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.
How about a one page Beatles-themed underwater D&D adventure featuring strays from a vast Army of the Drowned Dead? I think they're mostly here for the hip music, or some shadow of a feeling that music once gave them. Maybe they just need a little hand-holding.
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.