The Component

Background

The Luminous Godkiller Weapon was defeated on the cliffs of River Isle, overlooking the Straits of Silk. It toppled backward, crashing and tumbling down the stone, pieces coming off as it went, until it hit the water. Its head washed up on the shore the next day. The rest of it sank to the bottom of the ocean a mile beneath.

Decades later, the Component crawled out of the sea near Chanos. Currents had carried it clear around the world.

It was once the Component’s energy that drove the Weapon. A confluence of raw elemental violence, it provided spiritual resilience, motive force, and pure destructive energy. The Component was the very heart of the Weapon. Decades ago it was a simple solid half a meter wide, of a shape that could only be seen from the corner of the eye. Since then it has… unfolded, into a form more like the whole of the Weapon.

It has no idea what is going on. It does not remember being part of the Weapon. It does not think that it is dangerous, or that there is anything wrong with what it does. It may not even remember what happened yesterday. It says things like “Help me fulfill my purpose,” and “Where can I find my home?” while walking to the southeast… and occasionally things go badly.

The Component, like all the pieces of the Luminous Godkiller Weapon, was designed by Yushoto Koletta at Castle Volan. Its blueprints are still in the basement there. It walks there – not in a perfect line, but haltingly, recalibrating every few days, seeking the place where it was created. The building itself was leveled by the Weapon in its final rampage. If there is any hope of stopping the Component, it lies in finding and understanding these blueprints. Unfortunately, the castle was a well-built and heavily-defended manse, and even in its current sorry state its traps and automatic defenses will be difficult to bypass.

Appearance

The Component’s shape is humanoid, as the Weapon’s was, but it bears little resemblance to its predecessor. Its body is more crude, more angular and metallic. Its power has been drained over the years, and the light that burst forth from the Weapon at all times comes just from a single eye in the Component’s head. It’s about twelve feet tall.

Demeanor

The Component doesn’t have much personality. If someone other than Sam Eikar talks to it, it will be fairly hollow and robotic. It speaks straightforwardly, without politeness or rancor regardless of the situation. When it speaks with Sam, its voice will fill with emotion. It will treat her somewhat like an aged mother – precious, worthy of respect, but in need of protection.

When the Component speaks, it seems to be fairly simple-minded. This is accurate. It has neither a sophisticated mind, nor a cunning intellect. It is not manipulative or even particularly compelling. It simply speaks its need.

Intimacies: Become whole again (defining), Respect Yushoto Koletta and her incarnations (major), Be efficient (major)
Catchphrase: Help me become whole again.

Capabilities

The Component does not have the raw might that the Luminous Godkilling Weapon did. However, in this age after the Day of the Broken Sky, its power proves more than sufficient against those who might destroy it. Essence beams emit from its single round eye to destroy or blind opponents. Its metal skin deflects bullets and swords alike. It is strong enough to tear through nets and break steel manacles. Its punches drive the breath from the living and shatter walls with ease.

Unlike the Weapon before it, the Component is not immune to godly power. It can steal power from spirits and Exalted alike, but cannot destroy gods in the way the Weapon did. A concerted assault from a number of deities could prove quite dangerous to it. However, many gods have an inherent fear of the Component. The Holocaust of the Gods left a memory that has become part of the world itself. Few can forget or overcome it.

The Component only fights to defend itself. Unfortunately, it needs to this quite often, as guards and military forces do not respond well to its strange appearance and even stranger demands. Once the battle begins, the Component continues fighting until there are no more targets to defeat.

There are many people who have died while fighting the Component. It is interesting to note that none of them perished in direct conflict with it. Some were crushed by collapsing buildings; others died in airship crashes – but those whom it strikes with its fists or its eye-beam live to awaken some hours later, when it has moved on. It seems to know the exact amount of force needed to incapacitate its targets.

Connections

  • Several of the once-Great Families know of the Component and its movements. All of them have decided that it’s some sort of strange semi-natural phenomenon and have decided to ignore it in favor of their own more immediate needs.
  • The exception is Corporal Sesus Iver, who leads a growing band of revenge-driven soldiers and mercenaries. They know they can’t tackle the Component directly yet, but perhaps with some weapons from the Imperial Age they might be able to destroy it.
  • The wind-spirit Invisible Night follows the Component and reports to the other gods. They wring their hands and wonder what they could possibly do.

Questions

  • Does the Component know how it might be restored, or is it just trying to go home?
  • How fast is the Component moving? How erratic are its movements?

Fate: Destruction

Echoes Relationship Map

This image shows the relationships between the characters in this setting. For those who are not helped by a visual representation, we include the same information in bullet-point form below.

Echoes of the Godkiller Relationship Map

The Component…

  • Seeks Sam Eikar

Ortho the Eldest…

  • Does not trust his fellow clones
  • Seeks to control the Component

Ortho the Heartless…

  • Does not trust his fellow clones

Ortho the Youngest…

  • Does not trust his fellow clones
  • Is manipulating Sam Eikar

Sam Eikar, the Savant…

  • Is Millie’s niece
  • Is mostly a pawn in all this

Fulmine Cathak, the Mastermind…

  • Fears the Component
  • Recognizes the important role Sam will play
  • Has been Millie’s ally in the past

Calcite Cathak, the Gunbinder…

  • Has faith in her cousin Fulmine
  • Thinks Stratus is greedy

Stratus Cathak, the Treasure Hunter…

  • Acts aloof toward Fulmine
  • Is genuinely concerned about Calcite

Soulsteel Justice Warrior…

  • Has been Millie’s ally in the past
  • Is famous or infamous across the land

Millie Eikar, the Inventor…

  • Employs Janek and Tenor
  • Has been allied with Fulmine and the Warrior
  • Is Sam’s aunt

Janek Ragara, the Guardian…

  • Is employed by Millie
  • Will protect Sam instinctively
  • Has a crush on Feather
  • Is friends with Tenor

Tenor Black, the Mechanic…

  • Is friends with Janek
  • Is Feather’s older brother
  • Is a high-ranking employee for Millie

Feather Black, the Explorer…

  • Is Tenor’s younger sister

Cyn Walker, Daughter of Ether…

  • Has no idea where she is or who anyone else is.

Echoes of the Godkiller

Seventy-seven years have passed since the Day of the Broken Sky. On that day this small world grazed against another cosmos, and survived. On that day the Luminous Godkiller Weapon was defeated. The land is recovering, and new gods are arising to fill the void left by the old. There is life, where there might have been death.

However, one cannot say that the world is at peace. Petty warlords battle alchemically-enhanced bandits. Treasure hunters raid ancient manses. Experiments begun before the death of the Weapon still hunt the living. In the lands north of the Imperial City, a strange automaton seeks a young girl, on whose shoulders the fate of the world will rest.

Come hear the Echoes of the Godkiller.

Recent Events

Seventy-seven years ago, this world survived a brush with death. The Splinter of the Machine nearly touched Creation, and much godly breath was held. This day is known as the Day of the Broken Sky, which the learned call The Graze. Massive pieces of the great sky-cogs broke off and fell, most of them into the ocean. Many thought that the world would end – but it has not. The day passed, and both worlds survived. The Luminous Godkiller Weapon was defeated before it could extinguish the last lights of divinity. The Karal family’s bid for world domination failed.

Since then, the world has recovered substantially. With the Weapon vanquished, the spirits have been free to act again. Many of the dead gods have been replaced. Much of the physical world has recovered as well. The wind blows freely once again, and water flows fresh, not brackish, from mountain springs. The gods have repaired the sky.

Echoes map

However, not everything has gone well. The God-blooded are fewer, as many of them ascended to replace their parents. The Great Families, especially, have fared poorly. They are scattered across the land, with more children and fewer resources. Respect for them is at an all-time low. Personal initiative is valued now more than it was before the Day of the Broken Sky. Sentiment has turned against the Great Families to such an extent that people now place their own names before their family names in introductions.

In addition, the Families lost much power and knowledge in the days surrounding the Graze. Their buildings were burned, with books inside them. Villages are isolated. Power stations are in disrepair. The world is in a dark age, and most people don’t even realize it, because the Families kept them in the dark to begin with.

The world is ripe for champions.

Campaign Notes

A fragment of the Luminous Godkiller Weapon, called here The Component for simplicity’s sake, has washed ashore on the Blessed Continent. It is traveling back toward where the Weapon was created in the hopes that it can be made whole once again. It doesn’t know what it is or what the Weapon was, but it recognizes eight-year-old Sam Eikar, the reincarnation of its creator, and it seeks her out.

A group of clones, the Orthos, seek to control the Component. They would be happy to remake the Weapon and hold the world hostage with it. They act together for now, but do not trust each other. The youngest of the Orthos has left Sam with someone who can defend her, in the hopes of recruiting them later as dupes.

Two other groups are likely to have found Sam where she was left: a trio of Cathak Family god-bloods guided by visions of the future, and a company called Eikar Welding, run by Sam’s aunt Millie. Whichever of them finds Sam, there is likely to be a clash between them before things are settled.

There are several wildcards in all this. The first is an automaton named Soulsteel Justice Warrior, who tried to reason with the Component before it was blasted away. The Warrior knows that the Component is after Sam. The second is a traveler from a distant world, Cyn Walker, who has powers that could change the story and the world. The third, of course, are the player’s characters.

The PC circle could be…

  • The same group of characters who visited the Splinter from Creation last time. Traveling back and forth to the Splinter does not respect the passage of time; it could have been just a year in Creation despite the many decades that have passed here. They may be hailed as returning heroes, depending on how well-known they were after the Graze.
  • A new group of characters, who found notes and journals left by the previous circle and wanted to see the Splinter for themselves.
  • An entirely different circle, brought either by a repeat of the circumstances from the previous game or by Cyn Walker’s resonance cascade disaster.
  • Natives to the Splinter. This will require a fair amount of house-ruling and custom charm creation to support, but if you already did that for the first Splinter setting, it might be fun to come back to those characters or their descendants.
  • For a really unusual crossover game, the players might portray Etherite characters come to rescue Cyn Walker.

The players’ circle might come into the current events in many different places. For example:

  • They might meet the Component first and suffer an early defeat. They could be found by the Cathaks afterward, or they might find one of the wildcards likewise in dire condition and help each other find shelter at Eikar Welding.
  • They might run into the Cathaks as they approach the Component, or as they pursue Sam.
  • They might be the ones to stumble across Sam before anyone else does. Would they feel compelled to defend her?
  • They might arrive near Millie’s group after the Warrior, but ahead of the Component and the youngest Ortho, and be caught in their argument about what to do.
  • They might unexpectedly arrive near Cyn as she botches her way across the dimensions.

Character Notes

It is the fate of the world that the Component is stopped, the Weapon continues to lie dormant, only one Ortho escapes, and Sam Eikar survives to become a technologist. As the goddess Starsight knew, fate is anything but inevitable. Every character in this setting lists a fate that is intended to guide the Storyteller in creating an interesting tale. You might play into the characters’ listed fates, or against them.

Many of these characters are also influential or well-known. Rather than list supporting NPCs, we list connections to individuals or groups that are part of each character’s story.

For fun, we also gave each character a catchprase that you can try to work into their dialogue once in a while.

Echoes at 9/14, and map software

Five left to go! One Technologist, three Amalgam Champions (Metal, Smoke, and Lightning), and our Daughter of Ether. I’m getting toward the point where I’m ready to be done with this setting and on to the next.

There are also two pieces of map-making software coming up that I want to mention. One is Worldographer, the 2nd version of Hexographer (which I currently use and very much like). I’m really looking forward to using this on future projects. Having an “undo” feature alone is going to be a huge improvement. If it’s a substantial visual improvement as well I might go back and remake some of my older maps as well, but that’s not the major selling point for me. Worldographer is still in beta, but seems to be coming along pretty quickly.

The other is Hex Kit, which looks really beautiful. It uses multiple hand-drawn tiles for each terrain type, to give maps a bit more variety than just the same tree icon over and over. Hex Kit comes out on April 28th, so you might see some remakes of the smaller maps (like Athanor) in HexKit sooner rather than later.

Update on Echoes: 5/14 complete

Five out of the 14 characters for Echoes of the Godkiller are complete. 30 pages written so far. Strangely for me, I haven’t written all of the setting info yet. I could see this group being 40 pages total, which is a bit longer than most. Splinter was 35, Project X was 30. Strangely, they all feel about the same length while I’m writing them – some are just more difficult or have other events in the way of their release.

For anyone who’s interested in keeping track, this setting has:

  • Four characters who are mortals, one of whom is a Technologist
  • Three god-blooded
  • Three Amalgam Champions
  • Two automata
  • One Celestial Aion
  • A Daughter of Ether.

I’ve finished one automata, three mortals, and the Aion. The god-blooded family is up next. I need to do a little redefining for them. I figured this out while I was creating the relationship map – I knew who these people were as individuals, but not how they interacted with each other.