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Old 11-20-2017, 01:19 AM
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Game NameAlkenstar: The Awakening
Game SystemPathfinder
ThemeInvestigation of an unknown evil
FlavourGritty dark fantasy
Plot SummaryThe information here isn't exactly what I am working with, but it might help to know what the city was like 1000 years ago.

PrefaceThis is going to be a very slow paced game. I am planning to only post for this game on the weekends. This will also be the post rate for combat but in all cases my posts will come on the weekend and if players haven't posted, they will be skipped.

That being said I expect this to be a long running game, mostly because there will be so long between posts, but also because this is a very interesting part of the setting and more so with the twists that I have thrown in (at least I think so).

I hope you enjoy the read,
-Pendragon

Alkenstar
 

right-aligned image
The year is 5247 AR and things have changed in the Mana Wastes. The most primal of magics have begun to return. A slow trickle of fickle power has begun to seep into the Wastes. The millennia long war is now nothing more than a memory, though at least one of the people that once blighted the land is still alive in a way. The ruler of Geb still sits on his throne with his lich queen. The vanished ruler of Nex is still missing, not even a trace of his body has been uncovered, but this isn't a story about their strife.

This is a story about the wastes and how they have come to change. It started with Blood Magics, sacrifices of ones life source could lend one sufficient power to conjure some small spell. The Psionics followed, the mind benders, plying reality with their minds at the risk of madness. Finally the witches and shamans have begun to appear, their crafts not as taxing as the others.

The people of Alkenstar saw the return of magic as an assault and events of mass purging by firing squad were regular two centuries ago. Eventually the fervor died down and the people came to grudgingly accept the return, though in areas there are cults and hold outs where those that wield any form of magic are persecuted.

The magics have not fully returned and wizards and sorcerers still cannot fully cast their spells without physical sacrifice, but everyday the land heals slightly and the more the magic is used the more it spreads. Magic and guns are now at home together in Alkenstar, though guns and technology still rule in this harsh land.

Now that magic has once again began to flow strange things have begun to happen in the barren lands surrounding Alkenstar. Ruins, thousands of years old have been rediscovered, full of treasure and danger.

Reports from Be'gadeen have made the Shield Marshals nervous. The ruins were only recently discovered but several people have returned to Alkenstar tainted or on the brink of madness that they never can completely recover from. The taint doesn't spread, but instead festers and rots away the victim, consuming their bodies from the inside until they are just fragile husks and collapse under their own weight.

All who return from Be'gadeen have a similar story, they enter the complex and nothing happens. They explore the complex and find a temple. There is nothing and no one in the temple. They leave and are cursed to die.

The shield marshals are too busy managing the cities of Alkenstar and so they have hired you and your team to investigate the ruins. They wouldn't have bothered normally, but the proximity to the city demanded that the source of these curses be found and dealt with sooner rather than later.

The InterrogationYou have signed on to the assignment and you and your other teammates are led away into the bowels of the Marshal's Barracks to meet the survivor. You make your way down a spiraling stone stairs into a warm and damp corridor lined in smooth gray stones. The air carries the scent of herbs and poultices but with it a slight tinge of rot, like a long dead rat under a floor board.

The first passage to the left is where your guide, Shield Marshal Abel Bluerock, leads you and a sturdy wooden door greets you. He clears his throat, "I want to warn you again, Yanda isn't what she once was. Please do not mention her appearance or the smell. She has retained her sanity and that is why we have spent so much expense on keeping her.

You might shine some light on some missed revelations. She is very weak, please do not take long, "
Bluerock says as he lifts the latch and opens the door.

In the bed there is a frail figure, lit by flickering candle light. She is in a bed and next to her a chirurgeon is busy at work, cleaning a rupture and stuffing it with cotton. The smell is more intense now and flowers are spread around the room in an obvious effort to help with the smell. The sound of the woman's harsh breath is the first thing that you really catch on to. It is labored and leathery, a slight rattle in the back of her throat.

"Would you believe I just started my twenty third year, I am more corpse than young woman," a thin and strained laugh comes from the frail figure.

"Abel said you would be coming with questions, please ask me. I will do anything I can to help get answers for myself and other victims," despite the labor of her breathing she manages to have a hard line to her, some inner reserve of strength is being tapped by this once vibrant woman.

Crunchy BitsI use d20pfsrd.com but I also have most of the other rule books and the Inner Sea setting as PDFs. If it can be found on d20pfsrd, and it isn't 3rd party, it is fair game. I might ask for a link if it is something super uncommon, so keep that in mind.

I am using the "Guns Everywhere" rules for firearms.

It is 20 point buy for ability scores and we are starting at level 7. You start with 23,500gp, but you can't spend more than 10,000gp on any single item.
RacesThe Mana Wastes is somewhat central on the southern continent, so there is a chance that pretty much every southern race can be found there. Geb and Nex being the closest neighbors means that you can expect Humans and Undead as well as Gnolls. I am not going to put any hard restrictions on races, but if you choose something odd you better have a darn good story to back it up.

Also please remember, any spell like abilities will need to be handled with blood magic or they simply won't work.

Magic RulesThe eyes of the gods still do not fall on the Mana Wastes, divine spells do not work there. You can be a cleric if you want, but your spells simply won't work.

Using a magic device requires the user to sacrifice the same amount of blood (damage) as if he were casting the spell itself (see below).
Blood MagicTo simplify things if your class casts Arcane spells you use Blood Magic. The exceptions to this are Witch and Shaman, who fall in the Occult section.

Each time you cast a spell you take 1 + double the spell's level in damage. A cantrip would be 1 damage, 1st level would be 3 damage, 2nd level would be 5 damage, etc... Meta magic and spells that use higher spell slots cause the highest level of damage, not the base spells level.

You can explain this damage anyway that you see fit cinematicaly, but it has to involve blood in some way.

 

OccultPeople who use occult powers, including the Witch, Shaman and Oracles (technically divine, but we are reclassifying for the sake of the setting), all must balance their minds or risk insanity. Each time they use their powers they lose a little bit of their grip on reality (+1 point toward insanity), and if they lose too much they either kill themselves or become completely locked inside their own minds as their bodies waste away (75 points).

I like mechanisms like this to be simple. Characters start with 15 points, this represents the times that they may have used their powers in the past and serves as a starting point. For reference, a completely sane and mentally healthy person would be a 0 on the scale, an untreated paranoid schizophrenic would be a 50, so your character is starting at mild OCD or a similar state.

To be clear it isn't just the things that happen to you that set your mind on this tract to insanity, it is actually the stresses that your mind must endure to harness these powers when your mind is so weakly connected to the sources of said powers.

To get rid of points you have three options.

 
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>.< The struggle is real, but I am around for the long haul.
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