Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah



The parents of the Soulless Escorts might feel differently about the Retribution's 'mercy' if they know what their unwanted offspring were used for. They try to train the soulless as soldiers, but not all of them are suitable. Some are destined to serve other functions, as their unique state allows them to neutralize arcane energy by their very presence. Energy flows are siphoned into their bodies, leaving disfiguring burns. Too much causes organ failure - the heart and lungs burst from the energy, leaving those around them unharmed. Using the soulless this way is relatively new and experimental. For decades, sympathetic midwives and priests of Scyrah have smuggled the children to the Retribution, who are raised and trained in a sealed Iryss enclave to handle weapons and obey commands. However, their lack of self-will and motviation makes most of them lackluster at best, as killers, and one favored use of these individuals is to exploit their ability to interfere with magical energies. They serve as lightning rods for the lives of others against hostile magic. Most who have to deal with them do not take well to having a soulless around, and the escort is never considered truly part of the group. Some are treated as little more than pack mules, never spoken to at all.



Even the best myrmidon needs repair and support, and that's what an Arcanist is for. They are seasoned mechanics with a working knowledge of arcanika that allows them to fix even mostly ruined myrmidons. Their expertise also gives them subtle arcane power to push these machines to their limits. It takes a lot of bravery to maintain focus in battle while the myrmidons they service are under fire. They have a more intimate working knowledge of myrmidon function than anyone else, since even the designers never have to rush to pry open access panels and replace focusing lenses while getting shot at. Most arcanists are House Shyeel, at least in the Retribution, or are affiliated with an allied house of lower standing. Each of the few houses able to produce myrmidons have their own techniques, secrets and standards, and maintaining the machines is a highly specialized skill taught master to apprentice. Every arcanist answers to their mentor or another house agent to ensure Shyeel secrets are kept. They rarely care much about politics or religion.



A Dawnguard Destor Thane is a veteran of the destor tradition, a ranking officer entrusted to oversee the execution of a battle plan involving multiple captains and their companies. They are very proud of their reputations as armies of one. After years in the saddle, they are supremely skilled with their lance cannons, able to firem ultiple blasts in sequence or charge to obliterate enemies under the hooves of their steeds. In the civil war against House Vyre, they made the difference in breaking through the defenders, and many went on to become prominent Dawnguard leaders. Warcasters rely heavily on the thanes not just for their martial skill, but their leadership in battle. Many destor officers believe the true potential of heavy cavalry has yet to be realized, and look to prove their value on the foreign battlefield. For years, the only true threats to Iosan armies have been from within, and now is the chance for an innovative officer to prove themselves against unpredictable threats. They embrace the chance to fight for the Retribution and test their theories.



Dawnguard Scyirs are ranking officers, borriwng titles of the Divine Court. They are the elite of the elite, outranking even thanes, and often lead task forces of mixed units. They tend to be nobles, and for those that prefer the battlefield to politics, there's no need for higher rank than this. They are the pinnacle of martial coordination, allowed to focus all their energy on those tasks and ignore the distractions of logistics and politics, which are left for their superiors. Scyirs are the lords of the battlefield, and each one is a hero. They are both formidable and also capable of directing both myrmidons and all Dawnguard branches in the absence of a full warcaster. In recent years, they actually enjoyed unquestioned authority on the battlefield, but that shifted since House Nyarr joined the Retribution. Now, they must work with mage hunter commanders and high-ranking houseguard. Those who succeed will be the ones that can earn the genuine respect of their peers without expecting unquestioning obedience.



House Shyeel Magisters have even more control over raw force than their battle mage subordinates, able to simply ignore mortar and rifle fire. They use invisible energies to tear out limbs and haul machinery around with ease, but their immense arcanika gauntlets serve just well in beating things to death. Magisters do not forgive failure and are impatient at best with those they see as mental inferiors. Even among allies, they are treated as forces to be appeased, capble of unimaginable destruction. They don't take orders well, even from ranking Dawnguard or mage hunters, and do better with 'requests.' Magiesters often convey secret instructions and contingencies from House Shyeel leaders, so they have influence beyond their rank, and those who antagonize them may find themselves lacking myrmidons and support staff...or they might receive visits from angry wizards asking for apologies or duels.



Mage Hunter Assassins are practiced killers, able to bring down even warcasters. They descend from an ancient cult brought in by the Retribution, a group of warrior-monks who mastered the fighting form of klyvenesh, the striking serpent, which served Lyliss. The Consulate Court had once used them as government assassins. The cult vanished along with the city Shaelvas, but its practices were carried on by those who would join the Retribution. They became a small, specialized offshoot of the mage hunters who kept to their old martial traditions. They are insular and highly proud of their skills. Recruitment is slow - chain blades are tricky weapons and take exceptional reflexes to not kill yourself with, but a skilled assassin can send one a huge distance in an instant, and be ready for close quarters in the next.



Ostensibly, Ghost Snipers are a specialized patrol soldier, but they have an ominous reputation with the Homeguard Coalition and the citizens of Ios, who say they are sometimes used to eliminate 'dangerous' Iosans. Many nobles would be horrified to learn that a sizable number have joined the Retribution. They are not an organization, so much as a group of people focused on the same skills and tasks. Snipers of lower houses take on this role to sell their services to the military, and many nobles can call on ghosts for escort protection or to assign them certain tasks. It's not uncommong for them to supplement regular military forces as fire support, either - occasionally in secret. When Houses Nyarr and Shyeel joined the Retribution, a number of ghost snipers offered their services, either already symphathetic or just seeking profit and a chance to use their skills on some humans.

Next time: Named characters.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



The average elf has like a foot of neck. They all look Kaminoans under that armor. Alternatively I kind of like the idea that this guy has a paper-mache decoy head on top of his actual head, hidden in that big turtleneck thing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah



Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios, is still a mercenary who'll work for Cygnar, Khador and the Protectorate, but when she works for the Retribution she counts as one of them. She is unusual in that she has been able to stomach working with outsiders for decades now, selling her services to the people she is going to kill. She wins their trust and betrays them later, earning her both respect and confusion from her Retribution peers. Keldeacon Synvas Uithuyr first recognized Eiryss as unusually talented when he was training her, seeing that she had a very strong will. She quickly outpaced her teammates on her first covert assignment, achieving mission objectives alone or despite their blunders. In time, she gained the attention of Narn, who took her under his wing as an assassin trainee. She proved worthy and, after several years, found the limits of operating traditionally. She was good at killing people, but the traditional operations failed to gain access to information on high-priority targets, like military arcanists and warcasters. She had to infiltrate. She committed herself to work as a mercenary, and it's proven highly effective, amazing even the Nine Voices with her genius for assassinating people without alienating clients. It's been a tightrope, but she's walked it well, working alone and only briefly contacting Retribution cells with information. The intelligence she has sent has been key to otherwise impossible missions, and she very carefully manages her activities so that she is not suspected in those events. Both Khador and Cygnar often fail to keep detailed records of mercenary hires, which she uses to her advantage. She has a lot of information on warcasters and ranking human officers, helping the Retribution create a comprehensive picture of their foes, which they intend to use liberally now.



Eiryss, Angel of Retribution, is the first epic character we've seen. Basically, as the storyline advances, characters get new versions released, 'epic' in that they are from further in the storyline. They tend to be of about equal raw power as their old versions. Eiryss will still work for Cygnar, Khador or the Protectorate, or as a full Retribution unit. She has kept her hatred of humanity buried for years, and while her methods were never embraced by the Retribution, she was seen as a kind of legendary angel of wrath embodying their goals. She became something more when she confirmed Nyssor's survival in Korsk. She fought the eldritch Goreshade, though she now admits that chasing Goreshade was reckless, though he was a fool to let her live. He had felt compelled to explain his actions, to convince her they shared ap urpose. In doing so, he had revealed his plan to murder both Nyssor and Scyrah as part of a mad scheme to restore Ios' spiritual balance. Eiryss ignored her wounds to return to Nyssor, only to witness his frozen vault being stolen by Khadoran Greylords. She was too inured to chase them, but returned to Ios to relate what had happened, stirring the Retribution to full war readiness. She sees herself as just another soldier doing what must be done, but has become a rallying point for the Retribution and a legend among new recruits. She ignores their adoration to focus on her continuing crusade, fighting for Scyrah and murdering human wizards. The movements of the Retribution mean her usual tactics are riskier now, and she's convinced she's on borrowed time, but that just means she has to work harder. So long as Goreshade and human wizards live, she cannot rest. Eiryss believes her role abroad is just as vital now as ever, and has resumed her work, gathering intelligence that no one else can. This version of Eiryss is more focused on sniping and countermagic but is not significantly different than the older Eiryss.



Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen is one of many Fane Knights, soldiers who have pledged their lives to defending Scyrah to the last heartbeat. He was her personal guard for a long time, and each day, he felt powerless to help her, eventually turning to the Retribution for answers. He is a blood noble of one of the Five Great Military Houses, but like all Fane Knights he forsook his family ties entirely. The reasons are not well known, but are rooted in secrets of the War of the Houses, when he was young. During that time, he learned that his house's lords were involved in terrible concessions to House Vyre, ensuring their own position even if Vyre won the civil war in return for resources and neutrality in the conflict. Skeryth left House Issyen as soon as he learned of the depravities committed by High Consul Ghyrrshyld Vyre, and while he has not spoken out against them, he immediately chosen to join the knighthood of Scyrah, proving himself despite his youth. He found a new home there, and has spent most of the last 25 years serving the fane, first in Iryss and then Shyrr. Three years ago he was made Scyrah's personal guard, the highest of honors. The longer he spent in the Presence, the deeper his frustration grew, and he began to realize the vigil was futile, that he needed a more active way to help. He was receptive when Ravyn, the Eternal Light, approached him to request he join the Retribution. He had served under her before, briefly, and she persuaded him with his own doubts. Unwilling to fully abandon his order, he's still a Fane Knight, and he's convinced his superiors to let him march with the Retribution as an observor. His ppers don't know why he'd give up such a good post, but they haven't sotpped him. He has no intention of just observing, however. He wants to fight, and hopes that the Retribution's claims are correct, that he finally has an enemy that he can direct his anger at. It has rekindled a hope he thought had been lost. He knows he may never see Scyrah again, but it's all worth it if he can heal her. His life has been prepration for battle, but he's never personally witnessed war. Whether he can be capable of ruthlessness or not is unproven, and the years ahead will be a trial for both his piety and his honor.



Nayl is soulless, living only because the Retribution saved him as an infant. He is an uncomfortable reminder of the doom awaiting the Iosans, and in due time, he will die, and no one will mourn. None of that bothers him. He has no emotions - no loneliness, no anger, ho happiness. He knows nothing about his parents, and his only family has been his Retribution handlers. He is eerily calm at all times, and he has solid black eyes, like all soulless. On the few occasions he tries to mimic normal facial expression, it's mostly unsettling, since it never reaches his eyes. His posture and gestures are all rehearsed, but he is an individual. He has cunning, a certain curiosity and a small need to please his superiors. It's a recognizable if weak personality. He is a particular success of his trainers - he is adaptable, unlike most other soulless, able to follow orders to the spirit rather than just the letter. He's almost enthusiastic about sowrdsmanship, communciating better with a blade than his words. He is a living weapon, without pride in his actions but some deeper drive that forces him to hone his skill. He spends hours practicing in silence, sparring against other mage hunters but never tiring. He is an arcane vortex, having undergone extensive mental conditioning that means his death in battle will produce an unstoppable vacuum of magical power. His death was expected years ago, and it's only his skills that have kept him from fulfilling this ultimate function, so he is now used as a killing machine. He is frequently utilized by Garryth, Blade of Retribution, though not out of friendship. Garryth is just more tolerant of Nayl than most people. He completes all tasks with reliably deadly efficiency, awaiting the day he is given the order that will kill him. He obeys complex codes of behavior that were instilled in him by the Retribution since his childhood, protecting Iosans and killing their enemies. He shows no preference for either of these tasks over the other.



Narn, Mage Hunter of Ios, is unknown outside the Retribution and a legend within it. He is a blindingly fast blademaster and a graceful killer, one of the eldest active mage hunters who has killed more than anyone except, possibly, his disciple Eiryss. He has trained quite a lot of mage hunters, actually, but he's never taught at Syvash Stronghold. He doesn't think of himself as a trainer and he has little patience for the uninitiated. Rather, he steps in to help those who already have exceptional skill, breaking them of their bad habits and molding them, often harshly, into efficient killers. He has a lot of flexibility in his choice of jobs, and he prefers to work alone. He is a good commander but doesn't like having direct oversight. No one would refuse his aid, and his arrival is both welcome and ominous. When he helps in broader operations, it means what's going on is hugely important, and he always arrives just where he is most needed, often turning a botched kill into a success. He has traveled throughout the Iron Kingdoms, but prefers to operate in the parts of Cygnar and Llael nearest the Iosan border, where he currnetly hunts both Greylords and Llaelese Resistance mages. He has been assisting in the planned recovery of Nyssor. Even those trained by him describe him as quiet and elusive, speaking as little as possible and preferring to communicate by gesture and expression. If age has dulled him, no one has been able to tell. He can spring into attack without warning, and Eiryss is one of the few with whom he shares any of his thoughts, though she's never revealed them to others. Both are solitary by nature, but can occasionally be seen working together, silent and deadly.

The End.

So, what's next? Hordes core, Protectorate of Menoth, Cygnar, Khador, Cryx, Mercenaries or Convergence of Cyriss?

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.
Would be interested in seeing hordes - what little I've heard of its races sounded really cool.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015
Definitely. Let's see what the non-mech part of the franchise looks like.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

theironjef posted:

I was born a Triple Triad man and I'll die a Triple Triad man.

Oh my poo poo, first you're wrong about turtles and now this.

I mean, I understand you probably don't know how far Donatello has fallen lately, but even so.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



Hordes is the counterpart to Warmachine, but focusing on groups that aren't really organized, nations or even for the most part human. Instead of warcasters, it has warlocks - similar, but generally with fewer spells and abilities - and instead of warjacks it has warbeasts. Warbeasts are alive, and so they tend to be more responsive and faster than 'jacks, they don't s hut down when not taken care of (instead, they tend to go berserk) and they grant magical powers to their warlocks. However, they are often squisher, and they have fewer things that can break when they get hurt - which means the things that do break tend to break worse. Overall, warlocks aren't quite as good as warcasters, but warbeasts are generally a little better than warjacks. On average, that is. There are exceptions to everything.



Our general history is this time written by Asheth Magnus, better known as Magnus the Traitor, a Cygnaran general who remained loyal to Vinter Raelthorne IV during the coup. He writes about how fragile civilization truly is. He believes change is coming, a new era. It was only four centuries ago that the Orgoth were driven from the lands of men, and it would not be hard for them to be conquered again. Little is known of the land across the Meredius from which the Orgoth came in their longships. The ancestors of humanity were not prepared for them, that much is certain. It was two centuries before their conquest ended, but it was complete.

They changed everything, enslaving western Immoren with dark magic, but some of the tribal groups evaded them because they preferred cities. They still subjugated trollkin kriels and claimed sites of power from the blackclad, razing them and defiling them with dark temples meant to contain the souls of thousands. However, those that survived the Orgoth became strong for it. The Rebellion was sparked by four centuries of occupation, a 200-year campaign of reprisal. Many will take credit for it, but the truth is, it required the combined efforts of every nation, every cult, every dark god. By the end, mechanika had been invented, and new, potent weapons: guns and battle sorcery. The Council of Ten signed the Corvis Treaties and ushered in what they hoped would be an age of peace.

But men are men, and peace cannot last. They were just better armed now, those four nations we call the Iron Kingdoms, and the Protectorate that would join their number later. The proof of this can be seen in Khador, where battle is loved over all things. They descend from dozens of tribes, brought together as one nation with a thirst for empire. They are a proud and noble people, unashamed of what they are and not so primitive as people sometimes say. They are quite modern now, and quite potent.

Then there is Ord, a rugged land of sailors and soldiers, smugglers and pirates. A fine place if you aren't poor or a marsh hillbilly, and a haven for mercenaries. It has largely avoided involvement in modern war, and it lacks in resources but is rich in shrewd tactics, particularly defensively. No one really wants to risk the damage they'll take conquering it. Its king, Baird Cathor II, is known as the Bandit King for his taxes levied against the rich, but the poor love him. He is a cunning man.

Once, there was Llael, but it was devoured by Khador. It relied too strongly on its Cygnar alliance, and it was always the smallest and weakest kingdom. The trouble is, you see, they had no king - their last died, and no new one was chosen. Without a strong king, how can a nation stand? Once, Cygnar knew that, but it has always been complacent, too willing to sit back and return to peace. Worse, it has always been too willing to let the Church of Morrow meddle in politics. The worst of that was in 594 AR, when the ambitious usurper Leto stole the throne of his brother, the rightful King Vinter. Leto is shrewd, to be sure, and a decent king in peacetime, but he lacks the strength to lead in wartime.

Worse yet is the Protectorate of Menoth, literally run by the Church of Menoth after the Cygnaran Civil War. The Cygnarans let that end in peace, rather than crushing it utterly. Leto had tried to bring lasting peace, but what peace can be had with zealots? They took advantage of it, and where the Morrowans are too forgiving, the Menites are harsh and brutal, an uncompromising church of tyrants.

But it is easy to forget that men are not all there is out there. The Rhul live east of Khador, dwarves of the mountains. They are very like to humanity, and increasingly are becoming involved in human struggles. Once, they were aloof and distant, but are now a common sight, and it was they who helped invent the colossals that led to warjacks. South of them are the Iosan elves, of whom little is known. They are withdrawn from the world, and have been for decades, which is rather worrying, especially as violent elves have secretively trickled out. They plan something, be sure of that.

Then there's the Nightmare Empire of Cryx, ruled over by the dragon Toruk, who wields necromantic power like a sword. The lich lords and Toruk are all immortal and immensely potent. Only the dead can handle Toruk's presence, so dark a force is he. He is god to his people as well as tyrant, and his priests are twisted and warped by his nature. You can deal with Cryx, but you can never trust them. They could have been destroyed long ago, had people not ignored them, complacent in the idea that they were no problem.

Few understand the pragmatic truth - that peace is just a time to rearm and prepare - like the trollkin kriels. They have always been forced into the harshest lands, away from fertility and peace. Humans have forgotten the trollkin, as they have forgotten so many conquered peoples. They are not, however, the primitive savages that people claim. They are organized, courageous and able to endure hardships that would leave men crushed and broken. They are as smart and adaptable as any human, and they are angry. Many overlook the Trollkin Wars of three centuries back, when the kriels faced the colossals and won. The kriels remain, and they are stronger than ever. They are reluctant, perhaps, to challenge the kingdoms of men outright, but if men are distracted fighting each other...well, that is another thing entirely. In a time of war, a 'minor uprising' can alter the course of history, and the kriels of today will not be easily bribed into silence.

Never doubt, also, that cabals of manipulators are out there. They are. Religions on the fringes, neither Menite nor Morrowan. Many blame Thamrites for various disparate events. More frightening, though, are the worshippers of Cyriss, the Maiden of Gears, who have infiltrated the educated of many cities, who are capable of longterm plans. However, both of these cults still believe in the strength of humanity and prefer to stay out of human wars.

The ancient gods are different. A shaman of Dhunia protecting their tribe is like a bear defending her cubs, and it is the shamans who truly command the trollkin. More dangerous still are the cannibal warriors of the Devourer Wurm, a god of chaos and destruction whose cult was believed long destroyed. It is not. Fear also the blackclads, druids who draw on the powers of chaos and revere an untamable god, but who follow a strict hierarchy. They have always watched from the shadows, and now they step forth, and the Devourer cults obey them. Their agenda is strange and opaque, but they must not be underestimated. They can wield nature itself against you by magic no man could comprehend, with no resemblance to the ordered sorcery of humanity. It is something older, more primal.

Among both druids and trollkin are warrior-mages, called warlocks, who can draw on the fury and strength of beasts. This is so potent it could even stand against modern warjacks and mechanika. It's said that the druids have been cultivating this talent, the wilding, since the days of the ancient Menite priest-kings. What powers could they unleash? And Toruk is the only dragon out there to worry about, either. It is said he once divided his athanc, the heartstone of his essence, but that the dragons he made turned on him. One of them escaped to the far north, and it seems that dragon has followed his father's example, creating his own nation of servants. It is unclear what this dragon army wants, but reports of blighted soldiers and great reptilian beasts made of dragon blood have been reported across Immoren.

And last? Vinter Raelthorne IV has, praise his name, returned. He escaped the coup and made himself into an avatar of conquest, mastering the race called the skorne and forging them into an empire. The arrival of the skorne army is a testament to his will and to theirs, for they crossed the Stormlands themselves and the Abyss that splits Immoren, following the commands of Raelthorne. They have brought with them their bestial slave-warriors and many soldiers, eager to conquer the fertile lands of men. They bring change. Vinter the Exile has raised a nightmare army to enslave humanity, and this is good. Their cruelty will be the only hope for human survival, and it is only in their chains that men will find the strength to grasp their destiny. They will bring strength in war, as the Orgoth did, and whoever wins will shape the future. The storm is coming.

Next time: HOOOORDE

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012
Princess: the Hopeful
With Beast coming out and having been revised revealing it to still be crap, it can be safely said that even Princess is better than Beast. Also, after this set of Charms, I'll pause on the Charms to go over the Twilight Queens and why the Protagonists hate them.

Fight Charms
Champions have an affinity to these, but anyone who wants to use special powers in combat rather than just procuring weapons from a sporting goods store or an arms dealer. These charms include tricks such as summoning weapons, making elemental blasts or enhancing their natural combat ability. There's also a sidebar about how the magical weapons summoned by some of the charms can be applied to any Fighting Style they would apply to (but who in their right mind would allow those?) based on a mundane weapon chosen upon purchase of the Charm, even if the actual weapon doesn't quite make sense, such as a massive hammer with the Light Weapons style

One dot
The first three charms listed have a crapton of upgrades as they're relatively fundamental to any character that desires magical weaponry or magically enhanced grappling. No defensive objects here. That's in Shape.

Empty Hands - Allows Invocations to be used on initiating grapples, actions within a grapple and to otherwise touch an opponent without harming them.
Upgrades:
  • Crushing - Can deal lethal damage to an opponent while in a grapple
  • Grasping - When using an invocation with this charm, get an equipment bonus equal to the number of times the upgrade was purchased, max 3.
  • Penetrating - If Acqua is applied, can freeze an opponent is damage is dealt
  • Disarming - If Aria is applied, can draw an attack on a single roll or disarm an opponent and then attack or just take the weapon and put it away
  • Blistering - Each time Fucoco is applied, the opponent takes 1 Bashing damage each turn because the user is so hot, literally.
  • Entrancing - If Legno is applied on a turn, the opponent takes a penalty equal to that Invocation to any action to harm the user
  • Unbroken - If Terra is applied on a turn, moves made by the opponent to break grapple or render the user prone are penalized by Terra
  • Draining - If Lacrima is applied during the turn, the opponent must succeed on Resolve + Composure or pay 1 Willpower to do anything other than try and break grapple because the user is too spooky.

Kensai - Pick a melee weapon. Any melee weapon. It's now part of the user's Regalia. Upon purchase, the user picks either Brawl or Weaponry as the associated skill for using the weapon. Its initial stats are Damage 1, Initiative 0, Strength 0, and a Size of 1 - 4. For anyone else other than the user the Initiative penalty and the Minimum strength required to use it is 3+Inner Light. The weapon can do either Bashing or Lethal damage and can be switched with a Transformation action. Invocations may be used as a bonus to either the attack roll or the damage, but not both in a turn and the max that can be added on top of bonuses from Upgrades is 5

Because a Charm can only be bought once, it's unclear if a Princess is only allowed one melee weapon from this Charm or if they're allowed any of them, but only one at a time with the requisite choices made each time. In theme, the former would make the most sense, even if it would be otherwise limiting and the side bar somewhat agrees with that interpretation.
Upgrades:
  • Accurate - Bonus to attack equal to purchases of the upgrade (max 3)
  • Damaging - As above, but for Damage
  • Durable - Add Inner Light to Durability of weapon
  • Precise - When applying Acqua, reduce called shot penalties equal to its rating in addition to the bonus dice already being recieved
  • Swift - When applying Aria, gain Armor Piecing equal to Weapon Damage + Aria, but reduce Weapon Damage to 0. Any extra points in Armor Piercing do add to the attack roll however. Seriously way too complicated, where it could just give Armor Piercing equal to Invocation and be done with it.
  • Burning - When applying Fucoco, get 9-again. The invocation application is worth more than the effects of the upgrade unless the die pool is immense.
  • Clinging - Can use Weaponry for grappling and the bonuses from the Damaging upgrade can be applied as dice to grappling maneuvers. Associated with the Legno invocation
  • Knockout - When applying Terra, the attack gains the Stun quality and the target's Size is halved for the purposes of applying the Stun tilt.
  • Draining - When Lacrima is applied and the target takes damage, the target rolls Resolve + Composure to not lose 1 Willpower because the attack is too spooky (it's actually described as unsettling). Using the upgrade is also a Compromise at Belief 6+
  • Berserk - When applying Tempesta and making an All-out attack, instead of getting the normal bonus from an All-out attack, the target loses their Defense. :black101:

Levinbolt - As above, but for a ranged weapon. It's range is (10/20/40)*Inner Light and can hold 3 shots. It is also summoned unloaded unless a Wisp is spent. At any time, as an instant action, a Wisp can be spent to reload the weapon regardless of however much the weapon can hold. A weapon summed by Levinbolt only uses Firearms, regardless of form including Thrown weapons. Examples include space guns, magic staves and a returning throwing dagger so the ammunition limit doesn't really make that much sense with the last example (as compared to, say, a bandoleer of throwing daggers), but that's how the magic works, I guess.
Upgrades:
  • Accurate and Damaging are the same as Kensai
  • Multiple - can shoot multiple targets at once equal to times purchased Increase clip size to 10 and allow medium burst fire on first purchase of upgrade and increases it to 30 and allowing long burst with the second purchase.
  • Long - Double range
  • Boiling - If Acqua is applied, the target also moves half the user's speed for each success on the attack roll away from the user. If the target hits an obstacle while being pushed, they take bashing damage equal to the successes on a roll equal to the number of successes on the initial attack roll minus each step of Speed/2 (rounded up) the target moved before hitting the obstacle. I believe this can alternatively be done with the target moving the user's speed equal to half of the successes and the collision damage roll penalty being equal to 1 per unit of speed.
  • Freezing - As Swift for Kensai.
  • Burning - If Fucoco is applied and the target takes damage from the attack, the target is set on fire. The flame is the size of a torch and as intense as a candle dealing one damage per turn.
  • Soothing - If applying Legno and the target takes damage, the target must roll Stamina + Resolve - user's Legno or else become drugged. The effects are as per the rules for Morphine in the core book: ignore wound penalties, but reduce all die pools and resistance traits by 2.
  • Quaking - If applying Terra, the target must roll Dexterity + Athletics - successes on attack or be Knocked Down
  • Draining - If using Lacrima and the target takes damage, they also lose 1 Willpower. A Compromise at Belief 5+, but much better than its Kensai counterpart.
  • Irradiating - Associated with Tempesta. Can take 1 bashing damage for +1 to attack roll or 1 lethal damage for +3 to attack roll.
  • Trickshot - Associated with Specchio. Ignore penalties for ranged, called shot, concealment for others up to Specchio rating

Flash Step - Lose defense, but penalize attack by the number of successes on the roll. Also, if successful, moves Speed*activation successes in yards. An example:
Courteous Parry - Can add Manipulation+Persuasion against an opponent of a roughly human mindset when dodging by making some sort of sly remark or being unusually calm. Can only be used once on an opponent. An upgrade allows the user to use Manipulation+Persuasion to calculate their defense rather than the normal pool against the same sort the Charm would be affected by. Dodging adds their original Defense value to their alternate one rather than Doubling it. However, against any other attackers, the user's Defense is 0. A transformation roll can alter the user's Defense to the normal calculations.
Shield Wall - When an ally is attacked, or when the user is attacked and an ally is present, the user can deflect an attack or call someone to deflect an attack. All attacks against the target where Defense is applied gets an additional penalty equal to the successes of the activation roll. Doesn't stack if multiple people use it however.
Lightning Charge - Spend a Wisp, don't lose Defense when taking a Charge action.

Two Dot
You Might Hurt Yourself - Requires Kensai. Instead of applying Defense in close combat, the user can apply the successes on a Dexterity+Brawl or Weaponry roll (depending on the weapon on the user) as a penalty to the attacker's successes. If the penalty exceeds that number, the opponent is disarmed and the weapon used goes flying. An upgrade (which uses a completely different invocation from the disarming upgrade for Empty Hands) allows the user to take the weapon if the opponent is disarmed by this charm is able.
Fluid Defence - Give up a turn an turn Defense into Soak which downgrades Aggravated to Lethal and Lethal to Bashing respectively at 1:1 for each point of Soak. Soak is applied after Armor and before Holy Shield and only applies to attacks that Defense is allowed. This sounds utterly useless unless the attack roll is large, but the resultant damage is low.
Safety in Stillness - The user's defense is not reduced until the user takes 1+activation successes attacks in a turn. Actually a VERY good tanking trick, all things considered.
Seraphic Fury - Take a Lethal damage and make an attack deal Aggravated damage to a creature of Darkness or a follower of the Queen of Tears. An upgrade expands it to any target. Literally more :black101: from the followers of the Queen of Storms
Guardian Angel - The user picks a target they can see other than themself or anything with a Supernatural Advantage equal to or less than the user's Inner Light - 2. Anyone who attacks the target, and everyone who can see both the user and target knows this, cannot apply their Defense to attacks from the user. An upgrade allows the charm to target a group.
Contest of Champions - The user choses a target (and makes a contested roll for activation). Both the user and the target get +1 Defense against all other attackers besides themselves. If either takes an action other than attacking the opponent in single combat or doing something suited for single combat, the charm ends and the person who did that loses their Defense against the other for the turn. Otherwise, the charm ends when one of them is defeated. One upgrade allows the winner to rally their side and give them a bonus equal to the winner's Presence to the next roll. The other creates a ring of fire around the duelists and doesn't work if one can't be formed. The ring expands outward to fit the confines of a room or up to 20 feet wide. The flames are unextinguishable by non magical means, but do not ignite anything and burns anything up to 10 feet high that tries to cross it with the intensity of a bunsen burner. Belongs to Fucoco, but still very :black101:
Spite Strike - The user foregoes their Defense to activate the charm when attack and can, if damaged by the attack can roll their attack pool (they actually say the user's "normal dicepool") with a bonus equal to the amount of damage received with the type of damage dealt being the same as the damage received.
Befriending - If a character is defeated in combat by the user, the user can give them the Fresh Impressions condition set to Good. Doesn't work on creatures of the Darkness
Cauterising - Damage against creatures of the Darkness from the user that's unenhanced or from a source not connected to a Tempesta Invocation is Resistant.
One Woman Warband - During the turn, the user Dodges and gets a +1 to their Dodge pool instead of losing Defense for each attack up to either double the user's Defense or triple their Specchio, whichever is higher. An upgrade allows the user to make a single counter attack at at the end of the turn with a dicepool equal to the number of attackers with an additional die bonus the the target missed attacking the user.

Three dot
Backstab - I'd make a D&D joke here, but I only know the rules from when it became Sneak Attack. Basically works as per the Flank and Rear attack rules, but can apply after Initiative is rolled. Requires the target to make a Wits+Composure roll and fail and the user to attack from the rear or side without being noticed so as to ignore the target's Defense. Pretty much terrible unless the target has an obscene Defense and there is a lack of Firearms available.
Refutation in Arms - Upon successful activation, the user gets +1 on all attacks for the scene and increases by 1 each turn (max Acqua*2) spent fighting them "For the purposes of this Charm “fighting an opponent” is defined as attacking that opponent, using a Charm upon that opponent, taking an action designed to prevent the opponent’s action from succeeding, or assisting one of her allies in doing any of the aforementioned actions." This charm can only target one opponent at a time and changing targets requires recasting the Charm.
Tangling Vine - Create a net of vines that can be thrown to Grapple at range. Requires Kensai. One upgrade allows for Lethal Damage from the net in the grapple. Another applies Autofire benefits to its use with First purchase being the Short bonus and the Third being the Long bonus.
:salt:ed Wounds - Attempts to heal the target receive a penalty equal to the amount of Lethal or Aggravated damage the user inflicts in an attack.

Four dot
Demilitarization - The environment gains a tilt that penalizes all combat actions or actions which would aid or assist others in or entering combat by the number of successes on activation. Dramatic failures on attacks may destroy the weapon used and possibly transform it into something harmless like flowers.

Five dot
Towering Inferno - Create a Size 1 Fireball that explodes on contact with a radius equal to the user's Inner Light (no units given so it could be feet or inches or miles!) and does damage equal to the activation roll (Strength+Firearms). Damage from the explosion is Bashing and ignites all it damages with mundane fire. The fireball can be "cooked" by the user and will explode after a number of turns equal to the user's Fucoco rating (the Charm requires 4) before exploding.
Strength of Ten - During combat, for each success on activation, the user adds dice to a mundane attack next turn equal to the number of successes an ally makes on a mundane action. The mundane actions from allies must contribute in some way to the user's next attack.
The Finest Hour - The Tempest Avatar charm. Upon successful activation, all damage dealt by the user is Aggravated, the user gains temporary health boxes equal to Inner Light+Resolve and every time they kill someone they believe to be in league with the Darkness or Tears, they refresh their Willpower. The charm lasts for the scene or until no foe is left standing before them.

These charms are really where the followers of the Queen of Swords really shine as they're all about killing the gently caress out of enemies at any cost. The last charm, for example also requires the user to take 1 Aggravated damage as part of its cost as do most other Tempesta linked Charms. All of the damage costs are also Resistant so there's no shortcuts around them afterwards.

Next: A pause on Charms for a look at the Twilight Queens. There are still six sets of Charms to go :smithicide:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal

There are four main factions in Hordes. The Trollbloods are the culture of scattered trollkin kriels, related to the larger and dumber trolls and dire trolls, whom they call on for protection. For centuries, their sacred lands have been stolen, and now they go to war over it. They are exceptionally tough and hard to kill, plus very strong. The Circle Orboros are an ancient order of druids dedicated to claiming places of power and resisting dark forces such as the dragons, but that means taking places other people own to empower their fight. They are quick and elusive in battle, using terrain heavily. The Skorne are a civilization of eastern Immoren, dedicated to subjugating the west. They believe in strength through pain and trial, and they are ruthlessly cruel. The Legion of Everblight serves the dragon Everblight, who chose not to reform his body but instead to instill himself into his commanders, granting them unity of purpose, and to make monsters out of his own blood that they might be totally obedient. They are diverse and dangerous. And the Minions? They're the Hordes equivalent of mercenaries.



Our author is Elder Gosarn of Klamat Kriel. The trollkin have long been scattered and seperated, but now they must unite. Even now, armies tear apart troll homes like the Thornwood, destroying the kriels of the trollkin that live there. Now, Madrak Ironhide gathers the trollbloods to unite as one, to take back what is rightfully theirs. Thousands of years ago, Immoren was terrorized by the ancient Molgur - the word shared by the tribes of humans, ogrun, goblins and trollkin. Together, they were a vast empire. There had never been anything like the Molgur, and never will be again. All shared in cruelty and malice, feasting on the darkness and sacrificing foes to the Devourer Wurm, who sired all races in the dawn of time by ravaging the divine mother Dhunia. All life arose from violence, and it is in the nature of the living.

Some say the time of the Molgur was a golden age. It was not - it was savage. All fought as one blood, but they forsook Dhunia, and there was only ruin. However, there must be a balance - civilization must be mixed with chaos, for too much civilization makes you weak, an orphan among humans. Be united, instead, under Dhunia. But still, the Molgur left one gift: Molgur-Trul, the language of the kriels, whose only writing is runic, meant to immortalize heroes and not keep records. A kriel, then, is both the tribe and the place where they live. Kith is both your home and your blood-kin. Shen is your brotherhood, but also the lustful dangers of youth. Quitari is the pattern of woven cloth linked to a community. And the Tohmaak Mahkeiri is the Glimpse of the Mind, which lets trollbloods look into the minds of their kin. In this, Molgur-Trul is superior to human tongues.

The Molgur taught all that mindless chaos could not be good, though humans needed the god Menoth to explain this to them. Never forget how brutally the Menite king Golivant slaughtered trollkin. Humans he let convert, but he put Dhunia's children to the sword. The greatest Molgur chief of the time was the trollkin Horfar Grimmr, who led a doomed attack on the wall called the Shield of Thrace, fighting a battle that made rivers run red for weeks, but he lost and was captured. Even under torture, he said nothing to the Menites, and with him, the Molgur died. The Menites enslaved entire tribes of trollkin, working them to death before sacrificing any survivors to Menoth. This must never be forgotten. The surviving trollkin fled - to the Scharde islands, to the Wyrmwall, to the Gnarls and Thornwood and Scarsfell. These forests became the home of the kriels.

The trollkin began to return to Dhunia, carving their rites into the krielstones to record the deeds of heroes and the words of elders. This continues to this day. The shamans established and explored the trollkin ties to the full-blooded trolls. Some had tried to deny this bond, insisting that trollkin were superior for their sharper minds and language. And it is true that only trollkin have culture, but trolls have bonds of blood. The truth was found by the shamans of Dhunia, and the trolls came to live alongside the kriels, helping to build and to fight. They are simpler, yes, but they are strong, brave and loyal, helping to protect the kriels against the Menites and the Molgur remnant. Each kriel now looked to its own interests above all, and battles between them were common. This strengthened the people, for they have ever loved battle.

Humans measure time before and after the Orgoth. The Orgoth left their mark on the trollkin, too, but not so deeply. They were just another tribe of humans from across the ocean, and they felt little need to invade trollkin lands, save to make roads. And then, the trollkin fought, making them pay dearly for every inch, for every site they desecrated. The trolls were vital in this, and it was only with their aid and that of the blackclads that the Orgoth were driven back from the wild places. This was, of course, before the blackclads' betrayal. Of course, the escape from the Orgoth was not total. The Orgoth enslaved many trollkin for their stamina, using them to build forts and temples, foul places that still stand only because of the strength of the trollkin who made them. Even the colossals could not destroy them.

Some heroes are remembered even by humanity. Grindar of Tolok Kriel helped lead the Rebellion against the Orgoth, and he sat on the Council of Ten. You can see him in statues in Cygnar. However, his time among humans clouded his judgment, though he did work to help his people. He forced them to give the trollkin land, but few of those promises were kept. Humans always deny oaths when it is in their favor. Sending elders to them did not help - they were told they should thank the humans for not taxing them. And Grindar did nothing. Just forty years later, the elders had enough.

Cygnar thought the trollkin primitive and weak. They did not understand the bond of trolls. Some kriels had become too 'civilized,' but when the human soldiers came, their blood remembered the bond. The trolls were welcomed into the Gnarls and Thornwood, and they came together as an army, with no need to hunt prey and so all the time to train. These trollkin and trolls attacked the Cygnaran and Ordic forces, and any victory of Cygnar was won only by numbers. The trollkin never lost even at two to one odds - it took three to one or more. At last, they unleashed their colossals, and while today the trollkin fight warjacks, they had never before seen anything like those things then. They were slow and clumsy, but unstoppable. It was a bitter defeat, and the trollkin were forced to sue for peace. But at least the Colossal War drained Cygnaran resources. Not long after, the trollkin gathered again. The Cygnarans say it was the Second Trollkin War, but they are wrong. The first had never ended.

Chief Modr led his kin and the trolls, and he won because he did not allow the colossals to pick their battlefields. He led them to traps and ambushes, showing that ravines and pits would destroy them with their own weight. They were led onto bad ground and destroyed piece by piece, swarmed by troll and trollkin alike. Fear of the colossals was forgotten when the first fell. The colossals passed into the dust of history. The humans made the smaller warjacks to fight better, but still they are not enough. A troll is more cunning, ruthless and fearless. A 'jack is heavy, slow and relies on coal and water. A troll can swim by night, return from the brink of death by eating the slain. Borrow useful technology, sure - rifles, say. But do not doubt that others are but tricks, defeatable with strength and cunning. By the end of Modr's war, Cygnar acceded to all demands, and the promises of the Corvis Treaties were renewed. But still, men did not see the trollkin as equals, and the promises were not kept for long.

Many shen traveled to human cities, helping to rebuild and settle. They forgot their language and their ways. Now, they must be brought back to the fold. The lore they have learned can be useful, and the trollkin need every weapon. Every human war has brought hardship for trollkin. The Thornwood War saw Cygnar trick Khador into marching into the oldest and largest trollkin community, Tolok Kriel. They cared nothing for the innocents that died there, despite all of Cygnar's oaths. Tolok Kriel is fallen now, ravaged by Khador, for all they did to kill the humans in return. To them, trollkin are just animals. The kin of the Gnarls have long known this, but Thornwood had forgotten. They had become complacent, until the Cygnarans betrayed them.

Madrak Ironhide had been friend to King Leto, long before Leto took the Cygnaran crown. They had sworn an oath of brotherhood, and Leto was welcomed to Ironhide's kriel, not believing it meant nothing to the human. In times of peace, they shared gifts. But when the blood came to the Thornwood, Leto was silent. When war broke out between Khador and Cygnar, Leto used the trollkin. Khador blazed a trail through the Thornwood, and the Cryxians despoiled it. Even the Protectorate of Menoth got involved, seeking to burn the woods, and the trolls all caught in the middle. They care nothing for the trollkin! But Madrak went to his blood-brother for aid. He counted on friendship, and at first, it seemed to work. Cygnar's king eased the use of the Thornwood, instead using the Glimmerwood and Widower's Wood, regions unclaimed by kriels. He gave Ironhide supplies - blasting powder, guns, metal. But this was not kindness: it put Ironhide's people in harm's way. Leto asked Ironhide to protect Cygnar's border from the Menites, knowing that another threat was coming from the east: the skorne that had attacked Corvis but three years before. The king lied, promising lands within Cygnar to his blood-brother.

The skorne swept in to kill everyone they saw. They came for human lands, but it was the kriels that perished in their wake, first at Scarleforth Lake, once home of Grissel Bloodsong and her kriel. Then the Glimmerwood, where they faced Madrak Ironhide and his people. At last they were forced to seek another path, but only after they killed many trollkin. Having paid his blood debt, Madrak went to Leto to get a home for his kriels, but Leto refused him, out of the greed of his nobles. He asked Ironhide to wait, hoping to use him again. Ironhide, still believing his blood-brother loyal, agreed one final time. But on his return, one of his own betrayed him for power. The blackclads, once allies, had tempted this champion because Madrak was too strong-willed to be controlled. They wanted the trollkin to fight for them, much as Cygnar had. It might have worked, were it not for the work of the great Shaman of the Gnarls, Hoarluk Doomshaper. Ironhide and Doomshaper fought together, killing one of the blackclad assassins, the druid Ergonus. Now, the trollkin must reclaim the lands the blackclads have taken over the centuries, for they have proved to be traitors.

This was the first great moment of trollkin unity in this age, the first joining of the people. Doomshaper and his kin joined Ironhide and the Thornwood trollkin to face the druids, and Doomshaper brought with him the dire trolls, the greatest of the true trolls. Now, they too stand with the trollkin, giving the raw might needed to defeat their foes. Ironhide and Doomshaper are the war leaders, and the elders must support them. Already, Ironhide gathers allies like the great Borka Kegslayer of the Scarsfell, and all trollkin communities are of one blood. Ironhide led the people to Crael Valley, defeating any Cygnarans in his way. This farmland was suitable - rich, defensible. For a year, fortifications were built, and it was thought Cygnar might allow it, for it was only what was promised.

However, the humans came and captured Doomshaper. Ironhide freed him, but Crael Valley wsa besieged. The trolls fought hard, but they were forced to flee west, to the Gnarls, despite Grissel Bloodsong's heroic battles. They are still in 'Cygnaran' lands, and the battles are not over. There will only be peace if the trollkin can negotiate from strength. Crael Valley cost the humans greatly. They have seen the strength of the trollkin, and it must be shown that they will not go away. A home must be taken, by war and blood and stone. It is not impossible. There is strength in troll blood, and Dhunia stands with the trollkin, and so it must be done!

Next time: Trolls in the dungeons.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



Grissel Bloodsong is one of the finest fell callers in the world. She was born far north, near Ohk, but she was born to wander. She sailed the western coast for years, fighting pirates and Cryxian raiders. She was a mercenary, but she hated the cities, loving only the sea. Eventually, she lost patience with humans and went to the Black River, where she fought river bandits. After visiting Ternon Crag, she met the trollkin Turgol Redeye, who fell in love with her. She rebuffed him, but he would not stop, and eventually they tore a tavern apart in a brawl...which still didn't stop his love. He slowly earned her affection, and the two headed for the kriels of Scarleforth Lake. One day, however, some skorne raiders attacked. Turgol went to fight three cyclopes who had gone for some kids, and while brave, he was not invulnerable. Before Grissel could help him, he died. She went into a blood rage and unleashed her voice, blasting them with her rage. Turgol's death changed Grissel, and she began a one-trollkin war against the skorne, becoming a hero to the Scarleforth trollkin. Her very presence emboldens those around her. Meeting with Madrak Ironhide has renewed her hopes for her people, and she has sent her people to join Madrak, knowing they must unite against the threats outside. Now, she fights not for coin, but to preserve her kin. This purpose has let her endure her broken heart from her mate's death, which she still feels keenly when not fighting. Her gimmick is buffs, both by spells and her Fell Calls, which can buff her allies or debuff enemies each turn. Her feat allows her to essentially use all her buffing calls at once.



Hoarluk Doomshaper is a legend, having been around for over a century. He is one of the most vigorous elders out there, obsessively fascinated by the mystic power of the blood that connects all troll breeds. He believes it is superior to the blood of all other races, and it doesn't help that humans have been real jerks lately to the trollkin. He doesn't like humans at all, really. He intends to get his vengeance on them for their taking troll land. Few will speak out against the Doomshaper, who is prone to temperamental outbursts and scathing insults. He's dueled countless elders and has yet to lose, humiliating those who go up against him. Many think him insane, and even his detractors say that Dhunia chose him so she wouldn't have to deal with his wrath. His life has been spent urging trollkin to resist human encroachment in the Gnarls. He has an unequalled power over full-blood trolls, and all troll breeds listen to him as if he were kin. The ancient bloodstones he carries renews the ancient pacts between species, and he earned his legendary status when he went, unarmed, into a forest and returned with several dire trolls at his side. They had not obeyed trollkin commands since the time of the Molgur, and word spread to every kriel. The dire trolls have since become the greatest weapon of the trollkin. Even before the recent troubles, Hoarluk went from kriel to kriel urging battle against humans or anyone else foolish enough to plunder the Gnarls. He's destroyed at least two logging camps and no fewer than three bogrin tribes that settled near his home, which has sometimes put him at odds with more moderate leaders like Chief Ironhide. Hoarluk is not a chief, but has immense influence over the Gnarls tribes, the mightiest remaining bastion of troll tradition. He has spent decades recovering lost runes and krielstones, and he carries all his lore on his shoulders. His knowledge has unlocked many powers, and he has reasoned that trolls are Dhunia's wrath given form, and this is the age of their stand. Every battle is an apocalypse, with a result of trollkin salvation if he wins. His gimmick is buffing his allies, particularly his warbeasts, and cursing enemy warbeasts. His feat allows him to damage enemies by calling on Dhunia's power, hurting them for any magic they use.



Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain has proven to be a great leader. Leadership in peace is easy, but Madrak has been through many trials, ill omens and setbacks. He was born an albino sorcerer, but earned renown on the kuor dueling platform against his peers, as well as exploring the dangerous Thornwood until, one day, a band of Tharn ambushed him. Outnumbered, he drew his weapon and fought, but ended up saved by lightning from a young Cygnaran. He brought the boy back to his kriel and performed the kulgat, making them lifelong blood-brothers. That youth would become King Leto of Cygnar. More recently, Madrak's land was engulfed in war, and he began to invite in refugees, soon finding himself leading a staggering number of kriels. When a Cryxian army came, Madrak became desperate. He took a pilgrimage to a special kuor housing the axe Rathrok, the World Ender, once wielded by Horfar Grimmr of the Molgur. Legend said that wielding such a potent weapon would herald the end of days and unleash the Devourer Wurm, but the other choice was the annihilation of his people. Ironhide took the weapon, but even with it, the trollkin lost ground. Desperately, Madrak sought aid from Leto, negotiating what he thought would be salvation. The kriels got a temporary home...but it put them right in the path of the skorne. When Madrak demanded safer lands from Leto, Leto made excuses about being beholden to his nobles. Madrak went home emptyhanded, and then was almost assassinated by his longtime allies, the blackclad druids, aided by one of his kin turned traitor. Only the intervention of Hoarluk Doomshaper saved his life. Madrak swore to join Doomshaper in carving out a safe place for the kriels, even if it meant a river of blood or the curse of World Ender.



Troll Axers are immense monsters, able to cleave a wall in two with their giant axes, often while chewing on the limbs of the defenders. Trolls are immense humanoids that tower over even the largest trollkin. They are smarter than most realize, with a simple language of their own that allows them to work in groups. Trollkin have extensively used troll axers to bolster their lines, and just a few can change the tide of a battle. They terrify the enemy, cutting huge swathes through them. Trollkin train the trolls in discipline and give them the iron axes they use - trolls can make crude improvised weapons, but nothing like this. The agreement between trollkin and trolls dates back to just after the Molgur, when the trollkin made pacts with the trolls in order to harness their barely controlled destructive urges. Trolls are all immensely difficult to kill, axers included, due to their innate regeneration. The troll axer animus blesses allied warbeasts with movement boosts.



Troll Impalers wield enormous spears, hurling them with bone-crushing force. They're essentially living ballistae, and really they wield sharpened logs and iron bars. They are of the same species as the axers, distinguished mainly by training and armaments. In ancient times, they would hurl small trees. Troll impalers tend to have better hand-eye coordination, but they're just as deadly in close range with those 'spears.' Like all trolls, they have potent regenerative abilities and ravenous appetites. Trollkin try to keep them well fed, to discourage eating allies in the chaos of battle and to maintain the integrity of funereal rites for dead kin. It doesn't always work, though, especially when the troll's particularly hurt. Several kriels have decided that a few missing bodies are an unfortunate but acceptable price for the power of a troll. Their animus increases the range of ranged attacks.



Pyre Trolls are able to belch forth huge bursts of combustible liquid that ignites in air, sticks to flesh and burns really hot. Yeah. They naturally burp napalm. Even their skin exudes heat, and after softening someone up with their spit, they like to tear them apart with their claws. Trolls are highly adaptable, able to find a niche in any environment, and pyre trolls are a strange evolution of the more common pitch trolls of the Marches, east of Ternon Crag and near Scarleforth Lake. Their skin is a deep burgundy or ochre to blend with the red desert sand, and they prefer hot climates. They can often be found sunning themselves on very hot rocks. They are much less intelligent than most trolls, perhaps due to their high temperature and odd eating habits. No one has any idea how they managed to get napalm spit, but some believe it's a byproduct of the toxic substances they consume, including rocks, metal, oil and deadly plants. They particularly enjoy drinking the viscous fluids that bubble up in the Marches, the same stuff the Menites refine into Menoth's Fury. Whatever they case, they're real good at setting stuff on fire. Also, their animus allows them to light allied weapons on fire for a while.



Dire Troll Blitzers could only have been imagined by trollkin. When King Leto gave them surplus Cygnaran weapons, he'd never have imagined they'd be mounted atop living siege engines. It probably started with drunken bravado and some idiot strapping a rapid-fire slugger cannon to a sleeping dire troll. Obviously, that'd be great as a siege weapon. The main problem was solved by chaining the thing's arms so it couldn't reach above its head and eat the pygmy troll ace manning the gun. The pygs have embraced this new configuration enthusiastically, and consider the blitzer aces heroes. Pygs have always had an odd affinity for dire trolls, as far as anyone can endure the attentions of a dire troll. They seem to genuinely enjoy the presence of pygmy trolls, and will generally not eat them unless out of all other food. Their animus shoves enemies away.



Dire Troll Bombers are a development intended to deal with the fact that enemies are everywhere. You take a dire troll and give it a bunch of kegs full of explosives. The powder in guns is a special formula of two different materials that must be mixed for detonation very carefully, but other explosives exist - more volatile ones favored by loggers and miners, which would blow up guns that used them. Perfect for bombs! The trollkin stuff them into barrels, and some kriels have taught dire trolls how to throw the kegs. Dire trolls can't really be trained to do things with regularity, but they seem to enjoy the explosions and will cheerfully and enthusiastically hurl them at enemies. Foolishly brave pygmy trolls accompany them into battle to light the fuses. Their animus grants allies resistance to explosions and blasts.

Next time: Troll is not going to look like a word.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
I got my copy of my friend's rpg, so I'll do a review now to try and sell people on it. Warning in advance: this isn't going to be a very objective review. I'm going to try and give an accurate idea of the game, but I love it and that's most likely going to bleed through. The original game is also in french, so I'm going to have to translate myself. I'll do my best, but I'm not a professional translator, so please bear with me. Anyway, without further ado,

Les Terres d'Amarande (The Lands of Amarande)

The game was created by Daniel Bonin over the course of 15 years: the oldest copy we could find was dated from 2001. Over the years, as the game was played through his group and others a lot of mechanics were changed and reworked and the world expanded.

(picture removed)
Here's a picture of the old copy of the book from the RPG Club La Crypte at Ahuntsic College. I joined it around 2005-2006, which is when I met Daniel and discovered the game. I want to say this copy also dates from that time. The book is pretty big, containing stuff like families and monsters that would later be spun-off into other books. Some of the classes in that version are near-unplayable and would be completely changed later (such as Mime). Still, all the base concepts are there.

(picture removed)
(Please disregard the complete mess that is my home) Here are my personal copies of the game, which I got around I wanna say 2010-2011. The game has now been split into three books: the core, the big book of families, and the monster book. It's a much more polished version, and eminently playable. It's the one I used to run a game set in the Tactics Ogre setting (instead of the game's own setting) only a year ago. Most changes after that are clarifications and re-balancing.

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/151897/Les-Terres-dAmarande--Le-Guide-et-Compagnon
Here's a link to the final version, the one now officially published and that I'm going to review. Artwork has been used to replace the placeholder covers used before and to inside the book. The book is 300 pages long, and while it's missing the stuff on Families and Monsters, I think it's a very solid core.

The book opens with a picture of the Initiative Wheel (to print and use) followed by an index. The book is structured in a classical manner: setting first, followed by mechanics, followed by the classes and powers and ending with a GMing chapter and a character sheet.

Part 1: Introduction and Glossary
The normal introduction to roleplaying games and how to play them. Much like D&D4, the game is played on a grid with character's range and movement being measured in Squares. Height and environment is super important: good players and gms will use the terrain strategically to make fun battles. Daniel has created large pieces of map using foam, kind of like a large jigsaw puzzle, that he uses to build 3D maps. Small objects are then used to signify objects on the map: dices are often used, with the number shown on the face used to show the Height of the object (a tree with a Height of 4 Squares will be represented by a dice showing a 4).

Speaking of dices, the system is purely D6-based, throwing a small pool of dice to get results. D4s and D20s can also be useful to have: the first to count down status effects which usually last 3 or 4 turns and the latter to represent non-fighting NPCs which usually only have 20 HP.

A small overview of the setting is given: Humans are the dominant race in the world. Elves, Dwarves, Lizard-Men, Fairies (hard to translate Esprits Follets here), Moonmen (Lunadains in french) and Tomtens (think hobbits and gnomes) used to live in the worlds of the Yggdrasil before it fell. Felines, Ratlings, Golems and Hippanthropes (men with horse heads) are less respected species who need to fight to get the respect they deserve.

In the beginning, there was a war between the Gods. The Jotnars, who loved Nature, fought the Ragnars, who wanted to help Mankind. The humans who lived in the perpetual darkness of the Yggdrasil rose up and defeated the Dark Lord who ruled the world, and the battle destroyed the Yggdrasil. The Ragnars were exiled in another dimension and the Jotnars closed the door of Paradise. A long time after that catastrophe, Lady Amarande united the survivors and founded an Empire based on the ideals of knighthood. Immortal, she ruled until she was deposed by her general in a coup.

There are three major religions in this world, based somewhat on scandinavian mythology (but with a lot of differences), who fight to convert as many people as they can before Ragnarok. The Church of the Jotnars respect life and nature and want to find a way for the Jotnars to forgive their crimes and open once again the gates of Paradise. The Church of the Ragnars seek to prepare themselves for the battle of Raganrok when the Ragnars willr eturn to break down the gates of Paradise and give it to humanity. The third religion, the Church of Mercy, seek to preserve life and knowledge from war, old age and sickness through enchantments and necromancy.

A sidebar here the inspirations for the game, and I feel it's probably the most important one: the major inspirations for the game are video games. The combat system is based on strategy games and tactical rpgs. Other games often have mechanics with the goal of creating an idea of realism: not here. The goal is to take the best from both roleplaying games and video games to make something fun. To add my own words here: there are no pretensions that HP are anything other than points. Characters will discuss classes and powers in-character. In fact, there are pwoers that enable you tos traight up read the enemie's character sheet and know their stats. The physics of the world are the crazy physics of a game, with logic left behind. A combat technique that lets you ignore Height lets you jump to an airship, get the McGuffin and then jump down without any problems (actual play example here).

Follows a fairly extensive glossary, mostly comprised of gameplays terms and important setting elements. I'm not going to go over every word, it would be too long and kind of boring. I'll just emntion a few important ones:

  • Anima: Basically mana points.
  • Breidablik: formal name of Paradise.
  • Crystal: When someone dies violently, they'll sometimes have trouble letting go and leave their memories and soul behind in Crystal form. These Crystals can be absorbed by other people, acquiring the memories and sometimes some of the skills of the person.
  • Einherjar: People who decide to remain on Earth instead of going to Valhalla in order to further their training. Einherjar must be recruited by someone able to (Valkyries, Muses, some families...) and can be summoned and cast away by the recruiter. They are not controlled by the summoner thoguh, they maintain their free will. PCs can either be Einherjar or recruit them.
  • Elements: There are six elements in the world of Amarande: Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Holy and Darkness. Some equipments (known as Anigame, no idea how to translate) and techniques have elements. Some even have multiple elements. Every character is associated with an Element and receives a bonus on Elemental Effects.
  • Philosophical Elements: The philosophical associations to an Element (earth: stability, etc.). Each class is associated with an Element on a philosophical basis and every Family posses one technique for each philosophical Element (this doesn't necessarily make the techniques Elemental of that element, a somewhat confusing concept I know).
  • Enchantment: A process by which someone or something is transformed and given new abilities. Can be quite traumatizing.
  • Hell: Also called Niflheim, it's a dark, cold place where the dead rot for eternity. It's built out of tunnels dug by the Yggdrasil's roots.
  • Status: Status effects are powerful and useful in this game. They are grouped into three categories: Positive, Neutral and Negative Statuses. They include stuff like Charm, Reflect, Undead, Poison, etc.
  • Futhark: the 24 runes discovered by Odin, and the alphabet used by everyone.
  • Galdors: Secret powerful spells that can reshape the world. Usually highly illegal.
  • Abilities: The special powers used by the classes. I'm going to try and remember to use that instead of powers or techniques from now on. Some are passives while others have to be used actively. Some are sealed, being unusable even when learned as long as they aren't unsealded. The Holy Ability of all Families are Sealed. Vocal Abilities are noted with a ! and cannot be used when Mute.
  • Immortals: The gods worshipped by the Church of Mercy and who stayed neutral during the war between the Gods. They are supposedly still present in the world.
  • Maestro: The game's term for game master.
  • Mention: The special XP gained through actions in the game rather than normal XP awards. There are five types of Mentions: Goodwill (Bienveillant), Aggressive, Prudence/Careful, Pride and Tricky. When you outsmart someone, you can ask for a Tricky. When you help someone out, you can ask for a Goodwill. Etc. These are used exclusively to buy up Abilities.
  • Level: How powerful you are in a Class/your Family. The number is derived from how many Abilities you've bought.
  • Physical/Magical: Some Abilities are physical in nature: they have no costs. Any Ability which costs something (anima, cash, HP, etc.) is Magical.
  • Civilized Races: The 12 intelligent races of the world. The Dark Elves are thought to be all dead.
  • Impure Races: the name used for the lowest races on the totem pole, those without "noble" origins: Ratlings, Hippanthropes, Golems and Felines.
  • Pure Races: the Races that used to live in the Yggdrasil: Elves, Dwarves, Fairies, Moonmen, Lizard-men and Tomtens.
  • Rands and Randils: The money of the world. 1 Rand equals 100 Randils. Not actually an objectivism joke: Daniel didn't know about Ayn Rand until I told him about her. It's just a funny coincidence.
  • Secret Spells: Sometimes an ability will let a player roll on the Secret Spell Table or select one the spells there. They're all really good.
  • Tiles/Ground/not sure how to translate Surface in this particular case: the make-up of specific Squares, such as Ground, Grass, Lava, Water, etc. Used by some abilities, and some are dangerous by themselves. Can also be changed by some abilities.
  • Hunting Grounds: places considere dimportant by the Gods. Many go there to die and become Einherjars.
  • Cursed Ground: places considered bad by the Gods. All actions are harder there.
  • Holy Ground: places considered holy by the Gods. Don't start a fight there.
  • Midgard: One of the biggest and most important cities of the Empire, it's described in the book as a base setting.

Sidebars introduce the various icons used throughout the game (for mentions and the different Ability Types). One sets the Empire's technology level at around Renaissance-level. Another clarifies that every one speaks the same language, just like every JRPG. Finally the chronology of the setting is divided into 8 Chapters (plus chapter Omega: Ragnarok) to be used as settings for games. Very much Ogre Battle Sage Episode VII: Let Us Cling Together here. A much larger one names all the Realms the Yggdrasil used to link: Vanaheim, Svarthalfheim, Muspelheim, Niddavelir, Alfheim, Jotunheim and Asgard. The tree was so tall it touched the Moon, although it can no longer be reached. (We went to the Moon a few time inv arious games actually: you just need to find a way like an ancient airship or a gate or something. You know, plot hooks).

That's a lot to digest at first, so I'm going to stop there. Next is an example play (based on an old game) and the city of Midgard.

MonsieurChoc fucked around with this message at 00:01 on Jul 2, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

So why are all those covers literally stealing Ogre Battle 64 sprites?

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Mors Rattus posted:

So why are all those covers literally stealing Ogre Battle 64 sprites?

They were placeholder, like I mentionned. For the official one, he replaced it with not-copyrighted stuff. Considering the game started as a fun way to play a game based on FFT/TO, a lot of work was placed in removing all copyrights from the final product.

Edit: Those old books weren't sold or anything, they were self-printed.

Edit Edit: I thought it would be cool to show how much the game had evolved over the years before it's first official publication, but if I'm going to hurt my friend's game doing that I'll delete those right away.

MonsieurChoc fucked around with this message at 00:01 on Jul 2, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

It's no big deal, really, I was just surprised.

Hordes Mk. II Primal



Dire Troll Maulers are nearly 18 feet tall and made solely of muscle, with hands the size of a human being. In ancient times, they emerged from the forests to consume screaming victims, and even today, your only real defense is to run faster than the guys they're eating. Dire trolls are everything unpleasant about normal trolls magnified by a factor of ten. They are said to be deathless and tireless, able to rend metal and splinter bone with ease. If they have a language is debatable, but they make noises and can learn to obey Molgur-Trul commands. Only Hoarluk Doomshaper had the power, will and courage to unleash these beasts, and the maulers are the strongest of the species, and the most brutal. They are so fierce, in fact, that they just can't be trusted with actual weapons. They have a word for Doomshaper: krol, which might mean something like worship or dedication. Many believe the choice to summon these beasts to battle was reckless, but their power can't be denied. As long as they can be managed, they give the trollkin the best chance at victory. Their animus is a massive strength boost.



Kriel Warriors are bands of irregulars from the trollkin kriels. Few are professional soldiers, but they are used to constant battles. Life in wilderness kriels isn't easy, and most trollkin learn to fight young. They only get minimal additional training before being sent to battle, where their real education in war starts. The main component of their training is in fighting alongside trolls and how to tell if a troll is wounded and hungry. Most have already seen battle, though, facing the many enemies of the kriels. They are led by Dhunian shamans from their communities, who lead by example, giving wisdom and the power of Dhunia's anger.



Krielstones are sacred monuments of the trollkin, carved with runes detailing heroic acts. Krielstone Bearers and Stone Scribes carry and maintain them, and are the most respected of all trollkin. The largest krielstones are placed at holy sites or ancient battleground shrines to Dhunia, the Ravaged Mother, but some smaller ones are carried into battle. They are reservoirs of spiritual energy that radiate a protective aura. Typically, strong trollkin will train to be bearers by lifting heavy stones throughout their youth. However, they insist it's as much will as muscle to carry a krielstone, and some gain reputations as they strive to lift heavier and more potent stones. The stone scribes accompany them to witness the brave deeds of battle, which they will record on the krielstones for later generations, and to help capture the sacred power of the stones onto ceremonial scrolls made from rubbings. Both scribes and bearer will sacrifice their lives to protect these holy stones.



Pyg Bushwhackers are an example of the pygmy trolls that live on the outskirts of trollkin society. They are traditionally seen as frivolous and cowardly, but are tolerated, which generally suits the pygs because it keeps them safe from the actual trolls that like to eat them. However, the relationship has started to change. Pygs are quite clever and nimble, though not noted for sophistication or craftwork, and use their cunning to lay skilled and complex ambushes, bringing down large prey. They have increasingly begun to imitate trollkin garb and culture, and they are surprisingly good with guns. After seeing that in action, trollkin leaders saw potential in organizing and arming the pygs with Cygnaran rifles, altering the stock and triggers to the proper size. What they lack in discipline, the pygs make up for with enthusiasm and ingenuity, even adopting improvised hand signals to coordinate better. Bushwhackers go ahead of trollkin armies, using stolen spyglasses to scout the best places for a fight.



Trollkin Champions are hardened veterans, great heroes of the kriels. They are bound by destiny and the formal kulgat blood oath of brotherhood. They draw strength from each other, fighting as one body for their people. Only the strongest and most skilled can become champions, who must master all weapons. The bond between champions is even more than a normal kulgat, as they must perfectly anticipate each other in battle to take advantage of even the smallest opportunity. Champion leaders are known as kithkar, the firstborn. They are generally the eldest and most skilled in the group, and many were once kriel chieftains. Most champions, especially of the Thornwood, have tales of woe - dead parents, mates, children - and find life between battles a solemn reminder that they are the last of their lines. They take hope from their blood-brothers and inspire it in all their kin, fearlessly striding into death. Each knows they will die in battle, but will send as many foes ahead of them as possible.



Scattergunners are the equal of any human soldier, and twice as tough. Trollkin have taken to guns quite well, and the only real problem has been blasting powder. The Thornwood got a huge shipment of low-grade powder from Leto, as well as a number of deck guns. The trollkin strapped stocks to the cannons, then stuffed them with powder and scrap metal, making enormous scatterguns. They're short-ranged, but well-suited to trollish strength and stamina, and it's hardly as if the scattergunners fear a charge. Every shot uses insane amounts of powder, which has motivated a lot ofraids for gunpowder on human supply lines. They can be loaded with just about anything small and metallic, though, and enemies who foolishly stand too close are ripped to shreds. They also attached axe blades to their barrels for close combat, in case of survivors.



A Fell Caller Hero is a legendary son or daughter of Bragg, the father of the art of the fell call. They are paragons of trollkin culture, using their booming voices to rally allies or shatter bone. They take joy in life, even in these difficult times. They have their challenges, though - they tend to be arrogant and bad at following orders, and even by trollkin standards they drink excessively and incite revelries at the worst times. They can cause problems to the kriels they visit, particularly when they seduce the chief's mate, sons or daughters. Most feel the irresistable urge to pass on their bloodline, you see. Despite their habits, though, they're always welcome in battle. Each is a skilled warrior as well as a powerful caller, and few can resist the urge to follow when they charge.

Next time: The Circle Orboros.

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm

Goreshade sounds kind of like a loser. His back story is him losing a civil war and his modern day activities involve him trying to get to the Ice god and failing.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.


Krol actually means "not food" which is a pretty big deal, since Dire Trolls have an incredible ravenous hunger and literally eat anything living. To mark Doomshaper as something to be spared that is a mark of highest respect. :v:

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

I've always had a soft spot for that troll design. The giant chins/throatpouches are really distinct.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



This history is presented by Omniotent Lortus of the Wyrmwall. Some say, he says, that the Circle Orboros exists to sow chaos and destruction, but it is not so. They do not unleash the fury of nature blindly, but are the enlightened hand of nature on Caen. They do not serve it, they control it. To understand the order, you must understand Orboros. Just as a man can have many titles, so can a god have many names, which each describe an aspect of their nature. Orboros is not a god, but something greater. Orboros and Dhunia share power as the primal fonts of creation, and their essence is tied to the world. The Devourer Wurm exists as one aspect of Orboros, the ravenous hunger and conscious will of it. There is, of course, an ancient and unending rivalry between the Devourer Wurm and Menoth, the Creator of Man. The Devourer is the wild and ravenous forces of nature, while Menoth is order. Men emerged, it is said, from Menoth's shadow as it fell on the forming waters of the early world, hiddling together for warmth instinctively by the fire, building monuments and fighting off wild beasts. Eventually, Menoth retreated to Urcaen to construct a city to protect the souls of his devotees. The Devourer chased him, and its consciousness in the living world faded. Priests of the Devourer can commune with the God of Feasts, offering sacrifices for power.

They do not understand that Orboros is still present on Caen. The will of Orboros is in Urcaen battling Menoth, but its essence pervades the world. Menoth cannot win so long as the Devourer can replenish itself from this wellspring on Caen. Orboros has no need for souls - it needs only the untamed wild, and the Circle alone can access that power. The Dhunians speak of the ravaging of their goddess by the Devourer Wurm as a single act of procreation at the dawn of time. It is not. It is ongoing - every season, storm and raindrop links Orboros to Dhunia. The seed of Orboros births every predator, its bones are the rocks and mountains, its shifting is earthquakes, its heart's blood is the ocean tide and flooding river. Its tongue is lightning and fire, its breath the hurricane. This is not an allegory. This is literal truth.

Humanity as a whole is obsessed with taming the wild, but since the earliest times, there have always been some born with an innate tie to the untamable chaos. The Circle are these people, born touched by Orboros, and they draw strength from its essence. When this power awakens in a child it is often mistaken for madness or possession. It is called the wilding, when a child hears voices on the wind or sees the ley lines beneath the soil. The Circle was founded after the fall of the Molgur and the rise of the priest-kings of Menoth. Golivant and Khardovic were a drastic change in human nature, one that would strange natural power. The efforts of the circle are a mirror of the battles on Urcaen between Menoth and the Devourer. The rise of cities stifles the blood of Orboros, and each city weakens it, making the Devourer's battles harder. The Circle swore pacts in those ancient days to limit the rise of cities. Sometimes, that means culling a population, breaking a dam, burning a field. It's a fine rope, though, for the power of the Circle relies on Orboros being both strong and distracted. Should the Devourer defeat Menoth, it would return from Urcaen to topple mountains and erase humanity from the world. Better for the Circle to guide nature's wrath instead. However, they have always been too few, and civilization has always advanced faster than they can set it back.

To keep the Devourer distracted, Menoth also must remain focused on the afterlife. He has a vast city in the wilds of Urcaen, protecting the souls of his dead, an entire continent shielded by walls. In long cycles, the Wurm roams the wilds and besieges the city, devouring any Menite souls it fcan reach. In these times, the two powers pay the least attention to Caen. When the Devourer is driven back, Menoth returns his gaze to the world and meddles with the affairs of his followers. By following the old pacts, both Menoth and the Wurm are kept destracted by battle, making it easier to control and tap the wild's energies. Ultimately, however, it's a delicate and unsustainable balance - there's too many humans and not enough of them are blackclad druids. Eventually, the works of humanity will weaken Orboros enough that the Wurm will be compelled to return to Caen and obliterate the greatest cities of man ina frenzy of destruction in order to regain its strenght. Few understand the struggle and fewer would embrace it if they knew. The children of Menoth falsely believe their gods can protect them, that the Wurm is not a primal force but a beast to be slain.

In the time of Molgur, the Circle Orboros were not needed. Humans were nomads, not yet taking up the Canon of the True Law. Worship of the Devourer was open and widespread, though you must remember that the Circle are not priests of the Wurm. Their relationship with Orboros is intimate but not worshipful. The Wurm's cultists have always been their pawns, not understanding their own insignificance. They are not equals - they are always tools. Perhaps useful and potent tools, but tools. The Circle learned to hide its nature after Molgur's end, learning subtlety. They used floods and earthquakes to slow civilization, and by their influence did ancient empires fall, but some, like Caspia, got their rotten roots in too deep. Even now, the City of Walls is impervious to the greatest efforts to destroy it. Still, despite the spread of Menoth's word, the Thousand Cities Era was favorable. Mankind was freactured by internal dissent and dominance games. When needed, cities were destroyed without anyone realizing how. For example, under the city of Ceryl are the ruins of a dozen towns destroyed by the Circle. Other ruins, blamed on floods, fire or plague, are also their work.

The first major sign that the balanace was failing was the founding of the Khardic Empire. The Khards were the result of a long calcification of tribes which could not be prevented, only slowed by murder and assassination. However, that rarely works - it makes martyrs, and one leader will not end a tide. Another will take their place. Disease is a far more effective tool. Still, other forces were steering the fate of the Khards, Kossites and Skirovs. An immortal creature named Zevanna Agha, called the Old Witch of Khador, was able to, by herself, thwart the entire order. She protected the northern tribes and still does, for her own reasons. At one time, she walked among the Circle, but ultimately betrayed them and used their lore against them. She has the same power to draw on the vitality of the land, yet can also call on the strength of the people of her lands. All attempts to stop or even understand her power have failed. There were many clashes with her in the attempts both to weaken the Khardic Empire and more recently the Khadorans who have inherited their legacy, but she has stopped them at every turn. Where her crows have been, they leave only the bones of those who try to defeat her, so most tactics against her involve misdirection. Recent events forced the Circle to act openly against the blight in Khador, and she confronted them there, but it seems they were not at odds on that matter, though her true motives remain hidden.

Speaking of the blight, at about this time Lord Toruk came to the Scharde Islands. Even before then, however, he was watched. The Circle observed Toruk destroy the dragon Gaulvang and consume his athanc in 1387 BR, and an omnipotent witnessed personally the struggle between Toruk and his child that tore the skies with fire and left a blizzard of ash. Dragons fascinate the order because their power exceeds the wrath of the Devourer, yet comes from a tainted and unnatural source. The ignorant often link the two together, and many religions paint the Wurm as the progenitor of dragons, but the Devourer Wurm has nothing to do with them. Dragons are a mockery of true life and are outside the natural order. They have nothing in common with any living creature of Caen or any part of the cycle of Dhunia and Orboros. They are a blight that leaves the land barren, that corrupts and kills everything it touches. Blight is anathema to the power of nature, and it destroys the ties to Orboros and interferes with elemental power. Blight is still poorly understood, but dragons are one of the greatest threats to the world. You would never know it today, but before Toruk came, the Scharde Islands were a bastion of the order. They were nto always swamplands, and were homet o many druids who used blood magic and the wilding. However, Toruk came to the islands and one of the circle's own betrayed them, enamored of his majesty. The name of that traitor is now forbidden, for he violated all the Circle holds sacred by offering himself to the Dragonfather and slaughtering or corrupting his former allies. The Scharde Islands were lost to the Circle, and the blood magic they taught the locals was twisted into corruption. Toruk's brood are all powerful, though not so much as their father. No means has ever been find to kill them permanently, despite millenia of study. It is known that one day either Toruk will consume them all or they will rise up against him and destroy the world by their war. Delaying that apocalypse is one of the Circle's jobs.

The arrival of the Orgoth was a dark time for the Circle, and many sacred places were sized and turned into sites of slaughter. The Orgoth knew the power of blood and tried to capture the loci of natural power for use in the ritual sacrifice. It is true that many druids use primal rituals of bloodshed, but the Orgoth's bore no ties to fertility, predation or natural cycles - they used it to imprison and consume souls. The Circle used their power to swallow up the tainted places, many of which were reclaimed from the Black Kingdom of Morrdh. It took generations to purify them once more, and some were permanently poisoned. Some still have not even been reclaimed. However, there were victories, particularly in the creation of the disease rip lung. Few would ever attirbute the destruction of the Orgoth to it, but it followed their supply routes back to their homeland and devastated their overseas population. Many Immorese also died to it, but there is little weight to individual lives. Even if every major city were to fall to plague and flood, there'd still be too many humans around. It has been a gradual recovery from the Orgoth atrocities, these past four centuries, hindered by the slow rate of the wilding manifesting.

The rise of the Iron Kingdoms only accelerated the expansion of cities and human populations. The Orgoth at least kept humanity in check due to poor conditions and culling. The Rebellion, however, saw unfettered population growth., and the relative peace of the last four centuries allowed for great advanced in industry and trade to support them. One day, this cancer may spread across all of Caen, practically ensuring the return of the Wurm. Though the latest wars are helpful, they are too late to mitigate much of the damage. In recent decades, however, there's been a surge in people born with the wilding. It is beleived this is a natural response to Menoth turning his attention back to Caen, due to the Protectorate of Menoth assimilating the Idrian tribes and launching a crusade of conquest. The presence ot the Gabinger is proof that Menoth's servants must be defeated for the good of Caen.

The greatest duty of the Circle is to retrieve those with the wilding before their potential is ruined. They have methods to predict the time and place of the manifestations, and send mentors to recover them. The Circle are called corruptors of the youth and some say they sacrifice the children, but in fact they are inducted into the Circle, learning to control the primal energies and forget their pasts. Yes, they never return home, but they are far greater than they would have been. Mastering the innate tie to Orboros is a job for a lifetime, and druids get great freedom to pursue it. Each finds their own way, mastering whatever power is closest to their nature. Wilers who prove competent become warders, entrusted with dangerous tasks. As their power grows, they get more and more responsibility. The organization is always secret, and most druids spend their entire lives as warders. The handful who approach mastery and pass their trials become overseers, gaining territories to oversee and sites to protect as well as being sent to coordinate plans abroad. A very few are given the rank of potent, watching over vast regions and executing longterm plans as well as overseeing dozens of minions and subordinates. The potents manage the relationships with the pawns of the Circle, from the bloodlines that owe allegiance to the Devourer cults, each of which must be nurtured carefully. They are not infinite, after all. At the head of the order are the three omnipotents, who lead the Circle and understand the deepest secrets of Orboros. Each has carved their own path to mastery - stone, beasts, storm, the connection of life and death, the flow of ley power. No aspect is superior, and omnipotents must learn the uses of all, so that they may command their subordinates properly.

The purpose of the Circle's power is real, and they cannot be so reluctant to act as they have been. It is too late now for that. They have been too proud, too self-assured in their control over the primitive races and the disenfranchised, such as the trollkin. For many centuries they were the Circle's closest allies, working for generations together, but by a grave miscalculation, that has all been undone. The Omnipotent Ergonus underestimated Madrak Ironhide, who was uniting the trollkin, and didn't notice the trollkin troubles when he tried to enlist them to fight Everblight. Ergonus decided to have Ironhide killed - and, as noted before, assassination is invariably a bad plan. Madrak Ironhide remains alive, and now the trollkin despise the Circle - and worse, Ergonus was slain. Still, the tribes of Tharn are loyal. Once, they were cursed with infertility, but the Circle cured this decades ago, with the aid of the Tharn leader Morvahna the Autumnblade. In fact, she not only broke the curse but reversed it, and earned the loyalty of all of the Tharn tribes. Now, the Tharn reproduce like rats, a great tide of warriors like the old Molgur, led by Kromac the Ravenous. Their ferocity is useful in complement to the Wolves of Orboros, the regular soldiers of the Circle - the best hunters and woodsman in all of Caen. Their families have served for years, and are most likely to produce the wilding. Those who do not make up the core of the Circle armies.

The last battle is coming. Even now, Orboros stirs. Invaders from the east have come to seek empire, but they are the least of the Circle's worries - indeed, the skorne are fortuitous. They sek to impose order, but the wars they bring are useful. Fortresses crumble and borders shift as they fight. However, they are masters of an unnatural magic, near to necromancy, and must be watched. But no difficulty can compare to the awakening of the dragon Everblight. It has shown the ability to influence and blight in a way no other dragon ever has, for its blight spreads like a disease and is not rooted in its body. It may be that by refusing to remake its body, Everblight has surpassed all its siblings. The dragon's minions have annihilated the lands of the Nyss, and the vast majority of the Nyss are corrupted and willingly serve it now, their bodies twisted and changed more deliberately than ever before. It is as if EVerblight had found a way to reshape them to its own purpose. Now, Everblight lacks patience.

The Circle attempted to defeat the legion of Everblight, but failed to stop it from destroying its sibling, the dragon Pyromalfic, at the Castle of Keys. Witnesses never saw Everblight take form, but it somehow consumed Pyromalfic's essence, empowering it greatly. There are a number of leading gnerals directing the dragonspawn, and the riddles of Everblight must be solved to stop them. The Circle must stand together, yet are divided now. All agree that Everblight must be stopped, so common ground on how must be found. Some call for direct battle. At the Castle of Keys, the Circle's forces did not gather fast enough, though, and their losses have weakened them greatly. More were lost chasing the dragon army north, though they learned more about Everblight in doing so. Others want to manipulate great forces. Krueger the Stormwrath, ignoring orders, went to the dragon Blighterghast, in hopes of encouraging the other dragons to fight Everblight. This may have imperiled everyone, but it may have helped. Time will tell. Contact with the dragons directly has always been forbidden, for many reasons, and none can say the consequences now. The Order must come together in this, the end of days, and show their foes the vengeance of nature.

Next time: Druid terrorism.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Oh my poo poo, first you're wrong about turtles and now this.

I mean, I understand you probably don't know how far Donatello has fallen lately, but even so.

Wrong about turtles? That's confusing because the scoreboard said something different.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

I am sick and tired of Donatello-supremacy in my turtle-rpg systems. Let the dumb Raphaels have some fun now and then!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Green Intern posted:

I am sick and tired of Donatello-supremacy in my turtle-rpg systems. Let the dumb Raphaels have some fun now and then!

It's like I was telling Jon before the recording. Now you get to feel like the smarter-than-the-sheep outsider. Donatello is just the obvious choice, and you're cooler than that.

I'm just a follower, my favorite character of any group is always the glasses one. Donatello, Simon, Velma, Jason Sklar... the only exception being that eternal dimwit Harry Potter.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

Harry Potter is a jock masquerading as a nerd.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!

Green Intern posted:

Harry Potter is a jock masquerading as a nerd.

Holy poo poo this is as true as anything has ever been. Sure, there's some tragic backstory, but within the actual plot of the novels he's got super powers, natural talent, and about a million characters with their own super powers watching out for him every second of every day. His whole air of vulnerability is just an elaborate plot constructed by his various benefactors so that he can learn humility and be even more special.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

Green Intern posted:

Harry Potter is a jock masquerading as a nerd.

How is he nerdy in any way, other than wearing glasses?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.



ThisIsNoZaku posted:

How is he nerdy in any way, other than wearing glasses?
I suppose he was bookish before he got to find out he was a wizzard?

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

Just Dan Again posted:

Holy poo poo this is as true as anything has ever been. Sure, there's some tragic backstory, but within the actual plot of the novels he's got super powers, natural talent, and about a million characters with their own super powers watching out for him every second of every day. His whole air of vulnerability is just an elaborate plot constructed by his various benefactors so that he can learn humility and be even more special.

Don't forget that Potter is essentially a legacy admission to Hogwarts.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy
Cheese Dudes: Is Movie Mastery a backer-only kind of thing? I couldn't find it on my podcast feeds and I need to hear you guys rip apart Master of Disguise - I love that dumb film.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG

gradenko_2000 posted:

Cheese Dudes: Is Movie Mastery a backer-only kind of thing? I couldn't find it on my podcast feeds and I need to hear you guys rip apart Master of Disguise - I love that dumb film.
It's up on their website, just in a different feed.

Speaking of which, can I put in a recommendation for Attack the Gas Station!? It's Korean, I'm pretty sure it's on Netflix, and from what I remember it's weird and funny.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Unknown Armies, part 17: Cosmic Gaming



The Big Picture: Cosmic Level

So, at the Street level you're basically just blundering around in the dark. You're ordinary people blundering randomly into various flavors of "hosed up" below the surface of the day-to-day world.

At the Global level you are one of those hosed up things that Street level characters blunder into...or at least you're friends with one...or you know one...or you're out to kill one (or more). In terms of enlightenment, a Street level character might have a book of matches, you've got a flashlight.

Then we come to Cosmic level play, and you're upgraded from "duke" to Lord. If a duke is exploring a big dark room with a flashlight, you've turned the lights on...and you can see just how dark things are outside the windows.

Basically, the point of that tortured metaphor is to explain that Cosmic-level play involves "big picture" stuff. Despite the name, Global characters rarely have a significant impact on the world at large (especially the mundane world). They have enough knowledge and power to have goals, but those goals are primarily personal (get rich, powerful, safe, etc). They may know a few things that are (mostly) accurate about the supernatural but it's mostly in the realm of hard, basic facts. They're the mystical equivalent of "upper middle class".

Cosmic level Lords, on the other hand, know some capital "T" Truths about the universe. They don't know everything, but they've got a pretty good handle on some major facts about how the universe itself really works and the power (mystical or otherwise) to do something about it. Playing on the Cosmic level is about more than just screwing around with a city, establishing a power base or even loving around with "mundane" politics. It's about actually shaping society, reality and the future.

However, with the bigger playing board comes bigger problems and there's no way one person alone can really start to warp reality. You've got to work together with someone who shares your views, or claw out a fresh new faction of your own and join in conspiracy games.

So...what are the cosmic Truths? Here's the breakdown.


The Statosphere: Reality is more than just a bunch of big rocky balls spinning around bigger, hotter balls. Outside of the realm of human experience is the unseen world of the Statosphere. The Statosphere is...vaguely defined. Merely knowing it exists is one of the big secrets that separates a Global level duke from a Cosmic level Lord, so even the Lords don't actually know what it's like. You can go there, but you better hope the trip is one way because the fall is rough.

The Invisible Clergy: One fact that is known about the Statosphere is that it is where the Archetypes live, for lack of a better word. Collectively, the Archetypes are known as the Invisible Clergy. And here's the thing about them...they aren't just Jungian icons given form by the mass unconsciousness. Each Archetype was once (and in many ways still is) a living human being. At some point in the past some human so perfectly embodied a nascent concept that helped define humanity that they shot out of reality and into the Statosphere, becoming one of the Archetypes. The Warrior was probably the first prehistoric rock-wielder who decided to pick a fight for reasons of belief rather than simply because they were hungry, scared or horny. This is still happening (as can be seen by the Ascension of Archetypes like the MVP and the Naked Goddess) and if you can find an open slot and make it important enough to the world, then you too can carve out a space among the Invisible Clergy

The second big Truth about the clergy is the fact that not only were they humans who ascended and not only can humans still ascend to the Clergy...but you can actually replace an existing Archetype. If you can successfully be a become a greater embodiment of the Mother than the current Archetype then up you go to the Statosphere and she goes hurtling earthwards. Replace an Archetype and you get to redefine it to suit your idiomatic view of the concept. That's why the Messenger today is more of a journalist and investigator than a runner or postman. An Archetype who has been kicked out returns to the world as a mortal, knowing that they were an Archetype but with only fragmentary memories.

Why do all of this? Well, here's the final big Truth. There are a limited number of thrones in the Invisible Clergy, three hundred and thirty-three to be exact. Once all of those spaces are filled the world will end. Obviously, some Lords want to simply try and stall the inevitable by preventing ascensions, but most are right on board...so long as they like the Clergy members in power when the end comes. This is because when the Clergy is full and the world does end the 333 members of the Invisible Clergy get to create the next one. Their values and ideals can become literal laws of the universe in the next world.

Ascension is what it's all about on the Cosmic scale. Find a guy whose views match yours and help them ascend so you can be sure that Nice Guys (tm) don't get Friendzoned in the next universe, or to make sure that meat isn't so delicious and everyone loves vegetables. Whatever your weird obsession, this is your chance to see that it gets a vote in the cosmic committee. Is there an Archetype that represents values you find reprehensible? Manipulate the collective unconscious and help a competing Avatar oust them to make sure there aren't dicks being dipped in the big existential soup. Become an Avatar, then an Archetype yourself so you can make sure the dick everyone tastes will be yours.

Humanity: One thing that everyone is pretty sure of is that humanity is all there is. There might be other worlds, there might even be life out there (if the Clergy chooses it to be so), but ultimately the universe revolves around humanity. We created it, we live in it and we'll destroy it to create the next one. You did it. The universe is ultimately a democracy of the subconscious and everything about humanity, good and bad, influences how it will turn out (and in turn how the next one will be formed). The one constant is free will. No matter what happens it can always be changed if there's enough people out there who want it badly enough.

The Comte de Saint Germain: The Comte (who I will stubbornly insist on referring to as the Count going forward) is believed to be the only true immortal of the Unknown Armies universe, known also as the First and Last Man. He is the janitor of reality and its his job to make sure that the rules of the cosmos don't get too badly bent and to patch up the holes and clean up suspicious fluids clogging up the plumbing of the universe. Once 332 Archetypes has Ascended then Saint Germain will, inevitably, ascend as the 333rd, ending the universe. When the Clergy create a new universe and vanish, he is born again as the first human and the cycle continues. Essentially he is the ultimate GM plot device.

This is my preferred interpretation of the Count: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poEo6So0knU

The Afterlife: This is one mystery that is still causing the Lords some trouble. It is known that souls (or something resembling souls) exist...but what that actually means is up for debate. Demons are pretty well known...they're the souls of those who died while pursuing overwhelming obsessions...especially (but not exclusively) Adepts. They're compelled to struggle to return to the material world, get a body and keep pursuing their insatiable obsessions. Even worse, if they were adepts when they died they can still perform magick (so long as they can get a body with which to get charges).

I'll be skipping some stuff that gets explained better later, and next time we'll get to the chapter on how Avatars can Ascend.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide
So is it accurate to say that Adepts don't really have much of a place in the Cosmic scheme of things? It seems like the Cosmic game requires a degree of perspective that their obsessions cloud them from.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Strange Matter posted:

So is it accurate to say that Adepts don't really have much of a place in the Cosmic scheme of things? It seems like the Cosmic game requires a degree of perspective that their obsessions cloud them from.

Pretty much. Their view of the universe gives them power but it's ultimately a delusion. An adept can be a powerful, dangerous individual but they're never going to directly shape the universe with their powers. If you want to change things it's got to be "in the system", like Avatars. Adeptism is kind of a mystical dead end.


Of course, an adept can be a powerful tool in an Ascension scheme...get an adept who can "brute force" their way into the mass subconscious (Cliomancers are especially good at this) and you can really grease the wheels on creating a new Archetype or altering an existing one, especially if you can get the adept a major charge...but really a normal guy in a position of social or political influence can be just as powerful.

The combination of adept and avatar can be very powerful and dangerous however...Adepts have a warped, obsessive world view and if they manage to put themselves into the Invisible Clergy they could seriously wreck the next world...imagine a dipsomancer or entropomancer getting a vote on how the universe turns out. Fortunately such combinations are rare, and even rarer are ones who have the ability to "go the distance". But that's exactly what produced the settings biggest boogeyman: The Freak. Thankfully, s/he's not interested in Ascending...to the relief of everyone.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



Baldur the Stonecleaver is also known as the Rock of Orboros, and some joke that he's spent too long communing with mountains. He is calm and serene, but when his anger is roused, he is unstoppable. He says nothing about his past, saying only that he was born in a bear cave near Boarsgate, but he has Khardic features and size. His strength flows from the earth, and he wields an immense stone sword that no one else has ever lifted, let alone wielded. He says it is not strength of his arms, but that the sword is part of him. Baldur is much older than he seems and has mentored other druids, like Kaya the Wildborne, as well as befriending many outsiders. He cares nothing for politics, focusing on stoneworking, and he has worked even with Rhulic and Iosan masons before. In better days, he was a great friend to the trollkin kriels, and he is disappointed by the rift raised with the trollkin, but will not shirk from battling them. His logic and insight make him powerful within the Circle, and he has been given the rank of potent. He is a master of stone magic, shaping wolds and their kind with primal power. He is a sculptor whose creations will fight for him, and who can raise forests even in the most blighted places. He worries greatly about Everblight and the scars the dragon causes. Since the rise of the Legion, Baldur has slept little and has either been making new wardens or mustering for battle ever day, primarily against the Legion. Despite all this, however, he remains optimistic. His gimmick is control of stone and battlefield and the use of golems. His feat allows him t shatter the earth under his enemies, making it hard for them to move.



Kaya the Wildborne is a master of beasts, far beyond any of her peers. She rides their minds and, when she enters a battle trance, she is as violent as any of them. Her willingess to submerge herself so in the mind of a pack worries her mentor, Baldur, but it is her nature. She has tried to learn patience but it's never really taken, and she doesn't understand why others can't understand her own methods. She was born in Ord, near the Thornwood, and had her wilding as a toddler, howling at the moon to the cries of wolves. Her parents willingly gave her to Baldur when he came, and he has been her father since that day, the only ranking druid she truly trusts. She believes that the other Circle leaders are needlessly manipulative and rarely agrees with them. This and her inability to keep her tongue under control have alienated many of her peers, which may be because she spends so much time in the minds of creatures that understand neither lies nor tact. She rarely participates in the plots for which the Circle is so famous, preferring the simpler motivations of beasts. She lets her actions speak for her and prefers direct strikes against the Circle's enemies, which she is very good at. She can sacrifice her beasts if she must, but her bond with them is very great, and their loyalty to her is genuine. Kaya's gimmick is buffing her beasts, and her gimmick allows her to push them to great heights of fury to empower her magic.



Krueger the Stormwrath is equal parts feared, respected and disliked within the Circle. He has no friends and thinks of none as his equal. His name came from things like climbing atop a mountain to call down a storm potent enough to nearly drown a city. He was the only witness to the death of Omnipotent Ergonus, and he is enraged that Lortus got the seat instead of him. He believes he is being punished for surviving, and he longs to lead the Circle, believing they have become too soft and need him to return them to the days of plague and flood. He was born in a small village near Sul, and is one of few to survive a wilding in the Protectorate. His father was a Menite priest, and he was quickly condamned as Devourer-spawn, almost burnt at the stake by his own father. Druids came and saved him with bloody swiftness, taking him to the ruins of Acrennia to be taught by Mohsar the Desertwalker, a harsh master famous for teaching by cruel example. He once stripped Krueger and abandoned him in the desert, forcing him to make his way back by strength and cunning. Krueger lives bringing suffering to human cities, and if he could, he would destroy Sul and Caspia and kill all within. He particularly hates Menoth and wants to wipe his church from Caen. His spear contains the Tongue of the Wurm, an endless lightning storm held captive in the heart of the shaft. He revels in the Devourer Wurm more than most, seeing no difference between it and Orboros, and he is beloved among the Tharn, having partaken in their human sacrifice and heart devouring. The Stormwrath is barely contained fury, and his rage will only be satisfied when all of civilization is crumbled, burned or drowned before him. His gimmick is weather and lightning, and his feat lets him call down giant thunderblasts.



The Argus is a two-headed war dog, bred and tamed over the centuries by the druids for battle. They are far larger and more vicious than the breed tamed in northern Khador, and are very strong for their size, but their true value is in their bark. It is able to immobilize even the most powerful foes, allowing them to be struck down easily. The argus are practically impossible to surprise - their four eyes are constantly watching, and they are sensitive to any movement at all. They will attack anyone who harms their pack, and will happily sacrifice themselves for their masters. They are famous for endurance, able to run very quickly over long distances, and they make ideal hunters and trackers. They are quite clever and can understand even complex orders, with patience. On top of tearing apart prey with their jaws, they often use their bark to disorient and daze prey, and in the wild, they hunt in packs, with one paralyzing foes so the others can kill. Their animus grants skill in movement and scouting.



The Gorax is not quite beast or man, a hulking primitive with massive jaws of hardened fangs. They eat only meet and they are the embodiment of primal rage. When hurt, they become even faster and more aggressive, lashing out at anyone nearby. For venturies, they have been captured and enslaved for battle. Warlords of the Thousand Cities era used them as shock troops by the hundreds. Once their blood lust became too great to control, they were killed. Gorax tend to prefer the taste of human flesh, and their indiscriminate nature made them fall out of favor quickly, but the druids have learned how to use them properly. Despite their appearance, they are much smarter than animals. They can approximate rough speech and learn to follow instructions. They are bribed with food and mates, then conditioned to accept training. They don't need weapons. The Circle just has to tap into the chaos that seethes in their minds. Their animus allows their frenzied madness to be spread to their allies, strengthening them.



Woldwatchers are the guardians of the sacred groves of the Circle. They fire blasts of elemental energy, growing trees from the flesh of the dead. When not active, they appear to be piles of stone, but when triggered, they reveal their true forms and fight to defend nature. They can be made from any strong stone and natural materials lashed together by ropes that have tasted blood. The stone must be inscribed with ancient runes that imbue the woldwatcher with the power of Orboros. Many druids prefer these smaller constructs to their larger counterparts - they're easier to make. The ropes using them are not always wound from vines water by blood sacrifice, as they were in the past, but they still draw great power from life's blood. Their connection to the earth allows them to cause brief but dramatic explosions of plant growth, and they can become nearly impervious by standing still. Their animus grants some of that stone strength.



The Feral Warpwolf is the embodiment of the Devourer Wurm. The warpwolves were made when a cult of the Devoruer sought closer connection to the Beast of All Shapes, using a potent mystical formula combining man's bestial essence with the madness of the shifting moons. Any human who ingested it was transformed into a massive, bipedal wolf monster when distressed or hurt. A warpwolf, filled with the urge to kill and devour. Long ago, the Circle discovered the formula's secret and began to use the warpwolves for war. The initial transformation is instantaneous, but after a time they revert to human form. The transformation occurs again unders tress and during some lunar phases. The genetic change is irreversible, and the children of warpwolves are also warpwolves. Few retain their sanity, suffering from nervousness and violent episodes even while human, and indulging any excuse to express their predator nature, The Circle officially prefers not to make new warpwolves from the unafflicted because of this, but since the rise of Everblight and the feud with the trollkin, the omnipotents have turned a blind eye to it, In battle, warpwolf bodies constantly shift and warp, with muscles bulging for bursts of speed or power and bone spurs erupting to protect their flesh. Wounds close quickly, and the howls of the hunting warpwolves are one of the most terrifying sounds in Immoren. Their animus allows them to drain rage from enemy beasts.



Warpwolf Stalkers are made the same way as feral warpwolves, but they reacted differently to the elixir for reasons none understand in full. They are warped by the Devourer, but retain a portion of their human mind and so can wield weapons in battle. With this mix of bestial instinct and human intellect, they are particularly potent weapons, if still very bloodthirsty. Some of the Circle believe that the stalkers were those touched by a shadow of the wilding before transformation. They lacked the spark to become full druids, but their new form gives them access to primal power. They prowl the forests of Immoren and serve as the vanguard of the Circle armies, hidden by the environment as they stalk their prey. At the last moment, they leap out and slaughter everyone around them in a berserk fury. Their animus allows for lightning-quick movement after a kill.

Next time: The Circle's killers.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



A Woldwarden is a construct of earth and wood that wields the chaos of living entropy, infused with Orboros power by carved runes. Their stone fists are powerful weapons, but their greatest asset is the elemental harmony they have with their warlock. This allows them to serve as a vessel for the druid's magic, fueled by the power of the earth rather than their own energy. A woldwarden can unlesh magical spells its druid knows, acting as an extension of the warlock's will and power. They are made from immense stone blocks carved with potent sigils, and it's a slow and delicate process to make one. In quieter times, the guard the most sacred sites of the Circle, but now, they are warriors of the advance. Some, particularly those druids who use stone magic, consider them superior to and more reliable than wild beasts, as they can move through any terrain and absorb immense punishment. Trees and foliage often erupt around them, hindering any foes nearby, thanks to their animus.



The Druids of Orboros, known to outsiders as the blackclads, are seen as heralds of doom, evil cultists who remind men why the wilderness is to be feared. They are known for their brutal vengeance on those who interfere with them, and soldiers fear them deeply. They have immense power over the earth, and thegreatest can make the ground itself swallow their foes. Druids wield mighty voulges, but their real power is in their magic. They can call on the wind and mist and the chaotic power of Orboros, allowing them to disrupt the spells of others. They rarely fight in the open, preferring forests and other areas with good cover, like swamps or cliffs. It is risky for druids to enter battle themselves, but the Circle believes the strong and worthy will rise as a result, and only the weak will be culled.



The trollkin are proud of krielstones, but even their understanding of stone pales before the Circle druids who make the Shifting Stones. For centuries, the druids have explored this power, using runic columns to mark their territories and boundaries, but they are more than markers. They tap in to the ley lines that are the arteries of Orboros. The druids use this vast unseen web of energy to channel and manipulate power via the carved sigils on their stone pillars. They are part of a mystical, semi-mathematical language that glow green when activated, a glow that has led more than one lost traveler to death at the hands of Circle guardians. Some of the greatest stones have a number of powers. Some can send messages across vast distances or heal grievous wounds, but their most useful ability is teleportation, moving Circle forces through the ley lines. It's part of why the druids are so hard to track or anticipate. (And yes, the stones can teleport themselves, too.)



The Tharn Bloodtrackers are the women of the Tharn, as vicious an deadly as the men. They are a remnant of a darker time, wielding weighted javelins and primitive claws bucklers to fight those around them. They prefer to avoid melee, however, hiding in the shadows to hunt their prey with thrown javelins. They are frenetic, vicious women, and while they do not assume the hulking forms of the male ravagers, they call on the Devourer Wurm to get the swiftness of beasts and hypersensitive awareness, far beyond human limits. When they choose a hunting target, they will hunt them to the exclusion of all else before choosing new prey. Few ever see bloodtrackers clearly, and those who have say they wear shadows like cloaks. This is an exaggeration of their camouflage abilities, but they do have e nearly supernatural ability to blend with their environment and can move through any terrain very quickly.



The Tharn Ravagers are the men of the Tharn. In peacetime, the Tharn are indistinguishable from normal human barbarians, but in war, they call on the Devourer Wurm to transform themselves. The ravagers expand their bodies, thicken their skin and grow vicious fangs, gaining bestial senses and an insatiable hunger. They will happily tear out and eat the hearts of their prey. Just three centuries ago, the Tharn were among the largest of the tribes, and tens of thousands lived in the Thornwood. Most were slaughtered in a political gambit of a Khadoran queen against Cygnar, while the rest were cursed with infertility. Decades ago, the Circle unraveled that curse and restored the Tharn numbers, led by Morvahna the Autumnblade. The Tharn are eager to repay their debt, and the ravagers fight for the Circle now, charging into battle to hack up and devour foes with their long axes, leaving mutilated bodies behind.



The Wolves of Orboros are those who take up arms to serve the Circle. Families in dark forests and isolated hills pass on the tradition, initiating their children into a secret cabal furthering the will of the druids. In exchange for their fealty, the druids watch their lands and families - a powerful thing, to the people who leave beyond civilization. Druids select the families carefully, as those who have a greater than average chance of the wilding, and they value them deeply. Each Wolf masters the two-bladed spear, a potent weapon meant to punch right through armor. They must prove their skill and ability to survive in the wilds to pass their initiation rites and earn the wolf pelt that marks them as a brother or sister. In recent battles, the number of Wolves has been raised with offers of coin and valuables. These mercenary recruits must still have the willingness to obey and the survival skills. Some can't explain why they serve even after their contracts end - only that it feels right. Coercing people into the Wolves is not unheard of, but that produces resentment, so the Circle prefers volunteers. The lifestyle of the Wolves certainly has an appeal to those on the fringes who wish to belong to a cause.



The Lord of the Feast is a prehistoric horror, an avatar of the Wurm's hunger that slaughters any it meets and feasts on their organs in a sacrificial offering to the Beast of All Shapes. Once it finishes, it becomes a cloud of ravens that devours the slain. The Circle rarely intentionally draws the Wurm's attention, but dark times call for dark measures, and they have used forgotten lore of the Molgur to summon the Unsleeping One's avatar into the world again. The Lord of the Feast has only one companion: a raven that ranges ahead of it, seeking new victims. The Feast Lord then kills them with its long blade, joyfully partaking in bloody sacrifice.

Next time: The mighty Skorne!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Cheese Dudes: Is Movie Mastery a backer-only kind of thing? I couldn't find it on my podcast feeds and I need to hear you guys rip apart Master of Disguise - I love that dumb film.

It's a separate RSS feed, but it is free. You can find the link to the feed on our home page.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
I got the impression that the Freak is a deliberate sendup of WoD characters like Penny Dreadful and Sascha Vykos.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hordes Mk. II Primal



The Skorne history is recorded by Hexeris, Tyrant of House Kurshon. He knows that the skorne did not record their history in stone until they settled, long after they learned to preserve their ancestors. Each house jealusly guards its secrets and records, and much of what he has learned was by going through the ruins of extinct or conquered houses and questioning their ancestral spirits. The ancestors of the skorne are crystallized and perserved in sacral stones, the greatest treasures of any house, and there's a lot of formalities you have to go through before the house's aptimus extoller will let you speak with the exalted dead, which they use to their own benefit. The extollers hide their lore away, but some secrets have proliferated in recent years, as the empire has consoldiated itself.

For most of the ancient past, the skorne were nomads in the southern reaches of what the west knows as eastern Immoren, which the skorne call Scindor Solum. In the north was the vast empire of Lyoss, a frail and arrogant race that would doom themselves. They were pampered by their gods and their rich lands, and though they tried to subjugate and civilize the skorne, they never succeeded, and all ambassadors and soldiers they sent were killed. They never understood the skorne, and the skorne despised the Lyossans, having chosen a pure path for themselves. They preyed on Lyoss, as a predator preys on the fat and torpid herd, strking where they were vulnerable and living in the badlands, with no need for cities. Lyoss hated them, calling them the faithless, the shunned and the godless. They did not realize that godless is a term of pride. Those the skorne exalt are their own blood, heroes who earn immortality by their deeds. The skorne do not need or want gods. However, this was a simple time, before the skorne had learned the potential of their own minds.

The first ancestor to discover spiritual awakening and exaltation was Voskune, an ascetic philosopher who predated the era of written history. He spent decades fasting and mortifying his flesh in the desert, to understand the tie between body and spirit. He dissected both the living and dead to understand that connection, plucking out his own eye that he might learn its complex structure of fluid and tissue. He replaced the eye with a sphere of smooth crystal that allowed him to perceive vital essence, most vividly in moments of anguish or near death. The moment of death, i nfact, was a particular fascination, and he was the first to perceive that on death, the spirit was flung into the yawning Void to experience endless agony. The spirits of the Void were all mad, and he was disturbed to learn this had happened to his own ancestors and would happen to himself. Extollers revere Voskune rightly, but he was a seeker truth, unlike those hoarders of mysteries. He would not recognize them as his inheritors.

He died, but his students carried on his work. It would be ten generations before two masters, Ishoul and Kaleed, worked together to achieve a breakthrough. Ishoul found that cutting and polishing certain stones would pull at a spirit, drawing it like water into a sponge. The pair worked those stones for the rest of their lives. They duplicated Voskune's sacrifice of his eye, as all extollers have done since. It is a small price to perceive life essence. It is not the only way to do so, but is the most reliable. In any case, perceiving spirit is vital to any true understanding of the world. The dominar of these masters' house, the warlod Vuxoris, became the First Exalted by their work. He invented the code of battle known as hoksune, still followed now, and asked Ishoul and Kaleed to preserve his spirit that his lore might not fade. Vuxoris' essence was captured in a polished piece of obsidian, preserving him immortally by transforming the stone with a lattice of energy. He could then be contacted, via a proper draining and ritual. Kaleed realized, shocked, that the stone now emanated great power and caused strange events. It would be generations before this power could be harnessed.

The stone became a treasured relic, with thousands dead in the wars over ownership of the First Exalted. From it, the skorne learned that smaller pieces of a sacral stone could be used in weapons and armor, gaining some shadow of ancestral power. Of course, it was done sparingly, to preserve the stone, but over time some ancient stones were slowly carved away entirely. The first sacral stone was lost, perhaps divided too many times, but that is the inevitable destruction of time's passage. Preserving the exalted is a complex and difficult ritual, and only the most accomplished of a house are deemed worthy of exaltation. That is the power and influence at the core of the extollers, and they hoard it as they do knowledge.

Another great ancestor arose twelve generations before the destruction of Lyoss - the warrior-philosopher Morkaash, who studied anatomy and the infliction of pain. He believed that enlightenment was the result of suffering, and sought to understand how bodies functioned. He tested himself against the beasts of the badlands, defeating them, taming them and breaking them to his will. This was carried on by his followers after his death. This gave rise to the paingivers and chirurgeons, who study nerves, blood vessels and living tissue, mastering anatomy to aid the wounded in battle and conduct ritual scarification. They also learned alchemy, to create useful compounds. It is not a glorious or respected pursuit, but it has saved many great dominars and tyrants from death. The paingivers, on the other hand, seek to master pain and mortitheurgy. They are skilled assassins, torturers and beast handlers, rooting out traitors and questioning foes. It is necessary in the complex intrigue of the houses, and they root out treachery with skill. Nearly as vital as that is their responsibility to keep and train the warbeasts, using pain to condition their behavior, along with various toxins, stimulants and other drugs. Beast handlers modify and augment their beasts, sometimes over generations of experimentation to turn these creatures into weapons, and in other cases by bringing out their native qualities. While any given paingiver works for a house, they belong to none, giving up loyalties in the name of their art and duty.

In the centuries that followed, some others sought the deeper mysteries. Often these were extollers who wanted more than to oversee funerary rites and ancestral stones. This gave rise ot the art of mortitheurgy, which underlies all arcane study. Thge basic tenet is that great power is realeased by the flesh as it transitions, and that blood and pain have innate power. It is extremely valuable in power, and with the right applications can force a warrior past the limits of the flesh, tapping into the power of death and suffering to go on without nourishment and despite any injury. It is a short reprieve, of course, and it has a price. The warrior will die, eventually, often in great agony. But those extra few minutes of battle can mean victory. Master paingivers and all house leaders must learn to control these energies to dominate the wills of their subjects. Thus, a warlord may force even a reluctant vassal to fight or tap the strength of a beast-slave, using both as extensions of themselves in battle. This gives warlords the strength of titans, able to withstand injuries that would fell a squad. Most tyrants understand the fundamentals of mortitheurgy but do not really comprehend their arts. Some study further, drawing on the infinite energy within the immortal spirits of the living. That must be done with care, howewver, as exceeding your limits this way can stretch you to a point of no return, permanently and utterly annihilating you even beyond the reach of the extollers. However, a master of sufficient will could not only avoid this, but avoid the agonies of the Void after death. Most will never reach that point.

Lyoss knew nothing of skorne philosophy or culture. They could not comprehend that the skorne had mastery over death. Their luxury made them complacent, and the dominars celebrated their obliteration. The sun exploded in the sky over their cities, sending flame and molten rock across all they had made. It was so potent the earth itself rippled like cloth. Many skorne died in the storms that followed, but because they were strong, they stood firm where the Lyoss panicked and fled. The skorne harassed the survivors as they headed west, taking those too slow to flee. What little survived fell into the hands of the skorne. That was almost 250 generations ago. Exalted ancestors of the period describe the fall, but it was only in time that the benefits of the destruction were realized. The Abyss swallowed the Lyoss capital in unquenchable flame, along with their outer cities. And that is what transformed the skorne away from nomadic travel. It was imperative to build permanent shelter to weather the storms and floods. The skorne learned masonry, architecture and more. Despite this, they kept their traditions and values, dividing into the freactured houses that even today vie with one another for power and resources. Life was short and cruel - a house might be ended in a few short days, leaving only their spoils.

Over time, the storms receded and the weather became more predictable. The cities of the skorne prospered, their eternal war with each other cointinuing as the philosophies and traditions were restored. However, much had been lost, including many sacral stones. Some of the exalted were released when the stones were shattered - an event that brings plague, mosfortune and wrath of the ancestral spirit, for without the stone their essence is twisted. The strongest spirits can endure this, though, and in very rare cases will be reborn. More commonly they bacome kovaas, rage ghosts of endless fury. These spirits go mad and become mindless, wrathful beings of immense energy. Most extollers think it is vital to banish kovaas, but rarely they will be re-interred in a new stune, strenghtened against their rage. Such stones are extremely dangerous, and one can only imagine the madness of spirit twice broken. These stones are always sealed away with great care. In any case, the unquenchable fire of Lyoss retreated, and their lands could be taken, their ruins plundered. Much of the area is still hostile to life, but after millenia, they offer up forgotten treasures, and are worthy of salvage if you can survive the beasts.

The wars of the houses have forged the strength of the skorne for 250 generations. Their culture changed little in this era - warlords fighting each other to test their strength and ensure the strongest led. Great houses rose and fell, heroic ancestors became exalted, and the skorne spread across the badlands and into the lands of the Lyoss. Growth began again. Many lesser species were enslaved, including the savage cyclops tribes of the desert. Through conflict, the skorne became strong. Traditionally, the master of a house is a tyrant, and one who can impose will on lesser houses is a dominar. A tyrant has a warband - a dominar has armies. Through great victory, a dominar may rise to authority over other dominars, becoming archdominars with vast dynasties, but they rarely last long. One of the most recent archdominars was Vaactash of House Balaash. He carved out a territory north of Halaak, ruling longer than any other archdominar ever has, surviving countless duels and assassins. He is now exalted, and the rule of his house went first to his son, who died quickly, then his grandson, who died quickly, and at last his granddaughter, ARchdomina Makeda, who is greater than any warrior save the Conquerer himself.

The Conquerer emerged from the stormlands of the west, and the skorne were ready for him. They had become a great culture over the millenia, taught to revere strength over all else. The Conqueror was the first human they ever met, and he swept through them like a storm. He slaughtered the first skorne he met, for the underestimated him. They could not have been ready for Vinter Raelthorne, though, and his legend grew as he traveled, slaughtering hundreds of warriors. Some said he was a messiah, others that he was a kovaas and not flesh at all, but his forces grew as skorne swore themsevles to his cause. He found his way to the largest city, Halaak, defeating all challengers. That he was not skorne mattered little. The hoksune code would not accept that one of his strength had come from a people who had not heard of Vuxoris, and so the believers decided that a skorne soul must have been reborn in human flesh, thus protecting their pride. It's preposterous, of course, but he became known as the Reborn. They said he had cast aside his inferior birth species to return and elevate his true people. The Conqueror encouraged such tales.

NMot all were fooled, and Hexeris never trusted the Conqueror. However, he made short work of his challengers. This was the First Unification, where he faced Archdomina Makeda and slew countless of her warriors. At last, she and the Conqueror fought each other directly. Their skill was matched, and by the end, Makeda was defeated, though Vinter commanded no warbeasts. This convinced Makeda that he was, in fact, the Reborn, and she became his most arden supporter. This was instrumental in completing the Unification. For the first time in history, all skorne were under one banner. Even those who hate the Reborn now admire that he made this possible. He spoke of great wealth in the west, of fertile land and weak species who ruled it. He offered conquest, proposing a great bridge across the Abyss. Seven years later, though, before the birdge was completed, the Conqueror grew impatient and personally led an army across the desert, claiming it was to pave the way for dominion. This spread the first seeds of doubt. The dominars dared not speak openly, of course, but they noted the Conqueror's temper, his paranoia and his impatience. A conspiracy to dethrone him was hatched.

The Conqueror's defeat in the first campaign to the west was neve raised until years later, when the extent of his failure was learned. He marched an army to the city of Corvis but was defeated shortly, not even establishing a stronghold. Even the greatest warrior can overreach. The western races may be soft, but they are not to be underestiamted. They are tenacious in defense and have surprising reserves of strength. As there was no news of victory despite Vinter's long absence, the conspirators believed him dead, and were surprised when he returned with a vengeance. This was the Second Unification. He fell on the betrayers, who were tormented personally by the Conqueror's favored paingiver, Morghoul. They were slaughtered and refused the extollers' rights. In the absence of the Conqueror, however, Makeda had remained loyal, despite many assassins. She was given dominion of the western empire and tasked to subjugate the Conqueror's foes.

In preparation for conquest, she was named Supreme ARchdominar, and the empire was reformed radically, consolidating many houses and improving on weapons manufacture as well as establishing central government. Soldiers were trained together, not as seperate houses, and the ranks of tyrant, lord tyrant and dominar were made to have military authority. The transformation is sitll going, but has ended the petty rivalries that would otherwise plague the command structure. The skorne resisted, but the foundations were laid. Hexeris himself joined the COnqueror's army for the coming war, and he felt the unity was worth preserving, though he disliked Vinter. Makeda was more deliberate and methodical than the Conqueror, securing a permanent supply chain first to protect the Abyssal Fortress and the bridge across the Abyss. The lands they settled were ignored by the spoiled humans, but were perfect for the skorne. Skorne raids on the area around Corvis also revealed a hardy if primitive species they named the duzusk, who call themselves trollkin - stalwart and worthy foes. Strikes were also led on the humans, coordinated with the Conqueror's allies, such as the scout Saxon Orrik or the mercenary Asheth Magnus. They gave useful intelligence on Cygnar's weaknesses, and their great forts like Fort Falk and Eastwall. Plans were made to assault Eastwall during Cygnar's battles in Caspia and Sul.

What none could expect was that the Conqueror himself would betray them. The skorne had worked too well, and he had begun to fear them. He wanted to use them as a tool to regain power among humans, but never planned to raise them up as conquerors, like he'd promised. His treachery was revealed when he ordered the attack on Eastwall stopped and the army to head hundreds of miles north to Fort Falk. Makeda tried to obey, despite it making no strategic sense, and many skorne died in the resulting battles. Master Tormentor Morghoul interrogated Asheth Magnus, and discovered Vinter's true deceptions. Even Makeda was forced to admit that the Conqueror must be overthrown, for he had chosen deliberately to weaken both Cygnar and Makeda. She did what had to be done, taking command of the army, which ahd been loyal to her, and taking over the empire by reclaiming the Abyssal Fortress. Vinter Raelthorne fled her anger, heading back into the wastes. Justice will be done to him eventually, and what he made will outlast him. Now, the Skorne Empire is united and ready for conquest. They will enslave all who stand against them, east and west under the same banner: the Skorne!

Next time: SKOOOOORNE

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

oriongates posted:

Pretty much. Their view of the universe gives them power but it's ultimately a delusion. An adept can be a powerful, dangerous individual but they're never going to directly shape the universe with their powers. If you want to change things it's got to be "in the system", like Avatars. Adeptism is kind of a mystical dead end.


Of course, an adept can be a powerful tool in an Ascension scheme...get an adept who can "brute force" their way into the mass subconscious (Cliomancers are especially good at this) and you can really grease the wheels on creating a new Archetype or altering an existing one, especially if you can get the adept a major charge...but really a normal guy in a position of social or political influence can be just as powerful.

The combination of adept and avatar can be very powerful and dangerous however...Adepts have a warped, obsessive world view and if they manage to put themselves into the Invisible Clergy they could seriously wreck the next world...imagine a dipsomancer or entropomancer getting a vote on how the universe turns out. Fortunately such combinations are rare, and even rarer are ones who have the ability to "go the distance". But that's exactly what produced the settings biggest boogeyman: The Freak. Thankfully, s/he's not interested in Ascending...to the relief of everyone.

It's worth pointing out that the Unknown Armies adventure Fly to Heaven from One-Shots, which good luck ever running that nowadays, is all about an rear end in a top hat Cliomancer who decides that he wants to bootstrap himself to Real Cosmic Power and concocts a quick-and-dirty scheme to ascend as The Terrorist in the most brute-force way possible. And it actually has a chance of working if the players don't stop him.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


Just Dan Again posted:

Holy poo poo this is as true as anything has ever been. Sure, there's some tragic backstory, but within the actual plot of the novels he's got super powers, natural talent, and about a million characters with their own super powers watching out for him every second of every day. His whole air of vulnerability is just an elaborate plot constructed by his various benefactors so that he can learn humility and be even more special.

J. K. Rowling read Ender's Game and decided to make her own version that was less sexualized and had more flying broomsticks.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide

Kai Tave posted:

It's worth pointing out that the Unknown Armies adventure Fly to Heaven from One-Shots, which good luck ever running that nowadays, is all about an rear end in a top hat Cliomancer who decides that he wants to bootstrap himself to Real Cosmic Power and concocts a quick-and-dirty scheme to ascend as The Terrorist in the most brute-force way possible. And it actually has a chance of working if the players don't stop him.
Is the Stratosphere gamable like that? Can an Avatar fake it till he makes it all the way into the Clergy?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Strange Matter posted:

Is the Stratosphere gamable like that? Can an Avatar fake it till he makes it all the way into the Clergy?

According to Fly to Heaven it is. It's been years since I read it so it's possible I'm misremembering pertinent details but basically the rear end in a top hat in question kitbashes himself a bunch of weird rituals and poo poo, pretends to be an Islamic terrorist (named Apu, because he's such a dumb rear end in a top hat that he doesn't even care, he just stole it from the Simpsons), and hijacks a passenger plane. He spends the whole time forcing the passengers to participate in the rituals he cooked up and for the culmination he plans on crashing the plane into the heart of downtown Chicago.

The scenario sets the PCs as passengers on the plane with the idea of "hey, you should probably try and stop this guy, something's weird about all this and you don't think he's just going to demand the plane be diverted to Cuba or something" (this adventure was published pre 9/11 for obvious reasons), but if the PCs fail or faff about or whatever then yes, he straight-up ascends as The Terrorist and the world becomes a generally shittier place as a result.

  • Locked thread