The year certainly has sped past and now we are already sitting at the end of October. This means that the launch date for The Runed Age is getting closer and closer. In fact, there are only seven weeks left till it goes on sale. So while we finish polishing the book off, keep your calendars nearby as the The Runed Age goes on sale mid December!
Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who commanded the entire military might of Alfresia. This week, we look at the youngest of the Princes, but perhaps the most powerful.
This week’s Prince is the President!
There are some who argue (the Presidents’ supporters chief among them) that the office of the President is technically older than the Merchant League of Fresia, but this is mere political grandstanding. The Merchant League was created during the Alfresian War of Independence a century ago while the rebel President was only properly sworn in after the nation became free. This technicality is not just a piece of trivia to be used in a weekend’s pub quiz night. Among the six Princes of Middelburg, the rulers of Alfresia, influence matters more than all the money or might in the world; and as so often the case, the youngest sibling always has a lot more to do to gain that influence.
While the President is nominally the head of state for Alfresia, he has not nearly as much power as he would like. Some believe this is intentional, that the other five Princes ensured the President was hamstrung at every turn, so that they can do as they will. The first of these impediments is the Senate who runs the day to day affairs of the nation, passing the laws that keep the island running. While the President has veto power, it is not infinite and many a time a President’s wishes has been overturned by the Senate’s actions. The idealistic calls this the checks and balances of a democratic society. The cynical call it the effectiveness of bribes and backroom deals.
The second impediment to the President’s power are the Princes themselves. Only the Merchant League does not answer to the President, being its own sovereign nation; the other four Princes must, in theory at least, bow to the Senate and thus the President. After all, the Field Marshall and the Supreme Judge are public offices while the leaders of the Progenitorist and Prodigalist faiths are only citizens in the eyes of the law. The truth is a different matter and this is where the influence mentioned above comes into play. The Field Marshall controls the military, the Supreme Judge the courts and the priests the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of faithful Alfresians. The President can’t simply through his weight around, because he know if push comes to shove, the Princes could easily overpower him
This week’s Prince is thus a much more cunning and diplomatic Prince than the others, because only the most cunning, conniving and flattering survive as President. He may not have as much innate power as the other Princes, but hard work creates a power of its own. A lesson, perhaps, in democracy.
Right on the heels of last week’s array we bring you one of the many arrays that are banned in the city of Middelburg, and for good reason.
This week we bring you the Walking Bomb array.
Notation: Transmute Human, of a size 100 times that of the array, into Stone; and Push Stone at a speed of 64 m/s.
Description: By just looking at the array, you can immediately see why the constabulary of Middelburg have taken such a dim view of the Walking Bomb array. The name alone tells anyone that this array wasn’t made for any other reason than for murder, except perhaps an entertaining execution. If you carry musket or pistol rounds inscribed with the Walking Bomb array inscribed, the constables won’t think twice before arresting you.
The danger, and effectiveness, of the Walking Bomb comes not from transmuting human flesh into stone, but rather from the runic explosion that comes afterward. Turning a human into stone will kill them will them regardless of the Push rune in the array or not. The Sculptor array does this quite well. The true malice, or genius depending on who you ask, is that Push rune. By pushing the newly created stone so quickly, and from inside that very stone, the array creates an explosion.
The speed of the force rips apart the ex-human statue and flings it at everyone in the vicinity at a speed of 64 metres per second, or 230 kilometres per hour. This array was not create to kill only one person, it was designed to kill a room full of people.
As with all violent arrays there are some safety features built in. The Gargantuan rune modifying the Transmute rune means that there is an energy threshold that needs to be reached before the array activates, a threshold the energy from a musket and pistol won’t reach. This ensures that the array doesn’t turn your arm into a stone bomb as you fire the round. The Quicken runes modifying the Push rune works in the same way. This also ensure that the round goes into the victim’s body first before activating, causing maximum damage.
Even though we did give you something amazing for Magic Mondays this week, we do still owe you an array!
This Week we give you Bür’s Grace.
Notation: Create a Large Containment field that excludes Humans if Humans are present within a tenth of the array.
Description: Named after the legendary figure who gave humanity the runes and arrays, this array is the last mercy that many criminals will be given in this life. That is because this array is the preferred method of execution in most of the world of the Runed Age.
It is called merciful because it results in an instantaneous death and thus by all accounts painless. It takes an especially heinous crime or a particularly sadistic ruler to inflict any other method of execution. The traditional method of execution for traitors to the state is beheading followed by the head being kept alive with the arrays for a minimum of an hour. Similarly, the mad king Markus VI ordered that all executions be performed by burning the convicted alive.
The reason why this array is so merciful in comparison is because how it is set up. If you exclude anything within a containment field, that object is instantly disintegrated into nothingness. However, once that containment field has been set up, the object it is excluding cannot enter it. This is how defensive arrays work. So the trick is the have the target inside the array before setting up the containment field.
That is where the If-Then statement comes in. Only once a human has reached the centre of the array (a tenth of the array’s size across) does the array activate. The containment field of the Bür’s Grace array is also large enough that, once in the centre, it will take care of any human of any size and shape.
It may be a morbid array, but the in harsh world of the Runed Age, you take any small mercies that you can.
If you want to know how If-Then statements in array’s work (or how to create arrays in general) check out our video series on YouTube. Our most recent video covered If-Then statements.
Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who ruled over the execution of the law. This week we’re look at the Prince who control the might and power of Alfresia.
This week’s Prince is the Field Marshal.
This one man controls the entirety of the nation’s military. The Navy, the Marines, the Infantry, the Cavalry, the Artillery and the Provost; all six branches of Alfresia’s military reports directly to the Field Marshal. Nearly every coup, rebellion and revolution has been won or lost depending on which side the Field Marshal fought. In terms of armed personnel, there is no one more powerful than the Field Marshal and he knows this well. It takes a brave, or stupid, man to get on the wrong side of the Marshal.
The military title of “Field Marshal” is an ancient one and stems from Alfresia’s imperial days. When Alfresia was a vassal of the Heavenly Empire of Man, its military consisted mostly of the Imperial Legions drafted from the local populace. The Legions were the Emperor’s way of keeping its territories safe as well as a show of force to its vassals. The Legions were loyal only to the Imperial Throne and so kept the nobles in line. In those days the Marshal was merely the stable master of the Legion and every Legion outpost had one. A civilian rank, the Marshal was little more than a servant to the Legion.
As the years rolled by and the Legion became a more modern fighting force, the Marshal was brought out of the stables to care for the horses out on the field, ensuring that the Legion could be a mobile force. This necessitated that the Marshal be able to command Legionnaires if and when necessary. Thus the rank of Field Marshal was created, if only to be equal to a Lieutenant. It would take many more years for the Field Marshal to become the title of the commander of a Legion Cavalry Regiment.
By the time Alfresia, as part of Fresland, left the Empire, the rank of Field Marshal was given to the commander of the entire army. While mainland Fresland was happy with this, it did not sit well with the Alfresians. As an island, and a long skinny one at that, Alfresia has a greater need of a navy than an army. It is far quicker for men to travel around the island by boat than overland. Thus, in short order, the Field Marshal had control over the navy as well. “One army, one man” was a common idiom of the day. Such power in one man’s hands ought to have been feared, but as with most other titles, the title of Field Marshal was taken by the Archduke of Alfresia, to add to his already cast collection.
It was only in recent times, after Alfresia became a republic, that the problem came to light. Giving one man sole control of the entire military may not have been the brightest thing to do, but it was done and the Field Marshals over the years have resisted all efforts to reduce their power, even going so far as to threaten a coup or revolt. As it stands, there is a tense stand off between the political and military spheres of the nations, each vying for greater power while trying to reduce their opponents’.
Next week we’ll look at, perhaps, the most straightforward of the Princes: the man who rules Alfresia.
What better way to enjoy Magic Mondays than with the third and final video about the Runed Age’s magic system.
With these three videos, you know all I do about making arrays. Enjoy it, have fun with, and show me what sort of weird and wonderful arrays you can make.
Our next video will turn this drawn and written magic system into a spoken one, so stay tuned for that!
While we are busy finishing off the next video, let me take this time to draw attention to a little something.As many of you surely know, art costs a lot. And no RPG book is complete without the art that can put a reader, a player, and a GM into the world we are trying to create.Stormforge Productions is not only busy with the Runed Age, but we have two other games also currently in pre-production as well as the first campaign for the Runed Age. This means we will be needing art by the truck load.If you like what you have seen on this page so far, have a think about donating to us and we will use that money to get more and more art to fill the books with. The more we get, the more art you get.We will never spend any donations on ourselves, no matter how much we like pizza, anything you give will go straight to the books we put out.
Last Wednesday we started our Princes of Middelburg Series by looking at that Merchant League we have all come to know and love. This week we’re changing track and looking at the arbiter of life and death in the city.
This week’s Prince is the Supreme Judge.
A sanctimonious title for sanctimonious men. This position dates back to when Alfresia was still part of the Heavenly Empire of Man, back when the Kings, and later Archdukes, were the sole arbiter of the innocent and guilty in Alfresia.
Along the line, when the system of courts became more structured and unified, the supreme judge in Alfresia became the title “Supreme Judge of Alfresia” that the Archdukes could add to their repertoire of titles and names, to show the world what pious and lawful men they were. Today, however the Supreme Judge is no longer an inherited title, although saying “any man can become Supreme Judge” is stretching it a bit. Like all politics, back room deals are worth more than all the knowledge in the world.
The duty of the Supreme Judge is to ensure the law is carried out in an honest, legal, and dutiful a manner as is humanly possible. It is his role, at least nominally, to oversee every judge in every court in Alfresia. This responsibility comes with great power as the Supreme Judge can overrule any lower judge anywhere on the island.
As well as poking his nose where it may not belong, the Supreme Judge also sits in court and presides over his own cases. Only the most politically valuable cases reach him, of course. Only those that are of great public interest, or politically sensitive is seen to by the Supreme Judge.
Lastly, the Supreme Judge must sign off on every execution on the island. As can be expected, most of this is merely stamped without really looked at, as there are more than enough executions occurring across the nation, but it does put him in an interesting position. Should he so choose, he can commute the death sentence of whatever convicted criminal he desires. There is a very good reason the Supreme Judge is always a very wealthy individual.
Next week we’ll look into the Prince the one who controls all the armies in Alfresia.
This week on Magic Mondays we bring you an array that can sink the Titanic.
This week we have the Ice Breaker Array.
Notation: Cool (at a speed of 32 degrees Celsius per second) a volume of Water 200 times the circumference of the array if a volume of water 200 times the circumference of the array is present within the range of the array.
Description: The short and the sweet of this array is that it creates icebergs. It is used by ships in order to slow down or even bring down enemy ships, usually to prevent enemy ships escaping or to give time for their own ships to escape.
As with most of the arrays in the Runed Age, there are some maths behind the workings of this one, although this week the maths will be far easier than normally.
Cannonballs came in all shapes in sizes, but in the main ranged from a diameter of 8cm all the way up to 17cm. For the sake of this array, let’s assume the ships would use their biggest guns in order to get the greatest amount of ice, so the 17cm diameter 19 kilogram cannonballs. A cannonball of that size with this array hitting the water would turn about 36 cubic metres of water into ice in less than a second. That is a lot of ice. That’s 36,000 litres of ice, or 17,000 two litre ice cream containers. Imagine a few dozen of these appearing in front of your ship in the blink of an eye.
The average temperature of ocean surface water is 17 degrees Celsius. It’s a bit warmer at the latitudes around Alfresia, but still well within the 32 degrees per second limit put into the array. Ocean surface water also freezes at -2 degrees Celsius, but even 19 degrees of temperature difference can easily be achieved by this array. That is not the problem, the problem is the energy cost of this.
Freezing 36,000 litres of water inside a second costs a lot of energy. It takes about 4200 joules of energy per litre per degree Celsius to freeze water. We have a lot more than that. For this array you will need 4.8384 gigajoules of energy. That is quite a lot of energy, more so that you would get from just firing the cannonball out of a cannon.
For this reason, these cannonballs are often “cooked” over a fire to store the energy in them until it is released. Ordinarily, energy is released automatically when it enters the array. The if-then statement in this array, however, means that no energy will be released until that is triggered. In this case, the trigger is to for the array to be surrounded by at least 36,000 litres of water.
Last week we finished delving into the families that comprise the Fresian Merchant League, that behemoth that seems to consume everything it touches. However it is not the only power in the city of Middelburg.
In the streets they call them the Six Princes of Middelburg. They aren’t actually Princes and there aren’t just Six of them, but symbolism is often more important than accuracy. The Six Princes are the six institutions which, together, control every aspect of life, not only in Middelburg, but in the entire nation of Alfresia. From the legislative to the judicial, the economical to the military, and even the two dominant religions, these Six Princes rule over the nominally free nation with an iron fist.
The Fresian Merchant League is one of the Princes, with the three Patriarchs and the Matriarch of the Four Governing Families acting as its liaisons. Not all businesses and stores in Alfresia are owned by the League, not for lack of trying mind you, but none can argue against the fact that League sets the economical policies of that nation. As the saying goes: whether you like them or not, eventually everyone ends up working for the League.
Next week we’ll look into the Prince that holds the executioners blade in Alfresia.
This week on Magic Mondays we show you an array that almost every character in the Runed Age, playable and non-playable, will use some time in their life, even if they don’t know it. It’s one of those arrays that is everywhere, but you won’t notice unless you look for them.
This week we have the unimaginatively named Cartridge Ignition arrays.
Notation: Top array: Create Fire if Copper is present and Send the Fire. Contain the Sending.
Bottom array: Receive the Fire and Push it at a speed of 1 m/s
Description: If the arrays didn’t give it away, the name most definitely did. These arrays can be found on firearm cartridges and are responsible for igniting the black powder in the cartridges, thereby propelling the pistol or musket balls out of the barrel at a, hopefully, terminal velocity. You will find these arrays on nearly every cartridge in Middelburg, it’s cheap and reliable and will therefore be staying around for quite a long time.
Because of the runes and arrays, the people in the Runed Age never developed percussion or priming caps. Because of this, they had to get creative with how they ignited black powder. The earliest runic primers were simple arrays of Create-Fire, but merely the act of carrying these around would impart enough energy into the arrays to activate them. Fire was a constant risk.
It was never that big of a concern until a century ago when cartridge bullet were invented. No longer would you have to load the musket/pistol ball, black powder and runic primer separately. Now you can carry “preloaded shots” in your pocket for quick and easy reloading. Now that the primers were always attached to the black powder, they had to come up with a safety mechanism so the bullets don’t ignite in your back pocket.
The Send & Receive arrays were the answer. By putting the Send array on the back of the cartridge and activating it only when copper (the firing pin) was in contact with it, there was no longer any risk of accidental ignition. The Send array would then send the fire through time and space to the Receive array on the inside of the cartridge where it would be pushed through the black powder, ensuring an even ignition.
If you want to know how to create your own arrays, check out our YouTube channel where we tell you exactly how to make some magic.
Our second video about the Magic System of the Runed Age. It’s a step by step explanation about how to get the most out of the Runes and Arrays work.