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Author Topic: Beginning a New Tale  (Read 4179 times)
Morgenstern
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« on: November 08, 2009, 07:46:55 AM »

Hey gang.

I'm puttering around with a medium-to-small scale campaign setting using some Japanese warrior culture and technology. Throw in a few playable non-human races, and several limited magic mystic sects (neither sorcery nor miracles will be in play - likely a customized version of Astral Magic but only a handful of constellations). Main-arc stories mostly revolving around the conflicts between a couple of prominent warlords for control of a particularly lush farming region, some of whom also have grander ambitions of unifing the region under 1 banner. Medium to small scale in that I will not be initially fleshing out the larger world or worrying about players wandering off the map. Probably only 3-4 major cities. and the lands immediatly between and surrounding them.

Use of the Japanes language will be constrained (mostly common nouns and personal names) to avoid too many gross abuses Wink. The warrior culture as it applies to this setting will be explained adequately for role-playing purposes (the details of this have lead to much confusion in my Japanese-themed gaming of the past), but the local religions of the setting will not directly mimic those of fuedal japan. Some effort will be spent on including themes and story arcs favoring Japanese forms, as they offer variety and a taste of the exotic for many Western players. Curl up with some chambara cinema and you'll be right at home.

I plan to set up a couple of quest hubs as I get a feel for the terrain, and hope people will be willing to contribute adventure ideas once there's a framework to set them into Smiley. I also have a terrible time working with the wiki, so I'll need a court scribe at some point.

Wish me luck Smiley!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 10:16:59 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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Mortadelo
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2009, 07:57:39 AM »

Good luck!
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2009, 08:04:30 AM »

I was going to be clever and say good luck in Japanese, but I can't decide which version to use, so GOOD LUCK! Grin

Would this setting be similar in feel to the one illustrated on pg. 176? I know you don't get much from the picture, but there's some architecture, a person in what looks like lamellar armour, and a somewhat Eastern-looking pistol that seem somewhat appropriate.
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2009, 08:28:19 AM »

Thanks! Smiley

That scene is probably not too far out of place. I will likely include some explosives as they figure prominently in Usagi Yojimbo, which I'll be be using as a touchstone for story concepts. As to actual firearms, possibly as a very untrustworthy Goblin innovation Wink. I'm also going to pull out my M:tG Kamigawa cards to see if anything really resonates for me for this exercise.

I'm expecting a human-centric setting, but ogres seem a good fit. Kamigawa suggested some very entertaining possibilities for goblins and I may cook up nezumi or kitsune as playable races. However, each one is gonna have to come with an extra block of text explaining how they might fit into a player group. I want folks contributing to the quest hubs able to reasonably expect a 60%+ human party mix. I'll probably set up 2-3 of the warlords as the likely place for players to be affiliated, so quests can also be flagged as either faction specific or having different meaning/outcomes fo rgroups coming from faction X, Y, or Z.

I know at this point there is no emperor or imperial court. We're dealling with a couple of mostly evenly matched warlords as the central military powers, and no recent precedent for a central government.
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2009, 08:47:49 AM »

Sounds good. A bit like Rokugan, but with a little extra spice.

(Not too familiar with Kamigawa, personally. My M:tG involvement ended with Alpha. I'll have to chat to my local Magic gurus for some info.)
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2009, 11:41:30 AM »

Sounds like a really interesting project.  While it may be a little OTT (mecha/etc.), you might want to look at the Seven Samurai anime.  I thought it was a great re-envisioning of the story and might provide ideas/inspiration.

Regards,

AJC
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2009, 06:58:20 PM »

Sounds good. A bit like Rokugan, but with a little extra spice.

A lot smaller than Rokugan. Rokugan's giant alliances/powerblocks made going to war this huge undertaking that shook the world. This is just a couple of local daimyos who may or may not go at it every spring because that's what warlords do when they sense weakness in a neighbor Wink. A battle with 10,00 troops (total, counting both sides) is gonna be a big deal at this scale.

Some resemblences are to be expected give they both draw on commons inspirations, but I think it'll be reasonably different. I'll mutilate the source culture in entirely different ways than Rokugan does Roll Eyes.

Quote
(Not too familiar with Kamigawa, personally. My M:tG involvement ended with Alpha. I'll have to chat to my local Magic gurus for some info.)

We'll see what Kamigawa contributes. That setting was in my opinion deeply flawed by the lack of strong human presence in the setting. I'm hopeful it'll inspire more fringe cases and maybe some monsters.
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2009, 07:01:43 PM »

Sounds like a really interesting project.  While it may be a little OTT (mecha/etc.), you might want to look at the Seven Samurai anime.  I thought it was a great re-envisioning of the story and might provide ideas/inspiration.

I love Gonzo's treatment. When I first heard about that retelling being planned I was highly skeptical, but felt the company had at least earned a chance to make its case. It was MIGHTY from the word go. Totally worth watching. While I'm not going to bring in the mecha aspects, the sheer badassery of the protagonists and some of the key villians is definitely worth emulating.

Crud. Now you have me contemplating Unborn as an approved race. Cool
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2009, 09:02:30 PM »

Man, all this talk has got me itching to watch it again...oh, there's a set available on Blu-Ray...must be better than my DVDs...damn Amazon and their Prime service and their insane pricing... Grin

I think the idea of a "clockwork/steam" driven Unborn would be pretty cool and could fit nicely, depending on the tech level you're looking for.  Thought I saw a post somewhere else on the steampunk angle...

On the watch list for next weekend...wonder if the kids will like it... Roll Eyes

AJC
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2009, 04:04:38 AM »

Further quick thoughts as this simmers.

With the main arc being a power struggle between militant factions combatants, talkers, and backers are all well spoken for. Specialists can be woven in there pretty easily, but special care will be needed to give solvers a chance to shine. I think putting in some sub-arcs about the spirit world will give them a good toe-hold on ways to drive the main story. Without the approval of the spirits all kinda of things can go awry and dealing with spirits is a great solver niche. Making sure there are closets well stocked with skeletons on all sides will also let solvers leverage their presence. Solver hands talker powerful ammunition, fireworks ensue Smiley.

I'm looking at 5 lords involved. 3 will be set up as semi-heroic, solid options for players to throw their support behind. These will be the core faction options the quests will need to respect. I want no clear good-guy/bad-guy distinctions between these three. Just lords doing what lords do and being good candidates for fealty.

The fourth will just not have the juice to be a major contender. This is a loose ball players can look at claiming... or preventing from allying with someone else.

The 5th is gonna be a prick. A negative example. The guy with enough power you might want to have his nod or at least keep out of the hands of others, but also the sort that makes you feel greasy just being in the same fortress with. I figure that one can be a regular sausage factory throwing out schemes that players take umbrage with, when things are quiet with the other 2 big lords.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 10:02:53 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2009, 07:14:15 AM »

This is sounding like a whole lot of fun.

Perhaps an idea re the spirit world would be to create a structure to the realm that mirrors and is somewhat tied to the mortal realm - ie each mortal faction is tied somewhat to a spirit (or elemental?) faction.  If you were to set it up so that the factions power levels were not comparable - ie the strongest mortal faction wasn't necessarily tied to the strongest spirit faction - you could add a whole new layer of who the spirit world agenda overlapped/mixed/clashed with the mortal agenda.

Actually, thinking about it, you could tie technology in similarly - steam tech vs clockwork tech vs arcane tech vs ....  A little more of a stretch here, but possible?

AJC
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aegis
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2009, 09:36:47 AM »

Break a leg!

I can't wait to see the result. L5R was on the list of the RPGs I intended to convert to FC as soon as possible, mostly because I love the feel but can't stand the rules of the game. Now you're on your way to create your own japanized world for FC ... well, I'll wait and see what it looks like. I won't lie, I have high expectations on this kind setting, but I'm quite sure it's going to live to it.

To do list:
- convert Conan to FC / done
- convert Eberron to FC / ongoing
- convert L5R to FC
- convert Planescape to FC
- convert Iron Kingdoms to FC Tongue
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AJCarrington
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2009, 09:51:17 AM »

- convert Iron Kingdoms to FC Tongue

I'm pretty sure there is a guy running an Iron Kingdoms/Fantasy Craft PbP campaign over on Pen & Paper Games.

AJC
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Morgenstern
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2009, 10:37:21 AM »

I want to make the spirit world mysterious, a thing known only through folklore and guesswork with unspoken rules so elaborate or nonsensical that no one feels like they have a solid grasp on it. Having to 'solve it' each time it is encountered will keep the Solver characters way out in front when it comes into play. I think a single journy into the spirit world will be the climax of those sub-arcs, with most encounters being more spooky brushes with the unknowable. I would like the spirit world to seem eerie.

I'd also like to keep most monsters unique - 1 kappa, 1 old tengu, 1 giant centipede, etc. Running into a 'monster' should be an unussual, memorable, and singular event.

Mysticism will be a layer apart from the factions. There are three major mystic paths known as the Three Treasures, and three minor ones. The three major paths have organized power bases, practicioners, and places of study. They are important figures to be courted and/or appeased. Each holds a sacred artifact that can significantly transform those exposed to its power (anticipate a style feat for each with steep renown requirements).

The Order of the Golden Phoenix are masters of fire who can literally undo death.
The Order of the Jade Kirin can cross the land in the blink of an eye and are masters of natural law.
The Order of the Pearl Dragon command the weather and grow to fearful size.

The three minor mystic paths are comparitively individual and private practices, with practicioners in each of the factions who may know and give each other at least a respectful nod even if their masters are at war.

The Inner Garden is a path of mental agility and personal reflection.
The Steel Way is a warrior discipline for the most unyielding spirits.
The Gabbler's Cuts trade their precious droplets of life for momentary good fortune.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 10:38:54 AM by Morgenstern » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2009, 11:47:32 AM »

Still choosing my geography. I basically envision the three main contenders as forming a triangle with the coveted land more or less in the middle. One faction is based in a mountainous region at the northern apex. One faction is based in a coastal port on the south west corner. The final major player is on the southeast corner, and is in a river valley inland from the second group. I can place the minor players in, arround, and amonst thest pretty easily. Sides of this triangle are gonna be pretty short - I'm thinking less than 100 miles.

I can see reference to some of the other island that make up the region, but they won't be pressing for this exercise. Just far off trade partners for the naval power(s). I think there will probably be some other lords/clans of the edges of the map but on the same island - drive home that this is a microcosm in a larger cultural region. It's possible the Jade Kirin mystics may have their home offices on another island - their incredible mobility makes that les of an issue for them (think teleport at the high end, permanent waterwalking as a special perk - they can hike from island to island sans boat if the modd takes them).

I also know what's going to really set things in motion. The land about to be contested had owners until this last summer, when a massive fire devesatated the main town overseeing the farming plain and wiped out the ruling house of the area. Now it up for grabs and the big boys are starting to make moves.

I'm also considering focusing quest support on just 2 of the big three, allowing the missions to be a little more tightly tailored - some for A, some for B, some that make sense for either.

Next step seems to be listing out some advantages a warlord might have, and then divvying that list up into piles to create a couple of unique facitons. I'm pretty much relenting and letting one of them have a mad-genius smith that will have produced at least one playable Unborn.
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