Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Cath Celdaenn Setting Primer


Florian de Gesincourt

[tryna get this done with minimal editing]

These are the default setting assumptions for this week's players. Close readers of the blog will be rewarded with deep (possibly recently retconned) setting lore.

* * *

- Cath Celdaenn is the old imperial capital.
- It is the last city - the only city. The rest fell with the empire.
- It is vast. The City walls contain cliffs, mountains, superstructures, an inland sea. Much of it is overgrown hinterland; circumnavigating it is a 30 day trek.
- It is deep. Some live miles below the canopy, where no light reaches.
- It is covered in ruins. Beneath the overgrowth and climbing ivy, every inch of the City was once a bustling metropolis.
- It is cold. Bring a scarf.

The City is home to the CAPITOL TREE.
- It is a God. Thru its blessings, men gained the body, the breath, and the soul.
- It is massive. Its branches can be seen from miles away.
- It contains the combined wisdom of the thousand-year empire.
- It has two trunks. To the West, it sheds golden leaves. To the East, it sheds purple-red.
- Its roots are everywhere. They anchor the City in Creation, and ward off Shivers.

THE SHIVER is a cold fog full of brilliant nacre strands.
- All that it touches is Shivered. Shivered skin is scarred. Shivered lands are lost.
- Shivers crawl across Creation. Only the City is safe, anchored by the Capitol Tree roots.

The City is also home to THE PILGRIM TREE
- It is massive. The Pilgrims brought it to the City in a palanquin the size of a treasure boat.
- It is worshiped by the Pilgrims, and for good reason. It can perform miracles, and give counsel thru dreams.
- Thru its blessings, the Pilgrims exercise control over much of Lower Celdaenn. For now, they run what remains of the postal service. They also sponsor expeditions into the untamed city.

IRON is profane.
- It is anti-magic. No spell can affect it, only circumvent it.
- It is anathema to the natural world. An iron spike can poison a tree and kill a god.

Cath Celdaenn is also full of:
- CELDS - Re-inheritors of Cath Celdaenn. Proper mutts of the City, rediscovering their lost culture.
- GHOSTS - Coalescing in lakes and valleys. Cold as death. Sometimes traded as currency.
- SKELETONS - Sentient. Mute.
- SAINTS - Dead Celds elevated by worship. Provide blessings thru relics.
- KNIGHTS - Suits of armor belonging to cargo cult orders. Rightfully distrusted by normal folk.
- GODS - Minor nature gods/genius loci. Rarely given the respect they deserve.

Beyond the City are the APOSTATES, who allied with dark forces to conquer the City.
- They engineered the fall of the empire, and the erasure of Celdaenni history.
- They were defeated.

Celds also have the RIGHT TO VOTE. No one knows what this actually means (leaders aren't always elected, and there's certainly no central government) but we're all very smug about it.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Painted Garden

tanya shatseva

i am surrounded by paintings and carvings and etchings and murals and sketches and tapestries and so on and so on, one after the other after the other, of trees and flowers and vines and bushes and ferns, etc. etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum, in greens and reds and purples and yellows and pinks and purples and blues and-

You see them. Petals, leaves, vines - but no roots. You can't see them. Where are they?

The Painted Garden is a disease, a sort of graphomania carried by dungeon dwellers. It is contracted from the sort of cave lichen only the starving will taste.

; Shan the Elder called it a "most beautiful cancer." The compulsion to depict the Garden overrides all other inst

cave paintings in chalk and spit and oil. when the paint runs out, they turn to scratching with tools and nails. when the nails run out, they look for paint within

70% afflicted die from starvation in stage 1

stage 2: the afflicted reaches into a painting. they can eat the fruit, drink dew from leaves, sip nectar from flowers. though the fruit can be taken in the hand, it turns to black bile on Unafflicted tongues

idiot. you shouldn't have looked. never trust an artist. authors and musicians too; they're just talking about trees anyway.

20% afflicted are eaten by their companions in stage 2

stage 3: a psychic parasite in full bloom. the roots go deep, behind the eyes. you, the afflicted, can step into the Painted Garden, although little is known about

take the stairs past the blue lilies sunflowers; keep going; under the overgrown bridge; left then left; plug your ears; wade thru green poppies lotus roses yellow; there is the Tree the tree the Tree
take the fruit - purple pink pomegranate

often return with food - black oranges, blue venison. It all tastes terrible, but Below, whole communities can pop up around this kind of food source. And the more afflicted in an area, the more the Painted Garden grows.


Painter - stats as mercenary; can step into a painting, then emerge from another 1d4 turns later (1/day). the destination must be within line of sight or in the same dungeon.

Poet - stats as scholar; 1d10 (conjure strangling vines from throat); can step into spoken word or song, disappearing for 1d4 turns (1/day). While disappeared, the sound ricochets sourcelessly from room to room at a rate of 1 room/round.

both return from the Garden accompanied by 1d6-1 (min. 1) gardenthings (as wolves made of thorned roses)
- if 4+, instead accompanied by garden knight (as ogre made of wet wood; nearby spellscrolls warm and vibrate - on the second round, they explode d6 kaboom