Saturday, June 22, 2019

Elysian Empire Redux

I have redone my Elysian Empire setting for ACKS, focusing on the "Early Dark Ages"-inspired version of the setting rather than the "Early Modern" variant. I have also changed the map so that (almost) all the Elysian Empire will fit into a single ACKS "Campaign Map" (i.e. 960x720 miles).


Lysandrus of Elysia conquered the many city-states of old and defeated the Sorcerer Kings in the name of the Conquering Sun. He founded the Elysian Empire and crowned himself, by the Grace of Sol, the first Emperor. 517 years later, his empire lies in ruins.

At its height, the Elysian Empire stretched from coast to coast, unifying the continent under the Emperor's might. It was a civilization of Law. Some say it was the greatest civilization since the dawn of Man. Its wealth, beyond any dream, streamed from the many provinces to the shining city of Elysia. Its magnificence is now a matter of fables. Fought over by pretenders, claimants, and would-be Emperors, it is now a dead, burnt-out shell of its former glory. In the place where one Emperor ruled, now several compete. In a land once shepherded by a single Bright Pontifex, five Pontiffs claim the title, each endorsing his own usurper to the throne.

The Empire is dying. It can barely rule the Imperial domain of Elysia, let alone the provinces. Many aspiring tyrants fight over its throne. In the outer provinces, the locals have not seen an Imperial Legion - or tax collector for that matter - for decades. Local Tribunes and other officials now became de-facto sovereign lords. Their armies are depleted by years of war. Beastmen and bandits besiege their impoverished domains. Some would say that the land calls for heroes - but politics calls for another thing.



So here is the work-in-progress map and geographical overview.

Primary provinces:
Inner Kvenland - cold, forested land. Known for its fierce warriors and expertise in seamanship. (inspiration: Germania or Denmark). Now under Chaos control.

Camalynn - once a fertile province on the Empire's northern border. Now mostly borderlands with the forces of Chaos coming from the west. (inspiration: Arthurian Britain).

Rayanes and Leoneis - twin breadbaskets of the Empire; two rich lands where the vast forests of the past were cut down in favor of bountiful fields and light woods. (inspiration: late Roman Gaul/Iberia).

Nysa - mountainous land dominated by the Nysan Peninsula. Land of seaman and mountainside farmers. Known for mineral and fish exports. (inspiration: Roman Greece).

Elysia - seat of the Empire (inspiration: Rome and Roman Italy).

Tamaskyra - a fertile, if mountainous, land. Known for olive and wine exports and has a long warrior tradition. (inspiration: Greece and Asia Minor).

Qedem - an ancient, if somewhat dry, land. Has a flat, fertile shore and a hilly and mountainous "back country". Civilized for millennia; played a pivotal role in the Slave War. (inspiration: Judea and Syria).

Erida - Swampy, hot land of rivers and marshes. Alongside Kemet, this housed the first post-Mu civilization. (inspiration: Mesopotamia).

Kemet - a dry desert dominated by the Eternal River, which allows extensive agriculture on its banks. The oldest civilization on the mainland once Mu sank beneath the waves. (inspiration: Egypt).

Non-Imperial lands:
Outer Kvenland - savage mountainous and wooded, cold land. Known for brutal warriors worshiping gods of war and sea; now under Chaos control. (inspiration: Nordic countries).

Muspeland - the dwarves' old homeland, now mostly controlled by beastmen and worse. Used to be the seat of the great Dwarven Empire; now dwarven vaults control only its southern tip.

Valakurask - cold, forested land. Its superstitious peasants live in fear of their fickle Fey overlords. Never conquered by the empire thanks to Fey sorcery. Most elves come from this land - changelings born to human parents but with Fey souls. (inspiration: Slavic lands).

Irem - land of sand and rock. Most of its population are nomadic herders. (inspiration: Arabia and other Near East deserts).

For a high-res map, look HERE. Again, the map is work-in-progress. (mapped in Hexographer).

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Dark Nebula 2900 AD: new map!

I have created a new starmap for my Dark Nebula quasi-OTU setting.

It is based on Ian Stead's wonderful Blank High Resolution Starmaps (which he designed for Stellagama Publishing), with the stars, borders, routes, polities and other content added by myself in Paint.NET.

Click HERE for a full-res starmsp.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Some of the main differences between Cepheus Engine SRD/Core and Cepheus Light

People often ask me what is the difference between the Cepheus Engine SRD/Core and Cepheus Light.

The Cepheus Engine SRD/Core is quite faithful to the old Mongoose SRD. Cepheus Light is a re-write of the rules for greater speed and ease of play. I will list some of the differences.

  • The CL skill list is shorter and more consolidated. There are no cascade skills, and no specializations.
  • CL task resolution divorces skill DMs from characteristic DMs. For example, in CE SRD you modify your to-hit throw in combat by both, say, Gun Combat and Dexterity. In CL, only Gun Combat.
  • CL character generation has no Position/Commission throws
  • CL personnel combat uses simple ranges (effective/maximal) rather than the SRD's more complex range bands.
  • Weapon statistics are different, with "Aspects" governing their unique features.
  • CL vehicles and starships don't have Hull/Structure, only hit locations.
  • CL vehicle and starship combat is mapless and uses a "chase" mechanism. In general, CL ship combat is very different from the SRD one
  • CL merges Sensors into the Computers.
  • CL drive TLs determine drive size, not maximum jump numbers, so, for example, you can have Jump-3 at TL9 on small ships.
  • Cepheus Light provides ample game-play examples to make the rules more accessible.

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list; there are many other, less prominent changes.