Guardian Princess Runealy

From MahouMUSH
Jump to: navigation, search

Summary/Intro


On the medieval European-styled world of Waldia, women of the royal family are heirs to the magic maintaining a Barrier that seals away a vast demon horde. Each generation kept their world safe, and life goes on. Yet tragedy has threatened this stability, and those eager to exploit it have recruited others to aid them in striking down the current order... even as a new generation of heroes rises to protect it.

When Queen Lene was murdered by an unsealed demon on the day she was slated to renew the Barrier's power, Princess Runealy proved unable to complete the task. Desperate for another solution, she revived the ancient order of the Guardian Knights and unsealed a portal to Earth. Tokyo is an utterly alien world to them, one whose common technology is beyond their wildest dreams! Observing the city and its defenders, they attempted to drain magical energy in the hopes it will supplement the Princess' power enough to successfully restore the Barrier. As near-tragedies and challenges grew increasingly hard to bear, they were eventually talked out of their scheme by the very people they were hurting. Joined by these new friends, the Princess and her Knights successfully returned home and mounted a last-ditch effort to restore the Barrier.

While Waldia is now relatively safe, its defenders have returned to Tokyo to make amends for their previous actions and to repay those who have done so much to give them a new hope and new chance at life. Yet not all is well back home. History's injustices have left a province in poverty despite the royal family's efforts to set this right. Demons have found no shortage of desperate or darkly ambitious people to accompany them to Earth, unified in a desire to defeat the princess. The more sympathetic among them believe this will bring in a new era of prosperty and stability for their home, while others yearn for power and conquest. Either of these motives suit demon-kind well enough; if their soul-contracted human 'allies' succeed, the Barrier will inevitably fall within a few generations and their monstrous army will be free to destroy as many worlds as they can find.


Cast


Runealy Waldia / Princess Runealy

Gaofele Doiru / Guardian Gao

Hinote Kagari / Guardian Hino

Fate T. Waldia / Princess Fate T. Waldia (Adopted, formerly Fate Testarossa) (Fate remains a Nanoha series CC and subject to the rules thereof, but is also listed as a character of this theme due to significant crossover)

Arina Rehylde / Guardian Ari

Bellinor Adelram / Lady Blakemore

Pyrne Mikhael / Pyrne the Thorn


Cast open to recruitment! Contact us if you're interested in joining, we'd love to have you!


Inactive Cast

The following characters have not been in play for some time. While they remain approved should they return, they have no 'protection' in place for various concepts, weapon/element combinations, and so on; applications for ideas overlapping with the characters below will be considered!


Raine Delacroix / Guardian Rai

Solomon Novak / Guardian Sol

Valeria Barun / Guardian Vale

Shira aka Levan Silva / The Nightshade Serpent

Odila Fairune / Lady Nocturi


Series Overview

Guardian Princess Runealy mixes medieval fantasy with magical girl, placing it alongside works such as Magic Knight Rayearth and Long Live The Queen. Most characters from this setting face questions of personal growth and how to respond to challenges in their lives, sometimes in the face of suddenly changing circumstances. Hailing from a world whose technology and society are roughly similar to 15th century Europe, Earth is a truly alien world to them and everyday objects like cars and cell phones are mindblowing.

This document will offer a comprehensive look at the setting, comparable to a RPG worldbook's article on a particular nation. Reading it will give you the information you need to design a character, understand their world and past, plus what motivates them. It's in-depth, but you don't have to read it all in one sitting.

Protagonists from this setting usually hail from the medieval-styled world/nation of Waldia. Inspired by recent events, both tragic and heroic, they have chosen to venture to Earth through a special portal for a variety of reasons. Some seek personal growth, others wish to protect the future that was almost ruined by a narrowly-averted demon apocalypse. All are unified by their Guardian Oath, a promise made to the Princess that together they will protect one another and their world. These Guardian Knights hail from a variety of backgrounds, but are equal in magic; a commoner and noble who both embrace their inner excellence, striving to be better and share that with others, amount to the same thing in this regard.

Antagonists come in two forms: Demons, and those tricked (or legitimately interested) into making contracts with them in return for magical power. They too have ventured to Earth for many reasons. Some seek to end the royal line by destroying the princess, ensuring a demon army will inevitably and eventually be freed. Others seek conquest of many new worlds now that they are aware there is indeed more than one planet they can get to. Some have been misled into seeking worthwhile reforms back home, hurt by historical neglect of their province, yet are pursuing it the wrong way and may yet be saved if shown the truth. All of these kinds of antagonists are available for application now, and this document will help you design them just as well as it would a Guardian Knight!


Emotional Tones


GPR is a 'high drama' setting that explores both positive and destructive ways to cope with life's challenges. Whether it's overcoming a tragic loss or struggling with how to react to a bad situation, they face important decisions. Correction and redemption are major concepts; someone might make the wrong choice and make their problems even worse, but they can often change before it's too late. They can start doing the right thing. Their lives will be happier for it, and in turn they can enrich those around them... some of whom may well have been vital in convincing oneself to turn away from a terrible path. Not all characters in the setting face these kinds of struggles, but it is fairly common.

An important clarification: While characters from this theme might suffer from very dire circumstances, GPR’s core message is that you can recover from them. Make the right choices, associate with good people, and happiness can be regained. Some aspects of GPR are dark and heavy-hearted, but this serves as contrast for the light at the end. Its characters might not always make healthy decisions, but it is intended that many of them (aside from those who are truly irredeemable, or simply will not change their ways) will eventually make the right choices. That they will succeed in their struggles and gain a happier, better life.

Personal growth is also encouraged. Seeking new skills, adapting in the face of challenges, and finding friends who will both help you and feel wonderful to help in return are all great things. Friendship and support are vital in doing right; one person can only do so much on their own, but a circle of people helping one another become excellent is wonderful.

While generally holding a serious story tone, there is plenty of room for heartwarming moments. Spending time with those who mean so much to you is gratifying, and this comforting bond is strongly encouraged. There is also potential for comedy, especially of the 'fish out of water' variety. Remember, most characters from GPR find modern Tokyo to be completely different from what they know back home. Electricity doesn't exist where they're from, and the idea that cities can have populations in the millions is staggering when their capital has perhaps twenty thousand people at most and it's common to know most of your neighbors. Imagine how baffled they might be by Earth technology, and how many scenes can emerge from that premise!


World History


The world of Waldia has, up until very recently, had no contact with other worlds outside of those handful who have gone to Earth (though many people will hold that world in high regard, for the role its heroes had in saving them during the recent Barrier Crisis). Their society is fully supernaturally aware, as their history with magic is the basis of their government and society; the royal family’s women have their role because they protect life as they know it.

Thousands of years ago, humanity on Waldia was in danger of being wiped out by roaming demons. One woman, whose name has been lost to time and is now honored as "The First Queen", wielded powerful magic and shared it with a handful of individuals who became her Guardian Knights. Working together, they struck back against the demons and managed to create a barrier that sealed many of them away. A wonderful Barrier Shrine was erected to house this magical shield. It kept their army trapped out of the world, allowing society to rebuild; there was little opposition to renaming the world and nation in her honor. The magic necessary to maintain this Barrier is hereditary, passed from each queen to their daughter, and the new generation is often called upon to restore the Barrier's power; if they do not, the ward will eventually collapse and it is generally believed that the demon horde won't be stopped this time... that they won't fall for the same tactics twice.

Thus, growing sufficiently powerful to restore the Barrier is how a Princess proves she is ready to become Queen. This system has gone largely unchallenged, and the public mostly adores their royal family; it's easy to be popular when you're demonstrably keeping people safe from death at the hands of monsters. Life was safe and joyful, and over time the order of Guardian Knights became unnecessary and dissolved; the Queen of any given time could handle the occasional attack by a wandering demon on her own. This life of prosperity under the Queen's protection is very true in the capital district and most neighboring provinces. Most, but not all. 125 years ago, the Lormia province was tricked into rebellion when some of the demons not trapped behind the Barrier convinced its leaders to seek greater power.

Then-Queen Jemira responded with overwhelming force, devastating the region. Furious that her rule had been challenged seemingly without provocation, she razed homes and fields. She threw entire families onto the streets (or worse) if even one among them was suspected of supporting the rebellion. Her successor left the Lormians to rebuild on their own, and the current Queen, Lene Waldia, has met significant resistance to her efforts to make restitution. The current Lormian elite benefit from the widespread poverty in their region; they live comfortably by hoarding what resources they can, and create a narrative that the royal family does not care for the common citizen's plight. Fearful that reforms could result in them being ousted from power, they prefer to keep the citizenry misled and oppose efforts to help. Such suffering could provide an easy recruiting ground for wandering demons, who seek pawns in their own schemes by offering soul-contracts in return for the magic to oppose the royal family.

On the morning of May 10, 2015, Queen Lene was found murdered in the castle. In a cruel twist of fate, Runealy was the first to find her, having sought Lene to confirm the day's plans; the intent was to celebrate both Runealy's 14th birthday and a successful Barrier restoration on the same day. Instead, she found her mother slain by two sets of three burning slash marks... suggesting a demon with three fire-emitting claws was the killer. Lene had been scheduled to visit the Barrier Shrine that day and renew it, as it would soon be necessary. Stricken with shock and grief, Runealy was nonetheless rushed to the Shrine in the hopes she might be able to complete the Restoration Ritual. Not powerful enough in the first place, and now shaken by the intense pressure, she completely failed and each attempt left her both more exhausted and increasingly terrified; it was clear she would not be able to prevent the Barrier's collapse. While this information was hidden from the public, the royal family and their advisors knew this could not be concealed forever. It seemed the world's destruction would be only months away, and a heartbroken Princess Runealy sat to wait for an end she could not prevent.

Yet there was one other way. Waldia had a portal to another world. A world they knew nothing about, as this portal had been sealed by the First Queen thousands of years ago. Friends and advisors urged the princess to remove this seal, to venture to the 'Unknown World' and find something, anything they could use to stop the Barrier from dissolving. Realizing that some chance was better than no chance at all, she agreed and prepared to set out alone. Yet others wouldn’t allow ‘alone’ to happen.

A few brave volunteers, a mix of friends and castle staff, insisted on going along. Runealy protested at first, noting they wouldn't be able to protect themselves. When they pointed out the castle vault still had artifacts from the long-dissolved order of Guardian Knights, she relented and presented them the Oath that would empower them to take magical forms of their own. With the historical Knights alive once again, plans were made for an emergency expedition.

The plan was threefold. They would see if the world had any life, study it as quickly as possible for leads on magical power, then seize that energy and take it back to Waldia to supplement Runealy's Barrier Restoration ritual; a boost to help overcome her own lack of ability. Fearing the worst if people learned why they needed this energy (would someone be cruel enough to cross over and help free the demons?), it was decided that they would instead mount a rapid campaign to take what they must by force and make amends later. Should it turn out the new world had any demons of its own, the policy was that they would be struck down just as Waldian ones would be. "We're not here to ruin people's lives, so we'll protect them from that at least" was the general agreement. Knight and princess alike were unhappy with this plan, realizing it meant hurting innocent people regardless of how they justified it, but they felt it was the best way to survive.

Once supplies and money were gathered for the campaign, the portal was unsealed. Runealy and the first new Guardian Knight, Gaofele Doiru, crossed over. They emerged in a forest near Tokyo. A long walk brought them into a city of lights and technology, of staggering numbers of people. Bewildered by their surroundings, they nonetheless did their best to integrate into the city and begin their plan.

Over time, additional Knights were summoned to join them (including one Tokyo native discovering their secret and joining). They split their efforts between defending Tokyo from monsters and attacking its protectors, draining energy as opportunity permitted. Yet their 'targets' protested, pleading for answers as to why this was happening. Initially met with silence, the princess and her friends lost their resolve over time as their situation grew worse and worse. Eventually, desperation drove them to trust their 'enemies' with the reasons for these attacks... and found the very people they hurt were willing to help resolve the Barrier Crisis. The attacks stopped almost immediately, and a return to Waldia was planned. Once the Barrier was restored, a decision was made: They would go back to Earth to repay this kindness.

While that policy was very popular in the capital district and most other areas, the people of Lormia resented it. It looked to them as though the princess was a gloryhound who truly didn't care about their situation, and was instead going on some vacation to another world. The truth is better and worse: She has been raised on a censored version of her world's history, and doesn't even know Lormia exists. Regardless, the widespread anger brought about by this decision has allowed wandering unsealed demons to access a vast recruiting ground of people eager to change their situation... even if it means accepting dark power into themselves. In small groups, such demons and their 'contracted allies' venture to the portal and cross over to Earth, eager to pursue the princess to this new battleground.


Character Design


This section covers three character types: Human protagonists (usually Guardian Knights, plus Runealy), Demon antagonists, and Human antagonists that have been convinced to enter into a soul-contract with a Demon. It also covers some universal concerns.

Character names tend toward the exotic. Human characters regardless of affiliation tend to have names suggesting European heritage of some kind, or at the very least clearly aren't Japanese names. Runealy Waldia is one example, as is Gaofele Doiru; both evoke different European themes, but are valid examples. Demons tend to have genuinely unnatural names, such as Valflox or Kludezx. Guardian Knights have names that merge into their magical title. For example, a character named Graceina might be called Guardian Grace in their magical form. Demons do not need a magical title but can optionally have one along with their proper name; “the Dark Herald”, "the Sky-Render", and so on are fine. Human antagonists may also have magical titles or not, though if you intend for them to later be redeemed then their name should be compatible with the 'flows into their Guardian title' example above.

Visually, human characters merge medieval fantasy with magical girl. Skirts and jewelry and ribbons might be mixed in with armor and capes, and male characters likewise affect an air of medieval nobility. Most characters have some kind of weapon, be it a wand or a medieval weapon such as a sword or spear, or even a longbow and it's optionally acceptable to have a smaller 'sub-weapon' if it doesn’t make sense for your character to always use the main one. For example, someone with a longbow or wand or magic book might have a dagger or similar ‘backup’ option in case you feel it would be odd writing close-combat action for them with their primary weapon. Please note that most eastern weapons are prohibited, as they clash with the series’ European-themed art direction. Directly equivalent weapons might be okay on a case by case basis (Example: A scimitar is acceptable since it’s extremely similar to a saber, but a katana has no obvious western match), but you should generally lean European; we’re leaving clearly eastern things untouched so that other themes can use them as part of their distinct look if desired.

Demons follow 'monstrous humanoid' concepts; two or more arms, two or more legs, a head and a body, and they often have 'sinister' wings such as large bat-style wings. Demons tend toward have natural weapons on their bodies such as claws and horns, but might also have manufactured weapons such as an axe with jagged edges. Their physiques vary, from wiry and light with a height of around a foot tall all the way up to towering at 15 feet, though many demons fall between these two extremes. Their eyes are different from a human’s. While in the same place and having about the same shape, they have no pupil or iris; their eyes are a single ‘wall’ of color, usually some shade of yellow but red, purple, black, and similar darker colors aren’t unheard of.

On Ages: Guardian Knights tend to be 13 to 16 years old at start of MahouMUSH’s story, and the age of new Knights should generally keep pace with the existing cast. Human antagonists can be anywhere from 13 and up within a human’s normal lifespan. Demons are effectively immortal unless destroyed, so most of them tend to be hundreds or even a few thousand years old; their relative lack of events in their long lives so far is a testament to how patient most of those surviving, unsealed demons tend to be (though some eventually lose patience and go on ‘monster of the week’ style rampages).

Few specific antagonists have been designed at this time, in order to provide a variety of concepts and freedom to applicants; please feel free to propose ideas!


Transformation


Guardian Knights receive their magical transformation by taking a special Oath, where they promise to protect and serve Waldia and its royal family. Where these goals might be mutually exclusive, 'protect' trumps 'serve'; protecting others is considered one of their society's highest virtues, and this has made some of them feel even worse about their plan to do an unprovoked attack on Earth... they may have decided it's necessary for survival, but it runs deeply contrary to their beliefs and they're not comfortable doing it.

Their transformation involves holding their Guardian Knight artifact (which might be a glove, bracer, piece of jewelry, or some other easily transported item; weapons usually aren't a good idea for their transformation object) and shout a phrase related to their Oath. For example, "to protect the Barrier, I am Guardian (name)!" Or "As Guardian (name), I swear to defend the safety of my friends!" Each Oath is personal, so there is room for individualizing your character's transformation phrase. Once complete, their magical attire and weaponry appear.

Demons do not 'transform' in the conventional sense, but they can use magic to disguise themselves as humans. This disguise is very thorough, and is not easily seen through. While they can fight in human form, only the strongest of demons can do so with enough power to overcome others in this way; demons must revert to their true form in order to fight at their full abilities. This can be done with a simple gesture like a finger-snap, a sinister laugh, or can involve a more elaborate phrase if they so desire.

Human antagonists transform through an item given to them by the demon they contracted with, such as a claw fragment or a cursed book. Their transformation phrase reflects what they hope to accomplish, which could run a wide range. Phrases like "To defeat the royal family and restore my homeland!" and "I shall rule all that I survey!" are both acceptable, depending on whether your character is well-meaning but has been misled by demons in a moment of desperation or whether they're viciously ambitious and plan to seize greater power for themselves. Those phrases are simply examples, but the one your character uses should make clear what they strive for.

Human characters have very limited powers while not transformed. They might be able to work extremely basic feats such as producing a flicker of flame or the very weakest of healing, but by and large they need to transform in order to do much of note.


Powers


Most characters follow a template of one element or energy theme to their powers, a few medieval (or natural, in the case of demons) weapons, one or two additional abilities building upon their elemental theme, and one special form of movement (such as high jumps, whether naturally so or visibly propelled by magic). For example, a Guardian Knight might wield a spear, a sub-weapon such as a dagger, ice magic such as icicles to attack with or ice surrounding their spear-tip, boosted jumping, creating ice walls as a barrier/forcefield, and healing magic based on the idea of a 'soothing cold mist'. For comparison, Runealy has boosted leaping, a large wand/staff capable of firing non-elemental energy (so as to leave more elements open for Guardian Knight characters to select), barrier/forcefield creation, and limited healing. Other characters are not subject to this restriction and can have it at higher abilities than she does as well, giving room on the team for a notable healer if an applicant desires this as a major part of their character’s theme.

Guardian Knights have a 'team combination' attack known as Ward Oath Unification. Modular in design, it combines individual attacks from two or more Knights into something merging traits of whatever was put in to the blend. For example, a swirl of needles (plant magic) plus flames might become a 'tornado' of burning, dart-like projectiles! This modular nature means it has no one particular form and is instead very flexible in how it is used. Note that Runealy does NOT need to be present to do this. Any two or more protagonists, whether the princess is participating or not, can do Ward Oath Unification.

Human antagonists follow the same template of "weapon or weapons, movement type, element, supporting abilities", though their elemental magic is tainted by demon energy and thus resembles a dark/evil version of a normal element. Their flames might be a sickly purple color, for example. Most of them aren't capable of magical healing, since their magic is powered by a demon contract. This contract is effectively long-term poison; one might wield demon magic for several months or even a few years with little consequence, but eventually this dark power will cause the body to break down. It also exerts some mental influence, making people more open to crossing moral lines. Those who are well-meaning might do it reluctantly and still make some effort to minimize the harm they do, but they will rationalize some acts with ideas like “this is necessary to bring about a better tomorrow” or similar. Those who are already vicious simply become even more so, and may come to outright enjoy it.

Demons are similar to human antagonists in power set, and it's common for their claws or their manufactured weapons to emit their chosen element. Demons may also choose to use raw 'dark energy' instead of a 'dark element.' They cannot use healing magic, though they might be able to create the illusion of healing.


Humans allied with demons have access to special 'Dark Crystals.' These crystals are solidified demon magic, and pressing it to one's neck causes the crystal to become a dark purple mist that seeps into the body. The user's eyes turn a solid yellow with no pupil, iris, or other natural eye segment visible. For a short time, the user gains greatly increased power. However, these crystals are poisonous. Using them hurts, and one is usually motivated by a great need in order to use something so dangerous. While they offer a lot of power at first, their benefits dwindle with continued use and have terrible effects on the user's health. Within a few months, they may show severe coughs, blurred vision, and other problems... and may find using more crystals necessary in order to merely fight at their normal ability, nevermind having increased power. Recovery is possible if one quits using them before it's too late, and magical healing will greatly help this process. Otherwise, once a certain point is crossed, crystal use is fatal; history records that such users collapse into dust just as a destroyed demon does.

Demons gladly create these for their contracted mages, seeing such people as disposable pawns. The crystals are illegal in Waldia, though the castle vault houses some that have been kept for research. Runealy secretly took some, desperate enough to use them in order to save her world. The disastrous effects on her health and emotional well-being were enough to ensure an absolute policy that no more crystals may be used by princess or knight, and the few remaining in the vault are under much better guard these days. (A knight could still be tempted into using ones supplied by a demon, but this would be a noteworthy storyline and should be discussed with the cast ahead of time.)

Note that Guardian Knights currently can't fly but might gain the ability to later on. Human antagonists optionally can, though this is best if they are notably high-end foes to help signify their greater power. Virtually all demons can fly, even lower-end ones; it's exceptionally for a demon to be unable to fly. Choosing not to is plausible though, and might make a lot of sense in some cases. Most demons can't fly in human form, though extremely powerful ones can.


Resources


Guardian Knights are notably well off in terms of money. While they don’t have unlimited funds, Runealy took a significant part of the castle’s treasury along for the expedition to Earth and pays the Knights quite nicely. They have no problem maintaining an upper-class lifestyle with fine clothes, high-end dining, and even hiring private drivers so long as they do not go too crazy with their money. Hiring a driver is plausible, but buying a fleet of personal limos would quickly deplete their funds. Your character might favor more modest means anyway for whatever reason, but significant wealth is available to them; being brave enough to follow the princess to an alien world is a very high paying job!

Currently the Guardian Knights and Rune live in an upscale home in the Mitakihara area. The two-story exterior shares the same 'hyper-modern' design many other houses in the area do, and has a few trees in the yard, but the interior is largely medieval European in design with modern technology added upon that.

Lormians wildly vary. Those hailing from its rare wealthy elite are able to maintain high-class lifestyles of their own, and might enjoy showing it off. Those from humbler means might have to take on side-jobs to earn enough money to scrape by in Tokyo, and would favor lower-end clothing and food. On the other hand, their contracting demon might arrange to take some wealth by force (or even just subtly steal it) and funnel that to their impoverished mage; if a lifestyle upgrade will keep their victim loyal to the demon then some of these monsters will gladly do it. In other words, wealth level is up to you and what themes you want to emphasize in your character.

Likewise, where they live is up to you. Demons are patient, so some are willing to tolerate living in terrible conditions if they think it’s the best way to hide and wait for an opportunity. Others are arrogant and would arrange for high-end living such as a very classy apartment or similar. Contracted mages are similarly varied. If they’re poor and their sponsor demon doesn’t care about their living conditions, such a mage might very well be homeless or living in the lowest-end housing available. Or they might have enough to get somewhere decent but not amazing. Those few lucky enough to be wealthy might have a top-notch place, and those whose sponsor demon does funnel wealth to them might likewise be hooked up with a good place to stay.

While GPR does not place much emphasis on the finer points of economics, the following universal points can be fun to include for your character: Waldian currency mostly revolves around gold and silver coins, minted with the nation’s shield-and-heart symbol on one side and the face of the current queen (Lene, in this case) on the other. The motto "Always Safe" is also featured on these coins, a nod to Waldian society's emphasis on 'safe' meaning someone is both 'protected' and 'happy.' As this is clearly not a normal currency in Tokyo, characters might have to sell some of this as normal gold/silver to get Japanese yen instead… or find people willing to accept the unusual coins as payment anyway.


Schools


Guardian Knights may enroll at any school they can reasonably gain admission to. It can be assumed they have enough money to bribe their way in, or enlist the aid of someone who can help them present a cover story and false identity claiming they’re ‘from Europe.’ Not attending a school would be highly unusual. Rune and most of the Knights currently attend Seiyou, but it is not strictly required that they do so.

Demons must affect some kind of human disguise in order to attend school, and would mostly do so as a means of studying potential targets or recruits. Whether they disguise as students or faculty varies from demon to demon. Most demons involved with a school are willing to play it as a long-term strategy, and would go to significant lengths to make sure the disguise they set up for school use won’t be revealed by blatantly attacking people on campus.

Demon-contracted mages may attend any school they can reasonably gain admission to, using the same ‘bribe their way in or hire someone to create a false identity’ approach Guardian Knights do. Even if they are otherwise impoverished, their sponsor demon might make sure ‘arrangements’ are made to get their mage into school if they feel it serves a useful purpose. Their role would vary by age; older contracted mages might be school staff, younger ones might be students. Most of them should be willing to be patient about it, as overt fighting at school would jeopardize the benefits they gain from being there.


Organizations

Membership in an organization is optional, but the thoughts below offer some insight on it.

Guardian Knights can pursue one of two organizational memberships. They could remain Unaffiliated, believing this grants them the most personal freedom to pursue their goals. Otherwise, the GPR theme’s focus on self-improvement and redemption for mistakes makes them a great fit for Virtue. That Virtue helped Rune and her first wave of Knights also earns that group some favorable consideration. Note that the Guardian Knight’s Oath trumps any factional obligations; if an organization requires one thing but their Oath to Runealy/Waldia requires another then they must follow their Oath, find a clever third option to satisfy both, or risk losing their powers until they ‘atone’ for this breach of the promise that is the basis for much of their magic. Eclipse is an extremely unlikely choice, and Obsidian Pact is outright nonsensical/forbidden; joining these groups is a temporary storyline matter and generally not permanent.


Demons and their contracted mages effectively compose a small alliance. Most of them have decided to work with Obsidian Pact, agreeing with its overall goals of conquest and destruction. While their affinity for manipulation and politics has some similarity with Eclipse, the Pact is the best overall fit and most likely where such characters should go. In the short and medium term, they tend to make reliable allies to the Pact. Realizing they need to offer something of substance if they expect any aid in return, they can generally be counted on to cooperate with others and insist on being repaid in kind. If your character simply does not fit with the Obsidian Pact, then they are likely Unaffiliated.


Locations


Geographical design is kept fairly simple on purpose, since the vast majority of MahouMUSH action won't take place on the world of Waldia and instead happens around Tokyo. Thus, players need only an extremely basic overview of Waldia's layout.

Waldia is centered on a capital district, housing the castle and its attached town (population approx. 20,000). The world and nation share the same name; the First Queen was apparently fond of naming things after herself. The closer you get to the capital, the better life is. Within the capital region, peace and prosperity are the norm and people love the royal family. Demon attacks are measured in terms like "one every five years, at most" and they're easily stopped by whoever the current queen is. Most neighboring provinces are the same way, notable only for being slightly less wealthy and well-off but still doing very well.

Its major locations are the castle and town, the forest housing the portal to Earth, and the Barrier Shrine. The castle is typical medieval fantasy fare, made of stone with fine fabrics and sculptures for decoration. The forest is tended to by the Doiru family and some of their associates, who have popularized naming it as the “Barrier Forest” both as a nod to it being the primary path to the Shrine and to mislead people into thinking the forest’s primary function is Barrier-related. In truth, housing the portal is the forest’s greater significance. Said portal rests within a large hollowed-out tree trunk, and these forest protectors take efforts to guard and conceal it. Said portal is very unstable (it sometimes shuts down immediately after someone uses it, only to function again a few hours, days, or even months later; "unreliable but works as plot demands" is the rule of thumb here), so people crossing over in either direction risk being stranded for months until the portal reactivates. Various other cities and villages dot this area, but they are intentionally kept generic and undefined. Applicants may add more detail to this if they wish!

The Shrine is several hours travel by horse or wagon from the castle, and is a wondrous building of marble and gold with a crystal dome on top. Its interior contains a few guest rooms meant for the Queen and her Guardian Knights to stay in should the need arise, then leads to a grand central room with bridges over small waterways that house pillars containing magical energy. The back wall is framed in gold, and a red energy field rests within this frame. That field is the great Barrier that seals most of Waldia's demons away into an abyssal 'sub-dimension'; so long as the Barrier persists, they cannot escape. As the energy in the pillars runs out, the Barrier becomes duller in color and shows fracture lines, heralding its eventual collapse if it is not replenished in a special ritual. Its recent Restoration on Dec. 5 2015 means this is not going to be a problem for at least a few decades, though.

Lormia is the exception to the 'neighboring provinces are well off' guideline. Devastated by the excessive force used 125 years ago to stop their rebellion, they have struggled to rebuild. While no longer widely starving as they once were, life is still rough in this region except for its wealthy elite, who push the narrative that Lormian poverty is the fault of an uncaring royal family. Currently it has few truly defined locations, to leave greater player freedom in designing locales their character is from. It is nonetheless fair to assume several towns and cities exist, along with emerging/struggling farms. A few mansions in a handful of cities do exist, home to provincial officials who do their best to deflect reforms and restoration to the region as they fear being recalled to the capital should the late Queen Lene's efforts to help Lormia properly take hold. That would likely be an end to a very comfortable lifestyle, or at least a downgrade in wealth and power.

It should be noted that protagonists and antagonists can hail from either area. While it’s a tendency for the former to be from the capital and the latter from Lormia, exceptions may easily exist; you just have to think on why your character bucks the trend.


Terrain, Flora and Fauna


This section is mostly so you know what your character considers ‘normal’, since most of their IC activity will be on Earth.

15th century Europe with modest magical influence is your general guide for the lay of the land. There are hills, forests, plains, mountains, a wide range of weather, and so on. A few wondrous locations such as magical fountains/geysers might exist, but they are very rare and tend to be more visually impressive than having any truly special function.

Plant-life mostly follows the European norm. Trees, grass, and so on all exist. There are mild differences, such as some trees having leaves that dissolve into a beautiful mist when they fall in autumn (and one will note that Japanese cherry blossom trees are unheard of on Waldia, making for a fascinating visual treat for those who venture to Tokyo!), but generally the same concepts apply on this world as they do on Earth.

Wildlife is likewise close to Earth's (specifically Europe's) typical ranges though visual differences do exist. One might find squirrels have little gems in their tails, for example. Mythological creatures are extremely rare, and best represented as tiny versions suitable for mascot use. For example, one character might have a mini-phoenix. Note that most wildlife has animal intelligence and doesn't talk. Mascot creatures are the rare exceptions, the one in a million (or rarer) that are smart and can talk. Your character is welcome to have such a 'mascot' if you so wish, and they would be seen as rare but fascinating things by the general Waldian public... and might have to take some efforts to blend in with Tokyo's public!

'Modest supernatural influences' is the key here. Waldia is not a land of infinitely wondrous wildlife and terrain, and this is done intentionally to avoid infringing on the fantastical world design shown in settings such as Magic Knight Rayearth.


Society, Culture, Special Days/Events, and Language


Waldians, regardless of region, typically value the concepts of safety and mutual support. They view their friends and family as their 'circle of shields', a ring of support that provides them both protection and happiness. Indeed, they define 'safe' as having both aspects and think you must have each in your life. Happiness without protection can be taken away, and protection without happiness is a very bleak existence. This is symbolized in their national flag, which features a shield upon a red field with a white circle in the middle. This circle houses a stereotypical knightly silver 'heater shield', with a pink heart in its center. The shield and heart symbol is central to this concept of "'safe' means happy (heart) and protected (shield)", and Guardian Knights might work this emblem into their attire in some way.

Lormians tend to subscribe to the same ideals, but rebuilding their devastated land means they live a harsher life and look down on those in the capital. Believing the royal family doesn't care about their plight, they see their more fortunate peers as hypocrites; "it's easy to be safe when the good life is handed to you on a silver platter" might be one common sentiment. Most of them are nonetheless fiercely loyal to their family and friends, though the most power-hungry among them might be an exception to this trend.

At start of play, Guardian Knights likely have little to no fighting experience. Mundane violence is rare (not unheard of, just rare) on their homeworld, so standing armies in each province are small. Likewise, the Queen of the time has handled all demon attacks by herself for the last few hundred years. It’s entirely possible your character has training, but this isn’t the same as experience. They might find their first few fights very frightening.

Waldians, for narrative convenience, speak Japanese (that their world evolved an identical language, even if they call it by a different name, is a quandary not particularly worth exploring as it drags down the theme with excessive realism). They have a few vocabulary issues, however. For example, they don't natively have words for common technology and will instead use descriptive terms. What modern people might call a car or automobile, Waldians would instead refer to as a "metal wagon" at first; they have no other frame of reference! Likewise a lightbulb might be a "glass candle", and so on. They can be taught the proper words, but if left to their own devices they will use descriptive terms for lack of a better idea.

They also use archaic descriptions for many professions. Waldians know doctors/nurses as “healers”, police as “guards”, retail employees as “merchants”, and have other outdated ideas. Unless told otherwise, they might presume ‘skilled blacksmiths and craftsmen’ build most of the things found in Tokyo and initially be unfamiliar with the concept of factory mass production.

Slang tends to differ. Most of their speech works fine with modern Japanese, but they have different takes on common phrases. “Oh my god” tends to be replaced by “By the Barrier”, for example. There is no hard and fast list of such substitutions; they are flexible and meant to add a touch of flavor so feel free to come up with your own! Hopefully others within the cast will notice and take them on, resulting in an organically growing ‘otherworldly slang.’


Holidays

Waldia as a whole has few if any holidays in common with Earth. Some are shared by all regions, while others opt out of certain holidays.

Change of Season: Each season has a festival on its first day, roughly corresponding to the same days they would in the northern hemisphere of present-day Earth. These public celebrations are well embraced worldwide, though people in the Lormia province are especially enthusiastic about the seasonal celebrations. Lormians tend to use these days to honor their commitment to helping one another and rebuilding their lands, showing a particularly strong 'community spirit' at these times. Spring and Summer typically are presented as times of growth and progress, while Fall and Winter are times where they resolve to support one another and endure.

Salvation Day (December 5): The most noteworthy and extravagant holiday on Waldia. It honors the day thousands of years ago that the First Queen and her Guardians lured the bulk of the demon horde into an ambush and sealed them behind the Barrier. It is celebrated as a turning point in Waldia's history, marking the point where Waldian society was able to stabilize and people could live without the constant fear of demon attacks. As of 2015, it also marks the day friends from Earth helped Runealy and her Guardian Knights restore the Barrier before it could collapse. This is celebrated extremely enthusiastically near the capital and other prosperous areas, while those from Lormia typically either skip the holiday or spend it celebrating themselves and their families instead of a royal line they despise.

Current Princess' Birthday (May 10): Runealy's birthday is, like that of her royal parents, subject to widespread public celebration around the capital and general scorn in Lormia.

Fate T. Waldia's Adoption and Birthday (Sept. 1): A holiday celebrating the same events simultaneously, as Fate considers Sept. 1, 2004 to be her birthday and her adoption was finalized on Sept. 1, 2018. While a very new holiday (first celebrated in 2018), it has generally been well received in the capital it has drawn harsh criticism in Lormia as a sign that the royal family is more interested in helping 'outsiders' and 'off-worlders' than their actual citizens.

Guardian Knights' Birthdays: The birthdays of each Guardian Knight are publicly celebrated. Much like Rune's and Fate's birthdays, this is primarily observed in the capital and other well-off sections of Waldia; Lormians typically ignore it.

Current Queen's and King's Birthdays: The precise date of these events changes depending on who the current Queen and King are. In any event, widespread public celebration of the Queen or King ensues on this day in the capital and surrounding areas, while the Lormia province generally ignores it or spends time pondering their grievances against the royal family. The current Queen's birthday is presently used as a day of memorial, as Queen Lene is deceased.


Motives


This is a very basic overview; your character's motives should run deeper than this but it gives you a starting point to consider. Exceptions to these norms can also exist, this is just the most likely situation on their mind.

Guardian Knights tend to be focused on saving their world, family, and friends. They are very worried by the Barrier crisis at hand, and are brave enough to go to an alien world. Perhaps to repay Earth for its help, perhaps to watch over a friend also on this strange world. Other reasons exist too. They might have individual struggles they face, of some other sort now that the Barrier Crisis is resolved. They might also be shocked at how quickly things have changed. Few could imagine Queen Lene would die so soon, let alone inexplicably be murdered by a demon when she had previously defeated any rampaging monsters with ease. While still coming to terms with that murder (which happened on May 10 2015), they nonetheless need to move on and are pursuing new goals now that the situation has improved; their world is stable for now.

Knight characters are encouraged to have some kind of motivating connection to the royal family or capital. General patriotism is one option, while having been personally affected by the queen, king, or princess in some way is another route. Perhaps Runealy has been their friend since childhood, or their family had business relations with the king prior to his marrying into the throne. Maybe Queen Lene saved their life from a demon attack; such overt assaults are rare, but even she has responded to a few over the years. Regardless, your character has compelling reasons to brave the unknown in order to help save their world! Note that your Knight character need not have been directly present for the resolution of the Barrier Crisis; some were sent to other areas during it to protect from wandering demons as their world was otherwise defenseless during that time. Thus, explanations for 'why was my character not there?' easily exist.

Demons embody cruelty and darkness. Their numbers are limited, as most of them were sealed away thousands of years ago; they seek to free their imprisoned kin and seek revenge. All of them are at least basically intelligent, though some are prone to lashing out in violent rampages that serve no greater plan. Most are very smart, and have long-term plans in place they hope will result in the royal family no longer having any women capable of replenishing the Barrier... so that in ten, fifty, or even a hundred years their brethren will be released, free to bring ruin to the world. Thus while some are simple brutes, others are capable of surprisingly deep thinking and delight in cerebral cruelty, a special kind of viciousness that enjoys breaking hearts and minds over weeks, months, or even years. Immortal unless destroyed, they enjoy lifespans that promote this kind of in-depth thinking.

Lormians are split. Most of them suffer in a lifestyle that is either at poverty levels or only slightly better. They work hard to rebuild their shattered province, resenting the royal family that they see as both uncaring and responsible for their troubles; this has historically been true, as efforts to help only started roughly ten years ago under Queen Lene, and Lormian leadership has worked to deflect her best attempts (and occasionally her efforts targeted causes/symptoms in inefficient ways). Living like this can make one desperate, and the handful of demons that remain unsealed have found this is a fantastic recruiting ground. Demons make a tempting offer: "Make a contract with me, and you'll receive enough magic to strike down the Waldian royal family. Enough magic to take back what's rightfully yours, and then you can live in the same comfort they do." And so they have managed to recruit a few dozen people to work alongside them. Some truly do want to make a better life in the Lormian region, and are desperate enough to do something this drastic to secure it even though they have serious misgivings about what they're doing. Others see it as a way to elevate themselves and seek greater power. Regardless, both of these sorts of people seek to destroy Runealy as the most important step in their plan.

Other Lormians, especially the political elite, tend toward the power-hungry interpretation. They think they're using the demons rather than the other way around. They too seek to remove the royal family, fearing that if Lene's reforms take hold they will be recalled to the capital for any of several reasons (to face what they've done, or be reassigned to less important duties, or so on). Using demon magic is a means for them to not only rule over the Lormia province, but eventually expand to ruling the world. Or even multiple worlds! Earth is a land of vast opportunities, a tempting gem to conquer as the first step in their scheme to even greater successes.

Demons and Lormian elite alike tend to have some political abilities and delight in manipulating others into joining them. They know that having people serving them is a form of power, and are very good at targeting the right emotions to convince someone to help them out.

Note that some exceptions to these tendencies exist. It's entirely possible for a Guardian Knight to hail from Lormia, perhaps their family was selected by Queen Lene to help implement reforms and rebuilding in the region, and they now gratefully assist the royal family in return. Likewise, someone at the capital might be tempted into aligning with the demons if they saw it as a means to seize power for themselves; they could envision a plan wherein they use their new magic to defeat Runealy, leaving the royal family gutted as it would no longer have any heirs who could restore the Barrier... thus destroying the primary point of their rule and leaving a power vacuum to fill.

Interestingly, Runealy is one of the most ill-informed people to tell anyone about her own world. Her parents, King Raydel and Queen Lene, have intentionally kept her ignorant of many things beyond the capital. They hoped to resolve the problems in Lormia with Runealy none the wiser, so that when she was ready to become Queen she would rule over a completely peaceful and unified world. If that went as planned, then all Runealy would have to worry about was gaining enough magical prowess to maintain the Barrier and defeat any lingering demons. Thus, Lene focused on training the princess for magical duties first and foremost which has resulted in some real gaps in Runealy's knowledge.

Their plan to spare her from hearing about such awful circumstances and the anger and hate surrounding them is perhaps well-meaning, but it leaves her very ignorant. She has only a vague awareness of the Lormia province, nevermind that it was devastated by her great-grandmother 125 years ago. Any questions about this world directed to her will be met with extremely idealized responses, ones that might be true very close to the capital and in other well-off regions or only represent what her society strives to live up to. Worse, she might just ask what the subject being asked about even is and be unaware it exists; Runealy has lived a very sheltered life.

As a universal rule, all characters from this theme have some reason for focusing their activities on Earth. Guardian Knights are focused on protecting their princesses and repaying their new Earth-friends for help in resolving the Barrier Crisis. Demons and their contracted mages see attacking the castle as a high-risk/low-reward venture; they don't know if any secret Guardian Knights have been left behind, and their real victory is best accomplished by killing or disabling Princess Runealy rather than damaging her home. Thus they head to Earth to pursue her and 'known factor' Knights, rather than mounting campaigns on Waldia.


Notable NPCs


This section contains a basic overview of NPCs in the setting. It might be expanded over time, especially as Lormian cast and demons are introduced. Some of these NPCs have little immediate effect in day-to-day storytelling, but exist to fill a few gaps in the narrative like “Well, who’s in charge if all the played protagonists are on Earth now?”

Queen Lene Waldia (Deceased in 2015, age 35 at time of death): A popular leader, her reign was marked by an enlightened interest in improving the quality of life for her people. Well aware that her mother’s policy of ignoring Lormia’s devastation was both wrong and risked another uprising, Lene spent most of her 14 years on the throne trying to make restitution to the region and convince merchants to invest in rebuilding it. She had mixed success, with some efforts foiled by political rivals and those who stand to lose their positions of power in the province if Lene’s reforms succeed while other efforts failed because Lene didn't fully understand the regional situation. Her recent murder by what appears to be a demon with three flaming claws has shocked the nation, leaving its future resting upon a much younger and weaker Princess Runealy. Lene's death is especially puzzling to the castle’s inner circle, since Lene had won all four of her previous battles with rampaging demons and did so with incredible grace and power that made her victories look easy.

King Raydel Waldia (Age 39): Formerly head of a merchant company headquartered in the capital district, he often worked with Lene to design the finer details of relief efforts to the Lormia province. Their collaboration soon revealed a deep compatibility and love between them, and he married into the royal family at age 23. Utterly lacking in magical powers, he was very much the nation’s secondary ruler behind the Queen until recently. Aware that his daughter is not yet ready to be Queen, he is now the primary ruler. Nonetheless, he created the position of "Guardian Princess" to acknowledge Rune's growth. A considerate and moral man, he was aware of and reluctantly agreed to the plan for Runealy and the Guardian Knights to go to Earth, but was shocked to discover they conducted a campaign of attacking Tokyo's protectors for energy. Regardless, he remains at home to work on stabilizing government affairs so the princess and knights will have a home to return to. Notably, he has been hiding much of the Lormian situation from Runealy in the hopes he can fix it without having to concern his daughter with such problems. She will likely find out sooner or later regardless, but he wishes to delay this as long as possible.

He is also Fate's adoptive father, though being limited to portal-side conversations and correspondence from afar leaves him frustrated that he can't do more to be a more directly involved parent. Nonetheless, he is quite fond of Fate and does what he can to offer support.


Characters from Earth


The prospect of GPR characters who hail from Earth has been brought up, and it is possible in many cases. The following are some very broad thoughts on this, and applicants are welcome to discuss further ideas with the GPR cast and staff.

Guardian Knights from Earth can be done, but their willingness to take an Oath to defend a world and culture that is alien to anything they’ve known in their normal world is extraordinary. Applicants should think carefully about how their character comes across this information, and what drives them to make such a life-altering choice. Such characters may opt to keep their Earth name, or take on a Waldian one as part of their Oath process; this could be relevant for their Guardian title.

‘Waldian Demons from Earth’ are impossible, and cannot be applied for. The portal to Earth has only recently been unsealed, so there was no chance for any of them to cross over to Earth until now.

Demon-contracted mages from Earth make a lot of sense! Demons are always glad to approach those who might be desperate or vicious enough to accept a contract with them in return for dark powers, and even a modern world can have circumstances that would make someone open to the idea. Such characters likely shouldn’t be too common, but we’re open to a few of them existing. Such characters may optionally take on a Waldian-style name.


Trivia


Wordplay is encouraged in naming your character or their abilities, especially names that would be difficult to localize if presented in an 80s or 90s anime production. For example, 'Waldia' itself is an intentional localization issue; one could argue it was meant to be 'Wardia', nodding to 'wards' since wards represent protection, and protection is a major concept in the theme. Touches like these are meant as a playful nod to the localization issues the hobby faced back then, ones that have become less apparent today as licensing companies work more closely with translation teams to provide official names rather than leaving them to guess. Likewise, character names that can be translated multiple ways from Japanese are a fun idea: Runealy could have been ‘Lunari’, for example, and similar naming schemes for your character are encouraged.

You don't have to do this with your character, but it could be a fun touch!