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 Post subject: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:02 am 
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Ok, what I’d like each and every one of you to do first is to propose either a theme or a flavour that you personally would like to underlie the setting and eventually the campaign.

A theme can for instance be something as broad as “strife” or “honour”, or something more narrow like “how the demands placed upon one by society clash with the demands of everyday life” or “the problems arising from living in close vicinity to people of different culture and creed”.

A flavour is best likened to either historical periods or clichés or to existing and well-known pieces of fiction. Examples would be “a decaying and decadent society like Moorcock’s Melniboné” or “an age of exploration, like the conquistadors coming to America” or “foreign invaders taking over another country, like the vikings in Anglo-Saxon England”. Also, remember that a strength of shared setting creation is that you can create very exotic settings, as they do not need to be fleshed fully out, so a flavour like “something set in an arctic waste of ice and snow, with fantastic ice palaces and everthing” is totally ok, as would be “an Aztec-like culture ruled and terrorized by supposedly divine vampires, with the PCs being either vampires or their retainers”. The only limits to your imagination should be technology – I wouldn’t want to go any more modern than about Europe 1750.

Pick a theme or flavour that you do relate to personally and care about.

The other thing I ask you to do, after you have proposed something of your own and in the same post if you like, is to comment on everybody else’s proposition. Say wether you like it or not, how much so, and what about it appeals to you or puts you off. Also, if a certain angle or aspect of a proposed theme or flavour does interest you especially, please say so. In short, I want us to discuss the propositions.

So, come forth with your ideas!

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:59 am 
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Flavour: A peaceful people with a great tradition of belief in the sciences and humanism find themselves suddenly assailed by contact with a new people with a long tradition of faith in a benevolent Creator being; a series of scientific discoveries that call into question the very basics of several of their dominant scientific disciplines; and the discovery of a new discipline that advocates are referring to as "magic" and are claiming makes all the other disciplines irrelevant.

Theme: Exploring the effect calling into question long held ideology has on individuals, groups, and society.

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:07 am 
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This is quite dubious theme because of that 1750s limit, but I'm thinking some... "primitive culture surrounded by ancient powerful technology and godlike rulers".

To elaborate further, I'm thinking something like Stargate like technology, but with northern viking flavour. What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:49 am 
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higgins wrote:
This is quite dubious theme because of that 1750s limit, but I'm thinking some... "primitive culture surrounded by ancient powerful technology and godlike rulers".

To elaborate further, I'm thinking something like Stargate like technology, but with northern viking flavour. What do you think?


Apologies -- I was in the middle of setting up and testing the dice roller and I used this thread for the test. Then I just changed my post without looking to see whether anyone else had posted.

Anyway, I see lots of flavour in this but I'm not certain what themes our characters would explore within this environment. I take it the characters know that their society is primitive compared to the others -- or are we exploring the time when the ancient Stargate becomes active for the first time in millenia?

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:49 am 
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I would like to see a setting that evokes the feeling of Arabian Nights, but with the sultriness, the decadence, the sophistication and the intrigue squared. It need not actually be Oriental.

higgins: Speaking as a referee I think that a crumbling or crumbled advanced civilisation of almost godlike power shouldn’t pose a difficulty. If one takes for instance a steampunk-flavour and adds copious use of magic, such a civilisation should be sufficiently awesome.

I could go along just fine with your idea. I’ve always been a sucker for Melniboné, and so something I’d very much like about any such setting would be if that old, god-like culture would somehow be viewed as evil to the point of unholiness.

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:04 am 
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Sorry, Ian, I had overlooked that you’d edited your post.

Hmm, you’re being quite specific, but I’m glad that you brought an example, as it makes it clearer to me what you’d like to see. Would it be correct to say that you are interested in a setting dominated by a clash of well-entrenched worldviews, specifically the clash of a scientific and rationalistic worldview with a very spiritual one?

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:30 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Anyway, I see lots of flavour in this but I'm not certain what themes our characters would explore within this environment. I take it the characters know that their society is primitive compared to the others -- or are we exploring the time when the ancient Stargate becomes active for the first time in millenia?
Hm, my line of though was more like... that the culture sees itself as normal, but views the ones with technology as gods because of their awesome powers. Themes could be ... rebelling against an immensely powerful foe and discovering your god could bleed, that sort of stuff... The stargate was just an example of the technology that is virtually indistinguishable from magic even by our standards, yet with the right knowledge, anybody could use it.

As for Ian's suggestion... how do you see science keeping an edge towards magic when keeping the 1750s timeline? As I get it, you'd rather like to distinguish magic vs. science... not unify them as in my theme.

Grettir wrote:
something I’d very much like about any such setting would be if that old, god-like culture would somehow be viewed as evil to the point of unholiness.
This is exactly the way I meant it. Everybody fears the attention of their gods.

Grettir wrote:
I would like to see a setting that evokes the feeling of Arabian Nights, but with the sultriness, the decadence, the sophistication and the intrigue squared. It need not actually be Oriental.
This is also a very interesting idea I'd be definitely in for. Actually maybe even more than for what I offered myself (as I tried to come up with something original). Maybe with a naval twist on that arabian nights? I could totally see scattered arid islands surrounded by unusable salty water. Being a ship crew would also be a sensible way to tie the characters together. Or were you thinking in a corrupt arab metropolis line?

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Theme: “A struggle to hold on to everything you know and love in the face of great adversity. You're world is been torn from you as you fight to hold on to what little is left. A real focus on relationships."

Flavour: When Grettir mentioned that we are free to be exotic as we want, something really stirred in me and I found myself really longing to break away from the tradional European/Medieval. So for flavour what I'd really like to see is something set in the deepest South american inspired jungles, with a civilisation inspired (if not based on) by the Aztecs and Maiyans. We're talking stone age/bronze age.

Higgins: I really digg the the Super Advanced Civ posing as gods. As I said above I'd really like to break away from the European influenced games, so if we were to go with your idea, I'd love to see it perhaps imported into a Jungle enviroment with the Maiyanish/Aztecish people mentioned in my post. Ofcourse if we were going to go with a Euro feel then Vikings all the way :P

Ian: What I like from your suggestion is the whole Science vs God feel, when looking at Higgin's idea where Science is veiwed as godly I wonder if this can't be twisted more. I'd like to hear more on your ideas and how they could relate to mine, Ian's and Higgins.

Grettir: I was actually thinking something along the lines of Middle Eastern, with lots of cloak and daggers, and intrigue, however I thought if I was going to break from Europe then the Middle east wasn't far enough, enter the New World ;), one thing I was thinking though, I see no reason why that sultriness, and decadence couldn't be applied to perhaps the advanced "god-like" civilization from Higgin's example, over even the advanced science peple from Ian's. To add it to my own Flavour it would be the Aztecish people who rule is slipping into almost depravity.

So to combine them all somewhat, South American feel where Aztec inspired people with vast technology exert their authority as "gods" over a more peaceful Maiyan type people who still live as one with the land. The Aztecs are becoming more and more decadent, as the passions of flesh consume them, their ways take a greater and greater toll on the Maiyan type people.

I don't know about you guys but my creativity really feeds off of others, so I'll post more after there has been more input. I especialy await to see what Jake has in mind.

Cheers.

PS: I hope none of that seems to specific, take what you like and toss the rest it doesn't faze me, I'm just excited to be a part of this :P

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:31 pm 
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I may not have been clear enough about it: I either require flavour or theme, not both. One feeds off the other anyway.

Crow Caller: I like your Precolumbian Mesoamerican stuff very much, and I have already some ideas how to incorporate higgin’s ideas and my own into it and also what I believe to understand about Ian’s. I’ll write no more just now; first, let’s see what would interest Jake.

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:37 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
I may not have been clear enough about it: I either require flavour or theme, not both. One feeds off the other anyway.

Crow Caller: I like your Precolumbian Mesoamerican stuff very much, and I have already some ideas how to incorporate higgin’s ideas and my own into it and also what I believe to understand about Ian’s. I’ll write no more just now; first, let’s see what would interest Jake.


Ah, sorry mate, thought you wanted both. Yeah I'm just feeling kind of Jungle, but yeah let's see what Jake's got under his hat.

Cheers!

Oh, just one thing. In your examples you say that PC's could even be vampires, not that I'm suggesting it, but I was wondering how you would mangage that (not details just vague), I mean, was that a way of saying don't let the rules bog us down creatively? So if I was to suggest a Theme where PC's were Angels struggling to deal with the world around them as they try to remain righteous, and every one liked it, then would we actually play Angels?

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:10 pm 
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Of the ideas proposed so far the Arabian Nights flavor actually interests me the most. Which suprised me, frankly, given my occupation over the last few years.

The jungle thing isn't as exciting to me, but I'm not opposed to it. The idea of a little-to-no armor society is pretty cool, actually. Those fights will be brutal. So if this is a direction everyone else is interested in, I'm in.

However, to suggest a new idea, I'd like to see a game set in Fahal, Weyrth. Fahal was a pet of mine and I've always been curious to see what others might do with it.

In either setting/flavor I could see a character using the rules from Voices being pretty cool (no clerical healing though--yuck).

Jake

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
In your examples you say that PC's could even be vampires, not that I'm suggesting it, but I was wondering how you would mangage that (not details just vague), I mean, was that a way of saying don't let the rules bog us down creatively? So if I was to suggest a Theme where PC's were Angels struggling to deal with the world around them as they try to remain righteous, and every one liked it, then would we actually play Angels?


It was a way to tell you that almost anything you can conceive is possible. And I'd manage it via the racial pick in character creation.

Jake: Concerning Fahal – it was most probable not clear to you at the outset, but one reason to do this for Ian, higgins and Crow Caller was to experience my group’s style of play, which I have talked about in various threads. And this entails creating the setting comunally anew for every new campaign to support our chosen theme.

Which is not to say that we can’t use Fahal, of course; let’s see what the others have to say about that. Also, can I surmise from your interest in Fahal that you’d like a setting that’s dominated by a harsh religion?

Concerning the Aztec/Mayan flavour we wouldn’t have to set this in a jungle; any not-too-cold climate should do nicely, and an urbane setting with labyrinthine fortress-cities ruled by priests in feather cloaks attending their “gods” would also fit an Arabian Nights flavour of sultriness and intrigue.

At this stage I’d now love to hear what Ian is thinking. He has proposed what I understood as a challenge to a well-entrenched worldview by means of sudden confrontation with something that doesn't fit this worldview. I can think of ways to integrate this theme, but I’d like to know if I understood him correctly, and wether any of the other propositions click with him or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
Which is not to say that we can’t use Fahal, of course; let’s see what the others have to say about that. Also, can I surmise from your interest in Fahal that you’d like a setting that’s dominated by a harsh religion?


I had a read thru Fahal and there are lots of aspects I liked, the Land as the god, and it calling out for blood was cool, and the blunt honor of the people. However all though it would be cool to have some of those aspects in the game I'm kinda keen on making a new setting from scratch, I absolutely loved the Parched Land Setting that we made last time and want to see something like that (not the setting the creativity) happen again.

Grettir wrote:
Concerning the Aztec/Mayan flavour we wouldn’t have to set this in a jungle; any not-too-cold climate should do nicely, and an urbane setting with labyrinthine fortress-cities ruled by priests in feather cloaks attending their “gods” would also fit an Arabian Nights flavour of sultriness and intrigue.


The urbane setting with labyrinthine fortress-cities ruled by priests in feather cloaks attending their "gods" sounds awesome to me, however I'd still love for it to be surrounded by jungle, that's one of the big selling points for me. However, like always, I'm cool with whatever!

Jake Norwood wrote:
The idea of a little-to-no armor society is pretty cool, actually. Those fights will be brutal.


:twisted:

Grettir wrote:
At this stage I’d now love to hear what Ian is thinking...

Sorry, I'll shut up now ;)

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:23 pm 
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Hm, this all makes me think that I should watch Apocalypto. And read GURPS Aztecs. :ugeek:

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 Post subject: Re: Actual Play: Setting Creation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:39 pm 
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higgins wrote:
Hm, this all makes me think that I should watch Apocalypto. And read GURPS Aztecs. :ugeek:

Yes and no -- doing so can fatally limit your creativity. Don't allow yourself to be walled in by real history. We are merely talking flavour. So long as you have some mental image, that's enough.

And how do you like Jake's proposal? And what's your take on the jungle-question?

Crow Caller, the following is a total derailing of this thread, but I have the hunch that you don't quite realize what the little-used racial priority pick could do for your game, and I'd like to take a moment to show you. Imagine a setting like the European middle ages, but with the human nobility completely replaced by vampires and their totally unveiled rule of bloody terror. And now take a look at these racial priority picks:

F -- Human
E -- Turned's Ghoul
D -- Trueblood's Ghoul
C -- Mishappen (human turned into a vampire imperfectly; think Nosferatu + Caitiff, but worse)
B -- Turned (once human, now vampire)
A -- Trueblood (vampire born of the sexual union of two vampires)

See what the racial priority can do for your game?

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