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Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Libertad! posted:

Chapter 3: Races

Here's where we get to the meatier parts of this book.
What book? :confused:

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Al Baron
Nov 12, 2007
They were all out of Marquess.

Ptolus. Lib started on the last page.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Yeah, I should insert a logo of some kind.

How's this look?

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Libertad! posted:

Yeah, I should insert a logo of some kind.

How's this look?



It's looks pretty good. I'd say go with that one.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I have to admit that's a pretty cool centaur picture. Too bad 3.X didn't really handle centaur PCs well (and 4E didn't handle them at all).

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Thanks for the compliment, Covok!

Important Note: Ptolus proper isn't 808 pages. It's actually 676, with 132 pages worth of maps, player handouts, random encounter tables, and various bric-a-brac which was available in a separate envelope in the physical copy.

Also, the Spire is about 3,000 feet high, not 2,000 as I previously thought.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 03:06 on Jan 5, 2014

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Kai Tave posted:

I have to admit that's a pretty cool centaur picture. Too bad 3.X didn't really handle centaur PCs well (and 4E didn't handle them at all).

Having spent time with my GM making races for a campaign that never got off the ground, it's pretty simple to make a race in 4e. A +2 in a primary, a +1 in one of two traits, a power for combat and then typically a feat that modifies how they play.

Top of my head:

+2 Con
+1 wis or dex
Give them a power that lets them push a target in melee with them two squares. Leave it as an encounter at that point or kick it to a daily and force the enemy to grant combat advantage to the end of your next turn.
Give them a feat that increases their base speed for travelling or some such.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Tasoth posted:

Having spent time with my GM making races for a campaign that never got off the ground, it's pretty simple to make a race in 4e. A +2 in a primary, a +1 in one of two traits, a power for combat and then typically a feat that modifies how they play.
:eng101: That's also a +2.

ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

Libertad! posted:


Interestingly, a player in Monte Cook's game wanted to play as a monster, a Minotaur wizard, to be exact. Cook rolled with it and made an alternate racial traits to make the idea possible. Canabulum, said minotaur, grew to become a major PC in the campaign, and the exploits of his adventuring party are available in one of the campaign journals.

Unfortunately, Cook has not presented his alternate options in this book for those who wish to follow in Canabulum's footsteps.

Wasn't there an example in the original D&D 3.0 DMG about making monsters into PC races with a minotaur as an example? It's been a long time since I owned, much less looked at the book, so I could be just imagining this.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It's in there around page 20, where they introduce the nightmare of ECL, but they only use a minotaur to explain how to roll stats for critters with stat penalties.

Man, that copy I just pulled out was marked twenty bucks Canadian, hardcover. Bloody economy.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:





Planescape Campaign Setting: Sigil, a work in progress

Darrol Ving, a Dustman posted:

Looking for the Secret of the Multiverse, eh, Cutter? Get Lost, and then youíll find it.

This section is to give DMs all they need to use Sigil in their campaign, or at least until TSR released a supplement or 3 (Iím not kidding, there are 3 separate supplements that focus on Sigil and its Factions, not counting adventure sets). The guide emphasizes a few pointers to a prospective DM. The most relevant is that for all of Sigilís weirdness, it is still a Medieval City, and shouldn't have elements borrowed from Science Fiction or modern life. A few details seem nitpicky (like keeping armorers separate from the weaponsmiths and blacksmith), but overall itís a good point to not let an already bizarre setting fall into just making poo poo up with no coherence. The other big point, that probably deserved to be emphasized more, is that Sigil is inconveniently convenient. Sure, you can find whatever you need in Sigil. But who has it, where they might be, and the price theyíre asking for? That can prove to be a tall order.

Sigil has a couple of general services. One of the important ones are guides, and they come in two varieties. First are Touts, who operate independently. The only catch is that you run the risk of being scammed if you hire them. Faction-sponsored guides are called Factotums. They are more reliable (well, depending on which Faction theyíre from) and can even provide information, but the tradeoff is Factotums just wonít help anyone. You either have to be in their club or be some other VIP. In the not-as-unsavory parts of town, sedan chairs can provide transportation, and Harmonium Patrols keep their version of the peace (which isnít always the version everyone has in mind). Another useful service are Couriers, who ferry messages from one place to another. Lastly Light Boys provide night-time visibility as well as serving double-duty as Touts.



Like any good Adventuring hotspot, Sigil has itís fair share of taverns and inns. What sets Sigil apart is that there is a huge variety in what kind of establishments can be found. Taverns for fiends, einheriar, elementals. Whatever oneís poison is (sometimes literally) you can find it. The DM (and by extension his or her players) should be mindful that the atmosphere and menus of such otherworldly venues can be radically different from what a typical setting provides. One staple of fantasy cities that are not common in Sigil are stables-the city is just too crowded to make steed travel viable. There are a few, but nowhere near the specialization seen in taverns and inns. Given the circumstances, placing mounts of diametrically different origins next to one another is a good way to cause mishaps. There are also markets everywhere, not just the Grand Bazaar. As mentioned before, just about anything can be found here if you look hard enough. There is a noted difference in whatís for sale during the day and night. While daytime merchants provide everyday goods to the residents and those passing through, nighttime markets tend to sell fenced goods and other disreputable services.



The Wards

Sigil is divided into six Wards. There are no official boundaries between them, but a longtime resident can tell which one heís currently in. The most notable landmarks in each Ward are the various Faction Headquarters. Not only do these spots provide adventure hooks, but they also have several stable Gates in and around their premises. So players can expect to visit these locales frequently. Around the headquarters, the neighborhoods reflect the residing Faction. The Sensateís Civic Festhall is surrounded by alehouses and entertainment venues, the neighborhood around the Harmoniumís Barracks is nice and orderly, and so on. But in all cases, the neighborhoods provide most of the essentials to the Factionsí members. This is to save DMs time so they donít have to flesh out the entire city in one go. It also means that players donít have to jog across the entire city just get their equipment fixed. On the other hand, most goods are found in better quantity and quality in a specific ward, so an adventurer looking for a specific type of armor should hop on over to the Guildhall ward.

Faction headquarters also have another feature: there is usually a cluster of Gates in and around the buildings that lead to wherever the Faction has interests in. Not sure how this is arranged - presumably for all the Mazings and Flayings, the Lady of Pain is willing to make things easy for the various power blocs in the city. :shrug:



The Ladyís Ward is where all the rich jerks in the city live. Over half the cityís temples are located in this ward, and it is also the location of the Barracks, the Court, the Prison and the Armoury. All four headquarters are blinged out to dominate their particular neighborhoods, so thereís no mistaking what HQ youíre closest to. The temples here are likewise grand and imposing structures. One temple mentioned off-hand is the Temple of the Abyss, which contains a portal to said Plane. Thatís right, a portal to the most hostile Outer Plane is smack dab in the middle of Sigilís most affluent part. Go figure.

As you might expect, The Ladyís Ward is heavily patrolled, so it lacks the bustle of other neighborhoods, at least on the streets. Most of the activity happens inside the wardís palatial estates, where Cagers with too much money (and perhaps not enough sense) party, plot, and conspire away from all the smelly plebs (in their defense, the majority of Sigilians do smell). Despite the security, there is plenty of mischief-makers about. They range from highly skilled thieves and burglars looking to pull off a grand heist to graft and corruption.

Thirin Jecobs, after Ďgiving The Lady of Pain the Laughí posted:

Hey, I thought there were only three bedrooms in this house...

The Prison is a mass of stone and spikes, and passer-bys can occasionally here wails and screams coming from inside. Residents in the neighborhood are especially law-abiding, thanks to rumors that the Mercykillers feel they can ignore the rest of the legal process this close to their headquarters. One noted vendor in the area is Trabanís Forge. Traban is a dwarf from Krynn who makes fine non-magical armor. And by Ďfineí I mean highly ornamental works that cost 5-to-one thousand times the normal price. While that seems insane, back in 2nd Edition the process of created magical armor involved gathering highly esoteric and specialized materials instead of just dumping a pile of gold into the Enchant Arms and Armor feat, so Traban is the sort of specialist a wizard would need to go to. Traban is assisted by his son and grandsons, the most interesting being an adopted ogre named Coal-chewer.

The Court is the busiest neighborhood in The Ladyís Ward, since Ďeverybody comes here sooner or later.í Itís divided into a public and private sections. The public halls are where criminal cases (and civil, I suppose) are tried, and to anyone but the Guvners itís a disorganized mess. The private halls is where judges meet to discuss cases and reach verdicts, and has an immense library of laws. It also acts as the Factionís headquarters. The neighborhood has a number of taverns and inns to accommodate those attending trial, and will even sell meals to prisoners awaiting judgment.

The seediest neighborhood in the ward is around the Armoury, where the Doomguard reside. Some even argue that it actually is part of the Lower Ward. As you might expect, there are lots of specialized weapons shops, who can even get a blood access to the real good stuff if he or she knows the right word and has a lot of jink. The neighborhood is where thieves striking into The Ladyís Ward have their toehold, and is also an ideal place for rich sods to meet with mercenaries and other riff-raff.

On the opposite end of The Ladyís Ward from the Armoury is the City Barracks. For all their boorish behaviour, the Harmonium want folks to like them, and the Barracks reflects that: itís built low to the ground, and manages to look strong without inspiring terror. The surrounding neighborhood is the quietest in the Ward (and indeed the whole city). There are few businesses, and those that do exist all conform to the Harmoniumís rules.


The Lower Ward has been getting smaller over the years. Of course what determines whether a neighborhood or street is in a particular Ward is purely subjective so :psyduck:. Whatever, it used to be bigger. The Lower Ward is centered around The Foundry, and his home to most of the craftsmen in Sigil. Besides the Godsmenís HQ, there are a host of warehouses, mills, forges and other workshops radiating out from it. The name of the Ward comes from the number of Portals to the Lower Planes found here. This makes the place even more polluted than it would be normally (of course it could be from all the pseudo-dickensian industry, just saying). Whatever the cause, this Ward is particularly dirty and stinky, and anyone who lives here looks like they just survived an industrial accident. Residents of the Ward are secretive and stubborn, in part because most of them have some sort of trade secret, and in part because this is usually where most Fiends arrive in Sigil. Hardhead patrols are not strong here.

The Foundry is a sprawling complex of workshops, warehouses and furnaces. The Godsmen work here non-stop, and the goods made here are their main source of jink. Their specialty is everyday metal products, and the quality is standard. Not great but serviceable. The surrounding neighborhood is mostly blue-collared, but is special because itís the prime spot for mortals and Fiends to meet and do business. Of particular importance is The Styx Oarsman, a fiendish watering hole. It takes a password/bribe to get in. Since every Fiend has some sort of darkvision, the tavern is pitch dark save for a single candle. Itís run by a maimed githzerai and Bleaker named Zegonz Glaric. Glaric openly courts his dark clientele, who in turn protect him from any would-be hero that would try to shut the place down.

The Lower Ward is also home to the Shattered Temple, headquarters for the Athar. The story behind the Shattered Temple is elaborated in later supplements, but for now all you need to know is that it once belonged to the now-dead power Aoskar. Today, the ruins are considered ill-omened, and no one but the Lost will even enter. The businesses that normally cater to Factions are all located in a ring around the outermost ruins, and they have a reputation for being pretty low-life.


The Hive Ward is named for the Chaosmenís headquarters. Itís Sigilís bad neighborhood. Collapsing buildings, destitute sods clinging to life, the non-existence of honest work, dirty deeds done dirt cheap, you all know the drill. If you are looking for the really desperate, the really vile, and the really crazy, this is the place to go. Itís also the best place to start a riot. The high-ups that live in the Hive Ward know how to hide their wealth and influence, and consist of master thieves and other unscrupulous adventurers. Harmonium patrols do not come here.

The Mortuary is near the border of the Lower Ward, and in fact used to be in it. This is where the dead of Sigil get dropped off to be sent on their ways. Itís one of the largest concentration of Portals in the city. That said, itís not really a good way for getting around, as the Portals used for dumping bodies lead to crematoriums and mass graves. Around the grim Dustmen HQ are businesses specializing in those jobs that no one else wants to do-body collecting, caring for the disease, butchering meat, and other filthy lines of work. Overall itís a pretty grim and bleak neighborhood, as befits the Faction it caters to.

The Hive Ward is also where to find The Gatehouse, headquarters of the Bleak Cabal. The Gatehouse is an arched tower with sprawling wings. Here the Bleakers tend to the mad and the lost. They are kind to their wards, but their treatments are very unorthodox. There are rumors that they do more sinister things to their patients, and the haunting, unnatural moans and screams that echo in the wards lend credence to these rumors. The neighborhood surrounding the Gatehouse is chaotic and depressing. Here the folk waiting to be committed (along with the lonely individuals that still care for them) wait to be served. Thereís also plenty of folks that probably should be committed ranting and raving on the streets. Lastly there are plenty of Knights of the Posts looking to sell the fruits of their wares (as well as do some cross-trading, but honestly the pickings are slim here). They congregate at The Gatehouse Night Market. This is probably the best spot for finding something that was stolen from you earlier in the day. The Market also sells information, particularly the kind others donít want out in the open.

Finally, there is The Hive itself, a great big slum thatís home to the Xaositects. Itís one big chaotic mess. All chaos-like. Really, thereís only so many wayís to say it. This is probably the least downtrodden area of the Hive Ward. Itís still a slum, but this is where the cutters that like it that way live. The upside to such a chaotic place is that if thereís something you want, itís either here or you can find someone to get it for you. Oh yeah, the neighborhood is so lawless that the Fiends are free to carry on with the Blood War here, so watch your step!


Moving on from the Hive Ward is The Clerkís Ward, where the actual job of running Sigil occurs. Here is where the scribes, bureaucrats, scholars and record-keepers make their home. This is as close to normal as youíre gonna get in Sigil. Patrols here are frequent, and the Ward is popular with primes and Celestials. In other words, the Clerkís Ward is safe. Dull, but safe. The other Wards look down on the Clerkís Ward for being dull, and also because this is where are their taxes get sent.

Specifically, taxes are collected at the headquarters of The Fated, the Hall of Records. It used to be a colleges, but the Fated foreclosed on a slightly overdue loan (dicks) and moved in. They then convinced the other Factions to let them handle Sigilís finances and records. Today, the Hall of Records is the center of Sigilís financial world. Anyone that wants to do over-the-table business in Sigil has to deal with the Fated. Not only that, but the Heatless also run the City Mint (albeit under the supervision of all the other factions). In the Faction-only parts of the Hall, Factol Darkwood supervises the work on The Secret History of Sigil, a collection of all the Fatedís doings and all the secrets their followers have learned. Around the Hall, the great merchant houses and corporations of Sigil maintain their offices, and even a fledgling insurance industry. Merchants and inns here are high-priced without being obnoxious. Expect to haggle a lot.



The Civic Festhall is a combination concert hall, opera hall, art gallery, tavern, wine shop, and headquarters for the Society of Sensation, plus a few other services left to the imagination. This is where most everyday people in Sigil go to have fun. The Sensates keep their public offerings family friendly. The really wild poo poo is actually in the other parts of town. The surrounding district has a number of artistic businesses, offering works of art from across the Multiverse. The entertainment is likewise insanely diverse. Think a combination of Broadway and Bourbon Street, and you got the idea. One business described in more detail is the Greengage, owned by a halfling prime named Marda Farambler. The cider shop is built to fit halfling sizes, making it pretty popular with her kin and gnomes but not so much anyone over 4 feet tall. Her cider - both unfermented and hard - comes from the orchards of the goddess Sheela Peryroyl, which most people believe she can get thanks to some heroic deed of her late husband (Framblerís homeworld is unspecified)

The Hall of Speakers is a soaring, graceful structure that acts as the seat of government for Sigil and the headquarters of the Sign of One. Officially, this is where Factols and other interested folks come to debate and vote on the relatively few laws that govern Sigil. More often, though, the Speakerís Podium serves as the forefront of the cold war between the Factions, such that actual legislation rarely happens. While the other Factions reserve speaking for the Factols, the Signers rotate their followers through the Speakerís chores. If anything important comes to vote, though, the Factol is going to be in charge that day. The neighborhood around the Hall caters to the high-ups of Sigil, meaning expensive lodging and strong booze. Shops that serve adventures are less common here than other Faction neighborhoods. There are a lot of scribes, one of which is described in detail: Grundlethumís Automatic Scribe. The ďautomatic scribeĒ is unique to this shop, and was invented by a crazed, high level human wizard named Grundlethum Blackdagger. It works by talking into the magic device, which then writes out what you just said. One problem, though. In making the automatic scribe, he accidently magicked a flaw into The Ladyís Defenses around Sigil, and the thing is possessed by a lesser Power of the Abyss. Oops! So sooner or later something seriously bad is going to happen to the shop, and Grundlethum is likely to spend a bit of time in the Mazes.



The two smallest Wards in Sigil are the Guildhall Ward and the Market Ward. Despite their size, they are incredibly important to Sigil. These two Wards are where the vast majority of trading take place. There are permanent portals here that connect Sigil to all the major trade cities of the Planes. This is the most cosmopolitan part of Sigil, and there is an unspoken truce between visitors that would otherwise be at constant war with each other. The markets operate on a day-night cycle, with goods being sold at day (when you can see them clearly), and services and entertainment at night (when most cagers are off from work). Although these Wards are important, itís sometimes hard to tell them apart (clumping them together doesnít help the matter, Iíd imagine :v:). The best way to distinguish them is what Faction Headquarter they house.

The Guildhall Ward is defined by the Great Gymnasium headquarters of the Transcendent Order. Itís more or less a classic Roman Gym enclosed in a great compound of gold-veined black marble. The place is open to all, though on the Cipherís terms. The terms are basically ďcalm the gently caress down:Ē no weapons are allowed by visitors, and no spellcasting is permitted either (Faction members are exempt, but they generally follow the rules out of courtesy and preference.) This is the most relaxed and unhurried place in Sigil, and residents use it to wind down. It also makes a great neutral ground for hostile parties. The surrounding neighborhood is made up of smaller competitors, most of which cater to specific clients. One such specialist shop is the Flame Pits, which provide soothing lava baths or fire elementals and fiends (it has also expanded to serve other exotic beings). Itís run by a githzerai wizard named Laril Zasskos. Laril is actually a member of the Revolutionary League, and this spa serves as one of their safe houses.

The Market Ward is, naturally, defined by the Great Bazaar, home of the Free League. Here, a cutter can buy any good or service from across the Multiverse. If it canít be brought in, then you can certainly find someone to arrange it. While not everyoneís honest and there are plenty of thieves, the businesses themselves are all above board. Thereís no building thatís actually set aside for the Free League. Instead, the Indeps operate buy a loose affiliation of merchants and traders. Basically, an Indep PC will be able to get the same services other Faction Members can get, but itíll come in a more roundabout manner. Thereís also more of a quid-pro-quo to deal with-thereís no hierarchy in the Free League, and all members are expected to help their fellows. The Grand Bazaar doesnít have a well defined border, but instead spills out into the neighborhood around it.



And that wraps up the description of the Wards. Thereís a little bit more left to the chapter, which Iíll cover in a separate update.

Next Time: Flowers and Bureaucrats

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 19:57 on Jan 5, 2014

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Bieeardo posted:

It's in there around page 20, where they introduce the nightmare of ECL, but they only use a minotaur to explain how to roll stats for critters with stat penalties.

Man, that copy I just pulled out was marked twenty bucks Canadian, hardcover. Bloody economy.

Savage Species had an even more detailed system that still sucked. The leveled system that Cook used in Arcana Unearthed/Evolved is the best actually.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Savage Species had an even more detailed system that still sucked. The leveled system that Cook used in Arcana Unearthed/Evolved is the best actually.

Savage Species gave us the Ooze Bear Raptor Paladin and WOTC's response to over templated character ridiculousness, so it's not all bad

WoW d20 had some relatively decent rules for monsters-as-characters, even a few that allowed for spellcasting progression as they were natural spellcasters. You just need to make sure that the creatures are as powerful as a player would normally be at that level, which means giving them some nice carrots every now and again.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012



What happened to the Earthsinger dwarves? did they not get a writeup?

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


So I'm almost done with the campaign box, and I got a question: do you want me to run through the published adventures with sample PCs (like how Ettin did for CthulhuTech)? I figure I ought to do it for at least Faction War (since that's the big center of :cripes: in the Planescape product line), but to be honest I'm not familiar with 2nd Edition rules, so the whole thing might come off as stilted.

If you are interested, create 4 to 6 Planar characters. If I do this, I'd like to do it in product order, so only use races introduced so far.

EDIT: The first printed adventure is lvl 1-3, so just make starting characters.


You know what? Forget actually making characters. I'll just wing it rather than simulate an entire session.

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 23:13 on Jan 5, 2014

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.



Kurieg posted:

WOTC's response to over templated character ridiculousness


Hey now, there was nothing whatsoever ridiculous about Gronk, he was the best half-dragon-dog mutant and I will not suffer such calumny and slander.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Sorry guys, I forgot to mention that the Earthsinger clan of dwarves are no longer around.



Chapter 4: Cosmology and Religion

So basically there was this elder deity named Praemus. He's responsible for the creation of the world of Praemal today, from which comes his name. The Galchutt, the primordial Lords of Chaos and entities of greatest evil, plotted to spread their taint to this plane as well. What they did not realize is that this world was created primarily to trap them, keeping the rest of the Multiverse safe from them. Upon the Vallis moon the deity placed the soul of the world, anchored in place by seven golden chains guarded by seven golden solar angels who built a citadel on its surface. The Galchutt were trapped, but would struggle against their bondage, so Praemus seeded the world with the first living beings to act as wardens, blessed with sapience and free will to better fight against the prisoners' manipulations.

The Galchutt:




The Elder Gods, who were Praemus' children and no longer worshiped or known in modern days, rebelled against him once they realized his plan. The viewed it as unjust to trap anyone with the Galchutt, the most horrible creatures in all of existence. They fought against their father for eons in Heaven, during this time civilizations rose and fell on the plane of Praemus, and mortals met the Galchutt for the first time. Praemus and his children made peace so that they could help the mortals fight against the Galchutt, who sought to destroy the Seven Chains' guardians with a magical virus. They had to send the Vallis Moon, and the soul it guarded, hurtling away from Praemal and thus out of reach of the Galchutt. Thus the moon's disappearance.

With the world safe, Praemus and the Elder Gods made an arrangement so that people can only leave the plane with Praemus' permission, and only then if he was on that same plane. They all decided to leave Praemus together, effectively sealing the place off from all but the bordering Ethereal Plane. However, the Elder Gods still felt it wrong to keep the plane as a prison, and enacted a plan that mortals could take advantage of by ridding the Galchutt from the plane once and for all. This plan would require the return of the Vallis Moon and tricking the Galchutt into leaving the plane by mortal action along with several magical artifacts, into a new prison plane built by them. Said plan was used by Monte Cook as part of a campaign goal, and he provides advice on how to do so later on the book.

Praemus permitted this, and in secret created a hidden means of the plane's wardens to become gods of their own so that they can better fight the Galchutt.

It should be noted that this ancient history is not common knowledge by most people. Only the most rare and ancient of texts speak of Praemus and the Elder Gods nowadays, and the Church of Lothian does not teach or claim any answers as to the world's creation (they maintain that looking too deep into such things is evil).

The Seven Chains:




As a prison plane, Praemal is subject to several rules. For one, the only other plane people (including gods) can travel to is the Ethereal Plane, which receives an upgrade in this book to make it a cooler place to visit. Plane Shift, Astral Projection, and the like don't function. Banishment does not force outsiders to their home plane, it only stuns them. Summon Monster spells work in that they summon only a facsimile of the entity instead of the real thing. Summoning spells with the Calling descriptor create a one-way trip to Praemal, and outsiders rarely heed the call. Ones who are called into Praemal but find they can never leave usually kill said summoner in anger, so these spells aren't used as much as in other settings. Powerful spellcasters are capable of drawing energy and making gates connecting to other planes, but they're all one-way as well. The only way to actually break out of this plane is to break the Seven Chains on the Vallis Moon and destroy the soul of the world. An era known as the Night of Dissolution prophesies of when the Vallis Moon returns, and the Galchutt plot for this day to come.


As for other outsiders, the Galchutt used to rule over all the lower planes, but when they left the demons and devils came to rule in the resulting power struggle, but the two Elder Gods spawned a child named Raguel to rule over them. Being not evil himself, he didn't relish the task and delegated authority to folks like Orcus, Demogorgon, and the like. He eventually left for Praemal to find his parents, but now he's trapped. He now holds court in the Necropolis in Ptolus over a bunch of fiends known as the Fallen. In fact, the vast majority of the plane's demons and devils are a part of this group, and as such are very rare elsewhere in the world.

The other major group of outsiders on Praemal include the Malkuth, good-aligned outsiders who willingly entered into the prison plane to perform some vital task. Most of them gather in Ptolus as well.


The Ethereal Plane is much like the standard one, except it's populated with masses of ether which can be formed into solid stuff and matter. These Ethereal Islands as they're called, are finite and have their own rules and functions, and basically serve the same role as demi-planes. Powerful folk often use them to create half-worlds and lairs for themselves.



Religion in Ptolus

Basically, discounting the Elder Gods and Galchutt (who can grant divine spells and domains), the gods of Praemal are all ascended mortals who completed a spiritual journey lain down by Praemus and ascended to divinity after talking with him. Much like in other settings, there are all kinds of deities for all kinds of things, but in the Empire the Church of Lothian is dominant. Additionally, deities who are no longer worshiped eventually die as the last of their power wanes. So like in some settings the number of faithful translates to a deity's power and well-being.

In pre-Imperial times Lothian was a simple wanderer in ancient Prust who claimed that the people's dominant religion (the church of Castain) was all corrupt, and that their god was a devil posing as one. He also manifested divine powers to heal the sick and claimed to be on the path to godhood himself. The kingdom and church of Prust did not like this, so they crucified him on an ankh, the symbol of Castain, to make an example of him. A great earthquake tore apart the land and floods killed off most of the clergy and nobility. And Lothian came back as a living martyr. Lothian, now recognized as a god, had his clerics take over the engine of the church, including most of its symbolism, and became the dominant Prustan God.

Sound familiar? It should, because Monte Cook just based Lothian off of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Lothian's pretty much the Roman Catholic Church. I'm not kidding, look at this:



Lothian died for your sins!

So the Church of Lothian grew along with the Empire, quickly becoming the dominant religion, and a separate yet powerful instrument of Imperial life and politics. Most worshipers maintain that Lothian became the greatest of the gods in Heaven, although the fundamentalists maintain that all other gods are devils in disguise. The latter was used to outlaw worship of other religions in the Empire, and eventually grew to encompass arcane magic. It's only within the last 200 years that these attitudes softened. and other faiths started worshiping their gods openly (although this is more due to the church having less power now than genuine tolerance).

The religion itself is called Lothianism, and the Church of Lothian takes the trappings of real-world Catholicism. Its houses of worship are cathedrals, the ankh with Lothian hanging from it is their holy symbol, clerics are called priests, ministers, bishops, and other things depending upon rank, and the Holy Emperor is pretty much the Pope. Each community looks to a bishop, who operates out of a cathedral and coordinates with the local governor or Commissar, and each cathedral is linked to a dozen or more smaller satellite churches managed by high priests in smaller villages or city districts.

Lothian's a Lawful Good god who grants Good, Law, Protection, and Sun domains, and his favored weapon's the longsword. About half of church officials are Lawful Neutral, though, and disproportionately fill up the higher offices.

The current Holy Emperor, Rehoboth Ylestos:




Ptolus is different, of course. It's long been a bastion for nonbelievers and arcane spellcasters, and today the city's faithful is an eclectic mix of all sorts of deities of all sorts of concepts, sometimes worshiped together in a pantheon or on their own depending upon individual and community fancy. Lothianism comprises 60% of Ptolus' faithful, where in other lands in the Empire it would be be around 99%.

The church has 3 major specialized orders beyond the rank and faithful. The Order of Dayra is an all-female order who runs hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and generally help those who don't have the means to help themselves. The Order of the Dawn is the martial arm of the church, full of holy knights who defend cathedrals, sacred relics, and comprise the Holy Emperor's bodyguards. The Conciliators are basically the fantasy Inquisition. In old times they enforced the Edict of Deviltry and tortured and killed arcane spellcasters, heathens, and some genuine evil cultists. In modern days they're not as bloodthirsty, but they are still an experienced force dealing with genuine black magic. In fact, the Conciliators not only know of the Galchutt and the full history of the Spire, but they secretly work in Ptolus to root out Cults of Chaos and to destroy any Chaositech (weird Galchutt science) they can find. They also oppose the efforts of delvers who venture beneath the city, who they fear will inadvertently unleash more evils.


Other Gods and Goddesses

Beyond Lothian is a bunch of deities with short descriptions. Monte Cook designed Ptolus with a rather incomplete pantheon, allowing for DMs to add what deities they want and to actually work with players in developing just the right one for their Cleric/Druid/Paladin PC. Or even import a deity from a campaign setting that you like, Ptolus' Street of a Million Gods has the room!

Regardless, we get a list of them. A lot of them are minor with one-word sentences along with a title, alignment, and domains, so I'll detail only the more interesting/prominent ones:

Castain, that god whose church Lothian wiped, is in fact not a devil at all. He's a Lawful Good god of life. So essentially this means that Lothian was lying and committed a divine coup. I think that Monte's trying to tell us something, guys!

Celestan, Lord of the Silver Moon, Neutral Good main deity of elves. Moonsilver and other materials elves are known for are said to be gifts to his people.

The Demon Gods (Demogorgon, Orcus, etc). A catch-all category for Abyssal lords.

Father Claw, the Serpentine Lord. Chaotic Evil dragon god who's one of the oldest non-Elder deities.

Gaen, Goddess of Light. A large and powerful Lawful Good religion in Ptolus, Gaen's followers struggle against evil at every turn. Her temple in the city is one of the largest and most impressive.

Gorgoth-Lol, Chaotic Evil goddess of the Dark Elves, originally one of the Vested of the Galchutt.

Mocharum, God of Dwarves. Lawful Good, most popular among Grailwarden dwarves.

Navastrom, God of Strength and Harmony. Neutral Good god who's popular in Ptolus, especially among adventurers and warriors.

Phoebul, God of Dreams. Chaotic Neutral God who is the patron of Dreta Phantas, the Dreaming City which was stolen away by Dark Elves.

Teun, Mother of All Machines. A Lawful Neutral and old Prustan goddess, she oversees technology and is popular among grailwarden dwarves.

Unnom, Lord of Caverns. A Neutral dwarven god who is worshiped by all manner of subterranean dwellers.

Ynchabulos, God of Numbers. Lawful Neutral god of knowledge, logic, and order. His faith is small but supported by influential people in the city.

There's also 24 gods for each hour of day, but they're not detailed here, sadly. They do have a write-up in Secrets of the Delver's Guild, a supplement for Ptolus sold separately.



Cults of Chaos




The Galchutt have their faithful as well, even if most of them don't truly comprehend the nature of their deity. The groups are fractured and independent, putting their own religious spin on things. Due to the Galchutt's influence, even the most isolated end up using the same symbols and "doctrines" if they can be called that. There are a myriad assortment of cults; the following are some of the most common and prominent.

The Brothers of Venom enact their masters' wills through slow and subtle works. Killing the right community leader here, poison in the town's well here, they have small cells of only a half-dozen members whose plots take years to come to full fruition.

The Crimson Coil are savage and violent, who wear blood-red robes and attack people in great flash mobs with torches, axes, and other implements of destruction. They always use overwhelming force beyond the task at hand so that they cannot be conventionally stopped: a hundred to burn down a building, a dozen to kill a guy on the street, they appear suddenly in a community to work their evil, then retreat into their well-fortified and trapped fortresses in the wilderness. Many have organized armies and militias to kill off the Crimson Coil cells, but always at a great loss of life. And word of their destruction always brings more worshipers into the area over time, like a growing disease.

Deathmantle is a cult which reveres death itself. They have close ties to the Forsaken in Ptolus, and many of their senior members are vampires, liches, and other forms of undead. Their ultimate goals involve great acts of murder, from war to genocide. The more people a cultist can kill with an action, the more sacred the act.

The Ebon Hand worships the act of physical deformity, and enjoy using vile magic to warp body, mind, and soul. Their main form of recruitment is to kidnap children and adolescents to brainwash and deform; most are killed during these trials, but the rest inevitably join the ranks. They are very resilient in that their numbers are small, secretive, and are more than willing to abandon their temples and flee at a moment's notice.

The Order of the Blooded Knife has its origins in prehistoric times, when a bloodthirsty tribe made human sacrifices to a moon goddess whose name is no longer remembered. In the present day they maintain much of the ritual, but they often pose as members of more legitimate religions in order to infiltrate society. They also gather a lot of resources through the vice trades, like gambling, drugs, and prostitution.

The Plagueborn seek to turn the spread of disease and pestilence into an art form. They take the rat as their symbol and make their temples deep in trash heaps, sewers, and other places of filth. In Ptolus they have close ties to the ratmen living in the sewers. They do not use standard Chaos Cult symbols, instead leaving hunks of rotting meat hanging from chains at crime scenes.

The Tolling Bell cult, as a whole, is the only cult with a full awareness of the Galchutt and their plans. They take their name from ancient texts which describe the coming of the end of the world like the tolling of a bell. As such, they seek the end of the world to free their masters. They draw most of their numbers via the other Chaos Cults, preferring those with established power, skill, and forbidden knowledge to join their ranks. They research power spells and artifacts believed to help bring about cataclysms, believing that multiple events will in turn trigger even bigger extinction-level events.

Thoughts so far: I feel that making Praemal a prison-plane is yet one more reason to focus all the action in the City by the Spire. But Cook does a good job of making it thematic to the world. I do like the idea of having gods as ascended mortals and the open nature for the inclusion of homebrewed deities in the campaign. The Etheral Islands are designed so that you can have all sorts of mini-planes in spite of having just the Material and Ethereal, so Monte did a good job fixing that potential pitfall.

Regarding Lothian I have mixed feelings. Having a Christian expy is not anything new to fantasy games, but I don't know what to think about the blatant "I AM JESUS!" symbolism everywhere.


Next time, Chapter 5: History!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 17:44 on Jan 6, 2014

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.





Paranoia: Internal Security Introduction (or You There, Citizen, Pick Up That Can of B3 and Tell Me Why It Makes You Happy)

In Alpha Complex, there are plenty of things to be afraid of. Be afraid of the Communists. Be afraid of the mutants. Be afraid of traitors. Be afraid of commie mutant traitors. Be afraid of cans of Bouncy Bubble Beverage shot at you with the force of a pitching machine from a malfunctioning vendbot. But fortunately for the majority of citizens, Internal Security is there to help protect you, ensure loyalty and ensure your happiness. It must be nice to be in Internal Security, right? Sure, you can roll up a Troubleshooter who works for IntSec while not Troubleshooting, but wouldn't it be nice to be the boot that stamps on the face of humanity?

Sure! If it wasn't for the man with a gun aimed at the back of your head making sure you keep stomping. Welcome to Paranoia: Internal Security.



Paranoia: Internal Security is a supplemental game book for Paranoia 25th Anniversary Edition. You don't have to have the core Troubleshooters book in order to run. The rules and equipment are contained inside, containing information about how to play and generate characters or run the game for all citizens with Ultraviolent clearance.

So what does it mean to be an IntSec trooper? Well, it's a bit like being a Troubleshooter but with more responsibilities, more ways to break things and more ways to die. For starters, you're Blue clearance, which means you were dumb and strong or smart and lucky enough to work your way up the totem pole to a pretty good position of authority. But at the end of the day you're still a yutz with a gun causing a whole mess of collateral damage. Let's compare some differences to begin:

Troubleshooters are...
At the whims of drat near everyone in Alpha Complex and even then the Infrareds give them a hard time.
Equipped with lasers and plastic armor and thrown into trouble that they'll either "fix" or exacerbate.
Constantly mired in bureaucracy.
Members of a Service Sector working for a greater cause.
Given tasks that they probably can't fulfill due to inadequacy, incompetence, the actions of others or machinations.
Issued things that will probably end up killing them or causing property damage.
Trying to further the cause of their Secret Society.
Given roles inside of their groups and given duties that hinder as much as they help.

Troopers are...
At the mercy of Indigo, Violet and Ultraviolet citizens who know how to manipulate you directly for their ends while expected to protect and serve everyone beneath them in Alpha Complex and Friend Computer.
Equipped with cone rifles (mixture between a RPG and a bazooka), kevlar/protective armor, steel-toed boots and mirrorshade helmets and sent out to crush problems and arrest criminals.
Constantly mired in bureaucracy.
Members of a Service Sector working for Internal Security.
Given tasks that they probably can't fulfill due to inadequacy, incompetence, the actions of others or machinations.
Issued things that will probably end up killing them or causing property damage.
Trying to further the cause of their Secret Society.
Given roles inside of their groups and given duties that hinder as much as they help.

So there are a few things different, especially when you get into the nitty-gritty of cop life, but every Trooper has a mutation and a Secret Society agenda to further and all of the benefits and hindrances being a Blue has to offer. They're just like your friendly Sector Troubleshooter but better armed.

Next time: what a jackbooted thug upstanding officer of the oppressive benevolent dictatorship utopian society does for a living/how to make an IntSec Trooper.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Redeye Flight posted:

We're not out of it yet, either.

We'll never be out of it, you hypocritical sack of waste. Sure, part of me still holds out hope that you'll pull your heads out of your asses and grow the gently caress up one of these days, but I've always been stupid like that.

Meikyuu tomorrow, unless I've been banned.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

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




Bitchtits McGee posted:

We'll never be out of it, you hypocritical sack of waste. Sure, part of me still holds out hope that you'll pull your heads out of your asses and grow the gently caress up one of these days, but I've always been stupid like that.

Meikyuu tomorrow, unless I've been banned.

Uh, what?

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



While it's hardly breaking news that the vast majority of you, if not all, think your poo poo smells like a field of springtime lilacs, most of the time I'm able to keep my bile choked back to acceptable levels, but coming back to catch up on the thread and almost immediately tripping over the literal demonizing of political figures being breezily dismissed as a curiosity of the times caught me off guard. Had this not occurred, I would have had the next Meikyuu post ready by this afternoon-- or I might still, who knows, but in any event the schedule for its appearance here will have to be altered depending on how Winson decides to deal with the load of manure I've unceremoniously dumped on one of the threads in his charge. Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

Alaois
Feb 7, 2012

D U S T M A N


Are you on drugs

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Bitchtits McGee posted:

While it's hardly breaking news that the vast majority of you, if not all, think your poo poo smells like a field of springtime lilacs, most of the time I'm able to keep my bile choked back to acceptable levels, but coming back to catch up on the thread and almost immediately tripping over the literal demonizing of political figures being breezily dismissed as a curiosity of the times caught me off guard. Had this not occurred, I would have had the next Meikyuu post ready by this afternoon-- or I might still, who knows, but in any event the schedule for its appearance here will have to be altered depending on how Winson decides to deal with the load of manure I've unceremoniously dumped on one of the threads in his charge. Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

You're looking for the other D&D forum.

Bohemian Nights
Jul 14, 2006

When I wake up,
I look into the mirror
I can see a clearer, vision
I should start living today

Clapping Larry

Bitchtits McGee posted:

While it's hardly breaking news that the vast majority of you, if not all, think your poo poo smells like a field of springtime lilacs, most of the time I'm able to keep my bile choked back to acceptable levels, but coming back to catch up on the thread and almost immediately tripping over the literal demonizing of political figures being breezily dismissed as a curiosity of the times caught me off guard. Had this not occurred, I would have had the next Meikyuu post ready by this afternoon-- or I might still, who knows, but in any event the schedule for its appearance here will have to be altered depending on how Winson decides to deal with the load of manure I've unceremoniously dumped on one of the threads in his charge. Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

Will you have another meltdown if I post this Killer Mike video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lIqNjC1RKU

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bitchtits McGee posted:

While it's hardly breaking news that the vast majority of you, if not all, think your poo poo smells like a field of springtime lilacs, most of the time I'm able to keep my bile choked back to acceptable levels, but coming back to catch up on the thread and almost immediately tripping over the literal demonizing of political figures being breezily dismissed as a curiosity of the times caught me off guard.

I think a lot of folks, like me, didn't want to get into a big politics debate, particularly over a pure trolling like GOP. And judging from your response, I'm feeling pretty justified in breezily dismissing it. If this is the kind of "discussion" it's going to spark, no thanks.

Looking forward to the Meikyuu review whenever you're ready to talk about happier stuff.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Joe Biden CR 10
Paladin of Obamacare 10
LG Large humanoid
SA smite tea party

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


SA Mount: Awakened Trans-Am

Rulebook Heavily
Sep 18, 2010

by FactsAreUseless


Bitchtits McGee posted:

While it's hardly breaking news that the vast majority of you, if not all, think your poo poo smells like a field of springtime lilacs, most of the time I'm able to keep my bile choked back to acceptable levels, but coming back to catch up on the thread and almost immediately tripping over the literal demonizing of political figures being breezily dismissed as a curiosity of the times caught me off guard. Had this not occurred, I would have had the next Meikyuu post ready by this afternoon-- or I might still, who knows, but in any event the schedule for its appearance here will have to be altered depending on how Winson decides to deal with the load of manure I've unceremoniously dumped on one of the threads in his charge. Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?



Does this also outrage you

e: Does this make the feels better

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.

Warning: I will totally lock this thread and let Winson sort it all out if you guys get dumb with this.

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Syrg Sapphire posted:

Warning: I will totally lock this thread and let Winson sort it all out if you guys get dumb with this.

Winson is sorting it. Those interested in serious political debate are invited to go post in the other D&D forum, or maybe even GBS. That would be a good place for the level of discourse I am seeing here.

Also it is probably time to restart this, because this thread is just too huge and ponderous and has all the weird old baggage.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Already? The old thread was nearly four times as large.

quote:

I'd still vote for him. The happiest evil emperor.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Looks like I picked the wrong time to get back into this. :(

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 9c: CyberFrance

France has had a rought time of it lately. The invasion of the Cyberpapacy brought not one but two distinct axiom washes, both of which had very heavy effects on the country. First there was the Collapse, where all the technology stopped working, then not long after was the Tech Surge, where Core Earth's technology not only started working again, but advanced by leaps and bounds.

Before we get too deep into that, though, let's take a look at the realm map.


The Cyberpapacy, about three weeks after the initial invasion. This is the map from the sourcebook; in the original boxed set they hadn't moved into Spain yet.

The Cyberpapacy is the smallest of all the realms, barely extending outside the borders of France. It's also in a very bad position: the map doesn't show it, but the Cyberpapacy is boxed in both to the north (by Asyle) and south (by the Nile Empire).

Asyle's borders go right up to the English Channel, meaning that at some points there's literally only a few miles between the Ayslish and Cyberpapal borders. The proximity of the two realities (three, if you count Core Earth) means that the English Channel is one big perpetual reality storm with the added bonus of sea monsters. The proximity between the two realms was actually done on purpose, because Malraux had allied himself with Uthirion, Aysle's High Lord. The two became allies due to a common interest in pain (Malraux because it purifies the soul, Uthirion because he was a sadistic gently caress), but the recent ousting of Uthirion has put a bit of a crimp in the alliance.

The Nile Empire is a little further away, being on the far side of the Mediterranean Sea, but that doesn't mean Mobius isn't a problem. There is constant warfare between Malraux and Mobius over control of the Mediterranian, and while the Cyberpapacy has the better technology, Malraux can't keep up with the insane creations of Dr. Mobius. Especually since Mobius actually has a better grip on technology than the Cyberpapacy does.

So that leaves the east and west for expansion. Expanding to the west is possible, but ulitmately a dead end once you reach Portugal. And standing in the way to the east is Germany, and that's become a problem.

Remember, Torg originally takes place in 1990. At this point, Germany had literally just reunified, and now all of a sudden they've found themselves as the only thing stopping the Cyberpapacy from expanding into eastern Europe and Russia. But we'll get more into that when I'm done with the "core" realms and talk about Core Earth in general.

But let's get back to France, and talk abou the Collapse and the Tech Surge.

Malraux's maelstrom bridge did not drop down upon Core Earth's Avignon, but unstead dug up into the dungeons and basements of the city. When the bridge "dropped", all Core Earth technology just...stopped working. Electricity ceased to flow, engines failed, and essential services collapsed. Millions were killed as planes died in mid-flight, hospitals went dark, and the population began to riot.

This was, of course, all according to Malraux's plan.

As part of the initial prep work for the invasion, Malraux sent his own agents to Earth via dimthread to start converting people to Magna Verita's version of Christianity so he'd have enough believers to power the stelae. In the outlaying areas where Malraux had converted the population, things weren't as bad. In the major metropolitan areas, it was a different story. Lack of technology meant lack of communications, so hysteria spread through France rapidly as theories ranging from "World War Three" to "The Antichrist" were bandied about.

And into this chaos came the Church, ready to help the needy and to ease the suffering.

Malraux's Church was ready to start siezing control right away, and had organized many right-wing groups to act as muscle (c.f. the Hands of God). Roman Catholic priests who were stuck in the realm were a high-priority target for the Church, in order to cement Malraux's "God" as the One True God.

Just over a month after the initial invasion, the Church's forces converged on Paris. Paris is a Core Earth hardpoint, and as a result it was vital for Malraux to take it down. His forces burst through the city's defensive forces, and attacked the National Assembly without mercy.

quote:

Seizing the outer chambers, they set fire to the building and mercilessly turned their guns on those fleeing from the inferno. A Papal Legate proclaimed that the Church was now in control. The savior was coming in the form of the Pope. France would be safe from the Antichrist now that the godless socialists had been destroyed.

At this point, Malraux still hadn't come across the bridge to his new realm. He had one last "step" in his invasion plan. In order to cement his position as savior to the people of France, he released two demons from Magna Verita into the country. He would allow them to ravage the countryside, establishing themselves as a major threat, and then appear to publicly defeat them (thanks to the power of his Darkness Device) to show how only he could defend his people from the forces of the Antichrist.

As he waited in what the Core Earthers called the "Dreamtime" for the correct moment to arrive on his bridge of light, he was waylaid by Storm Knights.

This is the attack by Dr. Hachi Mara-Two I talked about [url="https://"""]back here[/url]; the sudden vision of the high-tech reality taking place in a spiritual realm had a severe effect on Malraux. Seeing this as a "vision from God", Malraux's personal axioms were altered to a mix of Magna Verita's and Kandara's.

When Malraux entered the new realm, he carried these new axoims with him. Powered by the Darkness Device, a second axiom wash occured across the realm. Technology that had ceased functioning came back to life, devices that had been transformed completely by the initial invasion changed back, and Possibility-rated people found themselves fluxuating between the two axiom sets.

It took surprisingly little time for the changes to settle, but once they did a new reality was formed; a mix of medieval mindsets and high technology ruled now; the Church was no more, and the Cyberpapacy took its place.

The Church has adapted well to the new situation. Not perfectly, of course, but the axiom wash and Malraux's tight grip on the church power structures have kept it in control of France throughout the changes. The main lynchpin of Malraux's control is, of course, the GodNet.

quote:

Information contained within the GodNet was at first fragmentary and confused. Thanks to the work of the cyberpriests, data has been collated and systemized within the vast data bases of the GodNet. The Cyberpope now has instant access to information detailing the extent and structure of his new realm. Confident in its workings, the Cyberpope has decreed that all loyal Catholics will be connected to the GodNet and their activities monitored by it. Information is currently being compiled on the activities and locations of all heretics and opposition groups. The Cyberpope is tightening his grip to create the perfect totalitarianstate.
Currently, the Inquisition is focused on rounding up heretics and subversives, while Malraux is focusing on the public at large. He has published a new version of the Bible (the "Malraux Bible", which expouses cybernetics as the work of God and the body of Christ), a list of banned books, and appears on regular television broadcasts to help cement his position as savoir to his people. Not that he really needs to (thanks to the Darkness Device), but every little bit counts.

quote:

The Malraux Bible was the first order of business for PŤre Jean, and it encapsulates the Cyberpopeís message of salvation through Cybernetics. It is based upon the Julian Bible of Magna Verita, but adds a final book: the Cybernetic Vision.

Within its pages, the vision experienced by Jean Malraux when the dataplate, Dream Time and his mind interacted is described in lurid terms. The Cyberpopeís role as saviour of the world and the threat posed by the Antichrist is elaborated in great detail. Its message is clear: Salvation is only possible through complete acceptance of the Cyberpopeís teachings and the power of the GodNet. To reject the new technology is to reject hope itself.

God has provided the GodNet for His people. It is the Cyberpopeís task to bring everyone into the fold.

So we've talked about the GodNet, but haven't really said what it is yet.

When Mara-Two slapped the dataplate onto Malraux, he wasn't the only one overcome with visions. Eboncrux, his Darkness Device, also saw the visions of Kanandra. While the visions were strange to it as well, it was better equiped to analyze and understand them than its master was. Where Malraux saw "the face of God", Eboncrux saw a tool that could be used to spread misery and destruction. As the second axiom wash happened, Eboncrux began to create a sort of sub-reality in the restored telecommunication systems and technology. It was like weaving a web, with the Darkness Device at the center and symbology drawn from its master's mind.

quote:

When it had finished, it had created a matrix of data and communication comprised of biblical images. Databases and computers took on the shapes of religious buildings. Huge Gothic cathedrals came into being in its cyber landscape. Churches and shrines appeared which held less important data. In the center, where the arms of the cross met, it raised a cybernetic Tower of Babel. Signals are routed through and monitored through here. In Avignon, monitor screens and cyberdecks were established to allow the cyberpriests to watch over this new tool of Papal power.
As the GodNet came into being, the strange mix of realities and pocket dimensions caused the strong spiritual energy of Magna Verita and the magical energy of Core Earth's Dreamtime to flow into the systems being created. As a result, the GodNet can be manipulated as much by the power of faith as by technology, and strange creatures have appeared in this new sub-realm; monsters, demons, and angels roam the digital land, as do numerous cyberpriests whose minds and souls were sucked permanently into the GodNet by the Darkness Device itself.

So what does this all mean for the inhabitants of the CyberPapacy? What's life like in modern day CyberFrance for the millions of ords?

It should go without saying that life in France has changed pretty drastically since the invasion. For the people who live in the cities, or who can afford all the new things the increased Tech axiom allows, the standard of living has actually improved, and these people are more capable of dealing with the dangers the new world puts in front of them. Those who cannot, however, find themselves in a pretty bad position.

CyberFrance is isolated from the rest of the world in several senses of the phrase. The entire country is surrounded by reality storms, and the realm itself is boxed in by Aysle to the north (literally on the other side of the English Channel) and the Nile Empire to the south. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get basic supplies shipped in from other countries.

The biggest issue this has caused is the lack of oil and gasoline. Cars are basically luxury items now, because oil shipments can't get into the country. It doesn't help that most of the oil in the world is controlled by the Middle East (who are heathens) or by Mobius (who Malraux hates with a firey passion), of course. Electric-powered cars are starting to become available to the populace at large, but as it stands now most Core Earth vehicles are out of the picture.

The Collapse did a number on the existing industries, of course, but the Tech Surge just compounded the problem with the advent of cyberdecks. Factories and large-scale services came back online, but now are either fully automated or can be done by a few people with cyberdecks instead of a full-fledged workforce. Millions are out of work, and the economy is suffering for it.

One good thing that happened in the wake of the Tech Surge is the transformation of existing electric and nuclear power plants into more powerful and safer power production. Basic services (like electricity) are provided free to every home now.

Rural France has remained pretty much the same for the most part. There's a larger pressure on the farms to produce since they're the sole food producers for the realm, and as a result farms and rural areas tend to be targets for gangs, rebels, and thugs working under the unbrella of the CyberChurch. The Cyberpapacy has a strong hold on the more rural areas than the cities thanks to the protection they offer the "farm belt".

Unfortunately, the lack of food production is taking its toll on the urban centers. Food riots are not uncommon, and the Cyberpapacy doesn't tend to intervene unless church property is directly threatened. The Church has been known to instigate a riot or two on its own, blaming Jews, Muslims, and other assorted "heretics". The Cyberchurch sees the riots as a sort of pressure release for the population, and if a few innocentsheretics get torn to shreds that's just a bonus.

The GodNet (and, by extension, the CyberPapacy) is also isolated from the rest of the world. The GodNet doesn't connect to any outside data resource or communication network; it is completely and intentionally off Core Earth's global grid. This means that the Internet, television, phones, even radio transmissions from outside France can't get into the country. The Church has a hard lock on what information is available to the public, with the news networks filtering any major news events through their needs. Most major news events from the "outside world" are spun to seem worse than they are, are attributed to the forces of the Antichrist, and reinforce how only the Cyberpope can protect his people from the evils of the rest of the world.

Of course, the Cyberpapacy has a few other ways of keeping the populace in line. The big three are Faith Chips, Homers, and HolyVids.

Faith Chips are probably the scariest of the three; these datachips are installed directly onto a person's cyber-control system (i.e., the spine/brainstem region), and cannot be removed without major surgery. A Faith chip broadcasts the Cyberpapacy's beliefs and doctrines directly into the victim's brain, making him a fanatical follower of Malraux who will kill or die for the Church without question or hesitation. When you're fitted with a Faith Chip, you fully believe in the threat posed by the Antichrist, and that only the Cyberpope is capable of saving the world from it. Trying to perform any action that goes against Cyberpapal doctrine requires a very difficult Spirit check to perform. Failing the check means you have to follow doctrine. But don't worry. Sooner or later, you'll love it.

Homers are less insidious but no less dangerous. These small implanted devices transmit basic homing signals to a range of 25 km, which can be (and are) recorded in the GodNet. If you have a homer installed, then the Church will always know where you are, where you've been, and will probably have some suggestions on where you're going to end up.

HolyVids are mass-produced "entertainment systems" that are distributed to the faithful once they prove themselves "worthy". HolyVids are basically virtual reality systems that plug directly into the GodNet. You don't need cyberjacks to use them, so they're safe for the whole family! A HolyVid allows the users to project themselves into fullly immersive recreations of Biblical events, allowing the faithful to experience them first-hand as if they were really there. It should come as no surprise that HolyVids are psychologically addictive, and contain subliminal messages that let the Church control the flock. These devices are the most widespread of the three main control points, because they don't require the user be cybered to use it. On top of that, they're becoming popular means of escapism in a rapidly deteriorating society.

Ultimately, Malraux wants to install Faith Chips and homers in the entire Cyberpapal population, and eventually in everyone in the world. As stated previously, he doesn't care so much about becoming Torg; his goal is controlling the world (for its own good, of course).

Now, at this point in the chapter, there's a bunch of stuff about all the individual provinces in CyberFrance. It's another case of things not being presented in a logical manner; we go from background to "life in CyberFrance" for about two minutes now we're in a province-by-province breakdown of what's going on across the country. This whole part of the chapter can be summed up as follows:

1. The city of Avignon, the capital of the Cyberpapacy is expanding rapidly.
2. The farming areas are pretty much under Cyberpapal control, and the Church is trying to meet demand by applying new technologies to farming, with mixed results.
3. In the industrial areas, unemployment is at an all-time high thanks to the new technologies. One guy with a cyberdeck can control a whole factory now, so who needs workers? It doesn't help that unions are considered "heretical".
4. The Resistance has been gaining strength on the outskirts of France.

The situation in Belgium deserves special mention, though.

quote:

The stelae planted in western Belgium isolate the Belgian coal fields from the industries of Brussels. Fierce reality storms have set fire to the underlying coal seams turning the west of Belgium into a raging inferno. Thousands of Belgians have been killed in the resulting disaster and now lead a precarious existence amongst the smoking ruins.

The Cyberpapacyís policy is to maintain this area as living representation of Hell in order to further its claims that the Antichrist continues to assail France.

From here we learn about Cathedrals and Monasteries. So of course we start by talking about the GodNet. Have I mentioned that these books aren't very well organized?

The GodNet does get its own sourcebook (which I'll cover briefly after this book), but for now let's cover the basics. The GodNet is France's internet, and is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Due to the Tech Surge, people are able to interface with it through cyberdecks, and view it as a 3-dimensional "virtual experience" (VX for short). Churches, Cathedrals, and Monasteries act as system relay points, data centers, and network control points.

Because of this, and the importance placed on the GodNet, data cathedrals and churches are rapidly becoming the central focus of most communities.

quote:

The concept of a neighborhood is undergoing rapid change. Now the center of the neighborhood is the cathedral, even more than it was in medieval times. Everyone connected to the GodNet is two short exchanges away from a meeting place for thousands of people, and similarly connected to hundreds of businesses. Mass at a cathedral has become a focal social point for hundreds of thousands of French citizens. They go to Mass, enjoy the sense of awe and belonging which is magnified many times by the nature of the GodNet, and then meet friends who might live hours away by car. Their own image is more attractive in the VX environment, and they feel themselves more capable. This facet of the GodNet gives Jean Malraux I a seductive and powerful tool for getting the French citizenry to voluntarily and loyally join his cause.

Cyberpapal stelae are, unsurprisingly, altars that have been ritually prepared by Malraux himself. Malraux keeps a few back-up stelae "prepped" near important live ones, so if Storm Knights do manage to take one out he can have Ebencrux quickly energize a new one and keep the zone from collapsing.

And that's the "Cathedrals and Monasteries" section of the chapter! From there we logically move to Getting Around.

France is a big country, and since it's pretty much cut off from the rest of the world now transport is...tricky.

Normal air service everywhere in France is pretty much done. Between the lack of fuel and the constant weird weather, it's just not practical anymore. The Cyberpapacy is trying to introduce new planes with alternate fuel sources, but for the most part that effort is going into combat jets. People who own chartered planes are still going about their business, but again the lack of fuel is driving prices up.

Ground services haven't fared much better. The Collapse didn't do wonders for the road system, and even after the Tech Surge fixing the roads wasn't really a high priority. Cars are rapidly becoming luxury items, and (again) alternate fuel sources are being rolled out slowly.

The only mass transit system that's still working is the rail system. If anything, it's improved thanks to the Tech Surge allowing bullet trains that are faster and safer than Core Earth's.

I do want to point out that there's a map in the book that shows all of France's major roads, and another that shows all the rail lines. Previously, there was a map of all of France's provinces. I just find that quaint, a relic of a time before you could just type "France maps" in Google and get all the maps you want.

I am ten pages into this chapter.

The next section is about Avignon, and it's not much we don't already know. The city is expanding rapidly due to new cyberware factories being built and the assorted needs of the thousands of pilgrims streaming into the city. Avignon is a historical city; the papacy was located there from the early 1300's to the early 1400's, so there's a lot of old buildings reflecting the ancient glory of the church.

As you can imagine, Malraux has "improved" on that.

Ancient frescoes have been replaced with holographic projections. The Palace of Popes has had a monitor tower attached to it, broadcasting the word of Malraux across the skyline. The bell tower of the Avignon cathedral has been replaced with a giant glowing cross visible from anywhere in the city.

Subtle, it is not.

The next part of the chapter is a "typical locations" deal again, and you'll forgive me for not getting into too much detail here. Provided are maps and NPCs for a Cyberlegger Hideout (basically a street doc/chopshop), a GodWare hospital (complete with techpriests, innocent patients, and cyberboosted guard dogs), and Church Police Checkpoints. Interestingly, we don't get sample cathedrals or other places where you'd go to actually deal with Cyberpapal personel or get your cyberhack on; those are in the GodNet book for some reason.

The last part of the chapter is about how CyberFrance gets along with its European neighbors. As you can imagine, it's "not well".

Germany is probably in the best and worst position. Unification had just happened when the invasion hit, and they were not ready at all. They had a few NATO forces available, but sending modern troops into Collapse-d France didn't work out so well. Falling back from the French border, the German and NATO forces got a front-row seat for the Tech Surge. It wasn't long after the Surge that the CyberPapal forces attacked: demons and cybered-up troopers poured over the border.

But by this point, people had started to get a handle on how reality mechanics worked. German forces basically played a defensive game; they'd "retreat" while fighting, drawing Cyberpapal forces deeper into Core Earth and wait for them to disconnect. Germany couldn't attack, but they could at least hold the line.

As it stands now, Germany has found itself trust into the role of "major world power". It's no secret that Germany is pretty much the only thing between Malraux and Russia, and has also found itself as a launching point for Storm Knights who want to get in on the action in the Cyberpapacy, Aysle, or the Nile Empire. The main focus now is on defense; missile silos are rapidly being set up along the western border, and there's a greater push on industrial production. In fact, due to North America and most of Europe being off the grid, Germany has also found itself becoming a major player in the world economy. Fortunately, the Japanese government has been helping out with that, giving them money and helping improve their technological frameworks. It's a good thing the Kawana Corporation is there, huh?

Luxembourg didn't make out quite as well as Germany. Between the reality storms sweeping through the tiny country and the almost constant influx of refugees from France, the government has pretty much collapsed. NATO troops tried to get things under control, but they're not having much luck since they need to focus more on keeping Germany strong. At this point, Luxembourg is pretty much a done deal as a nation.

Italy isn't having a much better time, though. Like Spain, Italy has been cut off from the rest of Europe, with the added bonus of being stuck near the wars over control of the Mediterranean Sea. The other problem is that the ROman Catholic Church is one of Malraux's primary targets. Malraux has decried that Pope John Paul II is the Antichrist, and taking out the Roman Catholic Church (or better, converting it) is a high priority. Rome, for its part, has declared that Malraux is "an abomination under God" and is currently engaged in propaganda wars throughout Italy. Unfortunately, the Cyberpapacy backs it propaganda up with assassinations and mass violence, and the Roman Catholic Church is having a hard time adjusting to needing to hire mercenaries and Storm Knights. The recent awakening of Core Earth's spiritual power has helped, though.

quote:

Miracle at Saint Peterís Square
At the Vatican, the Pope holds masses more frequently, and miracles are commonly reported. His public appearances and speeches have helped greatly to bolster the hopes of the faithful. Since the Possibility Wars began, the Roman Popeís verve and charisma seemed to have increased dramatically. During one mass, the Pope was attacked by four hospitallers masquerading as pilgrims. The assailants made quick work of the Swiss Guards who tried to intervene, but as each hospitaller attacked the Pope, his cyberware failed. Fatally. Roman Catholics everywhere have taken this incident as the surest sign that God is on their side.

As stated earlier, Belgium is kinda...broken. The western part of the country is in bad shape due to the underground coal fires sparked by the reality storms along the border. Most of the country's resources are tied up dealing with the refugees from the western part of the country and trying to support Germany.

The Netherlands got hit hard by reality storm-powered tidal waves that were created by the insanely close proximity of the Ayslish and Cyberpapal borders. The waves actually reached as far inland as Amsterdam, destroying most of the city. The Netherlands, like Luxembourg, are devistated. People are abandoning the country en masse as anrachy reigns.

Switzerland is slowly falling to Cyberpapal influence. The government hasn't been very effecting in dealing with the destruction the invasion caused, and lynching of "heretics" is becoming more widespread thanks to Cyberpapal agents.

Spain is pretty much hosed. Completely cut off from Europe, and with the Cyberpapacy already getting a foothold, the country tries to hold onto their faith and resist the invaders as best they can. In fact, Spain is one of the few countries that seem to be able to resist Cyberpapal doctrine. Spain has enacted a sealed-border policy, letting nobody into the country. Unfortunately, agents of the College of the Way managed to get into Spain before the border was closed, and are slowly worming their way into the lives of the people.

As for the rest of the world...well, Malraux knows he needs to keep his physcial forces focused on Europe. He knows that Core Earth religious artifacts have probably transformed into hardpoints or eternity shards, so any forces he has that aren't trying to take the rest of Europe or stomp Mobius are dedicated to artifact hunting. Outside Europe, the Cyberpapacy is focusing on winning hearts and minds. Healing miracles are used in front of as many people (particularly Catholics) as possible in an attempt to undermine the Roman Catholic Church's spiritual base, and high-tech medical procedures and alternate power solutions are winning over the athiests.


And...done.

This is a long-rear end chapter. Well, technically it's not, it's only 20 pages. But it feels a lot longer than it is. It once again suffers from the two main problems that plague the Torg sourcebooks: there's too much goddamn detail you'll probably never use, and it's not presented in a logical order. I don't need to know what's going on in every single province in France; just give me a quick list of common problems and little things like "in northeastern France the farms are having a lot of trouble with bandits and Cyberpapal forces clashing" and we're good. Don't bounce from background to maps to the GodNet to talking about trains. None of it follows!

Still, this is probably the roughest part of the book to get through, so hopefully things will get more interesting from here.

NEXT TIME: Paris in the cyber-springtime!

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


On the contrary, you coming around to one of my favorite parts ever of one of my favorite games ever is JUST FINE as far as I am concerned, EM.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

Asyle's borders go right up to the English Channel, meaning that at some points there's literally only a few miles between the Ayslish and Cyberpapal borders. The proximity of the two realities (three, if you count Core Earth) means that the English Channel is one big perpetual reality storm with the added bonus of sea monsters. The proximity between the two realms was actually done on purpose, because Malraux had allied himself with Uthirion, Aysle's High Lord. The two became allies due to a common interest in pain (Malraux because it purifies the soul, Uthirion because he was a sadistic gently caress), but the recent ousting of Uthirion has put a bit of a crimp in the alliance.

I think it's implied that Malraux allied with Uthirion because, at the time, he was totally possessing the body of a hot chick that's Queen Pella Ardinary. Seriously, she's a high-fantasy babe who would totally be one to throw away your vows for. I believe there's a couple references in later books, whenever the High Lords met, he's uncomfortable around Uthirion because he's now inhabiting the body of some Viking chieftain.

Evil Mastermind posted:

As part of the initial prep work for the invasion, Malraux sent his own agents to Earth via dimthread to start converting people to Magna Verita's version of Christianity so he'd have enough believers to power the stelae. In the outlaying areas where Malraux had converted the population, things weren't as bad. In the major metropolitan areas, it was a different story. Lack of technology meant lack of communications, so hysteria spread through France rapidly as theories ranging from "World War Three" to "The Antichrist" were bandied about.

And into this chaos came the Church, ready to help the needy and to ease the suffering.

You forgot to mention that Malraux's agents worked in sabotaging technology as well to prepare for the invasion. Namely, sabotaging nuclear power plants and contaminating the blood supply with HIV-tainted blood.

Don't really worry about that last bit, there's actually a Miracle later in the book that'll cure AIDS, one that Malraux actually uses when he does arrive.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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A thread may be ending, but I got a new Ars Magica book.

Ars Magica: The Contested Isle



That's right! A new book! The Contested Isle is the latest Ars Magica book to be published. It focuses on the Hibernian Tribunal - that is, Ireland. (For those interested, the next book on the publishing schedule is Transforming Mythic Europe, which will be about wizards advancing the social and technological status of the world and how it might happen, as well as the potential consequences. How many other settings give you a book on how to utterly destroy the setting?)

As an overview: Ireland is loving loaded with magic. It's all over the place. It is also full of violence. The English recently conquered the place, and the Tribunal is at a tipping point, as many factions push for power. The Irish don't band together well, though - they're as likely to raid each other as anyone else. The Tribunal's traditions, created by mostly Tytalus and Merinita, encourage rivalry and challenges, and relationships are complex. They fight each other, but protect the local hedge wizards, and have even given land over to them. But let's stop this overview and go in detail.

When the world was made, Ireland was only half-finished. It had forests, but no water, no animals, no meadows and no people. Five waves of settlers came to it before the current people, the Gaels or Milesians, depending on what name you prefer. These are known as the Five Peoples. They found the chaos of ancient Ireland, unformed, and they made it what it is now. The Irish have recorded this history as one seamless tale in several books, most famously the Lebor Gabala Erenn, the Book of the Taking of Ireland or the Book of Invaders. There is also the Lebor Laignech, the Book of Leinster, in the monastery of Tir-Da-Glas.

In any case, Ireland's first invaders were led by Cessair, granddaughter of Noah. Her grandfather ordered her to find a land untainted by human vice, and she hoped Ireland would be a safe haven from the Flood. It wasn't. Cessair and her people fled to the mountains of Ireland, but they drowned when the waters rose too high. Only one survived: Cessair's druid, Fionntan, who turned into a salmon. Legend has it that he had three other forms - stag, eagle and boar - and that he still lives today.

The second group left a greater mark. They were Greek, followers of the prince Partholon, and they brought with them art, craft and cattle. They cleared four great pastures from the primeval wood and saw the birth of four great lakes. They also found the Fomorach, monstrous giants from the northern islands. The Fomorach settled in the north and raided the Partholonian. Eventually, there was a grand battle, in which the tribe of Partholon killed the Fomorach, but in so doing, they doomed themselves. They left the giants' corpses on the field, and a plague came forth from them, killing all the tribe.

Third were Scythians, the tribe that followed the man Nemed. Nemed did not seek Ireland - he was just fleeing Scythia for fear of the punishment for his patricide. He and his tribe took a great fleet, following the sight of a great golden tower that rose from the sea to the west. This tower, built on an island, could be seen only at low tide, for at high tide, the waters covered it. After landing on the island, the tide took Nemed by surprise and destroyed most of the fleet. It was a year before the Nemedians saw land again, landing on Ireland by accident. They brought their soldiers, their families and their druids, bringing lore and craft to the wilderness. They cleared plains and saw lakes erupt forth for them, and their prosperity, like that of the Partholonians before them, brought the attention and greed of the Fomorach.

The Fomorach came from the northern oceans, capturing Nemed's tribe and demanding tribute. Nemed had died by this time, and his sons and grandsons suffered under Fomorach rule. The Nemedians plotted to rebel, sending to Greece for aid. The Greek king sent them soldiers, druids, druidesses, wolves and venomous beasts. With their aid, the Nemedians assaulted the Fomorach fortress on Tory Island, destroying it. Still, the victory was short-lived. Fomorach reinforcements attacked, and the Fomorach druids used terrible water magic to drown the battlefield, slaughtering the Nemedians and many of their own. At the end of the day, many of both sides lay dead, but the Fomorach had won, devastating their human foes. Three surviving grandsons of Nemed split their remaining followers into three groups, departing. The isle remained free of humans for two centuries.

Fourth to invade were the Fir Bolg. Legend has it that they descended from one of Nemed's grandsons, who was a slave in Greece before escaping and returning to Ireland. The tales of the Fir Bolg journey are grand, telling of epic battles against the dead and demons, but fail to tell how the Fir Bolg became Magical beings. 'Fir Bolg' means 'the men who swell with battle fury,' though some false believe it means 'men of the bag' because their Greek slavemasters made them move earth in leather bags. The Fir Bolg divided Ireland into provinces, invented kingship and justice and brought peace to the land. More on them much later.

The fifth invaders were the Tuatha De Danann, the last wave before the modern Gaels. After the Nemedians warred with the Fomorach, one of their groups started to worship Celtic faeries, who took the group to their mystical homeland in the north. In four fabled cities, the faerie Tuatha De taught their people culture, art and magic, interbreeding with them. When they returned to Ireland, the faerie gods came with them, as did their children and their druids. More on the Tuatha De Danann later.

In any case, the Fir Bolg and Fomorach ignored the requests for peace laid before them by the Tuatha De, seeking war. At the Battle of Moytirra, on the Plain of Cong in the province of Connacht, the Fir Bolg were defeated by the invaders, but in victory, the leader of the Tuatha De Danann lost an arm, making him unfit to rule. His chieftains chose a new leader, a son of Tuathe De mother and Fomoir father, in the hopes that it would keep the Fomorach at bay. It didn't. The Fomorach came and conquered the newcomers. However, at the Second Battle of Moytirra, once more in Connacht but on a different plain, the Tuatha De defeated the Fomorach, driving them from Ireland. They laid a curse on their giant foes: none of the Fomorach might set foot on Irish soil without suffering dire consequences. That's a literal curse, mind - air and water are fine. A Fomoir that can swim or fly is just dandy so long as they do not touch the soil. The Tuatha De Danann kept the Fir Bolg ways, their kingships and society. The gods lived among their mortal followers until, eventually, the human population grew so much that human kings replaced the faeries. The rule of the Tuatha De was not peaceful, and fights over cattle, land and succession frequently led to war. The peaceful culture sought originally by the gods was forgotten.

The latest and last invaders were the Gaels, descended from Gaedheal Glas, builder and linguist. Legend holds that he created the Irish tongue from the best parts of the 72 languages spoken at Babel. The Gaels came out of Egypt, heading, eventually, to the northern coast of Spain. Legend has it that they built a tower so high that the knight Mil could see Ireland from its summit. It was foretold that Mil's sons would rule the island, so he sent his uncle and a small force to investigate. They were slain by the Tuatha De. Mil sent a greater force, captained by his eight sons, and so the Gaels are also known as the Milesians, the sons of Mil. They were led by the poet-sorcerer Amhairghin, and they defeated the Tuatha De with violence and magical trickery. The faeries fled underground, promising to leave the island to its new rulers. The mortals of the Tuatha De tribe were brought into the tribe of Mil.

In their conquest, the Milesians found three goddesses of the fae: Banba, Fodla and Eire, each promising victory if a son of Mil would marry her and each claiming to be Ireland. Three sons agreed, and to this day, the tradition of a provincial ruler ritually marrying a land-goddess is maintained. Mil's uncle and three of his sons founded the Four Root Races, the four great tribal lines of Ireland. The son Eremon settled Connacht, becoming first of the Connachta tribe. The son Eber took Munster, giving rise to the Eoghanachta. The son Eibhear settled in Ulster, fathering the Erainn. And the uncle, Lughaidh mac Ith, took Leinster, becoming ancestor to the Laigin. Eventually, these tribes and the lesser ones fought each other and themselves, over cattle, land and leadership.

The two greatest brothers, Eremon and Eber, split the island between them, marking their boundary line by the Eiscir Riada, a line of sand and gravel ridges running from Galway Bay to Dublin. Eremon took the north and Eber the south, but Eremon slew Eber and claimed all of the island. He delegated rule of the five provinces to sub-chiefs, kin-vassals of his who would ultimately destroy his authority and create their own dynasties. One rose to prominence, claiming the high kingship, only to be replaced by another, a pattern that would be followed for two thousand years.

Centuries of war followed, giving rise to great heroes. The greatest of these was Cormac mac Airt, who ruled in the early 200s. He was protected from birth by five magic wards, such that he could not be hurt by drowning, fire, druid magic, wounds or wolves. He became high-king at age 30, and in his reign, the land flowed with fish, honey and fruit. His grandson, Conn of the Hundred Battles, was a Connachta leader, whose deeds were so great and whose sons so numerous that many now claim him as an ancestor. He discovered many of the hidden treasures of the Tuatha De, including the five roads of Ireland and the ancient yew named Mughain, the center of the faerie otherworld. He grew up in Leinster, overthrowing the ruling high king to win the tree, then raiding the Eoghanachta king of Munster, King Eoghan Mor. He was too powerful to be easily defeated, though, and the pair again split Ireland on the ancient boundary, dividing it into Leth Cuinn in the north for Conn and Leth Moga in the south for Mor. Conn, however, broke the treaty afterwards and defeated the Eoghanachta at the Battle of Magh Leana.



There were other heroes, to be sure, who never became high kings. The provincial king Ailill of Connacht and his wife Medb were fierce leaders, often at war with the king of Ulster, Conchobhair mac Neasa. Clan champions were as important as kings, too - most famously Cu Chulainn, Ulster's champion, and Fionn mac Cumhaill of Leinster. The lists of heroes and kings are immense, memorized by poets to recite grand genealogies. The Fir Bolg stayed in Connacht in this time, the Tuatha De Danann underground and the Fomorach offshore. All left the Milesians alone, keeping to their old pacts. Certainly, people met individual Fir Bolg and Tuatha De, but no more than that. The early Milesians kept guard against the Fomorach, but after generations without sighting their ships, the lookout was abandoned.

Next Time: The coming of Christians and wizards.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I would really like to own the latest Tribunal books, and am annoyed by Atlas' habit of keeping their most recent stuff print-only.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

I think it's implied that Malraux allied with Uthirion because, at the time, he was totally possessing the body of a hot chick that's Queen Pella Ardinary. Seriously, she's a high-fantasy babe who would totally be one to throw away your vows for. I believe there's a couple references in later books, whenever the High Lords met, he's uncomfortable around Uthirion because he's now inhabiting the body of some Viking chieftain.
I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. It does say in the Worldbook though:

My fanfictions! posted:

The pope was soon met by Uthorion, who occupied the body of Lady Pella Ardinay. After some initial tension, the two discovered a mutual interest in the subtleties of pain. Malraux considered the other High Lord a heathen scoundrel who might very well be possessed, but a heathen who had an appreciation of what was important in life.

To be fair, Uthorion and Malraux shacking up would be less dumb than what eventually ends up happening.

quote:

You forgot to mention that Malraux's agents worked in sabotaging technology as well to prepare for the invasion. Namely, sabotaging nuclear power plants and contaminating the blood supply with HIV-tainted blood.

Don't really worry about that last bit, there's actually a Miracle later in the book that'll cure AIDS, one that Malraux actually uses when he does arrive.
I actually forgot about that whole thing. Of course, "curing the sick" is one of the main ways the Cyberpapacy wins people over. "Oh, the heathens haven't been able to help you? *TWING* There you go. Courtesy of our kind and loving God."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Rand Brittain posted:

I would really like to own the latest Tribunal books, and am annoyed by Atlas' habit of keeping their most recent stuff print-only.

What they do is they do print run first, and only do PDF when they sell out of the print run.

I think this strategy is incomprehensible but what can you do?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Mors Rattus posted:

What they do is they do print run first, and only do PDF when they sell out of the print run.

I think this strategy is incomprehensible but what can you do?

Same idea as TV blackouts for sports games. If you want it, be there physically; they'll let you experience it electronically if there's demand in excess of physical supply.

Seems silly since the availability of a PDF would probably sell way more, but I guess it seemed like a good idea to whoever made the decision.

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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Midjack posted:

Same idea as TV blackouts for sports games. If you want it, be there physically; they'll let you experience it electronically if there's demand in excess of physical supply.

Seems silly since the availability of a PDF would probably sell way more, but I guess it seemed like a good idea to whoever made the decision.

I'm sure there are some studies somewhere that reinforce attitudes like this. However, based on news posts and personal communications with some people, the bulk of that view in the RPG industry treats PDF distribution as some sort of magical quest filled with pirate fights.

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