(As with most proper nouns in boardgame design, all these names are placeholders and subject to change if/when something better [or someone optioning the design] comes along.)
Project Cross-Flux is a big game design that will take some time to actually fill out, so in the meanwhile, I'll release characters, classes, and other design elements with placeholder art to be a tease.
"You will be a legend, if you succeed." The words rung in his ears daily, whenever that increasingly claustrophobic mask did not enclose his face. The world of senators and politics that fostered this brutal industry has finally lowered itself to this same level of thinly veiled violent sport; the men in robes have requested that he, a beloved figure in the pits, lead a slave revolt against their rival faction. How drastically things can change over just one farmer-turned-warrior's career astonished Ulixes. A bored, aggressive child, he had fled the fields for Roma Nuova in pursuit of an outlet and fame. His arrival coinciding with the Emperor's expansion of the funerary bloodsport to a regular event, he found the impact over others for which he searched when he fell in with a gladiatoria collegia. This union trained him, obliterated his old identity with the now iconic masked helmet, and bestowed upon him his arena moniker: Cruel Ulixes; and because of this, they would undoubtedly face the greatest threat if the empire's enslaved revolted under his name. Knowing his position as a political pawn did not make his choice easier, however. The celebrity status his mask and combat prowess had gained him scratched that existential itch that first set the anonymous farm boy on this path. Could he really threaten that, his new family, and the lives of countless others, in an attempt to start another's war? All know the slaves' conditions are horrid, any day amongst the fighters will show one that; but will a faceless killer-for-sport to rally behind, named for the cruel, deceitful legend, truly lift their station?
"Moralizing, meditation, mysticism, mapping, migration, mimetics, mastery." She repeated these seven steps aloud six times, her whispers only a slight hiss echoing throughout her small, darkened patch of The Palace of Mirrors. The reflections were supposed to help with steps two through six, but the almost irritatingly eager student known only as The Believer found her own visage distracting. She knew the forced, almost suffocating introspection was intended to push students out of their comfort zones, and was an important part of the journey promised by The Palace, but she always discovered both her enlightening challenges and rewards in the faiths and struggles of others. These walls, no matter how much humanity graced their mirrored surfaces, prevented her from learning the truths of yet another human being. The Believer's own truth was simple enough: absorb all forces that are given life by harmonious devotion, coupled with yet another re-hash of the Golden Rule. But this conflict was an old itch, the scratching of which she denied herself yet again today. The Palace's program is simply another step in her quest to absorb others' faiths, so she quietly resolved herself that day, as she did every day here, to feel, forget, follow and finish. Just five more years.
"I AM ALIVE AND SERVING," the metal statue bellowed, its energy preservation add-on preventing any unnecessary movements that might confirm this proclamation. I wondered how I understood its words, considering the thousands of years of language separating us, but this was just one of many mysteries my seller assured me would be explained in the documentation.
"Sorry! You might want to plug your ears!" He shouted over the whirring din of its start-up and echoing artificial voice. "These older models rely on audio for diagnostics! No displays!"
"NAME: SHEPHERD. NUMBER: TWELVE. BUILDER: ADAPA. LOCATION: THE HATTUSAN FLATS. OWNER: SUPPILULIUMA."
"Just ignore that last bit for a second!"
"COMMAND ONE: PROTECT OWNER."
"This is when you gotta catch 'em!" My seller uses his pocket Agitator to begin a precise series of shocks to points on the machine's stone and crystal undercarriage. "You don't, they start running!"
"COMMAND TWO: IF CAN NOT ONE, FIND OWN-" The voice abruptly stops as the seller's work pays off. "CONFIRMED. SPEAK NAME OF NEW OWNER." My seller waves me on to finally make my voice heard to my new ancient protector. The pressure is sudden, and unexpected.
"Uh M-, Myran Faire!"
"OWNER: AHMAHMYRANFARE." It responded, the volume adding considerably to the mockingly neutral tone.
"Don't worry," my seller once again assures, "they rely on the voice print far more than the actual name."
"Can't we just redo it?"
"You'd think, but actually no. Not until Ahmahmyranfare dies, that is."
"BEGIN PROTECTION PROTOCOL."