Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-10-2019, 06:52 AM   #131
Daigoro
 
Daigoro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Meifumado
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I built my second stained glass image, this time of Fragment. Getting the right point of view is tricky, I probably need to add buildings (and maybe even a boat), but this has been a difficult image, and I'm happy with what I've got so far.
Cool stuff, captures some of the feeling. Is that Claw at the top-right? I was picturing it as the whole 3-toed paw meaning of claw- one of the vagaries of English.

I can't do much for the next week or so, but I might bang out a quick answer if I get the chance.
__________________
World Wikis:
Cyberpunk: Duopoly Nation
Fantasy: Dominion Cross
Space Opera: Behind the King's Eclipse
Steampunk: Colonial Steam
Daigoro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2019, 12:13 AM   #132
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 55 Lokou temples are octagonal in shape with domelike roofs and narrow openings where the roof meets the walls, presumably for light and ventilation. They are about two stories in height, but that appears to be mostly high ceilings rather than a true second story (and from architects watching the construction of a new temple from a distance). The walls are a reflective red, the result of a lacquer created from the crushed bodies of a specific type of beetle (and getting enough beetle lacquer is probably the hardest part of building a new one). The doorway, roof, eaves and other trim may be bare dark brown wood (the temple is actually built of such wood)or gilt, depending on the wealth and ostentation of the local community. Animals native to Calledron are often depicted in the doorframe and eaves, but the walls themselves are flat and bare. There are stylized crocodiles on the roof, meant to acknowledge Suchos, whose body is home if not god. Comparative theologians point out that "Suchos" comes nowhere near the doors and in fact does not face the door. They are a consistent size that can hold about 500 people for a few-hour observation; there are no small Lokou chapels, nor are there larger cathedrals, implying that the Lokou divinity has some very definite ideas about social organization even if it is prepared to tolerate some local improvisation in aesthetics. Some Lokou accept calling these structures "temples" in the Calledron language, but others reject the label and obliquely refer to them as "the red house" or "the red place". There are also some that are near-derelict; the Lokou are extremely reluctant to tear down a temple even if the local Lokou population has declined to the point that it is half- or mostly empty. They also try to have space for all Lokou in theory to show up; even if some members are more pious than others or have embraced another tribe's god, the Lokou count them when deciding how many temples are needed. Notionally, no one lives in the temples, but the elderly, indigent and mad are sometimes permitted to stay there if they have nowhere else and remain hale. (The Lokou attitude toward physical disability is frankly very ugly.) Wherever there are about 500 Lokou a temple will be built, which means there is about one per 5,000 residents of Callous Harbour [we haven't established how big Callous Harbour is] and at least one in other provincial capitals on Calledron, as close to the portal as they can manage. To date, the Lokou have evinced no intention to build temples off of Calledron.

Question 105 Who is the current Knight Commander of the First, the Eleventh and the Final?

Question 106 Who is the current political authority in the city of Rahalar?
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #133
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Question 71 What divine sigils does the Emperor display - based on his crown, sash and jewelry, which gods does he honor, and how much? Are any of them peculiar or idiosyncratic in display? Are any conspicuous by their absence? Is there suspicion of any level of insincerity in his devotion? Does he make a public show of his devotions?
Emperor Julius Martellus makes a point of wearing the sigils of as many Gods in his empire as possible. While the classic Calledronian gods are represented, He also commonly wears symbols from conquered peoples as well, a slightly controversial move. This appears to be lip service, but its a strategic, methodical, and reliable lip service.

His colors are always the blue and gold of Onas, God of the sky, flying, birds, and ambition. Onas is a traditional calledron God, and one of the most favored by mages with enough power fly through the sky. This is his personal God, and he is relatively devout in his practice.

He also wears the insignia of Suchos on most occasions, and he is never without a strange symbol of unknown meaning. When asked about it, Martellus will state that its a personal symbol between him and a diety he met in the distorted lands. Speculation on which diety it is is rampant but as of yet has been fruitless.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2019, 11:44 AM   #134
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Cool stuff, captures some of the feeling. Is that Claw at the top-right? I was picturing it as the whole 3-toed paw meaning of claw- one of the vagaries of English.
Yes, that's the claw. I think crocodilians actually display all five fingers. The method I used to make it is easy to fiddle with, so I could update the image. Actually, I intend to eventually do so once we have a better idea of what Calledron architechture looks like. The red temples are a great image.

Quote:
I can't do much for the next week or so, but I might bang out a quick answer if I get the chance.
Understandable. Lets keep this up! I like this setting, and it feels only part-finished!
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2019, 07:20 AM   #135
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 69-c Another rival polycosmic polity is the Verdant Plasmic Autarky. The ruling class of the Autarky are understood to be human, although there are skeptics since they are seldom seen by outsiders. According to their own propaganda, they displeased a very powerful god who levied an ongoing curse on them to have everything made by hand or mind unmade by their touch. In practice, the effect is pronounced but not normally instantaneous, and seems to tend toward natural life rather than mere entropy and waste; If they occupy a city for long its structures collapse and greenery shoots up through the cobblestones. Armor and weapons rust and wagons rot and collapse with unseemly swiftness. They are drawn to cities and industrial buildups since they cannot make these things themselves; as they collapse, the Verdant move on, (usually) leaving wild forest and savannah in their wake. The Verdant's many subject peoples often build cities, occupy them for a few generations and then move on, letting the Verdant use the city briefly while they break ground on a new settlement, perhaps in a fertile area that was a desert before the Verdant passed through it. Outsiders dealing with subject peoples in their short-term cities wonder how the subject peoples are kept in line; dissent and rebellion seem minimal, yet the Verdant seem like a crude extortion racket with minimal oversight ability that could easily be overthrown. In terms of population, the Autarky is comparable to Calledron, the Concordat or the Church, but in acreage it is substantially larger; the Autarky has many "fallow" cosmi at any given time, in which the rulers have created a vibrant wilderness and the subject peoples have not got around to recolonizing yet. The Verdant seem to settle policy in a democratic manner, but one must be one of the "cursed" to have a vote.

Answer 70 Language is frequently a problem for even the savviest polycosmic wanderer, and linguistic barriers play no small part in the "a few civilized empires dominating many uncivilized tribes" vibe that pervades this portion of the polycosm. The last portal-building civilization, the Rebel Daeva, collapsed 17 centuries ago; there have been three or four waves of portal-using societies since then, depending on who's counting. Modern Tonic is widely studied as a vastly simplified version of Daevic, having abandoned gender and most cases but kept the eight-tense understanding of time, and fully 20% of known languages can be shown to be descended from Daevic. In addition, most highly technical discussions must make use of Daevic or Tonic terminology. Ton has more surviving records than you'd expect written in Daevic or transitional forms, which form the basis of this study of language. Oppuhan (as Calledron still calls its language) has a much simpler tense structure but retains more distinctions of gender, rank and agency, which some scholars attribute to being basically a military dialect. They aren't THAT hard to bridge conceptually, since both are pro-drop grammars with flexible word order; a few people speculate that they diverged from a common ancestor prior to that age, perhaps whatever the Daeva were rebelling against. In any case, in a conversation between Calledron and Ton, the Calledron is likely to get rank and gender wrong, since the Tonic doesn't bother to make it explicit, while the Tonic is likely to get order and timing wrong, since the Oppuhan can't make fine distinctions the way Tonic can.

Oppuhan isn't obviously related to anything in the area; they came from a long ways away. Rahalar is unrelated to Daevic, but in an urbanized or long-settled cosm you're likely to find a handful of people who still know Rahalar. Known human languages can be broadly divided into four near-equal categories; Daevic-descended, Rahalar-related, Verdant-related, and Weird. Older portal-building societies have scripts understood by few people and subject to bitter conjecture; indeed, the farther back you go, the more inhuman they seem to get, with the first 12 being, er, unsuitable for human brain architecture. One of them has a grammar particle which indicates a logical stack swap, which humans can laboriously work out on paper but could never speak in real time; another consists of starbursts where the number and length of the arms defines the words. Then there's the Madrigal Network, based around song, or at least regular, repeating harmonic structures. A cosm whose inhabitants really seemed to speak something related to civilizations 13-17 would be exciting and controversial.

The chanovat really all speak dialects of one language. Upon receiving the communion fluid, a new chanovat's brain builds a language center in the space of three weeks, as opposed to the human six months at age 2. It imprints dialect and sociolect structures from the ones around it (and can come out bilingual if exposed to non-chanovat in this narrow window). However, the speed of construction forces it along a fairly specific predetermined plan which sharply limits the possible variations. Arguably, there can be only one chanovat language, despite regional variations.

Question 107 Describe the collapse of the Rahalar empire. Did its portals fail all at once, or slowly and intermittently? How did the central government react? The people? Was this predicted, or a complete surprise? How long ago did this happen?
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:11 PM   #136
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Question 74
The race known as the Torkaltar has individuals who possess a rare ability, they can follow a trail across multiple cosms. What else can be said about this race and how its fits in the polycosm?
Answer 74:

The Torkaltar are a human people who constantly move from place to place, trading goods and performing services. Torkaltar "Seekers" have an innate ability to sense the location and approximate distance of portals, even from a few hundred miles away. Seekers can also detect each other in the same fashion. Torkaltar are infamous for their willingness to enter any portal. Torkaltar are skilled artists, smiths, and healers. The Torkaltar are spread out over several polycosmic empires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Question 72 What innate magics do non-Imperials possess? We've discussed the Lokou, and as of yet have no other real human populations to discuss, but what about the nonhumans? I'm going to suspect the other tribes of Calledron and Gnomon have limited ability and/or will be left blank as a place for PCs to bolt in a weird character concept that nevertheless works, but feel free to correct that impression.
Supernatural abilities seem to occur in humans with some frequency. As they tend to be semi-heritable, such abilities are usually concentrated in a single population and culture. polycosmic human empires usually have either a divine patron, an exotic resource, or a few different empowered populations at the core of its power structure.

Calledron natives mostly lack innate abilities, but there are a number of exceptions. One tribe has members who can send simple telepathic messages over a few miles. Another has members who can pick up, carry, and throw flames with their bare hands, as well as igniting fire on demand.

Chanovat do not have innate magical abilities. Given their reproduction rate, this is a very good thing, at least for their neighbors.

I'm intentionally not detailing Gnomon abilities until we know more about them.

The Blood Sorcerers of the Niph Kobolds can acquire most innate and some divine abilities from others by covering themselves in the blood of the subject. The effect lasts for a few hours, depending on the strength of the Kobold, and has no adverse effects on the subject apart from loss of blood (about a pint). The blood must be either fresh or preserved using an exotic alchemical stabilizer found only near Niph, and only one individual may be imitated at a time. The sorcerers raise and breed a number of animals for the abilities granted by their blood. These include (but are not limited to) rapidly healing badgers, 20 lb squirrels that can cling to any surface, and a stock of Concordat fire-breathing bison.

The military of the verdant is currently makes heavy use of the Lycthos. Each Lycthos can transform back and forth between a human form and a mammalian form. Mass is conserved, though its been noted that Lycthos have an usually large range of heights and weights.

*****************************************

This question should probably be expanded into a name X

Question 108: [Name 7]
What innate supernatural abilities are found in the inhabitants of the polycosm?


I've already identified the following populations, in addition to those mentioned in this post. I'm not particularly intending them to take up slots in the 7, though if someone wants to expand upon them, go right ahead.
  • Telinar, the shoulder of Suchos, has a population of illusionists. (post #42, question #25)
  • The Two Pupilled people are said to be sorcerers and shamans. This could be innate, or it could be divine. (post #118, question #77)
  • Sabrehorn bison breathe fire (post #91, question #69)

Question 109:
There are many differing descriptions of kobolds in fiction. What do Niph Kobolds look like?

Question 110:
As per post #44 (question #47) chanovat can reproduce very quickly, and "where there's one chanovat, there's enough to crash a biome". What keeps their numbers in check? why isn't every comsi awash in wild chanovat?

Question 111:
What determines the alternate form of a lycthos? Can it be changed?

************************************************** ***

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Answer 69-c Another rival polycosmic polity is the Verdant Plasmic Autarky.
What on earth is an Autarky?

Its good imagery. For some reason the cursed ones have an elvish feel to me.

Quote:
indeed, the farther back you go, the more inhuman they seem to get, with the first 12 being, er, unsuitable for human brain architecture. One of them has a grammar particle which indicates a logical stack swap, which humans can laboriously work out on paper but could never speak in real time; another consists of starbursts where the number and length of the arms defines the words. Then there's the Madrigal Network, based around song, or at least regular, repeating harmonic structures. A cosm whose inhabitants really seemed to speak something related to civilizations 13-17 would be exciting and controversial.
logical stack swap... nice. Its alien and difficult without being mystical and "superior".

civilizations 13-17 would be the most recent ones before the Rebel Daeva, correct?
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog

Last edited by ericthered; 07-24-2019 at 10:33 AM.
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 06:25 PM   #137
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post

What on earth is an Autarky?

Its good imagery. For some reason the cursed ones have an elvish feel to me.



logical stack swap... nice. Its alien and difficult without being mystical and "superior".

civilizations 13-17 would be the most recent ones before the Rebel Daeva, correct?
An Autarky is a state that tolerates no immigration or foreign trade, and usually punishes attempts to emigrate. Synonyms include "closed system" and "juche". It's interesting that the Verdant define their (lack of) foreign policy as more fundamental to their national identity than their decision-making process. Having said that, the VPA is approximately as well-named as the DPRK because the Verdant allow their subject peoples to handle their own day-to-day affairs usually, so long as they keep building and abandoning townships at an acceptable pace. Thus, trade with subject peoples is possible, if not without risk.

The slight resemblance to elves is intentional. Your alchemist wants unicorn horn? Here's a whole bunch of idyllic wilderness cosmi, governed by something that probably won't notice or catch you, but if it does, it is likely to go very badly for you.

I did mean 13-17 as the more recent third, the ones whose languages might at least theoretically be human, yes.
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2019, 04:51 AM   #138
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 78-b,c Two of the portal networks
The Chacmul Collection, while grisly, is still widely used because it's so simple. Its basins carved from green stone, surrounded by sculptures, want hearts. Theorists suggest that when the network was whole and healthy, the nature of the heart placed withing served as a sort of universal addressing system, but if so that part of the network is now completely bollixed. Some chacmul now open to the same place no matter what heart is placed in it; others will only respond to, say, camel hearts now. Toss a reasonably fresh heart in the basin, it disappears and the portal opens, simple as that. One now insists on two matching hearts to open; there's always one guy who claims to have found a chacmul so weathered and crumbling that it accepted a three kilo sirloin in lieu of a heart, but the story never checks out. The basins are normally surrounded by bas-reliefs which some people insist depict stylized humans (critics say those mouths, tongues, teeth and....muzzles?...are clearly inhuman). At least one chacmul has been successfully replaced with a forged basin of bronze when the original green stone was pulverized; other metals were tried and did not work. Chacmul portals always open to places where things with hearts can be found, implying that some sort of sensory and emergency rerouting system is still working. Nothing that is definitely language has ever been associated with the Chacmul Collection. Open portals are horizontally oriented, appearing in the "floor" for the opener and generally about 2 meters off the ground at the arrival location. Vision and sound carry through an open portal fairly well, so that conversations can be had through an open chacmul without anyone stepping through (or throwing down a rope ladder, say). Some people report that the open portals are soporific and make people "want" to go through them; others report no such effect. Aside from the hole in the floor or sky that doesn't belong, there are no visual or auditory clues to a normally-functioning chacmul portal. For all that, it's one of the older, more extensive and thus most-often modified networks; for example, there's a known chacmul that opens to one place for a human heart and another for a dog heart, but if one sings the correct madrigal a large black heart of unknown origin appears in the basin, then disappears and opens to a third place....and the chanovat choral performance invokes a fourth location via another phantom heart.

A second network is often referred to as the Dreamers of the Shore. Its portals are never found far from large bodies of water, sometimes over open water, and some actually underwater. Its written language is not really understood since there are only a few inscriptions to go by, but they refer to the entirely underwater portal locations with words translated as "safe" and "home", implying to many that the original creators were exalted Mer. It has no obvious connection with modern Mer languages. Shore portals open slowly; the opening sequence typically involves careful arrangement of stones, bits of metal and plant matter into geometric patterns, and the portal will open two to twelve hours later, scrambling the pattern (usually closer to two, but bugs happen). The other problem is that the Dreamers of the Shore normally do not permit matter with functioning minds to pass through. A large, organized faction will carefully pass a sleeping person through the portal when it opens, but solo or clandestine groups may need to get blotto drunk, otherwise chemically enhanced, or be in a state of extreme exhaustion or pain to use it. Reports of Shore portals allowing conscious people through are again a popular urban myth; unlike the chacmul and its sirloin, these very occasionally turn out to be true. Sometimes the safety feature(?) has indeed failed, other times it allowed through someone who was quite insane but successfully masking. Visually, the open portals are usually a warm-colored and luminescent patch of water, like sunlight through honey, or red coals, rippling.

Question 112 What does Emperor Martellus regard as the primary threat facing Calledron today? Do the palace staff have a different opinion?
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2019, 02:45 PM   #139
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Question 81 laying aside the training of mages, which was a previous question - what is the education of a typical poor citizen of Calledron like? How about the education of a wealthy or powerful one?
All young Imperials, both boys and girls, are inducted into the "military" at a young age, and assigned a unit and commander. This is a landmark moment their lives, and the moment that they become citizens of the empire. In their childhood unit, they are taught obedience, imperial laws and virtues, and drill. Most of these units meet infrequently, but some are active units that dominate a child's life. These active units are usually one of three kinds. Professional soldiers get their children placed in dedicated military units that teach them war in earnest. Frontier units also tend to teach war earnestly, though they meet less frequently to allow for help at home and are more focused on keeping the children alive than winning battles. Finally, the children of the workers on the mother plains are generally not permitted through the portal, and left in the care of their commanders, as are the children of many other urban laborers. These commanders give a mixed training in literacy, farming, and battle, and the children from these units are considered ideal colonists.

Rural children receive only the education their parents, commanders, and local elders choose to give them. The artisan class usually send children off to a relative or family friend in an apprenticeship. Rich Calledronians will find a tutor for their children and for the children of relatives staying with them. These tutors often serve more than one family at a time, and mostly teach literacy, history, geography, and the imperial virtues-- though their curriculum is far from fixed.

Question 113:
What is the origin and "Sphere" of Rekmon? (An imperial deity whose high priest opposes the emperor politically. See answer#75 in post #113)
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2019, 04:12 PM   #140
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 79 At the bottom of Callous Harbour's social pyramid are a score of youth gangs drawing overwhelmingly from the tribal minorities. They engage in extortion rackets aimed overwhelmingly at their own tribes and robberies. Squatting over all that is Agrippina Abraxes. Auntie Aggie has no serious rivals within Callous Harbour at the moment, although counterparts in other cities and cosmi engage her interest. Everyone's mad for stuff from the far reaches of the polycosm in Callous Harbour, but Aggie sees no reason to actually go to the far reaches of the polycosm; perhaps that's the horn of a unicorn stallion smuggled out of the fallow cosmi of the Verdant at great risk, or perhaps it's a carved and stained auroch femur. Fire-breathing bison-hide or barber-shop sweepings glued to a stagfish hide, your call. Maybe that artifact is from a temple in an unknown minor cosm centuries ago, or maybe it came out of Aggie's workshops this morning. Lest one be tempted to think her a harmless fraud, Agrippina also controls several not-very-voluntary brothels; Calledron is not an especially prudish society, but there are always socially unacceptable appetites, generally concerning people who are "not your kind". And in a place where murder is contraindicated because interviewing the deceased is possible, Agrippina has both the ability to summon a bainte' psychopomp to whisk a soul out of reach and (still highly illegal) Tonic soul-stealing blades in ready hands. People who think about it for very long suspect Auntie Aggie endures because the powers that be sometimes have use for skilled forgeries and deniable murder. And she leaves simple theft and extortion to the crude but eager "nephews" in the youth gangs. There is little genuine contraband besides powerful weapons under Emperor Julius Martellus; Aggie is philosophical about that. Smuggling, especially drugs, might be an additional lucrative business under some reactionary hardass, but an open-ish market makes her forgeries much more believable, so she's not unhappy with him.

Question 114 What are the main streams and sources of Imperial revenue? Is there a meaningful distinction between the accounts of the Empire and the accounts of the Emperor?
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
collaborative setting, game, setting, world building

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.