by Max Barry

Latest Forum Topics

Advertisement

The Wandering City of
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Overview Factbook Dispatches Policies People Government Economy Rank Trend Cards

5

Vinzenz Kresge, The Iron Hand

First Seat of the Council
Vinzenz Kresge

LinkTheme
Personal Info

Born:

Unknown

Birthplace:

Unknown, presumably somewhere in Ieflax

Gender:

Male

Height:

195cm

Hair Colour:

Gray

Eye Colour:

Gray

Age:

Unknown

Father:

Wieland Kresge

Mother:

Elva Kresge (née Ortrun)

Spouse:

N/A

Children:

N/A

Nicknames & Titles:

The Iron Hand
The Iron Baron
The Guildmaster
The First Slayer
The Hoarding Lord
The All-Taker
Krk'zhahl (The Hollow One)
Founder of the Guild
Magebane

Ideology Info

Political Ideology:

Radical Centrism

Economic Ideology:

State Capitalism

"There are things out there which defy explanation, which laugh at our attempts to understand them. They tear our worlds asunder for the sake of it. I intend to show them why such things carry consequence."
-Vinzenz Kresge

Vinzenz Kresge, often nicknamed The Iron Hand or Iron Baron, is the first and current occupant of the First Seat on the Council of Seven, as well as the founder and de-facto ruler of the Guild of Eisenstern (and its accompanying city-state of Eisenstern). Originally a world-renowned adventurer, he chose to abandon the steadily crumbling nation he had inhabited after an extra-universal invasion of nigh-infinite scale. He now rules over the Tower, and utilizes it as a mobile base of operations for his ever-expanding guild, while also maintaining a thriving merchant city within its confines.


History


Early Life

Not much is known about Kresge's life prior to the foundation of Eisenstern. His rise as a prominent adventurer is sparsely documented - of common birth and unremarkable heritage, he nevertheless secured his name as a skilled fighter and fearsome opponent through sheer skill, dedication and combat pragmatism. He is known to have single-handedly defeated three of the Elytrian Adventurers' Guild most highly-ranked members - all immensely powerful mages and experienced combatants, using nothing but a pair of cheaply-sourced greatswords. He recaptured the Standards of Sten'gahl from the ravenous Hordes of the North, and definitively ended their attacks on the civilized world. He vanquished the Lich-Lord of Zenthur in a days-long duel, and for this he was granted immense honors by the kingdom's ruling caste. He rejected them all, choosing only to take the lich's crown as a prize. It was during this time that he began his habits of collecting artifacts of great power and historical value. He understood that there were things out there far more powerful than him, no matter how skilled or experienced he may be. He saw relics and artifacts as a method of evening the odds, and of growing his personal influence and power.


The Founding

As the years passed, his collection grew, as did his number of supporters. Eventually, he decided to found his own adventuring guild, for the purposes of organizing and expanding on the operations he had already conducted. As a seasoned adventurer, he was acutely aware of the perils and challenges faced by both newcomers and veterans to the field - a fact he used to his advantage when establishing a power structure. Eisenstern, as the guild would come to be known, grew with immense speeds. As it did so, it branched out from adventuring into other areas - private security, espionage, and even assassination. Kriesge had, in effect, become his world's first private military contractor.

His own personal fame grew accordingly. Now widely recognized as a figure of great historical import, he was often ranked alongside the ancient heores of old - men and women who had quite literally carved the world's nations from the wildlands by blade and spell, wit and cunning, wisdom and foresight. And yet his reputation did not remain untarnished - rumors grew of Kresge's usage of blackmail and assassination to obtain artifacts for his collection. Some said he was hoarding relics of unholy power that threatened to destroy the world. Still others insisted that he dealt with demons to enlarge his hoard. Whatever the case, his collection of the arcane was now sufficient to dwarf any comparable gatherings. Their combined power could likely bring every ruler in the world to their knees, should Kresge so desire.


The Tower

It was at around this time that he decided to create the Tower. In part, because he required a suitable base of operations, but also due to growing tensions between the major powers on his native continent. If a war was to be waged, he needed a weapon - fortress, flagship and army-slayer in one, the Tower would provide. He made extensive use of his collection in its construction, of course - the Blackforge, the Resonance Engine, even the very core of the tower's uncertain dimensions were all made possible by the ancient objects he had unearthed and catalogued. Finally, it was complete - a gleaming bastion of all he had aspired to. A perfect seat of power for one perpetually on the move. His collection was quickly loaded inside, and the Guild itself was hastily relocated. Its new halls were on the very top floors of the Tower, and were dazzling in their opulence. Kresge understood, too, that he had built himself a city. And he was no mayor - as residents streamed into his newly-erected acropolis, he decided to nominate a governing structure to head it all. His Council would still rule over it, of course. But he had no desire to fanatically control every aspect of his citizens' lives - he was no dictator, after all. So the Municipal Authority was born, and with it came the birth of Eisenstern as an independent city.


The Planar Clash

And then, disaster struck. The Planar Gates reopened after millenia of dormancy, all across the lands. They numbered in the thousands, and out of each poured an endless wave of formless horrors. The creatures of the Abyss knew not the world they were encroaching on, or why. But they saw its inhabitants - billions of souls, ripe for the taking. They boiled across the lands in a wave of ungodly horror, catching the nations of the world unprepared. Eisenstern helped where it could, but it soon became apparent that not even its higly-trained and exceptionally numerous adventurers could even put a dent in the invaders' numbers. They seemed to have no end - and indeed, the Abyss would spew them out ad infinitum, until they overwhelmed the last specks of life.

Kresge was in disagreement over this. He had walked upon the battlefields once more, cutting down scores upon scores of the mindless horrors. He brought out long-unused relics - objects of such terrible power, they tore the very Earth asunder and scattered his adversaries like so much sand against a hurricane. It was not enough. They came again and again, on and on, until even the Guildmaster was forced to admit defeat. He retreated into the Tower, and brought the Guild with him. For months, they did not emerge, even as the world outside fell into chaos. Then, one day, the gates were reopened. The Tower now roamed, gathering the hopeful and the needy. Kresge welcomed them aboard what he promised to be an ark, of sorts - a gateway out of this hell that had been brought down upon them. Once the city was filled to capacity, the gates shut once more. And Kresge, calling upon the power of one of his oldest artifacts, disappeared into the void between worlds, alongside the rest of the Tower. He recognized the futility of dying in a valiant defense, and lamented the loss of his homeland. And yet, he vowed to one day return. The Abyss was hardly going to go anywhere - until someone could amass the unimaginable power needed to end it for good. He was going to become that someone.


The Wandering City

Since then, Kresge has wandered the multiverse aboard his so-called ark. He has continued his duties as guildmaster of Eisenstern - their services are still very much in demand, now on a greater scale than they could have ever imagined. The city, too, has found itself a purpose - its denizens trade in goods from every corner in every world, sourcing the mundane and selling it elsewhere as the unimaginable. This only serves to bolster Kresge's collection, which grows ever more expansive by the day.


Personality


Kresge is often described as nonchalant and easygoing by those he interacts with. His distaste towards political conversation leads him to avoid discussions on the topic unless pressed. He is also generally seen as non-violent and difficult to anger, and will rarely seek to start violent altercations even with those he has expressed great distaste for. That said, he will happily retaliate in kind to any form of violence directed at him or his allies.


Quotes

"Politics are a bureaucrat's tool, meant to deter everyone else from making important decisions."

"Oh yes, I have a universal strategy. It more or less goes "hit it really hard with a big sword". I find that it works equally well against pretty much everything, except maybe lawyers."

"I am often accused of excessive materialism, usually by the spiritual. My counter argument is that at this point, considering everything I've bought and acquired, I can probably kill whatever it is they worship as a god - or at the very least, bribe it to look the other way."

"Diplomacy is a fine thing, but it's best to back it up with at least the possibility of military force. No sense in bluffing without cards."


Reign and Ideology


Kresge is now the occupant of the First Seat on the Council of Seven. While this does not technically grant him any more authority than anyone else on the council, his word as founder is still immensely respected. As such, he is the guild's head coordinator, and at the same time its top operative - he plans their movements, highlights areas of expansion, and often personally participates in missions. The years have only gone to strengthen his martial prowess, and one can safely name him the guild's most powerful warrior.

His rule over the city itself is, as previously mentioned, rather indirect. Though he is the owner and operator of the Tower, he generally directs little beyond its physical movements. The runnings of the city are best left to the Municipal Authority, for Kresge operates on a general philosophy of non-interventionalism - in both domestic and foreign matters.

One interesting tangent is Kresge's attitude towards religious matters. His own stance on such things is a neutral one - while he accepts the existence of a large number of gods throughout the multiverse and acknowledges their power, he has categorically refused to worship them or pledge his fealty and alignment. This has notably irked various deific figures, primarily due to Kresge's tendency to obtain and hoard artifacts, many of which hold divine significance in some manner.

Though this has earned him considerable disapproval, he is safeguarded from direct divine intervention via an interesting secondary property inherent to many relics of religious providence - since they are often meant for the possession of a designated champion or representative (such as a head of religious authority), they carry a passive level of divine protection, primarily aimed at disrupting attempts at meddling by other gods. As such, the sheer volume of such items currently in Kresge's collection grants him pseudo-immunity to direct offensive actions from practically any divine source. He is still occasionally targeted by agents or avatars of various gods, and certain fringe sects are openly hostile to him. However, this has not impeded business matters in any significant way, and he maintains stable relations with a number of religious groups and organizations. It is also worth noting that he has actually managed to unwittingly earn the approval of certain fringe deities - most notably, he has been granted the blessing of the Bloodmother, in the form of one of her holy relics. She has also been seen to intervene directly during times of personal need, to varying effect and approval.


Policies

Despite his aforementioned lack of direct participation in its governance, Kresge has enacted several policies and edicts affecting the city. The most notable ones are detailed below.

  • The Municipal Charter
    A loose collection of guidelines by which the Municipal Authority is to govern itself. It mandates the necessity of a democratic electory process, a complex policy of proportional representation based on universe of origin, culture and race, and a strictly enforced term limit for the mayor alongside other high-ranking representatives. There are also several more minor sections to the Charter, detailing the allowances and limitations of the Authority's control over what occurs within the city.

  • The Pyramid Contingency
    A policy to be employed in the event of voter deficiency (owing to an entirely voluntary voting process). In such an event, the Council may appoint several duly selected representatives as voter-substitutes, with the proportion of votes held by them determined by their position in the Guild hierarchy, as well as the total number of representatives assigned. It has yet to be used.

  • The Temple Law
    A policy lifting restrictions normally placed on religious worship, and allowing for the construction of temples and places of congregation via a system of privatized gatherings and initiatives. It mandates that any form of religious worship is to be allowed within the confines of the Tower, provided it does not result in direct harm (physical or mental) inflicted on either residents or citizens of the outside world(s).


Political Opinions

Kresge is surprisingly averse to politics, considering his position. When pressed to describe his stance, however, he has expressed views most in line with certain forms of radical centrism. One of his most concise quotes on the subject is as follows:

"For a society to live, it needs to change. Tradition, the status-quo - they're all well and good, but only until the weight of the changing world becomes too much for the floodgates to contain. And at that point, it is all one can do to not be swept away. The world doesn't stop shifting in new directions, day after day - it would be idiotic to think we can stop that."


Pro and Anti

  • Pro: State Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Mercantilism, LGBT, Social Freedoms, Realpolitik, Meritocracy, Scientific Advancement, Magical Advancement, Abortion

  • Neutral: Laissez-faire Capitalism, Socialism, Political Freedoms, Conscription, Democracy, Dictatorship, Theocracy, Capital Punishment

  • Anti: Ethnic Discrimination, Isolationism, Interventionism, Radical Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, Absolute Monarchy, the Far-Right, the Far-Left, Slavery, The Abyss


Personal Life


Kresge is rarely seen in public, at least within the confines of the Tower. He may generally be found on the upper levels, within the Guild Hall complex, or outside the Tower on Guild business. He is known to occasionally take travel "vacations", visiting various corners of the multiverse.

He is an avid collector - not only of magical artifacts, but also of objects with great historical or scientific significance. The Guild Hall contains an impressive array of galleries, vaults and libraries to contain this vast trove of curios, and its constant growth necessitates a correspondingly steady expansion of the Guild Hall itself.

Kresge is also known to maintain his physical form via a combination of regular exercise (using monstrously overlarge weights) and sparring sessions with other Council members. In his downtime, he is an avid reader of practically every genre imaginable. He is also fascinated with novel forms of media he has not previously encountered, and will go to great lengths to study them.

Finally, he spends a considerable portion of his time within the Guild forge, where he constantly creates novel armaments and trinkets for both his collection and the usage of his comrades. Weapons he has crafted are typically issued to veteran members of the Guild, and are treasured greatly.


Abilities & Equipment


As the top-ranking fighter in Eisenstern, one would expect Kresge's combat capabilities to be immense. And indeed, his physical attributes are often touted as legendary - his strength in particular. Said strength is also disproportionate - while he is capable of vastly superhuman feats overall, his right arm, forever clad in a gauntlet of Abyssal Iron, has no known upper limit to the force it can exert. He is known to be highly pragmatic in combat, and has no favoured set of tactics. His general style of combat is somewhat akin to the Slayers of old - light armor, combined with a heavy bladed weapon. Agility and dodging is emphasized over durability for the most part, and mighty, crushing strikes are aimed at vulnerable areas of the enemy's body. As previously mentioned, however, Kresge often fails to adhere to this style if it does not seem sufficiently effective, and will adapt his strategy to the opponent he is currently facing.

Though few surviving accounts (or witnesses) exist of his combat prowess, he is known to utilize a highly unusual, almost comically oversized combination weapon, the so-called Kriegsschere, consisting of a pair of custom-built greatswords. One is conventionally straight-edged, while the other is equipped with serrated "teeth" on one of its sides, in the manner of a saw. The "toothed" sword is also attached by a highly durable chain to a winch mechanism in Kresge's belt. The swords may be used separately, with Kresge's physical strength being sufficient to wield each blade in a single hand, and even to utilize the chained sword as a flail and throwing weapon. They may also be combined, in the manner of shears, at the crossguard. In this "greatscissor" form, they are generally used to sever extremities and bisect opponents.

Aside from this primary weapon, Kresge is known to carry several backup armaments with him. These vary depending on the situation, and are often powerful artifacts in their own right. A notable example is the so-called Hound - an ornate, highly elaborate Jezail-like rifle, typically carried within a Bag of Holding to minimize weight and save space. Fitted with an unusual, clockwork-based repeating action, alongside several enchantments and arcane devices of differing purpose. Often used to fire handload rounds prepared by Kresge himself, most of which are magically imbued to varying degrees.

Kresge is also a user of magic, though the means by which he channels it are unclear, and fail to correspond to any known schools or methodologies. He has been seen using a vast arsenal of spells and incantations, regardless of their tie-in attributes or elemental polarity. The source of such a great magical repertoire is unknown and highly unusual, though many suspect that it is tied to some artifact he has collected, and likely keeps about his person.

Kresge's signature gauntlet is, as it happens, not actually a gauntlet at all. Indeed, Kresge himself is a half-golem - his right arm, certain organs and his eyes are all synthetic replicas. Only the Council, alongside a select few trusted individuals, are privy to this information. Fewer still are aware of the circumstances under which Kresge underwent these augmentations. The arm was lost while battling a Greater Abyssal Wyrm during its attack on Ieflax. Kresge chose to forego regrowth - instead, he forged himself a rudimentary prosthesis. It was crude, but it was enough to forge a marginally better one. Which he could then use to add further improvements. He continued this cycle for six weeks, until at last he felt ready. Setting to work on his prized gauntlet, he outfitted it with an internal framework that made it indistinguishable from the arm he had lost, at least to him. But he went further than that - thanks to masterwork artificing and painstaking arcane infusion, this new limb would be immeasurably stronger, faster, more responsive, than the one it had replaced. And there were additional improvements. Integrated into the arm were a number of artifacts - the Beads of Tarkus aided in its legendary strength. The Liar's Lance, disassembled and rearranged, made for an excellent offensive tool. And those were just the initial additions.

The loss of his eyes, in contrast, was an entirely voluntary one. They were part of a bargain - given away to a Greater Daemon, in exchange for a certain relic he had been searching for. As the fel creature looked down at the payment it had taken, at the man whose bleeding sockets now gaped, it heard him laugh. He clutched in his hand something of immeasurable value to himself - what was a sense or two in exchange? Still, blindness did not suit him. And so he coated the blank sockets with metal, and inscribed a few choice runes. The twin voids lit up with a cold blue fire, and with it came the return of sight. Now in a far greater spectrum - for the age-old idiom, of eyes being windows into the soul, was now rather accurate. Matters of the spirit were now an open book - auras, ghosts, things oft left unseen to mortals, were now glaringly obvious. He carved further symbols into the metal coating - illusory orbs, to mask what he had lost. They leave his eyes indistinguishable from genuine human ones, though their true appearance may be temporarily revealed during moments of intense rage or the release of tremendous power.


Known Spells & Techniques

The following is a short list of the incantations Kresge is known to utilize most frequently. Note that this list is by no means comprehensive, and fails to accurately represent the sheer breadth of the Guildmaster's magical repertoire. Inherent spells are ones that were learned directly by Kresge, and may be cast from memory. Artifact-bound spells are tied to their respective relic, and require its direct possession in order to function.

  • Cleave
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental weapon art. Channeling mana into his sword(s), Kresge performs a sweeping horizontal slash with highly extended range. Known to bisect, decapitate and otherwise kill or maim large swathes of troops at a distance of several dozen (or even several hundred) meters, depending on mana investment.

  • Railcannon
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental weapon art. Kresge throws his sword(s), while temporarily creating a zone of vector control around it. He uses this zone to accelerate the sword to immense speeds, far beyond what even his legendary strength would normally allow. Generally used to pierce through ultra-heavy armor, or multiple heavily-armored enemies.

  • Multi-Slash
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental weapon art. Kresge briefly replicates the cutting force produced by a swing of his sword(s), and translates it into several nearby positions at once. The end result is a series of seemingly sourceless slashes, inflicting equal cutting damage to the original physical strike, within close proximity to the blade.

  • Fulmination
    Non-elemental unarmed technique. Kresge utilizes a combination of force impulse, directed concussion blast and vector control to accelerate one of his limbs by a massive margin. Typically applied to his right arm, in order to exert an even greater striking force than what his already legendary strength would normally allow. May be rapidly chained during both armed and unarmed combat, in order to repeatedly strike and concuss particularly resilient opponents (or terminate weaker, more vulnerable ones in quick succession).

  • Beacon
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental support spell. Kresge teleports to the current position of his weapon. Typically used following a throw, or when disarmed.

  • Vacuous Step
    Source: Inherent
    Air-based support technique. Via a combination of sympathetic magic and precise muscle movements, Kresge performs a short dash-like maneuver, in any direction. May be used to evade attacks, move closer to a target, or even seemingly "walk" on air. Multiple such maneuvers may be chained in quick succession, allowing for both rapid closing of distances and pseudo-levitation.

  • Shattershield
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental defensive spell. Kresge manifests an invisible, selectively tangible barrier around his body, which only becomes visible and tangible if impacted by an attack of sufficient magnitude to cause him harm. May block small arms fire and most melee attacks without issue. When struck by anything sufficiently powerful to break it, falls apart into a multitude of razor-sharp shards, which then seek out the origin of the attack and attempt to repeatedly lacerate it. These shards are sharp enough to slice through vehicle armor.

  • Cannonade
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Kresge fires an explosive projectile, typically from one of his hands. Will detonate on impact, though manual "airburst" detonation is possible. Explosive force may be manually directed upon detonation, allowing for focused anti-armor use.

  • Flayer
    Air-based offensive spell. Kresge fires a blast of pressurized air, typically from one of his hands. Said blast is guided, maintained and re-pressurized by a force matrix, which extends its range dramatically. Typically used against unarmored targets - when the matrix is dispelled or ruptured, the resulting air jets are sufficient to strip flesh from bone and sever extremities (but are notably less effective when faced with dense solids such as armor plating or walls).

  • Fire Eater
    Source: Inherent
    Fire-based offensive spell. Kresge inhales deeply, then exhales a flamethrower-like stream of blue fire. Fire may be directly fed mana, prolonging burn duration, intensifying temperature and preventing extinguishing efforts. It may also be extinguished at will.

  • Miasma
    Source: Inherent
    Water/toxin-based offensive spell. Kresge inhales deeply, then exhales a dense, mist-like substance. May be used as one of several varieties - the mist can be either inert, a tear gas-like incapacitating agent, a sedative agent, or a potent neurotoxin. In the latter three cases, Kresge gains a passive immunity to the mist's effects while it is active.

  • Vacuum Bullet
    Source: Inherent
    Air-based offensive spell. Kresge inhales deeply, then projects a highly concentrated burst of pressurized air. Said burst travels at varyingly-supersonic speeds, and may have similar impact effects to armor piercing rounds corresponding to various calibers of small arms (depending on mana investment). The most powerful variant ever witnessed had the approximate stopping power of a 12.7×108mm round.

  • Ghostblades
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Kresge manifests a variable number of ghostly stilettos, which may be remotely controlled. May be used in a variety of ways - typical ones include manifestation directly in the hand, for immediate throwing, or in orbiting rings as a method of defense.

  • Binding Locus
    Source: Inherent
    Light-based multi-purpose spell. Kresge creates a targeting seal by touch - this may occur on any solid surface, including his own body and the bodies of others. Seal will promptly release a series of animate chains, seemingly composed of light. They will remain anchored to the seal itself, though the object on which it is present may be moved without disrupting the spell. Kresge may direct the chains to intercept attacks, strike at targets, or constrict and immobilize them. Chains may also be used for mobility and manipulation, as desired.

  • Annihilation Zone
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Kresge designates an area of variable size within a translucent, polyhedral field. Matter within the designated area may be converted to energy, and vice versa, at will. Most "spillage" of energy is prevented via its rerouting into the maintenance of the field itself; however, excessive matter synthesis is likely to either lower temperatures the surrounding area (even outside the field) by a significant margin, or collapse the field entirely due to energy deficit.

  • Echoes
    Source: Inherent
    Non-elemental support spell. Kresge manifests a variable number of spectral afterimages of himself, while temporarily also gaining a translucent and wispy quality to his appearance. Afterimages may become partially tangible while attacking, but are otherwise impossible to damage or interact with.

Actually Artifact-bound, with ties to the True Shard of the All-Mirror (see below.)

  • Replicator
    Source: Artifact - The Hound
    Non-elemental offensive spell. One of the core enchantments placed on Kresge's rifle - given a mana investment, any round fired may be prompted to duplicate mid-flight. The duplicate round maintains the properties and enchantments placed on its template, and the trajectories of both are modified to a varying degree in order to accommodate the duplicate. May be cast multiple times on the same round, resulting in a progressively multiplying group of projectiles, travelling at the same velocity.

  • Liar's End
    Source: Artifact - Liar's Lance
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Kresge fires a piercing, spear-like projectile from his right hand. Its penetrative power is sufficient to practically ignore vehicle armor, and potentially pierce through several meters of solid concrete without issue. Projectile automatically seeks out opponents, and may pierce through them multiple times before dissipating. Alternatively, may embed itself in an enemy, then proceed to sprout numerous thorn-like protrusions, causing grievous internal damage.

  • Temporal Dissonance
    Source: Artifact - Crystal Gear
    Non-elemental support spell. Kresge partially disconnects himself from the localized flow of time, effectively slowing everything else in relation to himself. Varying degrees of disconnect may be achieved at varying levels of mana investment, resulting in corresponding degrees of slowdown. To outside observers, the opposite will appear true - Kresge will seem to move and react much more quickly than usual. Note that a full disconnect is impossible - thus, Kresge may not actually stop time completely relative to himself.

  • Primal Strength
    Source: Artifact - Beads of Tarkus
    Earth-based support spell. Kresge temporarily enhances his own physical attributes, to the point of spreading the nigh-unlimited strength of his right arm to the rest of his body. Speed, agility and basic reflexes are also enhanced to a significant degree past their already superhuman baseline. Extended usage is physically taxing, however.

  • Execution Chamber
    Source: Artifact - Bloodmother's Idol
    Earth/dark-based multi-purpose spell. Kresge prompts the manifestation of a large mass of machinery and mechanical components - their form and function vary, though they are universally possessive of abnormal durability and an outwardly rusted appearance. Machinery will generally manifest in an orientation centered around a target - either Kresge, one of his allies, or an enemy of his choice. Target choice affects the purpose of the spell - when cast on himself or a friendly target, machinery will form into a protective shell, often equipped with outwards booby traps and security measures to prevent intrusion. When cast on a hostile target, machinery will manifest various weaponry and devices aimed at killing the target - typical mechanisms include guillotines, spring-loaded axes and various other bladed implements. The structure will generally constrict itself around a target while active, aiming to crush them if the manifested armaments are not sufficient to secure a kill.

  • Forlorn Call
    Source: Artifact - Hollow Chime
    Non-elemental multi-purpose spell. Activated via a short verbal prayer. Attracts minor, lost and forgotten deities, allowing them to coalesce into an effigy fed by Kresge's mana. Said effigy varies wildly with each use - its appearance, physical characteristics and effect remain in constant flux. Once properly consolidated, the effigy will utilize various deific powers (depending on the entities occupying it) to inflict harm on those in the vicinity. Kresge is not targeted, nor are his allies. It may or may not be mobile (depending on its current composition), but will generally dissipate if the distance between it and Kresge is too great.

The following techniques are closely-guarded secrets, either because they are tied to aspects of Kresge's skillset he wishes to keep concealed (such as his semi-mechanical nature), or because there are simply no living witnesses or extant records to corroborate their use.

  • Mind's Tapestry
    Source: Artifact - unnamed (Kresge's prosthetic eyes)
    Non-elemental support spell. A limited form of single-target precognition. Allows Kresge to anticipate the movements and actions of a target several seconds in advance. Illusory eyes must be dispelled prior to use. Functions passively while true eyes are revealed. Capable of tracking non-corporeal or otherwise intangible targets.

  • Liar's Respite
    Source: Artifact - Liar's Lance (reconfigured)
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Requires mechanical transformation of Kresge's right arm, so as to rearrange the component's of the Liar's Lance. In this form, the arm unfolds into a cannon-like device. Projects a piercing, cruciform beam of energy after a short windup. Its length is variable, but it will divide into three separate branches, positioned at right angles to each other, at exactly two thirds of its total length. Is practically impossible to stop by physical means, though its effects may be mitigated through the use of energy shielding or magical countermeasures.

  • Liar's Eulogy
    Source: Artifact - Liar's Lance (reconfigured)
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Requires mechanical transformation of Kresge's right hand, so as to partially rearrange the component's of the Liar's Lance. In this form, the hand re-folds itself into a slitted, angular, barrel-like cuboid. Projects a blade of energy of variable length, shape and size - most often, a vaguely longsword-esque double-edged surface with a dual-hooked tip. Immense cutting power, to the point of causing the splitting and recombination of molecular bonds at the site of the cut. Often ionizes the air around itself via passive molecular severance.

  • Scattertouch
    Source: Artifact - unnamed (Kresge's arm bones)
    Non-elemental offensive spell. Derived from the twisted, mangled remains of Kresge's original arm - the bones, stripped clean, now reshaped into geometrically impossible shapes by the effects of the creature that caused their loss. Triggered by touch, causing the immediate deconstruction of the touched object or entity into component matter. Typically decomposes target matter into quarks, which reform into novel hadrons nigh-immediately. The effects are entirely random and highly unpredictable - as new hadrons are formed, they recombine in turn to form entirely randomized atoms, molecules and matter conglomerates. This includes structures that would be infeasible or highly unstable under normal conditions - once the process is complete, said structures may violently react or undergo decay.

  • Trueform Rend
    Source: Inherent (actually stolen using True Shard of the All-Mirror, see below)
    Non-elemental, offensive spell. Likely the most powerful spell ever mimicked by Kresge. Obtained during duel against a godlike being, whose name shall remain forgotten as a result of this very technique. Allows Kresge to directly attack a target's conceptual nature and fundament. Form of application and effect are both unclear, and vary from target to target. Successful execution results in the erasure of the target not only from reality, but also from all memories and records kept of its prior existence. It is difficult to tell whether or not it has been previously used, as its very effect makes recording its usage nigh-impossible without the investment of godlike power. Is theoretically capable of affecting any target, regardless of resilience, magical power or metaphysical persistence. May be used to, in effect, bypass what is traditionally considered absolute immortality, allowing for the destruction of beings such as gods.

  • Infernal Blaze
    Source: Artifact - Vulcan's Needle
    Fire-based, offensive spell. Tied to an artifact integrated into the middle finger of Kresge's right hand - finger must be removed and stabbed into the ground in order for the spell to take effect. A minor component of the artifact allows for easy piercing of most materials - Kresge occasionally utilizes this as a weapon in its own right. Causes spontaneous heating of all matter within a large spherical area centered on the artifact. Heating is most prominent at center, and weakens with distance. It remains sufficient to convert affected air into plasma at a distance of several hundred kilometers, and has resulted in spontaneous nuclear fusion at its epicenter. Alternatively, may be focused into a smaller area. A decrease in size causes an exponential increase in thermal concentration - when compressed to the approximate size of a football, any matter within is heated to an approximate temperature of five trillion Kelvins. As the spell follows an effigy-based route, Kresge himself is not protected from its effects, and must compensate with specific protective enchantments and spells in order to survive it. Regardless of temperature, the artifact itself remains intact post-use, and may be recovered safely.

  • Imperfect Reflections
    Source: Artifact - Shard of the All-Mirror (True)
    Non-elemental, non-type specific spell framework. Kresge calls upon the power of one of his greatest artifacts - the True Shard of the All-Mirror. According to legend, this is the only surviving fragment of the eponymous All-Mirror - a metaphysical construct of unclear origin, composition and appearance, capable of creating an unlimited number of alternative realities and utilizing them as a fulcrum for absolute omnipotence - infinitely more powerful than any god or deity. The legend goes on to talk of a particularly deceitful god, who succeeded in rallying his brethren into attacking the mirror, inadvertently sacrificing their own lifeforce to destroy it. But as the mirror cracked, the god in question was torn apart by the unfathomable power it released - obliterated utterly, with even his name expunged from all of history.

    The Shard is currently integrated into Kresge's mechanical right arm (though this fact is known solely to him - he has chosen not to divulge information on the Shard or its whereabouts, even to his closest allies), and he may harness it in a variety of ways. The most overt is his unnatural knowledge of such a wide variety of spells - once witnessed, practically any form of magic may be memorized and replicated by Kresge with nigh-perfect accuracy. This ability does have limitations - his inherent magical talent, though great, does limit his ability to cast certain higher-tier incantations immediately after copying, and he must learn to properly utilize them beforehand. Certain forms of magic also require direct contact to mimic, which may be detrimental in the case of offensive spells.

    The Shard may also be used in various more active ways - most notably, Kresge is capable of calling forth an army of eponymous Imperfect Reflections. Akin to spectral lookalikes, they are in actuality countless variations of the Guildmaster from every possible parallel timeline. Their equipment varies wildly, and their power is greatly diminished compared to that of the original, but they may be called upon in unlimited numbers without end, and are capable of coordinating highly complex strategies and incantations alongside their originator. What makes them particularly dangerous is, in fact, Kresge's seemingly pervasive tendency for the collection of relics - practically every Reflection is equipped with its own personal array of magical objects, with a practically unlimited number of effects and permutations (and, theoretically, limitless combined power). Kresge has only used this ability once prior, and hopes to never need it again - all witnesses of its first usage were slain, and all land within a radius of several hundred kilometers was scorched into a wasteland of volcanic glass using Vulcan's Needle, to ensure that no evidence remained of its activation.

    Additional effects include the deflection and reversal of offensive magic, passive mimicry of enemy combat styles and a massive resistance to reality-warping (applied to Kresge himself) - these feats, however, are not obviously connected to the Shard, and as such are performed regularly in combat.

Report