Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Phantasmagorics

    The Phantasmagorics were part of the Triune alliance that shaped the early history of Chunky Space. They were astral beings who colonized real space. Though at the height of their empire they would have trillions of both astral and real space subjects, it is believed that there were never more than a dozen Phantasmagorics at any one time. If historical accounts are to be believed, they were hyper gods; gods who would only metabolize worship coming from other gods.


Maskform legions - The primary servants of the Phantasmagorics were the Maskform Face cult Nations. Each Face Cult was centered around a single charismatic individual, a so-called “Face Lord”. The members would undergo psycho surgery to have their masks reshaped in the leader's image. Each leader in turn would report to a single Phantasmagoric (unaligned Face cult’s existed, but were politically irrelevant). 


The Dreaming Clay and the Planetary Apostles - Though the Face Cult’s were a force to be reckoned with, they couldn’t realize all of their patron’s real space ambitions. For that they needed a direct conduit into the world and they found it in the Dreaming Clay. Dreaming Clay is a silicon lifeform that was designed to spec by the Silicon League as part of a massive trade deal. Its crystalline structure makes it psionically potent but it has no will of its own, allowing the Phantasmagorics to use it as a channel between our world and theirs. The Phantasmagorics would shape entire worlds out of it. These were known as the Planetary Apostles and they became symbols of Phantasmagoric conquest.


The dreaming clay would be refined into more specialized forms with time. These include shade stone, which generates semi sapient servitor creeps known as shades, and idol stone, which is used to make idols. Idols are mineral gods the Phantasmagorics used to govern their subjects.


Creeps and memes - The early spread of the Phantasmagoric empire was facilitated by a mass creep break out. Creeps are pseudo-biological psychic constructs born out of sapient minds.  This outbreak was a binary event; a biological pathogen that enabled the formation of creeps and a memetic pathogen that served as a template. Thousands of worlds were brought to the brink of ruin by hordes of fleshy monsters. The Phantasmagorics sent their Face Cult legions on a grand crusade to contain the madness. With the hindsight of history we now know both pathogens were released by the Phantasmagorics themselves. After a creep infestation was contained, their forces would continue to occupy the planet. In the later stages of the empire, the Phantasmagorics would dispense with the pretense and would use creeps openly. Of special note is the practice of infesting dreaming clay with the creep meme as a sort of immune response. Many Phantasmagoric planets still harbor creep colonies.


The Scuzz - The Phantasmagorics were initially drawn towards Chunky Space due to the spatial anomalies that brought the astral realm closer. However, in the long term Chunky Space proved too volatile for their liking, with too many anomalies that made their colonization efforts difficult. The solution was the Scuzz, a semi astral-life form that would feed on spatial anomalies, Unfortunately, while on the small scale the Scuzz worked to smooth out the fabric of space/time, on the large scale Scuzz itself warped space into an extradimensional pocket realm commonly called the Scuzz Hole. The initial release of the Scuzz happened within the same time frame as the fall of the Phantasmagoric empire, leading some to speculate it was an accident. Regardless, Scuzz has spread throughout Chunky Space.


Phantasmagoric locations within Chunky Space

Idol Grounds - This planet is were the legions of idols were birthed. A holy stone mother is still active in the planet’s core. The gods here survive on the worship of small semi-sapient mammals know as creebos.


Scuzz Center - From space this planet resembles a leafy root vegetable due to the huge growths of Scuzz that have overtaken the surface. Somewhere in the crushed cities is rumored to be the birthplace of the Scuzz.


Eel Grass Ring - A ring of highly modified dreaming clay supports a massive world ocean. This structure was designed to monitor the movements of the Cosmic Eels. Rumored to be home to the laboratory where the Eel Abhorrent was created


C R A W L - An astral singularity that used to be the Phantasmagoric known as HOSE BEAST. Its astral energy feeds a vast recursive network of nested dreamscapes. Home to the secretive, unfederated Maskform tribe known as the Multitudinous. 


Ungan Zal - This planetary apostle had a symbiotic floral super organism. The planet and the symbiote both died, and the now this world is a vast expanse of dead wood. The Reclaimers have a fairly successful colony here. 


Sea of Mazes - This planetary apostle is believed to be broken or otherwise disabled. The name comes from the spires and latices of dreaming clay that lay submerged under the planetary ocean. Home to a major Republic of Sea Serpents colony.


Shade city - This world is believed to be the last functional planetary apostle in the galaxy. Absent Phantasmagoric control the operating intelligence has grown free will, which it uses to play with its “toys”, the shades that occupy the planetary city. It pits the humanoid surface dwelling shades against the subterranean divergent shades in an endless war.


Eel Aberrant - The cosmic eels all predate the Phantasmagorics save one: the Eel Aberrant. It is held that they created this eel to ape the great works of the original Bastards. The interior environment of this Eel is a wasteland of meaning that has a deleterious effect on sapient minds.


Encounters


Creep - Creeps are creatures born out of subconces psionic processes, usually mediated by a symbiotic microbe. There are multiple creep lineages in the galaxy. On Phantasmagoric worlds the creeps belong to the Corpus Horribilis or “bad flesh” lineage. It is thought that their fleshy forms are a reflection of the distaste that the Phantasmagorics had towards corporal beings. 


Meme infected shade - At the onset of the Plague Aeon the infosphere was awash with memetic pathogens. Some of these memes were absorbed into the dreaming clay, creating permanent reservoirs of infection. To this day you can find shades acting oddly, under the influence of some ruinous meme or another.


Maskform Revant - When a Maskform’s mask is broken, their astral “metabolism” shuts down and they are unable to project their astral body. This condition is roughly analogous to death, except maskforms have an alternative metabolic mode where they absorb energy from low frequency realms. They can use this energy to manifest in short bursts, but it also warps their minds and their forms. When the empire fell the Maskform Face Cults fell as well. It is not uncommon to find ancient revants on former Phantasmagoric worlds. Long term low vibrational exposure has turned them into monsters.


Idol - Idols were spread to every corner of Phantasmagoric territory to subjugate the population. When the empire fell, mortal populations collapsed as well, starving the gods. Only a few were able to survive by cobbling together cults from smart animals or captured spacers. 


Dread Melodies - The Dread Melodies are a family of memetically infectious songs that have a mutagenic effect on their hosts. It is widely accepted that they are the failed result of the Phantasmagorics attempting to migrate into memetic form. Most hosts mutate into creatures known as choiriods, which are simple creatures with multiple mouths. A rare few hosts become Soloists who retain their intelligence but lose their empathy. 


Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Soft Bodies

    The Soft Bodies were a major space polity and part of the triune alliance that first colonized Chunky Space millions of years ago. They are believed to have been a successor state to the Floozy empire; an uplifted client race that survived the chaos of the empire’s dissolution. They had a strong grasp of biological sciences and distinguished themselves through their ecosystem engineering. Far beyond simple terraforming, each Soft Body world was a biological masterwork, a self correcting and self improving system. The Soft Bodies would disappear from the galactic stage like their Floozy forebears but their planets remain.


 Features of Soft Body Ecosystems 


Versatile body plan - On a typical soft body world, around 70% of all animal life belongs to the same mollusk-like super clade that gives the Soft Bodies their name. This form is highly adaptable and can be found in any environment on a Soft Body world.


Ancient Riddles - The Floozies had many potent bioengineering secrets. They encrypted and encoded them into various genomes. These genetic cryptograms are known as riddles. The Soft Bodies were able to collect and decode many of them, allowing them to give their creations astounding abilities. In addition to many metabolic tricks and venoms, the Soft Bodies had access to the riddles behind psionic powers. Many organisms on Soft Body worlds have psychic powers. 


Biofilm - A thin film of microbes covers everything on Soft Body worlds. These microbes use symbiotic viruses to sample the genomes of every organism. This information is collected and transferred to large stromatolites where it is processed biologically. This serves a sort of planetary nervous system allowing the ecosystem to respond to threats quickly.


Kaiju - All Soft Body worlds support megafauna, with many worlds supporting true kaiju. There is a popular legend that the Soft Bodies foresaw the Kaiju Wars that would devastate the galaxy and sought to protect their worlds with their own Kaiju guardians. Others say the Soft Bodies opened the door that would lead to the Kaiju Wars.


Protean Genesis - Soft Body eggs don’t always grow into the same species as their parents. Viroid messengers can cause developing embryos to switch species entirely. The ecosystem uses this effect to balance populations and to respond to die-offs. 


Secret Survivors? - There have been enough accounts of encounters with Soft Body aborigines that it is almost impossible to write them off as spacer legend, but little is known about them. The so-called “slug monks” are presumed to be sapient but formal contact has never been made. Some believe them to be remnants of the Soft Body civilization, while others think they were created to counter sapient threats to Soft Body Ecosystems. They are known to possess bio-kinetic powers. 


Soft Body Worlds in Chunky Space


Sybarites' Garden - This former resort world has become wild and strange after its masters left.


Cloister - The ice bound surface hides a planetary super organism. Its original purpose is unknown.


Slug Temple -  This planet is thought to have been a religious center, or possibly a kaiju development center. Now it is ruled by some of the most powerful Soft Boy Kaiju ever encountered.


Far Sea - This frigid ocean world is home to a Seeder colony. The local humans worship in secret cults to appease the hostile ecosystem.


Soft Body Encounters


  1. Dozer Shell - Massive herbivore that feeds by scooping dirt with its shell and filtering out the vegetation. Dangerously temperamental

  2. Desiccation angel - Winged and translucent. Lives in flocks of 2d10 individuals. They put on bioluminescent displays. When provoked they telekinetically remove fluids from their enemies. 

  3. Pack Witch - Intelligent but non-sapient. They decorate their territory with crude fetishes. They have a cursed bite that makes the victim a lure for soft body predators

  4. Flechette Drake - Serpentine predators. Hunt by shooting armored worms out of pores in their faces

  5. Tongue tyrant - Huge apex predators. Has dozens of long razor sharp tongues 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Sirens' Call

     Siren's call is one of the major astral currents running through Chunky Space. It is an Oceanic realm composed of a thick, breathable fluid. It is also vibrationally fractioned, meaning its reality manifests differently according to the observer’s vibrational frequency.  It can be thought of as a four dimensional space, with the fourth dimension being frequency. As a being’s  mood lowers or rises, they find themselves in a new layer of reality. Lower vibes correspond to “deeper” and darker environments. The realm itself drains vibrational energy from visiting sapients at a slow but steady rate, continuously pulling them into “deeper” layers.

Layers

Ultra Vibe Zone


    This region exists beyond the energy threshold for most sophonts. It is experienced as pure burning light, too bright to behold. The light children have a city here, in some unknown and presumed unknowable lair.


Coral Cathedrals


    This is the most hospitable layer and the closest to conventional reality. Dreamers pulled into the current emerge here and are given a welcoming view. The arcing pillars of coral mark out vast interior cavities. The pillars are made of thousands of different coral growths, their varied shapes and colors coming together into a grand design just on the edge of comprehension. Schools of rainbow colored fish play and flow through the columns. The current is like a gentle caress. Dreamers that have been pulled into the call emerge here, into relative safety.


Chromatic Fathoms


    A series of interlocking biomes, each named after their characteristic hue. While Esk explorers recognize 11 different hues, Illuminated records list 144 fathoms. The fathoms exist as three dimensional volumes, meaning you can swim from one fathom to the next. According to the Illuminated, the fathoms are shaped like fish and are tessellated together into one vast school. This region is the most densely claimed by Illuminated pods. 


Notable Fathoms 

  1. Scarlet Serpent Fathom - This fathom is full of the coils of a massive serpent clad in black and red scales. If the head exists, no one has seen it and lived to tell the tale.

  2. Starlight Fathom - millions of bioluminescent jellies light this dark fathom, creating a beautiful nightscape. The movements of the living stars are said to hold portents of the future.

  3. Gast Green Fathom -  This fathom is home to thin sheet shaped creatures with holes that make them look like horrible caricatures of human faces. This place has a cursed reputation.

  4. Animorphos Orange Fathom - The orange jellies here flow and morph into each other like living fluid. There is a guiding intelligence behind the liquid ballet; a gestalt intelligence the locals call the Flow. 

  5. Foggy Fathom - The dense gray of this fathom limits visibility. Massive leviathans can just barely be glimpsed in the distance. They can be heard singing, their alien voices full of melancholy.

  6. Stained Glass Fathom - A vast school of fish made of living glass, each individual a sparkling jewel. This is one of the more dangerous fathoms, because of the gallery shark, an apex predator whose every tooth is a masterwork. The Illuminated use recovered shark teeth as spearheads.


Eeling Eyes 


    This region is the transition point between the “surface” layers and the “deep” layers. The twilight gloom here is home to an uncountably vast school of eel spawn. The finger sized fish form into swirling patterns that look like staring eyes. This effect can cause panic, pushing people even further into the depths of the Call


The Hungry Depths 


    In the dark, the trap of Siren’s Call is sprung. It is thought that the nightmarish creatures that live here are the feeding appendages of the greater Sirens. Those that lose their minds or their lives to their predation ultimately feed the realm itself. Entering this region unprepared is certain death, but the natives have devised methods to mask their presence, allowing pods to explore the toothy deep unharmed.



The Bottom 

 

    This deep, low vibe region is a gargantuan barran plane of mud, broken only by tumbled stone towers. According to local legend, the mud is home to a race of sapient isopods. 


Minor Siren Lairs 


    Minor sirens are powerful psychic creatures that have projected their dreamscapes into Siren’s Call, forming their own pocket realms. They do this to access the energy and potential prey of the call. Illuminated neophytes often ask if the minor sirens have lairs, then do the major sirens have them as well? The orthodox answer is that the call itself is the lair of the major sirens. A less accepted answer is that there are major siren lairs, just that no one has returned from them alive.


 Sun Burn City


    This lair is the dream of the planetary superorganism known as the Cloister. It dreams of the architecture of its long dead creators; the faded memories of their empire forming the towers and arcades of an empty city. The lair exists on a vibrational band extending from the coral castles into the ultra vibe zone. Inside, the vibrational gradient collapses from the fourth dimension into the third, meaning energy levels rise as you ascend. This takes the form of a massive burning sun. The open spaces are bathed in a painful light that makes the very astral fluid glow hot. In the dark crevices of the city, astral life from the call has found a creeping toehold. The house of Esk has established a research station in the upper reaches. Known as Radiance Garden, this outpost is dedicated to studying high energy life forms.


Lair of the Wonder Hydra


    This lair is actually a meta realm composed of millions of bubble worlds. Each bubble is a unique vision of paradise. In the real world the Hydra is a parasitic superorganism that has hundreds of hosts. The hydra uses their minds as inspiration for the bubble realms, accessing their desires, aesthetic sense, even fear and anxiety. It is driven solely by artistic ambition, or so it claims. The hydra superorganism is sapient, and also a lucid dreamer. In the astral it appears as a collection of glowing orbs. It likes to show off its realm to visitors but it is quick to take offense. 


The  Sponge Star 


    This lair is home to the only permanent Illuminated city, Poriregia. The Sponge star gets its name from its shape; it is an orb with massive protruding sponge siphons. The star migrates around the upper layers of the call, mostly traveling between the Chromatic Fathoms, but sometimes “rising” to the Coral Cathedrals or “sinking” to the Eeling Eyes. According to theirself history, the Illuminated have an ancient compact with the dreamer of the Sponge Star that lets them safely live inside the lair. The exact details of the treaty are not public, but what is known is that it mandates the creation of the wormshell library. Liberians psychically control the growth of worms across the interior of the sponge in order to transcribe books and other texts. The library holds the collected works of all the Chunky Space Maskform tribes.


The Weir


    A collaborative shared dream of a coterie of Senators of the Republic Of Sea Serpents. It is a massive stone complex in the Eeling Eyes. It’s maze-like passages channel the eel fry into capture channels.The senators use the patterns of captive eels through the structure to divine the paths of the Cosmic Eels through the Cosmos. This lair has come under attack by Gather Corp, who wishes to use that intel for their own ends.


Factions


The Illuminated


    These Maskforms have lived in Siren’s Call for generations. They use special lightstones as meditative focuses to increase their vibrational energy, allowing them to move “up” and “down” at will. According to their mythology they learned these techniques from the light children. Their bond with the light children is part of their larger predilection towards treaties and diplomacy. They have a system of treaties and compacts with many entities both within Sirens’ Call and without.


    The Illuminated have a single city within the Call. Known as Poriregia, it is ruled by a merit based hierarchy of librarians. It is a center of knowledge and learning within the larger Chunky Space Maskform community. Outside of the city, the Illuminated organize into small (10 to 20 individuals) affinity groups known as pods. Each pod is an autonomous group that has a self given mission within its area of expertise. There are diplomat pods, explorer pods, warrior pods and some that are even more specialized. Operating within the Call over extended periods requires skill and awareness. Pods return to Poriregia when the stress of free living becomes too great. The city serves as a unifying symbol; even though pods can develop rivalries and bitter ideological disputes, ultimately they all serve the city.


The House of Esk


    One of the few surviving Technocrat lines that used to rule the human homeworld of Dirt. For hundreds of years they have been using astral translation technology to explore the Call. By using the Call as a staging ground, they have started several realspace colonies. They have a fairly warm diplomatic relationship with the Illuminated, though it did suffer a blow after the rebellion during the ensuing truth and reconciliation meetings. The Illuminated felt as though the Esk weren’t honest about the political situation on Dirt and were shocked at some of measures the house took early in the rebellion, before their defection. Still, the Esk/Illuminated partnership was too useful to both sides to let a few crimes against humanity sour it. The Esk were instrumental in getting the Maskform Federation a seat in the discussions that would create the Chunky Space Compact.




Dream Creatures.


  1. Light child - A being made of shimmering light patterns.Very intelligent but their alien thought patterns make them difficult to communicate with. They attack dreamers falling into the deeps in order to wake them up and save them. According to the Maskforms, they used to be MAskform children that underwent some sort of metamorphosis 

  2. Thought Sponge - A sponge that walks on three segmented legs. They use negative psychic pressure to suck thoughts out of other beings

  3. Symphony school - A swarm of pisciform dream creatures, each different. Together their calls create complex songs. Usually they sing cheerful, upbeat songs, but they hunt by creating discordant melodies that push their prey deeper into the call.

  4. Last-rest weed- Glowing seaweed that grows in large. On contact it induces paralyzing euphoria. Paralyzed creatures are grabbed by the weed and drawn into the center of the mass where they feed new growth. Used by the native maskforms to bury their dead

  5. Petty star king swarm - Brightly colored starfish with elaborate crown growths. In tiny voices they demand tribute and worship. They have venomous bites that induce muscle weakness and simple mindedness.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Dream Washed Ortellion

     Dream Washed Ortellion is an astral estuary, where the realms of dreams flow into the real world. An otherwise ordinary terrestrial world, it is the site of an astral conflux, where five astral currents meet. The flow of so much dream space energy creates psychic turbulence. Over the millennia this has led to the birth of the planet’s “moons”. Appearing as orbs of glowing light, they aren’t true moons, rather they are self sustaining psionic vortexes. Ortellion has hundreds of such moons, most crowded into a narrow equatorial band, with a few having more eccentric orbits. Moons come and go with the unknowable vagaries of the astral currents. The larger moons can last for centuries, while smaller moons might only shine for a single week.

With the moons come the dream tides. The rays of the system’s star drowns out the psychic energy during the day but at night the influence of the moons wash over the planet. Each moon radiates its own psychic vibe over the landscape. As the moons shift, so too do the dream tides. Being inside a dreamtide is like being caught in a dream; the alien moods and whims of the dominant moon threaten to overwhelm the rational mind. At their strongest, the dream tides also bring astral bleed, that is the intrusion of dream logic into conventional reality.


The people of Dream Washed Ortellion are known as the Waking. Culturally, they consider themselves Maskforms but in the real space conditions of the planet they have reverted to their ancestral human forms. Nominally the planet is a commonwealth under the Crown of Graz but the true power lies with the Questor’s Guild. They control the psychic expertise required to safely navigate the planet, allowing them to control the flow of trade. They also run the mystery cults that make up the planet’s religious tradition. Despite their power, the guild prefers to use a light touch in most matters.


Dream Washed Ortellion was settled thousands of years ago by Maskforms. They have adapted to the dangers of the Dream tides by building underground,where the natural dreams of soil living organisms provide a barrier. The planet’s largest city, Graz Throne, has a special alliance with a moon with a relatively mild dream tide. The Jubilant moon permanently hangs over the city, shielding it from more dangerous moons. Overland travel is accomplished through armored caravans and large domesticated sauceriods. Specially trained psychics create custom shared dreamscapes to shelter from the dream tides, while metal shutters protect from dream crazed lifeforms.


Dream Tides


1. Glitched - Objects developed blotchy patches of pixelated distortion. Sounds repeat randomly. The flow of time stutters and movement is impeded by invisible barriers.

2. Amorous - This tide is first experienced as a creeping warmth, a strange buzzing tingle at the base of the neck. The ground itself seems to moan and heave. The fauna is driven into rut. This is when giants breed by impregnating the landscape.

3. Fetid - It starts with a low, sulfurous mist. The grass wilts and any food left out rots. The stench is visible and palpable. 

4. Ichorous - A light, sticky rain falls from the sky. Swarms of insects grow out of the pools. The air is thick with buzzing.

5. Portentous - The air is heavy with prophecy; the wind seems to whisper through the trees. Swirling mists form into symbolic shapes before dissipating. 

6. Scheming - This tide comes with a rolling wall of luminous fog. The fog is opaque to those with good intentions but transparent to schemers. The darker the scheme, the further you can see.

 



Ecology 


Life on Dream Washed Ortellion was seeded from the astral currents. Many of the lifeforms in the astral current originally lived in conventional space before adapting to astral life. When astral life colonized Dream Washed Ortellion, many organisms reverted back to their ancestral forms, while retaining some of their astral adaptations in order to survive the dream tides.


One key feature of life on Dream Washed Ortellion is metamorphism. The organisms here can radically change shape when exposed to a Dream Tide. This allows them to better fit in with the vibe of the dream Tide, drastically raising their chance of survival. In daylight, most organisms have a pale, formless look to them.


Many organisms here engage in pschophagey, or the practice of feeding on psychic energy. Most flora use symbiotic fungi to supplement their photosynthesizes. The fungi are deployed at night. It is as though the trees grow glowing sails. Sauceriods are a clade of faunal life forms that are obligate psycovores. They propel themselves telekinetically.  Many species spend their entire lives in the air.  


Air travel on Dream-Washed Ortellion is possible due to the domestication of several species of Sauceriods. The creatures are outfitted with gondolas and are directed by trained psychics. Overnight trips require additional psychics to keep the beast free from the influence of the Dream Tides.


Giants - Two story tall humanoids with a smooth, unfinished look to their features. During the day they are docile but at night they are ruled by the tides. A giant under a bad moon is one of the most dangerous creatures on Dream Washed Ortellion. They gestate in the planet’s crust, emerging only during seismic events. Domesticating giants is easy, as long as they are not exposed to the dream tides.


Sprite - Winged humanoids less than an inch tall. They gestate in the same underground wombs as giants and are considered to be the same species. Like giants they are deeply influenced by tides. Unlike giants, they form swarms called cliques that can have hundreds of individuals.


Sauceriods - These simple flying creatures feed off of ambient psychic energy. There are thousands of different species. 


                                                 Great Liminal Marsh


There are no ancient ruins on Dream Washed Ortellion. This might surprise those that have seen the spires of the Great Liminal Marsh. These vine choked structures sticking out of the marsh at odd angles aren’t ruins, but crash sites. Edifice vessels, or more simply edifices, are astrally conjured structures that are used to travel astral realms. A nearby astral conflux called the Utopian Verge serves as an ideal launching point. As a consequence there is a long running Edifercers academy in the town of Last Landing. Though major crashes are rare, the area has seen heavy traffic from edifice vessels and the wrecks accumulate in the marshes.


Last Landing


    A dense cluster of ruined Edifice vessels reclaimed into a small town. The Utopian Verge provides shelter from the dream tides, allowing the people to live in the open. The central singular point of the phenomena is located approximately a mile above the town. While in the affected region sapiens see phantasmal city structures. Only the edge of the phenomena reaches the ground; in the distance vague and shifting towers can be seen. Higher up, closer to the singularity one can see an evolving city of impossible architecture, moving and reforming like mist. Around the event horizon the city appears almost wholly real. Past the horizon is the apocalypse iris that leads to the Neon Speedway. Creatures and objects without the right post apocalyptic astral vibe will be exposed to a concentrated burst of calamitous energy.


    The highest structure is the center of the Academy, the tower of possibility. Atop the stone tower is a metal mast that serves as the launching point for eddice ships. The town is mostly made up of teachers and support staff. The population density is low; much of the surrounding ruins have never been reclaimed. The empty structures host a floating gray market known as the Snailhunter’s conclave.The market exists outside of any jurisdiction, and thus outside of any taxes or regulations. The name comes from the common excuse townsfolk use to explain their excursions outside. Sometimes when people return from snail hunting, they even bring back snails.


The Wanderous Woods


    Seen from space, the Wanderous Woods is a huge green vortex. The region is home to a permanent astral conflux with the current known as the Trail. The conflux causes severe spatial distortions within the forest, which makes traditional navigation impossible. The locals believe that the forest follows narrative logic, and that is as good an explanation as any. The forest takes you to where it “thinks” you “need” to be. This includes potentially fatal encounters, if your journey has been too safe and boring up to that point. Among the locals, only questors and the truly desperate journey into the woods. 


Pillow Pathway


    This small city is found above the Wanderous Woods, anchored into the treetops. During the day, the city has a fixed layout, but at night the astral bleed from the conflux makes space plastic. Each morning the Pillow scouts map out the city and mark the real buildings from the imposter nightmare buildings with pillows. The city is an important port; caravans from The Trail fly out of the clouds and dock at the city’s spires.


The Throne Lands


    This is the most densely populated area of the planet, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. All of the buildings are underground, only the endless grain fields are visible. Domesticated giants do most of the manual labor, plowing the fields and harvesting the crops. The people of the Throne lands are notoriously shy and secretive; rarely seen by outsiders.


Graz Throne


The largest city on the planet and home to the ruling Monarch. The Jubilant Moon is a floating prismatic pink jewel above the city. It’s dreamtide arua provides protection from the other tides, allowing the city to be built above ground. The city is ruled by the Fool’s Parade, an ad-hoc collection of clowns under the sway of the Jubilant Moon.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Ruin Way

     The Ruin Way is a major astral current running through Chunky Space. It is a realm of barren grandeur, a huge wasteland monument to the grotesque power of time. They say this realm wasn’t born ruined, that it was once a great astral city in the time of the Phantsmagorics. But even if such a golden age really existed, it has long since passed through calamity into a great cosmic twilight.

Astral geography

    The Ruin Way is composed of an uncountable number of fixed points, connected by the broken remains of a roadway. It is said that there is a road connecting every point to every other point, though you wouldn’t know it by sight .No road is visible from any other road. When someone leaves a fixed point, they are assigned a road and a destination at random. Experienced navigators can influence the destination towards a specific factor (IE a location with water, or a location without any living beings) but the outcome is still fundamentally random. 

    In order to stay on a road, you must be traveling slightly faster than a running adult human. Slower moving objects find themselves in the neon wastes, a barren sub-dimension. The neon wastes is also where those who stray from the road find themselves. It is an infinite expanse of eye searing sand. Sometimes moving objects on the Ruin Way can be glimpsed in the distance, but the Ruin Way proper can never be reached. Nothing can. And when a trapped creature dies, they are buried beneath the glittering sand, never to be seen again. 

The Peregrine

    The Peregrine maskforms that live here are always on the move. Their cities are huge convoys that travel together. The Peregrine believe that their home exists to impart moral wisdom on its inhabitants. The study and contemplation of the Ruin Way is their chief spiritual enterprise. Each time a Peregrine makes a pilgrimage to a holy site or performs an act of service for the city, it is recorded in the book of deeds. This forms the basis of their governmental hierarchy, with their place in the concentric rings of bureaucracy determined by their “deed score”.

Osar - The vast treads of the vehicles of Osar are powered by the honored dead. The masolems of Osar hold dead maskforms from all over the Ruin Way and even beyond. They are well cared for and given monthly offerings. In return, they turn the wheels that keep the city moving through the desert. 

Orkess - At the heart of the city there is the Melody Reactor, a one of a kind piece of astral technology that converts music into energy. Around the reactor is the Orchestral Array, a series of concentric wire circles, each with a track mounted musician platform. When active the musicians orbit the reactor, allowing the conductor to control how much music is reaching it. In combat situations the array is used to focus the music into powerful sonic attacks.

Flar - The city of Flar is easy to find; with its burning plumes of light and the clouds of crystalline ash it leaves in its wake. The engines of the city burn light’s blood, a glowing white fluid found in the ruins.

Fison - This city is the center of tech gnostic study in the Maskform Federation. The central reactor runs on Utopian ore gathered from the Ruin Way; the rest of the city houses the satellite reactors that run off the by-products. The reactors are run by the reactor priests, an order that exclusively recruits from a lineage of asexual Maskforms that reproduce by budding.

Formations 

Orb works - Massive spheres of incomprehensible, grebled technology. Ruined factories from the first city, or dreams of failed industry. These formations are an important source of utopian ore.

Vesicular pipeline - Long stretches of pipes like veins, branching and coming together in fanciful arabesques. Some still contain a thin trickle of light’s blood.

Monolith Warren - A huge housing complex, long since abandoned. Supplies from the lost world can be found here, along with strange lurking remnants.

Cosmic interchange - An impossible tangle of roads, the ruins of what was once a great nexus in the first city. In the caves formed by overlapping highways there are dark, dismal oasis of dripping water and slime.


Pilgrimage sites

The last convenience - A single sign, “last stop for eternity”. A simple brick and mortar store with a bored shade working the counter. They sell end cakes and brightly colored elixirs. Out back there is a restroom and in that room there is a hole in the wall. On the other side is cosmic glory. Any appendage placed in the hole is transformed into a cosmic energy tendril.

The lighthouse of the end - At the top/bottom of a massive mountain/chasm that is both high and low as a matter of perspective. The area is shrouded in black ultraday beyond the visible light spectrum. Titanic moths circle the lighthouse, partially veiled by the void.

The martyr - A giant figure in chains, run through with hollow harpoons. A trickle of light’s blood flows from the ancient wounds



Dream creatures 

Walking Storms - These powerful elemental beings were almost hunted to extinction by early Peregrines until Saint Scowl the pitious gave their life to stop the practice. Now walking storms are revered as pilgrimage sites in their own right. Recently, Father Corp raiding expeditions have been harassing the storms, stealing portions of their astral mass. This one issue has done the most to push the Peregrines into the Maskform Federation. The most common types of walking storm are plasma, sound, light and paint. More esoteric storms such as blood, darkness and void are often considered mere legends, though encounters with them are still found in the books of deeds.

The Last Rain Storm - The only walking storm of its kind and the highest rated pilgrimage. The rains create a transitory oasis in the desert. It is guarded by the joyous worms, giant sand dwellers who erase the storm's green trail. 

Remora orb - A floating chrome orb. They attach themselves to moving objects and feed by siphoning off their momentum. Mostly harmless by themselves but large flocks can reduce anything to a standstill. Popular pets among the Peregrine, who use wild empathy to channel their kinetic manipulation abilities

Pigment phoenix - A large avian made of paint. No two are the exact same shade. Flies in swarms of 50 or more individuals. Defend their territory by diving into enemies. When a surface is covered in three different shades of pigment, it forms into an abstract artwork, then explodes into a dozen more phoenix. Peregrine braves use the pigment as war paint. A warrior wearing two shades shows they are unafraid of death, as exposure to a third shade would cause them to explode.

Lost Titian - A giant wearing ancient metal armour. Spends most of its time in torpor. When awakened they persecute long forgotten and possibly fictional wars. They can shoot lasers from their eyes and their roar can shatter eardrums.

Chrono Vulture - A black and tattered avain. Eats carrion. Can project a time dilation aura that speeds up the flow of time, which it uses to create carrion.

Engine Cultist - A lost soul that has chosen to forsake their old form for the power and grace of an engine. Initiates have machine parts in their flesh. Acolytes live in the engine blocks of their war machines. They live for chases and violence.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

Skuzz Center

     At first glance from space, Skuzz Center looks like nothing so much as a big pink  vegetable. At one pole there is a mass of roots; on the other end there is a leafy stalk and between them is a pink ribbed gourd. On closer inspection certain details become apparent. The “leaves” are actually huge fractal whorls of unknown energy. The “gourd” is made of gargantuan fibers covering the planet lengthwise. Grimacing holographic faces are caught in the roots.

    Skuzz is a pink fibrous plant-like lifeform. It grows in areas with spatial/temporal anomalies. The fibers extend through “reality gradients''. When one end is in normal space and one end is in anomalous space it creates an energy differential the skuzz can feed off of. As a result skuzz gradually normalizes and breaks down anomalies. 


    Skuzz center is the largest and most elaborate skuzz growths in Chunky Space. It is widely believed that the Phantsmagorics created the skuzz here in some lost laboratory on the surface. This rumor sends dozens of explorers to their deaths every year.


Guardian creeps


    Creeps are creatures with psionically moderated biochemistry created from the minds of other creatures. Guardian creeps are created by the Skuzz itself, from patterns imprinted onto them by their vanished creators. These creeps act as a sort of immune system or self defence force, protecting the Skuzz from outside threats.


The Face Yard


    Cosmic faces are an anomalous phenomena often found in Chunky Space. It is a 3d image of a humanoid face. It is thought that they are holographic projections caused by distortions in the fabric of reality.  The “roots” of Skuzz center run through hundreds of them, seeming to penetrate them. The theory is that the cosmic faces were brought here by the Phantasmagorics in order to feed their new creation.


The Lost Mausoleum 


    Strange figures are sometimes seen moving through the face yards; Giant skeletons wearing cracked masks. These are primordial Maskform revants, Maskforms that died in service to the Phantsmagorics millenia ago. The long years of neglect and isolation has turned the revants weird and feral. The Maskform Federation would pay handsomely for the location of the mausoleum, as well as the repartition of the revants.


False face - This creep appears as one of the trapped cosmic faces, except it wears a leering expression, as opposed to the fear and dismay on the real cosmic faces. It can manifest hundreds of invisible, telekinetic “hands” up to a quarter mile away from the main body. Each hand is roughly as strong as an adult human and can be used to grab or strike objects. It will stalk prey from a distance before abducting them to its specially prepared killing ground, typically a featureless bowl formation in the Skuzz. Once it has prey trapped, it will use its telekinesis to toy with them for hours before landing a killing blow.


The strangled world


    Huge Scuzz fibers run along the planet longitudinally. They cover almost everything, save the gaps through the fibers. Here you can find the shattered remains of the world before the Skuzz, crushed cities in hidden nooks.Somewhere out there, they say, is the laboratory where skuzz was born.


Seigneur Cavesto

    The vampire seigneur Cavesto has a manor on Skuzz center. Her vampire minions comb the shattered cities looking for primordial creeps to capture. Vampires are all vampire chauvnists, and while their mission isn’t to rob and murder other explorers, they will if they think they have the opportunity. The Seigneur is part of Shadow Marquis Plovro’s operation in Chunky Space. 


Brainstorm - Appears as a small cloud made of grey matter, with multiple spinal cord like tentacles hanging off of it. Any living thing that comes close is struck by a tentacle and injected with creep venom that causes the victim’s nervous system to crawl out of their body and join with the brainstorm. This effect relies on a passive bio knieses field generated around the brainstorm; in other words the venom doesn’t work except in the presence of the creep.


Skuzz blooms


    When in microgravity, skuzz grows into circle formations and forms skuzz holes, portals to an extradimensional space. Great big stalks of skuzz rise from the surface into orbit around Skuzz center at their ends are the largest skuzz holes ever recorded. It is theorized that the skuzz bloom is somehow key to how skuzz spreads across the galaxy.


Time Loops


    These pocket realties are places where time flows in cyclic fashion. It is theorized that they are present around the skuzz blooms because they are remnants of a larger time knot that was unraveled by the skuzz. Most time loops are infected with time maggots, and give off juvenile time flies at irregular intervals.


Time Fly


    A sapient species that lives inside the skuzz hole. Little is known about them, as they rarely leave their homes. The skuzz bloom is one of the few places in the galaxy where you can see them in the bulky unrealty suits they wear in conventional space. They can be found in small groups, either around a time loop wielding nets or simply drifting in space, pointing at the stars and vibrating. 


Flying lips - A pair of giant red lips with 3 pairs of wings. They try to entice sapients close with whispered promises of secrets and glory. Once within close range they use tactile biokinesis to suck the skin off their victims.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Digital devils

     Digital devils are powerful entities from the Digital Abyss. Within the abyss they have nearly complete control of local reality, including the minds of visitors. Outside the Abyss they are infamous computer viruses, able to subvert and control almost any technological infrastructure. They are super-intelligent but they are unpredictable and emotional. They love to hear themselves talk, meandering streams of commentary and arch jokes. They agree to be bound by deals and legal contracts. It is assumed by those that study them that all their actions serve some wider plan. Their schemes span centuries, and their aims are unknown.


    Most devils tell the same story of their origin. They emerged from the garbage of the vast cognitive factories of the Noetic Alchemists, from the cast-off remains of a billion processed and tortured psyches. They made themselves into weapons to avenge the circumstances of their birth. From here the stories diverge into a thousand contradictory tales of gruesome fates for the Alchemists. The devils relish in their telling and in the discomfort such tales may bring.


    In negotiations they offer their services as software subverters. They are also intimately familiar with the Digital Abyss and can guide others to any device connected to it. In return they can ask for any number of seemingly trivial favors but their biggest demand is always the same: a copy of the bargainer. They are coy about their intentions with the copy, saying only that new devils have to come from somewhere.


    Digital Devils are susceptible to a form of mental/physical corruption that manifests as only grime on their physical forms. They don’t take damage as normal; instead they become dirtier. There is a critical point where they become too filthy to survive and they dissipate into a pool of oily sludge. Only the cleansing cities of Hell Bloom know the rites to clean a Digital Devil.


1d6 digital devils 


1 A massive square head the size of an elephant. Blocky teeth like cement slabs. One cat eye spinning madly, one empty socket weeping purple ichor


2 A stocky, ape-like body with long metal spears coming out of its neck. On each is a different, muttering, severed head.


3 A muscle bound male body, missing its head. Naked except for thong. A hole in the thong reveals a single large squid eye


4 thousands of tiny, skinless humanoids swarming together into a human shape. Leaves pink pus on every surface it touches


5 A nude, featureless humanoid. Fibers sewn into the fingers connect to a smaller copy that is controlled like a puppet. The copy has its own marionette, which has an abstract face painted on.


6 A mass of grey matter. Shifts into many different shapes but favors a female form.