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Everything posted by desolate

  1. desolate

    Don't stop me now - Terrenus civil war, phase 3

    How do you want to do this? Since our factions have no previous contact (unless you want to make some backstory), I'm assuming we're going to fight over something material like territory and resources, which means: Where and over what? If you want to make a big spectacle out of it, we could possibly compete over taking resources from Terrenus (Weland is conveniently right between us).
  2. desolate

    Poll - Do you prefer more or fewer threads?

    Fewer, and with the same cast where possible to build interesting and significant relationships. I treat my characters as part of a campaign, e.g. The Dead campaign or the Justice campaign.
  3. desolate

    Poll - preferred pacing

    Shorter, and ideally faster but not always. I spent a lot of time in mIRC where length was limited to 512 characters back when "para RP" hit Yahoo! Chat and every room was a mess of <C><C><E>. I prefer to treat roleplay similar to improv, as opposed to writing in the style of one of those first-person novels—I hear Dresden Files is a popular one, that features many pages of introspective exposition. Specifically, the idea of making strong offers and not blocking them. But I've found a lot of forum roleplayers neither make nor take offers in the improv sense. 😞
  4. desolate

    Feedback - RP etiquette: Consequences

    Sure. The ideal for multiple engagements is to have consequences carry over, recurring characters experience escalating drama, and complications compound across multiple threads. As opposed to everyone disappearing and going their separate way after a single thread with a clear and sometimes sterile resolution. They don't necessarily have to explore the aftermath. Think about the basic dramatic structure of good story: set up, the crisis or crises, rising tension, climax, and then the denouement—that last part is the aftermath, and it's a relatively short part. Alternatively, there's the three-act structure, and plenty of other ways to abstract a narrative into component parts. Find a way to incorporate all of that into the spectacle rather than thinking about is as a follow-up. I wonder how much of it is due to a lack of Session 0, and I would be interested to know how much the other members of our team put into groundwork before a thread. That aside, there isn't much we can do to address interest in one's own character or other characters, or to turn stale group chemistry into a sizzler. Roleplaying can be like speed dating in some respects: line up the random strangers and be prepared to have your expectations challenged. We can certainly encourage good roleplay practices with rules and guides. It's not any different than preventing munchkins from interrupting threads by having mild powers rules. It could look like a lot of things. The easiest way at the moment would be to have a shared mod account post in required character profiles. But who knows? Things change. 🤓
  5. desolate

    Evil vs evil

  6. desolate

    Don't stop me now - Terrenus civil war, phase 3

    Go for it. Either way is good with me.
  7. desolate

    Feedback - RP etiquette: Consequences

    On the quoted passage - the setting is there to prop up the characters and their exploits. I suppose the key word is "just," i.e. that's not it's only purpose, but it may give the wrong impression and is almost accusatory. It should emphasize that the setting is there as a stage for the characters, but it's theater to both their victories and defeats. If those defeats aren't incorporated as appropriate when the setting is altered in a major way then we can do this or that to resolve it. On consequences - should avoid being generic and tacked-on after the fact, like something was missing from the original thread that always should have been there, and now we have to cover the blemish with foundation that doesn't match the threads' tones. Consequences should result from conflicts having clearly stated and concrete stakes for the characters from the beginning. What is at stake for the protagonists? What is at stake for the antagonists? What is never going to be the same? Now that's pod-racing. On conflicts - I suspect some of the consequences we see are underwhelming in part because conflicts, especially large events, follow a pattern of one-and-done. To use a common example that pops up in Terrenus, wars fought over hundreds if not thousands of miles of hostile territory and involving thousands to millions of people should last longer than my lunch break. Events like that would reasonably last years in-character. If consequences have trouble flourishing, it's because no space is provided for them to grow. On enforcing - big, bold, red note in Papyrus on a character sheet that can't be edited, hidden, or ignored. Everyone sees it anytime they look someone up, and they can absolutely incorporate it in future interactions. Anything short of noting canon consequences in a material way somewhere that isn't buried in a one-and-done thread isn't enforcement. Anything else sounds like punishment, and I think anything that can be characterized as punishment should be avoided.
  8. desolate

    Don't stop me now - Terrenus civil war, phase 3

    Rolled for faction victories and won all three, but I'm not attached to the results and I'm up for altering the outcome to taste. Let me know your thoughts on the war scenario @EpicRome23
  9. desolate

    Dice Rolling Thread

    Roll 1d2 for faction. 1 = me, 2 = you.
  10. desolate

    Dice Rolling Thread

    Roll 1d2 for faction. 1 = me, 2 = you.
  11. desolate

    Dice Rolling Thread

    Roll 1d2 for faction. 1 = me, 2 = you.
  12. desolate

    Who uses dice systems?

    It depends on what you mean by dice system. If you're talking about stats and such, then the answer is few to none. I can see a number of reasons for this, primarily two: lack of interest, or if interest exists the lack of a standard system specifically for Valucre. Back in the day, there was a sub-forum for that called Itoryn. I can't remember what the numbers interested in it was before it flagged. If you're talking about using dice in general, then I can't give you an exact number, but off the top of my head there are currently ~18 players actively using dice in some form in Terrenus. Roughly half of those are using MOBS, and the other half are using either TDS or a dice system created for a specific plot.
  13. desolate

    Dice System - Roll 12 feedback

    They cannot. Technically, they don't have HP, though I suppose that's semantics. Damage is an abstraction of injuries sustained and you can't have < 0 injuries. I clarified in the rules.
  14. desolate

    Dice System - Roll 12 feedback

    Appreciate the feedback. I'm going to answer the questions in reverse order since I think this will help with understanding the first concern: Correct. I clarified in the rules for defending. Someone can choose to negate 1 damage, stacking up to 3 damage on a roll of 11+. It's entirely possible with good rolls they can negate and heal all damage depending on enemy composition, enemy choices, and narrative. It's expected that player characters will generally be outnumbered. Action economy is a huge indicator of difficulty in most systems. Focus fire. Bonuses counter penalties and defending counters damage. If they defend against one or the other, use a different tactic. Statistically speaking, if enemies actively apply penalties and players don't counter them, then players will most likely roll 1-5. Narrative first. Can the character actually heal? Is a Rank F zombie really going to defend itself, or is it going to mindlessly attack? In my experience, most people don't min-max and tend to play to type. Be creative! The setting can be a Ranked Enemy. Say the player characters are defending a house. Set it on fire. Rank the fire according to how hard it is to put out, and roll to burn them every round they don't address it. Continuing to be creative, enemies don't necessarily have to be a simple Rank F zombie. An example from a common RPG boss fight: Rank S Kraken, 8 Rank D Kraken Tentacles. While it's possible for player characters to break the system, there is a chance the GM can accidentally kill them all by overtuning an encounter. Temporality of objectives. Presumably, the characters have an objective and it isn't going to wait around, and consequences don't have to be damage. Are they after an artifact? The Rank S lich who was controlling the Rank F zombies they're taking forever to beat snatches it and starts to run off. Just because there's not a fail state for rolls doesn't mean the characters can't fail for making poor choices. That said, defending and healing do introduce the possibility of combat lasting too long, and many solutions to mechanical complications are narrative choices that aren't explicitly explained in the system reference document. I would need play-test data to determine where and how combat drags. There are also multiple solutions other than cool-downs, such as lowering the critical injury threshold, wound penalties, only allowing use of heal once per roll, etc.
  15. desolate

    Dice System - Roll 12

    Rules Roll 1d12 1-5 (41.67%) – Choose one option. 6-10 (41.67%) – Choose two options. 11 or higher (16.67%) – Choose three options. Options • Attack! Deal 1 damage. • Heal. Undo 1 damage. • Avoid or defend against the next attack attack. Negate 1 incoming damage for yourself or another. • Enhance yourself or an ally. Add a +1 bonus to a future roll. • Enfeeble an enemy. Inflict a -1 penalty to a future roll. • Improve your situation or an ally's situation. • Worsen an enemy’s situation. When choosing options, you can apply each choice to a different target. Additionally, you can choose the same option more than once. Bonuses and penalties can stack up to +3 or -3. The entire bonus or penalty is consumed when used on a future roll. You can withstand 5 damage. Each point of damage reflects increasingly severe injuries. At 5 damage, you are critically wounded beyond healing and can only choose 1 option regardless of roll. When more than 5 damage is dealt to you, then you are incapacitated or dying. It's your choice whether you resolve that outcome with death. Healing has no effect on an undamaged character. Generally, enemies will follow the same rules as player characters, but may have additional features and differ in the amount of damage they can take. Rank F enemies can withstand 1 damage. Rank D enemies can withstand 2 damage. Rank C enemies can withstand 3 damage. Rank B enemies can withstand 4 damage. Rank A enemies can withstand 5 damage. Rank S enemies can take more than 5 damage. Changelog 9.1.2018 Buffs and debuffs can be used on any future roll instead of only the next roll. Added options Improve your situation and Worsen an enemy's situation. Various improvements to organization and word choice. 8.30.2018 System reference document created. Feedback thread created. Clarified rule on avoiding or defending against attacks. Avoiding or defending is specific to preventing damage. Clarified rule on healing when at 0 damage and full health. No effect.
  16. desolate

    Dice Rolling Thread

    test - success
  17. desolate

    [Faction] Chesterfield

    Geography At the crossroads of two major highways, Chesterfield is a modest city at a nexus of trade. Downtown, adobe-style domiciles reminiscent of Pueblo revival architecture huddle close together on narrow brick roads that diverge from the highways without much sense of order. Most of the flat-top roofs feature small gardens, and in the most scenic parts of towns many buildings open up into belvederes. The border of town features most of the entertainment: three separate strips have formed on the Biazo, Blairville, and Weland sides to entice traders and travelers to overstay and spill their coin. Neighboring these strips are long stretches of warehouse and parking for the guarding and storage of goods. To the direct west of Chesterfield are the humble Marlboro Mountains, from which flows the wide, slow-moving Lider River that travelers from the Biazo side of Chesterfield must cross. Its watershed also includes smaller rivers from the north, which rises into the Hills of Lost Hearts. At the base of the Marlboro Mountains is the Dunhill Forest. The forest is considered protected, but certain areas are open to big game and commercial logging. East and south, Chesterfield overlooks a network of sibling villages, farms and ranches in the Polet Lowlands from which local goods flow into town and out into the rest of the country. A secret labyrinth of tunnels runs underneath Chesterfield buildings and connects to nearby towns. However, some of the openly accessible caves are open to visitors. Climate Hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters. It snows in the winter, floods periodically in the spring, wildfires on occasion in the summer, and the fall gets foggier and foggier as the otherwise shy rains begin. The northerly rains that drench Biazo are blunted by the Hills of Lost Hearts, and Chesterfield is largely protected from any turbulent ocean weather by the Marlboro Mountains, but it also prevents a great deal of cooling in the warm months. Additionally, the entire area is near a fault line, and year-round may experience small earthquakes. Organization Culture The population of approx. 37,000 is 86% Korr and the official language is Korred. The Korr are descendents of gnome-like ancestors from the Hollows beneath the Polet Lowlands. Cave paintings and pottery depict dark, elf-like beings that are presumably the Kharn, but no known dark elves live in the vicinity. After the Terran Empire was established, most of the town adopted Terric, particularly owing to trade. As trade and tourism are the cornerstones of Chesterfield, most are welcoming to all kinds, although Gaianism has recently fallen to the wayside in favor of Korr folk religion called Paotred that worships more immediate entities such as genii loci. While a single Gaian Temple remains open, it serves as a rec center. Small Paotred offering shrines are built near most landmarks. Education Chesterfield schools teach a well-rounded liberal arts education with a focus on the arts and agriculture. Later years include business, economics, and finance rather than a focus on physical sciences and, where the talent exists for magic and is taught, the schools of enchantment and illusion are prized over evocation. As a people that are smaller in stature than most Terrans, resolving conflict—whether in business or from physical danger—in a way that maximizes beneficence is encouraged. Government and Politics Law Government in Chesterfield is run similar to a business and follows the council-manager system of government. A board of aldermen are responsible for legislative duties and hire a professional manager to oversee the administrative functions of the city. The manager is called a mayor to sound more palatable. Liberty is a core value in Chesterfield. Most “social sins” are not crimes or even frowned on, although they are tougher on crimes that removed freedoms from others, whether it be economic or violent. Extreme crimes that cannot be solved by reparation are almost always punished with mind control. The current mayor was recently assassinated, allegedly by the former captain of the guard. Foreign Relations Most of the region has declared independence from the Terran Empire. As a trade city, relations remain good with specific cities. Foreign policy focuses on building relationships with those cities as individuals and not as part of an overarching Empire. Relations with the Empire in general might become more strained in the future. Military As a relatively small city, Chesterfield can muster 2,800 soldiers from its own population. In the event of conscription, it could support up to 8,000, but that scenario would be life or death. They do have enough coin to hire mercenaries, and recruitment from the entire Polet Lowlands can increase that number. Soldier equipment varies between a mix of bill-guisarme or hooked hammers, handbows or shortbows, simple wands charged with cantrips, and short swords with hook protrusions called harpē. During peacetime, they are functionally all town guards, customs agents, and park rangers. Economy Aside from entertainment, tourism, and tariffs, Chesterfield produces crops such as cereals, beets, beans, nuts, potatoes, sunflower, but they are notable for their Korred chilies. Ranches provide dairy, cattle, and hogs in addition to beasts of burden like bison. They have deposits of raw materials such as beryllium and tin. Industry centers around processing lumber from the Dunhill Forest. Due to the Safeguard Act in Terrenus, magical contraband flows through the area, and when confiscated Chesterfield has no qualms about selling it back or dealing with other country's black markets. Most of this contraband comes from a shady organization calling itself the Purveyors of Exotica (POE). Canon and History Sweep the leg - Forces from Chesterfield and Aligoria clash over an abandoned, but intact, outpost north of the Day River and west of Weland. The forces battle throughout the night and into the next morning, learning about their opponents through the hard-won lessons of pain and sacrifice. Both sides reach an armistice and agree upon a division of material resource and shared use of the outpost. Nightingales can't live on fairy tales - A vigilante group assassinates a corrupt government official, though publicly it's blamed on an faction of ex-rangers from Terrenus. This group, Justice, assumes control by replacing the dead mayor with a fake and begins infiltrating other key positions. For the most part, the city continues on as normal, none the wiser.
  18. desolate

    Peaceful Woods - Retired 2018-08-04

    Consolidated into Great Pine Barrens This picture is open-source and labelled for reuse The Peaceful Woods border the Great Pine Barrens' south-eastern flank and fringes a small mountain range. As its name suggests, it is peaceful. No, no. Peace truly reigns supreme in the woods. Nothing can come to harm in the Peaceful Woods. Nothing. There is no might in the world that can injure anyone or anything within its bounds. When the Desolator covered the world in darkness, the Peaceful Woods and its inhabitants alone remained unaffected. Ever since its discovery, it has been a popular training ground for newbie Terran soldiers. They can strike each other with spells and swords, but nothing happens. Nothing is cut, and nothing is bruised, neither wood nor flesh is burned. The Peaceful Woods defy the circle of life as mankind knows it. Nothing is ever seen eating anything else except sap excreted by the ancient sequoias that make up the woods. It is thought that the sap from its trees is distantly related to the sap in the forests outside of Biazo, but since the trees cannot be dissected, and stealing the sap from animals that use it as sustenance counts as a malicious act that causes harm, it cannot be taken except for eating and quenching thirst. It is known from folk stories passed from old tribes to traveling bards to history books that the Peaceful Woods predates written history. The sanctuary is thought to have been forged by many clans of shamans working in tandem, the only two still known by name being the Coconino and the Shawnee; the latter tribe still exists, but they have secluded themselves on the Shawnee Glacier. Nobody really knows what happened to the Coconino. Surprisingly few people live in the Peaceful Woods. The only permanent residents are few and far between, and they enjoy their seclusion. But there is a friendly bunch of talking red foxes, bright eyed and bushy tailed, that lope around guiding travelers and spinning unbelievable tales for anyone who will listen. Perhaps they might know something of the Peaceful Wood's past. Of course, when people leave the Peaceful Woods, if they follow the foxes’ advice they tend to get into some kind of trouble. Since the existence of Unnaturals is harmful in and of itself, they cannot enter the Peaceful Woods. They literally bounce off. This property is highly coveted by the Gaians, but they have been unable to replicate it; their sanctuary spells are feeble in comparison. Notably, the Peaceful Wood shrinks by approximately one-fifth of the distance the Shawnee Glacier recedes every year, making the reproduction of its tranquility a top priority. It is heavily rumored that the Peaceful Wood is the way it is due to Herbie the Sage creating the first ever Sanctuary spell on this land.
  19. desolate

    Gaian Academy

    Gaian Academy and Deepview Island Map Overview Academy information, sign up process, and class completion Academy classes The Gaian Academy is a national research university located on Deepview Island, an inland island and part of the Ponkapoag Lake Archipelago, located at the center of Ponkapoag Lake. Deepview Island's size is approx. 30 sq. miles. In total, the student body numbers 14,254 as of 27 AO. Of those students: 7,876 are undergraduates and 6,378 are post-graduates. The number of academic staff is 4,010. The average age is 22 for students and 34 for faculty. Geography Deepview Island is almost entirely flat and slightly above the water level. Aside from paved walkways leading between Academy buildings, it's covered in flood-protective hybrid grass synthesized in a lab and bioluminescent trees that provide the majority of outdoors campus lighting. The golden beaches are surrounded by multiple shoals as a natural barrier and a warning that the water quickly becomes very deep. Various smaller islands can be found throughout the massive lake, many of them inhabited by tight-knit communities consisting of several villages. Over the past year, its weather has gone from mild to tumultuous as a result of Cold Snap induced climate change. There are frequent rain showers, common thunderstorms, and the island is at-risk for flooding. As a result, Academy walkways are accompanied by drainage sluices to mitigate buildup from rain. In terms of temperature, it tends to be warm for most of the year, despite the common storm fronts. Fauna and Flora Aquatic Blot - What's more scholastic than a school of fish? An academy of fish! Native to the archipelago are fish possessing rudimentary telepathy that have developed a kind of hive-mind. The exact mechanism for aquatic blot formation has yet to be uncovered. Researchers are currently searching for what they call "headmaster fish," hypothetical creatures responsible for starting the aquatic blots, but are unsure whether that's the case or if there's an undiscovered psychic event causing the phenomenon. Composition of aquablots varies seasonally. Whereas Spring might dense flocks of flying fish, Summer can have impenetrable walls of minnows, Autumn could make for a terrifying mass of eels, and Winter with a possibility of giant catfish. Battle Blobs - They look like clumps of red jelly and are stored in the gym. Battle blobs have to be activated by faculty in the Dept of Phys Ed, and they deactivate if removed from the gym. Were one to be removed from the Academy grounds, it would immediately evaporate and disappear. They're not technically alive, but they look like it when they transform. Battle blobs shapeshift into intelligent opponents for sparring purposes as long as the relevant battle data is chipped into them. Battle blobs are not technologically sophisticated enough for instruction in anatomy and biology. They can regenerate from a gram to full functionality in two days. Debate rages about what will happen if an AI ever takes over the battle blobs; the doomsday scenario is typically referred to as Red Goo. Everlumens - Dwarf conifers altered from the Great Pine Barrens to emit a soft light. Everlumens produce glowcones, sweet fruit-like seeds used as toppings on desert or flavoring for drinks. When eaten directly, people glow like the everlumens for a few hours. The Academy has patented a lotion called Treediance that uses glowcone extract to improve skin appearance. Hypnocone Snails - Discovered after a group of students found one on the beach. After gazing into its cone, they experienced such hyper focus that they wouldn't stop counting grains of sand until the morning after. In addition to being used in ADHD medication, eating cooked snails produces a mild but pleasant high. Eating them raw creates an intensely nightmarish hallucinogenic trip. Lash-tailed Water Basilisk - Lurking in the shoals, these dark iguana-like lizards are thin and fast-swimming. They're camouflaged such that swimmers have difficulty seeing them underwater and even in the shoals, particularly when its raining. Unlike their stony-gaze cousins, these basilisks have no eye abilities. Instead, their venom breaks down fish scales into a toxic slurry that's great for their diet. Students bitten by basilisks often require skin grafts, assuming their claws or whip-like prehensile tail didn't take a limb. Lavaweed - Difficult to grab and grow deep-water algae found near hydrothermal vents. Lavaweed has red-shifting cyanobacteria that absorbs infrared light. Whereas pourgrass might be used for plant and water elemental applications, lavaweed has cross-elemental potential for linking earth, fire and water. These weeds are volatile when removed from the water and are toxic to ingest or otherwise consume. Pourgrass - Alternatively poregrass. It was developed to create a network of roots that modify Deep Island's soil. After a semester of growth, flooding was cut down by nearly half. Pourgrass is bright green on a sunny day and has a bluish hue when submerged. Thieving Frigatebird - Kleptomaniac black-and-white birds that have run other birds off of Deepview Island by constantly stealing from them. Now they steal from students. Lost student ID? Frigatebird has it. They're also known for their bright blue gular sacs. When fully inflated, these sacs grant them invisibility. While seemingly counter-productive for mating purposes, observation suggests female frigatebirds care more about how many stolen items there are than how big the males' sacs are. Admissions Policy Undergraduates must demonstrate equivalent competency to someone who has graduated from Terrenus compulsory school and be at least 16 years of age, known as the Age of Reason, which is the legal age of adulthood. Competency is determined by an entrance exam; it is proctored, but not timed. There are three components: a battery of standardized tests for critical reasoning in reading, mathematics, and the natural sciences; an entrance essay that functions as a statement of intent; and a spellcasting test. The spellcasting test changes every semester. It consists of providing instructions to the current crop of students to see if they can successfully cast whatever spell was chosen for that semester. Collaboration is permitted, as is modification of the instructions to improve the spell. The spellcasting test score is weighted, meaning it is considered more important than other categories of the entrance exam. It is also the sole determination of whether a freshman is immediately placed in the Honors College, and it helps with acquiring merit-based scholarships for cost of living and residency; for those reasons, transfer and exchange students are encouraged to participate even if they completed an equivalent test at another school. There are no retakes after passing. Exceptions apply. Any student can be sponsored into the Academy by a master, who is a tenured professor, under academic probation until they reach a point in their tutelage where they can pass the entrance exam. Students under 16 years old are considered emancipated from their parents, and the sponsoring master is considered their legal guardian. Due to the legal responsibilities involved, age waivers are uncommon. Transfer students who attended a university accredited by the Terrenus government and have credits that demonstrate equivalent competency can waive the entrance exam. The student exchange program operates under the sponsorship policy. Only students from the continental interior are allowed to participate with few exceptions. In accordance with Terrenus’ isolationist foreign policy, overseas staff and faculty are barred from entry unless they have already renounced their foreign citizenship; provide proof of residency for 2 years in Terrenus; and have obtained Terrenus citizenship, are in the process of obtaining it, or intend on utilizing Gaian Academy programs for obtaining their citizenship. Any exchange student from outside the continental interior who breaks the code of conduct is not only expelled, but deported from Terrenus. Everyone on campus requires an Academy ID (AID). The AID appears to be a blank smart card, however, it's keyed to the aurametrics and biometrics of the person to which it's assigned. Photographic and biographical information only populate when the AID is in the hands of its registered user. The AID is only valid when enough aurametric and biometric data to sustain life is present, both to prevent AID spoofing and to alert medical services when life signs are failing. This smartcard is required to access any of the Academy's facilities. AID can be linked to most pieces of magitech by attaching a microscanner. Code of Conduct Staff and students are required to sign a contractual agreement to abide by the Academy’s code of conduct. The contract is magically binding and enforceable by security staff. Although this is not an exhaustive list, the most important rules are: 1. Comply with all Terrenus laws, regulations, and contractual obligations. 2. Do not disclose any private, confidential, or proprietary information. Research requires signing a non-disclosure agreement and employment has a non-compete clause. 3. Third-party financial interests, including any solicitation by unapproved vendors on Deepview Island, is strictly prohibited. 4. School resources can only be used for purposes on behalf of the school. 5. Everyone has the right to a supportive and positive academic environment. Personal abuse and destruction of property are not tolerated. Weapons are not permitted on campus except by authorized military personnel. 6. No falsification of documents or records is permitted. 7. Students are expected to comply with immediate directives issued by identified Academy faculty. Every student is educated on these expectations at a mandatory orientation after enrollment. Violation of any clause within the code of conduct is met with academic suspension for the semester, however, any violence is grounds for expulsion and, in extreme cases, imprisonment. Security staff is trained to de-escalate situations before invoking the contract’s magic. Cost of Attendance Students who demonstrate competency as per the admissions policy attend the Gaian Academy tuition-free. Lecturers and masters who act as sponsors determine their own costs for their classrooms or tutoring services. The Academy will pay for students who have already been admitted, but those who are seeking to develop the remedial knowledge and skills necessary to attend must pay lecturer and master fees, or convince them to waive those fees. Students who do not graduate from their program of study are given 6-8 weeks’ notice that they must attend a hearing with appropriate faculty to determine their future. If there is no reason to forgive the lack of timely graduation, the education is treated as a delinquent loan that must be repaid. If the student does not attend the hearing, it will occur in absentia. If a payment plan is not imminent, an arrest warrant is placed on the student. Cost of living and residency is not factored into tuition, but merit-based scholarships are offered by the Academy, faculty, alumni, and private institutions across Terrenus. Due to Terrenus high quality of life, need-based aid is uncommon, but the government has recently given educational grants to families affected by insurgencies in Blairville, Patia, and Biazo Isle. However, the majority of low-income grants for relocation are granted to students from Last Chance. In addition, the Ponkapoag Lake Region has several small towns and villages with employment opportunities. Federal Work Study and Independent Study Federal work study offers temporary employment to students for 10-15 hours a week at a living wage. The type of work study is determined by the deans of their departments; employment and supervision is the responsibility of that department’s faculty. Some examples: 1. Become a part of security staff or bounty hunt delinquent students. 2. Maintain and repair the Academy’s apotropaic enchantments. 3. Monitor the environmental and weather control systems. 4. Participate in agricultural activities. 5. Help at the student wellness center. Work study for a semester counts towards credit of the equivalent class, but the student must submit reports on their work to faculty to demonstrate their learning. Participating in agricultural activities might count towards engineering or alchemy credits depending on the work, whereas being involved with environmental and weather control might provide credit in elementalism-related coursework. Each semester of completed work study counts towards the 2 year requirement of federal service to obtain Terrenus citizenship. In its short 4 years of existence, the Gaian Academy has produced some of the youngest citizens in the country. Independent study is an alternative to traditional classroom learning. A student must submit a proposal to the dean of their program’s department, convince faculty that the study is of interest to the Academy or the government of Terrenus, negotiate an appropriate merit-based stipend if applicable, and demonstrate significant academic achievement throughout the semester. An example of independent study would be onsite research into exorcising the Haunted Glen. It also counts towards Terrenus citizenship. For both work study and independent study, there is a one job limit per student. A student may only use one form of study for one class’s worth of credit per semester. No double dipping. Staff and Student Residence 73% of students live in the campus residence halls, and 82% of faculty live in campus staff lodging. The rest pursue housing in Ponkapoag Lake Region towns or commute. There are over 12 residence halls along the east shore of Deepview Island with a variety of room styles available. Every student is provided with a bed, desk, and basic school supplies. Adjustable indoor lighting is provided by radiant rune-stones; style of fixture depends on residence hall. Outdoor lighting is provided campus-wide by bioluminescent plants, the everlumens. There is no curfew and no pets are allowed. Every student floor is overseen by a floor manager who reports to a hall manager. Faculty lodging has no such management system. Amenities in all residence halls include a ground floor student lounge, dining hall and retail cafe, wireless holo-array access on CAN, self-service laundry, central air, aerogel insulation, vending machines on every floor, and beach access. Each diner has specialized food stations that cater to a variety of diets, and some operate bars. The Gaian Academy is not a dry campus. Positions, Hierarchy, and Leadership Students are able to run for student government positions in GAS, the Gaian Academy Senate, which is responsible for representing the student body’s interests. A certain number of seats proportional to current year admission rates and graduating class year are reserved to ensure equal representation. Faculty are divided between the Academy administration and the academic staff. Since the bureaucracy is large by necessity of managing the student body, the following is not an exhaustive list of faculty, but an overview of the most notable positions in descending order: Chancellor - The figurehead of the Gaian Academy, appointed by the regent from a pool of cardinals put forward by the Temple of Gaia. Provost - Represents Terrenus' governmental interests in the Academy. Appointed by a general from the ranks of colonels from the Terrenus Army. Board of Trustees - Elected officials consisting of Gaian Academy masters and alumni. Headmaster - Appointed by majority Trustee vote and unanimous agreement by the Chancellor and Provost. Departmental Deans - Heads of the various departments that run the Academy's programs of study. Faculty Senate - In charge of representing the faculty and having a voice in policies that affect employees of the Academy. Masters - Distinguished professors who are capable of sponsoring students. Professors - Tenured teachers that are hired full-time, primarily for their research. Assistant Professors - Consisting of post-graduate students who either help teach lower and mid-level subjects or work as lab assistants. Lecturers - Adjunct teachers or guest lecturers who run temporary seminars. Only GAS has access to anyone above the Headmaster through a process of petitioning. Departments The Gaian Academy is divided into several departments with their own buildings and various programs of study. Each department is headed by a dean. Students may elect employees of their department to the faculty senate. Below is a list of departments and some examples of topics students are able to study, purely for the sake of inspiration: Dept of Natural Science - Mana mechanics, elemental phase theory, psychometry and retrocognition, arcanospheric climatology, alchemical botany, aberrant biology and cryptozoology, spirit conjuration. Dept of Engineering - Magitech development, materials enchanting, ley line architecture, natural resource extraction, transportation systems, sanitation and waste disposal, computational casting and spell informatics. Dept of Medicine - Psychic surgery and mindsculpting, exorcism, biomedical alchemy, geomantic healing, metagenetic therapy, preventative apotropaics, diagnostic divination, organic nanomedicine. Dept of Physical Education - Adventuring and wilderness survival, dungeoneering, martial arts and self-defense, officer training, somatic spellcasting, physiognomy, metaphysical therapy. Dept of Social Science - International diplomacy, incantation and rune linguistics, cultural assimilation of Unnaturals, socioeconomic impact of recent disasters and policies, effects of cutting-edge magic on jurisprudence, demography and bestiary studies, interdisciplinary approaches to improving and providing social services. Places of Interest Academy Keep - Functions as the Student Services building and houses the Academy's warp gate. After the World Fair, it's been prettied up to the point where it resembles a gaudy Temple of Gaia, which is its secondary function. After the Academy was rebuilt, many of the fortifications were deconstructed. The school's geothermal and ley-line power grids are maintained in the keep's underground. Botanical Garden - Primarily indoors, the botanical garden spans several greenhouses that feature basic plants for herbology to advanced alchemical reagents. It's the most colorful place on campus and a popular chill spot for picnics. CAN - Campus area network and the Academy's server system. Augmented and virtual reality are currently experimental technologies in development. At the moment, the only campus-wide augmented reality feature enabled is leaving digital notes that can be divined or read using most magitech. HMS Expulsion - The Academy used to have its own ship before it was destroyed in the undead attack. Several enterprising students lashed the remains together with various pontoons, buoys, and other flotation devices lost in the attack or to the various floods. At least three containers deep, the raft-like amalgamation is home to one of the Ponkapoag Lake's biggest gangs, Maelstrom. Hologlobe Cafe - Bistro attached to an extensive multi-floor library that features large interactive holographic globes at every table. Here, students can browse the Academy's secure CAN on larger devices while eating or studying. Flooded Catacombs - Buried dead from the island's ancient past were used in an undead assault on the Academy over a year ago. The catacombs from which they rose have since been flooded. They're marked by a perpetually clean, white obelisk that was erected as a memorial. Acting as a lightning rod for prayer, the flooded catacombs are full of holy water that feeds consecrations into the lake. Gymnasium - Part of the Dept of Physical Education, the gym has all the expected equipment for conditioning, endurance and strength training. The floor space is reserved by hour or day for various activities that utilize some of its more specialized areas, such as the sparring rings—the only place on campus where violence is permitted. Although the entire school is magic proofed, the gym is extra fool proofed for reckless meatheads. Leaf Green Dive - The Academy's bar, dance floor, karaoke parlor, and only specific party spot. It's run by a bunch of social science alumni who claim to be providing a social service to the island—by containing all the rabble. Its namesake is from students getting chloroplastered. A drink invented by the owner in her elective alchemy final can turn people green. They call it Leaf Green because you'll leave green. Liar Studio - A studio donated from the World Fair, incorporated into one of the post-graduate reisdence halls that uses the new LIES (Luminous Illusion Entertain System) technology. It features illusion-based animated shows, some of them created by students who are eager to get involved in the industry. Mana Collider - The Dept of Natural Sciences has a piece of technology that slams enchanted particles and microspells together in various media to see what happens. Conspiracy theorists say that the mana collider will open a warp gate-like rift and usher in the end of days. Mindswitch Game Room - Medicine majors created a room in their residence hall where occupants can switch minds and bodies. Ever tried a bluffing game with someone else's face and voice? Or how about twister while switching to a new body every round? The mind switch disengages at will or upon leaving the room. Transit Station - Due to various risks and upkeep costs, the lightning rail and bridge projects were abandoned. The transit station is on the west coast and harbors ACV hover-ferries constructed from leftover train cars that will take students across the Ponkapaoag Lake Region. Transit station employees are trained life guards and can cast exposure protection, haste and underwater breathing spells on students upon request. War Tree - An attempt to genetically reproduce the sanctuary-creating trees of the Peaceful Woods. It had the opposite effect. The War Tree inspires aggression, and as such has been transplanted to a remote location on a tiny islet offshore. Students often use the excuse, "But the war tree made me." to get away with brawls that happen in its proximity. It's been brought up in bio-ethics committees nation-wide as an example of GMOs gone wrong and Terrenus' incomplete understanding of metagenes. People of Interest Buskers - After the World Fair, a few street performers from the Blairville gypsy market stayed behind to ply their trade. Now there's various competing student performers lead by rival gypsies that travel across the archipelago spreading amusement. Campus Security - Consisting of students studying at the Depts of Physical Education and Social Services as well as professional security. Student security focuses on arbitration and de-escalation; they are not permitted to engage in fights, but they reliably end the vast majority of campus disputes. Professional security forces and rapid response teams can deploy a variety of non-lethal countermeasures in addition to negotiators to resolve the most serious student incidences. The most common measure is the invocation of the student signed contract of conduct, which compels surrender. Dungeoneers - A student activities group that travels Terrenus to create or improve dungeons rather than adventure through them. One of their graduating projects was to create lairs for frost giants in the Great Pine Barrens during the Cold Snap. They've been criticized for providing homes to a pest, but those critics can hardly argue against the fact that the frost giants lately prefer napping in their dungeons than attacking villages. Maelstrom - Displaced adolescent gang-bangers from Last Chance that have brought the defunct drug trade with them. Although most recreational drugs are legal in Terrenus, Maelstrom undercuts the legitimate sale of taxable narcotics, lifts pharmaceuticals from the Dept of Medicine, and on the down low sells some of the most dangerous and unattainable milspec combat stims on the grey market. They have taken over the HMS Expulsion. Ranger Squads - An eclectic combination of rangers from the Terrenus Army specializing in aquatic, urban, and wilderness settings can often be found patrolling the campus perimeter or in the Academy Keep. They are skilled in all modes of ranged combat, including the use of bows, crossbows, dart launchers, and rifles, and are well known for their high-level charm and holding spells. Not technically part of campus security, the rangers are often called to deal with animal control, but their main purpose is to defend Terrenus' national security interests on campus. REAP - Regeneration and Environmental Action Project. After the failure of HERB (Historical and Ecological Research Bureau) to fix the island, REAP formed from the first batch of Academy alumni with the goal to restore Deepview Island to a habitable condition. Their plan was successful. Now plants can grow and animals no longer avoid the island. Virseq Acrologistics - The only megacorp that runs in the Ponkapoag Lake Region. It has its own island several miles north from the Academy for its corporate headquarters—looks like a fancy resort for the ultrarich. They have near complete control over the flow of goods in the region. Students are instructed to be wary because Virseq are known patent trolls. Virseq corpmages specialize in mass transportation spells, and their guards are some of the best in the business. War Fox - Local mythology tells that the War Fox was born from a fruit of the War Tree. It's not a fruit-bearing tree, but nobody has a better explanation. Not unlike the foxes of the Peaceful Wood, this singular vixen appeared after the War Tree's transplant. Ponkapoag Lake hunters have reportedly killed the War Fox three dozen times, but no body has ever been found, and she always reappears. Unsurprisingly, War Fox sightings are often bad omens, and students are instructed never to follow her. White Prism - On the surface, White Prism is a religious organization that appeals to the local flavor of Gaian sensibilities, which aren't always orthodox. Its name was inspired by the memorial obelisk above the flooded catacombs. The underbelly of White Prism contains elements from religious intolerance to hate crimes fueled by outdated sanctimony. They're responsible for the hazing ritual called warbaiting, where new students are lured to the War Tree and duped into fighting. History In 20 AO, the Ponkapoag Lake Region signed the RUG (Regency United Governance) bill, creating a political district from previously disorganized communities. Upon approval, the newly elected regent earmarked funds to join NUT (National Universities of Terrenus) for the purpose of establishing federally funded higher education opportunities. After a couple of years of organization, Odin, the King of Terrenus, personally traveled the country with a group of teachers. They ran guest lectures for promising young minds as part of the King's annual religious pilgrimage and inspections for military establishments. After accumulating a large following, he directed them to the newly minted Gaian Academy in 23 AO. Taking advantage of the notoriety and involvement of Odin's cabinet, the regency attracted several top researchers to establish themselves away from the grind against the status quo in the megacities. Despite earning a reputation as an elite university, attendance fell after a series of catastrophic events. During its rise, several headmasters were hired and fired due to failures of management. In 25 AO, an insane student conspired with Unnaturals to lead an undead attack on the Academy. Deepview Island was blighted and reduced to rubble, although the majority of students and faculty escaped unharmed. Although it slowly began recovering as of early 26 AO, an environmental disaster called the Cold Snap caused violent nation-wide climate change. Incursions by frost giants in the regency made travel conditions even more dangerous. Had it not been for the World Fair in Q4 26 AO, a massive event showcasing the latest and greatest in Terran inventions, the Academy might have gone under. Instead, the influx of tourism funds caused rapid growth and investment opportunities. Rumor has it that the government contract for the World Fair was subject to an intense bidding war; the scales were tipped by the estate funds of a deceased Peacekeeper who used to be a teacher and the avarice of Virseq Acrologistics, which became a monopoly soon after. It's now 27 AO and the Gaian Academy has produced its first batch of promising alumni and is ready to raise the next generation of geniuses (that's you, beautiful). Canon Gestalt: A student named Cassandra collects a strange assortment of items then travels to the flooded catacombs with a friend in the middle of a stormy night. Here, she murders the friend, breaks the catacomb obelisk, and creates a monster with the power of a compressed hurricane. With this monster, who she names Novaculi, Cassandra destroys the residence buildings, the Academy Keep's Warp Gate, and damages a good portion of the transit station, before escaping to Ponkapoag's shore. Public Safety I: Donovan and Marian, among other students in Professor Volturn's Public Safety class, are tasked with gathering information on the nearby Spire. Their journey to intel proves to be a trying one that takes them through violent protestors, an attack on public transportation, a riot at a hospital, an exploding corpse, a criminal hamlet aboard a flotilla, and finally the Spire itself. The students can't bring the Spire down but find the message, the key to its destruction, and pass it on. Carpe Florem: This is the transitional thread which saw the necessity to expand the Academy from a structure with some outlying fields, to now cover the entirety of Deepview Island. Thousands of students died, were reanimated by foul necromancy, and subsequently placed into stasis, pending a cure for the Unnatural disease forced on them. Virtually all assailants were laid to waist by modified Gladius missile strike and the remainder were sniped from the shore by Terran soldiers or crushed by a sweeper team of GL-17RX golems.
  20. desolate

    Nightingales can't live on fairy tales

    Full summary - Members of the vigilante group Justice stake out a major trade route for suspicious activity, the once quiet town of Chesterfield turned commerce hub on the highway between Biazo, Patia, Weland, and Marlboro Keep. During the night, a group of bandits hit a caravan; Justice jumps into the fray, only to discover the bandits were—possibly but not confirmed—military operatives targeting a trader in illicit goods. This seller of rare magical contraband—"guarded" by a rat ogre that is promptly defeated by the combined effort of Eddie, Jackson, and Jericho—gives up information under interrogation: he is part of a notorious crime syndicate, the Purveyors of Exotica, that have taken advantage of the Safeguard Act's unintended consequences: a strong black market for mystical goods in the region. Additionally, the POE trade in mystical humanoid goods as well, several of the government officials of Chesterfield, including the alderman and the guard captain, who partake in the trafficking—the former for his own pleasure and the latter for the sake of wealth. Naturally, the three of them assassinate the alderman under cover of night and fog while the town guard are preoccupied sorting out the "bandit" attack on the highway. Jericho uses the Ghost Pouch artifact to steal both the alderman's ghost and the POE agent's ghost. Eddie cracks a safe in the alderman's home containing various notes, rainy day cash, and a storage device including pictures and video of some of his.... trafficking activities. They leave the guard captain alive to frame for the mayoral assassination, and Justice were their rescuers. As a result, Justice plants a controllable alderman in the dead one's place, and begins using the insider knowledge gained from the combination of documents, torture and ghosts to have a Justice cell infiltrate other positions in town for a full take-over. Short summary - Eddie, Jericho and Jackson—members of the infamous vigilante group Justice—strike down a corrupt government in the town of Chesterfield. Their organization, under disguise, assumes positions of authority over the town and in effect the trade route.
  21. Deep in the land of bison shit and camel spit, in the shadow of Evil Mountain—that's what Jackson called the rocky abode of Marlboro Keep—there was a noisy little town where the people weren't accustomed to anything more than barking dogs, singing cicadas and the patter of rain. Fleets of wagons and their covered, and sometimes armored, trailers passed through Chesterfield all day and night now. Honking horns, thrumming engines, and hooting and whooping of caravan folk was their new norm. But tonight they were in for another kind of whooping, the kind that would leave this ass-end of nowhere red for a long while. At least he hoped so. It had been a week of mindless drudgery. Walk the town. Walk the farms. Walk the roads. Talk to anyone else who walked them, although their doddering accent made the Terric difficult to follow. They had settled on an abandoned tornado shelter on the outskirts of town to turn into a local hideout and supply cache, wherein they ate together at the end of every night and shared tales about the nothing going on. For example: "Martha accused Stuart of stuffing his camel's humps today during the camel competition," Jackson said over a can of beans and the dim light of a fire stone outside their designated hole in the ground "Is cheating at a camel competition punishable?" And it was on this night that such philosophical quandaries on the reach of Justice were interrupted, the lone stretch of highway beyond the depot filled with another kind of noise: the popping of tires and screams that were music to their ears! A wagon, hitched with a comically large armored trailer and spiked spokes on its wheels, tore to a sudden stop. Pinpricks of light from green-cloaks hidden in the grass and their flaming arrows rained down it. Other wagons sped by with haste to escape the incident. They were far enough away from town the locals had not an inkling. "Finally! Something's happening!"
  22. desolate

    The Black Book (B|E Quest)

    Noel turned his attention away from Godric and Leo to Ioreth. Her debrief was surprisingly professional and warranted a genuine smile. It certainly beat a rotting bulletin board, overheard gossip, the begging of a grieving spouse, or the demands of an unhinged CEO; he already had a good feeling about this! With regards to the paperwork, Noel fetched a quartz cylinder from his pocket about the size of his index finger, and waved it over each paper individually, both front and back. It shed a pale white light in response. Once he was finished scanning a copy, he pocketed the crystal and signed each document NOEL TRASIMENE, MEMBER, BANISHING POINT LLC. Recent scandals had taught him the value of limited liability. He slid the signed papers back across the table and stared at Tachi. Rats were common in Hell's Gate, but he had never seen one as a pet, or a pet without a leash—physical or otherwise. Maybe the commonness of the creature was its purpose: an easily replaced distraction for the Black Hound to chase and eat while Haru captured it? He wished he had thought of it. Leash laws being evidently lack in this city, Blairville might have allowed him to import a few dozen. It took him a couple of minutes to consider his options. The oneiromancer was more of a personal interest, and he didn't want to talk about adapting dream sorcery to visiting the astral prisons of body-snatching victims in front of the rest of them, at least not until they all stripped down and consented to a full-cavity search. Either way, it seemed terribly unprofessional. On the other group: Godric reminded him too much of a former associate, Haru was a weirdo with a pet rat, and he didn't particularly care to be anywhere near the murder-market. In fact, finding the book without encountering the Hound, its master, or its victims at all would be wonderful. "Right," he confirmed, mostly to himself. "I'll pop into the Golden Fox and have a few words with the brother. Do you happen to know of any other items sold from the estate?" Noel stood and turned to leave. An estate sale the day after his brother's funeral? He already didn't like Albert.
  23. desolate

    Black Book OOC

    Nah, you're both good. 👍
  24. desolate

    The Black Book (B|E Quest)

    Noel reclined in the plush seat of the first class flight and stared at the LCD in front of him, the faded screen flickering at the slightest turbulence; he supposed everyone had to adjust to the Shawnee situation. Articles on the Safeguard Riots that he had read a hundred times already scrolled through his news feed. There was no doubt in his mind that most, if not all of them were sanitized well before reaching the public. Only tabloids and rags reported on "tentacle-faced humanoids." Each author had their own take on the viral meme: images shopped to superimpose tentacles over the faces of various famous figures and childish captions. Unfortunately, all of it was old news by now. If he hadn't been buried in depositions over that kidnapping fiasco, he would have been in Blairville ASAP. Now he had to chase a cold trail. Amare Woolf and Thomas Herrington were most likely unrelated, but any lead was a good lead and anything that might ingratiate him to the Summoner's Guild could prove useful. The LCD blinked off and ejected his personal communication crystal, the seat belt indicator blinked on, and the airship finally descended into Blairville an hour later than anticipated. Neither engines nor fuel were what they used to be. Regardless, he had time enough to check in at the hotel and wash the jet lag off in the bath. For tonight's meet, he wore faded navy pants and a lime green T-shirt from the latest The Rolling Bones concert, and covered it up with the usual red mantle that matched his eyes and hair. Additionally, he pulled on a pair of running shoes in anticipation of being chased by an evil canine from beyond. On his way to the Lithium Hour, Noel failed to appreciate what a hovel the Underworld was, too distracted by the abundance of animals that ran loose in Blairville and his urge to pet them—did those deer have blue fur? Oh my Gaia. Thankfully, the tavern wasn't all bad either. Trees were a plus; he saw those only a bit more often than deer. He flashed his pass to Ibeyi and joined the others: Ringleader, Swollen Eye, Overpacked, and Snack Attack. What a nice looking bunch of dog chow. "Hi there. I'm Noel," he said and sat as far away from Swollen Eye as he could get. Leo's face practically screamed watch your wallet; Noel's gaze hovered between him and Godric's easily picked pack. "So... how about those blue deer? Are they cute or what?"