Solo Adventure Sheet

Solo Adventure Sheet

Summary of Resolving Scenes

  • Come up with the Scene Setup.

  • Roll 1d10 against Chaos to see if the Setup is modified as an Altered Scene (odd) or an Interrupt (even).

  • Play out the Scene.

  • When the main action ends, the scene ends.

  • Update lists: Characters, Threads, Chaos Factor

Scenes

Scene 1

Well of the Toad Goad

Chaos

5

Threat

1

Scene Setup

Rollplay

Roleplay

Lists

Threads

Characters

PC

NPC

Setting Information

AF 10 Johnny XP: Adventure Log 1

I will be posting this story on RoyalRoadl.com, or at least an edited version of it after I’ve rewritten the story into this new idea of mine.

Adventure Log. Day 1.

I have just done battle with four of the Lizardfolk. They weren’t much of a challenge. I managed to collect the arrows that I’ve used, but one broke. I neither have the time nore the patience to make more. And I don’t think my character has the skills necessary for rudimentary survival craft. Looking at my sheet, I feel I may have made a mistake in adventuring into a dungeon. Be that as it may, I decided to make the most of it.

I gathered the bodies of the dead and laid them before their weird god. I replaced my stock of ammunition and retraced my steps back to where I left my pack. This I brought back to the guard post, deciding I should make it my first checkpoint. And besides, there was a bit of investigation I wanted to do before delving any further anyway.

My language of caves is limited, so please bear with me.

This world’s reality and its parameters were built on the content and mechanics of an old school rpg. This means most of the objects that populate the gameworld weren’t all products of a procedural generator. For example, take the Lizardfolk. Based on the pre-fall rulebook I used, these creatures were jungle and swamp dwellers, not cave dwellers. And yet, even when transposed from their natural habitat, they seemed to thrive here.

On account of a prominent religious icon carven into a permanent feature of the cave’s first point of interest, the hunting parties stalking a subterranean ecosystem for large game, the barest hints of civilization on their bodies, and the establishment of a guard post, I assumed a strong argument for a culture that evolved outside of their natural habitat.

This I found very interesting. While my game engine may have used modules and pre-constructed packages for its objects, how these objects spawned and behaved in relation to each other was still due to the engine’s procedural storyteller. Meaning, something in this Lizardfolk tribe’s past forced it to abandon its original culture and develop a new one here based on alien circumstances.

That was the beauty of the engine. It was simple and still needed human input, but the things it could do with what it was given were always full of surprises. Every world was a unique experience waiting to be lived through. Unique histories, unique legends, there was always something left to explore and discover.

With that, I resolved to find the answers to the following questions:
1. Who was the god the Lizardfolk carved into the rock?
2. Did the Lizardfolk really even make it in the first placed?
3. What brought the Lizardfolk here to this cave?

I started my intelligence gathering on the guardcamp itself. And besides, I needed more details to give me a better sense of what I might find the deeper I go into the dungeon.

Starting with the corpses, I rifled through their things. As it turns out, only the Hunt Leader had anything of worth on him. 5 measly coins of ruddy gold. I didn’t recognize the stamp of the coins, so I assumed they were valuable and worry about it later. Next, I rummaged through their camp to get a better estimate of their technological aptitude. Inspecting their weapons, their garb, and the state of their camp; these were all things straight out of the stone age. Flint arrowheads, tattered leather wrapped about their necks which were more for decoration than actual protection. Being this deep into the earth probably meant less danger of predators, hence, less need for innovation. What tools they had were only the bare essentials necessary for survival. Finally, I studied the Idol. On closer inspection, no evidence actually supported a connection between it and the Lizardfolk. But, at least I knew then that the rock-hewn image might be older than the Lizardfolk. Satisfied, I turned my attention to the game they brought back from deeper in.

All I could say of it was that it was a snake, a fat snake, with the head of a snub-nosed crocodiles and a body wider than it’s head or its tail. It’s eyes had glzed over and the flesh hadn’t yet hardened, so I set about to finding a way to preserve it for when I get back. I had checked my pack and found I had only enough rations for ten days. Time spent in the dungeon might not be that understanding of my food situation. So, I made the best of it and spent the next hour cutting up the corpse. I searched the camp again for anything that could help me, and found that I had everything I needed for preparing rations. I found salt, skewers, and what looked to be a set of seasoning kept in little clay pots. I counted myself lucky and set about preparing the meat for salting.

I set the scaled hide of the create near the fire and carefully placed my salted meat there. I didn’t how it would turn out, but I hoped the temperature would keep it dry and the salt would keep it from rot. Hopefully, this’d keep me from starving after I’ve cleared out the dungeon.

[Scene ends. Chaos factor at 5, progressed to 6 due to a battle.]

Another feature of the engine I’ve integrated was a sort of automated gamemaster that managed events along narrative lines. This way, the Story engine always had something going on no matter who the actors were.

Should I end it here? I believe I should,  I’m tired now anyway. Zen, log me off.

[Zen.0] Copy That.

AF 10 Victory XP: An Introduction to EP Game Development

I will be posting this story on RoyalRoadl.com, or at least an edited version of it after I’ve rewritten the story into this new idea of mine.

Dull, neon shades of yellow and gold filled an infinite expanse in every direction, their geometries demarcated by solid, black lines. Hexagons, triangles, squares, pixels seemingly devoid of context and texture broke and reformed into fractals of themselves as rendering data remained stagnant and waiting for commands. And yet, the ground felt solid and real as he walked. The constant kaleidoscope failed to disorient him as it turned and twirled and refracted. Vic was more than used to environment, it was his creation to begin with.

[DevLog Alpha 408c, AF 10] I’ve just completed contextual procedural generation, which basically means the world creates itself as within a 30 mile range of the player character. Beyond that, explored areas are compressed into discrete data points and unpack upon return. To streamline rendering, however, I’ve decided to keep player and economic hubs unpacked, as well as the most used wilderness routes. This should keep the player from seeing undefined space and break immersion.

[Cont.] On this test, I’ll be checking how well it works and behaves from varied points of entry and spawning. I’ve set the difficulty scale for solo and will begin this play-through from a dungeon. Difficulty scale is set at solo, usual character generation parameters, and I’ll just let the RNG tell me what I get.

Summoning a development console to his field of vision, he browsed through the shortcuts for the character generator and activated it. In moments, his real world body transposed from his VR pod was wrapped and changed in a wave of rippling pixels.

Nameless, he was now an Elf of above average intelligence and cunning, hands lithe and possessed of supernatural acumen. He knew he could build the tiniest ship in the tiniest bottle with only a toothpick for materials, but that was an exaggeration. He felt it nimble and graceful as he clenched and flexed, but no more so than the most talented.

He turned to his console, punched in a set of commands, and watched the simple text-window transform into a roll of yellowed parchment. Skimming through the information, he learned that he was a Thief of undefined origin. At Level 1, he had no XP to his name. His weapons: a bow and 20 arrows, as well as a short sword strapped to his lower back. Food, rope, and some basic equipment; he had nearly everything he would need on a simple dungeoncrawl. Satisfied, he banished the parchment and replaced it with a mini-map, a flat texture of blue gridded with lighter hues.

[Subcomm] Zen Zero, tag along. I’m going to subcomm my command lines from now on so manage my IDE while I run the simulation. Have a debugger online as well, monitor my progress an take careful note of any inconsistencies or anomalies. You have the devlog from last time right?

[Zen Zero] Yeah, I do. You want me to check off features from the request board too?

[Subcomm] Yeah, do that. Wouldn’t want to disappoint my fans.

From the empty aether, a red little deamon visible only to himself popped into existence. Tiny screens appeared about the daemon, orbitting him, streaming information in an array of numbers and wireframe charts. The daemon hovered just a little above Vic’s shoulder, giving him the go sign.

[Subcomm] Generate the dungeon and starting hex.

[Zen Zero] Copy that.

The kaleidoscope congealed, warped and gained mass as pixels became wireframes, then solid shapes of basic colors, and finally finally the fractals collapsed into themselves and took on texture. The world came to be and it was green. The lush thicket drowned in the ambient noise of woodland critters. It smelled of rain just past and leaves mixing with soil. Vic stood at a a shallow outcropping that led down a steep cliff and into a ravine that once ran with raging waters. Moss crumbled in his fingers as he passed his hands over boulders and aged bark. He turned his back on the edge and faced a bare, craggy wall of earth. He waited, as the empty feature crumpled and dug itself into a new dungeon.

A gaping maw of rock and ferns now waited. Within, sharp-toothed accretions sparkled. The tell-tale drip of condensation echoed deep down the abyssal throat, hinting at some underground lake. Vic followed the invitation.

Taking steps beyond the stalagmites, careful not to rip to rip any of his clothes on the edges, he takes special notice of the ease of his descent. Elven senses still useful at the edge the cave, he found shaped stones lodged onto the caked earth like steps down a flight of stairs. Lighting a torch where the light could no longer reach, he finds more clues of inhabitation. The signs often contradicted each other, but they were there nonetheless.

Some footprints, polished stone paths, bones of small animals, he followed the signs deeper and deeper into the belly of the mountain. At one niche, just out of sight behind some tall crags hunched over like old men, he found a fast for torches. He turned to his mini-map and reviewed the trail he’d left so far. Rather straightforward, he thought. He left symbols where he found signs, and took some notes to explain the symbols. He’d study them later.

Fire, it’s soft glow throbbed in the distance. Dousing his torch in a puddle, he approached slowly and softly on the balls of his feet. Finding an outcrop of limestone not far from the fire, he left his pack behind it and unslung his bow. An arrow nocked, he searched on for first blood.

Stalking from shadow to shadow, behind pillars of glittering minerals, he found the the underground pool he’d heard at the cave’s mouth. Sitting at its edge was a guard post. Really, it was just a bare camp stocked with basic essentials. Vic assumed it was for a makeshift guard for what could be some lair, but on closer inspection, he assumed otherwise.

The camp was set at the feet of a symbol, a large, rough-hewn statue of what appeared to be a god. It was too dark to recognize; it’s carving hard to look at. What icon or representation it might have been, the idea itself was too alien for Vic to make heads and tails of. Checking his character’s memories, he found nothing that came close to it. The skin and bone added to the piece didn’t help either. Licking his lips, his procedural culture generation engine colored him impressed.

Noise, heaving voices on approach. Vic hurried back into the safety of the dark and set his arrow point on the general direction of the newcomers. And there they were, unaware of him, the Lizardfolk.

Three lackeys carried game in the wake of a hunt leader come back to camp. They were lightly armed, but looked strong and weathered. Vic wasn’t much for asking questions and taking a closer look at this world’s fluff. He came here to test his newest update and combat was part and parcel of any dungeoncrawl. He waited for the forked-tongue hunting party to come closer to the light of the fire. By the time they tasted the scent he left in the air of the camp, it was too late.

Two arrows, in quick succession, found perch in skulls. Nocking another, Vic let this one loose on the hunt leader’s throat.

Fuck,” the shaft whizzed past and broke against the oversized idol behind. Emboldened by the sudden death of their comrades, they dropped their haunches and brought weapons to bear. They slithered for cover, inching their way closer. One flanked left, the hunt leader right. A javelin shot out from behind a mossy outcrop, but went wide and clattered among the stones behind Vic.

The last lackey burst out from behind cover, a sword glinting in his hands. A shaft stuck out of his heart at the peak of his leap, dropping with a heavy thud. Catching the hunt leader’s scales glint against the campfire, Vic let loose and heard the creature cry out in pain.

He approached the dying thing, writhing on the wet floor with an arrow sticking out of its kidney. He drew his short sword and ended it there, blood swirling into the puddles.

First room done. Ten more to go.

Savage Flower Kingdom Hack

VRMMORPG Basic Principles

Savage Flower Kingdom: The Eclipse Phase VRMMORPG Hack

SFK is a great rules-lite RPG by Robertson Sondoh, Jr. available at his blog, Experimental Playground. It uses the LARA System for adjudicating actions by your players and supplements are available for expanding on the things you can do and for a sandbox setting you can play in. For this particular hack, however, I’m just trying to adapt what Sondoh did for a VRMMORPG that exists in Eclipse Phase and is currently under development by it’s designer, Vincent XP.

Credit where credit’s due: Experimental Playground

All you need to play

You’ll need these rules, friends, paper, pencil, a few six-sided dice, and your imagination. If you want to play it solo, there are plenty of GM Oracles available you could use like Mythic’s GM Emulator and the ones from the Scarlet Heroes RPG. If you’re playing this as a character from EP downloading his mind into a “Full Dive” simulspace or VR Game, you’ll need your EP Character Sheet close-by for any sort of metagaming reference or anything else to that effect.

Creating your hero

Your hero is represented by four abilities. They are:

Physical: This ability reflects how good your hero is at using his body. It decides how well you hurdle physical challenges, how good your immune system is, how well you do in combat, and is your base roll for deciding initiative.

Technical: This ability reflects how good your hero is at technical challenges like picking a lock, crafting mundane items, searching an area for trap doors, disarming a trap, and works towards expressing your hero’s creativity.

Intellectual: This ability reflects how good your hero is at problem solving, untangling logic puzzles, learning complicated ideas, memorizing things, knowing the right thing for the right situation, and remembering crucial points of information you may have overheard throughout your adventure.

Magical: This ability reflects your hero’s communion with the inner and arcane world, a combination of your connection with the nature and the living things that permeate it. As such, it not only behaves as your proficiency with magic but also acts as your measure for inner strength, your presence and personality, your willpower, as well as your disposition towards social situations.

To create a hero you must distribute Character Points between the abilities. The minimum points you can pool in an ability is 1 while the maximum is 3 for a beginning hero. If you are creating a download of your EP character, follow these rules.

For Physical, get the average of your SOM and REF scores. Take the first digit as your ability.

For Technical, get the average of your COO and INT scores. Take the first digit.

For Intellectual, get the average of your COG and INT scores. Take the first digit.

For Magical, get the average of your SAV and WIL scores. Take the first digit.

Pick a race

Instead of picking a class like in SFK, I’ve turned classes into races. All races can learn whatever skill they want and use magic. Races who don’t start with MP may gain it during by play by spending XP on it.

Heroes start play as follows:

Race

HP

MP

CP

Spells

Skills

Perk

Human

1d6+12

8

1 Apprentice

Wizard

1d6+8

8

8

3

Mystic Blood. You recover 1d6+3 MP when resting for an hour.

Dwarf

1d6+14

7

Apprentice Goblin Rage

Dungeonsense. You can see in the dark and never get lost in a dungeon.

Elf

1d6+10

6

7

2

Apprentice Negotiator

Glamour. Your words are magical. Others can’t deny you the chance to speak.

Giant

1d6+20

7

Giant Strength. You can use double damage die weapons without penalty.

Orcish

1d6+14

7

Rage

Novice Blood Magic

Orcish Blood. You recover 1d6+3 HP when resting for an hour.

Halfling

1d6+8

7

1 Apprentice

Guile.You cannot use 2 handed weapons but add +1 to attack and defense against enemies larger than a human. You can also act twice in combat.

Experience (XP) and Advancement

You get XP from killing monsters and completing scenarios or quests. You may then spend them as follows.

  1. 1000 XP to gain 1 HP
  2. 2000 XP to gain 1 MP
  3. 3000 XP to advance a skill or learn a spell
  4. 4000 XP to advance an ability

Doing actions and stuff

When in doubt, roll a 2d6 and apply the appropriate ability. The result must be equal to or more than the Target Number (TN) to succeed. Refer to the difficulty table below:

Easy 7
Moderate 9
Hard 11
Tough 13

Critical Hit and Fumble

You get a fumble on a natural roll of 2 and a critical hit on a natural roll of 12. A fumble aggravates your failure while a critical hit increases your rewards. In combat, a fumble means you automatically fail and damage yourself while a critical hit means you automatically hit and deal the critical effect of the weapon.

Spells

To use magic you need to expend 1 MP and you need to make a Magic roll to see if you succeed. If you fail, the MP is wasted.

Rage (TN 7, self): +1 to melee attack roll for number of turns based on MP spent.

Disarm (TN 9, Ranger, 1 Target): Your target loses a weapon.

Skills

There are four skill rankings. These are Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, and finally, Master. The Novice rank means you have just discovered the existence of a skill but will not enjoy any advantages from it. The Apprentice and Journeyman ranks provide a +1 and +2 bonus for the appropriate rolls respectively. The master rank, however, can only be attained by finding another Master to train you at such. This often involves the completion of a quest.

Inventor. You have a knack for making new things out of old ideas. With this skill you can make new items out of schematics you have either found through your adventuring or developed yourself. The TN for inventing is Processed Material Quality+Tech Level.

Resting

Resting a full evening recovers full HP and MP. Resting for an hour recovers 1d6 HP and 1d6 MP.

Wounding and Stress

Whenever your HP is brought to 0 in one encounter, you gain a wound. Whenever your MP is brought to 0 in one encounter, you gain stress. A wound is -1 penalty for Physical and Technical rolls. Stress is a -1 penalty for Intellectual and Magical rolls. Once you reach the same number of wounds as your Physical ability, you die. Once you reach the same number of stress as your Magical ability, you go insane.

Falling

In SFK whenever you fall, roll 2d6 for damage. You may roll for Physical ability against the TN (in measures of height appropriate) to halve the damage die. On a critical hit, you are not damaged at all but you should narrate why.

Poison

Some monsters have poison as their attack. Whenever it hits, the victim needs to make a Physical roll against TN. The base TN for the attack is the lethality of the Poison. When Poisoned, your hero suffers a -1 penalty on all rolls and might die depending on the poison.

Combat

Initiative is the order of who acts when in combat. To determine initiative, each combatant rolls 1d6 and apply their Physical score. The highest goes first. Any ties will act simultaneously.

When your turn arrives, you pick one of the options below:

  1. Attack. Attack a target with a weapon. Roll 2d6 and add Physical or Technical (depending on the weapon) to try and get an equal or higher number than the target’s DEF.
  2. Use Magic. Cast a spell.
  3. Move. A character may move into melee ranger and engage a target, move away from a target, or move into cover. If you’re using abstracted movement, treat move as an attack.
  4. Other Action: This is for actions surrounding picking locks, reloading a bow/crossbow, opening a window, using an item, etc.
  5. Flee: To flee, combatant needs to make a Physical roll against opponent with the highest DEF.

Equipment Table

You start with 10 gold pieces.

Weapons

Pr Weapon Hands Rng Dmg Skill Critical
Fist
Fighting gloves
Iron fist
Spiked fist
Knife Technical
Short sword
Broadsword
Greatsword
Rapier Technical

Protection

Pr Type Use Penalty
3 Shield Reduce Damage 1
8 Spiked Shield Reduce Damage 1, Damage Opponent 1 on miss
3 Leather Armor DEF + 1
5 Scale Armor DEF + 2
8 Mail Armor DEF + 3 -1 all rolls
10 Plate Armor DEF + 4 -2 all rolls
12 Spiked armor DEF + 2 opponent on miss takes 1 damage -1 all rolls

Gear

Monsters

Monsters are defined by these stats: Combat, Ability, DEF, HP, and Dmg. Anything in a bracket is the monster’s skill. When a monster is killed, they provide Combat*100 XP.

On Duterte’s Call to Federalism

Federalism is a simple but sophisticated promise. Its principles create a government that brings leadership closer to its people, that tempers sovereign powers with accountability, and provides an exclusive political framework for a cultural milieu as diverse as ours.

On structure

Federalism is leadership from below. It first principle is self-determination. Rather than creating an all powerful central government that controls everything, decisions are brought to the local level. It is now the local governments that decide what to do with the revenue they generate rather than apply for a proportion of a national budget. Crucial economic and social policies are developed at a level for which they are tailor-made for the unique circumstances of every locality. Fiscal oversight, then, is drastically reduced and compartmentalized. Such things essential to Federalism are impossible to a mere Local Government Code.

On economy

The problem with the current system is that it breeds political entrepreneurship. The act of statecraft has dire consequences for when it becomes a commerce of favors more commonly known as rent-seeking.

But, what is rent?

Rent is an economic benefit created by an act of government through any of its three organs of power. A Supreme Court sitting en banc might decide against a competitor. A piece of legislation might destroy certain industries while creating new ones. A local chief executive might carelessly clue a private citizen in on some juicy innovations for construction projects or the franchise of utilities. The ramifications are myriad, as rent can be both legal and illegal. Such being a question of laws and how willing we are to enforce the law.

When you seek rent actively, however, the doubt is removed. Since its practice began during the Commonwealth era, seeking rent turns every political act into an economic one. The special interest, suddenly, must play sycophant to a president. Conflicts of interest mildly considered, elections could make or break the employment numbers and growth as administrations change from hand to hand.

The political entrepreneur, then, becomes imperative. The building of a dynasty finds its foundations not on a warlord with a private army, but on the barong-sleeved hand holding tightly to a stamp engraved with these letters in bold, “APPROVED.”

Federalism breaks this system.

Rent-seeking flourished in the current system because all of the power was concentrated where it was easiest to court. Much to the delight of the oligarch, the Presidency became our round-robin game of who gets to have the biggest slice of the pie. Every six-years or so, the politics of its are brokered. Transparency might discourage this behavior, bot how do you scrutinize permits for mining in Surigao when all of the decisions that mattered were made far, far away from Surigao? A far, far away place that had never heard of the towns that would be leveled in exchange for one measly classroom from a socially responsible corporation. How can you establish a local car manufacturing company in Basilan when all of the documents proceed from and are processed in a far, far away place? Hence, the smart money is to build in close proximity to a national capital.

Federalism will reform the current dynamic. Its second principle is trust. You build trust on reliable and informed decisions, especially where these decisions have direct consequences for the next foreseeable years.To be reliable, the chief executive must be held accountable for his policies. To be informed, the executive must make his decisions in close proximity of the lives whom he directs and decides for. How then, can a congressman from Antique be held accountable, for decisions ha made in Manila? How would you ever even know when you have been robbed of your promised projects, when he is only in Antique once or twice ago.

To be reliable, your decisions must be made in the same locality where they are to b enforced. To be informed, the decision-maker must be kept abreast and in close proximity among those for whom the public servant decides.

Thus will rent-seeking be checked and fair trade protected.

On language and culture

Federalism is an opportunity for us to change what it means to be a Filipino and free it of its post-colonial baggage. Said baggage claims our political immaturity with no sign of progress or moving forward. It claims our continued role as victims of oppression. It claims that our only solution is our history of revolution and its stranglehold on our sense of self as a country. Its no wonder, then, how Manila remains our only narrative to nationhood.

What then of our claim to the Filipino?

Yes, our identity is an unfinished process, relatively young and fragile. But is not the stake of our claim to it a legitimate exercise of our place and obligations in this republic? Because, right now, at this very moment, that chance is ours.

The question of the Filipino remains open and we can answer it. With Federalism, every ethnolinguistic group and historical experience across our country is finally given a voice. In providing self-determination, we are assured a third principle: empowerment.

Federalism is a system of empowerment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the diversity it allows in nation building and how leadership is organized. With Federalism, a Mindanaoan history of the Philippines becomes possible in Mindanao, a Visayan one among the Bisaya. No longer should any of us feel as strangers would when we speak Kapampangan in Pampanga, Akeanon in Aklan, Tausug in Jolo, Waray in Samar, or even Chavacano in Zamboanga. Our narratives may be different, but our history becomes a truly shared one. It brings us closer together in mutual respect of our unique heritage as many peoples and nations in one country; and we are finally able to move our sense of self forward. Then, we might say, that while we were forged in revolution, we found ourselves in triumph.

On Ending an Empire

Teddy Boy Locsin argued in favor of an Imperial Manila. Even before he wrote his opinion The Truth of the Myth of Imperial Manila, I’ve long been convinced that he was not an ally even while his father fought the same language policy I am fighting to reform. Even then, their rhetoric was more out of disgust for Filipino rather than a cause for the survival and prominence of all Filipino Languages. But language activism is my own particular bias; and Imperial Manila isn’t so limited. The problem isn’t just a problem of culture, of history, or even of power. Locsin was sure to elaborate on each with his usual acerbic wit.

In his sarcasm, his intent was a wholesale justification in favor of the Myth that is Imperial Manila. Not to dispel, no, but to maintain the construct. Imperial Manila, in his words, is necessary, and his logic is as insistent as his choice of imagery is visceral. His venom brought to mind such a clear reminder of Conrado de Quiros that I expected Locsin’s picture to share the latter’s smirk. It did not surprise me at all, then, to know that this man was utterly convinced that the Philippines could not exist without Manila. His impatience with the issue resonated as well. In just eleven paragraphs, Locsin admitted to an Imperial Manila, argued for its continued existence, and sought to secure its posterity. These the thoughts of an educated man making it clear that Imperial Manila was built on a strong intellectual base, its position absolute.

But it is also doomed. Locsin’s rhetoric was one that alienated the very principles that brought this country together. The Philippines is not an empire; it is a republic. So how can Manila even justify acting like one? How can there ever be a pretender to the throne when there is no throne. Ours is a country of free men for free men; and every time Manila acts as empire over free men, we the free are bound to chafe. Republics defy empires. When first we fought against one, it was not to replace it with Manila. We did not fight for Manila alone. We struggled and shared in the shaping of this country and to direct its future is our due. Manila has no claim to what we all paid for with blood. Our flag carries three stars in the wake of the sun’s eight rays and not one. Ours is a shared history and not just one written by Manila. And that is the problem with Locsin’s argument.

Locsin sees the glory of Rome but ignores the days after when Irish monks sacrificed their lives to maintain its legacy. He calls Manila our one true home, the source of all our comforts and security, but what does that make us who live and struggle outside of Manila? Are not our contributions just as significant? Does Manila not live on our produce? Does not Manila take its soldiers from our peoples? Someone must remind him that Manila is not the Philippines, and yet it acts as if it is: hence the call for secession.

Locsin’s version of history demands unity but commits to only its own experience. Ninoy Aquino may have been shot in Manila International Airport, but Evelio Javier was brutalized by assault rifles in Antique while guarding the very votes that spelled the end of a dictatorship. Does that make the latter’s sacrifice any less dear? Yes, the cry was in Balintawak, but the Spaniards surrendered at Plaza Libertad in Iloilo. Does that make the struggle in Iloilo any less legitimate than that in Cavite? Emilio Aguinaldo fought for Manila, but Araneta fought for Negros and Delgado fought for Panay. Does that make Araneta and Delgado’s cause for freedom any less real?

Is the only claim to our history that of Manila’s? What of our claim? Is our claim forfeit? This reminds me of Renato Constantino’s condescension when he saw the regions’ experience of history to be fit only for chauvinism and ill deserving of a place in building out country. This is dangerous.

If we allow Locsin his logical conclusion, we forfeit our right to our country. The Philippine’s belongs to all of its people’s and not just to one place where everything is expected to be found. Such is the product of a rotting system, an oppressive and abusive set of rules that allows Filipinos to colonize Filipinos in their own country. For if Manila is empire, does that not make us second-class citizens, our homes mere tributaries? We are free men, citizens of a free republic, and it is as free men that we must end an empire.

Manila must change; and we will change it.