Sunday, January 17, 2016

kingdom of the midnight hour

A little interested in the new 5e SRD/OGL thing going on. DM's Guild is far less attractive, but it does have me thinking how I would run Forgotten Realms. This is how I'd do the Shadowfell.

Kingdom of the Midnight Hour
whence all darkness springs and whence all shadows return. Without light, it is simply an endless void; with light, the shadow of everything that every that ever was or ever happened lives there. The thinking shadows maintain desperate radiant cities. The poorest shadows huddle half-real around hexed coals, while the shadows of kings live in white-hot palaces of imported steel.

The more powerful the shadow, the brighter the light it needs to exist.  The shadows of gods, down in the Deepest Dark, would need a stolen star to truly exist; instead, they lie nascent and semireal in the dim radiance they have managed to hoard, manipulating events in the Prime Material so that they can breach into reality.

a city in the Kingdom located on the shadow the moon casts upon the face of the earth during a solar eclipse; its periodic emergence into the Prime Material plane has made it a center of commerce. It is best known for its aircraft: undead giant moths, their carapaces hollowed out for passengers, their wings filigreed with occult silver wire. These are chiefly designed, built, and piloted by a society of exiled Moon Elves, come to live on the shadow of their former home.

Shadows do not and cannot die, barring extreme and magical circumstances, but in darkness, they must wait in helpless semiconscious potentiality until illuminated once again. Since the Kingdom of the Midnight Hour is infinitely large, falling into darkness might mean years of centuries or millennia or an eternity of imprisonment. Shadows of sentient creatures will, naturally, make any effort to avoid this. Some sell  themselves to wizards in the Prime Material plane as familiars, while others labor as indentured servants to extraplanar masters in return for a magical source of light. Some, however, find a physical medium for their bodies, and it is these that can become adventurers.

Shadows speak a dialect of the Lingua Obscura, a shadow of a long-lost language. In its classical form, it is used to speak the unspeakable and describe the indescribable, but even creatures as esoteric and sentient shadows struggle with such powerful idioms.

The nominal ruler of the Kingdom of Midnight is King Evening Falls Not Gently, more commonly known as King Gently. It is a dragon eaten by its own shadow, and administers its erratic and violent rule from the White Hot Palace.

King Gently's rivals include
  • the Holy Terrors, a triumvirate consisting of the shadows of angels
  • Baron Bar Vashar, an ancient vampire of noble bearing, charitable disposition, and bottomless appetite
  • the Inverse Princess, the less of whom is spoken the better
  • The Resplendent Kingdom of Noon (i.e. the Feywild) is home to fairies and reflections. 
  • Kara Karakai, the City At the Bottom of the World (i.e. Sigil)
  • The Gardens of Flame (Plane of Fire), home to everything ever burnt to ash, a paradise and inferno in one.
  • The Abyss: a hell divided into an infinite number of layers, each one dedicated to an infinitely specific kind of sin. An inquiry into the nature of evil.

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