Rogue Trader: The Bonds of Dynasty

Finally an Update
Sorry for the delay! We have been playing!

Due to University work, actual work and various responsibilities, the blog updates on this campaign have stalled for months on end. but no more! I have compiled a brief bullet pointed list of the events that have unfolded for the crew in the last 5 months, and some short stories about the pivotal moments will be coming up.

Also, with the release of Black Crusade, certain characters have started to show somewhat of a sadistic piratical bent. Will this cause a rift in the command crew of the Von Trieger Dynasty? Will Chaos gain another powerful tool in real-space? Or will they stop short of the abyss, saving themselves and countless millions from the horrors such eldritch entities surely have planned for them?

Find out in September, when the current chapter of the Von Trieger dynasty concludes!

So without further ado, in chronological order, the events of the last few months:

March
- The saboteurs aboard the Quaestor are defeated, a large ab-human with extreme augmetic modification taken prisoner and handed to Port Wander auothirites. Their target appears to have been Isolde.

- The crew stock up on supplies, acting on rumours of an undiscovered cluster of stars in the Expanse. Known as Simkin’s Reach in legends, the discovery of such a place would bring glory and profit to the Rogue Trader skilled enough to find it.

- The Quaestor moves on to Footfall, experiencing some strange waking nightmares amongst it;s crew whilst moving through the Maw, but suffering no other ill effects. Mercenaries are hired at Footfall, adding to the current contingent. Sarvus Trask personally expresses his interest in the Von Trieger dynasty, singing off some of his own mercs to the task.

-Yolande janelle and Akbol far-Thinker join the crew, hired as a specialist and a Xenos guide respectively.

April
- Having managed to throw off their competitors with disinformation, the explorers manage to find the Reach after several months of deep space scanning. The Quaestor makes out 3 main worlds with signs of starship activity, with 2 dead-looking systems nearby.

- Stopping off at the largest of the three active systems, the ship is hailed by a Proto-Mechanicus civilisation, expressing interest in the obviously ancient design of the Quaestor. Negotiations breakdown due to lack of communication and violence breaks out, three of their system ships being destroyed with the Quaestor suffering significant hull damage, but no critical effects.

- Fleeing the system before the arrival of more system ships, the explorers enter the quietest of the three main systems. A primitive missile based defence grid betrays the central world, an Earth-like temperate world with a post-modern (by our standards) society. Hopelessly outmatched, they make friendly overtures to the explorers, which are reciprocated.

- Whilst on the surface, it is found that the society has a heretical atheistic outlook, and infrequent contact with two warring neighbours. They have no advanced space technology, but rely on protection from either side by growing food stuffs and developing luxuries for the elites of both nations. Von Trieger negotiates an exchange of manpower and technology for improved relations and food stuffs.

- Before departing, Von Trieger and Tassa Holt notice a strange Xenos gem in the main auditorium of the diplomatic building. Von Trieger’s orders that the device be stolen, and Tassa obliges, fumbling the gem into her personal effects. The security forces in the building witness this, demanding they stand down and be detained. With lightening reactions, Tassa guns down the three guards in her way, Von Trieger advancing aloof through their ruined bodies.

- Akbol finds someone spying on their shuttle while this is going on, and intimidates him into handing over his pict-recorder before destroying it. She is then threatened by security, who are convinced that all of the explorers are in on the theft of priceless Xeno artefacts. As Tassa and Von Trieger flee the scene, the guards are forced to retreat under superior fire, and the shuttle takes off.

- As they head towards low-orbit, a ground based SAM site launches a flurry of missiles, breaching the shuttle and almost spilling Sigismund from the vessel. Barely hanging on, he orders the Quaestor to teleport them out of the shuttle. This dooms the shuttle and the advanced fiscal cogitator they had brought as a demonstration of their technology, follow up missiles blowing them from the sky.

- The teleport attempt causes minor internal injuries, a small price to pay thanks to the extremly skilled use of the teleportarium by Tyrax Gulftown, the ship’s Engineer. With Von trieger unconscious, the First officer carries out his previously stated wishes, and jumps the vessel to the next system, whilst the Enginseers aboard the frigate make sense of the strange gem that has been brought back.

The following months will be updated within 24 hours

May

June

July

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Chronicles of the Von Trieger Dynasty Vol.3
Through testing times, we reach our harbour.

It has been too long since I last penned my memoirs of the undertakings of my Lord and his crew. Suffice to say that I have valid reasons for my tardiness, as you will soon come to understand.

Events on Malfi went as smoothly as could be expected after the ludicrous charges against our vessel had been dropped, with only the bartering for supplies and lengthy submission of departure authorisation documents and the hiring of new Astropaths to take up our time. I must admit, I have come to loathe spending too much time on planets, too much weight on the soul as my old mentor would say.

We were once again escorted out of system by local defence ships, an unnecessary precaution after the mess we made of the last band of brigands that attacked us. I suppose they felt that it was the least they could do after treating us with suspicion, that or they felt we still posed some sort of threat to their system’s security… Regardless, we had received no news of our attackers, human or xenos, since our arrival at Malfi, and expected no admission of security breach what with the pride of the system defence fleet at stake. I am merely grateful that we made it to the warp point without incident, exchanged the customary niceties, then left that vile den of intrigue far behind us.

Our Navigator Prime had assured us of a smooth passage through the warp, so when reports of shadowy figures and noises in the bilge decks started to filter upwards from the low-rank ratings, no attention was paid. Largely comprised of barbaric criminal filth, these low-rank crewmen were known for their lies, superstition and unintelligent ramblings at the slightest portent or omen. Still, as the report grew, and the odd scrap of evidence, such as a missing crewman or scrap of unknown uniform came into the hands of the ship’s security enforcers; we prepared for the worst. Supplications to the machine spirit and Empoeror alike failed to stop these strange visitations. With the crew growing uneasy and our vessel still over a week from breaking warp, Chief Bosun Holt, First officer rediqut and my Lord Von Trieger had their work cut out for them, dispersing currency to the greedy, commands to the weak of will or loyal, and beatings to those ingrates who stood against their rightful authority.

The source of these disturbances made itself rudely known to us during a night-cycle aboard ship, the dark-shift crews alerting the bridge of multiple explosions near to vital life-support and food stores. As the reports flowed in, we became aware of the extent of the damage; hardly any structural systems had been impaired, but we have just over 100 crew dead and a large portion of food stores obliterated. being only a week out of port, this had little effect on our ability to travel, but nonetheless those stores represented a large investment in both resources and manpower on the part of the dynasty. Furious with this desecration of his home, my Lord orders First officer Rediqut and Chief Bosun Holt to immediately find and apprehend those responsible for this travesty, whilst instructing Enginseer Prime Tyrax to find a way of locating them using the internal augers of the ship.

As Master rediqut and Mistress Holt went to work, discovering devices that had failed to go off or had not yet been instructed to do so, Explorator Tyrax made great progress with the arcane rites of tech-scrying, activating many redundant audio-visual security systems with with my Lord could monitor vital areas of the ship. Though the images were of poor quality, it was readily apparent that there were just over a dozen men in what looked like stolen clothing from those men who had gone missing, barricading themselves into the vitae-life-support-system control room. Though these controls could be slaved to the Mechanicus shrine in the engine room, Explorator Tyrax was visibly distressed at the thought of the arcane machinery keeping the air flowing around the Eternal Quaestor being vandalised. Our mercenary squad was called to muster, and my Lord and his command staff made best speed to the site of the intrusion, vengeance writ upon their very motion.

The blast doors to the room were quickly over-ridden, the technologically enhanced cognition of Enginseer Prime Tyrax quickly overcoming the primitive machine-spirit holding the door fast. A hail of las-bolts and projectile rounds sprayed from within the smoky interior of the room, one of our mercenaries taking a round centre-chest, but merely grunting as his armour took the hit. In return, the professionally directed fire of our hireling comrades elicited a series of shrieks and wails that could only be indicative of mortal wounds.

To be continued…

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Chronicles of the Von Trieger Dynasty Vol.2
Beset on all sides, by villain and law-man alike!

It is with a shaky hand that I write this remembrance of the past near-two-months of my honoured Lord-Captain’s voyage. Within an hour of our translation back to real-space on the edges of the Malfi system, we were set upon by a pirate frigate of ancient design. They reckoned without the skill of our Chief Bosun in directing of our gun crews, the talents of our Enginseer who coaxed unimaginable performance out of our vessel, and the skilful oratory and command offered up by our Lord-Captain Von Trieger. Our helmsman, First officer Rediqut, showed superb skill navigating us clear of a clumsy boarding attempt, though I must admit that the proximity of the enemy to our hull shook me to the core, the beating of my heart mimicking the thunder of our guns as we traded fire with the cursed villains.

Suffice to say, my Lord’s money had been well spent, and the upgrades to our weaponry left the hostile vessel a scorched mockery of what it had been mere hours ago. Elation quickly turned to fear, as two more signatures blinked into life on our augers. Heading in at a speed only the most capable or insane helmsman would dare, their intent to board was palpable. I pride myself on not knowing the vile forms of the xenos-threat, but the configuration of these vessels, so I was told by the vessels Ambassador Janelle, matched the configuration of a vile, predatory species known as the Rak’Gol. She seemed disturbed that they were this far into Imperial space, though she did not deign to mention why, as she turned to her duties, rousing the spirits of the crews with oratory and promises of reward.

As with our last foe, the vessel speeding in on a course towards us was deftly avoided by the our vessel, the plasma generators screaming in pain as the machine spirit was pushed to it;s limits. I am told that the chanting of our dedicated Engineering priesthood seemed to almost match the pitch and fall of the generators themselves as Enginseer Prime Ephraim led them in their arcane rights of binding and supplication. Having side-stepped our fast but cumbersome foe, Chief Bosun Holt quickly gutted the xenos-filth, bright fires burning as plumes of whatever passed for air in their heresy of a starship billowed into the void.

As this was being done, my Lord Von Trieger was in dialogue with our former attackers, negotiating their surrender. Though they had chosen to use only an audio channel, fear was clear in their Captain’s voice. He made mention of multiple fires, horrific casualties, and attempted parley – stating that they had only taken the job because the money was right, and that they would trade the name of their employer should they be allowed amnesty aboard our vessel.

Before any reply could be sent, the stricken ship was grappled onto by the rock-like spire of xenos-scum. Panicked shouting broke out over the comm-link, which devolved into the screams of unimaginably torment punctuated by alien-roars of what would pass for insane rage were a man to make such an unholy noise. In his wisdom, Lord-Captain Von Trieger ordered the comm-link severed, and moved away as the two vessels rolled away into the darkness, the fate of those poor men trapped within over-riding the knowledge that they had attempted to kill us a mere hour earlier.

As we debated our course of action, the command-staff split between morality and vengeance concerning our former assailants, we were hailed by a system monitor of the Malfian House Guard, the governing body’s personal defence fleet. Outrageously, they demanded that we stand down, stating that we had initiated hostilities, and that High Judge Hoskis, the highest authority on Malfi, would decide our fate. I was quite taken aback, such presumption and disrespect from men not even of the Arbites, to dictate what would or would not come before a Court of Imperial Law, when surely the very Judge they mentioned did not even know of our presence in the system currently. My surprise was quickly replaced with a sense of dread as our honoured guest, the Illuminant, informed us that his mistress had received word that our arrival had been reported weeks in advance of our physical appearance in the system, and that ‘evidence’ of our plan to commit acts of piracy and arson had been passed to this Judge Hoskis by an ‘influential third party’. This nameless third party, whom the Illuminant claimed no knowledge of, apparently wished to keep us here – likely with the intention of having our vessel seized and strike at Lady Ingraine Armengarde while our guard was down.

As our vessel was escorted in system, it was clear that we had atleast five days until we made berth at Malfi itself, and so no hour was spared in tardiness or rest. Plans of escape, bribery, bartering and negotiation were bandied back and forth, some rejected outright and others discussed for days on end with as many arguments as resolutions. Eventually, though it was settled that my Lord Von Trieger, when questioned, would allude to the guilt of our supposed victims, proving that we were unable to be bound on non-existent evidence, and threatening to expose a blatant attempt to slander the name of his House by making a mockery of the Arbites institution itself. Such an audacious plan seemed fraught with danger and the possibility of the Judge himself taking a part in the interrogation and taking exception to such accusations was a common topic of conversation in the hours leading up to our docking. Still, our Lord-Captain was adamant, and his word was not to be questioned.

He was gone for two days, undoubtedly well-kept by his Arbites jailers whilst questioned, and we were confined to our ship, unable to perform resupply nor trade during the interrogation, not that they had dared to call it such. But after two days the tone of the security forces assigned to our docking-port had changed, and as our Lord-Captain returned to his vessel, a great cheer went up from those crewmen manning the Lighter Bay as he proclaimed the verdict of the High Judge Hoskis via his shuttle’s vox-caster – all charges were dropped and an investigation was underway into the nature of the slander again House Von Trieger. He also had a name for the Illuminant at least, an individual going by the name of Marcella Ioneyse, apparently third in line to the apex of House Ioneyse, had been the source of accusations against us. Apparently using the good name of her family, she had managed to convince local authorities that irrefutable evidence of our guilt would be found aboard our vessel. After inspection had failed to turn up evidence, and our Lord-Captain had talked sense into the men dirt-side, the case had crumbled, and we were graciously invited to make land-fall and partake of the many trading opportunities available.

Now, as our men make landfall to assist in bringing the last of Lady Ingraine Armengarde’s men and valuable aboard the Eternal Quaestor, I lay my pen to rest. My Lord has need of me in checking the accounts of some local trade-deals for supplies we hope to sell at mark up upon arrival at Port Wander. Upon our arrival, the third and final account of our maiden voyage shall be written in full, and the next chapter of the Von Trieger Dynasty Chrincles may begin in earnest!

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Chronicles of the Von Trieger Dynasty Vol.1
A noble cause, dogged by villainous fiends.

I, Saul Tarray, Archivist for the honourable House Von Trieger, do declare this record to be of true word and pure intent. The truth of history shall be borne out by my words, and the glory of House Von Trieger immortalised in ink.

Upon the twenty-first day of high-sun, on the world of Scintilla, did the honourable Lord-Captain Sigismund Von Trieger receive news of his mother’s demise upon her flagship. The shattered hulk had drifted into the Lathe system under it’s own power, little sign of it;s crew remaining and signs of a savage battle upon her blessed hull. The Mechanicus, Emperor bless them, honoured their ancient ties with the Von Trieger dynasty and took the vessel into their care, releasing one of their very own Explorator vessels in lieu.

Despite the magnanimosity of the Mechanicus, my lord’s grief at the loss of his mother was palpable, with a touching speech to her memory given with due respect and much heart. The effect on those worthies invited to her funeral was evident, and raucous applause in her memory broke the usual sullen silence of such affairs. It was heartening indeed to see her memory honoured with celebration in lieu of sadness.

As with all things, petty beaurocracy and the laws of inheritance quickly pushed the ceremonies out of memory, as my lord was petitioned on all sides by all manner of fair-weather-friends and aspiring nobles. Lord Von Trieger, however, was no fool and turned away many of these supposed ‘investors’, instead heeding the words of a man known as the Illuminant. Refusing to reveal his true name, this mysterious gentleman proceeded to offer a most noble job from an old friend of the late Lady Von Trieger – none other than Lady Armengarde herself.

We have yet to discover the true nature of this job, but tomorrow, Lord-Captain Von Trieger and his closest officers will be meeting with the Illuminant, to discuss the terms of their contract. May the Emperor shine his blessed radiance on both Houses.

Thus ends my first remembrance. I shall hasten to pen the events that have transpired since we left Scintilla, but for now, I tend to my duties aboard ship assiting my Lord as we navigate the Empyrean. Navis Scion Kennoch suggests we have another 4 weeks of travel through the warp until we reach Malfi, ample time to start my writings. I bid you farewell and will be sure to have my final draft ready for the Family Archives by the time we exit the warp.

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Mission Complete!
With Ingraine Armengarde safely escorted to Port Wander, our Explorers have a brief moment of respite and reflection.

With the prelude endeavour over, the Explorer’s rewarded and some interesting plot elements still waiting in the wings, The Bond’s of Dynasty is now in a brief 2 week hiatus before kicking off with the first Player’s Choice Endeavour. It have been an interesting experience running the prelude, finding that I need to improve my knowledge of the core rules with regards to combat systems, but the smaller group and focus on specialisation into individual roles has led to a much more communal experience.

The two main lessons I have taken away from this part of the campaign are:

- A fifth player may not be out of the question, with Senechal, Astropath or potentially a Kroot character being on the cards depending on how the players perform in their next Endeavour. As to who this fifth player will be, I will be communicating closely with my players in that regard. The main point of taking on an additional player is so that less of the more ‘occult’ or alien elements of the 41st millenium do not fall by the wayside. We have plenty of lores and high intelligence scores to ‘explain’ things, but no actual need to interact with it when it doesn’t suit the Explorers currently.

- Scripting is good. Having a ‘cheat-sheet’ for difficult scenes was vital, and in the one scene I was unprepared for speedy developments in the plot, the story bogged down temporarily until I caught a good thread to hold onto. More documentation before stories is good, but the sandbox element must remain inviolate, as my players greatly enjoyed having more control over their environment in their new setting.

So that’s me. Time for Saul Tarray, the Von Trieger family Archivist, to give you his view of the events that have transpired aboard the Eternal Quaestor.

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Inheritance
With one week till the first session, there is much paperwork to be done!

Well thanks to a pioneering weekend session at Maritime Games, we have been able to create three of the four characters in their entirety, with our Void-Master being mere strokes of a pencil away from complete generation. As I receive the finished sheets, I will be remastering them into GM pdf sheets so that there is a solid copy with GM rulings concerning acquisitions and the likes available at all times.

So with that under control, I now have our first session to consider:

Prelude: Risky Business

Our intrepid explorers are ready to undock, but first there is the simple matter of meeting the family Archivist, Famulous and Executor of Estate. These NPC characters will be following our PCs throughout their adventures, documenting, assisting and occasionally arguing with them.

But after the mourning, revelry of a traditional wake and signing of documents, they will be ready to take to the stars; their first port of call being Port Wander. Ever the efficient executor, Yolande Janelle has three potential jobs for the explorers!

The Scion of House Armengarde

The heiress of House Armengarde requires transportation to Port Wander, and her mother is willing to pay handsomely in currency and favours for a Captain possessed of courage, honour and a well-armed vessel to ensure her well-being. The heiress, her entourage and belongings are a considerable cargo, but nothing a warp-capable craft cannot handle.

Doing such a favour for as notable a Rogue Trader as Aoife Armengarde (the heiress’ mother) would surely result in considerable standing with her House, and thus many entities she has dealings with. On the flip-side, requesting a ‘well-armed’ vessel doesn’t usually imply a peaceful transit…

Theme(s): Military
Magnitude: Lesser
Achievement Required: 900
Reward: +1 Profit Factor & Peer(House Armengarde) (If already in possession of Peer(Rogue Traders) upgrade to Good Reputation(House Armengarde)).

Mass Conveyance

Ms. Janelle, in her genius, has discovered a selection of key commodities that may be able to be sold at a great profit upon arrival at Port Wander. Oxygen scrubbers, grox, water and foodstuffs not locally produced are in great demand, and word has spread of profiteering rackets on the Port driving prices upwards.

A canny group of explorers with an appropriately equipped vessel may be able to turn significant profit, if they can negotiate a low enough buying price. However, increased competition has led to some rather underhand ‘knobbling’ tactics amongst the trading houses, both Chartist and Rogue Trader. Canny word play and cautious travel are advised…

Theme(s): Trade
Magnitude: Lesser
Achievement Required: 900
Reward: +1 Profit Factor (An appropriately equipped vessel is it’s own reward)

Pest Control

Lord-Captain Aspyce Chorda is renowned for her relentless pursuit of those who slight her honour. One such man is the Chartist Captain Mandred Hans, who is rumored to have embezzled a small fortunes worth of Nephium (a rare resource coveted by the Mechanicus). With this wealth he fled, obtained protection and his own sub-warp trading vessel, bribing and bartering for the relevant licenses. Though he lacks the influence and raw wealth of a Rogue Trader, his flight to the Calixis sector as a legitimate sub-light trader has left him believing he is beyond his former Mistress’ reach.

This is where our explorers come in. There is a sizeable bounty on Captain Hans’ head, equal to the value of the Nephium he is rumoured to have stolen. A suitably impressive execution, showing both stealth and brutality (effectively making a display that cannot be traced back to the executioner) would pave the way for future work with the Lady Chorda in the future.

The hang up lies in her terms. She wants a symbolic body part (it may be a hand, eye, head or heart) to not only genetically confirm the authenticity of a claimant, but prove that the killer delivered word of her vengeance to the thief. Merely destroying his vessel or vaporising him is not good enough, to be sure of a clean kill without destruction of the corpse, the explorers will have to get close to him.

It is up to them to discover his next port of call, and ambush him before he reaches the safety of the relevant authorities.

Theme(s): Criminal
Magnitude: Lesser
Achievement Required: 900
Reward: +1 Profit Factor & Peer(House Chorda) (If already in possession of Peer(Rogue Traders) upgrade to Good Reputation(House Chorda)).

Decisions, decisions…

This is the first step towards glory and wealth for our explorers, and it is an important one. Their actions here will colour the opinions of several major players upon their arrival at Port Wander, and potentially reveal much about their motives to those watching them closely, ever wary of new arrivals looking to make their name…

Complete breakdowns of Endeavours will be revealed in narrative terms to players and stored in the GM section until required

Looking forwards to posting my first in-character Archivist’s Log as soon as our explorers have decided upon their first endeavour, but for now goodbye.

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Sunday Bloody Sunday
Origin, Warrant and Starship Final Deadline

As discussed tonight at the Dark Heresy session (see Luc’s ‘Let the Jackals Feed’ campaign!), some people would like to re-jig the Warrant and Origin Paths for a more balanced ratio of profit factor and ship points. That’s fine, and we will have a discussion session as a group on the first Maritime Games Sunday Session between board gaming concerning this.

One proviso – You MUST be ready to accept the outcome of Sunday as the final decision on your part, as all updates on that aspect will be set in stone by that point. I will also be looking to get some (printer friendly) character sheets sorted for mechanical gen for those interested.

So things to do:

- Settle on final Warrant, Origin and Ship
- Generate characters on paper
- Sit tight and wait for Your prelude endeavour a week Monday

And things you need to bear in mind:

- Do not deviate from established themes, topics and goals too much (I have already started to write example meta/background and prelude endeavours and hooks!!!)

That is all!

Darren Smith

PS: Watch this space for news concerning possible cameos from some ‘out of town’ Maritime Games patrons. They will be rare, but hopefully make for some ‘wild-card’ player driven shenanigans.

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First Genning session and all is well.
A combination of in-character NPC blog and GM self-critique/ramble

- Campaign Theme, Topics and Goals settled upon.
- Narrative Group, Character and Warrant Path Generation completed.
- Starship generation discussed and prototype sheets drawn up for discussion 16/01/11.

A productive first session, discussing the core themes desired in the game, as well as the generation of ‘fluff’ and narrative hooks for individual characters.

Pleased to say that the test of the first version of Maritime Games ‘Rogue Trader Group Generator’ is going well and proving useful is adopting cues and personal story elements form the group. A medium sized group of four players seems optimal, but testing with larger groups should be taken on by any GM’s willing to give feedback. The document is available publicly via (link).

The following Careers and ship roles have been settled upon:

- Rogue Trader (Lord-Captain)
- Explorator (Enginseer Prime)
- Arch-Militant (Chief Bosun)
- Void-Master (First Officer)

More details of these characters will soon become available in the relevant section of this website!

Goals for next session (16/01/11):

- Mechanical Character Generation (origin Paths completed, sheets need filling in).
- Starship generation completion.
- Prelude brief arc; The Inheritance (in character discussion and mood establishment).
- Pre-Campaign Acquisitions.
- One Small Step; a short Lesser Endeavour chosen from several ‘transition micro-arcs’.

Finally, the Warrant path has been determined and will become available shortly via the campaign wiki. This will show the Warrant in it’s full historic glory, written collaboratively by the Rogue Trader Dynast and myself, the GM.

That is all for now, but I look forwards to starting some In-Character blog posts from the Dynasty’s venerable archivist Saul Tarray, as well as providing feedback concerning my next big drive in the campaign run-up; Collaborative Background Writing.

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