Not Lords Of Ether
Making a Nation
All nations get 1000 points to spend
Core Advancement is a holistic measure of how sophisticated are a nation's fundamental technology and magic abilities. It represents the national ability in fields as diverse as alchemy, psychology, engineering, architecture, biology and hedgewizardry, to name a few. It is broad in application, but nonspecific; it represents the use of technology, magic or some combination of the two.
Core Advancement does not, however, give a nation the ability to construct sophisticated and technologically advanced space battleships, or train mages of great puissance. Core Advancement only allows for the construction of Simple Units. Top-tier core advancement can build lightning wands and laser muskets, but cannot build guided missiles or autonomous robots.
Finally, Core Advancement is the limit to how many Added Capabilities a unit may have.
- Core 1 (Automatic): Muscle power is the dominant form of energy at the lowest level of Core Advancement. Kinetic-type weapons and Armor-type defenses unlocked.
- Core 2 (100 CP): Ironmongery and gunpowder are the defining traits of Core 2, with minor magics making an appearance.
- Core 3 (200 CP): Loosely comparable to the 20th and 21st century, with steel and mass-produced enchantments replacing cruder materials and magics. Jammer and Dampener-type defenses unlocked.
- core 4(300 CP): At this point chemistry begins to give way to physics, with even technologically-created items starting to feature energized elements. Energy-type weapons unlocked.
- Core 5 (400 CP): Sophisticated understanding of ether allows for exceptionally potent items and magics, though practice begins to slide behind theory. Shield-type defenses unlocked.
One of the main routes taken to improve the versatility and effectiveness of core advancement, complex technology builds upon core advancement once the latter has achieved rank 3. Complex technology is generally characterized by the adoption of sophisticated techniques and precision manufacturing; the computer is perhaps the most iconic example of a Complex technology, but hardly the only one. Many of the familiar objects of the 21st century are Complex.
The Complex Technology option unlocks Complex Units, which are more expensive but more flexible and capable than their Simple equivalents. The downside is that Complex units cannot be affected by enchantments as the magics interfere with their delicate electronics and vice-versa. As such nations with complex technology tend to have a core advancement style that neglects magic in favor of technological solutions.
As complex technology is strongly reliant on its core advancement, the rank in complex technology (if bought) must be the same as for core advancement.
- Complex 3 (100 CP): Electronics and precision manufacturing have revolutionized society. Many things familiar to someone of 2012. ECM-type defenses and Guided-type weapons unlocked.
- Complex 4 (200 CP): Typical 'science fiction' technologies become common, including force fields, gravity-control and sentient robotics. Shield-type defenses unlocked.
- Complex 5 (300 CP): Extremely sophisticated technologies are the norm, like such wonders as nanotechnology and ubiquitous utility forcefields.
Arcane Magic is the other main route to power, focussing on practitioners of magic as opposed to machines and manufacturing. With an emphasis on personal power it is the path to achieving the rarified heights of arcane magery, the most powerful individuals in the galaxy. These individuals can wield staggering power comparable to the most powerful weapons technology can make, all by controlling ether.
The Arcane Magic option unlocks Arcane Units and Arcane Upgrades. The former are primarily spellcasters of much greater individual power than the hedge wizards of Core advancement, while the latter are arcanely-built added capabilities that can be added to simple units only. Arcane upgrades are things such as adamantium armor, pyrite firelaunchers, etc.
As Arcane Magic is personal power as opposed to something innate to the nation as a whole, it is independent of Core Advancement. Thus a nation can have Arcane 5 and only Core 1; in this case it would have supremely powerful mages and mage-guards surrounded by a vast unwashed horde of spear-carriers.
Finally and most importantly, Arcane Magic is bought in any one of five categories; each represents one of the five Spheres of historic magical philosophy.
- Arcane 2 (10 CP):
- Arcane 3 (20 CP):
- Arcane 4 (40 CP):
- Arcane 5 (60 CP):
The five Spheres are as follows.
Fusion is the merging of mass-prooducible technology with advanced magical concepts to make something that is more than both. Technomagic is typically the mark of mature development into etheric theories and practices.
Every Fusion combines one Arcane magic field with Core Advancement and/or Complex Technology, allowing items built of the latter to include elements of the former. These can range from the straightforward (Prime disintigration rays or Matter hyperalloy armor) to the esoteric (psions trained to flesh-shape others with Life using only their mind). The specifics of what can be done with Fusions needs to be specified and is determined upon creation. Full rules are below.
Every Fusion improves the unit's Advancement Level by 1, which increases cost as well as increasing the total number of added capabilities it may have.
Each Fusion has 5 points to distribute among its abilities:
- Primary Abilities require 3 points and provide major benefits to vital fields - firepower, defenses, speeds, etc.
- Secondary Abilities require 2 points and provide major benefits to less-critical or more situational fields.
- Tertiary Abilities require 1 point and provide small or unusual benefits or effects.
Additional Secondary abilities may be purchased at $$.
Additional Tertiary abilities may be purchased at $.
- No Spellcasting is a disadvantage that can be taken for nations with Technomagic. It represents nations that only have technical and engineering knowledge of magic and how it relates to technology. As such despite having the Arcane magic required for technomagic, No Spellcasting nations or groups may not train Arcane units or make/use Arcane spells - in essence, the Arcane magic only exists to be part of a fusion. This applies to all Arcane magic a power knows and reduces the cost of all Arcane magic by 50% - it is an all or nothing choice.
- Limited Application
Four broad categories of weapons exist: Kinetic, Energy, Guided and Magical. Each has its advantages and disadvantages; all weapons must be of a defined type. Note that some weapons have limitations depending on a nation's advancement.
- Kinetic weapons use physical projectiles to inflict damage. They can range from rocks and arrows to advanced self-forging liquid-metal electrosabots.
- Energy weapons (DEWs) inflict damage via non-physical methods, such as electricity or heat. They require relatively sophisticated technology or reasonably potent magic to function.
- Guided are the third type of weapon in common use, and represent powerful missiles. Packed with explosives they can make a mockery of most defenses. Guided weapons require Complex techology, though a few magically-constructed equivalents to exist.
- Magical is the final type of weapon, which represents direct etheric spellpower. 'Magical' attacks are somewhat catch-all and either represent obscenely powerful etheric attacks that are essentially unstoppable one triggered or those that have complex effects such as transformation, mind control, etc. Magical attacks are limited almost exclusively to Arcane spells.
All weapons (unless stated otherwise) can be further modified be Anti-Air, Heavy or Spinal.
- Unmodified weapons are all-purpose, capable of engaging both aircraft and ships. 21st century missile equivalents of these are heavyweight SAMs like Standards or S-300s that can also make effective anti-ship weapons.
- Anti-Air weapons are much better at engaging strike craft (fighters and mecha) as well as missiles, but are much less capable at dealing with heavy ship protection. 21st century missile equivalents are small SAMs like Sea Sparrows or SA-15 Tors.
- Heavy weapons are larger and more powerful and optimized for punching through the heavy defenses of capital ships. Unfortunately this makes them poorly suited for engaging small craft. 21st century missile equivalents are heavy ASuMs like Shipwrecks, otherwise they are loosely analogues to torpedoes.
- Spinal weapons can be fitted to cruisers (where they count as two systems) but are most common on capital ships. They are big enough to require the entire ship be built around them and are generally used for strategic bombardment roles. Missiles may not be Spinal.
- Racked missiles are a special option that replaces the typical gun-style launching mechanism with a cluster of VLS missile cells. This allows for impressive (and potentially deadly) salvos but each only has a limited number of shots, of which some (or all) can be used at a time. Anti-Air missiles may not be Racked.
Like weapons, a number of defenses also exist. Like weapons, some of these require specific minimum advancement.
- Armor is plates of hard metal or other protective material. Armor is quite effective against kinetic weapons and provides some protection againste energy and guided, but offers no defense against magic.
- Shields use non-physical forcefields to defend against weapon fire; they are quite effective against energy weapons and provide decent defense against magic, but they have fairly minimal effectiveness against kinetic and missile weapons.
- ECM uses sophisticated electronic defenses to spoof, confuse and mislead seekers and destabilize spells, making them very effective against these two. However ECM only provides nominal defense against kinetic weapons and none at all against energy. ECM is a Complex defense and consequently two Simple versions are available - while each is extremely powerful they are not as flexible.
- Jammers are a Simple version of ECM that is only effective against Guided weapons.
- Dampeners are a Simple version of ECM that is only effective against Magical effects.
- Reinforcement improves a ship's structure with redundant systems, greater bulkheads and other methods of mitigating damage. While it does not stop weapon fire from inflicting damage, it does keep a ship fighting for longer and reduces the chances of a catastrophic hit crippling the ship.
- Agility is not a defense per se, but an effect of powerful engines. As the vehicle is faster and more agile it becomes harder to hit and thus gains defensively.
Arcane magic is the stuff of spells; the direct conversion of ether to reality-bending effects through skill and force of will.
Following is a very short list of example spells. These are primarily to provide a somewhat better feel for the magic system.
Standard Paradisium nomenclature ranks standard Arcane spells using precious metals, from Bronze (2), Argent/Silver (3), D'Or/Gold (4) and Platine/Platinum (5).
Life deals with life as well as death and the cycle of the two.
- Heals is pretty much what it says on the tin.
- Wither is a stock spell for debuffing enemies (assuming they are vulnerable to it) by sapping away their life force and hurrying bodies along the cycle towards being tired, worn or dead.
Matter deals with structure, shapes and limitations.
- Landscape Shield is Matter's way of handling a shield. Matter magic used in this way is always a permanent affair, unlike the ephemeral lifetime of fireballs and energy shields. Many planets have weathered landmarks associated with magic used in battles long ago.
Mind describes magic in terms of intention and motivation.
- Summon Elemental (Mind/Motion) is a dual-sphere spell for harnessing the forces of nature and giving it direction and intention suitable to serve a mage. As bound forces, elementals have no true body. Even the rocky mass of an earth elemental is but a forceful representation of tectonic solidty and fury and crumbles harmlessly when the being's service is ended. The higher the level of Mind, the more intelligent the elemental. At Mind 1, the elemental is beyond the summoner's control and is effectively a wildly thrashing hazard with a vague shape. The scale of the elemental is determined by the level of Motion ranging from Sprites at 1 to disasters at 5.
Motion deals with energy of all sorts and is one of the most common magic spheres studied; very useful but also generally quite straightforward.
- Fireball is a stock spell, firing an Energy-type attack. It ranges from Bronze (Arcane 2) to Platinum (Arcane 5), with increasing power and area of effect. Also goes by such names (and effects) as lightning bolt, ether beam, moonlight breaker, etc.
- Shield is another stock spell, erecting a magical barrier around a unit for the duration of the battle.
- Levitation is a common mid-range spell
Prime is the magic of magic itself, tapping into the fundamental etheric nature of the cosmos to enable wondrous effects. The ancient star ways are one such, along with the 'ley lines' on many worlds.
- Disintigrate is a high-end spell, firing a beam or sphere of pure disintigrative energy. As such it inflicts a Magical-type attack on a target.
- World Shift is a powerful application of Prime, opening (or tearing) a portal between the sidereal world other planes.
Tentative costing is Level 4 = 1, Level 5 = 2, +1 per every additional sphere. As stock spells are built up, costs will be assigned.
'Spell Gems' cost 2x (minimum of 1 ether) but can be stored indefinately and used by anyone; higher level of Core advancement equates to less chance of failure. Any added costs for area, etc also cost double and must be packaged in at time of creation. No on-the-fly modification! Examples include the Steamlight, the fabled platinum nitro charge that can send a vehicle rocketing forward at unheard of velocities.