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Offline CaptainPenguin

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« on: July 20, 2005, 09:43:14 PM »
I'm going to be starting a new RP... If you need to know what rules I use, you probably shouldn't be RPing with me, eh? :)

This is an RP based in the Llanei Empire, a nation of the cultured folk known as the Mandutari. On the northern border of Llanei {HLAH-nay} (whose primary province is the Mandutari homeland of Mandutar; the capitol of Biaxif {BYA-zheef}) there are the Wastes of Anhor, where, 200 years ago, the armies of the Llanei Grandees, the knights serving the Mandutari Aspect-Emperor, were destroyed almost to a man by the fearsome hordes of the Nanutari, the savage and wild people of the north.

The year is 3670 on the great Calendar of the Gods in Biaxif, and the Mandutari Aspect-Emperor, Xiaphein tl Xaxan {zhyah-FEYN tuhl zhah-ZHAN}, has finally reigned in the squabbling Grandees and their Houses, whose warring has all but crippled Xaxan's predecessors. Now, with the aid of Kostaan {koh-STAHN}, the cunning Grandee of Hiulan {hyoo-LAHN}, his oldest friend, the driven and ambitious young Aspect-Emperor has rooted out corruption and solidified imperial control of Llanei. Seeing that his control of Llanei is complete and iron-strong, Xaxan sets his eyes on the north. Disregarding the counsel of his court who (with the notable exception of Kostaan), complain against him, Xaxan marshalls the Imperial Columns and levies the Grandees, preparing to retake the ancient domains of his ancestors north of the Wastes of Anhor, in the bitter north, the lands known as Nanutar. Unbeknownst to him, among his Grandees, a rebellion, led by Xiaraysh {zhai-ah-RAYSH}, the fiery Grandee of Cictlapar {sikt-luh-PAHR}, prepares itself to strike from within and depose the young Aspect-Emperor.

Meanwhile, Warchief Adshulakia {ahd-shoo-LAHK-yah), the legendary King-of-Tribes, who has led the united Nanutari in a decade of victories against the other fearsome people of the north, calls a Gathering of the Lodges, summoning warriors from across all of Nanutar, where he rules unquestioned. Even Lowsh {LAOSH}, the recluse leader of the Frozen Heart Lodge and ruler over the rainy forests of the eastern coast, arrives with full entourage; he brings with him his wild and untameable daughter, the iconoclastic Tiwuus {TEE-woose}, the Warrior Woman of the Frozen Heart Lodge. The powerful King-of-Tribes seeks to strike once again against the weak and decadent people of the south, and all Nanutar trembles at the chance to watch the Mandutari crumble once again, as it did in the time of their ancestors.

And in the frigid steppes and ruins of the Great North, beyond the sway of the King-of-Tribes and beyond the ken of the Aspect-Emperor, an army of fear has made ready to sweep down across the lands of Men once more, as they did thousands of years ago, an inhuman and fearful army spoken of only in the most ancient legends, the man-eating Lords of the Winter, rolling across the tundra on six-legged horses, claw-banners streaming, a gleaming white horde in armor of lacquered human skin, and with expressions of terrible ecstasy on their inhumanly beautiful faces, the army of the Qnidae.

Basically, this will be a war story, with lots of camp intrigue, including rebellion of the Grandees of Llanei against Xaxan, in-fighting among the Nanutari, and the terror and carnage of the onslaught of the Qnidae.

Characters in the game:
I will allow one of two things.

OPTION B: Players can play one of the Great Names of the Winter War:
-Xaxan, Mandutari Aspect-Emperor of Llanei
-Kostaan, Mandutari Grandee of Hiulan
-Xiaraysh, Mandutari Grandee of Cictlapar
-Adshulakia, Nanutari Warchief and King-of-Tribes
-Lowsh, Nanutari Lodgemaster of the Frozen Heart Lodge and Chief of Swablosh {swah-BLOHSH}
-Tiwuus, Nanutari Warrior Woman of the Frozen Heart Loge and daughter of Lowsh

Any player who plays any of these characters will recieve a PM from me on a fairly loose model of the character's traits; they are free to play the character any way they want, but I simply will suggest some traits for them.

OPTION B: Players can make their own character in either the Mandutari or Nanutari faction; I'll provide information about both peoples for a touchstone. Players can be anything from a common caste-menial footsoldier in the Imperial Columns of Llanei to a Grandee of the Mandutari, to a warrior of the Nanutari Lodges (which are basically warrior's guilds; more info when you ask it), to a Mandutari or Nanutari priest.

MAGIC IN THIS GAME: Magic is allowed, but there are very few sorcerors; they won't be all over the place, though, depending on the level of teaching they have recieved (practitioners of magic follow a strict master-apprentice system similar to what you might see in a kung-fu movie). In addition, the Mandutari believe that the Gods hate sorcerors and that the use of magic d**ns the soul, and the Nanutari superstitiously regard sorcerors as half-gods and see them with equal measures of terror and respect.

So, anyway, those are my ideas... If you have any suggestions, any questions, anything you want to say, just ask.
Oh, and when you right down your character, give name, people (Mandutari or Nanutari), and a general description and background; those playing one of the Great Names will still do this, but I'll give them suggestions on background and such.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Mandutari
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2005, 11:51:47 PM »
The Mandutari are the cultured people of the Llanei Empire. Originally, the term Mandutari referred only to those folk of the original province of Mandutar. However, as the Empire expanded under the leadership of the warlike and expansionist Sso Emperors, the people of Mandutar gradually blended with other, smaller tribes and conquered peoples who they came to rule over, and the term was broadened simply to refer to people of Llanei (however, people outside of Llanei refer to Mandutari more frequently as Llanutari).

The Mandutari are a caste-based people. The lowest castes, those known as huainutari, "nameless", are the caste-beggars, the unclean; as their name suggests, they are not allowed to have official names, and if they are recorded at all on Imperial Census scrolls (usually due to some major crime or unusual deed), they are called Huainutari tl Anor (which might translate into English as something like "John Doe" or "Nameless Bob"). Above the caste-beggars are the caste-menials, the serfs, manual workers, and lower-class commoners of Mandutari society; most common soldiers of the Imperial Columns come from the caste-menials. Next come the caste-craftsmen, more skilled workers with more well-defined professions. Above them are the caste-merchants (though caste-merchants are traditionally believed to be liars, cheats, and unclean because they deal with all castes, even caste-beggars). Afterward are the caste-warriors and caste-nobles, both of equal rank, who include Imperial politicians, functionaries, the many xunuqori (knights) who serve the Grandees, and the Grandees themselves (though according to the caste system, the gradations within the caste make it so all are subtly more or less worthy). The highest caste is the caste-imperials, those few Grandees who possess a blood tie to the Imperial family, and the Imperial family itself.

The current Imperial dynasty is the Xiaphein family, who have ruled for many generations, save for a short interlude during the War of One Thousand Emperors, when imposters, claimants, usurpers and rebels all battled for the Throne of Lions. The emperors of Llanei wear the elaborate jnas, the regalia of the Aspect-Emperor, which includes an elaborate, white-dyed hairstyle, a white-powdered face and other cosmetics, staring eyes tattooed upon the eyelids, a long and elaborate robe, and golden masks which are used to convey emotion (it is considered improper for the Aspect-Emperor to betray emotion personally, as he is the representation on earth of the unknowable and silent Ghost Gods).
The Empire is ruled junctly by an Imperial bureaucracy of caste-nobles, and the feudal warrior-lords known as Grandees, all of whom answer directly to the Aspect-Emperor.

A large part of Mandutari culture are their elaborate curses, an incredibly ancient hold-over from the times of the Notmen. Originally to protect from dark magic and sorcerors, the curses, written in red in flowing, slash-like script in the ancient Old Jahi tongue of the Mandutari ancestors, are now simply a very important tradition- curses are carved or painted in doors, on pillars, stamped into swords and armor, spelled out in cobblestones in the streets, marked on banners. Every family has their own ancestral curse, and some higher caste families have as many as seven. In addition, every caste has a wide selection of curses, and the priests keep dictionaries of every curse that is remembered. Curses are spoken for their original purpose only rarely, and then only in Old Jahi, a language even more complex and labyrinthine than that of the modern Mandutari. Some are now used as greetings, or simply as decoration. It is believed that the first curses were given to Men by the Gods to protect them from the Notmen before the pantheon departed.

Mandutari worship the Ghost Gods, mysterious, aloof gods who are vanished from everyday life. There are many gods, but only one priesthood. The holiest scripture in all of Llanei is the object known as the Rib of God; it is a massive rib from an ancient animal such as the Mandutari ancestors fought, and is carved from top to bottom in tiny, flowing, slash-marks of Old Jahi, telling of every single Ghost God who ever was, and the offerings which they demand, and the laws which they layed down to Men, the Ancestor Laws, which are the basis of Mandutari society. In addition, the Mandutari hold ancient traditions of ancestor worship, and make offerings to long ago ancestors; in fact, the spirits of the dead are far more popular with Mandutari than the inscrutable and labyrinthine Ghost Gods, and the memory-shrines which the ancestor-priests keep see far more offerings than the strange temples of the Ghost Gods. But whichever divinity is held dear by a Manutar, all are very spiritual folk, seemingly in strange conjunction with a civilized, city-bred scepticism.

When Mandutari go to war, they wear armor made from bands of bronze covering the torso and upper arms (similar to lamellar or Roman-style armors), guantlets, sweeping pauldrons, skirts of mail which hang to the knees, greaves and bronze-toed sandals, baggy trousers, a knee-length sleeveless surcoat which fits over the pauldrons of the armor but which is fastened only at the middle of the chest (the back of the surcoat is usually sewn with the family symbol and the family curse). They wear bronze helms similar to those of the Greeks, but with a more open facial slot, and with a beak-like sweeping shape from the forehead area. Finally, they paint their faces a ghostly white with snowy cosmetics. Marching, the Mandutari throats rise in the keening, eerie battle-wail; the cultured ears of the Mandutari, especially the caste-nobles, savour the sound of human voices in wailing dissonance.

(Their stylings in battle, including white faces and battle-wails, their curses, and their ghostly religions, have all given rise among their neighbors, and even the Mandutari themselves, to the name "Ghost Folk"... Many Mandutari philosophers make a lot of all the ghost imagery in the culture)

Mandutari names have the family name before the first name; for instance, Abjan tl Hnan would be Hnan of Family Abjan (or, if it were caste-noble, House Abjan). Mandutari write top-to-bottom in a flowing, slash-script called Ukoss {OO-kohss}, "the Refined", which might look something like a mix between Japanese hiragana and Hebrew characters. The Mandutari language is called Jahi, and is a complex, tonal language. Mandutari are fond of complex, flowery, irregular patterns which are typically symmetrical on both sides; geometric patterns are believed to be the province of unrefined minds.

Mandutari have many different phenotypes, but they are typically medium-dark-skinned (think ethnically Indian or Native American), and stereotypically wavy dark hair.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Nanutari
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2005, 06:31:45 PM »
The Nanutari are a syncretic people, a large confederation of warlike tribes who have gradually come to rule over a vast expanse of the Lesser North, the area north of the Wastes of Anhor and the River Hylan, now called Nanutar. Nanutari is actually the Mandutari translation of their name; they call themselves the Nainubloshi. The original Nanutar (Nainublosh) was a small and heavily forested region on the coast of the Eastern Sea. Under the leadership of Hassakia the Bold, the Nanutari struck south, capturing the rainy, redwood rainforest of the coast known as Swablosh. Using the rich region's many resources, and bolstered by Swabloshi slaves, the Nanutari embarked on a long, stop-and-go campaign of expansion. However, the Nanutari have never truly been unified until recently, when the famous Adshulakia brought all other tribes under his sway, taking the titles of Warchief and King-of-Tribes.

Nanutari regard all people as basically the same, that is, as mindless dirt, cast about in the winds of fate. The world, they say, is an illusion; they call it ai Dwashob, "The Smoke". It is believed that a person must make a meaning to life unto themselves, and become strong, so that they can carve out a place and fight back against the winds of fate, and finally have a purpose. Thus Nanutari society is inherently meritocratic, ranked by those who can reach out and take hold of it, and is strongly warrior-based. Also of note is that, due to their belief in the equal worthlessness of all people (generally), they are rather eglatarian when it comes to gender matters- women have as likely a chance as men to become a chieftan.

Nanutari rulers are few; there have only been a handful of Kings-of-Tribes in the history of these warlike people. Generally, each tribe is ruled by a person who has usurped the previous chieftan. However, there is another, interesting element to Nanutari society which is not seen elsewhere, that of Lodges. Lodges are essentially warrior guilds or societies, small cultures-within-the-culture to which belong all Nanutari warriors. Each Lodge teaches a separate style and philosophy (though all are generally in line with Nanutari beliefs), and some even teach a different religion. Warriors who do not belong to a Lodge are known as suviuswauri, "loose winds", and are regarded as less than slaves, worthless sellswords who so little honor that no Lodge will take them.

Nanutari have no "religion", as such. Their beliefs (perhaps similar to the Chinese) have a quality of the sacred and the spiritual without the concept of a god or an embodiment. Thus, beyond their beliefs in carving out meaning in a meaningless world, it is difficult to explain to non-Nanutari what exactly it is that Nanutari hold sacred, or whether it is even a religion, as such. Rather than priests, Nanutari have memorialists, who sing the lays of their heroic ancestors.

Nanutari go to battle in many different costumes. Most incorporate scale-coats made of chips of bone, and heavy fur cloaks lined with hard leather. The warriors of the Peerless Lodge of the western land of Hvalso are known to go into battle with shields made from the shells of the giant turtles in that land; the Frozen Heart Lodge outfits it's warriors in adaptations of the southern style of banded armor. All Nanutari, however, regardless of tribe, tie their long hair into what is known as a Nanutari battle-knot, a hairstyle used only during battle. Nanutari march to battle in the feared Tiiarbloshi phalanx, thick, wedge-shaped ranks of men with their shields locked together. They tattoo the sides of their noses with symbols speaking of their battle prowess, and when they fight, they chant booming hymns speaking of the meaning which they give to the world.

Nanutari typically only have one name, which they bestow upon themselves at the age of 23, typically the age of adulthood. They may be bestowed titles and other names by other members of their tribe or Lodge. Nanutari are not a literate culture; their language is called Zunum, and has many dialects. Nanutari favor pictographic images representing animals and things which are totemic to their person.

Nanutari are tall and olive-skinned, with hair that is generally dark brown or reddish in color. They often have large noses and tend to be wide-statured and thick-limbed.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2005, 06:01:21 PM »
1. Will this game be like those Ogre Raid games of *Sentiel's?

2. Will you play only the essential court intrigue or day to day events? Will the game only be cut scenes from the important battles and court nastiness?
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2005, 05:47:16 PM »
Mmmm... Well, I've never seen the Ogre Raid games, so I have no way of knowing.

The game will be episodic in nature, mentioning the big events while generally skipping over the minutiae. Day-to-day coverage might be a touch expansive for this sort of game, don't you think? :)

I foresee the game going one of two ways:

A. Most or all of the characters are commoners or low nobles. In this case, most of the action will involve the adventures of the players as soldiers along the march, i.e., squabbles within the army, the revolution within the Mandutari, possible little side-trips from the main march (ancient ruins, let's explore 'em!), and raiding of things around the armies.

B. Most or all of the characters are high nobles, or Great Names (The Emperor, Kostaan, Adshulakia). In this case, most of it will be grand-scale intrigue, leading armies to battle and such, and of course, squabbles within the army involving nobles, the revolution, and maybe little nobility expeditions.

If you have any suggestions on how it might work better, just tell me. Or perhaps it'd be too complicated?
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2005, 03:33:23 AM »
Hmmm... The grand names thing reminds me of chinese historical movies... Add a bit of outrageous kung-fu and "tree dancing" and you have films like House of Daggers and Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon.

I'd say go for the grand names thing, though that is the hardest to pull off successfully. It is also the one with the greatest potential.
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Offline Chaosmark

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2005, 11:05:47 AM »
Quite true, quite true. But I think you're overlooking the potential of the commoners, AG. The road more travelled is more travelled for a good reason: it works.

While the Grand Names does offer some potential for new material that isn't often covered in hack-n-slash games (for obvious reasons), the ol' hack-n-slash commoners might get a good twist, if the Capn takes things in a new light.

For example, what if in the course of their intrigue against Mandutari, the characters (who're probably trying to steer it into combat or such) get instead plopped down into court intrigue. Spice things up a bit.

Just my two pence. Take it with a bucket of salt.
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Offline Maggot

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2005, 03:04:48 AM »
When do you want our characters ready,Captain?
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2005, 11:59:50 AM »
Whenever you're done with 'em is fine.
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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2005, 04:26:32 PM »
Something has been brought to my attention, which I believe I should point out-

Both caste-menial Mandutari and pretty much all Nanutari will be illiterate. In the case of caste-menials, they will probably have been taught how to read their family curse, and possibly some very simple signs (i.e., "4000 Imperial strides to Sokaau").
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Character Time!
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2005, 05:05:35 PM »
As instructed by the Cap'n, here is my character:

Quote
Huanxan tl Po {WAN-zhan tuhl poe}

Mandutari caste-menial foot soldier

Description – Huanxan tl Po is a giant of a man, standing at roughly 6’2�, with a massive girth and thickset neck and shoulders. His blunt nose is the most prominent feature of his tense, rounded face, and two small black eyes are almost hidden in greasy, unruly strands of his jaw-length wavy brown hair. His skin is the classic Mandutari bronze-chestnut tone, and when he strains his muscles the veins stand out alarmingly.

When not in battle garb, Po wears a simple caste-menial outfit: heavy tunic of a sackcloth-like material and tattered woolen breeches. He prefers to go barefoot whenever possible, as the bronze-toed sandals of the Mandutari army are slightly too cramped for his wide feet.

Despite his fearsome size, Po possesses an honourable and lawful disposition, always adhering to the Ancestor Laws and wordlessly obeying the commands set to his column. He rarely joins the revelries of the soldiers after battle, and spends much of his time in prayer to the shades of his ancestors. Po takes war seriously, and when fighting he does not rush recklessly into the fray, preferring to follow his orders to the letter and hope for survival. He has a deep bass voice and moves with the caution that befits one of his stature.

Background – Born the child of Huanxan tl Lau and Huanxan tl Jiang, in a small village during the year 3637, Huanxan tl Po was a source of great happiness to his family as he grew into a strong, quiet lad, ready and willing to help his father on the farm-steppes of the village. Of his three younger brothers, Po was his father’s favourite, due to his complacency and sense of honour. Sitting beside the fire on long winter nights, Lau would often joke that his massive son almost counted as two working boys in the fields – and his brothers steadily became more resentful.

Then came the Imperial Decree in 3659, stating that all families were required to pay a protection fee to the Imperial Columns of the Mandutari Army, of either supplies and rations or their firstborn son as a conscript. Lau, of course, would not dream of sending his beloved elder son to war, and so set about gathering food with a renewed vigour.

Sadly, this last show of devotion to Lau’s favourite was the final straw for Po’s brothers, and between them they committed a terrible act of jealousy. Sneaking into the storerooms one night, they set fire to all the supplies that Lau was so avidly collecting for the Army’s fee. The result was devastating: months and months of loving labours wasted in a blaze that quickly reduced the entire storehouse to cinders. Pretending to do their best to put out the fire, the three brothers barely escaped detection, but the damage remained; and when the newly-instated Imperial Collection Officer’s retinue rode through their village two weeks later, Lau had no choice but to tell Po to pack his belongings.

11 years later, Po still dreams of what might have been had the storehouse not caught fire, but the pain of leaving all he held dear behind is dulled by the years of training and military service, during which Po’s column became like a new family to him, though less personal and caring. He reasons that following orders and staying alive are the only means by which he may yet see his father and family again, assuming they are still alive.

Family Curse – “May the force of the soul halt the fangs of the North.�
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Offline Maggot

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2005, 12:59:07 AM »
I'll have my character ready in two days,Cap.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2005, 01:09:01 AM »
Cool.
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March of Winter: OOC and Info
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2005, 05:04:40 AM »
Quote
Zhan tl Soran    
Mandaturi Fallen Knight    
   
Description- At first glance,Zhan tl Soran does not seem to be a man of great consequence. A slender man of less than towering height and narrow shoulders,he could easily be mistaken for a down on the heels tavern keep or scribe. All in all,a rather unassuming man to watch. But the keen observer who decides that this man is indeed worth a second look,will notice that he is no ordinary commoner.    
   
 Close examination of his face would this away. Unlike most of the lower castes  with their coarse features and almost bovine like faces,Soran's pinched,pointed visage is dominated by his broad,slightly hooked nose and the two keen and intelligent,if somewhat predatory brown eyes,that are framed by perfectly arched eye brows. Though not a handsome face by any means,it is certainly a distinguished,distinctive one that some would find appealing. And others unsettling.    
   
 This is a man that most people simply do feel comfortable with. With good reason. Cold and aloof,Soran mostly keeps to himself,muttering away to people that only he can see,in hushed and strained undertones that any sane indidvidual would recognize as the symptoms of barely suppressed insanity. When immersed in this,he is oblivious to all else,and can be sometimes seen with an expression on his face that approaches joy.All those who know him,are aware that this is when the madness has him in it's grips,for that is when he begins to cackle in his hoarse,husky voice and sing praises to the Shades of all his Ancestors,almost as if he can see them standing infront of him,ready to bless their desecendent. His accquintinces think he is ''not here'' or ''half-dead''. It means that though he is yet of the living,he might as well be with the dead,given that his devotion to the Ancestors has metamorphosized into a dangerous obssesion. A man to be avoided indeed.    
   
   
 Background- Soran was born the only male heir of a powerful noble family of the province of Huilan,in the year 3689. Having despaired of ever producing a male child,his parents were overjoyed. Rushing their infant son to the temple,they had the priest bless him and give him his name of Saran which meant ''One that Shines''. This was done on the advice of a temple astrologer who assured them that the little one would do much to make his Ancestors proud.  
 
 From the start,he proved to be a quiet reserved young man who took great pleasure in concentrating on his goal of achieving excellence in all the fields of his studies that his tutors subjected him to,much to the suprise of his peers. By the time he turned fifteen,he had already amassed a knowledge of history and common law comparable to that of most of the courtiers who frequented the court of the Grandee Kostaan,greatly delighting his parents who could see that his keen intellect would bring him great success in the future. As for his skill with the sword,he was so adroit that it would not have been much of an effort for him to defeat and disarm thrice his number of fellow trainees in the art of swordmanship.  
 
 All in all,he was pretty much the perfect son. Or he would have been,had it not been for the existence of those voices..
 
 Those cursed voices. They had always been there,ever since he could remember. Constantly whispering all kinds of debased,perverted thoughts into his head and urging him to carrying them out,until his very mind screamed for release. But release never came and when their nagging became too painful to ignore and suppress,he would find himself crawling out his bed in the dead of night,and sneaking his silent way to the seemingly never ending row of coops where the poultry reared to feed the household was kept. Ad there,huddled in among the filthy straw,he would grab a foul and slowly strangle it,hating himself for the almost orgasmic wave of pleasure that would consume his body as the unfortunate bird thrashed in his hands,fighting it's desperate battle for survival..
 
  He never revealed this dreadful seceret to everyone,escaping detection through the greatest caution and discretion. He could not afford to. If anyone ever found about this,the grand plans he had grown up nurturing,would be nought. For that reason,this knowledge would die with him.
 
  When he turned twenty in the year 3689,he joined the armies of Grandee Kostaan with the interest of accquirng the prestige that would provide him with a firm foundation for the future in politics that in all likelihood,awaited him once he completed his term of service. It soon became clear to the superior generals that young Soran was an adept commander,staging some of the most daring ambushes on enemy legions anyone had ever seen in living history. His biggest victory came in the fourth month of the year 3695,when he completely wiped out the rouge armies of the rebel lord Horat tl Ferghan. It was his greatest accomplishment yet,and one that caught the attention of the most powerful man in Huilan,the Grandee Kostaan himself .
 
 For the past six years,the Grandee had increasingly been captivated by the phenomenal victories of the determined young commander who threw himself into the fray with his bravest soldiers,often staring death in the face as his men battled foes that more than often,vastly outnumbered them. Now with the triumphant culmination of Soran's tireless attempts to prove himself to the senior generals. Now the time had finally come for him to be rewarded for his immense talent and bravery. So it was that the night after the destruction of Ferghan's forces,Soran was invited to dine with the Grandee and his assembled high generals. Overawed by the great honor bestowed on him,Soran turned up in his best and thanked the Grandee Kostaan profusely for inviting a low ranking officer like him. Moved by the almost excessive modesty of a man that had so much to be proud of,the Grandee warmed to him even more. It wasn't long before they were conversing away like a jolly  uncle and his favorite nephew,greatly provoking the ire of the generals who resented the intrusion of this overly ambitious young pup into their cosseted little circle.
 
  To no one's surprise,Soran moved up quickly through the ranks to become the Grandee's favorite general throughout the next nine years that passed. The tremedous personal rapport he had established with Grandee Kostaan that night,had served him very well. It also helped matters that he soon became famous for delivering more sparkling victories to the Grandee than any of the other generals who had far more experience under their belts.

 All this while,the voices remained as powerful and strong as ever,never ceasing in their torment of Soran. But they could be sated temporarily,and so they were,with the lives of every unfortunate camp whore Soran invited to share his bed. He regretted their needless deaths of course,but his sanity had to come before everything else,or at least what was left of it. It was paramount that the dark cravings in him not intefere with his ability to carry out his function as one of the Grandee's most favoured generals. Satisfied that he  had seen to it that the voices were prevented from destroying his grand ambitions,he saw to it that the enourmous amount of good will the Grandee had towards him continued to flourish.

 What a fool he was,to underestimate the power those vicious little urgings had over him. When he least expected it,disaster struck.

 On the night of the Grandee's fiftieth birthday,the high lord threw a lavish function to celebrate it. Soran was invited to it along with the rest of Grandee Kostaan's generals. Ahh,how esctatic he felt! There would be so many powerful,influential people there at the feast,people whose good graces he could worm his way into. Truly,it was a golden opportunity for him to cast his net far and wide,adding a few more big names to his already subsantial army of contacts and well wishers.

 And so he turned up at the banquet,dressed in robes of the finest gold embroidered silks and accompanied by a honor guard so large,it was second only to that of the Grandee himself. A little ostentatious he supposed,but it was important that Kostaan's distinguished guests note that he was a rising star in the opulent world of Hiulan's social elite. He was not disappointed. Dozens of important and respected personalities among the Granadee's well wishers rushed forward to shake his hand,eager to meet the most popular soldier in Hiulan,among them the head of the royal treasury of Hiulan and the chief magistrate. Most gratifying indeed.

 As the night  progressed,the guests begun to become increasingly debauched,throwing good grace and dining formality to the wind,as they drank greedily from the ever present silver plates of wine held ready by some flunky. Somewhat to his own surprise,Soran found himself joining them. Normally a man who never drank in important company for fear of blunting his ever present edge of caution and cunning,he nevethless found himself seduced by the infectious mood of indulgence and revelry that seemed to pervade the considerable length of the vast hall.

 As he reached for his sixth goblet of strong wine,Soran chuckled as the Grandee passed out and slumped onto the table in the middle of a conversation with another reveler. It was clear that Kostaan had had one drop too many. Still chuckling,he drunkenly waved to a couple of the  Grandee's servants to carry their comatose master to his quarters. Occupied in watching them scurry off to Kostaan's bed chamber,all the while struggling to support the ample frame of their master,he was somewhat suprised when someone tapped him lightly on the shoulder. Suggishly he turned his head. There behind him,was the easily the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Clad in an elegant gown that did very little to hide her stunning curves,she regarded him with a an unmistakably wonton look with eyes the color of the purest jade,slightly shaking her head to flick an errant strand of gleaming raven back hair that intefered with her vision. In a low,sensual voice,she told him who she was. Her name was Xihail,and she was none other than the daughter of the Grandee Kostaan himself. And she was eager to ''sample his favorite general. He had no need cause at all to worry about accomadating her request. Her father would not awake till well into the next day and by then,their little redezvous would be well over.

 It dimly occurred to Soran that deflowering his mentor's daughter was what most would consider immoral,but he shrugged it off. Surely,the Grandee owed him a little something for all the long years of unflagging service he,Soran had put in for his Excellency. With this smug thought lingering in his head,he allowed her slender hand to grasp his callused one and lead him to a unused store room located at the rear of the Grandee's vast palace. That was the last thing his conscious mind recalled,before they swept in from nowhere and seized control of his very mind.

 When Soran came to,she was cold and stiff in his arms. Her once lustrous green eyes were now glazed with the void of the dead. The ugly purple bruises on her throat bore silent testimony as to the cause of her death. By the Ancestors,what had he done now?! There was no mistakening it. She was clearly dead. And by his hands. The hated,depraved part of him that he had tried to contain for so long,had chosen his most vulnerable moment to lash out. And now here he was,holding his most lovely victim yet,one who was none other than the only daughter of his patron,the Grandee. He couldn't have picked a worse man to wrong.It wouldn't be long before he joined the Ancestors now. He was lost,doomed,all his grand plans for the future condemned to die a painful death along with him.

 Soran begun to sob brokenly,with the wretchedness of a man who knows that he has lost everything. Then he heard it,in mid sob. An old man's voice,haunting and aged,yet resonant with great power. Someone else was in the room with him. ''Do not weep,oh son of the Zhan.'' The blood in his veins turning to ice,he spun around to face the unseen intruder. And collapsed to his knees,as he saw an old man with a long,untamed beard that reached to his chest,seated in a cross legged position as he floated above the ground as effortlessly as any spectre. But this was no pitiful slot soul,doomed to hover forever between this world and the next. No,a soft golden glow emanated from it,a shimmering haze redolent of great might mingled with gentle wisdom.

 ''Do not fear me,my son'' the apparition spoke once again. ''A victim of a foul curse laid on you at birth by those envious of your greatness,you have been. But they will never succeed in their vile intention to destroy you,for I have been sent by the other Ancestors to guide you to the undying glory and  fate that has decreed you shall enjoy. You are the one who shall rule over a domain that will make the Aspect-Emperor's empire seem tiny by comparision. Mighty warriors will come to assist you in this undertaking,and with their aid,you shall be invincible.''

 Overcome,Soran prostated himself before the Ancestor. ''Have you come down to guide me,Grand Sire? Tell me what to do. This is my greatest hour of need and only you can help me carry out my true destiny''. ''Indeed,I have,my son.'' Ancestor answered. ''With my guidance,nothing will be impossible. But for now,you must flee the wrath of the Grandee. Now,when all slumber. Remember when you are lost and close to despair,that I will always be there to watch over you,shielding you from all that would seek to do you harm, and offering you hope for the struggles ahead. Never forget that''. And with those words,he vanished.

 So it was that Soran fled into the embrace of the empty night,reaching the borders of the nearest neighboring province just as the household of Grandee Kostaan slowly and painfully awoke into activity. Now many years later,he wanders the wild lands outside the borders of the empire,serving a purpose whose mysterious end not even he can see,all the while guided by the shade of this mysterious Ancestor.

Family Curse - ''May the power of the Ancestors shield me from evil.''
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2005, 12:18:53 AM »
WOW, Maggot.
I really like how it's turning out.
Thumbs up, dude.

By the way...
Two more characters to add to the roster of (semi-)Great Names...
These two are the Aspect-Emperor's favorite mercenary captains, and their companies have supplemented the Imperial Columns ever since the Llanei-Soel War.

The first of these is naTaquirra Tila (her first name is Tila), a Yanqui warrior woman from the far west (Yanqui look like Asians, save for blonde or brownish hair). Cold, passionless, and calculating in the extreme, and a sarcastic heathen to boot, Tila, despite being a rather attractive woman, is a force to be reckoned with, and her warriors walk in fear of her.
{Mandutari call her "the Yankutari", their word for Yanqui. Yanqui are a little known but much feared people in Llanei, and among most people outside of it as well, being from the farthest possible west imaginable}

The second is Merigdish Um Koenuug, a sad-eyed, greying Soelani warrior who wields death with his Soelani straightsword. He presents a striking figure in his long, flowing black Soelani robes, and he is famous for being extremely reserved, but also volatile (it is said that at a strategizing session, he once had the audacity to berate Grandee Kostaan himself).
(Soel is a nation ruled by sorcerors lying to the south of Llanei).
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2005, 05:21:50 AM »
Thanks,Cap.  I hope you like the rest of it just as much.  :D
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2005, 11:27:41 AM »
I do. :D
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Offline Maggot

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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2005, 11:29:08 AM »
The we're all set for the RP  to begin! Well,almost anyway.  :oops:
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2005, 02:02:10 PM »
Very nice, Maggot! Your background puts mine to shame! It's nice to know that someone else hears voices, even if they are fictional - I mean, no. No voices here... :oops:

So we've got a crazy outcast and a thickhead pacifist peasant. How many chars were you hoping for, Cap'n?
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2005, 05:42:48 PM »
Well... More than two, that's a sure bet. ;)

I think I'll just bide my time for now, see if I can lure anybody in... *cough*AncientGamer*cough*
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2005, 06:28:31 PM »
Actually I already have a character idea for this game. I am a bit busy, that is all. Need a couple of days before I can join. Go ahead and begin, and I will join in two or three days.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2005, 10:58:34 PM »
Mmmm... Well, I was actually thinking four players, so I'd like to see if we can snare a third before we start.
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2005, 02:47:20 AM »
If you wish to be present at the Great Conclave,  Soran could probably get in on the bid of simply being in somebody's retinue, if he spruced up a little bit. Nobody will ask about a few nameless xunuqori watching the Conclave from the farthest tier.

As for Po, perhaps he has been stationed as an extra guard- the Conclave is a big deal, and the Hrandilutari (the Imperial Palace Guards) are supplemented with soldiers from the ranks of the Columns when the Great Conclave meets.
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2005, 03:03:42 AM »
Little notes that don't matter:

I used the term "Dragon of Zarhe" (in proper Jahi, "Zarhe tl Manchu"). Dragon is a translation of the Jahi term "Manchu" (MAHN-choo; it is an irregular plural, in that many Manchu are called "Manchuru", not "Manchi") which actually might translate better as something like "horrible serpent" or "fearful serpent".
The dragons of this world (the Manchu) are ultimately evil things who wear necklaces of human heads and such; but that's neither here nor there.

The family curse of the House of Xiaphein is "Never dare it", and is generally spoken as a challenge.
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Priests and Magic
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2005, 04:09:58 AM »
Within the halls of the temples of the Ghost Gods, there is magic worked. Within the libraries of Ghost Gods, there are ancient scrolls of magic.
Ghost-priests make magic chants and draw magic sigils.
But is this not all unclean? Does not the Rib of God say: "Kneel before the man who speaks the Gods' words; burn the man who wields the Gods' powers."

Well, yes. This is true. But for Mandutari sorcerors, there is no greater refuge than the Ghost God priesthood. In fact, over the centuries, though it is not acknowledged or even widely known, the priesthood has become a socially acceptable way to be a wizard in Mandutari society and avoid being burned.

HOWEVER! Wizards among the Ghost-priests are the acception, not the rule. And should it be revealed that the "magic" that the priests do is the very same which could be done by the mad sciomancers of the wastes, there would be great changes afoot. However, as it is, since the magic does the "work of the Gods", the magic comes from the Gods, and thus, Ghost-priests who wield these mysteries are, of course, holy men.
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