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Retconning a familiar setting for BRP?


Trifletraxor

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There a setting a used to play a lot with RQ3, which I like a lot. I don't like the way it turned though, but maybe we could make a version sufficiently different, but still with the same flavour?

Maybe that island in the middle of the ocean that was closed off? Starting the mythology from the day it was closed. Humans, elves, dwarves and trolls of course. Tweaking MRQs OCL magic system for it, and then just develop it from there? What do you think? It could easily be a community effort as there's lots of islands there.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
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Sorry to be negative but, on reflection, I'd prefer something clean, fresh and non-litigious. We don't all live in Norway, y'know! ;)

But I do think that we, BRP fans collectively, should have a go at collaborating on a new BRP setting (or world, or multiverse...)

But what flavour?

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Yeah, I think "Moreantha" probably won't be workable. There is a company out there that lisences it out.

But a group world, or maybe a couple of them (one for fantasy, one for Sci-Fi) could be neat. We could do a sort of Questworld idea for the fantasy world. And a collection of Star Systems/confederations for the Sci-Fi one.

Someone would need to be a sort of overseerer and we have to work out what restrictions we'd operate under, but it could be quite a setting.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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What is the Questworld idea?

I still like the 'gates between worlds' concept. (Was that it?) We could just have general rules for how the gates would look/work, and then I think we could do without an overseer (or, rather, each author would oversee their own world/universe). Do you see any problem with that?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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What is the Questworld idea?

I still like the 'gates between worlds' concept. (Was that it?) We could just have general rules for how the gates would look/work, and then I think we could do without an overseer (or, rather, each author would oversee their own world/universe). Do you see any problem with that?

Questworld was a RQ2 boxed setting. It was an open world comprised of a many large islands. It was supposed to be an open game world that people could contribute to unlike Glorantha which was pretty much Greg's world. Questworld was big enough that you could have parts that were isolated or sections where many little countries traded with each other (or warred).

We could ressurect it, or create something along the same lines.

Someone (maybe Triff?) could serve as an editor/moderator just to have prevent any clashes that could arise from multiple authors. We could limit everyone to the same technological level, or maybe allow for some leeway in certain areas. Like a island nation that has superior maritime technology. Maybe they have Brigs and schooners where the rest are using Cogs and Caravels?

We'd probably need to get people to talk about what sort of world they want, how advanced, how large, how isolated, who much war, how much trading, etc.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Someone (maybe Triff?) could serve as an editor/moderator just to have prevent any clashes that could arise from multiple authors. We could limit everyone to the same technological level, or maybe allow for some leeway in certain areas. ...

We'd probably need to get people to talk about what sort of world they want, how advanced, how large, how isolated, who much war, how much trading, etc.

Thanks, that's pretty standard but seems a bit limiting and trickier to administer than necessary. Mr T mentioned Questworld and the idea of gates between worlds (though going on to say he didn't like 'em). It seems to me that 'Gated Worlds' would' put no limits on author creativity, need no edit/moderating, and allow existing worlds to be plugged in (even commercial ones). I've mentioned this before in another thread but raised little interest.

What would be wrong with the 'gates' approach?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Thanks, that's pretty standard but seems a bit limiting and trickier to administer than necessary. Mr T mentioned Questworld and the idea of gates between worlds (though going on to say he didn't like 'em). It seems to me that 'Gated Worlds' would' put no limits on author creativity, need no edit/moderating, and allow existing worlds to be plugged in (even commercial ones). I've mentioned this before in another thread but raised little interest.

What would be wrong with the 'gates' approach?

There's nothing wrong with the "gates" approach, but doesn't create much of a cooperative world, unless there's something to bind it all together. Then everyone would just work on their own projects, as we do now. You can easily say there are gates btw. that connect the western, roman, greek and gwenthia settings in the download section, but I think it would be harder to front that as "one setting".

SGL.

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Well I wouldn't want to attempt to make a generic version of another world that is still in development (and which I might even play in).

What would be a good exercise is coming up with a list of what made such a setting so special in the first place, and using that as inspiration for an original setting.

For example (real quick off the top of my head):

1. NOT at standard fantasy late middle ages setting.

2. Magic is common

3. Myth and Religeon is prominent and real.

4. Emphasis on realistic setting with enough wackyness to keep it fun.

5. Familiar races that are in fact unique, so you can say to a new player 'elf' and have them learn through play that 'elf' does not mean Galadriel.

6. Wacky races.

7. Strong emphasis on cults and religeon as primary sources of culture, belief, and magic.

8. Damn strong detailed starting settings and scenarios.

If everyone contributed to such a list, and then agreed on which of these things should shape a new setting, I think that would be cool. I'm not looking for thinly vieled copies of cults or cultures in another world, but to capture the essence of what made that world fun in a new setting.

I'm not into gates per se, I agree if you want gates you can just put them in ANY worls to link to ANY OTHER world. I prefer a more organic approach. Islands is cool, perhaps after a period of the seas being unnavigable for some reason so cultures have been isolated until recently (I know - that is a bit like another existing world which had unnavigable seas). Maybe some other kind of magical barrier between lands that has recently been lifted (or is just being lifted for the first time as the setting starts so the players can be the first pioneers of travelling between the once isolated cultures).

Just some thoughts...

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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I'm generally with Rurik here. I have my own world that's developed over the years and I've stolen a lot of ideas and would be happy to put some details behind it for others to use, but honestly I'm not going to share...at least not the overall vision, and for the same reason I really wouldn't put the effort into designing something with someone else.

Btw, I like Rurik's list, but I would actually remove the "races" part. I got into Glorantha, but in general I greatly prefer humancentric worlds. Mine has rumors of elven forests, but they're haunted, uninviting forests. (If the PCs ever get there, they find humans that are in tune with nature, live in the trees, etc. but are not genetically different from other humans.) I don't mind having other intelligent creatures around, but I've stayed with either fantasic, nonhumanoid creatures and they're usually "monsters": ie. not completely races, but individuals or very small groups.

What I really stole from Glorantha (and really from real world ideas) was the idea of having lots of unique religions, that provide magic to their believers, and everyone has some connection to that...it's just that since it's all real, praying over your blessed sword actually does make it sharper before battle, etc. In fact, I've done a lot of thinking about religions and how they, societies, and individuals all fit together and I'm trying to come up with some basic rules that link all of that.

I'm going with the basic premise that anyone who receives worship, gains power from that, so an emperor who receives worship from his subjects really does gain power in the world, and conversely can dispense that power to his worshippers how he sees fit. This is a two way street, so that if a minor god loses his worshippers he loses real power and potentially his divinity and can return to being mortal. Anyhow, I'm going off topic here, but if anyone has ideas on some reasonable way to model this I'd love to hear it.

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The drawback to gates is like Triff said. Little cooperation. Basically, unless the gates are well known and there is a lot of commerce and interaction between the various planes (like hyperspace gates in Sci-Fi) you'll end up with 12 differenrt settings instead of one detailed and rich setting.

We can always link any two settings with some sort of magical gate. Strombringer 1st edition suggested something like a gate to Glorantha or the bridge of the Enterprise.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Look at most Sci Fi series nowadays, and even going back some, you have races/species in abundance. Nobody blinks an eye at Klingons, Vulcans, Mimbari, Vorlons, Peacemakers and so on.

So, why have a problem with intelligent species on a fantasy world?

Sure, you have to have a reason for them being there, they don't just pop out of nowhere, or perhaps they do.

I like having different species, it adds flavour and a certain amount of exoticism that playing humans all the time just doesn't give you. When there are different cultures of the same species the game gets even better as you don't always know what they are going to do.

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Going along with Rurik's List and RMS's comment.

My two cents:

1. Each Author gets a good sized island, or chunk of an island for their "kingdom/empire, whatever". Islands give up a lot of advantages, both in terms of isolating and interacting with other lands.

2. Players can share landmassess if they choose to. So if two people want to have neighboring kingdoms that are at war or whatever, they can, but we don't get tiny pricipality right next to major empire by accident.

3. Any big freaking powers need to be approved. This is just so one guy doesn't writes up "Super Rome/Lunar Empire" and can eat up everyone else's land and culture right off the bat. At least not without other people wanting to do that sort of story. IF someone wants a huge empire that is isolated and has a bunch of nasty neighbors to deal with and doesn't bother the rest of us, that should be okay.

4. I'm for human centric. I think you get better cultures that way. That said we could tweak the humans by culture the way RQ3 did with LotN and Vikings. We could have a mysterious non-human culture or two, but overall I think the non-humans work best when they are exotic. A hostil "enemy" species might be a good addition.

5. I'd like to see a mix of technological ability. I'm not talking Conan with a laser pistol, but more along the lines of certain kingdoms being more advanced in one or more fields. For instance, some lands might be able to produce medieval or gothic plate while other might not. Another might have early cannon or just better seige engines, another the best mages, and so forth.

An example from history would be the Welsh warbow, or longbow. It tends to make every RPG weapon list, but historically is was a specialty and required the yeomanry to get it to work. Most of the really good bows in the past were cultural specialties, and we could do something similar on outr world.

6. Working up who has what resources would be nice for trading purposes.

7. Sea lanes. We can decide who is in contact with whom and how. Not to mention why.

8. Reglion. Like Rurik said. We can make it a central part of the cultures. Ideally we should link as cultural specialties with this. So the greatest sailors would probably hold a Sea or Strom god in high regard.

9. We could work up a "rating system" to sort of the various cultures if it would help. That could be useful it we wanted to give a thumbnail description of how they rate against each other. This could help with trading, and for the inevitable conflicts that will arise in play after we have the world worked up. This could be something simple, like rating countries in terms of size, military power etc, or more detailed, noting metallurgically level or some such. Something like Warlords of Alexandrias method might be a start.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I think Gloranth... uh, I mean some other past not open worlds did an excellent job of making cultures unique enough that there is great diversity just in playing humans, and can see RMS's point (and I'm thinking about that god thing).

But Races are part of what most people consider 'fantasy' settings, and I have no problem including them.

RQ originally had Elves and Dwarves and Trolls and whatnot, and those were accessible to people coming over from other games. In fact the races evolved into Aldryami, Mostali, and Uz and became quite different from the norm. However, being able to say to someone new 'this is an elf' makes them accessible to a new player - more so than 'this is an 'Freenhahrrhrri'.

A game may shy away from fantasy tropes to be unique, and so have unique races, such as the Freenhahrrhrri, when if fact the Freenhahrrhrri may have much more in common with the pointy ear pansies of standard fantasy than the Aldryami do (bunch of friggin vegatables that they are), but by giving them a weird name they are harder to accept.

So I really don't mind elves, dwarves, and trolls - it is just important to set them apart from the standard to give them their own flavor. Even Orcs are OK by me - just not Hobbits or Halflings - screw them. :P

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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Look at most Sci Fi series nowadays, and even going back some, you have races/species in abundance. Nobody blinks an eye at Klingons, Vulcans, Mimbari, Vorlons, Peacemakers and so on.

So, why have a problem with intelligent species on a fantasy world?

Sure, you have to have a reason for them being there, they don't just pop out of nowhere, or perhaps they do.

I like having different species, it adds flavour and a certain amount of exoticism that playing humans all the time just doesn't give you. When there are different cultures of the same species the game gets even better as you don't always know what they are going to do.

But generally those "species' aren't alien species at all, but really just humans with funny ears, noses or whatnot. Klingons are Vikings with a bit of samurai thrown in, along head ridges.

In Sci-Fi these species usually serve as menaces that the more enlightened humans can show their superiority to. We don't need to do that in Sci-Fi.

I think the problem is that there is a tendency to make the humans bland, and just rely of the non-humans to provide the difference between cultures. And then by acting "elvish".

I think we would be better off to put detail into the human cultures. Take away the head ridges and Klingons could just as easily be a human culture.

So, unless there is something about a species that would make it different from humans (like maybe a race of lizards who guard their ancestral nest while their young hatch), we should just ignore the species stuff and concentrate on the culture.

I don't want to see the "cut & paste" humans that are in most RPG worlds. Lets give all the cultures some flavor. Then right up a world of cannibals!:P

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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1. NOT at standard fantasy late middle ages setting.

2. Magic is common

3. Myth and Religeon is prominent and real.

4. Emphasis on realistic setting with enough wackyness to keep it fun.

5. Familiar races that are in fact unique, so you can say to a new player 'elf' and have them learn through play that 'elf' does not mean Galadriel.

6. Wacky races.

7. Strong emphasis on cults and religeon as primary sources of culture, belief, and magic.

8. Damn strong detailed starting settings and scenarios.

Precisely the mandate Gwenthia was developed under. And including Ax's technology idea, too.

I'd say one thing: embarking and a shared world is fun, but its heaps more work than you probably bank on. And it has to gel. One of the problems is avoiding different nations become silos. There's always going to be interplay between countries; they don't develop in complete isolation, so you'll need a framework to ensure the setting feels real.

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Precisely the mandate Gwenthia was developed under. And including Ax's technology idea, too.

I'd say one thing: embarking and a shared world is fun, but its heaps more work than you probably bank on. And it has to gel. One of the problems is avoiding different nations become silos. There's always going to be interplay between countries; they don't develop in complete isolation, so you'll need a framework to ensure the setting feels real.

Yeah. The hard bit is getting everyone all on the same page. TO some extent you want them all on their own page so they they create something different than the next guy. But that also leads to culture clash.

We are probably better off if we put up a little synopsis of our cultures so any glaring conflicts can be worked out in advance. That way if someone wants a culture with black powder weapons the rest can hash it out and see if some compromise could be reached. Like maybe some microgramism or magical curse that prevents blackpowder from working in certain lands.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Fantasy archetypes could be represented by cultures - the forest people, the mountain people, the underground people, but have them all be humans.

Though really I think races proper would probably have broader appeal.

I have a temporary solution for this. Why don't we just write the culture up as we want it to work, and then decide later if it is a offshoot of humanity or something else. Obviously things like dragonmen or centuars would be non human, but elves, dwarves, orcs, and hobbits could be either human or not.

So if non-human is a central part to the concept it will be. Otherwise, it can all be decided as the world evolves.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Fantasy archetypes could be represented by cultures - the forest people, the mountain people, the underground people, but have them all be humans.

Once I had a similar idea: dwarfs were really short humans who wouldn't live in caves or wear armor if not for bigoted Big Folk, elves were clannish forest dwellers whose extreme physical similarity and odd naming conventions made outsiders think individuals were immortal, and orcs were seemingly peaceful village dwellers who on moonless nights donned grotesque masks and did depraved things.

Though really I think races proper would probably have broader appeal.

One thing I like about Glorantha is that the nonhumans are truly nonhuman: elves are plants, Mostali think like robots, and trolls have their own strange culture ... not to mention morokanths, dragonewts, etc.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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There's nothing wrong with the "gates" approach, but doesn't create much of a cooperative world, unless there's something to bind it all together. Then everyone would just work on their own projects, as we do now.

Ah, but we haven't published our own projects, and given other people permission to develop parts if they feel inspired (or have we?). I believe we would be inspired to add to other people's worlds, and I hope authors would be generally willing to accept such contributions. Then - Bingo! Co-operative worlds.

6. Wacky races.

Great list, Rurik. (Surely Dick Dastardly and Muttley would require a license, though? :D) Seriously, I might add characters - like Rurik himself.

I'm not into gates per se, I agree if you want gates you can just put them in ANY worls to link to ANY OTHER world.

They'd be under GM control of course. No need to make 'em fixed gates: maybe spells or similar (like Corum?).

I'm going with the basic premise that anyone who receives worship, gains power from that, so an emperor who receives worship from his subjects really does gain power in the world, and conversely can dispense that power to his worshippers how he sees fit. This is a two way street, so that if a minor god loses his worshippers he loses real power and potentially his divinity and can return to being mortal. Anyhow, I'm going off topic here, but if anyone has ideas on some reasonable way to model this I'd love to hear it.

OK. My take on this, to avoid the problem of having to have an exact current worshipper-count, is that souls who have become attuned to gods through worshipping them go to their version of heaven/hell when they die - where they act as a power-source for that god (until exhausted/reincarnated/whatever). Like Drohem's avatar! (An interesting side-effect of this might be, if a pogrom were carried out against a god's worshippers that god would actually become more powerful for a while - and so have more divine wrath available to exact retribution...

I like having different species, it adds flavour and a certain amount of exoticism...

I'm for human centric. I think you get better cultures that way.

Uh, oh - trouble already...

1. Each Author gets a good sized island...

2. Players can share landmassess...

3. Any big freaking powers need to be approved...

4. ...

...

Uh, oh - lots of rules already...

Who'd administer? Who'd arbitrate? Take it from someone who knows...

I'd say one thing: embarking and a shared world is fun, but its heaps more work than you probably bank on.

That's why I say 'Gated Worlds': Authors do as they please, having final authority over any contributions; and GMs can easily avoid worlds they don't want to use. We'd avoid a lot of unnecessary work, and could get on with the real job... world creation.

RQ originally had Elves and Dwarves and Trolls and whatnot, and those were accessible to people coming over from other games. In fact the races evolved into Aldryami, Mostali, and Uz and became quite different from the norm. However, being able to say to someone new 'this is an elf' makes them accessible to a new player...

So I really don't mind elves, dwarves, and trolls - it is just important to set them apart from the standard to give them their own flavor. Even Orcs are OK by me - just not Hobbits or Halflings - screw them. :P

I agree. Someone on another thread was just saying how the wacky names in Tekumel made it unplayable for them!

How to make 'em different, though? I liked the Harn idea of insectoid Orcs spawned by a huge larva-like queen; Elves - should be soulless, dangerous child-stealers (but why? and how to role-play them?); Dwarves - selfish, sociopathic, more like trolls really; Trolls - like Norse giants (or Greek titans/legendary monsters, or Grendel?). And no Ducks. ;)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Sorry about introducing some rules, but unless we work out something between us, then I don't see this working. One guy will make something that can and will eat up three quarters of the world in the first year of campaigning.

If this is all going to be on the same world then we need some similarities in what we design.

For unusual cultures races, what we could do is keep the number of syllables down to two or three and not string together a lot of consonant combinations. Something like, say "Ruriks" would be easy to pronounce, something like "Atgxtgs" wouldn't.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Sorry about introducing some rules, but unless we work out something between us, then I don't see this working. One guy will make something that can and will eat up three quarters of the world in the first year of campaigning.

If this is all going to be on the same world then we need some similarities in what we design.

I completely agree. A framework is essential. I know the aim is to have fun - and you will - but there has to be a set of ground rules (no pun intended) or the world won't seem coherent. The gates idea is a teensy bit of a cop-out; it'll be far more satisfying if you get some framework together and work to it to produce a coherent, but original, world.

Gwenthia used several mechanisms. First, we had an arbtrator. Next we had a weekly conference on IRC to discuss common elements such as magic, religion, and so on. Then we had a 'History Game' where we designed Gwenthia's history and integrated it as a group, despite comng up with disparate ideas. We also established a wiki so that ideas could be shared, amended, and collaborated on. Finally, Pete Nash put together a questonnaire that asked people to answer certain questions about their realm such as 'Who have you invaded and who has invaded you'? 'What culture developed as a result of these invasions?' This helped blur the edges of the silos we'd come up with indvidually.

Its taken about 3 years to get Gwentha to the point its at now, and it still isn't finished. So be prepared for a haul!

I'm not saying you need to do all these things - just outlining how the Design Mechanism did it. But yes, you will need rules. They needn't be too strict, but they do require buy-in.

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The gates idea is a teensy bit of a cop-out; it'll be far more satisfying if you get some framework together and work to it to produce a coherent, but original, world.

I'd rather call it an opt-out - out of all the rules/restrictions/difficulties you mention.

Anyway, is there any reason we can't do both and see which is best?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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I'd rather call it an opt-out - out of all the rules/restrictions/difficulties you mention.

Anyway, is there any reason we can't do both and see which is best?

Okay, opt-out it is. ;). Note I said a teensy bit of a cop-out - meaning that, whilst its intriguing enough idea, I can see that the am to try to get round some things that are, really, going to prove inevitable. So not a complete cop-out by any stretch, but even using gates as a central mechanism you'll still need some ground rules to operate to.

Of course you can do both, but even in the gate version you'll be surprised at how much effort you need to go into a shared world, so doing two versions will still be heaps effort.

Look, I'm not trying to put anyone off. Developing a shared world is great fun and working on Gwenthia was a blast. But, like anything worthwhile, it will require quite a bit of committment from those involved.

I'd offer to get involved myself and get something kickstarted, but I simply don't have the time. I've still got Gwenthia to work on in addition to my usual writing workload. But, I'm keen to see something develop and the approach taken.

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