Nightside of the Grey Sun and Shadows
Because the nature of the Grey is false, it is perhaps not so difficult to imagine that its obverse is basically emptiness. It is the flat surface upon which the Shadow falls, so to speak. An endless realm of plain grey. It represents hollowness, emptiness, and lack. It also embodies the limits of mortality. Its number is 13.
The underside of Shadow is strangely difficult to reach from Shadow itself. It’s easier to move from the Pale along the Nightside Path. There are rumors, however, of those living in Shadow who have somehow found themselves on the Nightside of the Grey, lost in an endless sea of nothing. A few, reportedly, even made it back.
Being Drawn Back Into Shadow
It’s not easy to bring vislae back out of Shadow. Having lived there for years (what seems like their entire life, although that’s just part of the lie), an exile can become quite attached to their life in the Grey. The Shadow has an insidious, tempting pull to it. Sometimes, a vislae slips and is drawn back into their shadow life. Usually these moments are brief—a few weeks, perhaps—and a vislae who has escaped before can come to their senses and return to the Actuality without much trouble.
These instances, however, make it very easy to explain why a player misses a game session and their character just “disappears” from the action and then returns when the player can next attend. Their character is simply drawn back into Shadow for a time, and then returns. This is not a terribly surprising thing to occur in Satyrine or elsewhere.
It happens to the best of us.
Shadow Skills, Mementos, and Characters
All vislae spent time in Shadow. Even after returning to the Actuality, they bring something back with them from that time. Thus, all vislae retain a shadow skill and a shadow memento.
A shadow skill is something learned in Shadow, within the bonds of one’s false life. A vislae who lived as a firefighter might retain one of the physical skills she had—climbing, perhaps, or breaking through barriers. A vislae who had a boating hobby might retain the ability to sail. One who worked as an accountant could keep a skill in mathematics.
Further, once ensconced back in the Actuality, most vislae call to them an object from their false life that had meaning to them. This might be something purely sentimental, like a photo, or something with practical value, like an automobile or a weapon. The idea, mostly, is for it to be something that helps establish the character’s personality, like a stereo or a coffee maker—an object that says something about who they were and who they remain. Vislae trapped for so long in Shadow can’t help but be shaped by it. Even once back in the Actuality, with memories and knowledge of the true world returning, they still retain a bit of their false life.
Shadow characters are another thing entirely. Not everyone in the Grey is a self-exiled vislae. Many people—most people—are just . . . shadows. They’re no more real than the world they inhabit. They think and act, but they have no Qualia. They have no soul. Still, sometimes a shadow slips out of its realm and into the Actuality. Usually by mistake, although some vislae enjoy summoning them. Players who want a very simple (but fun) experience can play a shadow character. Such characters take literally moments to create and are then ready to play. They don’t use magic, but they excel at all manner of other things. Shadow characters are perfect for players who want to join an existing campaign on short notice and don’t have a character ready. They also work for people who just want a far simpler experience.
Shadow characters also offer possibilities for new, interesting campaign dynamics. For example, each player might create a vislae and a shadow character to work as a team, or in such a way that all the PC vislae operate together and all the PC shadows work together. It’s even possible for most of the players to run vislae characters while one experienced character runs a small team of shadows.
Just a quick reminder that you have a lot of great opportunities to add on additional cool stuff during this Kickstarter. I've written in the past about the purpose of the Vislae Kit, and of course you can get the various other products that we've unlocked through stretch goals like the Path of Suns cloth map, the three additional books, and so on. Recently, we've also included a fun magnet set and an extra set of the beautiful dice Bear Weiter has designed specifically for this game.
Please help spread the word about this Kickstarter. We're moving into our final week and there are lots of great goals we'd love to unlock, but we can't do it without your help.
N47° 38' 21.4", W117° 22' 38.2"