Thursday, February 28, 2008

Alternate Settings I'd Like To Run

Here's some links to alternate setting ideas I'd like to run as RPGs, but may never get around to.

Galadriel's Middle Earth

We start the campaign by watching the first 2/3rds of Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring. When Frodo offers the ring to Galadriel, we pause while she's in "Terrible As The Dawn" mode.

I hand out character sheets of all the non-hobbits in the fellowship. The PCs barely escape, Galadriel kicks Sauron's ass, and sets up the Fascist Dark Elf State.

The PCs are tasked with tracking down Gandalf and Sariman and uniting Humanity and Orcs against the Goth Elf army.

Ultimately, while this could be a lot of fun, it has issues. First, I'd have to do a lot of research to do it right, and I have no faith in my ability to finish the Silmarillion. Secondly, I've never really cared for the rules systems of any of the Lord of the Rings RPGs that I've read. Just too much work all around.

Multi-Platform The Warriors

Have you seen the movie The Warriors?
It's an old 70's film about a New York street gang trying to get back to Coney Island while all the other gangs in NYC hunt them. It's got some really trippy gangs - like the Baseball All-Stars. For a while I considered just stealing the plot for Cyberpunk 2020 and it's various posergangs.

Then I realized, it'd be cooler if each gang were represented by a different RPG system. There'd be a CP2020 gang for sure, plus a Vampire gang, a gang of Spanners, some Pendragon knights, 40k Orks, a D&D party, etc. Eventually a gang shows up without any connecting theme, and hopefully the players intuit that it's the GURPS gang.

This would make a good GwenCon one-shot, too, so there's hope I may run it this fall or next.

I'm not sure exactly what system the PCs should be from. One option would be Amber, using hoodlum junior versions of the Elder Amberites trying to get home without their trumps. Problem is the lack of randomness to that system - I'm unsure if it's a good idea to run a fairly combat-and-chase-scene intensive one-shot in such an abstract system. I suppose they could use Amber mechanics when defending, and the enemies mechanics when attacking, or vice-versa. That would shake things up a bit.

Alternately, PCs could be the colorful (and full-color) Everway sample characters.

Scion Babies

I'm considering running this for GwenCon this year. The idea is a blending of Scion and the cartoon show Muppet Babies. PCs would be Muppets with Divine Parentage - or the Muppets imagine themselves as Scions, I'm not sure which.

Kermit is the Scion of Thor - though that'd be a reference to the old Muppet News Flash logo on Sesame Street.
Miss Piggy is the Scion of Aphrodite.
Gonzo is probably the Scion of Eris or Loki.

I've had the concept in mind (on the back burner) for almost 6 months, but have yet to work out any further details.

Twisted Expectations

It should be fairly obvious reading over this gaming blog that I'm a big fan of Alternative Settings that are at once familiar, yet also twist the player's expectations around to keep them off-balance.
  • I've done a variety of alternate Ambers, mostly taking place at somepoint in the midst of the first 5 novels, and then diverting drastically. I've never done "Brand won" but I have cast Brand as a good guy a few times, vs Random and/or Eric and/or Bleys and Fiona as the villains. I've dragged reincarnation into the setting once or twice, and based entire plotlines on how abusive Oberon was when the "elders" were children.

  • Using a similar trick to that I've done repeatedly in Amber, I once ran a Star Wars campaign set in the week before Episode IV. I few sessions in, Princess Leia told the PCs the tale of how when ObiWan died, Luke raged and turned to the dark side. Yavin blew up the next session, and Han Solo went off to settle his debt with Jabba. The PCs were left to shoulder the Alliance's burdens themselves, while the evil Skywalker's hunted them.

  • I transformed an Amber campaign into an Everway campaign when the PCs failed to stop the villain and a reality storm swept across the cosmos. All the PCs died, and only one NPC from the old game remained in the new universe.

  • I bisociate on all cylinders in my current Scion campaign, so the PCs have a hard time knowing which history is real. They just spent two sessions fighting Angels and Ghosts (Celtic, Greek, Turkish and Parisian) on an island that was a self-contradicting blend of Trojan Myth and Grail Legend.

  • Stretching back a few decades, I recall a late-80s Elfquest campaign where I ran an alternate divergent tale of Cutter's quest. I guess this was the first occurance of the trick I'd later use in Amber - start "in media res" in the middle of (or shortly before) an existing story, and then make dramatic changes to the plot as the story goes on.

  • Hearts of Darkness, my multi-year LARP, was a clearly "alternate history" game. We started in 1850, in a Camarilla-less version of Vampire: The Masquerade that purposefully twisted all the "secrets" of the V:TM setting. Giovanni/Cappodocians, werewolves, and Salubri/Baali were three areas that I took great pleasure in distorting. Every couple of months we'd jump the story ahead by 10 years, and Albuquerque grew to rival New York. Eventually, PC activity led to the repudiation of The Masquerade and the open revelation of the supernatural to mortals.

  • Montaigne-based 7th Sea with heavy reincarnative plot-threads and some departures involving The Bargainers, the Sidhe, and the Syrneth.
The list goes on. I really like taking the familiar and corrupting the details.

Everway Realm Index - Alphabetical

Below is an alphabetical index of all the Everway Realms that Sarah and I made for our old campaign. Each Realm has a post on this blog, corresponding to the page about that location that we gave to the players in our campaign. In addition, some Realms have multiple pages, either GM secrets, or additional player hand-outs. Every player got a big binder with 30+ pages of info. These Realms were used for the background of PCs and NPCs, plus plenty of clues were hidden in the binders as well - some hidden too well. It'd be fair to say the campaign was a tad bit overproduced, but it was fun.
Special bonuses: Two Realms we never made. Add to that this partial realm that never made it into the campaign: Pleasure In Communion. Lastly, here's a Formatting Example to help you understand the other entries - though I bet you can figure them out yourself.

Realm Form

Just for fun, here's the blank template Sarah and I built our Everway Realms from:

Name of Location (City, Realm or Sphere)

A brief overview of what the concept behind the world is.

Usurper Force: It’s Name
Normal: Dominant Effect
Inverted: Opposite Effect

People: A description of the people inhabiting this location, their outlook and society. If they have unusual laws or customs, mention it here or in a paragraph of it’s own.

Economy: The money, manufactured goods, and valued items that can be found here. If they place value in things you might not expect, mention it here.

Military: Explain the threats, conflicts, defenses and military objectives of the realm

Ecology: The geography, climate, flora & fauna of the Realm is listed here. Only detail the pertinent parts, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Rose: Roses of some sort grow on every sphere, sign of the god’s hand in creation.

Prominent NPCs or well-known Institutions: If there’s a person, place or thing you want the PCs to have heard of, here’s the place to describe it.

Gates & Bordering Realms: Describe what one has to do to get here, and what destinations you can continue on to from here. A rough number of Gates in the place would be nice, plus anything unusual about them and the significant places they lead to.

Pleasure-In-Communion (City-Realm)

This is a half-written Everway Realm. It never appeared in the hand-outs, as I was never quite happy with it.

Pleasure-In-Communion (City-Realm)

Several generations ago, the city of Pleasure-In-Communion was known simply as Communion, and it has long been the sight of numerous temples and a busy marketplace. A series of naturally-occurring hot-springs and powerful local spirits caused the place to be a center for mystical retreat, and a convergence of Gates to many worlds did cause it to grow into a popular tourist attraction for Spherewalkers. Over the years, however, the intersection of commerce and religion has lead to something of a fall from greatness.

Usurper Force: The Anointing
Normal: Worshipful Caress
Inverted: Distracted by Finery

People: Pleasure-In-Communion draws visitors from many Realms and Spheres, and so is a great melting pot. The culture is as a rule very open, liberal and accepting, but the surroundings can bring out either the best or worst of those who dwell here. There is also a small number of visitors who arrive each year merely to protest against the decadence of this society.

Economy: Little is manufactured here, but there are many luxury imports and a thriving black market. Healing, pampering, blessings and massage can be purchased at many locations in the city, and form the backbone of this service-based economy.




Temples & Bathhouses: The main avenue of the city is lined with Temples, Bathhouses, Bordellos, Drug Dens and places that could qualify for two or more of those titles. Several different cults have sprung up, most devoted to sexuality or some notion of sensory experience. Holy prostitutes offer to provide you communion with the Gods.

Bathing In The Element: At least 1 bathhouse in Pleasure-In-Communion uses not hot-springs or man-made baths, but bound Water Elementals. The experience of immersion in such a being is said to be otherworldly in the least.

Amber (Myth)

This was part of the binder full of hand-outs given to the players in my old Everway campaign. A few nods to Amberway can be noted in the text below.

Amber (Myth)
“In olden days, on the distant shores of Amber...”
Is there anyone in all the spheres who doesn’t know that phrase? It seems at least half of all fairy-tales start that way. Most are about a young lad who should have known better, or a beautiful princess in great peril. Sometimes it’s about both, and they meet, are crowned King & Queen, fall tragically in love, are tricked into the woods by their evil stepmother, battle against horrible inhuman tyrants, and/or learn they were twins separated at birth, though not necessarily in that order. One thing you can be sure of is that every tale that starts this way is sure to have a self-righteous moral. Indeed, most tales of Amber are gushy, sappy melodramas, with villains unbelievable and heroines too true. But if you are in need of a familiar, comfortable way to get a story started, you could do a lot worse than “In olden days, on the distant shores of Amber...”

Though the Realm of Amber is most assuredly merely a fairytale, bards, poets and dramatists alike all agree upon the Usurper Force. It’s a stylistic convention that is only very rarely deviated from, and it adds greatly to the verisimilitude of this entirely ubiquitous fairy-tale city.
Usurper Force: The Royal Family
Normal: Unbreakable Solidarity
Inverted: Over-Protective Elitism

Tales you’ve no doubt heard about Amber, and particularly the way it was in Olden Days include...
  1. Amber was the first city ever. In these tales typically some silly significance is granted to the city: Perhaps it was founded by the Gods or the first Spherewalker, maybe it’s where Coyote revealed to man the art of sorcery and was chained to a rock as punishment, sometimes all the buildings are made of gingerbread or gold, and in a few tales all the citizenry are Spherewalkers or incredibly strong.

  2. The king of Amber is often named Walker First-Born. Sometimes a tale will revolve around a young man discovering that he was merely adopted by the old couple or pack of wolves that raised him, then he’ll learn his true name, defeat a preposterous villain, and raise to the title of King of Amber. Sometimes, First Born is indeed the first person ever born, or the first to receive the God’s gift of speech or the Fortune Deck. Other times he’s just called Walker, and it is said he built all the Gates between worlds. In some tales he marries the first woman ever born, and sometimes he lives a vow of chastity and servitude protecting a marvelous unicorn.

  3. Horrible monsters and mustached villains love to besiege Amber. They always fail, though. Every Amber story has a happy ending, usually involving a wedding, a naming, a great battle, or the finding of the true heir. Again, sometimes the bards overdo it and try to work in all 4 to final chapter of a single tale.

  4. Near to Amber is a city that is almost exactly like it except magical in some way elemental. You’ve heard tales of Underwater Amber, Volcanic Amber, Forested Amber, Amber-On-The-Moon, Ghost Amber, etc. Often it’s like a mirror or reflection - everything being backwards from the way it is in Amber. In all these stories, the Reflected Amber is in some fundamental way inferior to Amber, but still holds a secret that Walker First-Born or one of his younger siblings has to go investigate.

  5. The Royal Family of Amber is huge. Their family tree is convoluted, and includes numerous political marriages, which our hero & heroine often escape from via some clever trick or demonstration of awe-invoking purity. All the Royals are powerful, many to a degree that is unbelievable. They might run around a Sphere in a day, or save a sinking ship by drinking the ocean, outrageous claims like that are to be expected.

  6. No one you have ever known has ever been to Amber. Maybe someone they used to know was there once, but it was so beautiful they decided to relocate for good. Only a fool would ever leave Amber on purpose. Why else do you think all those Ogres and wicked stepmothers try to conquer it? It’s the best city you’ve ever imagined.

Redsky (Sphere)

This Everway Realm was inspired by a particular location/chapter in Nine Princes In Amber. Since the Everway game was a follow-up to an Amber campaign where Eric won and rewrote the universe, this place was specifically tweaked by the victor to prevent a reborn Bleys/Blaze from mustering troops here.

Redsky (Sphere)

The most notable fact about this harsh desert world is that the sky is nearly always the colors of sunset - the world’s most common name is derived from that fact. Everything’s a little off-kilter here, no doubt a result of the magical influence of the unnaturally colored sky.

Usurper Force: The Burning Sky
Normal: Enduring The Unnatural
Inverted: Succumbing To Unexpected Elements

People: Those who live here are, by and large, not human. They are a unique breed of elf, tall and thin, with skin the color of their sky. They are hairless, have sharply pointed ears and slightly pointy heads, and too many digits to their spindly fingers. They dress in bright silks, and carry scimitars with greatly exaggerated curves. They are desert dwellers so they travel light and keep few possessions, living off the harshest of lands. They like to sing while they work or fight, mostly religious songs about the battle between Gods and the foul Pretender.

Economy: Redsky has few appreciable exports. Silks mostly, and some exotic curved swords. The land is not resource-rich, so they have little to trade with, but are constantly in need. More than once in history the Elves of Redsky have raided out into other Spheres to take what they could not make in their own world, but it has always met with disaster.

Military: The Elves of Redsky are skilled swordsmen, but they all employ an exotic school of fighting adapted to the wide open spaces of their homeland. This extremely mobile style is terribly disadvantaged when hemmed in to small spaces - if they don’t have room for exaggerated defensive movements, they are likely to go down fast. The overly curved swords deliver ferocious wounds but are difficult to parry with effectively.
They have a navy as well, composed of enormous catamaran-style ships with very wide decks.

Pretender: The religion of the Elves of Redsky tells of a great evil known as Pretender. Pretender is charismatic, cunning, and seemingly noble - it is easy to like him even when you have better reasons to fear him. He can appear as an elf or a human, the later of which is believed to be his true form. As a human he is often known as Lightning Lie the Burning Sky Demon. Pretender’s chief purpose in existing is to fool and betray those of weak mind or pretentious aspirations. Sometimes he claims to be a God, in other generations he is just a warrior. He has the ability to walk the Spheres without using Gates. With such power, he seeks to tempt the elves into making war on other worlds. He leads them far away from home, promising conquest and paradise. Then he rains down Lightning upon them and delights in their destruction.

Ecology: The entire Sphere is made of mountains, desert and ocean. There are no forests, jungles or swamps. The sunlight burns fiercely. Strange plants and animals grow in such a harsh climate. Several breeds of cactus grow, some of them not merely spiny but also toxic. The local humming birds drink blood as well as nectar, and have been known to attack elves and humans. Tribes of coin-sized purple scorpions build hills not unlike ants in other realms. Several species of large-jawed or spined grubs spin durable silk in unusual colors.

Bird-Eating Rose: This desert flower looks like a very thorny but otherwise normal rose. It’s flower oozes a sweet-smelling sap that attracts scorpions, silk worms, hummingbirds, and foolish spherewalkers alike. The sap however is a strong glue. Any potential sap harvesters become quickly stuck to the flower, which senses their struggle and releases a digestive enzyme. A single flower can trap a hummingbird, kill it after a few hours and digest it completely in a day or two. Humans are generally safe as long as they don’t charge through or jump into such a rosebush.

Gates: There are multiple gates leading out of Redsky, all are small enough that travel through them must be done in single-file. The Gates are scattered through-out the desert. They open up into Boundless, SlideMount, and the Empire of the Stag & Sovna.

Bess's Nut (Realm)

Everway Realm: Bess’s Nut

This quaint agricultural realm was until recently largely ignored. It’s not the easiest place in the cosmos to reach, and the culture dominating the Realm was neither particularly remarkable nor threatening. The only significant fact about the world known to most Spherewalkers was that visiting Bess’s Nut you need to be very careful while collecting firewood. The most common tree in the entire land is known as the Brown Bess, and it’s seed pods burst with great force when heated.
In the past year, however, word has reached you about some young teenage Spherewalker who has deftly maneuvered the previously trivial political system of the land. He has declared himself Prince and Lord Marshal, and completely restructured the Realm. His name is Blaze.

Usurper Force: Throwing Seed-Pods On The Bonfire
Normal: Thoughtless Disaster
Inverted: Explosive Success

People: The folk here have long been sturdy and good-hearted. They show great capacity for caution and reasoning, but also the ability to make snap decisions when need suddenly arises. This is because of their proximity to the numerous Brown Bess groves. Forest fires are far more damaging when explosives grow on your trees. So the society has had to rebuild itself numerous times, and everyone’s willing to help a neighbor rebuild a barn that blew up or burned down because of an act of the gods.
In addition to a large working class, there is a smaller land-owning class of noble birth. Unlike most such societies, however, the step between commoner and nobility is very small. The nobles are a little better off, but land is owned by birthright and never sold, so it’s not necessarily a sign of wealth or affluence. The system is set up so that those who work the land keep a very large portion of what they harvest and pay only a small amount to the land-owners. The main benefit of nobility is just that you don’t have to work the fields.
A complex military-political system now grips the Realm, with mandatory military service for all men of age 13-25. This could develop into a potent military force, a barbaric fascist state, a tangled mess of bureaucracy and bullying, or a balanced and well-regarded nation based upon community-service. Any of those are possible, and who can predict? The neighbors are, of course, a little nervous, because these changes to the Bess’s Nut political system are being enacted by a 15-year-old boy. Things could easily go out of control.

Economy: The land is mostly self-sufficient, and doesn’t engage in much trade. The occasional Brown Bess Nut is exported and sold as a material component to wizards in realms as far away as Flashfire, Opal or Boundless. The locals will pay well for silks, satins and other luxury textiles, some being brought all the way from Redsky. Most locally produced cloth is quite coarse and itchy, so the smoother and more luxurious the imported cloth the better. They’ve also imported silver and flint lately in large quantities.

Military: The new military drills constantly, and has unveiled some new wonder weapon. Word is they’ve figured out how to harvest a Brown Bess seed-pod, attach it to a metal stock or brace, and then turn it into some sort of fire-breathing projectile weapon. They call it a “Musket”, which is a most unusual word.

Ecology: Temperate and rainy (especially during the winter and spring), the ecology of Bess’s Nut is dominated by the Brown Bess trees. These resemble willows, but dangling among the branches are long (2 feet or more) fluted Seed-Pods. When dry, the nuts of those pods are violently explosive. Luckily it rains enough to prevent that from being an issue for more than half of the year.

Fiber Rose: The local rose has many blooms on each bush, and the petals are easily separated into long fibers - it can be done by hand quite quickly. These fibers are then woven into clothing, blankets, etc. The resulting items smell very pleasant, but are a bit itchy.

Gates & Bordering Realms: There is a rarely used gate to Brewer Barrow, and also more commonly traveled gates to The Seeking and FlashFire. The Realm borders on Panther Hunt, but they are connected only by sea.

Frostbridge & Fossil Situation

This is a synopsis of a pretty major part of the old Everway campaign. Sadly, the players missed some opportunities and failed to prevent the war. Instead, they headed through the gate after the big villains.

GM Full Disclosure: Frostbridge & Fossil Situation

War A Brewing: Both nations are gearing up for war. On the surface, the Sons of Yimir would seam to have an advantage, being larger, more numerous, and more animated. However, don’t count the undead of Fossil completely out of the running. They are immune to cold and pain, after all, and while perhaps a bit fragile, it’s very hard to keep them down.

Cosmology: Queen Caution of Fossil did not enter the promised land 1200 years ago, as all the rest of her countrymen did. Her absence was noted by her husband, King Incontrovertible. So, working beyond the veil, he did craft a ritual to return himself to the land of the living. From here, he could work on a second ritual that would return her to life as well, that they might be together for all of eternity. He was uncertain where her soul had gone, it was not in any Hell he visited. And so it took him a hundred years to tweak the ritual to draw her forth from some unknown plane.

The Life Rose: 1200 years ago, Incontrovertible was a member of the robust Order Of The Eternal Rose. He remembers his land began to die in a most notable year: It was the year he inducted his wife Caution into the order. At a critical moment in battle with the moon dragon, he was distracted by the peril his wife was in, and did not prevent the beast from harming the Rose. He thereafter held himself responsible for the unknowable calamity of lethal lethargy that struck his land.

Since His Return: He has been working only on raising his wife, but the spillover effects of the magic have been raising many of his subjects. Some comeback with all their soul, but others are pale shadows of their former selves. He is certain that once Caution is with him again, he will be able to restore the soul and senses of all who have been raised as a side-effect.

Interrupting Visit: A Hawk-Masked Prince came from Legs-Of-Ra, and since that land had once (long ago) been an outpost of Fossil, Incontrovertible did extend an audience to this Princeling. He expected they would negotiate some truce or trade agreement, or that Legs-Of-Ra would offer tribute of some sort. Instead, the Hawk-Mask was stoicly quiet - rarely speaking, but when he did it was always statements evasive and cyclical. He seemed to want nothing other than Incontrovertible's time, which drew the ire of the great king. The King was seething with anger when finally the mask asked his first question... “How do you want to die, your Majesty?”

The Missing Headpiece: The Prince was driven from the Palace, and the King was too angry to return to his work for several days. When finally he did, he found that Caution’s headdress was missing. Without the specially prepared 1200-year-old item adorning her hair, she could not be raised.

What He Eventually Learned: The headdress is being used as a skirt pin by Valkyrie’s Pride Loptsdottir, the heir to the Icy Throne of nearby Frostbridge. A state of war has been brewing ever since, and Incontrovertible has been whipping his army into shape. If he is able to retrieve the headdress, it will be a simple 8-month ritual to restore Caution to the living.

Frostbridge NPCs

Additional NPCs to compliment Valkyrie's Pride Loptsdottir, and flesh-out the Realm of Frostbridge.

GM Full Disclosure: Frostbridge NPCs
Less than 100 giants inhabit the continent, but they are very powerful individually.

Suitor Thrymsun: This is Valkyrie’s jealous ex. He follows her around, tries to earn back her love, and occasionally in a bout of drunken foolishness they become lovers again for a day or two. He will immediately suspect the PCs are there to woo her - perhaps he should think that of Lightfoot to give Joe something fun to do.
Air: 4 Earth: 6 Fire: 4 Water: 6
Drinking Songs: 5 Climbing: 7 Spear Melee: 5 Read Valkyrie’s Pride: 7
Bridge-Under-Foot: 0 pt: Suitor has cold feet. If he steps in water, the surface turns to ice before his foot completes contact. Effectively he can walk on water, building a bridge of icefloes beneath him as he goes. He still feels the cold as much as anyone with such high earth & fire scores would, but his skin can never be frozen nor stuck to anything by the cold.
Ice Spear: 1pt, Major: This long pike has a head of icy diamond. Anything impaled by it is frozen solid.

Bergrider Sifsdottir: This is Valkyrie’s Pride Loptsdottirs closest girlfriend. They drink together, do each others hair, go sailing on icebergs together, share sexual tips, etc. Bergrider has a knack for digging up gold, and working it into jewelry. However, she’s very protective of this gold, as she feels it’s her birthright claim from Sif, the Golden-haired goddess. She has bits of thin gold braided into her hair at all times, and a lot of jewelry. She’d do almost anything for Valkyrie’s Pride, but she’d never part with her gold, not even for her.
She’s had a crush on Suitor Thrymson for years, but he ignores her for Valkyrie’s Pride, so she does mean little tricks to him. She’s always telling him of Valkyrie’s infidelity, whipping him up into an angry passion.
Air: 5 Earth: 5 Fire: 2 Water: 4
Lying: 6 Digging & Mining: 6 Jewelrymaking: 3 Iceberg Acrobatics: 5
Gold Sense: 1 pt, Versatile: She’s aware of all Gold on the same continent as her. So she knows where to dig up gold at, knows how little is left beneath the earth and snow of Frostbridge, knows how wealthy (in gold) the people she meets are, and if she can slip some gold onto a person she can track them easily.
My Side Of The Berg Is Up: 0 pt: When she is on a piece of ice floating in water, whichever side she is touching will always be right side up. So her iceberg canoes can’t be flipped or capsized, she can float on any piece of ice large enough for her to stand on, and she can do some really showy rotation tricks by grabbing opposite ends of an iceberg.

King IceGifter Yimirsheir: This is Valkyrie’s Pride Loptsdottirs father. He is powerful, and one of the greatest permafrost wizards ever to wear the Crown-Of-Icicles. He stands 4 feet wider than any of his subjects, and has the strength of a titan. But he is slow. Slow to anger, slow to act. Sort of like a really big Projectionist George, but without ever saying “Chicks”. :)
Air: 4 Earth: 9 Fire: 2 Water: 8
Carving: 5 Stand Your Ground: 10 Resisting Fire Magic: 3 Remaining Calm: 9
Permafrost Wizard: 7 pt, Magic: Freeze water or melt ice by means of your gaze. It takes a second of concentration for every cubic foot. Transform existing ice to clear crystal that does or does not radiate cold, as you wish, or back again into ice, by thought. Your transformed ice may have the strength of steel or the fragility of glass, as you choose. Ice, cold, bad weather, and weapons made of ice do you no physical harm. If you hold a person in your arms for a minute, you may freeze them to death. You may extinguish small fires by letting them burn you for a moment.

IceHorses: The King’s broad sleigh is driven by 8 horses, carved from living ice. Each translucent horse is nearly 20 feet tall and exhales snowflakes.

Valkyrie’s Pride Loptsdottir (Spherewalker)

This was an NPC from Frostbridge that got only a third the "camera time" I'd intended for her.

Full GM Disclosure: Valkyrie’s Pride Loptsdottir (Spherewalker)

Vain, Prideful, Certain. She is descended from Loki and a Giantess. She calls all man-sized beings “Little One” as a way of dismissing their importance.
She is very wise and clever, but sometimes she drinks too much and then her judgment becomes clouded. She stands by her word, no matter what it is or what was in her system when she made her foolish declarative statements.

Earth: 6 Air: 5
Caber-Throw:7 Earn The Loyalty Of Drinking Buddies:6

Fire: 3 Water: 5
Spear-Fishing:4 Use Icebergs As Canoes:6

Ocean-But-A-Sip: 0 pt. She can drink any volume of any substance that a normal person could drink a (appropriately sized) cup of. So she’s still affected by poisons, and each swallow of liquor or potion affects her as would a normal sized swallow for someone of her girth. It’s just that her swallows can be infinitely large. She could drain a lake, for example, or a never-ending drinking horn.
Drunken Boasts: 4 pt, Frequent, Double Major and Versatile: When she is tipsy, she is prone to making outlandish boasts. Whatever it is she says she can do, she really can and will. The supernatural ability to complete these boasts lasts only while she’s drunk, so if it takes long enough for her to sober up, she might fail.
Frost’s Friend: 1 pt, Frequent: Exposure to cold and wintery weather cannot harm her. It is frequent because of where she lives, and because her 0-pt power slot has been used.
Spoiled Princess: 1 pt, Frequent: Valkyrie’s Pride nearly always gets what she wants. Her father does all she asks, and many fetching young giant-men strive constantly to catch her eye. It is frequent because of where she lives, and because her 0-pt power slot has been used.

And now for a detail about the current situation:
She won’t give up Caution’s Headdress - she was tricked into boasting she could steal it without being seen. Not only would she lose face by giving it up to some little dusty king just because he threatened war, but also it’s the one piece of jewelry she has that’s flashier than anything Bergrider Sifsdottir wears.

Frostbridge (Realm)

An Everway Realm

Frostbridge (Realm)

This land is populated by the Sons of Yimir, a race of people averaging 20 feet tall. They are rarely Spherewalkers (being too large for most gates), and keep to themselves in general. They raise great woolly goats, proudly wear tartans and heraldic sashes, and are known for their amazing ice sculptures.

Usurper Force: Winter Wind
Normal: Bitter, Driving, and Relentless
Inverted: Cold, Immobile and Uninterested

People: They organize themselves into small patrilineal clans, the most powerful of which inhabits a huge Ice Palace in the northeast of their land (just across the bridge from Fossil).

Economy: The great wooly goats they raise are sheered, slaughtered or sold to provide all that the people need. They import spices and sometimes fabrics. They also sell magically-altered ice.

Military: The Sons of Yimir have no organized army, but are individually great warriors. They wield great spears of ice into battle. It is said that every spring they train in great games to the west, and that some portion of these games involve trying to scale the cliffs of Enduring Fall. They are strong, persistent, and brave.

Ecology: Thick snow covers the Isle 3 seasons out of 4, and what plants survive are hardy indeed. Many great bears hibernate the years away, emerging from their slumber only once a decade or so. The local goats are enormous, adults standing more than 10 feet at the shoulder.

Snowpetal Rose: It blossoms in the one temperate season out of the year, but burns like ice on the skin. Coloration runs from white to pale blue. It’s beautiful, but fragile and often painful. Home remedies made from this include a topical balm to break fevers and inflammation - but beware using too much Snowpetal in the mixture as it can cause tissue damage akin to frostbite.

The Ice Carvers: Several artists and wizards in Frostbridge have the capacity to enchant ice so that it retains its cold for long spans of time and resists the application of heat. Items that have made it out of Frostbridge in trade include icicle polearms, glass-looking mugs that keep their contents continually cold for years, and sleighs with slick runners of ice. Unless made custom, however, assume that these are out of scale for the typical human.
Other noteworthy ice-carvings include the great palace of Yimir’s Hearth and the Frostbridges themselves - icy platforms extending from the northern continent south to Fossil and Enduring Fall.

Naming Conventions: In addition to a normal name like those possessed by most people you will encounter as the you walk the Spheres, the inhabitants of Frostbridge often have honorific secondary names. These names denote some God, Titan or Dragon that they are descended from. Example honorific names include Thrymsun, Thrudsdottir, and the ubiquitous Yimirson (which is the equivalent of the earthly “Johnson” or “Smith”).

Gates & Bordering Realms: The most common means of entering the Realm of Frostbridge involves crossing the great icy bridge from Fossil. Take some care though in crossing that bridge. You’ve heard tales of tongues, toes and fingers stuck to the bridge when foolish travelers accepted one dare too many.
Gates do exist, but they are under snow 3 seasons out of 4, and so are not frequently relied upon.

Incontrovertible (Spherewalker, King of Fossil)

An NPC that I played in a few sessions of Everway.

GM Full Disclosure: Incontrovertible (Spherewalker, King of Fossil)

Appearance: Wears a golden facemask inlaid with turquoise, it depicts a young and bearded man with deep eye shadow. Below that is much finery, flowing purple robes, gem-studded jewelry, a coat of golden mail beneath that. All of it fits a bit loosely, no doubt because he is but a mummy. You see no exposed flesh, but instead exposed bandages. The wraps have been decorated with arcane symbols all along their lengths.
He sits upon one of two great thrones, side-by-side. The other throne is empty and undecorated.

He is flanked by three sets of four:
Closest too him are mummified maidens, bearing enormous plumed fans to cool him. They wear outfits that would be skimpy and revealing on a living person, but which reveal only bandages and bones upon these women.
Next comes 4 children carrying canopic jars. 3 of them are wispy, beautiful and cherubic. Their innocence is so powerful it nearly draws tears just looking at them. Their jars are sealed. The fourth child is a mummy like everyone else you’ve seen in fossil, and the seal upon his jar has notably been chipped away.
The outer group is 4 skeletal legionnaires in armor. The great plumes upon their helmets are from the same species of bird as the maiden’s fans. their armor is like the King’s, only bronze and less ornate. They bear blocky sickle-like swords.

Stats on Incontrovertible
Virtue: Death Inverted (Stasis)
Fault: Dragon Inverted (Blind Fury)
Fate: The Priestess (Understanding Mysteries vs Impracticality)

Incontrovertible is quick to anger, yet very noble and honorable. Here is an example (it's what he says upon seeing the PCs for the first time):

“Good friends of the blossom which extends life to us all, it is kind of you to check on my condition after but a single absence. Yet take care how you express your concerns - Do not attempt to scold me for my lack of attendance this year, as I am a man in a foul mood that may take millennia to clear of its own, and I fear only blood will sooner return a smile to this shrunken orbless face.”

Earth:4 Air: 3
Delivering Funerary Rites:5 Anatomy:4

Fire: 7 Water: 2
Battling Dragons:8 Healing Others:3

Eternal Spirit: 1 pt, Major: His soul cannot be destroyed. If slain, it will take him a milennia to reform, but he can do it.
Soul’s Call: 1 pt, Major: By means of elaborate rituals, he may return the dead to life. These rituals take months to execute, and require him first researching the religious beliefs of the one he’s calling back. He must have much of their body and several of their personal belongings to do so. It tends to spill over and awaken other well-preserved corpses in the area.
Elemental Jars: 1 pt, Major: Each of his four jars holds different organs. He may open them to gain temporary boosts to the relevant Elemental Attribute. Each time he does so, half the power of the Jar escapes. He’s used his Water Jar once.
Life Drain: 1 pt, Major: He may drain the essence from a person he touches. This will kill them but heal and rejuvenate himself. He must genuinely HATE them to do so, and must touch them for more than a minute to complete it - he and they will be incapable of doing anything else while it happens, but he’s vulnerable to interference or harm from observers while doing so.

Extras In Fossil

Stats for the nameless hordes of the nearly dead in the Everway Realm of Fossil...

Typical zombie-mummy Fossil Legionnaire: Carries a very blocky Khopesh, an angled scutum-like shield, and 2 or 3 short throwing spears with long thin metal heads. Wears either bronze chainmail or leather armor. All bear the same trilobite-shaped symbol in bronze.
Air: 1 Earth: 3 Fire: 3 Water: 1
Follow Commands: 2 Marching: 4 Throw Pilum: 4 Move Silently: 2
Beyond Death: 2pt, Frequent & Major: These legionnaires have no internal organs to be damaged, feel no pain, and are enchanted by a powerful animative magic. Bones may be broken, limbs may be removed, but the body will continue fighting until immobilized, crushed or completely dismembered.

Living Fossils: There are no bears in Fossil, instead there are bear-sized land-going trilobites. They are rarely encountered, but do exist.
Air: 1 Earth: 6 Fire: 3 Water: 4
See In Dark: 2 Find Caves: 7 Defensive Curl: 4 Flow Over Terrain: 5
Rock Hard: 1 pt, Frequent: These creatures have a very hard rocky shell to protect from impact.
Petrifying Demise: 1 pt, Major: When a living Fossil is killed, it turns to stone instantly. A few inches worth of any material touching it will be similarly transformed.This could kill those wrestling it.

Fossil NPCs

A file for the GM's eyes only that listed info on a variety of NPCs in the Everway Realm of Fossil.

GM Full Disclosure: Fossil NPCs
Here are brief character sketches to round out the population of these Realms.

Informers, Bureaucrats, and Sages:
  • Courtyard Dictation: This mummified peacock serves the role of Royal Herald, strutting about the courtyard announcing arrivals and proclamations. It can speak the Tongue, and has goldleaf artificial plumes to replace what it lost to decay.

Artists, Artisans, and Merchants:
  • Brain Scrambler: Brain Scrambler is the embodiment of every cliche you’ve ever heard about bitter self-absorbed artists beloved by the very public they so violently hate. In the dying days of Fossil, Brain Scrambler was THE man that all the powerful people wanted to be mummified by. The trick is that the real talent was possessed by his assistant, Embalmer’s Pet. Anyone she helped embalm is now up and awake (excepting Caution, of course), including Brain Scrambler. She, being the last such artisan to die, was not preserved sufficiently. She is half-awake, a braindead zombie-mummy that silently follows Brain Scrambler wherever he goes.
  • Wheel’s Inventor: No, he wasn’t literally the guy who invented the wheel, he just sort of acted like it in life, and the nickname has lasted beyond death. He still makes the finest Chariots in Fossil, cut and polished from petrified bamboo and huge disks of fossilized trilobites. But he hasn’t quite got all his personality back from the land of the dead yet. He’ll only talk about chariots, not a single sentence ever comes out about any other topic. Like a bronze age parody of “Crash”, if you've ever met him.
Military Men
  • Pilum: Pilum is a High-Ranking Officer in the Fossil army, but he has only held that position for a few days. He has much combat experience from the Imperial Era, and is a bright and talented individual. He has nearly entirely recovered from death, which is why he was promoted suddenly this past week. He looks human (not undead) though perhaps a bit gaunt.
  • Heated Shot Landing On Thatched Roofs: Nominally the highest ranking officer in the Fossil army, but not currently functioning at the full levels he once did. A few hundred soulless mummies follow his every thought, so he retains his old position for that reason. This corpse legion somehow understands every command he glares at them, which is good because he hasn’t yet regained the ability to speak. He mumbles and roars, struts forcefully and waves his blocky khopesh wildly in the air. The mostly-dead wail and charge with him. He has one other noteworthy power, which is a specific limited form of pyrokinesis... his gaze can cause enemy barracks and fortifications to slowly start burning - but only military buildings can be targeted in this way.

Fossil (Realm)

One of the Realms where memorable events happened during the Everway campaign. I'll try to remember to blog about them sometime.

Fossil (Realm)

2,000 years ago, this Realm dominated the southern continent of its Sphere, a great empire that held all the villages in thrall. Then, about 1,200 years ago some unknown cataclysm occurred, causing every man, woman and child in the Capitol to die within a year. The borders of the realm retreated quickly, withdrawing till all that was left was an empty plain with a fossilized ghost town in its center. The southern villages became independent, then grew into Bamboo City. The dead realm of Fossil became little more than folklore. But apparently, the ancient King of Fossil was stronger even then death, and nearly 100 years ago, he awoke.

Usurper Force: The Hourglass
Normal: Fading Into Folklore
Inverted: Sudden Reverses

People: For almost a century, the people of Fossil have been returning from the lands of the dead. The better embalmed, the better mummified and preserved they were, the sooner they awoke. Perhaps 1 in every 200 to 300 have come back, the rest remain entombed, unawakened or lost to a millennia of grave-robbings.

The Press of Years: For the commoner of Fossil, existence is a pale shadow of what it once was. They walk eroded streets, live in ruined homes, and engage in some gray parody of their former lives. Most are little better than soulless undead automata, puttering about futilely, trying to reenact a millennia-old daily grind. But the better preserved the body in death, the greater the spark of life they brought back with them from the lands beyond.

Economy: Quiet skeletal farmers work the dusty weed-ridden fields with flail and scythe. Mummified artisans in ornate dressings market the greatest of their grave-adornments, now lacking the creative spark to innovate. Carefully de-organed and enchanted priests preach a dead religion with a fervor that not even death could chill. But precious little is exported from Fossil, and rarer yet is the import, for the dead seek only to reclaim that which they have lost, and surround themselves only with the treasures that were interred with them.

Military: Once, long ago, the Realm that became known as Fossil had a mighty army, a great legion that conquered the Sphere and did even venture through gates. The mighty legionnaires in full regalia were an amazing sight to behold, the myths do tell us. Now, they must be even more fearsome, if not quite so glamorous, as they no doubt are a column of dry bones marching in armor.

Ecology: The land is mostly dead, only tangled thorny weeds survive on the dusty plains. Wild bamboo forests dot the southern borders, but in the north the stalks are petrified and ancient, merely a nest for weeds and tiny gaunt rodents. Some green can be found where farmers have returned to some state of life, but where the land is untended it nears desert conditions.

Rose: The local rose is rarely spotted, its low-growing vines look nearly identical to a common thorn-weed that grows in fits across the plains. The dusty orange blooms last but a day or two, then shrivel on the vine and preserve their dry and dusty form. It takes months for the plant to produce a precious new flower to replace the one that dried out.

Incontrovertible & Caution: The ancient Pharaoh Incontrovertible the First was a wise and powerful man, with great wisdom and potent magic. His wife Caution was equally as powerful, but by some accounts mad, and by others wickedly selfish or dangerously lustful. Her life is but a myth now, remembered in bedtime stories only. Some say she brought about her peoples destruction, others say she was simply the vain first victim of whatever calamity struck the Realm. She has not awoke, though her husband did nearly 100 years ago.
You personally have met Incontrovertible, he helped drive the Dragon away from Moon’s Trial a few years ago.

Gates & Bordering Realms: The easiest passages are South to Bamboo City or north by bridge. The ancient empire had many gates, it is said, but none are currently known to be in public use.

Enduring Fall (Realm)

Enduring Fall (Everway Realm)

The land to the West of Fossil and Bamboo City is almost entirely uninhabited, and a most unique form of wilderness. Sheer rock cliff-faces rise up from the ground a few miles inside the border of the realm, and disappear into the clouds far above. An endless shower of dried leaves and flower petals drift down from the clouds, continually coating the base of the cliffs in sweet-smelling debris.

Usurper Force: Flower Drift
Normal: Gentle Descent
Inverted: Unexpected Impact

People: Only a few tiny villages and individual huts dot the base of the cliff. Those who choose to dwell here are typically allergy-free. When a child is born without such a blessing, it often means the entire family must migrate to Bamboo City . Those who stay grow to live with the constant floral “precipitation”. Other than that, it’s hard to summarize the people of this Realm. The culture of the various villages are throwbacks to the days centuries ago when Bamboo City was just Bamboo Village.

Military: Some of the villagers are peaceful and introspective, others are fiercely militant for fear of invasion from the East. It very much differs from one village to the next whether your reception will be warm and friendly or harshly isolationist. If the people of Bamboo City ever chose to invade in numbers, they would likely conquer Enduring Fall quickly.

Economy & Ecology: Much like the realm of Viridian, nearly everything the people of Enduring Fall need is provided by the Mountain whose base they occupy. Flowers, grains, even fruits drop from the sky with regularity, and it is an easy task to harvest them from the ground. The natives are quite accustomed to eating slightly bruised fruit. In addition, a spindly breed of mountain goat lives along the crags and cliffs, and are herded by the locals for milk, wool, and a bit of meat. What they can’t get from the sky, the locals travel to the edge of Bamboo City to buy. Some of the villages in the NorthWest also trade with Frostbridge during the colder months of the year.

The Driftbug Rose: Several varieties of Rose must grow amongst the clouds, and rain their petals down upon the populace. Most notable of these is the Driftbug Rose, which glides down from the mountain heights, looking like some colorful insect till it lands and the blossom unfolds.

The Dirt Storm: A few times a year each village experiences a day or two of minor rock and dirt showers, no more threatening than a typical hailstorm elsewhere. This debris comes from the same sky as the flowers and fruit do, so it’s taken in stride as just another part of nature’s bounty.

The Winter Sports: Each winter, a group of Giants from Frostbridge cross the icefloes to the NorthWest portions of Enduring Fall and attempt to climb the cliff-face. A popular explanation for this is that the top of mountain pillar hides a Paradise that the vain Giants once occupied. As the various incarnations of the story go, they were cast out of by either The Gods, a Dragon, or their own clumsiness.

Gates & Bordering Realms: Enduring Fall borders directly on Fossil and Bamboo City, and is across a short span of water from Frostbridge. Popular conjecture holds that some other realm resides atop the mountain in the clouds, but is unreachable to all but the strongest flyers.
Another popular belief is that the land known as SlideMount is a part of Enduring Fall, borders against it, or is nestled within it at a higher altitude. The colors of the rock in both Realms are very similar, and both experience showers of objects falling from thick banks of clouds. Their Usurper Forces are depicted differently by artists, but few risk dwelling long enough in SlideMount, perhaps the force in that tumultuous land has not been properly interpreted.

SlideMount (Realm?)

Everway Realm from the old campaign.

SlideMount (Realm?)

A Gate lies in this Realm high atop a steep and jagged mountain. An old lava tube runs from the clouds at the crest of the mountain, down past the gate, down to the base of the mountain where a second Gate lies. Large boulders and rockslides of gravel are constantly churning forth from the clouded area at the Mountain’s Peak. No one’s ever explored much beyond the two Gates and the path between them.

Usurper Force: The Rockslide
Normal: Swift Motion
Inverted: Powerful Collision

People (The Golem): A single clockwork golem lives near the Gate. He was constructed in Opal and left here either by some altruist spherewalker who sought to ensure the safety of those who use the upper Gate, or he was the sole survivor of some expedition on the mountain that was otherwise wiped out in a landslide. Those are the two best theories anyway, no one is sure as the Golem only ever says two expressions: “Push” and “Wait Till Morning”.
The Golem sits just above the upper Gate and deflects boulders that roll towards it. He also keeps the slide clear, so it’s safe to travel down.

The Slide: The old lava tube is made of glistening black rock worn smooth with generations of use. It’s slick, and the slide down it is fast and easy. It’s recommended you bring a thick blanket, cloak or piece of burlap to lay down on and have beneath you as you slide, just to protect your clothes and make sure you aren’t cut or scraped by any cracks or little spurs of rock that might be left in the tube.

Economy: There is none. Some Spherewalkers leave gears, tools or little vials of machinist’s oil as tribute to the Clockwork Golem who defends the Gate. These trinkets don’t ever seem to accumulate greatly, so either the Golem uses them to repair himself or something else happens to them over time.

Military: None, unless you want to count the tons of boulders and gravel that pour down the mountain each day as a weapon or army of sorts.

Ecology: Nothing bigger than a scraggly tuft of weed survives on the side of this mountain with all the debris that cascades down its slopes. The base of the mountain accumulates more and more rubble every day, crushing anything that would try to grow there. There are a few small bats and insects that nest in the lee of larger stones or rock spurs on the mountain, ranging wide to live off what little this realm provides.

Rose: You have never seen a Rose grow in SlideMount, but know in your heart that Roses are on every Sphere, a sign of the God’s handiwork in shaping the Universe.

The Upper Gate: This Gate leads from Night’s Adornment. It’s practically a one-way Gate since to climb the mountain would take a lengthy ascent on a slick surface or while dodging boulders up the rougher edges of SlideMount. Realistically, a Spherewalker would have to be gifted with the ability to Fly to be able to safely ascend the mountain and travel through the Gate to Night’s Adornment.

The Lower Gate: The Slide deposits you at the base of the mountain, just 20 feet shy of the lower Gate. This Gate is flanked by enormous piles of rubble and rocky debris that have accumulated at the foot of SlideMount over the years. If not for the Golem pushing aside the boulders further up the mountainside this Gate would surely be buried. Instead, there’s a small clearing and signs of a previous traveler’s campsites.
The Gate leads to Redsky. Since the Golem tells everyone who arrives at the upper Gate to “Wait Till Morning” the common assumption is that at least 8-12 hours need to pass after entering this Realm from the upper Gate before it’s safe to leave via the lower Gate.

EarthMaze (Realm)

another Everway Realm

EarthMaze (Realm)

The rocky wilderness that surrounds and separates Flashfire and Night’s Adornment is commonly known as EarthMaze. It is a dangerous realm, difficult to travel, and so quite amazing that two such grand city-states should grow upon its borders. The canyons form a great labyrinth, and much more is speculated to be hidden in those folds than anyone has ever proven.

Usurper Force: Wandering The Maze
Normal: Secret Twists
Inverted: The Exit Is Closer Than You Thought

Vessel Gnomes: In the deep crevasses and caverns of Earth Maze there lives a breed of tiny people who appear to be made of wet clay. Adults are between 8 and 12 inches in height. Their appearance varies greatly, as though each were a clay sculpture by a different artist’s hand. One thing they all have in common is a depression or hollow in their body, which is filled with a fluid that looks and smells not unlike green tea. If that liquid pours out, the Drinking Vessel Gnome dries up and dies in a small belch of flame that leaves a hard ceramic body behind.

Cup Hunters: There are constant rumors that unscrupulous individuals hunt the Vessel Gnomes, drain them and sell their bodies on the black market in far corners of the universe. You’ve never seen such a macabre item for sale in even the seediest marketplace, so perhaps it’s just a nightmare fairytale designed to frighten children. Such a gnome-hunter would have to be a Spherewalker or have Spherewalker allies to be able to export such sadistic cups off-world.

Economy: The Drinking Vessel Gnomes (now that you think about, that appellation might be a bit insensitive, but it is the only name you’ve heard of for them) mostly keep to themselves. Having heard the nightmare fairytale one too many times, they tend to be distrustful of “big folk”. If there’s any economy here, it’s all black market exports.

Military: None that you know of, unless you count the Minotaur.

Ecology: Sharp spurs of rock make up the jagged walls of the EarthMaze. Lichens are the most commonly encountered life. Plants are mostly small trees and bushes. Cactus exist here, but are rare. Rodents are common, including several different breeds of rabbit. And in your trips through earthmaze you’ve seen signs of the passing of large herds of cattle or bison, but you’ve never seen such a beast directly. Frequently you see Dragons fly overhead, especially when near to Flashfire. You’re generally happy to have only noticed them from a distance. And then, of course there’s the folklore about the Minotaur.

Green Tea Rose: The local rose blossoms on a lanky bush that grows far horizontally but stays very close to the ground. The yellow-green rose that it produces has a sweet scent reminiscent of tea, and makes a good brew you are told. It’s often been speculated that there is some correlation between such a blossom and the tea-like substance carried in the Drinking Vessel Gnomes’ hollows, but no one knows for sure.

The Minotaur: All the accounts vary, so he could be anywhere from 5 to 20 feet tall, humanoid or quadruped, uncivilized or bearing bronze armor and tools, earthbound or capable of magical flight, incredibly strong and fast or a lethargic beast that slays with poisoned breath, etc, etc, etc. Tradition holds that he kills those he encounters, showing no mercy and rarely making escape possible. No one you know has actually seen him with their own eyes in good lighting, but it’s possible he does exist nonetheless. Whether fearing attack by Minotaur, Dragon, or just Stampede of Bison, most who travel through EarthMaze do so without dawdling.

Gates & Bordering Realms: There may well be Gates hidden deep in the rocky culdesacs of EarthMaze. You’ve kept only to established trade routes, and didn’t stop to dally, so you don’t know. All you can say for certain is that EarthMaze borders both Night’s Adornment and Flashfire, and sees a good deal of merchant traffic as a result.

Moon’s Trial (Sphere)

This Realm was in many ways the crux of our Everway campaign, though only a single scene took place here.

Moon’s Trial (Sphere)

This tiny hidden world is nearly deserted. Only a single Gate links to it, and only a handful of Spherewalkers even know it exists. The secret society known as The Order of the Eternal Rose uses this place for rituals and tests. It’s the most holy place they know of.

Usurper Force: The Cycle of Life
Normal: Harmonious Repetition
Inverted: Universal Peril

People: No one lives here permanently. There are several small structures, used by The Order of the Eternal Rose for training, initiation and as a safe-house in times of trouble.

Economy: None. However, all members of The Order of the Eternal Rose are spherewalkers, and so there are many resources available simply by asking your brethren for assistance.

Military: None, though many members of The Order of the Eternal Rose would gladly give their lives in defense of this place.

Ecology: Moon’s Trial has mighty extremes of flora, fauna, and weather. Every spring a mighty Life Rose blooms and a fierce Dragon flies down from the Moon. The Dragon tries to snatch the rose and drag it away, and is driven off by the assembled heroes of The Order of the Eternal Rose.

The Life Rose: Roses of some sort grow on every sphere, sign of the God’s hand in creation. In the world of Moon’s Trial, the most prominent local rose is the Life Rose. It’s blossom grows but once a year, a giant rose flower the size of three oxen side by side. It opens in the spring and the scent fills the world with purity, but the scent also calls down the Moon Dragon.
Tradition holds that the Life Rose is the secret symbol of spring and rebirth throughout the Universe. All life exists because of this single flower, and Roses everywhere are the gift of the Gods. The Order of the Eternal Rose are the divinely-chosen protectors of the Life Rose.
Every spring they face off against the Moon Dragon. The Dragon’s bitter rage at having been cursed by the Gods in ages past drives it to destroy the Life Rose. In the month before the blossom opens all the heroes of The Order of the Eternal Rose who are able, answer the call and walk the Spheres to the land of Moon’s Trial to battle the Dragon. On average, between 40 and 50 heroes arrive in time to take part in the battle.
In years where the Dragon is driven off quickly, all is well in the Universe: The seasons are mild, the harvests bountiful, and governments balanced and stable. But for every petal of the Rose that is damaged, something horrible happens.

The Catastrophe: This year, when you passed through the Gate to Moon’s Trial, there was hardly anyone waiting. Only 4 heroes arrived, including yourself, and you nearly lost the battle with the Dragon. The Life Rose was burnt and clawed, which is sure to have devastating effects across the cosmos. What hasn’t been answered yet is: where the rest of the heroes are, and what prevented them from answering the yearly call.

Gates & Bordering Realms:
Only a single Gate leads to and from Moon’s Trial, the Gate is in the middle of the small villa the Order of the Eternal Rose has set up. The other end of the Gate is hidden in a private hedge-maze in the Realm known as Night’s Adornment.

Everway Albinos

This was in the margin of the file on major NPCs in Night's Adornment, an Everway Realm. In Everway, names are meaningful, and often evocative of the person so named. Coming up with a bunch of names on the spot would be difficult, so we brainstormed a list before the first session.

Generic Names for Albinos in Night's Adornment
  • Alfredo
  • Cloudline
  • Lace
  • Blanch
  • Mozzarella
  • Cream
  • Faded
  • Pale
  • Silver
  • Frost
  • Icicle
  • Whiskey
  • Wisp
  • Ivory
  • Bones
  • Wash
  • Drab
  • Haze
  • Fog
  • Ash
  • Wax

Night’s Adornment Important NPCs

Stats for Major NPCs of Night's Adornment

GM Full Disclosure: Night’s Adornment Important NPCs

Quick Change, the Courtier: This week’s fashion is 8” heels, red velvet with white lace, and a sort of boat-shaped hairdo.
Air: 4 Earth: 2 Fire: 3 Water: 3
Detect Mistake: 5 Staying Calm: 3 Balance in Heels: 4 Anticipate Fads: 4
Rapid Costume Switch: 0 pt: She may change her clothes, hairdo or makeup in less than a fifth the time it would take someone without this power. Whenever the PCs see her, she’s in a totally different outfit, even if it’s only been a minute. This power CANNOT be used to disguise or mask appearance - if anything, her unusual outfit choices make it very easy to pick her out of a crowd.

Emperor TwinkleToes The First, this week’s Fashion Leader: Fashion for the week is all about little bells. Tiny silver bells sewn into the hem of everything, and large golden bells on the tips of the shoes. Emperor TwinkleToes is an odd little acrobat who’s just dazzled beyond belief at the concept of getting to be king for a week. He’s wearing silvery blue tights and a velvet shirt of the same color.
Air: 5 Earth: 2 Fire: 3 Water: 2
Cartwheels: 6 Handstands: 3 Express Enthusiasm: 4 Bell Music: 3
Smiling Dust: 0 pt: Twinkletoes can produce a handful of glittering dust from any pocket. Anyone this dust is blown in the face of immediately begins to smile. It doesn’t necessarily make them happy or friendly, it just forces their facial muscles into a smiling position.

Dueling Blade, the Informant: When you need to know the dirt on someone in Night’s Adornment, Dueling Blade is the man to go to. He’s got info on everybody, and traffics in scandals and rumor. Of course, this gets him into some tight scrapes, which is how he got his name.
Air: 3 Earth: 4 Fire: 5 Water: 3
Spread Rumors: 4 Not Bleeding First: 5 First Thrust: 6 Detect Poison: 4
Rumor Net: 2 pt, Frequent and Major: Dueling Blade hears about everything happening in Night’s Adornment. He won’t always have all the details, but he’ll know a bit or two about anything of importance. He knows a bunch of heroes come this way every spring for some big deal that takes place in the hedgemaze, but he doesn’t know the full purpose. He also knows that this year some group from off-sphere moved against those heroes, took a bunch of them out. But he doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t know who’s behind it.
Redline: 1 pt, Major: This magic sword is enchanted to never deliver a fatal blow. Wounds it causes can be very messy and gory, but never under any circumstances will they be life-threatening. It has a red-enameled “racing stripe” running down the blade, a quarter inch in from the blunt side.

Parchment, the Magistrate of Public Records: The official news on anything is kept by Parchment, the best-connected Albino in Night’s Adornment. Parchment carries three or four dozen scroll cases at any give time, and they always seem to have the needed information for whatever official questions are put before him.
Air: 5 Earth: 1 Fire: 1 Water: 5
Create Red Tape: 6 Resist Hunger: 2 Dodge Blame: 2 Bureacratic Complexity: 6
It’s In This Tube: 1 pt, Frequent: If parchment needs to know something that is a matter of public record, he can find it simply by opening any one of the 30 to 50 scroll tubes on his person. Whatever paper he draws out will list all the official details on the subject.

Random Encounters in Night's Adornment

Our plot began with a mystery in/near Night's Adornment. Since the PCs were likely to spend some time snooping for clues, we wanted to have a couple of insertable encounters ready to spice things up if the search was dragging...

GM Full Disclosure: Night’s Adornment Random Encounters

#1: A Duel of Insults: The lowest Fire or Earth PC stumbles briefly on a marble staircase. They aren’t harmed but you can hear a nearby Courtier state loudly, “Just because she’s a Spherewalker doesn’t mean she’s a competent Stairwalker.” All the nearby Courtiers do little golf-claps at this jibe - apparently taunting and insults are popular this week.

A duel of insults is a battle of Air scores. If the PC wins, the courtier expresses mock indignation and struts away on her extremely high heels.

Quick Change, the Courtier: This week’s fashion is 8” heels, red velvet with white lace, and a sort of boat-shaped hairdo.
Air: 4 Earth: 2 Fire: 3 Water: 3
Detect Mistake: 5 Staying Calm: 3 Balance in Heels: 4 Anticipate Fads: 4
Rapid Costume Switch: 0 pt: She may change her clothes, hairdo or makeup in less than a fifth the time it would take someone without this power. Whenever the PCs see her, she’s in a totally different outfit, even if it’s only been a minute. This power CANNOT be used to disguise or mask appearance - if anything, her unusual outfit choices make it very easy to pick her out of a crowd.

#2: The Water Thieves: The heroes round the corner of a rarely-used street and see three albinos (2 male, 1 female) and and a leprechaun loading bottles of water onto the back of an elaborate horse-drawn gold-trimmed cart. It looks suspicious for two reasons: 1) they’re taking the bottles out the window of a house, and 2) when they see you, one drops a bottle and they all run or jump on the cart. (If that doesn’t get the PCs in motion, a moment later a woman in the house screams “Stop! Thief! They’re stealing my water!”)

The chase will be a Fire contest to catch up with them, and a second Contest to apprehend them. Failure on the first chase contest will let the PCs try an Earth Contest to pursue long-distance or a Water contest to track.

Albinos (names are Alfredo, Lace and Cloudline) : Non-descript pale folks in neutral colors, the only distinguishing mark is the bottles they carry.
Air: 2 Earth: 3 Fire: 3 Water: 3
Architecture: 3 Good Grip: 4 Opening Locks: 4 Unobtrusive: 4
Indistinguishable: 1 Frequent: If they drop their water bottles, they are visually indistinguishable from other Albinos of the same gender in the city. The PCs can’t positively ID them by sight. Other Albinos can, though.

Hopps, the Leprechaun: 3 foot tall, copper-hair, lime-colored vest and pants, mahogany sash, cream shirt. He’s stealing this Longevity Water for use in a brewing experiment - it’s the ingredient needed in a beer!
Air: 5 Earth: 4 Fire: 3 Water: 3
Juggling: 6 Handle Liquor: 5 Dodge Projectiles: 4 Beer Knowledge: 4
Never Spills: 0pt: If there’s an open cup, stein or bottle in his hand, he never spills a drop, no matter how crazy his antics become.
Rainbow Hop: 1 Major: Can leap in a rainbow-arc, up to 15 feet high and 30 feet distant. While making such a jump, a pale rainbow appears in the air, marking his trajectory.

Proud Cart, the White Stallion: A fairly unremarkable horse... other than it’s a Spherewalker, can talk, and has a very pretty cart to pull around.
Air: 1 Earth: 4 Fire: 5 Water: 3
Detect Smoke: 2 Haul Cart: 5 Sprint: 6 Direction Sense: 4
Talking: 0pt: It’s a talking horse. That’s all. No big deal. He’s not bright, just talkative.
Cart & Gate: 1 pt: The horse can Spherewalk. And, if he has a shiny cart he’s proud of, he can pull the cart and anything in it with him through the Gate.

Night’s Adornment NPCs

This page was given to the players, since clearly their PCs came through Night's Adornment at least once a year...

Here are brief overviews of important people you’ve either met or heard the reputation of while visiting the Realm of Night’s Adornment:

Sources of Information:
  • Parchment: Probably the second highest ranked Albino in the government of Night’s Adornment, Parchment is the Master of Public Records. Go to him if you need the blueprints of a building, a list of imports brought through customs last month, the name of the Emperor during a specific week of a specific year, or the estimated net worth of a particular noble’s holdings.
  • Dueling Blade: A rumor-monger and secret-finder, this informant’s line of work gets him into all sorts of trouble. Lucky for him, he’s capable of defending his honor. He knows some dirty little secret about practically everyone.
  • Your Guess: This courtier is somehow involved in the secretive process that determines who becomes Emperor each week. He won’t reveal how it works, and he freely admits no one can serve consecutive terms, that there’s a long waiting list, and that he can only guarantee a 70% success rate for the month you request. But, just the same, people bribe him highly for their shot at the weekly throne. Results are so mixed that his name slowly transformed into it’s current form as a joke: If you’ve bribed him, you could say “Your Guess is as good as mine.”
Sources of Frustration:
  • Quick Change: This courtier is among the most two-faced individuals you’ve ever met. She’s alternately sycophantic or cruel, depending on the nature of the court this week. Nobody changes colors (or costumes) quicker than Quick Change.
  • Twinkletoes: The court jester. This gay little acrobat is way too happy to be each Emperor’s patsy. Unfortuneately, he’s almost always within 20 yards of this week’s guy-in-charge. If you want to talk to the most important man of the week, you’ll have to tolerate the background toadying and bad jokes of Twinkletoes.
Sources of Unique Equipment:
  • Puzzlesmith: Perhaps the finest rapier-maker in all the Universe, Puzzlesmith has been known to take more than a decade to craft a single blade - and with a steady supply of water from the Bosom of Night’s Adornment he’s had over a thousand years to perfect his craft. Every Puzzlesmith rapier has hidden features: secondary weapons, mechanical contrivances, tricks and traps, secret tools and potent magics. Ridiculously wealthy from previous transactions, Puzzlesmith no longer sells his blades - but he has been known to barter for one-of-a-kind items from other Spheres and gift close friends with prize rapiers.
  • Bottler: If you’d like to live forever, stop by Bottler’s Workshop. This noble was the first to have the grand idea of packaging the immortalizing spring water of this Realm for export. Bottler employs a team of the best Albino Glassblowers in all the realm. Each bottle is a unique work of art, and they are built such that once opened, they can never be sealed again.
  • Kerchiefs Jeweled Feathered and Embroidered: This lengthy name belongs to one of the preeminent fashion designers of Night’s Adornment. Kerchiefs (as she is known when speaking informally) is capable of designing from any material presented, in any style ever known. She employs a staff of hundreds of albinos to labor on the clothing she designs, working like mad men once a week to provide all of Night’s Adornment with whatever fashions the new emperor fancies. She keeps an extensive warehouse and museum of past accomplishments and innovations, which many would-be emperors visit weekly.

Night’s Adornment (Realm)

An Everway Realm...

Night’s Adornment is one of the most cultured and civilized realms in all the Universe - a fact the inhabitants will remind you of on a fairly frequent basis. The entire realm is one palatial city, a sea of huge cathedrals and elegant ballrooms, sprawling avenues and 3rd-story walkway overpasses, winding hedgemazes and public gardens.

Usurper Force: The Grand Ball
Normal: Elegant Celebration
Inverted: By Invitation Only

People: The people of Night’s Adornment fall into two castes: The Courtiers and the The Albino Class.

The Courtiers: They live life in the lap of luxury. This is the bright center of the universe, you see. Everything you ever wanted is here, naturally. The only difficulty you will face is staying in season. Fashions do change nightly, you know. Think dashing dark-skinned rogues in tri-cornered hats, with crimson sashes, powdered whigs, and five-foot rapiers. Think beautiful women with multi-layered gowns, silver heels, two-foot hairdoes, accenting fans, and artificial moles pasted to their perfect ebony skin. Then think again - that was so last Tuesday. I’m sure this week the fashions will be far more astounding.

The Albino Class: These poor creatures. Not blessed with beauty or taste, mostly all awkward elbows and stuttering. But at least they are good with their hands... someone has to maintain the promenades and gardens, after all. Perhaps 20% of the population are Albinos, but they do at least 80% of the work - and, as the Courtiers are sure to remind you, that is the proper way of the world.

The Bosom of Night’s Adornment: There are several natural springs in Night’s Adornment. Most are on private lands and have magnificent fountains built around them. The water from these springs provide unnatural long life to those who partake of them. The only drawback is sterility, but if everyone is going to live forever, it’s best not to spend eternity surrounded by screaming children.

Economy: Bottled Water is exported from Night’s Adornment to every Realm they share a border or Gate with. Since so many would do so much for immortality, the Water is exported in small quantities only and it fetches a significant price.

Military: Dueling is frequently in fashion, whether with Rapiers or some exotic weapon that was just imported this weekend. As such, there is no formal army in Night’s Adornment, but invaders would find a long-term conquest difficult.

Ecology: It’s a wealthy urban environment, so the rats are fewer than most cities and the songbirds quite exotic. Since fads pass so quickly, there are a number of abandoned animals roaming the city - but all are beautiful and well mannered.

Rose: The most common rose is known as the Weekly, or the Emperor’s Rose. It’s blossom opens once a week, at midnight, grows quickly and wilts in 6 days to be replaced on the 7th.

Imperator-Of-The-Week: Each week, in conjunction with the rose-bloom, a new Courtier becomes Emperor or Empress. In times of peace, their main duty is to dictate fashion for that week.

Gates & Bordering Realms: Night’s Adornment is surrounded by EarthMaze. Beautiful public Gates within the city lead to Bamboo City, HamLeg’s Gate, and SlideMount. There is also a gate to Restriction, but it has been sealed by being surrounded by a heavy metal grate and marble gargoyles.
Deep in a twisting hedge-maze inside a private garden there is also a hidden Gate to Moon’s Trial.

Everway Realms Again

I'm gonna see if I can't manage to put the rest of the Everway Realms up on the blog today. I've got some other stuff I want to blog about, but I'm holding off till I manage to put this stuff out there.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Everway Realm partial-index

I think I've posted over half the Realms from the old Everway campaign, so I'm gonna take a break. It may be a few days before I finish this project, but in the meantime, here's an index of the Realms available on this site...
As a special bonus, here's two Realms we never made.