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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:05 pm
  

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Champion

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Yeah, i know the New Camelot plot is anything but popular with most of the fanbase, but i'm either a hopeful guy, too stubborn to leave plotlines unturned or masochistic.

Anyway, what kind of use have you people given to either Zazshan, Mrrlyn or any of his avatars like Guinevere or the Lady of the Lake?

- How much arthurian literature goes or not in whatever of the dastardly ball lightning's checkered past have you delved into?

- Any allies, enemies, lovers (if Cihuacoatl can fancy Splynn, anything goes) or rivals worth mentioning?

- Do you think Geoffrey of Monmouth's "arthurian empire", made through the conquests of Ireland, Iceland and the Orkney Islands - and after twelve years of peace, expanding to take control of Norway, Denmark and Gaul - might have any bearing on Zazshan's ambitions or views of what must be done or not, for either personal or propaganda-related reasons?

- How did Mrrlyn find out Caliber-X and the details of its workings, is it ever mentioned? Could the "paranormal studies section" responsible for its creation have had any kind of relation with how Mrrlyn escaped his crystal imprisonment in the first place? Also, where is that mysterious artifact, that was originally intended to boost his diminishing powers in PPE-poor medieval Earth somehow?

- How would Mrrlyn react to meeting Zippo and learning about "the other Merlin" from his homeworld? Might he help Zippo find his homeworld to protect his cover while playing mentor figure and setting up our fiery hero (plus wife and merc friends) to serve as extradimensional explorer/cat's-paw?

(incidentally, the last one is a possible starting hook for an Armageddon Unlimited game i thought of a few years ago)


Just getting a bunch of ideas and random thoughts together for now.
Feel free to bring up your own criticisms, ideas, horror stories, thoughts, tales, suggestions and stuff, the more the merrier.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:54 pm
  

Champion

Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 8:11 pm
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Location: Bloomington, IL
SolCannibal wrote:
Yeah, i know the New Camelot plot is anything but popular with most of the fanbase, but i'm either a hopeful guy, too stubborn to leave plotlines unturned or masochistic.

Anyway, what kind of use have you people given to either Zazshan, Mrrlyn or any of his avatars like Guinevere or the Lady of the Lake?

- How much arthurian literature goes or not in whatever of the dastardly ball lightning's checkered past have you delved into?

- Any allies, enemies, lovers (if Cihuacoatl can fancy Splynn, anything goes) or rivals worth mentioning?

- Do you think Geoffrey of Monmouth's "arthurian empire", made through the conquests of Ireland, Iceland and the Orkney Islands - and after twelve years of peace, expanding to take control of Norway, Denmark and Gaul - might have any bearing on Zazshan's ambitions or views of what must be done or not, for either personal or propaganda-related reasons?

- How did Mrrlyn find out Caliber-X and the details of its workings, is it ever mentioned? Could the "paranormal studies section" responsible for its creation have had any kind of relation with how Mrrlyn escaped his crystal imprisonment in the first place? Also, where is that mysterious artifact, that was originally intended to boost his diminishing powers in PPE-poor medieval Earth somehow?

- How would Mrrlyn react to meeting Zippo and learning about "the other Merlin" from his homeworld? Might he help Zippo find his homeworld to protect his cover while playing mentor figure and setting up our fiery hero (plus wife and merc friends) to serve as extradimensional explorer/cat's-paw?

(incidentally, the last one is a possible starting hook for an Armageddon Unlimited game i thought of a few years ago)


Just getting a bunch of ideas and random thoughts together for now.
Feel free to bring up your own criticisms, ideas, horror stories, thoughts, tales, suggestions and stuff, the more the merrier.



I have been writing a set of adventure modules I call "Traversing Our Dangerous World" that riff on other Gamesystem modules or take pieces from canon adventures or Rifter adventures.

For England, I may re-vamp it in such a way that Mrrlyn is even more sidelined. I am leaning towards the descendents of a British Lord operating out of Northumbria after the coming of the Rifts becoming a counterweight to Arthur...

If I don't go this way, I will probably introduce the Naut' Yll as a major plot device where they fill a Viking-like role that allows them to plunder the British Isles while attacking the Splugorth where the Spulgorth are weak AND build their ties to the Brodkil Empire.

If this is the case, I will probably use the history of the 7 Kingdoms as a template to see all of England united under Arthur with Mrrlyn using his position of influence to push out the Splugorth and steal their treasures.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:45 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
When I did a game that involved Mrrlyn I decided to go all in.

I had Mrrlyn be the Mrrlyn, and the recreation of Camelot down to the most absurdly fixed details was deliberate... because it was part of a massively complex "Dramaturguical spell"... basically he was recreating the myth as a ritual that would culminate with vast (unspecified but probably Not Good) gains.

This allowed for almost everything to be explained. Mrrlyn knew about Caliber-X because he has been trapped on Earth for thousands of years. During which time one of his essence fragments was part of the program that developed the device (which neatly explained how the British got such a leg up on psychic technology). The magical source of his power wasn't one specific item... Instead he had also been a power behind the throne at the British Museum for generations, which neatly explained why there were so few magic items from the previous era's lying around. Mrrlyn had been tracking them down and draining them of their magical energy to sustain himself for an age... and in the process nearly denuded the world of its historical magical items. Or at least in those places where the British Empire had held sway and sent out its teams of Archeologists/Collectors/Looters.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:01 pm
  

Champion

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You could also have Mrrlyn creating more fragmenting greater essences (I don't recall what the limit was) that would infiltrate the other nations or even other extra dimensional peoples.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:18 pm
  

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Champion

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shadrak wrote:
You could also have Mrrlyn creating more fragmenting greater essences (I don't recall what the limit was) that would infiltrate the other nations or even other extra dimensional peoples.


There's that option for certain and i don't remember any number limits either but then power level-wise Mrrlyn, Guinevere and the Lady always seemed closer to greater demons/minions than the more limited in numbers essence fragments of the CB's Intelligences, at least to me.

Eliakon's "Dramaturgical spell" idea does resonate with some things that crossed my mind in relation to the whole "playing with arthurian legendry" angle/scam.
In a somewhat different note, i have also toyed with the idea of Ar'huu as a hero lost between two (dangerous) guides, by making Caliber-X into a sort of Archie-3 in gunblade form, a master telemechanic AI taken farther than dreamed by its makers through the centuries of exposure to the PPE-rich conditions of Rifts Earth and who knows what else. Hmmm, gunblades, stealing imagery from Final Fantasy VIII or others could be fun i guess. Ultimecia would certainly a fabulous Morgana.

Oh yes, Morgana as another fragment, playing adversary/foil to Camelot and attracting other enemies of the kingdom to her side, to play both sides against the middle for Zazshan's own nefarious purposes. That could actually turn quite fun for a little twist i guess.


Last edited by SolCannibal on Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:02 am
  

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i'd rather Zazshan be using mortal agents for its manipulations. at most, perhaps one more avatar to act as an anonymous spymaster so that Myylyn and the others can't be directly linked to whatever acts those agents do. though i suspect that mrrlyn has his own ring of 'official' spies for camelot, so that when mrrlyn starts talking about stuff that has been going on throughout the british islands and europe, everyone will assume that it came from the official spies and not Zazshan's secret organization of agents.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:08 pm
  

Champion

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Rifts England is really broken, though...

They went straight to Arthurian Legend which is, as far as Myths go, not a very well developed one. Unless you are going to use the material that post-dates Le Morte de Arthur, you have a chaotic mythos that doesn't hold together well.

It feels like trying to shoe-horn Mrrlyn/Zalshain into Rifts AND an Arthurian Legend would result in either needing to fundamentally alter Mrrlyn or fundamentally alter England...

The focus on a relatively weak power in the Southwest of England with a more powerful force holding London that controls a superpowered navy makes traversing the island to do anything more difficult...

WB England creates an alien intelligence that focuses on subversion and spying---

With NOONE worth subverting or spying upon on the island.

WB: England....

What IS the holy grail?

Who are the various "Color" knights?

Who are the Saxons?

To make Merlin work "better", it would be better to give him enhanced powers of illusion and powers of mental control...he should be a "Psychic" Alien Intelligence rather than a "Magic" alien intelligence. His magic should probably be focused on seeing into the future and illusion.

Mrryln should be able to read people's minds...he should be able to manipulate them based on his understanding of the world and their motivations.

He should have the power to transform people with potions (isn't there a Heroes Unlimited or Ninja's and Superspies ancient master that does this? That is how I would template Merlin).

Then I would introduce some other powers on the Island that could rival Camelot. Merlin would create the conditions for alliances, but Merlin wouldn't seek to have Camelot control the allies; instead, he would control them himself through his essences and his personal allies. He would be two or three chess moves ahead of every other player on the island--a real puppet master.

He would have powerful beings that owed him favors--Dragons, Godlings, etc. Some of them he would manipulate as well.

He would manipulate the minions of Splugorth to fight and compete with each other and he would manipulate them so that they would not promote Splynncryth's goals.

He would assists faerie kind to the detriment of the Splugorth and others, but he would secretly harvest or use them for his own spells and purposes.

He would have the ability to cause men to go insane.

I know this is pretty incoherent because I am just throwing things at the board (after all, I will creating my own situation for England soon and I need a variety of ideas), but basically, Mrrlyn could be a superpowered cross between an Ancient Master-Mind Melter/Mind Bleeder/Mystic with some temporal magic and potion making abilities.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:34 pm
  

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Champion

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glitterboy2098 wrote:
i'd rather Zazshan be using mortal agents for its manipulations. at most, perhaps one more avatar to act as an anonymous spymaster so that Mrrlyn and the others can't be directly linked to whatever acts those agents do. though i suspect that mrrlyn has his own ring of 'official' spies for camelot, so that when mrrlyn starts talking about stuff that has been going on throughout the british islands and europe, everyone will assume that it came from the official spies and not Zazshan's secret organization of agents.


Zazshan is supposed to be an alien intelligence, so giving him an actual chain of command of lieutenants, minions, agents/worshippers and such, like we got samples of for Splugorth, Vampire Intelligences, Soul Worms, dark gods, demon lords and a number of individual intelligences through the books would be good, as it's a great tool for GMs to tinker with and riff off from when cooking ideas of their own.

One we unfortunately lack exactly in the case of Zazshan, a villain based in intrigue and misinformation, where having such a thing at hand could be even more invaluable. With Zazshan we have Mrrlyn, two additional essence fragments (Guinevere and the Lady of the Lake) that are more satellites to his plan/scam than true independent powers and the great horde of mimes in the nexus knights and tectonic entities.

Some retooling of things would be good - making more of the Lady of the Lake as supernatural guide figure, possibly connected to the return of the traditions of knighthood as a whole, sought out for counsel, clues to quests, adventure and/or lost treasures (magical, technological, others) could be great fun indeed.

Guinevere i'm not a fan of. She feels redundant to Mrrlyn and like something of a cheap shot, so i'm tempted to "expose" her as a villainess, to free her for use as my Morgana of sorts playing the kind of underhanded or outright evil agendas of Zazshan that Camelot is not quite convenient for. That in the process we might get a heartbroken or at least hurt/shaken king and paint Mrrlyn in a more fallible/humane/sympathetic light makes for a good stealth propaganda bonus.

Maybe expose the Supreme Nexus Knights as supernatural too - Mrrlyn having supernatural agents does not go against the mystique of the role, while the reticence about their nature can be given a good "Aragorn and Dead Men of Dunharrow" sympathetic spin, i think. Upgrading the mortal Nexus Knights into witches, wholy or in part, could make for some extra bit to further boost the options available to our Most Dreadful Will O' Wisp Overlord, i guess.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:30 pm
  

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shadrak wrote:
Rifts England is really broken, though...

They went straight to Arthurian Legend which is, as far as Myths go, not a very well developed one. Unless you are going to use the material that post-dates Le Morte de Arthur, you have a chaotic mythos that doesn't hold together well.


Broken WB 3 indeed is, for a number of reasons that go beyond its "arthurian legendry with a twist" plot, though it has ann undeniable part in it, as shown by how many people touch upon it beside the many misgivings.

shadrak wrote:
It feels like trying to shoe-horn Mrrlyn/Zalshain into Rifts AND an Arthurian Legend would result in either needing to fundamentally alter Mrrlyn or fundamentally alter England...


Well, playing Arthurian Legend for keeps is more of a Pendragon thing anyway, not to mention DC's Camelot 3000 and Mutants In Avalon have already played the "Arthur of the Future" card before. Zazshan is very much a twist already, so i'm much more in favor of making the cycle into the Ball Lightning of Evil's (ludricously schizophenic) script, partly because it's a convenient wellspring of myths and tropes to play with in manipulating humanity, partly because it's a guilty pleasure of his to toy with and reskin all this fascinating media indirectly evolved from its past actions. The fact that one can throw a monkeywrench in the equation by revealing how some other bit or other is also based in the actions of some dimensional interpoler of the past, that Zazshan might or not be aware, makes for a nice extra.

shadrak wrote:
The focus on a relatively weak power in the Southwest of England with a more powerful force holding London that controls a superpowered navy makes traversing the island to do anything more difficult...


True, the Sploog presence in London is a major bit the writers could have given much more consideration about, imho. As written it ends up sort
of as the accidental elephant in the room/sword of damocles combo, so to speak.

shadrak wrote:
WB England creates an alien intelligence that focuses on subversion and spying---

With NOONE worth subverting or spying upon on the island.


Can't say i disagree on that. While there are groups, their fleshing out leaves much to be desired overall. Exploring the druid variants, Chiang-Ku dragons (a major cabal of which impersonates a circle of druids!) and some not always wholesome conflict and power politics between them or communities of followers might be of help in that area probably.

shadrak wrote:
WB: England....

What IS the holy grail?


You do know there's no straight answer for that even Arthurian Legend itself, no? :wink:
Whatever one wants to be - it's very much of a MacGguffin search even in the original literature, not to mention its indirect role in bringing the downfall of the Round Table and Arthur's reign.

shadrak wrote:
Who are the various "Color" knights?

Who are the Saxons?


As i said above in the issue of mixing Zazshan into arthurian, whoever one wants them to be (or not, if one does not wwaant them in one's game). That said, the idea of someone to play the role of saxons, the looming but defeatable recurring threat, is a good one indeed that works with or without arthurian undertones and i guess a number of groups already present in the book could be used as a basis for that - the Dabugg insect people, the Cernun mystics & their Gigantes mind controlled slave-minions, the Fomorian (though these are far closer to an "undefeatable" final boss level threat like the Splugorth, truth be told).

Also, there's that previous idea of your about the Nau'tyll. While you spoke of using them as viking surrogates of sorts in reference to a slightly later era, they could certainly work in a "saxons of the post-apoc era" too - not to mention that them along with the Horune might serve as very good occasional foils to distract the Splugorth forces along the isles, North Sea and East Atlantic.

shadrak wrote:
To make Merlin work "better", it would be better to give him enhanced powers of illusion and powers of mental control...he should be a "Psychic" Alien Intelligence rather than a "Magic" alien intelligence. His magic should probably be focused on seeing into the future and illusion.

Mrryln should be able to read people's minds...he should be able to manipulate them based on his understanding of the world and their motivations.

He would have the ability to cause men to go insane.


I don't know about that, still re-reading WB3 to mine it for ideas and tweaks first. Not much of a fan of "messing with the PC faculties" kind of villains either. Tempting or tricking them into terrible choices or decisions is more my thing. :twisted:

shadrak wrote:
He should have the power to transform people with potions (isn't there a Heroes Unlimited or Ninja's and Superspies ancient master that does this? That is how I would template Merlin).


Yes, Chiang Six, the template of sorts for the Chiang Ku dragons - that happen to be one of the factions opposing Mrrlyn. Funny how people are quick to forget the Elixir of Power, just because most Chiang Ku (seem to) have moral misgivings about its use (not even Pharaoh Rama-Set, but then Rama-Set seems to be curiously evasive about exploiting the "natural resources" of his kind as a whole).

shadrak wrote:
Then I would introduce some other powers on the Island that could rival Camelot. Merlin would create the conditions for alliances, but Merlin wouldn't seek to have Camelot control the allies; instead, he would control them himself through his essences and his personal allies. He would be two or three chess moves ahead of every other player on the island--a real puppet master.


That's basically what i have in mind with turning "Guinevere" into a Morgana-expie of sorts.

shadrak wrote:
He would have powerful beings that owed him favors--Dragons, Godlings, etc. Some of them he would manipulate as well.


Good point. We have almost nothing on Zazshan's past beside his botched arthurian scam and enmity/rivalry with Splynn, that we know little to nothing about. Now that i think of it, the Ball Lightning of Evil resenting the Spaghetti Monster of Atlantis for "poaching" on prospective minions of his could be a fun excuse to give some splugorth minions as "loyalist agents" to him.

Maybe some amorous mess involving Cihuacoatl too, if i'm up to throwing some goofy brain bleach-worthy imagery at my players. :lol:

shadrak wrote:
He would manipulate the minions of Splugorth to fight and compete with each other and he would manipulate them so that they would not promote Splynncryth's goals.


Yeah, the whole "They were mine first Splynn, you oily backstabbing bastard!" and loyalists minions idea could help with that from an infiltration & sabotage angle, for sure.

shadrak wrote:
He would assists faerie kind to the detriment of the Splugorth and others, but he would secretly harvest or use them for his own spells and purposes.


Well, how does one make deals with the fae in the first place? They are so utterly random as given i have never really seen them used in Rifts as anything beside the occasional bit NPC. They can be harder to fit in a game than dragons in some ways, at least as i remember them from the Conversion Book.

shadrak wrote:
I know this is pretty incoherent because I am just throwing things at the board (after all, I will creating my own situation for England soon and I need a variety of ideas), but basically, Mrrlyn could be a superpowered cross between an Ancient Master-Mind Melter/Mind Bleeder/Mystic with some temporal magic and potion making abilities.


Nah, i very much see what you are getting at and the temptation of it. Some pretty interesting options in there. That said, instead of rewriting Zazshan's powerset to fit, how about making some of these into the actual allies, rivals or enemies/foils you were speakinng of, for extra variety and more factions for heroes to deal and get in trouble with?

Ok, i think between commenting this and the others posts i already have a bunch of seeds to organize into something like a framework. Shaping up the mess will be interesting.


Last edited by SolCannibal on Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:24 pm
  

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Knight

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I think Guinevere is out seducing all the knights and ladies of camelot.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:24 pm
  

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Champion

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Axelmania wrote:
I think Guinevere is out seducing all the knights and ladies of camelot.


What for, sabotage her own position as potential bride to the king?

To be sincere the whole "pretty lady as sex vixen/seductive master of the king" feels a little of a dead horse gimmick to me and doesn't add all that much to Guinevere's role, that is already satellite/damage control to Mrrlyn's and something of a waste of her considerable talents, basically the same as his.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:25 pm
  

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i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.

i agree that the lady of the lake seems like a bit of a third wheel, but i've generally assumed that Zazshan uses her to manipulate the Knights.. she would be a good choice to deliver various quests to knights of the court, especially ones that the knights might have some qualms about otherwise. after all, she is perceived as a quasi-deific entity to them, and perceived as a force of good by them, so they'd be more likely to accept morally dubious quests from her.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:55 pm
  

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Champion

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glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

glitterboy2098 wrote:
i agree that the lady of the lake seems like a bit of a third wheel, but i've generally assumed that Zazshan uses her to manipulate the Knights.. she would be a good choice to deliver various quests to knights of the court, especially ones that the knights might have some qualms about otherwise. after all, she is perceived as a quasi-deific entity to them, and perceived as a force of good by them, so they'd be more likely to accept morally dubious quests from her.


Yes, that i very much like of the Lady and intend to boost her role as guiding spirit/oracle/quest-giver as a way to flesh her out independently of Mrrlyn, possibly making her into a sort of muse (and possible source of their codes) for wandering knights as a whole, with maybe some agents/witches of her own to extend its reach/intelligence resources further.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:46 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
SolCannibal wrote:
glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

I look at it the other way.
He's and AI. His opinion of mortals is pretty darn low. Thus the "if you want it done right you have to do it yourself" attitude. He simply doesn't trust mortals to not screw things up unless he is micro-managing things. I mean look at humans and how many bosses micro-manage...
The big question becomes "Who are you writing the story for". Because the protagonists for that story you are writing are the ones that need to get the breaks, and have the mentors and love interests and all that. Everyone else just gets what they get for the purposes of a good story.

_________________
The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:16 am
  

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I've always thought it would be interesting to have Zazshan start being affected by all the time it spends playing at being good and have at least a portion of it start being good. An alien intelligence with multiple personalities and perhaps at war with itself could make the Camelot reborn storyline much more interesting.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:38 am
  

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dreicunan wrote:
I've always thought it would be interesting to have Zazshan start being affected by all the time it spends playing at being good and have at least a portion of it start being good. An alien intelligence with multiple personalities and perhaps at war with itself could make the Camelot reborn storyline much more interesting.

who says he's playing at good?

he's playing at Chivalry, which is a very different thing. under chivalry things like systemic injustice, serfdom/slavery, racism, extreme social stratification and oppression, and all sorts of evil stuff is not only allowed, but actively encouraged by the feudal, chivalric system. all sorts of systemic evils kept in place because without them you can't have knights and lords who go around killing stuff, much less come back to their castles after and write poems about how gloriously they went out and killed stuff.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:04 am
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
dreicunan wrote:
I've always thought it would be interesting to have Zazshan start being affected by all the time it spends playing at being good and have at least a portion of it start being good. An alien intelligence with multiple personalities and perhaps at war with itself could make the Camelot reborn storyline much more interesting.

What has it done that's 'good'?
I mean its created a society based on the principle that might makes right and that the powerful rule the weak by right of that power.
Oh, and a side order of factionalism.
That's when they are not out slandering the actual forces of good, or corrupting them. Or you know, literally seducing them to the dark side.

I mean seriously the only good in New Camelot is either accidental or acting in defiance of Zazshan.

_________________
The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:57 am
  

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eliakon wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

I look at it the other way.
He's and AI. His opinion of mortals is pretty darn low. Thus the "if you want it done right you have to do it yourself" attitude. He simply doesn't trust mortals to not screw things up unless he is micro-managing things. I mean look at humans and how many bosses micro-manage...
The big question becomes "Who are you writing the story for". Because the protagonists for that story you are writing are the ones that need to get the breaks, and have the mentors and love interests and all that. Everyone else just gets what they get for the purposes of a good story.


Exactly that, in both instances. As an AI with a ludricoussly long lifespan and low opinion of the capacities of mortals, i find it debatable it might feel focusing into manipulating one specific mortal and its developing kingdom is worthwhile use of two essence fragments.
And from a narrative standpoint feels even worse to me - i don't see much of a real purpose for the story on "patron's mentor/vizier and girlfriend both are Cthulhu" beside keeping the NPC on its puppet rails instead of really interacting with the protagonists/PCs. It also cheapens Mrrlyn as a boss to have what counts as pretty much a backup in all but looks & name just by the corner. Some mortal agent or witch could play that card just as effectively, more so probably, considering it has an actual mortal mind and perspective.

On the matter of good or evil of Zazsshan's actions, yes, medieval chivalry was an aspect of its feudal system, that enforced a bunch of values that feel considerably less humane and just to our contemporary sensibilities and standards indeed. That said, Camelot and Mrrlyn related to chivalry as portrayed in the supernatural post-apoc setting of Rifts: England, so not quite the same and, supposing memory tricks me not too terribly, mostly a force for law, order and people's wellbeing, if not always good, equality or freedom.

Truth be told, a discusssion of what chilvalry amounts to in WB3 and the kind of image of the society it helps to inform us could be worth a separate topic on itself for those who might want to delve upon it, i guess.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:41 pm
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
SolCannibal wrote:
eliakon wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

I look at it the other way.
He's and AI. His opinion of mortals is pretty darn low. Thus the "if you want it done right you have to do it yourself" attitude. He simply doesn't trust mortals to not screw things up unless he is micro-managing things. I mean look at humans and how many bosses micro-manage...
The big question becomes "Who are you writing the story for". Because the protagonists for that story you are writing are the ones that need to get the breaks, and have the mentors and love interests and all that. Everyone else just gets what they get for the purposes of a good story.


Exactly that, in both instances. As an AI with a ludricoussly long lifespan and low opinion of the capacities of mortals, i find it debatable it might feel focusing into manipulating one specific mortal and its developing kingdom is worthwhile use of two essence fragments.
And from a narrative standpoint feels even worse to me - i don't see much of a real purpose for the story on "patron's mentor/vizier and girlfriend both are Cthulhu" beside keeping the NPC on its puppet rails instead of really interacting with the protagonists/PCs. It also cheapens Mrrlyn as a boss to have what counts as pretty much a backup in all but looks & name just by the corner. Some mortal agent or witch could play that card just as effectively, more so probably, considering it has an actual mortal mind and perspective.

So flip it around.
What is so gosh darn valuable that he is getting out of this that it is worth this level of investment?
Its not like he sits around twirling his moustache and pondering what sorts of petty evil he can do. There has to be something that he is getting out of this that he thinks is valuable enough. The question then becomes, what is it? I could speculate for ages on this topic. Just of the top of my hat there is the idea of getting a solid control of the British Isles as a nice secure foothold base on Rifts Earth would allow him to use the high levels of magic, high even by Rifts standards, for his purposes. Or maybe he wants to monopolize one of, if not the largest concentration of Millenium Trees in the megaverse. Maybe there is an absurdly powerful artifact (the real treasures of the Tautha, or The Holy Grail, or Excalibur, or the Lance of Longinus, or the Cauldron of Life or...) or any of a number of other reasons.
Remember if he is not stopped... in a generation he will control the entire island, with the full backing of the entire population mind you, openly. That's not to shabby a pay off for a couple essence fragments and a mere forty-fifty years of time.

_________________
The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:48 pm
  

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I did this: A teenage Merlin De'Monchilder of Caledon son of Wydt Ymrys Ambrosius returns and retrieves Arthur Pendragon from Avalon. The two with the help of the PCs manage to bring Arthuu to the and destroy Zazshan which destroy his fragments.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:24 pm
  

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eliakon wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
eliakon wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

I look at it the other way.
He's and AI. His opinion of mortals is pretty darn low. Thus the "if you want it done right you have to do it yourself" attitude. He simply doesn't trust mortals to not screw things up unless he is micro-managing things. I mean look at humans and how many bosses micro-manage...
The big question becomes "Who are you writing the story for". Because the protagonists for that story you are writing are the ones that need to get the breaks, and have the mentors and love interests and all that. Everyone else just gets what they get for the purposes of a good story.


Exactly that, in both instances. As an AI with a ludricoussly long lifespan and low opinion of the capacities of mortals, i find it debatable it might feel focusing into manipulating one specific mortal and its developing kingdom is worthwhile use of two essence fragments.
And from a narrative standpoint feels even worse to me - i don't see much of a real purpose for the story on "patron's mentor/vizier and girlfriend both are Cthulhu" beside keeping the NPC on its puppet rails instead of really interacting with the protagonists/PCs. It also cheapens Mrrlyn as a boss to have what counts as pretty much a backup in all but looks & name just by the corner. Some mortal agent or witch could play that card just as effectively, more so probably, considering it has an actual mortal mind and perspective.

So flip it around.
What is so gosh darn valuable that he is getting out of this that it is worth this level of investment?


What for, trying to come up with an idea/motives for why a certain degree of micro-managing/vigilance (that i'm already not fond of) fits with the plot where none is given?

The book doesn't even care to say why Art'huu might be more important for the role than any other charismatic but somewhat pliable puppet - or if Zazshan's is so secure at feigning humanity as to play dutiful paramour spouse, why does he need to play the mentor/guide/vizier, depending on mortal middlemen and does not play the conquering/liberating hero itself, like Saber Lasar in Pecos, for example?

You mentioned some nice viable plotlines on the matter of Zazshan's agendas - none of it relates in anyway to my problem with Guinevere as an overpowered/overqualified (and inhuman) tool for the job. Her presence or absence has not impact on them and vice-versa so, honestly, without an actual idea to make it worthwhile too much work for too little pay off....

Meanwhile a "reveal" of Guinevere as a supernatural threat lurking inside Camelot, along with her escape and ascension to villainy as a surrogate Morgana, that is something to shake things up, surprise any players that already know the books and make them question any previous expectations. Among other things - having the hero-king open for romantic complications, while being emotionally hurt and guarded from Guinevere's betrayal and an event showing Mrrlyn in a falible but humane, falible or sympathetic light gives room for options previously unavailable.

And if i need Zazshan to have some sort of amorous hold on Arth'uu (or a potential sucessor) i can reinsert later on with the game going (and potential for entertainment through player interference), with an actual subordinate/agent such as a witch or minion.

eliakon wrote:
Just of the top of my hat there is the idea of getting a solid control of the British Isles as a nice secure foothold base on Rifts Earth would allow him to use the high levels of magic, high even by Rifts standards, for his purposes. Or maybe he wants to monopolize one of, if not the largest concentration of Millenium Trees in the megaverse. Maybe there is an absurdly powerful artifact (the real treasures of the Tautha, or The Holy Grail, or Excalibur, or the Lance of Longinus, or the Cauldron of Life or...) or any of a number of other reasons.
Remember if he is not stopped... in a generation he will control the entire island, with the full backing of the entire population mind you, openly. That's not to shabby a pay off for a couple essence fragments and a mere forty-fifty years of time.


Going to make use of some of these for certain.

Zer0 Kay wrote:
I did this: A teenage Merlin De'Monchilder of Caledon son of Wydt Ymrys Ambrosius returns and retrieves Arthur Pendragon from Avalon. The two with the help of the PCs manage to bring Arthuu to the and destroy Zazshan which destroy his fragments.


Ah, it's a reference to stuff you mentioned in this thread, no?

That's interesting too but then you started from the idea that Mrrlyn as "the real Merlin" is a blatant lie or self-delusion on Zazshan's part at least - what's perfectly posible, as WB3's text seem to make inferences to a closeness in time between the fall of Atlantis and the Rise of Camelot that make no sense whatsoever (at least without some severe temporal distortions at play). But yeah, "real Arthur is returned" would throw a severe monkeywrench at Zazsshan's plans indeed. Might pull some stuff from Mutants in Avalon if i ever decide to play with that.

Complete sidetrack on things that just crossed my mind: is anything said about the British Isles in the Chaos Earth books? It would be nice to have a thing or two to mine from there, maybe to mix & match with Caliber-X or Mrrlyn's forgotten accidental crystal prison.

Ah, before i forget... my previous discussion with Shadrak about his idea of reinterpreting Zazshan/Mrrlyn as "a "Psychic" Alien Intelligence rather than a "Magic" alien intelligence. His magic should probably be focused on seeing into the future and illusion" and turning him into "superpowered cross between an Ancient Master-Mind Melter/Mind Bleeder/Mystic with some temporal magic and potion making abilities" lead to hit the book, just to be sure of what exactly the Ball Lightning of Evil has at its disposal or not.

Must admit i got much more than i (and i suspect most people) expected/remembered:

Quote:
Magic: 8000 P.P.E. points. All ley line walker powers and spells, stone master powers (see Rifts Atlantis) and the temporal magic spells of time and space teleportation, time barrier, time maelstrom, time capsule and time warp: age. Equal to a 10th level practitioner of magic.

Psionics: 2000 I.S.P., powers include telepathy, empathy, see aura, sense magic, and all physical and super-psionic powers.
Equal to a 10th level psionic.

O.C.C. (special NPC): 10th level Ley line walker, rune master, stone master, tattoo master, and shifter/summoner.


So, as given Zazshan not only can already play the "psychic intelligence" card pretty well, but may also theoretically have access to resources such as pyramids/stone circles, caches of rune weapons and Tattoo Men followers, beside the stuff previously mentioned in other topics. That brings some fun extra options to the table indeed.

PS: what do you think should the Zlyphan (and consequeently Zazshan's) "Witch Mark"?
As their natural form apppears to be a sphere of eletricity, i've been thinking of some sort of halo or corona of light/lightning.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:06 pm
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.

_________________
The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:50 pm
  

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I don't have Rifts: Atlantis at hand with me to check, but tattoo magic is fully compatible with humans & ogres and to a more limited level to elves?
Are there any other "prehistoric cousins of humanity" or "fullly tattoo magic-compatible" races around in the books that someone can remember?

Thinking now of making a band of human-ogre tatoo men hybrids to serve as minion race of sorts for either Zazshan or some villanious Chiang-ku dragon...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:35 pm
  

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eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

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BEST IDEA EVER!!! -- The Galactus Kid

Holy crapy, you're Zer0 Kay?! --TriaxTech

Zer0 Kay is my hero. --Atramentus

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Kept us laughing until the end. -The Fifth Business (In loving Memory of the teleport thread)


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:15 am
  

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@Eliakon and glitterboy2098:

He's got people running around using alter aura to appear to be scrupulous, and they likely do at least a few "good" things from time to help sell the illusion. The Lady of the Lake is described as "an enigmatic force for goodness" on page 85, and the first paragraph of her description on page 89 reinforces that she does seemingly good acts. That behavior would seem to be aptly described by the phrase "playing at being good." (So there is your answer, glitterboy2098)

I never suggested that it was actually being good. I said that I felt that it would be interesting if at least a portion of Zazshan were affected by the time spent playing at being good and actually started being good. I thought that phrasing was sufficient to make it clear that I was not claiming that Zazshan in the canon text was actually wholely or partly good. Perhaps I was mistaken.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:29 am
  

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Comment: They/Them
I ran a game a couple of years ago whose Cataclysm took some elements from Warren Ellis' Supergod, which if you haven't read it is worth a libgen. Without spoiling too much, if you move the timeline forward in the comic ~100 years and spin a couple of dials it provides justifications for a surprising number of Rifts' setting choices. The thing I most enjoyed was making Zazshan more akin to Morrigan Lugus: a "mycological computer on a meat substrate". Via sporulation it communicated telepathically, and led to British research into psychic technology, but also would spread itself to others if not contained. Some similarities are clear. I'll describe it in a spoiler box, so as to be polite and not take up too much real estate.
Spoiler:
Starting with the article from Rifter 27, in the game I instead made Zazshan a relative to the lichen Prototaxites, c. 400 Ma. After its algal photobiont died out the fungal thallus went dormant until 2040 CE, when some was unearthed in Avebury by an amateur archaeologist/neo-druid folklorist. Upon taking a sample home to Bath as a curiosity, a spilled drink led to the fossil's fruiting body aerosolizing and being inhaled, where it surprisingly found purchase. The newly active fungus spread from her lungs to become a byssoid mesh evenly distributed throughout her body over a matter of weeks, and upon encountering her brain the relationship became arguably symbiotic.

Inexplicably attenuated, the fungus not only began emulating the woman's neuronal synaptic connections, but intensified them, resulting in grand mal seizures. The woman, horrified, went to hospital on June 20, whereupon making a doctor float while proclaiming the PM was to be assassinated in a week led the NHS to make a call which got routed to DI9. The attempt was thwarted, the woman was taken in and given Zener tests and the like, to little avail. The psychic seizure, having happened on the summer solstice, had gleaned some small strength from the unknown ley line nexus which ran through the hospital, and so the effects were unable to be duplicated. The fungus, now fully emulating the woman's mind, proved less successful at doing so with the body, and her health declined rapidly. Shortly before her death she began breathing raggedly and shedding skin from lesions, which was the result of the fungus sporulating. Assessment of the woman's condition as a biohazard was haphazard, and spores were able to subsequently infiltrate a pair of hospital porters. The new fungal intelligence was shocked: other minds exist! Its solipsism dispelled, proto-Zazshan set about establishing another instance of its previous mesh, complete with the Chinese Room-style pseudo-understanding of the druid's memories.

Spreading now more slowly, the fungus was able to keep the porters alive while producing small displays of external phenomena. The DI9 researchers honed their methods for testing psychics, while the fungus slaked its native need to expand by becoming a distributed intelligence which didn't have to lethally parasitize before sporulating. After incorporating researchers and engineers into itself, it began to assist, in its way. Lacking intentionality it was, in effect, a philosophical zombie, responding formulaically to inputs without any real understanding, and with everything interpreted through the semiotic lens of the first victim and her love of British legend and folklore. The name Zazshan itself came from the druid's childhood memory of an imaginary friend, invisible and omnipresent.

In the years before the Cataclysm Zazshan began to make real progress in host researchers inducing abilities in non-hosts, as well as developing items which heightened abilities within hosts. The fungal intelligence was almost ready to expand beyond the limits of the DI9 testing facility in 2098, when the ley lines flared to life. It was as one were seeing color for the first time. Zazshan was in a wild abandon, where previous limits no longer applied. It no longer had to carefully keep a host alive, because it could parasitize it unto death and still animate the corpse. After several years of puppeting the dead amongst ruination, a host came upon a Blue Zone Wizard. Incorporating the young mage into its collective, Zazshan finally became self-aware, in a way we might understand it. No longer simply responding to stimuli in a way so as to maximize expansion, the entity understood itself as an entity distinct from others, and came to see that making everything part of itself is not necessarily the clearest route to power. It was no longer required to use hosts at all, and could create instances of itself out of mystical whole cloth.

Zazshan, at that point one fragment and twenty five hosts, slowly moved east from Bath, perhaps drawn by its first memories of Avebury. A sensation of vegetal power lured it to the southwest, whereupon it spied the still growing Silbury Hill Millennium Tree. An overwhelming urge to combine with the tree overtook the throng of itself, and Zazshan rushed the tree in full display of its power, only to be repulsed by an expulsion of magic energy from the tree which nearly atomized the fragment and all its hosts.

Floating on the wind, Zazshan could barely keep its newfound mind together. Hunger for the tree, and its power, was nearly all consuming, and the fungal intelligence lost much of its sense of self. Exiled from its first home, and settling upon wherever the wind took it, Zazshan slowly set about reintegrating. Altering plants into seemingly alien forms and reducing the smallest of fauna to tufts of mycelia, it drifted ever westward, back to Bath, back to its place of becoming.

Zazshan settled for a time in Bath near the nexus from which it first expressed its psychic strength and, scattered as it was, thought about the tree that had unraveled it. Forced to interpret its desire in terms of the scraps of British myth through which it came to understand existence, Zazshan ruminated, fixated, monomanically trying to express to itself a plan. Zazshan made of myth a hammer, and set out to nail itself with it to a tree.
Making Zazshan a psychic juggernaut of mindless primordial origins, whose sapience was inextricably bound with folklore and whose genetic adaptability made Millennium Trees a perennial target for infection, helped to address some of my concerns with the plot as presented in the book.


Last edited by Curbludgeon on Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:36 am, edited 7 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:13 am
  

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SolCannibal wrote:
Axelmania wrote:
I think Guinevere is out seducing all the knights and ladies of camelot.


What for, sabotage her own position as potential bride to the king?

To be sincere the whole "pretty lady as sex vixen/seductive master of the king" feels a little of a dead horse gimmick to me and doesn't add all that much to Guinevere's role, that is already satellite/damage control to Mrrlyn's and something of a waste of her considerable talents, basically the same as his.


It's only a waste if she's ONLY seducing Arthuu. She has the resources to get away with seducing lots of guys with minimal risk to sabotaging her own position as his fiance.

She has the super psi power of Mind Wipe so she could alter the memories of anybody who caught her doing stuff. A dose of Hypnotic Suggestion / Empathic Suggestion on top of this would help. She has Mind Bond too, so she could copy someone's memories to learn information and then wipe their minds so they unlearn her true nature.

Heck, she has "Mentally Possess Others", so she could act as a charitable nurse tending the sick, cutely falling asleep at their bedside reading them a story... only to make them sleepwalk and go do horrible things.

One thing I wonder about is tiny giveaways about MDC beings. For example: you would assume mosquitos do less than 1 SDC of damage and would be unable to penetrate the flesh of MDC beings, right? So if she was using MPO and a bunch of mosquitos landed on her, they wouldn't be able to draw blood. Would other people notice that over time? She only needs 3 hours of "sleep or meditation" so my guess is when she pretends to sleep she's actually meditating so she can become aware of potential "threats", not necessarily damaging ones but threats to her facade which might expose how she cannot be damaged.

Though I suppose since she's openly a LLW (bodes badly for potential alliances with CS if you date her, Arthuu) she could just claim to have Armor of Ithan up any time she is undamaged by an attack.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:29 am
  

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

She doesn't have to. She is a fragment, not a possessed corpse. But she can either fake the pregnancy and bring out a new fragment in the form of the infant heir.. Or actually carry the new fragment inside herself for an actual pregnancy.

All three in PA times are fragments, basically avatars. The only reference to possessing a corpse is in relation to the original 'historical ' camelot, where due to the weaker magic levels at the time he has to reanimated a dead man (merlin) instead of use a fragment.

And alter aura alone would not be sufficient to change the real alignment. That takes actions and introspection. You can bet that any action or advice that appears good, actually has some hidden evil involved. Policies of equality that actually reinforce inequalities for many peple, policies of order that appear fair but actually reinforce unfairness, policies that claim to be for the well-being of all but actually only fully benefit a few.

I mean, America upholds freedom, equaliry, well-being, and order/justice as ideals, and have since the country started three centuries back. But look at our history, or even our current social, political, and economic conditions, and you can see that those ideals have not prevented oppression, inequality, mistreatment, and injustice, and frequently those very ideals are used to justify policies that have the exact opposite effects on society, aside from a few privileged slices of society.

shadrak wrote:
Rifts England is really broken, though...

They went straight to Arthurian Legend which is, as far as Myths go, not a very well developed one. Unless you are going to use the material that post-dates Le Morte de Arthur, you have a chaotic mythos that doesn't hold together well.

It feels like trying to shoe-horn Mrrlyn/Zalshain into Rifts AND an Arthurian Legend would result in either needing to fundamentally alter Mrrlyn or fundamentally alter England...

The focus on a relatively weak power in the Southwest of England with a more powerful force holding London that controls a superpowered navy makes traversing the island to do anything more difficult...

WB England creates an alien intelligence that focuses on subversion and spying---

With NOONE worth subverting or spying upon on the island.

WB: England....

What IS the holy grail?

Who are the various "Color" knights?

Who are the Saxons?
.

It is important to separate the legendary camelot from the original camelot story from the rifts camelot story when discussing zazshan's role in the arthorian mythos.
Post cataclysm camelot is not an attempt to recreate the camelot event for event. Rather it is an attempt to create a kingdom with the potential for Europe wide reach and conquest, using remixed elements of the modernized king Arthur myths as a way to fire up the people into supporting Zazshan's puppet regime. There isn't going to be a one to one duplication of those myths.

What he is trying to build is a kingdom on the scale of those earliest Arthur works, where the kingdom started as a small one in england, but through merlin's guidance and the strength of camelot military and knoghts, grew to control all of britain, a good chunk of france, and even parts of spain. Sure those older works are a bit disjointed and contradictory at timrs, but that is what happens when 10th century chroniclers record 5th century events using what was largely oral tradition till then.
Things like the grail quest, the color knights, lancelot , etc are all from much later, when writers took up the setting of camelot for what was basically fan fiction meant to idealized Arthur and his knights in a way to try and both entertain mobility while using them as a illustration of 'proper slightly behavior'.

It is also worth remembering that we are still in the early stages of Zazshan's empire building. His intrigues are going to be largely focused on growing Camelot's kingdom. So his focus is going to be on arranging excuses for camelot to conqueror or absorb the neighboring kingdoms, destroy threats to camelot (like the non-human kingdoms), and so on. We just didn't get the sort of minor plot hooks and metaplot frameworks we've gotten used to from more recent works, because it was one of the earliest books and written at a time when such things were not as common in the gaming industry as a whole.

And there are actually kingdoms that rival camelot in the British isles. Not just London, but also The Kingdom of Bath in Somerst, The Kingdom of Berwynmoore in Wiltshire, even the Goblin Kingdom in Wales. Yes they are all technically smaller, but the human kingdoms are not tiny, and if war broke out you can get they'd be building coalitions of the tiny unnamed kingdoms indicated to exist, and the various independent townships, millennium tree communities, and so on.

SolCannibal wrote:

The book doesn't even care to say why Art'huu might be more important for the role than any other charismatic but somewhat pliable puppet - or if Zazshan's is so secure at feigning humanity as to play dutiful paramour spouse, why does he need to play the mentor/guide/vizier, depending on mortal middlemen and does not play the conquering/liberating hero itself, like Saber Lasar in Pecos, for example?

The advantage of being the power behind the throne rather than the leader directly is that he can swap puppets of things go south. People don't buy into Arthuu as a leader? Find another puppet, try again. Arthur gets corrupted by power and derails things be becoming too much of a dictator? Mrrlyn can help organize the coup to replace him, and have the lady withdraw her endorsement of arthuu. Etc.if zazshan tries to act the part of the charismatic leader himself, not only does he risk the plan failing at more points, but he'd have to spend a lot more time acting the part amid a lot more people.


SolCannibal wrote:
That's interesting too but then you started from the idea that Mrrlyn as "the real Merlin" is a blatant lie or self-delusion on Zazshan's part at least - what's perfectly posible, as WB3's text seem to make inferences to a closeness in time between the fall of Atlantis and the Rise of Camelot that make no sense whatsoever (at least without some severe temporal distortions at play).

Actually it just talks about the fading of magic from the Atlanta disaster. It doesn't actually give much in the way of specific dates. Just one instance of 'centuries before' but that in itself would not rule out a 5th century date for original arthur, since thousands of years are also composed of many centuries. It is an odd phrasing though, which I can only chalk up to 'early installment weirdness' since WB2 didn't really give a hard timeframe for when Atlantis vanished.
Since we know from other worldbooks, and rifts connected works like BTS and Chaos Earth that magic didn't vanish entirely, or all at once, the history given still doesn't prevent a 4th or 5th century origin for original camelot. Especially when you figure the British isles, having so many skylines and nexi, probably retained more ambient magic energy longer than most of the world.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:25 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I ran a game a couple of years ago whose Cataclysm took some elements from Warren Ellis' Supergod, which if you haven't read it is worth a libgen. Without spoiling too much, if you move the timeline forward in the comic ~100 years and spin a couple of dials it provides justifications for a surprising number of Rifts' setting choices. The thing I most enjoyed was making Zazshan more akin to Morrigan Lugus: a "mycological computer on a meat substrate". Via sporulation it communicated telepathically, and led to British research into psychic technology, but also would spread itself to others if not contained. Some similarities are clear. I'll describe it in a spoiler box, so as to be polite and not take up too much real estate.
Spoiler:
Starting with the article from Rifter 27, in the game I instead made Zazshan a relative to the lichen Prototaxites, c 400 Ma. After its algal photobiont died out the fungal thallus went dormant until 2040 CE, when some was unearthed in Avebury by an amateur archaeologist/neo-druid folklorist. Upon taking a sample home to Bath as a curiosity, a spilled drink led to the fossil's fruiting body aerosolizing and being inhaled, where it surprisingly found purchase. The newly active fungus spread from her lungs to become a byssoid mesh evenly distributed throughout her body over a matter of weeks, and upon encountering her brain the relationship became arguably symbiotic.

Inexplicably attenuated, the fungus not only began emulating the woman's neuronal synaptic connections, but intensified them, resulting in grand mal seizures. The woman, horrified, went to hospital on June 20, whereupon making a doctor float while proclaiming the PM was to be assassinated in a week led the NHS to make a call which got routed to DI9. The attempt was thwarted, the woman was taken in and given Zener tests and the like, to little avail. The psychic seizure, having happened on the summer solstice, had gleaned some small strength from the unknown ley line nexus which ran through the hospital, and so the effects were unable to be duplicated. The fungus, now fully emulating the woman's mind, proved less successful at doing so with the body, and her health declined rapidly. Shortly before her death she began breathing raggedly and shedding skin from lesions, which was the result of the fungus sporulating. Assessment of the woman's condition as a biohazard was haphazard, and spores were able to subsequently infiltrate a pair of hospital porters. The new fungal intelligence was shocked: other minds exist! It's solipsism dispelled, proto-Zazshan set about establishing another instance of its previous mesh, complete with the Chinese Room-style pseudo-understanding of the druid's memories.

Spreading now more slowly, the fungus was able to keep the porters alive while producing small displays of external phenomena. The DI9 researchers honed their methods for testing psychics, while the fungus slaked its native need to expand by become a distributed intelligence which didn't have to lethally parasitize before sporulating. After incorporating researchers and engineers into itself, it began to assist, in its way. Lacking intentionality it was, in effect, a philosophical zombie, responding formulaically to inputs without any real understanding, and with everything interpreted through the semiotic lens of the first victim and her love of British legend and folklore. The name Zazshan itself came from the druid's childhood memory of an imaginary friend, invisible and omnipresent.

In the years before the Cataclysm Zazshan began to make real progress in host researchers inducing abilities in non-hosts, as well as developing items which heightened abilities within hosts. The fungal intelligence was almost ready to expand beyond the limits of the DI9 testing facility in 2098, when the ley lines flared to life. It was as one were seeing color for the first time. Zazshan was in a wild abandon, where previous limits no longer applied. It no longer had to carefully keep a host alive, because it could parasitize it unto death and still animate the corpse. After several years of puppeting the dead amongst ruination, a host came upon a Blue Zone Wizard. Incorporating the young mage into its collective, Zazshan finally became self-aware, in a way we might understand it. No longer simply responding to stimuli in a way so as to simply expand, the entity understood itself as an entity distinct from others, and came to see that making everything part of itself is not necessarily the clearest route to power. It was no longer required to use hosts at all, and could create instances of itself out of mystical whole cloth.

Zazshan, at that point one fragment and twenty five hosts, slowly moved east from Bath, perhaps drawn by its first memories of Avebury. A sensation of vegetal power lured it to the southwest, whereupon it spied the still growing Silbury Hill Millennium Tree. An overwhelming urge to combine with the tree overtook the throng of itself, and Zazshan rushed the tree in full display of its power, only to be repulsed by an expulsion of magic energy from the tree which nearly atomized the fragment and all its hosts.

Floating on the wind, Zazshan could barely keep its newfound mind together. Hunger for the tree, and its power, was nearly all consuming, and the fungal intelligence lost much of its sense of self. Exiled from its first home, and settling upon wherever the wind took it, Zazshan slowly set about reintegrating. Altering plants into seemingly alien forms and reducing the smallest of fauna to tufts of mycelia, it drifted ever westward, back to Bath, back to its place of becoming.

Zazshan settled for a time in Bath near the nexus from which it first expressed its psychic strength and, scattered as it was, thought about the tree that had unraveled it. Forced to interpret its desire in terms of the scraps of British myth through which it came to understand existence, Zazshan ruminated, fixated, monomanically trying to express to itself a plan. Zazshan made of myth a hammer, and set out to nail itself with it to a tree.
Making Zazshan a psychic juggernaut of mindless primordial origins, whose sapience was inextricably bound with folklore and whose genetic adaptability made Millennium Trees a perennial target for infection, helped to address some of my concerns with the plot as presented in the book.


I read Supergod a bunch of years ago - and must admit to not remembering everything as well as i would like - but yeah, could on itself make for a quite awesome basis for a time of Rifts mixing bits of HU and possibly Splicers, i guess. Not sure i'm up to such a big step, but i can indeed see how it could make for a great game and give context to a lot of stuff in WB3, from Zazshan and his arthurian legend game to the Millenium Trees and the Earth & Star Children even. Damn, the more i think about it, the more dots it seems to cconnect, it's scary! :? :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:39 am
  

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glitterboy2098 wrote:
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

She doesn't have to. She is a fragment, not a possessed corpse. But she can either fake the pregnancy and bring out a new fragment in the form of the infant heir.. Or actually carry the new fragment inside herself for an actual pregnancy.

All three in PA times are fragments, basically avatars. The only reference to possessing a corpse is in relation to the original 'historical ' camelot, where due to the weaker magic levels at the time he has to reanimated a dead man (merlin) instead of use a fragment.


Actually...

WB3, pg.87 wrote:
When the creature first arrives in a new dimension, it appears as an energy sphere about the size of a chair. It must possess and reanimate the dead (see Zllyphan description for details) within 24 hours of its arrival to a new dimension. If it does not, the essence is automatically rifted back to the alien intelligence.


So, while not cadavers per se anymore - they do require some degree of nourishment, rest, breath and sort of slowly age - all major essence fragments require the reanimation (and reconfiguration) of a dead body to serve as their host in a dimension they enter. The difference is that in Merlin's case it become partly known and supposedly inspired the whole "demonchild" legend about his origins.

It might not be the case anymore with Zazshan having already entered Rifts Earth apparently, but then it seems to straddle between dimensions at present, so it may be considered as kind of dubious (as an aside, some info on that other dimension it comes and goes from could be nice to have).

glitterboy2098 wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:

The book doesn't even care to say why Art'huu might be more important for the role than any other charismatic but somewhat pliable puppet - or if Zazshan's is so secure at feigning humanity as to play dutiful paramour spouse, why does he need to play the mentor/guide/vizier, depending on mortal middlemen and does not play the conquering/liberating hero itself, like Saber Lasar in Pecos, for example?

The advantage of being the power behind the throne rather than the leader directly is that he can swap puppets of things go south. People don't buy into Arthuu as a leader? Find another puppet, try again. Arthur gets corrupted by power and derails things be becoming too much of a dictator? Mrrlyn can help organize the coup to replace him, and have the lady withdraw her endorsement of arthuu. Etc.if zazshan tries to act the part of the charismatic leader himself, not only does he risk the plan failing at more points, but he'd have to spend a lot more time acting the part amid a lot more people.


True, all are valid reasons to have a frontman instead of taking the role of hero-king on one's own. They also run somewhat counter to the whole micro-managing and having a backup avatar as king's lover, to a certain level at least.

glitterboy2098 wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
That's interesting too but then you started from the idea that Mrrlyn as "the real Merlin" is a blatant lie or self-delusion on Zazshan's part at least - what's perfectly posible, as WB3's text seem to make inferences to a closeness in time between the fall of Atlantis and the Rise of Camelot that make no sense whatsoever (at least without some severe temporal distortions at play).

Actually it just talks about the fading of magic from the Atlanta disaster. It doesn't actually give much in the way of specific dates. Just one instance of 'centuries before' but that in itself would not rule out a 5th century date for original arthur, since thousands of years are also composed of many centuries. It is an odd phrasing though, which I can only chalk up to 'early installment weirdness' since WB2 didn't really give a hard timeframe for when Atlantis vanished.
Since we know from other worldbooks, and rifts connected works like BTS and Chaos Earth that magic didn't vanish entirely, or all at once, the history given still doesn't prevent a 4th or 5th century origin for original camelot. Especially when you figure the British isles, having so many skylines and nexi, probably retained more ambient magic energy longer than most of the world.


Yes, my point was exactly that the text while vague & short, still manages to get weird at points, but that this is a good thing, because it can be interpreted to mean the rundown of backstory/Zazshan's reminiscences come from an unreliable narrator and the actual events quite open to GM reinterpretation.


Last edited by SolCannibal on Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:01 am
  

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Comment: They/Them
The largest elements that I felt the comic helped address were the lack of Rifts material about India and the Middle East, and what happened to all the Chinese damned that might otherwise still be languishing in the Yama Kings' hells. It even has a South American nuclear event, and the character Dajjal is the definition of a 4-dimensional being. The biggest changes are to stick in ley-lines, dial it back a little bit, and replace the super cyborgs with borgs/juicers/crazies. Other recent-ish comics I'd like to make work in a Rifts variant are East of West and God is Dead, but neither has much to do with England.or Arthur.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:37 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
The largest elements that I felt the comic helped address were the lack of Rifts material about India and the Middle East, and what happened to all the Chinese damned that might otherwise still be languishing in the Yama Kings' hells. It even has a South American nuclear event, and the character Dajjal is the definition of a 4-dimensional being. The biggest changes are to stick in ley-lines, dial it back a little bit, and replace the super cyborgs with borgs/juicers/crazies. Other recent-ish comics I'd like to make work in a Rifts variant are East of West and God is Dead, but neither has much to do with England.or Arthur.


Also remember a graphic novel i read once, Last Reign: Kings of War (from Boom! Studios), that could make good fodder for stuff involving cyberknights, post-apocalyptic feudal lords and badass high-tech heirloom/relics from a more advanced past.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:02 pm
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

He is a super powerful being with vast magical powers and now days, AIs get Primal Dieific Powers too.
I am pretty sure he can fake the pregnancy so that his next fragment can become prince.

_________________
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Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:27 pm
  

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eliakon wrote:
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

He is a super powerful being with vast magical powers and now days, AIs get Primal Dieific Powers too.
I am pretty sure he can fake the pregnancy so that his next fragment can become prince.


And fake the pregnancy for the win.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:50 pm
  

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eliakon wrote:
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

He is a super powerful being with vast magical powers and now days, AIs get Primal Dieific Powers too.
I am pretty sure he can fake the pregnancy so that his next fragment can become prince.

Unless the host body can be made to grow, however, faking the baby would get complicated. Renember that none of the bodies possessed by an essence can be metamorphed, so matching features would be tough. More likely would be stealing an infant if the body of Guinivere can't get pregnant. However, if Zazshann wanted to rule directly he'd have nust killed Ar'thuu and possessed him already.

As to the question raised by glitterboy2098, all the essences, major or minor, are possessing a corpse. Check the lifespan entries. They need new bodies after about 700 years.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:01 pm
  

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Checking specific Alien Intelligences stats and notes, to get an idea of peculiar limitations, vulnerabilities or edges is always good, because they can bring up some entertaining complications or twists to a story.

And speaking of stuff on the sheet, i'm somewhat divided on the matter of Zazshan (and all its fragments) having rune, stone & tatoo master levels.

On one side it opens loads of unexplored resources and options for the AI and its chain of command as a whole.
On another, the reason those are unexplored is because they are not adressed in any way on any other part of the book, afaik (unlike their psionic powers, that do get adressed in the individual fragments) making it feel a bit like an afterthought or even editing slip. Also can make them a little similar to the Sploog minions i guess, what might be fine or bad depending on one's preferences (ages-long rivalry can somewhat explain/justify that i guess).

So, what do you think of this particular bit?


Last edited by SolCannibal on Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:41 pm
  

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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:59 pm
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dreicunan wrote:
eliakon wrote:
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

He is a super powerful being with vast magical powers and now days, AIs get Primal Dieific Powers too.
I am pretty sure he can fake the pregnancy so that his next fragment can become prince.

Unless the host body can be made to grow, however, faking the baby would get complicated. Renember that none of the bodies possessed by an essence can be metamorphed, so matching features would be tough. More likely would be stealing an infant if the body of Guinivere can't get pregnant. However, if Zazshann wanted to rule directly he'd have nust killed Ar'thuu and possessed him already.

As to the question raised by glitterboy2098, all the essences, major or minor, are possessing a corpse. Check the lifespan entries. They need new bodies after about 700 years.


Or maybe he should have just posted as Arthur in the first place.

_________________
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BEST IDEA EVER!!! -- The Galactus Kid

Holy crapy, you're Zer0 Kay?! --TriaxTech

Zer0 Kay is my hero. --Atramentus

The Zer0 of Kay, who started this fray,
Kept us laughing until the end. -The Fifth Business (In loving Memory of the teleport thread)


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:17 pm
  

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Palladin

Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:40 pm
Posts: 9481
Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
Zer0 Kay wrote:
dreicunan wrote:
eliakon wrote:
Zer0 Kay wrote:
eliakon wrote:
My take on Guinevere is this.
In a few years she will be queen. And then, she will become pregnant... and the child will be the crown prince. Who inherits the entire kit and caboodle from dad.
The populace will love the new young king dearly, and look at them through the rosy glasses of the old king.
Too bad that it will be another essence fragment...giving old Z total, and complete control of England AND making it so that now anyone that wishes to overthrow him is going to have to wade through the blood of the innocent to do so.


If Z is using a corpse how is it Going to reproduce? If G is a complete splinter and not a possession... we know in Palladium AIs can't reproduce with humans.

He is a super powerful being with vast magical powers and now days, AIs get Primal Dieific Powers too.
I am pretty sure he can fake the pregnancy so that his next fragment can become prince.

Unless the host body can be made to grow, however, faking the baby would get complicated. Renember that none of the bodies possessed by an essence can be metamorphed, so matching features would be tough. More likely would be stealing an infant if the body of Guinivere can't get pregnant. However, if Zazshann wanted to rule directly he'd have nust killed Ar'thuu and possessed him already.

As to the question raised by glitterboy2098, all the essences, major or minor, are possessing a corpse. Check the lifespan entries. They need new bodies after about 700 years.


Or maybe he should have just posted as Arthur in the first place.

I can see logic for using a human as the catspaw to set things up in the first place.
First off, the initial king is likely to get a lot more scrutiny. Thus there is a pretty good chance that they will get 'pinged' by various factions. Second the human will act like a human in ways even Zazshann probably can't mimic perfectly, which will help set up the stage. Third the human will be better at being 'spontaniously good' which would be important to setting up the 'myth' of Camelot.
Basically, let the human do the work and then you control the succession, either by putting a fragment on the throne, or putting a patsy that can be shaped and controlled from birth (a witch?) on it.

_________________
The rules are not a bludgeon with which to hammer a character into a game. They are a guide to how a group of friends can get together to weave a collective story that entertains everyone involved. We forget that at our peril.

Edmund Burke wrote:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:18 pm
  

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True, having a honestly good leading person but that you can effectively manipulate and direct is one of the best possible defenses against troublesome heroes looking for any lies, bad intentions or darkness afoot in Camelot, no denying that.

That said, the fact Art'huu ain't Mrrlyn's first puppet-king (in fact he arranged the fall of the original rulers and for him succed them by popular acclamation) and the farce with Caliber-X and the Lady of the Lake seem to give inklings that something more might have been afoot.

But that's probbably just me trying to shape patterns out of whichever threads of twine i get my hands into. Having something "magical" enough to further enhance the young hero-king's mystique but without the potential complications of a real Rune Weapon might be reason enough on itself (and quite pragmatic, should be said).


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:33 pm
  

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Comment: Golden God
eliakon wrote:
SolCannibal wrote:
glitterboy2098 wrote:
i've generally chalked up the faux-Guinevere's role as backup to Mrrlyn. if for some reason mrrlyn ends up on Arrthuu's bad side, or otherwise has to go away for a long period, she's there to continue to manipulate Arrthuu's attitudes and policies. when both are present she acts as a reinforcement for Mrrlynn's advice.


I can see the practical point of that, but at the same time ain't much of a fan (too much micro-management from an alien intelligence for my tastes, without even going into the idea of one seducing the king) have been thinking of ways to shake things up and Zazshan's "going rogue" with one of its fragments becomes a compromise solution to salvage the boat from a number of unexpected turns (that, surprisingly, do not involve Loki-G exposing it). Going to provide an actual potential (complicated) love interest for the hero-king along the way.

I look at it the other way.
He's and AI. His opinion of mortals is pretty darn low. Thus the "if you want it done right you have to do it yourself" attitude. He simply doesn't trust mortals to not screw things up unless he is micro-managing things. I mean look at humans and how many bosses micro-manage...
The big question becomes "Who are you writing the story for". Because the protagonists for that story you are writing are the ones that need to get the breaks, and have the mentors and love interests and all that. Everyone else just gets what they get for the purposes of a good story.
Interesting take on micromanaging. Call him Zorg.

My campaign never got to him, but as I'm not fond of having an AI under every rock, I made him a Nightlord. The closest the group got was the remains of a mind melter in his Warlord armor. He had been sent with a detachment of knights to the Gathering of Heroes.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:48 pm
  

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One striking aspect about Camelot in Rifts is how small and unimportant it actually is, both in the British Isles and abroad. If you look at my canon-accurate map of the British Isles, and if you look at its actual population and military size, the attention it gets as a faction seems disproportionate.

I lived in Nottinghamshire in Northern England for a year many moons ago. They name everything after Robin Hood's legends, even though nearly all of Sherwood forest has been cut down and replanted dozens of times, there's little to no basis in fact for the legend, it's kind of dumb anyway (robbing from the rich to give to the poor doesn't actually work out all that well, just ask Venezuela/Cuba/USSR/North Korea et cetera) (caveat: Robin Hood was also about stealing tax money and returning it to the people; the legend is all over the place on the modern economic/political spectrum). Still, it's a potent legend, and there's some value in it in real life in terms of tourism and regional identity. In Rifts, legends often mean MDC, too.

The truth is, even in canon, Mrrlyn's a small player in the British Isles. The Fomorians and faerie folk control more territory, various druid factions and millennium trees control more supernatural power, the Splugorth could crush any kingdom in England they like at will, and Tara in Ireland has far more potential for growth and long-term success than any city in England thanks to abundant resources, thriving trade, foreign aid, and a lack of organized threats on their island. If England ever gets a revised edition, I'd want Kevin to leave Camelot as is (perhaps updating the timeline) and focus more on developing the other factions.

Therefore, while I can see the Zazshan intelligence playing at trying to carve out its own island kingdom, it's one of many players in the game. Developing Mrrlyn further whilst we're in a relative vacuum of information on the rest of Britain and its major players seems like it's furthering the disproportionate attention foisted on Camelot and perpetuating the underdevelopment of other major players in the British isles of Rifts. I'd like to see more on the Nog Henge druids, the Goblin Kingdom, Margate Island, The Eternal City, Berwynmoore, Nortown Kingdom, London of Splynn, Balfarg, Tara, Formorian society/territory, and the many Millennium tree settlements around the British isles. Developing Mrrlyn in that richer context would be much more interesting.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:56 pm
  

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Well, Zlyphan have enough idiosyncracies for me to throw them pretty much as given in a game. In fact, here's some visuals that i think can work fine for them on (though unlike that movie's aliens, they are in no way vampiric per se).


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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:46 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
One striking aspect about Camelot in Rifts is how small and unimportant it actually is, both in the British Isles and abroad. If you look at my canon-accurate map of the British Isles, and if you look at its actual population and military size, the attention it gets as a faction seems disproportionate.


you aren't wrong there. compared to most of the other books we've gotten since, England is pretty tiny and unpopulated. and New Camelot would barely even be a blip on the radar in North America. so it has been given a lot more attention than its size would indicate.

but you also have to consider that this was early on in the game. i mean, it is literally the 3rd worldbook. it was what, the 4th actual expansion to the setting? and when you look at what those others were, it is fairly in line.. WB1 gives us mexico, filled with lots of small communities not much bigger than Camelot at best. WB2 had a lot more populous communities, but Atlantis was intended to be this powerful entity that had the numbers and power to be a threat even when described in the RMB. SB1 gave us Archie, which at the time was a much smaller deal than the talkie-toaster would eventualy become.

WB3, like its contemporaries, was subject to a lot of what passes for the 'early installment weirdness' of rifts, where the focus is more on filling out the setting with lots of smaller communities and groups to visit, and marauding threats to encounter.

what makes WB3, and Camelot in specific, so notable is that it connects to the earliest metaplot we got, the 'edict of planetary distress', that wave of warning visions psychics got about 4 great world ending dangers that came with SB2. the 3rd danger basically soft-retconned Zazshan and Camelot into "serious business" rather than a more regional problem. that the first two threats (the mechanoids and the 4 horsemen) have already been defeated, while the 4th (now known OOC to be tikkillik(sp?) from WB16 austrailia) is still slumbering, that leaves Camelot with a lot of fan attention. but people sometimes forget that the edict talks about the threat being two decades or more in the future.. basically, once Camelot has grown and expanded and more than likely, absorbed most of the surrounding villages and minor kingdoms, letting it build up an army able to take over most of the England.

this is one of the reasons i wish that England would get a sequel treatment like Triax 2 or sovietskii, with a bit of timeline update about what's been going on in the region, and expanding on the non-camelot stuff and generally bulking the area out with more stuff to do and a lot more plot hooks and metaplot framework. WB3 is set in PA103.. we are now in PA110. a third of that two decades is gone past, obviously whatever build up that needs to occur for Zazshan and Camelot to become "serious threat" has already started happening by now.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:23 am
  

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Honestly, i don't even care much about the "edict of planetary distress" in the equation. Not like the Mechanoid or Horsemen left that much of a dent in the setting for the major events they were supposed to be, nine times out of ten i completely forget about it. I think the growth of Robot Control and how it opened the way for the coming of Naruni Enterprises - and all diplomatic & business rigmarole that resulted from it - was the most far-reaching effect of the Mechanoid incident's on Rifts Earth...

The issue as i see it is that Camelot feels tiny in proportion to all the attenntion it gets even in relation to local powers themselves, truth be told. And it feels like there's something of a disconnect in the matter of the many communities and powers when it comes to the potential of contact, conflict and influence on each others' agendas, like the elephant in the room that is the Fomorian's potential to trounce anyone else in the Isles outside of the Thuatha with little to no effort and yet seem to be utterly isolated/ignored/unknown to most, among other things.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:16 pm
  

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SolCannibal wrote:
Honestly, i don't even care much about the "edict of planetary distress" in the equation. Not like the Mechanoid or Horsemen left that much of a dent in the setting for the major events they were supposed to be, nine times out of ten i completely forget about it. I think the growth of Robot Control and how it opened the way for the coming of Naruni Enterprises - and all diplomatic & business rigmarole that resulted from it - was the most far-reaching effect of the Mechanoid incident's on Rifts Earth...

The issue as i see it is that Camelot feels tiny in proportion to all the attenntion it gets even in relation to local powers themselves, truth be told. And it feels like there's something of a disconnect in the matter of the many communities and powers when it comes to the potential of contact, conflict and influence on each others' agendas, like the elephant in the room that is the Fomorian's potential to trounce anyone else in the Isles outside of the Thuatha with little to no effort and yet seem to be utterly isolated/ignored/unknown to most, among other things.


No mark?... could that be because it hasnt been visited again? In your own game if it hasnt advanced any that is your problem. I intentionally squashed it, but if your complaining it hasnt expanded or become a threat and it hasnt even been canonical revisited then the burden is on the GM and in your case, I assume, that is you. If you are not the GM, well then it is your GM's fault

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:08 pm
  

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Comment: They/Them
In previous posts SolCannibal and Shadrak talked about reinterpreting Zazshan as being psychically focused, and how its access to things like Rune, Stone, and Tattoo Magic seems off. I wanted to more explicitly say how I agree. I reckon the inclusion of elements written in the previous World Book was more integrated marketing than anything else.

When I used Zazshan as a fungal Native Intelligence I dropped all of that. It didn't seem all that reasonable for the Splugorth to tolerate a ley line pyramid that wasn't under their control existing a couple of hundred kilometers from an outpost, much less use magics seen by them as even more their province. I was also glad to get rid of deific powers. It all just seemed like massive overkill for a creature with direct control over a couple of hundred corpses and influence over 20K people. That's the sort of small potatoes you'd find in an especially squirrely Vampire Intelligence surrounded by entrenched superior power blocs, which is New Camelot's position in a nutshell.

Instead, I went with Zazshan having the following magic: all Invocations level 1-7, plus any related to illusion or prophecy, a handful of Biomancy spells related to plant/algae growth, and Mystic Herbology with an emphasis on corrupted Millenium Tree items. For psionics I decided on all H/P/S+Mind Bleeder, most Super, and several Phase powers. The Herbology/Biomancy were there to suggest that most of the alien flora in England was instead developed by the not-Alien Intelligence, explain Zazshan's interest in Millenium Trees, and hint at how early Arthurian myths like those in the Mabinogion had their fair share of concoctions in cauldrons. The Phase Powers were to make the Ghost Knights less empty suits of armor possessed by entities and more a semi-intangible container-grown pile of horror whose fruiting body vaguely resembles a face.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:18 pm
  

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Hello, after a few months of hiatus, got some hare-brained ideas i'm toying a bit with:

- The Goqua Loki-G is going to mess with Camelot and Zazshan a little - he found out about how its fragments arrange host bodies and has been tracking clues of Guinevere host's past as a way to expose, preferably through unwittting third parties for extra entertainment/shenanigans.

- A young/disgruntled/bored (manipulated by Loki-G?) Chiang-Ku dragon decides to aabaandon his NNog Henge coleagues to pose as "the Pendragon returned" as a more direct foil to whatever Mrrlyn is doing and distract it from the Nog Henge druids. Along the way he has united a number of diminutive ogre tribes into a large Tatoo Man warband/cult of personality under his banner.

- Some of Wothan's minions establish a secret hideout in London, to confuse things, infiltrate the atlantean colony, and eventually sabotage/ subvert as much of Splynn's agents & resources in the area as they can.

- Cernun mystics looking for ways to lower the intelligence of giants of many kinds, making them into viable targets for their domination.
Alliances with cabals of herbologists could be options towards that for certain. Could that be used in limited scale against the Fomor?

- Rumors of an unknown child of his wandering Arth'uu court end up attracting the Norse Thunder God's attention - that doesn't overstay his presence, as he accidentally finds out about the Fomorians x Celtic gods up north and that is far more his kind of entertainment, making things in Scotland rockier than ever.

Just some quick rambling thoughts to get the ball rolling again.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:00 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
One striking aspect about Camelot in Rifts is how small and unimportant it actually is, both in the British Isles and abroad. If you look at my canon-accurate map of the British Isles, and if you look at its actual population and military size, the attention it gets as a faction seems disproportionate.

I lived in Nottinghamshire in Northern England for a year many moons ago. They name everything after Robin Hood's legends, even though nearly all of Sherwood forest has been cut down and replanted dozens of times, there's little to no basis in fact for the legend, it's kind of dumb anyway (robbing from the rich to give to the poor doesn't actually work out all that well, just ask Venezuela/Cuba/USSR/North Korea et cetera) (caveat: Robin Hood was also about stealing tax money and returning it to the people; the legend is all over the place on the modern economic/political spectrum). Still, it's a potent legend, and there's some value in it in real life in terms of tourism and regional identity. In Rifts, legends often mean MDC, too.

The truth is, even in canon, Mrrlyn's a small player in the British Isles. The Fomorians and faerie folk control more territory, various druid factions and millennium trees control more supernatural power, the Splugorth could crush any kingdom in England they like at will, and Tara in Ireland has far more potential for growth and long-term success than any city in England thanks to abundant resources, thriving trade, foreign aid, and a lack of organized threats on their island. If England ever gets a revised edition, I'd want Kevin to leave Camelot as is (perhaps updating the timeline) and focus more on developing the other factions.

Therefore, while I can see the Zazshan intelligence playing at trying to carve out its own island kingdom, it's one of many players in the game. Developing Mrrlyn further whilst we're in a relative vacuum of information on the rest of Britain and its major players seems like it's furthering the disproportionate attention foisted on Camelot and perpetuating the underdevelopment of other major players in the British isles of Rifts. I'd like to see more on the Nog Henge druids, the Goblin Kingdom, Margate Island, The Eternal City, Berwynmoore, Nortown Kingdom, London of Splynn, Balfarg, Tara, Formorian society/territory, and the many Millennium tree settlements around the British isles. Developing Mrrlyn in that richer context would be much more interesting.


My main issue with England was always the miniscule populations. Its a relic of the initial Rifts premise of "there are no major population centers" before, well, a dozen of them popped up in the next six books.

England and the British Isles in general are a threat to approximately no one. Zazshan must be playing a REALLY freaking long game if he thinks hes going to conquer anything significant, even if he unites the entirety of the Isles. The NGR's military is larger than the entire civilized/humanoid/unite-able population of the Isles. Several times larger, in fact. New Camelot isnt going to be conquering/uniting much of anything. Arthuu will be like "Im gonna free France, and bring the goodness!" and about half an hour into his campaign he's deader than a doornail, as the tiny fraction of Gargoyles he runs into completely outnumbers him and crushes him. There are, after all, only a few million of them in France.

It just doesn't work.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:57 pm
  

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Yes, the populations do not work, but that can be tweaked with or glossed over somewhat - and in fact it has been done to a degree, as indicated by later references to Camelot.
Of my head i remember their participation in the Gathering of Heroes as mentioned in Tarn's diary in Rifts: Africa and the bits about war campaigns in the continent from Aftermath. If there's something else about Camelot or the Isles across the books, references would be most welcome.

Getting more on factions, some members, motives and evocative bits of idea to inspire GM and then let improvise, that would be quite desirable for an update. Adding stuff to make Arth'uu more sympathetic and us see why he's admired even by those who see Mrrlyn's strings would be pretty good too, i think.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:10 am
  

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Just to play devil's advocate here... since Merlin / Gwen / LOTL are all presumably re-animated HUMAN corpses, who's to say they are rendered infertile? Empowered resurrected humans may still be capable of reproducing with non-powered non-resurrected humans.

Of course, if the doctor decides that Gwen needs a Caesarian section and tries it with an SDC scalpel, he might need to be disappeared.


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