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As some of you know, I'm adapting RQG for a generic 'Atlantis' style game for my nieces.

Now I have to get to the nuts and bolts of adapting the rules to my campaign.

I intend to use the Runes as the basic underpinnings of magic and have enough information to design cults. I intend to use the Passions mechanic. Because I haven't got a detailed history written yet, I'm not going to use Family History.

But here's where I get stuck:

When looking at the Homeland Cultural Skill Bonus tables, there seems to be a wide discrepancy between cultures on just how many percentile points are awarded and how many weapons are given bonuses and for how much. I've tried looking at it from a 'civilized' vs. 'barbarian' standpoint and I'm not seeing much consistency there either.

So what I'm asking the Collective Brain Jar is this: What was the logic used for these bonuses? How do you determine which skills to buff and how many points to award?

What I have decided on are these points:

- Atalans will get bonuses on Swim and Boat. Still undecided as to whether all Atalans get a bonus on Shiphandling.

- I'll create a 'Sailor' profession [based on the Fisher profession] but adding Navigation as a skill

- Their cultural weapons are 1- and 2-handed Spear, Large Shield, Javelin, Crossbow, and Kopis /Falcata. Heavy Infantry will know the 'Pike /2-Handed Spear and Shield' technique' and Heavy Cavalry will consist of elephant mahouts. Light cavalry will be horsed.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful at this point. I'd especially like to hear from some of the content creators [Jeff Richard, @Nick Brooke, etc.] but all contributions gratefully accepted. Oh, and this is just a home game setting. It is not intended for publication other than as a free d/l to interested parties if anyone is actually interested.

Thanks all!

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Weapons Q -- what about net & trident?

Historically speaking, they were actually relatively-sucky weapons, but the mythic / game-mechanical rendition of them doesn't have to be so realistic...

Have you done any lookup/research of Atlantis?  I see some have tried to link the Mayans to Atlantis... which leads to a bunch of meso-american notions having "originated" in (you) Atlantis... which could be very interesting in Euro-castaways... 

(for example:  maybe Atlanteans sometimes used tempered glass where Euro's might have used metal, leading (eventually) to the meso-american offshoots creating the "macuahuitl" obsidian-edged sword/club/thing (etc); less useful vs metal armor, but damned good at slicing cloth & leather...).

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

 

Weapons Q -- what about net & trident?

Historically speaking, they were actually relatively-sucky weapons, but the mythic / game-mechanical rendition of them doesn't have to be so realistic...

Have you done any lookup/research of Atlantis?  I see some have tried to link the Mayans to Atlantis... which leads to a bunch of meso-american notions having "originated" in (you) Atlantis... which could be very interesting in Euro-castaways... 

(for example:  maybe Atlanteans sometimes used tempered glass where Euro's might have used metal, leading (eventually) to the meso-american offshoots creating the "macuahuitl" obsidian-edged sword/club/thing (etc); less useful vs metal armor, but damned good at slicing cloth & leather...).

I've read my Plato, and looked up the 'Atlantis: the Second Age' rpg, the GURPS Atlantis book, and a bunch of reading into the Bronze Dark Age [Sea Peoples, Minosean Crete, etc.].

As for weaponry, Atalans don't indulge in gladiatorial games 😁 They do attend sporting games [shield push, anyone?] and have Olympics style games to honor the Gods, but they've not descended into blood sport. As a strictly combat technique, trident and net is useless. About the only professions that teach this sort of thing are fishers and sailors. Also, IMGU, trident defaults to 1-H Spear. And nobody is so foolish enough to try and catch a sword blow betwixt the tines of a fishing spear, after all.

I've already got plans to send the party westwards to 'Kanaka' and 'Quetzallipe' at some point, but for right now they're shipwrecked on the shores of Gondhwana.

And while all this is interesting, it really doesn't answer my basic question...

 

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6 hours ago, svensson said:

When looking at the Homeland Cultural Skill Bonus tables, there seems to be a wide discrepancy between cultures on just how many percentile points are awarded and how many weapons are given bonuses and for how much. I've tried looking at it from a 'civilized' vs. 'barbarian' standpoint and I'm not seeing much consistency there either.

So what I'm asking the Collective Brain Jar is this: What was the logic used for these bonuses? How do you determine which skills to buff and how many points to award?

I have no idea about logic used, but I generally try to smooth out the Cultural skill bonuses so that all are relatively equal at start.  Assuming a standard skill level for Speak (own language) and Customs (homeland), I think the typical total cultural skill % comes out to about 170/175 points (some occupations definitely lower).  If below that, I'll add in select skills that make sense for the occupation, but particularly focusing on relevant Lore/Knowledge (e.g. Farmers and Herders would get Plant Lore and Animal Lore), Craft/Devise, and perhaps a Communication skill.  No more than +20% in any.

6 hours ago, svensson said:

- I'll create a 'Sailor' profession [based on the Fisher profession] but adding Navigation as a skill

I'd add the Shiphandling into the Sailor occupation.

 

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2 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I have no idea about logic used, but I generally try to smooth out the Cultural skill bonuses so that all are relatively equal at start.  Assuming a standard skill level for Speak (own language) and Customs (homeland), I think the typical total cultural skill % comes out to about 170/175 points (some occupations definitely lower).  If below that, I'll add in select skills that make sense for the occupation, but particularly focusing on relevant Lore/Knowledge (e.g. Farmers and Herders would get Plant Lore and Animal Lore), Craft/Devise, and perhaps a Communication skill.  No more than +20% in any.

I'd add the Shiphandling into the Sailor occupation.

 

Thanks!

This is more of what I was looking for.

The Sailor occupation will get good sized bump in Shiphandling and a much smaller one in Navigation [no much more than a basic orientation to the skill]. The logic there being that if you want to be a Helmsman /Navigator /Pilot [with the commensurate pay and promotion chances] you have to put some study into it.

A quick question about your skill comments.

Is your 170-175 pts comment for the Homeland Skill Bonuses tables [RQG ppg. 60-63] or the Occupation tables [RQG ppg. 63-73]?

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So, to put some numbers into place, there's clearly some kind of logic in the Cultural Skills table, and it appears to be roughly related to the general standard of living, with one major caveat- Prax.

So, I counted values for Javelin twice, as by my understanding the bonus applies to both use of it in melee and at range. These numbers may thus differ slightly from other estimates. They also don't count the Speak Own Language and Homeland Customs skills.

At the top, Esrolia and Lunar Tarsh are tied with 185 percentiles from cultural skills. Below, Sartar offers 175 percentiles. Then the Grazelands offers 170 percentiles, and Old Tarsh offers 165 percentiles.

Prax replicates this division, with Bison and Sable peoples offering 185 percentiles, (175 for Sables who don't select Javelin as an option), Pol-Joni at 180 percentiles, Impala at 175 percentiles, and High Llama at 165 percentiles.

Ranged skill bonuses range from +0% (High Llama) to +30% (Impala), but with the majority being +20%.
Melee skill bonuses range from +25% (Impala) to +80% (Sartar, both Tarshes).
Noncombat skill bonuses range from +65% (Old Tarsh) to +120% (all Praxians).
Everybody receives between 10 and 30% in languages, the majority at 10% (in Tradetalk).
Basic "economic" skills (Farm, Herd) range from 15% (Old Tarsh) to 35% (Grazelanders). If we count in Survival as an economic skill for Old Tarshites and Praxians, then Old Tarsh is at +20% and the Praxians at +40%.
Cultures where riding is everyday have +35% to it, where it's common but not everyday have +5% to it, and where it's not common have nothing.
 
So with that in mind, I think creating a new culture has some simple rules we can follow: between 165 and 185 total percentage points to skills, about 20 in ranged combat skills, about 50-80 in melee combat skills, about 20-40% in basic economic activities, about 10-20% in languages, and the remainder going to riding, Spirit Combat, and some base social skills.

So your Atalan culture would probably use Boat or Swim as its economic skill, with fishing as the base economic activity, and with the other of the pair as the riding skill. If they're meant to be cultured, urbanized Atlanteans, I would put the economic skill at the lower end of that scale, and the overall percentiles at the 180-185 range, so we're looking at 60% in those two skills, about a third of total skill points.

For combat skills, we have about 80% to work with, and 1H Spear, 2H Spear, Large Shield, Crossbow, Javelin, Kopis as proposed skills. Now, the "cliche" armaments are given +15% and the others +10%, so perhaps we go

+15% 1H Spear
+15% Large Shield
+10% all others, plus Dagger.

We're at 140% or so by now, got 45% left to work with, in this rough model. 10% going to the lingua franca/pidgin of business, 35% remaining. Let's leave +15% Spirit Combat as a placeholder for whatever basic magic skill they'll have. 20%. We can do 2 +10%, 4 +5%, or 2 +5 and 1 +10. The last is the most common choice in RQG. Maybe we put +5 into Intrigue and Navigation, +10 into Sing or Dance?

One of my proposed rules hacks is to add another base bonus to a basic social skill like Fast Talk or Charm or Intimidate. I would maybe put that at +15% and end up with +200% exactly before occupation and cult, but that's optional.

I hope this has been helpful!

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

and a much smaller one in Navigation

You could also consider Celestial Lore as an alternative here.

1 hour ago, svensson said:

Is your 170-175 pts comment for the Homeland Skill Bonuses tables

Homeland skill bonuses.  and @Effkindly provided the details!

 

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As far as Occupation skills go, the ones in the core book range from +140% (Hunter) to +210% (Scribe). Both of these are outliers. Hunter and Fisher got boosted in the French (and possibly German?) editions, and Scribe's so high because it needs to guarantee literacy, so +50% on Read/Write. The typical ones are in the 180% range, about the same as cultural skills.

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

You could also consider Celestial Lore as an alternative here.

Homeland skill bonuses.  and @Effkindly provided the details!

 

IMGU, I'm dividing Celestial Lore [both practical Astronomy and myths and legends about the stars and planets] from Navigation [use of Sunstones, cross-staves, lead lines, etc.]. The former has a large dose of mythology in it, the latter is the practical skill of getting from Point A to Point Not-On-A-Rock.

I imagine Atalan navigation to be somewhat like Viking Age navigation... somewhat advanced tools and lots of practical experience leading to the ability to sail over the open ocean with something like reasonable risk, and doing so without the absolute need for literacy. Atalans have VERY few rutters [written logs of directions to given locations], but have sailed all over the Atlantic Ocean. Many captains have a solid grasp of the main oceanic currents and a deep memory of sea conditions in every season.

So an Atalan navigator is trained in a one on one master-to-apprentice fashion that's almost guaranteed to keep their techniques out of the hand of the barbarians.

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2 hours ago, Eff said:

As far as Occupation skills go, the ones in the core book range from +140% (Hunter) to +210% (Scribe). Both of these are outliers. Hunter and Fisher got boosted in the French (and possibly German?) editions, and Scribe's so high because it needs to guarantee literacy, so +50% on Read/Write. The typical ones are in the 180% range, about the same as cultural skills.

THANKS!

Your two posts are exactly what I was looking for and will be a HUGE help.

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14 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I'd add the Shiphandling into the Sailor occupation.

 

Sea lore

 

12 hours ago, Eff said:

As far as Occupation skills go, the ones in the core book range from +140% (Hunter) to +210% (Scribe). Both of these are outliers. Hunter and Fisher got boosted in the French (and possibly German?) editions, and Scribe's so high because it needs to guarantee literacy, so +50% on Read/Write. The typical ones are in the 180% range, about the same as cultural skills.

True, we went through this at chargen awhile back. 

Passions are 180% for all cultures shown plus 20 percent bonuses for many.  (i.e. Sartar Air Rune)

Cultures are from a low of 140 percentage points (old Tarsh) to a high of 180 (Esrolia). 

Never did do a tally for Family History.

Then one gets three elemental runes at 120 percentile points. 

For the Power and Form Runes one gets to add the same as the get to subtract for a net gain of 0 for two runes

and another 50 percentages point to your choice but none may be raised above 100.

Characteristics can add another -5 to +20 over 7 categories that I have witnessed, but I have never tallied this either. 

Greta is correct about the Occupations, (note that the fisher and herder are much higher in the French edition than in English). 

Cults generically add about 75% and then add another 45 percentage points (many cults) to a high of 60 (Maran Gor) to one’s skill percentages.

and for the finale, add a  last 150 percentage points in a structured way to another 9 skills.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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11 hours ago, svensson said:

The Sailor occupation will get good sized bump in Shiphandling and a much smaller one in Navigation [no much more than a basic orientation to the skill]. The logic there being that if you want to be a Helmsman /Navigator /Pilot [with the commensurate pay and promotion chances] you have to put some study into it.

 

11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I'd add the Shiphandling into the Sailor occupation.

 

 

Swim, Sea Lore and speak other language might not be bad ideas for sailors, although we all know the trope of sailors not knowing how to swim. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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20 hours ago, svensson said:

What I have decided on are these points:

- Atalans will get bonuses on Swim and Boat. Still undecided as to whether all Atalans get a bonus on Shiphandling.

- I'll create a 'Sailor' profession [based on the Fisher profession] but adding Navigation as a skill

- Their cultural weapons are 1- and 2-handed Spear, Large Shield, Javelin, Crossbow, and Kopis /Falcata. Heavy Infantry will know the 'Pike /2-Handed Spear and Shield' technique' and Heavy Cavalry will consist of elephant mahouts. Light cavalry will be horsed.

Idk how technically advanced you want to make the Atalans compared to other people, but you could consider having a basic skill in Read/Write Atalan for them to reflect a growing intellectual class, and perhaps some bonus to Devise to reflect an Atalan fascination with gizmos that make their lives easier.

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19 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Idk how technically advanced you want to make the Atalans compared to other people, but you could consider having a basic skill in Read/Write Atalan for them to reflect a growing intellectual class, and perhaps some bonus to Devise to reflect an Atalan fascination with gizmos that make their lives easier.

The Atalans consider themselves the only 'civilized' culture on Gaia. That's the typical 'Us versus Them' thing, of course, but they have good reasons to feel this way.

- They are the only culture they're in contact with that understands water tables and the relationship with bad water and disease. Every urban Atalan home has access to fresh, clean water and to sewage systems. Furthermore, they take particular care not to foul their harbors.

- Yes, every Atalan is basically literate and numerate [probably to the level of R/W Atalan 25% or so].

- They understand the need of a variety of diet and take care to preserve all sorts of foods for the winter, not just meat and grain.

- They have an active educated class, 'philosophers', who are inventors and theoreticians. This is different from the RQG Philosopher-as-gateway-to-Sorcery and closer to the Socratic 'academy' model.

- Atalans have access to 'orichalcum', which is bronze with a reddish third mineral added in the smelting process. It is equivalent to mild steel.

Other societies are on the level of Mycenae, Minoan Crete, and early Egypt. For them, it is the early Iron Age and they are learning under Atalan influence, but are not at the level of understanding why these improvements are necessary, only that they work better.

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And to all the respondents,

THANK YOU [!] for your interest, questions, thoughts and suggestions.

I'm flattered that this is has sparked your attention and the questions and comments [all of them, not just the ones I respond favorably to] help me suss out how I'm gonna put all this together.

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5 minutes ago, svensson said:

I'm flattered that this is has sparked your attention and the questions and comments [all of them, not just the ones I respond favorably to] help me suss out how I'm gonna put all this together.

Well, if you are going to insist on bringing in the next generation of gamers, what else can we do. 

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On 5/4/2021 at 6:59 PM, svensson said:

So what I'm asking the Collective Brain Jar is this: What was the logic used for these bonuses? How do you determine which skills to buff and how many points to award?

I doubt very much whether these were balanced in any way.

What I would do, for a new Culture, would be to use the Mythras/Legend approach of assigning a certain number of skill points for the Culture. That way, all you need to do is to allocate the skills for that Culture and make sure they add up to your Culture Base Points. The trick is to work out what that Culture Base Points should be. I would total up the skills for each Culture and take the average, or something close to the average, rounded to a suitable round number.

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18 hours ago, svensson said:

- Atalans have access to 'orichalcum', which is bronze with a reddish third mineral added in the smelting process. It is equivalent to mild steel.

Orichalcum link

Phosphor Bronze

I have learned a little about metallurgy as a result of RPG research, it sounds like what you want for your bronze is actually Phosphor Bronze, which fits pretty much exactly what you are describing in terms of being as strong as a middle range steel.  It was made by quenching in urine or blood to provide the phosphorus, and I believe it has been discovered in the bronze age ruins of Crete.

Orichalcum is an interesting alloy, but not nearly as tough as phosphor bronze.  I enjoyed the "see also" section of the wikipedia orichalcum write-up.  All too often fantasy games falls into the mithril/adamantium paradigm, but you never hear of arcane alloys, if you know what I mean.

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For those interested, I've started a blog on this site for my Atalan game.

Eventually, it will hold the artwork, files, and a narrative of the experiences of my players.

You can find it in the blogs listings as 'Atalan: Before the Fall'

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On 5/5/2021 at 4:35 AM, g33k said:

for example:  maybe Atlanteans sometimes used tempered glass where Euro's might have used metal, leading (eventually) to the meso-american offshoots creating the "macuahuitl" obsidian-edged sword/club/thing (etc); less useful vs metal armor, but damned good at slicing cloth & leather...).

You mean a klanth...

 

I don't get why the crossbow is being given as a cultural weapon. They don't seem to be all that common, such that everyone in the culture would have learned to use one at some point.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

You mean a klanth...

 

I don't get why the crossbow is being given as a cultural weapon. They don't seem to be all that common, such that everyone in the culture would have learned to use one at some point.

Well the difference between a macahuitl and a klanth is that many klanth are made of dragonbone... which is Rune Iron x 10 in a Gloranthan sense. But the argument DOES exist that the 'Quetzalipe' peoples are influenced by dragonewts... and that's something to consider. I mean, what's an RQ game without drangonewts and Uz trolls in it, right 😁

As to crossbows.... The Atalans are figuring out mechanics. They understand fulcrums and lifting mechanisms, for example, and use simple [!] mechanical devices to assist in work that other cultures are still using mass muscle power for. The Chinese of the Ch'in dynasty had mechanical crossbow triggers [as opposed to simple notch-and-lifting-pin triggers] as early as 700 BC, so it seems reasonable for the Atalans to have them. Picture of Ch'in crossbow trigger sold at auction below.

There is a dichotomy in bow construction that I think applies... Limb bows [self bow and longbows in an RQ sense] are much easier to make and maintain than crossbows, but are MUCH harder to use effectively, whereas crossbows are are the reverse... easier to use and train novices to use but harder to construct and maintain. Composite bows are the worst of both worlds in this example, being both more difficult to construct and more difficult to train for. Since Atalan has an actual industrial base, as different from the mainland's royal craftsman or amateur hobby craft systems, it seem more likely that they'd field crossbowmen.

In all cases of Atalan technology, I've tried to avoid the incredible magical superiority of the Atlantis myth or the huge technological advantages of Tolkien's Numenorians. Atalans have some social and technical superiority over mainland cultures, but mainlanders are not stupid. They're watching and learning. Some cultures, the Egyptians for example, are just a sophisticated as the Atalans and prefer their own methods. And while the Atalans could defeat any given kingdom, they recognize that 'taking' and 'keeping' are two very separate things.

Chin Crossbow Trigger.jpg

Edited by svensson
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