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Old 06-20-2019, 02:08 PM   #71
ericthered
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Doesn't the access to summoning indicate a fourth, Academic Thaumalogical power source, i.e. regular Magery (whether spells, RPM or whatever)? Or are you including that in Innate?
In answer #30, (post 32) the ability to summon is described as such:
Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Quote:
Magic is found as specific abilities of supernatural creatures (many of which are intelligent) and in the exotic properties of various substances (like Calledronite)
It is possible to summon a being from another realm with the right combination of Abilities, materials and knowledge.
So I'd say that access to summoning is both innate and material, and does not add a fourth category. I'm not sure if the "And" between Abilities, materials, and knowledge can be interpreted as an "or", allowing specific substances to make it available to anyone.

I have a strong dislike for generic magery. Magic systems become more robust and more interesting when they do fewer (and thus more specific) things and have more requirements in order to do those things.

So lets ask a question:

Question 65:
What's one combination of materials and abilities (innate or divine) that permits summoning?
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:00 AM   #72
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

So now, the long-awaited, overly verbose, and not really addressing the question, answer to Question 15.
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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Question 15 [MV] Per answer #1, Many Portals have names, and each is unique. How may a wayfarer or sage distinguish between two portals?
Answer 15 [MV]- Portal Identification
(TLDR: It depends.)

To understand where portals might go, it helps to understand something of the deep history of the realms.

The consensus of Calledronian scholarship is that there are eighteen ages of crossworld portal building. The Sky Alchemists disagree with this theory, as do the Historians of Halm Monast, naturally, but it serves as a useful starting point.

There is the Age of the Divinities (actually the First through Fourth, as per the Monasts), where godlike beings summoned realities from the primordium on a whim, to fight tremendous battles with by slamming them one into another, to imprison their foes, as playthings or as battle machines. They tore rents and refts between dimensions, cast ferocious energies across the polycosm, and sent hosts of daeva, serafrim, efereet and aungel into war. This Age is said to have closed with the Divinities retreating into their own heavenly planes, binding them shut and warding them from intrusion, although the Alchemists and others contend that this Age continues now.

Later comes the Age of the Behemophaunts, when great beasts wielding wild magic roamed the planes at will. In places, a remnant of their passing persists as a faint echo that wayfarers may, knowing the right sorcery, locate and follow, or being in the wrong place, inadvertently stumble through.

The bulk of scholarship goes into enumerating the various Ages of Civilisation and the intervening interregna. One civilisation will discover the means to making portals, spread out across the realms, insert aspects of their culture, language and architecture into them, then pass away due to war, disease, infighting, senescence or to succumbing to the next great empire, much as any civilisation does. They will leave behind a network of useful and conveniently placed portals connecting hospitable realms which sometimes persist to this day.

This is the theory, at least. In practice, the magics that the portals operate under corrupt or decay, they get damaged or subverted, or their original environments change dramatically. An army might sabotage one portal, while another portal is caught in an eruption. Portals may be dispelled in a religious purge or in imprudent experimentation. Otherwise, the magical charge in a portal might diminish so that it only opens intermittently, or the connection with its counterpart might be severed, leaving the dimensional threads to whiptail around until they latch on to a different portal. In short, portals are not the most reliable of machines.

Thus, over the scores of millennia that saw the rise and fall of eighteen classified Ages, there have been eighteen times when a civilisation discovered a particular method of creating dimensional portals, then gone on to build a network with its own rules, architectural flairs, magical character and security measures. Intervening ages saw these civilisations conquered and fallen and their portals commandeered by opportunistic tribes and monsters, kings and empires.

Identifying a portal therefore needs a fair amount of knowledge of portal lore- a combination of history, archaeology, planar geography, dead languages, some musical ability in the case of the Madrigal Network, and so on. It will tell you, for instance, the difference between a Highdoor of the Stone Syndics, which connects to a part of their sturdy, paved Grand Roads network laid out across fortified mountain passes and hidden tunnels, and a Fiend Gate, which would dump you on a random tract of the miasmic Curselands.

As hinted at earlier, portals on well-travelled routes are often labelled with plaques and marked with a mass of calledronite that can be located with a matching compass.

-----

Plot Seed 1: Network Access
One of the major trading house of Calledron has managed to gain exclusive use to a particular network of portals, either by discovering the secret magical passphrases, the network's astrological opening times, making the right offerings, wearing the right pennant, or whatever. However, agents from a rival company have discovered the secret to using those portals and are starting to move in on the first group's turf. Trouble and misadventure ensue.

-----

Question 66 [FRG][Name 5]- Merchant Houses
Describe 5 of the major or minor merchant houses, trading companies or caravans that traverse the polycosm.
Think about: Where do they go? Which portals do they use? Where in Calledron are they based? What goods do they specialise in? What resources do they have? Which are the ones embroiled in Plot Seed 1?


Question 67 [ALC]- Alchemic Power
Is the Alchemists' knowledge purely empirical or are they able to perform their own enchantments and arcane rituals? How do they handle mana?
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:26 AM   #73
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

I think we're at 20 outstanding questions- the last 13 (!), then 7 more from further back. At least there are still plenty of avenues to explore. I always feel these threads come alive when we can get to the point of making characters, which I think we're at now. So far we've only had the emperor named?

I won't spam the thread with all outstanding questions, but I'll repost the 7 from further upstream.

-----
Abridged Question Recap

Question 36 [MV]- Passing Cosms
Is there some method of identifying a newly discovered cosm as a "passing cosm" that will only be around a few years, or is this only determined in retrospect when a cosm becomes inaccessible? Have any passing cosmi reappeared later, perhaps at a different point on the network or web of worlds?

Question 39 [MV]- Trapped Gods
Are divinities, such as the Mother of Mother Plains or (by some interpretations) Suchos the dead titan, naturally restricted to their cosm of origin except when Summoning magics are initiated by a mortal, or do they have the power to move about and reach into other cosms?

Question 42 [ALC]- Ton's Realm
How large is the Cosmi the City of Ton is in? Is the rest of it similar to steaming pools below the City, or is that an atypical part of the world?

Question 44 [FRG]- Archmage Population
How common are mages in the imperial population?

Question 45 [ALC]- Alchemist Flight
How could an alchemist get to a location requiring flight?

Question 51 [FRG]- Archmage Appointment
How does Calledron handle a having more or less archmages than archmage-positions?

Question 52 [FRG]- Archmage Training
How are the genetic abilities of the Mages of Calledron trained, and by whom?

---
Then questions 55 to 67.

On top of that, these Name 5's:
Question 43 [MV][Name 5]- Imperial Realms: 2 of 5 (3 if we count Mother Plains)
- Eddy
- Gnomon
- Mother Plains (?)

Question 47 [MV][Name 5]- Races: 2 of 5
- Chavonat
- People of the Hawk
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:11 PM   #74
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Not questions or answers, exactly, just synthesis, trying to work out the scale and scope we're working with here.

The early setup mentioned "tens or scores" of portals. Later, in Answer 16, we talked about 6 cosmi for the Calledron Empire, 4 other polycosmic political entities (let us assume comparable to the Empire in scope) and 6 cosmi important or powerful enough to function as independents. That gives us about 36 major cosmi in the setting, of which we've mentioned Fragment, Eddy, Gnomon, Mother Plains, Ton, and perhaps Praxis. But with hundreds of cosmi documented, that heavily implies the rest of them are minor, lots and lots of small places portals can go to. 18 collapsed portal networks also implies lots more that "tens or scores" of portals to me. More like "hundreds or thousands" or "a comprehensive map is probably impossible". Especially if rival trading houses can monopolize whole chains of cosmi. We've had illustrations of markets where anything can be had, including many things you'd never imagined before. For not-kitchen-sink, that's a whole lot of plumbing.

I'm interested to hear if your synthesis agrees. In any case, we'll press on shortly.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:30 AM   #75
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
On the other hand, large numbers of people travel through the main portal every day and every night, and I don't think we've established that no-one spends the night there: they just have to sleep on the ground. I think it could be counted either way.
Actually, as of A13/p28, Mother Plains supports some isolated communities and alchemical workshops, which I'd forgotten about. I guess Mother tolerates small groups who are staying quietly out of the way, yet would submerge any major roadworks or fortifications people try to build.

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The 1 province per portal statement is odd: I don't think we've actually established that.
I'm not sure where that idea came from, I can't find it going back through the thread, unless it popped up in side commentary. And A18/p17 actually says that county size depends on how many links it has, so a number of counties would have more than one. However, I could see a political ruling that no Archmage can control more than one major portal- perhaps excess portals are governed by an imperial dispatch?

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Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
For not-kitchen-sink, that's a whole lot of plumbing.
That's a fair comment. Actually, I realised myself after saying that that a cross-dimensional trading setting with unique realm geometries is antithetical to not being kitchen-sink in some way. However, that comment was directed more at the suggestion of there being soft rules for how cosms are connected. I think we still only have a handful of ways that happens, and they still fit an overarching thesis of some kind. Either they were made by Divinities (Mother Plains portal(?), River of Seasons, Thresher's Ring of Bitter Worlds), by mortal network builders, or like Kidnapper and Bugout, are their own thing somehow. The Distorted Lands would seem to be a dimensional overlay that connects the mortal and spiritual/divine realms and is part of the fundamental nature of the polycosm. The method for how the mortal network builders created their portals is unstated, just that their architecture and operating parameters differ. It could be variations on the one technique- such as it being outside their own natural power and they have to capture and harness wormhole beasts to make the connections for them, or their deities do it for them, or they find the polycosm's single functioning portal drilling machine.

Quote:
The early setup mentioned "tens or scores" of portals.
I took it to be in the context of describing the home realm, therefore that's the count in Fragment.

Quote:
Later, in Answer 16, we talked about 6 cosmi for the Calledron Empire, 4 other polycosmic political entities (let us assume comparable to the Empire in scope) and 6 cosmi important or powerful enough to function as independents. That gives us about 36 major cosmi in the setting, of which we've mentioned Fragment, Eddy, Gnomon, Mother Plains, Ton, and perhaps Praxis. But with hundreds of cosmi documented, that heavily implies the rest of them are minor, lots and lots of small places portals can go to.
Indeed, "minor" could mean many things. There's only one portal in or out, or the portals are widely geographically separated in-realm, making them dead-ends for travellers. Or they have small, dispersed or un-unified settlements, thus having no civilisation of interest to interact with. Or they are just "flyover" realms, where travellers pass quickly between connecting portals without interacting with anything of interest along the way, except for random encounters and natural hazards.

Quote:
18 collapsed portal networks also implies lots more that "tens or scores" of portals to me. More like "hundreds or thousands" or "a comprehensive map is probably impossible".
Again, that would be the number on Calledron, so it fits in with the rest of the setting assumptions. I think it's been stated or implied a few times that there are lots of realms beyond Calledron's knowledge, so we have the 40 or so major realms you counted as a localised connected cluster which is fairly well-mapped.
Quote:
Especially if rival trading houses can monopolize whole chains of cosmi. We've had illustrations of markets where anything can be had, including many things you'd never imagined before.
Not necessarily whole chains- networks would cross over at certain nexus worlds like Calledron. But one monopolised network might provide short cuts with fewer links or safer passage, and then have access to some minor side-realms with their own unique trade goods. However, unique access to a whole chain of cosmi could indeed also be interesting.

Quote:
I'm interested to hear if your synthesis agrees. In any case, we'll press on shortly.
Yeah, I think we're mostly going for a "big polycosm" style of setting. Take my anti-kitchen sink comment to be mainly in relation to cosm connections and creation. In fact, I'm in favour of a myriad of trade goods, civilisations, races and odd realm physics. I'm not too worried about strict consistency, as long as we get some cool ideas out of the exercise.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:07 AM   #76
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

While my original post may have been unclear, my intent was "tens or scores of portals" for the "home" realm, if that helps.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:02 PM   #77
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Not questions or answers, exactly, just synthesis, trying to work out the scale and scope we're working with here.
I agree that the concept itself requires a lot of portals, especially as you get farther from the "Central Realm".

Dozens to Scores of portals for the Calledronian empire sounds about right. I don't think the portal network should be completely mapped or completely known. I also think we've done a fair job so far of making individual portals meaningful: you can't just make a new one, and discovering a new portal or controlling access to one is a big deal.

I suspect that "monopolizing a portal network" actually means you've got exclusive access to a single portal that goes somewhere interesting.

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Actually, as of A13/p28, Mother Plains supports some isolated communities and alchemical workshops, which I'd forgotten about. I guess Mother tolerates small groups who are staying quietly out of the way, yet would submerge any major roadworks or fortifications people try to build.
I thought Mother targets structures, so if you're willing to rough it, you're probably fine. Though I suspect storing large quantities of supplies safely can also be a major hassle.

Quote:
Indeed, "minor" could mean many things. There's only one portal in or out, or the portals are widely geographically separated in-realm, making them dead-ends for travellers. Or they have small, dispersed or un-unified settlements, thus having no civilisation of interest to interact with. Or they are just "flyover" realms, where travellers pass quickly between connecting portals without interacting with anything of interest along the way, except for random encounters and natural hazards.
We certainly need to investigate what is meant by "Minor" in this context.

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Originally Posted by (E) View Post
While my original post may have been unclear, my intent was "tens or scores of portals" for the "home" realm, if that helps.
Hey, you're still around! I thought it was just the three of us in here! Its good to see you. Your statement does make me feel much better about continuing on the route discussed above.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:40 PM   #78
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Question 36 [MV]- Passing Cosms
Is there some method of identifying a newly discovered cosm as a "passing cosm" that will only be around a few years, or is this only determined in retrospect when a cosm becomes inaccessible? Have any passing cosmi reappeared later, perhaps at a different point on the network or web of worlds?
Identifying a portal, and particularly its history and origins, gives a good indication of how long a portal will be in a location. A few civilizations appear to have only built dynamic portals that change their connections, while others civilizations altered existing portals (their motives for doing so appear to be varied are the subject of much debate). Scholars are fairly good at identifying which cosms are passing, and for approximately how long they'll be available (at least one on Calledron switches its destination about every 800 days or so), but its an art, not a science, and people do get cut off from Calledron when a cosm passes unexpectedly.

Question 68:
How does The hanging City of Ton fit into its political entity? Does it rule? is it a quirky city separate from the capital? Or is it independent?
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:39 PM   #79
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 42 The well-documented portion of Ton's cosm is about 600 miles across, with Ton near the center. That's the size of the stone plate or shelf that the Hanging City is suspended from. Soundings strongly suggest another, larger plate beneath the volatile mess, larger in size. Over the sides of the above plate comes streaming a pleasant-smelling but decidedly inedible fluid that someone from another realm might recognize as a eutectic mixture of diphenyl ether and biphenyl. It's hot. Most of the area beneath Ton is covered in this fluid, with the highly reactive and unusual stuff concentrated beneath the city. The sea of it has currents presumably dictated by the irregularities in the lower plate, as it flows towards and over an edge unknown to the residents of Ton...like Fragment, the residents find it more convenient to use portals than to push to the outer limits of their own cosm (through a fall of hot biphenyl into what may be nothing more than more plates of rock). The reason for the weird stuff beneath the city is that the Stone Syndic portal-building culture clearly used this cosm as a hazardous waste dump, with alchemical effluvia, the still-twitching corpi of failed golems, unprofitable mineral and crystal deposits and what appears to be the contents of a Behemophaunt's gall bladder among the things that have been tentatively identified. The "dump" portals that opened in the "ceiling" are probably all damaged or burnt out. Probably. Nevertheless, something about multidimensional topology makes Ton the easiest place in the cosm by far to have a portal to.

Answer 47-3 Another widespread race are the Elluumeragh, often shortened to "mer". Large humanoids covered in delicate blue and green scales with expansive fins and webbing on their limbs, the mer are primarily water-dwelling, finding saltwater preferable but fresh water tolerable. By default, their layered gills and book-lungs can process air with a loud rasping rattle for about twenty minutes before they asphyxiate; however, alchemical solutions to their breathing difficulties are cheap and widely available in a variety of manners. They are well adapted to cold, darkness and pressure but functional in warm, bright and light environments. Given the differences in their preferred environments, you'd think the mer and other documented races would be able to stay out of each other's way; at least, you'd think that if you'd never met a human or a mer. Territorial conflicts over territories neither really needs are common. Mer are omnivores that lay eggs in water and do not customarily pair-bond. They have their own praxis for alchemy that involves little air or heat, and their voices tend to be low, rhythmic and carrying underwater but ear-splittingly loud and high-pitched in air.

Question 69 Give a name and brief description of the four other multicosmic polities Calledron is in contact with.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:19 PM   #80
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Question 39 [MV]- Trapped Gods
Are divinities, such as the Mother of Mother Plains or (by some interpretations) Suchos the dead titan, naturally restricted to their cosm of origin except when Summoning magics are initiated by a mortal, or do they have the power to move about and reach into other cosms?
The greatest beings of the polycosm are diverse and often mysterious. There seem to be three ways in which they interact with the polycosm:

Behemophaunts are enormous creatures that blur the line between creature and planet. The way in which they move through the cosms is debated, but they almost certainly did at one time. Some believe they are still moving through cosms, while others say they are all inactive.

Divines dwell in the distorted realm*. They do not appear to leave their divine realms, but have a collection of cosms they can send blessings, cursings, messages, and messengers to. These collections don't seem to be entirely fixed, but a divinity acquiring a new cosm is more similar to the cosm moving than the divinity.

Spirits range from small elementals to massive beings larger than Mother Plains. Spirits require portals to move between cosms, and not every portal will work. Most of them prefer not to try, but circumstance often forces the issue.

These are general categories, rather than specific ones. Some Behemophaunts have a divine realm associated with them, or manifest the qualities of a spirit.It can be difficult to judge if an entity is a spirit based in a cosm or if its just a particularly active divine. At least, without trying to trap it and transport it, and attempting to kidnapping gods who may or may not be kidnappable is rarely prudent.

*Ok, why are we calling the home of the gods "The distorted realm"? That sounds like begging for a curse. Or is the distorted realm merely the closest to divinity that mortals can approach, and the realms of the Divines a different place?

Question 70:
How different are the languages of Ton, Calledron, The stone-etched alliance, and other poly-cosmic entities? How do they compare to the languages of mono-cosmic nations? And to the scripts of the 18 civilizations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
Answer 42 The well-documented portion of Ton's cosm ...
This is beautiful and lovely. I've got this picture in my head of this boat rowing across the steaming hot yellow fluid. The falls on the edge of the plate must be spectacular... assuming you can see them. I'm not sure if we have a light source here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
So now, the long-awaited, overly verbose, and not really addressing the question, answer to Question 15.

Answer 15 [MV]- Portal Identification
Later comes the Age of the Behemophaunts, when great beasts wielding wild magic roamed the planes at will. In places, a remnant of their passing persists as a faint echo that wayfarers may, knowing the right sorcery, locate and follow, or being in the wrong place, inadvertently stumble through.
Behemophaunts. Nice word.
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