Saturday, January 3, 2009

Phaeton Island (Labyrinth Lord Setting)

Phaeton Island is a magical island that was created ages ago by a group of lesser gods (see Godlings below) of the ancient world. Not happy with their lesser status amongst gods, these deities pooled their resources to create the Cauldron of Tempests, transforming a large island into a magical preserve for their own use.
Now this island/world travels through space and time, touching upon this and other worlds, gathering travellers and creatures as it goes. It is the source of many "lost islands" and strange se stories, particularly of the sort that involve disappearing lands and ships. It is the home of a host of lesser demigods and a civilization of mixed sailors and shipwreck survivors.
This game world operates the same as most Fantasy RPG worlds, though with a somewhat different feel. The setting is loosly "attached" to our world, touching upon different times and places, allowing for a wide variety of cultural and genetic influence. Because of this Asian metalwork, 20th century hygiene and do-do birds all have their place.

Magic
Magic, by its very nature causes change, both good, evil and indifferent in nature. Few are those who seek to direct and control this energy who come away unchanged by its power. Magic Users study and seek to control magic in its rawest form, interpreting its power towards their own ends. Because of this, magic users (or Mages) are greatly respected, though not necessarily loved.
Mankind and Civilization
Mankind and his allies try to maintain their own natures as best they can, and try to survive amidst the chaos of their world. Civilization is a mixed cultural affair, with a fairly wide range of different races intermingling except for certain cases. Humans are the most organized race.
Dwarves- These small cousins to man dislike magic, and bury themselves deep to try to avoid it.
Elves- The oldest remaining human-like people that learned to stabilize itself in the presence of magic. Now elves are nearly immortal beings, never aging nor succumbing to natural disease, though they are less diverse than humankind.
Halflings- These little folk can be found anywhere, though near humans is the most likely.
Humanity- The most numerous and organized, humanity is well adapted. Three major cities of humankind are:
  • Eusebes ("Pious"-town): A wealthy city/civilization whose people are a diverse mixing of cultures. Academic pursuits are of the highest order here, with all who honestly seek knowledge being welcome.
  • Machimos ("Fighting"-town): A warrior civilization in the northlands, the people of Machimos prize the warrior ideal and honor over all other concerns. Though seeming to be a brutally violent people, the people of Machimo consider the bonds of family and friends sacred and inviolate, and are amongst the most loyal of people.
  • Anostos (Place of "No return") A dangerous city in the far north-east, Anostos is the realm of bleak sorcery and wicked enchantments. It resembles a yawning abyss, does not have day or night, and is covered by cloudy, red fumes.

The Un-Natural World
Phaeton Island is a land saturated with the chaotic energies of magic. Because of this, the island is "un-stuck" in time and space, connecting with our world in many ages. The ecology of the island is mixed with creatures and peoples of many ages, many of whom are warped and twisted by magical mutation. Some details of the land are as-follws:
Animals- Few natural animals exist anymore, either having become mixed-breeds (see Love Springs) or transformed in some way altogether. Rabbits and Hares (terms being used interchangeably for some reason) are the most widespread natural animal, though some have learned to speak and reason. Insects are almost always huge and carnivorous versions, with even honeybees being the size and ferocity of terriers and using meat to make honey. Due to this lack of pollinators, many plants are also carnivorous or otherwise use magic to supplement their needs. To add to this problem, many natural animals found through the land are in-fact other sorts of beings transformed into their animal shape due to assorted enchantments, though usually retaining their original intellects. Some unscrupulous folk (evil magic users, elves or others) revitalize their stock of “normal” animals, making clever horses, dogs or even meat animals from transformed people.
Plants- Mobile and predatory plants are widespread, being quite common in magic rich areas. Though some mobile plants are peaceful, but many more are hostile and territorial in nature, seeking to attack mobile creatures. Many plants exist whose fruit, leaves and other components has special properties.
Cursing- All foul words spoken (by players or characters!) in high magical zones contain the ability to cause various effects such as the wilting of plants or the summoning of assorted small demons and mischievous fairies. These creatures are always aware of how they were summoned and by whom.
Love Springs- Magical springs which causes two drinkers, not necessarily human, or even of the same species, to fall madly, and lustfully, in love with one another at first sight. This has the added effect of making these two beings able to procreate, causing the majority of magical crossbreeds such as centaurs and griffins. See Animals.
Oaths- Are powerful here, as an unwise promise, no matter how innocently meant, will be heard. Characters who swear to something or someone, or make any absolute statement of this sort must save vs. spell or come under the effect of a Quest regarding his or her oath.
Dragons- Dragons are the absolute top predators, and they know it. Though still having differing alignments, all dragons consider demihumans and humans as food, unless these creatures talk VERY fast and convincingly why they should be spared. It is believed that dragons and dragon-like beings such as lindworms, wyverns and hydras all are descended from dinosaurs picked up during the islands journeys through time and mutated by magic and cross-breeding via love springs.
Wasteland Areas- Some regions have been so saturated by magical energies that it is dangerous for any life form (other than fairies, demons or similar creatures) to remain. These areas are either lifeless soil and rock, or choked with plant and animal life of weird design. Detect Magic in wasteland areas will bombard the magic user, requiring a save verses poison or be blinded for one hour. The highly unstable nature of magic in these areas can result in those dwelling here for more than a day to be subject to the effects of a Bestow Curse or Polymorph spell (LL discretion) which may or may-not be permenant. A save versus spell is allowed to resist this effect.
Color Coding- Creatures of one or another alignment tend to develop hair, eye and clothing colors that reflect their allegiance. Some examples follow: Handsome/Beautiful- Law or Chaotic alignment.
Green Eyes- Lawful or Neutral Magic User.
Red Eyes (glowing or not)- Chaotic Magic User or Cleric.
Freckles and red hair on a Girl/Woman-Indomitable will (high WIS), Lawful or Neutral only. Black or White Hair- Chaotic or Neutral Alignment.
Corpse White Skin- Chaotic Alignment.
Rich Tan and Handsome Features- Lawful Alignment.
The Land Itself- Singing mountains and babbling brooks sound wonderful, but can be rough to live near! Assorted river, lake and forest spirits and elementals are all over the place. Storms are often at least partially alive and few earthquakes are natural.
Horses- Almost extinct, with most beasts of burden being demihuman or humanoid slaves. Magical creatures are sometimes used as mounts, such as Unicorns and Hippogryphs, though they require special training.

Godlings
These are some of the demigods that are responsible for the Islands nature.
Anemoi Thuellai (Tempest Winds) Immortal beings who are said to be minor gods live (or are imprisoned) here. All of these beings can fly, and consider the Island of Phaeton their property and refuge. They are fickle and strange beings, and despite an occasional romance, do not openly interact with mortals. Each of these immortals has a tower in one of the four corners of Phaeton, where their favored conditions reign supreme.

Kaikias (or Caecius- Roman) is the king of the northeast wind. He appears as a bearded man with a shield full of hail-stones, and his name derives from the Ancient Greek kakía meaning "badness" or "evil". Kaikias adores cruel jest and mischief, using his power to sink vessels and encourage vice. He is adored by Harpies and Chaotic Fey.

Apeliotes (or Subsolanus- Roman) is the king of the southeast wind. This godling adores growing things and uses his powers to encourage the plant life of the land, and is thus beloved by farmers, elves and halflings. He appears man wearing gumboots and carrying fruit, draped in a light cloth concealing some flowers or grain. He is cleanshaven, with curly hair and a friendly expression.

Skiron, or Skeiron, (Caurus or Corus- Roman) is the king of the northwest wind. He appears as a bearded man tilting a cauldron, representing the onset of winter. His realm is in perpetual winter though many plants thrive their.

Livas (Africus- Roman) is the king of the southwest wind, often depicted holding the stern of a ship. Livas is very interested in travel, trade and commerce. Appears as a handsome muscular man (often black-skinned) and is usually friendly but focused.

Clerics and Religion
I want religion on Phaeton Island to be a bit vague, almost a lampoon of politics and phiosophy, as well as tied in with the dangers of magic. And so all clerics must be from one of the following groups:

The Light
The light is the force of life, justice, truth and goodness. Clerics of The Light have a Judeo-Christian caste, but number all philosophers as worthy of study (Plato, Socrates, Confucius, etc). Opposition to the forces of The Dark is a primary concern of servants of The Light, whether through military action or gentler tactics.
Symbol: An Gold Disc
Alignment: Law

The Balance (Nature)
Servants of the balance seek to find the middle ground between forces, and to focus on the material world. Many servants of the balance are very similar to nature cults (or OD&D Druids), or village wise folk.
Symbol: Stone Ring
Alignment: Neutral

The Dark
Servants of The Dark serve the growth of chaos. Such beings cavort with demons and seek to spread the unrestrained power of magic so that no order remains. Most servants of The Dark move in disguise as normal folk, alchemists or Neutral clerics so that they might spread chaos unnoticed.
Symbol: A Black Disc
Alignment: Chaotic
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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan