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Heroes of the Mandragora Kingdom

 
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blackwingedheaven
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Joined: 27 Dec 2007
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Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:19 am    Post subject: Heroes of the Mandragora Kingdom Reply with quote

A while back, someone on rpg.net started up a topic about running the world of Super Mario Brothers as a serious swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting. It would be a world where an empire of evil saurians fought to conquer a kingdom of peaceful plant-folk, a world where the greatest heroes of legend were of the long-lost race of humans, from the nearly forgotten world of Earth. (a la Barsoom or pulp Mars)

I went and wrote a setting for Savage Worlds based on the idea. And now, I'm posting it here to see what everyone thinks. It's kind of gonzo, but constructive criticism is always welcome.

***

HEROES OF THE MANDRAGORA KINGDOM


Welcome to Heroes of the Mandragora Kingdom, a campaign setting for Savage Worlds. Herein, readers will discover the plight of the mandragora people and their kingdom, under assault from the Dragon Emperor of the kappa, and his many dark allies. In a land where hope dwindles daily, the only chance for salvation lies in heroes from another world, a legendary parallel universe known to the inhabitants of Terra as “Earth.”
Humans, rare and considered nearly demigods in the Mandragora Kingdom, are common in this alternate world, and it is from this world of epic power that the kings and queens of the mandragora have long drawn their champions. The Elders, a people lost to the dimness of history, constructed magical Tunnels between the two worlds utilizing the fabric of reality, a dimensional fold the mandragora call the warpweave, or the plumb. The Mandragora Kingdom’s ruler can use the ancient magics laid into the land itself to call through the Tunnels to Earth, allowing the kingdom to choose its most adept champion. These champions are then called to the kingdom, and find their way there through the Tunnels—a journey that can be extremely disconcerting at the best of times.
On Earth, humans number in the faceless billions, and most have long given up hope of being special amidst the seething crowds. The enormous number of humans living in their world—each innately connected to magic itself—has shriveled the amount of magic controlled by each. When brought to a magic-rich world such as Terra, humans find themselves filled with legendary strength, speed and endurance, and many develop unique mystical talents as well. These powerful heroes have the potential to change the world in their passage.
These mighty heroes are not alone, however, and many of Terra’s inhabitants still fight for their own freedom. From the faithful and loyal Mandrake Guardsmen, to renegade kappa who have turned on their evil Dragon Emperor, to surviving members of the High Blossom Courts, powerful in the magic of the land, many stand ready to fight the darkness.
Earther or Terran, it matters not—what truly matters is power, wisdom and courage.
Do you have the strength to stand for what is right? Now is the time for heroes!

***

Jeremy Puckett
_________________
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one." -Voltaire

Check out my Savage Worlds blog, Urbis Tenebrae: http://urbistenebrae.blogspot.com/
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blackwingedheaven
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Joined: 27 Dec 2007
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Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Races of Terra Reply with quote

RACES OF TERRA


The world of Terra is a magical land filled with more races than just one. Where Earth experienced a cataclysmic meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs, Terra never went through such a trauma, leading to the eventual evolution of sentient saurians, a number of plant- and fungus-based races, and stranger creatures still. In addition, humans from Earth have occasionally found their way to Terra in times past, and the amazing powers they inevitably develop have made them nearly legendary among the people of the Mandragora Kingdom.


Human
The inhabitants of the semi-mythical world of Earth are called “humans.” These warm-blooded mammals are apparently descendants of the primate survivors of a Great Extinction that never occurred on Terra. The same meteoric impact also deadened Earth to its innate mystical energies, leaving humans incapable of wielding magic on their home world. When they cross the warpweave into Terra, however, eons of dormant ability suddenly flares into unique innate magical abilities. What these talents will be is unpredictable, but such powers are rarely subtle.
Humans stand between five and six feet tall, shorter than the dominant mandragora and kappa but taller than the diminutive myconites. They tend to be heavier than any of the blossom peoples, however, weighing in at around 150 pounds. Their females are smaller and lighter than their males on average, also a reversal from the usual pattern on Terra. Human skin tones range from ebon-dark through a range of browns and bronzes, and all the way to pale peach and near-white. Their hair is usually shades of black, brown, red, or blonde, significantly more diverse than the mandragora, but their eyes are less varied, appearing only in green, brown, grey, and blue.
Adaptable: Humans are descended from clever primates, making them more adaptable than most of the races of Terra. They begin play with a bonus Edge.
Clueless: Since they’re from another universe entirely, humans that wind up on Terra usually aren’t very sure of what’s going on. They lack an understanding of local history, culture, flora, fauna, language… Quite frankly, they’re lucky that the locals speak something approximately like English. Humans suffer a –2 penalty on Common Knowledge rolls.
Innate Power: The magical nature of Terra causes human travelers to spontaneously develop strange mystical abilities. Every human in Terra has a single arcane power and 20 Power Points dedicated to its use. This power has its own unique arcane skill governing its use that the character must build up normally. If the character later takes the New Power Edge, that power has a different unique skill. (So, if a human were to start play knowing fireball, he would improve his use of that power with the Fireball skill. Were he to acquire mighty leap later on, he would need to use the Mighty Leap skill to activate that power.) Human innate power skills are linked to Spirit. Any power with a range of “touch” instead has a range of “self” when selected for an innate power. Generally, the GM selects the character’s power, unless both the GM and player agree on an appropriate power.


Mandragoran
At one time, the mandragora were the dominant species on Terra, having long since spread their blossom markers across the face of the supercontinent and driven most of the animal races out of their territory. A terrible darkness festered in the hearts of their greatest enemies, however, and that darkness has recently made the mandragora a besieged people. The kappa have struck back against their encient foes, and now the Mandragora Kingdom is in shambles. The old king is dead, the heir is imprisoned by the mighty Dragon Emperor, and old threats long thought banished forever have begun to resurface. It is a dark time for the proud blossom children.
A mandragoran looks surprisingly like a human, with the exception being their very smooth skin, which lacks both pores and body hair, and their garishly colored eyes. A mandragoran tends to stand somewhat taller than the average human as well, with their heights somewhere between six and seven feet, though they are proportionally thinner and thus weigh about the same. Female mandragora tend to be slightly taller than males. Most mandragora have blonde or red hair, though a rare few with brown or black hair are known, and their eyes are luminous and brightly colored, virtually every shade of the rainbow. Young mandragora have pale skin, shading closer to a light brown as they grow older.
Environmental Dependence: Mandragora are highly susceptible to pollutants, impurities, and other factors that an animal species would be able to shrug off. They suffer a –2 penalty to resist Fatigue, poison, disease, and other environmental factors.
Pheromones: As a plant-based life form, mandragora emit a wide variety of subtle but powerful chemicals. Because of their pleasant scent, they gain +2 Charisma.
Spirited: Mandragora are strong-willed and have great faith, in the universe and in one another. They start with a d6 in Spirit instead of a d4.


Myconite
The fungal berserkers of the kappa king and the front line in any kappa war march, the myconites are distant cousins of the noble mandragora. In old times, they lived on the fringes of the kingdom, acting as roving bandits and barbarians, occasionally making trouble but rarely presenting a unified threat. Some mandragora royalty even kept trained myconites as pets or servants. A generation ago, however, the myconites suddenly united under a common banner—that of the Dragon Emperor. No one in the Mandragora Kingdom knows how this coup was achieved, but it has proved an incredible boon for the kappa armies.
Myconites are smaller than even humans, but they fight with a tenacity and vigor that makes even the hardiest warrior nervous. While they are best known for their fungal berserkers, not every myconite is a raving savage. Even the most erudite of them, however, is still a member of a society that eats their own dead, has nothing resembling a family unit, and views other life as little more than compost waiting to happen. Their alien mindset rarely makes for good company. A few myconites have broken free of the mysterious control of the Dragon Emperor, and these are often surprisingly friendly and cheerful.
The average myconite is a squat, humanoid shape around four feet tall. Their heads are slightly too large for their bodies, they lack noses, and their fang-filled mouths are extremely wide; most myconites have a significant underbite, with fangs jutting up from their lower jaws. What hair they have is greasy and knotted, growing in a wild mane from their heads down their backs, and their eyes are an unnerving black. A myconite lopes rather than runs, sometimes using their hands to aid in running. A myconite’s feet have poorly-differentiated toes, almost seeming to be webbed, and have short black claws instead of toenails. Their overall appearance is one of half-formed savagery.
Fungal Growth: As a fungus-based life form, myconites suffer very little from the environment and heal extremely fast. A myconite ignores all penalties when making natural healing rolls, including wound penalties and any penalties for a lack of medical attention.
Small: Myconites only stand around four feet tall, making them significantly smaller and lighter than either humans or mandragora. They suffer a –1 penalty to Toughness.
Tough: Myconites take a beating very well. Their entire cultural drive is based around survival of the fittest, leading them to be quite hard to kill. They start with a d6 in Vigor instead of a d4.


Kappa
Soldiers of the Dragon Emperor and descendants of the ancient tyrant lizards, the kappa are a reptilian race bound for glory and conquest. At one time, the kappa were merely a barbaric tribal people, eking out a meager living in the deserts and mountains outside the Mandragora Kingdom, a lush land from which they had been expelled ages ago by its dominant inhabitants. In the wastes, the kappa fought against other saurian tribes and hideous throwbacks to the ancient times, always on the verge of final extinction.
A generation ago, all of that changed when a charismatic and powerful kappa seized control of one tribe after another, finally declaring himself Dragon Emperor of all kappa and making war against the Mandragora Kingdom. His control of the myconites was an incredible aid in the war effort, and he has since proven able to command the loyalty of all manner of fell beasts and tribes. Many kappa believe that victory in the war is near, now that the emperor has killed the Blossom King and captured his daughter and only heir. A tiny number of kappa have turned against their own, however, calling the despotic rule of the emperor an affront to their traditional tribal way of life. These traitors rarely survive long among their own kind, and occasionally flee to the Mandragora Kingdom, where the general passivity of the natives at least guarantees them a fair chance to prove their intentions.
Kappa stand roughly eight feet tall, massive and powerfully built saurians with a tough but flexible hide. Many kappa have small crops of horns rising from their head or back, and their mouths are filled with razor-sharp fangs. Most kappa are either a dark or light green in color, though a rare few have exhibited other shades, and yellow or brown highlights are not uncommon. Despite their size and bulk, kappa have surprisingly good manual dexterity. Their most unnerving habit to outsiders is their tendency to use the bodies of their honored dead as raw materials for weapons and armor—bone spears, rigid leather armor designed to look like turtle shells, clubs studded with teeth, and so on.
Bloodthirsty: Anyone with any sense is afraid of the kappa. They are cold in demeanor (if not in blood) and relish the thought of snapping bones and rending flesh in battle. They suffer a –4 penalty to Charisma with other, less bloodthirsty races.
Mighty: Kappa are strong and powerful of limb. They start with a d6 in Strength instead of a d4.
Size +1: Standing around eight feet tall (or even taller for older kappa), a kappa is significantly taller and bulkier than a human. Their greater size grants them +1 to their Toughness and carrying capacity multiplier.


Pudican
Another distant cousin of the mandragora, the pudica are a humanoid plant race more closely related to Earth trees than to flowers. Few people are really sure of what the pudica look like, however, since their cultural tradition demands that they cover their bodies completely when in the company of other races. This extends to the wearing of complicated ceremonial masks, which are said to be individually crafted for each pudican and as much an indicator of identity as a human’s fingerprints. These habits have lead the mandragora to call them “the shy folk.”
What little is known of shyfolk culture indicates that it is deeply intellectual, with an economy based on ideas and deep thoughts. Pudica build no cities and few towns, preferring to live in like-minded enclaves dedicated to scholarly pursuits. These enclaves are responsible for both the arcane art of artifice, and for the deadly mystical war machines produced by the kappa. Pudica themselves see no moral component to their thought experiments, sharing them with anyone who can convince them to do so—though the process of doing so can be tricky even at the best of times.
Without their covering garments, pudica are thought to be humanoid in shape, and the few glimpses gained of them in this state have revealed them as having bark-like skin, brown or ebony in color, and liquid, sap-colored eyes. It is unknown if they possess differentiated genders or not (some species on Terra don’t) or how to tell them apart if they do. In public, they wear concealing robes, gloves and boots, as well as ornate wooden masks.
Clever: The pudica prize intelligence and have a great deal of it themselves. They start with a d6 in Smarts instead of a d4.
Shy: The pudica don’t deal well with outsiders. Their cultural distance and inability to relate well with others causes them to suffer a –2 penalty to Charisma with all other races.
Stoic: The pudican distaste for emotion leaves them unmoved in the face of terror, shame or sorrow. They gain a +2 bonus to resist fear (including Guts checks) as well when defending against a Test of Will. Pudica treat any Charisma bonus or penalty as though it were 2 points less than its actual value. (Thus, a mandragoran noble with +4 Charisma would only have +2 for rolls against a pudica, while a kappa with a –4 penalty wouldn’t seem so bad to them, treating it only as a –2.)
Toolkit: A pudican’s natural ability with manufactured objects and their grasp of advanced engineering principles makes them invaluable as craftsmen and architects. They gain a +2 bonus on Repair rolls and are always considered to have at least basic tools on hand.


Quetzal
A distant cousin of the kappa, quetzals are tree-dwelling saurians that have adapted to their lofty homes by evolving to something partway between a true dinosaur and a true bird. Quetzals are smaller than kappa, about the size of humans, and have long avoided conflict with other races due to their own natural skittishness. With the march of the kappa army, however, the quetzals have finally begun to come down from the forests to fight on the side of the mandragora. No love is lost between the predatory kappa and the quetzals, who largely subsist on fruit and insects.
Quetzal society is mostly peaceful, though their mating rituals can occasionally turn dangerous, since the aerial acrobatics involved continue to increase in complexity to the point that those involved sometimes wind up plummeting to their deaths. Because of their unusual body shape and wing-structures, quetzals also largely eschew clothing and armor, though they are willing to don them in time of need. Quetzals are keen and quick, clever and incisive, though their lack of materialism has stunted their cultural development.
To the human eye, quetzals are quite strange-looking. These saurians have a somewhat hunched shape, seeming to lean forward, their long tails jutting out behind them and their arms held slightly in front. Their feet are large and clawed, and their heads large but narrow. Their most striking feature is their combination of scales and feathers, both in bright colors and patterns. These feathers cover their arms and tails most thickly, creating a sort of wing-fringe, and some quetzals also have large “manes” of colored feathers. Quetzals cannot speak any non-saurian language because of their vocal structure, but they can understand others easily enough, and those that interact with outsiders usually find ways to communicate.
Agile: Quetzals are quick and nimble from a lifetime spent among the treetops. They start with a d6 in Agility instead of a d4.
Gliding: A mature quetzal cannot fly without significant wing-strengthening exercises, but all adult quetzals can use their wings to improve their jumping ability and slow their falls. Quetzals add 1” to their base jumping distance, and they suffer half damage from falls as long as they are conscious and able to move freely.
Jumpy: Quetzals are highly-strung and easily startled. They suffer a –2 penalty on Guts checks and rolls made to resist Intimidation.

***

Jeremy Puckett
_________________
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one." -Voltaire

Check out my Savage Worlds blog, Urbis Tenebrae: http://urbistenebrae.blogspot.com/
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blackwingedheaven
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:28 am    Post subject: The World of Terra Reply with quote

THE WORLD OF TERRA


Terra is a vast world that exists alongside Earth, parallel to the so-called “real world” and in many ways reflective of it. The origin of Terra lies in Earth’s distant past, a time when the two worlds were one and magical energy was plentiful.
Sixty-five million years ago, when dinosaurs still walked the earth and flowering plants were a relatively new development, a single world—Gaia—was the sum of known existence. Gaia thrived and numerous species were on the fast track to sentience, following evolutionary paths that were sustained by the large amounts of orgone produced by the planet. Thriving colonies of self-aware fungus lived in the shallow seas, primitive saurians began experimenting with tools, and not a small number of the new flowering plants were beginning to communicate with one another.
Everything came crashing down with the collision of a rogue meteor. The so-called “planet killer” came very close to wiping out all life on Gaia. Had it struck deeper in the ocean or further inland by a few scant miles, the devastation would have been too great to overcome. Self-aware in its own way, the orgone field of Gaia could feel itself being torn away in the calamitous strike. Like any living thing, it sought to stay alive.
In a desperate effort to survive and to sustain as much of the life that maintained it as possible, it pushed sideways through space-time, in essence splitting reality into two halves. In one of them, the meteor strike killed off three-fourths of the planet’s life forms in what humans would later term “the Great Extinction.” In the other, the meteor strike never happened at all, and life continued on as normal with no indication to the primitive species that anything untoward had occurred at all.
The two worlds remained locked in a stable quantum orbit, only a thin layer of probability separating them. Tendrils of the orgone field were still intrinsically linked to the Earth dimension, unable to separate from its magic-dead sibling without destabilizing the entire universal substrate. Over the countless millennia since, this connective tissue of magic—called the warpweave by magicians of the Mandrake Path—has served as a method of quick transit across the face of Terra.
The earliest known sorcery-using civilization, called “the Elders” by the mandragorans and “the First” by the kappa, built mystical jade-wrought tunnels that could instantaneously transport travelers from one place to another. Once created, the tunnels went from one point to another, and no place else. So many transit pipes were created that they twisted in among themselves in great clusters through the warpweave, necessitating centralized stations from which to adjust the magical devices and act as travel hubs. Legend speaks of great underground caverns that were the destination of hundreds of transit pipes, through which thousands of people traveled every day.
Little is known of the time of the Elders, however, though many of their great legacies remain. It is said that they achieved many wonders, including the creation of great flying castles, building enormous underground cities, and even traveling to Terra’s green-and-blue moon. No single disaster wiped out the Elders. As far as anyone can tell from examining their ruins, they simply disappeared one day, as though the entire population vanished without a trace. In their absence, many of their inventions began to malfunction. The transit tunnels, always delicate at the best of times, fell into general disuse when their functioning became prone to disastrous error. Some of them are still active, however, and brave souls sometimes attempt their use when time is of the essence.
The malfunction of so many magical objects that relied on the warpweave strained the connections between Terra and Earth even further, tearing open tiny rifts between the two dimensions. Most of these rifts have been far from anything resembling civilization. A small number of them have brought humans into Terra over the past several thousand years, resulting in the Terran discovery of their sister world. While some Terrans have attempted to cross over to Earth, the few survivors of these expeditions have likened surviving on a magic-poor world like Earth to a human being held underwater and told to grow gills before he drowns. Humans find their abilities greatly increased by exposure to Terra’s magic-rich environment, but Terra’s magic-dependent life forms wither and die on Earth in a matter of hours.
Because of their increased magical capability, humans who have come to Terra are inevitably as legendary heroes (or rarely, villains). Some of the most potent human heroes of Terra’s past are regarded as true legends on Earth as well, such as Gilgamesh, while others are unknown on Earth, mere missing persons who never came back. The most powerful humans are very nearly demigods to those they have aided, and the appearance of humans on Terra almost inevitably heralds a time of great deeds and struggle.


Evolution and Terra

When the meteoric impact occurred, the course of evolution on Terra continued on its merry way, unfazed by the cataclysm that proceeded to rock Earth. Where the extinction of all major land animals on Earth paved the way for mammals—particularly primates—to rise to dominance, Terra suffered no such losses and saw the continued prevalence of dinosaurs. As well, because of the remaining high levels of magical energy on Terra, quite a few plant species eventually developed into mobility and sentience.
Terra’s mammals are mostly marsupials, with a few small placental mammals for variety. Many marsupials have gained great size, but none have developed sentience or anything resembling intelligence. A few of the small, clever primates have begun to show tool-using ability, and with another few million years they might even start using language. For now, though, the world of Terra belongs entirely to the saurian races and the plant races.
Terran saurians are not true reptiles. Almost all of them are warm-blooded, and while most are oviparous, not a small number of them bear live young. As with reptiles, male and female saurians are almost indistinguishable. Saurians occupy a middle niche between true reptiles and mammals, the same place occupied by their dinosaur ancestors. Many primitive birds fall into this same category, covered with both feathers and scales, and quite capable of flight. A few true birds exist on Terra, but most feathered fliers are still quite clearly saurian relations. Kappa and quetzals are both examples of sentient saurian races, though a few others exist as well.
Plant-based intelligent life is extremely odd by Earth standards. Most plant races have a basically humanoid form—indeed, most humans would be hard-pressed to tell a mandragoran apart from their own species without a microscope. Plant races, however, eat only small amounts of food—enriching vitamins, mostly—and can go without ingesting any solids for days or even weeks at a time as long as they have access to plenty of sunlight and water. A plant-based life form deprived of sunlight would respond the same way as a human deprived of food: a slow descent into fatigue and death.
Two distinct branches of plant humanoids exist: one derived from “true” plants, such as the pudica and mandragora; and the other descended from fungus, like the myconites. While both are regarded as part of the same group on Terra, human scholars would recognize that plants and fungi are actually separate classifications. The major difference between the two is that the former group possesses gender in the human sense, while the latter does not. Mandragora are divided between male and female, the same as humans (though see below), while myconites have no gender and reproduce asexually, by budding.
While plant-based life forms may have genders, reproduction is slightly more complicated on their part than with humans. They may engage in recreational sex like humans do (which mandragora do frequently, but which pudica consider a terrible waste of time), but actual procreation requires an additional factor. After undertaking the appropriate preconditions for mating, the act is carried out, and the female carries the resultant “seed” in her body for only a few days.
At the end of this time, the female removes the seed from her abdomen and plants it someplace life-sustaining. The mandragora usually have entire “orchards” set aside in each town for this specific purpose. After a certain amount of time, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, the seed sprouts a large pod that then hatches out an infant. Because of these complications, mandragora breed less often than humans, though the turnaround time from conception to birth is slightly less. The fact that “pregnancy” is much less restrictive of an activity to plant life (and to egg-laying saurians) has led to significantly greater gender equality in less developed societies. Indeed, hardly any intelligent species on Terra have significant sexual dimorphism or gender prejudices. Mandragora have more gender-based differences in appearance than most (including their females having breasts), to the confusion of visiting humans.
All of this is basically moot for the fungus-based races, which lack gender and breed via parthenogenesis. Myconites particularly have the ability to quickly and efficiently replenish their numbers in times of crisis, making them perfect as expendable cannon fodder. Most other races refer to all myconites as “he,” though a small number of rogue myconites have embraced the concept of gender and a few have even requested to be addressed as female.
Besides the dozen or so intelligent races known to inhabit Terra, there are any number of creatures common to this world but alien to Earth. Carnivorous plants on Terra have grown to sizes unheard of on Earth, as have arthropods (particularly beetles) and many sea-dwelling invertebrates. Most of the largest saurian species died off on their own, but several still survive and many more mid-sized ones have developed. Where mammals would fill an ecological niche on Earth, that niche on Terra is usually filled instead by dinosaurs, proto-birds, mobile plants, or the rare marsupial. For example, a common beast of burden for mandragoran and kappa alike is the highly-armored gaston (similar to the ankylosaurus), while many kappa tribes keep a flock of mimus (a relative of the ornithomimus) on hand for eggs and meat.


The Mandragora Kingdom

Just over one thousand years ago, at the same time a human king called Arthur was uniting his country in a shining nation, the mandragora were coming out of a time of tumult. Dozens of small city-states had warred with one another for centuries in the so-called Flowering Wars, conflicts in which small-scale skirmishes and highly ritualized combat were used to determine the primacy of one city-state over the others. After one such Flowering War turned into a lethal debacle, consuming several city-states completely, the naturally peaceful mandragora stood aghast at their own actions. They needed a better way.
From the carnage of war emerged a warrior-scholar named Magnolius, of the Clan of the Rose. Magnolius proposed a unified kingdom, bringing all mandragora together under one banner and giving all local rulers a say in the governance of that kingdom. He was initially met with opposition, until he showed the sincerity of his proposal by eschewing all of his own lands and holdings, and placing his daughter Rosa on the high throne, with himself as a mere advisor.
The Mandrake Monarch, high ruler of the kingdom, would thus hold no lands, hold no property, have no resources but those granted to him by the will of his advisory council. In exchange, he would have the ability to arbitrate disputes fairly and impartially and the right to muster an army to protect the kingdom from outside threats. The lesser rulers accepted these terms and heralded in the reign of the Rose Queen, first ruler of the Mandragora Kingdom. The aristocratic council that guided the monarch would become known as the Blossom Court, eventually also referring to the bureaucracy that maintained its power.
The system used by the kingdom to keep its monarch in check would not have worked for humans, since the natural instinct of those in power is to hoard it for themselves and respond to judgments against them by the withholding of that power. To the mandragora, however, the prospect of a neutral centralized authority was a dream come true. Hardly any real challenges to the Mandrake Monarch’s power would arise over the next thousand years, as the line passed from mother to son, father to daughter. Many great wonders were achieved during this time, including the foundation of a great academy designed to teach the sorcerous ways of the Mandrake Path, schools to bring basic literacy to all mandragora of all social classes, and built a vast network of roads across the face of the kingdom.
This is not to say that all was peaceful during this time. The kingdom faced numerous minor threats, but nothing that threatened the existence of the kingdom as a whole. Minor rebellions would occasionally crop up as lesser nobles sought to improve their station at the expense of the kingdom as a whole. Border skirmishes with other races occurred as the kingdom slowly expanded and consolidated. Trade routes and agreements with distant nations were established, even a few across the expanse of the vast Tethys Sea. The kingdom thrived.
A generation ago, during a time of greater than usual prosperity, rumors began to reach the Blossom Court of rumblings in the lands held by the barbaric kappa. While kappa raids for slaves, food, water and trinkets had been common in the past, the kappa were known to be a race in decline. Their poor resources and frequent infighting had left their population depleted and the remaining tribes fractious. These new rumors, though, suggested that the kappa had restored their numbers and somehow united under a single banner—a battle standard showing a mighty dragon in full flight.
The Blossom Court advised the king against provoking the kappa, who were surely not as organized or unified as the distant reports suggested but who could still become a nuisance if they were antagonized. The king listened to their advice—to his later sorrow.


The War Against the Kappa

Five years ago, the kappa came boiling out of the deserts and mountains of their homelands in a horde so massive that it shook the ground for miles in every direction. The marching legions could drink rivers dry and scale defensive walls on ramparts made from the broken bodies of their slain. The ruthlessness, efficiency and sheer power of the attacking force shocked the Mandragora Kingdom into a panicked response, throwing ill-prepared soldiers at vastly greater forces and effectively devastating the kingdom’s army long before the kappa ever reached anything important.
Like a knife pointed at the heart of the kingdom, the kappa army tore its way straight to the great capital, Rubeo-Corymbus. The Blossom Court scattered to the four winds while the king and his remaining legions remained behind to face the oncoming horde. On the highest parapets of Castle Corundum, the Dragon Emperor himself descended to face the Mandrake Monarch in single combat. Though armed with magic, orihalcon, and the faith of a kingdom, the Blossom King was no match for his opposite number in a fight, and he died on the Dragon Emperor’s claws before a horrified populace. The banner of the dragon flew above the mighty castle, and the kappa celebrated with days of looting and destruction.
All seven of the great fortress-cities of the kingdom have now fallen to the kappa, leaving the mandragora people in the hands of a cruel enemy captor. The remnants of the Blossom Court have formed a resistance movement, using guerilla tactics against the vastly superior force to harass the kappa and waste their resources. The Court’s hope is to make the war so costly to the kappa that they simply decide to leave the kingdom. A few nobles have considered appeasement, offering to make the kingdom a willing satrapy of the Dragon Empire in exchange for limited autonomy—and, of course, an improvement in their own position.
The common people live in terror of the kappa. Though they are cruel and vicious, holding mandragora life in low regard, they have proven adequate administrators of their new holding. Most regions of the kingdom live as they once did, only that they now pay tribute to the Dragon Emperor instead of to their own leaders, and that their taxes are somewhat higher. A few places, however, have become nightmares of kappa industriousness, turning the populations of entire villages into slaves for mining, smelting, or other heavy labor that the kappa themselves eschew. What few rights the average mandragoran peasant had before are nothing now—the tyranny of the kappa has replaced the rule of law.
Hope still exists in the land, however. It is common knowledge that the Dragon Emperor has kept the king’s only daughter and heir alive in captivity for some unknown reason. Her survival has served as a rallying point for kingdom loyalists who believe that her rescue would result in a mass uprising against the kappa. Others of a more mystical bent speak of the land and the monarch being one in spirit, and they point to the reappearance of the magical pyreblooms and mandrakes as a sign that all is not lost.
A few whisper that the warpweave has opened again, disgorging humans into the kingdom for the first time in generations. If these legendary heroes have once more returned to Terra, then the kappa are in for a rude awakening.

***

New Rule: Jumping

Gravity on Terra is slightly less than that of Earth, even though the two worlds are theoretically quantum doubles of one another. A character can jump 1” horizontally from a dead stop, or up to 2” with a “run and go.” A successful Strength roll grants an additional 1” of distance per success and raise, to a maximum amount equal to the base distance. So a character jumping horizontally from a dead stop could jump a maximum of 2” with a success on the Strength roll, while a running jump could achieve 4” with a raise on the Strength roll.
This is an important rule to remember when dealing with creatures that have greater than normal base jumping abilities. For example, quetzals can use their wings to propel themselves on jumps, adding 1” to their base jumping distance. This allows a quetzal to jump up to 4” with a raise on the Strength roll from a dead stop, or up to 6” with two raises on a run!

***

Jeremy Puckett
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Sitting Duck
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:29 am    Post subject: Re: Races of Terra Reply with quote

As a point of interest, Slasher Epoch had written a SMB Savage setting a while back. I believe he had it posted over at Savage Heroes.

blackwingedheaven wrote:
Human

<snip>

Innate Power: The magical nature of Terra causes human travelers to spontaneously develop strange mystical abilities. Every human in Terra has a single arcane power and 20 Power Points dedicated to its use. This power has its own unique arcane skill governing its use that the character must build up normally. If the character later takes the New Power Edge, that power has a different unique skill. (So, if a human were to start play knowing fireball, he would improve his use of that power with the Fireball skill. Were he to acquire mighty leap later on, he would need to use the Mighty Leap skill to activate that power.) Human innate power skills are linked to Spirit. Any power with a range of “touch” instead has a range of “self” when selected for an innate power. Generally, the GM selects the character’s power, unless both the GM and player agree on an appropriate power.


In essence, this is the Super Powers AB from the Core Book. Are the arcane skills in this case also unlinked and in what way?
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blackwingedheaven
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, all humans have super powers, except that their power skills are linked to Spirit. Also, the power list in HotMK is slightly different than the normal list, mainly through trappings. For example, bolt is always fireball, a spell that generates one to three small balls of flame that you can hurl at your foes.

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