作者 主题: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱  (阅读 2654 次)

副标题: 旧版最坏结局,反派完胜。第167-187页

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【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:20:39 »
该书全称为《超凡入圣(WW4999)》。

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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #1 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:20:57 »
 愿景夭折,无需言明。这是他们做出的抉择。这是他们邀请铸就的命运。这是和平与一体之路。我的兄弟姐妹们,我已奋斗了太久,如今我们即将胜利。我们任他们争斗不断,而他们对我们无微不至,饲养优良羔羊,满足辘辘饥肠。就让我们大快朵颐吧,因为,欢庆之时就在眼前...

 —— 无名,首位堕落者,于堕圣贤议会上的讲话


 若现实原本缓慢的必然堕落开始加速、灭世者发现自己已胜券在握,该怎么办?就像升华理论上能被全人类一体达成,堕落亦然。但当共识都背弃其内在神性的愿景时,会发生什么?当全人类都选择黑暗而非光明、死亡而非生命时,又会发生什么?

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 Unspoken, the promise dies stillborn. This is what they have chosen. This is the fate they have invited us to forge for them. This is the path to peace and unity. Long days have I struggled, my brothers and sisters, and now we stand upon the edge of victory. We have given them leave to play the games of state, and they have served us admirably, rearing many fine lambs to sate our hunger. Let us feast, then, for the time of celebration is nigh...

 — The Unnamed, First among the Fallen, addressing the council of the Aswadim


 What if reality's slow, inexorable slide into decay picks up some steam and the Nephandi find themselves poised to attain victory over Creation itself? Just as Ascension can, theoretically, be achieved by humanity as a whole, so, too, can Descent. But what happens when the Consensus betrays the promise of its own inner divinity? What happens when mankind chooses darkness over light, death over life?

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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #2 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:22:00 »
终结万物

 这便是终局,赌注高昂,奖品则是万物命运。尽管各有见解,但灭世者如今已占上风。他们仅需稍加引导,便会很快告成,撕碎希望本身,将其灰烬散在冰冷、毫无意义的坟墓中。

 若你选择了此路,谨慎。你将丢掉曾知晓的——有关升华之战,和人类于觉醒世界的地位——的一切。你还在读吗?很好,因为这不仅是升华最可怕和无情敌人的故事。它还讲述了人性弱点,以及觉醒者引领启迪、升华凡人的惨败。

 但从哪儿开始呢?



徒劳牺牲

 描绘末日时,最不讨喜(和反常规)的事情之一,就是证明,有时为正义而战——甚至死去——毫无意义。有时壮烈牺牲徒劳无益——好比在黑暗中熄灭的灯光,但却鼓舞不了谁,逝去后也只留下绝望。满结社的法师背水一战,白白送命。挚友、盟军和爱人会死去甚至(无法挽回地)堕落,而没人能阻止这一切的发生。


叙事绝望

 当然,没人想玩只有无尽沮丧、失败和伤痛的游戏。正在战败的大背景下,也很可能有绝佳的角色扮演(如《狼人:末日怒嚎》)。但玩家希望感受到,他们角色的行动可以,且确实能带来改变。

 除非你确信他们能完全接受角色白白死去或堕落,甚至没机会从这些牺牲中得到有价值的东西(有些玩家的确能接受),否则请至少尝试对角色的死去或堕落赋予些意义,或许还能有点念想和可能。即使有些东西,无法在角色一生中真正使用,但那些在未来继续战斗者,可能从其失败中汲取力量,从而有助于减轻一些角色的不快结局带来的失望。


冷酷残忍——绝望英雄

 要记住,尽管万物堕落的无尽长夜会有许多被无视的牺牲,但也应有有意义的胜利——即使战败和重创会令其蒙灰。就算世界正滑入地狱,那些有意志、坚定、实力和精明的人也能有力回击灭世者。尽管这些鼓舞人心的豪杰或许并不能扭转局势,甚至引领他人。但他们会留下世代流传的传奇,证明有生即是希望。

 事实上,很多宗派会在本模组完全陨落,只剩极少散兵游勇继续战斗。那些最讲求以身殉道的(空明兄弟会、天国颂歌、善终者和赫尔墨斯秘会)很可能是这种下场。它们也许会在本模组的时间段内被摧毁,你可自行决定具体故事。这种情况下,也许人物之一会成为这些组织的真正唯一幸存者(可能还有少数拔拉鄙)(译注:拔拉鄙指投靠灭世者的法师)。

 其它更个体的宗派则可能在一些地方进行零散抵抗,在其它地方寻求庇护。但你应坚决偏离玩家期待的“正统”(如真正统一的梦语者的背水一战可以凄惨悲壮)。不过,就像英雄不分性别、种族、地区或信仰,它也不分九宗或科联。任何想战斗的人都能尝试,有足够实力和决心,则能改变。同时满足对世界堕落时的毫无意义和壮烈牺牲的期盼很重要,法师即使不确定自己的牺牲是否有用,但清楚折磨甚至死亡都有意义。


人性堕落

 最重要的是要把万物堕落描绘成人类失败的产物(无论沉睡还是觉醒者),就像它是灭世者完胜的结果一样,或许更甚。只有绝大多数人类失去了对世界、世界中的人、人灵魂的圣洁和更美好愿景的关注时,堕落才会发生。只有冷漠和衰颓盛宴才能缔造堕落者的胜利。堕落在许多方面都是因为人类就该如此,因为它选择死去,而非共情、尝试或关怀。

 也别忘了描绘人类的自大、自私和愚蠢,它们宣判了堕落之死刑——当富人在街上无视穷人时(可能只有句“找份工作”的嘲讽,来表明他们意识到一个鲜活生命堕入了深渊);当弱小无辜的身心灵魂被邪恶强大劫掠时;当希望被淹没在下岗、性丑闻、政治斗争和利益角逐的海洋时;当人类对此都无动于衷时,就会明白所有这一切是如何出现的。九宗正进行着一场令人钦佩的战争,但他们是在为一个,绝大多数时候,都不怎么认可其支持的人类种族战斗。

 升华之战各方各组织都为某些东西而战,但既是战场又是目标的沉睡者,却顾名思义地毫无特别之处。没有任何精神力量或决心的他们成为了堕落主使。虽然灭世者从中获益并壮大,但是——也只能是——沉睡者以自身腐败灵魂,给予了他们力量,使这发生。



阴影弥漫,障壁稀薄

 随着末日逼近,物质和精神世界开始靠拢,险棘震动,行将就木。在升华之光辉救赎即将到来的结局中,这会是令人惊恐但终将有益的时刻。可在堕落紧攫的世界中,两界的如此融合应被真正恐惧。物质界的腐化堕落被如实反映在影界,人性最黑暗和生厌的事物将自由显现。

 各影界的“光明”面会被终极黑暗吞噬殆尽。表影界毫无疑问会首当其冲。在通过溶解的险棘渗入实界前,就会满是精神腐朽。整个灵界都可能步其后尘,而世上的觉醒者必须做出艰难抉择。

 影界作为人类希望和梦想的映射,至少值得去尝试解救,但这能做到吗?还有时间尝试吗?为它放弃现世好吗?反过来呢?这些都会是痛苦的抉择。且在万物堕落中,没有简单(甚至可能也没有正确)的答案。


化身风暴译注:噩梦之周的灵界核爆产生强大能量风暴,大量化身碎片融入险棘,法师穿越它会损坏甚至摧毁化身,越强越受影响

 堕落结局中的化身风暴扮演了与“常规”法师世界观的预想完全不同的角色。险棘陨落前夕,堕落者向沉睡和觉醒者释放了这一洪流,瞬间导致举世的究极毁灭。当两界本身血流成河时,破碎灵魂成为新种类的受诅化身。或更准确地说,灭世者和灵魂碎片绑定,成为受诅者的新贵——堕落安纳金姆。


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万念俱灰

 通常的团不应逼迫角色,或让其觉得自己的作为毫无意义。但不幸的是,这正是万物堕落的关键。无论做什么都不会有好结局。这是个悲伤的事实,但终究是事实。本模组允许角色做些选择,甚至还能有点潜在的积极影响,可再怎么努力,大局已定。他们只能让事情不那么糟糕。但,还是好好跑吧。

原文:
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Killing Creation

 This is the endgame, when the stakes are high and the prize is the fate of everything. Despite what anyone might believe, the Nephandi currently have the upper hand in the War for Reality. They need only prod here and guide there, and they will be in the position soon enough to sunder hope itself and scatter its ashes in a cold, meaningless tomb.

 If you choose to walk this way, be careful. You are about to betray everything you ever believed about the Ascension War and humanity's place in the world of the Awakened. Are you still reading? Good, because this is more than just the story of Ascension's most terrible and merciless enemies. It is the tale of humanity's weakness and the dismal failure of the Awakened to champion the cause of enlightenment and give Ascension to the Sleepers.

 But where to begin?


The Futility of Sacrifice

 One of the most critical (and counterintuitive) things to do in portraying the End is to demonstrate that, sometimes, fighting - and even dying for - the Good Fight makes no difference. Sometimes, a heroic end is futile and pointless - a light extinguished in the dark that inspires no one and leaves only despair in the wake of its passing. Whole cabals of mages will make heroic last stands and die without accomplishing anything. Friends, allies and the characters' loved ones will die or even fall to corruption (without the chance of redemption), and no one will be able to prevent it from happening.


Storytelling Hopelessness

 Of course, no one wants to play a game with no themes beyond relentless depression, failure and misery. There is great potential for amazing roleplaying within the context of a losing battle (just look at the premise of Werewolf: The Apocalypse), but players want to feel as though their characters' actions can and do make a difference.

 Unless you believe that your players would be perfectly comfortable with the notion of a character dying or otherwise falling for no good reason and without even the chance of getting something worthwhile out of that sacrifice (and there are players out there who would be all right with this), try to at least bestow some meaning and, perhaps, a kernel of hope and possibility in the demise or corruption of any character. Even if it is something that cannot be realistically capitalized upon during the character's lifetime, the sense that those who will carry on the fight in the future might be able to glean some strength from the characters' loss can help allay the sense of disappointment that comes with an unpleasant end for someone's character.


No Mercy, No Quarter: The Heroism of Desperation

 Now, it is important to remember that, despite the fact that so many sacrifices will go unnoticed in the eternal night of Descent, there should be meaningful victories, even in the midst of defeat and great loss. Those with the will, the conviction, the power and the savvy can strike telling blows against the Nephandi, even as the world literally goes to hell. Though these inspiring souls might not be able to turn back the tide, or even lead others to do so, they will leave legends that echo down through generations, proving that, as long as there is life, there is hope.

 Indeed, during "Hell on Earth," many Traditions will fall almost entirely, leaving only a scattered few stragglers to carry on the fight. Those Traditions most willing to die to a man (the Akashic Brotherhood, Celestial Chorus, Euthanatoi and Order of Hermes) are apt to get just such a fate. (Indeed, the Order falls in Chapter III, but other Traditions might also meet their doom during the periods of time provided in "Hell on Earth," during which you can unleash your own plots and subplots.) In such a case, perhaps any of your characters who are members of those Traditions become literally the only survivors of those Awakened mystic paradigms (save perhaps for a handful of barabbi).

 Other, more individualistic, Traditions are more likely to put up a disorganized resistance in places and to simply look for cover in others, though you shouldn't hesitate to skew what the players expect is dramatically appropriate. (A daring final stand by a truly unified Dreamspeaker Tradition, for example, can be a painfully poignant moment.) Still, just as heroism knows no gender, race, religion or creed, it knows no Tradition (or even Convention). Anyone with the will to fight can make a stand and, with sufficient skill and conviction, a difference. It is important to satisfy expectations of both pointless and heroic sacrifice in the Fall, so that mages can never be sure if their own sacrifices will mean anything, but they know that torment and even death can have meaning.


Men of Dust

 Above all else, it is important to portray Descent as much a product of humanity's failure (on the part of the Sleepers and the Awakened alike) as it is the result of Nephandi success, if not more so. Descent can result only when the overwhelming majority of the human race loses all concern for the world, the people in it, the sanctity of the human soul and the possibility of something better. Only a feast of apathy and spiritual atrophy can produce victory for the Fallen. In many ways, Descent will come about because humanity deserved nothing better, because it chose to die, rather than to feel, try or care.

 Don't forget to illustrate the human hubris, selfishness and folly that earn mankind the sentence of Descent. As the haves step over the have-nots in the street (with perhaps only a snide "Get a job" to indicate any awareness that a sentient being is slumped in the gutter); as the weak and innocent are preyed upon in mind, body and spirit by the malevolent strong; as hope is drowned amidst a sea of layoff, sex scandals and conflicts born of political ambition and the desire for profit; as people do nothing to reverse this tide it becomes clear how all of this came to pass. The Traditions are fighting an admirable battle, but they are doing so for a human race that has, for the most part, not done much to warrant such support.

 Every faction on every side of the Ascension War fights for something, but the Sleepers, who are both the battlefield and the object of contention, by definition, stand for nothing special. Without any kind of spiritual forcefulness or conviction to their existence, they become the primary architects of Descent. While the Nephandi profit by it and grow fat on its spoils, it is - and only could ever be - the un-Awakened who give the Fallen the strength and the power to make it happen, by dint of their own withering souls.



Where Shadows Run Thick and The Walls Grow Thin

 As the End approaches, the worlds of flesh and spirit begin to grow closer and the Gauntlet shudders, preparing to give up the ghost. In a scenario where the glorious redemption of Ascension is nigh, this will be a frightening though ultimately rewarding time. In a world caught in the throes of Descent, however, such a merger of planes is an occurrence to be dreaded. The corruption and degradation of the material world is reflected bodily in the Umbrae, and all that is darkest and most loathsome in humanity is free to incarnate.

 The "brighter" aspects of the various Umbrae will be devoured almost entirely by the final darkness. Doubtless, the Penumbra will be the first place to succumb completely, growing fetid with spiritual taint before bleeding into the physical world through the dissolving Gauntlet. Whole realms will probably follow suit, and the world's Awakened will need to begin making hard choices. As the reflection, among other things, of human hopes and dreams, the Umbrae are indisputably worth at least attempting to save, but can it be done? Is there enough time left to try? Is it better to seek to abandon Earth for the Umbra or vice-versa? These are painful choices and, in the Fall, there are no easy (and maybe even no correct) answers.


The Avatar Storm

 In the Fall, the Avatar Storm plays an entirely different role than the one envisioned in the more "standard" Mage cosmology. Just prior to the fall of the Gauntlet, Fallen magic unleashes this nightmare torrent upon Sleeper and Awakened alike, a singular moment of untold worldwide destruction. The rent and tattered souls become a new kind of widderslainte Avatar when the worlds of flesh and spirit bleed together. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the spirit-shards even bond with Nephandi to become the Fallen equivalent of Anakim, a new nobility among the damned.


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One Hell of a Downer

 Normally, you're not supposed to railroad characters along or make them feel that their actions have no value. Unfortunately, that's kind of the point of Descent. No matter what you do, things aren't going to turn out well. It's a sad fact, but a fact, nonetheless. "Hell on Earth" allows the characters to make some choices along the way and even to make a potential positive impact here or there, but they can't set things right, no matter how hard they try. They can only attempt to make things a little less shitty. That said, enjoy.

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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #3 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:23:23 »
第十领域与末日到来

 几乎每个宗派、公组和门派都有自己的一套“第十领域”理论,从“自我”到“统一场”到更出名的“一体”。它们全都经过了深思熟虑、不懈研究和积极探讨。

 当然,它们也全错了。

 第十领域根本不存在。没有通向完美的“终极真相”。自人类首次看到世界,知晓更多事物以来,就没有能解决困扰其的无数问题的简单答案。若有的话会很方便,但世界很少符合期望,也必然不会特意顺从人类。觉醒者得自己调和这些矛盾,但他们却不接受现实本身的规则,却转而编造故事,用数代乃至数世纪使自己相信它们属实。九宗中的许多都如此,以证明最终清算数年前,于穹界神秘出现的第十位座,为自己所有(译注:穹界每个位座对应一种魔法,一般应仅九个,所以第十个出现引起了很大关注)。这种错觉令他们成为了一位狡诈猎人的猎物——第十位座只属于一个人,而无人能挑战他的归属。


第十位座的大师

 他在数千年中拥有无数名字。在中世纪欧洲,他被称作漆黑者,是巫术和崇魔主使(一些人认为他就是魔鬼之主)。在他很久以前就生活了许久的阿拉伯世界,他的名字是阿尔-阿斯瓦德——也是他给那些追随自己的堕圣贤所起的称号(阿斯瓦迪姆)。对苏美尔人来说,他是乌特-纳匹希塔姆,被诸神选中以活过大洪水的原初之人,之后被赋予不朽,但被迫与所有低等存在分开。

 实际上,他,上位存在的钦定领袖,都是又都不是这些东西,他的真名也早已遗失在时间深处。他身为可能是有史以来最深谋远虑的人类,被选中并非因力量或知识——足够古老都能拥有这些东西——而是其睿智、耐心和战略意识。攫升他的众神仍记得自己被曾居住的无尽幻影所抛弃,被讨厌的全新事物——存在——所排挤。他们看在眼里,痛在心中,因为自己虽强大可怕,却永远无法成真。而这种特权却为那些存在于讨厌光芒中的事物所有。

 然而这些上古之物奸诈狡猾,知晓许多进入世界的密道——因驱逐而破碎并极大弱化时所留下的沟痕。它们将自身碎片,本质的沧海一粟,送入了世界,寻找那些能听见并被打动的人。最后,一个活物听到并回应了。

 随后开始的是场对话——也许是人类和精魂(如果那些并不存在,却饥渴而仇恨之物的化身真叫精魂)达成的首次交易。他帮助这些上古黑暗于现世成真,作为交换,它们会把他攫升至所有造物之上。男人牺牲名字,签订了契约。他将真名刻于石上,丢入火中,随着石头变黑,他的发、肤甚至双眼也都和沥青无异。驱逐上古黑暗的元神碎片目睹了一切,害怕了。它们在恐惧中从自己的尊位降下,途经数个位面,以同样方式和凡人融合。这个无名之人,以契约提升了感知,感到了这改变,并在内心深处笑了起来——这些所谓的“元神”早已播下了自我毁灭的种子。


万年战争

 就此便开始了漫长征战,为最终的篡位并毁灭现实妥善准备。觉醒和沉睡者史上的一些关键事件出自他手——一些,但绝非所有、大多甚至许多。他只在必要时亲自出马,其它时候就让人类易产生的邪恶来自己完成。当发现其他有价值者时,就会和其订立契约,将他们变为之上黑暗的化身容器。包括他共聚集了六人——最初的六位生而受诅者,以上位存在的腐化毒害世界的可怕灵魂。

 许多年后,希伯来人才将他们命名为克里珀斯,生命之树的外壳和死亡之树的“美德”具象。但他们现在已是外界存在的活的映射。无名有他的君主皇后,他的手眼,就像他自己也是那些上位存在的手眼一样。

 六位堕圣贤,最初的灭世者,以巧妙操控、温和怂恿、冷酷威胁和偶尔乏味暴力的精确应用,合理塑造了人类历史。然而,就如无名自己告诉其余人的一样,只引导而不强迫相当重要。人类能自己毁掉世界,需要的仅是最基本的指引。他更愿视自己为慈父,帮助他的孩子——全人类——完全开发其破坏潜能。

 就这样,几年变成了几十年、几世纪甚至几千年。无名和他的同伙目睹了苏美尔和埃及、希腊和罗马的崛起。所有他们发现的,值得接受其主“馈赠”者,都被带到隐秘之地——那些外界存在被野蛮驱逐时留下的密道,以血洗礼,撕碎灵魂,再由内到外重新拼凑。他们如此是为了令学徒们理解原初存在所经受的苦难,并洗净他们的凡性弱点和不足。强者再现,完全改变——残忍、讨厌、狡诈而强大;弱者则根本不会再现,而是徘徊于这些深沟密道的庞大迷宫——如蛛网般遍布世界的腐朽脉络。然后见到那些他们称为主人的存在。无人能在这些年长之物的饕餮中幸存。

 最重要的是,无名建立了堕落契约的准则。据此,人类能让外界之暗进入自身灵魂,成为其力量化身。实际上,他通过和主人的谨慎交易,使自己掌控着所有契约的非常架构。无论灭世者知道与否,但从那天起,他们全体都只服从一个人的意志。他虽为此牺牲甚多,但认为这代价是值得的,因为他的主人强大可怕,不会太在意凡人这等渺小的存在。有个看守这些动物的人再适合不过,而无名,它们的首位奴隶,很契合这个职位。最后他成为了它们的唯一仲裁者和负责分配其力量的人。这等权威后来于他很有助益。


世界改变

 随着时间和时代推移,无名逐渐发现自己被隔绝得越来越远,甚至比世界最远的彼岸都还遥远。他如此充斥着主人力量,以至他现在更像虚空,而非织锦的造物。但必要时他仍能施展意志,行走于现世里黑暗的偏僻道路,以将一些隐秘和渎神的知识传授给他邪恶秘艺的天才学徒。然而最后他不情愿地意识到,所有堕圣贤最终都会被世界完全隔绝。是时候把契约的知识传给他人,这样他们就能建立可怕纽带,将灵魂献给主人。

 无名为此选择了数名男女,将他们聚集于乌尔城废墟。这时自加利利一个木匠儿子出生以来,已有三百一十三年。他共挑选了二十人,所有都被依次叫来,站到他面前。他盯着他们的眼睛,直至天亮,还有六人活着,他们现在都对契约之道了如指掌。无名为向这些子民展示他力量的奥秘,花费了太多精力,疲惫不堪,于是他退回了虚空,休养生息。虽然他需要数十年方能再次醒来,蹂躏人类世界,但他对自己保留的一个秘密感到高兴——无论还会发生什么,他的胜利已经注定。

 愿效忠无名者众多且来自五湖四海。一些称黑暗为“撒旦”、“伊达鲍斯”、“阿里曼”或“路西法”。他们视这些外界之物为诸神(许多时候也看做一神),向其祈求力量。不少背离了为人类殉道的他的崛起,拥抱契约,作为否认十字的一种手段。其他来自远离罗马、波斯和其它文明基柱之地的,开始将黑暗理解为无数精神(魂)。一些把它当作鬼魂——从冥界回归,以仇恨和嫉妒折磨生者之物——来崇拜。最后,对虚空的纯粹崇拜也被玷污,被赋予那些存在于亚当知识外,且从未被他的话语意志塑造之物以名字所亵渎。

 因此,堕落者力量既在增长又在减弱。因为他们在命名主人时,给了他人知晓其的能力,并从其身上获取力量。它伤害巨大,堕落者无法很快恢复,但一切不过延缓了必然的到来。元神——从虚无中涌现,打破至古存在坚甲的太一碎片——由于长期将自己传给更多的法师、祭司和哲人,也开始减少。凡事皆有平衡与秩序。这就像无名所期望的那样。


一与众多

 无名冰冷心中唯一的真正恐惧,就是元神碎片之力的继承者会像他们的精魂先祖那样联合,驱逐黑暗。而这次将彻底把虚空永远隔绝于世界外。当无名醒来,发现内斗占据了他的孩子时,他又怒又怕。此外,他极其愤怒地看着他们给予和自用的名字。他们在主人休眠的漫长黑暗中跌跌撞撞,失去了方向。现在,许多人并不真了解自己在服侍何物。仅一小撮保留了契约本质,铭记其教诲。最糟的是,他们中许多还接受了一个名字来自称——尼凡迪(灭世者)。唯一不让无名绝望的,是他看到的罗马发生的变化。

 法师和科学哲人,不知道一物实为另一物且反之亦然,为信仰争吵不休。庆幸的是,他们已证明自己,并不比那些没被赠予行愿之力的牧群更睿智或透彻。实际上,他在自己远离人类帝国的圣所中,大笑地看着他们自相残杀,就像他于学徒所做的那样——以血洗礼。当他的孩子深陷愚昧泥沼时,他的敌人也执着于证明自己信仰优越的琐碎争斗。然后在这些愚蠢中,发生了件既神奇又可怕的事。

 一个被家人和学徒的惨死摧残到悲痛欲绝的法师,超越了普通行愿的界限,堕入了失控的疯狂,再也无法挽回。他存在于自己心中,一个其挚爱仍活着的世界,没什么能改变他。那些试图向他展示其它世界的,被其疯狂所消灭。无名端详着这种情况,因为此类事件可以成为对付他子民的危险武器。但几乎能肯定的是,这种疯子永远无法与其他行愿者联合,对抗他的企图。就这样,一变成了多,但没一个能彼此和谐相处。当罗马终于陷入幽暗纪元的野蛮时,无名不禁感到极其高兴。


背叛

 在二战期间,灭世者即将胜利。无名认为,自己已起码是个与服侍的众多非常存在等同的个体。随着时间推移,新成员开始沉迷于他认为其并不属于的事物。然而,这类不幸事件总于他有利。二战结束便是如此。

 由于灭世者的强大并愈演愈烈,似乎连九宗和科联的临时结盟都无法匹敌。但当胜利近在眼前时,灭世者却失去了他们的力量,其祭司和祈祷被置若罔闻。多年来他们提出了许多可能答案,从有理有据到荒诞不经皆有,但没一个正确。

 那一天,是无名和他的圣贤令他们陷入困境。

 为何?尽管无名致力于事业,但他却无法忍受被抢了风头,尤其是如十字架“恶魔”和被与野兽为伍的荒野变形者所恐惧的邪恶精魂这样的插足者。此外,他还看到了它们设计上的诸多缺陷。这是个头脑发热且毫无远见的计划,但这总是堕落者堕落的原因。他运用自己对契约的精通,阻碍了年轻灭世者的力量来源,切断了他们和出卖灵魂的主人的精魂纽带。当宗派和科联法师大开通往之上世界的大门时,他在另一边等候,为自己收割最肥美和强大的灵魂;对其余人,他为力量杀害了他们,享用甜美蜂蜜一样,收割他们身体和精神的魔素,储存起来以后利用。通过只有那些居住在外界之暗的存在才知晓的密道,经过漫长艰难的旅行回到了世界的他,如今已被许多强大化身喂饱。他吞噬了它们,与自身调和,增强了力量,直至成为超越人类、灭世者甚至圣贤的存在。

 无名对发生的一切感到满意后,便再次行走于现世。这次他隐藏了自己的赠礼,只给予少数人。终结越来越近,他不想把契约提供给傻瓜或疯子。这些凭自己融入天外之力的人已足够多——一个堕落年代的不幸副产品。



最后几步

 数千年的斗争后,无名终于赢了。但还没到庆祝的时候。只有傻子才会端详烤熟的鸭子,看着它飞走后再开动。


攻占慕斯译注:慕斯在设定中是水星(墨丘利)的月亮,一块小型灰色陨石,赫尔墨斯于其建立了教授入门法师的墨丘利魔法学院

 虽然赫尔墨斯在慕斯的魔法学院对绝大多数堕落者来说似乎是个无足轻重的目标,但他们中足够多的,都能通过密使被恐吓屈服,逼着参战。当科联偶然袭击秘所时,无名派遣仆从击退了双方,赶走了他们。墨丘利魔法学院在他的终局里相当重要,但他还不能让任何人——甚至堕圣贤——知道如何或为何。变数太多了,他只能相信自己。甚至他众多的黑暗主人,也处在断断续续如死般的沉睡中,并未被告知。


大骗局

 棋盘已经摆好,虽然上面的绝大多数棋子都自认是棋手。现在要做的就是打最后一局,其余都会自行归位。无名使用他在一九四五年从战败的灭世者君主上获得的强大力量,将自己的王座传到了九宗心脏,穹界本体,也在它的土地上撕开了个大口子。当然,愚蠢的孩子们自个争论不休,每个都想得到王座,都试图以牺牲同伴为代价增强力量。可悲的是,九宗证明无名是对的,他们陷入了琐碎内斗。

 但最重要的是,他们从未质疑位座从何而来。宗派法师接纳了无名宝座。这将是最关键的,因为这么做实际上邀请了他进入穹界,进入肯考迪娅(译注:穹界最大的城市)的心脏。这是一步险棋,因为他的标记被刻在了椅上,九宗可能以此认出他。但无名对自身诡计和力量充满信心,也知道折中时候已经过去。这是危险赌博,但他相当确定,即使最强大的宗派法师,也会被证明无法以他们骄傲自大的世界观破译符号。

 九宗,唯一可能重创无名的敌人,迷失在了自己的争权夺利中。甚至那些鼓吹第十位座就是一体者,也无法长久咽下自己的骄傲,以闭嘴并让他人信仰获胜,来实现这一理想。他的预期一分不差。傲慢执拗的九宗永远看不见死期将至。

 至于科联、劫夺者和门派,无名没有时间或精力顾及。此类敌人在他看来,弱小、愚蠢又笨拙。他们会在合适时候陨落,但无名不会为其额外付出,他对这些行愿者的不敬是如此之大。


清算

 黯淡宿命的沉重在千禧年末落下。大师陨落,界域消亡,自相残杀。而这,在堕圣贤看来,太完美了。这等灾难由其他法师的傲慢引发。堕落者无需作为来让其发生。但他们在穹界之上看到了所有征兆,高兴地笑着,目睹重锤落下。仅仅两年,一切潜在抵抗都被粉碎,只剩下可怜几个,无法长久对抗无名和他同胞的横扫之力。

 预兆已灵验,是时候结束游戏了。


剧透 -   :
游侠议会

 所以,是谁发送了那些讯息,号召九宗振作起来,背水一战?当然是无名——从自己位于空间碎域的墨丘利魔法学院(译注:碎域是对应魔法领域之一的灵界界域,太阳系每个行星各一,如地球为原质碎域,水星墨丘利为空间碎域)。无名和其他堕圣贤,以能无踪无迹传送任何东西到任何地方的能力,在近几个世纪里一直试图让九宗摆脱酣睡,这会让他们更公开行动并暴露自己,而觉醒者的这种活动只会导致更多觉醒,以众多成熟而强大的灵魂喂饱世界,让天外之物大快朵颐。

 但最重要的,也许是他相当了解这些许久以前的法师与哲人的传承者——九宗和科联——仍会在这严峻的最后关头把目光投向对方,使他和他的选民不被纠缠,无阻行动。堕落者能免受两个至敌的威胁,被释放出来围攻世界本身。

 注意本模组默认你已用过《宣言:来自游侠议会的广播》中的事件,或最起码,游侠议会存在,角色们也知道。若没有,你需对本模组做些调整,但这应不会有太大问题。

原文:
剧透 -   :
引用
The Tenth Sphere and The March to Armageddon

 Virtually every Mystic Tradition, Technocratic Convention and Disparate Craft has its own pet theory on what, exactly, constitutes the "Tenth Sphere." These ideas have ranged from Self to the Unified Field Theory to the much-touted Unity. All of these theories were well-thought-out, diligently researched and actively propounded.

 Of course, all of them were also wrong.

 The Tenth Sphere does not exist. There is no "final truth" that leads to perfection, no easy answer to the innumerable problems that have plagued humanity since it first looked to the world and knew that something more could be. It would be convenient if there were, but Creation rarely conforms to expectations and certainly doesn't go out of its way to make things make sense for the human race. It was up to the Awakened to reconcile these paradoxes for themselves but, instead of accepting that Reality makes its own rules, they made up stories and convinced themselves over the course of generations and centuries that those stories were true. In the case of the Traditions, many did so ln order to lay claim to the Tenth Seat at Horizon, the one that mysteriously appeared years ago, before the devastation of the Reckoning. This delusion made them easy prey for a cunning hunter, for the Tenth Seat belonged to one and one alone, and none could challenge his dominion over it.



Master of The Tenth Seat

 Over the course of millennia, he has worn many names. In medieval Europe, they called him the Black Man, patron of witchcraft and devil-worship. (Some believed that he was the Devil.) In the Arabic world, where he abided for many years in days long ago, he went by the name of al-Aswad, the name he gave to those who followed after him as Fallen Oracles. To the Sumerians, he was Ut-Napishtam, the primordial man who was chosen by the gods to survive the Great Flood and was thereafter granted immortality but made to abide apart from all lesser creatures. ln truth, he was all these things and none, the anointed champion of the darkness from beyond Creation, and his True Name is lost to the deep memory of time. Perhaps the most far-thinking human being ever to exist, he was chosen not for his power or his knowledge - for with life enough a man might develop these qualities - but instead for his wisdom, patience and sense of strategy. The gods who raised him up remembered being outcast from the endless shadow in which they abided, shoved away by the hateful presence of something new - existence. They looked on it and were pained by jealousy, for they, though powerful and terrible, could never truly be. That privilege was reserved for all that existed within the hateful light.

 Still, these elder things were cunning and resourceful, and they knew many secret paths into Creation, the furrows they had left when they were fragmented and greatly lessened in power through their forceful expulsion. Shards of themselves, the barest fractions of their essence, they poured into the world, seeking those who could hear them and be moved by them. At last, one living thing heard and answered.

 What began was a dialogue, perhaps the first bargain forged between man and spirit (if spirits they could be rightly called, who were the avatars of all that which did not exist and yet hungered and hated). In exchange for his aid in helping the elder darkness to achieve being within Creation, they would exalt him above all other creatures. The man sealed the covenant by sacrificing his Name. Carving it upon a stone, he cast his Name into a fire and, as the stone blackened, so too did his skin, his hair and even his eyes, becoming like unto pitch. The shattered fragments of the One who had driven out the elder darkness saw this and were terrified. Acting in fear, these shards descended through the planes, from their high places of power, to unite in just the same fashion with other mortal men. The one who was Nameless, grown much in awareness through his pact, felt this change and, inwardly, he laughed. The so-called "Pure Ones" had sown the seeds of their own destruction.


The Hundred Centuries Campaign Begins

 What began thereafter was the lengthy crusade to set the pieces in place for the final, devastating coup upon reality itself. Some key events in the history of the Awakened and the Sleeping alike were of his artifice; some, but by no means all, most or even many. Instead, he acted as he had to, coming out of seclusion only when necessary and otherwise allowing the evils to which humanity was prone to do his work for him. When he found others who were worthy, he offered them his covenant, transforming them into the incarnate vessels of the Darkness Beyond. Including himself, six in all rallied to his cause, the first six widderslainte, poisoned souls who had infected Creation with its unmaking.

 It would be many years yet before the Hebrews named them the Qlippoths, the shells of the Sephiroth and the embodiments of the "virtues" of the Tree of Death, but they were now the living reflections of all that which dwelled Outside. The Unnamed had his council of lords and ladies, his hands and eyes, just as he was the hands and eyes of those Beyond.

 With clever manipulations, gentle prodding, brutal threats and occasionally a precise application of mind-numbing violence, the six Fallen Oracles, the first Nephandi, worked to sculpt the progression of human history. Still, as the Unnamed himself told the rest, it was important only to guide, rather than force. Men were capable of ruining Creation on their own and needed only the barest direction in doing so. The Unnamed preferred to think of himself as a father, helping his children, all of humanity, to achieve its full, destructive potential.

 So it went, as years became decades, centuries and even millennia. The Unnamed and his fellows watched the rise of Sumer and Egypt, Greece and Rome. All those they found worthy of the "gifts" of their lords, they took to hidden places, the tunnels carved by the ferocious expulsion of those Outside, and anointed them in blood, rending their souls and piecing them back together inside-out. This they did in order to teach their disciples the suffering that the primordial ones had endured, and to flense away their human weakness and failing. Those who were strong emerged changed - cruel, hateful, cunning and powerful. Those who were weak did not emerge at all, having wandered out into the vast labyrinths of those furrows, rotting arteries spiderwebbing through Creation, and met those they would call master. None survived the gnawing hunger of those elder beings.

 Most importantly, the Unnamed established the standards of the Fallen covenant, whereby human beings might accept the Outer Darkness into their souls and thereby become avatars of its power. In fact, through careful bargains with his masters, the Unnamed made it so that he, of all human creatures, would wield control over the very fabric of the Pact. Whether they knew it or not, from that day onward, all Nephandi everywhere would be subject to the will of one alone. Though he sacrificed much in order to make it so, he felt the trials he endured were well worth it, for his lords were vast and terrible beings, not much given to offering their attentions to such small creatures as mortal men. It suited them well to have a caretaker for their menagerie, and the Unnamed, first among their slaves, was perfect for this purpose. In the end, he became the sole arbiter of their good graces and the hand responsible for dispensing their power. Such authority would later serve the Unnamed well.


The World Changes

 As time and times changed, the Unnamed gradually found himself barred farther and farther away from even the most distant shores of Creation. So saturated with his masters' power was he that he was now more a creature of the Void than the Tapestry. Still, he could, when needed, exert his will and walk the dark and forlorn paths of the Earth in order to pass along some shred of hidden and blasphemous knowledge to a promising apprentice of his foul arts. At last, reluctantly, however, he realized that the Fallen Oracles would eventually be all but barred entirely from the world. It was time to pass along the knowledge of the Pact to others, that they might be able to forge the unspeakable bond and deliver unto the Masters their tithe of souls.

 The Unnamed chose several men and women for this purpose and gathered them up in the ruins of Ur. It had been 313 years since the birth of a carpenter's son in Galilee. Twenty in all had he chosen, and all were called to stand before the Unnamed in turn. He stared into the eyes of the others and, by day break, six yet lived, all of them now knowledgeable in the ways of the Pact. Tired beyond reckoning through the great expenditure of energy he had made in order to show these children the secrets of his power, the Unnamed retreated into the Void, there to recuperate and rest. While it would be many decades before he would awaken again and trouble the world of men with his tread, he was joyous in the knowledge of the one secret he kept for himself. No matter what else might happen, his victory was now assured.

 Those who would bend knee to the service of the Unnamed were many and they hailed from many shores. Some called the darkness "Shaitan," "Ildabaoth," "Ahriman" or "Lucifer." They saw those Outside as gods (or, in many cases, as one god) and prayed to them for power. Many, turning away from the rise of the power of Him who was martyred for mankind, embraced the Pact as a means of denying the Cross. Others, who hailed from quarters far removed from Rome, Persia and the other bastions of civilization, came to understand the darkness as a myriad of spirits. Some worshipped it as ghosts, returned from the Underworld to plague the living with their hatred and their jealousy. In the end, the pure adulation of the Void was tarnished, blasphemed by giving Names to that which existed outside of Adam's knowledge and had never been shaped by the Will of his Word.

 So it was that the power of the Fallen diminished even as it grew, for, in Naming their masters, the Fallen gave others the ability to know them and to gain power over them. It was a grievous hurt and one from which the Fallen would not soon recover, but all it really did was prolong the inevitable. The Pure Ones - those who were the scattered remains of the One who had sprung up out of the Nothingness and broken Itself upon the hard armor of those who came Before - began to diminish through the long process of passing themselves along to greater numbers of magi, priests and philosophers. In all things, there was equilibrium and order. This was just as the Unnamed would have it.


The One and The Many

 The only true fear that the Unnamed harbored within his cold heart was that the scattered heirs to the power of the Pure Ones might unite as one and, as their spiritual ancestor had before them, drive the Darkness out, this time with such thoroughness as to bar the Void forever from Creation. As the Unnamed awoke to discover the fractiousness that had overpowered his children, he was enraged and horrified. Further, he looked with great wrath upon the Names they had given and those they had taken upon themselves. Stumbling in the long darkness of their masters' sleep, they had lost their way. Many now had no true sense of what it was they served. Only a few kept alive the essence of the Pact and remembered its lessons. Worst of all, many of them accepted a single Name as their own: Nephandi. The only thing that kept the Unnamed from despair was the change he saw taking place in Rome.

 Magi and philosopher-scientists, unaware that the one thing was the other, and vice-versa, squabbled over their beliefs. They had proven themselves, thankfully, no more wise or understanding than the chattels that were not gifted with the power of Will. Indeed, within his sanctum far beyond the kingdoms of men, he laughed aloud to see them strike at one another and, as he had done unto his initiates, anoint themselves in blood. While his own children had become mired in ignorance, his enemies had become engrossed in petty struggles to prove the superiority of their beliefs. And then, in the midst of this folly, something both miraculous and terrible happened. One magus, pushed beyond grief by the slaughter of his family and apprentices, strode beyond the boundaries of simple Will and into an unfettered madness from which there was no return. He existed, within his own mind, in a world in which his loved ones yet lived, and nothing could make it otherwise for him. Those who tried to show him otherwise were annihilated by his insanity. The Unnamed pondered this occurrence, for such things could be dangerous weapons against his chosen, but it was all but assured that such madmen would never be able to unite with the other willworkers against his cause. So it was, the One had become Many, none of which could find concord with one another. As Rome fell, truly and finally, into the barbarism of the Dark Ages, the Unnamed could not help but feel a great joy.


A Betrayal

 By the point at which the Nephandi stood on the brink of victory during the Second World War, the Unnamed considered himself an entity at least on par with many of the very beings he served. Over time, newcomers had stuck their noses where, in his estimation, they did not belong. Such unfortunate happenings had always been turned to his advantage, however. The conclusion of World War ll was just such an event.

 With the Nephandi strong and growing stronger, it seemed that even the temporary alliance of the Traditions and Technocracy combined was insufficient to the task. Still, at the seeming moment of their victory, the Nephandi lost their powers, their prayers and supplications falling upon deaf ears. Many potential answers have been put forward in the years sense, ranging from the sage to the ludicrous, but none was the answer. It was the Unnamed and his Aswadim who laid low the Nephandi that day.

 Why? Because, despite his devotion to the cause, the Unnamed could not bear to be upstaged, especially not by interlopers like the "demons" of the Cross and the evil spirits feared by wild shapechangers who rutted with beasts. Further, he saw the many flaws in their designs. It was a plan of great zeal and little forethought, but such had always been the downfall of the Fallen. Therefore, using his mastery of the Pact, the Unnamed struck at the source of the power of the younger Nephandi, severing the bonds of spirit that tied them to the masters to whom they had sold their souls. When the Traditionalists and Technocrats opened wide that door to the Beyond, he waited on the other side of it, harvesting the ripest and most powerful souls for his own. Others, he slew for their power, harvesting the Quintessence in their bodies and spirits like a sweet honey and storing it for later use. Then, by means of the secret paths known only to those who dwelled in the Outer Dark, he made the long and arduous journey back into Creation, now fattened with many strong Avatars. These he devoured and reconciled within himself, growing in might until he became something more than human, Nephandus or even Oracle.

 Satisfied with all that had transpired, the Unnamed began to walk the Earth again, this time concealing his gifts and offering them to but few. The end was growing close, and he had no wish to offer his Pact to simpletons or madmen. Enough of those were coming into the Power on their own - the unfortunate byproduct of a wasted age.



The Last Few Steps

 Finally, after millennia of struggle, the Unnamed was in the position to win his war. It was, however, no time for celebration. Only a fool counts his enemies slain before he himself has crouched over their cooling corpses and seen their souls escape with their final breaths.


The Taking of Mus

 While the Hermetic College Covenant at Mus seemed like a trivial goal to most of the Fallen, enough of them could be cowed into submission through various emissaries to force them into battle. While the Technocracy fortuitously assaulted the chantry, the Unnamed dispatched his servants to defeat both sides and drive them out. The Fors Collegis Mercuris was important in his endgame, but he could not yet allow any to know how or why, not even his Aswadim. Too much hung in the balance to trust anyone but himself. Even the dark and brooding masters of the Unnamed went uninformed in their fitful deathlike slumber.


The Great Deception

 The board was set, though most of the pieces upon it fancied themselves players. One final play needed to be made. The rest would fall into place on their own. Using the vast power he had harvested from the defeat of the sleeping Nephandi Lords in 1945, the Unnamed transported his own throne into the heart of the Traditions, Horizon itself, as well as opening a vast rift in its landmass. Surely, the foolish children would argue among themselves, each seeking to claim the chair, each trying to expand their power at the expense of their fellows. Sadly, the Traditions proved the Unnamed right and fell to petty bickering.

 Most importantly, though, was the fact that they did not question whence the seat came. The Traditionalists accepted the Throne of the Unnamed into their midst. This would prove most significant, since, in doing so, they essentially invited him into Horizon, indeed, into the heart of Concordia itself. It was a dangerous gambit, for the seal of the Unnamed was graven upon the chair and, by it, the Traditions might know him, but he was confident in his ruse and his power, and he knew that the time for half-measures had passed. It was a perilous gambit, but the Unnamed was quite certain that even the mightiest of Traditions mages would prove unable to decipher the sigil according to anything other than their own pride and self-congratulatory worldviews.

 The Traditions, the only enemies who could conceivably mount a credible offense against the Unnamed, were lost in their own games of state. Even those who touted the Tenth Seat as Unity could not swallow their pride long enough to bring that ideal about by shutting their mouths and letting someone else's beliefs win the day. It was no less than he had expected. Arrogant and contrary to the end, the Traditions would never see the death blow coming.

 As for the Technocracy, the Marauders and the Disparates, the Unnamed spared no time or effort. Such foes were, to his thinking, weak, foolish and clumsy. They would fall when the time came, but no special effort would be devoted to them, so profound was the Unnamed's disrespect for these willworkers.


The Reckoning

 The heavy weight of bleak destiny fell at the waning of the millennium. Masters fell, realms withered and brother turned upon brother. It was, to the thinking of the Aswadim, perfect. Such cataclysms were set in motion by the hubris of other mages. The Fallen needed do nothing to make it happen, though they saw all the signs of it upon the Horizon and laughed with glee to see the hammer finally fall. In a matter of two years, all potential resistance had been crushed, reduced to a pathetic few, incapable of long holding out against the unleashed power of the Unnamed and his Fallen.

 The stars were right. It was time to finish the game.


剧透 -   :
The Rogue Council

 So, who's been sending those messages, telling the Traditions to get in gear and fight the good fight? The Unnamed, of course, from his Fors Collegis Mercuris, located within the Shard Realm of Correspondence. With the ability to send anything, anywhere, untraceably, the Unnamed and the rest of the Aswadim have been trying to get the Traditions to shake off the lethargy of recent centuries. This will cause them to move more openly and expose themselves. Further, such activity among the Awakened can only lead to more Awakenings, fattening Creation with a bevy of ripe and potent souls on which Those Beyond might feast.

 Perhaps most importantly, though, the Unnamed understands well that the heirs of the magi and philosophers of long-ago days, the Traditions and the Technocracy, will set their sights upon one another in these grim final hours, allowing him and his chosen to operate unimpeded by unfortunate entanglements. Freed from the threat of conflict with their two greatest enemies, the Fallen are liberated to lay siege to Creation itself.

 Important to note is the fact that this scenario assumes that you have been using the events portrayed in Manifesto: Transmissions from the Rogue Council, or, at the very least, that the Rogue Council phenomenon exists and that your characters are aware of it. If not, you'll need to make a couple of adjustments to "Hell on Earth, " but doing so shouldn't be too problematic.
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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #4 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:24:30 »
第一章


前奏

 述说终章前,舞台须被切实完好地搭建。在通向举世湮灭的游戏中,记得把事件描绘得更黑暗、徒劳和无望。让法师感觉万物正因沉睡和觉醒者的失败而濒临破灭。毕竟,“炼狱”在起初不应是个完全的“惊喜”,而应是现实域麻烦的严肃但合理的终结。


剧透 -   :
支线

 虽然本模组展示了一系列线性事件,但只有你知道自己团的个性需求。考虑此点,模组有意留出大量“空档”,即从数周到月的时间跨度。你可插入和自己编年史相关的事件。毕竟你读此模组可能也不是为了被他人按部就班地在痛苦和恐怖中终结黑暗世界。总之我们的一章甚至整本书都没空印这种东西。



兑现

 无名最终计划的第一阶段是占领穹界,最后利用和其相连的强大魔法节点,将他主人的腐化传播到现世最远处。幸运的是魔法还能阻挡他——穹界自吉尔莫君主以强大屏障禁止进出后就被封印了(译注:吉尔莫君主是赫尔墨斯秘会主要人物,详情请见其余拓展)。然而,堕圣贤可以说是世界内或外最强大的个体法师。无名以数小时的仪式摧毁了关闭穹界的封印,释放了场可怕大火,杀死了所有仍居住其中的精魂和虚体法师。

 无名成功进入穹界废墟。他便开始搜刮界内的魔素储备,并利用对魔域的精通,沿着与界域相连的灵脉,将联系送回至穹界在现世的锚式节点——世上最强大的九个。他将以这些渠道倾斜腐化,亵渎现世。在宗派议事厅,他将左手放于石之眼(记录了穹界核心内曾说过的一切话)上,随后它被烧成黑色,布满裂缝。无名闭上双眼,摇晃片刻,便吸收了议事厅迄今为止的所有知识,他至敌的最深秘密。


广播结束

 游侠议会的最后一次广播从穹界发出。如今无名认为已无需隐藏,因为自己安全地呆在有史以来最强大的人造界域内。他将讯息发给风之祭司(请看第186-187页“其他堕圣贤”),并允许如下信息送至宗派、门派、野甚至科联法师,这似乎随机。强烈建议角色的结社(或至少其重要成员)收到了它。

 吾前无古人,后无来者。吾乃汝之父;汝之毁灭者;汝之宿命缔造者。吾携荣耀前来,将现世宝座踩碎于脚下。汝辈已以数名知晓吾,然汝之稚嫩,尚不知吾力量之分毫。臣服吾,知晓吾爱之恩惠;反抗吾,横遭吾怒之苦痛。抉择在汝,但请迅速。末日已至。吾在汝辈力量之核心等待。

 无名自然料到,当世上觉醒者破译出“力量核心”指穹界时,会以巨大数和力量前来。这在计划中,因为能让他的其他爪牙在他们所需的隐秘中工作,而他和其余堕圣贤则阻挡对穹界的新一轮围攻。


进攻

 自然,几乎所有在现世的宗派法师、正常数量的科联法师和其他零散法师都会打算进攻。随着时间推移,和灭世者战斗已成为几乎所有人都能同意的仅有的几件事之一。即使那些意识到正面对抗可能算坏主意的,也不知道还能做什么。九宗在德国斯图加特的赫尔墨斯判官派古老秘所匆忙开会。当然,你的角色无论如何都被邀请了。

 极少数留在现世的大师和专家有很多都来了,构成中心,数量更多的年轻稚嫩法师和零散的门派或野法师处在边缘。争吵是这天的主旋律,在场的强者没谁能归纳出他们该做什么。随时间推移,似乎都达成了进攻共识,但仍在最佳方案上有分歧。最终,三股独立力量决定以数种方法进入界域,意在从堕落者手中夺回它。值得注意的是,绝大多数坚持反对这个明显鲁莽的计划的,是宗派里最有和最没经验的法师。

 角色在这典型的糟糕计划间,会被一个身披斗篷、戴着兜帽的人物带到一边。这个看似中年的人将一把精美钥匙交到角色之一手中,告诉她“在多赛梯堡(译注:赫尔墨斯秘会乃至九宗最重要的法塔之一,已在之前剧情中被摧毁)的废墟中寻找魔法护盾”。他还告诉角色们必须和倒霉的进攻者一起去穹界,在那儿用于拉·萨尔(一位对九宗形成贡献颇多的赫尔墨斯大师)之墓找到的后门,进入位于被毁秘所的力场碎域。这时他走开了,但几乎是消失了——几秒内角色甚至记不起他从哪儿进来的,留下的只有其指示和钥匙。

 穹界的战斗激烈又绝望。为了让角色进入墓穴,尽量只让他们看到必须看到的东西。让其对正发生的事疑惑,对那些在场蹂躏宗派(和其他)法师的人只有最模糊的印象。角色似乎被引到坟墓,本能知道其位置(给钥匙的人的赠礼)。让他们在力场碎域忙会儿,但别太忙——还有许多艰苦工作。

 角色在废墟间搜寻,其中之一最终找到了本被烧焦的书,名为《博尼撒古斯的魔法护盾》。快速浏览得知它是关于追求统一赫尔墨斯诸学派和其在九宗形成中的映射。在更好的日子里也许是振奋人心的,但现在似乎没用。废墟间再无“魔法护盾”的其它踪迹,角色最后可能会感到挫败。

 正当结社要向绝望屈服时,钥匙开始变热,然后自行地无害穿过任何存放它的容器,飘到空中。它“展开”,沿自身空间轴扭曲,变成金色大门,门外能看到一个破损但仍美丽的界域。结社被巴拉多公开邀请,这是阿凯瑞忒斯•沙罗尼卡斯和玛丽安娜的馈赠(译注:巴拉多也是九宗重要法塔之一;阿凯瑞忒斯是时间领域圣贤兼欢喜宗先知,玛丽安娜是欢喜宗首席)。


剧透 -   :
控制损失

 那么,当一切都不按计划进行时会发生什么?毕竟玩家总有办法为难你,因为不管你多少次讲清正确路线(或别的),他们就是想走偏。本模组在这一点上也差不多。

 以下问答当然不能涵盖所有可能走偏的情况,但它们考虑到了些更可能的。废话少说:

 ● 角色没去斯图加特。很可能。尤其当结社不得不处理一堆宗派政治的破事,且预感(也没错)任何将开的“会议”都会搞成“我最屌,听我的”时。另外若结社有很多门派或野法师(更不说科联,他们首先就不会被邀请),那么角色更不可能去。这种情况下,你得以不同方式将正确信息传给他们。重要部分是阿凯瑞忒斯接触角色(且作为大法师,无论是懒散的宗派还是固执的科联法师,他都有能力这么做并让见面和平进行),告诉他们进攻穹界注定失败,并建议采取新方案。

 ● 角色决定呆在穹界。很棘手。请自由发挥。即使要失去一两个角色,也得突出对抗堕圣贤的毫无用处。拥有海量魔素储备和超凡力量的后者不可战胜。如果角色最终仍坚持留下,你总有其它办法,能在把他们送出界域后(如有必要可强制执行),给予其魔法护盾(例如被一位没参与必败进攻的赫尔墨斯大师所支持),并回到现世。

原文:
剧透 -   :
引用
Chapter I


The Lead-Up

 Before the final chapter is told, the stage must be well and truly set. In the sessions leading up to Descent, remember to portray events as turning darker, more futile and hopeless. Let the mages feel that things are coming apart at the seams due to the failings of Sleeper and Awakened alike. After all, "Hell on Earth" should not come as a total surprise when it begins, so much as it should seem a grim but logical conclusion to Reality's troubles.


剧透 -   :
Side Trips

 While "Hell on Earth" presents a linear series of events, nobody but you knows what the individual needs of your troupe are. That in mind, there's a lot of intentional "dead air" in this scenario, spans of time ranging from weeks to months in which you can insert events pertinent to your chronicle. After all, you're probably not reading this so you can be told exactly what to do, step by step, to end the World of Darkness in pain and horror. We just don't have the room in one chapter (or even one book) to print that sort of thing, anyway.



Claiming the Prize

 The first phase of the Unnamed's final plan involves the capture of Horizon, there to eventually exploit the powerful Nodes connected to the realm in order to spread the taint of his masters to the farthest reaches of the Earth. Fortunately, little but magic stands in his way. Horizon has been sealed since Lord Gilmore barred all from entry (or exit) by means of powerful wards. The Aswadim, however, are arguably the most powerful individual mages within or without Creation. With a few hours worth of rituals, the Unnamed shatters the seals holding Horizon shut and unleashes a terrible conflagration, killing all spirits and disembodiied mages who yet reside therein.

 Triumphantly, the Unnamed enters into the blasted ruins of Horizon. There, he begins to strip the realm of its Quintessence stockpiles and uses his mastery of the Qlippothic Spheres to send connections back along the ley lines that connect the realm to its anchoring Nodes on Earth, nine of the world's most powerful. Through these channels, he will pour out his corruption and there by defile the Earth. ln the Council Chamber, he sets his left hand upon the Saxum Oculorum (the "Stone of Eyes" which records all that has ever been said within the heart of Horizon) and it burns black, run through with cracks. Closing his eyes and swaying for just a moment, the Unnamed has just absorbed the knowledge of all that has ever transpired within the Council Chamber, the deepest secrets of his greatest enemies.


Signing Off

 The last transmission from the "Rogue Council" is sent from Horizon. Now, the Unnamed feels no need for secrecy, safe within the walls of the most powerful man-made realm ever to exist. Sending his message to the Hierophant of Winds (see "The Other Aswadim," pp.186-187), the Unnamed allows the following message to reach Traditionalists, Disparates, Orphans and even Technocrats, seemingly at random. It is strongly suggested that the characters' cabal (or at least a significant portion of it) be privy to the message as it is transmitted.

 l am the one who came before and shall follow after. I am your father and your destroyer, architect of your destiny. l am him who is come in glory to crush the thrones of the Earth beneath my tread. You have known me by many names, O my children, but you know not the slightest part of my power. Submit to me and know the bounty of my love. Defy me and suffer the agonies of my boundless wrath. It is for you to decide, but choose quickly. The Final Hour is nigh. l wait for you at the heart of your strength.

 Naturally, the Unnamed anticipates that the world's Awakened will come after him in numbers and with great force when "the heart of your strength" is deciphered as meaning Horizon. This is as planned, for it allows his other agents to work in what secrecy they require, while he and the remainder of the Aswadim fend off a new siege upon Horizon.


The Attack

 Naturally, virtually every Tradition mage on Earth, as well as normal number of Technocrats and scattered others, will want to launch an assault against the Aswadim. Battling the Nephandi has, over time, been one of the only things that virtually everyone else can agree upon. Even those who realize that a frontal assault is likely a bad idea don't know what else to do. Hastily, the Traditions convene at the Hermetic House Quaesitor's ancestral chantry in Stuttgart, Germany. Of course, your characters are among those who receive an invitation, by whatever means.

 The council gathered there consists of many of the few remaining earthbound Masters and Adepts, with a larger number of young, less experienced mages on the fringes, as well as the occasional Orphan or Craft mage. Bickering is the order of the day, with none of the power-players in attendance able to sort out for themselves what should be done. As the day wears on, the consensus seems to support an attack upon Horizon, though mages are divided over how best to do so. Finally, three separate forces resolve to enter the realm by various means and there attempt to wrest control of it from the Fallen. Notably, most of those who hold out against this obviously foolhardy plan are the Traditions' most and least experienced willworkers.

 In the midst of this model of poor planning, the characters are taken aside by a hooded and cloaked figure. The individual, a man of seemingly middling years, places an elaborate key into the hands of one character and tells her to "seek the Parma Magica in the ruins of Doissetep." He tells the characters that they must go to Horizon with the ill-fated attackers, there to use the back door found in the Tomb of La Salle (the Hermetic Master who is largely credited with the formation of the Traditions) to enter the Shard Realm of Forces at the site of the annihilated chantry. At that, he walks away and all but disappears. Within seconds, the character can't even remember which direction he went in. All that is left are his instructions and his key.

 The battle at Horizon is fierce and desperate. Let the characters see only as much as they have to in order to get to the tomb. Leave them confused as to what was taking place and with nothing more than the most vague descriptions of those who lay waste to the Traditionalists (and others) present. They seem to be drawn to the tomb and instinctively know where it is (a gift from he who gave them the key). Make the characters sweat a bit in the Shard Realm of Forces, but don't punish them too harshly; they have a lot of hard work coming up.

 Searching through the ruins, one of the characters eventually finds a charred book titled Bonisagus' Parma Magica. A quick glance reveals it to be a text about the quest to unify the Houses of Hermes and that journey's reflection in the formation of the Nine Mystic Traditions; uplifting, perhaps, in better days, but now seemingly useless. No other trace of a "Parma Magica" is to be found among the rubble, and the characters might eventually grow frustrated. Just as the cabal is about to give in to despair, the key given over to one of the mages begins to grow warm and, of its own accord, floats into midair, passing harmlessly through any container it is stored in. The key "unfolds," warping along its spatial axes to become a golden gateway, beyond which a battered but still beautiful realm can be seen. The cabal has an open invite to Balador, courtesy of Akrites Salonikas and Marianna.


剧透 -   :
Damage Control

 So, what happens when nothing goes according to plan? Players invariably find some way to have you ripping out your hair by the fistful because they just won't open that first door on the right, no matter how many times you've tried to spell out the fact that what they're looking for is in that room. (Or whatever.) "Hell on Earth" is not likely to be much different in that regard.

 These questions and their answers obviously can't address everything that could possibly stray from center, but they are there to attempt to take into account some of the more likely twists of the plot. So, without further ado:

 · The characters don't go to Stuttgart. This is a strong possibility, especially if the cabal has had to deal with a lot of stupid Traditions politics and has the feeling (and rightly so) that whatever "meeting" is about to occur will just degenerate into, "My Will is bigger than yours; let's do it my way." Also, if the cabal has a large number of Craft mages or Orphans (to say nothing of what to do if you're running a Technocratic amalgam, in which case, they won't get the invite in the first place), it's increasingly likely that the characters just won't go. In such cases, you need to get the right note into the characters' hands by different means. The important part is that Akrites Salonikas approaches the characters (and, as an archmage, he has the ability, to do so and make the meeting peaceful, whether the you're dealing with a cabal of lackadaisical Traditionalists or staunch Technocrats), tells them that the attack upon Horizon is doomed to failure and suggests the new course of action.

 · The characters decide to stay at Horizon. This is a tough one. Feel free to do what you have to in order to highlight the absolute futility of fighting the Aswadim, even if it means killing a character or two. Surrounded by enormous reserves of Quintessence and powerful beyond mortal reckoning, the Fallen Oracles are unassailable. In the end, if the characters insist upon remaining, you can always have the Parma Magica come into their possession in others ways (such as through the auspices of a Hermetic Master who did not go on the foredoomed attack) after casting them out of the realm, forcibly if necessary, and back to Earth.

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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #5 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:26:04 »
第二章


风暴释放

 随着来自穹界的能量洪流涌进实相,无名开始与囚禁于化身风暴内的意志对抗。一种巨大的本能恐惧充斥在这些可悲的灵魂碎片内,就像野兽一想到要被迫离开巢穴时那样害怕。无名以最强大的精神力,将风暴“拉”出险棘,一并释放于世界和影界。任何地方的人——尤其觉醒者——都被风暴摧残,那些没有抵御原质和精魂攻击的手段的会死状极惨。绝大多数科联、野和门派法师都会极度痛苦地死去,灵魂剥离,化为乌有。甚至绝大多数宗派法师,没受益于阿凯瑞忒斯的警告(很多无论如何都不上心),也会死去。


神盾

 现在角色带着从阿凯瑞忒斯的任务得来的知识和通向巴拉多的大门,能开始建立神盾(又称大魔法护盾),希望它会帮助世上一些法师活着度过风暴。当他们抵达巴拉多时(这让其身后的大门垮塌了),发现尽管听或看到了相反的传言或证据,这里仍富有生机。一个(与地球本身共鸣相符的)原质矩阵让此地法师保持存活并具象。而最近许多影界旅行者所遇到的精魂状法师的“鬼镇”,实际上是在阿凯瑞忒斯坚持下,由玛丽安娜和其他几人所制造的高超幻象,为的是当他预言成真时,给九宗一个撤退的安全地。玛丽安娜上前,双眼闪烁着喜悦,亲吻了拿书的法师,轻轻将其拿走。她宽慰地笑着说:“希望这足够了。”

 这时,站在玛丽安娜身后的吉尔莫从她手中接过书,研究片刻,然后以本宗法师的秘密语言伊诺语念诵精妙咒语。他将手伸进书,拿出一个闪着强烈金光的球体,它慢慢凝结成一个奥利哈刚小圆盾,上面雕刻了九领域魔符。吉尔莫端详着它,喃喃自语道:“先知对他的话很在行。它足够了。”

 神盾里有无比强大的魔法,旨在以九领域创造一个双向屏障。一旦激活,没东西能进出。角色作为在场九宗英杰(玛丽安娜和吉尔莫,以及塞内克斯、但丁和塔西干)(译注:后三位分别是善终者、虚拟行者和梦语者的权威人物)所信任的知己,会被要求帮着准备(若他们问是为了什么准备,会被告知没时间解释,只请他们尽快尽好地干活。不久就会很清楚了)。海量塔斯须在护盾就位时输入,魔环和封印须放在适当位置。赫尔墨斯和其他对细节敏感的人还会被要求在巴拉多的墙上画出适当符号。工作刚结束,阿凯瑞忒斯建议的智慧就展现了。

 随着化身风暴袭来,很明显,如果没问题,神盾能挺住——当然,确实有问题。无名在击败了可能的入侵者后察觉到了计划的缺陷,他让其余堕圣贤继续维持风暴运作(从而攻击灵与物质界)的仪式,自己前往巴拉多,亲自处理神盾。界域地基的灾难震荡预示了他的到来。一些风暴进入,可能在消散前杀死了些离角色仅几步远的法师。这些发生时,无名能被看到在神盾外,正向后者倾斜可怕魔法。

 允许某个角色可能注意到塞内克斯,他叹了口气,用自己沧桑的老手捋了捋灰发,离开了。若她试图和老者(译注:塞内克斯别称)谈话,后者会轻轻地将手放在其肩上,用一个字让其睡去。片刻后,他出现在神盾外,无名身后,所有人都能看见他高举把匕首和一个看似是人类股骨的东西。即使风暴正撕裂老者身心,他仍深深砍进骨头里。无名在剧痛中退缩,停止了对神盾的攻击。堕圣贤的鲜血从伤口渗出,挂在以太中,像在微重力下漂浮。有些溅到了神盾上,后者嘶嘶作响并冒烟,但仍维持。无名没有转身注意塞内克斯,而是继续攻击神盾。精通原质/精魂的角色可能想试着加固神盾。让他们做。塞内克斯再次砍骨,这回无名的左臂无力地垂着,无法使用;他的长袍鲜血淋漓。最后他很不情愿地背对神盾去处理老者。

 这时请注意,再也没有什么能救塞内克斯了。这是圣贤间的战斗,而老者已经选择以荣耀和勇气拥抱宿命——为了那些必须幸存下来继续战斗的人。他们释放的法术强大而可怕,且双方都已被重伤——老者于风暴,无名于他敌人的魔法。但悲伤的是,这场战斗甚至在开始前就已定胜负。塞内克斯终究会在风暴和无名的侵蚀下战死,被黑暗力量蹂躏,直到他无法被辨别出是那个慈祥的老者。无名任他敌人的尸体漂浮,转回神盾,他看起来像刚跳进一台绞肉机,勉强活着爬出。然而,正当他聚集剩余力量,准备最后一击时,他周遭的咆哮风暴开始消散,其力量最终被绑定的邪恶魔法耗尽。

 堕圣贤正好用光了化身风暴。

 无名第一次显露恐惧——意识到神盾内有数位大师,甚至可能还有一两位大法师。他逃跑了,连最弱的门徒法师都不敢对抗。堕圣贤离开后不久,神盾被撤下(以节省塔斯储备),老者遗体被发现。一个进取的角色可拿走他的长刃匕首,它被那些希望给塞内克斯以英雄荣誉的人忽略了。这是一件极强大的奇物(译注:魔法道具别称),可能会在将至的黑暗日子里极大帮助结社。


剧透 -   :
老者之剑
15点奇物

 这把沉重的长刃匕首由哑光黑铁铸就,骨质柄。刀刃刻有符号,如今已被岁月和使用磨损到无法辨认。它在被用于击伤无名后,还带有时间和魔法都无法洗净的湿润不规则印迹,以及沉重的净化共鸣。这件武器已品尝了一位堕圣贤的鲜血,由此成为了对抗灭世者的强大法器。

 系统:成功击打造成力量+2恶性伤害,并含以下魔法:锁定混乱与弱点译注:熵1法术,效果同其名)、撕裂人体译注:生命3,制造内伤)(只能切进人骨来激活)和献祭羔羊译注:原质3,将生命力转换为能量)(用剑击杀灭世者方生效,将获得的魔素共鸣变成净化,立刻充能奇物本身)。它“施法”使用6魔峰骰,若撕裂人体成功用于灭世者,被认为其激活有1额外成功骰。


生自风暴

 随着化身风暴肆虐,许多无名的宠儿开始在世界最强大的迷宫深处骚动(译注:迷宫为灭世者的法塔)——克里特岛、切尔诺贝利、达豪等地地下。这些被防护魔法环绕的灭世者,伴随化身碎片找寻他们,能缓慢系统地将后者吸收进自身的反转化身,并以此喂养主人。每个人都被更新的契约许诺甚多,成为外界之暗的更强容器。

 几乎所有灭世者都在自己的迷宫内寻求庇护,躲避风暴(从而免遭其最严重的摧残),但只有极少数被特意挑选,增强实力,成为降至世界里无名的宠臣。


剧透 -   :
变化

 绝大多数被风暴强化的灭世者变得无比强大,他们吸收了数十甚至百人的精华,增强了觉醒能力。请认为这些享用黑暗圣餐的灭世者(被选中的少数,也许只有全堕落者的一成)有以下强化:属性+5,技能+15,魔峰+2(最高8),魔域+5,意志点+2(无上限)。

 然而这些变化也对受影响者(不怎么样的)理智造成了压力。所有受强化的灭世者永久获得1项活跃的精神疾病,以反映如此恐怖地强行吸收他人受折磨的灵魂的精神冲击。由于堕圣贤都不很需要强化(无名也出于发疯的可能而禁止),他们自然没进行仪式,而是选择呆在织锦之上,虚空之中。


险棘陨落

 险棘被人类的恐惧和不可能之物变得痛苦得真实的信念崩坏所压垮,它崩塌了,这让影界涌入了现世。疼痛、死亡和折磨精魂被化身飓风所造成的痛苦吸引,是首批进入世界之物。人类对抗其梦境之恐怖的护盾失效了,一切将不再相同。幽灵行走于生者间,恶魔从无数地狱的洞窟自由爬出,渴望温血。

 但法师却相反,他们不再需要惧怕虚体或矛盾。此前虚体的,如今能实体般行走于现世。


无法拒绝的邀请

 世上的觉醒者数量只有总人口的凤毛麟角。即使后者增加,元神的生命火种也在衰弱,破碎成越来越小的火苗,极力开启越来越多的沉睡者的心眼。在这个事实下,无名没有理由不对任何听到他声音的觉醒者分块蛋糕。这一般是中间人传达,但你的角色有些不同或特殊。无名想亲自满足他们自身最心切的希望。即使险棘崩塌,一切都在溃败,他也会找到这些在巴拉多勇敢营救法师的初生牛犊,在他们远离任何可能帮助自己的强大觉醒者时私下接触。

 无名是以绝对的可怕威严,还是更无害的形态出现,完全取决于你。且应针对玩家和其角色决定。无论角色的愿望多卑微或宏大,只要接受他的契约或称他为主人,他就会满足他们。如“去死/离开世界/停止你正做的”等回答,会被嘲笑并礼貌拒绝。无名会让这种角色相信,他与其说是被冒犯,不如说是被逗笑了。那些聪明对待交易,但最后仍坚持反对他的,则会赢得尊重。他甚至会为这种角色做些“好”事:复活被杀的爱人(无附加条件,但别让玩家知道);留下一件传奇奇物。都不要求回报。若角色很道德(坚持对抗他就几乎算),“馈赠”会廉价而腐化。


剧透 -   :
控制损失

 ● 无论原因,角色没躲过化身风暴。的确可能。若风暴席卷现世和影界时有角色没在神盾(或类似建筑)里,约10分钟(风暴消散所需时间)内每暴露1回合受到3级恶性伤害。比神盾小的屏障能减轻,非常聪明的设计可能完全抵御。然而若他没用明智计划使你信服,就别让其毫发无损离开。

 ● 角色试图攻击无名。没用,撤下神盾时他早溜了。

 ● 有人接受了邀请。恭喜!你有一位新的说书人角色可用了。当然,如果你真的很邪恶,那么可让结社内部扩散精神癌症,并让其余角色在有叛徒的情况下求生(若“诱惑”场景里玩家都彼此分开,那么后者会非常合理,这样便无人能完全确定其余人没有接受无名的交易)。

原文:
剧透 -   :
引用
Chapter II


The Storm is Loosed

 As the wash of energy from Horizon floods out into the Tellurian, the Unnamed contends with the wills locked within the Avatar Storm. A great instinctive dread hangs within these miserable soul-fragments, a beast's terror at the thought of being forced out of its den. By strictest mental fortitude, the Unnamed "pulls" the Storm out of the Gauntlet and unleashes it upon both the world and the Umbrae at once. Everywhere, people - the Awakened especially - are ravaged by the Storm. Those Awakened who do not have protections against both Prime and Spirit assaults die horribly. Most Technocrats, Orphans and Craft mages perish in agony, flayed to their souls and then into nothingness. Even a majority of Traditionalists, who did not benefit from Salonikas' warning (most of whom would not have heeded it, anyway) die.


The Aegis

 Armed with the knowledge they gleaned from Salonikas' quest and the open gate to Balador, the characters can begin to establish the Aegis (otherwise known as the Greater Pama Magica) that will, hopefully, help a number of the world's Awakened weather the coming storm alive. When they arrive at Balador (causing the gate to collapse behind them), the characters discover that, despite any rumors they have heard or evidence they have seen to the contrary, the Pleasuredome is still very much alive. A Prime matrix (corresponding to Earth's own resonance) has kept the mages here alive and embodied. The "ghost town" of mages-cum-spirits that many recent Umbral travelers have encountered was actually an elaborate illusion created by Marianna and several others at Salonikas' insistence, in order to give the Traditions somewhere secure to retreat to when his visions came true. Marianna approaches, her eyes alight with joy, and kisses the mage holding the book, gently slipping it out of his hands. She smiles broadly and says, "Hopefully, it will be enough."

 At this, Lord Edward Gilmore, standing behind Marianna, takes the book from her, studies it for a moment and then speaks elaborate command words in Enochian, the Order's mystic secret language. He reaches into the book and withdraws a sphere of blinding golden light, which slowly congeals into a small, orichalcum buckler, graven with the sigils of the Spheres. Gilmore looks it up and down and mutters," The Seer was good for his word. It will suffice."

 The shield holds extraordinarily powerful enchantments in it, designed to create a two-way ward with all nine Spheres. Nothing comes in or goes out once the Pama Magica is activated. As trusted confidantes of the Tradition luminaries who are present (Marianna and Gilmore, as well as Senex, Dante and Tasygan), the characters will be asked to help with the preparations. (If they ask what the preparations are for, the characters are told that there's no time to explain and to just please work as quickly and thoroughly as they can. It will all be quite apparent soon.) Huge amounts of Tass have to he fed to the Parma Magica when it is in place, and circles and seals must be placed in the proper configurations. Hermetics and any others with an eye for detail especially will be asked to draw the proper signs on the walls of Balador. Just as the work is finished, the wisdom of Salonikas' counsel is revealed.

 As the Avatar Storm strikes, it is apparent that the Aegis will hold if nothing goes wrong. Of course, something does go wrong. Having defeated the would-be invaders and sensing the flaw in his plan, the Unnamed leaves the other Aswadim to continue with the ritual that keeps the Avatar Storm in flux (and, thus, attacking the worlds of spirit and flesh) and comes to Balador to attend to the Aegis personally. His arrival is heralded by a cataclysmic shaking of the realm's foundations. Some of the Storm slips in, probably killing mages standing just paces away from the characters before dissipating. As this happens, the Unnamed can be seen outside the Aegis, hurling terrible sorceries at it.

 Allow perhaps one character to notice Senex, heaving a sigh, running his gnarled old hands through his gray hair and walking away. If the character attempts to talk to the Old Man, he will gently lay a hand on her shoulder and put her to sleep with a word. Moments later, Senex appears outside the Aegis, behind the Unnamed, where all can see him hold high a dagger and what looks to be a human thighbone. He slashes deeply into the bone, even as the Storm rends and tears his body and spirit, and the Unnamed recoils in obvious pain, ceasing his assault upon the Aegis. The Fallen Oracle's blood seeps from his wounds and hangs in the ether, as though it were floating in microgravity. Some of it strikes the Aegis, which hisses and smokes but holds. The Unnamed does not turn his attentions to Senex but instead resumes his attack on the Aegis. Characters skilled in Prime and/or Spirit might wish to attempt to shore the Aegis up. Allow them to do so. Senex cuts the bone again and this time the Unnamed's left arm dangles limp and useless by his side, his robes soaked in his own blood. Reluctantly, the Unnamed turns from the Aegis to attend to the Old Man.

 At this point, note that nothing will save Senex. This is a battle between Oracles, and the Old Man has chosen to embrace his fate with honor and courage, for the sake of those who must survive him to carry on the fight. The magics they loose are grim and terrible, and both are already badly wounded - Senex by the Storm; the Unnamed by his enemy's sorcery. Sadly, though, the fight is decided before it ever begins. Worn away by the Storm and the Unnamed as one, Senex must eventually fall, ravaged by dark powers until he is unrecognizable as the kindly Old Man. Leaving his foe's body floating there, the Unnamed turns back to the Aegis, looking like he just jumped into a grain thresher and only barely made it out alive. As he gathers his remaining might for one last assault, however, the roiling tempest around him begins to die, its power at last exhausted by the foul enchantments that bound it.

 The Aswadim have just run out of Avatar Storm.

 Showing fear for the first time, aware of the fact that there are Masters and perhaps even an archmage or two within the Aegis, the Unnamed flees, in no shape to take on even the lowliest Initiate. Shortly after the Fallen Oracle departs, the Aegis is dropped (to conserve the remaining stockpiles of Tass) and the Old Man's body is recovered. An enterprising character may grab his long-bladed dagger, which is overlooked by those wishing to give Senex a hero's honors. It is an extremely powerful Wonder and will likely aid the cabal greatly in the dark days to come.


Senex’s Blade
15-pt. Wonder

 This heavy, long-bladed dagger is forged of matte black iron with a grip of bone. Its blade is etched with pictograms that are now worn by time and use to the point of being unrecognizable. After being used to wound the Unnamed, the blade also bears wet-looking irregular spatter marks on it that no amount of time or magic can erase, as well as a heavy Purifying Resonance. The weapon has tasted the blood of a Fallen Oracle and comes away from the experience as a potent artifact against the Nephandi.

 System: Senex's Blade inflicts Strength + 2 aggravated damage with a successful strike and contains within it the following Effects: Locate Disorder and Weakness, Rip the Man-Body (which can be activated only by cutting into a human bone) and Lambs to the Slaughter (which works only upon Nephandi killed by the blade's wielder, altering the Resonance of the Quintessence gained to Purifying, which immediately goes to refueling the Wonder). The blade uses six dice of Arete for its Effects, and if its Rip the Man-Body Effect is successfully used upon a Nephandus, it is treated as though one additional success had been rolled in its activation.


The Storm-Born

 As the Avatar Storm is released, many of the Unnamed's favorites stir within the depths of the world's most powerful Labyrinths; beneath Crete, Chernobyl, Dachau and the like. As the fragments seek them out, these Nephandi, surrounded by wards and circles of protection, are able to slowly and methodically incorporate the soul-shards into their own inverted Avatars and, through them, feed their masters. Promised as much by renewed Pacts, each becomes a mightier vessel for the Outer Darkness.

 Virtually all Nephandi everywhere seek refuge from the coming Storm in their Labyrinths (and are thus protected from the worst ravages of the Avatar Storm), but only a very few are specially selected to grow in might and become the court of the Unnamed in the world to come.


剧透 -   :
The Change

 Most of the Nephandi empowered by the loosing of the Storm become quite potent, having channeled the essence of dozens (or even hundreds) of people into themselves, expanding their Awakened abilities thereby. Consider those Nephandi who partake of the dark sacrament of the Storm (a select few, perhaps only 10% of all Fallen)to benefit from the following changes: +5 dots to Attributes, +15 dots of Abilities, +2 to Arete (to a maximum of 8), +5 Qlippothic Spheres and +2 Willpower (no maximum).

 These alterations, however, also put a strain on the sanity (such as it is) of the affected parties. All such Nephandi gain a permanently active derangement to reflect the psychic shock of so gruesomely and forcibly incorporating the tormented souls of others into one's own being. Naturally, as none of the Aswadim particularly need the boost (and the Unnamed forbids any of them to get it, given the probably of insanity), they refrain from the rite, instead choosing to remain beyond the Tapestry, in the Outer Void.


The Gauntlet Falls

 Overwhelmed by human fear and the belief in what is impossible and yet plainly true, the Gauntlet crumbles, allowing the Umbrae to wash into our world. Sprits of pain, death and torment, drawn close by the suffering inflicted by the Avatar Winds, are among the first into the world. Humanity's shield against the terrors of its dreams has just failed and nothing will ever be the same again. Ghosts walk among the living and demons crawl free from the pits of countless hells, eager to feed on warm blood.

 Conversely, however, mages no longer need fear disembodiment or acclimation effects, and previously disembodied mages can walk on Earth as if they were material.


An Offer You can’t Refuse

 The world's number of Awakened constitutes the barest fraction of its total population. Even as the number of human beings has grown, the vital spark of the Pure Ones has waned, fractured into ever thinner slivers, trying to expand the minds and open the eyes of increasingly blind Sleepers. That being the case, the Unnamed has no problem with offering a slice of the pie to any Awakened person who will hear his pitch. Normally, intermediaries make the pitch, but your characters are somehow different or special. He will want to offer them their hearts' deepest desires personally. Even as the Gauntlet crumbles and all hell breaks loose, the Unnamed will find these young heroes who so courageously acted to save the mages at Balador, seeking them out in private, when they are far out of earshot of any powerful Awakened who might aid them.

 Whether the Unnamed appears in all his dread majesty or rakes a more innocuous form is really up to you and should be tailored to your players and their characters. In any case, he will offer to fulfill their fantasies, no matter how base or grandiose, if only they will submit to being branded with his seal and call him master. Answers such as, "l accept on the terms that you die/leave Creation/stop what you're doing/etc." will be met with laughter and polite refusal of such terms. The Unnamed will leave such characters believing that he is more amused by the request than offended. Those who are clever in their bargaining but, in the end, hold out against him, earn his esteem. He might even do something "nice" for such a character: returning a slain loved one to life (no strings attached, but don't let the player know that) or leaving a legendary Wonder at the character's feet, all without asking for anything in return. If the character is truly moral (and, if she held out against the Unnamed, she is almost doubtlessly moral), the "gift" will feel cheap and corrupt.


剧透 -   :
Damage Control

 · For whatever reason, the characters didn't hide from the Avatar Storm. Hey, it could happen. If any character isn't within the Aegis (or a similar construct) while the Storm rips through the material world and the Umbrae, he will suffer three levels of aggravated damage per turn of exposure for approximately 10 minutes (the length of time it takes for the Storm to dissipate). Lesser wards than the Aegis can mitigate the punishment and really clever thinking might serve to prevent the damage entirely. Just don't let a character walk away unscathed, however, if he doesn't floor you with the brilliance of his plan.

 · The characters attempt to attack the Unnamed. It just won't work. By the time the Aegis is brought down, he's long since gone.

 · Someone accepts the Unnamed's offer. Congratulations! You've got a brand-new Storyteller character to use. Unless, of course, you're feeling truly evil, in which case, you can allow the spiritual cancer to fester within the cabal and let the other characters attempt to survive with a traitor in their midst. (This latter option works really well if you isolate the players from one another during their "temptation" scenes, so that no one can ever be 100% certain that anyone else didn't accept the Fallen Oracle's bargain.)

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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #6 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:27:17 »
第三章



喘息之机

 有一段时间,因为无名忙于评估形势,恢复实力并补充意外伤亡,暂时平静了。此间隙中请给角色足够时间做自己的事。你可能也有些支线得收尾。现在别对了结这些剧情有压力(以后还有机会),但这时处理些小结局可能会对你有帮助。

 一些有远见的角色会想为将来(迟早发生)的坏事做准备,让他们去。其中有一些可能成功,其它则根本不会。总的来说,只有最创新的方案才可能在将至日子里被证明有用。该阶段的时间取决于你游戏的需要,能从一周到一个月。无名有的是时间,他觉得现在无需着急,因为胜券已在握。而下次行动将会是毁灭性的。


大树死去

 如今影界被整个剥开,裸露在人类面前,任何人都能走进世界树(译注:全世界乃至宇宙的中心,扎根于最低等的异界冥界,触及最高等的高影界),找到往上或下的路,进入最高或低的精魂异界。更重要的是,一些仅存的圣贤和大法师,原本存在于世界的遥远角落,如今能更稳定地在现世具象其意志,通过世界树将魔法送到希望的地方。无名自然不想这发生,所以他计划采取人类史上最可憎的魔法行为——击倒世界树,于混沌中切断异界的相互联系(并让现世成为其联系的唯一地方),在宇宙中心留下一个巨大的流血伤口。

 无名使用更多的储备塔斯和写在世界外墙上的渎神仪式,将携带巨量毒素的堕圣贤送到世界树,他们把前者倒进了后者的伤口。一周内大树枯萎倒下,死去枝条撒满诸界,有些甚至可能在现世。部分能活到有人发现并解救,意味着希望并无完全消失。角色可能会恢复一些枝干。这些残余若保持存活并适当施法,则能用于异界间旅行,并联系(若还有)幸存圣贤,还是对抗邪恶精魂的强力武器。


剧透 -   :
世界树枝条
4-10点奇物

 这些强大的魔符由仍存活的世界树枝条制成,强度各不相同。小的可能有一两种小能力,大而粗壮的可能能做很多事。需生命3/原质2/精魂2以保持其存活;原质4能延至永久,无需持续更新施法。

 若枝条之一深深扎根于暗影界核心,并被至少三位化身本质各不相同的法师精心照料,那么它可能长大并穿越影界,成为新的世界树。然而考虑到这种尝试的诸多固有危险,极可能无人有机会发现这点。

 系统:4点枝条最弱,使用者要有相应能力方可穿越不同层次的影界,对任何精魂造成角色力量等级的恶性伤害。6点同4点,除使用者能带上他人穿梭(即使她自身魔法只允许自己),成功击打精魂为力量+1恶性伤害。8点同6点,除可让平常无法穿越于异界的使用者靠意志实现(投3骰魔峰,但使用此法术时不能带上他人),伤害为力量+3。10点同8点,除可让角色和任意数量的他人靠意志移动(投5骰魔峰),伤害力量+5。


孤独圣贤

 如今大树已死,隔绝于现世的圣贤和遥远的大法师几乎无法返回。无名沿世界的隐秘通道,派遣大批幽灵、精魂和不可名状之物(以及一撮真正强大的生于风暴的灭世者),逐一消灭了他们中的绝大多数。虽然他中途失去了很多资源,但对其事业重要得多的,是看见宇宙中最强大的法师被杀害,以免在不合适时召集自己下属。



最后努力

 当圣贤和大法师被屠杀到近乎灭绝时,无名在穹界用掉了他储存的最后魔素,将剧毒魔法释放到了供能界域的魔力节点。精魂腐化(险棘缺失还令其具象)从它们充满星球。三天内,日月消失在翻滚的暴雨云中,后者看上去就像一大团汹涌的死灰。吉尔莫君主策划了次背水一战,但会极大损失觉醒者。

 在现今已被腐化的亚历山大城节点,这个曾建立了古代最伟大图书馆之地,赫尔墨斯秘会做了最后努力。它的法师被吉尔莫召唤,从各地赶来,在一切化为乌有前,尽力痛击灭世者。其它宗派(甚至一些门派和公约组织)的很多法师都与秘会同行,他们非常清楚自己努力的徒劳,但再没其它办法做必须做的事。

 至少这是个骗局。吉尔莫心里有其它计划,但他明白,自己在内的秘会法师必须牺牲来看到其发生。他深知堕法师除了回应这次集会外别无选择,因为集结的法师若指挥得当,能切实扰乱无名的计划。但后者为此要召集军队,仍将失去众多他最忠诚强大的部下。秘会的牺牲不会廉价,吉尔莫相比单纯减员还有更多招数。


计谋

 这是项残酷危险的任务,角色是被选中承担它的精锐力量之一。突击队在北加拿大集结,远离秘会大部队。在灭世者回应秘会反抗前不久,吉尔莫出现,祝大家好运。结社的秘会成员被他带到一边,后者会说以下话:

 我从未想象自己会活着目睹我们宗派的死亡,然而如今已在眼前。但我们仍是三重伟大的继承者,也没有什么——甚至死亡本身——能瓦解我们的黄金之道。现在我需要你为我做些事。慕斯曾是我的一个美丽界域,但它现今却成了堕落者的蛆窝。我一想到他们的“老师”以不洁仪式腐化我的圣所就不寒而栗。可事已至此,我无法为我的学生和朋友报仇。而你们现在就是我的双手。摧毁他们所有人,以免我们的牺牲沦为笑柄。为慕斯和秘会报仇。让我们的道途在将至的长久黑暗中存活下去。

 这时他像拥抱子女般拥抱了他们,然后神情坚定地回到队伍,面对自己的终结。


围攻慕斯

 但丁以空间魔法打开了往慕斯的通道,轻松打破了由一些无名最信赖的灭世者放置的屏障。堕落者对进攻毫无准备,他们的军队被送去处理秘会大军,不在此地。但仍留有些保卫者,并迅速恢复了理智。按角色结社力量调整在场灭世者数量。围攻应非常困难但有可能。

 秘所的“女主人”是吉勒迪安杰西卡·施密特,曾是一个党卫军军官的妻子。现在她是一个强大的灭世者,外貌上像个60多岁的女木乃伊活尸。


剧透 -   :
慕斯“女主人”,杰西卡·施密特

派系:野法师拔拉鄙
魂质:式样
本性:独裁者
表性:独裁者
属性:力量 1,敏捷 2,耐力 6
   魅力 1,操控 5,外貌 0
   感知 4,智力 6,机智 5
技能:学术 4,警觉 3,超感 4,格斗 1,电脑 2,宇宙学 3,闪躲 1,解码 4,礼仪 3,表达 2,枪械 3,胁迫 5,调查 3,法律 2,领导 4,语言学 4,医学 4,神秘学 5,科学 4,潜入 1,托辞 5,科技 3
背景:盟友 3,隐秘 4,化身 2,线人 2,宿命 1,知识 5,节点 5,资源 4
魔域:空间 2,熵 4,力场 1,生命 2,物质 2,心灵 3,起源 3,精魂 2,时间 1
魔峰:5
意志点:8
魔素:12
矛盾点:6
共鸣:(熵态)衰退 2,(静态)顽固 1


后记

 是否能收回慕斯取决于角色的行动。若结社正确行动,那么界域能被九宗收回,给他们一个用于抗击灭世者的可靠行动基地,后者无论力量都无法对收回的慕斯发动第二次进攻。但若错误选择(或运气很差),努力将白费,吉尔莫的赌博会被证明是愚蠢的。任何情况下几乎所有在亚历山大城的人都会死去,只有极少数能侥幸回来。但当吉尔莫战死时,他已经目睹数十个灭世者和他们的邪恶仆人用性命喂养沙漠。


剧透 -   :
控制损失

 ● 角色非战士。没关系,若没法战斗,不必强求。让他们负责场后,协调进攻,确保通信完好。若想战斗,那值得表扬,蠢,但值得表扬。若结社成员无法胜任,请毫不犹豫让他们死去,但尽量给点安慰,因为他们勇敢地做对了事。

 ● 角色拒绝参与进攻。很难。若结社退缩,请酌情给予相应惩罚。秘会陨落,魔法学院无法夺回。

原文:
剧透 -   :
引用
Chapter III



A Brief Respite

 For a while, things grow quiet again, as the Unnamed takes stock of his situation, recovers his strength and compensates for unexpected casualties. Give the characters enough time to do some errands of their own during this lull. Also, you might have some plot threads that you'd like to tie up. Don't feel pressured to do so with all such plots right now (other opportunities will arise down the line), but it might be helpful to you to deal with a few loose ends at this point.

 Some far-thinking characters will want to make preparations for when the shit really hits the fan (which it will). Let them. Some of these plans might work, and others definitely will not. In general, only the most innovative contingencies have any chance of proving useful in the days to come. Anywhere from a week to a month can pass at this phase, depending upon the needs of your game. The Unnamed has time on his side and feels no need to rush now that victory is well within his grasp. His next move will be a devastating one.


The Withering of the Tree

 Now that the Umbrae are peeled back and revealed to humanity at large, just about anyone can wander to the Alder Bole and find a way up or down, into the highest or lowest realms of the spirits. More importantly, some of the few remaining Oracles and archmages, who exist in distant corners of Creation, can more readily make manifest their will in the world, sending their magics through the Axis Mundi to wherever they wish. Naturally, the Unnamed has no desire for this to happen, so he plans to undertake what is doubtlessly the single most abhorrent act of mystic will in the history of the human race. He means to strike down the Tree, severing the worlds from one another in chaos (making Earth the only place in which they intersect) and leaving a great, bleeding wound at the center of the Universe.

 Using yet more of his stockpiled Tass and blasphemous rituals scribed on the outer walls of Creation, the Unnamed sends his Aswadim to the Axis Mundi bearing a cauldron of venom, which they pour into a wound in the Tree. Within a week, it withers and topples, dropping dying branches throughout the worlds. Some might even end up on Earth. A few live long enough for people to find then and save them, meaning that hope is not entirely lost. The characters might be able to recover some branches from the Alder Bole. Kept alive and enchanted properly, such remnants of the Tree can allow for travel between worlds and contact with the surviving Oracles (if any) as well as serving as potent weapons against malevolent spirits.


剧透 -   :
Branch of the World Tree
4-10-pt. Wonder

 These powerful Talismans are made from the still-living branches of the Axis Mundi. Such Wonders vary in potency. A small branch might have a minor power or two, while a huge, stout one might enable a mage to do many things. Life 3/Prime 2/Spirit 2 is necessary to keep a branch alive. mage with Prime 4 can keep the branch alive indefinitely, without the need to continually renew the Effect.

 It is possible that one of these Talismans, if planted deep in the heart of the Dark Umbra and tended carefully by at least one mage of each Avatar Essence, will eventually grow, sprouting up through the Umbrae and creating a new Axis Mundi. Given the many dangers inherent in such an attempt, however, it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever have the opportunity to find out.

 System: The 4-pt. Branch is the least powerful. A character using one might move between levels of the Umbrae if she possesses the ability to do so. Such a branch inflicts the character's Strength in aggravated damage upon a spirit of any sort. The 6-pt. Branch is identical to the 4-pt. Branch, save that the character might bring others along with her (even if she only has the Spheres necessary to move herself between the Umbrae), and it inflicts Strength + 1 aggravated damage against spirits on a successful hit. The 8-pt. Branch is identical to the 6-pt. Branch, save that it also allows a character who normally cannot move between Umbrae to do so at will (rolling three dice of Arete to do so, though the character cannot bring others along with her when using this Effect) and it inflicts Strength + 3 damage against spirits. The 10-pt. Branch is identical to the 8-pt. Branch, save that it allows a character to move herself and any number of other people between Umbrae at will (rolling five dice of Arete to do so) and inflicts Strength +5 aggravated damage against spirits.


The Oracles Severed

 Now that the Alder Bole is dead, those Oracles and far-flung Archmasters who have removed themselves from Earth are virtually incapable of returning. Dispatching legions of ghosts, spirits and Unspeakable Horrors (supplemented by a handful of truly frightening Storm-Born Nephandi) along the hidden paths of Creation, the Unnamed eliminates all but a few of them, one by one. Though he loses many resources in the process, it is far more important to his cause to see the most powerful mages in Creation slain, lest they rally their lessers at some inopportune moment.



The Order’s Last Stand

 While the Oracles and Archmasters are being hunted very nearly to extinction, the Unnamed burns out the last of his Quintessence stores at Horizon, at last unleashing his poisoned magic into the Nodes that power the realm. From them, spiritual corruption (made real and physical by the lack of a Gauntlet) saturates the planet. Within three days, the sun and moon are lost in a roiling tempest of clouds that looks like nothing so much as a churning mass of dying embers. Lord Gilmore hatches a final, desperate ploy, but one that will cost the Awakened dearly.

 It is at the now-polluted Node of Alexandria, where once stood the greatest library of the ancient world, that the Order of Hermes makes its final stand. Summoned by Lord Edward Gilmore, the mages of the Order have come from far and wide to strike what blow they can against the tyranny of the Nephandi before all ends in ashes and shadow. Many mages of other Traditions (and even a few Crafts and Conventions) stand with the Order of Hermes, knowing full well the futility of their endeavor but able to think of no other way to do what must be done.

 At least, that's the ruse. Lord Gilmore has other ideas in mind, but he knows that the lives of the mages of the Order, himself included, must be forfeit in order to see it happen. He is aware that the Fallen have no choice but to respond to this gathering, since the mystic might assembled there could reasonably disrupt the Unnamed's plans if directed properly. In order to do so, though, the Unnamed will need to commir an army, and he will still lose many of his most loyal and powerful. The Order of Hermes does not sell its life cheaply, and Gilmore has more tricks than mere attrition up his sleeve.


The Subterfuge

 This is a brutally dangerous mission, and the characters are among those elite forces selected to undertake it. The strike force is assembled in northern Canada, far from the massed forces of the Order. Shortly before the anticipated moment of the Nephandic response to the Order of Hermes' defiance, Gilmore appears to wish the fighters good luck. Any members of the Order of Hermes in the cabal are taken aside by Lord Gilmore, who says the following:

 l never would have imagined that l would live to see the death of our Tradition, yet that is what now awaits us. Still, we are the heirs to the Thrice-Great and nothing, not even death itself, can undo our Path of Gold. I need you now to do something for me. Mus was once mine and a fine realm it was. Now, it serves as the maggot-den of the Fallen. I shudder to think of their "teachers" defiling my Sanctum with their unholy rites. Still, what is done is done, and l cannot be the one to avenge my students and my friends. You are my hands now. Destroy them all, lest our fall be for naught. Avenge Mus and the Order. Keep our ways alive in the long darkness to come.

 At this, Gilmore embraces the mage or mages as he would a son or daughter and, with astern, resolute face, returns to the ranks to face his demise.


The Siege of Mus

 Dante opens the Correspondence gateway to Mus, easily breaking the wards placed upon it by some of the Unnamed's most trusted Nephandi. The Fallen are completely unprepared for the attack and their armies are absent, having been sent to deal with the massed army of the Order of Hermes. Still, there are some defenders there, and they quickly recover their wits. Tailor the number of Nephandi present to the power of the cabal. The siege should be extremely difficult, but possible.

 The "Grand Mistress" of the chantry is the gilledian Jessica Schmidt, once the wife to an SS officer. Now, she is a powerful Nephandus who looks like the mummified, ambulatory corpse of a woman in her mid-60s.


剧透 -   :
Jessica Schmidt, “Grand Mistress” of Mus

Faction: Orphan barrabi
Essence: Pattern
Nature: Autocrat
Demeanor: Autocrat
Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 2, Stamina 6, Charisma 1, Manipulation 5, Appearance 0, Perception 4, Intelligence 6, Wits 5
Abilities: Academics 4, Alertness 3, Awareness 4, Brawl 1, Computer 2, Cosmology 3, Dodge 1, Enigmas 4, Etiquette 3, Expression 2, Firearms 3, Intimidation 5, Investigation 3, Law 2, Leadership 4, Linguistics 4, Medicine 4, Occult 5, Science 4, Stealth 1, Subterfuge 5, Technology 3
Backgrounds: Allies 3, Arcane 4, Avatar 2, Contacts 2, Destiny 1, Library 5, Node 5, Resources 4
Qlippothic Spheres: Correspondence 2, Entropy 4, Forces 1, Life 2, Matter 2, Mind 3, Prime 3, Spirit 2, Time 1
Arete: 5
Willpower: 8
Quintessence: 12
Paradox: 6
Resonance: (Entropic) Degenerate 2, (Static) Tenacious 1


Afterward

 If Mus is to be retaken, it will happen because of your characters’ actions. If the cabal makes the right moves, then the realm can be restored to the Traditions, giving them a stable base of operations from which to strike against the Nephandi, who will be unable to mount a second attack upon a reclaimed Mus, regardless of their power. If the characters do not make the right choices (or have a run of bad luck), however, the endeavor will be a failure and Gilmore's gambit will be proven folly. In any case, virtually everyone who made a stand at Alexandria will die, leaving only a very few to limp home. Still, by the time Lord Edward Gilmore perishes in battle, he has seen scores of Nephandi and their foul servants feed the desert with their lives.


剧透 -   :
Damage Control

 · The characters aren't fighters. No problem; if the characters can't fight, don't try to make them. Instead, give them jobs on the sidelines, coordinating the offensive and making sure the lines of communication stay intact. If, on the other hand, the characters want to fight, this is commendable. Foolish, but commendable. Don't hesitate to let them die if members of the cabal can't cut it, but try to give them some small measure of vindication for standing up and doing the right thing.

 · The characters refuse to take part in the siege of Mus. This, on the other hand, is a problem. If the cabal chickens out, feel free to give the characters what they deserve. The Order falls and the Fors Collegis Mercuris is not retaken.
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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #7 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:27:48 »
第四章



机器之死

 由于对科学技术之力保护世界的信仰到达了历史最低点,并且没有险棘维持迷信,科联的范式崩塌了(译注:范式是法师的宇宙观,关系到施法方式)。这个世界里金钱毫无价值,药品无法治病,机器不会阻止那些以生命和秽物为食的苍蝇。静态坍塌,但不是以好的方式。影界席卷世界,消解了人类万年来的进步,令其倒退到蛮荒时代。曾真实的法律已不再。摩擦干树枝可能使其颤抖流血,但绝不会生火。

 基于奇迹和可能的科学技术(动态科学和科技)仍有效,因为这些创新基于自身而非物质。极少数科联法师能在联盟堕落后幸存,保持完好能力。他们是那些能调和意志和理性的人。新世界秩序、迭代法X和先祖原人会陨落到几近一人。少数辛迪加探员和大量虚空工程师能以更多人性和更灵活的哲学,走出理性终结,并仍可施展启蒙科学(译注:科联版本魔法)。

 不久后虚空工程师找到了(和他们一样的)幸存的九宗权威(角色在其中),并请求帮助对抗灭世者,以他们能在战斗的最后几小时里帮着带来的资源(包括些古怪的诡异科技和来自外世界的塔斯储备)做交换。让角色成为在此的决策人之一。他们已成为九宗里最强大、权威和受尊重的人物之一,且现在不论魔法造诣,都被视作领袖。长远看,接受工程师的邀请可能是上上策。但最终取决于什么最有利于游戏,什么最对角色结社明智。

 本章比起一系列事件更像一段时间。堕落者也会像现世的幸存法师一样巩固自身(若上章夺回慕斯,幸存者可能躲在魔法学院;若没有,则必须利用一切能找到的东西)。此时能过去一周到数月的时间。无名想让影界为他做一段时间的事。当可怕精魂漫步世界,绝望法师开始了寻找——一些可能有用,但绝大多数徒劳且注定失败。结社可能是一员,或慢慢集结的反抗势力的中心之一(若你特别残忍,他们可能被迫有双重任务。寻找失散大师、奇物等,同时被咨询战略建议)。


剧透 -   :
控制损失

 ● 角色是科联法师。最佳选项是让其成为联盟的极少数,能某种程度上,像它曾经那般,“超越自身既定程式”的成员。并意识到意志和下一代科学一样能让这些科技魔法起效。

原文:
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Chapter IV



The Death of the Machine

 With faith in the power of science and technology to protect the world at an all-time low and no Gauntlet to hold back superstition, the Technocracy's paradigm fails apart. Money ceases to have value in such a world, medicines do not cure plagues, and machines will not stop those swarms of flies that feed on spinal fluid and distilled terror. Stasis falls apart, but not in any good way. The Umbrae wash over the world, dissolving 10,000 years of human progress and reducing mankind to barbarism. Laws that were once true are no longer so. Friction on a dry branch might cause it to shudder and bleed, but it will not start a fire.

 Science and technology based in wonder and possibility (Dynamic Science and technology) still function, since such innovations are based in reliance upon the self, rather than reliance upon things. A scarce few Technocrats manage to survive the fall of the Union with their abilities intact, and these are the ones who are capable of reconciling the enigma of Will versus Reason. Virtually to a man, the New World Order, Iterarion X and the Progenitors fall. With a bit more ethical and philosophical flexibility, small numbers of Syndicate operatives and a larger number of Void Engineers walk away from the end of Reason still capable of performing Enlightened Science.

 Shortly afterward, the Void Engineers approach remaining Tradition authorities (such as they are) - the characters among them - and ask for succor from the Nephandi, in exchange for what resources they can help bring to bear (including some bizarre alien technologies and stores of Tass from off-world sources) in the final hours of the conflict. Allow the characters to be among the policy-makers here. They have treated with some of the Traditions' most powerful, influential and respected, and now, regardless of how mystically weak or powerful they are, they are looked to as voices of guidance. It is probably best in the long run to accept the Void Engineers' proposal, but, in the end, it's really up to what's best for your game and what seems wisest to the characters' cabal.

 This chapter is more of a period of time than a series of events. The Fallen entrench themselves, just as the remaining mages of Earth do. (If Mus was retaken in the previous chapter, then they might hole up at the For Collegis Mercuris; if not, they'll have to make do with whatever they can find.) Anything from a week to a couple of months can pass at this point. The Unnamed wants to allow the Umbrae to do his work for him for a while. As terrible spirits wander the world, desperate mages strike out on quests - some potentially useful but most futile and doomed to failure. The cabal might number among these mages, or it might be one of the nerve centers of the slowly coalescing resistance. (Or, if you are feeling particularly cruel, the characters might be compelled to do double duty, searching for scattered Masters, Wonders and the like while at the same time being looked to for tactical advice.)


剧透 -   :
Damage Control

 · The characters are Technocrats. The best option here is to allow the characters to be among those select few members of the Union who can somehow manage to "grow beyond their programming," as it were, and realize that it is will as much as next-generation science that makes such procedures function.
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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #8 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:28:44 »
第五章



最后一课

 阿凯瑞忒斯有最后一课要讲授。他现在已意识到莫洛奇的预言无法避免,自己在极力阻止中还反而加速了它。最终他学到了,有时,并没有胜利。他已尽职责到了最后一刻,而现在,被愧疚和悔恨充斥的他,觉得自己必须向魔法的孩子们展示等待着他们的命运。

 各地法师被可怕的心灵痛哭攫住。阿凯瑞忒斯的声音回响,痛苦却清晰——甚至当他勇敢直面堕圣贤并被撕碎时。

 有时,最好的意图也会失败;有时,没有正确答案;有时,你做了好事,只发现烈焰一并吞噬且遗忘了公正与邪恶。永远记住,继续战斗。我非常抱歉。

 这时讯息结束,随之而去的还有预言者瑟沙尔的学生,阿凯瑞忒斯的性命。



等待终结

 举世陨落在沮丧的氛围中真正降临。无名播种的精魂崩塌(通过穹界节点)已经吞噬了世界的纯净。九宗成了它以前的苍白幻影,科联则完全陨落。约一成的(非灭世者)觉醒者在这场大屠杀中幸存。

 法师必须艰苦战斗以在这个黑暗时期幸存,可能会花数月来让最近的一切可怕后果完全显现。如今角色无疑是中心人物,被众多人期盼。他们心底感到无望,但为了现在依靠自己的人,必须尽力摆出自信姿态。角色可能被沉睡和觉醒者一并认做领袖。即使世界陨落夺走无数性命。无可置疑的魔法真相仍激发了不少觉醒,而这些在疯狂世界漂泊的迷失野法师,需要指引。

 现在能做的,只有巩固阵地,团结能找到的散兵游勇,等待并尽力幸存下去。

原文:
剧透 -   :
引用
Chapter V



Salonikas’ Lesson

 Akrites Salonikas has one final lesson to impart. He has by now realized that the prophecy of Moloch could not be averted and that, in trying to prevent it, he has helped to bring it about. In the end, he has learned that, sometimes, there is no victory. He has played his part to the end and now, overwhelmed by guilt and remorse, he feels he must show the children of magic the fate that awaits them.

 Mages everywhere are gripped by terrible cries of psychic anguish. Salonikas' voice rings out, clear despite its torment, even as the Aswadim, whom he has dared to challenge directly, rend him to shreds.

 Sometimes, even the best of intentions fail. Sometimes, there is no right answer. Sometimes, you do what is good, only to find that the flames consume the just and the wicked with equal abandon. Remember this always and fight on. I am so sorry.

 At this, the message ends, along with the life of Akrites Salonikas, student of Sh'zar the Seer.



Waiting for the Worst

 On that depressing note, Descent truly comes to Earth. The spiritual ruination sown by the Unnamed (through Horizon's Nodies) has devoured the purity of the world. The Traditions are a frail shadow of their former power and the Technocracy is fallen entirely. Perhaps 10% of the world's (non-Nephandic) Awakened have survived this holocaust.

 Mages will have to fight hard to survive during this dark time, and it might take months for all of the terrible consequences of recent times to fully come to light. By now, the characters are certainly pivotal figures and are looked to by many. They feel hopeless, but they've got to try to put up a confident front, for the sake of those who now rely upon them. They might be considered leaders by both Sleepers and Awakened. Even as Descent claims untold lives, the undeniable truth of magic spurs no small number of Awakenings, and such lost Orphans, adrift in a world gone mad, need guidance.

 Now, there is nothing left to do, save fortify one's position, gather up what stragglers are to be found, wait and try to survive whatever comes next.
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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #9 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 14:29:22 »
第六章

 举世陨落,到来了。无名,这个人类历史——从其希望中的开始,到烈焰与痛苦中的可怕终结——的缔造者,胜利了。外界之暗如泰坦般统治着地球,现实的崩坏达到了顶峰。



现世苦难

 现在险棘已不复存在,九宗和科联都已陨落,现世的其他行愿者散落四方,恐惧而分裂。

 无名高举他的终极武器,准备永远结束战争,令人类屈服于自己的桎梏。

 无名在自己的新宫殿里——曾是伊甸园的废土上——举行了仪式,将他的主人召唤到现世,让其在世界内具象重生。当后者进行时,织锦诸界无法承受这些恐怖泰坦之重,永远消解了。世界各地的孕妇流产,发现骇人的畸形事物爬出自己的肚子;动物哀嚎,一些发疯狂暴,其余则濒死;水体变得血红剧毒。万物秩序崩坏,那些史前之物接管了一切。最后,他们的嫉妒得到了满足,并学会何为物质与存在,而这令现实自身悲痛。


分赃

 当然,无名对那些帮他崛起和接续攻占的堕落者信守了诺言。每位堕圣贤都有了块能施加自身意志的领地;但绝大多数维持世界的日常事务,都由更弱的灭世者——吉勒迪安和阿德斯尼斯特拉迪(译注:后者比前者低一级,等同九宗的4级专家法师)——负责,他们背靠风暴降生的撼旅。除非被角色消灭(或以其它方式停用),否则沃尔曼斯会接受他堕落的真相,并安心承担统治印度和巴基斯坦剩余地方的职责;乔迪·布莱克掌管从洛杉矶到拉斯维加斯的一切;安森·达尔坎杰罗住在梵蒂冈,在此统帅意大利。

 此时的灭世者近乎不可阻挡,胜利(若有的话)都将很小,且只能以游击战取得。现在,没人会再骗自己升华之战仍在继续。它如今——可能是永远地——结束了。在一片沸腾的熔融深红和窒息的黑雾天空下,堕落者立坐于曾是现世的荒漠废土上,进行审判。


剧透 -   :
“安森是谁?”

 你可能不知道本模组的一些灭世者配角是谁。没关系,他们都能在不同年份的本线拓展中找到,而且大多数情况下,提及其名字只是调味。若你已为罪城总督、赌城头子想好了自己的灭世者人选,那么请随便去掉布莱克。


万物终结

 当一切都结束时,世界在堕落的痛苦中挣扎,承受似乎永恒的诅咒。魔法仍活着,但除灭世者外的研习者极大减少。恶魔、黑暗精魂和之上世界的不可名状之物无惧行走于现世,其中一些作为可怕酷吏和残忍领主,统治各地的悲惨幸存者。堕落者沉醉于他们的成就,并安定下来,享受对一个无助人类种族的永恒统治,后者如今已极大倒退到铁器时代,并横遭来自古代世界的魔神的祭司们的最严重劫掠。

 若角色已做得很好,那么仍存在一定抵抗,能继续生存下去,再次和堕圣贤作战并推翻他们。如此,(至少)数世纪驱逐黑暗的过程能再次开始。然而现在,只需知道末日已到来并离去,而超凡入圣,已被证明是个谎言,是场失败的人类种族在悲伤中享用的灰烬盛宴。


剧透 -   :
无名

 这是无名,是他那火焚世界的诸神之王般的最终形态。

 魂质:原初
 本性:不可理喻
 表性:暴君/梦想家
 属性:力量 4/15,敏捷 6/9,耐力 10/20
    魅力 9,操控 10,外貌 8/0
    感知 10,智力 9,机敏 9(斜线后的数据是战斗形态的)
 技能:看作持有几乎全部技能——但和现代科技相关的除外(也就是近千年来出现的那些),它们在4-9级。
 背景:隐秘 6,化身 10,宿命 10,梦想 10。无名拥有几乎全部背景——导师除外(他不可能也无需持有)。因为整个世界都由他掌控,所以他的资源可以说是无限的。
 魔域:空间 6,熵 10,力场 5,生命 5,物质 5,心灵 7,起源 8,精魂 8,时间 5
 魔峰:10
 意志点:20
 魔素:无限
 矛盾点:不适用
 共鸣:(熵态)毁灭 10

 相貌:人类形态的无名是个无比英俊的瘦高男人,他的皮肤、头发和双眼有如磨亮的黑曜石般漆黑——只有那洁白无瑕的完美牙齿是个例外。他身着精美的黑色长袍以和现实的主人相呼应,上面缝着银色的魔法符号,它们恶毒到会暂时“烙”在别人眼中——好比直视太久的亮光。他以一种冷静、克制而诱惑的语气说话。看似仁慈睿智,但其暗含的力量是如此之强,以至于会让你几乎不假思索地服从。

 扮演要点:你总控制着自己和周围的世界。几乎没什么能烦扰你。你总能把自己的愿景准确传达给别人,且在数千年的岁月中已对人类本性了如指掌,你即使正对那些令自己感到不快的人施加无法言说的巨大折磨,也依旧能给人慈父的形象。你只是简单地接受了这样一个事实:你可以毁灭任何人、做到任何事或收走任何人的灵魂。

 注解:无名能在1个回合中花费1点意志点来多施展1个法术效果,这种意志点花费没有上限。1回合中超出了他目前暂时上限的那些法术都能用这种方式施展。

 他也拥有10点永久的魔法反制,不过只对直接瞄准他的法术有效(当然他会尽力解除自己感知范围内的所有法术)。

 他可以花费1点意志点来变成战斗形态——一个有着螺旋般疯狂(译注:参考妖蛆图腾)、胡乱挥舞的伪足和能瞥见之上深渊的噩梦造物。所有凝视其深处的人都必须投掷1次意志点(难度9,需要3个成功数),否则会完全变疯(说书人决定具体形式,都应非常极端)。无名还能变成其它形态,改变人种、性别,如有需要甚至还能是物种。但这些变形则是他的魔域运用。

 如今,无名从他那黑暗的宝座——也是他仍深情称呼的第十位座——上统治着世界——或至少是其残留的部分。现世里他力量的核心在美索不达米亚——曾是人类文明摇篮的地方。数百万奴隶在恐惧和痛苦中为他的荣光而劳作,依他的授意来生死。他就是虚无在现世的具像,他就是灭世之上帝。


剧透 -   :
其余堕圣贤

 无名仍享有最早接受他邀请的五人的支持(通过狡猾政治、小恩小惠——当然还有以死威胁——维持)。最年轻的都来自法老埃及时代,而所有都无比强大。他们自然都有自己的任务,每位都接受了较弱的地位,而这只是因为无名自己的法术能力比其余一或两(甚至可能是三)位都强得多,且互相都没信任到能试图推翻他。但只要有时间、精力和计划,仍可使其彼此反目。甚至可能让所有堕圣贤——包括他们的创始者和主人——反对另一位。然而,这种举动是会让世界脱离苦海,还是只会导致更糟的暴政,仍是个无人能解答的问题。

 堕圣贤共六位(数千年来一直如此),成员从未变过。每个非式样魔法领域(空间、熵、心灵、原质、精魂和时间)都有位相应的堕圣贤。力场、生命和物质被认为太“基础和易逝”,不值得有其典范,但全员都相当精通所有魔域。所有堕圣贤都向外界之物牺牲了姓名,所以像无名一样,只以自己选择的称号而闻名。这些名字的含义如今只被他们自己知晓。

 其余五位如下(无名是熵之堕圣贤):

 ● 风之圣师,空间堕圣贤:距离和空间在他面前毫无意义。圣师作为无名的信使和传谕者,总行走于堕落现世的危险道路——即使他沉思于曾是纽约市中心、如今是座由残垣断壁和破碎飞机堆成的高塔。所到之处,敌人无不更近而增援无不更远;噩耗纷至沓来,而喜讯了无音信。圣师是个英俊男子,有一头美丽的棕色长发,精瘦且皮肤黝黑,身着一袭似乎总在不经意微风中荡漾的长袍。

 ● 死产之王,心灵堕圣贤:死产之王如今只存在于自己的噩梦中。但它们的回响深入世界,以其疯狂的幻想感染他人。他没有被赋予统治的领地,因为这等概念和物理空间以及实体存在一样,对其毫无意义。而他的噩梦如风暴般肆虐于现世,降下疯狂幻觉,超越了虚幻与真实的界限,削弱了睡梦与清醒、理性与狂乱的隔墙。他在能被目睹的极少情况下的形态变化多端,随他自己的破碎感知而起伏。

 ● 妓女皇后,原质堕圣贤:她被问及时会高兴承认自己曾是巴比伦的妓女祭司。妓女皇后的城堡坐落于曾经的曼谷,她坐在其深处一个由交织的纵欲狂欢的人类尸体所组成的起伏宝座上,她的拥抱让男女成为灰烬雕像,他们的面孔被冻成狂喜的痛苦神情。她的爱是自私的,吞噬了喜爱(或迷恋)对象。她拥有成熟性感的肉体和女神的脸庞。妓女皇后鄙视穿衣,将欲望作为她的首要魔法,把那些看向她的人都困在自己的欲望之网里。

 ● 幽灵天使,精魂堕圣贤:幽灵天使在曾经的中非安家。生与死者在她的注视下于痛苦中并存,因此生与死也毫无意义。她看一眼便能杀人,也无人能看见她的真容而不被吞噬,以满足其对灵魂的饥渴。她的外貌是个十多到二十出头岁数的美丽女子,皮肤苍白,头发灰白。她的双眼迷失在雪花石膏面具的阴影中,后者被雕刻成冷酷无情的完美面容。她身穿的破烂长袍由条状的人类血肉粗暴制作而成,编织成恐怖的形态。

 ● 笑面愚者,时间堕圣贤:笑面愚者非生非死,他只在呼吸间;在生命终结而死亡开始的几秒间;在恐惧害怕的时候。此时时间不再有意义,每个瞬间都延长到了永恒。他空旷的宫殿坐落于西伯利亚泰加林、北极圈边缘的深处,由时间中冻结的瞬间建成。走在冰冷大厅会听见遥远声音,看见转瞬即逝的时空,和从未、也将不再有的人。他们中就有愚者,身着深紫长袍,有着不老不小,但早已死去或等待出生的面容。

 所有堕圣贤自然都是现象级的强大。魔峰都不低于7,每人的专长魔域都有可能的最高等级。整体认为每人约有无名一半强,实力两极上也各有所长。只有最强大的法师结社才能匹敌一位,且这等强大的堕落者几乎从不单独现身,他们身边几乎随时都有成群奴仆和被魔法束缚的奴隶。一些如妓女皇后的,有甘愿为她而死的追随者;其他如幽灵天使的,掌控着永不叛变的大军。每位在现世都是字面上的半神。

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Chapter VI

 The Descent of Creation is come, and the Unnamed stands triumphant, the architect of mankind's history – from its promising beginnings to its terrible end in fire and torment. The Nameless Lords bestride the Earth like titans, and the ruination of reality reaches its crescendo.



The Scourging of the Earth

 Now that the Gauntlet is no more, the Traditions and the Technocratic Union have fallen and the other willworkers of the Earth are scattered in fear and fractiousness, the Unnamed raises high his ultimate weapon, ready to end the war forever and break humanity to his yoke.

 ln a ritual held at the new site of his rule, in the blasted wasteland that was once Eden, the Unnamed summons his masters to Earth, giving them leave to incarnate physically within Creation. As they do so, pockets of the Tapestry dissolve forever, unable to support the weight of the chthonic titans. Here and there, around the world, pregnant women miscarry children, finding horribly misshape things that crawl away of their own accord, animals bleat and howl, with some of them going mad and rabid and others just dying, and bodies of water turn to blood and venom. The order of Creation is broken, and Those Who Came Before are given dominion over all that is. Finally, their jealousy finds its satisfaction and they learn what it if to have substance and existence, to the lamentation of reality itself.


Divvying the Poils

 Of course, the Unnamed keeps his word to most of those Fallen who supported him in his rise and subsequent conquest. Each of the Aswadim is given an abode from which to exert his or her will, though most of the day-to-day affairs of running Creation fall to the lesser Nephandi, the gilledians and adsinistrati, supported by Storm-Born shock troops. Unless killed (or otherwise put out of commission) by the characters, for example, Voormas accepts the truth of his Fall and graciously takes up the mantle of rulership over the remains of India and Pakistan. Jodi Blake governs everything from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and Anson d'Arcangelo takes up residence in Vatican City, there to lord over Italy.

 The Nephandi are virtually unstoppable at this point, and victories (when they are had at all) are small and come only through hit-and-run tactics. None can now delude themselves into believing that the Ascension War persists. For now and perhaps forever, it is ended. Beneath a sky of seething molten crimson and choking black mists, the Fallen sit in judgment over the desert wastes once known as Earth.


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"Anson Who?"

 You might not know who some of the various Nephandi given one-line cameos in "Hell on Earth" are. That's fine. All of them can be found in Mage books of varying levels of antiquity, and for the most part, their names are mentioned only for, flavor. If you've got a Nephandus antagonist of your own in mind for the Governor of Sin, Patron of Las Vegas, then by all means feel free to boot Jodi Blake's skank ass out of town.


The End of It All

 When all is said and done, the world writhes in the throes of Descent, damnation seemingly everlasting. Magic still lives, though the numbers of its practitioners are much diminished, save for the Fallen. Demons, dark spirits and Unspeakable Horrors from Beyond walk the Earth with impunity, and some lord over scattered enclaves of miserable survivors as dread taskmasters and cruel barons. The Fallen revel in what they have wrought and settle in to enjoy an eternity of ruling over a helpless human race largely reduced to Iron Age civilization and subject to depredations unknown since the worst excesses of the priests of the demon-gods of the ancient world.

 If the characters have done well, then some manner of resistance lives on, surviving another day to bring the fight to the Aswadim once more and topple them, so that the centuries-long (at least) process of driving out the dark can begin anew. For now, however, it is enough to know that the End has come and gone, and Ascension has proven to be a lie, a feast of ashes supped upon in sorrow by a failed human race.


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The Unnamed

 This is the Unnamed, in his final incarnation as god-king of the smoldering ruin of Creation.

 Essence: Primordial
 Nature: Incomprehensible
 Demeanor: Tyrant/Visionary
 Physical: Strength 4/15, Dexterity 6/9, Stamina 10/20
 Social: Charisma 9, Manipulation 10, Appearance 8/0
 Mental: Perception 10, Intelligence 9, Wits 9 (numbers after the slash indicate the Nameless' battle-shape)
 Abilities: Assume that the Unnamed possesses virtually all Abilities, save those pertaining to modern technologies (say, those developed within the past thousand or so years), at between four and nine dots.
 Backgrounds: Arcane 6, Avatar 10, Destiny 10, Dream 10. The Unnamed possesses virtually all other Backgrounds save Mentor (which he no longer possesses or needs) at effectively limitless levels, since the resources of the entirety of Creation are his to command
 Arete: 10
 Qlippothic Spheres: Correspondence 6, Entropy 10, Forces 5, Life 5, Mind 7, Matter 5, Prime 8, Spirit 8, Time 5
 Willpower: 20
 Quintessence: Limitless
 Paradox: N/A
 Resonance: (Entropic) Ruin 10

 Image: In his human form, the Unnamed is a tall, slender, painfully handsome man with skin, hair and eyes like polished obsidian. Only the striking whiteness of his perfect teeth offsets the relentless blackness of his form. He dresses in elaborate black robes, befitting the lord and master of Reality itself, covered in silver-stitched sigils of such malevolence as to sear themselves temporarily onto the eyes, like lights stared at too long. He speaks in a calm, measured, seductive voice that seems kind and wise, but within its depths lurks a forcefulness so intense as to render disobedience virtually unthinkable.

 Roleplaying Notes: You are always in control of yourself and the world around you. More or less nothing fazes you, and you always project exactly the image you wish to others, having become quite a capable student of human nature over the course of your long millennia. You give the impression of a benevolent father, even when you are heaping unspeakable torments upon those who displease you. You simply accept as fact the notion that you can break anyone, achieve anything and meet the price of any man's soul.

 Notes: The Unnamed can expend a Willpower point to cast more than one magical Effect in a turn, with no limit to the number of points of Willpower, other than his current temporary total, that might be spent in this fashion in one turn.

 He also possesses 10 dice of inherent Countermagic, though these apply only to Effects that target him directly. (Of course, he may still attempt to Unweave any magical Effect within his sensory range.)

 At the cost of a point of Willpower, he might assume his battleshape, a nightmarish tapestry of whirling madness, flailing pseudopods and glimpses into the vast gulfs of Beyond. All who gaze into its depths must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 9, three successes required) or be driven stark; raving mad (Storyteller's discretion as to what form the madness takes, though it will be extreme). The Unnamed can also assume many other shapes, changing race, gender and even species if it suits his needs. These other transformations, however, are handled as a function of his Qlippothic Spheres.

 From his bleak throne, the Tenth Seat, as he still affectionately calls it, the Unnamed rules Creation - or what remains of it, at least. Physically, the center of his power is located in Mesopotamia, where once was found the cradle of civilization. In terror and pain, millions of slaves labor to heap glory upon his name, living and dying at his command. He is the face of the Void, incarnate upon the Earth, architect of the Universe's despair.


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The Other Aswadim

 The Unnamed still enjoys the support of the first five people to accept his offer (maintained through canny politics, incentives and, of course, the threat of their destruction). The youngest of them hails from Pharaonic Egypt, and all are vastly powerful. Naturally, all have their own agendas and each has accepted a lesser position only because the Unnamed is so much more mystically potent than any one or two (or perhaps even three) of them and none trust each other enough to attempt to depose him. Still, it is possible to turn one Fallen Oracle against another, given time, effort and planning. Perhaps, it is even possible to turn all of the Aswadim, including their founder and master, upon one another. Whether such an act would allow the world to be freed from the grip of terror or would only set the stage for a tyrant yet more terrible, however, is a question none can answer.

 There are six Aswadim in total (and have been so for thousands of years). During all that time,  their membership has never changed. Each of the non-Pattern Spheres (Correspondence, Entropy, Mind, Prime, Spirit and Time) has a Fallen Oracle associated with it. Forces, Life and Matter were considered too "base and fleeting" to be worthy of their own exemplars, though all six of the Aswadim are quite proficient in the use of all of the Qlippothic Spheres. All of the Fallen Oracles have sacrificed their Names to Those Beyond, so, like the Unnamed, they are known by titles of their own choosing. The meanings of these monikers are now remembered only among the Aswadim.

 The other five Aswadim are as follows (the Unnamed is the lord Entropy):

 · The Hierophant of Winds, Fallen Oracle of Correspondence: In his presence, distance and space mean nothing. The Hierophant of Winds walks the dangerous paths of the Fallen Earth always, messenger and herald of the Unnamed, even as he broods within a tower of broken angles and fragmented planes in the heart of what was once New York City. Wherever he goes, enemies grow closer and help becomes ever more distant, while evil tidings travel swiftly and good news never arrives. The Hierophant of Winds is a handsome man, with a long, sweeping mane of brown hair, fine-boned and dusky features and resplendent robes that always seem to ripple in an unfelt breeze.

 · The Stillborn King, Fallen Oracle of Mind: The Stillborn King now exists only within his own tormented dreams. Still, the echoes of those nightmares seep into Creation, infecting others with his demented fantasies. He has been granted no one demesne over which to lord, for such concepts as physical space and corporeal existence have ceased to have value to him. Instead, his nightmares roil across the Earth like a storm, raining down deranged hallucinations that cross the boundaries between illusion and reality, eroding the value of the walls between sleep and wakefulness, sanity and madness. In the rare instances when he is seen, his form is protean, conforming to the ebb and flow of his own mutilated self-perception.

 · The Harlot Empress, Fallen Oracle of Prime: When asked, she happily confesses that she was once a priestess-whore of Babylon. The Harlot Empress sits upon an undulating throne of intertwined human bodies in orgiastic celebration, deep within her citadel in what used to be Bangkok. Her embrace leaves men and women alike as statues of ash, their faces frozen into expressions of ecstatic pain. Hers is the selfish love that devours the object of its affection (or obsession). She has a ripe, voluptuous body and the face of a goddess. The Harlot Empress disdains clothing entirely, using desire as her first and foremost magic and thereby ensnaring all those who look upon her in webs spun of their own lusts.

 · The Angel of Ghosts, Fallen Oracle of Spirits: The Angel of Ghosts makes her home in what was once Central Africa. The living and dead alike coexist in torment under her watchful eye; life and death have, therefore, ceased to have meaning. She kills with a look and suffers none to see her naked face without being consumed to sate her hunger for souls. Her form is that of a shapely woman in her late teens or early 20s, with chalk-white skin and ashen hair. Her eyes are lost in the shadows of her alabaster mask, carved into a visage of coldly beautiful perfection, and she wears robes of tattered rags that are strips of rudely tanned human flesh, woven and stitched into a gruesome patchwork.

 · The Laughing Fool, Fallen Oracle of Time: Neither dead nor alive, the Laughing Fool dwells only in those spans between breaths, in the few seconds when life ends and death begins, in the moment of fear and dread wherein time ceases to have meaning and every instant expands to become an eternity. An empty palace, built of moments frozen in time, stands deep within the Siberian taiga, at the edge of the Arctic Circle. Those who walk its frigid halls hear distant sounds and see fleeting sights of times and places and people who never were or will be. Among them is the Laughing Fool, garbed in rich purple robes with a face that seems neither old nor young, but instead long since dead or waiting to be born.

 Naturally, all of the Aswadim are phenomenally powerful. None has an Arete less than 7, and each one has his or her Qlippothic specialty Sphere at the highest possible rating. In general, consider each of them to be roughly half as powerful as the Unnamed, with a bit of variation on both sides of the curve. Each alone is more than a match for all but the most powerful cabals of mages, and such potent Fallen are almost never found alone, being surrounded at virtually all times by flocks of servitors and mystically bound slaves. Some, such as the Harlot Empress, have followers who would willingly die for them, while others, like the Angel of Ghosts, hold vast armies in unbreakable bondage. Each is, literally, a demigod upon the Earth.
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Re: 【M:tA-A】第六章:人间炼狱
« 回帖 #10 于: 2022-03-22, 周二 15:12:11 »
后记

 “盐湖城曾矗立在那儿,”蒙面人低声说道,仿佛这些话对站在他面前的人——末日后出生的孩子——意味着什么。他指了指市中心的黑玻璃金字塔,顶端燃烧着红色旺火。即使这么远,那些供能的裸露灵魂的哀嚎也一样能听见。

 “所以呢?”那个似乎在讨论乐队的年轻女子问道。她的眼神坚毅,这在一张看似未成年的脸上格格不入。她用长满老茧的手捋了捋头发的红棕色缠结,酸酸地嘀咕:“之前的世界在一百多年前就结束了。人类曾有机会,而现在他们统治了这儿,这就是一切。不过,老家伙,多谢你的历史课。”

 蒙面人悲伤地摇了摇头,兜帽下那浓密的浅棕白发随风飘拂。当年轻人转身离开时,他双眼眯成缝,缓慢但有条不紊地吸气,将自己精神的活力集中于顶轮上。他的意识将他和年轻男女间的空气切裂,波涛汹涌地进入了他们每个人的内心。

 你比你想象中的更强大。抛弃你那甘愿被遮蔽的意志。睁开你的双眼。你是人类。你生而自由。打破沉睡的枷锁,站起来成为你自己。

 年轻的流浪者因这力量而踉跄,但红发女孩是第一个重新站稳脚跟的。她摇了摇头,清醒过来,喘着气说:“你怎么做到的?你是谁?”

 那人举起双手,掀开帽兜,露出一张虽有皱纹,但仍年轻英俊的脸,他嘴上掠过恶魔般的微笑,说道:“至于我是如何做到的,其实你们只要稍加训练,就没有做不到的事。我已看到你们灵魂的归宿,我知道你们每个人都在努力觉醒;至于我是谁,这是个复杂的问题。现在你们可以直接叫我朱利安…”


 当然,尽管我们熟知的世界堕落而终,但现世却并没有崩塌消逝于虚无。仍有足够理由反抗堕落者的暴政。毕竟,也许正如一些现已去世的人可能说的那样,命运之轮在转动——有时它在顶点;而有时,则在低点。万物皆有自己的时刻,而任何你能走出的末日显然都不是末日。虽然觉醒者如今正打着人类史上最艰苦的战斗,但也正是这时,英雄主义辈出,英杰精神被证明。

 有希望的是,至少一些角色还活着,一些有影响力和经验的九宗、门派和科联法师也活着。你能讲述在本模组时间线后的任何数量的故事,无论是人类终结后不久,还是上文一样的几十年后。也许你想开始末日后的编年史,而我们又有什么资格指导你呢?毕竟这取决于你,因为结局几乎从不像它们看上去那样终极…

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Aftermath

 "Salt Lake City once stood there," the hooded figure asserted quietly, as though those words should mean something to those who stood before him, the children of Armageddon's aftermath. He gestured out over the glassy black pyramid in the center of the city, atop which burned an angry red flame. Even from this distance, the wailing of the naked souls that fueled it could be heard.

 "So what?" the young woman who seemed to speak for the band asked. Her eyes were hard, so out of place in a face that could not have seen more than eighteen years. She ran a callused hand through the red-brown tangle of her hair and muttered acidly, "The World Before ended over a hundred years ago. Man had his chance. Now, They rule here, and that's all there is. Thanks for the history lesson, though, old man."

 The cloaked figure shook his head in sorrow, the mane of white-streaked light brown hair spilling from beneath his cowl catching the breeze. As the youths turned to leave, his eyes narrowed to slits and he inhaled slowly and methodically, focusing the vitality of his spirit upon his Crown Chakra. His consciousness split the air between himself and the young men and women, entering each of their minds with the force of an avalanche.

 YOU ARE MORE THAN YOU DARE IMAGINE. GIVE UP YOUR WILL TO BE BLIND. OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE. YOU ARE HUMAN, AND YOUR BIRTHRIGHT IS FREEDOM. CAST OFF THE CHAINS OF SLEEP AND RISE UP TO BECOME WHAT YOU ARE.

 The young vagabonds reeled with the force of the contact, but the redheaded girl was the first to regain her footing. She shook her head to clear it and gasped, “How did you do that? Who are you?"

 The man brought his hands up and drew back the hood of his cloak, revealing a face still young and handsome, despite the lines of care that now creased it. A devilish smile crossed his lips and he spoke, "As to how I did that, it's nothing that you won't be able to do, given a little training. l have seen the destiny of your souls, and I know that each of you is struggling to Awaken. As to who I am; that's a complicated question. For now, you can just call me julian..."


 Of course, while the world as we know it ends with Descent, the Earth doesn't crumble and fade into nothingness. There is still reason enough to fight against the tyranny of the Fallen. After all, perhaps, as some who are now dead might have said, the Wheel turns - sometimes, it is at its zenith and, at other times, it is at its nadir. All things have their time, and any apocalypse you can walk away from obviously isn't final. While the Awakened now have on their hands the greatest uphill battle in the history of the human race, it is during such times that heroism thrives and the mettle of great men and women is proven.

 Hopefully, at least a few of the characters are still alive, as are at least some of the influential and experienced mages of the Traditions, Crafts and Conventions. You can tell any number of stories in the aftermath of "Hell on Earth," whether shortly after the end of humanity's Descent or, as in the example, decades later. Perhaps you want to begin your chronicle after Descent, and who are we to tell you otherwise? It's up to you, after all, for endings are almost never as final as they seem...