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  1. 𐤓‬𐤄‬𐤂‬𐤕‬𐤏‬𐤓‬ (DELMAR GRESHAM) Delmar was a promising sophomore in the Urban Studies and Planning program at the HG Central College. He worked a part-time job as waitstaff at the Slipstream Hag's Bar & Grill. His parents are normal, lower-middle class citizens who met at and still work in the hospitality industry. His long-term girlfriend studies civil engineering at the same college. Before he was reported missing, he was seeing a physician for hearing problems, but the doctor could find nothing medically wrong. Both his parents and girlfriend, in their statements to FIST, explained that Delmar had been spending an unusual amount of time on Grumble before his disappearance. His Grumble avatar was the same photo used on his missing person posters. That was over two years ago. Ever since, Delmar has mutely trundled the streets of Hell’s Gate in dirty robes seeming a beggar, but in reality, he is the Rector, a guide for any potential Assessor who seeks to sacrifice at the Narthex. 𐤀‬𐤓‬𐤕‬𐤀‬ 𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤔‬‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤇‬ (ASSESSORS OF HASITH) The Assessors of Hasith (Arta Hasith) are members of a mystery religion in Hell’s Gate. Their initiation rite is to offer their 𐤕‬𐤓‬𐤕‬𐤇‬𐤔‬ 𐤀‬𐤍‬𐤃‬ 𐤋‬‬𐤉‬𐤄‬𐤔‬ (Truths and Lies) to Hasith by allowing the Enrele parasite to eat their tongues. Instead of stealing their bodies, Hasith detaches once the initiation rite is complete, and leaves the Assessors tongueless but otherwise intact. According to the Assessors, the Enrele parasites deliver their offerings of Truths and Lies into the 𐤌‬𐤏‬𐤕‬𐤇‬𐤄‬𐤓‬ 𐤌‬𐤀‬w (Mouth of Hasith), where Truths and Lies will become the ‬𐤉‬𐤍‬𐤔‬𐤏‬𐤋‬𐤁‬𐤋‬𐤄‬𐤔‬ (Insolubles) for the 𐤅‬‬𐤉‬𐤍‬𐤀‬𐤋‬ 𐤂‬𐤏‬𐤍‬𐤕‬𐤓‬𐤀‬𐤃‬‬𐤉‬𐤂‬𐤕‬‬𐤉‬𐤏‬𐤍‬ (Final Contradiction). It is only through acts to protect the 𐤌‬𐤀‬𐤓‬𐤂‬𐤇‬ 𐤏‬𐤅‬ 𐤕‬𐤏‬𐤍‬𐤄‬𐤔‬ (March of Tongues) that the Assessors may be rewarded in the 𐤔‬𐤄‬𐤃‬𐤏‬𐤌‬𐤄‬𐤍‬𐤏‬𐤔 (‬Pseudomenos) that the world will become. The March of Tongues is the phenomenon that attracts new Assessors, who hear Hasith’s footsteps as the 𐤏‬𐤋‬𐤃‬ 𐤔‬𐤐‬𐤄‬𐤀‬𐤊‬ (Eldspeech), and they are compelled to complete the syllables of unknown words by offering their Truths and Lies at Hasith’s Narthex. 𐤉‬𐤅‬𐤕‬𐤔‬ 𐤏‬𐤅‬ 𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤔‬‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤇 (GIFTS OF HASITH) As Hasith’s patrons, the Assessors command a repulsive array of occult gifts. As the Rector and most enlightened of All, Delmar is equivalently most gifted of All. Foremost of his gifts, he can assess who has heard the March of Tongues, who has offered their Truths and Lies, and those who serve Hasith unwillingly. Delmar’s other gifts will soon be leveraged against Hasith’s adversaries. 𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤔‬‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤇‬ 𐤔‬𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤋‬𐤋‬ 𐤔‬𐤀‬y 𐤀‬𐤋‬𐤋‬ (HASITH SHALL SAY ALL) 𐤀‬𐤋‬𐤋‬ 𐤔‬𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤋‬𐤋‬ 𐤔‬𐤀‬y 𐤇‬𐤀‬𐤔‬‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤇‬‬ (ALL SHALL SAY HASITH)
  2. Vaile Trasimene @peacekeeper09• 21 minutes ago I stand with Dougton. My oath was to the Saint-King, not the military dictatorship he left behind. #FreeDougton #NotDead REPLY GRUMBLE LIKE SHARE
  3. Dr. Ghada Sudol, president of the Society of Clinical Psychology, spoke to the Daily Weekly's investigative reporter Inderant Texes about the Empire's healthcare crisis. Here is a partial transcript of the interview. [. . .] Inderant Texes: Dr. Sudol, could you tell us your background, as it pertains to your subject matter? Dr. Sudol: Certainly. I started out as an inquisitor in Ignatz before there was a Saint-King or an orthodox Gaian Church—just a baby-faced freedom fighter and a pile of stones to pray at. Back then, our duties were primarily interviewing the people of the Republic who had been disenfranchised, and providing the support missing from the way the Republic's society was structured. We weren't like the inquisitors of today—holy warriors who are above the law. Hearing the stories about the Republic, Desecrators, their impact, that's where my interest in psychology began. Toward the end of the, I don't like to call it this, toward the end of the Crusades, I transitioned to in-patient care and assisted in the creation of those support structures our society desperately needed, along with many of my former colleagues. We ended up forming the foundation of what became the Society of Clinical Psychology, and a network of other healthcare professionals across the Empire. I also provided counseling for Desecrators that had been captured and were serving out their sentences, which was very controversial at the time. IT: Do you believe that we have these support structures that were missing in the previous government? Dr. Sudol: We have support services, but it's become clear over the past several years that our programs aren't expansive enough. We aren't prepared to handle another event of the same level experienced during the last regime change, and we've experienced several in a short span of time—environmental disasters like cold snaps, an international conflict with Genesaris, attacks from several terrorist organizations, and the incident with the spires. IT: I noticed you didn't include the Enrele in your list. You've been an outspoken critic of the science behind these extraterrestrial hive-minds, or the lack thereof. Dr. Sudol: That's correct. There is no scientific basis for an Enrele hive-mind. What we have been provided with is a hypothetical alien organism that could survive on Valucre given a specific astronomical event. Nothing in the data suggests such an organism exists, and absolutely not one that's capable of mind-control or forming a collective consciousness. This data, mind you, was issued by a private corporation with no oversight. IT: Is there any psychological phenomena that might be behind the popularity of this idea? Dr. Sudol: There are several. Consensus is that, I hate to call it this, that the so-called maddening mists created a psychological pandemic. Over half of our civilization was either exposed to mind-altering substances, or they were exposed second-hand through someone else, such as a family member, and the rest of society experienced the fallout, the fallout from society's support structures buckling under that event. The conclusion of the spire incident was not a healing moment for the Empire. Many of us experienced violence from trusted community members: their spouses, their children, their coworkers, their guardians. Society was left with a deeply wounded sense of trust, and the government expected us to trust that private mercenary companies—PMCs that like to call themselves adventurers—and the PMCs said that the spires were taken care of. Then Soryn Savedo releases his Yh'mi coverage before anyone can seek help, singles out one man to blame, and stokes fear in this, this Eater-of-Stars, an entity that travels worlds and destroys them. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? IT: How does someone treat that type of condition? Why not start a mass psychic relief program? Dr. Sudol: Psychic treatments are expedient but risky. Any invasive psychic procedure is disruptive to the patient's mental structure, it's unavoidable. On the patient-care side, we've found that patients who have already experienced psychic disruptions are unlikely to seek out treatments that further invade their minds. On the psychiatric side, medicine derived from the memory cones found in Last Chance's jurisdiction show promise in clinical trials. Our recommended approach is cognitive therapy. IT: It's that easy? Just go to therapy? Dr. Sudol: Oh, it isn't that easy. The realization that someone might want or need therapy, the determination to actually go to therapy, find a therapist that they can work with, and make progress—it's a lot of effort. One of the biggest challenges we're facing as a result of this crisis is anosognosia—where someone is, as a result of neurological factors, unaware that they may have a need to get help. In most of the cases we see, patients are convinced by family or friends, who report that something is "off" about them. It's an unfortunate aspect of our culture right now that we're creating a stigma against people who need help—they're Enrele, they're aliens, they need to be quarantined or, worse, exterminated. That's not the case at all. IT: You've seen patients that claimed to experience a body-snatching event? Dr. Sudol: I have. Body-snatching is an irrational belief created from these collective traumas that, as a society, we have failed to address in any meaningful way. Out-patient care is effective in most cases, but there are delusions present in some patients, who we admit into residential facilities. Delusional patients often experience these extreme personality changes that give the impression to the people close to them that they've changed, or they're being controlled. But these personality changes are always temporary. We don't need reactionary death panels like the symposium—it's a healthcare crisis, not a military crisis. IT: What would it take for you to believe in body-snatchers? What if one were produced for you? Dr. Sudol: If someone were to produce an Enrele, it's important to remain skeptical. I want to point out that the creation of artificial organisms and artificial minds is happening right now. The Monroe Foundation has been working with neural networks for years and has developed what they're calling an artificial superintelligence—a machine hive-mind, if you will. Other private corporations have been designing species, again, for years. The Gaian Academy has created a new species of plant, pourgrass, and their "battle blobs" aren't beneath mention either. We like to blame the Desecrators for the fall of the Republic, but it's important to remember that the representatives of that government made a choice to serve oligarchs and Zengi cultists. We have a choice right now, and we should choose to be skeptical instead of fearful about any news of body-snatching aliens. If someone produced a body-snatcher, my first reaction wouldn't be panic, but a question: "How did you make that?" [. . .] ¹Maddening mists event ²Soryn Savedo's coverage and related citations ³Desecrator and Zengi cult history available in the Terrenus Timeline: Condensed ⁴The Republic is mentioned at the bottom of Fracture Landing Page under Major Historical Periods
  4. Excerpt from Regent Jim Jenkins speech to Dougton: "Good afternoon, my friends. Just yesterday, a whisteblower in the Casper government released a statement that the regent there has endorsed some unfortunate positions about our fair city. Positions, what does that mean? I think we all know what it means, ever since that, what did they call it, that symposium? "Now, we—you know, we've been good friends to them. We've been good friends and good neighbors to everyone. We work our farms with our own hands to feed our neighbors—feed everyone. We were the ones who lit up the darkness when it covered the world. We were the ones who went out into space to explore. And what have we asked from our neighbors? Nothing, because we're good friends. We want to share our meals, share our light, share our discoveries—and what do our neighbors share with us? "Conspiracies. Sadly, there is a conspiracy to defraud this nation and divest us of our liberties. You all know my background. I've put away some terrible criminals. Worst of the worst. As a prosecutor, as a faithful servant of this nation and Gaia, mark my words: we are victims of a criminal enterprise that has infiltrated the royal government. "They say that we are all being controlled by a hive mind. How does the monarchy know this? Oh, a satellite told them. A satellite that we aren't permitted by law to examine. Data methodology that we haven't been given a chance to analyze. Statistical inferences that we aren't allowed refute. Technological security is more important than our lives. "And how did they suggest saving us? Sterilization drugs. Poison bombs. New airship models. Invasive telepathy. Satellite bombardment. That symposium was a crime against humanity. Now other cities want to invade us over it. The royal government is trying to turn our city, that we built with our hands, into a test bed for their experimental weapons. "Why? It's right to ask why. I'm a lawyer. Always, always look for motive. And what motive could they have to betray us? Look around. There's been rioting all over the country. Territories have been seceding everywhere. And us? Our lifestyle is different. None of that machinery. We don't need machines that tell us to commit mass murder. Some machine in Hell's Gate, they dressed it up as a little girl, gave it a name—Victory, if you'll believe it, victory over who? Victory over us. "Some machine doll they dress up as a little girl told the royals in Ignatz that we're dissidents, and isn't that a great opportunity for testing and profiting from the next generation of weapons technology? Hell's Gate fat cats are stuffing their faces with our food and issuing edicts to conquer us. "It's with a heavy heart I signed into law the Defense Against Terrenus Act. Federal employees have until tomorrow to leave the independent state of Dougton's borders. Local law enforcement has been authorized to use lethal force on any who do not comply. We're setting up checkpoints in the surrounding towns to prevent any acts of terrorism from the politicians who have been inciting violence against us. "As regent, I would like to extend an invitation to the other municipal governments that have been targeted by the symposium. Do not let Hell's Gate and their war profiteering go unanswered."
  5. This post has been moved here from its previous topic for anyone who might be looking for it.
  6. No Minecraft. No The Office. No Despicable Me or minions.
  7. One party concedes to the other party's dance because we're an enlightened group of beneficent roleplayers whose pro-social values have ascended thinking about interactions in terms of winners and losers.
  8. Hot, hurricane, and snowbird.
  9. Who's they? They could present it to a research center. The specifics of the institute and the trials they run would be the legwork of the content creator. Ideally, the theory would be explained to us beforehand or posted in User Lore, and we could talk about it in a concrete way. It's hard to pin down what might be too radical or contrary about a nebulous topic. The power scaling primarily effects individuals. Industries operate at a level of complexity and economy of scale that they have access to methods that an individual wouldn't. Machines also have higher tolerance levels, whereas individuals melt or go mad. An airship won't fall out of the sky, but a wizard isn't levitating 100 people either, regardless of whether it's a robot wizard or a zombie wizard. There are always effects on the ecosystem when a natural resource increases in scarcity. Players can encounter these effects without needing a list of possibilities. We aren't going to write specifics, such as the change in water surface temperature in the wetlands leading to a decline in a particular species of beetle that resulted in new migration patterns of an avian predator, therefore. . . Nah.
  10. A gamist, a narrativist, and a simulationist walk into a tavern and sit down at the bar. The barkeep asks, "What'll it be?" The gamist asks, "What do I roll under to get the best drink for the lowest price?" The narrativist asks, "What do you recommend?" The simulationist asks, "What's the punchline?" The administrator thinks about deleting the tavern.
  11. Imagine you are a theater audience. In every scene of the play, the playwrights stumble onto stage at random and hand the characters new props or redo the actors' costumes and makeup. Now imagine being the only actor on stage who isn't in on it, still playing their part, or at least trying to keep on going. Magic is cheap. It costs nothing. It's literally cheaper than the Dollar Store, but everyone is rocking swag from Georgio Armani for free. It's more off-putting than someone wading across the river or buying floaties. A character waving their hands to conjure a solution reads the same as a player hand-waving a problem.
  12. Resources that are de facto infinite, and the unlimited capacity to preclude complications from any given conflict. A wizard toasts all her enemies with fire. A general commands absolute loyalty and morale never falters. A politician never has to face the discontent of their constituents and rivals. Generally, roleplayers seem to arbitrarily add limitations that sound plausible in the moment, either to generate buy-in or to be conscientious.
  13. An overpowered character is one that can circumvent an undefined amount of risk for an indefinite period of time. Most characters don't throw black holes, nor are they immortal creatures, but they are overpowered if not for the conscientiousness of the players who run them.
  14. Daloth resemble jellyfish. Their parasitic vector is through the ears, eyes, or nose. They replace the brain of the host. This leads to a few problems, the main one being the status of the host. They're technically alive, but they're brain dead (or brainless). It's unclear what would happen to the victims if the hivemind were neutralized. I leave whether a psychic can detect that situation up to them. Incidentally, Daloth is likely the worst to connect to. There's no host to act as a barrier, meaning the psychic connection is direct. It's going to notice you and gain something from you, but it isn't going to fry your brain or shoot mind bullets at you or anything. Aleth, Hasith, and Veth are safer since the host would be like a firewall. Gamath can't be connected to at all.
  15. It's actually peaceful. The residents of all the major cities are clay golems made for attracting supervillains while the real citizens sip martinis in unnamed towns and villages.
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