Apparently You Can Keep Me Down

In short, when your presiding physician tells you not to overexert yourself while suffering from concussion symptoms, you should listen.

I am awaiting another series of appointments before determining permanency; but, I had a stroke due to aforementioned concussion, and currently can’t reliably focus or speak for long without sounding like a distorted, scratchy vinyl record.

STARFALL blog posts will continue as usual, but there will be a reduced amount of content, pending my own efficacy. In that vein, today’s post will include a new short story, an update on the Closed Beta, and no background content.

Liery has been silently judging me all week.

STARFALL: Age of Mercenaries™ Closed Beta

As previously mentioned, beginning December 1st, we will be tendering applications for individuals and groups to participate in our Beta program. The application will be hosted on MNG’s Facebook Page.

We will also be selling the first Squad Box for the Cinderfane through our partners at Metal Oak Studios beginning the same day–with the other Squad 1 and 2 Boxes coming as quickly as possible. Participants in the Beta program will receive a code to purchase Squad 1 boxes at a discount once their NDA has been accepted–the code will remain usable throughout the Beta program.

What You Can Expect From The Program

-Weekly updates, questions, polls and new content to break
-Early Access to new characters, scenarios, and event kits
-Access to special Beta rewards as we move closer to the full release of the game
-Honorable mentions in the final printed version of the Rulebook
-Chances to weigh-in on design–and possibly submit their own designs for presented concepts!
-First chances at our ambassador program once the game launches

The Application Process

It’s pretty straightforward, honestly. Starting December 1st, the following will be available on the MNG Facebook Page:

-A form asking for contact information and containing a small questionnaire regarding previous gaming and play-testing experience (lacking in previous experience will not preclude you from the program).
-An NDA, signed by each individual if applying as a group

Each form and NDA will need to be signed and emailed to metalnekogames@gmail.com with “Closed Beta Applicant – [Your Name/Group Name]” in the subject line.

Once your application has been reviewed, if we have any questions, you will be contacted through the same email thread. Otherwise, you will be invited to a hidden Facebook group and an email thread. From there, you’ll have access to the Beta rulebook, content threads, and more updates than you can shake a stick at–unless it’s a small stick. You can shake those pretty quickly.

Squad Lists

By request, here are the names of the characters in each squad, listed by faction–along with an epithet where available–as a teaser!

Argent Palisades

Squad 1
Captain Luka Schwarz, the Anvil.
Lieutenant Tengri, the Hammer.
Specialist Sofia Lehmann, the Empire’s Masterpiece. (And our favorite little psychopath.)

Squad 2
Captain Gülnar, the Roaring Thorn. (She’s a bit of a princess, you see.)
Lieutenant Maja Kaas, the Wall.
Specialist Code Name Vega.

Blood of Croatoa

Squad 1
Captain Elizabeth Radcliffe, the Young Miss.
Lieutenant Meallan, the Thunderer. (Only Liz calls him that; which makes him sad, honestly.)
Specialist Remi Dubois. (He doesn’t need an epithet, he’s an alchemical werewolf.)

Squad 2
Captain Okwaho, Nature’s Rage. (He’s a bit of a bear to deal with.)
Lieutenant Billie Derringer.
Specialist J.J., Artillerist. (What American combat force would be complete without a big gun, waaaay over there?)

Cinderfane Paths

Squad 1
Captain Elierian, the Wanderer.
Lieutenant Marcus Berger, the Trai–I mean, uh…
Specialist Vigil, the Guide.

Squad 2
Captain Nerügi, the Empty One.
Lieutenant Miraluke Teek. He’s a sniper!
Specialist Renrue Leung, the Mad.

Cloak of Olaos

Squad 1
Captain Silvalinus Concordius.
Lieutenant Farrah Saygh, the Glimmer.
Specialist Fnippith Aluxi, Oathkeeper.

Squad 2
Captain Saif Moghadam, the Assassin.
Lieutenant Dr. Seward, who is most certainly a real doctor.
Combat Specialist Paxus the Mighty, self-entitled.

Wrapping-up

More to come on the beta and the N.A.A. next week! Enjoy the first short story featuring the Cloak of Olaos.

The Chosen

Written by: Amanda Vernon

The mask could have been a flare in the open street, a warning sign that something was amiss; no one wore masks in New Carthage, and fewer still would steal away into the narrow side streets—they existed like a remnant of the old city before the rebuilding.

Silvalinus’s gaze cut from the shadowed stranger to the cheery festival that paraded by his chair, a wash of noise and color that frankly was a bit exhausting after three days of it. The magistrate decided an extravagant party would best start the week of ballot-casting ahead. Still, as another explosion of confetti rained upon the dancing crowds, not a single guard glanced his way. His voice would not carry over the noise, either.

Heavy with a sigh and the unnatural press of Terra’s gravity, the Aidlean pushed himself to his feet, saying a silent and fond farewell to his chair before ambling toward what he hoped was an ill-dressed partygoer. A steady drone of cheers followed at his back. How a city of such mirth and personality could find it suitable to elect him captain of one of their company, he would never understand.

The narrow street offered little room for his bulk, and Silvalinus forced himself into an unnatural twist of his torso, both sets of arms held out while he shimmied—what he could only assume was a ridiculous sight, though it did allow him to squeeze in through the small opening of the alley. The walls sloped out beyond the entrance, allowing his chest to swell back with a breath of relief.

A soft voice called to him from a half-open door, “Admiral Concordius, join us.”

Suspicion buzzed at the base of his skull, stiffening him first in surprise before he relaxed his muscles, prepared though annoyed at the prospect of a fight. It hardly seemed worth the effort. “Perhaps you would join me in the open,” he returned, unwilling to pin himself in even more than the narrow street already had.

“Prudent, Admiral.” The masked Qhurothi stepped into the light, fingers curled at the edge of her hood before pushing it back. “We would have expected nothing less, though…you did come alone.”

He studied her, silent. Bait into a conversation would have to be far stronger.

“I hoped you would be interested in some assistance with the selection of your team.” As two figures appeared, hovering like ghosts behind each shoulder, she corrected herself, “We hoped.” One stood taller, wider, a clear Aidlean like himself and moving just as awkwardly within the confined space. But the other appeared human, slender and likely agile. The trio hardly seemed odd in New Carthage, where the call for unification was the heart of everything they did—or so they trumpeted, and Silvalinus believed some were earnest.

“My team will be chosen by the New Carthaginian people, same as I was,” Silvalinus said.

“But there are…clear frontrunners.” She did not remove the mask, but the way she held herself spoke of some combat training, a ready stance if he should strike. Scars formed patterns across her skin. “The fool of a showman, up for re-election. And then the Otakke, who seems more obsessed with paying a debt than serving our call to unification. Neither are equipped to fight, to complete what’s asked of them.”

Silvalinus’s gaze did not waver, though all four of his eyes glowered with intensity at the insults cast.

“They are a liability holding you back,” the Qhurothi continued. “You were an admiral of an Aidlean ship for years, an impressive one, but you’ve been given children to work under your command in New Carthage. Let us fix that.”

It was not the treasonous intent to fix an election that pooled molten rage in his stomach. Fighting the Terran gravity all the more, Silvalinus drew back his shoulders and spoke: “They are warriors in their own right. They fight for New Carthage with an integrity that few can match. Unification is more than a word to them, and if the people choose them to form my team, then I will consider myself lucky.”

“Admiral Concordius…”

He stopped her with a word. “Captain. It’s captain now.”

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