Chapter 3 Sidebars
Several elves have become extremely influential lately. Most elven Majestati with connections have heard of these elves, though whether they are respected is an entirely different matter.
Kaelan and Johanna Durhann -- Twin ssazanthi born in New York in 1974, Kaelan and Johanna are the two "most watched" elves in the world. Now in college, Kaelan at Tulane, Johanna at the University of South Carolina, the two young elves have proven to be amazing leaders. Together, they have found almost a hundred other Majestati. The two have spent several summers at Elfhame learning to use their abilities, and have dealt with many threats and problems that have come to face the Majestati, including the Grendel Skar and the sage Telemachus. Both twins have the ability to Debacle Phase (see sidebar on p.00), and have used it to their advantage to find new knowledge about the elven history.
The elves suspect that Kaelan is the Lion spoken of in the Lion Prophecy, and that his child will somehow cause the full return of magic. Recently, Kaelan has announced his plans to marry a Fifth Sylphi, so it looks as if that prophecy is becoming very possible.
Xaviar Danuvarius -- A Fourth Ssazanthi who ran away from his home as a teenager. He traveled to America shortly thereafter, and was found by several dark elves who introduced his heritage to him. At age 14, he was taken to Elfhame, in France, where he trained to use his Talents in the normal mana area. When he was 16, he managed to rediscover a small armory of once-magical weaponry that the elves kept in Elfhame, and he trained himself with these old weapons. When the Prophecy of the Lion was discovered, it was decided by the High Council that Kaelan Durhann, the most likely candidate for the Prophecy, needed to be protected. Shortly thereafter, the elves of the High Council discovered that Xaviar's Nexus was a legendary elven nomad warrior, who roamed alone in the wilderness, protecting travelers from the dangers of the road. Figuring Xaviar would make a perfect guardian, the High Council asked him to help. Xaviar Danuvarius volunteered, and at age 22 devoted his life to protecting Kaelan. The two dark elves have become the best of friends in the last few years, and are inseparable from each other.
Dorimant Veruvi -- Dorimant Veruvi, a Third Sylphi, is one of the few elves to have actually been contacted directly by an Incuban. Dorimant was a famous Napoli soccer player who was almost assassinated by several ulti during the 1985 World Cup. After barely managing to escape the stadium with his life, the Incuban Prospero confronted him. In a strange magical effect, Dorimant was transported to another place, where he was trained in the use of his powers for almost five years. Prospero then returned him to the exact place and time he left. Dorimant confronted the ulti and defeated them in a spectacular combat.
Prospero then instructed Dorimant to go to Ponthieu, France, where he would find a newly created Elfhame. Dorimant followed the instructions to Elfhame, where he found the home of the elves. In the months that followed, Dorimant, with the help of Mallori Cotehardi gathered several other elves and invited them to Elfhame, where he set up the High Council.
Dorimant is the de facto ruler of the elves, though he only holds the position of sylphi representative on the High Council. In fact, he usually lets the others around him make the important decisions. When he does take command, he is a stern and strong ruler who ultimately does not get along with many of the elves. Still, the ylphi respect him and his leadership.
Mallori Cotehardi -- A French bishop, who is considered to be the first elven Majestati. He was a guest of the Vatican in Rome, where he stumbled across some ancient manuscripts, dated from the dark ages. The manuscripts were a Latin bestiary of sorts, written by an early monk. The bestiary, like many similar documents, detailed many creatures, both normal and supernatural. Included with the bears and deer were the unicorns, dragons, goblins, and even elves. The final chapter of the illuminated manuscript interested Cotehardi greatly. Apparently, the monk maintained that magic had been stolen from the world by Satan himself, and that the supernatural creatures of the world had died. The monk cited Elfhame as an example, and how all that was left of it were some crumbled ruins under a lake in Ponthieu.
Cotehardi was fascinated. After leaving Vatican City, he traveled to Ponthieu and began his search for the ruins of Elfhame. Not only did he find the ruins, but he met with an old man who called himself Prospero. Prospero told him that he was actually an elf, and explained the entire story of the Debacle and the Requiem to Cotehardi. Cotehardi then witnessed the recreation of Elfhame, and was told by Prospero to wait there until other elves arrived.
Bishop Cotehardi began to explore Elfhame and lived there for about a month when Dorimant Veruvi was brought there by Prospero. Together, the two looked for more elves. However, barely a year after rediscovering Ponthieu, Bishop Cotehardi disappeared and has not been heard from in a long time. It is suspected that he earned the wrath of one of the Incubans who hated Prospero, and was killed by them or their servants.
Aguardonne -- An enigma among the elves, Aguardonne (his true name) is the most powerful elf in the western United States. A Second Aquari, Aguardonne lives in Los Angeles and is in charge of all elven activities in that area. Unfortunately, Aguardonne does not do his job very well -- at least according to the ylphi that know him. He gets along fine with the council, but has a serious problem of creating enemies among other elves. He has a habit of ignoring anything that does not affect him personally, and many elves (and other races) have gotten hurt, killed, or worse right under his nose. He has ignored an Incuban who tried to contact him, refused to deal with several ulti operating in the middle of Los Angeles, and refuses to take advice from anybody. Kaelan Durhann has terrible personal problems with Aguardonne, and the two are often at each other's throats.
Because the Majestati are really reincarnations of individuals in their past, many Majestati strive to find the name, occupation, and history of who they once were. Although all races are concerned with this, the elves are the most interested in their past. This is usually extremely difficult. There are a few records of the history of the elves that have been found at Elfhame, but most of these name only extremely important figures. The Incubans, of course, would know who a Majestati once was, but even if they could be found it would be hard convincing them to tell. A few mages have discovered ways to unearth the secrets of the past, and some can be quite helpful to the curious elf.
It has become fashionable for elven Majestati, once they have found their "true name," to use it to address each other. Some only use their first name, others like to use both the first name and last name. Rare are the elves who actually, legally, change their name; most elves think themselves above that, and like the idea of a "secret identity" of sorts.
Typical female names include Aamie, Abbe, Arial, Jahanna, Kella, Laurissa, Mari, Muriel, Vanna, Vella.
Male names include Aguardiel, Dorimant, Kaelan, Leander, Maalan, Menele, Tramalane, Xaviar.
Elfhame is a wondrously huge complex -- so huge and elaborate that half of the areas within it have not been explored, and many more have not even been found yet.
Ever since Prospero revived the magic of the place, strange items, places, and even creatures have been found in the elven home. One of the strangest rooms discovered was a small tower that extended straight up into the middle of the lake that lies atop much of Elfhame.
Discovered by the dark elves Xaviar Danuvarius and Kaelan Durhann, the two found that the topmost room of the tower -- an observatory that viewed the lake -- was protected by a strange force. Whenever an item crossed the doorway, it would disappear. A moment later, it would appear somewhere else in the room, often in a completely different form. A piece of meat would decompose, a magic knife would appear on a shelf, a metal cup would appear rusted in the corner.
The elves couldn't figure out what was going on, so Xaviar and Kaelan tied rope around themselves and entered the room. The room, in fact, was a weak portal back in time to that very same room. The elves found themselves thousands of years in the past, when the room was home to an elven alchemist named Telemachus.
As soon as the Majestati appeared in the past, the link between the two times began to break down. Kaelan and Xaviar considered staying and trying to stop the Debacle from that time, but eventually decided against it. They were pulled back into the modern world, but somehow, Telemachus came along.
Telemachus is the world's only true nonhuman. He has full access to many of his magical talents and abilities. Fascinated and confused by the modern world, he spends much of his time in Elfhame, teaching the elves what he knows about magic, their culture, and their history. A friendly, but old elf, Telemachus is a kind man who seems perfectly content spending his remaining centuries helping the modern elves.
Modern dark elves have become fascinated with their three lost cities of Kirsjanin, Kaeljaana, and Ssazanthi. The only evidence of their existence has been found in a small portfolio in Elfhame. The portfolio was written by a sylphi. The text alludes to Kaeljaana and Ssazanthi, but documents a trip to Kirsjanin fairly well. The following is an excerpt from the text:
"Shortly after I arrived in the moon-bridge city, I was witness to a strange event. Apparently, one of the resident ssazanthi had committed a crime, and she was sentenced to imprisonment. I asked one of the dark ones witnessing the trial how long she was to be sentenced for. He smiled at my question, and replied that she would be imprisoned until she was rescued.
"`What is involved in rescuing the woman?' I asked, already fascinated by this strange system.
"`Merely finding her!' responded the ssazanthi, his dark eyes laughing at my confusion.
"I asked him what the difficulty was in finding the woman. He replied that there were exactly thirty prison towers in the city, each with thirty levels, half above ground, the rest below the earth. Within each tower's level were four spiral staircases, some leading to other levels, some ending in dead ends, some merely bringing the traveler back to levels that he had already been to. Each tower had over a hundred rooms, each accessible only through a certain spiral stair combination.
"I stopped the ssazanthi when he began to explain about the magic that would move the towers and shift the levels every day. I asked him if anybody had ever found someone in these prison towers. He told me that eventually, after several decades, somebody will be found.
"`Amazing!' I exclaimed.
"`Tis nothing,' grinned the dark elf. `Our mother city of Ssazanthi has 99 towers, each with 99 levels, and 9 staircases within each floor of the towers! And there, the magic is powerful enough to shift the towers every hour!"
All five of the elven lineages have a sigil, or symbol, associated with them. These sigils were created thousands of years ago, and were created by the leaders of the lineages long before the Debacle.
The sigils have a certain importance to the elves. Many elven Majestati wear jewelry engraved with their sigil, which identifies them to other Majestati without arousing the suspicion of humans.
The sigils also serve another use. In the past, the elves used to engrave these sigils on any item they made, or helped to make. All elven items, magical or not, are usually engraved with the symbol of maker's lineage. The items that survived the Debacle, that is, lost their magic but not their physical qualities, still have these symbols on them. They are mostly spotted in modern museums in weapons, sculptures, and pottery from various time period.
Interestingly enough, some more modern items have been discovered to bear one of the sigils of the elves. A few Renaissance paintings have shown up with them, as has sheet music, including the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Whether these men were just copying the symbols, or actually had some elven blood in them is unknown. Several elves have proposed that some Majestati existed in the past, brought there by an Incuban who awoke from his sleep for a short while.
The ssazanthi are a secretive and subtle people, all bounded by an unspoken rule to go about things in the most manipulative, indirect manner. They rarely do anything directly, even when they are wronged. The single exception to this rule comes when a ssazanthi feels that he has been seriously wronged. The Ssazanthi Vengeance Rite allows a ssazanthi to eschew their unspoken rule and actually strike directly. Calling a Vengeance Rite is the most serious of matters, and happens only occasionally throughout dark elf history.
When a ssazanthi calls a Vengeance Rite, all other ssazanthi who consider the wronged dark elf a friend must assist in the Vengeance Rite. The elves gather and plot together -- a rare event among dark elves -- to strike back at the person (usually) or group that wronged the ssazanthi.
The dark elves then go out and confront the individual. What they do to the person varies, but usually the dark elves torment the victim, both mentally and physically, for quite some time. Like some macabre dance, they play games with his mind, torture him, make him feel trapped and hopelessly outnumbered. Finally, when the Rite reaches its zenith, the wronged ssazanthi who called the Rite appears to the victim. Traditionally, the dark elf appears in black, ceremonial garb bearing a razor-sharp sword and dagger. To the dark elf, this is the moment of truth, and is much a performance to his allies as it is anything else. At this point, the victim is slain in a beautiful, but deadly ceremony. Other times, the victim is given a final warning, a warning which rarely goes unheeded.
Vengeance Rites are never called against other dark elves, or even other elves for that matter. Usually, Vengeance Rites are called only against humans that have seriously embarrassed or hurt a ssazanthi, even if they don't know that they've done so (and they rarely do). Calling a Vengeance Rite is an extremely serious, solemn affair, and is only done when a ssazanthi believes that he has been wronged so badly, that the honor of both himself and his race is at stake.
Performing the Vengeance Rite properly requires the skill, Vengeance Rite, which is a Mental/Average skill, defaulting to Acting-3 or Intimidation-3. The skill may only be defaulted by a dark elf who has seen the ritual before. The GM may require a skill roll when the wronged ssazanthi appears to his victim. A failed roll might indicate that the Rite was performed incorrectly; a successful roll indicates that it was performed well, perhaps even making the victim especially terrified and earning the dark elf respect among his peers.
In ancient times, the ssazanthi would cast a spell along with the Rite. The spell is not necessary in an Vengeance Rite, though elder dark elves know it.
Brands a victim with two phobias -- xenophobia (fear of the unknown) and scotophobia (fear of darkness). These two phobias are then taken advantage of to the extreme by dark elves enacting the Vengeance Rite. Victims often lose their mind long before the wronged dark elf appears to him, making the ceremony that much sweeter for the wronged ssazanthi.
Cost:20, or 40 for severe phobias.
Time to cast:30 minutes.
Prerequisites:Magery, only ssazanthi may cast this spell.
One of the legends about the kayanari is that they built magical instruments, which, when played by a skilled musician, literally created mana from the music. The mana was very specific, usually attuned to one caster or spell, but the mana could vary depending on the sheet music that was being played.
None of the original magical instruments have been recovered, though the spell to create them was recently found in Elfhame. A few kayanari have taken the time to learn the spell, though none have actually used it yet.
Optimistic ylphi believe that the kayanari instruments could bring magic back into the world without the Incubans, though it would be a very slow process.
Makes an ordinary piece of sheet music magical. This spell "perfects" music, making it sound richer, fuller, and exactly the way the caster originally envisioned it (which increases the effective skill the music was composed by +5). Music created by this spell can also be used in Mana Instruments (see below).
Prerequisite: Scroll, Enchant, the Music Composition 15+.
Enchants a finely-crafted musical instrument (created by someone with a skill of 20+) with the ability to make mana when it is played. Once an instrument is crafted, the sound becomes impossibly beautiful whenever played. If a person plays sheet music designed for it, it will generate magic.
Writing sheet music designed for the mana instrument requires the Music Composition (Mental/Hard) skill and enchanted by the Magical Composition spell.
Instruments will generate 1 energy point per second the magical sheet music is played. This energy may only be used by casters or spells that fit the "theme" of the magical sheet music (see the Magical Composition spell, above). If the theme is the mage Balthazar, then only he can cast spells using the mana from the music. If the theme is Fire, then all mages casting Fire spells can use the mana. Anyone that can hear the music can use the mana.
Whenever a mana instrument is being played, the mana level of the area will temporarily raise after an hour of straight playing. Supposedly, a more powerful version of this spell exists that will permanently raise the mana level, but this has yet to be discovered.
Duration:The instrument remains magical permanently; the mana generates only while being played.
The sea elves know that their ancient cities, more so than any of the other elves, are probably long-destroyed. Built mostly on sea mounts and guyots in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the odds that one of these great cities surviving underwater -- without magic -- are slim at best. That doesn't prevent the aquari from looking. After all, the sea may have preserved some once-magical items very well.
Finding these cities is tricky, as most aquari cannot rely on their true form long enough to swim to through the sea, which is a big place anyway, looking for ruins. The sea elves have had to resort to a more commonplace method -- oceanography.
Aquari have trained and signed aboard oceanographic vessels, which routinely perform sonar scans on the bottom of the ocean. At the slightest hint of a ruined city, which are certainly not easy to find or identify with sonar, the aquari contact other elves who will make the trip down to investigate. Occasionally, especially on smaller vessels, a bold aquari will sneak out and dive down to the ocean floor himself. The most famous vessel is the JOIDES Resolution, which almost always has an aquari aboard.
Aquari, of course, boast that their most glorious city was Atlantis itself. Like the ssazanthi, who search desperately for their own hidden cities, the sea elves search the ocean floors for the remains of this great sunken land. Aquari are not sure whether it was destroyed by the Debacle or by earlier, natural catastrophes.
In the early eighties, marine archeologists discovered a sunken island in the Mediterranean, north of Crete, which had the remains of the volcano Thera on it. Apparently, in the 17th century B.C., Thera erupted destroying the island and its Minoan citizens. The aquari immediately investigated the sunken ruins and found many of their sigils on the debris. Many aquari declared that they found Atlantis, though others still look for a bigger site.
Not all aquari cities were underwater. There are many references in Elfhame about aquari island kingdoms. The aquari have found the ruins of one such kingdom in the Canary Islands, where several dozen aquari live today.
A few Majestati have demonstrated an ability called Debacle Phasing. Occasionally, when these Majestati are involved with magic, whether it's the casting of spells, the presence of Incubans, or even just a strange event that happens randomly, they will "phase" out of this existence and appear somewhere or somewhen else.
Most often, these Majestati phase to a time before the Debacle. The best theory the Majestati have to explain this is that the person connects to his Nexus, but somehow travels back in time and embodies his original form. Thus, if Katie Powers was a valkyrie with the Nexus of Freja Nor, a valkyrie who once observed a Viking longship sink during a terrible storm, she might phase and appear on that very longship during the storm.
Unfortunately, when one "Debacle Phases," nothing physically or mentally changes. That is, no extra memories, skills, or abilities appear during a phase. So, Katie Powers would have to deal with the situation as herself, not as Freja Nor.
Rarely, stranger phases occur. A few Majestati have claimed to have phased to the time during the Second Debacle -- the period when magic returns to the earth. Most Majestati say that this vision of the future is hellishly chaotic, with the world turned upside down.
Some Majestati -- mostly elves -- report that they have phased into different animals. Kaelan Durhann, a dark elf, has several times phased into the body of a lion in the middle of the Serengeti, and has taken part in a hunt.
Phasing usually doesn't last more than a half-hour or so. During a Debacle Phase, a person's body doesn't leave or disappear -- the person is just barely conscious, and can be considered Stunned for the duration of the Phase.
Debacle Phasing is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Several Majestati have used it to discover historical information about their people, while others have gotten hurt during a Phase. Occasionally, several Majestati have Debacle Phased together and ended up in the same time and place. It has also been reported that humans can sometimes be pulled into a Phase with a Majestati. How this happens is not known, but a famous story holds that a djinn Debacle Phased into the body of a serpent, and an enemy of his, a human, phased into the body of a rat. The serpent devoured the rat, and the human has not been seen since. Whether this is fact, or an exaggerated rumor, is not known.
GMs may allow PC Majestati to Debacle Phase, though it's best not to use it too often. All Majestati are susceptible to Debacle Phasing, though some a lot more than others. If the GM decides that a PC is in a sufficiently magical (or stressful) situation, he should roll 3 dice. If he rolls a critical success, the PC Debacle Phases. PCs who are susceptible to Debacle Phasing (again, this is up to the GM and players) will Phase on a roll of 6 or less.
Debacle Phasing can be an interesting way to introduce strange plot elements into a GURPS Requiem game. Often times, clues and hints can be available in the Phase that are not available in the real world. GMs are encouraged to use Debacle Phasing creatively, but also rarely.
The valkyrja have discovered that another Norse race, almost identical to the volsunga, were brought back during the Requiem. These are the Berserks.
Berserks are indistinguishable from Volsunga until they connect to their Nexus and become their true self. Then, they become amazingly strong, howl like animals, and content themselves to eating voraciously, and attacking almost anything, boulders and trees being the most likely candidates.
Before Ragnarok, Berserks were used in the Norse armies. If a commander was lucky enough to point them in the right direction, they would do a tremendous amount of damage to the enemy. More often than not, though, they would prove extraneous to the battle, as they attacked the ground and terrain more than the enemy.
The valkyrja have no "official policy" about Berserks, other than to befriend them and stay out of their way. Fortunately, there were not many Berserks brought back with the Requiem.
In game terms, Berserks operate in a permanent state of Berserk, though they won't tire from it at all. They also gain the Enhanced Strength advantage, effectively doubling their ST.
The summer of 1992 saw the emergence of one of the great scourges of the Majestati -- a grendel named Skar.
Skar appeared in Reykjavik, killing five volsunga, one valkyrja, and a kayanari. The six valkyrja had met in a local pub to discuss various matters when one of the bar patrons seemed to go berserk and fiendishly attack the Majestati. Armed with only a large knife, according to the newspapers who reported the story, Skar killed and dismembered all seven Majestati before making his getaway. Locals reported that Skar had pure white hair and glowing yellow eyes.
The valkyrja matrons put out a reward for the grendel's head. He disappeared for several months, but was next spotted about twelve miles from the matrons themselves. The matrons send out three elite valkyries to take care of him, but Skar dispatched all but one. The wounded valkyrja, Kelli, reported that Skar had supernatural strength and speed and carried a sword that was able to slay the warrior-spirits of the valkyrja.
The matrons sent out several help messages to the local dwarves and to Ponthieu. A few dwarves and elves responded, including Kaelan and Johanna Durhann, and combined with the remaining valkyrja in the area, assaulted Skar. A thirteen hour battle ensued in the dark night of Scandinavia, which eventually reached a climax on the top of a high building. Inevitably, Skar was thrown from the building and killed upon hitting the ground. However, upon examining the corpse, the valkyrja discovered that Skar's head was missing.
Recently, a valkyrja in Canada reported seeing Skar again. This has not been confirmed yet.
The valkyrja are steadily becoming more prominent in the world. Like their ancestors, they strive to lead their lives valiantly.
Halen Nor -- Halen is one of the biggest "Cinderella" stories among the Majestati. Shortly after being told that he was a volsunga, he was attacked by a jotun in the body of the valkyrja that illuminated him. He was almost killed, and his Nexus was severely weakened by his lack of faith. He left Ontario, where he had lived all of his life, and hours after he left the city he was attacked by three Fenrir wolves. Miraculously, he survived, crushing one of their skulls with his bare hands before escaping. His faith was hurt even more, and many expected him to be a Lost Child. While visiting a small Canadian town, he found a young girl, Bethany, who was a valkyrja Innamorata. He told her what she was, and the two became good friends. The two were attacked again by the remaining Fenrir wolves, but the two valkyrja triumphed. Halen's Nexus strengthened over the next few months as he and Bethany found Innamorati of all races. Within a year, his Nexus had grown very strong, and he is now a Third Volsunga.
Ara Vaader -- Ara is a valkyrja born in Switzerland. In the early years of the Requiem, Ara noticed that the valkyrja were ignoring the other races. She immediately set out to Elfhame and contacted the elves, establishing official relations between the two Majestati races. She has since become a great friend to the elves, and she even has an honorary position on the Elven High Council. She spends as much of her time in Elfhame as she does with her sisters, who honor her as a valued diplomat.
Clarissa Marjung -- Also called the "Wolfslayer" by her comrades, Clarissa leads the life of true valkyrja. She stays in the cold, Norwegian wilderness, usually by herself, and spends her time slaying Fenrir wolves and grendels, hoping that she will get a vision of the gods. Rarely does she visit civilization, though many of her brothers and sisters seek her out in the wilderness to join her for a while, or to ask for her help. She rarely refuses to help anyone, though she is often cold towards those she does not know personally.
Fierce, carnivorous, and magically-enhanced, the Fenrir have the ability to detect Majestati and will attack them on sight. Several humans have also been attacked by these wolves. Most Fenrir are loners, though some valkyrja have reported packs of four or more.
A typical Fenrir has a ST 20, DX 14, IQ 5, HT 14 / 20. Speed 10. Their black, tough hide has PD 2, DR 4. Weight 200-250 lbs.; size 1 hex. Attacks by biting (close combat) for 1d cutting damage, and usually goes for the throat. Because of their magical nature, Fenrir take half damage from non-magical attacks. Majestati, or weapons wielded by Majestati will do full damage.
The following is an excerpt from the Dwarven clanbook:
"Steps to Create A Clan:
"Headmost, get ye sev' hearty dwarves with beards long.
"Slam the table-mugs down on a stone-black table-forge t'once for each dwarf king dead, thrice for each clan you seek to outnumber, eight times for each finger you have less then the dwarf king himself.
"Hit the table-forge in the f'ling manner until it sunders on gray toes:
"Heel on't, forehead, toes, then fist. Spit thy breath and heave thy chest.
"When the stone shatters and no blood is shed, each dwarf craftsmen must take a sliver of sacred rock and scribe hissen' name with his iron nails. The shards then thrown at helmeted foreheads until one dwarf stands iron. Then shall he write his name in the Book of Clans aside the proper name for his new Clan."
Like the elves, each dwarven clan has a certain sigil associated with it. Unlike the ylphi, the dwarves really don't care about the actual clan symbols, but rather what they can make from them.
A clan's rune is merely a starting point for dwarves. They take the basic symbol, twist it, play with it, and alter it slightly to make it unique. These new symbols then become the property of the individual dwarf, which he engraves on everything he makes. The only rule concerning these symbols is that they have to be totally unique, and that they have to bear some resemblance to the original, traditional rune. If either of these rules are broken, the dwarf will be ridiculed by his peers.
Occasionally, when a dwarf believes that he has become somewhat of a legend among his own people -- which actually happens less often than most people would think -- the dwarf will find a nibelung mage and have his rune enchanted. A rune enchanted then becomes part of the dwarven magical rune system. The exact function of this rune will vary, but generally it will be a minor, very specific rune -- steam, lava, marble, tools, CDs, rhododendrons, et cetera.
The magical process of bringing a symbol into the dwarven rune system requires the spell Rune Incorporation, below. Because no dwarf has been born with natural Magery since the Debacle, however, the casting of this spell is practically an impossibility. Supposedly, the Incuban Merlyn has given magical Shards to some dwarves, allowing them to learn Rune magic and cast their spells.
When this spell is successfully cast on a new symbol, the rune will become a part of the runic "alphabet" with a specific meaning designated by the caster. The new rune may not repeat the function of a pre-existing rune. If the casting fails, that symbol, and hence the dwarf that crafted it, may never be enchanted again. It is against dwarven tradition for a dwarf whose rune has been "rejected" to create a new one.
Energy cost to cast100. The new rune must be engraved on the flat surface of a gem worth a minimum of $5,000.
PrerequisitesMagery 3, Activate Runes.
Dwarven Adepts may use the Rune magic system from GURPS Magic. Instead of the Futhark runes, the dwarves use their own. These ruins are very much more specific than the Futhark runes -- they are not interpreted nearly as loosely.
The dwarves love a good reputation; they also think that a good reputation sours once non-dwarves hear about it.
Sean Chando -- The leader of the small Chando clan, Sean is a charismatic, intelligent, and brave dwarf. Known for his habit of banging his hands together when he speaks, Sean is a great leader among his people. Educated at Notre Dame, Sean discovered that he was a dwarf while playing football. After getting hit hard during a scrimmage, Sean connected with his Nexus and transformed into a nibelung. Luckily, he was in uniform and no one seemed to notice. After graduation, Sean went to England seeking other dwarves; he found them, and started his own clan. Clan Chando is most known for it's discovery of an ogre Majestati, but since then it has been seeking out other Majestati not of the four dominant races. Sean himself has the ultimate goal of finding the gnomes, who he swears have been brought back during the first Requiem, but have been hiding ever since.
Crazy Crawford -- One of the most ambitious, lone dwarves, Crazy Crawford (as he calls himself) has conceived the grand plan of digging a huge tunnel just under the surface of the earth. With this tunnel, he believes that dwarves could walk anywhere on Earth, without the bother of seeing humans or their work. Crazy Crawford is one of the dwarves' best craftsmen. He undoubtedly has the skill and patience to do the job. When, exactly, this tunnel will get done is anyone's guess, but Crazy Crawford is already hard at work.
Jake Magraw -- Jake Magraw is one of the world's finest theatrical designers, and his beautiful sets and lighting designs can be seen around the world. Hundreds of dwarves scurry to see Jake's newest designs, and they applaud loudly upon seeing his work. Jake has only known that he is a dwarf for a few months, and the dwarves keep egging him to build a dwarf-only theatre deep underground where no humans can see it. Not surprisingly, Jake has declined and continued to work in the real world, though as the dwarves continually offer more money to him, their idea doesn't seem as ludicrous. Gruff, but with a kind soul, Jake is one of the world's most prominent Majestati. As such, he doesn't get involved much in the politics of the dwarves, or the Majestati.
Djinni do not interact much with their other races, so only a few djinni names trickle down to the more experience Majestati of the first Requiem.
Ahmad -- This ifrit has quite a reputation among Majestati, particularly the valkyrja. Ahmad was possessed by a jotun while in New York City, where he slew several valkyrja and dwarves before disappearing. No one knows where he is now, though several volsunga are attempting to track him. He is easily identified by his red skin and hollow, black eyes.
Nadim Qatalla -- A shaitan who tours Europe, looking for Majestati, Nadim is the most visible of all djinni. Once a year, he meets with the Elven High Council in Elfhame and the Valkyrja Matrons. He visited the dwarves in 1993, but they played a practical joke on him and he has not since returned. He is a peace-loving man, full of good-intention and wry humor. Two small horns rise from his forehead, and his eyes are a strange emerald color.
Kishan the Death-Jackal -- Kishan is an Innamorati; he has no idea of what he really is. Unfortunately, he is also one of the Middle Easts most renowned terrorists. Wild black hair and eyes that stare like a shark's, Kishan is very unstable and very dangerous. Even the ifrits who would love to have him in their ranks can't get close enough to him to tell him what he is. He's caused quite a stir among the djinni, many of which argue that he should be avoided, not embraced. Kishan's admirers often call him "the" Kishan.
On odd event happens somewhere in the middle-east every year. All of the shaitan djinn in the area set up a huge pavilion in the middle of the desert. Colorful tents, food, flags, music, and dozens of tables covered in exotic goods are the main focus of this event. The shaitan themselves run the tables and the food stands, selling odd wares that they collect over the course of the year. The shaitan only set out the goods that they think are magical; however, not having magical aptitude, most of these items are strange-looking, sometimes ancient, but usually normal. Of course, perhaps one item in a dozen will truly be magical, and that's what attracts others to the bazaar.
Other djinni are the primary customers of the Shaitan Bazaar. The bazaar is declared a neutral zone, so no fighting, or even arguing can take place between the four djinni Winds. Fights do break out, but the shaitan are quick to settle it and banish the violating djinn from all future bazaars. An occasional human will wander into the bazaar and wonder at all of the strange people and stranger items on sale here. Mages in the area enjoy attending the bazaar, and recently elves and dwarves (particularly from Clan Zughb) have found their way to the market.
The existence of a few magical items, and many magical people, has a special effect on the mana-level of the bazaar. When a lot of Majestati attend, and the shaitan have a particularly good supply of magical items, the mana is raised to low, and all of the Majestati automatically connect to their Nexus and appear as they truly are. This does not happen every year, but the shaitan throw a huge party when it does, and invite everybody to come.
Djinni have always had the problem of being targets for human mages; to the sorcerers of the Middle East who lived hundreds of years ago, having a personal djinni servant was a mark of high status. As a result, much to the djinni's rage, human mages developed special spells to effect djinni.
After the Debacle, mages could no longer cast these spells, which really didn't matter much because the djinni lost all of their magical power. Now that a few humans have the power of magic again, and the djinni once again roam the earth, the ancient djinni spells have been rediscovered and learned by a few ambitious Adepts. These spells, thankfully to the djinn, are still rare, and GMs may require an Unusual Background for a PC to know them. Djinni mages would never stoop to learn these spells.
Causes a single djinni to retreat from the caster. On every turn that the spell is maintained, the subject djinni may attempt to resist it; if it failes, it must move away from the caster at its current maximum Move rate. (If cornered, it can turn and use an All-Out Defense.) If it succeeds, it can remain stationery (or move away slowly) without problems; if it attempts to move toward, cast spells at, or in any way attack the caster, it must make a Will roll to do so. Whether or not it succeeds, it will then lose 1d-2 ST (as Fatigue), and any die rolls it makes are at -2.
The caster must have line of sight; his skill level with the spell is the maximum radius in hexes. Djinn that are father away are still subject to the restrictions on attacking him.
Cost:4 to cast; 2 to maintain. For every +1 paid to cast (half the costing cost to maintain), reduce the djinni's resistance and Will rolls by 1.
Causes a djinni to appear instantly before the caster. Does not guarantee a helpful djinni. If the caster does not successfully use a Lesser Geas spell or its like, the GM should roll a reaction for the djinni, at -2 (djinni do not usually like being "conjured" by mortals, but may be in a whimsical mood).
On the first use of this spell, a completely random djinni -- who is currently in al-Azrael -- of the type requested will show up. They may then be persuaded or magically commanded to come again on any future use of the spell by the same caster (or a random djinni can always be summoned).
Cost:10 for a jann or shaitan, 15 for an ifrit, 25 for a marid. Extremely powerful djinn (with point totals over 400) cannot usually be summoned.
Time to cast:1 minute.
The most despised of the "djinni college," this spell enables the user to seal a container or chamber so that a djinni within it cannot get out for the duration of the spell. Getting the djinni into the trap in the first place is a separate question; usually a Lesser Geas spell is required, but trickery can be just as good. The shaitan boast that they have never been tricked into a trap.
The container can be any size, from a small bottle to an entire building, but it must be fully, tightly closed (water-tight is good enough), and the mage must touch it while casting the spell. The djinni cannot resist the spell, but the casting cost is directly linked to its power.
The caster is informed by the GM of the energy cost when the spell takes effect, and loses the fatigue then; if he cannot meet it, then the djinni are unimpeded -- or take one turn to break out, if the caster spends half the full energy requirement. If multiple djinn are trapped in one container, add half the others' total ST and IQ to the full value of the most powerful.
The djinni cannot damage the container or cast spells out of it, nor can it use any Talents to help it escape in any way. It may call out; its shouts are aduible outside ath the level of a quiet conversational voice.
Duration: Permanent, or until released.
Cost: Djinni's ST + IQ, or (ST + IQ)/5 for a 5 minute spell. Half that to maintain. If a djinni has Magical Tolerance, add that to his effective IQ for this spell.
Prerequisites: Magery 2, Magic Resistance, Turn Djinni
The djinni were once led by a marid sultan, who ruled over all types of djinn from his jeweled throne in al-Azrael, the only city of the djinni. The city was small, with most of it taken up by the marid's palace. Still, the city was beautiful, rivaling Baghdad of the time. Spires soared up towards heaven, gold and jewels were inlaid into the sandy buildings, and magic was very real, with djinn mages flying in and out windows on their magic carpets.
Like Elfhame, when the Debacle came, al-Azrael collapses, unable to stand without strong mana. The city crumbled and was buried by the sand.
The djinn have rediscovered al-Azrael, but unlike the elven home, no Incuban has resurrected it back to its former greatness. Sections of the palace are intact, but still buried under tons of desert sand. Djinn first gained access by using their Sand Meld talent to burrow into the earth, but in the years since it was rediscovered, the djinn have created a small stairwell that leads to the surface.
The interior of al-Azrael is small, with only eight rooms surviving completely intact; the rest lies buried, or unfound. Several djinn have made al-Azrael their home, and these eight rooms have restored to their former beauty. Books line the walls, soft, expensive carpets adorn the floors, and ancient lamps light the darkness. Everything has been put back exactly the way it was, except for the magic, which has not returned.
The eight rooms were once mostly council rooms or quarters. The djinn who live in al-Azrael continue to excavate the ruins, hoping to find the great throne-room of the marid king, the magnificent Temple of Solomon -- an exact duplicate of the one in Jerusalem -- or the treasure halls of the djinn. Mostly, they have only found sand-filled, crumbled rooms.
One of the few artifacts to survive the collapse of Al-Azrael was the game known simply as "Djinn-chess." A variation on the regular game of Chess, Djinn-chess is slightly more complicated. According to legends, djinn played Djinn-chess instead of going to war with each other. The leaders of two or more factions would meet in a ceremonial room and play the game, which could last several hours. After the game, the winner was bound to follow the terms of the loser, as set before the match.
Djinn-chess can be played with up to four people, unlike regular Chess. The board is identical to a chess board, except that each of the four sides is expanded by sixteen squares -- a zone where the pieces actually start, the middle of the board being where they war.
There are four different sets of pieces, each with five different types. Each of the Winds of djinn -- the marid, the ifrit, the jann, and the shaitan -- has their own pieces arranged in six groups: the warriors, the workers, the mages, the sultan, the priests and the advisors. The numbers of the pieces, along with their movement and attack capabilities, vary along with the Wind.
Unlike normal Chess, Djinn-chess is not entirely equal. The marids have the most powerful of pieces, followed by the ifrits, the jann, and then the shaitan -- the last two being more-or-less equal in power.
Traditionally, the leader of each group would use the piece set of which he was a member. So, if an ifrit and a marid were in conflict, they would each use their own piece set. Djinn-chess need not always be a four-person game, though usually it was, with any empty chairs filled with jann, who would help decide the fate of the game.
The ability to play Djinn-chess is a Mental/Average skill, defaulting to Chess-2 (Chess itself is Mental/Easy). Anybody using the ifrit playing pieces is at -2, while using the jann and shaitan playing pieces are at a -4 penalty.
Like the elves, djinni often change their names when they find out to whom their original spirit belonged to. Not surprisingly, these names are Arabic in origin, though a few have Indian or more African names.
Djinni often add long titles to their names, such as "The Djinni Who Knew He Would Be King," or "She Who Dresses in Silver Gowns." Usually, these names are given by the acquaintances of the djinni, though just as often the djinni himself will make up his own title.
Common male djinni names include: Abdullah, Ahmed, Farid, Hassan, Khalil, Mamik, Shadar, Sindbad, Yussuf, or Zahn.
Common female djinni names include: Abla, Amina, Hania, Shirine, Rashaa, Temadhur, and Zinaida.
Both the Majestati and the Adepts often find themselves in danger. With so many enemies, both normal and supernatural, these groups have learned to protect themselves.
The elves prefer style over efficiency. Most ylphi consider the "ultimate" elven weapon to be an ancient sword, crafted by their ancestors, and made magical once again. With the recreation of Elfhame by Prospero, there are quite a few of these weapons in existence. The elves have discovered caches of ancient weaponry in their home, most of which are not magical, but many of which carry an enchantment or two. The enchanted weapons are not doled out to any elf wanting them. Indeed, even the regular weapons aren't freely given. The elves of Elfhame give these weapons only to influential elves that can be trusted. PCs wishing to own one of these creations should earn them through play. PCs who desperately want a magical item of their own should pay 10% of the energy cost to create the item in character points.
Valkyrja and volsung use similar weapons. Their love for swords and spears, however, is not about style but practicality. Many of their enemies, such as the jotuns and fenrir, can only be damaged by weapons actually wielded by Majestati. Guns won't work, because the bullet is ultimately not attached to the Majestati. Though a few volsunga won't mind battling it out with their fists, swords are the preferred weapon.
The dwarves prefer simple weapons, and many love carrying around a good hammer or axe. A few dwarves enjoy using guns, but they like to use big guns, which usually limits their legality.
Djinni are a mixed lot; the ones that interact more with the magical world use ancient Arabian weapons such as scimitars and bows. The djinni that deal with the political world use assault rifles and other guns. Most djinni have a code of honor with each other; a gun-wielding djinni will never shoot one that is not similarly armed. Djinni who are determined to fight to the death always use similar weapons. These honor duels are usually settled with antique swords, shields, and armor. Some djinni extend this code to other Majestati as well, but never to Adepts.
The Adepts themselves prefer a small gun to weapons that require greater skill. A gun will just as easily kill a mugger, an elf, or another Adept, making them the perfect weapons. Many Adepts shoot first and cast spells later.
Regardless of the preferred weaponry of any one group, the Majestati and the Adepts are not walking tanks. They are rarely armed with more than a knife, as a magical person that shoots another will get into just as much trouble with the law as an ordinary thief. Both the Majestati and the Adepts want to avoid notice, not draw people's attention to it. Weapons will always be well-concealed and rarely used.
Like all magical spells, the Requiem was not perfect. Though it summoned thousands of dead, nonhuman souls and placed them into the bodies of newborn humans, the spell made the occasional error. There have been a few cases of a person bearing two or more Nexuses within him. Thus, a human could be born with the nonhuman spirits of a dwarf and a djinni, for example
There have been three known cases of this -- a dwarf-djinni named Admuk, an valkyrja-elf named Corinne, and a dwarf-volsunga-djinni named Zebediah. Both Admuk and Zebediah were not mentally stable because of this condition (both had cases of split personality), though Corinne worked extremely hard to keep her own self individual from the two Nexuses living within her.
Those who have two or more Nexuses within them are called dopplegangers. The life of a doppleganger is extremely miserable, as both Nexuses are competing with each other and with the Majestati's human mind. There may have been more dopplegangers born with the Requiems, but if there were, they probably quickly lost faith in their abilities just so they could lead a normal, single life. GMs should not allow PCs to play dopplegangers without a serious Unusual Background. PC dopplegangers must buy two Nexuses (and therefore, two racial templates).