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Gensokyo
While Gensokyo has existed for over a thousand years, it was only cut off from the rest of Earth a couple centuries prior. This event was the work of the Great Youkai Sages, who foresaw the extinction of youkai at the hands of an increasingly skeptical humanity. Gensokyo was sealed away from the outside world in order to create a paradise wherein youkai could exist without fear of vanishing into obscurity.

The Human Village
With only one major settlement for humans in Gensokyo, there's no need for it to have any other name. Nearly all of the human population lives in one large, peaceful village right at Gensokyo's center. Although they are surrounded on all sides by powerful youkai, there is seldom more than minor trouble in the village itself, for the humans are an important part of Gensokyo's balance. If anyone tried to destroy the village, they would swiftly be punished by the other youkai.

Agatsuma Shrine
Resting comfortably on the edge of the human village is Gensokyo's largest shinto shrine. Historically a symbol of the gods granting protection to humanity, it's unclear what purpose it serves in the modern day. If any gods reside within it, they don't make themselves known to the public, and these days, protecting humanity from youkai largely falls in other hands.

The current maintainer of the shrine is the shrine maiden Tamayori Satomi. Ostensibly, youkai extermination falls under her duties, but she's young and inexperienced, her powers are still weak, and she doesn't seem to have the emotional disposition for violence. So, she relies on others to resolve incidents.

Ugekkan
The human village's chief source of books. Ugekkan is a bookstore owned and operated by a young man named Shuusei Hanawa. Shuusei is blind, but manages Ugekkan's collection with help of some strange supernatural ability he possesses. He's at least civil to everyone who comes into his store as long as they don't cause trouble, he firmly considers youkai to be enemies of humanity (even if he's too smart to say that to their faces).

Ugekkan stocks a wide variety of books, from ancient Japanese texts to Gensokyo original manuscripts to youkai writings. Even the occasional book from the outside world sometimes ends up on its shelves. Shuusei will sometimes allow people he likes to borrow books as if he were running a library, but to strangers and youkai he demands full price.

The Great Youkai Sages
Of all the youkai in Gensokyo, three stand above all. These three were responsible for Gensokyo's creation, and watch over it to this day. However, some suspect that each has a different vision for what Gensokyo should look like.

Their identities are as follows:
  • Misato Sekimizu, Gensokyo's Prophet. A satori whose third eye sees not people's hearts, but instead looks into the world of the future. She foresaw the end of the world of youkai, and the necessity for Gensokyo to be sealed away. She's the most visible of the Sages, occasionally visiting the human village, but she never explains her reasoning for anything until it's too late. Treat with respect, but also caution.
  • Kiyo Goukou, Gensokyo's Gatekeeper. A dragon of incredible power, who created the barrier sealing Gensokyo away from the outside world. She hasn't been seen in years.
  • Abe no Izumi, Gensokyo's Overseer. Of all the Sages, she is the most enigmatic. She is a kitsune, and has even met with many humans, but none can ever recall anything other than her name and species - not even what she spoke to them about. Her motives, abilities, and appearance are all unknown.

Forest of Spirits
A dense, vibrant wood near the human village. Children are cautioned never to go here, for it is filled with dangerous creatures. To those with a bit of power, though, the concerns are largely unfounded, as those creatures are almost all fairies - sometimes dangerous to ordinary humans, but resting comfortably at the bottom of the youkai totem pole.

Valley of Four Winds
Named for the near-constant windstorms that rage all around it, this valley is home to the tengu. Of course, humans seldom have any business there, but this much is said: If you must go to the Valley of Four Winds, be prepared to fight. The tengu enjoy nothing more, after all.

The Kappa Village
On the far shore of an expansive lake a long ways from the human village, a cluster of strange buildings can be seen. The kappa overwhelmingly prefer to keep to their own territory, so nobody really knows what goes on there. Humans who wander too close are swiftly intercepted by kappa guards, and politely but firmly deposited well away from the lake.
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The Land of Valor
One of the greatest nations in the world, many times larger than any of its neighbors. Under the leadership of the previous Daimyo, several nations were united into the single banner of the Land of Valor, and as a result, there are six hidden ninja villages there instead of the usual one: Lotus, Shell, Ash, Salt, Sun, and Lightning.

Uesugi Shingen
The current Daimyo of the Land of Valor. Inheriting the title from his late father, Uesugi is a cautious leader and unparalelled master of Kenjutsu. Having inherited six disparate ninja villages, he's reluctant to trust them as allies, but employs ninjas as assets out of necessity.

Hidden Lotus Village
The home village of our protagonists. Lotus is, at present, the most prosperous of the six villages of the Land of Valor, but also the one that Daimyo Shingen is the most suspicious of. Many people in the village begin training at an early age, usually being accepted as Genin somewhere around ages 12 to 15. The leader of Hidden Lotus Village is the Hasukage, Azai Mitsuhide.

The Four Dragons
A moniker given to the four strongest ninja in Hidden Lotus Village. The list changes over time, but when a major crisis befalls the village, the Dragons are expected to gather and put a stop to it with their overwhelming power. The current era's Four Dragons are Azai Mitsuhide, Imoni Keiji, Okayu Magoroku, and Kaitaba.

Azai Mitsuhide
The Ninth Hasukage of Lotus Village, and one of the Four Dragons. In his prime, Azai was one of the greatest ninjas in history, but he's very old now, and has gone more than a bit senile. Despite his incredible skill with Genjutsu, there's a lot of debate as to whether or not he still deserves his spot among the Four Dragons.

Imoni Keiji
The Hasukage's chief bodyguard, and one of the Four Dragons. Imoni is broadly accepted as the strongest Taijutsu specialist in Hidden Lotus Village, and possibly in all of the Land of Valor. She's usually drunk, but this has never once stopped her from doing her job.

Okayu Magoroku
Head of the esteemed Magoroku Clan, and one of the Four Dragons. The clan has produced countless powerful ninja in the past, but there exists a certain degree of tension between them and the rest of the village, who they've been known to look down on. Okayu became one of the Four Dragons after her husband died, and is broadly accepted as having surpassed him in the realm of Ninjutsu.

Kaitaba
The Ninja Reaper of Lotus Village, and one of the Four Dragons. In the past, Kaitaba was the most ruthless and cruel Anbu black ops agent, performing countless assassinations and reveling in the bloody chaos of battle. It's unknown what he does with himself now, or why such a terrifying monster is counted as an ally by the Hasukage.

Taki Murai
Former head of the formerly-esteemed Murai Clan. Taki stood as one of the Four Dragons, but brought dishonor upon both himself and his clan ten years ago when he betrayed the village, and killed Rakkyo Magoroku. The reason for his betrayal is not widely known, but for his crimes, he was executed, and replaced with Kaitaba. The Murai Clan has since fallen into shame and contempt, leaving his daughter Hohko to put the pieces back together.

Rakkyo Magoroku
Husband to Okayu Magoroku, and former head of the Magoroku Clan. After he was killed by Taki, his wife took his place among the Four Dragons.
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The Soul
The essence of all life is the soul. Every living thing has one, and they are virtually impossible to destroy - even after death, the soul persists. To your typical human, souls and all related to them are invisible, but a rare few have the ability to see past the physical world and percieve the true nature of reality.

In life, your soul resides within your body - the two are tied together by a spiritual bond called the Chain of Fate. If your Chain of Fate is severed, that means that your soul is no longer connected to your body. In other words, you have died. The unattached soul of the dead is what some would call a ghost; more properly, the term for such a spirit is a Plus.

When a Plus is formed, they must be carried on to the afterlife as soon as possible. This is the chief occupation of the Einherjar, powerful warrior-spirits who reside in Valhalla but return to Earth to tend to the dead. When an Einherjar encounters a Plus, they perform a simple ritual called Soul Burial, which allows them to move on to a peaceful rest in the afterlife.

If a Plus lingers too long, problems begin to form. Sometimes a Plus is too attached to a place or a person, causing their Chain of Fate to get anchored to the object of their lingering regrets, becoming a Bounded Spirit. If they simply aren't picked up by any Einherjar, their severed Chain of Fate will begin to eat itself, growing shorter and shorter. If either condition is allowed to go on for too long, the benevolent Plus will become distorted as its heart is destroyed, growing in twisted malice and instinct and also in power. Thus, a Hollow is born.

Hollows
A Hollow is, effectively, a monster. Huge beasts recognizeable by their skull-like masked faces, they can't be seen by ordinary humans. Their primary food is the soul, and they commonly devour the Pluses that Einherjar fail to bring to Valhalla. Sometimes, they'll even feed on the souls of living humans. Whatever motivations and morals a Hollow had in life, or even as a Plus, are gone, replaced only with regret, despair, hatred, and an insatiable hunger.

Your typical hollow is a semi-mindless brute, like a wild animal, but this is not always the case. The more a hollow eats, the more powerful it becomes, as many souls are absorbed into a single Hollow soul. Stronger hollows also have more intelligence, eventually being capable of becoming cruel masterminds preying upon humanity from the shadows. The longer a Hollow is left unchecked, the more dangerous it becomes. The greatest of Hollows, massive creatures composed of hundreds of Hollow souls mashed together as they devour one another, are given the name Menos.

The one weakness shared by all Hollows is the mask. Within each Hollow is what was once a human soul - the white mask covering its face is formed from their lost heart. If the mask can be broken, the original consciousness of the person within the Hollow can sometimes be at least briefly restored. If the mask is completely destroyed, the Hollow is destroyed as well.

When not hunting, Hollows hide from Einherjar by retreating to Hueco Mundo, world of Hollows. This strange and evil world is overflowing with powerful, cruel Hollows; any humans who set foot there for even a minute would surely die.

Einherjar
Those who die with courage and valor have a different sort of afterlife waiting for them. The Valkyries find and select these people to become the Einherjar, guardians of Valhalla. Einherjar have powers far beyond regular souls, and use them for the good of the world.

While an Einherjar's chief duty is the Soul Burial, they have a second crucial task - fighting Hollows. The spiritual weapons wielded by Einherjar are the best weapons in a fight against Hollows, which are virtually impervious to mortal weapons. However, the killing blow of an Einherjar does not destroy a Hollow. Instead, it purifies it, absolving the soul within of all the sins it committed as a Hollow. With this, the Plus it once was can move on to the next world in peace.

Einherjar gather in the great halls of Valhalla, where immensely powerful rulers command them in endless battles. The details of what goes on in Valhalla are not known to those of this realm.

Verndari
When a soul becomes an Einherjar, they will find their chief weapon already in hand. The Verndari is a weapon, unique in shape and nature to each Einherjar, born from the depths of your soul. Every Einherjar carries a Verndari, and a Verndari is the most effective weapon for cutting down Hollows. Despite being a part of its wielder, every Verndari is a living, thinking entity with its own heart - if only the Einherjar is able to hear its words.

Verndari can take many shapes, but the most common are an axe, a sword, or a spear. More esoteric weapons are rare sights, but do exist as well. Sometimes a Verndari will take the form of two paired objects - a weapon and a shield, or more rarely two weapons, one for each hand. However simple these forms may be, they are only the sealed forms of the Verndari - their true form is often much stranger.

Every Verndari has a unique name. In order to wield its true power, you must learn that name. By speaking a command word and your Verndari's name (Howl, Zabimaru! Ripple, Geimur Skera! etc), you can unleash its true form, transforming the weapon into something stranger, more unique, and far more powerful. These true forms can be any manner imaginable of bizarre weapon, and may even have supernatural powers beyond simple brute force, such as commanding the elements of attacking with raw spiritual power. While sealed, the Verndari gradually amasses power, and that power is all released at once when its true form is unsealed, so most Verndari are kept sealed most of the time, and only released when needed. The exception to this is a rare class of Verndari called Constant Release Verndari, which only have one form, and cannot be sealed. (Mechanical note - if not known from level 1, the best time to learn your Verndari's name and true form is when you get your first Ultimate at level 5.)

As your soul grows, so does your Verndari become more powerful. It cannot be discarded or replaced, as it is a part of you. If it is broken, it will recover in time. Generally, a larger Verndari is indicative of greater raw power, but this stops being true after a certain level of mastery.

Magic
There are two kinds of magic used by Einherjar - Galdrastafur and Runo. Few learn both, some learn neither.

Galdrastafur is the art of inscribing spiritual power into drawn runes. If the rune is drawn correctly, and given sufficient power, it will evoke a spell to shape reality. Galdrastafur spells are seldom destructive, instead offering protection or binding your enemies. Because drawing these runes takes time, many tricks are used to produce Galdrastafur quickly, such as drawing out the runes in advance, then only infusing them with power when needed. (Mechanical note: Most Galdrastafure techniques should have at least one level of Ammunition Limit.)

Runo is a different class of spells, invoked via vocal incantation instead of by written rune. These spells are more closely tied to the soul, and are more raw and wild than Galdrastafur. Runo spells tend towards pure power, raining down destruction and commanding elemental wrath to strike down anything in your path. However, the vocal component make them challenging to use quickly in the midst of battle. (Mechanical note: Most Runo techniques should have at least one level of Initiative Limit.)

Hollows may have their own strange magic, but it is not well understood.

Spiritual Power
All of the great powers wielded by creatures beyond humans wield the power of the soul itself as energy. This is broadly referred to as Spiritial Power, and is usually drawn from your own soul's strength. The greater the soul, the greater the Spiritual Power.

This energy can be used in countless ways, and dictates all combat between Einherjar or Hollows. When you cut with a sword, your Verndari is simply focusing your spirit to a killing edge, and using it to pierce the spiritual energy radiated unconsciously by your enemy's body. When you use magic, you are using runes or command words to channel your spiritual power into a more structured form to shape reality. When a Hollow unleashes a deadly energy attack, it's unleashing the power radiating from its twisted soul.

Spiritual power can be sensed by those with senses trained for it. With skill and practice, this can be used to sense a specific person's soul from a distance, or sense how powerful an opponent's soul is. A common technique for tracking via spirit energy is Spirit Ribbons - each soul in the area is visualized as a white ribbon rising from the ground around you, and by identifying the ribbon corresponding to your target, you can sense where they are. An Einherjar's spirit ribbon instead appears as red.

When being faced by truly overwhelming souls, no special skills are required to sense them. Great souls, when their power is unleashed, exert a spiritual pressure on the world around them so great that any spiritually sensitive soul can feel it. In extreme cases, this pressure may be enough to force a weaker soul to their knees, or even crush them against the ground.

In Valhalla, the land of the dead, spiritual power is of even greater import than it is on Earth. The very land itself is comprised of spiritual particles instead of physical molecules. Your powers would be greater there - but so would those of your opponents.

Further Strange Things
There are more ways of dealing with Hollows than by an Einherjar's blade. There may be someone right here in Arendal practicing an ancient art that most Einherjar would consider a heresy that brings defeated Hollows far too close to the user's own soul.

The 'true form' revealed by an Einherjar speaking their Verndari's name may not be its true form at all. Perhaps the Verndari can, under extreme circumstances, continue to evolve into something even greater.

Of course, an Einherjar is an Einherjar, and a Hollow is a Hollow. There couldn't possibly be any way that the two existences could bleed into one another... right?

Considering how many Hollows are there, and how many even stranger powers have awakened there, maybe Arendal isn't just unlucky. Maybe there's something fundamental and strange about the area that draws the uncanny towards it...
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Nazar Orlov
Prime Minsiter of Nistona - considering the size of the world he resides over, he functions as much like a mayor as like a country leader. He's been in power for 3 years, and has been generally doing a passable job. He's given more funding to the Guardian Association than his predecessor did, so things are looking better than they used to for the GA.

Faraji Jakande
President of the Guardian Association. She's been retired as a Guardian for thirty years, but during her prime, she was known as Aurora Neon, leader of the now-legendary Team Aurora. President Jakande is fiercely protective of the Guardians and their well-being, but she also knows what kind of risks and sacrifices they must make to keep Nistona safe, having fought in the Minus World for a record-breaking seventeen years herself. Today, she barely has enough power to transform more than a couple times a year, and has little reason to, but despite her weakened powers, she has enough skill and experience to keep up with most accomplished Guardians in their prime.

Alexander Hightower
Headmaster of Pearl Academy. He's been running the academy for going on 45 years, and in his old age his competency has occasionally been called into question, but when a school with dozens of super-powered teenagers in it still hasn't burned down after four decades of his leadership, he must be doing something right.

Scarlet Blaze
Leader of Team Scarlet, a recently-formed Guardian team that eschews the usual color coordination traditions and is composed entirely of reds. Last month, there was an incident where a Commander class monster incapacitated her teammates before breaking into Nistona, and she was able to follow it and take it down solo, and she's been riding the wave of fame and popularity ever since. Her talent, personality, and ego are all equally immense. She registered anonymously, and her civilian identity is unknown.

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Awakening is a chance occurrence - you can't control whether or not it happens. Once you've Awakened, though, becoming a Guardian is a choice. Nobody will force you to put your life on the line to fight monsters. Those who do choose to fight, however, are recruited by a group called the Guardian Association, which manages all Guardians in Nistona, scheduling their activities and monitoring their condition.

Guardians have two main duties: Patrols and emergency missions. Patrols are weekly forays into the Minus World to find and eliminate monsters before they can become a threat to Nistona. Monsters will often pass through the barrier in the Minus World, then lurk there, gathering their forces before making an attack - the Guardian patrols are to prevent this, rooting out nests before they become a serious threat. In order to patrol safely, Guardians almost always operate in teams, ranging from two to six members.

Patrol schedules and routes change regularly - if they remain static for too long, the monsters learn the patterns and start to evade them. The broad objective of a patrol is to follow your route, investigating any signs of monster activity, and find and eliminate the monsters. If the monsters become too dangerous to overcome, retreat - they aren't yet invading Nistona, so you can run away, note the nest location, and the Guardian Association can send a larger force to root it out.

Emergency missions happen when monsters try to invade Nistona directly. The first sign of this is strange glitches in reality, at which point the clock is already ticking. When a team discovers a monster intrusion in process, they must immediately gather, alerting the Guardian Association if possible, then transform - while transformed, Guardians can sense the energy given off by an Ingress being expanded by monsters. From there, the Guardian team should cross over into the Minus World and wipe out the monsters before they manage to cross over into our world.

For whatever reason, Ingress locations are correlated strongly with human population density. Most Ingresses appear in Kastad, with a few appearing in other towns, but Ingresses in the countryside are vanishingly rare (every town has at least one Guardian team assigned to it for this reason). On an emergency mission, retreating is often more dangerous than staying to fight - if you fall back without stopping the monsters, then they'll reach Nistona, where Guardian powers are much weaker. At that point, some monsters will go wild and attack anything they can find, but some others will charge straight for the Pearl. Thankfully, their are no recorded instances of one reaching the Pearl - one can only imagine what disaster might unfold if they did.

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The most respected institute of learning in Nistona, Pearl Academy is a sprawling campus on the edge of Kastad, near the Temple of the Pearl. Students from middle school through college can learn there, and the quality of the campus and the provided education are both excellent. Some students commute from Kastad, others opt for the comfortable and affordable on-campus housing instead.

Pearl Academy's not-so-secret secret is that among its students are nearly all active, registered Guardians. Some live openly as Guardians, others prefer to fight under assumed aliases to keep their personal lives separate from their battles. For both groups, teachers and facilities are available on campus for Guardian training, typically held after normal classes have ended for the day. Pearl Academy is a place for Guardians to live, learn, train, and prepare for the battles that await them in the Minus World.

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Monsters come in four commonly-used classifications: Minions, Commanders, Corruptions, and Aberrations. Minions are the weakest and most common type of monster, but even they can be extremely dangerous - the only reason that Guardians can take on monsters with any amount of safety is because their powers are much stronger in the Minus World, where the laws of physics don't dictate what magic can or can't do as strongly. Fighting in the real world, even minions can be threats too great for a single Guardian. In the Minus World, though, a single Guardian can usually defeat one or even several Minions without backup. Their greatest weapon is their numbers.

Whenever there is an unusually high concentration of Minions, it's likely that there's a Commander present. These monsters are much more powerful than Minions, generally taking a team of Guardians working together to take down - stories of solo Guardians taking on Commanders are rare, and attempts are one of the leading causes of fatalities. In addition to being powerful on their own, Commanders can silently direct the actions of swarms of Minions, leading them to attack less like wild animals and more like invading armies. Furthermore, some of them have the ability to create more Minions to supplement their forces. One of the most common patterns of attack is for a single Commander class monster to break through the barrier, then spend days lurking and building a new army before attacking.

Corruptions are extremely rare, and extremely dangerous. When a Guardian dies in the Minus World, and their body isn't brought back to Nistona, they sometimes come back to life. However, they aren't restored as Guardians - they're restored as monsters. Corruptions are insane, cruel distortions of their former selves, backed with the strength of a monster and the magic of a Guardian. The only thing keeping them from being a greater threat than Commander class monsters is that they're less focused - they seem to attack or wander off at random, sometimes vanishing for years before reappearing again. The advice given to Guardians regarding Corruptions is to retreat and call for backup immediately, never engaging one unless you have ten or more Guardians together to fight it.

And finally, there are Aberrations. This isn't exactly a categorization, it's more of a catch-all title for monsters that don't fit into the other classes. Aberrations are one-of-a-kind occurrences, new kinds of monsters that nobody has ever seen before, and are accordingly dangerous to the extreme. When fighting an Aberration, you need to be prepared for absolutely anything. Nothing is guaranteed, not even survival.

Even within each class, monsters vary widely in nature. Each wave looks completely different from the last, with different capabilities and tactics. Sometimes, they seem to adapt to how the last invasion was repelled with new tactics and weapons designed to render the same strategy ineffective. Wherever the monsters are coming from, whatever's sending them, they seem custom-made to exterminate humanity as effectively as possible.

Historical records show a cycle of monster activity that tends to last about ten to twenty years on average. Over the cycle, monster attacks gradually become more frequent and more dangerous, until they suddenly cut out, giving way to up to a year of total silence. However, it seems that over time, the cycles are gradually getting shorter...

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Of the many unsolved mysteries of Nistona, the greatest is its enemies. There are monsters in the wider world, and they seem to be focused entirely on the erradication of mankind. Nobody knows where they came from. Nobody knows why they're here. Nobody even really knows what they are. All that's certain is that peaceful coexistence with them is impossible.

The barrier keeps monsters from directly invading and destroying Nistona, but there's a way around it. Adjacent to our reality is another, less stable reality, called the Minus World. It greatly resembles our world - if a building is erected in Kastad, it will eventually come to exist in the Minus World at the same spot. However, nobody would ever mistake one world for the other. The Minus World's sky is pitch black, and none of the living things of our world exist there. More seriously, though, the Minus World doesn't work right.

Physics in the Minus World is, at best, tenuously enforced. Object geometry is slippery, sometimes letting things pass through each other. Sometimes objects merge into each other in strange ways. Sometimes walls only exist from one direction. Sometimes gravity stops working for a while. There are no laws that can be trusted in the Minus World as absolutes - every time you visit, odds are you'll find some new bizarre glitch that wasn't there before.

This is, of course, exactly what monsters use this world for. Because the laws of the world are sometimes breakable there, it's possible for monsters to occasionally pass through the barrier. From there, they just need to find an Ingress - a point of weakness in the boundary between our world and theirs. Then, the monster will emerge into the real world, inside Nistona, where it can wreak havoc.

Naturally-occurring Ingresses are rare, and appear and disappear at random - in our world, they appear like cracks in reality, big enough for a person to slip through but seldom much bigger. Using these, humans can sometimes wander into and out of the Minus World, but being there without the powers of a Guardian is extremely ill-advised. Prolonged exposure to the Minus World wears on the mind, especially the unprotected mind. These natural Ingresses are no threat, because it requires much more energy to move monsters across the boundary than it does for humans. When monsters wish to enter the human world, they'll search for a natural Ingress, and then begin channeling energy into it to 'widen' it until they can use it as a bridge to our world. This process results in disturbances in our world, causing parts of it near the Ingress to behave more like the Minus World. Strange glitches in reality are usually an indication of a monster attack in progress.

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Sometimes called Magical Girls, Guardians are those who have been awakened by the Pearl to their true powers. In day to day life, they're just like normal humans, but they also have the ability to transform into a magically-enhanced temporary form. The body gradually generates small amounts of magical energy over time, which is stored up and released while transformed, allowing for about an hour of combat time before it starts to wane. Transforming is a flashy affair, and generally results in dramatic alterations to the Guardian's hair and clothing.

A few powers are universal to all Guardians. They're much sturdier than humans, being able to take levels of punishment that would kill a normal person twice over and still continue fighting. They can sense open intrusion points between the real world and the Minus World (more on that later). They can cross the boundaries between worlds - this even means they're capable of crossing the barrier, but those few who have ever returned from such a trek have reported nothing but desolation and hostile monsters as far as they could see. Beyond that, things vary - some Guardians get enhanced physical strength to fight hand-to-hand against monsters, others gain control over various kinds of destructive energy, others get even more esoteric abilities. Each Guardian's abilities are unique.

A Guardian's powers are magical in nature, and her heart is the source of her strength. Their strength is amplified by all kinds of strong emotions, and also become more powerful with repeated use over many battles. However, after about five years as a Guardian, power begins to wane. After ten years, few Guardians have any powers to speak of, and are barely even capable of transforming. Thus, it falls to Nistona's youth to protect it.

A last power granted to the Guardians is the ability to call out to the Pearl for a blessing. When all other hope has faded, this trump card can allow a Guardian to gain an incredible surge of power, becoming many times more powerful than they were before - but just for one battle. Once they revert to human form, though, a price will be paid. Some part of their body or mind will be taken as payment for the Pearl's blessing, and will cease to function. Each time a blessing is called for, the price is steeper. No Guardian has ever survived a third blessing.

There are currently 80 registered Guardians.

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When the old world was destroyed, Nistona alone was saved by the protection of the Pearl. Where it came from, how it works, and why it's here, nobody knows. All that's certain is that, without it, humanity would have been wiped out centuries ago.

The Pearl is a sphere, about three feet across, glimmering with a rainbow of shifting colors. It's fixed at the exact center of the barrier, on the outskirts of Kastad, floating about ten feet above ground level. As far as has ever been observed, no human technology or power can damage the Pearl, or even move it. It has no apparent external energy source, but radiates light softly at all times. The energy coming off of it reads identically to the energy faintly radiating off of the barrier surrounding Nistona.

In addition to its mysterious connection to the barrier, the most obvious function of the Pearl is in awakening Guardians. The first time a person physically touches the Pearl, there's a chance that they will awaken, suddenly and flashily being bestowed with incredible powers that operate outside the laws of physics. The exact rules for what makes a person eligible or not eligible aren't known, but odds of awakening successfully seem to peak around age 13-14 and fall to near zero after 18, and the successes are overwhelmingly female.

A temple has been built up around the Pearl, both for its protection and to make it easier to reach it, in a context where the government can keep an eye on who awakens and who doesn't. Girls who want to try to awaken most often pay the temple a visit around 15-16, to balance having to start too young with the dwindling odds of success as you age. Those who do awaken are contacted shortly thereafter to become Guardians.

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Usually referred to as simply The City, Kastad is the only proper city within Nistona's radius. About 80% of the world's population call it home. The level of technology available in Kastad is much like modern Earth's, but not exactly like it - lack of access to the resources from the old world forced a lot of dramatic advances in energy sources. Cars are a rare sight, since travel within Kastad is mostly by public transit and few people have much need to head out into the country. Ethnically, Kastad is quite diverse, despite its small size and isolation. Names originating from a dozen old world languages are all common.

There are a handful of smaller towns outside of Kastad - Meklos to the north, Makasar to the east, Bellville near the center of the barrier, and Kryfon in the northeast. Beyond that is just scattered farms.

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(map pending)

Nistona is a perfectly circular world, about 100 kilometers across. Its edge is defined by the Barrier, beyond which nothing of value has ever been found. Light, air and water can pass through it normally, but it blocks anything alive from coming in or out. On the outside, a dead world overrun by monsters. On the inside, Nistona.

Despite the desolation surrounding it on all sides, Nistona is quite a pleasant place. The days are warm and sunny, the nights are cool and crisp. Even during winter, it's vanishingly rare for temperatures to drop below freezing. The majority of the half a million people living within the bubble are concentrated in the sprawling coastal city of Kastad, with the northeastern half of the world being dotted with farmland and smaller towns.

Humans are far from the only things living within the barrier. Contained within its isolated ecosystem are buffalo, gazelle, ostritches, and a whole lot of snakes. In the east, there's even the occasional leopard. Farmers raise various poultry, pigs, cows, sheep and goats for meat, and grow potatoes, tomatoes, a variety of grains, and citrus and tropical fruits. Despite having a good chunk of ocean within the barrier, fish - particularly edible ones - are scarce. Fishing is no longer a common practice.

The Nistonan calendar marks 599 years since the destruction of the old world. The cause of this calamity, like the origin of the Pearl that protects Nistona, is unknown.

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For a longer - but more coherent and complete - writeup, consult the Fatal and Friends writeup.

MAKING CHECKS
If you try to do something, you'll often make a Check against a given Stat or Skill. Whatever the value for that Stat or Skill is, roll that many d10s. The highest number that comes up is your result (and then circumstances may add a bonus to the final result).

If any of your dice come up as a ten, you get a critical - reroll the check using only the dice that you rolled a ten on, but add ten to the result. If you roll more tens, repeat and add ten again.

Example: I'm asked to make a Body Check, and my Body is 8. I roll 8d10, and get 1 3 4 4 7 8 10 10. I rolled some tens, so that's a critical (+10) - I take the two dice that rolled 10 and reroll them, and get 4 10. I rolled a ten again, so that's a second critical (+20) - I reroll the die that rolled a 10, and get a 4. My final result is 20 + 4 = 24.

Some powers or circumstances can reduce your Critical value - this means that you can score a critical on a value lower than 10. So, if you get -1 Critical Value, then you crit on all dice that roll a 9 or 10. Whatever your Critical Value is, you still gain +10 to the roll from it.

IMPULSE
Every Overed has a single volatile emotion that will threaten to overcome them when the Renegade Virus is active. If an Overed is taken over by the virus and becomes a Gjaum, then that emotion will take over and rule their persona, erasing their old personality.

Any time that a character receives a mental shock, the GM may ask them to make an Impulse Check. This uses the Will skill, and the difficulty is usually 9. If you fail, you gain the status Berserk, and become unable to use Reactions or Covers.

Select one Impulse from this list for your character (or roll 1d10 and choose like that):
  1. Bloodsucking. Only human blood can sate your thirst.
  2. Hunger. No matter how much you eat, nothing can end this feeling.
  3. Slaughter. Watch people struggle to cling to life, then take it away from them.
  4. Destruction. Burn down the world.
  5. Torture. Hurt those weaker than you, listen to their cries.
  6. Distaste. A specific sight sets you off, and you'll do anything to avoid it.
  7. Battle Lust. To not fight is to insult your very nature.
  8. Delusions. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is working against you.
  9. Self-Destruction. You are an entity that shouldn't exist.
  10. Fear. Every instinct tells you to get away from here.
  11. Release. Surpass your petty human emotions and advance to a greater existence.
  12. Hatred. Your blood boils with endless rage.


ENCROACHMENT AND LOISES
I'm not going to worry about Personal Data rules for now, so every character will have a Base Encroachment of 33% - this marks how close you are to being overcome by the Renegade Virus and becoming a Gjaum. At the start of the adventure, this is what your Encroachment is set to. When you start participating in any scene, either being there from the start or arriving later, your Encroachment increases by 1d10%. Each time you make an Impulse Check, fail or succeed, your Encroachment increases by 2d10%. Each time you use a Power, your Encroachment will increase by a certain amount.

As your Encroachment rises, you become more powerful. At 60%, all your checks get +1 dice. At 80%, +2 dice. At 100%, +3 dice and all your Powers rank as one level higher. Bonuses continue to increase with Encroachment, but hopefully you won't have to worry about that, because going over 100% is very dangerous.

Loises are other people you have connections with. Each is associated with a Positive Emotion and a Negative Emotion - one of these is consciously felt and the other is unconsciously suppressed. At the end of each scenario, you roll 1d10 for each Lois you still have - the sum of the dice rolled is subtracted from your Encroachment. You can choose to double the size of the dice pool BEFORE rolling, but doing so will reduce the experience you get from your Encroachment rate to 3 (the higher your final Encroachment, the more EXP you get). After rolling, you can do a second roll (not doubled) to reduce your Encroachment even further, but doing so reduces the experience from Encroachment to 0. If, after this process is completed, your Encroachment Rate is 100% or higher, you become a Gjaum, controlled entirely by your Impulse.

You can establish new Loises during play, with NPCs or PCs that you interact with. You can also lose Loises during play, if your relationship with them is severed - the Lois is killed, you're betrayed by them, or sudden emotional chaos disrupts the bond. If this happens, the Lois becomes a Titus. A Titus doesn't function as a Lois, but you can discard it at some point for a surge of strength, removing it permanently from your character sheet. When you do this, pick one:
  • +10 dice rolled on a single Check
  • +1d10 final result on a single Check
  • -1 Critical Value on a single Check
  • Remove all dice penalties and bad statuses other than Incapacitation or Death
  • Recover from Incapacitation and recover (Body+10) HP


COMBAT
Battle scenes are split into rounds. Characters each act in order from highest Initiative to lowest. On your turn, you get one Minor Action and one Major Action. Minor Actions can move a number of meters equal to their Move stat, change equipment, use items, recover from certain statuses, or use any power with the "Minor" timing. Major Actions can be used to move at double speed, attack, break away from an Engagement, kill an incapacitated character, or use any power with the "Major" timing.

Engagements are clusters of people who are all within melee range of each other. You can do melee attacks against anyone in your Engagement. You can enter an Engagement just by moving into range (Minor Action), but to leave it you need to Break Away (Major Action). If you're surrounded or your escape routes are blocked off, you need to do an opposed Body Check against each person in your path to escape the engagement.

When you attack, roll a Skill - Melee or Ranged for weapons, whatever is specified if you're using a Power. The target can choose to Dodge or Guard - if they choose the former, they roll the Dodge skill as an opposed check, avoiding the attack if they succeed. If they choose Guard, the attack automatically hits. Roll (1+(Accuracy Check result / 10))d10 for damage, rounding down - so, if the accuracy check was a 24, you'd do 3d10 damage. Final damage is increased by attack power, then reduced by armor and - if the defender Guarded - the Guard stat. Damage is dealt to HP, and if your HP drops to 0, you're incapacitated.

POWERS
Your character sheet comes with a list of powers. Each has the following details:
Timing: When this power is used, or what kind of action is required.
  • Minor/Major/Reaction: Used as the indicated action type.
  • Setup: Used at the beginning of a round.
  • Cleanup: Used at the end of a round.
  • Initiative: Used between turns.
  • Auto: Used whenever you want.
  • Constant: Always active.

Skill: What Skill is rolled when using this power.
Difficulty: What kind of roll is needed to use this power. If it says 'auto', the power automatically succeeds.
Target: Who the power affects.
  • Self: Targets whoever uses it.
  • Single: Targets one person.
  • (N): Targets N people.
  • Area: Targets everyone in a single Engagement.
  • Area (Select): Targets any number of people in a single Engagement - you can pick and choose.
  • Scene: Targets everyone in the scene.
  • Scene (Select): Targets whoever you want and nobody else.

Range: How far it reaches.
  • Close: Within your current Engagement.
  • View: Anyone you can see. No, this probably doesn't mean you can use it at the moon.
  • Weapon: Same as your equipped weapon.

Encroach: How much your Encroachment rises when you use the power.
Restrict: How higher your Encroachment must be to use the power.

COMBINING POWERS
You can use multiple powers at the same time, as long as all the combined powers have the same Skill and Timing. The Target and Range are the smallest of all the powers used, Difficulty is the highest of any of the powers. Encroachment rates are added together, then you get the bonuses from all the powers together.
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This isn't a full how-to post - it's just a quick overview to help create an impression of what the game plays like.

HIGH LEVEL
FS2 is a system inspired by Hong Kong action cinema - the movies of John Woo, Jet Li, and Tsui Hark. Rules are fairly light, characters are created quickly and simply but get fleshed out through play. Realism is given a passing nod from time to time, but after that you're free to run up a stream of bullets and punch the shooter in the face.

CORE MECHANICS
Most rolls in Feng Shui are the same - they run on a pair of six-sided dice in different colors. One die is the Positive die, the other the Negative die. When you try to do something, you check some kind of base value, then roll both dice, adding the Positive Die and subtracting the Negative Die - so if you have an Action Value of 7, and you roll a positive 5 and a negative 3, your final result is a 9. Both dice explode on a six - if either die rolls a six, roll it again and add the two results together. So, if you roll a six, then roll again and get a five, your final roll on that die is an eleven. The distance between that result and your action value - the sum of all dice rolled, added and subtracted from each other - is called the Swerve.

When you're trying to do something, it has a difficulty - the difference between the Difficulty and your result is the Outcome. Outcome 0 means a narrow, skin-of-the-teeth success, positive Outcome is a more dramatic success, negative Outcome is a failure. If you roll boxcars (double sixes), something amazing is guaranteed to happen, win or lose.

Characters all have a pool of Fortune points - some call it Chi, Magic, or Genome, but those are just subsets of Fortune. In addition to other uses from your Archetype and Schticks, you can always spend a point of Fortune to roll an extra Positive Die on a check.

COMBAT
Fights are split into Sequences and Shots. At the start of each Sequence, everyone makes an Initiative Check, rolling a single non-exploding positive die and adding Speed. The highest initiative rolled is the shot number on which the sequence begins.

When the current Shot number is the same as your Initiative, it's your turn to act. When you act, your initiative drops, depending on the length of the action but usually by 3 points. So, If you roll an 11 for Initiative, you'll most likely be taking actions on Shot 11, Shot 8, Shot 5, and Shot 2. After each shot resolves, the Sequence counts down to the next lower Shot number, until Shot 1 is over - then a new Sequence begins, and you roll initiative again.

Some effects are based on Keyframes - if something lasts until the next Keyframe, it lasts until the same Shot on the next Sequence. For example, if you reload your gun on Shot 5 of the first sequence, you're free from having to make reload checks until the next Keyframe, meaning that you don't have to reload until Shot 5 of the second sequence.

Attacks are made using your Attack AV, rolled against your enemy's Defense AV. If you hit, take the Outcome, add your weapon damage, and subtract the target's Toughness, and the result is your inflicted damage. Add the damage to the enemy's Wound Points - If the result is now 25-29, they get 1 Impairment, growing at 30+ to 2 Impairment, which is subtracted from all Attack and Skill checks, and also reduces their Defense value. Once Wound Points exceed 35, you start having to make rolls to stay standing (called Up Checks), and also may start accumulating Marks of Death, which might kill you at the end of the scene.

CHARGEN
Creating a character is quick. Pick an Archetype, come up with some fluff and flavor, write down a name, concept, and melodramatic hooks. Stats all come from your Archetype, further customization comes later. House Rule: You can optionally swap out two of your starting Schticks for others allowed by your Archetype. You can't swap out negative Schticks.

Stat Block
  • Attack AV: What you add to attack rolls. May be Guns, Martial Arts, Sorcery, Creature, Scroungetech or Mutant. You usually have two - one primary, one secondary.
  • Defense AV: How hard you are to hit.
  • Toughness: How hard you are to hurt.
  • Fortune: Or Chi, Or Magic, or Genome. Used for boosting rolls and using special powers.
  • Speed: How soon and often you strike during fight scenes.


ARCHETYPES
Not comprehensive info here - each class has 3-6 Schticks, I've listed one.

Archer
You're a master of the bow and arrow. Precise, silent, beautiful. Fight with Guns (although the skill here applies to bows only), be awesome with Chi.

Wuxia Archery: Damge dealt by your arrows is 1 less than the highest damage value among all guns being used in the fight.

Bandit
You survive in a harsh world through guile and determination. Rough, aggressive, risky. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Chi.

Rise of the Downtrodden: Spend 1 Chi and 1 shot when struck by an attack. The damage value of the weapon hitting you becomes the damage value of your hand-to-hand weapon.

Big Bruiser
You're huge, you don't hit often, but you only need to hit once. Big, tough, unstoppable. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Mounting Fury: If you miss a Martial Arts attack, +1 to your next one. Stacks cumulatively, then resets when you hit or the fight ends.

Bodyguard
You specialize in getting your client from Point A to Point C without getting them killed at Point B. Professional, efficient, deadly. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

The Client: At the start of a fight, designate one ally as the client. Spend 1 Fortune when your client takes damage to reduce it to 0 and take 7 Wound Points in their place.

Bounty Hunter
You find people who need to be killed, and turn them in dead or alive. Violent, resourceful, relentless. Fight with Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome wtih Fortune.

Due Diligence: Your quarry's first attack against you in a fight always fails.

Cyborg
You died, you were rebuilt, now you're part man, part machine. Powerful, terrifying, inhuman. Fight with Scroungetech or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

On-board Flamethrower: Make ranged Scroungetech attacks with a Damage Value of 14. Each time you attack with it, take 3 Wound Points.

Drifter
You wander in and out of adventures, always showing up where you're needed. Enigmatic, detached, noble. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

Like the Cavalry: When you're not in a scene when it starts, you can always show up any time after sequence 1, shot 4, without explaining how you got there.

Driver
You're the one with the car, and you can make it do anything. Cool, peaceful, competent. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

I Just Painted That: +2 Martial Arts against anyone who damaged your vehicle, even a tiny bit.

Everyday Hero
You're nobody special, but you've got a knack for dealing with trouble, and a lucky streak a mile long. Simple, earnest, determined. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Improvised Weapon Mastery: +1 Martial Arts when fighting with something you found at the scene. You lose it after 3 attacks, unless you narrate picking up another improvised weapon (shot cost 1).

Ex-Special Forces
You used to be a brutal killing machine, but you escaped from that life - now its ghosts still follow you to this day. Deadly, haunted, experienced. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Tiger Stance: When attacked with Martial Arts, spend 2 Chi to immediately make a Martial Arts attack against your attacker.

Exorcist Monk
You are trained in ancient traditions that let you banish supernatural evil. Wise, compassionate, merciless. Fight with Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Shred the False Veil: If you damage an opponent disguised by magic or sorcery, it reverts to its true form.

Full Metal Nutball
Not allowed in this setting.

Gambler
You have a flair for getting into and out of trouble, and a natural lucky streak, using both to live a life of great risk and reward. Cool, sexy, reckless. Fight with Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Stack the Odds: Spend 1 Fortune to swap the results of your Positive and Negative dice on a roll.

Gene Freak
Your DNA has been modified by the radioactive backdrop of the wasteland, giving you strange and uncanny powers. Tough, weird, badass. Fight with Mutant, be awesome with Genome.

Push: 3-shot ranged attack, Damage 11, using Mutant. On a hit, the target flies 1 meter back for each Wound Point inflicted.

Ghost
You died, but your soul is still anchored to this realm, due to some task you haven't yet completed. Tragic, otherworldly, dreadful. Fight using Sorcery, be awesome with Magic.

Insubstantial: Pass through solid matter with a Creature Power check of difficulty 1 per inch of material. Specify two types of material you can't pass through, the GM picks a third.

Highway Ronin
You wander the highways of a shattered world, fighting to survive or protect the weak. Selfless, hard, driven. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Dazed and Contused: If you ram a vehicle, people just emerging from it get +3 shot cost for their actions and 1 Impairment for the first sequence.

Karate Cop
You enforce what remains of the law with kung fu, a trusty revolver, and unyielding determination. Principled, persevering, punchy. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Underdog Desperation: +2 Toughness VS opponents with fewer Wound Points than you.

Killer
You've worked as a hired assassin, and are just beginning to develop a conscience about it. Professional, lethal, compassionate. Fight using Guns and Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Carnival of Carnage: +2 Guns vs mooks. -1 shot cost on any attack on a mook.

Magic Cop
You bring supernatural threats to justice when nobody else can, and are a general weirdness magnet. Eccentric, aloof, righteous. Fight using Guns or Sorcery, be awesome with Magic.

Banishment: Spend 3 Magic and 3 shot, attack a creature with Sorcery. On a hit, the enemy flees. On a miss, you regain the spent Magic.

Martial Artist
You're a trained warrior in one or more schools of combat, seeking mastery, humility, and enlightenment. Skilled, disciplined, dedicated. Fight with Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Dim Mak: Any time after sequence 2, shot 6, spend 3 Chi and make a Martial Arts attack against a named enemy. Regain 2 Chi on a miss, and on a hit, set their Wound Points to 34 (49 for a boss).

Masked Avenger
You fight corruption from the shadows, striking fear into evildoers and dispensing justice where the law can't reach. Principled, terrifying, unstable. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Tremble, Evildoers!: When you attack and drop a mook, four mooks flee. If your positive die exploded, six flee.

Maverick Cop
You're always on the verge of being kicked off the force, but dammit, you get results. Gruff, merciless, badass. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

Blam Blam Epigram: Add 1 shot cost to deliver a sick one-liner before or after attacking. +2 Damage against non-Impaired targets, or +8 against Impaired targets.

Ninja
You get in, kill the target, and get out using shadows, arcane power, and perfectly-honed skills, all without ever being seen. Silent, secretive, powerful. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

Panther Pounce: If you are the only PC in a scene and encounter a single enemy, spend 2 Chi (if it's a named character, 0 for mooks) to render them helpless. Lasts until you try to harm them or after five minutes.

Old Master
You've been around for a long, long time, and mastered the most difficult of martial arts principles. Your physical strength has waned, but your skills are as sharp as they ever were. Fading, wise, resilient. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Flying Windmill Kick: Spend 4 shots to make a Martial Arts attack. On a hit, you can attack again at no shot cost, up to three hits.
  • King on the Water: When fighting in Torrential Rain, spend 1 Chi to get +2 Immunity bonus until end of fight.

    Private Investigator
    From your time solving other people's problems, you've seen the best and worst humanity has to offer. Jaded, clever, practical. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

    Needling Remark: When exchanging barbs with a character in a non-combat scene, spend 1 Fortune. Until the end of the adventure, they get +1 to attack you, and you get +2 to attack them.

    Redeemed Pirate
    Former pirate of the South China Sea (probably), you lived a life of looting and killing. You did what you needed to to survive, and now you've thrown in your lot with this band of misfits. Rough, self-serving, proud. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Swashbuckling: After performing any stunt involving rope-swinging or other classic pirate action, gain +2 to attacks until the end of the sequence.

    Scrappy Kid
    The grownups probably think you should go stay where you're safe, but you're not gonna let them tell you what to do. Plucky, obstinate, clever. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Distraction: Describe a distracting non-lethal assault on a target. Make a Martial Arts attack, but instead of doing damage on a hit, the target suffers 3 Impairment for a number of shots equal to your attack outcome.

    Sifu
    You use our martial arts training and knowledge of the human body to heal, rather than just harm. Peaceful, wise, compassionate. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Healing Chi: Spend 3 shots and 1 Chi to reduce a character's Wound Point total by the result of a Martial Arts check.

    Sorcerer
    Master of the occult arts, channeling chi energy as a supernatural force. Powerful, unstable, feared. Fight using Sorcery, be awesome using Magic.

    Chi Blast: As a 3-shot action, make a ranged attack with a blast of magical energy using Sorcery, Damage 9.

    Spy
    You used to work stealing secrets from powerful people, then left under a cloud of suspicion, and now a trail of assassins hunt you wherever you go. Suave, skilled, mysterious. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

    Scoped Out: +1 to Guns, Martial Arts, and Defense against characters you exchange dialogue with in a previous scene.

    Supernatural Creature
    You're a creature from another realm, formerly living only to terrorize humanity, but now you serve a greater purpose. Uncanny, terrifying, vicious. Fight using Creature Powers, be awesome using Magic.

    Natural Weapon: Your Creature Powers attack at close range, using spines, claws, or other monstrous body parts, at Damage 13.

    Sword Master
    Long ago, you mastered the art of the sword, but you were discarded by those who didn't believe in your warrior ethos. Now, you wander the world seeking a worthy opponent. Skilled, aimless, noble. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Blooded Blade: Add +1 Damage with swords for each mook you drop. Each time you hit a named foe, the bonus is reduced by half.

    Thief
    You take things that don't belong to you, better than anyone else. You always have a plan, but something always goes wrong anyway. Prepared, competent, thrill-seeking. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

    Faster Learner: +1 Defense against any opponent who has already hit you during the current sequence.

    Transformed Crab
    You are, or one of one of your ancestors was, a magic crab taken human form, and now you live among humans. Sturdy, implacable, honorable. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Scuttle: +2 to Martial Arts against named foes, if your previous attack was against a different named foe.

    Transformed Dragon
    You're actually a dragon, or part dragon, and your power makes you awesome at basically everything (in theory). Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Innate Superiority: Your unarmed Martial Arts damage is one higher than the damage of the foe you're attacking.

    Two-Fisted Archaeologist
    You make a living by seeking ancient artifacts that nefarious forces would use to fuel evil machinations. Determined, educated, cynical. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

    Whip Master: If you're fighting with a whip at the start of a sequence, gain +1 Martial Arts or +1 Defense until the end of the sequence.
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