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Jul 15

Voting for Storm & Shield: Doomsday Devices

 

The latest Warlock’s Journal Contest is closed, even after the delayed deadlline.

 

Which means it is voting time. The Warlock’s Journal is not always a precise source of information, and can often be contradictory. Close reading of the text has revealed five diabolical doomsday devices favoured by enemies of Storm & Shield. Yet, which one will Agent Beetle face on Admantia, as he thwarts Crip’s plan?

 

Planar scholars are respectfully asked to analyse the texts and determine which devious destructive device will be found on Admantia.

 

 

 

 

Prizes

Once more, I have secured some incredible prizes. Ennead Games has kindly agreed to sponsor another round of the Warlock’s Journal. Along with $20 DriveThruRPG credit, the winner can pick one of Ennead Games’ titles as a bonus. So, let us take a look at one of the books the winner could choose.

 

 

Equipment Maker 3 – Bows

This is another hot title from Ennead Games, and the third in their Equpment Maker series.

 

Equipment Maker 3 – Bows takes these classic melee weapons, and provides options for customization. The process adds wonder and variety to the bows in your game. The product page at DriveThruRPG describes the book as follows:

 

This generator doesn’t give you the details of any powers or abilities that are named or generated, that part is left up to you. It could simply be a description or the names could have real abilities tied to them.

This edition of Equipment Maker covers bows, covering both traditional bows and crossbows.

The tables inside cover:

  • Descriptor (d100 table)
  • Material (d100 table, with repeating options)
  • Bow Type (d100 table, with repeating options)
  • Power/Effect – Prefix (d100 table)
  • Power/Effect – Suffix (d100 table)

 

Learn more at DriveThruRPG [affiliate link]

 

 

Entries

I received five entries for this round of the contest, which is up two from the previous content. I include the submissions in this post, rather than ask you to download a pdf. The entries are listed alphabetically by the dire destructive device’s name. These are the same names used in the Voting Survey, so make careful note of your favourites. The voting is explained at the end of this post.

 

Doomsday Device #1: The Crystal Chalice

A diamond the size of a fist! It sits regally atop the Queen of Admantia’s crown – thus sealing her demise.

 

It’s no coincidence that royal crowns have the biggest gems…

 

The Crystal Chalice generates (Chalice) gemstones that subvert the wearer. The Crystal Chalice machine is physically located on the Crystalline Husk. It creates gems from dark matter between realities, on any targeted world, on any plane chosen. The gems become symbiotically linked to their owner, by magic and/or psionics, so removal is virtually impossible. They can be “detonated” at need, but more sinister is their ability to create a“control web” that gradually begins to subvert, and then take over. The wearer is enslaved by his own greed and avarice…

 

Once completely ensnared the gemstone then begins, through its wearer, to subtly change the world around it.
It’s said one was created on Earth many, many years ago. It has taken millennia but the results are plain to see.
More diabolical yet – the Crystal Chalice can create tremors in a plane’s dark matter energy web, which can destroy the very world itself, using the gem to target the correct reality.

 

The only way to neutralise the threat is to destroy the gem(s) on the affected plane.

 

Fortunately the Axiom Sensor can distinguish Chalice gems from ordinary jewels, and the Volga class transport allows quick movement to scan for them.

 

Beetle may yet have time to save Admantia from Hannah Crip’s fiendish doomsday plan – but if the gem(s) aren’t found the world is surely doomed.

 

If Admantia’s not eventually enslaved forever, it will be utterly and mercilessly destroyed.

 

 

Doomsday Device #2: Doomsday Children

Beetle moved through the corridors as if he did it each day. His disguise as one of the members of the Crystalline Husk was flawless and he made his way past guards and sensors with forged documents of the highest quality.
Beetle’s skill and tenacity gained him entry to his goal, Grand Councilor Eductus’ personal sanctum. He went through the room quickly and soon found the documents he was looking for, the files that detailed the Grand Councilor’s Doomsday Device.

 

The papers were coded, of course, but Agent Beetle was no stranger to decoding secrets and soon deciphered the information. What he found astounded him.

 

The Doomsday Device wasn’t a bomb or a plague, but something far more difficult to deal with.

 

Over two dozen people were detailed, all bred for one purpose and one purpose alone, to destroy. Each dossier read like a weapons manifest. All of the genetically designed agents were psionics, though some were trained also in magic usage or brutal combat. Their missions were obvious. These ‘children’ of Hanna Crip had been trained to destabilize Admantia. Some were advisors; others had taken control of nations and others were simply roaming agents of destruction. All of them however were working to create a war that would inevitably lead to a magical conflagration that would annihilate Admantia and in doing so, cause a magical destabilization of world after world.

 

The information that struck Agent Beetle the most was the last of files, that which detailed the ‘child’ known only as Zed. All information about him indicated he was a failure. Lack of psionic ability. Lack of magical prowess. Lack of combat aptitude. Beetle knew that Zed’s file couldn’t tell the whole story. He had to seek him out to find out his secrets, whatever the cost.

 

 

Doomsday Device #3: Notional Reality Engine

The device appears as a nondescript piece of triangular metal with a smooth surface and rounded corners, apparently something manufactured but exceptionally simple in construction.

 

It operates by receiving, coalescing, and rebroadcasting the fears of sentient creatures around it. Over the course of a few weeks, sentient being within several miles of the device will all become focused on the prevalent fear of that society, whatever it is. Zombies, vampires, raiding Northmen, demons, climactic catastrophe, meteor impact, vindictive artificial intelligence, alien invasion – the exact fear will depend entirely upon the dominant fear of the society at that moment.

 

Over the next few weeks the device will continue to extend it range by hundreds and then thousands of miles until the entire planet has become obsessed with their new greatest fear. All media, all culture, and all political action will shift to addressing the inevitability of that single fear’s occurrence. All religions are reinterpreted to address the existential crisis of the fear and its inevitability.

 

At first, there will be widespread hope that proactive action may stave off or somehow defeat or reverse the fear. But within a few months the overwhelming fear has become so oppressive and so entrenched that all hope is lost. The entire planet has become utterly convinced that the apocalypse is at hand and will be the result of whatever the seed fear was.

 

At this point governments shut down, companies close shop, people barricade themselves inside and prepare, and all societal customs and norms break down because everybody is convinced there is no hope, no point in living, and no escaping the inevitable. Military forces go on rampages, police forces become execution squads, and prisons are locked down and abandoned.

 

Conditions continuously deteriorate until violent looting, random crime, and continuous acts of hatred and fear become the new normal. Weapons of mass destruction are harnessed and unleashed indiscriminately, lovers murder each other, and suicide attains epic proportions. Random sniping, axe-wielding crazies, and roaming bands of murderers are so common as to elicit no response.

 

In fact, given the situation at hand – most people conclude that most of it makes good common sense. Fear is so omnipresent and so paralyzing that sentient life itself grinds to an end. Everyone is absolutely convinced that the “thing”, whatever it is, has actually happened and that the apocalypse has happened and that the world has ended. No, there is no evidence whatsoever that the “thing” really happened. But yet everybody knows that it did, and that it ended the world, and that the fear of it is paralyzing. The few survivors continue to kill themselves, kill each other, wander out into deserts, starve to death hiding in basements, or walk into the oceans. There really is no hope.

 

Weaknesses: The device can be delayed by moving it about from region to region (or from time to time), as long as each region has its own obsessive cultural fear of the moment. It will continue to operate in the early stages of focusing a new fear but will not gain enough traction to trigger truly significant events. Ultimately, it must be somehow destroyed.

 

 

Doomsday Device #4: Thou Shalt Covet

The device appears as an irresistibly beautiful gemstone, dancing with internal orange brilliance, about the size of a human fist. Its origin is unknown. It operates through several stages by continuously exerting its power to induce covetousness and paranoia in its possessors.

 

In stage one, a single individual will claim the device as their exclusive property. It becomes more important to them than anything else and they become increasingly paranoid. They become convinced that everyone else wants to steal the device and the best defence is a proactive murdering of as many suspects as possible while taking to the road in open flight. This stage continues until a few hundred have been murdered in defence of the device.

 

In stage two, a small band of individuals coalesce around the device as protectors. They act together to keep it safe, primarily by paranoid and proactive murdering of apparent competitors while taking to the road in open flight. Even still, each individual protector believes in their heart of hearts that they are the sole legitimate protector and the others in the band will eventually have to be eliminated. This stage continues until a few thousand have been murdered in defence of the device.

 

In stage three, a consortium of some hundreds of protectors coalesces about the device. Larger preventative acts of violence are carried out against apparent competitors, even as every individual tirelessly works to eliminate all other protectors. The consortium typically will retreat to a remote location where the device can be protected. This stage continues until a few tens of thousands have been murdered in defence of the device.

 

In stage four, a large regional population coalesces around protecting the device. Massive regional raids of slaughter are carried out to proactively defend the device from external capture. Simultaneously, the regional experiences constant internal upheaval as splinter groups attempt to gain exclusive control of the device. This stage continues until a few hundreds of thousands have been murdered in defence of the device.

 

In stage five, a national group secures the device and carries it to the national capital. Global wars are initiated to proactively defend the device from foreign control. The nation’s resources are devoted exclusively to protecting the device and destroying its enemies by every means possible. This stage continues until a few millions have been murdered in defence of the device.

 

In stage six the device has reached its culminating power and every sentient being on the planet covets sole possession and control of it. An ever-decreasing cadre of defenders holds out against the combined global onslaught of enemies. This stage continues until there remains only a single, sole survivor who finally claims the device as their own personal possession.

 

In stage seven, the sole survivor becomes absolutely convinced that the only way to fully protect the device is to somehow transport it to another world where its very existence is entirely unknown. Arriving on the new world the protector awakens the next morning to discover the wonderful device has been stolen during the night…

 

Weakness: The device itself is somewhat fragile – it could be destroyed by concentrated blows. And yet it’s so absolutely wonderful and compelling that not even Agent Beetle can seriously contemplate trying to mar its inestimable beauty… No, it can’t be destroyed. In fact, it should be… must be… protected…

 

 

Doomsday Device #5: Worldwave

Physical Description: Seven globes of a mysterious blue metal buried in inhospitable locations in multiple worlds. Each is adorned with images of stars and strange creatures, and hums when the right combination has been pressed. Cannot be de-activated by hand once this happens. Indestructible.

 

Doomsday Scenario: Activating all seven units causes all nearby dimensions to overlay and crash into each other, resulting in worldwide devastation as continents merge and parallel worlds spill into each other.

 

Weaknesses: Energy residue of devices can be tracked. Even if all seven devices fall into enemy hands, each is psychically linked to a giant monster. Appeasing all seven monsters (must be all seven) by fulfilling their obscure individual requests will convince them it’s not time to reset the universe yet and prevent final activation.

 

 

Voting

Voting for the contest is via Survey Monkey. With five options for this round, the voting simply asks you to rank each entry. The winner will be determined by the highest overall score. Therefore, it is important you record a second and subsequent choices, as that may make all the difference. In the unlikely event there is a tie at the end of the voting period, then I shall roll a die to determine the result.

 

PLEASE NOTE, only the first vote from an ISP number will be counted. Early rounds suffered from ballot-stuffing, so I check the voting records. I delete ALL the later votes of any entrant found to be voting multiple times. I accept this is not a perfect solution, but this is the method in operation.

 

Click here to vote via Survey Monkey

 

Voting closes Friday 21st July. This date is unlikely to be delayed, so please vote promptly. EDIT: Voting has now closed.

 

Have fun choosing a doomsday device.

 

Happy Voting

Phil

 

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