Ravnivori Empire – Enemies of the Empire 2: the Capraerian Khanates

This one kind of came to me in a flash.  They’re inspired by miniatures I own.  But, once I started down the path, it went fast and deep.  In fact, it even inspired me to write a sequel for one of my novels.  These guys seem a perfect opponent for the Empire on the Soulless World, with their obsession and skill with Necromancy.

The Capraerian Khanates – Beastmen (Abraks) Abrak society is based around a caste system with the Pentavirate at the undisputed top all the way down to the serfs who are little more than slaves.

Even these individuals lead lives that are exponentially better than those of the actual slaves of the Capraerian Hegemony. These non-Abrack humanoids are treated as pets as best and as simple beasts of burden at worst. They are forced to perform on the most menial and strenuous of jobs – pulling, carrying, digging, and are neither given tools nor expected to know how to use them. It is not uncommon to see a group of slaves digging a trench with sticks or their bare hands or breaking rocks with other rocks, all while be extorted by their Abrak masters to work faster and receiving lashes for their troubles.

It is not illegal to teach a slave to read in Abrak society just as it is not illegal to teach a monkey to read in other societies and for the same reasons.

Humanoids are generally bred for size and strength (and they are bred) but are still often stunted due to a lack of nutrition. A life of labor begins early for these miserable individuals and, as soon as they can walk, they are set simple, but strenuous tasks lie carrying water to their fellow slaves.

Predictably and, perhaps fortunately, life for a Capraerian slave is invariably short. If their hard life of labor, want and abuse doesn’t kill them at an early age, their masters do. For the similarity between Capraerian slaves and livestock in other cultures does not end with them being beasts of burden. Unless they die of a virulent disease, almost every slave ends up butchered for meat.

Even then, their service to their cruel masters is not at an end. Necromancy is easily the most common and respected form of magic in the Capraerian Hegemony and the remains of any slave that can be recovered are reanimated to continue serving after their deaths. Ironically, these undead servants are often given jobs with more responsibility than their living counterparts.

An Abrak would never dream of arming a living slave, partially because he would not expect him to have the mental and physical ability to wield it effectively and partially because they would still potentially be somewhat dangerous to their masters. Yet, the vast majority of footsoldiers in the Capraerian military are armed and often armored skeletons.

Likewise, skeletons are given axes, shovels and other tools to aid in their work. These otherwise mindless undead are imbued, at creation, with simple skills like fighting with a weapon and wielding a shield, forming a shield wall, setting spears, using bows, or simple tools but never at more than the basic level and they are incapable of learning anything more.

They are very docile compared to most other mindless undead, and will simply stand without doing anything unless given orders. They are controlled by special amulets that allow even non-necromancers to guide 5, 10, 20, or even 50 mindless undead at a time. The Ravnivori have stolen this “technology.” Once given a command they continue it indefinitely, until destroyed or given another command, whether to do something else or simply to stop.

These skeletons make exceptional simple infantry for a Void going nation as they do not tax the limited resources of a void going vessel and the Capraerians have learned to break them down into pieces and pack them, weapons and all into crates that are only 2’x3’x1’. This means that a full 20 of them can be placed into a single cargo slot on a ship. This is also a technique that the Ravnivori have stolen.

Interestingly, even the lowliest of Abrak is never reanimated as a mindless undead, or eaten by his fellows, for that matter. In fact, they consider cannibalism disgustingly taboo. This fate is one reserved only for non-Abraks.

That is not to say there are no Abrak undead in the Capraerian Khanates. In fact, every member of the Pentavirate and most of the highest officials under them are sentient undead. These individuals have achieved their unloving immortality by a rather unique method.

The most politically powerful Capraerians have massive ziggurats constructed in their honor through a combination of labor by both slaves and dedicated followers. These ziggurats become objects of worship and devotion for their followers. They are constructed along ancient and precise rules and become huge necromantic batteries. When enough spiritual energy has been gathered, the individual interred within is reanimated as a sentient undead and generally takes back over the territory he or she left behind upon death, often to the chagrin of his living descendants whose rule is thus usurped.

The average Capraerian is completely unaware that their highest level rulers are powered by the same energies as their lowliest servants and would likely be horrified if they ever found out. To these average citizens, their greatest rulers are simply reborn due to their devotion to them so that they continue leading them to glory in a deathless state. This is completely accurate as far as it goes.

At one time, any Capraerian with the power and resources could have a ziggurat built in their honor. In relatively recent times (the last several centuries) it has become law that only those allowed by the Pentavirate may have a ziggurat built. And the Pentavirate has only given permission on worlds other than their home world, largely as a method to ensure that colonization takes place and to keep any potential rivals from getting too powerful.

Abrak Necromancer Lord

Agility: d8 Smarts: d8 Spirit: d8 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8

Skills: Drive d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Knowledge (Necromancy) d8, Notice d8, Spellcasting d8, Throwing d6, Tracking d6

Pace: 7 Parry: 6(9) Toughness: 10(3)

Edges: Arcane Background (Magic,) Frenzy, Necromancer

Size: +1 Abraks average 7’ in height and are powerfully built

Armor: +1 Thick Fur

Low Light Vision: Halve penalties for illumination

Gear: Sword (Str + d8, +1 Parry), Armor (+2), Bladed Shield (+2 Parry, +2 Toughness vs. ranged, Str +d6)

Powers (10 Points): Bolt, Deflection, Fear

Abrak Warrior

Agility: d6 Smarts: d6 Spirit: d6 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Throwing d6, Tracking d6

Pace: 7 Parry: 6(7) Toughness: 8(1)

Size: +1 Abraks average 7’ in height and are powerfully built

Armor: +1 Thick Fur

Low Light Vision: Halve penalties for illumination

Gear: Sword/Axe/Mace (Str + d8), Light Shield (+1 Parry, +1 Toughness vs. ranged)

Edge:

Capricorn

Requirements: Novice, Abrak, Swimming d6, Vigor d8

When exposed to water, you are capable of growing gills and a fish tail to replace your legs. You gain the Aquatic trait with a pace equal to your swimming.

Gear

Capraerian War Chariot

Constructed from a combination of wood, brass and bone, a Capraerian War Chariot is often used by Capraerian Necrolords as personal transport and war machines. They are generally drawn by a quartet of humanoid skeletons who are heavily armed and armored.

Acc/TS: Toughness: Crew: Notes:

Animal’s Pace 10(2) 1+1 Provides Medium Cover to crew. Scythes do 2d6 damage to people in adjacent squares with a successful Drive check.

Necrolash

Constructed out of the vertebrae of several humanoids, attached to the tibia and fibula of one of them, a Necrolash is a whip more than a dozen feet long. It is an exceptionally heavy weapon and requires both an above average level of strength and a talent with necromantic energy to wield properly. A Necrolash delivers savage wounds but is also infused with dark energy. Anyone hit by the weapon has part of their spirit drained, leaving them weak and disoriented.

Str + d8 Notes: Reach 2, Minimum Strength d8, requires Necromancer Edge or -2 penalty, any target shaken takes a -2 to recover.

Capricorn Crumster

Size 16 Acc/TS 2/10 Handling -1

Crew 19 + 18 Toughness 25(10) Wounds 3

Mods 19 Cost 99,850 Cargo 44

Notes 3x Armor, Cargo Hold, Crew Increase, Heavy Armor, 3x Passenger Decrease, 2x Reinforced Hull, Ram, Turret

Weapons Medium Ballista x2

Range: 25/50/100 Dam: 3d8 ROF: 1 Crew: 2 Notes: Heavy Weapon

Heavy Catapult

Range: 75/150/300 Dam: 4d8 RoF: 1 Crew: 3 Notes: AP20, Heavy Weapon, Turret

The only design created by the Capraerians, the Capricorn is a heavy warship and troop transport. It is inspired by some of their most revered citizens and their legendary ancestors the creatures with goat forequarters and fish tails known as Capricorns. They are very heavily armed and armored but have a somewhat inefficient design requiring a larger than normal crew and without much space for additional passengers. This is not generally an issue for a Capraerian troop transport as the bulk of their troops are skeletons, in any case. In fact, the Capraerians took this into account when designing the Capricorn and gave it a spacious cargo hold. In fact, if they use the hold for nothing other than carrying these undead they can transport almost 900 skeletons (though they would have no way to command that many troops with the crew available to a single Capricorn. Because of how durable these vessels are and their abilities to carry so much cargo, a few brave captains have stolen the design. It does take a truly brave captain, however, as Capraerians hold their Capricorns as religious icons and zealously hunt down any non-Abrak who dares defile them by using one.

Necrocorn

Size 16 Acc/TS 2/10 Handling -1

Crew 19 + 18 Toughness 25(10) Wounds 3

Mods 15 Cost 115,350 Cargo 40

Notes 3x Armor, Cargo Hold, Crew Increase, Heavy Armor, 3x Passenger Decrease, 2x Reinforced Hull, Ram, Sentient, Turret

Agility: d6, Smarts: d4 (A), Spirit: d6, Strength: d10

Skills: Fighting: d8, Notice: d6, Piloting: d6

Parry: 6

Special Abilities:

Horns: Str + 3d6

Weapons Medium Ballista x2

Range: 25/50/100 Dam: 3d8 ROF: 1 Crew: 2 Notes: Heavy Weapon

Heavy Catapult

Range: 75/150/300 Dam: 4d8 RoF: 1 Crew: 3 Notes: AP20, Heavy Weapon, Turret

Utilizing the same general design as a Capricorn Crumster, a Necrocorn is made from the gathered remains of several massive starbeasts, often including at least one Kindori. Through extensive rituals, these cobbled together beasts are a single mindless undead creature. Due to their Necromantic abilities, Capraerian Lords often use these as their personal vessels as they are able to control them directly. They lose much of their capacity to carry undead troops, but the Necrolords do not mind as they use them only as command vessels for larger fleets or personal hunter-killers.

Exiles #28 The Ringer

Another original character that I only knew through the old Marvel Universe write ups.  I did, however, read the stories with the actual Ringer below…or the person I made the Ringer.

I find Leila’s story strangely compelling.  Even if her characterization in Lethal Foes of Spider-Man was a little thin.  In fact, I was inspired to write this up because I just read a TPB with Deadly Foes and Lethal Foes combined so I had her story arc all together.  The first story is far superior.  It’s dense and almost Shakesperean in it’s complexity and level of betrayal.  The second one is…very 90’s.  As you can see below, I took the cyborg out of the story because…well, very 90’s.

As devious as she was, I feel like a slightly different direction and she could be inspired to be a hero instead of a villain.  So, without further ado, here’s the all new all not lame, Ringer –

Ringer

Leila Davis

Fighting: GD

Agility: EX

Strength: GD

Endurance: GD

Reason: EX

Intuition: GD

Psyche: EX

Health: 50

Karma: 50

Resources: GD(10)

Popularity: 4

Powers:

Rings: The Ringer employs wrist projectors which throw rings of Incredible explosive damage, Incredible freezing cold, and Amazing strength constriction. She can simply fire a constant steam of metal rings which inflict Remarkable Blunt or Edged damage. She normally carries enough rings to do five attackes of each of the special types listed above. She uses “particulate-matter condensors” which give her an unlimited series of projectile blasts. She can fire any ring up to 2 areas away.

The Ringer also uses assorted rings on her costume to form an Amazing strength Lasso (range of 1 area), a ladder (up to 2 stories high), or a whip (Remarkable Blunt damage or an Amazing Strength Grapple attack.)

Body Armor: Excellent protection from physical attacks. Good protection against energy attacks.

Talents: Davis has the Leadership and Repair/Tinkering talents.

Contacts: None

Background: Nothing is known about the history of the original Ringer before he publicly committed his first crime in his costumed identity. He burglarized a safe in a building owned by Kyle Richmond, only to be opposed and defeated by Richmond himself in the latter’s identity of Nighthawk. In the course of their battle, half of the Ringer’s teeth were severely damaged. The Ringer was sent to jail where it took months for a prison dentist to rebuild his teeth.

This disastrous encounter with Nighthawk convinced the Ringer that he was not meant for a life of crime and that he definitely never wanted to clash with a costumed crimefighter ever again. Therefore, after leaving prison, the Ringer hired the criminal inventor called the Tinkerer to construct him a new costume with improvements that the Ringer himself had designed. But the Ringer did not intend to use the new battlesuit himself to commit crimes, mas as he felt the temptation to do so. Rather, he intended to sell it to “business contacts” of his.

Before the Ringer could get his hands on the suit, the New York City Police learned the location of the Tinkerer’s shop and posted guards around it. The Ringer secretly broke into the workshop, found his suit and started testing it. While this was happening, the Beetle broke into the workshop as well to find his own new battlesuit constructed by the Tinkerer. He easily knocked the Ringer out and abducted him.

When the Ringer revived, he found that he was the Beetle’s prisoner. The Beetle demanded that the Ringer battle Spider-Man on his behalf. The Ringer was afraid of fighting another super hero but the Beetle had placed a large ring around the Ringer’s midsection. The Beetle claimed this ring was made of a powerful explosive material and that he would detonate it if the Ringer refused to do his bidding. The Ringer reluctantly complied.

The Ringer proved no match for Spider-Man, who soundly defeated him. As a cruel joke, the Beetle, who had been monitoring the battle from afar, pressed a detonator, which caused a small explosive charge in the ring to go off that did not harm the Ringer in the least. The Beetle had tricked the Ringer: the ring about his midsection actually had contained devices that relayed information about Spider-Man and his battle techniques to the Beetle’s computers. Spider-Man delivered the Ringer to the police, and the Ringer was imprisoned once more.

After next leaving prison, the Ringer avoided New York City and its superheroes and operated as a costumed criminal, primarily in the Midwest. On a visit to the “Bar with No Name” in Medina County, Ohio, one of a number of similar secret meeting places for costumed criminals the Ringer was contacted by Gary Gilbert, who was formerly the costumed terrorist called Firebrand. Gilbert invited the Ringer to attend a meeting at the bar to discuss strategies for dealing with Scourge, the mysterious vigilante who had murdered a large number of costumed criminals. The Ringer came to the meeting, but, unfortunately for him, so did Scourge, disguised as the bartender. Scourge slaughtered the Ringer and all the other criminals who were present.

Unbeknownst to Scourge, Beetle, Spider-Man or Nighthawk, Anthony Davis had a wife. The newly widowed Leila Davis was wracked by grief and guilt over the fate of her husband. Grief both at his loss and because of the sad path of his life and guilt over the fact that she had helped him design the Ringer equipment that set him on that path.

She turned these feelings to anger and a desire for revenge on all those she blamed for her husband’s misfortunes and death. She felt that the Beetle was the most responsible as he had forced Anthony back into a life of crime when he’d decided to go on the straight and narrow.

Leila enacted a complex scheme using her feminine wiles to turn Beetle’s latest incarnation of the Sinister Syndicate against him. She found the task relatively easy as the petty men with power who made up the team were full of grudges and greed that could be used to her advantage.

Still, some of the Syndicate remained loyal to him and he caught wind of his danger before she was able to fully spring her trap. Between that and the intervention of Spider-Man, her ploy failed and Leila found herself under arrest. Worse, before her plans fell apart she was forced to use the Ringer weapons that she had come to hate in her attempts to kill the Beetle.

After being released from prison, Leila attempted to enact her revenge on the Beetle, again, this time with her own suit of armor. Calling herself “Hardshell” she gathered together others who had a grudge against the Beetle or who were simply greedy enough to kill him for the right reward.

Hardshell succeeded this time, despite the interference of Spider-Man and a rival group of villains. Having killed the man that she blamed for getting her husband killed, she surrendered and was put in jail, once more.

Leila found that her grief was not soothed by her actions, and, in fact, sank into a depression. She likely would have spent the rest of her days in prison, abandoning her quest to kill Scourge as well had the Exiles not happened along. They were breaking another prisoner out and she was freed in the chaos.

It took little effort for her to play the role of damsel in distress and one of the male Exiles “rescued” her, taking her back to Otherworld with them. Leila fostered her relationship with the Exiles and used her cunning and wiles to sneak and steal bits and pieces of the advanced technology on Otherworld.

Having decided that the only way to honor her lost husband was to redeem his name, she rebuilt his battle suit even better. Once it was completed, she then snuck into a mission with the Exiles. They were unable to send her back once they were in their new dimension but the new Ringer quickly proved her skill and capabilities.

As an added bonus for Leila, that first mission involved stopping a monstrous version of Spider-Man and defeating and capturing him helped her finally end her guilt and anger over her husband’s death.

Ravnivori Empire – Magic Items

Where would a swords & space game be without magic items?  The biggest magic items in the Ravnivori Empire are, of course, the Void Running ships, themselves.

But, many smaller magic items are just as valued by their owners, if not technically as valuable.  Here are a few magic items relatively common in the Empire that do not appear on the usual list of random treasure tables –

Magic Items

While mighty sorcerers and mages throwing around balls of fire and warping the rules of reality are not common, magic abounds in the Ravnivori Empire. Artificers and technomancers create everyday devices for the comfort and happiness of Imperial citizens. These range from devices that provide light and/or heat without burning fuel to those that aid in cleaning and even ones for entertainment. More martial devices are also created. Following are magical items that have military or adventuring applications. While they can, occasionally, be bought, it is far more common for them to be given to members of the Empire who prove themselves either as awards or as aids. A few interesting devices that are less common but that have been found in exploration of the Void are also included.

Amulet of Undead Control: These amulets are made from intelligent undead. These creatures must be sacrificed whether willingly or unwillingly. If the creature has already suffered the True Death it cannot be used to create one of these amulets. These pieces of jewelry are always ornate and generally large and feature some physical portion of the undead that went into creating it, whether a finger, tooth, or a vial of blood or ashes.

Amulets of Undead Control do essentially what their name implies. They are used to issue commands to a set group of mindless undead. Their powers do not affect sentient undead. The number of undead controlled is based on how powerful the creature that was sacrificed to make it was. The least powerful amulets can control 5 undead while the most powerful can control up to 50. A character may only wear one of these amulets at a time. The undead that are controlled can be replaced but not changed. For example, if a weak amulet controls 5 skeletons and the controller encounters a zombie, the wearer cannot take over the zombie and release a skeleton. However, if, in the ensuing combat, the zombie slays one of the skeletons, the wearer could then take over the zombie.

Animated Weapons/Shields: A number of magical weapons and shields are invested with a life of their own. Created in much the same way that Mechanids are crafted, they are also given the ability to hover and fight by themselves. The owner of an animated weapon or shield has only to give a command word and the device will hover near the possessor and fight and defend him to the best of its ability. Much like Mechanids, they learn and become more skilled as they grow older. New Animated Weapons are relatively cheap but start with only a d4 in fighting. The oldest Animated Weapons are capable of challenging even master duelists in combat. Periodically, the weapon must be taken in hand and the command word spoken to start the weapon fighting again. This time period is based on how skilled the weapon is. The weapon remains animated for a number of rounds equal to the fighting skill of the weapon.

Battle Table: These magical devices come in a number of shapes and sizes. The simplest are portable platforms with legs that can be folded up and easily packed on a wagon or even carried on someone’s back. The most ornate are the size of banquet tables and intricately carved and decorated with gold leaf. The size and complexity has little bearing on the device’s effects. The surface of each of these tables is blank but when the appropriate command word is given or button pushed, a miniature illusory display of the surrounding terrain and military forces springs into being on the surface. The location displayed can be shifted and expanded or contracted depending on the quality of the table and the commands given it. The user of the table must be aware of these forces in some way, though it can be through reports from scouts or divination magic and does not have to be personal knowledge. Once these units are established, the table tracks them, moving the forces around the table in accordance with how the actual units move. How precise these images and tracking can be is a factor of the quality of the table. For the cheapest it is nothing more than symbols and words identifying the units as a whole. For the best, it actually displays the individuals in each unit and shows their movements in near real time. Depending on the quality of the table, users receive a bonus on Knowledge (Battle) checks of between +1 and +3.

Berserker Cloak: These cloaks are made from the skin of a large bear. They are big enough that only grizzly and polar bears are large enough to provide the skins necessary to create them. The wearer of a Berserker cloak gains the berserk edge if he or she does not already possess it. Additionally, it provides a bonus to the wearer’s strength. This bonus is variable with the weakest providing only a single shift while the most powerful provide up to 5 shifts in strength.

Cornucopia: There are two forms of these magical devices. Both provide food and drink but in quite different ways. The first type is made of woven stalks of grain and is dedicated to Sivis Kee. These Cornucopia’s provide enough food from the large end and enough water from the small end to keep a single person alive and healthy for one day. The owner needs simply to reach into the mouth of the Cornucopia and can pull out plain tasting but hearty bread. This bread includes all the vitamins and nutrients that the possessor needs. The owner can also open the tiny end of the cornucopia and clear, cool water will flow out, enough to keep him hydrated. All this food and water can be drawn out at one time or broken up over several servings up to the total amount for a day. The second type is made from the large horn of a ram, goat or bull. The owner of this cornucopia can reach into the large end of the horn and pull out a single large serving of delicious fully cooked and hot meat each day. A cap can be pulled off the small end of the horn to dispense a large tankard’s worth of ale or wine.

Fire Brand: Weapons with this enchantment are capable of bursting into flames. These weapons are often decorated with flames and embedded with rubies.

Fire Brands add a +1 to damage when they are ignited and negate regeneration abilities. They also provide light equivalent to a torch and can ignite flammable materials.

Flight Ammunition: This type of ammunition is relatively common as a magic items The magic that goes into it is fairly simple and the special materials necessary to make it is relatively common. The shaft and fletching of a piece of flight ammunition (if it is an arrow or bolt) is like that of any mundane missile but the heads (or the balls themselves if this is flintlock ammunition) are made from turquoise that has been carved with mystic ruins that both strengthens the material to the hardness of steel and provides the magic effects of the ammunition. Simply put, flight ammunition has double the ranges of mundane ammunition of the same time.

Ghost Shield: When deactivated, these devices appear to be nothing more than large, ornate steel bracelets adorned with a large, clear gem surrounded by smaller gems on one side. Activating the device causes a transparent 3’ diameter shield of magical force to spring into existence.

+3 Parry attacks from the front and left, +3 Armor to Ranged Shots that Hit. +2 to attempts to hide device. Weight: 1lb.

Giff Targeting Monocle: A favored device of Nocerans especially, a Giff Targeting Monocle is a well-crafted lens in an ornate brass frame with a chain made of the same material. It is particularly useful for individuals with the nearsighted hindrance. While wearing the monocle, the nearsighted hindrance is negated but only for the purposes of shooting skill checks. Notice, throwing and any other checks are still subject to the normal penalties. In addition, anyone with the nearsighted hindrance gets a +2 to shooting rolls while wearing one of these monocles. The way the device functions is a bit awkward for others and anyone without the nearsighted hindrance only gains a +1 bonus to shooting rolls.

Hammer of the Star Titans: Legends of mighty and wise giants who once dominated and explored the void exist on many of the worlds that have taken to exploring the stars. These ancient weapons are rumored to have been minor weapons or tools of these powerful creatures. Given how potent the devices are, if the rumors are true, the Star Titans were great, indeed. These weapons appear to be large mauls with metal hafts and heads made of strange, rune encrusted stone.

Dam: Str + D8 + 1, AP 2 vs rigid armor, Parry -1, 2 hands, Heavy Weapon.

Helmet of the Ram: As might be expected from the name, this full helmet sports a pair of large ram’s horns. These horns have been etched with numerous arcane runes of power.

Anyone wearing a Helmet of the Ram has his running die raised by one type. Additionally, he adds a +1 to his fighting and damage when charging.

Living Armor: Crafted from arcanely crafted ambulatory plants, living armor bonds with its host when worn. A number of different plants are intertwined and bonded to the host to provide a variety of benefits. All Living Armor acts as mundane armor with various levels of protection. Additionally, depending upon the plants involved, the wearer’s physical abilities are boosted, either by external augmentations or through the injection of ability heightening chemicals into the blood stream. Other abilities, such as flight, enhanced speed, and melee and ranged weapons can be added as though the wearer was given the Arcane Background (Weird Science) Edge. Further edges can be applied to give the armor more power points and additional powers. This armor feeds off its host, however and it causes a level of fatigue for every 8 hours it is worn.

Magic Lanterns: Two types of magic lanterns are common in the Ravnivori empire. Everburning lanterns give off magical light rather than burning. Thus, they need no fuel and can not be blown out by high winds. Shutters on the lanterns can be closed to block the light it sheds. The same arcane technology that is applied to animated weapons can also be applied to lanterns. These lanterns float just behind their owners whenever a command word is spoken. Another command word deactivates them. These two features are often combined with everburning lanterns being animated.

Ray of Amaz: Only given to the most faithful servants of Amaz, these weapons appear as either a spear or a bow. Calling upon the name of the goddess, the device transforms from one type of weapon. In addition to this mystical ability, the weapons are often also blessed with bonuses to fighting and damage.
Range | Dam |Weight |Cost |Min. Str. |Notes
3/6/12 | Str +d6 |5 |300 |d8 |Parry +1, Reach 1, 2hands, transform from spear to bow with one action
15/30/60 | 2d6

Repeating Flintlocks: Although flintlock weapons have the potential for impressive damage and range, they all have one distinct flaw: they have an exceptionally slow rate of fire compared to other missile weapons. Although a number of people are experimenting with technological methods for overcoming this disadvantage, many arcanists have turned to magical means. To this end, arcanists have created flintlocks with an arcane mark on their barrels. This arcane mark is duplicated and linked to a number of other barrels. Each time the barrel of the gun is emptied, the powder and shot in one of these other barrels is magically teleported into the barrel of the gun. This allows the wielder of the gun to fire again immediately without reloading. Unfortunately, there is a limit on the number of barrels that can be linked to a single mark. Barrels have arcane mark that matches mark on other tubes. Currently, this limitation is 6, including the actual barrel of the gun. When all barrels are expended, the weapon operates like any mundane version of its kind. It takes 2 actions to reload each barrel.

Restoration Bed: This large canopy bed is fully six and a half foot wide by seven foot long. The posts holding up the canopy are carved with numerous symbols and signs indicating health and restoration. Each night that an individual spends sleeping in this bed he makes a natural healing check. There are various levels of power of these beds. The most basic simply allow the sleeper to make their healing check each night. Better beds negate various levels of wound penalties made during these checks. These beds are meant to provide exceptionally peaceful sleep and only function when the curtains are closed. This causes a -2 penalty to any perception checks to either wake up if the person inside is asleep or to hear anything outside the bed if the person is awake. In either case, the curtains are impossible to see through. Only one person can benefit from the bed at a time and the person must get a full 8 hours of sleep to gain the benefit.

Scepter of Pini-Ya: This Scepter once belonged to one of the greatest rulers of the Empire that created the first Nautiloids. A master of controlling mindless undead, he was capable of commanding legions of the creatures by sheer will alone. Upon his True Death (at the hands of one of his great grandchildren) his remains were made into this scepter and much of his powers lingered in the device. Though the deepest secrets of this device have been lost with time, it still retains a great deal of power. The Scepter of Pini-Ya appears as a humanoid skull with onyx eyes mounted on a humanoid femur. A crown of humanoid canine teeth form a crown around the skull and the hilt is wrapped in ancient leather made from humanoid skins.

Str + d6, AP 1 vs. rigid armor. The following powers operate only against undead: +1 Damage, +1 Fighting, +1 Parry, +1 Charisma, Puppet and Zombie with 10 Power Points to spend.

Sky Chariot of Amaz: Another item that is generally only bestowed upon the most faithful servants of the sun goddess a Sky Chariot appears to be an ornate golden shield decorated with Amaz’s sunburst symbol. And, in fact, it functions as a quite effective shield. Anyone wielding this device as a large shield with an additional +1 to Parry and Armor (Large Shield: +3 Pry, +3 armor vs. rng.) Additionally, the owner can place the shield on the ground and stand on the inside of it and with a short prayer to Amaz, cause it to levitate. The Sky Chariot has a fly speed of 10” per round and can climb at 2” per round. It is guided by leaning, leaving the rider’s hands free. Turns up to 45 degrees are done without a check but for each additional 45 degree or fraction thereof a check must be made with a cumulative -1. Failure means that the rider goes straight instead and any result below 0 indicates that he rider has fallen off the sky chariot and suffers the normal results of a fall from whatever height they were at.

Spear of the Gods: This weapon is rumored to have been created directly by the gods themselves and to be utilized against their brethren who have gone rogue. The weapon appears to be made of some unknown wood and metal and is covered in intricate scroll work that many claim is actually some ancient language.

Dam: Str + d6 + 2(electricity), Parry +2, Reach 1, 2 Hands, Range 6/12/24 5lbs.

Spirit Shield: These seemingly flimsy shields are made from the skin, fur, claws, and/or feathers, of an animal. A simple silhouette image of the animal that the shield is made of is painted on the shield in pigments made from from the animal itself. The shield acts as a simple medium shield but is as strong as steal and some of the more powerful ones provide bonuses to parry and armor. When activated with a command word the animal displayed on the shield springs out to fight for the person carrying it, leaving the shield blank. The animal can be recalled to the shield at any time and if it is killed, it disappears and reappears on the shield. The usual animals used on these shields are wolves, bears, elk, and eagles, though other animals are possible and even more exotic and magical animals are occasionally used.

Wolf Cloak: Made from the unblemished skin of a large wolf, this cloak provides a +1 to vigor rolls made to resist fatigue caused by cold and a +1 to tracking rolls while worn. Additionally, as an action, the wearer can turn into either a wolf or dire wolf, gaining the physical abilities of whichever type of creature he or she turns into but retaining their own smarts, spirit and skills (though some skills may not be possible without opposable thumbs.)

Ravnivori Empire Military (and other) Titles

While I’m not a huge military aficionado, I am fascinated by ranks and medals.  There has been more than one RPG where I played a military person and wanted to get a medal for no reason other than getting it.

While the Ravnivori military, or at least the part reaching out into the void, is pretty non-traditional, they still hold to some traditions that just work like ranks.  At some point, I should (and will) place some in game mechanics to these ranks.  I’ll also likely come up with some medals and game mechanics for those, too.  In both cases they’ll be Charisma bonuses for people who care.

Military Ranks

Unlike most armed forces, the Ravnivori Empire’s military long ago abandoned separate chains of command and ranking systems for its navy and army and uses a unified set of ranks. A sergeant in a ground based unit is the same as a sergeant on a ship. Occasionally, traditional minded soldiers will still use alternate ranks, but this is officially discouraged.

There are no Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers in the Ravnivori Empire. Though most people who go through the military academies of the Empire gain the rank of Lieutenant upon graduation, those with poor or spectacular performance can be made Sergeants or Captains, respectively, instead. Additionally, a soldier who enters the military as a private can work his or her way up to a Lieutenant and beyond.

The following are the ranks used in the Imperial Military from lowest to highest.

Private: The lowest rank in the Imperial Military, these are men and women who are either fresh recruits or who have never risen through the ranks. Many kazya never achieve a higher rank than Private.

Corporal: These men and women generally lead the smallest Imperial Unit; the File. Files vary widely in size from only three troops and a Corporal up to nine troops and a Corporal. The standard File is four Privates lead by a Corporal for a total of five soldiers.

Sergeant: Sergeants are in charge of Squads. A Squad is made up of between one and three Corporals with their Files and an additional File that the Sergeant personally commands. The Sergeant’s File is often known as the First File (or “Double F” or “FF” in military circles) and is generally hand picked by the Sergeant to contain the most experienced and effective Privates in his Squad. A standard Squad is made up of only one Sergeant, one Corporal and their Files (making the standard Squad ten soldiers) but exceptionally large squads of as many as 40 men exist.

Lieutenant: Each Lieutenant commands a Platoon. A Platoon is made up of two to three Squads plus the Lieutenant’s personal File. The Lieutenant’s personal File is commonly made up of non-fighting men and women who serve him in clerical capacities. However, some Lieutenants select elite fighters who are often of Corporal and Sergeant ranks for their personal File. A Platoon is thus anywhere between thirty and 120 men, though forty is the most common size.

Major: The rank given to a person who commands a Squadron is Major. A Squadron is made up of two Platoons as well as the Major’s personal Squad. A Major’s personal Squad is almost always made up entirely of clerical personnel who assist the Major in managing the paperwork needed to run a Squadron. A Squadron can be as small as seventy troops and as large as 250 with 100 being the standard size.

Colonel: A Colonel commands two or three Squadrons as a Company. Again, a Colonel will have a personal Squads that serves him in a clerical capacity and oversees the personal Files and Squads of all the officers under his command. Numbering between 150 and 750 troops, with 310 being the most common size, a Company is often the largest Imperial Military group in a given region. Often, the spearhead of an invasion force is made up of a company and can include ten or more spelljamming ships carrying troops.

General: A General is responsible for a Regiment. A Regiment is made up of two or three Companies and the Genearl’s personal Squad. A Regiment can number just over 2,000 troops though 1,000 is much more common and special Regiments as small as 300 troops exist. Each Regiment has its own dedicated fleet to serve as transportation and defense. Against small countries that the Empire encounters, a Regiment is generally considered a large enough force for conquest.

Marshall: Each Marshall is in charge of his own Brigade. Between two and four Regiments make up each Brigade and a Marshall usually has his own Platoon of troops under his direct command. This Platoon is generally equal parts clerical staff and body guards. “Light Brigades” of less than 1,000 troops are almost nonexistent and always made up of elite forces. 4,000 troops is the most common size, but “Heavy Brigades” of 8,000 troops are not uncommon and are often formed to face truly large and powerful nations.

Admiral: An Admiral is the highest official rank in the Ravnivori military. Though higher ranks exist, they are often unique or shared only by a handful of people. Beyond this rank, a person makes military policy rather than actually leading troops. Each Admiral is in command of a Corps. A Corps is made up of at least two and as many as five Brigades. The Admiral is assisted in managing his Corps by his own personal Platoon made up of both organizational and combat staff. The smallest Corps numbers 5,000 troops while the largest is made up of five “Heavy Brigades” and contains 40,000 troops. Most Corps contain approximately 10,000 soldiers and are responsible for conquering or invading large areas of land including small continents and even sparsely populated planets.

Honorary Titles:

In addition to the standard rank system, there are a number of honorifics in the Imperial Military that provide shades of command between the ranks. While not officially of higher rank, people with these titles are generally given deference and respect by others of their rank and are expected to take command in a group of their peers.

Standard Bearer: Generally, the Corporal of a Lieutenant’s personal File is chosen to be the Platoon’s Standard Bearer. Each Platoon’s standard is made up of a unique element added to the standard of the Squadron it is a part of. The Squadron’s standard in turn has an additional element that differentiates it from the Company it is subordinate to and so on up to the Corps Standard, which is generally just a color or pattern. The Standard Bearer of each larger sized unit is of higher rank than the previous size. Additionally, Standard Bearers are considered of higher rank than other people with their rank, though not of officers of a rank higher. For instance, a Standard Bearer Corporal can command other Corporals but not Sergeants.

Specialist: This honorific is added to the rank of any enlisted person with a supernatural ability. Whether it be supernatural, psionic, or magical in origin, people with special abilities are known as Specialists. Each Squad contains at least one Specialist and it is general policy for one out of every two Files to have a Specialist. Additionally, there are entire Platoons made up only of Specialists of one type.

“Captain” is an honorary title given to the commanding officer of any Imperial ship. Captains always have another rank, usually a Sergeant, Lieutenant or Major. A Captain is responsible for all the daily administration of a ship from navigation to discipline and even combat. Even officers of higher rank cannot usurp this power and, though a higher ranking officer can tell a Captain where to go, they cannot tell him how to get there. Even an Admiral is a passenger on another Captain’s ship, though Admirals are usually Captains of their own ships.

Inquisitors: Entirely outside the military hierarchy, Inquisitors are not subject to it. Chosen by the Emperor, his advisers, the Regents or some other governmental body, Inquisitors serve the dual purposes of keeping the military in check and performing missions of a delicate nature that the military is not suited for. Generally given at least the title of Lieutenant, an Inquisitor can ignore the orders of even Admirals and even investigate and command people of such lofty heights no matter what their relative ranks. Of course, abuse of this power can lead to the dismissal of an Inquisitor or even criminal charges if it is grievous enough and there is certainly no love lost between members of the military and the Inquisitors and military men and women work to block and slow Inquisitors as much as possible as a matter of principle.

High, Grand, Arch and Prime Admiral: These titles are given to the men and women who are in charge of the entire military force for a Regency or Sphere and vary from person to person. At this level of command, these officers are responsible to no one but the Regent or other governmental body, and in some cases, only the Emperor himself. At this level of the military, command is not determined by rank so much as force of personality, respect and experience. The Prime Admirals who serve in the Senate of the Almatian Regency are independent of and equal too the High Admiral of Kirtina’s Regency.

Kronor: As expansion into the Void began, it became obvious that the traditional titles that labeled various types of nobles on the planet, baron, duke, shogun, etc. were insufficient to describe the new elite who would develop. It was one thing to say that a man was a duke and had this much land with this many people under his power. It was quite another to say that a man had this much land on one planet, this much land on another planet and a stake in a merchant guild with trade routes between two more worlds. The title “Kronor,” a bastardization of the term “void lord” in Old Ravnivori was coined and slowly adopted by those who dealt with the Void. It is a very new and fairly generic term. Essentially, anyone who has holdings on more than one world, no matter how small is referred to as a Kronor. Whether these holdings are two small villages on different planets or two duchies, both people are termed Kronors. Of course, the Void Running society is fairly small and while all Kronors respect each other for their shared background, those smaller Kronors who try to throw their weight around with the larger ones, and even with the larger nobility of Retra will be subtly put in their place if they try to be too arrogant about it.

Plot Device #6

Mancon 2017 was wildly successful. The worst thing about it is that I can’t figure out which game was best and worst because they were all so damn good. Here’s a quick breakdown for those of you who were not fortunate enough to make it. At least the games I played in –

  1. Savage Worlds Rifts – Pretty awesome, I’m a fan of both Rifts and Savage Worlds and using the latter game system solves a lot of the problems involved in the former’s setting.

    2.) Ravnivori Empire – Mine, obviously. It went surprisingly well. I ended up with the curmudgeon crew so I was a little nervous but they just wanted to do cool things and I just like letting people do awesome things so it worked out. The highlight was probably when they one-shotted the master bad guy by defenestration because he was watching the battle below from a window.

    3.) Savage Worlds Division E – a Homebrew by the organizer of the Con and the guy I rode with and an ongoing campaign. I played a character previously played by someone else. We were mostly normal people trying to stop a Superman level “hero” who was doing a lot of collateral damage. The highlight here was that we blew up the children’s wing of a hospital to stop him. (all the children had been moved out.)

    That was Friday. Saturday –

    4.) Dogtown – a homemade system and setting. We’re Irish mobsters in prohibition era Missouri. Highlight here was the final scene where one of the players turned on the rest of us and got tommy gunned down then I killed a rival mob boss.

    5.) This Empire Earth – Another Homebrew by the organizer of the Con. I was in on the ground floor of this setting and I’m still playing my original character. It’s funny because none of the party has ever died while I’ve played in a session but when I’m not there, there are inevitably casualties. Highlight here was when we turned the living ship from beyond our galaxy that was trying to eat us onto the cyborg bounty hunter that was after us.

    6.) East Texas University – Savage Worlds and East Texas. It’s like this was made for me to love it. I’m not a super fan of horror, but it’s pretty good, anyway. I played a yuppy cheerleader sorority girl so….that wasn’t easy…but it was fun. It’s another on going campaign that only gets played at this con so the characters go to whoever is available to play them with preference going to people who have played them before. Highlight for this one was slowly closing the secret door on the demon that had been bound up in a closet. It had the visage of a woman so it was “sorry lady.”

And, as promised, here is the plot for my game. Things in <> are where the party diverged from my plan and/or their actions.

Mancon year 3– King Under the Hill story.

Background – Tzarina Vonka Yoltsov wants terrestrial holdings. A horde is invading Shaintar (Lead by Vadagor.) 7 nations opposing the horde offer land in exchange for providing aid <I just did this as a quick backstory. They didn’t even interact with Vonka IC. We jumped straight to the below encounter.>

  1. If there is a pilot in the group, as they are arriving, they are attacked by a dragon with a light ballista mounted on its back. “Piloted” by 2 orcs. <There was a pilot in the party, 2 in fact, but my predilection for close combat meant that there was only 1 person with the shooting skill. So, they couldn’t fire the ship’s weapons at the dragon. One of them was a spellcaster though so he was able to throw some damage at the thing. I’ll have to adjust my pre-gens again so that some more of them have shooting. I ran this like a chase and they made short work of the Orcs but it ended up with the captain ramming the dragon to death with the ship. The best part was when the Hadozee jumped from the ship onto the dragon then shot the ballista at its head at point blank range. It hit but deflected off.>
  1. Commander Bartov of the 7 Nation Army holds a conference. And assigns them their mission. (Knowledge: Battle roll indicates he is sacrificing them.) <No one had Knowledge: Battle, so this wasn’t an issue and kind of threw a monkey wrench in the end game.>
  1. Use OSA on page 150 as basis for first encounter <It’s the one where the party has to convince villagers to let them burn down their village.> Include mention of folks there, including Mayor (Barados) barmaid with birthmark (Malani.) Some mention that only the King Under the Hill can save them. If asked, told that old Ezekiah at Gnollview tower can tell them more. Replace Orcs and Boars with Goblins and Dire Wolves. <This went pretty much as planned. I ran it as a social conflict and the party got enough successes to convince the villagers to leave. They ran fairly roughshod over the goblins when they showed up.>
  1. Orcs are attacking Ezekiah’s tower. She’s throwing things at them, including books. “Do I have 2 copies of this? Oh no, I think that’s the one that had my notes in it.” Takes a liking to one of the characters (Nice to her, smartest, handsomest, one with white benny.) <This turned out to be the Minotaur because I gave him the Big Horns edge and that translates into a Charisma Boost. I played Ezekiah as an elderly who was lightly hitting on him.> Gives that character a “trinket” – minor magical item (and healing, if needed.) They can suggest things but Luck token, if nothing else. Provides 1 free reroll per session but can’t be used to Soak. <He took bracers that gave him a +1 to Fighting. The Sorcerer managed to convince her that he was the Minotaur’s bodyguard and that he should get something too, so she gave him an amulet with 5 Power points. And then, the Hadozee swiped another pistol. All in all, she kind of ended up being that leprechaun thingy you kick in Gauntlet to get loot…> She’ll explain that they need the blood of the king or his crown or both to get his aid. Blood is the barmaid can be identified by birthmark “His Hand is upon them.” <It didn’t take them long to clamp onto this…which was ok. It’s where I wanted them to go and I didn’t particularly want to hide the ball.>
  1. Crown is in separate barrow. Defended by riddle and trap – A simple map of a town is on the floor – Castle, church, CEMETERY, homes, port, barn/farm, jail. Writing on the wall says “Relief lies only where every man’s wealth is stolen, every man is equal in the eyes of justice, all pain is ended, all dreams are dashed.”

Laser beam trap is guarding the chamber. Turned off by stepping on cemetery but if anyone steps on any other, trap strengthens for the turn, even if cemetery is being stepped on. <This also went pretty much as expected. I’m always nervous about riddles but the guys got this one pretty much right away. The only fly in the ointment was that they thought each part of the relief was a separate location. Once I clarified they could all stand in one spot, they got it immediately. (It’s the cemetery, btw, if the Caps Lock didn’t make it obvious enough.)

Regular guards (Skeletons toughness and +1 parry for armor/shield. Using spear str+d6.) Will bow to the blood, if she is with the group and aid in fighting the Guardian. <They did this before going to get the Blood so they had to actually fight these guys. Again, short work was made.>

Naga guarding crown. Sleeping. Can be avoided with stealth and agility check but money can’t be taken. 600Gp in horde and shortsword with a +1 to Fighting bonus. <Didn’t even try sneaking. They just charged right in. I got to have a Kaa moment and had one of the characters under the Naga’s thrall for half a round before they killed it…the Naga, not the character.>

  1. Ranks and ranks of warriors at main Barrow. Spear, shield and sword. Not sure how they’re standing up. The king is on a throne, armed the same way. Doesn’t speak but will welcome blood/crown holder and show agreement. If neither, runs the party off. (Obvious they can’t win.) <They’d looped back and gotten the Blood by now, so they had both and he was glad enough to follow them out with his army arrayed behind him.>
  1. A Beastman Necromancer is waiting outside with henchmen. (Use Orc Stats.) Can turn the King Under the Hill’s followers against them. <We completely skipped this encounter. I forgot it when they came out and we were running short on time, anyway so I didn’t try to squeeze it in.>
  1. During the Final battle the party can hunt down the leader. Dramatic task: Each person has to get at least one success. May use any reasonable ability. Others can aid. <This is what the party did. And they got an extra success so they got the drop on the commander.> Attended by Adamant Corps <I took this part out.>– Ogre bodyguard. Will surrender if Goblin Beetlerider defeated. <This happened. Actually, the Ogre took one swing before the party defenestrated the leader. He was watching and commanding the battle from a window in a ruin overlooking the battlefield from a cliff and they just pushed him out. I’d be mad about the one shot kill but that’s pretty awesome. If I remember, I may let them use the Ogre as a combat NPC next year. Or I may create him as a pre-gen. I have the rules for PC ogres.>

 

  1. Modifiers for the final battle <None of this mattered since the party didn’t have anyone with Knowledge: Battle so the commanding was actually done by an NPC and it only mattered that they killed the commander. But, here would have been the way things would have shaped up if we would have used the mass battle rules> –

If party succeeds at nothing – out numbered 5 to 10. <Obviously not the case.>

King Under the Hill recruited – Makes forces equal or gives enemy -1 token if Villagers Convinced to leave peacefully <Achieved!>

Convincing Villagers to leave peacefully – +1 allied token (Militia) or -1 to enemy if King Under the Hill is also Recruited. +1 morale to allied forces. <Achieved!>

Villagers run off – 1 morale to allied forces. <Not the case.>

If they defeat the dragon at the beginning, a second ship arrives with them they get one extra token or enemy forces are reduced by 1 more token if King Under the Hill Recruited. <Achieved!>

Kill enemy leader before battle is over – enemy has -1 morale and rolls Battle Rolls untrained (shouldn’t take long.) Allied forces get +1 morale. <Achieved!>

<So, they would have ended up with 10 tokens against 8 with a +2 to their Morale rolls and the enemy would have been using a replacement Commander who would be rolling Knowledge: Battle Untrained by the end.>

All in all, it was a sweeping success. I’m already thinking of adventures for Mancon 2018!

Here are the pregens I had out and their associated miniatures.  I had 13 options for the players.

And the penultimate moment in the adventure just before they shoved the goblin leader (at the very bottom) out the window.

Ravnivori Empire – Military Units

I’m sure that I have a good excuse for why I haven’t posted a blog in 2 weeks, but I can’t think of it and I won’t insult both of us by trying to come up with one.  Especially since I was so sure I was going to be back on track after the last one.

Anyway…Mancon is next week, so there definitely won’t be a post then.  I’ll be busy running a game in this world as opposed to just writing about it.  The next week, I should have another plot device with the details of my planned plot and the actual plot that arose when the pesky players mess up my beautiful idea.

Obviously, the military is an important part of the Ravnivori Empire.  They are in the midst of active conquest, after all.  While there is a standing military, it’s function is to maintain the peace on the homeworld and protect it from any invasions, now that they know it is possible for offworld armies to attack.

Most of the offworld work is done by semi-official mercenary units.  These units are sort of adjuncts to the regular military and are at the service of any loyal Imperial citizen who needs some soldiering done.  As they are not officially part of the military hierarchy, there is little in the way of standardization in uniform or methods.  And, in fact, their adherence to these sorts of things is considered far less important than their efficiency.

Military Units

One common method for determining and describing the effectiveness and abilities of one of the Imperial Military units is by identifying the wolf it carries. A unit that has proven its worth to the Empire is granted the right to bear an Imperial wolf on all the standards that the unit carries. The Emperor himself grants this honor and he generally only grants one or two per year. However, simply gaining a wolf is not the end. The Emperor not only grants the unit the right to bear a wolf but names the type of material the wolf can be made of. An Imperial wolf is always a high honor so they are never made of mundane materials but always a precious metal. When a wolf is granted, it is usually established as a copper wolf. If the unit later proves itself more valuable to the empire and distinguishes itself further in the Emperor’s eyes, he will grant the unit the right to bear a better wolf. Only the most honored units gain the right to bear a platinum wolf. And both of these processes can be reversed if a unit displeases the Emperor. A unit can suffer a demotion in the level of wolf they can bear or even have the right to bear a wolf stripped entirely. The ranks of Imperial Wolves in ascending order are: None, Copper, Brass, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Hammers of Doom: A strictly Ravnivori Dwarven unit, the Hammers of Doom are lead by Ulfgar Ironhead. A rather unique unit, they are one of the few Dwarven cavalry units in the Empire. What makes them unique, however are their steeds. Rather than riding living mounts, the Hammers of Doom go into battle riding mechanical rams. These wonders of artifice are not as fast as flesh and blood horses, but are much sturdier and bypass many of the limitations such flesh and blood mounts suffer. For example, they need no food or air and can stand completely still indefinitely and even be partially collapsed and stacked atop each other. This makes them perhaps the most efficient cavalry unit in the Empire for traveling on Void Runners. The Hammers of Doom need only stock provisions and account for air usage of the Dwarves themselves and the entire unit and their gear take up only 5 tons worth of cargo space whereas most cavalry units require an entire hold for their animals. The Hammers travel on their own Hammership, a vessel also named the Hammer of Doom and the unit essentially lives on the ship. In addition to the unit itself, there are also dedicated sailors and weapons crews as well as a handful of Arcanomancers who construct and maintain the mechanical rams. As an elite unit, recruitment into the Hammers of Doom is quite an honor. Only dwarves are chosen with preference given to Ravnivori dwarves. The dwarf must be a master rider, which is quite rare and an expert with the warhammer, eliminating even more potential candidates. Not a few dwarves practice for years, focusing all their energy on the unique skills needed to become a Hammer before even being considered. The Hammers of Doom are a relatively small unit with only 20 members, though there are an additional 30 dwarves who serve as support to the warriors.
Wolf: Brass

Hurzah’s Ravens: Lead by Kreok Hurzah, a skilled Troglyn archer and master ranged tactician, the Ravens recruit only skilled archers. While not every archer in the Ravens is a master marksman, Hurzah recruits each member personally. He looks for natural talent, developed skill, a sharp mind and the ability to follow orders rapidly and precisely with no care for gender or species. This combination of traits in each of his archers means that none of them are particularly remarkable but as a unit, they are extremely lethal as a unit, capable of laying down withering clouds of arrows in enemy units. Until approximately 5 years ago, this unit was lead by the Amazon Ionia and was known as Ionia’s Ravens. Hurzah was her lieutenant and she bequeathed the unit to him when she became and independent contractor for the Emperor. The Ravens are a fairly large unit, currently numbering 46 members. This value varies from as low as 40 to as high as 50 depending upon how many losses they have taken and how much time Hurzah has had to recruit replacements.
Wolf: Silver

Rolling Thunder: A relatively new unit, it was formed in the latter years of the conquest of Shan by a Ravnivori soldier named Matias. He was completely fascinated by the elephants and assorted kaiju that existed in the Shan lands and even more enamored of their usage as living war machines. With the help of a few backers, he managed to capture and buy a few elephants and a single kaiju and get them trained. In the few battles they were able to fight in, they proved quite decisive but, unfortunately, for Matias, the war ended soon after he formed his unit. There was little use for the massive beasts in the peace keeping capacity that the Ravnivori military took on after the conquest of Shan and he retired, earning a meager living by charging curiosity seekers for the privilege of seeing his animals. His hopes were raised when he discovered that there were Void Runners and that the Imperial conquest would continue. He was certain that the Imperial military would need his animals. He was largely wrong. While Rolling Thunder is quite effective when it is fielded, it suffers from a logistical problem. Each of Matias’ animals is so big that it is difficult to transport more than one or two on a ship and they utilize a great deal of the air that is held on a Void Runner. He has actually found little work for his unit though again his hopes have been raised. A magical researcher has developed a method for putting living creatures in a sort of hibernation that greatly reduces the amount of air and food they need. It takes some time to put the animals into hibernation and to take them out, so Rolling Thunder still has not become very popular though Matias remains hopeful.
Wolf: None

Star Sharks: This unit only came into being after the use of Void Runners and are quite specialized to that purpose. Their focus is on combat on Void Runners and everyone in the unit brings some skill that accentuates Void Runner combat. Many of the members of this unit are Mechanids, both sentient and pre-sentient and not a few members are undead. A few of these undead are intelligent but most of them are mindless creatures controlled by other members of the unit. Low oxygen usage is a priority and the Star Sharks attempt to get as many combat worthy bodies upon a ship for as little oxygen use as they can. Those who are among the living in the classical sense are all highly trained and highly skilled at the usage of the assorted siege weapons used in ship to ship Void Runner combat. The most highly prized members of the Star Sharks are their impressive collection of living siege weapons. These creatures not only take up no air but need no crew to fire them. The Star Sharks were founded and are lead by a Mechanid named Art Fisher. Despite this public leader, rumors abound that the Star Sharks are actually a puppet organization for the Children of the Night and serve one of their unknown purposes, perhaps to gain information on the military structure and strength of the Empire.
Wolf: Copper

The Right Hand of Amaz: Founded by the Temple of the Virtuous Maiden in the Sea of Grass plains in Almatia, this unit is composed entirely of females. These women all begin as orphans at the Temple and are trained from a young age to join the unit. They are trained in military tactics, archery and horsemanship. After a decade of training, and just as they become adults, those who excel at their training are inducted into the Right Hand of Amaz. A group of mounted archers, the Right Hand of Amaz specializes in hit and run and harassing tactics, supporting infantry, archers and siege units. They are highly skilled and greatly feared. Unlike some other units, they do not have established rates for their services but charge on a case by case basis. It is impossible to prove but most people assume that they charge males more than they charge females. Because of this and because of the high air need of their mounts, they have not found a great deal of success when Void Runners are involved.
Wolf: Bronze

The Adamant Corps: One of the oldest units in the Empire, the Adamant Corps was formed in the middle of the unification wars of the Ravnivori continent. In fact, they were friendly rivals to the Legion of the Abyss. Under the brilliant leadership of its founder, Tilion Kray, they expanded and proved themselves invaluable in the continuing expansion of the Empire. They have been an integral part of every war that the Empire engaged in during the conquering of Almatia and Shan. On countless occasions, they have held the battlefield against overwhelming odds long enough for the remainder of Ravnivori forces to reorganize. Even once the conquest of Shan was completed, the Adamant Corps did not disband like many other of the Empire’s units did. Thus they were still organized and ready when the Void Runners were discovered and have extended their service to the Empire into the stars. The Adamant Corps is a mixed unit. It includes infantry, cavalry, archers, siege engines and even still uses chariots. The unifying theme of the unit is that they are heavily armored. The Adamant Corps is known for its battle cry “Feed the Wolf” all most as much as for any of their history or acts.
Wolf: Platinum

Ravnivori Empire Organizations

Sorry for the missing posts the last couple weeks.  I had some technical difficulties.

I should be back on my weekly schedule, now.  It’s less than a month until ManCon, a small gaming event held by Ideology of Madness own Aron Head.  You may wonder why that matters.  Well, I’m going to be running an adventure in this setting at the event.  It will actually be the first time I’ve run a game in this setting since the last one I went to 2 years ago.  I’m pretty excited.  I always like getting back to this Universe.

Without further ado…

Organizations
Following are several of the important organizations, whether political, ideological, religious or mercantile within the Ravnivori Empire.
Children of the Eternal Night – Undead creatures who believe that their wisdom and intelligence entitle them to rule the Empire. The Children of the Eternal Night began in the foggy annals of history. As Ravnivorous was uniting the clans, tribes and nations of his home continent he was approached by a young, ambitious undead woman. This woman had no interest in playing the politics necessary to rise in the ranks of the world of vampire, wraiths and mummies that hid beneath the surface world of society. Instead, she saw Ravnivorous and what he was doing as a quick path to power. She managed to be quite persuasive and convinced the future Emperor that she could be useful to him.
While Ravnivorous continued to conquer other lands, Ellebetta worked behind the scenes, meeting with the undead rulers of the various lands they encountered and either swaying them to her cause or stealing their power from them. This latter was done either by destroying the undead (generally indirectly, alerting the living to their presence) or by convincing the lower ranking members of the group to join her and Ravnivorous.
As Ravnivorous’ Empire expanded, so did Ellebetta’s power. Unlike those who went before her, however, she did not reign over a shadow empire. She and her followers interacted with the living just like everyone else, gaining and losing power, honor, fame and fortune just as their still living brother citizens.
Of course, the undead did, inherently cluster together, at least when they weren’t paranoid about being betrayed by their fellow undead and Ellebetta capitalized on this, creating the Children of the Eternal Night. Like most fraternities, the group was little more than a way for like individuals to gather together and help each other.
That changed when Ellebetta was assassinated. In the midst of the Ravnivori war with Almatia, the venerable Mother of the Children of the Eternal Night was slain during one of the many balls she held each year in the capital. Her lifeless body was found in a secluded area but her murderer was long gone.
Ellebetta’s replacement was a Shan Vampire named Fzou. Fzou had a very different idea about the Children of the Eternal Night’s place within the Empire. Fzou believed that the short lived mortals who ruled the Empire were incapable of running the Empire as well as the immortal and wise undead. Fzou has rallied several followers to his cause. Though they do nothing illegal and do not openly subvert the authority of the Empire’s officials, they are doing all they can to maneuver that power into their hands.

Tzhou Family – Shan Clan who possess an Emperor approved monopoly on black powder weapons in the Empire.
The Tzhou were not the first people to discover black powder, but they were a powerful and influential family when it was discovered. The clan immediately recognized the potential of the discovery and began maneuvering themselves to gain authority over it. Through a combination of political machinations, economic maneuvers and even physical intimidation, the Tzhou managed to eliminate their rivals in the field of black powder weapons. After consolidating their power for a couple generations, the Tzhou had built up enough leverage to force the Shan Emperor to grant them an official monopoly over black powder production. Given the fact that they already controlled almost all the black powder production anyway and that they could cripple his army by denying him access to more, the Emperor grudgingly agreed. However, to remind the family that he did not like to be trifled with and that he was still the true power in the nation, he forced 1/3 of the males of the family to join the army and sent them off on a suicide mission against the Shan. At the same time, he forced 1/3 of the females of the family to marry various soldiers in his army. To increase their shame, he ensured that none of them were allowed to marry a soldier with a rank higher than sergeant.
Though the blow was bitter, the Tzhou took this punishment in stride and quickly moved to shore up their power and prestige. By the time the Ravnivori conquered the Almatians, they were second only to the Emperor’s family in honor and respect. In fact, two of the Emperor’s wives were Tzhous as was his grandmother.
The Ravnivori were less than pleased with the Tzhou when the war between the Empires began. The weapons the Tzhou created were responsible for a ridiculous number of Ravnivori casualties and the invading empire quickly began to target the family to eliminate this edge they gave to the Shan.
It took only a few of these slaughters before the Tzhou began to reconsider their position in the war. Without informing the Shan Emperor, they made a deal with the Ravnivori and began supplying both sides with weapons in the war in return for promises that their family would not be targeted.
Once the war was over, Ravnivorous allowed the monopoly that the Tzhou had been granted to continue and they are still the only people allowed to produce black powder in the Empire.

Peers of the Silver Shield – Knightly order who revere the honor and tradition of the Empire’s past.
The Peers of the Silver Shield began as a group of noblemen in one of the early kingdoms that Ravnivorous claimed. Already a knightly order, they threw their lot in with the Emperor when their king (also a member) surrendered to the invading force. For decades, only these original members and their descendants were allowed to join the order and those descendants had to be pure of blood. Any child produced by a marriage with anyone who was not a child of the Silver Shield was considered tainted and incapable of maintaining the high ideals that the Peers of the Silver Shield felt their order stood for.
Inevitably, their numbers shrank as potential candidates grew fewer and fewer. Worse, many of those who were eligible proved themselves completely incapable of living up to the standards of the Knightly order. Not that this kept them from inducting these young men and women into their ranks and then covering up their foibles.
Finally, instead of seeing their legacy fade into nothingness, the Peers of the Silver Shield decided to induct people who were not descendants of the original members of the group. Still, they didn’t throw their doors open to just anyone who wanted to join their organization. Instead, they were careful to approach only the highest ranking members of the societies that made up part of the Empire. Of course, it was often up to a great deal of debate about who the highest ranking members happened to be. Eventually, a set method of voting and lobbying arose to decide who would be invited to join their organization.
The Peers of the Silver Shield grew once more and expanded as the Empire did. The lobbying and manipulations that go on to determine who will join the brotherhood and who will lead it continues to this day.
The Peers of the Silver Shield are lead by the Lord of the Silver Shield, a man (or woman) who has not only proven his skill and valor on the battlefield but also managed to secure and hold his political position in the group. At times, it is much more important for the person to manipulate the political aspect than it is to be successful on the field.

Legion of the Abyss – Originally a legion of mercenaries that Ravnivorous hired early in his campaigns of conquest, the Legion of the Abyss was eventually absorbed into the armies of the fledgling empire. Officially labeled the 6th legion, they were integral to the Imperial war efforts, proving to be the deciding factor in more than one campaign, until after the fall of the Almatian Confederation. Just after the peace accords were signed, Ravnivorous ordered the Legion of the Abyss disbanded and the soldiers of the Legion were offered the choice of retirement or being reassigned to other units. Rumors abound that the Emperor did this because the Legion was gaining too much military power. Other rumors suggest that the Legion serves as the Emperor’s secret police within the military. For the esprit de corps was too strong for the Abyssal Legionnaires to give up their identities. The Legion of the Abyss, rather than fading into history became an elite military brotherhood. Now, there are Legionnaires in every military unit in the Imperial military, though the title is technically only honorary. The Legion of the Abyss has its own traditions, rules and rituals and only the best and most savage soldiers are invited to join. What happens after this invitation and the initiation rituals are secret, but Legionnaires are legendary for being loyal to the Legion, highly skilled and single-mindedly vicious. The leader of the Legion of the Abyss is chosen by and from the highest ranking officers within the Legion when the current leader dies and he is known as the King of Pain. The current King of Pain is a Dracotaur named Dunbar Liggett.

The Four Fingered Hand – Officially, the Four Fingered Hand no longer exists. Even unofficially, most people believe that they are more myth and legend than an actual organization.
Originally an Almatian trading family the Four Fingered Hand gained a reputation as being ruthless in their pursuit of power and profit and not at all above breaking the law to do it. Their brutal methods proved quite effective and they quickly outstripped most of their competitors and killed off others. Perhaps the only thing that rivaled the family’s cold blooded efficiency was their utter loyalty to each other. The name for the group arose when one of their members was captured. Her captors began to torture him for information and removed one of his fingers a joint at a time before he was rescued but the woman was rescued but she refused to talk. Inspired by this story, other members of the organization began cutting off one of their own fingers as a sign of loyalty and bravery.
The reign of the Four Fingered Hand in Almatia came to an end soon after the Ravnivori conquered the continent. Though they prospered when the war was going on by selling weapons and information to both sides, they were just as defiant and law breaking under the rule of the Empire as they were under the confederation. The Empire was less inclined to suffer this defiance, however. It did not take long before many influential members of the family were arrested for one crime or another and when the remaining family members began a campaign of revenge they were quickly branded as traitors with all that implies. The Empire’s assault was as swift and brutal as any of the Four Fingered Hand’s had ever been. Within a week, the family was crushed and the Empire claimed that it was completely destroyed.
However, a handful of members of the family survived the oppression and vowed a vendetta against the people who had destroyed their way of life. The remnants were smart enough to know that they could not face the Empire directly, however, and set out on a campaign of assassination. Scores of officials fell to their weapons before the Empire once more stamped them out.
But the Four Fingered Hand has proven to be a disease that simply will not go away. Periodically, cabals of assassins are found who claim to be members of the Four Fingered Hand, though whether these groups can truly trace their origins back to the original family or if they are simply capitalizing on the myths that have grown up around the group depends on who is being asked. Of course, the Empire long ago banned membership in the group and anyone claiming to be a member of the Four Fingered Hand is considered a traitor.

Gray Hearts – The Gray Hearts are often known as the left hand of the Emperor. A group of men and women who serve as special investigators and inquisitors for the interests of the Empire, the Gray Hearts dedicate themselves to the Emperor’s service. Gray Hearts are seldom the greatest fighters but they often find themselves in danger and are well trained and skilled in getting out of it.
Their real skills lie in the realms of investigation, both physical and social. They are adept at picking up clues at crime scenes as well as following up on rumors and social conflicts. While it is possible to keep things hidden from a Gray Heart, it is generally quite difficult.
Gray Hearts have their own ranks outside of the military. They are not subject to military authority, though most of the work with the military rather than against them, finding both officers and common soldiers to often be valuable resources.
Gray Heart authority is almost unbounded and they can, theoretically at least, order the captain of a Void Runner ship to take them wherever they like. Likewise, they have the authority to enter and investigate the homes and businesses of any citizens of the Empire.
Of course, the Gray Hearts do not have absolute authority. They are still subject to the Emperor’s will and often receive orders directly (or only slightly indirectly) from him. By the same token, if Gray Hearts are accused of abusing their powers, they are investigated by a triad of Ki’Li’Lee and any inappropriate use of their authority is considered treason, with the usual punishments.
For that matter, the main purpose of the Gray Hearts is rooting out treason in the Empire. The function of the Gray Hearts is to protect the security and sovereignty of the Empire with a focus on dissent from within. It is not the duty of the Gray Hearts to expand the Empire, only to ensure that it remains stable and does not lose anything that it has gained.
Once, the Emperor hand picked the members of the Gray Hearts. That is no longer the case and high ranking members of his government do the job for him, but Ravnivorous makes a point of meeting and assessing every Gray Heart before bestowing their badge upon them.
The Gray Hearts get their name from this badge. The coin sized brooches are made from simple stone and, as might be expected, are carved in the shape of a heart. This badge symbolizes that their hearts are as hard as stone towards enemies of the empire and as neutral as the color gray in the service of their duties.

Cult of Balticimus/Balticimeans – Although all of the religions of the Empire and most of those that they have encountered on other worlds assure their followers that there is some sort of afterlife, there has never been any definitive proof. The summoning of demons is possible and they have often been questioned by the curious about what happens after a person dies. The results of this questioning has been mixed with even what is assumed to be the same fiendish creature giving different answers at different times, apparently based more on its mood and agenda more than any need to tell the truth.
However, while there is no proof, there is a great deal of evidence that the souls of individuals killed by the Possessed continue to live as long as the Possessed does. What this existence is actually like is up for some debate, but many people will take the chance to exist indefinitely over the possibility of expiring with their mortal shell eagerly.
This potential for an afterlife was first noted and advanced by an Almatian man named Balticimus soon after the Ravnivori began their invasion of the Almatian Confederation and the Almatians first encountered the Possessed. Balticimus was fascinated by the powers demonstrated by the Possessed and their potential for immortality. He quickly pledged his allegiance to the Empire and, almost as quickly, sold his services to one of the original coven as an indentured secretary and advisor.
In the years that followed, Balticimus made the most detailed study of the Possessed and their daemons ever performed. Even now, several centuries later, the insights and discoveries made by this scholar form the basis for most of the understanding of daemons and their interactions with their hosts and none have surpassed the amount of knowledge on the subject he obtained.
As age overtook him and his life was coming to an end, Balticimus became ever more convinced that the only way for him to achieve immortality was to either become Possessed himself or to have his soul taken by a Possessed. The former path seemed very unreliable as he was no fighter or killer and, even when a person killed a sentient being in the presence of a Possessed, they were not guaranteed of getting a daemon. As such, he decided to convince his master to kill him and take his soul.
Even so early in the Empire’s history, the rules for slavery were already highly developed and Balticimus’ master insisted that he would have to commit a capital offense for her to take his life. Balticimus, already a century old, quite frail and almost blind from age, “declared” himself an enemy of the Empire and made an “attempt” on his master’s life, one she was easily able to foil.
Recognizing his actions for what they were, she declared him a traitor and his life forfeit.
A Possessed must claim a soul through violent means but Balticimus’ master did it as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Over the following decades and centuries, the writings of Balticimus and his beliefs slowly spread throughout the Empire. Though, even today, it has not achieved the same popularity and level of dedication that any of the religions associated with the gods of the Empire have, it has become a respected religion.
The growing worship of Ravnivorous as a divine being has lead to some problems with the Cult of Balticimus, or Balticimeans, as they are more politely called. While they worship all Possessed in their way, Ravnivorous, as the last of the remaining 13 has pride of place. Ravnivorous’ church is somewhat conflicted by these worshippers. On the one hand, they consider welcoming them into the fold to increase their flock. On the other, many in the clergy consider them somewhat unstable at best and want to distance themselves from the cultists as much as possible.
The relationship between the Possessed and Cult of Balticimus, has always been somewhat complex, as well. Though Ravnivorous has not officially endorsed the religion, he has also done nothing to stamp it out. In fact, his only real attention to the Cult is that he has codified the method for their “transcendence” as Balticimeans call being slain by a Possessed and having their souls taken by them. Ravnivorous is not entirely comfortable with the obviously dark nature of the cult but, also cannot deny the value of a steady stream of willing souls to not only keep he and his fellow Possessed alive but also making them ever stronger.
To ensure that those who sacrifice themselves do not do so on a whim, or as a momentary act of fervor there is a formal, stylized ritual that a Balticimean has to go through to satisfy the legal rules for becoming a traitor and being slain by a Possessed rather than simply becoming a life slave. The Balticimean has to declare his intention on or before The Feast of Souls and cannot achieve transcendence until the next Feast of Souls or after.
When that day comes, the Balticimean declares his “intention” to overthrow the Empire and “attacks” the Possessed. This is generally a very stylized process and the Balticimean is usually easily disarmed and slain, quickly if the Possessed if kind or generous but sometimes slowly if the Possessed is particularly cruel. Many Balticimeans are of the belief that the more they suffer as they die, the more proof of their dedication and the more sublime their afterlife as a part of the Possessed who kills them.

The Purifying Flame – The history of the Purifying Flame goes all the way back to the Almatian Conquest. With the arrival of the Possessed and their “unholy parasites” splinter groups from the churches of several of the gods of the Almatians banded together as inquisitors and paladins specifically dedicated to slaying the invaders and their superhuman abilities.
They called themselves the Purifying Flame and, as the years went on took to burning their victims to death when they were able, to, though they were never above killing a Possessed in any way possible. They remained some of the most stalwart opponents of the Ravnivori even after the leaders and people of the Almatian Confederation conceded defeat and submitted to the rule of their invaders.
Understandably, Ravnivorous and the other Possessed were rather zealous and violent in rooting out members of the Purifying Flame. In fact, an Imperial Edict made aligning with the group or claiming membership in it a treasonous offense. In an act of cruel irony, the Possessed began burning the members of the Purifying Flame in turn.
Despite the harsh punishment that comes with affiliating with this group, the Empire has never been able to wipe it out, entirely. Instead, it has become an underground secretive group. There are always though who find the power the Possessed, physical, social and political offensive and it takes little effort to convince these individuals that destroying them is a divine mandate.
In fact, members of the Purifying Flame point to the fact that many in the group are given divine powers by the gods as a sign of their approval for what they consider a holy quest. If questioned as to why there are just as many Possessed priests who are also able to access holy energies, the members of the Flame claim that the Possessed are actually channeling infernal forces and use it as further evidence of their Evil nature.
Members of the Purifying Flame go through a secret initiation ritual when they are first brought into the ranks. As part of this ritual, they are branded with the sect’s symbol, a stylized fire. This brand is always placed directly over the member’s heart.
The powers that be know of this telltale mark and when rumors of a Purifying Flame plot surface, it is not uncommon for Imperial officials and security officers to begin strip searches to find conspirators.

Personalities of the Empire

The first three of these started out as the potential patrons for my player group.  Each one represents a different potential goal for a party.  Kazucarn (who the group chose) is a trader and represents a focus on making money through shipping. Shenzen is interested in discovery.  She represents a focus on exploration.  Karl is interested in expanding the empire.  He represents a focus on conquest.

The rest of them are just characters who either showed up in the campaign or who were ideas that I wanted to flesh out.  A few of them have stats, as well, but most are just descriptions.

Below are several personages representative of the citizens of the Ravnivori Empire.

Kazucarn Gurk

A massive minotaur with a potbelly, chestnut fur, and gold and gem encrusted horns

Kazucarn is first and foremost a business man. He seeks to expand his own fortunes and hedonistic horizons by sponsoring void runners. Though he never breaks the law, he will push it to extremes with no thought to morality or ethics. He has gained a reputation for buying or selling anything as long as it is not illegal.

Kazucarn Gurk began life as the illegitimate child of a woman who served as purzya to an Imperial military unit. The woman cared little for the child and did not alter her lifestyle in the least to take him into account. Kazucarn grew up wandering around following the army with his mother and scavenging a life from their castoffs.

He had just become a pre-teen when the war between the Ravnivori and the Shan ended. The unit he was associated with was not disbanded, but became a garrison unit in Shan lands. Kazucarn decided that he was going to forge his own destiny. Over the years, he’d scraped together a decent amount of money from found coins and pay for doing small chores and favors for the soldiers and he used this money to buy a cart and a few unique goods from the local Shan market.

With these supplies, he headed west. Gurk stopped in each village and town he passed, selling some of his goods when he could make a profit or buying cheap goods when he could find them. His real success came after he made the arduous trip over one of the passes that lead into Almatian lands. The Almatians clamored to buy the exotic spices, fabrics and art from Shan lands and he made a massive profit. After splurging on an opulent meal and room, Kazucarn quickly loaded his cart up with Almatian goods and headed back over the mountains.

Two more trips allowed him to buy a wagon, another, an additional wagon. Two more a ship so that he could trade goods between all three of the continents of Retra. By the time Gurk reached 16, the age of maturity, he no longer had to go on the trips himself. He had a large trading network with several dozen employees and interests in several permanent caravans and trading fleets.

Kazucarn semi-retired at this point, having a large, opulent villa built near his headquarters in Almatia and enjoying the good life. He always had a taste for finer things and fully indulged that predilection, enjoying all manner of alcohol, drugs, food, women and entertainment.

By the time void runners were discovered, Gurk was one of the few people on Retra with enough money to buy one. Seeing the massive possibility for profit these new vessels presented, he invested almost all of his liquid capital in them. This allowed him to outright buy two Tradesmen as they were produced and hold shares in two more. He immediately put them to work, setting up trade between the civilizations the Empire found in the void as well as selling their services to the Empire itself.

Currently, Gurk owns more void runners than anyone else in the Empire, three Tradesmen and a Squidship, though he is always looking to expand his holdings.

Sokune Shenzen

A short, birdlike, elderly Shan woman with long black hair, streaked with silver.

Shenzen sees the discovery of void runners as a chance to expand her already considerable knowledge. She hopes that those under her patronage will bring back books, art and information about the wonders of the universe beyond Retra.

Shenzen was born the first daughter of a high level functionary of the Immortal Court of the Glorious Empire of the Eternal Shan. Her mother held sway over a massive swath of land near the capital and the Sokune family often dined with the Imperial family.

Shenzen’s mother hoped that her daughter would follow in her footsteps and did everything in her power to prepare her for her future position. Shenzen was provided the best tutors in all fields from calligraphy to astronomy to to medicine to swordplay to court politics. Unfortunately, she proved completely incompetent and disinterested int he last of these fields. Shenzen simply did not care who was currying favor with who, what flutter of a fan meant that one hated a rival, or what the Emperor’s favorite kind of nut was. Once she discovered the wonders of the world that could be discovered though science and learning, she cared little for the politics that made that world go round.

Thus, though it disappointed her to no end, Shenzen’s mother was forced to pass her power on to her son, a boy who was not so bright as his sister but who had a double dose of the killer instinct and cunning that made for a brilliant courtier.

Shenzen was relegated to a role as a researcher and librarian at the Golden University of Ever Rising Knowledge, the center of study at the Imperial capital. It was a life that she excelled at. She never rose very high in the ranks as the social competition in academia proved just as fierce as at the Emperor’s court, but none could deny her brilliance and her superiors often jockeyed to have her assigned to them so that they could lay claim to at least partial credit for her discoveries.

She hardly noticed when the Ravnivori conquered her land. It was only a minor annoyance as she was forced to remain away from or sneak into the library for several months while the invaders laid siege to her city. Afterward, she simply returned to her quest for knowledge, hardly caring that her new superiors were foreign conquerors as long as they did not interfere with her work. Fortunately, those superiors were wise enough to stay out of her way.

Shenzen’s disinterest in the outside world was only shattered when that outside world expanded. The discoveries and possibilities available on other worlds was a draw that she could not deny. Though she did not have her brother’s power or money, she had amassed an impressive amount of money from her salary and from awards given due to her many discoveries. Since she seldom spent any of this money, she had quite a treasury by the time void runners were discovered.

She wasted little time in buying one and less in gathering a crew, boarding her ship and streaking off into the void. That first trip garnered her numerous specimens and tomes as well as another ship. One of the societies that she discovered was so impressed by her quest for knowledge that their ruler gifted her with a Dragonship to show his admiration.

Shenzen has returned home, now, retiring from the University so that she may examine the wonders of the universe. These wonders are brought to her by her two ships, both the Dragonship and her first Koi. Though she already has a backlog of material to research that will last until well after her death, her thirst for knowledge remains unslaked and she is looking to add a third research vessel to her fleet.

Karl Djordsen

Tall, broad shouldered with long blonde hair and a shaggy beard and bright green eyes.

Karl is a Possessed Ravnivori who is completely dedicated to the Empire. His interest in backing Void Runners is almost purely in bringing the glory of the Empire to new worlds and, incidentally, expanding his own holdings.

Karl is the current patriarch of a seafaring family that has served the Empire for generations. Once the need for naval military forces had essentially expired, the Djordsens, like many other families in the Empire with strong military traditions were left without purpose and looked for meaning.

For Karl, at least, this meaning came with the discovery of Void Runners. Karl’s secret dream, the chance to explore new places was suddenly a possibility. His entire world had been charted by the time Karl was born but the opening of the universe with the advent of the Void Runners opened up a universe of possibilities for the man.

The Djordsens were not a powerful enough family to claim one of the earliest Void Runners, but Karl was inspired by the Void Runners and let nothing stand in his way. He volunteered a great deal of his family fortune to the Thresher project to help get the experimental ship constructed. And, of course, after it was built, it was given into his care. Karl still captains the Terror of the Void, as the first Thresher has been named but he is also looking to expand his fleet with another vessel, either to serve as support or as an individual ship to further explore the universe.

Dunbar Liggett

A massive Dracotaur with deep grey-blue scales and a paler, almost white underbelly. Several horns spring back from his head and spikes bedeck the tip of his tail. His golden eyes are fierce, but intelligent.

The current King of Pain of the Legion of the Abyss, Dunbar Liggett began his career in the military in the closing years of the Ravnivori campaign against Almatia. He was inducted into the Legion just in time for it to be disbanded, though he was quick to join the military fraternity that rose from its ashes.

In the campaign against the Shan that followed, he proved himself just as savage, efficient and brutal as to be expected of Legionnaire. Eventually, his skills became so impressive that he was chosen for the supreme position in the Legion.

He has maintained this title even after the defeat of the Shan and, though many wondered what the Legion of the Abyss would become with the apparent end of war, Dunbar was quick to petition for and be granted the captaincy of a Void Runner ship. His ship, The Hammer of Doom is considered one of the most dangerous vessels in the Empire, not least because Liggett is its captain.

L’un Dihn

A petite Shan woman with large, deep black eyes and long flowing brown hair. She has a round, warm face and full lips.

Eyes: Black Hair: Dark Brown Height: 5’ Weight: 115#
Agility: d8 Smarts: d4 Spirit: d8 Strength: d4 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d4, Shooting: d4, Guts: d8, Knowledge (Fashion) d8, Persuasion: d8, Riding d4
Pace: 6 Parry: 4 Toughness: 4 Charisma: +4
Edges: Attractive, Noble, Rich
Hindrances: Small, Clueless

L’un Dihn is the daughter of Kazucarn Gurk and the daughter of a noble Shan family. Though the woman’s out of wedlock pregnancy was somewhat shameful, the family could not turn a blind eye to Gurk’s money and power. Strangely, Gurk doted on the girl, if from afar. While he would never win any prizes for being a good father, he showered his daughter with money and gifts, utterly spoiling her and ensuring that she never needed to worry about anything.

Dihn has managed to reach adulthood without learning much about the real world. She has grown somewhat bored by her sheltered life and has decided to stowaway on one of her father’s voidrunning ships to learn more about life outside her cloistered existence.

Sokune Takio

A petite, Shan woman with an elegant face and short midnight black hair and almond shaped dark brown eyes. She moves with unconscious grace and athleticism.

The daughter of Sokune Shenzen, Takio followed a very different path. Instead of becoming a scholar and burying herself in books, she instead dedicated her life to becoming a samurai and master swordswoman. Taking up the ancestral weapon of her father’s clan, she is not yet the world’s greatest swordsmaster, but she is universally acknowledged as one of the best.

Eyes: Dark Brown Hair: Black Height: 5’5″ Weight: 130#
Agility: d10 Smarts: d4 Spirit: d6 Strength: d6 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d12, Shooting: d6, Guts: d8, Persuasion: d8
Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 7(3) Charisma: 0
Edges: Trademark Weapon (Chrysanthemum Wind)
Hindrances: Vow (Samurai Code), Big Mouth
Gear: Chrysanthemum Wind (Katana) Str + d6 + 2, AP2, Plate Corselet +3 Torso, Pot helm +3 Head 50%

Vangral

A tall, slender but muscular Ravnivori elven man. He has flowing, golden blonde hair and dark blue eyes. His face is thin and sharp.

Eyes: Dark Blue Hair: Blonde Height: 5’10″ Weight: 160#
Agility: d10 Smarts: d8 Spirit: d8 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8
Skills: Fighting: d10, Guts: d8, Intimidation: d8, Notice: d8, Shooting: d6, Spellcasting: d8, Stealth: d8
Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 9(3) Charisma: 0
Edges: Arcane Background: Magic
Gear: Platemail (3), Longsword: Str+d8, Longbow: 2d6
Special Abilities: Infravision
Magic: Stun, Deflection, Speed

Vangral served as the captain of a ocean going dreadnought in the Ravnivori war against the Shan. He was a steady commander who won the victories he was expected to and avoided trouble he could not handle. He was also the mentor of a young human named Karl Djordsen.

When the Shan war finally ended, Vangral remained in the navy, continuing to serve steadily if without distinction. Until, that is, Djordsen contacted him and offered him a position as the human’s lieutenant on his new void running ship.

Chorizal (Draga)

A powerfully built draga with dark green body scales and pale yellow belly scales. A scowl seems to be permanently etched into his face.

Eyes: Yellow Hair: None Height: 12’ Weight: 800#
Agility: d6 Smarts: d6 Spirit: d6 Strength: d8 Vigor: d6
Skills: Fighting: d10, Intimidation: d6, Notice: d8, Shooting: d6, Stealth: d6, Swimming: d4
Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 7(2) Charisma: 0
Edges:

Hindrances: All Thumbs, Code of Honor, Cold Aversion (Major), Mean
Gear: Halberd: Str + d8, Flail: Str+d6, Medium Shield
Special Abilities: Armor + 2, Bite Str + d4, Dragon Deference, Four Arms

Exiles #27 – The Four Gun Kid

For some unknown reason, I’ve been into Cowboys & Dinosaurs, lately.  Not cowboys and dinosaurs as in each one separately but Cowboys & Dinosaurs as in, six shooter packing pardners riding prehistoric beasts.

I’ve added a Cowboys & Dinosaurs prestige class to the next d20 product I plan to publish and I happened to come across the base for this guy while in the mood.  He seemed like an obvious choice.

I’ve also always like the idea of 4 armed people as superhumans.  It doesn’t take a very deep look at my homebrew to see that quite a few of the optional races have four arms.  Actually…I need to add an Edge with that option to account for all the individuals descended from races that have four arms, as well…

So, of all the Savage Land Mutates, this guy was going to be the obvious choice.  I also noticed that they were once called the Beast Brood and that has a better flow to me than “the Savage Land Mutates” so I decided that, in the dimension he’s from, that’s what they were always called.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Barbarus, the Four Gun Kid –

Four-Gun Kid

Barbarus

Fighting: EX

Agility: GD

Strength: AM

Endurance: RM

Reason: TY

Intuition: EX

Psyche: GD

Health: 110

Karma: 36

Resources: PR (4)

Popularity: 10

Powers:

Multi-Arms: Barbarus possesses four arms, giving him a +2CS in Grappling combat. He can make multiple attacks at Incredible rank instead of his Fighting rank. He can use these attacks to make ranged attacks using his pistols, as well.

Pistols: The Four-Gun Kid carries four Colt.45 caliber revolvers. The Colts hit for 8 points of Shooting damage, hold six shots each, and are made from Excellent strength material.

Talents: Four-Gun Kid is an expert with handguns. He is one of the fastest guns in the Savage Land and can easily draw all four pistols and fire in the same turn. Four Gun Kid is also an expert rider and has the Law talent. He also has the Blunt Weapons skill.

Contacts: Four-Gun kid was a former agent of Magneto and a member of the Savage Land Mutates. He has worked with Hawkeye, Moondragon and Thor.

Background: Barbarus was a member of a Swamp People tribe in the Savage Land who was originally, artificially mutated through technological means by Magneto so as to give them superhuman powers.

Magneto gave the so-called Beast Brood their superhuman powers during a period he spent living in the Savage Land. The Mutates battled the X-Men and Ka-Zar on Magneto’s behalf, but after Magneto’s own defeat in the Savage Land by the X-Man Marvel Girl, the Mutates returned to their original non-superhuman state for unknown reasons.

Subsequently, the Beast Brood regained their superhuman powers and unusual forms for reasons that remain unclear. This time the powers of the Brood had allegedly increased. The Brood captured 3 scientists and tried to force them to mutate other Savage Land natives into superhuman beings. The Avengers and the Asgardian goddess Sif came searching for the scientists and defeated the Brood. The Avengers rescued the scientists and delivered the Brood to legal authorities in Chile, the nearest nation to the Savage Land.

Somehow, the Beast Brood returned to the Savage Land from Chile. Brainchild, originally given the name because he had superhuman intelligence and childlike emotions, achieved greater emotional maturity and became the Brood’s leader. Brainchild and the Brood joined forces with the high priestess Zaladane to take control of the Savage Land. Under Brainchild’s leadership, the Beast Brood battled the Angel, Ka-Zar and Spider-Man in the Savage Land. Working for the monstrous Sauron, Brainchild and his Brood subsequently fought Ka-Zar, the Angle and his fellow X-Men. Ka-zar and the X-Men defeated the Brood, who were returned by Ka-Zar, using one of Brainchild’s devices, to their original states.

But it appears that the effect of the mutation-inducing technology that gave the Beast Brood their powers causes them eventually to regain their superhuman abilities and unusual forms should they lose them.

During an encounter between three of the Avengers and Kang the Conqueror, the Wild West Hero known as the Two Gun Kid and the entire town he was in at the time was transported through time and space to the modern period and the Savage Land. The Avengers were powerless to return the town to its original location and time and Kang had no desire to.

Many of the citizens did accept the Avengers offer to relocate them to more civilized locations but most of them refused to give up their homes, even if those homes were no longer in the place and time they were used to. The Two Gun Kid remained with those who refused to leave, taking on the role of their defender.

He managed to fend off attacks by dinosaurs and primitive tribes, and even began to set up friendly relations with some of the latter. But, when the Beast Brood attacked, he was completely outmatched. Only the timely intervention of the unlikely team of Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Storm and Shanna the She-Devil prevented the town from being destroyed by the Beast Brood.

But, while they were rampaging, Barbarus was smitten by the local schoolmarm, a petite, demure woman who nevertheless had a fiery spirit and endless courage when her charges were threatened.

Barbarus began to sneak back to the village periodically to spy on her. One night when he was doing so, the town was attacked by a number of natives riding pterodactyls. One of them snatched up the schoolmarm and Barbarus leapt to her rescue.

Whether because he had saved her or because she saw something good under his brutish, violent exterior, the schoolmarm returned Barbarus’ romantic interests once things quieted down. Matt Hawk, the Two Gun Kid also saw potential in him.

Matt was well aware that, even with his gunslinging skills, he was no match for many of the dangers of the Savage Land. Facing down outlaws and bandits was one thing, facing down a tyrannosaurus rex was another.

Barbarus was a native of the Savage Land, though and one enhanced with superhuman strength and abilities. As the Brood member began making himself more publically known around the town, the Two Gun Kid began to subtly bring him under his wing, teaching him both his gun slinging skills and his own particular code of honor.

As much to impress the schoolmarm, who had very 19th century sensibilities about courtship, as anything else, Barbarus took to Hawk’s lessons. It was not long before Hawk had the town’s gunsmith make this four armed protégé his own customer set of guns.

The Beast Brood was not aware of the time Barbarus was spending in the town or the fact that his loyalties were shifting. Brainchild decided it would make a good base of operations and would be easy to take with no outlander heroes around. He launched another attack on the town.

Barbarus was torn between his teammates and the woman he’d come to love and the man he’d come to respect. He half-heartedly joined the Brood in their attack but, when Lupus was going to ambush the Two Gun Kid, he turned on his former team, saving the man.

Between the Two Gun Kid, Barbarus and some of the braver townsfolk, they were able to turn away the invaders. Barbarus remained with the town and, eventually, married the schoolmarm, taking on the moniker of the Four Gun Kid.

The Exiles came to his dimension to stop an attempt by the High Evolutionary to use the Savage Land as Ground Zero for a genetic bomb that would reset all life to the point where dinosaurs went extinct. During the course of their mission, the Exiles came across the Two and Four Gun Kids’ town and those heroes joined them in their quest.

Again, Barbarus found himself facing his former compatriots as they served the High Evolutionary. The combined heroes managed to foil the High Evolutionary’s scheme though the Two Gun Kid was mortally wounded in the encounter.

Knowing that the town could not survive long in the Savage Land and that it had been luck and the determination of its protector that kept it safe this long, Her Royal Whyness gave sanctuary to its citizens. Though time travel is beyond her resources, a parallel dimension where society and technology had not advanced beyond the wild west was found and transferred them there.

Barbarus’ wife had become fascinated by the advanced technology on Otherworld and asked to stay. Given the code of honor that Hawks had invested in him and feeling he owed it to his mentor’s memory, the Four Gun Kid joined the Exiles in their ongoing mission.

Ravnivori Empire – Edges

And, with this, you should be able to make a fully compatible Ravnivori Empire Character.  Race, culture, skills, hindrances and now Edges.  I have some equipment I’ve worked up, so I guess there’s that but otherwise, if you’re playing along at home, you basically have the Character Creation guide for my campaign.

Speaking of characters, my document got up to 200 pages but I pulled out the pre-gen characters I’ve offered folks at cons and put them into their own document.  So I have some room under that entirely arbitrary number, again.

Edges:

The following are Edges appropriate to the Ravnivori Empire.

Background

These are edges that the character is either born with or begins play with. Many of them are a direct result of some unusual ancestor in the character’s bloodline or represent unusual characteristics for a member of his race.

Advanced Saurian

Requirements: Novice, Saurian

Saurian eggs hatched near suns produce Saurians who are quicker both mentally and physically. Saurians with this Edge lose the Slow Footed Hindrance and are capable of achieving a Smarts of d12, though they must still spend two points to raise their Smarts at character generation.

Giant Kin

Requirements: Novice, Vigor D6, Strength d6, Amazon, Dwarf, Elf, Human, Minotaur or Troglyn

One of your ancestors was some sort of giant. Though your stature cannot match theirs, you are noticeably larger than others of your type. However, your bulk also interferes with your dexterity. You gain a +2 to your size (and toughness) and can carry 8 times your strength in pounds with no penalty rather than 5 times. Unfortunately, it takes two steps to raise your agility at character creation, though it can be increased as normal with later advances.

 

Unusual Heritage

Requirements: Novice

Over the centuries, the more powerful and exotic sentient species have had a fascination with humanoids. Whether through love or simple lust, faeries, dragons and otherworldly creatures have interbred with the more mundane races of the Empire. One of your ancestors is one of these strange creatures and you have inherited some special ability from them. You gain a single Novice level power and five power points to use on this power. These power points refresh at a rate of one per hour and cannot be augmented in any way. In addition, you gain immunity to poison or disease, a +2 to checks against environmental effects or a +4 to checks against a specific type of environmental effect.

 

 

 

Professional:

The below edges reflect the benefits provided to a character because of their training or association with one of the organizations in the Empire, or because of their expertise in a particular field.

Gray Heart

Requirements: Novice, Fighting d6, Streetwise d6

You are the Left Hand of the Emperor, the enforcement of his will. You have the power to arrest and punish any Imperial citizen who breaks the Emperor’s laws. Any Imperial citizen recognizes this power and defers to you, giving you a +2 to Charisma against them. Your extensive training also gives you a +2 to Investigation, Streetwise and Tracking rolls. You also gain a minor vow to uphold the laws of the Empire.

Member of a Military School

Requirements: Varies

Your character is a member of one of the many military schools, fencing academies or martial arts dojos that exist scattered throughout the Empire. Each of these schools of specialized learning provides its own advantages but they all provide members a +1 Charisma modifier to other members of the Academy.

Scion of the Tzhou Family

Requirements: Novice, Knowledge (Blackpowder) d6, Shooting d6

Although perhaps not, technically a member of the Tzhou Family, you have at least received that honorary status. You have been given the privilege of monitoring Black Powder weapons throughout the Empire. You’ve received extensive training both in the use and design of black powder weapons. You gain a +1 to hit with any black powder weapon, including cannons. You also gain a +2 to any Knowledge or repair rolls that involve black powder weapons. Finally, you gain a +2 to your charisma when dealing with Imperial merchants if the goods in question are black powder weapons due to the respect given your position.

Talon of Kahwen

Requirements: Seasoned, Agility d8, Fighting d8, Knowledge (Religion) d8, Weapon of the 7 (Katar of Kahwen)

When wielding 2 Talons of Kahwen, you may gain both the parry bonus and attack capabilities of one of them. This allows you to make an attack with one of the weapons and get a +4 total parry bonus from the two weapons.

Improved Talon of Kahwen

Requirements: Veteran, Agility d10, Fighting d10, Knowledge (Religion) d10, Weapon of the Gods (Katar of Kahwen)

As above but you may use both Talons to attack and still receive their full parry bonus. Multiaction and off hand penalties apply as normal.

Weapon of the 7

Requirements: Novice, Spirit d8+, Strength d6+, Vigor d8+, Fighting, d8+, Knowledge (Religion) d6+

The militant arm of the 7 Lords of Thunder are men and women who are often not blessed with magical abilities. Instead, they are skilled warriors who have dedicated their lives to protecting the faithful of the 7 Lords.

A Weapon of the 7 gains a +1 to hit when wielding the favored weapon of their patron. In addition they get a +2 bonus to resist all negative environmental effects related to weather. Finally, the faithful have nothing but love and respect for Weapons of the 7 and they get a +2 Charisma bonus with any worshipper of any of the 7 Lords of Thunder.

The Weapons of the 7 for each Lord of Thunder go by titles based on their name and favored weapon as shown below:

Clenched Hand of Upi

Katar of Kahwen

Hammer of Grashk

Whip of Mu’Ab

 

 

Social

These edges help you get along in the world. They help you win friends and influence people.

 

Kronor

Requirements: Seasoned, Noble

Your character has holdings on multiple worlds. He gains an additional 500 marks a month in income from these holdings. He also gets a +1 to his Charisma when dealing with Imperials who know he is a Kronor. Additionally, his knowledge of all the worlds he has holdings on is exceptional and he gets a +1 to any Knowledge rolls directly related to those worlds. Of course, his duty to the Empire and the number of subjects he is responsible for also increases.

 

Weird:

Weird edges reflect abilities that your character has that are outside the norm for members of your race, or average members of the worlds. Many of these are edges that apply only to certain races but, unlike background edges, they can be taken after character creation.

Combat Tail

Requirements: Novice, Draga, Naga

While the tails of most Draga and Naga are too slender at the tip to be effectively used as a weapon, a few are born with thicker appendages or even spikes or heavy knobs at the end that can be a threat. A Draga or Naga with this adaptation does Str + d6 damage with their tail and can strike with it at +1 Reach.

Enhanced Natural Armor

Requirements: Novice, Draga, Minotaur, Naga, Saurian or Troglyn

Whether it be thicker scales, armored plates, tougher hide or simply shaggy, protective fur, your character has skin that is naturally resistant to damage. Your character gains a +2 bonus to natural armor. This is in addition to any natural armor the character already has.

Enhanced Natural Weapon

Requirements: Novice, Natural Weapon

Your character has larger horns, sharper claws or fangs or a tail with a heavy knob or spikes at the end. The damage of all your natural weapons increases by a die type. Minotaurs may take this edge only if they have the Large Horns edge and Naga may only take this edge if they have the Combat Tail edge.

Large Horns

Requirements: Novice, Minotaur

In many sectors of Imperial society, The larger a minotaur’s horns, the stronger, better and more virile he is assumed to be. A long horned minotaur is able to charm his way through many situations and garners respect from many individuals even before he has had a chance to earn it. They gain a +2 to Charisma when dealing with Imperial citizens, though members of other societies generally do not share the same prejudice. Additionally, these horns are large enough to be used as weapons, though their position makes it somewhat awkward if the minotaur is not charging. These natural weapons do Str + d6 in damage, but with a -1 to hit unless the minotaur is charging headfirst, in this case, he must move at least 4” and does an extra +4 damage if he hits.

 

Poison Bite

Requirements: Novice, Draga, Naga, Saurian, Troglyn

You have a pair of long, sharp fangs attached to venom sacks. When you bite an opponent, you can inject them with poison from these glands. Your bite only does Str + d4 damage but any victim that suffers a Shaken result must make a Vigor role or be paralyzed for 2d6 rounds.

Possessed

Requirements: Novice, d10+ in any stat or skill

You are bonded to a spirit known as a Daemon.  This entity keeps you young and healthy, as long as you pay its price.  So long as you kill at least one sentient creature each year, you do not age.  Additionally, you gain a +2 to Vigor rolls to resist diseases.  You also gain a +2 to Charisma when dealing with members of the Ravnivori Empire.  However, you get a -2 to Charisma when dealing with outsiders who are particularly opposed to demons, devils or spirits.  Finally, you can always identify another Possessed if you can see them.  Ki’Li’Lee and undead cannot take this Edge. Having the Possessed Edge is a requirement for taking the Arcane Background (Super Powers) Edge in the Ravnivori Empire. It also allows a character to take any Racial edge even if he is not a member of the required race. He can also take any physical background edge even after character creation. Additionally, he has access to all Possessed Edges. He must meet all other requirements for these Edges, however.

 

Size Increase I

Requirements: Novice, Draga, Minotaur, Naga, Saurian or Troglyn

Several of the species within the Empire have highly variable sizes that are within the normal range. Many of them also continue to grow over the years, even after they achieve maturity. Any Draga, Minotaur, Naga, Saurian or Troglyn that takes this edge is considered one size larger and gains the corresponding +1 toughness.

Size Increase II

Requirements: Seasoned, Draga, Naga, Saurian, Size Increase I

Some members of certain species in the Empire grow truly huge as time goes on. Many of them continue to grow over the years, even after they achieve maturity. These titans can grow to be literally as big as a horse. Any Draga, Naga, or Saurian that takes this edge is considered one size larger and gains the corresponding +1 toughness.

 

Undead

Requirements: Novice

Mindless undead are not uncommon in the Ravnivori Empire. Whether through curses or intentional rituals designed to raise useful soldiers and workers, skeletons and zombies roam the world of Retra, sometimes under the control of living creatures, sometimes wandering free. More sentient, but common undead such as vampires, mummies, ghouls and liches also exist. However, there are also more unique undead. Created through passionate curses, twisted rituals, or even simply passion that death cannot extinguish, there are individuals who have managed to live on even after their bodies have failed them. Generally, they defy categorization beyond being called “undead.” Undead characters gain a +2 to their toughness, a +2 to recover from Shaken, do not suffer from Disease or Poison and take no additional damage from called shots. These benefits do not come without a price, however. Invariably, people find it difficult to ignore what an undead character truly is and they gain the Outsider trait. Additionally, they gain a Major Phobia, Habit or Vulnerability related either literally or symbolically to the way they were killed or raised. Note, that the character cannot take a Hindrance he already has to pay this price. Also note that Neither Mechanids nor Ki’Li’Lee can be made undead and no one can have both the Undead and Possessed Edge.

(Echoes of Death – The process of becoming undead is a traumatic one. Very rarely does someone go through it without being scarred either mentally or physically. Sometimes these changes are magically linked to the nature of the death. These generally present themselves as unusual weaknesses or mental disabilities. Most Undead go through a great deal of trouble to hide these weaknesses from their enemies and from people in general. Each character who takes the Undead edge must also take one of these Echoes of Death.

Vulnerabilities – Undead characters can be vulnerable to a number of things. This can range from things that are dangerous to everyone to things that are otherwise innocuous to normal individuals. Examples include fire, electricity, precious metals, herbs and plain wood. For weapons that are made out of this substance or types of energy that do damage, the damage is increased by a d6. For substances or energies that are not normally harmful to people, the damage is d6 for each round of contact or exposure.

These vulnerabilities can also be specific symbols or sites, as well. These are often holy symbols or holy ground but any common symbol or type of location could be a Vulnerability for an Undead. The symbol can be made of any sort of material but must come into contact with the undead to do damage. In the case of locations, they must actually be at one of the specified locations for it to have an effect. A fistful of dirt from the location will do no damage, though standing on the grounds or inside the building will do damage every turn.

Hungers – Sometimes when souls come back, they are filled with unnatural hungers. The most famous of these is the vampire’s need to drink blood but others exist as well. Invariably, these hungers are disturbing and could include raw meat or brains. The Undead must feed this hunger at least once a week or suffer a level of fatigue until it is satiated. This fatigue can incapacitate such a character but not kill them and if they reach the level of incapacitation, they must make a spirit roll each time a source of their food is available or attack it in a mindless frenzy. As these hungers are always disturbing, an undead suffers a -2 Charisma penalty with any NPC who has seen him indulge in it.)

Military Schools

Following are the descriptions and explanations of the various Military Schools common in the Empire. A character must have the “Member of a Military School” Edge to gain the advantages of one of these schools.

Sheetara’s Equestrian Academy

Requirements: Fighting d6, Knowledge: Animal Training d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6

Begun in the ancestral homeland of the Amazons, outposts of Sheetara’s Equestrian Academy have spread throughout the Empire. They all retain their dedication to several of the basic tenets of Amazon warfare, however.

Foremost of these ideals is that a rider and her mount should become one. Because the teachers of the school respect the animals that serve as steeds, they realize that these beasts are all individuals and that each has their own abilities, skills and personalities. As such the academy teaches its students that they should first and foremost learn everything they can about their steeds.

To gain the benefits of the school, the member must choose one particular mount and spend at least a month with it, forming a bond with the animal. While horses are the traditional choice for mounts, more exotic animals are certainly a possibility in the modern Empire. This mount may be replaced either if it is lost or simply because a more appealing mount appears but the benefits of the school are unavailable until the member has spent a month familiarizing herself with the new animal.

While riding her favored mount, a member of this school gains a +1 to Fighting, Riding and Shooting checks. They also reduce the unstable platform penalty for shooting to -1, but only while riding this particular mount.

Dojo of the Fiery Whirlwind

Requirements: Agility d6, Shooting d6, Fighting d6

Like many parts of Shan culture, the usage of firearms is a heavily divisive topic. Many people embrace them wholeheartedly and see them as a leap forward in warfare and combat. As such, they believe there is no need to rely on the old fashioned methods of combat and many Shan gun wielders refuse to learn even the rudiments of hand to hand combat.

Others believe that tradition is all important and refuse to touch the newfangled firearms. They instead, cling to their ancient forms of martial arts.

The Dojo of the Fiery Whirlwind was founded by a disgraced member of the Tzhou family who believed that the deadly power of firearms could be combined to lethal effect with the ancient forms of certain martial arts.

Students of the Dojo of the Fiery Whirlwind gain the following benefits.

As long as you are armed with a loaded pistol and have a hand free, you may make 2 attacks per round with no multi-action or offhand penalty. One of these attacks must be an unarmed Fighting attack or grapple attempt and the other must be a shooting attack. This shooting attack can be against any target within range but, if it is directed towards a target within melee range, the TN is the target’s Parry rather than the standard ranged attack TN’s.

When a student achieves the Seasoned Rank they can wield any one handed melee weapon rather than making an unarmed Fighting attack and still gain the above benefits.

 

Imperial Officer’s Training School

Requirements: Knowledge: Battle d6, Fighting or Shooting d6

Ravnivori leaders are expected to lead from the front. As such, they must be able to fight and command at the same time. While this was seldom a problem when the Empire was small, as time went on, leaders were expected to guide larger and larger groups into battle.

While not all Imperial Officers go through the Training School, many wear graduation as a badge of honor, and with good reason. The training regimen includes extensive training in both physical combat and in strategic and tactical doctrines.

Graduates of the Imperial Officer’s Training school enjoy a number of benefits when leading their men from the front lines. First, they don’t suffer any multi-action penalties for making Knowledge: Battle rolls if they take one or more additional actions, including performing heroic actions.

Additionally, a graduate of the Imperial Officer’s Training school may make a Persuasion, Fighting, Shooting, Throwing or arcane skill roll when first taking charge of an Imperial unit. This reflects the character demonstrating his combat skills to prove himself to his soldiers. The character gets no additional effect on a success but for each raise he receives, that unit gets a +1 bonus to Mass Combat morale checks. If he fails, he instead gets a -1. A bonus remains until the character loses a Mass Combat, either because his forces are forced to retreat or are completely destroyed. A penalty remains until he gains a victory, either forcing his opponent to retreat or completely destroying them. If the commander neither has a bonus or penalty, he may roll again after each Mass Combat and gets a +1 if he achieved a victory or a -1 if he lost. The bonus or penalty also resets if he takes leadership of a new force or gains new troops equaling half or more his existing force.