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1  Campaign Creation / Meta / Comparing elements of reality to fiction on: February 19, 2010, 04:42:24 PM
When it comes to terms like Faustian or maverick (which is in fact the surname of a Texas horse-breeder), which don't necessarily imply a specific person but rather more vague of a concept, I'm inclined to let it slide. But for a word like, say, Shakespearean, I'd say definately not.
2  Campaign Creation / Campaign Elements and Design / Crucibles Institute on: February 16, 2010, 12:42:41 PM

Cataclysmic Crow

And now also brits which does in no way make them less awesome, although you should perhaps be careful to distance yourself from James Bond/007 and his fellow government assassin-spies.

Actually, the whole thing started off as a grim jab at Harry Potter. And I understand the risk of associating to heavily with James Bond, but seeing as the characters are not limited to one specific European country, I think I can dilute the British-vibe a little bit.

Cataclysmic Crow

Talking of government, are these guys simply just for hire? Are they as likely to accept a contract to kill Gordon Brown as they are to assassinate a russian arms dealer if the money is right? That would seem to blur the reasons for  national rivalry a good deal.

Well, strictly-speaking, the students at Crucibles do not actually carry out any contracts themselves. Post-graduation, they are free to do whatever their hearts desire, but until then the, school doesn't generally hire them out.

Cataclysmic Crow

How do the institutes compete if not through bloodshed? Do they brag about their most prestigious contracts and most intricate murder plots?

A fair bit of it is just geographical; the American school is far less likely to attract Middle Eastern students than the one in Egypt. Beyond that, they like to compare student and campus quality and will frequently take bragging rights from particularly impressive jobs pulled off by their alumni and the like, much like real-world colleges do.

Cataclysmic Crow

Teaching big stoic assassins acting sounds like fun to watch. What happens after they graduate? are they hired by outside groups, or do they stay in the service of the school? How exactly do they acquire students; I'm pretty sure most parents wouldn't want to have their children train to become assassins.

The majority of students are either from the "legacy families" with a fair bit of standing within the underworld community or similarly-inclined ones, such as Mafia or Yakuza families. Otherwise, many of them are either from broken or foster homes, orphanages, or other environments likely to produce prematurely jaded, hardened children.

Cataclysmic Crow

Are the assassins in your world flashy or discrete? Is this an art to them, or merely a matter of practicality? Does this have most in common with the assassins of "Wanted", "Leon" or "Ace of Spades"?

A lot of that depends on the individual student. While I generally tries to stay realistic, I'm not above isolated instances of over-the-top action.
3  Campaign Creation / Homebrews / Tempter on: February 16, 2010, 10:47:48 AM
I love the idea personally, but I was wondering; what are the different factions of Angels, or are there any such factions at all? My occult knowledge in the matter is a bit limited, but if the Tempter setting follows the traditional interpretation of angelology, then the hosts of the Authority could range from the numerous Angels to the inhuman and senses-shattering Seraphim. Might different hosts have their own ideas of how to deal with the Adversary or, as in the Abyss, might particularly powerful or influencal Angels attract their own groups of supporters; I could see the Archangel Michael constantly begging the Authority to allow him to lay seige to the gates of the Abyss, while Zerachiel might prefer the gather of their own mortal army to combat Hell's own.
4  Campaign Creation / Campaign Elements and Design / Crucibles Institute on: February 16, 2010, 10:30:58 AM
Since I'm that sort of person who frequently has at least three different settings going at once, don't be surprised in the future if I have multiple threads running for each of them. Well, on to my idea then, I guess; this is the setting for a series of screenplays and possibly a roleplaying game I'd be running with my group, so I wanted to see what the general opinion on it is.

With a long and bloodstained history running back to its origins in Tudor England as a college for training rogues for King Henry VII's service, Crucibles Academy for Assassination and Arts-Most-Foul is the premier school of the sort in Europe and one of only six such institutes currently around dedicated to turning young recruits into some of the finest hitmen and mercenaries in the world. The very existence of the school is an extraordinarily-secretive matter; it is kept so, and extremely well-funded, by a series of longstanding agreements with and codified death-threats against the British Parliment and Royal Family.

Crucibles' campus is built on the sprawling grounds of a Medieval Scottish manor-castle nestled away in the Lowlands. The castle, actually made up of three such buildings, features living and housing arrangements for the faculty and student body, extensive training grounds and equippment, and enough luxuries to keep more than the minimum number of assassins-to-be from burning-out or snapping under the pressure. Beyond that, the campus features a number of lakes, outdoor obstacle-courses, and a private forrest with all the dread and mystery that might be expected.

The student body of Crucibles numbers around a few thousand at any one time and is attended to by about one-hundred faculty members and an equally-large maintenance staff. How exactly the school aquires new students varies; most are drawn from "legacy families" with a history of alumni, but there are also "recruiters" spread throughout both the Isles and Continental Europe to pick out the sort of young people with the potential to make excellent assassins. Students begin their first year between the ages of twelve and fourteen, with those who make it graduating after six years of study. The faculty, being made up of mostly alumni themselves, have as hard a time at Crucibles as their charges do; being a school for murderer and espionage, the fastest way to ascend the academic ladder is to eliminate your higher-ups. The headmaster or mistress of the school might very weel be one of the most lethal people in the world, seeing as they have not only taken out their predecessor, but any competition for the seat as well.

Obviously, Crucibles cirriculum is focused on training and conditioning the students physically, mentally, and emotionally for the job of killing another human being. They are taught armed, unarmed, and firearms-based combat as well as stealth and survival techniques, acting, offensive and defensive driving, how to handle poisons and explosives, and other useful skills. Beyond that, they also recieve a crash-course in the "traditional" arts and sciences so that they can function normally in society after graduation. As they progress, students might be put on different tracks within the school if they show expectional potential in specific areas; the sixth-year classes taken by a girl who might become a master sniper would be different from those taken by a boy with a preternatural talen for poisoning.

Crucibles Academy is, as mentioned, not the only training-ground for assassins in the world; rival institutes with histories just as long and colorful, if not more so, exist in South Africa, the American Rockies, India, and Egypt. Competition is fierce, but typically not bloody; there is a tradition of not actively trying to eliminate rival students or faculty members, though if alumni from opposing schools encounter each other after graduation, all bets are off.

Well, that's the long-and-short of, I guess. In terms of comments, beyond opinions and critiques, I was wondering if anyone might have some ideas for the sort of classes that would be offered at Crucibles, faculty members, campus locations, and possibly names and/or histories for the rival schools.

Thank you, as always.
5  Campaign Creation / Campaign Elements and Design / Atlantean High-Fantasy on: February 15, 2010, 09:47:01 PM


Interesting write up. Is there any kind of mythos-influence to Atlantis? Mainly I'm asking because of the name of their gods, who are mythos characters iirc. Perhaps their magic is derived from these? How does magic work? Is it all ritual? Is it something innate? Do you have to have a talent for it?

For the Atlanteans, they believe that magic is something that comes from the stars and planets as opposed to the sea, which they see as the source of the rest of creation. It requires some natural talent to use, but individual practicioners tend to make use of different methods; a highly kinesthetic sorcerer might favor lots of involved gestuculation and movement, while a more intellectual one might prefer memorized rotes or written phrases.

And as for their Gods, they keep magic and religion as two seperate entities and those who seek to draw anything more than the barest of conclusions between the two are viewed much the same way as someone who tries to connect God and science might be now.


The Hellas pursue perfection in everything so is there a specific reason that magic isn't mentioned? It's implied that magic is learned through study, so why do they seem to lack magic? Are they the most technologically advanced country?

That was my fault. They are less magic-centric than the Atlanteans, viewing it more as a form of "applied metaphysics" than an arcane art. They are much more focused on traditional sciences like chemistry and mathematics, though they often incorporate these scientific priciples into their philosophy-magic. Their pursuit of excellence is based on the old Greek tradition of arete; it doesn't mean that they are necessarily perfect and everything they undertake, simply that they always strive to be.


Since they seem to have a large and powerful enough army to swamp the other nations, is there any specific reason they have not? Are they less ambitious and colonial? Do they simply lack enough shipping power to move their armies?

Compared to the navies of Atlantis and Hellas, the former of which incorporates ships as large as the ten-banked deceres, their navy, which consists mostly of boats woven from reeds, simply does not compare. They are not nearly as expansionist, prefering to create massive works glorfying their Gods and Pharoah instead of establishing a wider empire. Technologically-speaking, they are the least avanced, but their magic is still on-par with that of the Atlanteans; because theirs is derived from their Gods and must be channeled by educated priests, it is far more epic than the secular Atlantean-equivalent.
6  Campaign Creation / Campaign Elements and Design / Atlantean High-Fantasy on: February 11, 2010, 08:47:32 PM


So the Atlanteans are in the middle, somewhat analogous to the Minoans?

Actually, I was envisioning them as being more a blend of Greek and Canaanite cultures, for what it's worth.
7  Campaign Creation / Campaign Elements and Design / Atlantean High-Fantasy on: February 11, 2010, 07:40:04 PM
I've been working on an idea for a setting for quite a while now, one which focuses on the oceanic city-state of Atlantis and the neighboring countries in a high-fantasy interpretation of the Ancient Mediterranean. While it would definately fit the mold as magic-centric "high fantasy", it would also be much, much grimer than other settings in the genre might be. I have the rough framework for the three main nations worked out, but I was wondering if anyone here might be able to give me some sort of input as to the specifics of each.

Atlantis - the absolute dominant naval power in the known world, the island city-state of Atlantis is built upon three things; war, slaves, and magic. It's people are far more affluent, learned, and cosmopolitan than their neighbors, the massive underclass of slaves freeing the upper-crust from having to do any real work and giving them plenty of time for more scholarly and cultured pursuits. Almost all Atlanteans have some magical abilities, and many spend their lives studying the arcane in hopes of joining the Magocracy that rules the city-state or becoming a war-sorcerer in the Atlantean military. Though by far not the most, they are also a fairly religous people, giving frequent offering and sacrifices to their two cheif deities; Father Dagon and Mother Hydra.

Hellas - the loose republic of bickering city-states to the north, the people of Hellas are governed by their philosopher-kings, taken from the most intelligent among them and supported by a military class comprised of those citizens chosen in childhood to be the strongest and fittest. The Hellenics prize wisdom, learning, and arete as their cheif virtues and constantly pursue perfection and excellence in all their undertakings. Like the Atlanteans, they are also expansionist and ambitious, and the two nations frequently come into conflict over collonial claims and rights to various trade-routes.

Kemet - religous with a fervor unmatched with any of their rivals, Kemet is a desert kingdom built upon the black soil of their precious Iteru, the river which provides them with enough choice farmland to support a population larger than Hellas and Atlantis combined, an army of truly mind-boggling scale, and an entire priestly class that governs the nation. The Kemeti people, though poor and uneducated by foreign standards, make up for these shortcomings with an incredible, pervasive religous zeal, as well as physiques that easily outmatch those of most outsiders. While they hardly have a navy to speak of, the sheer size of their army and the talent of their warrior-priests make them foes not to be taken lightly.

In addition to the three nations, I have the outline of a magic system based loosely on ten different schools, though the implementation and mythology behind it various between the three nations.


Input or suggestions of any sort would be much-appreciated.
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