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Amber Twilight

By JIIMA ARUNSONE

The question we have to ask is: what is the Empire? Why it is still considered an authority over the whole of Human Space? It was an important power in the past, but now it is nothing but a collection of stagnant worlds at the far end of the galaxy. They aren’t even ruled by humans anymore; they allowed these freakish Faeries to take all power there. And yet, they still think they can dictate to other systems how we should live. Why? Because they have irium? Well, I think their monopoly is only one more reason to end Imperial control altogether.

—Prince Aegius

THE VAST REACH OF SPACE

Human Space. More than twenty star systems, connected by vast network of space-time gates, all colonized by one intelligent species alone: homo sapiens. Through the last thousand years it has grown in peace, knowing no conflict larger than fights between two groups of colonists on a newly conformed world. But that galactic peace can be deceiving. Between planets, systems, and organizations there is a great deal of tension—old animosities and outright enmity—which only needs a small spark to be set aflame.

Mystech

Legends say the humanity was forced to search for new homes in space; a terrible war wrecked their world, the Cradle, and they lost not only their homes, but also their history, technology, and much more. The only thing that saved them from destruction was the discovery of irium, a mysterious amber-like substance which could manipulate the mystic energy of the universe. This discovery led to the creation of mystic technology— in short, mystech—which not only replaced the lost wonders of ancient ages, but also allowed for things previously thought impossible: the creation of new species, teleportation, transmutation, and more.

Inside every one of these wonders of technology lies a small matrix formed from a small amount of pure irium; there is simply no known replacement. Interestingly enough, most denizens of Human Space have no idea how irium is produced. Certainly it is available only on the Cradle—a long-abandoned homeworld of humanity—but the particulars of its harvesting are secrets known only to a chosen few. The one who controls the Cradle, therefore, controls Human Space.

The Faeries

Some rare people in Human Space are…different. They are usually born as mundane human girls, but during adolescence they start to change, slowly growing insect-like wings and antennae. When their transformation is complete, they gain the ability to manipulate mystic energy by power of their will—an ability called faery magic—which allows them to control energy and emotions, create illusions, and even affect mystech devices. They also gain the ability to switch between their new, winged faery form and a normal human appearance.

But along with their powers, they also gain an unnatural hunger for emotions; to sate this hunger they must “feed” on human beings. This act is extremely pleasurable for the victim, but also exhausting, sometimes leading to their death. Because of their thirst, the Faeries are treated with suspicion and fear in many parts of Human Space, despite the fact that most of them control their hunger and pose no threat.

The Empire is a major exception to those prejudices. Long ago, powerful Faeries formed alliances with many noble families of the nascent Empire. Over time, they became an important part of Imperial society and even seized the Imperial throne. The Imperial population of Faeries is the largest in Human Space, and they control most important seats of power there.

The Faeries are numerous across all systems, but they are not unique in their ways and needs. Other creatures have alternate forms and hungers and most of them present with both genders. Known collectively as the Others, they share with Faeries the abilities to manipulate mystic energy and to shapeshift.

The Empire

Once, the Empire ruled the whole of Human Space. Now it is second-smallest faction, controlling just two star systems…and yet, it remains a major power. Their territory might be small, but the Empire’s holdings include the Cradle, the only source of irium, which means the whole production of this priceless amber is in Imperial hands.

Irium is the key to Imperial power and prosperity, but sadly it has also become its downfall. The income from the amber trade allows the Empire to provide all basic commodities for free to Imperial citizens. But years of buying goods from outside the system has devastated Imperial manufacturing and innovation; it’s always easier to buy pleasures from far way than to build anything worthwhile themselves.

This collapse has left the Empire stagnant. Imperials aren’t motivated to change anything. More than half of the population is unemployed and most of them don’t want to work. Its society is calcified and decadent, more interested in pleasures than in doing anything meaningful. The ruling class is no exception: even the Empress seems to be more concerned with expensive parties and beautiful lovers than with the Empire’s future.

GUARDIANS

Despite a millennium of peace, all systems maintain military forces, usually using them as internal law enforcement. Among them is the Imperial Guard, seen outside of the Empire more as a curiosity or decoration than as any real military force. Composed entirely of Faeries, they look beautiful in their white uniform dresses; they’re nice and generally harmless. This reputation is a useful misconception for the Guard, so the organization carefully maintains this image, allowing some members participate in trivial crime-fighting shows or even attain celebrity status.

In reality, the Imperial Guard is probably the last part of Empire that maintains its original focus, protecting the Empire from threats within and without. They are also crucial to maintaining the large population of Imperial Faeries—it’s the Guard who maintain a special, mandatory school for newly awakened Faeries, called the Academy. There, young Faeries not only learn a standard curriculum, but also are taught how to control their powers and Hunger. After graduation, Faeries are required to serve three years in the Guard, although they can choose to stay on longer as career Guardians.

Anvedia

The largest human organization in Human Space is the Sultanate, a loose confederation of ten star systems connected by the nominal rule of the Great Sultan and a cult of ten beings of immense power, called Angels. Each Sultanate system has a large degree of independence, with their own culture, political system, and international contacts.

Anvedia is the smallest of the Sultanate systems, containing only one habitable planet. It is not especially developed and, until recently, was relatively poor. This situation changed thanks to the current Anvedian prince, Aegius. He ordered the creation of a new gate, creating a fast and safe path between Sultanate systems and the Empire, transforming Anvedia into a trading hub. He also secured trading deals with the Empire by arranging a marriage between the young Empress Selene and his son, Arius. All that doesn’t change life on the Anvedia too much, however—most of the business is in space near the gate, not on the planet—but such boldness made Aegius’s fortune and solidified his local authority.

But the ambitious prince wants more. He’s seen the Empire, and found it unfit to carry forward humanity’s legacy. He believes the time has come for him to become the leader of Human Space. He only has to rip control of the irium from the rotting, wasteful hands of the Empire to secure the loyalty of every other system. Even if it means war.

SETTING CREATION

Amber Twilight is a Quick Start adventure, containing everything you’ll need to jump into your first session. Before you start, discuss the broader setting with your players, and ensure they all know the concepts detailed in the previous section. You can give them these descriptions yourself, or read a few sections aloud during setup.

Before starting a game, explain to your players the current issue—Desperately Seeking Fairie—and ask them to provide at least one more face associated with it. These additional characters will provide plot hooks and twists that will tie your players to the high-stakes game of galactic politics in which they are involved.

Then ask your players to choose one of these two impeding issues: Anvedian Wives or One Bad Apple. Have them write down one or two more faces for the impending issue, rounding out the larger cast of characters with their suggestions.

Current Issue: Desperately Seeking Fairie

Unlike the nearby Arius Gate, the planet of Anvedia seems to be boring world, a planet where nothing interesting happens. Many whisper that the only reason the Empire maintains the Anvedian embassy is to give new recruits something to do. But one day, the Embassy is contacted by a desperate local merchant looking for her missing wife, a Faerie, setting into motion a mystery that may lead the Guardians down the path to discovering the truth of what is happening in this seemingly peaceful city. Faces

  • Iskander Kilstan, desperate husband of the missing Fairie.
  • Tamlin Ishval, governor of Anvedia City.

Impeding Issues

Finding themselves in a new role is only the start. Something is fishy on Anvedia, and it’ll be obvious from the beginning. Other possible leads are the Anvedian Wives and One Bad Apple.

ANVEDIAN WIVES

Anvedian society is conservative even by Human Space and Sultanate standards. Women are a rare sight in public, and most of them work at home if they work at all. But the Guardians arrive on Anvedia to find a lot of working women, many more than expected. Many of these women occupy jobs that used to belong to their husbands, and they don’t always have the experience one might expect. When the embassy suffers a major computer network outage due to incompetence of a new local technician, the Guardians might have reason to start asking questions about the new women on staff…

Faces

  • Jasmine Chatnavy, current manager of the embassy cafeteria.
  • Lisa Yared, technician in DEC* service, who obviously is not fit for her role.

* Digital Enchantment Calculator

ONE BAD APPLE

There are people who shouldn’t work here in the embassy. They used their access to Imperial system of codes and passes to help a ring of smugglers transport their contraband to the Cradle System. They worked undetected for some time, but one of them was recalled to the Empire during a recent staff exchange, and a second lost her access to crucial systems. Now she’ll have to find a new partner, and quick, because smugglers demand results, and they’re not known for their patience.

Faces

  • Ianka Hertzog, corrupt embassy official, working for smugglers.
  • John Macfarlane, antiquarian and smuggler’s contact in the capital of Anvedia.

CHARACTER CREATION

In Amber Twilight, there are two types of player characters: Guardians and Specialists. Guardians are powerful but relatively inexperienced Fairie representatives of the Empress. Specialists, as they are not Faeries, are lacking in terms of raw power, but competent in their field of expertise. At least half of the PCs should be Guardians.

Guardian characters are all fresh from the Academy. They’ve spent the last six years learning etiquette, law, tactics, practical sciences, and other subjects. Despite attending the same school, they come from various social strata and differ in strengths and weaknesses. What they’re all lacking is practical knowledge: they have never used their skills and powers in real-life situations, and they don’t know the world outside the controlled environment of the Academy.

Specialists are a different breed. They aren’t Faeries: they can’t transform or use mystical energy, and some even aren’t Imperial citizens. But they have skills the Guardians don’t have, and they’re good at their jobs. For one reason or another, every Specialist is loyal to the Empire, and probably has some relationship to one or more Guardian characters.

Character Aspects

Your character will have the aspects described in Fate Core (page 55). If your character is a Guardian, spin their high concept around their Fairie nature and social standing, like Failed Fairie Princess or Thief Awakened Against All Expectations. Connect one of their aspects—be it their trouble or one of their phase trio aspects—to some intense, core emotion for them.

If your character is a Specialist, their previous adventures can justify all kinds of aspects, so you’re mostly free in your choices. That said, you’ll use one of their phase trio aspects to define their loyalty to the Empire or to one of the Guardians.

SKILLS

Amber Twilight uses the standard skill list from Fate Core, but some skills are modified or “flavored” to better adapt them to the techno-fantasy setting: Crafts is replaced by Mystech and Glamour, Burglary is replaced by Intrusion, and Lore is replaced by Education.

Guardians get a broad, flat list of skills: one Good (+3), four Fair (+2), and six Average (+1) skills.

Specialists get the standard set of skills: one Great (+4), two Good (+3), three Fair (+2), and four Average (+1) skills.

Mystech: Because mystech creations are complicated, this skill only lets you fix, upgrade, tune, or assemble mystech devices from readymade components.

  • Glamour: Creation of constructs made from glamour, a sort of “illusion material” or visible force field. It can be used to display information and to create temporary items, even weapons, or mirages to fool enemies.
  • Intrusion: Dexterity and lock picks are not enough in a world where a magical barrier can stun an unwary thief. Intrusion lets you detect and bypass mystech security systems of all sorts, from anti-theft purses to network firewalls, by rolling against their security measures.
    • New Stunt—Remote Control (Intrusion): Skilled hackers can not only disable devices, but also use them for their own needs. When you use Intrusion to create an advantage on a device, the aspect will show that you completely control it—for example, Jacked In, In Control.

    • Education: This skill encompasses general education and can be used when “school knowledge” would be useful, like knowing of a foreign culture or understanding some obscure law of physics employed in a spell.

NEW EXTRA: MAGIC

Magic in Human Space is a practical application of mystic energy to change reality around you. It is a science, not an art, and you’ll need specialized equipment to use it. For really large works, that equipment might be giant reactors, assembly lines, and laboratory equipment, but for technicians and dabblers, a specialized portable computer called a DEC is usually the only thing you’ll need.

The DEC

A Digital Enchantment Calculator (DEC) is a multipurpose portable computer used for shaping magical effects. Most of these devices are wrist-mounted bracelets that projects holographic interfaces. The more powerful ones are larger, similar in size to and shaped like books or computer consoles.

Every DEC has a performance rating that defines the number of spells it can store. It also has an energy stress track with 2 to 4 boxes, equal to its performance rating. This stress track clears when the device’s battery is recharged. The most powerful devices have one moderate consequence slot representing low-battery problem like Slower Performance or Distracting Battery Warning.

For Specialists and NPCs, getting access to a DEC and the necessary training requires a stunt. If you buy this stunt, you’ll get a Fair (+2) DEC. You can get a better DEC by having an aspect that justifies it, or by taking a second stunt to get a Good (+3) DEC or a third stunt to get a Great (+4) DEC.

Guardians, of course, don’t need such a device to manipulate mystical energies.

Spellcasting

Most mystech devices have fixed properties and do not require any special actions or knowledge to use. Energy pistols shoot light beams; game consoles show glamour displays that allow users to play games.

DECs are more versatile tools, allowing the user to program in any magical effect like one would code software in modern-day computers. Each spell is a procedure that must be written in advance and then activated. You can use a spell with any appropriate action, rolling with the most appropriate skill, or Education if no skill applies. A DEC can store spells equal in number to its performance rating.

  • The difficulty of creating a spell is equal to the difficulty of doing what the spell will do. Creating a spell that does something mundane will most face Fair (+2) difficulty, but creating spells that transform elements, set up permanent barriers, or alter large areas will face much higher difficulties.
  • The time needed to program a spell is at least a minute. By increasing the preparation time by one step on the time ladder (Fate Core, page 197), you may decrease the preparation difficulty by one step. This means Specialists usually prepare spells in advance, storing them in the memory of a DEC to activate in the future with an action.
  • A spell’s duration is usually instant or permanent, depending on its nature. If the effect is possible without magic, it is permanent. If the effect isn’t possible without magic— such as a glamour effect or fire without fuel—it ends at the end of the next exchange. You can program an effect to last longer, increasing the difficulty by one step each time you double the duration. You can also keep spells up beyond their normal duration, but for each scene you keep any spells up, you must mark one energy stress.

  • Energy is drained if you succeed with a cost, keep up spells, or someone inflicts stress on you with an attack designed to disable a device. If the DEC is taken out, it might take some serious damage that requires serious repairs.

Jenny, who’s playing a Specialist named Darius, wants to change his clothing to blend into a crowd. This is either a Glamour or Deceive action, and the GM sets the difficulty to Good (+3) because he needs a disguise that won’t raise suspicion from the locals. He has plenty of time to program, though, so he works for a few minutes, lowering the difficulty of preparing the spell by one step to Fair (+2). He finishes preparing the spell without issue and activates it. This creates the advantage of One With a Crowd on him with a free invoke. The disguise will exist as long as he wants, but every scene he keeps the disguise active will inflict one energy stress to the DEC.

DEC Stunts

These stunts apply to magic use, so they all require the DEC stunt as a prerequisite.

Fast Casting: You can program magical effects quicker than others can. You need one fewer exchange to prepare a spell for one skill, chosen when you take this stunt.

Signature Spell: You’ve learned one spell so deeply that it’s become part of you. You don’t need to store this spell in your DEC, and you can cast it without preparation.

NEW EXTRA: FAERIES

These rules define the special abilities of Guardian characters. Specialists don’t use these rules, but receive higher-ranked skills and broader aspects.

Core Emotion

Every Fairie has one emotion to which she is the most tuned, defined by one of her aspects. Your Fairie might play well with this emotion or try to stifle and control its expression. Either way, Faeries are drawn to any expression of this emotion in others, perhaps even to the point of violence.

Hunger

The Hunger is an unnatural craving that forces Faeries to consume emotions. If it is allowed to grow unchecked, it can force a Fairie to enter a frenzied state, in which she would even kill to get sustenance.

Hunger is represented by mental stress and consequences. You can gain it by assuming Faery Form or by using Fairie magic and Fairie stunts.

If you have suffered any Hunger consequences or are in Faery Form, the presence of any emotion that resonates with your core emotion may make you feel your Hunger; this would be a compel on Faery Form or a Hunger consequence.

You can control Hunger by overcoming against a difficulty equal to your highest Hunger consequence, but failure means becoming ravenous. If you’re becomes taken out from Hunger stress, you become ravenous and cannot roll to control it. This frenzy lasts until at least your highest consequence is removed. Ravenous Faeries are treated as NPCs.

A ravenous Fairie attacks any nearby human for sustenance, transforming into Faery Form. She feeds using physical contact, usually a kiss, overflowing the victim with emotions. If you feed, you remove consequences related to Hunger by inflicting an equal amount of mental stress to the victim; for example, removing a mild consequence inflicts two mental stress.

Fed-upon humans feel drained, depressed, or unable to feel certain emotions. In extreme cases, the victim can even die from overload.

Hunger consequences can only be removed while in human form. In Faery Form, these can be removed by feeding the same way as in frenzy but in less traumatic conditions. Faeries can choose which condition (or mental stress) she heals, and inflict one stress less. Faeries can feed on any sentient being that can feel emotions—even other Faeries—and no matter the partner, it is usually an intimate act.

Faery Form

A Fairie’s true nature manifests in Faery Form, which they can at will. Faery Form is similar to human form, but is usually slimmer and with unusual body and hair colors. A Fairie in this form has slightly larger eyes, human in shape but insect-like in composition, along with small antennae on their forehead and large wasp-like wings on their back. Their clothes also change, transforming into flowing robes or skin-tight suits depending on the Fairie’s preferences.

To transform, you’ll create an advantage using Will. Succeeding transforms you into Faery Form. Succeeding at a cost usually inflicts Hunger stress. You can invoke your Faery Form to augment your Fairie magic, fly at normal walking speed, or dazzle anyone with your beauty. However, Faery Form can be compelled to provoke your Hunger.

Fairie Magic

Even in human form, Faeries can use magic without any mystech device, though they can use DEC magic if they’d like. The rules for Fairie magic are the same as for DEC magic, with these changes:

  • Faeries use programming skills, but a sort of mystical instinct. can prepare Fairie magic in half the time needed to code a DECprogram.
  • Faeries store prepared spells in can memorizespellsequalinnumbertoyourWillrank.
  • Faeries take Hunger mental stress instead of energy drain.

Fairie Stunts

These stunts only work in Faery Form. In addition to their normal allotment of free stunts and refresh, a Fairie character gets one free Fairie stunt.

Fairie Sting: Using Will to attack, you can shoot a blast of greenish light from the palms of your hands. This attack has a Weapon rating of 1, dealing +1 stress on a success.

Etherealness: Once per scene, you can become half-material and effectively invisible. You can move through walls and even through hostile environments such as space. You can be attacked by magic, energy weapons, and Fairie powers, you get Hunger stress instead of physical stress, and you can be forced to materialize instead of getting a mild consequence.

GUARDIAN STUNT

Morph: Morph bracelets are Guardians’ badges of honor. When wearing a morph bracelet, your Faery Form becomes humanlike and incapable of flight, but protected by glamour armor, reducing physical stress you take from attacks by one shift. A morph bracelet can also inject some concentrated irium into your bloodstream to stop a Hunger frenzy immediately. This option is a risky proposition, though, as it gives you a moderate physical consequence.

DESPERATELY SEEKING A FAIRIE

Opening Scene: Anvedia City

The Imperial Embassy is located in the capital of Anvedia: Anvedia City. It is a small, isolated complex of buildings in the Imperial style, including living quarters, offices, and a cafeteria. After arriving, the characters are met by Tamlin Ishval, governor of the capital, who welcomes the new Guardians—mostly ignoring the Specialists—and assures them that everything they need will be provided.

The governor states that the Guardians’ predecessors rarely left the embassy and advises them to be similarly cautious because “people still have not adjusted to the new chapter of cooperation between our peoples” and they might have trouble with women in command. The governor also assures the Guardians that they will meet Prince Arius at an “appropriate time.” However, he notes that Specialists are free to leave the embassy as they wish.

When any of the PCs visit a city, however, they will be contacted by Iskander Kilstan, who pleads for a Guardian’s help. It seems his wife is missing, and the authorities have turned down all of his requests to investigate her disappearance. He believes the Guardians are his only hope because the missing woman is a Fairie.

Middle Scene: Anything for Love

Kilstan is not stupid, so he’ll never approach Specialists too close to the embassy and reject any invitations to visit it. He will propose a meeting in an abandoned shrine instead, a place avoided by most Anvedians because it is supposedly cursed. If Guardians refuse to meet him, he’ll try to contact Specialists again and again. He has nothing to lose, so he can be persistent.

When they meet, Kilstan will tell the Guardians the whole story. His wife, Ailin, disappeared shortly before the Guardians’ arrival on Anvedia. She worked as a singer in a club, and according to the club owner she left after work as usual, but she never came home. The police started a search, but the case was canceled after one day; they refused to reopen it and even suggested that he “find a normal human girl as a wife.” He started to look for her on his own, and after contacting some other Fairie families he learned that his wife was not the only one missing, and at least three other cases were being treated by the authorities in the same way!

As they continue to talk, it becomes clear that Kilstan is under observation. The spies following him aren’t extremely competent, so they can be at least detected—if not caught—if the PCs set guards. The spies will try to escape first, fighting only if there are no other options. They won’t reveal anything, and if they’re arrested, there will be an official request to release them from the governor’s office—and possible diplomatic action; Guardians aren’t authorities, and they can’t arrest anyone.

ANVEDIAN AGENT

Aspects

Anvedian SpyLoyal

Skills

Good (+3) Shadowing, avoiding combat

Fair (+2) Fighting

Poor (-1) Resisting magic

Final Scene: Trap!

No matter how the Guardians solve the spies problem, the spies’ masters know about Kilstan now and move to control the damage the Guardians might do, knowing that the Imperials will start to look for the missing Faeries on their own.

Mr. Kilstan doesn’t know much, and the other families are even more intimidated than he is; they still believe there is a chance the kidnapped women will return if they behave. The Guardians must be really convincing (or make liberal use of mind-manipulation magic) to get any clues from them.

They can mostly confirm Kilstan’s version, but also at least two of missing Faeries’ families know they were contacted by some mysterious person, and they were asked to meet with someone in the area of the cursed shrine. They can also tell the Guardians about why that place was abandoned: some people went mad there during a ceremony, including one Fairie who started attacking other attendants.

As the Guardians are investigating, they are contacted again, this time via video call. The caller will identify herself as the missing Fairie, Ailin! She tells them a completely different story, saying that Faeries on Anvedia are not full citizens, and because of that, she and her few fellow Faeries were forced to marry some wealthy merchants as trophy wives. They managed to escape and they don’t plan on allowing their ex-husbands to catch them again.

Of course, it is left to the players to determine whom they believe. If they doubt Ailin’s story, she will agree to confront Iskander Kilstan, but only if the Guardians will guarantee her safety. She will propose the haunted shrine as a place of meeting.

Unfortunately, the whole thing is a trap set by an Anvedian agent, San Ingmar. He is using the mind-controlled Ailin as a puppet to lure the Guardians and Kilstan to the shrine. Once they arrive, he activates the shrine’s curse, a powerful psychic attack affecting only Faeries and inciting their Hunger. (For more, see the Drain stunt on page XX.) He hopes that the ravenous Guardians will drain Kilstan; then he’ll be able to arrest them for murder and expel them from Anvedia.

Of course, the Guardians aren’t defenseless. They’ll know about the curse from the Anvedian families or embassy personnel, they can check around the shrine because they’ve had run-ins with spies before, and if nothing else works, they can always use their morph bracelets to prevent their Hunger frenzies—that is, if they have morphs at all.

Make the showdown with Ingmar challenging: he is not alone, and his guards know how to fight. If his life becomes at stake, he’ll concede to the Guardians, knowing his family will demand his freedom later.

SAN INGMAR

San doesn’t have to work in such underhanded dealings; his family could provide him anything material he’d want. But he wants excitement, and he wants to do something meaningful, and these things cannot be bought. So he became one of the prince’s many agents. This position puts him at odds with his family, but they will try to protect him if he finds himself in trouble.

San is a thrill-seeker, which can be his weak point. Of course, he is a professional, and the mission comes first for him, but if he has a chance to do something showy to demonstrate his superiority, he’ll do it. He travels with a group of Anvedian goons (page XX).

SAN INGMAR

ASPECTS

Thrill-SeekerSpymasterShow-Off

SKILLS

Great (+4): Athletics, Stealth

Good (+3): Contacts, Education, Fight

Fair (+2): Provoke, Notice, Will

Average (+1): Investigate, Physique, Resources, Shoot

STUNTS

Signature Spell (“Drain”): San can use his knowledge of Anvedian religion to activate wards in a shrine. This is magical attack using Education against all Faeries in a zone, inflicting Hunger stress.

DEC Magic: Ingmar uses customized Good (+3) DEC with a special display visible only to the user, so he doesn’t risk betraying his position when he uses it.

Become a Shadow: +1 to Stealth when he stays in the shadows.

Plot Hooks and Adventure Seeds

Surviving an ambush and avoiding a diplomatic crisis is only the beginning of the Imperials’ problems. Ailin might be found, but the kidnappers have wiped her memory; she can’t help in the search for the remaining Faeries. And there are impeding issues at work, too, all connected to some terrible conspiracy on the planet. Here are a few plot hooks and adventure seeds to keep the story going.

MISSING FAERIES

What happened to the rest of missing Faeries? Where are they? Are they still alive after the ambush, especially if Ingmar and his goons were defeated? Why were they kidnapped in the first place? Following this trail might lead the PCs to troubling discoveries: most of the victims were Imperial citizens connected in one way or another with the Cradle and irium harvesting. There is a high risk that their investigation will run into not only more Anvedian agents, but also the Imperial bureaucracy. But why? Is the conspiracy rooted in the Empire as well?

Meet the Ingmar Family

If the PCs imprisoned San Ingmar, that will quickly turn into more trouble than it is worth. The spy has powerful kin, and his family will do everything to free him from hands of the “inhuman Imperial bastards.” San knows that too, so he won’t cooperate with the Imperials. On the other hand, he might be willing to exchange information if the Guardians are willing to help him with his family’s long-term interests in undermining the establishment’s hold on the gate. Are the Imperials willing to get mixed up in Sultanate politics to get to the truth?

SHADOWS OF THE FORGOTTEN PAST

The powers that be on Anvedia play a dangerous game, and they have a few aces in the hole to secure their success. If the PCs start to know too much, they might discover one such ace the painful way. Aegius’s agents have access to strange guns that throw irium-coated darts, which disrupt energy shields and are poisonous to Faeries. These weapons don’t use a mystech matrix, but some unknown technology, drawing up on materials that fell into disuse ages ago. Is it possible that the Anvedians found some cache of Last War technology? And why it is so terribly efficient against Faeries?

SAMPLE CHARACTERS

Wilhelmina “Will” von Lovenstein

Unlike her praised older sisters, Wilhelmina is a sort of black sheep in the family. She is known to hang out with troublesome students, avoiding family politics and at least one social scandal. The truth is, though she’s as competent a diplomat as every other Lovenstein, she simply wants to control her own fate, and not become another Lovenstein princess.

Maybe serving on a remote post, far from Imperial courtly games, will be the first step on her way to independence?

WILHELMINA “WILL” VON LOVENSTEIN

ASPECTS

High Concept: Independent Fairie Princess

Trouble: That Other Lovenstein Daughter

Other Aspects: Friends in Low PlacesLove Conquers All • open slot

SKILLS

Good (+3) Rapport

Fair (+2) Athletics, Education, Empathy, Deceive

Average (+1) Contacts (Anvedia), Notice, Provoke, Resources, Shoot, Will

STUNTS

Still a Princess: If she’s willing to make a concession to her family in exchange for help, Wilhelmina gains +2 to a Contacts or Resources roll.

Morph (page XX)

Signature Spell (“Erised”): If you know someone’s desire—for example, by knowing a pertinent aspect of theirs—you can try to temporarily reverse it. Doing so is creating an advantage with Deceive, against a difficulty equal to the target’s Will.

Seraphina Fiery

A daughter of a no-income family from the poorest part of Luna, Seraphina usually describes herself as the lucky one. She awakened as a Fairie, she befriended some cool people in the Academy, and despite her numerous blunders she got an embassy assignment instead of the boot camp that the most lowborn Academy students go to. She’s slightly overenthusiastic Fairie with a tendency to end in troubles, especially when her rough honesty is not the best answer.

SERAPHINA FIERY

ASPECTS

High Concept: Troublemaker with a Four-Leaf Clover

Trouble: Curiosity Kills the Cat

Other Aspects: The Eye of the HurricaneSometimes Violence Is the Answer • open slot

SKILLS

Good (+3) Athletics

Fair (+2) Fight, Notice, Provoke, Will

Average (+1) Education, Empathy, Intrusion, Physique, Rapport, Stealth

STUNTS

The Bottom Is Always the Same: When among the lowest levels of society, Seraphina gets a +2 bonus to her Rapport.

Morph (page XX)

Signature Spell (“Shield”): Seraphina can use Fight to parry any physical attack using a glamour shield. Casting the spell is a Fight roll against Average (+1) difficulty to create the advantage Shielded. The spell lasts until the end of the next exchange, two if succeed with style.

Artemis Chershire

Grumpy and usually unfriendly, Artemis is still one of the best mystech instructors in the Academy. Only a few of students consider him a friend, but those who deserve his friendship know that under Chershire’s grumpiness there’s loads of sincere loyalty. Artemis is a modified organism, one of the cat-people. Because of that, he is not especially fond of leaving the Academy and visiting places where ones like him are still considered things, but if a friend asks, he really won’t have a choice.

ARTEMIS CHERSHIRE

ASPECTS

High Concept: Cat-Hybrid Security Expert

Trouble: Looks Like a Freak, Feels Like a Freak

Other: Lands on Four PawsWhen a Friend Asks… • open slot

SKILLS

Great (+4) Intrusion

Good (+3) Athletics, Investigate

Fair (+2) Fight, Notice, Stealth

Average (+1) Deceive, Crafts, Physique, Resources

STUNTS

Cat Instincts: Artemis gains a +1 bonus to Notice when spotting enemies or defending against surprise.

Hacker: Artemis is skilled at bypassing the security of computer systems. He gains a +2 bonus to Intrusion when hacking software to get access.

Remote Control (page XX) Fair (+2) DEC □□ (page XX)