So Derf, John, Xein, D'alton, Kethralzahn, and Pyrel were clones. I imagine that this is a little hard to swallow, as Eric seemed to be the only one fond of the idea. Jeremy found it repugnant, and John and Fred seemed to lack a major interest in it. Fred's philosophy was that he just wanted to experience the story and let it unfold. Not sure about John though, he is hard to read and rather quiet. Clones, yup. I went there.
So Jeremy wondered why Nakmander cloned The Robust Five in the first place, stating that there was better stock to be found out there. Which is true. Walthuler is a better marksman that John Johnson ever was. Nakmander himself was a better sorcerer than Derf. Kethranmeer or any of the First Five of the Rankethlek are far more tough and deadly than Kethralzahn could be. Example, example, etc.
To us, the players, our game is a game. It is a recognized mechanic of these types of games that as the game goes on longer and longer, the characters and the challenges both get tougher at an almost even pace. To the denizens of Hekinoe, it looks a bit different. To Nakmander, a group of somewhat bumbling second story men boldly stole from the most powerful crime lord in Hell. These second story men somewhat passively joined his rebellion and proceeded to destroy every enemy set before them, to overcome every challenge they faced, and not only did they survive to perform the next mission, each challenge seemed to leave them stronger and deadlier. In the span of nine month, they went from poorly fed convicts, to deadly dragon slayers that chewed up and spit out reavers for breakfast. There was no rhyme or reason to it, when the chainsword revved up and the steam rifle whistled, whoever was on the receiving end died and died bloody. Fortunately for Nakmander, the group lacked any sort of centralized leadership or guiding principles to their conduct. They were easily directed and easily managed, for the most part.
So we have a set of warriors that work well together at any task set before them. For the most part, they appear to be quick learners in areas of bloodshed and general violence. On top of this, they are fairly self sufficient and capable of supporting themselves with lodging, income, supplies, and so on. So they aren't a drain on his rebellion in any way, and just kind of destroy anything he asks them to and they don't really question it. This is perhaps the most appealing aspect of their dynamic, they don't ask questions and are easily directed.
So yeah, Nakmander made some clones out of the guys. He made a fucking army of them and went south to conquer a continent with them. Which is what he is up to at the moment. Also, the clones all wear white masks with eye and nose slits. He organized them into sets of five: Xeion, D'alton, John, Kethralzahn, and Pyrel. Then he utilized Derf as a specialist periodically joining a Five or operating alone doing whatever mayhem Nakmander needed doing. I could talk at length about Derf, but I plan on doing that in another post. It will be interesting. Keep your mouth shut, Eric.
I guess the big clone question is, who are the players and where are the original Robust Five? The originals are still alive and in Nakmander's care in the Sorcerer Magistrate's palace in Meroteth. Have you ever seen Alien Resurrection? In it Weyland-Utani is cloning Ripley's in an attempt to harvest and control a queen xenomorph. It is a tricky process that results in a super strong Ripley with acid blood and sharp fingernails that is part xenomorph. At one point in the film there is this room of glass storage tubes full of preservative fluid. In these tubes are a bunch of Ripley's that failed to properly clone. The original Robust Five are in a similar situation (except Derf, because not even Nakmander can handle Derf). The originals are in stasis tubes and preservative fluid because they have been so mutated and broken by exposure to sorcery and Nakmander's experimentation that they are twisted and broken and barely sane creatures and cloning them results only in monstrosities (monstrosities that I will perhaps speak of later).
So the originals are broken things that need to be put down, what are the players? They have a tattoo or weld mark or whatever somewhere on their body that is 1x2. This indicates that they are the first clones of the second series. Nakmander planned to do a lot of weird and freaky shit to the originals, so he cloned them and then stored them away in a fortified and safe place for a rainy day when that originals were too abused to make clones. The players are basically backups that woke up when they shouldn't have.
Nakmander's cloning process is something extremely specialized, something not he even truly understands because he is not the cloner. His sorcery does a lot of the brunt work, but the creator of this cloning process (which involves Clone, Contingency, and some enchantments designed to manipulate memory) is Savage Doc Managan. Normally in the cloning process, one clone dies and another wakes up with all the memories of the previous one. In the regular mechanics, the original dies and the soul kind of downloads into the new clone. Savage Doc Managan designed a fairly stable process (when the cloning misfires, it results in more monstrosities, how does it feel to know there are Robust Monstrosities out there guys?) that lets NakmanderNakmander to maintain basically ironclad control over his army while allowing them to be proactive and generally intelligent in a way that the originals were starting to not be after almost a decade of being mindfucked. There is also a memory revision spell in there that allows them the memories of the first campaign, but conveniently deletes the memories of the originals being mindfucked and conquering Fresgulen and recovering the artifact and so on and so forth.
Why would Managan aid Nakmander? Because, he is the head of the Organization and a powerful Meroteth threatens Kusseth, The Fell Peaks, and most importantly: The Fallen Empire of Man. Additionally, if Nakmander ever becomes too powerful and threatens the stability of The Known World, the Organization knows all his secrets and may perhaps have a clone or two hundred loyal to Managan and not Nakmander. Managan is the craftiest motherfucker in The Known World, just saying.
So there is a bit about clones. If anyone has any questions or ideas or criticisms, please please please ask and say them in the comment section rather than text or email, just so everyone can see them and whatnot. I really want to engage in full disclosure and reveal as much about this campaign as you guys can stomach without shining a light into all of the secrets of Hekinoe. Some ideas I have for future posts are talking about Krieg and Nakmander, the door in Derf's room, Derf himself, the three scenario arc I had planned for The Bottom of the World, and ultimately where this campaign was going. If anyone has any other stuff they'd like me to type about, please say so.
I also apologize if this post is riddled with grammar and spelling errors, I got dicked around at work and got out two hours late and have to go in two hours earlier than usual because I am now on a new schedule where my shift starts earlier. Didn't have a lot of time to finish the thing, let alone error check it. Thanks for your patience and understanding.