Mara is the 19th god of the universe, who awoke after Veros created two moons to circle the planet.
Greater Domains: N/A
Moderate Domains: Moon , Storms
Lesser Domains: Retribution, Summer, Winter, Hunting
Shared Domains: N/A
Physical Appearance: Young twin women, usually appearing as Eladrin. One has raven black hair and the other white hair. .
Veros had looked out from the earth to the night sky, and say only the stars. The night was too dark for the mortals to see, for the stars' own light was not enough. Therefore, Veros was set to bring light to the dark night. Yet Thans, lord of the sun, objected, for providing light to the mortals was his responsibility. So Veros decided his creations would not create light, but only reflect it. However, Veros did not have enough strength within himself, so he asked for assistance. Xa'an, gave permission to have the new one reflect his light, and Xirinet, lord of the stars, gave permission for the new one to have dominion over the night skies.
With the power of three gods, Veros dug into the earth, pulling out great heaps of rock and earth. He reached down where the bullwark resided and took a piece of it. Taking what he had dug, he gathered the elements and bullwark and formed them into one rock, and then brought them through the Aegis into the aether around the world. Veros then split the mass into two evenly-sized spheres and gave each a path to chart across the sky. Veros finally took a portion of his own essence and split it into two pieces. He put one half into each of the new moons.
At that moment, the moon in the light of the sun awoke first. However, the new goddess did not feel right, as if something was missing. With the help of Veros, Mara was able to find her other half, another like goddess from the second moon. Together, they realized they were one and the same goddess, split into two parts by Veros.
Description & Personality
When Mara was created, she wasn't fully formed; thus when she manifested she took on the form of a child. Just as the moons were not complete, neither was her mind and personality fully formed. In essense, she was litterally a child with the powers of a god. Mara generally took on the presence of a young eladrin girl when in the presence of other gods, as the Eladrin were the first beings that she gazed upon. As Mara was essentially one being split into two, the two "parts" not only looked identical (except for hair: one Mara has snow white hair, and the other raven black hair), but they shared the same personality. Thoughts, emotions, and often became intermixed or at least revealed. This phenomenon is particularly strong when the moons are close together, so much so that both will speak together and take on the first person singular form of speaking. Even so, as time went on each Mara began to take on different aspects of Mara's personality. This became particularly evident when Mara became goddess of the seasons in such a way as to give one the Summer, and the other Winter. After that, while each is still Mara, they have taken to calling one another "Winter" and "Summer." Winter Mara was more sensitive, often crying or getting upset if things bothered her. She also doesn't like being alone as much as Summer, and spends more time dealing with mortals as a result. On the other hand, Summer Mara is more rational and planning, but also more stubborn. While both have strong emotions, Summer has the bigger temper. Even as a child Mara was unconcerned about how others would react to her influences, though for many years she was afraid of being punished by her father, Veros. Mara's motives for what she did as a child are not very well understood, but in the end she even was willing to go and influence her father's creations, earning his wrath.
It was during this time, hidden from the world by Veros, that Mara decided she wanted to be an adult. She spent all her energy and hundreds of mortal years to do it, but when she was once again visible she had grown to her full, adult size.
Worship of Mara usually takes on one or more of three forms, depending upon which characteristic the worshiper is attracted to. In general, worshipers of Mara accentuate the cyclical nature of the world and aspects of life.
The first aspect of Mara that is often worshiped is her place among the gods as a Divine avenger. Worshipers of this aspect of Mara are usually doing so because they have been harmed by another or feel hatred towards another. It is important to note that Mara does not have any divine servants that perform acts of vengeance or justice for her (for example, the Angels of Vengeance). Instead, retribution is believed to best come from the harmed himself or mortals generally. Mara has been known to give aid to those who ask for it, but the deed itself must always be done by the mortal(s). Due to the sensitive desire of the these worshipers, they often practice in secret, and their groups tend to take on the aspects of secretive mystery cults. The main theme of these cults tends to be a sort of "karma," insofar as "what comes around goes around."
Mara often gains popularity among a group or nation when there is significant repression, such as the case of slavery. Mara is commonly known as the matron of revolution (though it is not part of her domain). Whether that revolution leads to greater repression or not for those involved is largely irrelevant. For the adventurer, signs of a high-levels of Mara worshipers may signify a common revolt, civil war, or coup.
Mara is a popular goddess to be worshiped by farmers and their families. Unlike the Vengeance Cults, they usually practice in the open. Mara has dominion over both Winter and Summer (and generally the seasons), as well as Storms. She is also the creator of heavily harvested plants. Since these plants are all perennial, worshipers of Mara will typically have ceremonies at the beginning of planting season and at the start of harvest. Worship usually revolves around asking for blessings for good weather, abundant crops, etc. Other importance events are Calibration (the new year), the other equinoxes, and eclipses. The cyclic nature of life and nature tend to be the core teachings of the Harvest worshipers.
Hunters also worship Mara in an offshoot of this aspect. Typically a prayer or small offering (such as sacrificing an animal) will be made by hunter(s) before a hunt, hoping she will bless them with a good result. Mara is a very common matron goddess of Rangers and Druids.
As Goddess of Storms and master of the ocean's waves, Mara is more known for her quick and big temper. Seamen of all types often pray to Mara for a safe and quiet voyage. For example, in the Free Nations, the ceremony for Mara is usually a drunken revelry the eve before the ship departs, with many libations made to Mara to appease her. Mara is equally given her due by merchants, fishers, patrol ships, and even pirates.
- Dark Eladrin
- Frost Giants
- Free Nations (Various)
- Khusan, the Land of Mist (Frost Giants)
- Church of the Two Moons (Eladrin)
The Astral Orrery
- Grants +1 Guide PP
- Grants + 1 Mold Land PP. This Action is automatically used as a "De-Mold" action anytime a God attempts to create a new astral body in the heavens.
The Skyway River
See Skyway River (Plane)
- Grants + 1 Create PP. This Action is automatically used as a "De-Create" action anytime a God attempts to create a new plane. This means that a Lesser Plane costs 3 PP and a Greater Plane 5 PP. However, if the creator connects their new plane they wish to create to the Skyway River, they can avoid this and costs are normal.
Vazen - A very large wolf with gray or white colored fur (depending on season). His domain is the vast forests of his continent.
- Provides +1 PP for Nourish actions
Zvagnes - A Frost Giant. King of the Land of Mists. He wielded the great battle axe, Dwarfsbane. In his old age Zvagnes left his kingdom to his son and ventured out into the wilderness to die. Mara took his soul and reshaped it into the exarch Vazen.
Ezero - Originally an Eladrin at Skyshroud mountain, he was a minor mage and worker. He was the leader of the Cult of the Two Moons. Ezero harbored a deep desire for revenge against the priests of Tahns. Mara offered him a quest to help him. Embarking on the quest Ezero went north in search of a fabled unicorn. He proceeded to get lost and spent years in the wilderness. Eventually he succeeded in trapping and killing the unicorn, but in defyance of Mara ate corrupted meat and blood. Thus, he became a lycanthrope, and upon the urging of Mara unwittingly passed the curse on to his followers. In the wake of their devastation during calibration, Ezero led his remaining followers to the lands in the southern hemisphere and settled there. He was the first to develop symbiosis with the curse and gain control over it, becoming the first Dark Eladrin.
Races and People-GroupsEdit
Khusan - The Land of Mist
Khusan is an isolated Frost Giant kingdom in the southern hemisphere. Khusan means the Land of Mist in the Frost Giant language. It was given its name by the Frost Giants that arrived as refugees from their war with the dwarves and halflings in the golden hills.
The Land of Mist sits in the middle of a glacier, with walls of ice growing all around it. Farther to the north the glaciers give way to barren tundra, then to the endless taiga that covers most of the lands in the southern hemisphere. The Land is dominated by a large monolithic volcano at its center. This volcano is moderately active, it does not spew lava, but it vents heat from its slopes and the land around it. Areas of hot springs or geyers are common and present natual barriers and dangers. This results in heating the ground and the melting of the ice nearby it. This gives the land its tell-tale name, as the melting snow and ice from the hot water and land keeps the land in mist and fog for most of the year. The land is rich of minerals and nutrients, and good for plants to grow, though few plants today have taken root. Despite its seeming rough terrain and climate, for the Frost Giants who settled here, it is fairly mild. The Frost Giants have even taken to taking baths in the milder spas, something that would be perhaps anathema to their cousins elsewhere.
In a large chamber within the volcano lies Mara's greatest artifact--the Astral Orrery. The Astral Orrery uses magic from a magical conduit to pull all the objects in the heavens into alignment and order. For mortals who visit the chamber, they are greeted with a massive construct of gears, arms, and other mechanical paraphenalia. The ceiling can change to represent the needed sky, and rotating arms reflect the current or future positions of every astral object upon the input of the controls. The frost giants have turned the outer chambers that lead into the Orrery into a temple towards Mara, where specially assigned priestesses maintain the machine for their goddess.
Below the temple is the fortress of the king of the Land of Mist. Zvagnes, the man who first heeded Mara, and the hero at the final battle against the dwarves, has built a basic stone structure into the side of the hill to act as his castle. It is here in his throne room that Zvagnes keeps his trophies,the shield and banner of the Dwarven king, as well as his great battle axe, Dwarfsbane. Under Zvagnes, the Frost Giants have largely abandoned their war-like past from before. Now, there primary tasks are to survive and to protect the Astral Orrery. Most Frost Giants live at the base of the mountain or in the safer zones of the valley. They cultivate the plants that have managed to grow for some food, but mostly send out hunting parties into the glaciers or tundra and taigas for meat from the large animals that roam there.
- Worship Mara,
- Cleric (plus other techs from frost giants)
- Astronomy , Astrology (plus other techs from frost giants)
- Contact with: Dark Eladrin
The Church of the Two Moons - An Eladrin Cult
The Karak-Rik Guild
The Karak-Rik Guild is a Dwarven Guild consisting mostly of worshipers of Mara, based in the Dwarven nation of Meribia. However, not all Dwarves who worhip Mara are members of the guild.
"Karak-Rik," is old Dwarven, and literally translated means "Mountain Kingdom." The Guild's public face is that of an association of like-minded merchants with the apparent goal to return to the glory of the ancient Dwarven Kindgoms, before they were destroyed in the cataclysm of long ago. The more specific goals of the organization are not known outside the upper leadership. The guild is more a horitzontal organization than a vertical one, with seperate branches that co-exist and sometimes even compete with each other. This has certain advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, the Guild acts like a multi-headed hydra, insofar as enemies of the Guild can target one aspect without even touching the others and not be aware of it. The cell-like nature of the organization is continued down many layers; the lower scions are almost always unaware of the other organizations and rarely aware of even the various departments of their own organization. This makes information on the guild extremely difficult. On the other hand, competition among the sub-organizations can hamper efficiency, and most sub-organizations have secrets that the others are completely unaware of. Likewise, lower level cells can have a tendency to interpret orders their own way or veer off a path and become dangerous to the organization or Guild.
The de facto leader of the Guild is the Maran Priest Dorbal. (fill in later)
The Karak-Rik Guild - the named Guild is the most publicly known, and is generally involved in the innocent acts of mercantile affairs and trade. The Guild has a strong presence in the few remaining Dwarven sea ports, and dominates the harbors. Over-seas international trade is almost exclusively done through the Guild. The Guild has slowly built up the local harbor masters and magistrates as Guild loyalists or bought stooges, giving the merchants carte blanc to import or export illegal goods. In particular, a subset of the Guild was importing the drug Noth through Humite lands. This was not known to the upper-levels of the organization. Recently the source of Noth has dried up as the Humites have cracked down on the Noth trade.
Order of the Silver Light - The Order of the Silver Light is a subset of the Guild's military structure. The Order is a group of Paladins dedicated to the greater Dwarven cause. They operate quietly in Meribia, but are at least known to exist. The membership, locations, and acts of the Order are not known by the normal leaders. So far, they are the only Paladins the Dwarves have.
The acting leader of the Order is Margsun. He was an excellent blacksmith before joining the order. When his daughter was killed by mysterious creatures, he was convinced to become the first Paladin. It was then that he learned his daughter had not only been killed, but turned into a V'ampire. Thus, Margsun has taken a personal vendetta against the Vampires, and seeks to rid them all from Dwarven Lands. The long running fued with the Vampires continues as a war of shadows and night, with few aware of it even happening.
(An unknown group) - The Guild Leader, the Maran Priest Dorbal, continued to see strange creatures that had infested the Dwarven Lands, one of which turned out to be the dopplegangers. Dorbal, in his paranoia, worked to try to root them out or kill them. (will fill in details later)
- To Restore the Glory and Power of the Dwarves (public)
- To make money and gain influence (public)
- To rid Meribia of all hidden creatures that corupt it--vampires, dopplegangers, lycanthropes (secret)
- To find and defeat the enemies of the Dwarves, particularly the Frost Giants (secret)
Unicorns are creatures that dwell within the deepest of forests and wilderness. They appear as white horses with a large horn on their head. Unicorns are generally very solitary creatures. sightings of Unicorns are very rare and usually only a single unicorn. It is rumoured among hunters and those in the wilderness that unicorns can only be seen if they want to be seen.
Unicorns can never be killed by a weapon or magic. Unicorns will simply evade a sword's strike, an arrow will always miss its mark, magical attacks will misfire, or the Unicorn will use its horn to negate any passive magic. The only way to kill a unicorn is through an appropriate skill challenge.
The prize for killing a unicorn is its horn. Unicorn horns are powerful items, that can be used for a variety of magical purposes. First, just as they are, they can be used to negate magical attacks directed at the bearer, or by negating or diminishing passive magical enchantments. This is often done by fashoning the unicorn horn into a blade (see Unicorn Blade). They can also be ground up and used for other magcial purposes. Removing the horn from a dead unicorn is a dangerous activity and must be done with care. The person attempting to remove the horn must make a skill check (difficulty TBD). If they fail, they still receive the horn, but are also infected with Lycanthropy.
Hunt of the Unicorn
Setup: The PC is hunting a unicorn.
Level: Character Level +3
Complexity: 5 (12 successes before 6 failures)
Primary Skills: Endurance, Nature
Endurance (moderate DC): You chase the unicorn relentlessly.
Nature (moderate DC): Your understanding of the wilds around you help you to track the Unicorn and hopefully catch it unguarded.
Perception (hard DC): you use your perception to search for the unicorn. After the first success on a perception check, the difficulty is reduced to moderate DC.
Magical Attack: If at any time the PC tries to attack the Unicorn with any type of magical attack, the attack counts as one automatic failure.
Success: The PC has killed the unicorn, and can attempt to extract the horn.
Failure: The unicorn escapes and is lost.
Races & Factions with members afflicted:
The Vortex - A Massive storm that covers the entire southern polar hole. The vortex is a core component of the world's weather system, and in some sense regulates the weather. For example, it is the system by which air is circulated between the inner world and outer world. More recently, in a fit of anger, Mara made the storm more violent. Large swirling clouds of moisture and air cover the entire opening, and blot out most light and make visibility very poor. Lightning and thunder are common. Travel through the air and aether is now impossible, and by sea is incredibly difficult. The easiest path is via the large ice glaciers that hold sway over the region, though with no respite, food, and the weather, the journey is still very difficult and treacherous. The Vortex occasionally (at least once a year), will spurn off an eddy, that will move through the world before dispersing. Though smaller in power than the Vortex itself, these hurricanes are far more powerful than any other naturally occurring weather.
The Skyway River travels through the vortex while in the Material Plane, and the vortex's weather uses its power to transfer energy to the river's waters so as to keep the water flowing.
The Tides - Mara created the tides, by using her gravity to pull on the waters of the world. Since Mara's two parts each have a distinct pattern, the tides of the world are very strong and rise and fall to a much greater degree. As a result, seafaring is much more dangerous.
5pp per turn