Astral magic is an old form of magic, perhaps the first there was. It began when the first shaman looked to the sky and saw the great shapes that hovered above mankind, the gods in their cradle of stars as they watched the trials on earth from their heavenly seats. It was from those stars that the earliest form of magic arose, for what could be greater than the sun and the moon and the night sky, all of those tantalizing figments floating out there, affixed to a blackened cloth that draped the world. It was not known how they came into being, and for many of those who sought to believe in the stars, it was that mystery, that sense of devoting one's self to a cause of the mysterious and the unknowable, that gave those first shamans their power. For certainly no man on earth could hope to compete with a star, a shining light that would always see where he stood, and what he was doing.
It was believed that the sun hid the stars in the day, but that they could still see what happened, that they were ever vigilant. The first among all stars became known as “The Watcher”, for it stayed always above, regardless of the season, while all others spun around this heavenly axis, this pinnacle among the stars. The others that occupied the night sky each took on the aspect of other areas of man's life, those areas that he could not know, could not comprehend with his limited understanding of the ways and causes of life. Thus were stars such as “The Lover”, “The Dreamer” and “The Warrior” born, for all marked aspects that were, in many ways, simply beyond the control of men. As man grew into his naming of things, he took other stars under his ken, and they each took a name after his behaviour and his actions, but there was one star, that star that was not a star, that men would raise their hands in blessing against, that, if they were forced to look in its direction, they would hold their hand up in front of their face, blocking from their vision that hated blot, that sphere of perfect darkness. Befitting its status as being the opposite of “The Watcher”, it sat low on the horizon, and it was a parable among all those who looked to the stars, for it was called “The Burning Death” or, more often “The Nothing”, and this is how the story goes: Seren Bugeila, the first of all the great astrologers, was watching the sky as the sun set, his head turned to the east, as the blackness crept up over the horizon and the first of his night-time companions revealed themselves to him, and it was in that instant that he saw the lowest of them, sitting barely above the horizon, flare into a sphere so bright and so stunning that the sun rose in the east a second time that day, stopping time for a full day and a full night. Then it ceased, the blinding light that had covered the land disappearing in an instant, and when Seren again looked to that spot on the horizon, there was no light at all, but a darkness, a blackness, of inky and mysterious form. It spoke to Seren of a terrible curse, of a bane that could swallow and destroy the stars to which he prayed. To this day, that dark spot has been considered the enemy, the hatred within all things, and into that blank spot of the night sky is thrown all refuse and all curses. It is said that those who draw their power directly from “The Nothing” are to be the most feared of all men, for they are men no more, but black devourers. None have ever been seen, not from Seren's day to the present, but still do the watchers of the night sky guard themselves against their ancient terror. That is the story of “The Nothing”.
Those who wield the magic of the stars, who see in themselves the great and the terrible effects of what the sky knows, or could know, are known as astrologers, although in their own societies, they may go by many names, be seen as many things. Some are as shifting and ever-spinning as the stars on the horizon. Others are seen as the great rock of their village, of their town, even of their kingdom, for they are the axis upon which that civilization rotates. All of them, however, look upwards, to a force and a creation greater than their own. It is the greatest desire of every astrologer to want to go upwards, into the stars, to become one with those pinpricks of light that seem to offer such wisdom and knowledge. Seeing the world as few around them do, these star-gazers are strange to the mortal men who stride at their side, for although they are flesh and blood of this earth, their soul has stepped down from its high place among the stars for but a moment.
Stars are the spells of the astral magic heavens. They are the known sources of power for a star-channelling class, and like spells, they possess common factors as well. All stars and their effects are considered supernatural abilities, and remain within the star-channeller or the affected target until dismissed. Only the star-channeller can dismiss a star, and he may do so at any time as a full-round action.
Luminescence is the measuring stick for the power of the star-channeller, and in many ways corresponds to caster level, although certainly not in all. Luminescence is the strength of the light that the star-channeller can control, a gauge of how attuned to the stars in the sky he is that night. As his connection is to the stars, it is most intimate when those stars are in full view, for a star-channeller who cannot see the stars is a poorer man for their diminished lights and hidden glow. The star-channeller takes a -1 penalty to his luminescence score when is underground, in a city with bright lights, or is otherwise blocked from seeing the stars. Correspondingly, he gains a +1 bonus on those nights when the sky is clear and the stars seem to offer themselves to the masses over whom they watch.
A star-channeller's knowledge and power are not unlimited, and due to his need to act as a conduit for the great stars in the sky, the amount that he can control is limited. A star-channeller can control a number of stars whose total luminescence does not exceed his luminescence score. Any time he attempts to channel a star which would take him above the limit, he has the option of either cancelling enough existing stars that the newly created star does not put him above the limit, or he can simply let the newly channelled star fail.
Finally, the DC of a save against a star created effect is 10 + the luminescence + the star-channeller's primary ability modifier. The star-channeller needs to have a primary ability score equal to or greater than ten + the luminescence in order to channel that star.