Welcome to another 2 for Tuesday! I am going to be slammed all the way till midnight and then some, so the second part of this will be a tad late. As usual, we have two topics: The Ghostwind Reavers, a guild of sorts, found in the Southern Kingdoms of the planet Adara (an excerpt from the setting), and the concept of Morphing Pits.
The Ghostwind Reavers are a far-reaching pirate guild led by Edmund Twitch, a pseudo-living, centuries-old pirate captain who fears no mortal, only a creature he claims lives in the mists and hails from the Abyss or some other nasty place. Long ago, the Reavers, as they were once called, were a successful, but short-lived group of pirates who ravaged ships and brutalized their victims along the coast of the Keldek Empire. After a few months of evading the Keldian Navy, a group of mercenaries and bounty hunters were sent by the crown to infiltrate the Reavers and crush them.
Out of sheer desperation, Captain Twitch and the few Reavers who survived, fled to an uncharted, nameless isle, and sought refuge in a dark, misty jungle. Becoming lost in the mists, they came across ancient pits that beckoned them to enter. Compelled to explore further, the pirates entered the pits and emerged changed forever.
Most became pseudo-living, and beholden to a strange force, while others found power and a hunger for more. When Captain Twitch emerged, he seemed flooded with power, but otherwise untouched, yet in time, his body changed horrifically. With power and renewed purpose, the pirates quickly overwhelmed their pursuers. Renaming themselves the Ghostwind Reavers, they again took to the seas and ravaged the coasts with tireless determination.
They seek to grow in number and power, by feeding the pits to expanding their growing army of pseudo-living and thereby sating the appetite of the mysterious Lord of the Mists.
None. Nearly all members of the Ghostwind Reavers were once captives and slaves who chose to brave the pits of judgment rather than suffer a slow and agonizing demise. Those few who seek out the Ghostwind Reavers for whatever reason, are typically shoved in front of the next raid. Whether they live or die, they are then placed into the pits and transformed into proper members of the crew.
Those who come out with their minds intact are often given positions of power and status in the guild, as well as access to the guild’s considerable booty and eventually command over the less fortunate members of the guild. Immortality is possible, though few attain it, and it is immortality in service of the pirates. Those who lose their minds in the process become rank and file soldiers with no rights nor will of their own.
Captain Edmund Twitch: Once a captain in the Keldian Navy until he struck a superior officer and then fled for his life, Edmund Targan soon changed his name and led many successful raids along the Keldian Coast. The original captain of the Reavers, and the last of his crew to enter the Pits of Judgment, it was his caution that helped them grow from a minor band of brigands to a serious threat along the coasts of the Southern Kingdoms. Cunning and dangerous, he hopes to turn his relatively small naval force into a military power rivaling the Keldian Navy he once served.
Despite his charisma and leadership however, Twitch is little more than a puppet to a creature no other mortal eyes have seen. Over the years, he has become quite eccentric, and rarely leaves the islands, save to reinforce his position as the deadliest pirate in the Southern Seas at times.
He surrounds himself with a small, but loyal group of intelligent, and powerful pseudo-living warriors and advisors who carry out his commands without question.
Oaths are nigh meaningless to the Ghostwind Reavers.
The hidden Isle of Mists is home to both slaves and pseudo-living who make their homes on what little farmland is available, scraping out a meager living while the upper echelon dwells in an underground complex few ever see. Most of the island is covered in sweltering jungle and thick mists, concealing pitfalls and traps, both natural and manmade.
Following a raid, the Ghostwind Reavers spend the night drinking heavily and deriding their victims, watching with rapt attention as the newcomers are transformed in the pits. Little else, save perhaps raiding seems to bring them any pleasure.
There are few reasons for a good or sane character to want to join the Ghostwind Reavers, unless it is for the purpose of infiltrating to take over and bring them to ruin. Some might hope to plunder the pirates and evil characters looking for power might find it, if they can resist the Pit of Judgment.
Setting Hazard: Morphing Pits
The Southern Kingdoms are a war torn region of Adara, one which though beginning to stabilize, has seen kingdom after kingdom rise and fall, devastating wars lasting over a millennia, only taking breaks for short periods while kingdoms dress their wounds, rebuild, wrestle with internal upheaval or reshape themselves in the image of the latest monarch.
In some areas, cities have been built upon the ruins of ancient cities, themselves built upon the foundations of even older ruins, and some say far below the cobbled streets lie dark secrets that if revealed could topple everything that lives above. Secrets so dangerous that even the dark elves living in the Darkdeep don’t dare speak of.
Morphing Pits are one such horror. Terrible by-products of wars and rampant barbarism and outlawed in most kingdoms, the pits lie forgotten by most, accessible to only a few and the dark art of creating them known to fewer still. Dungeons, strange and terrifying traps, and abandoned underground military compounds are commonplace, and slavers are always looking to increase their trade, but more than a few, cruel armies have forced their soldiers into the pits. Such pits have been found on many worlds, especially on Cathor and Forge.
Exactly how morphing pits works is not clearly understood, but essentially whatever is put inside comes out as something else. When your soldiers are kobolds or goblins, more than one commander has jumped at the chance of bringing forth a more powerful servant. Even brave adventurers (or very foolish, depending on how you look at it), have tested the Morphing Pits, hoping that the rumors are true that it’s possible to choose what sort of creature you emerge as.
Rumors tell of special magical keys that enable you to control the pits and rituals that can be taken to ensure desired outcomes. But there are also corrupt pits that obey no one, and many who have tried the pits themselves have regretted it, while others never stepped foot outside the pits again.
Note: As with all the QT games blog posts on Cosmothea, it should go without saying that this material is copyrighted. ©2013 QT Games LLC. All rights reserved.