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Catstacker

High Lords Rules

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Catstacker    10
After my first major blunders, I am wondering how the zones are calculated. What are the conditions for a zone to become dominant instead of mixed? Obviously it has to do with the equation of population to invading armies. How do defending armies fit into the calculation?

Actually, it isn't a ratio of the population to the invading armies, because I usually don't take the time to calculate the population value until after the zone has been established and I have to start determining the number of transformed and how much P-energy the zone gives its High Lord. If it was about a comparison of populations, ten thousand troops wouldn't be enough to sway zones that number 10 million or more (and most of them do.)

 

When armies first cross the zone, they have to stay there long enough to activate the zone, which starts out at Mixed. Then they have to remain long enough for the zone to become Dominant, which can be as fast as immediately, or has taken weeks in a few cases (such as the battle for Glasgow became.) I've got a system using the Dramatic Skill Resolution line on the Drama cards and the Reconnection table to see how combats and multiple simultaneous actions work out. I'll describe it in detail after this game is finished, because I don't want the players to make their decisions with a mind to beating the system. I want the High Lords to invade in a manner appropriate to their respective realities and idioms.

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Stormchild    10

After re-reading the rules, I just realized armies can move much faster than I thought.

 

Armies (Ar) begin placed at a maelstrom bridge. They must always have a definite position, which can be seen by the other High Lords. They can be moved around anywhere within the invading reality in a week, or can move outside the realm to activate new stelae, or collect bodies to sow a gospog field, or hunt for Soulstained stormers. Even if an army doesn't have a specific mission in any given week, it will still protect territory and stelae, and may sight hidden units. An army is at an advantage when in its native reality, and at a disadvantage when outside it. If they move outside the realm, they must stop just outside the border, while Earth's forces retaliate. If they are victorious, and there is a new stelae planted, the realm will extend to the new boundaries. This way an army can only activate one stelae zone per week. An army can be destroyed by an opposing army outside its reality, but will be able to retreat if inside its realm.

 

And all the time I thought an army could only move 1 stelae zone per week and has to stop when crossing the border into another reality. I experienced a bit to see what happens and now I am no longer sure how armies move.

 

So I have some questions now:

1) can armies go anywhere in a realm with adjacent zones, effectively crossing a realm in one week?

2) can armies go over the point a stelae is planted into let's say Core Earth in one week effectively crossing into a zone that would eventually become a zone only adjacent via the stelae or can it only cross along the borders that are created by the connection of two stelae?

3) do armies stop directly when they cross the border or will they go further inside the designated new zone until they are stopped (and how far can they go in such a manner)?

4) is crossing a maelstrom bridge into another zone with a maelstrom bridge part of the movement through the realm in one week?

5) is it possible to cross from Maelstrom Bridge in realm A to Maelstrom bridge in realm B?

Edited by Stormchild

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Catstacker    10

I made army movement pretty fluid, considering that the movement had an entire week to happen in. There have been a few cases where I had to break down that movement into steps so that I could see which order certain events happened in, but for the most part I've been letting the High Lords place their armies wherever they liked. So my answers to your questions are:

 

1) yes

 

2) yes they can cross over the point of a triangle, though I didn't expect this when I wrote the rules (you guys are full of surprises,) and so when players started doing this and I read what I had written in the rules, I had to allow it. Realistically, if several armies were all coming through at a single point, the defenders would try and stop them at that point, so they would make one single great battle. But in this game, since I didn't make you specify how your armies travel, I've been breaking down the battles by zone, except in cases where it looked like all travel would be restricted to a certain corridor, where attentive Earth defenses would try to catch incoming hostiles.

 

3) Usually the High Lords have been indicating where they would like their armies to end up, and so I only move them back to the border (or back across it,) when the battle that occurs at the border goes badly for the invaders.

 

4) yes

 

5) yes

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disko derek    10

One thing to consider for potential future runs of the games, is whether there should be other limitations on resources (armies, stelae, tribes) in addition to possibilities. In the game literature the limitations on production of stelae was key to the progress (or lack thereof) of the invaders.

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Stormchild    10

For future games I would propose that you have to prime a territory before you may invade it.

Turn 1: A special ops team plants the stelae

Turn 2: An army (or more) is needed to activate the stelae zone

 

Also: each invader has a number of armies he can muster from his home cosm and gets additional mustering points per transformed population.

 

Also: when mustering armies from a realm, you need a special ops team to muster the army in that area and it takes 1 round.

 

Also: each army can only travel 1 Stelae zone per round but can traverse a bridge within the same round and cross the adjacent stelae zone in the same round.

 

Also: armies may only cross stelae zones on the length of the zones and not on the nexi points.

 

For future games it would simplify matters a lot if the whole earth was already primed with stelae zones (just like a game board), so that High Lords only need to place their stelae on the nexi points. This reduces strategic options but reduces the time each turn takes and the placemarks on the maps.

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Wakshaani    10

Traditionally, a High Lord could create 3 Stelae a month, but, they also received Possibility Units once a month. If the once a week version is use dthe next time, perhaps a 3 stelae a week limit should be held to? That'd make life a lot trickier, that's for sure. I half-expect someone to go "Heck with it!" and churn out a hundred Stelae one week and just seed, like, all of Asia.

 

Then again, I'd rejigger the starting level a bit as well. Give everyone a set number of PU for pre-drop preperation, so that they'd have a set number of Stelae done up, troops, etc, and watch teh different styles of play come out. Nile and the LL would have gobs more troopers, I'd wager, than Marketplace or the Cyberpapacy, but they'd make up for it in special ops and so on.

 

But, hey, we're all learning as we go forth! Heck, I've got a whole new THING deisgned for our poor beleagured GM to rule on stewing in a pot as we speak. Maybe it'll work, maybe not, maybe it'll suck my Possibility reserves dry even trying to create it, but, if it works, it'll be cool.

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Stormchild    10
I half-expect someone to go "Heck with it!" and churn out a hundred Stelae one week and just seed, like, all of Asia.

 

You cannot begin to imagine how much work it is to churn out a hundred stelae. I tried and I stopped after some hours of measuring in Google Earth. And you need armies to accompany them too. So even a huge amount of poss is not enough for the whole of Asia. I think you need some thousand Poss and a holiday week. Boy, Russia is huge. Now I understand Napoleon better. Good luck with your new THING. I have some ideas what it could be :)

Edited by Stormchild

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Catstacker    10
Traditionally, a High Lord could create 3 Stelae a month, but, they also received Possibility Units once a month.

By the original rules, a High Lord can choose to create 3 new steale when he activates a new zone. I've never liked that rule because it meant that High Lords would be bonding up oceans and deserts just for the stelae it gave them. Also, there was the potential for a High Lord to run out of stelae, and then have no way to get more. So I made them available to purchase, but at far too cheap a price I now know.

 

I wouldn't want to create limits on how High Lords want to spend their money, but it might make more sense to impose construction times on some of their things, so that they can't just buy more units to replace their losses every week. Of course, that makes a whole another level of bookkeeping which I don't want to do.

 

Then again, I'd rejigger the starting level a bit as well. Give everyone a set number of PU for pre-drop preperation, so that they'd have a set number of Stelae done up, troops, etc, and watch teh different styles of play come out. Nile and the LL would have gobs more troopers, I'd wager, than Marketplace or the Cyberpapacy, but they'd make up for it in special ops and so on.

It might be interesting to have a whole pre-invasion phase, where the High Lords send reconnaissance and propaganda agents, giving them time to build up their forces secretly before they unleash them on the world. Then each High Lord could invade the world when he felt ready to strike, balancing the advantage of getting P-energy before his competitors against having to stand alone against Earth's reality. I jumped right to the invasion with only a week of bidding beforehand, because I wasn't certain how interested the players would be, and I didn't want them to cool down with a slow investigative phase.

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Catstacker    10
One thing to consider for potential future runs of the games, is whether there should be other limitations on resources (armies, stelae, tribes) in addition to possibilities. In the game literature the limitations on production of stelae was key to the progress (or lack thereof) of the invaders.

One thing that I think should have limitations is on the number of bodies that a High Lord can put into the field. The most realistic thing would be a requirement to pay and/or feed the troops, but I've never figured out how to make that a fun thing to do in a game. But there should be a practical limit on how many believers a High Lord can insert into his realm in a week, the breeding rate of his native race at the highest. If I was working with a more defined population map, we could control the number of transformed in a given area, so that High Lords could just move masses of believers around wherever they needed to give their reality a boost. If the High Lords had to do more recruiting from their realms, they would have to consider their populations' loyalties and not just their realities.

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Catstacker    10
For future games I would propose that you have to prime a territory before you may invade it.

Turn 1: A special ops team plants the stelae

Turn 2: An army (or more) is needed to activate the stelae zone

Definitely! I had imagined a different kind of war before we'd begun, and hadn't even considered the existence of special ops unit until their utility was pointed out to me, and so they got added at the last moment. The need to plant the stelae secretly would get harder as the forces of Earth became more aware of the mechanics of invasion, and more diligent in their investigations. And so it would not only slow down the rate of realms' expansion, it would also increase the need to defend the stelae after they were planted.

Also: each invader has a number of armies he can muster from his home cosm and gets additional mustering points per transformed population.

 

Also: when mustering armies from a realm, you need a special ops team to muster the army in that area and it takes 1 round.

 

Also: each army can only travel 1 Stelae zone per round but can traverse a bridge within the same round and cross the adjacent stelae zone in the same round.

 

Also: armies may only cross stelae zones on the length of the zones and not on the nexi points.

I think that I would separate the military assets from the number of bodies needed to transform an area, so that a High Lord could just use weight of numbers to flip a zone, or could spend lots of points on advanced weapons if he wanted. Movement rates would have to be considered there, which I think should just be about maximum distance indicated as a line (in a given terrain,) and then defenders could challenge them at some point along that line.

For future games it would simplify matters a lot if the whole earth was already primed with stelae zones (just like a game board), so that High Lords only need to place their stelae on the nexi points. This reduces strategic options but reduces the time each turn takes and the placemarks on the maps.

I'd prefer to have stelae locations uncertain, because they really are the whole key to the success of the invasion. If everyone knew where the stelae were at, then you'd have to keep armies parked on top of them all the time to protect them, and it would revert to simple conventional warfare. And I think it's more fun to decide on the shape of your realm, instead of just filling spaces.

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Wakshaani    10
You cannot begin to imagine how much work it is to churn out a hundred stelae. I tried and I stopped after some hours of measuring in Google Earth. And you need armies to accompany them too. So even a huge amount of poss is not enough for the whole of Asia. I think you need some thousand Poss and a holiday week. Boy, Russia is huge. Now I understand Napoleon better. Good luck with your new THING. I have some ideas what it could be :)

 

I can promise you this: Nobody knows what the new THING is. It's Mobius-like in zaniness. It really is, but, I want to at least TRY. I figure that I owe it to our invisible Storm Knight playerbase to unload a few Really Big Plans for them to have a chance to overturn.

 

After week 8, I'll unload a big "What is Orrorsh" post I've been idly working on, detailing what life is like on Hispanola, Cuba, and other Orrorshian colonies. Maybe some new critters or the like as well, in case anyone ever wanted to run the Gaunt Carribean. The only thing I'm sad about is that my tech level is where steamships have largely replaced the Age of Sail. I'm thisclose to having Captain Jack Sparrow's bunch running around, profiteering for sugar cane, spice, and tobacco.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXOSi39QS58

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Wakshaani    10

Oh, as for the Hundred Stelae Challenge, believe me, at one point I'd planned on going to Africa once Cuba had fallen (Which is pretty much exactly on my timetable!), but, I printed off a few maps and got to work with the ol' protractor and ruler and ... yeeeeesh. Africa is Friggin Huge. I mean, just *silly* huge. Even taking a couple parts I was interested in (Hint: Deepest Darkest Africa, where Victorian Explorers and witch doctors duel!) required four "wheels" of 7 Stelae to take one COUNTRY. And Africa's got a lot of countries.

 

South America's not much better and I can't say enough things about our Faceless King's boldness in trying to conquer 'em. You, sir, have cajones muy grande. Yes you do.

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Catstacker    10
The only thing I'm sad about is that my tech level is where steamships have largely replaced the Age of Sail. I'm thisclose to having Captain Jack Sparrow's bunch running around, profiteering for sugar cane, spice, and tobacco.

Most people don't use axioms to their limits. Who takes a jet to work? Without an available source of coal, like the Caribbean doesn't, it's more economical for ships to use sail at least part of the time.

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Oh, as for the Hundred Stelae Challenge, believe me, at one point I'd planned on going to Africa once Cuba had fallen (Which is pretty much exactly on my timetable!), but, I printed off a few maps and got to work with the ol' protractor and ruler and ... yeeeeesh. Africa is Friggin Huge. I mean, just *silly* huge. Even taking a couple parts I was interested in (Hint: Deepest Darkest Africa, where Victorian Explorers and witch doctors duel!) required four "wheels" of 7 Stelae to take one COUNTRY. And Africa's got a lot of countries.

 

South America's not much better and I can't say enough things about our Faceless King's boldness in trying to conquer 'em. You, sir, have cajones muy grande. Yes you do.

 

That also depends on how you set up your stelae and how far you set them apart, as well as what configuration you set them in.

 

And thank you, you know what they say about who fortune favours...

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Wakshaani    10
Most people don't use axioms to their limits. Who takes a jet to work? Without an available source of coal, like the Caribbean doesn't, it's more economical for ships to use sail at least part of the time.

 

True, true.

 

So, more sails while I hunt for coal country.

 

...

 

Sails ho!

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hellsreach    10
Yeah, I managed to have a few of my forces wander off their zones before natives had flipped enough to hold it, so, my zones went back to Mixed, which I should have seen coming.

 

There's something about flipping a zone that has a TINY population where it'll stay flipped, but I'm not sure of the exacts there. (There's a couple of zones I have that are nothing but water, for example. Once my forces flip those, I don't want to leave 25,000 people just swimming around, you know?) I guess experimentation will reveal if the empty nests will stay "charged" with energy after the fact. They might go pure, I dunno.

 

Most likely they will stay fairly pure. Pure zones are actually a result of too LITTLE possibility energy. Once pure, if there is noone there to refill that zone, it'll stay fairly pure. Even if ship traffic or the occasional person comes by, there still won't be enough to overcome the drain your stelae are putting on the zone. Since stelae isolate area from the rest of the cosm -- no energy will get in. It would require an intentional and concerted effort by SKs to flip a population-less pure zone to mixed or dominant.

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hellsreach    10
The only thing I'm sad about is that my tech level is where steamships have largely replaced the Age of Sail. I'm thisclose to having Captain Jack Sparrow's bunch running around, profiteering for sugar cane, spice, and tobacco.

 

Watch it. Those might be MY merchant ships.

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Catstacker    10

Now that the game is over, I can reveal the things that I kept secret during play. Because this was the first time that I've tried this game, the numbers weren't playtested and weren't balanced. Now we know that the unit prices were definitely undervalued. I wanted the High Lords to play their realities instead the numbers. Over the years I've been roleplaying, I get less interested in the numbers because they interfere with the freedom of imagination. The mechanics are needed to provide a framework and to keep things fair, but if they're given too much weight they take emphasis away from the story and can discourage new players.

 

If I had revealed the mechanics at the beginning, the High Lords' strategies would have been different, and probably more similar, which is the last thing I wanted from this game. I want this game to be able to demonstrate the different ways that a reality can be invaded, a twisting path with uncertain gains and a dubious reward. Sounds like fun, eh?

 

I tried to use as much of the original Torg rules and background as I could, so to resolve actions I used the Dramatic Skill Resolution line on the Drama Deck. Each week got seven card flips, meaning that it took an average of two weeks to complete a given action. Having more than one unit attempt the action helped the success, especially when there was someone trying to prevent that action, but it didn't really matter if the cards weren't coming up favourably. There were times that it seemed like Setback and Complication turned up four times in a row, and then there was no way to get all the way to D in a week. If there are High Lords who feel cheated because they would have planned differently if they'd known this, I want to assure them that it worked out even worse for the forces of Core Earth, even though I knew how the mechanics worked!

 

Here's an example of a battle, which was the most common action taken by all but one of the High Lords. A High Lord orders one army over the storm front to flip a zone, and there's a nervous Core Earth army on the other side waiting for them. For the High Lord, an A will get them over the border, a B will activate the stelae and flip the zone to Mixed reality (making their difficulty numbers lower,) a C will have them deal some pain to their opposition, and a D will flip the zone to Dominant. For the Core Earth forces, an A let them see where the invaders were coming across the border, a B let them establish their defenses (making their difficulty numbers lower,) a C had them dealing pain to the invaders, and a D meant that they had destroyed them. It might seem artificial, but at least it's balanced and it worked pretty well, shown by the number of stelae zones that were established in 8 weeks.

 

Other actions, such as searching for something, ran similarly, though step B wasn't making the difficulty numbers easier, and the special ops weren't particularly skilled at anything. Step A would send them in the right direction, B would give them a clue, C would identify what they were looking for, and D would let them get it. Their opposition, if any, would know that somethings amiss on an A, would gain clues on a B, would know who it is on a C, and would apprehend them on a D. Most special ops orders didn't work out, sometimes when they were sent after something that wasn't there, and often when they weren't given enough time to complete their objectives. For example, sending a special ops unit to weaken the Core Earth forces in the same week that the invaders were sent over the border usually didn't have an effect, but when the Living Land had an ongoing campaign to weaken the French army, it effectively kept them from capitalizing on the Storm Knights' removing a key stelae. It also helped that they had a lieutenant working with them, while the other High Lords usually had their lieutenants enhancing their armies.

 

At first I'd wanted to make the difficulty numbers for units operating outside their reality equal to the reconnection number on that table in the Torg rulebook, but those were too hard for Living Land and too easy for Nile Empire, so instead I went for straight difficulty numbers that I didn't have to reference: step A (8) step B (9) step C (10) step D (11). Everyone's skills were an 8, so I really just had to track bonus numbers. It was pretty easy, and adding a lieutenant was almost a guarantee of their success. But there was still those capricious cards, which I likened to the flux of reality overhead. And I rarely had to think of what a Setback or Complication meant, since losing one chance out of seven to complete the objective was a setback enough.

 

But that's what made things go so badly for the Earthlings. A High Lord only really had to achieve step B to make the zone Mixed and even the odds, while the Core Earth forces had to get to step D to eliminate them. And when the High Lords started to send more than one army into a zone, the Earthers couldn't eliminate them all in a week (except in Rome, where there were 3 Storm Knights with 2 Eternity Shards.) Eventually the invaders would get to step D, it never took longer than 4 weeks, and Core Earth was doomed to lose a war of attrition.

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Stormchild    10

Looks like pretty sound basics. I am not feeling cheated by not knowing the mechanics. In fact it was part of the fun trying to figure out how battles work. And I knew from the start that the mechanics would not be presented during the game. In reality a general doesn't have hard numbers to go with too. The relative strengths of armies can be guessed at best. This is the reason introduction of new weapons often has devastating effects (often for the army using the new tech). How much more difficult would it be if a battle was fought between armies of different realities. OK, we were supposed to play experienced High Lords, on that premise I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I even misplaced stelae and tried to connect 7 stelae to a central stelae.

 

The soulstains sucked. In turn 3 I had the feeling that soulstaining a zone was a total waste of resources. There should be a mechanic to increase the chances of finding storm knights and eternity shards. Maybe the cost for soulstains could be variable, f.i. from 1 to 5 poss. The more poss the High Lord uses for the soulstain, the higher his chances for success. I never realized how ineffective special ops were though. If we would play again with the same rules I would use them for extensive espionage on other High Lords. This is probably the only real use they have.

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I even misplaced stelae and tried to connect 7 stelae to a central stelae.

 

I actually something like that, though with 6 stelae around a central one, as a strategy and it seemed to work pretty well for me, though that was also because I made sure to land where I didn't expect serious resistance. It's a gamble, but for me it seemed to pay off.

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Dyschunky    10

Those rules are different to how I assumed, but worked fine. For some reason I was picturing a die roll to try and flip the zone, followed by a single die roll for combat - rolling badly meant Core Earth reality won, small success turned the zone mixed and rolling well meant a full flip to dominant. Skill levels would be better in mixed or dominant than in an unfavourable reality.

 

I also thought my spec ops were doing much better jobs than they probably were! Almost all my armies had spec ops trying to lend a hand.

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Catstacker    10

Strangely, it worked out pretty well because none of the High Lords were usually unsuccessful. Most objectives were acheived, and when they weren't, they just had to try again next week. It was very interesting how 9 out of 10 orders would work perfectly, and then that tenth order being set back would cause concern in response. It's probably the best success of this playtest to realize how important the feedback system is in this game. The invasions were shaped in response to the challenges that they met, and since those were mostly random, the challenges were pretty fairly distributed among the players.

 

The special ops units weren't useless, they just weren't as immediately successful as the armies. When the special ops were sent to convert the population, it took 2-4 weeks to create a Mixed zone, so it would have been more economic to send an army instead. However, the slowly converted zones didn't encounter nearly as much resistance as the forcefully taken ones, so it could have worked out differently. Sending the special ops to weaken armies did work, but they had to be sent beforehand, and again it was probably more cost effective to just send extra armies. In the next version of this game, the armies will cost more and so the special ops will seem like a better deal.

 

Sending the special ops to look for stormers and eternity shards didn't work out very well because those ops guys aren't P-rated, and so don't do very well outside their reality. Only one High Lord found an eternity shard, and that was when he had a Core Earth stormer looking for it for him. Otherwise the special ops were outclassed by their competition. When Stormchild sent a special ops unit, Tristan, to find the stormer that he had soulstained, it worked very well at first. Tristan befriended Soren Reingolt and helped him get out of Berlin, and Reingolt led Tristan to the eternity shard in Rome in turn. Unfortunately, there were four other Storm Knights in Rome when they got there, one of whom was an Ayslish enchantress with enough skill to see what Tristan was up to, and she laid a charm on him. Then The Plague sent his backup special ops, that had been trailing Tristan, to kill the enchantress and she ended up killing Tristan who was defending her instead. It took me twenty flips of cards that week to figure out what order everything was happening in, with the arrival of Ravagons and the invasion of Rome, but it all worked pretty well overall. Which is to say that it was interesting but it didn't have any greater effect on the game.

 

The soulstains didn't work out very often because there weren't very many Storm Knights out there, and since the game didn't progress very far they were usually in Core Earth. I made the stormers and eternity shards rare like lieutenants because I didn't want to keep track of hundreds of them, and I wanted them to be effective when they were there. Their rarity made them almost invisible, and the High Lords were too busy with their invasion plans to notice them, which is how it should be. The High Lords should underestimate the abilities of the Storm Knights, because that's just about all that Earth has going for it. There was one point where the Gaunt Man heard about a stormer called Archie Makepeace playing music to inspire the people in Jamaica, and he sent two special ops units to capture him. Another Storm Knight arrived in time to rescue Archie, and they killed one of the special ops units. They escaped in a sailboat, but the Gaunt Man kept his agents watching them while they were in his realm. They were allowed to escape as long as they didn't cause trouble in Orrorsh, and so were able to leave with another stormer from Haiti, and an eternity shard. They landed in Florida in week 8, and would have been interfering with the Gaunt Man's invasion plans there. That's how it goes.

 

Or, early in the game Mobius was able to read my clues about the painting that Joshua Keith was looking at, and insightfully deduced that I was referring to a Van Gogh. But he thoght it was a self-portrait by Van Gogh, and so sent his lieutenant to Chicago to look for it. Keith did go to Chicago, but after a week Mobius got impatient and recalled his lieutenant and substituted a special ops unit to search for the eternity shard. So Keith went on to New York, and then Rome, and then La Rochelle where he uprooted a Living Land stelae. Up until now Dyschunky has probably thought that he was on the wrong track by having that unit in Chicago (they were arrested in week 7 for grand theft,) but the truth is more frustrating in a way. He was so close, but then, he won regardless.

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Wakshaani    10

Yeah, I was eyeballing teh Storm Knights and the danger they represented, but, I was also in a cost-benefit analysis and it looked like they were headed south. My math was that, if they went to mess with a different High Lord, then more power to 'em. As long as they were out of my hair, I wasn't going to burn resources to fight 'em.

 

Then again, I also expected a LOT more stormers out there. I soulstained often, figuring that some would be made in every large population. I wanted them found and flipped (Since we're supposed to get 90% of 'em!), but killed if they wouldn't joined.

 

Never occured to me that there might only be a dozen of the guys in all.

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Catstacker    10

Considering how potent stormers were in this game, leaving them alone was a good strategy if you didn't want to send your lieutenant and all your available armies to capture them. On the other hand, they were so potent that they were more useful than half a dozen armies.

 

I've never liked the statement about Transcendence on page 101 of the original rulebook:

"Transcending can take place when a character makes a strong choice for good or for evil. Over time, the High Lords have meddled with and modified the transendental process, so that what used to be a 50-50 chance now greatly favors evil; 90 percent, sometimes more, of those who do transcend do so according to patterns determined by the High Lords. This is an important way for the Possibility Raiders to gain fresh troops or agents."

Firstly, as if the invaded cosms weren't screwed enough (this one fell in 8 weeks,) the Everlaws of reality have been somehow manipulated so that emerging Storm Knights are outnumbered 9 to 1 by quislings. I'd love to ask Greg Gordon what he intended when he wrote that paragraph, because it reads to me like an idea that seemed important at the time, but then was never developed. The only reason I can think of why a designer would want there to be more villains, would be so that the heroes would have an endless supply of evildoers to slay and thus feel important. But who needs a rule to have that in their game?

 

Secondly, this is the only place that I can find in the rulebook where the stormers are supposed to declare for good or evil. Sure that's a requirement in the Nile Empire, but that's a World Law, and so that statement above presumes that there is another unspoken World Law for all other invading realities that also divides the populace (at least the p-rated ones,) into good or evil. The rulebook neglects to describe just what Good and Evil are supposed to be like, though the Social axiom section might have been a good place to discuss it. I like my character's motivations to include shades of grey, and the descriptions on the character templates also include various reasons for defying the High Lords. I can imagine lots of reasons why a person would want to resist an alien invader, and why that same person would be afraid to risk what he's got left after he's already lost so much. A totally selfish person (my definition of evil) would still want to defy the invaders, because having just transcended to a new level of power and awareness of his reality, he wouldn't want that reality to be consumed by aliens.

 

Would Nietzsche say that the transcendent were "beyond good and evil"?

 

Regardless, this game could be considered to follow the 90% rule, because all the Storm Knights in the game started as such, they didn't emerge in the wake of the storms, and so they didn't transcend "according to patterns determined by the High Lords." Two Storm Knights went over to the High Lords' side, and seven stormers from the invading realities crossed over to Earth to help them fight in week 4. So no transcendence took place. I can imagine a way to determine emerging stormers and eternity shards for the next game, and a way for the High Lords to search for them in a way that the time and manpower invested in the search would igradually ncrease the chances of them finding one in general, rather than having to find the ones the GM has placed specifically. But I'd think that only 10% of the newly transcendent would be Good or Evil, while the rest of them would be typically self-interested like the rest of us.

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