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  • Almarck
    started a topic Monarch: the Endless

    Monarch: the Endless

    Monarch: The Endless

    A Roleplaying game about being the inhuman ruler of an alien hive, whether or not you want to.



    The professor fiddled with his presentation, bringing up a scene showing the Sun with all of its orbiting worlds, Earth included. “This is the Solar System,” he said as if he was instructing grade schoolers. “Have you ever wondered how much it factors in the grand scheme of things?”

    He pressed a button and the presentation zoomed out at a frightening pace, soon the whole Solar System became nothing but a dot in in a vast disk of other such dots. “This is the Milky Way. Our world, and its sun are nothing more than just another star within it. But it gets better.”

    With another press of the button, the image zoomed out further, till the entire Milky Way was itself nothing but a dot in a sea of other such dots, much like the Sun before it. “The Universe is big,” he said. “So big in fact, we cannot truly grasp it all. And that’s not even getting into the fact that when it comes down to it, if the Earth was a golf ball, the Sun was a basketball, they would be thirty three feet apart.” The slideshow ended and the professor turned to his students, all gathered in lecture hall taking notes. “You cannot truly grasp the sheer scope of the universe.”

    One student raised his hand.

    The professor gave him a stern look, displeased. “It’s not time for questions.”

    The student still kept his hand raised.

    Groaning the professor spoke. “Fine, what is it?”

    “Well, I was just thinking; if the Universe was so big… what would be out there? Would it be anything like us?”

    The professor mused on that for a while, thinking. “It is not our field of study today; but I will entertain this notion. Suffice it to say, should there be any life outside our Solar System, it almost certainly is going to be very different from what we might expect. One of the current theories about the Universe is that certain physical laws such as say the Gravity Coefficient or even Euclidean Geometry may act very differently within different regions. Any life that emerges from these locales is very certainly going to have different properties. Does this satisfy you?”

    The student nodded.

    “Good, but for that, I think I’d like you to stay after class. Speaking of, the rest of you are dismissed.”

    The student’s expression shifted into that of regret. Meanwhile, his peers all gave him looks indicating he got what he deserved. They all knew he got in trouble for derailing. None had any intention of staying with him.

    The student gulped and approached the professor, moving to podium. “Uh, sorry,” he apologized.

    The professor shook his head. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re not in trouble.”

    “I’m not?” the student said, confused. Then why was he being held back?

    The professor smiled and approached. “I’m just thinking you might be interested in some other classes to go along with mine. You show great promise, you interested?”

    “... sure,” even though the student was unsure.

    “Good.” The professor moved forward to shake the young man’s hand, the younger man followed as well.

    But as he was about to reach out and grab hold of his teacher’s hand, he felt a sharp pain at the back of his spine that vanished almost immediately. In fact, every other feeling vanished immediately. He fell to the ground, still and motionless as a corpse.

    The professor extended a hand not to receive a handshake, but rather to grab hold of some sort of creature around the the size of a bird. Its body was not covered in feathers but in spiny shells, like some sort of overgrown beetle. The professor allowed the creature to crawl onto his wrist, as if he was some sort of twisted falconeer. “What do you think?” he petted the creature. “Think he has what it takes?”





    The Universe is vast and, in truth, few people ever really think about what this implies. If space truly that big, surely there are other forms of life out there? And if there are, why haven’t we contacted them yet? The Fermi Paradox has eluded physicists and astronomers for ages. “Are we truly alone in the Universe?”

    The answer is quite unfortunately, no.

    Outside, in a place far beyond what the greatest human inventions could ever hope to see, lies the Void, a place that the rules of nature, as we understand them, fail to describe. Stars are burning balls of helium that orbit like a moon around cubic planets. Iron corrodes frozen oxygen crystals and water is a highly volatile compound that explodes on contact with light. Gravity and light bend in strange and seemingly illogical ways. It is in this place, where the rules of physics are unrecognisable to us, that the Endless arose from.

    The Endless are a race defined not by a single universal form as the creatures of Earth, but rather a multitude of forms designed for specific purposes, all to serve a unified goal. Some are the size of elephants, others whales, and even greater still, though many remain nothing more than simple microbial lifeforms. Despite all these different shapes and size, the Endless are a single species, united by a single overarching and nigh omnipresent will, of which humans could scarcely fathom. All are connected, parts of a greater whole.

    Still, different Endless are created for separate tasks. Many of these forms exist to serve as laborers, while others are the furnaces of industry, and still others become the living space. Above them lies an obvious ruling caste: Monarchs are built to rule and command the power of an entire Brood, acting as parent, guardian, and ruler all at once. Their purpose is to ensure the continued survival of the race of a whole. They rule through advanced genetic and psionic power, shaping their entire race with whims and darkness.

    And it is this inscrutable, alien will that has deemed seemingly random humans worthy of being entrusted leadership. Many humans each year since the end of the Second World War are secretly abducted and converted into Monarchs, acting as leaders to earthbound colonies for unknown reasons. Moreover, these Monarchs bring within them the chaotic influence of human nature, chaos and free will outside of a coherent and unified essence. What purpose could they possibly serve?


    Themes
    Ruler of Nations
    Unlike most other splats, a Monarch is a ruler. More specifically, a ruler of her own nation as its despot. Her domain is small all things considered, but she could almost take over a city by force if it weren't for the massive repercussions of doing so.
    It still gives her massive power outside of her own person, though, and an army of her own allows her to wipe out most opposition she may face.

    However, no matter how powerful a Monarch is are or how great her Colony, she cannot take over the entire planet, even with an alliance. She must answer to those above her, and in launching such an offensive, her rivals will doubtlessly swoop in to destroy her.
    Power equals responsibility.

    Endless Recurrence
    A meta-theme about ultimately, events and progression being a cyclical, repeating endeavour. Endless history (if it can be called that) is a never ending cycle of rises and falls, with each cycle started by the founding of a ruler, ended by the death of this ruler. So too then is the life-cycle of a Colony, rising and falling as along with their rulers.

    Other examples of this theme are in premonitions or in divination powers, that don't so much help you see the future, so much as they help you remember...

    Also, perhaps, resurrection.


    Fealty and Oaths
    Tying both the above themes together is the importance of oaths and formal agreement. Not simply the whimsy proclamations of the fate, but of signed and written contracts… well recorded.

    In fact, a Monarch gets her station due to an agreement to serve, and is granted a title and holdings to manage due to this. You are expected to Honor promises and treaties, and to ensure your stewardship was not misplaced.



    Template Mechanics

    Authority

    At the core of every Monarch is the directive to govern and control her own Hive as well as the power to grow her holdings and the desire to evolve herself to better accommodate increased status. Authority is not merely a political designation, but also a measure of how far the Monarch has grown as a ruler, in ways that are both physical and psychic.
    As a Monarch’s Authority rises her innate telepathic control over her swarm also increases. She gains increased range when contacting her Hive and relaying orders to nearby Drone swarms.
    It also determines how much “Psi” energy she is able to hold and expend at any given turn.
    Authority also provides increased resistance to some supernatural powers that rely on a power stat to function. As rulers, Monarchs submit to no one save those rightfully above them due to high station. A Monarch is entitled a Clash of Wills roll against any attempt to command, control, or otherwise subvert her mind, as long as the one forcing it is not a Monarch with a higher Title than herself, rolling Authority + 5 as her Clash of Wills Dicepool.
    Authority also determines how many Servants a Monarch may have under her control at any one time. Vassals are specially designed or birthed servitor Endless created and modified by their Monarch. Servants are, in short, high value retainers.

    The hybrid biology of a Monarch is an interesting thing in that it hard to distinguish what came first: the increased personal power that determines a high rank… or is it the higher station determining increased power?

    Authority Trait Limit Psi Energy Cap/Spending Servant Limit
    1 5 10/1 1
    2 5 11/2 2
    3 5 12/3 3
    4 5 13/4 4
    5 5 14/5 5
    6 6 16/6 8
    7 7 19/7 12
    8 8 22/8 16
    9 9 26/9 20
    10 10 30/10 25

    Autonomy (may need revision)

    As beings altered by alien influence, Monarchs do not possess Integrity. Instead, what they possess is Autonomy, how much independence and free will he allows his own swarm.

    At high levels of autonomy, the swarm often acts on its own, perhaps to the detriment of the Monarch.
    At low levels of autonomy, the swarm rarely disobeys, but performance is reduced as every action and whim must be micromanaged by the Monarch herself.

    Autonomy has breaking points up and down, the direction of which is determined by the action.

    Disrespecting authority, either earthly or Endless, causes autonomy to rise for instance.


    Virtue and Vice
    None yet

    Touchstones
    None yet


    Other base abilities

    Telepathy
    All Monarchs possess a degree of telepathic power. It is through this telepathy that they control and coordinate their swarms. There is no roll and the creatures under the Monarch’s control obey to the best of their ability while other Endless, Monarchs included, receive whatever message was sent. However, this telepathy, by default, only works on other Endless.

    The range of telepathic communications is at 1 Mile per Authority

    Regeneration
    As masters of the flesh, all Endless possess a degree of regenerative ability; this also applies to Monarchs. Monarchs passively recover 1 Bashing every 1 minute and 1 Lethal every hour.



    Vacuum Resistance
    As an extraterrestrial race, Endless, including Monarchs, are given the power to survive even in the cold darkness. They do not need to breath oxygen, do not suffer radiation sickness do not suffer from low or zero pressure in their environment, and do not suffer from cold temperatures, up to around 100 C.

    This also means it’s impossible to strangle or suffocate any Endless.


    Suspend Animation
    Endless are perfectly capable of storing themselves away either to pass the time or to preserve resources, such as when trapped in orbit and unable to escape.

    They may go into a coma indefinitely only to awaken when it is appropriate to do so via wrapping themselves within a Chrysalis. They do not need food or sleep when in Suspended Animation.

    Colony Overlord
    Monarchs rule hives deep under the earth and far away from human eyes or global traffic routes. It is from these hidden places far away from humanity’s reach that the Endless thrive.

    Creatures from the hives may venture up to the surface for a limited time, often to gather resources or do the will of their ruling Monarchs.

    In game terms, Monarchs can take basic worker units called Drones, either individually or as a group, and instruct them to do her bidding. Alternatively, more advanced Endless, called Vassals may be called upon as well.

    (Mechanics under Construction)


    Caste
    Though the Monarchs are all rulers, even between rulers, there is a difference in purpose and role. Not every Monarchs is called to lead armies, but some are intended to be great warriors. Others instead are made to explore the limits of their own evolution whereas others are intended to maintain their Hives and little else.

    Caste is the biological division in primary function between Monarchs, indicating the role they were assigned at “birth”. Caste determines a Monarch’s base statistics in her “true” form as well as what special and unique powers she might have.

    There are five Castes a Monarch could take, representing their role within their Court
    Marshal Warriors, Generals, Guardians
    Scribe Learners, Theologians, Scientists,
    Steward Architects, Industrialists, Economists
    Diplomat Companions, Advisors, Ambassadors
    Shade Scouts, Plotters, Assassins


    Court
    A Monarch is unlike typical supernaturals in that they lack a “Social Splat” equivalent. Instead, they possess membership in a Court, a ruling body of other Monarchs in order of relative power leading up all the way to the King or Queen.

    The King or Queen is an absolute ruler of all Monarchs in this group, though there may be other Monarchs that hold sway or limit her powers in a sort of Council. The deliberations and laws passed by this group affect an nation, small by the standards of global politics, but large enough that one might realistically hide under all of France.

    Below the Council and the King or Queen are the Vassals that serve under them, who contribute taxes of material or provide warriors for their levees. And below those Vassals are serve under them who do the same thing, and there’s the Vassals under that group.

    Many new Monarchs are not given a choice when selecting a Court. They are either with the local one or they aren’t. And if they aren’t, well, there was a reason small nations sometimes were short lived.

    While many Monarchs have to put up with taxes or get dragged onto wars against their own Court members or even other Courts, Monarchs in a Court do have the advantage that their telepathy range covers the entire region that their Court controls and some miles outside of it, largely due to neural networking infrastructure.


    Principalities
    Every Monarch must be versed in the arts of rulership. Within her very genetic code are the instinctive and preprogrammed mannerisms and gene sequences necessary to rule and command over her Colony like a Queen. But Monarchs are imperfect, knowing and using only a fraction of what lies within them. With time and practice, she may awaken these dormant and hidden genomes and genesplices to tap into her true potential, growing stronger with her increased mastery.

    Blades of engaging foes up close, rending and crushing them with your own physical might. Favored most of all by Marshals
    Bows of striking enemies from afar, leveraging deadly range for lethal strikes.
    Shields of warding, growing thick carapaces and enduring sieges through fortification and fortitude.

    Staves of wizardry, warping space and physics to suit your ends if only for a short time.
    Spheres of divination, seeing information through visions and prophesy.
    Crucibles of alchemy, of changing substance to suit your ends through chemistry. Favored most of all by Scribes

    Hammers of creation, shaping the world by tools, hand, and claw. Stewards prize this above all.
    Challices of elixirs, potions and poisons to mend and maim.
    Records of time, of seeing… and living in more than just the now.

    Scepters of dominion, converting and subverting lesser beings by your will through corruption and hammering against the will of others
    Crowns of command, of allowing others to see your authority and swaying the masses with honeyed words. Diplomat’s signature Principality.
    Quills of messages, conversing with others through unspoken and unwritten word.

    Veils of deception, of tricks, illusions, and lies. The Shade’s prefered tool.
    Censers of clouds, vapors that fill the lungs with pleasure or pain
    Cloaks of wings, to fly and to move against gravity and physics.


    Shapeshifting
    One unique trait among the Endless that separates the Monarch from her Endless Hordes is the power to change shape, adopting a human form to blend in with the human world.

    In order to use the fullness of their powers, Monarchs need to transform into the more appropriate “Noble” Form. Alternatively, she may desire to shed aside her inhuman nature in order to evade detection. In either case, she must transform.

    This action requires no roll, but the speed of the transformation determines what price must be paid.

    By spending a whole minute slowly disfiguring the body, the transformation has no cost.
    In order to hasten the process to take only a single round, the monarch must take 1 Lethal damage, painfully twisting her own body to hasten the process.
    And in order to reduce the time it takes to transform as a reflexive action, the Monarch must take 1 aggravated, actively disregarding internal safeties and massively twisting her body in painful, damaging ways.

    Regardless of the intent, witnessing a Monarch transform is a visceral and bloody affair.

    Ordinary humans suffer a breaking point against Integrity just witnessing the transformation or looking at the Monarch in her Noble Form. Repeated exposure may make normal humans more resistance.

    Side Note: Because of the unusual, metanormal and multidimensional nature of the Monarchs, yes, clothing is preserved between transformations, but not bags or other equipment unless it can fit inside a pocket.


    Human Guise

    For all intents and purposes, Monarchs seem entirely human, but this comes at the downside of denying almost all of a Monarch’s power. Only through the use of metanormal powers can Monarchs be separated from the mundane.

    While in her human guise, a Monarch is unable to employ many of her powers as her body registers as completely human for many practical purposes. Her own Colony does automatically recognize her no matter what her form is and she is still able to command it via her telepathy.

    The purpose of this form is largely to remain covert as the Monarch’s creators do not seem interested in making their presence known to the world at large. Failing to conceal oneself is a breaking point that raises Autonomy.


    Noble Form
    As perfect fusion of Endless biomass and human essence, a Monarch wields vast power when she reveals her true state and displays the heritage that she was adopted into.

    The exact nature and physical appearance of the form is varies and is not permanent for as Monarchs grow and evolve, they “molt” out of previous versions. One Monarch may begin her career in the body of an overgrown grub and shifts into a gigantic rhinoceros beetle once she mutates wings and armor. Regardless, one thing is common, a Noble Monarch is not human.

    Before factoring in Evolution, Noble Form possesses the following features:
    Full access to all Monarch powers
    Caste Boons: Monarchs gain increased statistics and unique powers dependant on their designated Caste.
    Biological Combat Equipment: With her claws, teeth, or talons, the Monarchs do lethal damage to opponents in melee.

    Last edited by Almarck; 03-28-2016, 09:53 PM.

  • TheHailStormer
    replied
    Hi, I'm the guy who made the Discord. And yes, the link does expire in 1 day.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    A Discord has been created: https://discord.gg/uZRgGh (Link expires in 1 day, I think)

    Leave a comment:


  • ajf115
    replied
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

    Dunno. I can make a private-ish doc in the drive folder, if you want.
    Sure. That'd be handy. I'll sort out the Organization rules either this evening or tomorrow.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
    OK, I can access the GDoc folder just fine.


    *Goes to dig out Geist manuscript*

    Will I be shivved by OP's lawyers if I put up the skeleton of the Organization rules here?
    Dunno. I can make a private-ish doc in the drive folder, if you want.

    Leave a comment:


  • ajf115
    replied
    OK, I can access the GDoc folder just fine.

    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
    Obviously, Drones and such wouldn't have any Virtue, Vice, or Aspirations other than Colony derived ones.
    *Goes to dig out Geist manuscript*

    Will I be shivved by OP's lawyers if I put up the skeleton of the Organization rules here?

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Obviously, Drones and such wouldn't have any Virtue, Vice, or Aspirations other than Colony derived ones.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    So...

    Everyone who has seen the Geist previews on Organization Rules. What about modelling Colony on that?

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by Almarck View Post
    Any of you. Can you download the cache of stuff we have to host it from now on?
    Alright, I think I have everything copied. Here is the link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...vU?usp=sharing

    Can people confirm they can view?
    Last edited by Vent0; 09-27-2018, 07:21 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Almarck
    replied
    Any of you. Can you download the cache of stuff we have to host it from now on?

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Either of which guys?

    Leave a comment:


  • Almarck
    replied
    So, I'd like to ask one of you guys to copy the documents to hold them from now on, so that you can essentially take over or hold the data for me.
    I'm not exactly able to maintain hold of it moving forward. And well, either of guys should be able to copy it and hold onto the text documents.

    I'm not able to work on this project anymore. So... yeah. Probably best to make it so someone else has to do it. Or it just because open source.

    I don't want to keep the data under this
    Last edited by Almarck; 09-27-2018, 06:44 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post


    On the other hand, their short mention in Dark Era Companions seems to point them as being 'true' aliens.



    Ha HA! Take that continuity!

    (Alternatively: The 1940s origin story is a cover-up)

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
    Agreed. Maybe these 'aliens' could even be related to spirits from other alien Shadows. Who's to say that on, for example, Jupiter spirits haven't evolved into something sufficiently unlike Earth's spirits that they've developed something which could be considered technology? Again, this is CofD. Magic and sci-fi don't have to be mutually exclusive. See the God-Machine.

    EDIT: Also, Visitors don't seem to technically be aliens, and they're very recent. Quoting the wiki:

    That said, I don't have Immortals open in front of me right now, so...

    On the other hand, their short mention in Dark Era Companions seems to point them as being 'true' aliens.

    Blood bathers and body thieves comprise the larger groups of aspirant immortals focal to this era, though others
    exist. Humans known as the Reborn and the Eternals pursue their own schemes, while an apparent alien threat with
    alarming knowledge of the Judges secretes itself into cults far and wide.
    Very few Visitors exist on Earth, yet for some reason, they choose this era to dispatch a reconnaissance mission.
    These parasites latch on to their hosts’ brainstems and manipulate victims as expert puppeteers. It seems they possess
    great interest in the Isireion Prophecies’ workings, the fate of Arisen conflict in Egypt for some reason important
    to these aliens. The handful of Visitors engaged apparently understand all about the Judges and Rite of Return,
    and find the entire thing hilarious. They speak of Judges as if they were nothing — mere children playing with toys
    so long they have long since lost interest. Visitors are still passengers in their hosts’ bodies, so while the human can
    move, the alien strongly advises its host what to do. A Visitor’s host is effectively immortal, able to regrow body
    parts and never age. Only with destruction of the host’s brain is the Visitor removed. The alien is capable of communicating
    telepathically with other Visitors, via images and sensory information, up to a distance of 100 miles.

    Leave a comment:


  • ajf115
    replied
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

    Or see about throwing in a vague reference to the Visitors (from Immortals), the CofD other alien reference.
    Agreed. Maybe these 'aliens' could even be related to spirits from other alien Shadows. Who's to say that on, for example, Jupiter spirits haven't evolved into something sufficiently unlike Earth's spirits that they've developed something which could be considered technology? Again, this is CofD. Magic and sci-fi don't have to be mutually exclusive. See the God-Machine.

    EDIT: Also, Visitors don't seem to technically be aliens, and they're very recent. Quoting the wiki:

    Humans hosting Visitors are the youngest form of immortal, as the Visitors came into existence during the 1940s following the detonation of the first nuclear weapons; originally nature spirits, a combination of the beliefs of human society and the effects of the atomic bomb on the spirit world warped them into creatures of flesh and blood that seek to either better or thwart the path of mankind.
    That said, I don't have Immortals open in front of me right now, so...
    Last edited by ajf115; 01-20-2018, 12:06 PM.

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