Ash Magic

The Powers

The Powers of Ash are the Lords of the Burned Realm. They govern the dead, the destroyed, and that which has gone before. They are neither malevolent nor benevolent, although they do have an abiding hatred for necromancy (which is a usurpation of their powers and as such also falls within the purview of Ash sorcery).

Note that the known Burned Realm only contains dead humans and half-humans - it is rumoured that there are other, similar realms for the dead of other races, although this has never been confirmed and the Burned Lords themselves remain enigmatically uninformative.

The Lord of the Tower of Heroes

The Lord of the Tower of Heroes is said to be the guardian of the souls of those who have lived great and legendary lives. He is something of an ambivalent figure; on the one hand he clearly shows great men the respect they deserve, on the other hand it is usually the Lord of the Tower of Heroes that devises the punishments for those who have escaped the Burned Realm. The Lord of the Tower of Heroes doesn't seem to be particularly given to moral judgements, legendary rogues and blackguards have made it into the Tower as well as your archetypal heroes. Even the occasional necromancer has found entry to the Burned Realm under the eye of the Lord of the Tower. The cult of the Lord of the Tower is popular amongst some subsections of the adventuring community, though there are many who consider it unwise to attract the eye of a deity who has a vested interest in your death. The Tower itself is a magnificent structure stretching farther than the eye can see. Its walls are covered in murals depicting the deeds of great heroes forgotten by history.

The Lord of the Lake of Suicides

The Lake of Suicides is, as one may expect from the Burned Realm, of Ash rather than water, but it flows and ripples like liquid and there are even said to be fish of sorts living there, if “living” is the right word. The Lord of the Lake of Suicides is quiet even by the standards of the Burned Lords. She (all Burned Lords are referred to as “Lord”, even the Ladies) spends most of her time walking amongst her charges and tending to the trees that stand (they do not “grow”) around the edge of the lake. The cult of the Lord of Suicides is small but not non-existent, she is followed mostly by those sorts of poets and artists.

The Lord of the Faithful

The Lord of the Faithful is the protector and warden of those who have died in service to something outside themselves. His cult is popular but disorganised, since most of its members are actively serving some cause or other (indeed they frequently find themselves on the opposite side of violent ideological rifts). The Lord of the Faithful is particularly unforgiving of necromancy, which he views as one of the worst expressions of narcissism. He is associated with hounds, both popularly and in heraldic tradition.

The Lord of the Silent Voices

She is the collector and the guardian of all the still-born, the aborted, the infant dead and the Never-Born (or so it is said; and a great many contradictory things are indeed said about that one). She is extremely solitary, wears the aspect of a twelve-year-old girl and is inexplicably fond of musicians. Minstrels in the White City have a tradition that they will always play a “free” song for mourning parents who ask in the name of this Lord, as “The Lord will pay” in luck or so it is believed. Certain particularly ancient documents refer to her as the Lord of the Dead Unborn, but that name has passed out of common usage in recent years - much as the Lord of the Field of Battle sometimes used to be known as the Lord of All War.

The Garden Lords

Raised up by a party of adventurers these 4 Gods together wield the power of the old Lord of the Gardens. They are the Lords of White, Black, Red and Grey roses and they respectively tend to the realms of love, folly, treachery and old age. Each has been imbued with the power and essence of the old Lord of the Gardens and has a sympathetic wound in their side which gently bleeds ash. Individually they are less powerful than the older gods however the link between them means that they can cooperate to achieve the power of their fellow Burned Lords.

From a system point of view you can be ordained to 'the Garden Lords' in general or to an individual Garden Lord.
Some history to the Garden Lords:

  • The Lord of Grey Roses - The head gardener for the original Lord of the gardens - she filled his role as best she could until the Garden Lords were formed.
  • The Lord of Black Roses - Originally the man tricked by the Rattle Prince into wounding the Lord of the Gardens originally. More can be read about him here: How The Rattle Prince Stole Immortality From Man - Dan, July '04 .
  • The Lord of Red Roses - A man who died through treachery - his background is unknown.
  • The Lord of White Roses - Formerly a warrior woman who went by the name of Galina Shaw. She rebelled against the burnt lords after the death of her husband Sallus and eventually ended up working for the Necromancer at Three Rivers under the name The Grey Templar before eventually being reconciled with the Burnt Lords in 'Last Orders' (March 2008).
The Lord of the House of Gods

Generally not a subject of worship by the established Temple of Ashes, the Lord of the House of Gods is - according to the tales - the greatest (or least) of all the Burned Lords, who has responsibility for the care of gods and Powers who have died. The House of Gods is severally described as a many roomed palace, an empty hall, a cavernous mausoleum and a small wooden shack.

The Lord of the Field of Battle

The Lord of the Field of Battle is associated with carrion birds, both popularly and in heraldic tradition.

The Lord of the Isle of Souls

It is the patron of those who die unburnt in general, but more specifically those whose souls are killed but whose bodies remain “living” in some sense, that is, those turned into undead, crystal vessels, and anyone sent to the Shattered Plain upon death. Very few such individuals ever reach the Burned Realm at all, but those who do end up with the Isle of Souls. They arrive in the Burned Realm without bodies, as formless spirits. The Lord is also without body, being generally seen as swirling cloud of ash. It is at least half-mad, as many of its dead are, having gone so far as to open a gate way to the Shattered Plain (which has now been closed; the Lord of the Faithful keeping watch to ensure that it does not happen again) on the Isle to allow some of those sent to the Plain to escape. The Lord is most decidedly not a Virtriarch, but has a much closer connection with Glass and Necromancy than most of the Burned Lords. It is possible that it will regain some sanity with the closing of the gateway.

The Sinister Lord

Appropriately given his name, little is known of the Sinister Lord. Apparently his domain is over those who suffer 'Death through Inaction'. He enjoys almost no followers, is featured in scant few legends and appears to be exceptionally passive even amongst the dour Lords of Ash. Despite this conspiracy theorists do like to speculate that he's up to something, after all there must be a reason for his name…

The Lord of Letters

Like the Lord of the House of Gods the existence of this particular Burned Lord is much debated. She is something of an oddity, in that she takes no dead. Popular myth is that she takes the form of a rather severe looking eastern woman and her worship is more popular in parts of the east than it is in the west (although her cult is very minor in all parts of the world). Those who accept her existence maintain that her role is to look after the Burned Lord's bureaucracy. She settles disputes over where people she spend eternity. The most controversial aspect is the idea that she approves those who are allowed to move on from the Burned Realm, including those allowed to be reincarnated in the world. Some sources also say it is her that looks after the laws of Amroth.

The Limits

Ash magic requires the caster to be in a state of delicate balance. Every spell must be prepared mentally in advance, the Sorceror placing themselves in tune with the living and the dead. As a result, an Ash magic spell will be usable only a limited number of times before the caster must retreat to meditation, during which time they must be completely undisturbed.

Almost all Ash Sorcerors within the White City are Ordained Priests of the Temple of Ashes and wear the distinctive grey robes of that Temple. Practice of Ash Magic within the lands of the White City by anyone who is not an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords is illegal - someone who practices unordained Ash sorcery without the permission of the Temple of Ashes, whether willfully or through ignorance, will either be killed by the Temple when their existence is discovered or might be “brought within the fold” so to speak if they are sufficiently important or willingly cooperative.

Psychic Combat and Spirits of the Dead

Several of the Ash Magic spells (Speak To Silence, Commend To Ash, Speak Through Stillness) can result in the caster facing the spirit of a dead person (or creature) in Psychic Combat. The spirit of a dead creature has the same Psyche hits and inflicts the same Psyche damage as it did when it was still alive, with the exception that all spirits do a minimum of Psychic Singles since psychic combat is now as natural to them as physical combat was when they were alive.

If the sorceror loses this psychic combat then at the least they can expect to be possessed by the spirit and subject to their whims for either twenty-four hours or until the next dawn or sunrise. The possession may last for longer or have other side effects at the discretion of the GM. Commonly, the spirit of a dead person will desire vengeance on its killers and those connected (however tenuously) to its killers.

The Spells

First Level

Call Forth The Ashen Cloud

The Sorceror can summon a stationary swirling cloud of ash which lasts for ten seconds and will cover a wide area, roughly thirty feet in radius, centred on where the caster stands when they cast it. This has two effects (three if you count just being damn impressive). Firstly, it renders everybody within the cloud who is not an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords blind for the duration of the spell. Secondly, any dead creature touched by the ash cannot ever be raised as undead (note that this won't have any effect on creatures which are already undead, however much damage they've taken and however active they are). This spell can be used only once before it needs to be reprepared, however the relevant meditation takes only one minute.

Note that anyone rendered blind by this spell should not actually shut their eyes but should instead roleplay being blind, they are unable to call Dodges or Parries and unable to inflict physical damage or target spells. They can still use their weapons to defend themselves, within reason, and should wander around randomly if they wish to move.

Speak To Silence

The Sorceror may speak to the spirit of a dead being whose corpse is present, regardless of how much of the corpse is present, what condition it's in or how long the being has been dead. Language, however, may still be a barrier. If the Sorceror is an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords then the spirit will speak willingly, unless it had a personal enmity with the caster. In any other situation the spirit must be defeated in psychic combat before it will cooperate (see the section above on 'Psychic Combat & Spirits Of The Dead'). This spell may or may not work upon undead creatures at the GM's discretion, and may have unforeseen side effects if the Sorceror attempts to use it on them. A spirit counts as “defeated” if it loses half its Psyche hits. This spell can be cast only once before repreparation and requires one minute of meditation to prepare.

Second Level

Commend To Ash

This spell instantly turns a single object or being into ash. Should an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords cast this spell on a living being who has not been renounced by the Burned Lords then they will lose their Ordained status. Undead, on the other hand, are open season, as are the creations of the Vitriarchs. If a non-Ordained Ash Sorceror uses this spell to destroy a living being then they will immediately be attacked by that being's spirit as the Burned Lords unleash their vengeance. This spell can be cast a number of times equal to the Rank of the caster's Ash Magic skill before needing to be reprepared, which requires half an hour of meditation. This spell also requires the caster to touch the target.

If this spell is Parried then the spell is used and the weapon used to Parry it turns to ash. If this spell is Dodged or the target survives through sheer Luck then the spell is used and some minor inconsequential item of clothing or similar is turned to ash.

Forestall The Pyre

This spell will heal all points of physical damage the subject has suffered from unnatural sources. Any damage inflicted by one of the undead or a creature of glass counts as having come from an unnatural source, as does most injury inflicted through magical means. The Powers of Wind and Blood however, are so tied to the natural world that the wounds inflicted by their spells are considered natural. Damage taken willingly from a beneficial spell (such as the Light Magic spell 'Purification') or a similar source counts as natural damage.

The spell *can* also be used to heal natural damage, but this invariably incurs the wrath of the Burned Lords; it will cost a Priest their Ordained status and will cause a non-Ordained Sorceror to risk attack by one or more Ashen Guardians (see the Monsters page). Whatever the source of the injury this spell does not restore lost limbs. This spell can be cast a number of times equal to the Rank of the Sorceror's Ash Magic skill before needing to be reprepared, which requires half an hour of meditation. If cast upon somebody else, this spell requires the caster to touch the subject.

Third Level

Speak Through Stillness

The caster may summon up and speak to the spirit of any dead individual whose name they know. Like the first level spell Speak to Silence, Ordained Priests of the Burned Lords can do this safely while non-Ordained Sorcerors must defeat the spirit in psychic combat to compel its obedience. This spell will not call up people who have transcended the Burned Realm to be with the other Powers. This spell may be cast only once before needing to be reprepared, and repreparation takes one hour. The spell counts as having been cast even if nobody answers the call. Note that “knowing someone's name” means knowing their given name and at least one other significant thing about them. If you try to call up Dominic Estefanco when you know nothing about him except that he existed then you will fail. If you know that he was murdered last Thursday in the Port of Glass then you will succeed.

Open The Burned Gate

This spell must be cast on a doorway of some kind, although anything remotely gatelike will do at a pinch. Very simply it opens a portal to the Burned Realm which remains open until the next sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first. This spell has a number of uses, many of them even vaguely sane. It's one use and takes one minute to cast but a full twenty four hours (sunrise to sunrise or sunset to sunset) to reprepare, and would you like to guess your odds of being able to get a whole day of complete calm in the Burned Realm? The Burned Realm has no visible sun and it's hard to measure the passage of time while there, so it's generally a good idea to get back to the gate ASAP when using this spell to travel there. And don't forget that things can pass through the gate both ways.

Fourth Level

Condemned By Ash

This is either a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view, and is never used lightly. Very simply it renders an individual incapable of dying. That's all it does. They still age, they can still be hurt, they don't heal faster than anybody else but they will never, ever die unless somebody removes the curse from them by recasting this spell. An Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords may cast this spell on somebody whom the Burned Lords have specifically singled out for this curse. Any other use of this spell by anyone angers the Burned Lords immensely - Ash-Guard will track the caster down, Ordained Ash Sorcerors will hunt them to the ends of the earth and they become open season for Commend To Ash spells. The Temple of Ashes will almost immediately become aware of anyone casting this spell anywhere near the White City. This spell takes one week of preparation, an instant to cast and is strictly one use.

Call The Black Wind

It's wind. It's black. It's the Black Wind. When cast by an Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords the Black Wind will instantly dismiss all undead in the area, turning their physical bodies (if they have them) to ash, and will inflict a Through Single to the torso of anyone in the vicinity who is a necromancer or has been Condemned To Ash without the approval of the Burned Lords.

A necromancer can cast the spell for the same effect, in which case they will suffer a through single to their torso, or alternatively can cast it to raise every single dead body in the vicinity as an unliving servant under their command.

Both variants of this spell require a week's preparation.

“Within the vicinity” includes only targets within the Encounter, within sight and within hearing. Complete armies cannot be raised from the earth or turned to ash without more complicated rituals.

Fifth Level

Rekindle The Embers

This is a resurrection spell. Note that it is not a simple resurrection spell, you do not buy it for two thousand gold pieces from your local Priest. This spell involves some serious dealing with godly entities. An Ordained Priest of the Burned Lords has a slim chance of talking a Burned Lord into allowing a soul to return to the world of the living - run this through In Character, it's a big thing. The price demanded by all Burned Lords is high. Very high. Expect it to permanently affect your character is significant ways.

The other option (and the only one available to non-Ordained Ash Sorcerors) is to engage the Burned Lord in psychic combat. Your “average” Burned Lord will have about 30 Psyche hits, strike for Psychic Triples and have access to a bunch of other nasty effects. Lose this fight and it's goodbye Gertie. The nature of the spell means that the psychic combat is a one-on-one duel between the caster and the Burned Lord in which nobody else can interfere by any means. This spell takes one week to prepare, and can be cast once.

Invoke The Burned Lords

This is the catch-all apex of Ash Magic. You can summon up a Burned Lord and treat with them directly. Unlike Rekindle The Embers, this spell commands the physical presence of the Lord in question. This really pisses off most Powers so be very, very careful. It's one shot and a week's preparation.

system/ash.txt · Last modified: 2011/11/02 00:21 by osj01
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