Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.
Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.
PARTIZAN 04: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - BLACKGLOVES
Northwest of the seaside town of Obelle, there is a crater. Inside of that crater are the remains of the Divine Past, and those who wish to claim them: On one side, there are the members of the nascent special operations group the Rapid Evening. On the other, GLORY, a special Apostolosian unit which seeks to resurrect the culture’s greatest heroes as supersoldiers. But as everyone on the holy moon of Partizan knows, there are always more than two sides.
This week on PARTIZAN: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - BLACKGLOVES
GLORY: With the help of advanced Columnar cloning science, the Glory Project (or simply GLORY), claims to have resurrected (and made immortal) heroes of the nation’s past called Eidolons. On Partizan, they field Kleos, Cassander, Vervain, and the squad’s leader: Apothesa, original Eidolon of construction, military action, and history. Interested in Past’s records chiefly because it might allow them to “better recreate Apostolosian eidolons.”
The Zenith Fund: A public institution of Stel Columnar that incubates, defends, and offers testing for teams pursuing cutting edge projects in a wide range of fields including medicine, environmental science, infrastructure, culture, and emerging military hardware. Aids with major projects across every other Stel, including Apostolos’ Glory Project.
Horizon: In the popular consciousness, Horizon is a radical, anti-Principality terrorist organization. In actuality, they are a radical-reformist group, which seeks to drive out what it perceives as corruption in an empire that ought be pursuing noble (instead of selfish) ends. Rumored to be funded by Stel Kesh’s House Brightline.
Dr. Cardiff Reach (he/him): Columnar researcher from the Zenith Fund who has been assigned to Apostolos’ GLORY project. Quad legged, with four spindly metal legs. Wears a lab coat, independently-moving telescoping eyes, etc.
“Saint Dawn” (she/her): Commander of Horizon’s forces on all of Partizan. The pseudonym of Gucci Garantine, who hides her identity with metallic, golden face paint forming a “major sector” geometrical pattern on her face, covering her eyes, forehead, and cheeks.
Figure A (they/them): A synthetic being that once worked inside of the Divine Past, working to make the data the Divine had available to it more understandable by other people.
Kleos (they/them): Soldier of GLORY. Genetic clone of the Apostolosian hero and eidolon of the same name. Skin is an iridescent maroon color. Wears a bright red cloak wrapped around their neck and hanging back like a cape, totally topless otherwise, revealing firm, muscular torso. Khaki fatigue-capris. A spear slung over their back, and a heavy sidearm at their waist.
Barranca: To the north of Obelle lies the Apostolosian province of Barranca, where mediterranian subtropical shores give way to a vast latticework of ravines and crags. There, military bases and civilian settlements sit in the crooks and alcoves, shaded by high canyon walls. Rising above it all is the famed Barranca Loop, a massive suspended cable system that runs up above the atmosphere like a giant bridge, and which allows Apostolos to launch ships and cargo into space. Heavily patrolled and under complete control of Stel Apostolos.
Transgress Oblige: The hollow of Gucci Garantine, and a chief symbol of the terrorist organization Horizon. Whitesmoke color body, with the torso, shoulders, and upper arms covered in a sort of secondary armor layer that is blue with gold flourishes. Carries a bazooka and a pair of beam partizan (with a golden beam blade) which can retract into a beam saber. Below the blue armor layer is a secondary core, made of some sort of rare crystal: When revealed, those that see it are struck by the power and magnificence of humanity itself.
PARTIZAN 03: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - DINNERDATE
The destruction of a Divine, the killing of an Elect, and war on a new front: Any one of these could shift the balance of power on a moon like Partizan. So when all three occurred in Obelle, the great Stels began to analyze, strategize, and maneuver immediately. Squadrons were re-deployed, diplomats recalled, artists commissioned, and clergy and commentariat both called to weigh in.
But for Stel Kesh, one matter was more important than any other: The safe and honorable recovery of the body of their lost Elect and the retrieval of enough of their ruined Divine so that they may begin the arduous process of revitalization, a task which required a great deal of knowledge, even more salvaged material, and the gumption to put the two together.
To this end, the newly minted—and still clandestine—Rapid Evening are deployed across the sea, under the orders of erstwhile heiress and novice commander Clementine Kesh (Jack de Quidt). Can Clementine, along with former pirate Exeter Leap (Ketih J. Carberry), religious advisor Sovereign Immunity (Art Tebbel), and AWOL super soldier Ver’Million Blue (Andi Clare), secure acceptable terms with one of her Stel’s most ardent foes? Or will negotiations break down under the weight of old enmity and new blood?
This week on PARTIZAN: SHORESIDE RECOVERY - DINNERDATE
The Rapid Evening: A small, covert ops squad loyal to Stel Kesh and named for a now ancient unit of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents.
The Curtain: Allegedly, the Curtain is the cryptocratic organization that pulls the levers of power in Stel Kesh. In reality ████████████.
Silversky Salvage and Repair: Salvagers are a dime a dozen, but with chief engineer Sombre Sky in the pit, no one on Partizan is better at putting a machine back together. Dispatched to Obelle along with the Rapid Evening to ensure that the most important parts of Past are retrieved.
Clementine Kesh (she/her): Formerly sixth in line to the throne of Stel Kesh and the Principality writ large. Was assigned to “religious leave” in order to remove her from the line of succession and place her in comparative safety on the moon of Partizan. Now leads the Rapid Evening out of ambition and boredom. Dreams of ruling Stel Kesh.
Sovereign Immunity (he/him): Member of the Shepherd’s Crook, a sect of Received Asterism famous for placing high ranking members in advisory roles across many Stels (despite the sect’s loyalty to Stel Nideo). Imprisoned for the crime of kidnapping of Dahlia years before they would declare themself the Glorious Princept, then reassigned to the Rapid Evening. He is also known as the Farmer and Byron. Dreams of being assigned to Clementine as her official Sovereign Immunity.
Exeter Leap (he/him): A space pirate and one of the few remaining members of the Equiaxed culture in Stel Columnar space. Imprisoned for the aforementioned piracy before being assigned to the Rapid Evening. Dreams of escaping imprisonment.
Ver’Million Blue (she/her): Created as part of an Apostolosian super soldier program, Million is an excellent sharpshooter who went AWOL (violently) and was eventually picked up as a POW by Stel Kesh. Recently deployed to Partizan as part of the Rapid Evening. Dreams of real freedom.
Crysanth Kesh (she/her): Clementine Kesh’s mother. Third in line to the throne of Kesh. Would likely be a ranking member of The Curtain, if such an organization existed.
Audacious Opportunity (A.O.) Rooke (he/him): Was a young freelance mercenary operating under Stel Orion charter before being captured by Stel Kesh on an assignment deep behind enemy lines. Now deployed to the Rapid Evening.
Gucci Garantine (she/her): Vassal and political attache to House Brightline of Stel Kesh. She and House Brightline reportedly have ties to the “reformist” (read: terr
PARTIZAN 02: Obelle, On Fire
To the west of the small town of Obelle, the Oxblood Clan attempts to secure the landing zone for an inbound VIP. The plan is simple: Recover them and escape east across the sea. To aid them in that task, the Society of Banners and Bright Returns have been sent to take out the nearby Apostolosian militia’s sensors, fuel reserves, and weapon platforms.
So far, it’s been light work for the team, with Kal’mera Broun’s artillery-scale flashbang and Thisbe’s powerful mechanical gorilla, Mow, being key to a smash-and-grab that’s given the team control over the enemy’s hollows. But now, as Valence is confronted by a member of an Apostolosian smuggling ring, chaos begins to seep into the mission...
This week on PARTIZAN: Obelle, On Fire
The Red Fennecs: Technically, the Red Fennecs are an Apostolosian logistics and transport squad. In actuality, they’re utilized by their commanding officer, Tes’ili Serikos, as the backbone of a humble smuggling operation.
The Partizan Palace: Across Divinity, the Palace provides citizens with authorized archival information, approved news reports (kept up to date locally by the day, galactically by the week), and art and entertainment determined to be canonical to the Divine Principality.
House Whitestar: For generations, House Whitestar was among the smallest vassal families of Stel Kesh’s most powerful noble House (itself called House Kesh). With modest holdings and minimal political influence, it seemed they’d inevitably fade into history. But after the Apostolosian leader Dahlia declared themselves the Glorious Princept, Stel Kesh announced that Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh, a mid-level diplomat, was the true Princept. With his rise, they’ve grown in importance and power.
Tes’ili Serikos (they/them, tes/tes’): This Apostolosian transport specialist, black marketeer, and Tes’ili Serikos can get just about anything just about anywhere, for a price. Short, round, fuzzy, and good natured… unless you screw tes over.
Cymbidium (he/him): The elect of the Kesh-aligned divine Past. Cymbdium is an Ashen, the descendent culture of the ancient deer-like Hypha people. He is traveling to Partizan for mysterious reasons.
Azyet Eyesgrene (she/her): Recorder for the Partizan Palace. (Name unspoken.)
The Prophet’s Path: An autonomous region of Partizan running from east from the barren edge of the desert, through the tropical coast, and through the Isles of Logos. Independent towns and cities like Obelle make up the bulk of its continental settlements. Believed to be the area through which the prophet Logos Kantel traveled on their miraculous journey one thousand years ago.
The Divine Past: Part floating city, part living library. The Divine Past was built tens of thousands of years before the Divine Principality was created. It stores an untold amount of information about the cultures it has observed, including the Divine Principality itself. The only person who can access this information is its Elect, who wanders its endless halls and travels across Divinity as equal parts librarian, priest, ship captain, and diplomat.
Cast: A mirror-coated, humanoid mech that appears like a four-winged angel, with loud jet engines hidden inside of its shiny, metallic wings. Just above its mouth, its head becomes an AWACS-esque flat sensor disc. Largely built for reconnaissance, and deployed by the Palace to gather information and recordings. Avoids conflict, though can defends or stabilize itself with a system of chains and hooks.
Ataraxia: A white, purple, and yellow mantid-shaped machine blessed by the divine Commitment and developed by Stel Columnar’s Zenith Fund. Each of its six curved limbs can light up its edges with energy beams. On the ground, it can dance in combat in such a way that any two l
PARTIZAN 01: The Seaside Town of Obelle
It started with as basic a job as they come: The Society of Banners and Bright Returns (SBBR), a rookie outfit based in Oxbridge, was tapped for a contract as a support unit in a rescue op. There was a little town called Obelle on the border between the Apostolosian Barranca and the Prophet’s Path, where damn near the only free folks in the Principality made their home.
Some sort of VIP was making landfall just northwest of the spot, and while another crew was doing the pickup, SBBR (which was just the engineer Kal’mera Braun, the alien empath Valence, and that big goddamn robot, Thisbe at the time) had to tilt the scales in favor of a smooth getaway. Drop in, knock out a sensor dish, blow up some reserve fuel, and (if they were feeling especially confident) incap a couple of Troops before they could get up and moving. But SBBR wouldn’t be SBBR if they didn’t find a way to do a milk run in reverse...
This week on PARTIZAN: The Seaside Town of Obelle
The Society of Banners and Bright Returns (SBBR): A daring mercenary outfit that takes on reconnaissance, espionage, sabotage, and theft missions. Independent, but operating under Stel Orion and the Scrivener’s Guild.
Scrivener’s Guild: An organization of (armed) clerks who mediate negotiations, draft contracts, and keep records of all industrial, commercial, and private business operations with Orion-aligned organizations. Unhappy with SBBR’s performance.
The Oxblood Clan: What started as a group of orphans turned into a labor guild and criminal enterprise with connections across Partizan. Occasionally run rough-and-tumble military ops for extra cash. Allies with SBBR.
The Swordbreakers: An Apostolosian squad blessed by the divine Commitment and led by Cas’alear Rizah, the adopted sibling of the Apokine and Princept Dahlia. They’re known across the war as legend killers who punch above their weight.
Kal’Mera Broun (they/them, played by Alicia Acampora): SBBR’s in-house technician with a focus in designing and deploying specialized artillery. Apostolosian born, Orion trained.
Valence (they/them, played by Andrew Lee Swan): An empath from a culture beyond the Partizan gate, searching for allies for their culture, the Nobel. Serves as “face” for SBBR.
Thisbe (she/her, played by Janine Hawkins): A large, humanoid labor robot whose design is based on the ancient Hypha people. Recently unearthed by farmers, and then traded between mercenary units until she wound up in SBBR’s control.
Kueen Overture Rooke (she/her): SBBR’s contact at the Scrivener's Guild. A former ace pilot, lead mechanic, and battlefield commander, KO now uses her expertise to dispatch and guide mercenary units across Partizan.
Anchor Afton (she/her): Commander of the Oxblood Clan unit deployed in Obelle. Upper middle age. Silver hair, weathered complexion. Dark eyes. Muscular as s**t. Third generation Ox.
Jesset City (he/him): On mission as support unit & on-site repairs for Oxblood. Young and eager to make friends. Doesn’t know much about this mission. Pilots a Cloud unit, a “re-appropriated” Apostolosian recon model.
Cas’alear Rizah (cas/cas’, they/them): Leader of the Swordbreakers. Cas has brown skin with dark green hair up in a bun, with a few strands hanging down in front of their face (which is framed with similarly colored scales covering cas’ jawline and neck. Broken sword tattoos under their eyes. Reputation as being beautiful and brave by allies, unflinching and unpredictable by foes. Pilots the notorious Hallow, Ataraxia.
Obelle: A small, seaside town between Apostolos territory to the north and the independent lands of the Prophet’s Path to the south. Sleepy agricultural town with tiny small tourist industry, as its often used as a resstop for those walking their pilgrimage do
PARTIZAN 00: The Divine Principality
It is the year 1423 of the Perfect Millennium, and the galaxy has been conquered by the Divine Principality. At the center of this empire, the only place where its five Great Stels meet, there is a moon beating where a heart should be. The moon of Partizan.
Abetted by immortal, machinic gods called Divines, and the legions of Hallowed mechs which extend their terrible reach, the Principality spent millennia sharpening itself on its rivals. What it could not devour it obliterated. What it could not obliterate, it simply outlived. It was an empire, unshakeable.
For the first time in the Principality’s long history, two of its five Stels have gone to war with one another, each guided by a ruler with sound claim to the title of Princept, leader of All Divinity. For five years, they have fought to a standstill, while equivacators and scavengers find profit in rubble.
But historical crises do not only serve crass opportunists, they revive opportunity itself. Under the shadow of this war you find yourself wondering: For how long will there be empires? For as long as we breathe? Longer? Will the categories of our conquest outlast us, or could there come a day for something else.
We once dreamt that breaking free from our ancient home in the cosmos would allow us to escape the mass and pull of tyranny and trauma. We failed then, but perennial chaos offers us another chance: Can we launch with such speed that we glide, graceful or imperfect, beyond war and pain? Or is the truth more damning that: Might we carry our own gravity with us?
This week on PARTIZAN: The Divine Principality
Welcome to the latest season of Friends at the Table: PARTIZAN. We’ll be playing Beam Saber by Austin Ramsay, “a Forged In The Dark game about the pilots of powerful machines in a war that dominates every facet of life.”
Though this season takes place in the same universe COUNTER/Weight and Twilight Mirage, neither of those seasons is required listening for this new season, so if you’ve been curious about our show, this is totally a great place to hop on board. If today’s episode all about world building and character creation is a little too slow for you, don’t be afraid to hop back on for next week’s episode, which will be action packed and full of great character moments.
If you like what you’ve heard this episode, then please consider going to our Patreon, which is FILLED with bonus content. We’ve got a Patreon-only campaign called Bluff City, bonus live streams, a tips show, “Clapcasts” featuring some of the unrelated pre-show chatter, and even a special show called Drawing Maps where I talk through my prep and worldbuilding. To give you a little taste, we’ve made the first two episodes of Bluff City, a brand new Clapcast, and the first of the PARTIZAN Drawing Maps episodes free to everyone!
Finally: Every episode this season is going to come with a little Dossier in the episode description. Think of this as a mix between a play’s Dramatis Personae listing and a cheat sheet. It’ll be a (pseudo-diegetic) list of important characters, organizations, places, vehicles, items, and concepts that come up for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) in the episode. For today’s entry (which is non-diegetic) I’ve included the list of factions, religions, and major events that I sent to the players during the character creation process.
Find this below, along with a maps of both the Divine Principality’s view of the galaxy and of Partizan itself, both of which were done by the incredible Annie Johnston-Glick (@dancynrew on Twitter, commission her!) Thanks ALSO to to Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot on Twitter, commission him!) for another season of incredible art. You can also find the music from this and all of our seasons over on Jack’s bandcamp.
Thank you all for your support through
The Road to PARTIZAN 11: Summary & Recap
Welcome to the final episode of the Road to PARTIZAN. This week, Dre, Jack, and Austin talk through and discuss through the entirely timeline of events, reflecting the events of the past 10 weeks of play and as outlined during the Microscope games from the past two weeks. For your convenience, we’ve added the Microscope timeline below to help you follow along. There are even a few new events added to round a few things out and fill in a few key details.
Whether you’re a new Friends at the Table fan listening for a quick snapshot of the lore leading to PARTIZAN, or if you’re hoping to remind yourself of everything that happened on the way here, thanks for listening! I hope you’re looking forward to next week’s episode, PARTIZAN 00, as much as we are!
This week on The Road to PARTIZAN 11: Summary & Recap
////PARTIZAN PALACE DATE ENTRY | 100 P.M. 03 43 \\\\
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///OPERATION: CHOOSE SECTION: ANNOUNCEMENTS && PLATFORM | DISPLAY TOP RESULT\\\
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//WELCOME TO THE PALACE\\
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/OPERATION: EXTRACT KEY QUOTES | BULLET FORM\
The Palace offers all citizens of the Divine Principality access to verified news, information, and advice through any terminal device. Designed by Stel Columnar’s most advanced technicians, built by the sharpest materials engineers in Stel Orion, spread through Divinity with speed only achievable by the fleets of Stel Apostolos, filled by Stel Kesh with the knowledge and history of countless generations, and operated by the firm and caring hand of Stel Nideo, the Palace represents the breadth of Divine ingenuity and aptitude. Information on The Palace will always be perfectly reliable, thanks to teams of researchers, recorders, and adjusters dispatched across the galaxy. Additional features include local almanac data, key scholarly texts, and a liturgical calendar. Whether you'd like to pursue a vocation with the Palace, submit a feature request, or want to report questionable material, simply travel to your local Palace office and administrators will be happy to assist.
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000), and Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)
Edited by Austin Walker and produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)