Arcadia is the AD&D plane of Lawful Lawful Good, between Mechanus and Mount Celestia. The landscape is one of orchards and farmland, and even the 'wild' areas conform to geometrical order in way which is subtly unnerving to someone from a world shaped by natural forces. The Japanese deities dwell here, as do a variety of other good-but-strict powers, and especially the Egyptian gods Isis, Osiris and Ra. The Harmonium faction is strong here, and they stop people from exploring too much, or trying to find out how many layers the plane has.

See also: Planescape, Outer Planes.

Based on the game Changeling: The Dreaming, the CCG-RPG hybrid Arcadia sprang into life in 1995. Using more innovation than I've seen since in a CCG, this underrated and unfortunately underadvertised game was the first (and so far only) to try and merge an RPG with a CCG.

The first edition, titled Arcadia: The Wyld Hunt, was a marginal success. It was sold solely in fifteen card booster packs, in Story Packs and Character packs, the first to build your quest with and the second to build your character with. Each featured fifteen cards and rules cards- one in the character pack, and three in the story pack.

There were 6 types of cards in Arcadia, being called Characters, Quests, Leagues, Waylays, Merits and Flaws. Each of these had a specific purpose and you used to get only certain cards in certain boosters. In a Character pack you always got a Character and 14 merits and flaws, and in a story pack you got a Quest, and 14 leagues and waylays.

Building your character was the real fun part. From all your boosters, you chose a character from one of the races, each of which had a special ability, and different traits, always averaging out to be even.

For example, your troll was huge and strong, with honour like anything- but little social ability, and your Imp was fun-loving, skilled and tricky, but easily confused; these were represented by three traits, called Might, Resolveand Savvy. Might was used for combat and any physical act, while Resolve was your knowledge and willpower, and Savvy your wit and charisma. Each stat had an average of two, and the character's stats always totalled six.

Whereas the Troll had a Might of 3, a Savvy of 1, and a Resolve of 2, the Imp had a 2 in might, and a 3 and a 1 in Savvy and Resolve. The only exception to this rule in the first expantion was the Sidhe, who had 2 in Resolve and Might and a 3 in savvy, but their special ability was comparitavely weak.

As they came from the game Changeling, one can expect the races to match up nicely with the races in changeling; and, indeed, they did.

After choosing your race, you would then choose a quest to undertake. This would affect the comming choice of character development, as each required a certain goal- for example, taking taxes from a dragon. If you read the quest card (Even Dragons Pay Taxes) it tells you that you either need to take the tax from him by either smooth-talking it out of him, beating it out of him, or by finding some treasure for you to call his "tax". Therefore, you'd obviously take merits (described below) that would either make you a combat monster- enough to rival a dragon*- a silver-tongued wit, or a scavenger able to find gold in a coal mine.

Next, you'd need to take five or ten points worth of Merits to customize your character. It was originally five, but they doubled the figure to ten at the debut of the second expansion, Arcadia: King Ironheart's Madness.

You could increase this figure by taking flaws which made your character worse, allowing you to specialise characters for certain tasks.

Each merit had a cost of half a point to three points (or half a point to six points in Ironheart), and was divided into one of five catergories, sometimes called the 4 A's and the T. They were Abilities, Advantages, Allies, Arts and Treasures.

Abilities were ingrained, trained skills your character had developed; they were the most vital part of many characters.
Advantages were born-in abilities, such as noble blood.
Allies were travelling companions to help you.
Arts were the character's spell arsenal, pretty weak in The Wyld Hunt, but absoloutly devastating in Ironheart.
Treasures were slightly different. The character began with treasures as normal, but he could also discover treasures in his quest. They were, obviously, treasured magical items.

As a rule, Advantages were always on, whereas Abilities had to be used up to produce an effect. The other three varied in their use. To use an ability or such, you exhausted it, turning the card over to show it was used up until you later recovered it somehow.

The Flaws were the opposite of merits; after choosing, you gave them for your opponent to use against you. A typical flaw may be being a Coward, which he could exhaust to force you to retake a success in combat. They were divided into three sections: Curses, Weaknesses, and Enemies.

Curses were like Advantages, more permanent than weaknesses, such as a warrant for your arrest. Weaknesses tended to be more sporadic, such as being absent-minded.

Enemies were the opposite of allies; they were people or races who wanted you dead, or to fail your quest for some reason.

You'd take merits that would aid you the most, of course... like if you were going to trick the cash out of the dragon in the quest above, you wouldn't need to give him a lesson in Rhetoric, so there'd be no point to take Deductive Reasoning which gave you a temperory boost to Resolve; you'd instead need to explain why taxes are needed to clothe the poor, cure the sick and such, so you'd probably take Eloquent Speech ability.

Again, you won't take flaws against what you need to do... If you managed to roll that natural six-vs-one you needed to beat the Dragon in melee, you won't want your opponent to grin and remind you that you have such a Glass Jaw.

After all this, you will take any of the leagues you need for your quest... the main trouble with the game is that you needed either specific leagues and treasures for the quests or proxies, which was the main cause of the game's doom. It was not always a game you could open one booster and play, you may need an entire box to get the single copy of Ebonlique you needed to lay siege to.

Most quests allowed proxies, but it did numb the enjoyment when you reached the league and couldn't really appreciate where you'd got to.

Almost all leagues allowed you to rest. When you rested, you could recover your exhausted Merits and sometimes Flaws. You'd of course take leagues that fitted your character most; if you were a melee fanatic with skills in weapons and a sword that cut down ogres, you'd want leagues that allowed you to recover treasures and abilities.

Choosing your treasures was also interesting, Of all your treasures you hadn't taken for our character, you could choose a certain number totalling the number listed on your quest. These would then be placed around the map for you to find and use in the upcoming challenges.

Now you hand your character to your opponent, and choose Waylays to face off against him, such as Wandering Imps and Corporeal Ghosts for him to chat up or chop up. Each waylay could only be placed on leagues with certain terrain; While the abve could be placed anywhere, a Passing Kraken could only be found in water.

Each waylay had a waylay value and a number of traits that you would face off against- the Imp would need to be avoided, else he'd pester you, so you'd need to beat him in a resolve test, and the Corporeal Ghost would need to be cut up in a Combat Test. The Waylay Value was totalled for all the waylays, and could not exceed the number on your opponent's quest card.

After tailoring some nasty waylays, you'd start setting up the map at last. You would choose a league and set it down, and then the opponent, alternating until all ten of your chosen leagues (plus any required leagues) were set down into a board. There were terrain requirements, so a forest with a road through it would only be able to go by another forest with a road through it, and often made quite an attractive map.

Finally, you placed each other's quest treasures on the leagues to find, and then chose each other's base camp.
After taking this start position, it was time to get moving!

Progress alternated in turns called "days". Each day one could move through leagues, sometimes having to pass a trial to get out of this league and sometimes to get into the next one, or even to move out of this and into the next! This represened your character climbing mountains, or dredging through swamps, for example.

Each day, your opponent could choose to waylay you; if he didn't, you could rest and recover some merits, or you could find treasure on your current league (if it was there). If he did waylay you, you could either meet the waylay or retreat, leaving it on the map.

Engaging waylays could be risky. If you beat the waylay, you would not meet it again; If you lost, however, you had to exhaust a merit. Tests were done by rolling a die and adding your trait, and the same done by the opposing waylay; for combat, you used your Might trait plus any bonusses, and one die as normal... unless you were plaing Ironheart, where you add TWO dice against the opponent's two dice. Ironheart combat was more risky. And if all your merits were Exhausted and you were beaten, you had to start discarding.

And if you discarded all your merits... you were as good as dead, as you had to start again from base camp whenever you were beaten.

Of course, you could also engage your enemy's characters, but what type of person would want to do that...

Arcadia was a fun and enjoyable game, with excellent artwork, innovative systems, dice, and best of all... pop up character cards, folding out into a little token of your character. All the information you needed was on cards, and all the tokens you needed WERE the cards.

If you ever find any boosters for this game, pick them up. Seriously. So many people don't know what they're missing in this exciting and fun-packed game, where the flip of a card can spell doom.

* difficult until Ironheart Debuted, where you could start playing races like Garou werewolves...

Arcadia is a side project of Duran Duran, consisting of the members Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, and Roger Taylor. They made one self-titled album, the track list for which is as follows:

1. Election Day
2. Keep Me in the Dark
3. Goodbye is Forever
4. The Flame
5. Missing
6. Rose Arcana
7. The Promise
8. El Diablo
9. Lady Ice

Arcadia is the most perfect, the most intricate, the most moving of Sir Tom Stoppard's plays. It is like a sad waltz and a ballet, it is about thermodynamics, literary criticism, the history of gardening, and the nature of truth, and it is very funny.

Where to begin? There are so many interweaving threads. It is set at Croom Park, a stately home, in 1809 and in the present day. Thomasina is a 13-year-old girl, and Septimus is a 22-year-old who is her tutor in Latin, mathematics, and music.

THOMASINA: Septimus, what is carnal embrace?
SEPTIMUS: Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef.
THOMASINA: Is that all?
SEPTIMUS: No... a shoulder of mutton, a haunch of venison, well hugged, an embrace of grouse... caro, carnis; feminine; flesh.
THOMASINA: Is it a sin?
SEPTIMUS: Not necessarily, my lady, but when carnal embrace is sinful it is a sin of the flesh, QED. We had caro in our Gallic Wars -- 'The Britons live on milk and meat' -- 'lacte et carne vivunt'. I am sorry that the seed fell on stony ground.
THOMASINA: That was the sin of Onan, wasn't it, Septimus?
SEPTIMUS: Yes. He was giving his brother's wife a Latin lesson and she was hardly the wiser after it than before. I thought you were finding a proof for Fermat's last theorem.
THOMASINA: It is very difficult, Septimus. You will have to show me how.
SEPTIMUS: If I knew how, there would be no need to ask you. Fermat's last theorem has kept people busy for a hundred and fifty years, and I hoped it would keep you busy long enough for me to read Mr Chater's poem in praise of love with only the distraction of its own absurdities.
THOMASINA: Our Mr Chater has written a poem?
SEPTIMUS: He believes he has written a poem, yes. I can see that there might be more carnality in your algebra than in Mr Chater's 'Couch of Eros'.
THOMASINA: Oh, it was not my algebra. I heard Jellaby telling cook that Mrs Chater was discovered in carnal embrace in the gazebo.
SEPTIMUS: (Pause) Really? With whom, did Jellaby happen to say?
So it begins. Thomasina Coverley, daughter of the house, is a genius; she is so good at mathematics that she is unutterably bored with the euclidean geometry that Septimus is trying to teach her, and in the course of the play she gropes towards chaos theory, fractals, recursion, concepts that would not become known for 150 years. Septimus is screwing the wife of Ezra Chater, the resident bad poet. He is also attempting to review Chater's garbage for a journal.

Croom Park was surrounded by Italianate classical gardens until about 1750, then Capability Brown landscaped it to a lawn with hahas, and now (1809) the landscape gardener Noakes is planning to turn it into a wild, rugged, romantic never-never land, with a hermit's cottage picturesquely situated, because it is the modern fashion.

In our modern era, Croom Park is visited by two literary people. Hannah Jarvis is working on a history of the garden, and is particularly interested in the mad hermit who lived there for many years. Her previous book was on "Caro", Lady Caroline Lamb, Byron's one-time lover; but it was a popular book, so the academic crowd of Byron experts pissed all over it.

Enter Bernard Nightingale, an academic Byron expert whose review of Hannah's book was particularly acerbic. He has new evidence that links Byron with Septimus Hodge the tutor and Ezra Chater the poet in a startling theory that will make them famous, but he needs Hannah's cooperation.

Also in the present day, Valentine Coverley, the young man who will be heir to Croom Park, is a mathematical biologist studying recursive equations by using the population genetics records he can get from his own family's grouse-shooting books, going right back to the time when Septimus and his school-chum Byron were here.

When confronted with evidence that his long-dead kinswoman, the child Thomasina, had discovered the advanced mathematics he is using, Valentine refuses to believe. Bernard and Hannah also argue over whether Byron was involved in a duel, and whether the documentary evidence is enough to prove it. Because we are seeing both ages interweave on stage, there is dramatic irony when we can see part of what is wrong with their positions and see them partly vindicated.

Arcadia premièred at the Lyttelton Theatre, at the National Theatre in London, on 13 April 1993. Emma Fielding was Thomasina, Felicity Kendal was Hannah, Bill Nighy was Bernard, Samuel West was Valentine, and Harriet Walter was Lady Croom. I have seldom been so moved by any piece of theatre. Everything in it fits together so perfectly, all the different threads dance together, all the meanings and ironies and tragedies intersect.

Arcadia is the name of a full-length machinima movie, that is currently in production by UnFramed Productions. Directed by James 'eVOLVE' Hamer-Morton, produced by Hugh Macdonald, and starring Bill Benners, Arcadia is set in a futuristic world where conspiracy is rife, and the only people who know are being killed off...

I know, I know - it sounds like a pretty cliche'd movie - to be honest, I think it could be pretty good. Okay, as machinima, it's not going to be up to the standards of live action, but we feel that it could come out as one of the better machinima films.

It has currently been in production for two years (it started when UnFramed Productions was still the Unreal Movie Team), and has suffered fair few setbacks in that time, but it is still being made, and, as they say, whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Expect to see this movie being released at some point in the future.

Arcadia

Arcadia is many things. In origin, it is the plane of Arcadia in Greece, in the center of the Peloponnesus, surrounded by mountains. It was renowned for its fertility and peaceful countryside. In particular, these "mountain" people would occasionally fight with Sparta, but otherwise known as peaceful and isolated.

In the Renaissance, the idea of Arcadia was taken up again. In 1504, Sannazaro produced a work called Arcadia and by 1590, Sir Philip Sidney's poem Arcadia was published. In these works, Arcadia is held up as a pagan Eden, where shepherds and their lovers lay about in the sun, in contrast with the evils of the city-states. To some extent, this can be seen as a reaction to the re-emerging European city in the Renaissance, as the theme of pastoralism made its way into literature. Here, the wooded lands of Arcadia is where lovers may meet and live in peace, as opposed to the structured society of the city and king. The best known work in this vein is William Shakespeare's As You Like It, though he calls the forest Arden instead of Arcadia.

In art, Nicolas Poussin's famous painting "The Shepherds of Arcadia" contains in it that most famous of quotes, "Et In Arcadia Ego." Four shepherds stand around what appears to be a rock tomb, upon which is carved that phrase. It is generally translated as "And I {am} in Arcadia," the I being Death. (For more interpretations of the phrase, please see the write up.)

This concept--that Death can not be kept out of paradise--is a powerful one, of course, and would go on to influence Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia, commented on above. I would like to add, though, that the play itself uses not only the theme of a Renaissance sense of pastoralism, but also the transition of the neo-classical culture of the Regency period into the more chaotic Romantic period in English history. The splendor of England at the turn of the 18th century into the 19th would ultimately turn into a dark, smog-cloaked land of death, represented by the manor house's reconstruction after a fire which... well, see or read the play. It will become clear. At its heart, though, Stoppard's play takes the idea of Poussin's painting and dramatizes it in a truely original fashion.

In 2000, Beaver College in Pennsylvania changed its name to the less laugh-inducing Arcadia. The college--situated outside of Philadelphia--is filled with vaguely gothic architecture and surrounded by woods, and so the name is somewhat fitting. Also, the administration found that the name of the college was being blocked by internet filters, which seek out any word which may have an "obscene" meaning.

Ar*ca"di*a (#), n. [L. Arcadia, Gr. .]

1.

A mountainous and picturesque district of Greece, in the heart of the Peloponnesus, whose people were distinguished for contentment and rural happiness.

2.

Fig.: Any region or scene of simple pleasure and untroubled quiet.

Where the cow is, there is Arcadia. J. Burroughs.

 

© Webster 1913.

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