• 2013 Update Schedule

    Starting in 2013 the Fractured Kingdom website will be moving to a 2 updates per month. Updates will be on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. We will continue to have present narrative fiction when a fifth Wednesday pops up.

  • Tainted Souls 6: Side Effects

    Tainted Souls explores the unspoken costs of Lucidity. The physical or mental changes brought on by becoming Lucid and how that may impact their lives and the people around them.

    While all Lucid have a tangible or psychological manifestation of their link to one of the Realms this does not have to be the only unusual quality about them. Players and GMs may opt introduce characters that have little quirks to their powers.

    Imagine the Dark Lucid, with their mastery over shadows, that when angered the lights flicker or their face grows dark. How about the Verdant Lucid that always seems to have cats and dogs following them? These side effects shouldn’t offer the character any advantage but may hint at the nature of a character’s power.

    These side effects can and should add depth to the characters and the overall narrative. Being able to add narrative around one’s character helps to draw the players into the story making them active participants and not simply casual observers. This also helps to solidify a player’s image of their character. And, while it’s an acting trope, getting to know your character can have a powerful effect on one’s performance.

    Players should not feel obligated to use side effects. This is tool to allow for creative play and should not feel like an impairment to players. However, letting players take on some of the qualities that don’t tend to get written down but make for dramatic effect is usually enough motivation to get the ball rolling.

    Depending on your players GMs should be careful of power gaming and trying to take advantage of side effects. The other precaution is that side effects may lead to scene stealing. Don’t let side effects bog down a game, the story is the important part.

    No mater what shape side effects take for a character or campaign remember that these are tools to add fun and interaction. The stories you tell are your own, as both GM and Players you have the tools to relate the world you want to play. Don’t let printed text keep you from adding personal flare.

  • Nothing Wasted 6: The Real World?

    Nothing Wasted explores ideas to help utilize different aspects of gaming to their fullest or promote new ways to use existing tools.

    Have you ever been forced to question one of your fundamental beliefs? These moments may take any form. When they happen through, you know, because something deep within has shifted, maybe it’s resolution, maybe it’s doubt. For the Lucid that can be encapsulated in the moment they realize they are no longer fully human. When they are confronted with that fact everything changes.

    Not every game drills down into each characters’ Elucidation but these are powerful moments in their lives. However, they aren’t necessarily the last great revelation that character may experience. A lot of gamers take the oddities of their world to be mundane, so it can be hard to bring these moments that should shock, or terrify their characters to light. That does not mean these storytelling tools are lost though, it simply requires a little added creativity.

    As discussed in the Window Dressing article in telling a story we frame the world the characters exist in. This can also mean managing expectations, to steal some corpspeak. While the world develops players get an understanding of what’s normal, and what’s normal for them. Players will often fall back on these established points of world detail to guide character action. This is great for establishing a consistent feel and continuity to the world. Something, that’s generally useful to have in any long term game. What happens through when one of these incontrovertible facts of their reality is completely undone?

    To borrow a classic example, what happens when without warning a PC’s trusted contact or ally turns out to be a mastermind? Yes, this is a plot line that may have been done over and over again, but there is a reason for that. This kind of shift forces the character to reevaluate all of their experiences with this friend. This may come from a sudden shocking reveal or the slow build up of evidence gathering and piecing together the truth to finally be confronted with the reality that was there all along.

    How to use this kind of revelation in Fractured Kingdom? An easy way to address this is by introducing NPC members to a player coven. With one of them operating under their own motives. Players are a suspicious lot and may suspect their new member Rotiart may be secretly hiding something. What if this betrayal came much closer? Some gaming troupes may establish character motivation that is inconsistent with the group. The Coven Call adventure seed explores incorporating conflicting motives in a Coven dynamic where the PCs are the outsiders. Who’s to say the PCs aren’t the one’s with conflicting motive? That’s not to say a PC is a villain, or traitor, they may simply have drastically different goals and morals that they do not share with the group. The revelation of which can completely shift the scope and direction of a campaign.

    This of course is simply one example. What if the reverse was true, a long standing antagonist is reveled to be an ally? A place the players thought safe turns out to be anything but? Of course this only scratches the surface in the supernatural world of Fractured Kingdom. What happens when they are confronted by the truth of their powers, or the cost they may have?

  • Land of Confusion 5: Exiles

    Tonight on ID we explore the culture of exiles. The disfranchisement that have opted to walk out on the world and hope for a batter tomorrow. Three cultures, each with very different answers to a society to busy to care. Outside the city we have the Beachers, below the Morlocks, and in the heart of Tiergarten the Church of Divine Sanity.

    I’m your host Lucius Abercrombie, our guests tonight include TKU Deviant Psychology Professor Garrison Frock-LaCroix, and Pamela St.Jude speaker for the New National Party, and this is Info/Data. Alright, lets jump right in shall we, Pamela, I see you already have a question.

    PStC: No I do not have a question, Lucius. I have a statement. I don’t see how you can include savages like the Beachers in a discussion on separatist societies. They are parasites, almost more so than Morlocks who at least have the decency to stay in the sewers where they belong.

    GFL: The Beachers are just another symptom of a society that can no longer coddle all it’s citizens. They choose to live in the Wastes, there is hardly a way to separate one further from society.

    PStC: How convenient for a professor from the Arcology to talk about what it means to separate from society. How many security screenings will you have to go through before they let you back into your gilded palace?

    GFL: Well Pamela, if you must know three, but I live in the Mission District not the Arcology. As I understand it though while you claim residence in Little Dubai, the NNP keeps several posh homes on the TK side of the wall for their speaker and high ranking members. However, to stay on topic, while you call Beachers parasites the Waste Gangs have never attacked the city, only peoples inside what they consider their territory.

    LA: Lets explore the idea of separatists as parasites. Lets talk about the Morlocks.

    GFL: While I understand the city’s news organizations have dubbed them Morlocks, they actually use terms such as Sewer Breed to describe themselves.

    LA: Why the disconnect do you think?

    GFL: Interesting question. Sewer Breed implies they were raised in and by the sewers. That it might be a sustainable environment. Where as the term Morlock evokes ideas of deformed and depraved peoples no longer fit for society. While it might be a way to marginalize a people or culture, I really suspect that the term Morlock took off simply because it sells better with the average person.

    PStC: And are you going to tell us that these Sewer Bread people are some underground nobility and not bottom feeders?

    GFL: Hardly. By their own admission we have multiple accounts of the Sewer Breed taping power and water. Generally connectivity isn’t an issue due to the municipal network but power for electronic devices are another story. There has been a fair amount of speculation that a number of Sewer Breed are actually employed by city infrastructure.

    PStC: The Morlocks are a filthy people. I don’t understand how any one of them could work a legitimate job.

    GFL: Don’t you think we would have more reported colonies if the trench workers weren’t at least sympathetic?

    LA: Sympathetic to a cause does not make you part of it.

    PStC: Thank you Lucius. The NNP has advocated for stricter monitoring standards of all government employees. It’s the weak minded left that allows for this kind of corruption.

    GFL: I’m not here to talk politics or policies. Lets try to stay focused on the subject.

    PStC: This is the subject. If we had stronger state controls these fringe groups would not be an issue. We should have police swarming the sewers, burn the infection out.

    GFL: Then why has the NNP brought three bills to the floor in the last session to strip funding for public services.

    PStC: Those bills reduce the tax burden and do not target personal levels within police and fire.

    LA: What about the separatist movement that tries to have it both ways, the Church of Divine Sanity?

    PStC: You can’t be serious. Divine Sanity is just a collection of xenophobic egg heads looking for tax breaks.

    GFL: The church was founded just over three years ago and has seen it’s following grow consistently each year. Formed after the Bison Fever epidermic, I think there is a large xenophobic aspect to the movement. I think the disconnect comes between the rheteric, which is fairly stock Islomo-Christian, and practice which enforces full bio-hazard precautions for members.

    PStC: Islomo-Christian? How can you compare this collection of paranoids to actual religions?

    GFL: Simple, I took the time to sit in on one of their services before tonight’s show.

    LA: They allowed this?

    GFL: To the extent they allow any outsider. They maintain a media center which broadcasts their services outside the church.

    LA: Interesting stuff. More ID after the break.

  • Chatham House 5: Nikogda Volya

    The Chatham House articles discuss people that may be inserted into campaigns as ready made NPCs to add flavor or detail to your world. The character’s discussed in the Chatham House often have ties to various organizations, Baronies, Corporations, Governments, but operate outside the normal protocols.

    Head of TK Excavation Security, Nikogda is also suspected to lead a grey team used by Thalberg-Koertig to remove unwanted personnel. While corporate politics rarely makes a difference in the day to day lives of those living outside the Arcology it puts Nikogda in a very unique position.

    Nikogda has access.Simple enough, this is a woman that can go anywhere in TK controlled space and never be questioned, or even given a second glance. The truth behind her being the one to literally sack employees may or may not be true, but in the guided upper levels rumor is all you need.

    What of course does this mean to everyone else? Well, like everyone else, Nikogda has her price. There was once another rumor that she was sold an automatic rifle design to a competitor. Four mid-level developers, that were linked to the start of this rumor disappeared over the course of the following month.

    There have also been stories that she’s hired temporary staff for security details at events in the Arcology, presentations, operas, or other performances when she would normally have no involvement. Who would question her or her troops though?

    Nikogda knows how to keep secrets, and play within the margins. For years she’s been learning just how far her boundaries go and what she can do within them. She’s not cruel, or threatening, relying more on her reputation while remaining polite. In a pinch though she is an explosive fighter in her own right should she ever have the need to deal with a threat directly. Her marksmanship is legendary and she is a skilled close quarter combatant relying on easily concealed monowhips. This of course only adds \to her reputation as executive assassin.

    Story Seeds:
    In some campaigns the TK Arcology may be just part of the city’s skyline. In others there may never be a reason to leave their protected walls. However, should your game fall between the lines then Nikogda may become a very good person to know. Story lines involving corporate espionage, smuggling, or even just trying to see a show in the Arcology could involve Nikogda.

    Alternatively, she may take on the roll of benefactor as PCs fall under her legitimate employ or as an antagonist should they ever make enough noise to upset the CEO and board at Thalberg-Koertig.

  • Tainted Souls 5: The Verdant

    Tainted Souls explores the unspoken costs of Lucidity. The physical or mental changes brought on by becoming Lucid and how that may impact their lives and the people around them.

    To be touched by the forces of unbridled nature. That is what it means to be Verdant. The essence of life has passed through the Verdant’s body and their manifestations reflect this.

    While many Dark and Grave manifestations may be seen as curses and Slumbering Lucid often as blessing, the Verdant’s manifestations vary so drastically that either blessings or banes are possible. The powers of the Verdant are so varied so to are the manifestations that surround their Lucid. Players should consider their Boons or desired Boons when selecting their character’s manifestation.

    Characters with shiftier qualities most commonly have some physical representation of the beast the hide within. These changes may be drastic changes from the character’s former appearance or may develop subtle as the Verdant Lucid learns to interact with their Realm. Those Lucid with control over the nature may show signs of their favored element such as a light green hue to their skin, constantly sweating or smelling like rain.

    Few Verdant Lucid actually dwell within cities, and so it is perhaps for this reason it is easiest to feel their presence. The garden where grass and flowers feel that little bit more vibrant, the odd corner where all the cats seem to congregate for no discernible reason.

    GMs should be careful of these larger area manifestations, while they add detail to the world they lack the personal impact that manifestations should have on the character’s life. Consider them more as background elements and less as the character’s actual core manifestation.