I’ve taken a little break from Beneath the White City to recharge my character-writing muscles. In the meantime, please enjoy some art from an upcoming project.
I didn’t make this one, but I wish I had:
By the same person who makes Pixel Dungeon, apparently. Great if you need a walled city, especially one that would fit in the North or the East. Remember to take a screen shot if you’re going to need it more than once – there’s no way that I can see to go back to an old design.
While I’m working on Beneath the White City, please enjoy a random generator I made that has 400 Lunar names, totems, and roles, which I call:
And which you can find at https://colin-fredericks.github.io/ex3-400-lunars/
Perfect for when your damnfool Solars stumble across a moot of 30 irritable predator-god moon-beasts and suddenly you need to come up with 30 animals off the top of your head.
Many thanks to Sarah Lancaster for helping me come up with a substantial portion of the list.
That’s it for Echoes of the Godkiller! As usual, there will be a hiatus while I work on the next setting and other things.
Next up is Beneath the White City. It’ll be a less action-filled setting in the North, focused on tight scenes filled with choices, virtues, and investigation.
When her name was Sofie Wandelaar, Cyn lived in Amsterdam. She worked in hardware, building sensors and antennas for wearable electronics. She gave the drug scene a pass, didn’t care much about the city’s beautiful architecture – her mind was in her work. It wasn’t so much the devices themselves that fascinated her, it was their implications. One piece of metal sang to another over long distances, all because of the way they was shaped and the geometries that connected them. Cyn dove in deeper. She synthesized occult symbolism and modern antenna design, made a receiver that could pick up signals sent through the nonexistent ether of the world, and Awoke.
She found a similar group of mystics, the Children of Ether, by following their guerilla broadcasts. She joined them to fight against a world that would have swallowed her up and made her a cog in its engine of conformity. She took the name Cyn – she always preferred Cynthia to Sofie, and Walker was an Anglicized version of her family name. Her natural talents for materials science and long-distance correlations were much appreciated, and while she was young, she quickly gained the respect of her peers.
Then there was The Incident.
Cyn’s inspired antenna designs were receiving low-frequency transmissions that she couldn’t localize. They came from everywhere. At first she thought they might be part of the Earth itself, but one of the other Children suggested another possibility: they could be from another dimension. Cyn spent over a month building the perfect receiver for these transmissions. She built an amplifier and a frequency-shifter. She covered herself in receivers and waited to hear the sound of another world.
She vanished. For five days her mind vibrated in sync with the Splinter itself, and she felt the presence of the Maker. Then she fell to the ground, looked up, and saw a sky full of gears.
Cyn has pale peach skin, blue eyes, and pale blonde hair. Her build is thin and athletic. When she is first encountered she is likely to have her hair a bit askew and dirt on her face.
The clothing Cyn had with her when she arrived is black, with fishnets and a tiny lace-covered hat. With her ability to adjust the properties of matter, she can wear just about anything and still be comfortable, so she’s likely to adjust whatever she’s given to suit her fashion sense. She has a set of goggles with a dozen different multi-colored lenses.
Amazed, honest, and unconcerned. Cyn is pretty sure that everything around her is a result of an overly powerful magical approach or a flaw in her design, and that it’ll all go away eventually. Some of her imbalance is probably due to the five days she spent exposed to the mind of a Primordial. She was a little self-absorbed and hyperkinetic before The Incident, and still tends this way now. (It’s hard to be magically awakened and not end up a little self-absorbed.)
The essence that flows through the Splinter is a gushing torrent compared to the weak quintessence that flows and pools on Earth. Cyn is going to cackle madly when she realizes how much power could be at her fingertips here. Then she’s going to be very, very careful, because no one wants to blow themselves into a third alternate universe.
Intimacies: We all need freedom (defining), Keep power secret from those who would steal and abuse it (major), Be grateful when assisted, All learning is connected
Catchphrase: Who knew I was so inventive?
Cyn is a brilliant electrical engineer and physicist, specializing in antenna design. She’s great at mathematics and computer programming. Cyn will eventually be able to adapt her skills and learn how to manipulate essence. In addition, her programming skills could make her the best automaton designer in the Splinter. Both of these adaptations will take time. The design of existing automata is not user-friendly, and essence, as it turns out, works almost nothing like electromagnetism. Before she makes progress on either of these, she’ll need to accept that she’s in an alternate universe rather than a hallucination.
Back in Amsterdam, Cyn little hiking and rock climbing. She’s fairly fit. She’s good at fine motor control. She’s friendly, but not what you’d call a force of personality. Cyn speaks multiple languages, including Enochian, a language that will be known here as the Tongue of the World Before. Those from Creation would call it Old Realm.
As a Daughter of Ether, Cyn was adept at two types of magick. One is the manipulation of physical matter. Cyn can alter the density and composition of materials, make them stronger or weaker, see what they’re made of, and shape them. She can’t work with the magical materials, nor with living beings. Her other magic deals with the connections between places. She can find and hide things and people, connect locations so that people can speak and see each other, and teleport vast distances. She can combine these arts to duplicate objects, make short-lived communication devices, and move objects with great precision and skill. Her handbag holds a truly unbelievable number of gadgets. She also has enough training in the ways of raw magic and physical forces that she can see forces and absorb essence, but not more than that.
In raw power Cyn is outclassed by even the youngest of Exalted. In terms of flexibility, though, she’s impossible to match. Back on Earth Cyn would have been wise to use her power covertly. It’s channeled through tricks and devices that don’t really seem like they could be impossible. She’ll stick to that approach here as well, at least at first. She thinks she’s in a Paradox Realm, a world that will punish her for blatant displays of magick. If she figures out that nothing here is waiting to punish her, the gloves will be off.
Cyn is outside of fate, being a part of neither Creation nor the Splinter.
Fate: Do the Impossible
As one of eight children, Feather didn’t get a lot of parental attention when she was growing up. This let her slip out every now and then to go “investigating” in the local neighborhood. Soon enough, childhood games turned into real exploration, and Feather started bringing home interesting trinkets from the Imperial Years. She apprenticed to an archaeology firm (Kelvan Prospecting) and saw the world.
When the apprenticeship was over, Feather spent her saved money to travel to River Isle. She scouted the ruins of the Legion, bringing out fascinating journals and coded manuscripts. Sometimes she went with others, sometimes alone. She opened enough safes and sold enough old jewelry to stay solvent. Knowledge was what she really cared about.
The search for knowledge brought her to House Volan. In the hills nearby she found a strange silo, built underground, scarred on the inside with fire and lightning. In the research facility there she found a diagram in a hidden safe. It showed fifteen pieces assembled into a semblance of life and a resounding power. She had suspicions about what it meant, but she knew that her brother and his friends would be able to find out for sure.
She didn’t make it out of the facility unchanged. The Unhesitating Tiger of Lightning met her at the exit. She froze, captivated by its eyes. It stalked up to her and, as she breathed in, carefully poured itself into her mouth. No explanation, no message – just an infusion of power and a need to act. Feather can still feel part of its mind in the corner of her own, giving her courage, driving her forward.
She doesn’t sleep much any more.
Feather and Tenor don’t look a lot alike, being step-siblings. Feather’s skin is much lighter, peach-colored and tanned, and her hair is a dirty blonde. Her eyes are a steel grey. She wears thinner black clothing, mostly cotton and leather, and likes to decorate with her namesakes. She uses a little dramatic eyeshadow and wears obsidian earrings. She smiles a lot.
When her energy runs low and she begins to drift off to sleep (once a week or so), Feather’s eyes will begin to crackle with lightning. Her hair will wave on unseen currents.
Upbeat, cheerful, and driven. Where her brother Tenor is dour, Feather is perpetually optimistic. However, since she was Chosen, the presence of the Tiger Mind presses on her. In shorter interactions she seems more normal. Those who spend longer periods of time with her will see that she’s rarely content to sit and wait for something. Since she almost never needs to sleep, this means she gets a lot done. Sometimes a frightening amount. The Tiger Mind demands action, and Feather agrees.
This isn’t to say that she moves forward at the expense of others. Feather is much more likely to take action at her own expense than she is to endanger others. She’s used to traveling on her own, or being a guide-and-bodyguard to more elderly explorers. Keeping an eye out for others is important to her.
Intimacies: Get Things Done (defining), Tenor helped raise me well (major), Protect those who need it (major), Leave no stone unturned
Feather is an excellent explorer. She can navigate on land or at sea, knows how to pack supplies and build shelters, and has a sixth sense for dangerous situations. She’s in good shape, knows how to use a hunting rifle, and can track game in several kinds of terrain. She enjoys long-distance running.
For self-defense, Feather uses a pair of steel knives. She uses the gifts of the Lightning Tiger to fight like a tornado. She can leap at tremendous speed past opponents, strike multiple times in a second, discorporate as a bullet passes through her, and ignore other lightning-based assaults. She never loses focus and never slows down. Feather does particularly well against groups of opponents or single, slow-moving targets that she can carve up. She hasn’t fought many people as fast as she is, or who can keep their heads on straight long enough to target her.
If there’s one way Feather has really changed after her Choosing, it’s that she doesn’t bother with idle chit-chat any more. If her allies want to go out to a bar to talk, let them – she’s more likely to stay back and keep studying, or to scout the nearby terrain. Everything needs to be for a purpose. This has the potential to make her life lonely and difficult.
Tenor is the oldest of eight children. He’s had four parents. He’s used to dealing with bull. With his parents busy at work, he was often enlisted to get the others in line and keep them organized. Millie picked him up for exactly this reason. Tenor is Millie’s lieutenant – she puts the plans together, he gets the rest of the team to make it happen. The rest of the crew respects him both as an organized leader and as a mechanic.
All this happened before Tenor was Chosen by the Calamitous Vulture of Smoke. Most Amalgam Champions meet the Beasts in real life, face-to-face. Tenor met the Vulture in his dreams. It circled around him as he walked for five nights through a broken landscape of rust and scrap. When he reached the end of the road, he was vaporized by the Luminous Godkiller Weapon. The Vulture told his ashes, “Not all that is broken should be fixed,” and Tenor woke up shaking, oily smoke rising from his body. He’s quiet about his status, but everyone basically knows by now.
Most of Millie’s workstaff goes home at night. Tenor and Janek live on-premises, partly because they’re both Amalgam Champions and have a better chance of stopping thieves than the other mechanics. The two of them have formed a brotherly bond in their evenings together. Janek dreams of soaring through the skies on Millie’s hidden airship. Tenor’s more cynical. When they leave, he’s planning to stay. Maybe Millie will let him keep the garage open.
Tenor hasn’t yet admitted that the fates of Amalgam Champions rarely include peaceful lives or ordinary jobs.
The first thing everyone notices is that Tenor is short: 125 cm tall. His skin is like smoke quartz, partly due to genetics and partly due to twenty years of grime that’s now permanently part of his complexion. His shoulder-length black hair is typically unkempt. His eyes are black, though in the shop he wears goggles most of the time so it’s hard to tell. Tenor’s clothing is somewhere between Janek’s denim overalls and a button-down business shirt.
Amalgam Champions often have personalities that match up with their patrons. Janek is strong and stubborn like the Metal Ox. Tenor’s sister Feather is energetic and quick-witted like the Lightning Tiger. Tenor, as a Smoke-aspect, is pragmatic and pessimistic. He’s quick to suspect that something won’t work, and he’s not quiet about it when such failures could impact a worker’s health. It’s part of what makes him such a good foreman. Truth be told, though, he’s a little afraid to let people fail at all.
Tenor really tries to let things roll off his back. He’s getting fairly good at it. The short jokes don’t bother him any more; people talking about his sister stopped bothering him the first time she kicked someone’s ass for it. He can still be prone to outbursts if someone has been needling him long enough.
Intimacies: Keep everyone in line (defining), Janek is a good kid (major), Don’t let the assholes get to you (major), I’d like to be in charge some day
Tenor is tenacious and energetic. He doesn’t have a perfect memory, but he studies things overnight until people think he does. He doesn’t have Millie’s constant peripheral awareness, but he makes up for it by getting into everyone’s business and continually checking in. People may accuse Tenor of overcompensating for his height, but in reality he compensates just about right for his areas of skill.
Tenor’s specialty is in contingencies and backup plans, like auxilliary batteries, fire suppression, and overflow gates. This gives him a great overview of everyone else’s work. He knows where everything could fail. From flight runes to pneumatic bracing, he could step in and do about 80% of the jobs around the shop.
The gifts of the Smoke Vulture are something that Tenor has been experimenting with in his spare time. He can breathe out a noxious cloud of smoke that’s enough to send Janek into a coughing fit. He can see just fine through smoke, and even smoked glass like his goggles (though they still somehow protect his eyes from the light of plasma cutters). He’s better at accessing the more metaphorical powers: passing unnoticed by “clouding minds”, creating confined disasters, and finding the flaws in all kinds of things. The better he understands things already, the better he can find flaws, but the harder it becomes for him to create accidents.
Tenor has been in his share of fights. He’s not interested in fighting fair. He’ll gladly pick up a wrench and break some knees (or crack some nuts) if someone seems like they’re going to be a serious problem. These days he’s starting to see himself as above brawling, especially given his increased resilience since his Choosing. Tenor’s more likely to leave someone staggering around in a mental haze than to bother fighting them these days.