Thursday, 30 June 2011
Continuing on the Evolution-project, this time I'll try to compile a list of reference literature. These books all have elements of what I see fitting in the new age of Argos. Again, this is mostly for my own benefit, as a way of gathering my thoughts, but I can recommend each of the titles listed below.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
The Dark Continent has many dark legends, and though those of the Witch-king of Gerem Faït are not amongst the more widely known, they have few rivals in terms of fear, horror, and undying evil.
In the days when the Erian civilizations were still young, there lived a mighty wizard in a now forgotten kingdom. His hunger for power led him to delve deeper and deeper into mysteries man was never meant to know, and as his quest lead him further down his dark path, he also became obsessed with immortality. Through nigromantic rituals and deals with old and best forgotten entities, he managed to cheat Dìs of his due.
Lately Blogger has been making some decisions on it's own as to when certain posts should become public. For that reason, today's post appeared on your feed/reader a few hours before it was ready, tomorrow's did the same just now. To avoid people coming here to read about the Painted Man when there is no new post on that subject up as of yet, I'm giving you something else to occupy you with while I'm finishing up for the day.
As I've mentioned, I had the opportunity to visit Tate Modern a week or so ago. One of the artists I was made aware of was Helmut Herzfeld, a.k.a. John Heartfield [Wiki], a pioneer of photomontage. Some of his most famous work was done in the years between World War One and Two, and calling his art political may be an understatement. Since this post is thrown together in a hurry, I'll cut the introduction short and give you the art.
Monday, 27 June 2011
He seemed an island of quiet, unearthly elegance where he stood, on one of the few remaining towers of Castel Vigilius in Borgen, Cora's capital. Until recently, this had been the home of the Knights of St. Invictus. The city had been bombarded night and day for two months before it fell. They had rained fire, plague and acid on it, demons and guldamoths had thrown themselves against it's defences, and a hundred nigromancers had torn at the very fundaments of it's reality. Then it had fallen. It's fortifications crumbled, it's once magnificent temples, those few that had survived the onslaught, stripped and defiled. Hardly a single house was undamaged, and an unnatural, viscous, dark mist lay like a dirty shroud over the once proud and defiant city.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
Yesterday I began the Evolution-project, and today I'll have a look at one of the fundamental concepts of Argos. I'm talking about how reality is defined, or, what governs the fundamental laws of reality. I'm not sure this will make a lot of sense to everyone, but the way I see it, this is perhaps the single most defining phenomenon in this world.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Lately I've been talking a bit about endings, but after every end there is a beginning. Even if the Pius Chronicles are drawing to a close, Argos will live on. The world has been a big part of my life for some years now, and I do not feel like we will be parting ways just yet. Great and terrible things have happened to it since I first visited it. Though nearly, but not quite cataclysmic, these events have greatly changed the world. Some of these events have been played out, others must be allowed to run their course. This post is the first in what will likely be a new series, where I pour out some of my thoughts on how the world will look once the dust has settled. If I'm lucky, this will take Argos into the Fourth Age.
Friday, 24 June 2011
I went to London last weekend, and while there I visited the Tate Modern. One of the exhibitions showcased brutalist architecture around the world, and it was here that I saw the lifeless, scarred concrete sculpture* of the Lebanese Burj al Murr. The thing was as tall as I am, and it slammed into my imagination with ruthless brutality.
Burj al Murr
Located in down-town Beirut, this ugly 40 story tower dominates the skyline. In times not at all long past, it also dominated the city in a different way. The construction of the Murr Tower was begun in 1974, and when the Lebanese civil war erupted in -75, 28 of the tower's floors had been completed. Despite the unrest, the work continued until the whole structure had been erected. Battle-scarred even before it was finished, the tower found it's function in 1978, as a sniper-position that could dominate and terrorise the surrounding city, two kilometres out from it's base.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."
I've found that what I've been focussing on the most now that the epic Pius Chronicles are coming to an end, is how to achieve a narrative flow that ensures that all those who tell the story has, a) a feeling of involvement in, and ownership with, the tale told, and b) a sense of continuity in plot, setting, and action. The roleplaying trope is that the GM has the final say on the plot and the setting, and the players influence this through their characters. Whether the form of play is sand-boxing or rail-roading, or falls somewhere in between those two axes, this balance is deeply rooted in the culture of the hobby; most core-books have some version of, "the GM has final call over what is accepted in the game," clearly stated at least once.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
“I am Yolander van Zaar - and you have no place in the future!”
[The picture is painted in modern Wezellian fashion, sometime during the spring of YE 1022 when the cabal returned from the Dark Continent and set out to gather the Convocation.]
Storyteller's note: I tried this last night, but due to some formatting issues, I had to delete that post. Now that has been dealt with, and here it is. The bio is written by Håvard.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Reflections on Group Dynamics and the Problem of Epic
Last session ended with a rather frank discourse. While I heard things I found hard to hear, I also heard things I found profoundly wise. As I've said before, it is not often a GM gets direct, honest and constructive feedback. Let alone from the majority of the group. This was one such occasion. The pretext to this discussion was as follows. Item 1 – We now have two scheduled sessions left before the Pius Chronicle is officially ended. Item 2 – Some of the players thought that the evening's scenario felt futile. Bear with me while I try to reflect on what was said.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Despite the war drawing nearer, or perhaps because of it, the citizens of Apeldoorn gathered for Freeday games on the frozen channel. The cold air was filled with laughter and happy voices, and for those afternoon-hours they were as happy as they had ever been. At least the children were -- few of the adults were able to wholly forget the Year of Crisis, and the fear of it merely being the beginning.
Monday, 13 June 2011
This is a PC-biography for Gryff Galan, and is written by said PC's player. I have only formatted the text so as to fit the blog. It should have been posted a while ago, but it fell through the cracks... For that I am sorry. But here it is, updated as of 15 May, 2011.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Habaaskôr the Red was the god of the Habanati. In the early days of the Second Age, this tribe ruled a powerful kingdom that lay on what is now called the Savage Coast of the Dark Continent. The Habanati have long since vanished, and little is remembered of their customs. Apart from a single, dark artifact, only scattered ruins remain of their civilization.
The Cauldron of Habaaskôr is a large bronze cauldron, green with age, with a hard, dark red coating inside the bowl. It is richly ornamented, though the ornaments betray little of it's sinister function. The true power of the cauldron is to summon the deity from his sleep, and bind him to the will of the summoner. To accomplish this ritual, the blood of an infant boy, a young man, a warrior, an old man, and a pregnant woman must be poured into the cauldron. Thereafter a man with no siblings must be boiled alive in it. In the moment of the sacrifice's death, the summoner must call out the name of the deity three times. Once this is done, the fell god will be forced into Argos, and he must perform one task as instructed by the summoner.
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Reaver-class NullGrav vessel
The Reaver is the work-horse of the Ordo Ultima Thule. It has a modular construction that allows for easy configuration for different tasks; troop-carrier, assault-craft, cargo-hauler, and VIP-transport are but some. One of the great advantages of the Reaver is it's capability to travel both in atmosphere as well as in the Void. The cylindrical cargo/troop compartment can be lifted off and replaced, according to need. The load-grapples slung beneath the hull are capable of lifting heavy loads, but can also be used to lower, or extract, troops. If configured as a troop carrier, it can carry 20 troops, as a cargo-hauler, it can lift 6,500 kg.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
A generation has passed since the Old Colonies fell to the Dark Horde. The Orc came out of the Broken Coast in such numbers,and with such a terrible force, that not even the most apocalyptic of prophets could foresee it. The colonies were swept away in a little over a year, and it would take more than twenty years before the Erian kingdoms attempted to reclaim what had been lost. This attempt failed, and now any hope of bringing light to the Dark Continent is slim.
Before the dawn of man, strange and terrible creatures roamed the world, lords of air, land and sea. These beasts have long since been driven away, into extinction and oblivion. Yet now some of these races have been brought back from the depths of myth. The Queen of Stars has called these terrors back into Creation and set them loose upon her realms. Some prowl the skies, swooping down to prey upon any who stray away from cover, others lurk in the wilderness, while yet others have been bound or warped by eldritch magic and nigromancy. These are a few of them.
Sunday, 5 June 2011
EDIT: I have no idea why this post ended up being moved from it's original date to today's date. I was admining the tags, and this happened. Some days Blogger acts strange. Oh well, there are worse things it could have done to me. *knocks wood
CHANCELLOR'S ORDER 10.221
It is now clear that the inhuman forces of the Commonwealth of Man, guided by their hellish engines of reason, intend to destroy our entire civilization. Our outlying colonies have been blockaded and submitted to ruthless bombardment. No surrender has been asked for, nor accepted when offered. Tens of thousands have been killed: men, women, and children. Our homeworld is now facing a direct attack, and despite the heroic efforts of our armed forces, we have to prepare for the worst thinkable outcome.
This is a reference post for the Ordo Ultima Thule's various installations on Argos. While Deep Command has suffered a terrible blow, and the lunar base has been hit hard, the Thulists have gained a far to firm grasp on Argos to disappear overnight. They may no longer be able to operate at will, but they are too well dug in -- often quite literally -- to abandon the areas they have occupied.
In this post I will look at some of the structures the Outsiders have erected, and are in the process of building, since they arrived.
Cast: Aegir of the Enæidùn, Gryff Galan, and Velimir Tito. Also, numerous NPC's.
The following takes place between 3 and 6 Undecium, YE 1022.
With the Pius at anchor in Göteshaven, the heroes seek out their allies in the fight against the Deep, they visit kings and great magicians and learn many things about the state of affairs; they also make sure the moon is not forgotten, then they do battle on the Western Isles.
Saturday, 4 June 2011
Friday, 3 June 2011
The Duchy of Diemed used to be a prosperous area, rich on overland trade between Western Eria and the Skythian Empire. The many villages and farms that lay liberally strewn throughout the fertile, shallow river-valleys were by many seen as the rural ideal, and the cities and towns were wealthy and peaceful. The mines in the southern mountains, though not rich enough to attract the envy of the greater princes, still provided a healthy financial bedrock for the House of Diem. The silversmiths of Zalburg and Woll-am-Möwe were also widely renowned for the quality, if not beauty, of their work. Likewise, the University of Zalburg was acknowledged for it's achievements in the fields of natural philosophy and the liberal arts, and it had a Chair in the Cabal of Pure Thought for more than three hundred years.
Then, during the summer of YE 1022, the Red Death swept away all semblance of civilization, and tore asunder the Hegemony of Man over these lands. Mekelrad, the Lord of the Red Death, the terrible demon that brought the plague to Eria, was lured to Zalburg by the Thulist plague-herders. Here the Outsiders trapped the demon inside a blasphemous machine, using it's struggles to fuel a heinous experiment designed to burn a hole in Creation. While the demon was slain, and the Thulists driven out, the damage wrought on reality was so great that now a different law rules the region.
The deluge-like onslaught of the zombie plague was halted when Mekelrad was destroyed, but within what has become known as the Redlands, the restless dead still prowl hungrily. The Northern Alliance have built fortifications around the borders, and cavalry and cabals of magicians patrol them. Some of villages and towns that were deserted have been reclaimed, but in these walled communities, the living live in fear of the dead. Marauding packs of zombies roam across the once peaceful countryside, and many who have tried to return to their homes have vanished.
There are also other tales beginning to be told about the Redlands. Trolls, hobgoblins and other creatures from the dark depths of myth are said to have returned to the mortal world. The ravens are everywhere, and rumour has it that a great and ancient raven-king holds court somewhere in the deserted region. Where mortal nobles and rational thought once ruled, wizards, dark beasts, ghosts, zombies, and entities from the other side now do as they please. The Hegemony of Man does not extend to these lands.
- The Raven King has a mighty magician as his servant.
- Gypsies are seen travelling into the Redlands.
- There are vast treasures hidden in the ruins inside the Redlands.
- The zombies are controlled by a nigromancer.
- If a corpse is lain outside for a hour after dawn, it's eyes will be eaten by ravens, and it's soul will not haunt the living.
- A great troll has been seen in the hills.
- A child born with a red birth-mark has been tainted by evil.
- A terrible darkness lies buried in the ruins of Zalburg.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
In 1911 the first story about a fictional hero with super-powers was published in France. Le Nyctalope, or Léo Saint-Claire as his Christian name was, could see in the dark, and he had an artificial heart. In his first adventure, Le Nyctalope has to stop the evil Oxus from taking over Mars and creating an army of super-soldiers. While his powers seem a little meek by modern standards, they represented a break with the earlier heroes of popular culture. Sherlock Holmes and Rocambole, while being quite extraordinary, were normal humans. The Nyctalope (as he's called in the English translations) represented the dawn of a new age: The Age of the Superheroes.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
In my ongoing efforts to bend the rules of magic to my will, I have yet another house-rule to present. Again it addresses Paradigm and Paradox, the two elements I find most lacking in nMage. As is often the case, my homebrew lands somewhere in between Ascension and Awakening – this time I've also drawn inspiration from the nWoD supplement Second Sight (a most useful book covering Low Magic and other occult gifts accessible to mortals). At some point I will have to assess the earlier house-rules as well, and compile/rework them all into a single, hopefully stream-lined and comprehensive, document. For now, that's on my to-do list.
This is the latest instalment.