Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Voice Beyond the Stars

Artwork by Perplexing Ruins: @perplexingruins on Twitter

There comes a whisper across the distance of time and space; a voice in the Void…a ghostly calling from another dimension.

“Beware the rising of three black moons, and listen to the howling of the wolves on their approach. There towards the horizon lies the Door to Indrya Ühl, the Path of Nowhere.”

These are the words of a mad god, and they bleed out in dreams and fevered hallucinations.

The Voice Beyond the Stars.

A Revenant from outside of time, watching this world and plotting machinations of its demise…

…or of its liberation and advancement…it’s hard to tell, because the words and riddles whispered by the Voice are so obscure and often misleading.

The Voice is an entity that has existed for near eternity; once a traveler among mortals that lived through multiple lifetimes and iterations of mortal forms, it passed and ascended to another dimension, but it’s interest in this world never ceased. Now it spends its time reaching out across the vast distance to touch the minds of those willing to listen. Soothsayers, Cultists, Fortune Tellers…and unsuspecting adventurers.

It traveled among their kind once, long long ago in different ages, adventuring and exploring and learning.

But now it is in its final form: and it has a purpose. Only that purpose is a mystery. One thing is certain: it will either serve to undo existence, or lead the life forms of this world into a new awareness, an elevated state of being.

Interacting with the Voice

Art by David Ellis, @db.ellis on Instagram

The Voice, being a disembodied entity, can take various forms. Often this appearance is as a swirling nebula with a single twinkling star set in the forehead of a silhouette of a face. Or it can appear as an androgynous giant, bald head in the middle of a field. It can come in dreams or manifest in physical space.

The Voice has no corporeal form, being composed entirely of energy. It is incapable of physical attacks and immune to them.

It can Command or Intimidate any intelligent being into following its orders, within reason, proximity, and purpose, that isn’t directly harmful to the subject, similar to a Quest type spell. Saving Throws to avoid succumbing to the instructions are allowed. But the Voice doesn’t enjoy using this method, preferring to coax and entice people into serving it and it’s causes…nefarious or otherwise…with the mere inclination that such “advice” and suggestions it offers are worth being followed, based on any of a number of kind of rewards they can provide.

The Voice for Game/Story

Using the Voice is one of those amorphous elements that can add some kind of dressing to a setting or campaign. It’s a pretty obvious maguffin to use, the “distant voice as friend or foe” — and really this is all just an excuse to create a character based on Doctor Who’s final form, The Veil.

I think entities like this are fun to incorporate into a fantasy campaign, as long as they aren’t overused. The Voice should show up rarely, mysteriously, randomly…and impart things that are helpful and equally harmful at different intervals.

It isn’t necessarily important if the Voice serves good intentions or bad ones, as long as everyone has fun with the mystery. You should decide before the campaign ends which it is, but the implied temporal loop should be enough to cover the actual truth: The Voice speaks from different times, in double speak, because it is communicating from different time periods itself. So it is both protagonist and antagonist of its own intentions.

If that makes sense.

I’ll come back to The Voice in a future post, addressing some mechanical ways to make it a part of your game. I think it has potential. I really appreciate Perplexing Ruins letting me use their art for this post as inspiration, and David Ellis for creating the piece of art of the floating head for me.

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