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Jason S.Walters

New Kickstarter Project: Michael Satran's Journey to the Center of the Earth!

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We have reached the lofty goal of 70 percent, ladies and gentlebeings! We're almost ready to break through to the Center of the Earth! Look out for strange animals!


Watch out for Earthquakes!!!! And that lava is really, really hot! We're going to share a little bit from the Hazards section for you guys so you know what you're up against. Adventuring underground isn't easy!


 


Disease


 


Another key factor in underground exploration is disease. Funguses, microbes that have been imprisoned below earth’s surface for centuries, and unusual radiation never seen by the people of the surface are all possibilities a group of heroes or explorers might face. Cool places aren’t just comfortable redoubts below the surface. They can be places where germs can incubate unless heroes are immune to all terrestrial diseases and biowarfare agents. Water can be contaminated as well. Sure, the heroes aren’t dehydrated any longer, but now a sinister fungus incubates in their lungs, waiting to return to the surface. A slight rash below ground could lead to the release of flesh-eating bacteria above ground. Even a character that is apparently immune to disease can be a carrier of a disease, plague, or unusual microorganism. Many of these can be the subject of unusual superhero adventures.


 


Yes, that's right, true believers! We chose disease! Also included in the product are plot examples of ways that disease can choose your player characters! 


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We're down to the last week, and our Kickstarter ends at 6 AM the following Monday, to give our fine west coast folks the chance to do something Sunday night. 


We are in a good position, at 72 percent, and in honor of this good position, we'd like to share a little more about the Center of the Earth with you, an excerpt from the history of the world. How did this place come to be, exactly? It's supposed to be a molten ball of hot iron, right?....


 


A wise wizard named Bazathath realized that if something was not done, magic, too, would fade. He went to several of his rivals and proposed a treaty. In the name of all that was magical, a council would be formed that would regulate the laws of magic and enforce their use. The mightiest of wizards would not rule continents, but magic itself. A single wizard, beholden to no nation, would rule the council and make final decisions.


 


 Word spread among the mages like wildfire. An end to the brutal conflict that had caused them to manipulate kings and slaughter each other like sheep had come. Slowly, mages guilds were unified into powerful national organizations with political machinations and well-greased palms. (And a little sorcery applied when necessary.) Those elected to the heads of these national mages guilds became members of the Council, and Bazathath, its first Oligarch. A sarcastic saying among the common people became “The Council Shall Rule the World, and the Oligarch Shall Rule the Council.”


 


 No nation could hold the meetings of such wizards without political backlash. After much discussion, the mighty sorcerers decided that they would have to create a neutral meeting place at the very center of the world! Each added a portion of their power to the enterprise, a massive ritual that took over four years to complete. The core of the world, once white-hot, was mystically reshaped. Lava was reshaped into tubes and tunnels of stone, creating a hidden land beneath the world. A massive dark spire of black granite was raised in the center of the spherical world that went from one end of it to the other, a colossal 777 miles from end to end. Magic was used to provide transportation in and out of the Spire, and to provide the inhabitants with light and warmth. Magic was used to shape Magic itself, to create immutable laws that could not be undone without the consent of the entire council. Chief among these rules was the first law of Magic, enacted for their own protection.


 


 “Now and forever, bound by this first council, we set into principle the first law of magic as it is so governed. Magic and Technology shall never be one.”


 


Unfortunately, the mages did not realize the propensity of what they had done, and the Downways into their private domain turned out not to be as secret as they hoped…


 


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackwyrm/michael-satrans-journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth?ref=nav_search


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We're in the home stretch! We've hit 75 percent, and we aren't showing any signs of slowing down. In honor of this glorious event, we have released a new piece of art to Tenkar's Tavern! 


http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2016/06/kickstarter-michael-satrans-journey-to.html


View the mighty Doomsday Beast and tremble! What is a Doomsday Beast for, you may ask? 


Well...


Long before the world fell into a great ice age, giant beasts roamed the Earth. Greatest of these creatures were massive, thick-scaled, spiky faced snakes. Enormous in size, they lurked in jungles and dark corners of the world, hibernating and coming out to feed only rarely. When they did come out, whole ecologies were devastated. Armies were raised to fight the massive snakelike beasts. Hundreds died, crushed beneath the serpentine coils, dissolved in acid, and eaten by the massive maw. The creatures were hunted nearly to extinction, and the few that remained slept in caverns beneath the surface, or covered acres of jungle foliage.


 The first Oligarch decided the creatures would make the perfect defense system. Using magical summoning spells lost to time, he lured the massive snakelike monsters into the Center of the Earth, magically creating a habitat for the massive snakes to live in. The creatures were difficult to rouse, and even more difficult to control. Most of the time, the massive reptiles simply slept, fed, and reproduced. Fortunately for the most powerful magi on Earth, they reproduced very, very slowly. Unfortunately, they slept and fed more than they did anything else, even though the fear of the massive serpents kept most creatures away from their redoubt. It didn’t keep the Reptile People out. The Reptile People spent many hours trying to rouse the great serpents and turn them into weapons against the surface world. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to keep more than one of the creatures awake for any significant length of time.


The Reptile People eventually built their homes around the lair of the creatures, which occasionally hatched a new, smaller snakelike creature that would grow into a new massive snake over a period of 100 years. As the prospect of war with the surface world dwindled and the Reptile People fell into primitivism, they began to worship the giant snakes as aspects of the Reptile God, and treated them as sacred on the rare occasions that the creatures woke up. 


They named the creatures “Sreaa,” for the sound that they make. Most people don’t realize that there are over twenty of these creatures, and think there is only one. However, it’s very difficult to have more than one awake at a time, as hibernation periods are long, and feeding a Doomsday Beast is a difficult affair at best.


There's more to Doomsday Beasts, of course. But they have to have a few secrets...don't they?


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We are in final countdown mode! We're almost at the Center of the Earth! Which is, by the way, far better than the Russians did in real life. They dug an eight mile hole, and it's still there. :) We're at 75 percent with six days to go! That's way better, even if it's metaphorical. 


 


Today we're going to share with you a little bit about the reptile men and their culture! It won't be all of it (There's a lot going on with the lizard people, even though they want to invade the surface, but hey, it's not a bug, it's a feature!) 


 


The largest part of the jungles of the Center of the Earth are ruled by Hrss’thak, known to the surface world as the supervillain King Reptillon. The lands of King Reptillon contain numerous communities of reptile men hidden in the jungle, along with temples, military patrols of all kinds, and the usual jungle hazards listed above. King Reptillon has an army of two million reptile men, most of which he devotes to defending the Reptile Kingdom from attacks by outsiders.  


 


The lands of King Reptillon are extremely well-defended, but also contain numerous small villages and mid-sized cities. Reptile people live in these villages in small to mid-sized clutches, although they have much more primitive living conditions than the privileged who live in Reptile City. The further away from Reptile City one goes, the poorer and more primitive the villages become. The exception to the primitive status is the military presence of King Reptillon’s army. These facilities are always among the most advanced the Reptile Kingdom has to offer, regardless of the size of the facility. Most able-bodied reptile males are military reservists, if not outright members of the military of the reptile kingdom. 


 


King Reptillon’s followers only represent those reptile men who are completely loyal to him. All others are simply citizens of his empire. Most of the areas of King Reptillon’s lands are still wilderness areas that suffer from all of the hazards listed in “The Jungle” above. However, it is important to realize that the wilderness is patrolled by segments of King Reptillon’s army. While individual villages might be less loyal, most soldiers who patrol the wilderness are loyal to King Reptillon, and may have backup in the form of howdah-mounted Dragon Snakes, commanding officers who are reptile sorcerers or superbeings, or ride dinosaurs while armed with howdah mounted weapons.


 


 Remember that the key advantage that the reptile people possess in these environments is knowledge of the terrain. The heroes will be unfamiliar with obstacles, places that generate additional mist and/or ground hazards like quicksand. The reptile people will prepare for heroes with ambushes and try to herd them towards hazards. Consider that angry dinosaurs, dragon-snakes, or other hostile groups are also considered hazards. 


 


 Whenever possible, the reptile people will use guerrilla tactics in the wilderness, using the dangers of the jungle and their knowledge of terrain to pick the heroes off one at a time. They will try to lead heroes away from population centers, isolate vulnerable targets, and create untenable situations to force heroes to leave. If the heroes encounter reptile people who are not soldiers, such as farmers or hunters, other forms of interaction are possible. It is likely that such reptile people will flee the heroes and alert the nearest military group, and a severe language barrier may exist without abilities such as universal translator. The average reptile citizen does not speak surface languages, so communication may be somewhat difficult. 


 


Heroes who aid the reptile people will be viewed oddly by the reptiles. King Reptillon has warned his people about costumed invaders from the surface, and the local reptile people will likely react with fear. This may also have the side-effect of directly alerting King Reptillon’s army to the presence of the heroes, leading to a powerful assault team paying the heroes a visit.  


 


Journey to the Center of the Earth! The reptile men await!....


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836 Dollars to Go!

 

83 percent! We're at 83 percent! Just a few more agonizing miles of bedrock and we will reach the Center of the Earth! Exploring the Center of the Earth is difficult, and that's why we have underground exploration machines to help us dig deep and get us there! Today, we're going to show you the history of one of those machines. 

PTAH TUM-4

From the earliest days of the United States Military’s interaction with the Downways, tracked vehicles were a part of the arsenal of the Underground Response Team. Early tracked vehicles were modified jeeps, designed only to crawl over rocky obstacles and explore large corridors. Over the years, the TUM, or Tracked Underground Machine, has evolved into a highly evolved piece of tactical military equipment. Currently on its fourth iteration, the current model of the Tracked Underground Machine has become far better defended than several previous versions of the vehicle. 

Early versions of the vehicle were open to the air, similar to jeeps and pickup trucks. The machines could be heard for long distances, and Underground Response Team agents were frequently ambushed both by reptile men and other denizens of the world below. The decision to switch to a quieter nuclear power source was made in the early 1990’s, and the more modern version of the tracked underground machine was born. Early versions had a single gun turret, but the more modern version is equipped with two back to back turrets mounted on top of the vehicle. The vehicle can move at fairly high speeds in underground corridors and caverns, but rarely does so. Movement underground is very slow. 

The Tracked Underground Machine is viewed by Underground Response Team members as the most utilitarian and versatile vehicle available for their work. The Underground Exploration Vehicle sacrifices weaponry, and the Underground Military Assault Vehicle is too expensive to use regularly.  

Dig deep! We're so close to Earth's center!

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And we just dropped to 706. We're getting closer. 

 

I thought we got one new backer, but another showed up right on their heels. Just 14 more book backers gets us there. If half our PDF backers convert to hardcopy, we get there. 36 new PDF backers gets us almost there! Give us that last little push, and get us to the very center of the world!

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90 Percent! And right before I go to work, too! No new updates until I get home!

 

When Bazathath created the Center of the Earth, he also restored to life many dinosaurs. The majority of these were herbivores, however, a small percentage were carnivorous. The dinosaurs mainly kept to themselves, although occasionally, ambitious reptile men would attempt to harness the creatures for physical labor and/or train them. This usually proved to be a disaster, as the dinosaurs were not very smart, or, in the case of carnivores, highly aggressive.

 

The main concentrations of dinosaurs were in the Reptile Jungle and Atlan’s forest. Over time, dinosaur populations remained relatively stable, with the occasional foolish warrior capable of finding one to ride. Such warriors were feared, but were often the targets of multiple attacks on the battlefield. Dinosaur riders either swiftly found themselves commanding cavalry, or dead. 
Encountering dinosaurs should be handled carefully by the GM. For one thing, some dinosaurs are very large. Many heroes will consider carefully the ramifications of releasing dinosaurs upon the world above. There are some who won’t.

There is plenty of tropical vegetation for vegetarian dinosaurs to eat at the Center of the Earth. Transplanting the creatures will likely result in deforestation, ecological problems, and large numbers of carnivorous predators in an environment that isn’t really designed to contain them.

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We are very close now to the Center of the Earth, at a whopping 93 percent! Just a thin layer of stone separates us from the hidden world at Earth's Center! 


Just 284 dollars remain to get to the Center of the Earth! For the record, that's 15 PDFs, 10 Dead Tree Upgrades from PDF, or 6 print books, or some combination thereof. (We don't include the higher levels in our calculations. We're happy when it happens, but we don't treat it as if it's going to.)


 


We have 111 backers, and we promise you another art reveal at 125. We're only 14 backers away, so come see what we have to offer!


 


Come join us at Earth's Center, and dig with all your friends! In honor of being so close to success, we'd like to share a little bit about one of the special materials that's very difficult to find on the surface, but much easier in the world below...


 


Orichalcum....


 


There is a single element more precious to alchemists than any other. That element is orichalcum. While the element is found infrequently on the surface, several large deposits of Orichalcum still exist at earth’s center. 


 


The Oligarch has taken special care to isolate as many of these deposits as he can and mine them secretly, in order to control his own supply. However, he cannot control all of them. Orichalcum is the magical equivalent of an x-element or universal ingredient substitute. It can also be used to forge weapons and armor, infuse items with magical abilities, and eliminate the need for complex magical enchantment rituals that can take weeks or even months.  


 


Orichalcum looks like a dirty greyish rock similar to granite, but most alchemists are taught the differences early. It is usually found in veins near other precious metals, but is often overlooked by people without magical talent, and left behind in exchange for gold or silver. Regrettably, to magicians and alchemists, they would trade a hundred pounds of gold or silver for a single pound of orichalcum. While orichalcum is more common at earth’s center, it is still relatively rare. The issue is knowing what orichalcum is and how to properly refine it....


 


Keep digging, my friends. The end is in sight!


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A special thank you to everyone who backed us! It was a pleasure journeying to the Center of the Earth with you. Only art collection from the artist and the things Jason mentioned in the funded update remain to be done. 

 

Feel free to contact me personally at Championsguru@gmail.com if you have any additional questions about the product. I'll give you the dirt on it. :)

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