(The Dancers of the Astral Plain; the Lights)
Description: It turns out that the world really is ringed in a shell, nest, or shield of rotating crystalline spheres. The innermost face of these – which we call the “sky” – is a vast landscape of shimmering gray, also known (despite the presence of woods, hills, ravines, and several features analogous to nothing terrestrial) as the Astral Plain. Here wander the stars: shining beings in humanoid, beastlike, or entirely alien shapes. By day they usually grow dimmer and go about recognizable business such as sports (and other hobbies), resting, socializing, even fighting, although they also tend to move along a fixed track through the landscape of the sky. By night they dance and shine, bright enough to be seen from our world below.
Each star has a fixed shape and a largely fixed color, although its light varies in intensity over the course of the day and in accordance with its moods.
Worshipers: Yes, notably the Asteri Magi. While any one star’s influence on the mortal world below is relatively slight, priests have found ways to call on groups of stars in return for certain boons. Still, the earth and sky are separated by a vast and seldom-traveled gulf, so anything that happens to a given star would only be noticed after the fact, when certain invocation rituals began to fail consistently.
Servitors: No. Each star is relatively solitary in its strange geometrical habits, although some have warm relations with each other or with other, non-star inhabitants of their land.
Confrontation: At night, the stars dance uncontrollably and seem oblivious to their surroundings, but are immune to all non-magical harm. In the day, they tend to take offense to hostile actions, and fight to defend themselves as a non-astral being of the same shape would. Stars tend to be scattered across the landscape of the sky and seldom come to each other’s aid, except for the more social groups, such as the members of some constellations.
Aspect: Energy; cosmos; other aspects vary from star to star. Those present at defeat may boost any one attribute, save, or survival meter by +1, or gain one skill point.
Powers – Tier 1: The character gains a faint glow. This is too dim to be useful in the dark (although it does complicate attempts at stealth), but the glow spreads to encompass any magic items or magical beings the character is directly touching.
Powers – Tier 2: The character may adjust the strength and hue of their light with a thought. Although it can never be extinguished entirely, it may be dimmed until it is only noticeable in pitch darkness, or brightened to the intensity of full daylight. The character’s sensitivity to magic increases as well, giving a +4 bonus to all Sense (Sixth) checks.
Powers – Tier 3: A character who has lost more than half their Humanity may voluntarily enter the star-dance while under (or on) the open sky at night. As with all stars, this leaves them in a near-helpless trance until morning, but invulnerable to non-magical harm.
Powers – Other: Each star has their proper track in the sky, and finds following this track restful and pleasant. Characters who have absorbed star-power technically have a track of their own, are always intuitively aware of where they should be in the sky, and are relieved of strain, harm, and fatigue at the rate of one point per hour regardless of activity while following their assigned orbits. If such a character dies, a portion of their essence rises to the Astral Plain and takes its place as a new star.
Example Checks: As long as a character who has absorbed any of the Lights’ essence is in the Astral Plain, every night they must check or join the star-dance until morning. The initial difficulty of the Humanity check to resist dancing is d4, but this permanently increases by one step for each star slain after the first, and for each dance danced while in the Plain. If the difficulty ever increases beyond d100, then the character irrevocably becomes an ordinary star and is retired as a PC. Star-dances performed on the terrestrial sphere don’t count in this calculation.
Notes: Some stars are notably more puissant than their fellows, with a unique ability or effect. (Examples: can control the motion of fire telekinetically; immune to magic; everyone in the star’s presence must speak the truth; anyone directly touching the star loses the ability to sense it in any way thereafter except when in direct contact.) These exceptional Lights grant an extra +1 bonus to any one value of the DM’s choice for characters present at defeat.