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> The Horrors and Death Magic? Answers In Earthdawn, And Who's Really Behind Aztlan-SPOILERS-
Master Shake
post Jan 14 2004, 08:52 AM
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I have been a fan of Shadowrun since I played the video game about a decade ago though I don't play E or S, I'm just vaguely interested in this as an interesting fictional world. I do not claim to be an expert on the Earthdawn/Shadowrun Mythos but I do check out this board once in a while (is there a good E board that's active?) and I have taken a look at most of the E/S Mythos books. This is primarily in response to the ridiculously long 'beat the horrors' thread which is now up to 18 pages. The tone of that thread was that Horrors can be bombed or you can hide from them. In my brief exposure to Earthdawn and Shadowrun books, the Horrors cannot be stabbed or shut or blow’d up as long as the Great Pattern of their infinite menace exists. They will come and come and come as long as they can which is what Harlequin and Dunkelzahn say. Now, this is only a game that I don’t even play, but with 18 pages I didn't see any mention of the Earthdawn answers on how to stop the horrors, so I figured I'd help out the discussion that doesn't really matter anyway. Here are some references to stopping the Horrors that I am aware of, there certainly could be more as I only have a very basic understanding of the Earthdawn books. I haven't read any of these books cover to cover, but are just some things that stood out to me while skimming through them:

1-Adepts Way- Under the description of the Nethermancer, a mage class that focuses on metaplanes of the dead and horrors, the writer mentions that, in theory, the horrors dimension can be sealed off from the E/S world. It takes the form of an unfinished manuscript and an unfinished section titled 'On Cosmology and Other Dimensions' is unfinished but referred to in the next section. It says 'As I have described in the preceding passage, finally sealing off our dimension from the Horrors will only be possible once we have answered the 8 questions of Jsona Var. Until then, we must rely on countermeasures to fight the Horrors after they have crossed the threshold to our world.'

So forget about conquering them, but if 8 mystical questions can be answered the Horrors can be shut out forever, in high or low magic I assume.

2-Theran Empire- This is perhaps the most interesting because it ties directly with the Shadowrun novel 'Black Madonna' which I read a long time ago. In that book there is an IE named Leonardo (da Vinci) who is also referred to as Brightlight in some other S source books like Aztlan where he appears in the D-IE discussion and someone mentions him in passing during talk of an AI owning Aztechnology. Leonardo is a follower of the Egyptian goddess Isis and is focused on 'the great work.' In the Theran Empire book, Egypt was once called Creana and central to the Creana gods and goddesses (Ureth, the Creana 'Great Mother' would be Isis) was the 'Great Work.' Which is to connect the magical pattern of Creana with the magical pattern of the 'lands of the west' (don't the Tir na Nog Elves talk about 'lands of the west?') by building monuments and magical structures to bind the two dimensions/patterns together. If this occurs, Creana will be transformed into a paradise as the 'lands of the west' are a metaplane (?) that would be called Heaven or Paradise where the good dead go. The cycle of death and rebirth will end and the heavens and earth will be one. All suffering and fear will disappear as all people will be rules by the Pharon God-King as a part of the strict hierarchy on Heaven/Earth.

That was the 'Great Work' Leonardo was working on in Black Madonna, but I think Leonardo gets captured by Lofwyr after Dunkelzahn dies in the 'Blood in the Boardroom' source book. So, theoretically in the E/S Mythos, by combining the true patterns, or true magical essence or souls of the Earth and Heaven, the earth would transcend to a perfect state of existence untouchable by the Horrors. I guess there needs to be magical obelisks and pyramids and monuments to mystically draw the true pattern of the earth and heaven together. Controlling ley lines, power sites with giant pyramids and establishing a Creana-style Heavenly Hierarchy across the globe with a Pharon God-King in his own home base on the Nile. I guess Lofwyr didn't like that idea too much.

3-Earthdawn Companion- This is where you find the primary metaphysical foundation to beating the Horrors. The Lightbearers are a secret organization directly opposed to the Horrors. Lightbearers draw power from 'The Great Pattern' which is a largely mysterious force. The major explanation is that the Great Pattern is the true Pattern or magical essence or soul of the world (universe?). The Great Pattern gives its followers powers to confront and destroy the Horrors so the Great Pattern is directly opposed to the Horrors. The Great Pattern is opposed to the Great Horror Pattern or whatever the overall mystical force of exploitation that the Horrors represent. Yin and Yang. To serve the Great Pattern you must foreswear blood magic (there is a difference between 'amoral' blood magic and 'evil' death magic) for anything but oaths and lightbearer stuff and you must strive to fight the horrors and 'bring light,' yada yada yada. Some of the powers of followers of the Great Pattern including joining your pattern or soul with the great pattern on death or transferring your soul through the great pattern to another lightbearer to give them your experience. They can heal and transfer karma/magical quanta to each other, avoid and defeat horror magics and all the other good guy stuff you'd expect.

So followers of the Great Pattern gain powers to counter Horrors not from a shear force level, but from a metaphysical countering. Nowhere does it seem like Horrors can be killed with swords or guns, even the Lightbearer powers are usefully only tactically, not strategically to stop the Horrors all together. In the E/S Mythos there seem to be two main forces, the Great Pattern of the world/universe and the Unmaking/exploiting Pattern of Horror. If the 8 questions of Jsona Var were answered or the Great Work Completed, it would mean empowering The Great Pattern to withstand or negate the Horror Pattern and the Horrors.

4-Blood Wood- The Elves of the Blood Wood managed to avoid the Horros by corrupting themselves and inflicting so much pain to themselves collectively, that the Horrors were less interested in them because Horrors want to cause pain and if you take that away from them they are less likely to attack.

So a massive ritual to corrupt metahumans to permanent suffering would make the Horrors less interested but if everyone did that, there wouldn't be easier prey for the Horrors to go after so they woudl still end up going after the corrupted. And the Wood Elves still needed to build magical protections that some Horrors still tried to attack. The Blood Wood book is more interesting for its non-specific but obvious reference to the first Vampire or HMHVV victim, a female elf who disappeared during the Horror rampages and returned later as a super strong blood sucking night walker. There’s your Queen of the Damned.


Here is something else that is somewhat related. Aztlan are the ones pushing the Horrors through death magic. Blood magic in Earthdawn is just using blood to power magical charms or oaths, while death magic was using human sacrifices to power magic. It's called blood magic in Shadowrun, but it's really death magic, not blood magic as it is in Earthdawn. Three things about Aztechnology and Aztlan that I've never seen mentioned anywhere but seem obvious to me.

1-Azzies got their magic from Parlainth. When I first saw the Earthdawn main rule book I was somewhat confused as the map clearly places it in Russia, but the architecture featured prominently is clearly central/south american. Did the artists get carried away and not realize that no such architecture exists in Russia or was it intentional? The Parlainth boxed set proves it was intentional. Teotihuacan in Azltan is the city of Parlainth. How did a city in Russia end up in Mexico and nobody seems to realize it, not even the IE's and Dragons? To escape the scourge, a great magical ritual was placed on the city of Parlainth that would allow it to transport itself to a supposed safe place in the astral. The ritual was so powerful that once the city disappeared, its very memory and records would be erased from everyone and everywhere in the world. After the scourge it reappeared in Russia and everyone suddenly remembered it again. Though some Horrors snuck into the city before it was sealed and perhaps more entered once it was adrift in the Astral and they corrupted the whole city. In the Parlainth boxed set are pictures of horrors and bloody sacrifice in the Central American style. The architecture and art of the city are designed directly after the real ancient city in Mexico. So the FASA folks obviously had Parlainth disappear before the Theran Cataclysm and magic was still good, but instead of the Astral, it ended up in Mexico. In Target: Awakened Lands, under the description of Teotihuacan it mentions that the Aztecs didn't build the city, but found it as it was, abandoned and built upon older ruins as the magic level had fallen that the horrors could no longer exist in the world. No doubt the writings and artifacts left over where what inspired if not gave the Azzies all the info they needed for blood and death magic. The implication is clearly that Parlainths unique 'Theran' architecture inspired the art and architecture of the entire Central American region, as did the practice of blood sacrifice which are depicted by the Horrors to mark their corruption of Parlainth. Did the IE's and Dragons forget about Parlainth again when it moved to Mexico and so they really have no memory, or do they realize what happened and just keep it to themselves?

2-So Parlainth, corrupted by Horrors, is the real spiritual heart of Aztlan, so who is the corrupted dragon always rumored to be behind Aztlan? Certainly that would better explain Aztlan blood and Death magic as the Dragon could teach it directly, no need to try to figure out ancient tablets and the like. Well, if you've read the Earthdawn Dragons source book you'd know that the only dragon associated with Parlainth is Charcoalgrin. Charcoalgrin was obsessed with Parlainth as she was the one who gave the city the spell to remove Parlainth from reality and memory, so when it appeared and she remembered, she returned to find the city gutted by Horrors. She moved in to the city and set about using local rogues to search the city and bring her its corrupted treasures. In Dragons, it mentions that Charcoalgrin was interested in sending Parlainth back to its secret hiding place and that she was insane as far as dragons go. It's clear that she was able to move Parlainth though not where she intended. Perhaps one of the Horrors deep under the city came forth and corrupted her or perhaps when Parlainth was transferred to the astral again as it moved, Horrors invaded the city and corrupted her. Thus when she awoke from her sleep in her lair under Parlainth, she found Mexico/Aztlan which she gradually corrupted by introducing the old gods and religion as a screen to use blood and death magic to dominate the world and open the world to the Horrors. That she is ultimately behind Oscuro. I don't recall what type of Dragon, Eastern, Western, or whatever she was though in Aztlan an Eastern dragon is mentioned. Though Charcoalgrin could have other corrupt dragons working for her, it seems clear that the mystery dragon behind Aztechnology is Charcoalgrin. We have a mystery and we have the FASA folks mentioning Charcoalgrin and Parlainths connection for a reason, and this is in keeping with how they hide E/S info in rumors and riddles. Just like a movie or book, if it's important enough to be there, there must be a reason for it. This ties those mysteries together by connecting all the short strands FASA has put out, so this must be it.

3-Why was Charcoalgrin really so obsessed with Parlainth? Because her prized student and friend the Theran human Erypimese, was in Parlainth when it vanished and when the city returned and she remembered him, she found he was gone. But some of the 'astral patrol boats' which would allow small numbers from the city to leave and travel the metaplanes in astral boats were missing. So it was Charcoalgrins hope that Erypimese had survived in one of those boats and if she returned Parlainth to its astral pocket, she could search for him there. So if the Aztlan Dragon is Charcoalgrin, Juan Atzcapotzalco is Erypimese. How could a human survive that long even after Charcoalgrin found him floating in the astral? Charcoalgrin was so enamored with this guy that she taught him secret Dragon magics that allowed Parlainth to disappear and allow him some of the power of Drakes, the shape shifting ability and long life. Juan is a strange character, in the Aztlan book Hualpa mentions that when he met Juan he sensed a magic power about him but could read no magical aura even though Juan is a known magician. Ehren later says that when he met Juan, he sensed power mystical abilities and would have assumed he was an IE like himself but Juan appears totally human. Clearly Juan is a powerful figure in Shadowrun and even IE's and Dragons can't pierce his aura. We have Parlainth clearly in Aztlan. We have Charcoalgrin, Parlainths master and protector as the corrupted dragon behind Aztechnology. Her personal favorite Erypimese, for whom she risked everything and taught all her mystical dragon secrets but was a human of Mediterranean features and could pass for Mexican and was as powerful a human mage as there has been. Who could be so powerful a magician to fool Ehren and Hualpa face to face? Only somebody with deep magical secrets, the kind only dragons could have and even then Hualpa couldn't pierce his masking. There's no way a human could have been born and in a few decades have magic power that rivals or exceeds Ehren and Hualpa. The only person Juan can be is Erypimese.


So Mike Mulvahill, what do I win?
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DV8
post Jan 14 2004, 09:19 AM
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Well, Mike is working on Shadowrun: Duels right now, but if I have anything to say about it, current Shadowrun Line Developer Rob Boyle gives you at least as much as applause as I do.

*applause*

Good post. Very good post.
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snowRaven
post Jan 14 2004, 10:14 AM
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Very good post, and it all seems to fit together well.

One note though - Brightlight (Leonardo) and Leonardo da Vinci aren't the same; I forgot exactly where this info is, though, but maybe AH or another well-informed DSer can assist with that?
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MooCow
post Jan 14 2004, 01:18 PM
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I believe that admission is at the end of Technobabble perhaps? One of the novels has a final few paragraphs where I think Lofwyr shows up and berates Leonardo for meddling in his affairs. Leonardo admits to not being the /real/ Leonardo, and says he claimed to be because the guy was so cool. Then said dragon incapacitates Leonardo, possibly killing him.

Or that all could just be a figment of my crack addled imagination. I'll check when I get home this evening.
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MooCow
post Jan 14 2004, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE
The tone of that thread was that Horrors can be bombed or you can hide from them. In my brief exposure to Earthdawn and Shadowrun books, the Horrors cannot be stabbed or shut or blow’d up as long as the Great Pattern of their infinite menace exists.


Actually, in the Dragon Heart Trilogy, Dunkelzahn specifically states that there will be no hiding this time around. Technology will be the means by which the Horrors are fought. The whole reason for the Dragon Heart is to keep the Horrors at bay until we have progressed far enough in technology to be able to fight them.

But anyways, great post. Very nice collection of information, and some interesting theories. Thanks.
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Reaver
post Jan 14 2004, 01:27 PM
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QUOTE (MooCow)
QUOTE
The tone of that thread was that Horrors can be bombed or you can hide from them. In my brief exposure to Earthdawn and Shadowrun books, the Horrors cannot be stabbed or shut or blow’d up as long as the Great Pattern of their infinite menace exists.


Actually, in the Dragon Heart Trilogy, Dunkelzahn specifically states that there will be no hiding this time around. Technology will be the means by which the Horrors are fought. The whole reason for the Dragon Heart is to keep the Horrors at bay until we have progressed far enough in technology to be able to fight them.

But anyways, great post. Very nice collection of information, and some interesting theories. Thanks.

I agree. A very good post indeed. :D
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kevyn668
post Jan 14 2004, 02:10 PM
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Agreed. Good job, Master Shake.
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MooCow
post Jan 14 2004, 02:17 PM
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QUOTE
We have a mystery and we have the FASA folks mentioning Charcoalgrin and Parlainths connection for a reason


Not neccesarily. Sometimes they toss things in that sound neat and mysterious with out any real intent behind it. They leave the "Truth" to the GM to determine.

Example: Alot of the books have those little matrix chats between various IEs and Dragons. Now some of them we know for certain, such as Wordsmythe being Ehran. But not all of them are as clear cut, so I asked a few of the freelancers about it once when we were out drinking (Always ply freelancers with alcohol before asking stupid fanboy questions). The general response was that they don't know because it's never been important. Individual writers may have personal opinions, but there is no official list of which matrix handles belong to which important NPC (Even non-publicly). They intentionaly leave it undetermined not only for the GM, but for themselves in case they ever have need to make them specific.

However, I for one like that. There is nothing more annoying then having to either change canon material or bend your campaign to fit a rigidly defined world. I like your theories, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I'll probably make a few changes to fit my specific needs, but if you don't mind I'd like to use this in my ED/SR crossover campaign.
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Prototype
post Jan 14 2004, 02:31 PM
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Pretty damn astute.

So then, any knowledgeable folks out there want to shed some light on what happened to Juan when he opened Dunkelzahn's magic box?

Assuming that he was this guy Erypimese he's probably fairly anti-Horror, if he's working with the Azzies and a corrupted Dragon though, some changes have obviously taken place. Maybe he's been Horror Marked or mind controlled in some way? Certainly something happened to Juan in the early 50's.

Seems most likely to me that Dunkie has set him free from this control somehow, would you agree? And either he has then went underground or went back to wherever he was travelling around in the metaplanes.

Working with this information certainly makes a lot of other things fall into place.

For those interested in Leonardo, Lofwyr doesn't kill him and it's rumoured he's put to work for Saeder-Krupp, possibly in Antartica.
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Zazen
post Jan 14 2004, 02:54 PM
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QUOTE (Prototype)
So then, any knowledgeable folks out there want to shed some light on what happened to Juan when he opened Dunkelzahn's magic box?

Did you see Mulholland Drive? ;)
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Xirces
post Jan 14 2004, 02:56 PM
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QUOTE (Zazen)
QUOTE (Prototype @ Jan 14 2004, 09:31 AM)
So then, any knowledgeable folks out there want to shed some light on what happened to Juan when he opened Dunkelzahn's magic box?

Did you see Mulholland Drive? ;)

I did, but unfortunately was drunk and with two stoned girls who talked all the way through. Would I have understood what was going on otherwise..? :spin:
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Reaver
post Jan 14 2004, 03:14 PM
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QUOTE (MooCow)
QUOTE
We have a mystery and we have the FASA folks mentioning Charcoalgrin and Parlainths connection for a reason


Not neccesarily. Sometimes they toss things in that sound neat and mysterious with out any real intent behind it. They leave the "Truth" to the GM to determine.

Example: Alot of the books have those little matrix chats between various IEs and Dragons. Now some of them we know for certain, such as Wordsmythe being Ehran. But not all of them are as clear cut, so I asked a few of the freelancers about it once when we were out drinking (Always ply freelancers with alcohol before asking stupid fanboy questions). The general response was that they don't know because it's never been important. Individual writers may have personal opinions, but there is no official list of which matrix handles belong to which important NPC (Even non-publicly). They intentionaly leave it undetermined not only for the GM, but for themselves in case they ever have need to make them specific.

However, I for one like that. There is nothing more annoying then having to either change canon material or bend your campaign to fit a rigidly defined world. I like your theories, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I'll probably make a few changes to fit my specific needs, but if you don't mind I'd like to use this in my ED/SR crossover campaign.

Yea, Gods forbid you'd have to change canon material after 2 editions. Such as, SPELL LOCKS! No, I'm not bitter, not at all. ;) :P
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 14 2004, 03:15 PM
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On a side note, I don't think I mentioned it before, but once you get past the whole being-a-Horror-dedicated-to-causing-people-unbearable-suffering thing, Artificer is rather cute.

~J
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Ancient History
post Jan 14 2004, 03:19 PM
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Nice. Reminds me of the Alamais(e) Theory (insofar as good deductions and source material, not copying.).
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Req
post Jan 14 2004, 05:09 PM
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Master Shake is hereby awarded Madd Props To All My Homies. Excellent post.
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Bearclaw
post Jan 14 2004, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE (MooCow)
QUOTE
The tone of that thread was that Horrors can be bombed or you can hide from them. In my brief exposure to Earthdawn and Shadowrun books, the Horrors cannot be stabbed or shut or blow’d up as long as the Great Pattern of their infinite menace exists.


Actually, in the Dragon Heart Trilogy, Dunkelzahn specifically states that there will be no hiding this time around. Technology will be the means by which the Horrors are fought. The whole reason for the Dragon Heart is to keep the Horrors at bay until we have progressed far enough in technology to be able to fight them.

But anyways, great post. Very nice collection of information, and some interesting theories. Thanks.

No, Big D warns the other dragons that THEY won't be able to hide from the horrors because modern technology can find their hidden lairs. This time, the dragons are at much risk as everyone else this time. The horrors will use modern tech just as much as anyone else will.
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 14 2004, 05:47 PM
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There are unquestionably Horrors that cannot be bombed, shot, stabbed, etc.
However, there are equally unquestionably Horrors that can be. If you can lay down some HMG fire on a pack of Gnashers, it means they're going to do you a lot less damage (such as none) and Devourer has less time to eat your memories of how to kill it before you get to it.
Tech doesn't have to be the be-all-end-all answer to mean the difference between beating the Horrors and being overrun again.

~J
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Pthgar
post Jan 14 2004, 05:58 PM
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This is just a pet theory but I thought I'd see what you all make of it.

I think Aztlan has no Horror corrupted or possesed or whatever being in charge. All the blood magic and crap with Sr. Oscuro (who does serve the horrors) is an attempt to get the scourge going early. Why is Aztlan working with Oscuro and the Horrors?

Aztlan has some Immortal (elf or dragon or both) at the top. This Immortal(s) longs for the days when they were large and in charge (works better here if it's a dragon) and is scehming to bring this about. Aztlan is a deliberate attempt to recreate Thera (which implies an IE).

An early Scourge means that only the prepared will survive, mostly the great dragons. There may be some IE's left and if ED is any yardstick a few enclaves of the young races (some primitives did manage to avoid the scourge). After the Horrors leave the being who was able to prepare the best starts from a position of strength. All the Immortals know this and are maneuvering to shore up strength.

The Immortal(s) in charge of Aztlan were going to bring the Scourge early to cath the others with their pants down. They want to use the Horrors as a gambit in their game. Ego!
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Ancient History
post Jan 14 2004, 06:10 PM
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There are a few potential holes in the theory, if anyone's interested. Some are merely matters of interpretation.
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Pthgar
post Jan 14 2004, 06:13 PM
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I'm interested. Hold on, let me get my kevlar vest...
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northern lights
post Jan 14 2004, 06:18 PM
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i'd doubt that one. immortal seem to keep low profiles and making themselves the only target left seems a bit foolish. by informing the lesser races, they allow the horrors someone else to prey on for their hundred years long rampage. if they all die in the beginning that leaves the immortals as the only target for those hundreds of years.

also, the primitives didn't survive too well, ala cave trolls.

all in all tho, i must say that this is a most encompassing thread with an excellent mind behind it, especially considering that the author has no connections to the games.

master shake, i applaud you
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northern lights
post Jan 14 2004, 06:19 PM
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btw, which theory AH?
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BitBasher
post Jan 14 2004, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE
The horrors will use modern tech just as much as anyone else will.
Where was this info lifted from?
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Bearclaw
post Jan 14 2004, 06:27 PM
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The quote which was earlier misquoted.
Dunklezan said (Maybe in Aztlan) that with modern technology, the dragons won' be able to hide out.
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 14 2004, 06:31 PM
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Actually, nothing says that the Horrors will ever touch a piece of technology. Yes, Horror-marked individuals will use it, and to great effect, but it's rather different than, say, cyber-Gnashers or Yrsgrthe with a LAW.

~J
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