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First DE2 Update of 2019!

Posted by Richard Thomas (Creator)
4 likes

Hello DE2 backers!

RichT here:

The Dark Eras 2 chapters are working their way through the  Development phase, and our devs continue to go over the drafts and work to  make sure the chapters are all formatted correctly and that their redline notes were adhered to. 

Because we have so many gamelines involved - at least two per chapter- this process takes a bit longer as our DE2 devs are also working with developers from specific gamelines to be sure the Dark Era works right.

And here's developer Matthew Dawkins with a dispatch from the trenches of WWI, now:

Lost Lineage — The Faceless (Tortured Ones)

Pain is one of the great motivators in human history. Make someone uncomfortable and they will constantly strive to improve their position. Light a fire under anything living and it will instantly run, jump, crawl, climb, do whatever it can do to get away. The Faceless may have been among the worst experiments conducted in the name of warfare, but within their statuesque countenance they bear pain with the stoicism of sheer rock.

As much as constant agony is certainly something that can drive a soul deeper and deeper into Torment, it is also eternal and incontrovertible proof you are alive. The singing of nerves gives proof to a Promethean’s place among humanity, a common feeling which is in great supply in the trenches of the Western Front.

The Faceless seem outwardly to be the very model of calm and placid contemplation. Inside, they are eternally burning and experiencing the death throes of thousands of undying nerves. This constant grief drives the Faceless to seek solitude, even from each other. Faceless tend to avoid throngs where they can, preferring to observe humanity’s path in unobstructed contemplation. They are obsessed with understanding the reason for their suffering through understanding the suffering of others. While this can express itself in a Tortured One being moved by those who show selflessness and courage in the face of personal agony, it can also drive them to inflict great pain upon others in search of surcease to their constant suffering.

Their name is well earned as the Faceless’ features are those of stern, mud-golems. Their outward shell is hardened and blackened mud which cakes the internal tangle of limbs constantly burning in a putrid, self-contained vat of deadly chemicals. They are hulking and square in stature. The eyes of a Tortured One are deep set holes that they have personally bored into the cracked lines of their faces during their agonizing creation with their thick fingers, their mouths are thin, fissured slits that are painful to move. They can show no expression as their hardened surface does not lend itself to great movements of the face, they cover this up by donning large gas masks that cover their entire head, giving them their title.

The first Faceless was brought into being by accident. A lightning storm in France struck the ground where a mass of bodies, killed by chlorine gas, lay buried in the mud. The resulting reaction caused vaguely human shapes to rise, roaring in agony, from the ground. Those who witnessed it whispered among their ranks and word soon reached their superiors of the Entente and Central Powers alike. While the officers dismissed these tales as the rantings of fear-addled minds, Mortal alchemists working in the research and development labs of both sides pushed for these techniques to be refined and used, creating an army of new soldiers to take the place of those who lay dismembered on the scarred earth, their bodies killed by the gas, blown apart by shelling and churned among the mud.

By slowing the circulation of gas masks to front line troops, the alchemists ensure an ample supply of sites to create the Faceless and bolster their ranks. The alarming convergence of death and chemicals lead to staggering numbers of these Faceless appearing in even greater numbers than other Lineages. Their numbers trigger Firestorms across the various battlefields, and though some are seen as unnatural instances of devastation, most are assumed to be part and parcel of the Great War’s seemingly endless bombardment of artillery fire and chemical death.

The first of the Faceless are deployed to the trenches in Ypres where they had fallen. As more are created, they appear on various fronts. Sometimes, Faceless are deployed on opposite sides of the same battle line and tales circulate of hulking figures storming across no-man’s-land, able to withstand huge amounts of fire without stopping their maddening charge. Only artillery and highly concentrated fire can stop them in their tracks.

Though they do not often speak, Tortured Ones are often fluent in multiple languages, from English, French, and German to Algerian and Hindi. To the eyes of a shell-shocked soldier, they appear to be immensely large, dirt caked men, but the more inquisitive immediately realise that these Created are not one of them, leading the Faceless to regularly move from trench to trench to avoid difficult questions, often switching sides to try their luck elsewhere. What the Faceless know for sure is that this is the one place where they can roam with any sort of freedom. In a city or small village, they would be instantly recognizable.

Faceless regularly possess ragged scraps of uniforms of both sides that they mend into a hodge-podge covering.  As one of the few beings able to move between the opposing trenches of the war, they can be turned to the purpose of spying or spreading rumor and misinformation among an enemy trench, a feat that either side could benefit from.

Given their multiple perspectives, they often suffer from confused loyalties, it is not uncommon for German and Austrian dead to mingle with British and French in the mud of the Western Front. In the dirt, all are equal. Their differing points of view can give Faceless a bizarre and unique perspective on their plight, though they may not deign to share it with their comrades in the trench.

Faceless have a special disdain towards Frankensteins. Not so strong as a hatred, just a general distaste. Their prattle of suffering and their misfit, outcast state would wrinkle the noses of most Faceless if they bore noses beneath their masks. Not only do most of them have trouble relating to anyone who simply talks so much about themselves, the idea that so many of the Wretched chose to be here of their own volition, seeking some sort of bloody awakening or epiphany is anathema to their pain. What the Frankensteins truly suffer, so far as the Faceless are concerned, is an ugliness in scarring that dominates their life. This is not nobility, but narcissism.

Of all Created, they identify most closely with the Tammuz, particularly as many of their number may have been dug out of their birthing mud by the shovels of Tammuz engineers. The Faceless have a strange respect for people who quietly get on with their job and lack pretention. The Tammuz do not assign station and rank upon themselves, they find their truth in labor and a hard day’s work. They appreciate the simple beauty of a job well done. When a team of Tammuz are lengthening a trench or laying barbed wire, you will often find a Faceless watching over them. It is not clear if they have taken to guard them or if they simply find a strange catharsis in their toil.

Creations

The Mascot

Filthy Hamish is a regimental mascot. He has been adopted by the men of the 1st Lanark Militia due to saving their captain’s life simply by walking in front of him during an attempted advance. The men huddled behind him all the way back to the trench.

“He’s so dirty the bullets can’t pierce him!” they joke. What they don’t know is he’s the one who keeps ripping the legs, wings and heads off of the messenger pigeons sent to their trench. He doesn’t say much, but he watches the other lads very closely.

The Carer

Fraulein Marta is the den mother of her dug-out. She was found by the German Army in the remains of a medical outpost. Some of the men say they didn’t have the heart to shoot her, others say shooting her didn’t work. One oversized uniform and pickelhaube helm custom made by Oberjager Christoph Feldstein was enough to secure her place as an enlisted man. She has been known to treat the wounded though her care can often be a bit rough.

The Refugee

After wandering from the field, Grand Pierre joined a refugee train heading west. His observation of the families dispossessed from lands they cultivated for generations unnerved the others at first, but he was invaluable in warding off the vultures who preyed on the homeless and starving people fleeing the French countryside. After helping a family pull their dead child from the ruin of their farmhouse, he not only carved out a burial site himself but stood vigil during the modest ceremony the poor girl could be afforded. The family noticed him shedding yellow tears, which escaped from his gas mask and sizzled and smoked on the exposed, blackened mud of his chest.

The Homesick

Rajesh is not sure where he’s supposed to be, but it isn’t here. A voice in his head is calling him to head east; east through the German line and off to a home he only understands from flashes in his mind and memory of a language he doesn’t remember learning. He gathers a small team of men and women and listens to their stories of home. The blistering, humid summers of India. He feels he remembers with clarity his muddy flesh baking in the midday sun as he tended to a small herd of animals, one of whom could fit inside his hand. What he remembers most of all is the peace of it all. He promises to return these people home safely and concocts a plan to do it. They can call it desertion all they like. What are they fighting for if not to save home from this horror? And what is home without these people in it?

The Equestrian

Horses seem to have lost their place in war. Now they don’t carry soldiers, they carry crates. Phyllis on the other hand is more than capable of carrying horses. She sees those poor beasts left to die in craters. Discarded by their owners, shot even. She sees herself in the tragicomic reflections cast by their long, humorless faces. She sees a beast of burden staring back at her from every deep puddle. The others of her kind carry supplies now. They dig trenches and soak up fire. How long will it be before their masters ride them into battle? Well, all she can do is try to save something from this mess and it seems to her that the horses are the only innocents in this field.

Humour: Chlorine. The humour of the Faceless guarantees them internal torment as much as their exterior ensures they can never fully express that suffering. It imbues them with inner fury and almost insane, thoughtless bravery but can make them prone to acts of self-sacrifice. The fastest way to cease their torture is to end their existence after all. While this is one of the traits that ensures their Lineage’s temporary nature, it is not the only one. Their pain drives them to seek out the focus of their Pilgrimage with incredible, single minded dedication.

As much as their lack of physical expression makes them seem almost emotionless as statues, the internal burning of their humour also gives them a brooding, gruff aspect. Most Tortured Ones speak only when spoken to or, even then, at the uttermost end of need. They use words sparingly but observe and contemplate.

Their large size and formidable strength and toughness makes them physically intimidating and their rivals often shrink from them when confronted. Even the hardiest of Uratha would think twice before rushing headlong at a Tortured One without knowing what he was or what he might do. Most of the time, their quiet, brooding nature sees them easily confused for large, dirty soldiers. It is when they are found among the civilian population they truly stand out.

Bestowments: Living Wall, Chem-Shell

Faceless Bestowments

Living Wall: Your outer layer is hardened like stone and both bullets and blades alike ricochet off of your hide. Any that penetrate often simply become lodged within as part of your monstrous structure. If rolling dice to defend or evade attacks from simple melee weapons or firearms, the Faceless may reroll any failed dice, but must accept the result of the second roll.

Chem Shell: Channeling their inner rage, the Faceless can sacrifice part of themselves to create a hardened, explosive shell, fused with Pyros and deadly chemicals. The Faceless spends 1 Pyros and loses 1 Health level as it uses part of its own body to create this shell. It can then project the shell to a point it can see up to 100 feet away and detonate it. Alternatively, it can be placed somewhere like a conventional explosive. The blast destroys objects and structures caught within it and inflicts 10 aggravated damage on anyone within a 20ft radius. Anyone who survives the blast suffers from the Poisoned Tilt (see Chronicles of Darkness p. 286).

Stereotypes

Frankensteins         They do not understand suffering.

Galateids     At least they know themselves.

Osirans        All knowledge, no drive.

Tammuz      Kindred spirits, tools of another kind.

Ulgans Proof there is more than flesh and pain.

Unfleshed    If only these had been more numerous we may have been left in peace.

Extempore  A place to hide the shame of your life.

Our Next Kickstarter:

Coming on February 12 at 2pm Eastern US time, the Kickstarter for Lunars: Fangs at the Gate for Exalted 3rd Edition will go live!

The Last DE2 Update of 2018

Posted by Richard Thomas (Creator)
2 likes

Hello DE2 backers!

RichT here:

The Dark Eras 2 chapters continue in Development, where our devs go over the drafts and work to make sure the chapters are all formatted correctly and that their redline notes were adhered to.

And here's a preview of a chapter from developer Meghan Fizgerald, now:

Hello, Dark Eras backers! Meghan here, with a preview excerpt for you from the One Thousand and One Nightmares era, including two of the four Kindred covenants prominent in the Islamic Golden Age. Let me tell you a story…

Golden Age Covenants

Even at its height, the Camarilla never touched many of the Abbasid Caliphate’s lands. The covenants here evolved independently of those in Europe, although pockets where the Invictus and Lancea et Sanctum hold sway exist in the caliphate’s western reaches.

Ahl al-Mumit

My rage is my weapon, but it is also my curse. Inshallah, I will one night overcome it.

You want to join the Ahl al-Mumit because: You are angry that you’re dead and you don’t know how to deal with it. You think mortals waste their humanity. You are driven to hunt down other monsters.

The big picture: We rage at our cursed condition and the injustices committed against us. We always feel close to frenzy, and one wrong move could end with watching a sunrise. Fortunately, we possess the gift of Karamat, the magical rituals Europeans call Theban Sorcery. Karamat reminds us of our humanity, tempering our rage to work miracles. God does not directly intercede to work these marvels; instead, we call upon the gifts God granted us.

It is God’s role to convert the wicked and judge the impure. It is our role to execute God’s judgment and punish the unworthy. We see every vile act humanity commits and find them wanting. Some Wrathful wish to prove to God that the world is unworthy. Others hunt monsters far worse than divs. Most just want to make it through tonight without unintentionally destroying what little we have left.

Muslims dominate Ahl al-Mumit, but significant minorities of Christians and Jews exist within our ranks. The few European Kindred who journey east and return compare us to their Lancea et Sanctum. We add this presumption to the long list of reasons we are angry at the world. We are cursed enough as it is and God has no need for more monsters!

Where we came from: The Lancea et Sanctum say they learned Karamat from an angel. We learned it from Iblis himself. God made his anger known when Iblis would not bow to humanity. Iblis asked for a gift so he could be an agent of God’s wrath, and God granted him Karamat but cursed him, so his form was no longer smokeless fire, but dead flesh. It was Iblis who sired the clans, Iblis who gave us our path, and Iblis who taught the first Karamat.

Our practices: We use our rage to hunt Kindred, Begotten, and other monsters who lost their humanity long ago; yet we temper our wrath, so we do not become like them. Karamat reminds us of God’s mercy, and it is our solemn duty to recover these rituals. We will not allow them to fall into the Lancea et Sanctum’s hands, and we take it upon ourselves to keep those monsters out of our lands. We infiltrate mortal institutions, both to eliminate those we deem corrupt and to remind ourselves how to be human.

Nicknames: The Wrathful (informal), al-Hamasoun (respectful), Banu Shaitan (European, derogatory)

When we are in power: The wicked feel our wrath. The other covenants claim our domains are uncompromising, but we only turn our rage upon them if they give us just cause. We ruthlessly hunt down divs who welcome the curse and become true monsters, for God finds them wanting.

When we are in trouble: We lash out against those who keep us down. We are putrid and denied spiritual purity. Now these arrogant bastards want to eliminate our remaining dignity? Let God damn their families! We will crush them with our rage.

al-Amin

You think we need sorcery to defeat you? Words can move mountains if you whisper them into the right ear. Here, let me tell you a story…

You want to join al-Amin because: You are dead, but you still have your faith. You believe upholding the surahs and laws you can is better than discarding everything. You look to history to provide role models for how you should conduct your Requiem.

The big picture: Rather than agonize over their cursed existence, members of al-Amin leave it to God to judge their souls and focus on their night-to-night business. Arabia and Persia have long traditions of raising up independent, influential women, who take the initiative to uphold Muslim customs and laws. The Faithful honor these traditions, using them as guides to their imperfect Requiems, but they respect Khadijah al-Kurba and Homai Chehrazad above all others. Khadijah was the first Muslim convert, the Mother of the Faithful, a powerful and wealthy merchant. Chehrazad becomes a popular icon in the Islamic Golden Age, but al-Amin biographers were already regaling her history to the covenant centuries ago.

Members of al-Amin consider it their duty to keep the peace between the covenants, but that peace easily becomes tyranny. The covenant is quick to defend itself against criticism, citing God’s as the only judgment that matters. While this belief is sincere, it also prevents al-Amin from confronting their actions’ consequences or realizing when they have gone too far and angered their fellow divs.

Where we came from: When the Prophet was but a simple merchant, Khadijah al-Kurba saw how great he would become and proposed marriage. The Prophet refused, saying he could not earn the wages to support a wife, but Khadijah reminded him of her vast trade empire and how she provided for herself. Inspired by her strength and devotion, we resolved to follow her pious example to give us the will to persist. We walked the hijra behind Prophet Muhammad, we stood beside him in Mecca, and we welcomed him in Yathrib.

Our practices: We emulate Homai Chehrazad as storytellers and mediators. Our neonates help others within the covenant solve their problems and keep libraries of all our tales, while elders serve as lore masters who mediate between divs of other covenants and spread stories that manipulate the kine’s opinions in ways we desire. (“Propaganda” is such a harsh word.) Others say our solutions can be heavy-handed, but if it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t have solutions. We also take responsibility for facilitating safe travel between cities for Kindred; long desert trips are hazardous, requiring preparation and careful timing. Trade caravans are our favorite transport method. Both Khadijah and the Prophet were merchants, and caravans allow us to enrich ourselves (and keep other covenants in our debt) while providing an essential service.

Nicknames: The Faithful, the Arbiters, the Camels (derogatory)

When we are in power: We keep the All Night Society running smoothly and the caravans coming in on time. The law holds everyone in check equally. We resolve disputes quickly and efficiently, so they do not draw mortal attention.

When we are in trouble: We fight our way back to the top — not with open war, but through our superior knowledge of the law, ensuring our enemies don’t get comfortable. We are happy to serve as advisors to Princes from other covenants, all the while hatching schemes to reclaim power.

AND NOW OUR LATEST KICKSTARTER!

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November Dark Eras 2 Update!

Posted by Richard Thomas (Creator)
7 likes

Hello DE2 backers!

RichT here:

The Dark Eras 2 chapters are in Development, where our devs go over the drafts and work to make sure the chapters are all formatted correctly and that their redline notes were adhered to.

And here's a preview of a chapter from developer Matthew Dawkins, now:

Matthew here with a preview of some fiction and characters from Dark Eras 2.

Specifically, as we just passed the centenary of the day the guns fell silent, I felt it appropriate to provide you with some of our content from the Great War chapter. I’m very pleased with the sensitive and respectful way our authors have handled this chapter, making it a horrifying, moving, and deeply thoughtful era in which to set your chronicles.

Lucky Otto

Otto’s hands were shaking again, the rattle of the small tin of curios he collected from the British trench last week sounding around the cramped dug-out he called home for the moment. It seemed that every time they took one step forward they had to turn around and take it right back again.

Musketier Otto Meyer was a survivor. Some of his comrades, those still alive, had joked that Otto could become the German word for “lucky” if he made it back home. He had survived explosions that wiped out regiments, been found wandering the wasteland, dazed after machinegun fire ripped apart his wave in the last push. When he was brought into the captured trench by the following troops, he started picking up random effects from the British dug-outs like he was perusing a shop, placing each within the empty tobacco tin that once caught some shrapnel destined for his heart during the Marne offensive. Of course, the Germans had no word for “lucky,” and Otto felt now he understood why. Surely, only a man who had seen what he had seen and experienced these sorts of horrors could truly be called lucky. That the litany of agony and terror passing before his eyes should be laughed at like a comedy as black as the hearts of their uncaring commanders.

Hugging himself, he stumbled out into the rain. Perhaps the feeling of that imperishable cold would invigorate his torpid body and break the nightmare he found himself in. All was quiet in the trench that night. Otto could see a small group of engineers were taking advantage of this time to lengthen the line, their shovels tirelessly slinging black mud up onto the lip of the trench, obscuring the horizon from view. For a moment, he allowed his eyes to close and let the water wash over him, perhaps he could drown here, a victim of mere nature. Not the steel and chlorine fires of industry that had taken each and every other fool who had signed up with him. A thud behind him jarred him awake. Otto turned to look, seeing only one of the night watchmen looming beside the door to his dug-out.

“All is well.” intoned the night watchman in a voice that was like the landing of an unburst shell in thick earth.

“On that we can definitely disagree.” retorted Otto, shivering in the chilling blast of the autumn rain. He regarded the night watchman, he’d seen his sort around before. His skin was so caked in mud he looked more like a golem than a man. His stature was broad and slab-like. He stood silent, offering no reply.

Otto turned again as an animal howling echoed over the drumming of the rain hitting the corrugated iron roof of the dug-out. He glanced back at the night watchman, watching Otto watching him.

“What’s your name anyway friend?” asked Otto.

After a long pause, “Faceless.”

“Aren’t we all?” hissed Otto, with a rueful chuckle. Herr Faceless simply stared back, in quiet contemplation.

Faces of the Somme

The Cavalryman

Edward Sallow’s dreams of glory in the field of battle have been quashed in this new era of trench warfare. Even the cavalry units have machine guns these days. Still, he has his sword and his courage, and waits obediently for his time to come. Field Marshal Haig believes that the cavalry will be vital to success in the Somme, charging through the breach that surely must open.

That day never comes. Edward waits in the back lines as the infantry are ground to meat. The whole Somme sees a single such charge on horseback, by Indian troops at Bazentin Ridge. The cavalryman sits disconsolately, watches tanks rumble past, and mires himself in gambling and whatever alcohol he can set his hands on. The Somme makes a mockery of his delusions of glory. Firearms 2, Survival 1, Weaponry 3

The Ratter

Unteroffizer Klaus Fischer has found a new enemy to fight — the rats. Rats, hundreds of thousands of them, scurry through the trenches and no-man’s-land. They eat the flesh of the dead, steal or befoul food, and swarm as carpets of fur and teeth. Klaus, though, is very good at killing rats.

Klaus is a flamethrower operator — a nightmarish weapon, just like the flame projectors the British use in the Somme. From time to time, Klaus uses sprayed fuel to burn infested trenches clean of rats; his fellow soldiers celebrate his talents, even if the rats always come back eventually. The Unteroffizer takes a grim pride in his work with the rats; he is disgusted by the slaughter that he and his fellows inflict on the enemy troops, where even the fires of patriotism cannot drown out the reality of such a human cost, but at least he can kill the rats without moral qualms. Unfortunately, some of the rats are less than impressed. Cankerous Beshilu see the German soldier as their enemy and bane, and plan a vile fate for him. Craft (Incendiaries) 3, Firearms 2, Survival 2

The Nurse

Chloé Moreau’s day begins at dusk; she works the night shift in a hospital filled with the groaning wounded. It is a real hospital, a sturdy building, although one never intended to deal with the tidal wave of bloodied victims that wash through its doors. She is always tired, so tired. The tasks never end. She fills pails with oozing, blood-crusted dressings. She struggles to get anguished, tormented men to lie still and take their medicine. She treats the infections of flesh as best she can, but there is little she can do for the nightmare wounds carved through their psyche.

Chloé knows the long shadows of the corridors hide a multitude of sins. She’s glimpsed… shapes, leaning over wounded who whimper in their sleep. She has learned to get out of the way of scarred, lean men and women who ignore ghastly wounds and stalk among the fallen in search of particular faces; they, at least, are looking for their friends. She’s watched as the doctors let a gaunt young lady in strangely old-fashioned clothes sit in reverence over a dying man. Chloé focuses on the people she can save, but remembers everything she sees. Medicine 3, Empathy 3, Persuasion 2

AND NOW OUR LATEST KICKSTARTER!

FINAL DAYS!

Chicago By Night, an updated edition of White Wolf’s classic city book, will be Onyx Path Publishing’s first supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition.

Right now, backers have been provided with most of the approved text of the book, and we're getting some amazing and positive feedback on the writing!

We're down to the last 48 hours, so please join us and over 1600 other backers as we smash through the final Stretch Goals! Here's the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/chicago-by-night-for-vampire-the-masquerade-5th-ed

Later in December, we'll start the They Came From Beneath the Sea! Kickstarter. Come and check out a very new and different way to play the Storypath System!

Halloween 2018 Dark Eras 2 Update!

Posted by Richard Thomas (Creator)
7 likes

Hello DE2 backers!

RichT here:

The Dark Eras 2 chapters continue in second drafts as our team works on their final drafts. Once they are all in, and most of them are, our devs then go over the drafts and work to make sure the chapters are all formatted correctly and that their redline notes were adhered to.

And here's a preview of a chapter from lead developer Monica Valentinelli, now:

Dark Eras 2: Empire of Mali Preview

This month, Matthew, Meghan, and myself have moved the project from final drafts into development. During this stage, we’ll compare notes and swap drafts to ensure the chapters are a great fit for Chronicles of Darkness Second Edition rules and setting conceits. Today, I’d like to offer you the preview of a location from the Empire of Mali chapter. This Era is exciting for many reasons. For starters, we’re able to highlight Mansa Musa’s reign and his lasting influence while squarely placing it within the Dark Eras setting where the supernatural lurks—sometimes in plain sight. This preview is one of the locations contained within the chapter, and highlights how demons and hunters have a vested interest in the knowledge found there.

Great Library

A vast collection of tomes and scrolls, the Great Library at Timbuktu holds enough knowledge on its shelves to rival even the fabled Library of Alexandria. Musa I expanded the library’s collection significantly during his reign, bringing in scholarly texts and literatures from every culture he encountered on his pilgrimage and many more. Anything characters could possibly wish to research —including subjects of the supernatural — can be found nestled away in the Great Library’s voluminous archives. The more unusual and occult scrolls require certain clearances to access, and characters researching in the Library may need to bribe or talk their way into reading the Library’s hidden lore.

Demons and hunters are equally invested in the library’s archives. Hunters with access to the Library’s hidden archives gain a wealth of knowledge about the world, both mundane and supernatural. Any member of the Golden Library automatically has access to the Great Library’s stores, though a hunter outside the compact with contacts within it may be able to gain permissions to read the books and scrolls contained therein. Demons suspect an angel may have meddled in the information stored in the library, bestowing knowledge beyond human understanding to the people in Timbuktu. Besides sensing the meddlesome hand of the god- machine and its agents, anyone seeking the library’s hidden stacks desires uncommon knowledge — easy leverage for a demon.

Bit Players

Popular Jelimuso

People flock from all corners of the empire to hear Aya Jedou perform. She commands the attention of her audience with her powerful voice and lively storytelling style. Even foreigners just arriving in Timbuktu know within days to make time to see one of Aya’s performances. She is gregarious and friendly, as big and bold in private as she is before a crowd. Even when not performing or speaking, Aya dresses in bright colors and the latest fashion. As a jelimuso, Aya has memorized dozens of stories about the history of the empire, and is a wealth of information for anyone willing to strike up a conversation. Academics 2, Empathy 2, Expression 3

Pious Cleric

Hadi Osei knew from a young age that he wanted to serve Allah. When he came of age, he told his parents he would rather be a man of the cloth than the family’s gold-trading profession and traveled to Timbuktu to enter the clergy at the Great Mosque. Hadi is still in his youth, though laugh lines have begun to form at the corners of his eyes. He is a deeply devoted individual and his faith is unshakeable. The young man is a fixture of the community, well-liked by the regular attendees to the mosque. Characters may find him an invaluable resource for navigating the social circles of Timbuktu. Academics 2, Empathy 3, Occult 1

Devoted Student

The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Nadira Abdellahi traveled from outside the empire to pursue her studies at the Sankore Masjid. Her interests lie in economics, trade, and diplomacy and she could think of no better place to study than in the thriving Malian empire. Though she dutifully attends to her lessons during the day, Nadira is adventurous and flirtatious, with a taste for adventure and getting into trouble. If asked, she will readily share everything she’s learned, but will also glom onto any whiff of danger, inviting herself along to any kind of hunter pursuit — especially ones far too dangerous for her. Academics 3, Investigation 2, Politics 2

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September Dark Eras 2 Update!

Posted by Richard Thomas (Creator)
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Hello DE2 backers!

RichT here:

The Dark Eras 2 chapters continue in second drafts as our team works on their final drafts. Once they are all in, and most of them are, our devs then go over the drafts and work to make sure the chapters are all formatted correctly and that their redline notes were adhered to.

And here's a preview of a chapter from developer Meghan Fitzgerald, now:

Hi all! Meghan here, with a preview from the ancient Egyptian era of dead gods that focuses on Shedet and its nearby Labyrinth of Hawara. Please remember that this is not the final form of the text and it is subject to change. Enjoy!

Werewolf: Echoes of the Past

A crocodile does not die from worrying, it dies from hunger.

- Insinger Papyrus

A true god walks the fecund earth of the Black Land, driven by the divine urges of the sacred hunt. It is Death Wolf whose shadow falls upon Kemet, and at her flanks come her howling children — the Uratha of the Bone Shadow Tribe. The Bone Shadows are masters of the Nile delta, openly ruling the holy city of Asyut as envoys of the wolf-gods. They come, now, with souls aflame and blood humming from joyous, primal song, the presence of their Firstborn queen bright and cold in their hearts. Werewolves were forged from spirit and flesh to be one thing above all else: god-killers. And they have gods to kill.

Kemet is an occult battleground. The Uratha face a ghastly foe: the rising power of the saharusum, the children of Crocodile. The priests of Sobek dug too deep under Shedet, and fell under the sway of the rotting god there. Though they pretend a pious faith in Sobek, their blood- caulked smiles show the truth of their cannibal theft. They steal the Pangaean’s lingering power for themselves through charnel rites of transgression and gore, gorging themselves on eldritch energies that human flesh should not — cannot — hold. Alone, this transgression would demand furious response from the children of Wolf, but the profane butchery of the Sobeki is buttressed by something far worse.

Death Wolf’s lost soul lies waiting in Hawara, a doom for the living and the dead alike.

Beyond the wafting incense through shaded temple sanctums, beyond the gleaming marble and cruel, painted faces of the courts, beyond the blood-slick sands where wolf and crocodile clash and the dusty tombs where shadows prance and caper in dark rites, those werewolves not caught up in this battle do their best just to survive. The Pure are resurgent, spirits crawl through the withering Gauntlet in an ever-greater tide, and a deep, gnawing hunger chews within the gut — one that tempts the Uratha to embrace the cannibal feast, and gorge themselves on the crimson bounty the Black Land has fostered for them.

The Shadow of Wepwawet

As the Nile recedes but returns once more, full of life, so Death Wolf perished, then chose to return. She came back bearing a cornucopia of wisdom and revelation — yet in her wake, she also left something behind. Even now, the god’s soul bears a great, weeping wound, a yawning chasm of loss she hungers to restore. Now, the hour looms close for Death Wolf’s triumphant apotheosis.

Her twisted reflection, the missing piece of her heart, is her ghost. When she died, her Ab tore free, but the Firstborn seized it in her jaws as she departed the Underworld — all but a fleck, seething with spiritual immanence. That gobbet of her heart nailed her Sheut in place, and gave it a dread animus — the divine ghost that Death Wolf should have become. When at last the Firstborn saw that her shadow was gone, it was too late, for the Sheut had woken and raged through the endless tunnels of death. It is a mirror of Death Wolf that possesses only her hunger for power and knowledge, her cunning but not her wisdom. It craves freedom and to seize its progenitor’s vitality for its own; to eat her heart, that it might finally fill the gaping void within.

For centuries, the two have feuded; a god of death and a dead god, warring through werewolf and ghost intermediaries or, for brief and catastrophic moments, pursuing one another directly. The Sheut capers and gibbers through the Underworld, tearing secrets from phantasms and bartering with deep, ancient things. Glutted on that realm’s dark mysteries, though, it turns its attention to the world of the living, seeking a path into the hunting ground of its sister-mother that could possibly sustain its passage.

It found the carcass of Crocodile, the rotting divine presence lodged between the gates of death — unable to live and unable to die, spiritually mutilated by the fall of Pangaea. The ghost reaches its influence through the breach in the Autochthonous Depths that enfolds the god’s carcass, and twists the minds of priests and Pharaohs to open the way.

A showdown between god and ghost beckons. Death Wolf comes to reap the harvest of knowledge that her ghost has gathered for itself, to make herself whole once more, and to shatter the waking power of Crocodile.

Bone Shadows: Priests of the Wolf

In Asyut, city of wolves, the Bone Shadows stand openly as priests and acolytes of Kemet’s wolf-gods: Wepwawet, Anpu, and an aspect of Wesir. The werewolves claim the divine sanction of these deities through demonstrations of their spirit magic, taking lupine form, and battling monstrous threats that slink in from the Red Land. No doubt exists in the minds of the people that Asyut is a place of powerful hekau, where the gods are manifest and active in the world.

Asyut is the hub of the struggle against the saharusum, a mustering ground for packs and resources. The haty-a here are either Wolf-Blooded or under the thumb of the temple of Wepwawet. Spirit-totems cavort through Twilight, sometimes manifesting to reap rich tithes of Essence from a populace awed by their divine power. Bone Shadows come to the city from beyond the borders of the Black Land, hearing the howl of Death Wolf and hiding among the ranks of foreign mercenaries. Other supernatural allies of the god of death come crawling too, bearing wisdom they wish to barter or seeking opportunities to exploit. The city thrives, a cosmopolitan meeting of monsters.

Bone Shadow priests stalk the courts of Pharaoh Sobekneferu, resentful of the favor she grants the saharusum of Sobek, fighting for every scrap of influence they can glean among the marble halls of her palace. Farther afield, members of the tribe hunt among the priesthoods of the gods of death for any scrap of wisdom in Kemet’s funerary practices they might turn against the rogue Sheut and its ghostly servants. They watch vigilantly within the human ranks of the cults of Anpu and Wepwawet, for the ghost’s seductive whispers already stir new sects — ones who see it, not Death Wolf, as the true representation of those gods, and strive to aid its escape through the Labyrinth of Hawara.

Kamduis-Ur and Kemetic Belief

The Uratha of Kemet know it is Death Wolf herself they venerate, but they still see the world through the lens of the culture they inhabit. They revere Wepwawet, Anpu, and Wesir as aspects of Death Wolf; these are not false masks or

deceptions, but merely another way of understanding the Firstborn’s nature. Wepwawet is the central figure here, the Opener of the Way seen as resonating deeply with Death Wolf’s wisdom-seeking and passage between realms.

Wepwawet is also revered as an aspect of another of the gods of Shadow — that of the Secondborn child of Fenris known in some farther lands as Garm, and liege of a Lodge known here as the Fangs of Wepwawet (see The Pack, p. 82). This sharing of divine aspect between two spirit gods causes no conflict in the eyes of the werewolf adherents; instead, it binds them closer together, and the Lodge is a major pillar of martial strength supporting the Bone Shadows’ efforts in Kemet at this time.