Talons of Kramah

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    • Teenage Mutant Sarpah wrote:

      Just visited the California Science Center today to see the limited time Egypt exhibit and boy howdy did that get me thinking about Dardunah and its History and Lore

      Thinking about the Talons of Kramah I feel particularly wanting to know more about them as individuals

      What did you see in the exhibit that made you think of Shard? Did you take any photos of the things that inspired you? If so, there's a section of the forum that's perfect for sharing inspirational material. What inspired you may inspire others.
    • Mostly the different things in Egypt that either had Animal Gods/Goddess or otherwise depicts animals like a picture of the Pharaoh spear hunting an Ostrich. It also explained the process of Mummification and the Journey the Egyptians believed the dead took through the land of the dead, while the Dardunah Afterlife is more based on Hinduism it did make me think about the Nature of Dardunah and its inhabitants
    • Ancient Egyptians were all about mixing and matching animals and humans. One of my favorite goddesses, Taweret, is a mix of hippo, crocodile, lion/feline, and adult human female. Gods/goddesses in Dardunah stick to one species, it seems, but I bet there are demons that have that mixing of parts.

      Mummification is pretty interesting, once again could be done by savages/demon worshippers, since most of Dardunah practices cremation. Or, since one of the reasons that cremation is practiced is to free the spirit from the body, doing mummification instead might be a magical way to trap the soul inside the body so it can't reincarnate. That would be a cool adventure -- come upon a mummy and figure out what to do with it so the spirit can escape without further harm. And then find out that the spirit was really quite nasty, and maybe sticking it in a mummy was the best way to keep it from hurting anybody...

      (I teach mortuary science and one of my classes is all about the history of funeral customs -- definitely some fascinating stuff.)
    • Ednoria wrote:

      Mummification is pretty interesting, once again could be done by savages/demon worshippers, since most of Dardunah practices cremation. Or, since one of the reasons that cremation is practiced is to free the spirit from the body, doing mummification instead might be a magical way to trap the soul inside the body so it can't reincarnate. That would be a cool adventure -- come upon a mummy and figure out what to do with it so the spirit can escape without further harm. And then find out that the spirit was really quite nasty, and maybe sticking it in a mummy was the best way to keep it from hurting anybody...
      What if someone had trapped the spirit of their enemy in their enemy's mummified corpse, and like, over time that spirit became twisted and hungry for revenge. It learned to animate the corpse. Destroying the corpse only temporarily stops this hungry ghost because it's hunger for revenge isn't quenched yet. And so it begins to manifest in other ways?
    • I agree! I love where the adventure discussion could go... And, of course, I find mummies and the lore surrounding them fascinating... There are actually areas of Dárdünah where mummies of that kind could be found... From a well-known standpoint, it is understood by most jánah who have studied cultures in the various countries that in the sand-swept Amin of Amnol, across the river from its capitol city of Nar-Harix, there lay a mighty necropolis very much like the Valley of Kings here on Earth. In that vast necropolis can be found the pyramid and ziggurat-dotted ruins of the ancient tombs of their rulers and powerful nobility dating back many thousands of years ago, from a time before the more "modern" methods of ceremonial cremation began to become the "norm" in Dárdünah as a part of the Mahist Faith... Back then, the Amnoli people entombed their dead, with the most important/wealthy among them being able to afford the expensive and complex rites of mummification as well as the ornate creation of large stone tombs of various kinds... Eventually those ways changed, to be replaced by cremation rituals, but the tombs of the necropolis there, and at other similar locations around the world (both known and lost to the secret sands of time), would still certainly contain the mummies of ancient days (and all the adventures that might imply).

      Now, as to the original comments of Teenage Mutant Sarpah, it's cool that you were inspired by the exhibit you saw! And, as you can see from the kind of stuff the mention of the Egyptian culture inspired, there's lots to work with there! As far as the Talons of Kramah go, though the ancient bearers of those sacred "gifts" had individual personalities that were largely lost behind their larger-than-life legends surrounding them (as an example of this, I say "gifts" here in quotes because those awesome powers also came at a terrible cost, different for each of Talons), there are no doubt ancient texts and tales that fill in some of the blanks that you may be yearning for... Eventually we intend to discuss them in greater detail in future offerings, perhaps even within the ever-expanding pages of our World Guide! For now, I'll reveal that, though the Talons of Kramah featured strongly in the legends and stories that arose from the end of the Wars of Twilight, even after their individual stories ended, their amazing powers remained alive because they saw these powers as Holy Gifts and Burdens that should not be lost. It was believed among them that these "gifts" should be passed on, in great secrecy, from a single Talon master to a single Student, with rigorous (sometimes fatal) rites, rituals, and training that would endow the student the power of that Talon. It was believed that such powers should remain a sacred secret until the time might come again when the world would find itself in great need of such heros... Eventually we will reveal the names of all those ancient Talons, the names of the current bearers of these "gifts", and what those powers are (along with the terrible burdens that come with them)...
    • Having been around for the games with the fabled Talons of Kramah.... I can verify that some of each of their own personalities has survived in the secrets they left behind contained within the teachings and possibly the memories of the few students they found worthy enough to entrust with the gifts they themselves where blessed with from beyond the shining edges of heaven... I hope that the World Guide will give us more information about not only these epic heroes but the countless others who have helped to shape the pages of history....
    • I feel like a moment Si'Ni has during her adventure with the Ninja Turtles and Humanimals, and watching them bicker (As siblings tend to do) And in her private thoughts she wonders what may have been left out of the tale of the Talons and wonders if they ever squabbled over who got the last pastry

      Sort of a Meta Compare and contrast toward how heroes of Mythology are written as these grandiose larger than life figures while modern superheroes get a more 'human' portrayal showing their weaknesses and the mundane things they do in addition to the heroics
    • In our own games each player and by default the characters they tend to play have human weaknesses as well, whether it is an uncontrollable greed or a desire for more power or any list of other personality quirks.... I particularly love that this game encourages players to be less than perfect by awarding story points for Drawbacks in the game. These less than perfect habits and compulsions help make the game more interesting by producing characters which are more rounded and easy to relate to due in no small part to the very tendencies which challenge them on a continual basis throughout the game... In many of our games the characters have gone from being unpopular and unsavory derelicts of society to unlikely heroes by finding ways to either buy off their chosen Disadvantages or by finding unique ways to play the Disadvantage which caused them to be popular and noteworthy individuals known for the behavior.... I am a player who delights in Disadvantages because in the end for my own personal style of play it adds a sense of uncertainty to how my character will react in any given situation. This is not to say that Advantages cannot serve the same purpose, There have been many colorful characters in our game who have used their Advantages to make the characters they have created distinct and memorable. In the end it is just a matter of preference... And to answer your question there have been many instances through out all of our games when one particular character has experienced moments when another party member has ruffled feathers, as long as players remember that for the sake of game play these instances should be handled like one family member towards another and that out right acts within a House or Line against another member would likely cost the lord they serve honor, I would say it is a healthy thing for the fiction of a game.
    • Knowing that Amnol used to entomb and mummify their dead is very handy because I'm gonna be writing a chapter in which Si'Ni has a talk with the Earthlings about Funerary Practices, in the previous chapter Si'Ni discovered many dead Janah rotting in a landfill after the evil human scientists harvested the organs they wanted from them and tossed the rest of the corpse away, one character who has pyrokinesis after Si'Ni tells him about Janah's cremation custom offers to cremate them with his firey breath to give the dead Janah what they would have wanted, Si'Ni still cries asking if the Janah's spirits can find the edge of Heaven if they are cremated this far from Dardunah Humanimals comfort her by stating they believe that the Janah's own faith will carry them to where they need to be, the Humanimals reveal there tradition is to bury their dead believing they are returning to body to the Earth that birthed it (Even if the 'Earth' the body is being buried in is a different planet) thus opening up a conversation on why different cultures have different funerary customs

      I did see an article of how Judaism is struggling with cremation and cremation was traditionally taboo but more modern people want to be cremated
    • Teenage Mutant Sarpah wrote:

      So after finally getting the World Guide and reading it, my shock at finding the Eagle Talon described in the first book was actually a Fox...Is it too much to say I was disapointed since the rest of the Talons were Vajrah the one Paksin member was actually a Vajrah
      I'm assuming you're talking about Jvalah... Please don't despair! <3

      The lore, of what jenu any particular Talon of Kramah was, changes wildly depending on what culture you're asking (like some of the Devah) and some of the Talons' jenu identities are actually argued about between historical and religious scholars. The most "popular" assumptions about their jenu-type are listed in the Appendices by their names, however these are most "popular" (and are all Vajrah, as you've noticed) merely because the "popular" conception is that the Talons were exclusively Vajrah, like Kramah is, and fought against the Sarpah, and were only "allied" with the Paksin for the sake of defeating the dark powers of the North... Essentially, most folks (especially the furred folk) imagine the Talons of ancient history being exclusively "Vajrah Heroes"...

      HOWEVER, you'll be glad to notice that, at the bottom of the second paragraph on page 404 (just before the Talons are listed individually with the jenu-identities you saw), the World Guide indicates that... "Sometimes, Pundárikam is depicted as a mouse or rat, for instance, and in some legends Paksin are added to the variety, with Jvalah sometimes depicted as either an eagle, falcon, or hawk. In later myths Sarpah are also added to the mix and Nipúna is sometimes depicted as a cobra, asp, or boa."

      Likewise (and specifically in support of Jvalah's "original Paksin-hood" once again) you'll also notice that at the beginning of page 93 in the specific history of Magár in the "Counties and Cultures" section of the World Guide we can see that Magári scholars still tell the tale of that first victorious battle of the Talons, against the demonic armies of Visedhárah at the borders between Magár and Bakári, with this description of the appearance of Jvalah. You'll notice it's an essential retelling of what you recall from the Basic Compendium:...

      "Yet in that terrible moment the tangible fear was shattered as a deafening roar sounded across the eastern waters, and above the near shore. Its sails glowing like a flame in the setting light of Lokáynü, a small skyship approached at great speed. The Bakári warriors watched, amazed, as the demonic horde turned as one to face this new foe, seeming to forget the presence of their former victims. From the bow of the skyship, a single winged figure fell, a golden eagle that seemed to fly faster than the ship itself. With wings suddenly arcing high the figure descended, spiraling down towards the grasslands below.

      "It was at that final moment before landing as the figure’s wings snapped outward, halting the descent, that a miracle seemed to transpire. Like twin shining blades, the light from the setting suns was cast out from those curving wings and seemed to take on form and substance. Before the eyes of all the jánah who stood there, Vajrah and Sarpah alike, the terrible demons were cut asunder, sliced cleanly in two to fall shrieking and dying upon the plains near the female Paksin who landed lightly in their midst. Before the Visedháran troops could even react to this shocking turn of events, another figure emerged from the small vessel as it coasted near the ground closer to the fray, and began to dance across the grasses, avoiding the arrows and shots of the Sarpah.

      "The Visedháran enemy surged forth now with weapons drawn intent on confronting the two when that second figure, a male tiger resplendent in amber armor, assumed a strange stance and roared once again into the approaching soldiers. The Bakári generals stared once more in amazement as the Sarpah warriors, apparently blasted by a terrible force that seemed to bend the very air, were scattered across the plains like so much refuse. The battle, which at first had seemed hopeless, was now easily won with the help of these mysterious jánah who had appeared like a blessing out of the east.

      "All tales say that the arrival of these two was the first appearance of the five legendary heroes known as the Talons of Kramah, holy warriors invested with mystic martial powers and sent to bring an end to the demonic northern threat. The warriors of Bakári knelt before the heroes and begged their names. The eagle called herself Jvalah, keeper of the sacred stance Kramah’s Sword, and explained that the now silent tiger was called Kahraman, who could not speak, for he had lost his beautiful voice as the price for being the keeper of the sacred stance Kramah’s Roar. She also spoke of the other three; Nipúna the keeper of Kramah’s Spear, Pundárikam the master of Kramah’s Shield, and Bhadrah the practitioner of Kramah’s Leap."

      As you can see, the Magári scholars are quite adamant that Jvalah was a female eagle... Ahhh,...the occasional ambiguity of ancient history... Hopefully all of this helps assuage your disappointment. :)
    • Teenage Mutant Sarpah wrote:

      Yeah I read that part just the ambiguaty left me very confused like OK which is she?
      Well, you had mentioned that you were disappointed because the one Talon you thought was Paksin "was actually a Vajrah", so I just wanted to clarify there's no reason for disappointment because we never define "what she actually was" in the text (nor was it our intention to do so for the Talons), except for within the scholarly treatise on Magári history, which still insists that she's an eagle. The very natures of the Talons' appearances in ancient history are left intentionally vague, which is reflected in the "multiple choice" presentations of jenu clearly discussed in the Appendix. Any "ambiguity" of the most popular and sometimes varied potential jenu identities is therefore purposeful, as designed, and merely offers up the numerous "jenu versions" that modern Dárdüni Scholars assume, debate, and write about in the legends and lore they present.

      By doing this we offer each Game Master the opportunity and latitude to feely interpret these stories, and then decide themselves what jenu Jvalah "was actually" for their own campaigns if they wish to role-play during that period of Dárdünah's history, or if they wish modern Dárdüni scholars or adventurers in their campaign to discover real evidence proving what jenu any of the Talons were specifically (if that's a story they feel would be compelling to uncover)... That's something we'd like to leave up the the GMs themselves, as with the case of most of the elements of the game we present in terms of purposeful ambiguity. What better way to instigate an adventure into some lost ruins than by scholars wanting to solve, once and for all, a huge debate about the "true" jenu-nature of some ancient holy hero figure? Finding that "truth" as revealed by the GM (instead of as an absolute "fact" presented in the World Guide), could create all sorts of wonderful political/religious strife and ethical dilemmas to play through as part of a gaming session.