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Author Topic: Steampunk Setting ("New Setting, Which To Choose")  (Read 8984 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Centas Development and Ideas
« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2005, 01:28:12 PM »
Books I have thus far used for inspiration:
Jules Verne books
Iron Kingdoms campaign setting

AND MOST OF ALL...
Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council, all by China Mieville.
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Adventure Log 2: Night Train to First Ambush
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2005, 05:31:53 PM »
This next section of the adventure was, once again, a short section (cut short by sleepiness in all parties involved), but more interesting (I think) by far than the first section.

Night Train

On their way out of the Guild Security Office, Baudolino and Bamph are made to sign contracts (neither read the fine print). They are then given instructions and two tickets- they are to catch the departing 9 o'clock train at Heiblin Street Station.

They immediately head to the nearest pub (Baudolino's idea), a suspect establishment bearing a sign that reads: "The Pig and Stethoscope". Baudolino takes the first table, and proceeds to recoil from hitting on the hideously deformed barmaid, who has an extra eyelid on her forehead. Bamph, on the other hand, disassociates himself from the rowdy gunslinger, but in the process strands himself at a table bearing a crowd only slightly less rough. Grumbling in peasant speech, (OOC: I use British accents for Simblians such as these, so the rich and well-born Mr. Tuneustorm speaks with a fine high-class British accent, while the factory workers and lowborn sellswords who frequent this tavern have thick Cockney speech) they do not take to him until he purchases them a round of ales.
While Baudolino proceeds to become progressively drunker and drunker, Bamph drinks sparingly, and notices an old, faded heliotype on the wall, hidden amidst the wafting clouds of smoke. He goes to examine it. The picture is dated roughly one-hundred years back, and shows the wreckage of the structure which stood before the Pig and Stethoscope, a tall towerblock apartment building which was destroyed in a great fire. The heliotype shows crowds of people, among them the crossbowmen and city guardsmen of the Lord Provost, examining the ashes and toppled bricks of the towerblock. But what really attracts Bamph's attention is a figure, standing and facing sideways to the heliotypist in the picture, who bears an exact likeness to one Professor Anz Breughlii (previously encountered in the Security Office), down to all-black clothing and tattooed scalp.

Several hours later, both adventurers exit the pub into the busy Simblios night, the raging drunk Baudolino leaning upon Bamph. The streets are lit by flickering gaslight, and overhead, aerostats and zeppelins soar, highrails squeal along steel cords, and shouts echo from the tops of buildings. Pushing through the vast crowds (headed to night-shifts at factories or to night markets), the two arrive at Heiblin Street Station just as vast crowds of Blauphagn folk searching for work disembark from the train. Boarding, they are led to seats in the finest seating car. Baudolino immediately falls asleep.

The Carriage

At about midnight, the train reaches the tiny stop where the two are to disembark. It is a miniscule thorp in the midst of rolling hill-lands in the Tar Epar Van (the vastly fertile lands to the north of Simblios), all shut up for the night, and dark, a crumbling old village of medieval half-timbered, hay-roofed houses. Moving down from the old, rickety train station, the alert Bamph and the bleary Baudolino move towards the central square.
In the square, a carriage awaits them, half-shrouded in the darkness. A group of figures converse in low tones next to it. Horses stamp, echoing through the little square. As the two adventurers approach, a man comes close, a scarred warrior of nondescript appearance, and asks if they are the last of the mercenaries to arrive (they answer yes).
Their luggage (with exception of the case in which Bamph carries his special fencing plate) is loaded onto the back of the carriage. Baudolino, exhausted, climbs the steps of the carriage, and is about to get in, when the door swings open, and a man inside, heavily armored, clicks the hammer of a flintlock in his face.
"I'm sorry, my good man, but that is far enough. My employers state that none are to see the cargo," the man says, waving Baudolino off. The man then shuts the carriage door, leaving Bamph and Baudolino to ride on the front seat with the driver. Other mercenaries walk or ride alongside.

The ride lasts a very long time. Traveling across rolling hills, down highways between the boughs of deep, silent forests, and up into the rocky foothills of the mountains, the carriage rolls on.
As they travel, Bamph, the more aware of the two, sometimes notices odd echoes, and sounds of movement which the others don't seem to notice, off in the woods to either side.

The First Ambush

The carriage begins it's ascent into the mountains. On a rutted track through deep forest, it rolls on. Bamph takes the time to strap on his fencing plate, while Baudolino catches much-needed rest.

Suddenly, as the carriage rolls up the mountain track, musket shots ring out, and steel balls fly from the eaves of the forest to the road's right. It is an ambush! The carriage is immediately and desperately forced to a stop and the mercenaries drop down into defensive positions, loading muskets and pistols. Baudolino, awakened by the shots, follows his first instinct and clumsily leaps from the coach-seat, falling to the dirt and rolling down underneath the carriage, while Bamph crouches in the footwell of the seat and loads his double-barrelled pistol.
Baudolino, utilizing his binocular goggles (the lenses roll on gears into place) picks out green-clad armsmen amidst the forest eaves, nimbly avoiding the returning fire of the guards of the carriage. Preparing a shot, he takes close aim, and fires a dead-eye blast which is spoiled at the last moment by a ducking movement on the part of the target. Bamph, shooting in the dark, as it were, fires the first shot from his double-barrel, blasting one of the ambushers from it's feet.
There is a ring of steel, and from the other side of the forest, green-clad warriors with broadswords and axes assault from the weaker-defended side.

Responding with absolute celerity, Bamph acrobatically flips from the coach-seat, landing and drawing his rapier with a flourish. He meets the first attacker with a wild slash across the throat, and the second with a proficient stab. Nearly missed by a chopping attack, he snaps his blade towards a third fighter, when, as if by an invisible signal, the green-clad attackers retreat, both gunmen and warriors, melting into the wood and leaving the defenders of the carriage to wonder what has happened.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Centas Development and Ideas
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2005, 06:54:43 PM »
Ideas percolating through the setting:

-Based on MoonHunter's idea of the Thanes and the Dark Worshippers-
The Faith has always had three basic sects: the basic, largest sect reveres the Deity, basking in his light and rightness; the much smaller Balance Sect believes that one must maintain a balance between the Deity's rightness and the wrongness of the Shadow Himself; and the Darkened Ones (as they are called by others) believe roughly the opposite of the main religion (though they do not "worship" the Shadow Himself per se). The original empire or kingdom which preceded the Hundred was dismantled by the (insert fancy name) Wars, in which the Darkened Ones, made much more powerful and influential due to great turmoil within the empire (chaos and turmoil causes humans to re-evaluate their views; take for instance, the shift from Hellenic to Hellenistic periods in ancient Greece), began to take over the empire, and the Light Ones fought back with force.
The war raged for about one-hundred years, until the power of both sides was broken. The Balance Sect decided that the Darkened Ones had caused too much destruction in their search for power, and joined with the Light Ones, driving the Darkened Ones forever from the empire.
The Darkened Ones fled across the Southern Sea to the harsh twilight land of which little is known, where they became worshipped as gods by the natives and created a Dark Empire which is still there (think Sith Empire from the Star Wars Expanded Universe; if you know nothing about it, look it up in Wikipedia).
Meanwhile, it was too late to stop the destabilization of the Empire, which collapsed into civil war. In order to safeguard their interests, each major city of the empire essentially became it's own state. Filling the power vacuum, there rose Merchant Guilds, fat from the business garnered by the long wars, both Light v. Dark and Civil (war is good for business, no matter what you might have heard).
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Regarding the Darkened Ones...
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2005, 07:02:36 PM »
Things I want to save in this thread for later use...

"...Rivers of dark stars
Falling shadows dropping across
Stones of fearful ancientness
There fled the Darkened Ones
Fleeing light, fleeing visions
To dwell forever in shadows
Barren lands where they were upheld
By a thousand souls
And died
And were buried
But did not die..."
  -The Book of Ages, Fourth History

Naytroch: the greatest of the burial temples which the people of the Dark Empire build for their masters

Thanes: Warrior/sorceror/priests of the Dark Order; think of them as Sith.

the Dark Lord; Lord of Darkness; Lord of Shadows: Traditional title which refers to the leader of the Dark Order. If the Thanes are Sith, the Dark Lord is (predictably) the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Nagruspech: The Dark Empire's language, a corrupted and twisted counterpart to Auruspex, the language of the Faith (and "common tongue" of the Hundred).
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Auruspex
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2005, 11:51:18 PM »
Auruspex is the Holy Tongue, the language of the Faith, spoken by the masked priests of the Deity in temples throughout the Hundred, and also by the merchants, the commercial leaders, the travelers, the ambassadors. In many ways, Auruspex is root, master, and common tongue of the Hundred, one of many threads of culture which bind together the disparate city-states.

Linguistically, Auruspex is a dead language, which, in it's ecclesiastical form (called High or Classic Auruspex), is a highly complex, tonal language. It is a great skill to be proficient in the so-called Nine Tones of Auruspex, which are used to conjugate, create deeper meaning, tell words apart, and provide proper respect. Every word in a High Auruspex sentence is conjugated according to subject (subject conjugations are person, place, object, animal, concept), time (past, present, future), number of subjects, and the percieved social station of the one being spoken to. It is extremely difficult to learn, and much of the learning which young priests undergo within the Hieratical Academies is in learning this very formal and strange tongue. Classic Auruspex might be described as being similar to a mixture of Chinese, Latin, and modern Italian, with strange clicking noises mixed in, and a very nasal quality.
However, Common Auruspex (the common tongue of the Hundred), Vulgar Auruspex, the Merchant's Tongue, the Speech of the People, is a much simpler language, a broken-down, detonalized, phonetically-simplified version of High Auruspex, filled with loanwords and odd slang, a soup-pot of words which slowly changes through the years.

An very small example of Auruspex:
I/Me: High- Apuen (tone 2), Common- Afin
You: High- Itdi (tone 1), Common- It
He/She: High- Tlogna/Tloi (tone 5/tone 3), Common- Telo/Telai
We: High- Aptaccits (tone 1), Common- Abtas
All of you: High- Itdimiu (tone 8 ), Common- Ityima
They/Them: High- Tlognanis/Tlois (tone 5/tone 3), Common- Telon/Telais

Yes: High- Tccaotsets (literally, "it is so"; tone 9), Common- Techos
No: High- Tccaotseim (literally, "not so"; tone 9), Common- Techom
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Centas Development and Ideas
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2005, 12:48:52 PM »
RETCONS!
Retcons are fun. They let you weave together your world out of older mistakes. Thus, retcons!

Khossus-Pangloss Mountains
The previously mentioned Pangloss Mountains are the northern branch of the Khossus Mountains, which (like the Rocky Mountains of North America or the Alps) cross the continent.

Magic and Science
The border between magic and science must be better defined. Therefore:
Magic is the express domain of priests (and sorcerors, though these were mostly killed off during the war against the Thanes). It is complex, ritual magic, which is powerful but slow.
Science is the domain of scientists, alchemists, and others like that. It is science as we know it, but in this world it may achieve effects which we might call "magical"- a machine that bends time, a device for creating the undead, a giant steam-powered armor, an electric stormsword.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Centas Development and Ideas
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2005, 10:25:15 PM »
HELP ME!

I'm calling out for aid here. I know everybody's busy, and I know we all have other projects, but I'm floundering in ideas here, and I can't get anything together the way I like it, and I need somebody to give me a help-out. Moon, Echo, Maggot, anybody!
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2005, 08:56:10 AM »
Well,Captain,I'd be more than glad to help you out,but what kind of ideas are you looking for exactly? I do have one,but I'm not sure if you'd like it.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2005, 01:46:42 PM »
Just throw it out there.
Anything, any ideas to give me some focus.

PENGUIN NEEDS FOCUS!
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2005, 12:45:31 AM »
Ok,here goes:Ages ago,one of the surviving Dark Thanes of power was ousted from the ranks of his vile order when he sought to destroy the others in his bid to become strongest than the very Shadow itself. When defeated by the might of the Dark Lord himself,he fled to avoid the wrath of the other Thanes,and roamed the world in search of a new bastion from which he could launch another bid for unrivalled power.  

 Recently,in the city state of Cammart,there has been talk that the High Senator Haran will soon be elected as the head of the Senate by his fellow Senators sitting on the Council. Though widely respect for his agressive purges against those in the thrall of the Shadow and his shrewd counsel,he is something of an engima to the people,his orgins lost in obscurity. 50 years ago,he arrived at the gates of the city,begging refuge from foes out to slay him.  Taking pity on him,the Council agreed to let him to become a resident. In the years that followed,he gained the trust of the people with his intelligence and courage,evantually winning the right to be a citizen,and with it,the ability to be elected to high office.

 Meanwhile,something vast and evil stirs in the city's bowels. Summoned from a realm of darkness,it hungers to consume the one that has torn it from it's slumber. But while the power of the spell lingers,it can do naught but patiently awaite the command of the summoner..

 (Just in case you got a little lost,Senator Harnan is the renegade Dark Thane. And he's also the guy who summoned the beast from that other realm.)
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2005, 08:23:13 PM »
Interesting... Technically, you can't really be more powerful than the Shadow of God, but everyone can hope...

I like it!
So evil, even the Thanes are repelled... But what could he be summoning?
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2005, 02:31:24 AM »
Well,think of it as an extremely maloveant thing of awesome power that is endowed with the ability to devour any of the Dark Thanes,even the Dark lord himself. The essence of Dark magik,nourishes it the way fresh meat does a starving dog.

 As for what it is exactly,I'll leave it up to you. Your fertile imagination should be able to come up with something suitably Love Craftian.
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2005, 03:31:35 AM »
Here's another idea:A powerful merchant guild,the Company runs its own army and state. Armed with the most advanced weapons anywhere,they will not hesitate to crush any who stand in the way of their ambition. Currently,the High Executive,elected by his fellow merchants of the Guild as it's chief official,has decided to construct a massive road running through most of the Towering Forest. This has angered the leaders of Arul Spirult who realize that the construction of such a road would mean result in a great loss of commercial travel on the railways they run. Woving to deal out a bloody nose to  the Guild  if it dares to go ahead with it's arrogant desicion,it has readied it's warriors for the evantuality of war with the armies of the Guild..
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2005, 07:38:58 AM »
Interesting.
That's even better.
Good ideas, Maggot! :)
Did I ever tell you you were a genius?
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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2005, 09:41:57 PM »
Er,not until now,Captain,but thank you for saying such a nice thing I gotta admit that your compliment has left me a little amazed. Genius is a indeed a great honor,one for I which assumed I had a long way to go,in order to reach it.  :)
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2005, 09:13:40 AM »
Hey Captain,what do you think of a vast,techno-magikal weapon prototype that goes awry after developing a mind of it's own? It might even be endowed with the ability to bend other machines to it's will. Given the steam punkish nature of your new world,this might blend in well.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2005, 05:18:22 PM »
Perhaps.
I'm not sure about that one, but hold on a while...
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« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2005, 07:34:52 PM »
Y'know... I think I might start over with this. Not all the ideas, mind you. But right now I'm not sure I like the way it's going... I've kind of lost my way.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2005, 10:05:23 PM »
ANNOUNCEMENT!

This thread is now the development area for ideas and stuff for Centas, which is now the setting thread where official crap is.
Please note that Centas is being essentially rebuilt from the top down. I may or may not keep some of the things in this thread; all ideas before this post are hereby considered preliminary (except for the adventure log, which I can't really take back  :)  ).
I may or may not put in other races, I may or may not still use the whole Dark Empire thing.
Stay tuned, and remember...

IF YOU'VE GOT AN IDEA, POST IT, AND POST IT HERE!
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« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2005, 06:09:16 PM »
To come:
Descriptions of such major cities as:
Simblios
Lufthald
Xhiklus
Oool Klash
Sarnath

And cities in various regions (Zam Aroog, Jaxhab, Yaag Tibosh, High Ailori, Peplios, Kortaltaz, Corpal, Thant, Hab Broke, and so on, organized by region)

Races of Centas (Humans, Unmen, Surash, and Monroi)

The Howler, Howl Dig, and the fall of the Old Kingdom
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« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2005, 06:52:09 PM »
If there is one specific event which defines the history of Centas, it is the legendary war which slew the Old Kingdom and sent the Centasi fleeing into thousands of city-states, that catastrophic struggle engendered by...

The Howler

Nobody truly knows where the Howler's legacy began.
Perhaps, as some believe, he was just one among many of the Old Kingdom's wandering black mages, walking the songlines of Centas with a necromancer's spotted dog on his heels.
Or, perhaps, as some of the pious say, he was the only (mis)begotten son of the Shadow Himself, or even the Shadow come to walk upon the Earth, in defiance of God's rightness.
Or, maybe, just maybe, as some of the more bleeding-edge professors of the Triple Colleges of Oool Klash, the Howler was the foully-disfigured heir of the Throne of Kadessa, the spurned prince who would have been lord of the Old Kingdom.

But whatever the Howler had been before, it was what he became which is relevant to history, for the terror he engendered in his day was unimaginable.

The events recounted here are the stuff of ancient legend to Centasi; as antique to them as would be to us the stories of the Roman Empire, or the Bible. The dates herein are counted backwards to the year 0, when the final battle against the Howler was fought at Howl Dig.

The first stirrings of the War Against the Howler were seen in the rebellions which burst through the Old Kingdom in the years before his emergence. The Kingdom, crippled by economic depression, famines, droughts, and the dabblings of ineffectual rulers, rose up in revolt against the Khortara Dynasty which had ruled the continent. The panicked Khortara King demanded solutions from the Vibos Club, the secretive inner circle of generals and lords who were the true rulers, and in response, the Club began the Pogroms of the Year 12, unleashing thirteen disparate armies into various corners of the Kingdom to brutally root out and destroy sedition.

But it was unsuccessful; the period of years 11-9 saw revolution after revolution, until, finally, the Vibos Club revealed themselves to a stunned public, and overthrew the Khortara King, banishing him to the southern seas, where it is said he and the Royal Family fled to Meshor, the Great White South, and were never seen again.

But within two years of rule of the Vibos Club, the hidden threat of the Howler was revealed. In the year 6, an army arrayed in black armor attacked Royal columns on the outskirts of the Oxhidaizhen Plains, destroying them to a man. Soon after, thousands of cities across the Old Kingdom marked attacks from the now-legendary Shadowsquads, who rode the ghosts of horses to attack Old Kingdom targets and afterward spilt their own blood in great pools amidst the corpses of their enemies.
On the final day of year 6, the Howler himself was revealed, as he marched with an army on Kadessa, the Royal City and capitol of the Old Kingdom, and sacked it, burning it to the ground and crucifying all but three members of the Vibos Club upon the Grand Square amidst the ashes of their citizens.

The war against the Howler was long and desperate. The various cities of the Old Kingdom exhausted every resource available to them battling his fearful armies of black soldiers, arrayed in fearmasks, wielding screaming swords and toothbombs; marching ranks of Sark-warriors, clanking undead who apologized heart-rendingly to each man they slew; and darker things, insane things dredged up from the bottom of hidden places, things which soldiers of the Kingdom spoke of in mad ravings.

The Howler was a formidable warlord, a strategic genius in every respect, and a logistical mastermind. In addition, he was a great inventor, and created thousands of mysterious and arcane technologies which techists still puzzle over. But most of all, the Howler was a dark sorceror, a wielder of ancient and powerful magic the likes of which had not been seen for centuries in the Old Kingdom.

It was said that the Howler had a purpose in his war against the Kingdom; some say that he was an idealist, who believed that the Kingdom was an evil empire which had to be layed low to bring freedom to the people, though he d**n his soul doing it. Others say that he sought to bring an end to all people, that he was a devotee of frightful and hideous Lord Sarku, Master of the Undead.

But in the end, the Master of Treacheries was undone by the only one more treacherous than himself: three days before the legendary Battle of Howl Dig, the Hint, the Howler's lover and a member of the Cabal, his inner circle of lieutenants, came to Ghasthares, the leader of the Kingdom army and last surviving member of the Vibos Club, and told him of the secrets of Howl Dig.

On that last day, it is said that when they took the Howler's head, casting it to the bloody and blackened stone surrounding the vast blighted crater of Howl Dig, the head spoke one last word, it's eyes rolling in the direction of the Hint: "Traitor. Traitor."

(This is not final, and I'm definitely not satisfied with it.)
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Centas Development and Ideas
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2005, 10:52:49 AM »
Some heroes I intend to flesh out:

Nephi Sheepstealer (one of the most famous Centasi folk heroes, a bandit, outlaw, and revolutionary)

Aruspillaung Gore (the heroic Armiger of Oool Klash)

Oolvaran Max and the Starshiner (a heroic duo)
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #47 on: August 30, 2005, 11:33:48 PM »
I'm toying with the idea that the Monroi are actually from another planet (don't worry, they were aliens in a very John Carter of Mars fashion, a proud warrior culture of a dying world). They left their world before human memory in huge starships to escape their Cthulhic tentacled enemies, the Etana (whose true name drives men and Monroi insane).
At least, that's what I'm thinking.
The Monroi colonies (which I envision as huge towers covered in biological concrete and shards of stone and brick) could be the original starships, simply expanded and built upon into the vast, humid complexes in which Monroi now live.

Of course, the coming of the Monroi would be thousands of years back, and probably would be forgotten even by most of them, except in the form of legends and tales.
Currently Reading: "Kafka On The Shore" by Haruki Murakami

Currently Listening To: "Piece Of Time" by Atheist