Twin Rifts Player Options
The Twin Rifts Adventure Path begins with the player characters's exploration of a recently discovered cavern complex beneath the Spires of Aval, the towering crystalline mountain range at the heart of their world. Their mentor and close friend, the alchemist Vividen Caln, ever the curious scholar and scientist, asks them to retrieve organic and inorganic samples for his experiments.
Twin Rifts takes place on the demiplane world of Telmeria. This world and its twin, the demiplane of Skalderang are the legacies of a war fought between two warring figures eons ago. Whether they were gods, demigods of simply mythical or powerful mortals is unknown and today, the two have essentially faded away into myth.
In fact, Telmeria and Skalderang only remember that these two figures waged war against each other and this legacy of violence remains even today. If it wasn't for a Telmerian sorcerer developing a method to dissolve the planar connections linking the planes, both planes would still be waging interplanar war today.
All of this ceased over a hundred years ago and today, both planes recover from the conflicts of their past. The PCs all hail from Telmeria and there the campaign begins.
Telmeria, A Brief Description
If Telmeria and Skalderang were colors, the first would be sky blue and the second a deep, fiery red. Telmeria is an island surrounded by an endless shining ocean.
The central seat of life and government on Telmeria is within Aekiron, the Sun Crown. Nestled within the base of the Spires of Aval, Aekiron thrives thanks to steady commerce with the Coastal-Towns, the excellent workmanship of its craftsmen and experts as well as its exports of mined ores and gems from the Spires.
Beyond the heart of Telmeria are the Coastal-Towns, each led by a Fleetmaster who manages both the settlement and the Sunsailers, gleaming white sailed airships that float thanks to the magically infused winds of the plane. The Coastal-Towns number five in total and are situated on the edges of the isle.
Telmeria's economy and society is very ocean-oriented. The Coastal-Towns ply the endless oceans for food and quarry marble and white limestone from the cliffs. Meanwhile, artisans and craftsmen mainly live within Aekiron. Besides this, small farms, vineyards and other agriculural projects exist throughout the isle.
Telmeria has a surprisingly strong geological activity, caused by the violent sealing of the interplanar connections. Though weakened, this has caused crevasses, chasms and other systems to be both formed and discovered since the sealing. Adventurers in Telmeria have taken to exploring these formations and thus the market for adventuring goods has exploded in recent times.
The following is six traits available to PCs undertaking the Twin Rifts Adventure. Each PC should take one of these traits. Each trait grants a skill bonus and the ability to cast a single spell. You may cast that spell once per day as a spell-like ability. This spell-like ability is cast at your character level. The spell-like ability's save DC is Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma-based, whichever is highest.
You possess a distinctively shining skin, and small gemstones are naturally studded across your body. Though every living creature on Telmeria possesses bright skin, you are particularly brilliant. This is considered a lucky sign and Telmerians are particularly open with you.
You get a +1 bonus to Diplomacy when interacting with Telmerians and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you. Your spell is flare burst. When cast, your minute gemstones shine brightly and emit the flares.
One With Water
Growing up on Telmeria, you have a natural affinity for the ocean. You spent your life in the Coastal-Towns and have always swam within the cerulean waters of the isle.
You get a +1 bonus to Swim and Swim is always a class skill for you. Your spell is touch of the sea. When cast, your veins glow a pale blue and your eyes become glazed with blue as well.
You are one of the recent adventurers who so giddily jumped at the chance to explore the strange and bizarre subterranean regions now appearing across Telmeria. You have already done so on a few occasions but never encountered any enemies. However, you did pick up a knack at surviving.
You get a +1 bonus to Survival and Survival is always a class skill for you. Your spell is feather fall. When cast, your body becomes surrounded in gusts of wind, making your hair fly about as if within a rough storm.
You grew up within Aekiron and always possessed a talent for craftsmanship. Whether with stone or crystals, you are simply nimble with your hands and have a keen eye for work.
You get a +1 bonus to a Craft or Profession skill of your choice. Your spell is Crafter's Fortune. When cast, your hands glow with a silver brilliance and emit small motes of light.
You possess Skolderang blood and though it is not a stigma to possess such a lineage, some do find it unnerving. As well, instead of the normal blueish tinge of skin, you possess a deeper purple light, indicating quite clearly your split heritage.
You get a +1 bonus to Intimidate and Intimidate is always a class skill for you. Your spell is endure elements. When cast, the air around you becomes hot and hazy.
Though not presented yet, Skolderang is a world of harsh climates, hence the endure elements being the affinity given spell.
You always listened to tales and stories about the other plane and grew up with a keen interest in learning more on the duality between Telmeria and Skalderang.
You get a +1 bonus to Knowledge (Planes) and Knowledge (Planes) is always a class skill for you. Your spell is comprehend languages. When cast, you take on a multicolored hue, your blue temporarily becoming lost in the multitude of colors.
Players can choose to be any permitted race (both demiplanes were populated by all manner of otherwordly travelers in their origins) yet no matter your race, all share common characteristics of their plane of birth. Telmerians for example have pale skin and sky blue veins, giving them an almost angelic look. Hair colors range from browns to blondes but never blacks or reds.
Light in the Depths
Part 1 of the Twin Rifts Adventure Path
Level Range: 1-2
The Twin Demiplanes of Telmeria and Skalderang were forged by two rivaling entities well over a thousand years ago. Though many believe these two figures to have been gods, they were and always have been mortals. Though they are depicted as genderless figures today, that too is not the truth.
Niiru, Telmeria's creator, was a woman; Valdrae, Skaldarang's creator was a man. While many theories exist as to their reasons for creating the two demiplanes and entering into what could very well have been an eternal war with one another, the truth has never been found.
For you see, Niiru and Valdrae were victims of fate. Each possessed one of two spiritual fragments from a long deceased god of death and rebirth. As they grew older, the broken spirit within them compelled them to find their other half. For only when the two would meet could the spirit become whole again and begin its long sought resurrection.
However, over the years it took for the dead deity to finally recover enough strength to make it unbearable for Niiru and Valdrae to be apart, they had already grown into adults and both had become powerful in their own right. Niiru was a cleric with great love and devotion to the sea and sky while Valdrae was an oracle gifted with extraordinary mastery of earth and flame.
When they finally met, they both had long ago learned what the pain and willpower driving them to meet was and both refused to let the vanquished deity succeed. Their studies had warned them that the rebirth of this deity would cause a great rebirth of life... but at the cost of the death of all that currently lived.
So when they knew that their meeting could not wait any longer, they harnessed their powers and forged two demiplanes, separated from one another. There they bound their own souls as well as the spiritual fragments and this sacrifice would hopefully protect all life in existence.
But a deity, even a broken and dead one still possesses strength. Though the demiplanes were sealed off, no magic is permanent. Over the thousand years that followed, the divided deity's fragments used their mastery over life and death to reseed both worlds with life, returning dead souls to existence.
And within both demiplanes these people learned to adapt and live, for with no memory of their deaths and with no recollection of where they were or how they had appeared there, many simply believed that they had been transported there from another world. Thus history remembers this event as the Exodus.
Yet the deity did not stop there. It needed the demiplanes to merge for Niiru and Valdrae to meet once again. With both being bound within self imposed tombs and caught within a temporal stasis the deity was free to work its powers.
The deity had searched for a weakening in the planar tapestry and soon found a conduit between the demiplanes. Sowing seeds of temptation, adventurers crossed into the other demiplane and soon the two worlds learned of the other's existence.
However, when the regent of Telmeria was found murdered at the hands of a Skalderan, war bloomed between the demiplanes. More and more conduits opened between demiplanes as mages sought to transport soldiers to and from the worlds. It soon looked like the two planes would become one. Known as the Eternal War, for it lasted hundreds of years, the result was the belief that both demiplanes had always been at war with one another and that the guardians of the planes, Niiru and Valdrae, had always fought one another.
When the demiplane conduits were finally sealed away by a severance ritual, the deity bellowed with rage. Telmeria's planar stucture weakened considerably, causing great chasms to open beneath the isle. On the other end however, Skalderang suffered even more. For it was a world of earth and fire and the resulting anger caused a planewide cataclysm that shattered much of their world.
A hundred years have passed and Telmeria has returned to a calm state. Adventurers now explore the bizarre cave systems beneath their world. However, on the other side of the sealed planar gates, Skaldarang smolders, believing the damage done to their plane to have been caused by Telmeria.
And now, deep within the Telmeria underground, a minuscule planar bridge still pulses faintly, harboring dark times to come.
At the request of their friend and mentor Vividen Caln the PCs delve into a newly formed and yet to be explored cave system beneath the Spires of Aval on Telmeria.
There, they encounter otherworldly flora and fauna. The PCs will set up a base camp and will spend two weeks exploring the system and capturing and collecting organic and inorganic creatures and resources.
Near the end of their expedition, a large tremor causes a great section of the deepest cavern to collapse revealing a flickering planar nexus, the cause for the strange inhabitants of the cave system.
However, the nexus if far from safe as a Skaldaran strike team has already made its way through and seeks to reach the surface to begin reconnaissance.
Light in the Depths
The PCs begin at the mouth of a small crevasse leading down into the ground. The airship carrying them here deposited them near their destination along with a wagon full of provisions and supplies.
The words of their friend and mentor Vividen Caln echo in their thoughts:
"It is quite simple really friends. The geological foundations of Telmeria have been disrupted. Though I know some of you more or less than others, I trust each and every one of you. A recent tremor caused a new formation at the southern base of the Spire of Aval. You see, I've long sought to explore an untainted and unravaged site and now's the chance. I've payed the Telmerian Council handsomely for the private rights to this area and I will see to it that it remains pristine."
"Now, we have already signed the contract and your reward will be given once the task is over, but I want you to enjoy yourselves. Enjoy exploring this newfound land. Be as nondestructive as you can of course, but if you must defend yourself do so. As mentioned, this is just the first incursion into this discovery and after the two weeks are done, return with your findings and discoveries and we will discuss it in greater detail!"
Allow the PCs to select up to 300 gp of nonmagical and magical goods. These are the provisions given to them by their mentor. This can range from ropes, traps, potions and other objects they believe can help them explore the cave system. Food for the two week duration has already been accounted for however, as has water.
Once these purchases have been completed, the PCs can proceed with their mission. In short, they have two weeks starting today to discover and capture as many rare sights within the crevasse, now known as Vividen Deep. After two weeks, the airship will return for the PCs.
However, during these two weeks, a certain number of incidents are destined to occur. Namely, after three days exploring a first tremor will cause a cave collapse which may catch the PCs belowgrounds. The second occurs on the 13th day. This second event consists of an even greater earthquake caused by the Skalderan strike force blasting through their entrance point into the Vididen Deep.