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GestaltBennie

Question for Dean Shomshak

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Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

 

Would the Burning Sky, dimensional domain of Fuzon, Prince of Fire, be an appropriate example of an "elemental" Outer Plane?

 

For my part, I would have located such planes either in Netzach under the control of appropriate Lords of Nature, or in Briah among the dimensions of pure concept. But an Inner Plane elemental counterpart to Yggdrasil never occurred to me as a possibility.

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A couple of esoteric ones to throw at you, Dean.

 

The Jewelled Spider talisman things, they're only described as cut quartz with magnetite and thorium in it, and electrified. There is nothing to suggest that they have some-magical element to them, merely said to repel the Q. What if someone reproduced one physically? I meen cut the quartz identically and then inset the two elements and electrify it? Would it work?

The Elder Worms seem to have broken some version of the Ban before the terrestrial one was put in place. How? Does every race just has its own ban or lack thereof that only affects its own gods?

 

 

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A couple of esoteric ones to throw at you, Dean. The Jewelled Spider talisman things, they're only described as cut quartz with magnetite and thorium in it, and electrified. There is nothing to suggest that they have some-magical element to them, merely said to repel the Q. What if someone reproduced one physically? I meen cut the quartz identically and then inset the two elements and electrify it? Would it work? The Elder Worms seem to have broken some version of the Ban before the terrestrial one was put in place. How? Does every race just has its own ban or lack thereof that only affects its own gods?

 

I apologise for the thread necromancy, especially since I'm clearly not Dean. :o  However, having brought up this thread as a side-effect of an unrelated Search, and having information relevant to the questions -- and Dean not having gotten to answer them -- I thought I'd offer what I found.

 

Regarding the Spider Sign talismans, there's a little more about them on Arcane Adversaries p. 57 sidebar: "This symbol has no Power of its own. Rather, some Edomites suffer a Physical Limitation to the glyph. Any rendition of the Spider Sign repels certain Edomite creatures, such as mind thieves and squrms: they fear it, but can approach it if they must. (This symbol has no effect on anglers, hands of Deizzhorath, or Vulshoth-spawn.)  Such creatures are psychologically incapable of coming within 2" [probably meaning two 5E game inches or four meters] of a Spider Sign properly inlaid in crystal. Forcing an Edomite any closer may drive it berserk or make it leave for another dimension." From this I infer that anyone who knows the proper method of crafting a crystal Spider Sign can make one with the same effect. The Limitation (or Complication under 6E) of Edomites toward it may have come about as a result of the Lords of the Jewelled Spider being among the alliance of great powers who defeated and bound the Kings of Edom billions of years ago.

 

As to the Ban and other races, there is this data from the "multiversal" discussion in Book Of The Empress, p. 99: "Furthermore, other species, both within Earth's dimension and from other dimensions that are home to sentient life, have their own Parterres based on their cultures, their perspectives on Reality, and so forth. Typically dimensional travelers (of any sort) are only aware of the Imaginal Realms pertaining to their own species; they can't perceive (much less travel to) other species's Parterres. That's why Humans don't find Perseids, Mon'dabi, V'hanians, or Ka-ree in Faerie or Babylon, and why those realms don't reflect other species's thoughts and beliefs. However, some powerful mystics (including Skarn and Tyrannon) can visit any Parterre they know of."  I think this implies that other races may have their own versions of the Ban affecting their gods, or may not, depending on their distinct theologies. I'm unclear as to whether humanity's Ban would prevent the mythic gods of other races from coming to Earth if they knew how to get here or were summoned; but given the clear separation between the spheres of races' gods, I'm guessing it wouldn't.

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Thank you for answering, LL. I never answered because I never saw the question: For the last 6 months, my forum access has ranged from Extremely Limited, to None.

 

 

But yes, no magic is required to craft a working Spider Sign. The line between science and magic becomes very blurry when you deal with Edomites: The creatures just don't fit within the categories that humans understand. (Or *think* they understand.)

 

 

I'm not sure of the context for the Elder Worm question. AFAIK (from Champions Beyond), the only gods they summoned were Edomite and Qliphothic horrors, which do not occupy the same metaphysical category as the gods of Earth such as Tezcatlipoca, Mephistopheles, St. Albert or the Emperor of Babylon. The Ban has no effect on creatures from the Outer Planes, and Qliphothic entities qualify.

 

 

I haven't read the Book of the Empress, so thank you for the quoted passage, LL.

 

 

I would imagine that whether alien races have a Ban depends entirely on how they imagine their gods and spirits -- if any. Quite possibly, some species never imagined spiritual entities, and so never created any. At the opposite extreme, some species may never have pushed their concepts of divinity into Otherworlds and sealed them away. In the new campaign setting I'm building, one of the more powerful alien races, the Cryons, possess a hybrid theotechnology: Their starships run on psalm drives, all species can live comfortably on their space stations and communicate without impediment through a continuous miracle, and they restructured their planetary system into a ringworld that's the biggest goddamn prayer wheel in the universe, giving their pantheon sufficient power to drop-kick the likes of Tyrannon into a black hol if he showed his mug around them. Fortunately for the rest of the Galaxy, Cryons are very nice people.

 

Dean Shomshak

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You're welcome, Dean. I'm a little relieved you don't feel like I stepped on your toes for piping up in your stead.

 

Whether or not you had unique problems with forum access, I imagine a lot of former regular posters were frustrated with the quirks the previous software inflicted on all of us for several months, so I wouldn't blame you for not being around.

 

And as typical for a Shomshak creation, the Cryons sound awesome! :cool:

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In brief, I saw elementals as synthetic entities created by sorcerers as needed, or occasionally generated by accident when powerful magic interacts with ambient elemental phenomena. (Say, a sorcerer blows a control/activation roll on a weather-control spell and generates an air elemental, or blows a spell of any sort out on the ocean and generates a water elemental. Makes Side Effects more interesting.) There are no "natural" elementals, but some of these spirits were created so long ago their origins are forgotten. There are also Outer Planes with strong "elemental" character, and the entities that dwell on them could be called "elementals." But those entities have no connection to Earth. If someone wanted to postulate elemental planes for the CU, I'd make them very abstract and arcane, like Yggdrasil or the Blood Tide -- accessible through the Lower Astral but difficult to reach and even more difficult to comprehend. Visiting the Plane of Fire would be like visiting, I don't know, the Higgs Field. Not "It looks like Earth but everything's made of fire." You want that, look in the Outer Planes. Dean Shomshak

 

I happened to be reading through a non-Champions Hero Games book, The Valdorian Age by Allen Thomas, and came across something quite interesting and potentially relevant to this issue. For those who are unaware, the Champions Universe of the present-day era is officially part of a much longer timeline, the "Hero Universe," spanning many millennia and ages of civilization, from the prehistoric past to the far future. The Atlanteans, Lemurians, VIPER's patron Nama, the Archlich Takofanes and the Crowns of Krim, all have their origins in these past ages. The Valdorian Age is Hero's "sword and sorcery" setting, evocative of the fantasy fiction of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, or Michael Moorcock.

 

Part of the VA sourcebook describes the sorcery of summoning and controlling elementals, and presents an interesting conception of the Elemental Realms. Note that this is only as Earthly sorcerors of this era understood cosmology, and it's perceived through the lens of creation-myths of the day. That day was also more than 40,000 years in the past, so even on other planes the conditions might have changed:

 

"The god Pythos created the world, but like any craftsman, he only shaped it -- the materials for his work came from elsewhere. The source of these materials were the Elemental Realms, the first source of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, where the Primal Lords rule: the Scorched Lands (fire), ruled by the Kiss of Flame; the Howling Void (air), ruled by the Voice of Wind; the Infinite Depths (water), ruled by the Roar of Waves; and the Vaulted Warrens (earth), ruled by the Groan of Stone. The priests say Pythos struck bargains with the Primal Lords to obtain the materials; others say Pythos tricked and swindled the Primal Lords out of the materials.

 

... Unlike demons, elementals are not separate entities (at least according to most sorcerors) -- an entire Elemental Realm is an entity unto itself, with its Primal Lord as its "mind." The elementals are simply parts of a "body" -- facets of a composite being. While individual elementals are intelligent, their mentality is wholly alien to mankind. They view flora and fauna like a man would view a cancerous growth, mines and tunnels as deep cuts and stabs into a man's flesh, water in a cup or bowl as a man in a cage, trapping the wind in a sail as a man in chains, smelting ore as maiming, alloying metals as rape. The concept of property baffles them, for in the Elemental Realms everything is part of the whole -- can a man's right hand own his left?"

 

- The Valdorian Age p. 131

 

There's another passage from the VA page I quoted above relating to elementals and how they would view our world, which suggests a unique and interesting potential motivation for a "supervillain" or villain team:

 

"... when a sorceror causes an elemental to manifest, it violently struggles to break free from the sorceror's constraints and rage across the world. It pleads with the sorceror to allow it into the world unchecked so it can free the substances trapped in the forms and shapes that comprise the world -- forms and shapes the elemental considers a corruption of elemental purity."

 

Imagine a powerful elemental, or a group of them, with this mindset, loose on Earth. They would level buildings, smash machinery, tear up roads and railways, shatter dams, cave-in mines; but also uproot forests, ravage farmers' fields, slaughter domestic and wild animals. To humans these beings would seem like total nihilists, or insane berserkers, but from their perspective they would be fighting to heal the wounds of violence, and purge the infections and parasites, that are destroying this world.

 

Trying to communicate with these creatures, and reach an understanding, could make for a fun roleplaying challenge.

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(Note: If you see a lot of “brs” in angle brackets, it’s because the forum software eliminates my paragraph breaks. I’m trying to restore them by hand using HTML markers. If that doesn’t work I’ll try something else.)

 

That’s a good question, LL, because it touches on how I created the metaphysical underpinnings for the Mystic World. I did not start with a set of metaphysical premises and work out the necessary consequences. When you make up a fictional universe, no consequences are “necessary.” Instead I start with the kind of story I want and backfill the metaphysics to provide pseudo-justification.

 

In this case, the reason is to preserve the threat of dimensional conquerors when humanity’s Imaginal Realms include hundreds of entities built on thousands of points each, who by a strict accounting of game mechanics could squash Skarn or Tyrannon like bugs. Like the Ban, the gods’ inability to affect Outer Planes entities through their magic is a bit of hand-waving to explain why they don’t dominate the CU setting. It’s to keep the focus on humanity and its heroes.

 

So the question is, what story do you want? Then adjust the reasoning to fit.

 

For instance, suppose you want the Land of Legends to be hosed if Tyrannon invades. In that case, Tyrannon and his soldiers are immune to all the magic of the mythic entities, from the high sorcery of Isis to the little glamors of dewdrop fairies. The creatures of myth can only fight the invasion physically. Okay, so “physically” includes dragon-fire and the strength of Heracles, so maybe they aren’t completely hosed, but the Land of Legends probably still needs help from the heroes of Earth. Cue the PCs!

 

But that kind of sucks if the PCs include a faerie knight, a warrior angel or some other mythic entity. Only an idiot GM would declare that most of a PC’s powers, which they paid good character points for, don’t work against a major foe because of mere internal consistency and logic! But lucky for you, Logic is a slut who’ll do anything for anyone.

 

In that case, maybe the inability is specifically limited to gods. The strongest spells of Vainamoinen, Isis and Hermes splash off the Signifers swarming into the Land of Legends, but tengu illusions, satyr panics and troll-hag curses work just fine and Tyrannon has a real fight on his hands. Why should this be so? Umm... It’s the downside of receiving power from worship. This binds the gods to humanity, and the realms of human imagination, to a greater degree than the lesser entities. Ironically, the lesser entities receive greater metaphysical freedom precisely because humans don’t care about them as much.

 

Don’t like that? Okay, go back to the first option, but observe the ways that gods work around the Ban. Gods and other spiritual entities can use similar means to work around their inability to act beyond the Inner Planes. Like, the West African god Ogun can’t fight Tyrannon, but his empowered namesake the hero Ogun can. A projected avatar such as Dion Bach can affect Tyrannon because he’s a quasi-mortal creation of Dionysus, not Dionysus himself. The demigod Chrysaor can fight Tyrannon because he’s a new entity who never received worship or became the subject of myths. Really, any circumstance that can turn a creature from myth to PC can be twisted into a justification for why the character can affect Outer Planes creatures. Even having a Secret Identity as a mortal, or acknowledged membership in a hero team in the mortal world (or a villain team!), might “humanize” a mythic entity enough.

 

Play around with options, see what fits your campaign. Any “official” answer would certainly be wrong for someone’s campaign, so there isn’t one.

 

Dean Shomshak

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