Saturday, April 4, 2020

NSR Planescape - The Plane of Fire & Transmutation, Innamists, and Spells from the Innismos

Intrigued by the 'NSR Planescape' challenge/project proposed by Pandatheist over at the Bone Box Chant, I decided to present my own entry into it- albeit, shamelessly heavily inspired by and mimicking the format of Marquis' Noosphere (if it's a little too similar, I will gladly remove or edit this post). I nonetheless took it upon myself to enter into this shared collection of universes. So, I present to you; Innismos, the Plane of Fire.

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The Innismos
Fire, Sulphur, Mercury, Gold.

The Innismos is the term given to the great engine of all creation, the vast plane of existence that fuels all transformative processes in the universe; without the plane of fire to power it, the world would be static, forever cold and unchanging. It is fire that destroys the bonds of the physical, reshaping and forging all consumed by it into something new, something different. The Universe is a giant Alchemical process in many regards, and the Innismos is the fuel source that keeps it running.

To go to the Innismos is  a dangerous endeavor, as it is an inferno of calculated chaos- everything within it is constantly changing, and nothing will ever remain the same for long. To enter is to accept that you will not return the same as you came in, as there is no predicting what alterations or modifications that may befall you.
 
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Innamists
To change the world around us, is to first change ourselves; for the world is but a matter of how we perceive the parts.

Harnessing the power of the Innismos is an enriching, if precarious task. Those who partake in the particular ritual to tap into the Engine of Creation are known as Innamists.

Forge a small bead of equal mixtures gold, brass, and iron; glow it red hot, and quench it in a pool of mercury whilst Mars or your setting's equivalent can be seen clearly in the sky. Find a quiet place, where the only sounds are the crackles of fire, and the slow noise of your own breath; fill your surroundings with smoke and incense. Think of yourself as you are, and as you wish to be; Swallow the bead of metal, and meditate.

Think of the bead of metal as it is, a cacophany of mixed pieces, and then imagine it as it should be; a singular whole, three unified to one singular metal. The key is to change your mind about the metal, to re-write your mental blueprint. Once this changes, then so too will the world to accomodate it. If you are succesful, a fire will be lit within your belly, a kiln to melt down and refine that which is within you, refining the bead of three into one. Permanently lose 2 maximum Hit Points, as the heat from the transmutation is painful. With the ritual complete, you will find a bead of gold in your mouth, glowing softly from the heat of it's transformation. In that moment of destruction and creation, your stomach will become a host for the Plane of Fire.

By it's nature as a plane, it can exist in all places at once. You will forever feel it's warmth, know it's presence. Roll on the Innamists' Flair table below to see how exactly your induction as an Innamist manifests. Every time you repeat the induction ritual, you gain an additional Innamist Flair, up to a maximum of 4.

Innamists' Flair

  1.  The air around you smells of a fire, though the exact kind differs depending on the Innamists' emotional state; from the smell of a wholesome wooden bonfire, to the dangerous smell of Kerosene.
  2. When you speak, others hear the crackling and roaring of flame, as if a wildfire in the distance.
  3. When others look at you, they get the slightest taste of ash in their mouth.
  4. People who touch you feel as if their hand was burnt, but are completely unharmed.
  5. Metal objects near you will begin to slightly warm up, and feel hot to the touch.
  6. Your body gives off a slight glow, as if made of smoldering embers.
  7. When your eyes fall upon someone, small soft streams of steam will rise off their skin.
  8. Your eyecolor is constantly changing, becoming a different color every time you blink your eyes.
  9. Your hair becomes as if aflame, gently rolling between soft reds, oranges, and yellows.
  10. Your skin color is ever changing, seeming to change a shade lighter or darker every time you sleep.
  11. Small things you touch change color, becoming one shade brighter or darker.
  12. When injured, you let off faint black smoke, becoming thicker as your wounds accumulate

Innamist Recipes
Fire can destroy or refine, immolate or purify; the capability is undeniable. Though it's fault, lies in the intent of it's wielder.

When you become an Innamist, you learn a single Innamist Recipe. You learn an additional Innamist Recipe for every 15 fame, if you repeat the induction ritual 1 month after the first, or (if your system of choice has it) you gain 2 levels. 

If you repeat the induction ritual, your hit points are reduced by 1 each time. The painful process of transforming the metal changes the Innamist more than it does the bead, and is poor for one's continued health to perform often.

There are other ways to learn Innamist Recipes. Traveling to the Plane of Fire (& Transmutation), though supremely dangerous and not recommended; though for the dullards who attempt it, they will learn many things. Likewise, by stealing the golden bead from an Innamist's posession and performing the induction ritual over with that bead, you can learn all the recipes they knew. Doing so, however, means that you lose whatever recipes you both did not know.

The List of Innamist Recipes
  1. Alterations of potential as guided by the great engine.
    Place your hand upon the desired object to transmute; understand that by knowing the physical, we may know the design of the immaterial, of the great design that decides our fates, our histories, our potentials and functions. Understand the object's properties, it's history, and it's potential for change. Once you feel the heat of Innismos alight in your stomach, the transmutation has begun. Think of object's place within the great design, and then envision the potential you wish it to fulfill, decide the history that led it to your hands- rewrite the universe itself in accordance with your will.

    Should you be successful, the object will glow red hot, the fires of Innismos burning within and around it. Once the flames dissipate, and the smoke clears, dust the ash off of the object; you will find it changed to a new material, in accordance with your design, whether it be stone or metal or glass, or any unliving material you know.

    This transmutation is not perfect, however. Whilst the changed object is wholly the new material as ascribed by your will, it is  impermanent, as all things are. Under the  light of mars, the glow of Innismos can be seen as if embers throughout the material, proving it's false origins. The Transmutation may then be reversed after it's nature is known, by having it come into contact with salt, or with the smoke of burning ash wood.
  2. The shape of the will enshrined in the world.
    To enact this ritual, ensure that the sun is shining overhead, and that it's warmth envelops you. Take within your hand the object you wish to alter; know it as it is, feel every corner and curve. Know the feel of it in your hands, know it's weight in your arms. Then, call forth the flames of Innismos,  letting it spring from your fingertips, to envelop the object. Envision now the object taking a new shape- the materials of the object will remain unchanged, but it's form will alter to your desire.

    It is impossible to shape an object bigger than it currently is, without the consumption of a similar object; simply engulf the two in  the fires of  creation, and meld them as one, and you may shape it as you desire it. Should you wish an object to be smaller than it's original form, any excess material will be burnt away, becoming fuel for the cosmic engine.
  3. Make anew that which burns brightly.
    Imagine yourself as you are; map out your every physical  trait, your every detail. Learn and know yourself, Once this is complete, imagine yourself as you wish to be, alter the blueprint in your mind; to change one's mind of something, to change their perception of it, is to alter it. As above, so below.

    Should you be successful, the flame in your stomach will engulf you, surround you in a shroud of fire and smoke; parts of you will burn away, only to be forged anew. Once the flames dissipate, you will emerge changed, according to your specifications. These alterations can be  minor, from a simple change in skin, eye, or  hair color; or it could be more drastic, such as a change in sex, adding gills, wings, extra appendages, teeth, claws, and all other sorts of modifications. Or, should it be desired, the Innamist could become another creature entirely.

    This process requires fuel, however; in order to make more than a minor change, the Innamist will be required to supply the physical parts that they wish to incorporate into their body, such as the eyes of a hawk or the claws of a dragon. Should the Innamist wish to  return to their original form, they must only will it. Any pieces used to transform into another creature are lost, and cannot be recovered, should the Innamist change forms again.
  4. The black blaze that never extinguishes.
    Be forewarned, destruction is all that ye will beget. First and most importantly, ensure that mars shines overhead, for without there is no power in this spell. Envision the fires of Innismos, the ever changing kaleidoscope of flame that powers all change in the universe; creation, revision, and most notably to some, destruction. Focus on that first fundamental process, the blackening. Feel the fire in your stomach shift and burn, becoming a suffocating smoke in your mouth.

    Breath out this smoke whilst speaking the incantation, Alkahest, and the smoke will alight into an impossibly black flame, the very power of destruction itself, encapsulated in the flames of Innismos. This black fire will burn through anything, and cannot be extinguished; the flame will spread and burn all before it endlessly, consuming all before it in a destructive blaze, so long as there is something to burn.

    Nothing will put out this black flame, not even intervention by the Innamist; all that can be done is wait until the next sunrise, where the flames will have vanished. Beware; so long as the black fire burns, it will bore through stone and metal as if wood, it will eat through flesh as if paper, and will disintegrate all before it. It is highly advised to keep as much distance between yourself and the flames as possible.
  5. Cast within a lifeless kiln.
    To begin this ritual, the Innimist must first craft a glass vial, and fill it with small amounts of both sulfur, mercury, and a small bead of lead. Next, the Innamist must find an Ash-reed and smoke it, allow it to stir with the flame within you, before blowing the smoke out into the glass vial. Close the vial to capture the smoke inside, and then draw a symbol representing a particular non-living material on the glass. Bring the talisman over a roaring flame, whilst mars is high overhead. Do this, and you will create a talisman of black glass, containing a swirling mist of grey-ish smoke.

    With this, the Innamist may open the vial of black glass, and release the smoke within. Whosoever breathes in this smoke will feel an intense burning in their lungs, and it will spread underneath their skin. As they breath this smoke, their bodies will burn, and slowly change into the material marked upon the vial, whether it be stone or metal. If they do not find  any clear water to drink in time, their bodies will become statues of said material. The fires of Innismos grow cold around them, and they will remain there forever, unchanging and unbreaking, so long as the curse remains unbroken.

    As with all things, this state is impermanent, and those afflicted by this hex are still technically alive. Should one wish to reverse this curse, one must place a cast of clay over the statue, and fire it as if a pot. After three days, spread salt and ash over the clay casting, and then carefully break it with an iron hammer. The clay will crack open, revealing the afflicted sleeping within,
  6. Rekindling of smoldering ash and embers.
    To begin this ritual, take the ashes of an object, burnt and destroyed in fire; place these ashes within a golden bowl, etched with the alchemical symbols for sulphur, salt, and mercury; wear upon your hands rings of silver and bronze, adorned with icons of the sun and moon. Hold the golden bowl within your hands, and call the fires of Innismos to your palms, let it spread from your fingertips; let the dead ashes slowly rise in heat, becoming glowing embers.

    Should you be successful, the embers will grow into a small fire, and quickly dissipate, leaving the object that was originally burnt as it was before it was destroyed. This could be a small knick-knack, a written document, or any other such object that will fit within your golden bowl.
  7. Fuel for the heart, hearth of the body.
    To begin this spell the Innamist must first build an Effigy of their desire target, whether it be himself or another. This Effigy must be cast of iron, and banded in rings of copper and gold. Once this is done, the Innamist must build a great fire, of birchwood, hawthorn, or mahogany; spread a ring of salt around the fire thrice, then  burn within it incense, and a strip of silk, wet with the blood of the target. Place the Effigy of iron within the flame, and the ritual is complete.

    So long as this flame burns, the target linked to the Effigy will regenerate any wound, and burn away any sickness or disease. Healing in this manner quickly devours fuel, however, with greater wounds causing the  fire to dwindle and wither quicker than a mere cut or scrape. Should the fire be extinguished,  whether by running out of fuel or being doused to ash, the affected target will suddenly feel as if out of breath, and fall unconscious a day.

    Should the affected target be dealt a killing blow, or otherwise succumb to death, then their body will burst into flames; the ritual fire will burn to ash, as the life of the target is rekindled. After this process, the Innamist may not affect the same target with this ritual until the next time they perform the induction ritual.
  8. Arisen again, as if by blessing of the pheonix.
    To begin the reincarnation ritual, the Innamist must first create a sarcophagus of steel, inlaid with Gold. The Innamist must then place the corpse within this sarcophagus, placing both it's hands over the deceased's stomach. Spread an equal measure Sulphur and Salt over the heart of the corpse, and place small spikes of copper into the hands and head. Close the corpse within the sarcophagus, and then build under it a roaring fire; let the sarcophagus stay engulfed in the flame for seven days and seven nights; on the eighth day, the Sarcophagus shall open, with the creature inside revived.

    Whilst this ritual is one of resurrection, it is not perfect; the dead will always come back changed, as the chaotic inferno of Innismos recreates their body in an uncontrollable, nigh random process. The dead may return a completely different skin, eye, or hair color- or perhaps more drastically, not even the same race or sex. Or, perhaps even more bizarrely, the dead may come back not as a single race at all, but a mixture of many. Perhaps they will have more eyes and appendages, perhaps they will have less; the only certainty is that they will return at least humanoid.

    This form of resurrection is not perfect; the body is animated through a small flame from Innismos itself- but this flame is small, and disconnected to the great engine of all creation. As such, beings revived through this ritual require a consistent fuel source, or their life will suddenly extinguish. Whether it be eating coal and wood, or consuming magical essence or souls, the flame must always be lit.
  9. Greater than the sum of it's discordant parts.
    To begin this spell the Innamist must first re-enact the Induction ritual that gave them their power int the first place, but with one major difference; instead of one golden bead, the Innamist must split it into two. To complete this ritual, the Innamist must place one of these beads in the mouth of another creature, and then must swallow the other himself. The Innamist and the creature with the other golden bead will be drawn to eachother, seeking one another out until the two finally collide.

    Once the Innamist and the affected creature meet, the two will explode in a ball of flame; in this chaotic maelstrom of fire the two beings will be stripped and melted down, and in the inferno the two shall slowly meld into one. When the flames vanish, what will be left is a being not entirely one or the other, but instead both- in form, in thoughts and desires, and in memories and abilities. The lines between both beings have blended and merged into one. This being will show the physical traits of both creatures, fused. It is possible to separate the two, by engulfing the fused in flame- but it is not guaranteed the two beings will separate particularly cleanly,  or as they originally once were.

    Whilst it is possible to merge more than two creatures, it is not recommended; an excess of opposite, incompatible, or otherwise 'contradictory' preferences, thoughts, memories, and beliefs could cause strife in the mind of the fused, causing them to go mad as they try to resolve the paradoxes in their mind. It is possible to achieve harmony despite these discrepancies, but becomes exponentially more difficult with every being fused in this way.
  10. Harbinger of Change.
    Take your golden bead, and place it in your mouth; imagine the very fires that melted it down and forged it anew, melding the metals into something entirely new. Envision those chaotic forces of destruction and recreation, feel the fires of it light in your stomach. Feel the flame grow, the let the heat grow over your body and envelop it. The flames will consume your body, destroying everything wholly and fully, save for your skull. Should the golden bead in your mouth be removed, you will vanish, your mind and soul claimed as fuel for the engine of creation.

    In the wake of your destruction, the very powers of all creation wells forth from you, your form becoming flames wrought from Innismos itself, You are an elemental of fire, a harbinger of the chaotic engine of the universe. Everything you touch changes, the world itself bends and alters due to the heat emanating from you. Your very presence warps reality, burning away all around you and making it anew. You know the form of the universe, and the forces that guide it's motion. You know where the world once came, and where it will one day  go.

    This form, like the universe itself, is not permanent; at the cost if destroying the gold bead that has become the core of your form, the Innamist may call forth the engine of creation, and forge themselves a new mortal body. The Innamist's link to the plane of fire will be severed, their forge will become cold. You will lose any Innamist recipes you know- though you may start the induction ritual anew, should you desire it.

    This spell cannot be learned by levelling, or by random chance; it is a guarded secret, and must be found.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Ghoz Vahk, the Great Eater

Ghoz Vahk
The fangs of the Great Eater lay bare, the rumblings of his pain resounding like thunder.
Few names strike as much fear and disgust into the hearts of men as Ghoz Vahk, the Great Eater. Depicted as a wicked cross between a white scaled dragon and a vulture adorned with feathers black as night, shrouded in a cloak of green flames; Ghoz Vahk is a terrifying visage. The god of a tribe of cannibalistic Lizardmen, the Great Eater has an insatiable hunger, demanding his followers to hunt and feast in order to satiate his ravenous lust.

Whilst a dark being, Ghoz Vahk has no evil intent; Ghoz Vahk merely wishes to alleviate his own unending suffering, and feel the hunger no more. Those who may meet or commune with Ghoz Vahk will find him jovial and easily amused, if absurdly impatient, tiring of distractions quickly unless satiated. Take care not to trifle with the Great Eater, or impede him from his feast- or you may find yourself his next meal.

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Tennents 
You are hungry, are you not? Give in to the feast, partake in the revel; suffer no more, there is plenty.

Whilst the core goals of those who align themselves to Ghoz Vahk are to hunt and kill and feast in service of satiating their dark god, the true pursuit of those who follow the Great Eater are to alleviate suffering through any method required, as voraciously as needed. With great zeal, those who follow the Horned Vulture are encouraged to seek the cure to their distress, no matter how destructive the pursuit. To revel in what makes them happiest, and in great excess, no matter the cost to those around them, is the way of the one who follows Ghoz Vahk.


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Holy Symbols
Heed these signs, for they signal something vast and terrible; a ravenous hunger, famished for bone and blood.

The skull of a vulture is the primary holy symbol to the priests of Ghoz Vahk, with the vulture being seen as an emmissary of their dark god, being scavengers who openly feast upon the carcasses of the dead. Fire is also of great significance to those who follow the Great Eater, as it consumes all around it in a nigh insatiable appetite, to the great destruction of all it touches. Flames that burn green are seen as a sign of Ghoz Vahk's influence, and are said to be a mark of his presence.

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Priests
Fear not the god, for he will not harm you; it is his zealots that care little for you, only to appease their god.

Whilst wreathed in leathers and bone, wielding primitive weapons of bone and bronze, those who devote themselves with satiating the hunger of the Great Eater shall find themselves blessed with gifts of considerable might, as they are given tools with which to serve the needs of their great god. Given some control over evil magics, priests of Ghoz Vahk have some control over the green flames that their god breaths from his maw, capable of burning even through stone. Among their mastery of various curses and hexes, priests of Ghoz Vahk find themselves with the ability to consume nigh anything, able to chew through bone and rock with ease- even poisons pose little danger to them when ingested.

But even these powers pale to the greatest blessing given to these emissaries of death; the ability to devour magical power. Whilst requiring rest after frequent use, priests to the scaled vulture may consume magical energy in their presence; from eating an enchantment off of a lock, to biting a bolt of lightning out of the air; priests of Ghoz Vahk can gobble up nigh anything at all, so long as they get it in their jaws. As they eat spells in this manner however, the more appetizing the priest becomes, as they carry more and more latent magical power inside them- and so upon death, Ghoz Vahk himself will consume spell devourers, absorbing their might into himself.

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Rituals 
Take pride in the hunt, and rejoice to the great feasting, for our god is pleased with our bounty! Rejoice!
 
Those who follow Ghoz Vahk have many duties, with a fair amount of ceremony surrounding them all. The greatest task of the cultists of Ghoz Vahk is to satiate his ravenous appetite, and as such organize sacred hunts upon great and mighty beasts. Blessed by the priests, the hunters will go forth and slay the greatest beast they can find, with he who gave the killing blow being showered with praise, along with being allowed to claim the largest share of the beast for himself.

The great feasts of the Lizardmen are a thing of legend, with the followers of Ghoz Vahk being encouraged to revel and celebrate the slaying of a great beast. Such gatherings are seen as ceremonies held in honor of the Great Eater himself, as those attending engross themselves with the fresh kill as a sacrifice to their god, eating it in his stead.

When a great warrior or priest has been dishonored, it is customary he be killed and cannibalized, so that his might may strengthen and appease Ghoz Vahk, if even for a moment. Whilst a harsh punishment, such a death is seen as a great honor, and is held partaken with much respect.

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Afterlife
There is little time for rest! Hunt! Feast! Revel! For now and ever, for all eternity, by the grace of god.

Those who follow the scaled vulture and face death will find themselves taken to the realm of their god; a desolate wasteland filled with the bones of giant creatures, with great beasts with which to endlessly hunt and kill wandering the endless expanse, all for the amusement of Ghoz Vahk and his followers.

At the center of the plane is errected an immenesely large Ziggurat, with the top being the place with which Ghoz Vahk hosts an endless feast, a party incomparable to any other- with meat abundant, and other morsels aplently. When not lost in the wilderness killing, his followers gather to dine alongside their god, and renew their strength; only to go out and fight and kill once more after they rest, in an endless cycle.



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Hey! Thank you for reading this. Ghoz Vahk is a god originating from a weekly AD&D game I've been attending for close to three years now, and has been perhaps one of the best tabletop experience of my life. Ghoz Vahk is very important to me, as he was once the character I played through a significant portion of that game, the Lizardman wizard Sneeze.
 
By the final battle of the campaign, after becoming a vampire, growing wings, and a boatload of other things, he ascended to Godhood, and became the megal ultra lizard dragon vulture we know him as now. He's perhaps my greatest achievement in any D&D game ever, so I just felt extremely compelled to share what he became; as setting agnostically as possible of course, so you yourself can hack and pluck him into your own game, of course!

If you've read to this point, thank you. I'll shut up about my dear precious god, now. Maybe I'll post the Priest of Ghoz Vahk class me and my DM built for him for use with AD&D sometime? Maybe I'll write up a B/X variant of it, idk. Thanks for reading, regardless!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Mok'shai

The Mok’shai
Seek not refuge from the Storm; rather, prepare thineself, as a soldier unto the rains.
Born unto the never-ending storm, said to be the soldiers of the great conflict of the heavens. The Mok’shai are a people native to a world ravaged by ceaseless rain, of the constant ringing of thunder, the howls of wind, and the maddening beats of raindrops. A world of giant trees, of a sky blocked by a sheet of clouds. A world hellbent on destroying it’s people, whether it be through great floods, or ravenous monsters. Yet despite all this, the warriors of light do not give in.

The Mok’shai are a people of middling height, and firm builds. Their most notable features are their skin twinged red, and their eyes pale as mist. They dress in simple things; in the hides and carapace of the monsters lurking in the Rainforests, as well as simple decorations of bone and wood. Despite the bleakness of their homes of stone, the Mok’shai take pride in their colorful clothes, said to be symbols of hope, a reminder of what awaits at the end of the conflict.

The Great Conflict
Do you hear their cries? Their calls of valor, their screams of desperation? There is a conflict, in the sky. The Gods fight and die there. And we shall assist them.

In a time immemorial, it was said that there was paradise; a land without worry or want, free of conflict. With clear skies, and an ever shining sun. This land was home to the Gods, ever content to live out eternity in their garden. But all was not well  in Paradise. One God, named Mishal, grew frustrated with the stagnancy of Paradise, and hungered for change. And so, he set out to be the harbinger of it, crafting Demons of which to cause strife, and carry out his divine conflict. 

When it was discovered that the Demons causing trouble in Paradise was the fault of Mishal, the Betrayer God slew the most beloved of the Gods, and declared war upon Heaven, snuffing out the divine light to show his endless legion of the sky. At the death of their beloved, the Gods wept, and flooded paradise with their sorrow. This was the first of the rains, the constant personification of the Gods’ eternal grief over their loss. 

The Gods were prepared to avenge the Beloved, no matter the cost. But they needed soldiers, before they could fight back. And so to reclaim heaven, they crafted the Mok’shai, the steadfast warriors of light. Born to avenge the Beloved God, and reclaim heaven, in the great conflict of the sky.

The Storms ravaging the world are a result of the great conflict, the eternal battle raging in the sky between the Gods, and the Betrayer. The howlings of the wind are the cries of war, the beats of thunder are the blows of weapons, and the rains are the blood and tears of the Gods. It is said that the Mok’shai are the soldiers of the Gods, meant to fight the Demons of the betrayer. And as such, the Mok’shai use their lives to become strong, and ready for the war to come, so that in death they may fight to reclaim peace.

The Jungle
We live in the wreckage of a once perfect world; the conflict has ravaged it, destroyed it beyond recognition. But with peace, we may rebuild.
Once, the world was a paradise of eternal sun. Now, the skies are blocked out by thick clouds, brewing a ceaseless storm. The constant rains have ravaged the world, with the regular flooding making the lands nigh inhospitable. And yet, the Mok’shai survive. While traditional crop farming is nigh impossible under the harsh conditions of the storm, high above in the tree canopies survive many creatures; great birds, gigantic snakes, massive insects, and winding systems of moss and fungi. 

And so, the Mok’shai farm the mosses and fungi of the great trees to survive, and hunt when able. Eggs are a necessity of the Mok’shai diet, as well as mushrooms, and stews. Meats are more rare, and several mushrooms have been cultivated to mimic it, but it’s a matter of great celebration when fresh meat is obtained from a hunt. Fruit is also abundant, but is highly contested among the wildlife, and so somewhat dangerous to obtain.

Down on the surface of the world, at the roots and trunks of the great trees, lies a bed of hostility. Great predator cats, primates, and many other manner of beasts make their home at the forest bed. This is also where the Mok’shai reside, surviving the floods in their massive Ziggurat cities. These great monuments of stone stand stalwart against the forces of the Jungle, as well as harboring it’s people from the storm.


The Ziggurat Cities
When one wishes to stand against a storm, to survive the test of time, one should take shelter in stone.
Massive structures of stone, the Ziggurat Cities are the safe havens of the Mok’shai, standing defiantly against the inhospitable nature of the Jungle. Their history is unclear, as they have been present for as long as the Mok'shai are aware. There are many theories as to their construction, but many simply ask; how? According to the Mok'shai, the Ziggurats should be impossible. With the constant threat of flooding, mining isn’t feasible, unless one already had a Ziggurat city from which to mine stone safely. And that isn’t even to mention how difficult moving the stone from location to location would be. By all accounts, the construction of the Ziggurats should not be possible.

And yet, they stand. Nearly completely submerged during a flood, they are as if islands among a sea of water and trees. Inside, quarries for stone, and farms for moss and mushrooms, are paramount. All the necessary resources for survival are attainable from within a Ziggurat City. Temples to the Gods stand at their peak, with which the Storm Heralds may commune with the great generals of the Sky, and receive instruction from the Gods. 

While having all the necessities of life available to them, the Mok’shai were born for war. And so, they hunt the great beasts of the Jungle to prepare for battle; and often, conflict between the Ziggurat Cities will break out, usually as a contest for resources, or to whip ‘complacent’ cities back into fighting shape. But while the Mok'shai were born for war, they do not neglect the arts. It is said that when the Conflict is won, and the skies clear, the Mok'shai will be given a place in paradise. And so it is important to them, to learn how to live as the Gods- surrounded by art and song. Of course, paper is nigh useless to record anything in the Jungle, and so records are carved into stone, to stand the test of time as the Ziggurat Cities do.


The Storm Heralds
Brace thineself against the Thunder, for the Gods do not speak softly.
One cannot have a legion of soldiers, without a commander to lead them. For the Mok'shai, the Storm Heralds are their great commanders, acting as the mouthpiece of the Gods, being able to commune with them, or so they believe.

The Storm Heralds are marked by three key features; first among them, they wear feathers of the great birds of the canopy, vibrant and grand. Second, they wear upon their person the few precious pieces of metal available to the Mok'shai, their jewelry not made of Wood or Bone. Third, and the most prominent, they carry lightning scars across their body, often covering the arms.

You see, for a Storm Herald to be appointed, they must stand atop the Ziggurat during a particularly violent storm, or even a flood, and hold aloft the most precious item the Mok'shai have; the Lightning Rod. A pole of metal, the craft of which is unknown to the Mok'shai. Their origins are a mystery, as they’ve existed alongside the Ziggurats for millenia. If successful, then the Herald to be shall be struck with lightning, seen as a communion to the Gods. If he lives, he is now a fully fledged Herald, acting as a mouthpiece for information on the current state of the War.

It is said that the first Storm Herald, Onn Hadrada, was the first to harness fire for the Mok'shai, by holding aloft a wooden staff. When he communed with the Gods, his staff held a solitary spark, of which was used to bring fire to the soldiers of light.