Echoes of fortune, intimations of war

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[size=200]ECHOES OF FORTUNE, INTIMATIONS OF WAR[/size]

Raff here. If you’re reading this, it means the Boss has opened Downtime and you are good to go! The plan is to leave Downtime until the last day of October, then close it. That’s also the last day you can book next year’s events (Empire and ODC) at the old ticket price - In 2016 the prices for all adult tickets will increase by £5.

The Boss is sending out an e-mail that contains all the important stuff, but this post is mostly a round-up of Things of Interest that have happened as a consequence of actions taken during the Autumn Equinox event. Unlike the fall-out from the Summer summit, that battle situation is relatively straightforward – this post will focus on giving a little context to the things people will see on their Downtime screen under “effects”.

I’ve also gone through the Autumn Winds of Fortune and added a short “Resolution” section to each event that briefly summarizes the outcome, and where possible links up with the motions and resolutions that lead to that outcome. As before, we’ll do a proper set of Winds of War/Winds of Fortune in the run-up to next year’s Winter Solstice event (Easter, to you and me).

So without further ado …

[size=150]ECHOES OF WAR : SOLDIERS AND SPIES[/size]
The orders submitted by the Generals have been input, and characters who control military units can spend some time examining them through the Downtime interface. Unlike the fallout from the politically charged Summer Solstice, the military situation is comparatively straightforward – Imperial armies have been assigned to various theatres of war, and the commanders of military units can choose whether to assign their units to one of those armies; to a fortification; to a special project; or go raiding against the Jotun in the west or the Druj in the east. It remains impossible to raid the Thule – the peace treaty still stands (we’re planning to talk a little more about this in the Winter Other Side of the Hedge blogposts).
Comparatively straightforward, as I said. There are two things of note that I thought I’d call out here, however.

Firstly, Imperial Fortification Watchers (I assume that’s a thing – people have odd hobbies) will note that Spiral’s Fort Mezudan, also known as “The Fist”, is not one of the support options this event. That situation is unlikely to change. Shortly after the Autumn Equinox, a massive thaumaturgical gyre devastates the fortification. A storm of supernatural force and (relatively) localised impact blasts the walls and towers of the castle to pieces, resulting in great loss of life. Fort Mezudan is an ex-fortification; it has ceased to be. Can I get a chorus of “STOOOORMS!”? Probably not.

Secondly, I thought I’d draw your attention to the Hordalant Spy Network which was completed just before the Autumn event but received no publicity here because I’d forgotten it. This brings the number of effective spy networks the Empire is operating to four – alongside the Barrens, Liathaven, the Overton Garrison in the Mourn, and the Verthandi network in Otkodov to the north. You can assign your military unit to a spy network to gather information about the territory and the forces in it. It’s worth noting that for a spy network to operate at full effectiveness needs a total of 1,500 effective strength, and that only specific enchantments such as Sharp Eyes of the Corsair count for this kind of project. You can find these spy networks under the special projects tab. Each captain receives a report based on the total number and strength of military units assigned to a spy network, along with a share of the Imperial Guerdon.

Long-term special project afficionados will notice that there are no other special projects here. The Axos campaign against the Druj is effectively over with the destruction of the Tunnels of Kaban; and the Lasambrian Hierro forces in Segura are not at this time allowing Imperial forces to assign to them. More of that in a moment.

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : IMPERIAL ORC HOMELAND[/size]
The use of Empress Britta’s Imperial Favour allowed the ratification of the decision by Wintermark to relinquish the territory of Skarsind; this was swiftly followed by the decision to assign it to the Imperial Orcs. The Imperial Orcs now have a homeland. Admittedly, it is a homeland full of Suaq, Kallavesi, and Steinr. The immediate knock-on effect is that every Wintermark character with a personal resource in Skarsind loses a third of their income from that resource as they are now in a “foreign” nation territory.

There are a lot of other implications here, around such things as how the Imperial Orcs appoint a Senator, and how the Imperial Orcs move there, and what happens with the Brilliant Shore. We’re still scrutinising some of these effects, and will likely put up a specific post about it closer to the event – possibly as part of next year’s Winds of Fortune.

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : RED ROCKS AND SERMONS[/size]
The Hierro clan/army in Segura has not moved. You may recall that the defeated barbarian orcs took up residence a stone’s throw from the partially rebuilt town of Anduz (a town that they had more than a little to do with knocking down in the first place). The Imperial Senate voted to support the displaced army during the last summit. The Imperial Synod appointed the Navarr priest Taryn of Exile’s End to oversee efforts to bring the tenets of the Way to the Lasambrian orcs. I suspect we’ll all learn more about this before the Winter Equinox. For now though, it looks like the Lasambrians will not need to resort to banditry to support themselves.

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : SUMMER IN VARUSHKA[/size]
The weather is worsening; it promises to be a harsh winter in Varuhska, full of blizzards and dark winds and howling beasts. A potent Summer enchantment has settled across Miekarova, Karov, Volodmartz, and Karsk. You’ll learn more about the specifics later but the general effect is that for the next season everything is going to be a little more … epic. More challenging, larger-than-life, more heroic, more … narrative.

Every Varushkan character with a personal resource based in Varushka (including military units and fleets) will receive a small amount of additional, random, resources. In each case, these extra rewards come as the result of encountering or overcoming the kind of challenges that would feature in a dark fantasy story. A fleet might find a sunken island risen from the sea under the full moon; a farm might be attacked by a horde of hopping husks who seek to drink the breath of sleeping children and must be fought off by brave valesfolk; a cabalist with a mana site might encounter an opportunity to deal with a dark spirit; a warden might end up engaged in a struggle to lay to rest a vengeful wraith in a ruined vale in Karsk, and in the process uncover valuable treasures * most * of which are returned to grateful relatives. We leave the specifics up to the individual players.

In each case, though – and this is very out of character for Varushka – the stories that unfold have achievable happy outcomes. Provided one faces the challenges, things will turn out … for the best. I know right? What is the world coming to!

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : HEARTH TITHE AND BROKEN HARVESTS[/size]
The national assemblies of both the Marches and Wintermark chose to reinstate the Hearth Tithe. This means that every farm in the Marches and Wintermark will set aside a plot of land to grow medicinal herbs to help the war against the Jotun. Every farm produces a little less money, but provides the owner with useful herbs. The effect will last for a year.

Unfortunately, the news is not all good. In the weeks following the Autumn Equinox, as the Marchers prepare to gather their harvest … it all goes wrong. Unseasonable hail flattens fields of golden wheat; plagues of rats and other vermin attack storehouses; a particularly virulent blight strikes root vegetable crops, and a nasty version of foot-and-mouth disease devastates animal herds. Across Mitwold, Upwold, and Bregasland, people fall sick with an unpleasant strain of influenza leaving a smaller labour-force to collect what harvests remain. The effect of the curse halves the income of every farm in these three territories, and couldn’t have come at a worse time. It is likely that this attack against the Imperial breadbasket will have some unfortunate implications for the entire Empire over the coming Winter.

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : NIGHTS OF THREE THOUSAND TORCHES[/size]
When good old Ratibor drove the Vyig out of Temeschwar long ago, the turmoil was dubbed the Night of a Thousand Torches. His brutal suppression of the criminal gangs kind of pales into insignificance beside the efforts of the Assembly of Vigilance to root the vyig out once and for all. The Assembly has appointed three priests, one in each city, to oversee direct attacks against vyig interests in Holberg, both Tassatos, and Temeschwar. Vladimir von Temeschwar of the Brotherhood of the Ashen Tower; Valimir von Temeschwar of the Red Tower; and Irada von Temeschwar will have their work cut out for them in the coming months.

In each case they have taken advantage of the opportunity to strike a decisive blow against the Vyig. In the coming months, priests, magistrates, and citizens alike will be actively opposing the vyig. While this will seriously damage the criminal organisation, it will also lead to significant disruption to operations in the three cities resulting in a 25% reduction to the income of all businesses. A small price to pay, surely, for vigilantly opposing the thieves and extortionists?

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : THE RAINS OF HIGHGUARD[/size]
Between the armies and the heroes of the Empire, the Druj citadel of Urith Barath has been shattered, the orcs broken and the Stone Toad clan scattered. Chalcis Mount is in Imperial hands again. The armies look to sweep the last remnants of the occupying force before them and reclaim the territory. As the Autumn Equinox comes to an end, it begins to rain in Reikos. A heavy rain … a cleansing rain. The rain is full of Spring magic, potent and refreshing, and it washes away not only the taint of Druj curses but also the horror that was the Reikos Flux. Throughout the territory, those suffering the affliction begin to recover – and the pure water further revitalises the devastated territory. It is not the end, but the long road to recovery in Reikos has begun. That’s the good news.

The rain also falls in Bastion. This rain … is different. Colder. More sleet-y. It comes with a driving wind – a lazy wind that can’t be bothered to go round people and goes straight through them instead. As the Winter draws on, that sleet will become stinging hail, and bring with it a crushing malaise, despair, and despondency. The insidious effect worms it’s way into the spirit, whispering that they might as well have a long lie in instead of going to church. That there’s no point to prayer, today. The faithful of Bastion are clearly the target; the initial effect is that every congregation in the territory will provide only half the normal amount of liao, and half the number of votes in the Synod at the Winter Solstice. No doubt we will all learn more about this effect in the run-up to the next event.

[size=150]ECHOES OF FORTUNE : ACROSS THE SEVEN SEAS[/size]
Sea trade! What is it good for? First of all, thanks in part to the efforts of the Fellowship of Purple Sails, the civil servant presence on Imperial ships continues. It is not possible to commit piracy against foreigners, nor to trade with barbarians.

Oh and it’s also worth noting that the northern Bay of Catazaar is * still * shrouded in magical fog which shows no signs of going away. It isn’t interfering with trade, but it looks dead eerie.

The international situation has not changed appreciably since last event.

The Jarmish are still engaged in complex political maneuvering against each other and while the Senate has agreed to issue a formal apology for past mistakes, the apology has not yet been sent – although a similar statement from the Conclave will surely have had some effect on Imperial-Jarmish relations. The eastern alliance of Princes around Rigia continues to do well from Imperial trade however – they have secured valuble deals to improve their trade in dragonbone as a result.

The Commonwealth remains unimpressed with the Empire. Imperial captains are still encountering increased tariffs and bureacracy. However, the situation does not seem to have deteriorated further.

The same cannot be said for the furious Sumaah – the port of Zemeh remains sealed against Imperial ships, and there are rumours of Sumaah warships turning back any vessel sailing under Imperial colours that tries to enter their waters.

Oh, one final thing. The Imperial Senate has issued a formal invitation to the Grendel to send another diplomat “to discuss terms by which the war between The Grendal and the Empire can cease.” Any captain considering a raid against Dubhtraig may wish to bear this in mind – one way or another.

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Right I think that’s the lot for now; we’ve got a busy few months ahead of us and I hope to get a few Other Side of the Hedge posts up before Christmas. There’s also a rich crop of player events coming up, and both the Pledge Ball and the Empire Day celebrations to look forward to early next year. A lot of organisers use our forums (forums.profounddecisions.co.uk/) to announce their events, so you may want to keep an eye out there for anything happening near you.

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The photo is an Oliver Facey shot of Poor Jack, the Marcher Egregore. I think it is him opening his Last Portal before his death. It gets you right inna feels, doesnt it?

#Itsbeenagoodyear, #rollon2016, #booknowandbuymeasadoguacostume