Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ruling the City of G_d (GLOG Class: Noble)

One thousand years is a long time,
but at last it comes to an end.
Meanwhile, is it any greater accomplishment
to be a rich corpse than a poor one?
Jewels of jade and pearl are put in the mouths
of the illustrious dead
to conserve their bodies.
They do the dead no good, but they'll fetch a fine price
to feed the children of the tomb robbers.
    - the Unnamed Text.

    I'm writing this as a pastiche of Locheil's excellent Sacred One. Someone complimented the class but sighed that it was so setting-specific, and I asserted that I could canonize it into the Unfinished World without much trouble. Here's my attempt to do so.

Source: King Yellow by fermarkun.

Imperial Clan, by presumed rank:
1. Prince of the First Blood (apparent heir)
2. Commanding Prince
3. Virtuous Prince
4. Banner Prince
    All of the above are considered potential inheritors of the Old Throne (that granted by the Old G_ds).
5. Duke of the First Blood (cadet line)
6. Bulwark Duke
    All of the above enjoy the Five Privileges (the list varies, but usually includes access to the Imperial Library, use of Imperial seals for personal correspondence, lantern-bearing priests, the right to hunt in any forest, red carriage wheels, purple horse reins, reported entrance, dragon-patterned clothing, bodyguards from the ranks of the Fork-Tailed Creature Banner).
7. Lesser Duke
8. Lesser Bulwark Duke
    All of the above possess their rank by agnacy (i.e. the Emperor cannot make more nor strip them of their titles).

Irregular titles, by presumed rank:
1. Prince of the First-and-One-Half Blood
2. Prince of Command
3. Inferior Prince
4. Empty-Ranked Prince
5. Duke Beyond Rankings
6. Indivisible Count
    All of the above possess their rank by agnacy.
7.5. Master of the Banner (inherited generalship)
8. Lesser Master
9. Master of a Lesser Banner
10. Lesser Master of One-Fifteenth-of-One-Quarter-of-One-Banner (~300 men)

Nobility not related to the Emperor, by presumed rank:
5. Common Duke
6. Marquis (on the marches)
7. Count (in a county)
    All of the above outrank all civilians, regardless of military rank or achievement.
8. Viscount
9. Baron (has a nice house)

Class: Cadet

    You are a Cadet; a distant relative of supreme power, with some of the advantages and none of the parental love. If you care, roll 3d6 to determine how many families exist between yours and the Imperial Audience Chamber, and 2d4-1 to see how many older siblings you have. You might have had a privileged upbringing, but you've been left alone to bum around, or to pursue lesser careers in commerce, law, religion (so long as you don't shove it down our throats), academia, military service or minor government office.
    As a Cadet you get +1 to saves every [level]. You can wear light or medium armor and wield shields. You can ride a horse too if it comes to it. Cadets never fumble with swords, polearms or guns.

Skills: 1. Hunting 2. History 3. Legal nonsense. You can speak the primal language of the spirits.
Starting Equipment: Hunting costume (as leather), cool halfcape, ringsword with chain threaded through the pommel (medium), shortbow and quiver with 20 arrows OR specially-modified snapchance, two items of your choice from the list of quality gear, one mantra in the primal language.
  • A Unbroken Line, Sanctuary, immunity to being ignored
  • B Lightning Dream, Calming Voice
  • C Durability, +2 chi
  • D Right of Passage, +1 chi
Unbroken Line
    You are the most notable member of any group. When you are angry, your eyes darken and your voice rings out over others. Demons and devils treat you with worrying familiarity and uncharacteristic friendliness.
    Unless and until you initiate a fight, non-sacred creatures must save or be unable to harm you.
Lightning Dream
    When dreaming, drunk, high or otherwise in an altered state, your soul can walk in a place scholars of the secret history call the Lightning Dream. When your civilization invents trains, the Lightning Dream will be compared to an empty train platform built for crowds of giants. The roof far above your head is studded with skylights which let in unsteady blue light, and the walls with windows that look out upon smoky forests, nightmare-landscapes of bone, hills and valleys of rotting flesh, darkness. The many paths and rails and turnings and branches of the Dream fold in on each other; small rooms vanish into the horizon yet swell to terrible halls as you approach; three lefts don't make a right; shadows bay in their far-off hunts. The place is clearly not built to be navigated by foot.
    In the Dream, you may speak in secret with other visitors, and leave messages for each other to find. You can bring people to the Lightning Dream as guests by sleeping next to them, getting drunk from the same wine, high from the same chemic, etc. Those who have the right to be there can banish guests you bring, and you can do the same to the guests of others.
Calming Voice
    You may attempt to calm all listeners with soothing words. Intelligent creatures get a save. Mindless undead, and beasts with fewer HD than you, fail automatically. When a creature fails the save their emotions dull to grey outlines, anger drains, joy becomes hollow, battle-lust fades.
    After using your Calming Voice you can't use it again until you have done at least two of the following: get a full night's rest, drink a dose of wine, repeat your mantra aloud in the primal language for two hours.
    The meandering paths of the Lightning Dream have led you to a revelation about kung-fu, and punching, and likewise kicking. You have a pool of chi which you can use as a monk of the same level as you (though you get less chi than a real monk does).
Right of Passage
    You may walk through the Gates of Hell. Denizens of Hell, the Judges of the Dead and all demons and devils treat you as an honoured personage. Unintelligent undead are incapable of initiating violence against you.

Quality Gear (choose or roll 2d20):
  1. Hunting Costume. Green felt and brown leather. Comes with a pointy bycocket, hood, lots of leather straps and belts, knee-high boots. 0 slots worn, 2 carried.
  2. Ringsword with Chain. Classic Aeshean sword. Rather like a large rapier or an elongated broadsword, and named for its large ring pommel. Yours has a kusari-fundo threaded through that pommel, in emulation of your ancestors, and you can use the chain to make grapple checks at a range of 10' instead of attacking. 1 slot
  3. Shortbow and quiver of 20 arrows. Effective range of 20', with -1 to-hit for every complete 10' past that. 1 slot for the shortbow and 1 for the quiver.
  4. Double-Barreled Snapchance. A classic black powder pistol in a configuration preferred by duelists with tight schedules. Deals 2d6 damage at 10', -1 to-hit for every complete 10' past that, firing with disadvantage if you moved on your turn. Barrels may be fired and reloaded separately (1 minute reload per barrel), or together for disadvantage on both shots . If you roll a nat 1 with a second shot loaded, you fire the second shot as well and take 1d6-1 damage from the gun snapping up into your teeth. 1 slot.
  5. Scrimshawed Powder Horn. Contains up to ten doses of black powder. Converts hours of lamp-oil into black powder at a rate of one dose per day. The apparently-abstract art deco designs on the powder horn are very alarming to manufactories who can read them. 1 slot.
  6. Samite Robe. Thick cendree silk ceremonial robe (as unarmored, +1 to reaction rolls), with gold-thread stitches and hidden layers of fine chardun mail (secret +2 to AC, ha!). Very hard to launder. 0 slots worn, 2 carried.
  7. Musical Instrument. Any you want, so long as it can be played upside down while singing. Probably 1 slot.
  8. Bottle of Fine Wine. I'm going to be honest, it's a big bottle (as light) but it's only 3 doses of wine for you. 1/3rd slot.
  9. Bottle of Oxymel. Good for you, puts hair on your chest. One dose heals 1 point of stat damage. 3 doses, 1/3rd slot
  10. Adamant Signet Ring. A Cadet is absolutely not supposed to have this, and someone is absolutely coming to take it away from you.
  11. Trio of Sacred Arrows. One with a head of chardun (flies silently), one of ossgold (effective against the undead), one of adamant (always deals maximum damage).
  12. Contracted Builder. For reasons neither you nor they know, the Old Man in the Ice has directed them to follow you around and do what you say. They aren't gracious about it. 1st level Builder, 6HP, starting equipment + mattock, 9 morale. If you make them carry more than 3 slots of non-treasure, they'll find an excuse to break it or lose it.
  13. Sashimono. A tall banner worn vertically on a long pole, identifying your army and rank to distant observers. The flag is reversible, showing either the black-and-white banner of the Empire or the black-and-blue banner of the Fork Tailed Creature Banner.
  14. Advice of Wo Ding to his Son. An antecataclysmic mirror-for-princes in the guise of a book on hunting deer, and other (more interesting) prey. Full of aphorisms as well-known, beloved and constantly-misquoted as "it's better to act and repent than to not act and regret" and "it is better to be feared than to be loved" and such are in our world. Referencing this book (i.e. working with it open in one hand) grants an extra check on hunting-related tasks. 1/3rd slot.
  15. Big sack of 500 iron pennies. Newly-minted and shiny. Worth 5gp total. 5 slots.
  16. Newest Imperial printing of the Magolg par artenbrar. A truly immense tome, though still unfinished; huge sections of the text (and, therefore, decades or centuries of history) are lacunae, perhaps lost forever. Referencing this book grants an extra check on identifying historic artifacts and monsters. 1 slot.
  17. Bucket of Opiates. A ceramic coupe with an opinel lock lid, containing 10 recreational doses of mostly poppy or 5 lethal doses. 1 slot.
  18. Clerical Mask. Either a black deathshead (in laquered steel), a white infant (in porcelain), a violet elder (in painted wood) or a green dog (an elaborate felt plushie). Completely authentic, presumably stolen.
  19. Golden Dagger. A light weapon, breaking on a nat 1. 1/3rd slot.
  20. A strange or inexplicable curio. Roll 1d6:
    1. Cunning replica of the Emperor's sword, ONE UNBROKEN LINE. A trained sword-ologist would be able to tell it's a counterfeit, because it has its name written on it, and that name is ONE BROKEN LINE.
    2. Salamander Skin with Asbestos Fur. Sometimes believed to be the literal skin of a literal fire-dwelling amphibian, but skeptical scholars assert the name is only a metaphor, and these capes are actually made by a secret race of cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers. Totally fireproof. 1 slot.
    3. Severed Hand of a Lich. Comes in a black velvet bag, to protect it from the sun. Occasionally tries to drum messages into your hand if you hold it.
    4. Ossgold Mask. Resembles the faceless mask of the prophet Aeshe (pbuh), but made of ossgold instead of iron, and doesn't need to be fastened to your skull with five nails. One of your relatives tried to start a new Heresy with this, but didn't get far.
    5. Bottle of honey from the lips of a Queen of the Herds. Serves as a healing potion. 1/3rd slot.
    6. Ring of Finger Detection. Small copper band with a black square stone. When pressed to a doorway of an enclosed room, pulses to indicate the number of fingers (digits that this ring could be worn on) inside. Counts the fingers of both the dead and the living.

Mantras (choose or roll 1d6):
  1. In the lost age
    where the jewels hide and
    the sword sticks in
    the waiting stone
    still warm from his hand
  2. Sincerity becomes apparent, and
    what is apparent becomes manifest, and
    what is manifest becomes brilliant, and
    what is brilliant affects others, and
    when sincerity affects others, they are changed by it, therefore
    it is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to foreknow, because
  3. Though much is taken, much abides, and
    we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, yet still
    that which we are, we are, because
  4. Time is the substance I am made of.
    Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river.
    Time is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger.
    Time is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.
  5. The whole earth is sick of your search for knowledge.
    I am not offering information;
    I seek to destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    I seek to frustrate the intelligence of the intelligent; because
  6. I have never done anything wrong to anyone!
    And if the whole world is turning against me, I know
    It's only because of pure hatred, envy and indignation, because

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