Today’s title is a joke on two fronts. I missed last week’s blog post due to extreme exhaustion, and then I suffered a Grade 2 Concussion on Monday, putting me even further behind.
But! I live!
Regular postings will continue on Saturdays as of now and onward–Eevi needs to figure out that whole life/work balance thing. It’s a trap, I know.
Have a picture of my cat as penance.
It’s the oldest active participant in the Mercenary Initiative, Argent Palisades Squad 1 Captain, Luka! His ACS is based on the mythological Zirnitra, a dragon-deity of magic and sometimes of destruction.
The Zirnitra MKI specializes in self-maintenance, durability, and platinum-based alchemical weapons for total battlefield control. Luka particularly likes to generate raw force to slam his enemies into walls for fun and profit.
From a game-design standpoint, he was concepted to be an Anvil–let the enemies smash themselves upon Luka, he’ll not be moved.
(Eevi note: Yes Aaron, this one is for you eventually as well. How hyped are you?)
Pardon for potato.
We’re making our way through the Squad 1 models at a good speed! Next, we’re completing the Palisades, then the Blood, and finally the Cloak!
Oh, and a bunch of unnamed Broker Agents. Those too.
Playtesting Updates and Announcements
We have been hard at work for months working to bring the rule-set to a consistently playable state. At this time, we have complete stats for all 28 model profiles that will be a part of the game’s launch!
That consists of Squads 1 and 2 of our four initial factions (Blood, Cinderfane, Cloak, Palisades) and 4 non-unique Broker Agent variants.
Each Squad consists of a Captain, a Lieutenant, and a Specialist, giving you plenty of list building options! The upgrades available to each profile give you new avenues of strategy and play as well.
The Broker Agents will be released individually as semi-customizable models, with each one themed to a specific equipment/upgrade load-out. But, more on that later.
So, announcement time!
Starting December 1st, we will be tendering group/individual applications to participate in our closed beta! More details on this and how to apply will be available both here on the blog and on our Facebook page in the weeks to come.
The Land of Groves
We haven’t discussed the North American Alliance in great detail as of yet. That changes today with the introduction of our young miss, Elizabeth Radcliffe.
Writing alternative history has its challenges. How close is too close? How much can you change before it just becomes disingenuous? The lines are tough, and ultimately up to you, the writer.
I set out with the intent of treating history as reverently as possible–and then promptly smashed it with a rock from space. The parallels to ‘our’ history are obvious in some places, as are the changes–and I don’t just mean the whole space-magic-alchemy nonsense.
For the N.A.A. I knew I wanted to flip the script even harder than dropping an alien warlord on a devastated Europe. In many ways, developing the N.A.A. shaped the way alchemy is treated in the STARFALL universe. I wanted to see the natural world fighting against industry–a common theme, sure. I wanted the resurgence of alchemy–a ‘natural’ power–to push what my world understands as the limits of mechanical and industrial capabilities. “Adapt or be crushed by adaptation,” as well as, “accept your own limitations and seek to improve.
The timing of my alternate history more or less provided the answer. The bloody history of colonization all over the world is well-known (and should be beaten into every would-be moron’s head). In order to ‘flip the script,’ in this case, it made the most sense to start there.
I’ll discuss the specifics in more detail next week!
Enjoy today’s entirely unedited-as-of-posting-this short story. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more details about the STARFALL™ beta program!
Of Blood and Patience
Written by: Eevi
Tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow.
Elizabeth relaxed her grip, letting the alchemical arrow dissolve back into wispy nothing. She found the disappointed little noise of hissing steam as the Nightshade choked back its own anticipation quite irritating today–the audacity of the strange weapon never ceased to amaze her.
A useful thing, this alchemical bow; supposedly ancient, powerful, and belonging to her alone. The antimony conduits were all-but made for her hands; each node meshed with her hands, her drive, her longing for the hunt with perfect synchronicity. Its own desire for release, to strike a foe and taste its coppery blood, overwhelmed her–she reveled in it.
But, as her late father had often said, “The ways of the beast are not for men. Embrace them, control them–then, reject them. It is patience that separates the hunters from the starved. Patience and control; without them, your wildness serves no purpose.”
Liz allowed herself an audible sigh. She found her father’s expectations and precepts restrictive, exhaustive–unreachable–and the Nightshade hummed in agreement.
‘Tomorrow is the last day of the Circle Festival,’ it rang in her ear. ‘We will be deploying soon after, and not soon to return.’
She would try again tomorrow.
An hour’s walk and two hours of interminable nitpicking and redressing saw her rejoined with civilization, standing a pace behind her uncle, as he expected of her. Despite the frippery, the pomp and attention, her nakedness made Elizabeth quite the precocious little monster. She was unarmored, unarmed, and entirely inured with her quarry’s stench. Her uncle, such that he was, put her uncomfortable smiling on display for his own benefit, enamoring local warriors, diplomats, villagers, and soldiers with impotent temptation.
She hated him, though no one would have ever guessed. Despite her unease in such a crowd, Elizabeth had worked hard to maintain a familial air with her uncle dearest. Wary prey is more prone to bolting, after all. She laughed when he joked, praised his success with her father’s business, and meekly accepted his praise for her beauty in return. As all the assembled peoples knew, the Radcliffes stood together, as they always had.
This year, holding the ring aloft fell to her. She stood, rigid and uneasy, along the circle with her peers, arms stretched out to meet them. To her right, Meallan the Thunderer, a childhood friend and ally, child of a tribal chief, and her closest confidant. To her left, a cobbler’s son who made no lasting impression. On and on around the ring, holding hands in unity, the local youngsters of all tribes, villages, and backgrounds stood together, facing outward. In the center, her uncle–Douglas Radcliffe–and the other elders stood with their backs to the outer ring, as was the custom in this new land of Groves.
Her father’s words, spewed forth by his traitorous brother, echoed throughout the meadow. Douglas Radcliffe, chewing on the traditional speech with every hateful syllable, recounted the days of the Appalachian Wars and the coming of the Bloody Groves. Equal parts truth, metaphor, and object lesson, the history served to remind the peoples of the North American Alliance why they stood together–why they must stand together as brothers.
‘As brothers,’ the Nightshade whispered from its far-off cupboard. ‘Brothers in name or in blood?’
The ritual dispersed just before midnight, leaving her just hours to prepare. Tomorrow, Elizabeth would run away to claim her captaincy and a new life representing the nations her father held so dear.
Today, however…today was the last day of the Circle, and she had not yet completed her hunt.