Ascendancy: an Intrigue game

Ascendancy

image

"It is now the 2660th year of the world by the Auroran Count, the 1900th year since the gods arose, and by my count the 1573rd year since the first of the cataclysms. It has been 726 years since the return of civilization, 720 years since word of the Yellow thing began to spread..."

"It is by the blessings of the dead ones that I have lived to see this day and it is by the curses of the dead ones that I have suffered to see this day."

"Sinan is gone..."
"626 years have passed..."
"A new time of industry has begun..."
"The grip of the Ascendant has weakened on the Earth..."
"Men walk the lands again, reclaiming their former glories..."
"One day at a time..."
"An age of man..."
"A storm is coming..."
"A new destiny..."

- fragments of a lost diary

Hello. For the past couple of years I've been developing and running a narrative nation game, and after having tested and played it for over a hundred turns I've decided to take a crack at revising it, the rules and the setting, and move the world forward.

Forward 726 years infact, long after the end of the current game. From the ashes of the past comes a new game. Ascendancy, what I am terming an intrigue game after its past as a god and nation game. This game is a player driven roleplay and story brewed between the various players acting as factions and the figures within them in a world mostly dominated by a multi-national confederacy.

You can play anything you set your mind to within this framework I am attempting to establish. Want to play a political party inside a nation, or in general within the confederacy? Go right ahead. Noble House? Yep. Merchant company? Sure. Mercenaries? Sure. Cult? Which god?

The rules for this "intrigue game" as I've written for the running of things are not intended to bind players, they exist to consistantly monitor how effective a faction is at any particular task. I encourage players to experiment and invent, and to make their society their own.

The setting is a world recovering and rebuilding after a long period of ruin and anarchy following a divine apocalypse. The year is 1900 AD (not our world, but of similar though somewhat higher levels of development on average), and the Argent Confederacy has seen the world safe over the long centuries since its formation. Its congress bickers and squabbles over the now petty and ancient grudges between its peoples.

If you're interested (and would be willing to stick around for a bit) read on and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

I'm looking for people interested in a long and consistant game. My plan is to run the recruitment for two months starting today, and begin on GiantITP on New Years Day with a turn running for approximately a week and a half. I'd like for sheets to be submitted to me by New Years but I'll be leaving recruitment open past this point for anyone running late due to the holidays.


Hello everyone. An update. We're working on introducing a new continent to our world. We're looking for anyone interested in playing explorers or trading companies looking to explore the new land.

If you're interested in writing lore for the new land to join as inhabitants of this new realm, we would also welcome you. Still working on a new map and the lore.

Message me or post here if you're interested.

We have roughly 12 people interested so far for anyone watching. Two weeks to turn 1 starting, anyone applying or joining after that point will be caught up with bonus actions.

I've decidedly posted the Game Thread a day early to give everyone a little extra time for their first post (and because I'll be busy during the next couple of days). Recruitment is still going until the end of January as was originally planned and late players will receive bonuses to help keep the balance of power. The first turn due to its unusual beginning will last longer, starting today (Monday the 31st) and ending on Saturday (the 12th).

Happy New Years everyone! Have a good week!

Turn 2 has begun for those interested. If you need any help with your sheet, the world, the rules, etc message me.

We're now a couple days into turn three now and we have about a week left for the official recruitment period.
If you're interested please state your interest. If you have any questions feel free to ask them.

...

So. Just to be clear to anyone watching. People have signed up for this and it is running.

I'm still deciding on whether or not I should mirror events here. Would anyone left viewing this forum be interested in that even if you don't want to join?

Hello everyone. I thought I would share this with it being some days into turn 4 and the official recruitment period ending. I've decided for the time being to leave recruitment open ended to new players. If you're interested let me know by posting in here or by PMing me and I'll get you up to speed and see about putting a sheet together.

To reiterate. Recruitment is remaining open.

I've also decided due to the lack of activity to mirror the weekly updates here to see if that can breathe any life into these old forums. I'm going to begin today to do so, posting one of my weekly updates every day until we're caught up (which will take less than a week), and then continuing with mirroring each saturday.

We currently have five players with two more putting sheets together and I intend to run this as long as people want me to.

Ascendancy

"It is now the 2660th year of the world by the Auroran Count, the 1900th year since the gods arose, and by my count the 1573rd year since the first of the cataclysms. It has been 726 years since the return of civilization, 720 years since word of the Yellow thing began to spread..."

"It is by the blessings of the dead ones that I have lived to see this day and it is by the curses of the dead ones that I have suffered to see this day."

"Sinan is gone..."
"626 years have passed..."
"A new time of industry has begun..."
"The grip of the Ascendant has weakened on the Earth..."
"Men walk the lands again, reclaiming their former glories..."
"One day at a time..."
"An age of man..."
"A storm is coming..."
"A new destiny..."

- fragments of a lost diary


January 1900 (Turn 1, Winter)...

The end of the world has come and went, and the machinations of the races of men have kept going. The world as safe as it has been made is still a dangerous place and the click of the world's clock is a constant reminder that we all have so little time. Even the immortals felt it.

Ah. But such wonders one could see in the short time afforded to the living.

February 1900 (Turn 2, Winter)...


December 1894 - Vesille, The Northern Raptor States

Yellow smoke drifted across the skyline as the assault began. Music blared from a speaker on the absurdly quick helicopter as gunfire rained from the Gatling cannons down on the things below.

It was a good day despite the circumstances. It had been years since they'd been allowed to bring the helicopters out. The right fuel for the ancient craft was too hard to produce to use them for everyday operations, or so they said. It was a hard won skill that the jumpers had learned to pilot them, to shoot accurately at the high speeds they obtained in the craft, and to rappel from the open doors down to the ground.

They were necessary skills to fight the yellow quickly and effectively in these days. Armed and armoured with the best they had at their disposal they carried Solothurn avto rifles to clear the streets and tunnels from the yellow, large multi-barreled rifles designed to fire several different calibers and types of bullets and used multiple magazines of ammunition. They wore the faceless Aegishjalmur masks to protect against poisons, and plated Vegvisir armour developed centuries ago with occult practices to guard the bodies and spirits of its wearers.

The tools they carried on their bodies were varied but the purpose was clear. Extermination.


January 1900 - The Isle of Bedlam, The Ajivhan Khaganate

It was raining when the ship docked in Bedlam, unsurprising. It rained very nearly every day and every hour around the now ancient asylum complex. No one was completely sure why but some, including Red, thought that the sheer number of broken minds warped the forces of nature around the spires of the small city.

The walk wasn't very long from the silver gates of the docks to the small garden and entrance to the cells his old friend lived in now.

March 1900 (Turn 3, Spring)...


December 1894 - Vesille, The Northern Raptor States

Red looked on through his eyeless mask as he grabbed the rope and slid down into the fogged yellow-coated streets, gunfire echoing out around him. Men ran ragged in the streets, wearing yellow paint or running from men covered in yellow paint, as abominations stalked the streets seeking to kill or forcibly convert those they hadn't already taken as the city turned into a charnel house of smoke and meat.

Short pops went off as they eyed their first target on the streets and the thing fell. A stinking Yellow thing of chitin and fangs, its yellow burning blood painting the street.


January 1900 - The Isle of Bedlam, The Ajivhan Khaganate

Red left his pistol and his mask with the attendant as he entered the asylum, a wretched and beautiful place engineered in the past to contain those they couldn't control. The cell he was looking for was... number 511 on the Eastern side of the isle. It contained his old friend, Pyotr. And every year he came and spoke with him, made sure the guards were treating him well, though that was never a concern with the phantoms. As insane as they became they were treated as the princes of old the moment they crossed the line between soldier and inmate.

He passed through hall of wretch after wretch before he found the cell, and it was empty. Well aside from the books, bed, and holy marks coating the walls.

After finding an orderly he found out that Pyotr was at the central gardens today, he had been going for the past month apparently.

April 1900 (Turn 4, Spring)...


December 1894 - Vesille, The Northern Raptor States

Finding the way to the tunnels didn't take very long, the buildings had been sighted ahead of time and they weren't exactly hidden. The plan was to blow holes in the buildings to collapse them with blasting oil and trinity sticks, then breach the rubble to enter the tunnels.

It was an easy plan that had worked in the past. It made sure there was only one entrance at the site and killed anything in the way.

War shields were dropped from the helicopter down onto the streets and Reds team moved quick to collect them after the bombs were set. They would need them in the confines of the tunnel complexes or gods forbid the cultists formed firing lines in the streets.

After the explosions they readied themselves and set the lyddite charge on the mound of broken buildings. The fun part was just ahead.


January 1900 - The Isle of Bedlam, The Ajivhan Khaganate

"Listen only to the sound of my voice."
"Let your mind relax. Let your thoughts drift."
"Let the bad memories fade. Let peace be upon you."
"Surrender yourself to your dreams."
"Let them wash over you like the gentle waves of the bluest ocean."
"Let them envelop you. Comfort you."

The broadcast over the loud speakers was new to Red, and wasn't something he was particularly fond of despite the calming effect it had. It was too... he wasn't sure. It didn't help that it was spoken in Aetheric.

"Imagine somewhere calm."
"Imagine somewhere safe."
"Imagine yourself in a frozen forest."
"You're standing in a clearing."
"Trees around you so tall, they touch the sky."
"Pure white snowflakes fall all around."
"You can feel them melt on your skin."
"You are not cold."
"It cannot overcome the warmth of your beating heart."
"Can you hear it?"
"You only have to listen."

Wandering through the lush gardens of Bedlam, it didn't take very long to find Pyotr. Sitting. Meditating. Gaunt and sickly looking.

"Can you hear it slowing?"
"You're slowing it."
"You are in control."
"Calm."
"At peace."

May 1900 (Turn 5, Spring)...


December 1894 - Vesille, The Northern Raptor States

Red was the first one down into the man-sized tunnel. He always was. Officers served at the front. That was the way of Ajivha, especially the Vatnahlifir.

His mask kept everything light and visible as he marched into the darkness, his gun peeking out from behind his shield. The moment he saw something he'd let loose a volley of silenced fire and that would be the end of it. There were very rarely anyone in these tunnels that didn't need to die. Never anyone that could be saved.

Pyotr and the rest walked a few feet behind him in succession shields and rifles at the ready for the first branch.


January 1900 - The Isle of Bedlam, The Ajivhan Khaganate

"Pyotr?"

Reddened dead-looking blue eyes turned to meet Red's and a souless voice replied, "Yes?"

Pyotr looked as if he had been starving to death for years and Red wasn't sure if that was disease or choice. He had been gaunt even when he was fighting but this was sickening. Though he thought this wasn't the first he had seen of this in his work as a chaplain, and it was still probably healthier than eating nails or other assorted inedibles like so many took to.

"Pyotr... It's me. Rederick."

"Rhetoric?" The gaunt man looked puzzled for a few moments before speaking again, "Rhetoric, it's been too long... too long. Where have you been?"

"I've been working in the North, there's been another outbreak."

"Another?... I had hoped it had been over the last time."

"The war never ends... Let's sit. Speak. How have they been treating you?"

June 1900 (Turn 6, Summer)...


December 1894 - Vesille, The Northern Raptor States

By the time they had found him, he had completely lost it. Naked and covered in the acid-blood of the yellow things as it burned into his flesh. Unsupervised and in the darkness of the grotto Pyotr had decided in his wisdom after the dozens of battles he had been in against the Yellow that he needed to embrace the taboo and understand the enemy, understand their flesh, and drink their blood.

He had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the tunnels in the midst of the combat he had become a liability. And it pained Red to drag his long friend and subordinate through it.


January 1900 - The Isle of Bedlam, The Ajivhan Khaganate

Pyotr tapped his bandaged fingers on the small glass table between them, humming and looking through his dead eyes at Rederick trying to see into his soul, "I... I've been having dreams. Not the normal ones. These ones are worse. My magic is barely under control now."

"... What kind of dreams?"

"They're nightmares but they're not like the normal ones. Beyond the memories, the corruptions, the fire. It's like seeing beyond the walls of his ancient memories. I dream of the hunger, and where it comes from. I think I'm close. I... hear voices now. They're a choir."

"What have you-?"

Pyotr slowly began to unbandage his hands and fingers exposing bone and sinew and badly healed scars and infections. "They found me eating my hands last week. I was screaming about teeth, or so I've been told. It's not the first time. I can only remember them in a haze at best but I think I know where it comes from."

Rederick stared hard at his old friend, and after a few moments, so he dumped the glasses on the table and poured into them from a flask of koronahol he kept in his coat. In his years as a chaplain he had seen many a thing, but not in those he was close to. He wondered how long it would be before Pyotr was taken for testing like so many who claimed to see the beyond.

July 1900 (Turn 7, Summer)

"Listen only to the sound of my voice."
"Let your mind relax. Let your thoughts drift."
"Let the bad memories fade. Let peace be upon you."
"Surrender yourself to your dreams."
"Let them wash over you like the gentle waves of the bluest ocean."
"Let them envelop you. Comfort you."

"Imagine somewhere calm."
"Imagine somewhere safe."
"Imagine yourself in a frozen forest."
"You're standing in a clearing."
"Trees around you so tall, they touch the sky."
"Pure white snowflakes fall all around."
"You can feel them melt on your skin."
"You are not cold."
"It cannot overcome the warmth of your beating heart."
"Can you hear it?"
"You only have to listen."

"Can you hear it slowing?"
"You're slowing it."
"You are in control."
"Calm."
"At peace."

...

In the month of July, a party of Ajivhan diplomats, working for Project Covenant, dressed in green finery journied from their offices in Valthee to the site of the Specialist Collectors Collective and their party bearing ceremonial arms and gifts of medicinal tonics.

August 1900 (Turn 8, Summer)

Tare had known she was different for as long as she could remember. The fairies told her as such. The voices. They came to her and told her of the world and the world beyond. Who she could trust. Her mother. Who she couldn't. Her father. They taught her how to deal with the bullies. How to sharpen the stones and make it look like an accident.

She was never to speak of them or what they told her though. No matter how trustworthy they seemed, this was her secret.



The Specialist Collectors Collective

The diplomats accepted the gift happily, examining the ornamental pistols carefully and examining the barrels wondering how much work would be needed to make them functional.

They then accepted the exotic liquor and looked positively pleased at the odd flavour and its effect. As much magic as they had at their disposal, theirs looked... less by comparison.



The Frozen South

The automatons sat in the dark watching the open hatch for hours as they contemplated the meaning of the recombinants, reactivating their components had taken alot out of them after a millenia of silent waiting, watching, expecting rescue from the century bunker or gokvahar. not that they knew what had happened to their ancient seats of power.

When the runic controls had failed them, they drifted until they were shot down by what they could only guess was Grat or Auroran artillery. And then they locked the hatches and sealed the breach, waiting for anyone. The cataclysms came and went as they waited in the darkness, watching their now ancient cargo, dismantling what they had to and repairing themselves for the long wait ahead of them as the ice spread further and further North.

For all they knew, they were the only ones left. And so their leader, a clockwork machine named Masih designed to pilot the ancient vessel, poked his seven eyed head out into the tunnel and spoke with a rumbling tinny voice "Hello! Is there anyone out there!"

September 1900 (Turn 9, Fall)

Her secret. The fairies, came to her after the first time her father had beaten her. An old Auroran man, that drank near constantly. Beat her when he was too drunk or angry. The voices told her that his time would come and that she would soon take her anger out on him and that he'd never be able to hurt her again...



The Specialists Collectors Collective

The representatives of the Khaganate mentioned their particular interests in rare weapons, new drugs, and artifacts in general. Though they had their own trade in the obscure they were almost always interested in expanding their range of acquisitions through further groups.

Their highest priorities in foreign acquisitions as mentioned were rare and obscure weapons, new drugs with which they could experiment, and magical artifacts of their ancient past. For all they had moved forward it was difficult to convince them of the value of something that couldn't be used in warfare or killing.



The Svalt

A party of high ranking covenant officers arrived in the Sveit as instructed in their invitations bearing gifts of medicine and alcohol.


The Frozen South

Masih poked his head out of the hatch, "Hello! Is anyone out there!" The tunnels echoed with his rumbling tinny voice as he looked into the darkness. Masih took a few steps out into the ice tunnel with his gangly serrated limbs and looks at the drone before him, "Hello... Friend? Would you mind telling me how what year it is?.. We've been buried for quite some time, our connections are down, no one came for us, we slept for some years..."

October 1900 (Turn 10, Fall)

It was the night of the third when her mother saw her playing with the fairies. She didn't see them. She thought she was dancing on her own. She had her hair pulled and was yelled at for this. She was too old for imaginary friends... and she couldn't speak of the fairies.

She wished other people could see them, that they would let her speak of them.



The Frozen South

Masih followed the drone through the tunnels, and watched in awe at the swarming creatures in the chamber. It had been... centuries he supposed since he had seen so many creatures, and it made him wonder of the state of the world. The reference to a central mind, the alert, and the sheer number of creatures. Were these recombinants as they remembered them? No one came for them, and as far as he knew they had been exterminated so... what did that mean?

"Hello," he says to the gathered Jerlin. "My name is Masih, my crew and I have been lost for some time and we were wondering if you could help us?"

"We're a bit lost and were wondering what has happened? We crashed and no one came for us..."

November 1900 (Turn 11, Fall)

Tare hadn't seen or heard from the fairies in weeks. She left her home deep in the night to look for them, walking into the forest where she knew their groves to be. It was a long walk, and she knew her father to be hunting in the pitch black but she did not care. They promised he would be dealt with and she had the knife she had hidden for months from her parents.


Masih looked at the giant and said, "Deal. Though in all honesty I wouldn't know where to begin, our magic hasn't worked in centuries. We can't form new runes, and the metal is rebellious."


Throughout the confederacy there existed rumours of sacred objects made of a golden substance, these rumours have persisted across the generations and millenia with some claiming them to predate the gods of the third age. What these objects are is debated, some calling them the eyes of Agerra, they grant great fortune to those who claim them. It is claimed by some of the more radical scholars that these objects are keys to something greater, though what this greater thing may be is unknown.


Whispers of another continent to the West spread across the lands, spoken of in the old times before the cataclysms, the rumours of this land were nearly forgotten due to the strife and focus on sheer survival by most over the centuries. Though these rumours have returned out of a sense of hope in brighter times.


Bodies washed ashore of strange creatures... that weren't aberrations.

December 1900 (Turn 12, Winter)

"What the-," Tare's father looked down, rifle in hand, from his tree stand as he noticed his daughter in the middle of the forest. Confused, he yelled out "Hey!" and began to climb down. He knew this to be wrong but he was sure it was her.

She turned sharply as she noticed him and began walking towards him.

"What are you doing out here? How did you find me?"

"I was looking for you, daddy." She stated as he approached, lowering himself to her as he shouldered his rifle, hands outstretched trying to grasp her.

"What? How did you get out this far? Where's your mother?"

The blade slid down her sleeve, landing in her palm, she made one quick motion and caught him unprepared slicing into his neck.

He howled in pain and anger and confusion as he recoiled from the slash, and she tried to capitalize on the attack by going for his guts. She stabbed deep in and caught something as he in a rage struck her and knocked her back. He grasped for the butcher knife stuck in his guts as she lay on the ground watching the blood pour from his slashed neck and bloodied organs leaking out of his stomach.

January 1901 (Turn 13, Winter)

Tare stood over the body for hours listening to the whole of nature watching her as she cleaned the blood off of her knife. Her knife. It was her knife now. Not even Lysei could take that moment from her.

She was sure even the fairies had seen it, though she didn't see them. She would find them. They told her she could do it. And she did it.

February 1901 (Turn 14, Winter)

Hunting a prophet is not an easy task. Even with the help of the gods. Squads of phantoms were picked and sent on the word of the Awnite prophet and Ashlif, and all they had to work on was a drawing. A drawing and a name they might not even be going under.

Armed with stiff grey panoply coats and krakar gas masks to mask their rank, avto rifles with three spare drum magazines of blessed ammo, and five kaupaloki per man. They probably had years to find them. Probably. Prophets took time to develop, or atleast that was their understanding of the yellow cycle.

The hunt was a constant task that needed to be carried out every cycle without fail or they would end up with another crisis on their hands, as they had less than a decade ago. It was a task that needed to be carried out without warning or attention and the public could never know. The idea that they were still on the knife's edge would set back progress decades.

And the Vatnahlifir were happy to do it. Every time. Until the end to every cycle came and they were finally ready to bring the time of gods and demons to its close.


Rumour spread of maps in the possession of esoteric groups that lead through the anomalous conditions on the edges of the known world. Hopeful rumours of a land beyond, untouched by the wars of the past and the cataclysms of the gods.

Vessels left port seeking this new world...

March 1901 (Turn 15, Spring)

In the cold spring air a group of covenant officers arrived at the location of one of the aberrant bodies that had been found over the past couple of months. Though the priority was relatively low with the commonality of aberrant things washing ashore, the lack of rot, and them having moved it to one of their few cold storage facilities.

This one was odd though by the standards of aberrations and they had soon realized why by the time the second, third, and so on were reported and eventually examined by the Vatnahlifir. They were uniform. They didn't fade. And their flesh was their own.

This spooked the officers charged with examining and cataloguing the bodies. The smell and taste was familiar though to the older agents sent to examine them. They were supposed to have left centuries ago. Where did they come from?

April 1901 (Turn 16, Spring)

Maps were drawn and a pattern began to emerge. The first body had washed up in Ajivha along the southern shores, then a few along the coast of the Republic of Awn, Aurora, and then Basalt Territory. They hadn't seen any yet in Corpus land or atleast none had been reported to the project.

The things that hadn't been named beyond I-7 were following an odd path through the waves. Where they were coming from was still unknown, as was what they were doing or wanted down here. That made them as dangerous as the threat of a return, assuming that's not what was happening.

...

In the Northeast funding was acquired for a journey to the West through recently uncovered corridors in the anomaly. A Vatnahlifir would be placed amongst the Covenant officers to accompany the crew of the expedition and drop a communication pole every time a course correction was made so that the journey could be replicated later... and assure a path for the secondary expedition that would be made if objective delta was uncovered.

May 1901 (Turn 17, Spring)

The journey East was a long and treacherous journey through storms unknown to the ancients. But the path before them was known, now ancient maps through the eternal stormwalls layed a path before the ships.

When they finally passed through it was a shock to the sailors. Clear turquoise skies and clear turquoise waters teeming with fish. In the distance land was spotted through scopes as another pole was dropped into the water.

Vast archipelagoes of land. Unknown to the people.


Silver plated patrol boats with little in the way of marking set out from Karsha seeking the source of the I-7. They were to sweep North, meeting with emplaced resources, gathering any evidence they came across, and setting mines at key points before making their way again South around the mines, even though as they were designed they wouldn't set them off on their own.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here