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Old 02-27-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
macphersonrants
 
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Default Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

I've been tinkering around with a renaissance inspired setting for a while. The general consensus in other threads has been that a fantasy setting has way more curb appeal than a historically inspired one for most players, so I've started working out something that approximates the renaissance, but is a pure fantasy setting.

What sort of things would you put in this sort of setting or what would you want to see as a player.

Would you want fantasy races? If so how do they fit in.

How would you handle religion. Assuming you don't have Christianity and Islam what replaces it?

What historical elements from the 16th century do you incorporate? What do you mash in from other eras?

What crunchy bits can you think of from this forum such as real world martial arts and real world inspired Path/Book magic would be a good fit?

My overall idea is to approximate real world politics and history, but with lots of secret magic, martial arts, gadgeteering, monsters, and so on thrown in.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

This idea brings to mind the Dragaera series by Steven Brust. It featured long-lived Elves as the primary race, extensive magic (including both the Elven "Imperial" magic, which resembled Hawthorne-style spells and included quick-n-easy resurrections; and Human "Witchcraft", resembling Thaumatology's effect-shaping magic) and plenty of buckling of swash. It would be a pretty neat world for gaming, or could at least provide some inspiration.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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What sort of things would you put in this sort of setting or what would you want to see as a player.
I would use fantasy-tech. using the tech for that era plus somethings that would be, well fantasy.

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Would you want fantasy races? If so how do they fit in.
If they're any other races I would make them a little different that humans. elves being simply humans from a different part of the world that are tall, beautiful, long lived and have tech of their own (maybe a TL higher). Dwarfs are, again, from a different part of the world. being shorter and heavy built (and hairy if you want, real hairy lol). So for me it would simply be different versions of humans played as races :)

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How would you handle religion. Assuming you don't have Christianity and Islam what replaces it?
If you go with different races then I would give each race 1 or 2 different religions, 3 if you want more splice. if only humans then maybe 5-8. with that many you can have each showing different ways of life (feudal, class system, etc)

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What crunchy bits can you think of from this forum such as real world martial arts and real world inspired Path/Book magic would be a good fit?
anything. If you can do it right everything works. I would, however, limit styles to maybe a handful. 1 for every weapon skill, maybe less. magic on the other hand varies. each religion would have its own path. maybe have some that don't revolve around a religion. and the magic would be subtle and only devoted people would be able to learn the secrets.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

One thing would be an advance in metallurgy. You'd have better steel, so different types of swords and full plate armor would be available. You could also lean into steampunk a bit if you want to take a Di Vinci angle with technology. Since magic is around, it could be combined with steam or clockwork (bound fire elemental boilers or air golem clockwork) to allow for TL4^ devices.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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Originally Posted by macphersonrants View Post
What sort of things would you put in this sort of setting or what would you want to see as a player.
I'm working on something similar (for my own purposes at the moment, not publication), so I have some ideas about this sort of thing. For what to include, I'd use just about everything in Fantasy-Tech (maybe not vimanas), plus at least one flavor of magic, plus martial arts, plus scattered advantage-based abilities (I'd say Powers-based, but I'm unlikely to go so far as to actually use Powers), but all the game-mechanical material takes a back seat to the style and manners you'd find in Dumas, Jack Vance or Clark Ashton Smith.

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Would you want fantasy races? If so how do they fit in.
I don't feel strongly one way or the other. If there were non-humans involved, I'd probably have them correspond to or at least make up the bulk of particular ethnicities and/or social classes. Say, lots of dwarves in Germany and Scotland, the French aristocracy are mostly elves, and lots of halflings, gnomes, and goblins among the peasantry. Monstrous races appear either one-off (you never see more than one troll at a time, usually under a bridge extorting tolls from goats) or distant in space, time, or both ("Back during your great-grandfather's time, they say that the orcish hordes came out of the east to terrorize the great cities of Whereverweare"). In a multi-racial setting, I might have humans as the most numerous single race but without any one race in the majority.

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How would you handle religion. Assuming you don't have Christianity and Islam what replaces it?
Either stick with a large, powerful religion like Christianity (for something structurally similar but not quite as obviously the same religion, relabel saints as minor gods or avatars) or have a zillion gods and a similar number of largely independent religious institutions and organizations. Use religion as the basis for social clubs and secret societies.

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My overall idea is to approximate real world politics and history, but with lots of secret magic, martial arts, gadgeteering, monsters, and so on thrown in.
I wouldn't bother making magic secret. If you've got non-humans, da Vinci-style gadgets, monsters, and so on, and most people believe in magic anyway, there seems little point. Do make magic difficult and restricted, of course. Book/Path or ceremonial-only are reasonable ways of making it mechanically a bit difficult, and it can be restricted socially by requiring actual teachers rather than self-study and making those teachers few and far between. And, mostly, disinclined to actually teach.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

The Dominion Cross link in my sig was one open-source fantasy world started by a few forumites a few years ago, with the goal of making a TL4 fantasy setting.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

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What sort of things would you put in this sort of setting or what would you want to see as a player.
For me, the one thing not to overlook in this setting is dueling. There's nothing more dramatic and romantic than a formal duel.
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What historical elements from the 16th century do you incorporate? What do you mash in from other eras?
The golden age of piracy was a little latter, but it really fits in so well that I'd hate to leave it out unless I was going to encorporate Elizabethan sea dogs and Barbury pirates instead of anachronistic buccaneers. In my campaign set in 1683, I made use of the Ottoman invasion of the Austria/Hungarian Empire as a backdrop. In the 16th century, I would have used growing power of the Spanish empire in a similar way: a powerful potential enemy and a good excuse for characters to have harsh military experience prior to play.
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What crunchy bits can you think of from this forum such as real world martial arts and real world inspired Path/Book magic would be a good fit?
Well, obviously I discussed this question in detail on this thread. My campaign looks like it was set 100 years after where you're looking to set yours. Yours could incorporate Longsword Fighting, Masters of Defense, and Italian Rapier all in competition for students and reputation.
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My overall idea is to approximate real world politics and history, but with lots of secret magic, martial arts, gadgeteering, monsters, and so on thrown in.
Sounds like fun.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

IMHO the first question should be: "What do you intend for Reinassance?". If you want gunpowder and glass you should go for a TL 4 generic fantasy without many problems but to me the main difference between "Fantasy" and "Reinassance" is one: times are changing!

During Reinassance many older belief and traditions were put aside, there was an increasing interest for the man, his abilities and capacities, ingenuity was the fuel for many new discoveries and invention and, most of all, the discovery of the Americas was the sparkle for the future.

If you put all this in a fantasy setting you can obtain something very interesting and new: many fantasy settings are "locked" in a very fictious way (always the same races, nations and tech levels in thousands of years). Maybe in the setting there are "older races" (the one that live longer) that are very traditional and narrowminded, but then the "newborn" shows up, shorter life spans, increased birth rate, more chaotic but innovative; until they reach a cultural and technological level able to challenge the older races. In this tense situation something NEW is discovered: a continent, a new form of magic, another dimension, anything will work. So began the chaos... And the fun!
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

An Easy fix for the NonHuman races would be to have them be Fair Folk, who have been crossing over from the Otherworld on a regular basis. Also a good explanation for the existence of Magic, if it's tied in to the Otherworld.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Renaissance Inspired Fantasy Setting

I have something cooking in this style, too inspired by my last years hollydays in venice.

Thinks got moving in my setting by the first Elve ever diying some 100 years ago the elven kindoms who ruled the seas are crumbling away under there new found mortallity....

I use Orks as kinda arabian mongol empire, well yeah something like real live Turks ...

Dwarfs life in a diaspora after the orks over ran there home lands

Wood Elfs are gypsies there "hunters" kill every"thing" not elven for money

Halflings prosper as traders and bankers...

Magic comes in to packages Divine and Spiritual first being the secure and boring second the quick and dirty both basing on calamaty, aka shreding the veil of reallity.

Witch hunting is of great importance cause of the reality shreding and mind warping consequences of spirit magic...

TL is 4
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