Shaelore is a dark and dreary place, yet bright and beautiful as well. Techonlogically and geographically similar to modern day Earth, the presence or absence of light causes drastic changes in the environment with a twisted perspective leaning more towards disturbing – the entire recursion is the manifestation of single woman’s mind – Ellie Swanson.
Ellie Swanson (Level 8)
Ellie was a patient in a mental institution suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Syndrome), when she stumbled into the Strange. She took control of her own life again, and after wandering the Strange for many years, she created Shaelore. Ellie became a God there, but her personality split into two incarnations – the Umbramancer Zaerahan and the Goddess Ahnzaera; the two of which are constantly vying for absolute control of Ellie and all of Shaelore.
Ellie is about 5′ 6″ and unhealthily slender, but still young and beautiful. She has long red hair and wears a straight jacket. She is locked in room 932 on the ninth floor the Gryvorum. If the door to that room is opened, Zaerahan and Ahnzaera will immediately appear and stand guard. They will not attack unless aggressive movements are perceived towards Ellie.
The Umbramancer Zaerahan (Level 8)
The Umbramancer Zaerahan is a pale skinned beauty, with hair that pulsates from dark black to crimson red. Her scarred left eye is a slit-pupil with a dull orange iris. Her right eye is milky and assumed to be blind. She has two immense bat-like wings and her left arm is strangely elongated, with long sharp claws at the tips of her fingers.
The Umbramancer Zaerahan manipulates the Umbra and has complete control of any Shadowborne within long range of her. She can emit a pulse of Umbra that deals 8 points of ambient damage to all creatures in long range and can also reach foes up to a short distance away with her clawed left arm. She can also shape the Umbra into creatures to assist her in combat.
The Goddess Ahnzaera (Level 8)
The Goddess Ahnzaera is a beautiful humanoid woman with long golden hair, clad only in white, silky ribbons. A warm and powerfully bright light similar to the Earth’s sun emanates from her body. Her left eye is scarred over and appears to be permanently closed by scar tissue. She bears two sets of massive eagle-like wings, each pearlescent white and shining. She is the guardian of the Enkhu, protecting them from the Shadowborne and keeping the Umbra at bay. She appears to be deaf and mute, for she will not speak or reply if spoken to, and she does not react to any conversation.
The Goddess Ahnzaera fights using a powerful psionic ray of light emanating from her right eye as well as a long, flaming staff. If she is killed in Shaelore, she immediately becomes Zaerahan.
As long as Ellie’s personalities incarnate are in Shaelore, if they are ever slain, Ellie begins seeping darkness or light (respectively) from her eyes, ears, nose, and mouth for 1d100 days, at the end of which the slain personality incarnation is reborn. Ellie herself cannot be killed, but instead falls unconscious and heals her wounds in one day. If she is lured out of Shaelore, Ellie becomes a Level 5 Human (or the default race of the recursion/prime world she is lured to) and can be slain; if Ellie is slain, the recursion collapses.
The Umbra (Level 5)
Darkness is a tangible substance called The Umbra, and any place there is an absence of light, a viscous black ooze begins to manifest in a matter of minutes. A creature who does not possess bioluminescence similar to that of the Enkhu takes 5 points of ambient damage per round from the darkness in their body turning to Umbra unless they become bioluminescent or leave the recursion. A creature who becomes debilitated by the Umbra or takes damage from the Umbra while debilitated becomes Shadowborne.
Feathers of the Goddess Ahnzaera
A short, white feather on a string necklace causes the possessors body to emit bioluminescence similar to that of candlelight in an immediate spherical distance. All recursors find one on their person upon entering Shaelore.
Points of Interest
You are where you want to be. Shaelore is not all together in the sense that you could walk from Ahnzaera’s Haven to the Evynshade – each area is a memory of Ellie’s, and to get to a different area you must focus on where you want to be and you will find yourself there in the default location of the memory. If a character tries to walk away from an area, they find themselves walking towards the side opposite the one they left from (thus, walking North from Ahnzaera’s Haven brings you to the South side of Ahnzaera’s Haven). The players location may change on its own as well, especially in memories that are painful for Ellie.
The Haven is drenched in Umbra and has been for as long as most Enkhu can remember. The Goddess Ahnzaera sits in her throne above Orlysia, shining bright and keeping watch over the Enkhu. It is mostly a large savannah-like grassland with haphazardly placed trees scattered about, as well as the large spires of quartz the Enkhu make their homes in.
Large meadow alive and vibrant with life in the light and barren wasteland where everything is withered and dead when sodden with darkness (if the looker has some method of seeing in absolute darkness). This is where the Enkhu live. They have made their dwellings in spires of quartz over a hundred feet high which pierce upwards from the ground in no apparent pattern.
Located in the northern region of Ahnzaera’s Haven, it is a crystal spire the size of an Earth skyscraper with many floors, each filled with hundreds of tomes written by Enkhu Recursors about other recursions. It is not well maintained, but there are many functioning traps there and the spire itself is prone to infestations of creatures making it a dangerous place. Only Enkhu recursors go there once and awhile to add new journals or books they’ve written to the endless tomes, but, other than them, the Enkhu tend to avoid it altogether.
The Evynshade is a thick, autumnal forest of poplar and birch trees. In the light, it is black and white, twitching and stuttering like an old, worn film being played on a projector. In the Umbra (if one has a method of peering into darkness), everything is in shades of black and floating as though underwater. The Shadowborne are very prominent here, lying in wait for unsuspecting victims. Some Enkhu can be found here, seeking out their fallen comrades and pinning Goddess Feather to the Anoru to purge them of the Umbra and return them to Enkhu.
A twisted manifestation of the asylum where Ellie spent her days after Zaerahan assumed control of her for a single night. It is a decrepit building, decaying and messy like it was abandoned in a hurry years ago. All varieties of medical equipment and supplies can be seen strewn about, ceiling tiles on the floor, and occasionally a ghost from Ellie’s memory will pass down the halls as explorers make their way through the Asylum. In room 932, on the ninth floor of the asylum, Ellie can be found here, crying and moaning from a dark corner of the room. Her weeping can be heard from anywhere with in long distance of the Asylum.
The Tenebrific Manor
Ellie’s childhood home. This is where the traumatic event occurred that caused her multiple personalities to emerge. Each personality remembers it differently, but Zaerahan gained control for the first time that night and the untold evils she committed condemned Ellie for a life of imprisonment. Zaerahan has made this her domain, and it is a dark and sinister place filled with horrific creatures and terrifying nightmares. The Umbra originates here, spewing out from the chimney of Zaerahan’s Dark Hearth.
The Enkhu are humanoid in shape, their only difference from humans being they are almost entirely transparent. The glow caused by the Feathers of the Goddess Ahnzaera causes them to appear at first glance as beings of light, but closer inspection reveals physiology similar to humans.
They are not born, but instead manifested. A manifestation ceremony takes place between two individuals who share a deep connection to one another, pouring their own psychic energies into the Life Vessel (a ceramic cocoon-like object). Upon completion of the ceremony, the Life Vessel cracks and an infant Enkhu emerges, and the Goddess Ahnzaera descends through the Umbra and places a necklace bearing a feather from her wings around the child’s neck, at which point, the child begins to glow.
Though incredibly few of the Enkhu posses the spark, they are all aware of recursors who enter the recursion because of their powerful empathetic link to all other Enkhu (which causes them to notice even the slightest fluctuation in their populace). Those that do have the spark are celebrated individuals who, after a festival in their honor, are sent on a life-long pilgrimage to explore other recursions and prime worlds, returning one day to document their journey and add it to the Gryvorum (a grand keep that functions as a massive library, filled with millions of books on any topic that can be thought of). The first recursor to visit there is known as Arkais Kasm, hailing from Earth. Who he is on Earth is not known, but he began “The Wakening” – what the Enkhu call their becoming aware of their own recursion and the Strange.
The Enkhu are very sensitive to the Umbra. Even a slight contact with it begins to warp their minds. Most Enkhu are calm and kind, but an Enkhu touched by the Umbra is likely to develop a darker personality. Some Enkhu that are entirely engulfed by the Umbra (by losing their Feather, for instance) become twisted evil creatures. Some even learn to manipulate the Umbra, using its power for their own malicious intent. They are called the Anoru by the Enkhu.
The Anoru were once Enkhu, but were corrupted by the Umber. This is commonly caused by an Anoru who steals the Goddess Feather from an Enkhu. Whether this is done from jealousy, remorse, or carried out as an order is unknown, but some Enkhu believe the Umbra is responsible for these attacks. In truth, the Anoru are guided by the Umbramancer Zaerahan, ordered to steal Feathers of the Goddess from the Enkhu until they all become Anoru. Zaerahan hopes that this steady extinguishing of the last lights of Shaelore will weaken The Goddess Ahnzaera and that Zaerahan will have absolute power.
In the light, the Anoru are like shadows, save for an odd crimson outline that gives them their only definition. They may take any shape they wish, and are limited only by personal training. A properly trained Umbra Adept (Level 6 Anoru) can even bend darkness to produce incredible effects and create nightmarish abominations.
A PC turned Shadowborne becomes a mindless to Zaerahan. If the corrupted PC leaves the recursion, he returns to normal, but the change is permanent in Shaelore (the affected PC(s) will always be Shadowborne in Shaelore).