Alera Nova

AleraNovaIt has been a while since I posted on this, but I’ve been quietly working on the above named RPG for the last few months. I have nailed down much of the basics; I’d like to tell you about them. There may (read: will) be spoilers below if you’ve not read the Codex Alera. Read on only if you don’t care about that.

The game is based in the world of the Codex Alera, and its mechanics are inseparable from that setting. It uses dice pools of 6-sided dice so that every roll reminds one of the 6 furies of Aleran life – Air, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood. As well, 6 Attributes directly tied to those furies – Quickness, Strength, Passion, Resolve, Empathy and Perception – define the inherent capacities of every character. Every character starts with between 2 and 4 levels in each Attribute at character creation, with the ability to learn up to and even past the normal, unmodified maximum of 6.

Inherent capacity does not come from nowhere, however, nor is that the sole determiner of a character’s power or position within the game’s narrative. Skills also play a large role, representing those learned or earned capabilities that go beyond inherent ability to something more focused and specialized. A character learns Skills in one of two ways: through his background and through his profession. The former always stays the same while the latter can change periodically, as a character evolves and as the narrative develops. In that way, while a character’s growth is within certain limits at any given moment, in the grand scope of the chronicle a character can be or become almost anyone he wishes to be. Experience is earned as play progresses, and is spent on new Skills (or Magic, detailed below), expanding a character’s repertoire of available options. A character’s Attributes never increase through direct experience expenditures, but there are certain Skills that have the benefit of increasing Attributes.

Mundane skills are not the only options available to the peoples of Carna, however. Each character has access to magical tricks and benefits that vary according to their background. Marat characters gain power or speed or skill through their chala bond, for instance, while the Canim unleash powerful ritual sorceries to bless their allies or curse their foes. Alerans, of course, master the six branches of Furycraft, learning to smite their enemies with vicious Firecrafting or grant themselves the unnatural speed or flying abilities of advanced Aircrafting. In the years since the end of the Codex Alera, the doors to Furycrafting have been thrown wide open by the First Lord, so that even Marat or Canim may learn Furycrafting to a degree. They are not as adept at it nor do they take as naturally to it as do Alerans, but they have the option to learn at least a few powers or applications of Furycraft if they so choose.

The world has also changed a great deal in the generation since the end of the Vord War. In some ways it has grown; in other ways, it has stagnated or even gone backwards. The Canim have been given reign over two provinces within Alera Nova – the province of Shuar’a in the frozen north, and the province of Narash’a in the swampy south. The rest of the provinces within Alera Nova have been redrawn and reorganized, creating new provinces like Tiberia and Appia while erasing old ones like Ceres or Kalare. New technologies, developed by adapting the Canim war machine to Aleran use, have empowered the masses and helped fuel a generations’ long conflict between the different classes of Aleran society, between the newly- and long-freed men (not that slavery has been outlawed in all official capacities), the citizens, and the nobility. While Alera’s armies have pushed her enemies back to the swamps and ruins of old Kalare, they have stalled there for more than a decade, unable to penetrate the stinking ruins and root out for good the odd alliance of pirates, criminals, and Vord that dwell there. Rumors have even been heard of a few Marat who’ve abandoned their racial enmity toward the Vord, even going so far as to extend the chala bond to the vicious, perverse creatures. How this works, or if this is simply a ploy, remains a mystery. What is less mysterious, and more threatening, are the remains of dead Leviathans that have washed up on Alera’s beaches in the past few months. To a one their bodies were hollowed out, used as thus-far-failed transports for collections of Vord takers and spiders from, it is presumed, the captive lands of old Canea. Unable to meet this threat head-on due to failing health in his twilight years, and having lost his only heir to a disastrous military campaign, the First Lord Gaius Tavarus Magnus is in dire straits.

This uncertain hour demands new heroes. From the lands of the frozen north, the boiling south, the decadent east or the austere west, young heroes are born to the Academy, the Legions, or the Citizenry, and join together in common destiny and shared purpose. You are among them, and it may well be your choices that decide the fate of Alera Nova.

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