Saturday, 25 January 2014

Nova: Tools and Transportation

                Relics are tools and weapons brought from the ruins below or produced by the Priests using secret methods. The relics recovered from the ruins are complex and strange and only the Priests fully understand them. Relics produced in the city are mundane items made with materials from the ruins. They are stronger, lighter, and generally better than their mundane counterparts are. These are just some of the more common or useful examples of Relics.

                The relic that every citizen and nomad are familiar with are the Skiffs. They are 10 meter long enclosed craft. Using the same method the cities use to remain afloat, Skiffs are able to float above the fog and travel between the cities and towns. They are short-range craft, only able to make journeys of a week of more before they need maintenance from a priest. The Scavengers use them to launch their expeditions down into the fog. This is to reduce the danger of arboreal predators scaling the lines and attacking a city or town. Most cities have dozens of Skiffs and the cities use much of the material recovered by Scavengers to keep their Skiffs in working order. 

                The largest common relic is a Hull. Similar to a Skiff, this is a large enclosed craft, roughly 300 meters in length. Nomads live in fleets of Hulls, travelling between cities. Each Hull carries several Skiffs, with a capacity for up to a dozen. Only the very richest cities have a Hull, and never more than one. The rest are crewed by Nomads. A Nomad Hull is similar to a city, but far more cramped. These large vehicles lack the temperamental nature of Skiffs and can go long distances without needing significant repair.

                Instead of, or supplementing their use of torches, some Scavengers carry a simple relic. Similar in design to other rod relics, the Lightrod is a foot long metallic rod which, when activated, emits a bright beam of light from one end. Symbols appear in the air above the surface of the rod and if the right combination is pressed, it changes how the rod emits light. The extra features vary from rod to rod, but all are able to generate a beam of light for between several hours, to several days. Some are able to regain their power by sitting in the sun for a while, while others require repair from a priest.

                Sometimes, a Scavenger will not want to come in contact with a dangerous creature. Maybe their reach exceeds that of even a spear. Maybe they have a potent poison. Regardless of why, sometimes a Scavenger will want a ranged weapon. Most carry bows, sometimes made by Craftspeople, sometimes crafted from scavenged materials by priests. Some Scavengers are lucky to have a relic weapon instead of a bow, these devices are called Firerods. Like a Lightrod, a Firerod is a foot long metallic rod. Unlike a Lightrod, this is a weapon. When activated, symbols appear above the surface, one end will glow red, and a small patch of light will appear on the rod’s surface. Adjusting the symbols on the surface controls the intensity of the effect. Pressing on the patch of light will cause a burning ray to erupt from the glowing end of the rod. If turned down to its minimum, the power in these rods lasts nearly forever, but sadly can only light a fire about a foot away. The burns it cause are only mildly painful. At their highest setting, they will burn a hole through a large predator. The injury is rarely enough to put one of those creatures down for good, but may slow it down enough for the Scavenger to make their escape. Once the power in a Firerod is spent, they must be returned to a priest for repair. Even more uncommon are the larger cousin of the Firerod, the Firestave. These large relics are as tall as a adult citizen and function much the same as a Firerod. However, the maximum power of a Firestave is enough to incinerate even the largest creatures of the Fog.

A Ticker is an extremely rare relic with no mundane counterpart. This item is small and typically worn as a pendant or charm. They emit a periodic ticking noise which grows louder the closer it’s bearer comes to the Fog. Once inside the Fog, the ticking grows louder still as the bearer approaches either a ruin, or a wasteland. Only an experience bearer can tell the difference between the two. They are useful but dangerous tools. An inexperienced user can stumble into a burning wasteland and suffer an agonizing death without much difficulty. Even an experienced user is unable to silence the Ticker, even when hiding from predators.

Stunrods are the primary tool of the trade for Protectors. These rod relics produce incapacitating paralysis of the limbs at first. Continued use on the same person will produce greater degrees of paralysis eventually leading to the heart and lungs ceasing to function. Scavengers dismiss them as useless because they only affect the human nervous system, leaving the dangerous wildlife of the fog completely unaffected. The most common type of Stunrod requires contact with the target. An uncommon and highly sought after version fires a thin blue beam from one end that has the same effect on contact. Before activation, they are identical to Lightrods and Firerods, this is another reason Scavengers dislike them. When scrambling for a weapon to use against a dangerous predator, finding a Stunrod can lull a rookie Scavenger into a false sense of security.

                Other Relics are common in the ruins, and Scavengers may be able to discern their function. Some play strange music. Others cause intricate light shows. Others still allow access to rooms and buildings that are otherwise inaccessible. The majority of relics are ineffable in purpose, and are either broken, as many things are in the ruins, or simply require the expert knowledge of a Priest to decipher. Regardless of their use, intended or otherwise, Scavengers bring these items to the Priests who use them as components for their strange rituals and for repairing the relics that the community finds useful.

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