The Orange Blossom Star System
This set of lore ties into the “Adventurers Wanted” novel (also set in the World of Gaianar universe). This stellar system involves a K3 star (an orange dwarf called the "Orange Blossom") and five terrestrial planets. The third planet (Blossom’s Gift) is home to a race of free-willed, sentient, Undead skeletons.
The worlds contained in the Orange Blossom system include:
Tiny Speck: A Mercury-like metallic world. It is devoid of atmosphere and is tidally-locked.
Torch: A very hot, barren terrestrial world. It is not located in the habitable zone.
Blossom's Gift: A water-rich terrestrial world. This is the home world of the Blossomites. It is located in the inner ring of the habitable zone.
Far Harbor: A gloomy, stormy world dominated by large hurricanes. It teems with life, but nothing sentient ever evolved here. It is located in the center of the habitable zone.
The Distant Shore: An icy world in which most of the life forms have either adapted to a cold climate or live in the deep oceans. Distant Shore is a "Super Earth" and thus it has a very potent magnetic field, high gravity, and an array of beautiful moons. It is located in the outer ring of the habitable zone.
Blossomite Culture and History
The world of Blossom’s Gift is one that has recovered from an extinction-level event in the recent past. Prior to the Great Flare, Blossom’s Gift was a verdant paradise with huge equatorial jungles, dark forests, deep oceans, and fierce storms. The sentient race (Blossomites) were bipedal humanoids that stood slightly shorter than a regular Human. They were covered with soft, thick fur that ranged from tan to black. They did not wear clothes, but instead wore capes and also tied trinkets, ribbons, and bells into their fur as decoration. At the time of the Great Flare, the Blossomites were a stone age culture. They were farmers, hunters, and crafters. They built homes out of wood and stone. Their economy tended to be collective and socialistic. They had a very stable civilization in which not much changed for thousands of years (perhaps even tens of thousands of years).
Despite their lack of technological interest, the Blossomites were creative in other ways. Culturally, they valued art, literature, crafting, cooking, and singing. Even small towns had theaters and public squares where works of art could be sold or shared. The Blossomites had a single religion – a spirituality that did not have a formal name. They simply venerated a chorus of incorporeal entities that they called “the gods”.
It's not known what the Blossomites’ gods actually are, or how many of them exist. However, all Blossomites have an unbroken communion with their gods. This manifests in the form of an endless, wordless song that all Blossomites hear in their minds (and referred to as the Song of the Gods). This ethereal song conveys a sense of love, hope, and joy. This connection has had a profound effect on their civilization. They have only one religion – and it is a religion of very few rules and covers the basics that all faiths should have (i.e., be kind, be generous, be truthful, seek wisdom, be curious, and be honorable). The gods have historically taken an activist role in world affairs but not in individual actions. Until the Great Flare, the Blossomites had known ecological stability, free of famine and plague, for millennia. Of course, this also played a role in them remaining a stone age society for that same period. After all, if everything works as expected, why change things?
The Blossomites were never a warlike species. Their limited use of weapons primarily involved keeping predators away from livestock. The Blossomites have never, in fact, had a war on their world. Likewise, the concept of racism, homophobia, and bigotry are alien ideas to the average resident of this world.
Like most gods, the patron deities of Blossom’s Gift are powerful but not omnipotent. They had the power to shape the climate and regulate the seasons. They had the power to commune in a wordless way with the furry humanoids they obviously cared about. However, they were unable to fully protect the planet from a supernova that originated in a nearby star system. This event, called “The Great Flare”, burned nearly everything on Blossom’s Gift and stripped off a significant portion of the atmosphere. The Blossomites were instantly slain in a wave of fire and radiation.
While that should have been the end for Blossom’s Gift, it was not. The gods expended nearly the entirety of their power to transform the Blossomites in that moment of destruction. Rather than being reduced to ash, the Blossomites emerged from the conflagration as sentient, free-willed skeletons. Despite being Undead, they still retained their bond with their beloved gods. The power of song of the gods was greatly reduced for nearly two centuries. The Gods had nearly destroyed themselves to save the Blossomites.
With the ecology in shambles, the gods subtly encouraged the Blossomites to begin developing technology. While the gods never used words, the Blossomites suddenly became curious about metallurgy, science, and mathematics. As Undead, they no longer needed to worry about food or medicine. The gods somehow linked the Blossomites’ soul-energy to the Plane of Shadow instead of the Plane of Radiance, and thus they could live on indefinitely. The Blossomites also desired to restore their world from the smoldering ashes. Over time, the Blossomites figured out how to cultivate plants that could survive in the reduced atmosphere and required less water. They learned to work with metal (as trees would be rare for the next few hundred years). They developed new forms of mathematics, new types of magic. They learned how to harvest power from the sun and the world’s molten core.
In the span of only a few centuries, the Blossomites transitioned from a stone age agrarian civilization to a space-faring technological species. They used spacecraft to harvest comets in order to replenish the atmosphere and the seas. They also discovered that the two other habitable worlds in the Orange Blossom system weathered the Great Flare better than Blossom’s Gift did – for different reasons. The world of Far Harbor (4th position) was lucky enough to have the sun positioned in between it and the supernova at the time of the incident. The world known as The Distant Shore (5th position) is a “Super Earth” with a very powerful electromagnetic field. Thus, only a fraction of the wave of radiation reached the surface. The Blossomites brought plant and animal specimens from these two worlds to Blossom’s Gift. And so, the biodiversity of the world was restored – even if it was now a very different kind of ecology. Fortunately for the Blossomites, neither of the two outer worlds was home to sentient life.
As the life returned to Blossom’s Gift, the Song of the Gods grew in strength. Today, the gods have recovered in the same way as the planet. Rather than guide the Blossomites in agricultural pursuits, they now inspire them in science. The Blossomites thus evolved into a race of explorers with a thirst for knowledge.
As skeletons, the Blossomites are naturally infertile. This has caused them to be very protective of life. They care deeply about children (Undead and living alike). They have a desire to reduce suffering and to help wherever they go. They do, however, encounter a lot of fear and prejudice due to them being Undead. There are approximately 250 million Blossomites in existence. When the last of them has extinguished, the Cosmos will be a less vibrant place for their absence.
It should be noted that that Blossomites are passive empaths (when applied at a distance). They can read the emotions of others but do not have the ability to alter another’s emotions with this power. The average Blossomite has rating of E20 in passive empathy. Likewise, the Blossomites are also touch empaths. Their power is much greater at “touch” range. They can share their emotions with others via touch, but they cannot manipulate people with this power. Additionally, non-natives can hear the Song of the Gods when in physical contact with a Blossomite. At touch range, their empathic rating is E35.
Undead tend to be emotionally “locked in” at the time of their transformation. This leads to the curious phenomenon wherein individuals may have hundreds of years of life experience but still emotionally react to situations in the manner of a teenager or older child. The youngest of the Blossomites to survive the Great Flare was age 5. Young children are generally referred to as “eternal children” and are seen as precious by the parents lucky enough to be able to care for them for centuries.
In their travels, the Blossomites have been taken aback by the concepts of racism, religious war, and bigotry in general. They tend to have a dim view of the pantheons of other worlds, given that the local gods they’ve encountered tended to be either capricious and cruel or simply missing in action. A common phrase uttered about off-world gods is “One wonders why they are venerated at all.”
As Undead, the Blossomites do not need food or medicine. They do “sleep” for approximately four hours each day. For Undead, this is known as “regenerative slumber”. It is extraordinarily difficult to arouse a slumbering Undead. A Blossomite’s ability to recover from injury is directly proportional to the level of ambient negative energy in the ecology. For example, a Blossomite would recover from a broken leg faster on Gaianar than on Blossom’s Gift. Concentrated negative energy (aka “death magic”) works like a healing spell on Blossomites.
In their skeletal form, the Blossomites are physically weak (most skeleton Undead are physically weak). However, their other core attributes remained unchanged. Knowing that they are more fragile than they used to be, most Blossomites have taken to wearing leather armor that is lined with crash foam (this is a substance similar to spongey egg case material). This allows the Blossomites to endure routine accidents (such as falling down a flight of stairs or being involved in a vehicle accident) without being injured. It’s worth noting that Blossomites can no longer feel physical pain, but they are still aware if they have sustained an injury. Likewise, they can still feel warm/cold, touch, pressure, and texture. Many Blossomites employ assistive technology for help in holding pens and fine tools. Likewise, they make great use of a type of wearable computer called a “data gauntlet”. It is basically a forearm-mounted tablet computer.
Culturally, Blossomites never developed Constructs. They have developed other forms of mathematical spells. A Blossomite proclaiming to be a Mathematician is almost certainly going to be a variant known as a Cartographer. This is a type of practitioner that cannot make Constructs but instead can navigate through spatial distortions – even Stillpoints.
It’s a closely guarded secret, but it is possible for an off-worlder to become joined with the chorus of the gods. Blossomites don’t evangelize, and the gods don’t accept all comers. To be accepted by the gods, the off-world supplicant must have a spiritual presence that is very similar to that of a Blossomite. In other words, the supplicant must have a heart for kindness, mercy, creativity, inclusion, joy, love, and curiosity. Sadly, these qualities are very hard to find outside of the Blossomite race. Even faint traces of bigotry, malice, and hate are enough to disqualify the applicant. If accepted, the applicant will begin to hear the Song of the Gods. This is something that changes the person forever. Once bound, the person can never be unbound.
Blossomite Core Attributes
Note: Attributes in brackets indicate the Blossomites’ original stats prior to the Great Flare.
Strength: 1d6+2 [3d6-1]
Comeliness: 2d6 [2d6+6]
Faith: 3d6+2 [3d6]
Passive Empathy: E20
Empathic Resistance: E35
Touch Empathy: E35
Religious Preference: “The Gods” (You won’t actually find any Blossomites of other religions)
Character Classes: Any (Undead usually cannot be Wishsingers, but Blossomites are an exception). Blossomites tend to gravitate toward the “helper” traditions. Therefore, a Blossomite is more likely to be a Mathematician (Cartographer), Speaker for the Dead, Priest, and Shaman while being less likely to be a Gunslinger, Warrior, Paladin, or Barbarian.
Common Alignment: Benevolent (Blossomites are never of an evil alignment)
Lifespan: Indefinite. Per the rules on Undead, they may eventually extinguish and can also be killed via injury.
While some Undead are damaged by sunlight, Blossomites are not. Likewise, they are not injured by holy water (since they are not evil). They are still vulnerable to silver weapons (since this metal resists negative energy). They are vulnerable to most spells that target the Undead. However, if there is an option that specifies a different outcome for “free-willed” Undead, that option should be used. A Priest (or other clergy) of good alignment cannot “turn away” a Blossomite since they are not evil. An evil Priest, however, could do a successful “turn” against a Blossomite.
Because Blossomites live such long lives, they tend to store their belongings in interdimensional containers called “reliquaries”. They are generally larger than a suitcase and smaller than a steamer trunk and are usually carted around on a wheeled dolly. Reliquaries are vastly larger on the inside than on the outside. The magic is such that these containers store about as much as a warehouse. Likewise, any item can be retrieved at any time by the user’s will. Reliquaries are generally keyed to the owner. Unauthorized individuals can peer into the reliquary, but they cannot retrieve objects. A Blossomite could, however, give access permission to others (either single-use or indefinite).
The Gods of the Blossomites
The Gods are numerous and always work collectively. It is unknown how many there are. Moreover, they have never shared individual names. The Gods are utterly devoted to the Blossomites. While they almost never take action at the individual’s level, they collectively have always worked to ensure the continuation of the Blossomite species, culture, and civilization. They appear to have power over the environment, ecology, and seasons (as evidenced by the historical lack of famine, plague, and natural disasters on Blossom’s Gift.) The Great Flare, however, did overwhelm the Gods’ power to protect the ecology. Still, the Gods did find a way for the Blossomites to survive a catastrophe that otherwise would have ended all life on Blossom’s Gift.
Because of the intimate link between the Gods and the Blossomites (i.e., the never-ending Song of the Gods), the Blossomites tend to have behavioral traits that mimic that of their deities. For example, the Gods work collectively, so the Blossomites work collectively. The Gods are kind, loving, and pacifistic, so the Blossomites are kind, loving, and pacifistic. Pre-Flare, the Gods knew that Blossomites needed food and medicine in order to have a long life. Therefore, the Blossomites specialized in agriculture and herbalism. Post-Flare, the Gods realized that the Blossomites needed technology, and so the Blossomites suddenly developed an interest in mathematics, metallurgy, engineering, and new forms of practical magic. The Gods do not mind-control the Blossomites, but they do subconsciously influence them via the Song of the Gods.
The Gods are very choosy when accepting out-worlders. The Gods understand that more Blossomites cannot be born naturally, and so they are open to alien converts. However, the convert must have a spiritual presence that is nearly identical to that of a native Blossomite. In other words, the person has to have a heart for kindness, peace, love, curiosity, creativity, and inclusion. This is as much to protect the Gods as it is to protect the Blossomites. They will not abide the Song of the Gods to be influenced by (or contaminated with) bigotry, xenophobia, hate, or violence. Converts (once accepted) are seen by the Gods as equal to a native Blossomite. Moreover, converts will begin to hear the Song of the Gods (and also be likewise influenced by it.) The Song of the Gods appears to have unlimited range.
The Gods never inspired a holy text. Instead, the religion’s rules are based on common sense behaviors, such as telling the truth, being generous, helping others in need, seeking wisdom and knowledge, and generally doing acts that are universally recognized as “good”. While clergy exist in this faith, their main functions are as healer and arbiter. No one seeks a Blossomite clergy person for moral guidance since all natives experience the Song of the Gods equally.
The Gods of the Blossomites
Power Level: Moderate (temporarily “Low” for the first two centuries post-Flare)
Influence: High (Blossomites), Low (everyone else)
Alignment: Benevolent (Neutral/Good)
Consort: Not applicable
Symbol: A circle containing a constellation of stars
Portfolio: [Previous] Weather, agriculture, herbalism, cooking, art, music, poetry, woodworking, stone masonry. [Current] Science, magic, mathematics, education, engineering, metallurgy, art, music, poetry.
Typical Followers: Native Blossomites and rigidly selected off-world converts
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