Posted by : David Guyll March 30, 2013

Now that we have shown you various methods of travel and a fairly unconventional city, I think it is time for an adventuring locale. Next stop, Acamar!

Acamar is one of many corpse stars that float within the Deep Astral, where the silvery light fades into a gloomy, grey twilight. Those that wander too close feel it before they see it: paranoid fear grips the mind, flashes of things skulk at the edges of sight, alien voices whisper from the shadows, and nightmare-filled sleep prevents any meaningful respite.

Though dead, or at least in a state so similar as to be virtually indistinguishable, its mere presence can warp space and time, driving away only reason. Even vessels utilizing ley-line navigation to escape can find themselves somehow drawn back, though many a sanity-stripped crew has willingly flown into its dark embrace.

Those that do manage to flee with their minds intact--mostly, at any rate--describe it as a hollow, shattered sphere made of an oily black substance. A disc of debris, composed of stone and metal chunks of various shapes and sizes, ranging from flecks to horse-sized (or even larger), surrounds it for tens of thousands of feet. The metal is oddly enough, cold iron, which makes Acamar even more dangerous given how magic reacts to it.

See, it is very difficult to get arcane magic to "stick" to cold iron. It can be done, but is is a laborious task with often temporary results. This quality makes it ideal for forging weapons capable of slicing through magical barriers, and armor that repels it, which makes it unfortunate that cold iron only seems to be found within and around corpse stars.

The surrounding disk, combined with nodules that stud its surface, disrupts divination magic--so good luck avoiding it or plotting an escape course--and also makes it difficult to weave and sustain magic. This extends to the magic that operates and holds astral vessels together: get to close, and your ship could end up dead in the water, as it were. Of course iron is not the only, or even most severe, danger.

Mortal cultists, many mutated into barely recognizable shapes, pray and and offer sacrifices in hopes of reviving the dead and not-dead star (also power, which is where star pact warlocks come from). They venture forth in obelisk-like ships to abduct victims and acquire supplies, as Acamar is inhospitable to most forms of life. Aboleths and other tentacled horrors (like whatever I might end up having to rename mind flayers due to WotC's licensing), pursue old and terrible agendas. They often utilize mortals as tools to further their goals, which sometimes conflict with each other.

Finally, Acamar is host to many more alien and/or chimeric entities. Some, like star worms, have only base instincts, while others, like astral kraken, are as ancient and cunning as all but the oldest of dragons.

So, why would anyone want to go there?

Well, there is plenty of cold iron to be had, just floating about for the taking. Though arcane magic is easily foiled, divine magic and psionics have been proven to be as reliable as the user. Properly shielded mining ships skirting the edges of the debris field can make a hefty profit in a fairly short period of time (especially considering that, again, it only seems to be found near corpse stars), compared to dredging it out of a shifting elemental zone...so long as they do not run afoul of monsters or obelisk.

Another reason is knowledge. Knowledge is power, and the denizens that call Acamar's cavernous bowels home have it in abundance, including ancient magic, how to create magic items, the location of powerful artifacts, and more. Some, like the aboleths, retain an almost photographic memory ranging back thousands of years, but would need to be persuaded to both part with it, as well as adhere to any bargains made.

Others record what they discover--whether from visions that Acamar deigns to impart, intuited through the movement and patterns of stars, or even from the minds of consumed victims--into memory shards, organic archives, or, more crudely, etched into the walls.

It is also possible that you end up there whether or not you want to. Characters might run afoul of an astral storm and deposited in the Deep Astral. They could also be unwitting passengers on a vessel whose pilots end up going insane. They might even be abducted by an obelisk, or be paid by a border colony to rescue abducted villagers.

{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Good stuff! The Lovecraftian material that you consistently put out is always a nice change of pace to classic medeival fantasy. I particularly like the 'paid by border colony to rescue abducted villagers' bit. They will think that they're dealing with astral slavers, not star cultists!
    (cackles maniacally)

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  2. I was thinking about this, and it seems that we can build an interesting culture around those who mine cold iron on and around Acamar.

    I picture the sort of desperate individuals who would do this for a living as being grim and funereal, or possessed of a black, nihilistic humor. I think that this is something that appeals to the same type of person who readily takes up banditry. Perhaps you even have these individuals pressganging drunks into salvage crews.

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  3. A Sundered World just keeps getting better with each post. If Eberron weren't so awesome, it would be my first choice. (no offense meant to either setting, intended as compliment to both)

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  4. Here is a quick glimpse at how I picture Acamar in my mind's eye.

    This image was created by a very talented Swedish artist by the name of Andree Wallin, whose deviantart page can be found here .

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  5. .... So beautiful, in its own sanity-sucking way.

    The picture entitled 'bridges' can be used to represent Sharn, I think.

    ReplyDelete

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