Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book 2, still plodding along.

Well, I have the vehicle rules all but finished - I still need to get the weapons balanced and maybe add some sidebars or reminders - but they're definitely functional. I've used them to build a car, tank, jet fighter, and a couple of mecha. I was expecting to have to go and change a lot of costs as I went though, but everything came out better than expected! I'm working on the Alignment section now, though, and I thought I'd start putting the rough drafts for that up right now, as it's a bit touchier. I'm going to start today with the four primary Chaos gods, then tomorrow I'll put up the three other Chaos alignments. If you see any problems with the descriptions, don't like the cults, think the morality stuff needs to be changed, let me know and I'll see what I can do to make it better for everyone. :)

Just to clarify before I drop the descriptions - the cults described are just sample cults, many more variations of worship exist for each god, but I felt it'd be good to have a starting point. The morality chart is a list of sins - at Morality X, Y is a sin, etc, so people know when to roll. Same thing as WoD's morality and Paths, really.

    Basic Beliefs
    Khorne is a god of battle, blood, and honor. He asks his followers to kill in his name and to offer up the blood and skulls of their enemies to him. Many of his followers are indiscriminate killers and murderers, but Khorne doesn't care for the blood of the innocent or weak. He wants the blood of the strong, for warriors to fight other warriors in the greatest of all battles. There's no glory or honor unless there is a challenge.

    Cult 1: The Dethkvlt
    Members of the Dethkvlt show their devotion to Khorne through the art of ritual murder. As part of their initiation, they must kill an armed opponent with their bare hands. On the whole, they function as something of a big game hunting club, going after only the most dangerous and exciting prey.
    Most members of the Dethkvlt try to make every fight fair, giving the victims every chance to fight back, evening the odds, and tilting them in their opponent's favor when in doubt. There is no honor or glory in an easy hunt. The more skilled and dangerous the opponent the more exciting the battle at the climax.
    Many in the Dethkvlt have their own personal preferences for prey. Some limit themselves to removing criminals and other dangerous elements, making the Wheel a better place and satisfying their blood lust at the same time. Others might only prey on police officers, women, other killers, or animals.

    Cult 2: Outer Heaven
    Outer Heaven was created as a place for warriors to be free from politics and agendas. It was funded by the deep pockets of an elite group of mercenaries who had been abused and treated as mere tools by governments and people alike. Building a space station outside of the reach of the most important crystal spheres, they ruled over a society where soldiers would be honored.
    Khorne's worship quickly became the primary religion on the station. The majority of soldiers already spilt blood in his name, and others converted. They took on missions and operations of their own accord, and the only rule was that everyone involved in a mission had to fight - no one could use them to further their goals unless they were willing to fight for them too.
    Outer Heaven was destroyed by political forces after only a decade. The people who had been living there scattered to the stars, but they brought the dream of Outer Heaven with them. On many worlds, there are enclaves and outposts that follow the rules set down before - to honor and respect those who fight.

    Khorne's Morality
10    Giving mercy to a fellow warrior.
9    Allowing another to kill an innocent.
8    Traveling with a spellcaster.
7    Showing disrespect for another warrior.
6    Using stealth or trickery to avoid a fight.
5    Breaking your word of honor.
4    Killing an innocent.
3    Allowing a spell to be cast on you.
2    Refusing a challenge of combat.
1    Casting a Spell.

    SPECIAL: Khorne's Champions
    Khorne hates magic. If you have Khorne as your alignment there's a good chance that one or more of your Exalt or racial powers will just be impossible to use. Thankfully, there is another option. If you have an alignment to Khorne and you would gain a rank in a spellcasting school from your Exalt or racial powers, you may instead gain a rank in a sword school.

    Basic Beliefs
    There's life and there's death. They're really two sides of the same coin. A child is born, grows up to be a man, and dies. A building is built, wears out, and is eventually abandoned. The man's body rots and worms and bacteria thrive. The shell of the building becomes a home for stray animals and people. Everything rots, but rot is just another expression of life. It is inevitable and the ultimate fate of all things. But life is beautiful in all its forms, and one should never hesitate to be kind in the brief blossoming that life has.

    Cult 1: Vectors
    One of Nurgle's most obvious realms of influence is that of disease. The cult of Vectors is arranged around that belief. Their founder had been infected with a terrible disease and went on to spread it to countless others on many worlds. She created death and despair on a huge scale with almost no effort at all.
    After her eventual death, she left behind a number of others who followed in her footsteps. Nurgle protected them from the worst ravages of the disease they carried in exchange for their prayers. They're mostly a ruthless bunch, not caring for the countless people that suffer or die in their wake. Those most in favor with Nurgle take a personal approach to it, guiding people to the other side - though those who die at their hands almost never know the person caring for them caused their sickness.

    Cult 2: Hospitaleers
    While it may seem odd at first glance for those who worship a god of disease and death to run a Hospice, there are in fact many clinics and hospices that ultimately have Nurgle as their patron. The Great Lord of Decay protects his followers against most of the symptoms of terrible diseases, caring for them as his own grandchildren.
    For those who are beyond medical help, one of these Hospices is a welcome way to spend the short remainder of their lives. They aren't grim or terrible places, as Nurgle is not a morbid god, and his followers are gregarious and sentimental, making sure to comfort those who are suffering and allow them to enjoy what they have.
    Though outright cures in Nurgle's hospices are extremely rare, it's not uncommon at all for those who have shown great faith or are simply blessed by the kindly hand of Nurgle to have their disease go into remission or to become asymptomatic carriers.

    Nurgle's Morality
10    Refusing to comfort the sick or the dying.
9    Preserving anything - food, the environment, etc.
8    Doing unnecessary work.
7    Making great shows of emotion, positive or negative.
6    Attempting to chance your own fate.
5    Being unkind to those in need.
4    Curing someone of a disease.
3    Preserving a corpse.
2    Bringing another back from the dead.
1    Attempting to change the fate of the Wheel.

    Basic Beliefs
    The basic tenets of the worship of Slaanesh are simple and easy for the majority of people to follow - enjoy yourself and don't let anything get in the way. That means not listening to advice, not restricting yourself with social mores. Those who worship Slaanesh have a tendency to fall to gluttony and decadence, and those who are spiritually weak stagnate or destroy themselves in trying to achieve perfection of self and experience. While most equate Slaanesh with lowly pursuits like drugs or sex, anything taken to an excess can be worship to her.

    Cult 1: Noise Marines
    One of the most common ways to worship Slaanesh is with music. The cult of Noise Marines exemplifies this. They're all musicians (of a sort), who have transcended the normal limits of music. Most have had surgery to increase the sensitivity of their hearing far beyond the norm, and then listen to music loud enough to make normal eardrums bleed.
    That's the sort of thing that just happens when normal music stops being enough, when the very experience of music starts becoming dull. The Noise Marines hold massive concerts across the Wheel, almost always with free admission, showcasing the greatest acts they can sign. Because the gatherings tend to plunge entire Crystal Spheres into chaos (that is, breaking laws, not literally converting everyone to Chaos - though that's always a risk as well) the concerts are banned on many worlds. That doesn't stop them, of course. Illegal concerts are more exciting anyway.

    Cult 2: The S Academy
    Everyone wants to be good at something. But being good sometimes isn't enough. You have to be the best. The S Academy caters to those who seek to perfect themselves. It is an elite school. Some would say The elite school. Even getting into the school is a challenge, as they accept less than one hundred students per year, out of literally millions of applications.
    The application process itself is by invitation alone. Agents and former students of the Academy search for talent among the Crystal Spheres, occasionally giving someone the contact information they need to begin the process. Those that actually manage to get into the S Academy and graduate find that every door lies open to them, and their only limit is their ambition.
    The S Academy is ultimately a temple to Slaanesh, and they don't hide that fact. But it isn't a place of orgies and drug abuse, it is, in fact, almost completely devoid of distractions. It's a place to pursue perfection in music, martial arts, writing, whatever caught the eye of the agent who recommended the student to the academy. In the end, most students are left with an almost monomaniacal devotion to their single chosen talent, and it grows to consume their lives.

    Slaanesh Morality
10    Refusing a new, but dangerous, experience.
9    Accepting a flawed experience.
8    Doing something you don't enjoy.
7    Doing less than your best at any task.
6    Refusing to do something you enjoy.
5    Denying another a new experience
4    Showing humility.
3    Not attempting to fix or overcome a flaw.
2    Doing less than your best at an important task.
1    Refusing a new, safe, experience.

    A god of trickery, magic, and plotting and planning, Tzeentch is a chessmaster who treats his followers as pawns in his great game. His followers like to think themselves as more important pieces, queens and kings on their own little chessboards, or even players in their own right. Even those who know they're only being used hope to grow more important and gain control over their lives and the lives of others. Truth be told, with Tzeentch as a backer and guide, they do often achieve status and power they otherwise wouldn't, though the god never does it for their own benefit.

    Cult 1: The Player's Club
    Some men just want to see what happens when you pull some strings. The Player's Club is an elite group where elaborate events are set up and then the members bet on the outcome. Sometimes they bet on races or fights. Or the outcome of wars that they've started. There's no limit to what they'll wager on or with. Some will offer arcane secrets, gold, or entire worlds.
    The most important thing about the Player's Club is that they always carefully set up their little games in advance. They don't find random events, they cause them. They create unrest and wager which country will be the first to strike, then wager which will win the ensuing war. They'll unleash a plague on a city and bet on the number of deaths. Fund a terrorist group and make wagers on their targets.
    That's not to say that the Player's Club is evil. Or that their motives are evil. They're just agents of change, and change is as often good as it is evil. Ultimately their plotting and planning seems to be about alleviating boredom, but there are hints of a grand design to their plans.

    Cult 2: Illuminati
    There's always a conspiracy behind things, and the ones running that conspiracy probably pray to Tzeentch. The Illuminati is an ancient organization of people who like to run the game of politics from behind the scenes. They have their hands in almost everything, meeting in secret temples and speaking only in code that even they only half-understand.
    Now, when they say 'ancient', it's more appropriate to say 'revival'. Most Illuminati cults are in fact less than a century old, often less than a decade, and the members are more playing at being important than anything else. Or so they think. The cults are layers of secrets on secrets. Some actual members of important conspiracies use them as a way to manipulate the little fish in the pond, as they're comparatively easy to herd. Some cults have, somehow, actually managed to become important enough to deserve their trappings of secrecy and mysticism.

10    Failing to spend at least two hours per day planning and plotting.
9    Failing to kill for the sake of knowledge.
8    Putting another's needs before your plans.
7    Clinging to the old and refusing to change.
6    Refusing to take advantage of a situation.
5    Sharing knowledge with another except as part of a broader plan.
4    Improvising when there's a chance to make a plan.
3    Turning down a chance for increased power.
2    Failing to respect those who possess greater wisdom.
1    Failing to pursue arcane knowledge

I apologize for any strange formatting or errors. I'm just c/ping this from my open notepad workspace.