Sunday, July 5, 2015

People (and Creatures) on EdenAgain

EdenAgain, the setting of DragonRaid, is populated with a variety of sentient beings; among them are celestial guardians (a.k.a. angels).  Discussed in a prior post, celestial guardians have no abilities or powers that are defined in terms of game mechanics; they are effectively plot devices.  (However, the DragonRaid website presents option rules that apply statistics to celestial guardians.)

There are 'normal' animals on EdenAgain and there are also 'talking' animals that “serve the OverLord and bear witness to his truth.”  LightRaiders are prohibited from killing any “known talking animal.”  Some LightRaiders can eventually gain a talking animal companion.  Both types of animals are defined in terms of Attack Ability, Physical Vitality, and Damage inflicted.  Some animals have special abilities; for instance, squirrels have 'climb skillfully' and beavers have 'water movement'.

Also, there are “Other Good Creatures.”  According to page 58 of the LightRaider Handbook :
It is thought that dwarves, elves, hobbits, fairies and brownies, as well as others, all inhabit the Dragon Lands.  While exerting a good influence on those around them, they are very shy and will not be seen unless the OverLord chooses.  This is because they are surrounded by evil powers and must hide to preserve their lives.  These creatures are rarely found in the Liberated Land, since it has been preserved as the dwelling of the TwiceBorn.
No statistics are provided for these beings, which supports the notion that they are to remain in the background.  Do they abide by the will of the OverLord?  Presumably, since they exert “a good influence,” they do so with the tacit approval of the OverLord.  Do they have souls?  Well, optional rules on the DragonRaid website intimate that they do; dwarf, elf, and gnome LightRaiders can be generated using these rules.

EdenAgain also has dark creatures; however, as mentioned previously, they are not native to the planet.  At the invitation of the dragons, other worlds sent “the worst of their kind.”  Upon being exiled to EdenAgain:
The Enemy and his dragons took these planetary bullies and tortured them so that, in their torment, they even became more wicked.  Thus, they became known known as dark creatures.
Similar to animals, dark creatures have Attack Ability, Physical Vitality, and a Damage rating.  Dark creatures can also use “sin enchantments” to harm LightRaiders – distracting them from the OverLord's will and damaging their “Character Strengths.”  According to the LightRaider Handbook, “Only as a last resort should LightRaiders attempt to kill dark creatures, except for orcs and goblins, whom the OverLord wants you to attack on sight.”  Dark creatures are subordinate to the dragons.  Each variety of dragon controls one of more species of dark creatures.  For instance, firedrakes control skeletons.

Dragons – referred to as “fallen angels” – have a variety of offensive capabilities.  One of the weapons that dragons possess is 'dragon fire' which “leaps from their mouths with frightening intensity.”  Appropriately, the 'fire weapon' for most dragon types is fire.  However, slime dragons “can spit either hot stones or hot lava” and sea serpents and rainbow dragons spew fire water, a liquid “that ignites when it hits an object.”  Aside from its fire weapon, “each individual dragon has a breath weapon that has no relationship to its dragon family.”  Additionally, dragons have 'smoke weapons' with various effects; for instance, the smoke of a dream dragon “reduces all armor...”  The most potent weapon the dragons have is “mind speech, through which they communicate false teachings...”

Of course, there are humans on Eden Again.  The OnceBorn are dragon slaves, “alienated from life, darkened in their understanding of the High One and His OverLord.”  The TwiceBorn “are called to be servants of the OverLord of Many Names.”  Player characters are LightRaiders, TwiceBorn “who go on missions into the Dragon Lands.”  TwiceBorn are imbued with nine Character Strengths:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.  Since the OverLord is the source of all power, it is impossible to possess these Strengths “apart from the OverLord...”  Thus, the OnceBorn do not possess the nine Character Strengths.

Humans, whether OnceBorn or TwiceBorn, have Physical Vitality, Strength, and Agility.  Strength and Agility are determined by dice rolls.  Yet for the TwiceBorn, Physical Vitality equals the sum of all Character Strengths divided by two.  If only TwiceBorn have Character Strengths, how is Physical Vitality calculated for OnceBorn?  Good Question.  Once again, the DragonRaid website provides an answer:  “The basic Character Strengths of dragon slaves are Agility, Charisma, Endurance, Intelligence, Strength, and Wisdom.”  (Look familiar?)  For the OnceBorn, Physical Vitality is determined by adding together the OnceBorn Character Strengths (other than Charisma) and dividing by 1.5.  TwiceBorn have Strength and Agility the same as OnceBorn.  TwiceBorn also have Endurance and Wisdom as Character Abilities; instead of being determined by dice rolls (as is the case for OnceBorn), they are derived from (TwiceBorn) Character Strengths.  The formula for Endurance is:
(Peace + Joy + Faithfulness + [2 × Patience] + [2 × Self-Control] ) / 7
The formula for Wisdom is:
(Peace + Joy + Kindness + Goodness + Gentleness + [3 × Love] ) / 8
DragonRaid makes extensive use of formulas like these.  So, although they are not necessarily figured in the same way, OnceBorn and TwiceBorn both have Strength, Agility, Endurance, and Wisdom.  The TwiceBorn – the servants of the OverLord of Many Names – lack Charisma and Intelligence (although they have an ability called 'Knowledge').  I'm not making this up, folks.

Now, if the OnceBorn lack the TwiceBorn Character Strengths, are we to assume that they don't experience love or that they aren't capable of kindness?  Of course they can love and be kind and exhibit other TwiceBorn Character Strengths.  This isn't explained in the rules, but I have developed a rationale.  The OnceBorn experience these 'Strengths' only on a worldly level.  For the TwiceBorn, the Character Strengths are inter-connected with the OverLord.  As such, the Strengths have profound effects.  So, it's not that the OnceBorn lack patience and gentleness and the other qualities; they lack the conviction through which the OverLord empowers these 'qualities' to useful ends.  At least, that's how I figure it.

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