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Old 11-26-2013, 01:01 PM   #1
Raekai
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Default Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

First of all, this is titled "Part 1" because I don't know if even more problems with this campaign setting will pop up in the future. If so, the problems will likely be very different than the one associated with this thread, and I don't want to continually use my necromantic magic to revive older threads.

I'm taking Iceland and I want to turn it into a different world. I have the choice of separating the country by its regions or its constituencies. I kinda wanted to go the constituencies route, but I can only find good political maps of Iceland broken down into regions. Oh well.

Here's the biggest idea of this campaign setting: instead of just focusing on Norse mythology, it is split into various mythologies in the various regions. I want to split the land between Norse, Japanese, Chinese, Celtic, Greek, and Egyptian mythologies. Here's the thing... That's very frightening to me. I want to do it but I don't know how. Each culture/mythology is so detailed, and I feel like it might be difficult to squeeze in six of them into a single country. However, I'm willing to try, and I'd like some ideas of how to go about this.

I think that TL 4 or TL 3+1 would be appropriate for the mixture of mythologies/cultures that I have going on. It would also be using elements of fantasy and I'm thinking mid-magic levels. I'll be using Ritual Path Magic as the magic system, and I don't think that I'll bother with psionics this time around. I want the campaign to be pretty open and sandbox, and I think it's just going to be a lot of work. I'm looking for ideas, but, I guess, I'm also looking for reassurance! I've never really built a campaign from scratch like this, or, at least, not one as serious and for long-term usage. I want to create some races that fit the different mythologies, and I also want to have a bestiary that will encompass baddies from all of the different mythologies as well. I'd like to think that I have a decent grasp on each mythology, but I don't know where to start. It's like... It's like I have all the pieces to a puzzle before me, but I don't know what to do. Should I separate them first? If so, how? Should I just start looking for alike pieces? Should I find a corner and build out?

This is a huge project and I'm attempting to tackle this because I think it would be really cool to build such a campaign. So... How does one build a campaign?
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

A lot depends on the metaphysics - are Thor and Zeus two different deities, or are they the same deity hiding behind different masks? I'll be assuming they are the same god.

Norse, Celtic and Greek mythologies may go back to a shared Indo-European mythology (this is not uncontroversial). See also here. This simplifies things since you can establish correspondences between the religions.

Likewise, there are probably correspondences between Japanese and Chinese gods - the two countries have a shared history, even if it only consists of them fighting... :)
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #3
Raekai
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

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A lot depends on the metaphysics - are Thor and Zeus two different deities, or are they the same deity hiding behind different masks? I'll be assuming they are the same god.

Norse, Celtic and Greek mythologies may go back to a shared Indo-European mythology (this is not uncontroversial). See also here. This simplifies things since you can establish correspondences between the religions.

Likewise, there are probably correspondences between Japanese and Chinese gods - the two countries have a shared history, even if it only consists of them fighting... :)
Hmm... I do like the idea of multiple deities hiding behind different masks. I think that will be a good starting point for the mythologies... I'll find the overlaps. I could create a list of deity of death, deity of agriculture, deity of war, etc. and find the corresponding deities for each culture.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

Firstly that all sounds good, I like a nice mash-up setting.

How are you going to stop cultures blending into one another at the borders?
It might be better to set everything on multiple islands rather than one big...ish island, then there can be difficulties travelling between them.

The gods issue only matters if players are actually going to interact with them at a one to one level and poke about enough to figure it out. There are lots of pantheons out there and just as many descriptions about how they mesh. You might think that god of the harvest A is the same as god of the harvest B only to realise that A's portfolio specifically includes the sun where as Bs pantheon is led by a sun deity.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

One of the first decisions you should make is how realistic you want the world to be. How much sense does it need to make? Is it DF-like where things like the economy and social structure is largely handwaived away? Or do you want the game elements to be logically dependent on one another? Is it something in between like, "This weird element just is because the gods made it that way. But I want the logical consequences of that element to be born out"? If so, consider what those elements might be and give us a heads up.

This is a very general starting point that will help us help you.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

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Originally Posted by Mathulhu View Post
Firstly that all sounds good, I like a nice mash-up setting.

How are you going to stop cultures blending into one another at the borders?
It might be better to set everything on multiple islands rather than one big...ish island, then there can be difficulties travelling between them.

The gods issue only matters if players are actually going to interact with them at a one to one level and poke about enough to figure it out. There are lots of pantheons out there and just as many descriptions about how they mesh. You might think that god of the harvest A is the same as god of the harvest B only to realise that A's portfolio specifically includes the sun where as Bs pantheon is led by a sun deity.
I don't mind them blending a little at the borders. Plus, one island is just going to be easy for my first completely-from-scratch campaign. And that's probably true about the gods. I'll treat them as smaller details unless one of the players wants to be a cleric of some sort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edges View Post
One of the first decisions you should make is how realistic you want the world to be. How much sense does it need to make? Is it DF-like where things like the economy and social structure is largely handwaived away? Or do you want the game elements to be logically dependent on one another? Is it something in between like, "This weird element just is because the gods made it that way. But I want the logical consequences of that element to be born out"? If so, consider what those elements might be and give us a heads up.

This is a very general starting point that will help us help you.
I think it's certainly right in the middle. It's not quite DF-esque, but I do want some elements to be logically dependent on each other. This game won't purely be hack-and-slash. However, I'm not sure what those elements should be. I don't know where to start! I like to think that I'm creative, but it's harder for me if I don't have my roots down first.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

A question worth trying to answer: How did the setting get this way?

Given that Iceland is fairly small, not that easy to reach at low TLs, and has a climate that insists you accommodate to it, one obvious answer is that it has become a traditional place for exiles to go. That probably means there have been many wars over living space, and some exiled groups have been killed off or assimilated into a group that was already there, rather than establishing their own region.

But there are plenty of other possible reasons. Another example could be that the volcanoes on Iceland are a place where one can make contact with gods far more easily and clearly than anywhere else. That gives you an Iceland with different religions all wanting to be represented - which makes justifying the presence of the Chinese and Japanese ones easier - and a different set of reasons for conflict.

But deciding how is the key to making it develop naturally and feel convincing.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

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Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
Hmm... I do like the idea of multiple deities hiding behind different masks. I think that will be a good starting point for the mythologies... I'll find the overlaps. I could create a list of deity of death, deity of agriculture, deity of war, etc. and find the corresponding deities for each culture.
You may want to look at this and this. And this seems useful. I may have to bookmark that wiki.
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

What does every region need? Here's a list that Mailanka made some time ago.

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  • The King's Court
  • A Knightly Order
  • The Church
  • The Occult World
  • The Criminal Underworld
  • The Guilds
  • The Border Nobles
  • Commoners
  • Other Adventurers
  • An evil cult of doom.
What does every city need? I need a list of things... Shops, inns, taverns... What?
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help Me With Campaign Building! Part 1: The Basics

a city? in ancient times, every city needs a river. it provides water for drinking, and makes it a hub for trade.

Almost all ancient cities exist either for trade or for military reasons (as a fortress).
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