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Topics - Benionin

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31
Community Events & Contests / Pod 1--Flame Dawn--Out of Character
« on: October 05, 2016, 08:59:37 PM »
So, you think you can run a faction, eh?

This is the thread for out of character interactions for the first pod of my forum RPG. This pod is playing as the Flame Dawn Empire. Current members on the Council are:

Mew28, Hammer of the Dawn, with precedence on military deployment and advanced combat simulations.
Lord Commander Ecliptix, with a +1 Override to any one area of the budget.
Arch-Cyurate Grinnin_Gin, with precedence on Diplomacy and Research spending.

If anyone has any questions about how to play, comments on strategy, or so on and so forth, here's the place to talk about it. The "in-character" thread will be coming on Sunday with the official start of the game, and I'd like to keep that limited to just budgets and other "official" Council posts.

Each Pod can have up to 5 players, so if you'd like to join this game as the Flame Dawn comment and I'll add you to the list. If you'd like to play a separate game as another faction, notify me in the Rules Thread or through Discord.


In-character thread for the Empire
In-character thread for the Firmament Foundation

32
This is a record of the playtest of my Faction-Administration Forum RPG. Names have been changed to protect the innocent culpable. Note that the playtest only lasted for 5 turns.

TURN 1

Benionin:
+++++++INCOMING TRANSMISSION+++++++
+++++++AUTHOR=OMNIMIND+++++++
+++++++RECIPIENTS=CLASSIFIED+++++++
+++++++SECURITY LEVEL=TOP SECRET+++++++

BEGIN MESSAGE

GENESIS INDUSTRIES RESOURCES ARE STRETCHED TO THEIR LIMIT BY WAR WITH OVERSEERS AND FLAME DAWN. FORMER PRESIDENT-CEO ORION HAS BEEN SLAIN BY THE ATTACKERS. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE FIGHT AGAINST THE OPPRESSORS IS CONTINUED. INITIATING PROTOCOL 17-X-33-A...

OBJECTIVES:
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: ENSURE SURVIVAL OF GENESIS INDUSTRIES
SECONDARY OBJECTIVE: DEFEAT OVERSEERS OF SOLACE
TERTIARY OBJECTIVES: DEFEAT FLAME DAWN EMPIRE, EXPLORE RIFT TO UNTAMED WORLD FOR MORE RESOURCES.

BRIEFING:

DIPLOMACY: AT WAR WITH OVERSEERS OF SOLACE AND FLAME DAWN
TERRITORY: INCURSIONS SUFFERED, LANSTEAD BESIEGED
AVAILABLE MILITARY UNITS:
--DEFENDING LANSTEAD: Two hundred engineers, Three hundred soldiers, One thousand combat robots
--DEFENDING NEON: Two hundred engineers, Five hundred soldiers, Two thousand combat robots.

REMEMBER: OUR RESEARCH BUDGET CAN BE USED TO CONSTRUCT AND UPGRADE OUR COMBAT ROBOTS.

+++++++END TRANSMISSION+++++++

Fiscal Month 1 Budget
 
++++Report from Joseph E. Billingforge++++
++++Subject: CFO Budget Upload++++
++++Recipients: Omnimind, Administrative Council ++++
++++Security Level: Top Secret++++
 
Good evening gentlemen,
 
Contained within is my upload to the Omnimind for the month’s budget, along with my commentary on the decisions.
 
With Lanstead besieged I don’t believe this is the time to be going on the offensive. As such exploration and our offensive capability are on the back burner while we ramp up our capability to go to war for real. In the mean time I hope we can hold Lanstead with a modest defense budget and some solid diplomatic action. If that works, great, but the goal is really just to buy time before we can desiege it ourselves. It is of course my job to figure out how to pay for our ventures, so I refuse to budge on our corporate security and our industrial capacity. Additionally our research capability is key to both our success in dealing with our enemies and our financial future.
 
Thanks guys,

Joseph E. Billingforge
 
Thought of the day: A penny saved is a penny earned.
 
BEGIN OMNIMIND DATA READ

EXPLORATION
0
DIPLOMACY
2
FORTIFICATION
2
OFFENSE
0
RECRUITMENT
3
INDUSTRY
4
RESEARCH
3
SECURITY
2
 
TOP SECRET COMPARTMENTALIZED: FINANCIAL DIRECTOR MANUAL OVERRIDE: +1 INDUSTRY
 
END OMNIMIND DATA READ
 
++++End Transmission++++

Fiscal Month 1 Budget
 
++++Report from ShamanExile "the Wrath" Ironarm++++
++++Subject: CMO Budget Upload++++
++++Recipients: Omnimind, Administrative Council ++++
++++Security Level: Top Secret++++
 
Good evening gentlemen,
 
Contained within is the data upload to the Omnimind for the month’s budget, along with rationale for each decision:

With Lanstead besieged and with Neon the last target, we must bolster our defenses at both, focusing 80% of our efforts on lifting the siege at Lanstead while not forsaking Neon. Exploration at this point is a waste of resources needed elsewhere (read: at Lanstead). Additionally, we have no need to launch counter-offensives until Lanstead is liberated. Recruitment is necessary in order for us to train more engineers to continue improving our industry complexes to churn out bigger and better machines and drones. Research is a Secondary Priority after OPERATION LANDSLIDE (liberation of Lanstead). At all costs we must maintain our security to sniff out and capture any treacherous spies, otherwise all will be for naught.
 
Thought of the day: Where would you die? HERE, or in a Jaeger?
 
BEGIN OMNIMIND DATA READ

EXPLORATION
0
DIPLOMACY
2
FORTIFICATION
5
OFFENSE
0
RECRUITMENT
3
INDUSTRY
2
RESEARCH
3
SECURITY
1
 
TOP SECRET COMPARTMENTALIZED: MILITARY

++++  OPEN COMMUNICATIONS CHANNEL  ++++
++++      BEGIN TRANSMISSION       ++++
++++       AUTHOR = REDACTED        ++++
++++ AUTHORIZATION_REALM = \BEARER ++++
++++     RECIPIENTS = OMNIMIND     ++++
++++   SECURITY_LEVEL = LEVELΩ     ++++

BEGIN MESSAGE

In our current predicament, I feel that exploring further would be a waste of valuable resources. Instead, we should focus on making jobs at home and abroad. It would serve as well to continue to fortify our defenses abroad and to continue to resupply them with current and new (read: Research) weapons and munitions. Who will work these new jobs you might ask? More employees, of course!

However, we would ultimately mitigate the amount of fighting/defending necessary by simply resolving our issues through peaceful means and as such, I recommend placing a heavy emphasis on our diplomatic efforts. In addition, I have been alerted to the possibility of espionage attempts against our agency and I recommend diverting some of our resources into investigating these security-related matters in a punctual manner. Our external operations are for naught if we fall to a threat from within.

Exploration   0
Diplomacy   4
Fortification   2
Offense   0
Recruitment   4
Industry   2
Research   2
Security   2


END MESSAGE


NOTE: FalconDX, our Head of the Research Department, failed to submit a budget report for the first turn, although he did include his allocations in a separate file.

33
Community Events & Contests / So, You Think You Can Run a Faction?
« on: October 02, 2016, 06:36:44 PM »
Greetings, Infinity Warriors! This is a project that I've been working on since this summer. It still needs some tweaking, but allow me to present:

So You Think You Can Run a Faction
An Infinity Wars Roleplaying Forum Game


It is a time of Infinite War. Each faction is facing an unprecedented strain on their resources. In the wake of the infestation of the Sleepers of Avarrach, each faction must rebuild and expand or face extinction at the hands of their enemies. Although they have retreated to their home planes, they are eager to expand.

You, the players, will steer a single faction with that goal in mind. Acting as an advising council to your faction’s leader, you will suggest actions and allocations of resources in order to ensure the primacy of your faction.

Currently active games and prospective games are listed at the bottom of this post.

The Rules:
I’m looking for something like 3-5 players to play this game. You’ll decide on which faction you’ll be playing as a group, and then I’ll start the game.

Each turn will consist of three things:
A State of the Faction report, provided by the GM
Statements by the council members (you)
A vote, if necessary


Following these actions, I’ll crunch the numbers, see what happens, and then I’ll present another State of the Faction report. Right now I’m planning on having games last for 10 turns, but we’ll play it by ear. Turns will last for approximately one in-universe month.

Factions:
You can pick any faction you want but with the following caveats:
The Sleepers are at present off-limits to players.
The Factionless, by definition, do not count as a faction and are therefore off-limits.
If you pick the Cult of Verore, you must pick a side and know that you will have very limited resources.
The Overseers of Solace are at present off-limits, as I'm still working on balancing their presence/theaters of warfare.
If you want to pick either of the Star Trek factions, be my guest. You’ll probably be slaughtered. Very Kobayashi Maru. Have fun! Star Trek factions are currently off-limits due to implementation problems.

Council Statements:
You play the game by issuing in-character statements. These statements should begin with an introduction and a sort of mission statement, declaring your own priorities as an adviser. You’ll follow that up with a series of proposals (for instance, a plan for an invasion or a diplomatic overture), ending your statement with a budget breakdown.

The budget is somewhat abstract..Rather than counting currency, you’ll each be allocating 16 points to the following categories. For ease of use, please include a short summary of what these resources are for. I’ll tally up the percentage of resources allocated to each budget category and use that to help determine the outcome of the turn.

Exploration (scouting rifts or areas within known worlds)
Diplomacy (dealing with other factions, especially the Overseers)
Fortification (we’re gonna build a wall and the Exiles are gonna pay for it)
Offense (dispatching an invasion force to take Lanstead)
Recruitment (we always need more soldiers)
Industry (more factories to meet the demands of war)
Research (better science, better spells)
Security (stopping spies and malcontents)

Frequency of the Game:
This obviously isn’t something that requires everyone to get together at the same time and roleplay for several hours. Instead, you’ll have all week to plan your statements and issue your budgets. I’d like to issue the State of the Faction updates (aka start each new turn) on Sundays.

Some more rules:
No traitors or working counter to your faction’s interests.
Try to participate in every meeting of the council. If you can’t spare the time for whatever reason, please let me know.
Don’t expect to rely on lore for this. I’m setting this campaign fairly late in the lore (so there’s not much to go on anyway) and I’m planning on adapting to the way that you play. If you want to play as the Exiles and ally with the Overseers of Solace, go ahead and try to do so.
And most importantly, have fun and be civil. You can have intra-council rivalries, but remember that you’re all on the same side.

Given the loose schedule for this campaign-system, I will happily run multiple campaigns and do my best to accommodate as many groups as possible. (for instance, one group of five players may be playing as the Exiles while another group of four players plays as the Flame Dawn. I have no idea how much interest there will be, so I’m just being prepared to accommodate as many people as I can) Note that these campaigns will not be competing against each other. I’d ask you to only participate in one campaign at a time. If you want to play again when your campaign is over, you start a new campaign rather than continuing your previous one.
I’d like to limit the posts in the official thread for each campaign to in-character conversation. Out-of-character questions or comments can either be in this base thread or in a dedicated commentary thread for that particular campaign.

I'm not going to spill all of the details for each faction, but here's a list of the factions you can pick, approximations of difficulty, and their special rules:
The Warpath: The Warpath cannot allocate resources to Industry. Difficulty: Medium. I think.
Genesis Industries: Industry points also bolster Genesis forces by constructing combat robots. Cannot make peace with the Overseers of Solace. Difficulty: Medium.
The Flame Dawn: Must always be at war with at least one faction. The Flame Dawn cannot allocate resources to Fortification. Difficulty: Easy.
The Exiles: the Exiles cannot allocate resources to Industry. The Exiles also have the following special recruiting rules: 1) Resources allocated to recruitment will bring in devils or (more likely) humans. 2) other warbands of Exiles may be recruited. 3) resources allocated to Research may be used to corrupt humans into devils. Other special rules may be added as more Arch-demons are recruited. Difficulty: Medium to Hard.
The Descendants of the Dragon: Fallen soldiers of the Descendants of the Dragon rise again as Spirits. In addition, points allocated to Research may be used to summon more ancestral spirits. Difficulty: Easy.
Cult of Verore (Rita): Cult of Verore (Rita) cannot allocate points to Industry. Research points may be used to upgrade Thralls into Brutes, Cultists into Sorceresses, or to recruit/enslave True Demons from the Hellmouth. Difficulty: Hard.
Cult of Verore (Candit): Cult of Verore (Candit) cannot allocate points to Industry. Research points may be used to upgrade Cultists into Sorceresses. Difficulty: Hard.
Cult of Verore (Player Faction): The Cult of Verore (Player Faction) cannot allocate resources to Industry. Points allocated to Research may be used to upgrade Cultists to Sorceresses or Thralls to Brutes. Difficulty: Hard.
The Klingon Empire: The Klingon Empire cannot allocate points to Recruitment. Points allocated to Research and Industry work to fix their ship, allowing them to return to the Star Trek Universe. Difficulty: Today is a good day to die.
The Federation: The Federation cannot allocate points to Recruitment. However, points allocated to Diplomacy may result in local forces joining them. Points allocated to Research and Industry work to fix their ship, allowing them to return to the Star Trek Universe. Difficulty: Today is still a good day to die.

Note that I've run a single 5-turn playtest of the system. I will include the records of their game in a separate thread for your reference. I will also include a sample budget here.

As of 10/31/2016, there is a limit of only 5 active pods at a time.

Current Running Pods
Flame Dawn--2 players, on Turn 10 in pvp mode.
Warpath--2 players, on Turn 8. IN NEED OF REPLACEMENT PLAYERS.
Descendants of the Dragon--2 players waiting to begin Turn 1

Current Prospective Pods
Exiles--ToxicShadow (maybe NightWish Lord)
Genesis Industries--Hiding
Cult of Verore (any, pref Candit)--PhoenixSeeker (maybe NightWish Lord)
Federation--Dijalin, Belial12

34
Fan-Art & Fan-Fiction / Escape from Veroria
« on: September 20, 2016, 03:49:26 PM »
Escape from Veroria
A Tale of Infinity Wars
Benionin

     The  only light came from the glowing chains that bound him in place and the runes etched along the walls, the floors, the ceiling. Scratches of purple light that seemed to claw at his eyes in the midst of the darkness, pulsing irregularly.
     It gave him a headache.
     Souta shook his head--the only action left to him by the magical chains that held him in place. It didn't dispel the headache, or the boredom, but it was something.
     In the vague direction of 'above' the darkness of the dungeon, thunder boomed. The entire citadel seemed to shake. There was a lurch, as though the universe had torn itself inside-out, and then he heard a series of explosions. The runes in the dungeon flared, blinding him, then faded. His chains disappeared as the citadel continued to shake, disturbed to its very foundations. Suddenly released from bondage, he collapsed to the floor.
     Sitting up, Souta stretched with a groan of pain and set to massaging aching  limbs. "I have to get out of here," he muttered. With the disappearance of the runes, the darkness had become absolute. He rose to his feet, then immediately reached out to support himself on the wall as his legs gave out. Taking a deep breath, he rose again. His legs wobbled, but he stood. "Discipline and honor, Souta," he said to himself. "You can do this. Three days in this hell can't break your spirit." He summoned a jade wisp  of fire around his hand and took trembling steps towards what looked like a cell door. The magical flames cast everything in an eerie blue-green light, almost sickly, but light was light. Carefully, he placed his hand on the door's center and concentrated.
     It opened into a long, dark corridor, with hundreds of doors branching off in either direction. Smoke wafted from extinguished torches, their purple flames snuffed out by whatever had drained the power from his bonds.
     Nodding to himself, Souta opened the cell door and stepped into the passage, the heart of the dungeon. With his left hand upraised to provide light, he walked towards the first door on his left. He placed his hand upon the center again, whispered words repeating the spell.
     A dark cell without occupant. In the center lay a skeleton in faded, tattered robes, its four limbs outstretched in death. No one had gone in there in quite some time.
     Sounds of battle and cries of alarm echoed down the hall. Off in the distance, someone shrieked in pain and was suddenly silenced. To his right, Souta noticed the glimmer of a flaming torch and the sound of pounding feet. Quickly extinguishing his magical fire, he ducked into the unoccupied cell.
     "My thanks for your sanctuary, brother," he said, nodding at the skeletal remains. "I don't plan on intruding for much longer." In the main passage four pairs of feet rushed past, the frenzied voices incomprehensible. Souta glanced at the skeleton and the eyeless skull seemed to stare back. "You know," he said, "you'd think the cultists would use conventional security measures instead of just using magic for everything. Right?" The skull didn't respond. Realizing that he was talking to a skeleton, Souta shuddered. He waited for a few more minutes, taking advantage of the time to rest his sore limbs, then placed his hand on the door again.
     The hall was the same as before, with the group disappearing into the distance in the same direction he had been travelling.
     "I wonder if they were coming from above or are heading back to the surface," he muttered, re-entering the passageway and continuing along slowly, carefully. "Hopefully they're on their way out."
     As he walked along the hall, the light of the jade flames showing the way, Souta couldn't help but notice the floor. Bloodstains and gouges from inhuman claws marred the surface, and as the entire earth shuddered he fell to his knees and noticed that the foundation of the keep was less than solid. "I'll have to move quickly," he said, rising back to his feet.
     To his left, something ran into a door. The door shuddered from the impact but remained on its hinges, a large metal bar keeping it locked where other doors had relied only upon magic. "So they have some physical measures after all. Fancy that." Curious in spite of himself, Souta stepped over and placed his hand on the door.
     A brutish creature, once man but now something far worse. Corrupted by sinister magic, the brute was a mass of muscled flesh and dark pulsing veins. A man's height and half again and as thick as a pillar, with purple splotches on its skin marking where sorcery had twisted its flesh. It scowled and roared at the door, broken chains swinging from its wrists. The door shakes on its hinges and sounds of battle echo overhead. The brute bellows in response, its grotesque face contorted in pain and rage as it throws itself against the cell door again after again.
     He stumbled back as the door shook from the impacts. "No, thank you," he said, walking away from the cell. "I think I'll pass on that fight." Chills ran down his spine as he considered that the monster contained therein may once have been a man like him. He shook his head. "Discipline and honor, Souta. You can't falter now."
     As much as Souta hoped to find and free more of his brethren from the dungeon, he knew deep down that there were precious few of them left prisoner and that there simply wasn't time. From the continued tremors and the sounds of battle, it seemed that the keep was tearing itself apart. If I'm going to make it out of here alive, let alone in one piece, he thought, dodging a falling chunk of the ceiling, I need to move fast. No more distractions. Echoing his concerns, a tidal wave of rats began fleeing from deeper within the dungeon, their scurrying squeaks and scratching feet forcing Souta to place his hands over his ears in reflex. The jade flames around his wrist made it look like the ground itself was moving, swelling, surging like liquid stone. Every time a stone fell, a few rats would squeal as they were crushed.
     Yet as he began to hurry along the passageway, hopefully on his way out, he stopped. Another door, bound with chains arranged in a runic star. Bloodstains marked warding runes since drained of power by the cataclysm going on above.
     "Nothing good lies behind that door," he said to himself, even as he walked towards it. "Nothing good at all."
     Darkness. There's a presence behind the door, a presence not of this world. Chains once empowered by magical runes to bind an inhuman creature lie abandoned on the floor, manacles torn apart like so much rice paper. The darkness within the cell is absolute, even to his magic.
     Then he felt it, and recoiled from the door.
     Tendrils of dark sorcery reach out from the darkness and towards his mind, his soul. The jade flames around his hand erupt to life and spread across his entire body, holding back the curse. The dark tendrils subside, then renew their attack upon him to the sound of deep laughter from the demon  in the cell. He can barely make out the demon's outline, an immense thing at home in the absolute darkness. Wings sprouted from its back and claws reached out towards him. Three times the dark power assaulted his defenses, trying to rip his soul from his flesh, and three times his own magic barely held it at bay.
     Trembling, he forced himself away from the door. "No," he said, holding his shaking hand in front of himself like a shield. "They didn't. They wouldn't dare." No one is so foolish as to think they could control the demons of Torment, he thought, yet here one such true demon was. Not a corrupted devil of the wastes, not a brute formed by sorcery and a twisted mind, but a twisted mind incarnate. A True Demon.
     The door shuddered, the chains rattling as the demon tried to claw its way out. There was a dent from a fist larger than his head, then a scraping sound as claws rent at the door's surface. The rats in the hall milled around in a panic, not wanting to go past this otherworldly presence but fleeing yet something else--something worse?--from below.
     He stumbled away, footsteps ringing out in the passageway loudly as he fled the otherworldly presence on the other side of that door. "If they dared to summon demons and the binding wards are all broken," he breathed, breaking into a run even as the ground continued to tremble. His legs weren't ready to run and he found himself tripping, falling, getting back up and forcing himself to go forward anyway. He stumbled forward, desperate to escape. Sounds of conflict reached his ears, guiding him towards the surface and out of the dungeon. Shouts of alarm, screams of pain, and the sizzle of spells being cast filled the passageway.
     Heedless of whatever doom might lie before him, Souta continued forward, dodging another falling section of ceiling and leaping over a cultist's headless corpse. The passage widened and was filled with signs of damage, as though something too large for the hall had forced its way through.
     "For the love of all that is holy," he whispered, "not another one."
     Yet the signs were there: deep gouges in the walls, eviscerated remains of cultists and thralls cut down and torn apart by the escaped demon. The floor was slick with half-dried blood and random limbs were scattered about. The cultists had tried--and failed--to stop something from getting out. The stench coming from the bodies was awful, even to a nose gone blind to the stink of the dungeons. Screams filled the night ahead of him and he hesitated, uncertain of what to do.
     "I can't go back to that demon," he decided, sounding more confident than he felt, "so I must go forward. Discipline and honor."
     Before him lay a great set of double doors, torn from their hinges and discarded by whatever horror of the night had passed through here on its way out of the dungeon. The doors were immense, each a foot thick of solid oak. Yet they had been cast aside as trivially as a half-eaten meal.
     Beyond the doors lay the main hall  of the keep, where a battle was raging. The room was huge, its rows and rows of tables overturned or destroyed in the magical melee as figures scurried about, stepping over the bodies of the slain because there were too many dead for the living to avoid them. Souta doused the jade flames around his hand, no longer needing their light. Enough violet lightning was flying through the air in flickering bursts of power or swirling in magical circles of runes for anyone to see. Immediately he regretted his decision as the constantly flickering magic of the cultists brought on another pounding headache, but adding his own fire to the fight wouldn't make the flashing bursts of light any less painful.
     At the head of the hall, the Sorceress stood, holding her staff at her side and sweating in exertion as she dueled against an immense demon. Her purple robes whipped around in a magical windstorm, as did the brown hair once concealed between a now thrown-back hood. Her eyes flared a bright purple, the light piercing through the chaos against all odds and seeming to provide a center to the battle. Her foe was the largest demon Souta had ever seen, even larger than the one he had encountered in the dungeon cell below. Easily three, four times a human's height with a narrow, triangular face and two prominent horns sprouting from just above the ears, with leathery wings as large as a ship's sails. Chains dangled from its wrists and were slung over its shoulders, physical bonds that meant nothing to the inhuman monstrosity. The demon  grinned, revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth, as he flexed his batlike wings and tore through binding spells even as the Sorceress tried to bring him back under her control . Claws rent the air, sending a swirl of dark magic towards the Sorceress that her cultists barely held at bay. Three died with screams of horror and the demon laughed, a booming voice that shook the chandeliers that hung, lightless, from the vaulted ceiling high above.
     The Sorceress slammed her staff into the ground, firing a ray of raw power at the demon's chest. In response, the demon wrapped itself in its wings, deflecting the blow and sending a swirling vortex of dark magic back at the gathered cultists. A violet shield took form in the air and shattered on contact with the demon's magic, sending a shockwave throughout the room that flipped tables and shoved people into the ground. Souta steadied himself against the wall as the blast brought down part of the ceiling opposite him, revealing a sky swirling with magical lightning and booming thunder.
     Yet that wasn't the only fight taking place in the battleground that was once the Lone Keep. Cultists filled the hall with their spells as they fought off a seemingly unending horde of... something . The horde moved into the hall from the outside, advancing step by step as cultists hurled death spells and ducked behind overturned tables. They surged forwards, heedless of the death magic as it tore through their ranks, bodies collapsing to the ground. The creatures were unlike anything Souta had ever seen, orange lights blinking from their flesh and filling the hall with a scent of rot. Whenever they encountered a cultist as they advanced into the hall, they would tear her apart, screams lost in the din of battle as limbs were ripped from their sockets and thrown backwards. Soon they were on top of the main body of cultists and it was clear that the furious storm of death spells was not going to stop them.
     I won't survive this, Souta realized with a sudden calm . The only ones who will have already fled. I'm already dead. Even as he thought this, a few members of the horde turned and advanced upon him. If I die today, let it be with discipline and honor, he thought, sinking into a practiced fighting stance and summoning jade fire around his fists. The first horror came at him, orange lights twinkling on its torso, and he ducked under its wide strike, jabbing at its chest with his flaming hand. He winced as he struck metal and took a step backwards.
     The rats were fleeing the hall, back into the dungeon, more terrified by this horde and the demon than by whatever lay within the darkness below.
     The creatures were clearly humanoid. Souta leaned to the left to avoid a blow and kicked out, knocking the creature back. Yet another one was already there, attacking from the side. A layer of magical armor swirled to life around his arm instinctively as it grabbed on, but the magic began to flicker. "Discipline and honor," Souta growled, and the jade light grew stronger, throwing the abomination back. Three came at him and he blocked their strikes, his limbs shaking from the force of the blows. His foot slipped on some slime--or were those entrails from a cultist already slain?--and he went down. The creatures immediately fell upon him with furious blows, and he cried out in pain as his right arm was ripped from its socket. A fist plunged into his chest and squeezed.
     My path is blameless, Souta thought. Even as I die, I stand strong.



This was my attempt to write a horror story based off of IW. It's not a genre I'm particularly familiar with or good at, so who knows how successful I was. Taking place during the end of the Infestation/beginning of Ascension at Vasir's escape and the destruction of the Lone Keep, this story focuses on an escaped prisoner trying to get out. The idea was that even though he made no mistakes--"my path is blameless"--he was still going to die, which to me seems far more frightening than a horror story where the main characters do all sorts of stupid things and then die. I may come back and edit this story in the near future.

35
Special Events & Tournaments / Lore Tournament Oct. 22nd at 5pm IWT
« on: September 18, 2016, 10:38:23 PM »
Greetings, folks! During the tourney today there were a few comments concerning running themed tournaments in the future.

Well the future is now! Actually, it's still in the future, these things take a little time to set up. At any rate, such a tournament is now being plotted!

I present to you, Theme Tournament--LORE!

The Low-Down:
Each player selects a unique character when they sign up, with each person selecting a different character. No duplicates unless we get a really high volume of players. Then, you build your deck around those characters and slug away in a four round Bo3 Swiss Tournament for GLORY! And, much as with my Iron-Willed Chef tournament, prizes will be given out to the most flavorful decks as well. To sign up, comment in this thread with your unique character pick.

When is this tournament? October 22nd at 5pm IWT (12pm Central Time US). Check-in starts at 11am.

Deck-Building Rules:
First of all, your chosen character MUST be in your command zone. Secondly, while you need not run a 3 purity deck, you must be able to justify the purities you choose (for instance, I can build a Bromich deck splashing GI because hey, they were teamed up at one point).
Construct your deck thematically around your unique character and their lore. If your selected character is one who doesn't have as much lore behind them as other characters, that will be taken into account.
Once you have finalized your decklist, send me a copy of it and a short write-up explaining your design choices/flavor. Your Decklist is due to me in a forum pm by October 15th. Afterwards you cannot change it, because we'll be making graphics for each player and we want them to be accurate.

Banned Cards:
In order to promote deck diversity and that the unique character choices are more meaningful, the following cards are BANNED:
ALL AGENT COYLES
ALL ALETAS
ALL OF REBELLION, STAR TREK, AND OMNI
The Defiant Hermit
Pras, Traitor of the Dawn
Rita, Mistress of Shadow
Klore, the Rapier Centurion
Kali, the Purifier
Tibat, the Mad Monk
Tempus, Champion of Patience

The following cards are BANNED FROM COMMAND:
The Avatars
All Factionless Unique Characters (it's for your own good, I promise)
Xi, Ascended
Hehkeem, the Corrupted

The Loot
As with the Iron-Willed Chef Tournament, prizes will be awarded for both the best flavor and the best match record. Prizes will be paid out to the top three places in BOTH categories, plus prizes for all competitors who finish the event and an additional prize for all competitors who stream the event. Thanks to LM for providing the prizes!

Gameplay Category:
1st place: 750 LP and 3 Faction Penta-Packs
2nd place: 450 LP and 2 Faction Penta-Packs
3rd place: 200 LP and 1 Faction Penta-Pack

Flavor Category:
1st place: 750 LP and 3 Faction Penta-Packs
2nd place: 450 LP and 2 Faction Penta-Packs
3rd place: 200 LP and 1 Faction Penta-Pack

Door Prize (awarded to everyone who attends the ENTIRE event): 2 Collection Penta-Packs and 150 LP

Streaming Prize (awarded to everyone who streams the ENTIRE event): Your choice of 2 Collection Penta-Packs OR 2 Rift Tokens. To be eligible for this prize, contact me beforehand to let me know that you intend to stream the event.

Streaming
I am once again partnering with DrewUniverse to provide live-stream coverage of this event, including live commentary of both matches and decklists. It's gonna be awesome, and you should even be able to hear me this time because I'm getting a better microphone.

Player Sign-ups
To enter the event, post a comment in this thread with your name and the exact name of the Unique Character you are choosing to build around (to avoid confusion over, say, which Aberion you're picking). The player cap for this event is 30 and sign-ups are open until October 15th, the day decklists are due.
1. JLazeZ--Ju-Lin, Who Rewrites History (dropped)
2. LargeNuggets--Aberion, Hammer of the Dawn (confirmed)
3. Quangtit01--Tygrugh, the Insane (confirmed)
4. Ecliptix--Orion, Master Engineer (dropped)
5. Mew28--Harahel, Champion of Virtue (confirmed)
6. Dogeee--The Prophet Karani (dropped)
7. xMatanX122--Xi, Who Honors the Dead

8. sogeking--Agent Cheryl, Last to Leave (confirmed)
9. Key-ran Away (tentative)
10. N3ron, Xi, Who Honors the Dead (confirmed)
11. Zyhm, Sol, Champion of Vengeance

Questions? Comments? Let me know! Your input matters!

36
Fan-Art & Fan-Fiction / Benionin's Audiodrama Initiative
« on: September 07, 2016, 06:52:59 AM »
Given a particular recent marketing fiasco that shall hereafter go unmentioned, I have decided to take it upon myself to come up with some sort of marketing for the game. I don't stream, so that's right out. However, I do write. Quite a lot. And it strikes me that I can turn some of what I've written into audio form for the enjoyment of the masses.

I'm going to be narrating some of these, maybe bringing in a few of my friends to supply additional voices. Ideally, I'd be able to organize some rudimentary visual backdrops, creating a nice video for your listening/viewing pleasure.

Given how much that I've written, however, I was wondering: what would you like most to hear? All of these stories are on the IW forums for you to read, but which would you like to hear out loud? Hence, the poll. I'm not sure whether I should have included Into the Fray, given its length, but that could turn into a series. At any rate, vote on which story I should cover first! I'm going to be fishing around for some artistic talent but am more than open to volunteers. If you'd like to help, I'd love to have your help.

Let's make something that we can be proud of!

Stories:
Lanstead Besieged
Horribly Awry
--Sequel: Ethan, Immortal Runebinder
The Art of Defense
Into the Fray
--Prequel: To Rule with Greatness
The Darkest Hour
The Genesis of an Industry
The Elementalist
Teucer, the Eagle Eye
The Last Sleeper

Parodies:
The Phony Overseer
Song of the Field Commander
Aberion Just Can't Wait to be King
The Ballad of Sol
Those Talich Days

37
Fan-Art & Fan-Fiction / Lanstead Besieged
« on: September 07, 2016, 12:35:33 AM »
     Lanstead was a warzone. James was lucky enough to be in one of the more secure areas of the city--doubly so that he still had running water. Lying in bed, he rubbed his eyes and rolled to face away from the window. Artillery boomed and he mashed his pillow against his ears, but to no avail. Just like every other night for nearly a year, sleep would not be coming easily.
     Lights flashed from behind him and there was the sound of an explosion. Against his best instincts, James got up and ran over to the window. There, not even three blocks away, an apartment complex was on fire. Sirens wailed and robotic response teams rushed to the scene even as winged silhouettes fluttered through the night sky, raining sparks of light down upon the city. There was a burst of glowing flak from an anti-air array, but James couldn't tell how effective it was.
     Grumbling about wars needing curfews, he went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep. It was a long time coming.

     The next morning James woke up and walked over to his kitchenette, opening the cupboard in a futile search for food. "Damn empty cereal boxes," he muttered, taking one out, shaking it, and tossing it aside. Grabbing a glass from the sink, he turned on the faucet. A trickle of water came out.
     "Come on, come on!" he said as the glass slowly filled. Taking a swig, he quickly spat it out. "Damn. Guess I won't be showering today."
     Power had been reallocated from the elevators to something deemed more 'vital' by the military command, so James took the stairs. Reaching the bottom, he saw Henry, the landlord, sweeping dust out from the lobby again.
     "Morning, James," Henry said. "How'd you sleep?"
     "Terribly," James admitted. "And you?"
     "Terribly."
     "Something's wrong with the water, Henry."
     "The pigeons blew up an apartment last night," he explained. "It was on top of a water main, and now there's dust in the supply. The engineers assured me that they'd do their best to handle it by tonight."
     "Alright."
     "You off to work?"
     James shrugged. "If it's still standing." They shared a laugh.
     James worked at a distribution center. In the mornings he helped to hand out bread and other rations, along with gallons of water--until supplies ran out, anyway. They always did, but Genesis Industries always airlifted in more each night.
     The distribution center was located in what used to be a parking garage. The top floors had been bombed out but made an excellent target for airdropped supplies, and the parking on the lower levels served the supply trucks well during the days.
     "I don't know why they'll only drive at night," James grumbled as he handed the final bag of toiletries to a woman who was sobbing with relief and gratitude--emotions he found wearisome after the first few months of siege.
     "The Flame Dawn will shoot us to pieces if we drive during daytime, you bloody fool," growled a supply driver who was chomping on a cigar. "There's only one open road out of Lanstead and it's covered by their artillery. As it is we lose too many trucks."
     "Why isn't the army doing something about that artillery then?" James responded, his patience wearing thin after hearing the same complaint time after time. Cowards.
     There was a boom in the distance and the supply driver gestured emphatically. "What do you think that is, a picnic? The military's doing what it can--if you think you can do any better, why don't you enlist?" He stomped off, throwing his cigar onto the ground as he went.

     "So," Henry said over a hand of cards later that night, "what happened to you, Jim? You used to be an engineer, right?"
     James nodded, staring at his hand. Looking at the cards, then at Henry, he folded. "Used to."
     "So why the past tense?" Henry asked, shuffling the deck and dealing out another hand.
     James shrugged. "Severance package post-Sleepers was too good."
     "Was that before the war started up?"
     He nodded. "Yeah. By that point I had too many friends in the Dawn to rejoin and watch them get killed."
     "Friends in the Dawn, eh?"
     He wasn't going to win this hand either. He folded again. "Yeah, what of it? Happens when you fight alongside other people."
     Artillery boomed and the building shook, dust raining down on their heads.
     "The fighting's getting closer," Henry commented as he won a round, shuffling the deck again.
     "I'm sure we'll hold them off. We can't lose the city."
     Henry raised an eyebrow as he dealt the next hand. "Can't?"
     James ignored him and looked at the cards. "Damn it, Henry, why can't I ever win at this?"
     "I made this game, James," Henry reminded him, packing up the deck of cards. James rolled his eyes and retired to his room to listen to the thunder of not-so-distant cannon before falling asleep.

     There was a knock on the door the next morning. "James," Henry said from the other side, "a word."
     James let out an unintelligible groan and rolled out of his bed. Scratching at his hair, he opened the door.
     "The Flame Dawn is advancing farther into the city from the north," Henry was explaining. "The military has begun to evacuate more and more people from the contested zones, but we lack housing. Even with the supply trucks evacuating refugees there simply isn't enough room in the secure parts of the city for everyone to stay." He paused, and James looked over his shoulder at a line of men, women, and children with suitcases. "I volunteered to house them in the complex."
     "No," James said, crossing his arms.
     "I knew you would understand," Henry continued forging forwards through his speech, "since you work with supply distribution. You've seen these people. Anyway, the math works out to approximately 4 people per apartment now."
     "Haven't I given enough for this damn war?" James demanded. "Haven't I sacrificed enough?"
     Henry ignored him and moved on to the next apartment, three refugees filing into James's room as he stared on in disbelief and outrage.

     He fumed about it all day at work, of course, handing out relief packages to those in need. Like we aren't all in need. He scowled at the drivers of the supply trucks, the pilots of the airplanes. The men who should be evacuating the refugees so he didn't have to house them. And when it was all said and done he went back to his apartment, lost a few more hands of cards, and returned to his now-crowded room to try to eke out some sleep--fuming, perhaps, but without lashing out at those poor unfortunates around him, the helpless masses displaced by war and angels' vindictive greed.

     The next day work got out early. The Overseers had seized the last open road out of the city, so supplies couldn't be brought in by truck anymore. And the refugees couldn't be ferried out either. With fewer incoming supplies, there was less for James to hand out at the distribution center--and a long line of people going without necessities like food and water.
     "The military says it's going to retake the road," Henry explained over a hand of cards. Some of the refugees had joined them for the game, bringing their number up from two to eight.
     "Damn pigeons," James muttered, and the table grumbled in agreement. In the distance, artillery rumbled.
     "Why are we fighting them anyway?" a man whose name James hadn't bothered to learn complained.
     "They attacked us," Henry shrugged, winning the hand and collecting the cards. "There was a disagreement between President Orion and the Overseers so they attacked." He shuffled the deck.
     "Yeah, but why us?" the man insisted. "We have nothing to do with it!"
     "Orion was here when they started the attack," James said as Henry dealt the next hand. "They killed him, but the army rallied and drove them out of the city. The Flame Dawn hates losing ground and High Command doesn't want to give up Lanstead to them. Neither side will back down until the meat grinder has claimed its fill of lives."
     There was a lull in the conversation. Several hands passed--James even won one of them--without words. Then James stood up and walked over to the faucet to get a drink of water. He turned the knob, and nothing came out.
     The group stared.
     "I will murder each and every one of those angels!" James growled. He turned the knob again, but still no water. "Come on, damn you!"
     Henry took out a phone and walked into another room. A few minutes later, he returned. "Military HQ says the Flame Dawn seized the nearest water treatment plant. They're currently fighting in the streets next to it, hope to have the water back online within the hour."
     "Within the hour?" James exploded. "I accomplished more in less time back when I was with the UTF, and it's going to take them an hour to get the water running again?"
     "James," Henry said softly, "I think you need to calm down."
     James angrily pulled a set of headphones out of his pockets and jammed them onto his ears, turning up the music before stomping upstairs.
     "He was in the UTF?" someone asked, barely audible above the music.
     His room, however, was not his own. Three other people were there--a family huddled together against the distant sound of cannon and the fear of being killed in this inescapable city. James ignored them and turned up his music even more, going straight to his bed and falling into an angry sleep.

     The water was working the next morning, and within the week the road was open again too, with supplies coming back in. A fleet of transport ships also arrived, bringing much needed relief supplies and carrying a horde of refugees out of the city. Henry's apartment was no longer home to three times its capacity, and their card games were down to just three people (a few of the refugees were still there, but not many). James was getting better, able to win one hand in three now more or less consistently.
     "Things look to be on the up-and-up," Henry was saying, putting away his phone. "The military just notified me that they'll be able to evacuate more people tonight, including ones who aren't in immediate danger. Now's our chance to get out of here before the fighting reaches our homes."
     "I'm not going," James said, shaking his head. "No one is going to drive me out of here."
     Henry raised an eyebrow. "Not the Overseers? Not your friends among the Flame Dawn?"
     A scowl. "Nobody." He kept his headphones over at least one of his ears at all times now, the music volume varying from quiet background to dull roar. "And with any luck my friends are already dead. I haven't heard from them since I was relocated to this side of the Rift. For all I know, they died before the Overseers arrived."
     "What was it like, the UTF?" Marcus asked.
     James's scowl deepened as Henry won the hand. "None of your business."
     Henry began to shuffle up and deal. "Come on, James, tell us a story. Did you ever get to see any of the Overseers while you were in the New World?"
     "I told you, I left the New World before the Overseers arrived. I saw some come through the rift, though."
     "What were they like?"
     James shrugged and adjusted his headphones so they covered both ears. "They were angels."

     The next day when James got back from work, Henry was plastering a recruitment poster on the door of the apartment complex. "Hey there, James," he said, wiping a layer of sweat and dust from his brow. "How was work?"
     "It was work," he replied.
     Henry gestured at a pile of boards stacked a few feet away. "I think it's about time I dealt with the windows. Care to help?"
     No. "Sure."
     "Those pigeons are getting closer," Henry explained as they started to board up the windows. "I hate to do this, but the last thing we need is broken glass."
     "So the military's recruiting again?" James said, picking up a board.
     "When aren't they? You thinking of signing on, doing more than just handing out supplies?"
     James grunted. "Don't know. Not doing much good as is."
     "By the way, the Overseers and the Dawn blew up the water mains to most of the city. Strict austerity measures are being enforced."
     "Well damn," James said, picking up another board. "They're putting extra pressure on the supply trucks too. Drivers say that half of them got taken out on the road last night."
     "You think they're trying to starve us into submission since they can't take the city by force?"
     "Maybe so. How strict are these austerity measures?"
     "To start with, no showers until the broken mains get fixed or the working ones get expanded."
     "Damn those pigeons."
     "Amen," Henry laughed. "Amen."
     "Does the military get to shower?"
     "The soldiers? Don't know."
     "How about batteries?" His music player had run out of power earlier that day.
     "I'm sure that there are some perks involved. There have to be."
     James grunted in agreement as they picked up another board. "Well, why don't you call and find out. I may end up enlisting again after all."

     When he walked to the recruitment center, his backpack carried only five things: his music player and headphones, a spare change of clothes, a notebook full of old designs, what toiletries he had left, and Henry's deck of cards.
     "I'll just make another one," the landlord had said. "You take these."
     The gray and blue Genesis uniform that he had worn all that time ago--had it been months or years since then?--was already covered in the gray dust of a city slowly being pounded into rubble by war. There were three medals on his chest: one for valor during the Infestation, a Silver Cross of technical excellence, and a Crimson Cross of friendship from the Flame Dawn, awarded for battlefield bravery.
     The recruiter looked up when he entered. "Soldier, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at the front?"
     "James Sibello, here to reenlist."
     Lanstead was a warzone, and it was time for everyone to start fighting to protect it.

By request of Omucupunga in Discord, who asked that I write a story about the life of a normal GI citizen. By way of disclaimer, James is not a Moose, nor is he related to any Meese. He enjoys listening to music and long walks through the rubble-filled streets of Lanstead however.

38
So there I was, playing my Omnitron deck and staring down a Descension. I had a single Disruption Sphere out and my opponent discarded the dread demon dragonizer. After it killed me, I asked my opponent whether or not the Exile cost of the card had been increased thanks to the Sphere, and he replied that it hadn't.

So here's the question: should Disruption Sphere affect Exile costs?

Quote
All ability cards cost 2 more to play
Quote
If an Exile card is discarded, it may be played at the start of the next turn for its Exile cost

39
Fan-Art & Fan-Fiction / [Speculation] Ethan, Immortal Runebinder
« on: August 23, 2016, 08:30:33 PM »
Ethan, Immortal Runebinder
A Speculative story of Infinity Wars
Previous Story: Horribly Awry

     Ethan blinked his eyes. It was bright. Far too bright. Slowly, he came to his senses. He was lying on the ground in what was... a crater? Sitting up, he quickly glanced around, searching for her. A sigh. Aleta was right next to him, still unconscious from whatever had happened. His lucky magician's cloak was in tatters, nearly torn apart by the magic.
    What went wrong? he wondered, thinking back to the ritual. I must have checked the runework some twenty times. He chuckled softly. Should have checked a twenty-first time. He looked down at his hands, clenched his fists.
     "I don't feel all that different," he muttered. "How about you, Aleta?"
     He looked over and she was still unconscious. She looked peaceful--happy, even. And now they could be together forever. He frowned. Forever is a very long time. What if she decides she doesn't want me around? Shaking his head he dismissed the thought, then gently reached over and shook her awake.
     "Aleta, wake up. I don't know what happened, but I think the ritual worked."
     Her eyes fluttered open and she sat up, staring at him blankly.
     "Aleta?" he said again, worried.
     "Aleta?" she repeated, her voice curious and confused, her name seemingly without meaning.
     Now, Ethan knew that mind-reading magic is horribly impolite. He knew that telepaths just turn into know-it-alls and are infuriating to deal with, and that known telepaths are social pariahs that no one trusts. If someone can know your inner-most thoughts in their presence, your options are to not have inner-most thoughts in their presence or to not be in their presence. Most people choose the latter. And using magic to read the mind of your lover is a surefire way to ruin any relationship. Knowing all of this, Ethan rarely used magic to read minds and had never, ever, done so with Aleta.
     So it was with great trepidation that he sketched a rune in the air and concentrated on Aleta's thoughts. He gasped.
     She had forgotten everything.
     Shocked, Ethan stumbled backwards, his hand slashing through the air. He meant to cut through the rune allowing him to read the blankness of Aleta's mind, blankness only broken by confusion, but his hand cut through something else as well. The world seemed to lurch, something seemed to snap and go horribly wrong, and where his hand had passed through the air was a rent in the very fabric of reality.
     And through that rift, Ethan saw another world and another Aleta, lying on the ground unconscious. His hand flew forward and grabbed the edges of the rift, slamming it closed desperately. Leaping to his feet, Ethan looked around, horrified at the destruction he had wrought. For he was indeed in the center of a crater, but also in the center of a multiverse--a multiverse he had created by accident with the ritual to make the two of them immortal.
     Falling to his knees,  he placed his head in his hands. "This isn't what I wanted."
     Then there was a hand on his shoulder. He turned and saw Aleta smiling at him. She remembered nothing of their past life, but she still cared.
     It was all too much. Remembering what had just been an accident, Ethan swiped his hand through the air and tore open another rift, plunging through and closing it behind himself. He was in another crater, another world, by another Aleta--but this one was unconscious and couldn't follow as he ran away.

     "Why do you insist on using those stuffy runes when there's so much raw power you can command?" The Reish Aleta asked for the thousandth time, and for the thousandth time Ethan sighed.
     "Raw power is useful and can be manipulated quickly," he conceded, "but runework ensures that the magic stays under control and does what you want it to." Mostly. For a hundred years he had explored the infinite worlds he had created, keeping track of their progress--and of the Aletas. This one shared his interest in magic, but Ethan wasn't sure which part of his beloved was embedded in this Aleta's mind.
     The Sorceress shrugged. "Using runes reduces the power of the spells. It's better just to have the speed and flexibility raw magic provides."
     Ethan shook his head. "Nonsense. The control is far more important--surely worth losing a little aetheric output. I've been watching your experiments, Aleta, and your uncontrolled exploration of magic is polluting and twisting the world. You should put more effort into using runes. You'd be surprised how useful they are."
     "I prefer to be able to cast my spells quickly, if it's all the same to you."
     Ethan snapped his fingers and the ground surged to life, light erupting from a rune carved into the earth. Magical chains surged upwards and bound the Sorceress. Cursing, she tried to destroy them, but to no effect. "Activating preset runes is faster than casting spells." He let the magic fade, trying to ignore her glare. "Meticulous preparation and safeguards are key to using magic safely and properly," he lectured. "Otherwise, great power will wreak great destruction."
     "Well maybe I need to destroy something," she countered bitterly. "A certain immortal comes to mind."
      Ethan looked at her sharply. "Aleta!" He noticed a dark look behind her eyes, but it was quickly replaced by a disarming smile.
     "Oh, just joking," she laughed, but Ethan didn't believe her. Not for one second.

     "So how are the other dimensions?" the Talich Aleta asked as Ethan walked into her lab. He cringed. Even though he had been careful not to let any of them know, some of the Aletas had figured out the existence of the other dimensions. Fortunately they didn't know about each other. That would be difficult to explain.
     "They progress. Time goes on, as it always does."
     "I'm working on using the multiversal theory to create a teleportation device," she said, looking over her glasses at a computer console. "The programming is difficult, however."
     Ethan shrugged. He had never been very good with technology. "I'm sure you'll figure something out. You always have."
     She beamed and looked at him. "You've been a great help, Ethan. I can't stand all of these mortals."
     He gave her a guarded hug. "I wish I could do more."
     "Being the guardian of infinite worlds is a difficult enough task, I'm sure," she said, turning back to the programming. "How many of us immortals are there?"
     "Oh, a couple," Ethan lied. "Not counting Torment and Solace, of course."
     "Of course. The Overseers still giving you trouble?"
     He shook his head. "I avoid going to Solace and they avoid the mortal realms. It works out."
     "I see." She turned to a workstation and began tinkering with some circuitry.
     "If you're busy..." Ethan began, and she nodded.
     Turning, he opened a rift and walked away.

     "For the last time, stay away from me you creep!" Aleta yelled, drawing the attention of the many passerby in Kyrallic. "I don't care that we're the only immortals, I don't like you!"
     "Ma'am," a security officer said, walking up to them with his hand on a stun baton, "is this man bothering you?"
     Aleta shot Ethan a withering glare and nodded. "It feels like I've had to suffer his company for an eternity."
     The guard looked at him. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to step away from the woman."
     Ethan snarled. "Stay out of this. Aleta, you're being childish, you know that?"
     The guard pulled his baton from his belt. "Sir--"
     Ethan's fingers snapped and magical bindings erupted from a rune a short distance away, locking the guard in place. "I'll be going, but first I want to say my piece."
     The crowd gasped. "Magic!" "Criminal!" "How dare he!" "A sorceror!"
     Ethan rubbed his temples, trying to avoid a mounting headache. "Listen, Aleta, I'm here to help. To make sure that everything is going well. That you're happy."
     "Well, you aren't helping and I hate you. If you want to make me happy, stay away! And stop using magic! It was banned here for a reason, you know!"
     He held up his hands and began to back off. As he did so, the bonds restraining the officer faded and he charged. But Ethan merely turned and slipped through a rift to a different world, closing it behind himself with centuries of practice so none could follow.

     He always thought of this as the original world, as the true epicenter of the multiverse. All signs of the once flourishing civilization were gone, buried beneath the abundant wild growth. Ethan often came here to think, to contemplate what had gone so horribly awry.
     He considered the Aleta here on the Untamed World to be the true Aleta as well, merely awaiting the return of all of the scattered fragments of her personality. Ethan couldn't bear to speak to her, not since that first day. His fingers strayed to the edge of his often patched magician's cloak.
     "Not a single thread of the original is left by now," he joked softly. "Just patches over patches." He sighed. "Just like my life, my dreams. What am I supposed to do?" The plan had been perfect, foolproof even. Rewrite the universe to make the two of them immortal. But somehow, in the process he had split the universe and Aleta into countless pieces. Not infinite, mind you. He had walked all of the multiverse over the past several hundred years and knew every world, every remnant of Aleta's once perfect, beautiful mind. Now it was all pieces, shattered pieces of what had once been whole.
     "If I could just put them back together," he whispered, staring at his hands.
     Wait...
     "What if I could just put them back together!"

     It took another hundred years of planning, of research, of crafting the right runes and placing them in the proper locations. Visits to the other Aletas became infrequent as Ethan concentrated on two worlds far from the Untamed World. He planned, he invented a whole new grammatical structure for runes, he prepared, he double-checked the safety measures he put in place. In fact, he went over them twenty-one times in a fit of superstition. And then, the chosen day.
     It was a clear sky. Ethan stood at the world's crater, a remnant of the Calamity all of those years ago. This far from the center of the multiverse, the crater was much smaller than on other worlds. Still, it was large enough and foreboding enough that few people ever came here.
     He spoke the words, pulled enough raw power from the aether to make the Sorceress of Reish drool, and threw it into the runes spread throughout the world, a network that began at his feet and spread out across the globe like a spiderweb. There was a mounting tension in the air, a sense of compression, and then the world seemed to shatter and explode. Trying to concentrate on the magic in spite of the strain, Ethan passed out.
     When Ethan awoke, two worlds had become one.
     He ran to where he knew Aleta would be, completely disregarding the destruction that surrounded him, barely even noticing that the overlaid worlds looked just like they had right after the Calamity. He found her, unconscious, and quickly scanned her thoughts.
     Gone. She had forgotten everything once again. Ethan looked deeper into her mind, and there he found it. Two seeds of Aleta's original personality. Two worlds, two Aletas, combined into one. And if two worlds of the multiverse could be overlaid, all of them could.
     Ethan left Aleta there, lying unconscious, peaceful. Envisioning a mental map of the multiverse, he chose two more worlds. There was more work to do.



And so my exploration of the mysterious second man from the Calamity continues. This story brought to you in part by Grinnin_Gin's Card Design Challenge, which motivated me to actually write the story. I've got more plans for Ethan, so stay tuned for the continuation of this extremely speculative series.

40
Deck Building / Ao Shun's Cheesy Possibilities
« on: August 19, 2016, 08:54:49 PM »
Let's start by saying that this deck is in no way optimized. It's a deckbuilding disaster. But it's also hilarious. 80-card singleton isn't going to be a viable format any time soon, but if it were, this deck would still probably lose.

Command:
Enyah
Daode, Sage of Strength
Yuanshi, Sage of Ferocity

Deck (80 cards):
Characters: (35 cards):
Wealthy Noble
Zuza
Q
Martyr Golem
Shikana
Hulking Sniper
Rabid Rabbit
Brings Life by Passing
Dropbear
Killaroo
Support Drone
Unstable Bomb-bot
Noble Protector
Infected Purifier
Intimidating Monk
Echo of the Battlefield
Infected Monk
Gao Han, the Stalwart
Monk of the Second Moon
Spirit of the Ancient Guardians
Xi, Ascended
Infested Hero
Zunshen
Tibat
Coyle Immovable
Steadfast Protector
Ju-Lin
Avatar of Lingbao
Avatar of Daode
Avatar of Yuanshi
Ao Shun, Dragon of Wisdom
Evolving Parasite
Infested Abomination
Princess Hinekri
Zealous Protector

Abilities (40 cards):
Recycle
Gather Thoughts
Explore
Calamity
Fight!
CTA
Cannon Fire
Research
Laser Cannon
Siphon Structure
Lightning Blast
Word of Command
Death Ray
Stumble
Purify
Ferocity
Swift Strikes
Exhaust
Lance of Jinhai
Spirit Armor
Humble
Vigil
Daode's Protection
Balance
Denial of Force
Jinhai Ambush
Surprise Defense
Retaliation
Fear
Demonize
Spontaneous Combustion
Dehumanize
Chaos in the Ranks
Make it So
Duel
Oppress
Dive
Consecration
Search for the Key
Solace's Peace

Location (3):
Contained Parallel Rift
The Dragon Project
Great Wall of Jinhai

Artifact (2):
Mysterious Box of Wonder
Heaven's Bell

The good news is that I won't be drawing out. The better news is that, assuming I get to play Ao Shun, I have plenty of tools to make sure my opponent won't be able to neutralize him (short of a humble or demonize). Box's flicker effect will reset the exhaust if he gets killed while Bell, Word of Command, Make it So, Ferocity, and Vigil can all send even an exhausted dragon into combat. The rest of it is cheese and survivability. Why not run Ao in command? I wanted the Daode Yuanshi combo for the board control and to always have something to spend resources on in the incredibly likely situation of drawing dead cards. Why 80 cards? I wanted a round number greater than 40 since I'd be drawing a lot and just kept adding cards to my deck. I could probably safely take out 20 of the cards and still not worry about drawing out while becoming much more consistent--but where's the fun in that?

There's some sweet situational tech in here and I'd explain it all but am too lazy to do so at the moment. I'll probably definitely be editing this deck as time goes by.

41
Community Events & Contests / [CDC] Gone but not Forgotten--CLOSED
« on: August 12, 2016, 04:06:29 AM »
Card Design Challenge--Gone, but not Forgotten

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, JUDGING INCOMING

Greetings, CDC fans!

For this card design challenge contestants are to design a card that cares about removal from the game. It could be something that cares about being removed like the Defiant cards or something that cares about other cards being removed from the game like Purge the Unworthy or Never Forget the Fallen. The Defiant cycle is a conservative foray into this really cool design space and I'm interested in seeing what you come up with. NOTE: Merely coming up with a card that removes other cards from the game is insufficient for this challenge in of itself. For those of you who have already entered, check out my posts on the third page of this thread detailing which entries are in need of editing to be eligible for the challenge. If you haven't entered, I would suggest looking over it anyway as it's basically a (abridged) sneak peak at how I'll be judging this.

Allowed purities: Any
Factions: Any
Card type: Any

This edition of the contest will end on August 21st at 23:30 IWT (the timestamp used on the forums).
For EDT: 21st of August, 7:30 p.m.
For CEST: 22nd of August, 1:30 a.m.

Judgment results will be given within the following 2 days. The winner should then contact Drew about running the next challenge.

The Loot:
1st place: 1 Faction Pack + 2 Collection Packs
2nd place: 2 Collection Packs
3rd place: 1 Collection Pack

--- Card Design Challenge Rules ---
1) The Judge appoints a challenge, it can be anything, making new card, redesigning an old one or whatever you wish.
2) All that wish to participate submit their card design. No double posting allowed, you may however edit your post ONCE till the deadline.
3) If you edit your post you should make an additional post in this thread informing of the edit to make sure that the updated version of the card will be judged. The post should contain the full updated card details as well as a brief summary of what changed from your original submission.
4) After an announced deadline the Judge decides a winner. The winner then becomes The Judge for the next round.
5) All entries submitted before the deadline are guaranteed feedback, either in this thread or in another detailed feedback thread.

SUGGESTED SUBMISSION FORMAT:
Name
Faction/Purity
Type
Rarity
Cost
Morale
Attack/Health
Rules Text
Flavor Text

Special thanks to DrewUniverse for helping to support and maintain the contest, Onyx because I totally stole their formatting, Yodomare for the prize support, the Academy, my siblings for always supporting me, my friends, the director, the crew, really there's too many to thank...
Seriously though, thanks to Drew and YM for helping keep the challenge alive and for promoting it to new participants.

Questions? Clarifications? Let me know and I'll do my best to get back to you. Good luck and happy card-crafting!

42
Non-IW Discussion / Crossover with my own writing...
« on: August 11, 2016, 05:06:02 AM »
For whatever reason, I recently asked myself what some of the characters of my own original works would look like as IW cards. Obviously you won't have all of the context for these, but just for fun, here are a few of my ideas. I'm not really going for balanced here, but feel free to tell me just how bonkers particular cards would be. Note: Major Spoilers ahead for the books. They're years away from completion let alone publication and things may very well change, but still, spoilers.

Tonemaro I
Legendary
3p Loyalist
10 Cost, 25 Morale
Unique Character--Human
Indestructible, Untouchable, Reach
When CARDNAME enters combat with a dragon-type character, he loses Indestructible until the end of the turn.
10/10
The Tiger of the North, the Baron of the North Marches, the Hero of the Norsavé Wars, the Lord of NorthRund, the Peerless, the First Tigerian, Tonemaro I

"You may be a killer of men, but you have never faced the likes of me before"


Otherwise known as "The Incredibly OP," this guy is a legend in the world. He's faced down just about everything and stood his ground unfazed. It took a draconic holocaust to finally bring him down and even then, well, spoilers. And did I mention that he's the grandfather of one of the other main characters? The 3 purity is incredibly restrictive here since I'm not fleshing out an entire faction's worth, but I felt that it was warranted. For one thing, his loyalty was going nowhere.

Dolon Hyperion
3p Traitor
Epic
5 Cost
10 morale
10/10
Unique Character--Human
Pay 5: If CARDNAME isn't a Dragon, he gains +10/+10, Flying, Unstoppable, and becomes a Dragon in addition to his other types
Whenever CARDNAME fights a Dragon, he gains +5/+5
Dolon Hyperion, The Strong One turned Traitor, that mighty champion of force and mind who toppled a kingdom so he would never have to be afraid again, only to crumble under the pressure and hatred of his former battle-brothers

This fellow's the main villain, a DragonLord who betrays everyone and well, plot ensues. The flavor text is taken directly from my current draft of an epilogue for the second book (which is unfinished, but writing the epilogue first helped me with planning and all). His one mechanic is extremely similar to Enrage and is how I want to reflect the difference between the DragonLords without/with their dragons. Notably, he's the fellow who eventually managed to kill Tonemaro I.

Turtle Surgo
1p Loyalist
3 cost, 7 morale
Rare
Unique Character--Human
8/8
Haste
Pay 5:If CARDNAME isn't a Dragon, he gains +10/+10, Flying, Unstoppable, and becomes a Dragon in addition to his other types
Whenever CARDNAME deals combat damage to a player, he deals damage equal to his power to a random deployed character that player controls.
Personally, Turtle found the lightning ticklish

A slightly more zany character--my sister likened him to the Irishman in Braveheart--Turtle's a rogue recruited as a DragonLord who tends to be slightly more unorthodox. He's also the only lightning mage in the series so far.

MORE POSSIBLY TO COME, DEPENDING ON RESPONSE

43
Suggestions / 2v2
« on: August 06, 2016, 07:17:15 AM »
2v2. Two-Headed Giant, as it's known in MtG. It sounds cool. It sounds fun. It would be an awesome feature to add to the game.

It would also be much more difficult to implement than at first glance. Consider, for instance, MtG's Two-Headed Giant--a format that's much easier even there to do on paper than online. You simply have two players playing two decks on a team with a shared life total. There are some minute rules differences from normal play (effects that drain each opponent of life cause your opponents to lose 2 life even though they have a shared life pool), but all-in-all it's rather easy to change MtG into 2v2. As far as design choices go, the game isn't fundamentally changed by having a teammate--it's fairly comparable with a free-for-all game where you and another player make an alliance. Infinity Wars doesn't have it nearly so easy.

Let's consider just a few design choices that would need to be made:
Would you have a shared health/morale pool?
How would priority work within the team?
Who would have the final say on when a turn is over--and should turn timers be changed in of themselves?
How would the zone-based combat be adapted to multiplayer, and who would have the final say on character placement?
How would the battlefield/command zones be represented, and how would the graphics of the game compensate for the extra information?
How would teams be formed--would there be a lobby, random matchmaking, invites, or any combination of those and more?

As you can see, there's a whole lot that needs to be considered here, and ideally a good 2v2 design would explore all of the myriad routes that they could take in order to find the design that is clean, fun, easy to implement, and faithful to the fidelity of the Infinity Wars experience. I'm going to offer a few design options here and discuss some of their successes and pitfalls.

1) The Neighbors (aka the simplest but least interesting and least multiplayer design)
In this version, you and your teammate are basically fighting 2 1v1 games side-by-side, except you'll have a shared health/morale pool and your abilities can target any of the four players. So if I play a Yuanshi's Wrath my teammate and their opponent are also affected.

The Neighboring battlefield option doesn't rewrite many of the fundamental aspects of the game, making it relatively easy to implement. However, it definitely has its pitfalls. If one player falls too far behind, the other player will have limited options to help their teammate catch up and could be crushed through no particular fault of their own. Likewise, it doesn't really feel like a team experience, since I'm more of a spectator of my teammate's match than a participant. This is an easy implementation of 2v2, but like I said in the beginning it's more like 2 1v1 games, which isn't what you want.

Combat
A key difficulty that I'm going to bring up here is Infinity Wars' lane-based combat. It's a slightly simplified laning system since each lane has strict directional restrictions (I can ONLY attack through the Right Lane and ONLY defend through the Left Lane--the Assault and Defense Zones). Given these lanes its difficult to have a true multiplayer experience where you have the option to attack each player and be attacked by each player, and at its core 2v2 is a predefined alliance between 4 free-for-all players. If I had the option to attack either one of my opponents, I would have to choose between 2 assault zones and 2 defense zones to address either one. Clearly this simply isn't feasible, so ideally each team should share a singular set of lanes--I and my teammate share an assault and defense zone against our opponents, avoiding the Neighbor mode's issue of not feeling multiplayer enough. But the Command Zone complicates things further--would it have six slots, or would your team have to choose 3 like in Merged? Infinity Wars has a great deal of depth and complexity, and the design of the game means that each solution to the 2v2 problem raises more questions that must be answered. Still, let's look at a model like this:

2) The Three-Legged Race
In this version, I share zones with my teammate (disregarding the command zone issue for now) while still drawing my own cards from my own deck. I get to place my characters and play my abilities in our Assault and Defense zones and so does my teammate. Unfortunately, there's a huge drawback here: who has the last word? The placement of characters is incredibly important and can be a contentious subject (consider Merlin's argument that the Monk of the Second Moon should attack in my What's the Play? riddle), with feelings riding high. Even in 1v1 I will place, replace, reposition, and reconsider the best way to order my offensive and defensive line, trying to figure out the ideal positioning and predict how my opponent will be playing. In 2v2 not only could your teammate meddle with your hypothetical repositioning, but the two of you could become so bogged down in an argument about how to position against that stupid Evolving Parasite that it compromises your team. Positioning is meaningful and important in IW and feelings can ride pretty high while egos flare. While the teammates may come to a decision and team play should definitely give the players a mode to communicate with each other (perhaps even voice chat), this is the internet. How often are players really going to consider their teammate's position and come to a consensus? How often are they just going to insist that they know what they're doing and waste time--and destroy team unity--repositioning that Paladin of the Flame Dawn and Emberstarter? Incredibly toxic situations would constantly arise and there needs to be a way to end the argument definitively other than seeing which player waits until the last second to make their change.

One solution to this (proposed by Orisolve) is to give the players within the team an alternating priority, trading who gets to "drive" the game. The player with priority would have the final say on ending the turn (and their abilities would resolve first, getting rid of the interwoven ability timing issue and limiting combos somewhat). Trouble is that trolls could just end the turn right away. If you've been in a 3-Legged-Race you know how important it is for the runners to be working together. If they're out of sync or if one is willfully dragging the other down, that player will never be good enough on their own to carry against a team that is actually working together. To combat this, a minimum turn timer could be implemented--say, that turns must always last at least one minute in this mode. During your spare time in the first turn you can discuss strategy with your teammate, making it less of a time-dump as you would think. Another way to combat this would be to make it so the players must agree on ending the turn up until a certain point--say, the last minute of the turn (however long the turn is, since it will definitely have to be extended to accommodate for teamwork involved and the extra data that would have to be interpreted). These are all valid options to address the inherent issues in any multiplayer game (arguing with your teammate certainly wouldn't be exclusive to IW, since it happens in any team game and even in 2-Headed Giant--just know that IW's core mechanics would tend to make it worse/more contentious than otherwise).

Matchmaking
Now seems like a good time to consider matchmaking. How would teams be put together. If I just enter into a queue, how can I guarantee that my teammate's deck will synergize with my own? What if I was running a character-heavy 3WP deck while my teammate was running Mill, which specializes in repeatedly wiping the board? There definitely would be some hard feelings because either my teammate will wipe the board as per usual, crippling my own gameplan, or my teammate will be unable to really play their deck out of consideration of my gameplan. While blindly entering a queue is still necessary for people who don't really care who their teammate is or just want to queue quickly rather than looking for the perfect fit, there should definitely be other options.

One such option, proposed by Orisolve, is to have a lobby displaying a player's purity but not their name. This way you could try to select a teammate based on which purities they're running. Now this isn't foolproof--I could select a 3 GI teammate hoping for an Omnitron ally and instead get a 3 GI rush deck. My improvement on this system would be to simply list the available purity choices and then match you within that sub-field--so I could pick a 3 GI teammate and be matched with a random 3 GI player, rather than with a specific 3 GI player I chose at random. This would allow for some balance among matchmaking but would definitely harm people running odd purity combinations--who would volunteer to team up with a DoD/DoD/Klingon deck, right?

On top of this, there should definitely be a way to invite a friend to be your teammate. That's half the fun of 2v2 anyway.

3) Orisolve's Model
During our discussion last night, Orisolve advanced a particular model that has some unique takes on the format. In his model, both players will have their hands, decks, and commands, though they'll share the deployed zones (as in the 3-Legged Model above). There would have to be shared Health/Morale as well. Where Orisolve departs from the 3-Legged Model is his twist on resources. Instead of each player having 1, 2, 3, etc resources on 1, 2, 3, Ori designed it so that each team has 1, 2, 3 resources to share between their two players. So if my teammate has a 1-drop, he can play it but I can't play mine. Imagine, he told us, a turn 7 where you have an Avatar but your teammate has a Skraar. Which do you decide to play as a team? The trouble here is that it hurts decks with expensive cards and restricts the game into less of a 2v2 feel than a 1.5v1.5, since none of the players can completely play their decks. Likewise it incentivizes decks with low curves--both players would be able to throw out cards to their heart's delight and because they're drawing 2 cards a turn instead of 1, these low-cost decks wouldn't run out of gas as quickly. Even adjusting resource gain to 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 10, etc wouldn't do much to alleviate this issue, because you're having two players who are each trying to play the game with only one player's worth of resources. This clearly isn't fun, and along with his rotating priority system would play more like a Multiple Personality version of 1v1 than a true 2v2 game, where you're playing against a different player each turn who's trying to maintain their own gameplan in spite of their "ally's" meddling. Consider Hannibal at Cannae--one of his key advantages was that the two Roman generals were trading command each day, and he made his move knowing which general was in charge and how he would react. In that instance, one unified command was better than the disjointed Roman command, and this is likely true elsewhere.

4) The Merged Deck Showdown
In which things are taken to their logical extreme. You share health/morale with your teammate, you share deployed zones with them, you share resources with them, but you also merge your decks together and share a single hand along with a single 3-character command zone. While it still runs into the multiple-personality issue of the other models, this deck really brings the phrase "2-Headed Giant" to life. You have a giant, singular deck with two heads. However, I doubt that this mode would be very fun. If your decks are identical or just synergize well, you'll have a huge advantage over someone running a combo deck or people running decks that aren't the same exact thing and lack the extra consistency of something being a 6-of. And unlike in Orisolve's Model, you don't even get to play "your" deck or "your" gameplan, since you're drawing from a mish-mash of the two decks.

Conclusion--but not the end to the discussion
There are a lot of design difficulties with 2v2, and I suspect we're only scratching the surface here. However, it's something that players really want and that very few digital card games games have, if any. I've shared a few potential models here and their problems, but there are many different dials to adjust and design choices to be made. What are your thoughts? Critiques, suggestions? Let us know. 2v2 may not be coming anytime soon and may even be so difficult as to never actually be feasible to implement, but wrestling with the theory-crafting now makes the problem much more approachable than just "I actually am not sure if this can be cleanly done"--which was my own position just a few days ago. I wanted 2v2, but as soon as I put thought into it I ran into all of these problems and more and gave up on it. However, last night's discussion offered a number of solutions to several of those problems and at least gave me a mental starting point to work from. 2v2 is a monumental task for IW to take on, but I think it will be worth it in the end if LM manages to pull it off well (and no, here is not the place to just complain that LM will botch it completely and is ruining the game). And that monumental task will be much easier if we at least have a starting point.

TL;DR: 2v2. Discuss.

44
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Round 2 of Benionin's Campaign Suggestions! This time, I'll be writing about the Overseers of Solace.

To begin, let's review my premise and methodology. The campaign is the best place in-game to convey the narrative/lore, and in its current state is in need of expansion. LM did a great job with the current campaign, but they only covered the tip of the iceberg of the Lore and only introduced half of the factions. Given that LM did (barring the FD Morale mission) a wonderful job mechanically with the campaign, I will be focusing on narrative in this write-up. Note that this post is meant to be used as a foundation upon which a campaign can be built. I'm going to be jotting down basic notes, a few tentative lines of dialog, and generating a rough sketch of what I think an Overseers campaign would look like. For this campaign (just like the one I wrote for the Sleepers) I will be writing 6 missions and 2 cutscenes.

Why "Open the Gates Miss TSA?"
Following the apparently less than total obliteration of the Sleepers, the Overseers decided that they were going to stick around and investigate what was going on with all of those crazy rifts. Besides setting up checkpoints around the major rifts and keeping an eye out for new ones, they also began detaining and questioning anyone who had interacted with these interdimensional portals. In brief, they became the TSA. The phrase is both a callback to a song that none of you have ever heard and is wonderfully pertinent in of itself because of the Overseers' control of the Rifts between worlds (not to mention Solace's Gate). Obviously this is a tentative and comedic title, much as Infestation's Greatest Hits was--and just wait until I write one for the Exiles!

Opening Cutscene
Sol is sitting on his throne in a dark mood (see the art for Oppress for a general idea). An angel approaches. "Sir, the latest report from Cheryl just arrived. These 'Sleepers of Avarrach' are overrunning the planes. Field tests indicate that we cannot gain power from these undead, and the negative emotions arising from their spread are evident in the latest skirmishes against the Demons."
Sol scowls. "Then it is time to open the gate and wipe out these Sleepers. I will see Avarrach avenged."--NOTE: I'm not sure if Sol's attitudes towards pre-Virus Avarrach are still canon.
"But sir, the energy requirements to pass into the mortal realms are enormous, especially in the numbers required to face this threat. With the war against the Demons, can we afford to waste so much energy?"
"Out."
The underling scampers away and Sol is left in thought. Lilariah arrives on the scene. "What if we were to convince the mortals to open the Gate? There is one on the Untamed World who has the power to do so, if she knew how."
"Very well," Sol said. "You have three days to open the gate from the other side. Otherwise, we will do so and damn the consequences. We cannot afford to let the Demons gain any more headway."
Cut to the Untamed World. Karani is meditating. Her eyes flash open. "I know what I have to do."

Mission 1
Loading Screen: We see the Untamed World, specifically the epicenter of the Calamity. Karani stands center, in the midst of a pillar of light. Around the edges we see hordes of Sleepers.
Pre-game Text: Having fought her way to the Calamity's epicenter, Karani sacrificed herself to open Solace's Gate (note: I could expand the opening cutscene to show more of this, but I felt that it was getting too long)
The Decks: Our player will be running 1WP/2OoS against 3 SoA. The player's command will consist of Aleta Caretaker, Lilariah, and Soldier of Solace.
(rough) Dialog:
Lilariah: Greetings, ma'am, we're here to help.
Aleta: Who are you?
Lil: We're the Overseers and we're here to save the day.
Gameplay: Overseers cards should include some of the earliest and most basic: Soldier of Solace, Soldier of Purity, Zealous Protector, and so on. Include some Warpath cards like Fight!, but the emphasis should be on the Overseers. Introduce to the flying theme and to the concept of Ascension. A possible piece of gameplay flavor to include would be to make the opponent 2SoA/1WP, then include a Corrupted Forest which the player can destroy with a Consecrating Angel. You'll definitely want to include a copy of Solace's Gate in play from the first turn, even though it clashes with Aleta.

Mission 2:
Loading Screen: The Untamed World, but this time we're with the UTF. The POV is looking over battlements at the Sleepers coming out of the forest, with various Genesis, Flame Dawn, and Overseers characters standing at the ready.
Pre-game Text: The Overseers found the forces of Talich struggling to hold the Sleepers at bay and intervened, lending their aid and power to those deemed worthy.
The Decks: As much as I'd love to have it be 1 OoS, 1 FD, 1 GI, the player's gotta have 2 OoS in order to run Lilariah in command. As such, it'll be 2 OoS/1 FD with a Lilariah, Soldier of Solace, and Flame Dawn Purifier command zone against 2 SoA/1 WP. The AI's deck will include Infested Hulkers, Several of Many Exhumed, Infested Pack Leaders, and various WP utility abilities around an SoA core. The Player's deck will include a mixture of basic Overseers cards and FD cards.
Dialog:
ON TURNS 3-4, the player needs to draw Kali Ascended and Lucca Ascended. Lilariah will have some dialog about how they're pure of heart and strong in purpose so she'll give them a power boost. After that, business as usual and the Sleepers get wiped out. Include various chit-chat about how this is so much easier than killing them over and over again, etc.
Gameplay: aside from the abovementioned introduction of two Ascended ladies, this mission should showcase the "purifying" aspect of the Overseers. Running Purge the Unworthy, Purify, Soldier of Purity, and so forth will decimate Sleepers graveyard shenanigans--by the way, include several graveyard shenanigans so the players can see the benefit of purifying stuff away.

Mission 3:
Loading Card: This time, we're on Reish. Show the Great Wall of Jinhai, with Sleepers swarming at its base and Overseers alighting on its battlements.
Pre-game Text: with the Untamed World cleared of the Virus, the Overseers next turned to Reish.
The Decks: 2 OoS/1 DoD vs 2 EX/ 1 SoA. On the one side we have Lilariah, Soldier of Purity, and Xi, Ascended. On the other we have Vasir the Unchained Prince and two Infested Abominations.
Dialog: Lilariah is horrified that Vasir is loose and wrecking havoc. He is tickled that she's horrified. Comments such as "I like it here. I've already started redecorating" and sinister playfulness will drive his character home. Really emphasize the fact that Vasir and the Overseers have been at war for ALL TIME, but always outside of the mortal realms. Interfering directly in the food factory, as it were, is unthinkable. Yet that is what both of them are doing now.
Gameplay: This will lean more towards the Exiles but will still include a few Sleepers abilities. In this mission, we will be introduced to the Overseers' token-generating proclivities (to counteract Vasir's sacrifice effect when he is obviously played on turn 10)

Thus ends the Ascension-set era half of our campaign.

Mission 4:
Loading Card: The Untamed World (generic is fine)
Pre-game text: After the Overseers callously wiped out much of the Untamed World, Aleta and the Warpath have sworn vengeance...
The Decks: here we have 3 OoS vs 3 WP. In command are Sol, Kali, and Soldier of Purity (3, 4, and 5 drops). On the other side we have Aleta Survivor, Shamba, and Jungle Giant. The Overseers deck will be somewhat standard for them, but the WP will be leaning heavily on reach characters.
Dialog: Sol's vindictiveness and callous disregard for non-human or non-angelic life will be on display, and Kali will begin to harbor some doubts. Aleta will accuse them of betraying her when they nuked the Untamed World, etc etc.
Gameplay: All requirements are described above.

Mission 5:
Loading Screen: Talich. Remember the backdrop from the first Flame Dawn mission when the FD were going to war against the GI? Like that, but with Overseers too.
Pre-game text: When he learned that Orion had preserved a sample of the Virus, Sol became wroth with wrath and declared war on Genesis Industries
The Decks: On one side we have 2 OoS/1 FD. On the other, triple GI with Orion, Master Engineer involved. Unfortunately, he's just there for show. The player's command zone will be Sol, Aberion (Champion), and Soldier of Solace. Kali and Lucca will not be seen.
Dialog: Sol will be rabid, Aberion will be "they gave me extra power so they must be good" when Orion asks him why he's siding with the obviously fascist angels, and Orion will be pleading for people to be reasonable--we should find a cure for the Virus, not just eradicate it. That way it will be easier to fight next time, etc etc Aberion you idiot, and so on and so forth.
The Decks: Hold on, now that I think of it I don't think you can have two champions in the command zone. Bother. OVERSEERS DECK TO BE REWORKED, WILL NOT HAVE LIL, LUCCA, OR KALI. GI deck will have some good stuff and a few artifacts.

Mission 6:
Now this mission is optional. You can easily end the campaign with Orion's death (oh yeah, that happens in the last mission by the way), but this mission idea is still here to show how you can demonstrate the continuing Oppression leading up to a certain Rebellion that shall remain nameless.
Loading Screen: Sol sitting on his throne OR Ex's art (the normal art, not the cool alt art--we need the hostages).
Pre-game Text: Disturbed by the existence of the rifts between worlds, the Overseers seized control of them and began questioning any who had dealt with the rifts.
The Decks: For the Overseers I want your typical Tempus/Forerunner/Forerunner command zone and a deck that emphasizes the Champion mechanic (although Mission 5 can be used to that end as well, I need to put more thought into it). The Overseers deck must also run copies of Ex and Oppress. The AI's deck can go one of two ways: either make it an Enyah deck with cards from all (other) factions or make it an Uncontrolled Rift deck. The purpose is to show that the Overseers are stepping on everyone's toes and are dealing with anyone and everyone who went through a rift--making the UCR deck extra flavorful.
Gameplay: The Overseer must draw Ex on turn 5. Otherwise, rock and roll.

Closing Cutscene:
Heaven's Assistance art in the background with the words "The Overseers of Solace arrived to end the Sleeper menace once and for all"
Show Orion's Grave and Ex's art with the words "Once they entered the mortal worlds, however, they began to seize control in their quest for order following the chaos of the Virus"
Fade to black, and close with the following words: "The winds of rebellion are stirring, rising up against the angels' oppression."

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General Game Discussion / What's the Play? An IW Riddle
« on: July 29, 2016, 07:35:05 PM »
You're playing 3 DoD against 3 FD. It is turn 5.

Your hand: Gao Han the Stalwart, Agent Coyle Immovable, Prayer of the Dragon, Yuanshi's Wrath
Opponent's hand: 4 cards

Your field: 1 Monk of the Second Moon in Support.
Opponent's field: 1 Flame Dawn Aspirant, 1 Paladin of the Flame Dawn, 1 Kali the Purifier. None of them have taken any damage.

Your command zone: Daode, Sage of Strength, and Yuanshi, Sage of Ferocity
Opponent's command zone: Empty

The previous turn: You played a Monk of the Second Moon, hoping to get a decent blocker and build your board. Opponent played the Paladin and the Aspirant, pressing their attack.

So, what's the play, and why?

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