Friday, March 3, 2017

Sky Executions

Shitty Fiction

They had found his victims tied to stones at the bottom of the pond.  And so, for irony’s sake, they tied him up as tight as they could.  The coarse twine made red valleys of his flesh, crisscrossing his limbs like rings on an aspen, and it was still not tight enough.

The wind was picking up.  Even with all the dried blood weighing it down, the murderer’s hair was a tempest.  It thrashed in the gale as if striving to escape his head.

One by one, the people came up.  Each carried a kite, each string taught in the wind.

While the paladin took the kite and affixed it the condemned, the person recited their condemnation.  Their tears dried in the wind.

By the time they were done, the crucifix was covered in over a hundred kites, straining at their leashes like sled dogs.  The wood groaned; the murderer was silent.  He was watching the sky.

And then the crowd marched down the hill, the paladin following.  The condemned was alone on the hilltop with the priest.

A few words were exchanged.  No one heard them, not with the wind roaring like an angry sea.  No one read their lips, not with their eyes squinting against the stinging dust. 

And then the priest raised his arms.  The wind cracked like thunder.  The trees bowed their heads.  The crowd knelt, or fell.  On top of the hill, they could see the unruffled priest, untouched by the hurricane.

And the crucifix, it was gone.  Like a stone fired from a sling, they watched it arc out over the patchwork of pasture and farm, bleeding torn kites all the way down.  When it landed in the Sinner’s Field, they could see splintered wood tossed out from the dust of the impact.

The paladin wasn’t watching.  He was calming his horse down.  In a couple of minutes, he would ride down to the Sinner’s Field, confirm the execution, and ensure that nothing was buried where the vultures couldn’t find it.

It didn't take long, but by the time the paladin got returned, most of the crowd had drifted away, scattered like clouds in the wind.

If No Priest Is Available

In that case, the condemned is merely thrown off a cliff.  It is considered more respectable to walk off the cliff yourself, and those that request it are allowed to do so.

If no sufficiently high cliff is available, it's a journey to the nearest one.

Weaponizing the Wind

What kind of spells do you think high-level wind clerics have access to?

In the War Against Heaven, Emperor Tamerian's entire army was picked up and hurled, like chess pieces swept off a board.  They found dead soldiers up to four miles away.

Of course, the Nivian elephants and horses were too large to be thrown, so the wind merely rolled and dragged them for about half a mile.  Scavengers reported that their meat was quite tender, being well pulped by all the pounding and abrasion.

Emperor Tamerian's body was found on what is now called the Emperor's Hill, pierced by over a hundred swords that had been stripped from his honor guard and thrown in the tempest.  

While the emperor's corpse was removed, the swords remain.


  1. "If no sufficiently high cliff is available, it's a journey to the nearest one." And that's a brilliant way to start a campaign. Draw lots to determine the condemned. What's the biggest expanse of flat land in Centerra?

    1. Tau Solen, the land of lakes. Three hundred miles to a the seacliffs.

  2. What kind of spells to high-level wind clerics use?: Al Depantsiu

    1. Literally anything except tornadoes. Tornadoes are cheesy. Maybe disintegrate reskinned as scouring sand.

      I mean, how strong can wind be? Can shockwaves break bones (like if a jet flew past you while hitting Mach 1)?

    2. Very strong, depending on how you define "wind"

  3. Did you play Buck Bumble as a kid?

  4. Why are they wind clerics? Why not wind paladins? You've already got the Paladin of the Word based around the "command" spell. Why not a Paladin of the Air based around the "Gust of Wind" or "Wind Wall" spells?

    This actually seems like a fantastic way to create Paladin types. Take one spell (and maybe a few other related ones, like "shatter" and "silence" with "command") and build a class around it.

    1. I have a half-written post about wind paladins. Maybe I posted it in a different form? I forget.

    2. You've got a bit on them here:

      But nothing mechanical, I think.

    3. Also, I've got to stop phrasing questions as "why not [x]?" Way too negative, and it frames the whole thing in a bad way. I should have said " I think an Air-based Paladin, with "gust of wind" being the equivalent of the "command" of a Paladin of the Word? is a neat idea. I wonder how that could be represented mechanically?"

    4. I really like the idea of flying via semi-uncontrolled wind. Terrifying, useless indoors, and always with a rough landing (unless you can find a body of water).

      I also like the idea of an archer without a bow. Just throw an arrow and the wind accelerates it to the target. You can even fire around corners.

      And fuck armor. The wind is your armor. You fight naked (sky-clad) or wearing bulky silks that help you catch the wind when you want to fly (see above). Especially important: a big silk scarf tied around your waist. Since that's your center of mass, that's where you want your acceleration to be focused. Anything else will send you into a tumble.

      At higher levels, you become immune to wind. Which is fun when you can create a windstorm, or maybe even hire one of the Four Winds to perform a favor.

      Immunity to fall damage is the one thing I think I'd include. It'd include the game a lot. Huge cliff? Just jump down. I don't like providing automatic solutions to natural dungeon problems, but descending a big cliff isn't anything that you couldn't do with a big rope, anyway.

      One feature I'm indecisive about: the ability to make your body lighter by controlling your breath. This lets you walk on tiny branches, or on the surface of the water, which is fun, exploitable, and not overpowered. Probably should add something in there about how it doesn't let you make giant jumps, since I want to keep giant pits threatening? I dunno.

      So those are my ideas for Skyclad paladins, as I remember them.

      Shit, I should just write that as a blog post.