Torg Eternity Preview #7 – Nile Empire and Tharkold

This week, two more cosms are previewed, one that’s mostly the same as in Original Torg, and one that’s quite a bit different: the Nile Empire and Tharkold.

Nile Empire (Magic 13, Social 20, Spirit 18, Tech 20)

The Nile Empire is a realm of ACTION and HEROISM where the mysteries of ancient Egypt collide with the pulp stories of the 1930s! It is a nation where a brilliant weird scientist calls himself Pharaoh and rules his empire like the fascist dictatorships of pre-World War 2! Heroes and villains with superpowers and strange gadgets fight each other in the streets of Cairo! No other reality features as many exclamation points as the Nile Empire!

Adventures such as those seen in movies like Indiana Jones and The Phantom are common here. The Mummy might be a near-perfect example of the kinds of stories that can be told here.

The Nile Empire was the most popular realm of Original Torg, and as such there were only a few changes.

The realm has a moderately high Magic Axiom and a high Spirit Axiom, which support pulp sorcerers and a variant of the ancient Egyptian religion called Amaatism. Although technology is akin to the late 30s and early 40s, heroes and villains might wield weird science devices like ray-guns, jet packs, and force fields.

Pulp Power

Pulp powers can be purchased by Nile Empire characters as Perks, narratively staged as powers or gadgets. Unlike Original Torg, weird science devices no longer have a Tech Axiom. They’re supported by the reality’s World Laws instead. Another change is that the power level is a bit more subdued to reflect the original pulp influences rather than the “four-color” modern comics (most of the time anyway).

World Laws

The World Laws of the Nile Empire reflect the action-packed and melodramatic nature of the stories told in the pulps.

  • Law of Action: The very nature of the cosm encourages incredible feats by heroes and villains alike. The Law of Action increases the stakes and pacing to outrageous levels, and is supported by Cosm cards like Dramatic Reveal or Suddenly… In addition, reality-rated characters can take the better of two rolls when spending a Possibility by spending a second.
  • Law of Drama: A significant amount of melodrama is found in the Nile Empire, and death is not necessarily permanent for Stormers or Storm Knights (assuming a body is found in the first place).
  • Law of Heroism: The biggest change in the Nile Empire is that the old Law of Morality is gone. It is replaced with the Law of Heroism that causes heroes to rise in the constant threat of evil! This is the World Law that gives rise to pulp powers and weird science.

Tharkold (Magic 12, Social 25, Spirit 4, Tech 25)

Tharkold is a realm of Cold War-style techno-horror in the cities, with near post-apocalyptic survival in vast stretches of the plains between. Demons equipped with cybertech, known as Tharkoldu, or technodemons, rule enslaved humans known as “The Race.” Adventures inspired by movies such as Mad Max, Terminator, and Hellraiser will fit in well here.

In Original Torg, the cyberdemons were relatively common. Now they’re far more rare, acting more like “archdukes” over legions of thralls and enslaved humans. Another difference is that in Original Torg the Tharkold invasion of Russia was prevented through the actions of Russian psychics. They destroyed several stelae before the invasion, and when the maelstrom bridge came down, the backlash blasted Tharkold so badly they didn’t come back until almost two years later. In Torg Eternity, the resistance was far less successful.

This time the invasion succeeded. President Volkov, fearing the fall of his country in the face of such a powerful threat, launched a tactical nuclear strike against the maelstrom bridge in Moscow. The ensuing explosion was magnitudes worse than expected. A Duke of Tharkold and his army were destroyed and a massive plume of radioactive material, demonic refuse, and shattered pieces of the Tharkold bridge spread over a wide area of Russia north of Moscow. This region is now known as the Blasted Land, and is a Core Earth/Tharkold Mixed Zone.

Tharkold defiantly dropped another bridge shortly thereafter. Desperate, President Volkov agreed to a truce with High Lord Kranod . Some say “The Wolf” sold out the Russian people, others that he took the only measure possible to save the nation.

The birth of the Blasted Land and the Tharkoldu’s natural laziness has prevented much expansion of the realm. Now Russians and humans from Tharkold race across the radioactive wasteland, looking for strange relics left in the wake of the blasted bridge, while the common folk resist the depravities of their new masters as best they can.

Tharkold is a world of cybertech, psionics, and demonic magic. Although Tharkold’s Social Axiom is high, the brutish nature of the reality and the submissive culture of the demon’s thralls keeps resistance limited. The low Spiritual Axiom also hampers those who might use miracles to thwart what may be the invasion’s most powerful forces.

World Laws

Tharkold’s World Laws invoke the nasty and cruel nature of the cosm.

  • Law of Domination: Every being is either a dominant or a submissive. Reality-rated beings are usually dominant, Ords are usually submissive. Cosm cards such as Kneel! support this social order, and successful intimidation attacks by a dominant hero have improved results.
  • Law of Ferocity: Cosm cards like Enraged and Cyberpsychosis support the violent and brutish nature of Tharkold. Subtle actions get people killed.
  • Law of Pain: Pain literally is a source of power. When a character causes a Wound on an enemy, he may recover one point of Shock.

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5 thoughts on “Torg Eternity Preview #7 – Nile Empire and Tharkold”

  1. Ebatbuok says:

    Excellent. I can’t wait…. It seems that we will be able to have a french translation here in France. But still, I can’t wait… The kickstarter isn’t the same as winter… I don’t see it coming 🙂

  2. Zack Zenobi says:

    First, let me say I am happy to see that the Nile Empire starts out occupying Benghazi, Libya. I had a Pulp Hero NPC called The Warden (of Benghazi). He was cursed by some priests of Set to never leave the city of Benghazi. So he decided if the city was his prison, he would be its Warden. Oh and he wore a black Warner Brothers ‘WB’ ballcap along with his mask. 😉

    Second, what was the reason for dumping the Law of Morality? The pulps were always about the battle between Good and Evil. White hats and Black hats. One of the things I really loved was the game mechanic that let you Seduce a character to Good or Evil. PCs always loved roll playing the evil version of their character, until someone could snap them out of it and bring them back to the forces of Goodnes and Niceness.

  3. Zack Zenobi says:

    Can you help defineeded the term “Cold-War style techno-horror”?

  4. Dean says:

    Re: Dumping the Law of Morality. The reason is that the pulps actually weren’t black and white/good and evil. It’s more about heroism vs. villainy. It’s a fine distinction but it is one. Plus the Law of Morality introduced an entirely new mechanic with a bunch of options, etc and this was an area where we viewed that it should be trimmed.

    Re: Cold War style technohorror. A combo of the corruption of the human body that comes from cybertech with state secrets and the corruption of absolute power.

  5. RefeildRE says:

    I’d like to add to the Law of Heroism/Morality. Noir was also part of the pulps. Noir dealt a lot more with shades of grey than the rest. Try giving The Maltase Falcon a read and keep in mind Sam Spade was one of the nicer protagonists of the style. While may be not what the Nile Empire is about a noir style adventure could work much better with Law of Heroism that Law of Morality. I can see an adventure like that easily set in Cairo. My 2 cents.

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