Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

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Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 2/7/2016, 11:07

So I've spent the last few weeks thinking about how I want to re-write this tale (since loosing my original copies of my first draft) and this is what I've come up with.  I'm going to be posting this in blocks, which will vary in length depending on how far I get before I'm ready to show the next part, and whether I feel I need feedback.  This also means I've got no set posting schedule for this.  I'm warning everybody upfront that I'm kind of flaky about completing long projects, and am known to work in obsessive short bursts. Also, it's been a long time since I've written anything fictional, so I apologize ahead of time for how bad it may be.

That said, my goal is to write this story so that it reads like Isaac is telling you the tale himself.  My current plans for the story include Isaac (the protagonist) occasionally telling his backstory (this tale), which I plan to do in a cut-away.  The idea being whenever he goes into his background, he tells this tale up to the point in the story where he is.  That said, I'm struggling on whether or not to include this prologue to the story.  Please, feel free to add whatever commentary, feedback and suggestions you feel are appropriate.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 2/7/2016, 11:14

Prologue

It was night-time in the forest and a lone human male sat in the grass next to a roaring bonfire in the middle of a clearing.  He was somewhere in his mid-twenties and of fairer complexion, indicating a life lived mostly in cities or on starships but was dressed in a heavy long-sleeved outdoorsman’s shirt and wore quality workman’s pants tucked into a pair of combat boots.  Adding to his miss-match of clothing, around his waist he had several patches attached to a belt, each containing ammunition or basic survival supplies.  His hair was left to grow to mid-length, indicating it had been some time since he’d bothered cutting it, but he was clean-shaven.   He stared intently into the fire, watching a large boar he had trapped earlier in the day, roasting over the fire.  Not too far from where he sat was a basic tent and a few bags the man had lugged through the strange forest to get here, with a basic M-Galaxy Short Lasrifle propped up against them.  The clearing was lined with a bunch of tall and ancient trees, spaced so loosely apart that animals easily doubling or tripling the size of a grox could walk through them.  Even so, the light of the fire didn’t seem to travel very far, leaving most of the clearing bathed in flickering light.

Without looking up from the fire, the man shouted at the forest.  “I know you’re watching me.  You have been at least all day.  I caught a large boar today, care to share any?”  No reply.  It had been like this all day.  He knew they were there, but they hadn’t seemed to want to show themselves, yet.  Maybe they were ordered to just watch him.  Maybe they thought they were playing mind games.  Maybe they were just planning to kill him in his sleep.  Or just maybe he was wrong, and after a month of camping out on a planet with no clear idea of how he was going to get off, he’d finally gone insane.  Well, whatever the outcome, one more try wouldn‘t hurt.  “I won’t be able to eat all this, and I didn’t bring the supplies to preserve it.  I’d hate for it to go to waste…”

Aside from the noise of native nocturnal birds, the rustling of the treetops on the breeze and the roar of the fire, all was silent for a good long while.  Then the slightest of rustle of shrubbery drew the man’s attention from his meal to a tall shadow at the edge of the forest clearing, opposite from where he sat.  Looking back down at the fire, the man at the fire simply stated, “You’re welcome to take a seat, it will still be a while before the meat is fully cooked.”

Refusing to move from the shadowy tree-line, the stranger replied “Who are you?  Why are you here?”  Though clearly male, the stranger’s voice had been strangely accented and accusatory, yet still quite pleasing to listen to.  Maybe after being alone for a month, anybody sounded that nice.

“That’s a long story… friend,” the man at the fire replied, before slowly moving his hand to indicate a spot across from the fire.  “I’ll have to answer the first question before I can explain the second one.  Please have a seat.”  He looked up from the fire at the stranger again, to see he hadn’t moved.  Issuing a light shrug, the man at the fire returned to resting his arms across his knees and staring into the fire.  “I suppose I should start form the very beginning.”
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 3/7/2016, 23:09

It's quite good, although I can't help but to question the storytellers motifs of sharing his life story with a perfect stranger. Does he need to tell it for some reason? Does he crave the human contact? What are the reasons?
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 4/7/2016, 16:30

Well since it's an Prologue, I took it as a slice of story... and honestly, part of my struggle is what to use as a prologue, since I'm afraid I won't loop back around to that, for quite some time.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 4/7/2016, 17:31

So it will be explained later? Ok. Smile
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 4/7/2016, 23:50

Yes, including how and why he came to that location.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 7/7/2016, 23:18

Okay, did a little bit of work on the prologue, changed like one sentence.  Since I don't believe in just over-writing your previous edition (since years later, looking back on your writing process can be useful), I'll just post the modified, second-draft prologue right here.  Still working on the main story.  Two pages of Size-Ten 10 down, though!

Prologue (Second Draft)

It was night-time in the forest and a lone human male sat in the grass next to a roaring bonfire in the middle of a clearing.  He was somewhere in his mid-twenties and of fairer complexion, indicating a life lived mostly in cities or on starships but was dressed in a heavy long-sleeved outdoorsman’s shirt and wore quality workman’s pants tucked into a pair of combat boots.  Adding to his miss-match of clothing, around his waist he had several patches attached to a belt, each containing ammunition or basic survival supplies.  His hair was left to grow to mid-length, indicating it had been some time since he’d bothered cutting it, but he was clean-shaven.   He stared intently into the fire, watching a large boar he had trapped earlier in the day, roasting over the fire.  Not too far from where he sat was a basic tent and a few bags the man had lugged through the strange forest to get here, with a basic M-Galaxy Short Lasrifle propped up against them.  The clearing was lined with a bunch of tall and ancient trees, spaced so loosely apart that animals easily doubling or tripling the size of a grox could walk through them.  Even so, the light of the fire didn’t seem to travel very far, leaving most of the clearing bathed in flickering light.

Without looking up from the fire, the man shouted at the forest.  “I know you’re watching me.  You have been at least all day.  I caught a large boar today, care to share any?”  No reply.  It had been like this all day.  He knew they were there, but they hadn’t seemed to want to show themselves, yet.  Maybe they were ordered to just watch him.  Maybe they thought they were playing mind games.  Maybe they were just planning to kill him in his sleep.  Or just maybe he was wrong, and after a month of camping out on a planet with no clear idea of how he was going to get off, he’d finally gone insane.  Well, whatever the outcome, one more try wouldn‘t hurt.  “I won’t be able to eat all this, and I didn’t bring the supplies to preserve it.  I’d hate for it to go to waste…”
Aside from the noise of native nocturnal birds, the rustling of the treetops on the breeze and the roar of the fire, all was silent for a good long while.  Then the slightest of rustle of shrubbery drew the man’s attention from his meal to a tall shadow at the edge of the forest clearing, opposite from where he sat.  Looking back down at the fire, the man at the fire simply stated, “You’re welcome to take a seat, it will still be a while before the meat is fully cooked.”

Refusing to move from the shadowy tree-line, the stranger replied “Who are you?  Why are you here?”  Though clearly male, the stranger’s voice had been strangely accented and accusatory, yet still quite pleasing to listen to.  Maybe after being alone for a month, anybody sounded that nice.

“If you really want to understand the answers, that becomes a long story… friend,” the man at the fire replied, before slowly moving his hand to indicate a spot across from the fire.  “I’ll have to answer the first question before I can explain the second one.  Please have a seat.”  He looked up from the fire at the stranger again, to see he hadn’t moved.  Issuing a light shrug, the man at the fire returned to resting his arms across his knees and staring into the fire.  “To tell you who I am, I have start form the very beginning, to make everything make sense.”
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 7/7/2016, 23:42

It's still good, and we still don't know why he chose to share so readily. Razz
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 8/7/2016, 03:05

Well damn, that was the entire goal of the change. Guess I'm left with no choice but to scrap it.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 8/7/2016, 13:36

Sorry, I just can't see it.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 8/7/2016, 20:58

Not your fault, that's my failure. Nobody is to blame but the person who can't write well. In this case (with a single indicator to go on), that's me.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 8/7/2016, 22:05

You know that's not true. Some people just don't get the hints even if those bite them in the arse.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 9/7/2016, 06:50

Do I?  Things are always a lot harder to read, when you're stuck in the middle.  And aren't we all permently stuck in the middle of our own lives?  One cannot truly gauge their own work and thus must rely on feedback.  But, ultimately, it is a moot point.  I'll work on the main story for a while longer, until I feel like it's just not working.  Then, I'll scrap the project.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 9/7/2016, 11:25

Oh, come on. Post the damn thing.
I might not know what I should be reading in it, but that's no reason to give up.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 9/7/2016, 19:21

I haven't even gotten to the Imperial Guard yet...  But if you want what I have already... give me a minute..  Also, I apparently lied about the length.  It's only a page and a half in microsoft word, single-spaced, size-ten font.  Also, the closer you get to the end (of the current draft), the more likely I am to come in and re-arrange and re-write things the next time I sit down to continue working on this.  I tend to start my writing sessions by re-reading the last little bit and editing it to sound better, as I usually end my writing sessions when I'm either dead-tired or my brain is turning to mush.

Chapter 1 (First Draft)

I was born on Hampton Six, an Imperial Civilized World on the fringes of the Segmentum Pacificus.  Our local star and seven of the eight planets were all named for the first dynastic ruler of the entire Solar System, with the third planet being named Hampton Prime, from which the rest of the Solar System was ruled.  The History books say the planet was conquered during the tail end of the Age of Strife with the war being completely unremarkable.  It had been previously colonized during the Dark Age of Technology, but had lost contact with Terra and its inhabitants had devolved into tribal humans worshiping some profane nature spirits or something.  These humans were wiped out in near record time and then handed over to a Local Governor named Edwin Hampton the First to be planets reseeded with Imperial Citizens.  He promptly invited in the Mechanicum to help him terraform a few of the worlds, making all of them habitable.  The Mechanicum received two things in return for their service.  First, the Mechanicum was gifted the planet closest to the sun, which they named Mirador and turned into a Forge World.  Second, the Mechanicum were allowed to recruit workers and Skitarii from all of the worlds of the Hampton Solar System.  After cementing the rule of his line and finding a way to build the infrastructure, Hampton the First was able to work out a pretty good Tithing deal with the Imperium at large, resulting in a cost of only a few Regiments to the Guard per year.  The bulk of the Imperial Guard’s gear was to be produced by Forge World Mirador while the men and women of the guard were to be taken from all seven Hampton worlds on a mostly volunteer basis.  Shortages in manpower, year-to-year were often made up with by drafting lesser criminals or by increasing promises of benefits to the volunteer’s family to ensure high enlisting among the bottom-levels of society.  Each planet in the local system was subject to it’s own government, so long as they paid their portion of the tithes and showed fealty and deference to the laws and Dynast on Hampton Prime.

Hampton Six, where I was born operated as a Representative Democracy, with a Planetary Governor being elected every five years and local laws being made up by a councils elected from major cities.  By the time I was born, the planet was mostly peaceful and prosperous, not having suffered any invasions for well over two-hundred terran years and with most serious domestic issues being solved one-way-or-another by our local style of-government.  I was born as Isaac Maddison, the only child of Caleb and Sadie Maddison, in the mid-sized town of Motul, on the South-Western-most continent.  Looking back on it, my childhood was fairly idyllic.  I didn’t grow up afraid that the flowers would kill me, like children on a death world, nor was I subjected to the gang-warfare so common in Imperial Hive Cities.  My parents were both hard workers, both of them working a full-time job to maintain a middle-class standard of living, though neither of them were that interested in attending local-community events.  I attended a regular public school promoted by the Planetary Government as a child, where I had friends and grew up with a healthy love and respect for the Emperor; but also a love of learning.  While still in school, whenever I could get my hands on some new information, I’d load it into my personal data slate and read it over lunch or between classes.  Sometimes my friends gave me trouble over this, sometimes they just wanted to hear the synopsis of what I learned.  On a few occasions, my love of learning ran me afoul of some of my more dogmatic peers at school, and even once found me in the School Pastor’s Office for a nice warning speech about how “an open mind is like a fortress with it’s gates unbarred and unguarded.”  Lucky for me, that week I had been reading General Pike’s history of the “Ork Invasion of Hampton Six,” and I got off lightly in the end, with the pastor saying I may have a future in the Imperial Guard.  Over time, the irony of that afternoon has not been lost on me.  At the time, I planned on becoming an Archivist for the local government and only agreed with the School Pastor so I wouldn’t end up in serious trouble.  When I got home that day, my parents were waiting for me in the living room, having been called by the school.  They didn‘t seem too upset with me, they gave me a warning speech about always be mindful of the Emperor and let me off without any punishment.  But, that was just one of the few times I was in trouble.  On most days I did some combination of attending school, going out to eat with friends or reading at home.  Like I said, I was lucky, I had a pretty idyllic childhood.  Then I turned 18 and got drafted into the Imperial Guard.

I would find out much later that the draft had been instituted against our planet for some uppity comment the new Planetary Governor had said to the Dynast on Hampton Prime.  In return for suggesting the Dynast spends and evening with a grox during a particularly riotous meeting of the Planetary Governors‘ Assembly, the Dynast slapped Hampton Six with a draft of an entire regiment.  The Dynast had figured the draft would be so unpopular our local Governor would loose a re-election bid over it.  The Dynast was correct, but that didn’t prevent the new course I found my life on.

It was early summer when the notice arrived at my house by mail.  I had been out to lunch with a few friends, including one who lived not far down the street from me when the notice arrived.  By the time I got home, both of my parents had gotten off work and were waiting for me in the living room with official government mail sitting un-opened on the table in front of them.  As soon as I stepped through the front door, I knew something was wrong.  My parents rarely waited for me after work.  Normally they went to the kitchen where they alternated cooking on a daily basis while the other one read a newspaper or chose what to watch on the vid-caster.  Often times I got home to find them discussing their days at work, only for them to welcome me home and offer me something to eat.  They never waited around for me like this unless I’d done something wrong, and since I usually behaved well, they hadn’t had to wait around for me since I was 14.  They smiled at me and said an important-looking piece of mail had arrived for me and they were both curious about what it was, but hadn’t opened it  yet.  They both watched me calmly as I opened the mail and were just as surprised as I was, when I read the contents of the letter out-loud.  I remember being terrified of being pulled away from home as I put the letter back onto the coffee table and I expected my mother to be crying about me being taken away, but while they both looked concerned they also looked calm.

The next few months awaiting my report-in and departure date were awkward for me.  I tried to continue reading the manuals required for my formally up-coming apprenticeship, but I every time the dangers I had previously read about in the Guard would interrupt my thoughts and make it difficult to concentrate on reading.  So, I did the only thing I knew how to do, to face the fear: I started reading everything I could on the Imperial Guard.  Since I had graduated from school, I met with my friends more often, though a few of them had already gotten simple jobs.  Our meetings at our favorite diner had become more dour, as two of the five of us left in the group had been drafted and the other three were keenly aware that to them, we were as good as dead.  Looking back I see that none of us wanted to address the fact that our friendships were to be split apart and we’d never see each-other again, so we did what boys often do: we talked about the Guard and bragged about how great we were going to be.  My friends who hadn’t been drafted would warn us about the dangerous xenos of the galaxy and talk about the best ways to defeat them, that they had heard in school or church.  I’d occasionally correct them about vehicles or offer my insight into tactics and strategy that I’d read up on.  Jeremy, who’d grown up down the street from me, would boast about how many filthy, degenerate xenos he was going to slaughter in the name of the Emperor.  Looking back, I think we were all nervous about the changes ahead in our lives and were coping in the only ways that we knew how.  A week before we left, Jeremy’s family threw a big block party for Jeremy and everybody else on the block who had been drafted.  While only a handful of us on the block had been drafted, throwing big community gatherings was something Jeremy’s large family had always done.  While I initially wanted to skip the party, my friends talked me into going.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 10/7/2016, 21:58

I don't want to sound like a dick, but is this story gonna be a sociopolitical piece set in Hampton system? Because you've set up a scene as if we would need to know all of this to understand whatever's following, and if Issac is gonna join Imperial Guard and be shipped into some different part of the galaxy, this would be a wasted effort.
Also- Hampton has a Forge World and they only send few regiments as a tithe? Whoever calculated their tithe has been wasting resources around here.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 12/7/2016, 00:10

It's a page and a half, not that much yet.  That's why I was holding onto what I'd written so far, so that it doesn't seem to be as much.  It'll all come into play eventually as not everything needs an answer right away.  I don't see this portion of the story in the same way as I do the prologue, which exists to help hook people and draw them into the story.  I was also under the impression that the majority of everything technological in the Imperium comes Mechanicum Factories.  Like your average cogitator unit.  Though they've got a few factory complexes dedicated to the Imperial Guard, the majority of stuff produced there is still shipped throughout the Segmentum.  Finally, yeah, there will be quite a bit of socio-political viewpoints presented throughout the story as I do tend to think like that and I am writing it.  The in-depth here is to help establish the character origin and how he tends to view everything else in the Imperium of Man.  He's lucky, he comes from a fairly idyllic setting, which is meant to create shock and contrast when he's faced with the majority of the Imperium being a hell-hole.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 12/7/2016, 01:17

I was just asking, since it's a lot of setup that's usable in very limited situations, but you seem to write this exact situation, so I wait for more. Razz
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 12/7/2016, 22:03

I thought about this some time after my post and realized I should have added it.  There is an old saying: "It takes a village to raise a child."  I've always read into that as we are a product of far more than just our parents and how we were raised, but also of the climate (both physical and social) that we come from, as well.  I'll probably pick up writing this at the end of the week, to be honest.

Wait, am I right or wrong about the Forge World?
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 12/7/2016, 23:01

I got chills when you mentioned that saying. Can I expect you implementing it into the story? Twisted Evil

As to a Forge World- most of them have an output greatly exceeding the needs of any single solar system, so it would simply be a waste of tithes to allow them to accumulate wealth uncontrollably by allowing to trade the overspill without taxing it (heavily). Just it.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 13/7/2016, 03:34

Of course.  It almost goes without saying.  So often in the books, the Imperial Citizens are a product of their environment.  Whether it's the more pragmatic Cadians or the hard-as-nails Catachans.  The stoic and determined Kriegers or the thrill-seeking and insane Elysians.  In this case, the first part of the story will be about the gung-ho and enthusiastic (86th) Hampton Volunteers (even though our main character didn't volunteer).

As to the Forge Worlds, I kind of figured the output greatly exceeded the needs of a single solar-system.  I'll probably go back and up their thithes just a little bit... but not by much.  The Imperium is vast and it's pretty easy to get a little bit of information lost in the fold, to never be updated properly.  Like I said in the beginning of the Chapter, the thithing deal was a pretty good deal.  The Hampton System is a wealthier system (especially in the grand-scheme of the Imperium).  I just don't want the tithe in fresh armies to outstrip the population's ability to produce willing volunteers to said armies (thus creating an army with lower morale than I wish to depict).  I might be able to do this by simply sticking Forge World Mirador with the responsibility of equipping a few near-by chapters of Space Marines, who recruit from neighboring solar-systems.  Might make things interesting later if I do... I'm going to have to address the Adeptus Astartes eventually...

On a strange side-note (to temporarily derail my own thread) when/ if I ever get around to starting an Imperial Guard Tabletop Army, it'll be a combination Catachan-Elysian Force with a 'kind of dumb' student of Caiphas Cain as their commissar.  My backstory (which I worked on years ago just for fun) is that the Commissar was at the academy (as a kid) when Cain was teaching and looked up to Cain as the Hero of the Imperium he was claimed as.  Cain just saw a slightly slower and more dogmatic kid who was likely to get himself killed, so would occasionally pull the kid aside and give him some 'real advice.'  The kid saw this as Cain taking him under his wing.  When the kid would question Cain's advice with something like: "isn't that against the teachings of the Commissarriat" Cain would give the kid some quick excuse that the kid would memorize almost as if was a law of the Emperor.  In the end, the kid believes he's doing the Emperor's work by taking a more gentle hand with his forces - like Cain taught him.  When it comes to combining this force... it takes a while, but through hard work the two half-armies to see each-other's strengths (I'll stare down a Catachan Devil... but jump into anti-aircraft fire with a grav-chute?  Now that's brave.  I can fight back against a Catachan Devil, all you can do is dodge the bullets on your way down).
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 13/7/2016, 10:49

Ok

Ok

And
Isn't that how the Imperium works in the first place and got from HH level to this (comparative) shithole we're in now? Razz
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 13/7/2016, 23:16

Regarding the Forge Worlds, you're okay with that excuse?

Pretty much. But the joke is the advice being given to him is actually good advice and the kind-of-stupid (or perhaps just socially inept) kid takes it as law, when much of what Cain tells him actually is contrary to a lot of what the Commissarriat teaches.
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Ristiald on 13/7/2016, 23:20

Yeah, I'm ok with pretty much anything anyone writes as long as I know they keep in mind both the respected cannon and so called common sense... and basic economics and administration in this case. Very Happy

And as I said:
Isn't it how Imperium got to the point it is? Razz
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

Post by Farseer Amathar on 13/7/2016, 23:28

Eh. There isn't much hard data I've seen defining the output of a Forge World.

A little bit of that and a whole lot of once-bitten, twice-shy in terms of making bad decisions. Chaos does something bad once, forever ruins enjoying that thing for everybody else.
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Farseer Amathar
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Re: Isaac Maddison's Tale (First Draft)

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