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Author Topic: The Plateau: Where Men are Close to God  (Read 3719 times)
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« on: June 15, 2015, 04:03:02 PM »

Out of Character

It has been bothering me for a while now that I never did anything with my old martial arts-Wild West-Lovecraft mashup idea, so here's what I have for my second attempt so far. I'll try to have character creation rules up soon (it'll use FATE Accelerated), followed by some reinterpretations of classic Lovecraft elements, and we'll see where we go from there! As always, I'm very interested to hear what thoughts you have so far.

At the Crown of Madness

The Nameless Plateau, for it is the whole of the world and thus requires no other name, is the unforgiving crown that sits upon the roof of creation, a land of unparalleled mercilessness and brutality. The earth is rocky and ungenerous, rich in poisonous minerals and nourishing little. This harsh landscape is traversed by towering mountain ranges jagged like rows of broken teeth and dissected by deep, shadowy canyons and valleys where sour rivers cut through oddly-shaped pinnacles. What life that can sustain itself in this place is guaranteed to be as grim and harsh as the land itself.

But as cruel as the land may be, it is only half as terrible as the cold, bright Heavens above, hideous in its yawning, hungry openness. The light of day is searing to the skin and blinding to the eyes, the sun blistering flesh and bleaching bone, even as the winds that blow in from the high places are cold enough to chill the marrow. At night, the sky is a crushing, impossible blackness swirling with iron-red clouds and set with stars like so many unblinking eyes. The position of these piercing lights are known to abruptly shift in their position and intensity, as though the Plateau itself were rotating through space and time.

The Men of the Plateau, men though they be, are a thing set apart from human. Born dark and only made darker by a lifetime of weathering, such that their elders are known to appear almost mummified, they are plagued by all matter of strange afflictions and peculiarities of form: unsightly growths and protuberances, lesions, tumors, cracked or peeling skin, patches of fungous or squamous flesh, digits too many or too few units, faintly-misshaped limbs, joints that bend at unnatural angles, genitive organs of ambiguous shape, extremes of emaciation and obesity, sinister birthmarks, and stunted tails or horns are all acceptable products of the sour light of the stars. Any mutations more alien than this, however, and parents take their children to one of the high places, cast them skyward over their shoulders, and do not look back. They have a special loathing for paleness of skin and roundness of eyes, for the larger the eye, the more easily it is corrupted by the evils it gazes upon.

When the locals say that the Plateau is “the place where men are close to their gods,” they mean that in an incredibly literal sense. Just behind the blue-white fluorescence lurks the manifold pantheon of terrible godheads known as the Ancientmost Monstrous Divinities, so close in fact that they can reach their appendages down from Heaven to touch the face of the earth. Most often it is just a long, dark shape silhouetted far in the distance that is enough to make the innards squirm reflexively, but for those unfortunate enough to be any closer than that, few things can compare in terms of sheer sanity-straining awfulness. The exact number of entities in Heaven is known to none, for contemplating such things is a sure route to madness, each possesses many lesser avatars and emanations as well; while they have only a fragment of their progenitors’ power and wisdom, they are few enough in angles that they can walk unfettered upon the face of the Plateau itself.  Though all the Men of the Plateau live in mortal terror of the Divinities and their emissaries that does not mean they do not pay them homage, for while weird and cruel, they are not wholly malicious and are known to be merciful towards those who offer them proper worship. Grotesque statues of monumental size are chiseled into mountainsides and oddly-shaped stupas erected in their honor dot the landscape. Mad-eyed fire-and-brimstone prophets wander from town to town, spreading the word of a particular otherworldly horror that those who listen and understand might be spared from casual obliteration. Many among them are the mediums and oracles who channel strange energies that their bodies and minds can barely withstand, with often-spectacular results.

The peasants of the Plateau have a hard lot. Most of them live and work in small, ramshackle towns and camps, farming fields of hardy but unpleasant-tasting millet and barley, tending to herds of tough, sinewy goats and yaks, or laboring in mines and lumber mills. They live forever beneath the yoke of the Thirteenth Throat-Crowned King, whose divine mandate to rule is irreproachably evidenced, as it was with his forbearers, by the webbing between his digits, the many layers of his eyelids, and the collar of garish gill filaments encircling his throat. It is said that a fleshy cord connects him bodily to Heaven. Many are the mandarins and commissioners who enforce his will across the territories, but most feared among all his servants are the death-masked Pale Riders. Ranging without rhyme or reason on their ghastly, skull-faced steeds, they are dispensaries of his cruel justice in all its many sadistic forms. Though mere men, such is their notorious skill at arms that even an entire village militia has little hope of standing against even one of them.

In great monasteries of black basalt atop auspicious heights do the many orders of monks live and worship, the walls of their temples painted with blood-curdling depictions of the particular wrathful protector-horrors to which they pay homage and offer sacrifice, the surrounding countryside echoing with strange chants that no human throat should be able to produce. To those who live beneath the shadows of these monasteries, the wizened, deathless lamas who rule them can be either benefactor or tyrant. The kindest take only what they need of the peasants for sustenance or sacrifice and in exchange instruct their children, initiating the brightest and most sensitive among them into their order; but too many are virtual despots who demand unbelievable tribute, stealing their sons and daughters and feeding them otherworldly monstrosities for their own benefit. To resist is to invoke the monks’ terrible wrath, for known to them are among to most potent and secret of ancient sorceries against which mortal men have no hope of defending themselves.

With violence such a universal quality of life, it is no surprise that the Nameless Plateau is home to more styles of marital arts than there are stars in a madman’s nightmares. Some are taught to but a select few pupils in the most remote of temples, while others are famed across the whole width and breadth of the land. They are known by dread names: Horse-Faced Bird-Ogre, Diplomat’s Castrating Tongue, Whistling Insanity, Fingers of the Far-Sighted Torturer, Seven Breaths of the Toad Princess, and Bone-Jellying Demon-Servitor. Some focus exclusively on the forms of unarmed combat, others on the use of melee weaponry, and yet others on the use of the shooting iron, but most schools teach a curriculum blend of all three in varying degrees. What all styles share in common is that they are not paths to be undertaken by the faint of heart or weak of constitution, for they are more than merely mundane means by which men might maim one another. Many of their strange forms and patterns defy the fundamental principles that ostensibly govern reality, having been passed down over the millennia by mad warriors and inhuman masters, and to practice a style is to be warped both bodily and spiritually by every kata and every mantra.

In Character

Kar Ping’s hands are scarred, gnarled claws. When she was but a pupil, her master fused her fingers together with steel wire and acid. Extraneous digits, he said, are only an encumbrance to a true practitioner of Western Dismembering Crab Boxing.

Jurou bin-Makoto need never aim. The hearts of evil men deform space-time with their gravity of their sins. He merely needs to fire his bullets along the proper secret curves and allow the weight of their own wickedness to draw their own destruction to them.

In a land so unrelentingly cruel and unjust, so devoid of compassion or forgiveness, where men and women must toil and suffer beneath the yokes of oppressive masters and where mortals must live in constant fear of being obliterated in both body and mind by the casual whim of monstrous superintelligences, the greatest act of rebellion is to stand and, in the inescapable face of ego-obliterating cosmic indifference, dare to align oneself against it. Anyone who espouses principles of benevolence, justice, individualism, righteousness, bravery, and truthfulness on the Plateau is clearly insanity, but it is that certainly kind of willful insanity necessary to look a Heavenly horror in its terrible face and not only refuse to recoil, but strike against it. These wandering warriors, these wave-men, these men with no names, are said to live amongst “the rivers and lakes,” in the wild hinterlands far from the authority of the Throat-Crowned King. Though they come from all walks of life, they are united in their purpose: to use their skill at arms (and occasionally even sorcery) to protect those that cannot protect themselves, to right wrongs that no others will, and to bring justice to those who would otherwise escape it. Few among them are those who have not known suffering or the pain of loss, for one without considerable empathy simply does not take up the suicidal calling of the vagrant hero. Rarely appearing better dressed than mendicants, typically the only finery they carry with them are their weapons: whether a saber, a staff, or a shooting iron, a true warrior’s weapon is a reflection of their soul and their care and craftsmanship invariably reflects this.

Character Creation

Characters on the Plateau, the motley warrior-vagabonds that comprise your band, are created using the Fate Accelerated rules. The SRD does a better job of explaining things than I ever could, so I'll just summarize here: choose a High Concept Aspect, a Trouble Aspect, one to three additional Aspects, rank your character's six approaches, and finally, select three Stunts.

It is advisable to make one Aspect (though not necessarily the High Concept) reflect the specific style of martial art that your character practices. On the Nameless Plateau, the path that a warrior takes encompasses more than the way they make violence. It shapes and color every part of them, physically, spiritually, and mentally, and so you are encouraged to describe the (often deforming) changes that the years of training have subjected your characters to. If they make use of certain weapons, even if they do not warrant a full Aspect of their own, you may want to describe them as well, as they can play a factor in narrating challenges and conflicts.

And just as a reminder: no one on the Plateau is what you or I would likely call beautiful. You are taking on the roles of a bunch of sun-scorched, star-rotted mutants. The prettiest girl in the county still likely hides her scabrous, peeling skin beneath thick layers of oily makeup that probably does nothing to stop her from smelling like a charnel-house. If you want to get a sense of the average level of attractiveness here, go watch Rango.  That said, your characters likely see things through a different, much cloudier lens...

Manifold Assortment of Horrors

It is said that the Men of the Plateau have no enemy more constant or more implacable than the Spiders. The enmity between the two races is so ancient that no myths of how their genocidal loathing for one another have survived to the present age. It is simply a fact of life; men are born, they die, and they make war upon the Spiders. The creatures themselves are not so named for their appearance, for they do not resemble true spiders any more than they resemble anything else, but for the nauseating scuttling of their movements and their patient, treacherous cunning. Oh, but it is easy for those who have never encountered such horrors to dismiss them as low beasts, for it is far too humbling for most to admit that intelligences equal to or greater than their own could lurk behind such grotesque, many-eyed visages. The Spiders may not be men, but they are most certainly not mindless. In their pits and nests, they make homage to their own profane gods fractally extrapolated from their own images, the most terrible of whom they call Juggernaut, the Lord of the Universe. And as if their great strength and horrible agility did not make them deadly enough, it is known that the Spiders practice their own forms of martial arts which are impossible for men to replicate and only slightly easier for them to counter, for neither the bipedal mind nor body was designed to accommodate so many potential avenues of attack. Woe be upon the unlucky warrior who finds themselves facing a master of the Million-Handed Brood-Mother style. The throating chanting of the high lamas is the only thing they have ever been known to fear, so a monastery is the only place one can go to be truly free of a Spider’s pursuits. If there is any consolation to be found, it is in the fact that the matter of which the Spiders are made is ultimately the same as that of men and can, after a fashion, be broken in the same way.

The strange and unpleasant foreigners who known to the locals of the Plateau as the ocean ghosts are known as such because they claim to come from an ocean, a body of water so unholy in its vastness and impious in its depths that even Heaven will not look down upon it, that lies far to the east. The name they use among themselves translates as something like “those who come from the depths,” but few grant these interlopers the dignity of referring to them as such. Their uncleanliness is reflected in their peculiar, unnatural deformities, which are nothing like those borne by the Men of the Plateau: slippery greyish-green skin, long webbed digits, wide lipless mouths, bulging prodigious eyes, and the inescapable stench of acrid salt. They are without exception a dandified, flannelmouthed bunch of dudes whose company few decent folk can find bearable. Arrogant and disgustingly fastidious, they wear suits of embroidered fabrics with high collars that cover the whole of their throats and are always bedecked in enormous weights of gold finery. City-slickers by nature, the ghosts rarely leave the comforts of the Yellow City and other large settlements, but they are known to make regular excursions into the countryside. They even refuse to partake of any red meat, eating only that which originated from the water and often demanding that it be pickled rather than prepared any other way. Despite looking down their slim noses at “barbarians” the ocean ghosts are shockingly lascivious, their men and women alike willing to spend outrageous sums of gold for the opportunity to mate with locals. Obviously, they would be unwelcome in every decent establishment if it were not a crime punishable by ninth-degree familial extermination to harm or insult one in any way, which fuels well-justified suspicions that they are in some way kin to the King from the East. They are never seen to make homage to any gods per se, but all regularly express immense filial piety (their single redeeming quality) to the same Mother and Father figures, though they have never explained the exact nature of this relationship. There are rumors that the ocean ghosts who regularly visit the Nameless Plateau are not the only ones of their kind, that beneath the surface of that foul and distant sea lurk cousins who cannot weather dry heights so easily and so use their kin as agents of some manner of piscine agenda.

Mee-Gou are abominable alien vermin who hail from a distant, desolate planetary body far behind the stars. Smaller in stature than an ordinary woman, they are roughly like arthropods with five pairs of jointed limbs (one of which is capped with wicked snapping pincers) that they use for both locomotion and manipulation and a faceless, ellipsoid head. Their chitinous bodies are covered in a thick whitish fur that may be animal and may be fungoid, and they can fly upon a pair of large filamented wings. They have never been heard to speak, but communicate through the flashing of many-colored lights. Not possessed of any particular strength and easily overpowered, they rely on their own strange shooting irons which can flay a man to pieces by means of invisible action or merely wrack his body with agonizing contortions. They are compose of matter not native to this world, however, which makes them exceedingly difficult to injure. The mee-gou are most often found at the higher reaches of the Plateau, where they maintain enormous mining complexes of alien machinery with which they extract precious ores and combustible chemicals. These mines are staffed with press-ganged men, whom they either purchase from the jails (implying some arrangement with the Throat-Crowned King) or else simply abduct en mass from isolated villages. Laboring in a mee-gou mining operation is a horrible fate to befall, as the workers are inevitably crushed to death by cave-ins, suffocated by poisonous gasses, or, most often, maimed and mutilated by the machines. Even this, however, carries no guarantee of escape from service, for the mee-gou have the capacity to extract the brains from even the freshly-dead and preserve them indefinitely within metal canopic cylinders. Some of these enslaved brains are used as foremen and interpreters, communicating the mine owners’ orders, but most are simply catalogued and stored. They have never been seen to actually do anything with the minerals that they extract, instead spiriting them away for some ambiguous purpose beyond the Plateau.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 11:23:22 AM by Superbright » Logged


WINGED NEMESIS
Owlbear
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 04:03:19 PM »

[Reserving just in case.]
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Giant Space Hamster
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 10:18:31 PM »

Love it.

More.

Need.

The overall concept and general components (e.g., celestial and terrestrial geography/topography, mutants, lama-monks, Lovecraftian horrors) are delicious. I did want to give some specific wordsmithing and conceptual shout-outs:

"sour rivers"

"cold, bright Heavens"

"At night, the sky is a crushing, impossible blackness swirling with iron-red clouds and set with stars like so many unblinking eyes."

"these piercing lights are known to abruptly shift in their position and intensity, as though the Plateau itself were rotating through space and time."

"They have a special loathing for paleness of skin and roundness of eyes, for the larger the eye, the more easily it is corrupted by the evils it gazes upon."

"Just behind the blue-white fluorescence lurks the manifold pantheon of terrible godheads known as the Ancientmost Monstrous Divinities, so close in fact that they can reach their appendages down from Heaven to touch the face of the earth."

"they are few enough in angles that they can walk unfettered upon the face of the Plateau itself."  

"Grotesque statues of monumental size are chiseled into mountainsides and oddly-shaped stupas erected in their honor dot the landscape."

"sinewy goats and yaks"

"Thirteenth Throat-Crowned King"

"mandarins and commissioners"

"death-masked Pale Riders Ranging"

"skull-faced steeds"

"monasteries of black basalt"

"Horse-Faced Bird-Ogre"
"Diplomat’s Castrating Tongue"
"Whistling Insanity"
"Seven Breaths of the Toad Princess"
"Bone-Jellying Demon-Servitor"

In Character

Kar Ping’s hands are scarred, gnarled claws. When she was but a pupil, her master fused her fingers together with steel wire and acid. Extraneous digits, he said, are only an encumbrance to a true practitioner of Western Dismembering Crab Boxing.

Jurou bin-Makoto need never aim. The hearts of evil men deform space-time with their gravity of their sins. He merely needs to fire his bullets along the proper secret curves and allow the weight of their own wickedness to draw their own destruction to them.

-And all of this. Definitely.

It's like the Dark Tower+Kung fu+Leng. Awesome.

Questions:

Why are the 'heroes' said to be of the 'lakes'?

Does the gilled King breathe/live in water?

How do the monasteries interact with the mandarins and commissioners?  

When do we start playing?
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 01:14:56 AM »

I loved this the first time and would totally try to make it out and play if I could find the time.

Character ideas...

In Character

Minkai Tzang ritually blinded and deafened himself when he was nine, so that he could become a disciple of the Bloodhound Death Fan style of marksmanship; he shoots by scent with nostrils flaring. Through an olfactory empathy he can smell secrets, guilt, lust, and other emotions, so attuned is he to psycho-chemical residues.

Tenzin Dba'a is one of the ever-pregnant nuns of the Violet Queen of the Teeming Web. She gives birth each fortnight to a swarm of uncountable young, spawn of one of the Queen's eight-limbed incubi who grace her dreams nightly. Her children live in and make her robes before eventually devouring one another, but until then her mantras make them her servants.

Every time the mercenary Kalu Gyalpo eats someone, it feeds the ghoulish demon living in his belly. The hungry ghost retches up bilious wraiths and lends the warrior its gnashing, many-rowed teeth and the feral strength of the ravenous.
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WINGED NEMESIS
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 01:15:19 AM »

I'm really glad that you enjoy it! It's probably a weird mix to be working with and I'm always afraid that my writing will come across as pretentious, but I hope I can pull it off successfully. Now, to answer your questions:

In Chinese wuxia stories, the heroes are often described as living among the jianghu, literally the "rivers and lakes," the poetic term to describe the social community of martial artists, thugs, and vagrants who congregate in sects and clans at the periphery of society. It was meant more as a shout-out than as a literal description, but the heroes generally do live in the wilder hinterlands where the authorities cannot reach them so easily.

I actually haven't given a ton of thought to the exact character of the Thirteenth Throat-Crowned King since I don't expect characters to face him personally at any point other than in the final scene of a long-running campaign. Sparkletwist will hate me for this, but unassailable authority figures are a staple of martial arts fiction. I've yet to see a kung-fu film in which the characters set out to assassinate a tyrannical emperor and don't end up dying or killing themselves. That said, the royal city is probably well-irrigated and filled with submerged chambers and spawning pools where the Fourteenth Throat-Crowned King will eventually be hatched.

The monasteries are essentially sovereign overlords of the surrounding lands, as even the Throat-Crowned King does not wish to anger the ancient lamas and their Heavenly protector-devils. Religion on the Plateau is essentially (if it wasn't already obvious) a superstitious Lovecraft-infused blend of Esoteric Buddhism and Pentecostalism, so holy men and women are afforded an enormous amount of respect even by the Pale Riders. To offend one is to risk at worst damnation (that is to say, on the Plateau, reincarnation) and at best a potential thrashing, so your average royal functionary will carefully avoid overstepping their jurisdiction. That said, the monks, with their alien codes, are not a reliable source of refuge for fugitives that do not worship their particular brand of elder horror.

I still need to get the character creation rules up, but after that, we could play as soon as I have a half-decent plot and a free evening. I'll be using FATE Accelerated, like I said, which I think should be simple and flexible enough to allow players to emulate their own martial arts and sorcerous styles without having to develop any special crunch.

And to Steerpike: those all sound amazing and very much in line with the flavor I was going for. I don't even know why I'm surprised. If anyone is curious about what fights in the Plateau are supposed to look like, just imagine that David Cronenberg and Junji Ito collaborated to remake Fist of the North Star or Ruroni Kenshin.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 01:20:20 AM by Superbright » Logged


So Warm and Cuddly
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 08:04:04 AM »

This is really cool and I want to be a part of it.

Out of curiosity, will you be keeping with FATE Accelerated's Physical/Social Stress tracks, or would you change it to something more akin to Dresden Files FATE, which has a Physical, Social, and Mental set of stress tracks (or just go with Physical/Mental and ditch Social). I ask because given the setting's Lovecraftian elements, I assume you would want a mechanical way to deal with incomprehensible cosmic entities and insanity.
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 11:33:04 AM »

Superbright

And to Steerpike: those all sound amazing and very much in line with the flavor I was going for. I don't even know why I'm surprised.

I'm glad!

A couple more...

In Character

Fen Tsemo follows the sacred teachings of the the Book of Manifold Cancers. Careful study of this tome and adherence to its dogma has encouraged the growth of divine teratomas which sprout eyes, grasping fingers, and oracular mouths which mutter quotations from that sublime grimoire reflecting the truths Fen has grasped in their totality. By more perfectly following the aphorisms laid out in the tome, Fen approaches an excrescent apotheosis.

Sonam Drub knows that the secrets of the universe can be found at the bottom of a bottle. To peel back the membraneous veil of existence and gaze upon the abysmal void at the absent centre of creation he scorns sobriety at every opportunity, drinking away all sense of self and meaning. Those who mistake him for a feeble drunk to be robbed or mistreated are surprised by the raw power of the Sloshing Black Nothingness style.

The setting is indeed a very weird mix, but a mix that really works - Westerns and Wuxia have quite a bit in common and setting the story on a Leng-esque plateau-world fits both.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 11:48:58 AM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 12:02:53 PM »

Curse you, Steerpike, and your prolific, awesome character submissions! Each one is really cool. You ninja'd me on the theosophical alcoholic, Sonam Drub. So much for the Drunken Mule Demon Piss style.

So, I'm calling dibs on (a) prurient thirteen-fingered yatga-playing throatsingers, (b) candle-hatted quasi-pacficist shadowboxers, (c) cursed fugitives carrying tattoo-prisons of Heavenly Old Ones, (d) exiled mandarin-eunuchs whose robes grant paraplanar limb transmogrification, and (e) warrior-calligraphists whose weapons are naught but inkbrushes with which they bloodily stab and then paint their foes with sorcerous sigils.  

smile

PS: Minkai Tzang, Sonam Drub, & Kalu Gyalpo are my favorites (possibly in that order). But all are great.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 03:01:13 PM by Rose-of-Vellum » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 12:41:27 PM »

They could be like rival alcoholic-mystic schools. That seems like a thing that could happen. Maybe they have debates and/or duels over what sort of spirits yield the most appalling/revelatory insights. Like my guy is really into millet-rice mash moonshine because it signifies the roiling existential impurity of all things and your guy is really into fermented mare's mil because it represents the abject maternal Real with which we all crave reunion... or something.
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 12:57:22 PM »

That could be fun, but I think I'll further develop a couple of the above ideas, any one of which could become metaphysical drinking buddies with Sonam or another of your characters.
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2015, 03:31:06 PM »

This is really interesting. And I don't think anyone around here would expect me to turn down a Fate game, naturally. I've been a bit busy of late but I'd certainly like to get in on it if I'm able to.

Weave

Out of curiosity, will you be keeping with FATE Accelerated's Physical/Social Stress tracks, or would you change it to something more akin to Dresden Files FATE, which has a Physical, Social, and Mental set of stress tracks (or just go with Physical/Mental and ditch Social).
As written, Fate Accelerated only has a single stress track for everything. I think that having two (Physical, and combined Mental/Social) goes all the way back to SotC, and then Dresden expanded it to three. For what it's worth, the two track approach is the one I like best personally; it's a house rule I used in my own Fate Accelerated game, and it's also what I did in Asura.
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2015, 10:53:08 PM »

Subotai-Ygg

A sybaritic, thrice-lipped throatsinger whose six-tone songs are said to make stones weep and shadows sigh, Subotai-Ygg is a dissolute disciple of the Discordant Harmonies –a fragmented panoply of Monstrous Divinities and the mad musician-warlocks who simultaneously pursue and flee them. Chasing the atonal symphonies of the stars, Subotai wanders the Plateau in a somnambulant quest for for the Seventh Chord of the Silent Cacophony, but generally settles for drifting between settlements, trading his songs for swigs of airag and lotus-whiskey and tokes of moon-poppy, demongrass, and similar vices. Along the way, Subotai’s thirteen fingers ply squamous wenches and his kappa-shelled topshur with equal, exquisite ease. In his itinerant wake, enraged cuckolds and royal censors plot vengeance against the outré voluptuary -and the echoes of the Discordant Harmonies flourish like fecund seeds.

I realize stats are premature given potential modifications to the system, but here's Subotai's stats using standard FAE in the meantime:

Out of Character

ASPECTS
•   High Concept: Sextet Voice of the Discordant Harmonies
•   Trouble: Debauched Nemesis of Rich Cuckolds and Royal Censors
•   Other: Seeker of the Seventh Chord of the Silent Cacophony (unless there's something luscious to smoke, swill, or seduce)
APPROACHES
•   Careful:
Average (+1)
•   Clever: Fair (+2)
•   Flashy: Good (+3)
•   Forceful: Mediocre (+0)
•   Quick: Average (+1)
•   Sneaky: Fair (+2)
STUNTS
•   Connoisseur of Poisons:
+2 to Forcefully defend against poisons and drugs.
•   Lothario of the Yellow Melodies: +2 to Flashily overcome obstacles when conversing with females.
•   Shriver of False Breaths: +2 to Cleverly discern overheard lies and concealed truths whether they’re directed to Subotai or others.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 01:00:00 AM by Rose-of-Vellum » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 01:03:09 PM »

Here's another submission:

 Nergüi

A mountain walks the wastelands. They call her Nergüi, a nameless giantess with iron-sinews, grotesque-thewes, and skin like sun-boiled leather. Her true name was long ground to dust beneath her calloused feet, its memory swallowed by the hungry, swirling stars. Before the Third Throat-Crowned King drew his first slimy breath, Nergüi was born to forgotten parents in a forgotten village that knelt in the shadow of one of the Plateau’s dire monasteries. There, the deathless lama had commanded the villagers to deliver an entire generation of youth for an unnamed sacrifice. The villagers balked, for the first –and last- time. The wroth monks flayed the entire village, save for the orphaned generation they harvested, Nergüi among them. Of those children, Nergüi alone escaped from the monastery’s depths. But she was not alone. She has never since been alone, for on her back, tattooed in alien inks and crawling mandalas is the imprisoned essence of an Ancientmost Monstrous Divinity’s avatar: Yscaboath, the Nightmare Foal. Nergüi knows not whether the monks attempted to play midwives, wardens, or abortionists to the Nightmare Foal, but Nergüi has nevertheless become Yscaboath’s unwilling skin-gaoler, even as the embryonic Yscaboath unwillingly endures its oubliette of flesh. So cursed, Nergüi travels the Plateau’s hinterlands, pursued by lunatic cultists, amoral warlords, and fell horrors drawn to the Foal’s power. She bears her damned sojourn stoically, silence and solitude her only true companions, for the shadow of Yscaboath’s mad whinnying and cruel bucking lays heavy on her soul.

Yscaboath, the Nightmare Foal

In hair-burnt grimoires, airag-besotted liturgies, and placenta-baptized temples, the Nightmare Foal is said to be the unborn avatar-spawn of the Ancientmost Monstrous Divinity whose flank is allegedly the midnight sky, whose paraphysical teeth bloody its ebon flesh to form the sky’s crimson clouds as it attempts to gnash the blinking star-flies that endlessly worry its infinite hide. Mad seers claim that Yscaboath’s dam created the Plateau’s landscape with a single stamp of its cosmic hoof –and that Yscaboath’s birth will cause the equine horror to kick once more, shattering the world and drowning it in Yscaboath’s afterbirth. Others claim that Yscaboath is merely one of many weanlings already born, or yet to be born, and that Yscaboath’s birthright is to lead the dam’s manifold sucklings in an equally apocalyptic stampede that will rend the earth and herald the end of all times, dimensions, and realities.

Out of Character

ASPECTS
•   High Concept: Skin-Gaoler of Yscaboath, the Nightmare Foal
•   Trouble: Pursued Vagrant of the Wastelands
•   Other: Stone Lips, Iron Sinews
APPROACHES
•   Careful:
Fair (+2)
•   Clever: Average (+1)
•   Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
•   Forceful: Good (+3)
•   Quick: Fair (+2)
•   Sneaky: Average (+1)
STUNTS
•   Fists of Rot & Rust:
+2 to Forcefully overcome obstacles susceptible to aging, decay, and decomposition.
•   Iron Shoe Shattered Clay: +2 to Forcefully attack opponents when both Nergüi and her opponents are standing on earthen ground (stone, dirt, etc.).
•   Stride of the Armageddon Stampede: +2 to Forcefully overcome spatial obstacles (e.g., climbing and leaping barriers, chasing or fleeing foes in open spaces).
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 11:51:56 PM by Rose-of-Vellum » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 03:17:37 PM »

And here's my third, and likely last, submission (since I'm hoping that at least one is up to snuff and works with the nascent group/adventure):

Khulan-Yubei Goguryeo

Once a mandarin-eunuch whose faithful, skillful service rapidly elevated him in the Bhaquggot prefecture, Khulan-Yubei became increasingly disillusioned with the bureaucracy during his pursuit of the Vinegar Devil, a masked vigilante whose many-sleeved robe could create a terrifying menagerie of limbs, tentacles, and alien appendages. While tracking this notorious figure, Khulan discovered that the vigilante’s thievery, vandalism, and bloodshed were carefully orchestrated to expose and challenge the corruption and injustice of the courts and its magistrates. Although Khulan’s lengthy investigation led to the Vinegar Devil's successful capture, Khulan's uncensored, uncompromising report led to his curt dismissal from the civil service. His faith in the system shattered by this last injustice, the bitter eunuch broke into the cell where the unmasked Devil was being tortured and attempted to free her. However, the gravely injured woman denied the proffered emancipation, and instead placed the yellowed-ivory mask in Khulan’s hands and asked for a quick, merciful death. Vowing to continue her work, he tearfully snapped her neck, then donned the vigilante’s mask and many-sleeved mantle. Thus, the Vinegar Devil of Bhaquggot was reborn –much to the peasants’ delight and the prefect’s chagrin. Since then, Khulan-Yubei has pursued his calling in the shadows, defending the innocent and striking against the unjust with fist, claw, wing, and worse.
     

Out of Character

ASPECTS
•   High Concept: Vinegar-Devil of Bhaquggot
•   Trouble: Exiled Mandarin of the Corrupt Bureaucracy
•   Other: Limb-Transmogrifist of the Robe of Pangeometric Sleeves
APPROACHES
•   Careful:
Average (+1)
•   Clever: Good (+3)
•   Flashy: Mediocre (+0)
•   Forceful: Average (+1)
•   Quick: Average (+2)
•   Sneaky: Fair (+2)
STUNTS
•   Analytic Acumen:
Once per scene, spend a fate point (and a few minutes of observation and/or reflection) to make a special Clever roll. For each shift made on this roll, an aspect is discovered or created, on either the scene or the target of observation, though only one of them may be invoked for free.
•   Chimeric Concealment: Once per scene, vanish while in plain sight by spending a fate point, by using the Robe to expel foetid ink, smoke, or similar miasma-ichors. This grants the Vanished boost, which prevents being attached or having advantaged created against Khulan until after others succeed with a Clever overcome roll to discern where he went. This aspect goes away as soon as Khulan invokes it, or someone makes that overcome roll. 
•   Phantasmagoric Flight: When using the Robe of Pangeometric Sleeves, gain +2 to Quickly create an advantage or overcome an obstacle if flying would be both possible and helpful.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 02:40:03 PM by Rose-of-Vellum » Logged

WINGED NEMESIS
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2015, 07:36:10 PM »

Okay, the character creation rules are up. I busted one of my hands at a really inopportune time; I wasn't expecting you guys to snatch the ball from me and run with it quite as much as you have, not that I'm complaining. Rose, I'm liking what I see, but you should label your High Concept and Trouble, just so there are no misunderstandings, and you're entitled to another two Aspects if you choose.

Also, if y'all want to throw out some sample names for me to use for NPCs and such, you're actually all a lot better at the quasi-Tibetan direction that I wanted to go in than I am. I'm now currently working on retooling some popular Mythos monsters (like the Mee-Gou and the Chow-Chow Men) and I'll try to have them up as soon as possible.
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