Thursday, November 29, 2018

In the Shadow of the Artifice Masters

So, I've recently had a crazy idea.  My brother and I have been huge fans of Robotech for decades.  We have played various RPGs throughout the timeline of the story, as well as our own alternate timelines.  We have used both Palladium's Robotech RPG and FASA's Battletech.  One part of the story we've kept trying to play through, but never really did so successfully, is the "Robotech II: The Sentinels."  There are several versions of the story, some of which overlap:  OVA, comics, novels, and RPG.  Some depth was even added to that story in the sequel "Robotech: Shadow Chronicles."

A variety of new races are added to the setting, and the story is progressively episodic.  So, I figured why not re-interpret The Sentinels as high fantasy adventure.  In the Shadow of the Artifice Masters is a 5th edition D&D adventure-campaign (similar to the official adventures released for the edition) covering the common elements of the Sentinels story, allowing for player-character acts to effect the course of events.

Adventure Setting

In the Shadow of the Artifice Masters takes place on the continent of Fantoma, sometimes also called the "Old World."  This continent is the homeland of elves, orcs, goblinoids, and a handful of other races.  It is here that the conflicts of the Artifice Wars began between the elves of Tirol and the proto-goblinoids of Optera.

Another continent exists far to the west, about 2 months sail away.  This "New World" is Micronia--home to humans, halflings, dwarves, and gnomes.  It was "discovered" by the rebellious disciples of the high elf artificer Zor.  These disciples were pursued by an orc armada, which would only prove to pull the Micronians into the Artifice Wars.

The Artifice Expeditionary Company, a cooperative endeavor between Micronian and orc survivors of the Orc Invasion, has recently established the colony of Fort Liberty on an island in the ocean between Micronia and Fantoma.

Adventure Set-Up

In the last few months, two ships have arrived in the harbor of Tiresia, capital of Tirol: The Pioneer (of the Artifice Expeditionary Company) and the Farrago (of the Sentinels).  Both have come in search of the Artifice Masters--but that faction has already abandoned both the island and the continent.  Instead, the Invid now control the island--maintaining their control with an "inorganic" construct army.  The Invid governor, Tesla, has made it clear that he is waiting for the return of the Masters as well--and he will only grant an audience to emissaries of that faction. 

The Invid have not been openly antagonistic toward the crews of the Pioneer or Farrago.  The governor has allowed them free access to the city and its citizens.  Only those who harass the Invid or openly speak against them are punished.  The last months have been relatively peaceful as members of all races have intermingled in the former capital of the Artifice Masters' Empire.

But outside the city, not all is as peaceful as it seems; and a secret hides beneath the Great Citadel of Tiresia.

Races of the Artifice Wars

In an effort to appeal to a larger player base, most of the classic fantasy races are available in this campaign--including some without direct ties to the races of Robotech II: The Sentinels.

Micronians

Micronians constitute several races native to the New World.

Humans are the most common Micronian race.  It was their homeland, Earth (near the village of Macross), where Zor's derelict washed ashore--later pursued by an orc armada.  Humans constitute the majority of the Artifice Expeditionary Company.
          Half-Elves are the theoretical descendants of humans and the original Tiroleans (or even Praxians).  The majority of these races have only just recently been encountered by humans--so only half sea elves are currently a possibility.
          Half-Orcs are the descendants of humans and Zentraedi.  It has been a generation since the orc invasion of Micronia, and the first half-orcs are just now coming of age.  [Dana & Maia Sterling, Rand?]

DwarvesGnomes, and Halflings are all minor players in the Artifice Expeditionary Company.  Only a small portion of each race came to humanity's aid during the Orc Invasion--but they stepped up in greater numbers to help rebuild the human homeland afterward.
          Hill Dwarves, Mountain Dwarves, and even Grey Dwarves make their home in the mountains of Mars.  A major battle of the Artifice War occurred at their abandoned coastal city of Sara.
          Forest Gnomes, Tinker Gnomes, and even the rare Deep Gnome make their home on the Isle of the Moon.  A close ally of Earth, it was to the gnomish port of Luna that the humans tried to bring Zor's rebuilt derelict when the Orc Invasion began (instead, the ship was magically blown off course to the distant island of Pluto).  The gnomish port city of Aluce was one of the disembarkation points of the Expedition.
          Lightfoot Halflings and Stout Halflings both make their home in the land of Saturn.  A major battle of the Artifice War occurred off the halflings' coast, among the Shoals of Saturn.
To offer variety for the continent of "Micronia," three races are added to Robotech lore.  It is the stature of these new races that give the New World continent its name.

Tiroleans

Two races are native to the island of Tirol, one created by the other through the secrets of artifice.

Elves are the race of Zor and the Artifice Masters.  High and dark elves are the most common, but other varieties are also available.
          High Elves are the dominant race of Tirol.  The majority of high-ranking Masters are high elves.  [Karno, Musica, Zor]
          Wood Elves are an offshoot of the Tirolean race, native to a different region of Fantoma (see below).
          Dark Elves are closely related to wood elves (see below).
          Elandrin are new arrivals to the known world.  If you would like to play a member of this race, you awaken in an abandoned Tirol village (or district of Tiresia) with no memory.  You are often confused for a high elf.


          Sea Elves are native to the shores of Tirol and neighboring islands.  Some sea elves have been chosen to serve as emissaries of the Masters to the orcs.  [Exedore]
          Shadar-kai are another new addition.  Like eladrin, these characters will awaken with amnesia.  You are often confused for a dark elf.

Orcs (and Ogres) [Zentraedi] were created by the Artifice Masters soon after Zor seduced the secrets of artifice from the Goblin Queen.  They were used as an army to subjugate all the peoples of Fantoma.  Until encountering the Micronians, orcs and ogres were segregated by gender.
          Ogres were created to serve as the high commanders of the orc army.  [Breetai, Dolza, Reno]
          Ogrillons are the descendants of high commanders and other Zentraedi.  As the Zentraedi were only recently desegregated, the first generation of ogrillons are just now coming of age.  [Drannin]
          Orogs were created as the officers of the orc army.  [Azonia, Khyron, Myria, Kazianna]

Invid

The inhabitants of the island of Optera are collectively known as Invid.  Once a peaceful race, they were corrupted when the Tiroleans invaded their island.

Goblinoids devolved into their modern, bestial state when the Artifice Masters sent their orc army to pillage Optera of its magical resources,
          Bugbears are the "fourth stage" Invid enforcers.  [Obism, Tesla]
          Hobgoblins are the "third stage" Invid guards.
          Goblins are the "second stage" Invid troopers.
          Kobolds are the "first stage" Invid scouts.
          Variations on these four, basic types (including those in Volo's Guide and the Tome of Foes) represent the Goblin King's "special children."

Invid as Goblinoids of Optera
[From left to right:] bugbear (enforcer), hobgoblin (guard),
goblin (trooper), and kobold (scout).


Sentinels

The Sentinels are an alliance of races once subjugated by the Tiroleans, but know living under the oppression of the Invid.  They constitute the remaining races of Fantoma.

"Amazons" [Praxians] are a matriarchal race native to the region of Praxis.  Though males exist, they are treated as second-class citizens.  There is no official amazon race for 5th edition; so Praxians are treated as a second nation of elves.
        Wood Elves are the dominant sub-race of Praxis.
        Dark Elves are a subterranean, primitive sub-culture of Praxis.

Goliaths [Karbarrans] are a bear-like race from the mountains of Karbarra. [Crysta, Dardo, Lron]

Shardminds [Spherisians] are a crystalline race from Mount Spheris--a giant crystalline outcropping along the coast between Garuda and Peryton.  [Baldan I, Baldan II, Teal]
          Though there is no official shardmind for 5th edition, several home-brew options are available online.  I'm liking the simplicity of this one.

Tabaxi [Garudans] are a fox-like race native to the jungle of Garuda.  While this race has become accustomed to the pollens of the jungle, other races have a hard time breathing there over prolonged periods--often being inflicted with hallucinations.  [Kami, Learna]

Tieflings [Perytonians] are a demonic race from the region of Peryton.  Theirs is a highly political culture, rich with internal conflict and rivalries; the various alternative versions of the tiefling race represent the different political factions.  It is common for members of one faction to refer to the members of others as "mutants." [Burak, Joryk]

Warforged [Haydonites] are a race of living constructs from the artificial island of Haydon. [Sarna, Viedt, Vowad]

Edited Dec 10, 2018.

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