There are no doubt countless uncharted Catalysts in our sector, and beyond, but I believe it's time we started Cataloguing the ones that we find. To that end I am adding a knowledge scale on each known Catalyst. If you encounter one that I am unaware of send me a missive and I'll get it added!
Below you'll find a few of the most commonly accessible Catalysts in the sector. Please note that these are cursory examinations, and that I will provide more information about my specific journey to each Catalyst in another volume. Note that I intend to sell you these volumes at 10 credits a pop. Hey, a relic hunter's got to eat.
The Tree of Shaya
Known Primals: Shayans, Drifters
Known Guardian: Voria
Defining Ability: Cleanse
Common Materials: Shayawood, Blood of Shaya
The Tree of Shaya was grown by the goddess Voria when she carpeted the entire planet Shaya in redwood forests. The Tree with a capital T has been imbued with a fragment of Voria's strength, and in her words is meant to foster their people.
All entryways into the Tree are sealed off, and would be adventurers should be prepared to deal with Paladins of Voria, or Bord's Enforcers. The enforcers are a local gang of drifters that has taken it upon themselves to protect and maintain the Great Tree.
The tree is too young to directly attract primals, but were it allowed to flower long enough it would begin shaping new drifters and Shayans, just as the original Great Trees created them in the first place.
Voria, also known as the Lady of Light, is theoretically the Guardian. However, she is often away on Confederate business, and rarely spends any time at or around the Shaya, much less the Great Tree. However, Voria is a powerful goddess, and can translocate to her tree at any time.
It is also reputed that the soul of Shaya herself watches over the tree, though I haven't been able to verify that claim.
Effect: Removes a sickness, or pain such as a migraine
Uses: Once per day
Description: Removes one sickness, ailment, or pain from the target. If this ability removes a persistent pain such as a still healing wound, or active surgery, that pain is abated until the target wakes from their next night of sleep. This ability can be used on the caster.
When used the caster's hands glow with a brilliant golden light. This is unmistakable to anyone who has ever seen the ability, and as there is only one way to get it... those who've stolen the magic should be wary.
Effect: +1 resistance
Cost: 1,000 credits per plank
Description: Shayawood is half the weight of tritanium, but every bit as tough. More importantly it is resistant to magic, a quality that every starship is interested in acquiring. Shayawood provides +1 resistance to any item crafted with it.
Blood of Shaya
Effect: +3 to all attributes, edge on all skill and combat checks, +1 to all defenses
Cost: 12,000 credits a potion.
Description: Note that stealing the blood is highly, highly illegal, and that both Voria's Paladins, and Bord's Enforcers actively hunt down thieves. Don't get Caught.
The Blood of Shaya makes you a god, and grants godsight, for a very short time. You see a fraction of a second into the future, and every fiber of your being is enhanced. Unfortunately, this effect is short-lived and will only persist for a few minutes, which is generally a single combat. I don't know anyone who's rich enough to ever use one of these if I'm being honest.
The Echo of Nebiat
Known Primals: Spites, Angers
Known Guardian: Unknown
Defining Ability: Wrench Will
Common Materials: None
One of the newest Catalysts in the sector was created on the planet of the same name. The Krox's capital was re-christened Nebiat in honor of their mother, the goddess who brought the earth hatchlings back from the edge of extinction in our sector.
Nebiat's anger at her unjust death is all consuming, and her primals reflect that. They come in two varieties-- spites, and angers. Both are incorporeal spirits, and both exist to wreak havoc on the living. There have already been a plague of hauntings in the cities around the Echo of Nebiat.
The Echo of Nebiat definitely has a guardian. A wild Catalyst is easily identified, and hers is too orderly to be such. Someone is controlling it, but that person or being is definitely keeping quiet about it.
Spites are much more lethal than their impish name implies. They are a normally incorporeal spirit that can gain physical form through an extended eight hour ritual. A spite gloms on to a group of people, and at any given time reflects the form of one of them. If Rava is on a bio break, then this thing looks like her. When she comes back it might try to mimic Briff if he happens to be out of the room.
Bit by bit the spite will sow discord. It will get you to fight by saying terrible things. When you confront your friend they have no idea what you're talking about, and want to know why you're accusing them of such heinous things. Once a spite has worked this group into a distracted mess they complete the ritual and gain physical form. They then attempt to murder the entire group, one by one, in painful and humiliating ways. Bonus points if it can cause you to kill yourself.
There are ways to defend yourself, but I'm not as naive as I used to be. I'm putting those in the bestiary, behind that paywall. I'm kidding. All spirits have a weakness. They cannot traverse a line of salt. If you think you've got a spite, then bisect a room with salt, and start making people cross.
As a final note spites love angers. Many spites will follow a nearby anger, and wait for the aftermath to make their move.
Angers are much more straight forward. An anger possesses the nearest target, and starts murdering everyone around them. Groups that approach the Catalyst will figure out pretty quick when one has grabbed someone in their party. All you have to do is look for the spellaxe to the back of your skull from the person who was your best bud this morning.
Now I don't want to sound judge-y, and I don't assign attributes like good and evil to a Catalyst, but man...those are some messed up primals. Nebiat sounds like she was a swell gal in life.
N/A. I haven't got a clue.
If you survive the angers and spites, and reach the effigy itself, then Nebiat will dispense her awful will to you. It comes in the form of raw binding, which is hideously illegal in every major system. Can't imagine why.
Effect: Force target to follow any single command
Duration: Up to one hour
Uses: Once per day
Description: The caster makes a spellcasting + expression check against a target's skepticism. If the roll is successful, then the target must obey any single order, even if that order requires them to do something they wouldn't normally do. If you ordered a guard to kill his companion, then he'd obey until the fight was over. As soon as his companion is dead he'd be free to do whatever he wished.
N/A. Nebiat is a spiritual entity, and hasn't had much time to corrupt the land around her yet. Check back in a decade.
The Flame of Knowledge
Known Primals: Arachnidrakes, The Swarm
Known Guardian: Unknown
Defining Ability: Gaze of Divinity
Common Materials: Fire Silk, Chitin Shards
The Flame of Knowledge is a derelict Great Ship nestled deep within the Vagrant Fleet's remains. It's a massive ship, and I only saw a small part. This place is incredibly dangerous, but there are knowledge scales everywhere. I came away with a map of every Catalyst in the galaxy as it stood 10,000 years ago. Who knows what I left behind?
If you want fire magic you're going to have to make it to the bridge, where you'll encounter a temporal matrix connected to an Artifact with a capital A called the Web of Divinity. The longer you stay connected the more your sanity erodes. There is a darkness trapped in that ship, eager to spread, so don't think you're going to have free rein to play with time. There is always a cost.
The madness has already corrupted the swarm from servants and caretakers to a horde of devouring death that will kill anything it encounters. They aren't the only threat, though. The arachnidrakes are none too friendly with invaders, and I spent three weeks bald and with no eyebrows. You've been warned.
We also encountered a Wyrm named Cindra, and her hatchlings. They seem fairly content to leave people alone if they're left alone, and they might be open to barter. They love Arena, so if you have any DLC you can share you'll score some big points.
Beyond that I can't tell you much. The rest of the ship is a mystery. Be careful.
The Flame of Knowledge was constructed by a forgotten goddess, and when I say forgotten I mean she went full magical witness protection and GTFO. Her name has been erased from history.
The creatures she left behind seem an odd choice, but without knowing who created them it's hard to understand why. There are two dominant groups.
The Swarm is comprised of millions of spiders all sharing a single intelligence. These creatures have webbed off the bridge, and attempt to keep everyone away from it. I believe they were created to tend to the Web of Divinity and the Archive, where most of the knowledge scales are stored. If you could find a way to cure the insanity, then you might restore them both and cure the swarm.
Get ready to get eaten while trying though.
Arachnidrake hatchlings appear related to dragons, but with eight limbs, and eight creepy eights. Most carry staves, and all appeared to be competent fire mages. They were extremely hostile, but their scholars speak ancient draconic, and were willing to speak before trying to murder me.
I say unknown, but when I was aboard the ship I helped an arachnidrake named Kek become guardian in an attempt to control the madness. He believed he would be unable to contain it, and that eventually when it consumed him another of his people, or someone else, would need to step up and take the mantle. It's possible that's already happened.
I hope not. Even though he burned off my eyebrows Kek seemed like a good...spider-dragon-thing.
Gaze of Divinity
Effect: Cannot be lied to. Can see through any barrier, including darkness.
Uses: At will
Description: The Gaze of Divinity allows the mage to perceive the universe as it really is, not as your enemies might wish it to be. You can see the truth nature of all things, all enchantments within your field of view. If you concentrate you can see through walls or other barriers, and darkness is no hindrance.
Anyone who lies will cause a faint buzzing in your head, though they can repeat a lie they believe.
Taking this power opens a crack in your mind. The shadows are there, lurking, though there are no other ill effects beyond feeling like something is watching you.
Effect: Firesilk is incredibly strong, and highly resistant to heat
Description: Fire silk is often used to weave magical clothing, or to embroider powerful sigils. It provides 2 armor and 2 fire resistance, while being incredibly lightweight
Effect: Can be burned for spell points
Description: Crushing a chitin shard, the carapace of a spider from the swarm, with release its stored fire magic. A mage will absorb this energy, but if the shard is used in a controlled environment it can also start fires.
The Skull of Xal
Known Primals: Tech demons
Known Guardian: Xal'Aran
Defining Ability: Track Magic
Common Materials: Void Stones, Entropic Bone
The Skull of Xal, now known as the Mind of Xal, is one of the more powerful Catalysts in the sector, and is doubly important not merely for its strength, but also for its aspect. Void magic and its ability to open Fissures makes it the heart of interstellar trade, and void mages are always in high demand.
Slavers often bring crews full of slaves, which they will provide with limited armament, and then hurl into the demonic defenders as a distraction, while they make a run at the Mind. A hundred slaves go in, and perhaps one to three emerge. Even one will usually make the trip profitable for the slaver in question.
Note that the practice of slavery is illegal in the Confederacy, and that they will conscript any slavers they find into service.
The Skull of Xal is controlled by legions of tech demons. These demons forge their own weapons and armor, as well as scavenging the equipment hand-delivered to them by foolish adventurers or slavers seeking to steal magic from the Mind. Note that I'm not stupid enough to try.
Demons are strong, tough, and resistant to all magic. They come in a variety of species, but the most commonly reported are the Brutes, Spinerippers, and Taskmasters. All three are detailed in the bestiary (which I'm totally charging 20 credits for), but here's the shorthand.
Bonecrushers are large and heavily armored. They generally carry some sort of two-handed spellweapon, and seem to have been trained as war mages. They channel the void through their bodies, which allows them to weaken armor, or to add a layer of disintegration to their weaponry. Don't get hit.
Spinerippers are masters of stealth. These winged demons carry no weapons, but their hands end in long claws, and they are strong enough to live up to their name. Spinerippers earned this by divebombing or leaping behind a target, and then wrenching their spine and skull from the body. It's as grisly as it sounds. There's footage on Quantum if you're got a strong stomach.
Taskmasters are the squad leaders driving their demonic troops into battle. Most carry a spellcannon or spellrifle, and are masters of their chosen weapon. They end people in a single shot. Don't get hit. Taskmasters are resistant to magic, and are extremely agile. Take them down in melee if you can.
The Mind of Xal is protected by the demon prince Xal'Aran, who has made approaching it dramatically more difficult. Aran was once a member of the confederate military, and understands both their ways, and those of slavers as he himself was once a slave. It's a straight made-for-holo tragedy to riches story, though if by chance Aran or his friends happen to read this please don't eat me for that comment.
Aran is as master of destruction magic, and is trained as a war mage. He's well equipped, and carries the legendary spellblade Narlifex, which has apparently murdered a god. If you suspect that you are anywhere near Aran I'd advise you to flee unless you've brought gods as backup. It's far better to avoid his notice. Get in and get out.
So what's the payoff if you reach the mind? You get to commune with the deity Xal. You see what he saw, and are shown a vision from his memory. You might relive a battle millions of years ago, or witness the creation of another reality. There are all sorts of accounts from every epoch of history.
Most mages come away with void magic, but there are exceptions. A select few are chosen to become a Hound of Xal. This forever links them to the world devourer, and allows them to track magic.
Effect: Mage can track magical auras back to their source, regardless of distance.
Duration: One Hour
Uses: Once per day
Description: Once per day the mage may enhance their senses to become more aware of the magical energies swirling all around us. If any form of magic has been in that location they will be able to follow a glowing trail to its current location. This includes mages, an eldimagus, or even a mana beer. There is no maximum range, however the ability will only last for an hour.
There are a number of available magical materials in and around the Skull of Xal, but the two most accessible and most commonly sought are entropic bone and void stones, detailed below.
Effect: Can store up to 3 spell pool, which a caster can drain at will. Also suitable to hold a void enchantment such as a void pocket. The stone may be charged by any void mage by simply transferring 1-3 pool into it.
Cost: 1,000 credits
Description: Void stones are found orbiting the Skull of Xal, and emit a faint purple glow if charged. They tend to be found in patches of 5-10.
Effect: Adds 1 point of armor and 10 hit points to the item being created.
Description: Entropic bone can be worked into nearly any shape, and serves as a major component in almost all demotech.