shame and regards herself as an impure failure.
Challenge; Saint Orcbone deals with her complex internal stresses by having absolutely no time for liars of any kind. Which almost everyone slightly is.
Name; Sen Permenpreus Smie
Form; Magnificent lizardform humanoid with golden scales wearing armour of mother-of-pearl. Rides barded Dinosaur. Carries ancient burning glyph on their brow. Smile is real permafrost icicles.
Origin; Sen Smie is the only good member of the Band of Terror Nnights, a group which seriously frightened everyone in a prehistoric age. His inherent decency and nobility brought him here but every other member of his species and culture is dead and in hell.
Challenge; Though a good person, absolutely every micro-behaviour, cultural gesture and cast of thought he expresses quietly signals that he is evil. Which he is not. But he sure seems like he is. Sen Smie seeks to redeem his horrible fallen race, which is absolutely not going to happen
Name; Gospodine Gargant Nine-Hundred, Ristar Na Hive.
Form; Huge Beetle-Knight rides enormous jumping flea. Carries aura-cloak of iridescent dragonflies in daylight, glowbugs at night. Nearby insects will come out to cheer them in tiny voices as they pass by.
Origin; Gospodine Gargant has sworn before the Empty Insect Saints to do good deeds to evil at a ratio of nine-hundred to one. For every bad act he must do at least 900 good ones. It is almost impossible to go through life actively doing anything without performing at least some bad deeds, and though he keeps his ratio pretty tight, his quest is effectively unending.
Challenge; His need to do a very high volume of good means his presence and attention can be somewhat oppressive over time. He also reacts very poorly to any situation that might lead him into relative badness.
What Are They Up To?
1. Guarding a surprisingly stable portal They absolutely have to challenge everyone coming through. Won’t fight to the death but if you beat them they shall owe you a boon.
2. Something, perhaps valuable, perhaps inconsequential, to the PCs is either a forcibly polymorphed innocent (if an animal) or a sacred object with an illusion cast on it. The Lost Knight has sworn to get it back and has promised not to speak of it in any way, or to tell anyone what they are up to.
3. Tracking some bandits who had the exact numbers and a pretty similar description to the PCs. The PCs will encounter the bandits in one hour.
4. The have been ensorcelled to look and sound like an utterly evil creature. The curse is only lifted if they are beaten and offered mercy. They will test the party to see if they are the type to offer mercy.
5. They are guiding a major religious figure or saint to wherever the PCs recently came from. This individual, while extremely holy, is a massive arsehole and immediately takes against the PCs, causing all kinds of trouble and threatening to ruin their reputation at that location.
6. On a super-secret prisoner-exchange mission with a group from Heart Of Iron. They have a chained-up prisoner (who seems normal) and are expecting the opposing group to appear under an illusion. They will probably assume the PCs are that group. In the middle of this, the actual opposing group will turn up.
7. About to joust or duel with another person from this table (roll again) over an obscure but intense point of honour or duty. Both will accuse the PCs of being secret helpers of the other.
8. Looking for the PCs as someone reported them for the last criminal or sketchy thing they did and they want them to atone or make amends.
9. Locked in a brutal and murderous fight with an apparently innocent group of people. Both sides call for aid. The innocents are actually evil shapechangers
10. Sleeping quietly. Their dream is a prophecy which tells them, in symbolic terms, that they will meet the PCs and that the PCs will somehow lead them to their next quest.
11. In a tense sword-drawn standoff with a bunch of big stones. They claim the stones are an evil Sorceress and her crew that they were chasing. The sorceress means to wait for night or fog, then turn back and either run for it or attack the Lost Knight from behind. The Lost Knight appeals for aid. The stones just look like stones.
12. Dragging a teenage girl in chains. The girl is in love with a Bandit King and only wants to return to him. The Lost Knight has essentially re-abducted her. She asks the PCs for aid. The Bandit King is a really abusive dude but she is totally into him.
The Finest Path, The Pinnacle of Virtue
Ascending this involves shedding their ego and attachment and is like the inside of a spiritual volcano for how relevant it is for the player characters.
The first half of the mountain made of sheer rock faces and goat tracks, with nothing like an easy or gentle path. Often progress will seem impossible. Before one has reached the middle point they will have to overcome 6 different barriers . These can be encountered in any order and each is assumed to take a fugue to pass.
1.Courage: The paths here are barely enough to fit a toe, and winds rip around the stone with a raptorial zeal. If one is brave (but not reckless) and steady , one will never fall and may progress
2. Patience : A storm has picked up and will continue posing a danger from winds, flash floods, lightning , and hail. If one finds a place to wait with acceptance (as opposed to frittering or raging ), the storm will pass.
3. Thoroughness: the stone becomes increasingly cracked and untrustworthy, any hasty or ill considered step risks a long fall. However if one takes the measure of every step they take, they will not come to harm
4. Compassion: here are sheep and some kind of lichen grazing puffin . They will always be in the way, especially the puffins nests. One will never progress if they put their advancement over the lives of these simple beasts.
5. Resolve : appearing as any of the above (d4) but taking the “correct action” will seemingly lead to disaster , sending the ascendant tumbling down . If they still persist and still make the same choices of Compassion , Patience etc then they will progress.
6. Altruism : Appearing as one of the first 4 (d4) but someone else is here and failing to grasp what is needed to progress and looks like it will result in disaster for them soon. If the ascendant risks their progress and time to attempt to teach the other the correct ways, then this part will be surmounted too.
Once progress has happened more than half way up the mountain , it is limited by the ascenders own spiritual progress.
There’s no real good mechanics I can think of for this , and if comes up in play it should be unique enough for the g.m to make whatever rules or rulings they see find.
Once the ascenders understanding has progressed so they can move on from the half point they will no longer have a name.
The next part of the journey will erase their class, level and any related abilities.
Next their physical stats and any related things (hitpoints)
Finally the mentally stats as they become one with eternity.
An ascender might, for the rarest of reasons, return having completely only a portion of the ascent. Whatever is given up will not return, instead it must be chosen or rolled for them by the g.m.
The lands stretching from the pinnacles are a rolling terrain, somewhat like a cobblestone road, where the cobbles are the size of buildings and have slumped, forming hollows and rises.
Patches of soil from around them and on them, allowing small groves of trees and scruffy bushes to further break up the stone.
In parts the stone is more evident of flatted and smoothed ruins.
The further you get away from the pinnacle the more the patches of soil and vegetation build up until you get a mediterranean style wildness, which gradually fades into the sands of Starry night.
The exile town of 3-Hare is found here and its existence facilities rogues and vagabonds, scattered out around the trade routes leading through here.
The other notable feature of this realm is a massive snail that has a library build into the shell. This is the Infinite Library.
3-Hares is made up of exiled and calamity fleeing populations. Their cities, lands and even worlds now lost to them. Each of them holds tenaciously to their customs, costumes, manners and even architecture.
This also means they tend to be a little inflexible and tradition bound, never really adjusting or accepting their continuing existence here and the collective memories of their home getting more idealised.
Arbitrary aspects of their cultures past can be invested with far more significance and reverence than would make sense to someone displaced from there and then to now and here.
It can come across as, while not “stereotyped”, but ritualised and a little exaggerated and formal; like everyday was an important festival or anniversary.
This results in 3-Hares being a city of a 100 different “Chinatowns”; one passes through a district of consistent appearance and then abruptly the buildings and adornments change, like a neat slice of somewhere else.
The political structure here is by council vote, each district having a number of votes, determined by a complicated calculation of the population, square area, number of buildings, amount of traffic, exports and imports and how long they have been in 3-hares.
The exact nature of the calculation and the weight of each aspect of it has shifted and been levered in a long history of power plays and shifting alliances.
One educated in this history can see the signs of it: From when the height of buildings was disproportionately effectively in vote allowance there are still spindly minarets and teetering apartments.
Another district shows when the square area was more important, it has broad avenues and parks.
As a g.m you can use any number of cities, towns, villages or cultures that you have available to you and put them all neatly pressed together.
The Infinite Library
A snail of colossal proportions, its shell respondent opaline pearl.
It used to be in Babel but the modrons increasily objected to it including works of fiction so its slid up to here.
It’s still not a comfortable fit as various agents of pantheons and the Levellers keep wanting certain books destroyed or removed, which is an anathema to the librarians.
Thus the the library migrates around, not sticking around in one place in Pinnacle reducing amount of time someone of censorious bend can get worked up enough to do more than come in and yell at them.
Access to the library is done when the snail comes to rest and withdraws into the shell, one will pass its vast struched head as they enter the shell, then ascending over it by ladder, or via a simple platform elevator if the ladder is too difficult for the guest.
Then there is a simple counter with a librarian . The librarian , as all the librarians , has the appearance of a favourite character from a book they have recently read.
Their manner and speaking is still that of a librarian , somewhat flavoured by the character , however at odds it is with their appearance. They will happily answer any questions and explain the nature of the place and the expected conduct (no loudness or activities that could damage the books or disrupt a reader).
- Long John Silver
- Peter Rabbit
- Puss in Boots
- Willy Wonka
- Captain Hook
- Don Quixote
They will only provide services (making a near identical copy of any book that they or you have , making a book list, or finding a book for you in the library ) in exchange for donating a book , retrieving a book needed from the stacks, or collecting a book stolen.
Beyond is a bewildering spiral of non-euclidean shelving, ladders, reading nooks and, of course books.
You will always within shouting distance of at least 1d12 librarians. They will be nonobstructive to the point of near invisibility and move around you via secret paths and folded spaces.
The Librarians are loathe to reject any book regardless of its value and their organisation systems is esoteric (to put it mildly).
Books are to be read at the library and leaving with one will mean you will have bounty placed on you by the Librarians.
A character (mortal) who wishes to find a book can automatically fine a typical book on a typical topic by spending a Derive.
Typical being in this case, something you as g.m would not think twice about letting the character easily access in most established cites.
If they want atypical quality of book or atypical topic, the player should make 2 intelligence checks
If neither of them is successful they don’t find anything of merit
If one of them is successful they get the book but they need to roll on the below table.
If both are successful they get the book they wanted.
IF the character is trying to find a book of both atypical topic and quality they should make 3 intelligence checks.
With 3 successes resulting in want they wanted.
2 successes they get what they wanted but roll on the table below
1 success it’s (odds) the quality they wanted but only generally on that topic or (evens) it’s that topic but the coverage is cursory at best
0 successes they found nothing.
They can try again next Derive but it will cost them 100/exp per level each Derive they spend looking as the Library draws something from them to sustain itself.
This only applies to mortals, not free roaming souls or immortals.
The librarians will warn guests of this.
Roll again but roll on this table:
- It’s want they wanted but in an obscure language
- Author has a weird sly humour which time has made it unclear when they are sincere and when they aren’t.
- Book has slightly out of place tangent in which a major theory about the world is disproved. Worryingly plausible
- Unbelievably soporific. Unless extraordinary measures are taken to stay awake a reader will fall asleep after reading 2 and half pages.
- The books has extensive speculation and strong hints that the author would of written another book, even more relevant and insightful for the character. It turns out the author died before they could complete this other book however but that’s not a complete dead end..
- The sheer amount typos and misspellings cast certain crucial aspects of the book in doubt.
- This book would be unacceptable vague except for the extensive handwritten notes in the margins by unknown and completely unhinged hand.
- Due to threat of the inquisition or censorship the author was forced to frame everything hypothetically with numerous disclaimers and retractions. No solid conclusions or extrapolations are made.
- A oddly chimerical book, too much left as poetic evocation or unclear symbolism. A mystic, artistic or just really high character might be able to get something useful from it
- The author references at least 5 other books so extensively that this book is near uselessly without them
If someone is causing problems that need violent solutions, a librarian will sneak off and access the troublemakers biography and conjure out of it the most dangerous enemy each trouble maker has previously fought. This will take 1d20 rounds - the subjects level, (minimum of 1).
This “Foeecho” has identical stats to the original, except in regard to its intelligence and knowledge. It can’t be smarter than the subject or know things the subject doesn’t know.
For everyone other than this subject the foeecho appears as orgaimi version of it and can do no more harm to them than a paper cut (though it still has the same hitpoints and armour class as the foeecho) When the subject is dead it crumbles away. If the subject is merely unconscious it is still active, though it only has a single hitdie and an armour class of 10.
The Libraries main section and the hidden “stacks” are actually spiraled beside each other, the Stacks like a shadow of interspaces, accessible only by hidden ways know to the librarians.
Here are the dangerous books, unwritten books, and unwritable books
The Librarians will allow access to the Stacks in exchange for a book they don’t have, or if you offer to retrieval books for them.
As books sometimes change from fantasy to history or unwritten to written and will need collecting and reshelving.
The “bad books” are an exception to the rules about not taking books away. The librarians will refuse to acknowledge them even if directly shown them
Exploring the Stacks
Draw a bunch of overlapping squares, drop a bunch of d12, like just a comfortable amount to fit in your hand.
Each line is a corridor, about 2 and half metres across and 2 and half metres high.
Then look at the numbers rolled, that’s what is current in the that corridor.
The corridors are lined with bookshelves, the books are of little quality (both content and construction) and at first glance look decayed. Closer inspection reveals a better term would be “undeformed” like a developing bud or fruit. Some books are of a single piece, others the letters just basic lines. Some appear faded or impossible to focus on.
When you are near a “Bad” Book, these background books will even more damaged, mutated, distorted or otherwise anomalous.
Time it takes to search a corridor = encounter check
1: npc (use any already on map first)
2: danger (active) (If a danger is within 2 lines, use that instead of rolling new one)
3-5 No encounter
6: cross out something already rolled and drop another d12.
1.Npc, hiding book thief
2.Npc, mercenary looking for books
3.Rogue book character (pick a random nearby book, flick through it until you find a character, that’s them. They will be the same level as the characters)
4 lost scholar
5 Doppelganger (roll d4 to see disguise)
6: Someone significant yet low level from characters past alternate history, near opposite personality, similar ethic
7:Bookworm/ Firebrat/ Silverfish: use stats for a large centipede but it has no depth, only “2d”, always appearing on a surface it can’t affect anything that surface isn’t connected to. After it successfully attacks someone it will be “on” them for the rest of the round, any attacks or effects on it affect who its on and vis versa.. Territory, but won’t pursue.
8: Wandering illustration, roll random monster (or open a nearby book to a random page) anyone who has encountered it before its real, anyone who hasn’t it looks like a drawing come to life and can’t affect them more than a cut out bit of paper
9 -11 Bad Book
12. Bad book + other encounter, roll d8 to see
1:XoX: Paranoid disgraced Academic Gladiator,
2: Lady Veepry Clockface Women Claiming to Be Actual Author And Needs To Make revisions,
3. Tomb Budt:A Dwarf of 100 Bad ideas. This one was stealing a book, and then disguising himself as someone else and claiming to retrieve it. Currently trying to make a disguise out of paper.
4. Peter Fitting: pretends to be a confused 10 year old, actually a 30 year old moderately high level thief. Cannibal.
5. Pluto Lu: A women of elaborate blue wrappings, argumentative to a fault, this is why she stole a book and legged it here
6. Grus Ill: Like a rat man but hairless and not a rat. Just really liked this book you know?
Mercenary: see Torus Primer for random Mercenaries
- Buns: cursed to be made of delicious bread. You will smell them before you see them. Adorable but dangerously naive
- Aayna: Expensive but badly worn and mained sari. Absent minded. Hasn’t realised they are in the Stacks yet
- Pluggut: A goblinish with glasses as big as his head and a guide parrot. The parrot is bad at its job
- Hernia Williams: a gangly stuttering teenager, this could scare him off books for life, his boxer mother will be happy if it does
- Millifenct: A very Beatrix Potter Doormouse. Doormouse sized.
- Zhang Wei: a moody twenty year old, trying to find forbidden books to impress a boy he likes. Tends to get fatalistic very fast
When you roll a Bad Book result highlight the every corridor extending from this point until it reaches a corner. Books along these corridors will have a distortion.
Books look more damaged around where an uncommon book is
Books in area have notable errors, misshapen
murmuration of words,
Bad Books (or at the very least “badly behaved”)
1-2A Biography of someone living that extends into the future. Nothing is definitely coming to pass but will be likely / Distortion All books titles are just 2-3 simple descriptions like A Bad Man, Sad Girl, Drunk Baker
3-4 Maths Intriguing theories and elegant proofs. It’s not quite right though, and a reader will have difficulty telling if the error is with them or the book. This is a trap and will increasingly cause mental instability the longer the reader tries to resolve this. Obsessives, stubborn types, or anyone whose unable to tolerate not solving something are particularly vulnerable Distortion: numbers start erratically appearing in the text and titles of books
5-6 Poetry / The associates, implications, and allusions in this work unsettle the identity and cause explosions of self questioning and discovery The first time it is read in full the readers a great change happens (One stat is swapped with another: roll a d6:1-2 charisma, 3-4 wisdom, 5-6 intelligence, then odds/evens to determine the stat it swaps with from the remaining 2 )
Distortion a whispering susurrus, like distant hushed conversations, this is coming from the pages of the books
7-8 Medicine/ Erratically true. A medical “solution” a player comes up with to a medical problem has a 1/3 chance of actually working. Only one solution can be tried per problem.
Distortion background books starting showing signs of stitching, scars, and repairs
9-10 Engineering Simple “shortcuts”, labour and material saving techniques. Using them allows one to save up to 50% of the time or materials they would use on building something. However there’s also 10% chance that the construction will fail immediately when first used and then anytime its closely inspected by someone with adequate knowledge in this form of construction.
and increasing by 10% for each additional time the techniques are used in construction (the natural laws started catching on)
Distortion: Shelving and book arrangement becomes far more ordered and level.
11-12 Inceptiontive book, This book describes the very reader in the action of reading the book, and then any other action they take. Anyone reading this book with a higher intelligence stat than their wisdom stat will trapped for a minute, their attempted actions rerouted into just reading about them doing these things instead of actually doing them.
If they are physically prevented from reading they will come to but be stunned for 1d4 rounds.
After the first minute of reader being trapped, get the difference between the intelligence and wisdom, multiple it by 10 and treat it as a percentage to determine if the reader is trapped longer. If they are, roll again after an hour. Then a day. Then a week. Then a month. Then a century Distortion Anyone looking will keep noticing books they’ve read or seem familiar to them.
13-14 Bestiary If a character studies this book their player can (once a session) ask the g.m for a monster fact and the g.m has to give them a true little known fact about a monster of their choice in their setting Distortion: Books starting showing an alarming range of bite marks and scratches.
Rare Bad Books
15 Phenology for cities. Referencing this book, if a character makes a careful study of the layout of a city (over a week), the gm has to show them the encounter table for this city Distortion Less shelves and more book towers
16 Theoretical states of death. A student of this book can cheat death once. Distortion Books appear to so decayed they are barely holding together
17 Things that are not here. The player can ask the g.m about the existence of a single thing in the world, the g.m has to answer truthfully Distortion books fall over shelves and move slightly, like something is scuttling around
18 Parasite languages. A parasite language can be used to hide the real meaning or information in any body of writing Only a reader of that parasite language can read the hidden message in the writing. Each time a new person learns this particular parasite language there is 1% chance per person knowing the language that the language parasite begins to break down and become unable to be used to communicate more than basic concepts, the degeneration happening over the next month. Distortion letters missing in the middle of w rds
19 Cancerous Feng-shui. By careful room arrangement the particiner dooms the building to a great calamity within the next year. Distortion everyone keeps knocking stuff over or off shelves
20 How to lie to yourself completely and utterly. The player can choose something the character thinks is true and is unable to be convinced otherwise by any means. If the player uses this repeatedly on their character there’s an exceptionally increase chance (starting at 2%) that their entire identity breaks down, sending them in coma for a Fugue. Upon waking the player must create a new name, (false) memory, and personality for their character.Distortion Anyone looking at the background books will keep noticing authors with similar, or sharing part, of their name.
1 or 2 on 6, roll per derive
1 Pilgrims /Nomad Monks
4 Levellers (mob)
5 Bandits (disguised as one of the above roll d4)
6 Obvious Bandits
7 Levellers (individual)
8 Vermin Road Caravan <torus primer>
9 Lost Knight
10 Roll twice, interacting groups. If you roll a 10 again , make it 3 interacting groups.
Pilgrims and Nomad Monks:
- Tall masks, as to give the effect of a long neck , the “ head” being a belfrey with bell. The constant pealing of which causes pain to “evil”/ They move in a circuit from and back to 3-hares, their duty done they return to their normal lives/ the purpose of this is to purify
- Very tall stilts (4+ metres), herding small clouds / these are mortal monks who were weary of their former lives / they will bestow blessings on kind travellers they meet on their way
- Rolling everywhere in circular frames, like living spokes/ They will do this until they have payed off crimes or guilt/ Actually more martially capable than they look, will intervene in robbery or marauding
- Body percussionists , elaborate polyrhythms and lively beats carry a surprising distance / Brought up in this life from early age, either through a calling or pushed into it by their families / They will bring luck and moral strength to their familys
- Cling together forming a human “pyramid” that walks/ they are unassigned Souls seeking to earn additional merit before entering an afterlife or the peaks/ They seek to inspire others in the merits and powers of duty and disregarding oneself for the group
- Pulling and pushing elaborately carved and painted floats wafting out fragrant smoke from scared fires and concealed braziers / It is a coming of age duty for teenagers becoming adults/ This display is remind all not to falter from weakness or temptation.
Bandits: Each group will have a code of conduct. Party because this is this kind of place, and party because utterly amoral ones tend to get wiped out extremely quickly
- Will offer to settle things with a duel between their champion and the partys
- Won’t attack first , but will extensively insult and provoke. Respect those that can insult them back
- Appear to be weak and wounded and ill-tempered to boot. Also carrying a great amount of (fake) treasure which they (deliberately) have poorly concealed
- Demand a % of wealth, have proof of where it is going (an orphanage, soup kitchen, emergency housing, a leaking church roof etc)
- If party can explain their need and intended uses for their wealth , they will let them go
- Demand an accounting of deeds and merits. Cowards, blackguards and sneaks will fought for their wealth
- Small fleeing group that stumbled on portal, formerly really sheltered before then
- Long progression of different peoples, world entirely destroyed
- Kicked out former rulers and supporters / failed revolutionaries. Swear to return!
- This group were all people who woke up one day and found the world had changed around them, with no one remembering who they were. Timeline shenanigans .
- Souls that somehow got lost and their pantheon's and asocialateds afterlifes are lost to past aeons.
- Their world is doomed , it just doesn't know it yet. This group does though and have given up trying to convince others this and have fled
- A great evil has been defeated and this is the remains of one of his armies. They have utterly rejected all his dark teachings and their former ways , but have realised the world has decided they are irredeemably and will never believe them capable of anything other than the vile
- Great peace, stability, and order has happened in their world. These people are the loose cannons , drifters, and trouble makers that can’t find their place there.
Features of Note
- Looming Carving in rock
- Massive Cairn
- Single large fallen trunk
- Columnar basalt
- Rock pile
- Abandoned shack
- Grown over cobble road
- Wild flower field