Setting Intro Mar 1, 2021 15:19:45 GMT
Post by Timeon on Mar 1, 2021 15:19:45 GMT
Written by Ashenmoon
· three days from now ·
· as the sun is blackened ·
· a god will die ·
Welcome to Shatterbridge: Eclipse!
What’s this? It’s a forum-based RPG/strategy/play-by-post game, that’s what. And it’s also an experiment in collaborate writing, while being a competetive challenge. We will play a game and write ourselves a story, is the idea - a story about a battle. All in all, it will be fun - join us!
This springs from the tradition of a group of us, previously having played out games like the first Shatterbridge RPG, the massive Great War of Lordaeron, and way way back - the Sovereign of Ludditia. This game is a stand-alone reimagining of the setting created by Timolas which we now call Shatterbridge - even if you're familiar with the old, much will be new. And much still remains to be fleshed out, or outright created, by those participating.
But first, you - the prospective player-writer - are invited to pick a side in the fray to come.
On the one side: the Holy Dominion, ancient, hoary, majestic and occult, ruled by immortal God-Kings since time immemorial. On the other: the Republic, a rebel nation of men, of industry and free spirit - fighting to destroy the hated Dominion and liberate mankind.
The Holy Dominion The Republic
We join the story at the climax of a crusade, a prophesied attack launched by the Republic that has pierced deep into the heart of the Holy Dominion. God-King Radiance’s capital is within grasp - and the Great Eclipse draws near. Two days hence, the sun will be blotted out, day will become night - and Radiance may be slain by any common man.
With us so far? Essentially it’s an RPG, but with strategy elements and an opposing faction. There will be maps to show the progress of armies across the battlefield, there will be armies in the first place, and you - the player-writer - direct this great mayhem through the perspective of a single character.
The way it works - in brief - is as follows:
First, review the information packed into this thread - there’s lots of it, but don’t let that scare you off! Once you’ve got a grasp of what it’s all about and the setting itself - come up with a character to play. This can be anything: a general, a great sorcerer or a single soldier. Still, no matter the outward appearance of your character, you’ll also build yourself an army to command. Armies - or, the units they are composed of - come in various sizes and specializations. You can command ten thousand grunts into huge battles - or lead a strike force of ten commandos instead. Once done, give a holler to a GM and any details will be ironed out. Finally, you’re ready to start playing the first turn.
Each faction gets its own thread, and its own version of the map, that only members of that faction can access. Here you write your “chapters” or updates. From an in-character perspective you’ll direct your character over the battlefield, and order your character’s troops around. Once a turn is over - three days of real-world time, and as many hours in game-time - GMs will update the maps and inform you of the progress of the battle, and any signs of enemy movement. This goes on until your orders bring your troops into battle, fight the battle, win the battle - or lose the battle...
Whether you’ve done something like this before, if you have never heard of Shatterbridge before, if you want to win the game or tell the most compelling story - come on in!
I. The Story
II. Daimons and Magic
III. Background - brief history
IV. Your character
I. The Story
Every child knows of it. The Great Eclipse.
It comes but once every century, a great darkness blotting out the sun for several hours. Day turns to night and the world is in upheaval. The realm of the daimons draw near and the spirits are restless. The young perish and the old linger. And Radiance, the greatest of all God-Kings, is weak. Weak enough, they say, to be wounded by a mortal man. To be slain.
Ever the years preceding the Eclipse is a hotbed of superstition and unrest. Prophets will arise and predict its exact date - but it is never known, never known for certain when it will arrive. And ever the Holy Dominion has stood strong and protected its God-King. Not since the days of the Malvernian War - when they say the last Palaienid Emperor charged into the Palace of Light to strike Radiance down - has the God-King's security been anything but complete.
And the Palaineid was mistaken in his prediction: the eclipse he had counted on to coincide with his attack came several weeks after the battle was over. His corpse had long fed the birds by then.
But not this Eclipse. This time, the Arbiter is dead and the Holy Dominion is racked by civil war, stumbling on the edge of a precipice. The omens could not have been clearer to the zealous men and women of the Republic. Their scientists have agreed on the date, the exact moment and length of the eclipse to come: six hours and seventeen minutes of complete darkness.
A tyranny that has lasted for a hundred generations can now be ended. The time to cast the demon-lord out of his den is now! The time to kill Radiance is now - and with him, any chance the Dominion has to recover.
And so the Republican army crossed the Bridge That Was Broken. A crusade, and a race against time, had begun. Strike to soon, and risk giving the Dominion time to prepare. Strike too late, and the window of opportunity would be lost.
Relying on the zeal and industry of their soldiers, as well as their superior firepower and the confusion of the Dominion - the Republic struck swift and with no warning. They routed the hastily assembled Dominion forces at the Battle of Marialla. They burned the fields of Sakhran and they toppled the Mansion of Nish-Sapur. As the Dominion drew back before them, they entered the valley where their civilization was born. As they marched they liberated, and families split since the Revolution were united.
As the first sliver of sunlight was covered by the first stage of the Eclipse - the glittering spires, leaping aqueducts and musical gardens of Falorum of the Fables, the First Home, The Jewel of Man - den of the devil - was revealed before them.
And in their way - the grandees of the Holy Dominion with all their hosts. A whirlwind of colors, banners, of men of every language and a dozen nations. Ready to defend the God-King and the sacred world order: the Common Law that binds Man and Daimon in unison.
For too long have the pettiness of Men let the world fall to shambles. For too long have an empire which was once beautiful and good been let go to waste because of Men's weaknesses. The Holy Dominion has always been and must always be - it is the candle in the darkness, the psalm in the silence. Because of men, the Arbiter has died and the world has been lessened. Because of men, the Dominion's borders are threatened by barbarians from beyond. Because of men, Radiance has turned his face away from the world.
But if Men stand strong now, strong by the faiths of their fathers and the gods of their ancestors, then surely He will see their worth. If Men will but hold fast against the vile treachery of their brothers, and turn away this heathen army which has pillaged and burned and defiled the Holy Land - surely then He will see the truth in their hearts. If Men sing His praises as they go into battle, and gladly die with the prayer of the Common Law on their lips - surely then they will be rewarded!
Let the enemy bring their machines of war and poisonous fumes! This tribulation must be outlasted, for only through the Prince of Dawn may order be restored. Only Radiance can end the civil war and reunite the God-Kings of the Holy Dominion. Only by Radiance's blessing and good will can the splendor and glories of old be restored - nay, surpassed! - and the Mansions be rebuilt, greater than ever before.
Only Radiance can bring this world of Man and Daimon back together.
He must not die.
II. Daimons and Magic
Daimons are everywhere in the world of Shatterbridge. These spirits come in all shapes and forms, manifesting the full range of Ideas in the world. There are daimons of fire, of hate, of the old willow by the village well - and so on. Some daimons have grown strong by the business of men - and the strongest of these are called Archons. Within the Dominion, a handful of great Archons rule as God-Kings, worshipped by the masses. Radiance is one of these.
Daimons spring from the inchoate possibilities of the Spirit Realm, having taken on physical form out of desire for substance and strength. Men, meanwhile, have provided them with these forms out of desire for power and a taste of magic. Daimons may lend humans a part of their essence, which the human may master by will, intellect and practice. To the human, it is as if having gained a sixth sense, or a fifth limb - at first, unwieldy and unfamiliar. But as he grows more adept at manipulating this new-found ability, so too does the daimon gain strength.
These abilities come in all shapes and forms. Magi may learn how to grow one's skin thick and hard as rocks, or how to breathe fire; or how to speak and behave with the charisma of a born leader. Servants of the God-King Arbiter could see lies and call down judgement on the guilty - until the Arbiter was destroyed and all his order wiped out.
All daimons have a physical form which they once possessed from a mortal creature. But over the years, many of these bodies have been warped and changed by the daimon's Idea, so that all manner and range of strange beasts may be found wandering the earth. In certain places, the mortal and spirit realms are more connected than elsewhere - and here spirits may cross over by possessing the bodies of dead animals or the like. But more often, it takes a mortal to initiate a Summoning.
Throughout history, there have always been ambitious men ready to pay the price for magic.
III. Background - brief history
Recent history in the part of the world which we are focusing on, is in much influenced by the titular Battle of Shatterbridge. It was in the year 2430, over fifty years ago, that Veronica Hectorius led the Revolution against the Holy Dominion. For years, edicts issued by Radiance meant to curb the onset of technology and innovation had caused disgruntlement. With the onset of new taxes, new Tributes for his Holy Mansions, and new repressions against Man's free spirit, the spark was kindled that led to the creation of the Republic.
After a long and bitter war, the Republic was pushed back by the forces of the Holy Dominion. Veronica Hectorius led her followers in a retreat from the mainland onto the great island of Jovinium. To protect the nascent Republic, the Great Span - a wonder of architecture, the lifeline which had connected the island to the continent for two thousand years - was destroyed.
Not only the Span was destroyed - blasted by the very sciences and chemical powders which Radiance had banned - but a great portion of the Holy Dominion's army. The resulting defeat threw the Dominion into disarray, and Radiance would never again show his face in public.
This gave the Republic the time it needed to fortify its position. Over the years since, the Republic's war ships - with their cannons and expert mariners - have protected Jovinium's shores. As the Holy Dominion has turned on itself, the Republic has grown strong. And five years ago, a blow was struck that forever altered the political landscape: the Arbiter, leader of the God-Kings of the Dominion, was assassinated. His order - the keepers of peace, the glue which kept the Holy Dominion together - was instantaneously wiped out.
The Holy Dominion fell into disarray. Open warfare has followed. The Silhouette of Stars has staked his claim as lord of the Holy Dominion - but many believe that, should he rise to the challenge, it is Radiance who will emerge victorious.
The Holy Dominion included at one point the majority of this world’s population. These mortals lead little lives in the shadows of the God-Kings, abiding by the philosophy-religion of the Common Law. There, laws apply equally to spirits and men, and dangerous, volatile spirits are banished from the realm.
There are many provinces in the Dominion: this game takes place in the region of Varantium. Varantium and Jovinium - home of the Republic - were long paired together as the birthplace of civilization. Since Shatterbridge, they are mortal enemies.
Near every family, village and institution in Varantium has a patron daimon. Though they dominate life, the daimons take little part in the every-day business of the realm. For the most part, the Curia rules over Radiance’s realm.
The Curia’s members are chosen from the greatest and most powerful families in the realm. A dozen or so Great Families hold near all power in the Curia, and all land in Varantium. Members of the Curia make laws and justice, govern provinces, as well as raise and lead armies. Apart from the Great Families’ personal armies - often press-ganged peasants - the only soldiers in Varantium belong to the various religious orders sworn to particular daimon benefactors.
Radiance himself rarely intervene directly with mortals, save through his select emissary among the Curia - the High Palatine. But Radiance has several seraphs, his lieutenant-children, who - when not busy bickering among themselves - carry out their father’s wishes.
The greatest of these are Dawn Lantern and Black Sun. The Curia is split evenly between followers of these two - add to this elaborate, strict rituals and any sort of decision making is excruciatingly slow.
The Republic, based on the island Jovinium, was for countless generations part of the Dominion. Nearly indistinguishable from its sister province, Varantium, Jovinium has since gone through great changes. The early stages of a scientific revolution has bloomed over the green fields of the island, bringing with it great manufactories spreading soot and smoke.
Compared to the Dominion, the Republic is small - but unified. It is a democracy - though those elected to the Senate are generally those with pockets deep enough to buy the votes they need.
Military technology have given the Republic the edge it has needed to survive against the Dominion. Where once their situation was desperate, now the Republic is secure. Indeed, many questioned whether at all to continue the war with the Dominion. But below the veneer of enlightenment and atheism runs the easily inflamed blood of revolutionaries. When word spread that the exact time and date of the Eclipse had been determined beyond a doubt - the people called for a crusade.
The Inquisition of Binders was founded shortly after the Revolution. They ceaselessly scourge Jovinium, rooting out devil-worshippers, enslaving or destroying all daimons they can find. While religion is decried in the Republic, if there was one, it would be that preached by the Inquisitors.
The Admiralty and the military it controls is a prominent, powerful faction within Republic society. While merchants and others have long advocated politics as a means to peace, the Admiralty have ever maintained that for the Republic ever to be safe, the Dominion must be destroyed.
The fluid, popular nature of politics in the Republic have centered power in a Triumvirate of sorts - the First Citizen, High Admiral, and Grand Inquisitor.
IV. Your character
What your character will need for this game is a name and an occupation - the character's place in this world. Take your pick for a job - perhaps become a Republican general, or a Holy Dominion prince? Or something else altogether - this is just a guide; be creative and don't hesitate to bounce ideas off the rest of us!
There is no need for an elaborate backstory to the character you create - though it might be fun to have one anyway! Either way, below is some basic information geared towards understanding the societies involved - and their hierarchy. As a general tip when it comes to creating a characters, the best advice I ever heard was to start with attitude. A distinct, memorable character is defined by their attitude towards the world around them - and that’s how the world notice the characters. Background history and emotional baggage are the hidden factors which determine the attitude, perhaps - but hidden nonetheless.
The Holy Dominion is influenced by oriental themes - Byzantine by way of the Sassanid Empire.
The Dominion is ruled by the God-Kings - and there are several. The one most important to this game is Radiance. Other include Silhouette of Stars, Burning Man, and the outcast Trickster.
Radiance has several seraphs - children he created or lieutenants he recruited to govern his realm, and religion. Most important is Dawn Lantern and Black Sun. Nearly every daimon in his realm - Varantium - is either descended or otherwise clients of Radiance or his lieutenants.
The Curia and its Prelates are the mortal men who rule in Radiance’s empire, led by the High Palatine. The members of the Curia descend from a dozen or so Great Families - extended clans with branches in every level of society, from high to low.
The paterfamilia Princes of these clans can trace their ancestry through millennia of service to a daimons. The Shuren Prince, for instance, is the fifty-fifth of his line to carry the Touch of Black Sun. Long ago, the first Shuren was a pacter who summoned the daimon Black Sun into the world. Now, centuries later, Black Sun is the master of the house and the Shurens her devoted servants.
The Shuren are one example: there are many like them. Even lesser families, down to village peasants, pride themselves on their ancestors and pay devotion to their daimons still. Through this devotion, worshippers may be granted a daimon's Spark to develop and grow the daimon's strength. But many lesser daimons are forgotten, and with no mortals to tend them their powers and minds fade over time until they are little more than animals roaming the wild.
Beyond the family systems, there are several military orders sworn directly to a patron daimon. The greatest of these orders are the Archonian Knights, sworn to Radiance directly.
The Republic takes inspiration from ancient Rome and Great Britain in the early stages of the industrial age.
The Republic is ruled by the Senate. Members of the Senate are elected by popular vote by able citizens. The Senate rules over the Inquisition and Admiralty - in theory, at least. In recent years, it has almost become the opposite as those institutions have developed into powerful political factions. Other political parties in the Senate include the Mercers (merchants) and the “Old Bloods” - an aristocracy of early revolutionary leaders.
As the years of separation between the Republic and Dominion have gone on, a steady influx of refugees have escaped the Dominion to rejoin their families - or else to escape the God-Kings' oppression. Republic society has been divided on how to meet them. Some welcome these lost brothers with open arms - and call for military action to set those still trapped on the mainland free. Others view them with more skepticism, and are concerned with spies and the limited resources and land available on Jovinium.
While the Republic claims such ideals and democracy and equality for all, in practice there is a clear class society with upper, middle and lower classes. The military, headed by the Admiralcy, is vast and engages a large portion of the population - and offers the possibility of advancement for those of the lower classes.
Also by ideology, the Republic forswears religion and daimons of all kinds. The Inquisition of Binders alone have permit to do business with daimons - and only in order to destroy them completely.
· a single grain of rice ·
· can tip the scales ·
· one man may be the difference ·
· between victory and defeat ·