The best place to find out about Black Lantern’s 5e dark setting Soulmist is from their website.
In Soulmist, you enter the world of Fyera as one of its heroes, leading the charge against the forces of the Dark Saints who hide in the shadows beyond the Darklands. The Old People of Fyera have united in Penumbra and in the Lands of the Old Days in order to be victorious between this new struggle. However, this is a war unlike any before it as it is not only fought in the field of battle but the very soul spark of every living creature in Fyera. The victors of this endless war shall determine the colour of these sparks once and for all.
Darklands is the monster supplement for the grim world with more than 30 entities, new rules and information on the game’s main villains – the Ten Dark Saints.
There’s another way to find out about the game, and that’s right here. Black Lantern, the publishers, have been kind enough to give Geek Native a preview of the Darklands supplement. Not a fan of scrolling through PDFs, even in a viewer, then skip on because there’s also a lengthy text discussion and introduction into the Soulmist setting.
Black Lantern Productions is an indie development and publishing company of tabletop roleplaying games in Crete, Greece. It’s not often the chance to preview the work of an indie studio from Greece, so I took the opportunity to talk to the team.
How did you get into RPG publishing?
We create games set in strange and beautiful worlds, fueled by passionate and dedicated people. We all fell down the rabbit hole and found out about the wondrous RPG multiverse at a young age, and since then we have developed a taste in consorting with the darkest parts of it.
What is Soulmist?
Soulmist: A Journey from Darkness to Light is a dark fantasy campaign setting, based on 5E. The campaign takes place in the mystical world of Fyera, a realm tormented by the endless struggle between light and darkness.
The first release in this universe lets you play as a hero belonging to one of the five races under the Sun. Will you join the fight against the Dark Saints and the mysterious force behind them?
Will your Soulspark remain bright, or will it succumb under the influence of Erebos?
Every step you take will change the fate of Fyera, every action will change the balance between light and darkness. Good and Evil are complicated concepts, so choose your steps carefully.
One new world, 5 unique races, over 20 new class archetypes representing various cultures of Fyera and a ton of new feats to customize your character.
We have 3 new systems tailored to the dark atmosphere and lore of the setting. These new additions try to highlight the struggle of your Soulspark trying to stay intact throughout your journey in the dark corners of Fyera, but also to give players the chance to overcome their limits and become truly heroic. The heroes of Fyera don’t usually have statues in their image or feasts in their name. Most of them die nameless in the war against the Darklands, some of them do terrible things for the good of Fyera and an unlucky few of them survive for long enough that they become villains and monsters, but all of Fyera’s heroes fight for the Light, even as the Darkness grows inside their own hearts.
Five new races blessed by their ancestors from beyond the Nebula of Souls, or even Fyera herself. Each race has a unique ability known as their Fyera’s Gift.
- The noble Lumen can peer outside the river of time at a specific instance of their choosing, by sacrificing the time that they have left in this world.
- The proud Primus are able to drink the blood of mortals to sustain and empower their immortal and powerful bodies.
- The once glorious Avernians bind their own sparks with that of an animal spirit from beyond the Nebula of Souls, transforming their bodies to match the beast within.
- The wise Eldrasyr are the favored children of Fyera, thriving in her most wild and untamed lands, becoming physically one with the natural world around them.
- The ruinous Yildrasyr, who firmly defend the lands of Penumbra from the most terrible threats, by willingly succumbing to the Erebos of their sparks and using its terrible powers against its minions.
New archetypes dedicated to the races of Fyera and their unique talents and abilities have been made for all classes. The Scholar is our own class that is a non-magical take on the traditional Bard, who focuses on inspiring his allies in combat as well as being a fount of knowledge and ambassador for the Old Nations and sometimes even emissary to the Darklands. There are two spell-casting classes, the Mistweaver and the Spiritualist, each with their ways to use magic in place of the traditional Arcane and Divine dichotomy of 5E.
Some of the archetypes included are:
- The Avernian Pyromancer, a rogue archetype who creates their own explosives and uses bombs in the heat of battle to devestate their enemies.
- The Yildrasyr Ashen Berserker, a barbarian archetype who takes apart both flora and fauna to mix terrible toxins they digest that alter their physiology, turning them into terrible dark warriors.
- The Eldrasyr Herbalist, a scholar archetype who knows all there is to know about the natural world. They are the wise men and women of Fyera who use medicinal herbs to brew various concoctions that cure various ailments and with enough knowledge, even dark curses.
- The Primus Necromancer, a Spiritualist archetype who binds the dead to their will to create powerful allies that follow them both in life and death. Select from three specializations to customize your undead ally.
- The Lumen Oracle, a Mistweaver archetype who has honed their oracular abilities to their limits, being able not only to witness events from different times, but can even manipulate time in the present to their advantage.
Choose backgrounds from three different categories: Origins, Roles and Destinies. Your Origin determines the type of life you lived before you joined the war efforts and the skills you acquired from then, your Role determines your place in your culture and what you have learned from it, whereas your Destiny determines the deepest desire that you have in your Soulspark.
You can choose a background option on your own, or roll a d20 on each of the three tables to create a randomized background. Some options are more detrimental while others are more beneficial, but these backgrounds offer a glimpse into how the people of Fyera live their lives.
EREBOS Instead of Alignment
Erebos is not a measure of good or evil, it’s the struggle of living with the traumas of the past. Some experiences are harder than others but when something painful happens, the player must make an Erebos roll. If they’re unsuccessful, they gain an Erebos level. Each cumulative level stresses and harms the character’s psyche, darkening their Soulspark and bringing them closer to their demise. As the levels increase, conditions called Soulscars will cloud the character’s mind, and even bring whispers with them from the deepest corners of the Darklands. At the end, when they are only one step away from total oblivion, some even long for the dreaded scent of tartarus.
The Scales of Nebula
The Scales of Nebula is a new system that reinforces the core concepts of Soulmist. When two opposing sides clash in Fyera, the battle takes place metaphysically in the Soulmist as well, with the Soulsparks of each side growing or weakening based on the outcome. Players can use a new resource called Light Sparks to empower some of their class features with the power of the Light, increasing their potency or even adding new effects to it. Meanwhile, all hostile creatures the GM is in charge of can spend Dark Sparks to empower themselves or curse the players with the terrible touch of Erebos. Spending these Sparks means pulling light or darkness from the Soulmist and materializing it in the physical world. When combat ends, the side with the least Sparks remaining, even if victorious, weakens their respective side of the Soulmist. For the player characters, this means that there is a chance for their Sparks to further descend into Erebos. Sacrificing one’s own light in the name of victory is a choice that the heroes of Fyera must make with every step they take.
There is a unique brand of magic that no one dares to talk about, no one thinks about without trembling in terror, only whispers about it are heard around hidden groves and dark altars. This type of magic requires its user to extinguish some of their own Light in order to bring it into fruition. Some argue that this is too great a cost, while others see it as a grim tool that is necessary in the war efforts. The more a player character uses this magic they are corrupted by its power, suffering a condition that causes their spark to gain Erebos at a faster pace. With the use of new feats, one could try to tame this magic and lower the risks it carries.
What will you choose when the reaper is one breath away from your friends? What is more important? Their lives or the integrity of your soul and the legacy you leave behind?
The second installment in the Soulmist Saga is Darklands, a brooding and atmospheric supplement containing over 30 monsters unique to the darkest parts of Fyera. The book itself exists in the world of Fyera with the name “Tenebris Cordis”, an encyclopedia written by the brightest scholars of our age to be used against the forces of Darkness. The pages are filled with information on the various monstrosities that roam the Darklands and the dark gifts bestowed upon them by their sinister overlords. Finally, what little we know about the Ten Dark Saints can be found within this book. You will also discover the Nemesis System and the Spider Web, two small sets of rules we have created in order to help you utilize the antagonists presented in this book in a way that is true to Soulmist’s core thematics. Finally, the Favors and Reputation system allows the players to build their heroic fame and gain influence and power to shape the world of Fyera themselves.
A horde of 30 monsters and nightmares to face in your adventures, whether traversing the hellish landscapes of the Darklands themselves, or you find yourself in the dark corners of a different world, official or of your own making. Some of these monsters are:
- The Ruinetarians and the Lost Ones are among the unfortunate ones who were left behind when the Ruination struck. Twisted and malformed by the darkness, they do its bidding with little resistance in an attempt to simply exist.
- The Alastor Knights and Mages, the ruling class of the Darklands. Hulking humanoids who haven’t simply given themselves to the darkness, they have tamed it to their will. These are usually the generals of the Dark Saints and are high in the hierarchy of darkness.
- The Jraeras are creatures that once roamed the forests side by side with our Eldrasyr ancestors and taught them ancient wisdoms, now turned to darkness by their own volition. They seem to serve no master, but have answered the call of a Dark Saint in the past.
- The Anaktor and its mindworms. A behemoth of a beast that soars in the skies deep in the Darklands, with its body resembling a clear night sky, reminiscent of the Old Days. This star-lit sky however is a terrible omen. Once you’ve seen it, it is probably too late to escape its clutches. The mindworms are tiny critters that deceive their way into the minds of our heroes, turning them into obedient minions for their master.
Ten Dark Saints rule over the Darklands, often fighting amongst themselves to expand their own dominion, but who ultimately and oftentimes reluctantly also work together to expand the overall influence of the Darkness. The Dark Saints were not always the same, when a new champion of darkness arises, they can try to take the Dark Crown of a previous Saint by force, replacing them in the process. Some of these Dark Saints are:
- The Calamity of Fyera known as Sagha is the Dark Saint who represents Fear. Sagha is the King of Beasts, a chimeric abomination that assimilates the characteristics of the creatures it devours.
- Enhindu, the False Awakened was once an Eternal Lord of the Primus who was in torpor during the fall of their great capital. Enhindu awakened only to find out that his empire had crumbled. The Dark Crown of Vengeance was given to Enhindu, who then swore revenge on the cowards who abandoned him. Even though the Old People are now his enemy, the Dark Saints are definitely not his allies.
- Asmodae, the Pure is a being that could even be older than Fyera, existing beyond the Nebula of Souls. For whatever reason, the Ruination brought him here and his only goal is to devour the Light. He cares not for his fellow Dark Saints and their pathetic agendas. Among the Dark Saints, he is the most loyal to the will of the Darkness, and to the secretive entity that shapes it.
The Nemesis System and The Spider Web
Every Hero has their Nemesis, and this is exactly what this set of rules is about. The Nemesis system attempts to build a more intimate and dramatic relationship between the party and the villains that they face in their journeys. Every action the party takes is met by an equal reaction from their Nemesis. This Nemesis could be a powerful dark creature serving only themselves, or even one of the terrifying Dark Saints who wants the party dead to further their own sinister schemes. Finally, the Spider Web is a simple narrative tool to help the GM keep track of relationships between NPCs and their agendas.
Favors & Reputation
When the party gives their assistance to NPCs around the world, they gain favors from them that they can spend to further their own goals. Information, secrets, special items, access to restricted areas are some of the things that these favors can grant a party, but it can be much more personalized with the GM’s agreement. The status, wealth and influence of the NPC that grants a favor to the party determines the scale of what the favor can achieve. A commoner could give you a good night’s rest by letting you sleep in his home, while a wealthy merchant could provide the party with mercenaries to aid them in a quest.
NPCs can also loan favors to a party, before they have done anything to deserve it. This means that the NPC can and will call on the party at a later date to make it even. The more favors a party attains in their journey, the more their reputation grows. However, if they do not repay the favors they owe, their reputation can also plummet. Their reputation determines their status in the world, which means it could make negotiations with key NPCs much easier or much harder.
Soulmist: Unspoken Tales
Like it? There’s more to come, and a new supplement will launch in May. The Kickstarter holding page Soulmist: Unspoken Tales is up, and you can get an alert notification set up. Hundreds have.
The blurb for the next book says,
Unearth terrible secrets, discover dark truths and stave off the Tide of Darkness in these unspoken tales, compatible with 5e.
- Soulmist: Unspoken Tales.
- Black Lantern Studio.com.
- Or, for social updates, there’s a Soulmist RPG Facebook.
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