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Dead Sea Almanac Saturday Edition – April 6, 2019

This Week’s Biggest Story

The biggest news this week is the discovery of Atlantis, but the second biggest is the passing of Wallace Bimbington and the heirlooms remitted by him to the state in lieu of any descendants. Chief among these is the longbow once carred by Taela Silvereye herself, and her mother Illiel before her. Our empire’s unifier needs no further introduction, but we collect here a record of her exploits for those who may have never heard the tale from ages past.

The Legend of Taela Silvereye

Taela Silverye was born to a smith named Tamren and a spellweaver named Illiel in the lands to the north, before the world’s last reshaping. Exiled from her home at an early age, the young queen wandered for centuries before finding her place in the Great Conflict that unified our empire. Initially opposing the great god-king Famine, she was brought by degrees to wield his sword and eventually succeeded him as the ruler of the Twin Kingdoms. From there, she began the process of unification that would consume the rest of her reigning life – nearly seven hundred years. Eventually uniting the peoples of the continent under one banner, the Silver Queen set out to reach across to the foreign lands of her day, and fought war for nearly two hundred years against them. At long last, conquest unfinished, she is said to have passed from the realm in the spirit of an ancient conquerer and to have left behind her storied weapon. Little is known of her companions, but it is said that their efforts were widespread and that traces of them can be found throughout the lands, scarred by the energy of the shaping.

The Discovery of Atlantis

The other significant happening this week is the discovery of Atlantis, a realm renowned for its mythic wealth and technological advancement. In reality, we have discovered they are much like us – technologically proficient with both machinery and magic, as well as medicine; and fluent in arts, culture, and literature. The people there are surely cosmopolitan, as our own folk are; indeed they cannot venture far beyond the city without survival gear.

The city itself is protected from the ocean by a dome of magic glass, enchanted so as to be waterproof and indestructible, and also to shine with the light of the sun from above the waves, though it does so dimly. The people there tell of how the barrier was erected by the great mage Kariel in ages past, when the reshaping of the world sunk their continent and produced the rift known as The Trench.

The city’s food supply comes from the surrounding ocean, as do its water and its people; they are evolved from the fish of the sea and share a number of aspects in common with them, such as gills and an ability to see well underwater. They cannot withstand the pressure of the deep Trench though, nor the creatures of the Vast Approach or the barren horrors of the Ghost Plains for very long without light and provisions.

The Atlantis Syndrome

The Atlantis Syndrome is an upcoming adventure supplement set in the fabled city of Atlantis. It details the events of the Retrograde Crisis and the heroes’ role in it, and sets up naturally for the remaining adventures in the series: Five Leagues Under, The Trench, Facility 5A, and The Omnus Paradox, each of which can be run individually or in concert with the others.

The Retrograde Crisis

The current crisis in Atlantis has been termed the Retrograde Crisis because of the way citizens are evolving backwards into fish-like creatures. The medication known to stabilize the genetic patterns of the citizenry is synthesized from the polymers of a specific sea anenome, but the supply has suddenly dried up due to gang activity and more is not expected to be available until the anenome regenerates next March. Dr. Straiting is actively involved in the crisis and seeks the help of capable adventurers.

The Discovery of Seya’s Tomb

The remodeling of a coffee shop in Anak has revealed strange markings from centuries long past, which detail the location of Seya’s Tomb. Seya Twinblade was the last handmaiden of queen Ieyta, a queen who ruled seven hundred years ago during the age of the kingdoms of K’ren and Tyrel, sister nations in the Unity of Knowledge. Toren, her contemporary, is said to have ruled over the most powerful guild of Alchemisters in the world from his seat at K’neth, and the Tomb of Seya could reveal important clues to the resting place of Ieyta herself and the events that led her kingdom to fall into trackless jungle.

Wolf’s Corner

Hey all, welcome to the new face of the Saturday Edition. The Dead Sea Almanac has been publishing for three weeks now, if you can believe it – I know I can’t. When we started this periodical, we weren’t expecting nearly the popularity it’s seen, and in many ways we’re still working to capitalize on that popularity and turn it into amazing products and content we can offer you. Going forward, the Saturday edition will serve as a recap of the week and a place to put important information for dungeon masters looking to use our content in their campaigns. As we’ve alluded to several times throughout the week, there will be some upcoming adventures and setting supplements released quite soon – we’re working on them behind the scenes and will get them to you as soon as we can be sure the quality is up to our normal standards. Some of you are already aware of this, but we’ve also been collating the Dead Sea Almanac as a PDF version using the Homebrewery, and we expect to have that available for you soon, possibly even on a daily basis. Here’s to all the adventures waiting to happen, and the friends you’ll make along the way. — Lone Wolf, Editor-in-Chief

Intentional Game Mastering

As part of the work we do at Silver Soul Gaming, we’ve decided to start a movement we call “intentional game mastering”. The concept is really rather simple – we ourselves, and a lot of the people we know, turn to gaming as an escape, a refuge, and an outlet for our emotions and our need to be heard and welcomed in. Intentional game mastering is an extension of that – an acknowledgement that we as game masters can make a difference in the mental, physical, and emotional health of our players, and that we have the responsibility to use that power for good.

Silver Soul Gaming is proud to call one of our editors, Steph Skiles, the founder of the movement, and we’re unanimously behind a commitment to expand and grow the practice in our social spheres and in the games we run. If you want more information, you can come hang with us in Discord or reach out to us through the website.

Release Schedule

For the foreseeable future, the Dead Sea Almanac will continue to release on Monday through Saturday, with a special Saturday edition each week. Additionally, on certain Sundays, there will be releases of additional products, which will vary in length and degree of detail. You can also find us throughout the week at certain times, listed below.

Soulsword Renegades

Our weekly Dungeons and Dragons stream is at 10:30pm Eastern on the Silver Soul Gaming Twitch channel. I play Emma, and you can find your favorite contributors Silver, Vlastilon, Steph Skiles, Neurok, Dmitry, and Jet as the other players.

Upcoming Campaigns

We have several upcoming campaigns in the works, at least one of which will be run by yours truly. Keep an eye out for updates to the Twitch channel and in the Dead Sea Almanac as we get closer.

Reader Hour

Starting tonight at 9:30pm Eastern and every Saturday going forward, your favorite players and game masters will be available to chat for an hour or so before Soulsword Renegades. Want to know what Emma hears in her head, or how I run my own campaigns? Ask away – I’ll be there every week, and so will a rotating cast of other members. You can find our Discord at https://discord.gg/YK5Bfga.

Creative Talent Wanted

The Dead Sea Almanac and our other content has started gaining traction, and as a company we’ve decided to increase our reliance on creative talent. If you’re interested in contributing to a publication like ours, reach out to us on Discord. We can’t take everyone, but we’re interested in working with writers, artists, streamers, and game masters who are looking to produce high-quality content and have a fun time with friends along the way.

Upcoming Products

Release DateProduct
Sunday, April 14The Outlaws of Atwood Forest
Sunday, April 21The Atlantis Syndrome
Sunday, April 28All the King’s Men
Sunday, May 5Five Leagues Under

Character Bio: Rachel Vinaigre

*The following is an excerpt from the upcoming supplement *The Outlaws of Atwood Forest. The woman before you is dressed in adventurer’s clothes: a light button-down shirt that was once white and a pair of heavyweight trousers suitable for traipsing through the undergrowth. Her heavy wool cloak is beaded with dew that sparkles in the cool morning air, and the rapier she holds casually pointed downward glints brightly in the sun with water running down it. At her side is a pouch containing a pair of gloves and you assume her rations, but it’s her face that draws you. Soft and well cared for, without the creases and scars of farm work or the tan of a sailor, but furrowed in a frown that seems to be the result of your presence here. You think you can see a hint of honesty there, but it’s hidden by the need to escape from something else. You can’t help but be reminded of the things that drove you from your own home many years ago, and the sense you had that there could be no going back.

Quick Facts

  • Rachel is running from an arranged marriage with a wealthy man who is quite a bit older and who doesn’t really view her as an equal.
  • The Jolly Good Fellows have provided her with food and shelter and offered to hide her from the world if she needs a place to lie low.
  • Her wit is spiteful and as sharp as the rapier she carries.

Motivations

  • To escape marriage with a man who would never let her be her own woman
  • To convince her father that she should marry who she chooses
  • To run for office someday as the first female mayor of Westport

Backstory

  • Childhood friend of Elecia Edsford and her brother Roger Edsford II (The Jolly Grinsman)
  • Daughter of a wealthy, traditional father who sincerly loves his daughter but feels obligated to marry her into a rich family because he can’t provide for her
  • Learned rapier skills and how to handle herself in a fight by hanging out with the boys at Westport Trade Academy

Expanded Diving Rules

For adventures beneath the sea, you’ll eventually want some rules for diving that aren’t provided in the player’s handbook. With this week’s focus on Atlantis, it only makes sense to give them to you here.

The Effects of Depth

Characters can dive as deep as they want in most campaigns, but if realism is to be respected, they rarely do so without penalty. Below one hundred feet, nitrogen narcosis (a form of intoxication caused by narcotic effects of gas at depth) can cause poor decision making, and below about two hundred feet, oxygen gas present in whatever air the diver is breathing can actually become toxic. Even ignoring these effects, which both worsen with depth and require special equipment to overcome, there’s a practical limit to how deep the bodies of most surface dwellers can go before being crushed by pressure – not much beyond one thousand feet. Light penetration stops far before that – even dives as shallow as three hundred feet can turn day into night, and past seven hundred feet it’s just pitch black.

Aside on Cinematics

In a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, or any other table top game, it’s possible that the effects of magic or the technology of deep sea species might allow divers to venture deep without these risks – indeed, Atlantean Sea Charms are used in Five Leagues Under and enchanted diving suits with articulated joints are featured in The Trench. For most games, you can ignore the effects of depth, other than the famous cinematic ones – it’s very dark, the pressure can crush you if you’re unprotected, and ascending too fast can give you the bends. D&D campaigns tend to have more aggressive threats at these depths anyway, such as leviathans and creatures of the deep abyss.

Decompression Sickness

Characters who are fleeing danger or unaware of the consequences may choose to surface quickly, a maneuver which can often be harmful or even fatal. Ascending from the depths at a rate faster than about sixty feet per minute has a chance to afflict creatures with decompression sickness. For each turn a character moves more than six feet towards the surface, roll 1d20. If the result is a one, the character acquires or worsens their degree of decompression sickness. About fifteen minutes after surfacing, they experience a number of levels of exhaustion equal to their degree of sickness.

Uncontrolled Ascent

While ascending quickly can be harmful, ascending with no regard for decompression can literally rupture the lungs. A character who ascends from the depths at a rate greater than twenty feet per turn rolls 1d20 each round they do so; on a result of fifteen or higher they take 4d6 damage from rapid decompression.

Pressure

The pressure at depth can be fatal to an unprotected character. For every hundred feet below one thousand, the pressure deals 1d6 damage per round to unprotected creatures who aren’t otherwise immune to it (such as the local wildlife or certain varieties of Atlanteans who breath through gills instead of lungs). It won’t crush them; just poison them or cause bleeding in the lungs. Crushing occurs much, much deeper (like the depths characters will reach in The Trench).

Underwater Panic

A creature that loses access to its air supply underwater may panic, becoming frightened of water until it reacquires an air supply. In addition, characters can hold their breath for only between one and three minutes, after which they begin to suffocate, taking 2d6 damage per turn, which bypasses all resistances. To tell whether a character is frightened or manages to hold their breath calmly, have them make a wisdom saving throw, with difficulty set based on how hostile the environment is. A shallow, recreational dive might only have them make a DC 10 check, while a mid-combat dive in the depths of a cave might require a DC 20 check to retain composure. In either case, a calm character is usually able to re-acquire some form of oxygen supply before they begin to suffocate, while panicking characters may make increasingly bad decisions as they become more desperate and experience the effects of oxygen deprivation. While panic is not the leading cause of dive accidents (running out of air is), panic is involved in a large percentage of fatalities, especially when it results in separation between paired divers or uncontrolled ascents.

Visibility

Not only is it dark at depth; it can also be turbulent and murky, with silt stirred up in the water that can make it impossible to see anything. At a minimum, diving ususally requires a mask or goggles; even with these, visibility can be near zero, and any activity near the bottom – such as combat – will stir up a lot of silt.

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