A living spell is a magical ooze whose body resembles that of whatever spell you cast.
A living spell of say, a Lightning spell might have a cobalt blue colour and charge with electricity, while one of fire might appear to be a crawling mass of sapient magma.
When you cast a spell, look at the height of the set you use, this becomes the Living Spells threat rating as it manifests from wherever your spell touches reality.
The only rule to this is that its threat rating is ALWAYS the amount of dice you have in your power skill, or the dice value of the primary word of power you used (if it was supernal).
If you roll lower than that on your height (or if you fail the spell but still don’t get any dice over 7) then its threat rating is merely set to that number.
A living spell doesn’t act under the casters will (and is in fact more than willing to turn ON the caster).
It merely moves about in a typical blob like fashion, either following the players around until it is killed or simply wandering off to cause its own weird havoc somewhere else.
Whenever a living spell touches or comes in contact with someone, its threat rating is instantly rolled as though he casted the particular spell he is made of, with the person he is touching as the target.
The blob is completely unaffected by the spell that created him, and is immune to most effects related to it (a living spell of Fireball, for example, would be immune to fire attacks).
Counterspell can defend against the EFFECTS caused by a living spell, but the creature itself cannot be killed with said skill.
Living spells are immune to Morale Attacks.
How does this work for ritual spells, spells that perform non-obvious effects, or spells that require some very situational elements? Does a living Form of Colossus give everything it touches some manner of stone armour? Does a living Taste of Knowledge gain extra dice from absorbing blood? What about Tale Crafting or any manner of mage rote? GM’s in this instance are encouraged to have the living spell mirror the effects of the spell to an extent, but also twist and change a few things to make them more…
Difficult an issue.
Lets assume some crazy Demiurge is casting Armed Body in the Mournland and he inadvertently gives form to this metallic looking blob that looks like a quivering mass of mercury.
How does a spell that merely lets a demiurge attack a mechanical arm to his stump and use it act on its own? Well…
Maybe it DOES replace people’s parts with metal? Or tries to render flesh so it can put its own twisted monstrosities in place? It’d be quite the horrific affair to watch as a metal blob literally grows a serrated knife, attempts to sever your arm (with an attack that deals killing damage and attempts to maim constantly) and then attach a part of itself to your bleeding stump as it painfully gives you a twisted metal appendage that is useless to you (granting you no benefit as it can’t hold or do anything).
That’s just if it wants your arm however, what if it wants to cut off your head and replace a piece of itself there? For more vague effects, like Talecrafting, try to remember that living spells don’t have to be immediately obvious and could in fact be as big, as small and as noticeable as the spells themselves.
A living Schrodinger’s Box, for example, might be a small and transparent slug like monster that hangs around on one of the PC’s shoulders and causes all manner of horrible things to come out of random objects.
The PC’s could be cursed with all manner of terrible luck in finding various items until one of them realizes that there’s a growing, pulsating sack of FATE magic growing on one of them.
If spells like The Embrace, Create Unborn or Rite of Return can create Living spells then nobody’s performed them in the Mournland or they simply can’t make Living Spells.
Besides, if they did would you REALLY want a giant, roaming blob of magical power who can turn people into monsters with a touch? Between the fog and the living spells, what else is there to fear? Well a good number of things.
The Magic of the Mournland corrupts and twists nature, as such any amount of body or psychological horror can be found within the blasted wasteland.
But there is still much incentive for people to go into the Mournland and uncover artifacts lost in Cyrean destruction.
Secret: Mourntouched (2 or 5 points): You’ve been touched by the power of the Mournland, and for whatever reason you can adapt to the horrible and mysterious land better than others.
For the 2 point version of this Secret you suffer no difficulty when rolling Sense + Direction to move through the mists around the Mournland.
For the 5 point version you gain the benefit of the 2 point version, and you also may cast spells in the Mournland without the risk of creating a living spell.
No matter what your result is, whether you fail utterly or successfully cast with a 1, 3 and 4 waste-dice.
You never run the risk of creating a Living Spell.
This comes with a drawback however: for being touched by such a corrupt and evil place leaves your character permanently with the Unwholesome problem. Adar On the mysterious continent of Sarlona, there is a massive mountain range on the eastern end of the continent.
Storms wrack these mountains and there is talk of great beasts seem flying through the clouds on rare occasion.
This is a land known as Adar, home to many great and imposing temples, each of which home to a different order of monk who practices their own ancestral form of martial art or school of sorcery.
The people’s skill, combined with the mountains difficult terrain and constant storms make the land neigh impenetrable.
Most of the people of Adar are peaceful monks, proffering a solemn life of meditation and ritual than the high-stakes and high impact life of an adventurer.
Still: there are those who wander out of their home nation and come to Khorvaire (especially in recent years, for whatever reason) knowing full well that return is almost impossible.
These wandering Adarians tend to appear as peasant monks, making pilgrimages to different cities across Khorvaire.
Each of them searching for something, some claim enlightenment, some claim happiness, some claim they simply wish to sate their curiosity about the outside world. Many Khorvarians assume Adar and Reidragan have some form of political tension, as travellers from Adar tend to be none too kind to the diplomats from Reidragan.
The people of Redragan often play this off nonchalantly and claim that their side has had several historic wars, but neither side is really intent on getting Khorvaire involved and Khorvaire has more than its own fair share of troubles.
Perhaps the most interesting people from this land are a group of people the Adarians refer to as “walking dreams”.
A blessed people of their kind who hold some manner of mysterious power that they don’t quite seem keen on talking about.
These “Walking Dreams” (or Kalashtar) are rare, not only among Adarians themselves but especially on Khorvaire, and it’d be not all that farfetched to assume only 3 to 6 of them are even on the continent.
Secret: Walking Dreams (1): You know…
A TRUTH about the Walking Dreams.
They are in fact unique humans who have had some manner of powerful spirit infused into their body.
They fight against agents from whatever realm they come from.
If you wish to play as a Walking Dream, then you’ll have to wait for now I’m afraid. Reidragan The most prosperous and large empire in all of Sarlona is the powerful nation of Reidragan.
A land of hope and prosperity, where different clans of men, changeling and shifter hobble together.
The people of Reidragan have an insular society, where each man and woman is expected to perform a very simple domestic role they are born into and are discouraged from every moving from it.
The only exceptions to these rules are if they show to be greatly skilled in a particular field (and gain the notice of one of their lords).
Reidragan is ruled by a host of “divinely inspired” lords and ladies who maintain and oversee the various clans and people.
The insular people are quite adverse to any outsiders, and are trained from birth to always follow the precepts of The Path of inspiration.
Both traditional and stuck in many ancient cultures, practically no Khorvarians have actually met any Reidragan commoners, as many are given no reason to leave their home nation.
Khorvairians have, however, encountered several diplomats from Reidragan, as the Sarlonian nation has given quite the interest in helping the shattered nations repair themselves.
The people of Khorvaire are apprehensive of the inspired, feeling that their intentions may have a double-meaning.
Even if they do however, it’s hard to turn down the financial support from a neighbouring nation.
If you wish to play a person from Reidragan: here’s a list of the clans and nations that make them up: Borunan: Borunan is sometimes referred to as “The Crab Nation”.
At one point it was inhabited primarily by a group of tough and athletically powerful humans who were constantly at war with the Ogres and Nagas of the nation, who were corrupted by the twisted lands and city beyond.
Nowadays they mostly stand as a nation that defends the lands of Redrigan from the various monsters and demons who may still seek to cause the greater nation harm.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: Members of Borunan favour Body and Fight overall, proffering general combat prowess over finesse and skill.
Because of the rugged nature of the people there, Leather Hard and Hard-Headed are common advantages.
Possible Problems: Missing Limb, Manifest Destiny.
Corvagura: For the longest time, Corvagura was ruled by powerful sorcerer kings who practised ancient black arts in the form of games.
Their lack of foresight and hubris destroyed these kings, and now Corvagura (or the Phoenix Nation as it’s called) now practices magic approved of by the Inspired, and holds several traditions related to the enlightenment of the elements of the universe.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: Genius and Presence are the two most common stats for people from Corvagura, as are the power skill and a fair number of spells under their belt.
The nation is a land of great scholars and sorcerers.
Possible Problems: Misplaced Confidence, Egotistical.
Dor Maleer: The outskirts of the nation, Dor Maleer (or the Unicorn Nation) is recognized by Redrigan as a fellow nation but its people are not as fanatical to the Inspired and the Divinely Guided emperors as the other nations.
Dor Maleer is home to more groups of Changelings than any other part, and the horse-riding barbarians of the nations are a bit more tolerant of those who do not share their exact culture.
This is due in part to the people of Dor Maleer once being Foreigners themselves, but have since reintegrated and become apart of the unified nation.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: Speed and Sense are the two primary attributes of those from Dor Maleer, and the animal companion advantage is common among many of them.
Possible Problems: Unwholesome, Painfully Honest Khalesh: Once dedicated and ruled by a mysterious king who claimed to be the Heir of the Sun, Khalesh was uncovered to be harbouring strange men with unusual powers related to a powerful golden fire.
Much of the population was wiped out in the Sundering and now Khalesh is mostly populated by settlers from the west.
The Crane Nation (as it’s sometimes called) are filled with devotees to the inspired and the empire who rules over them.
Often practising the arts of blade and grace that follows the social norms of the Empire.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: Most members of Khalesh have a focus in Speed and Charm, aiming to be fast with the blade and sharp with their wit.
Wealth and Beauty are also common advantages for them, as they value appearance and extravagance greatly.
Possible Problems: Egotistical, Jinx Nulakesh: Called “The Lion Nation” by many.
Nulakesh is home to many of Redrigans greatest war-heroes and generals.
The country having a long-standing military tradition, and being one of the first nations to present the idea of forming the other nations under the guide of the divinely inspired leaders.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: The people of Nulakesh value strength, speed and valour.
Often prioritizing Body, Speed and Presence.
Many carry with them ancestral heirlooms and swords they carry into battle, as such having weapons and armour possessions are quite common with them.
Possible Problems: Hated Enemy, Missing Limb Ohr Kaluun: For the longest time the islands off the side of the island of Sarlona were held by a variety of secretive cults, orders and all manner of dark professionals who did all sorts of black deed.
After the sundering, many were destroyed and now the islands have a tight-grip by the Inspired…
At least in some areas.
The dangerous espionage and underhanded tactics those who’re trained and hail from this archipelago has given them the name of “Scorpion Nation”.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: The people of this nation are often quite common to hold secrets with one another, and are skilled at getting them out.
They favour the stats of Speed and Charm mostly.
But unlike the Kalesh who attempt to be quick and graceful abruptly, the Ohr Kaluun aim to be much more underhanded in their approach.
Possible Problems: Jinx, Repulsive to Animals.
Pyrine: This mysterious land was once home to the original worshippers of the Sovereign Host themselves.
Much of the legends and lores surrounding those gods comes from this holy land, and while many of those books and libraries were destroyed in the Sundering, the people of Pyrine have focused their philosophical delving away from the Host and towards the divine forces of the Inspired.
They are not as driven as their counterparts in the world, and have received the dubious honour of being known as “The Tortoise Nation”.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: The people of this nation primarily favour Genius and Presence.
Proffering to focus on the philosophy of religion and its teachings rather than the immediate power it offers.
The Study skill is commonly taken among them, for several different beliefs.
Possible Problems: Lazy, Misplaced Confidence. Rhiavhaar: At one point this land was home to the great Explorer Lhazarah, who helped found the first settlers onto Khorvaire.
Once a land teeming with pirates, sailors and bilge-rats.
Now it is a nation of prized military ships for the empire of Redrigan, and is often implemented in trading with various sailing nations within Khorvaire.
This land is collectively known as the “Mantis Nation” by many.
Stat/Skill Suggestions: Speed and Sense mostly, as well as a healthy athletics score to help one swim better.
The people of this nation often deal with Khorvarians the most, as such having multiple language skills is quite common among them.
Possible Problems: Drunken Blackout, Painfully Honest Secret: Redrigan Associate (1-5): You either hail from Redrigan or are directly descended from people from this mysterious nation.
For every point in this secret, you get a dice to Study (Redrigan Language) or Study (Galifarian) if you choose Redrigan as your native tongue.
Along with this, you gain certain insights into their culture and history.
You may decrease any culture related difficulties for Grace or Persuasion rolls when you use them on people from Redrigan.
Redrigan Supernaturals? The following are the supernaturals and their relationship to Redrigan.
Kindred: Are almost universally hunted on Redrigan.
The Inspired see them as abominations and the people are often more than willing to reply in kind.
Their unusual gifts make it incredibly hard for even Damned Kindred to hide among the courts of Redrigan Nobility, however some are likely to be hiding deep within Ohr Kaluun.
Shifters: In Redrigan they are known as “Kitsune”.
Trickster spirits who take the form of humans.
Few realize that it’s typically the exact opposite and it’s HUMANS who turn into animals, but any human who realizes he is one keeps it a deft secret as such creatures are often mistrusted among the people and many are downright hostile.
Some family lines see their value and make deals with them for shelter and protection, but many shifters are stuck on their own and don’t even have individual tribes to go to.
Their numbers compared to Khorvaire are much smaller, as Shifters easily made up abount 4% of a human population on Khorvaire.
On Sarlona it’s closer to barely 0.01% Dragonmarked: Oddly? Dragonmarked have practically no presence on Sarlona.
As hard as it may be to believe.
Even the Seers seem to leave the entire continent alone, and while some Marked are intrigued and try to see if perhaps something about the people being on the continent causes them to be cut off from the Prophecy, they know it can’t be COMPLETELY that as there are SOME natural Marked on Sarlona.
It’s just all of these are relegated SOLELEY to Adar where there’s only about 5-7, if even that.
These primarily make up the Akashic Monk lineage. Unborn: Completely unknown to Sarlona and Redrigan.
A few were brought over during the war to showcase to the Redrigan diplomats, where their reactions have varied from amazement and intrigue to disgust and disapproval.
A few Unborn have been bought by Redrigan diplomats for personal display and nothing more, but most commoners in Redrigan would be appalled and terrified by the notion of a walking, talking, metal man.
Changelings: Ogre seemings are quite common in Borunan, where they are primarily used for labour and assistance.
Other varieties are mixed and intermingled throughout Redrigan, but many are kept under closeful watch by the Inspired.
The Court of the East exists here, which primarily seeks to appease the inspired while also holding their own agendas.
There are a few Redrigan specific kiths as well, which are basically as such: Kenku (Darkling Kith): You gain a free Pledge dice to your Weapon skill.
You also take no penalty when rolling Charm + Lie to disguise your voice as someone completely different.
Asp Naga (Beast Kith): You gain a free Pledge dice to your Fight skill.
Your 1 and 2 hit location are combined into one big 1-2 hit location that contains 10 health boxes.
Also: if you shove or tackle an opponent you don’t grant them a +1d bonus to tripping you.
Chameleon Naga (Beast Kith): As Asp Naga but you gain a pledge dice to your Stealth skill rather than your Fight skill.
Cobra Naga (Beast Kith): As Asp Naga, but you instead gain a pledge dice to your Sixth Sense skill and you use Contracts of Artifice rather than Contracts of Fang and Talon.
Constrictor Naga (Beast Kith): As Asp Naga, but you instead gain a pledge dice to your Inspire skill, and you gain access to certain Divination Talecrafting spells.
Greensnake Naga (Beast Kith): As Asp Naga, but you gain a Free Pledge dice to your Grace skill rather than Fight.
Nezumi (Beast Kith): You gain a free Pledge dice to your Hardiness skill, and you do not suffer from any form of supernatural disease of abyssal origin.
Tarkanan rituals have no effect on you! Zokujin (Elemental Kith): You gain a free Pledge dice to your Athletics skill, and you never die from hunger as long as you have access to some form of sediment.
Rocks, stones, diamonds and metals can all be eaten by you as if it were normal food.
Kitsu (Fairest Kith): You get a free Pledge dice to your Confidence skill, and once per session you may see into the Twilight and view any spirits that reside there, as well as speak to them as though you had summoned them there yourself.
For the most part: many of these Changelings are rare or almost unseen.
Many of them are killed by easy to rile up human villagers, or are typically used for grunt work by the Inspired. Hunters: Probably the most common “supernatural” template on Sarlona is the Hunter.
They don’t have strange or unique powers and they appear mostly human.
It’s easy for people to see hunters as heroes and saviours when most other beings look more like something that might eat your children than not.
Of course: there are still monsters among hunters… Aundair The lands colonized to the northeast of Khorvaire were originally known as Thaliost.
Its borders stretched all around the Eldeen bay and included much of the forest of the area, as well as the verdant fields to the west of it.
In this stunning land, many humans settled down and became farmers or trappers.
Turning Thaliost int one of the more richer nations, due to their abundance of natural resources.
It was the coming of Galifare I who changed Thaliost into Aundair and united the nation under Galifare.
The newly created nation, being rich with life and farmland, was an ideal spot for many Philosophers and lords who could study and meditate in peace.
The land became a hub for scholars and those who practices sorcery, building many different libraries and magically engineered locations.
Two events would shape Aundair irrevocably: the Shifter Purges, and the Last War.
When a whole tribe of shifters went mad from the glow of a moon nobody knew existed and became ravenous beasts who devoured all in their path, it was Aundair who was hit hardest by the sudden attack.
Many towns and settlements close to the forest were instantly brought under siege by the monstrous hounds who would devour all in their path.
While the efforts of the Golden Flame would drive them back, Aundair would never recover fully, and would always hold a certain animosity toward shifters.
Many of the hellfire priests and those who irrationally hate shifters come from Aundair and hold most of their sway there.
The people of Aundair likewise often fear and mistrust any shifter in their presence, and are typically on the lookout for any shapeshifting beast in their presence.
Sometimes this paranoia causes unwarranted witch-hunts and murders, but the scholarly nobility tries to disassociate themselves with the people of Aundair.
Sometimes it’s as though they’re of two different worlds.
The Last war held a hefty tole on the nation as well.
As the shifters and the united tribes would ultimately have their own unique brand of compensation by taking the woods west of Aundair for themselves as calling it the Eldeen Reaches.
Aundair lost much of its territory not just to Shifters, but to Thrane and Breland as well.
Despite its host of combat trained battle-mages, Aundair failed to perform as well during the Last War as it would have liked.
The reigning Monarch of Aundair is one, Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn.
A beautiful and enigmatic woman who helped sign the Treaty of Thronehold and keep the peace of the nation.
Her husband, Sasik is a talented wizard, although if one were to ask what school he studied in he would merely brush them off.
His magical talents seem to vary greatly as well, giving some to assume there may be more to him than just a pretty face and some magical talent.
Still, the truth behind the royal family of Aundair is that while they preach peace and prosperity in this day and age their true goals are as of yet unknown.
Aurala is a schemer and a manipulator, and it’s not quite clear if she’s as invested in “peace” as she lets on.
Secret: The Royal Family of Aundair (1-5): You have blood ties to the Royal Family of Aundair! The benefits you gain depend primarily on your rank.
They are as such: 1 – You’re a bastard child most likely.
Illegitimately brought into this world by one of Aurala’s more rambunctious brothers or sisters.
You have no stake to the Throne really, but you can at least call in a favour from a cousin and maybe receive pity. 2 – Your connection to the throne is tenuous at best.
You’re the third-cousin of one of Aurala’s nephews and you have quite a few nobles and lords between you and the throne.
Just for the best though, you at least get the perks of having Wealth 2 (or 2 extra wealth as the case may be.
It pays to have blood connections). 3 – You’re probably one of Aurala’s nephews or nieces at this level.
You have much more status in the court, and in fact you gain Status 3 (Aundairian Court).
Make sure to buy some wealth while you’re at it…
Or else the GM is free to say you got some heavy debt and not a lot of friends who’re willing to help you pay it off. 4 – You’re one of Aurala’s immediate kin.
Perhaps a son or a daughter.
If she were to die…
Then you might just have an immediate gateway to the throne.
Of course: there’s still a lot of others to compete with.
You also gain a certain amount of political immunity in Aundair, and you never run the risk of being sent to prison for certain crimes.
This is a blessing that must be taken with a grain of salt: if you blow up several towns intentionally? Blood or no you WILL pay for your crimes. 5 – You’re not only one of Aurala’s immediate kin but you’re clued into the truth of Aurala’s motives.
Aurala isn’t just looking to make peace and be done, but rather she is attempting to scrounge up an army and raising Aundair’s forces so she may defeat each of the nations, reinstate Galifare and place herself as the Queen of the entire Kingdom.
She is merely biding her time…
Also: her husband is a Dragonmarked.
Wonder what that’s all about…
Read more about A land of hope and prosperity, where different clans of men, changeling and shifter hobble together: