Other Names:
        Water, Protection, Divination
        True Neutral
        Conch, Aquamarine, Fish Spear
        Shades of Blue
        Lutrai, Lapix, Northern Humans
        Chromus (Solaria)
        The Deep, Mother Ocean

        The elemental realm of Ios was once the domain of the ocean goddess, Mera. Though it seems infinite, this blue abyss is actually an immense sphere suspended in an ethereal void, as a single droplet of water in zero-gravity. As large as a planet, yet without any solid core, this watery realm is broken only by drifting coral 'asteroids', which sustain the ancient world's ecosystem. The water's amazing purity allows a great deal of light in from the radiant void beyond its surface, giving the entire realm a tropical blue-green glow. The absence of air makes this realm rather dangerous to unprepared visitors, and the lack of stable landmarks can easily confuse even the most clever of navigators. The native life forms travel among the coral clusters by means of currents and tidal bores, which act much like roads would on land. The more intelligent creatures have even given names to these currents, as well as the largest of the coral islands. Most are thought to be the remains of the dead goddess' palace, which once occupied the heart of Ios.

        The blue abyss was once a sentient, living ecosystem that manifested itself as the ocean goddess, Mera. The living mind at the heart of the sphere - Mera's core - was destroyed by the mechanical minions of the City Mind some three thousand years ago, and the once-vibrant realm has begun to disintigrate as a result. The remains of the goddess' core still radiate powerful magical energies, but these have steadily begun to fade as the ancient being decays. Mortal magic drawn from this plane has also grown weaker over the centuries, and scholars believe that eventually it willl fade away entirely. When it does, all life in Ios will cease to be, and the realm's watery fabric will disintigrate into the ethereal void.

        Visitors will find Ios to be a beautiful, if ghostly place. The calm, cool water goes on forever in each direction, broken only by the faded points of distant islands. Schools of vividly-colored fish surround these drifting havens, along with larger, more independant predators. Countless varieties of coral cover these drifting fragments, layer upon layer, creating a pearl-like structure, some as large as small moons. Few complex organisms remain, as the entire ecosystem began to devolve after the death of the goddess. Eventually, even single-celled creatures will cease to exist.

The Shattered Core

        When Nigh's devastating weapons slew the ocean goddess, the core of Ios cracked and split apart into hundreds of fragments. Mortally wounded, the sentient realm is now little more than a stricken shell floating in the ancient silver void of the aether. Eventually, it will cease to be, along with all mortal magic drawn from elemental water. For the time being, however, Mera's dwindling spirit remains within the body of Ios, lending its power to those Believers who still observe the ancient rituals. It is difficult to guage how long this residual power will last, but it is well known that the most powerful rituals have been lost for centuries. These were the magics once used by the servants of Mera throughout the course of the Twilight War.

        The core of Ios is now a mass of drifting coral islands, perhaps a thousand in all. Like asteroids, some of these fragments are large enough to have light gravity, and all glow faintly with the flickering, pulsing light of the dead goddess' spirit. Collisions occur on rare occasions, and the organic nature of the coral will often knit these shards together, forming larger islands. Separated by vast, tractless leagues of open ocean, these living islands often support uniquely evolved ecosystems, as only the largest and fastest of marine organisms can survive the long voyages between. These clouds of life follow the drifting coral like the comet tails.

Primordial Water

        The watery subtance of the dying realm is the source of many ancient magics, such as those that affect the tides or summon the creatures of the sea. Water magic can restore vitality, cleanse toxins, and extinguish fire, making it one of the most benevolent elemental forces drawn upon by mortal spellcasters. Next to earth, it is also the most easily controlled, making it common among novices. Water magic is often mastered by shamans, healers, and some monks, and is most powerful in the months of Winter. Still, water magic in the current era is only a shadow of its past incarnations, which included rituals to summon Mera's so-called Shining Beasts. The most skilled practicioners of this elemental magic are the lutrai.

        When infused with quintessance, the so-called 'divine energy', water adopts form and sentience, becoming an elemental. These aquatic juggernauts are the keepers of Rym's oceans, each a fragment of Mera's dissapating life force. Without their queen, they lack unity and purpose, now mindlessly orchestrating the tides and ocean currents as their vitality fades away. Water elementals are somewhat slow-witted and predictable, but their liquid nature makes them immune to most weapons and magical attacks. In the water, they are lightning-quick and virtually undetectable, though on land they become rather awkward and clumsy, resorting to crushing amoeboid blows from one or more 'arms'. They rarely stray far from their native element, and cannot be summoned in dry, desolate places.

Ios actually does have a surface - a plane of utterly still water under a formless silver sky. This astral proto-matter contains no air, however, making the surface rather unpopular. Cool ambient light filters into the upper ocean layer, home of the elemental realm's smaller and more timid inhabitants. The water is warm and luminous, and encounters can be seen at great distances. However, the three dimensional nature of the plane makes it easy to lose one's way.

Towards the heart of Ios, the waters grow somewhat darker and cooler, littered by the drifting fragments of the shattered core. Many of these shine like distant beacons, still flickering with weak pulses of divine energy and attracting all manner of life. The open spaces can be rather dangerous - the local wildlife has a big advantage over most visitors, and there are still plenty of large aquatic predators.



20 (beach only)
See Below
See Below
20 ft.

        The destroyer of Mera's leviathan was Aethos, second of the City Mind's god-killing war machines. Slightly smaller than his brother Paragon, Aethos was designed for purely aquatic travel, allowing him to cruise the depths of Rym's oceans and the vast, tractless expanse of Ios with equal ease. Deep within the planar core, he did battle with the sea goddess, and destroyed the sphere of coral that was her mind. Now, centuries later, the old war machine has grown weary of his meaningless existance, and yearns for a final challenge to end it. He is softspoken, though his voice travels for miles underwater.

        Like his brothers, Aethos has become self-aware, though his more linear thinking system didn't handle the transition as smoothly. With the empty centuries came beliefs and crude emotions, like those of a hateful child, boiling inside a weapon of mass destruction. He has begun to experience internal faults, a sign that even the most amazing technology will fail, given time. Aethos is slowly dying, and he knows it, trapped within the fading ocean realm he helped destroy, entombed, and alone.

Sapphire Torpedos: So named for the sapphire-focused light beams which guide them to their targets, these underwater missiles are generated by tiny factories inside Aethos' body. Composed of the base elements consumed by the war machine, they can be replenished completely each day. Propelled by copper screws, each of these weapons is roughly the size of a man, with a slick Z1 casing and a single cyclopian sapphire eye at the tip of the nosecone. Each of these has an aquatic movement of 600 (60 mph), and does its best to collide with anything sighted by the 'eye'. Following this pencil-thin beam, the torpedo rarely misses, and must commit to its entire movement in a striaght line when striking. A reflex save (DC 30) avoids the torpedo completely. A failed save results in a massive pressure-explosion. Treat this as a maximized Delayed Blast Fireball (80 damage), with pure force instead of fire damage.

Secondary Torpedoes: Smaller and faster than the large sapphire torpedoes, these aquatic missiles were used to pick off smaller targets such as sea serpents and kraken. They were fired in veritable clouds, and could be used to hit targets as small as sharks or dolphins. Each acts as a maximized Magic Missile spell, inflicting 25 points of damage. Aethos launches eight per round, and has 24 total, replenishing them at a rate of one per round. He can hit any targer precisely within 500 feet with these torpoes. As with magic missile, this is considered force damage.

Island Killers: Unlike the war machine's main torpedo battery, these huge missiles are fired from the surface. Their name is quite self-explanatory - they're designed to bombard islands, atols, and any other targets located within a few miles of deep water. These awesome projectiles streak into the sky in a haze of blue fire, shedding an outer casing at the height of their ascent, splitting into dozens of tiny bombs, and falling to earth with devastating results. This generates the same basic effect as a Meteor Shower - Aethos can launch two at a time, and stores twelve in total, which are reconstructed at a rate of one per day. He can also strike with impunity from afar, but each mile of range results in a cumulative 10% chance of missing the target (100% at 10 miles).