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Old 12-09-2009, 05:52 PM   #51
Agramer
 
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy , shared world, recruiting

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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
Think of these things in terms of the difference between a legendary hero with a flying mount and a whole legion of hippogriff riders. A little goes a long way.
Well when I mentioned Flying cavalry I did meant of it as something rare and special,or regional.
Not in terms of single mounted hero though.

Also how do you feel about "stealing" parts of setting from books(fiction) and other sources,or even outright copying them?
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:09 PM   #52
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy , shared world, recruiting

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Well when I mentioned Flying cavalry I did meant of it as something rare and special,or regional.
Not in terms of single mounted hero though.

Also how do you feel about "stealing" parts of setting from books(fiction) and other sources,or even outright copying them?

Rare, special, or regional may work. Now, if you have an idea for flying riders, perhaps you'd care to elaborate? My suggestion is to avoid things like knights in plate mounted on dragons. Leave that for Dragonlance. Try to keep in mind things like carrying capacity, wingspan/clearance, care of the mounts. It should be at least semi-realistic.

I am against outright copying/'stealing' from fiction. Drawing inspiration from the works of others is fine. If you base your contribution off someone else's work, you must at least cite the source.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:13 PM   #53
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I already looked up the most likely places for those notes - nothing :-(

But I took the bait. I plan to continue searching and otherwise write down what I recall from memory. Could take some time, though.
Sure.

Well, if no one objects, I think that using this empire of yours as the former empire that ruled much of the known world would be a good idea. We already have some idea of what it was like. If you can add anything else, even fragments and tidbits, that would help. Don't worry about it all being perfect or well-organized, just post it as you find it/make it up. I'll handle the editing. :)
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:18 PM   #54
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Okay, here's a basic question: what is the physical cosmology like? I'd assume heliocentric with at least one moon. I'd prefer 365 day years, four seasons and five non-days, but the simplified 360 day year is also fine. If we want something a little fantasy, how about a distant companion sun, about 1/5 the brightness of a full moon but visible during daylight? That would add a little spice to the cosmology without being too out there.
I'll take the distant companion sun under consideration.
As for the rest- yes, let's assume more-or-less earthlike conditions and cosmology. Heliocentric- but some cultures may envision the world as geocentric.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:34 AM   #55
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I propose using Wikidot.Com to organize this project for the following reasons:

- It's free.
- It has all sorts of nifty formatting tricks.
- It allows a large degree of customization (see the Urbis Wiki for an example.
- You can create a forum for it, which might help with organizing the details.

I've created a large number of gaming wikis over there, and I am very happy with it overall.


Eventually, we will also have to draw maps for the setting. I propose using Inkscape:

- It's free and works on multiple platforms.
- It's a vector-based graphics program, which means you can zoom seamlessly to higher resolution to add in more details and it will still look good.
- It supports multiple layers, which will allow you to switch certain details (roads, terrain, cities, hidden locations and so forth) on and off without actually erasing them.
- Some browers, such as Firefox, are capable of displaying it natively.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:52 AM   #56
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That sounds good to me, Jurgen.
I figure we'll keep the discussion going here for a while. After Christmas, when we will all doubtless have more time, and the proto-setting will have taken on some shape, we can create the wiki. By that time, we should have enough notes to write a few starter articles.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:13 AM   #57
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy , shared world, recruiting

Quote:
Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
Rare, special, or regional may work. Now, if you have an idea for flying riders, perhaps you'd care to elaborate? My suggestion is to avoid things like knights in plate mounted on dragons. Leave that for Dragonlance. Try to keep in mind things like carrying capacity, wingspan/clearance, care of the mounts. It should be at least semi-realistic.

I am against outright copying/'stealing' from fiction. Drawing inspiration from the works of others is fine. If you base your contribution off someone else's work, you must at least cite the source.

Steven Erikson`s: A Tale of Malazan book of the Fallen ,for example has some really nice things to "snatch".
-citing below that something is loosely based on his work aint a problem


I agree that Elves,Dwarves,Orcs have become totally uninspirational.

Things that Id like to see in Fantasy World:
Dinosaurs,Flying stuff,Fantastic stuff,Dragons,Wast Sea Monsters,Secret Monestaries(ala Shaolin or different thematics),Shinobi type villages......
..Knights (shining ones on white horses and dirty medieval ones).....Warring city states(Ancient Greece,Italian medieval-renaissance)...Decadent empires...Emerging Empires...Barbarian Hordes...Giants(moderately sized)....its a long list :))





Suggestion on Magic:
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---------------------
Rare thing-every 10th village has some "Hedge witch/wizard" with Magery 0-1 and 2-5 spells,naturalist skills.

Magery 2: 1 in 20000

Magery 3 1 in 100000 pop...but allowing for really high Magery possible also though extremely rare.

Very organized and rich Countries could have "Real" Magical Universities,something akin to Ancient Rome,China,18th Century + European Contries.

Other Major Countries would have competing Magic Guilds with limited repertoire of colleges /guild.

Now with considering above numbers:
Magery 0 : 1 in 1.000
Magery I: 1 in 4.000. people
Magery II: 1 in 20.000. people
MAgery III: 1 in 100.000.
Magery IV-V : 1 in 500.000.
Magery VI-VII: 1 in 2mil
Magery VIII-IX:1 in 10 mil
Magery X : 1 in 50 mill

This would "open" world for Cinematic action,but due rarity 150pts PCs would never even encounter someone of higher power magnitudes.

Also consider another thing,today with education starting in Primary schools and than progressing to Unis our society can single out talented people for different fields.
For some TL 0-3+1 Nations/Countries/territories it aint true.
So some state as Ancient Rome with codified legislation,established Birocracy,state mechanisms for governing, in another words Organised state could probably find/spot much higher % of Magery individuals than would some Medieval squabbling state.
Also it is safe to assume that much higher % of Higher Magery individuals would be detected than Lower Magery ones(0,1..)

Another thing to consider is that not all of Magery individuals would be "Academically" suited for prolonged "education" that Magic calling calls for....resulting in even more "drop-outs".

Another assumption is that was majority will be from "lower classes" and rural background.

So as example:

Ancient "Magical" Rome:

Would detect 20-30% M0,50% MI-II,70% MIII,90% M IV+

While Germanic Tribes,without similar infrastructure ..
would detect 10% M 0- II,20% M III-IV and 50% M V+ (if even that many)

And we can set "Medieval Guild Magic societies" at
detecting 20% M 0-I , 30-40% MII-III ,70% M IV+

Due different "efficiency"...we would see different impacts of Magic users on society.All is further complicated by Religion,attitude toward Magic...etc

According to this Numbers..."Ancient Rome" could field 10-20 Mages /Legion(8k people),considering that "Interests of State "would pull higher % of such valuable assets to Army than is in rest of population.
-they would have developed military specialist mages with same spell repertoire covering some aspect of warfare,though nowhere near Yrths Magelan Empires(numbers wise).

Medeivial type/Guild based Armys could field few "Master"+apprentices.

Barbarians would have just few Mages/Druids/Warlocks,whatever theyre called.



With above setup you would avoid effects of Magic on society,in mundane ares globally due rarity of magic users.
You would have flexibility to have isolated Magic "wonder" communities at same time.
--------------------
--------------------


Opinion?
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:46 AM   #58
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That's an interesting demographic set-up, but don't forget something very important: too much use of magic drains the mana. This means that mages have an interest in limiting the number/activity of spellcasters. Too many mages, 'maximizing the pool of talent', and you will end up losing mana! A normal mana country that aggressively trained and utilized mages might drop to low mana over several generations.

[Yes, the mana drain is inspired in part by 'The Magic Goes Away.'
L Sprague De Camp.}


Any magery above magery 3 should be optional, sidebar material. I like that you at least kept that superhero stuff rare.




Quote:

Things that Id like to see in Fantasy World:
Dinosaurs,Flying stuff,Fantastic stuff,Dragons,Wast Sea Monsters,Secret Monestaries(ala Shaolin or different thematics),Shinobi type villages......
..Knights (shining ones on white horses and dirty medieval ones).....Warring city states(Ancient Greece,Italian medieval-renaissance)...Decadent empires...Emerging Empires...Barbarian Hordes...Giants(moderately sized)....its a long list :))


Each of those things sounds cool, but I don't think we should toss in the kitchen sink. If we put all that in, we'll end up with Mystara or Forgotten Realms!

Threlgar has a decadent empire.

Two suggestions for you to use as possible sub-projects:

Perhaps you could give us some barbarians? We need them for the invasions and migrations, you see.

Picking out another item from your list, warring city states [Grecian or Italianate models, but don't just copy a history book- mix it up, change things around a little] also fit very well. These might have been subjugated for a time by the empire, and now have broken free.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:28 PM   #59
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I recalled some of the more basic features of my campaign idea. I don´t say setting with a reason - at that time I planned an arc campaign (using terminology from GURPS Fantasy) and wanted to build the setting around the story instead of the other way round, so many things are very specific. Might not be easy to integrate in a new, broader setting.

To make it easier to decide if this empire is what you really want, I will post the introducing text I discussed with my would-be players.

I´m not a native speaker, so I apologize if the language is not always on a high literary standard :-)

Here we go.
-----------------------------------------

Shattered Empire Campaign - setting basics


“Shattered Empire” is the working title of a fantasy setting that is dark fantasy with a strong sword & sorcery influence. It features mostly humans, but isolationist other races are possible, too. It has some influence from high fantasy, too, in that sense that magic is more rare than in more standard fantasy worlds, but tends to be powerful if it is encountered. As appropriate for dark fantasy, overuse of magic should have dire consequences, so I consider using the threshold limited magic option from Thaumatology. On the other hand, black magic is incompatible with it and would fit the desired feel equally well.

The setting is inspired by earths history, particular Imperial Rome and the celts, but it is not strictly speaking alternate history. Magic always worked, primitive cultures having shamans, more advanced cultures developing organized priesthoods and even commercial wizard guilds. I just draw on history for inspiration (and sometimes for names, since I am not very good at thinking up my own…).

Spirits, both nature-spirits and the spirits of the dead, make an important part of the setting. I work from the assumption that, if spirits truly exist and magic makes it possible to communicate with them, this will have a profound effect on human society and spirituality in particular. Ancestor Worship is a very important part of religion, and the hierarchy of the gods is influenced, too. So while you might recognise many names, they might not always be what you expect. For example, the highest imperial goddess is Persephone, who is in fact a combination of the historical Persephone and Gaia, so a “mother earth” type goddess as well as “Queen of the dead”. Her cult is an order of basically beneficent necromancers, acting as psychopomps, defenders against evil spirits, mediums to communicate with revered ancestors and thus advisors to the living. Because of the “mother earth” aspect of Persephone, nature magic is another part of their expertise, mixing some druidic aspect into their faith.

The Empire itself has suffered recently – in fact it broke apart into a couple of large chunks and a multitude of minor ones. The reasons of this are threefold. The first is the Empire expanded too far too fast. The strain on its resources was immense from the beginning, and after some golden age, their native resources got exhausted, forcing them to expand ever faster to get their hands on new resources. The second is decadence. The nobles soon were incredibly rich and incredibly bored, which led to all sorts of hedonistic and thrill seeking behaviour, corruption, internal feuding and ultimately the loss of leadership and administrative competence in the upper echelon of society. The third was religious struggle. The Cult of Persephone long held together imperial society, but some day the corruption had to spread from the secular leaders of society to the priests. Priests ceased to see themselves as spiritual guides and servants of the community and began to view themselves as a kind of nobility on their own. Some of them got rich by using their abilities to further their own ends, getting corrupt und decadent as the rest of society. While they were still a minority, the most corrupt ones soon became the most politically influential. A traditionalist movement formed to oppose them, cementing the separation of the increasingly corrupt upper class from the rest of society.

Finally, northeast of the Empire, in the barbarian lands (what would be Scythian lands on earth), a barbarian warlord by the name of Balthar Oneeye united several tribes, relying on advice and magical help from a mystic figure by his side. That figure later proved to be Thulandraa Thuul, a former priest of Persephone’s cult who has been forced to flee the empire after his pact with demonic forces was discovered.

Sensing the weakness of the Empire, the barbarians invaded. Their onslaught first hit the eastern part of the imperial core lands, which were their bread basket. Thulandraa Thuul has been born there, and he still had friends there. Indeed, they were powerful friends, surprisingly loyal to him and not quite few in number. After the war, when Thulandra Thuul founded the Order of the Ebon Skull, suspicions were raised that this cult has existed beforehand as a secret cult for at least two decades, working towards the downfall of the empire all the while.

After taking Hellas in almost record time, Balthar and Thulandra Thuul led the barbarian horde towards the heart of the empire. They were defeated by the combined power of the imperial legions at the Battle of Sabenia, but the legions suffered great losses that day. Balthar returned to Hellas to consolidate his power there, proclaiming himself king and beginning a reign of terror continuing until today. It was then when the Order of the Ebon Skull was officially founded, acting as a secret police as well as a religious institution ever since.

In the aftermath of the war, several provinces of the empire declared themselves independent.

Hellas, as said, became the dark kingdom of Balthar, Thulandraa Thuul and his Order of the Ebon Skull.

Avernia, the most recent addition to the Empire and northernmost province, had never been tamed, and with its native druidic tradition became a refuge for the more malcontent traditionalist leaders of Persephone’s cult long before the war. Their clan chiefs were more than eager to throw off the heavy handed rule of the decadent Empire, who used the country mostly to import wood and slaves, and rose up in rebellion first.

Canaan, with its large population of nomadic people, was farthest away from the core of the Empire and poorest of its provinces, so it was more or less abandoned. The Empire still has a hold on the great port cities, but without control over the countryside, there is no cohesion between them and the governors start to feel like kings of their own city states, especially with Hattusa quickly replacing the Empire as the major naval power.

Hattusa, across the sea in the south, had been an ancient and proud nation in itself before they were conquered and exploited by the empire. It was completely untouched by the barbarian invasion. They continued to pay tribute and send food to the remnants of the Empire for a while, but when the demands grew ever larger (and the Empire’s ability to enforce them ever smaller), their Queen simply sacked the remaining military bases and ceased sending anything to her former masters.

With a large flux of fugitives from Hellas, 80% of their lands gone and a large part of the rest burnt by the barbarians during their retreat, all the while cholera and syphilis rule the cities; the empire is very much at the brink of annihilation. And worst of all, Thulandraa Thuul is more than aware of it, his barbarian forces growing ever stronger, his agents infiltrating the very heart of imperial leadership…
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:45 PM   #60
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Looks like it could be adapted, Threlgar. We might tweak the magic a wee bit to take into account the rules of the new setting. Some of the more obvious Earth-analogues would need to be changed a bit, and renamed [Canaan and Hellas, for example]. I really like the swords and sorcery feel, the Romanesque background, and the necromancer-priests.

I'd like to hear from the other contributors/potential contributors. What do you guys think about the shattered empire?
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