DM Vord's Zeitgeist Act I - Portents of a Starry Sky

Game Master Vorduvai

"Times are turning. The skyseers – Risur’s folk prophets since their homeland’s birth – witness omens in the starry wheels of heaven, and they warn that a new age is nigh. But what they cannot foresee, hidden beyond the steam and soot of the night sky, is the face of this coming era, the spirit of the age. The zeitgeist."

Current Date: 6 Summer, 500 A.O.V. (towards early Hunter's Moon on 10 Summer)
Current Location: Cloudwood District, Flint City, Risur
Prestige Favors Used: Risur 0 / Flint 0 / Unseen 0 / Family 0
Summary of Clues HERE

“Steam and soot darken the skies above the city of Flint, and winds sweeping across its majestic harbor blow the choking products of industrial forges into the fey rain forests that dot its knife-toothed mountains. Since the earliest ages when the people of Risur founded this city, they feared the capricious beings that hid in those fog-shrouded peaks, but now as the march of progress and the demands of national defense turn Flint into a garden for artifice and technology, the old faiths and rituals that kept the lurkers of the woods at bay are being abandoned.

The Unseen Court, the Great Hunt, and the many spirits of the land long ago conquered by Risur’s kings no longer receive tribute, but they cannot enter these new cities of steam and steel to demand their tithe. The impoverished workers who huddle in factory slums fear monsters of a different breed, shadowy children of this new urban labyrinth. Even their modern religions have no defenses against these fiends.

Times are turning. The skyseers – Risur’s folk prophets since their homeland’s birth – witness omens in the starry wheels of heaven, and they warn that a new age is nigh. But what they cannot foresee, hidden beyond the steam and soot of the night sky, is the face of this coming era, the spirit of the age. The zeitgeist."

* Constable Anneca Summers Human Female (Arcanist-school savant; Technologist)
* Constable Emerson Hill Human Male (Oracle-life/Gunslinger-mysterious stranger; Gunsmith)
* Constable Fethryth Teldanona Elven Female (Warpriest-sacred fist/Monk-master of many styles); Skyseer)
* Constable Gemma Atherton Human Female (Fighter-tactician; Martial Scientist)
* Constable Jesselle Wesmere Human Female (Bard-archivist); Spirit Medium)

* Constable Tobias Utegg Human Male (Mesmerist-vexing daredevil; Martial Scientist)

Risur: 2 / Flint: 1 / Unseen Court: 1 / The Family: 2

* Zeitgeist Picture Gallery
* Zeitgeist Combat Map Gallery
* Map of Lanjyr (hi-res copy)
* Map of Flint City (hi-res copy)
* Map of Flint w/ Locales (hi-res copy)
* R.H.C. Flint Branch HQ Building - (pgs.54-5)
* R.H.C. Flint Branch Compound Sketch (DRAFT)

STIPEND LEVELS (approximate): 5300 crowns
QUARTERMASTER'S VAULT (items of note for future requisitions)

* Sorkana's Ring of Avilona (feather falling) (2200 crown requisition value)
* Sorkana's Cloak of the Unseen (cloak of elvenkind) (2500 crown requisition value)
* Ilton's Boots of the Nimble (boots of elvenkind) (2500 crown requisition value)
* Valando’s +1 ironwood flaming quarterstaff (8600 crown requisition value)
* Valando’s +2 Bracers of Armor (4000 crown requisition value)
* Valando’s Handy Haversack (2000 crown requisition value)
* Eberardo’s +1 Beran (elysian) bronze flaming Beran warblade (falchion) (9375 crown requisition value)
* Eberardo’s +1 chain shirt (1250 crown requisition value)

What the R.H.C. R&D Department Can Make:
You may want to spend some of your stipend/salary wealth on magical items ... and there's an entire Research & Development group of wizards, alchemists, diviners and dweomercrafters that work for the R.H.C.! So a wide array of items are possible BUT I want this to have reasonable limitations.

So for considerations of anything magic-crafted, let's start with the following limitations (aside from price) from Ultimate Equipment, which if you don't have the book you can find in the Paizo PRD.

* Special Materials: Alchemical silver, cold iron, darkwood, darkleaf cloth is available, feysteel (mithril) and skymetal (adamantine) is not due to its rarity.
* Arms and Armor: Only +1 enchantments and enchantment bonuses for arms and armor.
* Wondrous Items, Rings, Rods: Only least and lesser minor items are available for crafting by R&D.
* Potions: Only 1st-2nd Spell Level CL1-CL3 common potions are available for crafting by R&D. This is commensurate with the lesser minor category.
* Scrolls: Only 1st-2nd Spell Level CL1-CL3 common scrolls are available for crafting by R&D. This is commensurate with the lesser minor category.
* Wands: Only 1st Spell Level CL1 common wands are available for crafting by R&D. This is commensurate with the lesser minor category.

Finally, remember that we are using a "modified" version of Automatic Bonus Progression, which eliminates the need for Rings of Protection, Cloaks of Resistance, Amulets of Natural Armor, Belts/Headbands of stat increases, and other items that mimic those kinds of items. Enchantments to armor and weapons are still in the game as normal.

* DM Vord profile - for references to character creation, general houserules, etc.
* Zeitgeist Extended Players Guide (a must-read for this campaign)

Zeitgeist Theme Feat Modifications:
* The Man with Two Guns is God (Gunsmith Theme): In addition to described benefits (pg.8), a single firearm may be holstered as a swift action.
* Martial Studies-Experimental Strike (Martial Scientist Theme): Experimental Strike (pg.9) operates as the Dirty Trick Combat Maneuver (APG, pg. 320) and does not provoke an AoO for the attempt.

Ammo Costs, Various Steel Types and Coinage:
Ammunition: Below are the standard Lanjyrian prices for the most common ammunition type - the firedust paper cartridge. The firedust paper cartridge is similar to 'alchemical paper cartridge' rules in that it does decrease reloading a firearm by one step, BUT does not incur an increased misfire chance. All ammo is considered "standard" in terms of tracking and use for early firearms (pistols, muskets, etc.), aside from direct (bullet) vs. scatter (pellet) firearm differences.

Note the first price is the normal purchasing/requisitioning price, while the price in (parentheses) is the cost in materials for a Gunsmithing feated character to craft their own.

* firedust paper cartridge (steel bullet or pellets): 2gp (2sp)
* firedust paper cartridge (silver bullet or pellets): 4gp (2gp)
* firedust paper cartridge (cold iron bullet or pellets): 4gp (2gp)
* firedust paper cartridge (salt pellet shot): 2gp (2sp)
* alchemical cartridge (dragon's breath): 10gp (5gp)**
* alchemical cartridge (entangling shot): 10gp (5gp)**
* alchemical cartridge (flare round): 3gp (1gp)**

(** Need 1 Rank in Craft: Alchemy to make most alchemical cartridges)
(Zeitgeist Players Extended Guide, pg. 16)
(Ultimate Combat Book, pg. 135)

Steel: For the most part, steel and iron are of the common variety that is expected in nearly all the nations and city-states of Lanjyr. Yet there are some specialized differences which have earned popular reputations in the world – due to perceived superior quality or special aspects to the steel that mark it different from the norm. The majority of this is aesthetic in nature, though it may add a slight markup to prices – mostly it is used to denote popularity or describe a commonly held belief on its value.

* Risuri “sheensteel” Steel: Iron mined from the eastern Anthras Mountains south of Bole has an especially sparkling or glittering quality to it, as if flecked with brighter metallic ore. When smelted into steel it can be given a highly polished sheen, almost mirror-like in appearance. It is said this is a “gift” or blessing of the fey of the Unseen Court after the pact with King Kelland in the first days, and the ore is fey-touched there. Whatever the reason, weapons made with “sheensteel” can act as rudimentary mirrors, and have been popular with higher-end (masterwork) shields, plate armor, swords and other bladed weapons. Songs and tales speak of Risuri battles where the blades and shields of kings and great heroes reflected the fear of their foes back upon them to see…and in one case a terrible fey-inspired beast whose gaze could kill at a glance was rebounded back upon itself from the hero’s sheensteel greatsword.

Price for sheensteel weapons or armor are typically 10% above normal value.

* Crisillyiri “brightsteel” Steel: Iron mined in the Penance Peaks or mountains and deserts of Crisillyir bear no inherent special qualities, but the weaponsmiths of the Clergy developed a technique for steelmaking that was deemed proper and holy, claiming to catch and shine the light of purity in its enchanted weapons that help to ward off the darkness. The smelting process – blessed by the Clergy - gives these steel weapons a slightly metallic hue of gold to bronze, though it is clear to the observer that it is still a steel object and not of another type of metal. The metallic hue of brightsteel is fashionable (if gaudy) in Crissillyir and can be seen in soldiers’ spears and officers’ breastplates, but bears no true advantage except when a weapon is enchanted or a light spell is cast upon a brightsteel object; in that case the illumination radius is increased by an additional five-foot radius (25’ radius instead of 20’) over normal distances.

Price for brightsteel weapons or armor are typically 10% above normal value.

* Drakran Steel: Iron mined in the Shawl Mountains is said to be the finest in all of Lanjyr, and the Drakran dwarves have perfected the smelting process with a secret recipe of carbon, making Drakran Steel the “best” and strongest steel in existence. Drakran steel takes on a dull black hue like coal or obsidian, making it distinct and easy to recognize. Some say the dwarves infuse their steel with adamantine skymetal though this is denied by them…and the price of their steel does not reflect that as a reality. Weapons and armor made from Drakran steel add +10% to both hardness and object hit point values (min. 1 point).

Price for Drakan steel weapons are typically 20% above normal value.

Mithril or “feysteel”: Mithril is also known as “feysteel” in Lanjyr, and its appearance is only possible as a result of the fey and the realm of the Dreaming. Whatever its origins (some say it is originally just steel or silver ore transmuted by fey rituals), mithril is made by fey or eladrin rituals in the lands of the Dreaming which give it form, and is not found within the earth. As such it is very rare, though with the fall of Elfaivar the claiming of mithril weapons and armor was possible; also the fey themselves sometimes offer mithril to those they deem worthy or who please them in some way.

Adamantine or “skymetal”: Adamantine is known as “skymetal” in Lanjyr, and is said to truly be rocks and metals that fall from the heavens. Though it has a distinctive glossy black appearance with flecks of metallic color in the right light, the skymetal is given its final form by a secretive process known only to the Drakran dwarves in Mirsk and the Shawl Mountains. Without Drakran smelting rituals, adamantine cannot be realized. Therefore caches of skymetal found in Lanjyr are often sold to Drakran merchants…or brought to Drakr directly to engage in an arrangement to have it smelted and forged to a desired form – something the dwarves will often do for those that truly found the skymetal in the first place.

Other Special Materials: Available in select areas of Lanjyr which they are known for.

* Darkwood is found in secluded forest areas (typically fey-patrolled) of eastern Risur. Larger caches exist in the wild forestlands throughout Elfaivar. More recently a cache of some note was discovered in the forests bordering the Penance Peaks northeast of the city-state of Nalaam.

* Cold Iron is more of a process and not a distinctive ore, but it should be noted it has been formally banned in Risur since the pact with King Kelland. While it has been done in Risur, it is not officially sanctioned and would most certainly draw the wrath of the Unseen Court if discovered. Most cold iron comes from Crisillyir, who employed it against the demonocracy from the first days of Triegenes and whose Clergy still use it openly to ward off fey and other enemies of the theocracy. The city-state of Nalaam in the Penance Peaks openly deals in a large market of cold iron, as well as other hard-to-find metals.

* Dragonhide is known in Risur by great armor-crafters of the kingdom, due to the chronic struggles against the Dragon Kings up until two centuries ago. Berans also learned to master the crafting of dragonhide into armor, though it is a skill that has diminished over the decades. It was said that Le Roye Bruse had the finest full plate made of dragonhide upon his coronation as the King of Ber, with knowledge gleaned from Risuri armorsmiths from the days of King Boyle.

Coinage Names of Risur:
Platinum Pacts (named from the pact of King Kelland with the Unseen Court)
Gold Crowns
Silver Shills
Copper Pence

Coinage Names of Danor:
Platinum Octians (octagon shaped coin)
Gold Hexigans or “hexes” (hexagon shaped coin)
Silver Quadrans or “quads” (square shaped coin)
Copper Trigans or “bits” (triangular shaped coin)

Coinage Names of Crissillyir:
Platinum Centios or "cents"
Gold Decios or “decks”
Silver Primos or “primes”
Copper Hooks (named from the Hook of Triegenes)

Coinage Names of Drakr:
Platinum Keeps
Gold Towers
Silver Spires
Copper Picks

Treatise on Select Races of Lanjyr:
Treatise on Select Races of Lanjyr, Part I: Beran Races
DM Note: Delving into some of the races not explicitly defined in the Zeitgeist Extended Player's Guide, to better define what each race contributes to the Zeitgeist world.

Orcs: Orcs as a race are concentrated in Ber in the last two millenia, but some archeologists debate that orcs had a once larger range with tribes and clans, stretching into present-day Risur and even to Danor and beyond - though both Danorans and Crissillyiri historians hotly contest this (perhaps one of the few points of agreement between those nations). Whatever their origins, they are a proud and fierce race that prizes physical prowess mixed with traditions of honor and loyalty. Their detractors proclaim them barbaric, bloodthirsty and warlike, but reasonable historians note that their efforts in war were due to the Dragon Kings and not from any inherent desire for blood and destruction. Orcs are known to keep their oaths when given, though they are not given lightly. They respect strength and skills in battle, though orcs have a shamanistic tradition with wise ones and elders who practice traditional magics. As such on the whole they are not keen for technology, as they see it as detracting from the virtues of martial prowess. Orcs make capable and effective mercenaries, for their agreements are rarely broken unless duped or crossed. They get along with goblins quite well.

DM Note: Think of Orcs not like those of Golarion, Greyhawk or Middle-Earth, but more like Klingons or those of the Elder Scrolls universe.

Goblins: Goblins have been around as long as orcs, though evidence of their origins is unknown. While they can fight they prefer not to, engaged more in exercises of planning, trading and crafting than pursuits of war. Goblins get along well with orcs, their insight into more learned trades and arcane pursuits surprisingly pair well with them, shoring up what they traditionally lack. Economics and trade, arcane lore and alchemical study, law and contracts are their main pursuits. It should be noted in modern-day Ber that while legal systems were sought from the established empire of Crisillyir, it was goblins that successfully adapted the laws and processes to Beran society, forming much of its modern-day bureaucracy. Unlike their orcish allies they do not shun technology nearly as much, but prefer their own inventions and innovations of arcane and alchemical prowess over Danoran and Drakran imports.

DM Note: Think of Goblins like those of the world of Harry Potter but without Gringotts. They have no relationship to the Golarion version.

Minotaurs: It is said the origins of the minotaurs stem from the Dragon Kings in ancient times, the first such race magically created and bred to act as warriors of past dragon tyrants now lost to obscurity. Whatever their origins, minotaurs are the lore-keepers, bards and diplomats of the former realms of the Dragon Kings. While they have gone down in their histories as some of the most powerful warriors of renown, minotaurs are slow to anger and judgments, seen as wise and fair. It is not a coincidence that Le Roye Bruse, an orc and the first true king of Ber after the fall of the Dragon Kings, named a minotaur as his successor - indeed without the minotaur bards advising him in his rule Ber would never have been united. Minotaurs treasure academia and learning for all the Beran peoples, leading the Panoply movement there.

Gnolls: The second of the magically created and bred races of dragon tyrants, gnolls are the most primal and warlike of any that still exist today. They are aggressive, barbaric and xenophobic to all except those linked to draconic bloodlines - basically most unfounded rumors as to the disposition of orcs actually are true when it comes to the gnolls. Not many gnolls are seen outside of Ber...and even within Ber they are insular and stay largely confined to the southern coasts in their tribal structures. Some say they hold onto a zealot-like hope that the Dragon Kings will return to raise them above the lesser races that "abandoned" the cause of war and domination against enemies real or imagined. Some gnolls escape this tribal life and actually are "reformed" in the cities of Ber, welcomed (for the most part) by the more civilized races of Ber, but these gnolls are the exception to the norm.

Lizardfolk and Kobolds: The third and fourth of the magically created races of the dragon tyrants, the efforts of the Dragon Kings to breed races for servitude after their own desires became more refined and specialized. As such the lizardfolk and kobolds saw themselves as “superior” to orcs and goblins, having been bred to take their places in some dragon realms for their bred loyalty. Lizardfolk value martial prowess and the ways of war much as orcs do, though with a unique flair to fight in terrains that orcs were not as accustomed to doing – the waters, swamps and grasslands of their enemies (both in Ber and in neighboring Risur). Kobolds were created and bred to fight underground in areas the lizardfolk had trouble in, but also acted as scouts and skirmishers for tyrant armies, as well as effective miners of the vast mines plundered for dragon hordes. When the last Dragon Kings were slain two centuries ago, the lizardfolk and kobolds were “toppled” from their previously superior caste levels by the other races, giving them great bitterness and shame over their fall from grace in the old ways. As such, lizardfolk often seek ways to show their value and worth, aspiring to glory and victory over other races as validation of their “superior” heritage. Kobolds are less conspicuous about it – many were destroyed in the aftermath of the Dragon Kings’ fall, with many of the rest going into hiding deep underground or maintaining small enclaves in desolate lands few other Berans cared to occupy.

Giants and Half-Giants: Giants and half-giants are an old and original race lost to antiquity, though rare to find except in mountainous areas of Ber and Drakyr where they hold enclaves. Seen as potential rivals by the dragons, they were hunted and enslaved by the dragon tyrants, forced to labor and build mighty works for them, or power siege weapons of war in their armies. In the times since the fall of the Dragon Kings, most giants want little to do with the other races and lands, preferring to stay insular and adhere to their traditional ways of worship – with some exception to the lure of crafting metal and stone or building notable works that stand the test of time. They have little interest in the politics and “progress” of modern-day Ber, preferring to be left alone in peace.

DM Note: I see these giants of Lanjyr more as Ogiers from the Wheel of Time series.

"Dragonborn" The ultimate representation of the Dragon Kings’ breeding programs, dragonborn actually are infused with dragon blood and dragon ancestry, even if diluted. If the lizardfolk considered themselves superior to the orcs and other older races by virtue of their artificial heritage, the dragonborn were considered the pinnacle of the dragon’s caste system. They were often raised to prominent positions of power and authority in the Dragon King courts, leaders of the armies and direct diplomats allowed to pass between dragon domains. After the fall of the Dragon Kings two centuries ago, most dragonborn were wiped out in acts of vengeance by the other Beran races, while some attempted to carve out their own empires and realms as the dragons once did – typically ending in defeat and disaster for themselves and their families. Those few that remained openly renounced their draconic allegiances and actively worked to establish a new beginning for their race, in the interests of averting extinction of their bloodlines altogether – further hampered by relatively low birthrates amongst their kind. This and an above-average intelligence has made them quite pragmatic in their outlook of the modern-day society.

DM Note: Dragonborn would be similar to the draconians of the old Dragonlance sagas in appearance, though without the inherit “Tiamat evil” of their corrupted Dragonlance ilk.

Treatise on Select Races of Lanjyr, Part II: Risuri Races
DM Note: Delving into some of the races not explicitly defined in the Zeitgeist Player's Guide, to better define what each race contributes to the Zeitgeist world.

Halflings: The “race” of halflings are unheard of prior to two millennia ago, for they could truly be considered a cursed race. Legend has it that two hundred years before the rise of King Kelland, another great warrior-leader of humanity rose up to challenge the Fey Titans and the Unseen Court. Sadly that attempt to wrest freedom and destiny from the fey and their elven taskmasters failed – in retaliation the humans who fought against the might of the Unseen Court were altered to what a halfling resembles today, forced into the most humiliating and cruel aspects of servitude as a lesson to any other “upstart” humans who would dare try to challenge them. That challenge was successful in the form of King Kelland two hundred years later and the halflings were released from bondage, yet the tragic lesson of that curse remains with them.

Halflings can be generalized into two main philosophies. One group of “traditionalist” halflings are centered in the lands around the Risuri city of Bole, compliant and respectful of the Old Faith and all fey customs and traditions. They have “learned the lesson” of their disrespectful ancestors and do not desire any further retribution from the fey, living a traditional and pastoral life and adhering to the druidic ways of the skyseers and Old Faith wisdoms. The other group of halflings have broken from tradition and seek to overcome their “curse” of long ago, despising what the fey have done to them and always looking for ways to prove they have not been beaten or cowed into submission by the ages-old act. Enclaves of halflings have migrated to the other cities of Risur as a result, often embracing values of progress and tangible gain, with elements of anger and defiance inherit in their world-view. To say that the second group of halflings have something to prove (to themselves and over other people) is an understatement.

Gnomes: The race of gnomes was largely unheard of in Lanjyr prior to the time of King Kelland, circa 1700 B.O.V. Like the elves and their eladrin kin, the gnomes are clearly descended from the fey…and once lived beyond this world in the lands of the Dreaming where the Unseen Court resides. The exact reasons are lost to time, but the gnomes of the Dreaming actively aided King Kelland in his bid to wrest control of the land away from fey dominion, and for that they were exiled by the Unseen Court. Seen as traitors of their fey heritage, gnomes found they could not “fey step” as they once could and lost most other powers stemming from the magic of the Dreaming. This sacrifice was not lost upon King Kelland who granted them lands and openly supported their settlements as much as possible, yet this did not remove the great collective ache upon the gnomes who could never return home again. Over the millennia the gnomes have come to accept this fact, the fey of the Dreaming still treating them with contempt and ire (including the death of any gnome that would somehow try to reach the Dreaming), yet cases still arise where gnomes tire of this world and fall into despair, oftentimes committing suicide not long after or dying from a lack of will to live. As such, many gnomes strive to find something engaging and worthwhile to pursue in their lives, seeking adventure and experiences to lessen the ache of their misfortunes. This gives gnomes a somewhat manic and energetic demeanor in their pursuits, and also encourages them to eschew old traditions and values in an effort to find the new invention, philosophy or discovery.

Elves “Common” or “Wood”: Common elves are not of the stock of the eladrin, being much more folksy and rural than their eladrin kin of the once-mightly Elfaivar Empire. They were considered “lesser” to the eladrin if not by the fey themselves, and served mostly as scouts, skirmishers and servants to the eladrin – though never were they enslaved by them as had been done to humans and other humanoid races. Known as “wood elves” in areas around Bole and the wildlands, their reaction to the rise of King Kelland was mixed, with common elves mostly passively siding with the fey with some notable exceptions. It is said that the final truce and lasting peace between the Unseen Court and King Kelland would never have happened had it not been for the common elves bridging the gap of communication between them. Whatever the true history, the common elves of Risur were granted acceptance and peace by both fey and human after the founding, helping to communicate the requirements of ritual and offerings to the human communities by the fey. Yet the common elves had their own tragedies in the era of the Great Malice and the fall of the Empire of Elfaivar, losing a small number of their own elvish females from the sudden event. In the five centuries afterwards the common elves have become more and more reclusive in Risur, hiding from onslaughts by other races for elvish “breeding stock” and others leaving Risur to bolster surviving pockets of eladrin survivors in the old homelands of former Elfaivar. Some elves do break from their enclaves and come to see the changes of the world in the larger cities, but most find the urban setting discomforting to them – Flint particularly disrupts elvish sensibilities with the connection to the fey stamped out by so-called progress.

R.H.C. Mission Tier, Types and Other Codes:

Normally spoken in Primordial if communicated audibly, the RHC mission codes have the advantage of being communicated visually by flag (via semaphore or heraldic styles), or can be put discreetly on a note, embroidered kerchief or playing card. It is not a complete system-in-code but does communicate several key aspects of the mission to its Constables.

Tiers (Mission Importance)
Determines Priority of Mission to R.H.C. with respect to resources and value
* Tier I – Top Priority (highest resource and support levels, typically only one active at a time at a branch)
* Tier II – Moderate Priority (normal resources and support levels, typically a few active at one time at a branch)
* Tier III – Low Priority (reduced resources and support levels, uncommon unless research-based or mission cannot be formally cancelled for whatever reason)

Figures (Mission Types)
Determines the type of mission to be executed by the Constables
* Bull – Diplomatic or Research Mission
* Seer – Observation or Spying Mission
* Knight – Protective or Guarding Mission
* Wolf – Hunting or Bounty Mission, Pursuit Mission
* Dragon – Attack Mission (also covers assassinations)

Colors (Threat Levels)
Determines R.H.C. assessed threat level to Constables engaged in the mission
* Azure – No threat expectation, peaceful encounters expected
* Verdant – Normal, routine threat expectation, violence possible but not likely
* Crimson – Dangerous, elevated threat expectation, violence expected, lethality possible
* Sable – Extremely dangerous, high lethality expected

Objects (Force Levels)
Determines the authorized use-of-force by Constables to complete the mission
* Rose – NO use of force authorized, even if Constable is in danger.
* Staff – NON-LETHAL use of force authorized only, and only if necessary for protection.
* Spear – NORMAL use of force authorized, non-lethal highly preferred over lethal.
* Sword – LETHAL use of force authorized and expected.

Backgrounds (Timeframes)
Determines expected time of mission duration to completion
* Starbursts – DAYS
* Bars-Vertical – LUNAR PHASES (weeks)
* Bars-Horizontal - LUNAR CYCLES (months)
* Chevrons - SEASONS
* Bars-Diagonal – IMMINENT
* Bars-Crossed – INDEFINITE or NO ETC

Example 1: Second Tier Verdant Seer with Spear on Double Horizontal Bars
An observation mission of moderate importance with normal or routine threat expectation, where full use of force is authorized (but non-lethal preferred), lasting approximately two lunar cycles or “months” in duration.

Example 2: First Tier Crimson Knight with Spear on Single Starburst
A top-priority protection assignment that is considered dangerous, with full use of force authorized (but non-lethal preferred), lasting but one day.

Example 3: First Tier Sable Dragon with Sword on Single Chevron
A top-priority assassination mission that is considered extremely dangerous, with lethal use of force expected, lasting a full season.


Collected Visions of the Skyseers:
'A globe spins upon the Axis, and a steel ship of embers sets off to war on a sail of shadows. The world passes into eternal night, and blackness grips all of Risur as the stars fall from the sky. The king’s eyes turn a soulless white, and he moves as a puppet, his strings pulled by a man who has already died a thousand times.' - From Royal Skyseer Mallin Lorcas to Duchess Ethelyn Lesterman in Winter 499 A.O.V., shortly before Ethelyn's Rebellion.

"The M-Maiden's Moon! R-red Maiden's Moon, stained with blood! Oh dear dear spheres of the Heavens! The moon is stained with blood, it drips and stains me where I s-stand, where we are! The maiden screams and bleeds and...and and FALLS down, down into a blackness that burns! Yet it is not fire which burns her and boils her, sears her! But there is FIRE, yes I can SEE it now and it burns hot and melts my flesh and cracks my bones and...OH I SEE IT AND BY THE SPHERES I CANNOT STOP THE PAIN AND MY DEATH!" - Kaea Than'dil in the R.H.C. meditation gardens on 91 Winter 499 A.O.V., on what is now known to be Makala Fileccia's murder by the rebels.

"They saw him (King Aodhan) consumed by a great fiery explosion, where fire and water are close but do not meet. They saw a pulsing red gem shine with the essence of Jiese. Then there's some nonsense about a tree that is sundered at the fork of two branches, in the midst of a verdant hedge-maze where fey of light and dark stand opposed to one another as if playing a game of kingschess. In another vision, two swords with crowns encircling them are crossed, yet salute one another before everything is swallowed into a black vortex of...nothingness except for a gleaming golden bar at its heart. Somewhere a giant man cries great black oily tears, next to another laughing man who has many voices yet no form, yet his eyes are turned from the vortex and looks to the sky as if oblivious to the danger behind him. Nothing more about the King that I can see..." - From the Royal Skyseer Conclave to various parties, conveyed by R.H.C. Assistant Director Lauryn Cyneburg on 1 Spring 500 A.O.V. prior to the Coaltongue Incident.

'The stars! The stars shine on a field of blackness that moves…like a bird? The blackness takes the stars…or they snuff out on their own? I cannot tell! Always the stars and the black that moves, but where? High…so very high…not then a wave from the lowly waters though it seems to me that it moves like water, terrible and dark and foul. And the screams! The screams come from either the darkness or the stars, but screams they are. Terrible and pitiful. And the stars are snuffed out like the candlewick, and the darkness descends, and I feel…death approach.' - Skyseer Nevard Sechim to himself and his nephew Heward in late Spring 500 A.O.V.

'An adopted daughter shall blindly ride the wind to her demise, falling from shadow into the mists that pierce like thorns.' - Skyseer Nevard Sechim on what is now known as the death of Nilasa Hume on 1 Summer 500 A.O.V.