The Entry Lore
The Abbot cordially greeted the Lord who strode in regally clothed in fineries that would not look out of place in court but somehow had an unkempt look about him. He looked about to speak but then being lost on the choice of words, was irked and started fretting about. Seeing this, the Abbot smiled knowingly and calmly reassured him, 'You have come to the right place. Fret not over it. But this is not the right time and place for the kind of talk we'll be having, not yet. Let us retire to a more private place.'
The Lord seemed pacified by the words and followed the Abbot meekly into the Inner Sanctuary. He did not take note of anything but the white-robed figure drawing him onwards as they traversed through a long corridor. Otherwise, he might have noted and indeed given voice to the contempt in his servant's eyes of the dilapidated state of the Abbey and its measly decorations.
In the Lord's mind, the concept of time passage had fled entirely. All of a sudden, he found himself alone with the Abbot in a study.
'Now we can speak freely.' The Abbot looked at him with his keen eyes. 'Now which are you, one who seeks a quiet place for a contemplation, or one who seeks contemplation indefinitely?' An amused smile came onto his lips when he said the latter.
The Lord was confused. 'What difference does it make?'
'None and a great deal.' The Abbot smiled enigmatically. Then an otherworldly gleam came onto his eyes. He recited the following verse in a grave tone:
'Two ever that seek Still while One only craves for Limbo,
The Two urgently need Contemplation and the One yearns for not Remembering.
One of the Two pursue falsely for the Hope of Longevity,
Yonder the Lust for Limbo is ever Pure.
Be it the Two or the One, seek Still or Limbo need not be.
Still and Limbo calls its like, whether or not Like beware.'
A series of images flashed past in Garmon's mind. Garmon knew not from whence they came for he had never seen or even heard of the ritual depicted. For all that those images rippled and undulated and everything seemed to be shrouded under shadows, Garmon knew instinctively that what was shown was a ritual to achieve one purpose. A purpose that fitted with his need, at least for now. Without further contemplation (which was somewhat strange if he reflected upon the instance later, he had always been a cautious man), he started performing the first step of the ritual that would start a process that there could be undone once started...
When he came to again, he found himself in a place that contained no sound nor any odours. Neither was there any sight to behold. Everything here was of a murky colour- it looked like grey at first but upon closer observation, it contained a little of every possible shade he had ever seen and more. When combined together, the murky colour gave off an impression of desolation, comfortable desolation. Just then, Garmon felt something... a concept evaporating from his memories like wisps of smoke that faded to nothingness. But he shrugged it off as it was not important. What was important to him now was the contemplation of this place that he was in now. It was a misty place. No, that's not right. It was a shrouded place, for sure, but not by mist. Even the lightest mist had weight but this place was shrouded by something... impossible to cipher but definitely weightless. When he reached out his hand to touch it, he felt nothing as if it did not exist at all. But Garmon knew it was there. Just as he knew that this place, this realm he had just entered was a forgotten place, a thoroughly and completely forgotten place, a place that does not exist in his world nor any others. It is a place where you get to forget everything, even yourself, pure bliss for someone who wants to forget, wants to forget everything, wants dearly and most of all to forget himself.Just the place for him.
Game mechanics notes: The memory loss at Limbo is activated upon recollection. In the narration of Garmon above, it was when he was thinking about the colour he sees at Limbo that the concept of colour vanished from his memories. Besides the memory loss aspect, when a player is trapped in Limbo, his five senses would be very gradually Â‘deadening' (at the rate of 1 HP per session across all five senses for a high level player or adjust it for low level players and NPCs). If all of his HPs are gone before the person goes out of Limbo, then he will lose memories of ever having the 5 senses. In this case, his bodily parts will still function but the person will just lose connection to what these sensory inputs could tell him about and not be able to interpret the meaning of a particular sensory detail like normal people. Whether the effect is temporary or wears off is up to GM discretion.
Iblinikalis, Master of the Ebony Tower, Loremaster of the Uncharted Realms, Paramount Explorer of Arcana Extraordinaire, looked into the scrying orb in front of him. He was looking on the landscapes of a realm lying outside of the physical world (an arcane realm by definition) that he was thinking of claiming fief rights to as First Discoverer. Actually, looking on would not be the correct words for the experience. For Iblinikalis had perfected the art of scrying. Not only could he determine at will what sights to see of a location, he could actually experience of the location as if he had truly visited it.
This arcane realm he had just recently discovered was a strange place. It was not bizarre with a totally different of basic laws governing over its functioning like some of the others that he was Lord of. No, in that aspect, it operated much as the realms of the physical world. Its physical landscape was also ordinary- it had mountain ranges, rivers and streams, flat land covered with vegetation and all other types of terrains that could be found on Taineer, his own home Realm. And yet there was something odd about it. No wind stirred the plant lives, they lay dormant on the ground like creatures that had been hibernating for eons. The streams and waters did not flow, their waters lying stock still like those of a lifeless lake. Yet, there were no unpleasant odours as one might expect from a place without any exposure to the winds. No, in fact, the air was filled with a light crispness of a morning in early winter. It was just that there was a complete absence of any movement- and therefore any sound, at all in this place. It was a place that was still and idling. It was a place that seemed entirely frozen in time.
The Creation Lore
'Still and Limbo already existed at the dawn of time. Who created them? Why, no one. They came about of their own accords, out of the will of those who have a need for them desperately. That was how things were created in the first place. Out of wills. Not only the wills of Gods and Goddesses but mortal beings as well... if they wish for it desperately enough. And anyone who have wish for Still or Limbo, they wish for it desperately so there you have it.
How do Still and Limbo look, you ask? Well, seeing as how only one in a million or maybe less made it back out from Still and none ever from Limbo, not many knows. But then not many is not none and you are in luck today. But what was I saying? Oh yes, Still and Limbo's landscapes. What shall I say about them? Well, you see, they are not fixed. Instead, they are continuously in flux, shaped by their inhabitants. Fitting, wouldn't you say, seeing as how they came about?'
In contrast to the view espoused above, the idea that it was the legendary figures of the Lord (of Limbo) and the Lady (of Still) who created these two unearthly realms was dominant in widely circulated lore on how to the two dimensions came to be. However, conflicting versions arose on the motivations of the Lord and Lady in creating them or the circumstances that drove each to the deed. One source proclaims that both the Lord and the Lady are one of the Outcast (Deities in exile from the Heavenly realm for unknown reasons to mortals) and have carved out new realms for themselves. The welcoming and adoption of willing outcasts among mortals as followers was simply an afterthought by them. Another argued that their motives for taking in humans was much more practical- they are waiting to accumulate strength by taking more and more followers into Still and Limbo, biding time for their Return. Yet others have attributed a merciful nature to the Lord and Lady, suggesting that they have carved out the two realms specifically to alleviate human suffering. Finally, there is a sect that believes that the two places were created inadvertently by the left over powers of the two exiled Deities that were wrenched out of them from their agonies, that the two of them on their own suffered the most acute circumstances that the world has ever seen for which the characteristics of the two places would provide soothing to. Furthermore, this last group is split on whether the Lord and Lady truly hold dominion over the two realms or whether they were as much prisoners of Still and Limbo as the mortals who were Â‘trapped' inside.
- Retrieval: An important personage of the Kingdom/dear friend of one of the PCs was speculated as being lost in one of these two realms. PCs might have been hired or persuaded by other reasons to retrieve him/her or else the PCs urgently need information from this person. And yet, is this missing person really in Still or just disappeared into some obscure corner of the world?
- Accidental entry: Unbeknownst to all, there were particular locations scattered around the world that connected to one of these two places and the PCs themselves have accidentally stumbled into one of these openings. Can the PCs make it out safely again?
- Encroachment: For unknown reason, either or both of these realms have started expanding onto the inhabited territories that might include where the PCs are currently at or their next destination.
- Collapse: Groups of individuals prattling only of events long past and/or wandering listlessly with various degrees of amnesia were reported. Could that the realms of Still and/or Limbo have collapsed and thereby deposited all of its inhabitants?
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The Lord and the Lady
The truth about the Lord and the Lady is much more complicated that all of the disparate lore ever circulated and recorded. The only aspect that those were correct on was that the Lord and the Lady did hold dominion' over the respective realms and that both were divine in nature. And yet, neither have memory on how the realms themselves come to be or how come to be residing and governing over Still and Limbo.
Old School truth about the circumstances of the Lord and the Lady:
The Lady faced a critical choice that her world hinged upon and moreover, it was a choice that she boded ill either way. Thus she willingly outcast herself in Still so that her world could go on existing in the status quo. Meanwhile, her time in Still was spent in deep contemplation on what action or whether any action she could feasibly take to mend this situation. She takes no actual heed of entries into and exits from Still.
The Lord had performed a deed that he deeply regretted. In his eternal life, this was driving him more and more beyond the edge of his Godly tolerance. Eventually, out of his strong wish to forget the past and himself, he inadvertently carved out Limbo in which he was as prisoner as the others who were drawn into Limbo. Limbo had a will of its own and it wished to release no one once it had laid its hands on them.
Encroachment and Collapse are the ones that I see the most value in for an adventure.
Encroachment: The hidden entry to one of the lands has weakened and the Still or Limbo are slowly expanding beyond their previous restrictions. Somewhat like accidental entry where people are finding themselves (or are unknowingly) trapped in an offshoot of the Still. Almost like a statue, they are trapped in a between state. Powerful magical protection can allow some to enter and rescue them. They will have noticed no time passed and they are unaged. Could find some long lost children from decades ago or parents who got trapped who are now younger than their children.
With the Limbo, depending on how long somebody has been in there, they could be a blank zombie slate or have just enough to function on day to day tasks and start over. It could be that villagers have been using it as a 'cleanse' for evil criminals. A punishment would be to be put into this partial Limbo for a set amount of time that has proven they are erased. They are then brought back into the town and 'retrained' as they see fit. But not only criminals have been using this.... Imagine the power of erasing all that a person is and being able to reset them in your image.
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? Responses (11)-9
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Interesting, and I want to know more specifics about Still and Limbo, with a touch of game mechanics/setting information. Still seems like a place where things go to wait, so there is no telling what might be found sitting, waiting to be found, in the Still. Limbo feels more like Lethe/the amnesiatic effects of Styx.
I would like to see a bit more five senses experience for both settings, setting the atmosphere as it were. I did read that they were not set, so I would possibly use the established narrator Garmon to demonstrate the two, perhaps like a viewing of these places through the use of magic.
I do take your point with the five senses experience. To be honest, I was originally going to put this under Locations but precisely because I couldn't really get this aspect right, I decided to cheat by putting it under Systems and thus leaving things vague.
Anyway, I haven't really figured it out for Still in terms of sensory experiences but for Limbo, I imagined that there would be a very gradual 'deadening' of the five senses associated with staying there besides what I wrote about the 'shrouded by nothing' feel upon entry.
Your suggestion of giving a view of the two places through the use of magic did give me a sort of preliminary idea. I will think about it for a few days and see whether I could expand this sub a little on this aspect.
Update: Fixed up sub as per Scras' suggestion
Some really neat ideas here. I think it needs a little more explanation outside of the first person to explain what you are really presenting here.
Intriguing but slightly disjointed as far as presentation of the idea, as val and Scras allude to. But lots of interesting aspects to ponder. Love the name and tagline of the piece. Still and Limbo. Needs something more/else though.
I agree with your assessment of the current state of this piece (as well as Val's) but this is really a half-formed idea that I pushed out ahead of time for the current quest. To be honest, I cannot quite decide on the underlying (meta) truth of the creation lore and there's still some feel of 'incompleteness' around what I've described of the two places themselves because they're still somewhat fuzzy in my own head. I tried to fix it up somewhat according to Scras' comment and that's why the Entry Lore section got expanded quite a bit but yeah, I need more inspiration to strike me before I could develop this idea further which isn't very forthcoming. Thanks for liking this though. If the whims takes me, I will come back to this one day.
Interesting places, and could work well for alternate planes for a teleportation spell to strand adventurers and astral domains in more horror based settings, or even as virtual realities within cyberspace in higher tech games.
I loved the summary. Honestly, I think that said it all. The rest was good and I liked the story parts but the summary is what got my mind rolling. I am not sure even the PCs should be able to escape from this place regardless of how they would get in there though.
Wow, if you make either place inescapable, wouldn't it basically 'kill' the party? But anyway, a Citadel sub is fairly open-ended and can be adapted anyway the GM wishes. Anyway, glad that you liked the summary. As I mentioned above, this is really a sub that I pushed out ahead of time and the only 'juice' that has actually materialised seems to be the summary. The rest is still shrouded within a back corner of my mind.