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A basic premise of the game is that for sentient beings memory fades with time: 100 years ago is a long time, 200 is a very long time, and 1000 years is so far back that mostly you remember once remembering things about it.
Another is that of “power level”. Power level is the cap of the amount of karma that you can easily gain. After you meet this cap, in order to gain stuff you have to loose stuff. i.e. in the 15th century you were probably a dab hand bladed combat. Today you have forgotten those skills, but learnt Electronics.
Tier 1 creatures: The great immortals (Harlequin, Ehran, Queen Alachia) have more karma than can be reasonably counted.
Tier 2 creatures: Their paladins, a few nobles from the elven courts, lesser dragons, greater drakes have 2000-5000 karma
Tier 3 creatures: You. Have settled at around 2000 karma and have been at this very respectable level for around 10,000 years.
Fortunately there are two ways for you to recall long ago times: you can write things down (I suspect most of you will be avid diary keepers) or you relive the memories using a magical ritual where you literally re-live the experience: you (with companions) project into the past and re-enact the events. You remember you are from the “future”, but you also remember things from that time. Mostly the re-enactments follow the same line as they did originally. You can get hurt there, and if you die in the past, it is very bad for you in the present.
When you flashback into the past, you can shuffle some of your skills around (swapping one skill for a different skill at the same level – to keep karma levels the same), and modify your attributes a bit (this is more complicated so we’ll review at the time). In the past there will usually be a different base mana level… Cyberware will probably not be there (you almost certainly were not cybered when you were there, in ED it will be replaced by ‘magic’ equivalents)… ED magic will probably stay the same for the sake of sanity (although ED era magic could arguably be higher I’m not sure I want to go there), fifth world will be vastly reduced, hopefully offset by having no ‘ware either…
The rules for character creation have a few modifiers, given the nature of the game, this set is designed for the ‘present’ and we may need to modify things a tad for journeys in to the past/future
You all start with 2000 karma for karmagen/point buy
Races: it is assumed most of you will be elves or drakes (usual costs), obviously drakes won’t be new so you can spend karma on their optional powers if you want to. You can be one of the elf metavariants if you really want to… infected are a possibility. Other metahumans will need an explanation for their longevity…magical artefacts, strange rituals… in Al’s case I am considering allowing resurrection as a possibility, his soul reborn through the ages in different forms (we’d probably need a 2000karma version of Al from the past and use your current stats for the ‘present’). This could perhaps be extended to Isaint/Fate Breaker but I think I’d rather we had new PCs…!?
Qualities: pretty much anything goes, although there will have to be a compelling reason for Surge!
Free Knowledge skills: are equal to 10 times (logic + intuition)
History is a very broad and useful skill. All of you have your general history at a level equal to your logic. You can also buy specific histories. The following may be useful: Earthdawn history, Egyptian history, Roman history, The dark ages, The Reformation, Modern History. The Earthdawn time is so long ago, that you can remember little about it, so it is capped at 1.
Magical qualities: Adept, Mystic Adept and Magician are available, and recommended (will probably house rule Quickening so it takes karma = to the force of the spell rather than 1!)
Technomancer is available if you really want it: you will be gimped in most memory sequences, so we may need to come up with some alternatives there…
Resources: It is conceivable that you will be able to lay your hands on any mundane piece of equipment you desire, which should typically be fine but cyber and decks may need to be treated differently to avoid screwing with balance entirely…so you can buy those with resources as normal. Let’s avoid combat drones for balance purposes too…for cyber you can buy up to deltaware (if you can afford it). Magical items (foci) need to also be bought (and bound) from the initial karma.
This is the most precarious part of chargen so if you have any comments please shout!
Free contact points: are equal to Charisma*50, obviously you don’t need to assign these all at once as it would take forever, but you have a large and expansive network that comes from being alive a verrry long time! As ever, each write-up of a contact on OP is the equivalent of an IC post for karma rewards.
Minions: you won’t necessarily do all the heavy lifting yourselves (although you might) so you can each have Charisma*1 pawns that work for you…these could be your PCs from other 2075 games or newly created characters. I don’t expect stats for them immediately but you can if you want to…a brief contact style description would do for now.
You have Charisma*2 points of relationship to spread amongst the following factions (yes I know the elven ones have multiple sub factions but I didn’t feel like listing them all…this isn’t an exhaustive list if you have other ideas!):
Dunkelzahn (yes I know he’s dead in the present, but it extends to the Draco Foundation), Hestaby, Celedyr, one of the other Greats, Tir na nOg, Tir Tairngire, the Seelie Court (metaplane), the UnSeelie Court, Harlequin… etc… could also go for other long standing organisations eg. The Black Lodge…
Rating 0: They don’t like you, and will occasionally go out of their way to cause unpleasantness Rating 1: Neutral-mild dislike Rating 2: Neutral Rating 3: Neutral-mild like Rating 4: Mild friendship Rating 5: Mild friendship + respect Rating 6: You can knock on their door, and if they are in a good mood and not busy, they will invite you in for a chat.
A brief history
All of you were alive during the peak of the last mana surge. You need to decide how you survived the horrors:
– In a kaer (underground massive cave systems warded by magic)
– In the elven wooden kaers, which became the blood woods. This means you lived around 500 years in agony
– In a secret dragon lair as a dragon servitor (need relationship 4+ with that dragon)
– Some other way that you think is credible
Just before magic left the world, you all took part in a ritual of hiding. You vaguely remember something went wrong with the ritual, but it was so long ago, you cannot quite remember what. Elves and drakes morph into human appearance (duration: until magic returns).
Although magic mostly left the world during the 5th age, there were places in the world where magic did not totally leave. In game mechanic terms, the 5th age varied between -10 and -5 mana. Some places are +/- around 3 on this scale. Most of the remnants of the 4th age naturally gravitated to the most mana rich places (or more specifically the least mana poor places).
During the period -5000 to -2000, magic decayed from -5 to -10 average it was highest in some parts of Egypt, but even there it was was pretty low.
From -500 to 500 magic was strongest in Greece and Italy. There was a temporary 100 year blip in mana around -400 AD, taking magic levels to average -5, and in parts of the Greek islands, -2.
From 500 to 1500 magic was strongest in South and Central America. The average level was -10.
During 1500-2000, magic was highest in Germany and the UK. The magic level started climbing in 1900. By world war 2, it reached -6, and stabilised there until the dawn of the 6th age. World War II was a particularly disturbing time. The Nazi party came out of nowhere (to Elven eyes), and Hitler was a being of vast magical, charismatic and technological might. The Nazi search for occult treasures was real, and scary. Many of the greatest magical treasures were stolen by the Nazi’s and have not been recovered. Many people feel that Hitler was a rogue elf or drake. A few claim it is Queen Alachia, but she refutes this, and no proof has ever been recovered.
From the point of view of the remnants of the 4th age, the years up to 1500 were mostly the same. It was something of a surprise to them, that from 1500 onwards, change started and kept happening faster and faster. The two important themes during this time were the movement of power from monarchs to the masses, and the rise of technology. Some of the elves (led by the queen) generally opposed these trends. Although their magical powers were dramatically reduced, most of the remnants maintained a very small amount of magic which gave them an advantage over mortals. In addition they had a very high level of skill compared to most mortals. Technology basically reduces the advantage they have over normal mortals, and the movement of power from Monarchs (themselves) to the masses was not very palatable. Others (a minority) elves saw the rise of technology as a way to eventually destroy the horrors. Despite everything the Elves could do, tech kept getting more powerful. By the end of the Victorian age even the Queen felt that it wasn’t really possible to put the genie back in the bottle. With the atomic bomb and the promise of powerful augmentation for the masses, the dream of killing the horrors seems plausible. Other elves remember the dreams that the wooden kaers would hold out against the horrors, and think that this tech is just another craziness like that.
You are all aware that the Horrors may be returning early. Harlequin has placed the voice of Theyla to stop the enemy, but Theyla has failed before, and may fail again. Dunkelzahn has done something clever to stop them, but even so the horrors may be back soon. It is not clear that the kaers will work this time. Technology is good at finding things and at breaking through magical wards. Even the dragons may not survive, as technology is capable of finding their lairs
Choices I would like you to make:
How did you survive the last horrors?
What role did you take in the Egyptian period?
What role did you take in the Greek period?
What role did you take in the Mayan/Aztec period?
What role did you take during the Renaissance
What role did you take during the Reformation, and the growth of technology?
Where were you during World War II
What is your view on technology?
What is your view on Monarchy vs rule of the masses in a world where the monarch is immortal
An observation on xp
Mostly as immortals you have reached your peak power level. Occasionally you learn new skills (mostly knowledge skills), but mostly you forget them as well. Some individuals have a higher natural level of skills. You have been at about the same power level for centuries. The main message here is that the immortals are not gaining xp linearly at 100/year for the last 10,000 years.
How many remnants from the 4th age are there?
A few hundred. The skill 4th age remnant is useful if you want to identify some of them. The problem with memory again 🙂
No one wants a blood bath. Kill one immortal (which is often harder than it looks), and they have friends who will take revenge. Anyway it’s much more satisfying to embarrass and fool.