Masters of the Aether
Nebulon: Horns and Microstars
A Nebulon's horns are vitally important, serving as the capturing mechanism that draws in and concentrates aether in the microstar. They are made of a mysterious metallic substance that is stronger than any known metal and extremely resistant to damage.
While the shape of the horns varies with age and by individuals, the horns must always be angled or curved inward to "trap" in the microstar. They cannot be perfectly straight or curve outward.
Rarity of a Nebulon's horns is usually dependent on complexity. Simple prongs are more common than elaborate branched shapes. As a Nebulon grows, it gains access to rarer traits, including the horns, which grow with time.
Common Horn Examples
Common horns are simple, clean pronged shapes. They can have small thorny bumps, sharp angles, and wavy curves, but are otherwise basic in shape.
Uncommon Horn Examples
Uncommon horns have significant protrusions, additional smaller prongs, more complex silhouettes, or more unusual and/or thicker shapes. Note: facial spikes do not count as horn prongs and do not affect horn rarity.
Rare Horn Examples
Rare horns are elaborate in shape and can have multiple large additional prongs. Rare Nebulon may have a single horn that acts as a curved crest, carrying the microstar beneath it. Other horns may have openings inside the main horn shape, or may be joined at the tip.
Legendary Horn Examples
Legendary horns are large, beautiful, and sometimes wildly exaggerated in shape and silhouette. This includes detailed conjoined horns, any asymmetry in horn structure, and horns of highly unusual structure and texture, such as horns with plated or ridged surfaces.
Crown of Daggers
The microstar is the defining aspect of the Nebulon: its source of power, method of feeding, and main means of travel. It is an extremely dense and volatile orb of aether, fire, and a mixture of other elemental energies, which the Nebulon commands with its inner aether.
It is capable of releasing explosive blasts powerful enough to tear through the fabric of the Aetherion, opening short-lived aethergates which the Nebulon uses for instant travel. Nebulon also use smaller explosions in self-defense. Elders are able to refine and control its energy further, turning it into a massive arcane power source that can fuel all sorts of advanced magics. Each time the microstar is used, it weakens until the Nebulon is able to replenish it, so they don't overuse this power to avoid starving themselves.
All microstars are a brilliant orb of white-hot energy that has no clear physical form. Most Nebulon have a single moderately sized microstar. More rarely, the microstar can be larger or smaller, indicating an excess or underdeveloped intake of energy. Older Nebulon might even develop secondary microstars, which are smaller than the main microstar and either orbit it or follow it in a line. Very rarely, a microstar might appear "broken" into luminous fragments. This is usually a result of permanent injury and affects the Nebulon's overall health.
A Nebulon's microstar gives off intense energy at all times, but each individual's energy has its own character and strength. This energy is visualized as an aura: a colored halo of light that surrounds the microstar. The aura can make the microstar appear as a different color, but at its core, all (normal) microstars are white.
Auras can also give off a variety of visual effects, which reflect the unique strengths of the individual Nebulon. Elder Nebulon, with their experience and power, can gain more distinct and dramatic auras.
Common auras are either a simple glow or a wispy trail of light that follows the Nebulon. Less commonly, auras can be multicolored (making the microstar appear as 2 different colors). Some auras have a swirling movement to them, spiraling out of the microstar, whereas other uncommon ones appear to have twin "poles" of energy.
Powerful Nebulon often develop distinct auras that give the microstar a dramatic appearance. These rare auras can take the form of rays (3-6 rays: rare; 7+ rays: legendary), a ring-like halo that floats around the microstar, and a disk that resembles the rings that surround a pearl.
Ancient and/or very powerful Nebulon can have a whole assortment of drastic auras, but some include formations that resemble aetherclouds, huge spirals, and disks that constantly spew out excess energy everywhere the Nebulon goes.