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 Post subject: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:13 pm 
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I have been running Arcanis 5E and came upon one of the oddest character builds I have seen.

Our resident Ss'ressen is an Tinker friendly Rogue-type who took the Expatriate of Milandir background as his character's dream is to be accepted among the Altherians and be able to study in the Grand Library.

He showed up to HP2-1 after the Intro modules with an Altherian Flintlock Rifle he decided to purchase as he has the background feature of Expatriate and thought that it would be fine to receive the full rights of an Altherian as an Expatriate.

I allowed it for this module because it is not around any civilization that would rightly care - but I am concerned about this for future adventures. I am personally on the fence as the GM. I like the imagination and interesting character background involved with the character and they really do roleplay it well and aren't doing this in a way that is trying to take advantage of mechanics (They were honestly scarier in combat when he was a great-weapon fighter.)

In my own games I generally try to approve of roleplay over mechanics, especially when someone makes a roleplay character choice that hampers him mechanically.

HOWEVER - I have a strong suspicion that pretty much any other GM playing a Living Arcanis campaign would not allow a Ss'ressen a Flintlock weapon without a specific certed allowance to have it, all background features ignored.

So, opinions? Official ruling?

Slade Auel

Arcanis 5E - Okaliis - Osalikene Ranger / Aefilan val'Assante - Psionic Inquisitor

ARG - Sykaen - Osalikene Martial Laeresti

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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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Location: Michigan
I am no one of importance, so this is just an opinion.

I reviewed the Expat background and find the language... vague. It says, "When you choose your home nation, you can either choose the nation of your birth or the nation where you now reside." It does not indicate that you gain citizenship in the new nation (saying "where you now reside" instead of "where you are a citizen" or anything like that), so I do not believe he would be viewed as a citizen, and thus he would not be legally allowed to carry a firearm. But I admit that is questionable since he is allowed to choose Altheria as his home nation per the rules which would normally allow him to own guns.

Additionally, if he took the veteran background variant former shining patrol member, it would explain why he went to Altheria (to fall in love with it) and where he got training with the guns, but it explicitly says in the sidebar of page 361 that such people have their guns taken away when they muster out, so he still wouldn't be allowed to have the guns. Unless, oddly, I guess if he was a brood of Ven he might count as a val? But I don't think they would be allowed by the Black Talons to run off like that...

And despite all that, he might be able to explain himself in Altheria where knowing the language and the customs as he does as an expat, and thus clear up any confusion; but anywhere else and they are going to see a lizard with a gun, and think that is probably a bad idea. Maybe in Milandir he wouldn't be questioned due to respect for the Black Talons, but elsewhere he would potentially be in a heap of trouble. Though who knows if the laws about blast powder extend to the first city?

AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important

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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:59 pm 
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There are mechanical steps that need to be checked.

1. the 5e rulebook does not require a Black Talon Ss'ressen only choose Milandir. However, the summary does state the entire clutch is oath-sworn to the crown of Milandir. This can have in-game impacts in any adventure based in Milandir or Sulphur Marsh; expect oathbreakers to be seriously disadvantaged.

2. Exile/Expatriate requires you to choose 2 nations: birth and residence. In this case it must be Milandir/Sulphur Marshes and Altheria.

3. For this to work, they *must* choose Republic of Altheria as their starting nation. This impacts their weapon/armour proficiencies. Getting shot at by your own nation on a regular basis (anyone seeing a Ssethric would shoot first and ask for papers second) would really suck.

4. The PC would have to be a Heretic to the Church of Milandir. That's going to really suck for divine area spells.

5. Although not common knowledge, the main ingredient of blast-powder is ss'ressen eggshells... This PC would be hounded by everyone (Black Talons, Milandir and Altherians).

Note that the concept entirely fails under ARG rules at the first step; all Black Talon Ss'ressen can only have a starting nation of Milandir/Sulphur Marsh; even Exile doesn't change that in ARG rules.

LARG; Astra Tonsoria Ursula val¤Dellanov, Martial Former Tribune, Centurion Sword Sage II, T3.4
LA:5E; Magdelene of Ostermann, Dark-kin Courtesan Rog3(Bard)/HC2 (future twilight warrior)
LRC:OP; Seraphina "Flowerchild" Amakiir, Skill Hero

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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:41 am
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Location: Portland, Oregon
@Southernskies: I came to the same conclusion as far as mechanical rulings is that its close enough to shrug about it as the player really wanted it.

But yes, the roleplay consequences are dire in a lot of ways! Which makes it quite interesting to play out. Milandisians hate him, Black Talons hate him, Altherians hate him, Ssethrics hate him, and yet... he strives on to do good. He just *really* wants to be a scholar and not a warrior, and see the world and help people!

It has certainly been quite a challenge to roleplay out but that has been part of the fun of it.

Still... I hesitate to think that it would work. I almost think its akin to saying "I *really* want to be an Elorii Cleric of Illiir."

Slade Auel

Arcanis 5E - Okaliis - Osalikene Ranger / Aefilan val'Assante - Psionic Inquisitor

ARG - Sykaen - Osalikene Martial Laeresti

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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:18 am 
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Location: Portland OR
I co-GM the game with Slade on alternate weeks. Its good to touch base with other Arcanis GMs.

Like the peanut gallery present, I agree that Rules-As-Written for the Expatriate background makes this a (technically) legal option for a player in 5E. Mechanically. Though I also find the wording to be a little vague and am not totally comfortable with the character design. And I suspect that Ss'ressen riflemen were not the intent of the background and something Altheria and Altherians ...uh ... "don't promote" even under exceptional circumstances. Although I will also say whole-heartedly that "Rogelio" is a fun character to play with, and he is internally consistent. The player has so far taken all the various PC/NPC "crap" we through at him in his interactions with others with good grace.

The player really seems to like "non-human" player race options but wants to play a (really) smart character who fits in with artificers, sages and archaeologists. Of the Arcanis options that's Ss'ressen. Doesn't want to be a female Ssressen. The character still follows the Fire Dragon and believes deeply in the importance of honor but doesn't fit in as the "smartest Man in the Swamp." He greatly prefers the intellectual freedom of "Man's World." Much like the Warlord, though taken further. He has swapped out the Expat background feature for Shining Patrol Veteran. Some act of conspicuous bravery in Semar opened the door to making his "Altherian Stay" permanent citizenship. (I'm sure some official thought he would offer citizenship as a courtesy reward, and nearly fell over when Rogelio said yes.) That's the story justification...

As far as NPCs go I think their initial responses go something like ...

Most Altherians/Coryani: "Oh Gods! That ss'ressen ate a poor Altherian and stole his clothes and guns!"
Shining Patrol Members: "'re that "Ss'ressen Sage" from Semar. Okay. I've heard of you."
Human Milandesian/Elorii/Hinterlanders/League of Princes: "What are you doing? ... There's got to be a crazy story here."
Black Talon: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? - Someone go get a Priestess!"
First City: "You want me to believe you have a license for that Altherian rifle?"

That seems to track somewhat closely to other offered opinions. Thanks for the thoughts. More are welcome. Agreed, that overwhelmingly other BT Ss'ressen are shocked to see him with a Blastpowder weapon.

My main concern is more campaign wide. Having one Rogelio running around is a corker and a head scratcher but maybe flies under the radar. Have a squad of players running around really would trigger an "official response" from groups in power.

Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen

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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:29 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1353
In terms of RAW, I would say it's certainly open to interpretation at least. For ARG you certainly get a mix of talents, skills and languages tied to your new nation. To SouthernSkies point, ARG is potentially a bit ambiguous. There is no statement in ARG to change your nationality and there is nothing in the 5.1 (2017) version of the FAQ/Errata discussing it at all.

The challenge with the Background in both systems is that it represents mechanics driving specific mechanical benefits with specific in story implications. Home campaigns are certainly free to do whatever they want and what makes sense for the story.

For this particular instance I looked at ARG for guidance to understand what's currently legal there. The Former Shining Patrol background is open to a limited number of nations including Milandir. So it is a completely legal build in ARG to do: Race: Ss'ressen, Archetype: <whatever>, Background: Former Shining Patrol.

Are there Black Talon Ss'ressen Former Shining Patrol members running around in the campaign? Probably. Again, just looking at RAW. The FAQ/Errata I referenced above has no clarification for it.

Looking at the 5E rules, there is already a Veteran background variant: Former Shining Patrol Soldier. Unlike the variant: Former Altherian Marksman, it doesn't have the nationality requirement. Going that route seems thematically closer to the ARG background route though would imply that the character is still loyal to Milandir and to the Black Talon clutch.

So, I would say there are (at least) 2 potential routes.

1. Exile/Expatriate - feels like a bit of a stretch to me to include the various parts of the Veteran background, but I understand there are ways to swap/manage features etc. so as long as it balances mechanically, all good. I would say this has the most downside from an RP perspective for the reasons already mentioned by others.

2. Veteran: Former Shining Patrol Soldier - clean, part of the RAW but may not provide the flavor of more closely associated with Altheria to access the library.

I would talk to the player and the regular GMs and see what makes sense and go with that barring a comment from Henry on the story intent/implications as that seems more important than the mechanics all things said and done.

With a sweep of his hat,


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 Post subject: Re: Expatriate of Altherian/ Shining Patrol Member
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:44 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
Posts: 208
No one official. This is my interpretation of the rules as written.
I think your players build, ss'ressen who wants to be a sage/artificer/intellectual is fine (choices have consequences, and they are fine with the RP disadvantages) except in 1 aspect, the flintlock. Expatriate is not an issue, the build falls apart with the rules for flintlocks. Unless I read your notes wrong and really your player wants a ss'ressen rifleman. If that is the case then what you have described it not legal. Side note this entire conversation would apply to kio swords, and being an expatriate in the League of Princes.

Expatriate does not make you a citizen it makes you a resident. Resident of Altheria does not equal citizen of Altheria. Just like in the real world being a resident of a country does not make you a citizen of that country. In the 3.5 campaign there were 2 certs released that granted citizenship and force you to forfeit your prior citizenship, the Laurels of Vigilance, and the White Sash of Purity. When the Laurels of Vigilance were released again in ARPG and 5E it did not grant citizenship.
How many modules have you seen where outsiders to a community are not welcome, I have yet to see a dwarven merchant who has been fully embraced by the NPC of the non-dwarven community they live in, regardless of how many years they live there. (The Horror Within, Unabated and Envenomed) And dwarves don't have the hatred that ss'ressen in Altheria have to deal with.
ACS pg 359 wrote:
However ss'ressen are typically viewed with suspicion, due to the Republic's long history and near-constant state of war with the Ssethregoran Empire.

As far as I recall only 2 groups of people are allowed to legally carry and purchase blast powder from the a Temple of Althares Vals (high ranking) and citizens of Altheria.
ACS pg 215 wrote:
Altherians, as well as clerics and holy champions of Althares, may purchase flintlocks at the listed price and may carry them regardless of rank.
There are no blast powder merchants. It is sold by clerics inside the Temple of Althares. They make the powder, and they sell the powder. Everyone else must keep a flintlock hidden or it will be confiscated by Altharians as it is considered stolen items. This ruling does not change from nation to nation, because the Clerics of Althares are the ones who enforce it. It seems like they are a tight knit bunch like when they lied about Althares revoking the ability to make blast powder to lower the amount being sold to the other countries. (ACS pg 216) Note to toodeeps's comment Brood of Ven are NOT Vals. (5E Ssethregoran book pg 245) They cannot purchase flintlocks or blast powder either.

Flintlock does not equal intellectual. While flintlocks are interwoven into Altherian culture, the flintlock is not the divine weapon of Althares. So if they want to play a Tinkerer, knowledge loving, ss'ressen in Man's World who is not held back by the Matriarchs go for it. Change the weapon. There isn't a flintlocksmith in Altheria that would sell an above board flintlock to a ss'ressen.
Ss'ressen walking into a flintlock store in New Althre
I'd like to buy a flintlock.
But I'm Altherian.
No you're not.
I've lived here in exile for 5 years.
So sad, still not Altherian.
This is outrageous I'm an Altherian.
Prove it.
I was in the Shining Patrol, here is my Pin of Service. I killed 50 ssethrics with my marksmanship.
Go to them to get one requisitioned.
I'm not serving now, I left service to adventure.
You're not an Altherian, you're not a Val, you're not an active member of Shining Patrol. You maybe the best shot north of the marsh but you can't buy or carry a flintlock. Thank you for your service at the marsh, please leave my shop.

Could a ss'ressen purchase a flintlock and blast powder from a black market? Absolutely! But that doesn't match what you have said about the character's personality. It seems they want to be above board on all this. Also I believe with the changes you'd have to make means you can't start with a flintlock, the player will need to find a certed one. Still every honourable Altherian, and Cleric/Holy Champion of Althares would see it as their duty to confiscate the stolen goods, and report the character as a person of suspicion, as a GM I would warn anyone illegally carrying flintlocks of gaining infamy if caught by Altherians. The rules say enslavement, maiming or death are typical forms of punishment. (ACS pg 361) In the 3.5 campaign there was a series of modules in Old Coryan that lead to an Altherian monk who was fleeing Altherian with a huge shipment of blast powder, he was getting paid enough to start a life very far away from Altheria. The information provided about how strict the Church of Althares is about their blast powder was very helpful.

That character is not legally able to purchase flintlocks or blast powder. The player has many choices on how to fix that depending what they want.
If they want to be intellectual loving ssethric, just change the weapon.
If they want to shoot guns (pew pew) change to an Altherian born Dark-kin (very rare occurrence to have Dark-kin born in Altheria for some mysterious reason. Legacy of Damnation pg 18)
Or if they must be ss'ressen and have a flintlock change the personally become a lowly dishonourable ss'ressen that would deal with black markers, and has no qualms carrying illegal items with them.

I hope it helps.

The Vault

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