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"There are lots of things the Luminaries could be. I find it most useful to think of them as stories that sort of, insist on themselves until they become true."
―Tales from Spéir: The Luminaries
Luminaries are two things at once. They are best known as powerful cards in the Illimat deck, but they are also legends (legends that might just be true, if you believe the old salts). Everyone has heard the stories of these entities, but no one is sure what they actually are: gods, fates, spirits, or something far more complicated. They are known throughout Spéir, though not always by the same names from language to language.[1]

Out of universe, they are used as a mechanic in play. They do not replace story points,[2] but are also used to influence the story when the odds do not look good for a player.[3] They are assigned tarot-like meanings; when a player chooses to draw a Luminary, these meanings are applied to the situation at hand and the GM and players work together to decide the outcome of the Luminary's influence.[3]

List of Luminaries

The Butcher[4]

  • Views humanity only as prey.[1]

The Changeling[4]

  • Themes: Transformation, yearning, impulse, and will[5]
  • Descriptive Text: The Changeling comes of age. They find new power and new desire and allow that to alter them. By nature the Changeling is a creature of transition. It is at times unsatisfied with even stable arrangements. The Changeling looks upon freedom and joy and burs to answer their call.[5]
  • A narrative interpretation: A PC has the power and will to adapt to a new paradigm. Brittle things will break away to reveal new strength beneath. Someone caught between the past and the present will the resolve to embrace their destiny.[5]
  • In tales, died for his love.[1]

The Children[4]

  • Themes: Consequence, Inevitability, and Eternity.[3]
  • "This can favor the PCs by suggesting they will bring judgement. It can also threaten the PCs by suggesting that their crimes have been noticed.”[3]

The Forest Queen[4]

  • Themes: Power, Dominance, Expectation, and Order[6]
  • Descriptive Text: This can be a tremendous boon to you, but it comes with an unforeseen price. Once she has given, the queen will want to be repaid. Her debts are rarely settled, and her favors are more about her ends than yours.[6]
  • "Has all the power and wrath of an ancient god."[1]

The Island[4]

  • Views humanity only as prey.[1]
  • Potentially the same island which draws in sailors and birthed the strange being known as The Mariner[7]...in which case it is a hungry, pitiless thing indeed.

The Maiden[4]

  • In tales, died for her love.[1]
  • "The Maiden is almost always on the party’s side.”[3]

The Soldiers[4]

  • Descriptive Text: You were the instrument of a higher power that is seen or one that is beyond your comprehension. A force larger than yourself seeks to deceive you in order to control you. Death is a fate that awaits those that continue along this path.[8]
  • Fit the description of "spirits or shades of folk that once lived."[1]

The River[4]

  • Themes: Temptation, Destruction, Challenge
  • Descriptive Text: The River is unmistakably dangerous. However, the River is ultimately a barrier, something that separates one bank from another. At great risk, it can be crossed, and an equally great reward can be claimed. Some say that makes the River wicked, as it calls out, promising fortune and grace, only to drag souls down. However, heroes are baptized in the strife of the current.
  • "Dramatically raises the stakes on any action associated with it, both by increasing the challenge presented and the potential reward promised. The challenge set by the River should always be obviously daunting, but the spoils should be enough to call the heroes to danger." [6]

The Union[4]

  • Descriptive Text: The Union favors harmony. Where there is a bond, the Union grants strength. This power can stretch beyond any distance or barrier. Souls in the thrall of the Union can find strength even when they are separated by death. However, the bond must be true, without selfishness or cynicism, in order to work.[8]

The Loom[4]

  • Descriptive Text: The Loom is a symbol for all those who take pains to serve the ones they love, but it is also their jailor. It is an act of sacrifice that precedes rewards and gratitude, or, in some bitter cases, met with no acknowledgement at all. In the stories, a sacrifice on the Loom is how the crane repaid the man who had shown her kindness. It saved them during a hard winter, and it also broke her and caused pain to them both.[9]

The Perfect Crime[4]

  • Descriptive Text: Plans in motion are destined to bear fruit. Even if there are elements that were unaccounted for, the winds of fate have conspired to make them advantageous. This does not mean that events will unfold exactly as people desire, just that it will place you at advantage.[10]

"The poor fellow who married a bird and chased her away"[1]

  • Since this is presented in the list of stories related to the Luminaries, it is likely this is a Luminary; however, the present writer cannot match this description up to an existing Luminary.
    • It's possible that this refers to The Loom.

"The lad who chased revenge into the belly of a whale"[1]

  • Since this is presented in the list of stories related to the Luminaries, it is likely this is a Luminary; however, the present writer cannot match this description up to an existing Luminary.

Unconfirmed Luminaries

These are Luminaries which exist in the Illimat card game but which have not yet shown up in Sky Jacks material.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Tales from Spéir: The Luminaries
  2. Sky Jacks: Episode 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Sky Jacks: Episode 1
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 https://www.reddit.com/r/Illimat/wiki/luminaries
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sky Jacks: Episode 8
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sky Jacks: Episode 3
  7. Tales from Spéir: The Mariner
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sky Jacks: Episode 4
  9. Sky Jacks: Episode 6
  10. Sky Jacks: Episode 5
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