Serial Setting 2 ~ Week 24

The Casting Shadows blog’s second Serial Setting has been appearing in weekly installments for a 6-month run for which this is the last entry. This series was focused on providing basic details for heroic pulp adventures for the Ubiquity Roleplaying System as presented in Hollow Earth Expedition  and to a much lesser extent Leagues of Adventure. These ideas, set in a fictionalized and mysticized version of the Korean peninsula in 1936, present a community oppressed by faceless enemies and their own countrymen. It will additionally suggest routes, leads, and hooks for GMs to entice groups based elsewhere in the world to get involved. This series portrays characters and situations which are often grim, oppressive, and hopeless in hope that once characters from your campaigns are introduced, you can change that, or part of that, for those whose lives your players’ PCs encounter. This series also contains very strong suggestions of ways to enable the characters to travel either to or from the Hollow Earth (and even a small suggestion of how they might come to learn to do both), and so has quite a few touches of the unexplained and unexplored.

24 Places of Repose-   The calm before the storm

Korea is defined, contained, and supported by its mountains. Defense, regional identity, cultural stimulation, nourishment, mysticism, health, and wealth all stem from the mountains. For those who seek enlightenment, or restoration after hardship, the mountain peaks beckon like home.

For those given to monastic learnings and leanings, mountain temples offer a sense of belonging and a purpose in life. For others, the quest for peace and understanding takes them higher, to small structures, such as that pictured on the right, where they can sit, and study, and wait for their time to understand.

The Oppressor, bent on weakening the country, dividing its people, and depriving the land of its very life force, also pays careful attention to its peaks. Battling local geomantic principles with cruel geomancy of their own, scattering communities, carving through the mountains to lay roads and rails, and disturbing the flows of energy which feed the world.

They do not find men of action in these places of repose, they find scholars, outcasts, the introverted and the unsocial… men whose thirst for enlightenment outstrips even the need to eat or drink. It is these men who hold the secrets of the nations past, and could one day teach those who would unlock them in the future – if they survive the dark times between the present and that far-off day of freedom.

Alone and often left untended for days at a time, these scholars and enlightened men pose not threat, but one of truth, and can offer no resistance, other than righteousness. Is there no one who will stand for them?

New Talent: Enlightenment

This Talent is available to those characters who have laboured through the painful physical and mental exercises of buddhist-inflected martial doctrines and long trials of isolation and deprivation. It is a fragile and ephemeral gift which offers much and often delivers cold comfort. Enlightenment is a solitary condition and an altruistic one.

  • Prerequisites: Ascetic lifestyle, Body 3, Intelligence 3, Will 4. A departure from an ascetic lifestyle will see the erosion of enlightenment and the loss of this talent until such time as the lifestyle is made normal again.
  • Description: Your character is aware of their place in the universe and the ebb and flow of connection and balance between all things past, present, and future. They are intuititive and insightful, often to a fault.
  • Benefit: Your character gains a +1 to any defensive action or defense enhancing trait, providing they do nothing to provoke, maintain, or escalate the encounter. This applies to social, intellectual, and physical skills as well, not solely combat skills. The enlightened character often resists passively, with a great deal of helpful metaphors and mysterious proverbs, but can at times act decisively and with great focus to end a conflict before it can lead to greater harm.
  • Normal: Your character’s ratings are unmodified.
  • Advanced: You may purchase this Talent twice, gaining your character an additional +2 bonus.

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