Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Kemian » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:50 pm

Devdan concurred. "If we could keep a small portion of the rock for ourselves that would be something that I would be interested in."

[time works for me as well]
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Murdling » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:06 pm

The book is parted with willingly, though the rest of the arrangement seems to leave her slightly at a loss. She ends up looking at the thing oddly. Head tilted, running a thumb across it's surface. "I.. thank you. Though what do you mean by where you're going?"
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Stam » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:16 pm

"It's sort of still in the works, but I may have received a job offer. Formal wear and retinue will definitely be required, and this'll probably clash. It's not the only thing I'll be leaving behind, either, but I think you'll see the best use out of this."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Stam » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:03 pm

[update: May end up running a little late. Will update again as I get a better estimate.]
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Ian » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:54 pm

Amid the bizarre sigils of blood and stranger materials, from around the odd heart-sized stone of red-and-black marble, the three ritualists chanted. A refrain of great power, in a tongue totally unknown to modern civilization.

The veil cast by the Crystal Spiremaster was pierced, the conduit drawn, and the call went forth. The spirit of the girl was awakened within the wall of damned souls that imprisoned her, beckoned by memories and the gentle tug of her True Name echoing through the vast reaches of time, space, and other dimensions.

The spirit summoned its will, bolstered by the memories of its former life, and pulled itself free before embarking on its Forbidden path. Through surreal planescapes and vistas unseen by mortal eyes for centuries or more, at the speed of thought she followed the silver cord, the path cast out for her to find.

A seat of power, prepared just for her to inhabit, awaited: the heart-sized stone. But another being awaited her, and unseen in the ritual room, he who had been held within that seat before her fought to keep it, to avoid the consignment to Oblivion from which the girl was even now being called. The battle was fierce, her opponent of equal ability in this foreign realm of mental combat--he had to be, this Kaleth of Asram, for the ritual to fulfill the extra purpose that Ethran had not yet spoken of--but her anger, desire, and the support of her summoners defeated the sheer desperation of the ancient wizard, and he was cast down to the Fugue as she took the vessel for her own.

What followed was a ritual in its own right--not truly one of magic, but one of visceral and grotesque science, augmented by the not-quite-natural powers of certain poorly-understood objects, and then the deed was done.

Susanna Bonette lives once more...and it only cost a trip to the Graveyard of the Gods, a surgical procedure that you'll never forget (try though you certainly will), and the damnation of another creature's immortal soul.

~ * ~ * ~

Ethran explains what he knows of the...side effects of the rituals that were enacted. The stone used in the ritual, which Ethran called the "prana tranche" (lit. "soul chest"), is not exactly a container for her soul--it literally is her soul now.

In practical terms, this means Susanna finds herself far less susceptible to the effects of magic that would separate her soul from her body or target her soul directly, now that it is manifested physically. However, physical damage to the tranche will cause her metaphysical harm: well-placed blows that crack or pierce the tranche will weaken her far more than before, and total destruction of the tranche will destroy her forever. (Yes, that means not even this ritual can bring her back again if the tranche is destroyed.)

As per the deal he struck with the party at the outset, Ethran retains the book he used to perform the ritual, Corbonek's Grand Investiture, as well as Susanna's leftover heart.

Regarding the rest of you (Dev, Tahiri, Kurik, Rhyl, Tyrani), Ethran advises you all to hang on to the little pebbles of god-rock you kept, but also notes that because you gathered so much more of the god-rock than the Auctioneers expected, Ethran negotiated the release of a few additional items. They are not the sorts of items you're used to, and discovering their full effects would take some experimentation, research, or luck, but if you are interested, you may divide them among yourselves as you see fit. (Any of them you don't want, Ethran will happily keep.) These items are:
  • Arfaern Tranche: A large symmetrical white crystal. Freezing cold, covered in drifting vapor, it feels alive and energetic to the touch, and resonates with a strong magical aura. Casters sense a vague connection to magical power, but one not entirely of the Weave. Ethran says it is a font of eldritch energy, though its power is limited and difficult to access.
  • Mead of the Empty Places: This exotically-shaped bottle is made of thick, blue-tinted glass ornamented with gold filigree and corked. Within is a half-liter of thick black fluid. Ethran claims a healthy swallow is enough to protect someone from the environmental effects of traveling through the Nearer Empty Places for a time. (A half-liter is roughly twelve "healthy swallows.") It might have...other effects.
  • Dust of Trimegistus x4: A wooden case, velvet-lined, has a half-dozen circular depressions inside--four of which each hold a 1" glass sphere full of silvery-yellow powder. The powder is supposedly anathema to many of Those From Beyond, and a creative sort could use it in a number of ways against them.
  • Gates of Kadath: This straight, long-stemmed pipe is 18 inches long, red lacquered and featuring a small brass bell at the end, beautifully carved in the style of a Shou dragon. Ethran says that certain substances, when smoked in the pipe, are reputed to instill incredible visions--some beautiful, some grotesque, some even helpful or of divinatory quality. He has never used it himself.
  • Sigillian Beacon: A surprisingly heavy silver torc, with nine small stones of strangely indeterminate color set into its centerpiece around a larger stone of onyx. Velius Planes-Walker did not invent these, Ethran says, but he found a handful of them during his travels. Each had a number of odd features tied to Those From Beyond, which varied from one torc to another. Ethran doesn't recognize which one this is.

One last item Ethran has held back for Seraphina alone, as a little extra recompense for handing over Tantalus Vivilor: a crystal prism perhaps a foot in length, deep orange in color with swirling red and black symbols on its surface. It is heavy, and obviously cracked off from an even larger crystal. Focusing too long on it, you hear static at the edges of your perception, and your eyes start to hurt.

Ethran calls it a fragment of a copy of the Book of Iod. He says, "You'll need telepathy to access the knowledge within it, and you'll want to keep it in some sort of some lead container when you're not using it. Oh, and keep some protective magics handy, or have someone check in on you every so often while you're using it. But I think--no, I know you'll find it worth the effort. Should I be wrong, though, Fatima Zarkamael has been seeking the greater work for...well, a long time, and she'll gladly take that piece off your hands."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Murdling » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:02 am

She gave the thing one hell of a scrutinizing look. Curious, wary, but thirsty just the same. "That's.. ominous, and tempting. Which is not new for me, but still. I'm not naturally capable of telepathy at the moment. How safe would it be to have someone bridge the connection for me? Or is this just not at all safe for the wrong kind of mind?"
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby J.C. » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:17 pm

:::Sitting at the table, leaning over with his hands together, right hand idly fiddling with the ring on his left middle finger, releases the ring, and with his left hand, slowly, thoughtfully, reaches toward the large symmetrical white crystal. Open hand hovering over the crystal, slowly lowers the hand and ring down closer to the crystal. Before touching the two together, moving his eyes only, looks up at Ethran, then around the at the others. Clearing his throat:::Well, what do you think?
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Stam » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:20 pm

"Hmm. Eldritch energy, you say ... is it likely to try and mind-blast me if I poke at it randomly?" Tahiri asks Ethran with a small grin - while hoping he won't answer in the affirmative.

She then eyes Seraphina. "I'd like to think I've had my fill of a certain category of things at this point."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby J.C. » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:27 pm

::: After hearing Tahiri, jerks his hand back from the bauble, placing it back on the table before him, begins to absently fiddle with the ring again:::
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Kemian » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:51 am

Dev looks over the items. "Rhyl, given your dealings with some of these creatures form the Other Space you could probably make use of the Mead or the Dust. Dev eyes the Gates. I am not that big on visions but I do like the occasional smoke. If nobody wants that one I wouldn't mind having it. Although it occurs to me that Ethran may have specific individuals in mind with regard to who gets what."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Ian » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:57 pm

"Probably not," Ethran replies to Tahiri. "I can't speak much to the item beyond that, though. How I wield magic, how you wield it, and how those two--" He gestures to Rhyl and Tyrani, "--wield it all differ so greatly, we'd all have very different uses for this thing. For instance, normal Weave-wielders that lay hands on an Arfaern tranche tend to treat it like those so-called pearls of power, and burn it out with the most wasteful alacrity. Its uses are many and varied, but unless you just want to drain it dry through eldritch thuggery, it takes some practice and experimentation."

He looks to Sera and shrugs. "A thought-detection spell should also work, albeit temporarily. I...would not ask someone else to bridge that connection for you, myself."

To Devdan: "Aside from the crystal I held aside specifically for Sera, these items were all just random throw-ins from the Auctioneers for a task well done. I negotiated a few of the pieces upwards from the original offers, but not with anyone or anything specific in mind."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Stam » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:04 pm

"Interesting. What does its name translate as? I'm assuming 'chest' is part of it ... and you note that it can be drained. Does it refill itself if used so?"

She cautiously reaches out to touch the tranche, attempting to mentally 'feel it out.'
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:08 pm

Tyrani picks up the torc. "Any idea what these usually things do?" she asks Ethran.
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Stam » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:59 pm

"I think ... I'll take the mead. Save it for a rainy day, or a lengthy trip perhaps. Plus, it sort of fits with what I've been doing all these years." She gestures to the others. "And if you have to take a trip out that way, you can always look me up."
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Re: Three Sheets to the Astral Plane!

Postby Ian » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:12 pm

To Tahiri, "It does not refill by any mechanism I'm aware of. I once knew a scholar that had been experimenting with an empty one for years, and had not yet figured out how to refill it." He nods to her later declaration to take the mead--not that he cares much who takes what.

To Tyrani, Ethran considers a moment before replying. "In the broadest sense, the beacons aid Those From Beyond in perceiving you, making you more visible to them. If you try to contact or summon them, the beacons often provide a stronger connection. The effect varies between beacons--some do more, some only work to specific dimensions or with specific entities, some do different things entirely."
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