Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Powers of the Titan's Age: New Icons for 13th Age

ICON-OGRAPHY
Last Wednesday we used Microscope to do world-building for our new 13th Age campaign. You can see my write-up of that here. In the process I had the players design some of the Icons. The rest I came up with the next day. In play we sketched out four of the thirteen (and referenced three others in the history). Below you'll see the fleshed out versions of Icons for this campaign (which I'm calling Shadow of the Titan). All of them can act as patrons, enemies, or antagonists. Each one has a network of followers or agents across the realm.

In the descriptions below I've used alignment terminology to generally position these Icons. These are rough determinations, just to give a general sense of what they're like. With rare exceptions, they aren't locked into that. The text in red indicates material straight from the world-building session. At the end I've added an alignment chart showing the Icon's general positions. I'll probably add arrows later showing movement. The images below come from http://game-icons.net/ and all come from Lorc's amazing work.

Most Icons are Undying, strange immortal figures, or Mantle-bearers, suggesting a role that arises or is passed down. What an Icon looks like or does shifts from era to era, depending on the philosophies or events. As with the gods themselves, the Icons have been known to vanish or completely transform over the ages. No one speaks of The Shipwright or the Skinner of Souls in these present times.

ICONS

THE CROWSWORN PIRATE: Leader and patriarch of the many bands of pirates across the waters. He is a patron of rogues, scoundrels, and those who value freedom over order and rules. The Pirate vacillates between being a vicious bully and a noble force for freedom. He despises rules and order- except those he imposes. Personal ambition and greatness, done in a flashy or loud manner matter to him. He values service and loyalty. When the new Crowsworn Pirate serves rough justice, he’s welcomed in The Unconquered Port. But when he embraces plunder and pillage, he’s banned from their docks. The present Pirate suffers under such a ban, and she seethes at it. (CN/NE)

THE SEWER RAT: Hope and change for the dispossessed, the poor, refugees, victims, the oppressed and all others with low power or status.   Also known as the Orphan and the Scrounger. The Sewer Rat appears to be one of the Undying, seen across the islands offering support and aid to the fallen. While he’s generally referred to as “he,” the Sewer Rat is equally likely to appear as a young woman. He has eyes and ears among the Beggar Ships, city urchin networks, and travelling drifters. Many of the Rom are said to act as his agents, but this may be more rumor about these mysterious people. The Sewer Rat is generally considered a force for good, but has been known to support and plan acts of retribution and revenge against exploiters, abusers, and the wicked among the wealthy. Hence this Icon is avoided by those in a position of nobility. The exception comes from those few who have managed to make it good and turn their fortune back to aiding others. (CG)

SURGEON PENITENT: This miserable creature roams the earth, giving comfort to all manner of the wretched. The myriad of infections and afflictions, boils and bloating, parasites and symbiotes, has rendered it completely androgynous and almost inhuman to behold. Through time spent ministering in leper colonies and plague zones, it has gained the ability to gather all disease into itself and away from the sufferer. Supplicants can take on the scars and gain the ability to heal others. The Surgeon tends to any in need of care, regardless of race, beliefs, or past. This often brings agents of the Surgeon into conflict with authorities. It is unclear whether the Surgeon is an Undying figure or if there have been many over the ages. The hideous visage of this Icon makes any determination uncertain. (NG)

THE SPIRIT KING: A strange ageless hermit who often lives on one of the mammoth sea-turtles. He guides those who come to eat the proper fruit to enhance and commune with their spirit. The Spirit King focuses on personal power and self-empowerment. He dismisses worship of divine figures and, at his most radical, service to any authority figure. Sometimes he is more ascetic, teaching people how to gain greater understanding of their soul spirit through mediation and Lotus consumption. But he can also be hedonistic, pushing students to indulge in all forms of intoxicants and sensory-expanding herbs. Despite being such an odd figure of the wilderness, the Spirit King is respected as a mystical figure, often looked to by Druids. Those who wish to learn to better harness their magic items will make pilgrimages to study under the Spirit King or one of his disciples. (CN/TN)

THE EMPRESS: The Empress of Humanity has long stood for preservation, defense, and the solidity of Empire. Her ritual murder by agents of the Siren set off this dark century. The shattering of her magics released forces which slew the vast majority of humanity, leaving cities, islands, and nations stripped and emptied. In the wake of her death, several tried to assume her Mantle and failed. Notably other races have attempted to find a way to understand and seize that role, but none have succeeded. Connections to this Icon still exist in two ways. The Crown Wardens remain as an order devoted to hiding and preserving relics of the Empress. They work to stabilize the pocket of human empire still remaining. On the other hand, rumors exist of a Child Empress born not long ago who gave the Five Signs of Recognition and may be the first legitimate heir to the Empress’ power. (LG)

THE AGELESS HAG: The Ageless Hag is a maker, a creator, and a figure of unbridled change and birth. She shows this by crafting monsters. Most of the time she dwells at the edge of the Known World, close to the Rainwalls. But from time to time she makes pilgrimages across the waters. Where she finds an empty place- like an island scoured by storms, she sets new life upon it. This can be a problem, especially since her definition of untended and empty may differ from those of natives. The Ageless Hag swept through in the wake of humanity’s decimation, filling now empty cities, castles, and realms with new monstrous inhabitants. Her magic is wild, making her the patron of some Sorcerers and Chaos Magi. Generally she takes a neutral position on affairs, standing only in opposition to those who worship death itself. She maintains a strong network across the lands via messenger beasts. (TN)

THE PRINCE OF SHADOWS: This figure is much as presented in the main 13th Age material. The interesting difference here lies in his weird mirror image of the Crowsworn Pirate. Both value a kind of radical individual freedom, but the Prince of Shadows works quietly and in the shadows. (CN)

LEVIATHAN: Beneath the waves lies the great beast, Leviathan, representing the dark and dangerous forces of nature itself. He is the bringer of thunderous power against those who do not grant him the proper respect and invocations. Leviathan is said to gnaw at the foot of the Titan, desiring his demise and collapse to bring the Sea of the Sky together with the Sea of the World. Leviathan often has greater concerns than the affairs of common mortals or at least it keeps up the appearance that it does. Leviathan acts and interferes with them at will, striking down ships, shifting currents, and gifting them with dangerous powers. Leviathan is the patron of Necromancers and Sorcerers, who strike deadly bargains for his talents. Leviathan’s fleet of soul-haunted Ivory Ships often herald the great beast’s attention in worldly affairs. (NE)

THE SIREN: Where there is order, the Siren wishes chaos. Where there is the rule of law, the Siren wishes anarchy. Where there is hope, the Siren wishes despair. The Siren wishes to overturn all established ways- among both the forces of light and dark. She does this through corruption, seduction, promises of power, and simply unleashing pent-up furies. Why she does this remains uncertain? Sometimes when she arises she comes as a burning warlord, sometimes as a calculating vizier, and others simply as a crazed murderess content with haunting lost fleets. The Siren orchestrated the ritual killing of Empress at the beginning of this century, leading to the decimation of humanity. Some have suggested her current incarnation is behind the dark turn of Fathrist and his use of demons, pointing to her own skilled infernal powers. (CE)

THE OPAL HAND: The Hand may or may not exist, or rather they exist but no one knows for certain who or what they are. Or rather, they have a certainty but no one can prove it. If we take rumor as fact then the Opal Hand is led by a secret hereditary council, made up of leaders from many different races. They worked behind the scenes, carefully combining rumor-weaving, magics, espionage and sabotage to serve their ends. They worked to ensure that the human majority would never come to dominate over all of the seas and lands. To that end they carefully undermined rules and eliminated those who might unite humanity. They sought not conquest or dominion, but instead to maintain balance and parity. Then the Empress died, taking with her four-fifths of humanity. Now the role and purpose of the Opal Hand is in flux. Will they maintain their neutrality or instead move to finish what the Siren began? (LN)

THE WARSINGER: Where there are rumblings and rumors of war, there stands the Warsinger. He sees glory, progress, and profit in it. War tempers and crushes the weak underfoot. But more importantly it forges legends. The Warsinger brings together those who desire and profit from bloodshed- turning mercenaries into pillaging hordes and exiles into pretender kings. He is potent and deadly, a banner-bearer at the frontlines. But more importantly he whispers in the ears of those who feel they could seize control, could lead an army, could cast their brother from the throne. He preaches war and speaks of the beauty and grandeur of it. The Warsinger has agents among both warrior clans and bards who’ve made terrible bargains. It is said that he currently holds the fallen city-state of Vos-Landok, but moves around the seas carried on an enslaved dragon. The Warsigner has been defeated in the past, but each time the song empowering him finds another to take his place in the cycle. (LE)

THE BRASS MAN: Ruling from the City-State of Crux, The Brass Man presents a mysterious figure. Seven feet tall, he could be a person clad in ornamental armor, an automaton, or something from the Ancients. His markings and designs have changed over time, suggesting to some that there have been man Brass Men. Despite shifts and reconfigurations, he always appears as a somewhat stylized version of the Sky Titan. The Brass Man commissions adventurers, gifts the worthy, and aids the oppressed. In that, he occupies a role close to the Empress- but without the ideas of empire and management. In fact the Brass Man’s good works can often be interrupted when the opportunity comes for him to pitch a campaign against legendary monsters or great beasts. He has been known to leave campaigns in mid-battle to take up his role as a relentless huntsman wielding strange magics. (LG/NG)

GRANDFATHER TURTLE: Teacher, mentor, advisor, oracle, and master of the high arcana, Grandfather Turtle safeguards magic in the realm. One of the massive island-like sea-turtles, he trains students in new arts and spells if he believes they use those tools to aid the world. While he appears sedentary and silent, few doubt his power. Even Leviathan avoids confronting him directly, preferring to carry out their clashes via agents. Grandfather Turtle plays a long game. While it might not seem that he wishes to interfere, instead he carefully maneuvers persons and players into position. He is a patron to all those who use magic for good ends. While he does not teach chaos magic or necromancy, he and his closest will educate those who follow the path of the Sorcerer. (LG)