Throughout all time, and indeed, before time began, there are but two forces that influence all the universe… Form and Chaos. In the timeless ebb and flow between these two forces, the World Egg was created. Just as it was created by Form, it was consequently sundered by Chaos and split in two – creating the Material Plane and the Chaos Realm. Along with this two halves of the universe, so too were created ten Immortals – beings which embodied their respective forces of Form (known as the Primordials) and Chaos (known as the Chaos Lords). These two factions, diametrically opposed at the most fundamental level, thus began their cosmic war. In the fighting, the two halves of the World Egg became separated. While neither the Primordials nor the Chaos Lords were able to kill or destroy one another, the Chaos Lords did manage to gain the upper hand and captured the Primordials into Void Crystals. In an ironic punishment, they banished them, still trapped in the Crystals, to the Material Plane and set it adrift, separate from the Chaos Realm.
Through force of will, the Primordials were able to create Avatar’s so they could continue to interact with the Material Plane. The war with the Chaos Lord’s was far from over, but for it to resume, bridges to the Chaos Realm had to be created. The Avatar’s set about this work by creating Chaos Nodes throughout the Material Plane. These nodes were sources of great, whimsical, and chaotic power – and from which magic as it is presently known is made possible. Properly interacted with, they also served as gates to the Chaos Realm through which the Primordials could resume their war.
However, these gates were discovered by the Chaos Lords in advance of the Primordials attack, and the Material Plane was preemptively attacked by the agents of the Chaos Lords, wreaking havoc and destruction wherever they went – indeed, ripping at the fabric of existence itself. With literally the universe at stake, the Avatar’s subjugated the mortal races in order to resist the invasion. In the defense, and with the help of the mortal races, a great fortress was created from pure star metal, and thusly named the Star Metal Citadel. With the combined efforts of the mortals and Avatar’s fought the Chaos Lord’s agents to a virtual stalemate, and with a series of perfectly timed and executed attacks, were able to regain control of the Chaos Nodes, stabilize them, and seal them… at least for the time being.
With the immediate threat nullified, the mortals expected to be released from their Avatar master’s bonds. However, fearing another sudden attack, the mortals were left in slavery to the Avatar’s to shore up the defenses of the material plane. Though their individual powers were limited, the mortals collectively had gained a great deal of knowledge about the Chaos Nodes during the war and used them to create a masters of their own choosing – The Celestial Gods.
The Avatar’s immediately retreated to the Star Metal Citadel and began to create new subjects to quell the mortal rebellion. Forged from pure elemental energies, the Dragons were born into the world and the war began in earnest. While very powerful, the Dragons were no match for the Celestial power that the mortals were able to bring into the world. Empowered by their Celestial masters, and constantly uncovering new and devastating weapons, the mortals found themselves able to defeat their Avatar overlords. One by one the Avatar’s were destroyed until only one Avatar remained. Besieged in the Star Metal Citadel, and seething with anger at the insolence of the mortals, a final, petty, and devastating act took place. In a great conflagration of pure evil, the Avatar destroyed itself – shattering the Star Metal Citadel into countless pieces. The energy released corrupted all the Celestials and mortals near it and created a division amongst them – corrupted Celestials became Fiends and corrupted mortals became known as the Horde Races. The victory over the Avatar’s was bittersweet, but the mortals left uncorrupted saw this as a sign – a new beginning to a world they had fought for and won time and time again. They became known as the Chosen races and sought to press their success.
A new war began, one quite devastating between the Celestials and Fiends for dominion over creation and their respective subjects. However, several realizations halted the total war. First, because the Celestials and Fiends were reliant on their respective mortal servants for the powers they had, total war would only decrease the total power left in the world. Second, if the Chaos Lords were to ever return, no matter how ineptly, a weak world would lead to the total destruction of all existence… as such, power, regardless if it was held by the Fiends, Celestials, Chosen or Horde races, had to be preserved. In a disgruntled accord, the Celestials and Fiends created and retreated to alternate planes to continue their war and only fought in the Material Plane in far more subtle ways.
This was the beginning of the First Age. A time of great prosperity and power for the mortals, specifically the Chosen races. Great cities of opulence and wealth were raised, powerful technologies and magics were developed. As the Chosen grew in power, so too did their Celestial patrons and great temples were built in worship, with many large powerful religions developing. As they grew, however, the completion was no longer against the Fiendish Gods of the Horde races as much as it was with one another. Prestige and wealth began to supplant actual religion and the scales of balance slowly began to shift away from the Chosen, who were too preoccupied with obtaining the most lavish relics rather than growing their faith to prepare for future threats from the Chaos Lords.
In time, this lack of focus was their downfall. Cities were raised and replaced by marauding hordes, pacifist temples were now the sites of horrific sacrifices to the dark lords of the Horde races… The Frist Age had ended, and the Age of Darkness had begun as evil conquered and enveloped the land. The Age of Darkness persisted for thousands of years, with irreplaceable knowledge, technology, and magic lost with each passing day. It was all the Chosen could do to eke out meager existences and wait for the opportunity to come where they could regain the advantage.
That day did come, nearly 5,000 years ago. It has been a long a difficult struggle, but the Horde races have once again been driven to the edges of the map or besieged in their subterranean hovels. Once lost magics have been remastered, and while they do not compare to the legends and myths of the First Age, the Chosen races are once again the masters of the world… for now.
The Shard - a creature of pure sonic energy
The Shard is one of the Chaos Lords that has been trapped on the material plane when the gates to the Chaos Realm were sealed. The Chaos Lords themselves are exceedingly powerful – rivaling any dozen of the most powerful mortal deities – however, The Shard is cut off from the Chaos Realm and the source of it’s strength. The material plane is a very different existence and it has taken some time for The Shard to figure out how to not only exist, but slowly learn to expand it’s power and interact with the world at large. The Shard is a single entity, but conceptually it is perhaps easiest to describe it as 2 parts – Shard Prime and The Shards.
Shard Prime is a massive metallic crystal located in a deep cave on Primaterra’s moon. Tall and obelisk like, it connects directly the dense and valuable Star Metal core of the moon. Within the crystal resides Shard Prime, an intelligence that is composed purely of sonic energy. Shard Prime uses its sonic form to send out vibrations of various strengths to interpret it’s surroundings.
After thousands of years, Shard Prime managed to split off some of its essence into smaller, thrull like sonic beings – The Shards. The Shards are not themselves intelligent, but they are driven by compulsions imbued to them by Shard Prime. The larger The Shard is, the more comprehension, compulsion, and on some level, autonomy. These sonic beings start off as diminutive creatures – pure sonic energy that inhabit tiny, resonant objects such as crystals or metals. They can float and fly around using sonic bursts and are able to perceive their environment using sonic wave emissions – akin to echo location or sonar. The Shards are able to jump to larger resonant objects that they locate, much like a hermit crab finding a larger shell, but are extremely weak until they are able to retreat to Shard Prime’s cave and “attune” themselves – gaining new strength through a sonic ritual of harmonizing frequencies.
Shard Prime is stationary… A fixture. Through it’s testing, strength, and connection to the moon’s core it is somewhat omnipotent when it comes to the activity on the moon. It can dectect every object on the surface and to a lesser extent in the air – it can sense it’s movement and generally knows what it is made of (organic, metallic – and what kind if it is similar to a deposit local to the moon, crystalline – and what kind if it is similar to a deposit local to the moon, etc). Because Shard Prime originates from the Chaos Realm, existence on the Material Plane is very… alien… Concepts are very strange and working from nothing, The Shard has made it a priority to become intimately familiar with it’s capabilities on the Material Plane, the materials it is and is not capable of interacting with, and is now working on the ultimate goal – reopening the gates to the Chaos Realm to resume the cosmic war. The problem is – the gates are on Primaterra itself, not the moon where Shard Prime is anchored. Outside of the moon’s atmosphere, the sonic powers are useless. It knows that with the proper elements aligned, it can lob massive pieces of Star Metal towards Primaterra, but the time and energy it takes to do so is, at best, a once in a century event. Even when it can transfer it’s essence to Primaterra in this way, it is only as Shards, not as Shard Prime. The Shards have yet to manage to return to the moon at all, let alone with any useful information as to where the gates are and how they might be opened. Shard Prime is operating on a very long timeline.
The Shards, however, are always active. Their “intelligence” (more accurately, the number and complexity of their compulsions) is based on their size. The larger, the more intelligent. The smallest pieces typically have single, clear directives and only the relevant knowledge to carry it out – Return to the cave, patrol within one mile and attack non-Shards, kill the organic creature at a certain location, etc. As they increase in size through the attunement process, they grow more capable. However, at any given time, the collective size is limited to that of Shard Prime itself, which is colossal.
The Shard of Colossal size can break into 8 Gargantuan Shards, subsequently 8 Huge shards, then 8 large, 8 medium, 8 small, 8 tiny, 8 diminutive, and 8 fine. 1 Colossal – 8 Gargantuan – 64 Huge – 512 Large – 4,096 Medium – 32,768 Small – 262,144 Tiny – 2,097,152 Diminutive – 16,777,216 Fine If the Shards had human intelligence, there is no doubt that even a once in a century attack of The Shards would be terrifying and destructive, but the only saving grace is that as The Shards break apart they become less capable of independent action – at the diminutive side, a compulsion to “kill organic beings” would be terrifying if 16 million humanoids were killed… But blades of grass, flowers, bees and bugs in a field… suddenly an asteroid burst that killed an acre of crops is un-eventful. Not to mention the lack of information returning to Shard Prime to perfect it’s directives.
The Ambler - a creature similar to a spider - a thorax center and a large number of appendages. Rather than traditional muscles it moves by pumping various fluids through its limbs like a hydraulic system. It is a segmented creature (previously discussed on the DM's Block Here!!!) and when one of it's limbs is destroyed, the creature can still use it to spew a variety of ichors (acid comes immediately to mind, but also liquids that flame when exposed to air, or noxious vapors) in its own defense.
The creature can create a large numbers of different liquids to pump through it's body to create different effects - not only can it spew dangerous liquids per above, but it can also create liquids that make it move faster, move slower but have more resilience, or heal itself from with in. I envision using some mechanic where it takes time to change the liquids moving through it, some sort of discharge/replacement...
Really like the ability of the ambler to have an ability after being damaged a certain amount, or in certain way. Given its segmented nature, could is reattach a limb once severed? Are there limited uses of the fluids?
Its so good, and gets worse for the players as it dies which is a counter intuitive thing for most players. Normally a monster is fully effective until 0 HP, or players assume that it would be easier as you are damaging it, but this turns it on its head in a great way. It also allows for the use of the same monster multiple times by switching up what fluid it has and what it can do.