Thursday, October 9, 2014

Game Update, 2nd week of October

This week we have some long-needed updates. We'll start with the Wednesday game. The game takes place in 1850s earth. It is much like our real history, but it has discovered advanced, steampunk technology. It revolves around a group of rotating characters from the Mesopotamian, Hindu, Persian and Egyptian pantheons. I have a blast playing this game, but due to some scheduling conflicts it had to move to a every other week schedule.

An amazing group of characters, Shadan, Lionel, Padma, Mohini, and Hao have been some of the most fun I've had GMing in a while. However, for schedules have made that game too difficult to schedule and the need to complete Hero's Journey has put that game on hiatus (until HJ is shipped). It was an incredibly difficult decision, but sacrifices had to be made. We now have only two weekly games to share with you. Gangs of New York takes place in an alternate present full of strange happenings, and Kingdoms of Heaven takes place in a post-Ragnarok future.

((After writing it all down, I decided to only update Kingdoms this week. It is a rollercoaster of a story and I applaud you if you can keep up with all the things. Next week I'll do a big update for Gangs. Hopefully you're able to follow along with the Kingdoms story, if it doesn't make sense... I apologize... it's SO MUCH STUFF!!!))

Kingdoms of Heaven hasn't been updated much since Folkvardr, last remaining Norse god of fate, entered a "fatemoot" with a god of fate from each pantheon in an attempt to rebuild the world.

Many months ago, the Greek pantheon attempted to take over the realm of fate, seeking to defeat the Moirai and take control of destiny to avoid the prophecies of Zeus' downfall. As the rest of her group prepared to help the Greeks, Jioni called in backup to thwart them. Although she had many allies amongst the Greeks, her oldest friend, the dead seer Vala, begged her to do what she could to stop them, and she hoped that by doing so she'd save both Vala and Colin, who had been her friend when he was much younger. However, things went wrong, and her cavalry arrived too late. By the time the Greeks were stopped, both Colin and Vala were sacrificed and fate itself was sent on a crash course towards annihilation.

Although they first were overjoyed at the idea of a world without fate, the heroes (and other gods) quickly realized that this was horrible. With no order, destined events were randomly happening everywhere, and although those who could wield fate were more powerful, so much randomness was happening that they scarcely had the time or energy to take care of it all. Folkvardr teamed up with Manannan mac Lir, his mentor, in an effort to attract one fate-weaver from each pantheon to the most important meeting in history (in Cleveland, Ohio, which due to other disasters is currently a zombietown).

The meeting took two weeks. It involved tweaking the very fabric of reality over and over, and often it was dealing with power that the gods themselves couldn't handle. Folkvardr arrived a couple days late because he was fixing things in Gimli with Sowiljr. Stribog took his place against Folkvardr's wishes, and when Folkvardr finally arrived two days later, he found himself out of his depth and ill-prepared for what was about to occur.

The fatemoot changed everything. The ten gods assembled began to use their own energy to rebuild an entire concept that they knew they couldn't control. While they did it, they were also all secretly working against each other, making holes they could use in the realm, and asserting dominance over fate in ways that only they would profit from. Of course, this led to the realm being created much more slowly than it could have been, and they destroyed much of reality in the process of creating the new realm. I'll list the first participants and try to describe the events as they unfolded. It was truly an insane mix of unprecedented cooperation and complete selfish narcissism.

The Fatemoot Participants:
Manannan mac Lir, Irish god of magic
Nuwa, Chinese goddess of creation
Isis, Egyptian goddess of sorcery
Svantovit, Slavic god of prophecy
Stribog, Slavic god of wind (soon replaced by Folkvardr)
Maquicelotl, Mexica god of freedom (previously known as Jay Ortiz)
Shamash, Mesopotamian god of the sun
Ganesha, Hindu god of wisdom
Orunmila, Yoruba god of divination
Ard, Persian goddess of good fortune

Each of these gods had a history with Folkvardr, and it greatly influenced their interactions with him during the moot.

Manannan mac Lir is Folkvardr's mentor, but also a man filled with incredible sadness and disappointment because of the things Folkvardr had been a part of, which included accidentally contributing to the death of his king Nuada.
Nuwa didn't know Folkvardr until he spent time trying to find her by ignoring the bureaucracy of her people and skipping important protocols. She was only mildly upset by this, but found him adorable.
Svantovit knows both Sowiljr and Folkvardr, who broke into his overworld and ruined his entire life... but he hates him less than Stribog. Nobody likes Stribog.
Stribog was super confused about what was happening and bailed out as soon as Folkvardr arrived.
Maquicelotl is Folkvardr's first true enemy. He murdered Folkvardr's entire first group of hero partners and left only Folkvardr alive to be constantly reminded of his failures. Folkvardr killed Maquicelotl's mother also, thus cementing the hatred between them. They've met a few times since and it has never gone well. Maquicelotl also kidnapped ("babysat") Folkvardr's son for a while. Also, Folkvardr suspects that something weird and fishy is going on between Maquicelotl and his father, Tezcatlipoca.
Shamash has only met Folkvardr through official channels; they have played, but not finished, a game or two of vizier-chess.
Ganesha trolled Folkvardr by making him ask Shiva for permission before he would go, and then leaving without him while he was doing that.
Orunmila is super resentful of Folkvardr, who forced Jioni to invite him to the moot because he was "of her people." He is strongly opposed to anything he considers misuse of wizardry and basically hates everyone else here.
Ard has lost many siblings because of Sowiljr, who pledged to support her pantheon in a war they are currently fighting but then never showed up. She is trying very hard not to take this out on Folkvardr.
Isis hates Sowiljr and most Norse gods with a passion, but is glad for Folkvardr's willingness to throw himself on the fire for the greater good. She will make sure she's that greater good.

The two weeks of the fatemoot, took place over 64 hours of game time. It'd be impossible to state all the intricasies of what happened, but I'll try to highlight the main events.

One of the results of the event was that fate decided some gods should be returned to the world, while others should no longer exist. The list of gods who perished during this is innumerable, but the gods who were brought back is pretty important to future events:

Thor, Norse god of thunder
Tyr, Norse god of bravery
Malinoxochitl, Mexica goddess of the desert
Khepri, Egyptian dung-beetle god
Nuada, Irish god of kingship
The Dagda, Irish god of fertility
Ogun, Yoruba god of warfare
Idun, Norse goddess of youth

Also, some traditional enemies of the gods found their destinies rewritten so that they joined the ranks of the gods, including:

Svarog, Slavic god of the sun, who canceled his planned apocalypse
Adrasteia (previously known as Alison Margaritas), Greek goddess of vengeance and pursuit, who decided to end her vendetta against the rest of her pantheon
Ki, Mesopotamian goddess of the earth, who returned to support her children the gods in their time of need

And, of course, some gods realized that they no longer wanted to remain on the same side as their fellows, the most notable being Sarasvati, Hindu goddess of enlightenment, who turned on her pantheon and is currently waging war on any god foolish enough to bother her.

As the meeting continued, some gods lost their access to powers they used to warp fate, rendering them magical nulls. When this happened, they were replaced by less competent family members. Ganesha was replaced by Brahma, who also hates Folkvardr due to past grudges; Isis was replaced by Set, who had no idea what was going on and tried to solve the problem with spears; and Shamash was replaced by Nergal, who made it his mission to ruin whatever complicated thing he didn't understand was trying to happen here.

On the day Set and Nergal joined and worked together, almost everything was ruined. They (with secret help) almost tore the universe irreparably apart. Before everything was about to be over, Manannan mac Lir took a vote with the others. If they stopped here, fate would be forever ruined and they'd all lose access to their powers. However, if they all made a sacrifice, of both their own body and a random member of their pantheon, then they could continue. Threats were made, and eventually the vote was had (without including Nergal and Set). Maquicelotl was the deciding vote, but he could not accept sacrificing one of his people. But as he voted against the measure, damning them all to non-fate-ness, a terrifying jaguar laugh filled the nine worlds of the Mexica. From the inside out, a jaguar tore Maquicelotl apart and Tezcatlipoca erupted from inside him and voted in favor of the measure. Eztli sensed Maquicelotl's danger, ran to his rescue, and fought to drag him back out of the fatemoot, eventually taking his unresponsive body to her underworld to be kept safe.

So the pact was made, and the world was changed. The great culling took place, and over the final three days of the fatemoot bodies would continue to pile up. (Side note: Part of the deal when Tezcatlipoca arrived was "convincing" Nergal and Set to leave. They did, but they eventually lost their lives because of it.)

((During the great culling, each PC took on an aspect of a god who died, whose essence sought them out in an attempt to survive. Usually this was someone from their pantheon, but when that couldn't happen it was someone who represented very similar things in a different patheon. Sowiljr got Hera, Folkvardr got Hel, Eztli got Xipe Totec, and Jioni got Olokun.))

"The culling" had near infinite consequences. While the remaining few fate-weavers pushed on, doing everything in their power to keep the world together, fate continued to rip it apart in complicated and permanent ways. It was terrible, but eventually they succeeded. And as they dispersed back to their pantheons, Tezcatlipoca and Folkvardr had one last talk in "the cleve". Their talk was about sacrifice and consequence, and being strong enough to survive. On Sunday, the PCs will find out what that really means. Folkvardr left Cleveland and headed to the Mirkwood. It was his father's home, and his birthright, but he had not held sway over it until he won it as a prize for fixing the world.

While this was all happening to Folkvardr, each of the other divine PCs was telling their own story.

Sowiljr retreated with the newly-resurrected Thor and Tyr to Gimli. There was much confusion and attempts to show dominance, as both are sons of Odin and had claim to the throne. Eventually, though, Sowiljr took his place on the throne and demanded they obey him as their king. This went fairly well. They began work, fixing Gimli to repair its recent wartime problems, and Sowiljr went to Iceland to relax and be near his people. He met a bale (mutated bear/whale) that had swum from the coast of Mexico to one of the estuaries in Iceland to be near Sowiljr. They talked for a bit, and decided to take a trip downriver together to search for water giants. On the way, they met some new Icelanders that fate had created in the woods. Sowiljr directed them toward the city and taught them to help the locals. Sowiljr worked hard to ignore the pain of Jioni and Eztli, both of whom were having a rough time elsewhere, because he knew arriving to help them would only further cause problems amongst their people and that these were things they needed to deal with on their own.

But then the kings of the other pantheons began to call for his assistance. Everyone was having horrible problems and he needed to be everywhere at once. Marduk, Vishnu, Nuada, everyone wanted to see him immediately and to know what his vizier was doing that was ruining everything. But among these, Aiona (formerly Sophia Archimedes, a hero he had adventured with in his younger days) contacted him. He knew that she never did anything for frivolous reasons, and so he had best go there first. He said goodbye to Christian (the bale) and headed to Olympos. There he found a stand-off in progress between Artemis and Adrasteia. Adrasteia had arrived on Olympus with the corpse of Poseidon, whom she had apparently executed. A lot of complicated stuff happened, but eventually Sowiljr calmed down the stand-off. Helios was designated rule Olympos until Zeus was back, which would be very soon. Adrasteia said it was most important that Sowiljr use her magical machine, which made him very concerned about what it might do.

But as they were headed there, Sowiljr got called off again, this time to the land of the Slavic gods. Svarog had returned here and was attempting to take the kingdom from Sowiljr's ally, Svarozhich, who had held it for him while he was dormant. In the hall of judgement, Dazbhog instructed Sowiljr in what he must do to plead Svarozhich's case to stay in charge of the pantheon. Sowiljr had worked too hard on this relationship to see it fall apart now. As Sowiljr was about to take the stand, the Dagda appeared and told Sowiljr that he would stick by him, and the "two of them will show the power of the north to these pinkos." This was a helpful threat because Sowiljr was trying to convince the council that if Svarog took over, their alliance would be broken and the great armies of the north would descend upon them. (He doesn't have any great armies, but he's hoping no one knows that.)

Jioni traveled with the newly reborn Oya, goddess of the whirlwind, to the land of their people. Many gathered at the court of Obatala to talk about the horrible-ness the "evil wizards" were doing, and how they could help Orunmila stop them. As soon as this began, Olokun was "culled" and Jioni, absorbing some of his essence, abruptly manifested as a man. It had been long coming for Jioni to embrace her peoples' traditions and join them this way, and this was perfect timing for it. Jioni had come here to rally her people against the newly resurrected Aganju, but she now realized sending them all into the depths of a horrible volcano would be a bad idea, so instead she rallied them all to frothing and convinced them to battle for who would receive the honor to go. A massive Orisha brawl broke out until a hurricane approached on the coast. As the newly crowned water god of the pantheon, the orisha looked to Jioni to solve this problem.

But as she headed off to the coast, disaster struck. With Hera dead and Adrasteia switching sides, the justice prison she had created for the Greek gods no longer had enough energy to hold Erebus. He was free and returned to his realm for just a moment to squash the rebellion there before getting his armies and coming to find his wife (who had most recently betrayed him, ruined his long-planned schemes, and gotten him and all his friends imprisoned). Jioni faced the hurricane alone, not knowing that her people were being massacred by her husband. She saw that it is Sarasvati, who full of rage at the events of the fatemoot had chosen to prove herself by attacking the orisha, who are often enemies to water goddesses such as herself. Jioni stood up to the massive hurricane, but even with her newfound water powers, beating Sarasvati at her own game wasn't in her wheelhouse.

Eshu showed up for a bit to mock Jioni and let her know what her husband was doing back at the palace. Jioni returned to the palace and gave a big "I'm what you came for, take me and leave my people alone" speech (remember, she still appears to be a man, so Erebus is even further confused and furious about the situation). Erebus tells Jioni to return to their palace and he'll meet her there. She does so, and he does so... and some horrible things happen as he decides to punish her for her sins. Also, he drains what little defenses she has left. But also... many horrible things.

Eztli, meanwhile, has at this point had enough. Maquicelotl is on the brink of death, her sister the traitor has reappeared, her son and a newly resurrected Mictlantecuhtli are having a brawl, and Xipe Totec is dead. Every one of the teteoh met at the top of the great stepped pyramid, arguing, brawling, and melting down over the damage to the pantheon and the sudden shifts in power. Some people are full of tears and others are full of shouting. Eztli, with the spirit of Xipe Totec inside her, rose above the pyramid, clan in sunlight, manifesting the eagle traits of her warrior father as she called for everyone to be quiet. She wanted to have a meeting of the Tezcatlipocas to sort everything out, but since Tezcalipoca was at the fatemoot and Xipe Totec and Huitzilopochtli were presumed dead, it would seem that meeting would contain mostly proxies (and women, at that). There was much arguing about that among the patriarchal older gods. Cuatecuani was banished by his mother, who sent him from the pyramid to Hel for all the horrible things he did in the underworld, telling him that he could return once he had conquered the Norse lands of death. Mictlantecuhtli roared that he would not be told what to do by a woman, until Quetzalcoatl told them all to go downstairs for a bit while he tried to talk him down.

While downstairs, Eztli made a deal to marry Xochiquetzal to Aren, her second son, when he is old enough, before another fight broke out as Malinalxochitl challenged her and claimed she should take control as the oldest living child of Huitzilopochtli. The word "traitor" was thrown around a lot and Eztli and Malinalxochitl ended up locked in vicious combat as their nahualli also grappled. A massive brawl broke out, with Eztli's brother and son trying to defend her from Malinalxochitl and Eztli taking several of their blows in an attempt to keep her sister from being killed while still trying to subdue her. Then a crack was heard from the sky above, and in loud chittering bat screams, Itzpapalotl, ancient goddess of creation and Eztli's arch-nemesis, called out Eztli's name. Itzpapalotl emerged from the stars and attacked the pyramid. Eztli pulled some war commander shit, demanded that everyone head to battlestations in the sky, and tabled the conversation about who is a traitor to whom to be handled after this climactic battle. Then she and Itzpapalotl started inflicting terrifying beatdowns on one another.

And that's all she wrote!!! Players, please feel free to add stuff in the forums, because I couldn't possibly remember/write everything. For anyone still reading... like so much happened, it was bananas.