Trinkets, Trifles and Treasures

You can pick up all sorts of oddments as you wind your way around, across and through the worlds, really ~

01psychopomp’s lantern, a staff of black heartwood hung with lantern-cage and
02double handful of solaurum and lilyglass clockworks, eternally moving and
softly chiming
03shard of ivory-like substance shot through with silvery paeans to infinity
in delicate script
04six bluestone tablets inscribed with invokations to a comet-crowned exarch
05slender sword of ruby-rust wood, sharp as the wind and hard as steel
06mantle of soft cloud that shifts in subtle hues of grey
07packet of waxed parchment tied with string, inscribed on the inner surface
with a ring-pattern
08three bangles of blue-silver, eternal ice, slender and gleaming
09choker and pendant of red gold and sapphire in the most baroque of
Cerulean Hell styling
10a rune, viridian, luminescent and undecipherable, that floats idly around
the flesh
11fractal censer of a dozen metals, smoking with honey myrrh kneaded with
12the black iron Blade That Sunders Oaths, with two strikes remaining before
13a sprig of radiantly luminous eternal asphodel
14a memory pearl large as one’s palm, translucent like a feather-engraved egg
15hundred hell-jade coins, waxily golden and ruby, sealed in a sculpted,
fang-jawed coffer
16tattered fragments of an ancient cerulean scroll naming seven Cores and
their imperial desires
17ledger of translucent silk paper recording the exchange of souls between
several afterlives
18violet-and-rose torc shaped from fragments of Wilusan sky-shards
19scaly saddlebag filled with thirst-quench-stones, smooth and inviting
20brace of corpse shadows knotted together for transport
21porcelain and bronze swanbolt caster with a dozen charges of cygnine
22flower-embossed crystalline box containing nine cubes of delicate
23diary of a long-lost ringwalker, bound in copperscale and sealed with Iron
Judge’s solder
24petrified reptilian skull, long of jaw and of a deep tyrian hue, and still
quite chatty
25a string of minuscule suns in the colours of the visible spectrum
26a robe of stardust, glimmering softly
27a skin-tight full-covering suit of bony chitin, with a spore-body filter
in its snarling mask
28delicate crystal globe filled with pale rainbow flames
29a perfectly matched pair of void sapphires the size of a thumbnail
30personal cutlery set carved in delicate lacework from a death’s black bones
31three arrows formed of fire-omen shards
32cake of crumbling ambrosia, soft, sweet and sticky, wrapped in godskin
33nearly complete collection (7/10!) of pearl-bound volumes of Deific
Battle-Lands Reclaimed
34half-melted sheet of crumpled copper with the lion’s share of a
“bounteous” ring-pattern scratched on it
35two cobalt blue stoneware bottles, sealed, of finest crimson garden sweetwine
36drinking bowl carved, with delicate fluting, from a hollowed out firepearl
37delicate woolen blouse embroidered with shadow prayer in faithglass seed
beads and gold thread
38matched bronze daggers inlaid with calligraphy praising the largesse of
the cerulean host
39folding starshell writing tablet and stylus, its wax impressed with
angel’s sigils
40paired flutes, transparent and cool to the touch, carved from a
songwraith’s core
41five glass-smooth sparkling orbs, palm-sized, that orbit one slowly and
42a single massive, peach-like pit, head-sized and silvery, wrapped in heavy
waxed cloth
43a roughly bound folio, bloodily fingerprinted, supposedly copied from an
Iron Court archive
44a fluttering, singing nightingale of animate, rosy crystal
45twelve skyjade death masks belonging to a lineage of sphinx-kings
46a halo, a thin semi-tangible ring of brilliant ruby-gold light
47full set of long voidstone nails, black and glittering, to cover or
replace one’s own
48a leather satchel containing a loaf of sweetbread, a horn of nectar, and four
sable peaches
49two bundles of porcelain and steel limbs shorn from Eternal Forge workers
50a titan-brass blightcaster, slim and spiraled, needing only to be recharged in balefire
51painstakingly dyed cloth scroll detailing half a dozen incursions into one
single realm
52a slender necklace forged of tiny herringbone links of bleak carbuncle
53four thick, plush furs, deeply violet-bronze in colour and trimmed to be
54three bolts of gossamer woven from midnight whispers
55Pakrathi’s Joy, a luminous blood emerald, pendaloque-cut and the size of
one’s eye
56an elaborately engraved adamantine flask containing a great lord’s
57paired finger rings of an impossibly hard, matte black substance,
strangely cool
58a gelatinous, faintly lavender voidmask for nose and mouth, good for
twelve hours
59six palm-sized tablets of pink glass whose cinnabar etchings describe the
Caul-Render’s Seventh Cycle
60a gnarled teardrop ingot of of orange-violet metal, tears forged from a
wailing sun
61rough crystal prism, a blunted shaft of greenish gold, imprinted with
scenes of flame-winged glory
62a net large enough to catch an ox knotted from coarse, green and white hair
63a water-heart, fist-sized, teal and aqua and azure, translucent and cool
and soothing
64string of a dozen smoked angel-faced trout, tied up neatly for storage
65bluelight sword blade, with finished frosting, ready for mounting
66the tangled silvery maze drawn with difficulty from an elder monolith’s
67a well-worn folio sporting battered brown leather covers, scores of
unknown flowers pressed between its pages
68a single deep indigo horn, recurved, etched with a trail of scarlet
glyphs, hollowed for drinking
69a chaplet of briar canes insubstantial as milky shadow
70set of snakestone aegis jewels meant for implanting into the skin at the
pulse points
71a palm-sized aloes box containing a rosy-orange sliver of bone that
murmurs prophecy
72multi-stranded necklace of pressed-petal beads, green-black with age and
still headily aromatic
73creamy brow-stone, rippled with patterns of flame-and-waves, filled with
lost dreams
74a riding cat of smoky spun glass, harnessed with bright bronze lace
75six bales of mistgrass basketry, wrapped up in speckled olivine oxhides
76a collection of teeth of many and varied shapes, all of glittering
ruby-red metal
77arm-length ribbonsnake of blue-gold flame that coils slowly along the body
to warm one
78an apple green lens, palm-sized, that reveals ringwalkers and other such
79plans for a ten-crew umbraship, metallic bone-ink on battered starfilm
80six silverglass amphorae of plasmic wine from a Corerealm afterlife
81mummified arm sporting two forearms with taloned paws, studded with
82seven turquoise foam-leather scrolls, a portion of the Ooailaen Theurgy
83a delicate finger ring woven of a dozen different hair-fine jewel filaments
84fist-sized, shivering black jewel drawn from the brow of a nightmaster
85a fragment of the abyss, quivering, suspended in a tiny solaurum cage
86a changestone, lenticular and rippling chromatically, wrapped in rough wool
87a warrior’s panoply fashioned by a master’s hand from black scaled leather and
pale cherry-pink, milky metal
88a cutting from a golden sugar plum tree, heavy with roughly glistening fruit and carefully
89pair of heavy torc-like armbands of lunargent, finials filled with stars
90four cloak-lengths of finest cloth-of-moonrise
91twisted staff of gnarled wood, its ashy bark cracking to reveal black wood
veined with still-wet blood
92dice set carved of nightmare amber, warm and concerningly inviting to the touch
93wanderer’s astrolabe of smoky adamantine, set with delicate needles ready
to inscribe the patterns it finds
94a spare shadow folded in a limewood box
95an IOU on silver tissue for two units of soulstuff from a sage of the
graven heavens
96a frozen note, its ancient sound lost to the planes for now
97diviner’s stones in a dragonsaint’s crop, sundrops and glassy shards and
ovals of strange greenish metal
98tucked in a worn linen pouch, ten silver coins, a wooden toy frog, and a
folding knife of bloodiron
99a glassy ampoule filled with the breath of the elder sun
100a radiant lacquer case of hundreds of pigments, a dazzling array of
impossible colours all tied up in squares of voidskin
where did all these come from?
who can say for some of them?
why not try to find out?

the Shadow

It’s a calm, unassuming sort of plane at first, the Shadow is. Plenty of broad fields and lush water meadows, sprawling copses of luxuriant trees with game ready for one’s snare or arrow, nothing is burning or discorporating or transmogrifying before one’s eyes. But then – then the eternal creeping sunset registers, and the strange, sprawling compounds and complexes of milk-marble that dot the countryside, crowning hilltops and guarding riverbends, prove far, far more common than a village or farmstead.

Then one might also notice the clashing forces between those pale holdings, who are more than happy to sweep up any strangers into their conflicts.

Who don’t seem to always stay dead – or alive – from day to day. Who sometimes seem to replicate themselves.

Who sometimes have another you amongst their number. Or more than one. And never seem to comment on it. Not even when the not-so-strangers are also long dead and gone.

Who might be found amongst their number, if only one searched …

Some sages of the realms cast their thoughts across these things and find themselves at odds over whether it is strange, or simply expected, that those who find their origin in the Shadow are resolute in the face of near-anything that should shake one’s resolve or self-identity and have little fear of death even worlds away from their quixotic homeland.

And the clashing warriors are not alone: across the lands prowl remnants such as the echoes of the lost, riddling umbra crows, and the silkily lumbering marble titans.

But, still, the Shadow can be a refuge, and many a would-be warlord has taken a marble castle for their own. As many have ventured down deep below the pale milky donjons to find themselves agape at the broken, wheeling, tattered artefacts and ruins of aeons and realms uncounted that press, wailing faintly, through the twisting passages. It’s almost enough to distract one from finding the milky plinth or archway or obelisk that will whisk one to another world. Or back to one’s own.

The Shadow is a passage across and throughout the Corerealms. Through rings, through portals, through duress and the passing of a shadow across the wall — all these may grant passage. Terribly easy. Fiendishly simple.

What it gains in return, well …

* mementos * gathering * ruin * echoes * connections * nostalgia *

Rahure: Foundation

Warmth, banked against future need in the face of the cold, inside or out.

Quiet contemplation, waiting to be stoked to white-hot readiness at a moment’s notice.

Flame, contained, in the flow of syrupy rivers, rumbling orange and sizzling gold; in the banks of steady-glowing embers breaking through black-ashen hill-crests; in the deeply ruby carbuncle glow of the great forests before they erupt into great harvests of flamepods and drifts of fluttering sparks.

Contained, as well, in the vast basalt kilns and glassworks that creep across the rugged crumbling land, turning dust, ash and obsidian into objects of craft, tools of production, works of beauty; and in the proud and bright-riveted forgeworks that temper and test metal and mettle both. And, not least, contained within the communes and creches, of glass and brick, pumice and ember, where ravages of the body and woundings of the heart alike are tended with slow-burning, warming intensity.

The realm makes, and re-makes. The plane prepares, stores away its great workings: for the needful, for the mindful, for the traveler, for those in travail. All things, all existences, have a purpose, needing only to have their embers stoked to burning brilliance at the right time, and the proper place.

If ashpards prowl and sword-wights tear loose from their circles, if conflicts erupt in molten glass and forge-hot metal, no matter; the fires will bank themselves in time, all shall be righted, all shall be soothed, mended, put to rest. Should even the crimson fireblossoms of the skies above be stained black by stormsoot or malediction, invasion or revolt, Rahaure continues.

A single ember is all that is ever needed.

*fire * generation * temperance * preparation * craft * restoration *

Quietus, the Iron Court: Manifold Palace

There are realms which unfold beneath the great expanse of the skies, whatever those skies may be. There are planes of seemingly infinite void, with or without structure or object to mar them.

The Iron Court is not one of these realms.

No matter where, no matter how one passes into Quietus, one’s arrival is always the same: within a soaring, sharp-ribbed hall of dizzying immensity, lined with uncountable blackened pillars — and the statue-still guardians that stand at the ready behind the podiums that line that hall, engraving pens and glaives at the ready — beneath the strange chiaroscuro light of flickering godtallow lamps.

The guardians will hear your case, your plea, your reason for entering the Iron Court.

They do not like disruptions.

They will guide you to what you require, if that is necessary.

Beyond the Hall lie: labyrinthine corridors of curving plates and mathematically precise riveting and portals that pivot on unseen hinges;
ornate courts of trial, awash in godtallow light, the ranks of the courtroom hidden from each other with elaborate and precisely symmetrical screens of intricately pierced and patterned metal;
serried warrens of scriptoria, where scribes draft and copy, illuminate and elaborate, in endless scratching whispers of metal against metal;
soaring archives dating back, back, back beyond mortal ken, records of iron, of massive slabs and delicate sheets the envy of a goldsmith;
immense domed arenas where iron legions mass, unmoving, baroque and sharp and silent, waiting.

Waiting for the word from the depths of the Court that the Black Iron March shall contend with violation beyond violation.

There are those who seek out the Iron Judges: the Iron Court will rule on oaths, uphold contracts, draft proclamations, make judgement on disputes, issue condemnations, research prior principles. It will render these things to any who petition.

None wish to see the Iron March.

The March does not occur on a whim. Quietus does not act on whims.

All is precise.

All is weighed, analyzed, deliberated, judged, composed, filed.

All beneath the weight of endless black iron.

The iron that is Quietus, from the most ancient First Pillar — its ribs worn smooth from ferrous caresses — to the tightly-pulled metal flesh and angled bone of the sharp-chiseled Judges who deliver the judgement of the Courts implacably and without remorse.

* judgement * legality * bureaucracy * preservation * precedent * inevitability *

Planes In A Pinch

You’re spinning up a new idea (or trying to), and you’re stuck.
Your players just found a way to yeet themselves into a random plane.
You are a player and you want some way out there place to call home.

You can’t think of a new idea for a plane D: Curse that brain block! DX

For all the folks who’d just like a bit of inspiration once in a while — or need a few planar hooks fast — these tables are for you. A little bit of quick theming to hopefully get the ol’ creative juices flowing again.

d20Theme: CompositionTheme: NatureTheme: Modifier
roll on each category as much as you like, really

Organizations in the planes beyond

Oh, there’s uncountable scores of guilds and sects, factions and orders and sworn-kinships and organizations, cults and councils and fate knows what else out across the planes, no doubt about it. Some of them are notably, almost painfully local; some span many of the realms; some make it their goal to spread …

Here and here are two d66 tables of such odd fellowships one might populate the planes with — and presented right here are another eight such, tuned a little more to the afterworlds in particular:

d8Faction NameFaction Details
01Ringwalkers“The worlds are uncountable. So are experiences. Find as many as both as you can,
and share them — with care! — whenever possible.”

Hands-on researchers of planar travel — to the point that no one’s really
sure if they named the process, or took their name from it — and founders of
countless waystops, wanderer’s caches, and guild centres dedicated to
cataloguing and spreading knowledge of the planes and how to travel to them.
– several varieties of particoloured or prismatic spectra; rainbow ring
– hooded cloak or longcoat with lots of pockets, collection of chapbooks or
scrolls, ring-pattern logbook, sturdy knife, pouch of small souvenir samples
from across the planes
02Last Breath“Get them to their final destination, one way or another.”
Self-appointed psychopomps, dedicated to gathering up wayward deceased souls
from the Corerealms (and even, at times, from elsewhere) and ferrying them back
to where they belong before the dead are carved up in a treasury somewhere.
– white, violet, and silver; paired wings (shape may vary)
– directory of common Core afterlives, lantern staff, soul-pyx, pouch of bone
coin, scrollcase of unsigned contracts
03The Eternal“We will unpick the knot of secrecy and claim a forever existence.”
A motley organization with one feature in common — these folk have seen the
existence of unchanging entities, and they have every intention of divining the
source of true immortality for themselves.
– gold and rose; five-petaled blossom
– personal research notes, grimoire of ancient beasts and daemons, flask of
dubious elixir, chirurgeon’s kit, ritual blade
04Squires Of Iron“The judgements of the Iron Court are absolutes — absolute in their
impartiality, absolute in their insight, absolute in banes and blessings both
— and it is well to carry their words and be their hands.”

The Iron Judges may be famed across the worlds, but seldom does one such grim
luminary leave the black iron embrace of the Court; this they leave to lesser
lights who have, for reasons of their own, pledged themselves to Quietus and its decrees.
– black and grey; barbed chain
– courier’s satchel, collection of summons, decrees and judgements, iron token
of the Court, grey shawl or mantle, return-jewel for the Court
05Silver Talons“No greater hunger, no greater desire, no greater delight.”
There’s no beating around the bush with these folks; souleaters through and
through, they relish the shards and fragments — and, sometimes, souls entire
— that they acquire, considering themselves gourmets of the highest order and
always searching for new ‘flavours’. Most are Faded, but not all.
– silver and steel; clutching claw
– papers of admittance to a Soul Market (forged), deathsbone calipers and
scale, personal logbook, tiny pouch of souldust, silverglass dagger
06Fortuna“Each and every one of the myriad worlds resonates with its own rhythm, its
own melody. If you could weave those into one symphony, what wonders might be?”

Musicians, poets, and wanderers all, searching out the intangible jewels that
they call the music of the spheres and hoping to share those wondrous moments
of aural enlightenment with any who open themselves up to hear.
– royal blue and violet; single musical note (shape varies)
– satchel of musical notation and verse, crystal tube-chime, tuning fork,
musical instrument, flask of ambrosia-in-wine
07Incursicates“Show me where worlds collide.”
For some it’s not the realms that fascinate, it’s the times when one plane
reaches out to fuse with and overcome another, with all the chaos and the
clashing that that entails. Whether joining an incursion, throwing in with
defenders, or simply observing the results, it’s the act itself — and what springs from it — that counts.
– amber and brick; ten-armed star
– weapon of choice, warding charm, disruption compass, heavy cloak or
longcoat, baubles from incursion fusions past
08Weavers Of Mirrors“All things dream, though they may know it not. Let us show you what you’ve

There is a world betwixt and between all worlds, the Weavers insist, a place
of dream and nightmare that unites all the Afterworlds as one but can only be
touched briefly by most. The Weavers insist, as well, that the patterns they
weave draw from that very mirrored whirlpool of all that was and is.
– chrome and pearl; unornamented disc
– portable loom, dream-spindle, satchel of strange cloth-bolts, sewing kit, dagger or other tool of unknown substance
and infinite others, of course, the worlds being what they are

Nadir: Manifold Palace

Everything is the maw slashed into existence.

Existence is nothing except the maw, this endless chasm with no terminus; endlessly extending, splintering; endlessly long, endlessly plunging into the darkest depths, reaching endlessly upward with its bleakly striated walls towards the thin wan slit of pale-ghost light scavengers and exiles, bone-wings and darkcrawlers, hermits and exultants call the sky.

Try not to fall.

The darkness below croons a melody in the heart; ripples now and then with motion, dark on dark.

Try not to fall.

Winding up and down the chasm’s fissured faces, like the tiniest ants, look there: thin tracks carved into the cliff-face, splitting and meeting, hugging the wall, at times hemmed in with flimsy fencing, most times open to the air and the maw below, leading to tiny pockets of ruby-green, coiling weedery; or to larger, spiral-carved ledges and rough-hewn uneven cells stacked upon each other, like clinging growths emerging from the dusty sooty stone before burrowing deeper within its face. And within those cells, light flickers and furtive figures flit.

Penitents find their way here, and exiles, and those who know no other way, seeking release. None trust the strangers who seek to mine the maw’s splintered faces, nor the fools seeking the melodious dark.

And here, and there, strange luminous spars — like green-white glass, like smoky ghost-amber — reach fitfully across the maddening gulf. Creeping, inching, a hair at a time, tiny ripples of new growth stretching across the darkness. Sometimes they even meet. More often they shatter, and the denizens of the cells scavenge what they may.

Do not answer the melody.

Try not to fall further.

* isolation * unbalance * loss * bleakness * privation * penitence * abyss *

Makhru: Foundation

Blue-black roiling stormclouds as far as the eye can see.

The thunder that roars in your veins and speeds up your pulse.

The inky billows that hide neighbour, companion, enemy, danger, safety, all from one’s searching gaze.

And the winds that scream unceasingly, bringing savagery to the bruise-dark cloudbanks and lashing all in reach like a hail of unseen knives, flaying, merciless — and carving the paths through the endless thunderheads for the rivers of moon-pale lightning that flash and flow, sometimes left frozen and tangible, in the knife-winds’ wake.

Yet nestled in the shadows of the endless storm, drifting along the surface of frozen lightning and the echoes of thunder, are the cloudbowers; glossy, gently-glowing orbs with life in their bellies, of homesteads of windsilk grasses, meadows of thunderfruit, great cities of gleaming twisting storm-silver and wrought-lightning towers — and these primals claim kinship to the storms without, and always have, and always will. The storms’ bounty they claim for their own purpose, tying themselves and their bowers together with invisible bindings of promises and sharing of ichor, sharp as the wind’s own blades.

And though wild-bannered warlords may soar on black wrathwings through the storms by their uncountable numbers, none have yet brought that stormwar siege inside such refuges.

None, yet.

Some whisper of a change on the knife-winds, and a murmur of alien promises to storm-pearl war machines.

* air * tempestuousness * contrasts * shadow * comfort * honour *

Luminous: Manifold Palace

Welcome to the void, traveller — a void lit by a softly pastel, softly golden, softly bloody numen that never relieves the velvet lack-of-colour of the plane’s black emptiness.

But you are not alone, not at all, here within. You stand — as all things must — on bone dense as ivory, pale and tawny, indigo and maroon, golden and splintered, waxy and sporting strange patterns and ripples beneath it ancient cracked skin, like ripples in sand, like the dapples of a rice pudding, like a spiderweb of maddeningly intricate lace.

The soft faint light registers from that bone. The bony remains of some great unknowable — sage-beast, demon-saint, fell-angel, dead-god — immense, incalculable, spanning from horizon to horizon, as far as senses grant you. Twisted limbs, arms, wings, stranger things yet, arc upwards, downwards, skew-wards, framing the velvet of the void. Shattered fragments drift and return, swaying in place gently. So many limbs. So many ribs, curves of vertebrae, beyond comprehension. So many blank bony visages, looming, crowned with shattered osseus glory.

From these remains spring life-giving rivers, nurtured crops beyond imagining. And carved from the fallen — in wide shallow pits like open sores, in twisting tunnels — are bone-brick complexes, towered and domed, of lacy wonder; cysts of that numinous power, soft osseus jewels pastel and sanguine, murmuring spars of bone-amber thick with ancient faith and archaic enlightenment.

All worthy of the the great bone-ships that fly to war to spill ichor and blood across the remains of deific death. All worthy of the mighty powers that come to prowl and glide and slowly trail along the great bones, from across the realms entire, to seek greater power yet — or to humble themselves, to be humbled, by what they find.

All desire the light of divinity lost.

* revelation * mortality * covetousness * reincarnation * tranquility * parasitism * hubris *

Kharat: Foundation

Motion is life is the heat within is emotion is the heat without.

Near-nonsense, perhaps, but it encapsulates all that Kharat is: its rolling plains of golden grasses, of melt-copper grain; the wild rapids of its rivers of roiling crimson fires, barely tamed by the whirl of flamewheel mills or endless flotillas of bright-sailed ashreed boats, slim and bound in silk like embers; the shifting of each Dancing City’s border pennons, the galloping of bright-burning steeds and roaring chariots, the oriflammes of ten thousand whirling, shifting allegiances fluttering wildly under the flickering flames of the eternal fires above.

None are surprised by a change of mind, in Kharat, nor of a change of taste, of preference, or even of patronage. Only oaths sworn over true flame are held inviolate.

Suspicion comes snapping instead at the heels of those without action, without emotion, without life. Such wretches find themselves cast outside the shifting networks of promises and passions to scavenge for shards of blisstouched obsidian beyond the polychrome walls of the Cities and their dazzling plazas.

Some give themselves to ashes; other swear vengeance unto eternity, and feel Kharat’s hot embrace enfold them once more.

* fire * motion * passion * inconstancy * display * bedazzlement *