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Sign ups will close on Monday, October 10th at 8PM EST and the game will begin 2 hours later! Mid-Range Game 17: Hic Sunt Leones Perched upon the highest balcony of the tallest spire in Agea, Capital of Mars, ArchGovernor Tiberius au Bellona and his Chief Politico, Pliny au Velocitor, survey the once-red planet’s vast landscape with opposite degrees of interest. Although the history books claim this world was once a barren wasteland, it's hard for any Gold to imagine Mars being anything less than rich and verdant. Even among the dusty flatlands that lay beyond that great scar an ancient people named Valles Marineris, the Society prospers. Not as well as it does here, perhaps, where giant redwood forests and countless acres of lush gardens were cultivated to farm oxygen and sustenance, but all Colors, high and low, still propser in their own preordained ways. Browns graciously bow to the whims of bureaucratic Coppers and the money-tending Silvers. Blues meticulously study to pilot colossal moonBreakers and sleek leechCrafts, while the Greens continue to innovate old designs and develop new technologies with aims of revolutionizing the Sovereign's armada. Oranges labor the days away to turn Green's dreams into a reality as the Yellows tend to those whose minds and bodies break underneath all that pressure. Even the Pinks don't so much as bat and eye when asked to please a new master... if not for the Arrogance of a few bad Golds and the ungratefulness of those rebellious Reds, all would be well with Mars. It all started with those cursed Sons of Ares. When they first surfaced, Tiberius never imagined they would cause this much chaos. At first all they did was spread propaganda. Release the occasionally hacked footage of necessary punishments to maintain order among the lowColor that they deemed cruel and unjust. Despite causing the occasional strike, this failed to inspire most lowColors to take action, and so they began enacting violence against the highColors, sending their own kin with bombs strapped to their chest to destroy Pearl Clubs and Golden Estates. Even that didn't cause as much of an uproar as they wished, and so, desperately craving anarchy, they sent agents to reveal the true nature of our world to the lowReds that toil beneath Mars' surface. The subsequent riots - and significant decrease in helium-3 procurement - were a nightmare, and every day they seemed to be getting worse. Tiberius truly was at war with his own planet, and loathe as he was to admit it, he was losing. Even worse, Tiberius' mortal enemy, Imperator Nero au Augustus, whispered to the Sovereign of his failures to quell the tide rising from the mines. Now she herself was breathing down his neck. "Take a hold of the reins once more, ArchGovernor," she told him with a sneer, stare so frigid her eyes seemed like crystallized sunlight, "or I'll find someone else to reign in your stead." It was clear to him who she meant by that, and for the first time in his life, Tiberius was unsure what to do. "My liege, can we please return inside?" Pliny asks Tiberius from his side, cautiously eyeing the larger man's back as sweat beads down his face. "We both know I'm not very fond of heights... and besides, if Augustus really does plan on overthrowing us," the ArchGovernor casts a heated glance at Pliny, prompting him to swallow, "I mean, overthrowing you, then surely you shouldn't be exposing yourself so openly." After a long moment, Tiberius sighs and his gaze wanders back to the horizon before eventually drifting to the gardens below. "Do you every wonder why I keep you so close to me, Pliny?" the ArchGovernor asks as he watches a troupe of Violets dance and sing for his wife, Talia, and his youngest daughter, Karna. From this height they were barely the size of ants, and yet Tiberius had no doubt who those shapes belonged to. "Because you trust me, my liege?" Pliny asks hopefully. Immediately Tiberius bursts out with a harsh laugh, so curt and mocking that the smaller Gold can't help but frown. The ArchGovernor makes a point to wipe a fake tear from his cheek before taking a deep, grave breath. "You've served me for a long time, Pliny, and not once have you asked me for any favors. Our relationship has been set on a one way course from the start, and yet despite being a Gold you have never once tried to ask for a moment's reprieve or lead me astray. Why is that, Pliny? Do you really expect me to believe you have no desires of your own?" "Of course I have my own desires, sir... it's just... you are a man fit to be king, my liege. How could I ever find the courage to challenge you?" "Don't you patronize me now, Pliny. I'm not some Pixie who needs their ego constantly inflated. Tell me why." "It's simple, my liege. Everything you gain, I gain too." At that, Tiberius glares at Pliny again, though this time with an eyebrow raised, as if curious. "Err- perhaps not everything, my liege, but when you win, I win as well. My reputation was non-existent before I swore myself to you. No, I may not be one of the most powerful men in the Solar System, but I am proud to be the cricket one one of their shoulders. I could never become a Peerless Scarred. When I was young the thought of attending the Institute never even crossed my mind. But in this way, in this capacity, I can still give back the Society what it deserves." When he finishes the ArchGovernor doesn't look away. His eyes bore into Pliny's, relentlessly seeking lies where there are none, making sure that his Chief Politico's resolve does not falter. Pliny's face is hot - hotter than it has any right to be in this heat - and he somehow he doesn't flinch. Deep down he knows that while he might not have the strength to throw his liege over this ledge, the same could not be said for Tiberius. "Very well. To answer your question, no, I don't trust you, Pliny. How could any Gold trust one of his own when they're so willing to bow and scrape? Golds are gods among them. Even you, despite you refusing to act the part. We are an arrogant breed, and rightfully so. I understand arrogance. I can fathom it. You, however, are a complete enigma to me. If not for your Color I would think you raised by Browns," Tiberius laughs, this time at length and in earnest. Suddenly light-heated, Pliny grabs at the rail beside him as his legs nearly give out. "Alright, Pliny," the ArchGovernor continues, "let's go inside." Turning on his heel, Tiberius leads Pliny like a loyal pup back into his shadowy chamber. "I trust all my lancers have reported to you? How much longer until the last one arri..." his voices fades as he disappears down a distant corridor. Later that evening, in the shadowed vales between the sky-piercing towers of the Aerie, ArchGovernor Bellona's private estate, a pair of Gold's meet in secret, each cloaked in darkness and wearing a fleshMask that makes them seem a lesser Color than they are. "Who goes there?" the first Gold asks, back pressed against a wall so tight that their silhouette barely registers to the other's eyes. "Hic Sunt Leones" the approach Gold responds, their voice somehow sounding faint and feeble, true to their role, despite it being modified to naturally carry across great distances. Upon hearing the phrase, the first Gold bursts from the shadows, lunging at the second. "Is that really you?" the first Gold asks rhetorically - and much too loudly, for that matter - as they attempt to hug their companion. "You've finally learned how to sneak about, eh? Too bad you lacked that skill during our time in the Academy! Do you remember that time whe-" "-Shhh," the second Gold cuts the first off by suddenly clenching a large palm over their mouth. "It's much too dangerous to be reminiscing over memories, no matter how fond," the second whispers in the first's ear. "Save it for the welcome banquet, when the rest are here to watch, and we can put on a grand show of crossing paths for the first time in years. The only reason I agreed to meet you now at all was so I could tell you to calm yourself. You've always been much to eager for my own good, and we cannot afford to get caught now. Not when what we're plotting is treason." The first Golds tries to talk, though their words come out mumbled through the massive hand pressed against their face. Rolling their eyes, the second Gold removes it, then places a single outstretched finger over the center of their lips, prompting the other to nod in agreement. "But is it truly treason when the Sovereign herse-" "-Stop!" the second Gold reaches for the first's mouth again, but this time gets swatted away. "It isn't safe here. Every day the ArchGovernor grows more paranoid, seeding a new pair of eyes and ears in only places he knows, so save that talk for the dataNet." Sighing, the second Gold rubs the back of their hand where the other hit them. "I'm going to go now. It was nice seeing you alive and in person rather than on the holos, but until next Monday let's keep it that way. If the ArchGovernor knew you were here before the rest of his lancers... it wouldn't end pretty, I can predict that much. Stick with the plan and we'll see each other again, old friend. Goodbye and goodnight." Before the first Gold can get another word in edge wise the second storms off as silently and angry as they can manage. Lingering, the first Gold eventually shrugs and saunters off in the opposite direction. Introduction Greetings friends. If you're unfamiliar with the wonderful setting established in the Red Rising trilogy, then I am ecstatic to be the first person to introduce it to you. In particular, this game is focused on elements introduced in the second book, Golden Son. While it is not a requirement to read the books in order to play this game, it is inevitable that some elements of the world's history and culture will get revealed by write-ups. Besides the fact that the trilogy is an incredibly entertaining (and often touching) tale, myself and my coGM STINK highly recommend that you read the first two books in order to get the most out of your game-play experience. Both Red Rising and Golden Son are relatively cheap (the first is 6 dollars and the second 10 as e-books), and pretty fast reads (it took me a day dedicated fully to each to finish them), so if you're keen, I've provided the links so you can purchase them now to get yourself ready. If not, no worries! Like any of our elimination games here, there's no need to know the source material. It's only particularly useful if you intend on roleplaying, which it is my intention to encourage with my introduction of the merit system and character prompts. Premise Seven hundred and thirty-six years have passed since an event known as the Conquering, where the first "Golds" succeeded in destroying the twenty factions that ruled Earth to create one united Society. Mankind now inhabit the moon, Luna, as well as Mars and a large variety of terrestrial bodies in the Outer Rim. In particular, this story is focused on Tiberius au Bellona, the ArchGovernor of Mars, as a wave of rebellion sweeps through the mines beneath his planet's surface and his greatest rival and mortal enemy, Imperator Nero au Augustus, makes plans to cast his House from the throne and claim it for himself. The crux of his plan involves a small group of the ArchGovernor's lancers, great warriors who once swore their allegiance to his House, that have since made new oaths to the power-hungry Imperator. Advised by his Chief Politico, Pliny au Velocitor, the ArchGovernor has recalled every one of his lancers back to their capital, Agea, from various missions across the universe, with hopes of mustering his power to combat a rumored coup d'etat. Only unbeknownst to him, forcing Tiberius into this position was Nero's intent all along, as it would allow his new-found allies the opportunity to destroy him. Overview Similar to most mid-ranged games, Hic Sut Leones will have a combined day/night turn (which I will refer to as "Chapters") that consist of 46 hours of game play and 2 hours for myself and STINK to work out the results and produce the write up. Everyone who signs up with play the part of one of Tiberius' lancers (only with a first name, please), who at the start of the game will be assigned a House (role) and an alignment. Supporting Tiberius in a regal shade of teal will be the Faithful, while the Forsworn bear the color of House Augustus, a dark orange not much unlike a Lion's mane. In order for the Faithful to win they must find and kill all of the Forsworn. As for the Forsworn they can only win if they outnumber Tiberius (the GM) and his Faithful lancers. While neither faction will begin the game knowing who their allies are, the Forsworn will start the game with two costless messages between each other in the form of a chain. Duels Whenever a lancer accuses another one of treason, they challenge that lancer's honor and initiate a duel. Those lancers who are not directly involved can then cheer for one of the combatants OR initiate a duel of their own. There is no limit to how many duels can be initiated at once, however, only the duel with the most cheers overall will occur. Between the two combatants the lancer with the most individual cheers will take the loser's life. In the case of a tie, Tiberius himself will determine who determine who the winner is (by flipping a coin) and the chosen man will slay the other. At any time, a lancer can apologize for their accusation, however this will not cancel the duel unless the accused lancer accepts it. Bystanders can cease supporting a combatant in favor of another whenever they please. No lancer is allowed to accuse and/or cheer more than a single lancer at a time, although an accused lancer can cheer on another duel. Kills and Comms At the start of every cycle, the Forsworn who earned the most Merit that Chapter will be smuggled a free ionBlade by a secret benefactor. If two Forsworn are tied in Merit than only one of then the secret benefactor will choose one of them to give it to (via coin flip). At the start of the game every lancer will begin with at least two Items: a whisperGem and a dataPad. At any time, lancers can encode their whisperGem with a maximum of 100-words, that will be revealed in the write-up following their death. Unlike other items, dataPads do not expire after use; instead, they allow you to create a permanent individual or group message with any lancer of the owner's voice at the cost of 1 Merit per recipient. Houses Before a Gold graduates from the Institute as a Peerless Scarred, they had been raised by a proud House with its own vivid history and deigned purpose. As such, the ArchGovernor's lancers have a wide variety of skills, each of which can be used to their advantage once every cycle. Below is a list of some Houses and their specific abilities. Thorne: Raised among many cousins of a very minor family, you possess no particularly worthwhile talents. Fabii: Raised by the most cunning of Mars' politicos, you are gifted with a silver tongue, which you can use to make another lancer cheer for anyone you choose. Rath: Raised in the image of Gold's most despicable traitors, you understand the importance of maintaining a fluid allegiance. Once and only once you are allowed to defect to the other team. Julii: Raised by the wealthiest of the interstellar merchants, you know how to make any deal seem better than it is, allowing you to trade a single Item of yours for someone else's. You must, however, specify both Items accurately or else the trade will be randomized. Telemanus: Raised by House Bellona's stalwart protectors, you've the strength and resolve to sacrifice your own life in the defense of another, killing the first person to attack them in retaliation. Lune: Raised by the Sovereign, Octavia au Lune, you have access to databases that can reveal the origins of any lancer you examine. Arcos: Raised by the former Rage Knight, Lorn au Arcos, you have mastered the Willow Way and thus are undefeatable in one-on-one combat. However, the pride he's instilled in you is the quiet sort, preventing you from making accusations, though you may still cheer on combatants. Bellona: Raised by the ArchGovernor himself, you are his most favored, and thus are allowed to earn an additional 10 Merit each Chapter. Failure, however, will not be tolerated, and thus inactivity will result in the deduction of 10 Merit instead of the usual 5. Merit When the game begins, each lancer will be with a total of 5 Merit. Every Chapter Merit can be gained or lost depending on how much a player participates. 1 Merit is earned whenever a player makes a post that includes at least 100 words of RP. 1 Merit is also earned when a player makes an on-topic contribution to the discussion (including, but not limited to, suggesting a plan, initiating a duel, cheering a combatant, or analyzing another player). Note that simply voting will not be enough; an explanation must be provided as well if you wish to earn Merit from your post. It is up to Tiberius to deem if your contribution is worthy of Merit. If a lancer believes they deserve more Merit then they are given in a turn, they can plead their case via the GM PM. A total of 20 Merit can be earned this way each Chapter. Additional Merit can be earned in three different circumstances. X Merit will be given to the victor of a duel where X = half the opponents total Merit. The same rule applies if a Forsworn is killed by a Faithful with an ionBlade, although a Forsworn earns no merit for murdering a Faithful. If a Forsworn is killed in a duel, the second half of their Merit will be divided up among those who cheered against them. Items When the game begins, some lancers may begin with a randomized Item from the list below. Each Chapter, a list of how many Items are in stock will be included, which can be purchased with Merit via their GM PM. All Items (except the dataPad) expire after a single use. One Chapter after an Items use, the shop will be restocked with a new one. In addition to paying the fixed base cost, lancers can allocate an optional amount of Merit as a bid, which will determine who receives an Item if multiple lancers attempt to purchase the same one. Lancers who lose this bid will be refunded the Item's initial fee, but not their extra allocation. Unwanted Items can be sold directly to the shop via the GM PM for half of the Item's base cost. Below is a list of each Item, proceeded by their quantity in parenthesis and followed by their base cost, as well as their relevant ability, as it will appear in every Chapter's write up. (?) holoCam(s) / holoBox(es), 10 Merit: Give your holoBox to another lancer and every action that you make or that is physically made against you will be recorded and relayed to them. (?) jamField(s), 20 Merit: Any device that is used within close proximity of you and another lancer you target is disabled (not destroyed). This can interfere with a Lunes research, but no other House ability. (?) stunFist(s), 30 Merit: Stun another lancer, preventing them from taking any further actions this Chapter. If your target is protected by a pulseShield they will not be stunned, although their pulseShield will be destroyed. (?) fleshMask(s), 40 Merit: Disguise yourself as another lancer, preventing any action that would be used against you at the cost of potentially becoming the target of an action that would target the lancer you disguise yourself as. Likewise, any further action you take will be observed as being executed by the lancer you impersonate. (?) ghostCloak(s), 40 Merit: Stealth yourself, causing any action that targets you to fail. In addition, you can stalk another lancer to discover the targets and actions they make, but you yourself are unable to take any more actions. (?) pulseShield(s), 50 Merit: Passively protects you from a single death (includes duels). (?) ionBlade(s): 60 Merit: A generic, energy-based weapon that's perfect for assassinations. Prompts Character prompts will be created and distributed randomly for each player who does not establish a persona for themselves during this pregame stage. These character prompts can take the form of specific personality quirks or relationships with other lancers. For example, you may have a deep hatred for a particular Color, or be involved in a love triangle with two other players. If you receive a character prompt note that you do not have to roleplay according to it; it is nothing more than a suggestion to help encourage roleplaying to those who normally might not do it. Anything said in these prompts are not necessarily canon; for example, if you're playing a Mistborn Worldhopper then they will be adapted accordingly. Flow There is no limit to how many different Items a lancer can use in a single Chapter; however, the same does not apply multiples of the same Item. In the case of actions / reactions, they will always occur in the following order: Rath → holoCam → Accusation → Fabii → Cheer → Duel → Julii → jamField → ghostCloak → fleshMask → stunFist → Telemanus → ionBlade → Lune → holoBox → Purchases