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Dear Brother….

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To Athos von Klaus, Knight-Errant of the Most Holy Order of Shielding

I know we did not part in the happiest of forms, for you expected young Aton instead of this upstart. Yet, I am pleased to inform you that we have begun the arduous work of exploration of the frontier. Trouble was afoot the moment we reached Oleg’s trade post. Bandits preyed upon the couple whose wished only to carry on with their business far away from the bustle of the city. Our companions, the stalwart Paladin Finneas and the grumpy Leopold the Ranger dealt with the cowards with all due haste. Through interrogation of one of the prisoners we discovered that the bandits have an fortified position deep in the woods north of the trading post. We made it our mission to rid the area of the bandits and secure this portion of the border.

Now onto more personal business, brother. I hope that one day you will forgive me for the sin of existence and also for taking Aton’s place. He is truly not cut out for adventure far from home. His mind both formidable yet turbulent. It suffers from a heady mix of jubilation, melancholy and rage. I could not, would not, allow him to be expose to the things that hunt this place. Best I, the spare fall that to cut his life short. He is family, he is blood, even if you feel that I am not.

Sincerely Atreus von Klaus


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TV Tropes Monday: I Own This Town



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I Own This Town,” is a phrase usually uttered by the big wig in a given place which runs the gamut from small village to a planet, depending on the scale of setting. The key to this trope is that the character wields illegitimate power of the are either to excessive concentration of wealth (they own the largest industry/source of income there) or are the legal authority but are so corrupt that they lose said legitimacy. They can be business magnets, old influential families or gangsters.

They are often villains in modern stories since they either exploit or void the democratic process, although the roots of this trope go all the way back to the stories of Robin Hood if not earlier. They force the heroes to operate not only at a physical level but a cerebral one as well since the power of the opposition is socioeconomic. Often the heroes fight the villain’s henchmen but the villain is beyond the reach due to their political influence. It makes for a long standing opposition that even when defeated can bounce back stronger than before.


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This is my rifle….



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Assault Rifle Infantry dash four point forty-four millimeter.

It is a good rifle, my rifle.

It has no name, just a designation.

I like it like that; no fancy decals, no pet nicknames, no odes to foes or friends alike.

Just a rifle, my rifle.

I strip it down and check the receiver.  Get the brush and scrub it clean. Then same with the barrel. The steel brush squeals as it flushes the groves.  Time to calibrate the sights, one iron, well composite plastic alloy, one electric, with a little red dot that whispers in my mind, “Here be death,” when I place it on the target and an electronic sight, trans-spectrum soft light IR that lets me see at night as well as day. That one drinks batteries like a sailor on shore leave.

Check the magazine. It holds sixty rounds of 4.44 mm iron shell/liquid metal core. The tech heads tell us that the liquid metal hardens when it comes into contact with hardened material, such as concrete or armor do to friction. All I know is that when I pull the trigger, three bullets go out and the target goes down.

Nicks crisscross the stock, might need a new one soon, but I will keep it. It has as many scars as me.

I inspect every piece, I check every bolt. Everything snaps back together with satisfying clicks.

Basic soldering, drill into you in basic. Saves your life on the field.

Doesn’t matter if you are a Para, Mech, or Marine.

This is my rifle.

This is my tool.

From Latoum to Vaegras through Jump City and Marathon.

This is all I am.

This is all I need.


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Kingmaker: The Von Klaus Family



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Family and Acquaintances of Atreus von Klaus my current character.

Roul von Klaus (Human Male NG/Commoner/Lawyer):

Roul fled the initial onslaught of the Horned Society upon his homeland of the Shields Lands. He found refuge in the Free City of Greyhawk, along side his three children, but not his beloved wife, Karigan whom he lost to disease that ravaged the land during the war. Using the remainder of his family wealth he gained a position within the powerful Guild of Lawyers and Scribes (pag. 34 TSR 1043 The City of Greyhawk). Success within the Guild brought him in contact with the most powerful personages in the Free City and with it wealth which he used to support his compatriots fighting to take back his homeland from the putrid grip of the Old One as well as represent refugees from the Shield Lands pro bono within Greyhawk’s notorious legal system.

Alhanna “Silverwing” Al’nareth (CG Elf Female Ranger/Sorcerer)

Alhanna was born among the elven tribes of the Vesve Forest on the frontier between Furyondy and the dread lands of Iuz, she has dedicated most of her life to fighting the demonic tyrant across the central Flanaess. It was in this capacity that she came to know Roul van Klaus and in spite of their differences, she saw a kind, compassionate family man. After a year of their liaison they were married and she bore him a child, but soon her duties took her away from the city. She returned on a regular basis but the burden of raising young Atreusr fell on his father. Still she discovered that her son posses the gift of the Silverwing bloodline and trained him to the best of her abilities to harness that power.

Athos von Klaus (LG Human Male Paladin and Knight of the Holy Shielding)

Athos is the oldest of Roul van Klaus children and utterly dedicated to the cause of liberating his homeland from its enemies. As the older brother he witness not only the devastation of the humanoid hordes upon the Shield Lands but the death of his mother to disease. That led him to dedicate his life to the retaking of the area though his devotion to Heironeous. And while he holds the tenants of chivalry in high regard he holds a measure of resentment against his father for marrying a year after his mother’s death, and that resentment, however well he tries to conceal it, spills over when ever his half-brother Artheius is present.

He holds great affection for Acton, the second eldest, but he has spent many years away from the family home in Greyhawk an knows little of the mental instability that ravages the young man’s mind from time to time.

Acton von Klaus (CG Human Male Wizard and member Greyhawk’s Union of Sages and Academics)

Acton is the second eldest of the von Klaus clan, a brilliant but troubled young man, who is more fond of books than people. While kindhearted most of the time, he is prone to fall into swings from deep melancholy to mad rages. Only the administration of a certain tonic by the alchemist Bartelly can calm him in his worst moments, but leaves him lethargic and unresponsive for hours, if not days. An avid student of the Art, he is a promising wizard in the making but his temperament is ill suited for adventuring. He is close with all his members of his family and holds his older brother, Athos, in the highest regard.

Rita von Klaus (NG Human Female Commoner/Lawyer)

Rita is the only of her siblings that took after her father in the love of the law. She is an excellent administrator of the von Klaus household and has a fine mind for organization which enables Roul to keep the mountains of paper work in order. Roul planned to leave the business to Atreus, but all know that she is the best advocate in the Free City. She already has several court victories under her belt and is hungry for more.

Trisha Merryweather (CG Human Female Wizard and member of Greyhawk’s Union of Sages and Academics)

Trisha is an accomplished young wizard, niece of Lord Braven and always looking for new adventures. She met Atreus one day while he rushed to deliver a bottle of tonic to Acton at the University. The bottle nearly fell from his hands as they collided in a crowded corridor full of students between classes. He gave her a quick, “Excuse me,” and ran off with a smile plastered on his face. Furious she followed him only to find Atreus tending to her older brother collapsed in his room after a severe bout of rage. The sight warmed her heart and changed her disposition toward the young elf. It is hard to say who courted whom first, or if their affair was anything like a formal courtship, but it was fast, passionate and happy. However, her uncle, while impressed with Roul von Klaus wealth and position, demanded that the young Atreus prove himself a man of worth before he would relent to allow him to formally court her.

Trisha had other ideas and jumped at the chance to join an expedition to expand the borders of the Shield Lands with Atreus by her side. They were to meet at the city of Critwall to begin their adventures.


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TV Tropes Monday: Artifact of Doom


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You have MacGuffins and then you have the Artifact of Doom for when you must creep out, consume, corrupt and destroy your characters and setting. Such an Artifact often is the work or an ancient civilization or godly power. It may have been meant to do great things, or simply as a paperweight, but regardless it now oozes raw power that corrupts all that it touches. It may be intelligent or simply just evil. Even if it isn’t evil onto itself, it holds the promise of great power, and well absolute power corrupts absolutely so….

Simply put, it is a good way to give your MacGuffin a little bit of character or turn it into a character. The Artifact of Doom doesn’t simply exist it acts upon the world, and often is a cornerstone of the setting as well as the plot.


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Kingmaker: Atreius’ Diary

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Waterday, Richfest, 599 CY

Rita knows, she always knows. And that mischievous grin hasn’t left her face the whole day. Sure I came in late last night, or early this morning, blast the dogs for waking the whole house up, except for Father who was already at the Guild. But can anyone blame me? Midsummer Night engulfed the Free City, a celebration of our collective survival from the Tide of Worms. The city has her enemies, the evil machinations of the Old One to the North, and the slobbering orcish hordes of the Pomarj not so far to the South. But worm filled corpses? Had it not been for the actions of the guard and the priest the city would have fallen to them.

But last night was a night to remember, or I should remember some of it. Between the drink, the masks, the dancing, and a bit of a tumble in one of Lord Braven quest rooms with Trisha, well it is all a blur. A blur of passion, laughter, and…it was all I imagined and more. She is a remarkable woman and I, I am lucky. Oh so very lucky to have her.

Freeday, Goodmonth, 599 CY

Mother came to visit. She said that my powers were in full bloom. That means it is time for me to decide what to do next. I am not one for books like Acton. The studies in the University suit him well. Books do not shout back when the rages overcome him nor do they grimace when the euphoria sweeps his spirit. Only Old Bartel’s tonics are the only thing that keeps his even tempered.

Mother will leave soon to for another mission in the North. I’ll make sure to buy her something nice before she leaves.

Moonday, Readying,  600 CY

What was Athos thinking? Our brother is in shape to go adventuring in the Shield Lands. I know our family has strong connections to the kingdom. Father funnels every bit of gold he can to the forces there, defends refugees in Greyhawk courts pro-bono and of course Athos joined the Knights of Holy Shielding in their crusade against the Old One. But he should know that Acton is in no shape to wonder the wilderness or hunt down bandits.  Or at least he would know if he ever came to visit. But his resentment of me runs to strong. The steely glances, the curl lips. I know the signs. I didn’t kill his mother, blight took her, blight and war. Nor it is Father’s fault that in his time of need he found Mother after he lost his wife.  Elves rarely take humans as lovers but it does happen. And I happened. Neither Acton nor Rita hold that against me.  But no matter, Acton would surely abandon everything to heed big brother’s call to action.

Waterday, Readying, 600 CY

I talked to Trisha. She was so excited about Athos letter. She always wanted to put her magic to use. She is as bored about the Magic’s Guild practices as I am with the empty maneuvers between lords, the petty fights Father must officiate, and senseless bureaucracy.  She is a capable mage and my own powers grow. If she leaves I shall fallow.

Earthday, Readying, 600 CY

We said our goodbyes in the best way possible. She surprised me with a locket. Something to remember her by, she said. Not that I would ever forget her.  Now I must speak to Father and make my own preparations. The North and my destiny beckons.


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Mass Effect/AEC-ANN News: Musical Protest Surprises Libertas


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ANN News Desk on The Citadel

July 9, 2197

Musical Protest Surprises Libertas

by By Iris Dunnigan

CITADEL, THE PRESIDIUM- A series of drones appeared in the streets of of Progress, the capital of the human dominated colony world of Libertas (see Cartoonist Tried in absentia), and began to broadcast music by Tempest-M, a well known Archo-Techno DJ from Omega. When the authorities tried to shut down the drones, said devices led them on a chase throughout the streets and skies of the city while more drones appeared in public spaces and commercial districts broadcasting projecting holographic animations of non-humans dancing to the music. The non-human characters come from the popular alternate reality fiction, Laura the Star Fighter, whose author is on the run from the colonial authorities.
Eventually the police gun down the drones, but not before the impromptu performance ended.

It is believed by sources in the colony that this was a protest against theocratic rule of Lord Darcy, which includes not only strong religious overtones but also imposes severe restrictions on non-humans within the colony and levies harsh sanctions against those who trade with aliens. A brief message in multiple forums across the extranet read, “YOU CAN’T STOP THE RHYTHM”.

Report filed from the Citadel, by Iris Dunnigan for ANN News.


And if you wonder what that song was, here it is:


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