• Tag Archives Grave
  • Off The Beaten Path 5: Anniston, Alabama, ASA

     

     

     

    Near the heart of the Reclaimer movement in Atlanta, Georgia, ASA were any number of small towns. Just across the Georgia/Alabama border is one such town, Anniston. Before and throughout most of the war Anniston drifted along, another sleepy town well removed from real conflict. When the ASA began military operations in Mexico long simmering tensions erupted.

     

    What had been a sleepy paper mill town exploded in racial tension. At first attacks were subtle, targeting the poorest Hispanic families. As the conflict in Mexico escalated and spilled into Texas so did the attacks on innocent people inside the Anniston going so far as to see a resurgence of the Klan and events such as public lynching’s. This racial violence was not unique to Anniston, as crimes targeting Hispanics surged across the ASA, particularly in the Southern states.

     

    As the US continued to destabilize leading up to the Purge, the Church of the Reclaimer took up roots in Anniston. Religious fervor tapped into the fears of the town and was able to shape it. In the years before the Purge Anniston was a central training facility for the Church’s bombers. Coordinating with other small and medium sized towns already affiliated with the Church thousands of sleeper agents were decimated through the US, and then ASA leading up to the Purge.

     

    The years that followed the embargo and reassertion of national governments have not been kind to the people of Anniston. For years, the city was home to a host of investigators, law enforcement, and mercenaries conducting sweeps searching Church radicals and militants. The post war economy of the city all but non-existent. Government aid was brought in to support the survivors.

     

    For all this Anniston has not fallen into the obscurity of history. Much of the city remains a burned out husk of its former self. While Atlanta has licked its wounds and covered over its scars Anniston was never able to fully recover. Because of this, there has been a steady growth of Post War tourism, people looking to explore the horrors of war, without the dangers of the Wastes. This has made Anniston ideal.

     

    Story Seeds

    Memories: While the Church’s influence may have been scrubbed from the surface, there may still be a strong underground presence within the community. This underground faction may be looking to recruit muscle willingly or not. PCs displaying any kind of supernatural ability may find themselves kidnapped.

     

    Lost Souls: A fog of regret and misery floats over the town of Anniston. This is a real effect left over from of those that died in the town during the Purge. While not an actual Bridge or Gate with the right influences one may easily form.  For this reason the Templar, Spirit Callers and Keepers have all taken interest in the town. While neither faction has made a move yet, the Templar and Callers sit on the edge of a discovery the Keepers are sworn to prevent.



  • Off The Beaten Path 3: The Northern Stelae Park, Axum, Ethiopia

     

    Northern Ethiopia is home to the semi-autonomous city-state of Axum. It is a city of conquerors and the conquered. Once a seat of power for the Kingdom of Aksum, this progenitor nation predates Christianity by a century or more. With the advent of the Purge these are only a few of the details lost to the modern world.

     

    Central to present day Axum is the Northern Stelae Park, a holy site and presumed graveyard marked by ancient stone markers rising eight to twenty-four meters in height. These Stelae or gravestones are presumed to be markers for kings and warlords of a forgotten kingdom. Recovered documentation indicate that both the Obelisk, the tallest of the still standing Stelae, and King Ezana’s Stele were moved to Italy at one point. Records as to how, why, and when the Stelae were recovered are unclear.

     

    Each of the Stelae within the park are ornately carved, almost as if they were small buildings with false doors and windows.  The carvings are intricately detailed, possessing markings, which can no longer be translated accurately.

     

    Open to the public, the park is often visited by new age and mystic types, attempting to reconnect with older spiritualities or spirits themselves. This effort is not entirely without merit. Anyone visiting the site possessing the Realm Sense Focus can feel Grave resonance. This resonance is noticeably stronger than an average graveyard. Those with Ghost Sight may pick up faint wisps or trails through the park, along with the sensation of danger, or immanent battle.  These sensations are strongest at the Obelisk of Axum.

     

    Characters attempting to use the Spirit Travel Ability within the Stelae Park do not need to roll to Slip The Body as long as they posses a single level or more in Spirit Travel.

     

    Things Best Left In The Past

    Both Spirit Callers and the Church of Unua take a heightened interest in the Stelae Park. The Spirit Callers see the park as a link to the Grave while the Unuans believe Axum may have been either Eden or a recreation of it. While the city lacks other resonance sites, the carvings on the Stelae are enough to indicate a clear link to the unified city.

     

    Both Baronies have been locked in a three-way stalemate over control of Axum with the Keepers. While the Keepers do acknowledge the park’s historical value they fear it is a sleeping Gate to the Grave. That alone is reason enough to have the entire site wiped clean and the Stelae destroyed.

     

    Between the lines of war are the Qdus Arbanya, a small coven of native Lucids that work to undermine all three Baronies though bureaucratic movements circumventing plots to take legal control or alter the area in any way. The Qdus Arbanya takes exceptional precautions to avoid intervening directly working through proxy companies and special interest groups. Their operatives are not above manipulating new age tourists into taking action on their behalf without ever revealing who they really are, or what their goals may be. With the presence of the Callers, Unuans, and Keepers the Qdus Arbanya have become adept at playing one off the other and keeping suspicions high and pointed at other Baronies.

     

    Players finding their way to Axum could easily be drawn into this four-sided conflict.



  • The Lucid Effect 2: The Construction Worker

    Strong, tough, hard working, construction workers are one odd event away from being heroes in any given comic, action movie or book. Embodying the work ethic it is easy to attribute powerful positive connections to construction workers, even with the cat calling. As the Fractured Kingdom is a cinematic universe, we take a cinematic look at the construction worker as a character template, making them larger than life.

     

    Basic Template

    Construction Worker

    History 9 Fortune 5
    Career (Construction) 6 Gambling 4
    Background (Ex-Gang) 4 Die Hard 4
    Lucid 9
    (F) Pick One 9
    Strength 8 Wisdom 5
    Lift 7 (Converted 12 CP)
    Brutal Fighting 5
    (S) Combos 3
    Heavy Melee 4
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 4
    Vehicle 4 Lock Picking 2
    Logic & Math 2
    Maintenance: Construction 3
    Constitution 5 Mental 5
    Endurance 4 Concentration 4
    (F) Supernatural Vitality 4 Medication 4
    Sense 5 Expression 5
    (Converted 12 CP) (Converted 12 CP)
    Boons Value
    Combo (Rabbit Punches) Minor
    Combo (Stick & Move) Minor
    Combo (Grab & Slam) Minor

     

    Our Construction Worker has several areas where having specialized skills did not feel quite right. In keeping with the larger than life ideas behind the character, we give them an Average Sense, Wisdom, and Expression, focusing on Strength they pick up several actual combat skills.  To emphasize the Construction Worker’s skill in a dust up we add a few minor boxing and wrestling moves and a Brutal Fighting Specialty to give the bruiser options in a brawl. Additionally, while we have not selected a Realm for the character we know they are going to be up close most of the time when bad things happen so we Endurance and Supernatural Vitality, available to any Lucid, for extra Health.

     

    Any of the Four Realms would offer interesting options for the character. To keep the Construction Worker straightforward we can rule out the Dark. Following that, we also eliminate Verdant since construction workers are more about car parks than national parks. This leaves us with the Slumber and Grave. Both the Slumber and the Grave offer attractive options for physical characters. Since the construction site is a dangerous place, our Construction Worker will be a Grave Lucid.

     

    Lucid Template

     

    History 9 Fortune 5
    Career (Construction) 6 Gambling 4
    Background (Ex-Gang) 4 Die Hard 4
    Lucid 9
    (F) Close The Coffin 9
    Strength 9 Wisdom 5
    Lift 7 (Converted 12 CP)
    Brutal Fighting 5
    (S) Combos 3
    Heavy Melee 4
    Strong 9
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 4
    Vehicle 4 Lock Picking 2
    Logic & Math 2
    Maintenance: Construction 3
    Constitution 6 Mental 5
    Endurance 5 Concentration 4
    (F) Supernatural Vitality 4 Intimidation 4
    (G) Tough 6
    Sense 5 Expression 5
    (Converted 12 CP) (Converted 12 CP)
    Boons Value
    Combo (Rabbit Punches) Minor
    Combo (Stick & Move) Minor
    Combo (Grab & Slam) Minor
    Critical Strike Major
    Flesh Wound Major
    Potent Advantage Major
    Brute Major
    (G) Daze Major
    (G) Power Lifter Major
    (G) Unending Might Major
    (G) Hard As Nails Major

     

    Unspent Experience: 10

     

    Our Construction Worker has several areas where having specialized skills did not feel quite right. In keeping with the larger than life ideas behind the character, we give them an Average Sense, Wisdom, and Expression, focusing on Strength they pick up several actual combat skills.  To emphasize the Construction Worker’s skill in a dust up we add a few minor boxing and wrestling moves and a Brutal Fighting Specialty to give the bruiser options in a brawl. Additionally, while we have not selected a Realm for the character we know they are going to be up close most of the time when bad things happen so we Endurance and Supernatural Vitality, available to any Lucid, for extra Health.

     

    Any of the Four Realms would offer interesting options for the character. To keep the Construction Worker straightforward we can rule out the Dark. Following that, we also eliminate Verdant since construction workers are more about car parks than national parks. This leaves us with the Slumber and Grave. Both the Slumber and the Grave offer attractive options for physical characters. Since the construction site is a dangerous place, our Construction Worker will be a Grave Lucid.

     

    Picking up some signature Abilities the Construction Worker cements their role as the brawler. Close The Coffin, the Grave Focus, supports any attempts to harm others, providing supernatural assistance to areas where the character lacks skills such as Firearms and pushes their unarmed capabilities. Strong and Tough are clear choices meaning the Construction Worker is a powerhouse up close. To keep with the cinematic flair of the basic template we focus on Boons that add interesting options for the character in a fight.

     

    Brute (Strength/Supernatural – Major)

    Requirements: Strength 7 (Attribute)

    Finesse is overrated. Beat them down, and keep them down. Overpowering opponents is second nature to the character.

     

    Daze (Strength/Grave, Slumber – Major)

    Requirements: Strong 3 (Ability)

    The character is able to stun their opponents.

     

    Power Lifter (Strength/Grave, Slumber – Major)

    Requirements: Strength 4 (Attribute), Lifting 3 (Skill), Strong 3 (Ability)

    The character has honed their body to unlock its full strength and potential. They may reroll any 1’s on a roll using the Strength Attribute.

    Activation Time: Free, but may only be used once per session.

     

    Unending Might (Strength/Grave, Verdant – Major)

    Requirements: Strength 9 (Attribute), Lucid 9 (Ability)

    Those touched by the Grave or the Verdant seem to become a well of unending strength.

     

    Hard As Nails (Constitution/Grave, Slumber – Major)

    Requirements: Tough 3 (Ability), Die Hard 1 (Ability)

    Tough does not begin to describe what the character can endure. Sometimes gunshots and explosions are just a part of what must be endured.

     

    Critical Strike: (Various) (Fortune/Supernatural – Major)

    Requirements: Fortune 5 (Attribute), Chosen Skill 5 (Skill)

    An expert with their weapon of choice, the character is capable of delivering horrific damage in a single blow. When selecting this Boon, the character chooses a type of attack (Firearms, Melee, or Unarmed) and  inflicts a minimum amount of Damage equal to their Chosen Skill or Ability + 1 wound for each 4 points of damage done on an attack of the chosen type. This overrides any wound the victim would normal have received.  Normally a Lucid takes only 1 Wound on any attack that exceeds their Constitution.

    Activation Time: Free, but may only be used once per session

     

    Flesh Wound (Fortune/Supernatural – Major)

    Requirements: Die Hard 3 (Ability)

    Not every attack is deadly. For some, bullets seem to miss their mark, blades slip past at the last moment and the lucky few survive. When struck, the character ignores an amount of Health and Ego damage from the attack equal to their Die Hard + Endurance.

    Activation Time: Free, but may only be used once per session.

     

    Potent Advantage (Fortune/Supernatural – Variable)

    Requirements: None

    Boons offer many ways to customize a character. Some of the more potent Boons may only be used once per session. However, for each level of this Boon (Minor, Typical Major), the character has a number of additional uses that can be applied to any once-per-session Boons the character possesses.

    – Major Boon: 4 additional uses per session

     

     

    The Construction Workers’ Boon selection adds several combat options, offensive and defensive as well as a wellspring of just brutal might.  There is nothing flashy, but the Construction Worker has a way of avoiding the worst attacks and pulling though whatever comes at them.



  • Tainted Souls 3: The Grave

    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.

    Dead but not gone, well maybe. The question that most epitomizes the Grave Lucid is this, are they dead, alive, or something in between? Grave Elucidations vary greatly from orgasmic heights to the act of dying. His does not help to settle any arguments within the Lucid community over their nature.

    Sometimes referred to as the dead or zombies a Grave Lucid’s Manifestation generally reflect these traits. Sunken eyes, rotting skin, putrid breath all these traits are common with Grave Lucids. Or as common as the Lucid are. There are other less physical Manifestations. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for plants to wither slightly cheap electronics might flicker with power drain when the Lucid is excited or in pain.

    The Grave Lucid is a conduit to the void, the place where the memories of what’s been lost. Hearing the faintest whispers of a dead relative or a smell that someone close enough might remember. These little touches of the Grave unnerve people in a way no skin condition can.

    Personnel Manifestations like that or show stoppers such as the withering aura and flickering lights should get extra scrutiny from GMs. Be careful how these Manifestations apply, as with other Manifestations, these are lingering reminders the Character is no longer human. Not just a tool to look cool.



  • Tainted Souls 1: Manifestation

    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.

    When a mundane becomes Lucid they open themselves to supernatural forces beyond their control. These forces change and alter every Lucid at a fundamental level. Some show outward physical changes, others acquire strange personality quirks. No matter how hard they try and hide these changes though, if one knows what to look for they can sport those tainted by the Realms.

    In this first installment of Tainted Souls we will look at the Manifestations themselves, what every Lucid experiences. How this change can impact character concept or personality and adds Role Playing potential. Subsequent articles will explore the individual Realms.

    While Manifestations may not seems life altering its important to consider that these are physical or mental changes that simply weren’t there before. One way to look at these Manifestations is as if the character had experienced a terrible accident. On day they are a normal functioning person, then comes their Elucidation now the character fears being touched, their skin is molting, they can no longer sit still, or have developed catlike eyes.

    Physical or psychological the character’s Manifestation can be extremely traumatic. Players should keep this in mind during play. Fractured Kingdom rewards character development and exploring one’s Manifestation can be an excellent tool for finding your voice in game.

    For GMs Manifestations can also be used to impact stories. Don’t forget they are there, if you need to keep a small sheet of your PC’s Manifestations for quick reference when meeting new NPCs. Remind characters they aren’t quite human anymore no matter how hard they may try and hide that fact. For GMs that wish to tie the Manifestation more directly to a character’s link to the Realms consider the following optional Role:

    Tainted Powers: Once per Session the GM may invoke a penalty on an appropriate roll based on a Character’s Manifestation. The penalty assessed is equal to the Character’s Lucid Ability. These rolls generally involve social interactions but may be used as complications in time sensitive situations. Players may invoke a Manifestation roll as well. Pass or fail the Character regains 5 Energy as their Realm’s energies flow through them.

    Ultimately, the Manifestation is another tool in the Player’s and GM’s arsenal for evoking cinematic gaming. It should be invoked when dramatically fitting but should not overwhelm the Player or cripple the character.



  • The Unconventional Combatant Part 5: The Doctor

    Modern living is dangerous, even deadly every major city across the globe has a body count that seems to grow daily. For a Lucid the difficulty and danger of modern life has been turned up to eleven.

    Medical science like so many other technologies was crippled by the Purge. Next to data centers and libraries, hospitals and labs were one of the highest targets for Reclaimer attacks. Since the fall of the church medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds. Or perhaps recovered by leaps and bounds as it’s still impossible to say what the state of medicine was before the Purge with complete accuracy.

    Even so, cutting edge medicine today is capable amazing feats, from regrowing limbs and organs to critical surgeries conducted by pumping machine assemblers into the blood stream. Of course that level of technology is reserved only for the super-rich. Our Doctor may have floated in the clouds before their Elucidation or worked eighteen hour days in a public ER, either way they’re in the mire with everyone else now.

    Beginning with core Characteristics for the Doctor we add the following Skills and Traits: Education, Perception and the Specialty Fine Details, Long Shot, Biology, Chemistry and the Specialty Drugs, Genetics, Logic & Math, Medical, Meditation, Debate and Subterfuge.

    These Characteristics give the Doctor an understanding of not just basic medicine but how the human body reacts to drugs and other stimulus, genetic complications and tools to help them spot complications. Additionally, the Doctor has some social skills for dealing with patients and Meditation to help them focus in high pressure situations. The core Medical Skill can be a game changer in a combat situation as it modifies the effectiveness of Slap Patches and Medifoam. With only these tools and the possible addition of a medical kit the Doctor is able to serve at least once critical function in combat. However, that’s simply mundane Skill. What many would consider the obvious choice for a Doctor character are healing powers and that would take us into the Verdant. While a viable option for any Character it is the classic choice and the Doctor deals with death and disease every day so instead out Unconventional Combatant shall be walking the Grave path. Looking at the Boons available to the Grave Lucid one quickly bubbles up to the surface.

    Wither and Rot – Grave
    Infusing the target with the necrotic force of the Grave, the character causes their victim to rot from the inside.
    Using Wither and Rot: One target touched by the character suffers a Wound.

    Requiring the Medical Skill and the Nail The Coffin Closed Ability this Boon sets a tone for the Doctor. So lets look at some other sickness and rot styled Boons.

    Debilitating Touch – Grave
    Through its link with the Grave, the character’s body has become a hive of disease and pestilence. The character’s very touch can ravage the bodies of the living.

    This is another easy selection for our plague ridden Doctor although it has a few other Requirements.

    Hearty – Supernatural
    The character’s constitution is unnaturally strong, allowing them to shrug off the ill effects of many weaker toxins.
    Using Hearty: The character may ignore a number of doses of Negligible drugs or toxins equal to their Constitution attribute.

    Flesh Eater – Grave Verdant
    The character is a predator, sustained by the flesh of recent kills.

    Drug resistance is a natural fit for any Doctor but the Flesh Eater Boon plays into the concept that something has gone wrong. What did they have to do to survive? It also opens up some additional interesting Boons for the Character along with Debilitating Touch.

    Predator and Prey – Grave, Verdant
    Animals see the Lucid for what they are. The character will not be attacked by them unless provoked, and sometimes not even then.
    Wild animals will never attack the character unless forced to, always choosing to flee if threatened.

    Sickening Breath – Grave
    The foulest stench of death lingers on the lips of the Grave Lucid.
    Using Sickening Breath: The character may use their Debilitating Touch boon at range.

    Closing the Coffin – Grave
    Those who suffer serious wounds in the presence of the Grave Lucid may soon learn recovery is not an option.

    Prolong the Pain
    As their body takes to disease, the Grave Lucid learns ways to prolong the suffering of others, keeping them from rest.
    Using Prolong the Pain: The character can prevent a target from dying. While using this boon, the target cannot heal by natural means.

    Sickening Breath allows the Doctor to cripple targets from a distance while Closing the Coffin and Prolong the Pain make it easier to dispatch foes or save other, no matter how much it may hurt. These Boons allow the Grave Lucid to intervene on death. Continuing down this path opens a series of devastating Boons.

    Withering Touch – Grave
    The powers of the Grave are varied, but there is one that cannot be escaped. By touching their victim, the character steals a fragment of life force, causing the target to age uncontrollably.

    Aging Curse – Grave
    The Withering Touch grows in potency; victims age much faster with each passing day.
    Using Aging Curse: Each night that passes, victims of the character’s Withering Touch age progressively faster. Each night, add 1 additional year to the aging effect. So, on the second night of the effect, the target ages 2 years, and on the third they will age 3. Allowing victims to age for 10 days under the Aging Curse will take 55 years from their lives.

    No Waiting – Grave
    The Lucid’s Withering Touch acts in seconds, not days.
    Using No Waiting: The victim ages a year (or a night’s worth of years) each turn instead of each night.

    The Doctor no longer needs to clumsily fail away at foes until one of them keels over. With a single touch the Character forces the target to shrivel, decay and fade away. No armor in the world can protect you from the suffering this Doctor may inflict.

    However, while these Boons bypass mundane defenses some Players may want to take advantage of the Character’s potent Nail The Coffin Closed Ability and medical training. While they could add traditional combat skills to supplement their supernatural abilities Nail The Coffin Closed makes up a large difference there. With their focus on the Intelligence Tree though the Internal Style representing martial arts such as Tia Chi both fits the Doctor concept for general heath and adds to their offensive capabilities. With that the Character may also pick up:

    Lingering Strike: (Various) – Grave
    Knowing how to hit is only as important as knowing where to hit. The character is an expert at striking a foe where it will hurt the most.
    Using Lingering Strike: When selecting this boon, the character chooses a type of attack (Firearms, Melee, Unarmed, etc). The target of a successful attack of the chosen type from the character suffers 1 Wound regardless of damage.

    Bleeder: (Various) – Mundane
    In a fight, slowing a foe down is just as critical as anything else. The character has a knack for leaving wounds that bleed or cause intense pain to their foes.

    These two Boons capitalize on the health draining effects of the Weathering Touch and the Character’s medical training.

    In the next Unconventional Combatant we’ll look at the Concert Kid.