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Star Shrines

General Description

Every star has a rune element at its heart. (A rune has parts.  I.e. Fire has light and heat; Dark has shadow and cold; etc. In addition, most runes have various relationships and connections. Each star has a correspondence to one of those parts or elements. Think of each star having a word, or a part of a word, in the dictionary bound up in its essence, expressed as a rune or glyph). Every star can be connected to its rune or true name by the magical representation or connection that a star rune or star glyph can create *if* the rune is bridged by a shrine that embodies the star. A star can have a shrine in any place the light of that star reaches *and* a hero has brought the star's power to the place, founding a shrine.

The base relationship for a shrine is that it usually drinks down 3 points of power (from both POW and from maximum POW -- thus someone who had POW of 3d6 would change to someone with POW of 3d6-3 -- this can affect POW gains, maximums and access to rune magics and rune power) as a part of embodying a connection between the rune, the star and the person providing the power.  With proper preparation, a person who is prepared as an initiate of the particular star rune only loses one to three points of POW and does not lose the points from maximum POW (the amount lost depends on the nature and strength of the star power gained).

A person who is not properly aligned (i.e. someone who is hostile to the star or its initiates or to the runic nature -- a cold creature trying to breach a fire based shrine for example, or most chaos tied creatures) will lose d6+3 points of POW by breaching the outer wards of a star shrine, another d6+3 points of POW for breaching the inner wards and then d6+3 points of POW for touching the star rune itself and invoking the shrine.  It is not unheard of for the inner and outer wards to be concentric circles bounding the outside and the inside of the walls of a tower (such as a guard tower).  Losing 2d6+6 points of POW will kill many attackers and often dissuades others.

Star shrines and their gifts or connections are similar to Dayzatar's gifts (which is the way I modeled the concept for my Runequest campaign). In addition to the power, the initiate also gains a geas and a condition.  The geas or limit is directly enforced (e.g. if it is "cannot wear metal armor" wearing metal armor causes immediate harm, such as draining magic points at 1 point per melee round; "cannot ingest alcohol" may result in alcohol burning like flaming acid, etc.).  The condition must be followed or the power granted will fade.

Finally, each gift has a mark it leaves on the person who receives the gift.

The gifts are similar to chaos taints in approximate power, except they also have geas, conditions and appearance markers.


Any really observant player will realize that all of the shrines seem to have the names of the heroes who went into the mythic realm and brought back a part of the star rune, rather than of the star itself.  They are right.  Each of the stars also has an inner name (vs its hero name).  Learning the star's real name will let the character learn the rune skill associated with the star.

For example, Starcalled Falcon's real name will let a character resist magic (all defensive POW v. POW type struggles) with one extra point per point of pow invested in the rune.  (This allows greater than species maximum effective POW strength in defense).  The initial points of POW invested in the relationship count towards the rune skill.  Most rune skills are similar to "normal" skills (e.g. the rune skill defense, for example) and require both the points and successful training or experience rolls.


Sample Shrine:

Starcalled Falcon

This shrine takes 3 points of power/will.

The gift it gives is +2d6 to POW, +1d6 to INT (both actual and maximum).

If the person visiting the shrine is linked to shadow (rather than the cold part of Dark) the Gift causes d3+3 permanent damage to CON.

Limit/Geas/Penalty is "may not ingest alcohol" -- alcohol will burst into flame and will burn like acid to the rune marked.

Condition is "must feed the poor at least seven times a year with at least barley soup" (must give charity to the needy of the earth's bounty).

Mark is a white seven pointed star on the left cheek, in outline (like a very fine tattoo).

Known shrine is the guard outpost at river's end on Starstrands.  It has fallen into disrepair and is no longer actively used.

Initiate rings are made of seven strands of a white metal (looks like white gold), bright and almost hair thin, woven around each other and around seven seven pointed starts that look like they are made from opals.  The stars are tiny.  When an initiate or rune marked wears a rings they can see as if in broad daylight as long as there is as much light as a single star casts, and in broad daylight the light is dimmed (roughly as if wearing sun glasses). The rings require a point of POW, starfire iridium, fire opal and 250 wheels worth of supplies to make.  The shrine was known to have fourteen of them at its peak.

The power of Starcalled Falcon was brought to the land during the great dark by the hero Falcon who sought greater power to withstand the wind sprites (POW v. (POW+current magic points)/2 attacks, if they succeed ,they drain d3 magic points, d3 fatigue and d2 hit points each time they succeed) and to make his way in the great dark.  He gained what he sought, tempered by wisdom and, a treasure (starfire iridium and fire opals) and the ability to allow others who were not yet bonded to the rune to see in the dark (by making the rings).  His shrine connected with the land at a towering rock that was set apart from mortal lands by the flow of the river and by isolation.  The city, at its peak, had a guardpost there that was in a tower controlled by an order of  hunting rangers and fighting men dedicated to Starcalled Falcon.


Eyebright Starcalled

The shrine costs 2 points of POW, an eye, 1 point of CON, 1 point of STR, 2 points of DEX.  

The geas/penalty is never to wear an eyepatch or facial make-up. The penalty is blinding pain.

The condition/duty is to engage in a building project of some sort every year, even if it is just steepling fingers.

In return the person gains Civil Engineering at 95%, Castle Age technology.  In addition, if the true name of Eyebright is learned (instead of the hero name), by expending 1 point of fatigue, the initiate may see (POWx3 meters in range) into the structure of a building, seeing stress lines, beams -- and secret passages and other undisclosed features.  Base chance of this rune skill is (POW+INT)x2%, +INT% per additional point of POW expended on the skill.

The One-Eyed King is the leader of this Shrine's inner circle.


Starry Path

This star rune gives true regeneration as the star power.  1-3 points of regeneration, depending on the number of points of POW sacrificed (1-3).  The hidden skill is heal others, using the regeneration power.  If the user makes the skill roll, then for as long as they touch the target, the target is healed as if regenerating at the same depth and strength as the skilled one has the ability. Those with the link to the star are marked with white fingernails and white toenails.

Possession of the rune limits points of healing spells learned to 1 point per point of pow in gift (so that if a person has one point in the rune, then they cannot use more than healing 1, even if they have more points in the healing spells, in order to use more points they need more points in the rune/star) and prohibits heat magic use (fire/light is ok). The rune is to be used in secret, and requires gift giving in secret (preferably healing)


Starry Quickness Bright/Dark

Star shrine results in bleached out or white tinged hair, increased speed/dex, and smallness (i.e. -1 to base range).

There is an inverted shrine (the Starry Quickness Dark) that is identical except the side effect is darkening of of hair, but still increased speed/dex, and smallness (-1 to base range).

Limit/Geas/Penalty is "may not ingest alcohol" -- alcohol will burst into flame and will burn like acid to the rune marked.

Condition involves not wearing heavy armor (defined as metallic armor).


Starcalled Ianthe (Violet Blossom)

The gift is stealth (in LOD terms, -1 to enemy's LOS per point of power in the rune, consider it a weak cloak of shadows).

The inner nature of the rune is magical stealth (1 level of prismatic resist per level).

The geas is to avoid raucous laughter or crude public displays (such cause both cramps and choking, 1d6 points of damage/strike rank after a d6+1 sr delay).

The side-effect or mark is that the initiate's eyes have a violet cast to their iris. Also, where a normal person's pictures would show "red eye" in response to a camera's flash, an initiates will have "violet eye" in pictures.

The condition is to help bury or cremate the dead at least once a year (can be satisfied by burning an enemy's body after they have died).

Ianthe was a great assassin who became a necromancer after her fall. The shrine was raised before the fall and was not tainted by it. In order to improve her lodge's ability to penetrate and strike at the evil they fought, she sought the star paths and brought back this gift.  The shrine is in Switzerland, in the high alps and was fallow for many years (from about 1200 BC to 1400 AD).  It, and the Kephalos that guarded it are now part of a boarding school. She established the shrine before her fall and its initiates hope to redeem her some day.


Starbrought Lightning

This is one of the elven stars, of the five in the dwarf kin constellation.

Requirements: Fae or human blood. Geas, carry a blue crystal prism (usually as a charm or decoration). Must wear an item of blue clothing or go naked. Depending on whether or not the gifts are paid for in full or not, darkness and fire will cause the person extra damage.  Non-fae can become partial initiates by generating static electricity and discharging it at the edge of the shrine area.  As long as they are not hostile or of adverse intent to the shrine, that ritual will let them pass if they have been introduced to the shrine by an initiate first.

Personality change, +1 to like elves, +2 to like dwarven kin, elves will like +2, dwarves and dwarf-kin (who use forges) will like +3.

The gift depends on whether the person who is bound to the essence of the star binds to the strike of the lightning or its return.

Strike

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