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Setting Confusion


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I have the Savage North and have been reading through the OpenQuest core rulebook. After looking through The Savage North it seems abundantly clear it is heavily based on Robert E. Howard Conan-esque sword & sorcery. I am starting a campaign Thursday for OQ and decided to run one of the intro adventures from the core rulebook to start things out and get us used to the rules, etc. However, the OQ core rulebook makes it clear The Savage North is part of the Empire of Gatan setting as well. The Empire of Gatan seems to be very high fantasy in style, which kind of conflicts with the sword & sorcery style of The Savage North.

Anyone else see this as kind of confusing/odd? My players I think will be put off by it.

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Anyone else see this as kind of confusing/odd?

Not really, in my view it is not unusual to have regions with different styles in the same

setting. For example, in Pendragon you have a high fantasy setting at Arthur's court at

Camelot, but a sword and sorcery setting in the lands of the savage Picts, and a style

somewhere in between in the halls of the barbarian Saxons. In a Crusades setting you

have the Emperor's court in Byzantium, the highly cultured Muslim cities, and the com-

paratively barbarian Frankish crusader states. I see it as an advantage of such "mixed"

settings that the characters have to deal with societies which are very different from

their own home culture, which gives them a nice opportunity to discover new cultures

and to use their social skills.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I think rust's Picts example is a good one. It's all very well for the Emperor of Gatan to claim sovereignty over the Savage North. But he's a long way off, travel is difficult and slow, and Gatanese courtiers willing to take on the dangerous and relatively low-paying jobs of provincial officialdom are few and far between. As long as the tribute/tax money arrives in a timely manner, the Imperials will happily draw maps depicting the region within their borders and leave the actual territory and its savage inhabitants alone.

Of course, the actions and misadventures of your player-characters could change all that. >:> Once they (accidentally) rouse the dragon, (inadvertently) resurrect the sorcerer-king thought laid to rest centuries ago, or send hordes of refugees fleeing into the Empire proper with their carefree pillaging ways, all bets are off.

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What I see as the identifying tropes of High Fantasy are ubiquitous non-human races, and the presence of an evil empire that is the source of all that is wrong with the world. I really don't see either of those playing a big part in the Empire of Gatan.

There are non-human races. But really nothing is said of their cultures. You could make them neolithic peoples, or pocket 'lost civilizations'.

As for the Burning Heart, simply emphasize them as a splintered, subversive force of evil, rather than a monolithic entity.

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  • 2 months later...

Savage North is icy cold Conan Hyperborea with some jokes about Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead thrown in. [Angel of the North anyone?]

The Empire of Gatan is more Roman/Greek/Persian [think RQ Lunar-like].

You can basically ignore the connection and treat each as utterly separate, or you can merge and build.

Newt had a very light touch there, so don't feel any need to make them integrated, or do so if you wish.

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