Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Nameless World - Cosmology, Pollution, and Thaumalite


The Nameless World is unfathomably old. Thousands of empires have risen, fallen, and been ground to dust by eons of time and conquest. Most of the mainstream religious cults don’t even bother with creation myths. The very idea of a time before the world strikes most philosophers and scholars as patently ludicrous.

These self-same academics believe that the Nameless World lies at the center of all things—not just the material universe, but of all planes of existence. How else can one explain a world both besieged by demons from below and confounded by angels from on high? The numerous and vermiform alien beings that bubble up from the shadows and unseen corners of space lend credence to this theory as well.

Most people will tell you that the Nameless World has four moons. Those people are wrong. The world has no satellites, and what most people call moons are, in fact, planets. The Nameless Worlds and its four sister planets orbit in such close proximity to each other that from the surface of each, the other planets seem as large as the moon does on our own world. These orbits are erratic and unpredictable, and only the most dedicated and mathematically-savvy of astrologers can predict their movements and appearance with any degree of accuracy. Certainly, the cosmological influence of so many planetary bodies in such close proximity has some influence of inherently magical nature of the Nameless World. The four “moons” are Nibiru (home world of the Elves), Erebos (the undead moon), Halakim (where angles live), and Lykos (the wolf moon).

Phlogiston Pollution

The world teeters on the edge of a unique form of environmental devastation. As any wizard will tell you, magic originates as phlogistonic energy channeled from the Thaumic Plane and shaped into spells through the synaptic patterns burned into the brains of trained sorcerers. Even the smallest of spells dumps large amounts of phlogiston into the environment. Trace amounts of this alien energy linger long after the spell is cast. Residual phlogiston is rarely detectable or harmful to living things, but over centuries, thaumic residue begins to pool together, forming sumps and sinkholes of dangerous magical energy. These phlogistonic cysts cause environmental corruption, spawn alien monstrosities, and weaken the barriers between worlds. Ecologically minded wizards blame the increase in monsters and dimensional incursions over the past several decades to this thaumic pollution. Very few sorcerers are willing to make the personal sacrifices required to reduce this global corruption.

Sometimes these pools of magical fallout coalesce and mineralize into weird purple-green ore, somewhere between crystal and metal.  It has a slightly waxy texture and glows dimly like a blacklight. Sorcerers call this mineral thaumalite, although wizards on some worlds know it as compound-N, nibirulith, or mutanto. Thaumalite can be used to empower spells, at the cost of greatly increasing the chance of fallout and corruption.

System: A fist-sized chunk of thaumalite grants a wizard or elf +1d10 to their spellcasting roll. After used this way, the bonus die drops one size as the chunk’s mass boils away.

There are several dangers associated with thaumalite. Merely carrying the mineral on one’s person gives them a -5 to all saves against mutation, corruption, or transformation.

Additionally, when using thaumalite to boost a spellcasting roll, the chance of magical mishap is greatly increased. If a spellcaster uses thaumalite to boost their roll, a failure is treated as a 1, with all associated dangers. If the bonus die comes up as a 1 but the spell roll still succeeds, then the spell is cast and is not lost, but the caster suffers the “or worse” consequences in the “1” section of the spell (misfire, corruption, or patron taint).

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