scott-martin Posted April 24, 2021 Report Share Posted April 24, 2021 (edited) Developing relevant JC materials for the terminal Third Age West presents its share of challenges. On one hand, the Guide presents a richer 1621 status quo than we've ever had to work with, confirming the most robust historical insight while pruning back a few of the more wayward branching paths. However, advancing the timeline to 1625 without benefit of a regional King of Sartar or decades of systematic Sartar Rising style exploration means sacrificing a lot of that hard-won clarity on the altar of current events. Time is moving fast now. If you want to get ahead of it, you need to move faster. Maybe you help us get it moving here. Let's start by refreshing the scene: It's 1625. All the cool people in Seshnela are dead or desperate. Theoblanc assassinated all the freethinkers he can catch and if his buddy Guilmarn hasn't crushed the Quinpolic League yet we know how it plays out. Unless you want to start your epic saga in the last days of a doomed struggle, MGF argues for ending the Crusade soon after the somewhat apocalyptic Harrek sighting in late 1623. This was never an especially friendly time and place for player characters anyway, so there isn't a lot of drama to gain from setting up a relatively sympathetic counterweight early in the game and watching them lose. That's prequel material. It was a dark time for the rebellion in 1621 and it's slightly darker time now. That's how the light gets in, with pissed off exploding apprentices, quixotic horseback heroquests, peasant uprisings, forest witches, cat people outbreaks, all that good stuff. Also some bona fide bad stuff, people turning to diabolism and chaos. We also need to give Father Laurel and King Hardy a little time to establish their oppressive supremacy because the Waertagites need their own window to sweep the sea clean after the League falls but before Boat Planet rises in 1624 or otherwise any effort to undo the Opening looks a little silly. There's no sign in RQG of Dormal being under serious pressure. I think the green men are getting their green butts kicked for reasons that are MGF exciting to discover in play. The sailors are dealing internally with the new maritime dynamics but on the surface it's more or less business as usual. Refugee Navigationalist insights might help this happen. Either way, keep the seas unsettled and Open. If you're brave, you can evade the dragon ships. There are, however, a bunch of new True Brithini on the mainland who are familiar with conditions and developments on the island, so we want to keep them around to provide intelligence as well as thematic resolution. The Hero Wars are all about our last chance to tie off all the loose ends of the world, after all. I have my dumb theories that need to be workshopped before being served to guests. I will say that MGF requires twists and revelations. Keep them gasping. Keep them engaged. Moving north, the Arkat Returns! prompt is so iconic that your players deserve to participate in it for themselves and a whole new generation has stories to tell. Textual cues tell me King Hardy starts stinking the place up as fast as he possibly can after crushing the League in order to exploit lingering disruption from the Swarm . . . the farther out we get from 1622, the more time the locals have to clean up the mess. Maybe he pushes the button 1-3 seasons before active play starts so the war is still out over the horizon while the players get set up. Maybe Arkat Returns 2-3 seasons into the campaign so the players can make a meaningful difference and have a good seat. Either way, Laurel & Hardy quickly discover it is possible to bite off more than you can chew. Imagine me crying here. A similar situation applies in Fronela, where generations of players have wanted to Wage War On War and it would be cruel to open that action when it's too late to participate. (Remember, unlike the Quinpolic Crusade where the initial outcome is fixed and only makes the region more of a downer, the big Ralios and Fronela struggles remain question marks. MGF always.) Things are getting real. Ratchet up the tension and the philosophical ambivalence. Xemstown and the last Jonat tribes are fresh from the ban now so that will give people plenty to do. Maybe drop the War bomb in 1626 or even later. We know something like good guys win this one because there's still something like a civilization left for Phargentes TakenEgi to conquer circa 1642. That much is easy now. All we need to do is keep the story interesting between here and there and then beyond. Likewise, we know there's still an Arkat presence in Ralios as late as the 1640s (mid decade looks reasonable) so evidently shock and awe got a little bogged down. Keep that storyline rotating. We don't really know anything about how that one ultimately plays out in the final weird phases of the hero wars. Nobody has come back to tell us. I don't think Guilmarn is the Talar Of The West because Cragspider-XIII has the serpent crown in dispute, which will not happen while Hardy is alive, but then again, I don't think Guilmarn's talar powers of command were authentic anyway so IMG he can't really command the Brithini sorcerers. Your Hero Wars Will Vary. This is part of the story. Instead I think my boy Aamor the Wanderer becomes the last of the sacred serpent kings under the full panoply of the old rite with a few new twists along the way. But at this point things are going to look a little strange to people schooled in the 1621 world. By 1630 the glacier is moving and the old world is effectively doomed to ecological disaster anyway and that's how the last serpent king eventually dies. Charg opens in 1628 and complicates Carmanian independence. I would count this plot into the Western Hero Wars (and also the Lunar Civil Wars) because by definition all worlds come together at the end and we are made of everything. This is a good place to note that if spillover from the West does not cast a shadow on the Dragon Pass plot it's not because nothing is going on here . . . the magic simply points in a different direction and the shadow falls across other regions. Arguably much of the Western plot projects south. Maybe it even projects east. And it definitely affects Lunar policy throughout this era, with the Arrolian Territories and Carmania in the middle. Working back around to Maniria, I have a hidden joke about why Guilmarn seems content to crush the League and then turn north, leaving the apparently fragile Trader Prince network to become an underground refugee railroad and otherwise remain a thorn in his gigantic ass. They have their role to play and this far from the Dragon Pass plot this is where they play it, looking west and not east. Otherwise, we know Greymane has thrown his last party as of 1624 so the western tribes are probably riled up but in flux . . . like everyone in the greater Orlanth belt after the Windstop. Apocalyptic movements, new and old rites, warrior opportunities across Ralios, Jonatela and beyond. To the east, Malkonwal is fallen and its people are circulating across the mix of refugees from everywhere else. We know the elves are busy in Arstola and elsewhere but timing there is a challenge. Unlike the more aggressively genocidal troll / dwarf plots I see the New Forest as something transient and survivable . . . after all, human civilization has weathered plenty of New Forests in historical times and come back stronger than ever. This is a B plot for the Western Hero Wars and the Hero Wars writ large, something more like the faerie interactions we see in the Great Pendragon Campaign. They have a different plan for us and it has different ramifications. Maybe it starts small around 1625 and proceeds in parallel with the human magical agendas. Players can chase its mysteries or just cope with it as another complication they need to worry about. Cragspider thinks Brithos is ultimately eaten by ice trolls and I want to believe. Your turn. Edited April 24, 2021 by scott-martin 7 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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