An excellent piece (and I dont say that just because you credit me...). In a steamfantasy setting, it is also quite logical. Why construct a golem or automaton from scratch when you already have ready-made frames, with all the necessary hinges and articulation - and in great abundance to boot? And I do love the idea of this being a worse-than-death sentence. Not only are you executed, but your remains will be desecrated and forced to serve the very society that killed you.... Mmm, delicious irony..:)
Excellent! Well-thought, and well-explained. I shall be using steamwalkers in my game (and that, I believe, is the highest compliment one can receive on a sub). I have a thief PC who's been getting a little too cocky lately, and the next strange city he visits... Go to Comment
I just stumbled upon this entry and it alone did two things for me...
1. Cause me to sign up so I could get active in this community.
2. Mothball the current d20 modern campaign and kick start that steampunk campaign I first started working on back when I first got into Hordes/Warmachine.
Very nicely written. The small piece at the start sets the mood perfectly and shows just how creepy these things are. The other great thing about them is that my PC's will assume they're undead and waste turnings and other holy items on them. Can't wait to get started with these :) Go to Comment
Acheron is my sci-fi setting, which is relatively hard science; the chief exception being the superluminal skip-drive that lets the system be linked together relatively quickly, out to roughly a light-month or so; you can expect to see more of it showing up periodically.
Siren's already declared his glee at a semi-completed NPC for the setting. Go to Comment
This potent drug is, amusingly enough, the byproduct of a thaumatechnologic process; many factory owners produce the base, unrefined form of the drug, flushing it away nightly as unwanted thaumic pollution, unaware that the clear, vicious sludge washing down the drain is worth more than the rest of their operations combined. It is this alone that keeps the supply of the drug limited, as producers closely guard their secret.
Godsweat is, at the most basic form, thaumic energy distilled into a fluid form. By itself, it has little application, although a Mage may tap it for a boost of power, and a Whisp can happily feed on even a small dose for an extended period. Properly refined, however, it becomes a clear, slightly viscous fluid that has several potent effects, not the least of which is the intense euphoria that accompanies use.
The benefits of Godsweat are enhanced strength and speed, sharpened senses, and wildly creative surges that make the drug popular with athletes, artisans, and thugs alike. Mages also find that the refined form amplifies their spellcasting talent, insulating them from the risk of overloading themselves for a short time.
The detrimental effects are wild and powerful mood swings and the hazard of sensory overload while under the drug's effects; depression and a feeling of sensory deprivation upon coming off the high, as well as a vulnerability to thaumic effects for a short time; and repeated use risks psychological trauma and disease similar to that which can result from long-term exposure to thaumic pollution. Go to Comment
The former. I expect the residents generally make it something like a part of their birthday celebrations; honoring another year of life and light by adding to the Cathedral.
I also expect that in other places, such as Tarralein, there's slang along the lines of 'trying to make a Cathedral' to refer to some overly massive and grand project someone is trying to accomplish; the wealthy baron trying to build a fifty-story-tall statue of himself as a 'present to the city' is the kind of thing. Go to Comment
It is possibly to make a potentially hazardous light source via thaumatechnology, yes.
And actually, since Kuramen uses Siren's elemental gods, the undead are actually creatures of Light, as the Goddess of Death is also the Goddess of Shadows, and tends to regard undead as a violation of Her domain. Go to Comment
Is there a constant tide of pilgrims who spend an entire day of their year performing this act of worship, or do all the worshipers come at once and carve their rune in a designated 'box' marked out by the priesthood? Go to Comment
This is quite nifty. You could even have the PCs' find this cathedral outside of its heyday, having been lost and forgotten for some reason, and its partial light serving as a welcome respite after days of spelunking. Go to Comment
There is a subtle irony here, that I didn't notice at first. These wizards have learned their lesson forever, but are prevented from learning anything else (normally). Now that's the ultimate lesson!
I would think, that without feeding they would appear a bit more detached from reality, flat and emotionless; and more human when fed. Without this contact with human souls, I suspect they will lose whatever remains of their own soul. There has to be a price for immortality. Go to Comment
They do; they can recall anything they knew while still truly alive easily. Mages, owing to the ridiculous dangers of their profession, rarely have close relationships with anyone save for other mages, however. It happens, but when you may explode in a wash of energy capable of decimating the entire town at any time you do the signature behavior of your profession, it tends to put off potential friends and lovers. Many mages are even estranged from their family for the same reason. Go to Comment
They very definitely cannot be treated like any other undead; even the liches of normal high fantasy are easier to handle than a Hollow One. The closest thing to one of these creatures is the rare instances of a lich that takes the time to work its way into society, gaining social prestige and power as it does so. A Hollow One, on the other hand, is seen as an asset by rulers in Kuramen, as they are spellcasters who don't risk a thaumaturgic backlash that could level the city. More than one medium-size city-state or moderate-sized nation has a Hollow One serving as adviser to the ruler across multiple generations, considering their access to knowledge and their magical capabilities more than worth the cost in spiritual energy they require, usually relying on prisoners or a special cadre of servants for that purpose.
For other worlds, you could indeed vary the damage their touch inflicts, and how long the effects of a feeding last; without the stolen spiritual essence, a Hollow One can only learn in a detached way; the visceral kind of learning that lets people develop learned reflexes and instant recall of knowledge is only possible with that 'charge' present. A Hollow One who steals entire souls and gets merely a day out of such wanton consumption would be a juggernaut, rampaging across the land in a frenzy of hunger; one who merely dazes the victim for an hour or so and can get by for a day or more would hardly raise curiosity; perhaps it could pass itself and a voluntary victim as someone with a spouse who has 'vapours'.
I'm glad you like that turn of phrase. The notion of magic and unnatural things having colors not known to us is one I've been fond of since reading The Colour Out of Space, and was reinforced with Discworld and the color octarine. The Hollow Ones are basically vessels of raw magic, sustained in a terrible half-life by energies beyond the ken of normal minds... It seemed fitting. Go to Comment