Order of the Wren has the highest Reputation, and thus gets 2 bonus Influence (Loved).
Wardens have lowest Reputation, and thus gets 2 bonus Influence (Feared).
Champions of Sovereignty control Traitor's Bridge, and thus gets 1 Influence from Symbols of Authority.
Mercantile's Guild controls traffic on Traitor's Bridge, and thus gets 1 Influence from Symbols of Authority.
The Technists Guild controls the Foundry, and thus gets 1 Influence from Symbols of Authority.
The Blackfist Brotherhood controls Gatehouse Prison and the Harrowing Fields, and thus get 2 Influence from Symbols of Authority.
The ESGE controls Daimot University, and thus gets 2 Influence from Symbols of Authority.
House Laurier controls all of Lomb Circle, and thus gets 2 Influence from the District Bonus.
Doctor Vassari gets 1 Influence from Medical Certifications
EBSA gets 1 Influence from the Palace
Order of the Wren gets 1 Influence from The Legendary Hunt (killing Redeye)
The Wardens have the highest Military.
The Mercantile's Guild has the highest Wealth.
???? has the highest Espionage (ESP score is high enough to block Rankings).
Bloodhaven and Church of Neposh are tied for highest Magic.
Drydock: Currently occupied by the Shipwright’s Guild, which refuses to acknowledge the fact that the ships they build for the River Tethyn really aren’t all that good. The Guild is currently working as a sub-faction of the Mercantile's Guild.
The Turnaround: The Blackthorne and Exodus carriage houses run things here in the name of the Mercantile's Guild.
Traveler’s Quarter: This neighborhood is controlled by the Host Watch, a group funded and equipped by the various innkeepers and long-term foreign residents that you will find here. The Host's Watch is currently backed by the Mercantile's Guild.
Stockyards North: This area is controlled by various Drover’s Associations, in the name of King James I.
The Pond: There are five separate factions in the Pond, each of them now part of the House Laurier merchant structure.
The Chain Run: The Roper's Watch runs this neighborhood in the name of House Laurier.
Gateway Milanus: The traditional Gatekeeper’s Guard polices this area in the name of the Wardens.
Dragonhead: The Hath Poisoner's Society is rumored to still be active in the shadows here. These rumors are most likely false, but they persist no matter how many times the Wardens gesture meaningfully at the graves they put the Society in.
Dovel: The prim and proper streets of the Dovel neighborhood are patrolled by the Ansigaris, a police force paid and equipped by certain rich residents, the Exchange and the Sausage Guild.
Embassy Row: Though no actual foreign embassies have stood in the neighborhood for a hundred years, the local police force is still proud to call itself the Ambassadorial Guard, which patrols the neighborhood alongside the Ansigaris and is widely known to be in the Sausage Guild's pocket. It is rumored that they share the neighborhood with a Merdallan knight, though it is unknown if that is true or not.
Changer’s Row: There is no one central authority in Changer’s Row, just a whole lot of moneychanger guards; recently, the Ansigaris from Dovel have begun patrolling here as well.
Allscross: The Conductor reigns supreme here, a strange wizard who taxes all who pass through the city’s largest crossroads. Many of the merchants in the Circles view him as an impediment to commerce. Under the streets are Sausage Guild tunnels, workers busy expanding the Vaults of Flesh.
Northside Black: Some say that the Yellow Court is running things here, though no sign of them has yet been confirmed. The Blackspell Watch patrols this neighborhood, answering to its Board of Trustees.
Southside Black: The Blackspell Watch patrols this neighborhood, answering to its Board of Trustees.
Scholar’s Compass: This is a very quiet neighborhood, except when the moon is full. Do not be in Scholar’s Compass when the moon is full. The Blackspell Watch patrols this neighborhood, answering to its Board of Trustees.
Mewlings: This neighborhood is controlled by the iron hand of the Bookbinder’s Guild. The presses roar night and day, printing a world of paper to be distributed to the rest of the city.
Dogma: This neighborhood is home to an ESGE-sponsored opera house and many housing developments owned by Lord Wallen.
Redress Street: This long and winding street is patrolled by the Blackjack Boys, men who, though having no control of magic themselves, have a knack for taking out criminal mages, which has served them well recently. The Boys are currently considered to be an arm of the Esoteric Society of Gentleman Explorers.
Dai: Shining with light even in the darkest of storms, the Dai neighborhood is home to the so-called Fisher Houses, nobles who made their fortunes from the lake and river. The three main powerhouses in the neighborhood, House Orthax, House Beteoui and the Dwimmercant Families, are all part of House Wallen's political party.
Lodstrom: The core of Wallen's Lodstrom party live here, those former members of the Lodstrom High Society Club. They are opposed in their political efforts by the smaller party of old-blood nobility formed by House Matoff.
Millford’s: This is a respectable neighborhood, patrolled by the respectable watchmen of the Millford Standing Guard, who are in turn funded by the Silversmith's Guild.
Hobbespot: Who controls the Games, controls Hobbespot.
Painted Court: The whores are in charge here, them and their guards. It is said that the mysterious Peacocks run every vice in the city, though no one (except possibly their close ally Doctor Vassari) has ever seen them to confirm this.
The Drueger Grounds: Home to furtive, scurrying people, cults and old magic, the Drueger Grounds are being fought over by the Righteous Army of Telen Kosh, the Brotherhood of the Flowering Rose and the Defeated. All of them have decent Military, Espionage and Magic scores. Currently, the Defeated and the Righteous Army have almost been destroyed by the Brotherhood, with support from the Heladuit Court.
Old Jack’s Run: Considered unlucky by the rest of the city, this neighborhood is generally avoided, especially at night. Was until very recently run by the confederation of gangs, cults and witches known as the Worldbreakers; now, in the wake of a Gear's Chosen-backed Dreumont attack from Icy Mont, the Clockwork Swords are in charge.
Icy Mont: This neighborhood is controlled by the Dreumont, known to everyone else as “Elfbeens.” They are a gang of humans obsessed with ice elf culture, and they tend to keep the streets at a colder temperature than usual. It is known that the Gear's Chosen ice elf named Joshua lives here.
Little Zanchar: This odd section of town is full of vendors selling what they claim is authentic Zancharian cuisine. It’s not half bad, either. It is controlled by the Market Guard, with backing from Doctor Vassari of Bloodhaven.
Elfwatch: This neighborhood once played host to watchtowers and other defenses against the Zancharian Empire. Nowadays, those same towers provide homes for opium dens and other unsavory practices that support the Everdie gang, which is known to be a front for the Peacocks.
Fat Tippest: Currently filled to the brim with the homeless and destitute, looking for shelter in the townhouses formerly owned and occupied by factory managers and overseers.
Little Veras: The artificers in the Foundry report to the Technists Guild now.
The Mendicant’s Field: Housing the city’s biggest graveyard, this has always been a traditionally religious neighborhood. Currently controlled by the Grave Guard, an organization of militant orders dedicated to keeping necromancers out.
Heartsblood: The Wrekan family runs this neighborhood with support from the EBSA, after driving out their hated enemies, the Hearthfeather family.
Silvathrien: A noble and elegant neighborhood, Sivathrien is home to the Silver Blood Gentleman’s Association and the Evening Games Club. They get along cordially enough with each other, and turn back any attempts by outside powers to control the neighborhood with disturbingly vicious focus.
Dozen Dancers: So named by the twelve massive sculptures constructed in its midst, the Dozen Dancers neighborhood is home to artists, unrepentant muggers and the Wool Street Gang, which currently lives in the hollowed-out head of one of the Dancers.
Annosus: The wizard Delathion, the Empty Blood Gang and the Annosus Merchant’s Society all believe they have control over Annosus. None of them seem to be aware of the others.
Imperial Third: Settled by exiles from the Illarym Empire, this neighborhood retains a strong Imperial influence, which is why the local gangs all call themselves Legion. Black Legion, Hawk Legion, Fancy Legion, et cetera. There are more than any outside can keep track of, and they change every day. Currently, the Legions follow the banner of the Ram.
Deadman Hill: Overlooked by the infamous Gatehouse Prison, this neighborhood is now ruled by the Blackfist Brotherhood, who have hung their flags over its gate.
Downline: Site of the now-infamous Longspeak Tower, Downline is home to wild magic and wilder mages, each of them fighting all the others.
All Gods’ Hollow: Mist seeps up from under the streets in this neighborhood, making the entire place seem like it’s filled with ghosts—which may very well be the case. Not even the cults have found a home in All Gods’ Hollow.
Direct Attributes (and Stat Caps): Your Military, Wealth, Espionage and Magic stats are based on solid numbers of troops, coins, spies and spells. As such, these stats must be supported by territory you control. You can have points in these stats equal to twenty plus two for every neighborhood you control, with additional bonuses granted for control of entire districts, specific locations on the map, or traits. Please note that some factions are already almost at the starting stat cap.
Derived Attributes: These attributes are based on how people feel about you, and as such are visible to all. Morale is based on how your own people feel about you; this stat affects everything that you do in small ways, and serves as your basic defensive espionage. Reputation is a bit trickier. REP ranges from -10, which is hated and feared, to 10, which is praised and loved. 0 indicates uncaring neutrality or lack of knowledge. Both high and low REP scores gain you Influence, as you exert control over the people of the city by being the most loved or the most feared.
Traits: Anything that is not covered by stats is considered a trait. Factions, locations and VIP characters can all have traits.
Reading Messages: Every faction has a Defensive Espionage (ESP-D) stat that changes each turn. Your ESP-D is equal to your Morale plus any Espionage that you have told me you are setting aside for counterintelligence during the previous EoT (so first turn it’ll just be equal to your Morale). People who have also played in Mistral’s TW 2126 will be familiar with this system. You can read any spoilered, non PM message in the thread if your Espionage is higher than the lowest Defensive Espionage of the factions involved. If the message is being sent to an NPC or character without an ESP-D stat, then you can read it if you beat the ESP-D of the faction that actually has that stat.
VIPs: Your VIP characters have stats. You do not know what those stats are, but they will provide a bonus to actions during EoT if you assign the VIP character to help with/lead an operation. When a VIP has done enough stuff in situations where they might conceivably have learned something—risky situations that provide do-or-die flashes of insight that they will carry with them for the rest of their life—they will level up, gaining new stats and possibly traits.
Private Messages: The only way to have a completely secure exchange of messages is to have two VIP characters talking face-to-face. Doing this ties up the VIP characters involved; you will not be able to use the character during EoT if instead he or she has spent the turn talking to people.
Neighborhoods and Districts: The city of Sav Altulas is split up into eleven different districts, each of which is split up into a number of different neighborhoods (anywhere from five to twelve). Control of neighborhoods is everything in this game. You start with control over one neighborhood and must expand outward from there. Control over a neighborhood also gives you control over any special buildings that are in there, only some of which are marked on the map. Controlling all neighborhoods in a district grants major bonuses.
All neighborhoods not controlled by a PC or NPC faction are assumed to have local gangs, watch associations, Guild police forces, mad cults and other assorted groups of that nature defending them. That is to say, you have to actually do something to earn control of an area, you can't just waltz in and declare ownership (unless you have a sufficiently high Military or scary Reputation, of course).
Special Locations: Some special locations are within neighborhoods, and control over them and their associated traits/stat bonuses comes with control of the neighborhood. Some of them are bigger than that. The Bleak Cathedral, for example, is not part of any neighborhood, and can in fact be controlled separately from the Oldtown district that it is in the heart of without making whoever controls the rest of Oldtown lose their district bonus. It is, in effect, a self-contained District. Same with the Harrowing Fields, Gatehouse Prison and Traitor's Bridge.
Hidden Locations: Every turn you control a neighborhood, there is a small chance that you will find any hidden locations in it. There is a larger chance that you will find something when you first take control of a neighborhood, as your people are crawling all over the place looking for the best location to set up shop, and an even higher chance if you actually devote resources to the task of ferreting out rumors.
Contacts and Foreign Factions: The world outside of Sav Altulas is strange and far away. The city is situated in the middle of the warlord-filled Shattered Lands (main exports: refugees, plagues and counterfeit coinage), and as such the maneuverings of the great powers elsewhere on the continent bear little meaning to its citizens. The net result of this is that contacting anyone outside of the city takes time. Messages sent to factions outside of the city will be replied to the following turn. The only way of getting around this is by having the relevant Contacts trait. Controlling the neighborhood with the Illarym Contacts trait, for example, lets you negotiate with the Illarym Empire and its various subfactions as though they were a city faction, without the message travel delay.
Using Enemy Contacts: You can spend ESP mid-turn in order to use Contacts traits that you do not own. This costs 2 ESP per neighborhood that you are away from the Contact's location, and the owner of the Contact can spend half that in order to listen in, but this allows you the same benefit of having that trait for the duration of the turn. If the neighborhood with the Contact in it is not controlled by anyone, then it costs 1 ESP per 'hood away, but anyone else can pay the same cost to read your messages. If you do not have the Contacts trait yourself, there is no way of making messages to that faction private.
Locations of Contacts: It is known that the following contacts may be found somewhere in the Circles. You do not know what neighborhood particularly, but if you put some effort into digging you could probably find out.
Lomb Circle: Merdallan, Waterman, Arcanan, and Elsinian Contacts.
Spicer's Circle: Illarym, Arunian, Verdan and Jungle Contacts.
It is also known that the Warlord and Protectorate Contacts can be found somewhere in Stacks, and that the Laheim Contact may be found somewhere in the Triphage Untima.
Influence: When it seems like an appropriate time for the game to be ending and a new ruler of Sav Altulas to be crowned, the person with the highest Influence wins. The following things give you Influence points in varying amounts:
-Controlling an entire District.
-Controlling Daisong Palace, the Bleak Cathedral, Traitor's Bridge, or other specific locations with the Symbols of Authority trait.
-Every third neighborhood gives you 1. This is on top of whatever the District bonus is.
-Person with the highest REP gets bonus Influence. So does the person with the lowest.
-Achieving specific goals or doing awesome things may grant bonus Influence, depending on the mood of the GM.
Sky: The noble district. Everyone here pretends that they can trace their lineage back to old Talidor. Very, very rich, very, very powerful. Has the fewest neighborhoods and grants the most Influence out of any district.
Heavensgate: The quarter of those who like to pretend that they are nobility. Wealthy merchants, high-end artists and craftsmen…this is the middle-class district, though they would very much like to pretend that it is higher.
Triphage Untima: No one remembers what the name of this district means. Rumor has it that it was one of the major staging grounds for the Zancharian invaders after they took the city (back when that Empire was in its prime and not a smoking wasteland), and that the remains of their ancient war machines can still be found here, their frames turned into houses or buried deep beneath the earth. Currently home to whorehouses, dubious apothecaries and more dubious doctors.
The Smokeyards: Home of the city's factories, its artificers and its laboring masses. Rumors of mad alchemists, unwholesome experiments and labor disputes resolved through use of assassins have plagued this district for as long as it has been around.
Oldtown: The ancient city is full of secret ways and passages, streets that run beneath other streets and hidden neighborhoods where demons dwell, far from the light. Oldtown is where the mysteries of Sav Altulas go to die.
Runner’s City: Originally home to bitter, terrified refugees fleeing from the worst of the warlords after the collapse of the Zancharian Empire, Runner’s City hasn’t gotten much better in the intervening centuries. The housing is still temporary, the despair is still palpable and the lives are still cheap.
Stacks: Most foreign visitors never get further into the city than this. Caravans unload, trains of cattle are herded into the stocks and far-off wars replay themselves in miniature every night in the back alleys and taverns.
Lomb Circle: Occasionally called the "Lower Circle" by people who are pretentious wiseasses, the Lomb Markets play host to most of the trade from across the mountains. This is the older of the two Circles, and the less well-regarded; a thousand years ago, all of the city's trade came from the east, but after the Zancharian Empire collapsed Sav Altulas wanted nothing to do with the lands that the elves came from.
Spicer's Circle: The newer of the two great Circles, and the more prestigious, Spicer's Circle stands as a testament to almost a thousand years of gradual Illarym influence in the city. The faint presence of the Empire can be found everywhere here, from the prevalence of machinery to the current fashions.
Gilded: They say the streets are paved with gold in the quarter where the moneychangers and the Guilds live. They say if you pick any stretch of cobbles and dig down far enough you'll strike someone's vault eventually, and if you bump an unassuming accountant on the street they'll have their bodyguards kill you on the spot.
Blacksgage: Haunted and mysterious, a small city in itself built up around the Orn University Daimot that lies abandoned in its midst, Blacksgage has always felt like part of a different town that somehow got stuck in Sav Altulas. The people who live there are furtive and wear too many robes to be considered entirely sane. This is the home of magic in Sav Altulas, but unlike the bright promises offered by the University Arcana and the mage-tinkers of Veras, this magic is dark and bloody indeed.
Daisong Palace: Such a large complex that it could be considered a small city in itself, the Palace has been home to the sorceress Desoui for the last hundred years or so. She is dead now, having been assassinated by mysterious persons, and in the wake of her demise the wards and other carefully-maintained enchantments are beginning to behave strangely. Doors open onto rooms that have never before existed, stairways lead up to basement dungeons in tall towers, and the gardens rearrange themselves at night. Nevertheless, the Daisong Palace remains a powerful symbol of rulership to the people of the city, and its importance should not be underestimated.
The Bleak Cathedral: A church dedicated to gods long-forgotten, now home to a multitude of orders following traditions set down by masters long-dead for reasons that no one knows.
Traitor’s Bridge: The main route for merchants and refugees both, control over the guardhouses, tariff booths and waystations along Traitor’s Bridge would give its owner considerable economic clout.
The Harrowing Field: The grand arena of the city, where the condemned from the nearby Gatehouse Prison are forced to fight for the amusement of the citizenry.
Gatehouse Prison: It is said that all the scum of the Shattered Lands come to die in Gatehouse Prison.
Orn University Daimot: The old and ancient Talidor university, abandoned now to machine cults and hoarders of ancient wisdom. Recently occupied by the Librarian of the Elements and her followers; as such, the historical linguists in the city are considering changing the name to Sav University Daimot, or just dropping the prefix entirely.
Orn Gaspar: Partially-constructed field for airships and other skycraft, this now abandoned structure gives the Gaspar’s Folly neighborhood its name.
The Foundry: The workshops in the middle of Little Veras go by the collective name of the Foundry. They are occupied by rogue Monks from the Ascension Monastery on Verdan and mage-tinkers that even the Veras City Council has deemed too dangerous to stay in that city of madmen.
The World in Brief
Some notes on the world.
A very, very long time ago, the world was ruled by gods who walked the earth and used the realms of mortals as playthings. These were ancient and unfathomable divinities, worshiped by fools who did not know better. They were beings called Earthquake and Storm, and they did not think as mortals do.
And then seven swords were crafted by the Forge God's hand, and seven swords rose up to slay the gods. Thus came the Godswar, man against his own faith, and a new pantheon. The new gods were more mortal than their predecessors, more quarrelsome and emotional, and mortals, seeing themselves reflected in their gods, accepted and worshiped them.
During the period after the Godswar, when the new gods were still rising and the shape of the world had not yet been set, there arose in the land of elves a great conqueror. He gathered his people together and laid waste to his enemies and, when he had forged an empire, he called it Zanchar. It took many years for the Zancharian Empire to cross the sea to the continent of Lorin, where our story takes place, but when they came they came with a vengeance. Their original mission, that of educating and uplifting those they saw as lesser races, was forgotten in the wake of the conquest. They burned through what is now the Merchant's Water and the lands that would become the Kingdom of Merdallan and built palaces of white marble on the bones of the slain. Out of all the races living on Lorin, only the original desert tribes that would become the Illarym were not at any point ruled by the elves of Zanchar, a fact that they remain proud of to this day. Zanchar itself became fat with the loot of an empire that stretched across the known world, an entire continent living high off the riches of entire races. it was during this time period that the kingdoms of Talidor, Desperante and Old Maltin were conquered and ruled by the elves. Sav Altulas, former capitol of Talidor, lay in ruins for the better part of a century. During that time the locals called it Orn Altulas, that being the title given to a place that is dead. Also during this time the race of the orc was created by the elves, for use as manual labor.
And then the mad archmage stepped out of a crater, and Old Jack's War began. It was started by that one insane wizard, the man who dropped the city of Zan through the very crust of the earth, but it was ended by the slaves of the Empire who seized their chance to rise up. Those races who had been subjugated on Lorin threw off their chains and waited with fearful eagerness and bloody steel for the elves to return from across the sea to punish their subjects.
The winter that year was terrible, and the one after that as well. The temperature of the entire world dropped several degrees as ash blotted out the sun. When explorers from the former slave races finally reached the coast of old Zanchar, they found a blasted wasteland, an entire continent cracked in two by the enraged hand of Old Jack or by the desperate, final efforts of the Imperial Elves. Zanchar had been destroyed, and over time the name itself fell into disuse. Most people these days call it the Dead Continent, and steer well-clear, for it is known by all that necromancers fight bitter and strange wars on the plains of ash, attracted to the place by all the death that occurred there. They say that Old Jack lives there still, trapped beneath a mountain dredged up from the bottom of the ocean, still plotting his final revenge.
After Zanchar the elves faded from the historical scene. These past thousand years have seen the rise of human empires and human kingdoms. Those elves that remain live in far-off places where there were no slaves to rebel, far beyond the touch of Old Jack.
Sav Altulas is in the middle of the Shattered Lands. The Shattered Lands are heavily forested, somewhat mountainous and full of warlords. Every village bully-boy thinks he's the rightful King of Talidor, Desperante or Maltin, or possibly all three. In these lands you are either a cowering villager just trying to make a living or you are the strongman extorting the livelihood of those weaker than yourself. There is no middle ground. Those who live under the rule of one of the larger warlords might have a better time of it, but barely. It is a common joke in the south that the main exports of the Shattered Lands are "Refugees, plagues and counterfeit coins," and it cannot be said that there isn't some truth to that.
The Shattered Lands are full of horrors, most of them human
Important locations in the Shattered Lands include: the city of Sav Altulas, the city of Burnelli, the mercenary houses of Laheim, and the ruined cities Orn Demati and Orn Telengrad. Burnelli is far away enough that it probably won't affect Sav Altulas very much, but Laheim is within easy caravan distance, and the famous mercenaries of the City of Bells are always looking for work.
To the north of the Shattered Lands is the Protectorate of the Blood. This land is isolationist in the extreme: all that you will have heard of them is that their elite troops, the Heartless, actually have their hearts torn out of them in some sort of vile ritual. Whether this is true or not you do not know.
To the south of the Shattered Lands is the Illarym Empire, a vast imperial state that grew out of the unconquered desert tribes after the fall of the Zancharian Empire. The Emperor's will is enforced by ordered ranks of fanatically loyal soldiers, as well as the Soulless Legions (also known as the Groundnaught Mechanical), automatons brought to life by the secrets of magic and the cunning of artificers.
If you are an enemy of the Empire, beware the black-marked men. These agents of the Imperial Chancery do not have to follow the laws of the Empire, so long as they act in the Chancellor's name.
Off the southwest coast of the Empire is the island of Verdan, home to Science and Magic in equal measure. Here is the monastery of the Monks of the Ascension, that science-cult devoted to becoming gods through alchemy and mechanical works. They are very willing to sell you their weapons--for a modest fee, of course. On the opposite side of the island is the city of Veras, where mage-tinkers of questionable sanity take the Monks' inventions and add liberal doses of enchantment before selling them for a huge profit. This is, naturally, viewed as the basest sort of heresy by the Monks, who have a habit of shelling the city whenever they think they can slip a mortar team through the City Guard's perimeter. The city endures, though, feeding off of and being slowly killed by the Order of Ascension.
To the south of Verdan, and a little further west, is the small continent of Arun, a land of masks and poison and men who bend time around themselves. It is a strange place.
To the east of the Illarym Empire, across the mountains, is the land of their hated enemies, the Kingdom of Merdallan. Seventeen major (declared) wars have been fought between the Empire and the Kingdom, each one eventually resulting in a stalemate--Imperial Legions overrunning Kingdom militias, only to be mowed down in turn by Merdallan knights. The one usable pass through the mountains, Riven Pass, is the single most heavily-guarded location in the world. Merdallan is a feudal society without a king, the royal family having been assassinated almost a century ago. No one in the Chamber of Nobles trusts anyone else on the throne, and no one has yet been able to take it for themselves, so things have settled into a delicate and watchful balance.
The Chamber of Nobles trusts no one.
When talking about Merdallan, a word or two must be spent on the knights. Simply put, don't **** with them. They have magical armor and magical swords and horses that are the result of a thousand years of breeding for strength and rage, and they hit like a runaway train.
To the south of both the Empire and the Kingdom are the Sunset Jungles, home of the Painted Elves. It is theorized that these elves started off as a deviant cult in the Zancharian Empire, living in the wilderness and altering their bodies with magic; whatever the reason, the fact that they were living in an inhospitable jungle saved them when Old Jack's War came around. Their skin and hair come in a psychedelic rainbow of shades, their tribal tattoos cover every inch of skin, and their "ancient and honored traditions" change every day. Painted elves view the world as a joke, and they're the only ones who get it.
Welcome to the Jungle
To the east of Merdallan is the collection of islands, waterways and city-states called the Merchant's Water. Here, Gold is king. The four major city-states are Arypso, the Gateway to the Continent; Buron-on-the-Water, where all adventures start; Lomar, home of the infamous Craftsmen's Guild and the world's sharpest knives; and Tyb, where the wealth of all the far isles is gathered.
Waterman assassins are the best in the world, and none are better than the Craftsmen.
To the north of Merdallan is wilderness, with one bright spot of civilization in the middle of it: Ver Arcana. This is a city of impossible architecture, built around the campus of the University Arcana, where every day unsettlingly-focused men and woman pick apart the secrets of reality.
The society of criminal wizards known as the Mages Ubiquitous is one of the less wholesome things to emerge from Ver Arcana in recent decades.
The Mages Ubiquitous: Added after turn 5
The Mages Ubiquitous are a near-mythical, terrifying force to the common man. Originating in Ver Arcana but having spread outward since then, the MU has a seemingly infinite reach and a seemingly infinite hunger for magical knowledge and artifacts. They are led by a figure known only as the Standing Mage, a cunning man said to be an archmage in his own right.
The MU can generally be split into two different subcategories:
Shaker Magi are the ones who break things, the archetypical men in black cloaks with black staffs who walk in throwing fireballs and lightning and simply take what they want. They are most commonly seen in the mountains between Merdallan and Illarym, in the Shattered Lands and in the wilderness north of Merdallan, where there is no central authority that can be galvanized to stand against them. Practically every tribe out there has a story about shaker magi walking into the village and taking one or more of their ancestral relics, slaying any who stand in their way. These mages are infamous for how destructive they are, and more often than not their reputation serves as enough of a weapon to keep people from fighting against them.
Sifter Magi are the mages who are dressed as laborers, or shopkeepers, or that guy walking past you on the street. They take advantage of the fact that no one expects a dockhand to secretly be a powerful wizard to steal things, to plant rumors and assassinate rivals. Sifters are the reason that the best half of your treasure is gone when you open the vault door in the morning. Half the time, you don't even realize you've been stolen from. No one ever remembers a sifter's face.
To the north of the Merchant's Water and Ver Arcana is Elsinier, where the Ice Elves dwell. These are the old stock, the elves who believe they are the heirs of Zanchar and thus rightful rulers of the world. No matter that their bodies have been changed so much by the environment that they cannot stand to go too far south any more: they are convinced that one day they will conquer the world again, and rebuild the Dead Continent. They are, for the most part, overconfident in their own abilities. The rest of the world moved on without them, and found gunpowder and newer, more dangerous magics, while they slowly crystallized at the top of the world.
Across the sea to the east is the Dead Continent, how home to necromancers. Corpse-smugglers in the Merchant's Water do a unwholesome but brisk business with them, bringing fresh bodies to feed into the ever-churning undead wars.
To the north of the Dead Continent and a ways further east is Deslocke, a continent named after the only explorer who came back from it alive. Not much is known about it, though it is said that the False King Eric the Blue fled there from Merdallan after it was discovered that he had forged the crown jewels he was wearing (the jewels being magical, and only fit to be worn by the True King, etc).
Human: You know what these guys are. General population of Sav Altulas.
Ice Elf: Live in Elsinier. Humorless. Most common elf variant in Sav Altulas.
Painted Elf: Bat**** insane. From jungles far to the south, and as such rare in Sav Altulas. They can be found here, though, as they travel all over.
Dwarf: Short, hairy, love to fight, drunk, etc. Most of the world's airships are owned and operated by dwarves--the usual joke is that they like being higher than everyone else, which has some truth to it, though in more practical terms their shorter stature means that they can make ships that fit them cheaper than anyone else can. These days, the dwarf airman is more of a stereotype than the dwarf miner. You can find a few of them in Sav Altulas; behind humans, they're probably the most common.
Gnome: Mysterious. They run the Church in the Illarym Empire, thanks to a long-ago alliance between them and the desert tribes, and do not take kindly to others prying into their secrets. There might be one or two gnomes in Sav Altulas, but they are probably in hiding, scared that every footfall beyond their door is the step of a red-robed Emperitor backed by a squad of Inquisitorial Guard.
Orc: Created as slave labor by the Zancharian Empire, orcs have never really been able to get over the "brute strength, low brains" stigma of having been designed as ditchdiggers. Most of them live in the mountains, which are near enough to Sav Altulas that you can find a lot of them in the city. No one has done an official census, but a rough estimate of the diversity in the average street would probably put them tied with dwarves for runner-up minority.
Have you ever wondered how the city of Sav Altulas gets fed. How fresh meat winds up in its markets every day despite being surrounded by broken forests unfit for raising large quantities of meat animals even if they weren't ruled by hundreds of separate warlords, bandits, and petty thugs. No you haven't, and neither has anyone else because somehow the meat always turns up and if you have the coin you won't go hungry.
This is thanks to labors of the sausage guild. One of the many guilds that keep the great city running more or less smoothly they deliver fresh meat every day to the various shops of the city. Large red jawed men who carry great cleavers pull wagons piled high with fresh steaming meat to their shops in the early hours of the morning when even the thieves have gone to bed.
And where do they get there meat you might ask. Why from the Vaults of Flesh. Deep beneath the streets of the Bunkers lay a vast network of caves that have been expanded and worked by the Sausage Guild. In the upper levels lie entire pastures where runes spill down artificial light down on small herds of cattle, and pigs, and sheep. From these are procured the choicest meats which make up the fare of the nobles and wealthy merchants. But these herds are small and must be carefully tended. They can not hope to feed the gaping maw of Sav Altulas.
No the real meat lies deeper. Behemoths they are called. What they were originally no ones knows, now they are just great mounds of flesh. Each one filling a single cave sustained by magic and offal collected from the city above. Here work the Carvers who wield their great cleavers less like butchers and more like miners digging tunnels through the living flesh. Following them come the Sweepers who pack the wholes with all the waste of a city of despairing people. And last, but by no means least the Shapers, grim mages who wield magics of a far more mundane nature than their counterparts which causes the behemoths to feed on the detritus and grow new flesh to complete the cycle.
All this meat is taken to the Butchers who chop apart slabs bigger than a man into portions more easily acceptable to the common street thug or discerning merchant's wife. And watching them all the giant figure of Urso Bloodhand the Sausage Maker.
These are the members of the sausage guild. They who work in the dark. They who keep the city fed. They who deal in blood and flesh.
Military (MIL): Above Average - The Sausage Guild isn't a military organization. It doesn't train its member or arm them with weapons, and they don't go looking for fights. On the other hand its members are grim looking men who are used to wielding very larger, very sharp knives to chop meat every day, all day. There haven't been any incidents of theft or crime in the Bunkers ever since they took over.
Wealth (WEL): Low - They make a little coin selling premium meat to the nobles, but that's really more of a side business for the Sausage Guild. Most of what they sell is cheap low quality meat that people buy and don't think too much of. Not a line of business which is conducive to large quantities of gold coins.
Espionage (ESP): Very Low - When your average member is two meters tall and almost as thick, and has the stink of blood embedded into them, well there isn't a whole lot you can do to be stealthily. And that's if the Sausage Guild wanted to, but why would they. They don't have any interest in power struggles. It took weeks for the rumors of the sorceress's death to finally come to the attention of the guild leaders busy as they were in the meat mines.
Magic (MAG): Above Average - Other mages might scoff at the shapers. And perhaps rightly so as they no little in the way of other magic. But in the field of blood magic and flesh shaping they have no equal. In fact rumors are that some of the members of the guild aren't completely human.
Morale (MOR): High - The sausage guild is proud of what it does. They might not have the most glorious job, and most people might not ever thank them, but they go to bed every night knowing that without them the city would surely starve, or at the very least have to tighten its belt.
Reputation (REP): None - They're butchers. They don't make a lot of fuss and people don't really know who they are. If people know of it at all they probably call it the butchers guild or the people who bring the meat, not as the assuage guild.
Personal (VIP): Above Average - All the members of the sausage guild are fairly tough. But none are tougher than Urso Bloodhand. He isn't just the head of the guild he is the guild. No one remembers a time when he wasn't the Sausage Maker. He can fell a bull with a single fist, and carve more meat with a pocket knife than any other guild member can with a cleaver. It's also rumored that he keeps the heads of vegetarians who dared to express their dietary preference on his wall as trophies.
The United Alliance of Labor is a newly formed "worker's union" composed of various brutes, thugs, and tough guys. Recently formed in the interest of controlling the many laborers and workers in the Smokeyards, the Union has a firm grasp over the dock workers and the shipping that comes through the Underdocks. Looking to impress the lower class into their fold and take the city from the bottom up, the Union's Enforcers and Officials are known throughout the Southeastern half of the city.
Home Territory- Underdocks, Smokeyards
Military- High. Powerful, aggressive, and efficient. The United Alliance of Labor is staffed by a number of talented thugs and miscreants. Wealth- Medium Low. Laborers don't make lots of money, but dues collection is forceful. Espionage- Medium High. Intimidation and extortion are the name of the game. Magic- Low or none. Silly tricks that have no place in labor. Morale- Low. Would you like being beaten and intimidated by a bunch of brutish "Union Officials"? Reputation- Negative. Strong arming workers and working in less than savory means, the Alliance is the type of organization that everybody knows is criminal but nobody can prove it. Personal- High. The Union has a handful of famous, well liked members, even though they're crooks. Think Al Capone types.
[Headquarters]Union Office of Employment and Individual Assistance: The Union Office is the place where all the Union's members report and work is given out. It is the central hub of activity and their front. It's one of the best fronts out there too. The personnel and equipment in the office allow near perfect coverups for anything they may attempt.
Dumpster Diving: The Union has grown accustomed to luring those refugees and the destitute in with the promise of a hot meal and steady job. Their ability to charm the lower class has pushed their influence further and further.
Dirty Dealings: In the same way they appeal to the bottom rung of society, the upper echelons shun the Union. Artisans and artists work above the Union and aristocrats and nobles don't work at all. Any headway they make into the classier parts of town is usually pushed out pretty quickly.
VIPS- Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kasparzak "Dennis is a crooked, slimey, greasy, dirty devil of a man. He is the scum of the earth."
Sounds strange, eh? To think people could hate a nice guy like me who dun' all this swell stuff for all the poor schmucks around here. I'm a dang hero, yes I am. Why so many people could think a Good Ol' Boy like me is such a crook is just something I don't understand. Now why, I mean, now why would somebody hate me so much if I do so many good t'ings. It just dun' boggle the cranium. You like that word? Cranium? Makes me sound classy right? Classy words for a classy guy. I take our measly little dues checks and I turn it into gold for our here beautiful community and people hate me. I mean golly gee, what's a guy gotta do to get a little t'anks around 'ere.
Union Policy Enforcer Rocco Scagnetti "Eh, Scagnetti is a thug. He just does the dirty work for that slime ball Dennis and their so called 'Union'. They say they help people but really they're just a bunch crooks looking for somebody to pick on. We've got it bad enough here in the 'Stacks, we don't need bozos like Scagnetti and Kasparzak trying to rough us up to grab fifty percent of everything we take home."
Aw... People said that about me? But I'm a nice man and so is Mr. Dennis. We help the people without money get hot meals and warm clothes. I know we do, Mr. Dennis told me so. Why would somebody say such mean things about us? My job is to protect our members. I beat up the bad guys. I'm not the bad guys... Sure Mr. Dennis can be kinda impolite sometimes, but Mama says he just wasn't raised right seeing as he came from out west. Mama said Mr. Dennis just doesn't know how to act around us Easterners. I hope people stop saying mean things about Mr. Dennis and I..."
Uncle Fong, from Bibliography, and Chibi Fong Avatar By Elagune
Morden Vassari is a mysterious man, who three years ago, set up a medical practice in the Triphage Untima district, Frostcap neighbourhood. His face is permanently concealed by carefully wrapped bandages and nobody can claim to have seen what’s beneath it. Many think that his face is horribly disfigured, while a few believe that he hides either his face or criminal past.
Vassari’s medical practice has proven success, as his clientele tended to mostly stay alive, after receiving his treatments, unlike the patients of other doctors. He soon found a very profitable business in Heaven’s Gate, where the rich were willing to pay outrageous sums for both his doctor’s skill and his personal invention – a non-poison based cosmetics, less likely to kill the fine ladies, seeking to impress the nobility of the Sky district.
Meanwhile, Morden has publicly denounced many traditional practices, like bloodletting, while demanding outrageous things, such as washing hands before operations and giving patients painkillers to ease their suffering. After describing several particularly irritable doctors as ’’quacks’’ or ’’hacks’’, he found himself a target of a band, hired to break his hands, another band that wanted supply of addictive painkillers to open drug trade and a criminal boss, looking for a personal physician. Nobody is quite certain how he did it, but his enemies were soon dead – poisoned, betrayed by their subordinates or tricked into practically walking into the jail of the local watch. The remnants of their former subordinates found themselves acting on the doctor’s orders, too cowed by his guile and cunning, to even dare to oppose him.
With a band of thugs and unexpected reputation of deadly danger, Morden quickly become the real power in his neighbourhood. He purchased a large warehouse and furnished it into a hospital, attracting several doctors, willing to follow his procedures and apprentices, interested in learning his skills. The Bloodhaven Hospital has begun its operation.
Magical Emperor Monkey. You have my vote.
I learned two things about Montgomery that day... ...The first was that his men would follow him off a cliff. The second was that he would lead them there.
The Librarian of the Elements
Orn University Daimot ruins, one week ago.
"The sorceress is dead? Are you sure?"
"Yes. Now is the time for the rebuilding of this university and the reestablishment of magic within Blacksage."
"Yes! First Blacksage, the the entire city shall bow before me!"
"...I'm out of research materials. I need more..."
"What? Who's there!?"
"Why is this wall here...no matter, it will be removed. Earth Metal sign: Emerald Megalith!"
"What is that!?! The wall was just crushed...was that emerald?"
"No...no human should be able to do that! Its a monster, run!"
"Mon...ster? How rude. Sun Fire Sign: Golden-"
"-I'm sorry! Please don't kill us!"
"...very well...but you will serve me for a time."
"Yes, yes. Anything!"
This should be rather obvious...
Status: Recovering. ETA: 3 days
The EBSA has a proud and long history in Sav Altulas. The best and brightest politicians, most not born into noble houses or other influential groups, flocked to the EBSA to give the city their public service. Unlike most other elements of the city, status meant nothing- only your ambition and intelligence truly matter. Widely respected by the populace and institutions, for decades the EBSA kept the city running even through war and strife. Everything changed when the Sorceress took control.
When she took power, a power struggle occurred behind the scenes. She wished to infringe on the EBSA's historical power structure and base, taking a larger hand in taxes and infrastructure than previous rulers. They struck back by throwing up legal barriers and the like to try to send a message. The message was received and the challenge accepted. The night of the Scourged Chains is still remembered, when EBSA strong points and bases throughout the city were attacked by the Sorceress's Imperial Guard and Secret Police, purging the ranks. Only the Halls of Final Justice held out, the Honorbound Guard taking advantage of the building's natural defenses to butcher the Sorceress's invading forces.
Three days and nights of siege came, and the district directly around the Halls became and inferno. The siege finally lifted when the people around the Halls had enough, and rushed forwards to attack the Sorceress's men from behind, routing them. Faced with city wide revolt, the sorceress extended the olive branch- which the EBSA foolishly accepted. The revolt faded away, and the EBSA survived- though far weaker than ever before.
Now, three years later, the sorceress was dead- and the EBSA was suddenly without the tyrant breathing down their necks. They are looking to expand, and reestablish their former influence.
Home Territory- Halls of Final Justice, in Old Town, in the Silent Court (May change)
Military- Medium, The City Guard and Military are nominally under the jurisdiction of the E.B.S.A., but due to the recent powergrabs and shifts in the political scene, that is less than certain. This score would represent the 'clean cops' who still take orders from the EBSA, and the HonorBound (Greycloaks), the personal bodyguards of the government. Wealth- Lower than Average, Though they have the ability to collect taxes, by far most of the money goes directly into maintaining infrastructure, buying goods, and salaries. This wealth stat would represent a reactionary fund to be used for other needs. Espionage- Low. Almost all information is brought in through news or word of mouth, and ever since the laying low of the previous administration (The Sorceress), former secret police have joined together rather than stayed with the EBSA. On a defensive level, assassinations are uncommon but leaks are depressingly common. Magic- Low- some members of the EBSA are magic users, and there are quite a few magical defenses on the center of government itself, but the organization is NOT a magical organization by its nature. The most rampant use of magic is in mystical printing presses and orbs of information networking. To put it another way, very little offensive magic. Morale- Medium, Actually higher than it was with the sorceress alive. During her reign the EBSA mostly did damage control, trying to continue to provide for the city while taking a beating in popular support for not trying to overthrow the vicious tyrant. They hope that they can bring better days back to Sav Altulas Reputation- 0, for their service under the sorceress netted them a wash. Some hate them for supporting the sorceress, others love them for keeping the roads working and food on the table. Most nothing them, unaware of the EBSA's role in the city. Personal- High, the EBSA subsists on the charisma and personality of their upper echelon staff. These men and women are the movers and players behind the veil of ignorance that is politics. Making deals and compromises to keep the city running even amongst turmoil.
Halls of Final Justice: The center of the cities law and bureaucracy, when the Halls were built safety was key. Magical wards, brave bodyguards, and a confusing defensive maze of an internal structure leads to a difficult to attack structure. As long as VIPs or stats reside inside the Halls, they gain a significant defensive boost to attacks and offensive espionage.
Lines of Political Strength: Despite being mostly invisible to the city at large, this actually helps the EBSA's ability to spread its influence. Inside their ranks is the infrastructure to either help or harm local politics all the way around the city- knowing just where to pull the strings. Essentially when using political clout and backdoor politics, especially when used by bureaucratic means (loop holes and laws), the EBSA gains a substantial boost to gaining influence over neighborhoods.
Thin Grey Line: While the EBSA can utilize their political clout powerfully, they are much more restricted when using military to take neighborhoods. Basically on anything but law enforcement or defense measures, military operations suffer greatly due to lack of morale and funding to various armed forces under the EBSA thumb.
Chief of Staff Dekan O'vail- In the past, the Chief of Staff was one of the most powerful roles in the city. Not only commanding the upper echelons of the EBSA, they acted as adviser to the cities ruling government and dealt with the cities military and law enforcement from a bureaucratic legal level. The Sorceress had no need for her Chief of Staff, and over the years the position diminished in power and necessity. It was Dekan who took this shadow of an office just as the Sorceress decided to strike. Weathering through that storm, O'vail- an older human male, proved to be a keen mind and a skillful negotiator- embarking on the difficult task of keeping the EBSA a functioning element within the city. Within the halls of Final Justice, his word tends to be law- and it is followed without much dissent (though his direct staff are well within their rights to bring their own ideas). The EBSA could not ask for a stronger leader to lead them through the storm.
Chief Legal Consul Chrine Blizzardmarch- An Ice Elf member of EBSA, Chrine is the master of all things legal. Often known as 'The Judge' for his imperious manner and encyclopedic knowledge of the law and precedent- he is very much the EBSA's lawyer. Whenever a contract is made or a law is in question, Chrine is called to come and make sure that all the i's are dotted correctly. Though to most he seems cold and passionless, he has given his life to his profession and feels very strongly about supporting his fellow comrades in their endeavors.
Deputy Chief of Staff Kara Lythene- Dekan's direct underling and second in command, Kara has quickly become known as the EBSA's enforcer. She has contacts throughout the city, and knows just which strings to pull to make her birds sing. The darkened glasses she wears, and her mostly nighttime or indoor endeavors have led to rumors that the black-haired woman is a vampire- but few believe such nonsense (She's a vampire ). She is also the daughter of a minor noblehouse which she uses with ruthless efficiency. Around friends she is cheerful and amusing, but around enemies her humor turns bitingly sarcastic.
Press Secretary Anala Weaver- Born of poor stock, as her surname suggests, this middle aged woman is proof that ambition and talent means more to the EBSA than simple birthright. Her job is to deal with the various town criers, newspapers, and other public announcements- spinning news the way the EBSA wants it to go. She has a reputation of being fair to her contacts, and if you come to her for a story she will reward you. It has been said that along with her charisma, she has a bit of magic at her beck and call.
Captain Franz Rargo- The commander of the Greycloaks, and the direct officer in charge of defense of the Courts of Final Justice. He understands that he and his men are essentially bodyguards, but he takes his job very seriously. No upper level staffers leave the Courts without substantial guard presence to protect their persons. Though older, he is still physically tough and powerful. The dark-skinned man was a mere lieutenant when the Night of Scourged Chains came around, but when his Captain died he led his men in the counterattack that drove the sorceress's men from the Court's gate's, and subsequently lead the defense.
She's Shona Han. Disappearing for a hundred years just means she's had a hundred years to plan. Trying to find out what happened to her is just going to draw her attention.
Then it's a good thing Greystone can KICK REASON TO THE CURB AND GO BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE!
The Militia of Order and Justice was created by men and women to protect themselves against the dangers of Sav Altulas. These warriors took up arms against those they determined a threat, including gangs and the corrupt government. They patrolled their streets with concealed weapons and drove out thugs while freeing citizens unjustly arrested by agents of the city. Eventually, this small militia drew the attention of a priest of some foreign god. The man taught the militia unique magic and promised that as long as the militia was on the side of good, his god would bring peace to the city.
Since the death Burgravet Desoui, the Militia has become public and seeks to spread its power throughout the city along with the beliefs of the god the Militia named, The Most Just One.
Military (MIL): High
Wealth (WEL): Medium Low
Espionage (ESP): Low
Magic (MAG): Medium
Morale (MOR): High
Reputation (REP): Very High
Personal (VIP): Low
High Watchmen Kos: Kos is the highest ranking watchmen of the Militia. His knowledge of the city combined with his skills in stealth and swordsmanship allowed Kos to rise quickly though the ranks of the Militia. When the Militia attempts to move into a neighborhood, Kos always leads the first wave of watchmen.
Chanter Vitu: Not much is known about this foreign painted elf, but she drew the notice of the Militia with her natural talent with magic. She was initiated into the Militia and is currently their most powerful Law mage.
Great Protectors (positive)
Law Magic (HQ positive)
Our Words are Our Honor (negative)
The Order of the Wren is a group brought together by mutual poverty, a vague sense of social justice, and one leader. The head of the Order is said to have been a Knight, some say from far off, who came as refugee, others say he is a native, who lost his title, and fell into poverty. Despite the high-sounding name, the Order of the Wren is one whose symbol you tend to find scrawled on a tavern wall in chalk, not on heraldry.
The Order of the Wren, in many ways, is like any other gang of thieves. They steal from the wealthier parts of the city, and fleece anyone foolish enough to enter their territory. However, they have a groundswell of support from the local malcontents, as they are also known for distributing food and coin to the poorest people.
No-one really knows what agenda of the Wren is, but his gang has been increasing its territory lately, and the Engimatic leader of the Order himself has even been seen on occasion making speeches, and riling up the people, in a way he has never been seen to do before. He talks of the common man rising up, and taking power from the rich and the powerful. Most laugh at the prospect of this small time group of thieves taking any kind of political power.
HOUSE WALLEN Banner:
A black knight riding on a gold field.
On the knight's shield the pattern is repeated (A Black knight riding on a gold field), pointing to the opposite side; and so on.
Starting neighbourhood: Gleamers.
One of the oldest noble houses in town, House Wallen has produced many generals and stewards. And at least once, a king (After the dubious deeds of Henry "Don Juan" Wallen 400 years ago, it's said that half modern nobility have at least some Wallen blood in them, so it's hard to know how many kings have been fathered by this family).
Despite their noble ancestors, they sometimes engaged in not-so-noble activities (Such as keeping a small personal bank and various workshops).
During the Sorceress’ reign they kept their influence, through political cunning and their many industries (That earned more money than sitting on their gold did for their noble peers).
With her death, Lord Wallen sees the chance to restore the town to order. A NEW order, being led by the ones who know how to rule.
The Wallens took control of one of the richest neighbourhoods in town, and joined the nobles there under his command.
Better said, he managed to get them to stick together to prevent the hungry mobs from tearing them apart.
Military (MIL): Medium. The Wallens keep a sizeable guard big for a neighbourhood, but too small to be considered an army.
Wealth (WEL): High. They are one of the wealthiest families in town, and they posses some industries in town (Curently relocated to their neighbourhood).
Espionage (ESP): High. Their spy network is one of the oldest, and it is said it was founded by the forefather of the family.
Magic (MAG): Low. The Family has not seen the need to keep too many mages.
Morale (MOR): Medium. Their servants are well treated and are faithful, but many of their noble allies are… insecure in their loyalty.
Reputation (REP): Slightly negative. Like many nobles in town, they are seen as leeches and conspirators.
Personal (VIP): Medium (2 VIP’s).
Lord Henry Wallen: Only Son of Lord Wensdale Wallen, Lord Henry has been working to restore his family legacy in town.
His father had been a drunk and a fool, and he brought many disgraces on the House during his life. His son has been working to fix that, so he has a higher reputation than the rest of his family in general.
He is a learned commander and organizer, despite having never been on the battlefield himself.
Physically weak, he has proven to be a crack with Magic, and has studied in the City University.
He has taken a lot of time studying to learn how to better rule over people.
He has come to interesting conclusions regarding the commoner’s attitude towards nobility in general.
Ser Wallenstein Bunguen: A dwarf, commander of the Walden guard. He is a learned commander, knowing many infantry, cavalry, siege, and even airborne tactics. He wants to bring firearms into town warfare.
He dislikes nobles in general, but has swore allegiance to Henry. He feels he has proven to be the man to guide the town to a new day.
Last edited by Ragnar Lodbroke : 07-16-2012 at 11:14 AM.
The Silversmith's Guild has been around in Sav Altulas for longer than many can remember. The Guild was founded by the legendary Zev Rafin, who came to Sav Altulas after making a fortune and then some in the city-states of the Merchants' Water. However, certain business associates of his within those isles began to resent his wealth, and he fled to this city, which was much smaller at the time. Rather than take the route of flashy gold, he founded and led a quieter yet still very successful Silversmith's Guild. Over the years, the guild has continued to prosper within the Heaven'sgate district. Many nobles or wealthy artisans from nearby shops will come to the Guild to purchase jewellery and other items. The Guild's rich history has led it to many connections with various families, and within some Nobles Houses there are valuable heirlooms that were crafted by the Silversmith's guild. These connections mean the Guild has some influence in High Society, and can often find out information that would be concealed to others.
If possible, I would like to start in the Artisan's neighbourhood in the Heavensgate district.
Military: Medium. As a Guild that deals in silver, the stores and storage obviously require protection against thieves. The Guild therefore operates a small, yet well-trained Guard, to ensure they do not lose their valuable wares.
Wealth: High. The Guild makes large amounts of profit in its expensive dealings, and trade is going well.
Espionage: High. The Guild has many contacts within the city, both in other Guilds and in the Nobles houses. The Silversmiths, however, rarely dealing with poorer people, knows little of what happens to them.
Magic: Low. Though a few members of the Guild do possess some magical power, the Guild does not provide them with training for it and many frown on the usage of magic to help craft the jewellery.
Morale: Medium. The members of the Guild are happy with their current state of business, and most members are making a good income, but it is still only a profession. The members would not go to war for the guild or anything like that, and some do find things that could be improved by the guild.
Personal: Low. The Guild is loosely structured, with many merchants forming their own shops and the need for a great central authority is small. Though all respect the leaders of the Guild, few really feel the need for him or her to have much power. The Current leader, Narar Rafin, has been taking a bit more leadership in the governing of the Guild; but even he does not govern everything.
Narar Rafin: Narar Rafin is the leader of the Guild, who can trace his lineage from the great Zev himself. He has been raised from childhood to participate in the Silversmith's Guild, and after spending seven years running his own shop he was elected leader of the guild.
((Others, depending on my personal))
The Technists guild is a smallish group of radical Artificers. Working entirely without magic, they've managed to create several wonders, and have greatly improved their factories output. However, the sorceresses rule ment their experiments were curtailed.
With her death however? They are free to continue their research.
With working steam bikes and wagons, they plan to buy up the equipment needed and make their Airship, and then herald a new age of technology, with their steam powered creations as the Vanguard.
The Technists guild is sometime's called just another Machine cult. That would be only partily correct. The Technists named themselves after a book they found, a book that pointed to a time where science and artifice ruled, not modern magic.
The Liber Technologica, is the holy book of the fraction, deciphering is clues, a great challange. However, the text is imcomplete. Time and mages have destroyed parts of the book, meaning that the guild only has fragments to work with.
Before the sorceresses rule, they had advanced in several areas, made weapons that could compete or even beat mages. She would have none of that. Killing and destroying their leaders and greatest cerations, for the century of her rule, their most radical experiments where carried out in the shadows. Gaspar's airship was their last public bid. And the poltical process that shut it down resulted in them having little to no power in the city.
But, her death has freed them. Now, they can continue the steampowered revolution, and bring a new age of technical enlightenment to the world!
Starting with the Airship.....
Home Territory- Gaspars Folly.
Military (MIL); The Technists guild is a peaceful organzation, that has little in the way of offensive abillity..... But we do have the finest defensive steampowered devices you'll ever see. Low.
Wealth (WEL); The Technists guild is suprisinly well off. With their Steampowered transports, they can move cargo faster then most, and their factories are more effecint then the others. Above Average.
Espionage (ESP); None. The Technist Guild is not spy work oriented. The closest thing they have to a covert operation is explosives on a critical area.
Magic (MAG); None whatsoever. They're Technological all the way.
Morale (MOR); Medium. The sorceresses keeping them down is dead! Back to work on the important things.
Reputation (REP); Low. Most look down on them, but they get along well with the Monks of Ascension.
Personal (VIP); Low. They don't have a CRO (Cheif Research Officer) yet. The Sorceresses tended to kill them off....
Technology (TEC); Technology is what they do. It's the air they breathe, the water they drink, the steam they paraboil their foes.... Very High. (Running off what you said about Tech being both trait and some stats. This is the research abillity for technological things. Can be changed)
Positive; Technological; They gain the Technology stat, allowing them to research new technolgies.
Defensive; They aren't a very ofensive lot, but are brutal defenders. Their MIL is halved when attacking away from their territory, but they're defence for territory they start with or held for at least one turn is doubled.
Steam Driven;Their devices require fuel, and it costs Wealth each turn to provide the fuel.
98% of the internet has a Myspace. If you're one of the 2% who isn't an emo whiner, show solidarity by putting this in your sig.
Faction: Church of Neposh
Starting Location: Pews, in Oldtown.
In the Godswar, one of the seven swords eventually found its way to the hand of a mortal named Neposh. Neposh was a great warrior and leader fighting for one of the old gods, until he found the sword. Once found, the god Neposh served turned on him, fearing the sword. Neposh fought back in self defense, and somehow managed to kill the god. With no god left to serve, he ended up defending unaligned cities that were in the way of armies during the Godswar. He never stayed in one place for long, but it was always to help fight off some invasion force. Those with faith say he attained godhood by slaying so many gods, although unbelievers say this would be impossible. In either case, he and the sword were lost in time.
The Church of Neposh was started soon after the Godswar, and didn't last long. When the Zancharian Empire began its expansion, it stomped out the church due to its pro - human nature. It never fully died out, but for much of history was nothing more than a small cult of worshipers. Since the fall, Neposh has had a hard time gaining the power of the other gods that the Zancharian Empire approved of.
Military - Medium low, followers of Neposh can be very violent, but usually cannot be convinced to take offensive violent action.
Wealth - Medium low, Neposh followers are willing to donate money to the cause, but they are not masters of trade or crafters
Espionage - low, The problem with trying to convert the masses is hiding what is going on in the church.
Magic - Medium high, Through Neposh many followers are able to manifest magical ability, usually through minor healing or small miracles.
Moral - high, they answer to a higher power than a king or ruler, and it is their souls they fight for, not mortal wealth.
Reputation - low, but on the negative side. Many see the Church of Neposh as more a cult than a ligitimate church.
Personel - med high, 3 VIPs with one being very weak.
Mouth of Neposh - No one knows his real name, but he is human from somewhere in the city who joined the church a few years ago. His speaking ability and personal charm has pushed him high in the ranks of the church as he converts more and more followers each day.
Sister Serina - A great magical healer in the church, it is rumored she can heal blind and deaf people, although no one has seen it done in person.
Harvey Hashawk - The offical leader of the church. He has never stood out from any other follower, he just got a few lucky breaks in life to get to his current position.
Traits (approval needed):
Fanatical - The Church is right. Saying otherwise is blasphemy. Blasphemers that do not repent deserve the end of the sword. Followers of Neposh have no question of declaring their alliegance to the Church, even when it hurts the Chruches standing.
Evangelizing - Through years of preaching, they have learned how to efficiently convert people who have little or no faith.
Underground - The Church has been living in secret tunnels for many years and have them mapped out. Individuals (not armies or groups) can come up in any district.
Greystone just published his traits. Are traits public or secret?
Ah, thank you for reminding me. Traits are, technically, secret. I was going to list the names of everyone's traits next to their faction name in the OP, so you could get a vague idea of what everyone is capable of, but I forgot to do that.
Please bear with me. This is my first time running a Total War game, and I suspect I will make plenty of little mistakes like that.
Founded by a group of elderly noblemen who had tired of court intrigues and political life and decided to go adventuring around the outskirts of the city and within the depths of the city's secret recesses. Since then, the group has expanded into a secret society of the aging genteel who, having nothing better to do, go exploring with their former drinking buddies and political allies. Kept secret from the younger nobles and the nouveau-riche with a childlike glee possessed only by young children and elderly people, the society is not as sinister as the label 'secret society' would imply, no matter what the gentleman adventurers would like to believe. The leader at the moment is referred to as 'Founder' (his name is Bennet Founder).
The society jokingly claims that their mortal enemy is the 'Wive's association,' however no such association exists, but really is simply them trying to keep their exploits secret from their wives. Also, they seem for the most part to have a vendetta against some of the young, up-and-coming politicians in the city.
A tall, powerful man known for his rich bass voice with wich he sings opera in his spare time. A voratious large-game hunter, and suspiciously proficient with a dragon gun. Also the head of the Founder family, who's namesake is probably quite clear, making him a man you do not want to cross politically.
Cornelius James StigBalathad:
A smaller, wiry, man who has lost most of his hair but refuses to acknowledge it's victory. A lover of fine and exotic wines, he owns a vinyard and a brewery, with which he supplies the Socity with excesses of beer and wine and him with money. Though he would deny it, his original fortune was made by financing opium smuggling, though he stopped that when it stopped being exiting. He has a keen eye and a quick wit and stronger than he looks. His history grants him contacts in the less savory buisnesses.
Aberham Pontiss is a mischevious man, but with a love of old books. His private library is one of the most extensice in the city, having purchaced nearly all of the university's library when it was selling books off years ago, and managed to acquire some very rare and valuable books. He is also the Society's resident magician, so he loves to act all mysterious and mystical, an much for the other gentlemen's enjoyment as his own.
__________________ Total War factions
TW: Broken City
Lord Founder needs no pants to face the beasts of the world, to descend into the darkest pits of the Earth and ascend above the divine clouds!
The Ram Revolution is a peasant rebellion that started the day the sorceress died. Claiming to be able to fix the problems of the poorest people in Runner's City and the Smokeyard, it advocates a republican government, with a constitution and equal rights, though the exact ideals of each follower may be slightly different. Currently, they only have a firm control over Rot's Borough, where their leaders have formed a congress and started work on a constitution. Their flag features the head of a Ram, and pretty much anything else the maker wants to put on it. Typically it is a Ram on a square red field, but banners are also popular, as are stripes of blue or green. Some even make the background entirely blue or green, though these are the rarest.
Military (MIL); The Ram Revolution is more than willing to fight for it's cause. The problem is finding someone to teach them to fight together, and find them some equipment. Medium
Wealth (WEL); Like most peasant rebellions, the Ram Revolution is chronically under financed. Low
Espionage (ESP); Servants can listen in on almost any conversation, and why not? To the upper class, they're not really people. They do have families though, and you'd be surprised how many are connected to someone in the Revolution, or how many "secrets" they hear. High
Magic (MAG); While there may be some small shred of magical aptitude in the members of the Revolution, it's owner has certainly never practiced, or even been aware of it. Very Low.
Morale (MOR); What other faction could claim to be the will of the people more than the Ram Revolution? Morale has never been a problem for groups of rebels with causes. High.
Reputation (REP); The Revolution is a popular rebellion. While the upper crust is obviously against them, the masses find themselves secretly rooting for them, though they'd never let their boss know. Medium
Personal (VIP); I'll be honest. I have no idea what kind of Personal stat the faction should have. Probably a 2 or so would be good.
Positive: Servant's Ears - The follows of the Revolution have family members - cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and all the 'great's. Nearly all are employed somewhere, and many as servants in the houses of the cities wealthy and influential. What's more, their employers often act as though they are invisible, or not there! - ESP bonus to gather information/read messages
Positive: Parliament - While only a plot of roped off land now, the blueprints (and payment) of the first parliament building are already taken care of. This symbol of their new republic causes a patriot fervor in even the most conservative of people - Morale bonus
Negative: Uncouth - The leaders of the revolution are seen as heroes to their followers, but as nothing more than ignorant rebels, needing to be crushed to most others. Unfortunately, this includes foreign powers. - Penalty to diplomacy with foreign nations.
The unofficial leader of the rebellion (at least, until they can write a constitution and formally elect him), Constantine is often referred to simply as “the Ram”, because of the movement he leads, his physical appearance (he even wears a goatee), and his stubbornness. Despite his reputation for never backing down in negotiations, however, he’s actually a quite shrewd diplomat, and one of the wealthiest people in Runner’s City. That, combined with the fact that he is a native Sav Altulan, allows him to mingle with higher social classes than one would expect of someone who leads a rebellion.
An orcish refugee, Krodok spent his early life as a camp follower to a group of mercenaries, before joining their ranks as soon as he could. The army they had signed on with was beaten, however, and the opposing general, a bigot, had order his mostly orc company to be hunted down and killed. They escaped to Sav Altulan, where they were hired by Richter as the beginings of his Republican army, the closest thing to a professional armed force that the rebellion has. Krodok quickly rose to lead this army - A lifetime of fighting for his life, as well as his natural charisma and confidence, had turned him into an excellent leader of men. It didn't hurt his odds that his old mercenary company (now heavily armed and armored) backed him, becoming his personal bodyguard when he charges into the lines (which is often). Known as “storm troopers” due to the sound of their armor, few have faced them and won, and none have left unimpressed.
In some form or another, the Blackfist Brotherhood is as old as the city, or perhaps older. As the pamphlets say, the first peasant to take up a scythe against the knight that burned his harvest was a Brother. The first man to throw a rock into an automatic loom. The first man to burn a prison.
But that is, for a good part, propaganda. In it's organized form, with propaganda, symbols, pamphlets, cells and hideouts, it is certainly a product of the last century. Fifty years, give or take.
Because at that time, people first started talking about the Black Fist.
Here is what is said: the Black Fist are five people that formed the first anarchist cell in the city. Five people, each taking one of the fingers of a hand as their nickname, indicating their talents. Thumb, the warrior. Index, the scholar. Middlefinger, the Propagandist and public speaker. Ring, the spy. Littlefinger, the Diplomat. No one knows who they really are, and none of them has ever been caught.
These five, so the story goes, started to fight for a reform in the city, to change it into what they saw as the perfect society. They started printing pamphlets, organising rallies, demonstrations, freeing those that were unjustly imprisoned, in their eyes, even fighting against the official structures of the city. Over time, they started to gather supporters, organized in loose cells that only shared small connections, over the propaganda and messages that were spread almost like diplomatic contact with foreign nations.
This organisational structure into cells is what kept the Brotherhood alive. They are mobile. They have networks of supporters and hideouts, but all contact between them is not via symbols, maps or messages, but purely personal and oral. One cell falls, the other work on. The only symbol they have, and only to be worn at large demonstrations or other events where the individual does not even try to be secretive, is a black glove, worn on one hand.
What is it they fight for? The natural state of humanity, so they write, is not in cities, armies, or states. It is a small band of people that stay together because they want to, not because they are forced. A hunting group, a family clan, a squad of fighters. Groups, furthermore, that are equal and without leaders. Therefore, all forces that exert pressure on people to band together into larger groups where not everyone has a voice are forces that must be eliminated in order to free humanity. Social structures should be based on individual and mutual respect and trust, not hierarchy and obligation.
Medium-ish. A lot of people, but untrained, certainly more adept at hit-and-run and terrorism than actual combat, and disorganized. It will be difficult to get those large numbers (which exist) together for any one action.
Low. They have no money, and they don't really want it. No bank or trader will ever work with them.
Very High. Propaganda is their biggest power, and they thrive on dragging out the dirty secrets of others, as well as keeping themselves hidden.
Low. The one or other magical student or apprentice may decide to work with them, but in general, wizards are those in power, not those fighting it.
High. This is a faction of fanatics.
Low-ish, overall. Workers and immigrants tend to like them, even if some of the actual philosophy goes over their head. But their reputation as criminals, terrorists and hotheads has ruined any chance of official recognition.
Medium to high, whatever I need to get five decent, but not strong VIPs together.
I've been receiving a lot of questions about who is in control in the various neutral territories. The answer to that is somewhat complicated, so bear with me a moment.
Your factions start with control of your neighborhood. This represents you being faster than the other factions in the city, and gives you one or two turns to more easily expand your territory. That advantage will soon fade, though, as more and more factions consolidate power that has been eroded for years under the sorceress and start looking at the bigger picture, same as you are.
Each of the blank neighborhoods on the map has multiple subfactions fighting for control of it. Every turn, I am going to roll dice for each still-unoccupied territory to see if one of them wins. If they do, then a new full-fledged NPC faction is born, which will be announced in the thread. There can be as many as five different subfactions fighting it out in each empty neighborhood, which is why you don't see them listed anywhere--as such, if you have a question about who is living in a specific neighborhood, please ask.
Ah, thank you for reminding me. Traits are, technically, secret. I was going to list the names of everyone's traits next to their faction name in the OP, so you could get a vague idea of what everyone is capable of, but I forgot to do that.
Please bear with me. This is my first time running a Total War game, and I suspect I will make plenty of little mistakes like that.
Eh, whatever, I have a reputation for making things public that should probably be a secret.
She's Shona Han. Disappearing for a hundred years just means she's had a hundred years to plan. Trying to find out what happened to her is just going to draw her attention.
Then it's a good thing Greystone can KICK REASON TO THE CURB AND GO BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE!
So before I make my IC post, would it be possible to get details on the various factions also inhabiting Lomb Circle? I know that's quite a few, but I need to pick a direction to expand to. Take your time.
She would make a good candidate as the mastermind behind the sorceress's death.
I was actually considering rolling a die to assign one of the players to have secretly been behind the assassination, and then handed out Influence bonuses to anyone who figured out who it was.
On an unrelated note, I've received so many requests for info on NPC factions (stuff that I really should have seen coming, in retrospect) that I'm just going to write up a massive list of who's fighting who in every unclaimed district in the city. There are 66 of them, so this may take some time, but it will also answer all of the questions I've been asked. This is something that I should have done before the game started, I guess, but I didn't want to delay the game another day as I wrote up the list.
The Shattered Lands are dangerous. That much is obvious to anyone. However, the city of Sav Altulas is quite wealthy and powerful, so trade with them is still profitable - if only there was some way to lessen the bandit raids and such.
Enter the Wardens, an organization grown from actual Imperial soldiers who took on the duty of protecting travellers and over the years transformed into a half-Knightly Order, half-mercenary unit. Their troops keep the roads safe-ish near the city and also join caravans to protect them in exchange for payment. Due to this arrangement, their troops are some of the most veteran, skilled and organized soldiers in the city - they've been fighting their own private brand of war against the Shattered Lands for decades.
As the chaos sets in the city, they've decided to cut back on their protection of the roads in favour of protecting the streets. The scum and villainy of the earth has breached Sav Altulas, and it's time to bring wrongdoers to the sword.
Positive: Imperial Contacts Legion Discipline
Negative: Warlord Grudges
Nathaniel Tarmin is the current Commander of the Wardens, a man looking quite old with his tanned, wrinkled skin and multitude of scars yet not actually past his prime. He's not really the Commander due to being the most skilled, and he's well aware of that - he's the Commander because he looks the part and is well able to maintain appearances to other groups while delegating the duties he isn't the most suitable for. You have to be able to make others trust in your abilities in the mercenary business, after all. Regardless, he makes up for his lack of outright ability by not having obvious flaws and carefully deliberating each action based on its merits. Whether this style of leadership will function well in the chaos of the current times remains to be seen.
Chief of Scouts, Tara commands the Vanguard, an elite unit of spotters, saboteurs and infiltrators. Her tactical ability and skills at small-unit combat have been very useful to the Wardens in the past, and she's recognized as the foremost specialist in her field within the army. The situation in the city appears to be likely to result in an upsurge in her sorts of activities, which has caused her a quick promotion to the inner decision-making circle - a position that leaves her somewhat out of her depth, but her expertise on how to get things done complements the senior planners' decisions on what to actually do very well.
Originally Posted by lamech
Trusting Murska worked out great!
Originally Posted by happyturtle
A Murska without lies is like a day without sunshine.
The Heladuit court is part merchant house, part tailor's guild, part noble house, and part social club.
As a merchant house, they run a very large market for cloth goods, from the basic livery of the plebians, to the finest of suits and dresses, with a focus on the latter. Even money that Court members obtain otherwise is considered part of this market's funds, all money in the Court is fair game to be used by the merchants.
As a tailor's guild, they produce the goods they sell. The actual members of the Court make very few the overall product sold, the majority of it is made by hired workers. Those vestments, those works of art, produced by the members of the Court, are either sold at the highest prices, or worn by Court members themselves. Made of exotic materials, expertly woven, shaped to the highest standards of aesthetic ideals, and often-times enchanted. It is artisan attire that the Court is most known for.
As a noble house... well, they're not even nobles. The Heladuit Court is made up of the Heladuit family, and the Heladuit family is made up of merchant tailors and seamstresses with a knack for enchanting. To ask the Heladuits, however, invites an explanation of how now, they aren't nobles. They are royalty! Markus Heladuit, the current head of the house, has been told by his father since he was young that he is descended from the true kings of this land. His father heard these same tales (truths, we tell you!) in his childhood, and should Markus sire an heir, he will be told of the blood in his veins as well.
As a social club, the Heladuits are a group of high society aristocrats surrounding themselves with others of the same ilk. They take specific care to dress in the finest of liveries at all times, and look down on those who are less caring of what they wear. The Heladuits are also not all blood relatives. To join the Court, one changes their last name to Heladuit, and joins the family. From then on, membership is passed down ancestrally, but new members have joined in every generation, and no distinction is made between brothers of blood and brothers of oath.
Heladuit Court VIPs
Markus Heladuit (Human)
Markus Heladuit is the current head of the Court, and to say that he's let that get to his head would be an understatement. With a superiority complex that makes him as arrogant as they come, Markus's belief in his natural talent, as well as his education and training, is absolute. A natural at the enchanting that his house is known for, the scion of the Heladuits is never without a trick or two literally woven into his clothing. Much of what he wears is made from the silk of his pet (and primary confidante) giant spider, Empress, making it incredibly strong even without his magic. Believing that his blood is the blood of this land's king, he sometimes acts as if he already is. Even so, he is not so arrogant as to be deluded that this is truth, but if he has his way, it will be truth soon enough.
-Empress, Markus's pet spider, can be thanked for the recent trend in web and arachnid influenced designs in the more elaborate of the Court's recent productions. Completely taken with his favorite pet, Markus showers it in more praise and adulation than many of his humanoid followers, and Empress is very loyal in return. She doesn't get taken out often, but anybody who makes regular correspondence with the Court has likely seen the spindly legs and dark chitin of Empress, and has even more likely kept their distance.
Meredia Heladuit (Dwarf)
Meredia's position in the Court is an odd one. Though family members who join the family are not given any different treatment from those born into it, the ruling family, Markus's family, will usually refer to them as cousins or kinsmen. However, Markus insists that Meredia is his sister. The fact that she wasn't seen in the family until 4 years ago, compounded with her being of a different race, makes this hard for many to believe. If anybody is bothered by this inconsistency though, they don't speak up, and Meredia is well liked by most people, both within the house and outside it. Beloved by her "brother," and dressed as a member of the Heladuit bloodline would be expected to be, she has been given the right (the privilege, really) to defend the Heladuit Court in Trial, using the same charisma she used to talk her way into the family and Markus's greatest graces.
Javier Heladuit III (Half-Orc)
The son of the recently deceased Javier Heladuit Jr, Javier III took his father's position as head of the merchants of the Court. Javier III appears to be devoid of personality; speaking in flat tones with little inflection to his voice and no expression on his face. A calm and collected negotiator, with a mind sharper than his tusks, he keeps track of the deals and finances of the Heladuits with apparent ease. Many would think they were negotiating with an automaton, but closer inspection reveals a pulse and other signs of life. His presence unsettling, Javier is given a berth even by his family, in spite of the respect
Nothing But Class
Blood and Oath
My last breath... ...is also my mintiest...