Thursday, December 22, 2011


I've often said that to really capture a 'fairy-tale' feel in any medium - movie, book, rpg game - you have to have a feel for 'dream logic', where things don't always make realistic sense but they make 'story sense'.  Last night I had a very odd dream, of which I remember only scraps, but I think it's fairy-tale-gameable.

The dream had something to do with people who lived in the clouds, either upon them as floating islands, or perhaps they steered them like airships.  They used hooks on the ends of long ropes or chains - skyhooks - to snatch people from the ground below and haul them up into their cloud-ships and cloud-fortresses.  I've no idea what they did with those people, and can't remember from the dream a sense of whether this was a kidnapping or some kind of esoteric ascension.

Regardless, it's pretty cool.  I decided a while back that the LL class of 'elf' would be my Wampus Country stand-in for any 'inherently magical' humanoid race, just changing the available spell list to accommodate the appropriate flavor.  I had originally intended to use such a mock-up to represent the strange inhabitants of The City Behind The Moon, but this will work for cloud-folk as well, I think.


The cloud-folk are a race of flying nomads whose travels occasionally take them over Wampus Country.  Seemingly human, it is whispered that the cloud-folk are in fact descended from djinn or some other alien species of heavenly bent.  The long-lived cloud-folk have a natural inclination towards the magic of sky and storm, and are particularly keen at shaping cloudstuff into useful items, transportation, and housing.  Their complexion is pale, but they do not burn in the sun; cloud-folk tend to have long, wavy, flowing hair (and moustaches and beards) of white or rosy color.  A panoply of earrings is common among both genders.

Traveling in family bands, these gypsies of the air ply their trade in barks and junks sculpted of fluffy white clouds; on rarer occasions two or more family bands will join together for a holiday or wedding, working in concert to craft a magnificent cloud-hall for the occasion, then dispersing it when the reveling is done.  The cloud-folk do not intermarry with other races generally, as humans have proven maladroit at the sky-magic which lies at the core of cloud-folk culture.  At least once several families of cloud-folk have gone to war against ground-dwelling peoples who cheated or offended them; between the aerial bombardment and the ability of the cloud-folk to lower strong hooked chains and rip the roofs off houses, the wars did not last long.

Constructs of cloudstuff have a cotton-candy-like nimbus about them, but are - if well-crafted - as solid as stout wood, despite being lighter than air (or very nearly so).  A cloud-junk can easily bear the weight of a dozen or more people, pets, livestock, and trade goods without difficulty.  Most cloudstuff constructs require occasional upkeep by a cloudsmith, but the rare master has produced a seemingly permanent item, usually a trinket, piece of jewelry, or weapon composed of many layers of cloudstuff folded and compressed and exposed to the heart of a tempest.  Balladeers sing of the mighty enchanted claymore Heaven-Sent, sharp as a lightning-strike and perpetually cloaked in mist when wielded by several protagonists over the years; the blade is said to be light enough for a small boy to wield it one-handed, and in "The Tale of the Weeping Giant", the dashing heroine, a noblewoman-turned-thief, actually uses the claymore as a life-saving float when the eponymous villain's melancholy causes a river to overflow its banks.

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