*the Maidens of Chaos are former Sisters of Battle whose faith was found to be lacking, thus allowing the corrupting influence of the warp to infest their minds.
*While most Malefic Sororitas are commonly seen fighting alongside the forces of Chaos Undivided, Chaos Maiden Convents dedicated to a single God are not uncommon. The Sisters are often seen performing Dark rituals and rites in order to appease the Dark Gods.
*they most commonly attack Shrine Worlds, Fuedal Worlds, and Hive Worlds, using their newfound faith to slay all the non-believers. Their faith in their new found gods is legendary, and rightly feared. Their faith is frequently rewarded with Daemon Princehood; however, they must pass the same tests that their Chaos Space Marine counterparts must take in order to earn their prize
the following Convents have been identified:
*The Order of the Eight-Pointed Star: the most commonly seen Convent, the black and gold of their heraldry echoes that of the ultimate foe: The Black Legion. They are commonly seen fighting alongside the Forges of Chaos Undivided, particularly the Teutonic Lords and the Black Legion. Their zealotry and fury in battle is legendary, and they are often sought out to assist in rituals to summon Daemonic forces. When the Dark Gods call for a Black Crusade, and when Abbadon the Everchosen leads it, know that the Maidens of Chaos in its Purest Form shall be there to enact the will of the Primordial Truth
*The Order of the Bloodied Skull: The Khornates of the Sororitas Malefica, they favor an odd form of martial honor, where they often give their opponent a fair chance. Of course, such a gesture will do said opponent no good, as the Bloodied Skull Sisters are some of the most fierce melee combatants amongst the Chaos Forces, able to fight against even a Khornate Berzerker in single combat. Their armor is painted bloodiest shade of red (often using the ichor of fallen enemies) with pieces of sacred brass bolted on to show their devotion to the Blood God.
*The Order of Grandfather’s Blessing:True Nurgle worshippers, this order is filled with Sororitas whose flesh and blood is filled with disease and decay; their almost zombie-like flesh is as legendarily resilient as the Plague Marines. They spread despair throughout the Galaxy, hoping to show all why they should accept the Blessing of Grandfather Nurgle. Their armor is bloated with a sickly green, often showing their fetid intestines.
*The Order of the All-Seeing Eye: The leadership of this Order has been granted immense Psychic abilities and the ability to predict the future. This has led to them becoming foremost in the plotting of the intricate and convoluted plots of Tzeentch. many of the sisters plot against each other in a bid for even more power, but when united against a common fore, few can stand against their psychic power. Their armor is painted in bright blues and they wear a mask with beaks upon them to show their faith in the Architect of Fate.
*The Order of Cacophonous Harmony: these sisters utilize the Sonic weapons commonly found amongst the noise marines to great effect. They often burn incense mixed with hard combat drugs to increase their effectiveness and speed on the battlefield. All will bow before the sound of the Great Sermons of Slaanesh, and the bright pinks and purples that herald the coming of the Slaanesh’s symphony!
*The Order of Anarchic Destruction: the Smallest of all the Orders but wielding the most potential, these Sisters worship the Anti-God, Malal. Often traveling the Galaxy alone, they seek out champions of other gods and utterly annihilate them, claiming their soul to be sent to Malal’s Prison. Their colors are the darkest black and lightest white - fitting for ones with such a twisted sense of morality as the followers of Malal
those are all the ideas I have for Chaos Sisters so far! Let me know what you think of them
EDIT 1: Mixed up “Architect of Fate” with “Architect of Faith”; it has been corrected.
Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection - Localization Blog #1
Excelsior, true believers! Nick here again, penning these
gladsome tidings from my grand scriptorium full of musty scrolls and ancient
cartridges. Alas, it’s been quite a while since I checked in with all of you –
well over a year, in fact, with the release of the first Trails of Cold Steel.
With that giant title now roaming free in the wild like the majestic
brachiosaurs in Jurassic Park, you may have wondered what I’ve been working on
over the course of the last year. It always seems to unintentionally happen
that I get assigned to projects I can’t talk about for significant lengths of
time, but this stretch has easily been the longest. So many times I’ve wanted
to tell you some quirky story or fun little side-note about this game as I
worked through its script, but alas, the official XSEED duct tape was covering
my mouth – until very recently, that is.
In our yearly lead-up to the gaming extravaganza that is
E3, we finally announced my long-in-coming project: the classic Falcom action
RPG Zwei 2, making its debut outside of Japan as Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection!
Of course, I’ve also helped out with a variety of other,
more time-sensitive projects, leading to Zwei taking a bit longer to bring to
you than it would have otherwise, but I think we’ve got something you’ll really
enjoy in the making here. And conveniently, the benefit of the slow going is
that the release isn’t too far off now. As Zwei II enters its final stretch
before release, I wanted to tell you more about the game – which is exactly what
I’ll do, over the course of the next couple weeks.
Zwei II has an interesting history: released in 2008, it
was the very last game Falcom developed exclusively for PC. Back then, the PC gaming
market was far from being the robust, thriving scene we know it as today, especially
the Japanese market. Thus, the title seemed almost fated to fly under the radar
despite its quality craftsmanship and hours of fun. But now, with the worldwide
PC game market booming and digital storefronts ensuring copies can get into the
hands of anyone who wants to play, it felt like the right time to fill this
conspicuous gap in Falcom’s lineage.
“But…what about the first Zwei?” you may be pondering
aloud to your monitor. If you’re wondering whether you’ll be at a disadvantage
playing the second game in the series before the first, worry not! I’ve played
both (thanks to Tom’s Japanese boxed copies) and can confirm that Zwei II gives
you all the info you need to understand the world, its plot, and its
characters. There was a 7-year gap between the first and second Zwei games in
Japan, and Falcom couldn’t assume players would’ve played the earlier entry, so
the structure is something more akin to Trails in the Sky versus Trails of Cold
Steel, where the games take place in the same world, but in different locations
and with different casts. This makes it easy to jump right in.
To start things off, I wanted to sit down and flesh out
the game a little for you, since compared to its siblings in the Ys series, and
even Xanadu, it’s far less known by fans. What is the Zwei series? What makes
it great? How does it play? Why is it cool?
Let’s start from the ground up: the name of the game. “Zwei”
is simply the German word for “two” and, as you’ll soon discover, it’s a very
fitting title – the game features not one, but two protagonists. Our leads in Zwei
II are Ragna Valentine, a lively treasure hunter and pilot-for-hire, and Alwen
du Moonbria, a confident vampire princess looking to avenge herself against an
unknown enemy. How these two very different people meet and come to really
understand (and maybe even appreciate) each other is the relationship that
forms the heart of the game, and I’ve done my best to make that journey of
growth and understanding a fun and memorable one. And, as with any good RPG,
the journey is not without obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, our hero and
heroine are up to the task, with Ragna skilled at mixing it up in melee, and
Alwen versed in the ways of magic. You can swap between them at any time, and
whoever you’re not controlling runs along behind you, ready to leap into the
lead role at the press of a button.
Zwei II’s combat is action-based, not unlike the Ys games
or Gurumin, but the two-character setup creates an interesting dynamic in
combat. Over the course of the game, Ragna will be able to upgrade his weapon,
the half chain-whip/half katar Anchor Gear, into several different forms, and
Alwen (who begins the game bereft of most of her magic) will regain her
powerful spells. You end up being able to do some interesting things, like
using a claw-variant of Ragna’s Anchor Gear to grab an enemy, then throw it
into another enemy, knocking both into a corner, then swapping to Alwen and
unloading a fiery salvo on them. Or have Alwen cast her whirlwind magic to
sweep up a couple enemies and keep them stun-locked, then swap to Ragna to leap
into the air and string together a midair combo on them. In many dungeons, I often
found myself favoring one or the other to take the lead because of the
strategies I came up with to best deal with certain types of enemies, and
you’ll likely fall into styles of play that fit the way you prefer to approach
the game’s combat as well.
And speaking of approaches to combat, Zwei II has a
rather unique leveling system, too. In the game, you don’t earn EXP from
quests, or from beating up monsters. You actually earn it by eating food – the
same food you use to heal yourself when you’re running low on HP. There’s even
a “food exchange” service available at the restaurant in the main village of
Artte that lets you trade 10 of any one type of food for one of another type that
gives more EXP than the ten individual pieces of food would have if eaten on
their own (example: trade 10 cheeses worth 10 EXP each for a single pizza worth
150 EXP). Will you chow down now, or hoard in the hopes of cashing in for
savory plates of EXP-rich cuisine? You decide! It probably sounds weird (it
certainly did to me when I first learned about it), but in practice, it
actually works really well. It frees you up from having to grind in dungeons,
or feel like you absolutely MUST kill every enemy on the way to your
destination. It also gives you a lot of control over your own challenge level.
When I was playing the Japanese version of the game, my loose rule was that I’d
never eat food just to level – I’d just use it when I was hurt, to restore HP.
I ended up going through most of the game under-leveled because of this, but
never TOO under-leveled, because the more under-leveled I was, the more damage
I’d take, thus getting infusions of EXP more frequently from using food to heal
myself. There’s a strange sort of balance to it, and the game isn’t stingy
about giving you food in chests, as drops from enemies, and even from giant
slot machines you’ll find in each dungeon, so you can decide whether you want
to blow through the game as a force of nature but with less on-demand healing
available, or a bit underpowered but with a fully-stocked pantry.
If that talk of slot machines that dispense food or
trading wedges of cheese for a pizza sounds a little…weird, that’s by design.
More than any Falcom game I can think of, the Zwei series embraces its sense of
humor, poking in good-spirited fun at its two main characters, the townspeople,
and even many of the foes you face down along the way. It’s got a lively,
colorful, and cartoonish art style that has helped the graphics hold up well,
too. You probably know from personal experience that stories more focused on
being comedic sometimes run the risk of not being able to successfully shift
into a more serious mode when the story calls for it, but thankfully, Zwei II
doesn’t suffer from this issue. It’s surprisingly adept at conveying a serious
atmosphere when the story calls for it, making for some excellent dramatic moments,
and even a dab of pathos here and there. But on the whole, Zwei II is a game
that feels deeply informed by 90s anime and manga, with all the oddness and
charm that comes with that. I can certainly say that being rooted in that style
proved fertile ground for my work to help the game achieve its comedic
potential (speaking as a weeb from ancient times), and I’m already planning my
next blog post to focus on some of the details of the writing and the
One thing I love about Zwei II is that it reaches out and
really grabs you from the start. In just the first 20-30 minutes, you get the
following ace setup (obviously, skip these next two paragraphs if you want to
go in totally blind):
The game begins in the skies, as courier pilot Ragna
Valentine is cruising in his cool red biplane, the Tristan, toward the island
of Ilvard on a routine delivery mission. Suddenly, he’s ambushed by unknown
assailants, and after a dogfight against a pair of dragon-riders in the skies
over Ilvard, his plane takes a bad hit and plummets toward the land below. The
next thing he knows, he wakes up in a bed in the nearby town of Artte as the
town doctor marvels at how he came out of such a crushing impact with barely a
scratch. After all, his plane didn’t fare nearly as well. Going out to
investigate the crash site, Ragna finds his plane on a hill on the outskirts of
town, busted up and snapped in half just as the doctor said. So how did he even
survive such a nasty crash?
Well…he almost didn’t. After that crash, as he lay
among the wreckage, broken of body and bleeding out, he was rescued from his
mortal fate by none other than Princess Alwen du Moonbria. Alwen isn’t your ordinary
RPG princess, though: she’s a sharp-tongued shut-in vampire princess. Not too long
before the start of the story, Alwen’s castle was invaded by a mysterious foe who
ultimately seized the stronghold and gave her the boot, after stripping her of
her ancestral magic. Seeing the outsider Ragna as her best bet to help her
search for her magic and retake her castle, she takes some of his blood and
gives him some of hers, sealing a pact that turns him into her ‘Blood Knight’ –
a warrior in thrall to a powerful Trueblood vampire whose physical abilities
and regenerative capacity far exceed what humans are capable of. But Ragna,
see, is all about freedom and doing things his way, and he hates the idea of
working as anyone’s lackey. After realizing the situation he’s in, though, he
strikes a deal with Alwen: he’ll help her get her castle back as thanks for
saving his life…but instead of being master and servant, they’ll do it as equals.
And so, our story begins.
Cool, right? And that all happens in fairly short order –
no longwinded tutorials, no hours of quests before the gears really start to
spin. Zwei II has a lot of heart and a lot of dialogue, and to its credit, it
seldom feels like it drags. The story starts with a bang and keeps things
moving at a good clip.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to do, though. The
island of Ilvard is dotted with thriving communities and, in the fashion of the
Trails or Ys games, they’re populated with fleshed-out NPCs who have their own
small story arcs and conflicts to overcome over the course of the game, with
dialogue that changes frequently after progressing the main story. Some of the
residents are funny, some are petulant, and some are just downright strange, so
I hope you enjoy getting to know all of them over the many times you’ll visit
the towns. You might even stumble upon unique scenes, a secret hint, or a good
ol’ fashioned RPG quest (you know, the kind from back before there were
convenient quest logs to keep track of things). And of course, what with Zwei
II being focused on Ragna and Alwen as dual protagonists, they’ll often have
unique things to say in response to other characters depending on whom you’ve
got in the lead.
In the course of working on the game’s script, I observed
with no small amount of fascination that in some ways, it almost seems like Zwei
II was made more with Westerners in mind than the Japanese market. Ragna
himself is an incredibly un-Japanese character, with his bravado, easygoing
swagger, and sass, but he’s a character that I know will click instantly with the
North American audience in particular. We see Ragnas in our books and films; we
all probably know someone like him, or who has elements of his personality.
Alwen, too, is a character I think will be well-liked by the West. Not content
to lament the loss of her home or sit idly by, she picks herself up and decides
to get even and take back everything that was taken from her even though it
promises to be an uphill battle. The core of her personality is her
self-assured nature – even when confronting a world she’s mainly just read
about (in books that were, sadly, out of date on the latest trends and
customs). Quick-witted and keen, she matches Ragna tit-for-tat, helping the two
play well off each other. Beyond just them, there’s the wild west-flavored
bounty hunter Odessa, chain-smoking nun Isabella, the worldly jazz pianist
Shester, dependable engineer Miriam, and of course, the irrepressible
luchador-masked man of mystery, Gallandeau, among many others. Having a zany
cast of characters like this all together in one place feels like the kind of
storytelling we enjoy so much in Japanese games. But at the same time, after
seeing so many forgettably milquetoast light novel-style characters in the
games and anime of recent years, it’s refreshing to come upon a game where the
characters have an abundance of personality – where I know they’ll resonate
with the audience I’m localizing the game for.
So…there you go. In a nutshell, this and more is what
you have to look forward to when Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection finally makes
its debut. Like a time capsule laden with the charms of a bygone era of RPGs, I
think it’ll prove its worth to you as more than simply a pleasant surprise – I
think it has the merit to stand proudly as one of Falcom’s finest.
Stunned by the way her relationship with Yugo ended, Alita hurtles into the sport of motorball in search of a fresh start and new possibilities. She turns herself into a honed, unthinking blade and launches herself up the ranks. Little does she know that her ultimate foes will be Jasugun, the supreme champion of motorball, and Dr. Ido, her own father figure!! The “Motorball” arc begins, famed for its riveting and kinetic battle scenes, and vast and varied cast of athletes!
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1. JASPER WILL HAVE THE CUTEST SMILE This, first and foremost, forever and ever! The first time that we see Jasper smile, like a pure, genuine smile of happiness, it will be the cutest thing in the world. Even cuter than “angry slice of pie” Peridot! I can’t even imagine what will make her smile, but when Jasper experiences her first real, genuine moment of happiness, she’ll just have the biggest, brightest smile. Maybe she’ll laugh too–and I bet she’ll snort when she laughs, like a giant dork.
2. JASPER AND AMETHYST WILL BE AMAZING SISTERS Jasper is going to live in Amethyst’s room and it’s going to be great. Amethyst is so ready to show Jasper how to be an Earthling. Tons of Li’l Butler binge watching, snack runs to the Big Donut, long afternoons hanging out on the beach. Jasper is going to win Amethyst so many prizes at Funland–soon, Amethyst’s room will have a massive pile of stuffed toys, each one just as precious as the last.
3. JASPER’S FAVORITE SHOW WILL BE CRYING BREAKFAST FRIENDS Jasper will be the one and only Gem who really understands Crying Breakfast Friends. She and Steven are going to bond over it big time, especially if Angry Lunch Enemies are going to be added to the main cast. Jasper will identify a lot with the Bread (Sandwich?) character, but the entire show will help Jasper be more mindful about her emotions. It might even help her express herself better!
4. JASPER WILL LOVE BOOKS Jasper will be a total sucker for the classic “hero’s journey.” An unlikely hero rises from humble origins, works hard, struggles against immense odds, and ultimately defeats her foe–Jasper is all about those stories. She reads the entire Spirit Morph Saga, and when she finishes Destiny’s End, Steven and Connie find her slumped on the couch, absolutely bawling. I haven’t decided if Jasper would be outraged by the ending (”Lisa was a hero! She saved EVERYONE! She deserved more than a cake, she deserved STATUES in her honor!”) or moved beyond all belief (”I’m just so glad that Lisa got her happy ending!”) but either way she’s going to be an emotional wreck.
5. JASPER WILL CARRY STEVEN ON HER SHOULDERS A LOT This is… just something I want to see. It needs to happen, okay? Steven never has to walk anywhere ever again because he can ride on the back of Atlas.