2008-12-31 : Dunesque Mechaton Campaign

...Begins now!

Mechaton 09 Campaign Map
This isn't a solar system, it's a galaxy.

The white circle is the galactic core; the ellipse shows trade out to Source and then back in from Source.

The planets are Core, c.1 - c.5, o.1 - o.4, s.1 (Source), i.1 - 1.4. They all have names too but I don't know what they are.

The three campaign objectives are:
Who controls the August Solar Throne?
Who controls the flow of Smoke?
Who holds absolute moral authority?

We'll go around the circle, Joshua, Rob, me, and:
1. Introduce your side;
2. Say which planet is your home planet, and what's its real name;
3. Divvy 5 points between the objectives, max 3 min 1.

Joshua, you're on the dealer's left so you start!

1. On 2009-01-02, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

I was just thinking about how to represent this a few hours before you posted. This is great.

The Udu Convent of the Sisterhood of Taw is a space station in the orbit of Murx, C5 on the map. It's a planet orbiting the brown dwarf Kr??gen, emitting only the faintest glow. Murx is covered with volcanoes and great glowing fissures between the continental plates. There are few places hospitable to life, though there are small cloisters on the surface for training nuns in their arts.

The order was founded by Mother Taw, eight thousand years ago, charged with easing births and deaths as the Empire expanded its difficult frontiers. As their order grew in size, though, they found themselves with increasing political and economic responsibilities. "Easing death" became a license and encouragement to cause it in the interests of furthering their reach and populating the Galaxy.

Members of the order take a vow of humility, requiring them to keep their faces covered at all times; a vow to defend the order, requiring them to learn the fighting ways of the order; and a vow of mercy, requiring them to end quickly any life that will suffer if it exceeds its destined time.

As a result, they wear long, black robes, heavily embroidered in fine black cords with words of their creed. When they fight (always as a matter of last resort, but the Empire is in such desperate times now...), their vow of humility requires them to be absolutely silent. Because they must know the suffering of their patients, the will never cause a death at a distance unless it is absolutely necessary, favoring the Sister's Thighs, a pair of long daggers made of the femurs of fallen nuns.

I'll have pics of their spacecraft soon. They follow the same ethical code as the infantry, favoring boarding vessels to the callous causing of suffering brought about by the use of long-distance and impersonal weapons. But they'll do what they must in order to achieve the end of suffering of their wards.

Visions of Smoke tell them the wishes of Mother Taw. It informs them that suffering is increasing throughout the galaxy and the Emperor's seat is the source of the suffering. Whoever sits on it must be properly advised by a Sister. It is the only way to ease the suffering of all people.

2 Who controls the August Solar Throne?
1 Who controls the flow of Smoke?
2 Who holds absolute moral authority?

(Are we going to say what will happen if we achieve these goals? And I'd like to hear what the Smoke is to each faction.)


2. On 2009-01-04, Vincent said:

(We are going to say, but let's set numbers first, I think?)

You're up, Rob!


3. On 2009-01-04, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

(Yeah, saying later is better when we've got more color to work with.)


4. On 2009-01-04, Malcolm said:

Great, I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.

Over here in New Zealand, we're in the process of setting up our own Mechaton campaign. We've started a blog dedicated to things to do with Mechaton (, where we'll be talking about building things, about games, about the campaign and general Lego stuff. Expect a lot more to appear over the coming months!



5. On 2009-01-05, Vincent said:

Totally linked.


6. On 2009-01-05, Soren said:

Malcolm, I am totally embarrassed to be one of your three links. Honored, yeah, but embarrassed.

I've been juicing up my (four) squads of dudes recently - all this mechaton campaign talk has me itching to finish the last few models.


7. On 2009-01-05, Robert Bohl said:

I'm not going to be as cool as Joshua here. Just don't have it in me at the moment. However:

1. Introduce your side;

The Kalik Federation, a technocratic union ruled by advanced electronic and genetic engineers who secretly delve into areas of study banned under the 10,000-year-old Ha-yal Compact. The Compact forbids the creation of life from nothingness. While creation of new living material and artificial intelligences are banned, mucking around with the genes in existing life is ok. You just can't craft DNA from scratch and make a new animal. Of course, that's a fine point that results in lots of war. Most of what Kalik does is shrouded in secrecy, and its technology is highly-sought-after by the same powers that would see them punished for what they create. They make themselves invaluable to the powerful on all sides of a conflict.

Their technology and style is quite monstrous and inhuman: lots of scuttly things that move way too fast. Theoretically, their society is a meritocracy.

They seek deeper and deeper Smoke trances in order to see how the ancient thinking machines and Chimerae were constructed. Kalik theoriticians refer to Smoke trances as thought experiements.

2. Say which planet is your home planet, and what's its real name;

Ostensibly, we don't have a planet. We're seeded throughout society. In fact, we "secretly" do, however, and it's O4. Its name is Gahmet and its presence is hidden because of the Dyson sphere that the Kaliks have encapsulated their sun within. The world itself is a cold rock with artificial living spaces seeded throughout its craggy upper crust.

Who controls the August Solar Throne?
Who controls the flow of Smoke?
Who holds absolute moral authority?

2, 2, 1 for me.


8. On 2009-01-05, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

It occurs to me: the 2 I have in "Who controls the August Solar Throne" is representative of the corruption of the Sisterhood of Taw. If they really were who they said they were, it would be all about moral authority. It's interesting that I had to make that choice.

Also, "Kr??gen" is supposed to be "Krugen" with an umlaut.


9. On 2009-01-05, Malcolm said:

Soren: Hey, Simon and I are both big admirers of your style and the builds that you create. If you think that's embarrassing, wait until you see the line of 'SorenWear' headbands and shinpads that we've been working on.

Joshua: Huh, I thought that "Kr??gen" was some cool linguistic thing. My support for your side has now evaporated.



10. On 2009-01-05, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

Oh, let's talk a little bit about setting stuff after Vincent's written his. I've got ideas about our technologies and the political structure of the Empire of the August Solar Throne, but it's all color stuff, so let's get the "what we want" stuff laid out first and we'll build around that fertile seed.


11. On 2009-01-05, Robert Bohl said:

My thinking is that my dudes are interested in who controls the Solar Throne not because they want it but because it affects how free they are to act.


12. On 2009-01-05, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

I think one of the objectives should be, "The Hearts and Minds of Malcolm Craig"


13. On 2009-01-06, Vincent said:

I'm the royal family that rules the galaxy from the August Solar Throne. We're called the House Aestatis - the ruling family is always called the House Aestatis - but Our real family name is Mercifé.

According to 10,000 year old prophesy, Our favorite son and Our favorite daughter will together unleash the true power of Smoke, marry, and lead the galaxy into a new epoch of peace and glory. They will reign side by side for a thousand years, or perhaps forever, immortal.

Our home planet is C1, once called Niten but now called Aestatis in Our honor. It's a beautiful planet, none of this "volcanoes and great glowing fissures" or "cold rock." It has vast green landscapes, pure blue skies alive with weather, and shining cities.

We also hold Our court on Core, naturally.

3 Who controls the August Solar Throne?
1 Who controls the flow of Smoke?
1 Who holds absolute moral authority?


14. On 2009-01-06, Vincent said:

Okay, next up:

1. For each of the three objectives, what will happen to the galaxy if you win it?

We can answer in any order, so shout out.

2. I'm waiting on a couple of last Bricklink shipments, and then let's have a building party at Rob's.

3. Talk about setting stuff!


15. On 2009-01-06, Robert Bohl said:

1. For each of the three objectives, what will happen to the galaxy if you win it?

If I win "who controls the August Solar Throne," there will be anarchy. My dudes want there to be a figurehead Emperor/ress who will abdicate all meaningful control. Specifically, while it would still be in play, The Compact would carry no weight anymore.
If we win control of Smoke, we will be the sole arbiters of the past and the future. We will be able to raid the history of tech before The Compact, and we will alter Smoke before passing it on to others so that their visions are polluted and users experience a modified history that meets our needs.

Ideally, my dudes want no one to have absolute moral authority. They want the idea of absolute moral authority to be destroyed utterly.

(PS: I like the way you wrote these, Vincent. It's not "I control," it's "who will control." That gives me wiggle room.)

Talk about setting stuff!

I feel like Smoke trances are hiiiiiiiiiiighly subjective and while they do provide very useful information, said information is highly susceptible to being interfered with by strong emotions on a subject.

(More as I think of it.)


16. On 2009-01-07, Vincent said:

A mech of House Aestatis:


17. On 2009-01-09, Soren said:

Just in case this lights a fire under anyone, here are a couple of Orbit Guards I whipped up the other evening:

Totally not GN-Xs, I swear!


18. On 2009-01-12, Vincent said:

If I win control of the August Solar Throne, then Our favorite son and Our favorite daughter will reign together in peace, glory, and human potential ascendant. This will be bad for such corrupt, deviant thinkers, such perverters of human potential, as (for instance) the Sisterhood of Taw and the Kalik Federation, who'll be driven into hiding.

If I win control of the flow of Smoke, then Our favorite son and Our favorite daughter will unleash its true power and become immortal, or at least extremely long-lived, retroactively and in both directions. You know how the Smoke gives you visions of the past, hiiiighly subjective? Now We will be able to remember the past in concrete detail, because We lived in it. We will become an authoritative check on your mere subjective visions, the final word, because We were there, on the past.

If I win absolute moral authority, then Our favorite son and Our favorite daughter will marry and get it on and make babies, and that'll be just fine with everybody.


19. On 2009-01-12, Robert Bohl said:

Holy shit that's awesome.


20. On 2009-01-12, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

If I win control of the August Solar Throne, it will mean the Duarch will be controlled by the Sisterhood of Taw, a puppet government. The Sisterhood's interests will be seen to first before any others.

If I win control of the Smoke, it will be hoarded and doled out as serves our purposes, a perpetual monopoly for all time. It will be used sacramentally, where the subjective nature can be taken advantage of for the interests of the Sisterhood.

If I win moral authority, the Sisterhood of Taw will realize the enormity of human and natural potential, finding peaceful existence in the natural order of things. They will revel in the quiet beauties of life while cleaving to their mandate of easing births and deaths. Empire itself will become of secondary importance as the cycles of birth and death themselves are realized to be even more august than the 10,000 year-old throne itself.

(See, the issue is, that they've never *had* moral authority. They've been viewed as a public utility and they've had to fight for the resources they've needed to provide the services they provide. They've become bitter.)

Vincent, I think your moral authority is a cop-out. I want to know what effect that has on the rest of the Empire. Like, if you win the Throne, then who cares? Your kids are the Duarch. They can do whatever they want. If you don't with the Throne, then your guys won't matter enough to be other than "that weirdo house with the inbreeding." Like that's not happening elsewhere in royal families.


21. On 2009-01-12, Vincent said:

Do overs!

If I win absolute moral authority, everyone in the galaxy will (willingly or un-) set aside their own personal moral judgements and adopt the good of the August Solar Throne as the highest moral ideal. The virtue of service to the August Solar Throne will outweigh every other virtue and every kind of moral repulsion.

(This will be super awesome if either of you wins the August Solar Throne, as then service to the figureheads as figureheads will be the greatest moral good. What matters above all else is that the Duarch appear to rule.)


22. On 2009-01-12, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

Total dig.


23. On 2009-01-12, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

... and they totally make babies and the baby looks at you.


24. On 2009-01-15, Sydney Freedberg said:

> then service to the figureheads as figureheads will be the greatest moral good. What matters above all else is that the Duarch appear to rule.

Sounds a LOT like feudal Japan, where at one point you had multiple layers of figureheads:

1) a divine but powerless Emperor as figurehead for

2) the Shogun, technically merely head of the military government but in practice chief of state—except that

3) since the Shogunate was hereditary, the real decisionmaking fell on a young or weak Shogun's advisors.


25. On 2009-02-01, Robert Bohl said:

I put pictures up of my robuts.


26. On 2009-02-01, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

Here are some Sisters of Taw!


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