The World Forge at the Final Annual
The Pivot of the world; source of all quintessence, the Axis Mundi; the World Forge; the central axle around which the wheel of the Zodiac spins. Whatever you call it, the Twelfth Annual saw profound changes to the long-broken Pivot of the World.Some might say it's even more broken; others that it's about as fixed as something can be.
The Pivot Remade
The Golden Fleece carried with it a great power; the power to grant one wish. The holder of the newly-sheared Fleece had many options laid before him - to restore all of the risen dead to full life; to bring back the cities lost to the Forge Pulses. Instead, he chose by open outcry in the Arena to make this wish: "I wish the Pivot was back the way it was, before Pan and Prometheus broke it."
His wish is granted. The Pivot of the World is whole and solid again - the long-sundered Yantra stones torn from their owners' grasps, and reunited. The Pivot is uncracked; unbroken.
And Quintessence ceases to flow.
Across the Middle Sea everyone speaks of it; where once magic flowed, now it does not. Where once it collected now is nothing. And all of those creatures dependent on it - gods, monsters, immortals - are already beginning to weaken, as the invisible fluid that sustained their universe like blood in their veins dries up.
Philosophers who were at the Annual know what might happen, and look to their stockpiles. Gods recall blessings which once would have been easy to maintain but now are much less so- they must look to their own immortality. And those visions which speak of a world with few, or no, monsters, and where magic is a rare and special thing, take one step closer to the realisation of their world.
- Philosopher characters will have some quintessence in their player packs.
- Other opportunities to acquire it may exist too
The Fate of the World
It will not have escaped the attention of those who are observant of such things that a problem is presented by the current state of the Pivot. The Pivot stands as it was in the beginning - fixed and immutable. Quintessence does not flow into the world - and quintessence is the source of all magic. It is the very blood of the divine. This would appear to pose some... contradictions... with many of the Visions written at the last Annual. So what happens if the Pivot were once again broken, and a Vision which saw it whole were to triumph? Or vice versa? And what of the so-called Wheel of Fire?
The Fates are clear: this is the Age of Steel. The covenant and compact of the Arena remains above all else. The Vision that triumphs there will be the Vision that shapes the new age. It surely will come to pass; the Fates will find a way - as long as there is a world for the Vision to unfold within. Except...
Well, all things pass. All things fade, and fade away. These times come round, and these times come round again. Ages do not last forever. A Vision which heralds a new Age in which the shape of the Pivot and other such worldly things differs from how they stand at the close of the Annual will still come to pass: but it will eventually come to an end as have all visions before it - to the best of anyone's knowledge. It may be a thousand turns of the wheel of the year: but one day, the Vision that ends the Age of Steel will itself end.
However, if a Vision enters the new Age on its most appropriate foundations - if the stars are right and the pillars of the world aligns just so - such a Vision will surely last into Eternity.
But what are the conditions under which each vision will achieve what none has before? For that: look to those that build the Wheel. Look to those who come to Atlantis for the first time, walking the path of the Philosopher; for who knows what insight fresh eyes will bring? Look to the oldest of gods for tales of the ends of the previous Ages, and how they ended - for end they did. And look to to Warleaders: surely in victorious defence of a Vision on the floor of the Arena, they might see some glint in Fate's thread, some chance for eternity?
The Death of the Watcher
Hattusilis, Chair of Taurus, last of the Zodiac Council who saw the fall of Atlantis, is dead. With him, perhaps, dies the last of the ancient hatred for the gods which, some say, drew the Zodiac Council off course for the best part of a millenium. For the first time since the time of the Minoans, the Council is free of the pull between the two factions - and is free to chart its own course. With him though goes the knowledge accumulated in that time - now the Councillors must make their own way with what they themselves know.
No more lies - but no more hidden truths either.
The Doom of the Liches
The ancient communities of Liches in Kôr, Mhu Thulan and Olathoe are gone now; their power expended and lost in the act of colossal Titanic sorcery that reached into the void and brought back the sundered and shattered soul of Alexander of Macedon.
It falls to the Liches who have been made during this Age to decide how they intend to proceed into the next; they, too, are mourning the loss of their forebears and the accumulated wisdom of the ages. Have they truly escaped the doom that their forebears invited upon themselves? With quintessence gone are they the sole preserve of magic likely to survive? Are they to continue as the preservers of knowledge or will they take a more active role?
- The Alchemist will be present.
The Zodiac Council presented a vision and defended it themselves on the floor of the Arena with a lot more vigour and force than many expected. Those who scoffed that a handful of philosophers could face down the might assembled against them came to a rude awakening when clever use of philosophy saw them near-victorious over a much greater force. But near-victorious isn't enough alas.
The Council remain active in the Final Days - and they are now able to swear themselves to the support of another vision. Or perhaps, to find a way to resurrect their own… for things are changing and perhaps their vision of a new world isn't quite dead and gone just yet. While they are out of the Great Game they may have the chance to save their vision…
The mysterious Red Mysteries still form on the Forge - and this time, among them will be found tools and bargaining chips which may give the Council a great edge in these final times.
The great engineer of the Minoans, he of the automatae, has set up a small enclave on Atlantis. Within lies the great Bull's Head which traditionally has been the source of frustration, rudeness and occasionally a useful answer. The Bull's Head has been moved to a small enclave on Atland; it's rumoured Daedalus himself will be within for some at least of the Annual.
The Game Impact of these Events:
- The World Forge will not turn. Conjunctions and city moves cannot be made by normal means.
- No cities will give any quintessence in tribute at the Thirteenth Annual. Quintessence no longer flows in the world.
- The Labyrinth, alchemy and a number of other philosophical conundrums for the final game will still be in place.
- Instead of the opportunity to acquire quintessence through the Forge, there will be opportunities to access static and finite caches of quintessence through quests and puzzles. Once gone, it's gone though.
- The Agora and Pivot Chamber have collapsed into the metaphysical space called the Map Room - both of these spaces have now merged together and the forge stands, naked, in the centre. Philosophers can use their skills to open the Corrupted Gate to access the joint space, and Priests can use Gate of Horn. There is no guarantee of safety in this space. Weapons are dangerous. Curses and philosophy functions. The Map Room operates as if it were Atlantis.
- Why this has happened is open to debate but many point to the forced intrusion of the Titan Thoth-Hermes into the Forge at the Twelfth Annual, the death of the Watcher, or other reasons.
- The World Forge Minoans are still present in the space and may have additional information.
- The World Forge Minoans, without the presence of the Watcher, may have a slightly more liberal interpretation of their duties.
- All characters who have Special Creature briefings should pay especial attention to their briefs - the cessation of the flow of quintessence will see you weakened on Friday and significantly weakened on Saturday. You should review your briefs for further information about this and what to do about it.
- Those who are demigods and who have not yet faced their Trial - the Annunaki, the Greek and Hellenic demigods, the Kas, the Nephilim - should expect to face their great decision before the dawning of Sunday at the Thirteenth Annual.
- Philosophers will have the opportunity to metaphysically steal unaligned cities - these cities then fall to the ownership of the philosopher in question. See Priests, Philosophers, Visions and the Arena for more information on this.
- The Gazetteer ahead of the Thirteenth Annual
- Arena Rules and Event Schedule for the Thirteenth Annual
- The End of the Great Game - Who wins, how it is decided and when
- The Visions of the Great Game - what they are and how they work
- The Gods and the Titans
- The Affairs of Philosophers and the World Forge