700 years after the Flames

Rebuilding the world in the wake of the Great Rain of Fire.

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700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:03 pm

The Mystara 2300 BC setting occurs 700 years after the Great Rain of Fire, which was caused by the fall of Blackmoor. Although Blackmoor is little more than myth in the modern era, in BC 2300 its legends and artifacts would have been more commonplace, and very much in the minds of the inhabitants of this era. Some of the oldest living elves could have actually viewed the event themselves (the oldest being perhaps 100 years old at the time of the catastrophe), while dwarves would be one or two generations removed from the event. For humans this would be much more… however reminders of the once great nation would be much more apparent.

Exactly what would such reminders consist of? I have a few artifacts/magical items that I’ve been thinking about that I’d like to share below, and I’m very curious to see if other folks have any other ideas.

One classification of magical items I’ve been contemplating (thanks in large part to RobJN’s work on Thorn’s Chronicles) are the “intelligence receptacles”:

Stored Intelligence
These items simply store information allowing users to easily access it at a later time.

Ethereal Advisor: Created as brooches or amulets, these items store the collective knowledge of experts in a specific field (typically historic military information). The Advisor can be asked a number of questions per day related to its field, and will answer truthfully and to the best of its abilities, however Ethereal Advisors do not have the capacity to make any kind of decisions – they only provide information.

Personality Echo: A small piece of jewelry used among the Blackmoorian nobility, a Personality Echo records the personality of the wearer throughout their lifetime. When passed down to younger members in the family line, the Echo can provide valuable opinions (based on the personality of the original owner), although it does not contain any specific knowledge or information.

Transferred Intelligence
These items store and maintain an individual creature’s entire “intelligence” or essence. Some strip portions of that intelligence (such as ambition or emotion) to make dealing with such entities easier.

Heirloom Brooch: Some Blackmoorian noble lines took to the practice of wearing Heirloom Brooches. These trinkets were worn throughout the life of the noble, and were able to “record” the knowledge and personality of the wearer during that time. Upon death, the brooch was placed in an Heirloom Vault – a location accessible by future generations of the family line. Various brooches (and their stored personalities) could then be consulted during times of family crisis.

Techno-lich Shard: These small dark crystals, based on the same principles of Heirloom Brooch, are able to capture the wearer’s “essence” during a special ceremony that culminates in the physical death of the wearer’s body. Unlike the Brooches however, these shards are designed to be placed in an artificially constructed body of stone, steel, and wood. Many powerful wizards, in the late Blackmoorian era, transferred their intellects into such shards in order to prolong their lives. Unfortunately these transferences rarely maintained attributes of the psyche such as morality and emotion.

Ethereal Seneschal: These large crystal balls could store all of the knowledge and intelligence (although rarely the personality and emotions) of a trusted advisor – typically an expert in a particular field. They would then be incorporated into a large vessel (such as a ship) or stationary structure (such as a castle or fortification). The Ethereal Seneschal could then take over many of the mundane operations of the facility that they control. Some Seneschals also have the ability to manifest as an illusory image of their former selves anywhere within their domain.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:43 am

Very cool stuff!
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:44 pm

Thanks :D. Now for a more specific magical item:

Karvain’s Crystal Garden
Description: Dagor Karvain, a warrior hero instrumental in expanding Blackmoor’s borders during the formative years of that empire, was one of the first individuals to wear an Heirloom Brooch. Each of his descendants in turn wore one, often several in every generation, and their Brooches were added to the family crypt when they passed on.

The Garden’s base is a slab of Andahar Onyx two square feet in area, and about four inches thick. Crystal brooches, amulets, and other fantastic pieces of jewelry are laid about the stone block, embedded in a scale model of the ancestral Karvain castle, which at its height, was surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with flora from across the globe.

History: Dagor was born of the peasantry in the wilds of Blackmoor and through skill and cunning, clawed his way into the ranks of nobility. He commissioned the model of his castle to serve as his crypt, instructing his descendants to keep his Heirloom Brooch there for all times. Those of his line following him did the same for generations, incorporating their own Brooches to the castle in ways commemorating their lifetime’s accomplishments.

Advised by Dagor’s shade from beyond the grave, House Karvain continued to grow and prosper. Never content with what he had, Dagor would urge his descendants to strive for more. House Karvain, and the Crystal Garden along with them, were always at the forefront of Blackmoor’s expanding borders. Edine Karvain, the last Matron of the House, brought the garden with her when she left to fight in the Beastmen Crusades

Powers: With the addition of Heirloom Brooches from so many powerful figures in Blackmoorian history, Karvain’s Crystal Garden has literally taken on a life of its own. The near artifact is the anchor point for a small demi-plane in the shape of Dagor Karvain’s ancestral castle… which Dagor and all of his descendants continue to occupy.

  • Once per day the inhabitants of the Garden may be asked up to three questions, which they will answer as truthfully as possible. Inhabitants must be called by name (which may require some research on the user’s part) and can only answer based on knowledge they acquired in life or during their stay at the castle.
  • Once per week the castle can send forth a shade to advise the user. The shade must be called by name (which may require some research on the user’s part), and can provide the user with expertise based on their skillset in life.
  • Once per month the Garden can transport a user to the castle’s demi-plane as an astral projection. The user can stay in the castle indefinitely, interacting with its inhabitants normally, though their true body is left behind and must be cared for. Should their body die while they are in the castle, their spirit becomes trapped within the demi-plane. There is a 1% chance each time the Garden is used in this way that Dagor will possess the user’s body, leaving their spirit trapped in the castle while he once again walks in the land of the living. This chance increased to 5% for any user that is directly descended from the Karvain line.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Seer of Yhog » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:48 pm

This is really cool! You noted above that a person's personality and knowledge are transferred to an Heirloom Brooch. Given Dagor's ambitions (in life and afterwards) I could see him becoming a false villain in a campaign - basically someone who acts in ways that harm others, but once their motives are truly understood it all falls into the proper context.

This makes me wonder, however, what kind of unfinished business he might have had at the time of his death. Raw ambition is fine, but I think someone like him needs something more. As I recall, in the earlier period Thonia was still very much the dominant position, with Blackmoorians being regarded as colonial bumpkins. Maybe his eldest son was poised to marry into an influential family of High Thonian stock, but the merger was called off once Dagor's humble origins became widely known (his status as a hero allowed him to erase his past up to that point)? If so, Dagor has a major axe to grind, and his desire to live on through his descendants is a way of getting even - he won't rest until his bloodline flourishes, and nothing less will do than having some remote grandson or granddaughter on the throne of the most powerful nation of the day.

Just a thought. :)
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:35 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:This is really cool! You noted above that a person's personality and knowledge are transferred to an Heirloom Brooch. Given Dagor's ambitions (in life and afterwards) I could see him becoming a false villain in a campaign - basically someone who acts in ways that harm others, but once their motives are truly understood it all falls into the proper context.

I like that idea a lot. Another thing I've been thinking is that Dagor might not be the only dominant personality inside of the demi-plane. Over the decades and centuries that other Karvains became "interred" in the Garden, I'm sure that a few more could have motivations all of their own (and perhaps even at odds with Dagor). I may put some more thought into what other personalities could be encountered in the Garden, and how they might interact with mortals back in the world of the living.

Seer of Yhog wrote:This makes me wonder, however, what kind of unfinished business he might have had at the time of his death. Raw ambition is fine, but I think someone like him needs something more. As I recall, in the earlier period Thonia was still very much the dominant position, with Blackmoorians being regarded as colonial bumpkins. Maybe his eldest son was poised to marry into an influential family of High Thonian stock, but the merger was called off once Dagor's humble origins became widely known (his status as a hero allowed him to erase his past up to that point)? If so, Dagor has a major axe to grind, and his desire to live on through his descendants is a way of getting even - he won't rest until his bloodline flourishes, and nothing less will do than having some remote grandson or granddaughter on the throne of the most powerful nation of the day.

I agree with the idea of giving Dagor some compelling motivation for doing what he does... but I'm not sure yet what exactly that might be.

Here's another thought - given that a BC 2300 campaign would typically be run on Brun (in the KW region), then who exactly would Dagor's descendants be? My initial thought was that one of the dwarven movers and shakers would have possession of this magical item, but I really like the idea that Dagor would be "searching" for one of his own descendants. Here are some possibilities:

1) If the Taymorans are descended from Thonian bloodlines, then it is possible that some of Dagor's descendants could be found here.
2) I suppose any of the Neathar tribes in the area (Makai and Toralai) could have sheltered/integrated Blackmoorian descendants in the area.
3) With Mogreth bringing slaves over from the Dawn Lands, I suppose even some older Thonian blood could find its way roaming about the place in BC 2300.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:36 pm

Heart of Mohgre Bale

Description: The Heart of Mohgre Bale appears to be a clockwork heart made from platinum and silver. At its center is a large sapphire in the shape of a spindle. Gears within the Heart pump the spindle like a piston, causing a low frequency thumping sound to emit from the device.

History: Mogren Balfor was the General of Blackmoor’s Western Crusade and commander of Earthshaker Base Uthorrad. When he and his commanders realized the catastrophic extent of the Great Rain of Fire, and that Blackmoor had been obliterated, he made a fateful decision. Surrounded by beastmen with no hope for reinforcements, Mogren and his top lieutenants decided to continue their fight from beyond the grave. Many of them, including Mogren were able to modify their Heirloom Brooches into techno-lich shards, and completed their ceremonies of transformation even as the beastmen stormed their fortress.

Uthorrad was renamed Urzud by the beastmen, and Mogren Balfor transformed himself into the techno-lich Mohgre Bale. Unfortunately Mohgre Bale retained few of Balfor’s convictions and rather than exterminate the invading beastmen, Bale meant to bend them to his will.

Powers: Although the Heart has several inherit properties, its real power is seen when it comes into contact with a construct of any kind. Gears and metallic filaments invade the construct, embedding the heart at its center, and eventually rebuilding it in Mohgre Bale’s image. Should Bale’s construct body ever be destroyed, and the Heart recovered, it also possesses the following properties:

  • Any magic user in possession of the Heart receives a bonus to casting spells in the school of necromancy.
  • Once per day the Heart can be used to usurp control over any non-living construct. The owner of the Heart can command the construct for 2d4 rounds before control is again lost. Earch round that the construct is under control there is a chance (5% cumulative) that it will ignore the commands of the Heart’s owner and instead attempt to retrieve the Heart. If successful, Mohgre Bale will be “reborn”.
Last edited by Chimpman on Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:46 pm

Resonance Mines

At first sight, a Resonance Mine looks like nothing more than a very elaborately framed mirror: a flat, reflective disk, roughly 3 feet in diameter, framed with woven platinum, gold and silver, with notches around the frame, where some sort of decorations appear to've been knocked loose. These are still unearthed with some regularity by farmers in the habitable areas of the Borean Valley, and the farmers are left to wonder just how vain and decadent their ancestors were.

So long as the sockets are left empty, the device functions just like the mirror it resembles.

The "mirror" is actually a plane of fused diamond, the matrix of which is precisely tuned. The control and arming mechanism is one of several dragonstones, cut to fit into the socket at the base of the device. Depending on the color of the stone used, the Resonance Mine has one of several effects. Resonance Mines were buried by the thousands across the battlefields of the Beastman Crusades.

Red: Spell Absorption/Amplification: the Mine "listens" for spellcasters within 10 feet. When a spell is cast, the device activates, absorbing the spell. A second red dragonstone mounted in the frame enables the release of the stored magic (at up to three times the strength of the original caster, depending on the number of additional red dragonstones: 1x for the second stone, 2x for the third, 3x for four red dragonstones).

Black: See no Evil, Hear no Evil: the Mine detonates when a sentient, corporeal being crosses over it, dealing no damage, but releasing the stored effects of Silence 15' radius and Blindness spells. Any other Mines within the "blast" will likewise detonate. The spells' area is doubled for every additional black or red stone mounted in the frame.

Green: Time to Kill: on detonating (as a Black, above), the stored effect of Slow and Cloudkill or Ice Storm is dispersed. If coupled with a red dragonstone, the Cloudkill becomes an Explosive Cloud. Coupled with a black dragonstone, the cloud manifests Continual Darkness in addition to the Cloudkill effect.

Blue: Enlightenment, reversed: the Resonance Mine manifests a Call Lignthing effect, discharging the maximum number of lightning bolts in an area centered around the Mine. Additional blue dragonstones will generate Confusion and/or Feeblemind. Coupled with a red dragonstone, these mines have been known to generate chains of Earthquakes.

Spell effects are cast as if by a 15th level caster. Once the mine's effect(s) run their course, the dragonstones shatter into fine powder. The fused-diamond lens can be re-used a maximum of five times before it cracks.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:58 pm

Nice Rob! Can we expect to see something like this showing up in Thorn's path sometime soon :twisted:
RobJN wrote:Resonance Mines
...
Red: Spell Absorption/Amplification: the Mine "listens" for spellcasters within 10 feet. When a spell is cast, the device activates, absorbing the spell. A second red dragonstone mounted in the frame enables the release of the stored magic (at up to three times the strength of the original caster, depending on the number of additional red dragonstones: 1x for the second stone, 2x for the third, 3x for four red dragonstones).

This I could see being put to a bunch of other uses as well... If I were a warrior king/commander, I think I'd have one of these built into my throne. I could see this finding some use on mobile war machines as well... though the range is short. But it could protect troops from any close up magical attacks.

RobJN wrote:Blue: Enlightenment, reversed: the Resonance Mine manifests a Call Lignthing effect, discharging the maximum number of lightning bolts in an area centered around the Mine. Additional blue dragonstones will generate Confusion and/or Feeblemind. Coupled with a red dragonstone, these mines have been known to generate chains of Earthquakes.

I'm assuming that this one has the same trigger as the Black and Green above (ie someone walking over it)?

How widespread do you see the use of such mines being? Is this something that Blackmoor would have used on the general battle ground, or is it something designed more towards security (being placed around wizard's towers or dungeons and such)? I can almost envision a sort of technomantic "Clan Relic" that might generate these mirror disks as part of a relic ritual or something.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:02 pm

Chimpman wrote:Nice Rob! Can we expect to see something like this showing up in Thorn's path sometime soon :twisted:

Not until Thorn & company reach the Borean Valley and/or Skothar....
Chimpman wrote:
RobJN wrote:Resonance Mines
...
Red: Spell Absorption/Amplification: the Mine "listens" for spellcasters within 10 feet. When a spell is cast, the device activates, absorbing the spell. A second red dragonstone mounted in the frame enables the release of the stored magic (at up to three times the strength of the original caster, depending on the number of additional red dragonstones: 1x for the second stone, 2x for the third, 3x for four red dragonstones).

This I could see being put to a bunch of other uses as well... If I were a warrior king/commander, I think I'd have one of these built into my throne. I could see this finding some use on mobile war machines as well... though the range is short. But it could protect troops from any close up magical attacks.

Up-close protection is what the sirens were for. If Silva had had nine other sirens with her instead of the girls, they could have shielded the entire town of Threshold against the demonic trees, rather than just the arc of wall directly in the path of the advancing forest....

Chimpman wrote:
RobJN wrote:Blue: Enlightenment, reversed: the Resonance Mine manifests a Call Lignthing effect, discharging the maximum number of lightning bolts in an area centered around the Mine. Additional blue dragonstones will generate Confusion and/or Feeblemind. Coupled with a red dragonstone, these mines have been known to generate chains of Earthquakes.

I'm assuming that this one has the same trigger as the Black and Green above (ie someone walking over it)?

Yes, same trigger. Basically, vermin and mindless undead wouldn't trigger one of these babies.

Chimpman wrote:How widespread do you see the use of such mines being? Is this something that Blackmoor would have used on the general battle ground, or is it something designed more towards security (being placed around wizard's towers or dungeons and such)? I can almost envision a sort of technomantic "Clan Relic" that might generate these mirror disks as part of a relic ritual or something.

Being designed to break up masses of troops, Resonance Mines had as wide a dispersal field as crystallomancers could coax from the focus lenses. No doubt smaller versions were used in high security facilities, attuned to spells such as Hold Person, Force Field, Maze, etc.
Resonance Mines saw major use around the Blackmoor colonies, particularly those closest to the front lines of the various battlefields. They were particularly effective in the mountain passes. :twisted:

If not by magic, then technomagic, certainly. Remember, Aurora's off-hand comment about gemstones. :shock:
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:36 am

I was flipping through the 3E Manual of the Planes while ruminating over some ideas for Rob's Throne of Stars campaign, and this idea jumped out at me.

The Aetherweb
Discovery of the Aetherweb was made during the later days of Blackmoor, found by while an expedition from the University was exploring the Ethereal Plane. Long thought devoid of life, the Ethereal proved to still hold surprises for the Blackmoorians exploring it. When the fateful expedition stumbled upon a patch of ethereal webs stretching out across the gray void they were astonished. Following one of the leads led them to a forest of ethereal cobwebs nearly overflowing with bizarre spider-like creatures.

For nearly a generation the Blackmoorians studied the phenomena, eventually realizing that they could control and manipulate it to their advantage. Thus, through the application of technomantic energies and Blackmoorian ingenuity was the Aetherweb born.

The Blackmoorians discovered that they could tap into the Aetherweb from the Material Plane, and that discovery led to what a few refer to as the Aether Age of Blackmoor. The web was a conduit for magical energies and could be used to communicate instantaneously over long distances, cast spells on remote locations, and in certain circumstances even transport objects from one area of the web to another. In the last days of Blackmoor the Aetherweb spanned nearly the entire globe, and was beginning to reach out to other worlds in the solar system as well. As the Aetherweb continued to grow, so too did the range of Blackmoor’s power and influence.

Entire fields developed around the Aetherweb. Aetherseers could collect and transmit information across vast distances with little more than a thought. Telenchanters controlled constructs around the world from remote locations, the most expert among them were even rumored to be able to dominate living creatures. Aetherports ran a thriving business sending packages from one aetherhub to another.

When Blackmoor was destroyed, most of the Aetherweb was consumed by the devastation that followed, thought portions survive even into the modern era. Although many of the connections have faltered, some of the larger aether hubs still survive on the Ethereal Plane. Left to their own devices they are slow to grow, and have reverted to wilder states… but for those who know how, they can still be used to varying effects.

Aether Spiders
The key to controlling the Aetherweb is through the use of Aether Spiders. Aether Spiders are magically enhanced and modified versions of the creatures that naturally create aether webs on the Ethereal Plane. Aether mages harvest these creatures from the natural habitat and subject them to intense magical processes in order to create Aetherweb control devices. Once processed in this way, the spiders take on properties of both living and non-living constructs. Most remain immobile until put into use.

Seer Spiders: Once commanded, these spiders will attach themselves to any non-magical reflective surface in order to create a visual portal through the Aetherweb. Mirrors, crystal globes, objects made of glass, and even calm water all make effective surfaces. Any location connected to the Aetherweb can be viewed, but it is easier to find locations known to the user. Previously unknown locations can be viewed, but may require hours of research before they are found.

Teliospider: Teliospiders are often attached to non-sentient constructs and are used as a means of sending commands to that construct over long distances. Communication is one way, from the operator to the construct, so these devices are often used in conjunction with other means to receive feedback on the construct’s condition.

Aethershifter: An Aethershifter can latch onto small objects (no larger than a closed fist) and transport them through the Aetherweb. Aethershifters are attuned to a specific aetherhub and will always return objects to that specific location.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Havard » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:08 am

This is interesting!

I like how the Throne of Stars game is already beginning to spawn ideas.

The idea of a Blackmoorian Internet, called the Interzone, has already been mentioned in some older fan material:

(one of these was John Rafiel, a nuclear technomantic theoretician turned philosopher who worked with sensory deprivation, cybernetics and the InterZone (the Mystaran "Internet", tied into the various energies of the Outer Planes) seeking answers to the chaos that had engulfed the world).


Source: http://www.pandius.com/ageblack.html

I think the idea was that Rafiel being logged into the InterZone was part of why he survived the GRoF.

However, I also like these new ideas with the Aetherweb. The name is a good one too, but especially of these "spiders" and the idea that you could transport more than just information. Very interesting!

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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Cthulhudrew » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:46 pm

Aether Spiders make me think of TRON's Grid Bugs (original movie).

Interesting idea!
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Culture20 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:44 pm

The Aetherweb could be similar to the magic that the Great Magus of Herath uses (the "sensing web").
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:00 am

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Gecko » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:31 pm

RobJN wrote:I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


There's a newsletter now? I'd better subscribe as well. :lol:

Chimpman wrote:I was flipping through the 3E Manual of the Planes while ruminating over some ideas for Rob's Throne of Stars campaign, and this idea jumped out at me.

The Aetherweb

...


What in the MotP lead to this neat idea? I went looking in the MotP thinking maybe there was some web related entry, but I don't see anything.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:53 pm

Lol, yeah, if there were a newsletter, this would be it. ;) Thanks for the encouragement thought - it gives me the strength to post more :D

@Havard - It's been a very long time since I've read any of Mishler's work, but I was thinking along similar lines with regards to Rafiel surviving the GRoF. And of course, how can you have a "world wide web" without any spiders ;). I have a few more ideas about more specific/unique magic items related to the Aetherweb. Stay tuned!

@CD - I wasn't even thinking of TRON when I wrote this, but now that you mention I totally agree. I think it would be interesting to explore the ecology of the aether spiders in the Ethereal Plane - both before and after Blackmoorian involvement. That's something I might do in the future.

@Culture20 - Ohhh... I really like this idea. Again, it wasn't what I was thinking when I wrote this, but I think it would work really well. It's only natural that the Herathians (and other aranea cultures on the planet) would be drawn to this form of magic. I'm going to give some thought about including this in the Sea of Dread aranean culture (in BC 2300) as well!

@Gecko - Actually there was no specific entry in the MotP... I had a character concept I was trying to develop for Rob's PbP game - basically a cold, scientific type, but I wanted to make sure I could tie in magic in some way. Anyway I pulled a couple of 3E books off the shelf and just started flipping through them for inspiration.

When I opened MotP and flipped through the Ethereal, I wondered how the internet might function if it had "access" to an other dimensional plane. The idea grew from there.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Cthulhudrew » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:36 pm

Chimpman wrote:@CD - I wasn't even thinking of TRON when I wrote this, but now that you mention I totally agree. I think it would be interesting to explore the ecology of the aether spiders in the Ethereal Plane - both before and after Blackmoorian involvement. That's something I might do in the future.


Have you given any thought as to how/if the Aether Spiders might relate to Planar and/or Phase spiders?

Come to think of it, the Aetherweb idea seems like something the Egg of Coot could/should have its fingers in somehow.
Last edited by Cthulhudrew on Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:37 pm

I really like the idea of the "interwebs" of Mystara/Blackmoor being something quasi-physical. It allows it to be something immediately familiar, but with the fantastic edge, which now that I think about it, is what has made Mystara 'click' in my head for all these years.

Perhaps the Herathian connection, like the Nithian, is a rediscovery of What Was Known Before....
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Culture20 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:21 am

RobJN wrote:I really like the idea of the "interwebs" of Mystara/Blackmoor being something quasi-physical. It allows it to be something immediately familiar, but with the fantastic edge, which now that I think about it, is what has made Mystara 'click' in my head for all these years.

Perhaps the Herathian connection, like the Nithian, is a rediscovery of What Was Known Before....

Even the Blackmoor discovery could be of a natural phenomenon empowered by the Sphere of Thought.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby RobJN » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:31 pm

Chimpman wrote:I was flipping through the 3E Manual of the Planes while ruminating over some ideas for Rob's Throne of Stars campaign, and this idea jumped out at me.

The Aetherweb
Discovery of the Aetherweb was made during the later days of Blackmoor, found by while an expedition from the University was exploring the Ethereal Plane. Long thought devoid of life, the Ethereal proved to still hold surprises for the Blackmoorians exploring it. When the fateful expedition stumbled upon a patch of ethereal webs stretching out across the gray void they were astonished. Following one of the leads led them to a forest of ethereal cobwebs nearly overflowing with bizarre spider-like creatures.

For nearly a generation the Blackmoorians studied the phenomena, eventually realizing that they could control and manipulate it to their advantage. Thus, through the application of technomantic energies and Blackmoorian ingenuity was the Aetherweb born.

The Blackmoorians discovered that they could tap into the Aetherweb from the Material Plane, and that discovery led to what a few refer to as the Aether Age of Blackmoor. The web was a conduit for magical energies and could be used to communicate instantaneously over long distances, cast spells on remote locations, and in certain circumstances even transport objects from one area of the web to another. In the last days of Blackmoor the Aetherweb spanned nearly the entire globe, and was beginning to reach out to other worlds in the solar system as well. As the Aetherweb continued to grow, so too did the range of Blackmoor’s power and influence.

Entire fields developed around the Aetherweb. Aetherseers could collect and transmit information across vast distances with little more than a thought. Telenchanters controlled constructs around the world from remote locations, the most expert among them were even rumored to be able to dominate living creatures. Aetherports ran a thriving business sending packages from one aetherhub to another.

When Blackmoor was destroyed, most of the Aetherweb was consumed by the devastation that followed, thought portions survive even into the modern era. Although many of the connections have faltered, some of the larger aether hubs still survive on the Ethereal Plane. Left to their own devices they are slow to grow, and have reverted to wilder states… but for those who know how, they can still be used to varying effects.

Aether Spiders
The key to controlling the Aetherweb is through the use of Aether Spiders. Aether Spiders are magically enhanced and modified versions of the creatures that naturally create aether webs on the Ethereal Plane. Aether mages harvest these creatures from the natural habitat and subject them to intense magical processes in order to create Aetherweb control devices. Once processed in this way, the spiders take on properties of both living and non-living constructs. Most remain immobile until put into use.

Seer Spiders: Once commanded, these spiders will attach themselves to any non-magical reflective surface in order to create a visual portal through the Aetherweb. Mirrors, crystal globes, objects made of glass, and even calm water all make effective surfaces. Any location connected to the Aetherweb can be viewed, but it is easier to find locations known to the user. Previously unknown locations can be viewed, but may require hours of research before they are found.

Teliospider: Teliospiders are often attached to non-sentient constructs and are used as a means of sending commands to that construct over long distances. Communication is one way, from the operator to the construct, so these devices are often used in conjunction with other means to receive feedback on the construct’s condition.

Aethershifter: An Aethershifter can latch onto small objects (no larger than a closed fist) and transport them through the Aetherweb. Aethershifters are attuned to a specific aetherhub and will always return objects to that specific location.

It is thought that Blackmoor's interactions and manipulation of the Aetherweb brought forth a new form of "life:" the bodiless entities known as SHADES (Sentient Heuristic Aetheric Data Entities). It is unknown whether they were named before or after their shadowy manifestation onto the Prime Material plane were fully understood.

The equivalent to an AI in Thorn’s Blackmoor is a S.H.A.D.E. (A Sentient Heuristic Aetheric Data Entity) Most of the time, they are invisible, intangible to those without access to the Aetherweb. Those with active Aethercasters can perceive shades as indistinct, hazy images of their Aetherform with a successful Awareness-perception check at +2 steps. A shade may make itself visible to others, but it is extremely taxing, requiring a WIL feat check. A shade may manifest for a number of minutes equal to one-half its Will score. Beginning the next minute the shade has passed this limit, it must make a WIL feat check. Each minute, the shade continues to make checks, at a cumulative +1 step penalty. The result of the check determines how much damage is suffered, depending on the quality of the AI program (see Dataware Table D5: Software Damage). A shade manifesting in the Prime cannot be destroyed, only banished back across the Aetheric boundary, for a minimum of 24 hours.

Shades cannot abide direct sunlight, as the photon density disrupts the quantum state they need to exist on the Prime. Thus, they need shadowed conditions in order to manifest.

A shade can use a black dragonstone to project a quasi-material shadow into the Prime, allowing it to affect the physical world (whereas its Aetheric form is ghost-like). This body's physical stats vary, depending on the lighting conditions and quality of the dragonstone.
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Re: 700 years after the Flames

Postby Chimpman » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:03 pm

Love it! :mrgreen:
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