Solthecius!

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Given the recent teasers of Benediction and Grace as well as ‘Union Captain’ there is a bit of a buzz around the community about Solthecius and the Solthecians so I though I would recap what we know so far:

The Solthecian Cult/Church is one of (probably the) biggest organised religions in the Empire of the Free Cities and is built around the worship of Solthecius (presumably montheistically) and draws a lot of parallels with the historic catholic church.

Solthecius was originally just a sun deity (hence the symbol) but seems to have developed into something more.

The Solthecian Cult is widely regarded as being heavily involved in the creation of Guild Ball as a sport.

Although Skald and it’s people are known to have their own style in all things; from fashion to eating habits, they are extremely resistant to outside influences from the other Sovereign States. The only element that appears to have been able to permeate this cultural ideal is religion. Skald is almost exclusively given to the worship of the Solthecian faith, robust churches standing proud in most villages and towns. In the cities, the walls and roads are lined with spectacular stonework and artistry of saints and blessed angels, spectacular cathedrals dominate the skyline.

Piervo is the holy city of the Solthecian Order, which has offered the Sovereign State a great deal of protection.

The head of state of both Piervo and the Solthecian spiritual faith is known as the Bacchus and is elected by mandate of the god Solthecius; his divine will manifested by the archbishops and cardinals.

The role is unlike any other clerical or royal position throughout the Empire of the Free Cities; the Bacchus is able to influence several Sovereign States where the faith has any sort of foothold and even more so where it is the predominant religion.

During the Century Wars, Bacchus Alexandria IV and his successor, Bacchus Galbratii, were able to successfully negotiate with any Sovereign State that turned her sights to Piervo. They spared its people from the horror of the conflict beyond the walls and saved the city and its ancient religious landmarks from ruin time and time again.

Although to believers this leader is the chosen of Solthecius, in reality, any election of a Bacchus is a process of shrewd manoeuvring, underlying threats, and careful alliance. Thus, the head of state is often possessed of a considered political mind. Many followers would likely be surprised to learn how deep corruption runs within Solthecian faith and how self interested its leaders tend to be.

The Holy City is home to spectacular architecture and beautiful gardens; high domed cathedrals compete against monasteries with spires that point into the skies like crooked fingers. Statues old and new line every boulevard and street. Every hour, bells ring out and the scent of incense is thick in the air. Wherever an individual might stand in Piervo, there is at very least a low hum of penitent followers deep in prayer and every day the city is flooded with pilgrims come to demonstrate their faith.

This is not to say that industry does not exist within the walls, far from it. The Butcher’s Guild’s ruling house is in Piervo and has existed as the sole purveyor of sacred meat to the Bacchus for generations; something which its many Magisters and Chamberlains are keen to remind both visiting officials and those of other guilds. The Mortician’s Guild also holds significant influence amongst the clergy in Piervo; the two bodies frequently working hand in hand in the day to day lives of the population.

The symbolism of the Solthecian faith draws a lot of parallels with the Christian church and images of Angels (such as Angels of Conflagration) and devils are rife. The Church also denounces Mechanica constructs as devils.

The Churches of Solthecius are organised by Sovereign State and have their own military orders, as demonstrated by Michele Cesare de Corella, Knight Paladin of Divine Solthecius, praise be to his name and noble legacy, First High Priest and august Lord of the Valentian Church of the Solthecian Cult who captured Ox in Season 1.

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Spigot is a reformed character, now sober he is a devout (but secret) follower of Solthecius.

Bonesaw

Bonesaw was once a priest in the Solthecian Cult but has been exiled. He still offers prayers to Solthecius during the funerary rites when working with the Mortician’s Guild. Solthecian priests and monks are known to participate in calisthenics as a way of purifying the body.

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Mist also has an as yet unexplained link to the Solthecian Church. There also appears to be a strong but as yet unexplained link between the Union and the Solthecian Church.

Until next time sports fans!

 

The story so far…Alchemist’s Guild

gb-teams-alchemistsSo apparently I started writing this blog a year ago (who knew?!), so as a sort of celebration I thought I’d summarise the Guild Ball story so far. First up,

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Alchemist’s Guild – Season 1

Introduced in Season 1 as one of the newer Guilds within the Empire of the Free Cities, it’s ruling house is based in Ethraynne – known for it’s great inventions and scientific innovations.

Due to it’s forward thinking ideology it is met with suspicion by a lot of the general population of the Free Cities. The Guild’s Guild Ball team is seen as a way of ingratiating themselves with the people and making their science more acceptable.

midas

In season 1 the team is lead by Midas, an arrogant figure who is seen as one of the greatest minds known in the Empire of the Free Cities. The son of a noble Valentian family, he grew disenchanted with life as a noble and fled to Ethraynne on his 16th name day. There he found a community of like-minded individuals, but as brilliant as they were they lived as squalid life. This was not the life Midas wanted so he started to conduct his own experiments and created the Crucible, which gives him the ability to turn base materials into precious metals. This attracted the attention of the Alchemist’s Guild, where he has steadily been rising up the ranks.

flask

Flask was a gift from the Engineer’s Guild to the Alchemist’s Guild as a token of the long-standing relationship between the two Guilds. A relationship that seems to be becoming increasingly strained.

calculus

Calculus is the vice-captain of the Alchemist’s team and is seen as a level-headed and straight-laced individual and she’s annoyed by those not following protocol. She was seen as the future captain of the team until Midas’ arrival, but she is more interested in science than Guild politics.

mercury

Mercury is seen as a roguish, attention-seeking womaniser, a reputation he does nothing to dismiss.

katalyst

Whilst many of the Alchemist’s Guild are interested in chemistry and inorganic materials, Katalyst’s interest are in the organic. He was one of a number of scientist’s looking to do battle with time and extend the life of man. The compound that Katalyst developed, and apparently tested on himself, has resulted in his growth into a mass of muscle and brutality but also is slowly killing him. Katalyst was never known for his patience and strives to achieve greatness whatever the cost.

vitriol

Vitriol was once known as Meredith Tieger, a gifted child who grew alienated form her community in Skald and fled to the sanctity of the Alchemist’s Guild. Her abilities grew here and she soon outshone her peers. Meredith was working late one night in one of the guild’s laboratories when tragedy struck. The exact details aren’t known, but an inferno engulfed a wing of the guild house and woman that emerged was changed forever.  Although not personable before the accident she became a dangerously introverted and isolated woman. Vitriol now confines her experimentation to corrosive acids and sulphuric materials alone and is the only drive left to the broken woman and for her guild, leaves them only one suitable home for her, where her destructive capabilities can be fully appreciated.

Alchemist’s Guild – Season 2

The story in Season 2 starts with the Alchemist’s team travelling by boat to the Frontier’s Cup in northern Eisnor. The tournament itself is a regular fixture and has made or broken a lot of team’s seasons.

The Alchemist’s have high hopes for this season and head up early to get ahead of the game. The Alchemist’s Guild had decided to invest far more heavily than their rivals in a bid to gain an early foothold as an established team. The tournament had started well with wins against the Farmer’s and Fishermen’s Guilds but it had all gone wrong in a game against the Engineer’s Guild. There had been an ‘agreement’ that the Engineer’s would throw the game but this didn’t materialise and the Alchemist’s lost.

Midas was still Captain at the beginning of the Frontier’s Cup but was replaced by Smoke as the season progressed. Whether this was because of an injury sustained against the Engineer’s, the Guild’s unhappiness at losing or because Midas had lost favour for some other reason is unclear.

During the Frontier’s Cup match, Calculus is shot in the back by Salvo of the Engineer’s Guild for killing his ‘sister’ and almost drowned in a puddle and is only saved by Katalyst’s intervention.

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Midas is replaced as captain of the team by Smoke. A woman described by her lover, Calculus, as ‘as brilliant as Midas, although as compliant, obedient, and efficient as Midas is wilful, cantankerous, and wasteful’.

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Venin is introduced as a rookie for this season and has little time for either Midas or Smoke.  He is a rebellious character who is only looking out for himself. He is low-born orphan growing up in the slums and dislikes the nobility. He has an affinity with poisons and the new mascot, Naja, is his pet. He uses her poisons as the base for his alchemical projects. Venin has an ulterior motive for travelling to the Frontier’s Cup with the team, to complete a contract with his nameless benefactor (presumably Obulus given his description of Venin, “If he was not so useful in his current place, I would take him for my own team. I predict he will be a useful asset in the years to come”).

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The contract is to administer a poison to Katalyst, a man Venin sees as an imbecile, who being on the cusp of creating an elixir that could cure any illness, enhance the body permanently to near superhuman levels, but squandered the opportunity to sate his need for recognition and his lust for fame by damaging his own body by consuming the imperfect mixture in large doses, thereby stalling any further development of his research. The intent of the poison isn’t to kill Katalyst but to accelerate the effects of his elixir, leading to widespread mutations and driving him insane, which it does with spectacular effects.

compound

The other Alchemist player introduced in season 2 is Compound. He had darkened the name of the Alchemist’s Guild during the Century War when he was know as the Rat Catcher because he used canisters of lethal gas to break castle sieges; to drive the defenders out onto the swords and arrows of the enemy. He had earned his name by herding men, women, and children to their death like cattle to the slaughter.
The man was finally caught by some of the vast number of enemies he had made amongst the grieving survivors. He was horribly disfigured by them; forced to watch both his arms
melted down to the bone by the very chemicals that were the tools of his trade. Then they used those chemicals to burn out his eyes, ensuring his last sight was his own disfigurement. He was presumed dead but found by the Engineer’s Guild and given new limbs and sight by Pin Vice of the Engineer’s Guild.

Alchemist’s Guild – Season 3

We don’t know much about season 3 other than that the story is more a continuation of that from season 1, rather than season 2. There are some questions that need answers, particularly around Midas and his role in the Guild going forward.

Until next time sports fans!

 

Guild Ball GenCon 2016 Roundup

GB-Teams-MorticiansSo GenCon 2016 is over and the first US Guild Ball Championships where held.  The event was won by  Jordan Nach with the Mortician’s Guild.

In second was Brian White (Morticians), third Alex Botts (Morticians) and fourth Patrick Van Valzah (Morticians)…

The final was between Jordan and Brian and was a complete mirror match with both taking Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Ghast, Rage and Avarisse & Greede.  There tournament added Cosset, Casket and Mist (I’m surprised Mist wasn’t in the final).

The ‘meta’ game in the US certainly seems different from what I’ve experienced in the UK, but I don’t know whether it’s a case of Mortician’s being better or better players using Mortician’s.  Control archetypes are always difficult to play against and in the hands of a good player that’s just exacerbated.

There were some interesting spoilers and titbits that came out of GenCon:

Starter Set

A Guild Ball Starter Set will be released in November with two full 6- player teams. The figures will be one piece plastic to make initial set up easy.  Nothing confirmed as to who the two Guild would be but some possibilities:

  • Butcher’s and Fishermen
    • Seen as the two archetypal guilds (Beating vs Footballing) and the basis of the current demo set
  • Mason’s
    • It’ s been said before that some of the models  are in need of a resculpt as they are on the small side of the scale compared ot teh Season 2 models and the show exclusive Flint. Would seem like a good time to do this
  • The Union
    • A flexible team that could go a number of ways. Would also be attractive for existing players.
  • Brewer’s
    • A fairly straightforward play style that would lend themselves to an introduction. they haven’t really been touched on that much in the fluff yet either.

I would say that the Mortician’s, Alchemist’s, Engineers and Hunter’s are unlikely due to there playstyles as are the Farmer’s and the as yet unnamed team for Season 3 as the starter set seem due around SteamCon in November but Season 3 isn’t due until April 2017.

We also don’t know if they will be pure guild or include Union choices (assuming that Union aren’t one of them).

Rookies

A new player type will be added, the Rookies.  These will be a seventh player on the pitch with a powerlevel similar to Mascots. The suggestion was they attach to a ‘mentor’ and give them a specific buff (presumably if in close proximity as he mentioned following them around).

New Guilds

There will be two new Guilds in Season 3 (available at Salute 2017). One we know (The Farmer’s Guild), the other we don’t.

Tater was released at GenCon and we have also seen the first sight of another Farmer. He appears to be some sort of scarecrow with a a skeletal face.

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New players

An existing Guild will be getting a new Captain in Season 3, which I woudl assume would be the Hunter’s to add parity.

We have seem the first images of Veteran Katalyst and he looks huge!

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Russ Charles (Steamforged’s go-to sculptor) was also at GenCon doing what he does and this was one thing on show?

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Looks a lot like Brick to me so whether he is getting the Veteran treatment or whether it’s an indication that Mason’s are in the Starter Set is unknown.

An interview with Mat and Rich from Beasts of War:

Farmer’s Guild – Tater, Handsome Guardian

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So GenCon is upon us and with it is a special pre-release version of a player for one of the Season 3 Guilds, Tater from the Farmer’s Guild.

There is little information available about the Farmer’s other than their mechanic being based around the planting and reaping of Harvest tokens.

Tater’s pre-release cards is below:

It’s been noted that this version will change come Season 3 and as he is listed as a ‘Reaper’ I feel it’s likely he’ll lose the ability to plant the harvest tokens.

However, he looks immensely fun to play and I like the feel of the harvest mechanic already.

Steamforged Games also released a bit of backstory for the Farmer’s Guild too:

On the other side of the muddy, patchy earth of the practice grounds, golden wheat swayed invitingly like a stand of waving spectators in the gentle springtime winds. This far in from the coast the weather was always more temperate, and only the sun bathed noble Piervo, her rich fields and tall white walls glowing as though divine as the Holy City itself. It was much like any other blessed day that Tater had known in his life, but for one exception.

‘Move it, move it!’ The First Lady was not shy in expressing her displeasure with any member of the team. ‘I’ve seen rookies playing Cage Ball that are more match fit than any of you backwards hicks! I didn’t sign up to coach you just for my health!’

Exhausted from a morning spent running drills and formations that were probably more stringent and punishing than those of the City Guard, a weary Tater was the first to raise his hand.

‘With all due respect, we’re not used to this. We’ve never practiced every day, and for games against famous players and the influential guilds before. We only have the way we’ve always played. You can’t expect any of us to simply change overnight.’ His voice was shaky and breathless, only the last words regaining a hint of his typically strong accent and tone.

His tormentor’s attention swung instantly to him. ‘Has it been, indeed?’ She limped towards Tater, still leaning heavily on a pristine wooden crutch and swatting away a concerned looking apothecary as she moved, in the same way a horse did a fly.

‘Well then, pretty boy, why don’t you tell me more of your amateur tactics, and how they’ll stand up against the pros in the big leagues, huh? I’ll be very interested to hear them.’ Her jaw was set in a determined line, and her icy blue eyes defiantly challenged him. Not for the first time, Tater noticed how her rich, fiery red hair shone in the sunlight. The First Lady was a remarkable woman.

‘I… well, you have me there,’ he conceded. ‘But I am concerned for some of the others, those of weaker constitution. This is too much, too soon for them.’ As if to illustrate his point, somewhere behind him, he could hear loud retching noises as someone emptied their stomach at the side of the pitch.

Her jawline softened a fraction, for a moment. Tater would fancy later that he might even have detected a hint of a sympathetic smile cross her lips. It passed as she turned away and addressed the team.

‘Fine! Break for the afternoon. I’ll be drawing up new plays for us to go over later this evening. I expect all of you back here at dusk, unless Solthecius forbid, someone can find a suitable courtyard inside the city walls like a real team would use…’

Question is who is the Farmer’s Coach? – Referred to as First Lady, red hair, injured leg…got to be Honour surely?

**Confirmed by Mat Hart that it is indeed Honour**

What’s in a name? – Season 2 Mascots

It’s been a while and as the Season 2 Mascot models are due to be released shortly, I thought I would round off the ‘What’s in a name?’ for Season 2. Some of these are fairly obvious, but others have more depth to them.

Alchemist’s Guild

Naja, Venomous Viper

Naja

So Naja is Venin’s ‘pet’ snake and ties in well with his poison theme.

Naja is the taxonomic game for the genus of snakes more commonly known as cobras and derives from the Sanskrit for snake, Naga.

 

Brewer’s Guild

Quaff, Faithful

Quaff

Quaff is modelled on a St Bernard, a breed of working dog common to the Alps and bred for mountain rescue. They are famous for carrying a barrel of brandy around their necks.

The verb quaff means to drink ( a usually an alcholic drink) heartily.

 

Butcher’s Guild

Truffles, Cantankerous Swine

Truffles

Truffles is a pig and the name is likely to arise from the domestic pigs (also known as truffle hogs) used for locating and extracting truffles from forests in Europe.

 

Engineer’s Guild

Mother, Arachnid Queen

Mother

A mechanica created by the Engineer’s Guild that resembles a spider (although the art work has 9 legs) and it’s brood. The name is a possible reference to Broodmother from DOTA 2. She is possibly modelled after Wolf Spiders which carry their spiderlings on their backs.

 

Fisherman’s Guild

Tentacles, Eastern Mystery

Tentacles

Modelled on an octopus and named after the flexible, mobile, elongated organs the species is famous for.

 

Mason’s Guild

Wrecker, Giant Shrew

Wrecker

Although described as a shrew, it doesn’t really resemble one and is modelled after an armadillo, a small armoured mammal. The name probably follows the Mason convention of names deriving form tools and is a possible reference to a wrecking ball.  There is also a link to Rammus from League of Legends due to the game being a favourite of many at Steamforged games.

The Rolando is in homage to the Guild Ball Tonight desire to have a baby elephant Mascot.

 

Mortician’s Guild

Vileswarm, Fearful Tide

Vileswarm

Vileswarm is a swarm of rats, which are often reviled. Not much more to say…

 

The Union

Strongbox, Tribute to the Pirate-King

Strongbox

Strongbox is a tortoise carrying a chest on it’s back. A strongbox is a small lockable box, typically made of metal, in which valuables may be kept.

Strongbox is ‘Rage’s idea of a tribute to the Pirate King apparently, one last piss-take. Strap a treasure chest to the top of it, fill it with Blackheart’s gold, and parade it around’

 

Guild Ball Campaign System

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I’d like to share some information with you that I have found out about one of the most anticipated changes in Guild Ball Season 2 – the campaign system.

Overview

The campaign is designed to have between 8 and 12 players but is customisable enough to be altered to suit your needs.  During the campaign, players play matches and earn points for wins.  These games are largely played as standard games but the rules for Plot Cards are adjusted and Guild specific cards added.

Each team uses there own special customised deck and by fulfilling the criteria on the card you earn more points (which are different from those for winning matches).  These cards may be used during or between games.

As Mat has mentioned before there is also a favour system, where you are able to obtain equipment, bonuses in game and even the loan of players (come on over Flint, welcome to the dark side).

Each campaign will have three winners:

  • The one who wins the most games
  • The one who utilises their guild deck the most effectively
  • The one with the most favours

Guild Decks

Each campaign has a story behind it that you need to progress through as you use your guild deck to generate points. As you generate points you unlock more (and rarer cards) which in turn help you generate more points. Guild plot cards can give you in-game benefits rather than just point increases.

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Favours

Favours are your chance to roleplay your Guild, they enable you to plot with (or against) other coaches, buy equipment for your players, obtain sponsors, loan players, increase your points and even buy resources from other Guilds.

You gain more favour by losing matches than winning and also get bonus favour for playing or beating coaches with more favour than you.

More details to come…

Until next time sports fans!