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Excerpts from Hybris, a History by the herald Goog’ell

 

 

“Captain”

“Captain”

“Captain!”

“Yes Lieutenant?” Captain Percyville responded.

“The Eyelendian warship is coming around for another pass” Lieutenant Dundee responded. He was clearly agitated and having trouble keeping his composure now.

“Let’s go have look then shall we” The captain said. He stood up and grabbed his uniform jacket. when he put it on he flung it over his head in his unusual manner that was required due to an old battle wound that left his right shoulder not fully functional.

The Captain and his lieutenant left the Captain’s quarters and made their way up to the deck. The ship was in tatters. Bodies of sailors lay everywhere. Most of the passageway’s bulkheads lay in splinters. The last attack from the Dwarven nation had taken its toll on the ship. Through several doors you see out to sky through the holes in the hull. The ships magic the only thing keeping the contents from flying out.

Percyville kept a steady and constant pace up through ship. Dundee struggled to keep up behind him. They stepped over bodies, debris, and the occasional fire as they made their way to the deck of the ship.

“How many Q’anics[1] do we have left?” Percyville asked

“Three Captain”

“Any Terra[2]?”

“No Sir, All Sol[3]. The Zhen siblings”

“Really? Fantastic!”

Dundee failed to see how this was fantastic. Much of the damage on the ship was due to the Zhen’s reckless casting, not the enemy warships. The last attempt by them to hit the Eylendians resulted in their own vessel being engulfed in a tornado of fire and molten stone. They had taken out one Eyelandian ship so they were fine with the results. The ship however was still burning in some places and their main mast has been turned to ash.

As they came to the top deck the captain looked around at what had transpired in the last few minutes since he had gone below decks to attempt to send for reinforcements. Hundreds of sailors lied dead or dying on the deck. Most of the still living had third and fourth degree burns.

“Damage report Dundee”

Dundee sighed. He had known the captain hadn’t been listening to the three times he gave this report on their way topside.

“Starboard engines destroyed. Irreparable while in the air. Port Engines. Damaged and being repaired as we speak. Hull breaches on port and starboard sides. Main mast destroyed” By our own people he thought. “Main rudder destroyed.” Also by their own people. “We can go one direction at half speed while gradually listing to the starboard side.” He said this mechanically and without emotion as he had the past three times. He knew the captain just wanted the facts.

“What’s the butcher’s bill?”

“Three hundred twenty-eight souls lost” No point giving false hope about the sailors on deck. With those burns, they were dead. Their minds just hadn’t caught on yet.

This got the captains attention. His posture changed to almost a slouch and he turned to face Dundee.

“That leaves nine people on board this ship. We couldn’t even run it if it was working”

“Yes Captain. I know. Should we attempt to land on Granite?”

“No. In fact. Hell No. Find me the Zhens”

“Yes Sir.” Um no. Dundee thought. This was a bad idea in a sea of bad ideas. Nothing good would come from telling those maniacs that all was lost.

The lieutenant hadn’t even moved three meters when a large plume of fire appeared before him and a tall human woman walked through the flames. Dundee just rolled his eyes at the grand entrance. Sol Q’anics are known for these cheap theatrics to make it appear that they travel through fire. Everyone knows they can’t. They know everyone knows they can’t. Yet, they still do it. Every. Single. Time.

“Sol’Zhen[4], where are your brothers?” Dundee asked.

“Down with the two of the crew trying to restart the port engines.”

And here Dundee had thought he couldn’t have been told worse news today.

“What!? No. No. Tell them the stop what they are doing and come topside. The captain needs you three” Dundee stated. His voice attempting to contain the terror that stemmed from the thought of those two working with anything mechanical.

“Don’t look at me with that tone little man. We are the only q’anics left. You aren’t going to get the engines running with only your hopes and dreams.”

“Just call them”

“Very well.”

As Dundee watched she closed her eyes and spoke to her brothers. He knew that something about their manipulation of the possibilities let all practitioners speak to each other in their minds. It was always disconcerting to experience however, because they constantly spoke their side out loud.

“Captain needs us.” “Yes I know that.” “I didn’t ask.” “I didn’t care.” “I still don’t care.”

“They are on their way” she said. “Port side engines are functional.”

“Really?” Dundee had been sure the last sound he would going to ever hear was the whooshing sound of them being engulfed in a ship sized fireball. “Excellent.”

“Stuck at full throttle.” She said with no more emotion than that of someone telling you the time.

“And of course it is” He already could feel the ship starting to gain momentum

About a minute later two more fire plumes burst from the deck to the right of the lady Zhen. Two large human males stepped through them. Both clearly out of breath from running up 5 flights of stairs and across the deck.

They looked like their sister. All three raven haired with slightly slanted eyes. All three over two meters tall. All three lean and wiry from constant battle. They dressed identically. Their sleeveless red robes held to their bodies by a still somehow shining  breast plate that held the Zhen family crest engraved into the metal. A giant “Z” engulfed in flames. The two men were exactly identical. Twins were common among Q’anic families. It was believed that they would bring their doppelganger through while still in the womb. They only difference in the males was one had his left ear burned off. While the other had a pretty sever burn on his neck. Their sister other than being female was pretty much a triplet. She showed no signs of losing control of her magic however. No visible scars, burns, or permanent loss of hair.

The four of them walked over to where the captain was now standing. They looked over his head and could see the fleet of Eylendian warships heading towards them. Their oars sticking out the sides all moving in perfect unison through the sky.

“Captain, I have the Sol’Zhens”

“Q’anics.” The captain said. “Our ship is a lost cause. Although you have restored power we have no controls and no ability to do much but start and stop. The dwarves will be upon us soon and they will not be pleasant once they take the ship. As you know this particular breed is not known for they well keeping of prisoners.”

Everyone nodded. They had all heard the stories or known someone who knew someone who had encountered the Eylendian attack fleet.

“I have one more order as your captain. A way we can get through this with some dignity and maybe even a little glory.”

The five huddled together and listened while Captain Percyville told them his plan. When he was done. The five stood there grim faced and solemn.

“Sol’Zhen, you understand what I want? What must be done?”

The two males nodded. Their sister just stood there, as always, stone faced and silent.

Dundee? You understand what must be done?”

“Yes Captain.”

Dundee ran across the deck and through the hatch. He was doing his best to not trip over the bodies and debris. He bound down the steps taking them two and three at a time. As he hit the bottom step he heard the first horn call of the Eylendian ships. It’s bass tones resonating through the entire vessel. The familiar signal known to all. One long note followed by one lower and longer.

Surrender and Prepare to be boarded.

The lieutenant listened to the signal blast again then continued his run towards the engines rooms. As he approached he heard the sounds of arguing mixed with steam venting. He entered the port side engine room and was almost floored by what he saw. Three crewman were hanging by a large wrench attempting to unstick a bolt that was almost a meter across. Dundee didn’t know all the specifics in engine maintenance but he guessed they were trying to relieve the steam pressure on one of the engines. This task usually done either with magic or a full crew.

“Men!” Dundee screamed, trying to be heard over the venting. They didn’t hear him. He yelled again and one finally saw him and let go of the wrench. Dropping to the ground. The other two followed suit.

They snapped to a salute. Disciplined to the end Dundee thought mournfully. He wondered if it would stick to the very end. He returned the solute.

“We need to shut off the engines men. Complete stop”

The one Dundee thought was named Alen responded “Aye sir. So you know sir, the port #1 engine will not be able to be restarted. It’s pressure valve is wedged open. We will need a proper q’anic to get her goin’ again.” His tone was clipped and curt on the word proper. Apparently the Sol’Zhen boys didn’t leave a good impression.

“I know. Your orders now are to shut off the engines then hide. We are about to be boarded and are going to report all hands lost. Do you best to not be captured men. “Dundee said. hoping his card playing skills were benefiting him right now.

“Aye Sir” the three said together and went to activating the emergency engine shutoffs.

Dundee ran back up the stairs. “I really wish I had one of those handy fire plumes” He said out loud to an empty stairwell. Then he laughed. He laughed almost the whole way back to the deck.

He got to back to the deck and saw the captain standing alone. He was looking up at the huge oared ship floating overhead. He walked over to his captain whom he had served for 4 years and never really liked or respected and said. “Done”

“Thank you, lieutenant. You are a good sailor. It has been an honor.”

“Thank you Captain. For me as well.”

They both looked up at the fleet of a dozen oared Eylendian ships surrounding them. Ropes begun being fling out of the ship directly overhead and the large shadows of dwarven sailors started descending them.

“You think the Zhens will do what you asked correctly.” Dundee asked, still looking up.

Captain Percyville let out a small laugh. “It’s certainly possible.”

Over 20 dwarven sailors descended the ropes now. Climbing down hand over hand. Dundee always marveled how men so large and bulky were always so graceful.

Just as the first boots thudded on the deck. Dundee felt a rush of air and heard the whoosh  he had been expecting earlier. He closed his eyes and waited for the heat.

[1] Q’anic. Human slang for magic user. Short for Quantum Mechanic.

[2] Terra. Practitioner of Earth magic.

[3] Sol. Practitioner of Fire Magic.

[4] All Q’anics add their discipline to their family name. Not at all confusing when there is more than one family member with the same discipline.

GenCon 2016! 4 games Submitted


Holy Toledo I’m back from a too long absence. Not much new to report. Have been doing some play testing with the new Cortex+ game system and so far I really like it. I will get a real test at Gen con this year when I run it for strangers. I hope to have comment cards to I can see what People liked and didn’t like about the game mechanics.

So Here are my games for Gencon this year

Game ID Event Title Start Time Duration Actions
RPG1684092 A Hybris Theory – Into the Nexus Thu @ 1:00 PM 4 hrs Duplicate
Cost: $4
RPG1684081 Slave Ship Revolt – Into the Nexus Thu @ 6:00 PM 10 hrs Duplicate
Cost: $10
RPG1684102 Very Huge Saga – Into the Nexus Fri @ 1:00 PM 4 hrs Duplicate
Cost: $4
RPG1684082 Darkmore Beseiged – Into the Nexus Fri @ 6:00 PM 10 hrs Duplicate

 

I have decided to keep my big games using the Pathfinder system and the Death Gate Cycle Material. Disappointed as I am that MWP decided on a different direction. It doesn’t stop me loving the series or the games I built around them. It is what those game players have come to enjoy and I do love running them.

As for a game I want to publish. Into the Nexus will be all original material.

Speaking of that. New logo and Webdesign on the blog. New artwork will be posted soon and I should have a pre-release book for sale by gencon.

 

That is all for now. Someone broke their monitor and I need to see how the hell they managed that.

 

Ta

J

 

Gen Con 2015 – Debriefing


Back from Gen Con and fully decompressed. This year was an odd year for my Nexus games. It was the first year I ran with the Death Gate stuff removed and using all my own creations. It felt odd to not say “Based on the works of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman”. Better or worse, these were all my own doing.

Night 1

Slave Ship

This year we had fire. Last year no fire magickas. No fire meant no real action for almost 3 hours. This year, 8th person to act set the control ropes on fire.

No one tried to put them out.

No one.

Turn 4 they broke, sending the ship on an uncontrolled course that caused 19 people to reflex every single turn. It just got worse from there. Long story short (too late) After woken Ancients, Exploding water casks, All the barrel roles, Flipped ships, resurrected magickas, a slave who had a panic attack every time they saw ice, and they saw it a lot, about 50% of the crew survived. It was a great event of fun and chaos.

Night Two.

Darkmore

Here I would normally give a synopsis of the all the craziness but I can’t. We split into two groups and mine was the tame one. Too many Pathfinder purists who didn’t get the system. Not their fault at all just not what they expected so they didn’t know how to change what they knew. The final battle while fun was mired with complaining and further statements of just not getting it. Now this is on me, my game is about chaos and balance and the fight between the two. This seemingly random environment causes havoc with game players who need a constant number to hit and a constant way to get there. My best friend hates my system because his magic doesn’t work all the time and he thinks it should.

While good gaming sessions make me feel good and I’m always happy when they go well, a “not as good” session teaches me so much more. I’ve come to realize that my strength is as a storyteller. A spinner of yarns as it were. So while a d20 system can cater to the story, it isn’t the main focus of d20. The interactions are. How many +1’s and skill bonuses can I add to my roll. While this is good for hack, slash, and burn game play. I think Nexus is not about that.

So…. I have begun researching alternate systems. I was doing game demos for Margaret Weis this weekend as well and while showing people the Cortex+ system in Firefly I was able to see how it could be used with my magic system (Let’s be honest, it is the reason that most people play). I know Cortex Plus pretty well and think it might be my best option. I also played my first Fate based game this weekend and I enjoyed it, though it doesn’t cater to my magic like Cortex+ can. Cam Banks is making a game which is a combination of the two and is open source and I would love to see how I might be able to use that.

Exciting developments in the game I started in 1993 as a way to play Death Gate in 2nd edition D&D.

Stay Tuned

Ta

J

The Heralds. Bringers of Balance


The Herald’s, being a secret and closed organization (All things that yield positive results), refuse to discuss their origins. Legend has it, however, that they were founded by a group of human monks who worshiped the Magicka’s ability to Bring Forth the Possibilities. They believed that these Magicka were deities who could bring Balance to the world.

All that changed after Perfection.

The remnants of those monks banded together with their faith reformed and redefined. They knew what brought True Balance

Death. (Queue dramatic eyebrows)

We were all Balanced, all equal,  in death. Only males are allowed to enter the order, as women bring life and therefore upset the Balance.

Over the years, the Heralds have changed from the worshipers of the
True Balance

to the bringers of it.

Herald Description

Magicka – Reality is what you make it.


The Magicka are the most respected and feared group of people on Hybris. They control the world around them by tapping into the power of the possibilities.
These masters of the alternate realities follow one of the four elemental disciplines; Earth (Terra), Fire (Sol), Air (Vadra), Water (Vatten). Each Magicka’s mentality is vastly different depending on their discipline.

Vatten Magicka: Usually are pacifists, specializing in healing and life restoration. These are the most revered but also the most feared of the Magicka. For they can’t create life, they can only move it.

Vadra Magicka: Masters of the mind. They are most often the advisers to power. They practice their art with the manipulation of the people and what people need. You see what they want you to see.

Terra Magicka: Are one with the land and beast. Unable to see the Wave without physical connection these magicka are the toughest and most virile of the magicka. Usually employed as trainers and tamers of dragons, they have an almost symbiotic relationship with the natural world and the creatures it contains.

Sol Magicka:. Blinded by the power of raw evocation, these Magicka are the most reviled. They have no thought of the consequences of their Magick and the chaos it can cause.  They are impatient to the subtle requirements of the other disciplines. They are masters of destruction and are highly aware of it.

Majicka Description

Bring on the Carpel Tunnel.


 

Downside of making your own game.

 

No character generator.

 

I have 50 players at Gencon this year. 50 character sheets that must be filled out by hand. I love doing it but there will be hand cramps by the end of the day.
20150717_093545

Character Class – Island Walker


 

The Island walkers, or Walkers (the capital letter makes them more mysterious).

 There are those that need social interaction to thrive in society. Then there are the Walkers who just wants you to go away. These lone individuals live mostly on the outer islands, deep inside Raiu.  Never at home in the cities or villages of the “civilized”, the Walker makes their home in the wild. They are masters of using what is at hand and what they find.  Due to their almost feral nature, wild beasts either ignore them or in some cases help them.

They are the very embodiment of “How nature says, ‘Do Not Touch'”
Walker-Description

Goog’ell’s New Job


So as a result of my different direction I have updated the story of Into the Nexus. This is just a first telling from the journals of Goog’ell. A rebellious monk of the order of Heralds.

Hybris, A history

It is a small snippet of the world you will be entering playing Into the Nexus.

Ta ta for now

J

 

Everything changes – New Characters/ Classes


I’ve had to make some class changes. After over 15 years of making this game I realized that almost all of it was my creation and just a small portion was from the original Death Gate material. I have after some painful soul searching decided to remove the Death Gate references and make it all my own.  I love the world of Death Gate but it isn’t mine and it seems Into the Nexus will never see the light of day if I keep it in there.

So

The two new Characters are

The Heralds.

They are a religious sect that believe we only are truly equal in death. They strive to help all other make that transition as smoothly as possible. Willing or no.

The Ayans.

Named after my close friend Aya who at every game seemed to undo every spell the Magica’s cast. Whether it helped the group or not (Mostly not).

The group is also looking for balance. They do this by correcting the wave. Undoing any attempts to manipulate it.

They put right what once went wrong. Wrong is subjective.

 

These two classes will replace the Death Gate specific ones that I had originally used.

 

I will also start posting some short stories based in this new world. This is to let players get a feel for the environment and hopefully come to enjoy what has been a true labor of love for me for the last decade.

Take a look at the website and see the new changes.

Ta

J

 

PS

New artwork is forthcoming and I will unveil it at Gen Con 2015!

 

 

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