Hermaphroditic Highnesses – Malmsturm Part 1

(This is the english translation of my german blog post.) German FATE guru Dominik asked for a Malmsturm play report after my review of Malmsturm – Die Fundamente (which I didn’t really translate into english, as the game itself is currently only available in german). I’ll gladly comply with that request … it seems like 90 % of my views are due to his sharing my blog posts on the Malmsturm page after all. But first coffee, than writing, wait a sec.imperium_aufmacher

Back again. Hipster coffee, hand-grinded, with oat milk and crème brûlée syrup … great stuff. The picture in this post is an official Malmsturm illustration by Björn Lensig by the way. I have to leave soon, off to the next Malmsturm session, so I don’t know how far I’ll get with this. (Translator’s note: That session already transpired, of course. An arena exploded and people were infected with telepathic parasites. It was awesome.) Let’s just begin with the

Party Creation.

(For FATE newbies: The “Game Creation” is a part of the FATE Core rules, that allows collaborative creation of the campaign setting at the table. In Malmsturm – which obviously comes with a ready made setting – this is replaced by the “Party Creation”, which eventually leads to a party concept aspect, a party dilemma aspect and a relationship network of the PCs and some important NSCs.) It came up relatively early that the campaign should revolve around a noble house in the Imperium. The Imperium is a former world empire caught up in millenia-long downfall, which slowly rots away in decadent metropolises in the middle of a hostile desert on a forgotten peninsula. We decided the noble house should have a gladiator army and it should be very old and in decline. Somehow it turned out that the houses characteristic trait is that its lineage consists solely of hermaphrodites and that they intendedly breed it that way. That breeding thing was then extended to the gladiator army and the house now keeps a breeding harem in which the fighters are produced. Of course they’re castrated before sale … you have to protect your product, right? One of the players wanted to play an alchemist so we made’em alchemically enhanced gladiators. That part about hermaphroditism was also picked up for the party concept: The player characters are all part of a secret sect within the noble house that wants to create Dark’halyanâr the Ambisexual God. The fundaments of this cult are ancient scripts, but they are incomplete and leave a lot of room for interpretation. Another detail that was later added to the noble house is it’s age-old leader, kept alive since time immemorial by a throne made up of forgotten technology, the Vitaflux. If you’re thinking of the Golden Throne from Warhammer 40k you’re exactly up the right alley. Thus we have the

Noble House of Tetriadoch

Aspects:

  • Triarch Asphalyx languishes in the Vitaflux
  • contested succession
  • best servitor breeders in the Imperium
  • Hermaphroditic Highnesses
  • awoke the Copals mistrust

(Side note: “Servitor” is a generalized term for “slave” in the Imperium, which in addition to the regular enslaved humans also includes daemonic servants from alien dimensions and technosophical machina. The Copal is the palace of the Emperor.) The residence of house Tetriadoch is set in Anosia, the home of birds, the garden of lust, the carnal fortress. Shimmering red walls of granite encompass a paradise for the rich and beautiful, embedded deep in the desert soil. Crippled and ugly people are denied access to the city. A prominent sight in Anosia: A pictorial park in the middle of a colossal aviary full of songbirds. The city’s temple district ist dominated by religious cults surrounding living gods that epitomize the carnal desires. The residence itself, the Brood Palace, is one of the oldest buildings in the city, but slightly deteriorated and rather a monument of past glory.

The Party

  • Party Concept: Anything for the Apotheosis of Dark’halyanâr!
  • Party Dilemma: The fragments of the old doctrine are contradictory

And therewith we have arrived at the

Characters.

For one we have

Xynthara Tetriadoch, thirdborn of the house and secretly the high priestess of the Sect of Dsha’hinna. The Dsha’hinna is a dogma that rests upon the pursuit of perfection, beauty, escapism and debauchery. But for Xynthara this sect is in fact primarily a source of perfect bodies (from “volunteers” out of the sects ranks) that fall victim to experiments for the creation of Dark’halyanâr’s vessel and it’s an opportunity to have herself and her perfect body adored and deified. Additionally, of course, her cultists provide power, both societal and arcane.

Agnleiphi, the Lanista of Tetriadoch’s Ludus (head trainer of the gladiator school) and captain of the First Fist of the in-house gladiator team. Agnleiphi is itself an older noble of the house’s bloodline but noone seems to know it’s exact family relations. As a matter of fact Agnleiphi is the brothersister of the Triarch himself, but doesn’t raise any claim to the throne (yet). Agnleiphi looks much younger than he/she actually is, thanks to the houses own royal alchemist

Hekaia. He is no member of the house but has been in it’s employ for a long time. For as long as he can remember actually, as he has lost his memory in a (seemingly) failed experiment quite some time ago. The androgynous alchemist sees himself more as an artist rather than a craftsman (let alone a “sorcerer”, pff) and calls himself a fleshshaper. He believes it is his purpose to assemble the perfect body of Dark’halyanâr.

Xynderior has been specifically subjected to the Triarch of Tetriadoch by the Guild of Technosophers for the care and ritual maintenance of an antique artifact, the Vitaflux. He is also the one who founded the cult of Dark’halyanâr and studies the ancient scripts of the prophet Califrax as it’s designated scholar. He moves around exclusively on his floating sedan (leaving his legs rather atrophic) and always has his levitating Apportunites, equipped with communication crystals and gripper arms, probing the surroundings.

More about the characters, complete with aspects, relationship network and NPCs follow in the second part of the Malmsturm play reports. I’m off.

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4 comments

  1. Really interesting and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for translating some of Malmsturm references. I was always curious about Malmsturm and I really enjoyed the original rulebook and I love the “grim and perilous” mood of the game. This is certainly one of the main references for my own homebrew setting. I’d love to see more of such articles translated, if possible. Thanks a lot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certainly will do! So you understand a little bit of german I take it? Fives days ago a new version was released, you might want to check that out. It’s got a free PDF again and everything. Anyway, keep your eyes and ears open, the Malmsturm writers were looking for german-to-english translators on RPG.net not long ago. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am a complete “German noob”. I started learning and giving attention to it last year or so. And yes! I saw the new version “Die Fundamente” available to download and I intend to “digest” little by little. RPGs helped me learning English, I’m glad Malmsturm will play the same role for me now that I am learning German 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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