Hello, Critical Hit fans. here we present part two of a dossier from the mysterious organization known as OVERSIGHT. Come back next week for part 3.
9 – The Swarm
The Swarm has two continents, one super-continent, and several large island chains. It has a standard water-based ocean. Standard climate variations occur, but can become extreme (like a huricane) or abnormal (Like a rain of swords) when the stars fall out of balance.
The Swarm has 20 demiplanes orbiting its prime material world, which manifest as particularly bright stars in its sky. These stars influence mystical forces on the prime material world. Usually the stars will naturally interfere with each others’ influence. This causes normal, tolerable weather, manageable magical effects and standard behavior from animals and magical creatures. However if one star gains prominence or another retreats, the resulting imbalance can cause a problematic localized phenomenon.
Furthermore each star is its own complete demiplane, full of creatures, magic and mystical elements. Sometimes these stars can be accessed from the Prime Material plane, complicating matters further. See below for a partial list of stars, their associated demiplanes and their effects.
Here is a partial list of the stars of The Swarm. Please contact the current case worker for a complete list:
- Loolaloo (The Red Maiden, The Turtle-King) is a red star that travels from the eastern horizon to the western horizon over the course of a year, then reappears on the eastern horizon and begins again. Its demiplane is composed largely of arid deserts and mountains. It is inhabited by several races of savage lizard people. An imbalance toward Loolaloo causes bodies of water to dry up. An imbalance away from Loolaloo causes lizards, snakes and turtles to gain strange magical abilities.
- Epathompa (The Blue Warrior, The Tailor’s Hand) is a blue star that travels from the northern to the southern horizon for the first half of the year, then returns over the second half. Its demiplane is a vast icy city populated by salt-skinned, four-armed giants. These giants are curious about the races in the prime material world and will kidnap people to use as pets if the opportunity arises. An imbalance towards Epathompa causes snow storms. An imbalance away from Epathompa causes dogs, cats and other domesticated animals to become feral and aggressive.
- Pichiwao (The White Traveler, The Coward’s Star) is a white star that travels north-to-south for a few months then south-to-north for a few months and then back. Its demiplane is a gleaming ocean with several sentient aquatic races. It is also known for its great sea monsters. An imbalance towards Pichiwao causes sentient beings to make particularly bad economic decisions. An imbalance away from Pichiwao causes widespread flooding.
- Kikitomp (The Blue Hound, The Eye of The Father) is a blue star that draws a circular pattern in the sky, half of the year it seems to follow Loolaloo before the two part ways. Its demiplane is a lush jungle where great god-like beings battle great god-like beasts. An imbalance toward Kikitomp causes birds, reptiles and fish to grow to problematic proportions. An imbalance away from Kikitomp causes plants to uproot themselves and start moving around.
- Dodolompo (The Golden Thief, The Little Sun) is a yellow star that travels extremely slowly from west-to-east (approximately 500 years from horizon to horizon). Its demiplane contains many different terrains and climates, and is populated by malicious metallic creatures. Many stories from The Swarm’s cultures revolve around these metallic creatures tricking people into dangerous contracts. Others make reference to vain magicians summoning them to vex their enemies, only to be vexed themselves. An imbalance toward Dodolompo causes iron to become gold, an imbalance away from Dodolompo causes heavy, torrential rains.
Planar History and Anthropology
The Swarm’s prime material plane’s geography, history and even magical structure has been shaped by the many catastrophic imbalances and incursions from its stars. Every culture in The Swarm has a caste, organization or governmental body that deciphers the stars’ influence (see special attachment below). These organizations tend to be very powerful since they offer at least a warning to potential chaos the stars can create.
Rail Relevance: Medium
No kingdom, tribe or organization on The Swarm seems to have the necessary magical ability to breach the gap between vertices. Still it is worth noting that The Swarm’s magical infrastructure is highly volatile and it is even possible (although extremely improbable) that the proper set of stellar imbalances could generate a natural path to another vertex.
Case Worker: The Flamingo in Repose
Special Attachment: Swarm Location: Bohuaro
Bohuaro is a massive city sitting just above a very fertile floodplain. Perhaps the most notable thing about Bohuaro is that it has been conquered or annexed by some external group at least eight times in the past 100 years. The city shows its tumultuous past in nearly every respect, from its shockingly diverse mix of species, to its haphazard architecture, to entire districts that were reduced to rubble from some siege or another.
One feature of Bohuaro that has not changed, however is Skytalker Tower. This building is an observatory in which an ancient order of sages reads and interprets the stars, predicting imbalances and incursions with great accuracy. The Skytalkers usually trade their skills for protection from whatever group rules the city, in turn they deliver their prognostications for the rulers to do as they please.
The current group in charge of Bohuaro, the Trogonots are a study in contradictions; brutal nomadic warriors that nevertheless spend a lot of time absorbing and analyzing the cultures they conquer. Although Trogonots are a race (as well as a culture) now anyone can become an honorary Trogonot. The “cultural” Trogonot caste system has inflated greatly since they conquered Bohuaro and their lifestyle became much more sedentary.