Monday, 7 December 2015

The Horus Supremacy

It is the 41st Millenium. For ten thousand years, the Emperor has led his grear war-fleets from the Silver Throne of Luna. He is the master of mankind by the will of the sword and the storm, and master of a million worlds by the might of his indestructible armies.  He is a deathless vampire, writhing visibly with the untold powers of the Red Age of Sorcery. He is the Wolf Khan of the Experium, for whom ten thousand souls are impaled every day, so that he may continue to ride out against the enemies of man.

Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor's vigilance fades. Mighty battlefleets struggle through the demon-infested sargasso of the Immaterium, the only route between the bleeding stars, their way lit only by the baleful light of the Unblinking Eye. Vast armies battle in His name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his scions are the Adeptus Cicatrix, the Scarred Marines, chaos-warped super-warriors. Their servitors and sometime foes include the Principalitans and their cults and armies, the inescapable Guild of Shadows, and the Tech-Sorcerers of the Arean Cult, to name but a few. But for all their multitudes, they can rarely hold together against the ever-present threat from aliens, traitors and marauders - or worse.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the midst of the cruelest and bloodiest war imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.

Horus prevails.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Planarch Effect



Planarch Effect is a campaign setting I have dreamed of for some time. Drawing together Planescape with Mass Effect, along with a host of other influences, it has lately become the default world for my thoughts and feelings around Dungeon World.

Cosmology

The Great Wheel is the whirling mass of the many planes, consisting of worlds beyond counting, each suspended within its own crystalline sphere. Every plane has its own character - from hyperboreal ice planes, locked in the eternal grasp of an endless winter, to the bizarre spinning and colliding cubes of Acheron, home-plane of the Urukai.

Crystalline spheres are all that protect a plane from the roiling dream-currents of the Astral Sea, the void between worlds, where words can wound and thoughts can kill. Traveling between planes unguided is a dangerous art, practiced only by a few foolish mages known as planarchs who pilot their spelljammers between the worlds. Most choose instead to travel on more limited gatejammers, which utilise the ancient dragon-gate network that links the many planes together in an immense web of worlds.

The nexus of the dragon-gate network is the Spire, an impossibly tall tower-city perched on the edge of the whirling elemental vortex known as the Mouth of Pain. As the centre of the dragon-gate network, it serves as a gathering place and seat of government for the interplanar civilization known as the Sigillium.

The Sigillium

Established in the aftermath of the Draconic Crusade, the Sigil Council is, in theory, the ruling body of much the Great Wheel. The Sigil is the universal term for the sign that binds the Sigillium together - three small circles arranged equally around a larger circle. In one symbol, it represents a compact made millenia ago by the three Council Races - the Eldarin, the Myrmidons, and the Urukai - to preserve balance in the universe after the fall of Dragon-kind.

Worlds that accept the Sigil are granted the protection of the Council Races, at the cost of buying into an arcane and ancient series of laws, trade restrictions, and commandments that the Sigil Council has established over the centuries. To enforce these laws and the balance of peace across the Great Wheel, the Sigil Council appoints Wardens of the Sigil, elite agents entrusted with extraordinary authority to take any action necessary to preserve balance in the name of the Sigil. Wardens are generally considered to be above any law or sanction beyond that of the Sigil Council themselves.

Most races within the Sigillium have no representation on the Sigil Council themselves. An arcane system of patronage governs the interrelationship between races within the Sigillium - races that have not developed planejamming arts themselves must serve as clients to one of the Council Races. Humans of the world of Urtha, the first race since the Council Races to have developed planejamming arts without the intervention of others, serve as a challenge to the whole structure of the Sigillium as it stands today.

Locales of Note

The Mechanus Veil is a blanket across the edge of the Sigillium where the dragon-gate network has been disrupted by the actions of modrons, ancient machine-beings of unknown origin that once marched across the stars and were only pushed back by the combined efforts of the Council Races. There are rumours that they have grown in activity

Arrathoom is a desert plane near Urtha, peopled by insectoid nomads known as the Tharkeen. In the distant past, it was a lush and pleasant world, but the Dragon-empire defiled it with horrific magical experiments. Now, it is a priceless source of the magical residue known as irradium, an addictive substance which can empower its users with incredible supernatural powers.

The Urukai home plane of Acheron is not a single world - within its sphere, a thousand thousand spinning cubes of metal and iron clash endlessly in the eternal dusk. Within Acheron itself, the Sigil is partially broken - even as they present a united front to the rest of the Sigillium, the five Great Hordes of the Urukai war amongst themselves for honor and a chance to win glory in the next life.

Resting within a lake of fire on the hell-plane of Ignos, the City of Brass is the greatest city in the Great Wheel beyond the reach of the Sigillium. You will not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy anywhere in the universe. Within its brass walls, slave-traders, pirates, necromancers, raiders and criminals of every description come to meet and trade under the watchful eye of Al-Jabbar, the Efreeti lord of the city.