Archive for the ‘World Building’ Category

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Tuesday Magic Item – Map of the Territory

18 January, 2022

Orkney MapGollaon sprinted after the assassin. “Come on we almost have them!”

Voddick did his best to keep up, his crossbow cocked and loaded.

Gollaon rounded a corner and slide to a halt, a large piece of paper gently wafted towards the ground in front of him.

“What?” half asked, half demanded Voddick as he followed, crossbow quickly aimed at the moving paper.

“Thrice damn him to hell!” shouted Gollaon.  “Back to the Royal quarters and hope we are not too late.”

Voddick spun and began running back the way they came and Gollaon followed behind as the map settled to the floor behind them.

Map of the Territory

These maps are a recent invention, though their source is unknown, they were widely used before their secondary function was discovered.  Now they are still used but much more carefully and their creator is even more avidly sought out.

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Political intrigue among Dragons (RPG Blog Carnival)

13 January, 2022

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is hosted by Daemons and Death Rays and is on Political intrigue, Courtly drama and Factions and, as I am hosting next month, it seems only right that I contribute to this month’s carnival.  And the theme is perfect for the Sea of Stars in any case.

dragon-princeDragons are the rulers of the Sea of Stars from the Empress at the top who, in theory, ultimately controls everything to the lowest of individual dragons who only rule over a single island (for no dragon does not have at least a small piece of land that belongs entirely to them).  Each of them (except for the Empress, perhaps) is seeking to advance themself and gain more power, preferably at the expense of other dragons for everything is better when it is taken from another, thus proving one’s strength and a rival’s weakness.  Yes, dragons are usually right bastards.

But the dragons rarely descend to physical conflict with each other, as that is risky even with proper preparation, so they primarily focus on political maneuvering which, in many ways, is more satisfying in any case as it proves you are cleverer than your rival.  As dragons are functionally immortal, they have time to craft long-term, and occasionally absurdly complicated, plans to gain advantage over their rivals.  This is less of an advantage than it sounds as the rival they are acting against is also functionally immortal with the ability to prepare equally elaborate defenses or even counter maneuvers.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Carmenta’s Book

11 January, 2022

Learn the alphabet or make your own!Voddick watched in fascination as the young scribe added another new ideogram into the book.  “I would have thought it would be filled by now,” he whispered to Gollaon.

“I suspect it would be, were it not enchanted,” replied Gollaon pouring a cup of tea.

“Of course, I should have noticed,” said Voddick.  “I have already seen more pages than could possibly fit in that book.”

Gollaon nodded and handed Voddick a cup of tea.

Carmenta’s Book

These book are very rare, only a few exist and they are prized by their owners, they are slim but tall volumes marked with the owner’s initials marked on the front, changing to match the local language.  The pages are a rich cream color and take ink exceeding well.  The book is, perhaps surprisingly, resistant to almost all damages.

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What is a “Dungeon”?

7 January, 2022

design-for-a-stage-set-showing-the-interior-of-a-fortress-or-dungeon-061ac6So, my wife and I were talking with some other gamers at our local game store, Tyche’s Games, as you do.  The people we were talked mentioned that their campaign did not not have dungeon and then described what their campaign did have . . . which sounded just like a dungeon just under another name.

Which lead to a discussion among my wife and I about what defines a dungeon.  I think I know what defines a dungeon, in the classic Dungeons & Dragons sense, to me and which I will elaborate on in a moment.  But what does the term dungeon mean to you?  What images does the word conjure?  Is there anything that you immediate think of, for good or ill?

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Shadowrun Campaign Pitch – Songs in the Key of X

5 January, 2022

It has been a bit since I have done one of these, campaign stat blocks are a good way to frame a pitch for your group, which is what I am doing here.

Shadowrun – Songs in the Key of X

X by troyakA shadowrunning team works to survive and thrive on the mean streets of Seattle while being drawn into investigating the mysteries behind the creation of ManaWave Technologies and the plans of its CEO, the sinister Dr Shipson . . .

Setting: This will be set in Seattle of the Shadowrun Universe, at least my divergent timeline of it, 2079.  Broad continuity shared with James’ NorCal Shadowrun campaign.

  •   Continuity: Episodic with arcs.
  •   Rating: PG in general, standard nasty corporate stuff and maybe some toxic and other disturbing magic.  Do people want to draw lines (things that are off the table) and veils (fade to black situations) for this campaign?
  •   Style: Crime, investigation with some social and political maneuvering.
  •   Tone: Heist Movie mixed with Investigative television show with occasional shades into techno-horror.

Rules: Shadowrun 6WE with standard house rules. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Boxed Kitchen

4 January, 2022

BoxVoddick glanced into the wagon and quickly hurried on.  “I know why the meal wagon always has excellent food for those willing to pay,” he said, sotto voice, to Gollaon.

“Indeed?” ask Gollaon looking toward the wagon.

“A kitchen box, one of the larger ones.”

Gollaon raised an eyebrow.  “Then no more eating well.  I do not trust those boxes.”

“That is just . . . I do not either.”

Boxed Kitchen

These boxes come in several sizes (each increasingly valuable) and they can be made of wood or metal or a mix of both and they are often decorated with culinary scenes.  The boxes are sturdy but surprisingly light until they are used, then they become surprisingly heavy.  They are used bu opening them, adding food, usually raw and then closing them.  Precisely an hour later, a meal will have been prepared from the ingrediants provided seved on simple dishes unless better were provided.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Dizzying Darts

28 December, 2021

Dart“Darts?” Voddick said looking at his shield.

“Do not let them hit you!” said Gollaon taking cover behind a barrel.  “They are dizzying darts!”

Voddick crouched behind his shield.  “Curses!  I hate those.  So, they are definitely kidnapper then.

“Agreed, we has best find an alternate route and save our charge.”

Dizzying Dart

These darts are enchanted to make prey unstable and easy to catch, originally made for an order of paladins who sought to capture wanted criminals so they could face justice.  These darts are unusal weapon, actually design to inflict minimal physical damage, but to make to person hit vulnerable to capture.  Unfortunately, the magics to make such were stolen and they have been used by kidnappers and slavers.

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A Superheroic Theory of Time Travel

23 December, 2021

prague-astronomical-clock-112917440026rDOr Time Travel on Earth-H!

The best works of time travel fiction generally have a clear and compelling structure for time travel, perhaps it is:

Linear Time, time moves in a straight line and where changing the past will change the future (such as in Poul Anderson’s Time Patrol stories or, mostly, in the Terminator movies).

Branched Time, where changing the past causes an entire new timeline to appear following the branch, but the events (and timeline) of the original version still exist as the original starting point for the time traveler who changed the past.

Parallel Timelines, infinite or limited, usually this means that travel in “time” is just traveling to a different timeline that seems identical to the past of the person traveling.  With enough Branched Time and you get close to the sme effect.

Immutable Time, the past is fixed, either you cannot change the flow of history or anything you did is alreadt accounted for in your present.  A variant of this is, you change the past but someone/thing steps into that hole and make the the future turn out pretty much the same.  Immutable time can be good for fiction but not much fun for roleplaying games.

There is also what might be termed “Monkey Paw” Time, which has been showing up in time travel stories recently.  Where any change to the past will cause increasingly disaterous alterations to the time traveler’s present (“the darkest timeline”) and further attempts to fix the timeline will just accelerate that downward trend.    Again, good for fiction, not so much for roleplaying games.

So, setting aside those last two, which form of time travel do the comics usually use?  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Solstice Wand

22 December, 2021

wand-gb2b5e2443_640“How have we ended up involved in a fight between light and dark?  Surely this is above our level of responsibility,” said Voddick fingering the charms hanging off his weapon belt.

Gollaon nodded, “But we are here now.”

“Truth,” he sighed.  “And it would look cowardly to leave . . . would it not?”

“Indubitably.”

“Shame.”

Solstice Wand

These wand exist in three states, unclaimed they are relatively unremarkable wands tipped with a dull crystal.  But once claimed, it takes on the timbre of its owner, golden and glowing with warm light for those on the side of light, violet and radiating a dim aura of shadows for those servants of the dark.

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Time Travel in the Sea of Stars

19 December, 2021

Temple_of_Time_(1846)_editMy friend Brandes posted about Time Travel stories for RPGs on Tribality.  Which got me to thinking about Time Travel in the Sea of Stars, or, perhaps more precisely, the lack there of.

Time Travel, as it is usually thought of, is just impossible in the Sea of Stars.  People cannot travel back into the past and interact with it.  There is no way to change the past and cause changes to the present. It is quite simple, the past is past and thus immutable.  If there ever was any way to travel into the past, the acension of the Empress shut such a doorway, completely and irrevokably.  Yes, it is impossible, no loopholes, no debate, no time travel . . . into the past. Read the rest of this entry ?

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