Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fall of the Kali Empire

There are five races in the Pyrax System, some of whom I have previously mentioned, that all stem from a common ancestor, the kali of ancient times.  These races are the tieflings, the kalashtar, the humans, the devas, and the shadar-kai.  Here I would like to describe the history of the kali, as it is a story of the forces that define our worlds.

The kali were a powerful psionic race that came to our solar system ten thousand years ago in a massive space vessel known as the Tetrahedron.  They were an ancient race even then, having traveled the galaxy exploring star systems and collecting specimens of thousands of different species.

They stationed the Tetrahedron in orbit around the distant, dream-like planet of Limbo.  There they discovered an ancient gateway in the center of the planet, a gateway sealed with a massive crystal and known as the Living Gate.

For two thousand years the kali established a spelljamming empire across the solar system, teaching the techniques of interplanetary travel to the local denizens.  Their servants were all constructs known as modrons, and the greatest of these was Primus, the hyper-intelligent modron lord that managed the massive Tetrahedron.

Eventually, the magical research the kali were performing caused a catastrophe of epic proportions.  The experiments conducted by the kali on the living gate caused the crystal seal that bound it to shatter. A large glowing red ring was revealed, and in the center of the ring a small yellow cube appeared.  All of the kali who were present at the time, about fifty by most estimates, were transformed into powerful evil beings we now call the obyriths.

The obyriths returned to the Tetrahedron, overcame its defenses and approached Primus. They decapitated it and replaced its head with the yellow cube.  This caused the Tetrahedron to crack and all of its inhabitants to transform into corrupted, demonic versions of their former selves.

The shattering of the seal to the Living Gate seems to have summoned an entirely new planet from the void of deepspace.  Atropus appeared in the sky simultaneous with the breaking of the seal, and orbiting Atropus were eleven massive glowing orbs known as the molokonari.

The Living Gate was resealed when the immortal Lady of Mercy encased herself in her own dream cage that occupied the same location in Limbo as the gate. She became known as the Lady of Pain, and her dream became known as the city of Sigil. It is the only stable location in all of Limbo.

The remaining kali mustered their forces and attempted to retake the Tetrahedron from the obyriths.  Before they could begin their assault, the obyriths cast a powerful ritual that robbed the entire race of its inherent psionic ability and heightened intelligence.  This robbed the kali of everything they had, their navy, their control over the modrons, and all their magical talent.  The kali attack was immediately abandoned.  They were suddenly a defeated race, and many of the kali settled on the planets of their empire. The kali of Theta became known as humans, the Arcadians became known as kalashtar, the Courlarkans became the shadar-kai, and those kali who settled in Elysium were called deva.  The kali of Tartarus becamr corrupted, and are now known as tieflings, although their proper name Iis Turathi.  The tieflings will be covered in a separate dispatch.

Humans are a ubiquitous race, fond of travel. They have had no large empires on Theta, preferring a nomadic life on the vast plains of Theta's largest continent, Haester.   Human tribes and clans export food, cloth and leather.  Many adventurous humans can be found among other races across the solar system.  Most human spelljammers are from one of four main tribes, the pale Nortani of the snowcat, the dark tan Vistani of the raven, the golden Aperusa of the panda, or the brown-skinned Goatonki of the wolverine.  There are many other smaller tribes as well. The humans are often religious, adopting the worldviews of their kali brethren but seldom advancing the philosophies in new directions.  They are prone to martial classes.  The alliance between the humans and the other kali races can be strained at times. Additional allies of the humans include the dwarves and halflings.

The pale blue-kalashtar have strong empathic psionic abilities. The kalashtar bear the emblem of the parrot.  They have a variety of small kingdoms on Arcadia. The kalashtar have studied the ancient ways of the kali, and also excel in arcane magic.  They have telepathy to 50 feet.  The kalashtar psionic technique is known as the Thoughtful Approach and it is a system of morality and empathy designed to unlock latent psionic potential.  The thoughtful approach keeps the wild emotions of kalashtar ardents from becoming overwhelming.  When the kalashtar went to war with the lizardfolk almost 600 years ago, the remnants of a fallen Kalashtar kingdom fled to Theta, eventually integrating with the goliaths. Today they are common in Diamond City and in the nearby land of Aargus, where they harvest nutritious lichens and psionic crystals.  The leadership of Aargus is the Consolidated Kalashtar Council. The Council has been absorbed into the Noble State of Alam for 154 years, and the Kalashtar chafe under the rule of the holy empire.  The High Tekness of Diamond City has a seat on the Consolidated Council.  In addition to the other kali races, their allies include the goliaths and the warforged.

The grey-skinned shadar-kai are descendants of the kali who settled in Courlark. They are strangely affected by the planets' shadowy magic.  Many shadar-kai were killed when it was occupied by the brutal hordes of the Tetrahedron, but some fighting units survived, and many shadar-kai refugees were spread across the system.  The shadar-kai often practice the mental technique known as the Selfbound Path, a system of achieving heightened mental awareness through reciting mantras and engaging in reflective meditation.  Advanced practitioners of the Selfbound Path become psions.   They also created the Perfect Kali War Technique, a system of disciplined combat that yields psionic monks.  The shadar-kai walk a strange balance between serenity and excitement.  They are enthusiastic about battle, altered states of consciousness, material wealth, hand to hand combat, meditation, and physical pursuits.  Shadar-kai leaders control powerful criminal organizations, merchant guilds, and mercenary outfits.  The emblem of the shadar-kai is the panther, and their allies include the other kali races, and the githyanki and the shades of courlark.

The purple-skinnes deva have gone far beyond the bounds of Elysium, traveling in large spelljamming vessels across wildspace and fighting the demons of the Tetrahedron. They thrive on religion, and have developed and spread the Olkula system of belief, wherein they believe to have a personal relationship with the celestial emperor.  This belief system spawns the templars, divine warriors of compassion and mercy.  Olkula temples are spread across the solar system, it has become a very popular belief system.  The deva are also skilled in psionics.  Allies of the spacefaring deva include shardminds and githzerai.

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