Apex Campaign, Star Fleet Timeline Cluster, Augment Victory Timeline. The Augment IV Racial Package

The human mind is built on ancient neural patterns – deep instincts, systems that process sensory information, logical and emotional feedback loops that keep it running, and even the patterns of motor neurons that operate the body. If you change any of those too much… the mind warps and changes, taking on a new form. The result is unpredictable, often no longer functional at all, and never much like a normal human being even when it still functions – and, so far, it has never been sapient. No one is quite sure why that’s true, but (at least in the Apex setting) there seems to be a component beyond mere physical reality.

So there are limits. You can transfer an existing mind into a mostly-artificial body – but if you want a NEW mind to develop properly… there has to be a childhood. You can make the senses sharper, or even very slightly expand their range – but not much past the limits of normal human potential or even an existing mind will soon go mad. There need to be bones, and muscles, and various internal organs. You can boost intelligence and reaction time somewhat, and you can enhance durability and strength considerably – but not too much or instabilities will soon develop.

And, at least so far… redesigned humans only develop more-or-less normally if they are born to existing redesigned humans. Trying to leave out a recognizably-human set of parents, infancy, and childhood, leads to failure at best and rampaging monsters at worst. At least the first generation (no second generation births have yet occurred) have to have transferred minds.

That need for growth, development, and maintenance along human lines is pretty limiting for the engineering too. You can’t just install bigger parts; they have to GROW in situ – for which you need something analogous to a circulatory system to transport materials, as well as something analogous to a metabolism and to both taste and smell (and eating thanks to those copied-over instincts). Sure, most of the bone structure can be magnetically-reinforced nanotubes and diamond with reinforcing magnetic fields instead of calcium – but it still has to grow and be filled with channels to integrate it into the circulatory system. The electro-contractile muscles and tendons may be stronger (and powered by the electrical energy delivered by the “nerves”), but the layout – and ways in which the arrangement doesn’t bend – is much the same. Joint locks work almost as well (given that they are generally stronger and tougher) on augmented humans as they do on regular ones. The skin may incorporate tougher polymers and resist chemicals a lot better, but it still has to grow, stretch, heal, and shed itself.

Fourth generation Augments were little more than speculations at the beginning of the Eugenics Wars (A.K.A. WWIII). While prototypes of limited parts of the technology where in testing, no complete design (let alone implementation) was available. Thanks, however, to an open-ended time loop engineered by one or more members of the so-called Q Continuum, development of the Type IV design continued – albeit with only a single sample and a small research team that spent most of their time catching up on what they did last time – through 281,223 iterations of the relevant several-year section of the loop before Armand, Blueblood, and Scotty intervened to prevent further looping. While progress – especially during the later loops – was infinitesimal each time, that many loops eventually resulted in a fully-developed design. Combining a through understanding of the physical side of the human brain, advanced genomic and proteomic systems, computers, cybernetics, and nanotechnology, researchers were eventually able to complete a full rebuild of the human body – including a virtualized and optimized brain replacing the old-style natural neural network, am optically-based peripheral nervous system, and superconducting energy storage system fed by a high efficiency fuel cell.

Unfortunately, attempting to generalize from the original single test case has left the basic design in the “open beta-testing” phase as bugs and issues are worked out.

Perhaps worst of all, Type IV Augmentation only seems to work on Star Fleet Timeline Terrans – the “reality-manipulating” homid subspecies – and cuts off all access to magic, psionics, temporal manipulation, and all the other natural-law-violating tricks of the “natural” races.

Name: Type IV Augment

Val Char Cost
8/30 STR -2
13/20 DEX 9
9/20 CON -2
7 BODY -6
8/30 INT -2
11 EGO 2
10 PRE 0
15 COM 2
7 PD 1
7 ED 3
3/4 SPD 0
10 REC 0
0 END -20
32 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11/15-, DEX: 12/13-, CON: 11/13-, INT: 11/15-, EGO: 11-, PER: 19/23-. Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 6″, Lift: 76kg/1600kg

Cost Powers END/Roll

6 Elemental Control: Artificial Body (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (User may not develop Psionic or Magical Abilities): -½; Generic Limitation (Cannot alter or improve these abilities): -1

  • a-10 3d6 Aid to Attributes (Fade/5 min., Max. 22); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Generic Limitation (Str, Dex, Con, Body, Int, and Spd Only.): -1; Generic Limitation (Does not heal damaged attributes.): -½; Generic Limitation (Effect does not stack with buying up base attributes above “10” or with buying up speed at all, cannot take speed above 4 in any case.): -½. 5 End when activated.
  • b-5 Power System: END Reserve (180 END, 12 REC/turn); Side Effects (When an Augment takes BODY damage, a roll of 15+ will detonate their power reserves, causing a 3d6 physical killing explosion centered on them. ): 60/All,
  • c-4 Armor (8 PD/8 ED); Always On (User is immune to normal medical techniques and healing powers.): -1; Hardened: ×1, ¼; Linked (To Attribute Enhancement): -½.
  • d-6 Life Support (total); Generic Limitation (Technological Limitations: Provides high resistance and duratbility, not immunity.): -½; Costs END: -½; Reduced END: Half, +¼.
  • e-5 Enhanced Perception (all) (+8 to PER); Linked (To Augmented Attributes): -½; Champions Advantage (Can record sensory input. ): +¼.

Integrated Electronics; Linked (To augmented attributes): -½

  • (2) Absolute Time Sense
  • (2) Ambidexterity
  • (2) Bump of Direction
  • (7) Eidetic Memory
  • (2) Lightning Calculator
  • (2) Perfect Pitch
  • (2) Speed Reading

Package Disadvantages

  • 5 Distinctive Features: Android; Concealability: Easily, 5; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
  • 20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
  • 10 Unable to interbreed with normal life forms, greatly reduced fertility even with other Augment IV’s, usually need “repair” effects rather than “healing” effects (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 10 Cannot buy off restrictions on magical and psionic powers. (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 5 Cannot buy up Body (Infrequently, Slightly)
  • 30 Susceptibility to Technology Nullifying Effects (1d6 STUN and BODY/Phase); Condition: Uncommon, +5. Note that this drastically restricts the range of universes that they can function in.

As normal for Apex racial packages, the “package” disadvantages are only counted at half value – leaving the Augment IV baseline “Race” with a grand total of zero points, just like the other races.

OCV: 7; DCV: 7; ECV: 4; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12, PD/rPD: 15/8; ED/rED: 15/8

As perhaps befits a superhero campaign, the Apex game currently involves the primary timeline (consisting of several merged timelines, with – courtesy of Blueblood – the Astral Vortex that the Ethereal Cataclysm had left in place of the lost pacific continent of Mu replaced by Equestria and a scattering of other cartoon and anime locations), the Primary Mirrorverse, traces of an alternate Timeline and Mirrorverse that are proving difficult to remerge with their primaries, a timeline where the planet was collapsed into a Black Hole (the ongoing efforts to get rid of that thing are apparently giving rise to a likely future Shadow Universe), the High Astral (a source of mystical energy), an assortment of Afterlives in the Middle Astral, the Lower Astral domain of the Elder Ones, the Exile pocket realm (apparently located between the Middle and Lower astral), and Mars. Kicking around those areas (and wandering back and forth in time) the group has revived the Rolassin and the Ethereals, brought the Freshwater and Saltwater Lemurians, out of hiding, and restored the Hyberboreans to go with the existing Atlanteans, and the Africaans species, as well as several relic species of presapient Homids. Mars, of course, has it’s five sapient species as well, all now revived from extinction or near-extinction.

In the Star Trek universe next door there are several alternate timelines, including one where the Augments won the Eugenics Wars (courtesy of the player characters) and one where they lost – both with Elder Martians, possibly with something on Venus, and with the full selection of Star Trek aliens.

Eclipse D20 – The Noble Pioneer

For today, it’s another sample character – and an example of fitting a character to a specific setting, rather than ignoring it. Yolande‘s husband Darius is a character for a realm-building game in the Atheria setting. He’s a noble of the Alarian Imperium who is attempting to found a colony / domain in the northern wilderness, with his wife, their followers, and a motley assortment of random people / refugees who think that they’d be better off deep in the wilderness than in an ancient, prosperous, and well-established civilization.

It might be best not to ask them why.

Darius is thus designed to operate in a “party” of two, taking on the roles of commander (both strategic and frontline), colonial governor, monster hunter, court magician, diplomat, and more That’s somewhat eased by Atheria’s world laws which limit spellcasting to a maximum level of three, restrict various powers, reduce the cost of the less-useful skills, and don’t support normal magical items – although they do provide attribute boosts and feats every two levels. That makes it a LOT easier to handle what little magic will be available and what exotic skills will be needed. Thus Darius is a reasonably good warrior (with a focus on defense and evasion), a very flexible mage (albeit with very limited power reserves), and a pretty good politician and leader. It’s still not going to be easy, and he’ll have to do a lot of negotiating when something is simply far beyond his power – but if he’s cautious and clever, his odds of founding a realm and a dynasty are pretty good.

Darius De Tanga

L5 Pioneer-Noble of the Alarian Imperium, Atheria.

Order Birthright Racial Modifiers:

  • Assistant (“Aid Another” actions provide a +4 bonus, 6 CP).
  • Privilege/Imperial Patron (6 CP. Exiles may substitute a bonus feat).
  • Innate Enchantment. Specialized: only works with a high-ranking in-empire patron to channel the magic of Order to the user, double effect (6 CP/10,000 GP).
    • Enhance Charms and Talismans (L2 spell effect, increasing the effects of Charms to L1 and those of Talismans to L2. Caster Level Three, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x2000 GP), Personal charms only (x.7) = 8400 GP).
    • Inspiring Word (Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated (x2000 GP), Personal only (x.7), +1 Morale bonus to Saves, Attacks, Checks, and Weapon Damage, 1400 GP).
  • Fast Learner (may be (is) specialized in Skills, 6 CP).
  • A bonus feat worth 6 CP.

Available Character Points: 144 (L5 Base) +10 (Disadvantages: Compulsive (prove that he is a worthy scion of his family), History, and Valuable) +10 Duties (to the Imperium) +24 (L1, L2, L4, and Birthright Bonus Feats) = 188 CP.

Wealth Level (3 CP): Affluent, Specialized for Reduced Cost / this is contingent upon maintaining support from the Imperium and his family and is only fully available within the Imperium; replacements and hard cash may not be easy to get in the north.

  • His armor, shields, and weapons are all considered “masterwork” where this is relevant.
  • He gets a good deal of leeway about things like the use of deadly force against an “attacker,” carrying armor, shields, and weapons, or riding in the city streets, and will virtually always get the benefit of the doubt unless the other side is even richer.
  • He may use five charms and two talismans.
  • He may have exotic pets, like fine hawks and rare imported animals. Trained warbeasts, chargers, and packtrains are at his disposal.
  • He may have a few competent and loyal guards and assistants, know various spellcasters and rare specialists, and have quite a few employees and general gofers.
  • He gains an extra skill point each time he levels while “Affluent”.

Basic Attributes: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14 (+2 L2 and L4 Boosts +4 Enh = 20), Wis 12, & Cha 14 (+2 Enh = 16). (3.5 28 Point Buy).

Basics (74 CP):

  • Base Attack Bonus: +1 (6 CP), additional +2 Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (Melee Only, Swords Only) (+6, 12 CP).
  • Hit Points: 35 (L1-5d8, 20 CP) +5 (Con Mod x 5) = 40 (DR 1/- due to Martial Arts).
  • Saving Throws:
    • Fortitude +2 (6 CP) +1 (Con) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +5
    • Reflex +2 (6 CP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +4
    • Will +2 (6 CP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +1 (Res) = +5
  • Skill Points: 40 (Int Mod x 8) +24 (Cha Mod x 8) +40 (Double Fast Learner since L(-2), both Specialized in Skills for Double Effect, 6 CP) +8 (Wealth) = 112 SP
  • Proficiencies: All Simple and Martial Weapons (9 CP), Light Armor (3 CP).
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +6 (Augmented Shimmermail) +4 (Shield) +5 (Int Mod) +4 (Martial Art) = 29
  • Move: 30′ (Base) +30 (Enh) = 60′.

Usual Attacks:

  • Baelrigor (Greatsword) +15/+15/+10/+5 (+7 BAB +4 Competence +2 Str +1 Mor +1 Mas), 2d6+2 (Str) +1 (Mor), Crit 19-20/x2.
  • Unarmed: +10/+10/5 (+7 BAB +2 Str +1 Mor), 1d4 +2 (Str) +1 (Mor), Crit 20/x2.

Theurgic Mastery: (39 CP).

  • +5 Base Caster Levels, Specialized in Theurgy (15 CP).
  • 3d6 Mana as 6d4 (18) Generic Spell Levels, Corrupted / only usable to power Thaumaturgy (12 CP).
  • Augmented Bonus (Uses Int Mod as a Base for Theurgy Skills, 6 CP).
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (Add Cha Mod to Int Mod for calculating skill points, Specialized and Corrupted / only through level six, 6 CP).

Darius is – for Atheria – a powerful and extremely versatile mage – but his supply of magical power is quite limited, even with some pretty good rolls for his daily supply. He’ll have to choose his spells wisely if he wants to be effective with his magic.

Political Advantages: (19 CP)

  • Major Privilege: Noble Of The Imperium, Specialized / is of limited utility outside of the Imperium (3 CP).
  • Leadership: Specialized and Corrupted / Characters other than generic guards/farmers/etc must be sought out and recruited – and are designed (and played) by the GM, rather than by the player (2 CP).
    • Currently 16 Levels Worth, individual max ECL of 3.
  • Major Favors (6 CP): Through his family and other political backers.
  • Contacts – an Imperial Scholar and a Merchant (2 CP).
  • Adept (Diplomacy, Starblade Style, Spot, and Nobility, 6 SP).

Combat Tricks: (24 CP)

  • Finesse / Adds (Int Mod) to AC instead of (Dex Mod) (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (Three Actions Per Day Variant) (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP).

Mystic Knacks: (20 CP)

  • Mindspeech (6 CP). May send and receive thoughts with willing (or at least not unwilling) targets within a 60′ radius
  • Mystic Link (Yolande) with Communications and Power Link (9 CP).
  • Double Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (3 floating CP) / Points can only be used for 1 CP Relics (3 CP).
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted / only usable to create a limited selection of one-point relics (2 CP).

Innate Enchantment: (9 CP)
All effects SL 0 or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, Personal-Only where applicable, up to 8500 GP Value.

  • Enhanced Attribute (+2 Charisma, 1400 GP).
  • Force Shield I (+4 Shield Bonus to AC, 1400 GP).
  • Martial Mastery (+4 Competence Bonus to BAB with Greatsword, 1400 GP).
  • Personal Haste (+1 attack at full BAB when making a Full Attack, +30′ Movement, 2000 GP).
  • Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus to Saves, 700 GP).
  • Skill Mastery (+2 Competence Bonus to All Skills, 1400 GP).

Skills:

Tier One Skills (Full Price) (38 SP):

  • Diplomacy (Cha): +8 (4* SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Disable Device (Int): Unskilled.
  • Fly (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Hide (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Knowledge (Always Int):
    • Arcana: +8 (4* SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
    • Architecture And Engineering: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Geography: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • History: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Nature: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Nobility and Royalty: +8 (4* SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) = +2 (Com) +16
    • Planes: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
    • Religion: +3 (3 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11
  • Martial Art (Starlight Blade Style) +8 (4*SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
  • Move Silently (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Profession/Occult (Wis): Unskilled.
  • Search (Int): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Sleight of Hand (Dex): Unskilled.
  • Spellcraft (Int): Unskilled.
  • Spot (Wis): +8 (4* SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +12
  • Survival (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Swim (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Tumble (Dex): Unskilled.

*Half Cost due to Adept.

Theurgy Nouns: (12 SP).

  • Air: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Body: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Earth: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Fire: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Illusion: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Magic: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Mind: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Plant: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Space: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Spirit: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Time: +1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Water: + 1 (1 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8

Theurgy Verbs: (36 SP)

  • Control: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Creation: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Destruction: + 6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Healing: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Transformation: + 6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Understanding: +6 (6 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14

Tier Two Skills (Half Price) (20 SP).

  • Appraise (Int): +8 (4 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +16
  • Balance (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Bluff (Chr): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Climb (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Concentration (Con): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Con) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Control Shape (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Craft/Exotic (Int)*: Unskilled
  • Escape Artist (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3
  • Gather Information (Cha): +8 (4 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Handle Animal (Cha)*: Unskilled.
  • Heal (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Intimidate (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Open Lock (Dex)*: Unskilled.
  • Perform (Specify) (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Profession/Complex (Wis)*: Unskilled.
  • Psicraft (Int)*: Unskilled.
  • Ride (Dex): +8 (4 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +11 (+13 with Tethered steed).
  • Listen (Wis): +8 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) +4 (Torc) = +16
  • Sense Motive (Wis) +8 (4 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +12
  • Speak Language (Int): +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8.
  • Speaks Havril, Illerian, Ikunn, Draconic, and Chordath.
  • Use Magic Device (Cha)*: Unskilled.

Tier Three Skills (One-Third Cost, can’t be Corrupted or Specialized) (6 SP).

  • Autohypnosis (Wis): +6 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +10
  • Burrow (Wis)*: Unskilled.
  • Craft/Mundane (Int): +0 (0 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +8
  • Decipher Script (Int): +6 (2 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +10
  • Disguise (Cha): +0 (0 SP) +3 (Cha) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +6
  • Forgery (Int): +6 (2 SP) +5 (Int) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +14
  • Jump (Str): +0 (0 SP) +2 (Str) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +5
  • Profession (Simple): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Sense of Touch (Wis): +0 (0 SP) +1 (Wis) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +4
  • Use Psionic Device (Cha)*: Unskilled.
  • Use Rope (Dex): +0 (0 SP) +0 (Dex) +1 (Mor) +2 (Com) = +3

Martial Art – The Starlight Blade Style (Int)

Starlight Blade focuses on predicting the patterns of an attack and exploiting any opening which appears, hopefully allowing the user to deal with an opponent without leaving any opening in his or her own defense. While it’s certainly preferable to have a weapon, Starlight Blade doesn’t neglect unarmed techniques either. Depending utterly on a weapon is itself a flaw.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Greatsword or point-buy equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Strike 1, and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Vanishing.
  • Known Techniques: Defenses IV, Strike 1, Toughness I, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Bonus Techniques from Baelrigor: Deflect Arrows, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Vanishing.

Equipment:

Current Relics:

  • Baelrigor (Greatsword) (1 CP Relic). This blade grants +9 points worth of a sword-based martial art, corrupted for increased effect / only while using the blade (provides an effective +14 or seven extra martial abilities in total)
  • Ruby Tongue of the Sorcerer (1 CP Relic): A ruby amulet granting Improved Power Words, Corrupted/only for storing spells the user personally supplies. Since theurgy is slow, this allows him to have a few fast spells on hand.

Order Birthright Charms:

  • Captain’s Torc: +4 to Listen checks, can make the user’s voice very loud, -1 on saves versus sonic attacks, can cast your voice up to sixty feet.
  • Helm of War: Grants six as-needed uses of Heavy Fortification, regaining one use each week.
  • Hidden Pocket: Holds 15 Lb of stuff with no noticeable weight or bulk and a mere slit for access.
  • Mage Tether: Lets the user call for the animal whose hair was used to make it. If it’s within two miles it will come as quickly as it reasonably can. As a side effect the user gets a +2 bonus on ride and handle animal rolls involving the animal in question.
  • Sunstone: Stores 25 minutes worth of sunlight (recharging five minutes worth per day in the sun), and can illuminate a 10′ radius with full sunlight and dimly illuminate some distance beyond that. Can discharge ten minutes worth as a ray of Searing Light (at CL5). Since this is stored natural sunlight spell resistance does not apply.

Order Birthright Talismans:

  • Greater Scholars Eye: +4 Enhancement Bonus to Intelligence.
  • Shimmer Mail: +6 Armor Bonus with no penalties or effective encumbrance.

Personal Steed: Ajatantsija, Light Dernmarkian Warhorse.

Basic Information:

  • Attributes: Str 16, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 8
  • Initiative +2, HP 32, Speed 90′
  • Armor Class: 17 (-1 Size, +2 Dex +2 Leather Barding, +4 Natural).
  • Attack: +4/1d4+3 (Hoof), Full 3 Hooves, Bite (-1, 1d3+1).
  • Senses: Low-Light Vision, Scent.
  • Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2
  • Skills: Listen +4, Spot +4
  • Feats: Endurance, Run.

Timedancer Horse Birthright (18 CP):

  • Reflex Action, 3/Three Actions Per Day Variant, with +4 Bonus Uses (for a total of seven), Specialized/only usable for movement, whether natural or magically-assisted (6 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (Personal Haste, from The Practical Enchanter), CL1, SL1, At-Will Use-Activated, 2000 GP effective value) (3 CP).
  • Inherent Spell (Lightning Step (from The Practical Enchanter), with +2 Bonus Uses, 9 CP).

Darius is – as usual for an Eclipse character (and one with an exceptionally powerful base “race” at that) roughly equivalent to a baseline d20 character of several levels higher –  but as a generalist he certainly can’t match a focused Eclipse build even if he is a quite effective warrior-mage by baseline d20 standards. His biggest problem in a conventional game

The Trapspider Template (Eclipse d20)

Trapspider (+32 CP / +1 Level/Challenge Rating Spider Template).

What lunatic would install a scything blade and a spiked pit trap in the kitchen pantry? No one in their right mind would live in or build this place!

-Pretty much every adventurer at one time or another.

Trapspiders – according to some legends created or modified by someone called “Grimtooth” to make his traps for him – are a communal variant on the various common monstrous spiders that colonize old ruins, dungeons, and similar environments. A colony normally consists of 2d4 adult individuals (the young tend to wander off once hatched and do not develop their special powers until approaching adulthood). They feed on flesh, bone, and modest amounts of various metals, but are relatively passive as adults. Adult trapspiders normally wait for potential prey to come into their lair – usually a corridor or room. They gain their name from their ability to “spit” traps. As individuals they can cause an opponents location to abruptly be full of bear traps, or to have a spiked pit there, or to be attacked by various other traps, or they can attempt to shove targets into existing (and usually more dangerous) traps.

Their lairs tend to have elaborate, extremely dangerous, corridor or room traps (or even multiples thereof) – a result of the spiders communal efforts. Oddly enough, such traps are often reasonably aesthetically pleasing. While they are rarely great works of art, they often feature fountains, basic statuary, silk curtains, pivoting walls concealed by abstract murals, and other decorative features, as well as being kept relatively clean and neat. The spiders themselves use their ability to conceal themselves as part of the decor, pretending to be boxes, jars, torch-sconces, or similar items.

Lending further credence to the stories of their deliberate creation, Trapspiders always leave a way to deactivate their major traps – albeit rarely a conveniently positioned one. If unsupervised, the most common strain tends to create mathematical puzzles that must be solved to turn off the traps for a day (how they do this when most are unintelligent remains confusing). Unfortunately, while there’s usually a convenient keypad or some equivalent showing a spider with no legs for “0″ and 1-7 legs for the digits to enter the solution, the spiders tend to use base eight – so, for example, a diagram showing a trap in the center, overlaid by a circle with a line extending to the center, with five button-images underneath, would be asking for the first five digits of Pi in base eight. Other strains may produce chess (or other game) puzzles, block puzzles, riddles, or any other form of puzzle. Of course, if they are under someone’s control, pretty much anything goes.

Once the primary trap of a Trapspider nest has been deactivated, they tend to be a bit passive – apparently assuming that, with their primary trap deactivated, anyone left in the area is friendly – or at least authorized to be there. That makes it fairly easy for adventurers to “milk” them for a bit of their trap-creating Venom. While that normally loses potency in 1d4 days, it’s fairly easy for a competent alchemist (Craft/Alchemy DC 15, Craft/Poison DC 21, Knowledge/Nature DC 25) to stabilize the stuff, allowing it to be kept for months.

The Template:

  • Add 3d6 Mana With Reality Editing, Corrupted for Increased Effect and Specialized for Reduced Cost / maximum range of 5′ per size category above “Tiny”, only to shove targets into traps (1 Mana to move a Large or smaller target up to ten feet, save as per their basic venom) and create Traps.
    • Creating traps costs 1 Mana/CR of the resulting trap (things like “roach motels”, mousetraps, and ant-baits don’t cost anything) and is limited to a maximum CR of (Hit Dice + number of assisting trapspiders (9 CP). Spitting a bunch of bear traps is an early favorite.
  • Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Takes one hour per die, only to recharge the mana reserve above (3 CP).
    • Trapspiders do take a few hours to rebuild their venom reserves, but this is rarely especially limiting. Traps, after all, keep.
  • Immunity / Traps (Very Common, Severe, Major), Specialized / only versus their colonies individual or collective traps (7 CP).
    • Trapspiders can easily ignore or evade the effects of the traps they produce, forcing enemies who engage them to deal with ongoing trap effects in addition to whatever the spiders do.
  • Blessing, Specialized and Corrupted / only to allow them to be “milked” for 1d4 vials of their trap-creating “venom” (2 CP). One Vial = 1 Mana.
    • This does the spiders no good at all, unless it just encourages adventurers to leave them alive – and so is another argument for them being engineered somehow.
  • Innate Enchantment (5000 GP Effective Value, 6 CP): This grants them:
    • Disguise Self (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders can readily disguise themselves as balls, boxes, small casks, vases, or similar items, and usually do so while resting in their lair.
    • Barkskin (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders incorporate some of the metal that they eat into their chitin, gaining a +2 bonus to their Natural Armor. This also means that Trapspider Chitin makes good knives, pots, armor, and similar goods.
    • Immortal Vigor I (Personal-Only, 1400 GP): Trapspiders gain (+12 + 2 x Con Mod) Hit Points thanks to their partially-metallic composition.
  • Occult Sense / Detect Traps (6 CP). Trapspiders are almost unerring about spotting traps.
  • +3 Skill Specialty in Aesthetics (Traps) (1 CP). Trapspider trap-lairs tend to feature colonnades of statues, polished floors, and intricate designs. They’re the nicest-looking rooms and corridors that will ever kill you!
  • +3 Skill Specialty in Architecture (Interior Decorating). Trapspiders can actually make their lairs look quite pleasant and inviting, helping them lure victims in.
  • Template Disadvantage: Compulsive (Leaves deactivation mechanisms on major traps, as above) (-3 CP).
  • If it matters, Trapspiders are considered to be Magical Beasts, although this does not change them otherwise.

Trapspiders are, of course, one of the major reasons why old ruins and such are so often full of elaborate traps with no discernible sensible function, reason for being there, or apparent builders. They’re also why such traps often have insane deactivation methods – if only so that their original creator could turn off any traps that they built in inconvenient locations.

In play, trapspiders can be extremely annoying in their lairs; they tend to prefer ongoing traps – such as arcs of energy that hit anyone who steps on the wrong floor tiles – and will run about the area quite unaffected, spitting minor traps at people and trying to get them hit by more energy arcs. Unsurprisingly, their treasure – when they have any – is entirely incidental to their feeding, and usually consists of items that they will not eat (gems and other minerals, wood, cloth, more durable metals, and so on).

Trapspiders play a prominent role in the current events of the Anomaly game, where they explain WHY to ancient castle is full of insane traps – so here they are to cause headaches for other adventurers.

Hero System – Artifact Smartphones

And as a whimsical bonus for today… it’s Blueblood‘s Artifact Smartphone, for those times when you just HAVE to stay in touch.

Not surprisingly, a Smartphone is purchased as exactly what it is – a Computer. In fact, it’s a not particularly powerful computer. Still, even the basic zero-point model is has all the usual Smartphone functions and – as a magical artifact – is capable of getting onto pretty much any network from pretty much anywhere in the multiverse, can control your household gadgets, can straighten your desk, can fetch you coffee, and can feed local languages (and some other stuff) directly into your head.

Advanced models are quite another thing altogether. At a cost of four, five, or six points they can have all kinds of functions, even if they DO tend to drain the supplemental battery at great speed. Blueblood has never bothered to upgrade though; he generally prefers to use his own powers.

Smartphone Computer

Value Characteristic Points
8 INT -2
1 SPD 0
Total -32

 

Points Powers END
32 Artifact Smartphone (0 Points)
(2) Elemental Control: Electronics (4-pt reserve); Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; OAF (Phone): -1
a-4 Radio Listen and Transmit; Datalink: +½; Cellular / WiFi / Bluetooth Service Only: -1; No Range Penalty: +½; Transdimensional: Any Dimension, +1,

This will let you connect to any network from pretty much anywhere.

b-2 Eidetic Memory; Always On (Memory is either perfect or utterly gone): -½, Limited Storage Space: -½.
c-2 Images (Normal Sight); Reduced END: Zero, +½; No Range: -½; Generic Limitation (Screen Only): -4; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0. 0
d-6 Pocket Secretary and Remote Control / Telekinesis (STR 10); Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Strength 0 Only: -2; Maximum range of 6 Hexes: -¼; Only functions as a secretary – operating devices, fetching coffee, sketching, etc: -2. 0
e-5 2d6 Aid: Programs/Databases (Fade/week, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½; Activation: 11-, -1; Must have program available to load: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½.

This allows the user to load maps (area knowledge), languages, databases, and so on. All of it should be Usable By Others/Power Lost, so you can load a total of 10 points worth of information.

0
f-6 Basic Computer Functions
(2) Internal Clock / Absolute Time Sense.
(2) GPS/Bump of Direction.
(2) Calculator / Lightning Calculator.
(1) File Loading / Speed Reading; Computer Files Only: -1.
(0) Camera (Eyes)
(0) Microphone (Ears)
(0) Speakers (Voice)
(2) High Fidelity Playback / Mimicry 11-
(0) Touchscreen (Touch)
g-5 Standard Software:
(2) Security Features / Immunity To Unauthorized Use; Frequency: Common.
(1) Voice Mode / English (Or language of choice) (Fluent Conversation); Literacy: Standard, 0.
(1) Office Software / Professional Skill: Secretary. 11-
(1) Media Library / Knowledge Skill Digital Media. 11-
(1) Games Library: Professional Skill / Entertainer. 11-
(1) Map Database / Knowledge Geography. 11-
(1) Virtual Object/Image/Map Generator / Professional Skill Artist. 11-
(0) For Translation, local maps, and databases, use the “Aid” to load an appropriate skill.
32 Advanced Artifact Smartphone (2/7/All Multipower functions for 4/5/6 points).
(4) Superior Battery / END Reserve (64 END, 4 REC/turn); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use this power): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼.
(16) Special Functions / Multipower (48-pt reserve); Focus (Phone): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for use by user; The phone cannot use these powers): -¾; Usable By Others: Power Lost, +¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½
u-1 Security Override / Security Systems; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½ 21-
u-1 Systems Override / Systems Operation; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Air / Water Vehicle Controller / Combat Piloting; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Ground Vehicle Controller / Combat Driving; Ranged: +½; Costs END (4 per use): -½. 21-
u-1 Holoimager / Images versus Sight (Hearing, Sight, 2″ radius); Range: 215; Observer PER Penalty: 3, +9; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 6d6 Regeneration Ray / Standard Healing; Ranged: +½. 5
u-1 Environmental Field / Life Support (total); Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Costs END (4 per phase): -½.
u-1 Shields / Force Field (10 PD/10 ED); Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1. 4
u-1 1d6 Reality Reprogramming / Transform (Major, Anything); Range: 205; Increased END: ×2, -½; Cumulative: +½. 8
u-1 Summon Pokemon (1 50-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Increased END: ×2, -½.

Training your Pokemon effectively is up to you.

 

12

u-1 Beam Me Up: Extra-Dimensional Movement to the Enterprise (or another specific locale); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Carrying Mass: 200; Increased END: ×2, -½. 8
u-1 3d6 Disintegrator Beam/Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 280; Increased END: ×2. 12
32 Total Powers  

 

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part VI – The Mendaciously Meandering Miasmic Morus Maze of Meticulously Mangled Mutinous Management Maxims

Previously on the Aggravating Pony Overlord Channel…

  1. If someone says “This isn’t a cartoon!” I will glance at myself and say “Really?” in a questioning tone. If they have been amusing enough so far I will add a horrified “OH NOOOOOOO!!!!” and teleport away, leaving only a slowly dissolving after-image of myself with an expression of horror on it’s face!
  2. If any of my kids fall in love, I will make sure that their crush is a reasonably decent sort and is not just using them! If that checks out, the pair (or group, it’s not like I don’t keep a harem!) will be supplied with plentiful travel funds, reservations wherever, contraceptives (if desired) and toys of choice (if any) and told to go for it! Sex is fun, grandchildren are great, and it’s not like I’M a model of decorum!
  3. If I am confronting an Eldritch Abomination I shall remember that I qualify as a Cute Eldritch Abomination myself, and there shall be tea and cookies! And possibly dancing! I haven’t done the Lord Of The Shoggoths Line Dance Show since the last Eldritch Elder Invasion!
  4. If dealing with Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, or some similar potentially sensible horror-movie creature I will talk first! If forced, I will point out that – while they are good at terrorizing normal humans – I am at LEAST a cartoon superhero wizard and can put them in the core of the sun, toss them into a black hole, or banish them to some eldritch elder dimension if I have to!
  5. I shall train my own ninja, pirates, and ninja-pirates, starting with adorably fluffy kittens and puppies! That way when my ninja puppy trips an opponent out a window, cuddles will be entirely appropriate!
  6. I will disguise myself (perhaps with a mustache, hat, or glasses!) and join any team of heroes gathered to oppose me, proclaiming myself to be my heroic dimensional alternate, a counterbalancing mystic force, arcane rival, or some such! That will let me know what’s going on, help keep the heroes gainfully employed, and – if and when I successfully help overthrow myself – I will be starting off in the upper tier of the successor government and will doubtless be the only one with administrative skills, and so I shall continue my rule with a fresh start, new public support, friendly heroes, and without interruption!
  7. I will encourage my kids to be rebellious scamps who sneak out to go adventuring – but only after I have arranged for some reasonable form of immortality for them and a nigh-unbreakable magical link so that I can pull them out of messes! But I will mostly get the heroes to do it! They will never be able to resist rescuing a bunch of youngsters running away from an Evil Overlord if no one tells them that they’re trying to escape school and bedtime! Of course, if any of the kids turn out to be incompetent dimwits, I shall shunt them to suitable pointless positions! I am an Aggravating Overlord, I can be as nepotistic as I wish, and they’re still my kids!
  8. I shall not be a corrupt CEO or any other style of corrupt leader! I am a Wealthy, Immortal, Decadent, Pleasure-Seeking, Superheroic Unicorn Wizard! What will being corrupt get me that I can’t have already anyway? Smoother ice cream?
  9. Trampling my foes beneath my hooves will ruin my hooficure! Blood splatters look terrible on my coat! Screams of agony spoil the music! There will be none of that barbaric nonsense in my realm! If something along those lines is absolutely required for some reason there is always Vogon Poetry!
  10. If I am told that I am an alien, descendant of an eldritch power, heir to something, the prophesied one, part of some deal with the underworld, or anything similar, I will start laughing! I escaped from a cartoon into reality and created both myself and fifty generations of my family history from pure fanfiction and egotism, and I didn’t include any of THAT nonsense! (Except when I did! I am a Cartoon! Consistency is not one of my major attributes!)
  11. I will hit on female opponents with combat propositions! They’re already attacking me, so what have I got to lose? And it’s not like anyone can seriously attack someone who is currently reeling from a smack with a hammerspace mallet! It would be unsporting and would break the running gag!
  12. I will knock loudly – and repeatedly – and announce my presence before entering a sauna, bath, hot pool, or similar establishment . This will save me from getting unavoidably whacked with hammers and things until I’ve had time to actually make at least one indecent proposition!
  13. I will not go for the domineering, master of sex slaves routine, or any similar perverse cliche, unless some of the mares in the harem request them for a role-playing night! It’s not like I have any shortage of willing partners who want to try out quirks!
  14. Listen very carefully, I shall say ‘zis only once! Watching the heroes try to figure out just what you might be suggesting with an innuendo involving wet celery, egg whisks, and flying helmets is amusing enough that I shall use the mysterious perverse quirk routine! After all, it worked for Allo Allo!
  15. My allies do not all have to be ponies! Griffins and other monsters work fine too! There is much to be said for diversity and a combined lack-of-arms strategy!
  16. If I am having a flashback, I shall drag everyone else into it with me! I am immune to paradox, but I bet that most of the heroes are not!
  17. If the heroes attempt to send a comic relief character who always bumbles their way to victory against me, I shall allow the kids to join the ensuing pie fight and clown-off, with the victor being whoever can raise the most money for charity! Given that my funds are nigh limitless and that the power of heart will be on my side, my “victory” is inevitable – and the comic relief can return to the heroes and announce that he or she was defeated, but the battle nevertheless raised a great deal of money for orphaned children!
  18. Fanboys and Fangirls will be offered harem jobs if they’re qualified and cute enough! If they are not they will be sent to places so distant that no one there has ever heard of me to spread the word (whatever they think THAT to be). Hero-worshiping playthings can be a lot of fun and it’s not like they’re ever going to be anything but a hindrance in any other role!
  19. If I am (somehow!) actually being overthrown and cannot escape, I will act like a petulant five year old and embarrass the heroes as much as possible! If I can manage to convince them that I have been a disposable figurehead all along, so much the better. To this end, there will be some sinister figure lurking nearby, to attack (machine gun, grenades, whatever) and injure (but certainly not kill) both some heroes AND myself, shout something unintelligible about “DOOM!”, and then make a cackling escape of its own. Given that this will be a well-shielded summoning protected from divination, and will vanish as soon as it’s out of sight, they will never catch it!
  20. If I ever feel the need to wear a mask, it will be a classic domino affair, suitable for parties or Zorro! It will be conceal my identity just as well as some elaborate demonic mask of power (Unicorn, remember?), is far less likely to attract swords of bullets, and is far, FAR, more stylish! And, as a bonus, you can nuzzle other ponies just fine while wearing it!
  21. The only acceptable reason for approaching the Moral Event Horizon is to cast “Reverse Gravity” on the ethical singularity, and ascend past wherever the heroes stand on the good-guy scale on the resulting cosmic eruption of virtue, thus leaving them with no reason to object to my sudden transcendence!
  22. If someone actually manages to badly hurt me, I shall do a dramatic death scene and dissolve into little sparkling lights. I regenerate quickly – even if killed – ANYWAY and I do need to use SOME special effect for my teleportation and dimension hopping! Who says that it CAN’T it be “leaving everyone with the impression of a dramatic death scene”?
  23. I am not limited by logistics, rationality, or sanity, and I shall not assume that the heroes are either! Numbers mean nothing! Of course, if I am up against a reasonable hero, there is something to be said for targeting his ammunition dumps, food stores, fuel reserves, and other supplies. Reasonable heroes seem to think that they need that kind of stuff!
  24. Family time takes priority over nefarious plotting! When I am busy attending a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or any other events important to wives, concubines, or children, the heroes can just come back tomorrow! After all, if they try anything at that point, they will be on the wrong side of so many tropes that I probably will not have to lift a hoof! Which is good, because one is occupied with a mare and the other with my drink!
  25. If a popular and known-to-be-fictional hero appears to stop me, I shall play along with their cliches rather than getting into an existential debate! After all, I’M fictional and I managed to sneak into reality, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have managed it too!
  26. Non one ever defeats an Overlord until he or she has used every weapon in his or her arsenal! So I will have a wide variety of powers (and every possible flavor of pie) and will keep adding more – including some that I can swap out! That way any heroes will have to work their way through an infinite list before they can defeat me!
  27. I will not attempt to “steal” Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Memorial Day, Boxing Day, Independence Day, or any other popular holiday! Instead I shall invite their avatars over for tea and become well-known for my generous support of such festivities! For no attack launched on someone celebrating a holiday is ever successful and that will both give me a day off and provide a reasonable chance of watching the heroes battle Santa or the Easter Bunny! The home movies will keep me laughing for YEARS!
  28. Super-Soldiers, Proud-Warrior-Race-Guys, and Villainous Henchmen only become effective AFTER they turn on their Creators, Manipulators, or Masters! Therefore I shall only recruit them on the rebound from whoever was trying to use them! Then they can teach the kids!
  29. I shall study the Greats! Overlords like Aku, Bavmorda, Ahab, Hook, Jareth, Megamind, Zod, Kurgan, Kahn, and Ming! They REALLY knew how to ham it up and chew the scenery – and I am quite possibly MADE OF HAM and I EAT scenery!
  30. If a serious villain turns up to spread evil and misery, or kidnaps one of my kids, or otherwise interrupts my aggravating overlordship, I shall join forces with the heroes right away! After all, I am protected from heroism by the power of the farce – and can give the heroes a nice fruit basket! But when it comes to defeating serious villains, that’s what heroes do!
  31. I will keep the air conditioner running, levels of alcohol in my system that would be lethal for any normal creature, and enjoy my ability to always stay nice and clean and my cartoon immunity to disease! Whatever it is that causes Villain Decay, I’m not catching it!
  32. If the heroes are the offspring of my lieutenants, I shall ensure that they get safe visitation days and college funds and give their younger siblings part-time jobs as pages in my household so that they can throw water balloons at their older siblings whenever they get too serious. Nothing spoils a heroic narrative like a six-year-old sibling with a water balloon!
  33. If someone leaves a giant statue of me or any other creature outside my gates I will call up some builders and landscapers and turn it into the centerpiece of a carnival honoring myself! If someone is hiding inside, I will ensure that the exit is stuck until the evening rush and that all nearby restrooms are coin operated!
  34. If a God or Goddess is intervening to assist my opponents I will adjourn to the realms of the gods to find out what their problem is! I don’t stick my nose into THEIR portfolios, and even if I’m not a member of THEIR pantheon, I expect a similar level of respect when I’m being aggravating! Which is in itself aggravating! RECURSION FOR THE WIN!
  35. All the enhancement potions, super-soldier serums, and similar boosting effects that I give to my minions will be short-term only. Anyone who wants something permanent will have to buy it in the gift shop or volunteer to get experimented on! After all, such things ALWAYS exact a price proportionate to the power that they provide, and better it be “powered up for a few hours before taking a day off to sleep” than “go permanently insane with permanent super powers” unless that’s really what they want!
  36. Traveling performers and such can book the music hall down the block! If they want to perform for ME they can get accredited, build up a reputation and a repertoire, submit an application and a proposal, and go through a security check just like everyone else! Or they can get a recommendation from Leisure Suit Larry! Whichever!.
  37. If some mystic balance must be maintained, I will have a mechanic check it over and then set it spinning! Gyroscopes are a lot more stable! And it can’t be me upsetting it anyway! There are PLENTY of things out there that AREN’T aggravating to balance out me!
  38. If I am having a tantrum, my minions will be fully authorized to hit ME with a pie, and will have orders to do so! Tantrums aren’t really much fun anyway and pie fights make an excellent countermeasure!
  39. I will abuse time travel to train with the great masters! Not only are the arts a nice hobby but it will let me buy a lot of otherwise unknown original works at discount prices to decorate my residence with! Go ahead, blow the place up, destroy priceless pieces of history! At least until I abuse time travel some more to get them back!
  40. If confronted with a sealed cosmic power in a can, an omnipotent artifact of doom, or any similar macguffin I will add a minor fascination charm and a cigarette-lighter charm to it and use it to get free drinks and break the ice with women! The accumulated sleaze will soon drain all narrative importance from it and give me plenty of time to find out if the obvious booby trap is actually somehow useful!
  41. My citizens shall be well-educated, so that any would-be rebels will be able to realize that the odds are against them and that they have hundreds of other options! That way they can bog down endlessly in debates, discussions, and petitions!
  42. If I am engaged in a war, SOMEONE is losing their job! All conflicts come down to a tiny band of heroic adventurers against me anyway, so wars are pointless, messy, and wasteful! Why not just skip to the main event and let the taxpayers (and those cute new girls in my harem) get on with their jobs!
  43. If some terrible entity demands a sacrificial victim that has some special quality, I shall find a more reasonable entity that is willing to take a retainer and work for cash or just for the LOL’s! It’s a big multiverse and there is no need to work with obnoxious, demanding, occult entities when there are plenty of more reasonable ones out there!
  44. There is nothing like existential confusion to aggravate people! I shall leave both my subjects and the heroes opposing me hopelessly confused at every opportunity; and preferably unsure as to whether I am good or evil or just crazy! Consistency is for Overlords who aren’t cartoons!
  45. I will ensure that all heroes have evil (and grandstanding, if not especially effective) twins and vice versa! It will help keep things interesting if no one knows who is who!
  46. I will have an Evil Grand Vizier, of the sort who will advise everyone that he or she is a treacherous master of exotic poisons, twirl his villainous mustache or peer through her villainous spectacles at them, and then offer everyone tea and cookies that he or she had especially made!
  47. When some terrible quest needs to be accomplished, I shall send off the youngest kid who’s successfully completed an immortality ritual and a linking effect! Those things are most fun when you’re young and it’s always the youngest one who goes who succeeds anyway! I shall also give them a cat! Those always help!
  48. I will invite a selection of witches, fairy godmothers, mysterious gypsies, and similar occult types to my kids parties! Some suitably modified curses and blessings make a fine basis for pretty much any fantastic fantasy career!
  49. If any gods or goddesses want me to judge something, or decide who is best at something, or otherwise settle something, I shall remain utterly flippant! If they wanted a serious opinion on something they wouldn’t have come to ME!
  50. There shall be monster preserves with a limited number of no-kill monster fighting permits available for heroes to practice their skills! You never know when you’re going to need either a hero or a monster or a pair of them who have had a recent bonding experience!

And hopefully the various time-sinks that have kept me from writing for the past month have been dealt with…

Prince Bluebloods Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part V – The Palatial Personal Parlor Of Perilously Prepared Pretentious Proverbs

Previously on the Aggravating Overlord Channel…

And today it’s more Pony Overlord rules, for those times that you just want to be irritating…

  1. All of my guest quarters shall actually be miles away and linked to my fortress by an authorized-use-only teleportation doorway with guard-operators standing by all night! Servants, kitchens, air conditioning vents, and so on will be purely local, so anyone who wants to get out and sneak around can stealthily explore the wrong place entirely!
  2. Members of my legions will get free training and tuition as well as substantial pay raises for increasing their qualifications! Adding things like “Lay Therapist”, “Hostage Negotiator”, or “Plumber” will be strongly encouraged! I want the general public to assume that my guards are omni-competent and can be turned to to resolve any problem and I want heroes to have to deal with guards who will be attempting psychotherapy and non-violent conflict resolution between pies!
  3. Everybody thinks that plans calling for intervention from magic unicorns are impractical, but I shall show them that they are wrong!
  4. Occasionally I will dig out and erect a massive crypt-dungeon, filled with formidable defenses, clever traps, and terrible monsters, then ceremoniously hide a locked and warded chest in the central crypt, offering no public explanation! The chest will hold a supply of glasses and good liquor, a high-quality first aid kit, a random bonus prize, and personally signed certificates of graduation from the Blueblood Academy for Adventurers. I will then offer to hire graduates if I ever need an artifact or something retrieved from an ancient temple of doom, liche’s crypt, or similar location.
  5. My employees will have decent tailoring, good grooming, elocution lessons, regular visits to the spa, and decent hygiene! If they want to act like uncouth barbarians, I shall open a gate to Valhalla and see if Odin would like to run an exchange program for some bored Einherjar who would like to try a modern deathstyle for a bit and train with modern weapons and pies!
  6. I will instruct my fashion designer that – when designing for a pony – it is accessories, not outfits! After all, it’s not like any conceivable outfit could possibly be much of an improvement on ME!
  7. My guards will be perfectly capable of functioning in the dark! Between night-sight gear, spells, training, and blindfolded combat practice it shouldn’t be any problem at all and it will give the visually handicapped a chance to shine!
  8. My stronghold shall be overstaffed, for many hands makes for light work! Outsiders who show up claiming to be there to do maintenance, make repairs, or install special equipment will be directed to appropriate properties around the city that are in need of work! I have lots! Their activities will then be reviewed and rated online! They had best hope that they are actually good at repairs!
  9. When my employees park their vehicles to do something on foot, they will do it in full confidence that attempting to bypass said vehicles biometric security locks will lead to being dosed with knockout gas, entangled with mystic chains, or whatever other random security feature the weekly security competition has put in this week.
  10. I will not add unsuitable females to my harem! One night stands are one thing, but who needs troublemakers in the family?
  11. If my chief engineer upsets me (or gets too frustrated with me using magic to do things) I shall reassign him to the Kerbal Space Program! It’s not like I have a lot of real engineering to be done anyway; I am a magic unicorn pony!
  12. I shall not fill the corridors with traps! I have kids, servants, and hundreds of minions, many of whom will doubtless be injured for every hero who is mildly inconvenienced! Instead there will be occasional clearly labeled dead-end side-corridors leading to nonlethal containment traps that the heroes can assume are protecting something important and meddle with to their hearts content!
  13. If the Girl Scouts are delivering my Thin Mints, a servant will meet them at the door with the required forklift and take them around to the kitchen. They will then be offered tickets to an amusement park, but NOT a tour of my stronghold unless it’s “bring your child to work” day and they happen to be some employees offspring.
  14. When I install “Spiked Deadfalls”, “Scorpion Pits”, “Shark Tanks”, “Piranha Pools”, or any similar “death trap” or “execution” device, they shall actually be illusions over teleportation portals that will drop those who pass through randomly into the homes of energetic old ladies armed with broomsticks, cantankerous old men with shotguns loaded with salt, highly skilled female martial artists who happen to be in the shower, or in front of a monstrous family watching TV who can be counted on to scream “A HUMAN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES KIDS, I’LL HOLD IT OFF! CALL THE POLICE!”.
  15. When the heroes inevitably toss ME into one of those “death traps” I shall let my natural background music swell and announce that I have come to grant whoever is there a wish – and presuming that it is at all reasonable, I shall not be a Jackass or even a Literal Genie about it. As a side benefit, when I’m teleporting or dimension hopping, I’m more likely to get a friendly reaction to my abrupt appearance!
  16. While I shall invariably taunt my enemies as I escape, the fact that I usually do so by teleporting or dimension-hopping (at least when no water slide is available) means that such taunts must be prerecorded! They will be delivered by automated Taunt-O-Matic (TM!) systems. Being an Aggravating Overlord calls for the occasional sacrifice!
  17. I will not send out droid, undead, or golem armies against heroes who are reluctant to kill living beings but have no qualms about destroying constructs. Instead I shall place kittens and puppies in need of difficult and lengthy rescue efforts in their way and save the army of constructs for things like dam-building, mining, and other tedious large-scale projects where they might actually accomplish something useful.
  18. I shall not be typecast! My every outfit and hairstyle will be a bold fashion statement and always different! It’s not like they won’t be able to identify me anyway! How many other Aggravating Unicorn Pony Overlords have YOU seen?
  19. My doomsday devices shall have digital timers that reset to various random numbers every few seconds after they are tampered with! When they happen to hit zero there will be a blinding moment of flash photography and the resulting picture will be published with the headline “Blundering “Heroes” Accidentally Trigger “Doomsday Device”. Child’s Birthday Cake Ruined” since any such “Doomsday Device” is actually going to be an elaborate baking oven.
  20. If my guards are defeated in battle, I will route my attackers through several video-game worlds instead! Perhaps they can show me how to get past “Waterfall”, “Animal Antics”, “Ninja Gaiden”, “Dr Wiley’s Castle”, “Aztec”, “The Perfect Run”, “Through the Fire and Flames”, “The Water Temple”, “The Dam”, and :”Turbo Tunnel”!
  21. If I have something the heroes vitally need, and one of them or their hangers-on suddenly offers to warm my bed (and I find them sufficiently appealing), I shall take full advantage of the situation while ensuring that the actual item is in a safety-deposit box in a random bank while I am only carrying a copy! If they’re going to be underhanded, I shall be underhanded too – and I will still get something for my trouble!
  22. I will not triumphantly grab and try to use some ancient mystic/psionic/alien/lost science artifact! Those things never work right until they’ve been analyzed, properly attuned by being “paid for” in some fashion, and put into your inventory! Besides, I wouldn’t be an Overlord if I didn’t have plenty of power and artifacts already!
  23. I will be very selective in my hiring of character assassins! Entirely too many columnists, comedy hosts, and writers will happily turn on you at a moments notice or do hackwork that is all too easily revealed as a hired hit piece!
  24. I shall not conceal my weaknesses! Fine wines, pretty mares, good food, great personal accessories, and more do attract me, while dirt, damage to my hair, incompetent minions, poor hygiene, and noxious odors all repel me! I am, however, neither stupid nor incapable of self-control! I can and will ignore such things when something important is going on!
  25. Any important facilities, storage areas, escape pods, and similar necessities will be found INSIDE my defenses! Leaving important stuff unprotected is asking for it and I do that enough anyway!
  26. I reserve the right to fire minons who are excessively irritating know-it-alls who say “I told you so!” too much! It’s not like ANY plan is likely to hold up when a bunch of crazy heroes comes through anyway, so they’re not exactly making a useful contribution there!
  27. When my mechanisms, spells, rituals, and mad science devices fail, they will do so in great bursts of colored light and loud bangs with symphonic accompaniment! Everypony loves a good fireworks display!
  28. I will employ stone, metal, modern safety techniques, and warding spells to make sure that my stronghold is proof against fire, flood, storms, natural disasters, and various other hazards while requiring minimal maintenance! Cheap construction always costs you more in the long run!
  29. I shall hire some competent people to run my intelligence, census, and similar services! There is no use trying to give orders to make things sillier if you do not know what is going on!
  30. If a hero feels a need to speak to me in person, there is always videoconferencing! Otherwise he or she can await one of my general audience days, just like everybody else! And bring a fruit basket!
  31. I will have many projects going on at once! This is what Delegation and Subdivisions are for! If some heroes disrupt one project, well, there shall be a dozen more that actually get finished!
  32. Drugs, rituals, artifacts, and pacts offering immortality will be carefully examined for difficulty and drawbacks and filed accordingly! While I have Immortality ANYWAY, the kids don’t always inherit it and I can only bestow it up until they move out! If any of them want to put up with whatever drawbacks a given method has (there are always SOME) I will gladly help them get it set up!
  33. Any classical monsters working for me will be provided with new riddles, weaknesses, or vulnerable points! There is no point in having a guardian or enforcer that can be defeated by any kid with access to Google!
  34. Just in case there is a background music failure, I will have a backup background music system installed, complete with an AI to pick something appropriate. What is a good scene without background music?
  35. I will keep my priorities in order! Dramatic Escapes (Family first, and with less drama), Cool Scenes, Being Annoying, Bad Puns, Expanding My Harem, Teaching Moments, Coming Up With Evil Explanations for Nice Deeds, Chocolate Desserts, Ruling Effectively, and Finding More Heroes to Amuse Me, in that order!
  36. If a Hero or (especially!) Heroine starts a transformation sequence, I will wait until it is halfway through to interrupt and point out that they are now naked. If necessary, I will use my powers of transmutation on their clothing to ensure that this is so – and to make sure that it remains true. There’s nothing like a bunch of naked heroes doing a Benny Hill chase scene!
  37. My word is my bond! My Safeword, on the other hand, is Power Word Escape!
  38. Collecting Dread Artifacts of Great Power is always fun until you try to use them for something important, at which point they invariably backfire! I will use them only for trivia, and when a hero steals one because “He does not know what he has his hooves on!” I shall laugh uproariously when it blows up in his or her face! Besides… Aggravating Overlord Vastly Wealthy Influential Magic Cartoon Unicorn Wizard here, remember? It’s not like dread artifacts are going to do much that I can’t find a way to do anyway!
  39. I will make sure that any invisibility devices that I either use or leave around to be stolen will stop working at dramatic moments! What good is a dramatic moment with no audience?
  40. Any robots will have concealed power systems, well inside. The vulnerable external power pack will be a popcorn grenade trap (because a hero who tries this obviously needs more grains!) Set to go off when somebody grabs it!
  41. Zombie, Ghoul, Vampire, Wraith and other undead armies are GROSS. Also useless and prone to going out of control. The necromancer down the block can HAVE them. A squad of scantily dressed lovely cat girls and/or handsome and virile horse boys looking for someone to protect and rescue them from me is FAR more effective at delaying heroes – and lets me get rid of them. Where do the blasted things keep coming from anyway?
  42. I shall not be cheap. What use is being incredibly wealthy if you do not spend your money? Hordes are for dragons, and look how much good they do THEM.
  43. Any idea that crosses my mind will get serious consideration! After all, how can I be stopped if even I do not know what I am up to at any given moment?
  44. If cornered I will break out the emergency eyepatch, pirate shirt, and ninja-to. Then I shall be invincible! Or in a mental hospital. If it works for the Joker, it will work for me!
  45. I shall have small, cute, furry things with big eyes handle my personal security! Even if the heroes should somehow work up a desire to attack, the law of cartoon cute will stop them.
  46. If I must resort to generic villainy, I shall go to a discount club and invest in an entire pallet of the large economy size. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to run out of villainy?
  47. Any offerings of cringing slaves, frightened children, or beautiful young virgin women will be accepted, sorted out by the staff, given meals and appropriate treatment, and either sent home or – if they actually want a job – given the usual security checks and evaluation. (See Legions Of Cuddly, Harem, and Staff). Adults who show up four or more times will be referred to social services! Children who prove to have been around this four or more times will be given a swat on the rear, a good scolding, and a note sent to their parents or social workers! If they have neither they will be assigned some social workers! I am not a babysitting service most of the time!
  48. If I feel a need to demonstrate my utter decadence, ruthless domination, or extreme edginess I will hire in some people to play the necessary roles! The look on the heroes faces when some of the heads “mounted on the wall” ask them how they’re doing is priceless!
  49. Whenever a policeman comes to arrest me, or solo hero tries to capture me, or I am somehow trapped in the company of someone utterly unlike me, I shall consider how amusing they seem likely to be and then either 1) Teleport, or 2) Use my “change genre” power to make it a “Buddy Picture” just in case it wasn’t already.
  50. If the heroes attempt to break or reform me by listing off all my flaws, errors, failures, and bad habits I shall listen closely! They will almost certainly remind me of several fun things that I need to do again!

Anomaly – Things Of Interest Around Vitromasse

And for today’s bonus post, since the players voted for Avrinthos, here are some of the things going on in the area.

  • The Star Treaders. Vitromasse isn’t a major stop for the Star Treaders – unusually for them, most of their usual stock-in-trade is actually less variegated and exotic than what is available locally and nobody really wants their “technology” – but supplies of air and water are basically free, the Gathri may not be all that friendly but they’re willing to sell plenty of food cheaply, and the local Suugken holdings will sell them the occasional outright quasi-miracle. Even along their routes, that’s a rarity. Few of the accessible worlds in their realm have developed the local psychic and material technologies to such a degree. They still stop by every month or two, and are often looking for something they have heard is available on the anomaly – somewhere.
  • The Formless Horrors. Thanks to the Tindalos birthright, it’s all too common in Avrinthos for someone to call up something that he, she, ze, or it, cannot put down. Despite the efforts of the Gaunthounds, it’s not uncommon for something to be missed – and so there will have to be hunts to put down the latest formless-tentacled-horror that’s melting people’s flesh / sucking the blood from people so they rise as some sort of mummy / whispering horrific occult secrets into people’s minds and driving them mad. There are probably two or three aroud the place at the moment.
  • Elkdunar. This village was relatively nearby, (about fifteen miles, along the twisting routes in the mountains about three days travel), but has apparently been destroyed by giant monsters. The current popular rumor is that the Jagurhund Ramperdr forged himself a Masque Of Wrath and wiped the place out. The more sober people are hoping that it’s something else; someone who’d forge a Masque Of Wrath is unlikely to stop at wiping out one village, The locals are currently debating whether or not to send a group to investigate.
  • Sturmkanal (so named due to the regular lightning strikes on it): Perched atop a nearby mountain, this massive (metal?) citadel apparently dates back to a previous cycle. Why it’s still working is an open question, but the usual answer was that it was somehow brought to life millennia past, and so has it’s own Birthright – so it and everything in it’s interior will continue to operate under that Birthrights rules as long as the castle survives. The castle itself is noted for it’s many traps and monsters, it’s digital clocktower, and it’s incredible garishness – but adventurers who go poking about it in all too often come to a bad end. As a rule, however, Sturmkanal keeps to itself; if you don’t go and bang on the walls or go into the place, it’s not a problem.
  • Rilantha. The passes to the south, of course, lead into Rilantha – a realm noted for it’s colossal beasts and savage tribes. Occasional hunting expeditions (Usually Ri’on Huntsmen brought in by the Star Treaders) use Vitromasse as a jumping-off point, and there is always a market for multi-ton logs of ivory, incredibly tough behemoth hide, and similar products of giant beasts. Just as importantly, the local tribes may be a bit barbaric, but they’re generally up for some trading if someone brings along enough firepower to survive the trip.
  • The Olistor River: The riverboat that moves up and down the navigable section of the Olistor (The Tenshi) connects at least fifteen communities (argument continues on how to count logging camps and similar outposts) and is basically a small community in its own right. Rumors, of course, note the presence of water monsters, a mysterious cavern that leads elsewhere, some sort of tree-guardians attacking a logging camp, and the appearance of a Skinwalker that gunned down a gambling group and made off with the pot.
  • Vitromasse General Area: There’s been a good deal of trouble recently with things that come out of the ground – strange, partially-metallic beings riding huge spiders -but they rarely leave a lot of survivors (another reason why the locals been investing in more Guanthounds recently).
  • Vitromasse: A couple of young-adult Suugken are about ready to move out – and their mother (Intimoda, Time/Space Affinity, Exotic Technological Birthright) would rather like someone to keep an eye on them to improve their odds of survival. Unfortunately, while she one of the more formidable defenders of Vitromasse, and can build technical gear beyond most of the other locals skills, it simply wouldn’t be RIGHT to interfere with the kids Hegira directly.
  • Vitromasse: For those with ethics, the fact that most of the Guanthounds are the enslaved results of burning out much of a victim’s mind and involuntarily transforming them may be troubling. Whether or not much can be done about it is an awkward question.
  • Avrinthos: A number of youngsters are showing unfamiliar Birthrights; It is obvious that a Time Of Change began some years ago, and will not be causing increasing disruptions.
  • Far North: There are some tales that the Uruk, piloting a force of massive war machines that work like creatures, are making conquests up that way – but even with the various ways of speeding up travel available in Avrinthos, that area is some thousands of miles away. By the time such news makes it to Vitromasse any details in the stories are at least as likely to have been added along the way as to have been transmitted accurately.

Observations from Space (These are available to several characters):

  • Avrinthos: Most of the other villages that have been spotted on the surveys have at least one (and often more than one) odd phenomena near them – weird pyramids radiating strange energies, odd patches of forest, pools or “roads” of light, paths that go nowhere, and so on. Most such seem to either be considered local resources or are exploiting some other local resource themselves.
  • The surrounding realms:
    • There is crude AM traffic to the (quite arbitrary) north and more distant north east – mostly unencrypted AM. Fortunately, most of the major sources are broadcasting with far more power than a modern station requires, making much of the traffic relatively easy to intercept. For good or ill, however… much of it appears to be military. There seem to be various more-or-less local conflicts going on across Malador, Haldon, Orrort, Ustcheon, and Nichtfel along with a few large constructs moving about. Still, given the size of the realms… there are probably a fair number of peaceful areas as well. Much of the area seems to have a basic Railway Network that extends across several realms.
    • There’s also a lot of much more modern, throughly encrypted, traffic from the Crystalreaches, where something seems obsessed with constructing pylons. There is similar traffic – and some pretty odd energy readings – around Stardock. Given that the peak there seems to extend above the Anomalies atmosphere, and possibly actually extends into the Star Wars universe proper, there is some discussion of putting down a small ship simply to see if it can take off again.
    • Directly to the east, in Nilandar, there seem to be forests and islands cloaked in perpetual darkness. No one is quite sure how that works, but they aren’t quite sure how other places get sunlight anyway. Perhaps they are drawing it from other universes?
    • To the Northeast (in Leros) there appears to be large-scale irrigation, agriculture with at least some mechanized harvesting, and a fairly prosperous semi-industrial civilization – although, oddly enough, there is no radio traffic.

Things of Specific Interest:

  • The locals feel that if you want something REALLY large moved (such as Vanatica’s shuttle), the best thing to do is to call in some heavy haulers from Rilantha. It’s mildly expensive, but they can drag a LOT of stuff about. For faster travel, you’ll want someone with the right Birthright unless there are only a few of you and you can talk Intimoda into teleporting you.

The Anomaly: Vitromasse Village and it’s peoples – the Gathri, Suugken, and Gaunthounds.

Vitromasse is a hamlet in Avrinthos, located approximately sixty to a hundred miles from the “southern” edge of the realm and perhaps six hundred miles from the lower “western” vertex (the red “X” on the PDF map). The passes to the south thus lead down into the forests/jungles and rolling plains of Rilantha and the rugged Ricible Desert lies to the distant west. Here, the mountainside is interrupted by two layers of extremely hard and durable stone, with softer material eroded away from between and above them – providing an overhanging cliff and a relatively flat and durable foundation extending out to another cliffside below that. To the east a the massive Olistor Gorge cuts through the stone, dropping several hundred feet to the Olistor River – a surprising chunk of which is navigable. Nearby the forested slopes support a variety of tree-crops, predominantly Northern (they only grow on north-facing slopes for some reason) Hestor Nuts. Hestor Nuts are reasonably tasty, if more carbohydrate heavy than oily, and the abundant trees produce a massive yearly crop – a major source of food for Vitromasse’s people, their livestock, and much of the local wildlife. Other local “natural” resources include an Ironwood grove, Firesap Vines, Bronzefruit Lyfaygor trees, and excellent stone. Less “natural” resources include a Star Treader Lightpool from which Iounian Trade-Caravans emerge to resupply and exchange goods several times a year, being an occasional stop for travelers on the Olistor, trade-links with some of the Rilancian Tribes to the south, and having a reasonably good road route through the local mountains based on the same strata of stone that forms the foundation of Vitromasse.

While this would be more than enough to support a sizeable town in many of the Anomalies other realms, the numerous – and utterly unpredictable – hazards of Avrinthos tend to keep most settlements relatively small.

Central Vitromasse is nestled against the north-facing cliffside, and often under the overhang, but the farms and the secondary center around the Lightpool are further scattered – in both cases to the east, where the Olistor Gorge offers additional protection from wandering horrors. It is primarily inhabited by Gathri, Suugken, and (Transformed) Gaunthound Guard-Slaves, with a scattering of Oleri (small avian folk, generally not too clever and not tool users – which makes them poor player characters) and occasional other types.

Gathri (31 CP / +0 ECL):

Gathri are humanoids, but are somewhat shorter, more lightly built, and more agile than baseline humans, tend towards more angular, “fey”, features, and usually have swarthy green, light blue, violet, or blue-white colorations. They prefer well-constructed (and often fortified) hamlets and villages in cool climates and forested terrain and are extremely clannish, often having little use for (and a great deal of suspicion directed at) outsiders. Sadly, while they do tend towards large families, children are a group effort – and those who are disruptive, excessively questioning, don’t fit into the clan well, or are simply redundant. are commonly traded to other clans, sold as slaves, or otherwise used for the benefit of the clan as their differences cause them to be instinctively classified as “outsiders”. They tend towards worshiping ancestor and local spirits, extending their clannish tendencies to their deities. Adventurous Gathri are rare; most of what few do leave their communities behind for a time are usually simply attempting to deal with some threat to it, and will return to settle back in after that task. True wanderers tend to be regarded as renegades and madmen, and are often regarded with even more suspicion than members of other species.

  • As medium-sized humanoids, their baseline movement, attributes, equipment, and similar qualities are quite typical.
  • Attribute Shift: +2 Dex, -2 Str (6 CP).
  • Adept: May buy Craft, Perception, Profession, and Perform at half cost (6 CP).
  • Racial Skill Bonuses: +4 to any one Adept Skill, speak their Clan Dialect (3 CP).
  • Four levels of the Wilder Progression (Charisma Based), Specialized and Corrupted / provides no actual psionic powers, Power can only be spent to use Hedge Magic Disciplines, not for other purposes (8 CP), This gives them an effective Caster Level of Four and (17 + 2 x Cha Mod) Power.
  • Hedge “Magic”, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / does not include the ability to make Conjures (4 CP). As psionic disciplines it costs 1/2 a point of Power to use a “level zero” effect, one for a “level one effect”, and three for a “level two” effect.
  • Innate Enchantment, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Only for practical, utilitarian, effects, only 2500 GP total value, requires external foci items to function (2 CP). While the “items” available are fixed early on (generally focusing on the user’s choice of Adept skills), a Gathri will have various bits of practical (psionic) “magic” about – primarily drawing on the lists of Conjures under Hedge Magic and the Industrial Wights and Magic series. Enhanced tools, perpetual water fountains, high-speed looms, and ways to easily accomplish laborious tasks are their stock in trade. Questions like “who inherits the shop?” among them start off with narrowing things down to “the ones with appropriate attunements to use the facilities” – whether or not that happens to be one of the original owners kids. It is not uncommon for some esoteric shop to be simply left open – if a youngster with the ability to use it is born, or marries into the clan, it becomes theirs by default.
  • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 2 CP). Their psionic abilities tend to keep the Gathri vigorous and healthy. While they don’t actually live more than 20=25% longer than a normal human on the average, they do age very well, remaining healthy and vigorous well into their old age.

Gathri are rarely one of a regions great powers – they do not organize well beyond the local level of a few reasonably friendly clans – but they are exceptionally industrious and productive, usually have a great deal of leisure time and strong storytelling, theatrical, and musical traditions, and can defend themselves competently enough. They can be found occupying comfortable enclaves in a considerable number of the Anomalies realms.

Suugken (31 CP / +0 ECL):

Suugken are a quasi-reptilian species of “Lizard Men” that are born strongly attuned to one or another elemental force – with a fairly broad definition of what an “elemental force” is. Fire, Earth, Air, and Water are common, yes – but Suugken attuned to Time and Space, or Gravity, or any of many other forces have been encountered. Their glowing eyes may offer a clue as to what force they are attuned to, but the pattern is not entirely reliable. Overall, the fact that their flesh is partially made up of elemental energy neatly counteracts their tendency to consume metals and deposit them in their teeth, scales, and claws – becoming fairly well armored while retaining an overall neutral buoyancy in water. Their color patterns vary, but tend to be strongly influenced by the metallic portion of their diet. By human standards they tend to be tall and well-built – which is often somewhat on display, since their armor-plated metallic scales protects them well enough that only temperature extremes call for protective clothing.

Suugken are egg-layers, but have some difficulty producing offspring – a possible consequence of elemental mismatches between the mother and the embryonic offspring. Youngsters are treasured, and carefully protected, but adolescence is usually a period of wandering, during which young adults seek out other groups of Suugken, usually settling in one in need of someone with their particular elemental focus. They usually settle in jobs that exploit their considerable elemental prowess. For example, an expert with Fire may be a smith or potter, a warmage, specialize in catalytic effects, or a steam engineer.

Elder Suugken reportedly occasionally begin to increase in size, develop a greatly extended lifespan, and learn to adjust the elemental content of their flesh, developing the ability to adjust their average density enough to “swim” in the air – but this appears to be a very rare occurrence; the vast majority of them age and pass on normally. Most Suugken claim that on upon their physical deaths they merge with the force to which they are attuned, but any such “religion” is informal and entirely personal.

  • As medium-sized humanoids, their baseline movement, attributes, equipment, and similar qualities are quite typical.
  • Energy Infusion (6 CP). Suugken are born with a random Energy Infusion. While this is most commonly Elemental. Alignment and Planar infusions are reasonably common, the Forces show up occasionally, and there have even been extremely rare reports of Cosmological infusions.
  • Adept, Specialized for Double Effect and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for two skills – Wisdom-Based Rune Mastery and Rune Casting for their Energy Infusion Type, does not apply past their racial skill bonus (4 CP).
  • +3 SP (Effectively a +12 bonus) for each of their Adept skills, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only becomes available gradually; Infants get no bonuses, Children get +4, Youths get +8, and Adults get the full +12 (4 CP).
  • 3d6 Mana, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost / only for Rune Magic, only for their specific Energy Infusion field (6 CP),
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / only to recover Mana for the Rune Magic field above, requires at least one hours rest per die (4 CP),
  • Innate Enchantment: Specialized for Increased Effect (abilities are considered extraordinary, not magical) / all abilities are blatant permanent physical changes. All Spell Level One, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated, x.7 Personal-Only where relevant (6 CP).
    • Aspect Of The Lizard (Swim 30′, +3 Natural Armor, d8 Fangs and Claws, +4 on Stealth, 1400 GP).
    • +2 Constitution (1400 GP).
    • Produce Flame with +0 Metamagical Adjustment: Energy Type matches the user’s Energy Infusion (2000 GP).
    • Cure Light Wounds, 2/Day (heals self for 1d8+1 damage, 560 GP).
  • Speaks Draconic (1 CP).

Gaunthounds (36 or Zero Point Acquired Template):

Gaunthounds are people – most often slaves – who have been subjected to the Nightmare Binding ritual. Slaves are usually also subjected to curses of obedience, domestication, and subordination through the Dreambinding Ritual – although there are occasional volunteers who skip that part. Sadly, while the Nightmare Binding can provide a good deal of power, nothing is free: the new powers are paid for by reducing the victims mental attribute. Attributes of 12+ yield 6 CP per point given up, those of 10-11 yield 6 CP for being reduced by two, and those of 7-9 can be reduced by three to gain 6 CP. Attributes already at six or below cannot be further reduced to any profit, although one that was at seven can be reduced to four.

An average person – with 10’s and 11′ for mental attributes – can thus gain 36 CP by reducing their mental attributes by five each. This is not generally a good deal, which is why it’s usually only inflicted on slaves. The basic Guanthound Package costs 36 CP and includes:

  • Durability Of Nightmares: Grant Of Aid with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP). With their bodies bound to the energies of a dream-hunting monster, Gaunthounds can endure a great deal of damage with no lasting consequences.
  • Bestial Form: Shapeshift, with the Dire, Hybrid, Clear Speech (corrupted/only reasonably clear), and Attribute Modifiers options, Specialized and Corrupted / the user cannot actually switch forms, but is stuck as a Dire Wolf hybrid, does not gain size modifiers (8 CP). +1d0 Hit Die, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect / only to qualify for the Dire Wolf shapeshift (4 CP).
    • This is the usual shapeshift cheese to replace your original races physical attribute modifiers with those of another creature – and even downgraded to Medium Size those of a Dire Wolf are pretty good; This provides Str +6, Dex +6, Con +2, Scent, Low-Light Vision, 1d6 Natural Weapons, and +3 Natural Armor. Of course, it also means being a hulking, dire, carnivorous beast, needing great quantities of meat, having to have everything special-fitted, and generally being regarded as a socially-unacceptable animal.
  • Nightmare Guardian: Witchcraft III with Seize The Wandering Soul, Specialized for Reduced Cost / the user is subject to a powerful dose of canine instincts (12 CP): This provides Power equal to (the sum of the user’s physical attributes/3) and seven basic witchcraft abilities with a Save DC of (13 + Cha Mod). This usually isn’t very good – only Seize The Wandering Soul is the only one of their basic witchcraft abilities to offer a save at all, and it’s usually a group effort.
    • The Adamant Will, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user gains a passive +6 bonus to Will Saves to avoid being diverted from his or her duties) / has no other applications and makes the user’s emotions easy to read (+6 to Sense Motive checks against him or her).
    • Dreamfaring, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Grants continuous awareness of adjoining dimensions and the user may spend 3 Power to be able to interact with such things for one minute) / not usable for other purposes, allows creatures in other dimensions to perceive the user, user is subject to sensory distractions from other dimensions and is sensitive to dimensional disturbances.
    • The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user can sense malignant intent without expending power) / offers no other functions. While there is no save, pretty much any form of mental shielding will result in “no reading”.
    • Glamour, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect ( The user gets a +6 bonus to attempts at Intimidation and may share tactical considerations with other packmembers instantly at ranges of up to sixty feet at no Power cost) / can use no other abilities.
    • Healing, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (the user is immune to negative effects of drugs and intoxicant at no Power cost) / offers no other functions.
    • Hyloka, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (time spent on guard duty counts as sleep) / offers no other functions.
    • Witchsight, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect / Provides a +6 bonus to Perception and Survival at no power cost) / offers no other functions.

Optionally, a Guanthound who had high stats to start with can be given one or more of…

  • Nightbred: Add The Umbral Form and Nightforge (12 CP). Nightbred Gaunthounds can become shadows and turn shadows into adamantine forms – at least temporarily.
  • Warbred: Add Dismissal and Wrath Of The Sea (12 CP). Warbred Guanthounds can attempt to banish extradimensional forces and can augment their own strength, often to superhuman level.
  • Pitbred: Add Bones Of Iron and Leaping Fire (12 CP). Pitbred Gaunthounds can accelerate their movement, attacks, and healing and augment their physical toughness in a variety of ways.
  • Huntbred: Double Damage versus Nightmares, Lovecraftian Horrors, and creatures of the outer dimensions (6 CP) plus Track (Wilderness). Huntbred Gaunthounds are used to track down and eliminate the truly esoteric horrors that are far too often unleashed by people with the Tindalos Birthright.

Jagurhunds: On rare occasions a ritual victim will either find sufficient character points (whether unspent or by draining no-longer applicable talents) to avoid any major drain of his or her mental abilities or will start off with mental attributes so high as to remain fully functional afterwards. In such cases the usual curses of obedience, domestication, and subordination either do not stick or turn into a drive to give orders, run wild, and dominate, Such individuals are often fertile as well – and will usually try to gather a pack of subordinate gaunthounds and claim a territory of their own. They are often – albeit not always – more than a bit angry about their transformations.

Anomaly – Local Regions

And for today (and for the convenience or the local players) it’s a bonus post – a “Map” showing the general layout of the local regions of the Anomaly. Sadly, given that the layout covers about two and a half times the area of the Earth (with a much higher percentage of land, at least in this general area), actual terrain features are generally too small to be a concern. Fortunately, most “hexes” have reasonably consistent terrain, environment, and weather. There is, of course, no way that this could work naturally – but it’s hard to get much more unnatural than the Anomaly. And for the convenience of anyone who wants a better look, Anomaly Local Regions I.

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part IV – The Glorious Gardens of Gratuitously Garbled Gnomics

Previously on the Aggravating Overlord Channel…

  1. All my giant monsters will be fitted with appropriate armor, eye protection, and equipment, including automatic healing magic packs! Giant monsters are a fairly expensive bit of lair furnishings, and shall be paid, properly equipped, and provided with healthcare, just like all the other minions!
  2. When recruiting I will favor intelligence, enthusiasm, and youth over accomplishment! It’s not like I’m ever going to be asking my staff to do something reasonable, with precedent, or sane anyway, so imagination will help them a lot more than knowing a long list of reasons why it is impossible to do what I want! Let the heroes get stuck with the old fuddy-duddies who know all the reasons why things won’t work!
  3. All witchy crones, clairvoyant or prophetic hags, mystic hermits, herbalists and brewers of potions, itinerant holy men, fey-touched advisors, occult blacksmiths, runemasters, and similar practitioners of hedge magic, shall be moved into decent country cottages with reliable utilities, picket fences, kitchen gardens, and regularly scheduled landscaping and maintenance services, at no cost. Furthermore, regular supplies of canned goods, new clothing, and soap will be delivered to them in exchange for copious supplies of hangover cures and similar conveniences. Helping to overthrow the Dark Overlord is one thing. Helping to overthrow the landlord who’s letting you stay rent free and is still paying for your services is something else altogether!
  4. Basic military security calls for never telling people more than they need to know at the moment, so that they cannot reveal vital information if captured! Given that I invent entirely new insane plans every few minutes and habitually speculate wildly, every one of my lieutenants will know a dozen different and wildly contradictory plans while I will do whatever comes into my head at the moment! What’s the point of being an Overlord if you can’t change your mind when it suits you?
  5. I will provide funding and research to develop tactical and strategic parties suitable for all contingencies, so that no hero will ever be able to make the situation serious enough to support long-term effects or the use of real weapons.
  6. My Legions of Cuddly will have a strong affirmative action policy towards hiring the handicapped! Spells and technology can make up for that kind of thing anyway and there is NOTHING like a headline declaring ““Hero” beats up blind man!” to reduce their public support!
  7. My personal guards shall be extremely attractive. There’s no reason to be pushy or sexually harass them (and lots of reasons not to, starting with having PLENTY of willing sexual partners), but when you’re running an empire you CAN have both competence and decorativeness in one package.
  8. If I have taken someone hostage they will be sent on a comfortable vacation on Hawaii on an alternate timeline at about 20,000 BC. Their position in any hostage drama will be played by an actor, illusion, or faithful minion. That way there will be no risk of actual injury OR of the “weak, helpless, inexperienced, naive, foolish, etc, etc, etc” hostage suddenly doing something useful at the moment of dramatic climax!
  9. I will distribute variously distorted maps of my (ever-changing) secret passages, random dark mystic secrets that “can be my downfall”, terrible summoning rituals, strange weapons and artifacts, and random junk from antique shops run by mysterious elderly oriental gentlemen to assorted aged hermits and hidden locations! First off, what fun is owning first-edition copies of the Necronimicon, Ars Geotica, Clavicule of Solomon, Darkhold, Celaeno Fragments, Cthäat Aquadingen, Cultes des Goules, De Vermis Mysteriis, Dhol Chants, Heptameron, Liber Juratus, Pnakotic Manuscripts, Sefer ha-Razim I and II, Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and Zanthu Tablets if you’re not going to do anything with them? (And it’s not like I’m going to use them MYSELF). Secondarily, any hero who can turn THAT kind of junk into something useful in hopes of it being my downfall is skilled enough to do better on their own anyway while the UNSKILLED ones will just get themselves into trouble!
  10. My Legions of Cuddly will have proper, biometrically-locked, tactical communication and display computers! When on duty they and the guard commander in the tactics room will know where their teammates are, who is talking to them, and whether something has happened to any one of them at all times! They will also know when to sound the alarm, how to search, and basic security procedures, for that is what the training budget is for!
  11. If an adventuring or potential hero has mentors, teachers, and/or best friends, I shall quietly send them money, training supplies, and clues that they can mysteriously support the heroes with! That way I can secretly steer the heroes into a surprise party and celebrity roast where they can be extensively embarrassed!
  12. If I have a hero and their party trapped, I will not wait until my party cannon is ready to start the festivities if more conventional pies are available.
  13. Whenever my plans include a timetable or checklist, it will include dozens of entries that have nothing to do with anything! Including things like “Attend Grandkids Birthday Party”! I always invent my “plans” on the spot anyway!
  14. My secret archives shall be heavily encrypted! Those embarrassing family photos and movies are NOBODY ELSE’S BUSINESS! They are also an appropriate punishment for anyone who goes to all the trouble to steal and decrypt them! Finally, if stolen, there are secure online backups. My parents would be upset if something happened to all that stuff!
  15. Before I burst into the heroes secret hideout MY personal Oracle will make sure that they are there and that it is not a trap! I am NOT wasting a perfectly good dramatic entrance on a bomb or something! The triggered spells for the spotlight, smoke, amplified dramatic voice, and all the rest take a good deal of effort to set up!
  16. Zen is a thing! I shall live life as it comes, respond to the exigencies of the moment, and go with the flow! Only thus (or, you know, by being a Cartoon ANYWAY) can I always be prepared for any eventuality and be utterly unpredictable!
  17. If I get a hold of something very important to the heroes I shall put it up on Ebay with a nice high minimum bid! It’s not like a bunch of heroes wouldn’t find a way to get it back no matter what if it is really important to them, but this way they shall wind up broke and pay me for the privilege!
  18. When planning an expedition I shall ensure that the route passes through several excellent places for an ambush! I shall also offer chances to come along as prizes for children who are doing well in elementary school!
  19. My bodyguards will be allowed to hear whatever I have to say! I’m trusting them to protect me from attacks, I’m not going to get paranoid about them knowing a few things! Besides, most of what I say is for comedic effect anyway!
  20. If the rebellion tricks me, I shall graciously credit them! If they try the same trick again it shall be used as the lead-in to a countertrick unless is was REALLY funny, in which case they can get away with repeating it until it gets boring or becomes a running but basically ineffectual gag!
  21. I will have prerecorded monologues and body doubles available for confronting each of my enemies. That way when they try to use my villainous monologing to gather clues and gain time to escape while I am so occupied they will find the clues way out of date and that I am well ahead of them!
  22. My sapient computers will regard viruses and hacking attempts like normal people regard con artists! When such things are tried against them they will identify the source and pretend to cooperate while sending in the police!
  23. I shall be an enlightened despot! Prosperous realms full of happy people pay more taxes and make less trouble! Any necessary examples shall be made from people whom pretty much everyone hates! Anyone who’s likely to be stabbed by the other inmates if sent to prison will probably be a good choice!
  24. If I decide to dramatically place a base beneath the ocean, inside a volcano, in a glacier, in a mighty cavern, or any other location prone to exploding/collapsing/allowing people to easily drop in on it from above, it will be strictly for fun and everyone will evacuate by teleportation the moment any of the alarms go off!
  25. I have PLENTY of money! I shall be massively overstaffed so everyone can work short hours with plenty of time for breaks, sick days, or taking naps if they feel tired! After all, if I’m hiring bright kids for things I have to make proper allowances!
  26. I will make a habit of confessing to completely absurd stories about things that I have not (and probably could not) have done! With chortling and sarcasm! That way, if I ever actually HAVE done something and feel some weird urge to confess, I can ham it up and throw in impossible details until no one will believe a word I say anyway!
  27. If I am in deadly peril and a hero reaches out to rescue me, I shall not attempt to take him or her down with me, even if I DO return from death! I will accept the assistance, help him or her out of the inevitable follow-up peril, and enjoy the bonding experience! We can go back to hostilities later in the spirit of good sportsmanship!
  28. Any ghosts who wish to haunt my stronghold can put in an employment application like anybody else! They will not, however, qualify for the optional life insurance! If ghosts are good enough for Hogwarts they are good enough for me!
  29. Anyone who attempts to swim the moat will find themselves aboard the Calypso sailing under Jacques-Yves Cousteau as he explores the seas of the underworld! They will just have to go on a wild adventure to get back!
  30. If an expert refuses to work for me I shall offer more money and benefits! If he or she still will not accept… I shall ask the me in the alternate universe where he or she did accept to share the research or design results in exchange for something similar that didn’t work out in HIS universe!
  31. If a hero shouts “Look out behind you!” I shall teleport us BOTH to a safer spot with a good view of the first one! If it’s a trick, it won’t accomplish much, and if it’s a genuine warning it’s time for a nice lunch and working things out diplomatically, since said hero obviously wasn’t all that hostile to begin with!
  32. I’m personally conjuring everything important anyway. I will outsource anything that isn’t too important. What else is money FOR?
  33. I shall not build any device meant to transfer energy into me. I’ve done that too many times already! Besides, since I’ve discovered super-triple-mocha-chocolate-expresso “Biohazard” coffee, who needs them?
  34. Any carts, wagons, or trucks full of loose material or boxes large enough for someone to hide in will be directed to the loading docks at my warehouse across town. Any hay shall be properly made into hayfries, hayburgers, or similar foods before being brought into my stronghold! It’s not a place for bulk goods!
  35. Festivals, conventions, contests, and mass celebrations will be held at appropriate facilities! My stronghold – except for the emergency shelter in the basement, which is a public service – is for me and my staff (and occasional heroes!), not for random members of the public!
  36. My ultimate coffee making machine will have circuit breakers, surge suppressors, and multiple backups! I am NOT going WITHOUT MY COFFEE! And when I had to use time travel to go back to when it was working I kept having to WAIT IN LINE BEHIND MYSELF! It was entirely unacceptable!
  37. I shall chew the scenery! Be the biggest ham around! Overact and make EVERYTHING out to be the most important thing EVER! Why be an Overlord if you aren’t going to enjoy every minute of it?
  38. If I capture someone known for solving problems with ingenious and fantastic gadgets, I will give them access to a laboratory, several assistants, tell them to sign here to be allowed to use the facilities, monitor EVERYTHING, and claim patent rights on, and make use of, anything they come up with in MY laboratories!
  39. I will cackle and gloatingly tell the heroes that whatever they have done has served my true purposes, whether or not this is true! If they believe me, then they will doubt all of their actions! If they do not, then I have an opportunity to get them into some version of a “Did Too!” “Did Not!” argument suitable for five year olds until “them leave in disgust”!
  40. If there is a famine or other disaster I will rush all necessary relief supplies there at once! Not only is this good publicity, it helps maintain the tax base, discourages dissent, creates a fertile recruiting ground for minions, makes heroes doubt their motives, and costs me nothing but a minute or two! Overstaffed and ability to conjure stuff in mass quantities, remember?
  41. I will also fund urban renewal and youth outreach programs! Slums, gangs, and desperate youths often provide heroes with unexpected allies seeking to express their suppressed teenage idealism! And the vast majority of heroes will have a much harder time fighting against disadvantaged youths who are seeking a better life!
  42. I will not attempt to keep my doings a secret! It’s not like I’m ashamed of the things I do! (If for some reason I AM, I will see a psychiatrist! If the objection is rational, I will then NOT DO IT. If it is some silly hangup, I will get it cured and then indulge!). And secrets always come out at the worst possible moment, such as when everyone who would turn against you if they were revealed is handy to hear them! If they are going to turn against me, they can protest at the time, propose alternative plans, and if nothing else can be done, they can resign, take their severance package and gold watch, and help the heroes if they wish! Peaceably retired people living on Overlord Pension Programs in overlord-funded retirement villages rarely help rebellions against the overlord all that much!
  43. My relatives will all get stipends! They can have jobs if they are compatible, competent at whatever-it-is, and want to do the work! If not, then they can party on!
  44. My consorts shall know from the start that the position includes perpetual youth, wealth, healing, semi-immortality, wealth, and the use of an immense variety of facilities! They shall also know from the start that they can leave when they wish and that it is a position in my harem! Why would I want someone in my household or bed who isn’t happy there?
  45. Hostages will not be used as bait. For THAT all you need is a rumor! Moreover, threats are NOT a useful way to gain compliance! Sure, some incompetents will fall for that, but anyone competent will realize that there will be no end to such demands, and will just go straight for your throat! Besides, it’s rude and dishonorable!
  46. I will hire an expert marksman with a tranquilizer rifle to guard the gates of my stronghold! His job will be to settle down giant monsters, administer antidotes to drug-crazed berserkers, and vaccinate any of the kids who try to avoid it! For challengers he will switch to a paintball gun!
  47. I will explain to my legions of cuddly that Pies are multipurpose instruments! They can be used in ranged combat, in close combat, as snacks or rations, as peace offerings, as booby traps, to mark turns and trails, as monster lures, as props, to produce oil slicks, to briefly blind the enemy, as monster diversions, to cover the scent of your tracks, and for various other purposes! That is why they shall all be trained to use pie powers! And friendship beams once those are available!
  48. My vulnerabilities are things that hurt me, like everybody else! Fortunately, as a cartoon, very, VERY, little does that, and letting the rumors spread will discourage attacks!
  49. I will not make alliances with greater powers since I do not admit their existence! I shall not make alliances with lesser powers either! Alliances are for EQUALS. Lesser powers are available as EMPLOYEES. This is why MONEY is one of the greatest powers of all!
  50. Like the roman legions, my legions will be kept reasonably busy during downtime! There are hospitals, spas, public service opportunities, gyms, and training courses! They shall have plenty of ways to keep busy and earn those bonuses!

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part III – The Wine Cellar Of Dubious Drunken Declarations.

And today’s segment is dedicated to the TV Tropes Additional Evil Overlord Rules page – where quite a lot of additional Evil Overlord rules can be found!

Previously on the Aggravating Overlord Channel…

  1. I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word “Mercy”! But the tickling will continue until they say “Uncle”!
  2. I will contact people near the heroes at random via projected image and publicly insist that they deliver their reports! No matter what they say, I shall look intrigued, thank them for their coded report, and leave them a modest cash bonus and some coupons with odd wording that might be coded instructions!
  3. I will hire all mad scientists capable of designing doomsday weapons and put them to work DOING SOMETHING ELSE. How many times do I have to point out that ->I<- live here TOO?!?!
  4. If my supreme command center comes under attack I will set off an illusion of it falling to bits and project an image of myself announcing “You may have scored a small “victory” today heroes, but my plans are further along than ever!” before it and the “rubble” vanish with a teleportation signature.
  5. Any data file of crucial importance will be non-existent! I am making this up as I go along! I will, however, be irate if they capture all my save game files!
  6. I will accept all challenges from heroes! But no matter what they propose, I shall interpret it as a challenge to one or another collectible children’s card game so that they will first have to learn the overly-complicated rules and spend a lot of money building a deck! Did I mention that I own most of those companies?
  7. To keep my subjects from rebelling or assisting heroes, I will make sure that things are actually pretty nice in my realm! It’s not like I cannot afford it! How would making the general population miserable provide me with more fun than my limitless funds and total authority can get me anyway?
  8. I will not order anyone to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me! I shall raise the kid to take over when I retire! I’ve got to do it SOMETIME and leaving a properly trained successor is part of the job! Besides, the kid will almost certainly turn out to be one of mine anyway!
  9. I will claim full credit for the actions of Murphy! It’s not like anyone will believe that I’m not throwing silly obstacles in the heroes way anyway!
  10. My Stronghold of Doom (TM) is going to be a personal conjuration, so if it gets captured by a hero I will simply drop it and conjure it anew somewhere else! If I know the heroes forces are advancing and will arrive shortly, I may do this just before they arrive and leave a forwarding address to a post office box in Saskatchewan and some stray SCUBA gear. That should keep them entertained soggy for quite some time!
  11. Magic and technology that can resurrect martyrs will be encouraged! That way heroic sacrifices won’t mean anything and will have little or no emotional impact or dramatic effect!
  12. I shall secretly sponsor and fund committees demanding all sorts of reforms and advocating my overthrow! I shall, however, make sure that my loyal opposition only gets my attention when they actually have a good idea which I can co-opt!
  13. I will not employ devious schemes involving the hero’s getting into my inner sanctum! If they really insist, they can just follow the signs showing the direct route to the orgy room!
  14. All Oracles in my realm will be provided with helpful aides who will file notarized copies of any prophecies with a central database! It’s not like fighting a valid prophecy is of any use anyway and you can’t work around what you don’t know about!
  15. There are counters for everything, so I shall just focus on having a wide variety of powers to choose from at random in any confrontation! A hero who can successfully plan for “he might do any damned thing!” deserves a little win!
  16. My Stronghold of Doom (TM) shall be designed to be enormously impressive and have someone assigned to answer the door! Making it impregnable just means that heroes will find a way to get inside without knocking!
  17. I shall inform any enemy who manages to get past the guards and confront me that their heroism has shown them worthy of an engagement to whichever one of my children is currently looking for a mate and finds them attractive! While they are still sputtering, I shall unleash the tailors and the wedding planners!
  18. If I capture the heroes customized car, ship, or similar vessel I will load it up with contraband and let them try to explain their cargo to a neighboring realm’s authorities once they recapture it and flee my wrath in it!
  19. When I want revenge, I shall send paparazzi and scandal-mongers! Not even the greatest torturers of eld could make people die THAT many times!
  20. If I have equipment which performs a vital function it will be fully automatic! There will be none of this “inappropriate activation” or “someone hit the emergency shutdown” nonsense!
  21. I will not attempt to kill heroes by placing scorpions, snakes, spiders, or similar poisonous perils in their rooms! Cute sexual partners and the ensuing pregnancies or child support demands will fully occupy them anyway!
  22. If I get a hold of something that can only be used by the “Pure of Heart” I will check on pure WHAT before trying it!
  23. The automatic pie launcher turrets on my fortress will be fully capable of firing at each other or into the fortress! Nothing is funnier than watching heroes attempting to kill you with pies OR burying one under a pile of lemon cream!
  24. If I decide to hold a contest of skill open to the general public it shall be held at a proper convention center, rather than opening up my penthouse stronghold to noisy pests!
  25. Kidnap victims rarely turn in their best work! Prior to attempting any such nonsense, I will try to HIRE them, and offer any sons and daughters good jobs too! Or daycare, as appropriate!
  26. Should I ever set up a classic “deathtrap”, It shall have many possible modes of escape and I shall have my bookie taking bets on how the hero will get away! That way I will get SOMETHING out of it!
  27. Rather than attempting to get away in one of the dozens of fleeing escape pods, I shall take the form of a young hostage, or innocent offspring of a lieutenant, or some such, and let the heroes do all the work of rescuing and protecting me!
  28. My guards will have ready access to snacks and drinks with plenty to share! Fat, happy, sleepy, prisoners are a lot less trouble!
  29. I will employ comedic robots as my agents of destruction! They are far more likely to bring down a building or something by accident than an intentionally destructive robot is likely to accomplish anything on purpose!
  30. When I force heroes to fight each other in the arena it will be with pies! Why should I equip people for arena battles with any lesser weapon?
  31. All members of my staff will have Hawaiian shirts and straw hats. No hero would be caught dead in such an outfit anyway.
  32. I will never place the key to a cell just out of a prisoners reach! It shall be under an ominous looking button in the cell labeled “push if extremely bored or suicidal”. After all, if they’re willing to push THAT button, it’s time to let them out!
  33. Before appointing someone as a trusted lieutenant, I shall reveal that I know all about their hidden treacheries and intent to aid the hero, but tell them that I am willing to trust them with a second chance!
  34. If I find my beautiful consort with access to my stronghold has been associating with the hero, I shall give her a parting bonus, tell her to go and find her true love, and give her coupons for a splendid one-month honeymoon. My stronghold is a conjuration, and will only take a few minutes to redesign, or move, or both, anyway and the current color scheme WAS getting a little old…
  35. If I am escaping in a vehicle and the hero is pursuing me in another one I shall immediately switch the genre to Mario Go-Kart and start dumping huge heaps of conjured junk out the back, starting with ten thousand bouncy balls.
  36. My Doomsday Machine will be HERO BAIT. How many times do I have to point out that I LIVE HERE TOO!
  37. If I make a bomb, it will be a cake, properly filled with ice cream and fudge, and anyone who tries to disarm it will look like a right prat.
  38. When spending funds, I will invest in anything I please. I have no shortage of money and will simply create my bases and fortresses to suit anyway. Giant Neon Gothic Fortress with Digital Clocktower from the Baron Ectar school of architecture for the win!
  39. The passageways within my fortress will be dimly lit by flickering battery-powered torches for the ambience! That is what Night-Sight spells are for!
  40. If the strange noises in the forest seem to be coming from some small and harmless woodland creature, I shall either get Tarzan to call a stampede or – if really desperate – send out Angel Bunny.
  41. When my guards check an apparently empty cell, they shall rinse it out with a high-pressure firehose before sending for an elderly martial artist cleaning lady who appears totally harmless! If someone is hiding under the bed or something, they can just enjoy their bath!
  42. I will have lots of children! I like children! And any who like may try to overthrow me, starting at age six or so! They may take turns until they are bored and the paperwork is making them cry and they need cuddles!
  43. I will keep a wide variety of special prizes for kids around that they will need a cooperative hero to claim! This will give all of my kids AND the local kids a major incentive to find heroes, lead them to me, and insist on the heroes repaying them by helping them get and carry various piñatas’, giant boxes of candy, and huge stuffed animals along the way!
  44. If one of my sons or daughters pairs up with a hero or heroine, I will promptly hold a parade for them and dote endlessly over the possibility of grandchildren while swamping them with cribs, toys, stuffed animals, and baby supplies. Aphrodisiacs and fertility drugs will not, however, be included in the gifts until three months after the wedding.
  45. When my guards are shooting at the hero they will use super-expanding pies which grow to fill the entire corridor or similar space where they’re aimed. That way he or she is sure to get creamed!
  46. My dungeon decor shall feature plenty of whispering galleries, although there shall be occasional interruptions by pop-up advertisements for My Little Pony collectible toys.
  47. If there are reports of any un-manned or seemingly innocent ships found where they are not supposed to be the appropriate safety organizations will be notified and well-meaning assistance will be dispatched.
  48. My lieutenants shall be entirely trusted to foul things up! If they ever accomplish anything useful in addition to being entertaining it will be a pleasant surprise!
  49. When my enemies break out an impossible device to use against me, I shall geek out over it, teleport into the midst of their party, and start discussing possible improvements. No crazed gadgeteer can resist explaining at great length to anyone who takes an interest!
  50. There will be ropes suitable for swinging from, or holding up heavy chandeliers and tapestries, in every possible location, and my guards will all be trained to use them to ascend, descend, and swing around as much as possible! It’s hysterical!

Prince Blueblood’s Aggravating Pony Overlord List Part II – The Grand Ballroom of Aberrant Aphorisms.

Now that I can get back to the blog and catch up a bit, today’s segment is dedicated to Jack Butlers version of the Evil Overlord List – so much the same and yet different in a variety of ways!

  1. Since nothing is more irritating than being defeated by basic math, physics, or logic, I shall always remember that I am a cartoon and am not subject to ANY of those things!
  2. A true ultimate weapon is defined by what it does NOT do! It should not harm forces favorable to you, or resources, infrastructure, or populations who can be brought into your service! Its use should not cause neutral groups to become hostile or inspire heroes to rise up against you! It’s use should not hinder your use of the areas targeted after it takes effect! It should not stop working after being used against an area, so that target areas will become permanently hostile to enemy forces! It should not inspire hostility against you or even any major efforts to evade it’s effects! It should be impossible for a enemies to use it to reverse it’s own effects! That is why my mad scientists, wizards, and psychic experts will be concentrating on Weaponized Friendship! That way, even if someone else should beat me to my ultimate weapon… I shall know that they will be my friends!
  3. If one of my guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in which the beautiful princess is being held (usually listening to me talk about myself), I will immediately assign him to bodyguard her! They could both probably use a little recreation!
  4. Since secret passages manifest spontaneously whenever needed, I shall just make sure that the rooms in the palace are equally mobile! When the heroes discover that. at the moment, the passage leads to the breakfast buffet (and food fight) rather than to my private quarters, they will soon have egg all over their faces! And probably uncomfortable bacon crumbles in their shorts!
  5. If the excessively beautiful noble, princess, or VIP that I capture says “I shall never marry you! Never, NEVER!!!!!”, I shall happily say “Who said anything about marriage? It’s not like anyone will ever believe that you’re a pure and virginal maiden after I captured you and imprisoned you in my quarters anyway! Wanna play Mai-Jong?”
  6. I will strike bargains with demonic beings that require them to go away so that we shall have no chance to get on each others nerves! It’s not like I need anything else that they’ve got to offer!
  7. Twisted mutants and psychotic lunatics will have their place in my hospitals! Once they’re cured, and likely loyal out of gratitude, I shall provide job education programs! For before I send them out to do anything, I want to be sure that they in reasonably good shape and competent to do it!
  8. My legions of cuddly will be trained with pies! Anyone who cannot hit a man-sized target in the face with a pie at ten paces will have to clean up and then keep practicing! After all, no hero would employ real violence in a pie fight, and that will keep my medical and bereavement expenses way, WAY, down!
  9. When employing any captured artifacts or machinery I will doubtless be in a great hurry or I’d have gotten a reliable version of my own built! So I shall have many lucky charms ready! And not rabbits feet! The rabbit had four of those, and look where IT wound up!
  10. If it becomes necessary to escape, I WILL HAVE MY MONOLOGUE, even if I must STOP TIME TO DO IT! (Unless I have it printed up in advance, in which case I shall just have leaflets dumped on the heroes).
  11. I will build all sentient computers to be smarter than I am! If they aren’t smarter than I am, why bother with them in the first place? Trust me, I can find PLENTY of STUPID without building expensive machines to provide it!
  12. I hate passwords! Everything is going to be on biometric locks in the first place! And that INCLUDES the guards weapons, vehicles, control panels, and other equipment!
  13. If my advisors ask “Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?”, I will not proceed until I come up with a new scheme that is so insane that they will beg me to go back to the first one!
  14. I will not bother with a fortress! The world is full of ruined ones! They never work! I will get a nice building in the center of town, convenient for the shops, and surrounded by millions of people who will call the cops and S.W.A.T. teams if they think that some lunatic is about to start a battle in the middle of the city!
  15. Bulk trash will be sent to recycling! If it proves to contain escaping heroes, they will be given 200$ and be shipped to a dingy motel room in Boring Oregon!
  16. I will see a competent psychiatrist and see how long it takes him to refuse to see me any longer! He can then join the heroes and reveal to them that I am a cartoon just in case they have somehow failed to notice!
  17. I will not have a main control room. What is the point of having a sentient computer and still having to try to adjust fussy control systems with hooves?
  18. My security keypad will actually be an ordering system for pies, coffee, and doughnuts. If somebody authorized wants to come in and see me they should bring a snack! And if they do not know what they are doing, being soaked in hot coffee and covered in pie filling is a better hero deterrent than most! After all, anyone with a brain should know that Ponies do not use keypads for anything urgent!
  19. All surveillance cameras will have easily accessible “off” buttons! People do have a right to privacy, but when turned off the cameras will play a recorded message to the effect that any injuries received while off camera will not be the responsibility of the management!
  20. I will spare someone who saved my life in the past. If necessary, I will send them back in time so that they HAVE to save me to avoid paradox. I may be immune to that, but they probably aren’t!
  21. All midwives will be properly trained, tested, and licensed, Children who wish to be raised by wild animals in a dangerous jungle can get that taken care of in public school, just like everybody else.
  22. My guards will not search for intruders. They will stay at the central information desks where they belong AND where they have partial cover! All the corridors lead there anyway, so any intruders will have to come to them!
  23. When I decide to test an underlings loyalty to me I will have extra jelly donuts available in case said underling is not loyal enough and eats the last one.
  24. If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will go and have lunch while the servants throw them out. Heckling contests are beneath my dignity.
  25. I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win. What fun is that? Rigging a contest is beneath me! If they want to go free they can beat me FAIR AND SQUARE! I have many incredibly obscure board games that I never get to play otherwise anyway!
  26. When I create an elaborate, special-effects heavy, multimedia presentation of my plan so simple that a five-year-old can easily understand all the details, I will not label the disk “Project Overlord” and leave it laying about!. If I went to all that trouble I must have meant it for wide distribution; I will arrange a several-hundred-screen theatrical release!
  27. If a hero proves too strong for a couple of my legionaries to arrest, I shall send in some of whatever sex he finds attractive to suffer wardrobe malfunctions. Heroes are notorious for seducing their enemies, but no matter how great the hero, ten or fifteen liaisons a day will keep him or her well-occupied, are easily affordable, and cost less than paying for treating casualties.
  28. If a hero is standing at the edge of a precipice, or balancing over molten lava, or involved in any such horrible safety hazard, I will pretend that I have lost track of them and have a member of the maintenance department offer to let said hero conceal themselves among the maintenance crew. That way I can get some work out of him or her AND get some proper safety rails installed around whatever silly hazard they’ve discovered. Also, fire my architect! WHY is there a giant pit on my bridge, chasm in my death star, or balcony overlooking the giant pit of fire anyway? If there’s no scenic view available, HANG A PAINTING.
  29. If I have a moment of even less sanity than usual and opt to offer the hero a job as one of my trusted lieutenants, I will make sure that said hero starts at lower pay and less benefits than my current trusted lieutenants. There’s no need to promote jealousy!
  30. I will tell my legions “Lethal weapons never work on heroes anyway, so I haven’t given you any! Just fire a netgun in their general direction with the intent to drag them before me and – if necessary – it will go around three trees, a log cabin, and an emu to ensnare them in an apparently, but not actually, secure fashion so that they can break loose in my throne room! You can’t fight the heroic narrative, so you might as well go along with it!”
  31. If a destroy-the-universe weapon happens to come with a reverse switch, I will have the whole thing melted down. If it worked, who would be left to throw it? If it doesn’t have a reverse switch I will melt it down anyway. The universe is where I keep my ME! Also, I shall find whoever it is who keeps BUILDING these things and LOCK THEM UP WITH A GOOD THERAPIST.
  32. If my weakest troops fail against a hero, I will want to know why they didn’t politely ask them to come down to the station for an interview in the first place. Real heroes never start anything first and my weakest troops have no business trying to deal with a hero in any other way!
  33. If I am fighting with a hero atop a moving platform and he glances behind me and drops flat, I shall use my dimensional powers to reduce my effective height until I am shorter than he now is AND on exactly the right level to hit him in the face with a pie! With any luck he will rear back in surprise and run his face into whatever it was he saw!
  34. If any of my heroic opponents are standing in front of a crucial support beam I will blast it myself and see how they get out of the ensuing collapse!
  35. If I am dining with a hero, have drugged his goblet, and then have to leave the table for any reason, I will not worry about it! I am immune to most of that stuff anyway, and I will have put anything I actually want to use in the air conditioning vents, so said hero might as well have his or her clever little moment of triumph!
  36. I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex. I will get them a nice reservation at a restaurant and hotel, with all expenses paid!
  37. The more complicated a plan the better! They never survive contact with the enemy anyway, so the more bits you have the more likely it is that you will be able to rearrange them into something amusing when the original plan is inevitably disrupted!
  38. I will make sure that my doomsday device is properly disabled, but full of ten thousand gallons of carbonated cream under high pressure! When the heroes go for the dramatic disarm, they’ll get creamed! And how many times must I point out that destroying the world you live on is a STUPID thing to do?
  39. My vats of hazardous chemicals will all be installed on the top floor so no one can fall into them! It’s not like they can bother me anyway…
  40. If a group of thugs fail miserably at a task, I will acknowledge that “thug” is a low-skilled and underpaid profession and send them to training! They can try again when they’re up to professional levels and have qualified for a morale-improving raise!
  41. After I capture the heroes superweapon I will dismantle it and scatter the pieces to hiding places across the world since it would never work for me anyway! By the time they’re done fetch-questing to put it back together I shall probably be done with all my projects AND will have had time for a long vacation!
  42. Any controls I must have will be personally accessible from my lounge! That way I can have someone cuddling and still manage my realm!
  43. I will have a trusted aide on duty to receive messengers no matter how busy I am! There is no point to being an Overlord if you have to do everything yourself! Also, bring MORE CAKE!
  44. Whenever I communicate with a hero there shall be the sounds of a big party and ongoing sex in the background! Most heroes are incredibly straight-laced, and will probably try to find a time to talk or attack when there is no party going on! Which shall be never!
  45. If I decide to get rid of a hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I shall tell them that their lives are now mystically linked, provide an illusion of that being true, and ship the underling off to some supposedly terrible danger a very long and difficult trip away! I will then give the hero a very slow horse and a choice of bus tickets to the wrong place.
  46. When arresting prisoners, my guards will permit them to pack and place a phone call! There is no reason to be rude!
  47. My holding areas will offer their choice of an excellent medical team or a cackling mad scientist focused on human augmentation available to treat any prisoner ailments!
  48. My door mechanisms will be designed to open automatically when people approach! Hooves, remember?
  49. My holding areas will be designed with secret passages in and out which only rather small children may transverse and will be well stocked with candy and toys! That way little kids can wander in and out to annoy the heroes – and if they are true heroes they will not be able to avoid babysitting, for which they shall be grossly underpaid!
  50. If a good-looking young pair enters my realm, the gossip police will keep an eye on them! If they are happy and affectionate, that’s fine! But if circumstances have forced them together against their wills and they alternate between quarreling with each and saving each others’ lives with hints of sexual tension, I will immediately send them each a huge gift certificate for the Sex Warehouse Superstore! Otherwise they are all too likely pull an Inuyasha-and-Kagome and take HUNDREDS OF EPISODES to GET TO THE POINT! I am NOT putting up with that again!

Apex – Prince Blueblood Escapes From My Little Pony

And today… I’m going to turn Prince Blueblood of Equestria into a hero in the Apex setting – mostly because the thought amuses me.

Equestria… `is a patchwork nation. Why not? It’s inhabited by a species of instinctively-harmonious, spontaneously-helpful, extremely mobile, rather high powered, and incredibly productive creatures that exercise an astounding level of control over it’s environment. It’s rather gently ruled and guided by a very powerful, prophetic, several-thousand-years experienced, and incredibly tolerant and kind, near-immortal. Equestria doesn’t really NEED efficiency, large-scale organization, or to iron out the wrinkles in their government. The country works just fine as a collection of geographically-organized city-states that just let the magic of harmony manage their public affairs.

After all, if Harmony can organize dozens of ponies, and the local wildlife, and weather, into spontaneous, intricately choreographed, musical numbers… organizing a gathering, or traffic patterns, or a rescue operation, is no great task.

Thus every local system – and silly title that ponies have used to try and impress each other over the last couple of millennia (not counting the confused length of time spent in the Age of Discord) – has continued through the centuries because there’s no reason to change the traditions.

And so we have Blueblood the 42’nd, Prince of Canterlot and Environs (and thus City Administrator and Gala Organizer, as if either of those jobs actually calls for him to do anything), Commander of the Canterlot Guard (all eighty-odd of them; ponies aren’t big standing armies so they mostly function as city staff), distant relative of Celestia and Luna (inevitably, after several millennia, sharing that honor with most of the rest of the country – although his bloodline is close enough to show some minor enhancements), Duke of Burgandneigh, Keeper of the Sapphire Keys, Supreme Mugwump, and a half a dozen other meaningless titles. He’s a competent mage (in a city hosting dozens of brilliant mages, Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, and the Royal Sisters themselves), a decent tactician and military commander (in a society that generally has no wars or even border disputes), a fair diplomat (although any important ambassador deals with Celestia and Luna directly), a magical scout and pathfinder (in the center of civilization in a well-explored and thoroughly pegasi-mapped world), a reasonably good manager (in a world that needs no management) – and generally entirely useless. He can’t even organize fire services (pegasi make rain to do that) or the rescue of cats from trees (any unicorn can do that). About his only real “task” is pointing the occasional stray kid back to where they’re supposed to be, playing crossing guard (which means a lot less in a world where most deliveries are by air, there are no riding animals to act up, and there are no powered vehicles), soothing the occasional upset or drunk pony, and tossing pies at the Flim-Flam brothers until they go away.

Blueblood spent a lot of time stewing in his own juices, getting drunk, indulging his vanity, and making fools of pests (Sadly, he automatically assumed that Rarity was a status-seeking pest) for his own amusement. Why is he a arrogant, entitled, snob? What else is his job FOR? His only ACTUAL function is to be annoying and thus ensure that everypony will be thankful that Equestria is run by Celestia and Luna instead of the traditional nobility. Utopia doesn’t NEED governmental competence. It just needs enough petty annoyances to maintain a proper emotional balance.

Then, during yet another pointless day, he sensed a NEW Path. A crack in the barriers for him alone, a way… from imagination into reality.

And Blueblood walked that path – and on Apex he found a realm where there was finally a USE for his talents. A world where people actually NEEDED guidance, and organization, and rescue, and negotiations, and patrons. A realm where he was a powerful mage with rare abilities, where his wealth genuinely meant something – and where he could antagonize people simply by existing.

In fact, his ability to find any desired route soon made him a valuable pilot for Cronus, A.K.A. “The Doctor”, since he can usually get the TARDIS to where they actually want to go.

He’s still a douche though.

Bluebloods talents include being a wealthy aristocrat (for him that’s actually a power – a basic part of his portfolio as a Titan; he has wealth, fine houses, local contacts, and contacts with various magical forces everywhere he goes), a selection of minor abilities that go with being a Titan and a Cartoon, and his Unicorn Magic – Telekinesis, the ability to enhance himself that goes with his strong Alicorn Bloodline, Pathfinding, and a selection of cartoon magic spells capable of causing many silly effects.

Blueblood is pretty powerful for the setting; he’s using a bunch of cheap “aid” powers to squeeze in a bunch of perks, his cartoon spells, and some attribute boosts without paying much for them. On the other hand, he’s got a fair number of points sunk into things like High Society, “”Bureaucratics, Immunity to Hair Damage, Always Looking Good, Background Music and Sound Effects, exotic languages to snub people in, being resistant to attempts to get rid of him, and so on. He’s an adventurous socialite, not a combat specialist.

Princeps Augustus Blueblood II

Value Characteristic Points
18/30 STR 8
14/18 DEX 12
18/24 CON 16
8/14 BODY -4
8/20 INT -2
8/14 EGO -4
18/30 PRE 8
8/32 COM -1
6/12 PD 0
4/10 ED 0
3/4 SPD 6
10/16 REC 0
24/48 END -6
32/44 STUN 0
Total 33

 

Points Powers END
0 Minor Titan Racial Package
(20) Physical Limitation: Shaped By Belief. Titans may be powerful in their fields, but they are limited to a single, and invariably fairly straightforward, domain. A Spirit of Invention makes gadgets and – possibly – provides grants and teaches. Similarly, the spirit of Memorial Day is a formidable soldier, has lots of weapons, and can operate military vehicles – but that’s about it . (Frequently, Fully)
(20) Mental Characteristic Maxima of 15 (-20 Points). People never really think that their “gods” are really much smarter, or more perceptive, or whatever, than they are – no matter what their theme is. The God of Knowledge may have a lot of knowledge skills, but he or she normally won’t actually be much smarter than the average person. If there’s any one thing that the Titans find annoying about their relationship with mortals… this may be it. (All the Time, Greatly)
(20) Psychological Limitation: Themed. Titans aren’t even CAPABLE of getting seriously off-theme. A war god won’t be negotiating, the healing goddess won’t be building gadgets, and the god of justice won’t be letting criminals go, no matter how necessary it may be (Common, Total)
(12) Regeneration (1 BODY/week); Regenerate: From Death, +20
(3) Immune to Aging
15 Domain: 15 Points worth of abilities appropriate to their domain.
(10) Money (Wealthy)
(5) Member of Aristocracy
7 Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-10 Armor (12 PD/12 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20

Note that – with two DIFFERENT forms of regeneration from death – it’s almost impossible to make Blueblood STAY dead.

c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-7 Life Support (total)
e-7 Power Defense (30 pts)
f-7 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal (Immunity to Species Prejudice)l: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immunity to Over-Indulgence, Hangovers, and Similar Consequences; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Immunity to Communications Problems (Can be understood in any language provided he speaks slowly, gestures, etc) ; Frequency: Common
(1) Immunity to Paradox; Frequency: Fairly Common

Often a necessity when traveling with Cronus.

(1) Immunity to Not Getting His Messages; Frequency: Common

Blueblood gets his mail. texts, and email wherever and whenever he goes!

(1) Immunity to not having tickets; Frequency: Fairly Common

Blueblood can always get into nightclubs, shows, concerts, and theater performances.

g-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1 3
25 Multipower: Cartoon Unicorn Magic (50-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½
Basic Telekinesis
u-2 Telekinesis (STR 15); Range: 240; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
u-2 8d6 Energy Blast: Telekinetic Blast; Range: 250; Versus: PD; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
u-2 Force Field Dome (8 PD/8 ED); Area Effect (Radius): 3″ radius, +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Uncontrolled: +½ 0
u-2 Hand-to-Hand Attack (12d6, Total 18d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
Arcane Aristocrat
u-1 2d6 Important Personage: Aid to Local Contacts, Favors, Followers, and Privileges (Fade/week, Max. 24); Range: 0; Active Points: 48; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½ 1
u-1 2d6 One Of The Best People: Aid to Local Perks, Vehicles, Languages, Local Knowledges, and Bases (Fade/week, Max. 24); Range: 0; Active Points: 48; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Extra Time: 1 min., -1½ 1
u-1 Detect Social Events and Appropriate Behaviors (+12 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5
u-2 2d6 Royal Lineage: Aid to All Attributes (Fade/hour, Max. 12); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 2
Pathfinder
u-1 Detect Route (+6 to PER); Variable Special Effects: Certain Group, +¼; Time Required: Half Phase, +0; Range: Ranged, +5, Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1
u-1 Detect Distance and Direction to desired item (+3 to PER); Time Required: Half Phase, +0; Range: Ranged, +5; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1
u-2 Change Environment: Manipulate Direction and Distance (16″ rad.); Champions Advantage (Limited Variable Effect): +¼; No Range: -½; Trigger: Set, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼

While employing his signature spell Prince Blueblood may, once per segment, gratuitously either expand or reduce the distance between two things within his area of effect by up to 8″. For example, he could decree that a character was 8″ further from the center of that fireball that had just gone off, or that the evasive martial artist was 6″ closer (and thus effectively adjacent) to his friend the brick, or that someone was off to the side of that attack that would have otherwise hit them.

2
u-2 10″ Teleportation (Long Range 160″); Increased Range: ×16, +20; Long Range: 160″; Long Range (miles): 0.20; Mass Multiplier: ×4, +10; Fixed Locations: 0; Floating Locations: 0 2
Advanced Arcana
u-1 Atherium Lens; Detect Magic (+5 to PER); Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5; Addition (Discriminatory): +5
u-2 13d6 Dispel Magic; Range: 245; Affects: Any Single Power of Special Effect, +¼ 5
u-2 6d6 Suppress Magic; Range: 225; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half 2
u-2 2d6 Student of Magic: Aid to Multipower Slots (Fade/week, Max. 24); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼ 1
Common Cartoon Magics:
u-1 +45 Hammerspace Mallet: PRE; Generic Limitation (Only for Presence Attacks): -½; Charges: 12, -¼

As a rule, the “mallet” provides +3d6 for Exhibiting a Power and Extremely Violent Action, but only works on small groups. He can also try to induce a song-and-dance number, but this often takes negative modifiers even after he gets a couple of bonus dice for his personal background music and special effects.

u-1 Portable Hole: Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Continuous: +1; Side Effects (Opens both ways; things can climb out of the hole just as easily as they go in.): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Side effects cannot be avoided.

Yes, this is classic, inconsistent, cartoon; things go in, sometimes they come back out at full speed with no time passing when the hole is put down again, other times you can hide. It mostly depends on what’s funniest at the moment.

5
u-1 Picture Travel: Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Continuous: +1; Side Effects (Opens both ways; things can climb out of the hole just as easily as they go in.): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Side effects cannot be avoided.): -½

Yes, this spell allows the user to run into paintings, television programs, and similar artistic creations.

5
u-1 Pocket Palace: Extra-Dimensional Movement (Wonderland); Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Continuous: +1; Side Effects (Opens both ways; things can climb out of the hole just as easily as they go in.): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Side effects cannot be avoided.): -½

Well, you wouldn’t expect him to travel without a comfortable bed and a place to keep his stuff would you?

5
u-1 I’ll Hide In Here: Shrinking-5 (DCV +10, Height 4.125 cm/1.62″); Mass: 0.0022583 kg/0.00 lbs; Knockback Increase: 15; PER Bonus: -10; Charges: +6, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev; Generic Limitation (Only allows the user to hide in absurdly silly ways – putting on a lampshade and pretending to be a lamp, ducking behind small trees or into boxes, or even just draping a tarp over themselves. It has no other effects. ): -2

This is “The Life Of Brian” hiding. The mechanical effect is becoming tiny and ducking behind a chair leg or some such. The Special Effect is more “hang a lampshade over his horn, strike a pose, and pretend to be a lamp” – whereupon everyone overlooks him.

0
u-1 Emigrate To Equestria: Extra-Dimensional Movement; Dimensions: One, +0; Time Travel: None, +0; Mass Multiplier: ×1, +0; Carrying Mass: None; Area Effect (Radius): 8″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½; Generic Limitation (Only works on living creatures): -1; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½

The “Defense” is not wanting to get out. This is very good for rescue work and such though. Two hundred kids trapped in a burning nightclub? Spend +10 endurance to push this to a 64 meter radius and everyone who doesn’t want to burn winds up in a happy cartoon utopia until brought back to safety.

5
u-1 Making Camp: Change Environment / Comfortable Habitable, Power On, Etc (8″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1 0
u-1 2d6 Pie In The Face / Flash (Normal Sight); Range: 200; No Normal Defense (Versus vision able to see through pie): +1; Charges: 6, -¾ 0
u-1 1d6 Toonification Transform (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 250; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 8000000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000000, +5½; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Autofire: 10 shots, ¾; Extra Time: 1 turn, -1; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½

This transform gives things a cartoonish aspect. People often become funny animal people, buildings get silly floor plans, and EVERYTHING looks like a cartoon. This is basically appearances-only, and has a big “based on personality” factor, but it can transfer up to 5 points to a relevant ability – either set by the user or by the nature of the transformation. Thus if someone becomes a raven-person, they may trade around a few points to pick up 5 points worth of Gliding.

This is also often used to “adopt a pony”…

0
u-1 10d6 Described Reality / Mental Illusions; Visible (Mental Illusions can be seen by others): -¼; Charges: +12, -¼; Generic Limitation (Illusions must be described verbally, and will not work on targets outside the range for such or who are unable to hear.): -¾; Generic Limitation (Requires a Persuasion skill check at it’s base rank.): -¼

This is a classic “modify reality around the target” effect – imposing a bit of the malleability of a cartoon on reality. Unfortunately, the effect is very fragile; a strong will can easily overcome it.

0
u-1 1d6 High Speed Work; Transform (to finished project) (Major, Limited Class); Range: 0; Cumulative: +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; No Range: -½; Charges: 120, +¾; Extra Time: full phase, -½

This, of course, allows him to build small projects, board up windows, rebuild car engines, and so on at incredible speeds.

0
u-1 Summon Balloon Animal (1 50-point creatures); Range: 0; Summon: Limited Group, +¼; Charges: 12, -¼; Concentrate: 0 DCV, -½; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Visible (Loud Squeaky Noises): -¼

This basically covers any kind of normal animal, even if they are cartoonish and summoned by making balloon animals at high speed.

0
u-1 1d6 Raiding The Thought Bubble / Transform Thought-Images to Supplies (Major, Limited Class); Range: 0; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; No Range: -½; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼; Incantation: Instant Power, -¼; Activation: 14-, -½

Someone envisions what they need – and Blueblood reaches into their thought bubble and pulls it into reality.

0
u-1 On Every Channel: High Range Radio Hearing; Based on EGO Combat Value: vs. ECV, +1; Armor Piercing: 4, +2; Focus (Lapel Microphone): Obvious Inaccessible, -½; Charges: +4, +¼; Continuing Charges: 1 Hour, -5 lev, Concentrate: ½ DCV, -¼

Yes, this allows him to get on every display and speaker within a nigh-unlimited radius that isn’t quadruple-hardened against interference or behind a force wall that blocks mental effects.

u-2 Change Environment: Genre (16″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Charges: 6, +¼; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; Champions Advantage (Those who do behave in accordance with the new genre suffer a -2 to their rolls and DCV): +½; Champions Advantage (Limited Range of Variations): +¼

Yes, it can become a musical, and everyone must sing and engage in spontaneous choreographed dances, or you can make it a western, or various other genres.

0
u-2 5d6 Unluck / Murphy’s Law of Commentary; Ranged: +½; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Charges: +16, +0

“Oh yeah, like THAT’S going to work…” – and then, of course, things go terribly wrong.

0
u-2 11″ Umbrella Transport / Flight (NC: 88″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×8, +10; Non-Combat (MPH): 131; Charges: 8, +½; Continuing Charges: 5 Minutes, -4 lev; OAF (Umbrella (Produced with each casting, but must be held to fly)): -1

You unfurl an umbrella, grasp it firmly, blow into it – and are carried off into the heavens. periodic further puffing is expected.

0
u-2 10d6 Unicorn Healing 5
u-2 Cartoon Violence / Tactile Images (Normal Sight, Unusual Senses, 1″ radius); Range: 250; Observer PER Penalty: 10, +30; Charges: 6, +0; Continuing Charges: 1 Minute, -3 lev

This produces an illusory energy attack and makes the target thereof FEEL like they’ve been horribly injured or maimed. That goes away a few minutes later. The usual effects are things like being run over by a truck, having a huge rock fall on you, or being exploded.

0
13 Running (+4″, 10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 24

Well, he IS an equine.

2
118 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
10 +2 level w/With Multipower
3 High Society 15-
3 Conversation 15-
3 Bureaucratics 15-
3 Persuasion 15-
3 Seduction 15-
3 Tactics 13-
3 Bump of Direction
1 Singing 8-
1 Dancing 8-
1 Time Machines
0 English (Imitate Dialects); Literacy: Standard, 0
24 Common Important Personage Perks
(0) Followers: Assorted Minor Staff (1, 0 pts, 0 Disad.); Number: 1, +0
(3) Well-Connected
Primary Contacts
(3) Chronus; Usefulness: Extremely, +2 11-
(2) Purity; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 7, +0; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(2) Healing; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 7, +0; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(2) The Arts; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 7, +0; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(2) Wealth; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 7, +0; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(2) Construction; Usefulness: Very, +1 11-
Secondary Contacts
(2) (The) Authorities; Usefulness: Very, +1; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) Occultists; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) (His) Cult; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) Corporate (Investor); Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) Business Community; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) (The) Upper Crust; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
(1) Celebrity; Usefulness: Normal, +0; Champions Advantage (Organizational or Conceptual Contact): +1; Charges: 3, -¾; Recoverable Charges (Must do return favors): -2 lev 11-
24 Common One Of The Best People Perks
(5) Diplomatic Immunity / Considered A Minor Divinity
(5) Splendid Mansion: 25
(3) Impressive Mode of Transport

Depending on the current era, this may be a fine carriage, a splendid yacht, a chauffeured limousine, or any of a dozen other conveyances. There’s always at least a minibar though.

(2) Private Investigator License
(1) Press Pass
(3) Linguist
(1) French (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
(1) German (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
(1) Japanese (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
(1) Spanish (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
(1) Mandarin (Fluent Conv.); Literacy: Standard, 0
34 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

Cost Equipment
18 Lucky Charms (Luck) (10d6); OAF (Assorted Good Luck Charms): -1; Fragile Focus: -¼; Linked (With Unicorn Magic): -½
2 Telescopic Sense (Sight, +2 to PER) ; Focus (Monocle): Obvious Inaccessible, -½
2 Elemental Control: Enchanted Royal Armor (5-pt reserve); OIF (Symbolic Barding): -½; Visible (Magic Armor): -¼; Generic Limitation (Passive Protective Effects Only): -½
a-2 Armor (4 PD/3 ED)
b-2 Mental Defense (13 pts) ; Add to Total
c-2 Flash Defense (Sight, 10 pts)
1 High-End Smartphone (0kg)
29 Total Equipment

 

100+ Disadvantages
5 1d6 Unluck
5 2d6 Unluck (Only for being spotted by children and dogs); Generic Limitation (Only to be noted by children, dogs, etc.): -1
15 Overconfidence (Very Common, Moderate)
15 Vain Snob (Common, Strong)
20 Code Against Killing (Common, Total)
10 Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
18 Half Value Due To Temporal Restrictions; Generic Limitation (Only applies in some time periods): -1
(8) Considered a walking blasphemy against most of the worlds major religions. (Common, Strong); Situation: Common, +10; Intensity: Strong, +5; Generic Limitation (Only applies in some time periods): -1
(5) Public Identity; Generic Limitation (Only applies in some time periods): -1
(5) Hunted: Fans who dislike him (8-); Capabilities: Less Powerful, 5; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0; Generic Limitation (Only applies in some time periods): -1
88 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
33 + 152 = 185 188 = 88 + 100

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
6 6 / 16 5 13 28/16 25/15 3, 6, 9, 12

It is a law of nature, known since ancient times. There can be but one Titan to one Concept. Myths and tales may speak of a hundred different Thunder Gods, but all of them are aspects of the Storm Titan. There may be some subordinate entities – the Spirit of the Alps may maintain it’s independence of Towering Stone, the Titan of Mountains, for the moment – but it is local, lesser, and all too likely to be soon absorbed. Once a role is filled… there is no space for another to enter in.

Thus the others could not come. Sun, Moon, Love, Scholarship, Magic, Honesty, Strength, Loyalty, Speed, Kindness, Mercy, Generosity, Art, The Trickster, even Greed, Darkness, Jealousy, Illusion, Nightmare, Chaos, Ambition, and even Jealousy… all those roles are long since claimed. There are no openings for them to use, no cracks for them to use to pour themselves out of the realms of the imagination and into reality. Such roles… are merely taken up by the existing Titans.

And thus I have surpassed the others at last.

Until now there has never been a Titan of Arrogant, Entitled, Wealthy, Assholes. No sizeable group of people has ever found it necessary to join together to imagine a magical embodiment of such folk – perhaps because blatant examples are all too common in reality. Even today, many of them appear in tales, books, radio broadcasts, movies, and television programs, but most of those reach limited audiences – or have a real actor playing them to bar the way for any would-be taker of the role.

But now that I am here… as a Unicorn I have more associations than just arrogance, wealth, and a touch of Noblesse Oblige. I am a Guardian of the Innocent, an Avatar of Purity and Healing, and a Channel for the Magic of Light – and Cartoons.

Regardless of how annoying I am… You Shall Not Harm Them.

Princeps Augustus Blueblood upsets quite a lot of people. While more than a few “My Litttle Pony” fans are pretty upset that, of all the characters from the show, HE is the only one who has managed to manifest – and that that situation is all too likely to continue.

Far more fundamentally however… most of Apex’s major religions revolve around the worship of various Titans – and Bluebloods mere EXISTENCE says some pretty blasphemous things about where Apex’s gods have come from, how they have developed, and the sources of their power. While Blueblood may not actually be at fault for dragging all that into the open, there’s still a good bit of “shoot the messenger and forget the message” going on.

Height: 132cm (4’4″), Weight: 74kg (163 lbs), Sex: Male, Race: G4 Unicorn Pony

Appearance: Blueblood normally – and not at all surprisingly – looks a LOT like the stock images of Prince Blueblood from My LIttle Pony because that’s who he is. He has, however, added a monocle, just to be contrary.

 

The Jovian Hauntings

Now that they’ve caught the troublemakers, the Shadowed Galaxy player group wanted the backstory on this particular mission – and since they currently have the resources and sources to get it pretty easily, I’m saving time by posting it rather than spending a lot of game time on a question-and-answer session.

2186: After nearly sixty years of discussion, an extremely low-priority program for the study of conditions Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and radiation belts finally gets funded. Justifications include looking for life on Jupiter, planetary science research, and looking for and analyzing exotic materials found orbiting in Jupiter’s high-energy radiation belts.

2189: Construction begins on Lima, a station designed to function indefinitely in close orbit around Jupiter. The design incorporates high-energy magnetic shielding systems to help divert high-energy charged particles from Jupiter’s radiation belts and electromagnetic coupling with Jupiter’s magnetic field to allow minor orbital adjustments to be made by running current loops through the station.

2196: Solar Minima. The Rathhan – primarily psychic entities which use bits of an exotic material which can convert electromagnetic energy into psychic energy as a power source and physical anchor – orbit near the upper limits of Jupiter’s atmosphere, feeding on the electromagnetic flux Jupiter constantly generates and slowly harvesting the elements they need to grow.

2197: Lima is completed, and begins the transit from high earth orbit to low jovian orbit.

2201: The inhabitants of Lima begin their scientific work as initial tests, experiments, and observations are made

2202: Lima is takes up it’s standard orbit near jupiter, the remaining scientific staff arrives, and the various research projects go into full operation.

2210: Solar Maxima. Several major solar flares and significant mass ejection from the sun occurs as solar activity hits a 74-year high. Jupiter’s radiation belts soak up some of the particle flux.

2211: Jupiter’s radiation belts reach their energy peaks, rich with hurtling ions, high energy nuclei, and exotic particles. The Rathhan begin their “seasonal” migration, spiraling out into the radiation belts on psychic wings to transmute their harvest into paralithic “flesh”, to feed on the belts rich reserves of other energies, and to socialize. Across the solar system a few sensitive humans have occasional strange dreams of mighty lightning-storms, strange powers, and soaring flight through near-limitless skies high above a clouded world. As it has before this leads to a few visionary tales and nothing much else.

2212: The orbits of the Rathhan approach the orbit of the Lima. The outer edge of their usual range will briefly overlap the orbit of the Lima before it begins to contract once again as the energies of the Solar Maxima fade and “winter” approaches. Among humans, the lack of any radically new results from observing Jupiter’s energy peaks leads to questions about continuing funding for the Liam.

2213a: Three Rathhan are temporarily ensnared in an incredibly intense, and utterly unexpected, “knot” of magnetic force. Before they can escape, they are isolated from most of the electromagnetic flux they feed upon and are further entrapped in solid matter, Much of their available energy reserves are expended on their initial psychic attempts to call for help. These are not successful.

2213b: The crew of the Lima pick up three major lumps and a collection of fragments of exotic material. A quick check shows the material to be Rhimvite – a fairly well known type (albeit of rare purity). It is classified as low priority and stored in the materials lab complex for detailed examination next time an appropriate specialist is available. Much more attention is given to a wave of malaise and psychological problems that is overtaking the crew, and the minor samples are quickly filed and forgotten.

Rhimvite is an exotic stone, slightly ductile, greenish-black in its normal state. It is sensitive to psionic energy; when exposed to it it turns blue-black and emits a bit of RF. Interestingly, if exposed to massive RF fields it turns white and starts leaking a little psionic energy. It’s mostly used to test for psionic potential. You give a kid a handful of little spheres, more and more impure. The more a kid can get to change color, the stronger his current potential. It’s also good as a practice material, since it shows if you’re making progress.

2214: The Rathhan, while low on energy, detect minds thinking on radically different bands impossibly close at hand. Attempts to communicate are made – but, lacking any good understanding of those minds, is mostly limited to projection emotions and basic concepts

2216: With the crew reporting an ever-increasing epidemic of hallucinations and “hauntings” (dead relatives pleading for release from hell, assorted mythical monsters, and some religious “visitations” – none very coherent) it is eventually concluded that some combination of radiation leakage and the huge magnetic field were affecting the crew. Initial testing of this idea easily demonstrated that the crew recovered when removed for a bit, and new crewmen soon started reporting similar symptoms.

The Lima acquires a reputation for being “haunted”. Combined with questions about contamination, and the ongoing doubts about the worth of the entire program, this results in the Lima being put under computer control and abandoned by the human crew.

2217: With the other minds vanished, and no immediate prospect of rescue, the three Rathhan aboard Lima enter hibernation to conserve energy, in hopes of either accumulating enough to escape with or of rescue.

2246: Citing a lack of significant results over two decades, and the expense of maintenance missions, the Lima is put into standby mode.

2278: Michar Guttvield, a prospector-scavenger, acquires a used ship, fitted out with massive amounts of radiation shielding by its paranoid prior owner. With all that extra mass making it inefficient and limiting its cargo capacity it had been almost unsaleable – and so was cheap. Looking for a profitable use that was easier than stripping the shielding away, Michar recalls the Lima, and decides to take advantage of the shielding for a quick trip to see what he could grab.

2279: Over the course of several trips Michar investigates the Lima, and finds reasonably good pickings. Some of the equipment was still saleable. There was even some Rhimvite in the materials science lab – and even minor and impure bits could be quickly turned into testing kits for kids which were worth good money.

Hauling some bits of the Rathhan’s energy-collecting physical structure out of confinement and surrounding them with other minds (even if they were alien and very hard to communicate with) soon awoke the Rathhan, who remained connected to even fairly distant bits of “themselves”.

Michar, however, was a functional, if fairly minor psychic – and proved capable of crude communication. Michar was, however, a bit paranoid about aliens – and layered “his” find in remote-controlled explosives to make sure that he had a trump card. That would destroy ANYTHING!… And his confidence in that came across to the Rathhan – although he was willing to give them more energy to work with he wanted something from THEM.

The first few station “scooters”that they brought in in the process of reclaiming their fragments made a way they could “repay” him while gradually getting back out into free space quite obvious – so Michar brought in Andrew Blake, a more mechanically-minded associate to help him run his new, powered-by-enslaved aliens, vehicle chop shop.

The profits have been good so far, even if Michar has gradually been getting quite a bit crazier – and he wasn’t all that stable to start with.

2280: With the “Chop Shop” business getting into full swing, the Rathhan have learned to communicate somewhat – and Kids in the Jovian Stations have started to report encounters with cartoons and various other popular images which the Rathhan are pulling straight out of their minds. Unfortunately, Michar has started putting booby traps all over Lima station – and Andrew is more or less encouraging him; the scam can’t last forever and blowing up Lima will cover the tracks nicely.

2281: The player-characters begin their investigation into an odd combination of reports of cartoons showing up, weird monsters that then vanish, and stolen station scooters.

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CCVIII – The City Of Winds

Once the Potawatomi had gathered wild onion, and garlic, and rice, and the products of the swamp and prairie on the borders of the lake. But the Wheel turned – and first a trading post, and then a town, and then a city rose.

Vibrant. Active. A crossroads of trade and activity.

Yet ever the Wheel turned. The city fell in fire – but rose once more, rooted in railways and rivers and the great lakes, building towers and factories.

And the Wheel turned. Depression and crime struck at the city, and the tides which had once swept people and industries to it ebbed. Great portions of the web of rails and routes that had made it great had rusted and closed,

Yet the Wheel turned.

Chicago had all too many closed, abandoned, and decaying rail-yards. Great masses of rusting steel – once machinery, rail-cars, rails, and even locomotives – too dangerous and unwieldy for their scrap value to pay for the labor of salvaging them. Valueless until the city should rise once more to need room or rails.

Someone had bought several of them, bringing in private contractors, and restoring them – yet it all seemed pointless; those lines were closed, unneeded – useless, save perhaps to some devotee of rail. Even the local gangs were too “cool” to take all the nonsense seriously – and mostly smart enough to know that fiddling around in the train-yards behind the backs of the professionals was stupidly dangerous – but the contractors were (weirdly enough) rather soft touches…

All they’d been installing was a few stone pillars and a path to nowhere along an old railway sideline – probably to put scenic exhibits along. Still, the reopening of the old station, if only as a museum or some such, promised free entertainment and refreshments.

A few people were taking it more seriously. Some had signed up for the promise of “gates”. No matter how unlikely that sounded, there were always the lost and desperate. Others… had felt the use of Essence, and the power being exerted to reshape the rail-yards. Enough power that those absurd promises of “Gates” might have something to them – presuming that they weren’t a cover for an invasion from the underworld or some such.

The city officials were a mix. A few knew enough to take it seriously, many more knew that a grand opening party was worth attending even if no obvious payoffs, or tricks to expose, cover-ups to be bribed into, or opportunity for local profit has yet appeared… A couple of the local dragon-bloods (water aspects, mostly favoring Larceny and Bureaucracy) had heard enough to think it worth their time, and wished to corner this gate before others could! But first… it had to open!

And the Wheel turned.

It was that or explode – and that too lay in the balance of destiny.

In Yu-Shan, time and reality twisted, ripped and reformed by floods of warring essence, erupting into pockets of raw Wyld and cascading years where even the Loom of Fate working it it’s own realm with the direct backing of the Maiden’s could no longer sustain causality. Still, while the results of many battles – horrific struggles against Deathlords, neverborn Kaiju, creatures of the Wyld, and confused imports from Alien Creations – were as yet indeterminate, the overall course of events was clear. The Song of Creation filled the air, echoed by the uncounted voices of gods, men, and stranger beings and sweeping around, over, and under such struggles as if they were mere rocks in a mighty flood.

As the Song reached the edges of the dome it passed though both the ancient gates to the Blessed Isle or Earth, and the gates to other places, and the erupting galactic gates – spreading over more than a hundred worlds. On ninety-six worlds – the seventy-two prepared for colonization and twenty-four more prepared as nature preserves – a dozen gate-manses apiece went into operation as planned. Each gate to Earth completed the geomancy of the security-and-service manses that had been constructed there, bringing THEM into operation as well.

And the Song of Creation spread further still, gifting the worlds with health, youth, and long, long, life. Six of North America’s nearly 248 gates opened in Chicago, where the security and support manses had been designed in an interlocking and mutually resonant grid – providing power, weather moderation, and various other services for the entire metropolitan area.

One was at the old Chicago Junction Terminal on Lakeshore Drive… Now parklike, save for the restored old terminal, junction lines, and turning circles, there was some staff on hand to open things up.

And precisely on time a vortex of energy swirled into existence at the end of the train tracks and the “path to nowhere”, the stone pillars became an arch, several underground structures opened up – and the gate opened, revealing an early-morning vista of mountains, valleys, rich forests, a glittering city on the hills above the wide river that watered the valley, and flocks of birds and animals roaming the land and the air above it. The path extended to several structures, including a warehouse, a stockyard, a “general store” or “trading post”, and a yard full of classical covered wagons – while the train tracks extended towards the city.

The warding, reconstructive, and protective spells that the Song was carrying had been meant to sustain and rebuild Yu-Shan despite the battle in it’s midst. Across cities that were merely run down, the effect of spells designed to rebuild after a war of Gods, Exalts, Deathlords, and Kaiju were quite dramatic.

And a very classical wood-burning train (with the locomotives firebox and boilers thamuaturgically augmented so as to actually need very little wood or water) gently chugged it’s way through, to take one of the circle turn-arounds and pull up to the station.

And save for the music, there was silence – and agape staring. Even the essence users were reeling as otherworldly dragon-lines linked to Earths – and rank-5 demesnes with preconstructed manses flared to life beneath their feet, sending a wave of essence coursing across the entire city!

Perhaps most importantly… the Song carried with it an impression of Charles, of his granting relief from all injuries, and of the (rather absurd) level of compassion that fueled it.

The stillness lasted more than long enough for the thoroughly inhuman guides and gate guardians (Anthro-canine-metallic amalgams, Coatl, and Kickaha) to take up their stations while the security manses began generating their own staff.

A people few backed away – they’d seen some crazy stuff, but not like THIS – but most found the music thoroughly reassuring…

Not too surprisingly, the Dragon-Blooded agents were the first to regain their composure.

(Inukami Train Conductor – as dryly and matter-of-factually as he could possibly manage) “We have two hundred and forty-three names on our first-run passenger list for the city of Artolis, leaving at least seven seats open for additional passengers on the first run. Actual settlers do have priority over journalists and agents who intend to report back in. The train will make the run every six hours for now. Those individuals and groups who have applied for homesteading packages and seek to claim their own lands in the vicinity of Artolis should check in with the office on the other side of the gate to pick up their supplies, livestock, and vehicles. The settlement guides will assist in locating and setting up land-claims.”

(Young Kickaha, much more mischievously) “And you can land on Europa if you want to, but this train doesn’t go there!”

Quite a few gang members were already pushing forward and heading down the path… Whoa! They needed to get their stuff! It was REAL! And maybe they should pass the word around their neighborhoods too…

The Exalts and thaumaturgists in the vicinity were noting that both ends of the gate fed through newly-activated rank-5 indestructible manses. A teenage boy had built THIS? Certainly they had gotten an impression, and whoever it was was absurdly compassionate and powerful, but most Exalts couldn’t build a level-5 Manse… Perhaps one of these Solars who were supposed to be running around now? And he was apparently freely offering new planets and supplies to ANYONE who wanted a fresh start – apparently including those idiotic ganger ne’er do wells… not that their presence didn’t cause a lot of problems for higher-end activity.

Charles rather thought that a simpler life would help a lot with that – although, to be fair, his basis for that notion was pure general theory.

Several Terrestrials had put in for land claims as well. Why not? At best it was free, and at worst it wouldn’t have mattered.

And it looked like the pioneering supplies included assorted thaumaturgical talismans and even the occasional minor artifact, even if it WAS mostly set up for homesteading. That was interesting! Not as impressive as whatever links were powering the gate, but there were at least hundreds of times as many minor artifacts as gates… Besides, since there WAS land available, it would be best to go through and claim the best spots before the others got back! They needed the best land with the best view!

The thought was obvious, and the staff silently wished them good luck with that. There were a LOT of nice spots on an optimized planet. Even if they just wanted to be near the city (and it’s high-end service manses) there should be lots of choices…

A few were sensible enough to ask. They wanted someplace secure and defensible, so the staff provided several likely locations – throwing in geomantic surveys as needed.

With that kind of cooperation… the terrestrials asked for the best Water demesne on the planet – and were deeply shocked to find that a fine selection of rank-5’s was available.

What” Had these creatures already mapped out the planet? They HAD to ask!

(Map Expert) “Well, the planet WAS designed; and so the geomancy is just as optimized as the ecology and physical resources!”

(Terrestrial) “Designed? How long did this take to build?”

(Map Expert) “The planet only took a few minutes, the ley line network came up to full power within the next three months – which let us bring the gate- and city-manses online”.

A FEW MINUTES? For a PLANET? Just how powerful was this “Charles”?

The staff cheerfully pulled up some audiovisual records of the terraforming – which revealed that he HAD used an existing lump of rock at least – but the planetary transformation was still gob-smacking! Of course…. they were talking to a rather high-end magical construct – that seemed to be manse-powered itself…

(Terrestrial) “So… how many Manses has this “Charles” made?”

(Map Expert) “Well, he makes them as needed, so there’s no real count.”

(Terrestrial) “What, like utility artifacts?”

(Map Expert) “Are they really that different on this scale?”

(Terrestrial, after a brief and thoughtful pause) “I suppose not… I suppose that we had best take a look, and perhaps see the effects of this terraforming for ourselves!”.

Meanwhile the local governmental reps were talking to the station clerk. They really hadn’t taken all the ads seriously, and while they’d gotten some advance warning from the local Terrestrials that something was happening, they were startled to see the extent.

(Anthropomorphic Golden Retriever running the check-in counter at the station) “Can I help you gentlemen?”

Now that was WEIRD… and it didn’t seem like an animatronic or a costume, It seemed to be breathing and everything! Still… their sources had said that there would be a LOT of weird stuff – and while this was VERY weird indeed, if it could help with the city’s financial issues, it was well worth a look.

The police were bypassing the line however.

(Golden Retriever Clerk) “Do you need something? (Suggestively) There IS a line…”

Oh boy. No one was going to believe THIS incident report! Despite the pictures!

(Sergeant) “Well… We need to have a look around here, to see that everything is up to code! We’ll need a tour of the… facility? And Explanations! Definitely explanations…”

That got them a Coatl – and a fairly straightforward tour: training setups for people who needed more skills before starting out, the supply stockpiles, maps, advice on setting up – and otherwise a good look at a fairly conventional train station and a statement that “Charles believes that people need more room, and new lands to explore – and so he is providing them. This station and the gate system are self-maintaining and close to perpetual”.

The police were having a bit of trouble deciding how to approach the situation. They weren’t trained for what was obviously a first contact scenario of sorts! And other planets were certainly out of their jurisdiction anyway… were they going to be dealing with trans-galactic commuters? The “Gate” did seem to be instantaneous… Would the city try to annex a planet like it would a new development? Was there even a government there beyond this “Charles” announcing “Here’s some stuff! Don’t hurt each other! Have fun!”? Just how much of Chicago’s population was going to abruptly move out?

Not to mention the “everything is suddenly new and shiny” seemed to go a LONG ways past the station-park! Pretty much every report from around the city was of things being cleaned, repaired, reinforced, and restored!

How many people would THAT put out of work? But then… they had a brand new city and world to move to, where apparently much of what you needed was free, training programs were sponsored, and everything was very nice.

Wait. There was no breach of the peace going on and there was no law against opening gates or giving pioneering equipment away. This was POLICY. Not police work! They could safely shove it all off on the bureaucracy!

And so they did.

That would, indeed, take some time… the bureaucrats would want more information, and to meet with Charles, and to investigate the new planet, and perhaps even to send someone to Aden. City bureaucracy being what it was, it would take months, if not years, to implement – unless, of course, someone went under the table (which was probably inevitable).

And then there would be the feds.

Across the world there were local attempts to cordon off some of the gates – but there were too many worldwide, scattered over every nation, for that to become more than a very temporary procedure in most places – and the Inukami staff, Kickaha guides, and Coatl could spread out as the security manses generated their own staff and guardians to bring in those who wished to emigrate across the cosmos regardless of minor opposition.

Fortunately for the Chicago authorities peace of mind, the Gate-Guardians were quite cooperative in some ways. They were happy to tell those who asked that the destination planets were situated in otherwise uninhabited Hubble Volumes; so no immigration was likely for the moment. They also proved to be fully cooperative about restraining (and turning over to the authorities) lunatics, serious or violent criminals, and so on; they were screening to some degree anyway. There would be home-grown lunatics quite soon enough, there was no need to send any.

Unfortunately for the authorities peace of mind… even casual estimates on how many people would be leaving were fairly high – and the staff had no objection to simply giving pickpockets, shoplifters, and so on a bit of re-education and a fresh start!

Of course in actual war zones… things were going to be a bit trickier. As well as in the places where unwanted people were being dumped, or there was fighting over the gates, or oppressed populations wanted to escape, and so on. Charles would have them cared for of course – but the politics was going to be a lot tricker than he had hoped! The turmoil was already starting in the middle east and elsewhere as oppressed minorities, refugees, and similar groups were exiled, evacuated, or taking refuge through the gates! (Including many of the crazier folk from the middle east whom Leon hadn’t gotten to yet… He hadn’t cared if he had to transform 80% of the population. He was going to have a sane population that was willing to accept magic, the fey, and being ruled by a god-king or he would know the reason why! There had been insurgencies, ISIS, and maniacs everywhere!)

Meanwhile, back in Aden… that Raksha lady – Nimue’ – was back! She had returned to the Mardi Gras manse ans was waiting for him – and she HAD done him a favor, so it was only fair to find out what she wanted!

(Nimue’) “Ah, it is you, Aden? Your work was successful?”

(Charles) “So far anyway! It is nice to see you of course!”

(Nimue’) “I am glad! And I am glad to see you! Now, we must discuss our marriage!”

(Charles, with considerable alarm) “Uhrm?!?!?!”

He ran a quick check! He didn’t remember agreeing to get married!

No… no he HADN’T.

So why…

(Charles doubtfully) “I don’t really recall proposing… why do you want to get married?”

(Nimue’) “I must keep you from marrying the Celestial Plain! I have eyes only for you!”

(Charles) “Uhm… I really wasn’t planning to get married any time soon!” (By, of course, a kids notion of “soon”).

Oh geez! Had she seriously fixated on HIM? It kind of looked like it! AND she thought that Yu-Shan was the competition!

He consulted Malinda!

(Malinda) “Dearie? I think you’ve gotten caught up in her narrative! She might want to marry you and become a part of your nature.”

(Charles, planatively) “But I already have lots of chaos in my nature… I don’t see how she could add herself to it though!”

(Malinda) “You DO have many, many Graces that would be suitable for making regions of a freehold! Maybe she thinks she can become a part of you that way?”

(Charles) “But… they’re bonded to the poles!

Well, their narrative shaped everything about them and what wents on around them. He tried to figure out what it was with observation and passive detection!

It looked like… she was fascinated by, or fixated on, HIM – and was carefully scrutinizing him for any flaws (and not really finding many). She… “knew” (believed?) that he was a Primordial, and was also performing a careful study of the environment, and trying to figure out ways to turn him even more to the Wyld’s service. Basically… she wanted to be an associate, with a formal bond to make sure that she got listened to and protected. And if that let her influence him further towards chaos (however unlikely that was), that would be a bonus! And if she could show up another Primordial, all the better.

Charles didn’t really think that Yu-Shan even understood that idea, much less had such a plan – the primordials were pretty firmly in “sufficient unto themselves” territory – but he supposed that it was possible! Besides… no one ever said Raksha were rational.

Well, a formal connection to a Raksha would have downsides, but would something like oath-friendship or an advisory position be sufficient? Because he was much too young to get married! Even if she was pretty set on it!

He let her know that some form of courtship agreement was as far as he would go at the moment – but that he was perfectly willing to confirm that he had no intention of “Marrying” Yu-Shan! (She was busy with her own stuff at the moment anyway!).

And that satisfied Nimue’… for now.

The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CCVII – Meanwhile, On The Sidelines

It wasn’t a big order – and it was in the “submitted by random persons” pile – but an Everlasting Flask of Alcohol? Who wanted THAT? And WHY? A pub owner? It… appeared to be one of the wealthier people in Aden. One “Ubab Shamoun”, one of the refugees from the Middle East. He’d come to Aden to escape militants… a muslim, but possibly not that observant?

Charles called him. That didn’t take up much of any processing power…

(Charles) “Mr Shamoun? I have a request from you. While that is not, in itself, a problem – although I do not guarantee their fulfillment – this one is a bit… problematic. It’s also unspecified; did you want rubbing alcohol? Ethanol for fuel? There are a LOT of kinds of alcohol.”

(Ubab) “Hello, my friend! I wanted a flask to hold my wine!”

(Charles, with some puzzlement) “What, to transport it in? Or just to disguise it?”

(Ubab) “No, to drink! Don’t tell me someone of your power is a teetotaler! I left partially because of that!”

(Charles) “Er… but don’t you follow a religion which says that drinking is punishable by death and Allah’s condemnation?”

Some of the Kickaha who were quietly bodyguarding Charles snickered. So naive not to think that Muslim’s would sneak around the rules a bit!

To Charles it was the logical disconnect; you subscribed to the Islamic belief system to gain Paradise. If you drank, then according to those beliefs, you wouldn’t gain Paradise. So… if you want to drink, why be a Muslim? It wasn’t as if going with another faith would make it WORSE, and there was always the chance that the other faith would be the right one…

The Kickaha caught THAT quite easily – you didn’t need to read MINDS, just FACES (if so many of the would-be manipulators weren’t convinced that the boys reactions HAD to be a carefully contrived front he wouldn’t be able to keep any secrets at ALL. Charles could barely even manage to say “No Comment!” They HAD to get him out more! He seemed to have no concept of a “social front” at all; Lacking all reasonable fears meant he had no notion of conforming out of fear” either. He just did it to avoid upsetting people!

(Ubab) “I’m Orthodox, my friend. Much less meddlesome!”

Which had presumably been another reason for coming to Aden.

(Charles) “Oh, so it’s just naughty in that system? Well that makes more sense! It’s still really bad for you though! Alcohol is a selective neurotoxin, and causes damage to the central nervous system… Wait, is that another reason why you live here? So that that sort of thing will regenerate?”

(Ubab) “I haven’t had any of the pains in months. Truly, THIS is Paradise.”

Oh dear! That wasn’t exactly what he’d put healing into Aden for… OK, Ubab wasn’t hurting anyone else, and he was only wasting his own potential – not hurting himself otherwise – but this was just not right! No matter how contented Ubab was as an alcoholic, people should learn and grow, not just get happily drunk! But he didn’t want to make him sad, even if denying him his addiction would be better for him – and it wasn’t like he couldn’t get alcohol anyway; he just wanted it to be more convenient, so that he wouldn’t even have to leave the house!

Ah.

(Charles) “Very well! I shall bestow on you a Flask of Wisdom…”

Flask of Wisdom (Artifact **): A Flask of Wisdom produces an ever-varying selection of marvelous “wines”, fortified with vitamins, minerals, fully nourishing, and with minor healing properties – enough to hold arthritis and similar ailments at bay and to reduce the effect of mundane illnesses. While non-alcoholic, and with no deleterious physical effects (and certainly no hangovers), the “wine” is magically intoxicating – but works best when shared socially and freely, and only works at all when the user makes reasonably regular efforts at self-development or helping others – studying, teaching, learning to socialize, caring for children, whatever. The user will come to understand that within a few days of coming to own the flask – well before the “reasonably regular” requirement kicks in. A Flask of Wisdom has no attunement cost.

There! Endless bribery in a flask! After all, it wasn’t asking for anything MAJOR – just some slight regular effort. And well within what even the Orthodox faith required.

Ubab accepted the present… He was an ordinary man after all, and really didn’t devote any thought as to why it might be labeled a “Flask of Wisdom”. And, perhaps, he would grow. At least as long as he stayed in Aden, he had time.

On the way back there was a young man – of about his apparent age waiting for him.

(Charles, while checking for his name and such) “Oh hello!… Do you need something?

Hm. “Per Rosing”, a VERY recent arrival from a gate in Scandinavia.

(Charles) “Mr Rosing is it?”

(Per) “Hello, Charles! I went through that Yu-Shan place first. What a bunch of crazy sights! The lions directed me to one of your gates there, and I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted to talk to you about the colonization scheme!”

(Charles) “Well… the gates are already open (since the Song of Creation of course)… what did you want to talk about?”

(Per) “I wanted to see one of these worlds, and maybe get a tour?”

(Charles) “Well… most of the guides are busy leading colonists out at the moment, and a tour of a planet would take a long time – but there are several gates with rail lines to some of the new cities… If you just want a look around, perhaps one of those would do? Fifty or sixty miles of scenery, a look around a magical city, and a bit of exploration around it might be suitable.”

(Per, looking oddly disappointed) “I think I’ll do that. Will you be around after I’m through?”

That seemed a little odd really. After all, the papers on Earth had been FULL of planet descriptions and directions for going there for months now. Was there something more subtle going on here?

(Per) “If you don’t mind me asking before I go… why all this? It can’t be out of pure generosity.”

(Charles, with some surprise) “Why not? I don’t recall any rules about it… It was a certain amount of trouble, but while I had to invest some years in developing the resources and abilities it required I now I have them available for other projects… It was time well spent I think!”

(Per) “I don’t think most of Earth’s governments prepared for that.”

(Charles, indignantly) “Well I TOLD them!”

(Per) “But would they move fast enough even if they did take it seriously? The powers that be have hidden things for a long time.”

(Charles, sighing) “Well, all they needed to do was let people through…”

(Per) “It’s unstoppable now! So, I’ll take a look at one of these worlds, and then come back. Okay?”

(Charles) “OK!”

And he got… a wink and a hug???? That was weird! And very startling! And more than a bit uncomfortable… Normally only Grandpa and the girls spent a lot of time hugging him!

He couldn’t avoid stiffening up as he ran a magical check to see if this was a diversion from something sneaking up or something – or suppress the faint glow of defensive spells.

(Per) “Oh, right. You’re probably worried about other magical threats. Sorry! I’ll get going!”

Charles was mildly surprised and somewhat interested… most normal humans wouldn’t have spotted that at all.

(Charles) “Oh no worries! It was just startlement!”

Per went off, slowly, leaving Charles scratching his head a bit. Sure, people did pointless things – but that just seemed a little… off. Maybe he was testing for something? But there didn’t seem to be an y active magic on him.

It never occurred to Charles that Per could have just been testing his reactions to physical contact – and that his results had been pretty clear; he obviously wasn’t used to men hugging him. It wasn’t like he’d ever given that much thought!

Charles decided to consult a bit. He wasn’t really all THAT good at reading motivations and such! But he had some friends who WERE good at it.

And the handiest bunch were the Kickaha who’d been playing bodyguard.

(Berri) “Uh . . . that was pretty gay, Charles. I think he might be into you.”

(Charles) “Erm? But… that doesn’t really work… Elzeard said that sort of thing was mostly reproductive behavior… Wait; is it just the social bonding aspect by itself?”

(Berri, blushing) “Uhm… I don’t really know either. What, you mean you didn’t realize people had sex for fun? Or lust?”

(Charles) “Well, yes… I just thought that it was usually opposite-sex pairs, since that really has to be the dominant instinct. Anything else would tend to breed itself out without a secondary aspect which kept up it’s frequency in the gene pool.”

(A chorus of half a dozen of the snarkier Kickaha, albeit in an affectionate and friendly manner) “NNNEEEEERRRRRDDDDD!”

(Berri) “That’s a little beyond me, Charles. Oh, geez. I’m going to have watch you more around girls now. Ever hear the term ‘gold digger?'”

(Charles) “Uhm… just looking for wealth? It’s not like there’s a shortage after all; just living in Aden is pretty comfortable!”

(Berri) “Yeah, but it could still happen if some girl who doesn’t know that comes in here.”

(Charles) “Well, it would probably be good to make sure that people who seem to be making approaches become subtly aware that they can be very comfortable without, well… paying for it by spreading their legs! We don’t really need that sort of thing!”

(Berri) “I’ll leave that up to you, boss. Um… what ARE you going to do about that guy, though? I think he picked up on it, but he’s got to be disappointed.”

(Charles) “Well, I never tried to guarantee that no one would ever be disappointed… If that was really what he wanted, he should have checked on how to arrange it; it’s not like the servants aren’t there to tell him… Although I’m not sure about what I’d tell him; even if you clean things, the physical arrangements sound kind of uncomfortable, at least on the… er… well… receiving end.”

(Berri, who happened to be female, a bit sardonically. Boys!) “I really wouldn’t know about that!”

(Charles) “It doesn’t sound like much fun!”

Per was back by eventually, looking impressed and a little chastened.

(Per) “You’re something… sorry if I made you feel awkward.”

(Charles, somewhat flustered) “Erm, well… if you were making an approach, most of the others doing that have been much more direct about it!”

(Per) “Oh. So you figured it out too. I assume you don’t go that way?”

(Charles) “Well, it sounds sort of messy and not all that much fun…”

(Per) “That’s how sex with girls sounds to me.” (Shrugging) “I’ll be in touch, though… or someone from the family, anyway. We were going to start a colony.”

(Charles, much more cheerily) “There’s lots of places for them!”

(Per) “Well, shake hands on it anyway?”

(Charles) “Certainly!”

Aurora Ward Index III

Session Logs:

  • Session I: Team formation, the arrival of Ahmik, a Cultist, a Powerstone, and introducing the Imaginal Wars.
  • Session II: Settling into the Silverhold, the arrival of Syphon, Training Exercises, Demonic Attacks, and a Flower Exhibition.
  • Session III: Imp Amulets, the departure of Syphon and the arrival of Mini-Max, the Book of Niberius, and Invocation Magic.
  • Session IV: Captain Thunder, Candyland, The Auction, Night Templar gets Possessed, Demon Summonings, and Sapphire Star.
  • Session V: The Mandate and the Wyrm Crown, the Night Auction, encounters with Plunder, Fear, Destruction, and Wraith Sword.
  • Session VI: Fear, Destruction, and Vengeance. Entering and Leaving the Realm of Opposites. Considering the Archmage and Chi’an Lung.
  • Session VII: The Wrath of the Wendigo, the Transformation of Antiquity.
  • Session VIII: Visiting Children, Niberius and Godzilla, Weaponizing Love, and the Demon Amulets.
  • Session IX: Investigating the Demon Amulets, Landscaping with Belial, Demonic Ensoulment Rituals,
  • Session X: Disabling the Rite, Boreas, Belial, and Mini-Max. Blood and Souls, the Counterspell, seeking the Archmage.
  • Session XI: Through the Chinese Hells, the Pool of Life, the Archmage Besieged.
  • Session XII: Relief Forces, the Dragons of the East,
  • Session XIII: Entrapment, Meeting the Archmage, Encountering the Orb.
  • Session XIV: A dinner, some history, the Orb – and into the Heart of Darkness.
  • Session XV: Departing the Archmage, a curious device indeed, Ameobro and the Animal Spirits, the Gates of Faerie.
  • Session XVI: Encounters with the Fey, Encountering Malwyn, Illusions and Reality, rescuing Samuel.
  • Session XVII: Ceara and Samuel, Malwyn shows his ire, investigating disappearances, magical contractors, the dangerous room, bumping heads with Belial.
  • Session XVIII: A dealing with demons, the Wendigo Camp, Bearageddon, a dealing with the dead, news of the assault.
  • Session XIX: Battle at the Silverhold, the Black Summons and the Light of Luathon, Driving with the Dead.
  • Session XX: Discussions with the Wind, Captain Massacre Attacks, Ameobrat fails to evade the Sniper, Dimensional Incursions, the Crimes of Captain Mayhem, Night Templar versus the Dark Knight and his Imps, Funniest Home Videos.
  • Session XXI: Tracing Malwyn, Murders in the Darkness, Discussions with the Seelie and Unseelie Fey, Encounters with the Orthallen.
  • Session XXII: Near Space Defense, Battles with Malwyn and the Battered Women, Belial’s Press Conference, Tracing NSD.
  • Session XXIII: My Evil Twin Skippy lives in My Evil Mirror House, the river rising, battles with the alternates, the escape of the Dark Knight and Munchkin, false equipment.
  • Session XXIV: Zantu Deliberations, visiting Saturn, the Archives of the Arith Vaya, the Glacial Guardian, into the frozen depths, debating with Darvian.
  • Session XXV: Explaining Ameobro, introducing the Dragon Circle, Runestones, Survivalism and the Codex Naberius, Voso, the Demon Thief of Magical Children.
  • Session XXVI: Bargains with Belial, Demonic Web Pages, Orabus the Equine Prince, Battling Voso, buying Demonic Children, Secrets of the Arith Vaya.
  • Session XXVII: Dealing with Demonic Children, Night Templar and the Angels of Wrath, Red Soulstone and Space Marines
  • Session XXVIII: The Press Conference, Malphas and Mayhem.
  • Session XXIX: The History of Mars, the Skorel and the Arith Vaya, interviewing Doctor Promethean, the Ghosts of Mars, True Necromancers.
  • Session XXX: The Shrine of Rathma, Bobby the White Necromancer, speculations on canned meat, Doctor Promethean again, Saurians for Mars.
  • Session XXXI: Feeding Ghosts, Piper and the Bombardment Epoch, descending the Axis Mundi, observing the destruction of Mars.
  • Session XXXII: Return from History, retrieving a Helmstone.
  • Session XXXIII: Spider Ships, Psychic Experiments, and Martian Possessions.
  • Session XXXIV: Issues on Earth – mercenaries, robotic law enforcement, and pegasus interviews. Megachurches, soulstone, the Indestructible Man, and Demonic Pants. Future Lawbots, investigating disappearances, and childish invocations.
  • Session XXXV: Murders of days long past, Haywire and the Future, Illiri, Mana Drains, Elder Spells, and Realtors, and the Pit of the Kyinn.
  • Session XXXVI: Johannus-not-a-ghost, Investigating the Kyinn.
  • Session XXXVII: Setting up the Space Marines and the Horsemen to collide.
  • Session XXXVIII: The Horsemen and the Space Marines.
  • Session XXXIX: Planning for Zantu, Ormarr the Obtuse, Colonel Ashford and his Psychic Sidekicks, the Galactic Bus, Ancient Air Defense.
  • Session XL: Into the Ancient Base on Zantu.
  • Session XLI: Ancient Chaos, Battle in the Control Chamber, Planetary Cataclysm and Reconstruction.
  • Session XLII: Samhain’s Self-Arrest, Search and Rescue, Trial of the Century, Ormarr on FTL, Invocations at Ceara’s School, Night Templar’s Child Endangerment Case, on the news with Belial, Armageddon shorts out, Voso lord of Spam.
  • Session XLIII: Demonic Danger Rooms, decontaminating Armageddon, Deplatypusing Captain  Mayhem, The Transtemporal Villain Swarm.
  • Session XLIV: The Goetic Council, Ambassadorial Portfolios, Armageddons Unholy Pants, and Vapula the Irritant.
  • Session VL: Voyage to Tibet, Niberios and North Korea, Battle at the Archmage’s, Arcane Considerations, and Signing Off on Time Travel.
  • Session VLI: A conference on restraints, summoning the Doctor, Go-fers and Grabboids, Antione and Illari, Gastion Emerys, Timewalker, and the oncoming horde.
  • Session VLII: Tracing Illari, Considering Syphon and Mini-Max, molten miniatures, collecting the Sniper.
  • Session VLIII: Ordering Weapons, a dealing with Dragons, Potions of Drunkenness, and the Bane Mummies explained.
  • Session IL: Researching the Racemind, The Nordic Realms.
  • Session L: Into the Nordic Realms, Modgud and the river Gjoll, Heimdall and Bifrost, the Wolves and the Gods, Loki, Jormungand, and Hela. Samhain contemplates moving out.
  • Session LI: The Fury at the Norsemen, disruptions on Zantu, ambassadors to the Pirate and Pony realms, Armageddon accidentally marries Prince Blueblood, Ameobro acquires some Changelings.
  • Session LII: Antione and the Kyinn, Surveillance Efforts, Pegasus and Perseus II, Amazon’s, Athena, and Icos. Introducing the Titanosaurs.
  • Session LIII: The Hydrasaur. Battle at Thunder Bay, Illari’s Projects.
  • Session LIV: Investigating the Genetics Lab, tracing the Titanosaurs.
  • Session LV: Ferret War Dance and the Ferret King, Battling the Titanosaurs.
  • Session LVI: Arach the Black, Forgemage, the Minotaur, the Zantu Survey.
  • Session LVII: Illari and the fight at the club.
  • Session LVIII: Titanosaurs Worldwide, the Battle of New York Harbor.
  • Session LIX: Interlude; Ceara summons the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Session LX: Concluding the Battle of New York Harbor.
    • It’s worth noting that these logs are 1) summarized in places (especially conversations) and 2) from a particular characters viewpoint; they don’t tend to get into much detail on what the other characters are up to.

Background Materials:

The Cast:

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CCVI – Cadenza Allegro

Charles was almost out of time. Fortunately, he was also almost out of things to do. There were networks of well-guarded indestructible manses waiting to take over Yu-Shan’s control inputs to Creation, massive power reserves on tap, guards (second-circle equivalents; not enough to stop a top-end threat for long, but their perfect defenses should hold out more than long enough to sound the alarm and escape) assigned to every vital person and location that he could manage, a 500% overcoverage on his control artifacts, lots of geomantic backup and monitoring in place, quite a few unshaped roped into providing external security for Creation while his focus was elsewhere, crews of Raksha ready to help out, and more. Gaia had the Spike of Pole Unbinding, Yu-Shan’s Devas were ready to supervise through their remotes, the Tenders and Overseers had been briefed, the Celestial Lions were in position, King Ghidorah was attending along with many Third-Circle Demons, and every backup and precaution he could think of was in place.

It was time for the show to go on! Hopefully a lot of the major powers would attend peacefully, rather than opposing the project!

That could have been “more innocent bystanders to get caught up in things!”, but – fortunately – most of the most vulnerable weren’t important enough to get seats, and would have to watch remotely from Aden, which was much safer. There were still random carnival-goers of course, but some of them would have been around regardless.

There was, of course, muttering and some excitement when the Celestial Lions started clearing the central pavilion for a performance and it became apparent just how many sections of special seating were being set up – and just how exotic some of them were.

The discussion got louder as the performers began to arrive in all in all their eccentric glory – but the Celestial Lions were out in force, which was enough to send some of the more cautious carnival-goers looking for good vantage points a long ways away. If some little musical piece called for THAT kind of security something big was definitely up!

And then some even MORE eccentric entities arrived – the Deva’s of Yu-Shan using their remotes – and demonic cries of recognition joined the confusion of gods who both instinctively recognized and did not consciously know the Deva’s!

Except for the black hole in the shape of a kimono-clad sumotori, who just looked amused as he ate all the food.

Charles gave them a few moments to settle down since this WAS a performance! Quiet was expected, at least to start! And this sort of thing WAS why there were separate sections!

And as the drums and other percussion instruments of the first movement thundered, the energies of chaos flowed out across the Carnival of Meeting, the energies of oncoming transformation lending strength to magic, a sparkle of youth to the ancient streets of Yu-Shan, and a thousand transient touches of wonder drifted upon the very air.

And the gods wondered, as the beauty of the music spread, somehow infinite in potential and yet unfulfilled.

Far beyond the music’s normal range, something resonated, a subtle note in the darkness singing softly to itself. A tiny crack in an ancient ward, and a trickle of time flowing into timelessness… Within the Gallery of Captured Dreams minds stirred that had been sleeping since before the rise of Creation.

And the Adamant foundations of Yu-Shan trembled, as – in the wake of a massive stampede of panicked high-ranking gods fleeing the Jade Pleasure Dome – a massive, floating, cloud of elemental energies poured out of the southernmost entrance to of the Dome.

Charles sighed – having to multitask ALREADY. What a bother!

He threw up a series of wards around the performance area, and tried to clear a path for the elemental storm – and checked with the Celestial Lions on duty there to try to find out what was going on! Normally a bunch of high-ranking gods wouldn’t make such a commotion over anything even remotely reasonable…

Oh. There were hurricanes frantically howling at the edges, buffeting the infernos and oceans within while thorns, burrs, and massive stones of all varieties floated through the whole mass! And… those howling primordial energies made up draconian shapes floating around within the storm, only faintly visible even to magical senses.

The Elemental Dragons awakened or ascended? Gaia using the spike? Would they need a reserved section of seating?

The lions hadn’t been expecting this either, and since she was one of the Incarnae, they couldn’t exactly order her to cease and desist!

(Charles, via telepathic broadcast since voice was not likely to work through the hurricanes!) “Ah, hello there! Can I help you?”

All he got was a cacophony of crackles, howling wind, and raging water and sand. The mass was heading upward, toward the Pole of Adamant. It… wasn’t affecting the geomancy yet, but it felt like it was barely restrained. The raw power of most of Gaia’s physical Deva’s pouring towards a single, central, point where things were most closely tied together.

Probably to pour their power into the Spike… Charles had the guards herd people and gods out of the way and made a corridor! It was a good thing that his servitors were pretty affable and high-Essence… it made it a LOT easier to get the gods to listen!

Besides, it WAS the Carnival! As well as an elemental hurricane that no one sensible would stand in front of anyway… There was some fussing and bruised egos, but better that than being dissolved by some manifestation of Primordial power!

Charles damped the sound around the elemental manifestations, but he still had to turn up the volume a bit. Fortunately he was immune to laryngitis and it didn’t affect his supporting performers!

And the dreaming thunder of the wyld drums spread across the carnival as the brasses, and the second movement, came in.

Across Yu-Shan, ancient primordial demesnes, long dormant and decayed, flared into sudden life – and crackling spikes of essence began to build in the structures of manses long broken and buried. Once begun… the Music Of Creation, and the revival of Yu-Shan would precede to completion – or to catastrophe.

And the Drum Fey exalted in joy – even as reports began to flood in from the outskirts of Heaven of several massive entities appearing close to the Cornucopia of All’s subterranean Manse and its aboveground patch of fertile soil! The lions and guarding Devas reported most unwholesome energies!

Drat! Charles started to deploy some of his reserves… mostly on containment; attacking warded areas was a LOT more bother, so that should slow them up! It wouldn’t stop a geomantic attack – but that was usually one of the slower methods anyway. Unfortunately, he had only one Kaiju to deploy personally…

That… was holding things up, but one – a slow-moving snake of soulsteel, white Jade, and other, stranger, alloys, had begun burrowing into the adamant and emitting large amounts of death-energy! The local anti-underworld alert systems were going haywire!

Oh well! If the Kaiju were coming… that was a pain, but he had to stick with the sequence to make this work. All he could do was deploy distractions and delays!

And across the city… wards and defenses flared, as the divine legions fought a delaying action against the attacking Kaiju, hurling crackling bolts of essence, hurling missiles, and erecting barriers.

It didn’t have much effect, but the warding spells took the brunt of the counterattacks. They were still causing damage just moving around, but that was what happened when Kaiju payed your city a visit!

Charles… focused on reinforcing the wards and the structure of Yu-Shan itself. The would hold up the advance, provide cover for the defenders, reduce the damage to the city, and keep casualties to a minimum, as he had promised to attempt!

At least it was the Empty Quarters – and the Celestial Lions, Tenders, and Overseers were using their own methods of reinforcing things. Yu-Shan’s Deva’s were helping with that! It was a good thing that he’d given them multiple remotes to work though – and that their power was waxing as Yu-Shan stirred in her slumber!

And bursts of essence sparkled across the city like a myriad stars, as resident gods raised their own wards and defenses. Those were far less effective than the efforts of the Celestial Lions and Charles’s agents – but there were millions of them. It would not suffice, but it bought more precious time.

And the Third Movement began. The music of Creation built upon the infinite resources of the Wyld and the order-bringing Primordial Paean. Even within the Carnival Grounds… there was shouting from several angry and dismayed mortals – a good deal of “Where am I?!” In multiple languages, some not of Earth! More subtly – and more importantly – a number of Soulsteel and Starmetal artifacts shimmered gently, no longer creations of anguish, but merely of aspected essence.

Across Yu-Shan, echoes drifted upon the winds. Vagrant bits of themes in a sprinkling of ethereal notes, bearing one of the most elusive and powerful of thoughts – a new beginning, and new hope. The long despair and decay felt a trace of a new dawn upon the wind.

At Seven Whispering Winds there was a massive burst of energy as a dozen Kaiju made a fade-in appearance, towering over the ancient manse. Godzilla, Rhodan, Gamera, Anguirus, Mothra, King Caesar, Gigan, Kumonja, Biolanthe, Ultraman, Megalon, and Destroyah bestrode the canals of Yu-Shan – joining their scouts King Ghidorah, King Kong (the bioelectric version, who had gone up the Jade Pleasure Dome and was absorbing the energies of it’s defensive systems to redirect into blasts across the city), and MechaGodzilla. Behind them… an army of (mostly) Native-American styled Fey arrived to handle backup and crowd control.

Sure, they seemed to have arrived to defend Yu-Shan, and to make Creation more friendly to Fey – but just try telling the gods of the empty regions that!

(MechaGodzilla) “Bye bye everybody! I have to go defend the city! You humans have fun at the Carnival!”

MechaGodzilla left his hat behind as he grew to full size and headed off to join the defense – leaving a not-insignificant portion of the Carnival-goers wondering what had been put into their drinks!

And the fury of the Neverborn-Kaiju surpassed itself, as all too many of those Dream-Kaiju – empowered by their Exalted pilots, Raksha crews, and some of the mystic “Martial Artists” of the Besi Hentuperajin – turned their own, original, ancient powers against them (even if it was only the lesser ones!) How DARED these creatures of mere humanity use the powers they had lost in the Primordial War?

And – for the sake of Heaven and the salvation of Creation- rage, confusion, and chaos reigned supreme as Dream-Kaiju, with greater numbers, and the powers of their far more varied crews, warred against Neverborn-Kaiju wielding Ghostly Arcanoi and the terrible, high-essence, charms and sorceries of their ancient Abyssal pilots.

Night spread across the city as the lead in the Games of Divinity fell to the Lady of Journeys – who had slightly fewer powers of use in such a battle. Darkness, however, did not fall; the light of the constant barrage of blazing blue energy bolts, waves, and explosions as Kingukongu (King Kong or “Guko” for short) channeled the blasts of the defense systems of the Jade Pleasure Dome around his feet against the Neverborn-Kaiju burned with a supernal radiance.

Charles sent Mothra Leo to try and keep the Kaiju Battles to the open areas… OK, it was mostly more wards and containment, but the crew was pretty good at such things – and Leo gave them a good vantage point to work from! Hopefully his wings (and near-infinite use of the Raksha Perfect Dodge) would be fast enough to evade the Neverborn Kaiju strikes.

Fortunately, the Cauldron-Born appreciated drama, and sent their version of his mother Mothra to aid Leo!

And the fourth movement began, introducing strings and keyboard – and a considerable shock for the Humans (and anyone else who actually aged) who was attending the Carnival. As some of the mortals attending looked a little healthier (and younger), the jade bud in front of Charles grew into a flower… As the movement continued, it bore fruit – a lovely Celestial Pear.

Unfortunately, there was a commotion outside the pavilion… A Neverborn Kaiju had arrived via teleportation.

Grievous Shadow, the Dreamstrider Cloaked in Nightmare, embodied distraction and madness, the mind at war with itself, and the unformed terrors spawned from the damage to reality. It’s form was in constant flux – but it was forged of soulsteel, and black jade, and the deathly essence of the Neverborn. A hydra-like thing of many heads (their exact number forever uncountable) it struck along the myriad paths of thoughts and realities rejected. Once Mabhaddoth, Architect Of Locks, He Who Sealed, now a thing of Summoning Shadows and the Darkness that Devoured. Around it madness held illimitable dominion over the gods…

It shimmered momentarily as it’s soulsteel parts smoked in the music of the third movement – but it’s power relied but little on torment, and the departure of souls into Lethe meant little to it, especially when it’s mere presence unlocked a thousand routes long sealed for both the living and the dead. What mattered it that mere sanity could endure so few of those beckoning paths?

The Lions and Tenders were evading being pulled in – if only just – but for the moment a single figure confronted the immense Kaiju, locked in a battle of wills… Zanjaras, the Violet Bier of Sorrows himself, was staring it down – swathed in his bandages and glowing with a pale, colorless aura as he guided the spirits of the dead to Lethe. Even he was having trouble resisting Grievous Shadow’s aura, but he would not let the spirits suffer!

But his power was fading moment by moment though, as the last of the spirits poured through him and Grievous Shadow adjusted to their absence!

And, in the midst of the raging powerstorm crackling through the streets of Yu-shan, the fifth movement began – and Charles employed his Earthmaster’s Stone to help him replace most of the first KiloMote that he’d need to supply to Yu-Shan with Geomantic Relay Points. Since that also activated the Music of Creation’s carrier function, he threw in a repulsive blast attuned to the Neverborn Kaiju to try and drive them back a bit.

And the radiance within the pavilion cast shadows across Yu-Shan as a tidal wave of green and gold essence poured out, bringing the canals and dragon lines of the city to sparkling life – and fueling answering sparks of black and crimson as the deep energies of the city answered. Notes rose from the rushing waters and the incandescent earth as the Music of Creation swept outwards.

Charles channeled his (effective 22, which – thanks to the Honorable Diamond Gem – everyone touched by the music could feel) compassion into his desire to heal as ninety-six gates to ninety-six new worlds erupted around the edges of the dome and the portals to the stargate manses opened up at the central pavilion.

And the Neverborn Kaiju were driven several steps back – in part due to the repulsion he’d thrown in, but mostly in shock as the torment of their Soulsteel components was relieved – and the Guards, Gods, Celestial Lions, Tenders, and Overseers opposing them found strength in the music.

As the pillar of green-gold light fountained up to the apex of the sky dome and washed out across the city, it carried Charles’s Solar Sorcery spells with it – of primordial and general healing, of geomantic repair, and of renewal. A myriad voices responded, as the awakened little gods sang as well – and the beauty of the music passed through the Gates. In return… the power of renewed domains flowed into Yu-Shan, a sudden strength flowing into the domainless gods.

Gates were opening across the Earth as well – and from them too the music poured as the Earth sang. Ancient and long-forgotten gates too allowed the music to pass, although wyld zones did not. On distant worlds, and in strange realms, the music rang.

And ancient hatreds responded. There would be no peace, no healing, and no hope if they could prevent it. Creation was flawed beyond redemption, the sins of Gods, Mortals, and Exalted could not be forgiven. No kindly power could be permitted to interfere with Creations inevitable – if long-drawn – end!

Still, even as ancient enemies flooded into Yu-Shan, and the Neverborn Kaiju lumbered forward as reinforcements diverted the attention of their opponents… powerful voices joined the song – echoing from the central Manse of Project Stamewald, from Seven Whispering Winds, from the Embassy to the Dead, beneath which Zanjaras slept, from the Sorrowhands themselves, and from his School (of all places) in Yu-Shan alone. Stanewald and School were supporting Charles directly. The others, on the other hand…

  • The Embassy of the Dead was attempting to allow ghosts to manifest during the daytime, with increased cost to Arcanoi and no use of hostile effects.
  • Seven Whispering Winds was attempting to increase the level of Wyld energies throughout all regions of Creation by one level for purposes of counting as the Wyld, making the bare minimum a tainted land.
  • The Sorrowhands were attempting to boost the original geomancy on the City Level to 75%,, and were being supported by the other seventy-eight extant Tenders. (Why would they want THAT? They were getting their own level at 100% anyway!)
  • And across the many worlds the music reached… many minor voices were attempting their own geomantic manipulations.

Charles sighed… he really should have known better than to even hope for unity. Still… he had spent a LOT of time setting this up and accumulating ways to boost his control.

Charles had, in fact, managed to lower his target number to two, had – between boosted skill, boosted attributes, excellencies, and other boosts, managed to stack up nearly sixty dice on his Occult check, and was throwing in twenty-two more from Compassion. It came out to 82 successes (considered “perfect”), with the +10 boost to opposing difficulties for being in the lead. Perfect effects could influence things locally – but no one else within the Music’s reach had prepared for it nearly so thoroughly.

Even working together, the opposing groups couldn’t overpower him. It was enough for them to get some localized effects though, as the two melodies clashed! Charles focused on compensating for any variances from the plan that couldn’t be accommodated.

And the flow of geomantic power continued pouring out across the city as the Celestial Pear in front of Charles cracked open. Inside… was a young girl, no older than six, but massive enough that she had to crouch. She was wearing nothing but a simple robe and looked unremarkable at first… Until you realized that she was made of cloth of a massively high – almost immeasurable – thread count. The Essence signature matched Yu- Shan’s of course – which might be most unfortunate, as Grievous Shadow had merely been briefly stunned, but was once more advancing!

The giant girl turned that way, with a disgusted expression.

Charles unleashed the first of his major reserves, as three rings of the twenty-four symbols of Thaumaturgy began to orbit him, intersecting, releasing spells as the runes crossed, a total of three hundred and sixty Celestial to Solar Circle spells poured fourth each turn – focusing on warding and protecting the city, rescuing those entrapped, and healing the injured.

Basically Charles was running Aden at three times the normal timerate and letting the twenty four (one of each) of his seventy-two Guardian manifestations assigned there start unleashing their magic through him – each using the bonus dice from the Geomantic Flux to multicast.

And the structure of reality itself shimmered and wavered before that much sorcerous essence. The radiating light shown through flesh and stone like glass – although the Light of Creation brought not the slightest dazzle or discomfort to any but the enemies of Creation.

Charles himself was focusing on guiding his healing effects to try and fix everything he could reach.

On Earth, before crowds, military observers, and various other groups… the Gate-Manses were manifesting, showing alien suns shining above new worlds, rich fields and forests, pristine seas and mountains, and glittering (if empty) cities in the distance. Busy quasi-canine entities were laying down railroad tracks, canals, and other transport connections, readying stockpiles of colonization supplies, and preparing to welcome new emigrants across trillions of light years.

And even as the gates opened… The Music of Creation granted health and (relative) youth to the people of the Earth. There would be far more shock and unrest than Charles had anticipated!

Within Yu-Shan, the Kaiju battle raged on outside the Carnival of Meeting, as Titans forged of Wyld and Neverborn energies clashed with claw, breath, and still more esoteric abilities. Smaller Kaiju were attempting to attack Charles’s warded sites, but the outpouring magic of the Sorcerers Shere was holding most of them back.

Toho was indeed getting VERY impressive footage – but reports, messages, and complaints were flooding even Charles’s multitasking in his Synergistic Overmind! Still… the geomantic split WAS progressing mostly as planned. But… the mere presence of the Neverborn Kaiju was warping things, especially that of the snakelike thing that was still burrowing it’s way through the adamant. A gate of obsidian and soulsteel was forming alongside the others.

With more than a few Third Circle demons present, including those of Oramus, a gate of ochre adamant was also forming.

Bother! The Neverborn aspect was forming! That would never do!

Charles deployed the extra control artifacts to try and block that, and let the Sorrowhands and Tenders know about it! They might be willing to give up to prevent THAT.

Ochre… a Yozi aspect? Presumably to a “what if” Yu-Shan was banished with the rest of the Yozi’s instead of being taken over” aspect?

(Arelis Sorrowhands) “Gah! We can’t have that… But I’m not willing to leave the Weavers in their current state.” (Consulting) “We’ll give in for ten Weavers, two of each caste, already motophagic preferred.”

(Charles) “I can try to persuade them, but I can’t force them! But a fair number have already joined up haven’t they? And shouldn’t they be fine on the pure Yu-Shan level?”

Charles asked Yu-Shan – since she was manifested and awake – to help out with the Sorrowhands! After all, now that she was awake he had the plans and could explain instantly – even if, at this point, major adjustments were going to be HARD.

(Arelis Sorrowhands) “We’ll need to expose them to areas of at least 75 percent purity to awaken their full potential… Which this level will not have. Please, Charles… They were meant as our aides. And at least half were fine with that!”

(Charles) “Well, that should work! You’d just need to overlay the 100% pure level with compatible levels, or even just temporarily isolate them to that one to trigger things!

(Yu-Shan, yawning) “Dolly, now isn’t the time! Let Charles work. We still need to find Ayuji!”

And the Ochre gate… did indeed seem to be shaping up into a Yozi aspect. That didn’t even make SENSE in this universe! Oramus was forcing an impossible identity between alternate universes there!

Charles checked with Nox on that one! Otherwise they might have two universe’s versions of Yu-Shan converging into one, which could do some really strange things!

(Nox) “Eh, Oramus does that, kid. Just be glad only Feng got out-or that you’re not in a universe where Xiang was the deva Yu-Shan gambled away. Three words: doors to everywhere. Now THAT’S a pain.”

(Charles) “Er… Yu-Shan? Do you WANT to amalgamated with a Yozi version of yourself! That might well limit you somewhat!”

(Yu-Shan) “yucky! Bad Feng! Toss you time!”

Well… that was at least DISTRACTING Feng! Charles let the Calibration Gate slam THAT particular door; defining what WAS and what WAS NOT Yu-Shan was a part of his function, so he ought to be able to!

Dumenza and the other gates had started flying around soon after he’d started, although they hadn’t taken humanoid form until now. He was marshaling all the gates – his remaining subselves – for this one!

Charles provided more backup – but even where that was POSSIBLE, even he only had so much backup to deploy!

That left the Pinnacle of the Sky Dome and the Lattice of Vapors to take on the Neverborn Kaiju reinforcements! Additionally, with the Yozi energies present, the gate linked to the biogenesis laboratory was humming most ominously…

Fortunately, the combative Third Circles – including Kochige, Daimyo of Absorption – had moved to assist their uncorrupted colleagues. Still, even Charles’s geomatic reserves could not support this load for much longer – and despite his best efforts, the empty quarters were taking a lot of damage!

And more reports were coming in, some from the Loom… which was unfurling. It’s myriad dimensional folds… were falling into three-dimensional space.

Charles asked I AM to pick up as much of the processing load as possibly – asking the students at the Citadel of Enlightenment to authorize the use of their accounts to acquire the rights to even more processing power, even if that WOULD reveal to them that they had accounts!

Along the way, he checked the sympathetic looms to see what was going on. It looked like… it was unraveling to a central point in the Loom Chamber. The pattern spiders were giving chase. Unfortunately, given that causality was only a suggestion in there, he would need all the processing power he could get to find out where… Still, from the sympathetic looms, it seemed that Ayuji, and Nox with her, were becoming free! With one problem… the sympathetic looms were showing abnormally high readings of Neverborn energies within the Loom.

Charles sent requests to the Sidereals and the available Lunars too. Creation would need to do most of it’s own causality-computing if Ayuji unbound from it… fortunately, that WAS one of the predicted possibilities. MORE Neverborn energies? That had to be an OLD Deathlord… almost certainly the Arbiter of Games End! After all, success here would permanently ruin most of his plans! But… he was down to his final reserves (well, not counting things like the Kickaha kids) – his third set of Deva-aspects…

He sent his Devas for Compulsion, Countermagic, Linking, Divination, Fortune, and Shadow-Weaving to try to keep the Neverborn energies away from Ayuji and support her. Compulsion to handle secondary forces, Countermagic to neutralize things, Linking to let I Am help more, Divination to locate subtle attacks (the Arbiter WAS a tricky one!), Fortune could works with Destiny and Ayuji’s powers to relive the strain on her, and Shadow-weaving to misdirect attacks to non-existent targets.Hopefully Nox would help with that; with a touch of his power redirecting attacks to empty universes should work just fine!

Chasing the threads on the Loom worked for a time, but they were all converging on a single spot in a dark, remote region of the Loom Chamber. There, they disappeared into nowhere – and his Deva’s followed them. Blast it! Even the immortality HE bestowed wasn’t PERFECT! They ought to have SOME caution!

Weirdly, there was no sign of Neverborn, Deathlords, or even undead in the Loom Chamber… But Malinda was detecting the use of Void Circle Necromancy targeting the Loom and was peering into the threads.

Huh… Reaching through the remnants of Oblivion were they? Well… he knew just where the Arbiters planet was within a very small margin, and it was easy enough to locate. It was also where the necromancy was coming from, much of it cast quite recently.

He had the Djinn set up a one-way manse gate there as a firing port for the Spear of Aden. No doubt the Arbiter would fall back before even an orbital bombardment could exhaust his magical and defensive reserves – but with any luck he could chase him away from his materials, workspace, and casting… Not that he liked shooting at people, but the Arbiter WAS trying to destroy the universe – and releasing the ghosts in his service into Lethe would be doing them a definite favor!

Charles hadn’t thought about the fact that the combination of the bombardment and the Music of Creation leaking through the gate would send pretty much ALL the ghosts to Lethe – but that was all to the good!

Well, not the bit that would let the Arbiter defend longer – but you couldn’t have EVERYTHING.

The bombardment did, indeed, devastate the place, but there was no sign of the Deathlord himself, or his three ring-bound gods leaving. On the other hand, the wan, pale ghosts were now on to their next incarnations!

And Malinda had discovered something that had her startled, as she examined the Loom…

(Malinda) “Dearie, this spot… It leads to another universe!”

Well, that was a convenient point for Nox to interrupt the assault… and interrupt it he did!

(Nox) “Hey, kid, me and the pattern spiders could use a little support in here! The fleet’s taking heavy damage!”

Charles sent them another six Devas… Botheration! This was VERY rapidly reaching the “out of resources” point! Darn it! He’d been hoping that he was playing in God Mode!

The trouble with the Kaiju assault was that they’re all indestructible barring geomantic sabotage – and for the ones at full power that would only work from the inside. At least for the minor ones though… their geomancy was basically the geomancy of wounds in the cosmos; healing spells might mess them up enough to make them retreat – so Charles tried that!

That confused them and messed them up, and FINALLY drove off the snake assault! Quite a few fell back – but Grievous Shadow was built from truly hard stuff even without the souls of the damned powering him! He had reached the pavilion and was trying to tear the roof off!

Ligier was most displeased – and advanced alongside Zanjaras to distract and maybe figure out a way to immobilize the thing. The friendly Kaiju, including MechaGodzilla, Mothra, and Mothra Leo, were moving to defend as well. Despite the clashing, yelling, and combustion going on outside, and despite being an Exalt… Charles was not directly participating and had more important things to do!

(Charles sighing) “Hrm… And what is it you need? I can’t promise to give it to you, but it’s worth asking!”

(Grievous Shadow) “Your death and that of Yu-Shan!”

(Ligier) “How banal. Couldn’t you be more imaginative with your threats?”

(Zanjaras) “I suppose it was made for one purpose.”

(Charles) “Oh. Well, that one is EASY! There are lots of places like that!”

It was his last resort… Hit it with a manse! He opened up a manse gate to send it to a universe that had dissolved back into the deep wyld and slam the door closed behind it!

Unfortunately it was resisting – until Sol Invictus took a moment from his Sumi-e painting contest with Saturn to combine his power with Ligier’s to send the monstrosity plummeting into a devastated dimension.

That should hold it for a while! Now Charles only had to contend with the remaining forces assaulting Ayuji and any consequences of this – for Nox had been rather sadistically diverting many of the underworld attackers to shards with a perfectly functioning Lethe!

Charles tried to save at least one sextet of Deva’s in reserve for any final emergency – and did some reconstruction spells – but sent another six to reinforce Ayuji. That turned out to be a wise choice, as the Arbiter of Games End and his flagship had made their appearance, advancing on Ayuji and Nox’s location! The pattern spiders were marshaling their fleet alongside his Devas to stop him!

Drat it! Last reserves it was! At least he didn’t have that much longer to go on this…

Unfortunately, the Arbiter was getting close to the monolith where Autochthon and Yu-Shan had stowed Ayuji so long ago! Perhaps ten minutes before the Arbiter’s ship got into teleport range!

And at least an hour to go on the Music of Creation to nail down the details of Yu-Shan’s alternate layers. And his reserves were tapped out! Still, it was only one Deathlord at the moment… They were pretty nasty, but he was already up against eight devas and support.

And… he’d brought his own allies? Aaargh!

Charles reviewed frantically… He didn’t HAVE any more reserves except Kickaha kids and other non-combatants!

Wait.

He had Galileo ask the Solars and other Exalts at the Citadel of Enlightenment if they wanted to help stop a Deathlord who was attacking Yu-Shan and Creation!

They didn’t say “No” – and the Solar and Lunar who’d been trying to make Solar Bond mutual stepped up to the plate, backed by a contingent of the Gold Faction teachers. And they did have all the defenses and benefits that Charles had been handing around, which was good! They would need them badly as they assaulted the Arbiter and his allies!

They proved unable to take down the Arbiter and his allies – but they managed to sabotage his ship and force a retreat.

Even the Sorcerer’s Sphere was running down; having spent the equivalent of fifty kilomotes or so – drawn from several hundred Manses designed for sorcerous support – in the course of the operation…

Still, the Devas who had been were assisting Ayuji and Nox were now free (if low on motes), as the ancient monolith opened up and the pattern spiders danced in intricate patterns of celebration (well… maybe. They weren’t the most expressive creatures).There were once again reserves!

Even if they were on the verge of collapse.

Still… the heavily-outnumbered Neverborn Kaiju were being driven off (Details of Aikiko’s efforts will appear in a later log) – and some of the noncombatant reserves like those young Kickaha were moving in to serve as search-and-rescue, disaster relief, and emergency medical teams. There was a fair amount of call for it; more than a few free Celestial mortals lived in areas affected by the fighting and hadn’t cleared out in advance… not that Charles’s agents had been able to be clear about explaining why they should.

Darn it! He had been hoping to keep injuries down to an absolute minimum… There was guilt!

Not exactly overwhelming, but guilt anyway.

A little later Charles – clearly tired – finally let the music fade away – and there was much applause!

Checking the results… Well, even though the Sorrowhands backed down, there were some patches where both the Wyld and the underworld were a bit stronger. On the other hand, Yu-Shan hadn’t wound up linked to any unintended alternate versions of herself, and all of his planned layers were functional.. That was actually pretty good! He’d have to see how the outside universe had been affected later…

The entire city was somewhat in shock – which was only to be expected of course! Gaia had dissipated back into her usual self and had collapsed next to Yu-Shan. Luna had curled up next to her in cat form and was showing elaborate unconcern as only a kitty could…

Charles made sure that they had the equivalent of a blanket and some pillows and were not disturbed…

Hm… The Sun had lost his contest with Saturn,al though nothing had happened to him or to the universe. He had just completed his Sumi-e painting when an errant energy blast destroyed it. While the Incarnae’s reign over Heaven was probably finished in its prior form, they’d never done much anyway – so they might wind up even more in charge, at least of the city level.

In any case, the Most High didn’t seem put out by it.

The performers withdrew to Aden, as the Third Circles collected their snacks and carnival souvenirs and went home as the carnival closed down for the first time since… EVER. There were still two days of Calibration left, but after what had just happened, everyone was in shock!

Charles frowned! Aw! He’d become a party pooper!

As the crowd left, and the Incarnae retreated to the Jade Pleasure Dome with the exhausted Primoridals in tow, Saturn glanced back at Charles. She and her sisters felt… more complete and more concrete to him. It was nothing even HE could put his finger on… Just a weird gut feeling.

Well… this would be a major step towards their one universe of origin; this just pruned a LOT of major branches.

And Charles went to go rest. It would take weeks for his resources to rebuild to normal levels… And no doubt he’d have to field endless frantic phone calls.

That would turn out to include calls from countries that he knew existed, but had never really studied… And that was just the mundane ones. He hadn’t even THOUGHT about THOSE calls! It was very awkward! He would have thought that the advertising campaign – and the advisors and supply-depot operators – would have answered things! (They had, but it was just SO hard to believe!).

He delegated some telephone operators for repeated questions and such. That way even a lot of the noncombatants would get to participate.

And there were people wanting exclusive rights to a gate too. Charles wasn’t normally big on that – but if avoiding conflicts made it a lot more palatable.

In a little while there would be people fighting over them. Aargh! They were supposed to be for EVERYBODY!

(Siranaya) “Charles, what happened? You and Elzeard look pooped!”

(Charles) “Ah, I take it that you weren’t watching? Well, it was a major repair operation in Yu-Shan, and it took up a LOT of power and resources”.

(Siranaya) “no, I was too busy gardening for once! It’s cool not to kill plants when I touch them!”

(Charles) “Well I’m glad that’s working for you! And there was rather a lot of fuss in Yu-Shan; there were some attacks, and the carnival had some high-powered visitors this year!”

(Siranaya) “Oh no! I hope you were okay!”

(Charles) “I did all right, but it was very tiring!”

(Siranaya) “Did you win any prizes?”

(Charles) “Er… “Most Energetic Spellcaster”, “Most Dramatic Performance”, and the “Symphonic Music” award! As well as first place in audience participation!

Well, it HAD been a very lovely piece that would be remembered for centuries.

(Siranaya) “Cool!”

(Charles) “It was kind of neat! A lot of work though! I did promise to take a little time off afterwards!”

(Siranaya) “Let’s spend it together!”

(Charles) “Why not?”

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CCV – A Forest Interlude

Because some weeks you just don’t have time for anything major.

Charles had made it known to his schoolmates and the mortals he’d invited to Aden so that they wouldn’t be endangered during calibration that he would be doing something quite important, and that he shouldn’t be disturbed except for serious emergencies – but not EVERYONE had gotten the message.

Especially not a few young women who’d already taken advantage of the fuss leading up to Calibration to slip into Aden. After all… Charles was endlessly kind and friendly, incredibly wealthy and willing to support hangers-on, was more handsome and appealing than most major gods, would get them away from their (rather weird) divine parents – and he understood humans just fine while still being rather naive… It would be hard to find more desirable qualities in one entity than THAT!

As it happened, Siranaya had been looking a little harder than most. Charles showed the quality that she valued above any other in a potential boyfriend – being completely unaffected by her uncontrollable poisonous touch. That meant that she could FINALLY get hugged, and cuddled, and have a little fun experimenting with pollination…

The palace (with all the guest rooms) and Charles’s major residence had been disappointingly crowded – but a few careful comparisons had revealed that Charles… was routinely in several places at once. That was a very good trick! And it also meant that he was also likely to be found in some considerably quieter and more… private… places!

She’d set off to find one.

Charles did have a semi-private retreat deep in one of the wilderness areas. The Kickaha liked to meet him in a less formal place – and he liked to mess around with small projects there. It wasn’t hard to find if you asked the Kickaha, but was pretty well concealed otherwise. There were trees growing a wide variety of fruits, herbs, and medicines (all on the same tree of course), small tree cottages, a few friendly Kickaha hanging about, some ice-caves, and lantern-birds (friendly birds that liked to follow people around. They had luminescent flesh and brightly-colored feathers in various artistic patterns. When it was dark they glowed like mobile stained-glass lanterns and sang like gentle flutes…

And everything was immune to poison, because it WAS Aden.

Siranaya had found her way there easily enough; the Kickaha saw no reason not to lead another girl with rather… transparent… intentions to Charles’s bed. A little sex was an excellent way to deal with stress! Charles had MORE than enough stress at the moment! Maybe they should lead girls to several more of his avatars? Even if THIS one was somewhat diverted by the opportunity to pet things without gloves and protective gear…

The birds glowed happily at her, and eagerly pecked up grains and seeds.

Although Siranaya waved at Charles quite happily when he turned up.

Charles, who had been trying to give squirrels matched to the trees advanced instinctive medical skills so that they could hand out the right medicines to passers-by, happily waved back! This avatar might be running on a background process in his Synergistic Overmind, but that was no reason to be RUDE!

(Charles) “Hello Siranaya! I didn’t know that you were coming to visit!”

(Siranaya) “You’ve been really busy lately, so I thought I’d find an avatar or something here.”

Charles was somewhat impressed! Most people didn’t yet know that he was using multiple avatars! She’d been paying attention or doing some investigating on her own!

(Charles) “Well, things are pretty busy – but there’s a little time until they need my full attention yet!”

(Siranaya) “Phew. That’s good… um, is everything OK? You haven’t sent one to school lately.”

(Charles) “Oh… well, there’s a big and urgent project underway, so I took some time off. The teachers didn’t worry much; I’m way ahead on pretty much everything anyway.”

(Siranaya) “OK! I was just worried about you, not that I think you’d get sick.”

(Charles) “Well, thank you! It is all right, but it’s always nice to have someone check!”

(Siranaya) “Um… (Hm… Charles must REALLY be busy! He seemed even stiffer than usual!) hey, I’m starving! Whey don’t we get something to eat!”

(Charles) “Good idea! Lunch? I’ve got all kinds of fruits and nuts and things here! The trees are turning out really well!”

(Siranaya) “Yeah, I saw! And they don’t bubble and rot when I touch them, so I can pick some for you, too!”

(Charles) “Well, toxins don’t really work around here – but they generally aren’t needed here anyway!”

(Siranaya, smiling) “Let’s see…”

She made sure to hold Charles’s hand while the two of them picked some lunch – and while Charles had no objections he now had enough experience to guess on where this might be going. He cheerily carried her selections, quietly leaving her more or less in charge of what to pick. He knew what the male role in “shopping” was! All the guides he was referencing said so!

It turned out to be a diverse selection of nuts, fruits, and some of the earthier vegetables – which made quite a good lunch, with nothing much to clean up afterwards. A VERY tiny bit of magic was quite enough to handle THAT.

Siranaya didn’t try to feed him any of the food – she didn’t want to chance being TOO forward – but she did sit fairly close to him. Charles… had engaged analysis mode! He offered HER some nibbles (even if they did tend to come with all kinds of details on them) and occasionally made small contacts to help judge her behaviors…

She was very receptive to contact – almost desperate for it, although she was trying to hide that. Pretty obviously touch-starved… That was rather cruel!

He “mistakenly” sat down in contact after getting up a bit to reach a fruit on the far side of the table for her.

(Siranaya) “Oh! Oops. Ha ha!” (She put both arms around him!) “I’ve got you now… It’s not often I get to hold onto people without gloves! Let’s see how soft you are!”

(Charles, cuddling back since she was obviously desperate for it) “Well so you do! I’m no leprechaun, but did you have a wish?”

(Siranaya) “Stay the week? Something big is happening, and Mom was probably going to send me here anyway. Is that OK?”

(Charles) “Oh certainly! I was inviting lots of people to stay during the event anyway…”

She did seem to be looking for the straight line. Evidently she thought that he was pretty naive – and it had been a while since he’d been at school. Well, why not?

(Charles) “There’s only one bed in this cottage though! Would you prefer to be alone?”

(Siranaya, with a wink) “Oh no! You can stay here too, right?”

Well THAT was fairly direct. And… her clothing was… ambrosial and a bit more revealing than usual, although not totally immodest.

And she HAD just invited him to share the bed with her.

Oh well! It WAS a pleasant diversion and relaxation! Charles offered an arm, pulled the curtains to show her the bed – and let matters proceed. Reading all the signals was a good deal more complicated than finding a couple of naked girls in his bed offering themselves (that had been really simple!) – but it was fun, and the fact that she blatantly knew exactly what she’d come for, and was only steering him through the motions of her “seduction”, was quite helpful. She’d even made sure to bring (and use) a contraceptive talisman…

And there was plenty of cuddling for several days.

Siranaya’s mother was only very mildly annoyed; her daughter could have TOLD her that she was running off with a schoolmate! She’d been trying to arrange a marriage among the medical and biohazard gods, given that Siranaya’s poisonous touch made her an awkward bride for anyone else! The fact that Charles was more than willing to send her lots of presents, and to make sure that her flowers were widely distributed and protected, on top of the fact that it would be hard to find her daughter a more powerful or obliging husband even WITHOUT her condition – was quite sufficient.

Champions – Planetman and Starman

Starman” and “Planetman” date back quite a while (to Champions II in fact) – and are exactly as labeled; They’re a star and a planet built as Hero System characters, using some really cheesy limitations to keep the point totals down to something reasonable. On the other hand, most of those points go into making these characters literal, permanent, astronomical objects the size of the earth and the sun, the star radiating vast amounts of energy and the planet hosting a biosphere – and, in both cases, being very hard to destroy.

Planetman is a standard earthlike world, with a breathable atmosphere, active plate tectonics, and various biological species, It possesses a modest power pool which can be used to add new species to the environment, deflect small meteorites, transfer specimens of endangered species to new habitats, grant visions, and otherwise gently meddle (a planet has to have a hobby, right?). It can also create four low-powered (but still more than human) thematic avatars to intervene on various situations. Adding or subtracting a few points from the Growth ability will easily create anything up to superjovian worlds or down to small – and for some reason habitable – asteroids. Still, Planetman is usually mostly content to drift along in orbit contemplating it’s various lifeforms and occasionally saying “Hi!” to other astronomical objects via telepathy.

Starman is a very similar build, but focuses on radiating immense amounts of energy; minor adjustments to the Stellar Fire power will cover everything from brown dwarves on up through red giants (most stars spend some of their experience points on getting ever-brighter; it just seems to be something they do). Going nova or supernova is a little more complicated however, but since it generally signifies the death of a star, details on the build really don’t matter much. Similar tweaks to the Growth ability will cover a wide range of stellar masses. Just like Planetman, Starman can manifest four “superheroic” avatars of intermediate power levels to use to make contact with the inhabitants of any planets it happens to be providing heat and light for. Like planets, stars are generally quite content to float along quietly, contemplating the wonders of fusing atoms together, for a few eons – but a few do take it into their core to meddle once in a while.

Conscious stars and planets are currently something of a rarity, but will become more prevalent billions of years in the future since they are capable of maintaining themselves for considerably longer periods than simple astronomical objects can. While proper maintenance by the Arith Vaya and Celestial Dragons can greatly extend the lifespans of non-sapient planets and stars as well, there are never enough of either to do ALL the maintenance that the universe could use.

 

Planetman

Value Characteristic Points
10/390 STR 0
5 DEX -15
25 CON 30
1/77 BODY -18
18 INT 8
20 EGO 20
25 PRE 15
10 COM 0
2 PD 0
5 ED 0
2 SPD 5
7 REC 0
50 END 0
4/80 STUN -15
Total 30

 

Points Powers END
45 Geosphere. Growth-76 (×72057594037927936000000 mass, ×42275935.1 height); Mass: 5,908,722,711,110,090,800,000,000 kg/12,999,189,964,442,200,000,000,000 lbs; Height: -33,686,893 cm/-13,262,556.30″; Extra STR: 380; Knockback Reduction: -76; Extra BODY: 76; Extra STUN: 76; DCV Penalty: -51; PER Penalty: +51; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Always On: -½; Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; Generic Limitation (Has massive gravatic side effects): -2; Extra Time: 1 season, -5; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Generic Limitation (User becomes almost perfectly spherical, with no major limbs): -2; Independent (Earth and stone can be taken away): -2; OIF (Geology): -½; Visible (Grotesquely so): -¼ 0
5 Elemental Control: Planetary Powers (22-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; OIF (Geology): -½; Linked (To Geosphere): -½; Always On: -½; Visible (Absurdly so): -¼
a-8 Atmosphere
(1) Doesn’t Eat, Excrete or Sleep
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(13) Combined Powers Slot; Area Effect (Radius): 4000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Generic Limitation (Effect fades slowly with altitude): -½; Side Effects (Weather): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Immunities are subject to upper limits): -¼; Always On: -½
(7) Need Not Breathe; Area Effect (Radius): 4000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Generic Limitation (Effect fades slowly with altitude): -½; Side Effects (Weather): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Immunities are subject to upper limits): -¼; Always On: -½
(2) Life Support: Intense Heat/Cold; Area Effect (Radius): 1″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Generic Limitation (Effect fades slowly with altitude): -½; Side Effects (Weather): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Immunities are subject to upper limits): -¼; Always On: -½
(2) Life Support: High Radiation; Area Effect (Radius): 1″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Generic Limitation (Effect fades slowly with altitude): -½; Side Effects (Weather): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Immunities are subject to upper limits): -¼; Always On: -½
(2) Life Support: High Pressure/Vacuum; Area Effect (Radius): 1″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4000, +3; Generic Limitation (Effect fades slowly with altitude): -½; Side Effects (Weather): 60/All, -1; Generic Limitation (Immunities are subject to upper limits): -¼; Always On: -½
b-27 Rocky Exterior / Armor (40 PD/40 ED); Hardened: ×1, ¼
c-5 Really, Really, Large / Power Defense (35 pts); Hardened: ×1, ¼
d-11 Thinking Big / Mental Defense (64 pts); Add to Total; Hardened: ×1, ¼
e-5 Eyes Everywhere / Flash Defense (Sight, 35 pts); Hardened: ×1, ¼
f-21 Looking at the Neighbors / Telescopic “Vision” (Sight, +80 to PER)
g-8 A Really Big Guy / Damage Reduction (Physical, 75% Resistant)
h-8 A Really Big Guy / Damage Reduction (Energy, 75% Resistant)
i-5 Watching The Universe / 360-Degree Sensing (All); Transdimensional (All “nearby” dimensions): Group of Dimensions, +¾
j-12 8d6 Strength of the Earth / Aid Endurance (Fade/turn, Max. 48); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Charges: 250, +1 0
k-46 Create Avatars / Duplication (4 250-point forms); Extra Time: 1 season, -5; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Generic Limitation (All forms must be related to some sort of theme): -½; Champions Advantage (“Duplicates” are independently constructed. (The rules are messed up enough that I don’t know if this is required, but just in case).): +½.

Possible avatar “themes” include the “four elements” (Arising from appropriate areas), aspects of nature (EG – Beneficent/Wild/Mysterious/Oceanic or Mother Nature/ Curennos/Moon Goddess/Poseidon), entities that “embody” the four seasons, Warrior/Healer/Mystic/Crafter, and so on. While avatars may be entirely independent creations of the planet, some worlds opt to manifest this ability by “bestowing” the avatar’s power on local lifeforms…

82 Variable Cosmic Power Pool (60-pt Pool); Control Cost: 30; No Skill Required for Change: +1; Change Powers as 0 Phase Action: +1; Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; OIF (Geology): -½; Linked (To Geosphere): -½
3 Mental Awareness
291 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
2 Knowledge: Biosphere 11-
2 Knowledge; Astronomy 11-
4 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

125+ Disadvantages
15 Distinctive Features (Continents); Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
10 Accidental Change (Major climactic and ecological shifts, per epoch) (11-)
20 Dependent NPC: Assorted Species (Normal, 14-); Skills: Normal, +0
20 Dependent NPC: Assorted Species (Normal, 14-); Skills: Normal, +0
10 Dependent NPC: Assorted Species (Normal, 8-); Skills: Normal, +0
20 Hunted: Minions of the Elder Ones (8-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
10 Watched: Assorted galactic empires, would-be colonizers, and other aliens (8-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Harsh, 0
20 Gigantic Ball of Rock and Metal (All the Time, Greatly)
15 Plate Tectonics (All the Time, Slightly)
15 No Fine Manipulations (All the Time, Slightly)
20 Does not usually deal with mortals directly (Very Common, Strong)
15 Dislikes Pollution (Very Common, Moderate)
10 Public Identity
200 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
30 + 295 = 325 325 = 200 + 125

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
2 2 / 0 7 64 42/40 45/40 6, 12

Height: 50/2113796755cm (1’8″/69350287’3″), Weight: 82/0kg (180 lbs/0.00 lbs), Age: 4½, Race: Planet

 

Starman

Value Characteristic Points
10/480 STR 0
5 DEX -15
30 CON 40
1/95 BODY -18
18 INT 8
20 EGO 20
30 PRE 20
10 COM 0
2 PD 0
6 ED 0
2 SPD 5
8 REC 0
60 END 0
6/100 STUN -15
Total 45

 

Points Powers END
80 5d6 Stellar Fire / Killing Attack (RKA); Range: 4595; Damage Shield: +½; No Normal Defense (That does Body. Versus Radiation/Heat/Vacuum and Breathing Life Support, great thicknesses of ice and rock, or not being stupid enough to dive into a star.): +2; Always On: -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Extra Time: 1 season, -5; Generic Limitation (Prohibits the use of any equipment): -1½; Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; Generic Limitation (Quasi-Explosive; the damage falls off according to the square-cube law (and gets worse “inside”)): -2; Generic Limitation (Eventually burns out and kills the “user”.): -1; Generic Limitation (Incredibly Visible; Detectable without a roll at ranges of thousands of light years.): -1; Area Effect (Radius): 8192000000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×256000000, +7; Personal Immunity: +¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½ 0
3 Elemental Control / Stellar Powers (22-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; Linked (With Stellar Fire): -½; Generic Limitation (Huge gravitational side effects): -2; Generic Limitation (User becomes almost perfectly spherical, with no major limbs): -2
a-62 Growth-94 (×18889465931478581000000000000 mass, ×2705659852.4000001 height); Mass: 1,548,936,206,381,243,600,000,000,000,000 kg/3,407,659,654,038,736,000,000,000,000,000 lbs; Height: 0 cm/0″; Extra STR: 470; Knockback Reduction: -94; Extra BODY: 94; Extra STUN: 94; DCV Penalty: -63; PER Penalty: +63; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Extra Time: 1 season, -5; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; OAF (Vast amounts of hot gas): -1; Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; Linked (With Stellar Fire): -½ 0
b-22 Photosphere / Armor (50 PD/50 ED); Hardened: ×1, ¼
c-3 Eternal Fires / Power Defense (35 pts); Hardened: ×1, ¼
d-7 Cosmic Sentience / Mental Defense (64 pts); Add to Total; Hardened: ×1
e-3 Sunspot Eyes / Flash Defense (Sight, 35 pts); Hardened: ×1, ¼
f-13 Envisioning The Cosmic All / Telescopic “Vision” (Sight, +80 to PER)
g-5 I Laugh At Your Puny Comets / Damage Reduction (Physical, 75% Resistant)
h-5 Nearby Nova? Is That All? / Damage Reduction (Energy, 75% Resistant)
i-3 Watching The Universe / 360-Degree Sensing (All); Transdimensional (All “nearby” dimensions): Group of Dimensions, +¾
j-10 10d6 Fusion Flash / Aid Endurance (Fade/turn, Max. 60); Range: 0; Affects: Single Power, +0; Charges: 250, +1 0
k-9 The Main Sequence / Regeneration, Broad-Spectrum (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20; Champions Advantage (Affects all damaged attributes and abilities): +2
l-3 I Am An Environment / Life Support (total); Difficult to Dispel: ×4, +½
m-41 Create Avatars / Duplication (4 300-point forms); Extra Time: 1 season, -5; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½; Generic Limitation (All forms must be related to some sort of theme): -½; Champions Advantage (“Duplicates” are independently constructed. (The rules are messed up enough that I don’t know if this is required, but just in case).): +½

Possible avatar “themes” include astronomical objects, four states of matter, types of energy, and so on. While solar avatars are normally entirely independent creations of the star in question, some stars opt to manifest this ability by “bestowing” the avatar’s power on creatures that  (somehow!) draw their notice.

82 Variable Cosmic Power Pool (60-pt Pool); Control Cost: 30; No Skill Required for Change: +1; Change Powers as 0 Phase Action: +1; Generic Limitation (Only in deep space): -2; OIF (Corona): -½; Linked (To Stellar Fire): -½
3 Mental Awareness
5 Solar Flares / Extra Limbs (40); Number: 40
359 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
2 Knowledge: Astronomy 11-
2 Knowledge: Stellar Physics 11-
2 Knowledge: Galactic History 11-
6 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

125+ Disadvantages
20 Distinctive Features: Star; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
20 Phys. Lim: Immense Superheated Ball of Plasma (All the Time, Greatly)
10 Phys. Lim: Does not understand chemically-based creatures very well. (Frequently, Slightly)
20 Psychological Limitation: Placid. Stars are normally quite content to just sit there and blaze away happily for a few eons. (Very Common, Strong)
20 Psychological Limitation: Feels responsible for providing heat and light for any planets that happen to be in the area. (Very Common, Strong)
5 Psychological Limitation: Likes the Celestial Dragons (Uncommon, Moderate)
5 Psychological Limitation: Dislikes the “Lords of Darkness”/”Great Old Ones”/”Elder Ones” (Uncommon, Moderate)
10 Public Identity
15 Reputation (14-)
10 Dependent NPC: Planets (Slightly Less Powerful, 11-); Skills: Normal, +0
135 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base Exp.
45 + 365 = 410 410 = 135 + 125 + 150

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
2 2 / 0 7 64 52/50 56/50 6, 12

Weight: 82/1548936206381243600000000000000kg (180 lbs/3,407,659,654,038,736,000,000,000,000,000 lbs), Race: Star

Amusingly enough, Planetman and Starman are at least as playable as a lot of the actual player characters I’ve seen. They may be almost impossible to get rid of, but you can lose them by simply going inside, they’re very slow, and the actual powers that they can manifest are simply not that impressive – at least not once you realize that they can only exert their strength via an earthquake or some such.