The Night of Bonfire Skies

One night, approximately 200 years ago (exactly 214 years, 7 months and 3 days if you're Cheldrun), the fate of Karia Vitalus was suddenly and irrevocably changed. The darkness of night was interrupted by the blaze of enormous objects burning through the atmosphere, plummeting like fiery stars toward the ground. They were 117 ships, an infinitesimal fraction of the number which had originally embarked on the Flight, and they gouged scars in the flesh of Karia which have never healed. Climbing out of those metal shells, a new people saw the forests of Karia for the first time.

The Cheldrun on Karia are the tiniest remnant of what was once a mighty galaxy-spanning empire. From a people who used to number more than the stars the few that crash-landed on this planet numbered in the millions - which for Karia was still an overwhelming invasion. The colossal starships which burned through the atmosphere each bore hundreds of thousands of refugees and the Cheldrun immediately adopted an aggressive posture toward their new home. Unsure of themselves and their surroundings and conditioned for generations to fear 'The Enemy' the Cheldrun treated all strangers as hostile.

The Night of Bonfire Skies (as it is called by the Anakarix), had a tremendous effect on the Karians. No one had ever seen magic of such extraordinary power as the explosive arrival of the Cheldrun. No one had ever imagined a people so different or with such strange artifacts as the clanking Mechified, or the psychic Biomade, or the Mecha-riding Allskin. Aside from the shock of discovery there was a sense of tragic loss. The arrival of the Cheldrun coincided with the retreat of the Dusk Sages who took with them their mystical control of the seasons and the cycles of life. Life without the Dusk Sages and in frequent conflict with the Cheldrun was much grimmer and riskier for the Karians.

The Karians, typically, had many different reactions to the new arrivals. Some of the more curious Zipsum tribes welcomed the Cheldrun and offered them help learning to adapt to their new home. The Anakarix tended to be cautious and reserved, observing from a distance. The Jevumm took an immediate dislike. Indeed, early Wild Hunts by Jevumm tribes killed sufficient numbers of Cheldrun to create a lasting indemnity between the species. The Prill at first were suspicious of the disruption of natural cycles the Cheldrun caused, but counseled peace. Meanwhile, the Gogajin's initial offer of trade was rebuffed by the Cheldrun which led to open war for a number of years, which the Cheldrun undoubtedly got the better of.

The ships that crash landed that night were dismantled and cannibalized for materials which were used in building the first Cheldrun cities. Neither Cheldrun nor Karian can forget that night. The Cheldrun celebrate it every year as a solemn holiday in which they remember the threat of the Enemy, the desperation of the Flight, and the vow never to return to the stars, which they made on that night. The Karians remember it as the moment when their peace was shattered; when the security and prosperity of the Dusk Sages was stolen from them, and the future of their species, and their home, became uncertain...

Kata Kariana

Crank, the Mechified, leaps into the air hundreds of feet, his gun arm churning out an endless barrage of liquid metal rounds. “Hail of Metal Death!” he shouts!

Saris, the Jevumm, crouches low, her claws digging into the stone courtyard. “Hurricane Roar!” she bellows and the blast of icy wind from her maw scours her foes out of the way.

Keracka, the Anakarix, senses the sudden attack. “Riddle of Iron Scales!” he whispers and the bullets bounce off his hardened skin without leaving a mark.

The characters in this campaign are going to gain special powers as the story progresses called Kata Kariana. Each character will have a theme which unites their own Kata Kariana. Beginning early on they will have few weaker Kata and as the campaign progresses they will gain new, more powerful, Kata and each Kata itself will increase in potency by levels. The Kata Kariana will be represented on a chart as part of the character sheet.

The best case scenario for the Kata Kariana is that they will be a collaborative effort between the GM and the player. Partly a process of discovery, partly about making meaningful choices, partly about planning ahead - I hope they will develop organically during the game. To begin with, the player should express some things to the GM about his/her character that will shape the Kata. For example: “In dangerous situations my character will mostly be concerned with their own safety.” Or “In combat my character would prefer to deal damage rather than protect the party.”

Then, and most importantly, the player should work with the GM during character creation to come up with a theme which will tie the Katas together. Example themes include: the element of Fire (or any other element), healing & restoration, my Gun Arm, my Giant Sword, storms, poison, psychic attacks, my Mecha, or animal summoning.

Kata Kariana do not have to be combat focused, though everyone will have a few powers at least that lend themselves to use in combat so that no one feels left out when a session goes that direction. They will be supernatural in nature, dramatic in style, and generally more powerful than abilities gained in other ways. The Kata are intended to represent abilities above and beyond the normal. People in the game world will be shocked when characters use them, and they will afford a significant advantage to the PC’s in many engagements.

Once the player and GM have come up with a good theme for the Kata. The GM will begin designing the powers, without revealing them to the player. This is where discovery comes in. During the course of the campaign characters will seek and learn more about the powers they are developing. Both story events and clever roleplaying will lead to further discoveries about the Kata. As a character learns about the Kata in game they may ask the GM questions about upcoming powers and have an opportunity to help shape that power, by choosing which paths to follow. At all times the GM invites player suggestions about interesting future powers.

When storyline and character development justifies it, the player will be allowed to purchase the next power in the chain. This is where the primary choice of the player comes in. Not only do they choose which direction along the chain to progress, but when they “purchase” the power they desire, they may do so with any of the three colored Never Gems. Using Red Gems to purchase a power will skew it toward aggression. Using Blue Gems will skew that power toward creativity. Using Green Gems will skew that power toward protection. Once a power is purchased the choice has been made and it cannot be undone. If a player is seriously dissatisfied by a choice they may talk to the GM out of game and something may be arranged, but players are encouraged to take even undesirable choices and turn them into roleplaying opportunities. Our choices are more meaningful if we don’t get to redo them infinitely.

Individual powers, once purchased, may be increased in strength by raising their levels. This can be done anytime the player has sufficient character points and never gems. Though storyline justifications are always encouraged.

Rain, the Biomade, lets out a mental shriek, “Thought Rending Wave!” Shards of psychic energy ripple out from her and every sentient being in the room collapses to the floor in agony.

Karia At Last!


Bawdy Brawling Burros...

Up in the misty highlands, dancing to boisterous fiddle music, the rambunctious Gogajin have changed little since the days of the Dusk Sages. True, life is a little harder now. The land doesn’t yield its fruit as easily, and those who go off to serve other Karians sometimes end up enslaved or dead under the advancing armies of the Cheldrun. But the Gogajin have never feared hard work or danger. Nor have they ever changed even the slightest bit because of outside factors. They remain stubbornly free. Stubbornly poor. Stubbornly happy. They will die stubborn if need be.

Gogajin are known as donkey-sons, because in their animal forms they look like oversized, muscular… well, donkeys. They can get as big as thoroughbred horses, and they come in a wild variety of grays and browns. Gogajin have a lifespan of 70-80 years, though they live hard so their later years are often spent as invalids. They have a tight-knit intensely communal society which cares for the young and the elderly even in times of hardship.

However, Gogajin have a wild, uncontrollable adolescence that is spent outside the clan for the clan’s safety. In their adolescence Gogajin are raging hormonal balls of destruction. When the 3-5 year period of adolescence has passed the donkey-son may petition the clan to be permitted to return. The clan subjects the petitioner to tests of stability and self-control before eventually admitting them back in. The alternative is permanent exile, which to a Gogajin is an unthinkable punishment. An eternity away from kin is worse than death. Gogajin that commit crimes or are rejected by the community get exiled. Often those Gogajin kill themselves rather than live alone.

Even beyond adolescence the Gogajin have a rowdy culture. This requires a lot of adjustment when the Gogajin interact with other races – the usual hearty backslap is “aggravated assault” to a Cheldrun. When new Gogajin meet, they posture, they flex and heave and try to stand as tall as they can. If this doesn’t resolve things, they invite each other to engage in absurdly energetic and violent sports that are best played far from furniture or members of other races. One popular example is “catch” – which involves each competitor choosing the largest object he thinks he can lift and throw. If he fails to lift it he loses. However, if he succeeds, the other competitor is obliged to catch it. A dare is a deadly serious matter in Gogajin culture.

Donkey-sons live, work and play hard. They are fond of alcohol and they make many varieties of potent brew which other races cannot stand. They are bawdy and rude. They do not mate for life and they have a communal ethic which basically allows men and women to sleep around quite freely. Gogajin therefore come across as coarse and unrefined to other races. A Gogajin would not understand why his sexual advances were unwelcome to a Biomade woman, particularly given how well endowed he is…

The Gogajin live together in small villages, mostly made up of kin, in highland and mountainous areas. They work the land and forage, but their rough habitats mean they are never farther than a hard winter away from starvation. Thus they send many of their strongest and ablest to work as menial laborers and mercenaries for other races in return for trade. The Gogajin have a very low racial self-image so the highest status among the Gogajin have no trouble being considered servants to other people. Though they are proud and stubborn as a people they do not consider themselves above servitude. This humility means they often get abused by less kind Karians, and they are favored slaves of the Cheldrun.


Players who wish to play a Gogajin should take plenty of time to detail her relations to her clan and the many members of her family. To a Gogajin nothing is as important as kin, so the character should have a well developed family background with details about each person and what they mean to the character. Why is this character out of the village? Are you a laborer or mercenary? Are you a slave or prisoner of war? What achievements are your proud of? What happened during your adolescence? Players should put some thought into the character’s spirit. How resilient is it? Has time away from home weakened your heart?

Appearance: Though few people would consider a Gogajin beautiful in human form, most would consider them impressive. They are built like they were chiseled from granite, with muscles that other races don’t even have. They tend to wear their hair long (men and women) in braids or dreadlocks and often full of beads and feathers. They favor loose, light clothing with open necks and no sleeves to show off their form. Kilts are in style among them, and if the weather is hot they are just as comfortable working naked as anything else. In human form they retain the long ears and tail of their donkey shape. As donkeys, they are larger and bulkier than a normal ass would be.

Example Clans: Creideamh, Dilseacht, Fiochmahr, Gra, Griolsa, Muinin, Muintir, Neart, Paisean, Stalcach, Teaglach, Troid

Example Names: Adair, Ahern, Andraste, Bran, Cairbre, Casidhe, Diarmaid, Edana, Fodla, Grim, Hagan, Keena, Kennard, Larkin, Mab, Maghnus, Orla, Rogan, Sloan, Troya, Una

Example Attributes: Armour, Combat Technique, Damage Absorption, Extra Actions, Extra Defences, Jumping, Massive Damage, Melee Attack, Melee Defense, Shield, Special Defense, Superstrength, Tough

Example Skills: Acrobatics, Animal Training, Artisan, Climbing, Cultural Arts, Domestic Arts, Gaming, Intimidation, Powerlifting, Swimming, Wilderness Survival, Wilderness Tracking

Gogajin attitudes towards….


They are a people without a soul. No love for the land. No kindness for their kindred. Why do they live?


Seems like these people have a healthy admiration for tradition and heritage. We can respect their adherence to their lineage despite the odds.


These poor bastards have no respect for kith or kin. Their lives are empty and without purpose since they have no blood ties to build upon.


Well now if you aren’t born strong as a Gogajin I suppose it makes sense you’d want to try and build yourself that way.


We are the salt of this earth. We spring up out of the dust so that Karia will have someone to love her. Someone to climb her heights and plumb her depths. We are her admirers.


No sense of fun, these philosopher dragons. What if we like to spin ‘em by the tail? Can’t they laugh?


We are the ones who get the most joy out of life.


Many a Gogajin has gotten tore up good because he underestimated these kittens, but they’ll respect you if you’ve got a torch in your fist.


Now here are some folks who make some pretty music. If only they appreciated our style of dancing more.


Boy it would do my heart good if I could see one of these birds again.


Ha ha! Perhaps the only people with a sense of humor to match our own, these little furballs are as fun as they are fast.


Fire-Fearing Tigers...

In the era of the Dusk Sages the Jevumm were feared and respected. The Sages themselves treated the great cats with caution, bartering knowledge of storms for safety from the hunt. The Jevumm roamed all over the land bestowing a kind of primal order to things, where creatures were categorized by their strength and intelligence. The weak and the dim-witted were prey for the mighty Jevumm, who feared nothing but the lick of fire.

The arrival of the Cheldrun, the Cataclysm of Fiery Skies, has been devastating to the pride of the Jevumm. The children of steel are masters of fire, using it to power their machines, cook their food, burn their fuel and as a weapon against the forest. From the perspective of the Jevumm, the Cheldrun hide their weakness behind the power of flame to usurp the place of the tiger-people at the apex of the food chain. With wounded egos the Jevumm have slowly retreated deeper and deeper into the jungle as the Cheldrun loggers advance, muttering curses and threats, but slinking away from the churning machines all the same.

The Jevumm are perhaps the least ‘civilized’ of the Karians, because they don’t have to be. They’ve always been the scariest race, able to take what they want – produced by others most of the time. They have the least peaceful interaction with other Karians. Indeed, the other races carry torches with them on long journeys to fend off the tigers, and then it rains and they all get eaten. Since the days of the Dusk Sages the Jevumm have been associated with storms and rain, when outdoor fires are put out and people disappear into the jungle without a sound.

Known as tiger-people, the Jevumm are actually quite diverse. Each tribe manifests as a different variety of great cat, from lions, to jaguars, to cougars and every type of tiger. They have a shorter lifespan than humans, dying on average near their 50th year. Mothers can be quite protective of their offspring, but Jevumm culture sets the 5th year as a firm boundary line at which point the cub must prove itself strong enough to survive. Fathers often step in at that point and chase the cub away into the jungle. Cubs that are too slow or weak often get killed by their fathers.

Jevumm aren’t very numerous, preferring wild places with low populations where there are plenty of individuals and small groups to prey on. They live mostly solitary lives, though they do gather occasionally in tribes. They are highly intelligent and proud, but also lazy and not courageous. They have sporadic interests that stave off boredom – notably poetry. Think, indolent cats that like to play with their food.

Amongst themselves they have a storytelling culture driven by one-upmanship. When summoned together from their wide-ranging territories for a tribal meet it is customary to share stories of prowess, usually told in verse. Everything between two Jevumm is a competition and it does occasionally get violent, though intraspecies fighting is rarely lethal. Sometimes a tribe will announce a Wild Hunt, which involves many Jevumm working together to bring down large prey or to break up a persistent group. Hunting cooperatively like this, the Jevumm are positively terrifying. Even so, these Wild Hunts have not been successful against the Cheldrun.


Players who wish to play a Jevumm should decide what type of great cat and thus what tribe they are from. Different tribes will have different cultures and personalities depending on the variety of cat. Players should take this into account and detail out the relationships of the character to the tribe. What status does this character have in an ultra-competitive society? Players should consider the poetry that they may have written, and how they will relate to the other races, since the Jevumm are not always peaceful with other Karians.

Appearance: In feline form the Jevumm appear like a type of great cat according to their tribe. They often decorate their manes with beads or wear jewelry on their paws, in their ears and noses. In their human form they are muscular and feral looking with pronounced feline features, including ears, tails, sometimes whiskers, and sharp teeth, and nails. They dress in a robust manner which emphasizes their physical strength and grace. Gold jewelry, rich fabrics and clothing which clings are all a part of their style.

Example Tribes: Bathara (Lion), Govelara (Bengal), He’ekara (Cheetah), Kibara (Siberian), Nahamara (Panther), Ostera (Cougar), Yobara (Jaguar)

Example Names: Aburala, Igola, Ihlosi, Isilo, Ithayiga, Kakhona, Leeu, Paka, Shenxisa, Ukaba, Varissa, Xelela, Yomisa

Example Attributes: Combat Technique, Extra Actions, Extra Defenses, Heightened Awareness, Heightened Senses, Jumping, Land Speed, Massive Damage, Melee Attack, Melee Defense, Special Movement (fast), Superstrength, Tough

Example Skills: Acrobatics, Area Knowledge, Burglary, Climbing, Controlled Breathing, Cultural Arts, Interrogation, Intimidation, Performing Arts, Seduction, Stealth, Swimming, Wilderness Survival, Wilderness Tracking, Writing

Jevumm attitudes towards….


Hiss! The fire-lovers are a plague on Karia. At every opportunity, when they are separated from their beloved flames, we will eat them.


The weakest of the fire-lovers, we enjoy the smell of their terror on the breeze.


These fire-lovers are mind-sensors. They cannot read our thoughts, but many a hunt has been spoiled because they detected our approach.


More than anything we hate these fire-lovers who incorporate the flames into their own bodies, fueling engines that drive them like demons of destruction.


We are the people that belong, a natural outgrowth of Karia’s will to diversity and strength.


Undesirable to eat, these tree-dwellers are clever enough to make up for their sloth and weakness.


Perhaps the only people with a physical prowess we can respect, they are still no match for us because of their dim wits.


We are the storm-bringers, the lightning-harbingers, the ones who promise death-rain. We are to be feared. You are to be eaten.


Ha! Singing is no defense against tooth and claw. They eschew their nature to the detriment of their survival. They will sing sad songs while we feast on them.


The world is mourning the death of these raptors, but it is their own weakness which destined them for the grave.


So… hard… to… catch… so… little… to… eat… waste of our time.

Concept Art: Karians


The Karians, in general are difficult to find images for.


Not so many great choices for the Gogajin.


You should see some of the pics Google Images pulls up if you type in Tiger + Anime + Girl... The awesome standing tiger posed with a sword on it's back is by the artist Brett Booth. See his work here.

Plenty of pictures of magical girls, and girls with ears, but not too many pictures of magical girls with fox ears.

There just were no images of people with feathers for hair.

How do you search for images of an "aquatic turbo squirrel"?

Concept Art: Cheldrun


None of this art will be perfect for the game, but it may give folks some kind of visual to start developing a character off of.

A mix of possibilities for the Biomade. I like the first one here, the best.

Unfortunately, there really isn't much good art I could find for the Mechified. These images both come from FFVII.

Attribute Interlude 1

Every now and then I will jot down an example of how I get from a story idea to a functional piece of the game, by developing attributes. This first interlude will use an example from the recent story "I am Katashi Blade."

In this story, the protagonist Acid Narita, uses a special rifle which fires a round of psychic energy that targets a specific individual. While it sounds neat in the story, how would it work if you wanted your character to actually possess such an item? Let's walk through it.

The first step is to identify what attribute underlies the item, what is its function? It is a weapon, it is attacking a target in order to damage it in some fashion. So the attribute we will use is the Weapon attribute (pg. 60). Right away we can see that there are a bunch of custom variables which we will need to select from in order to get the right combination of effects. Since this weapon is a type of sniper rifle we will choose variables that help represent that.

Accurate: this is a great variable for a sniper rifle and we could buy it as high as level 3, but each level adds to the cost of the item, so let's stick with 1 for now. It's an accurate weapon, but you still have to be a good shot to use it properly.

Psychic: this one is obvious. Since the gun doesn't fire real bullets, we don't want it to be affected by armor and force fields. This is an expensive variable, costing 6 levels, but well worth it.

Homing: the bullet had a homing capacity didn't it. A very specific one in fact, so it must have been very good. We will call the sense the bullet uses "psychic" which means that it can be fooled by psychic shields and misdirection. To make sure it has a good chance of hitting, we'll buy this one up to level 3.

Drain: A psychic attack shouldn't just do normal damage. Since it is an attack on the mind let us add an effect which makes the bullet damage the mind of the target directly. The more the better, we'll buy this one to level 3 too.

Now, we move to the custom restrictions section. This gun also has characteristics which hinder it as well as help it. In this case:

Hands: It requires two hands to aim and fire a rifle. Which means you can't use a shield, parry, or do anything else with your off hand.

Everything above this point has come from the Weapon Attribute itself, but we aren't done customizing this attribute yet. In Chapter 5: Customisation, we can find a few rules we definitely need in order to accurately represent this rifle. First of all...

Range: right now our weapon can only attack people adjacent to the person holding it. Not much of a rifle eh? In order to give it a range we need to buy up this attribute a couple ranks. Flip to the table on pg. 73, and notice the progression of ranges by rank. To represent a reasonable distance for a sniper rifle we'll buy it up to rank 3 - 1km.

We could stop here of course, but the gun seems to be lacking just a little bit of flavor, and besides it has gotten quite expensive. We only have one restriction and about 16 levels of customisations. We ought to restrict it a little more, to bring the cost down, to make it feel more realistic, and importantly to create interesting choices for the user. Restrictions actually make the attribute more interesting, because it forces the player to balance the pros and cons. So now, for a couple restrictions:

Activation: No one should be able to do a hip shot with a sniper rifle. This restriction means that it takes extra actions to set up the shot during which the player must concentrate and not be disturbed. Let's buy this up to level 3, which means it requires 5 general actions. That's still a pretty fast setup for a shot with a sniper rifle.

Deplete: Since the rifle doesn't fire real bullets it should have some other cost to represent the ammunition. In this case it uses psychic energy, so we'll use this restriction to represent the depletion the character experiences when firing it. Level 3 will mean that it costs 30 energy to pull that trigger once. Ouch! but then, this bullet ignores armor, homes in on it's target, drains the Mind stat, and can hit from a very long range. It's worth it.

Alright, the last thing to decide is what level of a weapon to make it. This will determine its damage dealing potential and affect the cost. Since the book lists sniper rifles (pg. 167) as level 5 weapons, we'll scale this one back a tiny bit to 4. A real bullet would hit harder, but it would also have to go through armor. That gives us a cost breakdown as follows:

weapon level 4 + 16 custom levels - 7 restriction levels = 13levels
13 x 2(CP cost/level of weapon attribute) = 26CP

This would cost 26 character points if it were an innate ability of a character, but because it is an item, the item attribute halves the cost to 13CP altogether. On our character sheet we would write the item something like this:

Psychic Sniper Rifle - 13CP
Weapon 4 (Range 10km, Accurate +1, Drain3:Mind, Homing(psychic) +3, Psychic: ignores armor and force field and affects incorporeal)
  • 2 hands
  • requires 5 general actions to activate
  • Deplete 30 energy per shot

I am Katashi Blade

Damn it's cold. Of course, it would be, at night, in the dead of winter, two-hundred stories in the air, wearing nothing but a skintight black jumpsuit. It didn't take an IQ of 180 and psychic powers to predict the chill. Incidentally, Acid had both the IQ and the powers, and he was still whining to himself about the brisk weather.

The things I sacrifice for my job.

Acid hooked his heels around a steel bar and straightened his body. He was suspended, upside down, over an enormous slowly turning gear, through the spokes of which he could see the brightly lit streets of Geneva Prime, and in particular, the opulent entrance to the most illustrious hotel in the Yutaka District. Psi-goggles, their hot-pink lenses activated by his own psychic energy from feeds at his temples, augmented his vision, allowing him to scan the environment for potential disturbances.

It was Acid's inexpert opinion that, for all the beauty of the geographical surroundings, Geneva Prime had really done the best job it could to uglify things. The architecture of the city subscribed to the Brute Metallurgism of the century past. Everywhere massive metal braces, columns, and buttresses upheld looming structures that challenged the mountains with their apparent indifference, belied only by their aggressive foundations gripping the earth like a jealous claw. Some impurity in the local metal, or the air, or something made everything in Geneva Prime a dull ash color, so even though the streets were brightly lit, the light seemed to go nowhere. Shadow is plentiful in Geneva Prime.

That suited Acid just fine, who didn't plan on making his visit to Geneva Prime into a tropical vacation. No, Acid was here strictly on business. Goshi Mining Corp hadn't been making itself any friends lately, and though the extent of the political ramifications were not Acid's to know, there were more than a few members of the Yogensha League that felt Goshi needed to be humbled. Normally, this sort of business would be handled by challenging the city's gladiator school to a duel. The only problem being that Geneva Prime was home to Washi San Academy, the finest piloting and gladiator school around. So, Acid's clients had chosen a quieter method.

Shiver. That wind really bites.

Riding along the myriad converging and diverging tracks that lace many Cheldrun city streets, a railcar, black-bodied, with luxurious curves and round white headlights, came into view. It shifted seamlessly over to the tracks which brought it before the hotel and came to a halt. A skinny man in a mantled coat and gloves climbed out, and pulled the silver handle on the rear passenger door.

Acid braced the butt of his rifle against a shoulder and peered through the site, one finger loose on the trigger.

Through the grinding of the massive gear Acid couldn't hear his own movements, let alone the words exchanged between chauffeur and master two-hundred stories below. Between each spoke of the gear he got quick glimpses of what happened next, like watching a film played too slowly.

An arm reached out, clad in white, with a white glove. It took the chauffeur's proffered hand, and then a perfectly shined white patent leather shoe hit the pavement. A lanky body in a completely white suit followed. The man had gelled and spiked his white hair in every direction. Over his eyes he wore opaque white shades. At night.

Acid pulled the trigger.

There was no kick or jolt. No report and no muzzle flash. This was no ordinary rifle. Acid liked to think it was one of a kind, though he knew that there were similar ones out there, perhaps none identical. The bullet that whizzed out of that barrel was a bolt of pure psychic potential; hot pink it plummeted through the sky trailing rifled tendrils of energy. This bullet could read minds, and like a homing missile it would target and destroy only the mind which held the thought, "I am Katashi Blade."

The deadly little missile streaked through the air toward the man in white, who, at the last second looked upward and his lenses seemed momentarily clear. His eyes met Acid's who nearly let go of his grip on the pole, from shock. Those were amazing eyes. In them there was just the subtlest suggestion of a laugh, but not an ounce of humor. Like a person who steps on a wounded kitten, killing it, and then chortles merrily. There was no time for anything to be exchanged in that glance, but something was.

The bullet turned away narrowly missing the man in white, who was thinking, "I am Acid Narita."

Up in his perch, dumbfounded by what had just transpired, the assassin Acid Narita was thinking, "I am Katashi Blade."


Singing Sorcerers...

Before the Night of Fiery Skies, the Prill were singers of the mysteries of the universe. Under the tutelage of the Dusk Sages they harmonized and categorized in musical notes the primordial sounds of creation. Their potential was extraordinary. Their music could literally move mountains. One day, they might have been able to compose melodies of planetary impact. That opportunity never arrived, however. What came instead were the Cheldrun.

The arrival of the Cheldrun was a mixed event for the Prill. On the one hand they are not without their curiosity, and it is possible that the children of Steel bring lore of value. However, this small good is far outweighed by the traumatic departure of the Dusk Sages and the industrial onslaught of the Cheldrun against the forest. For years after the departure of the Dusk Sages, the Prill stood in shock doing nothing, but the impending annihilation of the Vorax among other things jogged them back into action.

They assembled the massed choirs and in an historic move vowed, as a people never to use their customary animal form, a fox, until the danger to the forest was averted. Since then the choirs sent emissaries all across the continent to the other Karians seeking solutions to the war with the Cheldrun. Some are using guerrilla tactics. Some advocate total war. Some advocate peace accords, or concessions. All of them are using whatever power they have to attempt to stem the tide of Cheldrun expansion.

These emissaries have had only limited success, not only because the Karian peoples are so disparate, but because the Prill themselves are so distinctive in their mindset. Like the Vorax, the Zipsum and the Anakarix, the Prill consider themselves lore keepers, but of a different type. Whereas a Vorax or a Zipsum could tell you about foreign locations and people, an Anakarix could tell you about the nature of life and the universe – Prill lore revolves around the Dusk Sages. Of all the races the Prill have the most lore about the Dusk Sages, but they haven’t managed to incorporate it deeply into their own culture because it is so different. They study it like studying an ancient civilization or like studying angelology. The wise know they’re missing something, but they don’t know what.

What’s more they record all their knowledge in music. To a Prill songs are sacred, so using them for entertainment is heresy for a Prill. Their culture is complex and they have many superstitions and unspoken taboos which they teach through song – but they take a long time to learn, so newcomers are always offending the Prill and not knowing why, or bringing bad luck on themselves accidentally and being shunned. Those Prill who interact more with other cultures learn tolerance around these areas, slowly. Many of these more tolerant Prill also find a stirring love of instrumental music (which the Prill don’t have in their own culture). It edges toward heresy to enjoy it so, but it isn’t technically singing, so they think it’s okay.

Prill have human length lifespans. Culturally they make no distinction between males and females. Children are raised by the choir of descent. During adolescence a young Prill singer will be fostered out to a variety of different choirs until he/she discovers which choir is a most natural fit. After a series of rituals for entering adulthood the Prill is then inducted into the Choir and begins the process of learning the music. Different levels of mastery (called tails) are attainable within each choir, and tails confer status upon the individual singer. Society is highly regimented. Everyone knows their place in the choir and keeps to it.

That is, unless a particularly talented singer is selected to become Guardian of a Song. Each choir has a repertoire of songs that it keeps. They may be sung by the whole choir, but one singer is particularly responsible for the song – and to see that it is passed to the next generation. There is never more than one Guardian per song, in a choir. It is common for Guardians to take apprentices from among the most talented singers in the hopes of finding a suitable heir for Guardianship.

The Prill are mostly a culture of maintenance and tradition, but there is some innovation in them as well. Those who study the lore of the Dusk Sages occasionally make new breakthroughs, and especially gifted singers occasionally compose new songs, which become part of a choir’s repertoire. This is exceedingly rare, however, and it is not greeted with the excitement you might expect. Prill consider the new to be suspect and accept it only begrudgingly, while extolling the value of the old.


Players who wish to play a Prill should ask themselves several questions. It is my expectation that Prill player characters would be guardian of a song. Which one are you guardian of? Be very detailed in describing your song, what it sounds like, how it moves you personally and what you can do with it. Then select a choir that would be appropriate for that song. Obviously there will be some overlap, for example both the Choir of the Oceans and the Choir of the Elements have their own versions of the Song of Water. You should spend time detailing your relationship to the choir, standing within it, friends and family in the choir etc… Prill rank status by “tails” the highest ranked Prill in the world for many generations now have been up to 6 tails. How many tails have you earned (for what)? Represent this with Organizational Ties.

Appearance: Like the Zipsum, the Prill are ravishingly beautiful in their human form. Unlike the Zipsum they are not vain and so their appearance is somewhat less “by design”, though what they lack in cosmetic preparation they make up for with mystery. This is because Prill carry themselves as though always lost in another world adjacent to our own. Though they can tend to be grave there is a faint sense of humor in their expressions. The degree of “fox” in their appearance varies. Some have ears and tails. Some have pointed noses and sharper teeth. Some just send out “foxy” vibes. They dress in a ritualistic fashion to indicate their choral allegiance, standing within the choir, tails achieved, and knowledge of primordial songs. The elaborate gowns are a visual language to other Prill which most outsiders miss completely.

Example Choirs: of the Dead, of the Earth, of the Elements, of the Fauna, of the Flora, of the Forest, of the Mountain, of the Oceans, of the Seasons, of the Sky

Example Names: Aki, Autumn, Faia, Fuzei, Gogyou, Haru, Hazumi, Inari, Kasai, Kinzoku, Koudo, Kyuuka, Mizu, Mokuzai, Spring, Summer, Tei, Tsuchi, Uxinta, Winter

Example Attributes:
Aura of Inspiration, Block Power, Companion, Energy Bonus, Features (appearance, perfect pitch), Heightened Awareness, Heightened Senses, Organizational Ties (choir), Power Flux

Example Skills: Acrobatics, Administration, Animal Training, Artisan, Cultural Arts, Domestic Arts, Etiquette, Occult, Performing Arts, Stealth, Visual Arts, Wilderness Survival

Prill attitudes towards….


Alas, the children of steel are misguided and deaf to the discordant nature of the song they are singing.


We share a respect for tradition with these people, but they have no sense of how their tradition is corrupt and doomed to end in catastrophe.


These perpetual innovators are like fruit flies – in two or three generations they’ve lost all sense of who they were.


We lament the cruel joke that has been played on these monsters. However, the destruction they wreak on the forest cannot be tolerated.


Weep children of mana! Weep! For we are the guardians of this land and under our watch it is wasting away.


Wisdom is in these tree-dwellers, though not the courage to use it.


Courage, however, the Gogajin have in plenty, but the only song they sing is folly.


The opened mouth of a Jevumm sings only of hunger and self-interest.


We are the oath-keepers. We will not avail ourselves of our animal-form until the forest is safe. We are never at home. We are never at rest. We have condemned ourselves to estrangement from ourselves until the threat is ended.


The saddest song that can be heard in Karia is the cry of the Vorax.


These singers are perpetually captivated by the next song they hear. Their heart is good, but we must deal with them like children or they quickly lose interest.