Thursday, May 25, 2017

Naryan Class Options: The Witch (5e) Current Version

THE WITCH
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” - The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A squat human hums a song, petting her black cat, and stirs a small cauldron filled with a bubbling blue liquid that will grant her invisibility when she sneaks into the tower of the dread lord to steal back the gold he has been taking from the overtaxed peasants in her village.

A halfling bobs up and down on a flying butter churn as she races her cackling raven through the canyon with a wyvern hurdling after them, probably wanting her eggs back, as the thieves escape her lair.

A purple octopus climbs up the shoulder of her blue skinned tiefling master and watches as he prepares to summon a demonic servant to help them open the large iron door that separates them from the next steps in their quest for power.

In the world of Narya, a witch is a spellcaster that not only taps into the arcane but also draws upon the divine and natural to empower their spells. Whether their mother taught them everything she learned from her mother or they became an apprentice to a local coven one foggy night, witches are naturally drawn to the unnatural and strange. Whether that supernatural attraction is like a moth to the flame or two lovers in harmony is up to the witch.

THE QUICKENING
Every now and then a child is born that finds themselves extremely sensitive to the supernatural. Perhaps they inherited it from their bloodline or they witnessed some weird event or perhaps it is just a result of the chaotic nature of reality, but these children are born and their sensitivity causes them to chafe with society. This sensitivity causes them to see things that others wouldn’t, to ask questions that no good mannered person would ask and to think differently than the other children in their village. They are eccentric, to say the least, and they seek out the unusual instinctually. They are drawn to it.

After some time, either in childhood or youth, they begin having strange dreams. In their dreams, they are accompanied by a friend-- usually a cat, a small dog, a bird, a doll or an octopus-- that all can talk. One morning, they wake up, and, sitting on the bedpost, the friend becomes real. The friend explains that the child has begun the Quickening, that they are the child’s familiar and that the child is a witch.

This is the strange manner that witches not born into a witching family are introduced to their gift and to the world of Witchcraft.

PERSECUTION
Witches are usually found in a society where magic is suppressed. In the world of Narya, there are places like Thule where magic, whether arcane, divine or natural, are discouraged and practitioners are rejected, if not persecuted, by the locals.
This is especially true among women in the more backwards parts of the realm. After all, a woman with power is dangerous in a patriarchy. If women are expected to be subservient and seen but not heard, then a woman who can tap into incredible power is not only a danger to those around her but to the community in the eyes of the local authorities. For this reason, witches are often scapegoated and hunted down.

This persecution caused magical knowledge to become a scarcity in these regions and actually furthers the Craft. After all, if a youth who is sensitive to magic was in a land where magical education is prevalent, they would become a druid, a cleric or a wizard. And so the common folk, the wise women and medicine women, mix the practices of several spellcasting traditions into an art called the Craft and pass it on to the next generation of witches.

 
THE CRAFT
The Craft of Witchery, witchcraft, is what some elitist spell-casters would call "common magic" or even "country magic". The most common witch practices a mix of medicine, fortune telling, and, for a price, putting hexes on people. A witch does specialized jobs from midwifery to exorcism. In many communities, such women have learned the trade from an older witch, even passed down from mother to daughter, and are respected cornerstones of country living. While reclusive, some witches form small groups called Covens. It is generally considered bad luck to gather more or less than three witches at a time: the Elder, is the oldest and is usually childless (called the "Crone" in evil covens), the Mother, has children and may even have a family, and the Maiden, a childless youth. They generally gather at special meetings to discuss local occurrences and collaborate on solutions to problems too big for a single witch.

These "good witches", according to those that call themselves such, help people. This doesn't mean, necessarily, doing what people want. Good isn't nice. Good does what's needed. Sometimes this means witches manipulate people, often relying on their knowledge and cunning over actual magic application, but always for the greater good. A good witch is a welcome member to any community in need. And yet, witches have a bad reputation in places, such as Thule and, perhaps, this is a mix of superstition and misogyny. After all, most spell-casters and those who seek and use power are at risk of being corrupted. But still, the prevalence and infamy of bad witches in folklore is indisputable.
  
There are plenty of reasons for a witch to go bad: they live alone, they are touched by magic, they are eccentric, they are persecuted and they meddle in the affairs of the outer planes. Some witchcraft relies upon drawing upon patrons, like demons or devils, for magic and that takes a toll. Their interests in the community turn from helping to hurting; they give potions with bad effects, they steal away livestock and children for dark purposes and, generally, become crazier and crueler. They basically become hags. And then somebody has to stop them.

Bad witches give their good counterparts such a bad reputations that, generally, good witches don't advertise their talents widely. After all, nobody wants to be burned at the stake.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Character Crunch. Tuathans and Faiths of Sublanarya: Dagda the Stag Prince

The following is an excerpt from a previous article... Witchcraft Part 4: Morgana La Fey the Terrible and Magnificent 

When an animal dies in Sublanarya, they move onto the afterlife just the same as any other sentient life forms, usually finding an immortal resting place in the Heavens. When animals die in the Feywild, they instead become spirits until they can reincarnate. Being touched by the fey changes these animals and, after many generations, a tribe of these animal spirits became sentient and known as the Yenna-goshi.

Yenna-goshi are one of the most mysterious species of shape-changers since they have a non-corporeal spirit form, an animal form, and a humanoid like form. They are strange primal entities that, in their humanoid form, having a mix of nondescript animal traits obscured by a cloak of animal hides with great glowing eyes looking out from under the hood.They usually watch over special places of nature in the Feywild and material plane. They are the spirits often responsible for the creation of Hengeyokai, sentient animals, born from normal animals, with the ability to transform into a human-like form. They are responsible for other yokai such as giant beasts, "animal gods", that serve as paragons of their kind and protectors of nature. There are also responsible for the Tuath De Yenna or Tuathans.

Thousands of years ago, there was a tribe of humans. They were known to be a peaceful and friendly craftsmen with use of bright colors, ornate patterns and unusual materials that create designs that were somehow both natural and unnatural. They were a simple people, living in harmony with the land, and did not seek war. They once had a homeland but were chased out by invaders. They became lost on a foggy morning and found themselves in a strange land, having crossed over into the Feywild, and it seemed there was no escape.

The tribe was lost in a strange and dangerous place, but they soon found friends. They had found themselves in a secluded forest, deep in the Dawn realm, protected by the yenna-goshi. Usually anyone foolish enough to step into or, much worse, damage the lands of the yenna-goshi would be scared off or meet some misfortune. It is said the yenna-goshi were bewitched by the colorful garments and tents of the people, the aroma of their tea and food, and the songs played by the young and old. Rather than scaring off the tribe, the yenna-goshi helped the humans and befriended them, allowing them to make the woods their home.

And, as the humans spent time in the Feywild, they changed as they were touched by the spirit of the animals. They gained the ability to shape-change into animals, they learned fey magic and knowledge, and helped protect the forests of the yenna-goshi. In time, they became known as the Tuatha de Yenna-goshi or "tribe of the animal spirits" or tuathans ("the tribespeople") for short.

Some tuathans eventually discovered a way to return to the material plane and, with their knowledge of fey magic, shape-shifting, and other gifts they had obtained abroad, they became a powerful small empire that stood for a thousand years. And then, mysteriously, the empire collapsed. Today, descendants of the tuathans can be found in the material plane and it is still believed they live hidden away in the forests of the yenna-goshi. They do not advertise their shape-shifting or heritage to avoid the superstitious fear of humans but also other enemies.

Their blood, their very heritage, is sought after by any number of powerful magic users and fey lords that seek to tap into the power of their mysterious race.

Tuathans are a race scattered to the four winds with small families, clans and communities hiding themselves away in the corners of the wild. They try to preserve their heritage but mostly want peace from the "wild hunt". A few tuathans either seek adventure or, by tragedy, are forced to seek out their own path in the world.

They resemble humans with fey-like features, often being mistaken for half-elfs or having elf blood, but have features resembling their unique animal form. From unique eye color and shape, such as having the eyes of an eagle, to hair the color of their fur or feathers in their animal form, such as tawny brown hair that turns white in the winter and back in the spring. Their closeness to nature, or at least their kindred animals, often leads them to druidism or ranging.

Ability Score Increase. Increase two ability scores of your choice each by 1 or one ability score of your choice by 2.
 It is recommended you base the ability score on your Kindred Animal. EX. A bear would have a +2 to Strength and a +1 to Constitution but a Bat would probably have a +2 to Dexterity.
Alignment. While Tuathans were once the ruling class of an ancient kingdom, since their downfall they have returned to their wild heritage. They tend towards neutrality, focusing on the survival and welfare of their kin, but some take their desire for freedom and turn it into an ideal of allowing themselves and others to live free. They tend towards neutral and chaotic alignments.
Size. Your are similarly sized to a human. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Wild Folk. You have proficiency in the Nature skill.
Kindred Speech. You have the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts similar to your kindred animal as if using the Speak With Animals spell.
The following are the beasts you can choose as your Kindred Animal. If you want to use a different beast, consult with your GM.
Ape, Axe Beak, Baboon, Badger, Bat, Black Bear, Blood Hawk, Boar, Camel, Cat, Constrictor Snake, Crocodile, Deer, Draft Horse, Eagle, Elk, Flying Snake, Frog, Giant Badger, Giant Bat, Giant Frog, Giant Goat, Giant Lizard, Giant Owl, Giant Poisonous Snake, Giant Rat, Giant Weasel, Goat, Hawk, Hyena, Jackal, Lizard, Mastiff, Mule, Owl, Panther, Poisonous Snake, Pony, Pteranodon, Rat, Raven, Riding Horse, War Horse, Weasel, Wolf, Vulture,
You can pick from the following but must be at least Level 4.
Brown Bear, Dire Wolf, Giant Eagle, Giant Hyena, Giant Toad, Giant Vulture, Lion, Tiger
Kindred Animal. You can take a bonus action to magically transform into your specific and unique kindred animal. Pick a creature from the list above. You can use this ability for up to four hours. Every time you use this ability to turn into your kindred animal and then turn back into your normal form, it expends at least one hour of your potential time in your kindred animal form. You regain one hour when you take a short rest and all hours when you take long rests.

You can willingly return to your normal form by using a bonus action to do so.

The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and cannot perform spells. Your intelligence, wisdom, and charisma ability scores remain the same and you may choose to use your hit points from your normal form instead of those of the creature. If your hit points become 0 or less in this form or you are knocked unconscious, you remain in this form.
 
The target’s gear melds into the new form. The target can’t activate, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of its equipment. 

Extra Languages. You may speak, read and write Sylvan and Elven.

The racial god of the Tuathans, Dagda, is similar to Sylvanis. In fact, some legends say that he is the son of Silvanus and a powerful Fey lady. While able to take any animal form, as a god of nature, his kindred animal is the stag and his favored form is that of a great and powerful stag. For this reason, he wears a crown of stag horns. He is said to be a capricious personality; wild, untamed and unpredictable. And yet, incredibly cunning and skilled. His guile allowed him to lead the Tuathans to rule an empire that is still spoken of in legend that stretched across many forested lands. And yet, even quicker than he rose to power, Dagda vanished. This was the beginning of the end for the empire and, shortly after his disappearance, it fell to ruin.

Those who still adhere to Dagda see him as a savior who will return to reunite the Tuathans. Some say he is still out there now, helping his people when he can, and punishing the wicked. He is said to take the forms of a beautiful young man or a bearded giant. He is also said to carry a long oak club that could take life or give it with a single swing, a cauldron that never runs empty of whatever drink or elixir he pleases, and a magical harp that can change the seasons as easily as it can change moods.

And yet, if he is still out there, why has he abandoned his throne?

It remains to be seen, but his people still wait for him.

  DAGDA THE STAG PRINCE
Title(s)
King of the Tuathans, The Mighty and Many-Skilled, The King of the Forests, Cernunnos, The Wild-Eyed Lord

Pantheon(s)
New Gods

Power Level
Lesser Deity

Alignment
Chaotic Good

Symbol
A pair of antlers with a star between them
Portfolio
Druids, the forest, tuathans, rangers, talent

Domains
Nature

Worshipers
Druids, foresters (hunters, trappers, loggers), tuathans, fey, wood elves
Favored Weapon
Clubs, mauls

Holy Day(s)
Festivals and rituals for the seasonal equinoxes

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hamutian Pantheon: The Scorpion and the Toad (Serqet and Kek)


Every child in Sublanarya is told the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.

A scorpion asks a frog to carry her across the river on her back. The frog refuses for fear of being stung by the scorpion. The scorpion points out that if she were to sting the frog, they would both drown. The frog considers the offer and agrees to carry the scorpion across the river. About halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. This dooms them both.

When the frog asks the scorpion why she stung him, she replies "It is in my nature to do so."

But the story is more than a lesson to teach children that sometimes things, animals or people are incapable of being anything other than what they are (which fits neatly in the Ptah-Hamutian orderly view of the universe). It is also about the relationship between the beautiful but deadly Scorpion Queen Serqet and her brother The Mad Toad Kek.

Serqet and Kek are twin children of Set and Nephthys.

Serqet inherited powers over the realm of death directly from her mother. Her most famous duty among the guards was to guard Apep when he was imprisoned. Apep traded her the art of poison in exchange for his freedom and her father Set was forced to assert himself by defeating Apep in single combat.

She would proceed to user powerful poison for the arts of deception and murder, being the patron god of assassins and femme fatales, and is considered an enemy of the gods. She is also known to test out her poison on other gods...including the venom from one of the Old Ones.

Kek had been a deity of swamps, nights and rain and was transformed into a deity of chaos, madness and hunger. He is a corrupted god and associated with slaads and bullywugs. Among humankind, his worshippers are known for their disturbing feasts and the use of poisonous toads to induce hallucinations among their kind. His worshippers usually devolve into mad primitives, participating in human sacrifice and cannibalism, and many consider him to be a fused incarnation of the old one Tsathoggua.

His worship is very much forbidden among the populace but his cults pop up from time time to time.

SERQET THE SCORPION QUEEN
Title(s)
The Best Assassin, The Viscera Guardian, The Deadly Dancer, The Traitorous Sting, The Daughter of Grief

Pantheon(s)
Hamutian

Power Level
Lesser Deity

Alignment
Neutral Evil

Symbol
A bronze scorpion

Portfolio
Assassins, poisons, scorpions, deserts, dancing

Domains
Death

Worshipers
Murderers, spies, assassins, temptresses, alchemists
Favored Weapon
Daggers

KEK THE NIGHT CROAKER
Title(s)
The Whisperer, Tsathoggua/Zhothoqqua, The Mad Toad, The Great Slaad, The Corrupted Brother

Pantheon(s)
Hamutian

Power Level
Lesser Deity

Alignment
Chaotic Evil

Symbol
A black frog or toad

Portfolio
Madness, amphibians, darkness, gluttony, bullywugs, slaads,

Domains
Tempest

Worshipers
Cannibals, primitives, gluttons, lazy and slothful criminals, swamp dwellers
Favored Weapon
Whips

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hamutian Pantheon: The Suryayana (Surya, Tvastar, Saranya, Chaya, Yama, Rakta-Beej, Yami)



Surya is the sun god of the Raj-Hamutian Pantheon. He is often compared to Aurelion the Golden Sun for his beauty and goodness. It is possible the two gods are one in the same even if that interferes with their respective origins.

Surya's most famous legend involves his marriage to the daughter of Tvastar the Golden Spider.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Evolving Timeline of Narya Part II: Modern History of Sublanarya

For Part I: Ancient History of Sublanarya, click HERE.

The 2nd Epoch: Modern Narya (0 CE to 6667 CE (Present))

The first epoch, what Sublnaryan's call the "Ancient Epoch", is a time of great uncertainty, where reality and myth are intertwined, and the gods are locked in a series of brutal battles over the dominion of time and space. The space itself was constantly shifting in reaction to these battles, as gods can raise mountains and raze forests with ease, and time itself was warped by the destructive cosmic power of war on a scale beyond the understanding of mortals. It was a time that chaos reigned supreme and order struggled to gain a foothold. The current epoch is different.

In the current epoch, order has more than gained a foothold. It has put a boot on the jugular of chaos and the "Current Epoch" (CE) is one of some certainty. If the first epoch was defined by the struggle between order and chaos, between the authorities of the universe, the gods, and those who wish to destroy it, then the current epoch is one shaped by the struggle of good and evil. While both of these metaphorical and material struggles are of concern to the gods, the struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, are of much more consequence to mere mortals. After all, mere mortals are rewarded or punished based on their actions. Gods are all but absolute.

It is important to keep in mind when looking at the last seven millennia of Naryan history, told from a Sublanaryan perspective, that while the gods still guide the peoples of the material plane, the people are now, ultimately, the ones who shape the current state of the world. For better or worse, this is a time of civilizations, of kings and queens, of masters and slaves, and of armies and hordes. This is a period defined by the actions of mortals upon mortals.

The Current Epoch is tangible. Time and space can still be contorted but are less pliable. Years are 400 days long (10 moonths of 40 days) and each day is 25 hours long

Epoch II: Modern Narya
 (Summary)
1st Age: The Age of Wonders and Wandering
2rd Age: The First Dark Age: Rise of the Giants
3rd Age: The Age of Restoration
4th Age: The Second Dark Age: The Beastmen Invasion and The Holy Crusades
5th Age: The Tytanyan Age

Here goes: