Commemorative Pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Information This is the world of Aurelias, a place where technology and magic coexist, where people from different races, creeds and walks of life live in relative harmony, united under the banner of the Basileum Empire. It spans the whole continent of Paneas, several island chains and coastal colonies on the Aleyas and Ocea continents, beyond the Stormy and the Titan Oceans respectively. The Empire is a place where humans, orks, elves, dwarves and fairies live united. Where mages, alchemists and confessors are free to roam and pursue their quests for knowledge and enlightenment. It is a place of technological and cultural progress that brought millions out of poverty into a new prosperous age. It is a place of peace and harmony… *This is where the pamphlet ends, torn to pieces and thrown on the street.* “It sure does paint a pretty picture, ain’t it?” the old man asked. “Sadly the truth is a bit more complex and not so rosy, I am afraid.” he gave a sad smile. “Let me tell you in brief what happened.” he sat back in his comfortable armchair and took an intricate pipe “How do I know that you ask?” a raspy chuckle as he lit the tobacco and gave a small puff “I was there...” an enigmatic smile “How is that possible? That is another matter for another time.” the smile turned into a scowl “Now stop interrupting me with silly questions, I am not as young as I used to be and I need to tell this story...” There were roughly three ages that divide the history of Paneas, at least when there were sentient species roaming it. The first one was the Age of Darkness. These were wild and primitive times, full of barbarity and an endless struggle for survival. None of the current species were as they are today. There was no culture, no history, no civilization. Great beasts roamed the lands, thunderous lizards, monstrous insects and the like. The elves were hiding in the woods, living off the forest fruits and small game. The proto-orks were savage beasts who lived for combat. The humans were nothing more than savages, hunter gatherers who had just moved out of the caves and started building small huts. There were no fairies back then, they made a later appearance. So did the dwarves. The Lizardmen were still crawling on their fours in the jungles of the Sauria Archipelago. Then there were the Dragons. These shapeshifting creatures were the first civilization. They were the successful experiments done by the Ancient Ones, the ones who came before the recorded history, whose artifacts can be found to this day. The number of Dragons were not that great but they were powerful mages, so they soon gained control over the other species. The elves, later known as the Aeldari, were the most susceptible to their influence and were their most loyal servants. They learned from them to foster their elemental magic, to help them nurture nature. Their civilization grew among the woods. They were the healers, the artisans, the gardeners for the great Dragon Civilization. Theirs were the grass and water elements. The orks were hard to tame. Their mindless savagery required genetic manipulation. Unfortunately not all were able to gain sentience so were pushed back to the wastes. The others remained and with the help of the Dragons were able to build a martial culture, they became the guardians and warriors, protecting the realm. They could master the fire and earth elements. The humans were problematic, to say the least. They were and still are short-lived, compared to the other races. They are not as strong and not as agile. They can be controlled by their baser emotions and desires. But their unique quality was their adaptability and ingenuity. The Dragons were blind to see the danger they posed. Ever since they brought the humans civilization they started spreading faster, reaching maturity earlier than the other races. They learned quickly helped by the fact that their aptitude for magic was weaker, so they had to learn new survival techniques and develop tools to help them to even the ground. The ones who could do magic were able to master each of the elements, but to a lesser degree. The reign of the Dragons paved the way to the second age - the Age of Magic. It was marked by the rapid development of the civilizations and the conquering of most of the continent. The Dragons were benevolent rulers for most part, but when someone rebelled they were quick to squash any dissent. For the most part they had given up their monstrous visage opting to appear like a cross between an elf and a human. New races started to appear, the fairies for instance. No one knows how they came to be, but were a welcome addition to the new Empire. The carefree creatures were excellent entertainers and fortune-tellers. Moving from town to town they were always met with enthusiasm as they spun, mostly made up, tales about far away lands and creatures never seen before. Young people who could not find love visited them for charms or for good fortune amulets. Another race that came from the seas were the Lizardmen. Those enigmatic bipedal creatures looked like distant cousins of the Dragons, but did not possess their powers. The shamans with gifts were rare among them. That was why they were revered by the rubes. The Lizardmen possessed a cold and calculating intellect. Their cold blood did not allow for strong emotions. Another strange race were the bipedal Felinoids or as the humans called them - the Cat People. These graceful but physically weak creatures were highly intelligent and sly, making them excellent spies and traders. No one really knows their motivation given how secretive they are. Explorers of the Gora Mountains were the first to find the dwarves. These diminutive foul-mouthed people lived most of their lives underground. A whole civilization had formed in the nethers of the mountains. They drove a hard bargain but ultimately joined the Empire after the Dragon emissary outdrank their King impressing even the most sceptical Dwarf. The Dragon Empire looked like as if it would last forever, but there were miniscule cracks forming. The Great Lizards were blind to the everyday lives of their subjects, their longevity made them more interested in esoteric matters and exploration. Thinking that since they had brought civilization and progress to the other races things will run themselves automatically, allowing them to pursue more and more knowledge. But this comes at a price. Some of the Dragons were becoming more and more arrogant and disinterested in the mortals. That increased with the discovery of the ruins of once great city made by the Ancient Ones. They got in contact with a being that promised knowledge and power. The Dragons were getting greedy, not listening to reason telling them that the price for these shortcuts will be disastrous. Their rule started growing more and more despotic. Sacrifices, wars and suspicions among the species. Ironically these were the years when the magic was the strongest. Sick and tired of this situation, that was going for decades, members from each race met in secret to form a resistance. Thus the struggle for liberation started that continued for almost a century. Millions died, cities were razed, but the Dragons were defeated. Some claim they were all killed off, others believe that some survived and went into hiding. The Aeldari fled too, to a magical island called Uthwe, leaving the disloyal (as they saw them) elves. What followed was a century of chaos. Races, regions, cities were fighting for control. No one remembered the age where everyone was united. Furthermore the Magic was fading. The humans were the first to notice it and with their innate ingenuity they started developing technology to counter this. Thus the Age of Technology (the current one) replaced the one of Magic. Wise and farseeing leaders from each race realized that the current situation was unsustainable. Slowly and meticulously ruling Houses along the continent started forming peaceful alliances, but they needed a leader. A leader who will avoid the mistakes the Dragons. A council of nobles was formed and elected an Emperor, who will be the first among equals. They elected the once trading port city Basileus to be the new capitol, hence the name. Things were settling down at last. New organizations were formed like the Trading Guild, a collective of merchants, businessmen, financiers, craftsmen, industrialists - in short capitalist bourgeoisie. The Mage Guild, even with decreased power, crafted people gathered together to provide education, protection, arbitration, counsel and healing. The Royal Army and Navy were formed. Each region and House had to send people to fill in the ranks, while retaining certain forces for defense and to maintain a certain autonomy. People of knowledge joined in the Alchemist Guilds, expanding the horizons and bringing unseen technological progress with the invention of the steam engine and then the internal combustion one. Trains, new and faster ships, ground cars and trucks were becoming a common sight. This allowed to traverse the vast expanses of the oceans. Electricity was mastered. Reaching new and unfamiliar lands, where new sets of dangers needed to be faced and the need for long distance communication arose prompting the development of the telegraph. Weaponry changed, the discovery of gunpowder changed warfare from close and personal to distant and anonymous. Siege canons made city walls obsolete. The distances did not make it viable for the new colonies to stray too far from the coastlines, so they settled these areas, but they were enough for now as they were quite abundant in resources. A new element was discovered, called Draconium. It changed the balance again. It was a naturally occurring element in the form of a bluish crystal that if grounded and consumed increased one’s magical aptitude, helped expand the mind, heal certain ailments and even prolonged life. The problem was that it was not evenly spread around the continent. At first it brought another push of advances, the first Aeroplanes and Sky Ships were made. The telephone too, along with the first moving picture shows. In the meantime the quality of lives in the cities deteriorated as more and more people flocked there. Living in slums, in decrepit buildings, slaves to their employers. Working long hours with hardly any pay. The ever present supply of labour forced people to accept their fate. These injustices prompted people to organize in secret to fight the oppression… The multicultural environment that was fostered by the Empire brought out some old conflicts to the fore. Some people could not accept the representatives of other races and were resentful against them. Some even took action… Different secret societies flourished along the Empire. Some had similar goals, others opposites. They contained representatives of the elite from the bourgeoisie and the nobility. Pulling the strings, manipulating events, but for what purpose? And who were the real puppet masters? That requires further investigation... Tensions among Houses grew. The Imperial House of Atreus lead by Emperor Leopold V Atreus was perceived as weak and ineffectual. Everyone knew that conflict was rife to happen, but when? Certain Houses and organizations formed coalitions in secret, some were in support of the status quo, others opposing. Princess Jori, the Emperor’s daughter, was rumoured to have taken an active participation in the backchanneling in the court and the council of nobles, trying to postpone the inevitable... But in these dark times, there was still optimism. The crew of the steamship “Enterprise” were setting sail for Aleyas. This was a group of explorers and adventurers looking to uncover the mysteries of that continent… About the game: This is an original FREEFORM, SANDBOX game set in a Dieselpunk, Urban Fantasy Environment. It was inspired by Dune, Game of Thrones, Avatar: Legend of Korra, pulp fiction from the 20s and 30s. There are a lot of similarities to our Earth. Technology, culture, weapons, clothing are based on the ones from the period 1910 to 1945, with the exception of the airships and other military techs (namely certain walkers) are more dieselpunk. The story for this installment will be mostly centered around the capital city of Basileum, with the exception of the explorer side story. Players are welcome to have several characters, as long as they can handle them. There will be three plots going in parallel and for two of them the number of players will be limited. First Plotline: the political intrigues in the Imperial court as the threat of war grows and certain factions try to prevent it and others try to speed it up. There is no character limit for this one. The characters can be from different walks of life from servants, military, mages, alchemists, nobility, capitalist, financier, etc. They can be from any of the races mentioned above (aside of the Dragons and Aeldari) Second Plotline: this is more of a Sherlock Holmes kind of story about two Detectives set on a mission to investigate who is behind these societies and what ties them together and hopefully find out their intentions. Only TWO characters for the detectives (the player(s) can pick the race and gender), other players can help with NPCs and opposition - it will also tie in with the political intrigue plot; Third Plotline: the explorers. Ideally it should involve a small team of enthusiastic archeologists and/or other scientists. They will have some armed escort, but these will be mostly NPCs, maybe only the commander will be playable of the protectors. FIVE characters maximum for the scientific team. The city of Basileum is located in the South-West, by the coast of the Stormy Ocean. It is the biggest city on the continent, home to people of all races and creeds. As for humans all skin colours are acceptable. Feel free to make up names of cities, Houses or regions from where your characters are if they were not from Basileum. Rules: Please PM me your Character Sheets first for approval No God-modding Obey the Boards’ rules The GM’s word is law If you have to pause your participation or would like to withdraw please notify beforehand so that I can accommodate Have fun Character Sheet: Name: Gender: Age: Race: Physical description (picture if applicable): Height; Weight: Skin color: Hair color: Eye color: Personality: Quirks: Likes/dislikes: Strengths/weaknesses: Weapons: Short Bio: Note for Mages: You should note that even though they have certain powers and abilities they have limitations as in the Age of Technology, their capabilities are diminished. The elements that I mentioned above relate to their offensive capabilities like shooting fire, manipulating water, vegetation, air currents, lightning and so on. Prolonged usage of these abilities lead to rapid exhaustion, especially the more advanced attacks, so they will have to take Draconium (think of it as “mana”). They use “rube” weapons like sabres, handguns and the like. Generally their roles are educational, medicinal and as mediators (think of the Jedi). They are respected by some but more and more are considered as obsolete. DISCLAIMER: I have found the images on the Internet, but unfortunately do not know the names of the artists to claim them (aside of the picture of Max von Sydow taken from The Force Awakens).