Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?

darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.

Squeeji is the head of “Human Resources” here at No Books, and responsible for pretty much everything related to our contact with the outside world. Advertising, orientation, and just about anything to do with bringing in new blood is in her wheelhouse.
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Jul 7 2018, 10:54 PM
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Conspiracy Name: The Gardeners
Local Leader: Steven Inconnue (Grand Gardener of N. America & Master Gardener of Columbiana)
Purpose: To protect the world from the Elder Ones and other extraterrestrial/extra-dimensional threats.
Species Allowed: Magi, Townies (Rarely)
Ranks: Grand Gardener (9 across the globe, global leaders) -> Master Gardener (By city and/or region) -> Gardener (Full Member) -> Initiate (Probationary Member)
Initiation: A period of three years as an Initiate; the initiate then is taken to a place where Full Members expose the Initiate to one of the Bound (powerful servants of the Elder Ones captured by the Gardeners) and forces the creature to reveal its true form. If the Initiate does not go mad upon seeing the creature's form, they are granted full member status.
Summary: The Gardeners are those few magi who know of the true threat that the Elder Ones and their servants represent; thus they are willing to sacrifice everything to ensure these Eldritch entities remain trapped in their slumbering state. Lengthy rituals, decades of constant vigilance, and even open mockery from less believing friends and allies are the cost of ensuring that this tiny globe continues to exist for the Council and the Order to fight over.
It is worth noting that The Gardeners are the only secret society who does not care about a mage's allegiance in the Schism War. While the organization is primarily populated by members of the Council, but there is a significant handful of Order members. Because of this, the organization strictly forbids discussing external politics during rituals and gatherings, lest political divides disrupt their essential works.

Conspiracy Name: The ARES Initiative
Local Leader: Field Officer: Randall Bannerman
Purpose: To defend the Magi of the Council from the Order and other threats.
Species Allowed: Magi
Ranks: Director (global) -> Regional Officer (local) -> Field Officer -> Intelligence Agent (Desk Work) or Field Agent (Wet Work) -> Agent
Initiation: Attend a training Academy and pass its entrance exam to become an Agent, then climb the ranks. ROTC-esque programs at the various Mystic Universities permit skipping over the “agent” rank and go right to Intelligence or Field Work
Summary: Since the Schism War's beginning, there has been an endless call for mystic defenses and security to ensure the safety of the Council and its loyal members across the world. Many Council members are willing to come to the defense of their comrades, but some were more dedicated to the cause than others and focused on building an elite force of defenders. This group has gone by many names and claimed many different organizations over the years, but in the mid-20th century it was felt that the Council's security force needed to be modernized.
That is where the Analysis and Reconnaissance of Enlightened Security Initiative (or the ARES Initiative) comes in. ARES exists for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of the world and the mages who inhabit it. There are things that go bump in the night, whose very existence is a literal and immediate danger to humanity as a whole, above and beyond the threats of the Order. ARES was created to deal with these threats, gathering intelligence and acting against these threats before they can threaten the Council. Espionage and surveillance are their stock and trade. ARES uses spy-craft to build a better world.

Conspiracy Name: The Board of Trustees
Local Leader: Dr. Emil Hastings
Purpose: To attend to the political and social needs of Columbiana’s Magi while following High Council edicts.
Species Allowed: Magi
Ranks: Chairman -> Councilor (per Society) -> Functionary -> Page -> Intern
Initiation: Sponsorship from a Councilor or Functionary is the only requirement.
Summary: The local representatives of the High Council, the Board of Trustees is dedicated to representing both the needs of its citizens and the demands of the global High Council. Typically, this is simple enough. Enforce the laws of the higher ups and placate the worries of the locals. Unfortunately, this can cause tremendous difficulty if those two purposes contradict, as often happens in Columbiana Valley. Though their primary purview is that of the Collegium Campus, they must often work with representatives of the Wyrdling Courts and the Townie City Hall, to reach an accord which is mutually beneficially to all involved…

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Conspiracy Name: The Wyrdling Courts
Local Leader: Leadership rotates with the turning of each season amongst the following “royals” – Nathan Kilne, Duke of Winter; {OPEN}, Baroness of Spring; Margaret Monday, Baron of Summer; Adam Linton, Duke of Autumn.
Purpose: To attend to the political and social needs of Columbiana’s Wyrdlings
Species Allowed: Wyrdlings
Ranks: The Lords of the Seasons -> The Royal Court -> Citizens -> Commoners
Initiation: All Wyrdlings living in the Valley, regardless of their own opinions, are considered “commoners” in the Courts. This means they have basic rights and the ability to air greivances. They need only publically declare their involvement with the Courts to be considered a Citizen; which affords them a vote in public matters and the right to speak at any Court gathering (assuming they file with the Secretary before said meeting). Members of the Royal Court are those who have proven themselves by completing some noble quest, which is determined by the Court when a member applies, and allows the individual to propose motions and potentially caucus to replace the Lords of the Seasons. The Lords are considered members of the Royal Court when they are not ruling.
Summary: The Wyrdling Courts are a loose confederation of the Wyrdlings who live in and around the Columbiana Valley. While the exact time of its founding has been lost to time, it is known that Wyrdlings have been politically active in the Valley for nearly as long as the Mage; they have never held much temporal power there, but they are a political force nonetheless. Their stated goal is to publically represent and protect the interests of the Wyrdlings in the Valley; after all, the Valley is a safe haven for the mystically inclined, but is still dominated by Mages and their interests.

The Lords of the Seasons derive much of their authority from long held Pacts with the spirits of their respective seasons, wherein their predecessors struck a bargain stating that they (or their successors) and those who pledge to serve a particular lord would accept certain Geasa in exchange for authority and the mystic power to back it up. As a result, their authority is recognized by Wyrdlings and all other spiritually aware (e.g. Mages, Werewolves, some Vampires), which gives both themselves and the Wyrdlings in general considerable recognition as a legitimate governing body (much akin to tribal governments vs the US government). Additionally, though their power waxes and wanes according to season (i.e. the Baron of Summer is strongest in summer and weakest in winter), they and their followers still retain their abilities and authority despite it being diminished.

Conspiracy Name: The Lawn-Art Irregulars
Local Leader: Bogie
Purpose: A self-proclaimed "Rogue Art Combine," they seek to raise awareness of the "inhuman condition" and push for "expansion of what it means to be human."
Species Allowed: Wyrdlings and Townies, Mages (rarely)
Ranks: N/A
Initiation: Must present a "piece" of art for "critique" along with the petition for membership, if approved they are considered a full member
Summary: Originally a product of the 90s grunge movement and its connected art community, the Irregulars were formed from a collection of artistically minded Wyrdlings that had grown tired of hiding their nature from mortals. While safety and sanity made overt revelation of the supernatural to humanity impossible, the Irregulars knew that careful exposures to "Wyrdness" would desensitize mortals and open their minds to such creatures. Thus, through their art they seek to "prepare" humanity for the exposure of supernaturals to the wider world. In the meantime, they build their own little communes and artistic communities where they can "live free" and drop their Glamour without fear from the "prepared" mortals that live there.

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Conspiracy Name: The Supernatural Entities Liberation Front (SELF)
Local Leader: The Troika – Hepzibeth “Beth” El Baz (Mage), Percy Belmont (Townie), Margaret “Maggie” Monday (Wyrdling)
Purpose: A group of revolutionary thinkers among various Supernatural groups
Species Allowed: Any and all, plus Townies (especially townies)
Ranks: N/A
Initiation: Not much, basically just publicly declare yourself a member and you’re good.
Summary: According to SELF, the problem isn't the Exalted. It isn't the Kindly Ones. It isn't even the “Townies.” It's the supernaturals themselves. They think themselves so much better than “mere mortals,” yet they hide themselves away. They tell themselves that the fight against the cold, superiority of the Exalted or the Wyld chaos of the Faerie Lords. Instead, SELF claims, everyone needs to realize that supernaturals have been nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. If “mortals” are truly capable of learning to coexist with supernaturals, as proven by the “Townies,” why not now? If they can learn magic like the philosophers say, why wait? We need to stop hiding in the shadows and take things to the streets!
Jul 7 2018, 10:15 PM
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In lieu of a traditional application, No Books of Men utilizes your character's profile to serve the same purpose. Below is a how-to guide on how to get your character's info into their profile, what's needed to get them approved, and where to let us know then you've got it done,<br><br>

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the cbox or PM an Admin. We're here to help!

<br><br><div style="width:400px;background-color:#EF8B2C;height:20px;"></div><br><br>

How To Edit Your Profile
  • On the sidebar, click on the little icon of a person right above the Switch Account box. This will take you to your control panel.
  • There are several links along the left side of the control panel. Click on the one titled "Edit Profile Info" under the heading "PERSONAL PROFILE".
  • This is where you can edit all sorts of info about your character. Not all of it is needed for the application, but the sections titled "AGE", "SPECIES", "FACTION", "POWERS", "PERSONALITY", and "HISTORY" must be completed in order to get your character approved.
  • HTML is enabled in these sections for those who care to utilize it, but just typing your info in works too!
What Does Each Field Require?
  • Age - Your character's age in #s.
  • Species - Your character's species/usergroup. This will be either Human, Mage, or Wyrdling.
  • Faction - The faction or group your character affiliates with. This can be a Conspiracy, Mage Society, a location (Columbiana University if they're a student or professor, for example), or any number of other options. If your character does not align themselves with a particular group, you may enter "Unaffiliated", "N/A", or something to that effect.
  • Powers - What supernatural abilities your character possesses. This is where Mage spells and Wyrdling traits go. Feel free to use this area to highlight any other strengths or weaknesses your character may have, such as skill with a particular instrument, allergies to certain foods, or abilities outside the norm (training in a particular skill or field, health issues, languages spoken, etc) that you want the staff to know about your character.
  • Personality - What makes your character tick? At least two paragraphs describing your character's personality ought to let the Admins get a good feeling for who they are, though feel free to write more if you'd like.
  • History - How did your character end up where they are today? This should be the most detailed part of the application, though there isn't a set number of paragraphs, just as long as the Admins can get a solid grasp of the character's backstory. This section can be free form (written chronologically, or broken up into sections by age/events, in third person or first, etc.)
All Done! Now What?
  • Once your character's profile is all filled out and ready to go, drop a reply HERE and the Admins will check it out. If everything looks good, your character will be approved. Easy as that!
Jul 7 2018, 10:13 PM
So you wanna make a Mage...
Awesome! Here's a step-by-step guide to get you going.

Get ready: WRITE!
  • Step 1: Concept and basic info. What is your idea? How old is the character? Why this "species?"
  • Step 2: Write Personality. Who is your character? How do they act around others? What do they hide from others? Roughly 2 paragraphs, please.
  • Step 3: Choose Mage Society. These are "sub-factions" of Council Mages. Essentially, they are a combination of a "social club" and a "professional fraternity." All Mages will be a member of one and each represents a "style of Magic." In brief:
    • CES: Psychics
    • Kadji: Shaman
    • Lian: Alchemists
    • Mara: Necromancers
    • Masar: Fate/Luck Manipulators
    • Opifex: Artisans/Inventors
    • Silvani: Nature Mages
    • Sophia: Priests/Priestesses
    • Tanka: Prophets
  • Step 4: Define Schools of Magic. What Schools of Magic does your character study? Typically (i.e. 99.9% of the time) they study the same Schools as their Society, but after mastering their first School some branch out into others.
  • Step 5: (OPTIONAL) Choose Conspiracy. Is your character part of a group? Which one? Why would they join?
  • Step 6: Write History. Who were they before they were a Mage? How did they become a Mage? Who trained them and which Society did they join? How have their studies progressed over time? At least 3 paragraphs, please.
  • Step 7: Create a Profile and Input Info. If not already done, just create a profile here on the site and add your info to it. Then let an admin know that your character is ready to look at either on the discord or via PM.
Note: As always, any questions or comments, please feel free to contact an admin!
Jul 7 2018, 10:07 PM
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Can I play a Hybrid (A Vampire/Wyrdling, a Mage/Werewolf, etc)?

No. While some such combinations do exist in the setting they aren't playable for two reasons. The first is that they're simply too rare. All Supernaturals combined constitute only about 1% of the human population of the world. Any one group is .25% or less and any cross breeds are even rarer. The chances of seeing one is exceedingly rare to the point that many doubt such a thing is possible. That aside, the second reason is simple complexity and balance. We here at KPW are trying to keep things simple and hybrids throw any such simplicity out of whack as we try to find a way to balance powers.

Are Mages born as such? Does it run in families? Can anyone become a Mage?

Simply put, all player Mages are generally born as such. While it is entirely possible to have magical aptitude run in a family, it's not necessary to have that be the case for your Mage, unless you'd like it to be so. Anyone who is not already a Vampire, Wyrdling, or Werewolf can become a Mage (aka any regular old human has the potential to be a Mage).

How does a Mage learn more spells? Can I start with more than 6?

Mages learn spells the same way anyone learns a new skill; studying and practicing. All player Mages can start with a maximum of 6 spells, but anyone wishing to have their character acquire additional spells just has to prove to the admins that their character is taking in-character steps to do so (ie, PM an admin with a link to a thread/threads wherein your character has made some attempt to learn more spells, whether that's through mentoring, research, or what have you).

Are Mages human or something more?

Mages are, generally speaking, regular humans who have been granted the ability to use magic. What this means is, they age the same as the average person, they are susceptible to the same illnesses and bodily harm as everyone else, and they have the same lifespan. That said, some Mage use their magic to "cheat the system", and as such some exceptions exist. This can extend to player Mages as well as NPCs; as per usual, hit up an admin with your idea and we can suss it out with you!

What is the High Council? What is the Exalted Order? Can my character be a part of either?

In short, the two factions are ideologically opposed. The High Council is dedicated to individuality and self-expression, while the Exalted Order represents Magical Elitism and authoritarianism. The two groups have been at varying levels of open warfare for almost a millennium, and thus the two could not realistically coexist in the same area. As the High Council controls the Columbiana Valley, the Exalted Order is exclusively an antagonist faction and thus is not available to play.

What was the Schism War and when did it occur? What were the ramifications?

The Schism War is the name of a series of conflicts between the Exalted Order and the High Council. The War began with the dissolution of the Cult of Thoth in the late Roman period, with half becoming the Order and the other half becoming the Council. Over time, one group or another has come to dominate the conflict and recently both have been decimated by the Battle of the Plateau of Leng. Many of the survivors of Leng have been deeply scarred by their experiences there and both factions aim to claim revenge against the other for the devastation there.

Can my Mage belong to more than one Society? Can I change it later?

Mages can only belong to one Society, and it usually can't be changed later. This is to keep things from getting too confusing and to keep all Mages on an even playing field. However, if a character is just starting out and you simply aren't feeling the Society you've chosen or the magic schools associated with it, hit up an admin and we can probably help you out.

How does spellcasting work? Are there different ways to cast a spell?

All spellcasting works vis a Foci. A Foci is a object, ritual, gesture, or the like that helps your Mage focus their magical capabilities. This can be almost anything; a wand, a pendant, a hand gesture, magic words, fresh blood for all those necromancers out there, some sweet dance moves... as long as it acts as a conduit for the magic your Mage is working with, it can be a Foci.

How does someone know they are a Mage? Is there an initiation ritual? Are their Mage schools?

An aptitude for Magic typically reveals itself during adolescence but can happen at any point in life. This ability usually manifests as minor mystic effects such as floating pencils or minor hauntings. Once these effects begin, they create minor ripples that other mages can detect. Once they’ve been detected, most young Mages are then offered attendance at the closest school for magic (Columbiana being the only one in North America). There is typically no real initiation ritual for Mages in general, but some of the more ancient Societies have initiations for some of their more promising young mages. It is far from common in the modern period.

Can I give my Mage spells that are not on the magic list?

Short answer: no. Long answer: maybe. The Magic list is set up the way it is to keep things fair among all Mage players, but if you have an idea for a spell that isn't on the list, contact an admin and if it seems feasible, we might be able to work something out.

Is there a penalty for using too much Magic? If my Mage casts a spell in front of mortals, what happens?

You bet your spell-slinging butt there is! Magic is powerful and unwieldy, and the universe really doesn't like it when someone goes around messing with it too much. As such, if your Mage gets a little too spell-happy in a thread, there may be some unfortunate side effects. This is called the Scourge, and it is totally optional. It's really used as a way to add a little flavor to your character development -- think of it as temporary magical backlash that is a hindrance to your character until it wears off. This is usually represented as something suitable to the sort of magic your Mage uses. Here's some examples:
  • A Mage who abuses their telepathy powers might find themselves unwillingly voicing their own inner thoughts aloud randomly throughout the day.
  • A Mage who goes overboard altering the weather might find themselves stuck under a Lil' Abner-style rain cloud for a few days afterward.
  • A Mage who keeps hexing their foes might wind up with a nasty case of bad luck themselves.
These are just some examples of how a Scourge effect might manifest itself. They typically last for a short time.

If a mortal witnesses a magic spell that can't be explained away easily, there are sure to be consequences. What these are remain to be seen, but expect your Mage to get a visitor or two who won't be terribly happy to see them...

How do Mages treat science in this world? Do magic and science co-exist?

Magic and science do co-exist on this board. There's even a Mage society that treats magic more like advanced science (the Opifex). How much a Mage views magic as something more concrete or practical is up to the individual player. But for a general guideline, here's some decidedly nerdy references as to how we handle the two here on the site:
  • Akin to the Marvel Universe, Tony Stark has a basement full of Iron Man suits while Dr. Strange is rewinding time and Thor is travelling between realms on a rainbow bridge.
  • In Star Wars, Han Solo sees first hand that The Force exists, but still claims that hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.
  • In the Harry Potter universe, Muggle-born Mages are well aware that things like microwaves, MP3 players, and cellphones exists as they're taking a class on how to summon their Patronus.
Jul 7 2018, 09:56 PM
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This page is guest friendly. Please feel free to leave a reply and ask any Wyrdling-specific questions you may have!

Can I play a Hybrid (A Mage/Wyrdling)?

No. While some such combinations do exist in the setting they aren't playable for two reasons. The first is that they're simply too rare. All Supernaturals combined constitute only about 1% of the human population of the world. Any one group is .25% or less and the cross breeds are even rarer. The chances of seeing one is exceedingly rare to the point that many doubt such a thing is possible. That aside, the second reason is simple complexity and balance. We here at No Books are trying to keep things simple and hybrids throw any such simplicity out of whack as we try to find a way to balance powers.

What is the place that the Wyrdlings are transported to called? Do they all go to the same place?

It varies. Wyrdlings are created when they enter a realm touched by an Elder One. Basically, they're older than you could possibly imagine and have a nasty habit of consuming worlds and transforming everything therein. Any poor soul who crosses paths with that realm are affected by the changes put in place by the Elder One. There's no definite number of these realms, but most (think 90% of all Wyrdlings) come to be in the realm known as Arcadia, or get changed by an entity with ties to Arcadia. There's also no definite list of what can and can't be found inside Arcadia, so let your imagination go nuts when it comes to coming up with just what happened to your Wyrdling on the "other side" and just how they ended up there.

There are two other realms that create Wyrdlings that are known by name: The Eternal City and the Great Dark. However, these realms are incredibly mysterious and very few Wyrdlings are created therein. More information will be revealed about these realms in time, but for now, anyone interested in exploring these options can PM an Admin.

So what exactly goes down in Arcadia? How long does a Wyrdling stay there? How does time work therein?

Anything and everything can happen in Arcadia. That sounds like a cheap way to not have to explain anything, but it's the truth. This is because the staff wants players to have a lot of freedom in deciding how their Wyrdling came to be. Want to have your Wyrdling spend a bajillion years slaving away in a gold mine to appease some "master" who has an affinity for shiny things? That's cool. Want to have your mermaid-esque Wyrdling have spent countless hours singing siren songs to lure unsuspecting sailors to their untimely demises against some jagged rocks simply because they had a compulsion to do so? That works too. Pretty much anything is doable in Arcadia.

Time is relative in Arcadia. Your Wyrdling may be touched by an Elder One and feel like they've been swept away for a hundred years only to escape and find out they were gone for fifteen real-world minutes. Or they may get snatched away and return only seconds later to find that fifty years have gone by. There is no time requirement to make a Wyrdling; do what works for you.

Can Wyrdlings see through each other's Glamour? Can humans or other supernaturals see through it?

Yup. It's part of being a Wyrdling; you can see your fellow Wyrdling's true forms, and they can see yours. Humans and other supernaturals, however, can not normally see through a Wyrdling's Glamour. There are three circumstances under which they can:

1.) Immediately after someone turns into a Wyrdling their true form is visible until their Glamour kicks in (this only lasts a short time, three days at the most), and anyone who catches a glimpse of them will see their true form.
2.) The Wyrdling allows them to see through it. A Glamour can be temporarily dropped for a short amount of time.
3.) A fellow supernatural can potentially see through a Glamour by using certain powers or casting certain spells. In this case, it's best to ask the Wyrdling in question if they are okay with the spell/power succeeding.

That being said, any mortal who sees past a Glamour will NOT remember what it is they saw after the fact, due to the nature of the Mysts. They may remember that something isn't quite right about the Wyrdling, but they will not be able to fully remember what that something is.

Okay, wait, what are the "Mysts"?

The Mysts are the mystical forces that keep Wyrdlings from being discovered. It's what keeps their Glamours in place and what stops ordinary folks from seeing whatever oddities befell them after they changed. Think of it like Cinderella's fairy godmother -- everyone at the ball saw a beautiful ball gown and a fancy carriage drop Cinderella off at the ball, but she herself knew she was wearing torn up rags and riding around in a pumpkin.

What is up with this conspicuous consumption thing?

Basically, your Wyrdling has to consume something to keep their "essence" going. They're no longer human, so regular food just won't fully cut it anymore. They can still eat human food, of course, but the urge to sate that "conspicuous consumption" must still be filled. This can be pretty much anything you can think of, though it is recommended to have whatever it is tie-in with their transformation. (ie, a golem Wyrdling might need to eat rocks, a tiger Wyrdling might need to eat raw meat, a techno Wyrdling might have to gnaw on old computer monitor cables, etc.)

Can I give my Wyrdling more than three traits?

Sorry, but no. This is simply in the name of fairness to ensure all Wyrdlings are on equal footing.

How long do Wyrdlings live? Are they immortal? Do they age?

Wyrdlings live as long as it makes sense for them to do so. Some keep their normal human life spans, others don't. Again, this is completely up to you and how you want to play your character. They aren't immortal in the same sense that, say, a vampire would be, and anything that would logically hurt your Wyrdling can do so (ie, a Wyrdling made of fire might not necessarily take damage from a blowtorch, but gets hurt if hit with water). They do age, though depending on what sort of Wyrdling you've made, how that happens may vary.

Can my Wyrding have kids?

If you'd like them too, yes. There's no set rule about Wyrdlings pro-creating, and whether or not their child will be a Wyrdling is once again up to you. It is not hereditary that a child born to a Wyrdling will end up with the same fate, but they very well may. Again, your character, your call.

What is a Conspiracy? Which ones can my Wyrdling join? Do they have to join?

Think of a Conspiracy like a group or club your character can join. In essence, all the members of a Conspiracy share similar goals and work together to achieve them. There are currently two Conspiracies open to Wyrdlings, the Lawn Art Irregulars and SELF . Information for Conspiracies can be found here. Being a member of a Conspiracy is entirely optional, and it's up to you to decide if your character joins one or not.
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