Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Dark Elves and the Second Sun

Here's another bit about elves in my campaign setting. The first is here. I'm obviously indebted to Zak S. and False Patrick, for initial inspiration. I personally see the Cult of Woe as a means to shoe horn dark elf/drow pcs into an otherwise more standard party, without resorting to endless Drizzt.

Woe is a black sun that is barely approaching Idios (Or your own campaign world, natch).

Sometimes it is invisible.  Sometimes it casts a green light at night.

Various apocalyptic cults have formed around the veneration of this foreign celestial body.  Some say it is the nemesis planet, destined to destroy the World. Some say it is the brother of Idios come at last to claim vengeance for his mutilation at the dawn of time. Others say it is the dead moon's husband, similarly inspired.

They are wrong. The Dark Elves know this. The Black Sun will take them home. Will erase the mistake they made of ever having tasted this world and its transient, mortal beauty.

(The black light and the white light fought a war when there was nothing else. The black light lost.)

Now the reversal is coming---when Woe will swallow Colossus & will burn anti-radiance across Idios.It will sweep the Dark Elves into its corona.

They came into our world because they loved the Dark. Their father was Yann, the Velvet Shroud. He broke himself up into all the Dark Elves.

But they did not know the Dark.

The Dark Elves came through to experience the Darkness, to taste its glory rather than admiring it as a concept from afar. To a god, everything is imagined, most especially the realm of flesh from which they are distinctly separate. At different times in history, gods have slipped across the Porous Borders and unless they have been very powerful, have found  themselves trapped, rendered in mortal flesh (essentially). So when those first Dark Elves truly felt the Dark...they were initially shocked. And after a time, it made them hate. They had seen the Dark from afar (aesthetically as gods experience things),  but not felt its bite, its cold, its relentless absence. And as it made their flesh, it forbade the upper worlds to them.

The majority of the undying 'elves' (as the mortals dubbed them) were forced to deal with their soulless natures (Gods, being pure spirit, are rendered pure flesh when they wander too far from the Porous Borders). Any elf that dies due to violence (they will never die of old age) will not pass into the Well of Souls. Instead its consciousness will persist in degraded, maddened form. A hateful imprint of an immortal super ego, denied both the flesh and transcendence.

The White Elves bind their dead into fetishes and tapestries woven from the spider silk mammary glands of their ancient Mother rulers. The Green Elf ghosts become one with the Witch Yews of the woods they inhabit (birthed by the great forest lord). The Moon Elves emerged only recently from moon debris (they are pieces of Her). The Dark Elves that die, are bound into bodies of lead called Cages, bodies built for war and slaughter. They wear lead pendants which will carry their essence for a short time (before the ghost escapes, stats as a Shadow). These pendants are collected for internment within Cages.

Since death for them is only the promise of one's worst aspects maintained within a hate forged shell of magic lead, most Dark Elves are content to sit and wait for the end of the 'others'. They avoid useless conflict, but utterly expunge anything that interferes with their precarious immutability. Eventually, everything else will die and they alone shall remain.

In this kind of climate, the worshippers of Woe are something akin to heretics. They believe in action. They know that the second sun is sending out a vibration to those most sensitive within the Dark. This vibration is almost information, but not quite, sitting uncomfortably upon the line demarcated 'instinct' and 'hallucination'. This vision says, that one day, Woe will arrive and it will upturn the order of Light and Dark which has existed since before there were gods; since, perhaps, before there was a multiverse. In this new light, some few Dark Elves imagine that they can reunite with their abandoned divinity or become something else entirely. 

To that end, these 'priests' of Woe have headed to the upper world to welcome the Black Sun. It must be granted purpose and power. A celebration or grand ritual, must happen upon the the hope that this will attract its attention granting the priests greater insight into its purpose, beyond the obscure glimpses unto which they have been made privy. Undoubtedly Woe is divine, since the power it grants its worshippers is inarguable. 

Ultimately, they know that Woe is coming regardless of the actions of the people of Idios and in order to placate its purpose (which will be sufficient to snuff out Colossus), certain mass scale geomantic alterations must be made to the surface. These alterations will form the nucelus of the celebration. A symbol must be shown to Woe, who will then reverse all things. Love will become hate, ice will become fire, the Dark will become a new Light.

This is how these few prophets understand the portents. The truth, is that there is very little known about Woe. Everything is interpretation. All is based upon the strong suspicion, that when Woe arrives, there will be no hiding for the Dark Elves, no outliving the perishable flesh. So these heretics have journeyed to the world above to see the Second Sun with their own eyes. To hear its song more fully. To pave the way.

In this land of old gods fallen; foreign tyrannical divinities and  the constant the threat of war and magical plague, the strange and charismatic followers of Woe seem to extend a lifeline to the people. They emerge from the wilderness, clad in black, faces goggled and hooded. They heal the sick. They feed the hungry.With these benevolent actions, their legend grows. People begin to talk.A fire is being lit in the hearts of the downtrodden. Woe promises one thing: change. And for many, that's the best deal they've heard in a long time.

Various disconnected Woe apocalypse cults wait for the picking; to be slowly organised under the aegis of the Dark Elf priests. How successful they will be, remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: hearts and minds must be won...a concept alien to many Dark Elves, whose hatred for the light dwelling mortal races is, commonly, infinite.

Woe's Domain

1st Protection From Evil/Good, Bane
3rd Continual Flame, Blindness/Deafness
5th  Daylight, Fear
7th Blight, Banishment
9th Commune (with Woe), Flame Strike

 1st Level

-Bonus proficiencies with heavy armour
-once per point of Wisdom modifier per day, you may command someone to change a given action to its exact opposite. This power may be used as a reaction. To avoid this compulsion, they are forced to make a Wis save.

2nd Level

-Once per day, per point of Wisdom bonus, you may cause any one spell cast with you or an ally as a target, to have precisely the opposite effect. Note that although this would cause a spell such as Inflict Wounds to instead Cure Wounds, if utilised against say a Fireball, it would create an anti-flame which would still cause damage,

6th Level

-You may swap HP totals (although not maximums) with any willing target. You may do this once per day, per point of Wisdom bonus. Wounds appear spontaneously, although remain bloodless for d6 rounds.

8th Level

-You may instantaneously swap locations with any one visible target. You may do this once per day, per point of Wisdom bonus. Target must make a Dexterity save. At this level, one of your senses becomes reversed. Roll randomly to see which one.

14th Level

-You may cause one environmental factor to reverse its effects upon your command. So one could now effectively hide in bright light, breathe underwater or freeze water with an open flame. This lasts no more than 10 minutes and may be performed once per day, per point of Wisdom bonus. A second sense becomes reversed.

17th Level

-You may reverse the nature and will of a mass of individuals, as many as you can see. A peaceful congregation might become an abatoir of cruelty, a market square could transform into a celebration of giving and sharing, a mass battle would produce a mass hug off and so on. This is a powerful effect and it may be utilised but once per year. Make one Wisdom save for the entire crowd. Whilst it occurs, the Second Sun burns brightly.

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