Thursday, 10 September 2015

Foes of the Wicked City 6: The Blue Folk

This is what the sky looks like over the Mongolian steppe.

Image by Skittledip.
It's enormous. There are no trees. There are no mountains. There's nothing to stand between you and this infinity of blue air and clouds above your head. Unsurprisingly, the greatest of god of the Turkic pantheon was the sky god, Tengri, and the steppe tribes peopled the regions of the sky with spirits of the wind and air. In ATWC, these are represented by the Blue Folk.

They look kinda like this. 
The Blue Folk are the children of the sky. They live far above the world, in fantastical cities built on the backs of clouds; they are born out of the clouds by a process of spontaneous generation, and their own bodies are a kind of cloudstuff, only a little heavier than air. Sustained by air and moisture, they have no need of agriculture, and pass carefree existences in which they scarcely notice the passage of time; their days are spent in singing and dancing, weaving clouds into patterns, and peering dreamily down at the world below. Most of them, if asked, couldn't begin to guess whether they were ten, one hundred, or one thousand years old. Time is all one to them.

From time to time, one of the Blue Folk will fall to earth.

It's always an accident: a dance on the edge of a cloud that got just a bit too reckless, an acrobatic leap that turned out to be just slightly misjudged. But once it happens, it's irrevocable: the Blue Folk are great acrobats, but they can't fly, and they can only watch as their companion drops down and down and down until they are lost from sight, dropping helplessly into the world below. They weigh almost nothing, so they always survive the fall; but once they are stranded on the ground, their chances of returning to the cloud-cities are slim. Very occasionally, a cloud-city will tether itself to the top of a mountain, or open its gates to some high-flying airship. But such moments of contact between the air and the earth are few and far between.

It is not in the nature of the Blue Folk to be downcast by anything for very long. Once on earth, they are usually swift to adapt; their playful natures mean that they are swift to make friends, although their changeable personalities and short attention spans tend to put a limit on how deep or serious their relationships can become. They are fascinated by life on the surface, even if most of them never really understand it; and many find work as travelling acrobats or airship crewmen, allowing them to indulge their instinctive wanderlust. After a few years (or decades, or centuries) they might turn their minds to the question of finding their way back up to the clouds - but what's the rush? No matter how long it takes them, their friends will still be up there when they return...

When the Wicked King raised his tower, a group of the Blue Folk sailed their cloud-castle down to investigate this strange new object in the sky. They found the Wicked King waiting for them with a battalion of Blood Men, who promptly overran the cloud-castle, butchered everyone on board, and seized it for use as an aerial observation platform: to this day it hovers over the Wicked City, used by the High Ministers to block out the sunlight over whichever district is currently annoying them the most. A handful of its residents escaped the massacre on cloud skiffs, and spread word to the other cloud-cities of what had befallen them; and while it would never occur to the chronically disorganised Blue Folk to assemble any kind of war effort against the Wicked City, they do thoroughly disapprove of the place, and would be happy to see its towers toppled to the earth. (They'd also quite like their cloud-castle back.) Those of them who live on the surface might even be persuaded to take part in some kind of expedition against it...



Children of the Clouds: You can play one of the Blue Folk, if you like. You must have Dexterity 13 or higher; most also have low Constitution and Wisdom scores, although this is not a requirement. Game information is as follows:
  • You are proficient with simple weapons, and with armour no heavier than buff jackets (+2 AC). You are not proficient with shields. 
  • You gain a bonus to all your to-hit rolls (melee and ranged) equal to your level.
  • You gain 1d6 HP per level.
  • You gain a +2 bonus to REF saves (included in the table below).
  • In battle, you move with such incredible agility that you are very, very hard to hit. As long as you are unencumbered and able to move freely, you gain a +4 AC bonus against all attacks. (When fighting in enclosed spaces, where you can't jump around all over the place, this bonus drops to +2 AC.)
  • Your body, while quite solid, is made of cloudstuff rather than flesh and blood. You weigh almost nothing, and bleed water vapour instead of blood. Being almost weightless, you can balance on surfaces which would never support a human, such as twigs or thin ice. Most forms of non-magical healing are ineffectual on you (although shamanic healing works just fine), and you can only carry half as much as a human with the same strength score.
  • You don't require food or drink; instead, you 'eat' fresh air and 'drink' water vapour, both of which you absorb through your skin. If you are trapped in arid or airless conditions for an extended period, you will become as weak as a human who has been deprived of food or drink for an equal length of time. Making your own water vapour (by boiling water and standing in the steam) is entirely possible. 
  • You can jump incredible distances. As long as you are unencumbered, you can leap a number of feet equal to your Strength score from a standing start, or three times that distance with a decent run-up. You can also leap a number of feet equal to your Strength score straight up.
  • You are immune to falling damage, regardless of the distance fallen.
  • You can perform amazing feats of agility and acrobatics. Anything a human acrobat could achieve, you can do without needing a dice roll, and low-end superhuman feats of agility (the sort of thing that people do in martial arts movies) can be accomplished with a successful Dexterity roll. 
  • If damaged, you can rebuild your body by immersing yourself in water vapour (by standing in mist or heavy rain, sitting in a hot spring or Turkish bath, etc). For each hour spent in this way, you regain 10% of your maximum HP, rounded up.
  • By tasting the air, you can predict the weather in the local area with perfect accuracy for a number of hours ahead equal to your Intelligence + Wisdom scores. (This gift alone means that one of the Blue Folk will be welcome on any airship.)
Blue Folk Summary Table


Level
Hit Points
To Hit Bonus
Fortitude save (FORT)
Reflex save (REF)
Willpower save (WILL)
1
1d6
+1
14
12
14
2
2d6
+2
13
11
13
3
3d6
+3
12
10
12
4
4d6
+4
11
9
11
5
5d6
+5
10
8
10
6
6d6
+6
9
7
9
7
7d6
+7
8
6
8
8
8d6
+8
7
5
7
9
9d6
+9
6
4
6
10
10d6
+10
5
3
5

Starting equipment: Light travelling clothes (+1 AC), short spear (1d6 damage, throwable), pistol (1d8 damage, 3 rounds to reload), dancing outfit decorated with long ribbons, woodwind instrument, big tin kettle (for making your own water vapour when you get thirsty), amazing knee-length blue hair (worn loose for maximum effect), carefree disposition, 2d6x10 sp.

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