Open Table: June 6

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RSVP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This is an open table invitation. Only respond if you are able to attend. If you sign up but are no longer able to attend, please let me know as soon as possible (and I don’t need to know why.) The game will go forward as long as there are 2 confirmed players plus myself.

Attendance is first come, first serve for five players. You RSVP here, then I confirm with you. If I do not confirm with you, then you will be on the waiting list and I will notify you if a spot opens up. 

Please make a character ahead of time. We play on Roll20 here: https://app.roll20.net/join/5979643/fXhc5g

Need rules? Here’s the quick start. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296327/Axes-and-Anvils-Quickstart-Rules?manufacturers_id=5544

These are the adventures of Clan Rumbleseed. You can read about the clan and their exploits so far here. https://axesandanvils.com/play-reports/

So what’s the plan?

Clan Rumbleseed has assembled an expedition to probe the entry to the Various Gardens, a territory adjacent to the clan’s holdings. Families have sent delegates to assure fair play in exploring the new territory. Everything should go smoothly with all these experts on hand, right?

RSVP:

  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Dunn Family
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Dunn Family
  • Vanmil Glowhide (Kriss)

“Under the Mountain” is the Deal of the Day!

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“Axes and Anvils” GM book “Under the Mountain” is the Deal of the Day at DriveThruRPG today! The $15 .pdf is on sale for $6 today only.

This book has the rules for the game in the first half, and the second half is GM generators and tools. If you want rules for playing humans and elves (as well as dwarves), mass combat, GM-less play, collaborative setting development, monster randomizer and benchmarks, and more, this is the book for you. The book concludes with an analysis and summary of the GM role in the unique context of an Axes and Anvils game.

Check it out!

utm cover

GM Book

Guiding Ancestor Runes (Enchanter Upgrade)

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GUIDING ANCESTOR RUNES (ENCHANTER UPGRADE)

  • Ancestral Shield. The bonded bearer of the rune retrieves a glimmering echo of an ancestor in the line. This ancestor can assist, in combat or a challenge and/or risk test. It usually takes a full round and a Resolve to manifest the ancestor, who can assist for up to an hour, for one scene or one fight. A Resolve may also be spent to manifest the ancestor for a single round as a free action. This ancestor counts as one of the two maximum assistants a character can have.
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that can summon two ancestors, manifest them more clearly and in a more articulate way, or more visibly or tangibly, for longer times. These bear costs related to legacy and bloodline in addition to permanent Vitality.
  • Ancestral Lookout. The bonded bearer of the rune retrieves a glimmering echo of an ancestor in the line who can stand guard for 1 shift, 4 hours, automatically waking the bearer if detecting something unusual. The echo can also scout up to a mile away, moving about as well as a dwarf would. Ancestors chosen as lookouts and scouts tend to be ones who had primary skill in those roles. If the lookout is attacked, it dissipates, and the bearer gets a fleeting impression of what did it. The lookout cannot fight.
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that can fly, move through walls, act with greater intelligence, connect with the bearer as though scrying, and detect supernatural energy. These iterations tend to manifest remarkable traits in the ancestor they echo. Most only bond with bearers from the same family, whether by blood, by having the same Guiding Saying, adopting the same mission, or by living out of similar perspectives.
  • Ancestral Rebodying. These runes can bond an ancestral spirit to an animal that the ancestor had an affinity to in life. The animal gains the ability to talk, and takes on shades of the ancestor’s personality and memories. An enchanter can spend 1 Vitality to coax the ancestor’s shadow into the animal for a brief conversation, or 1 permanent Resolve to bond the ancestor to the animal for the rest of the animal’s lifespan. A permanent bonding is a challenge/risk test, where the risk is breaking the rune and losing the spirit echo and the challenge is sucessful bonding; neither success nor failure means the bond doesn’t work, the Resolve is not lost, and the enchanter can try again with another animal (but that particular one will never work for that echo.)
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that bring physical mutation to a hybrid animal/dwarf, or allow the fusion to use one or more abilities the ancestor had in life. There are cheaper versions that only bring forward one or two aspects of the echo. Some versions retain the memories the echo earns in each body and conversations, others start from the reset point each time, others don’t bring memories only personality and some abilities.

Guardians of the Nest

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Clan Rumbleseed, played 4.25.20 IRL (in real life) and 10/25/2121 IG (in game).

  • Miraeg Dunn (Jonathan) Leader, Performer, Mechanic.
  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Support, Gunsmith, Engineer.
  • Cagroot Hopstrider (KC) Skirmisher, Brewer, Delver.
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Berserker, Chef, Healer.

Loaded for Bear

The Fellowship left the vent in the hillside and returned to Lebrim Manor’s construction site, performing battle haka and armoring up. They equipped themselves with the best climbing gear they could, including a climbing harness Ivo was experimenting with that could support a human. Ivo asked Justicar Trays to go with them, and he agreed.

As the Fellowship was grimly headed out of the camp, they were met by Magistrate Lyrin. The dwarves swore they were going to prove there were monsters under the hill; the magistrate agreed they would do just that. Unfortunately, that proof wouldn’t shift the growing human conviction that the dwarves were perhaps responsible for the monsters. Frustrated, the dwarves went to take out their feelings on the nest below.

Down Below

They found the vent, following it to the chasm, then to the pit. Cagroot, the best climber, anchored the rope so Miraeg could climb down first. Halfway down, Miraeg was ambushed by a cave pouncer. Thoreson leaped to his aid, rappelling down fast, and Ivo supported with gunfire. The pouncer was slain, and Thoreson and Miraeg reached the bottom of the shaft to face off with more cave pouncers–after the fear drinker psychically assaulted them and left them vulnerable. Concentrated fire from above, blades and brawn below, and the timely intervention of the justicar won the day.

Ivo earnestly persuaded Cagroot and Miraeg to arm themselves with his pistols. Then the Fellowship pursued the fear drinker further in.

The Sprawling Lair

The Fellowship and the justicar came to a more open area with a vent to the sky far above, and some faint bioluminescent nesting filth. The cave pouncers hung back, and a massive “breathless” monster charged the Fellowship as the fear drinker redoubled their panic. A combination of Ivo’s explosive bullets and Thoreson’s massive sword brought the breathless down, and Thoreson dug deep with the blade, imbduing it with the breathless’s dissipating life force.

Cagroot scrambled up the uneven slope towards where the fear drinker lurked, fighting his terror. Miraeg joined him, and was inspired to fire the killing shot that took the fear drinker down. Cagroot climbed up to verify, and he was spotted by the queen of the nest.

Yaas Queen

The hideous bulk reared and hissed, and Cagroot snapped off a couple hollowpoints and blew it away. The Fellowship surveyed the mounds of jelly with basketball sized eggs embedded within, feeling some trepidation. Fortunately the dying queen vented chemical signals that didn’t enrage the cave pouncers, a symbiotic species, so the opportunistic predators began eating the jelly and eggs and ignoring the dwarves.

Thoreson enlisted Cagroot’s help to harvest the queen monster glandular tract to make rare spices, avoiding the gut parasites filling the torso cavity. Miraeg plucked the golden orb eyes from the breathless to keep as glassy trophies. Ivo contemplated how best to bring down the cavern with the few explosives he had on hand; there was a fissure, high up, and he climbed towards it to wedge the grenades in just the right spot. His climbing skills did not match his engineering analysis, and he took a bad tumble, banging his way down the craggy slope to squash into a wad of egg jelly.

Deeper Still

Cagroot noticed a hole behind one of the egg wads, and he had a waking vision where the ghost of the baroness hiding in his life energy retreated to him, begging for help, as the wavering meat forest trembled with the approach of a predator. The echo fever infection in him was nearing a merging point once again with a corrupt psychic field like the one that the baroness’s ghost escaped from in the first place. Cagroot could eject the ghost into that starving field, or shelter her in his own life force. He chose to shelter her.

Cagroot told the Fellowship to face what was down the hole, and he retreated to protect his refugee ghost. Linking up with the justicar, Cagroot found the man babbling non-stop as his stoic silence was shaken apart by supernatural fear.

The Corrupter

Meanwhile, fresh terror tore through the rest of the Fellowship as something in that hole trembled the earth. While Miraeg resisted, and Ivo clamped down on his sanity using his resolve, Thoreson embraced the inexorable sensation and retreated into his berserker fury, diving down the hole.

He confronted the corrupter worm writhing below, noting its bite radius matched the victims in the wreck of Lebrim’s Manor. He charged the foul thing, and the world went red.

When Thoreson regained his senses, seven minutes had passed and he was climbing out of the pit covered in blood not his own. He announced the thing was slain. All of the Fellowship felt the echo fever evaporate. Cagroot saw a dead gleam in Thoreson’s eyes, once again reminding him of the stare of a cave moray.

The ecology of the underground could be complex, and the echo fever projected by the fear drinker had been flavored by the worm thing in the pit. Their fields had interacted, probably boosting each other. It was not a surprise that the two forces had reached some kind of uneasy chemical truce, and settled near the queen nest and the cave pouncers attracted to her service. Still, knocking apart the alliance greatly diminished the threat of the nest.

Return

The Fellowship returned to the surface and hefted their monster trophies back to Lebrim Manor’s construction site. They had a terse exchange with the magistrate, then loaded up the wagon and prepared to leave.

Baron Lebrim came to see them off. He assured them they could come back anytime. The teeth in his smile seemed much too sharp. With that, the Fellowship departed.

Legendary Weapon: Breathless Blade

This two-handed blade can be activated by its bearer by spending a Resolve and a defend action. All foes in melee range count as being targeted by a successful defend action.

The Hotbed: Entry to Rumbleseed’s Delve

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The entry to the Delve is a dwarf gate called the Hotbed. The dwarves see the location as a fortification with a trading post added as something of an afterthought, with a fringe of human settlement that has built up over time (enough that humans now have to get a permit to build near the gate.) Humans see the Hotbed as a permanent town flavored by trade with the dwarves. When humans want to deal with dwarves, they go to the Hotbed.

The Exchange

The central exchange of the settlement is a stepwell with shops built in to the walls. A bright mix of restaurants, merchants, and artists must get permission from the Trade Council to locate in the public exchange. The exchange is rigged to flood should aggressors try to lay siege to the dwarfgate. Beyond the exchange, there is a mix of human and dwarven construction for the families of merchants, workers, and servants as well as the hospitality industry for travelers.

The Trade Council

The Trade Council has seven voting seats, with five dwarves representing Rumbleseed families and two humans. The humans have only had seats for the last two centuries, grudgingly granted to try and reduce tensions between the races. The representation has not eased matters much, since wealthy merchants have taken the human spots and deal with the dwarves from a trade perspective that doesn’t do much to address the concerns of the numerous poor living in and near the Hotbed. Dwarves take care of their own, and expect humans to do the same.

The Greatest Flattery

The last century has seen an economic resistance movement growing up in the Hotbed as artisans gather under the direction of The Polishers, a criminal organization focused on imitation dwarven goods. They study real goods, and hone their skill at crafting forgeries. Adding insult to injury, the organization moves the goods through channels that will do as much damage as possible to the dwarven reputation. Over the last sixty years, eight of the leaders have been caught and punished, but humans crop up as fast as you can uproot them.

The Dragon in the Tower

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Clan Caskbound, played 4.24.20 IRL, 9.10.2121 IG.

This adventure was a Strange Mission, with shared GM duties, classified as History (it really happened!)

  • Devron Leveller (Mark) Berserker. Chosen, Mason.
  • Dandel “The Dan” Deeptunnel (Simon) Berserker. Carouser, Miner, Brewer.
  • Korvask Wyrt (Michael) Vanguard. Enchanter, Scholar.
  • Zuuker (Andrew) Support. Topsider, Brewer.

Return to Ryvolko

The Fellowship returned to Ryvolko and The Beetleback Brewery. They met with Magistrate Plaxton, who dropped in for a drink. He was salty that they withdrew directly overseas and did not check in with Ryvolko. Still, their return was well timed, as the city faced a strange threat. Constructs of water had appeared in the city, and when fought back, they glowed with an arcane sign that belonged to Yaru, a local wizard. Another local wizard, Iskavol, went to check on her tower on a nearby island about an hour away by airship. She left yesterday, and since then three more water constructs have emerged and menaced the city. Would the dwarves take a look?

Roll Tide!

Three massive water constructs converged on the brewhouse, and the Fellowship leaped into action. They broke two down, and narrowly saved the magistrate as the third blew through the wall and targeted him; Korvask defended him as only a vanguard could, and the magistrate struck the killing blow with his hidden prosthetic forearm cannon.

To the Tower

The Fellowship packed up and headed out at once. Nymeer let them take the Sea Scout airship, with Zuuker at the helm (as he was a topsider trained on the controls.) They were well underway when the airship started spraying smoke.

Outside, goblins mounted on bats swirled around the airship, hurling smokebombs, queuing up fire bombs. The Fellowship fired the Sea Scout’s new deck guns at them, then the goblins formed up to all hurl bombs at once and Zuuker fired a heroically aimed shot, blasting one bomb and triggering the others, spraying fire all over the goblins and their bats. They retreated in disarray.

The Portraits and the Door

They reached the lonely tower, and inside they found a foyer with a massive spell set into the floor connected to two portraits of children on the walls. Devron tried to lead the way across the spellwork, but he was repulsed, and the aspect of the portraits darkened and twisted towards something evil.

The Fellowship flanked Devron and charged at the opposite door, hurling him into it with his full berserk momentum, smashing through the door and going deeper into the tower.

The Crossroads Chamber

The other side of the door was stairs going down, and as Devron toppled painfully down them, the rest of the Fellowship followed to discover a chamber with walkways over a central pit with a shaft in the center, supporting an orb. The room got colder, and they spotted Iskavol trapped in the orb.

They approached, and Devron reached through the magical crystal somehow, from his center to its center, bypassing the surface; he could led the Fellowship in, or pull the wizard out. He pulled Iskavol out of the orb to rejoin them, and as he did, the central column cracked and released foul magical waste wraiths that flowed up at the Fellowship, who dispatched them swiftly; Korvask repelled the mystic assault with his Shard Shield, and only Zuuker succumbed to the corrupted monsters harvesting insecurity and fear and armoring themselves with it.

A Net of Orbs

Iskavol earnestly explained that there were ten orbs in the extradimensional interior of the tower, forming the Crossroads, and she knew where the Crucible of Waves was–that would be the one causing these water construct problems. The temperature continued falling in the Crossroads Chamber, so they headed for an exit as the exits were magically iced over. The ice repelled a few attacks, so the Fellowship rammed Devron into the barrier and broke it enough for them to slip through. Iksavol quoth the command word “YehBASsik” and calmed the ice defenses down so they could continue to the chamber with the Crucible of Waves.

A Dragon, Chained

The orb was on a stand, and a 30 foot dragon chained to the floor was dazed and somehow draining its blood in crystal drops, its essence pinning the orb open. The Fellowship examined the situation, and Korvask’s enchanting and scholarly lore combined to reveal that the markings on the orb base were those used by the sea witches; they had somehow infiltrated, and were keeping the portal open using the dragon’s life force. The Fellowship considered trying to go through, but peering through the orb suggested that the other side was crush depth. As they looked through, something on the other side spotted them.

Flood and Fighting

The portal released a column of high-pressure water, with a massive tendril and some horrible sea creatures included. The room began filling with water at an alarming rate, and the dwarves retreated far enough to form a plan.

Iskavol dove into the pool and used her magic to free the dragon from its chains. As it reared up, the tendril from the deep grappled it, and the dragon bit out chunks of its flesh so its acid blood flavored the water. An eel-like swimming nightmare closed with Devron as the rest of the Fellowship dragged Korvask to the stand, where he used his knowledge of mystical writings to dislodge the orb and snap the portal shut.

The severed tendril thrashed around the room, and the flood of water dragged the Fellowship out of the chamber and down the hall towards the deep shaft in the Crossroads Chamber.

A Dragon, Revealed

The injured dragon leaped over the chasm to the central column and sagged down, weakly calling for help. The Fellowship and Iskavol cautiously approached, and the dragon revealed she was Yaru; she asked them to keep her secret, and they agreed.

Iskavol helped Yaru resume her wizard shape, and Yaru explained that the sea witches had somehow infiltrated her tower and caught her unawares, trapping her and draining her life force to hold theCrucible of Waves open. She did not know why they did this, or what they accomplished in addition to sending some water constructs through the streets of Ryvolko (and possibly targeting the magistrate specifically.) The danger was now past, and it was time for the Fellowship to leave the two wizards alone in the tower.

The Fellowship earned 3 Ledger, and this tale is historical.

Movement Runes (Enchanter Upgrade)

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Here is a new upgrade for enchanters who can access Caskbound clan secrets.

MOVEMENT RUNES [ENCHANTERS]

These runes enhance the bearer’s ability to move through an environment.

  • Needs of the Beast. Each of these runes evokes a kind of animal. When activated, these runes convert your needs to the needs of the animal for air, food, or water. Usually runes will focus on one kind of need, but masters can invest more to make broad-spectrum need substitution. These runes are most often used to imitate fish to allow water breathing or imitate desert creatures to minimize water needs. Dark uses for the depraved or desperate can evoke predators and scavengers, to eat raw meat or carrion. Some are cursed, invoking the hunger of birds who need to eat constantly to survive.
  • Grace of the Beast. Each of these runes imitates a movement ability of the animal it evokes. Generally, movement is increased or expanded, and spending a resource can grant a feat of motion. Examples include the wall-scuttling ability of spiders, the patagia gliding of cave lizards, the swimming of sharks, and the leaping of cats.
  • Friction Control. These runes allow the bearer to adjust friction on a touched surface. Some focus on making objects slippery, some focus on greatly increasing resistance to motion, and some are flexible enough to do either or do both with a sliding scale. Motion reducers are often put on locked gauntlets to protect against disarmament, or doors to make them difficult to open while the rune is engaged.

Each rune type has many, many sub types that have specific effects and durations negotiated in exchange for the creation and activation costs.

 

Under Lebrim’s Lands

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Clan Rumbleseed, played 4.18.20 IRL (in real life) and 10/24/2121 IG (in game).

  • Miraeg Dunn (Jonathan) Leader, Performer, Mechanic.
  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Support, Gunsmith, Engineer.
  • Cagroot Hopstrider (KC) Skirmisher, Brewer, Delver.
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Berserker, Chef, Healer.

Return to Lebrim Manor

The Fellowship was granted a mudwagon coach and two Sinlayan guards to smooth out any misunderstandings that might arise along the way. They prepared to return to Lebrim Manor by loading up on a few tunnel supports and excavation supplies, as well as some pitch and torches, equipping themselves at the baron’s expense in town before resting and heading out fresh as the cooling ashes of the baroness were collected from the pyre. The trip was uneventful enough.

Baron Lebrim

Dusk was falling as the Fellowship arrived. Much to their surprise, the burned skeleton of the manse was a work site with a mass of peasants handling excavation. Some rough guards challenged them, and were surprised to hear they had the Marchionesse’s authorization in writing to return and excavate the site. They took the Fellowship to Baron Lebrim.

The slender young baron was sobered by their story and their admission that they detonated explosives in his basement while he was not home. As he introduced them to Magistrate Lyrin and they noticed Justicar Trays in the background, along with more soldiers and justicars, they began to suspect that the narrative wasn’t coming together in their favor.

Magistrate Lyrin thought bandits were behind it, but with the admission that the Fellowship detonated a bomb, that clarifies some of the puzzles the investigation was wrestling with.

The Baron’s Story

According to Lebrim, he went on a hunting trip on his lands with the visiting nobles, but on the way back his horse threw a shoe, so he sent them ahead and took his time gentling his horse back. Upon his return, the house was in flames and everyone was missing; in town, emissaries from the families of those who were missing awaited word of their fate.

This story did not match well with the dwarven account of an empty house with corpses that had been dead for days, but rose to fight, and wild tales of echoes and heartbeats and ghosts. The magistrate promised to dust for brittlestone to see if any traces were present. Cagroot had a chilling moment as he looked into the baron’s eyes and saw the flat soulless eyes of a cave moray staring into his soul. Then the baron smiled, and the moment was past.

Camp Cooking

Fed up with the frustrating questioning, Thoreson reacted towards the smell of the spitted deer cooking on spits to feed the guards and work crews. He bustled in to the cooking area and told the  people they were cooking the deer wrong, then he expertly adjusted the cut of the meat on the hot spit and added custom spices and vegetables in the carcass, creating a mouth-watering treat out of the gristly corpse. While most of the peasants were overawed and frightened by the dwarf among them, an old woman named Hetty thought he was great (and she was basically in charge.) The spiced venison was a hit with the workers.

As he returned to where the rest of the Fellowship was answering questions first to the magistrate then to the justicar, he smelled an underground predator, cave pouncer, boiling. You never boil cave pouncer–and you also don’t find them on the surface. He investigated, and found a foolish peasant cook who insisted it was cream of bunny stew. Disgusted, Thoreson left him to it and returned to the Fellowship.

Independent Verification

Not only was the magistrate questioning each of the Fellowship, his justicar duplicated the work so they could cross-check the stories. They also dispatched a couple riders to Rennet Hall to verify the story on that end as well. The Fellowship was generally cooperative, except Ivo, who ran out of patience with the questioning as though their word was questionable or their story would change.

By the time the Fellowship had a chance to have a private conversation in grim tones about what to do next, it was almost midnight. Justicar Trays continued monitoring them from a distance, unobtrusive and everpresent.

Into the Foundation

In the pre-dawn bustle, the dwarves approached the foreman, Carwyn, and offered him beer in exchange for a chance to look through the rubble in the foundation. Reluctant, Carwyn allowed them access, as long as they didn’t get him in trouble with Baron Lebrim.

Thoreson and Cagroot looked for monster sign in the rubble while Ivo and Miraeg questioned Carwyn. Carwyn explained that there had been no corpses found, and he didn’t have specialized skill; he was a carpenter, not an engineer, so he wasn’t much help on discussing structural issues. In the foundation, the corpses were gone; the fire could not have reduced their bones, the bodies would still be in the rubble, so their absence was a mystery. The area of the cellar with a hole going deeper was still buried under the collapsed sitting room.

Cagroot found a charred bit of monster meet and some carmelized slime–proof enough to satisfy an expert, but the ignorant humans were unlikely to find it compelling. He had a dizzy moment, hearing the heartbeat again, and sensing Baron Lebrim’s eyes flicking open. The dwarves responded to Carwyn’s plea that they take off before he was reported to the baron for letting them poke around, against orders.

The Woodsman’s Bounty

Hetty was waiting for them, and she had Elyes the woodsman with them. She heard about a story he told, and made him tell the Fellowship as she punctuated the story with swats from her wooden spoon. Elyes confessed the stew was not rabbit meat, he found a creature and used its meat. It’s all protein, right?

Elyes led the Fellowship into the woods a short walk, up the shoulder of the hill overlooking the mansion. There was a cave entry in the hill, and inside is where he found the cave pouncers, ambushing one with his shortbow. The Fellowship approached Justicar Trays (who had followed them) and asked him to go in with them; Elyes was not willing to go in. The justicar agreed, and the Fellowship lit torches and headed into the vent.

Under Lebrim’s Hills

The woodsman had butchered a couple cave pouncers just inside where the cave opened up; he shot them from ambush. The Fellowship continued deeper in the chasm corridor, and they were attacked by cave pouncers. They boldly slew the ambush predators, who were first repulsed to follow up with another attack.

At the end of the deep corridor, they found a pit that dropped over sixty feet down (they tossed a torch and measured.) The pit stank of cave pouncers, and something worse; and Cagroot felt that damned heartbeat throb again. This time, in this context, it clicked and he realized part of what he was feeling.

As a delver, he knew of feardrinkers, horrible spidery monsters that were slow and weak but manipulated mood and infected victims with echo fever. That’s what he and Ivo had suffered from at Lebrim Manor the first time, and what twisted in him now; but it had merged with something else. Feardrinkers were symbiotic predators, working with super predators to make prey sloppy and fearful, easy pickings; they were content with carrion and leftovers. Cagroot felt the pale, empty eyes of a feardrinker somewhere below. But the echo fever was twisted through something else; the fear drinker had found a partner, and it was somewhere below.

Next Steps

The Fellowship had not brought climbing gear, and they were not sure this was the moment to go after what was below; no one knew where they were, and the justicar was with them. They withdrew, resolved to arm up and return with gear to drive this threat away from the surface and clear their names.

They earned 2 Ledger (deferred until they could Tell the Tale.)

Sustainer Runes (Enchanter Upgrade)

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Here is a new upgrade for enchanters who can access Rumbleseed clan secrets.

SUSTAINER RUNES [ENCHANTERS]

These runes are only available to the law enforcement enchanters of Clan Rumbleseed. Criminals do not serve prison sentences. They are banished, executed, and/or punished with sustainer runes. The runes come with a price in Vitality or Resolve that may be extracted, usually a month at a time for Vitality or a year at a time for permanent Resolve, and during that time the criminal must stay near the runes they fuel.

Criminals can gain no Ledger until their sustainer debts are paid.

A Resolve costs can be used to power a penal exchange, often an anvil, hammer, or bellows. One Resolve powers the exchange for about a decade and allows it to hold up to 10 Vitality (more can increase capacity or duration). The exchange can have Vitality costs linked to it. All enchanted objects created with sustainer rune power belong to the clan, to be assigned to temporary bearers by the archon.

So, a settlement might have the Punishing Table, a big anvil, and once a decade a Resolve cost bolsters its connection to the sustainer runes. For that decade, all the Vitality costs meted out can feed into that Punishing Table to be spent on crafting other runes, using those costs instead of the Enchanter’s personal Vitality.

  • Vitality Tribute. The bearer of this rune is assigned 2-10 permanent Vitality cost, and ordered to remain within 1 mile of the exchange until the cost is paid at the rate of 1 Vitality per month. Leaving before the cost is paid causes a destructive energy cascade that burns out 2 permanent Vitality per 1 left unpaid.
  • Resolve Tribute. The bearer of this rune is assigned 1-3 permanent Resolve cost, and ordered to remain within 1 mile of the exchange until the cost is paid at the rate of 1 Resolve per year. Leaving before the cost is paid causes a destructive energy cascade that burns out 2 permanent Resolve per 1 left unpaid.
  • Absolution. Effectively a pardon, this rune restores up to 10 permanent Vitality or 3 permanent Resolve to the bearer of a tribute rune. This energy can come from a linked exchange, or if used to right a wrong, can come from a tribute rune put on another dwarf (who is often assigned service to the one wronged until the debt is paid.) In that case the bearer of the absolution rune must remain near the source of the incoming energy for a week per Vitality or a month per Resolve (though longer time frames can be built in.) Absolution runes cannot restore more Vitality or Resolve than tribute runes cost.

Here are some tributes demanded for crimes, for scale. Each one is 1 heavier per prestige upgrade of the victim.

  • Murdering a clanmate. 4 Vitality.
  • Murdering a Master. 6 Vitality.
  • Conspiring against the archon. 4 Vitality.
  • Assaulting the archon. 6 Vitality then banishment.
  • Killing the archon. 8 Vitality then banishment.
  • Conspiring to sabotage an exchange. 4 Vitality.
  • Destroying an exchange. 1 Resolve.
  • Sharing clan secrets. 1 Resolve.

 

Crystal Light

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Clan Caskbound, played 4.17.20 IRL, 8.30.2121 IG.

  • Devron Leveller (Mark) Berserker. Chosen, Mason.
  • Dandel “The Dan” Deeptunnel (Simon) Berserker. Carouser, Miner, Brewer.
  • Korvask Wyrt (Michael) Vanguard. Enchanter, Scholar.

The Fellowship returned to Whiskey Forge in Stoneshadow. On the airship trip back from the skyfall crater, Korvask felt unsettled, the Nexus of the Mind Shards uneasy in his bones.

Delivering the Gift

The Fellowship immediately got an audience with subarchon Sabado and told him about the Nexus. He was not an expert, but could understand the potential implications of what they retrieved, so he arranged for an audience with Archon Basrencru, who placed a Friendship Rune with his seal on a clay tablet for them to authorize a visit to the Veinsluice Forge and a meeting with Master Smith Eelee. Helbek was also summoned, as an expert scholar and treasure of the clan; he was delighted at the possibilities of what Korvask had retrieved and carried within.

Veinsluice Forge

The Fellowship passed through the central exchange of the clanhome, taking in the sights and sounds of the Remembrance Day celebration of all dwarves who fell in service to the clan. Moving deep under the clanhome, they placed the Friendship tablet in the belt buckle of the giant stone guardian statue protecting the forge, which was the museum, vault, and prestige crafting center of the clan. The statue allowed them passage through the deep vent corridor, the only way in and out of the heavily warded and protected compound below.

They witnessed the glorious 30 foot tall statue carved by Mad Marga; it was one of her signature sculpts, so obviously nude, but draped in canvas. Within was an Ur Shadow, cosmic energy traces left behind by Hellifino.

Master Smith Eelee and her apprentice Kaskel met them, and MS Eelee suggested relocating the Nexus to coat the wall behind the statue would be excellent placement. Then she went off with Helbek to review some of the new pieces while Kaskel offered hospitality to the Fellowship (after pitching the idea that heroes like them could ease the way for an enterprising adept smith to found a master forge in Khundrukar.)

The Portal

The Dan was at loose ends, but Devron invoked Hellifino and the Gods of Ur, drawing on the Ur Shadow, ritually blessing Korvask and attuning to this chamber. Korvask meditated on Caskbound and the ancestors and the Gods of Ur. Something else was in the energy of the Nexus, a hostile force; it stirred, taking in all the focus on dwarven ancestors from the festival above, possibly reaching out into the guardian statue, now perhaps posing a danger as the dwarves attuned to it and to this warded place.

A shimmering crystal pool formed, an interface to again enter the Nexus. Korvask extruded two mind shards so his companions could escort him, and together the Fellowship delved into the Nexus.

The Founder’s Shadow

Moving into the crystalline cave-like environment, steeped in a red-tinged yellow glow, they explored the other-dimensional space. Traces they left behind pulled together to form a giant stone dwarf shaped like the clan’s founder, who came at them with a massive shield and hammer. They battled the echo, and put it down. As it crumbled, they continued following the light, closer to the heart of the Nexus, looking for the force that resisted them.

The Crystal Guardian

Cinder-bodied behemoths with crystal armor and weapons lurched out of the walls at them, and desperate battle followed. They survived, smashing the hulks apart, and Korvask spotted the energy trace that was flowing through the crystal forming their opposition. His recognition forced it into a liquid crystal form, and it snapped out blades and attacked.

The Dan smashed it with one hit, seemingly, as it sprayed apart to avoid his blow. It re-formed and surged at them, impaling them on crystal spikes, vicious and fluid; the more they hit it, the more pixelated it became, unable to render its smooth shapes with such ease.

Finally Korvask launched at it with a devastating shield bash, knocking it apart, arresting its energy in a frozen kernel in the crystal. As he drove his shield through its essence, he captured some of that essence in the defensive weapon.

The Heart of the Nexus

A liquid crystal form rose, freed from within the defensive shape that had grown around it, and accepted the dwarves (specifically Kovask) as its guardian shape. They were gently returned to the surface, and the Nexus swelled up around the statue and up the back wall, gleaming with yellow light (and dislodging the canvas around the magnificent nude statue.) Korvask decided to stay connected to the Nexus. Devron offered worship to Hellifino for their victory, and for the new crown jewel of the Veinsluice Forge.

The Shield Shard

This sturdy vanguard style metal shield can attune to its bearer. In combat, the bearer can choose an incoming attack to dispel, and the shield flies apart under the impact, inflicting 4 Vitality to everyone (but the bearer) in melee range and totally negating the hit. If the bearer chooses to use this ability after damage is revealed, the bearer must spend 1 Resolve. The shield can reform in about 1 minute if the bearer spends Resolve, or 1 hour on its own.