[The Ordinator] Once, a man arrived in our reality with the cobblestones of a certain Street, and beholding a multiverse full of evil and discord, he decided to craft a new world order, extracting kindness and prosperity out of the cosmos like a man wringing a disobedient dishrag.
Since then, he's won and lost a hundred battles in a slow effort to carve a kinder face into the world, and for this ideal, he's bled many times: an eye sundered forever to save an already-ruined garden and its fearful citizens; throat and lungs sacrificed on a pyre to pull doomed innocents out of a damning Fire, and many lesser wounds that we shall not mention. His name, chosen after so many travels, is Orden Losthane, and his titles on the Hierarchy's many worlds are so countless it'd be a waste of time to list them all.
As a Favored Patron, he'll look at you with the paternal expectations of a wizard master teaching an apprentice, making each of your meetings a lesson. He'll expect a degree of diligence, but is charitable with rewards and will always attempt to understand your feelings. For a truly diligent apprentice, he's willing to invest time and provide initiation into the many magics under his belt, making him potentially the most powerful long-term selection. From the Patrons, he's also among the kindest and most willing to compromise: it was his accommodating character, after all, that formed the Alliance and pulled its disparate wills and characters into one shining order amongst the stars…
…or as he'd call it, 'a New World Orden.'
[ ] Bestowal, Least [-1 Coin] - An efficient choice. Baseline Bestowal costs almost nothing to confer: indeed, the cost of one Ordinal Coin is almost a formality.
You develop the comprehensive superpowers of a street-level superhero. You can choose the form of this development within reason, although a package containing enhanced attributes, senses, or classic forms of dynakinesis and energy manipulation are the most common. Theoretically, you could also specialize in the likes of analysis, detective work, intelligence enhancements, and other more esoteric options, but your leeway is limited and won't ever exceed the overall level of empowerment expected of a street-level character.
Although versatile, the abilities bestowed on you often lack developmental potential of their own, aside from extremely unreliable or difficult methods. If you wish to push their remit beyond their starting limits, you'll need an external means of fueling that advancement.
As a corollary benefit, you also gain the ability to Practice - as this Bestowal is a side ability of an Authority - but without any preexisting powers.
[ ] A Choice [-7 Coin] - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light.
And God saw the Light, that it was good: and God divided the Light from the Darkness.
And God called the Light Day, and the Darkness he called Night.
And the Evening and the Morning were the first day."
On Icarel, one may find Towers brimming with ineffable Light. You can Choose one of them, and their benediction shall impart one of several blessings on you. Beware, as once Chosen, no unearthly force short of an uttermost exertion from the Ordinator or an even higher entity may undo your Choice, and you can only make it once.
The Ordinator shall teleport you to Icarel and provide a means of locomotion, for however much it takes you to make that Choice.
The benefits of your Choice are static and shall not develop on their own. However, their strength increases with your willpower and stamina at the moment of making the Choice, as it requires you to metaphorically scale the Tower in question; a task more abstract than it sounds. Described below are the baseline benefits, something a non-Exemplar civilian may expect; yours will be mildly better to start with than what is stated:
Choice of Day - Daylight's benediction clarifies the contents of your mind. Gain eidetic memory, a perfect recall of facts you struggle to conjure even now. Effortlessly remember how many times you spoke a particular word. Recall what shirt you wore to work ten years ago on a specific date. At higher attainment levels, can offer moderate intellect improvements and potentially even a partial recall of past lives.
Choice of Zenith - As the coalescence of Day, the Tower of Zenith offers physical buffs and improvements. To start with, become a decent showing of Captain America, with concomitant agility, durability, and coordination. At higher attainment levels, this bodily power can scale even further beyond: a calm MCU Hulk should be attainable if you possess tenfold human stamina, and eventually, even your blood will start to shine with Zenith light.
Choice of Dawn - A Day begins with Dawn. Grants you immense vocal range and control, a singer's voice sufficiently beautiful that on Earth you could make a living off of released albums or ASMR content on Youtube. Furthermore, you benefit from mildly increased charisma, focused on inspiration. At higher attainment levels, expect a supernaturally enriched voice that enhances vocal magics and supernal charisma to match.
Choice of Night - The Tower of Night shows what could've been. Become a lucid dreamer, capable of traversing the dreamscape. This deceptively 'worthless' power is much more impressive than it sounds: as an oneironaut, you can communicate over vast distances with other sleepers. Your logistical utility alone makes you extremely worthwhile. And certain dreams are visions of other places and times, even strange and esoteric worlds. At higher attainment levels, expect much better control over your dreams.
Choice of Midnight - Midnight, as the coalescence of Night, allows you to see what exists outside of what is. Grants a clarified sensorium, enhancing each of your five senses. To start with, you should be able to hear a hushed whisper from across a house. If desirable, you may also suppress your need to sleep, allowing you to stay awake for longer. At higher attainment levels, your senses expand to esoteric levels.
Choice of Dusk - As the conclusion of a Day, Dusk explores finality and closure. You receive a comprehensive boost of fortune in all endeavors, including boosting your odds of survival to a late age, and ensuring your death is a more palatable one: a common saying on Icarel states that Choosing Dusk ensures you'll die with a smile on your face. At higher attainment levels, you simply become more fortunate.
There are many other Towers you can choose, although the astrological circumstances involved with entering them are uncommon - each Tower is only accessible at its associated, eponymous event - and none of the uncommon Towers are set or expected to rise anytime soon. If you wish, you may hold off on entering a Tower if you wish to secure one of these 'superior' Choices. Abilities of these 'rare' Towers include pyrokinesis, cryokinesis, enhanced stealth, enhanced travel and superspeed, boosted luck and metamagic boons, and more.
[ ] Hallowed [-40 Coin] - Among the Ordinator's countless abilities is an entire host of Authorities. This includes the Authority of Hallowed Lore, the ability to proliferate stories and make them real, forcing the universe into compliance with the story created. Through Hallowed Lore, a custom-fitted narrative of moderate puissance shall be created for you.
The effects of Hallowed Lore are varied. Choose one of two:
Hallowed Gift - A customized supernatural capability. It can be a magic system created specifically for you, a metaphysical benefit, or some other medium of empowerment.
There must be some form of 'narrative reasoning' for your possession of such a trait, but Orden's finesse with Hallowed Lore is exalted, so it may be minimal, a blanket-thin alibi or excuse. For instance, because 'you were summoned by Orden Losthane,' it'd be easy to initiate you into the System, and impart you with an isekai hero's cheat ability, or because 'you are purchasing abilities with Coin,' you may develop a supernatural acuity for all forms of business and increasing attributes matching your wealth. If you worked as a lawyer, you could do the same for legal work, and so on. A superior narrative reasoning, as a rule, provides a moderately higher amount of power for effort spent.
Alternatively, you can receive an artifact or set of artifacts created with Hallowed artifice; absurdly sharp katanas are merely the peak of the storyberg. With a story such as this, you could wield nothing less than your own variant of the Forebear's Blade; a weapon of a hypothetical exalted version of your future or past self that'll help you attain that entity's capabilities as you bond with each other and explore your narrative.
The Hallowed Gift's remit is capable of a certain amount of independent development, and it can build off your other capabilities. For example, you could enhance your superhero abilities from Least Bestowal to double their level, and make them capable of incremental, independent progression over time as you use them. Alternatively, you could expand the astrological benedictions of the Towers if they are narratively excusable.
A Prophecy, True - A forceful wrenching of the future into righteous alignment with an ideal. Craft the exact wording of a prophecy that Orden shall make real, with moderate allowance for errors, mistakes, or inefficiencies which he'll automatically correct, while still continuously aiming as close to fulfilling the spirit of your desired future as possible.
Hallowed prophecies are a powerful tool, but not infinitely mighty in scope. It'll be some time before the dominoes of circumstance are shoved into the desired alignment, and you may need to work and offer destiny a way to fulfill its mandate. Nonetheless, it can accomplish much within its allotment: render you the rightful and beloved king of a nation on a world such as Pleroma or the Estates, ensure you'll find your way back home someday via a certain Street (something the Alliance is willing to accommodate, using you as a diplomat to contact new worlds), or even find you nothing less than a palatable form of true love.
Indistinct fates are more adaptable and flexible, and therefore likelier to come to pass, while clear-cut and detailed prophecies have better assurances of giving you exactly what you want at the expense of more waiting and potentially worse results. For instance, an especially and overly grandiose prophecy may only be fulfilled momentarily and on a strict technicality if the world can find no other way to accommodate it.
Beware lofty wishes. Some prophecies may never arrive due to your premature death or being grievously crippled or otherwise waylaid, as narrative and moirological powers much more powerful than the Authority of Hallowed Lore exist and constantly intervene with the future's tapestry on their own.
[ ] Bestowal, Greater [-1 Remittance] - Become a chosen hero out of incandescent myth, a deity within the pantheon: a select member of the Ordinator's personal retinue. This is the vaunted coordinate at which some of the other Patrons started; across entire worlds, some'd slay their brother for such an opportunity.
A rare honor, issued only on a handful of occasions before your arrival, as it costs much of the Ordinator to bestow. With this, you purchase not only the frivolity of personal might, but also influence and a mote of the Ordinator's attention. He'll expect illustrious accomplishments and great deeds from you, but also reward diligence twofold.
Receive the effects of Least Bestowal, but massively and comprehensively amplified. Not only do you start as a potentially country-level threat, a character on the level of a world-class superhero or villain, but your conferred abilities can now develop over time. As with Least Bestowal, you can decide the exact form of the abilities you'll possess.
Furthermore, you receive an entire host of Hallowed and Divine augmentations, increasing your compatibility with magical and martial affairs, allowing you to absorb new systems of magic more easily and without as many worries about inherent compatibility, and nearly tripling all your efforts to train and Practice combat-related skills. If your superheroic capabilities adhere to a cohesive theme, the Hallowed artifice enhances them even more if at all possible.
Lastly, you become an anointed cleric of the divine aspect of the Ordinator, who is considered and worshipped as a deity on many worlds, allowing you to pray for succor and the rewards of your labor, as well as instantly contacting him from any distance. You are also granted certain elements of his Mortal Order, a personal mythology, deriving a smattering of minor boons and lesser abilities that mirror his own. Countless other abilities may be attained in time, as rewards of your efforts.
Of all the boons of the Patrons, this one carries the most strings attached: Do not become a tyrant, and avoid slothful waste, for an honor so Bestowed may also be revoked. You'll be expected to work hard in the Alliance's name: harder than any other member, if you are to truly earn your place. The Ordinator's favor and attention are incredible offerings, and he's loath to waste them on the unworthy.
[ ] Drawback: Martyr's Doom [+30 Coin] - Offer succor from the Ordinator's afflictions by taking on a fraction's fraction's fraction of them on yourself, the equivalent of repairing one cell's worth of damage on his body, and receive a modest reward in return.
Be mindful before you embark on the martyr's path, as nothing short of an extremely effortful convocation by the Lady Reinforcement and Lord Repulsor can ever hope to repair the wounds you'll suffer, and not even Orden with his uttermost exertions can undo oblivion's touch. You'd need to divide your own affliction amongst hundreds of thousands of souls to earn even a mildly noticeable relief; such is the stupendous depth of the wounds he's suffered, and the depravity of the enemy you'll be helping him fight.
'I do not ask you to choose this,' he writes in runes. 'No one should have to bear to suffer in such a manner, and I can offer you no salvation from such a fate.'
Choose one of three:
Sense - A permanent sundering of one of the five senses. If touch is chosen, you'll never be able to feel anything. If hearing, you won't be able to hear, and so on. If you choose sight as your sense, you'll instead only miss a single eye and cannot replace it, but you'll only receive half the Coin for this drawback. This affects magics and actions to a certain extent; if touch is chosen, your crafting may suffer, and you won't be able to practice magics reliant on it as efficiently, and so on.
'I battled an Extrusion to protect the world of the Grovetenders. If you think it's so bad to lose an eye, you should see the Extrusion.'
Cord - You cannot vocalize. Even magical forms of vocalization fail invariably, such as employing a sonic manipulation to create a facsimile of speech or using telepathy. To render communication easier, you're immediately bestowed expert-level knowledge of sign language and an excellent instinct for methods of bypassing this affliction. Naturally, the Litanies, the Strain, and other similar sound or speech-based magics are forbidden to you.
'She struck exactly where it'd hurt the most. I Chose Dawn, you see.'
Breath - You cannot respire, breathe, or otherwise intake anything external into your body. A magical working shall sustain you and ensure you do not die. Cripples your advancement in arts that require intake of substances; Fruit of the Grove and similar advancements unaffected, as they can be taken before this drawback. You receive mild magic resistance.
'To make sure I could never rise again. Fortunately, in defiance of them, I was Acknowledged as the Authority of Expunging Wickedness, and so no longer need to draw breath to survive. To think the Authority with the most stringent criteria would reach out in such a moment... That, alone, saved my life.'
[The Heroine]A Heroine was once Beckoned forth with an ancient Sacrament, a woman possessing a surfeit of excellence and beauty of heart and countenance both. She feared and raged for a time, disbelieving she'd been pulled into a world such as this, but in due time, she evolved beyond that. Instead of fearing the evils of this world, she decided to rise above them on a sunset tide, and someday, strike them down.
In a most ironic turn of fate, she ended up as one of Orden's most loyal companions, following him down the Street's procession of ontologies since before he even bore that name, since before even his loss of an eye. She watched his incremental degradation at the enemy's hands with concern and she uneasily anticipates what may come next, what other sacrifices he'll make in the name of saving the Hierarchy and defeating the sworn enemy.
As a Favored Patron, she'll refuse to coddle you and will be swift to impart you with countless duties; more resembling of an efficient tyrant than a classical heroine, a fact often jokingly remarked and lamented upon by some of those under her auspices. She'll not offer you much of any power of her own will, instead offering you the opportunities and tools to claim it on your own, reforging your fundamental character as a blacksmith does a blade, and making you more independent.
[ ] Clarity, Lesser [-9 Coin] - Instead of wasting your Ordinal Coin on a boon as evanescent and wasteful as power, become someone who'll always seek it out and find it on their own. Greater than any single boon of might is an attitude that engenders it pursuit.
A mental and spiritual working, it'll vanquish your indolence, cowardice, and hesitation. Having destroyed your faults, every capability relevant to successful endeavor can soar in return: determination, motivation, capacity for hard work, even reasoning and intellect.
In effect, you become a faultless self-determinator, an individual motivated by their own strength of character to rise beyond the murk of their origins. On a fundamental level, you're still the same person, but the zeal and temperament you'll possess shall be heroically transcendent, more comparable to the likes of Sesus Ulyssian.
As a side effect, your mind and soul will become an indomitable fortress, almost impossible to read or penetrate with magic, let alone control with such impositions. No malady of the spirit shall fatigue you, nor parasite clamp onto you like a remora.
[ ] Sublime Fusion [-14 Coin] - The Heroine's infamous on many worlds, as she stole the secrets of Demarcation from the Hand, and improved its remit tenfold with her own touch, attaining the wholly unique benefaction of inversion - now, instead of merely using the Hand's art for severing, she can attach and even unify aspects of existence.
Select a maximum of two other abilities or artifacts and recombine them on a most sublime level, creating one, unified paradigm. The unification thereby achieved has myriad benefits, and is fundamentally capable of more than the mere sum of its parts. This'll absolutely never produce an effect lesser than any of its components.
For instance, you could make a union of a Choice of Dawn and King of the World, making yourself into a ruler over an entire world of heroic souls, capable of inspiring its whole population to reach insane, new heights: every child a paragon, every man and woman a master magus or erudite technologist. Or you could choose Clarity and Least Bestowal to allow your abilities to flourish and expand on them with sessions of effortful training at a moderate pace, enhanced explosively during moments of crisis and stress.
If you wish, you can also recombine them with an otherwise mundane or unremarkable item. Combine a Choice of Zenith with a well-crafted sword to create a blade that strikes with furious bursts of sunlight, or a chainsaw with yourself to attain a transformative state where you become a superhuman monster of roaring blades.
[ ] Essential [-48 Coin] - Receive an Essential Gift, a miraculously renewable reservoir of a quiddity called essence. Not a naturally occurring phenomenon on most of the Hierarchy's worlds, especially not in wild abundance, essence is capable of being reified into any number of phenomena that match its aspectation. As a Gifted essentialist, you'll have an innate sense for essence, and your reserves shall broaden with effort and experience.
Essentialists are able to combine and and apply the aforementioned aspects to achieve results that often resemble classical wizardry: elemental blasts, scrying, transmutation, telepathy, and teleportation. Essentialism's weakness is its lack of structure. No scaffolding or guardrails exist when working with the world's fundamental essence. Each effect must be shaped by the Essentialist and has no more complexity than what the caster imparts.
You'll receive access to libraries and study materials needed to learn your new craft in a safe manner. As a wizard, you can also channel the essence you produce into your body in a discipline known as Self-Fortification, slowly developing a superhuman physique and coming into possession of passive abilities related to the aspect you chose.
Unlike a standard Pleromian essentialist, you also have access to the otherwise unavailable aspect of Life, an element considered forbidden to Pleroma's citizens.
Here's a short list of sample spells:
Reify (Any Element) - Exchange essence for the actuality. The most common spell, a backbone of modern utilities. Typically used to create heat, light, potable water, or air.
Lise's Touch (Air, Mind) - Guidelines that give rise to basic aerokinesis. Lise's Touch can be gentle or destructive; its inventor spurned the creativity-stifling rules of spellcraft. Whether it's passing whispered messages and plucking items off of high shelves or sending enemies flying, there's a use for everyone.
Creation-as-Clay (Form, Water) - Temporarily render an object pliable and ripe for reshaping. Despite its name, the household version of this spell doesn't incorporate Earth. Water's used to represent malleability, though industrial-grade construction rituals add Earth & Order for material influence and structure.
Transference (Air, Form, Order) - Atmospherically constrained short-range teleportation. Air stands in for distance, leading some to call this Lise's Step. Popular in and out of combat. Portals and unbounded teleportation operate similarly, but typically require Space - a more suitable but much rarer aspect.
Penelope's Evanescence (Mind, Death, Order) - A spell employed chiefly for the purposes of espionage, although it is also utilized for the occasional therapy session of the few poor souls saved from the enemy's clutches. It surgically targets a memory of the caster's choosing and destroys it irreversibly. A second spell is often needed to fill the gap, not to mention a spell to perceive the memories themselves. Multiple sessions may be necessary to destroy large swathes of memory, but a single scene is fast to be deleted.
Orden's Resurrection (Life, Mind, Order) - A miraculous invention, the spell performs its namesake deed of resurrecting a single dead target. Its cost of Life essence scales with the extent of the wounds and time elapsed from the target's demise; a Resurrection from as little as a severed finger or even a drop of blood is possible, although would require industrial quantities of essence to power it. A dash of Mind and Order is necessary to direct the effect down a desirable route and avoid adding more flesh to a corpse.
Health Elixir (Water, Life) - Creates a metastable healing salve or liquid; a quintessential 'medigel' capable of healing wounds and restoring vitality to a body. Can be imbued with Order to selectively avoid affecting bacteria and microbes, allowing for the elimination of a disease by enhancing only the immune system. Created for humanitarian aid.
The Ordination (Form, Mind, Spirit, Order, Life) - Bestows the effect of Exemplar to a target, enhancing their attributes comprehensively and improving compatibility with magical arts. As a side effect, improves a target's longevity. Orden knows of a more advanced, multimagic variant that can affect an entire world at a time and initiate all targets into the Practice, but he's the only known individual who can cast it.
Orden's Create Chair (Form) - Creates, ex nihilo, The Chair; a Chair made of nothing but the sheer Platonic ideal of 'a chair.' Aside from complete material inviolability, it serves as a transcendentally comfortable Chair, and automatically capitalizes itself in people's internal narration, drawing notice to the fact it is The Chair, rather than any random chair. Seldom utilized frivolously, created for the purposes of intimidating political opponents during negotiations. It costs herculean amounts of Form essence to cast; you'll need either truly massives reserves of salt or decades of training and practice with your Gift.
Orden's Mute Button (Air, Form, Mind, Chaos) - Disrupts all attempts at communication by reducing them to meaningless static. While the spell persists, no semantic content can be conveyed through speech or telepathy; all those affected are on equal footing with the caster.
[ ] Sever the Limit [-1 Remittance] - Choose one boon from any Patron. Its limits are severed, allowing you to move past them, and its overall capabilities are tremendously escalated. Exponentially more effective on cheaper boons; applying to a Remittance-value boon has minimal effects.
For instance, if you Sever the Limits on a Choice of Dusk, you could acquire the ability to shift destiny's vast tapestry underneath an evening sky, acquiring a vast sense of fate and conclusions, and capable of altering them as you wish. If applied to Least Bestowal, it'd instead rapidly rocket you to a level moderately beyond Greater Bestowal, although without Hallowed and Divine improvements and the Ordinator's personal attention.
Can be applied to any effect or phenomenon created with Sublime Fusion, regardless of its component elements. For instance, if applied to a fusion of yourself and a chainsaw, the transformed state would have sufficiently superhuman attributes to fight on even footing with a baseline Greater Bestowed, and you'd develop other, chainsaw-like powers over time. Alternatively, you can apply it to Sublime Fusion itself to broaden its number of components.
[ ] Drawback: Geassa [+3 Coin] - 'I suppose you could call it... intellectual property theft. Take up a portion of my debt, and receive a fraction of my attention.'
In a future, once you've come into your own and become stronger - perhaps even detached yourself from the Alliance's affairs or participated in the victorious final battle of the war with its enemy - a favor will be asked of you. It won't be more than you can afford to pay, and won't be significantly more dangerous than anything you'll face either way, but it'll be a duty you otherwise could've avoided. You'll be compelled to answer.
Uniquely as a drawback, Geassa can be taken a maximum of nine times. A multitude of expended orders at once can allow the Heroine to force linearly more arduous or dangerous duties on you, although she's thankfully unlikely to have a compelling reason to do this.
[The Ouroboros] An entity of unknown origin, even the Patrons of the alliance aren't certain where the Ouroboros came from. If any of the stories are to be believed, then Orden and the Heroine once ventured out into the Hierarchy's furthermost reaches, and returned with a man in tow, a lord who'd truly mastered the Ring of Envy, and who swiftly went on to become one of the Alliance's foremost members. He seems to accumulate power and influence with a fervor that matches the Ordinator's own.
As a Favored Patron, he's mysterious, smiling at the heavens with sardonic impatience, and offering cryptic allusions to some greater, secret plots. His Ring's outer shell is Demarcated from sight, a gray blur surrounding its band, to prevent arising mental contamination from stoking aspirations of claiming his own position.
[ ] Secrets Worth Keeping [-3 Coin] - Once your choices are finished, you'll receive a secret, whispered into your ear. The Ouroboros shall divulge one he believes most beneficial to you, accounting for all elements of your build.
By dint of its very nature, this choice's effectiveness is highly unpredictable - a secret, once divulged, is much less a secret, so offering you examples would be ill-advised.
However, the Ouroboros has an incredibly vast knowledge of the Hierarchy's metaphysics and affairs, a level of discernment near-comparable to omniscience, unrivaled across the multiverse even by the likes of the Traveler. He's a living trove of such information, and therefore, it's extremely unlikely he won't be able to find something suitable for you. You are the one who's tasked with capitalizing on the information you'll receive, but if you do it successfully, this option can yield boons worth an order of magnitude more than the attached price tag.
[ ] Ten Fetters [-12 Coin] - Humans aren't born free, as each of us is thrust into chains from the moment we have desires of our own. Ten Fetters bind man to the cycle of rebirth. Attachment is the root of all suffering, the chief obstacle standing on the path to transcendence. And yet, if you are to transcend and abandon this world and its myriad plights, how are you meant to save it? The answer, according to the gurus, is simple enough: to believe you can save it is conceit, and conceit is a Fetter.
Embrace your Fetters, then. Choose one of three Fetters to start with, developing arts related to their domain. On the world from which this practice originates, the sin of attaching yourself even deeper to your Fetters is considered nothing less than a demonic heresy. As a Tetherer, rather than Severer, you can meditate on the associated Fetter to develop new powers over time. It'll also cause you to become more deeply adherent to the Fetter in question. You can stop your ascension at any point you wish.
Here are the Fetters you can start with:
Conceit (Pride) - Arts manifest primarily as extrasensory perception, enhanced senses, and a variety of telepathic abilities.
Jealousy (Envy) - Arts here often revolve around florakinesis, manipulating or enhancing plant life, and similar.
Habit (Sloth) - Arts revolve around invincibility, enhancing your own durability, and increasing inertia, although brief temporal recursion and similar are also achievable.
Over a period of one month, you'll Tether a second Fetter of your choice. After a year, you'll receive the third. From then on, you can start Tethering the remaining seven of the ten on your own. These are: Sensual Lust, Anger, Views, Doubt, Lust for Existence, Greed, and Ignorance.
No matter which Fetter you select, you also receive minor improvements and increased longevity for each Tethering. Two Tethers suffice to keep pace with a moving train and punch holes in a boulder; four Tethers to become immune to small-arms fire, run along a thread of silk, and develop minor resistance to mental effects. These scale exponentially; at eight Tethers, you can easily destroy whole mountains, although attaining that level may be the effort of a mortal lifetime even if you are talented.
[ ] Ring of Power [-50 Coin] - Choose a domain. Any conceivable aspect of reality is applicable, such as Blood, Magic, Fire, Water, Life, Death, Mind, Form, Space, or Time. Then, receive a magical Ring, an artifact of inviolable craft, imbued with dominion over the selected aspect of reality.
Through the Ring's mystical connection to you, its chosen bearer, a collection of powers and enhancements can unfurl. Most often, these advancements are dictated via active interpretation of the Ring's domain; a process not unlike a dialogue among mortals, informing the Ring's understanding of its domain with your own human ideas, and it, in turn, bestowing you with the ability to wield said domain in the manner 'discussed.' No matter what your domain, the interpretation process is spiritually invigorating and the resultant spillage from your soul enhances your physique as well.
There are risks of considerable mental contamination, most often manifesting as monomaniacal obsession with your Ring's domain, or other psychological afflictions, although this malady is easily avoided if you attempt to maintain a temperate and unhurried pace of advancement; meditation on its domain and natural progression with wise and composed interpretation, rather than greedily drinking of the Ring's well and ceaselessly demanding more and more.
In a distant eon from now, you may master the Ring's domain, achieving not a simple union of man and ring, but a true domination of the aspect through which it is channeled. You'll become a world-transcending paragon of its magic; a lesser form of Ringlord, a liminal shadow of what your domain embodies impressed on reality like a scar.
As a Ring made with a collection of lesser magics instead of the peerless Shedim-Craft that made the Seven, your domain cannot have connection to a Sin or Virtue. Yours is a copycat Ring, made with only a misty glimpse of the principles that govern true Ringcraft. You'll never match the Architect's Wrath, the Ishvara's Pride, or the Hand's Diligence.
[ ] King of the World [-1 Remittance] - For someone who doesn't know much of the Hierarchy, it can be a strange and terrifying nightmare of an ontology: a kaleidoscope of worlds unfurling to match the principles of some confidential truth or bewildering fundamental essence. The Ouroboros smiles at this confusion, and offers you a way through it.
Instantiate a world of your own, a crowning apex of all you ever stood for, cast from your innermost dreams and desires. All elements and underlying metaphysical principles of this world are a reflection of yourself. Even if you wish otherwise, for good or ill, it will represent everything you are and believe in. Across this world's vistas, you'll most likely find a proliferation of inhabitants, civilizations, and even novel magics; unless these are truly, deeply antithetical to your being.
Receive a crown, an artifact shining with an investment of ineffable Light. This crown forevermore enfetters you to your soul's creation. All the citizens who perceive it shall understand on an instinctive level you are their ruler, the master of reality, the highest authority to which they all must answer. This supernatural property has little effect on outsiders, dissidents, or those who simply hate the world itself. As a consequence of bearing the crown, you'll also have a natural talent for the use of any magics of this new reality, an ascendant erudite and mastermind of these arts.
At will, you can make the crown disappear utterly from all forms of sight, including the esoteric: it shall continue to lay atop your head, its weight unmistakable, but the aura of majesty won't flare as long as none can perceive it. It cannot be stolen from you, nor its powers used by anyone other than yourself. The crown may be dismissed and summoned back at will, likewise disabling and returning the powers it conveys.
[ ] Drawback: Name of the Wind [+1 Remittance] - 'You who serves those defiant of the Hierarchy's natural order, look to Windward.'
In moments which are otherwise silent, you can hear its approach, like a scream on the horizon, torn from a bloodied throat. A susurration within the spiritual realm. An invisible momentum like a fallen star on a descent from the heavens. Face the sound of ruin with stalwart confidence or submissive contrition, it makes no difference. Once called to task, it never returns to heaven empty-handed.
The Prevailing Wind shall follow your every footstep. It promises destruction to all your endeavors, a force synthesizing apocalypses out of nothing to crush you underfoot. It'll manifest rivals and overlords, each one twice over your superior. It'll manipulate all circumstance to ensure your demise. It'll break the bulwark of impossible, divine strength you once believed made you unassailable with no more effort than a child snaps a twig. It'll destroy you like it has every other hero and civilization in history. If you are wise, surrender reliance on prophecies and other ephemeral powers, as they'll offer you no succor, no escape. This is no mere Apocryphal Curse of interesting times; it's a death sentence, a Prevailing edict, delayed for moments at best, and only through the effort of your own hands.
Even as you overcome the adverse trials, they'll increase in strength and magnitude; not so much intent on keeping up with your advancement, but racing to exceed you rapidly with the fury of a wraith, a hound attempting to rip out your throat. With sufficient strength, resourcefulness, and competence, you can prevail in turn - expending your uttermost effort each time to purchase but a precious second of survival - but these trials shall not end for a very long time. There is no force currently within the Hierarchy that can reliably mitigate this.
This drawback doesn't activate immediately, and most likely won't for as long as the Alliance's mission of successfully ending the war with its enemy is ongoing. You'll be invested with an anemometer to keep constant track of the Wind's heading and forcefulness. No matter what, do not lose it: even forewarning may not suffice to save you.
Once, there was a beautiful Garden, a world out of an arboreal dream: elder trees as wide and higher than skyscrapers, sprawling edifices of brown and green containing entire populations, and the Tenders who took care of its people, all exultant among the fantastic fruits of labor grown by the Originator and those appointed by him.
Then that beautiful Garden burned down in a Fire.
Once upon a distant time, Alara Tar-Inshir was considered the last hope of the Grovetenders. Now, returned after millennia of sleep, she's realized their dream and so much more, an Originator Resurgent in every fashion, a star of brilliance shining viridescent among the treetops. Her Patronage forms the oak-solid backbone of the Alliance's logistics, and she desires dire vengeance on the enemy who destroyed her people's works.
As a Favored Patron, she's tempestuous, immature, and somewhat flighty; the attitude of a child, yet with the determination and vision to regrow her nascent Garden into an empire worthy of challenging those who'd once burned it down. She'll spare you little time and focus, but likewise, her demands shall be minimal, requiring only that you do whatever duties you are assigned. If you manage to excel in an epic fashion, you may receive proportionately more attention as you draw the Originator's curiosity.
[ ] Lifeblood [-3 Coin] - A single drop of Alara's own blood diluted in water, held in a crystalline vial; a shining viridescence having intruded on its natural red color. For three Coin, you receive five such vials.
The Originator's blood has a multitude of uses, enhanced beyond a Fortified's wildest dream. As an emergency medicine, it can bring a recently dead man back to life and revert a year's worth of aging, or completely and flawlessly cure stage-four cancer. If imbibed by the already healthy, it'll grant them modestly superior attributes, health, and longevity.
If the blood is infused or consumed alongside a fruit, its abilities shall undergo a minor fundamental enhancement, worth about a ten percent enhancement of its starting power and progression speed of its training; infusion of multiple droplets improves this linearly.
[ ] Fruit of the Grove [-20 Coin] - From the amassed storehouses of the Grovetenders, you receive a single fruit, ripe and ready for your consumption. Eating it, you'll develop a superhuman power. The powers granted can be improved with training. Select one of the following five:
Essential Entawak - Within a sinewy multicolored husk, you'll find edible flesh and salty-sweet seeds. On consumption, a self-replenishing wellspring of essence fills you, conferring the classical abilities of a wizard. Unlike the Pleromian Gift, you wield all aspects, including Life, although your essential stores are much lesser to start with: only sufficient to empower a small handful of rotes before requiring rest. Additionally, it bestows the standard essential perceptions that come with a Gift.
Myriad Mulberry - A fist-sized cluster of rich red-dark mulberries, their number seeming to multiply each glance. Initially, you can manifest a solitary duplicate of yourself. While both exist within the same realm, a bond intertwines you, allowing you to share a fraction of your respective capabilities and communicate remotely. Gradually, you can cultivate further duplicates of yourself, limited by the maturation of this power. Should one be vanquished, substantial time and effort are required to regenerate a replacement.
Iridescent Eyefruit - Once consumed, this disconcertingly eye-shaped morsel of sweet flesh bestows you with incredible ocular abilities: in moments of danger or attentive focus, your perception of time slows down to a fraction, allowing you to perform insane and well-coordinated stunts, or overwhelm the enemy. Furthermore, you acquire a talent for all forms of physical mimicry and kinesthetic learning, and can visually perceive emotional auras and read out the magical abilities of others.
Providential Fruit - A single berry as resplendent and bright as bullion. On consumption, you assume the fate of about two dozen men, and are blessed with a mildly heroic destiny. All circumstances of chance shall favor you moderately, and you'll find yourself developing a narrative over time, one that'll confer a host of supernatural abilities on you. Think Astral Rank or Practical Guide to Evil's Named.
Green Dragonfruit - A fruit with a hard, spiked shell, the flesh concealed within the rind is soft and tastes like lime. The Green Dragonfruit allows you to heal at a massively accelerated rate, recovering a lost finger within minutes, and a lost arm within half an hour. Furthermore, you can shapeshift to any standard human form over a period of several hours. Its physical augmentation is moderately better than that of other, standard fruit, making you as physically capable as someone who's eaten an additional fruit.
Alternatively, you can lodge a more specific and customized request, although you'll need to wait at least a month before your fruit is prepared, and it's more difficult to predict if the eaten fruit bestows you a power with the exact parameters you desired.
All options entail comparable levels of physical enhancement, rendering the consumer superhuman.
[ ] Chivalry's Zeal [-33 Coin] - An investment of virtuous purity, flesh exalted beyond mortal measure, mind and spirit cultivated into sharp instruments.
Attain superhuman attributes; muscular strength to annihilate a mountain in a single focused attack, outpace sound at least sevenfold, and endure a battleship's bombardment as if merely assaulted with thrown pebbles. All actions you undertake become invested with a level of fundamental, artistic grace, enhanced and smoothed out: as beautiful and inspiring as a dance performed by a terpsichorean master, while still retaining the standard effectiveness such flourishes would normally cost.
Furthermore, a knight's full panoply shall be forged for you, the floral sciences of the Grovetenders applied to the fullest extent, and integrated with foreign technologies and any other options you possess. You receive organic armor and armament. These will scale with your own attributes and can mimick and enhance some of your capabilities. A photokinetic's sword may emit bursts of slashing luminescence fractionally stronger than their wielder's own native exhalations, and a master engineer will find their helmet providing a connection to local networks and gauntlets capable of printing out circuits and technologies.
These armaments are alive, no less than you: the armor is connected to your spinal cord via symbiotic tendrils, not restricting movement in the least even if superheavy, and your weapons have feedback ports on the hilt or grip, allowing you to guide the flight paths of munitions or quickly reshape melee implements to suit your needs.
[ ] Crown of Thorns [-1 Remittance] - If Orden's constant onslaught of self-sacrificing actions, a slow withering of someone she believed invincible, can be said to have ever managed to teach Alara Tar-Inshir anything; it is that for success to come, sacrifices must be made. A deed of apostasy may be excused if the result is salvation.
Sometimes, no cost is too great - an irony borne of cruelty for the Originator to believe such words and practice the resultant philosophy.
Become a royal-blooded arborist. Your blood overflows with vital essence. Your natural attributes are enhanced, making you slightly superhuman. You recover rapidly and flawlessly from all wounds, even a severed arm restored within less than a day. This geometrically enhances other forms of regeneration and increased physical attributes: each distinct attainment from a different magic is worth solidly more than before, offering tremendous synergies with all options of such a nature.
You're able to consume more than one fruit, a feat impossible for mortals with no relation to the Grovetenders, and your fruit-derived abilities start off twice as strong and develop faster. To start with, you can consume three fruits; over the long decades, you'll be able to consume as many as six. If you selected Fruit of the Grove alongside this option, you receive three fruits of your choice instead of one, and as you develop space for new ones, you'll be allowed to select whatever else you wish to consume. If you didn't select Fruit of the Grove, you'll receive one fruit, and have the opportunity to obtain more in the future.
Your blood's vitality can be used to massively enhance or fuel sacrificial arts, making you an unparalleled wielder of such magics, or else distilled as a healing cordial of considerable quality. If spilled on the earth, your blood shall accelerate the growth of all living things on that patch of land, grass blades sprouting within moments on the ichor-wetted soil. If fed directly from a vein to a living being, it'll become temporarily flush with a fraction of your own vitality and sprightly awesomeness.
Furthermore, you're filled with the refined energy of purification, a shining white dross as pure as the driven snow. As a consequence, no amount of supernatural herbicide or wyvern venom can slay or weaken you. Your charisma and appearance skyrocket to seemingly unattainable levels, an ethereal and elfish sort of beauty, as unreachable as it is appealing. Directed outwards, this purifying energy can be sent forth as colorless beams of light which purify all they touch: materials made sturdier in form, allies' wounds anesthetized and antiseptized, and enemies cleansed wholesale from creation's palimpsest.
[ ] Drawback: Arborification [+15 Coin] - All cultivators develop an urge to eventually take root and bear fruit themselves. Take on a portion of the Originator's share of the sylvan burden and be rewarded with more Coin. This'll have little immediate effect, and can be eventually mitigated with the methods at the Alliance's disposal: as long as the war against the enemy proceeds at a reasonable pace, resources can be assigned to ensure mitigation.
If left unmitigated, over time, you'll develop a lethargic stillness and your body will shift into a treelike form. At first, your skin will resemble bark, and flowers and leaves will start to sprout among your hairs, while your feet twist into rootlike spurs. If unaddressed even longer than that, you'll begin to stay in one place for long stretches of time; eventually, you'll close your eyes and become a tree. If you reach this point, priority of your mitigation will be elevated to ensure you at least remain conscious until more resources can be assigned to revert you.
Still, you may one day have to spend some time stuck in place as an ent.
[The Traveler] The wanderer whose smile conceals secrets, a stranger met by moonlight at the crossroads; the renegade protocol, a wild card slipped into the deck. Who can fathom the Traveler? Among the Alliance's Patrons, he's the most avoidant of responsibility and duty. A former rival to the Ordinator, he's since then thrown his hat in with the Alliance, as the enemy they fight concerns him as well.
As a Favored Patron, the Traveler rather openly doesn't care about you: he'll say as much to your face once you have a chance to meet, most likely some months down the line. You're free to do as you like, essentially divorced from the vast majority of duties you'd otherwise have on you. Likewise, he considers himself free and absolved from providing any aid to you beyond the foundational discounts you can acquire from his Patronage. He'll do his thing, you do your thing.
[ ] Minor Bullshit Magic Catalogue [-8 Coin] - Having seen countless of the Hierarchy's worlds, a thousand realms each replete with their own cultures and peoples, the Traveler's accumulated magics much like a collector accumulates postage stamps. He'll share one of his truly countless lesser arts with you, asking you what kind of magic you want to learn and swiftly teaching you that one.
You acquire a semi-random supernatural capability of minor puissance; nothing on the level of the Practice or Labyrinth Magic, let alone something like a fruit or access to the Litanies. Nonetheless, it can be a useful screwdriver in your arsenal, one of the tools you'll learn to rely upon. Given the massive breadth of the Hierarchy and worlds the Traveler may have visited, feel equally semi-free to invent a magic to suit these parameters.
Furthermore, as an optional and completely free addition, he'll throw in a magical wolf or raven familiar, magically tied to you and capable of sharing your senses, and imbued with Zenith and Primal Fury to enhance their attributes and give them supernatural powers.
[ ] The Traveler's Intercession [-16 Coin] - Receive a shining coin with a swirl design. Thrice, you may speak to the Coin to contact the Traveler, and he shall appear in your vicinity within no more than ten seconds; often less than one. You can use this either as a way to evacuate from an unpleasant or dangerous situation, or in order to travel to virtually any location or coordinate within the Hierarchy short of the Transcendent Pit. All travel done with his aid is instantaneous.
No road back home, save via another use of the Coin or utilizing your own means. If you're on one of the central worlds of the Alliance, securing a passage to another world shouldn't be difficult, as the Ordinator has constructed a series of corridors between them.
[ ] Geometric Investment [-38 Coin] - Gain a minor, accessible fraction of the Traveler's own Expression via Reciprocal connection.
Once an hour, you and a maximum of five additional passengers can travel to any location within the universe you're in, appearing at the desired location in an instant. This won't ever transport you to a location that's unsafe, instead moving you to the closest adjacent space.
Once a fortnight, you can perform the same feat, but instead travel to anywhere you've ever been before, or any universe in ontological proximity to the one you're currently in. Ontological distances may be difficult to understand for the uninitiated travelers, reliant mostly on conceptual connection. For instance, moving 'in the direction of apocalypse,' steadily brings you closer and closer to worlds which underwent or are undergoing an apocalypse. If one of those is a world that froze over into a snowball, you'd also be close to other cold worlds, and so on. You can move away from an idea as well.
If you're interested in visiting, the Dominion's ontologically closest to universes attuned with the principles of song, music, and prosperity. However, you should never enter the Dominion yourself, as several layers of artificial universes immediately surrounding it are a minefield full of destructive traps scattered around to deter the General.
[ ] Litanal Accession [-1 Remittance] - A war's needs are dire, and Orden is charitable even to ex-rivals. On the Traveler's behalf and wish, he acquired the Litanies, and passed them onto him. An irony, as the Ordinator's missing voice means he cannot himself utilize this miraculous system, having led another to a treasure he cannot possess.
Once more then, may the torch be passed on. The Traveler shall use the Litanies to bind his own Litanal access to you, a surprisingly unimaginative yet effective process.
Grants you access to the Litanies, one of the most potent, versatile systems of magic in the multiverse. The Litanies grant you the ability to reshape reality with words alone. However, you lack talent, and theoretical ability alone does not confer relevance. The Traveler won't stay around to train you beyond the simplest of basics needed to use each of the Six Litanies. Training manuals and teachers are difficult to acquire, even in the Alliance.
The power of the Litanies is correlated with ontological proximity to the Dominion. Most of the time, you'll be far away, making your powers fleeting, even if you have great potential. If you're willing to petition a Favored Patron that isn't the Traveler, they may be able to secure a teacher for you, or even teach you themselves if they aren't Orden, but this may take time.
[ ] Drawback: Beast of Principality (+38 Coin) - "Right… Listen, kid, I'll make this sweet and simple, no backstory blurbs or other shit. There's a huge kaiju after me. I'm talking huge. A colossal mechanoid squid that you could see as a shadow on the sun. And it's really strong. Strong enough Orden and me can't beat it yet.
"I travel around so I can escape from it. Someday from now, I'll get strong enough to beat its ass, hopefully before it beats me. So basically, if you wanna do me a favor and get money for it, I'll, ah… pull some strings, let's say, and attach some of its pursuit of me to you, so you draw some of the heat off me and give me more leeway. If I beat it before it happens to find you or myself, great. If not, well… it was nice knowing ya?"
From now on, you effectively roll 1d100 every day. On the day you roll snake eyes, you and everything in your vicinity dies as 'the giant fucking death squid kaiju' descends and utterly annihilates you before anything can be done to escape. Fortune and luck-based options can boost your odds of avoiding the squid's attention beyond this level.
If the Traveler happens to defeat the mechanical squid, you'll survive instead and this drawback may be considered resolved. It's estimated it'll take the Traveler and Ordinator at least half a year more to defeat it. You're in serious luck that Orden assigned you to a decent afterlife, otherwise this could've been a dealbreaker.
[Lesser Powers] The Alliance is not a mere collection of singular hegemons reigning over apportioned empires, but a vast tapestry of worlds. A myriad collection of the rulers of these other worlds may also be willing to offer you their own Patronage and respective powers.
[ ] Celebrant Cadfael: Training Arc [-8 Coin] - The man who simply calls himself Cadfael was once the Authority of Unbridled Valor, a warrior who repelled the Hand's assassination attempt and pushed aside a dozen Fingers as if they were buzzing flies. Since then, in an otherwise impossible feat, he relinquished that Authority to Orden Losthane. For the courage of placing such trust on another, he was Acknowledged for the feat.
Still, a shadow of his warrior's talents remain: a sword on an old veteran's mantelpiece, rather than a well-maintained rifle ready for warfare. Even a show piece has its uses.
As the officer responsible for instructing promising rookies in combat drills, Cadfael shall be assigned to oversee your own training. His methods are supernaturally effective: even the mere three months you'll spend under him shall elevate your skills to a master soldier; the equivalent of a veteran of a world conflict who'd then moved on to a successful mercenary career for over a decade. Even better if you have the Practice.
[ ] King of Arranor: Flame of Apprenticeship [-10 Coin] - The Pleromian nation of Arranor has excelled in Essentialism for most of its recent history, as a result of the massive changes instituted by its King, a former nomadic wizard by the name of Denlah. Arranor has been one of the Alliance's constituents from the earliest days. As rumors and histories will inform you, the Ordinator himself apprenticed under the King of Arranor.
His Majesty invites you to partake in a season of study over in his domain. His watchful eye, or that of one of his other skilled court wizards, shall ensure you become a master essentialist in a short time indeed. You don't theoretically require a Gift to study essentialism, and with advances made using Orden's Mortal Order, a lesser Gift may be inculcated in you on its own, but it's definitely recommended.
[ ] The Undying King: Deathless [-20 Coin] - An investment of mortal essence from the ascendant Authority of Unsung Heroes shall create a profundity of methods to cheat death.
You have an innate sense for death, a proprioception and instinct both; capable of sensing an oncoming demise minutes ahead of time, as well as calculating its approximate strength, nature, and vector. The overall precision and radius of this sense improves with time and training, and can eventually be used proactively and offensively; creating death with your actions by sensing which of those actions are most likely to result in a fatality. In combat, this most often translates as an incredible killing impulse and faultless danger sense; a warrior that's undying and delivers death without skipping a heartbeat.
If you should encounter a foe you cannot escape or kill, and you subsequently perish, you'll be immediately reborn in one of several clones on a central Alliance world, safe and with your abilities mostly preserved. If you aren't in range to do this, your soul will instead seek out an acceptable body and be reborn into a Naturalized, adult vessel - or else enter a mode of concealment and await the approach of a collection team. Depending on the nature of the foe or attack that slew you, it may prove that your soul is unrecoverable.
[ ] The Ishvara: Arrant Shadow [-1 Remittance] - A shadow like a thousand faces extends over the cosmos. A lone, near-sapient tendril of this beneficent shadow follows loyally after you, resting within your own like a bodyguard's spear. Thrice, when you call for its opening, it'll act as a window through which its maker can look.
If at that moment of connection, he finds something he deems displeasing - such as an active threat to you or an entity contrary to his values - it'll be axiomatically obliterated, a Lantern of pure Light yawning open to reveal its luminescence to the world. This is destruction on a pure and metaphysical level, so deep that if it were to strike a mortal, it'd leave behind a permanent impression on the universe; like the blast-shadow of a nuclear warhead. Even an entity on the General's level would experience mutilation forcing a recall.
Alongside the Ishvara's protection, a fraction of the strength of his armies. Until you've expended the shadow's dross on this calling, it'll work alongside you like a symbiotic entity: reaching out to intercept attacks and swat them aside, piercing through the hearts and brains of enemies with faster-than-sound fury and peerless intellect, coiling around you as supernaturally durable armor capable of conferring magical resistance, or leashing foes in a similar manner while disabling their powers. It can also act as a superb lasso or rope, or simply thread itself through your tissues to provide all-encompassing enhancement. Each call for the Ishvara's aid renders this shadow progressively weaker.
[ ] Drawback: Charitable Works [+20 Coin] - Normally, under your contract's terms, you receive a liberal allotment of free days and vacations from duties to the Alliance. Now, you'll no longer have any such free time, as you consign the remnant to charitable volunteer work. In moments you'd otherwise not be doing anything else productive, you'll travel the lesser worlds of the Alliance and work on uplifting them, aiding the citizens, and slaying evils.
Depending on your original intentions, this drawback may essentially be free Coin.