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  • Sunder the Gold
    started a topic Lunar-Exclusive Infrastructure

    Lunar-Exclusive Infrastructure

    In the previous forum, there was a discussion about the relationship between Lunar Exalted, infrastructure, and scorched-earth policies.

    Inspired to find a solution to Lunar needs, Kukla explored the possibility of infrastructure that (1) Lunar Exalted could create and use which would either (2) be useless to the Dragon-Blooded or Sidereals if they were to capture it, and (3) ideally would not even be recognized as infrastructure should those enemies even find it.

    Let us start such a thread again, emboldened by the possibilities offered by Third Edition's sorcerous workings. Also the fact that Craft (First Age Artifice) can apply to large-scale projects like architecture and landscaping, and does not explicitly require "factory cathedrals" and the other magitech trappings of Second Edition.


    Last year, I posted about how the ancient peoples of our world's Amazon rainforest actually Gardened The Jungle to an amazing and underappreciated extent. They discovered how to fertilize the soil via a process we cannot solve, they divided the jungle into a geometric series of interconnected plots without the use of the satellite technology we now need to see the lines, and they cultivated the growth and success of desirable fruit trees above other sorts of trees, resulting in a steady crop of food that would go unnoticed above the heads of those who could only imagine temperate-climate vegetable-fields.

    First-explorer accounts also spoke of the beautiful wooden cities they built which, when left abandoned by plague (or by a Lunar Exalt urging his people into exodus) would be consumed and reclaimed by the jungle such that later-wave explorers would never know a settlement was ever there. A city made from wood would be relatively easy to rebuild elsewhere, as well as to repair from damage or reconstruct to meet new needs, and the chances of fire would seem greatly reduced by the greater humidity and rainfall inherent to a rainforest.


    In his opening post, Kukla wrote:

    Originally posted by Kukla
    My assumption is that Lunars have created marvelous, incredible, densely layered infrastructure that is, to Terrestrials, both absolutely useless and virtually invisible:

    Dream-lands where they conference with each other from across the world.

    Gardens that grow a thousand secret venoms and medicines but only blossom under a Lunar anima:

    Underwater rivers that flow anywhere but to the sea - subways that flow faster than rapids, invisible to all, only useful if you can be both a mole and a salmon.

    Likewise, jet-streams swirling high in the air, faster still, dragging wayward seagulls off course and carrying Lunars who know them to their destination.

    Enslaved Unshaped whose pithed Emanations gnash at the bits in their mouths as they and the world they are hammer fountains of gossamer pouring from a No-Moon's third eye into weapons.

  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
    I did say I wanted to hear more about your thoughts on Lunar Charm-related crafting capabilities. Just, in a different thread that doesn't have to do with the kind of things Lunars can and might create regardless of crafting Charms.
    Hence the misreading.

    Okay, trying to contribute to something in the spirit of this thread...

    One thing I'm thinking about now is the history of many imperialistic European nations encountering societies on other continents, whose resources might not have been as (for want of a better word) sophisticated as that possessed by industrialised European nations, but were very well calibrated for their own environments and social models. Things that often encountered a lot of hostility from Europeans owing to things like an ideology that the European way of doing things was inherently superior, without much consideration about the different needs of a different environment, and holding the idea that people who had lived in the area for a lot longer knowing more of its ins and outs in contempt.

    So I'm thinking, in the absence of more fantastical elements, what kinds of things could the Lunars foster in their allied (or exploited) societies that might present obstacles to Realm expansion, either as a matter of being most suited to social models contrary to Realm standards, or things that Realm intruders might be assumed to be incompetent at managing or replicating.

    Hmm, I'm also wondering at the idea of Lunars specifically cultivating certain societies living in a manner that makes them difficult targets for conquest by the Realm in terms of the investment in standardising them being exorbitant, but I'm a bit worried about that being a bit... appropriative, let's say.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    To answer your more neutral one, I had misread your post as saying you wanted to hear more.
    I did say I wanted to hear more about your thoughts on Lunar Charm-related crafting capabilities. Just, in a different thread that doesn't have to do with the kind of things Lunars can and might create regardless of crafting Charms.
    Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 04-16-2017, 12:38 PM.

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  • Blaque
    replied
    Originally posted by Japomann View Post
    Here's my take on this:
    Lunars are fighting their "Long War" from a disadvantage in that their forces are more primitive technology-wise than their opponents; namely the DB's and societies based on the Realm model. Each new Lunar who buys into the prevalent Lunar "society" mindset (Thousand streams river and such...) essentially has to start from scratch to build up a nation or tribal group, set it up so it attacks the Realm, or at least undermines it in some way. Therefore it makes sense, at least after your forces are beaten back several times, to create something that you can fall back to (to regroup in between exploitable societies) that the Realm can't use or repurpose, something that's accessible only to you or a select few people.

    If you control an underground cave network/sanctum with working mana-tech and First Age amenities but make it so that it can't be accessed except if you go through a narrow 1 inch tunnel, then dive deep into a subterranean lake, and have the heavy, triple-reinforced, sorcery warded door open only if you can speak in the whistling tongue of a singing monkey then it is most likely secure from your enemies.

    Could someone with enough determination and raw power break into this sanctum? Of course! But by then, you should have sent out the Thundercats signal and every fraggin' ally you have is coming over to help you out. Or you can just run away to fight another day...

    So basically I'm just agreeing (sort of) with Aquillion above...
    Stuff that due to the ability of Lunars to just do anatomical or mobility things DBs don't is fine by me. I think the big thing though that's implied with Lunars is that the Realm will still have the best, but for the Lunar insurgency to keep going strong, Lunars don't need the special infrastructure. They're individually powerful and can "live off the land" enough to probably get around some things that other Exatls might need, at least with things resonant with Lunars like you know, building armies or making moonsilver stuff.

    The Lunar strategy seems to be that even if the DBs can capture it and repurpose it, it won't be as good as their original stuff was and the Lunars could break that too still.

    And stuff.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

    Did you only post in this thread to ultimately say that you don't think these ideas have a right to exist?
    ​That is a loaded question.

    ​To answer your more neutral one, I had misread your post as saying you wanted to hear more.

    ​Also, a bit of what I wrote in the second post was just something intended for the first if I had not needed to post it too early because of computer freezing.

    That being said... no, since you've asked formally, I will reserve further discussion of this subject.

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  • Japomann
    replied
    Here's my take on this:
    Lunars are fighting their "Long War" from a disadvantage in that their forces are more primitive technology-wise than their opponents; namely the DB's and societies based on the Realm model. Each new Lunar who buys into the prevalent Lunar "society" mindset (Thousand streams river and such...) essentially has to start from scratch to build up a nation or tribal group, set it up so it attacks the Realm, or at least undermines it in some way. Therefore it makes sense, at least after your forces are beaten back several times, to create something that you can fall back to (to regroup in between exploitable societies) that the Realm can't use or repurpose, something that's accessible only to you or a select few people.

    If you control an underground cave network/sanctum with working mana-tech and First Age amenities but make it so that it can't be accessed except if you go through a narrow 1 inch tunnel, then dive deep into a subterranean lake, and have the heavy, triple-reinforced, sorcery warded door open only if you can speak in the whistling tongue of a singing monkey then it is most likely secure from your enemies.

    Could someone with enough determination and raw power break into this sanctum? Of course! But by then, you should have sent out the Thundercats signal and every fraggin' ally you have is coming over to help you out. Or you can just run away to fight another day...

    So basically I'm just agreeing (sort of) with Aquillion above...

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  • Aquillion
    replied
    Originally posted by Blaque View Post
    Something odd to me is this all begs a question that Lunars need special snowflake infrastructure.
    Sort of. On one hand, there are only, what, 300 Lunars? Maybe a bit more, but not a huge number of them. Lunar-specific infrastructure (in the sense that it's designed for the exclusive use of Lunar Exalted in particular) isn't really a major thing. There might be a few artifacts or manses intended for Lunar essence, but mostly it's not how Lunars work. (Even Solar-specific infrastructure is incredibly rare - I can only think of two pieces, one of which has been explicitly hacked by a DB - and it only really exists because Solars ruled the world for a long time, combined with having a lot of raw power.) And anyway, everyone can get splat-specific evocations and the like now if they want them just by branching them off of their native charms. That can apply to really big stuff, too.

    However, on the other hand, many of the examples seem to be less about Lunar-specific infrastructure directly, and more about Beastman specific infrastructure (which is generally, though not always, more useful to Lunars since they're more likely to be leading beastmen.) Beastman-specific infrastructure is absolutely a thing and makes logical sense. Even then, though, it might make more sense to picture it less as infrastructure designed to be beastman-specific, and more about Beastmen (and Lunars) being able to exploit their unique abilities to play fast and loose with limitations that other people face in terms of infrastructure.

    For example, beastmen who can fly or climb better than others will be much more able to exploit mountaintop regions, and they often won't bother to set up their villages or cities or supply routes in ways that baseline humans would find usable. To a certain extent Raksi's beastmen tribes are a sort of beastman-specific infrastructure; most other people would be much less productive in an environment like that. And then there's undersea beastmen and the like.



    However, with that said, my understanding is that most beastmen in environments like those are not entirely happy with being there. They're able to eke out a living, survive, and sometimes even thrive in environments that would be very hostile to baseline humans, but most of the time, they don't live there entirely by choice - and most beastmen are human enough that they would thrive much better on places like the Blessed Isle and other fertile human locations, even before you get into issues like trade routes with outsiders and so on. Many of the more extreme Beastman-specific / Lunar-specific adaptations were made out of necessity rather than by choice... Raksi's apemen might be good at living in the jungle, but they'd probably do even better if they could find some fertile farmland and settle down there, and the reality is that the reason they don't do that is because the really good places like that are held by non-beastmen humans who would kill them if they tried.

    At least, that's how I see it. There are some exceptions (beastmen so far from baseline humanity that they genuinely wouldn't do well in the places baseline humans thrive), but I tend to think that those are the exceptions and not the rules. And it's the same for Lunars: Just because Tony Stark can make a suit of armor in a cave with a box of scraps doesn't mean he prefers caves to well-stocked labs.

    The infrastructure currently held by the DBs is better. A lot better. That's part of what the Lunars are so mad over. They've found ways to cope and route around some of the problems, but the fact that the DBs took the best stuff in the Usurpation and drove the Lunars to the fringes is important to the setting, and I'd generally frame most Lunar infrastructural stuff as more "make due with what we're able to hold nowadays, which is largely inhospitable land that the Terrestrials can't easily attack" rather than "Lunars live in these unforgiving landscapes because they're better off there, go Lunars." (Some Lunars - the really pro-barbarian ones - might be drinking the kool-aid about how this harsh environment toughens them up or something, but most of them know better.)

    Sure, Lunars have made some weird stuff, or manses in really hard-to-reach locations. They haven't done that because that's the ideal way for Lunars to work, they've done it because the places of power in easy-to-reach locations are held by DBs who try to kill them on sight, and if they try to build something straightforward then the DBs will try to take it from them.

    The other reason I say that this is more about Beastman-specific infrastructure than Lunar-specific infrastructure is that really, while yeah, you can make a manse that is inhospitable to those who can't fly or breathe underwater... individual Exalts aren't going to find that more than a nuisance if they're really determined to make use of it, even before you get to the fact that eg. Lunars aren't the only Exalts who find it easy to do those things. It's much harder to find someone who can make use of a city that requires an entire population with the appropriate abilities... though even then, Creation has a lot of weird races in it, not just beastmen. Certainly we know they're far from the only people to expand underwater, say.

    Beyond that, in terms of why it's good for things to work that way... for the most part, people are supposed to be fighting over resources. Yeah, there are some things a Lunar and an army of beastmen are better at exploiting or holding. But on the whole, people want the same stuff; and on the whole, if you make something awesome there's gonna be someone who will want to take it from you. For magical stuff, even if you lock it behind a bunch of restrictions, I'd generally assume that any powerful artifact or manse can be exploited by a determined Exalt somehow, even if not in the way it was intended; and similarly, for mundane infrastructure, I'd generally try to push for the best and most useful places to be things everyone wants, rather than allowing anyone to just say "all right, our resource requirements are so bizarre that we thrive best in this tract of wasteland nobody else wants at all."

    You can survive in the wasteland (and Lunars and their beastmen have.) But the Blessed Isle is absolutely the best place to be, and most Lunars are deeply aware of that fact.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 04-16-2017, 01:12 AM.

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  • Blaque
    replied
    Something odd to me is this all begs a question that Lunars need special snowflake infrastructure. The "live off the land" insurgent vibe I get with them in 3e is something that, to some extent, is thematically antithetical to infrastructure. Lunars are still able to do sorcerous workings like other Exalts can. And it's not like Solars magically have infrascture Charms unique to them.

    What the hell is even meant by infrastructure in this case, why do Lunaes need to ahve it and so on? I might have missed this in the original thread, but there's a premise to it that I sense similar to a lot of 2e Lunar issues: Solars have something, Lunars need some equivilant for parity. Except Solars really don't have that thing (at least in a sense that it is something the First Age itself provided in a nebulous sense beyond what Charms can do) and I am not sure the thing is something that fits Lunars to have a special snowflake version of.

    And stuff.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    All right, so to continue what I said about this point:
    Levi, did you read what I said about how I felt that subject wasn't on-topic for this thread?

    Thanks to sorcerous workings and the fact that Lunar Exalted can be Celestial Circle Sorcerors, Lunar crafting Charms aren't necessary to create any of these infrastructural marvels, and these marvels are still useful regardless of whether Lunars ever have crafting Charms. They're two different subjects!

    Did you only post in this thread to ultimately say that you don't think these ideas have a right to exist?

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    In my games, I tend to run with the idea that a lot of Lunar "infrastructure" tends to be organic in nature. Lots of plants and animals that negate the need for things like large scale trading routes and the like.

    For example, a Lunar might create a grove of trees that grow swords which are enchanted to attack anyone but the Lunar and select followers who get close to them. So the Lunar and his followers can go around doing other stuff, and then once or twice a year they come to the grove and collect a bunch of swords that have been grown. They don't need to build forges or mine for iron or anything else. Even if Dragon Blooded (or someone else) found the grove, there isn't much they could do with it. The trees would tend to attack them, so the only thing they could do would be to hack them all down. And even if they did that the Lunar, with appropriate Charms or other magic, could probably quickly regrow the trees within a season or two.

    You can't really destroy the Lunar's infrastructure since they can often create new infrastructure as fast as their old stuff gets destroyed.

    This is just one example, but for the most part Lunar infrastructure simply isn't terribly useful for the Dragon Blooded (or anyone else really). In fact, a lot of the time Dragon Blooded tend to find this stuff and not even realize that it is Lunar infrastructure. They find the Sword Tree Grove and write it off as a weird Wyld place without figuring out its true nature.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    All right, so to continue what I said about this point:

    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    The Lunars biggest problem isn't what infrastructure that they have, it's whether or not they'll have Charms that will make it easier to handle things related to crafting slots, coloured experience, and the terminus to extended crafting rolls.
    ​I don't really think they should. Maybe a few things to craft a bit better than a mortal would, but particularly not things that overturn assumptions about how many magical things have been made in the Second Age. Thus, it's not a matter of Lunars being unable to make anything, just the natural assumption that they've not made much if they have to follow the base Artifact and Wonder crafting rules.

    ​Partially because I don't think it's something as natural to them when they don't have Charms extending out of the Craft Ability, and partially because it's not something I see being a particular forte of their characteristics.

    ​When it comes to Lunar exclusive infrastructure, well, I like the image that John and Holden initially put forward of the idea that there isn't really anything that can be made exclusive for them, so they'd wind up making things that would become significant targets for being claimed by their enemies.

    ​That and how I like the image of savagery and struggle for the Lunars of the Age of Sorrows. Over something that has been elaborately made exclusive for Lunars, I would prefer an image of them living in a world where access to a lot of things that would make creating and restoring magical wonders are something that they have to beg, steal, borrow and barter for, as well as occasions where the thing is "exclusive" because the Lunar made it hard to access and killed everybody else who knew about it. Even then, I would picture a world where such things need to be used sparingly, for reasons like it only running on enough fuel to get a few more goes out of it, or where using it would light it up to a lot of forces that would either be hostile to them or want to take it for themselves. I don't think a Lunar should have powers that repair their broken daiklave on the fly, but a personality and social context in which they keep an ancient forge hidden (and probably somewhere that it is a lot easier for a Lunar to access than others would, even if it's hardly impossible to be followed), which they reserve for emergencies such as broken daiklave because using it risks compromising its secrecy.

    ​When it comes to things such as creating nifty spaces to meet or communicate through, I would see that less in terms of something exclusive to Lunars, and more like sorcery that Lunars are applying in a manner particularly fitting to their common dilemmas.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    The Lunars biggest problem isn't what infrastructure that they have, it's whether or not they'll have Charms that will make it easier to handle things related to crafting slots, coloured experience, and the terminus to extended crafting rolls.
    I've had thoughts on this, though I would need to dig up my notes. Which I currently should not do, as I have much studying and programming to accomplish while the sun is high.

    But this is definitely a subject I would love to discuss later, in a separate thread related to Lunar Mental-Attribute Charms, and how they might have a single inter-connected tree for concepts like that Solar "master heist scheming prana" and crafting. If a Lunar can more easily put together a heist, perhaps he can also more easily design an artifact? Might these capabilities grow out of a Charm which allows them to always remember anything, regardless of forgetfulness, the mist of years, or memory-altering magic?

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I have thoughts about something that would interact with the need for appropriate tools for crafting projects, but am a bit uncertain about it on account of how abstract that need is in the first place. I suppose they could have something like Craftsman Needs No Tools, even down to the boosted time, while existing in a cascade with a significantly different mechanical and thematic direction than Solar Craft.

    ​Like, I read Craftsman Needs No Tools as existing in a place of a Solar whose expertise is such that certain minor creative projects are almost trivial, whereas for Lunars I would see it as being in a place of having an option to pull together something desperately needed circumstantially in a matter of moments. I'm not saying they would be limited to using the Charm like that, rather that it would be something that would emerge naturally both from their established place in the setting and by virtue of what they don't have.

    ​There's the fact that overall, the crafting system they went with was one in which the significance of infrastructure is underplayed mechanically. It's presumed from how the conditions for projects are described and the general tone of the setting, but the mechanics rest primarily on differentiating scope of various crafting endeavours and requiring them to narratively build on one another. The Lunars biggest problem isn't what infrastructure that they have, it's whether or not they'll have Charms that will make it easier to handle things related to crafting slots, coloured experience, and the terminus to extended crafting rolls.


    I'll say more later I need to post this now

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Wise Old Guru
    4. Mutate a tribe so that they can digest a potent plant toxin or three....and have them use some poisonous fruit/vegetable as their primary food crop. If the Realm conquers their territory, they won't be able to feed their Legions.
    Originally posted by Scary Pancakes
    This is a really good idea.
    For an added bonus breed some ruggedness in their main food plant that allows it to spread all on it's own. So that your hunter gatherer tribe can actually grow as large as a sedentary farming civilization. And the more land the plant covers the more land your tribe has to fall back on if it's invaded.

    Originally posted by Wise Old Guru
    I really like this! Poisonous-yet-nutricious kudzu for the win!

    Let's see if we can think up some more:
    1. Swarms of extremely plentiful insects or foliage that glow in the presence of elementally-aspected Essence-pretty, to be sure, but when your tribe lives in a Mirkwood-like forest with very little light, it pretty much paints a big target on any Dragonblood who enters their territory: a target for blowguns from the trees. Also handy for finding ley lines and demesnes.

    2. Stone totems engraved with sorcerous sigils, buried deep in the ground and forming a vast circle around a chosen territory. Within that territory, their enchantment causes mundane metals to rapidly corrode into uselessness such that weapons break and armor loses its mobility and protective value. While they can't corrode artifacts, the enchantment does affect alloys, increasing mobility penalties and the like. Harmless to your tribes (they use Dragon King sword-clubs grown from plants and wear woven wicker armor), but crippling to foreign forces.

    3. Terrifying nightmares that hit every night and spread by conversational contact as a contagious disease...you can cure someone who catches them with a simple prayer to Luna and a string of ritualized insults to the Immaculate Dragons.

    4. Specially engineered flowers whose pollen contains a poison causing unwilling Peripheral essence expenditure: like those pillars, only a bit more subtle. Spontaneously bursting into an anima display is inconvenient for a Dragonblood who doesn't want to destroy his men or his surroundings...and more importantly, he'll be a lot easier for your warriors to take down if you wait until his anima dies down and hit him when he's low on motes. When you're in the territory, you just use shapechanging to put filters on your nose, or hold your breath for an hour or two like a marine mammal.

    5. Deep in the Southern desert, your people have made an alliance with a local court of fire elementals. You provide prayer and a Lunar strongman as an ally and protection from the Immaculate Order and Heaven...and they provide a series of underground lava tunnels which open up in strategically important places all over your stretch of territory. These tunnels aren't really usable by most Dragonbloods or their troops: they're still active, you see. The regularly-scheduled flow of lava is what pushes your moonsilver subway trains along the tracks. Your tribe's shamans know the subway schedules, which change every full moon.

    6. The Dynasty is largely unaware that the Blessed Isle is home to a Lunar stronghold: a Changing Moon has spent eighty years as a mouse in the Imperial city, and the place is packed full of his Ata-beast offspring. As intelligent as any human, possessed of their own language, and capable of cooperation (and, in some cases, trained in the arts of thaumaturgy), these mice relay all manner of information on the Scarlet Empire to the rest of the Silver Pact...or information on one Great House to another, to foment civil war. The Dragonbloods may control the territory, but they don't usually worry about what goes on inside their own walls. The Sidereals have noticed that the Lunars have more information than they ought to have on Dynastic politics...but they're blaming it on Lunar spies impersonating members of the All-Seeing eye or sneaking into Heaven disguised as local deities. Bonus points if the mice are building mice-machines and weapons: go all Nimh on it.

    7. A Lunar and his tribe of People of the Air have made an alliance with some of the Cloud People and sorcerously enchanted a network of cloud-islands for solidity. They don't interact with the ground much, and the Bureau of Destiny doesn't know about them because they leave cloud movements to the Bureaus of Nature and Seasons...and even if the DBs did know about 'em, the clouds will turn back into wispy vapor unless a Celestial circle spell is cast on them once every few years, making them useless to anyone without a Celestial sorcerer handy.

    8. When your people move by brachiation, covering the floor of your forests with thorned and poisonous plants is a great way to prevent enemy forces from moving in on the ground. Bonus points if these plants are hardy and fast-spreading and produce poisonous fruit for your tribes.

    9. Your tribe lives in the South. You've mutated them so they can survive on practically no water. Tell the local rain gods that your people will offer prayers of thanks for every day it DOESN'T rain, threaten personal violence for every day it DOES rain, and point out that the less it rains the more prayers said deity is gonna get from your enemies. Pull some impersonation-shennanigans or some connections in the Bureau of Season. BAM: welcome to drought. Your enemies die of thirst, your people are fine. Bonus points if your people burrow, and use this ability to drain enemy wells from underneath.

    10. Teach your people a thaumaturgical ritual to ward against "Dragonblooded Exalts," and get them to adopt it as a post-hunt ritual of gratitude to the fallen prey. Anti-DB wards pop up all over your territory in COMPLETELY RANDOM locations, severely inconveniencing any DB forces passing through.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Wise Old Guru"
    Infrastructure designed to maintain a civilization that can't be usefully co-opted by the Dragon-blooded Host:
    1. A series of boulders set in a river with a strong that impart water-breathing mutations to anyone who swims between them in the right pattern: no reason for the Lunar to have to stick around and keep applying mutations to the tribe in person when she can build a manse, after all. The manse's intelligence reads your mind and only grants water-breathing powers to those it deems worthy: ie, those who are loyal to their tribe/Luna/the Lunar.

    2. Innocuous beaver-dams/muskrat holes with space-warping properties such that their insides hold entire villages/cities, like that bonsai tree city in the East book. Most dragonbloods don't spend their time smashing open every beaver-dam they see in the hopes of finding magical cities, and so they remain well-hidden.

    3. Underwater western tribes-who needs your underwater cities to be air-filled? Sure, Water-aspects might invade...but they can't meaningfully hold the place.

    4. Mutate a tribe so that they can digest a potent plant toxin or three....and have them use some poisonous fruit/vegetable as their primary food crop. If the Realm conquers their territory, they won't be able to feed their Legions.

    5. Venereal diseases which only affect the Dragon-blooded.

    6. Northern tribes mutated to eat snow and ignore the cold-the ability to wage war during the winter would grant them a possibly-insurmountable advantage, particularly if they were trained in cutting the enemy's supply lines before any major offensive. And it's hard to conquer people who can just retreat north and let you take more and more territory, lengthening your supply lines as you go...

    7. Nomadic civilizations whose yearly wanderings ARE a giant prayer-mandala to the Lunar who founded their tribe.

    8. Swarms of biting insects which are actually biotech medkits: they'll suck poisons and disease out of your system and use acupuncture and essence-flows to speed healing times and reduce the risk of infections from the wounds you have. Of course, the Realm's Legions would never find out, because they'd be swatting the flies and mosquitos away or killing them with their animas.

    9. A forest-factory manse that produces useful organic artifacts for the populace instead of fruit...but at really high altitudes, on thin branches. The local birdman-tribe can harvest them easily. The dragonblooded troops marching through the forest below will never know the wealth hidden in the canopy high above them, because people never really look up.

    10. An empty, ruined First Age city that can only be entered by falling asleep inside its walls-in which case, you'll enter a bustling dream-city filled with thousands of people and all manner of wonders. They'll take whatever goods you have to trade and give you miracles that'll vanish when you leave the city (and therefore wake up), but whatever you traded will still be gone when you wake up...and if the Lunar master of the place eats your body while you're asleep in the dream-city, you won't ever be able to leave. Something of a trap built by a nasty Lunar who uses it to murder explorers or Dynasts delving too deeply into her territory, or as a way to gather useful supplies without paying for them.

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