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Let the blood flow: Bringing the Blood of the Black Stream to life


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History: What are the Blood of the Black Stream? (BOTBS)

I used to have a guide on the status of various Epic AT projects.

Copying shamelessly from that:




Long ago, there was a City of Heroes collectible card game. At one point, there was a contest, which had a player created character made into a card. An Egyptian themed character won - and Sean Fish (aka Manticore) found it tied into an idea for an Epic AT, modifying the blurb slightly, making them one of the Blood of the Black Stream.

Here's the card.

The description:



Ahnek Rah-Zul
Server: Protector
Archetype: Tanker
Level: 28
5000 years ago, the Pharaoh of Egypt was besieged with attempts on his life from the Blood of the Black Stream. Even his most trusted followers were plied with offers of great wealth and lusty women for information and secrets that could be used to devise his assassination. So the Pharaoh prayed to Mighty Ra for a protector who could not be tempted or swayed by mortal vices.

Ra sent the enchanted, basalt statue Ahnek Rah-Zul to be that protector. Being enchanted and made of purest stone, the statue is practically invulnerable to physical harm and has no need of mortal trappings, therefore his loyalty to the Pharaoh is unquestionable. The Pharaoh lived out his remaining days in peace and prosperity. Upon his death the statue was entombed with him to be his guardian for all eternity.
Recently a team of famous archaeologists unearthed this ancient tomb. When the Light of Ra (sunlight) touched upon the statue, it was awakened. Ahnek Rah-Zul began to search the world for the new incarnation of the Pharaoh. Learning of the great heroes of Paragon City, the statue was naturally drawn here.

Ahnek Rah-Zul now protects all the citizens of Paragon City in the hopes that a new Pharaoh will arise here and that he may again take his rightful place as the Pharaoh’s guardian and protector.

Congratulations for winning the first Player Awarded collectible card game card due to release in March 2006. You’re getting 10 copies of Ahnek Rah-Zul Hero card, 10 copies of his signature power, and 1 City of Heroes CCG T-shirt!



In any case, the Blood of the Black Stream has been kicked around a bit. We do know bits and pieces about them. They're supposed to be shapeshifters. They're based in Egypt. They're touched on, primarily in Mr. Bocor's arc, as being involved in Gadzul Oil. And they seem to have a techno/magic mix going on, as one of their projects (link needed) involved building a world-sized computer, tapping into ley lines and other places of energy... one of which is visible if you fly above the tanker in Port Oakes. (The Eye of Horus-shaped oil spill.)

This is the lastest word we've had (5/11/2010) about the Blood of the Black Stream. They haven't been forgotten, but they haven't apparently been worked on either.



Frankly, I'd say this fell victim to the Positron/War Witch era mentality of "we don't care about the old stuff, we have new developers and want them to work on their new stuff," which left a lot of things hanging which could have been *really* interesting while reinforcing and adding depth to the lore.

So. What can we do with this?
I'm *very* interested in the backstory and the hints in game, honestly. That's what I'd mostly want to develop. An Epic AT? ... I'd give a solid "maybe," but definitely not shapeshifting. EATs are a lot of work, mostly from tying them *to* a story (the "epic" in "epic AT,") but even without shapeshifting, I have some ideas. These guys sound like manipulators and assassins, and I think we could add a bit to the game with them.

I don't expect the dev team we have here - at this size (and funding, and NC negotiation issues, and missing tools, and, and) - to run with the bigger ideas. I'd put them out there anyway mostly for fun, but I think we could at least develop some interesting story arcs to investigate 1-50.

I'm going to reserve the next few posts to go into detail on three sections - so don't expect them to fill in *right now,* since I'm doing some of this typing while at lunch, and do want to develop other ideas. The sections:

1. Story arcs.
2. Maps (and shareable assets)
3. Powerset or EAT(s)


(Oh. You didn't notice the Eye of Horus by the tanker in Oakes? Take a look...)

Eye of Horus.png

Eye of Horus 2.png

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.


I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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Story arcs:

Brief -


For all alignments, start at level 20. (Should there be an actual EAT, those would, of course, start at level 1 and be unique to the ATs, superceding these - you would not get these arcs as a BOTBS EAT as you're getting an "insider's view" set of arcs instead.) These generic alignment arcs should be available for everyone.)

Like current V/EAT arcs, something new pops up every 5 levels, again starting at level 20.


Arcs would cover multiple alignments -


Blue: (edited with more of an idea) Theme is investigation, temptation and finally confrontation. They've had thousands of years of dealing with "guardians" and working behind the scenes. Now that the character has come to their attention, they will either work with the BOBS, get out of their way, or fall.


Initial contact would be a midnighter (who'd been put under their influence, somehow,) leading you to an investigation of - say, an 'odd cult.' You get him for two arcs, at the end of which there's a trap - and you meet someone odd, who points out you'd been betrayed, but they can help. This would be a BotBS agent.


One idea - Some of the help will be a - useful - temp power. (Not sure quite *what* yet, but definitely useful.) Once you hit the arcs at 35-40, said temp power will be turned against you - it may still be useful, but have some severe cost (debuff of some sort, most likely.) Defeating them in the 45-50s, it goes back to being something useful, having been cleansed of their influence.


There should definitely be a feeling of tempting and betrayal as you unravel what's going on.

... nope, not more fleshed out at the moment, more a theme than anything right now.


Red - "Do you want money? Power? We can help. Information for revenge? We know it."  Most likely the most difficult to write, since I don't want to railroad redside. Possibly multiple redside arcs for "what do you want?"



Grey - with alternates for both rogue and vigilante, potentially.

Theme: "Being the power behind the throne can be much more interesting. Make the change you want without becoming a target. We can show you how."



In addition -

Gold - Given these are tech/magic based, they've probably infiltrated Portal Corp and may have some interest in Praetoria, which leads to them discovering first/night ward. Obviously wouldn't be following the "20-50" time, but some investigation would probably be worthwhile as they look into this new (to them) magical area.



Extra for all - Cimerora


The Egyptians have had relations with the Romans - as trade partners, in combat, and as a vassal state. We don't, as I recall, have a *time* for when CIm happens, but there's a few thousand years of Egyptian history to play with.


There would likely be BotBS interest in observing what's happening with Cimerora and the little civil war (and Incarnate "magic") there. New contacts are introduced - one to investigate and prevent them from interfering, one who wants to help undermine the government and place an agent at the right hand of the winner. The latter would likely come into conflict with the Nictus / Path of the Dark, so we can play with a little more lore there. Probably 2-3 arcs just exploring some storyline or lore.



Edited by Greycat
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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.


I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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Maps and shareable assets:


I have specific reason to list this this way. Obviously with something that's lasted this long (since ancient Egypt,) new assets would have to be made to really convey this. These would, I'd think, get a lot of mileage as they could be used in AE, we'd get plenty of new items for base building, and even costume parts (ancient egypt = more monstrous heads, to begin with, as well as weapon customization choices and other costume parts.)


I'd think, for maps/environments, at least we'd have:

Desert village (ancient)
Riverside desert city (ancient)
Riverside desert city (modern)
Ancient temple (looks new)
Ancient temple (ruins)
Oil fields (links to gadzul oil)


Not only would this expand the world a bit beyond just Paragon and the Isles (which, after all, was started somewhat with both Cim and Praetoria,) but it would open up some storytelling options in AE. Plus, of course, all these maps would have pieces and parts to use in our own bases. While these would take work, as mentioned, they'd be useful outside these storylines and I think several areas of the community would enjoy taking advantage of them.


Just because they'd be needed in the maps and missions, seeing new items for bases (Egyptian themed statuary, temple columns, simple buildings, even something hut-like - not everyone lived in big stone buildings after all! Plus all the other little details that make maps come alive) would probably be exciting. Even simple "desert surfaces" and "sand dunes" could get a lot of flexibility, if they can be recolored - surface of Mars? Beach? Might not be the greatest "moon surface," lacking craters, but it could do in a pinch.


And of course, we'd have other assets to use. Not just things like other animals (crocodiles, jackals, and the like,) but since Egyptian deities were often depicted as animal/human hybrids, we'd have a bit more to play with in the character creator.


Of everything, I'd hope *these* were pursued, *even ahead of story arcs,* since it could open up so much in general. I think these would get a *lot* of mileage for the work put in to them.

Edited by Greycat
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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.


I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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Least likely, but still. I kind of keep going back and forth between this being an EAT and an... "epic powerset." This is also the most nebulous (and most likely to stay mostly blank for a while,) but there'd be two ATs - the BOTBS, and the guardians (whatever we want to call those,) mostly as a call back to the player and the card that were initially referenced.



Not the most up front, the way they're referred to makes them sound like manipulators and assassins. The group is also a mix of magic and tech. I'd see them as a mix, in some ways, of stalker, assault, and illusion - especially given the shadow/duplicates tech we already have in game.


I only have rough ideas, here, but they do involve stealth, using duplicates as decoys/damage sponges, an upgrade to them later to make them more like phantom army (causing as well as soaking damage,) possibly even laying traps (quickly) to trigger a brief gang-war-like power to misdirect and absorb damage, letting them strike (or get away.) They would also do direct damage, have some (but not a lot) of armor, and perhaps have a bonus to damage on distracted or unaware enemies.

It needs fleshing out. 🙂


(Likely needs a rename, that's kind of boring for this.)

Probably more tank/brute-y, with support ability for the team given the guardian role in the player card. Definitely need to flesh it out more, likely copying both some aspect of "being a statue" and, again, the decoy/simulacrum mechanics. More "light" based. Melee and range. And yes, when it comes to "being a statue" as a defending entity, I do kind of picture a "For 10 seconds, you're invulnerable and taunt everything in a radius, but can't move from this statue form." (Probably with some kind of AOE on release.)


More on everything once I have a little more time to chew on it and do so.

Edited by Greycat
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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.


I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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Not exactly in love with any of your specific ideas, but I do concur that this bit of coh lore would be nice to see expanded upon. However as Ive said in many threads like this Id much rather the tools just be added to AE and let players write their own fan fic, and let the HC team focus on things like power sets and animations and new mob types etc.


For example give us a map in ae that reskins the golden giza into a proper pyramid, and a few more egyptian themed costume bits and we could make some things up no doubt.  Hm mental note talk with base building buddy about pyramid themed desert base ideas.

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I was always intrigued by the idea of the Blood of the Black Stream. Wish they had expanded them further, though I don't think more Epic Archetypes would necessarily have been the best way to go about it.


An interesting BotBS factoid is that the Sunburst Incident in Siren's Call was witnessed by a Gadzul Oil rig, so it's plausible that the refinery involved in the explosion may also have been linked to Gadzul. A more complicated possibly mystical explanation for the Siren's Call Incident could also be connected to the cancelled plans for a 'Soul Storm' above Siren's Call, which would have resulted in the Siren's Call Phantoms, a partially implemented enemy group that went unused. (Possible that this idea may have partially inspired the vortex above First Ward/Night Ward? Though no evidence of that.)


Also, could Gadzul or the BotBS be related to the Golden Giza casino in St. Martial? It has spooky mystical stone obelisks all around it that could be related. Though Johnny Sonata owns it, I very much doubt that he built it. Perhaps something existed there before and the casino was built on top of it?


I had at some point intended to write some Black Stream AE arcs, but have yet to come up with any solid ideas. In my mind, the modern Blood of the Black Stream are a direct continuation of an ancient Egyptian secret society, the Malta Group of their day. Where the Oranbegans perpetuate themselves as ghosts stealing bodies, the Black Stream's use of the 'Black Blood of the Earth' allows them a form of eternal life, turning back the clock and rejuvenating their bodies, akin to folklore about bathing in milk or blood keeping one youthful. This keeps anyone they ally themselves with forever bound to the organisation, as without regular applications of the oil they would crumble to dust. However, with the ancient monarchies they manipulated from the shadows gone, the Black Stream had to modernise. Gadzul Oil as the face of their organisation allows them to manipulate the world out in the open, helped by some discrete assassinations of potential rivals and political opposition by the BotBS.


Came up with some costumes at the time:

Gadzul Oil Execs



Gadzul Security Officer (recoloured Security Guards)



Black Stream Oil themed enemies, could theoretically use a mix of dark powers and black coloured water blast?



Possible use of Spirit Stalker Wodan model as an Anubian Jackal?




If we were looking to tie the BotBS into Incarnate content, perhaps the Black Blood of the Earth is some kind of corrupted Well of the Furies source, thus explaining it's life extending properties, like the Fountain of Zeus did for Statesman and Recluse, but with the cruel twist of dependence functionally addicting you to it's use. Could also have it's own 'sentience' of a sort, like the Well does but, well, more evil?

Edited by Aberrant
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