Monday, 19 July 2021

The Shadow Speaks


(I lost track of whatever our format was meant to be and have started just rambling about these guys)


God damn this was a good entry. Old Patrick, how do I get that energy back?

Honestly this reads more like a Neil Gaiman story or an eldritch episode of Cadfael than something you could put in a proper adventurer. Nevertheless- all of this is related to huge buildings, specifically; ancient buildings, which are places we might expect adventurers to spend a lot of time. So there must be something I can do with it.

Agnes Miler-Parker


A umbra-technical of ruins who remembers the old building and tries to re-create it through seduction and shadow powers - assembling lesser spirits in mimicry of old ways, maybe even a relatively safe space for small beings of less power as being part of this mummery brings you under the aegis of that potent but disordered spirit - could easily imagine a fey seduction situation where moony individuals summoned away to the ruins.

To be in love with the shadow of a place is something we would expect from poets, in fact probably a fashion - but what would it be like if the shadow of a place was in love with you? Would it try to trap you there? Maybe it doesn't care if you live or die since time means little to it and it can love your bones just as well.

(Trying to remove bones from an ancient place angers the shadow of the place which then sets its shadowy history against you).

Powers - so begin with shapechanging - a huge raptorial creature, perhaps as big and dangerous as a dragon or a wyvern, but capable of melding in and out of space according to the umbral nature of it, but add to this a kind of power of illusion, an ability to warp the vision - but let’s say also to warp the mind - to bring scenes and elements of the past to life, but only those bound to this place, and not directly from life but from their description in stone - a replication of a record of history, rather than a fresh re-creation. So perhaps the character and nature of the *artist" and the _age_ will show through in these illusions. Do you need an art historian to decipher/fight them?

Franz Schwimbeck


The not-knowing of self could be extended to the elemental and all its creations. Like there is something shadowy about its consciousness as well as its powers, not just a ghost or entity lurking in a place but a power that does not know it is a power - that does not know it *is* at all, with each expression believing that it is what it seems to be and is doing whatever it does for its own imagined reasons, and all of this is influenced by the contents and nature of the building - its record in stone and what the elemental knows about that record.

This perhaps explains why it can be such a seductive lover for some people, it almost has no "self" or no awareness of such, so it is totally focused on, absorbed by, the object of its attention. 

Richard Tennant-Cooper


> Ruin the Relationship!. Hot poetic heiress "in love" with the Elemental - they want to be together so to break up the relationship you need to make them no longer in love with the building.

> Seduce that Shadow!. Someone looking for ruins or has already fond them, says they want to study the ancient carvings, paintings etc. These are long-gone but if they can find a way to summon out the elemental of that place they hope to seduce it - but it is fractured and a bit nuts.

> The Lover Without a Self. Most shadow believes it is light - is there an adventure in that? It runs towards the sun and dies. The idea of a shadow that wants to die - lets say someone either is in love with the shadow or wants it to be more stable and needs to find a way to stop it running towards the sun each morning, so you have to persuade the shadow that it is not light, but it has no name or selfhood and takes on different forms depending on the situation. Ok this was a difficult idea to put in an adventure.

> Skeletons Up To Something. There are ghostly undead knocking around the cathedral at night, walking corpses and liches doing dark rituals, but hat disappear to nothing, but it turns out that its just the elemental, but then it turns out that there are actually evil undead doing conspiracies in the crypts and the elemental was inchoately trying to let people know.

> Rambo vs the Protestants. Have to defend a Cathedral or ancient temple from religious radicals who want to smash up its images for being heretical - PCs are massively outnumbered but if they are clever they can gain the aid of the elemental which inhabits this place and it will aid them with shadowy illusions drawn from its deep memories (but they can't communicate directly, and must do so by inference with its conjured selves).

> Its a cult!. A group charmed to the service of the elemental but they think its something else (and so does it) like a mysterious goth cult or something.

> Child of Stone - or more really child of the memory of stone. born of the union between an elemental and a woman - they have nebulous but highly situational shadow abilities, are massively drawn towards this particular place and strange dream-memories of being a building for 5,000 years. They actually know quite a lot of history though they don't understand it. The Hook? Maybe they are a noble, a future King or Queen and them being a massive wierdo is going to cause problems for the Nation. Can the PCs do something about it?

> There's a ghost of some old dude, we can't banish it, please investigate. [It’s the Elemental who in that form, _thinks_ it is the man, or even the ghost of the man], to get rid of it will you play along or do something else?

> The shadow that fled to the night and returned. The Shadow elemental of a place suffered somehow, or its building was changed, so it fled into the night and changed, becoming something more aggressive, savage, consuming and powerful, now it returns to the bones of the place that was changed and this now-modernised building is draped in the shadows of its ancient past, even silhouettes of things that are no longer there - people being taken in the half-dark, others being seduced and compelled, epidemics of blindness, only the undead in the walled-off crypt actually remember or understand what the threat is.

> Art Crime. The shadows that loved beauty - some building or place where its said to favour the beautiful and make them even more so, like if you are a hotty then if you go there you will be well-favoured, a fashion for high status women to be painted in this place, even though its not really for that - whole deal where you have to break into this cathedral, get this fancy woman and the artist in (maintaining their dignity, you can't just cart her over the wall), and distract the guardians of the building for as long as it takes the artist to paint her face at least - but you have to do all this non lethally, harming no-one, not offending the spirit of the place and also not irritating or annoying the principal, a kind of highly specific art-crime if you will.

> The Invisible Man - they want cycles of things repeated - perhaps one actually has a formal role within the maintenance of a great temple, and the hierarchy even knows they are a shadow elemental, though they do not - there is an office, an expected series of responses and interactions with others during certain hours but the rest of the time they simply 'don't exist' - in fact they become, and are, the shadows of the place and so in a sense know all that the shadows see - the enemy of the PCS is an "invisible man" who isn't even real and doesn't know that - or maybe that's the quest giver and the rest of the clergy know but they themselves don't - the missions are all about preserving the cathedral but "in disguise" so that’s not always obvious.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! I was planning a one shot featuring the elemental pretty heavily so this couldn't have been better timing. I think I've gotten more use out of FotVH than any other book I own