Spoiler Intro : Fire. An interesting element. The apparently mundane process of ignition and combustion accomplishes so much. It protects life, providing warmth in the most chilling of conditions. It just as easily destroys it, readily reducing all organic matter to ash. It is an element of considerable contrast. Tricksters. These figures are presfent in the lore of practically every people, ranging from everyday people all the way up to mighty, universe-shaping deities, but they all fill similar roles: they test the limits of laws, natural and manmade. Whether a mere fool with occasional brilliance or a clever schemer who regularly humbles the proud, the trickster archetype appears to be as old as the stories many tricksters are said to be the source of. While their motives vary, many of them are true to form, defying easy categorization as good or evil, often enjoying a contradictory existence. Tricksters and fire, both contradictory, both able to help and harm with little warning. It is perhaps no coincidence it is the trickster who often brings fire to humanity, from Maui in Polynesia to Prometheus in Greece to Coyote in various indigenous American cultures. The trickster’s chaotic nature can be seen as preventing stagnation, just as fire destroying the forest provides fertile ground for new plants. The trickster synthesizes good and evil, the fire life and death. They represent the cycle of renewal. And renewal is a commodity much in demand when the world is laid to waste. The invisible hand status that the old gods had chosen clearly was not the proper way to achieve prosperity. Nay, the world ended in a great fire, and so it was only natural those beings of change, ever used to being the ones to defy law and order, instead became its harbingers. The six tricksters, the Hexarchy, they made themselves and their works clear to all, and the world was renewed. They say that Coyote was the most powerful of the Hexarchy, but even He could not craft a new world alone. The Six combined their might, dampening the flames, purging the world of its poisons, and restoring land and sea to their original pristineness. They seeded the world with the first bits of life, but from there is where they splintered on what was most important to that life. Having seen the worst injustices be inflicted upon his old peoples, Anansi leapt to create the new order of the world, weaving with his webs the laws and structure that would allow JUSTICE. Huehuecoyotl took issue with such a rigid, law-abiding existence, and with a beat of his drum, he bestowed upon all life a love for PLEASURE. Huxian, while understanding the uses of law and indulgence, felt life was still mundane, and, reaching into her Starball, imbued a small bit of in every soul, making them all strive for something more through their AMBITION. The first three’s actions, creating a world that was just, joyful, and prosperous, did not go unnoticed. Remembering his status as a frequent challenger of order in the old world, Coyote insisted with the two remaining gods that there should be balance. And so, with a swipe of his fiery claws, Coyote ripped holes in Anansi’s carefully crafted web, ensuring that for all those laws, there would always be unpredictability, CHAOS. Reynard whispered into the ears of every hedonist he could find, tempting them with promises of how much more pleasure they would have if they were to stop worrying about the pleasure of others; using his dagger to suggest stabbing all others in the back, he propagated undiluted SELFISHNESS. And Set, following up on Reynard’s work, rallied the diligent and ambitious with his was-scepter in hand, stating that they could only see real prosperity after engaging others in CONFLICT. There is no consensus on what the first three Hexarchs thought of the second trio undermining their work; those who have had the fortune to meet them and inquire report that the gods refuse to tell. What is known is that Coyote, Reynard and Set’s actions gave the world its lawlessness and its evil. Their actions seem deplorable, but it should be considered: is good meaningful without its alternative? Is a person truly free if they only have one option instead of two? These are questions that puzzled the precursors, and now puzzle us. The world has been renewed. Joining Map Welcome to Bring the Fire, an IOT with a little bit of multicultural flair. This new world has six chief gods, all with definite existence and all with definite powers, but the game is largely freeform (subject to GM veto for states like “Spamingrad” and the like). Your empire provides a possible source of interaction with other players, but the real focus of this game is on winning favor with the gods so they will empower you, and more specifically, your demigods, three characters who can be just about anything you want and undertake just about any action per turn, regulated by dice roll. You will need to: -Pick a color so you can be identified! -Select 1800 polities. -Choose which god you follow. You are free to use different names for the god, e.g. how Huxian is called Inari in Japan. -Write a national bio; this is optional but preferred because it fleshes out the game. -Describe your 3 demigods; each demigod starts with 70 points to be allocated between their 7 stats. Each stat must have a minimum value of 1. Demigods could be other deities from the past given new form, metahumans, anthropomorphic, just about whatever you desire. This is a world with magic, so there are almost no limits. Economics Every turn, there are three currencies you can allocate. The first is Action Points (AP), which is determined by how many provinces you have, and how much Faith you have (more information on Faith later); the calculation is (Polities/200) + (Faith/10). 1 AP can be used to upgrade your demigods’ stats by 1 (the stat increase comes into effect that turn), can instantly religiously convert any province under your control (if war is declared, it can be used to convert enemy provinces) or instantly annex any neutral province. AP can be transferred to other states of your patron god, but not to heretics (that is, states that worship the other 5). The second is Economic Power (EP), which is similar to EP in most games. 5 EP can be used to increase EP by 1 or MP by 1 for the next turn. Any number of EP can be invested into religious conversion or expansion (more on that later). The third is Military Power (MP), which is the least versatile. It is quite simply an approximation of your capacity to wage war. On a regular turn, all of your MP is dedicated to protecting your homeland, evenly spread, but you are free to distribute it however you please in your orders, whether prioritizing some areas, or ordering offensives on others; you can strike anywhere in the world, but tangoing with a state that has an MP value 10x higher than yours is unlikely to end well. As your military engages in battles, your MP naturally deteriorates and will require regular reinvestment. Expansion The world is divided into provinces, which are composed of a number of polities, in increments of 100, up to a max of 1000. 1 AP can be used to instantly annex any polity, with 50% chance of religious conversion to your faith, otherwise they remain heathen. EP can be used to buy neutral polities, with a 20% chance of success for every 1 EP spent. EP is distributed as evenly as possible across expansion areas, though you can specify priorities in your orders. When a province is purchased with EP, there is a one-time 25% chance per EP for the province to be of your faith. Because faith is not mapped in the game, the probability will be spread as evenly as possible across provinces. Strategy tip: statistically, the most cost-effective option is to spend 3 EP per province on expansion. This yields a 60% chance of annexation, and a 75% chance of religious conversion. MP can also be used to conquer neutral polities. However, every polity in a province fights as a single unit, with a defensive MP value equal to half the polities, e.g. a 500 polity province has an MP value of 250. Polities seized by war have a 30% chance of being heathen and only a 20% chance of being your faith. They have a 50% chance of being a rival faith! Neutral polities do not inflict casualties on you. If you have 3x more MP than the defending province, you win automatically in an overrun. Tip: if you use EP or AP on the same province your military is attacking, all the affected polities are removed from the roll. So if you are attacking a 500 polity province, but have invested 50 EP and 50 AP into it, only 400 polities will rush to the defense... making its MP value 200 instead of 250. It is good to leverage all your state's resources in a single province. Demigods can serve in your military, or roll to annex territory. Warfare When talks fail, there’s always the good ole fashioned club to the head. Warfare is straightforward. For any battle or series of battles, each side’s MP contribution is stacked against each other. The defender’s will be adjusted by 10% as a standard bonus. Any other bonuses are applied, and a roll will be made based on the sum of the two sides. So if 2 powers each contribute 10 MP, the defender will be treated as having 11 MP, and the roll will be out of 21 MP. Depending on the winner’s margin of victory (how much higher or lower it was than they needed to win), each side has casualties assessed, and territory will change hands if applicable. Besides one’s Faith alignment, bonuses can come from making use of demigods. Occupied territory of your faith is annexed right away (unless fighting another player of your faith), while occupied territory not of your faith will only be annexed once a peace treaty is signed. Standard modifiers: Defender gets +10% Amphibious attackers -20% Airborne attackers -50% Faith There are six rivalrous gods in this game, each an ascended trickster from cultures of the old era: Anansi, Coyote, Huehuecoyotl, Huxian, Reynard, and Set. The gods’ existence and powers are well-established; the conflict between faiths is now more concrete than it was in prior periods of history. Each god bestows quirks on their followers, amplified by how strong that god’s following is, and how much good work you’ve done for that god. Each god has a starting bonus, which will grow stronger or weaker as the game progresses; they can also gain bonuses. The unit of “currency” that quantifies the approximate power of each god is Faith. You get 1 Faith point each turn for every 10 provinces of your empire that follow your state religion. For every 10 Faith points you have, there is a 20% chance of converting an adjacent neutral province both to your territory AND your religion. Accumulated Faith has a huge externality: it increases your AP, thus playing a key role in upgrading your demigods. Another notable externality is as your Faith score increases, it affects your status within your religious community; the gods favor those states that do a lot for them. Religous conversion of owned provinces: 1 AP can be spent to instantly convert any province to your state faith. For EP, it is more complicated: for every EP you spend, there is a 25% chance of converting a heathen province, and a 10% chance of converting a heretical province. In short, focus on mass converting heathens first, because provinces worshiping the main six gods are harder to convert. Benefits: Anansi, the Spider, revered as the bringer of stories and for helping the oppressed exact Justice. His followers. Anansi’s followers are just warriors, receiving +20% to their defense when defending themselves or helping another against an unjust attacker; be warned that what is unjust or just is subject to Anansi’s approval, especially when it doesn’t involve defensive behavior. As a general rule, Anansi disapproves of offensive war because of the high human casualties involved, but ever a trickster, will likely sign off on subversive behavior to undermine oppressive regimes (which means, if said regime finds out and decides to attack you, you still have his support). Anansi players value ethical play. Coyote, one of the most famous tricksters of all time, credited with everything from fire to death, and above all a force of Chaos. Every 6 turns, Coyote players are given 5 turns where they acquire one of the other gods’ powers in addition to their reroll power, and 1 turn where they do not receive a reroll power OR another god's power; the order that the powers cycle is known only to that player, so they are free to engage in deceit with anybody, even other Coyote players. Bad military and character rolls are rerolled once, for better or worse. Coyote players value flexibility and/or a challenge. They also value going the Mafia route of convincing everyone else they are totally not helpless on a given turn. Huehuecoyotl, the old coyote, and an owner of great wisdom hidden behind a careless façade, caring less about worship and more about maximizing the world’s Pleasure. Huehuecoyotl’s followers receive Faith from heathen and heretic provinces at a 25% rate. Huehuecoyotl players have better things to worry about than mass conversion efforts (like rapid expansion with no regard for uniformity). Huxian, the nine-tailed fox, known for freely forming intimate relationships based on mutual self-interest, and a patron of every heart filled with Ambition. Huxian’s followers can buy new EP for 4 EP instead of 5. Huxian players are interested in amassing money fast and early. Reynard, the amoral fox of Western European lore, notorious for his limitless SelfishnessLiberty. While an egoist who enjoys being fawned on by mortals, he is a firm believer in every individual doing what they can within their power. To that end, all demigods serving the name of Reynard have +2 to their rolls, +3 if it’s something underhanded (murder, betrayal, etc.). A Reynard state can give an extra action to any one of its demigods on a turn. Reynard players value the demigod game, and probably don’t care much for morality. Set, the vengeful god of the desert, is a close friend to those who love War. Unlike the bleeding heart Anansi and his concern for “justice,” Set followers see a 20% increase to their offensive rolls regardless of their cause. Set players are probably warmongers so watch the heck out. All gods grant boons to 1/3 of their followers each turn; recipients are determined randomly based on how much of their religion’s Faith value they contribute (so if you have half your religion’s Faith, there’s a 50% chance you will be chosen). Boons will increase in size as the god’s power grows, and are generally a stats boost consistent with the god’s personality (e.g. Set will increase your power to wage war); gods are aware of small nuances, however, and will not give massive boons to the leading power if they’re ahead by say, only one or two Faith points. This prevents runaway growth. Gods will also offer boons periodically for completing certain missions, such as reclaiming a Holy City from heathen control, or perhaps attacking a god they dislike. Every religion has one holy city, placed randomly at the start, approximately in the middle of where all the various adherents are. Holy cities generate tourism money proportionate to the size of their religion’s total Faith. Most players are likely to play a small minigame deciding which state will acquire the Holy City because of the very real tangible benefits it offers. And yes, it is quite likely some holy cities will be controlled by a heretical religion. Oh, the holy wars... It is possible to switch state religions. When you switch gods, all heathen provinces have a 50% chance of joining the new state faith, all heretic 33%, and all state 25%; you will also lose 25% of your accumulated Faith. Realistically, your new faith will be the minority in your territories and your Faith growth rate will suffer accordingly, but you'll also get the benefits of a new deity. Intrafaith conflict: In the event two factions who worship the same god go to war, the god will randomly decide whether to support one faction or to nullify the benefits they have against each other; an exception is Anansi, who will always support the attacked power (an exception to if the attack was provoked by some sort of state malice; Anansi is omniscient enough to know who is at fault). -Huehuecoyotl will support the faction with the most EP. -Coyote will choose at random who to support. -Huxian will choose at random, with the odds being based on each party’s Faith amount. -Set will support whoever has the most MP. -Reynard will support whoever has the most Faith. Summary: in short, more Faith is better, and each god’s powers are suited to different playstyles. You are greatly encouraged to work with players of the same faith to maximize your advantages, but enormous benefits would accrue to you if you were to unify every believer of your religion under a single banner. How much you cooperate or compete with your religious brethren is up to you. Spoiler The Hexarchy’s Bios, from Most Chill to Least Chill : ANANSI was always a figure of wisdom, known for using his cleverness to overpower foes much larger and stronger than him. As a figure from the folklore of people who suffered some of the utmost tyranny, Anansi found a welcome home in many cultures besides his native one. Endowed with godhood in the rebirth of the world, Anansi has a strong dislike of injustice, and represents the glimmer of hope to all oppressed peoples. HUEHUECOYOTL was always the oddball of his original pantheon. While often acting like a careless fool with a love for pranks, parties, and things not discussed in polite company, he actually held deep wisdom he would share with those who earned his favor. For all his benevolence, he was said to start wars out of boredom. He would probably argue it was technically humans who started the wars, though. COYOTE defies easy categorization, with his personality enjoying many different nuances depending on culture and whoever tells the story; perhaps as a consequence, those who meet him question his sanity. He is said to have brought fire to humanity not to assist them in Promethean fashion, but to spite the Creator. He is often considered clever, but his intelligence was largely in response to problems that he got into due to his own carelessness. A lover of stories, music, and dance, he also brought lies and death into the world. If you were to ask which stories are accurate, he would simply smile. HUXIAN was once adored throughout Northeastern China. Often taking the form of a woman (whether human or fox), Huxian is said to bring prosperity and wealth in exchange for devotion, often assigning guardian foxes to her followers. The goddess of all fox spirits, who are known for their moral ambiguity and anarchism, she all too naturally mirrors these qualities. Blessed be her friends, and woe unto her enemies. SET, once the proud ruler of Upper Egypt, has seen better times. Never entirely happy with being upstaged with Horus, the god of chaos found his calling in being the spokesperson for foreigners and the soldiers who would defend against them. Those in the urban citadels learned to demonize him after a series of foreign invasions, but those in the harsh lands on and beyond Egypt’s borders knew the truth. Millenia of scorn have shaped Set so he desires to set upon the world the storms he once held back. REYNARD is Reynard. He lies, cheats, steals, kills, and does every other horrible act you can imagine. Representing the worst sapient beings have to offer, he is the truest example of a villain protagonist, only really rooted for because most of those who crossed paths with him were not exactly good themselves. Most trickster entities have some degree of ambiguity to their morality. Not this guy. And now he's a god. Demigods Demigods are the dynamic of the game. Every state has 3; being blessed with superhuman longevity and durability by your gods, they do not die permanently and will eventually return to life if killed. Eventually. Demigods can take just about any shape you desire, and need not be human. They carry out one action per turn and have 7 stats, all of which must be a minimum of 1. Stats can be upgraded through success in actions or by EP purchases. -Health Points: Self-explanatory. If they run out, they die. They will come back at some point, but it’s a pain to lose 1/3 of your aces. HP can be recovered at a rate of 25% of their max per turn, or healed with 1 EP. -Strength: How strong they are! Useful for a brawler to mow down enemies. -Dexterity: Motor skills and reaction time! Useful for espionage, assassination (or avoiding it), or just using ballistic weaponry. -Constitution: How much punishment a character can take. Useful if they’ll be doing a lot of field work. -Intelligence: Measures overall knowledge. Especially useful for magic or mad science. -Wisdom: Your character’s overall savvy and prudence. Remember the trickster tendency to get out of trouble because of this. Very useful for unexpected circumstances. -Charisma: While questionably useful if you just want to smash people to pulp, it is very useful if you’re eager to persuade/manipulate others. Maybe you’ll convince that assassin to go home. Maybe you’ll provide a logical proof of why your god is the only one worth following. On actions: you can do just about anything you desire. Just be aware it’s a die roll from 1 to 20 and God help you if it backfires. The GM reserves the right to overrule really out there actions like “end the game.” 1. Failure, with backfire. 2-4. Failure with large penalty. 5-7. Failure with small penalty. 8-10. Failure, no penalty. 11-13. Standard success. 14-16. Success with circumstantial bonus. 17-19. Success with bonus. 20. Massive success with large bonus. An action automatically fails if there’s a serious intervening variable; you can’t assassinate a character if you don’t know where that character is, for example. Demigods can combine their rolls to minimize chance of failure; if the combined roll is more than 30, the rolls are separated again, allowing them to get two successful rolls. When a demigod’s HP hits 0, they die, and are removed from play until your patron god decides to revive them. Raising the dead takes work, however, so your god will count it as a boon. Revived demigods also will lose 50% of their stats; in practice, this means about a turn's worth of AP will need to be used to bring them back to where they were. Stat Checks and Action-specific rules 1. Secret actions. To avoid being discovered by natural chance, demigods must have 10 or higher for at least 3 of the following stats: Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma. 1a. Any demigod can serve as counterintelligence, with their stats stacked against any rival demigods to determine chance of discovery. This counts as an action, however. 1b. When rolling to avoid discovery, Dexterity grants +1 for every 10 a character has. 1c. Every 10 Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma (whichever is highest) adds +1 to mission success, up to a max of 2. 2. Demigods in war. When used to take territory, besides any relevant modifiers, demigods' Strength, Intelligence, and Wisdom are converted into MP. 3. Demigod vs. demigod. Whoever has more Dexterity gets +1 to rolls for every 10 over their opponent. A successful attack grants a free defense roll to determine the severity of the attack. Damage is based on how the rolls compare to each other, and the attacker's Strength compared to the defender's Dexterity. 4. Standard stat bonuses. There are averages in the stats section. Being above or below these averages will impact relevant rolls. A very charismatic character will have more luck with diplomacy, a very strong character will have more luck with relevant feats, and so on. Final Notes Spending and expansion orders can be automated if you wish to focus on demigod play; you must give me basic instructions every turn, however (e.g. “focus on mass conversion” or “focus on economic growth”). You will still be responsible for all diplomacy. This preserves player-centric gameplay while allowing for less micromanagement. In the off chance your empire is destroyed, you can still stay in the game with your demigods. Fractional investments into EP and MP are valid now, thus avoiding the need to bank funds.