Posts Tagged ‘RPG Blog Carnival’

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Making Magic Wondrous – February RPG Blog Carnival Wrap Up

28 February, 2019

Magic is ColorfulAs is the way of February, it comes to a close quickly and with it, February 2019’s RPG Blog Carnival on Making Magic Wondrous comes to an end (though late submissions are always welcome).

The introductory article is here.  And I wrote a supporting piece, Everyday Magic in the Sea of Stars.

Contributions:

Roll4Net brings us the 3 Laws of Magic, showing how magic can work in a world.  And it is supported by the 3 Laws of Enchantment as well.

The Library of Legends uses an eponymously named article to look at magic items and gives advice I strongly agree with (I removed Detect Magic from the Sea of Stars years ago).

Codex Anathema looks at The Color of Magic to see what Magic: the Gathering can suggest to designing magic systems for RPGs.

Campaign Mastery, who is hosting March’s Carnival, contributed the math heavy but intriguing The Language Of Magic: A Sense of Wonder for the Feb 2019 Blog Carnival.

Thank you all for your words and thoughts!

Notes: Photo is “colour drops” by friedwater is licensed under CC by 2.0.

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Everyday Magic in the Sea of Stars

27 February, 2019

Magic is everywhere in the Sea of Stars, it is a constant, like air and sunlight.  Almost everyone knows a worker of magic in some form, villagers would know a hedge wizard, priest or witch, townsfolk meet alchemists, priests and wizards, while those in the cities may know those who follow an even more exotic path.

Many, even most, people know one or two small magics to make their tasks easier, charms to keep milk from curdling, a cantrip to keep a needle sharp for a seamstress, and other such things.  These narrowly focused spells can be used once or twice a day are with in the realm of almost anyone with even a spark of mystical talent to learn.  Guilds keep their specialized magics, no matter how small, secret and are only taught as people move upward through the ranks.  Farmers pass their tricks and charms to their children.

Colorful imageOver the years and centuries, many magic items have been constructed and enchanted.  Many of those are for small or frivolous things, enchanted combs, magical serving sets and such.  The dragons value luxury and convenience, leading to a continuing expansion in the creation of helpful items that have filtered down to the wealthy and even to the middle class (and no small number have become Visse family heirlooms).  While expensive, the durability and usefulness of such items often make them worthwhile purchases for major occasions, such as marriages, so their number in circulation grows.

Those who live in the countryside and the wilds have their own traditions of folk magic to call upon, it is rarely as long lasting as the carefully constructed masterpieces of the wizards and guilds but they serve their purpose of helping the community in good times and ill.  Druids and others with understanding of natural lore guide magic into living things, growing magic items for later use ranging from as simply as unspoiling fruit to as complex as living buildings.

If you listen in the right places, there are rumors of divine items predating the Sundering hidden in lost temples or abandoned shrines, must of these have long since been looted (not least by the dragons) but a few unspoiled troves of such valuable magics must still exist.

So, for those seeking magic there are many places to go searching.  Occasionally wizards guilds (or other magical organization) will organize expeditions to investigate folk magic, which do not usually work as well as either side might hope.  Others seeking lost magical items among the heirlooms and artifacts of families, treasure hunters and confidence tricksters to profit from acquring such, legitimate researchers and historians to study them.

This also mean that people who consciously eschew or avoid magic are looked at as being a bit strange, who would abandon such useful everyday tools?  But they are usually just viewed and treated as being eccentric, not actively dangerous, unless they start trying to stop other people from using magic.

Notes: A late add to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival.

Picture is from the ‘Talbot Shrewsbury book’ held by the British Library and is in the Public Domain.

 

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RPG Blog Carnival – Making Magic Wondrous

1 February, 2019

More magicIn February, 2019, the Sea of Stars once again hosts the RPG Blog Carnival!  We hope you will join in.

Magic is the defining characteristic of fantasy settings, it is even one of the primary way we use to define fantasy settings: the Low Magic (magic is rare and dangerous) to High Magic (magic is everywhere) spectrum.  But too often, magic just becomes another game mechanic and it loses the wonder and, well, magic of it all.

For this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, we will be looking at how to bring the wonder back into magic and the fantastical into fantasy games.  All ideas and contributions are welcome.

Some suggestions on themes to explore:

  • How magic works in your game world and ways to describe it.
  • The origin of magic in your world and how that shapes its form and function.
  • How the magic of gods and wizards differs or does not.
  • Do the different cultures in your world have different magical traditions?  If so, how does that express itself in play and description?
  • Is magic new or old?  Traditional or innovative?  Constrained or disruptive?
  • How do you make magic items more interesting than just their mechanics?

As to that last question, I devoted an article to it back when the journal was just starting up, Putting the Wonder Back into Wondrous Items. (And more recently, it has been discussed on RPGNet thread, Making Magic Items more Unique)  So it seems a topic of continued interest.

Expect more on other magical subjects here through out the month and please share links to your thoughts and posts in the comments section, let us get some ideas and discussion flowing!

Have a magical February!

Notes: The Sea of Stars previously hosted the RPG Blog Carnival in May, 2017 with the Theme of Occult Mysteries and Magic.

Photo “The Magic Flute @ BAM” by Global X is licensed under CC by 2.0

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Did the Gods build the Sea of Stars?

18 January, 2019

The proginators fallYes . . . and no.  The world that would become the Sea of Stars was, probably, built by the gods, after some fashion.  The legends have been mostly lost, well, not so much lost as deliberately destroyed and suppressed by the dragons.  Some of the stories told are:

  • There was a progenitor race to the gods, titans or such, that created the world or became the world when they were slain by the gods (or both).  The gods took over the rulership of the world from their progenitors until they, in turn, were supplanted by the dragons.  Does this mean that the dragons are destined to be supplanted in turn?  Obviously preaching such an idea will attract . . . unwelcome attention from the draconic authorities.
  • The gods created the world as a place for their worshipers to live, for without worshipers what is the point of being a god?  The world, by this reading, was a giant farm for the cultivation of worshipers.  Some philosophers thus argue that the dragons are better, at at least more honest, in their rule than they gods for at least they make their demands and desires obvious.
  • The world is composed of the body of some vast, once living being that those that would become the gods slew and consumed the vital parts gaining the power that would propel them to godhood.  The Sundering is the result of the dragons seeking the last edible pieces of that being to gain additional power, as dragons are always hungry for power.
  • The world was the shell of the cosmic dragon, bound by the gods, the shell cracked releasing the true power of the cosmic dragon to its descendants allowing the dragons to defeat the gods.  The fact that the sundering happened after the defeat of the gods does not stop this theory from existing.  After all, who really knows what happened (and in what sequence) all those years ago?

The dragons may know the truth of the matter but they are reluctant to talk of the times when the gods ruled, out of embarrassment or fear that speaking of the gods may give them a doorway to return or some other reason, who can say?  (Though accusing dragons of cowardice is not recommended.)

So the origins of the Sea of Stars remains shrouded in mystery but one can always seek answers to mysteries . . . but you will have to seek them in places from from the gaze of the draconic rulers.

Notes: This is my post in support of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival Divine Worldbuilding hosted by In My Campaign.

Image: The Æsir fight against the Vanir during the Æsir-Vanir War by Karl Ehrenberg found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

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June RPG Blog Carnival – “Why do I love RPGs? Why do I love GMing?”

30 June, 2018

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is on a the wonderful theme of “Why do you love RPGs? Why do you love GMing?” hosted by Campaign Mastery.

I have been a gamer for most of my life, it is my primary and favorite hobby, starting way back in 1977 at the age of ten when my mother pointed out that the library in Eugene, Oregon, where I lived at the time, had a wargaming club on Saturdays.  It was there I first encountered D&D and I was immediately hooked.  Over the years I have watched the hobby grow from a closet obsession of people on the fringe, survive a “Satanic Panic” where good-meaning but mean-spirited people tried to stamp out the hobby, to watching the lexicon of our hobby (and our title “gamers”) snatched from us by the video game industry and now the rise of RPGs as a spectator sport over various internet platforms.  What a long strange trip it has been, but oh, so much fun.

What do I like and love about RPGs?  The freedom to do and be what you can imagine and do it all in the company of friends.  You get to have adventures, many of which will become fun stories of heroism and chaos in retrospect, from the safety of your (or your friend’s) home or other friendly meeting place.  I enjoy the chance to see other worlds through the eyes of imaginary people, and sometime playing around with rules systems too, but mostly it is the joint adventuring and story-telling that I find fun.

What do I like and love about GMing?  Much the same as for being a player.  But this time instead of being an actor or co-author, I get to be the primary author or director.  I set the stage for the game to play out on, with the input of the other players, and we have a great adventure together.  When it all works right, it is quite magical, and when it just works, it is still fun.

There is more I could write, but that is the essence and I want to get it in before the deadline.

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Superstitions in and of the the Sea of Stars

26 October, 2017

A last minute inclusion for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, the theme of which is Superstitions and hosted by of Dice and Dragons.

The Sea of Stars is vast with many unique, mixing and often contradictory traditions and beliefs.

Here are a selection of superstitions from across the lands:

The Moon signals change

Seeing the Moon indicates change is comingThe Moon, as the last free god, has gone quite mad and when she is seen smiling in the sky, there is usually mischief and chaos afoot.

Since the death of the gods, it is ill-luck to speak the names of the gods.  By the modern era, most of the names of the gods have been lost and in the rare cases they are referred to, it is by their aspect (the Warrior, the Law Lords, Prince of Mercenaries and so on).  Now, this superstition may have less to do with the metaphysics of the death of the gods and more that many dragons actively rooted out believers in the aftermath of the Sundering.

Speaking the Empress’ title attract her gaze.  As the Empress is known just by her title it is intimately associated with her being, she does has a personal name but it is not widely known and even less used.  Most people refer to her obliquely, “the Highest Queen”, “The Great Ruler”, and such like.  The Imperial Breaucracy and the Draconic Houses do not subscribe to this superstition as a rule.

Destiny is written in the Stars.  Many in the Sea of Stars follow their horoscopes and seek advice from astrologers, this is not necessarily wrong.

Dragons will not eat X and rubbing yourself in X (or the fat/oil of X) will keep you from being attacked by them.  This in one of the sillier ones and occasionally surfaces when a group decide to oppose a dragon.  What X is varies from place to place and usually has to do with the eating habits and preferences of the local dragon.

Drinking dragon’s blood will give you magical powers.  This one is not entirely wrong, though dragon’s blood is more of an enhancer for existing magic, especially for wielder of natural magic.  Though the real challenge is getting it.

If a dragon’s shadow passes over you, your death is near. This one is self-explanatory I would think.

It is good luck to make a Visse laugh.  This may be just getting on the good side of someone who is likely to be a member of the bureaucracy or there may be more to it than that.  In any case, the Visse are delightful when they are amused.

Notes: Photo by “a dancing cresent moon” by Seán A. O’Hara is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Doomsdays and Dystopias of the Sea of Stars

14 July, 2017

The theme for this month’s RPG Bog Carnival is Doomsdays and Dystopias hosted over on Daemons & Deathrays.

What a messThere are two major doomsday points in the Sea of Stars:

The Fall of the Gods and the Sundering, the war between the gods and the dragons had considerable, to use the current term, collateral damage.  While the dragons did not seek to destroy any more than necessary, looting rubble is less productive, there were situations that required significant devastation especially in the cases of the gods who choose to live among their worshipers.  The combats in those cities were massively destructive to life and property.

But the damage caused by the Gods War pales by comparison to that of the Sundering which followed immediately afterward, as the world itself shattered and pulled apart.  The loss of life was immense and some area were rendered uninhabitable as rivers were diverted, lakes and oceans drained away, mountain ranges crumbled or emerged.  In less than a day, the world was irrevocably changed.

However, with the help of their new rulers, the dragons, the world was slowly rebuilt.  Some areas took longer to recover than others . . . and a few never did leaving ruins in formerly fertile areas that were now deserts or marshes or worse.

If massive environmentally disruption is your idea of a good campaign, the Sundering has everything you could imagine.

A much more focused doomsday is the Sen’Tek Revolt, the attempt by a conspiracy within the Visse servant class and Imperial bureaucracy to overthrow (and replace) the draconic overlords.  The deep conspiracy planned across decades was forced to act prematurely when it was revealed to the Empress.  While many dragons and dragonkine were killed, the plot as a whole was foiled, and many, many Visse were slain.   Though the core of the conspiracy escaped deep into the far mountains.  Even this failure caused deep disruption to draconic rule as the dragons turned upon the weakened houses and sought to benefit until the Empress stepped in and reorganized the survivors.

If you want a survival horror type scenario it could be run on either side of this: either dragonkine nobles trying to survive against servants who know their every foible and weakness or a group of Visse, possible mixed conspirators and innocents, avoiding dragons and trying to escape.

For dystopia, well, it is a world ruled by dragons after killing the gods, for many, they could not imagine a worse world.  For the dragon rulers who had to “reeducate” formerly pious societies, it was not a pretty task.  While, in general, the dragons take a claws off approach as long as they get their taxes, there are always exceptions.

So if you are looking for unhappy places, there are no shortage such as the Kingdom of Laccini and its militant knights backed by necrourgists or the Dark Star Dominion and its ruler, Ba’a’ai, the Dark Star himself.

Other dystopias must exist as well but I cannot immediately think of any more.

 

Notes: Photo “Ruined Castle” by Grant is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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