Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
The Crystech Revolution
At the dawn of the Age of the Phoenix, thousands of years ago, the world of Wyrmshadow was afflicted by the Ten Curses of Asmous. The ruler of Infernia, Asmous the Foul, cursed the ten races of Wyrmshadow to suffer for their defiance of his many attempts to conquer the world. Of all the curses, perhaps the most cruel was that which was levied upon the industrious and ingenious Gnomes.
The Curse of Gnomish Kind was one of a gradually diminishing life expectancy coupled with a reciprocal increase in the maturity rate of every new generation of Gnomes born into the world. True to his dark word, Asmous’s curse soon proved to be quite real, and it would one day spell certain doom for the entire race of Gnomes. Eventually, grandparents were watching their grandchildren die of old age, and the newest generations of Gnomes were aging so rapidly that they had no real chance at experiencing a normal childhood, much less forming any meaningful emotional attachments or romantic involvements. The Gnomish race stagnated, with the oldest generations watching on helplessly.
Then, a discovery by a quartet of the finest Gnomish minds changed everything, for the Gnomes, and for all of Wyrmshadow. Through use of specially grown inert crystals, charged with mana siphoned directly from the source of all magic in Wyrmshadow, Etheria, the Gnomes could transfer their souls and identities from their withering, aging bodies once and for all. These four Gnomes, Ludak Copperwrench, Hanze Benda, Chas Twiza, and Saha Sygra, set out to further develop this new Crystal Technology, discovering ways of creating new, artificial replacement bodies to house their Soulcrysts within, granting their people the opportunity to continue onward, to thrive, even to exceed the greatest accomplishments of their Gnomish forebears.
What is Crystech? Crystech is a technological revolution based on magically charged crystals of varying types and levels of power, used either individually or in vast, complex networks to produce astounding, never-before-seen phenomena. The Crystech Revolution changed the face of Wyrmshadow not only by ending the Gnomish genocide (by expediting their transition into an entirely new race), but also by unleashing the potential of Crystech upon a world wholly unprepared to handle what the technology has to offer.
At the heart of all Crystech devices are the Crysts themselves. Crysts are artificial crystals that are grown within the core of Lunaria (the Moon). These crystals are then sent via a special, powerful arcane portal to The Gates, the ancient network of dimensional corridors that interconnect the Realms of Wyrmshadow to one another.
Most specifically, the Crysts are brought to the Gates that connect Materia to Etheria, the source of all the magic found in Materia. The gnomes have erected massive devices within The Gates called Mana Traps, arcane structures designed to siphon a portion of the magical energy that flows freely from Etheria to Materia via The Gates. The inert Crysts are placed in the Mana Traps, where the free-flowing magical energies from Etheria are pulled within the crystalline structure. The Crysts are then collected and sent back through the portal to Materia, where the Gnomes sorted and typed the mana within the crystals in an effort to discover the best use for a particular mana type. Some of the crystals came to the gnomes embedded with magical energies that enable levitation, or long-distance communication. Some crystals, when used in the right combinations, can animate golemic constructs, such as the bodies of the Nomoids or even Crystech prosthetic limb replacements.
The four Gnomes who developed Crystech would be the last of the Gnomes to undergo the transition into their new Crystech bodies. Unlike the other Gnomish souls, which were implanted into Soulcrysts and transplanted into Nomoid bodies, the four creators of the Nomoid race elevated themselves above their peers, taking advantage of their expertise and ingenuity to become the new leaders of the Nomoid race.
They created special Crystech bodies for themselves, each one possessing the most advanced and powerful traits Crystech had to offer. They called themselves The Inevitables, a reference to their belief that, one day, Crystech would inevitably pervade all aspects of life on Wyrmshadow and, in fact, preclude the need for all other forms of magic, be it arcane or even divine.
Every one of the Inevitables has attained through Crystech what other beings could only imagine. Their power, as individuals, dwarfed that of all mortalkind, whereas their combined might rivaled even the most powerful of gods. According to The Inevitables, the Gnomish race was simply the first of all the mortal species to find its way back to its’ Ancient roots; to attain once again the powers that all beings in Wyrmshadow once possessed.
In their efforts to save their people from extinction, The Inevitables propagated the spread of Crystech throughout Wyrmshadow, ensuring that all of the mortal races would be dependent upon their technology, just as they were upon magic and faith in the gods. In this, they raised the ire of the gods, specifically the God of Death, Veil, who realized that the conversion of the entire Gnomish race essentially robbed them of their mortality, and robbed him of his right to their immortal souls once their lives ran a natural course.Perhaps the most incredible of the Inevitable’s many great achievements through use of Crystech is their grand city of Ce’Virah, built within the hollow core of the Moon of Wyrmshadow.
The Nomoids of the First Generation were born and raised as Gnomes. They retain the memories of their lives before the Grand Transition, before their hearts stopped beating, before they became encased in new bodies hewn from steel and powered by Crystech. For the First Generation, life as a Nomoid was quite a challenge to adapt to. It was not made publicly known, but of the 40,000 surviving Gnomes who were made into Nomoids, nearly 2,000 destroyed themselves within a year of the Grand Transition.
There are no more Gnomes in Wyrmshadow. The Nomoid race is all that is left of their legacy. Therefore, despite their initial difficulties adjusting to their new lives, the Nomoids tapped into their Gnomish traits of industriousness and ingenuity. They developed a method of procreation via siphoning portions of their own souls, sometimes dozens at a time, into new Soulcrysts, and building a new body for the Second Generation Nomoids, the first born wholly into this new existence.For the Second Generation, life as a Nomoid generally seemed a perfectly natural existence. They seemed to have little by way of desire for a mortal life, or the feel of organic senses, as their older generation still clung to. There were exceptions, of course, but in general, the Second Generation of Nomoids was, in the Inevitables’ eyes, the ultimate race of beings in Wyrmshadow.
The God of Death was displeased with the Gnomes’ solution to their Curse of Asmous. In their attempt to save their race, they made themselves immortal, robbing Veil of his divine right to claim stewardship over all souls once the mortal coil fades into death.
The God of Nature, Rys, was also disquieted by the Nomoid race, but due to their achievements and the fact that, in essence, they succeeded in preventing their own genocide, Rys was unwilling to move against The Inevitables.
Draconius, the God of Justice, felt that the Gnomes had not threatened the rule of law, but he was concerned that, eventually, through their efforts to make the mortal races of the world dependent upon Crystech, The Inevitables would become a cartel, using that influence to supplant the gods’ authority and usurp the faith of the peoples of Wyrmshadow. It was thus with Draconius’s backing and Rys’s abstention, Veil chose a champion for his cause, a Nomoid who would bring his word to Ce’Virah, to The Inevitables, and to the Nomoid race itself.
Saint Borgamat Cadash went to Ce’Virah on a mission to offer his people the gift of mortality. It was a dubious gift to be sure. The Gnomes were threatened nigh extinction with their mortality, and in escaping it, their race escaped genocide. What Veil offered was exactly what they made this transition to escape. However, Veil argued, through the voice of his loyal Nomoid champion, that the Nomoid race lost as much as it gained in leaving behind their mortal lives. He decided to show the Nomoids that, through faith in the gods, and through embrace of an eventual death, they could live a fuller, richer, and more emotionally rewarding existence.
Saint Borgamat was blessed with mortality before the very eyes of the Inevitables. His metal body was reformed, incorporating organic elements seamlessly. The Crystech elements of his body integrated with divine precision with a new, organic nervous and circulatory system. He breathed deep, felt his heart beating, and knew what it was to be alive. For the First Generation, what Veil offered was quite appealing. Everything they missed about being Gnomes could be regained by accepting Veil’s gift. The Inevitables, for their part, were both appalled and enraged at the audacity of the God of Death. They insisted that their kind had transcended the need for gods and become a wholly independent society.
Veil never intended the Inevitables to share his appraisal of death as a welcome end to life. He knew that many of the Nomoids would resist his gift, and he insisted that it was up to the individual to choose between eternity and a greater quality of life. Not long after the Inevitables insisted on Borgamat’s expulsion from Ce’Virah, a massive force of demonically-tainted Nomoids, calling themselves the Fiendforged, attached Ce’Virah and caused a titanic explosion that tore a massive section of the city, and the moon itself, away from Lunaria and caused it to crash violently into the world below.
One of the Inevitables, Faith, was killed in battle against these demonic invaders, and the majority of Ce’Virah was only saved due to the intervention of Veil himself. In the aftermath of this dramatic event, the remaining three Inevitables decided to take a more open-minded approach to Veil’s offer, and to support the decision of any Nomoid who wished to embrace an eventual death and become a Soulforged, like Borgamat.
Crystech is used in a wide array of arms, including ranged and melee personal weapons, siege weapons, and even intercontinental ballistic weapons like the Gnomish Earthshaker Cannon. The Inevitables themselves have access to Crystech weapons platforms floating in orbit which can, at their behest, rain arcane artillery down upon their enemies from the blackness of space above. All Crystech airships are armed with Crystech Cannons which fire conjured ammunition and use neither gunpowder nor fire to propel the ammunition. Such cannons can fire enchanted ammunition as well, including bolts of lightning, corrosive acid, and even Crystech crystals designed to nullify the effects of enemy levitation crystals (FloatCrysts).
Many modern armors incorporate at least a moderate amount of Crystech. Some of this Crystech is used by battlefield commanders to remain aware of the position of his or her forces at all times, or by soldiers to grant them a boost of speed in order to react to an enemy force attempting a flanking maneuver. Other uses are far more defensive, including Crystech that increases an armor’s deflective capabilities, energizes the surface of the armor to electrocute any enemy making a melee attack against them, or surrounding a bloodied soldier in a protective magical sanctuary, buying the soldier a little time to treat wounds or attempt a tactical retreat.
Commcrysts are Crystech devices usually worn in a manner similar to jewelry, and often designed with this purpose in mind. They enable a person to make speak to and hear the words of another person wearing a Commcryst that matched the harmonic striations in the crystal itself. The Order of Draconius used a special, unique striation pattern that made their communications via Commcryst almost entirely secure. Commhouses were built in most major population centers, such as the cities of Kouten, Drogynia, Imperia, Sud Ilras, Quae Elfien, Drakyniar, and Grahllnacht. A person could make contact with anyone they desired via the Crystech in a Commhouse, so long as the person had either a Commcryst of his or her own or happened to also be in a Commhouse.
The most profound Crystech invention has to be the Airship. Essentually an ocean-bound ship fitted with FloatCrysts and other such Crystech artifacts, the modern Airship is the mainstay of every major military force in Wyrmshadow. The Shadow Empire’s Black Sail Armada was the key to their swift victory against every major nation that rose up in defiance of their invasion. Later, a fleet of airships led by Commodore Tarrik Martok, the Falcon Flight, was responsible for the major military victories in the Liberation War. The most famous Airships in history are the Peregrine, the Peregrine II, the Peregrine III, and the Pergerine IV (Listed as misspelled by Daythin Relagia).
In addition to airships, long-distance teleportation systems called Farstep Devices were also created through use of Crystech. Farstep Devices existed in only the most affluent and wealthy nations, such as Imperia, Kouten, and Quae Elfien. However, the technology became more prevalent recently, and Farstep Devices began to become integrated into airships. One of the features that made Farstep Devices so appealing to airship captains was the EscapeCryst, a detachable crystal that, when smashed at a persons feet, instantly teleported said person to the crystal’s matching Farstep Device. The Order of Draconius used salvaged parts of a Beholder’s Farstep Device in order to teleport within the lair of its master, the Illithid Gy Gaxarne’son (Gygax.)
Crystech has been a potent force in fighting disease, preventing illness, and staving off death. Through use of Crystech, new surgical procedures have been developed, allowing trained Crystechnicians to save lives if there are no priests available to call upon divine magics to do so. Crystech prostheses are quite common. Order of Draconius member Hector Van Houten had a two Crystech legs, replacements for the legs he lost during the final battle against the Shadow Knight at the end of the Liberation War.
Other medical applications of Crystech include artificial organ replacements and golemic enhancements to physical attributes. Crystech offers a mystically sterile method of handling the collection and disposal of bodily wastes as well, cutting down dramatically on illnesses caused by the previous archaic forms of lavatorial service. (Duskreign’s note: This never comes up. Nobody ever tells me that their character is going to use the bathroom. Just so you know, yes, you all poop, and it all has to go somewhere.)
Other common uses for Crystech include the Crystograph, a device used to capture an image in a similar fashion to a real-world instant camera, etching the image onto a thin, flexible crystal-embedded parchment. Opticrysts enable the user to see for long distances, and even to see perfectly in total darkness. Some Opticrysts were worn as goggles by members of the Ebon League during Fa’Sado’s War. These, and many other advances both feeble and phenomenal, are thanks to the Crystech Revolution of the Age of Enlightenment.