Posts Tagged ‘Meta’

h1

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.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

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?

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

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 ?

h1

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 ?

h1

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 ?

h1

Sean’s GenCon Advice 2021

2 September, 2021

GenCon!

GenCon is about two weeks away!  Yikes!  So, I thought I would (again) share my hard-earned experience and try and help out people who are going as I do every year.

Preparation:

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

20 Quick Questions: Rules from Necropraxis

21 August, 2021

OldBooksI have been listening to Judd Karlman’s Daydreaming about Dragons podcast, which I highly recommend, and he mentioned this set of rules-based questions from Necropraxis that I thought would be fun to answer for the Sea of Stars.

Quote: “Here are 20 rules clarifications that are likely to be needed anyways at some point.”

1 Ability scores generation method?

Whichever you want to use. I am a fan of roll 4d6, drop lowest, arrange to suit but I am flexible, Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

I am doing a Shadowrun Podcast!

11 August, 2021

After pondering for many a year, I have finally buckled down and started my own Shadowrun podcast:

Your Sixth World May Vary

It is a short podcast about how to shape the Shadowrun world to your campaign and how to make the canon and metaplot work for you when possible.

Please give it a listen and tell me what you think. Still working on improving the technical side of things and those should improve as I get more practice.

Update: I am planning for it to be weekly with new episodes on Wednesdays.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

h1

August begins, July passes

31 July, 2021

August, which is named after the Roman first citizen (or Emperor if you prefer) Augustus Caesar, will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, write a comment or otherwise let me know.

Normally, I would be at GenCon at the start of August but it has been bounced to mid-September for this year.  Who is planning to attend this year?

July, 2021, was a slim month but saw the following posts published in the journal:

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

RPG Blog Carnival – the Parable of the Bridge

8 March, 2021

Bridge to SomewhereIn support of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival Say yes to your players(hosted by the Roll4 Network) I thought that I would tell a story from some years ago that taught me a vital lesson.

So, I had gathered a group of five players. Their characters had all been drawn from across the Sea of Stars to the edges of civilization by a set of powerful dreams.  They arrive in the city of Asku-Korla, once a wealthy city that sat astride a major trade route, which has been slowly dying since the Sundering changed the world.  Much of the city is abandoned and the core is now ruled by the Bronze Lion, a Conan type former adventurer who deposed the former king.  This will be important later.

They find each other at an inn, the Compass, knowing but not knowing each other, where they each receive a letter inviting them to a tomb to discover the truth about the dreams.  Together, they venture out to the tomb, defeat some monsters and each recovers an item from the tomb that seem to be of a deeper significance, almost as if it was made for them.  Emerging from the tomb, there is Burns Brightly, a sorcerer and the source of the letters, who ask them to join her in her plans of conquest as together they can ascend and rule.  The characters refuse, a fight ensures, Burns Brightly escapes, vowing revenge and the characters return to the city.

So, here we have the characters (and the villain) as reincarnations of great heroes (actually demi-gods, but the characters never learned this) set up for a classic conflict of good against evil as they try to reclaim their birthright!  But it did not happen that way . . .

One of the characters, Kao Li, was one of the apprentices of a famous magistrate of the Jade Pillar Dynasty and disliked by his rival apprentices.  An attempt is made on his life and they trace it down to the Resident Magistrate of the Dynasty, who was acting on a request from one of the rival apprentices, depose him and install Kao Li as the new Resident Magistrate.  When they visit the Bronze Lion to introduce themselves, it goes well, and they learn who Ashu-Korla was once a rich and prosperous city on the trade route from the Dynasty to the outside world but it is rarely used now as it marginally easier to sail around the island than travel over it.  The characters decided to rectify this by . . . building a bridge!  Making travel to and from the Dynasty easier and restoring the ancient trade routes.

The rest of the campaign was devoted to the task of building that bridge: gathering materials, drawing up plans, making deals on both sides of the bridge and so on.

But that was what the players were excited by, so that is what the game’s focus shifted to.  That was the important lesson learned, follow what the players are interested in even if it is not where you thought the game was going.  I was a bit surprised at first (“My beautiful campaign idea!”) but quickly adapted and since then, I have never made big plans and let the players choose their direction (if any) for campaign arcs.

Image Suō Province: Iwakuni, Kintai Bridge (Suō, Iwakuni, Kintaikyō), part of the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces, No. 51 (Sanyōdō group) by Hiroshige, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

 

%d bloggers like this: