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Building an Empire
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Demonsul
 Building an Empire
#1
Galaxyrise

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Alright, a few of you are probably familiar with the fantasy states game I intend to run during the end of/after Crusade on ChocPi by now. First off, this is not the final signups for this game. This is the signups for institutions, but mostly general worldbuilding.

What is this game?
So you know states games? They are turn-based economics and diplomacy simulators that focus on generating as much salt as possible between friends. This is that, but with a few twists. Instead of you all playing wildly different countries disconnected from each other competing in the Great Game, you will be princes and dukes under a toothless Emperor in an empire filled with many competing interests - including powerful non-state institutions spread across the country, making up for their lack of hard power with wealth or influence. Since Spheres was such a success, we're going for a fantasy setting again. But we aren't playing that yet.

Well what is the point of this thread, then?
Working out what country we're playing, and who gets to be the institutions. This being an asymmetric game, we need to work out who the institutions are before regular countries can be designed, since for example, the official religion of the empire may matter when it comes to designing your nation. This will limit your creativity a little when creating the princes of the empire later, but it will also tie you all closer together and prevent you from hoarding your own cultures that nobody else has a stake in.

So what are we doing here?
Two things. One, suggesting ideas for worldbuilding the empire. Two, signing up for institutions, if you like.

For worldbuilding, just come up with ideas! The empire is human-ish and somewhat mundane - enough so that the politics line up with what humans would do, or at least be able to understand without having to pretend to be emotionless molluscs. As for its cultures and traditions, and any cool ideas for individual places or people or the like, you are free to write up whatever you feel like. As for what goes on beyond the borders of the empire, that's mostly down to me, though I am open to ideas and suggestions.

For institutions, consider this - there will be most likely three, possibly four institutions, since I'm aiming for 8-10 players and want the majority to be princes. Two of the institutions have to fill specific roles - one needs to be the organized church, and gets to decide the religion, and one needs to be the wizards guild or equivalent, and gets to decide the magic system. The last I'm leaving open, though suggestions for being the secret service or the adventurer's guild have come up, and I was imagining there being some sort of stateless merchant guild option - though equally people might want to play trade city princes instead. If you're aiming for the open slot(s), you can apply with whatever you like.

I'm probably going to favour people who have played a states game before for the institution roles since they are a big deal in how they are gonna have to constantly interact with everyone else. Don't let this stop you contributing ideas though! Both me and whoever gets picked to play the institutions can still agree to alter the religion/magic/whatever to incorporate the best ideas we all collectively come up with.

That's all there is to it. This is just a little worldbuilding for now. Have fun!
(This post was last modified: 06-04-2018, 01:43 AM by Demonsul.)
06-04-2018, 01:41 AM
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a52
 RE: Building an Empire
#2
( stupid dumb ) and idiot

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I really like the idea of this, but I'm kind of confused as to how it works. Can you give us an example of each type of post?
06-04-2018, 02:10 AM
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Demonsul
 RE: Building an Empire
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Galaxyrise

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It's just idea brainstorming for the most part, though institution applications should be more comprehensive if you actually want to play the institution and aren't just throwing ideas around. There's no real structure to it yet, this is just worldbuilding for the eventual game. So the first kind of post could easily be like "wouldn't it be cool if..." or "there's this group of goblins, see..." or something like that.

Second type is similar, but make it clear you want to apply for an institution, and its ideas should try to be a little more complete. So for example, a religious institution application would include the gods, the structure of the church, whether there is divine magic and vaguely what it's like if so, and stuff like that. You can offer religious ideas without actually applying to be the church if you want, there's no iron-cast rules here.
06-04-2018, 02:27 AM
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Bramzter
 RE: Building an Empire
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So is this gonna be like crownish in practice? if so i am up for it, I'll post some neat world-building ideas later when i have written some up.
06-04-2018, 08:13 AM
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Protoman
 RE: Building an Empire
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Here's a go at an institutions app! It's a WIP for now, will have to consult with the GM and generally brainstorm to figure out a few specifics, but for now, anything in brackets is most certainly gonna get changed at some point. Hit me up via PMs or my Skype or Discord if ya got it if you wanna discuss anything specific about it or if I've edged in on the territory of an idea you're interested in!

Name: The Union of Heroes, Monster Slayers, and Defenders of Mercy.
Less Bullshit Colloquial Name: The Adventurer's Guild.
Guild Leader: Grandmaster-Syndic Nasrin I.
Function: On the side of labor: providing organization, contracts, and collective bargaining power to adventurers; that is to say, people who embark on quests to slay evil creatures, defeat tyrannical skeleton-kings, and rid your garden of sentient slime. On the side of the customer: providing quality contractors, freelancers, and mercenaries to defeat any threat to the good people of your realm.
History: The guild is a fairly recent addition to the empire, only a little over half a century old. Following in the wake of the Blood Moon and the subsequent Red Tide, the seeming inability of the Empire or its princes to properly raise a military that could immediately answer the needs of all its people became apparent. Out from the most devastated villages and townships came a new sort of warrior: the Adventurer.

Ill-equipped, without noble title, and with nothing to their name but their courage, bands of these adventurers ventured far from their homes to slay the evils that lapped at the fringes of Imperial society. They fought, bled, and died, not for fame, fortune, and valor, but to protect the innocent, to send the wicked to their doom, and to end the suffering of the oppressed. Many died, but some? Some had the temerity to win.

Fame might not have been their goal, but it was theirs all the same. Their names echoed throughout the hamlets and beer-halls, in farmstead and workshop alike. A paradigm shift occurred as people realized that a hero need not be of noble birth or blue blood. A hero needed only a valiant soul. More took up arms, and in time, the bands of adventurers turned into bands of bands. Soon, a guild was formed across the empire, a place where the bold children of peasants, burghers, fishers and craftsmen could follow in the footsteps of those legendary greats.

Over the years, the guild has grown prominent, almost even respected. Some resent it for its role as a paramilitary organization, criticizing it as inherently disruptive. Others resent it for its core ideals, claiming that it incites within the lower classes airs of grandeur suited only for their betters. None, however, can ignore the good it does on a daily basis.

Strengths: Decentralized: The guild's decentralized nature allows it to better respond to local needs, prevents high-level systemic corruption, and makes it tremendously hard to stamp out.

Solidarity: The guild is made up of the common people, and thus share a special bond with them. A great deal of trust exists between members of the guild and the peasants and burghers they serve.

Armed With Valor: The guild has a reputation for producing tremendously talented and brave individuals. Its warriors, while numbering few in any given region compared to any local army and not always well-equipped, tend to be frighteningly deft with their weapons.

[Piety?]: Depending on the nature of religion in the empire - specifically how it relates to matters of class - the guild will likely be either tremendously faithful, or have a great deal of tension with it.

Weaknesses: Decentralized: The guild's decentralized nature ALSO makes it incredibly hard to organize against larger threats. It imposes a greater difficulty in enforcing guild regulations, fighting low-level corruption, and getting guild profits to reach the higher levels.

Class Conflict: Almost all of the guild bleeds red. What few nobles exist within the guild are without influence, typically being the seventieth child of some backwater baron. Dealing directly with the nobility is difficult, and some members of the guild chafe at working for or with particularly cruel lords. In addition, the guild has no chance of expanding through political marriage - at least not in a way that would be considered legitimate by most blue-bloods.

Morality: The guild has a reputation for do-goodery, and thus attracts a high number of people unwilling to fight for causes which directly harm the innocent. Certainly, some are here for gold and glory, and may grumble in resentment at lost job opportunities, but most are utterly unwilling to raise their blade simply to hear the jingling of coin in their pocket.

Leader Biography: Born in the last days of the Blood Tide, Nasrin's early life was spent in the misery of a community trying to rebuild. Her village had been racked by the abominations, leaving the land blighted, many dead, and the survivors broken. She was born to a widowing mother, her father having departed from this world after finding himself incapable of dealing with the aftermath of what he'd seen. Her mother, Zahra, held on in spite of the hardship, holding out hope for her only child. She was a kind and loving woman, and raised her daughter to be much the same. No matter what, Zahra did all she could to provide a gentle place for her daughter in a harsh world.

The years passed. As Nasrin reached the cusp of adulthood, the Grimgrave Skelelord Mortemitrix rose from her bone palace upon the hidden island of Strasgard and began her invasion of the land. Word spread, and the name of the fledgling adventurer's guild was in everyone's mouths. Nasrin abandoned the loving arms of her mother in favor of service. She had been taught goodness by her mother, and goodness she would do. She joined, and she fought, and she fought well. In time, she distinguished herself as one of the greatest fighters in her army, possessed by untold courage. In the five years that followed, she rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the lieutenant of the first-generation legend Dalibor of the Dead-Eye, a skilled archer said to be able to shoot a pigeon out of the sky from a mile away without looking.

She was present at the final battle against the Mortemitrix the Dastardly, fighting face-to-face with the Skelelord. She accompanied Dalibor as well as a berserker great-sword user named Gauntblade Gaubert, a stealth expert and mid-ranged combatant named Urpi the Swift, and the greatest of the first-generation heroes, first Syndic of the guild, a woman known as Kiri the Ironsoul. The battle raged on and on, until finally Mortemitrix was banished from this realm, for a time - as Kiri laid dying.

The war was over, but the guild went into mourning. Nasrin, for her part, went home. She reunited with her beloved mother, married, and had a child - all while remaining in the public light. After the death of the Ironsoul, Old Gaubert was elected as the second Syndic, and Nasrin took a position of prominence in the guild - one even greater than she'd had before. She had attained a rank no second-generation hero previously had, and her fame did not fade. When the time came for Gaubert to retire, the choice for the Third Syndic was easy.

Nasrin is rather uncomfortable with her position, preferring the simple do-goodery of adventuring life to fame and management. Still, she is no shirker, and she has accepted the responsibility thrust upon her shoulders. She will serve as best she can while she can, and to someday return home to her village, content to spend the last days of her life with her husband, daughter and grandchildren.

Leader Strengths: Veteran Hero: Nasrin was one of the greatest warriors of her age. She distinguished herself in the Bone Wars, having been a direct participant in the Second Battle of Cadaver Castle and a member of the Band of Five that slew the Grimgrave Skelelord Mortemitrix in the final battle. Is well respected in her own guild, and has had little resistance to her election.

Martial Reputation: Nasrin is known by any who have lived long enough to remember the rise and fall of Skelelord Mortemitrix. Her name commands some amount of respect from those who are involved in or particularly interested in military matters - even if it is sometimes a begrudging respect.

Leader Weaknesses: Peasant Background: This character was born a peasant. They lack the prestige and opportunity that comes with nobility, are probably looked down upon by those who are particularly inclined towards blue-bloods, and have only what education the years have bestowed upon them. Illiterate.

Age: Nasrin is in her early fifties. She is in good health for now, but her time in this world is limited, and she will need to start scouring the ranks of the guild for a successor in the coming decades.

Elected: Nasrin does not rule by divine right or noble lineage. She is an elected leader, and leads only through the consent of the guild. Should they ever decide she has led poorly, they can have a recall election.
(This post was last modified: 06-14-2018, 04:05 AM by Protoman.)
06-04-2018, 09:51 AM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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I'll be going as the Wizard's Guild. Just lemme get around to writing it.

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06-04-2018, 04:35 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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Name: The Union of Artificers and Infusers
Colloquial Name: The Tinkers
Leader: Chief World-Interrogator Orethine

Function: The Union of Artificers and Infusers has three major functions within the empire, listed as follows

One: The Union is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public works projects, such as roads, sanitation systems, menial golems, and municipal lighting.

Two: The Union supplies weapons and equipment for most armed services within the Empire; this includes standardized spell-rifles, war golems, medical supplies, the occasional flying machine, and numerous logistical aids used for moving supplies and equipment to the front.

Three: The Union is charged with investigating the vagueries of the world's function (particularly pertaining to the flow of Shadow), and using what they learn to produce new devices that benefit the nation.

History: The Union of Artificers and Infusers is an institution that has existed in nascent form for around 250 years, but it has only received official recognition in the last century or so. This was largely due to various nobles and clergy stomping all over any would-be Tinkers whenever they were found. In the case of the nobles, it was due primarily to them wanting to maintain a status quo where they were unquestionably on top. Meanwhile in the case of the clergy, it was due to Tinkers being prominent atheists for the most part (hence challenging the status quo where the church was on top).

About a hundred and fifty years ago however, everything changed when the first crude Golems were developed. Within a year the Tinkers had claimed a province in the northern part of the empire, and quickly set about producing an army of automatons to keep the armies of the nobility at bay. For thirty years they managed to hold out simply due to sheer superiority in Artifacts, Infusions and Golems. Then everything came crashing down around the Tinkers' due to one simple factor they had overlooked.

All the Tinkers' gear ran on a mystical substance known as Shadow, which had built up untapped in the environment for centuries. The Tinkers' rapid industrialization however had rapidly depleted all the ambient Shadow in the region they had claimed, and at that time they didn't know how to artificially make more. In an instant, their Golem army ground to a halt along with the grandest of their machines. They still had Infusions and what Artifacts could be powered by the souls of their users, but that was simply not enough to deal with the vast numerical advantage enjoyed by the rest of the Empire.

After the war, the nobility and the church looked upon all the Tinkers had managed to build, and decided that they were going to have that for themselves if at all possible. They forced the Union of Artificers and Infusers to sign an extremely lopsided treaty, before spending the next fifteen years painstakingly trying to mold the Tinkers into a compliant instrument of their will. This was partially successful, in that while they got the Tinkers to at the very least stop outright rebelling (save for a few minor uprisings here and there in the forty years after the war), Artificers and Infusers in general hold a major antipathy for both the nobility and the church.

Inner Workings: An intangible fluid known as Shadow flows through the world; if properly prodded, it can be induced to assume the form of any form of matter or energy that may exist, or it can manifest as self-aware spirits which can be put to various tasks. Shadow is everywhere, any creature with a soul produces significant quantities of it just by existing, and most unaltered humans are nearly incapable of directly interacting with it.

Given this limitation, there are two major ways of harnessing Shadow; Artificing and Infusing. Artificing is the process of constructing a device of some kind which is able to consume Shadow as fuel to produce some sort of function; on the civilian end of things, this includes sewerage pumps, lighting without smoke or fire-hazards, and various useful labor-saving appliances. On the military side, it includes spell rifles able to shoot blast of exotic energies, blades crackling with flaming lightning, and armor that can amplify the physical abilities of its wearer as long as sufficient Shadow is provided.

Infusing meanwhile works by altering a person so they can more proficiently alter Shadow. The process of being Infused is the exact opposite of pleasant, as it involves having patterns painstakingly etched into one's soul. Each Infusion provides a single power to the recipient which cannot practically be taken from them. Make no mistake, it can be done, but the damage to the victim's soul is often such that you may as well have ordered them executed anyway. Most people can only survive enough trauma to their soul to support 3-5 Infusions, but exceptional individuals with strong souls can potentially have up to twenty. Receiving Infusions negatively impacts the rate at which a person generates Shadow.

Both Artificing and Infusing are heavily limited by the amount of Shadow available to work with; while Artifacts can have internal Shadow reservoirs and burn mundane fuels to generate more Shadow, a sufficiently energetic fuel to exploit the Conjuration Imbalance and produce infinite Shadow has yet to be discovered. Meanwhile, those with Infusions are most often limited by the amount of Shadow their soul can produce, meaning they often need significant amounts of rest after major magical exertion.

Golem manufacture requires elements of both Artificing and Infusing. After all, a Golem's body is nothing but a particularly complex Artifact. A golem's mind however is something else entirely. To make a golem's mind, raw Shadow has to be pumped through the soul of someone with a specialized Infusion. This causes the Shadow processed in this manner to take on some of the qualities of the subject's mind, granting it just enough sentience to provide decision-making capacity for the golem in question. A golem usually needs some sort of external source of Shadow however, on account of the fact that they don't have a true Soul to generate Shadow with.

Organization Strengths:

-Dug In: Most of the Tinkers' main laboratory complexes are dug deep into the ground so they can more easily get at geothermal energy for a cheap supply of Shadow to work with. As said complexes are often filled with advanced security measures, high-performance prototype weapons, and a downright paranoid level of backup supplies, this means that trying to invade or besiege a Tinker lab is often more trouble than it is worth.

-Bleeding Edge: The Union of Artificers and Infusers not only has all the best toys; they're the source of all the best toys. As such, the Tinkers are generally the best at building basically anything, with a persistent edge in terms of capabilities.

-The Master Plans: As the architects of most of the Empire's current public works projects and many military structures, the Tinkers have the blueprints for nearly every significant building in the nation filed away in their archives. As such, they have a significantly easier time improving on these pieces of infrastructure, infiltrating them, or sending them crashing to the ground with a single well-placed bomb.

Organization Weaknesses:

-Heresy: It is, and always has been the official position of the Tinkers that a rational view of the world's workings has no room for gods of any kind. As you may imagine this severely upsets the religious demographics, especially the higher-ups in the church.

-Grumble-Inducing Obligations: As part of the treaty which barred the Church from continuing to hunt Tinkers as heretics, the Union of Artificers and Infusers found themselves obligated to fulfill any request from a Noble for either Artifacts or Infusions to the best of their ability. Refusing to meet these obligations can be met with fines at the very least, possibly all the way up to the refusing Tinker being forcibly bound to the nobles' service.

-A Bad Reputation: Given the Union's history of less-than-ethical research, particularly where Infusions and related subjects are concerned, many still do not trust them. This isn't helped by the fact that those receiving Infusions are to this day often still traumatized by the process, seeing as it is still one of the most painful experiences a person can survive, even with heavy anaesthesia.

Leader Biography: Chief World-Interrogator Orethine is an enigmatic figure shrouded in rumours. One of the most prolific is the conspiracy theory that they are in fact nothing more than a soul, ripped from their body and kept on this earth beyond their time in an unliving mechanical husk. On her part, Orethine thinks this is a wonderful idea, but has deemed it impractical with current methods. On the other hand, she has integrated several artifacts into her body however, thinking them to be a lot less painful to receive than an equivalent Infusion.

Orethine first came to the Union of Artificers and Infusers as an act of teenage rebellion; her stiflingly religious parents had done their level best to crush all the free-will out of her, and in response she barged into the nearest Tinker lab and declared that she would be joining whether the people there wanted her to or not. From this single event intended mostly to spite her parents, Orethine's life would take a drastic turn.

Thirty years after first joining the Union of Artificers and Infusers, Orethine found herself thrust into the role of Chief World-Interrogator, charged with directing the probing into the secrets of the world that the Tinkers continue with to this day. Orethine's getting up there in years now, only remaining as agile as she is due to replacing significant portions of her body with golem parts in an effort to develop better prosthetics.

Leader Strengths:
-Expert Scientist: Orethine wouldn't have been put in her position if she didn't know her stuff; while not the outright best researcher the Tinkers have, Orethine is definitely up there.

-Augmented Body: Orethine is the living testbed for the Tinkers' forays into golem-based augmentations. As such she has significant physical advantages over unmodified humans, especially when it comes to sustained force.

Leader Weaknesses:
-Heretic: While the religious authorities generally despise those who declare that the gods don't exist, they particularly despise the leader of the biggest faction of atheists in the empire. As such, Orethine needs to tread carefully when outside the Tinkers' heavily fortified laboratory complexes, lest someone take a shot at her.

-Ill Health: Orethine is currently seventy-six years of age. Barring a serious improvement to medical technology, her days are sharply numbered and she knows it.

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(This post was last modified: 06-09-2018, 08:21 PM by The Just Writer.)
06-04-2018, 09:52 PM
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Demonsul
 RE: Building an Empire
#8
Galaxyrise

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That looks really good, both of you! I can't see anything wrong with the adventurers other than them being very old for a young guild (by the time multiple generations have been born and died in the time the guild has been around, it's probably become part of the old guard) which I spoke to you about already.

I really like the tinkers. They are a lot more technologically advanced than I envisioned for the game, but I really like the magitech theme. Maybe dial it back a little bit - trains, for example, are such a game-changer for economics and I wanted this to be a medieval-early renaissance economy rather than a late industrial one. (Though if you want to research towards that stuff once the game starts, I fully encourage that.) The weapons are definitely fun, though. Another thing to note is that I will probably do longer turns when there are no imminent wars and crises - probably five years at a time - so if things start off at peace, your first ruler may not be around for very long.
(This post was last modified: 06-05-2018, 03:21 PM by Demonsul.)
06-05-2018, 03:20 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-05-2018, 03:20 PM)Demonsul Wrote: That looks really good, both of you! I can't see anything wrong with the adventurers other than them being very old for a young guild (by the time multiple generations have been born and died in the time the guild has been around, it's probably become part of the old guard) which I spoke to you about already.

I really like the tinkers. They are a lot more technologically advanced than I envisioned for the game, but I really like the magitech theme. Maybe dial it back a little bit - trains, for example, are such a game-changer for economics and I wanted this to be a medieval-early renaissance economy rather than a late industrial one. (Though if you want to research towards that stuff once the game starts, I fully encourage that.) The weapons are definitely fun, though. Another thing to note is that I will probably do longer turns when there are no imminent wars and crises - probably five years at a time - so if things start off at peace, your first ruler may not be around for very long.
Hmmm, well I can think of one plausible way for trains to not be a thing, despite Golems being more complicated and developed later. Basically, the Nobles want to keep the uppity peasants from having an easy means of transportation. Hence, railways and similar means of mass transit are banned.

EDIT: Actually, coming to think of it, the Tinker Uprising could have been the spark that lead to the creation of the Adventurer's Guild, seeing as the history section for that organization says they were founded in the wake of a crisis in the last two centuries, which was about the time of the Tinkers attempting to take over the country.

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(This post was last modified: 06-05-2018, 05:18 PM by The Just Writer.)
06-05-2018, 05:08 PM
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MQuinny1234
 RE: Building an Empire
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This suggestion may complicate things more than they make things interesting, but looking at the image provided, the borders between the lands of the city-states could be changeable between the years. In that the rivers flowing throughout the country change from slightly to greatly each year, as the water flows down from between the mountains onto the plains. Perhaps the earthquakes are prone to surface-changing earthquakes, or a strong presence of beavers, or the mountain areas are easily eroded by water passage so fluctuate easily.

"Don't get me started on Henchmen."
06-06-2018, 12:07 AM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-06-2018, 12:07 AM)MQuinny1234 Wrote: This suggestion may complicate things more than they make things interesting, but looking at the image provided, the borders between the lands of the city-states could be changeable between the years. In that the rivers flowing throughout the country change from slightly to greatly each year, as the water flows down from between the mountains onto the plains. Perhaps the earthquakes are prone to surface-changing earthquakes, or a strong presence of beavers, or the mountain areas are easily eroded by water passage so fluctuate easily.
Putting in my two cents, it seems like a pain in the ass to balance.

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06-06-2018, 01:27 AM
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MQuinny1234
 RE: Building an Empire
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That's probably true, just something that occurred to me when staring at the picture.

"Don't get me started on Henchmen."
06-06-2018, 01:52 AM
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Demonsul
 RE: Building an Empire
#13
Galaxyrise

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Re:trains, factories and and other things that'd completely up-end the economy and break down the barriers between individual city economies, I'd prefer they simply didn't exist to start with. If you can't find a way to factor that in that relies on the six or seven noble/prince players not immediately turning around and adopting trains the moment the game starts, I'm not gonna be a huge fan. Especially since we don't know what the church is yet - for all we know, they could be entirely supportive of your idea of progress (though I'd prefer if this entire empire didn't turn into a tech-cult).
(This post was last modified: 06-06-2018, 02:32 PM by Demonsul.)
06-06-2018, 02:27 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-06-2018, 02:27 PM)Demonsul Wrote: Re:trains, factories and and other things that'd completely up-end the economy and break down the barriers between individual city economies, I'd prefer they simply didn't exist to start with. If you can't find a way to factor that in that relies on the six or seven noble/prince players not immediately turning around and adopting trains the moment the game starts, I'm not gonna be a huge fan. Especially since we don't know what the church is yet - for all we know, they could be entirely supportive of your idea of progress (though I'd prefer if this entire empire didn't turn into a tech-cult).
Hmmm... Well, one way to put the kibosh on large-scale industrialization would be to make it so that Artifacts and Infusions require the one making them to have a full-fledged soul. Boom, no longer possible to automate Artifact production.

EDIT: And the reason for the 'heretic' issue is that Tinkers are predominantly atheists, which would probably put a major dent in their standing in the eyes of the devout.

MOAR EDIT: Actually, one way to render long-distance rail travel rather impractical is just for the Empire's terrain to be sufficiently rugged that laying track is prohibitively expensive.

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(This post was last modified: 06-06-2018, 06:57 PM by The Just Writer.)
06-06-2018, 04:10 PM
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Demonsul
 RE: Building an Empire
#15
Galaxyrise

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But then there would still be train tech. There would just be barriers to implementing it - ones imposed by the church, or by greedy nobles, or by the terrain - especially ones that would seriously limit the other players in the empire in a number of other ways. I don't want you to have train tech, or steamboat tech or blast furnace pump tech or anything based on that same idea of a magical engine at the start of the game. If your application relies on having technology beyond that level, your application is too high tech.

I don't want industrialization to play a big role in this game. That was the last one I ran. :P
06-07-2018, 09:27 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-07-2018, 09:27 PM)Demonsul Wrote: But then there would still be train tech. There would just be barriers to implementing it - ones imposed by the church, or by greedy nobles, or by the terrain - especially ones that would seriously limit the other players in the empire in a number of other ways. I don't want you to have train tech, or steamboat tech or blast furnace pump tech or anything based on that same idea of a magical engine at the start of the game. If your application relies on having technology beyond that level, your application is too high tech.

I don't want industrialization to play a big role in this game. That was the last one I ran. :P

Then that is a problem. I cannot think of a logical arrangement of technologies then, which would not allow for motorized transport, but would also allow for Golems. And in its current state, Golems are required for the Tinkers' backstory to make sense. I suppose that I could re-write the Tinkers to be at an earlier period in their development, before the development of Golems.

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06-08-2018, 02:40 PM
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CSJ
 RE: Building an Empire
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God, I remember these games. Give me a mo.
06-09-2018, 02:03 PM
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CSJ
 RE: Building an Empire
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Name: The Most Divine Nakikan Church of the Immortal Emperor
Colloquial Name: The High Church
Leader/s: His Holiness Suchos Lagarto, the Eighty-Eighth Grand Nakhan (de facto) / The Oracles of Nak (de jure)
Function: Many, including;
- Regulation of Worship
- Tithe collection & expenditure
- Maintaining balance and harmony among the Seven
- Ensuring the blessing of the Gods
- Handling the Sacred Crocodiles
-- Caring for the Sacred Crocodiles
-- Feeding the Sacred Crocodiles
- Monitoring the piety of the nation
- Elimination of 'Unholy Witchery'
- Preventing the Emperor from turning his back on the Will of Nak

History & Organisation: Imposed long ago upon the nations by the first Lord Emperor to deify his predecessor, the High Church is in fact several Churches, each dedicated to one of the Seven Gods. Yes, seven. Certainly not eight. In fact, the number eight is strictly prohibited, as is any assertion of a God of Shadows. Please report any sightings of this glyph or associated personnel to your local Tower of Clemency. Incidentally, each of the Seven is known to favour a different Principality within the Empire and tend to be confined in their worship as a result.

Nak is the chief deity of the Church, having ascended to Godhood after slaying a huge Crocodile Demon that had murdered the original Creator and swallowed the others whole. He absorbed some of the divine power within the Crocodile but had to give up his mortal body to free the Seven Gods. Nak is also called the First Emperor and is the Patron God of Law, Fortune and Crocodiles. The Grand Nakhan is appointed by the Nakikan Council - Two by the Oracles of Nak, three from the Conclave, a representative from each of the Seven, one from the Emperor and observers from the Guilds and Tinkerers.

The Oracles first descended from the youngest daughter of Nak, but have since recruited more widely, though only those whom have received His blessing are permitted to join. They reside within the Holy Temple of Nak; a spire built around the Sacred Mountain, believed to be the site where Nak defeated the Demon. They are responsible for receiving divine guidance from Nak, which is then passed to the High Church and the people of the lands. It is unknown to those beyond the Oracles how 'The Blessing' operates, but it is a sign that appears first on the palm before spreading across the body, until all is encased in scales marked with the glyph of Nak. Those who wish to reject the Blessing can petition the Oracles for guidance as they alone and prevent it from spreading past its earliest stages. As the Blessing develops, they receive great visions as their connection to the Bright increases, eventually overwhelming their senses; many of the Oracles lose their mortal sight, perceiving only the Shadow and Bright.

Few of the Oracles leave the Holy Temple once their blessing is complete, but some do wander across the realm as scholars or advisors; typically those that retain some mortal sight. Most encounters with 'The Blessed' are with those who rejected Him, either halting the transformation or devolving into one of the Sacred Crocodiles - such is the fate of Oracles that disobey the will of Nak.

Below the reclusive Oracles is the Conclave; a body of priests and devotees in the service of Nak. There are fewer Shrines to Nak compared to the Seven, but they are more widely dispersed across the nations and fortified to protect the riches and power within. Each is built in the form of a step pyramid on lands belonging to the High Church - only Church laws are recognised on their grounds. The Nakathedral is the most resplendent headquarters of the High Church, facing the Imperial Palace. It is there that the Grand Nakhan leads the Conclave, receiving wisdom from the Oracle and hosting the Nakikan Council.

Traditionally, all the Churches have called upon all people to shun what the tinkerers call 'The Shadow' - a mysterious force associated with the Ascension of Nak. Rather, the powers provided by the Seven - 'The Bright' is instead enshrined as the primordial life-force, flowing down from the heavens and fuelling 'traditional' magic rather than the earthly, 'tainted' substance expended by the 'Lower Magics'. After a series of conflicts with the Tinkerers however, the High Church was forced to accept Tinkerer activities and operations, but not without a significant deal of distrust and suspicion.

Peace was maintained until the Golem Uprising of 4130 AI (Anno Imperium), all forms of 'artificial magical life' were forbidden - in exchange for a series of concessions and deals between the two agencies. For instance, it was determined that 'non-living' constructs could be used for certain purposes. Of course, the definition of "life" is a tightly-guarded matter between the Tinkerers and the High Church. Certain other regulations on Tinkerer technology are maintained, though not without difficulty and there are always whispers around those rumoured to disobey the Church's statutes.

Due to their connection to Divine favour as well as being the spiritual agency responsible for anointing and legitimising Emperors, the High Church holds considerable sway over the Empire, though never directly: neither Oracles, nor members of the Conclave can sit on a throne without abandoning their position and powers. Only once has this occurred, following the 'Years of Dark'. The 'Dark Emperor' reigned, having brutally seized shrines of the Church to power his malevolent madness. The 'Oracle Queen' descended from the Temple, smote the Emperor for his sins and became regent for the only remaining heir of the last unblemished Emperor, who had fled to the Oracles for protection. She lost her Blessing, the Sight and her divine strength, saving the new Emperor's life and bringing forth a golden age that ended the moral and physical decay of the Years of Dark. It is their descendants that still reign, though the lustre of those times has long departed.

Strengths:
Authority - The pious tremble at the words of the Oracles of Nak, for doom has come to many that shun them.

Wealth - As befitting a God of Fortune, the coffers of the High Church are vast and supported by Church tithes, which are distributed by it between the Seven for its operations and the general welfare of citizens. Each Shrine also hosts many artefacts and objects of beauty and magic, as well as sealing objects of dark and forbidden origins.

Knowledge - The Nakathedral Library specialises on matters of history, law and the divine, but it is the mysterious archives of the Oracles that is envied throughout the world. Wandering Oracles are also highly sought-after though their patronage is difficult to acquire.

Presence - The High Church; unlike the Emperor, is everywhere. Its agents can be found within all of the states and its devotees are great in number, despite few places of worship. Those it does have however, are monumental in size and highly secure. The High Church is not referred to derisively as the 'Spies Guild' without reason.

Power - The Oracles are feared and respected (in that order) due to the powers granted by Nak and their authority over the Seven Churches. They can harness magical forces from across the Empire, though only when and where they choose to do so.

Divination - The Oracles receive many visions and portents of the future, though their sharing is limited and mostly confined to the High Church.

Weaknesses:
Reclusive - The Oracles are so hesitant to interact with the realm at large that most acts (and individuals) are deemed 'below their station'. Instead, the Grand Nakhan does their best to handle the operations of the High Church during their absence.

Lawful - They may have some measure of influence upon the letter of the law, but they are also bound to adhere to is, as demanded by Nak himself. Those violating it must either atone (if permitted) or be cast out. Some of the worst atrocities in living memory can be traced to Oracles exiled from the Holy Temple
that gave in to temptation or otherwise communed with forces beyond mortal comprehension.

Numbers - While the High Church may have many followers and a wide reach, the hierarchy itself is small and the Oracles themselves are effectively absent. Instead, the High Church relies on the support of each Shrine and the surrounding lands.

Piety - The High Church relies on piety and Divine favour for much of its power and prestige. The numbers of those rejecting the Blessing increased to the point that twenty years ago, the Oracles no longer accepted denial, leaving those that refused to join to their fate. Nobody has been Blessed for some time and with the Temple's gates shut, murmurs abound as to whether the Oracles themselves may have lost Divine favour.

Dispersed - So wide and varied are the tasks required by the realm and terrible the consequences of failure that the High Church struggles to maintain its strength.

Rivalries - The High Church receives opposition at times from other agencies within the Empire, particularly the Tinkerers, whose attempts at either 'heretical arts' or 'progress' (depending on whom you believe) have led to what is essentially a 'Silent War' between them, with only enough co-operation between them to avoid outright civil war.

Leader Biography: Suchos Lagarto is an interesting figure; raised as the only son of one of the Viziers in the capitol, Suchos chose the priesthood over the civil service. A childhood friend of the current Emperor, it was hoped that his election after two decades of service in the Imperial Household as a religious advisor would reduce tensions between him and the Church. However, the pressures of both offices and the Emperor's temperamental state have seen the High Church fail for the most part to ensure their interests are met.

Suchos is calm and reserved, keeping a tight inner circle and hesitant at times in making connections beyond his network of associates and acquaintances. However, his grasp of bureaucracy and finance is strong, augmenting his theosophical and rhetorical knowledge. Now well into middle age, his gaunt face and modest robes are a familiar face within the Empire, though his limited authority and lack of natural charisma have hampered the Church's ability to rally the masses as it once did.

Leader Strengths:
Adept Administrator - Lagarto's handling of coin has improved the position of the Church during a time of significant instability and managed its stretched resources with great care.

Ordained by the Oracle - As Grand Nakhan, Largato has consulted deeply with the Oracle's representatives within the Nakathedral and earned their trust and respect. As well as being under their protection, he benefits from their visions and guidance, adding it to his already noteworthy intellect.

Leader Weaknesses:

Indolent Intrigue - Lacking an interest in the skullduggery commonly seen in Court politics, he has placed less emphasis on the monitoring and espionage powers of the High Church.

Dry Demeanour - While many expect a religious leader to be zealous and outspoken, Largato's quiet nature outside of public duties makes his ability to mobilise the Church that much harder, despite overall popularity and trust.
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2018, 07:58 PM by CSJ.)
06-09-2018, 07:36 PM
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CSJ
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-08-2018, 02:40 PM)The Just Writer Wrote: I cannot think of a logical arrangement of technologies then, which would not allow for motorized transport, but would also allow for Golems

Really?

Perhaps there's limits on the size of the golems before they collapse. Perhaps the machines that make them work are cumbersome and expensive to run. Perhaps the limited quantities of Shadow mean that such draining industries have never arisen.

Maybe magic or animal-powered transport is so much more effective as a means of transport right now that it's not even of interest to most people?


The Greeks discovered the power of steam in the 1st Century but the Newcomen engine didn't exist until ~1712 and early rail locomotives didn't appear for another century after that.
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2018, 07:53 PM by CSJ.)
06-09-2018, 07:53 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-09-2018, 07:53 PM)CSJ Wrote:
(06-08-2018, 02:40 PM)The Just Writer Wrote: I cannot think of a logical arrangement of technologies then, which would not allow for motorized transport, but would also allow for Golems

Really?

Perhaps there's limits on the size of the golems before they collapse. Perhaps the machines that make them work are cumbersome and expensive to run. Perhaps the limited quantities of Shadow mean that such draining industries have never arisen.

Maybe magic or animal-powered transport is so much more effective as a means of transport right now that it's not even of interest to most people?


The Greeks discovered the power of steam in the 1st Century but the Newcomen engine didn't exist until ~1712 and early rail locomotives didn't appear for another century after that.
Hmmm... Possible ideas

1: Current Artifact motors/muscles require synchronization to a Soul or Golem Imprint in order to activate; since Golem Imprints are derived from the Soul of an existing being, they have to be in the shape of said existing being for the Imprint to make much sense of it, barring an absurd amount of effort invested in basically lobotomizing several dozen Imprints in a carefully controlled manner just to get a single machine to work. Conveniently, this also allows for power armor and the Chief World-Interrogator's cybernetics.

2: Flying machines are possible, but presently require an utterly absurd quantity of Shadow to stay in the air, as lift balloons haven't been discovered yet, and knowledge of aerodynamics are limited.

3: Methods of creating a heat engine to produce Shadow do exist, but are sufficiently bulky that they have to exist as fixed installations.

EDIT: CSJ, it would be appreciated if you would go into a bit more detail about what the Bright is actually used for and how it works. At present, it is more than a little confusing.

MOAR EDIT: Curiously, if someone doesn't want the blessing, would amputating the offending limb and replacing it with a golematic augment work?

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(This post was last modified: 06-09-2018, 08:39 PM by The Just Writer.)
06-09-2018, 08:14 PM
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CSJ
 RE: Building an Empire
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Well, I guess what I probably should've implied is that Demonsul alluded to a 'softer' setting, so the easiest way to work off that is to make space for 'unknowns' within the setting. The intent with 'The Bright' is to be a living, powerful, but poorly-defined and variable source of 'divine magic' which is monopolised by the Churches. To interact with it, you either have to be inherently linked to it or leech off those that can via rituals - magical devices and objects are extremely limited and organic. Because it's alive, it often seems to act with a mind of its own, depending on which Gods it's influenced by, making it a nightmare to work with without an empathic approach. Why exactly this energy emanates from the divine planes isn't really important for the Church, so long as it works. No, you can't use it to fuel a babbage engine but maybe you can use it to float yourself in the air or make a quill that you can command verbally/telepathically.

I'd like to leave plenty of space for people writing factions to decide what kind of local divine magic they're after and how it's used.

Re; The Shadow, I think the question boils down to what kind of golems you're after. Are they bodies with spirits shoved into them or wind-up toys powered by magical oil? Are their brains purely magical, or programmed? Stuff like that. Golems in the traditional sense are more or less just blobs of clay brought into an imperfect form of life, for instance.

The breaking-point isn't the golems and 'infusion', it's the magical-dynamite aspect of artificing, whereby it can be used to create multiple kinds of energy at once. If the Artificers only knew how to reliably 'burn' Shadows to create light and heat and use its flow as a current to generate kinetic energy, then that limits the kinds of devices they can make using it. Making the golems (or at least, the earlier/current models) more low-tech is the easy bypass.
06-09-2018, 09:19 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-09-2018, 09:19 PM)CSJ Wrote: Well, I guess what I probably should've implied is that Demonsul alluded to a 'softer' setting, so the easiest way to work off that is to make space for 'unknowns' within the setting. The intent with 'The Bright' is to be a living, powerful, but poorly-defined and variable source of 'divine magic' which is monopolised by the Churches. To interact with it, you either have to be inherently linked to it or leech off those that can via rituals - magical devices and objects are extremely limited and organic. Because it's alive, it often seems to act with a mind of its own, depending on which Gods it's influenced by, making it a nightmare to work with without an empathic approach. Why exactly this energy emanates from the divine planes isn't really important for the Church, so long as it works. No, you can't use it to fuel a babbage engine but maybe you can use it to float yourself in the air or make a quill that you can command verbally/telepathically.

I'd like to leave plenty of space for people writing factions to decide what kind of local divine magic they're after and how it's used.

Re; The Shadow, I think the question boils down to what kind of golems you're after. Are they bodies with spirits shoved into them or wind-up toys powered by magical oil? Are their brains purely magical, or programmed? Stuff like that. Golems in the traditional sense are more or less just blobs of clay brought into an imperfect form of life, for instance.

The breaking-point isn't the golems and 'infusion', it's the magical-dynamite aspect of artificing, whereby it can be used to create multiple kinds of energy at once. If the Artificers only knew how to reliably 'burn' Shadows to create light and heat and use its flow as a current to generate kinetic energy, then that limits the kinds of devices they can make using it. Making the golems (or at least, the earlier/current models) more low-tech is the easy bypass.
The way I'm rolling with Golems is basically alternate-physics robotics. The body has to be mechanically sound, even if the motor systems and sensors run on magic. Meanwhile the brain is basically a spirit imprinted off of someone's soul and shoved into the control box, as it were.

And regarding the magical dynamite thing, maybe the weirder the energy type you're trying to induce, the more Shadow you need? Like, heat, light, and kinetic force are pretty straightforward and don't need too much Shadow. Electricity is a tiny bit beyond that, but still considered practical. But when you start screwing aropund with shit like conjuring negative matter, shooting stable particles of the Strong Nuclear Force at people, or twisting the space-time continuum into a knot the Shadow costs start going through the roof.

Anyway, is anyone interested in some speculative astronomy? I for one think it would be awesome if the planet had two moons, with the smaller one orbiting between the big moon and the main planet so it looks like a giant eye from the ground.

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06-09-2018, 10:16 PM
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FlanDab
 RE: Building an Empire
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Gah! This game is so interesting, but I can't decide what I want to be. I was thinking to be some sort of educational institution like a university, or some kind craft guild. I would like some suggestions.

(06-09-2018, 10:16 PM)The Just Writer Wrote: -snip-

Anyway, is anyone interested in some speculative astronomy? I for one think it would be awesome if the planet had two moons, with the smaller one orbiting between the big moon and the main planet so it looks like a giant eye from the ground.

Ooh. I was thinking the university to be some sort of philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and science hub.

Though, I would think an asteroid orbitting a moon would be impossible since the planet would just suck up the mini-moon, but then again, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is pretty far, and I'm not a certified scientist, so yeah. It's pretty awesome. Perhaps the planet is actually a moon orbitting a gas giant.

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(This post was last modified: 06-09-2018, 10:25 PM by FlanDab.)
06-09-2018, 10:18 PM
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The Just Writer
 RE: Building an Empire
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(06-09-2018, 10:18 PM)FlanDab Wrote: Gah! This game is so interesting, but I can't decide what I want to be. I was thinking to be some sort of educational institution like a university, or some kind craft guild. I would like some suggestions.

(06-09-2018, 10:16 PM)The Just Writer Wrote: -snip-

Anyway, is anyone interested in some speculative astronomy? I for one think it would be awesome if the planet had two moons, with the smaller one orbiting between the big moon and the main planet so it looks like a giant eye from the ground.

Ooh. I was thinking the university to be some sort of philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and science hub.

Though, I would think an asteroid orbitting a moon would be impossible since the planet would just suck up the mini-moon, but then again, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is pretty far, and I'm not a certified scientist, so yeah. It's pretty awesome. Perhaps the planet is actually a moon orbitting a gas giant.

Actually, my idea was that the smaller moon would be in the larger one's lagrange point, a sort of gravitational equilibrium.

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06-09-2018, 10:52 PM
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Demonsul
 RE: Building an Empire
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Bear in mind that actual country signups - which will be the bulk of the players, as I'm aiming for ten total - are still a ways off.

At no point did I need you guys to make alternative scientific systems. It doesn't have to run on laws as sturdy as thermodynamics. I specifically asked for magic. Technology only existing to allow the creation of dumb and clumsy golems and nothing as neat and efficient as an engine is entirely within the realm of possibility in that regard. My computer was broken for most of today, so I've got a bit of catching up to do, but remember I'm asking you to invent magic, not science. :D
06-10-2018, 02:29 AM
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