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Fire Emblem: Ruler of the EastTopic%20Title
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In Justice We Trust

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Location: Southern California

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Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:31 pm

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Fire Emblem: Ruler of the East

Spoiler: tl;dr version
The players will serve one of two countries. Said countries are at war with each other. Mechanics are mostly taken from Radiant Dawn, though some things from Awakening have also been included. There’s also some homebrew stuff I’d like to test out. These tests will also give me time to gauge how tough I should make the battles and will give the players many opportunities to test out the various classes if they can't choose one. Class promotion is a mix between Radiant Dawn’s three-tier system and Awakening’s branching system. Players are allowed a maximum of two characters. The tl;dr version does not sufficiently explain all the rules, so please look them over when you have the time.


Lore post

Testing Phase

At this point, the only things I don’t have ready are some maps of Duat, some Lore entries, and other things that, while helpful, are not necessary. I don’t want to keep everyone waiting any longer than I’ve already made them wait, though, so I figured I’d kill two Wyvern Riders with one arrow here by carrying out test battles while finishing up the extra stuff. This will also allow everyone to get used to the way the RP’s combat system works and also allow me to catch any problems with the RP’s mechanics that I failed to notice beforehand (or noticed, but didn’t expect to be a problem). There are some homebrewed mechanics I’m considering, so testing them out is crucial lest they turn out to be more trouble than they’re worth. Worst-case scenario, any ideas that don’t work out will just be flat-out nixed. Considering how many test battles I plan on running, I don’t plan on having experience carry over from them into the RP. These test battles also provide players with a convenient excuse to test out various classes and items without having to keep them. One final benefit of test battles is that they allow me to gauge how tough I should make the enemies, how good I should make the enemy’s tactics, and so on. To that end, I ask that you all perform to the best of your abilities. If you intentionally make really bad decisions in the hope that I’ll make the RP easier to compensate, you may find yourselves bored in later missions due to the relative lack of any real challenge.

Spoiler: Things to test
  • Night battles. Same deal. “Fog of war” has been in every game I’ve played except Awakening and Fates (and possibly Shadow Dragon, though I don’t remember that one too well), so it’s almost certainly staying, although it will just be night battles here rather than any plot-convenient fog.
  • Battles with NPC allies. Considering that the RP will involve a war between countries, I don’t think it’s a stretch to sometimes have the party be part of a much larger battle. I need to figure out what kind of NPC complement is suitable for such a battle. Don’t worry; unless you guys screw up so badly that the country you sided with is on the verge of defeat, there will be no “protect this NPC or it’s game over” missions—and even then, I have plans for continuing the RP even in the unlikely event your employer loses everything. Strictly speaking, it’s only truly “game over” if everyone chooses to kill off their characters after a TPK.
  • Proper enemy stat scaling. Enemy units (excluding bosses) will probably start out with a penalty to stats, but I also need to gauge how significant the penalty needs to be at higher levels. This means you’ll all be temporarily given higher levels in a few test battles.
  • Siege weapons. Awakening is the only Fire Emblem game I’ve played in which there were no siege weapons. There are almost certainly going to be siege weapons in this RP, which means I want everyone to get used to how they work, not to mention I might want to make some changes if my current designs prove to be a problem.
  • Indoor battles. I am considering introducing some terrain types exclusive to indoor battles. For example, some doorways might be so narrow that they provide a penalty to Avo.
  • Battles against Laguz. I need to be sure Laguz classes are not overpowered or underpowered, so there will be at least two test battles in which the majority of the enemy forces are Laguz.
  • Sea battles. I don’t know how common sea battles will be. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one scenario in which such a battle is likely, but I want to err on the side of caution here and figure out how I should run sea battles just in case the situation calls for one.
  • Bosses. If a boss has an important role to play in the story, I’ll probably make him/her more powerful than a PC of the same level should be. I need to make sure he/she is still beatable, though. Thankfully, this also gives me an opportunity to recycle some of the planned bosses from the old RP.

There are also some other ideas I have that I want player input from. Whether or not I go ahead with the ideas in the spoiler box below depends on what the players think.

Spoiler: Ideas
  • Weapon subtypes. The whole “Japanese weapons vs. European weapons” system in Fates has made me consider introducing additional types of swords, lances, and axes. Swords would be split into straight swords and curved swords, lances would be split into spears and glaives, and axes would be split into axes and bludgeons. There would be some mechanical differences between the subtypes, but each subtype occupies the same spot in the weapon triangle as the type it broke off from. The main downside of this idea is that it leaves players with less room for customization. Under a simpler system, for example, a sword your character picks up can be whatever type of sword you want it to be as long as I’ve approved the design and haven’t explicitly described the sword in question. By contrast, under this new system I’m considering, a straight sword your character picks up can’t be a katana, a shamshir, or any other type of sword with a curved blade.
  • Capturing defeated enemies. I’m considering introducing a mechanic that allows for all sides to capture defeated enemies, meaning it is possible for you to capture defeated enemies—though the enemy would also be able to capture your character if he/she is defeated. There would be ways to rescue defeated characters and get them to safety, though.
  • Weather mechanics. Some effects will just be present in the form of terrain alteration (rain turning dirt roads into mud, for example) and are not up for discussion. However, I’m considering additional mechanics depending on the weather, such as hot weather sapping HP if your character is too active, cold weather sapping HP if your character isn’t active enough, rain reducing visibility and disabling torches, and so on.
  • A more realistic storage system. Items can’t just “teleport” into storage anymore. In addition, items can only be retrieved from storage if the wagon is on the battlefield, and even then, only if your character is right next to the wagon.

Story

The prospect of a united Anatolia has often permeated conversation in the Beorc courts of the east. Rarely has more than a few years passed without at least one of the kingdoms in the region finding itself at war with a neighboring Bear Laguz kingdom. If Anatolia were to unite into a single state, only a fool would dare attack. No one has denied this. The main reason it hasn’t happened is disagreement over the answer to a predictable question: Who would rule a united Anatolia? This disagreement has ensured that a united Anatolia would be little more than a dream for a long time. After the Bear King’s Wars ended almost three hundred years ago, Anatolia consisted of twenty-seven kingdoms. Over the centuries, that number dwindled to six; some kingdoms were subjugated by Hellas or Calis to the west while others were conquered by their brethren.

Of the six remaining kingdoms, only two are powerful enough to have any chance of uniting Anatolia through force of arms: Paphlagonia and Chaldia. War between the two was almost inevitable. All it took was one sufficiently ambitious ruler, and King Damian of Paphlagonia was long thought to be that ruler. However, in 1079, the situation was turned on its head: Paphlagonia suddenly and unexpectedly found itself at war with the neighboring Bear Laguz kingdoms of Arka and Zemar. With the majority of the Paphlagonian army occupied fighting the Bear Laguz invaders, King Emmanuel II of Chaldia (nicknamed “Emmanuel the Golden”) seized the opportunity, gathering a large force of mercenaries to bolster his own forces and declaring war on Paphlagonia the following year. This, in turn, led Jaffa and Seleucia, Paphlagonia’s allies, to get involved. It is likely that whoever wins this war will ultimately rule over a united Anatolia, dramatically shifting the balance of power in Duat.

Spoiler: Political Map of Duat (screen-stretch warning)
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Starting Out

This section is currently only relevant to people who join before the RP formally begins, so it will be changed once the RP begins. You and the other players need to decide on a few things. The big one is how you all got involved in the war between Chaldia and Paphlagonia. I’d prefer if your first character and the other initial players’ first characters were all part of a small mercenary company that signed a contract with either King Emmanuel of Chaldia or King Damian of Paphlagonia. I favor this because it allows for much more freedom of movement with regards to where your characters are from without making it seem odd that, say, several Western Beorc and Crocodile Laguz are in a region inhabited mostly by Eastern Beorc, Bear Laguz, and Eagle Laguz. If you can all agree on an alternative, I’m open to it if it works. Naturally, you also need to agree on which ruler you’re fighting for, as I am currently not willing to manage two campaigns simultaneously. In the worst-case scenario, if part of the party wants to switch sides, the two sides will fight and I’ll manage the campaign of the winning side (the losing side would be at the winning side’s mercy, though, up to and including being killed by them).

Also, to help reduce the likelihood of early-game TPKs, I am going to allow for the presence of a single crutch character. Whoever offers to control the crutch character first will get to design and play as the crutch character unless they were only making an “if no one else wants to, I’ll do it” offer. This character may be a Laguz class, a second-tier Beorc class, or a third-tier Beorc class. Regardless of their choice, their true level will be 21, they will have more weapon experience, and they will be able to start out with more expensive weapons and items that are currently off-limits to other characters. Because of their true level, I advise having them be either a second-tier Beorc class with twenty bottom-tier levels or a Laguz class. A crutch character who starts out as a third-tier Beorc class will almost inevitably be a Jagen (and not of the Oifey variety, either). In the beginning, the crutch character’s true level will not affect what level new characters start out as. Once the starting true level is close enough to the crutch character’s true level, I’ll start taking the crutch character’s level into account. Being the crutch character is an important responsibility; you need to observe restraint so everyone else can gain experience and catch up, yet you also need to be in a position to save the day if the party gets in over their heads. If I plan out the battles properly, a crutch character won’t even be necessary. This is just a precaution in case something goes wrong in the earlier chapters, such as me making the enemies too strong, the RNG being in a bad mood, or the party making a really bad tactical decision.

Posting Policy and Schedule

This RP will cycle between two separate posting systems. The first system, Story Posting, is observed whenever the party is not participating in a battle. Players are free to post in the narrative thread at any time under this system. The second system, Battle Posting, is observed whenever the party is participating in a battle. Under this system, players are to cooperate in the OOC thread and plan out posts beforehand; posting in the narrative thread without my permission is forbidden. I will announce changes between Story Posting and Battle Posting in the OOC thread.

Battles are carried out “behind the scenes” in the OOC thread. During battles, players take turns choosing what their characters do in each phase of a battle. We all work together on planning out the posts that will be made in the narrative thread. This is purely so there isn’t an excess of extremely short posts that only mention someone’s character taking out a generic enemy. In addition, I will be employing a session system. All participants must specify the times they are available and what time zone they are in. We might be unable to schedule sessions unless at least one of us is able and willing to adjust their schedule. I ask that all participants be prepared to adjust their personal schedules to accommodate the RP if necessary, but only within reason. When stating the times you are available, please only mention your general sleep schedule and any times you flat-out cannot attend under any circumstances. You might be asked to stay up a bit later or wake up a bit earlier than usual, but only within reason and only if we can’t schedule a session without you making that kind of sacrifice. We’ll try to arrange for sessions that are most accommodating to the people who can least afford to make sacrifices. For example, if we have to choose between a session that requires five people to wake up an hour earlier than usual and a session that requires one person to stay up four hours later than usual, we’ll go with the first option unless the one person in the latter option personally volunteers to stay up late and they can afford to do so.

Currently, I plan on carrying out battles over Skype, as it allows us to communicate more efficiently and also has a screen-sharing function, so I can provide all players with a view of the map and their possible actions during battles (though I’ll need to do something a little different for battles in which visibility is limited). If Skype is not an option, I will look into CyTube and the possibility of streaming my screen. In the worst-case scenario, I’ll set up a CyTube channel with no connection to CR and use that for our sessions. Sessions will definitely be carried out during Battle Posting, but they will also be used during Story Posting to prevent people from getting lazy about moving the story along between battles.

Absences and Late Arrivals

If you expect to be unable to attend a scheduled session or believe there is a risk of you being late, you must say so before the session is scheduled to begin. Unannounced absences and late arrivals will be punished with penalties to the rate at which your characters gain experience. I’ll give some leeway with late arrivals as long as you’re no more than ten minutes late and your frequent tardiness doesn’t become a habit. The penalty will increase for each session you miss or arrive late to unless you told us beforehand of your expected absence or tardiness. The penalty will decrease each time you attend a session on time or announce your expected absence/tardiness beforehand. Three unannounced absences in a row or six unannounced late arrivals in a row will be punished by permanent stat decreases at a rate of one point in a random stat (two points if it’s HP) for every one unannounced absence or every two unannounced late arrivals. This is in addition to the aforementioned penalties to experience gain. Should you choose to relinquish control of your penalized character(s) and make someone new, the penalties will be moved over to your new character(s).

Character Creation

You may have a maximum of two characters in this RP. The policy may change to one character (albeit not retroactively) if enough people join the RP. I’m allowing a maximum of two characters to join each chapter save for in the first chapter. I’m allowing every player to bring one character into the party for the first chapter. Your character must be approved by me before he/she is allowed to be in the RP. Please refer to the “Format for submitting a character” spoiler tab for the standard character submission form. If your character has a mount, I consider the mount to be an NPC under your control rather than one of your two characters.

Spoiler: Format for submitting a character
Name: Pretty self-explanatory. If your character’s a noble, make sure to give him/her a family name, too. If your character’s a commoner, he/she can also have a family name, though it’s not mandatory. As a side-note, I suspect most of the players would appreciate it if you refrained from putting non-English letters in your character’s name. Not all of us are willing to type “Alt + 0201” just to properly spell “Éponine” every time we have to mention that name in our posts. I won’t stop you from naming your character “Þorgerðr” or something similar if you really, really want a name like that, but I’m not going to punish other players for cutting corners and spelling it as “Dorgerdr” or something similar. Please stick to the Latin alphabet, though. If you submit a character named “Татьяна” or “ዮሐንስ,” I will not accept him/her until you transliterate his/her name.

Race: Again, pretty self-explanatory. If your character’s mixed-race, I’ll probably ask for more details, though you won’t be obligated to share those details with anyone other than me. Please refer to the Lore entries on the various races for more information on each race. If your character is a depowered Laguz, please make sure to mention that he/she is depowered and please make sure you have read the Lore entry on Marked, as it is relevant to the way a Laguz loses his/her ability to transform.

Sex: Your character’s name will probably clear that matter up, but it still can’t hurt to clearly state your character’s sex just in case their name is one most English-speakers would have trouble identifying as masculine or feminine—to say nothing of the occasional androgynous name.

Class: If your character is a Beorc, a Marked, or a depowered Laguz, you need to choose one of the available Beorc classes for him/her. Please see the section on classes and starting level for more details on your options and how they’ll affect your character. A Laguz only has access to the class that shares its name with his/her species. I’ve included notes on what the standard NPC of a given class will look like, but you’re not obligated to have your character look like that.

Bottom-Tier Level: If your character is a mid-tier or top-tier class, this is how many levels in his/her bottom-tier class he/she had before promoting.

Mid-Tier Level: If your character is a top-tier class, this is how many levels in his/her mid-tier class he/she had before promoting. If your character’s class is one that could have promoted from one of two mid-tier classes, please also specify which mid-tier class he/she promoted from.

Weapon Experience: If your character is a Beorc, a Marked, or a depowered Laguz, you need to choose how to distribute weapon experience among the weapons your character has access to. If your character previously had access to a particular weapon and now doesn’t (for example, a Wyvern Mage had access to axes as a Wyvern Rider, but lost access to them upon promoting), please make sure to include any latent experience with that weapon, too.

Growth Type: You have to choose either Fixed or Random growth. This determines how your character’s stats change as they level up. For example, suppose your character’s growth rate for HP is 50. Random growth means that every time he/she levels up, HP will have a 50% chance of increasing. Fixed growth means that HP will increase once every two levels.

Asset: If you chose to give your character an Asset (please see the section on Assets and Flaws), please name it here.

Flaw: If you chose to give your character a Flaw (please see the section on Assets and Flaws), please name it here.

Equipment: Every character starts out with 2000G to spend on the items available in the “Starter Shop.” The amount of starting money will increase as the party grows stronger. The same will hold true for the variety of items available. Please list the equipment your character starts out with here. The items must be fresh. No getting a Vulnerary with one use left just because you have 100G left over. Any money you have left over goes into the party’s funds, so don’t feel pressured to spend all 2000G right away. There is also a special “Crutch Shop” available for the crutch character, who starts with 5000G.

Appearance: Facial features, body structure, height, attire, and the like all go here. Even if I end up not making it a mechanic that actually affects battles, weather is not going to be consistent throughout the RP, so I recommend being prepared to change your character’s clothes to suit the weather (I won’t force you to do it, though). I’ll only step in and reject your character’s appearance if I feel it doesn’t suit their class or is just flat-out inappropriate for this RP.

Personality: Pretty self-explanatory. Should character development lead to changes in your character’s personality during the RP, please let me know if you want to change what your character’s profile says. If your character’s personality is a façade and you want to keep his/her true nature hidden from the other players, please tell me as much in a PM.

Background: This is where you tell us everything you believe the other players should know about your character’s past, such as where your character is from, who his/her relatives are, and so on. As with personality, anything you want kept secret from the other players should be mentioned to me in a PM.

Additional Information: This is pretty much anything you want the other players to know about your character that you didn’t bring up in the other parts of his/her profile.

Spoiler: Starting Level
Your character’s starting level is determined based on a special formula I’ve devised. It uses something I call a “true level.” If your character is a Beorc, a Marked, or a depowered Laguz, his/her true level is his/her bottom-tier level plus his/her mid-tier level plus his/her top-tier level. For example, if your character started out as a Guard, promoted to Knight at Level 13, then promoted to Champion at Level 17, and is now a Level 5 Champion, his/her true level is 13 + 17 + 5, which is 35. For Laguz, it’s much simpler; a Laguz’s true level is his/her level plus twenty. So, for example, a Level 13 Eagle has a true level of 33.

Your character’s starting level is the average true level of everyone in the party who is within a certain range. What I do is this: I take the true levels of everyone in the party and find the median level. I then average out the true levels of everyone whose true level is the median level ± 2. For example, suppose the party has eleven people and their true levels are as follows: 1.03, 1.72, 2.93, 3.18, 4.19, 5.44, 5.81, 7.17, 8.23, 9.71, 22.02. The median is 5.44, so the crutch character, so the four lowest-leveled characters and the three highest-leveled characters are not counted. Thus, I average out the four who are within range and get 5.6525, which I round down to 5.65. In this scenario, a new character would start out at Level 5 and have 65 experience points toward Level 6. If the starting true level is greater than or equal to 21, you need to choose how to distribute your character’s levels between the three tiers (unless your character is a Laguz).
You will also start out with a minimum of 31 weapon experience points to distribute, though this will only matter in the case of classes that can use more than one type of weapon or promoted from a class that used a different weapon than they use now. As with your character’s starting level, this will change as the party grows stronger. The amount of weapon experience your character starts out with is determined by the same formula as the party’s starting true level, but with a range of median ± 10. The crutch character starts out with 181 instead.

Spoiler: Bottom-Tier Beorc Classes (screen-stretch warning)
As the current starting level is 1, only these classes are available to player characters at the moment. The only exception is the crutch character. The “Typical NPC Appearance” blurb is primarily to serve as a guide for how NPCs with that class are likely to be equipped for combat. You’re not required to adhere to it, though; it’s just there to give you a sense of how the class looks in general.

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Spoiler: Mid-Tier Beorc Classes (screen-stretch warning)
These classes will become available once the starting level is 11. There are two ways for a bottom-tier class to promote. The first is by gaining 100 EXP after reaching Level 20—in other words, reaching the hypothetical “Level 21.” The second way is by using a Master Seal after reaching Level 10 or higher. The second method is not advised unless your character is at Level 20, as promoting before that point means depriving your character of opportunities to level up. The “Typical NPC Appearance” blurb is primarily to serve as a guide for how NPCs with that class are likely to be equipped for combat. You’re not required to adhere to it, though; it’s just there to give you a sense of how the class looks in general.

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Spoiler: Top-Tier Beorc Classes (screen-stretch warning)
These classes will become available once the starting level is 21. A mid-tier class promotes to the top tier by reaching “Level 21” or by using a Master Crown after reaching level 10 or higher. Again, the second method is not advised unless your character is at Level 20. Top-tier classes stop gaining experience after reaching Level 20, so any bottom-tier and mid-tier levels you skipped by promoting early will not be made up for in the top tier. The “Typical NPC Appearance” blurb is primarily to serve as a guide for how NPCs with that class are likely to be equipped for combat. You’re not required to adhere to it, though; it’s just there to give you a sense of how the class looks in general.

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Spoiler: Laguz Classes (screen-stretch warning)
These classes will become available once the starting level is 21. Laguz classes do not promote, but have superior starting stats and a maximum level of 40 instead of 20. Upon reaching Level 21, a Laguz class gains access to its Occult skill. Laguz classes are kind of a crapshoot when it comes to how NPCs usually look, as it depends on whether or not they choose to dress like locals or stick with the clothes typical of their homeland.

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Spoiler: Laguz Mechanics and Comparison to Beorc
If you have not played Path of Radiance or Radiant Dawn, Laguz mechanics will be unfamiliar to you, though you may have seen some transforming classes in other games. Laguz have two forms: a “beast” form and a “human” form. Rather than use weapons or tomes, Laguz use their “beast” forms to fight. Transformation is based on a gauge that fills up or goes down depending on the circumstances. When a Laguz is in “human” form, the Transform Gauge increases at the beginning of each turn and is farther increased by combat. When he/she is in “beast” form, the Transform Gauge decreases at the beginning of each turn and is farther decreased by combat. The rate at which the Transform Gauge fills up and empties varies from race to race. A Laguz may only change from “human” to “beast” when the Transform Gauge is at 30, the maximum unless the Laguz in question is recovering from an injury. The transformation is done manually. A Laguz may take another action after transforming, though they must end their turn on the tile they transformed on. A Laguz in “beast” form may return to “human” form manually in the same way as they can change from “human” to “beast,” though they will also be forced out of their “beast” form if the Transform Gauge hits 0. Where a Laguz’s Transform Gauge starts out in each battle depends on what form they were in before the battle started and how long it has been in-game since they were in the other form.

Laguz in “beast” form typically have better stats than Beorc of the same level. I may subject them to some nerfs if they prove overpowered in test battles, though. In addition, their “weapon” is completely free, improves in power automatically as their Weapon Level increases, will never break, and cannot be unequipped. Because of the nature of their “weapon,” Laguz are unlikely to be as much of a drain on resources as Beorc—not to mention the Disarm skill won’t work on them. The downside to having only one weapon available is that Laguz aren’t as versatile as far as attacks are concerned; even a Beorc class that uses only one weapon has a variety of different weapons to choose from. The more serious downside of being a Laguz, though, is that Laguz in “human” form typically have much worse stats than Beorc of the same level, making them easy targets. In addition, when in “human” form, they can only counterattack with an unarmed strike, which is a physical attack that has a Mt of 0. There are items that can boost or maximize the Transform Gauge, though relying on them too heavily can get expensive in the long run and could counteract the financial advantage Laguz classes have over Beorc classes. There is also an equippable item that can enable Laguz to remain transformed indefinitely, but it also reduces the stat bonuses to their “beast” form, effectively turning them into slightly less versatile Beorc. Eventually, I will introduce a rare single-use item that enables the Laguz who uses it to remain transformed—without any penalties—for the duration of a single battle. Said item will only be available late in the RP, though, and will not be available in stores (i. e. it can only be received from an NPC, taken from an enemy, or taken from a chest).

Spoiler: Assets and Flaws
To emulate the tendency of playable characters in the games to deviate slightly from their respective classes’ standard growth rates, base stats, and stat caps, all players have the option to assign an Asset and a Flaw to each of their characters. You may not give your character an Asset without also giving them a Flaw. The Asset will provide a major boost to one stat and a minor boost to at least two other stats. The Flaw is the opposite, providing a major penalty to one stat and a minor penalty to at least two other stats. The tables below detail the effects of whatever Asset and Flaw you choose. If you want your character to just have the standard base stats, growth rates, and stat caps of their class, just leave the “Asset” and “Flaw” entries on your character form blank. If your character’s Flaw will result in one or more of his/her starting stats being negative, then it/they will be negative, as none of the mechanics can be broken by negative stats. If your character’s Flaw will result in one or more of his/her growth rates being negative, then it/they will instead be reduced to zero and you will have to choose a different growth rate to suffer the leftover penalty.

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Spoiler: What I won’t accept
  • Mary Sues. At their core, Mary Sues exist to be the center of attention. Most often, this is through an excess of positive traits, but negative traits and a tragic past can also be a means of calling attention to a character. Your characters are not the only important characters in this RP, so don’t design them in a way that treats them as though they are. There’s more specific advice on avoiding making your character a Mary Sue in the “Advice” section.
  • Excessive Fanservice. This isn’t to say you can’t make your character attractive. I’m not going to reject your character for having Ike’s muscles or Camilla’s curves unless I feel too many PCs already have that kind of body. I'll also allow your character to show some skin. I’m not going to insist on everyone being completely covered up at all times. That said, please observe restraint; I’m not going to allow your character to dress like, say, Nowi or Hawkeye. Marisa here is showing about as much skin as I’ll allow anyone, male or female, to show in battle, and even then, only if your class typically wears little to no armor and the right areas are covered. If your male Knight is wearing nothing but a pair of pants in battle, I’m going to intervene.
  • Canon characters. While this setting incorporates elements from the games (especially the Tellius games), none of the canon characters are going to make an appearance in this RP. Soren and Ike both have descendants living in Duat, so if you want to create a character descended from one (or both) of them, I’ll allow it, but please discuss it with me first, as their descendants are subject to some minor (but largely trivial) restrictions that don’t apply to other characters.
  • Custom classes. I apologize if there is a specific type of class you want to play as that isn’t available (for example, this setting doesn’t have anything like a Berserker or a Warrior). I’ve put a lot of work into tweaking every class’s stats, caps, and growth rates to make sure no one class is likely to significantly outperform the rest. I’m not going to go through that kind of trouble again just because you want Awakening’s Dread Fighter class to be available. There are some unique classes reserved for major NPCs, but they’re a special case due to their role in the story (and potential role as important bosses).
  • Characters with an unauthorized connection to an existing character. You may not give your character a connection to a character already in the RP unless the player controlling that character has given their consent and the two of you have agreed on the nature of the connection. Needless to say, if both of the characters in question are controlled by you, you don’t have to worry about this rule.
  • Characters with usable political power. Your character can be of noble birth if you want, but they can't have the authority to get their home country involved in the war. At the most, your character's role will be akin to that of Ike; he made a huge difference in every war he fought in, but he was never the one who started the wars or set the terms of the peace agreements.
  • Secrets that I am unaware of. If you keep a secret from me about your character, you risk me vetoing it the instant you decide to reveal it. If you want your character to have a secret that the other players don’t know about, I need to know what the secret is. Just PM the information to me. I promise to not reveal the secret to the other players. I’ll let you know beforehand if your character’s secret has any risk of being forced out by the story I already have planned. Otherwise, unless you pretty much charge headlong into a scenario in which the secret needs to come out (I’ll alert you to the risk beforehand), you can be confident that the secret will only come out if you want it to come out.
  • Characters who defy the setting. Pretty simple, right? Stay true to the setting I’ve designed. Instant mastery of something does not happen, for example. If you have a character who plans on promoting to a class that uses bows, make sure he/she already has some experience with bows and just needs more practice before he/she is ready to use a bow in combat. If you have a character who knows dark magic, make sure he/she had already studied it for several years beforehand. Similarly, Marked and Laguz operate under very specific rules that are not to be defied. If your character is a Marked, he/she may not transform like a Laguz—not even if out of thirty-two third great-grandparents, only one of them is a Beorc. Likewise, if your character is a depowered Laguz, he/she must be the parent of at least one Marked child.

Spoiler: Advice
  • I’m willing to help you make a character who fits the setting. I’ve posted a lot of extra information on the setting, and I don’t consider you obligated to read all of it. If you’re worried about creating a character who seems out-of-place, feel free to ask for my help. Maybe you want your character to come from a country with a particular political situation and/or a particular culture. I can point you in the right direction. I’ve tried to avoid creating any sort of total rip-off of a real-world country, but considering my interest in history and the sheer diversity of cultures in the real world, it’s pretty much inevitable that some countries will bear at least some similarity to real-world countries, to say nothing of the fact that I have still drawn some inspiration from the real world to help create a believable setting.
  • Avoid giving your character an excess of positive traits. Having too many positive traits is a common sign of a Mary Sue. It can be pulled off without making your character a Mary Sue, but it’s very difficult. I’m probably not going to risk a Mary Sue among the PCs by betting on you being good enough at RPing to handle your character’s awesomeness in a way that doesn’t annoy the other players. Your character should be “incomplete” in the beginning; he/she should become a better (or worse, if that’s the character you’re going for) person over the course of the story rather than start out as the person you want him/her to be by the end. To that end, it’s best that you give your character weaknesses to overcome or a goal to strive toward that he/she initially lacks the means to achieve. A character who starts out perfect is unfit to be the protagonist of any story, as there is nothing to present a legitimate challenge to him/her.
  • A flaw that doesn’t cause problems for anyone shouldn’t be thought of as a flaw. If you say your character is absent-minded, for example, make sure you have him/her occasionally demonstrate that absent-mindedness in a way that causes problems. For example, maybe he/she gets distracted at some point while the party’s traveling through the forest, resulting in him/her getting lost, which in turn means the rest of the party will probably have to stop and try to find your character. That said, I recommend avoiding any flaws that are likely to hinder the party in combat (as opposed to flaws that just cause problems in the narrative). For example, if your character is a coward, the most in-character thing for him/her to do when the party’s getting swarmed is to flee—an act that could indirectly lead to someone else’s character being wounded, captured, and/or killed. I’m always willing to help you come up with flaws that can inconvenience people in the narrative without causing problems in battle. If you want your character to have some sort of quirk that could cause problems for other players in battle, please talk it over with the other players first.
  • Look for ways to use game mechanics to help portray your character. For example, if you want your character to be clumsy, giving him/her Skill as a Flaw and choosing a class with a naturally low Skill growth rate would help demonstrate that. You could also add to that in the narrative by doing such things as occasionally portraying a missed attack as your character tripping or losing his/her grip on his/her weapon rather than the attack simply missing.
  • Avoid giving your character an excess of negative traits. Just as a character can be so amazing as to annoy everyone else, a character can also be so pathetic as to make everyone else want to vomit. As with having a lot of positive traits, it is possible to portray such a character properly, but I don’t want to bet on you pulling it off; I feel the risks outweigh the potential benefits.
  • Keep it relevant. Suppose your character is physically attractive. We don’t need to be reminded of it every time you post something pertaining to him/her. Chances are other characters will bring it up themselves when they feel it’s relevant (such as if someone else’s character is flirting with your character). The same holds true for negative traits and/or a tragic past. Characters who constantly angst about how pathetic they are or constantly brood about their past tend to come off as annoying whiners rather than someone to sympathize with. Again, constantly being the center of attention is why Mary Sues are often so hated.

The Factions

Currently, there are only two factions. Neither Chaldia nor Paphlagonia is inherently good or bad; both have problems that they need to address, but they both also have advantages that make them attractive to certain people. I will admit to having a preference, but I don’t want to force the party to side with a country they might rather oppose (unless you think both countries are horrible, in which case you’re out of luck). I will provide opportunities to switch sides under certain circumstances, but please keep in mind that treason will not go over well with your former allies in such a scenario (i. e. getting captured by your former allies will almost certainly mean being executed). Also, as I mentioned before, you and the other players need to agree on which side to fight for.
Spoiler: Chaldia
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What kind of country Chaldia is depends on whom you ask. To most Beorc merchants and nobles, especially Eastern Beorc, Chaldia is a wonderful place to live. For most of its history, the rulers of Chaldia have chosen to intervene as little as is reasonable in the affairs of their vassals. Taxes are low, provincial nobles are largely free to pursue their own goals without fear of being stopped by the crown, and trade has flourished, leading to a larger-than average burgher class. Those who wander north of the Vila River and east of Trebizond, however, will find a different story told by the Eagle Laguz who inhabit those lands. The Chaldian Pegasus Hunters’ Guild has established many settlements on lands that belong to Eagle Laguz nobles. The Guild has repeatedly shown no regard for the Eagles already living in the region, paying no taxes and complicating the Eagles’ way of life. Many Eagles, both noble and lowborn alike, feel King Emmanuel has no interest in their well-being, some even going so far as to suggest that King Emmanuel would prefer if they weren’t there to begin with. The Eagle nobles are willing to put aside their grievances against the Guild for the duration of the war, but there is an unspoken understanding among the Chaldian nobility that the Eagles will rebel after the war if nothing is done to improve their situation once peace has returned.

The capital, Trebizond, is one of the two main trade ports in the east, a trait reflected in its sprawling market district. Merchants and craftspeople have flocked to the city from all over the continent, hoping to make it big as members of Trebizond’s powerful guilds. Outside of the capital, however, Chaldia is much more sparsely populated. Provincial villages are rarely any more impressive than villages anywhere else, but the towns that spring up around castles and cathedrals are generally wealthier than their counterparts in other countries. Most landowners attribute this wealth to the low taxes and their investments in trade in Trebizond. The near-inexhaustible wealth of King Emmanuel has helped compensate for Chaldia’s population; if necessary, King Emmanuel can hire large numbers of mercenaries to bolster his forces, helped by the fact that many mercenary companies are based in Trebizond, greatly reducing the amount of time it takes for them to get organized. Because of this, despite many of Chaldia’s neighbors being more populous, war is rare.

Chaldia is a relatively flat and low-lying country, thickly forested in most places and covered in swamps and wetlands near the Rusalka Delta. Due to how far north Chaldia is, a day’s length will vary immensely across the seasons. During the winter solstice, the north coast gets only around six hours of sunlight. Winters are long and harsh, with snow being common for almost half of the year, especially in the north. It’s common for most of the rivers to freeze over during the winter, though the Rusalka and Vila rarely freeze over completely, remaining navigable year round save for on very rare occasions when winter is much colder than usual. Because of this, trade with the rest of Anatolia is still viable even in the winter. A wet spring eventually gives way to a humid summer. Despite the winters, summer, while short, is often uncomfortably hot except on the coast.

At the moment, Chaldia is fighting this war alone, but King Emmanuel has made efforts to convince the rulers of Istria and Travunia that they have a vested interest in Chaldia winning the war. Travunia is more centralized than Chaldia, but is also much more homogeneous, being populated almost exclusively by Eastern Beorc. Paphlagonia’s alliance with Seleucia has left King Julius worried that Paphlagonia may invade. An alliance with Chaldia would be helpful in ensuring Travunia’s independence. Istria is in a similar situation, worried about not only possible Paphlagonian aggression, but also Ugarit, a Bear Laguz kingdom to the south. King Justin will likely be very easy to convince that an alliance with Chaldia is the best guarantee of Istrian independence.

Spoiler: Paphlagonia
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As with Chaldia, what kind of country Paphlagonia is depends on whom you ask. Unlike Chaldia, where there is a much clearer difference between “Laguz territory” and “Beorc territory” in most areas, Paphlagonian lands have a much greater mix between Anatolian and Mainland Bear culture. This has contributed to tensions between the Beorc and Laguz populations in the past, each feeling the other is trying to “take over.” King Damian has done much to try to ease tensions between the Beorc and Laguz populations and has seen some success in his efforts, but there is still room for improvement, especially in some of his vassals’ lands; not all landowners share the King’s interest in Beorc and Laguz sharing Paphlagonia. Furthermore, many of the nobles’ privileges have been revoked, allegedly to make it harder for them to contribute to interracial tensions, though most of them understandably don’t buy that explanation. As a whole, King Damian is slightly more popular among his Laguz vassals than among his Beorc vassals, but overall, he is an unpopular ruler in the eyes of the nobility. There are even rumors that some of his vassals are planning to rebel should the current war go poorly, though no one dares name names.

Paphlagonia’s capital is Smyrna, a large city situated in the north at the junction of the Jinn and Rusalka rivers. The Patriarchate of Smyrna is centered there, making the city one of Eastern Duat’s foremost centers of learning, both religious and secular. With the recent completion of the Academy of the Mystic Arts (albeit over the vehement objections of Matriarch Uren), Smyrna has also become an attractive destination for practitioners of Dark Magic. In the north, Paphlagonia is largely indistinguishable from Chaldia, consisting of forested wilderness occasionally interrupted by a small village or town. In the south, however, landowners have much more productive land, which in turn increases the need for serfs to work the land. Castle towns in the south are quite populous compared to their counterparts in the north and are usually surrounded by fields and pastures, occasionally interrupted by a peasant village.

Paphlagonia, like Chaldia, is mostly flat, though higher than Chaldia and slightly hillier. As was mentioned earlier, the northern regions of Paphlagonia are mostly forest. Eventually, though, as one travels farther south, the forests give way to grassland. The soil in the south is some of the most fertile in all of Duat, allowing for incredibly productive farms. Despite being farther south than Chaldia, Paphlagonia’s winter is only slightly shorter and milder. Summer, however, is noticeably hotter, especially on the steppes in the south.

Paphlagonia has two allies in this war: Seleucia and Jaffa. Seleucia is populated mostly by Eastern Beorc, but has a noticeable Bear population in the east. Queen Katherine is married to Prince Alexander of Paphlagonia, the son of King Damian and heir apparent to the Paphlagonian throne. Their daughter, Dorothy, may one day inherit both kingdoms. Jaffa is inhabited mainly by Bears, but has a large Eastern Beorc population, too. King Koyash’s son and heir apparent, Prince Ulgan, is married to Princess Anastasia of Paphlagonia, King Damian’s daughter.

Items

Each character has eight item slots: four for weapons and four for other items. Your character may have one weapon equipped at any given time. The equipped weapon is always at the “front” of the list of weapons your character has on him/her. Should your character’s equipped weapon break, he/she will automatically equip the next weapon on that list. Most items (i. e. not weapons) are things to be used manually, not equipped. There are some items which can be equipped, but they provide a passive effect and do not break, meaning that they will be equipped until you unequip them. As with weapons, only one equippable item may be equipped at any given time.
Spoiler: Dropped Items
I’m planning on including a mechanic that accounts for dropped items lingering on the battlefield. If you come across a new item, but don’t have room for it, you can either leave it where you found it or leave another item there in its place. Unless the battle ends in your side retreating, the item will be automatically added to the party’s supplies. An item left lying around can be picked up by the enemy, too, though the enemy in question will drop the item if defeated. Any item that an enemy will drop when defeated is indicated by red text in the enemy’s infobox (there are some exceptions that are explained under “Enchantment”). Finally, if an enemy with a droppable item is defeated from two or more spaces away, he/she will drop the item where he/she fell, meaning you will need to get within one space of the fallen enemy and retrieve the item manually.

Spoiler: Storage and Supply Wagons
I don’t expect everyone to have all their possessions on their person at all times. Extra items will be stored in the supply wagon. Under the system I currently have planned (which might be replaced with a simpler and less realistic system), whether or not you can put items in or take items from the wagon during a battle depends on whether the party chose to deploy the wagon on the battlefield. If the wagon is deployed on the battlefield, it will be driven by a noncombatant NPC. You have to be next to the wagon to put its services to use. Enemy units will not attack the wagon unless it is the only target within range. However, the wagon does have a limited (though large) amount of HP, and if it runs out of HP, all the items stored therein will be dropped there, enabling enemies to steal items. Stolen items are droppable and the wagon will be replaced during the downtime between battles. Normally, I will control the wagon, but if everyone wants it moved somewhere, I will move it there. I will have the wagon avoid danger whenever possible.

Spoiler: Customization
For the most part, I’m okay with you customizing the appearance of your character’s weapons and other equipment. As long as the individual item in question has not been explicitly described in the RP, you may choose its appearance. For example, if I say a certain boss is carrying an arming sword and your character loots it off his/her corpse, it’s going to stay an arming sword, though you’re free to expand on any details I didn’t cover beforehand. If I didn’t say anything about the crossguard’s design, for example, you’re free to choose how the crossguard looks. That said, if you want your character’s equipment to have a particular appearance, please share the design with me first. I’m only insisting that you do this as a precaution just in case the weapon design you have in mind strikes me as too outlandish or unconventional for this setting. I’ll allow your Cavalier’s sword to be a dao if you want, but an urumi is out of the question.

Spoiler: Enchantment
Weapons, tomes, and staves can receive enchantments to boost their stats, although the Church discourages doing this. Every now and then, you may come across a special item called a Fortune Card. These items are not sold in stores. The picture on the card will determine what kind of enchantment it provides. To get an enchantment, you need to give the Fortune Card to a mystic (I will let the party know when there is a mystic available) and choose which item you want enchanted. The Fortune Card will be consumed in the process. An enchanted item will gain an aura related to what enchantment it got. The chart below details the chances of a Fortune Card yielding a particular enchantment, as well as what kind of aura it bestows upon an enchanted item. An item may only have one enchantment, so you cannot add a new enchantment to an item without removing its current enchantment. The color shown in the chart below also indicates how an item will appear on your character sheet. Droppable enchanted items with red, pale red, or magenta auras will be indicated with underlined text rather than red text.

Spoiler: Repairs and Broken Items
Items have limited uses in this RP. Once an item runs out of uses, it “breaks.” As far as the RP’s mechanics are concerned, an item ceases to exist once it has broken. How an item “breaks” depends on what kind of item it is. A tome or staff that “broke” didn’t really break, but rather no longer has any magic power left in it. Herbs and other recovery items that “broke” are simply depleted. A conventional weapon that “broke” really did break, though. Items can be repaired at any shop that carries the item in question. These repairs can be carried out even if the item hasn’t broken yet. Enchanted items lose their enchantment upon breaking, so if you’ve got an enchanted item, you would be wise to have the item repaired before it’s in danger of breaking. Please keep in mind that the shop has to actually carry the item, though; a shop that only carries tomes will not be able to repair a sword, for example. How much the repairs cost depends on how many uses the item has left and how much a fresh item of that type would cost. For example, an Iron Sword has a maximum of fifty uses and costs 500G. Thus, repairs for an Iron Sword carry a price of 10G/use. Enchantments do not affect the price of repairs.

Spoiler: Starter Shop
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Spoiler: Crutch Starter Shop
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Combat

Combat in this RP is handled the same way as in the Fire Emblem games, with most of the mechanics being from Radiant Dawn. The maps will require a little imagination on your part, but I’m confident they’ll be understandable. When your character engages the enemy, I run a series of calculations to determine what happens as far as the mechanics are concerned. You are, of course, free to describe combat as more than what the calculations say happened. For example, if I say your Swordfighter attacks an enemy Swordfighter and scores a hit while the enemy’s counterattack misses, feel free to portray the fight as more than that. That said, portraying every fight as an epic multi-paragraph struggle will likely bog down the narrative very quickly, which is why the current plan is for all of us to work together on making the combat posts. Generally speaking, anything goes when it comes to how you portray a fight; I’ll only intervene if I feel your character does something especially outlandish, such as using a Bronze Sword to bisect a Champion in full plate armor. Speaking of bisection, please avoid overly graphic descriptions of blood and gore. We don’t need to read about how your Swordfighter’s finishing blow caused the enemy’s blood and intestines to spill out of a gash in his abdomen.
Spoiler: Status Conditions
  • Poisoned: Caused by being hit by poisoned Beorc weapons or the fangs of transformed Snake Laguz. At the beginning of each turn for five turns, your character will randomly suffer one to five points of damage. After the fifth turn, the poison wears off.
  • Severely Poisoned: Caused by being hit by a transformed Snake Laguz when their Overkill skill activates. Same as being poisoned, but the damage range starts out wide and decreases each turn (5-25 on the first turn, 4-20 on the second, 3-15 on the third, 2-10 on the fourth, 1-5 on the fifth).
  • Asleep: Caused by the Sleep staff’s spell hitting your character. Your character cannot do anything and Speed is reduced to 0. Your character will wake up after taking damage from an enemy’s attack or after three turns have passed. Being shoved, rescued, or dropped counts as one turn passing with regards to the status condition.
  • Silent: Caused by the Silence staff’s spell hitting your character. Magic and staves cannot be used by your character for three turns. Your character is also mute for those three turns.
  • Blind: Caused by being hit by a Ranger’s attack when their Blind skill activates. Your character’s Skill and Vision are reduced to 0 for one turn, preventing him/her from attacking (though counterattacking is still an option).
  • Stunned: Caused by triggering a trap, getting hit by Flaming Pitch, being attacked by bees, or being hit by a Zephyr Knight’s attack when their Stun skill activates. Your character cannot do anything and Speed is reduced to 0 for one turn.
  • Gored: Caused by being hit by a transformed Elephant Laguz when their Gore skill activates. Your character’s Defense and Movement are halved for one turn.
  • Berserk: Caused by the Berserk staff’s spell hitting your character. I control your character for three turns. I promise he/she will attack the nearest character, be they ally or enemy, with priority going to the most vulnerable in the event of equidistant targets. If your character is attacked by a berserk ally, it will be up to you to decide whether or not to fight back.

Spoiler: Battlefield Conditions
  • Clear: Vision stat is irrelevant.
  • Dark: Standard sight range.
  • Cold: The “Cold Counter” for your character starts at -10. When the counter is positive, your character will take damage at the end of each turn equal to the counter’s level. Each turn that passes increases the counter by 1. Fighting an enemy, using a staff, or moving half your character’s movement range or farther decreases the counter by 1. Using an item, picking up or dropping someone, moving less than half your character’s movement range, and transforming will not affect the counter. This mechanic is awaiting input from the players.
  • Heat: The “Heat Counter” for your character starts at -10. When the counter is positive, your character will take damage at the end of each turn equal to the counter’s level. The counter decreases by 2 at the end of each turn (after your character has taken heat damage, if applicable). Fighting an enemy, healing an ally, or moving more than half your character’s movement range increases the counter by 1. Using an item, picking up or dropping someone, moving half your character’s movement range, and transforming will not affect the counter. This mechanic is awaiting input from the players.
  • Rain: Movement range for units on foot is reduced by 1. Movement range for mounted and airborne units is reduced by 2. Sight range for all units is doubled unless it is also dark. Torches do not work, though Torch staves do. This mechanic is awaiting input from the players.
  • Snow: Only occurs in cold weather. Movement range for units on foot is reduced by 1. Movement range for mounted and airborne units is reduced by 2. Sight range for all units is doubled unless it is also dark. The bonus to vision range provided by torches is reduced by 2, though Torch staves function normally. This mechanic is awaiting input from the players.

Spoiler: Stealing
Stealing is an action available to classes with the Pick skill. If your character has this skill, he/she may steal an item from an adjacent enemy. There are three conditions that need to be fulfilled for your character to steal an item. First, your character’s attack speed needs to exceed that of the enemy. Ideally, attack speed is just your character’s Speed stat, but if the weight of your character’s equipped weapon is greater than your character’s Strength stat, the difference is subtracted from your character’s Speed stat to get his/her attack speed. Second, the target item’s weight must be less than your character’s Strength stat. Third, the target item must not currently be equipped by the enemy. If all three of these conditions are fulfilled, your character will steal the target item. If even one of them is not met, it will not be possible to steal the item (don’t worry; I’ll prevent you from wasting the action on an item that can’t be stolen).

Spoiler: Rescuing
Your character can “rescue” an adjacent character if your character’s Weight stat exceeds the target character’s Weight stat by two points or more and the target character is not a mounted class. The rescued character will occupy the same space as your character until you have your character “drop” him/her on an adjacent space or “pass” him/her to another character who is capable of “rescuing” him/her. Unless your character has the Savior skill, the rescued character will not be able to take any actions until the turn after he/she is “dropped.” In addition, your character’s Skill and Speed stats will be halved (again, unless he/she has the Savior skill). If your character has the Savior skill, the rescued character can act, but with all combat stats except HP halved (not to mention it makes him/her vulnerable to a counterattack if he/she chooses to attack while rescued).

Spoiler: Shoving
If your character has the “Shove” skill, he/she can push an adjacent unit, moving them one tile in that direction unless there’s something blocking them (such as a tree, a wall, or another unit). However, shoving depends on your character’s Constitution and the target’s Weight. As long as the target’s Weight is not more than two points higher than your character’s Constitution, shoving is possible. It’s also possible to hurt an enemy by shoving him/her. If the target is standing next to, say, a cliff, he/she will suffer fall damage if successfully shoved off. The amount of fall damage suffered is a function of the target’s Weight and the distance fallen (I’ll have an altitude map ready for such an occasion). In addition, if the target ends up in deep water and lacks the Swim skill, it’s an instant kill. However, shoving an enemy off a cliff (or a bridge with no guardrails) carries with it certain risks. The target, if shoved off, will attempt to grab your character, treated as a single attack that does no damage. The “attack’s” accuracy is affected by the difference in Weight between your character and the target—the heavier your character is compared to the target, the less accurate the “attack” will be. That said, being especially heavy also increases the fall damage suffered if the target does manage to grab your character, so there are risks no matter what.

Other Features

Spoiler: Weapon Level
What weapons your character can use depends on two factors. The first is what weapons your character’s class has access to. For example, a Swordmaster can use swords, but not axes. The second is what Weapon Level your character has for each weapon type. If the aforementioned Swordmaster has Weapon Level B for swords, he/she can use any sword with level B, C, D, or E, but not A, S, or SS. Using a weapon will increase experience for that type of weapon. After gaining enough weapon experience, your character’s Weapon Level for that weapon will increase. Upon gaining access to a new type of weapon, your character will automatically gain one weapon experience point in that type of weapon, giving him/her Weapon Level E.

If your character promotes to a class that can’t use the same weapon type as before, any weapon experience for the now-inaccessible weapon type becomes latent. For example, a Wyvern Rider’s Axe experience will become latent if he/she becomes a Wyvern Mage. Suppose for the sake of this example that he/she has 110 experience points with the axe. Since the Dark Raider class has access to axes, the latent experience becomes useful again if the Wyvern Mage in question promotes to a Dark Raider. If he/she promotes to a Dark Flier, though, there’s no point in keeping that experience. As such, you have the option of transferring that experience to another weapon type. This transfer happens gradually, though, and cannot more than double the amount of weapon experience gained in the new weapon type. For example, if the aforementioned Dark Flier wants that experience transferred to Anima Magic, he/she will still start off only able to use E-level tomes, but will gain weapon experience at a rate of 2/use instead of one. A D-level tome would yield four points per use, a C-level tome would yield six, and so on until all that latent experience is depleted.

The Weapon Levels and the weapon experience necessary to reach each level are detailed in the chart below.

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Spoiler: Skills
Your character has four basic skill slots, although at least one of them is already filled by an innate skill. Any skill classified as innate cannot be removed, as it is something everyone with your character’s class has. The only exception is if your character promotes to a class with different innate skills. A Guard loses the Shove skill if he/she promotes to a Horseman/Horsewoman, a Knight loses the Shove skill if he/she promotes to a Paladin, and a Swordsman/Swordswoman loses the Shove skill if he/she promotes to a Cavalier. There is also an Occult Skill, which occupies a special fifth skill slot and is automatically acquired at a certain point. For Beorc classes, an Occult skill is acquired upon promoting to a top-tier class. For Laguz classes, an Occult Skill is acquired upon reaching Level 21. Occult Skills, like innate skills, cannot be removed.

From time to time, a defeated enemy may drop a Skill Manual, a single-use item that bestows a skill upon whoever uses it. In addition, some shops carry certain Skill Manuals (including the Starter Shop eventually). If your character has a skill you want to get rid of, just say so and I’ll remove the skill as long as it’s not an innate or Occult skill. The skill in question will be transferred to a Skill Manual which you can then sell at the next shop or give to someone else who wants it. Please keep in mind that some skills take up two slots instead of one, so if your character has only one open skill slot, he/she can’t learn any skills that take up two slots.

Below is a list of every skill in the RP (though I might throw in a unique Occult skill for the final boss and other important NPCs). A skill listed as Passive will activate under the specific conditions mentioned in the description. Manual skills will only be triggered when you specifically say you want to trigger them. Skills with a formula shown as their trigger have a quasi-random chance of activating; the higher the relevant stat, the greater the chance of the skill activating. For example, if your character has the Adept skill and a Speed stat of 13, then the skill has a 13% chance of activating each time your character carries out a regular attack.

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Spoiler: Death, Wounds, and Capture
In most of the games, a character would die upon running out of HP—though some exceptions existed. In the RP, running out of HP means your character is wounded and unable to fight for the rest of that battle. What happens from there can vary. Normally, your character will remain in the place where he/she was defeated for the remainder of the battle unless an enemy or ally picks him/her up (wounded mounted units have their Wt stat reduced accordingly), just as they would Rescue an ally. When your character is picked up, I will mark a drop-off tile for him/her to be taken to and safely taken off the battlefield. Alternatively, you can have your character die when he/she runs out of HP. You’ll get to decide whether he/she dies or lives when and if your character runs out of HP except under very specific circumstances.

After the battle in which your character was wounded, his/her ability to fight will be dramatically hindered. The penalty depends on whether your character is a Beorc class or a Laguz class. Beorc classes have their combat stats (Max HP, Str, Mag, Skl, Spd, Lck, Def, Res) reduced by 75%. With the passage of each in-game day, those stats will recover by 5%, though participating in battle will stop the recovery process for that day. Laguz classes have their combat stats reduced by 60%, but also have their Transform Gauge expanded to 75 instead of 30 and will drain at 2.5 times the normal rate (though it will fill up at the normal rate). With the passage of each in-game day, stats will recover by 4%, the Transform Gauge will shrink by 3, and the rate at which it drains will decrease by the corresponding amount. Assuming your character doesn’t do anything to hinder his/her recovery (such as fight, let alone get wounded again), your character’s stats (and transformation abilities in the case of Laguz) will fully recover after fifteen in-game days. Getting wounded again during recovery will force your character to start the recovery process over again.

I’ve also proposed making it possible for your character to be captured if an enemy picks him/her up and takes him/her off the battlefield (the destination will be indicated on the map if that happens, not to mention your character can only be picked up by an enemy when wounded). If the battle ends with the party retreating, your character will be automatically captured if he/she has not been taken to safety by an ally. Likewise, if the battle ends with the enemy retreating, your character will not be captured unless an enemy captured him/her and got him/her off the battlefield. Your character will still recover normally if captured, but will be a prisoner of the enemy. I will discuss your character’s fate with you through PMs. The most likely scenario is that your character’s captor will request ransom from the rest of the party and release him/her once the ransom is paid. Depending on how long your character is held, though, there may also be opportunities to escape. Defection is also an option, though this means your character may one day meet the rest of the party as an enemy. If your character defects and is defeated as an enemy rather than convinced to return to the party’s side, he/she will be entirely at the mercy of the party, meaning whoever defeats your character will have the option of killing your character without your consent. Of course, you’re also free to relinquish control of your character if he/she is captured.

Spoiler: Religion
This is almost exclusively a plot point, not a mechanic. The main reason I’m bringing it up here is so everyone’s on the same page regarding the religious landscape of this setting. The last time I failed to cover this, someone’s character exclaimed “Gods!” despite the setting’s dominant religion being monotheistic.

The Church of Ashunera is the by far dominant religious entity in Duat, exerting its influence over every country. The religion is called Ashuneranism, its followers are called Ashunerans, and they worship Ashunera (and only Ashunera). If you’ve played Radiant Dawn, you might remember that name. In the interest of avoiding spoilers for those who have not played that game, I will not explain her relevance. All you need to know is that she is a goddess, similar to the Abrahamic God as far as her role in everything is concerned. If you do not specify your characters’ religious beliefs when submitting them, I will assume they are Ashunerans. The Church takes the whole “one Goddess” thing very seriously. To the clergy, only Ashunera deserves to be worshipped; it is blasphemy to worship anyone else.

The other major “religion” in this setting is animism, although “animism” is just an umbrella term for a wide variety of belief systems that are completely independent of one another. The only thing all animist sects have in common is their worship of spirits (see the Lore entry on spirits for more information). Some sects only worship specific spirits, some sects worship all spirits, some worship spirits in addition to the Goddess, and some worship spirits instead of the Goddess. There are a few sects that I’ve designed, but you are free to design one of your own if you so desire—though I’ll probably ask you for detailed information on the sect’s beliefs and traditions and hold you to what you say. If you say your character’s sect believes X, I’m going to intervene if you later have your character reveal that his/her sect believes Y and not X. For additional information on animism, I advise reading the Lore entry on it.

There is also metatheism, which is pretty much the closest thing this setting has to atheism. The bottom line is that metatheists are people who, while accepting that Ashunera exists, choose not to worship her and choose not to adhere to all of the Church’s rules. People’s reasons for being metatheists vary. Some feel Ashunera is fallible and thus shouldn’t be considered a person’s sole source on what is right and what is wrong (though the extent to which such people are willing to ignore Ashunera’s alleged teachings varies between individuals). Others believe Ashunera (or at least the Church of Ashunera) is actually evil and should be opposed rather than obeyed. If you’re planning on making your character a metatheist, I recommend reading the lore entry on metatheism.

As Ashuneranism is the state religion of every country in the RP, non-Ashunerans are, on average, worse off than Ashunerans, though the extent to which they are worse off varies. For the most part, non-Ashunerans are tolerated, but not necessarily welcomed. There have been plenty of incidents of people inciting violence against non-Ashunerans, but there have also been cases of non-Ashunerans being treated quite well. It depends on a lot of factors, such as the individual and what society they live in. Someone who is outspoken about their hatred of the Church of Ashunera is unlikely to be treated well anywhere unless they live in some remote village where everyone holds the same religious views as they do. By contrast, someone who has a “live and let live” attitude when it comes to religion is usually going to have an easier time living among Ashunerans.

Spoiler: Support
I imagine most, if not all, of the players already know what a Support is, but just in case you don’t know, a Support is a bond between two characters. Think of it as anything from a budding friendship to love. Being next to an ally on the battlefield will provide a small boost to both you and the ally. Increasing your Support level with said ally will increase the bonus you get. The chart at the bottom of this spoiler box shows you the bonuses. Each Support level counts for one point, an ally you have no Support with providing one point. Since you can at most be adjacent to four allies, the maximum number of Support Points you can normally have at any given time is 17, 12 for each A-Level Support and five for your S-Level Support. The Solar Knight class’s Occult Skill, Camaraderie, raises that limit to 21 and provides four free Support Points.

I think of the first support level, C, as being the equivalent of two acquaintances who are on good terms. The second level, B, is what I think of as being friends. After that is A, which I think of as being very close friends. The highest level, S, is reserved for lovers. Your character may only have one S-level Support, but there is no limit to how many lower-level Supports your character may have.

A Support level will be increased if enough in-game time has passed since the previous increase in Support level for that particular pair of characters and I am convinced that the characters have grown close enough to warrant an upgrade. I will, however, downgrade Support levels if I feel the characters are growing sufficiently distant from each other. An especially nasty falling out could lead to me getting rid of the Support altogether (though I will revive it if the characters make up). If you feel your character’s Support level with another character should be increased or decreased, please make your case to me in a PM and I will make the appropriate changes if convinced. If you do not control both characters, I will also ask for the other player’s opinion.

In the event of Supports between two characters controlled by the same player, I will only allow upgrades if both characters have an equal number of total Support levels with other characters. So, for example, suppose you want your two characters, Lucina and Laurent, to become a couple. That means both of them need four Support levels with other characters before I’ll allow them to have an S-level Support. For example, Lucina could get an A-level Support with Chrom and a C-level Support with Cynthia. Likewise, Laurent could get something along the lines of a B-level Support with Miriel and a B-level Support with Gerome. This policy is purely to prevent players from gaming the Support system.

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Spoiler: Romance
When two characters have an S-level Support, that means they are lovers. The only restriction on romance is that a character may only have one S-level Support. I know open relationships and polyamorous relationships are things in real life, but I don’t want to incentivize something that would probably be out-of-character for the majority of PCs. You are free to have your character break up with his/her lover if you’d rather he/she be with someone else (or if your character and his/her lover just aren’t getting along the way they used to), but that means that their S-level Support is downgraded to A-level (or a lower level if the breakup is on really bad terms). Same-sex romances are allowed, as are consanguineous romances (i. e. romances between people who are related by blood). Because of how marriage works in this RP, your character does not need to have an S-level support with his/her spouse and does not need to be married to his/her lover in order to have an S-Level support with him/her. Marriage is covered in the next section, so if you plan on having your character be in a romantic relationship, I strongly advise reading the section on marriage.

Just so we’re clear, any children born to your character will be NPCs unless they are already adults (i. e. they were born well before when the RP’s story begins), in which case you may have the child in question be one of your characters unless you already have two characters under your control. I will not allow for any sort of time travel or alternate dimension excuse; if your character was twenty when his/her first child was born, the child will always be twenty years younger than your character. In short, romance ≠ playable child character.

Spoiler: Marriage
As the section on romance pointed out, marriage is completely optional. I only included a section on it to explain the way marriage works in Duat. Truth be told, this section might be better off under “Lore,” but then I would risk players never bothering to read it.

Most marriages are officiated by the Church of Ashunera. As all of the existing countries are ruled by Ashunerans, only Ashuneran marriages are officially recognized—though most rulers don’t bother to confirm with the Church the marital status of every couple they come across who claim to be married. Most priests are willing to marry interfaith couples as long as one of the two people seeking to get married is an Ashuneran, although priests are technically within their rights to refuse to marry non-Ashunerans. Under normal circumstances, priests may only marry opposite-sex couples who are more distant in blood relation than first cousins. A “forbidden couple” that wishes to marry may ask the bishop of the diocese they live in for a dispensation allowing the marriage, though it is extremely rare for a dispensation to be granted for anything other than an opposite-sex marriage between first cousins—to say nothing of the fact that dispensations in general are rarely granted. If your character enters a forbidden marriage without a dispensation (such as by not telling the priest that he/she and his/her would-be spouse are closely related by blood), the marriage will be annulled if its forbidden nature is discovered. Interclass marriages are just flat-out not allowed; slaves may not marry non-slaves and serfs may not marry non-serfs. For a slave to marry a non-slave, the slave must be freed first, effectively making the marriage between two non-slaves. Likewise, for a serf to marry a non-serf, the serf must be released from the landowner’s service, effectively making the marriage between two non-serfs. The Church’s reasoning behind this is that a slave or serf is already bound in service to his/her master; marrying someone not similarly bound in service to the same person could lead to a person’s duty to his/her master conflicting with his/her duty to his/her family.

In the Ashuneran tradition, divorces are only granted under very specific circumstances and only bishops have the authority to grant divorces. The most common reason for divorce is adultery. Your character will be allowed a divorce if he/she can convince the bishop of the diocese he/she lives in that his/her spouse has been unfaithful. Unless the bishop personally witnessed the act of adultery, the accused is considered innocent unless he/she personally confesses to the act or four witnesses testify to witnessing it. Even then, the bishop may reject the testimony if he/she believes it is false—such as if he/she believes the accused has been coerced into falsely confessing. A less common justification for divorce is if one party is anathema. Someone is anathema if they are a non-Ashuneran or the Church has anathematized them. Your character may divorce his/her spouse if either the former or the latter is anathema. That said, if the bishop granting the divorce suspects your character married an anathema person just so he/she could avoid having to commit to the marriage, he/she may call for your character’s excommunication after granting the divorce. Finally, if your character or his/her spouse swears a monastic oath, their marriage is officially annulled the instant the oath has been sworn.

The Church of Ashunera also requires a recently-divorced or -widowed woman to wait three months before remarrying. This is purely to ensure that if she is pregnant with her previous husband’s child, the pregnancy can be discovered before she is remarried, thus ensuring that the child would not be mistaken for her new husband’s child. Some elements within the church argue that this is pointless in the event of adultery, as the woman may be pregnant with the lover’s child in such a situation. Others argue that the policy should stand, but men should also be obligated to wait three months in the interest of equality.

Most animist sects have their own traditions with regards to marriage and divorce. Most only allow monogamous opposite-sex marriages and forbid first cousins and anyone more closely related to marry, though there are exceptions to all of these. Some sects allow same-sex marriages, some sects allow plural marriages (i. e. marrying multiple people), some sects allow consanguineous marriages (though most who do still stop short of allowing people to marry siblings and/or direct descendants), and some allow some combination of the three. Some sects even reject the idea of marriage altogether. If you feel like making your character an animist, the marriage customs (or lack thereof) of their sect will be up to you unless you choose a sect that I or another player created rather than a sect of your own design. I will enforce consistency, though, so if you say your custom sect forbids something or allows something, I won’t allow you to change it later.

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Lore

The Races

Spoiler: Gold Dragons
Gold Dragons, typically just called Dragons, are the original inhabitants of the Sabaean Peninsula. They have never been an expansionistic race, instead simply holding on to the lands they have and attempting to keep potential enemies at a distance. The borders of Dragon-ruled lands are often dotted by small fortresses. In the past, Dragons controlled the entirety of the Sabaean Peninsula, but in the late 400s and early 500s, Beorc overthrew the kingdoms of Adafa and Axum and drove out most of the Dragons living there. As such, most Dragons now inhabit the Sabaean Highlands, a rugged region that takes up the western and northern coast of the peninsula. Strictly speaking, there are two general groups of Dragons: Lowlanders and Highlanders. Most of the Lowlanders died in the Great Flood, though, and the survivors controlled the ill-fated kingdoms of Adafa and Axum. As such, most remaining Lowlanders live near the borders between the remaining Dragon Laguz states and the Beorc states of Belzen and Sandomir.

Dragons are easily the longest-lived of the Laguz, some allegedly more than three thousand years old, although they tend to reach maturity between the ages of 200 and 300—though such longevity comes with the drawback of the dangerous years of infancy and early childhood taking up between fifty and eighty years total. In the Highlands, 200 is treated as the age at which one becomes an adult, and a Dragon’s 200th birthday is often a major event in his/her family. However, Lowlanders traditionally celebrated the 250th birthday as the passage into adulthood, and those living in Belzen and Sandomir still observe that tradition.

Untransformed Dragon Laguz have pale skin, pointed ears, and markings on their faces that tend to be noticeably more elaborate than those of Marked. Hair is usually dark, but not limited to any particular color. Transformed Dragon Laguz have serpentine bodies between twenty and thirty meters in length, horned heads with a whisker near each nostril, short legs, and perhaps most obviously, gold-colored scales. A Dragon’s breath is magical in nature, bypassing the physical defenses armor provides against other Laguz. According to those who have been hit by it and lived to recount the incident, a Dragon’s breath feels remarkably like Fire Magic, though it appears to neither be stronger against Wind and Light Magic nor weaker against Thunder and Dark Magic. It also does not appear to be any more torturous for transformed Bear, Snake, Elephant, and Crocodile Laguz than for the other races.

Most likely due to the slow rate at which they age, Dragons tend to be very conservative in their ways of thinking in that they tend to be slow to adjust to changes and just as slow to accept, let alone welcome, change. Shorter-lived races—especially Beorc—tend to view Dragons as proud to the point of arrogance and stubbornness. They are also known to hold grudges; their long lives make them slow to move on from past insults, and acts of retribution are often encouraged on the grounds that it discourages enemies from continuing to cause problems. Because of this, there are horror stories among some Northerners about small bands of Dragons descending on villages and setting them ablaze as retribution for what many Beorc would view as minor insults. This vengefulness is regarded by many reformists as a relic of the Age of Ignorance, a time before nations and the Church. Back then, there were only tribes, and many dragons still feel some connection to a historical tribe. Though no one living today was alive back then, many older Dragons have close ancestors from that time. Actual Dragon nations only formed when Morea conquered the Beorc tribes in Habesh and unification became necessary for defense.

Morean aggression during that time has also had a profound effect on Dragons; in the past millennium, Dragons have had a history of being hostile toward foreigners. The lowland kingdoms of Adafa and Axum were more welcoming toward Northerners that wanted to live on the Sabaean Peninsula, but such openness arguably led to the kingdoms being overthrown by Beorc. This uprising in the lowlands reinforced Highlanders’ perception of Beorc as inherently destructive. With the rise of Sandomir as a regional power in the 700s, however, the Dragon nations began pursuing friendly relations with Sandomir’s enemies. When the Bear King’s Wars embroiled all of Duat in violence, the Dragons agreed to an alliance of convenience with the Beorc nations that sought to resist the Dorian invaders. Since then, Dragons and Beorc have been able to live in relative peace, though most of the older generations are still quite distrustful of Beorc.

Spoiler: Eagles
The ancestral home of the Eagles is the Hatran Forest in the northeasternmost reaches of Duat. With the exception of the Maradites, who have inhabited the Calabrian Highlands since before the rise of Morea, Eagles still live mostly in Tyre, northern Chaldia, eastern Troki and Samogitia, western Cilicia, and the northern coast of Calis. Those who live in the Hatran Forest are usually called Hatran Forest Eagles or simply Hatrans by outsiders, though most of the Hatrans themselves will be more specific and identify themselves as coming from a particular tribe; ideas of any sort of common Hatran culture are largely limited to the nobility. There are no known written accounts of Eagles’ pre-Flood history. Because of this, the names and achievements of most rulers from before the Great Flood have been lost to history. The few surviving accounts of the pre-Flood Eagles are oral accounts of dubious accuracy; fact and legend are heavily intertwined in the tales of ancient heroes and rulers and the accounts tend to vary slightly from tribe to tribe. Currently, based on what little is known about the history of pre-Flood Eagles, it is believed that there were six Eagle kingdoms in the north before they were destroyed by the Great Flood: Isin controlled the lands around what is now Chaldia’s northern coast. Larsa was to the east, controlling what is now eastern Samogitia and northeastern Troki. Kuth was to the south of those two kingdoms, controlling what is now southeastern Troki and parts of what is now Chaldia to the north of the Vila River. Akkad controlled the lands on and around the mouth of the Rusalka River in what is now western Chaldia and coastal Cilicia. Borsippa controlled what is now northwestern Calis, including the islands of Liscovis and Brezinis. Sippar controlled what is now northern Tyre. Most Hatran Forest Eagle tribes trace their history back to one of the six aforementioned kingdoms.

Deaths during the vulnerable first ten to fifteen years notwithstanding, most Eagles live well past the age of one hundred, reaching maturity between the ages of thirty and fifty. King Lempo of Kuth, an ancient ruler and hero who might not have even existed, is said to have died at the age of 314, though few Eagles even make it to 200, so it is likely that Lempo’s longevity is exaggerated if he was a real person. In Marad, forty is considered the age of adulthood for Eagles. In Chaldia, Samogitia, Cilicia, and other Beorc-ruled countries with large Eagle populations, Eagles are officially adults at the age of thirty. Elsewhere, the age of adulthood depends on local customs.

Untransformed Eagle Laguz have pointed ears and usually have rather pale skin, though slightly darker (albeit still pale) skin tones are common in Marad. An untransformed Eagle Laguz’s most noticeable attribute is the pair of avian wings on his/her back. Due to the presence of these wings, most Eagles’ clothes have an intentional hole in the back and are typically tied in the back rather than the front. An additional flap to cover the space between the wings is common, especially in the north. Though exceptions have been documented, an untransformed Eagle Laguz’s hair is usually the same color as his/her feathers except in old age when his/her hair begins to fade. A transformed Eagle Laguz’s feather color is usually grey, white, light brown, or pale blue if he/she is from the north. In Marad, black, dark brown, and golden-brown are much more common.

Due in large part to the lack of a proper Eagle nation in the north, most Hatrans feel no real connection to the countries they are subjects of, instead feeling a strong connection to a specific tribe and clan. Most settlements are simple wooden villages with palisade walls protecting them (albeit with an abundance of trees still present within the walls). Customs tend to vary slightly from tribe to tribe, though similarities between dialects, customs, and folklore hint at their shared heritage. Hatran tribes are usually left alone by their Beorc or Bear rulers and are simply trusted not to encroach on lands belonging to non-Eagles. Otherwise, they are largely autonomous as long as they still pay taxes to their liege and don’t drag uninvolved populations into any intertribal conflicts. Due to their relative isolation, Hatrans tend to be naturally distrustful of and sometimes even hostile toward non-Eagles, especially in Chaldia where the lucrative pegasus trade has led to Beorc encroaching on Eagles’ lands and building settlements around trading posts.

Maradites, by contrast, due to centuries of relations with Morea, Achaea, and the various states of the Central Alliance, have adopted several of the customs of their Southern and Northern (and Eastern, to a lesser extent) Beorc neighbors, retaining only some of their Laguz cultural roots. Because of this, Maradites tend to be more trusting of outsiders than their northern brethren, something further demonstrated by the majority of Eagle-descended Marked getting their Eagle blood from Maradites. These differences have contributed to a rift between Hatrans and Maradites; Hatrans often stereotype Maradites as sycophants who are willing to become little more than Beorc with wings in order to maintain good relations with hostile neighbors while Maradites often stereotype Hatrans as being too wrapped up in xenophobia and outdated traditions to have any chance of gaining independent nations of their own.

Spoiler: Bears
Bears are believed to have originated in the area around the Jinn Inland Delta, putting their ancestral homeland somewhere in what are now the Bear kingdoms of Zemar and Sarepta. Since the Great Flood, however, there have been two major expansions of what is commonly referred to as “Bear territory.” The first expansion is not particularly well-documented, but happened during the first century after the Great Flood and resulted in Bears controlling most of the Great Eastern Steppe, a grassland that takes up most of the east coast of Duat and stretches inland across southern Paphlagonia, Hellas, and Longobardia to the Umma Mountains in eastern Marad. The second expansion started during the Bear King’s Wars in the early 800s and arguably continues to this day with Arwad’s recent conquest of Achaea and its former lands. Bears now control the Galatian Peninsula and much of the Sharun Desert, both arid lands on the Sosso-Sharun subcontinent. In addition, there is a small but noticeable Bear diaspora in Anatolia and most of Central Duat thanks to the Bear King’s Wars.

Disregarding deaths during the vulnerable first ten to fifteen years, Bears typically live to be at least one hundred years old and reach maturity between the ages of thirty and fifty. Some Bears have lived to be more than two hundred years old, but it is a rare occurrence. Among Mainland Bears, there is no single point at which someone is considered an adult. Rather, various birthdays between the tenth and thirtieth are treated as important steps in the path to adulthood. The ages vary from village to village, however, though most Bear Laguz rulers set laws in place regulating the age at which their subjects may serve in the army, participate in tournaments, marry, and so on. The exceptions are Arwad, Botrys, and Kheres, all of which consider fifty to be the age of adulthood for Bears.

Untransformed Bear Laguz are noticeably larger than Beorc, adults usually being between six and seven feet (1.8288 to 2.1336 meters) tall. Ears resemble those of bears and are positioned significantly higher on the head than those of Beorc. Skin color tends to vary depending on latitude, with tan skin being common among Bears in Arwad, Kheres, Ugarit, Botrys, and Dor. Farther north, paler skin becomes increasingly common. The same tends to hold true for hair color, with lighter colors being more common farther north and darker colors being more common farther south. Finally, Bear Laguz of both sexes tend to have significantly more body hair than Beorc. A transformed Bear Laguz’s fur will always be the same color as his/her hair except in old age when his/her hair begins to fade.

Bear Laguz societies tend to emphasize strength above all else, though this is often misinterpreted by outsiders as simply meaning physical strength. While it is true that martial prowess is respected by Bears, strength is often also used to refer to strength of will. Nobles in particular are expected to possess strength of both body and spirit. Because of this, it is common for families to have weak heirs disqualified from the line of succession. Ideally, a strong leader also uses his/her (usually his) strength to protect the weak, though the main reason for the emphasis on strength is to ensure his/her lands remain stable and united. This approach is not without its flaws, though. Agdy the Great (often simply known as Agdy outside of Bear lands) was both a fierce warrior and a diligent leader, but he proved his strength by instigating the Bear King’s Wars, a series of wars of aggression in which more than half of Duat was forced to pay tribute to the Dorian Empire at one point. His unification of the Bear nations and victories over the Central Alliance ushered in a brief golden age for all Bear Laguz. However, he was ultimately defeated, and when he died in battle, his empire broke apart. It is common for Bear Laguz rulers to seek out enemies to defeat in war if there are no strong rebels to crush in their own realms.

Agdy’s conquests have also contributed to a cultural split of sorts between Southern Bears (the inhabitants of Arwad, Botrys, and Kheres) and Mainlanders. In the south, perhaps in part due to the fact that Botrys, Kheres, and Arwad all formed through the conquest of lands ruled by non-Bears, the practice of giving noble titles to non-Bears has proliferated to such an extent that Bear nobles are now actually a minority in the Arwadian nobility. This trend has led to a traditionalist movement among some Bear Laguz who feel that the rulers of the southern nations are abandoning their cultural identity and disrespecting Agdy’s legacy. Arwad in particular has become infamous in the eyes of traditionalists for its government’s adoption of laws inspired by those of the Achaean Empire. Despite the cultural questions raised by the presence of other species, though, Bear Laguz nations are arguably the most tolerant in existence; while it is rare for Beorc and Eagles to hold positions of power in Mainland Bear nations, in part due to the aforementioned traditionalist movement having more support in the north, those who prove themselves are welcomed with open arms, and even those who fail to do so are nonetheless officially viewed as brethren and given the same protection as Bears. Nevertheless, it would be naïve to assume there is no interracial tension in such countries; the welcoming attitude toward non-Bears is practiced by the government, but that does not mean every single citizen is open to the ideas of equality and peaceful coexistence. In addition, intermarriage with Beorc still tends to be discouraged, albeit mainly because the birth of a Marked deprives a Bear parent of his/her power to transform. Because of the value Bear culture places on strength, it is becoming increasingly common for depowered Bears to join Beorc mercenary companies and be trained in the use of Beorc weapons, further contributing to the Bear Laguz diaspora outside of “Bear territory.”

Spoiler: Snakes
Snake Laguz trace their racial history back to the city-states of the Sosso Rainforest, believed to be the first permanent settlements in Duat’s history. From there, settlers moved ever northward, establishing new states in the mountains and deserts to the north. The Sosso Rainforest remains populated almost exclusively by Snakes to this day, and the five kingdoms controlling it derive great pride from the region having never been conquered by a foreign power—though there were incursions into the region by Moreans in the time before the Great Flood, Achaeans in the 500s, the Central Alliance in the 600s and 700s, and Kheres in the 800s. Strictly speaking, there are seven Snake nations, though two of them, Kabora and Darmura, are former Achaean subjects and are now part of the Tetrarchy of Saka. The remaining nations, Jolof, Ghiryu, Djenne, Diafanu, and Yaresna, have existed in their current forms since 674.

Snakes are the only Laguz race not known to live longer than Beorc or age more slowly. As with Beorc, Snakes are at their most vulnerable during the first five years of life and usually reach maturity between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. There’s no official age of adulthood in Snake culture, though the majority of Snakes begin learning a trade between the ages of twelve and fifteen and are usually married by the age of twenty. Most Snakes that survive infancy can be expected to live to be at least fifty years old, though it is fairly common for a Snake to live to be over seventy.

Untransformed Snakes have tan skin, markings along the neck and back, thin fangs where a Beorc would have canines, and a forked tongue. In addition, most untransformed Snakes are noticeably more slender than most Beorc. Hair is usually the same color as their transformed state’s scales, though exceptions do exist. Finally, untransformed Snakes possess a venomous bite, though they lack the incredible striking speed they have when transformed, making their bite next to useless in a fight when untransformed.

Transformed Snakes range from five to ten yards in length and usually have black scales, though earth tones such as brown, copper, brownish-red, and beige are also common. Transformed Snakes do have hoods, though most prefer not to open them, even when fighting. In addition, when transformed, Snakes strike with incredible speed and accuracy, making it very easy for them to poison their enemies. This venom is incredibly useful, as transformed Snakes cannot pursue enemies effectively thanks to their lack of limbs. When transformed, Snakes can also easily sense vibrations in the ground. Perhaps more strangely, unlike regular snakes, transformed Snake Laguz can still hear through the air.

The Snake nations in the Sosso Rainforest are very homogeneous. As tempting as it is to assume that racism is the reason, the real reason is that the deadly Sosso Fever is endemic to the region. Snakes have a natural resistance to the disease, and while that does not mean they are immune to it, Sosso Fever is much less dangerous to them, rarely being any worse for them than a really bad cold. The same cannot be said for non-Snakes, though, who almost never survive the illness. Because of this, it’s rare for non-Snakes to be seen in the region even as visitors, let alone residents. A popular tale among Snake Laguz is that the Goddess created Sosso Fever to protect Sosso from the Moreans and any future invaders, though how many believe the tale is unknown. The story, often titled The Legend of Kaleya, has existed in oral form since at least the time of the Great Flood. While some versions of the story have been committed to paper, most versions can only be heard from a storyteller who has committed the story to memory. One negative aspect of Sosso Fever is that it has given Sosso Snakes little reason to ever learn about the customs of other nations, as the only foreigners likely to visit Sosso without dying within weeks of arriving are the Desert Snakes of Kabora and Darmura.

The Snake nations are arguably the most peaceful in all of Duat. The last war a Snake nation participated in was the Kheres Succession War, which Kabora and Darmura participated in and which ended in 905. This is in part due to their culture, which prizes patience and cunning, whereas violence is perceived as reckless and unnecessarily destructive. While other cultures usually tell stories about great war heroes or adventurers who typically achieve their goals through the violent defeat of their enemies, Snake stories usually focus on great schemers or thieves who achieve their goals by outmaneuvering their enemies. Stories of getting people out of danger or stealing back a precious treasure without bloodshed are far more common than stories of conventionally defeating one’s enemies. Even then, the antagonists are portrayed as too powerful to be defeated in a conventional fight, requiring some amount of cunning on the protagonist’s part to actually defeat. Armies, entities that exist almost specifically to engage an enemy conventionally, are seen as an unfortunate necessity used only when leaders’ wisdom and cunning have been insufficient to keep the people safe.

Spoiler: Crocodiles
Crocodile Laguz have lived on the islands to the south of mainland Duat, simply known as the Southern Islands, for as long as there have been written accounts of the islands’ existence. They consider themselves the original inhabitants of the islands, many taking that idea farther by insisting that the Southern Islands rightfully belong to Crocodile Laguz and should not be ruled by any other race. Any expansion occurred well before the Great Flood. The general rule is that if it’s an island to the south of mainland Duat, Crocodiles—or at least the remnants of ancient Crocodile settlements—can be found there.

Excluding childhood deaths during the first twenty to thirty years, most Crocodiles live to be around three hundred years old, some living even as long as four hundred. A Crocodile’s path to adulthood is always split into three equally long segments in Crocodile-ruled states, each period usually around twenty years long, though the exact length varies from culture to culture. Crocodiles in the first period are called nestlings and are regarded as unfit for any sort of work (considering that the Beorc equivalent is the first five or six years, this is to be expected). It is during this time that they are taught to talk, walk, and swim. Crocodiles in the second period are called children. During this time, children are taught the basics of the family trade and running a household and are expected to begin helping with chores. Crocodiles in the third period have a different name depending on gender: boys are bachelors and girls are maidens. During this period, bachelors are typically taught how to fight (though this is no longer expected of bachelors in Hangmatana and Pasargad, two of the four kingdoms that form Saka) and maidens are taught one or more of “the feminine arts,” an umbrella term that in Crocodile culture simply refers to activities that are not strongly connected to warfare (though in Parthia, it is common for maidens to be taught warfare, too). Romance is encouraged during this part of a Crocodile’s life, though most Crocodiles are only allowed to marry once they are adults.

Untransformed Crocodile Laguz have medium to dark brown skin that is rough to the touch and dark green or brown hair, though lighter colors have been seen on rare occasions. Other distinguishing features are webbing on each hand that extends to the second knuckle on each finger save for the thumb, as well as a prominent jaw and chin. Thanks to the webbing, Crocodiles, even when untransformed, are naturally better-suited to swimming than Beorc and other Laguz—something helped by the fact that most non-Crocodiles never learn how to swim. Transformed Crocodiles usually have green or brown scales, the color usually matching their hair color, though it doesn’t turn grey with age. Noticeably, while transforming makes Crocodiles incredibly agile swimmers, it comes at the cost of mobility on land.

Because of their natural affinity for the water, Crocodile settlements are almost always built on or near a body of water such as a river or lake. Because of this, Crocodile settlements in arid regions are extremely rare except in the presence of fresh water. Crocodile culture tends to revolve around tight-knit communities in which everyone does their part to help the community. Because of this, rulers in the majority of Crocodile-ruled countries tend to be more so tribal chiefs than feudal lords, only controlling whatever they can protect from their rivals, and the states of Madai, Susa, and Maka are in practice little more than confederations of de facto independent tribal rulers united under monarchs with only nominal authority. It is common in such countries for lords to fight each other, raiding or even conquering one another’s lands without any fear of retribution from their lieges. In the east, there have been efforts to reform society and centralize the government. Sogdia, Elam, and Bactria have all seen some success in resolving internal disputes through rule of law rather than force of arms, though tribalism as a whole has not been rooted out of the countries’ cultures. Hangmatana and Pasargad, on the other hand, have reformed completely, even putting an end to the “warrior culture” that reformists feel make men long for war and dread peace. By contrast, Parthia has ended tribalism due to defensive necessity, but has expanded its warrior culture such that both men and women are expected to know how to fight and that the best thing a person can do is serve in the army.

Gender roles are a major part of traditional Crocodile culture, though they are being phased out in most Crocodile-ruled countries. Traditionally, men are expected to be “protectors.” Whether it is against foreign invaders or common criminals, men are expected to “protect one’s home and one’s people.” To that end, jobs that typically involve fighting are almost always reserved for men. It is considered inappropriate for a man to have any other sort of job. Depowered male Crocodiles are expected to start learning how to use Beorc weapons and are becoming an increasingly common sight among mercenary companies in the south. Women, on the other hand, are expected to be “providers.” This term is actually quite far-reaching in traditional Crocodile culture; the vast majority of noncombatant jobs are considered better-suited to women than men. Because of this, while one might expect the majority of smiths, masons, merchants, and so on to be men in most cultures, the opposite is true in traditional Crocodile culture; men are the minority in those lines of work and are usually only expected to have such jobs temporarily, such as if their area has been peaceful enough as to not need many soldiers and/or guards. Though rulers are almost always male, their advisors are almost always female. A common saying among Crocodiles is that you can judge the wisdom of a man by how many women he listens to.

Hostility toward Beorc is common among Crocodiles due to a history of being invaded and mistreated by expansionistic Beorc states, something started by the Moreans before the Great Flood. Achaea is perhaps the only exception, and even then, Achaea’s past rule over Hangmatana, Pasargad, Bactria, Elam, and Sogdia was a result of conquest. In the southwest, Parthia has spent much of the past century at war with Egir, having only recently attained peace after ceding its remaining island possessions to Budin and much of its territory on Abydos to Egir. Merchant vessels traveling through the area are often targeted by Crocodile pirates from Madai, Susa, and sometimes Maka, the survivors often sold as slaves in Aspandana, a sprawling port city in Madai whose merchants’ guild is notoriously lax in its efforts to ensure only legal slaves are being sold. The near-total lack of centralization in the aforementioned countries makes it next to impossible for rulers to root out the pirates—though some rulers are rumored to be turning a blind eye—or even aiding the pirates—in exchange for a cut of the loot, so it’s difficult to know for certain how much effort is actually being put into getting rid of the pirates.

Spoiler: Elephants
The oldest surviving Elephant Laguz accounts place their ancestral home in the Iunu Forest, a forest on the northern coast of Sosso-Sharun, though there have been settlements as far south as the scrublands north of the Sosso Rainforest since at least the time of the Great Flood. Most of the Elephant settlements are in the Iunu Forest or along the Wyvern Coast, as much of the Sharun Desert is little more than dunes or dry scrubland; only the occasional oasis has enough water to support a settlement, though it is common for these oasis settlements to be inhabited by people most Elephants in the Innu Forest and on the Wyvern Coast would view as outcasts.

Most Elephants who make it through the first fifteen to twenty-five years of their lives can reasonably be expected to live to be at least two hundred years old—though it’s not unheard of for an Elephant to live to be more than three hundred. They typically reach maturity between the ages of forty and seventy. In Botrys and Kheres, Elephants are considered adults at the age of fifty to coincide with the age at which Bears are considered adults in those countries. In Meir and Sharun, Elephants are considered adults at the age of sixty.

Untransformed Elephants are quite large, most adults being seven to eight feet (2.1336 to 2.4384 meters) tall. They also retain the ears and tail of their beast form. Skin is usually a dull tan or medium brown and is rough to the touch, darker skin colors being more common farther inland where the weather is hotter and drier. Hair is typically red, brown, or black, though other colors have been seen on occasion. Transformed Elephants of either sex have tusks and grey skin. In addition, they have very sparse hair (the same color as their untransformed state’s hair), most of it being around the eyes and ears and on the back of the tail.

Elephant culture tends to be defensive in nature; while Elephants will not usually seek confrontations with outsiders, they are generally distrustful of anyone they are unfamiliar with and likely to observe caution when dealing with them. Elephants are expected to bond with those around them, and depending on one’s place in society, one is expected to be part of any of a number of different groups. Soldiers are expected to be close to their unit, guildspeople are expected to be close to their guildmates, peasants are expected to be close to their neighbors, and everyone is expected to be close to their family. Ashuneranism takes on a very special status in most Elephant societies, as it becomes an additional means of bonding with the community. Because of this, Elephants are often more outwardly pious than other races and are generally less trusting of animists and metatheists. The Sharun Desert has come to be viewed as a place for outcasts to go; while they may be unwelcome in “main” Elephant society, they are not criminals, so they are allowed to try to start a new life in a place fonder of them. Most outcasts are presumed to be able to find people like them in any of the innumerable oasis towns that dot the desert, essentially becoming part of a new community that they are able to fit into.

Spoiler: Western Beorc
Western Beorc are thought to have originally inhabited Habesh, a region now controlled almost exclusively by Hicaz, though there have been Western settlements on Abydos, the large island to the southwest of Habesh, since before the Great Flood. After the Great Flood, Westerners also began to migrate to Cape Uyvar and settle there. Starting in the 400s, Uyvarites began to spread southward, fighting Crocodile Laguz for control of the various islands south of the mainland. Most of the islands are now controlled by Budin, a Western Beorc state.

Among Westerners, hair color is almost always a warm color (red, pink, orange, brown, yellow), though certain shades and colors are more common in certain regions. Most Habeshis have pale skin and pink or red hair, though tan skin and orange hair become increasingly common further south. Most Abydans have tan skin and brown, orange, or yellow hair. Most Uyvarites also have tan skin, though dark red is the most common hair color, the darkness being a likely result of Cape Uyvar’s past as an Achaean territory. In the east, dark magenta hair is somewhat common among Uyvarites thanks to intermarriage with Eastern Beorc.

Western culture places almost no emphasis on serving a greater cause or fulfilling larger-than-life ambitions. Rather, Westerners tend to view the pursuit of one’s own happiness, usually in the form of simple goals that even the lowliest of serfs can fulfill, as the best thing one can do with one’s life. In Western society, it is a compliment to be called simple, as it implies honesty and humility. A more negative view of Western culture paints Westerners as lazy hedonists whose merrymaking keeps them from accomplishing anything meaningful.

For a long time, the nations of Egir, Budin, and Kanije have been seen as a sort of unbeatable trio of great Western powers, and proof that there are exceptions to the negative stereotypes about Westerners. Together, they have seized much land from Parthia and other Crocodile-ruled nations and even won a war with the Central Alliance in 913. However, in 1046, the Abydos Coalition was unexpectedly defeated in a war with Hicaz, a previously unimpressive Habeshi kingdom that went on to become the dominant power in western Duat. Under the rule of King Laomedon “the Glorious,” Hicaz fought and won wars with every last one of its neighbors between the years of 1036 and 1058, conquering most of Habesh and partitioning Dulkadir with Plocs after defeating the latter (along with the Central Alliance).

Spoiler: Northern Beorc
Northern Beorc have inhabited Central Duat and the Eshnunna Peninsula since Morean times, though it is unknown which region they inhabited first. In the late 300s, Northerners also began settling in the lowlands of the Sabaean Peninsula, establishing the kingdoms of Sandomir and Belzen in the early 500s after overthrowing the Gold Dragon Laguz rulers that previously controlled the area.

Most Northern Beorc have pale skin. Hair is usually white or light grey, though intermarriage with Western Beorc or Eastern Beorc can add hints of color; in the east, a sizable minority have faint blue, green, cyan, indigo, or purple hair while in the west, a sizable minority have faint red, pink, orange, brown, or yellow hair. Some elements among Northern Beorc nobility look down on those with colored hair as inferior due to the “impurity” of their bloodlines. Such an attitude is frowned upon by most, though.

A common view among Northerners is that the best naturally do well. In practice, those born into nobility are still nobles, but it’s also fairly common in Northern Beorc countries for especially diligent and ambitious commoners to be made nobles. While this can happen anywhere, it’s more common among Northern Beorc, as is the tendency for corrupt nobles to be stripped of their titles. Northern society tends to encourage diligence and ambition while frowning upon laziness and complacency. Despite the greater degree of meritocracy in Northern societies, there is a darker aspect to this custom, as many foreigners traveling through Northern lands claim that Northerners are generally more callous when it comes to the suffering of others, more readily attributing said suffering to something the victims have brought upon themselves than some misfortune that the victims have no control over.

The most powerful Northern country is probably Troki, a large kingdom controlling most of the Eshnunna Peninsula, although the combined might of the Central Alliance, a coalition led by Plocs, is far greater than that of Troki. Plocs—officially the Empire of Plocs—has long been a major player in Duatian politics, using its position in the Central Alliance as a means of expanding its influence across much of Central Duat. House Palatine, whose main branch is the Plocenian Imperial Family, is one of the wealthiest and most prestigious noble houses in all of Duat. However, like House Kyrillidis, their time in the sun may be nearing its end; under Emperor Marduk’s leadership, the Central Alliance recently suffered two humiliating defeats in a pair of disastrous wars.

Spoiler: Eastern Beorc
Most of the history of Eastern Beorc before the Great Flood is unknown; no settlements from that era have been discovered and there are no known Morean accounts of encounters with Eastern Beorc. The first written accounts of Eastern Beorc are Achaean accounts dating from the first few decades after the Great Flood. During this time, many Eastern Beorc began to migrate from the east, settling as far west as the Plocenian Mountains. Nowadays, most Eastern Beorc live in the Calabrian Highlands and the Rusalka River Basin.

Most Eastern Beorc have pale skin, though those living in the areas around mainland Duat’s southern coast (Arwad’s possessions on mainland Duat) tend to have tanner skin. Hair colors are almost always in the cool colors (green, cyan, blue, indigo, purple), fullness and shade depending on the region. In the southern areas of the Calabrian Highlands, where there is a significant degree of intermarriage with Southern Beorc, hair color tends to be darker and faded toward black. In the northern areas of the Calabrian Highlands, hair color is also faded, but usually very light due to intermarriage with Northern Beorc. In the Rusalka River Basin, hair color is normally very full and pure except in old age and is usually a medium shade.

Easterners were the first Beorc to be subjugated in the Bear King’s Wars, suffering the most at the Dorians’ hands, yet also with many choosing to join the Dorians. A common view among Easterners is that good times and bad times come in a cycle, a view probably influenced by Eastern Duat’s extreme seasons; winter and summer are often intolerably cold and hot, respectively, to outsiders, while spring and autumn are quite pleasant in the east. Easterners’ capacity to prepare for and withstand the worst the world has to offer has given them a well-earned reputation for resilience and determination. These values are present, but less common in the Calabrian Highlands, however, where Northern and Southern—and to a lesser extent, Maradite—culture has gradually been assimilated into that of the Eastern populations living there.

Calabria, Leucania, and Longobardia are all members of the Central Alliance. Calabria in particular is an especially important member, its Queen Xenia being married to Prince Enmerkar of Plocs, setting the stage for a possible union in the future, as their heir would stand to inherit both countries. Hellas and Bucellaria have a history of close ties with Longobardia, but are culturally closer to the Anatolian kingdoms to the east. This is a cause of concern for King Gilling of Longobardia, who worries that a united Anatolia might absorb Hellas and Bucellaria and become a threat. Now that Chaldia and Paphlagonia are at war, it is becoming increasingly likely that Anatolia will unite.

Spoiler: Southern Beorc
Southern Beorc have long had a historical connection to the Galatian Peninsula and the areas of mainland Duat directly to the north of it. In the past, Cape Uyvar was inhabited mainly by Southerners, the city of Corinth having been the capital of the powerful Morean Empire. Achaea was the main Southern Beorc state for much of the past thousand years, though as it began to weaken and crumble, many Southerners left for other lands, resulting in a noticeable Southern Beorc diaspora all over Duat (though it is most pronounced along the southern coast. Most Southerners live in what is now Arwad, a rapidly-expanding Bear Laguz empire. The only country still ruled by Southerners is Moesia, a small and relatively insignificant kingdom surrounded by Bear Laguz states.

Most Southern Beorc have tan skin. In Moesia and on the Galatian Peninsula, black and dark grey are the most common hair colors. Elsewhere, a steadily rising degree of intermarriage with Western Beorc and Eastern Beorc has made black and pure grey hair increasingly rare; in the areas of mainland Duat controlled by Arwad, many Southerners have very dark blue, purple, or green hair, while dark red and dark brown are more common in the Gadir Islands, the territory south of the Galatian Peninsula’s westernmost point.

For a long time, the Achaean Empire was a source of great pride for Southern Beorc in general. Though it began to decline in the 500s and was almost gone by the time most Southerners alive today were born, the country’s exploits are well-documented. During its height, and even as it began to decline, Achaea was seen as the greatest country in all of Duat, bringing civilization, prosperity, and knowledge to every land it conquered. Southern culture, owing to its Achaean origins, places a significant amount of emphasis on propriety even among the lowborn. It is sometimes joked that a Southern peasant is better-behaved than a priest of any other race. That said, this attitude has led to Southerners often coming off as conceited and patronizing toward other races.

Moesians and Porphyrians, on the other hand, are culturally closer to Bears than any Beorc. Moesia has been almost completely cut off from Achaea since the Bear King’s Wars almost three hundred years ago while Porphyria was conquered by Kheres during the Bear King’s Wars and is now controlled by Botrys. In both cases, Bear Laguz customs have gradually replaced old Achaean customs among Moesians and Porphyrians. Martha Anthonidis, an Achaean noblewoman who moved to Moesia after being married to King Eskandar III in 1011, famously wrote in her memoirs that she felt “as though [she was] living among Bears in Beorc bodies.”

Spoiler: Marked and Depowered Laguz
A Marked is someone who is descended from both Beorc and Laguz. Though similar in appearance to a Beorc, a Marked, as the name implies, has a mark somewhere on their body. Skin color and hair color depend on heritage. Marked are most common in regions with mixed populations of Beorc and Laguz, but are a minority almost everywhere. Marks have a rather curious way of passing from parent to child. If a Marked has a child with a Beorc or a Laguz, the child will have the same Mark as their Marked parent and in the same location. If, however, a Marked has a child with another Marked, the child will have a new Mark rather than either parent’s Mark. Because most Laguz age more slowly than Beorc, most Marked age more slowly, too, though how noticeable this difference is depends on the kind of Laguz the Marked is descended from and how strong the connection is. The child of a Beorc and a Gold Dragon, for example, will age very slowly, typically taking forty to seventy years to reach maturity. By contrast, someone with seven Beorc great-grandparents and one Bear great-grandparent will age at roughly the same rate as a Beorc—so much so that he/she could conceivably pass himself/herself off as a pure-blooded Beorc were he/she able to conceal his/her Mark.

For unknown reasons, the Laguz parent of a Marked loses his/her ability to transform once the Marked child is conceived, thus being forever trapped in "human" form. A popular myth is that the Laguz parent will regain the power to transform if the mother miscarries. Losing the power to transform is a source of shame for many Laguz and tends to be stigmatized in Laguz societies. The stigmatization of such a disability has also contributed to anti-Beorc and anti-Marked sentiments in Laguz societies, Beorc relationships with Laguz being portrayed as part of some Beorc plot to depower all Laguz and wipe out their race without having to engage in any violence.

Because Marked are from all manner of nations, there is no distinct “Marked culture.” Rather, Marked can usually be expected to adhere to the cultural norms of whatever place they call home.

Religion

Spoiler: The Church of Ashunera (Church of Duat): History and Organization
Something of note regarding the dominant religion on Duat is that their continent has been isolated since the Great Flood. Since the conflicts between the two halves of Ashunera happened on Tellius, the people of Duat had no idea Ashunera had been split into Ashera and Yune, and the people still worship the whole Goddess rather than one or both of her halves. The arrival of Ike, Soren, and the other Tellians that were aboard the ship with them had no effect on the Duatians’ beliefs; rather, had the Archbishop of Radom not intervened, it is very likely they would have been branded heretics for saying such things about the Goddess.
Before the Great Flood, the Church of Duat was tied rather significantly to Morea. With the destruction of Morea in the Great Flood, the Church became significantly less centralized as independent realms rose from the ruins of the once-great empire. Though a degree of hierarchy remained, it was common for each bishop and his/her flock to be completely autonomous. This in turn contributed to the still-present idea that every bishop is equal and no one bishop can interfere in the jurisdiction of others. Rather, higher-ranking bishops, such as archbishops, preside over councils of multiple bishops when dealing with matters pertaining to more than one diocese, but lack the authority to impose their will on those below them in the hierarchy.

After the Great Flood, the Goddess fell silent, saying nothing to the people of Duat and never personally providing them with any guidance. This led to the idea that no one except the Goddess herself truly knows the Goddess’s will, and it is the church’s duty to seek the truth and the right path to it, and in doing so also guide the flock along the right path. Coupled with the absence of Morea’s ability to unite the church, this concept of people always “seeking the light from within the shadows” helped promote dialogue and debate among the clergy rather than strict adherence to a single doctrine as defined by a single leader. Most doctrines shared by different dioceses stem from the time before the Great Flood, when the Goddess still spoke to mortals.

Within the Church, the lowest-ranking formal members of the clergy are the priests, normally addressed as “Father” or “Mother.” A priest either heads an individual church or assists another priest in tending to their church. A priest may also serve any of a variety of lesser roles, including, but not limited to, attending to the ill and wounded, hearing confessions, marrying couples, providing spiritual guidance to troubled individuals, and teaching students. Officially, a priest’s true love is his or her service to his or her faith, but this does not mean a priest is forbidden to have other loves. Though some elements within the Church seek a change to this policy, priests are currently allowed to marry and raise families. In some cases, this is actually preferable, as it allows priests to speak from personal experience when providing counsel to troubled couples and families.

A bishop, styled “His/Her Grace,” oversees ecclesiastical matters within his or her diocese and is the head priest of a cathedral, a large church that serves as the seat of a diocese, though he or she is often assisted by acolytes and lower-ranking priests. In addition, a bishop has the authority to ordain new members of the clergy, grant dispensations in the case of marriages that are normally forbidden, and grant divorces. Bishops also form councils with others within their archdiocese for discussion of church policy, election of new bishops, and policies pertaining to the archdiocese as a whole instead of individual dioceses. Finally, a bishop has the authority to request that someone be excommunicated or anathematized. In the past, only monastics were allowed to become bishops, but this was changed in 351, and rank-and-file priests, even those with families, are now allowed to become bishops. A bishop may serve for fifty years before having to step down. If they are still alive and healthy after an additional fifty years, they may become a bishop again. This policy was implemented in large part because of Patriarch Menelik of Cidde, a Gold Dragon who lived lavishly and decadently during the latter half of his 278-year service before finally being defrocked in 431 for corruption.

Strictly speaking, an archbishop, styled “His/Her Eminence,” is no higher in rank than any other bishop. He or she only has authority over his or her own diocese, though said diocese is usually a major city or the capital of a country. An archbishop has all the same duties as any other bishop, though he or she is also expected to host and preside over council meetings, and though he or she has no more authority when it comes to deciding policies or electing new bishops, his or her words often carry more weight due to his or her presiding role in the council. As with bishops, archbishops are elected by their respective councils.

The highest-ranking bishop is a Patriarch or Matriarch, styled “His/Her Beatitude.” As with an archbishop, he or she only has actual authority over his or her own diocese, but he or she hosts and presides over councils between the various archbishops in his or her Patriarchate. In addition, he or she meets with the six other Patriarchs to discuss matters pertaining to the entirety of the church. Traditionally, meetings are held in Nauplia, seat of the Patriarchate of Nauplia and current capital of Arwad. If a meeting in Nauplia is an unreasonable option (such as if Nauplia is under siege, as it was from 1051 to 1053), the meeting is held in Corinth or Gao, the respective seats of the Patriarchates of the same name and the respective capitals of Rumelia and Kabora. When a vote is required in such a meeting, all bishops are summoned to the meeting to provide their input. Patriarchs are elected by the bishops in their respective Patriarchates.

The clergy typically wear black robes to symbolize their spiritual journey in the shadows, though more colorful vestments will be worn during services. Rank-and-file priests typically wear a red phelonion over their robes during services. Bishops will instead wear mantles that reach to the floor, completely covering their robes. Regular bishops wear purple, archbishops wear blue, and Patriarchs wear green.

Some people seek to renounce all earthly pursuits in order to seek a closer relation to and greater understanding of the Goddess. These people swear oaths of monasticism and confine themselves in monasteries. Monastics (monks and nuns), addressed as “Brother” or “Sister,” live lives that revolve around devotion to the Goddess and theological study and discussion. Those who seek to become monastics must first spend some time as novices in order to prove their devotion to the monastic life and will only be formally accepted into the monastery once the abbot or abbess deems him or her spiritually capable.

Upon proving himself or herself to the abbot or abbess, a novice is asked to reaffirm his or her commitment to the monastic lifestyle; such a renunciation of worldly pleasure must be voluntary lest one’s yearning for such things distract oneself from spiritual pursuits. If he or she reaffirms his or her commitment and swears the monastic vows of humility, obedience, poverty, and chastity, he or she is formally declared a monastic. Monks are given a cap and short veil to wear (though they are allowed to not wear the veil in situations in which it would get in the way) while nuns are given a larger veil that covers most of the head save for the face, as well as the hair all the way down to the middle of the back, and is less prone to getting in the way due to its different design. Monastics are also forbidden to cut their hair—including facial hair in the case of monks—after swearing the vows.

It is common for monastics to be called upon to serve as priests in individual churches, in which case they are given the title of hieromonk or hieronun. In addition, especially devoted monastics are often considered for the title of bishop. In fact, monastics make up a disproportionately large portion of the clergy’s higher administrative ranks. Finally, some monastics, with the blessing of their respective abbots or abbesses, may live a life of solitude as hermits. Most live off the land with some support from their respective monasteries, but some instead wander the land.

Spoiler: The Church of Ashunera: Scripture and Legal System
Almost all of the Church’s policies stem from the interpretation of the Codex, the Tales, the Acts, and the Rulings. A Ruling is a decision issued either by an individual bishop or group of bishops or by a Patriarchal Council on matters pertaining to the Church’s laws. A Lesser Ruling is issued by an individual bishop or group of bishops; Ashunerans are not considered universally bound by it. That only changes if it becomes a Greater Ruling, which is either issued by a Patriarchal Council or is a Lesser Ruling that a Patriarchal Council has declared universally binding. The majority of Rulings are never even considered by a Patriarchal Council, though they may be looked into if they pertain to another issue being considered.

A Ruling is issued based first and foremost on interpretation of relevant passages from the Codex, a code of laws said to come from the Goddess herself. Whether or not a passage is relevant is a very important matter because of this, as treating a relevant passage as irrelevant or treating an irrelevant passage as relevant could mean unintentionally going against the word of the Goddess. As such, proper interpretation is crucial. If the interpretation in a previous Ruling is called into question, the Ruling may be nullified if the interpretation is declared either incorrect or insufficiently supported.
The Tales are a collection of accounts of the Goddess’s actions from both when she walked among mortals and when she watched over them from beyond the physical realm. If a question is not explicitly answered through interpretation of the Codex, the Goddess’s view on the matter might be inferred from her own response to it as recorded in the Tales. The Tales are not considered as reliable as the Codex, however, in large part because it is common for there to be multiple accounts of the same event as recounted by different people; there are some accounts that appear to show the Goddess punishing a particular act while others show her permitting or even encouraging it.

The Acts are the noble actions of various saints. The clergy’s view is that by making someone a saint, the Goddess has praised at least some of their actions. The Acts are considered separate from the Tales because the Goddess’s only action here is the decision to make someone a saint. This also makes them even less reliable than the Tales as a source on the Goddess’s opinion, as her reasons for making someone a saint are unknown to mortals. In addition, the Church’s process of recognizing someone as a saint has been called flawed on more than one occasion, so it is entirely possible that some people the Church recognizes as saints have not been declared saints by the Goddess. Likewise, it is possible that the Church has failed to recognize a saint that the Goddess has declared a saint.

If the Codex, Tales, and Acts do not show the Goddess’s stance on an issue, the clergy will turn to past Rulings that are relevant and have not been nullified. A Ruling categorizes the act under examination into one of five groups. If something is required, it is something that all Ashunerans are obligated to do as long as they are able to; it is a sin to not do it unless you are unable to do it. An example of a required act is almsgiving. Ashunerans are obligated to give at least 1% of their wealth to the poor each year; the only people exempt from this requirement are the poor themselves. If something is encouraged, it will be counted among a person’s good deeds in the next world, although failing to do it is not a sin. An example of an encouraged act is attending services weekly. If something is permitted, it is something that Ashunerans are neither encouraged to do nor discouraged from doing. An example of a permitted act is eating meat. If something is discouraged, it will be counted among a person’s bad deeds in the next world, although it is not a sin. An example of a discouraged act is practicing dark magic; due to the threat it can pose to a person’s soul, the Church only trusts a select few monastics to study dark magic with the caution it is due. If something is forbidden, it is a sin to do it. An example of a forbidden act is murder; the Church forbids killing another person except as a punishment sanctioned by law or as a last resort when protecting oneself or someone else.

Excommunication and anathematization are both acts that limit a person’s connection to the Church. An excommunicated Ashuneran is still an Ashuneran and subject to the Church’s protection, but may not participate in many of the Church’s traditional ceremonies. Only bishops have the authority to call for someone’s excommunication, which will be granted only if the majority of bishops in the individual’s archdiocese vote in favor of excommunication. Typically, excommunication is lifted after sufficient penance by the excommunicated. Anathematization is far more serious and is only invoked against people who have gravely sinned and ignored any attempts by the Church to get them to change their ways. Anyone declared anathema is a heretic as far as the Church is concerned; they are not subject to the Church’s protection, they are forbidden to set foot on Church property without the permission of the clergyperson in charge, they may not participate in any Church activities, and in some countries they may be imprisoned. Officially, all non-Ashunerans are already anathema, though it is rare for the Church to call for punishment of non-Ashunerans on the basis of disbelief alone. Nobles who have been anathematized risk having any titles they hold revoked and being disqualified from succession if their liege is particularly pious (or opportunistic). A person may only be anathematized if the majority of bishops in their Patriarchate vote in favor or all of the bishops in their archdiocese vote in favor. Anathematization is only lifted after proven serious repentance by the anathematized.

Spoiler: The Church of Ashunera: Sainthood
Strictly speaking, only the Goddess may declare someone a saint. The Church is involved only because the Goddess has been silent since the Great Flood. However, it is believed that the Goddess still gives mortals signs when she wishes to tell them something. It is from these signs that the path to sainthood begins. After a person has died, the occurrence of miracles is considered a sign that the Goddess has declared them a saint. The go-to example would be the story of how a blind man regained his sight while visiting the grave of the then-unrecognized St. Sava of Cascuba. Other well-known examples of miracles are a saint’s body not decomposing or some of the saint’s personal possessions not suffering any damage from the passage of time.

Ideally, rumors of these miracles eventually reach the bishop of the diocese in which the saint is buried, at which point the bishop reports the rumors to his/her archbishop. The archbishop puts together a committee of priests, one appointed by each of the other bishops in the archdiocese, to investigate the rumors. If the committee reports that the rumors are true, then they are instructed to learn all they can about the saint’s life. Once the committee is ready to report back, the archbishop calls together a council of all the bishops in the archdiocese, himself/herself included. There, the bishops hear the committee’s report on both the alleged miracle(s) and on the saint’s life. Ideally, if the evidence of the miracles is strong enough, the council will formally declare the person a saint—though again, this is merely a formality, as the belief is that the Goddess has already declared the person a saint through the occurrence of the aforementioned miracles. If the evidence is not strong enough, the council will consider what kind of life the saint lived. Ideally, piety and good deeds serve as extra evidence in favor of sainthood in the event that there is insufficient confidence in the rumored miracles being a sign from the Goddess.

That is only the ideal way things go, though. While it cannot be said for certain how common an occurrence it is, it is not unheard of for rumors of miracles to be fabricated by corrupt clergymen in the hope of getting an unfit person recognized as a saint. As such, it is rumored that some of the people declared saints by the Church are actually not saints. There are also several “unrecognized saints,” people for whom the evidence of miracles is said to be very strong, but due to corruption within the committee or the council, they were never formally recognized as saints by the Church. The best-known example is Nounfari of Kirina, almost universally considered a saint by the locals and whose still-pristine robe is stored away in the city’s Cathedral of St. Katherine the Black. He died at a time when Kirina was controlled by one of the ill-fated Southern Kingdoms. Supporters of his sainthood claim that racism among the region’s all-Beorc clergy at the time ensured that the rumors of miracles surrounding the Snake Laguz monk were ignored. However, those who resent such corruption in the Church may find some solace in the belief that only the Goddess can truly make someone a saint; regardless of the Church’s fallible investigations, all true saints are recognized as such in the next world and all those incorrectly declared saints by the Church are also in their rightful place.

Spoiler: Animism
Animism is technically an umbrella term for any religion that attributes a soul or spiritual essence to non-sentient beings. The existence of spirits, like the existence of the Goddess, is a proven fact in this world, as many mages have seen spirits, some even interacting with them. The conflict between animism and Ashuneranism stems largely from the questions of whether the spirits are to be worshipped and whether they should even be interacted with. The Church of Ashunera is monotheistic and believes that only Ashunera should be worshipped. The primary reasoning behind such a belief is that the Church considers Ashunera superior to all other beings. Therefore, worshipping any other beings, such as spirits, would mean tacitly declaring them her equals, which is blasphemy in their eyes. In addition, many animist sects attribute most natural disasters to the actions of spirits. As such, while the Church does not officially regard spirits as evil, and has not formally declared them responsible for natural disasters, its teachings discourage interacting with spirits on the grounds that they are dangerous.

Despite this, the Church only supports the suppression of hostile sects such as the Pepelites. Friendly sects, such as the Jivotists, are treated as misguided, but harmless. As such, the Church’s treatment of them rarely goes beyond sending missionaries to attempt to convert animists to Ashuneranism; the threat and use of violence as a means of conversion is forbidden. However, it is not unheard of for renegade priests to adopt a “with us or against us” attitude toward animists and support hostility toward all sects. The Church does not condone such behavior, but it is rare for there to be any organized effort to punish those who engage in it. The only well-known recent case happened in 1039 when Isimud, the Bishop of Wenden, was defrocked and excommunicated for inciting the Wenden Massacre, a riot in which many animists living in and around the city of Wenden were murdered by Isimud’s congregation. Isimud’s successor called for him to be anathematized, but nothing came of it.

Animist beliefs vary from sect to sect. Some only worship spirits. Others worship spirits in addition to the Goddess. Which spirits are to be worshipped is also something that is not universally agreed upon by animists. Practices also tend to vary, usually in accordance with which spirits are worshipped. Some sects allow followers to favor certain spirits over others. Other sects require followers to worship the same spirits. Unlike Ashunerans, whose faith tends to be separate from their daily lives (monastics and other clergy notwithstanding), most animists have beliefs that cannot properly be separated from daily life. Because of this, and also in part due to past persecution by Ashunerans, most animists live in isolated communities with those who share their beliefs.

How a sect is treated by non-believers depends largely on two factors. The first factor is how it behaves toward non-believers. The second factor is non-believers’ recent experiences with animists. In Marad, animists are generally just as welcome as Ashunerans. Most of the animist sects in the Maradite Highlands are peaceful and friendly toward outsiders. Most prominently, Jivotists, whose beliefs forbid violence, are among the few animists who are typically willing to live among non-believers rather than in isolated communities. By contrast, Calisians tend to be fearful of animists, if not outright hostile toward them. This is in large part because the Pepelites, the most violent sect in recorded history, terrorized the region now controlled by Calis until they were wiped out by Calis’s founders. The “Heretic Pact” is a common practice among landowning nobles who have animist subjects. The pact works as follows: animists must pay higher taxes than Ashunerans and may not leave their villages without explicit permission from the landowner. In exchange, the landowner may not force them to serve in his/her armies. In addition, the landowner is obligated to protect his/her animist subjects from any and all threats on his/her land. If, for example, a bunch of Ashuneran serfs form a mob and attack an animist village, the animists do not have to pay their taxes that year unless the landowner’s forces come to the village’s defense.

A unique aspect of animism—and one of its advantages over Ashuneranism—is the use of shamans as a means of communicating with spirits. While it is thought that Ashunera has not directly communicated with mortals since the Great Flood, spirits still readily communicate with those who have the power to see and hear them. Such people are typically skilled practitioners of Anima Magic known as shamans, but Vessels also have the power to communicate with spirits thanks to their housing a spirit within their own bodies. Shamans and Vessels, thanks to their power, can convey the knowledge and wisdom of the spirits to all those who are willing to hear—though even those who worship spirits recognize that they are fallible beings, so the possibility of a spirit lying or simply being mistaken is something most shamans and Vessels are aware of.

Spoiler: Metatheism
Though some outsiders regard metatheism as a religion, most metatheists consider it a philosophy instead. At its core is the belief that while the Goddess exists, people draw their strength from within rather than receive it as a blessing from the Goddess. By extension, this means essentially relying on oneself and one’s fellow mortals rather than the Goddess. Metatheism has its origins in the early Fifth Century MP among dark mages, whose magic is powered by their own souls, and was developed in response to the Church’s opposition to the practice of Dark Magic. Since then, the idea has spread into people from almost all walks of life, and it is rumored that even a few clergymen are secretly metatheists.

Other than their core beliefs, however, metatheists have a variety of different views. While some are outwardly hostile toward any sort of reliance on divine aid, criticizing what they view as dependence on the Goddess, others keep an open mind and do not go out of their way to find conflict with animists and the Church. Because there is no specific set of religious rules metatheists consider themselves bound by, there is no metatheist clergy or scripture; the closest thing they have are prominent philosophers and their writings. Among metatheists, there are three major—though not necessarily conflicting—schools of thought.

The first important metatheist philosopher, Alfred of Cascuba, considered one’s own free will paramount to one’s growth as a person. He rejected the concept of any sort of universal moral code, believing such a code to simply be a means of control. At its core, Alfredism, as it came to be called, is simply the idea that nothing is inherently good and nothing is inherently evil. Many Alfredites have written about feeling a sense of liberation through such an outlook on life. It is not unheard of, however, for people to take the concept to logical extremes and use it to justify hedonistic or barbaric pursuits. Such behavior is sometimes attributed to metatheism by Ashunerans, though many metatheists argue that hedonism and barbarism are not exclusive to metatheists. Alfredites tend to have a neutral attitude toward the Church. To an Alfredite, if someone can find happiness in adhering to the Church’s rules, it is not the Alfredite’s place to judge. However, Alfredites generally object to any effort to make people do things they would never do of their own free will, something that they tend to feel some elements in the Church try to do with their followers.

The Purge of the Shadows, a Church-sponsored attempt to eradicate Dark Magic that officially lasted from 461 to 548, led to the development of a second school of thought that supported the idea of a malevolent Goddess. The idea of a corrupt church gained support among persecuted populations, but Achaman of Colchis took the idea a step further. His view was not so much that the Church was corrupt, but rather that the Goddess herself was evil and those who followed her were either themselves evil or had been tricked into believing the Goddess was good. The atrocities committed during the Purge led many metatheists to agree with Achaman’s viewpoint, dubbed Achamanism. Many Achamanites advocate the complete destruction of the Church because of this, some even pondering the possibility of deicide. This outward hostility toward the Goddess, and by extension, her followers, is arguably the main contributing factor to tensions between metatheists and Ashunerans.

A third school of thought was developed in the mid-800s by Lydia of Radom and was named Lydianism after her. Though influenced by the writings of Achaman, she disagreed with his belief that the Goddess was evil. Rather, she considered the Great Flood and the Great Petrification signs that the Goddess was good, but fallible. Building off of this, she proposed that good and evil were independent of the will of any individual, be they mortal or divine, and that people should seek out the true nature of good and evil through their own experiences and interactions with those around them. It was Lydia’s opinion that though the Goddess was a potential source of wisdom, it was unwise to build one’s moral code exclusively off of the Goddess’s words and actions. Compared to adherents of the other major schools of thought, Lydians are generally friendly toward the Church. To a Lydian, the Church is a potential source of wisdom, but it should not be considered the sole authority on what is right and what is wrong.

Spoiler: Spirits
Save for a select few people, the inhabitants of Duat are in agreement on Ashunera, often simply called the Goddess, being the only divine being. However, there are also innumerable lesser supernatural beings, collectively referred to as spirits. Spirits can only be seen by Vessels and sufficiently competent practitioners of Anima Magic. They are said to be souls without bodies. This is supported by the tendency of some spirits to inhabit physical objects or living beings. Though it is rare for a spirit to inhabit a person’s body, there are multiple people who have willingly shared their bodies with spirits. Such people are called Vessels. Spirits give their hosts incredible magical power, though Vessels have testified that their own souls are weakened by the spirits they share their bodies with. This can lead to Vessels seeming more distant and emotionless than regular people. In addition, a spirit leaves a mark on a Vessel when inhabiting his body, and said mark is indistinguishable from the marks that exist on Marked. This can cause problems for Beorc Vessels in societies where Marked are generally looked down upon and/or mistreated. Laguz Vessels instead tend to possess abnormally powerful transformations. A popular rumor is that Agdy was a Vessel, thus explaining his incredible strength in combat, though it remains only a rumor, and there are no reliable accounts of Agdy having a Vessel’s mark.

There are eight types of spirits: earth, water, dark, winter, wind, thunder, light, and fire. Each type of spirit is capable of inhabiting a person’s body, though each type has its own preferred places to be. In their natural form, all spirits look like wisps of glowing gas—except for dark spirits, which don’t glow. Each type of spirit has a type of spirit that it is naturally opposed to. This natural opposition is what most animists attribute natural disasters to; earthquakes supposedly happen when earth spirits attack wind spirits, for example. The simple “just ask them” approach to learning if they’re actually behind such phenomena tends to be futile, however, as some spirits claim responsibility while others deny responsibility. The opposition between spirits also surfaces in Vessels; someone carrying a winter spirit will usually have difficulty getting along with someone carrying a fire spirit, for example.

Earth spirits favor inhabiting the land and the creatures that live off of it. Most animists attribute earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to earth spirits fighting other spirits, though they are also said to give the soil the nutrients necessary for plants to grow. In addition, due to mortals’ connection to the land, earth spirits are generally the most sociable of the spirits, approaching and interacting with mortals much more readily than other spirits. Because of this, more Vessels share their bodies with earth spirits than any other type of spirit, though the spirits show a slight preference for Elephant Laguz, Bear Laguz, and Snake Laguz as Vessels. Earth spirits naturally oppose wind spirits and appear brown in their natural form.
Water spirits favor inhabiting the water and the creatures that live in it. Most water spirits stay in the rivers, lakes, and oceans, though they can occasionally be seen drifting up into the sky in small groups, and others come down to the ground when it rains. Most animists consider them responsible for the presence, excess, or lack of water, making them another group of spirits considered vital to life. Because people spend most of their lives on land, water spirits tend not to inhabit Vessels, although they do have a preference for Crocodile Laguz. Water spirits naturally oppose thunder spirits and appear blue in their natural form.

Dark spirits tend to dwell underground during the day, only surfacing during the night. Because of this and the fact that they do not glow, even mages and Vessels rarely see dark spirits. When a solar eclipse happens, dark spirits often come out of their hiding places, a phenomenon that has led to the belief among most animists that solar eclipses happen when dark spirits attempt to blot out the sun and make the surface world more pleasant for themselves. Because most people sleep during the night and are active during the day, dark spirits rarely inhabit Vessels, though they have a slight preference for Beorc. Dark spirits naturally oppose light spirits and appear black in their natural form.

Winter spirits favor cold places, congregating near the tops of mountains during the summer and spreading out across most of the land during the winter. Many animists believe that their annual departure from the mountains is what causes winter, although others believe winter is the cause of their departure rather than the other way around. Due to where they favor living, winter spirits generally inhabit Vessels that live in higher regions, such as the mountains and highlands in central Duat. Winter spirits naturally oppose fire spirits and appear pale blue in their natural form.

Wind spirits are usually high in the sky, occasionally swooping down when there is a powerful gust of wind near the ground. Some animists thus consider them to be the cause of such winds, although others see wind spirits as playful beings that are simply riding the gusts for excitement. Because of their preferred home, wind spirits have a special fondness of Eagle Laguz and Gold Dragon Laguz as Vessels, though they are willing to inhabit the body of anyone who spends enough time in the sky. As with winter spirits, most wind spirits’ Vessels live in higher regions, though temperature is less of an issue for them. Wind spirits naturally oppose earth spirits and appear green in their natural form.

Thunder spirits dwell in the sky, typically congregating in and around rain clouds, often coming down to the surface with bolts of lightning. Some animists believe it rains when water spirits are being chased out of the sky by thunder spirits, with lightning bolts being the thunder spirits attacking some water spirits in order to intimidate them into staying near the ground. Others think that, like wind spirits with gusts of wind, thunder spirits simply ride lightning bolts for fun. As with water spirits, thunder spirits almost never inhabit Vessels, though as with wind spirits, they have a slight preference for Eagle Laguz and Dragon Laguz due to their spending more time in the sky. Thunder spirits naturally oppose water spirits and appear yellow in their natural form.

Light spirits follow the sun in the sky, although some animists believe they move the sun across the sky instead. As such, most are only seen during the day, though some appear near fires during the night or follow the moon if it’s present. Some animists believe light spirits are what make fires and the moon glow and that they do so to scare off dark spirits that might harm them during the night. The simpler explanation is that they just congregate near sources of light. Though most people are active during the day, light spirits are usually in the sky, making it rare for them to interact with mortals. They tend to favor Beorc and Gold Dragon Laguz as Vessels, most likely due to their ability to generate light through magic or breath, respectively. Light spirits naturally oppose dark spirits and appear white in their natural form.

Fire spirits congregate in hot places. While most follow the sun in the sky alongside light spirits, others come down to the surface because of the fires that mortals light on the surface. A common story in various animist traditions is that fire was originally something only fire spirits could create. According to the story, the spirits taught mortals to make their own fires, but the mortals were impatient and never bothered to learn how to keep fires under control—hence why fires sometimes rage out of control and cause destruction. Fire spirits, like light spirits, favor Beorc and Gold Dragon Laguz as vessels, though they tend to be less sociable than light spirits. Fire spirits naturally oppose winter spirits and appear orange in their natural form.

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This post reserved for the character list and other general information on the party.
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CUSTOM TITLE! LALALALA! :D

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Okay. Here goes.

I'm Lida_Rose, with an underscore. I have a Skype account. The GM already has me in his contacts.

I try to go to bed by 12:30am and wake up by 12:30pm every day. I . . . er, kinda try to get lots and lots of sleep. Because it's important that my mind remains as sharp as possible~

I do have times when I can't be online. When I'm at a doctor's office or physical therapy, namely. But, I will do my best to ensure that when I have these appointments is known in far enough advance that battles should not conflict with them.

My timezone is CST.

My bios have been PMed. Everything save a couple lore entries have been read multiple times. I am as prepared as can be for this RP! I will do my best to RP well! Let's get this show on the road!

. . . At everyone's earliest convenience, that is.
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I'm getting a familiar sense of deja vu....

I'm on a.phone on the way to work right now so I'll try and get a bio later but consider this a notification of intent.

Also I've got an idea of a crutch character provided I'm allowed a second "real" character with no trouble for the Crutch being killed off once we are capable enough.
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CUSTOM TITLE! LALALALA! :D

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Huh. I also had an idea for a crutch character.

You know what that means.

CRUTCH FIGHT!!!

. . . Just kidding.

I sent in a bio for a starter character who isn't crutch, just in case someone else wanted to crutch. So, fighting is unnecessary.

That being said, I would be okay with having my crutch be my only character.

Well, anyway, if you think your idea is as good as or better than mine, then go right ahead!

Spoiler: My Idea
Remember how in ye olde Fire Emblem RP, people said this certain character was pretty crutch? Bringing her back was my plan! With some tweaking so she wouldn't hog all of the experience, that is.


I'm glad you wanna join, Pierre! Let's dominate together, like always! :edgey:
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Pierre wrote:
Also I've got an idea of a crutch character provided I'm allowed a second "real" character with no trouble for the Crutch being killed off once we are capable enough.

Does this mean you plan on having your crutch character killed off eventually? I won't keep that from happening, though if you've got a specific plan in mind for the circumstances of his/her death, I'd appreciate you telling me about it. As for a second "real" character, that's not a problem. Any character under your control whom you relinquish control of may be replaced with a new character if you so desire.

As a general note to everyone, please also keep in mind that the party needs to choose whether to side with Chaldia or Paphlagonia. This isn't going to be like Fates, in which you're given a few missions for each side before you're forced to choose; the party starts out committed to serving one of the two sides. There might be opportunities to defect later in the RP, but I make no promises. Ideally, everyone will be able to reach a consensus before the final test battle is over. If not, we'll just put the matter to a vote at that point. In the event of a deadlock, I'll cast the tiebreaking vote.
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Yeah Dragon Laguz were pretty dope, dominating forever! XD

My crutch idea would be for...one of the upgraded priest classes. An old Bishop or some kind of authority figure. He might not even be killed off just "recalled" for duties elsewhere or something. Really just until we get the ball rolling. One that has access to Physic as I think ranged healing is a suitable crutch for other people to lean on. Healers are notoriously slow to level anyway so having a 'crutch' one to get us going I think would be handy and they wouldn't steal any EXP from the party with kills (unless absolutely necessary).
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i was planning on making an acolyte-bishop myself if that sways how you make your crutch character
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Mister Gruel wrote:
i was planning on making an acolyte-bishop myself if that sways how you make your crutch character


Nah it doesn't y'see the crucial thing is being to start with higher-level equipment. I played a healer last time around and it still wasn't easy. Need to reach people and all the while you are the frailest thing on the battlefield. Not saying that we shouldn't double-up on healers but having access to Physic early on is something that I think is vital, however we would still need a good healer for when we take the Crutch character away.

Oh and regarding the General's option rules:
Weather System: Sure! Can try them!
Weapon Subtypes: Hrm not sure about this one.
Capturing enemies: Absolutely
Realistic inventory: Nah man, sounds like a pain. If you want an in-universe explanation then presumably this is all going down on a battlefield with lots of peons. When we 'teleport' an item to storage the in-universe explanation can be we give the item(s) to a nameless courier and have them run it back to the supply. It's what supply lines are for. Maybe have a specific NPC who doesn't move on the battlefield to represent the "supply line" and we could then request items and the like mid-battle from them.

Also I vote Paphlagonia!
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sounds good to me. the two priests can have all sorts of wacky healing hijinks together

and i vote Chaldia but am ready to accept that Paphlagonia will probably win
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Hm.

Spoiler: Counter-proposal to high-level healer . . .
Dragon transforms. She transports Mister Gruel's healer to the party, or injured members of the party to him. She could also serve as a wall to protect characters from more powerful enemies if needed. Besides, we're going to want the acolyte to get as much experience as early as possible, since as Pierre said, they are notoriously slow to level to begin with. Utilizing rescues as early as possible, we might not need the Physic staff. In other words, my counter-proposal is "Dragons ftw."


Hey, General, could we try out different crutches in different test battles and see which works best for the party?

I also vote Paphlagonia.
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>my healer gets to ride a dragon in battle

i must say, Lida makes a good argument
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Hmm that's fair, dragon's are time-limited though and have an actual DANGEROUS counter-attack which will possibly consume more experience as it's really unlikely a Bishop will kill something provided they are wielding a staff. Anything that attacks the dragon will be doomed.

Also a dragon is great for damage and mobility, the damage isn't entirely necessary and so the crutch dragon might be sitting out (or worse getting attacked and counter-attacking). We'd be able to discuss all moves so it'd only be if the low-level healer could not reach the place yet or use higher level staffs like rescue.

However it is a real concern to steal EXP, I'd be fine with double-trials of crutch characters.
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I'm not sure what you're used to when accepting OCs, so I can add more to this if you would like.

Spoiler: Muh OC
Name: Marrid Cochran, "Father Cochran"

Race: Beorc

Sex: Male

Class: Acolyte

Level: Are we allowed to start beyond level 1?

Weapon Experience: All in Staff

Growth Type: Fixed

Asset/Flaw: None

Equipment:
-Heal (800)
-Vulernary (800)
-Bronze Sword (350, not to be used in combat)

Appearance: Father Cochran is of average height and weight being 6' and 170 lbs. He has a light complexion and somewhat weathered skin. Though he doesn't look old, his face is a bit lined with age. His hair is gray and is thinning a bit. Cochran has vibrant brown eyes, an average nose and a big smile. Being in his forties, Father Cochran is fairly agile and strong, having no trouble getting around.

Cochran wears long brown robes that go down just past his feet. The robe also has a hood that he usually keeps down. The robes are tied up by a rope at the waist. He has multiple sets of robes made of different materials depending on the season and weather. He also wears sandals or shoes, depending on the terrain and season. His robes have a pocket on the inside where he stores bifocals for reading. He also has a scabbard attached to the side of his robes for his bronze sword.

Personality: Father Cochran has the personality of an enthusiastic man younger than himself. He always tries to stay optimistic and upbeat. Thanks to his profession he has trained in public speaking and will use this skill to encourage his comrades and give off a positive attitude. Cochran is usually loud and outspoken, sometimes to the point of annoyance, but he can usually tell when to quit. Being a traveling preacher of sorts, Cochran can naturally make speeches and sermons and is most comfortable talking to a group, though he can give individual religious advice. Beyond giving said advice, though, Cochran isn't the best at speaking one-on-one.

Despite training to be a priest, Cochran is very down-to-earth and somewhat sarcastic. He keeps a lose interpretation of the Codex, Tales and other religious writings. Though he actively tries to follow the Church and not sin, he doesn't mind if members of his group "slip up" and do minor things that other Priests and Bishops might disapprove of. He follows the philosophy that we'll all be judged in the end. Cochran always makes sure to be more strict and less sarcastic around other Priests and Bishops, however. When it comes down to it, Cochran will always put his faith first, for better or for worse.

Cochran is a spirited debater and is always up for a spirited one on any subject. Though he tolerates some questionable behavior, he will not stand for his religion being put down or mocked and isn't afraid to be sarcastic to people who do this. Though he tries to tone it down around other religious officials, Cochran will also be sarcastic and make dry remarks, especially when having to put up with stupidity.

Far from a military tactician, Cochran prefers to leave strategic decisions to professionals and will always listen to and consider other opinions on strategy and the like. Being the drifter he is, Cochran has met his fair share of bandits and raiders over the years and believes that he can keep a cool head in combat, though he hasn't participated in a major battle of any kind. He keeps his bronze sword with him in case of emergencies, but he isn't adept with it and mostly has it for show.

Background: Hailing from Troki, Cochran had always wanted to be a greater part of the church since childhood, though he was never a fan of all of the rules and regulations he would have to follow. Upon reaching adulthood Cochran applied to become a seminarian (or the equivalent of a priest-in-training). Cochran was never the best student and wasn't well-liked by some of the higher-up Priests, which only increased his feelings of indifference towards all of the rules he had to follow.

In his mid twenties Cochran left his home to become the equivalent of a traveling preacher and has been walking through the northern countries ever since, being a guest at different church services, giving religious advice to others and healing others, both physically and emotionally. He keeps in contact with the Church of Ashunera and sometimes does errands and tasks for them. The most frequent country he visits is Troki and has helped their military on more than one occasion, giving him some minor experience in healing on the battlefield. Overall happy with his life, Cochran plans on continuing his work once the conflict between Chaldia and Paphlagonia.

Additional Information: I may add something later, but for now, nothing.

If we do go with the Bishop Crutch idea, I'm all for relating my character to his if Pierre or someone else wants to.
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Lida_Rose wrote:
Hey, General, could we try out different crutches in different test battles and see which works best for the party?

Of course. One purpose I wanted the test battles to serve was giving the players chances to test out different classes and different party compositions. Sorry about not making that clearer from the get-go.
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General Luigi wrote:
Lida_Rose wrote:
Hey, General, could we try out different crutches in different test battles and see which works best for the party?

Of course. One purpose I wanted the test battles to serve was giving the players chances to test out different classes and different party compositions. Sorry about not making that clearer from the get-go.


Then we have ourselves a crutch competition! Oh, yeah! I'll show you that the Dragon is best crutch option with test battles rather than words!

Well, in all honesty, either would be good if utilized properly. When it comes to the Dragon potentially kill-stealing, though, I'll just have to be extra careful to keep her out of enemy range.

Also, Mister Gruel's OC looks good~
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Sorry about the lack of activity; I've been hoping for a fourth player (I'm not counting myself) to post before I start the test battles.
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Do you see the black one...or the white?

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Honestly, I was really debating on wanting to join this as it seemed really neat. But I have been so busy with constant doctor visits and therapy and it's going to pile up even more in the near future that I wouldn't have had the time. I do hope one day in the future I might get to participate in something like this if you guys ever do another one.
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CatMuto wrote:
Pierre wrote:
Man...that looks dull...this actually makes me worried for KH3 (since that team worked on the battle system)


I feel the same
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General Luigi wrote:
Sorry about the lack of activity; I've been hoping for a fourth player (I'm not counting myself) to post before I start the test battles.


Agreed I was concerned about something like this happening. I can't remember General, did I send you the "real" character as well as the "crutch" one. I never heard back but are they OK for the RP?
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dullahan1 wrote:
Honestly, I was really debating on wanting to join this as it seemed really neat. But I have been so busy with constant doctor visits and therapy and it's going to pile up even more in the near future that I wouldn't have had the time. I do hope one day in the future I might get to participate in something like this if you guys ever do another one.

Depending on how long this RP lasts, you may have a chance to join this one later on.
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Still interested in this.
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Also me
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I think I've waited long enough for a fourth player. Worst-case scenario, we start bringing out second characters early in the RP. Might as well get to work on the test battles. I've had one ready to go for a while. All that needs to be done for now is figure out when everyone's available. Please post your weekly schedule and the time zone you live in so I can arrange times for sessions.

Spoiler: My usual schedule
Time zone: Pacific (UTC - 7 for now, UTC - 8 after DST ends)
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Available from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM (can wake up earlier and/or stay up later if necessary)
Monday: Available from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (cannot stay up later than 10:00 PM, but can wake up earlier if necessary)
Tuesday and Wednesday: Available from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM (working until 2:30 and cannot stay up later than 10:00 PM)
Thursday: Available from 3:00 PM to 12:00 AM (can stay up later if necessary)

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Spoiler: Schedule
Timezone: Eastern Standard Time, UTC-4, -5 after Daylight savings
Monday-Thursday: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM (could be up later)
Friday: 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM (could be up later)
Saturday: 11:00 AM to 1:00 AM (can get up earlier, could be up later)
Sunday: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM (can get up earlier)
With summer pretty much here, this schedule is subject to change, but I am completely okay with my characters being botted and taking a penalty, though I'll strive to not let that happen. This upcoming weekend is an example, as I'm going away for a wedding.


Last edited by Mister Gruel on Mon May 30, 2016 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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You got cut off there, Mister Gruel. Also, the penalties are only for unannounced absences, so you're in no danger as long as you tell me beforehand when you are going to be unavailable. Also, I'd appreciate it if you specified your home time zone; DST dates vary from place to place. I'm using a site that can schedule sessions across time zones, so you don't need to adjust everything to UTC.
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Ah, sorry about that. Fixed.
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And those times you posted are for your time zone? Also, I thought all states in the Eastern Time Zone observed Daylight Saving Time.
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...It's been a long day. Okay, changed the times to actual EST times and added the daylight savings change for later. My apologies.
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Aha! This is happening! WOO!!!

This is my tentative schedule this week:

Spoiler: Availability Week of May 30th
Timezone: CST

Today (Monday): 12:30pm - 12:00am. I could be here later.

Tuesday - Sunday: 1:00pm - 12:00am. I could be here earlier or later.

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My schedule changes weekly.

For this week coming?

I can do Thursday Saturday and Sunday evening. GMT.
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Define "evening," please.
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Let's say...6-7pm onwards.
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At what time would you prefer to be in bed? From the looks of things, we can easily manage a session on Sunday, though Thursday and Saturday are also options, depending on how late you expect to stay up on those days. Of course, this is assuming the schedules Lida and Mister Gruel posted are the same next week.
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Hrm well what time realistically will the schedules overlap on given what's been put down?
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On Thursday, the earliest we can start is around 11:00 PM on your end. Saturday depends largely on how long the staff meeting is. Those usually wrap up by around 10:00 PM on your end, though. On Sunday, we can start as early as 7:00 PM on your end.

Again, though, this is assuming Lida and Mister Gruel have the same schedules next week as they do this week.
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I'd like to start no later than 10:30pm and would ideally be fine with a session lasting 3 to 4 hours on any given day.
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Sunday's probably the best option, then. Lida, Mister Gruel, do the times you posted apply for June 12?
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The times I posted apply to June 12th.
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