Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Jahnu Prophecy...

What follows is the background information for the mid-level BX psionics playtest I ran this past Friday, and plan to run (probably in 2 parts) at the 2016 NTRPGCon. The youree noted below are the same ones that appear in the Creature Compendium. You'll notice that the mockup image here is designated as P3. My goal is to have it be the 3rd in a series of BX/LL psionics modules. P1 would be an expanded version of "The Auroral Alcazar or Aethaungor" (which will include a psionic boss monster), and P2 would be a dungeon crawl through a ruined temple dedicated to Xumaltet (the the petty god of primal emotions and savage urges who appears in the expanded version of Petty Gods).

Among the great psionic races of the multiverse (the mind threshers, limbo giths, astral giths, zlaahd, et al.), the youree have mostly been relegated to the status of legend, thought to have been wiped to extinction (by the mind threshers) millennia ago. In truth, the youree retreated from their home plane to "hide" in the small corner of the Material Plane known as the Valley of the Trees. The youree, as a people, seek to live a life of contemplation and meditation and avoid the entanglements of war. They saw this exodus as the only possibility for preserving themselves as a race.

Settling in the Valley of the Trees, the youree erected themselves a home in a place called Shub z'Dha (a youree word for "home away from home")—a temple-like structure that also housed a planar gate (built around a natural rip in planar space) that would allow the youree easy access to various places around the planes. Over time, however, they realized the same gate that would allow them egress might allow others entrance, and that the extraplanar energy emanating from the gate might draw unwanted attention. For safety, the youree “locked” the gate, and hid the gate ’s keystone in a remote cavern deep below the surface, where its natural psionic energies would be naturally muted. Destroying the gate was not an option, for it would only loose the rip and release untold energies, revealing the rip's presence. Anyone would then be able to harness the rip, should they possess the knowledge required to erect a new gate.

The youree moved far to the north, erecting a hidden tower known as "The Crystal Pagoda" by outsiders (those chosen few who came to study with the youree). The youree have no name for the structure. The pagoda is located in a dome constructed under a mountain and protected by a field of synaptic static (which keeps psionic abilities from passing through, whether in or out).

Recently, it has been reported (by non-youree visitors to the Crystal Pagoda) that a small party of limbo giths was seen exploring the ruins of Shub z'Dha. Since the synaptic field keeps youree clairsentients from being able to observe the ruins themselves, the youree wish for this report to be physically investigated. They fear that the gate will be discovered, but as a race the youree must take every precaution to ensure that their presence remains unknown to would-be conquerors. They fear the fulfillment of "The Jahnu Prophecy"—a vision revealed hundreds of years prior to a youree guru named Jahnu which foretold the annihilation of the youree should any of their number ever return to Shub z'Dha. It is for these reasons the youree sardar ("head or authority") has enlisted the PCs to investigate the truth of the limbo gith presence at Shub z'Dha.

Thats right! The youree are the mysterious people of the trees from VA1: Valley of the Five Fires. Believe it or not, this concept reaches back prior to my actual development of the BX psionics rules. Originally, the youree were just supposed to be an alien race that settled in the Valley of the Trees millennia prior to the events of VA1. Eventually, they would need help from the outside world. As the psionics rules started to develop, it became obvious that the youree would have psionic abilities.

I also intend to wrap the Xumaltet concept into the youree history, with a small Xumaltet reference in the expanded Alcazar adventure as well (though in a very minor way there). I'm trying to weave the story threads through the entire series to create a greater fabric of myth around these stories. (BTW, anyone who has read VA1a: The Lost Caverns of Azgot knows there are references to proto-ogres. It is also intended that the evolution from proto-ogre to standard ogre was related to Xumaltet and/or the youree (although I'm still trying to decided exactly how.)

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