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My Re-Magi-Nation Entry: Sansoli

Started by MartiniPhilosopher, October 22, 2007, 10:42:25 PM

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MartiniPhilosopher

Sansoli

Part the first: The world of Sansoli

Two hundred years ago, the sun failed to rise and the night failed to yield.

Panic ensued as the creatures of the night found themselves unrestrained by the sun. The panic turned into outright war. The Human population and their governments found themselves having to ally with The Church which was the single, largest organizing force left. The Church became the center of the Human world, eventually uniting the Human population and bringing the War of the Last Dawn to an eventual end.

While the war raged, The Church was the first to realize that the everlasting night was going to have other, more serious effects on the world. It organized the human magic community to develop a plan to provide a way to continue to grow crops and maintain the livestock. Meanwhile many of the Night Clans, who have humans as their primary source of sustenance, began to realize that they were engaged in a war of survival with the very source of their life. The Vampires, longtime Lords of the Night, found themselves particularly vulnerable in this end.

In time, the Vampires brokered a truce and an eventual peace with the Humans and more importantly, The Church, which has long desired the destruction of the Night Clans, and in particular the Vampires. Called the Peace of the Night, these accords saw most of the Vampire's Royal Houses go underground, doing their best to blend into the rest of the Vampire population which was now being integrated with the remaining Human one. Something which many of the High Houses initially balked at doing, since it meant that they would have to hide their true names; something not done by the Houses since their founding. It also meant exposing the Humans to one of the Vampire's greatest secrets, that Vampires do not live forever but only for a few short centuries.

When the populations of Humans and Vampires merged, The Church used as many means as possible to placate both. One of the most popular with both has been the Blood Virgins. The Church takes into its walls many a young virgin to withdraw blood from which it then distributes among the Vampires.

Now, the secreted Royal Houses have created The Société from their ranks. One that is seeking the cause of the endless night and its possible reversal. It has been realized that The Church has only prolonged the inevitable. The Human population has been getting smaller and smaller, little by little. However rather than risk having the world know about this pursuit, it has been decided to keep it as secret as possible. To their minds, it is somewhat apparent as to why they do their best to keep secret; it could draw unwanted attention to the  Vampires actively seeking the reason why there is no longer sunlight and a possible return of it to the world.

There is also the consideration that there is a human commission operation through The Church named, The Archbishop's Council Regarding the Issue of the Sun, for much the same reason. With The Church being as authoritarian as it is, a group vampires, actually, any group not affiliated with them, faces the likely outcome of being destroyed for daring to interfere.

The members of the Société only meet other members when out on assignments which come sporadically. All have been warned on more than one occasion to keep their identity as secret as possible through the use of masks or hoods and to do their best to keep from revealing themselves to even the others with which they are working. However if anyone should ever find out another's identity they have been sworn to do their best to make sure they never risk exposing them.

Part the Second: The Characters

Characters have a number of Attributes, Specialties, and Qualities which describe them and how well they Do Things.

However, the very first thing the Characters need are two names. The player characters in Sansoli are members of The Société. Before you start doing anything else with the characters, think of two names. The first name will be the character's given name, the name that they go by in everyday life. The second name will be their Royal name, their secret name.

ATTRIBUTES

All Characters have six attributes: Magic, Sexy, Fight, Meta, Hunger, and Wild. The first four attributes cover the areas their names imply. Hunger is the attribute which describes how often the character needs to feed on blood. The lower this score, the more often they need to feed. Wild is the attribute which governs how well the character is able to control their desire for blood. The lower the score of the Wild, the harder it is to control their desire for blood and more likely it is that they will fly into The Bloodlust.

When creating a character, assign each Attribute a score from a pool of 25 points. These Attribute scores define the number of dice used when your character is Doing Stuff, so the higher your attribute the more dice you get when the character attempts to Do Stuff. Each Attribute covers a certain area of Doing Stuff and it is up to you and the Game Master to decide which Attribute applies when Doing Stuff.

Your Hunger score controls how often you feed on blood. The lower your score, the more often the character needs to feed.

Score    Frequency
1          3 Times per day
2          Twice a day
3          Once a day
4          Once every other day
5          Once every three days
6          Once a week
7          Once every two weeks
8          Once a month
9          Once every other month
10        Once every six months

Skipping meals is a possibility, but this means that the desire to feed increases and makes it harder to resist future feeding opportunities. Resisting a feeding time is governed by your Wild attribute. The lower the score, the harder it is for you to control your instincts and desire for blood. It works like a standard skill check. The GM sets a number between 3 and 18 for the check, depending on how hard they think your character is going to have to fight against this instinctual urge to feed. You then roll a number of dice equal to your Wild score and total them up. If the roll's total is over the difficulty set by the GM, then you have resisted the call of the blood. This also means that the next time you check your Wild (for any reason) the score is adjusted by +2. This adjustment continues for each time you resist the call of blood.  You will also be distracted and find it harder to concentrate on anything other than feeding.

SPECIALTIES

Specialties are things which the character is very well trained in doing or has a natural talent for. Specialties work when making a skill check. When a Specialty applies, you get to add 6 to the result.

Investing points in Specialties: Instead of investing experience in increases of an Attributes, four experience points can be spent for one point in a specialty. For each point invested in the Specialty, you may add an additional 3 to the result of your skill check.

When you have assigned each Attribute a score from the pool of 25 points, choose the Specialties for each. Choose one favored Attribute for which you can choose three Specialties. For the other three Attributes choose only one Specialty.

Specialties of magic:
Illus Elem Holy Death Green

Specialties of Sexy:
Seduction Persuasion Authority Perform Flirt

Specialties of Fight:
Bloodfury Acrobatics Strafe Sniper Intimidate

Specialties of Meta:
Awareness Lies Streetwise Interrogate Politics

Below is a short description of the each of the Specialties of Magic. All of the other Specialties' definitions are considered to be worked out between the Players and Game Masters using common sense as a guide.

Illusion: This is magic where you attempt to fool the senses into believing in something which isn't really there.

Elemental: Magic which harnesses and controls the elements of the world for a use of the caster's devising.

Holy: A divine magic used for healing and divination, Holy magic can also be used to harm the undead.

Death: The magic of controlling the dead and causing harm to others through taking their life-force.

Green: A kind of magic which is connected into everything which grows and lives.

DOING STUFF

Doing Stuff in the game is a three step process:

1) Describe what the character is going to do. Be specific and detailed.
2) The GM sets the difficulty. This should be a number between 3 and 18. Of course, if it is an extraordinary situation, the number can exceed 18 and be lower than 3.
3) Roll a number of d6 equal to the selected Attribute, totaling the roll. Adjust the score for any specialties which may apply to the situation. Compare the scores. If the character's is higher. The action as described happens. If not, then the character misses or whatever and the story continues along.

QUALITIES

Power: This is a measure of how much blood the character has to use to fuel their actions and their Specialties. Characters can have a maximum Power score of (Hunger + Wild) * 2 and start the game with a score equal to their Wild. Specialties cost one point of Power to activate and use. Three points of Power can be exchanged for one extra die when Doing Stuff. Six points of Power can be exchanged for a +6 when Doing Stuff. Characters recover Power when they feed on blood, getting an amount of Power equal to half their Wild when they do so. Doing Stuff can cause Power to go into negative numbers. When the Power score goes negative, the character has undergo a Wild check with a +4 added to the score decided by the GM. If they fail, the character immediately goes into The Bloodlust.
Health: Health points equal to the average of Hunger and Wild times 5.
Healing: The character heals a number of points equal to your wild per action.

An action is any discrete amount of time needed to do a single something. That could the time needed to reload their guns, draw a sword, make a potion or whatever is going on.

Damage: Don't doubt it. You will be fighting. In combat the amount of damage you do is dependent on the weapon being used.

Daggers do 6 points of damage
Swords and Axes do 8
Polearms do 10
Handguns do 6
Rifles do 10
Scatter guns depend on how close you are. Point blank: 15. Within 4 yards: 8. Beyond 4 yards: 4.

Everything else is between the player and the GM to figure out. Use the above as a guide.

Experience:

Characters are awarded experience for playing which can be used in three ways. You can purchase higher Attribute scores by spending 4 XP for a single point increment. You can purchase an investment point for your character's Specialties at a cost of 6 XP for a single point increment. Finally, you can purchase a new Specialty for the character for the cost of 8 XP.

Players are awarded up to 3 points of experience per session of play. One point comes from showing up. The second point comes from if the GM thinks you have played well. The final point comes from the group you are playing with. Everybody but the GM gets a chance to vote on how well they think you played. If you win that vote, you are awarded the third point. Each player participating in the game is put up for a vote at the end of the game, so everyone has a chance to get a third point.

BLOODLUST

severity vary depending on several factors, such as how much Power the character currently has (a positive Power is better than negative) or how badly their missed on the check. The The Bloodlust is when a Vampire has used all of the blood they have consumed recently and their Wild takes over. This happens when the character fails a Wild check. The Bloodlust lasts until the Vampire has feed on any fresh blood, preferably Human. In the last couple of centuries Bloodlusts have become very rare due to the ready availability of the Blood Virgin supply. When experiencing The Bloodlust the Vampire has little control over their actions and is very focused on feeding. There has been several instances of Vampires taking human blood from somewhat less than willing who have paid the price of doing so with their lives. However, accidents have occurred in the past which have forced trials and the like over exactly that topic. The many trials in front of Tribunals of the Church and various Lords have established what is and what is not considered "willing" in more legal circles.

PART THE THIRD: Some more about Sansoli

Just prior to the final setting of the sun, the Humans had discovered the power inherent in Steam and in the Gaslight. The mechanization of their part of the world had begun and the Night was beginning to be pushed back, street by street, city by city as one after another of the Human cities adopted both. It is thought by some scholars that it was these advances in Human technology which had caused part of the war as a vast majority of the Night Clans felt a great deal more vulnerable by such.

The War of the Last Dawn did nothing to slow down the technological advancement of Humans. If anything, it caused it to accelerate even more so as they were now desperate to use anything which might help them win. With that in mind, it should be no real surprise that all sorts of steam-powered machines were used on battlefields. Terrible things covered in hard metal armor and wielding a number of weapons. There were also experimentation in creating a man-sized version of the armor for more personal use and the occasional and rare Automata.

While there were plenty of horrors unleashed on the battlefields during those twenty long years, few matched the Automata. Huge, armored and steam-powered these machines were built and then released with no one piloting them. They roamed searching for targets to slaughter mercilessly using whatever weapons they had been armed with. A few had the added bonus of being enchanted in some ways to make their armor stronger or their weapons more deadly to the demons, werewolves, vampires, or other creatures of the dark. Since these were not controlled by a conscious hand, they occasionally turned on their creators causing just as much, if not more havoc than the enemies being faced.

It should come as no surprise to those who have dealt with them that The Church has disavowed all knowledge of such devices and considers them an abomination to be destroyed on sight. This has not exactly stopped those who continue to seek the advancement of Automata sciences and the occasional exception has been made for machines which are sufficiently distant in purpose from the machines of war unleashed nearly two centuries ago.

Currently, the only real transportation between the larger cities are the heavy, armored trains. Most of them are also have a detachment or two of men from the army for guard duty. While Vampires may have made peace, the rest of the Night Clans have not exactly followed suit. The occasional attack on trains still occur as does a skirmish on outlying settlements.

Also of note is that whatever the cause of this disaster it has simply stopped the sun from being seen during what could be considered the normal daylight hours. Summer is still summer but it is without the sun shining. Temps are still "hot" and there is plenty of humidity to go around. Winter is still cold and snow still falls. At night the stars still shine and the moons still rise. To make things even more strange, the moons can still be seen, ever so faintly during what was the day.

The Church has several organizational hierarchies. The two which touch most people's daily lives are the Bishops and the Governors. The Bishops are the daily managers of The Church. They usually manage several churches in a geographic region making sure the tithes are paid, the virgins are found and their families are taken care of, Vampires are getting fed, and so on. The Governors are The Church's advisers to the local Lords or when there is no Lord or other such office the Governor acts in that capacity, doing what they can to maintain the order of law. In several Dioceses the Bishop and Governor are one and the same.

Under the Bishops are the Priests and the Nuns and there is usually a High Priest or High Mother who directly reports to the Bishop that is invested with the power over the others.

Above the Bishops are the Archbishops and above them are the Founders who act in convocation and every few years a new Triumlative emerges from the Founders and takes over the running of The Church. Not much public information is given on how one becomes an Archbishop, Founder or Triumlative. What is known is that Founders are often elevated from Archbishops or from the orders of the various Nuns. History does not record, however, any female Triumlatives.

In times past, most of the clergy of The Church was sexually abstinent and were prevented from participating in marriage while still members of the clergy. Ex-clergy, while often finding themselves in less favor than even the commoners, were not in any way prevented from taking on a marriage contract. However, in more recent times this prohibition has been lifted for many of the Priests and Nuns who have been encouraged during their Seminary days to find a partner with whom they can share their "Church Life". Most of the push has been for these couples to have children and those who have often enjoy a greater, easier life within its walls. This has resulted in several of these children going on to the Seminary themselves but has been a constant source of ill-rumors regarding the spiritual, mental and sometimes physical exploitation of these children.

Then there are the Blood Virgins, a more recent and unique addition to The Church's rosters. The ages range from as young as 10 to as old as 20. The Blood Virgins are often deeply cloistered within the churches, cut off even from each other, and are usually under lock and key. They are otherwise given ever single amenity that life can offer. Fine clothes and food, an excellent education, and no small amount of honor within their local communities. Estimates on the number of children held by The Church in this way varies and is no way certain. One estimate, based solely off of an informal survey of the local vampire's feeding and otherwise assumes that one child at the age of 12 could give a pint of blood every other month without causing harm, puts the number at around 300. Considering where this 'informal survey' took place, the church could have in no way held that many children in cloistered seclusion.

The other question surrounding this is the need for Virgins themselves. Vampires, in any historical setting of Sansoli, have never once demanded that their victims needed to be virgins nor professing a desire for such. In fact, much of what has been recorded points to the opposite. Those few vampires daring enough to address the subject these days say as much, too.

As for theories about the Sun and its disappearances ask a hundred people and you will get a hundred different answers. Some think of it as a punishment meted out from The Lord and The Church. There are many variations on that it is a conspiracy of Church Founders to get more power in the world. Others believe that there is some rational, scientific explanation but what that is exactly, is unknown. The number of ideas being tested in underground and often secret laboratories is nearly innumerable. Their backing in such pursuits are even more questionable. Then there are those who think that it was the Night Clans themselves having done this. Either through magical means or some other dark ritual done in some distant and forgotten place which may not even exist anymore.

Vulpinoid

So that was your entry...


There's some good ideas and great story potential in it.

V
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.

MartiniPhilosopher

Actually, this is slightly modified from my entry. I did update the Fight Specialties to have a bit more imagination to them and got around to figuring out the Power/Bloodlust mechanic over the weekend. The last few of weeks at work really ate up a lot of time and energy so I didn't have the opportunity to do anything more than put some simple polish on my initial ideas.

I think I enjoyed setting up the world and the story more than mechanics in any case.

JohnG

What I'm getting is steampunk horror?  I was trying to put together something like that but everything I thought of didn't seem to click right in my head lol.  You've got a good idea put together here, but what about humans?  Will they be playable or just the vampires?  Also, what about the Societe, do they have their own internal problems or is this basically a clear cut case of good guy's trying to figure out why the bad things are happening?  I'm assuming that the vampires want to reverse the night so the humans don't get wiped out, are there some vampires who spit on the treaties and want nothing to do with saving the cattle?

Also as a point of curiousity, is the sun gone everywhere around the world or is another continent getting baked and wondering why the hell they don't get to have a good night's sleep?  LOL

Great ideas in this though, I'd be glad to be of any help I can as I love settings like these.
John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars

MartiniPhilosopher

Quote from: StrongBadMun on October 23, 2007, 06:32:05 AM
What I'm getting is steampunk horror? 
Somewheres in that general area, yeah. My original when the topic was handed out was to try to do a sort of humorous take in the vein of Slayers, but I had a lot of trouble working out how that would go -- it has been a number of years since I had watched any of that series and had some writer's block in blending comedy with bloodsucking.

QuoteYou've got a good idea put together here, but what about humans?  Will they be playable or just the vampires?
I didn't have the time to develop as such, but if/when I can that could be a possible expansion of the rules. The assignment was just for vampires so that is what I concentrated on. Off the top of my head I would have to come up with a bit different set of Attributes and Specialties which would better fit Humans.

QuoteAlso, what about the Societe, do they have their own internal problems or is this basically a clear cut case of good guy's trying to figure out why the bad things are happening?  I'm assuming that the vampires want to reverse the night so the humans don't get wiped out, are there some vampires who spit on the treaties and want nothing to do with saving the cattle?

All excellent questions whose answers I think would be best discovered through play.  :)

QuoteAlso as a point of curiousity, is the sun gone everywhere around the world or is another continent getting baked and wondering why the hell they don't get to have a good night's sleep?

Dunno. I didn't get that far and it would be something fun to try and find out as a player.

QuoteGreat ideas in this though, I'd be glad to be of any help I can as I love settings like these.

Thanks! Feel free to copy and run with it. I probably won't get a chance to line up a playtest or anything like that for a while more.