The Celestial Apocalypist skill is quasi-magical. It is a mythic skill of the High Ages, and thankfully has been lost, somewhere in the mists of Time.
There are no intrinsic restrictions on the use of this skill. However, other Apocalypists are often aware of any use of the major abilities, and the sisterhood of Apocalypists is small enough that the culprit is often found.
It is said that this skill can not be known by more than thirteen Apocalypists at one time. What might occur if this was violated is not specified, but given the nature of this skill, it is likely to be unpleasant and effective at reducing the number of practitioners below thirteen.
Some Gods and Powers regard significant use of this skill by their brethren as a breach of the Covenant, and will take (indirect) action to prevent Apocalypses from occuring, even if they otherwise do not care for the peoples afflicted. Others encourage it, and will run interference for the sheer Chaos it brings. A good Apocalypse is a polarising event, liable to create all sorts of odd bedfellows and alliances.
An Apocalypist can predict natural and induced natural disasters up to 24 hours in advance. The exact arrival time and location of any meteor shower or similar Celestial occurrence will be known about either as soon as induced, or 24 hours before it lands, whichever is shorter. This includes the Celestial Meteorite Shower, Solar Flare and Falling Star spells. Similarly, a full day’s notice will be given before Earthquakes, Volcanos, Tsunami, etc. Any actual Apocalypse will be known about at least a year and a day before their culmination. This knowledge is similar to Ranger knowledge of weather. Many animals also have this skill, and can be seen leaving affected areas well in advance of major disasters. Higher ranked Apocalypists will be able to predict the exact nature and flaw of any Apocalypse, although the flaws are usually traditional, and ritualisitic (i.e. a seventh son of a seventh son, born of no mortal woman, allowing their true love to due of thirst to provide succour to a complete stranger, will prevent most drought-based Apocalypses).
Each time an Apocalypist causes a natural disaster or apocalypse it will be foreshadowed by one or more portents. The number and scale of portents are directly proportional to the scale of the disaster. They may also cause a false portent, the severity of which is based on the fatigue spent and Rank. At each rank that the Apocalypist does not learn a natural disaster, they will learn a portent from one of the classes below. The specific portent will be peculiar to the Apocalypist.
|Class||Examples of Portents||Scaling / Examples|
||Plague of Locusts
Rain of Frogs
|Area of land covered by swarm /distance flown
Range, density and frequency of frogs
Severity of illness and contagion
|Chimeric Births (animal)||Birth defects eg. Two headed calves
Different breeds in one litter
Two or more races mixed in one animal
|Number of births affected, range, viability of young
Number of births affected, range, disparity of breed
Number of births affected, range, disparity of race, viability of young
|Birth Defects (sentient)||Cosmetic Defects
Multiple or Virgin birth
|Birth marks, bald, third nipple
Red eyes, double jointed, vestigial wings
|Inexplicable Terrestial events||Mild to major oddities
Abnormal animal behaviour
Flocks of birds leaving, animals silent before earthquake
|Inexplicable Celestial events
Odd Cloud shapes
|Corruption (food or crops)||Domestic disasters
Rivers of Blood
|Milk turned, beer off, well dries up
Severity and duration
Influence Astrology Readings
|Dreams related to the apocalypse sent to (semi) random people
To either clarify or confuse
Meteor Shower (this is both a portent and a natural disaster)
At Rank 1, the Apocalypist can cause up to 2xRank meteors to fall every 24 hours, at intervals of D100 minutes. The meteors will fall within 250 miles of the target point. The accuracy is doubled for every Rank the Apocalypist has (e.g. at Rank 8, the scatter radius is 1 mile, at Rank 15, 40 feet). Each meteor will weigh D100 pounds, and inflict damage equal to D10 * its weight (in pounds) to the struck hex, with the damage reducing by 20/5 feet distance. Unlike natural meteors, these induced meteors will not be made of star silver, but will often contain some iron, valuable or unstable metals, or incurable plague. A Shower of Meteors is traditionally a sign of change and mischance, indicating that fortune is turning against those in the region. FT cost is 1/pound.
Alternatively, the Apocalypist can cause 1 comet to either pass overhead or fall sometime overnight. The falling star will land within 30 miles, with accuracy increasing by 50% per Rank of the Apocalypist (e.g. at Rank 8, the scatter radius is 2/3 of a mile, at Rank 15, 200 feet). The falling star will usually create a crater around D100+10/Rank feet wide and half that in depth, killing all nearby in a fiery inferno that also consumes the star. A Falling Star or Comet is traditionally a sign of ill-omen indicating the death of a Prince. FT cost for a Falling Star is 3D100; FT cost for a Comet is 3D10.
At each odd Rank above 1, the Apocalypist may master a new natural disaster. They may select from disasters such as: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, comets, eclipses, plagues of unnatural animals, rifts, land-shaping, climate shifts, or mass extinction. The earliest items on this list are quickest, but typically least devastating; the further down the list, the longer it takes to get an effect, but the longer-lasting or severe the effects will be. The effects are Rank dependant, and a Rank 3 disaster will be localised and mild. FT and WP costs are considerable, and vary depending on the exact effect required.
Rift formation is opening up gaping canyons, and sundering lands with uncrossable divides. Land-shaping includes raising mountain chains or land bridges, sinking provinces underwater, and creating salts flats or deserts from fertile fields. Climate shifts include such effects as drought, unnatural winter, year-long rains, or continual biting wind.
If an Apocalypist has specialised in a particular Natural Disaster (i.e. has taken it twice as a subskill above, or has some supernatural affinity to that Disaster type), they may control, limit, augment, prevent or move a disaster that occurs naturally, supernaturally, or due to a lower-ranked Apocalypist. The degree of control is dependant on the amount of time, effort, and skill put into the disaster control, relative to the quality of preparation or natural strength of the disaster.
The ultimate skill of a Celestial Apocalypist is to cause the end of (a part of) a world, and is first gained at Rank 10. A Master Apocalypist typically will combine the effects of at least three of their specialist Natural Disasters, along with various Celestial omens and supernatural harbingers of doom, in a spectacular series of foreseeable and inevitable natural and supernatural disasters. Most practitioners manipulate it so that the gods themselves have a primary role in the affair. It takes a minimum of 2 years (-1 month/Rank) to cause even a minor Apocalypse. Full-scale world-destroying Apocalypses can take ten, a hundred, or even a thousand times longer to prepare thoroughly. An Apocalypse is similar to a Major Curse or Doom, in that it must have at least one way of stopping it occurring, although this may be nearly impossible and traditionally requires extreme heroism and self-sacrifice to achieve. Truly professional Apocalypists may have two (or more) Apocalypses running concurrently, so that once the heroes have saved the world, they are lulled into a false sense of security. However, no Celestial Apocalypist can have the climaxes of two Apocalypses closer than a year and a day apart, and two different Apocalypists cannot have Apocalypses within a month of each other. This last restriction may be why it is said that there can never be thirteen Apocalypists on a world. It is unknown what price an Apocalypist must pay to trigger a true Apocalypse, but it is different for each event, and can cripple great Powers for millennia.
Suspected Celestial Apocalypists
- Ancient Gods and Powers, particularly those specialising in Destruction
- First generation dragons such as Baal, Apollyon, or Sin
- The Celestial Prince, Lord of Heaven, Master of the Arch of Time
- The Archangel of the Apocalypse
- Mārtanda / The Corrupter, who caused The Dakhini Cataclysm in the Age of Bronze
- Lord Sith, who caused the Panjari disaster, and possibly the concurrent sinking of Fabled Erelhei
- Amelia World-breaker, who raised the sealevel of Purple by 600 foot.