[D&D, Tome] Character Backgrounds

A few years back, a couple of the more prominent posters on the gaming forum I post on wrote up a rather extensive series of fixes for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, collectively called The Tomes, aimed at bringing non-casters up to the power level of spellcasters (because the reverse is even more work). Lately there’s been a bit of a resurgence of focus on working on the Tomes, collating things into a single pdf, adding more material in a less sporadic method, and so on.

One thing they introduced in the Tomes to beef characters up a bit, and encourage those characters to be organic and more fleshed out was Backgrounds, which were sort of like mini-feats you got for doing the bare minimum work in writing a backstory for your character. They also helped you figure out what your character’s backstory was by giving you a prompt when you knew you wanted a specific one. A thread came up about creating some more, because there’s only 10 or so backgrounds in the original Tome material, and I’ve written up a few, so I figured I’d move those over here for more exposure.

Living Weapon Snkt
You, for some reason, whether hyper specific psionic meditation, experimental meddling with your aura or genetics when you were a child, possession by a violent spirit, or some other thing, can create weapons attached to your body at will.
Effect: As a move action, you may produce a weapon from your body which mimics the stats of any one Simple or Martial weapon (or a pair of light weapons), which may be composed of bone, chitin, horn, psionic/spiritual/arcane energy or whatever material–however, whatever material it is made of, it behaves exactly like a standard version of the weapon it mimics. Form and material are chosen at character creation and cannot later be changed except through magic. However, people who don’t have metal claws hidden up their arm find your augmentation horrifying. While this does give you Intimidate as a Class Skill, it also makes NPC initial attitudes start one step worse. Also whatever gave you these weapons was probably pretty traumatic, and you may occasionally run into parts of your past which want to kill you, fill you with rage, or are complete mysteries to you.

Artificial “I am fully functional, and anatomically correct.”
You were made by another person. But, like, not through the usual means- through special magical artifice means. You’re a robot person, is what I’m saying.
Effect: You have the Construct type (See below). The DC to repair you is 10+one half your HD+your highest stat. You are confused by living creatures and their emotions and habits, and probably spend a lot of time trying to understand them. Charisma based skills meant to affect you suffer a -2 penalty, but charisma based skills you use to affect others do as well, as you and the living things around you aren’t speaking quite the same language. The exception to this Intimidate–being an emotionally distant, pain-resistant arcane construct with glowing eyes just makes you better at that, and as such, Intimidate is always a class skill for you and you gain a +2 bonus to it.

  • Low Light Vision
  • Dark Vision 60′
  • Poor Healing: Daily healing rate is 0, can be healed through magical means
  • Mindless: Immune to [Mind Affecting] effects, cannot be detected with detect thoughts.
  • Never Alive: Cannot be raised or resurrected, immune to energy drain.
  • Repairable: Becomes inert, not staggered, at 0 and below hit points, does not die at -10. Can be repaired with a Craft check taking 1 hour of work per point it was below 1 hp.
  • Nonbiological: Does not eat or breath, does not age. A construct is not affected by any effect that allows a Fort save unless that effect affects objects or is a (Harmless) effect. For example, a clockwork horror is not going to catch red fever or become nauseated by a stinking cloud. But it is not outside the realm of possibility for an eidolon to be afflicted with a totally magical disease that functions off of Willpower saves.

Gladiator “I’M CRUSHICUS!”
Before adventuring, you were the star of a gladiatorial arena. You may have started a mere slave, but through crushing the skulls of other mere slaves and winning the hearts of the crowd, you gradually earned your freedom, a reputation, and experience in crushing skulls. Or maybe you just escaped.
Effect: You may tell stories of your time in the gladiatorial arena to wow new people and make them like you, or to make your existing fans willing to help you out. People who have heard of your time in the arena have their initial attitude improved by one step, people who haven’t heard about you can be subjected to stories for ten minutes over drinks and likewise have their attitude improved by one step. As showmanship is important in the arena, Perform is always a class skill for you, but your first style must be something usable in the arena (this is somewhat broad, singing is fine, pipe organ not so much). Finally, you should probably fight in the arenas at least once a month to keep your reputation up. If you are an escaped slave, your former owner probably has men looking for you.

Magical Girl “In the name of Lolth, I will punish you!”
In the name of some vaguely defined concept or personified object, you punish evil doers. Or kill good doers. Or spank the naughty. Whatever. You are a magical warrior who makes speeches and shit, and that comes with some very specific implied powers. Or, you may or may not actually be a prepubescent and/or female. Whatever.
Effect: You have some manner of magical patron who will offer advice and might be the source of particularly plot important magical items that get used once and then forgotten. You also have the magical girl power of transformation–pick one outfit which may be armour and one weapon (or pair of light weapons) these start as masterwork items, and can be hidden in a dimensional pocket which will not hold anything else. You also have a small token of some sort, possibly disguised as a makeup compact or other mundane item, which allows you to summon these items once per encounter as a Full Round action where in you twirl and pose and are enshrouded in light. During this round, no one can attack you, and at the end the outfit is equipped and you may be holding your weapon readied, if you wish. If your outfit or weapon are damaged they will be fully repaired the next time you call them. Your special outfit and weapon have the Linked quality and can be further enchanted by sacrificing items to them as if you had the Ancestral Weapon feat from BoED. You’re probably ambushed by things with tentacles a lot when you’re not wearing your armour and trying to have a normal life, and you feel this weird compulsion to never tell anyone who isn’t part of your adventuring group about being a magical warrior, regardless of how much simpler it would be, and your propensity for making friendship speeches in battle makes Perform (oratory) always a class skill for you which you can use like Diplomacy for attitude improvement.

Medic “No one wanted to be relegated to healing duty and the cleric has better shit to do.”
Look, I get it, no one wants to spend major character resources on restoring hp for people. But people need to be healed if you’re going to get that infant-sized ruby at the bottom of the dungeon, so you scribbled down a bit in your background about being an army medic.
Effect: First, Kn. Nature, Heal and Survival are always class skills for you, and you have a +2 bonus to Heal. Second, you can perform a twenty minute ritual which restores X hp to each member of your part (three people plus one per point of Wisdom mod) where X is half their max hp. This ritual may be performed at will, but each time it is used without at least an hour passing since it’s last use, it takes twice as long as the last time it was used (1st time: 20 min, 2nd time: 40 min, 3rd time: 1hr 20 min, etc). This ritual requires special herbs which cost 1/4th the amount you would heal your party, or can be scrounged from most wilderness areas with twenty minutes and a successful Kn. Nature or Survival check. You can gather these ahead of time if you wish, but they lose potency 3 days after being picked. You probably also keep a pile of bandages which can be applied to injured people and allow them to heal 1hp per five minutes for a number of hours equal to your Wisdom mod.

Cook “And in the morning, I’m making waffles!”
Look, not everyone has special noble birth or great destinies or sob stories about growing up in the gutter. You grew up in a surviving merchant or inn owning family, and you learned to cook in between mucking out stables, cleaning shit and putting up with idiot customers. And you found you really enjoyed it.
Effect: What does being a cook get you? Well, people forget that cooking is actually pretty physical work. Your familiarity with knives and cleavers translates over into daggers, handaxes and throwing axes pretty well, and in fact you are proficient in them. In addition, lugging around bags of potatoes and flour has conditioned you for carrying shit and your carrying capacity is calculated as if your strength were two points higher. You have a repertoire of recipes and cooking techniques which you can put into use to keep your party’s morale up–anytime you take an hour to cook a meal while your party camps, everyone who eats can activate an Guidance, Resistance or Virtue effect with your character level as the caster level once in the ensuing 24 hours. If you have leftovers, people can eat them to gain another use after using their first (use Survival to determine how many servings you can make, or figure each serving costs 10 gp). Finally, you effectively have max ranks in Craft (Cooking) as if it were a class skill for you, if that ever actually matters.

Animal Magnetism “He followed me home, can I keep him!?”
Animals just inherently like you for some reason. While other people get mauled by wolves when they wander into the woods, you get a bunch of wolves sniffing at your backpack and begging for handouts while you’re trying to eat lunch.
…maybe they like you because you always share and word got around.
Effect: Creatures of the Animal type always have an attitude at least one point more in favour of you, and no worse than indifferent unless you attack them. If you’re in danger, there is a 10% chance that an animal appropriate to the environment will show up to help you. This chance is increased by 5% for every 5% your hp is below maximum, and decreased 10% for every time an animal has come to your rescue in the last 24 hours. The animal’s CR cannot exceed yours, nor be lower than yours minus 3. If you want a specific animal, roll charisma vs DC 20. Finally, you have a +4 bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks when made to affect Animals. On the other hand, animals will wander up to you in the wilderness and want attention and handouts, and Mister Cavern is encouraged to have this happen when you’re trying to sneak, especially if you rolled poorly.

Crocodile Charmer “Look at this beauty. If she bites you, the cleric won’t even have time to cast a healing spell. …I’m gonna touch her!”
You have a way with reptiles and similar creatures. Maybe you got dumped in a pit of them when you were a kid, maybe you grew up in a crazy religious sect that uses snakes to test it’s piety. Maybe you just like them.
Effect: You begin play with three doses of antitoxin and a pet tiny viper that has 2 int and already knows a full array of tricks. You also gain +4 to handle animal and diplomacy checks made against Scaled Ones. Scaled Ones Animals and Magical Beasts have an initial attitude one point in your favour (no worse than Indifferent), and will not attack you unless you attack them first.

Sea Monkey “Warblgarbl.”
You come from the sea. You have fins and gills and probably a bluer skin tone than normal, and people think you want their land-women. They’re not necessarily wrong.
Effect: You’re an otherwise normal specimen of your race, you just happen to be an obscure sub type which lives in water. You can swim at your land speed and either have the Hold Breath ability or can breath underwater, if you select the latter, you cannot breath air, but you do have a bulky collar-like piece of equipment that allows you to adventure on land for up to 16 hours at a time before you need to rest in water and let it recharge. This collar is a very simple magic item and just needs to be immersed in water for eight hours, which you can do while you sleep since you’re usually going to be sleeping in water too.

Giant Frog “Ribbit.”
The primal chaos of limbo flows in your veins. And sometimes outside you veins. And sometimes through other parts of you. Look, it’s all very complicated hipster math, alright?
Effect: In times of great need, you can call upon the power of giant frog to giant frog your giant frog giant frogs. When you are at or below 1/4 your total hit points, the power of chaos activates within you, and you roll on the following chart-

d20 Effect 1d8 Spell School
1-8 Cantrip 1 Abjuration
9-17 Level 1 spell 2 Conjuration
18-19 Level 2 spell 3 Divination
20 Level 3 spell 4 Enchantment
Roll d12 Caster Level 5 Evocation
1 Character Level-2 6 Illusion
2-3 Character Level-1 7 Necromancy
4-9 Character Level 8 Transmutation
10-11 Character Level+1
12 Character Level+2
Cantrips wrote:
  • Abjuration– Resistance
  • Conjuration– Acid Splash*
  • Divination– Prestidigitation (yes, I know it’s Uni.)
  • Enchantment– Daze*
  • Evocation– Ray of Frost*
  • Illusion– Ghost Sounds
  • Necromancy– Touch of Fatigue*
  • Transmutation– Mage Hand
1st Level wrote:
  • Abjuration– Roll 1d6; 1: Prot.Good, 2: Prot.Evil, 3: Prot.Chaos, 4: Prot.Law, 5-6: Shield
  • Conjuration– Summon Chaos Bullfrog (Anarchic Dire Rat)
  • Divination– True Strike
  • Enchantment– Sleep**
  • Evocation– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Burning Hands, 3-4: Magic Missile*, 5-6: Shocking Grasp
  • Illusion– Roll 1d4; 1-3: Colour Spray, 4: Minor Image
  • Necromancy– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Cause Fear, 3-4: Chill Touch, 5-6: Ray of Enfeeblement
  • Transmutation– Roll 1d6: 1: Animate Rope, 2: Enlarge Person, 3: Expeditious Retreat, 4: Jump, 5: Magic Weapon, 6: Reduce Person*
2nd Level wrote:
  • Abjuration– Roll 1d4; 1-2: Protection from Arrows, 3-4: Resist Energy
  • Conjuration– Summon Toad Swarm (Rat swarm)
  • Divination– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Detect Thoughts, 3-4: Locate Object, 5-6: See Invisibility
  • Enchantment– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Daze Monster*, 3-4: Hideous Laughter*, 5-6: Touch of Idiocy
  • Evocation– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Darkness (centered on you), 3: Flaming Sphere (moves a random direction each round, d10, stays put on a 1 or 10), 4: Gust of Wind, 5: Scorching Ray*, 6: Shatter* (weapon or armour)
  • Illusion– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Blur, 3-4: Invisibility, 5-6: Mirror Image
  • Necromancy– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Blindness/Deafness, 3-4: False Life, 5-6: Scare
  • Transmutation– Roll 1d8; 1: Bear’s Endurance, 2: Bull’s Strength, 3: Cat’s Grace, 4: Eagle’s Splendor, 5: Fox’s Cunning, 6: Levitate, 7: Owl’s Wisdom, 8: Spider Climb
3rd Level wrote:
  • Abjuration– Roll 1d6; 1: Dispel Magic*, 2: Magic Circle v. Chaos, 3: Magic Circle v. Evil, 4: MCvGood, 5: MCvLaw, 6: Protection from Energy
  • Conjuration– Summon Dire Toad (as SMIII, Dire Toad is MM2)
  • Divination– Cure Serious Wounds (yes, I know it’s Conj.)
  • Enchantment– Roll 1d4; 1: Deep Slumber**, 2: Heroism***, 3: Hold Person*, 4: Rage
  • Evocation– Roll 1d4; 1-2: Fireball, 3-4: Lightning Bolt
  • Illusion– Roll 1d4; 1-2: Displacement, 3-4: Major Image
  • Necromancy– Roll 1d6; 1-2: Animate Dead (random corpse in range, destroyed at end of encounter), 3-4: Bestow Curse*, 5-6: Vampiric Touch
  • Transmutation– Roll 1d6; 1: Blink, 2: Fly, 3: Gaseous Form, 4: Haste, 5: Keen Edge, 6:Slow*

*affects a random enemy in range
**Randomly determine center of effect
***affects a random ally
If not otherwise noted, you are the target of non-touch spells. Touch spells can be held until you can touch a target.

Note- Giant Frog and Mister Cavern are Denisms. Giant Frog refers to the fact that in D&D, chaos shows the least diversity of form with the Slaad all being giant rugose things. Mister Cavern refers to an 80s Russian D&D clone where Dungeon Master was translated as Mister Cavern.

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Minds Turning Like Graves

It was a young shepherd who first told us, before we heard a thing.

He came running flat out into town, “the, the nec-” he gasped for breath as he stood doubled over in front of the town elder. He put his hand on the boy’s hot shoulder, told him to take a moment. Standing up straighter, he tried again, “The necromancers,” he wheezed, “they- they’re coming and…” he sucked in another breath, “Well. you have to see it.”

We heard it first. The sound of wind whistling through bones clattering slightly, a slow march step and the creak of wheels. A large white banner rose over the hill, poles clutched in shining white hands of skeletons marching before wagon with white pennants streaming from short poles on it’s corners. A group dressed in blacks and reds sat in the driving seat of the wagon, and on the walls of it’s bed, but no one held the reigns. A skeletal horse team drew it, and seemed to need no direction. It slowed of it’s own accord as it approached town, but stopped just outside the gates.

One of the spellcasters hopped down from the wagon, and straightened his robe.

All of them wore fine plush robes, so clean they shined, without wrinkle or blemish. They seemed to want to make an impression on us.

“Hail,” the necromancer said, “may we speak with the elder? We have an offer to make.”

There were murmurs through the crowd that had gathered, and a wave of fearful anger swept through it, until it dissipated as the elder stood from his seat on the wall of the town well and held a hand up to calm his people.

“I am the elder,” he said, “you may call me Jerrick.”

“Hail, Jerrick, I am Vesner. May my companions- sorry, living companions, come into your town? The skeletons will stay out here.”

“Who will control them if you come in?” Elder Jerrick asked, more inquisitive than accusatory or fearful.

“They have orders to remain here and do nothing. Doing nothing is their default state, it takes a command for them to act.”

Elder Jerrick nodded, and motioned for the watch to let them in. “Do you take tea?” he asked the necromancer who’d identified himself as Vesner.

“Yes, please,” the necromancer said with unexpected graciousness.

Elder Jerrick whispered a request for tea to his daughter who disappeared into the Elder’s house at the center of the market. “Well, it’s quite a lovely day, shall we speak out here?” Elder Jerrick asked Vesner, motioning to a shaded clearing surrounded by fruit trees.

Vesner and his companions looked around, “so long as your people don’t mind, with pleasure.”

The group sat and talked over tea as Elder Jerrick’s daughter emerged with a tray and kettle. The spellcasters explained their plan, including the provenance of the skeletons they’d brought–some were prisoners who’d been executed, others who’d had no family at death and accepted a lavish religious funeral in exchange for donation of their body, but, surprisingly, many of them were apparently entirely magically created.

We didn’t know magic could do that.

At the end of hours of talk, Elder Jerrick, who’d listened politely and quietly, only asking for clarification when it was needed nodded. “I cannot speak for my people on this. I understand that you are making this offer in good faith, and that your methods are quite apart from what we would assume. But at the end of the day, it is for them to decide whether they will accept.”

“Will you accept a skeleton, or small group of them, as town property?” Vesner asked. “They can be of great value.”

Elder Jerrick considered, and finally spoke, “let me think on that. Let us see what the people say. You have my permission to present your offer to them, though…” Elder Jerrick looked to the amassed horde outside the gate, “perhaps for space reasons, staying outside the town for that would be best.”

Vesner laughed. “Certainly, certainly. Thank you, Elder Jerrick.”

The older man nodded and shook their hands–he would later tell me those hands were quite cold–as they stood.

Vesner and his companions returned to their wagon and took a chest from beside the staves. As they opened it and pulled a table from it’s depths–far too large to have fit the chest’s apparent size–an attractive female necromancer started gathering the townspeople.

She was slight of form, but with a healthy softness. Her robes clung delicately to her body, and her hair was a bright red–in another context, it would be the colour of blood, but here, with such a cheerful smile, it called more to mind roses.

Maybe it was the rose that adorned it.

“Alright, we’re all friends here, gather around,” she said, motioning people to draw closer. “Does anyone have any particular magical training or talent?” she asked before beginning.

“I’m an adept,” Elder Jerrick offered, “I can manage a few blessings and tricks, but nothing on the order of a wizard. I’ve explained a few magical phenomena to my people now and again, though.”

“Great, just needed to know what the knowledge level was, wanted to make sure we didn’t accidentally talk down to you guys.” She flashed a brilliant, perfect smile. Those teeth were more otherworldly than any skeletal horde, just for their whiteness and evenness. A few in the crowd were audibly jealous.

“So, as you probably gathered,” Vesner said, taking the center, “we’re from the college which opened up a few days travel back–though with our horses, it’s one day’s travel. Horses that don’t need sleep are handy like that,” he stage muttered, to the appreciative murmurs of the farmers and couriers in the crowd. “We know that a tower full of necromancers is viewed slightly less favourably than an devastation beetle infestation popping up in most places, so we thought about what we could do to build some bridges with our neighbours.”

“What we came up with is offering some of the benefits of necromancy to folks, free of charge, just to take some of the mystery out of it,” the female necromancer said, “Hi, I’m Aleys.”

Another necromancer, a man of obvious ork lineage, with shoulders the size of Vesner’s twice over, and standing easily two feet taller, with a cloth over one eye, came up holding a staff and a torch-sized rod in one hand. His voice was a deep whisper, like far off rockfalls in caves. “You may call me Graf. What we decided to do was offer each household here a skeleton. We sent a runner up for some basic supplies who also did a quick count and a bit of reconnaissance,” tilted his head in theatric contrition, “Sorry about that.”

At Graf’s beckon, a skeleton emerged from the horde and walked over, clattering slightly as it walked. “One of the common misconceptions about undead,” he began, “is that the soul of the person is trapped inside. While it is true about some undead, usually sapient undead such as vampires, mindless undead, such as these skeletons, are magically animate automatons. Necromancers have used magic to converse with the dead in the afterlife, who had no knowledge of the use of their corpses in necromancy, so we can say with quite a bit of confidence that this skeleton is the shell that was used by a person in life, and nothing more.”

“Another misconception is that the undead hunger for the flesh of the living,” Aleys said. “Again, this is true for some, vampires and ghouls notably, but this skeleton hungers for nothing.” She crouched down and produced a rabbit from the chest and dramatically held it in front of the skeleton, which made no move.

“Much like an axe can be used to commit murder, a mindless skeleton can be used to destroy life.” Vesner said. “Kill the rabbit.” he commanded the skeleton passively and without interest. As the skeleton reached for the animal in Aleys’ arms, Vesner suddenly said “Stop!” causing it to halt in mid grab. “And just like an axe, it only carries the intent of the person who uses it. Hold the rabbit.” Vesner commanded, and Aleys placed the rabbit in the skeleton’s cradling arms.

The crowd’s breath held as the rabbit shifted in the arms of the skeleton, and it did nothing to the animal, even as the rabbit began to brux on the skeleton’s rib.

Vesner held the staff in his hand up, “This staff allows anyone holding it to use the spell Command Undead at will, as well as Inflict Light Wounds to repair the skeleton of any damage which it might suffer. Undead are fueled by antilife– the energy which heals a mortal harms an undead, and the energy which harms a mortal heals the undead. Would anyone like to try controlling the skeleton?”

The crowd muttered among themselves before the blacksmith, Richt, stepped forward. Vesner handed him the staff, “Remember, the skeleton will follow your command verbatim, exactly as you say.”

“How do I use the staff?” Richt asked.

“Just give a command to the skeleton with the intent to command it, the staff does the rest.”

Richt looked at the skeleton and pointed the staff at it, “Dr-put the rabbit down,” he said, with a steadiness that belied the anxiety inside him.

The skeleton bent at the pelvis, and gently placed the rabbit on the grass, and stood up as Aleys moved to pick the rabbit up and place it back into the chest.

Richt considered, and looked to Vesner, “May I?” The necromancer nodded. “Follow,” the muscle-bound man in a leather apron said, as he walked to his forge. “Can I demonstrate an action for it to perform later?” he asked.

“Certainly. We’ve ‘taught’ them to harvest pumpkins. Tell it to watch your actions, and then say ‘that is making a sword,’ or whatever you want to show them.”

Richt nodded, “Watch me,” he said to the skeleton before leaning the staff against the counter of his open air shop and picked up a bellows. He carefully stoked the fire inside, blowing air in, and telling it conditions under which to give it air or turn coals over, with Vesner’s aid. “That is stoking the forge.” Richt said. “Stoke the forge.”

The skeleton took up the bellows, peered into the forge, and gave it two short bursts of air, set the bellows down, and picked up an iron to turn the embers over. Richt stood back in awe.

“In your line of work you will need to exercise care if you take a skeleton. They could reach into a baker’s oven and be little the worse for wear, and in general, they will have no problem with radiant heat, but your forge is hot enough to cremate bone, so they will need safety equipment much like your own.”

“Can they make weapons?” Richt asked.

“Skilled labour is best left to sapient creatures, but with a detailed enough process of conditional orders, it is possible for them to produce basic weapons. Artisanry will still be the purview of yourself and other sapient smiths.”

“And they can work all day?”

“No rest needed. This skeleton can stoke a fire or make basic metal ware all through the night and into the day. The only limit will be how well you can sleep through the pounding.”

Richt considered. “What if I wanted two skeletons?”

Vesner’s smile spread across his face, a look of genuine satisfaction, “Well, the typical human requires five silvers worth of obsidian to animate. There is also the cost of the, er, material, which is dependent upon a number of things. But a simple skeleton such as this one we could create for a cost of 10 silvers, and would sell for 20.”

Richt nodded.

The boom of an explosion thundered across the town. Everyone spun in the direction of the mill and ran flat out to it.

“ALEYS, GRAF! BRING TEN!” Vesner shouted as he followed the crowd.

No one in town will forget the sound of eleven skeletons in an all out run. The clatter was deafening, and the scrape of bone on stone as they neared was like nails on a chalkboard.

“SKELETONS! ENTER THE MILL, PICK UP A WORKER, AND BRING THEM OUT, KEEP THEM SAFE FROM THE FLAMES.” Vesner commanded as Aleys chanted a short invocation and touched his shoulder with a hand that shimmered red, blue and green, a radiant cascade slowly enveloping him as he strode into the flames with the skeletons. Flames licked at his robe and feet, but were rebuffed by a thin force.

The remaining horde of skeletons were brought up to aid the bucket chain, forming two pairs of rows of their own, handing up an endless stream of buckets along two rows then down the other.

“HOLD THAT FRAME!” Vesner shouted inside as timbers cracked.

Eventually, nine skeletons carried out nine men, burned, coughing, but alive. Vesner and the tenth did not emerge until the flames had been doused, the last skeleton carrying a prone form in it’s arms.

My father.

“He was at the center of the fire,” Vesner said as the skeleton laid him on the ground between us. In the moment, with it’s blackened bones, I hated the thing, blaming it for his death, as if it were an avatar of the grave that killed with a touch, rather than the unwavering tool that tried to save him. Vesner indicated the burns over his body, “he likely died instantly, probably painlessly. I’m sorry.”

I looked at the necromancer. Then from him, to my father, to the skeleton.

“Yes.” Vesner said reading my open mind, “I could raise him. I have no skill with the gods, but his body can be animated. If you wished, if he wished, I could animate him as a skeleton, then use another spell to return his mind to him. Speech with the dead is a simple matter, we can speak to him privately, later.”

I nodded.

The town was still hesitant about using the skeletons. In the end, the necromancers let every household take a staff as they’d be useful in defending the town from rogue undead, bandits and monsters, and as a sort of receipt to claim an undead at a latter point if the household changed its mind. About a third of my neighbours took skeletons, and the town was gifted ten in trust. Richt commissioned several skeletons with more trainable minds.

My father wasn’t sure how he felt about becoming an undead. He wanted to think about it. But he also didn’t want to leave us without his income and protection. I still don’t fully understand, but Vesner created some psuedo-duplicate of my father’s spirit to place in the skeleton, and a small pebble that could speak to him in the afterlife. Vesner cautioned that though my father was a good man, he only had so long to make his decision, before his spirit was subsumed into the divine.

The Cargo Cult of Quatrex

On the small island of Quatrex, in the sea of Unbekannt, there is a remote tribe with a somewhat unique magical tradition.

Since their earliest days, the Quatrexians practiced a fairly typical shamanistic animism which focused on reverence of natural forces and the land. Their primary spellcasters were adepts who might occasionally reach some basic druidic ability, but never, or so seldom as to be the subject of myths, attained druid wildshaping ability. The clerical arts of domains and energy channeling were completely unknown to them.

Their island was in time visited by a group of wizards exploring the uncharted sea. The natives were fascinated and awed by the frightful power these men and women wielded, but while the wizards shared the boons of their abilities, none ever taught the natives how such marvels were attained, rendering them god-like figures in the Quatrexians’ minds.

After the adventurers set up a base camp with many strange and arcane devices, and did some basic good will work with the natives to ameliorate potential conflicts, they tromped off into the jungle from which awesome sounds and lights would emanate. Eventually the meddling wizards awoke a great monster who slept within a mountain. The fiery beast slew most of the wizards in its rampage towards the Quatrexian’s impressive bronze age settlement. In the final half mile, it was halted by the last wizard, who eventually was forced to sacrifice themselves to stop the beast.

The Quatrexians viewed the events through the lens of their beliefs, and interpreted the wizards as powerful spirits of a previously unknown primal force–Arcana. They arrived to reward the Quatrexians for their reverence for the land, but also out of Arcana’s mild jealousy that it’s sibling forces–wind, fire, water, earth, storm, light, dark, and others–were so revered but it was unknown to the pious people. The spirits of Arcana were destroyed as they tried to save the Quatrexians from a monstrous beast of primal fire.

The Quatrexians still revere the primal forces, but now revere Arcana above all for it’s power to harness and call the other forces. They were left with a wealth of arcane resources–potion labs, wondrous item workbenches, a library of spell tomes, magic items of all sorts–but no idea how to use it all.

But they had watched the wizards. They knew not the methods behind the words and motions, but they knew them. They didn’t know how to tap the arcane energy of the multiverse, but they knew it could be done.

They began to copy the motions and incantations of the wizards in their rituals, and slowly, they developed a clerical caste as some began to show the ability to copy the might of the wizards.

Quatrexian Arcana is its own clerical faith. Practitioners have access to the Spell and Magic domain, and their holy symbol is a spellbook into which they have copied “The Tracks of Arcana” (being a culture with no written tradition, they interpret the writing of the “Arcana Spirits” to animal tracks). These are functionally identical to wizard spellbooks, and allow Quatrexian Arcana clerics to cast Anyspell, but do not allow them to prepare wizard spells. Quatrexian Arcanians also have access to any domain which shares a name with a school, subschool, or descriptor of spells, such as Fire, Evil, or Charm.

The vestments and regalia of the priestly caste of the Quatrexians is entirely predicated on the faithful reproduction of wizard garb, and so while many non-priestly Quatrexians still wear the simple linen loin clothes and wraps they always have, priestly vestments are elabourate robes and skirts, often with capes and gaudy jewelry (frequently, but not always, enchanted). Where other priests might wear mitres or other psued0-crowns, the Quatrexian priestly caste wears well-worn wide brimmed pointed hats, frequently embroidered with symbols of the primal forces they choose to focus on.

Quatrexian priests practice a sort of apprenticeship model of theological instruction, with older priests instructing a no more than a handful of pupils. The acolyte-apprentices wear simple linen and woolen robes until they are deemed to have learned the rituals sufficiently that they may be gifted their vestments-magically fabricated luxurious wizard’s robes.

Quatrexian Arcanism dogma is an unusual philosophy of benevolent mastery of nature and the world, and of being at once the sum of and a part of the multiverse, founded on the principles of arcane magic.

Kalan’s Story

“Kalan, child of Frelnir, Getr, and Enoin, do you understand why you have been brought before the assembly today?” Elder Richin, a tall, bald-headed man asked as he look down at me from where he perched, like a scrawny vulture, in the stands.

…why are they called stands when they are seats?

I brushed a stray lock of hair back behind my ear, grazing the raised scars of my Scarifice of Vasha, now nearly a decade past, as I looked up to him, surrounded by the adults of the town, “I believe it’s because I burnt the town’s Vashan Records when an experiment got away from me.”

More than a few of my elders stifled a chuckle, struggling to keep the solemn looks on their faces such an occasion demanded.

“Yes.” Elder Richin said, “Would you care to elabourate on what occurred that night? Perhaps you can explain why you felt the need to destroy the magical history of our people?” he cocked an eyebrow at me.

“Well, it wasn’t so much that I felt the need, so much as it kind of happened. You see, I was just trying to perform a basic conjuring, and it was the flames of the half-fiend fire elemental that set the fire.”

“Are you saying, in all honesty, that it did not occur to you that would happen?”

“Well…” I shuffled my feet, one hand clasping the elbow of my other arm behind my back, “I mean, I could have sworn magical fire didn’t set things on fire unless it was an aspect of the magic, and fire elementals and demons are inherently magical, so their flames should be magical, so… magical fire.”

Richin pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed, “Some. SOME magical fires will not ignite materials. In general they do.”

“Well, I know that now…” Richin would be tempted, and within rights, to slap my head from my shoulders for playing the petulant child if I hadn’t been rather… good to him in the last few months. He’s probably still tempted.

“Why did you feel the library was the appropriate place to perform this conjuring?” he pressed on.

“Because that’s where the books are. I had to use one for the conjuring in the first place, and I knew there could be unforeseen complications, so I figured better to use the facilities of the library and be right there to find the appropriate book to deal with whatever complications arose than to be somewhere else and add theft of a book to the whole breaking in thing.”

“Your ability to well plan poorly thought out courses of action is admirable,” Richin said, fingers having moved from the bridge of his nose to his temples. “Is there a reason you decided to summon a fire elemental, rather than earth or water or air or some other Vasha-damned thing that wouldn’t burn the building down?”

“…I didn’t want to get the books wet, blow their pages around, or put a giant hole in the floor from where the earth elemental came out?”

Several members of the assembly were only succeeding in hiding their amusement by turning it into fits of coughing or managing to laugh silently as they clutched their stomachs and fell off the stone benches.

Richin looked downwards and muttered–I could only catch the invoking of Vasha’s name. For misotheists, we share a lot of traits with the second men.

“Look, if the magic courses were at my level, rather than remedial, theory-only bullshit, this wouldn’t have happened, and it’s not like you can’t reverse the damage,” I levied.

“We’ve been over your complaints about Elder Erther’s magic tutelage. Until you can attract a master to apprentice to, that is your place. And you’re right, the damage can be reversed, and you’re damned lucky for that. If it couldn’t be, this would be a much more serious offense and the other elders would not be TAKING THIS SO LIGHTLY,” his voice rose to address the assembled incapacitated with laughter. He calmed again, breathing deeply as other elders slowed their hysterics and regained their seats. “As it stands, instead of recommending your destruction, I will be recommending your exile until such time as you can show you are not a danger to–” he caught himself as he remembered our peoples’ propensity for being raucous dangers to everyone around them “until such time as you can show you are a self-controlled danger to those around you.”

I was mortified and pissed off. Exile was nearly a death sentence. Vasharan Warriors were regularly sent into the wilds to survive on their own without support from their towns as a test of their abilities before they formally accepted into the military structure, or as a lesson when they were still young. But the town was always still there, and would usually go looking for them when the set time was over! Also–I’m not a warrior! I wasn’t trained to kill wolves bare-handed and harvest grubs! I mean, I could find some, just, you know, turn over some logs, but I doubt I’d get anywhere near enough to sustain me! A sentence of exile for a young vasharan woman with only the barest instruction in magic was essentially a round-about and stupid way of selling them into sex-slavery. Round-about because they could just put me in the damned market and be done with it, and stupid because they wouldn’t get the money!

Richin stared at me. “You are excused from the chamber, Child Kalan.”

Bile raised in the back of my throat in time with the anger rising up my spine. I faltered a moment, biting back words that I would definitely regret and searching for words that were less reactionary, “You forget yourself Richin,” I hissed with eyes narrower than an orc-helm’s eye-slits, “I may be a quarter your age, but do not forget that I won my passage from childhood with pain greater than an old man like you could ever hope to withstand,” the assembly murmured around him with a sound like the forest turning bad on a traveler at night, “you may exile me, and you may spell my doom, but you will do so with respect, you feeble old fool, or the next spell that passes from page, to these eyes, through my lips will send your soul to the gods,” I shook as adrenaline coursed up from the small of my back uttering the gravest threat our race recognized, “and, might I add, nothing of yours will ever pass these lips again.” The murmurs of the assembly turned bemused.

Richin considered impassively, “You are excused, Kalan.”

I turned and swept out of the chamber into the hot sun without like a fell wind.

I was still shaking, but tremors were beginning to still, when a throat cleared behind me. I turned, tamping down my fury, and regarded the second-men scholar who’d been visiting us to study our culture for the last month. “Yes, god-child?”

He smirked, “Not everyone outside your culture has much love for the gods,” he advised, “I was of course not allowed in the assembly, but the elders did allow me to scry over your hearing,” he pulled out a bag of tobacco and began rolling a cigarette, “It’s a shame they’re so strict about a minor, easily repaired indiscretion.” He offered the cigarette to me.

I waved it off and produced my own, “Welcome to Vasharan culture. I’ve seen starving wolves more forgiving than Richin.”

“You show promise,” he said, raising the roll-up to his lips and igniting it with a small flame from his finger. “To cast a spell from a tome, with no practical training in spellcasting? Impressive. You know, I’m an instructor at a mage’s university–do you know this word, university?”

“Larger Vasharan cities tend to have academies and universities of various types, or similar institutes.”

“We instruct our students in both the theoretical and practical aspects of magic. Even specialist students receive at least theoretical instruction in their forsaken school of magic.”

“Cost?” I said with clenched teeth as I lit my rollup from a tinder twig.

“Well, for students from wealthier families, we do charge a tuition, but for promising students who may not have much money to put forth, there are opportunities to conduct adventures and crafting for the benefit of the college. A talented pupil such as yourself might make would likely do quite well in these ventures.”

I cocked and eyebrow and leaned against the warm outer wall of the assembly chamber, “Well, let’s see what the shake out of this is. If I’m exiled, I’ll take you up on that. If I’m not, I may get apprenticeship offers here.”

The creak of the Assembly Chamber door announced a new participant in the conversation. A tall and weedy Vashar man, just a year my senior, poked his head out the door. Males of Vashar society didn’t receive the same Scarifice ritual that women did, instead burn scar tissue crept artfully up his jawline, and canvassed his neck and, I knew, most of the rest of his body. The result of Dipping, a practice whereby Vasharans were immersed in aligned water after receiving a spell which gave them the vulnerabilities of undead or fiends, causing sever burns and tremendous pain. The head belonged to a friend of mine, Miete–we had grown up together, and spent a lot of time together before he was taken as an apprentice by an older Vashar.

“You should probably get out of here, or at least prepare to, Kalan,” the young man said, “Richen’s agitating to have you exiled–at best.”

I swore and muttered a lengthy slander of Richen’s lineage and parentage–an impressive feat in the libertine society of the Vashar. “He wants me destroyed?”

“Looks like he wouldn’t object if you were slain shortly after your exile. Probably in a way that would not be the good kind of unpleasant.”

“Fuck.” I ground out my cigarette under her bare heel. “Alright, Wizard. You’ve got a deal. Let me pack my stuff.”

“I can have you out in an instant if you fear for your life,” the man offered.

“No. I need to stay to be sentenced, if I don’t it just gets worse. However, if you could get my stuff outside the outskirts of town and be ready with that teleport spell I’m thinking you had in mind, that would be appreciated.”

Miete’s head snapped around, then back outside, “they’re winding up. Looks like final points are being raised. Get your stuff. I’ll come find you when they say you can come back.”

I ran off and packed–a proffered haversack from the wizard was useful in hastily gathering old keepsakes–and was nearly done by the time Miete rushed into my chambers.

“They’re ready,” he said.

“Are they in the mood to be understanding if two young hormonal Vasharans were a bit slow getting back?” I asked, wheedling for more packing time.

“No.”

“Fuck.” I cast an eye back over my room, still needing to gather things, including some more personal artifacts.

“I can get the rest,” the gods-child wizard said.

I hesitated a moment, “Decorum be fucked,” I relented, “Congrats, Gods-child, you’re an honorary Vashar in my eyes, take particular care with the nightstand contents, I’ll be cross if you leave me at a loss for relief in a college full of people that think sex is shameful and drugs are bad.”

He laughed. “You have so much to learn about colleges… Don’t worry, whatever you have, I’m sure I’ve seen it before-” he opened the cabinet as Miete grabbed my arm to pull me out. The gods-child retched just a bit, to my amusement before my stronger friend pulled me bodily behind him.

Back in the Assembly Chamber, I stood before Richen.

“Kalan, child  of Frelnir, Getr, and Enoin, the Assembley has reached a decision.”

“No shit.”

Richen fumed at my insolence, but I knew the result anyway, so I had little to lose.

“You are to be exiled for a term of no less than five years. At the end of that time, you may approach the village as a petitioner for re-admittance to Vashar society.”

I laughed. Genuinely. “You mean re-admittance to this society. If I made it to another Vashar settlement, especially one of the larger ones, like Hetrot, you know damned well they wouldn’t care about my exile from this backwater.”

“This is not the way to make an impression on the counsel that may decide your fate in five years,” Richen lectured with cocked brow.

“Please. Richen, if you don’t die within five years from backed up testes exploding, it’ll be some other fate. You can’t expect to live much longer,” I paused, “especially when you go exiling young women with arcane potential that paid you certain favours for so long.”

He sneered, “All the potential in the world means nothing without a master to shape it.”

“I’ll remind you that you said that when you see me next.”

“I doubt very much that ‘arcane’ potential is what your future owner will see in you on the auction block, ilntr,” the bastard gloated, using a particularly rude word that would have moved me to burn his heart from his chest… …if I knew that spell.

“Well, I guess it’s time for my, what, five minute head start?”

“In light of the graveness of your crime,” Richen began to my gritting teeth, “we have decided your head start will be 45 seconds. At the end of that time, if you are within the village limits, you will be dealt with at the discretion of he who finds you.”

I smirked, outwardly, but inside I was just a bit panicked. 45 seconds would be close, so it’s a good thing I already packed. “You wish,” I said, pumping my fist along an imaginary shaft as I slowly turned and padded out of the Chamber.

Outside I broke into a dead run. Locking eyes on the wizard, I put every ounce of strength I had into my legs–it wouldn’t be much longer before I had some of the more violent members of the village looking for me–“NOT FAR ENOUGH!” I shouted to him.

“Shit. Where are the bounds?” the wizard wondered as I ran up to him, grabbing his shoulder in one hand and my bag in the other.

Teleportteleportteleportteleport” I raced through clenched teeth.

As the wizard started the gestures I could see thick-bodied Vashar men fondling their groins as they lazily walked my way.

We faded from that spit of land just as they neared grabbing distance.

Ran’s Escape pt 1

The men sat at a table in the dark tavern, hewn from one massive stalagmite, lit by phosphorescent gems held to the walls by nets. They carried few weapons to speak of, but each had a staff more than a match for ten armed men, and the weapons they did carry bore runes and glowing auras. each held a wand in one hand, absent mindedly, as they talked and drank and ate.

Most towns would object to such a show of force, but the drow city would have laughed if the men hadn’t so obviously been prepared for a fight. It was well known that visitors to the city would sometimes, even often, just disappear, only ever again seen in the torture-galleries, or as part of some priestess’ harem.

The men, however, had no real reason to fear. Only a particularly foolish dark elf would risk trying to take them. They could be sitting in the street, without their robes, weapons, staves or wands, and would still be a target only a fool would dare aim for. Their bracelets marked them as mages of Hallius. The wizard nation-guild would respond poorly if high standing members were to disappear on a trip to the Underdark. Perhaps the drow could win such a conflict, but one is naturally cautious in dealing with a force that can turn the roof of your underground civilization into millions of tons of mud–or worse, lava–and drop it on you to smother your entire civilization. Even just a few discrete, disguised mage-sabotuers could wreak havoc by moving the very earth from beneath major temples and civic buildings and barracks, dropping them into pits or magma pools that could have been prepared far in advance.

All the same, just because no sane dark elf would target them for slavery does not mean any need help them. The men had traveled to the Underdark searching for information on planar trade rumoured to be conducted by the drow, but had hit a wall.

A slim male, clad in only loose breeches and a thin, open robe, slid into a seat at the table, lighting a long bone and metal pipe and drawing from long and smooth, before slowly exhaling it. The wizards sat patiently, waiting for the young elf-man to finish his little performance, waiting to reject services or defend themselves. He propped his pipe on the ash dish with theirs and leaned in close to their own heads, previously bowed in discussion.

“We all know what you’re looking for. Obviously.” he said. His words wafted like the sweet smoke of his pipe from dark lips. His eyes glowed in the dim light, and he brushed his hair behind one long pointed ear. A couple of the men shifted uncomfortably. “Pretend we’re talking normal business. My mistress would torment me all the more harshly if she had any idea what kind I’m actually about to speak.” he eyed their bracelets.

“What are offering?” one of the men said suddenly. Even a wizard’s patience has it’s limits, and theirs were all frayed by their fruitless search.

“You want to know about drow inter-planar trading. My mistress has some dealings in that arena, and some of the clients she has provided with my services like to talk when they’re exhausted.” Again the men shifted uncomfortably, “Oh, relax. Elves have only the hair on their heads, with our builds, you’d forget what sex we were in the right position.” he smiled. His night-black hands picked up his pipe again. “What I’m proposing-” he took a shorter drag, “is that I show you what you want to find, and help you with whatever information I can, and in exchange…” the dark skinned elf shuddered and–uncharacteristically for a drow, so learned in the ways of awareness and stealth–looked towards the bar where his mistress sat. He shifted closer to the wizard next to him, the one who’d spoke, who was clearly in charge. He put a hand in the man’s lap, and wrapped a look which up close said “I apologize, go with it” in one which at a distance spoke of carnal promises. “You take me with you.” He looked the man hard in the eye, and his pipe tapped the man’s bracelet to make clear just how far he wanted to be taken.

The men looked at one another, before the one next to the drow looked back “We’ll have to confer…”

“So take me to your room. Mistress, strange as it may sound, actually doesn’t observe the rooms. She’s found that when clients do find out, as some always do, it’s terrible for business.” he laid his head on the man’s shoulder, “just make it look convincing. You all can… take your time, and I’ll not mind at all. I’ll be as quiet or vocal as you wish.” he purred.

The wizard then shocked the elf, smiling before breaking into a raucous laugh, one hand grasping the elf’s rump, the laugh being picked up by his fellows. The laugh was an uneven, overly loud thing. A laugh one might expect from a table full of men who couldn’t hold their spider wine.

“My name is Ran, my price is 100 gold. I can make sure you’re recompensed, but it has to look right. Put the gold in the bowl in the center of the table.”

The man nodded and dropped a pouch of gold into the bowl. “Wizards. Don’t worry about recompensing us.” The group all stood, stowing wands and picking up staves. The lead wizard looked to the woman drow that Ran had looked to earlier, and tilted his head in acknowledgement. She smiled to him, a wicked curve on her lips, and tilted her head in response, and Ran led the group through the curtains near the bar.

The brood-matriarchs of Baal

A Brood Matriarch of Baal (as conceptualized, she would probably be nude save for adornment, but this isn't an NSFW site, so she is covered in leather throws)
A Brood Matriarch of Baal (as conceptualized, she would probably be nude save for adornment, but this isn’t an NSFW site, so she is covered in leather throws)

In the center of the continent, lies the fens of Baal, home to a group of goblins which would be called a culture, were those inclined to use the word not loathe to apply it to goblins.

Goblins are, generally speaking, small, fecund and highly variable, and often lacking in much in the way of a social structure more complex than “horde” (or so the general opinion goes). The goblins of Baal, on the other hand, squatting in their murky dens dug into the muck, have established a matri-oligarchy, similar in some ways to a hive of social insects.

The culture of the Baal goblins is ruled over by a group of fertile females, called Brood-matriarchs, whose primary function is to become pregnant and give birth to litter after litter of goblins. Because goblin life tends to be short, often artificially so, due to lack of caution or extermination with extreme prejudice enacted by neighbouring cultures, the typical goblin hyper-fertility has started to be seen as a blessing by the Baali goblins.

Holding the blessing of their god, and controlling, literally, the means of production of new goblin warriors, the fertile females of Baal rose to power. They receive counsel from other goblins more able to travel, but make all decisions for the clan. They are always pregnant, or nursing and receiving males to become pregnant. The opportunity to become the father of part of the next generation has become a highly sought after form of prestige amongst the males, and copulation with a brood-matriarch has become a reward for those who perform valuable services for the clan, and those who perform their duties above and beyond all expectation. The opposite fate, awaiting those who too-frequently fail their clan, is castration, the utter revoking of the opportunity to ever serve the clan as anything more than fodder or labor. Those who fail again after already being castrated are often given the duty of guarding the brood matriarchs. Far from the honor this might be seen as, it is a constant reminder, in the form of the wanton and lascivious brood-matriarchs and their open rutting with more honored clan members, of the guard’s failure and the fact that he cannot perform for his clan the highest service a male goblin can-fathering the next generation.

As they are the direct power behind the greatest strength of the goblins–numbers–the brood matriarchs receive the greatest respect, honor and treasures of the clan. They have no responsibilities, only privileges. The privilege of giving orders, the privilege of not working, the privilege of food at their mere request, the privilege of their pick of mates, and the privilege of the spoils of raids.

Not all females of the clan are brood-matriarchs, however. When a power behind being fertile began to condense, those females of the time who were pregnant sealed that power away. They, essentially, created an eldritch poison which made females barren when ingested, and had shamans enchant their bodies to produce this poison in their milk. They then created an antidote, and jealously guarded that formula. When a female goblin has proven worthy of great honor, she may be selected for possible fertility, and given the choice. Should the female accept, she will be given the antidote, and shortly become fertile and take her place. If she declines, she is given another position of high honor–high priestess. All females of the Baali goblins serve the shrines in some function, usually as acolytes, but only those who have proven their worth to the clan, and decided that brooding is not a life for them, may lead the clan’s holiest rites.

The goblins of Baal are otherwise normal goblins for the most part. However, the brood-matriarchs keep a constant watch for strong males who could potentially pass their strength on to children. Due to the highly adaptable nature of goblins, they are able to be impregnated with almost any male’s material. The mother’s system will pick out the most useful traits and add them to the genetic concoction assembled from her many paramours, and, after a certain period of time, begin to grow the fetuses of the new litter, saving copies of the best genetics to potentially impart on the next, much like a cat’s reproductive system save with a complex and sophisticated intelligence all its own.

Dominia20: the alignment of colour pt 2

I left off with two colours to describe, Red and Green. I’ll cover those here.

Dominia20CharacterSheets

Red

Chaos, Impulse, Freedom, Action, Short-sightedness

Red is the colour of freedom, proactiveness, fire and earth, and emotion.

Obviously individuals of all colours are capable of feeling emotion, but it is Red’s focus. The pain felt from the death of a loved one, or the anger felt towards the one who killed them is felt strongest by Red. Black may be known for hatred, but Red allows that hate to flow through it and come out in the form of lightning bolts or flames.

Whereas White is the colour of healing and prolonging life, and Green is the colour of nature and the life within it, and Black is the colour of creating cruel mockeries of life, Red is the colour of Living. Red wants to go and do things and have experiences and meet people, and yes, probably burn them. Red is defined by constant Action. It’s main elements, Fire and Earth are key symbols of this. While Earth is seen as being very still and very static, beneath the crust there is a constantly moving, roiling, liquid mantle and core, and on the crust, the plates constantly move.

As it is so active, Red acts on Impulse. It decides it wants to do something, and goes and does it. It doesn’t worry about planning. It doesn’t deliberate. These are things for Blue. Red and Blue see a pretty girl, and while Blue tries to figure out what it’s going to say, Red runs over to talk to her, because if you wait too long, she’ll leave. Red’s Impulsiveness stems from the sea of emotion in which it stays. It’s emotions tell it to do something, and it does it.

In order to do as it pleases, Red must be free. It cannot abide rules and restrictions. It has parallels to what Chaos wanted to be in D&D, but it’s more fully realized and not bogged down in structure.

While this may seem very similar to Black’s self-servingness, and is, indeed, why they are allied colours, Red is different in that it may be driven by love to care more for another, or even a small group, such as a family, than it does itself. But contrary to White’s nation-focus, Red chooses who is as or more important than itself.

The best of Red is passion and decisiveness. The worst of Red is ignorance of consequences and wanton destruction.

Red magic deals with fire and destruction. The Red-aligned individual is a passionate adventurer. The iconic Red-aligned races are Dragons and Goblins. The iconic Red-aligned class is Barbarian.

Green

Instinct, Interdependence, Growth, Nature, Naivete

Green is the magic of growth, nature, adaptation, life.

Everyone has a certain amount of instinct, but it is the driving force of Green. In the forests and jungles from which Green mana flows, there is little time for thought, one must obey their instincts, or they will likely die.

Green’s big theme is nature, in all it’s forms. It is the magic behind the smallest squirrel, and the great thundering wurms. It is the magic behind beautiful gardens, and the serpents slithering beneath the flowers. It is fruit and refreshing streams, but it is also survival of the fittest. It is life, but it’s also death.

Green is very straight forward. Even though many creatures in nature use cunning and stealth, Green isn’t all that good at subterfuge. It may be hidden, but you’ll generally see it when it leaps out to claw your face off. At the same time, nature holds no grudge. It is more than willing to let bygones be bygones, and allow the lion to lay down with the lamb. When the lion gets hungry, well, the lamb will probably die, but it’s body will feed the lion, and what isn’t eaten will feed the soil from which the plants grow.

Green’s highest goal is growth. It doesn’t care how it grows, and it doesn’t care why. Plants will grow fertilized by night soil just as readily as they will the bodies of a thousand soldiers. Green doesn’t care. It merely consumes the resources available to it, and uses them to grow bigger. It’s other goal is “the natural order.” However, anyone who has looked hard enough knows that a great many things are natural. From jellyfish which are each the result of long chains of dying and reanimating “zombies” to mothers eating their own offspring to survive lean times.

All of life is interconnected, most obviously in the pattern of predator and prey, and so too, often, are Green-aligned creatures. The elves, for example, are a race which grows healthier and better as more elves are born.

Green, at it’s best, is nurturing. It fosters life and growth, and acts quickly. While Red acts quickly because it doesn’t care about consequences, Green acts quickly because it instinctively knows what to do. At it’s worst, Green doesn’t care to think, and acts viciously.

Green magic brings mana, and most readily summons creatures. The Green-aligned individual is often either a nature-protecting druid, or a machine-choking, flesh rending berserker. They care very much about nature, and mistrust the tools of industry. The iconic Green-aligned races are Elves and Centaurs. The iconic Green-aligned class is Druid.