Black Metal, Red Blood (3.5e Quest)
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Black Metal, Red Blood is a campaign in the fantasy world, Templa'Tol. It takes place on Gigantes, the largest of the earth motes; and on Northern Sela in the year TC1157.
The Fall of the World
600 years ago a calamaty struck Templa'Tol. In the center of the Ocean of Wrens, something terrible had happened. A great force of dark magic was unleashed, it's power unstoppable by even the gods themselves, the sea turned black and sickly, as thick as blood. As the dark water slowly seeped its way towards the five continents and the many small islands therein, it killed all in it's path. But it did not stop there, the very soil was tainted, tendrils of black creeped their way through forests, plains, over mountains. and it did not stop until the entire world was engulfed in black.
The world was no longer suitable to sustain life, in fact all that came in contact with this energy died or mutated into something evil. This energy, however, did not find it's way through the air and onto the Earth Motes. So the eighteen islands remained pristine and untainted.
The people were forced to adapt or die, fueling a great revolution of metal and steam. Metal, was one of the few materials that were less affected by the power of the dark magic. Though many simpler metals such as Iron would become brittle and crumble, there were few, more complex metals that remained unaffected by this energy. Of these were Brass, Copper, Carbos, and Black Steel.
Many machines were built to filter what they could, and to keep people out of contact with the natural ground. But eventually it was no use. Food could not grow from steel and water could only be filtered so much... It was then that they decided they had only one remaining option. To build flying machines and travel to the Earth Motes. Some even went to the elusive Shadow Sea, the only known Water Mote in existence.
These places could only support so many people, however. Many battles were fought, many people died and even more people were damned to remain on Templa'Tol, mainly the elderly and sick.
The Birth of the Partheo
Many people were forced to live with people they would otherwise kill. This lead to several insurgencies and factions. Perhaps the most famous of which, was the Partheo.
They started as a group of Dark Elves but many other elves joined them, they became known individually as Partheon, They sought to retake the lower world back, and push away the darkness, but instead, they became one with it. Their elven blood had a unique affect with the dark energy that did not kill them, but changed them. For worse, or for better it is not easy to tell. Their magic seemed to become stronger, as did their physical might, but they became more aggressive, almost ferocious. They lost the ability to focus on delicate things such as art and music, and became almost warlike.
But they were able to at least maintain contact and trade with the other races but would not...perhaps even could not... live and thrive with them. They have many small footholds of the last remaining purity on the lower world. But these places are little more than keeps and camps and cannot support large numbers of people... at least not yet. It is this that they seek to correct.
The Rise of the Blackmetal Giants
It wasn't long after the people fled to the earth motes that a sect of Rune Giants decided to spread their borders. These giants have also been trying to live with the dark energy coursing through the veins of Templa'Tol, but they would not see it cleansed, in fact they used it to fuel their own contraptions, and recycled the dark energy into the air. This would cause a problem, if this was to go on it would eventually doom the Earth Motes to the same fate, and without the resources traded from the Earth Motes such as food and water, the Partheo would never find a way to cleanse Templa'Tol.
The group of Rune Giants who engineer the machines are known as the Blackmetal Giants. It did not take them long to move their headquarters to a place known as the Killing Fields in the heart of Northern Sela. This spot is a cesspool of the dark energy, because it is a 'stopping point' for the tendrils that creeped in from the sea from all directions, a place where it comingles and forms death pools. This is what attracted the Blackmetal Giants to this place, for it is an endless source of the energy that fuels their machines.
Factory "Sinlapse" is the code-name for their headquarters which rest in this dire place. They managed to create some kind of generator here which absorbs the dark energy that they have come to call "Black Matter". With it they built many war machines and have began to build a city for their race on the surface, Pagos Lambda.
It is unknown for what purpose they continue to build weapons and warmachines, but in addition to these, they have also built other machines. One of which is the Blackforged. Using the bodies of those they captured they have managed to create advanced organic beings. These Blackforged were designed with limited AI and are primarily used as mechanics, shock troops, and entertainment.
The Blackmetal Rebellions
Years passed as the people of Templa'Tol continued to try and make a life on the earth motes, but the air is thin, the space is limited, and they continue to grow. Many "Oxa Factories" were built to try and sustain the living conditions necessary for the people to thrive, but even now, with these factories that duplicated and produce oxygen and water, young are born with defects due to the low availability of these things.
It wasn't long before a young upstart would come up with the idea of forming some kind of rebellion to fight back and join the Partheo in their mission to retake the lower world. His name is Myer Coffey. A field marshall in the local law enforcement. Though he has many supporters he is constantly on the run from Sir Granville Aldridge III, the acting mayor of Gravenhague.
Many theorize that Mayor Granville is some how tied to the Blackmetal Giants but there is no proof of this. However, he is very keen on sacrificing the sick, the old, and the poor in favor of the survival of the rich, and many of the supporters of Myer Coffey tend to be lower class. However this does not stop Myer from his goals, nor does it deter him. Even now he is seeking soldiers for his plans to assist the Partheo in retaking Templa'Tol.
The Blackforged Insurrection
The Blackforged eventually managed to improve their A.I. capabilities. They began to create their own cities in the underworks of Pagos Lambda. At first, this did not alarm the Blackmetal Giants, as this was expected, and would enable them to perform more complex tasks and form a work-ethic. Though unable to breed normally, The blackforged did find a way to create the concept of children by splicing their DNA to form homunculi, but these homunculi never lived longer than four years. This era was recorded as the Deepdark Depression in their annals.
Surprisingly the Blackforged did manage to keep these "children" secret from the Blackmetal Giants, and whenever new Blackforged were thrown into Skrap, their undercity, many blackforged would fight over the rights of adding it to their family.
The blackforged always elected a Luminary to run Skrap every year, and one year everything would change for their people. This was the year Elder Loughnan was elected. He was one of the first blackforged to be created and was in many ways defective, but he had time for his A.I. to develop to unfathomable depths. He saw his people suffer longer than any other blackforged. Between homunculi deaths, punishment by the giants, and people dying in the pit fights to claim new blackforged, he knew something had to be done.
He spent years trying to perfect homunculi conception and was the foremost expert, but even his expertise was not enough to form permanent "children" those that he did create eventually succumbed to the Black Matter. To perfect his research he knew the Blackforged had to leave this toxic waste and when he heard about the Blackmetal Rebellions from his masters, he had an idea.
Under his leadership the Blackforged rose up against the Blackmetal Giants, and though many of them died, many more managed to escape, their size in comparison to that of the giants allowed for them to escape into tunnels and eventually find their way to the Partheos camps. At first, they were attacked, thinking they were some kind of warriors sent by the giants, but when they finally realized that they were escapees, they were still unsure. If not for the inside information the blackforged had, the Partheos would have never accepted them into their keeps.
In exchange for the information they were offered a choice. Warriors and other solitary Blackforged could stand with the Partheos and help them in their efforts against the Black Matter. Or those who seek nothing but a life and a family could be sent off to the earth motes and given jobs in the factories there. This was the high point in the history of the Blackforged and they accepted this generous offer, and thusly the end of the Deepdark Depression.
However, even now, the Homunculi Process is not perfected, as Elder Loughnan died in the insurrection, his assistants are still hard at work, but they have managed to create homunculi and turn them into blackforged, with unevolvable A.I. even now they continue to work hard in these efforts.
Black Metal, Red Blood has many aspects of danger other than the typical threat of monsters attacking.
Black Matter Exposure
One of which is Black Matter Exposure. Black Matter is the subtance that brought the world to it's knees about 600 years ago when the Soul Eater Arcana (or something as powerful) was unleashed onto the free city of Kathe Modae. Black Matter has a powerful aura of radiation that slowly eats away at the mind and body of it's exposed victims. Every hour of exposure inflicts damage on your highest ability scores equally. This cannot be restored except through the use of special feats, and spells. a Restoration spell does not return the lost ability score points.
For example, a character has the following line up for their ability scores. 15 strength, 13 Dexterity, 14 Constitution, 12 Intelligence, 10 Wisdom and 10 Charisma. In the following list you will see the total collective damage dealt to the characters ability scores at certain intervals.
One Hour of Exposure: -1 Strength.
Two Hours of Exposure: -2 Strength, -1 Constitution
Three Hours of Exposure: -3 Strength, -2 Constitution, -1 Dexterity.
Four Hours of Exposure: -4 Strength, -3 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -1 Intelligence.
Five Hours of Exposure: -5 Strength, -4 Constitution, -3 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence.
Six Hours of Exposure: -6 Strength, -5 Constitution, -4 Dexterity, -3 Intelligence, -1 Wisdom, -1 Charisma.
Seven Hours of Exposure: -7 Strength, -6 Constitution, -5 Dexterity, -4 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
At this point a characters ability scores would all be at 8. However, this continues reducing them for every additional hour exposed, this can result in permanent death.
While in water at least as deep as your waste this increases at twice the rate.
Another common threat is Oxygen Deficiency, Many of the upper layers of Gigantes are very high into the atmosphere, and thus there is not enough oxygen to sustain life. Suffocation Rules apply. However, Upper Gigantes is not the only place that is deficient of oxygen. The lower world has a deep miasma surrounding many parts of it, this miasma is toxic to most forms of life. So without proper equipment, Suffocation and Poisoning rules apply. Characters immune to poison however are resistant to this Miasma, however they will still struggle to breathe.