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RosenMcStern

Red Moon Rising: setting info from the Kickstarter

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This thread will contain the "narrative" updates from the Kickstarter campaign. It may help D100 gamers who have little time to read the web comic or follow the campaign to understand the peculiarities of the RMR universe. So, let us board our airship and start our journey over the bay of Seras Daya.

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Welcome to the Rishara Caanite resistance, recruit. I am Galak Krihanna, a senior freedom fighter who has managed to infiltrate the Ashuli military. These operational briefings will provide you with a quick overview of all you need to know about our oppressors, the Ashuli, and the other neighbouring nations that might constitute a potential ally in our fight.

We will begin our course by describing one of the greatest threats you may encounter during an action: mages. A mage is, in brief, an individual who can “wish away” the normal laws of nature, thus performing extraordinary feats. The most spectacular of these acts is the projection of elemental energy, in the form of tongues of fire, globular lightnings or kinetically charged shards of rock. However, less spectacular forms of magic are often more useful, like the weather control spells that Imaran mages use to mitigate the droughts caused by the desert at the core of their land.

All mages are born with their gift, although different people manifest it at different stages of their growth. For this reason, the Ashuli claim that magic, in the end, is just another manifestation of nature. Do not believe them: magic is unnatural, and they deny this fact because magic is a convenient tool in the hands of their military. The Imarans, at least, say that Magic is a gift from their goddess, the Moon, thus acknowledging its supernatural origin.

Even though magic manifests spontaneously in any given individual, the gifted person must eventually be trained in the use of his or her powers. One essential part of this training is the inscription of runes on the mage’s face. This process is rather painful, but without these runes the mage will find it difficult to channel and control his or her powers. The runes are not visible when the mage is not using any supernatural abilities, so it is possible for a mage to hide his or her true nature unless using magic becomes inevitable. It is fundamental that you keep this detail in mind, as this means that a member of the Ashuli intelligence, who is almost always a mage, can remain undetected by simply abstaining from overt use of magic. Remember: while seeing the uniform of an Ashuli officer means that you are facing a mage, not seeing any military insignia does not automatically mean that you are safe.

We Caanites normally distrust mages, and those of us born with the gift either join the Ashuli military as collaborationists, or migrate to Imara in search of a more peaceful occupation. Those few mages who remain in Rishara Caan tend to go rogue, and should expect a troubled life. Some collaborationists claim that it is the rejection of magic that made us an easy prey of the Ashuli invaders, but this is not the truth. In one of the following briefings, I will show you how Caanite ingenuity has developed countermeasures even against magic.

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Technology in the world of Red Moon Rising is, on average, the equivalent of what it was during the Industrial Revolution. I wrote “on average” because Ashuli science and technology is, in some areas, almost at the level of the middle of our twentieth century, while in other areas it is centuries behind us.

The most advanced means of transportation are steam-powered trains and ships, which all nations use. Airships are a peculiarity of Ashul, but the secret of their flight is in a mysterious floating ore, thus they are hardly a technological advancement. Many other technological devices exist: cameras, telegraphs, wireless telegraphs and so on. Many of these are Ashuli inventions which are eventually exported to other countries. The degree of miniaturization of such devices is remarkable, and far more advanced than our Victorian age.

One notable fact is that firearms are almost unknown. On the other hand, when your officers can shoot fire and lightning from their hands, the remaining troops can well rely on swords, spears and crossbows. Rishara Caanites, however, have recently introduced firearms among the weapons that their insurgents use to counter Ashuli mages. Again, the rifles they use are surprisingly refined and look more like their 20th century counterpart than like muskets.

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Welcome back, recruit. Today we talk about our enemy, the nation of Ashul. The country is named after its capital city, so when you refer to Ashul you should always make clear whether you are talking about the city or the whole nation.

Below you can see a map of the city with its many districts.

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Please do not mistake the central stretch of darkness you can see on the map with a river or canal: it is called “the Breach” for one reason. It is basically a huge, almost bottomless chasm left by the earthquakes that destroyed the original city. No normal ship can dock at the wharfs you can see there, only airships can.

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Ashul is a gloomy, cold place where it always rains. Yet its citizens fare better than most people in other nations, as the Ashuli industries crank out new machinery night and day, and this makes everyone well to do, in a way. Ashuli technology is strange, and often commingled with magic. This, however, is sometimes a blessing for us, because their reliance on magic has prevented their scientists from inventing firearms, which gives us a slight technological edge when it comes to killing from afar. Unlike us Caanites,

Ashuli have a great consideration for mages. No one in Ashul is admitted in the ruling caste if he or she is not a mage. All mages are also officers in the army, and thus the political and military hierarchies overlap almost completely.

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Welcome back, recruit. This briefing is about Imara, the land to the South. Imara opposes Ashul, but has done little so far to help us overthrow its yoke.

As much as Ashuli are pragmatists and obsessed with efficiency, Imarans are esthetes and love arts, architecture in particular. You may think that this is a consequence of the land climate, as Imarans have never been forced to struggle against the elements as it happens in the North, but it is also true that inland Imara is a big desert, and in recent years the Triarchy has been sponsoring a large effort to make vast areas of the mainland fertile.

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Imaran society follows rules and customs which date back to centuries ago. The government is made of three Triarchs who represent the clergy, the military and the trader guilds, respectively. However, noble families retain a large share of the power.

Imarans are fervently religious and regard the Moon as their goddess, who is always caring about mankind, and particularly her favoured ones, the mages. Such a deep spirituality was once present in our land, too, but now survives only in Imara.

While Ashul sees mages as a resource for the nation to exploit, Imara harbours a deep respect for magic, although its customs still require mages to put their powers to the service of the community. Mages are often adopted or married into noble families, and it is not uncommon for a Caanite mage to move to Imara to find a noble sponsor or spouse.

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Welcome to the final session of your briefing, recruit. Today we talk about the future of the Caanite insurrection.

First, let us talk about the special weapons with which we plan to counter the threat of Ashuli mages. These are metal tubes which accelerate small pebbles of lead or iron to supersonic speed by means of a controlled explosive reaction at the proximal end of the tube. Our researchers have called them “firearms” because they exploit the flammable properties of some secret chemical mixtures. Even the simplest firearm is way more effective than a crossbow of equivalent size.

The most complex part of their handling, apart from remaining focused when a small explosion takes place in your hands, is that of directing the course of the projectile towards a vital spot in the enemy’s body. Our researchers, however, have developed additional aiming equipment to aid the firer, although only firearms provided to selected marksmen are equipped with these precious improvements.

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However, offensive technology is not the only factor that may prove important in our struggle for freedom. Allies are important, too, and finding support is vital to our cause. We have already spoken about Imara, and seen how it opposes Ashul, although not overtly because its Triarchs are afraid of triggering an all-out conflict which would necessarily have an unpredictable outcome. To the North lies Havandar, a territory that fell victim to Ashuli expansionism long before Rishara Caan. Its inhabitants have mostly been turned intoi minions by now, but there is still hope of finding some support. To the North West lie vast expanses of wild marshes, filled with mysteries beyond the understanding of civilization: might they host further secrets that we can use against Ashul? And let us not forget about the lands to the South, beyond the sea. Imara trades with them on a regular basis, and they sometimes offer shelter to Caanite refugees.

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But above all, recruit, your greatest weapons is the bravery you nurture in your heart. Never give up your trust and your commitment to the cause. One day, our dream will come true and the Red Moon will rise over a liberated Seras Daya. Never lose hope, recruit, of eventually seeing that day.

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