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Blood Crystals and the Craft of Crystal Seering

by Jeff Daly

"Picture all the crystals as a huge, multidimensional web, with the crystals themselves being the place where strands are joined, and the strands being links. The Greatest Crystal lies at the centre, and a strand, or link, connects each greater crystal to it. And remember, there are secrets within secrets within secrets..."
--Master Terari

Crystals of Communication

These items, varying in colour from clear to pink to red-black, allow a certain amount of communication over vast distances. Beyond communication, there is even some level of interaction. The range is infinite, while both parties are on the same plane, or not under the influence of anti-magic (such as being in the Hollow World). In a sense, it is not simply one item, rather an entire setting which is accessed by that item. There are strong incentives to keeping the fashioning, use, and even existence of these crystals a secret.

There are 2 basic elements to the crystal. One is the crystal itself, which must be attuned to the user, and the other is the link. Links are the non-material paths over which communication and interaction occurs.


When one picks up a crystal, he becomes aware of "something" attached to the crystal. It is an empathic sense of a bundle of strands leading off into the void. If the holder concentrates on a strand, he establishes contact and becomes attuned to the crystal. A newly created crystal has only one link. Therefore, contact is established with the holder of the parent crystal. If the crystal is older, and has more than one link, then the particular down which contact is established, is random.


There are 2 ways in which a link is established: 1) Parent and child crystals(explained further down) are automatically linked 2) Any person already attuned to a crystal, who presses a bleeding finger to another crystal has established a link. Wards may be placed on links to prevent unwanted contact. There are several spells and skills which may temporarily, or, in some rare cases, permanently sever a link.

Establishing contact

After becoming properly attuned to the crystal, one may easily establish contact along a link, simply by concentrating for one round. The initiator of the contact sends his mind along the link, and "requests" interaction. The destination is the person who is attuned to the crystal at the other end, as long as he is within 100' of the crystal. If not, then no contact may be established. The recipient feels a brushing in the back of the mind, easily recognisable as a request for contact, provided he has ever been contacted before. However, there is no means of discerning precisely who is contacting.


The first part is easy, provided the recipient is willing. If the person feels the brush at the back of his mind, and opens his end of the link, then communication may occur. It is completely mental, but requires concentration to maintain.

An attack occurs in any of the following scenarios: 1) Instead of requesting contact, the initiator states his desire to attack, 2) Instead of simply refusing contact, an unwilling recipient states his desire to attack, 3) If an initiator is attempting to break a ward.

The first scenario may present a surprise for the recipient (rolled for normally) and the 2nd may be a surprise for the initiator.

The attack itself is determined by having both sides add up as many of the following as apply, and add that number to a d100. The higher roll wins, and the difference is applied to the table below the bonuses.
Mage: +1
Pure Alphatian: +1
Greatest Crystal: +15
Greater Crystal: +5
Will Training Skill: +1 to +5

Additional "temporary" bonuses:
Surprise: +10
Distracted: -10

Results of Will Battle (based on the difference between victor and loser)
10--stunned 1 round. victor has surprise for next round, if combat is continued
30--damage 1d10
50--damage 2d10
80--paralysis 2d4 rounds

There are 3 different versions of the Crystal of Communication. The Greatest Crystal is an altar-sized object that lies at the heart of the Imperial Palace and is attuned to the Empress herself. The Greater Crystals are created by sacrificing a slave atop the Greatest Crystal. The blood congeals into crystals much smaller than the Greatest. They are about heart-size, and when washed, are completely clear. From the time of Kerothar till the reign of Tylion III, imperial princes and princesses were brought before the Greatest Crystal to have greater crystals made for them, or passed to them. By the latter, I mean as an inheritance. Tylion III put a stop to the creation of the greater crystals, as he felt the methods involved were needlessly barbaric.

In his words, "Are we Alphatians? Are we Thyatians? I dare say we are the former!"

Lesser crystals are created through the sacrifice of any being (not just human or sentient). A greater crystal must rest atop the victim's heart in order to work, and the resulting lesser crystals are the size of a man's palm.

Crystal Maximum number of links
Greatest Unknown
Greater 12
Lesser 6

"Picture all the crystals as a huge, multidimensional web, with the crystals themselves being the place where strands are joined, and the strands being links. The Greatest Crystal lies at the centre, and a strand, or link, connects each greater crystal to it. And remember, there are secrets within secrets within secrets..."
--Master Terari

It is not required for a crystal holder to be a mage or a priest. There are, however, dangers involved for those who don't know what they are doing. It is rumoured that one trained in the Craft of the Crystal Seer, can sever links, force unwanted links, and even send creatures through a link to do battle.

The "Crystal world" can be imagined, as Terari said, as a huge web radiating from the central crystal. Simple communication may be achieved with the different points along the web, and if the way is known, travel may be had between the various points. Strands are joined at the crystal, so one may well assume the joinings also represent those who are attuned to the crystal. This is not always the case. In some rare instances crystals have become attuned to an area. Depending on how long the attunement has been in place, the crystal (and the place itself) may have gained sentience. In this case, contact and combat occur with a very elemental intelligence. The results do of combat do not really apply as normal in these situations, rather it is more like "beating to submission". When an initiator of contact battles and wins against a place, he is free to move to that place, or gate creatures there. But he does not ever "kill" the intelligence. To do that, one must actually travel to the place, and cast all sorts of purification spells.

One might also find crystals that have been attuned to any sort of intelligent creature...orcs, dragons...rarely undead.

"I have told you of the blood crystals, and of the links, and of the typical usage of the items. You now understand how a link may be made, and you have a rudimentary concept of the sorts of things that may pass along a link, communication and attack. Finally, you know of wards, and their uses in defence, if you should ever find yourself possessed of a crystal.

"I touched on one of the specific skills involved, which may be learned if one is fortunate enough to find someone willing to teach. Keep in mind, the Greatest Crystal is in the possession of the Imperial Crown, and from it, all crystals and links descend. So too, are all the skills originating from that central repository of knowledge. A member of the imperial family teaches a loyal lord, who in turn teaches an apprentice. Over the centuries, the knowledge has gotten more and more away from the crown, though an attempt, to at least keep the knowledge out of the public eye, is made."
--Master Terari

Common Skills

These skills are learnable by anyone.

1) Crystal Will Enhancement--this provides a direct modifier to will battles involving the crystal and involving intelligent weapons.

2) Mental Block--this is a simple, non-magical skill, involving the user concentrating on a mundane object (usually a brick wall) and visualising it in explicit detail. A successful skill check will act as a blocking ward to anyone trying to contact the person. He will still feel the attempt to contact him, even through the ward. To maintain the block, strict concentration must be held. Therefore, the person may only move at half speed, and will lose concentration if attacked.

3) Sever contact--while this skill does not actually sever the link, it will sever contact and is useful if one is losing a will battle.

The skills are learnable by anyone, but typically are taught only within the circles of the secret Craft of Crystal Seeing. It is rare to find anyone willing to teach a non-member, and likely the tutor would be contacted by other Seers after dispensing such information.

The Craft of Crystal Seeing

These fellows know a little more about the crystals, and perceive the crystals and links as a vast world/plane/universe. This "place" is known as Tirna Cryst'ogh, and is spoken of as a theoretical place, or a metaphor, among the lower members. The higher members are actually aware of its real existence, but whether the place is an actual plane, crystal sphere, or a mutual delusion among the Seers, is unknown.

1st Circle: Crystal Hopping--successfully accomplished, this allows the mage to bypass the termination of a link, and move his mind along a link connecting to that termination. In this manner, communication is astronomically increased. Failure leaves one helpless and open to attack from the termination point. The being at the termination point may choose to attack or communicate. If he attacks, he does so with the surprise bonus. Whether communication or attack happens or not, once the contact is severed from the termination point, the Seer will find himself back at the beginning and must start over again.

2nd Circle: Domination--a result of "stun" or "paralysis" from the crystal will battle will give the Seer the option to attack again, with the victory being a Magic Jar-like effect. The Seer's original body will be mostly unresponsive, almost comatose, responding only to general directions like "go forward", "eat", "sleep" and such. The Seer would be wise to have very trusted servants on hand.

3rd Circle: Crystal Sending--the Seer may send a creature along an open link. The other end of the link either had to be willing to communicate, or be stunned, paralysed, unconscious, or dead. The creature has to be present and either willing, or unable to flee (caged, chained, tied). Only living things may be sent through the link, so the chains, cages, and rope will all be left behind.

4th Circle: Hidden Contact--success means the Seer has opened contact, along an unwarded link, with a termination point. This allows the Seer to listen in on conversations, and to send creatures with a little more subtlety.

Set/Slam Ward--once a week a ward may be set. The ward may be of any of the spell types, known by the caster. The same skill allows the Seer to "slam" a ward down on a link. This can be useful in severing contact.

5th Circle: Enter Tirna Cryst'ogh--the mage may actually enter the land of the crystals. He perceives this world as a series of crystal globes, connected by crystal tubes. Outside of the globes, visions and portents may sometimes be seen. The mage may travel along the links (tubes) and arrive at termination points, from which he may make a second throw to re-enter the real world. Wards are perceived as magical symbols, and must be handled through the same methods as "Symbol", or by attempting to break the link.


Wards may be established through spell or craft. The spells follow, listed by level. They may be either clerical or mage, and they come in a variety of flavours. All may be cast on self or on another creature by touch.

Level 1: Single Shield--blocks one link. It is as if a wall separates the user from the receiver. 2 hour duration.

Level 2: MindMask--the spell we all know and love, will sever all links for a duration of 2 hours.

Level 4: Improved Ward--this sets a permanent until broken or dropped ward, similar to Single Shield.

Level 6: Trap Ward--attempting to break this ward results in one of the following effects, each a separate spell: fire, lightning, acid, cold, monster, stun, and mind.

--Each of the damaging wards cause d6 per level of the caster in damage.
--The monster ward releases a monster (usually a shadow), effectively breaking concentration.
--Stun lasts for 2d4 rounds and leaves the victim open to attack from the other end of the link.
--The Mind Trap Ward actually imprisons the mind of the attacker along the link. The attacker's mind cannot leave the link until the ward is broken. The disadvantage is that the mind of the attacker may still be able to attack the formerly warded individual.
--Since each effect is a separate spell, you have Fire Trap Ward, Lightning Ward, Acid Ward, etc. Each may be discovered and learned separately. The ward is permanent until broken or dropped.

Level 7: Death Ward--effects are identical to the 8th level spell, Symbol. A given Death Ward is only useable on one link.

Level 8: Mind Barrier--straight out of the book, this will last for one hour per level of the caster, and is unbreakable.

There are two methods of following a link. One, the most clumsy way, is to barrel along the link to the destination. This leaves one open to the effects of any damaging wards. The second method is more of a gentle touch, slowly moving along the link with one's mind until either the destination is reached, or a block is encountered. The ward's presence may be sensed in this manner, but there is only one way to find out exactly what the ward is. It is unlikely that a first-time user of a crystal will even be aware of the option to move slowly. Therefore, an ignorant user can easily get himself killed.

To Break a Ward

Once one realises a ward is in place, either through having blundered into it, or through having sensed it, one may attempt to break the ward. Any tampering with a ward, causes the being at the other end to immediately be aware of the attempt. Therefore, surprise may only be gained by breaking through the ward in the first round. After that first round, surprise is rolled as normal for combat. A crystal will battle occurs, rolled as above, but with none of the results. If the attacker wins, the ward is broken. If he loses, he takes whatever effect is designated by the ward. Multiple attempts may be taken in this manner.