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Listed here are all the in character information collected on missions that have been submitted to Valley Archives. To read any of the reports just click on one of the links below to expand and contract the yearly listings.

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The Story of the Mystics

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The Creators of Orin Rakatha are referred to as the Mystics and were a small race of people who spent eons travelling the Cosmos, collating vast knowledge and power.  They were a lawful and generally peaceful race who preferred to nurture and guide rather than destroy or dominate.


The Mystics were led by a group of their finest minds, referred to as the Masters.  The Masters had long ago mastered the Spheres and Elements and had managed to achieve the peak of their chosen profession; the results of their labour and dedication granted them immortality.  They were second to none within their chosen profession and in many places were regarded as Gods or Avatars.


The Masters were ruled by a family which consisted of six people; the Mother and Father (their names have been lost in the ages) and their four children called the Traveller, the Black Pharaoh, the Green and the Master of Time.  The members of this family were the most powerful Masters among their people and were referred to as the Masters of Judgment. The remaining Masters were referred to as the Masters of Law (changed later to Lore).



The Mystics were strong champions of the Life Sphere who constantly worked to thwart the Void and its minions.  Towards the end of the Mystics existence (which had already been extended long beyond anything else ever recorded) the Mystics were chosen by the Life Sphere to help contain the expansion of the Void and in particular imprison the Aspect of Darkness.  They were granted the knowledge and power to create a plane of their own in which to rest their collective consciousness rather than travel to the Hall of Heroes or return to the Life Sphere. However, this knowledge and power would come at a price.



And so it was that after many centuries of roaming the Mystics were able to create a place of their own and thus Orin Rakatha was born.  Orin Rakatha is not a natural plane but is instead a collection of bits of other planes that were brought together and bound by the Mystics, with knowledge granted direct from the Life Sphere.  This land was encircled within a large mountainous range and the Mists were then created to inhabit this mountain range and bind the bits of other planes together to form the Land.



The final act of the creation of Orin Rakatha was to breathe life into this new creation and give it a sentience to help guide, protect and nurture those who dwelt upon it.  The Life Sphere set a Tree of Life upon Orin Rakatha to bind it to the Life Sphere and infused itself within the Mother and Father from the ruling family who gave up their very essence to become the Mists (the Father) and the Land (the Mother), to be guided by their four children, the Masters of Judgment.



And so it was that Orin Rakatha came into being.




As a result of all of the powerful spells and invocations used to create Orin Rakatha and bind the different bits of other planes together, there are a number of points where this energy has accumulated.  These points are called Nodes and are a concentration of one particular type of energy used during the creation process; element, sphere or emotion. These Nodes are connected directly to the Fundamental Planes and the Spheres and act as mini beacons to the Life Sphere.  There is at least one Node for all of the elements and at least one for each type of Aspect from the primary Spheres and their subsets.





Once Orin Rakatha was created it shone like a strong beacon of the Life Sphere, which attracted the attention of the Darkness.  In an attempt to consume this newly formed plane before it was fully developed the Aspect of Darkness itself attacked Orin Rakatha and attempted to consume it from within.  The Aspect entered the land and sought out the strongest part of the Life Sphere to consume it (normally the Tree of Life). However, due to the nature of the land and its creation the Aspect struggled to focus on what the strongest connection to the Life Sphere was, as there appeared to be a number of strong connections (the Nodes, Mother and Mists).  The Aspect of Darkness entered deeper into the land just as the Life Sphere had hoped and then the trap was sprung.


Whilst the Aspect of Darkness was within the Land, seeking out the heart of the Life Sphere, the Mystics finalised their preparations and sealed the Land.  The Mother, infused with the Life Sphere, smothered the Aspect of Darkness causing it to shrink away from her glowing embrace into the very heart and depths of Orin Rakatha.  The Masters of Law/Lore gave of themselves and infused their essence within the Nodes, strengthening them, and the Father infused the Mists and rolled across the Lands, bringing the Life Sphere with it wherever he went.  This left just the Masters of Judgement fully awake to monitor and control the Land and guard against the Aspect of Darkness breaking free. Finally mortal races were brought to Orin Rakatha, followers of the Mystics, and were bound by blood into the Land creating the final seal of the Life Sphere upon Orin Rakatha.



The end result was many layers of the Life Sphere and strong champions of Life forming a cocoon around the Aspect of Darkness.  The Aspect was trapped within the heart of Orin Rakatha, unable to break free for fear of coming into contact with the Life Sphere.  Thus has the Aspect of Darkness remained trapped biding its time until it is able to break free once more, destroying Orin Rakatha in the process.


The first people of the Land consisted of a number of people that had served and aided the Mystics during their travels.  They were granted a place upon Orin Rakatha as a reward for their service and also to act as a further lock upon the prison of the Aspect of Darkness.


A number of the people were primitive tribesmen called the Hill people, the Forest people, the Mountain people and so on.  These first people lived in nomadic tribes in caves and around camp fires and were generally a primitive people concerned about survival, food, sex and other basic primal urges.  They were joined by the River People and the Sneverhime, who had followed the Mother and Father and chose to dedicate themselves to the land and what became of their mentors.


In addition to the first people each of the remaining Masters of Judgment (the four children) gathered together some of their own followers, people that they had encountered during their travels and had an affinity with.  They brought some of these people from their own lands to Orin Rakatha to help protect and guide them. These people were called the Halmadonians, the Otomi, the Dark Aspect and the Shendai.





The ruling families of these original six peoples were bound by blood to Orin Rakatha and their bloodline helped to strengthen the prison.  As long as their bloodline remains upon Orin Rakatha then the blood pacts will hold, strengthening the chains around the Aspect of Darkness.


This original people were initially alone, keeping to themselves, but after a number of years the first people were joined by a number of other races, groups and individuals who came to Orin Rakatha (as refuges from other places) and settled here.  As the inhabitants of the plane increased so did the order that had been imposed upon them begin to break down. Large-scale battles were fought, and the Masters of Law were no longer able to keep control. There was also the suggestion that some of the Masters of Law were becoming corrupted and deflected from their role of total impartiality by excessive contact with the lesser races and their combats, sufferings and strife.



Therefore the Masters of Judgement enacted the first Cataclysm and made massive alterations to the way in which Orin Rakatha was run.  The Masters of Judgement and Time retained their positions and roles but the Masters of Law agreed to alter their fundamental existence and become incorporated into the fabric of the Land (the Nodes) and a number of Towers that would form the basis of future law enforcement on the plane.



A number of the Masters of Law became incorporated into each of the Towers, where they maintained a specific favourable environment and a number of unusual rules to prevent combat and bloodshed.  Once incorporated into the physical structure they needed nothing to sustain them except continuing Law and Peace. The remaining Masters of Law become either bound within some of the special waystations, to provide connections to the Place of Myth and Legends, or bound into the Nodes of the Land.  Thus ended the era of the Masters of Law active control of the Land.



As time progressed the Mystics became so embroiled within their contemplations and their own immortality that they lost their way and even forgot their own roots.  The Masters of Law evolved into raw elements, spheres, emotions and vary between chaotic and lawful and consequently became Masters of Lore rather than Law. And so it was that the original race of the Mystics passed and their era came to an end.


The only person who still remembers the story of the Mystics, the first story, is the Master of Time and this memory of his lost people pains him greatly.  However, the Master of Time will continue to guard this first story and provide guidance for his Mother and Father, Orin Rakatha, as well as serve as the final memory for his fallen people.








Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2018 11:32
 

The Gatekeeper

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The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper is a denizen from the Astral Plane, a psionic being imprisoned many years ago by a Githyanki Prince called Vlaakith. It was imprisoned for its ability to manipulate the Astral fabric and create a number of small demi-planes within it. The Gatekeeper is an intelligent being that may communicate via telepathy with other psionics, though it can hear and has been trained to associate the opening of an Astral Gate to a demi-plane that it has created with an associated noise. It has some offensive capability but considerably more defensive, its powers including the ability to radiate simple emotions in an area around it. This aura can make those in the area aggressive, more determined, happy, sad or peaceful but it is a subtle effect and only done as a defensive measure. Some years ago the Gatekeeper was stolen from the Prince by the Alchemist Vetzlar who saw its potential as a place to store rare and unusual things. Vetzlar concealed himself from divination so the Prince could not discover the name of the thief and bound the Gatekeeper to a box that keeps it concealed. The Prince with great patience has set one of his followers the task of watching for the Gatekeepers presence and has discovered that it resides on Orin Rakatha where it has made a contract with the Shadowsfall to help it retrieve the creature if detected. The Gatekeeper can come across as having a child like personality, but does not want to return to Prince Vlaakith.

Create Astral demi-plane

Through the manipulation of the Astral fabric the Gatekeeper can create an area that conforms to the wishes of someone who is linked to it. These areas in the astral fabric can bend the normal rules of existence i.e. most magic could be suppressed in an area, and can be reached by the Gatekeeper opening an Astral portal that will remain open for a few hours. This ability is taxing and can only be done a few times per day.

Each portal is keyed to a sound (e.g. a tune played on the music box) that is made it in the presence of the Gatekeeper. This will trigger the opening of an Astral Portal a few hundred meters away that though is invisible; the tune player will be mentally directed to.

The Astral Plane

The Astral Plane is, for the most part, a dreary and empty expanse of nothingness, broken up upon by sporadic landmasses, the petrified corpses of dead beasts, the gargantuan worm-like "astral vortexes", and colour-based portals to various planes. It connects all other planes, and is noted as being mutable, meaning that powerful Sorcerers and Psionics can manipulate the Astral fabric to create demi-plans and pockets dimensions ranging from a room sized pocket to larger village sized realms.

The Githyanki

They have pale yellow or silver skin and sunken eyes, often wearing white robes and blue tabards. They are natural psionics and can manipulate some of the evil sphere. The strongest amongst them carry silver swords which grant them powers to damage or cut the silver cord that attaches a non-astral native to their own plane with various effects.

Their race is the most prominent denizens of the Astral Plane (or the Astral Sea as they call it), the same place that the mind flayers come from who are their sworn enemies. They are a race of Reavers that sail sleek astral ships, slaughter astral travellers, and raid planes touched by the Astral Realm.

Prince Vlaakith is the ruler of the city of Tu'narath which floats through the Astral Realm on a huge chunk of rock.

The current Githyanki watcher was Oso'Zhen Ranirth, Silver Sword Bearer, who uses Astral Constructs and has a contract with the Shadowsfall.

Last Updated on Saturday, 20 July 2019 11:10
 

A Theoretical Treatise on the Origins and Nature of Magic

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Introduction:

Following discussions with member of our nations, the newly uncovered information regarding the Conflux plan and a period of study with the Wizards Concillium I have decided to collect together some findings regarding the nature of magic and elementals. There are also comparisons drawn, where appropriate, between magic and power.

This is my no means an exhaustive study and as more information regarding Conflux is brought to life I will follow this up. Where possible I have tried to minimise any potential bias but for full disclosure I am a primary Grey Sorcerer with no direct Sphere connection. 

Sections:
  1. Overview
  2. Source and attitudes
  3. Manifestations and higher beings
  4. Magic as a subset of spheres
  5. Conclusions
Overview

Magic exists as one of the primary forces on Orin Rakatha, it has been here for as long as any of the Valley or Concillium are aware. Many nations and individuals cast colours of magic, often these colours will reflect nation or race traits though several nations cast all eight colour.

The similarities and differences between the colours is an interesting subject in its own rights. There are common themes across multiple colours, mostly skins and bolts of some description. Yet each colour has distinct applications and feel. However, for the rest of this paper the various colours of magic will be treated as indistinct. These differences may well make form the basis of a follow up paper.

Magic is however, not a direct power of the person casting it. When wizards draw upon magic they are drawing on an external source. It is summoned from the place of origin, used and then released. This shows in the common attitude that Magic is largely treated as a thing to be commanded and manipulated.
 
Sources and Attitudes

The source of magic used to cast spells, particularly as the spell becomes more powerful, does not come from our plane directly. Rather when spells are cast the power is drawn from another place, used to achieve the wizard’s aim and then released. More specifically (as learned very recently) what is actually summoned is an elemental. It’s power is then used and the elemental is released to return to its home, though somewhat weakened. On occasions some of these elementals either do not have the strength to leave or are angered and choose to attack. This is also why when the ways were closed in the lead up to the Cataclysm the elementals were unable to leave and almost every high level spell would result in attacks.

These elementals inhabit a series of elemental planes that exist in a way similar to the Plane of the Sleepless Dead or the Abyssal planes. We know that individual planes exist each dedicated to a colour of magic where many of the elementals live and their prince stays for the most part. These planes may simply be a place where the sphere of an element is particularly strong, as the Necromantic sphere is on our own plane during all hallows. However, the spheres are in constant unpredictable motion. If the flow of magic changes constantly on all planes how are the elemental planes stable enough that we can constantly draw our power through them?

These are certainly not the only place that elementals inhabit. We have encountered them in the Elemental Garden which seems to be a demi plane that lies between our plane and the elemental planes. We also know of the Conflux plane where elementals gather, ruled by an Elemental Lord. Unfortunately, not much else is known about these planes at the moment. We have been told that the pure elemental worlds are unlikely to be visit able by normal races as they would not be able to sustain us. Conflux however is known to be able to sustain humans and much of the progress that is being made currently is with the aim of being able to travel there. 
 
 
Attitudes

While the source of our magic power is a recent revelation the attitude to magic reflects this state of affairs. Magic is largely treated as a force to be controlled and commanded. If you listen to the vocal component of many spells they will directly order the source of magic to do as it is commanded. This is one of the starkest contrasts with power. When listening to power users invoke it is far more common to hear worship of the sphere and a request for aid rather than the demanding nature of many spell vocals. The elementals summoned do not have a choice in the matter. They must come and their raw essence is what is used to cast the spell. Look at the extent of the experiments that are performed in Aether town or by the Concillium. Even during the lead up to the Cataclysm when the ways off plane were closed. The Wizards Concillium collected together a huge number of elementals to power a weapon designed to reopen inter-planar travel and effectively fired them at a tower. 
 
Manifestations and Higher Beings

Most elementals that we encounter are mindless creatures and will attack (and be destroyed) on sight without any issues. However, there are elementals that are capable of speech and the Elemental planes appear to have a hierarchy structure with the Lieutenants, Princes, and even The Prince of All Elements who seems to function as a king and resolve disputes between the various other princes.

The standard eight colours each have elementals with abilities corresponding to what mages can achieve by casting the colour. There are also “purple” elementals discovered on a recent mission. These had the ability to cast all colours of magic seemingly at will and were also able to supress all magic on a person. They seemed more sentient than normal elementals thought unfortunately not much else is known about these unique creatures yet. It is believed that they are likely to be present on the conflux plane.

The princes themselves are very protective of their people and seem to try and stop Mages casting where possible. They especially dislike those who cast their respective colour heavily. This is why we are currently being attacked by Green elementals. The elemental prince of water has taken against our people specifically and is trying to stop people using green magic forcibly. This fits with the current theory that our use of magic directly weakens the elementals and plane of the corresponding colour. There are indications that the elemental power regenerates over time but we currently have no idea how fast this happens, or what happens if a colour were cast heavily or not at all.

We have been told that it is possible when one understands magic at a higher level to manipulate the flow of mana directly in subtler ways. This may mean that a skilled individual could create effects similar to normal magic without the need to summon elementals to do so. 
 
 Magic as a Subset of the Spheres
Excerpts from the Book of the Dead
“One of the key characteristics of the Spheres is their sentience. Some Spheres (such as Good and Evil) have high sentience and may be represented by a physical manifestation of the Spheres, called an "Avatar". Other Spheres have low sentience and are frequently called "Elements". Physical manifestations of low-sentience Spheres are frequently called "Elementals". There are many Sphere that fall between these two extremes, and even the Elements are believed by some to have a sentient aspect (hence Tarn Gurrack and the Temple of Earth and Usharl Oberon and the Temple of Storms). This reflects the fact that different people may view a sphere in different ways. “
“Then we have the Spheres of low Sentience, commonly referred to as the eight Elements. This belief is more primal and concentrates in the manipulation of the physical aspects of the Life Sphere as opposed to its spiritual component. Perhaps this is why the Elements and its manipulation are more complex and difficult, conforming to rigid rules rather than the flow of the Spheres. To call upon one's favour and strength of spirit must be easier than manipulating the Elements and banding them to your will? There are also other variations of the eight Elements and the corrupted forms such as Shadow magic, but they all relate to the prime eight elements. Then there is the ninth Element, that utilised by the Concillium, referred to as Purple. But there is no ninth Element, it is but a greater understanding of the eight Elements and the ability to return them to a greater Sentience, more akin to the Spheres. The closer to the higher sentience that we go the more power and strength we obtain. Perhaps in some places it has achieved Sentience and stands with the Good, Neutral and Evil Spheres.”

This is a fascination viewpoint and one that tallies well with much of the recently uncovered information. For example, the fact that purple elementals seemed all to have a level of sentience. It is important to remember however that Cardinaris was a very knowledgeable caster of power and so that may well bias his view of things.

This view point would place the elemental Princes as something akin to the Avatars of a Sphere that can manifest from time to time. The lieutenants with Angels and so on. It also lends support to the idea that we do not need to use elementals to cast spells. Were one able to tap into the sphere of fire in a similar way to the sphere of evil magic should flow directly from the source. 

However, there are a few points that do not line up with this view.
 
The first is that it is known to be possible for a mortal to gain enough support and worshipers to ascend to become an aspect of a sphere of power. These Aspects encourage those who use their power and are strengthen by it. There is no such recorded case that I have found for a mortal becoming an aspect of magic. There are cases of individuals becoming elemental either deliberately or through accidents but they seem to be more a fusing of life and magic than an ascension to magic.    

The second point is that the Elemental Princes are so discouraging of the use of their colour of magic. The idea of an Avatar of Ushaz appearing and demanding that evil priests stop invoking is one that is very hard to imagine. Yet this is exactly what the Prince of water has done. If they are Avatars of magic, then they clearly draw their power very differently from the sphere if they are in direct competition with mages for it. 

The third point is the elemental planes. Admittedly very little is known about these currently but Cardinaris claims that all spheres are in constant motion in some unpredictable way. This is why for example the sphere of Necromancy is strongest on our plane during All Hallows. It may simply be the case that these elemental planes are just the eight planes most closely aligned with the sphere at this time and that they will change in nature as the spheres move. 

It is possible to modify the view of the magic being spheres slightly to fix these points but there are other possible explanations. 

My current working hypothesis is that these Lords and planes are not directly connected to their respective magical sphere but are pools of mana that exists outside of the spheres. If these elemental Lords and planes are simply pools of magic, then it is possible that we are drawing upon this pool rather than directly on the sphere which would explain the attitude the princes seem to have.
 
Conclusions

There is much that we still do not know about magic but we have an established model and are working to improve it.
Our recent information has taken us on a long way and our upcoming expedition to Conflux is a wonderful opportunity for gathering more data. There are already a number of interesting experiments being planned and an ever growing list of questions for the Prince of all Elements. 

The important parts that we have discovered so far:
  • Our source of magic is not native to our plane, it exists externally and we draw it here to cast spells.
  • There are elemental planes that are places of raw magic. At least one for each colour and a number of multi-coloured planes.  
  • The Prince of All Elements exists on Conflux, one of these multi-coloured planes.
  • When we cast we are in fact summoning an elemental from its plane, using its power and then releasing it.
  • This use of magic weakens the elemental and in turn the elemental plane it was summoned from.
  • It is believed that the true source of magic are spheres in much the same way as power.
  • It may be possible to manipulate the magic from these sphere without the use of elementals.
As ever if you wish more information or discussion I can easily be found in the Grey School of Magic or Darkhome. 

Khandis Greyspider
11th Sorcerer of House Drannath,
 

Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 17:33
 
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