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Old 12-16-2022, 07:08 PM   #171
Astromancer
 
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

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Theomachy
Basically, the PCs would be the chosen of the Gods, or those opposing the return of the old Gods.

Europe would have had falling Mana from the fall of Rome's Western provinces until the French Revolution. The Classical World had Normal Mana, High in limited areas. The Nordic countries and the Celtic fringe had Normal Mana until close to the year 1000CE. Now Iceland, Norway, and the Celtic fringe are Normal Mana again with up to a fifth of both Ireland and Wales being High Mana. Many areas of Italy, up to a sixth of that nation is Normal Mana. Egypt and Morocco are also mainly Normal Mana with isolated pockets of High Mana.

About a quarter of the Americas are also Normal Mana. That isn't spread evenly. Some places like New England and the Caribbean are almost all Normal Mana with areas of High Mana. Most of Chile and Argentina are Low Mana. The condition of the rest of the world is unknown.

The Gods don't really trust Mages but they are willing to both recruit and teach them. The Egyptian Gods are especially eager to recruit Mages as they have the best reputation for knowing Magic.

This setting is a Napoleonic Swashbucklers campaign with the possibility of becoming a Gaslight Fantasy/Steampunk campaign. Both Athena and Hephaestus have advanced technological knowledge and believe that quickly advancing human science and culture would aid their pantheon. The Muses profoundly agree, although Apollo wants to hold back.

The Theoi of Olympus are actually stronger in the new United States of America than in Greece. The Netjer are less centralized. Egypt, being Islamic isn't really a place of influence for them. But they have influence throughout Europe in many small places. Thoth and Seshat, created the Rosetta Stone and made sure it was found to increase the influence of the Netjer. The Aesir are rather less known at this time but they have lined up the Brothers Grimm to link them to German pride and identity. The Tuatha Danann are pretty much limited to Ireland, which is low prestige in this period. However, they are strongly allied with all of Europe's faerie folk and have managed to create the Celtomainia craze. So their prestige is rising.

The main foes of the Gods, other than the other pantheons, are those theurgic Mages allied with the monotheistic faiths and the more secular Mages. The Fair Folk are allies of the pagan gods, but other supernatural beings, many recently rewakened, are not.

More later.
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Old 12-18-2022, 01:13 PM   #172
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

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Theomachy
I'm assuming that Path/Book Magic is the way magic works here. It just goes better with Napoleonic Europe. Although the standard paths from GURPS: Thaumaturgy are used by many Adepts each of the Pantheons have paths based on their deities.

The Theoi path of Aphrodite not only provides a variety of love charms, it also has powerful charms for enhancing or removing beauty, and rites controlling and manipulating pleasure. Each god's stories and duties providing a path.

The Aesir have paths based on the Runes. They use these both for quick castings and deep enchantments.

The Netjer use complex nets of symbols, hieroglyphs and numbers to shape their charms. And are scary precise in their results.

The Tuatha use plants and herbal concoctions to shape their charms. But they also use music, poetry, and performance, to cast charms as well. You never know when an Irish song or tale is actually a casting.

Most, enchanted items are subtle as is most magic.
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Old 12-18-2022, 07:35 PM   #173
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

There seems to be a rather large plot hole in this, if it's set on a recognisable Napoleonic-era parallel Earth. What are GMs to do about Christianity? It seems likely to come up.

Judging by the date you gave for Scandinavia stopping being Normal Mana, the displacement of the four pantheons by Christianity is supposed to be the cut-off point for the mana level to start to fall, rather than the Enlightenment or anything. (Although the Celtic fringe being Normal Mana until 1000 AD seems odd. Are you supposing a much higher level of "underground" belief in the pagan gods there than elsewhere? Or, given that when the mana level starts to rise again large chunks of that area bounce back up to High Mana, did they just have a naturally high mana level before then and that partly balanced out the drop?)

But if those four religions can provide magic, why can't one that was founded by a figure who was famous for throwing miracles around like candy and expecting his worshippers to do the same?

Some possibilities.

1) In this world Christianity is not true and the others are.

2) Possibly less contentious, and might be interesting, when the pagan gods saw their religions were dying out they pulled some kind of "if we can't have the mana nobody else can have it either", and that's now breaking up (either they're doing it on purpose or it's an unavoidable side effect) as they're becoming well known again.

3) Maybe magic is weaker if there aren't multiple gods. Christianity, Judaism and Islam may be different religions but they all involve worshipping only the Almighty and not allowing any sub-gods to be mentioned. The sudden input from four rival pantheons each containing multiple gods and often competing for the same territory sends the mana level up to crazy levels, possibly higher than in those pantheons' heydays when at least they were mostly restricted to their own separate home ranges. (This might give you an Asia that's been Normal Mana all along in many areas, which might or might not be what the GM wanted).

What's the deal with the Normal Mana areas of America - were they Normal Mana all along or has that happened recently?
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Old 12-19-2022, 04:03 AM   #174
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

Maybe the Mana levels fluctuated on their own? This avoids having to ask questions about each different part of the setting: places outside Europe experienced the same reduction because it was a global event, and Christianity has nothing to do with the reduction and can be in the same spot as the rest of the mythos.
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Old 12-19-2022, 04:52 PM   #175
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

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There seems to be a rather large plot hole in this, if it's set on a recognisable Napoleonic-era parallel Earth. What are GMs to do about Christianity? It seems likely to come up.
Christianity is in the same political and cultural state that it was in 1801(the game present). It is the State Religion of all European states except the Ottoman Empire, which is Islamic.

Quote:
Judging by the date you gave for Scandinavia stopping being Normal Mana, the displacement of the four pantheons by Christianity is supposed to be the cut-off point for the mana level to start to fall, rather than the Enlightenment or anything. (Although the Celtic fringe being Normal Mana until 1000 AD seems odd. Are you supposing a much higher level of "underground" belief in the pagan gods there than elsewhere? Or, given that when the mana level starts to rise again large chunks of that area bounce back up to High Mana, did they just have a naturally high mana level before then and that partly balanced out the drop?)
The Pagan gods see the Mana level as linked to them. Many other actors in what is basically a secret magic / Illuminati campaign would agree with that assessment. It's your call in your campaign.

Quote:
But if those four religions can provide magic, why can't one that was founded by a figure who was famous for throwing miracles around like candy and expecting his worshippers to do the same?
Perhaps the Abrahamic God doesn't want to do so. Buddha forbade his followers from performing miracles. Miracles on demand has often been declared heretical by the Catholic and Protestant Churches.

Quote:
Some possibilities.

1) In this world Christianity is not true and the others are.
Again, your call.

Quote:
2) Possibly less contentious, and might be interesting, when the pagan gods saw their religions were dying out they pulled some kind of "if we can't have the mana nobody else can have it either", and that's now breaking up (either they're doing it on purpose or it's an unavoidable side effect) as they're becoming well known again.
Again, your call. Perhaps the fall in Mana levels was natural, and the Pagan Priests simply lost power.

Quote:
3) Maybe magic is weaker if there aren't multiple gods. Christianity, Judaism and Islam may be different religions but they all involve worshipping only the Almighty and not allowing any sub-gods to be mentioned. The sudden input from four rival pantheons each containing multiple gods and often competing for the same territory sends the mana level up to crazy levels, possibly higher than in those pantheons' heydays when at least they were mostly restricted to their own separate home ranges. (This might give you an Asia that's been Normal Mana all along in many areas, which might or might not be what the GM wanted).
That's and interesting idea. Plurality of deities might mean that mystic power isn't monopolized by the gods.

Quote:
What's the deal with the Normal Mana areas of America - were they Normal Mana all along or has that happened recently?
The Native American cultures and their faiths worked things out differently. However, the massive plagues caused by contact with Europe and Africa have massively disrupted everything. The rapidly growing European and African descended populations are further warping the older set up.
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Old 12-21-2022, 04:35 PM   #176
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Golden Slumbers

This is a Dream.

No s**t Sherlock.

I didn't dream the aliens.

Me neither. I think we're being invaded.

In our dreams?

So these guys are sneaky.


Basically, it's H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands (Chaosium printed several good guides) and it is being invaded by aliens. These could be little green guys or MiGo Fungi take your pick (although one could disguise as the other). The Dreamlands have a lag when it comes to technology. A given technology has to become part of the Collective Unconscious in order to exist in the Dreamlands. If your campaign is in the 1920s do it like Lovecraft. More modern campaigns might find Dreamland technology jumps ahead of Earth technology because of fantasies about the future. Either way, the aliens are under the same technological restraints.
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Old 12-22-2022, 03:56 PM   #177
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

Banshee Council

He's a man of means and he has somehow learned about the council and the death edict against him. He has sealed himself in a sound proof bunker with his guards all around and equipped with sound dampening gear. His actions threaten the reputation of the council. If he is allowed to oppose our death edict then other factions may get the idea that they can to. This must not be allowed to stand.

The players are a group of banshees working for the Banshee Council. The Council sent in individual agents at first to go after the target, but each failed. They have now decided to send in a group of their best agents.

The target is hiding in an underground bunker that has additional sound proofing added to the natural sound dampening properties of the ground surrounding the structure. The guards, who are on constant patrol, are outfitted with all the latest sound dampening technology their employer could get his hands on.

The death edict of the Banshee Council is an energy field the Council creates around one of their targets. Once the target hears a banshee's wail while infused with this energy then the two things will bind together within the target to seal their fate. The energy of the field surrounding the bunker is now so high that anyone hearing the wail of any banshee will instantly be killed by some strange and unlikely occurrence.

This idea is basically for a fun one or two night adventure. It also should be a chance to give the GM some fun thinking up strange and unusual ways for the guards to die when the players remove the equipment protecting them from the players' wails.

Last edited by Stephen Day; 12-22-2022 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 12-24-2022, 09:12 AM   #178
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

I'm reading a Poul Anderson reprint book, Swordsmen from the Stars. The second story is set on the Llowellian Mars, dry seas, twin moons, canals and all. The first tale suggests the pulp Venus with a world under nearly eternal clouds were even a small parting in the clouds brings sunlight so intense that it causes forest fires and boiling seas. The third and last story is set on a tidelocked future Earth. These are all fantasy tales involving sorcery, prophecy, and swordsmen. A textbook on how to use Sci Fi tropes in fantasy. And a good little action adventure book too.
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Old 12-26-2022, 11:07 AM   #179
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The Underways

In an otherwise very mundane modern world, secret passages have opened up.

Your players encounter this world accidentally, tangientally. Someone was following a rival and saw them walk into a solid wall. Or an anonymous text message included a video of a short hallway that connects Paris to the school bathroom.

Investigating these leads quickly shows that yes, there are otherworldly passages hidden everywhere, concealed in gaps and blind alleys and behind coat closets, or sometimes hidden in plain sight but just out of reach.

But using these passages does more than make long trips shorter. Most people who discover these underways never discover this in time. But a few do recognize that every jaunt brings you closer to being discovered by the being that made the underways. The being who still travels them. And if you are very, very lucky, you might find out how to protect yourself from that entity, and its lesser kin.

But that is just the beginning of your concerns. There are few other travelers, but you are not the first. And some of those people have been walking the ways for a long time indeed.
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Old 12-26-2022, 12:02 PM   #180
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Default Re: New Fantasy Setting Seeds.

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The Underways
There's a more fully developed version of this idea in China Miéville's story "Reports of Certain Events in London", published in his collection Looking for Jake.
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