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 House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion

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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:25 pm

I suppose that I should call it a night here.  I have five more entries in The Cold Womb before it reaches a perfect 100, and I suppose that #100 should be the epilogue ("A Final Word").  I'm wondering if the remaining four entries should be about possible or suspected affiliations with the undead, the various identifications or connections that Al-Shadan was never quite able to verify.  As an example, one potentially problematic and slanderous lead which may or may not be included here in the Cold Womb would be the somewhat uncommon suspicion that the Emperor has lived for so long because he himself is an undead creature (even though he's not, in truth).

Probably not, seeing as Al-Shadan was all about educating future generations of undead slayers, and hearsay, rumors and mere suspicions have a way of getting people in trouble when they turn out to be false or ill-founded. I'm open to suggestions.  What do you think?
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:09 pm

I wouldn't think so.... It might be one thing for Al-Shadan to connect the dots about House Cold and why he believes them to be necromantic, in spite of having no hard proof, but entirely another to spread common gossip or innuendo about someone. Let alone the faceless emperor, to whom his own nation is beholden to and is ultimately his Liege Lord....

That goes from education to douchbaggery rather quick.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:46 pm

That's what I figured.  Stuff like that could get people censured, jailed, banished or even killed, and that's not what Al-Shadan would want for any of his successors.  Even broken or forfeited alliances could be bad news.  "Well, I would help you take down Vorog the Embattled and whatever other liches he may have associated with, but your lineage's progenitor once baselessly insinuated that my holy order was a treacherous collective of masquerading necrophiles, and we would eat our own hearts before we ever allowed ourselves to sink to such depths of depravity.  So hit the road, buttface."

So...maybe a few more places where the undead and/or their living allies are found in great numbers, or maybe entries on undead templates.  Like Evolved Undead or Swarm-Shifters, both of which are templates which can be applied to existing undead creatures.  The former has a chance of being applied for every 100 years of the creature's existence, imbuing the creature with heightened Abilities and Saves, increased Natural Armor Class, new spell-like abilities (such as Confusion, Haste or Unholy Blight), Turn Resistance and/or more.  The latter enables any intelligent and self-aware undead creature to move about or escape harm by changing itself into a mess of small, moving things...a mummy king whose body temporarily disperses into drifting sand, a vampire who collapses into a swarm of scurrying rats, a ghoul who quite literally falls apart into an assortment of mobile body parts, and so on.  There are no solid associations with the swarm-shifting undead there; it could be the mummy who breaks up into crawling body parts and the ghoul who turns into sand.  Or rats.  Or scorpions.  Or spiders.  Or maggots.  Or grave dirt.  There's quite a selection of allowable swarms in Libris Mortis.  It all depends on what you feel like applying to the creature, perhaps in light of the creature's history; a mohrg who lived in a swamp while his lungs drew breath might dissolve into a swarm of leeches, while a mohrg who lurked around a heavy pine forest might break apart into a swarm of fir beetles.  A mohrg who used to be a serial killer who worked out of a pig farm might disperse into a swarm of flies when threatened.  But again, there are no hard and fast guidelines on what kind of undead creature can become what kind of swarm, which can be useful for changing things up, making your monsters a bit more unpredictable and throwing the players off.  "Hey, the last two wight lords we met crumbled into centipedes, and the one before them didn't change into diddly-jack! Why is this one exploding into a flapping, squeaking cloud of albino flying foxes?  What gives?"



...yeah, something like that.

I'll think on it a bit more.  Smile
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:05 am

Ok, I lost it at "hit the road, buttface.'

But in any case, it's all good but again, without posts, none of us will ever find any of these entries. Sad

So now do we get to debate and puzzle over Karkova? The civil war are some of my favorite musings.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:09 am

Ok, so... new Civil war questions and puzzles. Cuz I'm gonna snap without posts or distractions..... bounce

So then, the Rebel nations included Ghalbatastan and United Escaldenia. Ghalbatastan was fighting Lebeq and Lebeq Prime for the whole thing it seems and since all 3 are still there, ...it was a draw?

U.E is an island nation that got it's navy smoked, so I can assume that they were pretty much trapped on their island.... for ...34 years? Did the Empire never really cross swords with them?

After the war turned against karkova, did the Empire ever look to punish the two rogue nations, or was the Empire just too jacked up to do anything about them?

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:33 pm

Truth be told, those are two of the nations which are mostly virgin clay, because I haven't invested much thought into their cultures or origins, which is why I haven't mentioned them much (if at all), which I'm guessing is what attracted your attention to them, right?  Wink

Before the Empire arrived centuries ago, the three islands of now-United Escaldenia consisted of five tribes who incessantly warred with each other for a seemingly endless variety of reasons...territory disputes, the chieftain or prince of one tribe lusting for the queen or princess of another, possession of holy sites, possession of holy relics or other treasures, and so on.  When the Empire's explorers gave way to diplomats and military envoys, the Emperor offered the five tribes an opportunity to join the Empire and partake in all its prosperity, on the condition that the five tribes would strike accords with each other and put an end to their constant feuding.  The tribes answered the Emperor's offer by summarily joining forces with each other and leveling their spears and blades at the Empire's envoys, demanding that the Empire leave their islands and never return.  The Empire answered their answer with a massed naval invasion, and the tribes were soundly routed.  But the chieftains were spared and brought before the Emperor, who had set foot on Escaldenian soil to point out to the chieftains that, in uniting against the Empire, their tribes had proven themselves to be capable of setting aside their differences and establishing some measure of peace and unity among themselves.  Humbled by the realization, the tribes finally agreed to honor the Emperor's terms (in part because of an earnest appreciation for the idea of Escaldenia as a united people, and in part because the brief conquest had illustrated quite clearly that the Empire could always crush them again if they fell back into their old feuds and grudge wars).  And so United Escaldenia was born, a nation now so symbolic of the spirit of unity that it has become a sort of neutral ground among the Empire, a place where even the bitterest political rivals throughout the Empire can come to the table together with little to no risk of being assassinated or challenged to a death duel.

And that's about it for the details.  I mean, I haven't even come up with the names for the five tribes or the three islands yet, or whether the five tribes still exist or instead intermarried and merged into one big super-tribe.  More virgin clay there, I suppose.

So there's a tale of disunity leading to unity.  For the reverse transition, we have Lebeq.

Roughly two millenia past, Lebeq, Lebeq Prime and Ghalbatastan were once one nation: The original Lebeq.  And Lebeq, with its sun-washed sands, mountains and badlands, has always held Pelor the Sun God and his church foremost among their faiths and their gods...at least until the Ghalbat Heresy.

Pelor has always scorned the undead, and the Lebeqi ruling class — from sheikhs to sultans — has always been mummified and entombed with much of their wealth in hopes of speeding their transition to a pleasant afterlife.  So no one was expecting the return of Sultan Ghalbata, believed by many among the Empire to be the first known mummy (of the undead type).  Ghalbata had died without leaving any surviving heirs, so after much deliberation from the Church of Pelor, an emir from an unrelated bloodline had been promoted to sultan over Lebeq, never suspecting that Ghalbata would ever come back from death to take his throne.  And yet there Ghalbata stood at the grand door to the royal palace, still garbed in his funerary shroud while declaring that Pelor had allowed him to return to the living lands, reclaim his throne and mend all the wrongs that he had committed during his reign, and that only after accomplishing that and earning Pelor's forgiveness would Ghalbata be allowed to return to his eternal rest.

Naturally, tremendous schisms among both the Church of Pelor and the populace of Lebeq erupted.  Why would Pelor relent on his hard stance against the undead?  Could Ghalbata's plight have been enough to persuade Pelor to permit the curse of undeath just that once, or is Pelor — as consistent as the rising sun itself — beyond sullying his radiant hands by creating an undead creature, even once?  Was Ghalbata a deceiver with wicked aims, or was he earnestly seeking redemption and, therefore, good at heart?  Would the new sultan be obliged to surrender the throne to Ghalbata?  Would Ghalbata be denied his claim to the throne due to the Church of Pelor's coronation of the new sultan ("and what's done is done")?  Or would Ghalbata even be fit to rule at all, given his cursed and incomplete state?

Long story short, roughly half of Lebeq refused Ghalbata's claim, deeming him to be abomination and defending the new sultan's station.  The other half, persuaded by Pelorite clerics who believed Ghalbata's claims (and with them, the idea that Pelor might use undeath as a curse and as a most visible sign of Pelor's scorn), supported Sultan Ghalbata's return to the throne.  Thus, the Ghalbat Heresy emerged into being, and the sultanate split roughly along the present-day border between Ghalbatastan and Lebeq Prime.

Eventually, at some point during the Lebeqi Civil War, Sultan Ghalbata revealed his true colors; he was not the penitent that he had pretended to be.  Most of his followers stuck with him, either believing that his questionable deeds were ultimately serving some master plan and/or the greater good, believing that his campaign against the faithful Pelorites was so successful that he was still fit to lead them, or — as was the case with many tribes of mountain warriors and mercenaries who supported his claim — not particularly caring whether Ghalbata was good or evil, so long as he kept the gold coming.  However, his more conscientious followers, seeing that they were mistaken in their support for Ghalbata, faced a choice: Take a stand against him right then and there (and be butchered by the superior numbers of Ghalbata's faithful), or clandestinely form an underground resistance among Ghalbata's holdings, with the roots of that resistance leading all the way to the desolate, sea-swept marshes at the far southwestern tip of the land and to whatever camps and refuges could be built there.

Occupied with his campaign against the Northeasterner Lebeqis, Sultan Ghalbata did not notice the resistance spying, stealing, sabotaging, burning and destroying the supports for his military might — all while coordinating with their Northeasterner sympaticos — until a Pelorite hit squad accosted him in his own study and put an end to him, then cremated his mummified corpse to better ensure the end of his undeath.  No more Sultan Ghalbata meant no more contention for the sultanate's throne, so the war ended swiftly after...but not without leaving its marks.

Because the northeastern half of Lebeq had remained faithful to Pelor's teachings all throughout the upheaval, the Church of Pelor decreed that those lands would be renamed Uli Lebeq (or Lebeq Prime in the Common tongue), while the resistance nation which had formed along the southwest reaches would retain the name of Lebeq.  And the emirs and warlords in the middle, adamantly refusing to admit that they were wrong, took on the name of Ghalbatastan in homage to their supposedly great, rightful and wrongly assassinated sultan.  And political tension, unsteady truces and occasional border skirmishes have rumbled along both of Ghalbatastan's land borders ever since.

So Lebeq is now a vassal state subject to Lebeq Prime, while the rebel nation of Ghalbatastan isn't.  And though Ghalbatastan never rebelled against the Empire as a whole, the Emperor himself has noticed Ghalbatastan's troubled history and origins, as well as its contentious relations with its neighbors.  And despite the Emperor's oft-repeated reprimands and occasional sanctions against Ghalbatastan's leadership, that strife persists.  And that's right around where my details on the three nations end.

So perhaps you have a good idea for some of that virgin clay there.  Would a civil war throughout the entire Empire rekindle the ages-old embers of vengeance and defiance among the Ghalbatastani people and hurl them into another full-blown war against their neighbors?  As strong as Karkova was — strong enough to stave off the rest of the Empire for a time — would Karkova have found a ready-made ally in Ghalbatastan, just as they found an ally in the greater portion of a divided Hrothjurgan?  Would the prospect of helping Karkova and Hrothjurgan Major break the Empire — and with that, the promise of being rid of both Lebeq and Lebeq Prime forever — have been too tempting for the people of Ghalbatastan to resist?

As for United Escaldenia, how stable would their peace be after the Imperial Civil War drew to a close, and with that, the threat of the Empire re-establishing peace by force if the five tribes (if indeed they still exist) were to return to their old ways?  Would that be possible, or would the people of Escaldenia be too proud of their achievements and of their station as a renowned place of peace and unity  to return to their old feuds?  Have the five tribes perhaps intermarried and befriended each other to the point where their bygone strife has by now become unthinkable?

Thinking is good.  Thoughts?  Smile


Last edited by The House of Ainsley on Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:48 am

I think that we definitely need to get the game going again so I can start messing with stuff!!!

Just FYI, I get much of my information from here; http://illusionvale.forumotion.com/t357p125-the-player-character-worktable

Here;  http://illusionvale.forumotion.com/t398-the-house-of-ainsley-bygone-years

And here; http://illusionvale.forumotion.com/t364-the-timeline

So then Ghalbatastan and E. U. were more allies of circumstance with Karkova? Sort of like Finland was an Axis power in WWII, not out of love for Hitler or shared ideology, but because Russia invaded them and Germany was fighting Russia.

Perhaps EU was still ticked because they had been 'subjugated' and annexed into the Empire so they saw a chance to lash out? End result it looks like they got their collective butts handed to them and an island nation would certainly take pride in, and livelihoods from, the sea and their navy. All of which was sent to the bottom of the sea by Florilla. Methinks some embers might be there to fan...  scratch

Then Lebeq.... So Lebeq Prime is an Imperial nation, but Lebeq is more like a satellite? A territory of the Empire via Lebeq Prime?

Their part in the Red Alliance also sounds more like a matter of convenience rather than ideology. Given the bitter history, they likely have little to no trade with each other, so that would make Ghalbatastan's most likely trading partners Karkova and Calaix. Then tensions rise and fighting starts outside their borders, which causes tensions and old rivalries to spark inside their borders. The supply raids start, all baised on their supplies provided by 'the enemy", then the armed clashes, then the border feuds...then blamo! Full on war.

Still, Ghalbatastan was not reduced to wildlands, like Karkova and Hrothjurgan was...nor was it reabsorbed into Lebeq, so while they may have been defeated, they were not destroyed. Again more evidence that the Empire just couldn't manage to do much else militarily after the fall of Karkova. It seems a likely scenario that the Empire just left them all to fight it out among themselves while concentrating on greater military threats. The war ends and both sides go back to an uneasy truce...or just stop fighting out of economic, moral and human exhaustion.

Oh yes, DEFINITELY some fertile ground for an enterprising ner do well to sew a little vengeance and strife.


I likewise have some ideas about Karnoz's war history:

The Imperial nations of Shadri zor and Malanobas were conquered by Karkova and occupied. Surely a contentious battle for those countries was fought and likewise attempts to liberate them by Imperial forces. I had the idea that Karnoz would have been a part of that theater of operations. Towards the end, Karnoz, acting as a wilderness scout and saboteur, was a part of the battle for Jola's Watch, on the Shadri zoran border.

After Kaganovich headed to Zelenzo Ford, Karnoz was a part of a reserve force which when finally called forward, learned that the battle at Zelenzo Ford was lost. Rather than march towards a likely death and impossible victory, Karnoz deserted, returning to Karkov and fleeing with his father Deitrich just before the imperial forces were able to surround the city.

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:54 pm

So after last night's cell phone chat, and in regard to resuming Keitha's chapter after my long absence, I've started composing that new topic on the dreaded Underdark and the less known yet equally dangerous (if not more dangerous) Underdeep.  http://illusionvale.forumotion.com/t542-worlds-below-the-underdark-and-the-underdeep

And now, Drak's last post.  Smile


GoldenDrakon wrote:
I think that we definitely need to get the game going again so I can start messing with stuff!!!

Indeed.  Smile

GoldenDrakon wrote:
So then Ghalbatastan and E. U. were more allies of circumstance with Karkova? Sort of like Finland was an Axis power in WWII, not out of love for Hitler or shared ideology, but because Russia invaded them and Germany was fighting Russia.

...which was pretty amusing when Finland whooped Russia's butt something fierce in the Winter War (with Simo Hayha playing no small role in that butchery), then when Germany came up to Finland demanding that they fall in line and kiss Hitler's ass, Finland turned on them and handed them a smackdown or three.  Don't trifle with the Finns!   Cool


GoldenDrakon wrote:
Perhaps EU was still ticked because they had been 'subjugated' and annexed into the Empire so they saw a chance to lash out? End result it looks like they got their collective butts handed to them and an island nation would certainly take pride in, and livelihoods from, the sea and their navy. All of which was sent to the bottom of the sea by Florilla. Methinks some embers might be there to fan...  scratch

I hadn't quite decided 100% on a particular reason why United Escaldenia turned on the Empire, but I'd say that that's the perfect reason right there.  It would be like if Hawaii, nursing an old grudge over tribal subjugation and their loss of independence in the 18th Century, was secretly waiting for a reason to declare war on the rest of the United States, and once the day comes when the United States decides that they've had enough static from the United Nations and throws down the gauntlet, there's little Hawaii, just itching for the moment when the United States starts trading blows with Great Britain all over again, at which point Hawaii starts launching beach raids on California with their landing parties screaming "Follow James Hook to Hell, you Imperialist bastards!"   Twisted Evil

(Of course, that scenario would only work out if Hawaii's whopping 10%-of-the-total Pacific Islander population were able to either convince the other 90% to join their cause or turn Rambo and mow them all down despite being horribly outnumbered.  Otherwise, the comparison's close enough, right?)

GoldenDrakon wrote:
Then Lebeq.... So Lebeq Prime is an Imperial nation, but Lebeq is more like a satellite? A territory of the Empire via Lebeq Prime?

Correct; Lebeq's a vassal state to Lebeq Prime.  Lebeq has their own sultana (Sultana Najima Rayhu), but she and her sultanate answer to High Sultan Ashid Mustamir of Lebeq Prime, who in turn answers to the Faceless and Eternal Emperor (and to House Deuscaelum on the whole).  For whatever it's worth, Ashid Mustamir is the fifteenth blood descendant of High Sultan (and former Sultan, and former Emir) Marat Mustamir, the lucky guy who had to deal with all the aforementioned jazz about Sultan Ghalbata Al Araq and the Ghalbat Heresy.  Najima Rayhu is descended from Zadhine Al Mazeaj, the random peasant-woman-turned-war-chief who fortified that swampy tip of latter-day Ghalbatastan and launched the uprising against Sultan Ghalbata from there, a role for which High Sultan Marat awarded her the title of sultana after the Ghalbat War ended with Sultan Ghalbata's assassination and Ghalbatastan was put in their place.

(Unlike Lebeq Prime, Lebeq (or Lebeq Minor) has nothing against matriarchy yet still imposes the man's surname on the woman in every marriage, so the regent's surname changes every generation or two, with the eldest child succeeding to the throne regardless of the child's sex.  Despite their reigning House being named House Al Mazeaj, Lebeq Minor hasn't had a sultan or a sultana named Al Mazeaj for fifteen or sixteen generations.  One of Lebeq Prime's lesser Houses — House Bin Jazarren — still uses patronymics instead of surnames and thus faces a similar source of confusion: Hasun bin Khad, son of Khad bin Malak, son of Malak bin Turwal...and so on.)

With a long-bitter rival perched between the two, Lebeq Prime and their vassal state must confer and communicate with each other through four means: Envoys by land (who must sneak through Ghalbatastan, risking interception all along the way), envoys by sea (who must either sail along the coast and risk Ghalbatastani boarding parties, or veer way out into the ocean and risk sea storms, dwindling supplies and/or overall delays in correspondence), "air mail" messages delivered by pigeons, doves, ravens and other courier birds (...which Ghalbatastani archers love using for target practice.  You've watched Game of Thrones too, right?) and magic (whether it comes as teleportation, astral projection or simple illusory teleconference; unfortunately, capable wizards and sorcerers are costlier and less common than diplomats, messengers and sailors; plus, Ghalbatastan sometimes lets their own spellcasters take a crack at blocking, counterspelling or eavesdropping on communications magic passing between their neighbors).  So much troublesome geography and adverse political relations mean that Lebeq and Lebeq Prime might not hear from each other for months whenever Ghalbatastan perceives some slight from their neighbors and decides that it's time to go on the offensive again.

So why has big, bad Ghalbatastan never been able to snuff out little-bitty Lebeq Minor?  For the same reason why North America's Caucasian settlers and the United States Army never quite managed to take down the Seminole tribe: They live in a big, god-awful swamp, and swamps are surprisingly defensible (so long as the defenders know the territory and the invaders don't).  The first rebels who set up shop in what is now Lebeq were native to that region, and they were all too happy to take the second wave of rebels by the hand, show them around, teach them how to gather food without poisoning themselves, introduce them to all the local flora and fauna (paying particular note to the deadly species) and giving them pointers on how to minimize their chances of catching various harrowing diseases from their environment.  Then the second wave of rebels helped the first wave teach the third wave, and so on.  So when the Ghalbatastani army finally came out of their rocky desert, marched into now-Lebeq and picked a fight with the rebels, the invaders ended up getting stuck up to their hips in heavy mud, ambushed by rebels leaping out of hidden holes and/or bog water (after lurking in it, sunken up to their eyeballs, sometimes for hours before the right moment arrived...), hit from all sides with volleys of poisoned darts, stumbling afoul of swinging logs and other crude traps set by the rebels, eaten by crocodiles, poisoned by vipers, bitten by various blood-drinking mollusks and venomous arachnids, felled by every pestilence in the book (and several more that aren't) and vomiting up their kidneys after foraging up something bad and unwittingly eating it (...because their rations ran out, because they had been slowly slogging through the marshes for weeks, while the rebels were blithely swinging around them on vines and skipping across hidden stepping stones and such...).  It was as much Mother Nature who kicked the Ghalbatastanis out of Lebeq as it was the rebels themselves.

GoldenDrakon wrote:
Their part in the Red Alliance also sounds more like a matter of convenience rather than ideology. Given the bitter history, they likely have little to no trade with each other, so that would make Ghalbatastan's most likely trading partners Karkova and Calaix. Then tensions rise and fighting starts outside their borders, which causes tensions and old rivalries to spark inside their borders. The supply raids start, all baised on their supplies provided by 'the enemy", then the armed clashes, then the border feuds...then blamo! Full on war.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and all that jazz.  "Hey, Karkova!  See that big, sandy patch of land pinched between us?  How about if you punch the crap out of them from your side, and we'll punch the crap out of them from our side, and then we'll split the spoils 50/50 once they're down, and then maybe — just maybe — we can help you punch the crap out of some other guys?"  Wink

GoldenDrakon wrote:
Still, Ghalbatastan was not reduced to wildlands, like Karkova and Hrothjurgan was...nor was it reabsorbed into Lebeq, so while they may have been defeated, they were not destroyed. Again more evidence that the Empire just couldn't manage to do much else militarily after the fall of Karkova. It seems a likely scenario that the Empire just left them all to fight it out among themselves while concentrating on greater military threats. The war ends and both sides go back to an uneasy truce...or just stop fighting out of economic, moral and human exhaustion.

A lot of that martial endurance was from 1) Ghalbatastan mostly operating defensively in their own neighborhood, being miserly with their resources (like desert-dwelling people tend to be) and not overextending themselves like Karkova and Hrothjurgan Major did, and 2) Ghalbatastan's terrain being mostly deserts, mountains and rocky badlands.  The Lebeqis, being familiar with such inclement terrain in their own homeland, only had minor degrees of difficulty invading Ghalbatastan and negotiating the terrain, same as they did when Sultan Ghalbata was strutting around; the Fioriallians and the occasional Amethystine mariner regiment, on the other hand, could barely travel a league without breaking some horse's ankle in a fissure or getting lost in a random sandstorm, meaning that Lebeq Prime may as well have been flying solo in their campaign against Ghalbatastan (assistance from Lebeq — still employing their guerilla tactics of creeping out of their swamps, robbing Ghalbatastan's precious southern farmlands and ambushing any soldiers who come to stop them before fading back into the swamps — notwithstanding).  So in the end, the Ghalbatastanis were still sitting on their caches of food, water, arrows and whatever else they needed to fight, but those caches were starting to run low, so were their soldiers, their strongest allies had just fallen to the Imperial march and deserters were skipping out on their army and heading for the mountains right and left.  So Ghalbatastan finally said, "To the Hells with all this stupid camel scat" and threw up the white flag, though not without grumbling on and on about those damned Lebeqi pearl-clutchers and whatnot.

As for Lebeq and Lebeq Prime not reining Ghalbatastan back into the fold and reuniting as Old Lebeq, there's also that persistent old dogmatically induced disdain that has pretty well made undesirables out of the Ghalbatastanis.  "Hey, remember when you guys let a gods-damned sack of undead human jerky run your country?  And all because he told you that he was on a righteous quest from our chief god and you believed him?  Hells, Pelor Himself got ticked off and started stripping your clerics of their powers, and you still didn't take the hint!  Yeah, you won't be living that down anytime soon, you damned idiots.  Now take a few steps back; we don't want you infecting us with your heresy!"

Borderline-theocratic monarchies are like that sometimes.  Wink

GoldenDrakon wrote:
Oh yes, DEFINITELY some fertile ground for an enterprising ner do well to sew a little vengeance and strife.

Bring some good horses and camels to the bargaining table; many Ghalbatastanis like to roam around.  For those who don't, bags of seeds for drought-resistant crops are an agreeable substitute.  Wink

GoldenDrakon wrote:
I likewise have some ideas about Karnoz's war history:

The Imperial nations of Shadri zor and Malanobas were conquered by Karkova and occupied. Surely a contentious battle for those countries was fought and likewise attempts to liberate them by Imperial forces. I had the idea that Karnoz would have been a part of that theater of operations. Towards the end, Karnoz, acting as a wilderness scout and saboteur, was a part of the battle for Jola's Watch, on the Shadri zoran border.

After Kaganovich headed to Zelenzo Ford, Karnoz was a part of a reserve force which when finally called forward, learned that the battle at Zelenzo Ford was lost. Rather than march towards a likely death and impossible victory, Karnoz deserted, returning to Karkov and fleeing with his father Deitrich just before the imperial forces were able to surround the city.

...or at least hurrying back to Karkovagrad in hopes of reuniting with his father Deitrich and getting him out of the city before the Empire could lay siege to it.

How did that go?  Stay tuned for Gustav's chapter, The Song of Blood and Steel to find out!  I'll get back to it, I promise.  Cool
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Wed May 09, 2018 5:16 pm

Well, the good news is that I found my most recent copy of Gametable (on one of my external hard drives) and got it to run on this hunk-of-junk Acer again.  The bad news is that the Save file for Keitha's present encounter got corrupted or lost; the last workable save was all the way back when Keitha first encountered the three escaped duergar slaves.  So I've had to rebuild the map from scratch, going off of MapKeitha012.jpg (Keitha's last encounter pic).


I'm halfway done with her latest update in another Chrome tab; if all goes well, Jazman will be getting her email notification today.  Smile

I've also kicked off my new and admittedly ambitious project, an attempt to replace and refine all of the old world maps in this campaign and its forum to date, while fleshing out the nations and the Houses which rule and govern them:

http://illusionvale.forumotion.com/t543-the-world-of-ardonia-regions-nations-and-houses

Told you it was ambitious.  I may be diving into the deep end here.   Shocked

For some reason, the two halves of the maps' legend or key were done on sketch paper from the same pad, but my scanner's not picking up the paper's soft brown tone for the second half of the map key.  And if I try to induce sepia toning through Paint Shop, it blots out the details on the key's entries.  I'll work on it.

And if y'all have any suggestions or critiques for the items themselves, let me know!*  I'm considering picking another color for the swamps and marshes; the yellow-brown is too close to the yellow for the sandy deserts, which might lead to some confusion down the road.  I might do something about the jungle/tropical forest bit while I'm at it.

* Within reason, of course.  Coloring a forest hot pink just so it won't be mistaken for any other topographical features on the map would result in a rather ridiculous-looking forest, don't you think?

I also Googled up the differences between swamps, bogs, marshes and bayous while I was at it.  Marshes, swamps, bogs and fens are all the same thing: Wetlands.  The only real differences are nutrition content and composition of the soil, as well as which forms of plant life can grow there based on those differences.  In brief: Swamps have trees, marshes don't, bogs don't even have grass like marshes do (because all the frickin' peat moss killed off the plants), fens are somewhere between marshes and bogs as far as how many plants grow there, and does anyone really use the word "fen"?  D&D treats them all the same anyway; whether it's a swamp, a marsh or a bog, your Movement is reduced to half unless you're on a road, and you encounter more lizardfolk as well as the occasional black dragon.

Also, a bayou isn't a wetland at all; it's a body of water with little or no land to help you travel through it, so it's worse than a bog!  Better grab your boat.

https://knowledgenuts.com/2013/12/02/difference-between-a-marsh-a-swamp-a-bog-and-a-fen/

Anyway, I'm going to bed; I pretty much have to after pulling an all-nighter like this.  Drak, feel free to correct me if I flubbed any of that German High Dwarven in House Harrengart's motto.  You're still fluent, right?  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu May 10, 2018 8:55 am

Wow.

I think 'ambitious' is an understatement. 'Massive' might be a better word for this undertaking. However, if you actually pull it off, it will be a masterpiece of game world detail.

My humble $.02 would be that the second legend page needs to have a darker backdrop. The white mutes everything and distorts detail. Nothing pops. I also can't see a difference from a lesser border to a road to a trail. Maybe use a dotted line for one?

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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu May 10, 2018 9:14 am

Good evening, Drakon!  It so happens that I'm rolling some dice for Keitha's encounter as we speak.  Even though Gametable has a Dice function, I still use actual physical dice when I can, simply because I trust that the randomness of dice is more genuinely random than the randomness of a computer script.  Smile

GoldenDrakon wrote:
Wow.

I think 'ambitious' is an understatement. 'Massive' might be a better word for this undertaking. However, if you actually pull it off, it will be a masterpiece of game world detail.

Thank you.  I got to looking at all the threads I've made about the backdrop of the campaign, with information scattered here and there all willy-nilly, so I got to thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could have all that information about nations, populaces and sovereigns in one thread?"  I'll be adding a few more bits about Fioriallia tonight while I'm here, before I tuck myself in for the night.

GoldenDrakon wrote:
My humble $.02 would be that the second legend page needs to have a darker backdrop. The white mutes everything and distorts detail. Nothing pops. I also can't see a difference from a lesser border to a road to a trail. Maybe use a dotted line for one?

As I mentioned, the scanner keeps washing the color out of the sketch paper that I used for the second half of the key (which, now that I look at both sheets under my desk lamp, is indeed a bit lighter than the first sheet).  Since I'll have to redo the keys anyway, I'll dig around and see if I have some darker paper lying around; it would lend the white, arctic terrain better visibility as well.

Dashed or dotted lines would serve to better distinguish some features from others, I agree.  I also have to add bridges to the Legend, with four colors to denote bridges made of rope, wood, stone or metal.  And the dark purple which I used for the national borders is too close to black; I'll try switching to a lighter Royal Purple and seeing if that makes a difference.  I simply need the borders' colors to be something distinct and not likely to be found among the various terrain features; a blue border, for example, might be mistaken for a stream or a small river.  So blue's out.

If you have any other suggestions, I'm all ears.  You know that I value your counsel, right?  Cool
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu May 10, 2018 9:36 am

Also:

1)  Seriously.  How accurate was that German?  I use Google Translate, and Google Translate's accuracy is pretty questionable at times.  Just press the switch clickie a few times and you can watch the translations warp until they're way off the mark.  Even though I grew up Roman Catholic, my Latin fluency is still pretty spotty, so I use Google Translate for Latin too.  It took me several tries with Google Translate before I came up with a suitable motto for House Ainsley ("Laurifer Ultra Mors" / "Victorious beyond death"); Google's engine messily devoured all my other attempts.  You just have to keep in mind that "laurifer" translates to "bearing laurels," an old Roman euphemism for "victorious".  It's why Julius Caesar and the various other emperors after him wore crowns which resembled laurel branches fashioned from gold or other prized metals; Julius Caesar kicked tons of ass in order to establish the Roman republic.

(No, tempting though it may be, I'm not going to give the Faceless and Eternal Emperor a crown that looks like laurel branches.  That would just be a little too cheeky for my tastes.   Razz )

2) RANDOM RAP BATTLE BREAK!


Okay, now that that's out of my system.... Laughing

3)  I just added sulfur to Fioriallia's imports, since sulfur would surely find many buyers among alchemists, physicians and mages.  And I just Googled "minerals found in volcanoes" and came up with this page:

http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/170

I never realized that diamonds, rare that they are, are more common around volcanoes.  Even magma has trouble destroying a diamond (despite assertions that diamonds will ignite and burn when exposed to a sufficiently hot flame), and apparently magma has a way of pushing diamonds out of the deep mantle and up towards the surface, where they can be more easily mined.  I'll go ahead and add diamonds to Fioriallia's exports as well; it would be one more reason for that nation to be the epicenter for the Empire's royalty and nobility, wouldn't it?

4)  It also turns out that volcanoes tend to be good sources of aluminum.  The name "aluminum" (or "aluminium" in Europe) is a more modern invention; the ancient Romans refered to the metalloid as "alumen," which, as you may notice in the bit about dwarves crafting metal boats, I altered into "alumenic," because even after playing Dungeons & Dragons for 36 years, I have yet to see a single instance of D&D mentioning aluminum.  So I might as well ask myself, "What would a medieval alchemist call aluminum?" and answer accordingly.

Anyway, so aluminum comes from volcanoes (among other places).  Did I call it or what?  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu May 10, 2018 2:11 pm

And it's done! One down, two to go; I'll see about tackling Gustav's chapter next, then it's back to Karnoz. Sylvea is still waiting for Wraith to come back and pick up the ball again (and here's hoping that she does), the same goes for Corwin and Keagon (though I suspect that we might be waiting indefinitely on those two) and I should probably get back to my Inbox soon and give GOOB a long-awaited reply, then perhaps guide him through character creation from there.

I also haven't forgotten about Gustav's character sheet; I just need to dig it out and get it on my scanner first. Smile

But for now, the bed beckons. Catch y'all soon!
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Fri May 25, 2018 2:59 pm

Okay, all right...big, ugly confession time.

Another reason why I'm a bit slow at cranking the House of Ainsley campaign back up to Full Speed is that I'm not quite ready to kick my Neverwinter Nights habit cold turkey just yet.  For anyone not savvy about Neverwinter Nights, it's basically the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons in online multiplayer form.  But unlike the not-so-successful Dungeons & Dragons Online (which was based on D&D's 3.5 Edition), Neverwinter Nights' multiplayer servers aren't built and run by a soulless, money-hungry, profit-driven corporation; they're built and run by Joe Schmoe Dungeon Masters like you and me, and you can feel the love and the soul which go into these server worlds as a result.  So whenever I'm feeling glum and/or stressed out (a fairly common occurence, alas), it's nice to log into a NWN server and be a D&D player again, for want of a physical table with physical dice, paper and rulebooks for me to belly up to.

The server that I'm stuck on now is Forgotten Realms: The Savage Frontier, which takes place in the Western Heartlands and the High Forest of the Forgotten Realms setting.  The Head DM of Savage Frontier runs a weekly adventure every Tuesday evening, in which four to six of us players show up and go on a quest at the behest of an enigmatic figure known only as "The Old Man," and that's another reason why I can't drop NWN like a hot rock: I'm one of that party's Clerics...to be more specific, a half-orc Cleric of Luthic (the orcish pantheon's Goddess of Caves, Home, Women and Healing...quite a portfolio Luthic has there, but she's Gruumsh's wife and the mother of the rest of the pantheon, so she has to be awesome; too bad orcs are the biggest misogynists in all the Realms, among other vices...).

Another player plays the weekly party's wood elf Cleric of Silvanus; she's better at healing people with herbs and healing kits (by the simple virtue of having a considerably higher Intelligence and more Skill Points than my half-orc has), but my half-orc's Cure spells are about twice as powerful as the elf's Cure spells are, thanks to Luthic's Healing domain.  The elf casts Cure Light Wounds and heals someone for about 12 Damage; my half-orc casts the same spell and heals someone for 25.  So between our two Clerics, we do a pretty solid job of keeping the Paladin, the Fighter, the Rogue and the Barbarian from dying right and left.  Yes, the Paladin can cast a few Cures and Lay on Hands, but let's face it: Compared to Clerics, Paladins suck at healing and buffing a party.  So if either Cleric has to bow out one week, our entire party suffers.  Ao the Overgod forbid that both of us Cleric-players should call in sick.  The party frickin' needs me, man.

But even when there's no DM on duty, the server's scripting does a pretty decent job of handling random encounters, loot and a number of once-a-day quests.  I spend some good chunks of time doing that too, either running through solo adventures or hooking up with other players who happen to be online and forming our own erstwhile adventuring party.  My half-orc cleric's earmarked for the Tuesday Night party (and I can get in trouble if a DM checks in on the server and sees me picking up "extra credit" with her), but I have a good-sized stable of other characters whom I can readily haul out for an adventure...for example, Barleigh Stoughfarrow, my Paladin of Chauntea, Goddess of Agriculture.

(Yes, "Barleigh" is pronounced just like "barley".  There's a reason for that.  Anyway...)

Now, I already have my Creativity Corner put together and ready to go, but I'm still trying to gain steam so I can pick up my pencils again and sketch something.  And the House of Ainsley campaign has had its share of my doodles in the past, and it's going to have even more...say, one or two for a crucial scene.  Karnoz confronts Yorgo and Ballarg?  There'll be a doodle.  Keitha confronts Lorthelytt?  There'll be a doodle.  Sylvea and Ariean track down Bavatur the Plague-Mad?  Doodle.  Gustav rides down either Lieutenant Gargarin or Borbarth the War Ogre (depending on which path he takes through the battlefield)?  Doodle.  Not to mention that topic and the other topic.  So what's a good muse who will get me back in practice?  Well, last night, it turned out that that Savage Frontier server and its forums gave me enough reason to dust off my figure drawing...namely, that Paladin of Chauntea and a topic about what loot items players keep in their characters' inventories for the sake of roleplay, stuff that your character carries around because it's what he or she would carry around.

So my Paladin carries all of this junk around for these reasons:

• One Brass Chalice and one Religious Scroll (for religious rites and sacraments)
• Various amounts of Rye, Barley and/or Wheat (to be given as religious sacrifices to Chauntea, Goddess of the Harvest)
• One Skillet and one Spatula (for cooking Chauntea's bounty)
• Two Clay Saucers, one Clay Bowl and one Ceramic Mug (for either partaking of Chauntea's bounty or serving it to souls in need)
• One Oak Log (claimed from the first Corrupted Treant that she slew, kept as a memento and a personal reminder that any soul — however virtuous or benevolent — can fall from grace if Evil finds them lacking in vigilance)

Also, my Paladin looks like this in-game:





But add some drawing pencils, some 5.5" x 8.5" sketch paper and a dash of creative license, and Barleigh the Paladin might turn into something like this:


(The scythe is Chauntea's favored weapon, and might I mention that scythes are some pretty bad-ass weapons in D&D and in NWN?  Barleigh has Improved Critical: Scythe among her Feats, so she crits more often than most, more so if she has a Keen Edge spell handy.  And on those occasions when she combines Power Attack, Divine Favor and Smite Evil with her Death's Handmaiden (a Scythe +2 with Vampiric Regeneration 1 and the usual x4 Critical Multiplier) and her Strength's +3 Damage bonus, she has been known to land Criticals of around 120 Damage, enough to instantly kill the vast majority of creatures that spawn for her Level.  She even one-shotted an uninjured hill giant that way once.  Just hauled off and disemboweled the poor, dumb bastard.  Fear the scythe!)

So the doodles look as good as I had wanted them to look, and I'm feeling pretty stoked about drawing now.  What will I doodle up next?  Smile

(And if ever y'all get a wild hair and decide to see what all this Neverwinter Nights hooplah is about, Good Old Games is selling NWN with all its expansion packs and four Premium Modules for $10 right now, right here: https://www.gog.com/game/neverwinter_nights_diamond_edition .  It has a lot of staying power for a game that's 13 years old, and both the game's easy scripting and the player community themselves are responsible for that.  Just remember to email GOG and ask them for a new CD Key to type into your installation; every download comes with a generic CD Key, and every multiplayer server out there has banned that generic key because of all the griefers using it to dick around.  Fortunately, GOG has a great staff, and they won't keep you waiting for more than half a day at most.)
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sat May 26, 2018 2:47 am

I see you there, GD. Whassup? Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sat May 26, 2018 9:40 am

The House of Ainsley wrote:
I see you there, GD.  Whassup?  Very Happy

Just reading.

I still have all my NWN Games, to include the Kingmaker teaser expansion. Just have to have an older computer to play them anymore. NWN was and still is (IMHO) one of the best storylines in the RPG game style. I miss it.

Just a gee whiz, STEAM released the original NWN remastered version for $20. I have been thinking about getting it.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sat May 26, 2018 11:31 am

My copy of NWN still runs just fine on my Acer and Windows 10.  Have you tried right-clicking the NWN.exe file and picking Compatability Mode, then setting it to Windows 95 or whatever?

And the one that Steam's selling...isn't that the Enhanced Edition that Beamdog just released?  I've been reading reviews about it; the graphics upgrades that Beamdog promised aren't really there, but among other improvements, there's a Gamespy Master Server replacement (making it easier to find Multiplayer servers) and the Feat-based battle modes (like Power Attack, Expertise and Rapid Shot) stay toggled until you untoggle them...no more of this annoying business with Power Attack shutting itself off just because I killed the last monster in arm's reach (which often happens when there's another monster charging at me and about half a second from hitting me, giving me all of half a second to turn Power Attack on again...).  It's even worse when you're a Wizard who relies on Improved Expertise to avoid getting clobbered, because you're casting spells in melee and that +10 bonus to Armor Class is a lifesaver, and you couldn't care less about the -10 penalty to Attack because you're casting spells in melee.

(I really wish that Bioware had done that toggle thing the first time.  Like, look, Bioware.  I know that Power Attack comes with a -5 penalty to Attack, okay?  How about if you let me worry about turning Power Attack on or off instead of turning it off for me, and I'll be happy to turn it off myself whenever I run into an enemy whose Armor Class is so high that my power attacks are whiff-whiff-whiffing right and left, okay?)

Also, I doodled my bushman-styled, hunting-trophy-collecting Barbarian/Ranger from Savage Frontier too.  Smile




Ashanti's picking up Rapid Shot next Level, but she's done just fine without it so far, largely thanks to Mobility and other Feats.  She killed that bodak just yesterday morning.  In melee.  With her Composite Longbow +2 and a bunch of ordinary arrows.  I probably should have drawn a bunch of arrows sticking out of that dead bodak, or maybe sticking through him; it was a bunch of point-blank shots with a composite longbow, after all.  Maybe I'll go back and change that.

And I was worried about royally boogering up Ashanti's pose (what with all its bodily contortion, foreshortening and perspective) in that doodle with the bodak and the shell necklace, but I think it came out okay after all.  What do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sun May 27, 2018 6:19 am

That's a bodak? I kinda thought it was a Spartan from 300 or something... :p But hey, you've always had the gift of doodle. Far better than I could do.

I might have to give that NWN things a shot with the settings. I never knew that you could change them. But they are all packed away somewhere and I doubt i'll see them for several months.... At least not until our house is up and ready to be moved into.


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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sun May 27, 2018 7:15 pm

Bodaks!  Razz Razz Razz



It's like at some point during their transitions from life to death to undeath, bodaks get a free lower-half-of-face-ectomy, followed by a complementary head-stretching and head-to-toe electrolysis.  I still wouldn't laugh at them, though, not with that instantly lethal gaze attack and all....

(For what it's worth, my bodaks often come fully clothed, in either male or female varieties.  Some of my bodaks aren't human (though I'm still not sure whether or not a dwarven bodak would have any of his big, dwarfy beard left).  Some of my bodaks are even armored.  Twisted Evil )


Then Fourth Edition came out and made bodaks look like this:




...followed soonafter by Fifth Edition's efforts:




Poor bodaks.  Now they look like old hobos.  Bodaks have been through a lot.  Razz


So how far along is your new house coming now?  Smile
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sun May 27, 2018 9:40 pm

The house is... well.... it's coming.

Coordinating 3 different contractors, half a dozen utility specialists, the county and two banks has really taken a toll. Add to that needing to spruce up this old house and get it on the market while simultaneously packing it up and storing everything WITH two kids that are still in school, throw on a healthy dose of non-cooperative weather and BLAMO! we're all stressed to the 9's and ready to either move in or go on a killing spree.

But it's not all bad. We finally broke ground last week! Actual progress, go figure...

So how are the posts coming? *wags tail*

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sun May 27, 2018 11:02 pm

I had a thought.... Doodle up the Emperor and his merry band of douchnuggets! That way it can;

1) Feed your doodle craving
2) Be added to your Uber Project
3) Help motivate your interest in posting

3 in 1 !! YaY Math and Stuff!

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:14 pm

I really should pick up my sketch pad again.  Between my continuing efforts at raking in money and fixing up the house, it is important to make time for such simple joys in life.

Anyway, working on Gustav again!  As Gustav and his forces will be the central focus of his chapter (naturally), I decided to depict his forces in a middle-tone gray to make them more visible over a variety of terrain types (...all three or four of them present at Zelezo Ford, anyway).  Besides, with the one exception of the Confederate Army during our own American Civil War almost two centuries back, nobody ever uses gray in military depictions.  Gray doesn't get enough love.  Razz

Of course, Tiger may see the need to change the formations of his units as the battle roils on, and he is encouraged to get creative with his formations, ie. using Column or Oblique formations for pincher attacks.  Line formations need not be limited to ranged units, of course; although the English in the Middle Ages did rule the battlefields with far-reaching lines of longbowmen, such formations have also proven effective with infantry.  Stack two or three lines of spearmen and you get a Roman-styled phalanx.  A line of swordsmen is nasty enough; make them even nastier by putting a line of halberdiers at their backs and watch the two protect each other.  Defend a line of archers with a line of shieldbearers about a yard or two ahead of them.  Reinforce an Oblique formation with a Line for a Concentrated force behind the leading point of the Oblique and you get the Oblique Order formation favored by Frederick the Great, useful for breaking through a weak point in the enemy defense and dominating a larger enemy unit.  And so on.  Gustav doesn't have all of these troop types at his disposal, of course; it's just food for thought.

(I guess I should mention the Tortoise formation favored by the Romans; it's pretty much just a Concentrated force in a tight circle or square with tower shields all facing outward (unless they have a wall handy; then just press them up against that).  It's handy for holding a checkpoint under a barrage from enemy archers, breaking through or tunnelling under an enemy wall while defenders are loosing arrows and dropping boulders from the parapet, and so on.)

Have ye anything else to add?  I'm all ears.  Smile

Anyway, I have to get dressed for work.  So, you know, I'll see y'all after work.  Smile
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:30 am

Greetings everyone!

So I have a rare moment to have access to a computer, so I thought I wound do up another thought provoking (and hopefully a post inspiring) game/theoretical topic of discussion!

and so.....

Back to the undead, I remember a bit about the slaymate post, about how Ben Paladin good guy the First tried to speak and reason to the creature, all to no avail. Regardless, it go t me to thinking.

I am well aware that 'DM modifications apply' in any scenario, and that many undead are rather mindless or single mindedly violent, but in the case of a vengeful, intelligent undead, would it be possible to negotiate or placate the spirit into helping, become benign or just go away?

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: House of Ainsley: Out-of-Character Discussion   Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:19 am

Actually, quite a few undead "species" (...subraces...varieties...whatever) are intelligent and capable of speech and thought.  As an example, in previous editions of D&D, ghouls were thought to be mindless, deranged cannibals, even though there was never anything in any Monster Manuals which supported that stereotype.  Granted, ghouls tend to be deranged (as most anyone would be if their state of being required them to consume a ghastly diet of raw flesh in order to make it through each night), but they're hardly mindless; think of them as being less like brain-eating Romero zombies and more like Hannibal Lecter in "Savage Mode".

The vast majority harbor animosity towards the living (an animosity which some gamers may have interpreted as mindlessness or stupidity), but in truth that animosity tends to stem from three or four general traits in the undead creature's nature: 1) compulsive hatred or envy towards the living (stemming largely from the creature's miserable undead state, and misery loves company...), 2) a diet which must be slaked on the living, 3) hatred towards a certain mortal or group of mortals (and the creature either paints all mortals with the same brush and holds every one of them responsible for the actions of a few, or the mortals choose to place themselves in harm's way by trying to protect the creature's quarry from the creature himself), or 4) requisite mindsets or personalities through which a dead or dying mortal becomes that type of undead creature in the first place.

Slaymates tend to be of the third type; they were children who either led short, miserable lives, died miserable deaths, or both.  While only one or two adults may have been responsible for the child's death (if indeed anyone was responsible at all), the slaymate tends to blame all adults for what befell him or her.  "Someone should have stopped Pa from torturing me, but no one did."  "Someone should have fed me and taken me in, but no one did."  Et al.  So the slaymate becomes this little bundle of hatred, but that hatred doesn't necessarily prevent them from being reasoned with.  There's also no assurance that the slaymate will take well to mortal children; it could be that other children made the slaymate miserable or somehow killed the slaymate while he or she was alive, so a slaymate who hates other children is indeed possible.  But the slaymate nonetheless has a personality and possible wants and needs, and a cunning person can exploit these traits to his advantage.

(This all assumes that the slaymate is capable of speech and language, of course.  It's entirely possible that the slaymate died as an infant or a toddler who hadn't learned how to speak yet.  There's an unsettling thought....)

Other creatures of the third sort include revenants (and onryo, their Eastern cousins), mummies, crypt chanters and certain kinds of ghosts or wraiths.  Mummies and crypt chanters are usually content to leave people alone, but anyone who barges into their tombs, crypts, catacombs, abandoned graveyards, dark chapels, haunted cellars or wherever else the mummy/crypt chanter has taken up residence instantly goes to the top of their Hunt These Fools Down and Kill 'Em list.  Other varieties of undead make up the remaining three types, of course.  Bodaks, wights, spectres, deathlocks, atropal scions and the four undead elementals tend to be of the first sort; they hate what they are — or how they lived, or how they died — and they'll be glad to tell the mortals all about it.  Deathlocks tend to be so consumed with self-loathing and regret that they seek out pieces of their bygone lives — including loved ones, friends and enemies — in hopes of killing or destroying them, thus erasing everything but the memories (which, in time, the deathlock will forget, finally achieving a tragic sort of harmony with — or complete acceptance of — his state of undeath).  Forsaken shells veer between Type 2 and Type 3; they feel compelled to reproduce in order to perpetuate their kind (and that requires them to harvest and animate the skins of mortals), but anyone who makes a habit of hunting and killing forsaken shells will soon incur the wrath of however many shells can come together and posse up for the purpose of killing the hunter and stopping his forsaken-shell-slaying crusade (and may even turn the hunter into yet another forsaken shell, if only to rub his nose in his defeat).

As of Libris Mortis, wights and spectres also fall under the second type — they snack on little pieces of people's souls, an act which manifests as Level Drain — as allips, bleakborn and vampires must feed on the living as well (soul essence and Wisdom for allips, flesh for ghouls, warmth and body heat for bleakborn, and blood for vampires).  Ghouls are chiefly Type 2 but may also veer into Type 1; as if they weren't loopy enough already, if they don't eat flesh every day, their Wisdom will start dropping until it reaches zero, and Wisdom 0 = absolute insanity.  And creatures like mohrgs, liches, doom knights and atropal scions fall under the fourth type; they were rat bastards in life, so it's only fitting that they became rat bastards in death and undeath, and that's how they ended up because of that kind of curse or cosmic justice.  The lich — as well as his cousins: the alhoon, the death tyrant and the dracolich — is somewhat different; he became a lich because he was powerful and either suitably deranged, suitably terrified or suitably arrogant to reject the natural order of birth, life and death...in other words, he sought out immortality through undeath because he was a crazy rat bastard, and probably wouldn't have done so if he were anything else.  Not so with the lich's elven cousin, the baelnorn; baelnorns tend to be Good, and they choose ritual undeath out of the selfless desire to protect their own communities and populaces from whatever threats should rise against them in the future.  Start firebombing an elven city if you will, but don't be surprised if a baelnorn or three teleport in to nuke you into a fine red mist.  But since elves (not including their drow siblings) tend to revere life above all else and abhor undeath, elves still prefer to keep baelnorns at arm's length and regard them with distrust and aversion.  For the most part, the baelnorns are cool with this treatment; they understand their own culture, naturally, and they knew what they were getting into before they got into it.

There are some wild cards, of course.  Necropolitans tend to hang out in huge necropoli deep underground, living (undying?) as most cityfolk do; their ancestors withdrew from the world, embraced undeath through ritual and taught their children that life is a disease which should be shed in favor of undeath as soon as they've birthed or sired their own children (if they bother to reproduce at all), so necropolitans have been down there doing just that for many generations.  They have their own individual personalities, quirks and goals; they just happen to be an undead populace with an undead culture, and any contentions between them and the living stem from their parents and communities telling tales which equate mortals to monsters seeking to destroy them at any opportunity, a stereotype which all too many mortals uphold by Turning and smiting the necropolitans first, and asking questions later.  Visages, being undead demons of sorts, also have their own personalities and ambitions — typically malevolent ones — and they won't hesitate to employ any lie, illusion, disguise or other deception in pursuit of those aims.  And angels of decay...no one knows what truly compels them to seek out the living and annihilate them, but whatever it is, it's the furthest thing from all that is good, and these archvillains serve it willfully.  You might be able to coax a necropolitan into shedding her distrust or disdain for you, at least long enough to open her shop and barter for a few choice wares.  The visage may hear you out and, if he likes you enough, may decide to invite you into partaking in his latest chaos-sowing scheme...or agree to partake in yours.  But the angel of decay will probably take the opportunity to gloat, sneer, deride, intimidate, intone some Doomsday prophecy or hint vaguely at some master plan, then turn you into a puddle of goo anyway.  So pick your parleys carefully.

I think that the only undead who are truly mindless are skeletons, zombies, blood amniotes, bloodmote clouds, skin kites, murks, blasphemes, hulking corpses, raiments, revived fossils and skirrs.  Sure, that's more than a few sorts, but it's still not the majority.  Try chatting with an undead creature sometime.  It might just work...or at least delay its charge long enough for you to slip out of the room and bar the door before it eats you.  Wink

"But Ainsley...I don't recognize half the names of these undead creatures that you just mentioned!"

Yeah, yeah...I need to get the game running again so y'all can dig up more pages to the Cold Womb (along with completing whatever other life goals your characters are harboring, including Karnoz's lengthy Bucket List...).  Wink

I haven't forgotten; life just sucks at the moment, as usual.  Razz
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