Monday, November 13, 2017

Mythic Jade: Tales Of Long Ago

Long ago, when mankind was new to the world, the world was filled with magic. The Godwar had ravaged the land. The blood and bones of dead gods infused the land with magic never seen before or since. The Godwar had terrible effects on the world, once verdant lands became deserts, volcanoes erupted, filling the sky with clouds of ash. The 7 Witch Queens Pulled their islands into the skies above the ash, while the Serpent Men hid away beneath the surface of the world, building crystal cities deep down where it was warm and safe. Those humans left became the wandering tribes. Even now, a thousand years later this is how it stood. One Hundred Twenty-Five years ago the four gods of Mu called out to the wandering peoples. They were called to the great central island in the middle of the inland sea. This became the Nation of Mu, held aloft by the heroic lineages and the four gods. Now this fledgling nation faces a threat beyond that of rival nations and gods. In the last couple of years individuals have been awakening to godlike power. Not many people, mind you, but all it takes is a few. Now the the Five Lineages must send out their strongest warriors to quell these Godseeds. Now these Buckriders, as they are known, travel the land hunting Godseeds, Moss People, Black Sorcerers, and other threats to the stability of the Kingdom Of Mu. You are one of these Godseeds, the soul of a dead god reborn in the flesh of man. Hunted unto death for the crime of existing you stand on the precipice. By your hand you could raise up a mighty nation, or condemn the world to damnation eternal. 

This is a campaign framework for Jadepunk. In it you play Godseeds, humans with the souls of dead gods in a stone/bronze age world of myth and magic. People in the world see you as either a useful tool in their own schemes, or a terrible threat to be destroyed. This is probably not going to be a complete setting or rules set, but it should serve as a fine jumping off point for your own games. This was heavily inspired by my love of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Otis Aldebirt Kline as well as awesome game settings like Exalted and Godbound. Let me know if you would like to see more from this or any of my other settings and hacks on this site.

Fine points of the setting
The earth is old, Mankind is new: While Mu and the Young Kingdoms may be the first civilizations of man, mankind has not always been. Long ago there were other peoples, other...beings. Remnants of these still exist in the lost places, ruins, and hidden realms. One such people are the Serpent Men who once ruled the land in the days of the old gods and the Cold Giants. They dwell within the Earth and are masters of Arcane Sciences and Powerful Magics. They are alien things who worship dead gods in the dark places of the world.

Without great care, civilization leads to decadence and corruption: The history of the world has shown the dangers of civilization, corruption and decadence. Heroes walk the line between the strength of barbarism and the hope of civilization. They stand witness to the changing times. They can build a better world, or through inaction watch it slide into ruin.

One person can make a difference: This connects with the last one. Mankind is new to the world, and even the old races who yet remain are limited in number. Any one person could be the linchpin in history. Every life matters, and those with the will can change everything.

Magic is rare, but natural: Magic is a part of the natural flow of things. It is created by life and death, the mass death of the old gods has filled the world with magic power. That said folks with magical giftings or even training in one or two spells are quite rare. Average folks have to get by with what they can make with their own hands. Magicians have access to great power, though not so much as The Sorcerers, Lineages, and Godseeds. Those with gifts are natural conduits for magical energy and are beyond mere mortals.

Technology is also rare, but powerful: Most technology is in the stone age. Mu has created bronze working, the Jackal Kings in the south raid the ruins of Zarhasthuum for Ghost Iron and other prehuman technologies, and the Serpent Men of Agharti sometimes trade in Ghost Iron weapons or armor. The dog, sheep, and bees have been domesticated, with individual tamings of other beasts happening occasionally. Agriculture in the lands outside of Mu is also quite primitive, though techniques are improving.

The gods are like us, powerful, ignorant, and afraid: Gods, spirits, and demons walk the primeval earth. They have their own agendas and their own desires. Sometimes they help people, sometimes they hurt them. They can be interacted with, and even defeated in battle or argument. Though they can be killed, that does not necessarily stop them. Among the god talkers and priests there are whispers. Whispers of beings from outside the world, beings even the gods fear. Those who speak to the Serpent Men sometimes tell the tales of the great blight that destroyed the land and wiped out the ancient peoples. Few give these stories much credence.

The Known Lands
The Island of Mu: The great homeland of Man’s civilization. They worship the four great gods(Ahti of the sea, Stribog of the sky, Pachama of the earth, and Anguta lord of death) who founded the island. Mu sits in the center of the world, across the shallow inland sea from all the surrounding lands. The only mystic university in the world is the centerpiece of the islands lone city. A great spire rises into the sky hundreds of stories above the rich earth. It is ruled by the Five Great Lineages, sometimes called the Five Houses. In the last century peace and prosperity have led to pride and corruption. Among the powerful politics and treachery are a way of life. Often the little people get crushed in the machinations of the great houses.

The Crystal City of Agharti and the Hollow Earth: The city in the deeps, capital and sole city within the hollow earth. Last vestige of the Eldest, a race of Serpent Men who have mastered many strange magics and sciences. They are a race in decline and as a group are hateful of the young and growing race of man. They seek to reclaim the surface lands a rule as of old. That said they do have a few outposts where they will trade Ghost Iron, spells, and other things humans cannot yet make for information and rare materials. They do not worship any god, Theirs having died long ago. Instead they hold to alien philosophies about the nature of the universe and their place in it. It all sounds like strange superstition to most men who hear it. They are masters of Mind Magics.

Hy-Brasil: A supposed homeland for the Moss People and it is only sometimes in the world, it exists in both the world and the otherworld. The Moss People are all unique creatures, each with powers and appearance separate from all others. They have a strange relationship with time and space and can do much to manipulate it. The Moss People are servants of chaos, and worship the destruction of all things. They rarely leave their home, but when they do most people wisely secure their doors and pray. Every few years they will sally forth from Hy-Brasil upon strange steeds of mobile vegetation and burn and kill all they run across. They then retreat back to their home and wait for the next excursion. They can be quite reasonable when encountered on their own, but one should always be wary, as the Moss People are known to be quite mad. Before the dawning of the Godseeds, Moss People were the only thing that the Buckriders hunted with any regularity.

The lands of the Animal Tribes: Nomadic tribes that live in the deep eastern jungles across the inland sea from Mu. These tribes have made a pact with one of the great animal gods. They are the only people with access to shape-shifting magics. There are rumors that some tribes are eaters of the dead. These people are the least civilized of all the nations of man. They have made pacts with the gods of beasts and this shapes them in every way that matters.

The lands of the north: The Karo people live in the far north and follow the great herds of reindeer and mammoths and worship the great god Pa’an, the uncaring lord cloaked in light. They have had the most dealings with the Moss People. They are culturally opposed to sorcery, and tend to exile or kill those who practice the arts. Every year, at the summer solstice the Karo have a grand gathering on the southern shores of the inland sea, traders from across the land come to trade for furs and meats of the north lands.

The Ruins of Zarhasthuum: The great western desert spreads from the mountains to the sea. Along the great canyon walls sit the remains of a lost civilization. Monuments and ruins dot the land. Together these are known as the Ruins of Zarhasthuum. One hundred years ago a group of mercenaries from Iss moved into the ruins and began to loot them for ancient magics and technology. Over the century they have begun to form a feudal society based around the exploitation of the ruins. They have become known as the Jackal Kings, fighting each other over the bones of the past. They often trade with the Serpent Men, as the serpents have an outpost nearby. No one knows what killed or drove off the previous inhabitants, and many fear that whatever it is might soon return.

The Floating Islands of the Witch Queens: They claim to be human, yet alien blood flows through their veins. They are the children of a prehuman race deal in magics far beyond what even most gods could accomplish. They will send their Witchkin children to raid the earthbound peoples for slaves and plunder. The Witchkin ride great Thunderbirds, creatures of spirit and flesh, the storm made manifest.

Character Creation
Your characters will be made as per standard Jadepunk Character creation. The Professions names have been changed rather than Aristocrat, Engineer, Explorer, Fighter, Scholar, and Scoundrel we will be using Highborn, Builder, Scout, Warrior, Sage, and Bandit. Godseeds can build assets much like a Mootare, a Jadecaster, or an Automatect from After Jade, a previous hack I did for Jadepunk. You may also build device assets, though in this jade is not the only mystic material. There is also Blood Bronze and Ghost Iron. If you are a Jadecaster, you may choose to make a spell a permanent part of your character by spending the appropriate amount of Fate points. These spells are more stable than spells cast on the fly, but they use up valuable points. 

Blood Bronze: Bronze that has been quenched in the blood of a dead god. It contains a frction of that god's power, and thus it can do many strange things. 
Ghost Iron: It is not iron, but the bone matter of the dead gods. It is very powerful and only the Serpent Men and Witch Queens know how to work it.

And that is what I have so far. Let me know what you think. 

Also you should check out my Kickstarter...

A Far Off Land

In this Fate RPG you take the roll of the Fated, Shapeshifting Demigods who seek to bring about or prevent the destruction of two worlds. It contains new magic systems and Factions Dynamics in play.