Posts Tagged ‘RPG Blog Carnival’

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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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May RPG Blog Carnival Review – Occult Mysteries and Magic

31 May, 2017

May is almost over and with it, my first time hosting the RPG Blog Carnival, you can learn more about the RPG Blog Carnival and visit the archives at Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips page.

The theme was Occult Mysteries and Magic and my first post can be found here, with Parts the Second and Third following.

I also presented some thematic magic items: Assassin’s Eye and Cloak, Library Bane and the Secret Society Ring (and some idea for its use).

BooksThe contribution from across the web include:

Warlock Lodge: Masters of the Invisible College and Using witches, magic and occult practices in your games and the Psychic Witch from The Other Side.

Occlusion from Infinite Adventures.

D&D 5E: Rituals and the Occult from Harbinger of Doom.

Occult Mysteries (of Eberron) from the Codex Anathema.

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe and Supah Seekrit from Inspiration Strikes!

Spiritualist Sorcerer and Exorcist Background from Daemons and Deathrays.

Cult Magic Failures from Tales of a GM.

A Secret Society Of Character-Hunters For Your Campaign from Roleplaying Tips.

Greater Rituals (for D&D 5E) from the Dragonsmith.

Thank you all for your contributions and support!

Overall, a success I believe and I will try and host again sometime in the future.  Next month’s theme is Gonzo and cross-genre gaming.

Notes: Photo “Antique books” by Juan Antonio F. Segal is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

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Things Out in the Dark

30 March, 2017

This month’s theme for the RPG Blog Carnival is Things in the Dark, hosted by Mobius Adventures.

There is considerable darkness beyond and between the islands that compose the Sea of Stars, the space between the stars is all around, above and below the islands.  And some things both fantastic and terrible live in that darkness.

UmrayOne type of such creatures are the Umrays which haunt and hunt in the spaces between the islands.  These manta ray like creatures move through the space between the stars as though it was water but are not confined to the flat plane of travel that starships are bound to.  However, they almost never venture on or above the islands for reasons unknown.

Other creatures live and hide away in the dark from the gaze of mortals and -more importantly- dragons, beings from the lower and higher realms trapped when the gods were slain.  These beings have found places to avoid the dragons that hunt any traces of the divine, some of these being plot revenge, others just . . . wait.

There are also the ghosts, spirits and damned souls of those who have perished by plunging into the dark between the stars.  The subject of many a chilling tales by sailors upon the Sea of Stars, all new travelers upon a starship will be subject to multiple stories of sinister and bloodthirsty ghosts.  Fortunately these revenants are exceedingly rare but excessively destructive when they do appear.

Lastly, there are the strange and unknowable creatures that are native to the depths of the space.  Most who encounter these creatures do not survive to tell about it.

Notes: A very late entry for the Blog Carnival but I wanted to contribute.

Photo for the Umray is a slightly modified version of “Flower Garden Manta Ray” by NOAA’s National Ocean Service is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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