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  • Playing God and Consequences

    Years ago I had a player carve up a Nemissary's body that was made of slain Dynasts with the intent of creating many children with a chance of Terrestrial Exaltation with the aid of a summoned Neomah.

    That was one of the first times I went on the internet to ask for help because I had no idea of the implications of this, I wanted to make it interesting but I didn't want to make it backfire so spectacularly that it looked like I'd vetoed it in a really passive aggressive way.

    I got the answers I was expecting, mutants and sinister murderous children. Then I got one that surprised and delighted me because it was so diabolical.

    Give each of the children a quirk that could be interpreted as subtle demonic influence but crucially wouldn’t be beyond the realms of normal human behaviour and remark on it from time to time.
    It was beautiful because the PCs paranoia or negligence determines what comes next. If any of them become Dragon-Blooded Akuma down the line the feeling should be more “we failed to consider the implications of creating/raising 30 children” rather than “we messed with forces beyond our comprehension!”

    I later applied a similar logic to the biomonotic replicant in Dreams of the First Age or other ways to bring back the dead via copying memories into a new body. There’s going to be a few divergences from the person you knew but to what extent is this behaviour how the person you knew would react to waking up after dying in a cloned body? Not to mention what ‘de-exalting’ might do to someone.


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    • Some bavckground for when I criticise DotFA.

      I've played three fully fledged* First Age characters Autumn Shade, Radiant Mya and Iza Iyanna. Jiro Corinna was also born in the Era of Dreams and built as a First Age Dragon-Blooded. So I'm talking about four different characters, under four different storytellers and thus when I talk about the shortcomings of the suppliment it comes from a place where I've tried to interact with it as a game setting rather than just a resource book and repeatedly encountered similar problems.

      I don't critique Shards of the Exalted anywhere near as much because I've had less opertunity (or interest) to play some of those alternative settings as-written.

      *my definition of fully fledged is that these characters had their own games (sometimes more than one) got to perform memorable deeds and were not envisioned as the previous incarnations or ancestors of pre-existing characters.


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      • I never ran DotFA because I thought that there just wouldn't be enough to do in a world that's almost a paradise. Did you find that?


        My characters:
        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
        Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

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        • I experienced as you described to varying degrees.

          I originally liked the time of relative peace, the first Solar I made for a DotFA game was a Night Caste who'd been a waitress/lounge singer who'd been convinced to spy on her crimelord boss and it was kind of liberating to make a Solar who didn't have to worry so much about their combat ability because they had the Wyld Hunt on their ass or deal with Abyssals that were just too evil to negotiate with.

          A consistent problem I've observed with First Age games at the Celestial level was that the notion of giving each Solar Exaltation its own Dragon-Blooded Gens really wasn't very well thought through and either demanded a tremendous amount of 'cutscene incompetence' from the Dragon-Blooded so that the PCs still had something to do or necessitated escalating direct threats to absolutely senseless levels. At which point you're only using the DotFA setting as a backdrop until everything explodes.

          This was where things kind of fell through with the aforementioned Solar. I'd been allowed to think I could play this infiltrator who got by on her social graces and because of the constant need for escalation ended up in the middle of a Usurpation level threat, much as I love Radiant Mya her most memorable moment was when she threw her shoe at an attacker because it epitomised how ridiculously unsuitable she was to the situation.

          Things ran much smoother for the Dragon-Blooded PCs who were still essentially playing the same kind of games in a different setting but information on the First Age and Shogunate Gentes is ridiculously sparse, I know this because I compiled everything I could find from 1e and 2e for the old wiki.



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          • When I first heard of DotFA, the original dezcribed idea sounded good. The spoiler was it was taking place at the beginning of the First Age and about the conflicts between the Solars and between the Deliberative and the Queen. That was a playable setting. Plenty of conflicts and opportunities for adventure, and not as much focus on higher Essence characters.

            What we got was totally different. And in many ways a distilation of what was wrong with 2E.


            Shards I still think is awesome though. Lioness, if you wan a try one of those I'm game
            Last edited by vampire hunter D; 08-14-2018, 05:48 PM.

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            • Originally posted by vampire hunter D View Post
              When I first heard of DotFA, the original dezcribed idea sounded good. The spoiler was it was taking place at the beginning of the First Age and about the conflicts between the Solars and between the Deliberative and the Queen. That was a playable setting. Plenty of conflicts and opportunities for adventure, and not as much focus on higher Essence characters.

              What we got was totally different. And in many ways a distilation of what was wrong with 2E.
              Yeah, the Orche Fountain Era is more interesting than the Era of Dreams but the DotFA supplement negatively impacts it in the way I described, in that having hundreds of Dragon-Blooded at your personal command is a Solar default that didn't start to change until after the Thousand Struggles Era.

              Originally posted by vampire hunter D
              Shards I still think is awesome though. Lioness, if you wan a try one of those I'm game
              I think the problem with playing the Shards from the book now is that 3rd edition has shifted a lot of our expectations for better or worse. I'm still down for trying though.


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              • we do need a conversion supplement for Shards

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                • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                  I really want to do a Wyld Hunt based on the Ginyu Force complete with absurd sentai style poses, incredibility flamboyant power levels and at least one of them having an artifact based on a scouter.
                  Did you ever get around to doing this?

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                  • Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                    Did you ever get around to doing this?
                    Not yet. I was waiting for What Fire Hath Wrought before doing more with the Dragon-Blooded the main thing I've done was introduce House Sesus' Masked Council in a way that ultimately lead to the Night Caste PC getting killed. Though something lighter in tone next time they tangle with Dragon-Blooded would probably be appreciated.



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                    • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                      the main thing I've done was introduce House Sesus' Masked Council in a way that ultimately lead to the Night Caste PC getting killed.
                      Mind sharing some deets?

                      Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                      Though something lighter in tone next time they tangle with Dragon-Blooded would probably be appreciated.
                      Certainly sounds fun.

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                      • Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                        Mind sharing some deets?
                        Two of the PCs are Dragon-Blooded of House Sesus who were aware that a conflict with their house had been a long time coming, even if they'd previously had success in delaying this conflict.

                        So their grandmother makes a meeting happen in Great Forks, an outwardly understanding and eccentric Dynast who appreciates that they've done good work even if they have been running with the Anathema for years she doesn't want to fight them and would rather have all hands on deck for the inevitable civil war.

                        She wants something bad to happen to House Nellens and Greyfalls (which my game had previously established as a Nellens Satrapy) is going to be a problem to their ambitions long-term, so to her it's not asking for much. Not only do they not take action against Great Forks but they tell House Nellens that the reason their spy network is rapidly going dark is because Sesus is coming for them and to be afraid, be very afraid.

                        So she moves ahead with her plan without them. Essentially there's a network of tunnels under Greyfalls and she's planning to set off a geomantic bomb made from the heart of a Thousand Forged Dragon. There's a chase and the core of the bomb is breached by the Night Caste causing it to explode prematurely. She gets out with a Ring of Vanishing Escape in case she needed to cut and run like that, but he's left to take the whole blast the other PCs don't know she's still alive but they absolutely blame her for their friend's death.


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                        • Malign Inspiration
                          The Seven-Degreed Physician of Black Maladies had a very simple dream but one that he had struggled his entire life to bring to fruition, he wanted the world to appreciate his genius. His hopes had been dashed time and time again, even as a Deathknight he had felt overshadowed by his master but this time was different.

                          Years ago he had first heard tales of the city of Duat and its colossal skeletal guardians that stalked across the sand dunes, he had originally considered such a beast as a bodyguard but without his master around to delegate him to more menial tasks he had the chance to fully explore this opportunity.

                          There was a moment of wondrous realisation when he examined a skeleton of monstrous size said to be from far-away Dis when he realised that the chest cavity was large enough to support a passenger… no, a pilot.

                          The notion of his own Warstrider burned brightly for a moment before fading with the realisation that he didn’t have enough materials for such an undertaking, but he was undeterred and wanted to see how close he could get to such a titan of exalted warfare.

                          Initially the results fell short of the mark; the construct was a fine marionette and a wonderful tool of intimidation but simply didn’t have the pilot’s reflexes at the cusp of admitting failure he tested it again with a mortal pilot and found that the reaction time was much more comparable.

                          He had heard of previous attempts by necromancers to offer up zombies to mortal nations as cheap alternatives to slaves or soldiers and considered those doomed endeavours because people always made the worst assumptions about where so many bodies came from.

                          This was different; this husk he had started with was a monster that made no pretence about being anything else. However for the right price it could be the monster a mortal kingdom relied upon, a weapon their enemy would have little means to counter without their own supernatural protectors, unless of course they also came to him…
                          The Seven-Degreed Physician of Black Maladies had found his place in history he would be remembered as the creator of the Bonestrider and the architect of a new era of warfare.

                          Bonestriders are not Warstriders but a deliberate attempt to emulate them with Necromancy they are closer to undead creatures than armour and do not use the pilot’s traits unless specifically noted.

                          The Carrion Lord (Sample Bonestrider) Artifact Rating 3
                          Essence: 1; Willpower: 1; Join Battle: 2 dice
                          Health Levels: -0x5/-1x5/-2x7/-4x7/Incap.
                          Actions: Feats of Strength: 12 dice (may attempt Strength 7 feats, see Incredible Might); Intimidation: 10 dice
                          Appearance 3 (Hideous), Resolve 3, Guile 1
                          Combat
                          Attack (Greatsword): 11 dice (Damage 16, minimum 3)
                          Attack (Greataxe): 11 dice (Damage 16, minimum 2) Chopping
                          Attack (Shield Bash): 12 dice (Damage 14, minimum 1) Smashing
                          Attack (Grapple): 8 dice (10 dice to control). The Bonestrider makes unopposed control rolls against enemies of smaller size, unless its victims use magic that allows them to clinch larger enemies, such as Dragon Coil Technique
                          Combat Movement: 5 dice
                          Evasion 1, Parry 5
                          Soak/Hardness: 20/10

                          Special Attacks
                          Dual Strikes: The pilot may pay a point of Willpower to make a flurry of two different attacks. Each attack must have a different target and be made using a different weapon. A Bonestrider wielding a shield may instead flurry an attack with a full defense action.

                          Merits:
                          Attunement Spike: The Bonestrider is hungry for essence and in order to function it must take 16m per hour from a pilot or a sacrificial victim bound within the cockpit, if they are unable to pay the essence the Bonestrider instead drains their willpower at 4wp per hour and then finally their health levels at 2l per hour. Injuries from this take the form of premature aging, such as physical weakness, greying hair and sallow skin.

                          Hollow: The cavity in the Bonestrider’s chest in large enough for a single human sized individual who receive the benefits of being protected with a Defend Other action with an effective Parry of 5. It should be noted that killing the pilot doesn’t actually stop the Bonestrider until it next requires essence.

                          Incredible Might: The Bonestrider applies double 8s on any feat of strength.

                          Legendary Size: The Bonestrider’s immense size makes it extraordinarily difficult for human-scale enemies to engage it in combat. It does not take onslaught penalties from any attack made by a smaller opponent, although magically-inflicted onslaught penalties still apply against it. Withering attacks made by smaller enemies cannot drop the Bonestrider below 1 Initiative unless they have a post-soak damage of 10 dice (although attackers can still gain the full amount of Initiative damage dealt). Decisive attacks made by smaller enemies cannot deal more than (3 + attacker’s Strength) levels of damage to the Bonestrider with a single attack, not counting any levels of damage added by Charms or other magic.

                          Maintenance: Bonestriders require maintenance and repair rolls like a Warstrider (Arms of the Chosen page 142) but uses Craft (Necrosurgery).

                          Mighty Thews: A bonestrider can wield a two-handed weapon in one hand, and never suffers off-hand penalties. Some use this to wield a shield along with a heavy weapon, while others dual-wield massive weapons.

                          Mindless: Bonestriders treat all social influence as unacceptable.

                          Undead Construct: The Bonestrider has no vitals to speak of, no matter how wounded it is. The bonestrider does not subtract wound penalties from its Defence. In addition, attacks made from short range or further reduce their minimum damage against the bonestrider by one unless they benefit from an Aim action.

                          Magical Abilities:
                          Earth-Shaking Behemoth (4m): The pilot can pay four motes when the Bonestrider makes a decisive attack to create a shockwave, forcing all characters in medium range to roll (Dexterity + Athletics) opposing the attack roll or fall prone.


                          The Threat of the Bonestriders:
                          The Physician has a fatalistic outlook not uncommon among Abyssal Exalted, he is certain that by creating the Bonestriders he has signed his own death warrant and eventually someone will kill him in an attempt to end their threat.
                          It’s primarily for this reason that he doesn’t pursue personal conquest because whatever empire he could carve out wouldn’t outlive him. Instead he plans to take things slowly, selling to minor warlords in the River Province and building a network of clients. From there he hopes to take on apprentices that will first learn how to maintain these warmachines but then learn how to build their own and take on their own apprentices.
                          This ‘Patchwork Dynasty’ as he calls it and how the world responds to this great increase in necrosurgery by the living will be his true legacy.

                          The Colossi of Duat and similar creations:
                          The Hierophant-Kings of Duat have an almost unique affinity for blending orichalcum with their necrosurgery constructs that linger in a dormant state like statues of gold and sun-bleached bone waiting for trespassers to pass beneath their gaze. They would consider the soulsteel attunement spikes that the Physician uses to be an abomination but as long dead philosophers they have little need for haste in warfare they expect nothing less from barbarians.

                          The possibility also exists that certain kinds of wood could provide a more immediately wholesome material with which to create animated constructs, perhaps the lost vegetative technology of the Dragon Kings is the missing piece of the puzzle?
                          Last edited by Lioness; 08-27-2018, 10:22 AM.


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                          • A couple of Shadowland based locations coming up.
                            Belikal

                            Belikal consists of seven towns towards the southernmost edge of a shadowland known as the Mourning Field, with a crescent shaped woodland of enchanted willow and ash trees protecting the people from the worst of what the hungry dead. Until recently the Mourning Field was occupied by a Deathlord known as The Maiden of a Thousand Veils who kept them living in a state of constant fear but with her departure the undead of the shadowland are on the back foot for the first time in generations. It’s loose knit structure of towns and clans can finally grow into a true nation.

                            Clan Culture:
                            At birth children born to a clan are given two names, a true name from their mother to be used by their immediate friends and family and a use name from their father to be used in the presence of outsiders it’s unknown how exactly this tradition got started and a number of local myths.
                            Duty is extremely important in Belikal though the particular form it takes depends vary widely depending on the individuals and groups in question. It’s not uncommon for parents to give their children responsibilities with potentially life or death consequences such as drawing the lines of salt to impress upon them how the failure of one individual can harm the entire group. From there families are expected to be loyal to their clans and follow their ways and traditions, then the expectation on the clans is to be loyal to the stability and survival of Belikal itself.

                            Leadership is determined not through age or lineage but through an event called a proving. Where both parties agree upon a common objective such the completion of a harvest and attempt to perform the task better than the other. Since this is a test of leadership not physical prowess, anyone of any age can participate and lend aid to either side. Even outsiders may participate in a proving provided they do not violate any laws.
                            When they realised that the Maiden probably wasn’t coming back there was a great proving, the role of Primary had previously been a very powerless one that would often become the target of the Deathlord’s wrath. The mayors of the seven towns now desired the position and the terms of this proving was to eliminate as many of the Shadowland’s more dangerous inhabitants as possible. This saw an influx of mercenaries into Belikal as each of the seven mayors tried to boast the most kills.

                            Ultimately it was the mayor of Strabor Slumbering Bear or Bojan as he prefers to be called who won the proving in no small part due to his ability to convince foreigners that supporting him was a good long-term investment.

                            Economics:
                            The climate and the presence of the Shadowland are far from optimal conditions for agriculture, the only plant that can be reliably grown in Belikal is flax useful primarily for textiles and during the time of the Maiden represented their primary export, typically traded for livestock and other foodstuffs.
                            Following the Deathlord’s departure there’s a chance to know a taste of economic prosperity as trade routes once deemed too hazardous are beginning to open as the Guild constantly searches for new markets. It’s with a bit of trepidation that the Primary deals with the Guild’s representatives, he’s started to realise just how small his country is compared to the rest of the world and foresees them being swallowed whole by this mercantile empire or some other imperialist power if they’re not extremely careful. To that end he’s attempted to make Belikal’s primary export its ghost hunters, attaching them to Guild caravans at every opportunity so that others may come to appreciate their skills and think twice about any action that could end this proud tradition.
                            He is extremely reluctant to sell the wood from the willow and ash trees out of fear that unscrupulous trade practices could erode the boundary and destroy their way of like entirely but such activities may already be taking place under his nose.

                            Cuisine:
                            Traditional Belikal cuisine uses very little meat owing to long winters and the difficulty of keeping healthy livestock so close to a Shadowland. Eggs are prized and typically feature in every meal, be it poached in the middle of a dumpling, sunny side up in the middle of bowl of cabbage noodles, soft boiled with fingers of a nutty brown bread or the thin slithers of a hard boiled egg shared among a poor family. Milk and cheeses are similarly ,held in high esteem and used to elevate meals above mere sustenance.

                            That’s not to say that meat is absent from people’s diets, so much as there needs to be a pretense to slaughter a livestock animal for food and what really matters is that it’s not going to waste even if they have to invite the whole extended family for a feast. True affluence is felt mostly through the strength of one’s social connections, a prominent member of a clan may attend a regular cycle of funerals, birthday parties and child naming ceremonies.

                            Freshwater fish is also present to varying degrees in the Belikal diet, typically those living out further from the towns have a greater opportunity to catch something substantial.

                            Spirituality and the Afterlife:
                            Frequent encounters with nihilistic spectres have led the clans to consider the state of undeath spiritually corrupting but the people of Belikal may have long since succumbed to the dangers of the shadowland had they turned their back upon ghosts who would be their protectors. This apparent contradiction is resolved by the idea that undeath is a temporary state, that unfinished business is righteous but the ancestor spirit who lingers beyond the deaths of all who knew her in life will become increasingly greedy and parasitic.

                            The extent to which these feelings are felt varies from clan to clan, most reserve positions of authority for the living with the dead stepping aside to fulfil the roles of mentors and protectors but not every clan can afford to lose that expertise and a few are whispered to still be controlled by their long dead founders, now little better than spectres themselves. There’s no proof of any such arrangements but after allocation of resources the most common conflict between the clans is the delicate balance between spirituality and practicality.

                            Festival Days:
                            First Light: For centuries nights in Belikal were a time when its people went to ground, barring the doors of their warded homes and waiting till morning. First Light celebrates the first evening when it was noticed the dead weren’t attacking in such numbers anymore and the guards at a watch tower kept their torches burning all night just to see what happened. When they survived till morning others began to do the same as inch by inch they took back the night.
                            So now they celebrate the anniversary of those guards being brave enough to test their theory by illuminating the seven towns and celebrating long into the night to remind themselves that only a few years ago this simply wasn’t safe.

                            Military:
                            Belikal would not have had the impudence to form an army against the Maiden instead it relied upon a town guard who provided both protection from external threat and provided basic law enforcement that was an extension of that such as imposing curfew. The ghost hunters have historically been much better equipped and trained by comparison, typically wielding weapons carved from the wood of their protector trees along with whatever other minor talismans and reagents they can get their hands on.
                            The Primary is interested in essentially merging the two institutions by repurposing the town guard to better investigate problems that are supernatural in nature with an eye towards them taking the next step towards becoming fully fledged ghost hunters.

                            In Game:
                            Belikal was the homeland of andrix's Zenith Joyous Sky prior to her Exaltation and wasn't really fleshed out or named until a much later homecoming arc which introduced Bojan before he won the proving, his niece whose a whole different horror story, Joyous Sky's ghost blooded cousin and fellow ghost hunter Leaf Dancer and her dainty-hoofed partner in crime the demon blooded Beloved Gift.

                            The Maiden of a Thousand Veils was Sky's previous incarnation and is a reoccurring antagonist who was last seen getting sucked into a vortex after a failed attempt to reverse Lethe I'm not going to insult anyone's intelligence by pretending she's gone forever.
                            Last edited by Lioness; 08-29-2018, 10:50 AM.


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                            • Note: the portrayal of the Black Chase as the Exalted version of Aokigahara is not canon, it is not my wish to trivialise suicide but to portray people who endure a spiritual wasteland and face problems not immediately apparent to outsiders. I think everyone I know has been on antidepressants at some point or another, keep fighting folks.

                              Sator

                              Unlike most shadowlands all manner of plant and animal life seems to thrive within the Chase but a person who would make such a deduction probably hasn’t travelled very far in yet. For frequent travellers the discovery of human remains is a common occurrence and those who can read the language of the Old Realm recognise the glyphs they see every five miles or so for the warnings they are, some implore a lonely traveller to think of their loved ones while others are more direct and remind wanderers that this corrupted place can get inside their head.

                              It took nothing less than the Great Contagion for people to seek refuge within the Black Chase; the people of Sator are not alone in living here but almost unique for how far their ancestors travelled into the depths of the dark wood in the hopes of reprieve and sanctuary. Some say that they belong to the Chase now, that some ancient ancestor swore a blood oath upon the oldest tree.

                              The people of Sator know this story but find it highly questionable; whatever their ancestors may have done out of desperation cannot be undone, meanwhile they struggle against the hungry dead of the shadowland and every family has a loved one who has taken their own life because of the influence of the shadowland. It does mean that their hunting grounds are largely uncontested out of fear and if that’s what it means to belong to the Black Chase then there are worse fates.


                              Culture:

                              Expectant mothers deliver their children outside of the shadowland if at all possible; those infants born within its boundaries are often struck by physical infirmity that plagues them their whole life. It’s also considered a great achievement for a dying person to make a final pilgrimage outside the Black Chase both to mirror their journey into the world that doubles as a way to try and spite whatever influence hangs over the shadowland.

                              Adulthood is achieved through rite of passage, this typically this involves hunting to show one can provide for themselves but enterprising youths will try and outdo each other and compete for the title of Horned One who gets to wear a crown of tree branches for a week and will invariably get at least one good marriage proposal out of the experience. Most of the god blooded in Sator are the children of former Horned Ones with nature spirits that were in awe of their prowess.

                              Funerals are common in Sator, typically there’s no body to burn because whatever influence hangs over the Black Chase it’s stronger when people are alone.

                              Spirituality and the Afterlife:

                              Though the dead could linger and interact with the living more, the influence of the Black Chase still weighs heavily upon ghosts trying to drag them down to Oblivion. Those who do remain typically linger outside the Shadowland observing from afar and communicating with the living primarily through ghostly lights and other omens.


                              The dead and the living of Sator have a rudimentary communication system but for those not versed in the ways of its people these are simply another disturbing aspect of the Black Chase. Which is probably for the best because such a message to an outsider is most likely going to be a warning.

                              Shaman are a vital part of Sator’s culture, chosen among those who have a unique resilience to the Black Chase their official role is to serve as messengers between the living and the dead, but they also try to be a friend to everyone. It's not uncommon for them to take someone as a lover to tend to their emotional needs though such arrangements need to be made with great care least they cause heartbreak down the line.

                              Cuisine:

                              Food in Sator is relatively simple, the hunters regularly bring down deer or boar and slow roasting them over a flame pit is one of life’s little luxuries. Due to the influence of the Black Chase it's quite common for people to eat together in the open making small contributions to one huge meal this is to keep an eye out for signs of despair that the forest could prey upon.

                              Economics:

                              Sator has one regular trading partner and it’s a strange one, a hundred years into the settlement’s existence their elders had their first meeting with the figure who came to be known as Mister Beak, called so because he wore protective clothing from head to toe that included a mask that gave him a somewhat avian appearance.

                              Mr Beak explained that his people had fled underground to escape the Great Contagion with their priesthood telling them that it had wiped out all life on the surface. When that was revealed to not be the case the story changed and now the surface was contaminated and anyone who travelled up would soon sicken and die. He claimed not to believe a word of it, but considering his clothing they found that claim rather dubious. Nevertheless, a trade was agreed with Mr Beak or rather the Tunnel Folk he represented that was primarily an exchange of lumber for rock salt an agreement with allowed Sator to expand much further than what would have otherwise been possible.

                              There have been the occasional changes to the agreement over the centuries as Mister Beak has become something of a legacy character with new Tunnel Folk taking up the mantle every couple of decades. A few in Sator have tried to tease more information out of these representatives to learn exactly what their neighbors are like and tried to get them to take off that ridiculous mask but none have yet succeeded.

                              The current belief is that whatever group Mister Beak serves it profits from its peoples isolationism as much as this priesthood that’s been mentioned less and less by subsequent incarnations of Mister Beak. They may now be the oppressors down there.

                              Festival Days:

                              The Crowning of the Horned One: The end of childhood is normally a day of reflection for many cultures, Sator likes to live in the moment with a grand party that can last for a week or whenever the wine runs out. The Horned One having amazed everyone with his or her skills now has a precious chance to make an absolute fool of themselves to stop themselves becoming too prideful for their own good.

                              Military:

                              Sator doesn’t really have the kind of population that could support a standing army but in the event of an invasion the overwhelming majority of its population can fight. Equipment typically consists of bows, spears and shields with armour made from layers of animal hide. A less common form is a scale armour made from black pinewood, prized less for its defensive properties and more its ability to hide the warmth and scent of the living from ghostly senses.

                              Metal is pretty rare and primarily scavenged or supplied by the Tunnel Folk typically it’s used for knives and axes but swords are also available.

                              Suffice to say if anyone was ever insane enough to invade the Black Chase, the people of Sator would use their fieldcraft and superior local knowledge to engage the enemy in asymmetrical warfare.


                              In Game:
                              Sator is the homeland of the Dawn Caste NPC Adan, he was one of the few unlucky children to be born inside the Shadowland and is a small willowy thing compared to his younger brother but makes up for it with a combination of speed and skill and despite his disadvantages managed to get himself crowned as The Horned One by killing a Hellboar. He returned for his younger brother's Rite of Passage only to learn that in an attempt to emulate him his brother had picked a fight with an ancient guardian spirit over a single piece of black fruit hanging from a withered tree. Predictably something so ominous turned out to be cursed and the PCs had to rescue his dumb ass.



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                              • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                                Two of the PCs are Dragon-Blooded of House Sesus who were aware that a conflict with their house had been a long time coming, even if they'd previously had success in delaying this conflict.

                                So their grandmother makes a meeting happen in Great Forks, an outwardly understanding and eccentric Dynast who appreciates that they've done good work even if they have been running with the Anathema for years she doesn't want to fight them and would rather have all hands on deck for the inevitable civil war.

                                She wants something bad to happen to House Nellens and Greyfalls (which my game had previously established as a Nellens Satrapy) is going to be a problem to their ambitions long-term, so to her it's not asking for much. Not only do they not take action against Great Forks but they tell House Nellens that the reason their spy network is rapidly going dark is because Sesus is coming for them and to be afraid, be very afraid.

                                So she moves ahead with her plan without them. Essentially there's a network of tunnels under Greyfalls and she's planning to set off a geomantic bomb made from the heart of a Thousand Forged Dragon. There's a chase and the core of the bomb is breached by the Night Caste causing it to explode prematurely. She gets out with a Ring of Vanishing Escape in case she needed to cut and run like that, but he's left to take the whole blast the other PCs don't know she's still alive but they absolutely blame her for their friend's death.
                                Its also worth noting that said Night Caste was a Cathak, I imagine if we did not have friends and family on both sides of this we might have taken grandmother up on her initial offer and now her next visit is going to be awkward at best.

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