Thursday, December 14, 2017

Developer Diary: The Southern Dwarves

The dwarves of Centuria are divided into two categories: the northern dwarves of the kingdom of Thzud - basically the birthplace for the dwarven civilization - and the southern dwarves occupying the Umo Mountains and Danea to the east.

The southern dwarves exist were they are because I wanted them to interact with the human kingdoms that form in Gothia (the setup is somewhat inspired from the computer game Arcanum). As the idea was to match up with much (but not all) of common fantasy lore regarding dwarves it was decided that there should be several independent holds. To explain how this came to be I came up with the idea that these southern holds were colonies, new settlements, founded by dwarves from the ancestral hold located further to the north. A reasonable explanation for their exodus was overpopulation, so I left it at that and moved on.

A few rather positive conclusions can immediately be drawn from this scenario. The dwarves are portrayed as staunchly traditionalist and very patriarchal. In order to get along with the humans a slightly more relaxed tone is helpful and given that these southern outposts had to fend for themselves they are likely more pragmatic than their northern brethren. Also, being colonies they are likely to be less self-supporting and thus more prone to accept trade with the humans. And finally: with a common ancestry but local isolation we have a good explanation for small cultural differences which can provide interesting political conditions to create more depth in the game.

The dwarves of Danea then, were invented mainly to fill the role as "hobbits" - putting a face on a familiar term present in so many other fantasy settings. Since I really didn't want another race (see this blog post) having the hobbits to be dwarves with a different culture felt like a good compromise. Keeping the rural image created by Tolkien gave a pretty good idea what was needed, and given the migration story it was easy to picture the hobbits as just another dwarven clan that had changed more than the others.

Explaining that change seemed a pretty easy challenge; given their strict social hierarchy it seemed plausible that new customs and traditions could have been created from overthrowing the original order - in this case through the failure (death) of the clan's leaders. This would push the clan further away from the other clans, speeding up the cultural transformation. We get a good foundation for adding depth and also for material to help develop a dwarven character's sense of self!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Developer Diary: Highlanders and Teghirs

The presence of avarai people in the Northlands was established very early in my design of the world. Inspired by the european struggles against eastern horse peoples gave birth to the idea of the teghirs, which fitted the terrain with open steppes. The highlanders (also called the asiatsu clans) were inspired by, well, highlanders but also strongly by japanese culture - also two iconic historical conflicts. 

The idea for a background was that during its height the Zhengdi empire had started to colonize the southern reaches of the Northlands. The taming of native horses allowed them to drive away the orcs from most of the area. But as the empire collapsed the colonies were left on their own and had to fend for themselves. This created a good story for the teghirs, but not for the highlanders.

As the main difference between the two was the use of the horse the most simple solution seemed to be that the highlanders had simply been driven from the steppes and adapted to a life in the forests of Gothia. Given the orc presence there this would have been dangerous so a strong incentive was needed. A civil war seemed plausible enough; as the central government of the colonies collapsed war tore the land apart and those who didn't want to bow to the warlords (who, naturally, favored the horseback) were forced to seek refuge elsewhere. The dense forests of Gothia prevented the teghirs from pursuing while it was also free from gothic settlers, who preferred the more fertile lands to the south.

From this point, everything about the highlanders and the teghirs is really trying in as many cultural references as possible. Both to create a depth for these peoples but also to spark imagination and help game masters bring them alive.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Developer Diary: Arbea and Tala

Getting back to writing about Age of Steel nations I realize giving each of them a whole post wouldn't be quite fair. As has already been revealed in previous developer posts, many nations have come along just to fit with the stories of the major countries.

The nations known as Arbea and Tala was invented for the same purpose: as ways to create a power balance between Menlor and Damasa. As part of the original lands conquered and settled by the Empire in the Northlands, both Menlor and Damasa have claims on these nations. Both are, however, strong enough to defend themselves in the short term and would quickly ally with the opposing power in the case of an invasion.



Culturally I modeled them on the idea that Menlor can be compared to historical France. Arbea would then be more like Germany and Tala would resemble Italy. Similar to their sources of inspiration both nations are very decentralized with no single faction able to dictate politics. What I wanted was for both these nations to be intertwined in the Menlor-Damasa hostilities in such a way that it would create opportunities for political/espionage campaigns and also prove an opportunity for minor conflicts where the major powers are involved but not directly deploying troops.

As for explaining their existence, both Arbea and Tala are breakaway nations - areas too far away for the queen of Menlor or the emperor of Damasa to retain control over them during the worst years of the civil war.

Getting thus far in the story what is wanted for both these nations is to make them interesting; they should add something to the world in terms of experience and depth - not just fulfill their intended roles.

Arbea I figure would make a good battleground - tugged in between the major powers to the east and south and mountains and orcs to the north and west. A place for both skirmishes and raids to full scale battles. At this point I wanted a reason for how the country was kept together to begin with as this would provide information as to were the cracks where. I decided another imperial order was a suitable explanation, and thus was invented the Order of the Wolves. While the name had been on my mind for some time I quickly realized it didn't really fit in with a Southland empire. Griffons, lions and falcons could be connected to such an environment, but wolves are more of a northern thing. The idea was then that the order had been created in the Northlands - presumably then for battling the orcs. Again the idea of manpower comes to mind - a shortage of soldiers from the warrior caste prevented further expansion, so the Order of the Wolf was formed, which accepted commoners into their ranks. Thus was the land wrestled from the orcs.

So the order is influential in the country, but it doesn't control it - the land is still a feudal one like Menlor, but without a king or queen. A council of nobles, many also members of the order, collaborates to a certain degree to keep Damasa and Menlor from absorbing them. However, they only stand united against exterior threats so fighting between the noble houses and indeed different factions within the order is quite common.

Tala then seems a good place for political intrigues and trade. Like its inspiration medieval Italy I imagine small city states joined together in a union. Some are ruled by nobles, others by merchants. Since money has more influence than blood both Damasa and Menlor have agents who works from within the country. Then there's also the steppes to the east - an opportunity for civilization versus nomads that can be about both trade and warfare.

All in all Arbea and Tala both end up as rather boring nations in the sense that they don't contribute much to the grand scheme of things - but they are very interesting places for players to explore. The fact that any conflict threatens to draw the attention of both Damasa and Menlor makes sure that there's always something at stake and the decentralization provides a plethora of possibilities for conflicts and intrigues.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LinCon 2018: Cyberwolf

The last few months have been a bit busy on this side of the screen. Thus frequent posting here just haven't manifested as intended - but there is still hope for the future.

What has been happening with Centuria is some preparations for LinCon 2018. The idea for next year is to host one adventure for each age. Standard roleplaying but each adventure introducing a campaign which will be available for download after the event. That said the intention is of course that it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone experience.

First out is the adventure for the Age of Information (a bit backwards, yes), called Cyberwolf:

The first feeling was cold, then wet. You were naked, lying in cold, flowing water. A sharp light suddenly blinded your eyes.
"This one is alive. Hello! Can you hear us?" In the darkness beyond the light shapes became people...
They were scavengers of the undercity. They introduced themselves as Aiko, Mithradates, Kazane, Bacara and Alexander. They managed to find you some ragged clothes and promised to bring you somewhere warm. But you could only listen half-heartedly, because other things were requesting your attention. Memories of pain resurfaced, but you couldn't tell how long since. And you had cybertech of which you had no memory... What had happened?
There were others too; unfamiliar faces who seemed as puzzled as you were. But all your thoughts were interrupted by a change of scenery.
"Behold! The Hideout!" said Alexander with a dramatic voice.
And the narrow pathway you had been following widened, revealing a huge space only dimly lit by a few electric lights. High above a walkway was barely visible. There were people here you could tell immediately from the noise. Colored lights and makeshift tables created a small marketplace, running along a vast indoor basin. The inhabitants eyed you suspiciously, or at least with interest. You took it in slowly and as your mind began to settle you realized this would be your home for a while. For the first time you turned around and faced the gazes of your companions. Had they been through the same thing? What did they know and who were they?
Interested? Keep tuned!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Developer Diary: Calendars



Since I'm done with writing the rulebooks I got the time (heh) to work on a little side project: an explanation of the calendars and timekeeping systems in use throughout Umarald.

The reason this stuff isn't included in the rulebooks is that I find aspects such as currency and calendars interesting, but downright dangerous when you're starting a new campaign with players new to the system. Its just too much. So I figure, let's put that aside and present it in a nice little separate package free for anyone to download. So there it is!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update for the Age of Knowledge


It's been quiet here for some time and that is due to work being put into proof reading the Age of Knowledge rulebook. It has been dreadfully dull and boring so I am glad to announce that I'm finally done with that. Sure, there are bound to be some errors still but at least they had to fight for survival...

The updated version can be found at the downloads page!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Developer Diary: The Mortal Races

Making a short sidetrack from our odyssey over Age of Steel countries I thought it fitting to delve into the mortal races before we continue any further. After all they are the very basis for how many countries and conflicts have developed.

Now, I intend to go into each race in detail so let's just start with a little discussion over why there are different races in Centuria to begin with. I want to explore different social settings in this world - including racism but also society without racism. Having different races allows me to do this, while at the same time highlighting both the hypocrisy and the necessity in deciding boundaries. We can have a society in which skin color doesn't affect your social status while still picturing social conflicts between different races.


Claiming this image off the internet to represent the "classical" fantasy races, my idea for Centuria was to create a world "easy to jump into" yet still with a few twists to make it unique. Also, I wanted a plausible idea for how the different races had gotten there to begin with. 

Elves, dwarves and orcs thus get included pretty much by default. Now, the idea goes something like this: human evolution can pretty much be based on what happened on Earth. Dwarves I decided to portray as a different hominid and since the classical image that dwarves live in the mountains makes it unlikely they moved in overnight I decided to make Umarald their ancestral homeland. To have the humans migrate into the area is a quite plausible idea. Orcs then would also be immigrants - from the south, as many of their characteristics (dark skin, night active) fit better with a tropical environment than coming from the north. Now the elves; they are a rather advantaged race (being almost immortal and stuff) so there must be some explanation as to why the elves are not controlling the land. And, looking ahead, there's also a need for a good explanation as to how all these rather unique races appear in Umarald for some reason. My idea then is that the elves were created - from humans - using some sort of magic. Maybe demons were involved, maybe not. Regardless, this would provide a good reason for their abilities. 

Now, then, the very idea that magic could have created a race can be used to explain a whole lot of weird creatures in the world. I build on the idea that the elves, having discovered this could be done, transformed into all sorts of creatures: centaurs, minotaurs, worgs. And to create that little twist, why not introduce some friendly dwarf-elf relations? The gnomes, as usually described, form a rather perfect combination between the two? So we'll have some gnomes too based on this.

Great - we have most of the classical races and some explanation as how they came to be. Hobbits/halflings? I don't really see them adding much to the setting at this point and getting one more race to explain just seems a bit unrealistic. So, to still give the term some meaning I reinvent the "hobbits" as surface-living dwarves with a different social structure. Perhaps we'll see halflings in some future expansion (the world of Aladron is large, after all) but for now this gives us something to work with.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer heralds the Age of Knowledge


The feeling hasn't quite set in yet; but today the trilogy of rule books was completed. Still there's some way to go before there are any prints ready (proof reading for one thing) but just to have the content ready is a true milestone. 

The Age of Knowledge book weights in at 335 pages (slightly shorter than the 351 pages Age of Information book) and covers such things as seafaring, gunpowder weapons and of course a new political setting. As with the other books it is freely available at the downloads page

Now, just because all the books are nearing completion it doesn't mean that there's no more work to do. There's still a few continents to pull off (http://www.centuria.se/2015/12/creating-world.html) and new adventures and settings to be described in detail - not to mention a lot of plot exposure of the machinations of this world. 

So don't fret - there'll be more. But for now here's the first chance to enjoy the full set of Centuria rule books!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Developer Diary: Gwendellor

Ah, Gwendellor. This brings back memories as the first ever campaign in Centuria took place in this country.


The idea with Gwendellor was a frontier nation at the edge of civilization. Monsters and beasts lurking in the forests and hidden secrets deep in the mountains. A little Scandinavian touch but a bit more mysterious; the land should feel foreign and dangerous even to those who called it their home.

The Order of the Falcon was at the heart of the concept of Gwendellor. I can't recall exactly where the idea for the orwellian order of assassins came from, but there are plenty of historical references to draw upon such as the hashashin and the knightly orders of the crusades.

What I do recall is that from the start I envisioned Gwendellor as a land the humans had wrestled from the orcs. Indeed I decided that the human cities were still housed within walls once built by the orcs. It was something that would give the orcs, a very stereotyped race, an interesting history - something for those serving the Order of the Falcon to consider and dwell upon as they fought with orcs; the orcs where there first. And they weren't just primitive savages; they'd have cities - an empire even. And this gave birth to the idea of Orchiag - the ancient orc empire that spanned the length of the Northlands. This suited just fine with my aspirations to make Centuria a game where things weren't just black and white.

I wanted Gwendellor to be a fairly sparsely populated nation. Manpower would be a scarce resource. This would explain why the Order was prepared to put so much effort into every recruit, and also why those that survived to become full members of the Order enjoyed such benefits. It also helped form a picture of the Order's relation to the overall population of the country: the people was a resource; nothing more, nothing less.

One more thing I wanted from Gwendellor was a multicultural environment with equality between the sexes. It made sense then, that the nation was formed as part of the Empire's initial expansion into the Northlands. Gwendellor had been the furthest that the human armies had ventured in their quest to defeat the orcs. But how had the land fallen into the hands of the Order of the Falcon?

The idea I came up with was that the Order of the Falcon was just one out of several orders which had formed the backbone of the imperial invasion. Naturally, the Order of the Falcon had been in charge of intelligence and espionage, but it would then make more sense for it to exist in Damasa or Gothia. Historically I believe far flung outposts have been benefical to those who wanted to be able to do things their own way. So, the Order had been expelled from Damasa during the civil war but rather than retreat and operate under the queen in Menlor the leaders of the Order decided they'd do better by handling themselves - acquiring new land to manage their own recruitment pool might have been a strong incentive. Gwendellor probably wouldn't have been a first choice, but available land is scarce and the Order would have picked what it could get its hands on.

So the story of Gwendellor is pretty simple, yet very appealing (at least I think so). And that was really the goal of it; to create a very interesting place for a campaign with lots of possibilities (forest exploration, battles with the orcs, assassination missions and so forth). As the Order is described as one of the few to combine combat training with magics (at least in the Northlands) it was also an excellent opportunity to try out a very wide range of rules for the game.

You could say Gwendellor was the trailer for the entire game and it is still one of my absolute favorite settings, particularly in the Age of Steel!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Developer Diary: Damasa

I created Damasa to be a rival to the nation of Menlor. As I envisioned the two to be the major powers of the Northlands and so I imagine their conflict was similar to that of France and England during the middle ages, with the Damasa strait making it difficult to hold on to any gains on the other side.

The first thing was to design a reason for the hostility between the nations. I had already decided I wanted the nations of the Northlands to be multicultural (that is, several human cultures present) so it was logical that they would have a common ancestry. I envisioned that human civilization had been spread north from the Southlands by a great human empire that dwelled there. To give the nations claim on each others' lands I decided that most human nations in the Northlands had once been part of the same empire. As two factions came to claim the throne a civil war lead to the rise of several independent states.

With a story in place, I could build on that foundation. Geographically, it made sense for Damasa to be the first place for humans of the Southlands to make landfall (as Alvor was already set aside for the elves). Thus Damasa would be the heartland for human civilization in the north; resembling the Empire in the Southlands in both architecture and culture. I wanted it to be a contrast to Menlor on several levels and though I envisioned the queen of Menlor as the rightful and just ruler I didn't want to create a black and white scenario with Menlor being the good and Damasa the bad.

I found a good place to start to be the government. If Menlor was a feudal monarchy then I could make Damasa something like a republic or democracy? Inspired by the Persian-Greek conflict of antiquity I decided that if Menlor was inspired from France and the Empire would be some Roman-Persian mixup then it made sense to give Damasa a greek-inspired culture. So I made Damasa a meritocracy, though under the rule of an emperor which was largely seen as benign. As this image more and more clashed with the very traditionalist plans I had for the Empire I needed an explanation. The traditional factions of the Empire I had imagined as wizards, the army and the Temple. Given that I intended for the emperor to be a wizard it made sense that the wizard faction would be on his (the emperor would be male to balance out Menlor's queen) side. As the Temple was a moral institution with strong ties to the queen they would be the emperor's enemies. It seemed plausible the emperor would have banished them from the land (perhaps to gain the favor of the wizards?). Granting its wealth to the people could have prevented civil unrest. Then remained the army. As the emperor had managed to force the queen from the northern heartlands it seemed logical at least a large portion of the army had been on his side. But it was hard to imagine the traditional generals happily going along with the emperor dissolving the Temple and openly flirting with the wizard faction.

This created the foundation for an internal conflict. I imagine that to overthrow both the Temple and the army in one go would have been too much. The sensible solution to such a problem would seem to keep both sides content - and historically soldiers are best kept from causing trouble at home by being abroad fighting. As this suited the storyline just fine it was a given choice: the emperor sent his soldiers forth to try to claim all lands in the north for himself. But Menlor's knights would have been quite effective against legionnaire style infantry forces. The emperor is running low on troops but military tradition prevents him from recruiting freely.

This is really a turning point in Damasa's history - both in-game and off-game. Having reviewed what has been written so far I decide to postpone Damasa's cultural revolution. The emperor claimed power through adhering to the Empire's traditions, not overthrowing them. Those who ally with the emperor do so because they see themselves as part of the Empire and want to remain loyal subjects. This doesn't change the end result however; the emperor still battles the queen but starts to run low on soldiers. What does he do? He's a powerful mage so one response would be to summon an army - an army which is not so susceptible to attrition. Undead fit the bill just about right. So the emperor turns to raising undead and the whole war turns into a horror story. Great background stuff!

So how to merge this with that democracy-social revolution idea? Well, it seems likely the emperor gains more and more enemies over time. The Order of the Falcon eventually manages to assassinate him (they are on the queen's side anyway). Then what? With the undead falling apart Menlor gains the upper hand. Damasa is still strong in wizards but it needs a new army. A new emperor rises and appeals to the people: it is time to throw off all those who wish to rule them and create their own nation! The Temple is friendly towards the queen so gets thrown out. The wizards are the most powerful faction so they offer to assist in return for more privileges and autonomy and the remains of the army grudgingly joins the people and fight off the invaders. Almost there now!

Naturally, as the country is restored the army wants to reclaim its former position but the new emperor realizes this could lead to the same scenario once more and refuses. The new army will be raised from the common people. In protest the remaining soldier families decide to leave the country - they will then be the foundation for the militaristic state of Cenowar. But Damasa is now where I wanted it: it is a nation with a strong sense of national pride, a strong wizard community, a reformed army and with little or no influence from the Temple. In a sense the historical roles have been slightly reversed; Damasa now resembles revolutionary France while Menlor would look more like England in the Hundred Wears' War.

We're on to a great start!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Developer Diary: Menlor

Beginning the Developer Diary by talking about nations in the Age of Steel. It feels natural as this is where Centuria really began: with a map. At that time, admittedly, it wasn't intended to become the project it is today. It was another fantasy setting for another adventure campaign, but from the start the world stuck and here we are now...


Menlor was at the heart of the political and geographical design of Centuria. While the very first campaign in the game took place in Gwendellor that was a backwards place at the outskirts of civilization. Thus there was the need for some more powerful, more advanced civilization elsewhere in the world; preferably with a prime position on the map. This would be Menlor.

Since I wanted a classical fantasy setting at the core of the game, Menlor is deeply inspired by the European middle ages - particularly France. It shares the function of a cultural center, in this case for the ideas of chivalry, monoteism (The Temple) and feudalism. Menlor is known for its knights and its support for the old imperial bloodline (I refer to the Core Rule book for more reading on this subject). All this pretty much matches historical France to one degree or another.

However, there are also some important differences. With Centuria I wanted to explore some alternative social concepts. One of them is equality between men and women. Since Centuria contains several mortal races there's plenty of opportunities for inequalities that might yield interesting game play, so I also strived to achieve the opposite. As a consequence I envisioned Menlor as a nation ruled by queens rather than kings and in which men and women are seen as fairly equal in most fields. This state of affairs is explained part through cultural heritage and part by magic; which has helped to improve life to a more bearable state for the overall population compared to the actual middle ages. I theorize this would help bring power to women, as the dangers of childbirth (at least for the upper classes) are greatly reduced and magic can also contribute with fairly effective (if expensive) contraceptives. The lives of the women of Menlor are thus not as strongly affected by these factors as was historically true.

Partly through this equality, which I imagine creates a more open and understanding society, and again partly through magic Menlor also has a strong streak of meritocracy; a character can make it to a different level in society through hard labor and a bit of luck. The end result is thus a nation which can be seen as fairly benign; it is certainly not evil. Sure, it wages wars and tries to impose lordship over its neighbors but it is not the rich taking advantage over the poor - in fact the motivation of Menlor to intervene is often the opposite. With its queen the country acts like a protective mother to those around it, which pretty much matches the written story of how the nation came to be. So if Menlor was a person it would be someone you'd not always agreed with, but you knew he or she acted with good intentions. It would be a person advocating security and morality at the expense of individual freedom (pretty much the opposite of its main rival: Damasa).

Most lore about Menlor is a direct consequence from what has been established above. The country is friendly with the dwarves (who, however, remain suspicious as Menlor's equality between the sexes is very different from the dwarven society) - the progress of their relationship will eventually make Menlor a leading nation in technological development. Their other ally is Gwendellor, which also supports their queen's claim to all human lands in the Northlands, but as the methods employed by the Order of the Falcon are quite clandestine it puts a strain on the relationship as Menlor favors honesty and chivalry. The neighbors of Arbea and Tala are balancing their interests of having friendly relations without getting absorbed into the country. All in all, it is a country which provides a solid base for designing the international relationships and also a solid introduction for new players and game masters as it is similar to many other fantasy settings. Personally I therefore find it a little bit on the dull side compared to some other locations but it is still a cornerstone for the whole Age of Steel setting.

While Menlor is certainly at a disadvantage against its rival Damasa in the Age of Steel it is destined for greatness (or at least expansion and progress) in the Age of Knowledge, as it absorbs Arbea and becomes the nation of Gothia.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Developer Diary: First Post

LinCon 2017 is at an end and though it will be a great memory the aim is already set for 2018. For two years now, Centuria has been running some rather advanced scenarios featuring two Game Masters and separate groups of players. While very fun they have also presented some serious challenges from a Game Master perspective. This, along with feedback from everyone involved has inspired the creation of what will (hopefully) be a series of blog posts relating to the design and development of Centuria. The idea is to cover different angles: from game mechanics to world design to adventure and character creation.

First out I'll delve into some of the nations of the Age of Steel; what are they inspired from and what do I hope that they will contribute with to the setting as a whole?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Kragor the Merc: Epilogue

Yeah, yeah, I know you're wondering what happened next. But just so you all get it: I'm a merc - not a fucking loremancer. I don't got all the details.

From what I pieced together it wasn't a flawless victory. GERO had been looking for something out there - some elvish ruin or artifact or whatever. And in the end they got it. But on the other side they took a heavy punch too; our little party must have put them back a few weeks and a girl I know - she's the silent type - apparently cashed in big on assassinating the heads of the corporation. So Dormicas is pretty much back the way it used to be - with bad jobs from many corps and everyone fighting over scraps and all that. But its the way I prefer it to be. I guess GERO still made a shitload of money on their grab but hey, its not like I would have gotten it anyway; or the people of Dormicas for that matter. It would still just have lined the pockets of some Union bigshot 2'000 kilometers away. So who the fuck cares?

It would be the end of Freelance, at least as we knew it. Juron had seen something dark in himself those last days at GERO and apparently wanted to continue on his own journey. Can't say I ever really liked the man, but I wish him luck none the less. The Falcons went away of course and for the rest of us sticking around and throw a welcome-home party to the Demon's Head just didn't suit any of us. So we talked about just selling the place and move somewhere else, set up a new shop and start over. At least for a while. The big city will always have its lure. But long story short, that's how I ended up in this bar in this little town. You better believe it.

And if you ask me to repeat anything of what I just said ever again I'll nail your head to the fucking ceiling. Ed's the guy for repetitive blather. Me; I prefer the silence.

...

Kragor took a good look around him before he continued. He wanted to be -absolutely- sure no one was following him when he reached the locker.
A few moments later he found himself in front of it - a door exactly like the 20'000 others in the storage facility, and that was just one of the floors. He took out his digital keycard and entered the 10 digit code. He opened it, left a small parcel and then closed it again.
A minute later he was gone.


...


The door to the small shop opened and shut quickly. Keria finished her meal and went to deal with the customer.
"Kragor? What are you doing here?"
"Saying 'goodbye'."
"So the shit has really hit the fan?" she gave him a disapproving look.
"No, it hasn't. I'm just tired of the city for a while."
"Never thought I hear -you- say that."
"Goodbye Keria. And good luck."


...

"Hello sis."
The half-orc woman almost spilled her drink.
"Holy shit, is that you Kragor?"
"You don't recognize my pretty face?"
"Haven't seen your pretty face since you were 12. You need money or something?"
"No."
She gave him a scrutinizing look. For once he didn't put up his fa├žade.
"By all the cursed devils... you're just here to see me?"
"You disapprove?"
"No, but well... you know," she switched to her sarcastic tone, "if the kids would see you they'd have nightmares for years."
"I won't be staying long."
"You know I didn't mean..."
"Don't worry. But I'll be heading out for a while. But I'll be back."
"I've never trusted you when you'd said things like that," she grinned at him but he could also see a slight mist to her eyes.
"I got 30 grand put away in a locker in downtown - I'll be back alright."
"Finally struck some gold, eh?"
"Eh, yeah, you could say that," said Kragor, for the first time feeling a bit uncomfortable about where the conversation was going. "Even got some extra."
He handed her a small credstick.
"I don't want your money Kragor."
"Its not for you - its for the kids."
After a moment's hesitation she nodded and took the stick.
"Goodbye sis."

...

Kragor stood before the unmarked grave.
"You knew it would end this way, Kronaug. One cannot be stupid and criminal for very long."
Though he knew it was true it didn't feel quite right as the last words to someone he'd known for so long.
"But you died for a good cause, I think. It could have been worse."
He turned and walked away.

...

The night air was cold and he was surrounded by trees. In the distance the dark water of Noldoa-Seni reflected the light of the stars. Between him and it lay an ugly little town; most lights out at this late hour but still a few chimneys poured dark smoke into the air and some moving lights could be seen reflecting off the buildings. Kragor didn't believe in happy endings and he knew that one day - probably not so far off - the town of Sodor would feel too small and the lure of Dormicas would draw him back. But right there, right then, he felt quite content.
"And once I put my shotgun to your face, Dwavor, I promise by the gods I'll be happy for a full day."
Whistling a tune, the scarred half-orc started walking towards the town, the auto-shotgun resting on his shoulder.

Kragor the Merc: Not just another run

It was the longest and most hellish countdown of my life. I've worked for some pretty fucked up people over the years, but seeing it on a grand scale... people never cease to amaze, that's all I can say.

We did jobs for GERO for a week - mainly patrolling the area and driving other people off the land - waiting for the damn Falcons to give the go sign. Every time I saw Boyan my trigger finger itched.

Then came the day, or rather evening as we had already pulled a full day's work. The hot-shots from GERO showed up and picked us for two top-notch escort vehicles and sent us off to a pick-up site. Boyan and a lady friend of his with similar levels of empathy was calling the shots and split us up between the vehicles. To my disappointment I get to go with the lady. With me was Juron, Erza and Lucas.

The drive to the pick-up was uneventful enough and would prove our only chance to get some sleep for quite some time. The place seemed to be some type of old facility - probably abandoned due to a fire. There were quite a few other mercs there, watching as we arrived. A truck was added to our convoy and we took position behind with Boyan and his team in front. Another long drive awaited - but now we were instructed to stay sharp.

I saw something behind us, probably because I expected to see it. Juron appeared to notice it too. There were at least two monobikes following us - and I could swear it was Hawk riding one of them. What followed wasn't a high-point in my career as a tactican, but I guess after the Falcons keeping us in the dark I wanted something to happen. I alerted our superior to us being pursued and she ordered the vehicle stopped and us to move out and take up positions. I wasn't the only one to be trigger-happy it seemed, for practically as soon as we'd gone out Erza gave the word to terminate our leader. Juron was quick on the notes and despite whatever job GERO had put into her she went down in a few seconds. The driver, who'd seen what had happened was shocked and I guess not to leave any loose ends we put him down too.

As Hawk and her companion rolled up they pointed out that we'd put ourselves in a bit of a conundrum. They wanted to know where the current cargo was heading - and GERO would probably have some difficulties trusting us given what had just happened. To be frank, I didn't give much of a shit: I had just got the opportunity to hammer someone who deserved it badly. The fact that the Falcons didn't tell us what they were planning was their fucking problem - we did our best with what we were given. On that note I called in and reported the casualties. Boyan sounded less than convinced, but told us to stick to the mission. I took over the driver's seat and soon we had caught up with the truck.

We drove for quite some time until we reached another installation which reached into a mountain side. It looked mostly like some type of mine with a few hastily constructed buildings with a small concrete wall with a watch tower protecting the entrance to the mine itself. We were taken to the barracks but weren't given much rest. Boyan came around and picked out Erza. I wanted to follow to see what was happening, but at the same time I didn't want to jeopardize our position further. But a few minutes later Boyan was back - without Erza - and this time he took Juron. It was clear some type of interrogation was going on and as I knew deception wasn't the prime skill of everyone in our team it smelled like trouble. Charles, speaking for the Falcons, agreed but insisted that he attempted to rescue our team mates while he tasked me, Ed and Lucas with blowing up the entrance to the mine.

We didn't get far until we were set upon by Boyan, who silently knocked Ed out of the game. Our excuse that we were just out to take a late night shit didn't quite go home and he tried to put his knives in Lucas, who elegantly backed away. As for myself I had been prepping for this moment for a damn week. The shotgun was in my hands almost before I knew what was happening and I pulled the trigger hard, basically turning the bastard's arm into minced meat. It didn't stop him and instead he turned his focus on me, but I had expected this should he survive and managed to dodge every attack he made. Next thing Lucas perforated his skull with a well-aimed shower of magrail bullets. Unfortunately my shotgun fire had put the guards on alert, but in that moment I was way too high to feel down. I put another round of bullets into Boyan's corpse before we dragged the unconscious Ed into the woods and started to make our way towards the mine entrance.

We managed to find some sort of mining vehicle which we used to create a ramp over the concrete wall. Inside we hid in a shed which proved to hold just what we needed: large cases filled with explosives. Unfortunately they were securely locked and while we managed to bring them into the mine our best option seemed to place them and then fire away and hope it worked. At this point the Falcons made contact and provided a better option as soon we had Hawk at our side.

Apparently the others had been busy, for our supposed sniper cover was busy elsewhere. Good thing we had a sniper of our own. Once the charges were set I made a run for it, while Lucas did a good job in taking down anyone posted in the watch tower. I understood from our com-channel that there was a communication disk that needed to be taken care of before we could call it a day and apparently that was what all the fighting outside was about. I saw a couple of guards near the disk and decided it was a good time to play a stupid orc, so shouted something about explosives in the mines and sabotage. It got their attention but before I could capitalize on the situation someone shouted "Juron, Fire!" on the com and that could only be translated as 'run like hell'. The com disk exploded in a million pieces as I threw myself towards the ground. Soon after the mine itself went 'kaboom'.

Even then, there, lying on the ground with bullets and small pebbles flying all around and pieces of broken equipment burning it felt like a B-rated action virex. But it was a virex approaching the end; those that needed to be put down had been put down and that which needed to be blown up had been blown up. Affected by this strange feeling the next couple of minutes felt like everything happened in slow-motion, with every sound as heard through a wall or a pillow over the ear late at night. But soon we found ourselves in a terradyne, driving away - back towards the city.

It would be the end of the adventure.

Friday, February 24, 2017

New print: The Age of Steel has arrived!

Say hello to the latest print of the Core Rule Book! At roughly 400 pages it is a solid piece with mostly text but a number of maps, short stories and item sketches to lighten things up. Hopefully more art can be added later on, but as that is not my area of expertise it will have to do for now.


It has been a lot of work and there are still two more books to go, but it feels very solid to finally have this in hand. The result was better than expected - particularly the hardback cover with many thanks to Sissela Lewitzki Andersson for the artwork!

As the author of these I can't say anything else than that I'm quite proud. For the achievement of actually getting this delivered to my doorstep, but also for all that last minute work put in to correct spelling mistakes (oh, there were lots of those), bad mathematics (don't ask) and the overall layout of the book. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm sure there are plenty of errors in there still - but at least they had to fight for survival.

So, I'll enjoy this milestone for a few days and then its back to work on the Age of Information rulebook!

Interested?

If you're interested in getting your hands on one of these books please leave a note at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CenturiaRPG/.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Kragor the Merc: In Service of the Enemy


I know you listen to my stories because you find them amusing. Well, this time there's nothing to be amused about I can guarantee.

The big plan had been set in motion. The Falcons had given us instructions and a high-tech biomod - supposedly to protect against some mind-controlling stuff GERO was employing. We had accepted GERO's offer for work and after getting Charles to baby-sit us we were to be picked up. The whole thing was just like some boot-camp scene from a B-grade virex. Big truck rolled up and we climbed into an almost full transport compartment. Seemed GERO had managed to lay their hands on almost every merc in town...

It was a short journey to the assembly area where we watched the suits make up some plans. Also we spotted a familiar face from GERO's grand opening on the news channel - one of the high execs who apparently came down to relay some orders to the suits. Abriel's bodyguard was also there but it now became clear who she was really working for. The plot thickens.

There was a long drive to take us from the city out to the research facility. There wasn't much else to do, so I observed as much as I could. This continued until we reached  GERO's little paradise installation out in the middle of nowhere. We were taken on an outside walk to reach our quarters, which were at the rear of the facility. Every step sickened me more and more as I saw more of this facade. Inside the less flattering merc quarters we were called up and sorted into cells. I say cells for that's what it were. The facility was a blend between a prison complex and a damn storage tank for lab rats. It would soon be clear that was exactly what we were considered to be as we were put through some psychological evaluation, suspicious medical exam and fitness tests. I played the stupid orc - people generally didn't question you being a stupid orc - and continued to observe. Unsurprisingly, we were observed in return - but Ed managed to find what he believed to be a blind spot for the facility cameras. Certainly something to keep in mind.

We were also introduced to the less pleasant elements of the place; the team leaders were with all certainty the very same escaped criminals we'd spent some time looking for a few months ago. Seemed some had survived the Falcon's sabotage of their facility. Whether because of this or if it was just a personal trait I didn't know, but they didn't hesitate to kill people. Saw it happen right in front of our eyes and the mercs accepted it like a bunch of school kids.

It was nothing compared to our first job though. It was late and most others seemed to be sick from a biomod administered during the medical exams. For us it was more like a serious itch and we did everything we could to keep us from scratching out skin off. Apparently something important had happened and our elated team leaders noticed we were still up and going, so we were chosen. At that time I was glad to get something to think about and also an opportunity to learn more about what was going on. I were quickly to regret those thoughts.

We were lead by a total psychopath called Boyan and the mission was to eradicate some overdue settlers on what was claimed to be GERO's land. I knew there was little to do but to look professional and get things done - if I didn't do it someone else would. I just hoped the rest of the team had learned enough of ethics in the Fringe to get through this with their wits intact. Or at least not sustain more damage than they already had...

Juron and Charles were designated to sweep the ground while Lucas were to put down any stragglers. Me and Ed were simply to provide backup if necessary. For my part I would be keeping an eye on Boyan.

I won't go into details. People were murdered that night, but I learned some lessons. Juron is like a child when it comes to boundaries - whenever someone pushes he'll get interested and pulled along. Must learn to do that; it seems the only way to affect his actions in a profound way. Then there was Boyan. He was, what I can only assume, genetically improved to a level only comparable to his level of mental degradation. I had always kept myself professional in such matters - with a few exceptions - but this guy quickly made it to my list of people who need to die a horrible death. The toughest decision in the coming weeks would be if that should happen sooner or later. The Falcons might have hired us but this job was for a good cause after all...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Kragor the Merc: Grand Opening

If someone would have asked me if I believed in fate a week ago I'd say 'no'.

Well, I ought to keep to the timeline, right? We were leaving the undercity with three truckloads of gold, driving like crazy past - and sometimes through - gatherings of subdwellers, trying to navigate our way out. The fire and explosions from the robbery - for that was all it really was - felt very close. Then we left the tunnels behind...

And it was still daylight. A few blocks later we hit normal traffic and instead of the mad driving we just flowed with it. The heart was pumping and screaming while the world seemed to go in slow-motion. I guess this is what Juron craves - at least at times. It was oddly comforting.

We left the vehicles at the designated drop-point and then headed out. Joline was nice enough to select a meeting place nearby, so we collected our payment, paid off on some debts, and then headed back home. Someone was watching and I wondered who. It seemed a bit low-profile for the arbitrators and from Joline's reaction I figured it wasn't she. Was it one of GERO's assassins keeping us under surveillance? Little did I know...

Juron was left at the medbay in what seemed a routine part of any mission. He'd taken a gunshot wound to one eye but fortunately it didn't look critical. The rest of us just headed back to base where we went through the pickings Hawk had collected. Coupled with 24k in cash it was a good pay. But the question kept coming back: what was our purpose, why were we doing this? I guess I wanted a reason for the killing. Old man problem.

I didn't get any answers of course - not even after a night out with too much drink, which for once felt like the right thing to do. The following day was back to the question of what would we do next? And there it was on the news: GERO opening some new research facility out in the wilds. Promised to make everything good and bring us all to happy-land. In my experience if you heard shit like that on the prime channel you ran for it. But I'd grown tired of running. But it was about time we learned what the fuck was going on. Time to contact my good friend mr Blackbourne and hope he kept up with things. Indeed he said we should meet and discuss - which probably indicated major shit was going on. This state of affairs was confirmed by job offers being at an all-time low.

I learned a lot from mr Blackbourne a few hours later. GERO was taking over town, more or less. Slowly, over time, they've bought themselves a majority in most major corps in the region. Then there was the rumors of the encampment for escaped criminals, the assassinations by Abriel's "body guard" and of course the defector K... yeah, it looked serious. I tried to leave a hook with Blackbourne - his family was rich and influential and they probably wanted GERO cut down to size.


Back at base I... well its hard to describe really. There was a grill. And then... there was fire. From a top-floor window in the Freelance building. With his heavy flamer Juron turned a dead cow (or whatever it was) into a meal faster than the damn breakfast machine could deliver a bowl of snot. It was hard not to have a party after something like that, but sometime during the evening I shared what I've learned. I don't know exactly how things played out after that, but at some point I noticed Hawk taking Erza outside. There was definitely something fishy about her so I followed. It turned out she was working for Sam - our mystery savior from the fucked-up weapons high-jacking. And Sam had a job for us which involved taking on GERO somehow. For the job itself we would have a meeting with someone up the ranks, which seemed reasonable. But also we would have to make sure that the Demon's Head were too occupied to take any job offers from GERO. It was definitely a selling point for me.


The following morning was spent on an evil plan. The only sort of job offers worth doing which was still coming in was for Dukkha. So for that reason - and some more - it seemed natural to send the Demon's Head there to earn some creds. For a couple of weeks. He. Listening to Erza giving the news to Krelik would keep me warm inside for many a cold night.

Later that evening it was time for our meeting with Sam's mystery organization. We were lead to an odd, hidden away roof-top installation in the blocks. Clearly someone had both cash and the connections to get hold of some advanced tech. Keria would have drooled at the sight. So we got an introduction, a slight show-off as the bastards had hacked my tracking dots to keep us all under surveillance - and also news that they had already found and taken care of that rumored prisoner encampment we've heard about. So what did they want from us? I almost laughed myself to death when I heard it: we were to infiltrate GERO and wait for further orders. The irony being we had ourselves discussed exactly such a course of action not too long ago, and here we were. It was going to be difficult. It was going to make a difference if indeed these guys were bent on taking down GERO as they claimed to be. And it would by all hells be damned well paid - of that I would make sure.

So suddenly we were doing something. Something that mattered. And there was someone to pay us for it. I had looked forward to this for some time. And it seemed I've been led to this place even when I seemed to choose otherwise. If someone would've asked me if I believed in fate now I'd still say bloody 'no'. But it had me thinking alright...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Kragor the Merc: A truckload of gold


Did we break it or make it? By all standards we must have made it, but why doesn't it feel like it? Let's back up a couple of days...

When you're about do go up against professional killers and there's 200k in the magic pot you prepare yourself. Thus the week leading up to the job kindly offered by the Clans was spent doing just that. We arranged maps and route details from a contact given us by Silence. The cargo: 5 tons of gold bullion painstakingly mined and now being transported from the central bank to the harbor by train, then to be offloaded to a ship heading for the mainland.

We spent the next couple of days staking out the vast part of the city hidden beneath street level where old and new tracks ran among the foundations of the massive skyscrapers. Also it was shopping time. I had no problems taking a loan from the Clans to fund this mission: if all went well we would pay it back within a week, and if it didn't... well then a debt would be the least of my troubles, regardless who expected it. I enjoyed fooling Joline into believing I was giving in to her manipulations and committing myself to the Clans. It probably wasn't necessary given she knew what job we were doing but... yeah, fuckit, she deserved a bit of disappointment later on.

We bought guns and explosives and a shitload of other stuff... rented autos and recruited some people. We had a hacker but we needed someone who could handle tech on the ground - so I got around to see Keria... It was some time since and she'd must have had a small shock when I showed up and asked for help. But I knew she still had a bit of adventure inside and the lure of gold works on most people. As an extra treat I offered to buy some cool model headsets and other stuff for the mission through her. She agreed to lend a hand. Second target was Kronaug... I'd done him one too many favors to have him dodge this one, so I decided to eliminate that possibility altogether. As further reinforcement, Ed recruited a smacker named Charles through grandpa the dwarf and Erza recruited Hawk from Freelance. Erza herself however would remain back at Freelance - providing a plausible cover story and if necessary coordinate with us once we made our escape.

Surveying the expected route we learned that there were several complications. Firstly, the place was a maze and very hard to navigate. Secondly there were lots of unfortunates living down there and thirdly the open terrain did not fit in with our expectations and tactical planning. We would have to pick a spot for our assault with care. We found one in a narrow tunnel section located next to a side track in which we could hide our vehicles and prepare ourselves. We waited for as long as we dared to allow any surveying units to pass unhindered before we got to work. The far side of the track we rigged with mines, then be blew up the tracks themselves and built a small wall of rubble a bit further ahead to prevent the whole train from crashing at max speed. After all, we needed to be able to offload the cargo with ease.

The upcoming battle was now only minutes away. Juron had handed us some stereo packs and together with a bit of vitagel it made me feel prepared. That familiar nervousness came about and I went through the battle in my head. Ed, Hawk and Kronaug had been fitted with ballistic shields and would form the front line. Me, Juron and Charles would supply the heavy fire, with Lucas providing sniper support with his brand new magrail and Keria being prepared to handle any difficulties of a technical nature that might arise. I expected a battle similar to last time we tried something like this; well-trained combators with shotguns or automated rifles moving in formation. They would face a moving wall and the wrath of the shining heavy flamer firmly held by Juron. It looked outright evil. I had also prepared a little surprise in the shape of some electrified bolts for my crossbow. Hopefully they would be effective even against blokes in heavy armor.

Then was the sound of an approaching train. It was about to begin...

The train stopped pretty much as we had wanted it to and we advanced forward. But rather than the doors opening there were slids and hidden hatches... the train was a damn fortress. Being the one charged with the explosives I realized we must act fast or get bogged down here for far too long. So I left the relative safety of the shield wall and rushed forward, placing a micro bomb at the nearest steel door. I just managed to take cover under the train as bullets started flying and combators advanced out of the train.
From that point it was pure madness. Ed and Lucas kept communications tight over the radio in a fashion that would have warmed the frozen heart of any combator commander. Meanwhile Juron and Charles sprayed the train with fire and bullets while a mine detonated on the other side of the train. From my somewhat complicated position I managed to put a bolt in the leg of one of the attackers. Next a flashbang landed among us and broke the shield wall as Kronaug staggered. I detonated the explosive, which opened the door to the inside and while more attackers pushed forward from the back of the train I grabbed a grenade. Somehow it bounced and landed next to me beneath the train... I threw myself out just as a big brute in fiberplate brought down hell against us. I saw Ed being thrown to the ground despite his shield - apparently from the sheer force of the blow. On the ground lay Kronaug, bleeding from a wound in the chest he must have taken after suffering the flashbang - I saw little choice but to take cover behind him as shotgun shrapnel flew all around...

Then happened the strangest of things. As I dived in behind Kronaug and turned around I could swear I saw the fire from the gun pointed in my direction, I felt the sting in my chest and looked down as blood was pouring out of my chest, the world moved in slow motion... but in the blink of an eye it wasn't there. I was covered in blood, yes, but it was Kronaug's blood as his body had taken the blast for me. I pulled out my shotgun and blasted away at the advancing combator. Ed was somehow also back in the fight - which soon ended when Hawk with icy precision blew the head off of two enemies and Charles sprayed the rest with his assault gun. Somewhere in the back of the head was also a memory of Lucas' regular reports of enemies down. So we'd won...

Juron had taken a bad hit to one of his eyes and Kronaug was dead. Otherwise we were unharmed. Juron had left two people alive inside the train: the driver and some corp holding a case. Hawk took the corp aside and made him reveal any codes and intel he had before killing him. I shot the driver, though Ed tried to get in the way. He looked at me disappointedly but said nothing. It wasn't the time for a lecture on Fringe ethics so I didn't either.

I didn't look much at the rest of the carnage; I just wanted to get it all done. We started mounting our improvised cableway on which we placed small bags which we used to slide the gold back to the waiting cars. Hawk noted that there was a lot of top grade equipment to be looted from the guards. As we were one orc short with the loading we left her to it.

A couple of minutes later we were leaving to collect a full 200k. Any evidence left on the site was torn apart by a compression bomb. There had been a terrible price and Kronaug's death was on my hands. Yet I couldn't help but think that without a doubt the others who had died had been far better people than he had. He was a scum after all and though it was my fault he had died today I had saved his hide on several occasions - a death like this was to be expected for an orc like him. The others... they need not have died at all had I not come along. I could just hope that if the gods, provided they exist, really had watched they had been pleased by the spectacle.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Kragor the Merc: New Beginnings

I've learned not to be surprised in situations like this. Ok, Freelance's boss was heading out - now what? Both Demon's Head, Silence and Hawk where there. Keys and passcodes lay on the table and Erza moved towards them - only to be intercepted by Krelik. So that was how it was going to be.

About 30 seconds later Ed and Joshua where pointing guns, me and Jiang-Pfengh were holding grenades. Oh, and Silence had somehow slipped out of the building. Given this it was slightly unexpected to find ourselves in Elizah's office a few minutes later, going through the paperwork. Less unexpected was that Erza had apparently gone for the position of chief not so much because of her great managerial skills but more out of pride. I'm no paper-pusher but I know there's more to this business than meets the eye. Fortunately the common opinion seemed to be we should hire someone for the administrative stuff. Ed contacted his hacker/love-interest to get some suggestions.

Next thing on the schedule was to find some work. I lay forth my theory of GERO negotiator Abriel's "bodyguard" being involved in the fishy business we've been investigating. Yes, it would be a big gamble - but you couldn't go far without taking big risks. Particularly Ed seemed reluctant to commit without knowing the possible gain - a statement that in my opinion would get us no further than standard escort jobs until the end of time. A middle approach was decided when it turned out Juron had been contacted by Joline again; we'd check if Erza's contact Ruben would be prepared to pay us on learning the assassin's identity and then go speak to the Clans on the following day.

Me, Erza and Ed went to speak with Ruben that same evening. In hindsight it would have been better if it had been just me and Erza - just saying. As we had hoped to get a bounty offer on the assassin we were disappointed when Ruben decided it was too big for him with GERO involved. To see what we could get out of it I put forth the suggestion that we might know someone who could handle it - the assassin known simply as K. Ruben agreed it was worth investigating so we set up a meeting early the next morning and were offered to stay over the night as guests. As we were practically heading next door for our visit with the Clans we sent a message to Lucas and Juron, informing them of the situation.

The following morning K showed and even in an indoor setting it was immediately apparent he wasn't anyone to trifle with. He was prepared to kill Abriel's bodyguard for Ruben, but the price was 28k. I suggested I go talk to him as I didn't think we could handle the negotiation through Ruben anymore. I think K recognized me and I asked if we could think the offer over but he seemed to consider this a waste of his time. Given I came here to gain money - not spend it - I decided to decline. I knew this would lead to some discussion but I couldn't see how we would benefit from the deed in the long run. After all, the bodyguard was just one piece in our investigation - her death would not mean check mate.

After K had left we rested until Juron and Lucas arrived in the Blocks. The meeting with Joline was, as expected, more of a forced recruitment as it would appear she now had a hook on Ed as well. At least she gave us a number of jobs to choose from. Though dismissed at first due to our last experience, we eventually settled for an armed transport robbery. It had the best opportunity for cash - 200k in a best case scenario - and the guards would be armed and prepared for combat. Apparently this meant killing them were more ethical than killing some politician who probably kept hundreds starving and dying due to a lack of medical care. Well, I made it no secret I don't like working for the Clans but given the situation we're in it seems stupid not to go all the way. Either we make it or break it and I must say I enjoy the opportunity of finding out.

But the day hadn't given up all its opportunities yet - as we returned to Freelance we soon found Abriel (and that bodyguard...) knocking on the door. She wasn't offering us a mission this time but rather a full-time employment for several months. With so much options I couldn't help but wondering: how soon would things start to go bad again?