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« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2016, 09:17:08 AM »

THE LAST SONG OF A DRAGONNISH PIPER

Merrvan's Mellifluous Daughters
This is not what the Bishop of Dragons is called by others of his kind. The name was coined by a culture now three thousand years dead, in an age when we thought dragons divine rather than monstrous. His is the only draconic name that most modern humans recognise: a god of vengeance and vendetta to the superstitious people of the west, a comical serpent bogeyman to the educated men and women of the Republic. All the other names, similarly ancient but not half as prestigious, are remembered only in the mouldered codices of ancient piper lodges. Female dragons, who once outnumbered the males by an order of magnitude, are all known by  wartime sobriquets: Red River Ghost, Cloud Butcher, Halftail, Last Laugh. These names were given to them by generations of dragonslayers across centuries of war. The Republic has hunted dragons near to extinction in human territories, and those that remain have retreated to Cacophany, their homeland, to recuperate and to breed. The only dragons you will see these days are trophies in the houses of distinguished Slayers, and holotypes in the Republic's universities.

Their Dreadful Keening
Music is the means by which dragons communicate and bring magic into the world. Before the Long War, when dragons were plentiful, they filled the west countries with song. Our minds and mouths are not adapted to this practice, so the western people built instruments to imitate draconic speech. The few savants who mastered these devices were called dragonnish pipers, and while peace lasted between the two peoples, pipers were humanity's diplomats to dragonkind. When peace failed, pipers became the servants of dragonslayers. By war's end they had been reduced to the ignominious aides of dragon-torturers. At the height of the piper's profession, various eastern lodges began to develop the "yuvas", simplistic but remarkably powerful musical sorceries adapted from draconic truesong. Pipers were rarely held in sufficient esteem that dragons would condescend to teach such magic. Most of the yuvas produced in that period were therefore clumsily derived from perhaps a dozen elementary draconic incantations. Nevertheless, those songs contain miracles inexpressible by modern theurges.

Notable among them are the following:

Submission: The draconic homeworlds are sunless, vertiginous, storm-wracked and imponderably cold. Supposedly, Merrvan and the bishops of the other dragon colonies offered those worlds as tribute to their itinerate gods, who made temples of them. Females do not possess the magic to travel between worlds unaided, but their songs can simulate their native climate, and Cacophany's anomalous weather is likely a product of such manipulation. The apocalyptic storms featured in paintings that commemorate the Republic's battles against dragonkind are no mere dramatic license: Mistress Winter, the most notorious practitioner of this magic, once froze half an army to death before they could reach her stronghold, and despite the many bounties that were offered against her over the centuries, she was never successfully hunted.

Emergence: When the first geometers had isolated the vertices of deep reality and repudiated the old divinities that remained there, many tracts of errant and occulted planar space persisted at the boundaries of mortal awareness. Our world is inherently unreal to dragons, so those abandoned vertices are not any more or less authentic to them than any mundane artefact of their perception. Through this song, dragons can briefly bridge shallower boundaries, with effects that approximate the more novice invocations of Academy geometers. Common summonings include schools of carnivorous levitating fish, seizure-inducing mandalas of prismatic light, and perversions or suspensions of gravity that fling victims across the battlefield or into the sky. These incursions rarely last more than a handful of moments, but that is usually long enough.

Ardour: A dragon's iconic "breath of fire" is in fact manifested some dozen or so meters in front of the creature's snout, and does not issue from within the creature. We do not know the purpose for which this song was conceived, as dragons possess an innate dislike of fire and, between the flexibility of their magic, their preference for subzero climates and their predilection for raw meat, have no practical use for the element. Dragons have only been observed to conjure fire when in states of great distress, often in the moments before death. Their ubiquitous association with fire in popular imagination is therefore an ugly testament to the violence that has typified our two species' long acquaintance.

Out of Character

You'll see more of this. Swear to God.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 12:15:08 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2016, 10:03:09 AM »

I'm going to find our boy and bring him home. Don't follow me, you'll just fuck it up - and just so you know, if you'd ever shared the ritual with me I would have gone behind your back and taught him myself, and he would have done it right. None of this- this... gods, look at it. But the OLD LAWS! Hhhhh. Always the old laws. You fucking men.


PENALTY GARDEN
(the first part)


Colleen Eldridge née Barrett: She's taken all the necessary instruments with her into the outer cosms (wish she'd at least left us Seb's head) and set the rest on fire. Spellfire burns long and fierce. It'll have consumed everything by morning. You'd never know something old and storied and terrible once stood here. Tools: Mum's shotgun, figmented dagger, Sebastian's head, tin of stellar chalk, collapsible astrolabe, chortle worm, field alchemical tools, Mythopoeia

Tobias Eldridge: We were all a little relieved that Dad died before Toby was old enough for his incompetence to show. There's a reason we only ever taught him small and uncontroversial magics. Colleen, on the other hand, would have made a fantastic wizard, but, you know. Old Laws. Don't know why her parents ever let her marry him. Tools: Carter's journal, zoetrope, Capricorn staff

Kit Sullivan: The worst thing about our kind of magic is always seeing through glamers, even ones that are there for good reason. Kit's skin bulges with these gnawing parasites, like tiny disfigured men, and they breed inside his soul and nourish themselves on... you know what, never fucking mind. It's disgusting, and I'm sure he doesn't want me talking about it. Still, he's the fourth best exorcist I know, and that's saying a lot. After all, we Eldridges get around. Tools: the tribe inside, plenty of knives, consecrated pistol, clutch of shadows, exorcism tools

Zebedee: When he's wearing one of his other faces, we genuinely forget that he's just a boy, standing no taller than your navel and as skinny as a fencepost. Where he's from, all identities are transferrable objects, including the one you're born with. Once, he took his child face off, and even though he'd worn it all his life I think he could have cast it aside like soiled tissue. We've seen children from his reality who never received their birthfaces. We know what they become. So he isn't allowed to take it off anymore. Tools: stallion mask, traitor mask, caterpillar mask, anemone mask, boy mask

Cobus Eok: Fighting the good fight against the old glass gods, seasoned campaigners like Cobus see this sort of tragedy all the time. In a different kind of story, he'd have grown soft during these past decades in service to our House, so far from the frontlines. He'd have warmed up to Matthew, made a place for the kid in his grey and embattled heart. But instead Cobus turns to me as we all stride through the inferno, and what he says is "If I get to him first, don't expect him back with his head attached." And I don't really have a response for that. Tools: helix liquorice, empyrean broadsword, blackmatter crossbow, malfunctioning empyrean tactical plate


Out of Character

Running a one shot this weekend. Ties in with Gaynor and Greed and Somewhere Between the Sacred Silence and Sleep.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 09:30:14 PM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: March 15, 2016, 02:59:29 PM »

Love both posts. The dragon-lore is beautiful. My wife and daughters would looove it (they be uber dragons fans but dislike how bland they can be sometimes). I love the items on the second post's NPCs/PCs.
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« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2016, 08:48:04 PM »

The male dragons are essentially gigantic magical melodious interdimensional peacocks. I don't have a clear comparison for the females - they maaaaybe sorta kinda look like THIS, but I dunno.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 02:43:56 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2016, 09:04:58 PM »

Despite the unique and beautiful twists, I like how they're still 'dragons'. I also like the piper as first diplomats, then hunter guides, then interrogators.

Does the Last Song material tie into the Penalty Garden, or are they orthogonal?
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« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2016, 11:58:46 PM »

Dragonnish Piper is part of Geodessy, a multi-setting "traditional fantasy" campaign centred around a wizardly conspiracy to use soul eating eldritch moths for some novel transhuman purpose. Its cosmology is much tighter than either the Glass Gods verse (containing Penalty Garden, Gaynor and Greed, Sacred Silence, and whatever the first post's called) or the Book of Images verse (containing Demonhead, Arruntulla, Panglossia, Green World Stories, Book of Monsters, and whatever the setting is that has hermaphroditic deities). Of the three "cosmologies", both Glass Gods and Geodessy have definite narrative end points. Book of Images is basically a demented weird-sci-fantasy sandbox.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 12:02:09 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: March 16, 2016, 08:21:19 PM »

All delicious, addictive brain-food.
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« Reply #52 on: March 17, 2016, 08:32:21 PM »


Entirely unrelated question for anyone to answer.

My group's been hankering for some superpowered antics for a while now. We want a setting where Powers have existed for almost as long as anatomically modern human beings. What are some cool power origins/sources that I can work into the cosmology and metaphysics of the setting, so that we can get a sense of how such a world (or worlds) might develop into the present?
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« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2016, 11:41:28 AM »

Interbreeding with supernatural beings is an old fashioned explanation for superhuman abilities. There's also the idea that if you eat the heart or some other specific body part of a creature then something of that creature's qualities is transfered into you.
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« Reply #54 on: April 08, 2016, 08:40:46 AM »

Out of Character

This is the metaplot for Penalty Garden, Gaynor and Greed and so on. Since I come up with each microsetting more or less in isolation, most of what follows is ass-pulling and retcon.

OLD GLASS GODS - The universe's original people were powerful beyond calculation and likewise capricious, but because they stood outside of reality they lacked the finitude that precipitates self knowledge. They commissioned smaller races to construct an Instrument that reflected their image so that they might contemplate themselves and increase in understanding. With their new awareness they gained sanity and became differentiated, but their primitive natures were preserved in the discarded glass, which yet contains all the will and strength and terror of that original age.

EARTH - Because interplanetary transit is accomplished through the outer cosms it is everywhere assumed that the diverse worlds of reality occupy different universes and exist in parallel. In fact they exist in the same reality, but they are so far removed from one another, by septillions of kilometers and by relativistic paradox, that their coexistence is undetected even on the most erudite of earths. The "coincidences" shared between so many earths - languages, cultures, magics, gods - are the product of divine or occult tampering, not an endlessly branching multiverse. Whole systems are violently replicated among unfamiliar constellations and misinterpreted as "diverging timelines". (Nobody in the setting is aware of this)

ECDYSIS - the old glass gods have been striving to free themselves for millions of years, and though they are not nearly cogent enough to make schemes of their own, their mortal agents have worked atrocities of every kind and abused magic in unguessable ways toward that end. On many earths, they have contrived or forced the mingling of spiritually incongruous races and studied the metaphysics of the admixture. Often the consequences are horrid, always they are devastating. These experiments do not bring them closer to transcendence.

ELDRIDGE - Aeolus Eldridge gathered sorceries from hundreds of earths over dozens of lifetimes and eventually succeeded in freeing himself from reality. His descendants lack his inimitable genius and so have not reproduced that effort, but their reputation precedes them on a great many worlds, and even the least ambitious among them possesses an uncommon aptitude for the miraculous. Recently, agents of the old glass gods have acquired a significant portion of Aeolus' occult library, with which they hope to liberate their patrons from the ancient Instrument.

(Several years ago I ran a few sessions in a setting that took place on a street named after this notorious family. The protagonists were all children, slowly discovering the neighbourhood's marvelous and deranged legacy. These shenanigans inspired the setting outlined in this thread's first post, but it would be a long time before any of these settings became connected)

CARTER - ????????
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 08:47:38 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: April 08, 2016, 09:46:01 PM »

The glass gods meta-plot is cool. Is there any way the galaxies vs dimensions distinction matters for the setting and salient plots?
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« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2016, 02:38:18 AM »

I certainly want it to, and as each new subplot increases the general scale and weirdness of the setting that'll become much more likely, but it doesn't matter yet.
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« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2016, 08:38:17 PM »

Pareidollhouse

EARTH - Because interplanetary transit is accomplished through the outer cosms it is everywhere assumed that the diverse worlds of reality occupy different universes and exist in parallel. In fact they exist in the same reality, but they are so far removed from one another, by septillions of kilometers and by relativistic paradox, that their coexistence is undetected even on the most erudite of earths. The "coincidences" shared between so many earths - languages, cultures, magics, gods - are the product of divine or occult tampering, not an endlessly branching multiverse. Whole systems are violently replicated among unfamiliar constellations and misinterpreted as "diverging timelines". (Nobody in the setting is aware of this)
oh my god what the fffff
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« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2016, 06:30:33 AM »

Heh. Yeah. My friends and I are still not sure what relevance this element will have in play. So far the adventures have all been very small scale and on the periphery of cosmic events, but we'll explore the larger implications more in the next few subplots:

SMASH/CUT: A group of aspiring amateur schlock filmmakers are transported to an outlandish Heavy Metal-style world after watching an obscure 80's fantasy film.

AMONG THESE DARK SATANIC MILLS: Droog-like punks running amok on a failing far future human colony situated among the ruins of an extraterrestrial civilisation are confronted with the immaculate impregnation of one of their number by an alien divinity.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 08:30:28 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2017, 03:08:03 AM »

Out of Character

Something else that ties in with Gaynor and Greed, Somewhere Between the Sacred Silence and Sleep and Penalty Garden.


And did those feet in ancient time...

The New Magic - It brought an end to scarcity and disease, and gave us worlds overspilling with peoples and pleasures both and a humanity made infantile and godless and carnivorous. Earth's ancient faithful did not belong in that new atheistic paradigm, so they built great ships to carry them sleeping to farther planets where each disparate tradition might seek in its own fashion to satisfy the conditions of Armageddon. We followed our mistress Marta from world to aged world along the course that Christ had taken in the epochs before Jerusalem, and at last to this world where Christ was first manifested and first betrayed, and we called it Albion.

Walk upon Englands mountains green...

Forb   ance - The man who designed our generation ship demanded only the right to name her. He did not travel on her, so I cannot tell you why it is this name and not another. Now three hundred years of planetary temper have worn away its sigils, so that it reads only 'forbance'. That is what our sardonic elders call it, and when we interrogate them they laugh bitterly or they spit at us. Marta commanded that the first city be founded where that ship fell, so Tharmas is carved deep in the great valley of glass that Forbance seared into the world.

And was the holy Lamb of God...

Their City - After a century of terraformation, when Albion's soil was at last rejuvenated, our forbears traveled north and west into the emptied empire of the planet's former species and built their homesteads, leaving Tharmas to the care of Marta and the priestesses. But soon we discovered that Earth's debaucheries had followed us across the galaxy, and that our terraformation engines had become deranged. Many settlers retreated to the glass valley to escape the storms that soon tormented the planet. Those that remained (and begat the acid scarred clansfolk of today's fractured upland) were the maddest and most obdurate of Marta's void flung flock.

On Englands pleasant pastures seen...

Our Kingdom - Far from Marta's guidance we settlers bent Blake's Good Word in a hundred irreconcilable directions, such that our new denominations could not cross paths on these demolished highroads but limbs or livestock or kinsmen whole were lost in the exchange. We wasted water and spent precious fuel, and when Marta sent her inquisitors to teach us correction our happy zealots consumed their lives as well. Sanity was not restored by Marta's failed orthodoxy, but by a stray shot from a handlaser, which melted the foundations of the zenocomplex wherein two clans sortied, and slew them all. For the first time since Forbance's descent, we upland people saw the hand of God at work in Albion, and found we had had enough of bloodshed.

And did the Countenance Divine...

Their Kingdom - Our antecedents on this cold world were not very different from us. While they are far taller than we were at the beginning, the gravity here is lighter and we have grown much taller too, such that we could not now return to Earth even if we wanted. Their idols and holograms and the uninterrupted low reliefs that sketch the roads and walls and altars of their cities are everywhere contorted in scenes of violent contest or vivisection or immolation, so our Mistresses call them brutal, declaring that such artifice proves their repudiation of Christ's sacrifice and the justness of their damnation. But not much separates these works from the Mistresses' stories of Earth, or from our grandparents' bloody feuds in the days before Reunion. If cruelty made them godless, it did not make them inhuman.

Shine forth upon our clouded hills...

Our City: We come here because it is forbidden, because every centimeter of this collapsed city describes perversion. Where else to howl our braggadocio and practice our blasphemies and ply our indiscretions with feigned shamelessness, far enough from church and homestead that our Mistresses might yet pretend ignorance and delay our excommunication. Every visit takes us farther and deeper, through some new megastructure of tortured statuary and undeciphered iconography and inert automata and constellated holograms that dance and do murder in mute eternal pantomime. We feel that these places were intended for us, we late comers to their submerged bacchanal; intended even before Man's infancy, before the Old Magics, in the days when those alien ancients were yet alive. We are not wrong.

And was Jerusalem builded here...

Pope spent years down there in that labyrinth, when all of upland was against him for his intransigence. It is because of him that we know the ways in and out of the catacombs (or thought we did), and what signs and sounds to make to pass unmolested before the zenotech. So if he ever saw or heard tell of such a thing as we found in the darkness, he never made an intimation. Tools: laser rifle, four microcells, permasteel machete, wilderness kit, letter to Prolocutor Geoffrey

Mother Lark is God's only servant this far beyond the upland border, where all have traded Blake and Marta for some more intimate deliverance. Such scant souls as she encounters will not pay her heed, so she makes her ministry to the air, and she wields about that book of hers like a semaphore. But when we asked her to read off a verse of the Prophet's good word she told us "this is not Blake's book, but some other mythopoeia." And I have no notion what that means. Tools: laser pistol, one and one half microcells, haruspex dagger, epocalypse parasite specimen, mythopoeia


AMONG THESE DARK SATANIC MILLS
(the second part)


Shell was made pregnant by GOD in the dark of that ruin and is now aglow with beatific resolution (or aberrant compulsion). Tools: chillsuit, repair kit, dummy blade, two microcells

Mess dreamt a premonition of watery cries and pallid shapes disgustingly moving, but she could not disentangle it from her more familiar dreams of sex and Shell and shadow, and therefore gave no warning. Tools: chillsuit, laser pistol, one half microcell, east city map, prayer beads

Washer pursued that grey thing through black galleries for what must have been miles, but we found him not very far away at all, inarticulate and bloodied and seething. At his feet lay not a monster slain but a man long dead and undisturbed. Tools: chillsuit, ritual kit, old earth idol, makeshift machete

Gyre stood stupefied at that creature's emergence and even now could not tell you what force restrained him. He understands that he ought to condemn his own inaction, and makes an outward show of self reproof, but his eyes betray an ulterior conviction. Tools: chillsuit, dummy knife, Blake's book

Trillion fell from a height and dashed his brains, and we could see clearly by our torchlight even so far down that he was dead. He could not be carried and his suit could not be salvaged, but we went after him anyway, and many hours later when we reached the place where he had fallen, his corpse had disappeared (though nothing at all has lived here for many millions of years). But now he is returned. Tools: chillsuit, spark club, eyes of the ogdoad
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 03:12:04 AM by Pareidollhouse » Logged

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