Friday, October 7, 2016

The Four Winds

Among the Church's greatest servants, you will find golemlords, coatl, and at least one vampire saint.  You will also find the Winds.

The North Wind

It is the warmest and the smallest of the winds.  It is also the most human of the winds.  It is known as the Killing Wind.  It was imprisoned by the storm giants inside an iceberg for a while, but its release was eventually secured at great cost (a truce).

The North Wind was altered by its imprisonment.  Rumor claims that upon its release, the North Wind begged Zulin to be made human, and was refused.

Unique among the Winds, the North Wind takes wives.  (Men and women: all can become windwives.)  One of the paladin orders, The Seraglio of the Blue Feather, is composed entirely of their number.  (I'll do a post on them, eventually.)

The North Wind is martial.  It is often sent on missions of assassination by the Church.  It kills through suffocation.  It is capable of creating a near-perfect vacuum.

The West Wind

The West Wind is the noblest and most attentive of the winds.  It is known as the Castle Wind.  It is responsible for carving out the Holy Castle of Concrayda in the Immortal Mountains.

The hands of the wind are both strong, nimble, and sadly limited.  They are strong enough to hurl trees, dexterous enough to thread a needle while bearing it aloft, and yet they cannot set down an egg without breaking it.  (They must always be moving quickly.)  The hands of the wind are well-suited to sculpture, which it performs by throwing grains of sand.

It took the West Wind over a century to complete its construction.  You can see it atop Mount Crayda, rising from the peak like the flutes of a pipe organ.  It is the Church's most private retreat, where they conduct international business, when the situation demands a neutral ground away from the Holy City of Coramont.

The Castle was originally designed to be only accessible via flight, preferably by the West Wind personally carrying all guests up to the Castle.  This practice was quickly discontinued (partially because of the Wind's aforementioned difficulty in setting things down gently) and a hasty staircase was carved.

Concrayda is partially built for humans, but large portions of its interior are meant to host the West Wind itself, as well as the lesser winds that consort with it.  It lives in the Holy Castle, and can sometimes be heard playing the castle like a musical instrument, which it is.  Intruders are scoured to polished bones by the sand that carpets all of the rooms and hallways.

The East Wind

The East Wind is the smartest and swiftest of the winds.  It is known as the Whispering Wind.

It travels quickly.  It brings news, carries messages.  The recipients only notice a swiftly-building gale, followed by about six seconds of harsh winds, while a sibilant voice whispers swiftly into your ear, clearly audible above the din.

The East Wind is the most popular of the Winds.  Many smaller winds are obedient to it, or at least friendly, and they cooperate in gathering information for the East Wind.  (Because of this, enemies of the Church always speak guardedly when a wind is blowing.)

The East Wind loves to travel.

It blows the Pope's private galleon wherever the Pope travels, and accompanies the Pope on all of his sea voyages.  The Popes private galleon was designed for this: it lacks a keel and a rudder.  In fact, the galleon more closely resembles a wooden tower with a skirt of sails along its midsection and a weighted bottom.  It's a bit like a buoy.  (And yes, buoys rock.  The crew remains near the waterline when the ship is in motion, and the Wind stabilizes it when it is at rest.  It is also stabilized by several enormous anchors arranged radially, like guy lines on a radio tower.)

The South Wind

The South Wind has never been tamed.

It is difficult to capture a Wind by launching a crusade against it, and so this goal has eluded the Church for some time now.

There was a time when the South Wind fought his three siblings, and all three were overcome.  The South Wind is larger and more powerful than his three siblings combined.

Fighting a Wind

Good fucking luck.  Even the smallest wind, the North Wind, is capable of throwing trees at you (although it prefers the intimacy of suffocation).  And the East and West Winds are strong enough to pick you up and throw you a quarter mile.  If they make an attack roll, your horse will land on you, too.

The South Wind isn't any stronger locally, but it is so large that it can just form a circular loop on top of you, and then just keep blasting you with hurricane-force winds.

But that brings me to my next point: the Winds cannot stop moving, and they have a hard time changing macro-direction locally.  Think of them as having the speed and and maneuverability of a Boeing 747 that can control all the wind directly below it.  Once it flies over you, it needs to circle back for another strafing run.

This takes a few minutes, so you have plenty of time to prepare between Wind attacks, also known as "holy fuck where did it find all those fence posts and it just sucked up our donkey" moments.  It's like standing under a tornado for six seconds at a time, every five minutes.

The best way to escape it is just to go underground.  Just jump in the nearest cave and start going down until you hit Centerra's huge and world-spanning Underworld.

You could also jump into a large body of water.  Even a mighty Wind can't do much more than whip the surface into a furious spray.  (Just mind the incipient boulders.)

You can't hit the wind.  That's stupid.  Not even with a magic sword.  Not even with a fireball spell.

The best way to defeat one of the Great Winds is to trap it.  This is why Winds rarely follow you very far into enclosed spaces.  They're afraid of getting trapped like the North Wind was, and they're very weak when they are slow (e.g. turning around in a cramped cave).

The best way to kill a Great Wind is to trap it, and then crush it.  Maybe, like, a steel silo that retracts into the ground.  It'll be like trying to crush a bunch of tigers in a grape press, though, so make sure that you build that thing sturdy.

If a Wind dies, the wind will stop blowing from that direction.  At least for a moment.  Then there will be crazy windstorms for a few weeks as the lesser winds fight amongst themselves to establish dominance.  All ships at sea will probably be sunk.

Some spells are very effective when fighting winds.

Protection from arrows functions a bit like protection from evil, and makes the wind unable to contact you directly.  (It can still throw cows at you, though.)

Winds cannot cross a wall of wind.  (They're awfully good at going around, though.)

Gust of wind injures them as if were a damaging spell of a comparable level.  A reskinned scorching ray, perhaps?

Control winds functions as a charm spell.

Control weather can seal a Wind out of an area, or trap it inside of the area.

If you cast gaseous form on yourself, you have basically jumped into the Wind's lap.  You poor fool.  It'll be like that time Hulk Hogan wrestled that puppy.

A Great Wind is a 10 HD creature that's nearly impossible to damage or kill.  A lesser wind is a 3 HD creature that is very similar.  The lesser winds all have names and goals.  They are all devout Hesayans, and have their own churches in the upper air.

None of them can form tornadoes.  Tornadoes are cheesy.  Tornadoes with faces and hands are even cheesier.  Fuck your anthropic chauvinism.

And tornadoes are the wind equivalent of devils anyway (see also: dust devils).  You'll never see a tornado in any place where the Church has a foothold.