Games:The Scavenger Lords
Here's some brief information on the Exalted setting that you may like to read before the chargen session - don't worry if you don't have time though, as it's far from essential.
Everyone will be playing an Exalted - someone who was once a normal (though awesome) human who was then blessed with a fragment of power from a god. You can choose to be blessed by the Unconquered Sun himself, and be a Solar, whose byword is perfection and excellence. Or you can be someone blessed by fickle Luna, the God/ess of the Moon. In that case you're a Lunar and have unmatched control of shapeshifting, alongside a whole host of other awesome powers.
The shard of Solar, or Lunar essence is what makes an Exalted exalted, and when one Exalt dies, the shard is released and flies around looking for a new person with sufficient awesome to become an Exalted. The shards retain memories of their former bodies, and so Exalted tend to remember a lot more about their past lives that the average person.
The Exalted were created by the Gods (the Sun, the Moon, the Planets and the 5 Elemental Dragons) to fight a war for control of Creation, against the Primordials, the beings who made Creation in the first place. The Exalted won that war, but the death of immortal beings that should not have been able to die (the Primordials) created the ghostly Underworld. Other Primordials surrendered, and were shattered and imprisoned to form the demonic realm of Malfeas. These two other worlds can both be accessed from Creation and are home to beings that would very much like to destroy Creation if given the chance.
After the war, the Exalted set about building a great and powerful civilisation, ruled over by the Solar Exalted, the most powerful of the Exalted. But over the millennia, the Solars grew corrupt and insane, unknowingly cursed by the demon lords of Malfeas. And so the Dragon-Blooded and Sidereal Exalts rose up to slay their masters and drive the Lunar Exalted away, fearing they would destroy the world with their excesses. The essence of the Solars was imprisoned in a prison of jade, preventing any more Solars from being Exalted. The Lunars were driven to the very edges of the world, to bide their time.
That was 1400 years ago. 700 years ago, the Great Contagion has struck, killing 90% of humanity and causing the loss of all the technology and wonder of the Solar First Age. The actions of one woman, who would become known as the Scarlet Empress were all that saved Creation. 5 years ago, the Scarlet Empress who had ruled over the world's most powerful empire ever since, disappeared, throwing the Realm into chaos. At the same time, the Jade Prison was shattered, releasing the Solar Exalted back into the world, a world on the brink of destruction. The Lunars have not been quiet for 1400 years though, and have embarked on social engineering on a grand scale, attempting to create societies that will not fall to pieces if the Lunars are slain like the Solars. What will the Lunars say to their long-dead companions, the Solars? And how will the god-kings of old reshape this world?
The campaign I want to run is set in one part of Creation, known as the Scavenger Lands. It's one of the few parts of the world to not be conquered by the all-powerful Realm and is fiercely proud of its independence. Holding the region together are the vast rivers (imagine if the Yellow River, the Amazon and the Nile all existed in the same Africa-sized lump of land) and powerful city states.
There's militant Lookshy to the north - a mix of Spartan outlook, Chinese bureaucracy and aesthetics, all topped up with the largest stockpiles of magical weapons anywhere in the world. It's ruled over by the Dragon-Blooded descendents of the 7th Legion, the powerful army that founded it. Lookshy has no slaves, though some might argues that it's helots and indentured servants are little different.
Then there's Nexus, the home of the all-powerful Guild. Nexus is the central trade-hub of the world, and it's a wild and lawless place where the strong prosper and the weak suffer. That said, it's one of the few places in the world to outlaw slavery, which is seen as perfectly normal basically everywhere (and operates along a more Roman model, rather than North American) The Guild is a mix of the East India Company tied to a cyberpunk megacorp and its reach extends almost everywhere.
There's also the city of Great Forks, home to anyone or anything that chooses to call it home. Nowhere else in Creation will you see so many Gods, God-blooded, Elementals, Fair Folk, Exalted and mortals wandering the street. This city of artists and parties is dependent on the labour of tens of thousands of slaves however. It’s ruled over by a trio of immortal Gods who've protected the city since its founding.
There used to be the city of Thorns - puppet of the all-powerful Realm. 5 years ago though, the Mask of Winters, the vengeful ghost of a dead Solar arrived and plunged the city into darkness. Now the dead rule over the living and all the Scavenger Lands wonder who will be next. The Mask of Winters looks out over the city from the fortress he has built into the undead body of Juggernaut, a truly vast beast he has enslaved.
Another lost city is that of Denandsor - when the armies of the Fair Folk attacked during the Great Contagion, its' lord desperately tried to defend the city. In doing so though, he cursed it - any who now enter are driven mad with fear. But yet they still come, as Denandsor was one of the richest cities in the world before it fell and those riches are undisturbed. If anyone managed to remove the curse on the city and take control of the resources there, they'd become one of the most powerful groups in Creation.
As I understand it:
- Baz wants to play a Lunar, from the No-Moon caste, who is a master craftsman and sorcery. He's searching for his Solar Mate and also to try and find out what killed his previous incarnation.
- Mat is also playing a Lunar, but a soldier leading a small troop of Lookshy troops (including some Dragon-Blooded officers). His Motivation is about unifying the Scavenger Lands to improve their defensive capabilities.
- Cat is playing a Dawn Caste solar, who's a master (mistress?) of one on one combat. Her primary motivation is to destroy the religion of the Realm, the Immaculate Order.
- Ernst will either be playing a Solar version of Shaka of the Zulus, plus tribe of 'barbarians', or a cross between Garret from the Thief games and an urban Aragorn the Ranger, the true King of Nexus.
If anyone wants to change character concept, feel free too. Given that there are currently two melee-focussed PCs (Mat and Cat) I don't want a third melee monkey. If you really want to play a combat person, then ranged combat is fine, but I'd prefer to leave it at those two for the time being. NB. This doesn't mean that other PCs can't be good at combat (even far beyond what any mortal could achieve), just that I don't want a third person looking for combat-related screentime, as I don't want to run that combat-focussed a campaign. As far as I understand it, Baz's PC is focussed more on crafting over sorcery, so while I'd prefer no-one to super-specialise in making things, another sorcerer is fine. Oh, and as one final note - if someone wants to play a Dragon-Blooded, they can, but you need to be happy with the fact that you'll be mechanically far less powerful than anyone else.
The chargen session will hammer out the actual details of these PCs as well as working out why they're all working together. I'm planning on running a fairly open campaign, but the eventual big bad is likely to be the Mask of Winters and his ghostly army, so you should bear that in mind when deciding on character details. There'll be a moderate amount of nation making/ruling as well (possibly involving Denandsor, if your PCs head that way), which will probably involve a fair amount of politics (unless you decide to fight everyone, of course). The eventual conclusion is likely to be more combat-focussed though, so there should be plenty for everyone to do.
Full details on the final characters can be found here.
The chargen session will be held on a Wednesday evening at my place in Bermondsey - provisionally on the 27th of June. The game proper will begin a few weeks after that, also on Wednesday evenings.
If you have any questions about the blather here, just email me (kathleen.dawes at gmail dotcom) or leave a note at the end of the page (just click the 'edit' button at the top of the page and scroll down to the bottom).
I'll be playing with a few houserules, both major and minor.