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Old 03-29-2017, 05:08 AM   #11
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
If you ignore the cultural and political geography of Yrth, what is the point of setting your game there?
The (perfectly valid) minimalist reason for running a DF game nominally set on a documented world (Yrth, the Discworld, historical Earth, the Forgotten Realms, whatever) is furniture. In fact, place names, mostly. Where does my barbarian character come from? "The Nomad Lands, somewhere over the Whitehood Mountains" (or "Quirm; he's the son of a local vintner who never wants to see another cask") just sounds cooler than "Umm, somewhere northern and cold and stuff". What's the name of this big corrupt city whose sewers we're exploring? "Megalos, capital of the Empire!" (or "Ankh-Morpork, obviously."). And so on.

How far you expand from there, adding setting-specific politics, species and ethnic relations, and all the rest, is a matter of taste. But "barbarians come from the north, ninja come from the mysterious east, and the city is the only one so it doesn't have a name" is just too simplified for some people.

(And the first reason for using a setting with an existing GURPS sourcebook is that you might actually need game mechanics for something in the setting, every now and again. Plus, settings designed for other games systems may well be flavoured by the mechanics of those systems.)
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
What's the name of this big corrupt city whose sewers we're exploring? ... (or "Ankh-Morpork, obviously.").
I call shenanigans.

That sewer would be stuffed full of the Ankh and there'd be no room to dungeon crawl. And any place in the sewer that the Ankh was too timid to pudding itself into wouldn't be safe for dungeonneering at all.

No sir. Also probably full of dwarves. And you know what they get up to.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:36 AM   #13
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

I'd say Yrth has several regions that could support some good DF-style adventures. Besides the already-suggested "south edge of Caithness, by the Great Forest", here's some other ones.

Megalos, being the biggest nation, has several:
  • The city of Megalos itself is pretty much tailor-made for urban adventures. It's huge, so there are lots of problems for adventurers to tackle (or, inevitably, make worse). It's got a long history of heavy magic use, so lots of enchantments, curses, and other fun stuff lying about. It has an extensive sewer system, covering the "dungeon" bit of "Dungeon Fantasy." And it's got an actual, no-kidding demon on the throne, which is all the justification you need to add the "demonic" adjective to all sorts of monsters. Players getting tired of fighting giant rats? How about demonic giant rats!
  • The Duchy of Mehan is a good location for more traditional DF adventures - it's rich, so adventurers can expect decent rewards for doing services to the local rulers, but that wealth attracts bandits and raiders, so they'll have work to do. It's also on the northern frontier, so raids from the Nomad Lands can be expected (which also provides a good source of backstory for barbarians, scouts, and maybe druids). Also, the Whitehood Mountains might contain old abandoned dwarf holds for dungeons. Dwarf players should object to that, of course, unless they're outlaw dwarves, or have been commissioned by King Thulin to explore the old holds and recover dwarven treasures!
  • The Barony of Min is a good location for all kinds of rollicking sea-based tales. Whether fighting against pirates or being pirates, the party won't lack for work. Min's close enough to the weirdness of the Ring Islands that an occasional magically-mutated sea creature is entirely plausible, and of course Yrth's seas have their fair share of non-magically-mutated-but-still-nasty sea creatures too.
  • Yibyorak is another good place for urban adventures - it's smaller than Megalos, but possibly even more magical. The tone is also a bit different - it's the place for more lighthearted urban fare, as opposed to Megalos' more grim-and-gritty, "everything coated with a patina of corruption" vibe. Like Min, it's also a good place for sea-going adventures, particularly if your players feel more like fighting pirates than rubbing shoulders with them.
  • Quartedec is a lot like Mehan, with lots of opportunities for battles with folk from the Nomad Lands. It's even more appropriate for military campaigns, if that's your thing. This can be against the nomads, but also includes the other big enemy - Abydos. The city of the dead is an ongoing problem in this earldom. Lots of excuses for undead encounters here for that reason too.
  • Craine and New Jerusalem are good bases for a crusader-style DF game, one that's all about noble champions of goodness charging the forces of darkness head-on, or a much more nuanced look at the psychology of fanaticism, or even a "clash of cultures" game where the two sides of the Christian-Muslim divide must learn to see the goodness and nobility in each other, just in time to unite against a common threat. You don't have to limit the party to clerics, holy warriors, and knights, but you could.
  • The Blackwoods, of course, are sort of the elephant in the room for all of western Megalos. If you want to get your Dungeon Fantasy-horror game on, this is a very strong contender. Wilderness adventures too, of course. Its borders are only about 100 miles from Yibyorak, Quartedec, or Craine, so any of those locations can be used as a jumping-off point for adventures involving the Blackwood too.

Araterre is just as good or better for sea- and ship-based adventures as Min or Yibyorak. It's also the natural home of swashbucklers anywhere in Yrth. It's also a good place for courtly intrigue, which DF doesn't precisely support out-of-the-box, but can be adapted to. And the Ring Islands and Bilit Island are both close enough to provide changes of pace for your party - the Ring Islands are good for wilderness adventures and fighting weird magic beasts, while Bilit Island covers the wilderness as well, and mixes in "meeting exiting new people and killing them," if that's the party's idea of a morally-acceptable time.

Caithness, as already mentioned, has good adventuring locations on its south border, but really the whole place is pretty much perfect for DF in "high heroic fantasy" style. Knights are actual knights, holy warriors and clerics are very much On a Mission from God, and everybody else is probably a squire or an old family retainer or something. The low mana will hamper wizards, though. Caithness is generally a bit more wild and unsettled than Megalos, so pretty much any of the various holdings can plausibly have monster problems in their hinterlands. The northern border is Zarakian territory, so you can do the same sort of "explore fallen dwarven holds" adventures as I mentioned with Mehan, but since the dwarves of Zarak are even more powerful than the ones in the Whitehoods, getting permission or being very, very sneaky is probably necessary. And, of course, the western border has that pesky orc problem.

Al-Haz and Al-Wazif can both be used if you want a heavy dose of Arabian Nights flavour in your DF - and who doesn't? Al-Haz is good for more classic monster-bashing stories - it's a bit wilder in general than Al-Wazif, and it has the Fence of God and the Great Forest on its western and north-western borders, both of which are good sources of fierce beasties. Both also make good places to go to find pre-human ruins to kick open the doors of and loot.

Al-Wazif is a bit more urbane and settled than Al-Haz. Tedroy is probably the place for Arabian-themed urban adventures on Yrth. Honestly, given its design, it's probably the best place for urban adventures in Yrth period, exceeding even Megalos and Yibyorak. Besides that, Al-Wazif is also the place to be if you want to the crusading sort of games I mentioned for Craine/New Jerusalem, just from the other side.

Cardiel is the best place to set games of social maneuvering, court intrigue, and complex politics. So, probably the least-good for DF. But if you want to make it work, more power to you! And the south coast isn't a bad location for oceanic adventures either, between all the shipping, the Ring Islands being directly south, and close enough to the Maelstrom that weird stuff can come out of it.

Sahud is where you go to break out your Oriental Adventures material, of course. Make sure you pick up DF 12: Ninjas. The rather odd tone of Sahud actually works pretty well for a somewhat-comedic DF game, I think - have fun explaining to the party that yes, they did kill the orc horde, but because they used a blade with a blue-colored hilt, they can only claim half the reward, because clearly this is the season for red weapons, not blue. Conversely, though, adventurers are probably in high (covert) demand in Sahud, because they can often be used to cut through a lot of the bureaucracy and custom that binds the hands of Sahudese society. Sahud makes a good jumping-off point for expeditions into the Nomad Lands to the east, the Orclands to the west, or even Zarak to the south (see commentary on Caithness about why the last might need permission, though).

Zarak itself is a good adventuring location - if you're a dwarf or a gnome. If you can claim some kind of legitimacy, there's a lot of things for a party to do - as mentioned, exploring fallen holds is almost the Platonic DF adventure, but there's also monsters in the wilderness to fight, orc bands to track down and eliminate, and living holds to defend when the dwarves inevitably Dig Too Deep and wake up stuff that shouldn't have been disturbed. A party doesn't even need to all be dwarves or gnomes, just as long as they can plausibly claim to be under the leadership of a trusted dwarf (the non-dwarves probably won't be allowed inside a hold until they've done some significant services for the Kings of Zarak, though).

The Orclands are a very good example of one of the classic DF locations - The Wild Frontier Full of Evil Monsters That Needs to be Settled. The party can be based out of Castle Defiant or another similar small settlement, trying to defend it from the orcs, or they can set out into the wilderness on their own, looking for a good place to start up a fortress and orcs to loot. The adventures might get a little samey after a while, but you'll almost certainly never run out of orcs to slay.

The Nomad Lands are prime adventurer territory, both to be there, and to be from. It's an even bigger homeland for barbarians than Araterre is for swashbucklers. In the Nomad Lands themselves, there's always tribes to defend against other tribes, other tribes to raid yourselves, monsters to battle, pre-human ruins to explore (despite the warnings of the tribal shaman, of course), and soft, civilized folk to plan attacks against.

The Southwestern Wilderness is good for two sorts of adventures, really. First, wilderness survival, where it excels. Low mana, or no mana in the Great Desert, means magic can't overcome all the problems the way it sometimes can, and the actual survival skills of the party will come into their own. Also, fighting lizard men will happen. Of course, this area is also going to produce most lizard man adventurers. The second thing is the classic DF adventure, "explore the tower of a mad wizard who may or may not be dead," which is what the Djinn Lands are all about. This is also an excellent source of Mad Wizard Patrons for adventuring parties.
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
That sewer would be stuffed full of the Ankh and there'd be no room to dungeon crawl. And any place in the sewer that the Ankh was too timid to pudding itself into wouldn't be safe for dungeonneering at all.
I direct the honourable gentleman to Men at Arms.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

Our current DF game is set in Yrth -- specifically, Araterre. So most of the clerics and holy warriors are Christian, Muslim, etc. The only real social change we made is that "pagan" religions are more common, to keep books like DF7 viable. However, even then, we try to draw gods from real-world religions like Hinduism, Shinto, etc. (Our Cleric of Commerce worships Ganesha, for example.)

Of course, we also threw out the "all casters are the same" in favor of DF's mix of wizards, clerics, druids, etc. -- and doing so has changed little of the setting from our perspective.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Our current DF game is set in Yrth -- specifically, Araterre. So most of the clerics and holy warriors are Christian, Muslim, etc. The only real social change we made is that "pagan" religions are more common, to keep books like DF7 viable. However, even then, we try to draw gods from real-world religions like Hinduism, Shinto, etc. (Our Cleric of Commerce worships Ganesha, for example.)

Of course, we also threw out the "all casters are the same" in favor of DF's mix of wizards, clerics, druids, etc. -- and doing so has changed little of the setting from our perspective.
Oh, I definitely would want to keep that.

I would definitely like to hear more on your experiences with DF on Yrth. Did you change any of the social attitudes for any races or religions? Are pagans still thought of as demon-worshippers? Do pagan clerics have to be secretive in cities?

Speaking of religion, why do Hindu Brahmin need to be secretive?
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Well, I never said I was swapping out Christianity and Islam. Yes, others have suggested it; I'm on the fence.
The post I was responding to did, though.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Oh, I definitely would want to keep that.
Keep which? "All casters are wizards" or "the full range of DF casters exist"?

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I would definitely like to hear more on your experiences with DF on Yrth. Did you change any of the social attitudes for any races or religions?
We use the racial templates from DF, except for goblins (because there's just such a fundamental difference there) which use the Banestorm template. And we let the racial reaction modifiers inform how the human majority reacts to each race. As for the major (Abrahamic) religions, their interactions are unchanged.

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Are pagans still thought of as demon-worshippers?
Only by those with religious Intolerance. Others just see them as fools going to Hell, and certainly wouldn't let them hold a position of import.

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Do pagan clerics have to be secretive in cities?
If they want to be treated with respect, yes.

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Speaking of religion, why do Hindu Brahmin need to be secretive?
He isn't, really. But then again, one of the facets of Araterre specifically (as opposed to Ytarria in general) is that there's a large Hindu minority there. So in Araterre, being a Hindu cleric is not an automatic reaction penalty, though many devout-but-not-Intolerant Christians still react at -1 to -3.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: DF in Yrth

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Keep which? "All casters are wizards" or "the full range of DF casters exist"?
Sorry, I meant I want to keep the DF divide so wizards do not get cleric/druid spells.

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He isn't, really. But then again, one of the facets of Araterre specifically (as opposed to Ytarria in general) is that there's a large Hindu minority there. So in Araterre, being a Hindu cleric is not an automatic reaction penalty, though many devout-but-not-Intolerant Christians still react at -1 to -3.
I was referring to Banestorm 79 under Hinduism where it says "priestly Brahmin often have to keep their religious role secret." I couldn't find a reason for this.
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Old 03-29-2017, 02:52 PM   #20
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The post I was responding to did, though.
Missed that, sorry.
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