Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Herein lies the various character directory threads for the players
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Ironsmith
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Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Should go without saying: MAJOR WIP here. For now, here's a tentative list of characters that will be posted here, sooner or later, grouped by setting.

--Ouroboros--
-Miranda Cortez
-Klaus Quire
-Rose Verdoyant
-Dr. Eun-Jung Bu
-Vladimir Lustig
-Angela Quire
-Emet
-Hana Jane Reeverman
-Hazel Mae Reeverman
-Dr. Sara Khafir
-Phoebe

--Maesda--
-Kyrie Redmont
-Owena Ty-Maldwyn
-Siana Redmont/Ty-Maldwyn
-Arthfael Ty-Maldwyn (and friends)
-Braon Hexenborn
-Lord Braeg Bradanach

--Lethean Abyss/Elysium--
-Melody Hopskins / Malady
-Anastacia Ariti / Exstacy
-Marianne Van Braun / Mania
-Euphoria
-The Devils

--Terra Magna--
-Septimus

--Other--
-JET WYVERN!
-Empress Aikobaz III
-Sai
-Ember
-Tahara
-Jubilee
-Yuvan
Last edited by Ironsmith on Aug 08, 2022 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ironsmith
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Posts: 2888
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 12:46 pm

Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Avatars of Purity
Trash Witch Tahara
"You'd be amazed what people throw away."


Aliases: Tara Harper Constanze
Gender: Female
Ancestry/Kin: Human (former), Witch, Roach Swarm
Age: 13-ish (apparent), 100-something (actual)
Profession: Scavenger, Purifying Agent, Troublemaker
Physical Description: On her own, Tahara is simply a swarm of roaches of various species (cockroaches, wood roaches, palmetto bugs, etc). Her appearance can be somewhat variable, as the swarm builds itself into whatever shape she wants, but most of the time that shape is a humanoid figure, about 4'10" and covered in trash. She likes to use various bits of refuse to give herself a more solid form, though since she improvises regularly and has to replace said items frequently, exactly how she accomplishes this is different from one day to the next. However, as a common factor between all of them, she seems to enjoy turning trash bags and containers into her equivalent of clothing, which consists of a series of not-quite-dresses and the occasional shawl or scarf.
Personality: Tahara is a bit of a clown, often making jokes and playing light pranks in an attempt to keep the ambient mood light and get a laugh out of her audience. She's not usually overly malicious, and at the first sign that she's caused actual harm, will be quick to apologize. She also isn't the sort to take insult very easily, and will happily shrug off a volley of "ew you're gross"s with a laugh. That changes when she's on the prowl; anyone she's set herself to "purify" will find her to be a harsh and unforgiving judge, and she's been known to eat people who fail her tests.

Skills and Gear:
  • Swarm Traits: Tahara's consciousness is spread out over hundreds of entities, and she is therefore flexible in form and movement. The swarm "regenerates" by means of the roaches reproducing or more being inducted into it by unknown means. While she can only be killed permanently if every member of the swarm is destroyed, and she can come back from anything less, losing large portions of it will cause her personality and memory to become unstable, so she tries to avoid undue harm nevertheless.
  • Hydrokinesis: Not to be confused with Hydromancy. Tahara has the ability to manipulate the flow of water, causing it to defy natural forces and move the way she wants it to. Her skills at this technique are limited to pushing and pulling, but combined with her flexible form, that's all she really needs.
  • Hydromancy: Not to be confused with Hydrokinesis. Tahara has a limited ability to foresee future events, provided she has access to a still pool of water. Her visions are projected onto this pool, so anyone watching her probe at future events can likewise see them. Her prophecies are not absolute, which is good for her, as the nature of her power only lets her foresee tragedy. Specifically, tragedy in the classical sense; an event merely being bad is not enough for her to see it coming. Rather, she foresees trouble brought about by a person's character flaws, such as they may be. She cannot foresee any other kind of event, and so rather predictably, doesn't much enjoy using this ability.
  • Animal Empathy: It's not clear how much of this is her magic and how much is just Tahara being Tahara, but she has a way with animals and can usually calm them if given the opportunity, as well as quickly diagnose illness at a touch, up to and including magical disease (though she can only do that by process of elimination; her analysis of those instances aren't more in-depth than "it's magic, because it can't possibly be anything else"). She enjoys talking to them, though whether they actually understand and respond to her is usually up in the air. This diagnostic ability does extend to include people, but since most people don't want to touch her, she doesn't get to use it very much.
  • Animakinesis: With the consent of a willing subject, Tahara can alter a person's very life force, spiritually cleansing them of foreign influences and any mundane factors the subject desires (i.e. making them fearless or strengthening their temper).
Magical Lady Jubilee
"Come and sit a while."


Aliases: Jubi Lauren Constanze Domini
Gender: Female
Ancestry/Kin: Human
Age: 30 (apparent), 100-something (actual)
Profession: Purifying Agent, Priestess
Physical Description: Jubilee is a woman in fine, dark raiment, standing at about 5'6", with pale skin and raven hair. Her back is hunched slightly from years of bad posture. Her eyes are brown and usually half-closed, as if she's about to fall asleep. She carries a simple, straight-shafted scythe with her, or has it leaning up against something nearby.
Personality: Jubilee is not a lively person by any means. Most of the time, she can be found huddled over a fire, warming her hands, and staring dead-eyed at anyone who approaches. That isn't to say she can't be friendly... she's usually the first person to offer hospitality on the cold nights when she inevitably appears. Rather, she's simply perpetually depressed, even when in good company, but will always make an effort to make her companions (however temporary they may be) feel welcome.

Skills and Gear:
  • Pyrokinesis: Not to be confused with Pyromancy. Jubilee possesses the ability to create and manipulate flames, causing any combustible substance she can get her hands on to burn. She can't make them out of nothing; she has to have something to set on fire, and when this fuel source runs out, so does her flame, regardless of whether she's still using it or not.
  • Pyromancy: Not to be confused with Pyrokinesis. Jubilee has a limited ability to foresee future events, so long as she has access to a fire, for oracular purposes. Her visions are projected in this flame, so anyone watching her probe the future can likewise see them. Her predictions are not absolute, which is good for her, because the nature of her power only lets her foresee catastrophe. Specifically, catastrophe as a matter of scale; bad luck is not enough for her to catch it in a vision. Rather, the event in question has to be something that affects a great many people, in a destructive, usually violent, manner. As she cannot see any other kind of event, she does not necessarily enjoy using this ability.
  • Phytokinesis: Jubilee possesses the ability to influence the growth of plants and plant-like entities (so fungi are included, despite not technically being plants), making them grow faster or wither near-instantly. She can't control the growth on a fine level, nor can she cause a plant to do anything it would not ordinarily do (i.e. get up and attack). She can also get the state of a plant or plant-like entity simply by touching it, and can therefore immediately tell how large, healthy, old, et cetera a plant is with minimal investigation. This extends so far as being able to diagnose infestations, nutritional deficiencies, and other specific ailments instantaneously (and therefore also magical blights by process of elimination, though in those cases she can't determine the exact cause other than "it's magic".)
  • Mystic Scythe: Jubilee carries a scythe with her at all times, and knows how to use it, both for mundane purposes and in matters of self-defense. The scythe is self-repairing, returns to her hand if called, and has a sharp enough blade to cut through any material not made magically impervious. It's also slightly sapient and can communicate both with Jubilee herself and anyone else who happens to be nearby, bending reality slightly in the process. A small portion of her power has rubbed off on it, so should someone find the scythe apart from her or take it away, they'll be able to use her abilities until its owner takes it back. (This will not depower Jubilee, only empower the new wielder.)
  • Animakinesis: With the consent of a willing subject, Jubilee can alter a person's very life force, spiritually cleansing them of foreign influences and any mundane factors the subject desires (i.e. making them fearless or strengthening their temper).
  • Elixir of Youth: Jubilee is in possession of a recipe for an mixture that preserves her youth, and has the skills needed to brew it properly. This elixir doesn't restore years lost, nor does it heal injuries, it simply prevents the drinker from aging normally for a time. When it wears off, aging resumes as usual; there is no backlash/withdrawal effect.
Last edited by Ironsmith on Jul 06, 2023 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
Ironsmith
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Joined: Aug 01, 2022 12:46 pm

Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Notes On Maesda
A catch-all post to describe the cultural background common to Maesdans.
The Lovers, Absum and Adea

In order to understand anything at all about Maesdan culture, it's first necessary to know their gods; Adea, the Lady of Creation and Chaos, and Absum, the Lord of Destruction and Order. All Maesdans acknowledge the existence of these two gods; they interact with their world far too frequently to permit any skeptics. Collectively, the two are known as The Lovers, and establish a deep-seated theme in Maesdan philosophy of complementary opposites. Less ubiquitously, but still frequently, Maesdans attribute the existence of various celestial bodies to their presence; Absum is the sun, Adea the moon, and their many children are the stars. Appeals to either of the Lovers are traditionally made as though addressing these bodies.

Similarly, both of the Lovers have a number of subdomains that are attributed to them, collectively making up the whole of creation. For instance, Absum is the patron god of smiths, craftsmen, warriors, and so on, with the common thread of discipline and service to the community. Likewise, Adea is understood to be a nature goddess, both on land and at sea, as well as the matron of all forms of art, and her many worshippers include those who are close to nature, most adopting an attitude of everyone pulling their own weight and enjoying the bounties of their labors.

It should also be noted that, despite their naming and titles, neither Absum nor Adea is understood to be strictly sexed. Absum is traditionally described as male, but various sects have been known to describe him in feminine terms instead, referring to her as Absae to avoid confusion, to relatively little controversy. Likewise, Adea is sometimes referred to as Adei and depicted as male, with no particular fuss being made over his image being presented in this fashion.

Aspects of the Gods in Humans

Following the theme established by the Lovers, most Maesdans believe in the concept of duality within individuals; an aspect following Absum (Absumnal) and an aspect following Adea (Adean). The former compels people toward order and strength, to hold fast in the face of adversity, and generally toward stability, while the latter compels people toward change and growth, to explore themselves and the world around them, and generally towards restlessness. They interweave too well for anyone to not have both, but a severe imbalance can result in extremely unhealthy people and habits, such as stubbornness and bigotry in the case of Absumnal dominance or cowardice and selfishness in the case of Adean dominance.

Lords, Ladies, and the Afterlife

For the most part, Maesdans do not believe in an afterlife. Rather, they believe that the soul is a physical part of the body, specifically the heart. So long as the heart is preserved, so is the soul; for all practical intents and purposes, there is no distinction drawn between them. The closest thing Maesdans have to permanence is Lordship/Ladyship, a special status granted by one or both of the Lovers. Lords and Ladies are ageless and immortal, unable to die of natural causes, or possibly even at all. To date, the only way a Lord or Lady has been successfully dispatched has been through the careful removal of their heart, which still hasn't killed them so much as rendered them impotent.

Lords and Ladies, as the name implies, have special authority within Maesdan society, rolling up attributes of sainthood, nobility, and general experience all into one being. Furthermore, being immortal as they are, Lords and Ladies are able to commune directly with the Lovers, solidifying their status as moral agents, for better or for worse. This communication is vital to their role in Maesdan society; Absum and Adea do not, and some theorize cannot, intervene beneath a certain scope within their creation, so in order to speak with them, it is necessary to either talk through a third party or suffer through some form of a cataclysmic event. Most people have a strong preference for the former.

The Code of Chivalry

A set of universal guidelines for knights, nobles, and commoners alike, the Maesdan code of Chivalry outlines a series of values that most try, with varying degrees of success, to live up to. They're intentionally vague and open to interpretation, as even themselves, Maesdans recognize that there are many different and conflicting ideas of what is right and fair... but at the same time, most agree to a common sense of wrong, and knowingly violating the code, particularly as an authority figure, is a quick way to earn scorn from their fellows.

The tenets of the code are as follows:
I: To thy Lord and Lady be faithful, in all things. No law shall be higher than this.
II: In all things be earnest; let no false words fall from thy tongue nor false gifts from thy hands.
III: In all thy dealings, pledge thy whole heart to thy actions, so that thou may stand resolute or be moved wholly.
IV: Share freely what is thine, from thy coin to thy talent.
V: Bear thee always the burden of gladness; for thy kin, bear it again.

The Druidic Guide to Prosperity

[Context to be added later]

I: Know thyself, and to thy own self be true, for thou art thy only master.
II: Life is a game, and to its victor goes its spoils; begrudge not thy rival for their success, nor thyself for thy failure.
III: What is thine, treat as precious; what is not thine, doubly so.
IV: Above strength, above swiftness of foot, above stoutness of heart, there is sharpness of mind. Maintain it always, and it will serve thee better than a sword of keenest edge.
V: Do not pursue fleeting joys over lingering pleasures; a fool is wealthy for a day and a pauper for a lifetime.

Nomenclature

Most Maesdans have three names; a given name, a middle name, and a surname. The given and middle names are usually chosen by their parents arbitrarily, with the given name being chosen by the parent of the same sex and the middle name being chosen by the parent of the opposite sex. (So, for instance, Siana Morwen Ty-Maldwyn was named Siana by her mother and Morwen by her father, while Arthfael Percival Ty-Maldwyn was named Arthfael by his father and Percival by his mother.) The origins of this trace back to an age-old compromise in the early days of Maesdan history, as a way to allow both parents an absolute say on the matter, with the favoritism of the first name being potentially pushed aside at the child's discretion.

Surnames are slightly more complicated. In general, a Maesdan surname is simply the name of their place of origin or potentially a personal or inherited epithet of some significance. (For instance, Kyrie of Redmont is from a place called Redmont, while Braon Hexenborne chose an epithet for herself, the significance of which is currently known only to her, and her children will also be Hexenbornes if they do not choose otherwise.) The exception is for those who can trace their bloodline (in either direction) to a Lord or Lady; they are referred to as being from "the House of [X]", or "Ty-[X]", using the language of the land. In the event of someone belonging to multiple Houses (i.e. being the son of a Lord but the grandson of a different Lord), the closest relative holds priority. (So Arne Ty-Skuld, the direct descendant of Lady Skuld the Dragonslayer, were he to marry Siana Ty-Maldwyn, would thereafter be Arne Ty-Maldwyn; he'd be Maldwyn's son-in-law and Skuld's great-something-or-other-grandson.) Fraudulently claiming to be a member of a House is an excellent way to personally bring down a Lord or Lady's wrath on oneself, but there is no such compulsion to identify as a member of a House if one does not wish to. (Which is why Braon's proper surname is Hexenborne and not Ty-Braeg, despite being Lord Braeg's niece.)

Sponsorship

On coming of age (fifteen), most Maesdans submit themselves to a given Lord or Lady as willing servants and students, either following a chosen career path or seeking the counsel of a proven source of wisdom. The relationship is intended to be mutual; the sponsor gains a follower, and the follower gains guidance and protection. This sponsorship can only be entered by mutual agreement; a Lord or Lady may not compel a youth into becoming their follower, nor may a youth attempt to force a Lord or Lady to take them under their wing. If there are no sponsors available, it is generally considered acceptable to seek sponsorship from another authority within the community instead, such as the local sheriff or priest. Sponsorship from a parent is considered redundant and invalid; familial loyalty is already a given, and such nepotistic relationships do not strong communities make.

Courtship and Marriage

Even in poor families, most marriages are soft-arranged from early childhood. While the ultimate choice of whom to marry is always left up to the individual, most often the favorite for this choice is a childhood friend, introduced by each family's parents at a relatively early age. These relationships will then be cultivated by both families, as a way of bringing them both together; even if the planned marriage is derailed by a suitor later in life, this strategy still produces a trusted companion from childhood and strengthens the bond between the two families.

Marriages in Maesda are made strictly for the purposes of extending a lineage and are semi-obligatory. Being unmarriageable in Maesdan society is nearly the same as being unsociable, and as such does not reflect well on the unfortunate bachelor(ette), with the exception of refusing to marry for fertility-related reasons (this is actually considered noble, as it does not burden the bride/groom with a partner with whom they cannot have kids). Similarly, because marriages are used first and foremost as a means of procreation, they are strictly heterosexual in nature; while same-sex couples exist, they generally are not advertised as marriages and do not exempt the members as such. It is also considered extremely bad form to back out of a marriage, except in clear cases of abuse, as doing so is likely to destabilize the household; instead, the prevailing mores of Maesdan culture is to be slow to enter a marriage in the first place and to still generally favor the childhood friend as a suitor for exactly that reason.

Holidays and the Calendar

The Maesdan Calendar is divided into four ninety-day seasons, which are separated from one another by their various holy days. Properly enumerated, the calendar goes:

[Gwyndydd]
[Summer 1]
...
[Summer 90]
[Ysgwydd]
[Autumn 1]
...
[Autumn 90]
[Coffadydd]
[Cymodydd*]
[Winter 1]
...
[Winter 90]
[Genidydd]
[Spring 1]
...
[Spring 90]
[Dywelldydd]
[Gwyndydd] (new year)

Dywelldydd and Gwyndydd
Collectively, these two holidays form the Maesdan concept of a lover's festival. Given the nature of Maesda's principal god and goddess, it is, unsurprisingly, the biggest holiday of the year. Traditionally, it is a time to make and reaffirm vows between oneself, one's spouse, or one's betrothed. It is also considered the time to officially propose. Typically, the proposal will be made on Dywelldydd, with the respondent giving their answer on Gwyndydd; a rash of impatient couples led to these proposals being pushed closer and closer to midnight so they would not have to wait as long for an answer, and so the end result is an anxious countdown comparable to modern new year's celebrations. The actual celebrations of Dywelldydd and Gwyndyyd are highly decentralized and vary from one household to another, but typically involve couples exchanging gifts, visiting locales that stir up sentiments between them, having romantic dinners, and so forth.

Coffadydd
Coffadydd is the Maesdan day of the dead, a time to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in service to their family, friends, gods, and country. Where most days of remembrance are somewhat melancholy in nature, Coffadydd is held as a time of joy, with the selflessness of the deceased going on to inspire goodwill in the living. The honored dead are honored still with stories and song, so that their heroism might never be forgotten. The theme of selflessness continues with the tradition of giving gifts during this time, usually bearing some significance to any deceased in the recipient's personal life, as a symbol of love that transcends even the grave.

Ysgwydd
Ysgwydd is the yearly celebration of friends, mentors, and camaraderie. As it coincides with harvest time, the occasion is marked with a public feast, typically served at a local tavern or inn. The holiday is otherwise quite disorganized, usually ending in games and revelry that takes weeks to clean up properly (thankfully, all of the harvest work is already done). Pranks especially are common, as is the exchange of sweets as a good-natured bribe to avoid any such trickery.

Genidydd
Genidydd is the yearly celebration of family. Children celebrate their parents and vice versa, siblings put aside all rivalries to enjoy one another's company, and spouses get another Gwyndydd, this time surrounded by other loved ones. Gifts are frequently exchanged during this time, most especially so to children. Strangely, Genidydd tends to align with a lot of birthdays, and for the young, the celebration is comparable to modern observances of the date; a meal among family, capped off with a sweet pastry shared between them and ritualized well-wishing.

[Cymodydd]

Cymodydd is unique among Maesdan holidays, in that it is only celebrated every fourth year. Cymodydd is a day of reconciliation, when old grudges and debts are symbolically put to death and relationships of all stripes are born anew. It's not required by any means, but the holiday thrusts the concept into the public consciousness on a regular basis; Cymodydd is a day to reflect on these things. At the end of the day, the local Lord hosts a brief ritual wherein the debtor and creditor approach their liege, announce the grievance they wish to reconcile, and have it formally canceled in front of the entire community.

Witches, Fiendlings, and Other Outcasts

Witches

Fiendlings
Also called the Horned Folk, fiendlings deserve a book of their own for all the complexities of their cultures, but in brief summary, they are human beings who have undergone a heart-eating ritual and take on a semi-monstrous visage. Without exception, every fiendling has pointed teeth, short, upward-curved horns growing from their foreheads, and claws growing in place of their fingernails. The ritual itself is part of the reason they are so despised by other Maesdans; it involves fostering a deep connection with someone and ripping their heart out before devouring it, consuming their soul in the process.

However, they generally do not spend all their time engaging in the ritual. By volume, most fiendlings only ever do it once, for the blessings the ritual confers (magical power in the form of enchanting, and a form of hyper-fertility). Those who aren't aware of the ritual might find them an entertaining sort of people; their favorite pastimes include making music, posing riddles, and good old-fashioned pranks. Music in particular plays a vital role in fiendling culture for resolving disputes, in a contest called cath fili; as the one law they abide forbids them from harming their kin, they resort to psychological warfare instead, often culminating in public humiliation to song.

Fiendlings tend to form large clans, owing to the fact that a pair of them can produce upwards of hundreds of children in a lifetime. Complicating the matter is the fact that fiendlings do not generally practice monogamy, nor do they usually "settle down" in a single place; as such, these clans tend to intermingle in complex and occasionally (though not deliberately) incestuous ways.

The rest of Maesda generally views a large gathering of fiendlings to be unambiguously bad news, as the relationship between them is filled with mischief at the best of times and malice at the worst, and so frequently purge them from any land where they've been known to settle. Maesdan children are also often told stories about fiendlings in the woods, to encourage them to stay away and to bring word back to the adults if any are sighted.

Black Knights
So called for their habit of blacking out their armor to remove any signs of allegiance, black knights have a reputation in Maesda for being troublesome. Nearly exclusively the result of a knight being brought to disgrace, black knights have long been understood to be Maesdan nobility's answer to their society-wide suicide taboo; nameless, faceless, antagonistic, and carrying an implicit challenge to arms, they provide perfect, willing conquests for young knights seeking to earn fame. To further this cause, they will often make trouble for non-combatants, such as by extorting them for tolls on the road or barring travel outright, thus provoking a response from the local liege.

More subversively, some black knights are not, in fact, suicidal at all, but black out their masters' colors to carry out questionable missions and disassociate their actions with their liege. If they succeed, their identities and allegiances remain obscured. And if they fail, even after the fact, their liege may disavow them, saying they acted on their own behalf.

In both cases, with little way of telling them apart, the traditional method for dealing with black knights is to engage them in combat and fight to the death; should the black knight be defeated, they are to be buried in an unmarked grave in their armor, their identities never revealed. Should they emerge the victor, the defeated knight is sent back to their liege and buried with full honors; the black knight will usually take this opportunity to provoke friends and comrades into facing them instead, to continue the cycle until the black knight is either defeated or chooses to abandon their ways.

That said, some black knights have also been known to offer mercenary services, if the pay is right, and they are usually fairly willing to accept such an offer if given one. Either going into battle for pay will result in their deaths, or the funds they receive will fuel whatever clandestine quest they are on (or simply pay for room and board; dying of fatigue or starvation generally does not sit well with them).

Four Magics

Divine

Sorcery/Lunamancy

Enchanting

Animancy


Cursed Beings

Strigoi
After the great cataclysm in which Adea was lost, Absum took it upon himself to reshape the remaining beings in Maesda into strigoi, creatures resembling vampires which sustain themselves on the life forces of others. Despite this requirement, many maintain the sense of honor and integrity that they had in life, and are far removed from any sort of malice. They are very near true immortals, regenerating from any injury and no longer aging beyond their prime condition. However, this transformation still comes with a few drawbacks; the life forces they consume taint them over time, and if they have a preferred meal, they gradually take on physical and mental traits of said meals, resulting in twisted werebeasts. Additionally, contact with sunlight burns their flesh to ashes, and while they can regenerate from this, persistent injury taxes their healing abilities and speeds up their transformation into moroi (see below). They cannot benefit from consuming normal food, which takes energy to digest and doesn't contain the souls needed to sustain them. Finally, as they absorb the life forces of anything which enters their bodies, including microscopic life, they're all sterile, unable to reproduce by conventional means despite their physiology otherwise functioning normally.

Moroi
If a strigoi is unable or unwilling to eat, after a while, their body decays away until they are left as moroi, disembodied souls driven by hunger to consume anything they come into contact with. Lacking brains, they are unintelligent, and only become more so the longer they are left unable to feed. Fortunately, consuming other beings reverses this transformation, granting them use of a body again. Sunlight is lethal to them, and coming into contact with it grants them true, final death. The ones that aren't completely gone therefore avoid the sun if they can, but since they aren't smart enough to distinguish sunlight from any other illumination, a light source of any kind is enough to repel them. Usually.

Vorvolaks
A strigoi that consumes animals becomes more animal-like, as established. However, as the animals of Maesda were also affected by the curse, they sometimes turn the tables on their human counterparts and earn themselves a meal instead. The ones who can do it consistently develop into vorvolaks; man-eating beasts with astonishing cunning. While intelligent enough to have a concept of morality, most are still very dangerous to travelers, as they become what they are by eating people and have no particular inclination to stop or exempt a given person from the menu, and lack the ability to communicate properly regardless. As none of them eat humans exclusively, their appearances can be quite chimeric, piecing together attributes from both their predatory bases and preferred prey, resulting in worm-ravens, rat-snakes, mosquito-toads, and so on, assuming they haven't eaten enough people to take on a humanoid appearance instead. Being a specific sort of strigoi, they share in all their weaknesses as well, including sterility and vulnerability to sunlight.

Demons
Though technically speaking, every being that has undergone a fiendish transformation qualifies as a demon, the term itself is usually reserved for extremely bad cases. These humongous monstrosities are a horrific callback to humanity's draconic origins, rapacious beings that care for little more than the consumption of their next meal. Though intelligent, most of them are quite mad, internally tormented by the accumulation of many souls of conflicting natures. They maintain large territories which they systematically scour of all other forms of life, hunting down even the most meager of meals with terrible persistence. Realistically, for most people, slaying a demon is quite impossible; they regenerate from all wounds, and even the usual method of destroying or removing their hearts simply separates them into two or more lesser demons. Thankfully, that's usually still enough to momentarily incapacitate them, as these lesser demons are usually too preoccupied fighting and eating one another (eventually returning to their larger form) to pay any mind to intruders in their territory. However, the ones that still live in Maesda are all also strigoi, and therefore suffer terribly if exposed to the sun, avoiding it if at all possible.

{WIP}
Last edited by Ironsmith on May 19, 2023 12:56 am, edited 9 times in total.
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
Ironsmith
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2888
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 12:46 pm

Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Notes on Elysium and the Lethean Abyss
Hopefully nobody has to actually go there.
The Peccatorium

Upon their first arrival on the plane mutually occupied by Elysium and the Abyss, freshly deceased souls will find themselves in the Peccatorium, where they will be judged and sent to one of two final destinations. This is as far down in the plane as a mortal can comfortably live, for a given definition of "comfort"; it's always cold in the Peccatorium, and souls arrive without any worldly goods, including clothing. Fortunately, the angels who run the place are quick to provide the accused with a protective robe, so that they can at least get through their trial without freezing.

Souls that are judged to be worthy are taken from here up into Elysium. Souls that are not judged to be worthy are taken from here down to the entrance to the Lethean Abyss.

The Lethean Abyss

It takes a while to fall to the Abyss; long enough for the plane's hellish magics to transform new arrivals into succubi or incubi, depending on their sex. For the overwhelming majority of new demons, this isn't particularly useful; the first thing new arrivals will notice is the roiling, mist-covered sea that stretches on forever in all directions. It only gets colder the closer to the sea the demon gets, and actually landing in it is a torturous experience; the "water" freezes to souls on contact and can still get inside the lungs, making for a particularly unpleasant way to drown, more so for the fact that it isn't even fatal for the unfortunate victim.

However, some demons may get lucky and find themselves within flying distance of an iceberg, which occasionally floats up to the surface after detaching from the sea bed. These floes are always impermanent, slowly melting back into the sea, usually tilting over themselves in the process (making them precarious places to rest), but they provide a welcome reprieve from the sea itself.

Devilish Patronage

If they survive their first twenty-four hours in the Abyss, new demons will quickly find themselves face to face with one of the seven Devils of the Abyss. Typically, the Devil in question will offer them a respite from the frozen hellscape, in the form of a summoning pact. The demon in question can be summoned by mortals for service, which allows them to spend time outside of the Abyss, if not as free beings. In exchange, the Devil asks that they bring more souls to the Abyss, in escalating amounts over the years they spend here. Should the deal be accepted, the usual terms are "one soul per year, plus an additional soul for every year that has gone by" (so at the end of the first year they must have claimed at least one soul, by the end of the second two, and so on and so forth).
Last edited by Ironsmith on Dec 12, 2022 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Empress Aikobaz III
"I can do whatever I want. I'm the empress."


Aliases: Aiko Baz
Gender: Female
Ancestry/Kin: Unknown green-skinned humanoid
Age: 16
Profession: Witch-Queen of the Astral Empire (former), Student
Physical Description: Aikobaz is a small, green-skinned young woman, approximately 5'0". She has black hair, bound up in braids and tied up in a bun behind her head. Her eyes are light gold, with visible orange veins around the edges. Her blood is itself orange, though it appears to be black behind her skin (except when detecting magic, at which point it glows through her skin in her veins). Her typical attire is a light grey gown with many layers and ruffles, along with a full ensemble of gold jewelry (diadem, earrings, rings, bracelets, and a chain necklace). The exception is on a testing day at school, during which she will show up in her black seifuku, what the school has deemed to be her uniform.
Personality: Aikobaz's most driving trait is a seeming obsession with proving herself to be better than anybody else. She maintains good grades and has no problem with rubbing it in other people's faces. She tries to maintain a healthy regimen of exercises so she can outperform anybody in athletic competition (unless they're "cheating" somehow). She plays competitively, works competitively, studies competitively, and socializes competitively. And, rather predictably, is a sore loser, frequently holding grudges for apparent slights and losses. That being said, she also has a gullible streak, owed perhaps to the fact that the mechanics of the world she comes from are nonsensical, meaning nearly any explanation for the underpinnings of reality around her seems to be plausible.
Skills and Gear:
  • Quick Study: Despite her eccentricities, Aikobaz is an excellent student, able to obtain theoretical mastery of most subjects quickly and efficiently. This would be much more useful if she had any magical ability to back it up, but for now, it manifests as a high GPA and consistently good test scores.
  • Athletic: Aikobaz is a frequent participant in her school's extracurriculars, giving her above-average (but by no means supernatural) strength, agility and stamina.
  • Strategist: On the flip side of the above, frequent play in her school's chess club and regular participation in other games, mixed with some amount of natural talent, makes Aikobaz a decent tactician when the need arises; an ability of limited application in her current situation, but potentially devastating if she gets her hands on the needed resources.
  • Detect Magic: Thanks to a wish tied to the royal family, Aikobaz has the ability to detect the presence of active magic, specifically the ambient results of a wish (though as all magic back home is the result of wishes, the distinction is irrelevant, even in the Nexus). This manifests as an increase in body temperature and a luminescent effect on her blood. If she needs to remove any ambiguity, her blood continues to function independently of her until it dries.
  • Dream Time: A prophetic dreaming technique taken from her chronology class, mixed with some lucid dreaming exercises, has given Aikobaz the somewhat slipshod ability to look through time while dreaming, and to test various hypothetical "what if" scenarios in her sleep. The technique isn't flawless; wishful thinking and other cognitive biased can mar the results, as can the fact that her dream self is substantially more influential than her real-life counterpart, along with all the usual inaccuracies associated with prophetic visions. As such, she primarily uses this ability for fact-finding; specifically, so she can continue to study through the night.
Last edited by Ironsmith on Apr 14, 2023 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

The Astral Empire
Regurgitation vaguely resembling lore
(Really just an excuse to write up some wish mechanics)
Asterians and Wishes
Once every year, a star falls from the sky and lands somewhere on the earth, taking on the shape of one of the locals. These beings are Asterians, divine(?) beings best known for their ability, if not mandate, to grant the wishes of the mortals that find them.

To whit, there are two known methods by which an Asterian can grant a wish. The first is that, if they are spotted on the way down, a lucky soul can harness the energy of their fall to grant a wish for themselves. While as powerful as the other method, this has the distinct disadvantage of being unreliable and ephemeral, as these wishes can summarily be undone through the second method.

That second method being a ritual that returns the fallen Asterian to the heavens. The ritual consists of four components; a set of a dozen candles, a written manifestation of a wish, a bell (the bigger and louder, the better), and of course, the wish itself. The candles are arranged in a circle at the summit of the world's highest mountain. Asterian to be returned stands in this circle, holding the wish with them. The bell is then rung, and with the ritual thus completed, the Asterian vanishes from the world. This ritual harnesses the same energy that was released when the Asterian fell to the earth in the first place, meaning any wish that was made by that process is unmade when the Asterian returns.


Ruthless Exploitation
Obviously, someone had to do it eventually. A number of various exploits in this system have come up over the Astral Empire's ten-thousand-year history.

The first, and simplest, is that if an Asterian never returns home, the wish made with their fall is never broken, and therefore as good as any other wish. There are a number of ways to accomplish this; the most straightforward is to simply kill the fallen star, which is surprisingly simple, as they retain mortal bodies throughout their time on earth. Other methods generally involve incentivizing the Asterian to stay on earth through various means, ranging from reason to love. This is not so easy to accomplish; the realm they come from is apparently a paradise, and giving it up does not come naturally to them.

On the other hand, because no limit is placed on the length of the wish granted, deliberately returning the Asterian with an extensive contract in hand is a surefire way to create numerous effects for the low, low price of the ritual components and a quick trip to the top of Mount Kuruan. The writings of various Wizards and scholars who attempted this form the basic tenets of the known universal rules of wishing, which are a staple read for anyone looking to make the most of the quest. That said, it's worth noting that this method has the possibility of failure tied to the Asterian simply refusing to accept the wish, for whatever reason they should choose.


The Universal Rules Of Wishing
Wishes run on a sort of conservation of energy principle; the less complicated (and therefore energy-intensive) the wish, the greater a pull it has on the world, the two factors multiplying together to form a constant value. For a singular wish, this really doesn't matter; so long as no other wishes are made which contradict it, said wish will function as intended. But if two are in conflict, the pull a given wish has plays a major role in how the conflict is resolved.

The first and generally most likely possibility is that they will both come true, in a way that relies on the wording of the wishes themselves. For instance, if one wishes that the warlord Korvath the Relentless never be felled in battle, and another wishes for Korvath the Relentless to die, Korvath will die outside of battle, granting both wishes (though going against the intent of the first).

If such a resolution cannot be reached, wishes which are specific tend to win out over wishes that are not. If Korvath wishes to never be felled in battle, but his opponent wishes that he would triumph over Korvath in their duel the following day at noon, his opponent's wish will hold priority, so that if he faces Korvath at noon the following day, he will win (but if he attempts it any other time, Korvath can't be defeated). Generally speaking, the less often a wish is relied upon, the more reliably it works when it finally does come to fruition.

Another thing to note is that, since these wishes do have the power to alter continuity, one wish may cancel another simply by arranging things such that the other wish was never made. If Korvath wishes to never be felled in battle, but someone else wishes Korvath never made it to Mount Kuruan, Korvath's wish for invincibility is canceled out by dint of having never happened. For this reason, it's generally not a good idea to let too much information get out vis-a-vis the wish's existence and the circumstances of who made it, when, how, and with what Asterian's help.


Arcanology
The study of magic, as it is to be understood by the layman. While some are capable of shaping magic if serendipity strikes in the form of being in the right place at the right time (when an Asterian falls and within view of the event), most people are limited to tracking down the long-term effects and artifacts left behind by these wishes. Wizards have a habit of creating whole grimoires that are given power by an Asterian's arrival/return, and then keeping a copy for themselves so they don't have to strain themselves remembering everything they asked for. Said books are usually discovered after the wizard's eventual death, or simply whenever they are misplaced.

Sometimes also, vagaries are created by a wish's wording, but never written down anywhere an uninvolved third party could find them, instead producing peculiar, "weird" effects replicable by experiment. This has given rise to a number of alchemical and ritual-study fields, dedicated to finding these "weirdisms" hidden in the folds of reality.


So What's The Deal With Wizards, Anyway?
Wizards are people who have been specially chosen to be able to complete the bell-book-and-candle ritual, designated by the honorary title "Boz" (or "Baz", in the feminine form), which is appended to their name (so Korvath, if made a Wizard, would be Korvathboz, while Aiko, made a Wizard, would be Aikobaz). The ability to break a wish is a powerful one indeed, and with the benefit of planning, the method of granting a wish by means of returning Asterians can be exploited to a ridiculous degree. As such, it was decided early in the Astral Empire's history that only some would be granted the right to do it; a plan which was marred somewhat by later actors choosing to wish for the title to be hereditary, so their bloodlines would continue to thrive (though some at least had the foresight to limit this to one person at a time, such as their firstborn or oldest living relative).

Given this power (and responsibility, but mostly power), most Wizards find themselves busied with study almost constantly; after ten thousand years of even a small community of people weighing in on the fabric or reality, new discoveries in Arcanology are always being made. Plus, it would be incredibly aggravating to waste a wish on something that a previous Wizard has already done; while not pointless, as multiple wishes asking for the same thing are inherently stronger in tandem than any are apart, this seldom serves the Wizard in any meaningful sense.
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Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

[A Handy Guide to the Lethean Devils]

The Original Devil:
Ego, Devil of Pride

The Cardinal Devilesses:
Libidine, Deviless of Lust
Sitine, Deviless of Gluttony
Inopia, Deviless of Greed

The Ordinal Devils:
Dolor, Devil of Wrath
Inertius, Devil of Sloth
Periculus, Devil of Envy
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Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

Morgan Read Teach

"Guts and glory! 'Specially guts."


Aliases: -
Gender: Female
Ancestry/Kin: Human (Cursed)
Age: Not entirely clear; Morgan herself can't count higher than ten and hasn't really been keeping track. She looks to be in her mid-teens, though.
Profession: Captain of the Roaring Banshee
Physical Description: Morgan is a swarthy, black-haired girl dressed in a dirty silk shirt and leather overcoat, buckled belts across her waist and torso, a pair of salt-stained britches, and a pair of thick-heeled boots. She has a patch over each of her eyes, and wears a feathered tricorn, which seems to be the only item in her wardrobe in passably good condition.
Personality: Like any good pirate, Morgan is an adventurous, rebellious girl who craves excitement and despises boredom. She seems to have a morbid fascination with violence, to the point where she can be easily entertained by the "sight" of blood. She's also extremely confident in herself and her abilities, likely to dismiss things she isn't good at as being "not worth botherin'". As such, she can oftentimes be quite dim while correspondingly optimistic... stubbornly so, even.

Skills and Gear:
  • Blindsense: What Morgan lacks in sight, she makes up for with her other senses, allowing her to perceive the world around her clearly despite her blindness. By that same token, visual trickery doesn't work on her, nor does any technique that relies on manipulating or overwhelming her sight.
  • Sea Savant: If one can expect it to come up at some point in a pirate's career, Morgan has an exceptional talent for it. That includes, among other things, navigation, sword-fighting, naval strategy, gunnery, pistol-shooting, swimming (and not drowning), and one-woman sea shanties.
  • Illiterate: Being both blind and lacking in a formal education, Morgan does not know how to read.
  • Innumerate: Lacking a formal education, Morgan can't count beyond ten; she doesn't have the words or the patience for it.
  • Sea Legs: On land, Morgan's sense of equilibrium is awful, and she often stumbles around like a sailor working on their fourth quart of beer. Combined with her blindness, this tends to result in her coming off as incredibly clumsy. On the deck of a ship, however, her balance is impeccable, to the point where she can sprint from the bow of her galleon to the stern at full pace without disturbing anything in the intervening space. This seems to work on other forms of dynamic ground, as well; she could likely replicate the feat while on the back of a sea serpent, a see-sawing platform, or anything else of that ilk.
  • Command Rope: While within one mile of the Roaring Banshee, ropes, cords, and other long, pliable objects of a similar nature obey her commands, allowing her to tie, coil, untie, uncoil, or otherwise manipulate them as though she had them in her hands. The ropes also obey simple verbal commands, such as "tie that guy up", "make a bridge across this gap" or "let go of me".
  • Dual Cutlasses: Morgan carries a pair of steel cutlasses on her hip at all times and is plenty proficient in their use.
  • Brace of Pistols: Morgan carries no fewer than four loaded flintlock pistols on her at all times, and is a pretty good shot with them. She also carries the materials for maintaining them and reloading them as the opportunity presents itself, including additional shot and a horn of gunpowder.
  • Bottle of Cider: She always has one of these on hand, and is usually somewhere in the process of drinking it. She does not run out. No, not even then. (The cider is, thankfully, soft and non-alcoholic, though strangely addictive nonetheless; if pressed, she'll admit it's not ordinary cider but will not admit where she got it from or why she has so much.)
  • The Roaring Banshee: Morgan's ship is a cursed, ghostly galleon with some interesting properties of its own. For instance, it's selectively tangible, which allows it to sail through land as though it were open ocean. The ship can also de- and re-manifest as it suits Morgan, with whatever is in its hold disappearing and reappearing along with it. Finally, it seems to be capable of self-operation and is at least partially sentient; it never disobeys the orders Morgan gives it, but it may occasionally act without her prompting.
  • Dead Man's Hand: A mummified, bony hand she keeps on her person at all times, apparently for emergencies. Nobody knows what it does; she hasn't explained it and rarely actually uses it. At present, the hand is holding up three fingers.
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Re: Ironsmith's... um... guys.

Post by Ironsmith »

-
Subject 224601

► Containment Procedures
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

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Here's to us!
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And they're aaaaall dead.
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