Posts Tagged ‘Legend of the Archons’

I Am A Dork: Legend of the Archons Edition

November 22, 2011

A number of years ago, while working on Legend of the Archons, my FATE variant, I came up with a character who was supposed to appear in the setting, but I missed some very amusing correlations between him and a certain pop culture figure until very recently. It was pointed out to me when I was explaining him to Alesia, with whom I am working on the LoA story Agents of Change. She took one listen to my description of him and immediately spotted it, and even assumed that it was deliberate… I had to admit to her that it had not been, even though it’s so blindingly obvious. Yeah, I completely deserved the teasing that she gave me over it.

I needed a character who would be a master artificer, weaponsmith and armorer, cunning in clockwork and the crafting of sundry engines of destruction. He was to be physically strong and imposing, and both renowned and fairly wealthy due to his mastery.

He needed to have been taken captive by one of the story’s major antagonists and put to work making those lovely death dealing devices at his captor’s bidding, including a special suit of armor. The idea lay fallow for years because LoA got put on the backburner. Then Alesia and I revived the LoA idea and started working on a collaborative writing project on the subject and I took him out of mothballs.

Not long before I had the discussion with Alesia, I made a cheesy little avatar of him, below:

Dream Avatar
With all of the above in mind, I needed to name him. Since he’s resident in the Dachs region, which is analogous to the highly fragmented western portion of the Holy Roman Empire during the Renaissance, I wanted him to have a solid, strong sounding Germanic name. “Stark” is a German word for “strong,” so I named him Heinrich Stark.
You can stop laughing at me now.
Yeah, he looks like RD Jr. Yeah, he is in a cave with a box of scraps making weapons of mass destruction. No, I didn’t for a moment think of Iron Man when I made him up.
That said… if you’re going to do a thing, you might as well embrace it. As far as I am concerned, I am now under a moral imperative to have Tony Heinrich build himself a suit of clockwork power armor. Yeah baby, it’s going to be awesome.

The Calendar of the Age of Reawakening

October 19, 2010

So I was recently asked what the current year of the Legend of the Archons game is.

Heh. I’d been resisting deciding just what year my own personal online campaign is set in for a while, but I’ve decided to finally bite the bullet. Note that, naturally, anybody else running a LoA game wouldn’t have to set their game in the same year as mine. Golden Rule and all. Plus I’m not particularly interested in foisting my own campaign’s plot on others (I’m a little “over” metaplot).

But first, a bit of examination of the calendar itself. Since Occida is pretty much dominated by the Sentieric faith, I’ve decided that the current epoch dates to an important event in the history of Sentierism rather than some civil event like the founding of some empire or other. I decided to go with a solar calendar, even though the crepuscular preferences of the Alanir initially had me thinking that I’d go lunar, but I then decided against those. First, because it’s easier to write what you know, and second a carefully calculated and justified solar calendar seems to fit the early alannic scholars that set the thing up to begin with. Also, since clocks have not yet become commonplace (though they are starting to appear), the day is reckoned to begin at dawn rather than at midnight. As timekeeping technology advances, this may well change, but for now Occidans mostly count their day to have started when they and the sun rise together. And yes, I’ll have the year begin in midwinter for the convenience of our playgroup. I’ll stick with the 12-month thing as well because that’s based partially on some rather clever geometry.

The primary calendar system in Occida is the Raleshisian Calendar, after St. Raleshis, an early Church father who formulated it based on his own observations and the astronomical writings of the Prophet. St. Raleshis chose the epoch from which his calendar would count its years as the year in which the Nine Archons first convened at the Prophet’s call and covenanted to operate as a cohesive body henceforth. This epoch was set well after the fact of course, and in fact was adopted after the Prophet’s departure from mortality. Thus, this calendar was formally introduced in its own year 200, a year carefully chosen by St. Raleshis and ratified by the Archons of his own time.

There are of course a few competing calendar systems out there, for example the lunar-based Hassamic calendar which is in use by the Ubayyads and Olmayyads and the ancient Hellesic calendar, still in use in parts of eastern Occida. Certain isolated bodies of pagans dwelling in Badhb and the Jotlaw still use their hoary and arcane calendar systems as well.

But what year is it now? Well, Legend of the Archons is set in the Age of Reawakening, which is pretty analogous in most ways to our own European Renaissance. To go with that, I’ll use a scale of years similar to our own AD/CE rather than some vast scale of time assuming that culture and technology have remained fairly static for numerous millennia like some games do (the dreaded “Medieval Stasis“) or the conceit that the Archons rose up sometime in the unutterable past, which has never been how I saw things. Plus, remembering what I learned of the apocalyptic religious hysteria that hit Europe in the runup to 1500 AD, I’ll say that we’re a little bit shy of 1500 in the Sentieric Era as well. It’s a good round number, and it can feed into some creeping dread, panicked penitents and the like.

I’ve decided that the abbreviation in use for the current epoch is “R.S.,” from the Old Alannic phrase Ras Sentieris, which translates to “On the Path” in English, thus indicating how many years the Thinking Peoples have been, well, on the path.

Accordingly, my own current campaign is currently set in the springtime of 1499 Vos Ras Sentieris (year on the path).

Religion, Fantasy Races And Tokenism

October 18, 2010

It seems to me that, though there are a number of exceptions of course, fantasy settings tend to have polytheistic religions. Also, in those settings that have nonhuman inhabitants, there is very seldom much if any religious crossover between humanity and the other species. Humans generally have one or more pantheons of gods (or occasionally just one god for all humanity), and each individual nonhuman race tends to have one god (or a discrete and separate pantheon) all to itself. Fantasy settings also tend to have a lot more henotheism than is evidenced in earth’s history as well, but that’s a separate discussion. (more…)

Legend of the Archons: The Learned Man’s Guide to Vampires

October 5, 2010

The following is detail relating to the vampires of Occida, the setting of my Legend of the Archons RPG.

Read about the blighted nocturnal horrors here

LoK Videos

December 12, 2009

This post is essentially a linkdump to a large number of videos from the Blood Omen/Legacy of Kain video game series. It’s mostly in game event order, though with the time travel paradoxes and wacky chronology of the games, any attempt to put events in a strictily chronological order would be doomed to being horribly confused. Perhaps making it chronological from the perspective of a particular character like Kain or Raziel would make more sense. Anyhow, this is a group of the more significant events throughout the series and the entirety of the cutscenes from Defiance, the last game of the series. Probably needless to say, massive spoilers ahead.

These games were one of the many influences on the cosmology of the Legend of the Archons setting, and I’ve decided that the vampires of that setting will be something of a shout-out to this series in some ways.

Also, this series is one of those that managed to survive a change in genre – from top down quest with inventory and all that to a 3D action/puzzle adventure  series.

(more…)

Warhammer + Victorian Style Steampunk = ?

August 17, 2009

I am a restless little git that has a bug for either creating game settings whole cloth or modifying existing ones, and I am also the sort of designer/folder/spindler/mutilator that for some reason likes to have multiple plates spinning at once. Therefore, I’ve decided to add another little thought experiment project to my current Legend of the Archons system creation. If I actually play the thing, I’ll probably use a slightly modified version of LoA’s FATE system.

But what is it that I have decided to create? I’m so glad that you asked, even if you did not.

I have decided to take the world of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and advance it up to a Victorian time period, and therefore a pretty solidly steampunk tech level rather than a realiztic victorian tech level (hey, this is Warhammer, after all – everything always has to be dialed up to 11). It will be specifically a variant on the first-edition WFRP world where my ancient and longrunning WFRP campaign, the Legacy of the Gods, is set, and takes some major historical events (and their speculative future consequences) of that campaign into account. Also, it will feature a fusion of magic and (mad)science a bit like a more advanced and stable cousin to Skaven Warlock Engineering crossed with steam engines. Provisionally I am calling this magitek cousin “Rune Engineering,” though if anybody has a better name for that then I’m certainly game. Note that the campaign world in question was one that we started playing prior to the introduction of things like imperial steam tanks and dwarf ironclads, so the steampunk elements that we do currently see in WFB’s Empire don’t exist in the history of this Warhammer World variant though of course similar things will exist in this more Victorian version where they’re a trifle less anachronistic in feel.

I’m sure that I’ll post a lot more about it to this blog, because that’s how I roll. Given that I’m also planning on posting about the abortive AD&D 3.5 setting I designed a few years back but never posted anywhere online, that will make 3 concurrent design projects being blathered about on my blog. Yay!

Anyhow, on to the point of this post.

I’ve been trying to decide what to call my warhammer steampunk project, and have a number of ideas but I’m not necessarily satisfied with them. Hence, a poll!

Edges / Stunts for Legend of the Archons

June 20, 2009

LoA banner1

Today I’ll be sharing a few of the Edges (LoA’s term for what Spirit of the Century calls Stunts) that are found in the Legend of the Archons game. Some are modified versions of stunts already found in SotC, some are modified versions of stunts from the Evil Hat wiki and some are of my own devising.

I’ll share a slew of magic-related edges soon, but those won’t be in this post.

Renowned Thinker [Academics]
Requires Scholar
Your reputation as a scholar is so well known that it occasionally covers up for your social shortcomings.
For a fate point, you may use your Academics skill instead of Rapport, Intimidation, Contacting, or Deceit, provided those you are dealing with are aware of your reputation (a second fate point will nearly always assure that they are).

Fortress Unto Himself [Endurance]
“Had he been victualled as well as fortified, he might have endured a siege of seven years!” – Charles I
Requires one other Endurance edge.
The character is not only tough as nails, but he also makes a habit of wearing heavy armor into danger. Between these factors, he can shrug off the blows of lesser men as if they were a soft spring rain.  A character with this edge can use the Endurance skill to defend against physical attacks instead of Athletics, Brawl or Weapons.

Logistical Analysis [Leadership]
Requires Lieutenant or Minions.
You are able to keep “the big picture” in mind when commanding men, which makes it easy to coordinate many different actions. You can simultaneously control two different companions or groups of minions, for example allowing you to have two different types of minion attached at once or one group of minions and a companion. Also, if you detach your companion then you can attach a group of your minions to him as well.

Renowned Occultist [Occult]
Requires Secrets of the Arcane
Your reputation as a scholar of the mysterious is so well known that it occasionally covers up for your social shortcomings.
For a fate point, you may use your Mysteries skill instead of Rapport, Intimidation, Contacting, or Deceit, provided those you are dealing with are aware of your reputation (a second fate point will nearly always assure that they are).

Faithful Steed [Ride]
You’re an avid horseman, and have one horse in particular that you take special care of. When riding that horse, you receive a +1 bonus (it’s assumed to have the craftsmanship improvement – see the Devices chapter on page XX).
Additionally, once per session, spend a fate point and declare that the car has some extra improvement – for guidelines, see the Universal Device edge (page XX). You can’t go too crazy with the Improvements on this on-the-fly trickiness – miniaturization and futurization (no clockwork steeds!), and several kinds of alternate usage and additional capability, are disallowed at this level of the edge. To ride a truly unusual steed, you must also take Noble Steed (below).

Noble Steed [Ride]
Requires Faithful Steed.
You have a truly one-of-a-kind steed. For starters, your once-a-session Improvement, as described above, can be of any sort. Secondly, your mount has two additional inherent Improvements you may select. These improvements must be defined in advance of a session (only at the beginning or end), but you needn’t pick all of them at the time you take this Enhancement. Once they’re picked, they’re set, until a trainer can get a chance to work at changing them. Your mount is instantly recognizable as something unusual, unless you spend one of your Improvements on making sure that it looks just like any other mount of its base type. Regardless, once people learn of its nature, there’s almost certain to be attempts to steal it or otherwise learn its secrets. You’d be well advised to take an Aspect tied to your mount, so you can get Fate Points when this happens!

Reins in the Teeth [Ride]
You can do all sorts of things from the back of your horse (or other mount). Riding your animal never causes a supplemental action penalty when you’re doing something else from the saddle, whether you’re rolling Ride as the primary skill or another. Furthermore, if Ride would be a secondary skill that restricts or modifies a primary skill, but your Ride skill is lower than the primary skill you’re using, your Ride skill has no negative effect.

Trail of Devastation [Ride]
Requires at least one other Ride edge.
The character is the bane of street markets, pavilions and rickety struts holding up awnings. The value of any damage this character does to the environment (but not characters, their mounts or vehicles) when riding a horse is doubled. Any time an object is taken out by the damage, the result should be spectacular – an explosion, a fire or collapse. This is not guaranteed to always fall in the character’s favor (though it often can, and should)!

Airs [Ride]
You are a skilled rider that has trained his steed to jump on command. Reduce any height related borders for jumping on a mount by up to three.

Tilting [Ride]
Requires One other Riding Edge
The character is trained and experienced in mounted combat. Attack Rolls made from atop the mount are at +1. If the character is armed with a lance, this bonus rises to +2.

Cavalry Charge [Ride]
Requires Tilting.
You may move one zone and launch a Weapons or Riding (in other words, trampling) attack without taking a penalty for moving, or you may move two zones and make an attack at -1. All other actions, including those with Weapons, that are not a Weapons attack described as a mounted charge, require a roll at -1 if you move a single zone on your action, as normal.

Shattering Charge [Ride]
Requires Cavalry Charge.
By combining your skill and your steed’s momentum into a mighty charging strike, you may devastate even the most potent of opponents. Any time your opponent opts to take a mild or moderate consequence from a blow you have dealt from a mounted charge, you may spend a fate point to increase the severity of that consequence by one step, increasing mild to moderate and moderate to severe. The opponent may then reconsider whether to take the consequence, or instead offer a concession. You may not do this to an opponent who is already taking a severe consequence.

More Tektek, More LoA

April 29, 2009

Here are a few more of those little chibi things. These ones are built around proposed PCs in LoA.

Síofra Nethfilidh Ferfechín, an Albannian-born fomor psychopomp associated with Horizons.

Sir Anthony Ravenscrest (AKA Anton Corvus),  Alban condotierre extraordinaire who is gifted in cunning and tactics though not in the sorcerous arts.

Persa of the Raven, aiaru medium associated with Death.

Qoriil Elnahaem, an enlightened alannic monk associated with Vision. I did the one on the left, his creator did the one on the right.

King Gustavus von Zachsen. an NPC.

Also, I am posting updates to earlier chibis for other LoA types, an NPC and a PC as well.

Mordamund, late Archon of Vision.

Filidh Uhlrik Gunderit Maghoctavius von Beck, a fomorian warrior-bard with a double mouthful of names, associated with Opposition. There are two versions because there were certain aspects I wasn’t settled on.

Legend of the Archons: Magic

March 31, 2009

he below is partially-completed stuff for Legend of the Archons, my FATE3/Spirit of the Century fantasy renaissance mod. Commentary, feedback and the like are encouraged.

The Principles of Magic

In Legend of the Archons, magic is represented through a combination of Aspects and Skills. Every spellcasting character must have at least one Aspect pertaining to magic use.

Aspects may be indicative of rank, social status or style, but with a caveat: at least one of the character’s magic-oriented Aspects must specify which of the Thrice-Three Principles the character is most closely attuned with. This Aspect impacts the character’s personality, magical nature, their style of magic use and, in fine, every facet of the character’s identity. The character’s magical Aspect does not straightjacket the character and turn him into a caricature, but it does influence him. Certain actions might require a specific Principle to be part of a character’s magical Aspect.

The typical format for a character’s primary magical aspect would be [Descriptor] of [Principle], where the descriptor indicates the level of training or degree of initiation that the character has in the secrets of their particular Principle. The most common descriptors, in general order of achievement, are the formal nomenclature for ranks in the Arts that are used by the academics of the Church: Novice > Initiate > Disciple > Adept > Master. Only one character in the world may have the aspect Archon of [any single given Principle] at any one time. Also, no character may have more than one Principle specified in their Aspects, though they may certainly have multiple Aspects that relate to the use of magic.

The specific principle in the magical Aspect that the character has will influence the sorts of magical effects that they wield, and thus the sorts of magical skills that the character selects.

The Magic Skill: Magic Words

The Magic skill is a bit of a special case in that a character can take it many times, with each iteration of the skill representing a different sort of magic with which the character is proficient. Each time that a player takes the Magic skill, they must pair the name of the skill with a single word that defines the sort of magic that is associated with this particular iteration of the skill. Using this particular magical skill, the character may invoke effects (cast spells) based around that word, whch may be interpreted both literally and metaphorically. For example, if a character has the skill “Magic: Distance,” he could cast spells that interact with the physical distances between objects, or the social distance between persons or opinions and so on. A character can have many different magic skills, each of which can have a different value and will fall in its usual place in the skill column like any other skill.

Sample Magic words by Principle:

Concord: Dispatch, motion, location, unity, influence, binding, synergy, combination, sympathy

Death: Darkness, mortification, ghost, angel, possession, undeath, exorcism, blight, entropy, decay

Forces: Fire, Wind, Weather, Waves, Thunder, Sky,

Horizons: psychopomp, travel, portal, access, discovery, dimension, spirit

Life: health, beasts, vegetation, transformation, fertility, adaptation, contagion

Mind: intellect, confusion, glamour, discernment, madness

Opposition: barriers, shifting, justice, war, power, fury

Substance: earth, transmutation, material, artifice, structure, integrity, states, potion

Vision: chiaroscuro, prophecy, scrying, sight, mystery, blindness

A magician can select magical skills that are not directly connected with their Principle, but if they do so then the first rank spent places the skill value at Mediocre (0) rather than Average (+1) like most other skills would. This reflects the fact that these skills do not come naturally to the character. Characters with no Magic skills simply cannot cast magical spells at all, so they default to no value whatsoever rather than Mediocre.

Casting Spells

When casting a spell, a magician’s player must first determine what sort of effect they are going to try to create. Second, they must ascertain what would be the most appropriate magic skill to apply. If the character has no skill that would cover the spell in question, then he cannot cast a spell to create that particular effect and must find alternate means to accomplish his goals, or may look for ways to get similar end results through techniques and means that the character already does possess – this will often requiree creative thinking and strategy, which is entirely deliberate. Also, while certain magical skills cannot seem to fit a particular task, they might be used to achieve partial results: while it might be difficult to use water magic to destroy a bridge across the top of a chasm, that magic could be used to remove all moisture from the wood and therefore more vulnerable to fire.

Magical skills and spellcasting can be combined with one another and standard skills like any other, and it is very common for one magical skill to be used as a supplementary skill with another, or for one spell to be cast as a maneuver to set up or prepare for another to be cast immediately afterwards.

Scope

Next the scope of the spell must be determined: how much force is required, how large of an area or how many targets are to be affected and so on. Scope is best judged with roughly the amount of material being worked with. Most spells will either affect a number of targets or have a scope and not both. Thus, a spell designed to bend the minds of a roomfull of people will use number of targets while a spell designed to fill the room with light will use scope. When in doubt, use the higher difficulty. See the table below:

Targets
Scope Difficulty
No One Small Object Average (1)
One Person Self Fair (2)
Small Group Room Good (3)
Large Group Building Great (4)
Neighborhood Several Houses Superb (5)
Town Town Fantastic (6)
City Province Epic (7)
Realm Kingdom Legendary (8)

One general limit to spellcasting is that spells typically cannot target something that the caster cannot see or perceive. There are fields and principles of magic designed specifically to overcome this limitation such as sympathetic magic, space-altering magics and scrying, but a good rule of thumb is that the caster’s line of sight determines what can be targeted with his magic. The exceptions usually require a maneuver or supplementary magical skill specifically connected with long-distance effects and will very frequently require magical components and material correspondences as well.

Spells used as attacks or to resolve a conflict are essentially just like the use of any other skill, though with the caveat that a spell-based attack must best the spell’s own inherent difficulty (based on its scope and modifiers) or the defender’s resistance, whichever is greater.

Modifiers

A number of modifiers to the base difficulty exist. See below:

If the spell is…

Damaging: +1 difficulty

Incapacitating: +2 difficulty

Fully tansformative: +3 difficulty

Mind altering: +1 difficulty

If The casting takes…

Moments (i.e. in combat): +1 difficulty

Minutes: +0 difficulty

Hours: -1 difficulty

Days: -2 difficulty

As a note: in most cases where casting a spell takes more than a few moments, the Occult skill will be used as a supplementary skill for the ritual itself, and often one or more others will be used as well. Also, spells with long casting times wll frequently have been researched or prepared ahead of time (see Research, below).

If the spell lasts…

An instant (such as a typical combat attack): +0 difficulty

A few minutes: +1 difficulty

A few hours: +2 difficulty

A few days/until a short-term trigger occurs: +3 difficulty

A few months: +4 difficulty

A few years/until a long-term trigger occurs: +5 difficulty

Forever: +6 difficulty

If the spell…

Advances the plot: -1 difficulty

Jumps over minor plot points: +1 difficulty

Jumps over major plot points: +2 difficulty or more

One unusual modifier:

Inconvenient timing: -1 or more. This represents spells that can only occur under certain circumstances (“when the stars are right” or “when a new Archon is brought to the Sanctuary” for example). This generally gives a plot reason why a villain or major NPC can be casting a huge permanent or world-wracking spell but still be at a level that the PCs have some hope of defeating.

Research

If the spell was previously researched and prepared and set up in advance (with a magical toolkit, library or laboratory of sorts). Generally Occult (but occasionally other skills like Art as well) is used as a supplementary skill for the spell casting, modifying the difficulty accordingly. If the player wants to use the research as a separate action, it may be appropriate to roll separately and use the spin from this roll to either create an aspect or otherwise impact the final spell. Duplicating a spell that was previously cast after research or preparation requires new preparation/research, but the character at least knows what sources to rely upon.

Backlash

Magic is powerful and versatile, but messing with the substance of Fate and the energies of the universe is a dangerous practice. If a spellcasting character ever runs out of fate points, they might well be about to bite off more than they can safely chew if they try to manipulate the stuff of magic again. If a character in such circumstances casts a spell and the spell succeeds with at least one shift, then all is well. If the spell fails or succeeds exactly, the powers the character is maipulating spin out of control. This is treated as an attack on the character (either health or composure) with a severity equal to the difficulty of the spell plus the degree by which the character failed. The character rolls to defend against this attack with [trait]. Consequences from this sort of attack tend to range from the visceral and horrific to having somebody else’s fate tied frustratingly to one’s own.

Legend of the Archons: The Thrice-Three Principles

March 28, 2009

The following is a bit of information for Legend of the Archons, that SotC variant I’m preparing. Well, it’s more like what might happen if SotC and tSoY got together and made mutant babies, but there you have it.

Feedback and thoughts on the Principles are not only welcome, they are actively desired – especially alternate names for certain Principles. Yes, there are nine of them like there are nine Spheres in oMage, and also nine Pillars in LoK. It’s a good number with mystical significance in some traditions, and I decided to go with that number. I’ve got symbols/glyphs for each of them as well but haven’t translated any of them to digital format.

anyhow, without further ado, I present…

The Thrice-Three Principles

The magical theorists and theologians of the Church and of contemporary scholarship adhere to a system for dividing reality, Fate and Magic into nine interconnected concepts, known as the Thrice-Three Principles. These Principles were expounded upon in detail by the Prophet, and are the framework around which contemporary magic theory is built. Occidan[1] Legends[2] that have magical abilities are automatically affiliated with one of these nine principles, which is an important part of their nature, magical style and personality. Beyond the nine divisions, the Principles are also placed in groups of three, known as Great Principles or the Triads. Each of the Triads is a group of three Principles connected conceptually to one another. Each of the Triads is more rarefied and abstract than the last, progressing from the material and observable world on to matters of the nature of life, death and the soul and on from there to abstracts related to the purpose that drives the other principles, concerned with why rather than what.

The First Great Principle – Manus, The Triad of the Hand

  • Mind (Enchanters) – Mind is the principle of perception, worldly awareness, factual knowledge and thought. The human mind’s messy tangle of contradictions, emotions and motivations is the playground of the Mind magician. Enchanters can cloud and manipulate the minds and senses of others as well as bestow clarity and insight and heightened awareness. Discerning the motives and desires of others is the stock in trade of Legends of the Mind – together with their impressive ability to even take complete mental control of others, Mind magicians inevitably swim in murky ethical waters. Many take a cavalier attitude to others’ rights and privacy. They tend to be dispassionate and emotionally remote – their abilities lay people bare so thoroughly and intimately that most Enchanters seek a degree of distance from others. At their best, these Legends are perceptive, insightful and intelligent, using their powers to gain knowledge and influence others for good as investigators, counselors, lawyers, scholars and the like, and at their worst they are mental rapists stealing secrets or charlatans living within layers of lies, illusion and manipulation without the least regard.
  • Forces (Virtue / Power) (Elementalists) – This is the Principle associated with the dynamic and inconstant natural elements. Fire, wind, electricity, waves and other natural forces are under the purview of Forces. Forces-wielders tend to be mercurial and passionate individuals, full of boundless energy. At one moment, they can be diffuse and distracted or even serene but at the next they can be terrifyingly focused on a very specific task – or simply terrifying. Subtlety is often lost on Elementalists, who tend to be direct, blunt and straithforward. Given taht the weather itself can be theirs to command, scions of Forces can command a healthy dose of respect and fear from common people, and out of all magicians are perhaps the most readily recognized as miracle-workers. At their best, Elementalists are kindly yet fierce warriors, experimenters, stargazers and outright adventurers – at their worst, they are reavers, pyromaniacs, capricious warlords and stormcallers.
  • Substance (Form / Matter / States) (Alchemists) – Substance is the Principle of the physical, observable and tangible realm. Stone, earth and the trappings of mortal beings are under this purview, as is pretty much anything that is concrete and established. Legends of Substance tend to be “down to earth” to pardon a pun. They’re practical, sensible, rational and patient… but once riled, their fury is that of an avalanche. They also tend to be very crafty and handy yet with a strong materialistic and self-serving streak. A lot of the better scions of Substance end up becoming great artificers, engineers, natural-philosophers and the like while many of the worst are greedy merchants, counterfeiters or demented arms inventors.

The Second Great Principle – Anima, The Triad of the Soul

  • Horizons (Psychopomps or Evokers) – The Principle of Horizons has a lot to do with the interactions between different layers of reality and liminal points within the material and conceptual as well. The barriers and accesses between the Material Realm and the Otherworlds are complex and the relationship between the various realms impacts the health of each intimately. The transition from one place, one dimension or one state to another are tied up in this Principle, which is greatly interested in bringing what is here and taking it there, or in taking what is already there and bringing it here. The acquisition of new knowledge for the sake of novelty also falls within this purview. Horizon-walkers tend to be restless and curious, always driven with a compelling wanderlust, yearning to see the next sunrise, the next hilltop or the other side of the next doorway. While both scions of Horizons and Concord are adept at travel and movement related magics, they do so from a different conceptual underpinning, and often to different ends; Horizon-walkers are much more interested in dimensional travel, portals, swift movement and summoning. At their best, Evokers are explorers, trailblazers or theorists. At their worst, Evokers are pirates, demonologists and brutal robbers.
  • Life (Lifeshapers) – Life the nurturing Principle of birthing, of springtime, of green growing things and of youth as well as the blood-spattered and heaving Principle of hunger, predation and sex. Growth, physical development and survival epitomize the Principle and its adherents. Lifeshapers are emotional beings who feel deeply and fully, savoring the smells, tastes and sensations of the world about them. Plants and the beasts of the field alike are subject to their will, and they can draw upon a connection with all that lives. Healing the wounded and ill comes easily to the experienced Lifeshaper, but the enterprising Legends soon discover that this is merely the beginning of their command over the flesh. They can mold, twist and warp life into new and original forms, or even from one species into another entirely. At their best, Lifeshapers are healers, midwives, protectors of the wild places and beastfriends. At their worst, these Legends are hedonistic sensualists, vengeful woods-furies or deranged fleshcrafters leaving a trail of leathery gibbering things in their wake.
  • Death (Necromancers) – People die; things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Death is the principle of autumn, night, entropy, disease, dissolution and of course death itself. This influence over destruction also confers some power to influence the destroyed – sites of ruin, corpses and even the departed spirits of the dead are subject to the Necromancer’s will. Especially powerful necromancers dare to actually step across the veil of mortality to walk in the world of the dead and stand face to face with legions of shades that inhabit that place. More than any other Legends, the power of Death’s scions fuels the nightmares and dark imaginings of common people. Magicians affiliated with Death tend to be somber, thoughtful and stoic though often with a certain morbid sense of humor. One thing that might surprise others is that Necromancers are frequently very gentle and compassionate souls. Less surprisingly, others are deeply callous and bitter. At their best, Necromancers are mourners, physicians, mediums and merciful angels of death while at their worst they are serial killers, plague-sowers, vivisectionists and graverobbers surrounded by a horde of rotting slaves.

The Third Great Principle – Telos, The Triad of Judgment

  • Vision (Seers or Visionaries) – Vision is the Principle of higher awareness and greater purpose, taking the other Principles as the building blocks of a better world. Knowledge of the hand of Fate on future, past and far places is used as part of the process of seeking the wisdom to exercise judgment. Without Vision, the world perishes, for the untrammeled energy of Opposition and the purposeless direction of Concord cannot be properly balanced unless there is a balance between them. Vision is the Principle of perspective, intuition and, paradoxically, logic. Visionaries are deeply attuned to their surroundings and the flow and rhythms to be found therein, and have a knack for understanding chance and probability. At their best, scions of Vision are wise men, statesmen and forward-thinking geniuses. At their worst, Visionaries are lost in the mechanisms of Fate and become manipulative gamesters toying with others as mere pawns in a vast game that only the Legends themselves can see.
  • Concord (Concordians) – This is the principle of oneness, connection not only between persons but locations. This is the Principle of order and structure in both society and magic, pushing back the raw chaos that is the beginning of things and putting it into order. Without Concord, there can be no cooperation or direction. Concord is the principle of coming together, combination and cohesion, the bringing of disparate things togetherand of the connections between things. Persuasion, negotiation, travel and anything that brings one thing into contact with another. Concordians are noted for their mastery of spatial magics – they are as interested in unity of space as they are in social unity and so are able to perform feats like bilocation, teleportation and the folding of space. At their best, scions of Concord are mediators, enablers, organizers, promoters of virtuous society and advocates. At their worst, they are reactionaries, cynical manipulators and tyrants.
  • Opposition (Change / Barriers / Conflict) (Contraries or Discordians)– Opposition is the principle of reactions between people, substances and purposes, of physical and societal barriers, and of raw unformed chaos. Accordingly, this principle represents the powerful, primordial Source and motive energy that impels to action and ambition, and is largely considered the Principle most connected to raw, pure magic. Without Opposition, there can be no power and vigor. Opposition is the principle of strife, of struggle and of the pain of a new idea. Innovation and creativity are tightly linked with this Principle. At their best, scions of Opposition are philosophers, questioners, artists, innovators and crusaders. At their worst they are contrarians, nihilists and blood-soaked rebels. They are always dynamic, forceful beings and catalysts of change.

[1] Occida is the name of the continent where the Legend of the Archons takes place.
[2] Legends are persons marked by Fate for great and terrible things, IE named characters in games of LoA. Some Legends are skilled in deliberately, overtly twisting the threads of Fate – in other words, working magic.