Aysle Preview #4 – Uthorion
Just a quick and brief preview of the stat block for Uthorion, High Lord of Aysle, as shown in the Aysle Sourcebook. Please remember that this is provisional and is currently in development and editing, so may change in the final product.
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If you have any questions or would like to discuss this preview, head on over to our forums!
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Aysle Preview #3 – Perks
Today we’re going to take a quick, short look at some of the Perks detailed in the Aysle Sourcebook. Please remember that the Perks previewed below are still in development, so may change in the final product.
We’re going to skip Magic Perks in this preview since we already discussed those last week.
In addition to the Runemaker Perk, which allows dwarves to imbue items with arcane power by inscribing runes into them, Dwarves who have taken the Forsaken Perk from the Torg Eternity Corebook can also take Godsbane, and finally Godscourge:
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New Darkness Perks include Born to Darkness, which allows a character to take up to six Darkness Perks instead of three before falling to Darkness, but beware! It is possible for a character to be tempted to take the quick and easy path and be “gifted” with a Darkness Perk without choosing to! Other Darkness Perks include Necromancer, which provides access to the Necromancy spell list, Shadow Assassin, which upgrades the Shadow Step Perk, and Blood Magic:
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In addition to allowing elf spellcasters to get even more spells via the Elven Magic Perk, and an upgrade to the White Wolf Perk, elves can embark down a Perk Tree that eventually leads to becoming a drake rider!
But first, the elf must bond with a baby drake, which follows the usual animal companion rules:
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Additional Light Perks include Aura of Light, which literally allows the hero to glow, and reduce Darkness vision penalties, and Multi-Target penalties when intimidating, and Beacon of Light, which grants the character’s benefits from her Light Perks to nearby allies.
Those who do not embrace Light or Darkness can take Outsider Perks. Many Vikings follow this path, including the skalds:
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Prowess and Social
We cap this preview off with the Prowess Perks, which highlight the martial abilities of knights and archers, and the Heirloom Social Perk, which grants the Storm Knight a magic item!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this preview, head on over to our forums!
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By popular demand, here are the Beta Clearance Primers for Torg Eternity, which provide additional Perks, resources, and a summary of the large scale events of the rest of the first year of the Possibility Wars.
Note that these are still previews, and the contents may yet be updated.
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Out of all the cosms that invaded Core Earth, Aysle is by far the most magical. Magic pervades the reality, and there are many ways in which this manifests. Although the magic system in Torg Eternity was substantially streamlined, some of the elements of the original magic system are coming back, just as specific elements of Aysle’s arcane traditions.
Just a reminder, the Aysle Sourcebook is still in development and playtesting, so the previews shown are provisional and may change in the final product.
Fans of Original Torg will remember arcane knowledges, and they’re back in Torg Eternity. Arcane knowledges are 22 fields of discovery that are divided into four categories: Essences (the primal forces of magic including Life, Death, Time and True Knowledge, Mixed Forces (combinations of the Essences including Darkness, Inanimate Forces, Light, Living Forces, and Magic), Kindred (living beings including Folk, Entity, Elemental and others), and Elements (physical substances such as Air, Earth, Fire, Metal, etc.).
The arcane knowledges mostly manifest themselves through the spell lists a character can select spells from.
Specialist and Generalist Mages
In Aysle, wizards can either learn spells of all types, or specialize in one field. Generalists have access to the Aysle Mage list from Torg Eternity which now includes all of the spells in the Aysle sourcebook, except those in the Necromancy list.
Specialists get one more spell that generalists do, but at the cost of only selecting those from a certain list, like Elemental Magic:
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Those who wish to specialize in a field choose a Magic Perk, one of Elemental Magic, Essence Magic, Kindred Magic, or Principle Magic. Accessing the Necromancy list is done in a similar fashion, but is instead a Darkness Perk, with all that entails.
The Aysle Sourcebook adds some other new Magic Perks including learning more spells through ownership of a spellbook, the crafting of a homunculus, making one of your spells a trademark spell, or using your magic skill to dodge ranged attacks.
Furthermore, advanced Aylish spellcasters can take the Esoteric Spell Perk, which allows them to pick a spell from any list, even those from other cosms:
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Naturally the Aysle Sourcebook comes with plenty of new spells, some of them quite advanced that may require Beta Clearance or even a less powerful version of that spell, like heighten backlash:
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But what’s this “Disfavored” condition? This is a new condition introduced in the Aysle Sourcebook that essentially is the balance to “Favored”. The two counter themselves out, but if the Disfavored condition is in effect, the victim loses their first roll again, whether that comes from an Up condition, rolling a 10 or 20, or spending a Possibility. Longtime fans will recognize this as essentially the Original Torg Stymied condition.
Finally, Aysle’s Magic Axiom is high enough that nearly anyone is capable of casting at least simple spells, called cantrips. Anyone who has the proper magic skill can cast them without needing a Perk, even those from other realities (and they can do so without contradiction). Cantrips can still be cast by Aysle spellcasters outside of the realm, but with the normal contradiction check. These still cause backlash if they fail, but there is no extra effect from Good or Outstanding results.
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If you have any questions or would like to discuss this preview, head on over to our forums!
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Now we move our focus to Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the nations of Scandinavia, where the reality of the fantastic realm of Aysle holds sway.
Just a general note before we begin. The products being previewed are still in the finishing stages of editing and development so there may be some typos and changes before we release the final product.
The State of the Possibility Wars on D+365
The Torg Eternity core book describes the world as it stands at the end of the third month of the war. Each of the cosm sourcebooks will detail what happens over the following nine months. The High Lords have been busy, but the Delphi Council is trying to push back.
With regards to Aysle they’re holding the line. Barely.
Aysle is a realm that will feel familiar to most gamers, one that features powerful wizards, brave warriors, faithful clerics, and…yes, dragons. There’s no question that Aysle leans heavily on the tropes of classic fantasy roleplaying games, but leans heavily on legends. Not only do the stories and myths of the British Isles and northern Europe feature strongly, but those legends entwine themselves with the very reality of Aysle, and great rewards are bestowed on those who complete quests…for Light or Dark.
Out of all the invading cosms, Aysle by far has the highest Magic Axiom. Magic has nearly completely supplanted technology, to the point that nearly anything technology can do, there is a spell or magic item in Aysle that is capable of the same. However while magic is ubiquitous, the masses are only capable of casting cantrips, or make basic potions. True spellcasting has long been the realm of the nobility and upper classes, those not with just skill, but money and power to become educated in the ways of the arcane arts. However, this is changing with the influence of those from Core Earth.
Aysle’s society is literally medieval, with the people believing in duty, not just to their family, liege, or their faith, but also as a code of conduct. Etiquette is important, and the lower classes demure to the higher ones. It was only relatively recently, with the wars against the Dark One, that the idea of class mobility developed as peasant heroes rose from the masses to defeat evil monsters and cruel creatures. However, with the invasion of Core Earth, the full capability of the Social Axiom is being realized, and rebellion is fermenting. Those who transformed in the realm are often the first to question authority, especially how the gifts of magic are hoarded by nobles and wizards.
The power of the gods used to be stronger, before the coming of Uthorion. He was responsible for pushing the development of magic and supplanting the gods. However, while their power is diminished, it still is of among the strongest of the invading realms.
Finally, technology is stuck firmly in a state similar to Earth in the 14th century. Magic and miracles provide what technology cannot, and so there is little incentive to develop and push the Tech Axiom. Only the dwarves, especially since the schism between that folk and the gods, attempted to advance technologically.
Nile Empire World Laws
Aysle’s Law of Magic, Law of Light and Darkness, and Law of Enchantment are detailed in the Torg Eternity Corebook. However, just like the Living Land and the Nile Empire, Aysle has a few Minor World Laws as well.
- Law of Delving: Magic has been around Aysle for thousands of years, and there is a ritual for nearly any desired effect. Getting that effect takes some research, but this subset of the Law of Magic allows a wizard to alter already published spells or possibly invent new or more powerful spells. But care must be taken, for new discoveries ripple through the reality that Uthorion’s Darkness Device can detect—and add to its own repertoire.
- Law of Heroes: Associated with the Law of Light and Darkness, heroes (and villains) in Aysle have a special aura that others can intuitively detect. This happens in nearly all of the realms, but in Aysle it’s amped up to a significant degree, and those heroes who play a Glory card in Aysle gain a bonus to persuasion and intimidation.
- Law of Legends: The arrival of Aysle didn’t just affect Core Earth, but the invaded cosm affected the invader as well. The love of stories of the people of Core Earth have actually created a new World Law in Aysle, on that makes stories part of the reality itself. These Quests, which are based on the myths of Aysle and Core Earth, have a series of requirements and adversities that must be completed. Those who successfully finish a Quest are granted a Legend Perk or an Eternity Shard associated with that Quest.
Here’s an example:
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Over the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting different parts of the upcoming products for Aysle including Perks, spells, miracles, threats, and magic items!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this preview, head on over to our forums!
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Happy Lux Splendor to you all!
December 25th, by the reckoning of the Holy Terra calendar, is the celebration of the Radiance of Light — Lux Splendor. On one level, it is a time of sadness, for it is the death-day of the Prophet Zebulon. Hence, this most bright of holidays retains an undercurrent of mournfulness for all we have lost. But it is also the day that the Prophet’s sacrifice cleansed and consecrated the jumproutes against the Dark, making them safe for travel.
Celebrants light candles, fires, lamps, and turn on all electric lighting, to remind everyone of the blinding grace delivered to all beings by the Pancreator. Each is expected to give presents, symbolizing the reflection of the Empyrean’s grace from one soul to another, Universe without end.
It is believed that this date’s coincidence with an ancient Urth festival is evidence of divine synchrony, not a convenience of the Church’s manufacture.
Each year, the Patriarch delivers a Lux Splendor address. This year, as perhaps the beginning of a new tradition, the Empress Freya has chosen to deliver her own address, as a means to unite her Vuldrok family and her new subjects in the Known Worlds. We present the Town Criers guild report below. The speech was delivered from the terrace of the Imperial Palace on Byzantium Secundus. During her speech, the misty rain turned to crystalline snow. (A sign of grace to some; a sign to others that the Emperor’s technicians have developed fine control over the planet’s ancient weather machines.)
5018 Lux Splendor Address from Empress Freya Hawkwood (née Eldridsdottir)
Greetings, my new friends. I am pleased to be able to speak with you today. As you know, I was not raised with the sermons of the Prophet and his Disciples on my lips. My spiritual milk was instead the deeds of my ancestors and the spirits of the worlds they walked upon. I am new to the Prophet’s grace, but Pancreator willing, I hope to prove my courage to you all. No darkness shall stand between me and the true teachings of the faith. Let my axe banish all resistance!
My people seem so distant from you, strange of ways, dress, and word. And yet, if you walk with our ancestors far, far back into their time, you will find that we were once kindred, citizens of a single commonwealth, thanes of the Republic. And before that, our grand-kin trod the same soil of Holy Terra.
Our estrangement is an illusion of time. As we come to see this more clearly, so will our kinship grow and our oathbonds become stronger.
[Empress Freya then activated the laser tower, which sent forth a pulse of energy from planetside into the void. The year’s luck will be measured by the astronomical distance over which the beam maintains coherence. The audience cheered and performed the traditional toast to the Emperor — and, this year, to his family.]
Core Book Excerpt:
As our Lux Splendor gift to you, we present this excerpt from the Fading Suns 4th Edition core book. Each chapter has its own patron saint. The Introduction belongs to the Prophet. (Taken from The Pilgrim’s Path: H0w to Read the Omega Gospels by Charioteer Captain Zelina Hamid-Sandor.)
Patron: Zebulon the Prophet
Hail Zebulon, greatest of us all. Pilgrim, it is to the Prophet that we pray when the Dark grows deepest and all hope is lost. Like a lamp in the night, he shows us the way back into the Light.
None have seen the Light as did Zebulon, who removed from our eyes the blindfold that the Dark had placed upon us during our long, hard trials from the dirt to the stars. “In 2723, the Prophet saw the Holy Flame.” On that far-flung world, now lost to us, he saw in full the Pancreator’s radiance, and it shone ever forth from the Pancreator’s brow.
Humans on their cradle world of Holy Terra had known glimpses of this Light, dimly seen in visions in elder ages. Only now, only through Zebulon’s eyes, was it revealed in full glory: the primal star that burns at the center of all existence, the pole around which all the galaxies orbit.
We walk in the Prophet’s footsteps on the trail he blazed through the stellar spaces, traveling along the routes he sanctified with his death, seeking, ever seeking, for some spark of that original Light that he did witness: the Flame Eternal.
Pray for Zebulon’s return, that he might bring forth the Light and reignite the stars forever and ever, Universe without end.
— Bill Bridges, Product Line Manager
And here’s a second full-page preview for the upcoming Fires of Ra adventure!
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Head to the Nile Empire Kickstarter now and get in on all the amazing material included in the Sarcophagus!
This week, we’re doing a couple previews of the Fires of Ra adventure book, which is featured in the Nile Empire Kickstarter.
We’ll let the preview speak for itself, although be warned – there are definitely a few spoilers in this one…
Excited to know more? Head to the Nile Empire Kickstarter and pledge so you can be among the first to get Fires of Ra!
We here at Ulisses are ecstatic over about the recently announced Divinity: Original Sin 2 + The Dark Eye Campaign, launching today (Wednesday, November 21st 2018)
We are also incredibly excited to provide the PDF for the Prison of Shadows campaign right here: TDE-Divinity2-PrisonofShadows-innen v3
Get to adventuring!
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Are you prepared to face the challenges of the Nile Empire?
Storm Knights! It’s time to tell you what to expect when the Nile Empire Kickstarter launches next Wednesday, November 28th!
Of course we’ll provide more as we go, but the most important pieces of your toolkit are the following:
Nile Empire Sourcebook
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Your most important resource for fighting the forces of Pharaoh Mobius! 144 pages of vital information, available in the standard hardcover, or upgrade any pledge to the blue leatherette Deluxe Edition or indigo leather Limited Edition!
The Fires of Ra
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When your team is ready, this book of adventure will take you on a journey throughout the region to stop Mobius’ nefarious plot! Can you find a weakness to his ultimate war-machine before it’s campaign of terror destroys all resistance in the region?
Nile Empire GM Screen and Archetypes
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The best way for GMs and players alike to jump right into the most action-packed cosm! 16 new archetypes and a GM screen specifically designed to have all the most important information right at your fingertips!
Make a plan of action now!
Nile Empire Digital Only – $40
Includes digital versions of all three products listed above, plus anything digital that we unlock through stretch goals!
Nile Empire Player – $50
For only ten dollars more (plus shipping), upgrade your book to physical! Includes digital versions of everything else, including stretch goals.
Nile Empire GM – $100
Upgrade all three products to physical! Includes digital versions as well, and stretch goals are still digital at this level.
Nile Empire Sarcophagus – $180
This isn’t just an upgrade, it’s so much more! New threat cards and blips, new possibilities, and the Fires of Ra soundtrack! Also includes all physical stretch goals marked with “Sarcophagus,” and of course the digital versions that everyone gets! All of this in a sturdy Nile Empire-themed box, as you’ve come to expect from Torg Eternity!
Nile Empire Vigilante – $500 (10 available)
Want to add your own hero to the ranks of the Mystery Men? You get everything in the Nile Empire Sarcophagus Pledge Level, plus we’ll work with you to create an official Core Earth or Nile Empire Archetype! This includes custom Perks, Spells, or Miracles, art for the character, and the character you help create becomes the “iconic” version of that Archetype.
Nile Empire Champion – $1000 (6 available)
Add your Archetype just as Vigilante above, plus you earn a seat for yourself or a designated proxy at our very special GenCon event on Thursday night. Last year’s event was an epic battle that determined the fate of the Mystery Men. What will this year’s game hold? Note that this offer doesn’t include travel, lodging, or tickets to GenCon.
The excitement begins Wednesday, November 28th!
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Halloween has come and gone, but the chills aren’t over yet. This month we’re talking about something truly scary, something that causes every faithful Church inquisitor to tremble: we’re talking about… technology! The horror! The horror!
The Universal Church of the Celestial Sun is deeply concerned with technology and how it can darken the soul mirrors of those who use it, blocking the Pancreator’s light. The sin of technofetishism doomed all sentients in the later years of the Second Republic, and it was only the rectitude of the Inquisition and the teachings of the Church which saved humanity from its own techgnostic hubris.
The League, of course, has a different take on it all, but strangely enough, when it comes to the idea of allowing technology to be used freely by all, even the guilds condemn such sophistry and Republicanism. There are dangers to technology, and only the guilds can safely use it.
This brings us to a new trait for Fading Suns: Techgnosis.
The Church teaches that technology is not neutral. It comes with its own biases. These can alter the behavior and subconscious thoughts of their users. In the far-future universe of Fading Suns these “techgnostic compulsions” (to use the Church’s term) can be quite dramatic. It is perhaps best left to philosophers to ponder whether this is all psychosomatic, a result of the Church’s relentless critiques, or is actually a property of the tech itself, a phenomenon unknown in the 21st century and only made obvious once tech became advanced enough.
Each character has a trait called Techgnosis that measures either their resistance to the compulsions of high technology or their adaptability to the evolutionary potential awakened by technology, depending on whether you prefer the Church’s version or the League’s.
In game terms, Techgnosis is a trait that measures your allowable tech inventory: how many high-tech devices you can carry and operate regularly without suffering from tech compulsions. “High tech” here refers to items of tech level 5 and higher. Items TL4 and below do not count; you can carry as many of them as you like without any techgnostic effect.
When you carry and operate more tech devices than allowed by your Techgnosis rating, you are overloaded and begin to suffer one or more compulsions levied by your tech. These come in the form of states.
The types of states imposed by technology tend to be different than those caused by influence or occult powers. It almost seems like a tech compulsion represents that technology’s desire to be used more frequently. Ridiculous, of course. Perhaps it’s just that the user has become enamored of using the tech and wants to keep using it. And yet, it really does seem sometimes that it’s the device itself that seems to be exerting its needs.
Strangely, the Supreme Order of Engineers often agrees with this thesis, as it supports their view of technology as a sacred force of its own. The Church prefers not to personify technology this way, although many peasants do. Officially, the dogma is that the user is succumbing to their own weaknesses and fetishisms about technology, not that the tech is doing the hypnotizing.
- Energy shields: Users who become overloaded suffer the Reckless state. Like many of the daredevils in the Second Republic, they come to believe they’re beyond harm andare likely to take foolhardy risks.
- Think machines:Overloaded users become obsessed with accuracy in all things: they suffer the Inerrant state. Everything must be done just right and anyone who makes a mistake should be corrected.
- Blasters:Overloaded users become Destructive. They like to watch things break or burn and try to deliver as much damage as they can with their shots, accuracy be damned.
- Muster chains: These high-tech restraints can make theiroverloaded users (not their wearers) Cruel. They get their kicks mocking and humiliating those who can’t fight back.
The easiest way to avoid techgnostic compulsion is to offload equipment — just stop carrying too many devices. Once the number of high-tech devices you’re carrying is equal to or below your Techgnosis rating, your devices no longer trigger compulsions.
While techies in the Merchant League are certainly aware of the effects of techgnosis, their terminology for dealing with it can often read like an advanced clinical psychology manual — or, in the case of the Supreme Order of Engineers, like a repair manual for a quantum machine. The Church has studied the phenomenon for far longer, since well before anyone else in the Second Republic was willing to admit it even existed. Its terminology has become the more common and accepted language for talking about techgnosis.
Some wonder why its noticeable effects seem limited to technology carried upon one’s person. The Church argues that it is not so limited, that even existing within the penumbral aura of high-tech like starships and terraforming engines can subtly warp the soul. Still, only the immediate effects of closely-held tech are noticeable in most people’s experience. (Curiously, barbarians and lost worlders experience techgnosis despite ignorance of Church scripture. Vuldrok, however, tend to herald tech compulsions as heroic attributes.)
The Church refers to this phenomenon as “somatic proximity.” The aura of high-tech interferes with the embodied soul, bending Empyrean light away from it. Although the Doctrine of the Privilege of Martyrs officially sanctions the use of high technology by nobles, priests, and merchants, it does nothing to protect their souls from it. This is why they are martyrs, at risk to technology’s soul-warping functions.
More to Come
We’re getting closer and closer to having a finished 4th edition. (I keep annoying our editor with rules tweaks, even though the text is supposed to be done.) Sorry we missed some diaries — the book demanded a lot of work. The wait will be worth it. Be back next month with more info!
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The Aventuria Magic Kickstarter launches Tuesday, November 13th, at 10am Eastern Time (15:00 UTC)!
Here’s what you need to know:
We’re always working to help make our pledge levels as clear and simple as possible, and this time around we have made it very straightforward.
- Aventuria Magic Digital – This is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll get the PDF for Aventuria Magic, plus PDFs of Conspiracy of Mages, The Legacy of the Theater Knights, and the Deluxe Character Sheet for Spellcasters. This reward level is a great deal, but it does not come with stretch goals, because we are not doing any digital stretch goals this time around. Our stretch goals are entirely physical.
- Aventuria Magic Physical – This is actually three reward levels that all look very similar. The only difference is which edition of Aventuria Magic you’re getting – hardcover, deluxe leatherette, or limited handbound leather. These levels come with the Aventuria Magic book, two card packs of reference cards for the many spells and rituals in Aventuria Magic, the brand new Fate Points Set 3: Magic, and the PDFs listed above. Also, you’ll get all our stretch goals, most of which are designed to enhance many of the products included in these reward levels.
- Gen Con Game – Get all the physical rewards (including both a Limited and Hardcover copy of Aventuria Magic), and you get to play a game at Gen Con with celebrity guest player Cody Lewis of Taking20! In addition, you’ll get two copies of a character miniature from Westfalia Publishing, one that we will have professionally painted and one for you to paint yourself!
As we mentioned above, all our stretch goals for this campaign are going to be physical. The digital products are in there already. The stretch goals we have in mind are for enhancing the physical versions of all the products, including the ones that start out as digital only…
As we have mentioned in a few places, our library of available The Dark Eye products has grown too large to include everything as individual add-ons. We’ll decide exactly what will be on the list as we get closer to the end of the campaign, but we’re also trying something new: Add-On Bundles. These bundles are amazing deals to help new players and GMs grab the most useful and important products for the table. Not only will the price of the bundles be marked down, but they will actually get better throughout the campaign! By the time we get to the Pledge Manager, these deals will be too good to pass up!
There is no extra shipping charge for the Add-On Bundles, so pick up as many as you like!
See you on Kickstarter!
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Let us begin by discussing spellcasters beyond the walls of our academy. We know quite well that no other tradition devotes as much time to magical research. Even so, we should not assume we alone can develop new magical formulae…
-excerpt from a lecture by Magister Xaron Mendurian of Punin, delivered at the Academia Arcomagica Scholaque Arcania Puniniensis
Expand your magical repertoire with new Traditions, spells, and enchantments! Nearly two dozen profession packages expand options for starting characters, and new focus rules for spell workshops allow mages to develop new and exciting spell effects!
This supplement of new, advanced, and optional rules spans many forms of Aventurian magic. We introduce several new Traditions, including the special abilities and rules for each. These include magical dancers and magical bards, who produce magical effects via special dances and songs; illusionists, whom some call stage magicians; and magical dilettantes, the best-known types of which are the intuitive mage and the savant.
Aventuria Magic arrives on Kickstarter Tuesday, November 13th!
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Bornland is not merely a former province of the Middenrealm. It was in days past the home of the famous Order of the Theater Knights. Today, little remains of the Order’s many towers and guard posts, but rumors say the knights’ legendary treasure and knowledge await rediscovery in the forests, rivers, and hills of the Bornish wilderness.
Welcome to the Legacy of the Theater Knights, one of the items included in the upcoming Aventuria Magic Kickstarter. This invaluable GM sourcebook expands upon the epic Theater Knights campaign, describing the region and its inhabitants in greater detail and providing tools to create exciting new encounters.
This 48-page product is not new to the English edition of The Dark Eye, but its format is. This was formerly the sourcebook that accompanied the Theater Knights-themed gamemaster screen in the German edition, and we are instead releasing it as a stand-alone product for your convenience.
Be warned that the book contains significant spoilers for the Theater Knights campaign. But we wanted to make it available to anyone running those adventures as we enter the final stretch. And of course, it’s a great way to keep up on current Aventurian events if you don’t mind knowing things in advance!
Legacy of the Theater Knights will be included with every reward level in the upcoming Aventuria Magic Kickstarter, launching very soon!
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Keep watching here for more information about this book and all the other rewards available in Aventuria Magic Kickstarter!
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Are you frightened of the empty room, or the prospect of what lies ahead? Either way, your churning stomach doesn’t seem to care. The small bowl of millet gruel you ate for breakfast is not sitting well, and you feel nauseated. Magistra Moonhair’s cooking might be to blame, but what if this is no accident. After all, she delivered your breakfast. Did she want to make sure you ate it? Does she hate you that much?
So begins your day at the Lowangen School of Transformation, where you prepare to take your final exams. Fame and respect await all graduates, but a shocking crime threatens to end your character’s career as a mage before it even starts. Your choices help decide your character’s future. Can you unravel this fiendish mystery and still manage to graduate?
Welcome to Conspiracy of Mages, the next solo adventure for The Dark Eye!
As with our previous solo adventure, Vampire of Havena, this book is designed to introduce you to the mechanics of The Dark Eye with a pre-generated character and careful explanations whenever you need to roll dice. It’s a great way for starting players to get into the system, and if you haven’t played a mage before, it’s a great way for you to learn all about spellcasting.
Conspiracy of Mages will be included with every reward level in the upcoming Aventuria Magic Kickstarter, launching very soon!
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Keep watching here for more information about this book and all the other rewards available in Aventuria Magic Kickstarter!
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This week we take a look at the Nile Empire adventure the Fires of Ra.
In this adventure, SOMEONE DIES!
The Fires of Ra is a 110 page, seven act adventure where Storm Knights will travel across the length and breadth of the Nile Empire encountering pulp villains, members of the beaten-down Mystery Men, and even Amazons!
The adventure begins in Venice, when the Storm Knights are tasked to stop a pulp villain, the Hooded Cobra, from stealing an ancient canopic jar, one of a collection linked to a pharaoh from the Egypt That Never Was. However, as the stalwart heroes journey to Cairo, into the trackless wastes of the Sahara Desert, deep into the jungles of the Congo, the island of Hespera off the coast of Crete, to the capital of Thebes, and East Africa, the Storm Knights discover that the jars are just the start of a cunning plan that will shake the status quo of the region!
Car chases! Rockets and robots! Monsters and mummies! Airplanes and Amazons! Storm Knights will deal with these obstacles and MORE!!!
Sorry, I got carried away there. The Fires of Ra is written by Brian Reeves and Torg Eternity Line Manager, Darrell Hayhurst.
[Brian’s love for Torg began when he picked up the original box set a week after it hit stores, leading to a decade-long campaign. In fact, his first published work was the inclusion of three monsters in the original Creatures of Aysle. Since then, he has written material for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Savage Worlds, and Torg Eternity. His short adventures have been published by Mystical Throne Entertainment and Obatron Productions. In addition, Brian’s novel A Chant of Love and Lamentation was a Finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and his fiction has appeared in Spark and Sand Hill Review. He teaches college English in Vancouver, Washington.]
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This week we take a look at some of the decisions made and principles used when designing the magic and religion of the Nile Empire:
Mathematics and Engineering
The arcane traditions introduced in the original Nile Empire were thematic but had two main issues: they were difficult to implement smoothly at the table and they played differently than magic did anywhere else in the Original Torg game. The goal in Torg Eternity was to make Mathematics and Engineering interesting and fun to play.
Mathematics and Engineering (and “Egyptian Religion”) relied strongly on astrology which was extremely flavorful, but was time consuming to actually resolve. Each spell required a number of specific planets that you had to configure and each one had different DN and bonuses. Not something that should be the case in a cosm that has the Law of Action. This was an obvious place we needed to streamline, but I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and get rid of astrology entirely. So we added the astrological flavor back in via Perks, like the Astrologer Perk, which modifies and improves the casting of certain divination spells. Additionally, astrology still has a place in the background. Just because we don’t have specific mechanics for every…uh…possibility, the alignment of planets can still be part of the story, associated with major rituals that can do incredible feats.
In addition to not being part of the Aylish magic system involving arcane knowledges, Mathematics had different mechanics for backlash involving rolling on a Backfire chart, so that was something that wasn’t going to be included in Torg Eternity either. More problematic, Mathematics spells really didn’t have much in the way of ‘mathematics’ flavor to them, and in fact, many of the spells seemed better suited for miracles, and so many Mathematics spells became Amaatist miracles instead. In Torg Eternity, Mathematics becomes the ‘divination’ tradition. If you’re wanting to be able have a bunch of spells able to predict the future, this is your jam. Additionally, we played around with mathematic and physical concepts in creating some fun spells for Mathematicians to cast.
Engineering had a different problem in that the spells were much more suited for a background or NPC role, rather than something Storm Knights would have and find useful in their adventures. Engineering became the tradition you go for if you like dealing with traps, finding traps, mapping places, and yes, even building things. Even though we focus on what players would find useful at the table, we do still include some mechanics on imbuing buildings with magic and miracles, and how someone can access them.
Pulp Sorcery came along later in Original Torg, being introduced in the Terra Sourcebook. There, pulp sorcery was strictly based in the pulp powers, and while we did keep that as an element in Torg Eternity, we still wanted actual spellcasting to be a thing pulp sorcerers can do, and maybe even dabbling in a bit of both. Pulp Sorcery ended up being the flavor of magic you could get by taking the Spellcaster Perk as a Nile Empire character in the Torg Eternity Core Book. Initially it was pretty basic, but in the Nile Empire Sourcebook we wanted to make it a bit more flashy and be something a more improvisational player could have fun with. This comes in two ways: illusions and the Supreme Sorcery Perk.
The exact trappings of illusions can tap into a player’s creativity, and the tough part was making it so that the spells could be resolved easily. The Supreme Sorcery Perk requires a fair bit of investment, but once a character has it, he can theoretically (with the expenditure of a Possibility) access any spell he has access to, which allows advanced players an opportunity to play with spells they may otherwise not select. And yes, pulp sorcery certainly is inspired by a certain…supreme sorcerer.
Although magic items do exist in the Nile Empire, we didn’t want to focus on them too much. First, that’s Aysle’s shindig, and we really try to keep certain tropes the domain of certain cosms. The other reason is that magic items are largely covered by mystic artifacts, which are essentially pulp powers. This way, they’re kept unique, and not as commodities like they are in Aysle.
Finally we changed up the original “Egyptian Religion” a bit. First, obviously, we renamed it, finding that calling it by that name seemed generic and odd. We also wanted to connect the faith directly to Doctor Mobius, through his father. Additionally, given that Ancient Egyptian mythology has a lot of different interpretations through history, we were able to play with it a bit, instead making the pantheon and legends a bit darker, in that Osiris isn’t even part of it, having been killed by some of the other more evil Gods and his place usurped by them.
Mechanics-wise, sacred animals are still a thing, and woe comes to those who kill a god’s sacred animal. As mentioned previously, many of the original Mathematics spells became the domain of miracles, but fans will see lots of the original miracles have their own versions here.
Hey, how about a bit of a preview? I realized we haven’t shown any Eternity Shards yet, so here’s one!
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If you want to discuss any of these topics, please feel free to drop into our forums!
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“We seek the bravest!”—with these words, the temple of Rondra in Firunen summons entrants from all corners of the land to test their mettle in a holy tournament and determine whom among them is, indeed, the bravest. At stake is an exclusive, hereditary license to sell steel in the city of Firunen.
The party arrives just in time for the contest and meets an old friend—Alriksej Jantareff, a Norbard merchant. He takes huge risks to enter the tournament and needs the party’s assistance to win. What starts out as a small, annual celebration honoring the long-extinct Order of the Theater Knights soon turns deadly….
The epic saga of the Theater Knights returns in the third book of the campaign, The Black Forest!
The Black Forest will be arriving at the Ulisses webstore and DriveThruRPG next week. If you purchase a physical copy from us, you also get the PDF for free! (Just make sure to include your DriveThruRPG email in the shipping section of your order form.)
Then, continue your adventures by backing the Aventuria Magic Kickstarter, launching in late October! Included in that Kickstarter will be Theater Knights IV: The Green Platoon. Look for more information about the Kickstarter soon!
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“All of the cosms are going to be tweaked in some way, some a bit, some a lot. But not the Nile Empire. It’s perfect.”
That’s an imperfect paraphrase of what I told a Torg fan at GenCon 2015 after we had announced the coming of Torg Eternity the month previous, and it’s completely, utterly, 100% true.
Well…not so much. I said that in something of a tongue-in-cheek manner, but the Nile Empire was arguably the most popular of the original Torg cosms, which meant that we had to be especially careful in updating it.
We knew it was going to be a challenge, but especially after we read Ross Watson’s kick-ass update of the Living Land. So here’s how we did that.
“First, do no harm.”
One of our design philosophies was “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” So we first had to identify the things we knew we for sure didn’t want to change.
- The Nile Empire is a pulp reality, based on the 1930s where action is bold, drama is…dramatic, and death is temporary. Most of the time.
- Doctor Mobius is the GREATEST High Lord of All Time! (Editor: Who put this here?)
- It was going to invade Egypt. Hard to be a “Nile Empire” without…you know…invading the Nile valley.
- An element of fascism and early World War 2 feel.
- High Magic, High Spirit, Moderate Social and Tech
It turned out that the Nile Empire, unlike some other cosms, had story and flavor that worked really well. It had adventures, opponents, and atmosphere that were fun. The main problems lay in the mechanics of the realm.
The original Nile Empire World Laws weren’t bad, but we didn’t like how the Law of Morality was implemented, specifically with how strict the restriction was, how that affected the idea of ‘avenging heroes’, and that there was a significant amount of rules associated with it. We wanted any of the World Law rules to be short and to the point. We originally replaced the Law of Morality with the Law of Inevitable Return, but eventually we decided to replace it with the Law of Heroism, which effectively is the same as the Law of Morality, but with the sharp edges softened.
Interestingly, on reviewing our early emails, I noticed that the first hints of what eventually would become Cosm cards showed up very early on, in the idea of gaining a Possibility for doing something according to a reality’s tropes. The Law of Inevitable Return would make an…inevitable return as a Cosm card itself, and with the release of the Nile Empire Sourcebook, as a Minor World Law.
Pulp Powers and Weird Science
One of the very first changes we knew we were going to implement was “No spending Possibilities to pay for pulp powers”. This was an extension of “XP for Advancement, not Possibilities”. Additionally, we knew we wanted to clarify how pulp powers worked in relation to the reality rules: they would be contradictory anywhere outside of the Nile Empire (with an exception later added with regards to Wonders in the Living Land).
Pulp powers were elements that fit Perks like a glove. However, once we decided that Perks would be uniform in cost (and that we were flattening attributes and skills to a degree), they would have to be rebalanced. Additionally, in accordance with simplifying where it would improve things, inherent powers, gadgets, and pulp sorcery rituals would all be just ‘pulp powers’ but with different trappings. This meant that Tech Axioms for weird science devices would need to be dumped too.
We also still wanted to keep the idea of flaws in the game, but because they couldn’t counter a cost that no longer had to be paid, we used Limitations as a way to get Enhancements without spending XP. This had the advantage of allowing players and GMs to get really creative if they wanted to.
One of the decisions we did make that I figured might be controversial (though it turned out that we got very little push back) was going strictly with ‘pulp’ and not ‘super’ powers. You wouldn’t see characters like Iceman, Storm, or Magneto capable of incredible feats over a large area. The Nile Empire would be more on the level of Daredevil or Jessica Jones, with Captain America as a theoretical ‘strongest’ hero or villain.
That’s all we have for today, but the next Designer Diary will discuss how we went about tweaking the Nile Empire’s magic, religion, and threats for Torg Eternity.
If you want to discuss this more, head on over to our forums!
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This week we take a look at stuff! All sorts of stuff that your heroes can take on adventures within the Nile Empire.
As one of the invading realms with high Spirit and Magic Axioms, the Nile Empire has plenty of holy and magic items that are relatively easy to acquire. Many of these holy items are in the form of ankhs usually worn as an amulet around the neck. Magic items are more specialized than those found in realms like Aysle. You won’t find many enchanted swords here, but instead the magic items commonly found are connected closely with the themes and tropes of the cosm. The more powerful magic items are actually mystical artifacts—a manifestation of pulp powers.
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Additionally, some local varieties of armor, weapons, and vehicles are detailed, including five different sizes of bombs.
Although most gadgets are strongly tied to pulp heroes and villains, and acquired by spending Perks, weird science devices do exist. However, these are powered by eternium splinters, which burns out on a Malfunction 1-2. They can’t be replaced until the next scene. Eternium splinters and the gadgets they power are fairly rare and costly and these gadgets cannot have any Enhancements. They effectively are base pulp powers with a Limitation, though some have additional characteristics:
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Finally, here’s a preview of the Gizmos Perk. This Perk is undergoing playtesting, so this isn’t necessarily the final form it takes.
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If you have any questions, check out our forums!