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The Turakian Age is Seriously Underrated


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On 11/29/2019 at 1:24 PM, DShomshak said:

One thing I learned from working on various White Wolf games is the dramatic advantage of setting games in times of instability: Either things are about to explode, or they've done so and people are picking up the pieces.

 

I've noted that some people consider the default start date for a Turakian Age campaign to be a time of relative stability, but in reading through the text, you find that that's just on the surface. Many regions of the world are facing or about to face explosions: numerous nations girding for war as ambitious rulers make plans of conquest; religious, social and ethnic resentments threatening to boil over, leading to revolution or civil war; the ruling order in a precarious position, or already usurped; lurking menaces about to reveal themselves or become more active.

 

Granted, some of this is attributed to Kal-Turak stirring things up in preparation for his big Ka-Boom! But as I described earlier on this thread, you don't really need the Ravager of Men to run all those smaller ka-booms. ;)

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:02 PM, Nolgroth said:

3333: The coming of Kal-Turak has a lot of interesting little bits to it, but if it were a movie, it would feel rushed. Again, I realize space requirements but I just didn't get the "Oh my, it's the Great Oogly Moogly Big Bad" vibe from him. Everything seemed really forced about him. I did note, with some wry amusement, that Kal-Turak is to the Lord of the Graven Spear as Morgoth is to Sauron. Still, the story of his birth and his demonic mother, now torn asunder but still alive, has a lot of dark potential to it. Even his realm and the great wall could be interesting, if played correctly. Ol' Kal just needs both a more active presence and a more subtle one. In all honesty though, I would probably omit Kal-Turak from Ambrethel altogether, or at least throw a lot more details about his rise to power in there. Merging with the racial thing, the birth of Kal-Turak changes the tone of things greatly. It would also be an ideal time for orcs, trolls and all that to make their debut appearance. I dunno, but it seems like this brand new player, nearly on the cosmological scale, could demonstrate a lot of power by literally warping/corrupting a group of people into things from your worst nightmare. It would also be very genre appropriate.

 

Not to mutilate a horse's corpse too much further ;) , but to really perceive the full extent of Kal-Turak's influence in Ambrethel requires reading through a lot more of the text. He is capable of great subtlety; the story behind his orchestration of the protracted war between Szarvasia and the Drakine Realms is an outstanding example, and the GM's Vault has quite a few others which few suspect he's behind. But because those schemes are in fact subtle or obscured, how far the Ravager of Men can reach, and already has, is generally underestimated.

 

Ever since Kal-Turak proclaimed his presence to the world, "evil things" of all stripes are said to have been drawn to Turakia. Unnatural products of the "experiments" he's reputed to perform are probably included among his followers. Of course the Undead make up a major fraction of his forces, which are nightmarish enough for most people. But a few other such creatures are specifically mentioned, including "ogre-zombies," "demonic birds," and "plague-spreading colossi." The Ravager is also rumored to be breeding a new type of dragon "whose breath is frosty cold instead of fiery hot."

 

The products or byproducts of K-T's magic could include the God of Worms, a gigantic intelligent "carrion worm" of unknown origin which rules other carrion worms in caverns beneath Kal-Turak's Wall, as well as being worshiped as a god by Orcs and evil Men, some of whom it's transformed into worm-featured humanoids. The God of Worms is mentioned in Monsters, Minions, And Marauders, and fully written up in The Book Of Dragons. (For my own games I had the GOW pledge itself to K-T, and in his name govern the region of the Sunless Realms under Turakia.)

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You make good points but I think I am starting to see something of a trend here. Sometimes, the players don't need to know so much. Kal-Turak should have an extensive section in the GM section. Just leaving subtle hints that the world is getting darker and more dangerous is really all that the players should need to know. Having a name makes him seem less threatening. Also, did I miss it or is there not a write-up for Kal-Turak in the Turakian Age. I have a vague recollection that he was sort of covered under the "if he has stats, we can kill him" meta rule.

 

And I am reading forward. Slower than I would like. I am currently doing a detailed read of the races (as opposed to the quick skim I did earlier). Perhaps I am strange, but why would drakira need breasts? Seems that they would be very reptilian/avian about feeding their young. I know, gross, but lizard breasts seem weird. Like you, I agree with the birth rate thing and was brainstorming ways to keep the flavor of being "outbred" by humanity without the silly "one child once" thing. I was thinking, if live birth is a thing, small "litters of 3-5" young once in a lifetime or a clutch of eggs (which seems more dragon-like to me) once. Even with a moderately high infant mortality rate, that will still leave enough viable offspring for the drakine to not immediately die off. A similar idea is to have much longer gestation periods. Finally, keeping the "one child once" thing but it is a recent thing caused by KT himself. Would explain the gradual decline and a few mothers in a given sample size could still produce more healthy numbers. Enough to hold on until the end of the age maybe.

 

The human sub-cultures seem very modern friendly with lighter skinned to the west, moderately dark in the middle and dark to the east. Part of me kind of winces at that BUT, it is also familiar and that makes it easy to conceptualize. Same with the ubiquitous D&D Fantasy races.  For many players, it is like slipping on a pair of old slippers. I need to finish the Races section before I comment further. I am currently about to start Elves and go on from there.

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[Shrug]  Just because Drakine have scales, doesn't mean they can't be mammalian. Nothing in their history suggests they're egg-layers, while the other reptilian race, the Seshurma, explicitly are. Some real-world lizards and snakes give birth to live young. Seshurma also dislike cold dry climates, whereas Drakine live in them (although they dress accordingly), so Drakine can't be cold-blooded.

 

As to their birth rate, for my games I just decreed that "drakira" (Drakine females) are usually only fertile between the ages of 20 and 30; gestation takes a full year; and multiple births are rare. That would allow their populations to grow over time, but more slowly than those of Men. Also keep in mind that with divine healing magic available, the infant mortality rate is almost certainly lower in Ambrethel than in real-world societies at a comparable technological level.

 

I did change the single-child-with-frequent-maternal-mortality concept into a curse, but cast in the past for a specific purpose, and long since lifted -- part of my historical rejiggering.

 

There is no write-up for Kal-Turak in any of the Fantasy Hero line of books. I remember someone asking why not on these forums after the book came out, and Steve Long's reply was something along the lines of what you suggest. He also added that if you really want a game-statted K-T for a Turakian Age campaign, you could base it on the Champions write-up for Takofanes, his lich-form. Personally I wish your heroic-level PCs luck trying to fight him. 😈

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Speaking of Champions, several elements from the Turakian Age have carried over into the present-day Champions Universe, suggesting ways to bring similar elements forward to modern times. Takofanes, of course, is the outstanding example; but it should be noted that he's far from the only formidable supernatural entity imprisoned beneath the Earth mentioned in T-A. Any of them, or other beings of comparable or lesser power, might have lingered until released by some natural or man-made event.

 

The Crowns of Krim (the artifacts, not the contemporary villain team wearing them) demonstrate the potential for enchanted items from the distant past to bring forth new superhumans. The Australian villain Lightning Man (Champions Worldwide) carries two enchanted axes of Turakian vintage, which imbued him with superhuman strength and toughness, and let him fly and hurl lightning bolts.

 

Shadow Destroyer, Dr. Destroyer's alternate-Earth counterpart, discovered caves which were once a shrine to the gods of Thûn, and thus charged with Qliphothic magic which he could utilize. Other sites holy to these or different T-A gods might also have endured.
 

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Well I finished the Races section today. First the good/neutral news.

 

The section on Elves really expanded them as a unique entity in the setting. They call them clans. I call them castes. (Let's call the whole thing off.) More importantly, that section provided me with some hooks for roleplaying an elf character in TA. Also good were the Gnomes. I normally hate gnomes in all other settings (especially Dragonlance) but having them be a crossbreed between Dwarves and Hobbits really makes sense. I can build a character around that background. 

 

On the neutral side, the rest of the races were kinda bland. A good concept could overcome that blandness, but it would have to be one of those moments of inspiration. That is what ultimately drives my assessment of a race's relative value to a setting (for me); does it hook me into a character concept easily or do I have to work to find a place for that particular race.

 

And now the bad news. An accident involving a lot of water, traveling at high pressure, pretty much ruined my copy of Turakian Age. I'm going to have to (hopefully) salvage what I can and maybe even pick up the PDF at some point. So that ends my review of Turakian Age for now. Maybe after Christmas, December birthdays, January birthdays and February birthdays, I can start to look at a replacement.

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On 12/16/2019 at 9:37 PM, drunkonduty said:

re. the dragon boobs thing.

 

Yeah, it makes no sense.

 

Yet if you want to you can find many loooonnnnngggg justifications for them on different gaming forums.

 

If you want.

Artists like to draw boobs.
|
That being said I have seen a few artists that draw feminine reptilian types without boobs that look nice.

1553360505.fortuna_kethend.png

 

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17 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

Well I finished the Races section today. First the good/neutral news.

 

The section on Elves really expanded them as a unique entity in the setting. They call them clans. I call them castes. (Let's call the whole thing off.) More importantly, that section provided me with some hooks for roleplaying an elf character in TA. Also good were the Gnomes. I normally hate gnomes in all other settings (especially Dragonlance) but having them be a crossbreed between Dwarves and Hobbits really makes sense. I can build a character around that background. 

 

On the neutral side, the rest of the races were kinda bland. A good concept could overcome that blandness, but it would have to be one of those moments of inspiration. That is what ultimately drives my assessment of a race's relative value to a setting (for me); does it hook me into a character concept easily or do I have to work to find a place for that particular race.

 

As I think I intimated earlier, some of the best character hooks and plot lines for the various races are scattered over the whole book. Should you ever wish it I could refer you to those I'm aware of. :)

 

17 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

And now the bad news. An accident involving a lot of water, traveling at high pressure, pretty much ruined my copy of Turakian Age. I'm going to have to (hopefully) salvage what I can and maybe even pick up the PDF at some point. So that ends my review of Turakian Age for now. Maybe after Christmas, December birthdays, January birthdays and February birthdays, I can start to look at a replacement.

 

I feel your pain. I'd be heartbroken if my fantasy life was drowned. 😭

 

All the Fifth Edition books in the Hero website store are at cut-rate prices, particularly PDF. But the store's Book+PDF deal is quite nice too, although you'd have to pay for shipping.

 

https://www.herogames.com/store/product/417-turakian-age-bookpdf/

 

https://www.herogames.com/store/product/418-turakian-age-pdf/

 

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Reptiles have boobs because many artists either don't know how to draw reptiles, or they're so used to making commercialized art to sell as much as possible that they feel compelled to put boobs of everything in an attempt to catch the eyes of potential customers.  But of course, character sheets and illustrations aren't intended to sell products, but to represent characters with sufficient verisimilitude.

 

Mammaries are found on mammals (that's why they're called mammals), not on reptiles, or birds, or fish, or arthropods, or mollusks, or coelenterates. 

 

Don't get me wrong:  I like boobs as much as anyone, and I certainly understand it if you want to put a babe in a chainmail bikini on the cover of your fantasy RPG book to help is sell better.  But make sure she's a mammalian race, not a drakine or seshurma.

 

I've seen many illustrations of dragons in particular that really annoy me, and indicate that the artist didn't put much thought into what a dragon is.  And not just with regard to boobs, but with regard to the entire body and muscular and skeletal system.  So many modern illustrations of dragons have mammal-like legs - legs with the same structure as that of a dog or cat, but with scales.  😠  NO!  Dragon legs should look reptilian.  Artists, please, please, please: if you're going to draw dragons, study lizards and alligators, and dinosaurs, and other reptiles.  Notice what their legs look like, and how they are very different from the legs of mammals.  And while you're at it, study their tails and torsos as well.  I've seen dragon illustrations that have six-pack abs like a human.  🤬  NO!  And yes, I've even seen nipples on a dragon's chest.  😫  And they probably shouldn't have horns that look like those of cattle or goats, either.  :tsk:

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While I respect your desire for "verisimilitude," i.e. "the appearance of truth," dragons aren't true. They don't exist, and by the laws of physics and biology they can't possibly exist. Since they aren't real, and the fictional worlds they exist in operate under different physical laws from our real world, there's no requirement in principal for their anatomy to closely resemble that of lizards, or alligators, or any other real scaled animal. And if that is the case, then a sapient race reputed to be descended from dragons, e.g. the Drakine, doesn't have to closely resemble them either.

 

I mean, what reptile on Earth looks like Godzilla?

 

(However, I agree as to why so many non-human females are drawn with boobs.) ;)

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54 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Reptiles have boobs because many artists either don't know how to draw reptiles, or they're so used to making commercialized art to sell as much as possible that they feel compelled to put boobs of everything in an attempt to catch the eyes of potential customers.  But of course, character sheets and illustrations aren't intended to sell products, but to represent characters with sufficient verisimilitude.

 

Mammaries are found on mammals (that's why they're called mammals), not on reptiles, or birds, or fish, or arthropods, or mollusks, or coelenterates. 

 

Don't get me wrong:  I like boobs as much as anyone, and I certainly understand it if you want to put a babe in a chainmail bikini on the cover of your fantasy RPG book to help is sell better.  But make sure she's a mammalian race, not a drakine or seshurma.

 

I've seen many illustrations of dragons in particular that really annoy me, and indicate that the artist didn't put much thought into what a dragon is.  And not just with regard to boobs, but with regard to the entire body and muscular and skeletal system.  So many modern illustrations of dragons have mammal-like legs - legs with the same structure as that of a dog or cat, but with scales.  😠  NO!  Dragon legs should look reptilian.  Artists, please, please, please: if you're going to draw dragons, study lizards and alligators, and dinosaurs, and other reptiles.  Notice what their legs look like, and how they are very different from the legs of mammals.  And while you're at it, study their tails and torsos as well.  I've seen dragon illustrations that have six-pack abs like a human.  🤬  NO!  And yes, I've even seen nipples on a dragon's chest.  😫  And they probably shouldn't have horns that look like those of cattle or goats, either.  :tsk:

 

 

Depends on how one bases their dragons. There has been a shift towardss Saurian looks, with Drogon from GoT having a rather therapod type head, and suarian hind legs.  Then comes the arguments that a quadrupedal dragon is a Wyvern, and a true dragon is a hexapod. so, no matter how you slice it the design isn't set yet.

As for mammals with boobs, guilty as charged.

1304377569.scottruggels_asheruinkssm.gif

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4 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Depends on how one bases their dragons. There has been a shift towardss Saurian looks, with Drogon from GoT having a rather therapod type head, and suarian hind legs.  Then comes the arguments that a quadrupedal dragon is a Wyvern, and a true dragon is a hexapod. so, no matter how you slice it the design isn't set yet.

 

The depiction of quadrupedal dragons seems to have gained traction (so to speak) ;) in recent years, with the Game of Thrones dragons, and Ghidorah in the recent Godzilla flick, ambulating on all fours in the manner of bats. The dragons from the movie Reign of Fire move the same way. From an evolutionary point of view that's more logical than the hexapedal dragon. So is the massive "keel" breastbone on the GoT dragons, providing support to their powerful wing muscles, as with birds.

 

Of course neither of these are features of real reptiles or lizards.

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1 minute ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

The depiction of quadrupedal dragons seems to have gained traction (so to speak) ;) in recent years, with the Game of Thrones dragons, and Ghidorah in the recent Godzilla flick, ambulating on all fours in the manner of bats. The dragons from the movie Reign of Fire move the same way. From an evolutionary point of view that's more logical than the hexapedal dragon. So is the massive "keel" breastbone on the GoT dragons, providing support to their powerful wing muscles, as with birds.

 

Of course neither of these are features of real reptiles or lizards.

 WellI subscribe to the Dinosaurs are large birds  theory.  So avian traits for dragons, minus feathers, for me works. Drogon was my favorite.

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Just to slide this conversation back toward the topic of the thread :whistle: , dragons play a pretty prominent role in Ambrethel. Quite a few named dragons have impacted major events, both in the "present' and historically. The majority are opponents of one sort or another for PC heroes, but the setting isn't devoid of benevolent dragons. The Drakine have often made alliance with them.

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28 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

...And if that is the case, then a sapient race reputed to be descended from dragons, e.g. the Drakine, doesn't have to closely resemble them either.

Sure, if you want your dragons to look like big cats with scales, then go ahead.  And if an artist knows how to draw cats, but doesn't care to study the anatomy of any other animal, and thus draw dragons like cats, that's their choice.  I understand, I'm lazy, too, and I'm not a good artist either.  But I really don't like when dragons look like cats.  I really don't like when dragons have human-like abs.

 

30 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

I mean, what reptile on Earth looks like Godzilla?

I'd say he looks like a dinosaur.  At least somewhat based on one.  And of course, it depends on which depiction you're referring to.  But even in the original movies with the guy in the foam rubber suit, Godzilla doesn't have cat-like legs or human-like abs.

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13 hours ago, L. Marcus said:

A manticore is supposed to have a human face, which that creature does not.

And a dragon is supposed to be a reptile, which a cat is not.

 

Now the picture above is deliberately designed to be a lion-like dragon.  It's a choice the artist made, which is fine.  But if you're trying to draw a traditional,reptilian, lizard-like dragon, then don't give it cat legs.

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