Category Archives: The Sun Cycle

Changes to Love’s Thoughts Blog

I have been sporadic, at best, in my posting on this blog for the year of 2016. This was a long, hectic, stressful, and challenging year for me personally, but also a year full of blessings.

This year I changed jobs (twice), spent almost four months unemployed, battled through several bouts of depression, took my first actual vacation since 2009, and watched as the political party I had previously affiliated with self-combusted and abandoned principles to elect a crude reality television star whose policies more closely resemble the opposing party’s disastrous policies than the principles which I value.

This made my writing here especially difficult- whenever I found myself wanting to write a blog post, I found myself wanting to write about politics. Yet when I started this blog, I specifically aimed to write about “Subjects diverse not divisive” and I know that even when writing about policies, politics can be a very divisive subject.

Today, I am happy to announce that going forward into 2017, I will be rededicating myself to blogging more, however I must also announce that rather than maintaining this one blog, I will be splitting my time between three separate outlets.

For all my political posts, I will be writing on my newly registered domain-

Home

Join me there, in exile, as we wander the political wilderness of a movement dispossessed of a party and examine American conservative principles, values, foundational literature of the movement, and work to redefine and rededicate ourselves to what it means to be a Conservative in 2017.

And yes, this means I promise there will be no politics in either of my other platforms

I’m also pleased to announce a domain I registered earlier this year–

Home

Sun Love Games is the launching point for my upcoming Pathfinder Compatible RPG Products, Alternative Avenues, and the fiction that occurs in the same world of Kesperex which the campaign materials detail.

You’ll find product announcements, descriptions, and previews as well as occasional OGL content blog posts, and will be able to keep up on all my current self-publishing RPG efforts!

That leaves this space here for the other writing that I do- the Sun Cycle will still be here (more to come on this story in 2017!), as well as any sports, culture, writing process, and other non-games related, non-politics writing.

So, in summation- happy New Years, and please follow me on the blog (or blogs) which provides the parts of my writing you are interested in reading!

The Merchant and the Afrit

Tomas looked at the Afrit, though his eyes burned to do so, like staring direct at the great Sun in the sky above. “You shall serve me, you say? You can make all that I desire, all that I wish manifest?”

“I can do as you command, to the extent of my powers.”

“You can make me a King then?”

“I could, though not with such a command. I cannot simply snap my fingers and make it so. I am powerful, old and ancient, but even my power has limits, and I do not trouble my mind to search for methods for mortals. You must command me to a task, not a desire. You say ‘make me a king?’ This is not a task. You tell me to kill a specific king perhaps? This I could do. Or you tell me to take you here or there, to bring you this or that, to do battle with him or her.”

“I could command you, then to bring me a thousand gold coins? Or a million?”

“If you did not care from where they came, yes. Though I will surely get them from someplace that suits my liking. Perhaps a sultan with three million coins to his name finds one million missing. Perhaps they bear his mark.”

“Then I could tell you to kill him.”

“You could. I would. Then you would have a million gold coins and a dead sultan. Perhaps his heir would forgive you that.”

“I could have you kill the heir.”

“You could. I’ve destroyed whole lineages of kings for masters in the past. Chopped down families and clans from wizened grand uncles to squalling babes, to babes yet unborn mere quickenings within a mother’s womb.”

“No. No, I think I should not like to order such a massacre.”

“Perhaps you do not truly desire a million gold coins then. Or to be a king.”

“You have told me you can carry and can kill, but what else can you do? What magics are at your command?”

“The magic of the Afrit, mortal. You know of us. Our magic is smoke and fire and flame and ash. We are the king of Jinn.”

“I know the stories, yes, I know the stories. In them the Afrit carried magic swords that spit fire as they slashed. You could make one for me?”

“I can lay in the enchantments, call out the flame in the blade, and set it ablaze, but I am no swordsmith.”

“My blade then? My falchion? You could transform it to one of these?”

“If you so command.”

“Yes, I do. Afrit, make my falchion into a great fire weapon as your kind carried in the tales of old.”

The Afrit held out his hand, and the falchion flew to it. He examined the blade for a minute, then his hand ignited into a white hot flame. He ran his hands down the length of the blade, the rust and wear scouring away at the merest touch. A solemn chant in an ancient tongue Tomas had never heard before flowed out of his mouth.

The blade began to glow, white hot. As the Afrit continued chanting, continued rubbing the sword it ignited in flame, burning bright and hot. The Afrit gripped it by the hilt and tested three quick swings, lofting it in circles in a single fist as easily as Tomas himself might swing a much smaller, lighter blade. Then he passed his hand across the blade and quenched the flame.

The Afrit offered the blade up to Tomas who took it tentatively. He examined it now, restored to its new forged brilliance and beyond, a series of scrolling runes running its length, its steel nearly looking silver. He tested it in a swing—still too heavy to hold one handed as the Afrit had done, but lighter to swing, swifter yet Tomas could tell no less powerful for it. He imitated the Afrit’s motion of passing his hand across the blade and nearly dropped it when the flame lit anew.

Tomas was awed by it. So long as he held the hilt of the blade the flame did not hurt him, he could not feel the heat at all. He passed his hand across again and the flame winked off then back on again. “A marvelous wonder indeed,” the fat Pitr muttered, his seaweed-like whiskers shaking as he nodded his head.

“A merest trifling trinket of my power,” the Afrit replied.

Tomas stood tall now, setting aside the newly enchanted blade. He looked the Afrit in its burning orange eyes, locking his own to its. They looked like fire and ocean set against each other there, the Afrit magenta and burgundy with flames of orange and red and Tomas with his blue skin, green hair and pearl teeth. “If you are so powerful that this is but a trinket to you how is it you came to be trapped in this iron ring?” Tomas asked.

The Afrit eyed him warily, “I could tell you the tale. . . If you so command.”

“I do,” Tomas replied.

The Judge and the Hermit in the Corridor

Papa Sizwe muttered under his breath, twisting his staff in his hand, waking the snake spirit within it, the staff hissing and writhing in his hand. “The Great Truth Sayer.”

“In mine own most eminent flesh,” the pair stood completely still. While others might circle in the grass or the dirt, they stood their ground watching one another. Asala bin Qalam raised an eye brow, cocking his head to the side, “The serpent strike staff? A hermit then?”

“In the south I am known as Papa Sizwe, though the spirits know me by other names,” Sizwe snatched a guard from the end of his snarling staff, cracking it open, running the red liquid inside across his face, tasting the fermented blood on his tongue, feeling the strength of the spirits flow into his veins, “Me estes la bestoj de la nokto.” I am the beast of the night, Papa Sizwe beseeched the spirits for guidance, asking them to fill his body, to ride his soul into battle with the legendary warrior.

Asala bin Qalam raised his scimitar above his head, humming an ancient Dokkaebi hymn under his breath as he backed a step further down the hall way, “You appear to be under the impression that these ululations and incantations would impress some shred of terror and horror upon my person. A peculiar impression which you hold in a state of absolute falsehood.”

“We shall see.” Before the words had left his mouth, Papa Sizwe’s snake strike staff struck, slipping suddenly sunward, sinking fangs shallowly into Asala’s side. The Judge struck back, bringing his great scimitar down onto Sizwe’s muscled arm, biting deep into the sinews, spraying his own blood across the corridor, splatters of it joining the purpled blood that decorated his face.

The two quickly paced backwards, retreating from one another in tandem. No words now, only near animal snarls at their lips. Sizwe held his wounded arm tight to his side to try to staunch the blood flowing from his opened veins.

Asala shifted his scimitar to his left hand, drawing out his wand, the club like weapon that all Dokkaebi made from their own tail’s which they cut off ritually upon adulthood. Then he strode forward, slashing with the scimitar, a blow basely blocked by Sizwe’s staff. Then the club clocked the Hermit on the head, a ringing beginning in his ears.

Sizwe struck back, three lightning quick staff strikes that met with scimitar, club, and finally skin. Once more the serpent staff sunk fangs in, venom piping forward into the Dokkaebi Judge’s blood. bin Qalam called out in pain, in shock, in swift setting agony. Then thrust his scimitar forward at the Hermit once more.

The dance of blade and wand and staff went on. Sizwe swung feebly several times, long arcing strikes and limp jabs, his blood trailing down to the floor from his mangled arm. bin Qalam swung his scimitar like a scythe in long level swaths, jabbing with his club, backing him down, buying time for Mettel to escape the tunnel’s end with the Truth Stone.

“You are slowing, Truth Sayer.” Sizwe smiled, showing his brilliant teeth.

“This may be as you say,” Asala responded, brushing his grayed fur aside from his face.

“Can you not recognize a truth when it is spoken without your stone? Can you not feel the venom from my staff? Can you not feel your blood slowing? Soon I will strike a final blow and finish you, old man.”

Asala laughed a hearty laugh, “How many years since you’d the occasion to use that particular epithet?”

“More than I can count,” Sizwe smiled as he dove forward, driving his staff into the Truth Sayer’s shoulder.

The Judge and the Spy in the Corridors

Mettel heard the sound of drums on the walls of the castle behind him– the Truth Seeker’s stronghold was under assault.  He skittered forward, along the thin, cramped winding corridor. The secret passage would be a tight fit for a larger person, but Mettel was slight even for a Parua, agile and lithe. He glanced behind him at the Truth Seeker who loped along, clutching the Truth Stone. “This passage leads out?  To where exactly?”

The Dokkaebi Judge ran his clawed fingers through his grayed mustache, “A place wherein we can assuredly exit from this place with the safety of our personages intact.”

“Who, or what do you think is following us?” Mettel asked, hopping forward as Asala bin Qalam stayed a half step behind, his tall shoulders hunched to allow his much taller frame through the corridor.

“I dare not hypothesize as to the identities of our assailants.”

“Heh,” Mettel snorted, “Seems to me that it must be the Rezgari, who else would it be?”

“By your own tale, verified by the Stone the Rezgari are assaulting your tribe at the present.”

“Yes.”

“Then we must assume that the Rezgari are not currently available to threaten violence upon my vestibule.” The Dokkaebi stroked his long white mustache a moment, then nudged Mettel with his toe, “Perambulate rodent.”

Mettel hopped forward, apprehensive, scared more now than before of what might be coming for them. Light streamed into the subterranean corridor through barred windows, solid, safe– no man nor even the smallest Parua could slip through those cracks.

They continued forward in silence for a few dozen steps, then the Judge paused, cocking his head, setting a hand on Mettel’s shoulder, “My auditory senses detect an intruder.”

Mettel turned, looking back– a raven standing in the filtering light, shaking its wings. “Caw!”

Asala bin Qalam pressed the Truth Stone into Mettel’s claws, “Continue to the conclusion of the passageway– I shall follow presently, once this flea ridden creature is dispatched.”

Mettel watched in disbelief as the raven shifted forms, twisting, standing up into a human form. An ebony skinned man dressed in a tattered, moss covered robe, a gnarled staff, gourds hanging from the end.

The Judge unlatched the great scimitar which hung at his waist, turning to face their attacker. Mettel ran, hopping in the four legged lope of his people. He heard talking behind him in a tongue unfamiliar, recognized the Truth Bringer’s voice and that of what must have been the unknown dark skinned man.

Mettel saw light ahead, the end of the tunnel at last, sprinting forward as the sounds behind him changed from speech to the clash of sword and staff. When Mettel burst forth into the light, he stopped, skidding into the ground, pressing his fingers into the sand, tears of relief welling in his eyes, the Truth Stone clutched to his chest.

“Ahem.” Mettel looked up from the dirt to see a smiling human figure looking down at him, olive skinned like the people of the Five Tribes. Beside him a Dokkebi female crouched, snarling, her sharpened teeth glinting in the twilight Sun.

“He has the stone,” the human said, looking back over his shoulder to talk to an unseen figure.

“Excellent,” the voice responded with a sibilant softness, its bearer seeming to glide forward over the sand, “Well, little mouse– you seem to have the most interesting of timing.”

The Ghul Queen smiled down at him, and Mettel gulped.

Lost Spells of the Sun Cycle: Denier Spells

Continuing with sharing some of the spells I have created for the Sun Cycle setting, I delve into some of the Denier Spells.

As a reminder, some ideas on how to incorporate Lost spells can be found with the Hermit spells I revealed last time.

Class: Denier

Deniers are a type of unSunned spell casters. Their primary spell casting attribute is Wisdom, and they draw power from four realms of of power (broad categories their spells fit into). Deniers can access celestial (dealing with the Moon and stars), foundational (dealing with the elements and forces of the world), spiritual (dealing with spirits), and totemnic (dealing with animal totems). Their class abilities deal with surviving on their own, and standing in opposition to Sun worshipers which they “Deny” hence “Deniers”. Deniers could cast spells up to 9th level originally.

Denier Spells

1st level
Moon’s Touch: Heals with the light of the moon.
Rising Tides of Salt: Raises salt content in arc of targets, causing dehydration damage,
Rushing Wind: Pushes one creature back and deals 1d8 damage.

3rd level
Cooling Wind: A gentle breeze cools one creature.

Cooling Wind
School:
Transmutation (Foundational realm) Level: Denier 3 (Wind)
Components: S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 10 ft.
Effect: One Creature
Duration: One hour
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The Denier blows a gentle wind at the target while cupping his hands over his mouth.  The target treats the heat category as one less for all purposes.
Special: By investing a first level spell the spell duration is doubled.  By investing a second level spell the range is doubled.  By investing a third level spell the spell lowers the heat category by two categories.

Moon’s Touch
School: Conjuration (healing; Celestial realm) Level: Denier 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Effect: One Creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will Half (Harmless)
Spell Resistance: No (Harmless)

Upon casting this spell the Denier imbues the touched creature with the healing power of the moon.  The amount of healing depends on the time and illumination conditions:

New Moon/ day outside: 1d6
Crescent Moon/clouded: 1d8
Half moon/inside, well lit: 1d10
Full moon/inside, no illumination: 2d6

Add the Denier’s class level to the amount healed regardless of illumination.

Rising Tides of Salt
School: Evocation (Foundational Realm) Level: Denier 1
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 10 ft.
Effect: 10 ft arc.
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude half
Spell Resistance: Yes

The Denier waves his hand in an arc in front of him and all creatures in a 10 ft. arc instantly feel the salt in their bodies multiplying, draining the precious life giving water from their systems.  Affected creatures take 1d8 damage, save for half.  In addition triple any damage taken directly reduces the creature’s current Water Reserve.

Rushing Wind
School:
Evocation (Foundational realm) Level: Denier 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 30 ft.
Effect: One Creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude Negates, Reflex Partial
Spell Resistance: Yes

The Denier summons a quick, strong burst of wind aimed at a single creature.  Any creature failing its fortitude save is pushed back 15 ft. in one direction.  It may attempt a tumble check to avoid attacks of opportunity, but otherwise provokes attacks as per normal movement.  In addition it must make a reflex save or take 1d8 damage.  If this movement would push the target off the edge of a cliff or similar obstacle it stops just short thereof.

This post contains Pathfinder compatible material.

Lost Spells of the Sun Cycle: Hermit Spells

As some of you may know, the Sun Cycle story series that I write on this blog started as a OGL game world. It went through several revisions and partial revisions, through two editions, and then was abandoned when 4th Edition D&D came out. It turns out, for even an aspiring game designer like me the size of the setting/system rewrites were massive– and the need for art to support a full Core Rules sized release were simply out of my budgetary means.

But I put a substantial amount of work in, and there is a lot of material– 12 classes, and about half the total spells to support those of these which are spell casting, plus a big chunk of new feats. So, this is as good a place as any to share some of these spells, you may be able to find a few gems to use in current games.

How to Introduce Lost Spells

The spells presented here are for classes that do not currently exist. As such, they would not be readily accessible to any specific spell casting class. You can include these spells as special rewards for your players– perhaps a handful of scrolls (or a wand) could be found that with research allow a Wizard or Magus to add the spell to their spellbook. Perhaps a deity grants one of these as a special boon to a Cleric or Druid. Shamans may learn these spells from ancient spirits, or a witch from their mysterious Patron.

Class: Hermit

Hermits a a type of unSunned spell casters. Their primary casting attribute is Charisma, and they draw power from three realms of power (broad categories their spells fit into). Hermits can access foundational (dealing with the elements and forces of the world), spiritual (dealing with spirits), and totemnic (dealing with animal totems). Their class abilities deal with spirits, the spirit world, and wilderness. Hermits could cast spells up to 6th level originally.

Hermit Spell

1st Level
Capture Hearth Spirit: Imprisons a Hearth Spirit
Corpse Walk: Temporarily binds a spirit to create a Walking Corpse.

2nd level
Sprouting Potential: Use a sapling to create a wooden structure.

Capture Hearth Spirit
School Conjuration (Spiritual Realm) Level Hermit 1
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 Full round action, Special
Range: Special
Effect: One hearth spirit
Duration: Special
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This spell captures a hearth spirit, imprisoning it in the material component that can be a jar, box, vial, or other container.  If no material component is available, the Hermit may imprison the spirit beneath their tongue.  Any fire has a 10% chance to contain a hearth spirit; fires in dedicated fire places such as are found in homes or other buildings have a 25% chant to contain a hearth spirit.  If there is no hearth spirit present the spell is not consumed upon completion.
Once captured the spirit remains in the container until released in one of three ways:

  • The Hermit may use the spirit to start a fire regardless of any conditions.
  • The Hermit may use the spirit to inhabit a fireplace.  Fires started in this fireplace from then on grant those within 10 feet of them a 1-point bonus to constitution while the fire burns.
  • The Hermit may throw, or spit the spirit out, causing 1d6+Charisma modifier damage to a 10-foot cone.

Corpse Walk
School: Necromancy (Spiritual Realm) Level: Hermit 1 (Binding)
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Effect: One fleshy dead creature of medium or smaller size.
Duration: One round/level
Saving Throw: None (Harmless)
Spell Resistance: No (Harmless)

This spell temporarily forces a nearby spirit into a body, animating it as a Walking Corpse.  The link to the body is tenuous and can be severed by physical damage.  The Walking Corpse has 2 hit dice, regardless of its physical form.  The Walking Corpse follows the Hermits commands for the duration of the spell to the best of its abilities.  The material component for this spell is a dose of deadman’s powder.  Special: By investing a second 1st level spell the Walking Corpse has a bonus feat and +1 BaB.

Sprouting Potential
School: Transmutation (Foundational realm) Level: Hermit 2
Components: S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 10 ft.
Effect: One tree seed
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The Hermit throws a tree seed into the air and as it falls it grows unto a wooden structure of the Hermit’s choosing.  The possible structures include:

A fortified Wall 15 ft high, 20 ft. long with a 5 ft. wide platform and a ladder to the top.
A Tower with a 10 ft by 10 ft room atop a 15 ft pole, with a ladder, a bottom facing door and windows on two sides.
A Sledge that can be drawn by a single horse over snowy terrain, with room for up to 4 medium creatures.
A Long Canoe with room for up to 4 medium creatures.

This post contains Pathfinder Compatible Material.

Mother, Daughter, and the Bold Scout

Maba stared into the eyes of Dread Anna. He stood nearly on tip-paws, trying to bring himself to her height, his lip quivering as he stared into the eyes of the greatest hero and worst villain both in the history of the Peshga tribe, no in all the history of the Parua.

Maba knew he had a choice to make– he could walk away now, could stay safe from the ire of Dread Dead Anna, but he knew that if he did, the Peshga Tribe was doomed. Silently he prayed to Padaga for courage, then spoke, channeling the bold forebears who had come before him, from the first mouse who pulled the thorn from Padaga’s foot don to the strongest and bravest of the gigants.

Then he opened his mouth and spoke. “You won’t leave me here in the Sill. You won’t hop off on your own business or go on ahead to the story circle. You would never abandon the Peshga tribe in a time of true need, and–”

Annika snatched the younger Parua by the nape of his neck, hefting him off the ground by an inch, the muscles in the thin hand straining as she pulled him close, “What makes you think I’d consider this a time of true need? Mercenaries? Rezgari mercenaries I suppose?”

Maba nodded.

“You mean to tell me Old One Eye, that salty Pitr whose built his career robbing caravans and guarding them in turns means suddenly to make a brazen assault instead? Him who prefers to be bought out of any assault he has been bought into? It was the Rezgari double cross, after all.”

“Old One Eye is out. The Rezgari have a new leader.” Maba peeled her fingers apart, restoring himself to his feet, steeling his courage against his fears, “You haven’t heard?”

“No. Who is this new leader then?”

Maba looked once more into the eyes of the famed Peshga heroine, “She came upon the Rezgari on the edges of the wastes two years back, or so the story is told. She put Old One Eye’s head on a pike, poked out the eye that remained. The Rezgari answer to her now, and to her lieutenant, formerly of the Pingara, a human man known as the Bane of Backalore.”

Annie’s eyes narrowed at the name. “Someone has brought the Bane to heel?” Maba nodded. “This woman, who killed One Eye, cowed the Bane, and rules the Rezgari then, who is she?”

“No one knows her true name. But she is called the Gray Queen.”

Even Mitzia shuddered as the scout uttered the words.