This 2-page spread contains the complete chapter with highlighted magical events along with a defined NPC stat block for Michael Henderson for both Dungeons & Dragons 5e and Ironsworn. The spell/ritual Soul Shape is included for both as well.
In truth, we look like most people of the surface—we call them “surfacers” and sometimes “thinlings” because what they breathe is thin to those of us who dwell in the ocean’s depths. See, I can even write like one of their lettering machines. It should be simple for me to blend in.
—Arkhianax of the Family Khairinos, not affiliated with any of the great noble houses and their holdings, but of a minor family with distant ties to House Telkhines. We have our own powers and our own secrets.
Magic, the Three Worlds Interpretation
Humans live in the Dawnworld, mostly on its surface, although surfacers occasionally take to the air for short durations in special machinery designed for flight. Surfacer... that probably means you? Unless you’re a Rootworlder, or you’re Seaborn, in which case, well played. I barely noticed.
Magic is the technology of the Rootworld, and from this perspective, there are few limits to what you can research and know. Because it's all about the power that feeds you, power that you may or may not be able to control. It’s how you focus it. And you either have that or you don't. You are either hooked up to the Rootworld hub of all things perilously weird and monstrously bent, or you're not. And in this Dawnworld world, those who live in the depths of the sea, just happen to be.
Wait, where’s the last world in the three worlds interpretation? That’s the Winterdim, the volatile remains of a once beautiful place. Some time in the past million years a fury of Rootworlder furnace gods broke through the barriers between and seriously messed up the place. So, we don’t really talk about the Winterdim. It’s there, it has survived to some extent, with a ruler and a throne and all that, but it has troubles that no other known world has. Let’s leave that for another time and story.
Back to the source of magic.
Part of the function of this little work is to interpret this knowledge so that you can apply it to the rules for magic and ritual. The Seaborn world has no casting class that can learn, draw, and unleash some sort of detonative power simply through the act of reading words in a book. Is it me, or does that sound like a bad idea? Just anyone? In that kind of world the books themselves would be dangerous. Can you imagine? It’s perfectly fine to research spells jotted down in elaborately decorated books, ancient or otherwise. Who doesn’t have a library of such? Have at it. But you’re going to have that bleed of power from the Rootworld. That is the only true model for a Seaborn magic user.
Why start with Magic?
From my experience, fighting with cutting or piercing weapons is pretty much the same on all worlds, and dying is mostly the same. The tools change, the deadliness varies, but tactically, you will be near someone and will need to fight in a particular style, or far away, and you will use weapons and methods appropriate for harming someone from a distance. The primary difference with the Seaborn is our fight styles fit well with the three-dimensional world, our hydrospace. A surfacer calls it “fighting upside down” while one of the Seaborn just calls it fighting. Attacks from above, below, from any angle—all normal. In open water, the space is the same in every direction, and you can count on your adversary employing every direction as an advantage. I take it you’re planning to spend time beneath the waves? You will learn soon enough.
Let’s dive in.
Truths about the Seaborn World 2-page spread in the Ironsworn style, with Kassandra in black and white, using the same categories plus one extra for the army of the drowned dead. They need their own.
Here's the Dropbox link to the full size page:
Want to play a Seaborn character in D&D 5e? The Seaborn CHARACTER SHEET is a flowchart that walks you through the creation process, step by step. I'd love to hear what you think of this!
Dropbox link to the full-size version:
I'm working on a batch of illustrations for Seaborn subclasses and a human variant for 5e.
Okay, Magic Missile or Fire Bolt are classics, and depending on what your magical arsenal looks like, they're the way to go when you're up against a troll coven in the wilds of Faerün. But are they right for every game? Magic Missile is an evocation, I say we make it more evocative! I am simplifying this in the suggestion below, because in 5e there are variations in types of damage, elemental effects, saving throw differences, and all that. So, technically missile and bolt are not the same, but what if they were? Or, what if you talked to your DM about taking Magic Missile as a template with the same damage, range, etc., but you spiced it up a bit? Would you rather cast Magic Missile or "a savage undertow of rusty tin cans and the bones of the drowned dead"? Yeah, me too. And that'd really freak out the trolls.
Roll your own Magic Projectile Spell
You don’t need half a dozen spells that basically do the same thing. You need one that has your name on it. One that grows with you. Roll 2d20, one for each list to determine what you spell looks like when cast. Combine the descriptions to create your goto magical combat deterrent. Or just pair up one from each list into something that fits with your character’s vibe. Always feel free to make up something new.
1. A halting, juddering mass of
2. A billowing fog of
3. A bolt of
4. A spray of
5. A fan of
6. Glowing core of
7. A spinning oblong of
8. A gold cube floats gently forward then bursts open with
9. A wall of
10. Shreds of rotting canvas that flex with
11. A cloud of
12. A savage undertow of
13 An opaque cloud of
14. Urinous contortions of
15. Rippling folds of acid wire that become
16. Writhing handfuls of
17. An aggressive shoal of
18. A shadowy cloud of
19. The last breath of a treasure diver and the
20. Oily ripples of bloody chum and
1. threaded tangles of corpse bubbles with the final screams of the dead
2. iron-tusked sheet waves mixed with sharpened splinters of driftwood
3. blue and green blades made of the armor scales of dead Seaborn soldiers
4. cantankerous brindle-fish loops with jutting teeth
5. ink-stained beaks of long dead shredder squid
6. swirling giant kelp whips with catchy siren tunes (a little too catchy)
7. rusty tin cans and the bones of the drowned dead
8. colorful tubes of sharpened glass
9. eyeless spaghetti eels and ice knives
10. seaweed rot and poisonous detritus blooms
11. metallic crab claws at the ends of rusty iron rings of chain
12. snapping bands of giant translucent flatworms
13. twisting tentacles with sharpened metal door-keys on the tips
14. vibrant blue energy doing a deadly dance in the water (or air)
15. milky tendrils of energy with poisonous green tips
16. stringy lightning that hurts to look at, and targets the spines of enemies
17. cold darkness and ice spindles that cut through anything they touch
18. pale bony fingers reaching and clawing
19. sunken sailing ship rigging that coils and bites
20. diamond sharp slivers of sand and ground coral
You know what it looks like, now give it a name, maybe just a shortened version of the description?
Here are the 5e casting details:
LEVEL 1st CASTING TIME 1 Action RANGE/AREA 120 ft COMPONENTS S DURATION Instantaneous
SCHOOL Evocation ATTACK/SAVE Ranged DAMAGE/EFFECT Force
You hurl whatever chaotic amalgamation you selected above at a creature or object within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage. This spell's damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 3rd level (2d10), 7th level (3d10), 9th level (4d10), 12th level (5d10), 15th level (7d10) and 17th level (9d10).
Now get out there and surprise the crap out of some foes by hitting them with oily ripples of bloody chum and snapping bands of giant translucent flatworms!