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Old 12-06-2018, 01:19 PM   #41
Black Leviathan
 
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
I'm not sure there is much non-technical vocabulary for the approval/disapproval of the gods. I suppose you could substitute Detect Sanction/Damnation for Detect Good/Evil, but unless you plan to play up the unpleasant nature of the gods I bet the players will fall back on the simpler wording.
You could call the spell "Detect Alignment" and have it simply identify if those it is cast on are aligned or opposed to your ideology and to what measure.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:22 PM   #42
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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You could call the spell "Detect Alignment" and have it simply identify if those it is cast on are aligned or opposed to your ideology and to what measure.
That's how I run it... sort of. It's more a "Whom they are Aligned with" rather "Are they opposed to me?" thing though.

As in, Evil Gods are Evil because the Good Gods say so. And Good Gods are Good because the Good Gods say so. And civilization is ruled by those that follow the Good Gods... so... it's mostly the civilized folk that label them 'Good' and 'Evil'. They could as easily be 'Law' versus 'Chaos', or 'Civilized' versus 'Uncivilized'.


I also don't put Team Elder Thing in either box. So my Eyes of Death, Spheres of Madness, Mindwarpers, and Demons From Between the Stars aren't capital 'E' evil. With Elder Things it's more 'Nature' versus 'Elder'.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:37 PM   #43
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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And civilization is ruled by those that follow the Good Gods... so... it's mostly the civilized folk that label them 'Good' and 'Evil'. They could as easily be 'Law' versus 'Chaos', or 'Civilized' versus 'Uncivilized'.
I prefer 'Green' and 'Purple.'
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:24 PM   #44
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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In light of that, it seems probable that there town-based casters whose spells work only in town . . . in effect, cities have the equivalent of normal mana/sanctity for this magic, while everywhere else has the equivalent of no mana/sanctity. Those spells are clearly very powerful, so settlements probably act as gigantic Energy Reserves or power items for such casters, too. Of course, magic-users of this kind wouldn't make good delvers, because all their abilities would be nigh unto useless in wilderness, dungeons, or other dimensions; that explains why such powerful people hire delvers for quests instead of going out and doing those jobs themselves.
I think this approach is particularly valuable in a transitional sort of game, where you are shifting away from pure Dungeon Fantasy to a more detailed setting, because it offers a *reason* for the more video-gamey rules that are different in Town. What maintains the anti-monster barrier that makes Town a Safe Zone? How do the tax collectors at the dungeon gate always know how much loot we found to claim the King's Share? Why is the Royal Guard invincible when arresting PKers, and yet not able to clear the dungeons themselves? Because the Very High Urbanity level in Town lets the local sages cast and maintain these otherwise prohibitively expensive buff spells for free....
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:47 PM   #45
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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I think this approach is particularly valuable in a transitional sort of game, where you are shifting away from pure Dungeon Fantasy to a more detailed setting, because it offers a *reason* for the more video-gamey rules that are different in Town. What maintains the anti-monster barrier that makes Town a Safe Zone? How do the tax collectors at the dungeon gate always know how much loot we found to claim the King's Share? Why is the Royal Guard invincible when arresting PKers, and yet not able to clear the dungeons themselves? Because the Very High Urbanity level in Town lets the local sages cast and maintain these otherwise prohibitively expensive buff spells for free....
Which resonates with Real Life, making it easier for players to get a handle on it. In modern cities, you have running water, grocery stores, electricity, cell towers everywhere, roads that aren't dirt tracks, cops who show up if things get rowdy, SWAT teams that show up if things get too rowdy for the beat cops, etc., etc., etc. And the high concentration of population makes it easy to maintain a barracks or armory full of troops in wartime, while the relatively small area makes things like SAM batteries plausible. You can generally count on not being overrun by barbarians or rogue elephants, or easily taken over by evil overlords. But out the bush, not so much . . . in the movies, at least, you have bears, outlaw bikers, farms where people put bodies in wood-chippers, secret terrorist bases, UFO landings, and nobody to hear you scream. I'm exaggerating of course (plenty of bad stuff in cities), but people generally find it plausible that urban power bases are a Thing That Exists.

There's a good reason for "City Boy" jokes.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:48 PM   #46
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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I think this approach is particularly valuable in a transitional sort of game. . . Because the Very High Urbanity level in Town lets the local sages cast and maintain these otherwise prohibitively expensive buff spells for free....
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I'm exaggerating of course (plenty of bad stuff in cities), but people generally find it plausible that urban power bases are a Thing That Exists.
I'll note that Isfjall, the city/base in Hall of Judgment, sits next to a lake that is supernatural in origin and radiates a stabilizing and civilizing magic. One of the threats from a side quest (which to date has been hella fun to run just as a one-shot on its own) is that this magic is *breaking down* under the influence of Evil Things.

Granted, I stole the idea from Caverntown, but in general having civilized areas be hard for faerie, demons, and other bad guys to get a foothold in makes for an interesting urban/rural dichotomy, AND amps up the threat level when that pool of civilization is threatened, perhaps because some city-dweller that just doesn't understand how important that stability is decides to mess with it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:13 PM   #47
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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I'll note that Isfjall, the city/base in Hall of Judgment, sits next to a lake that is supernatural in origin and radiates a stabilizing and civilizing magic. One of the threats from a side quest (which to date has been hella fun to run just as a one-shot on its own) is that this magic is *breaking down* under the influence of Evil Things.

Granted, I stole the idea from Caverntown, but in general having civilized areas be hard for faerie, demons, and other bad guys to get a foothold in makes for an interesting urban/rural dichotomy, AND amps up the threat level when that pool of civilization is threatened, perhaps because some city-dweller that just doesn't understand how important that stability is decides to mess with it.
Ars Mágica has Dominion where the faithful who live in cities and towns are protected by the Divine. Outside of Dominion faerie, the Infernal and magic is more powerful. Ars Mágica probably has the best fantasy set up I have seen so far. Dominion in DF could be from the Divine which is the set of civilized gods that protects the towns and cities from magic and evil.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:10 AM   #48
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Granted, I stole the idea from Caverntown
Thanks for mentioning Caverntown. It's a classic example of what we're talking about here. I went totally over the top to make it very hard for even powerful PCs to get away with crime . . .
Riders who refuse to pay are escorted off the lift – often with the assistance of other passengers, who rarely appreciate delays.

The cave [...] resists natural or magical forces with HT 20. The pillars themselves are effectively indestructible.

Delvers hoping to exploit rooftops to get over the Barricade – or buildings to conceal efforts to go through it – are out of luck.

Exterior doors are customarily iron [...] The prevalence of sticky-fingered delvers in town spurs most citizens to lock their doors [...]

Subtler troublemakers must use Stealth at -5 (or magic!) to get close without being noticed, and then Climbing at -5 to get over the wall [...]

Delvers who decide not to pay will find their way blocked by at least twice as many guards as their party size [...] Any outcome that doesn't end in payment means a criminal record [...]

If the delvers are being annoying, the watchmen will be prepared with a few tough guys and a spellcaster or two.

Two gigantic (20') stone golems [...] Delvers who make themselves a threat and try to flee up The Shaft may learn this the hard way.

The price? Confiscation of any goods offered for sale or any tools used to perform a service, plus a fine [...] Fleeing this fate might be possible [...] but success leads to a criminal record [...]

Locally, cheating the Guild [...] ends in a visit by a squad of surly dwarven knights in plate armor.
. . . and the entire It's Good to Be in Charge! (p. 13) and Local Laws (pp. 25-27) sections . . . and every bit that mentions "remedial penance" or "alternative punishment" . . . and the part where the Society of Assassins works for the Mayor (p. 23).

But I also gave PCs valves for letting off steam, in Warrior Codes (p. 27). This is important, too. You can carry weapons, defend yourself, and even duel as long as you're not breaking the law. The city doesn't want to disarm you and railroad you into danger; it just wants you to respect its laws, its guilds, and its citizens.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:30 PM   #49
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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Thanks for mentioning Caverntown. It's a classic
I'd have just had you stop there. :-)

I made no secret that when I expanded HoJ and wrote Isfjall I used Caverntown as something between an outline and checklist. It's not all the same, but that would be boring. The idea of local mana/nature's strength/sanctity "hot spots" where it's good to live I really liked, and putting a 1000m (or more?) deep supernaturally-created lake next to Isfjall meant that I could, one day, go down there and find a lost city or something.



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But I also gave PCs valves for letting off steam, in Warrior Codes (p. 27). This is important, too. You can carry weapons, defend yourself, and even duel as long as you're not breaking the law.
The havamal, which are kinds viking rules to live by, supposedly by Oðinn himself, makes a big deal of not going around weaponless. And the sort of casual violence so common to dungeon delving seemed to be a real thing. So if you go around in Isfjall *without* arms, a wizard's staff, or some other sign that says "badass in residence; inquire within" or "Warning: I cast FIST early and often!" you get tested. A lot.
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:23 PM   #50
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Default Re: DF Implied Cosmology

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I made no secret that when I expanded HoJ and wrote Isfjall I used Caverntown as something between an outline and checklist.
Excellent, sounds like synergy at work.
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