BLFC: Curse of Coeurasa

Reno, NV | May 16-19, 2019

Introduction

Introduction to The Cross

The Cross is a region blessed with an abundance of natural harbors, mountains and valley passes, and a far-reaching and wide array of rivers, creeks, and canals. Trade is lucrative, competitive, and expansive. The main trade hubs cradle accessways and ports of the Karban Sea, the conduit to the rest of the world. The largest natural bays are then understandably the home of the richest cities. Massive deserts surround the inland edges of The Cross, ensuring sea trade is well maintained by all parties. Common interests regulate internally to prevent loss of profit, namely the eradication of piracy and smuggling over the sea routes. Over many generations, an extreme diversity of people, culture, government, commerce, and adventure has developed, driven by disputes on the features of the land, a smattering of strategic river crossings, Spire locations, and areas of natural resource accessibility.

World Features

Dragon's Teeth/Spires

Dragon’s Teeth are gigantic, black spikes that pierce the sky with forgotten purpose. They all angle to point directly at Coeurasa with their tapered tips, sides coming together at the top in an impossibly sharp point. Composed of a dark, black stone across their surface, the Teeth can be seen against any daytime horizon, but from how far depends on just how tall they are. The height of the Teeth can vary from location to location, some being as short as a hundred feet off the ground, contrasted against the staggering lofts of spires that reach thousands of feet above the surface. Many of the inhabitants of The Cross refer to these structures as Spires, a vernacular made for convenience. Legends abound that the Dragon’s Teeth hoard lost treasures, but those foolhardy enough to plunder them are cursed unto their death, perhaps even cursing the entire region around a Spire. There are rumors that some Spires even contain the coveted and extremely valuable crystal known as Dragon’s Tears.

These towering structures have dotted the landscape of The Cross for all of history. Even the most ancient stories consider them an immutable fixture of the landscape. Travelers from afar report likewise in familiar regions, giving rise to the idea that they cover the whole world. There is debate what the Spires do and what they look like amongst different regions of The Cross, as some Spires have a beautiful golden glimmer hidden amongst the black stone. Some are entirely covered in runaway plant growth. Some are thick and some are thin, and the only real consensus amongst people is that they are mysterious, and often, ominous.

Coeurasa

A familiar and unmoving resident of the sky as seen from The Cross, Coeurasa is the primary fixture of the celestial sphere aside from the sun. It is large enough to maybe even be considered a planetoid if it orbited the star instead of the planet. Its orbit makes it both tidally locked and fixed in a geosynchronous pattern. As such, the surface of Coeurasa seems unmoving on its own accord, and the moon always sits in the same place in the sky no matter the time of day or season. Coeurasa is as familiar and permanent in its part of the sky as any other landmark or ocean feature.

Each night Coeurasa slowly comes into view as daylight fades, appearing as a waxing half-moon at the moment of sundown. As the night progresses, Coeurasa’s phase shifts with it, changing from a half-moon to a full moon. The moment of full moon is the exact time between dusk and dawn, and as the moon passes this moment, it will begin to wane back into the opposite half-moon from the one it started as. As the sun rises, the half-moon Coeurasa will begin to fade from view, its silver light overtaken by the sun. Only special lenses and optics allow certain scholars to see the great moon during the day, observing a period where its light fades totally from existence as the brilliance of the sun directly behind it suppresses her beauty. Some cultures revere these phases and the moon itself as a guiding deity, the ever-present watcher in their lives.

Blink

Every year at the coming of Season of Earth, the impending fall solstice brings an end to the shortening of days and lengthening of nights, cooler weather, and the changing of the leaves; it also brings a marked change in the appearance of Coeurasa. At her zenith when she shines fullest and brightest , a massive curved shadow slowly starts to spread up Coeurasa’s surface from below, like a great closing eyelid. Starting about a month before the solstice, the shadow reaches further and further up Coeurasa’s full face each night until, just two days before the solstice, it completely overtakes the silver glow of the moon. When the silver fades, Coeurasa dully luminesces a great muted red color, akin to staring at torch light through a closed eye. For the few longest nights of the year, she looks this way during her zenith, engaged in her massive blink. The red is barely visible to only the most trained eyes when Coeurasa is not at zenith, the fledgling silver light growing at the same time it gets consumed by the Dragon’s Shadow. Festivals celebrating the end of the year, certain religious observations, and scholars fastidiously studying are all abound to mark the event. Then the shadow slowly recedes over another month, Coeurasa’s soft silver ambience at her zenith returning to her face and bathing the night world once again in a new year.

Fate

The smaller sister to Coeurasa, a second moon of the world, is known as Fate. She is far more coy than her primary sibling, and only appears to the Cross for brief moments in the night at the very edge of the southern sky. Stranger still is that the pattern is not consistent from night to night like Coeurasa’s. Fate’s appearance is not marked at any specific time of year or season, but appears for merely an hour or so in Fate’s Nights. She can show all the same phases as Coeurasa can, but only one on any given night. These phases appear to follow the same order as Coeurasa’s do, confirming their relationship to one another. The time of her appearance is never the same from night to night, with her first peek into the world happening just before dawn and slowly transitioning over a week and a half or so to vanish into the setting sun. Few residents of The Cross regularly get to observe this behavior. Coeurasa’s silvery glow is comforting to most people, but many find the orange-tinted Fate to be disturbing in its timing and appearance. This has led to many residents believing that the appearance of Fate at any given significant moment to be a sign of disaster or cursed portent. Others see her brief entrance into the world as a sign of good fortune and tidings to come, as the timing required can only be explained by turns of good luck.

The scholars of the Order of Arcane Sages have kept detailed records of her travels and have compiled a rudimentary foretelling of her appearances. Mathematics, they say, can predict Fate just as easily as the turning of the seasons. Their calculations are not perfect, and for many years have either ended up falling short or overshooting. The common person has no inkling of such predictions at all and find trying to predict her exact behavior is impossible. In extremely rare circumstances, detailed in progressively older and older tomes of the Great Library, Coeurasa can completely fill the area of the sky where Fate would be seen. The mages see it as a natural occurrence and think little of it, but documented history shows that the more superstitious members of society believed Coeurasa was shielding the world from Fate’s influence, averting great natural disasters or society’s end. One such scroll details the account of a mage seeing a massive, infinitely intricate arcane emblem upon the surface of Coeurasa during one such celestial apex, though they all dismiss it as the ravings of a madman.

Locations

Roqueport

Located on the coast facing the Karban Sea, this towering city is built on and around an enormous Dragon’s Tooth shrine. The giant black spire juts out of Roque Ridge, looming over the lapping sea waves, and is a marvel to behold. The more affluent residents along with city officials have constructed lofty and magnificent manors on the actual spire itself. The other buildings in Roqueport radiate out around the spire, all built tall and impressive like the spire that inspires the city’s growth.

For centuries, Roqueport has been known as the center of commerce for The Cross. This is due in part to its central location on the Karban Sea and an ample natural harbor, as well, as its impressive and questionably contemptuous feat of building a metropolis on a Dragon’s Tooth. Many companies from The Cross have their headquarters located somewhere in Roqueport’s business district.

Houses make up the ruling class of Roqueport. Houses are primarily comprised of magnates, capitalists, and trading companies. It is rumored that the governor's palace even has a rare and intact Dragon’s Tear on display, but only for the most well-connected and powerful to enjoy.

Atlas

Located on the western shore of Tartaran, Atlas is the seat of power in The Cross. The city is a sprawling hub of trade, industry, and science known the world around. One can discover information within the near limitless number of books at The Order of Arcane Sages Grand Library. There is always work to be found at the countless guild halls, a wide array of goods to trade at The Kalzar Market District, and adventure in every nook and cranny of this maze-like metropolis.

The remnant of a warring age long past, Atlas was once the seat of power to a mighty emperor who conquered the three small nations that used to inhabit Tartaran. The proper name of Atlas is ‘The Holy Empire of The Crystal Fangs’ named after the three spires that reside upon the island. Most refer to it in the current era as simply Atlas, which was the name of the first emperor to reign over this mighty city.

Many generations have come and gone, but The Emperor's bloodline exists to this day. While mostly a figurehead position, Empress Kai the Fourteenth sits upon the imperial throne. The young rhino has guided The Imperial Senate with grace and wisdom in her short years since her father’s death, and aims to better their society through a progressive and modern approach.

The Imperial Senate is comprised of a number of notable figures throughout Atlas. Most infamous is Senator Mazak, the representative of The Order, who’s said to have used the wide-reaching hand of the organization to manipulate votes into his favor on some issues. Other senators of note are the extravagant crane Herald Demeaux of Perch Trading Company’s Eastern Branch, the staunch and rigid bear Jonas Nevrond who leads The Clergy of Fate’s Light, and a famous equine guild master simply known as Mr. Edward.

With the Empress’ guidance, the senate discusses and enacts many laws and policies that arise within the capital of The Cross. The ideal is that among the thirty representatives they strive to improve and protect the people within their walls, but can often at times get lost in the arguments, discussions, and personal vendettas against their fellow senators. Despite these delays and disagreements, they manage to keep Atlas in good shape.

Atlas enjoys a robust trade district with its massive port, second only to Roqueport in size and structure. Its goods and services extend from the most common to the most obscure, and with the right connections, one can find anything they want, regardless of its legality. Apart from trade goods, the mountains and foothills to the east of Atlas are home to the Einhart Silver Mines which have served as a strong source of labor and industry for hundreds of years.

The people of Atlas come from all walks of life. From the upper echelon noble to the lowly beggar in the filthiest gutter, one can find it all here. Culturally, Atlas has been a very large melting pot of many beliefs and practices from the very start of the imperial unification. This doctrine has drawn people from the world over, and has developed into a truly unique blend unlike any other place in The Cross.

Coeurasa’s Reach

From the outside, a long and steep white mesa that rises from the Karban Sea and stretches for hundreds of miles to the north. Several mountains run along the base of the mesa before it turns into a steep vertical cliff, earning it the nickname of The Wall or Sky Reach. It climbs far into the clouds, and it is believed that snow and ice cover the peaks of the Wall due to the constant water streams that combine into rivers that feed the Bipusmarsh. Avalanches are common during the season of water, proving it too difficult to maintain cities or roads along the length of the reach. The surface of Coeurasa’s Reach shines brightly with the sunset from all the snow and ice run-off, however it also casts a great shadow in the morning, delaying sunrise.

On the opposite side of the reach lies the Withered Wastes. A mess of dark jagged spires and mountains run along the base, some reaching up towards the wall. They appear like giant lengths of decayed trees. There is no semblance of order amongst these spires and they are unlike the Dragon’s Teeth. From this side the reach appears to have a slight inward bow. This is a dangerous piece of land during the Season of Water, as instead of avalanches, giant spikes of ice may randomly fall from the sky. During the Season of Fire, the fallen giant spikes of ice turn into pools of water which form a continuous thin waterfall that runs the length of Coeurasa’s Reach. While ice spikes are far smaller and fewer in this season, they are just as dangerous. Travelers to this area carry large chitin shells over their heads to protect them from these spikes. The stream from this waterfall travels south to the fort of A’Mond and feeds into the Karban Sea. The only known passage through Coeurasa’s Reach is through the fort of A’Mond, keeping Bisemutum separate from the rest of the world.

Animals

Silkies

Silkies are two-foot-tall, six-foot-long larval insects with twelve legs tucked beneath mottled leathery carapaces. Atop their heads are a pair of fluffy prehensile antennae that are often used for simple grasping and manipulation. Their faces are rounded with beak-like mouths and deep black beady eyes glimmering with life. Their undersides are soft segmented portions which undulate as they skitter with their many feet.

Most silkies have an innate ability to discharge small amounts of electricity through their antennae by rubbing them together, though it is often fairly harmless in most varieties. The Woolly species is capable of discharging a lethal dose of energy by storing a charge in their shaggy fur from simple friction. Once fully charged they are capable of discharging an arc of energy nearly ten feet long, but are often unable to do so again for several minutes while rebuilding another charge.

Ranchers and herders tend to wear protective gear made of silkie hide utilizing their natural grounding capabilities that keep the insects safe from their own electrical charge. Little more than a vest or bracers is needed for everyday interaction, but full suits of silkie hide armor are used in particularly large herds, or during shearing season to keep workers safe from harm. While relatively common to find, their hide is tough and hard to work with, making a full suit often come with a hefty price tag.

Silkies are omnivorous creatures, but tend to stick to vegetation when the option presents itself. They are often attracted to particularly sweet and fermented items, giving them preference to food-based compost, wines, and ciders. Because of this, many of these larval creatures are used to dispose of old food and household waste, as they will eat nearly anything they are presented with if it smells right. Additionally, it’s suggested to keep one’s drink of choice away from these creatures as well.

A number of breeds exist in The Cross. The most common is the woolly species, as their fur is used in most common textiles the world over. A common staple of food is the meat of the chub silkie, which has been bred to have nearly no fur and soft supple carapaces making for the most tender steaks. The plated silkie carries tough carapaces that are used for leatherworking and armor smithing apart from their innate electrical resistance. Lastly, there are the spinner silkies that produce a fine but sturdy thread used in number of fashions and crafts.

Tactics: Silkies are typically docile creatures and tend to only attack when threatened. Singularly, they tend to rely solely upon their electrical attack, and secondarily upon their bites. In a herd, they tend to try to overrun their assailants and release numerous shocks upon their trampled victims. A herd of Woolly silkies tend to be particularly dangerous in large numbers, as they will rub against each other releasing numerous repeated ranged electrical attacks against their assailants.

Beasts

Umbra

Robert, he’s just never been the same since his wife left him; he just won’t pipe up about that goddamn nightmare he had. Really? He wants me to believe that he saw some muggers get eaten by a person who turned into some shadow beast? Guy just needs to cut down on the mead and find a new gal. - Murmurs from some bar.

I know the elders won’t tell you New Bloods exactly what happened, but the Guardians have no qualm warning us with visions of that nightmare. Kromek’s fate had been sealed; upon his stealing of the Tear from the shrine, the Umbra hath woken from its slumber. A dark amorphous amalgamation of a creature began to take shape before him, distinct beasts and kins could be made out in this shadow. From the fringes of this mass, bone-like protrusions turned to fingers which stretched into spider legs before coalescing back to the whole. At the center of the mass, numerous jaws, eyes, and nostrils roiled against each other, they crackled like hard rain pummeling metal. This guardian angel engulfed Kromek in a coffin of fangs and claws, swirling around him before finally deciding on a form to present itself in, the likeness of Kromek himself. This wasn’t an exact likeness; it was. . . off. A nightmarish depiction, a deceased depiction. What happened to Kromek after that moment is beyond what I dare explain to you, it still eats at my soul thinking about it. To say the least, no animal eats another as viciously as this. In the end, Kromek’s soul and body became part of the Umbra and the Tear was returned to its rightful place. – Djembe Amans speaking to New Bloods.