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BRP Ashes, to Ashes


neorxnawang

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New thread.

This is my BRP monograph (accepted and manuscript in house for about a month) which is supposed to be out as a companion to the relaunch (or at least by Origins according to Dustin). I just found this forum today (I've discussed it briefly over on yog-sothoth.com) but this seems to be "the place."

It's a setting book with a couple of scenarios, clocking in at 177 pages. Oof. It's difficult to describe briefly. Conspiratorial fantasy with lots of soical commentary? Ars Magica meets Paranoia meets Jared Diamond's sociology works? Here is the intro blurb:

***

The World is not a happy place. This BRP™ setting casts the PLAYERS as mavericks in a fantasy World that is losing a war it does not even know that it is fighting. Hidden demons and their mortal minions—many of whom do not even know who their masters truly are—manipulate events from the shadows, experimenting with social control mechanisms to steer the human cattle in the direction that they want them to go. The PLAYERS’ goal is to discover and stop them.

Ashes, to Ashes is a role-playing-heavy, philosophy-heavy, conflict-heavy type of game that would be best enjoyed by serious-minded folk. Only portions (one continent and a neighboring island) of the World are described in this work; as will become apparent later, most people have little idea what lies beyond their own village. Feel free to embellish, add additional countries like the ones presented, or work in traditions of your own.

It is also a study of why civilizations “succeed” or “fail”, if “failure” can be judged by modern norms of success (large, sustainable populations with little fear of starvation or preventable death, respect for individuals and human rights, and technological progress). Several of the lands described are based on historical examples of “failed” civilizations, and are plagued with all too real problems: poor adaptation to environment, tribal hatred, an unflinchingly warlike mentality, exhaustion of resources, and stubbornly trying to live in places that are not well suited for human habitation. Those that are “succeeding” are paying prices for their success, both literary (in terms of being in league to one extent or another with demonic forces) and moral (by doing things to survive that the PLAYERS may well consider repugnant).

Ashes, to Ashes must, if run correctly, continually force the PLAYERS to face moral dilemmas. Regardless of whether they make a choice, or choose not to become involved, the consequences of the PLAYERS’ actions or inaction need to attach.

For example, in the introductory scenario The Lord of Nothing, they will encounter something that countless civilizations over the ages have contended with: a military strongman making people’s lives better in the short term at the expense of individual autonomy. Do the PLAYERS intervene and let everyone choose their own course? Do they do so even if they understand that allowing the strongman to do his own thing might improve the lot of more than it would harm?

If the PLAYERS are arguing among themselves not about what they can do, but whether they should do anything, then you have the hang of Ashes, to Ashes.

Over time, and as the campaign progresses, the investigators should begin to see hints that there are hidden puppeteers carefully pulling strings, providing aid, and steering events in a fashion that keeps civilization going, but only at a slow, carefully controlled speed. And that realization, itself, should provoke an argument about what to do about the situation.

***

The World has been broken, broken as a desperate sacrifice to save humanity against the invading demons. 100 years have passed, and it's still quite broken. The remnants of a mighty, high fantasy civilization litter the World, but civilization is no longer mighty.

Although the reasons why the World was broken have already begun to fade into legend, the stories all agree that the wizards deliberately broke the World somehow. These stories are true.

What was once a vibrant World of wealth, learning, magic and high medieval fantasy is now a World of poverty, low magic and scarce resources where people struggle to survive, against the World and against each other.

The World is ruined, the weather is cursed, and the gods have fallen silent. The old governments and institutions have collapsed, and most people usually only bother to learn what they need to eke out a living.

Some people struggle to make things better. Many hasten to step on their fellow man to improve their own lot. But most just exist. People in many places are lucky if they can coax the earth to grow enough food, and even luckier if they have any kind of comfort.

Food is scarce, game is scarce, wood is scarce, and iron is scarcer still. Trade is dangerous, and interaction between communities and regions is either extremely limited, or nonexistent.

The stuff of magic still infuses the World, but is itself fractured and spread thin. The traditions of learning and controlling magic are lost in the ruins, and only the most powerful or fortunate Adept has any hope of mastering it without teaching.

A few brave men and women, emulating the heroes of old, wander the World hoping to make a difference. They seek to bring people together, to uncover the ancient lore, and to rebuild the World into something like the stories say it once was.

These are the ones that the demons worry about. The rest are carefully managed sheep.

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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Guest Vile Traveller

It sounds like the type of setting I'd like to run ... but maybe not one to play in. I don't know, maybe I'm just a sadistic GM. >:->

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I'll have it up among the news section at the front page later today. Do you have a image I can use to illustrate it? And when was it finished - late April or early May? :)

SGL.

I turned it in late April.

There is an image at the Yahoo! group I set up (ashestoashes)

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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This almost sounds like an existential version of Midnight. Instead of a Dark Lord and his evil minions, you have to contend with apathy and ignorance, with a little nudge from supernatural entities.

Frank

"Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977." -- The Laundry RPG
 
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This almost sounds like an existential version of Midnight. Instead of a Dark Lord and his evil minions, you have to contend with apathy and ignorance, with a little nudge from supernatural entities.

Linkage:

ashesttoashes : Ashes to Ashes

Existential version of Midnight? Maybe, if there were only a few, very sneaky bad guys whose existence was generally not believed.

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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My first thought of reference, from the description, was Athas/Dark Sun... but somehow more 'Gothic'.

Lately I've had a real zen for post-apocalyptic fantasy settings... like Athas and Tribe 8... and on-the-cusp-of-apocalypse settings like WFRP.

Still not sure how interested I'd be in Ashes... but so far it sounds intriguing.

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Just heard from Dustin & Charlie that Ashes, to Ashes is at the printers. :thumb:

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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Neorxnawang:

Your setting sounds, philosophically, very similar to the homegrown one I myself employ: low magic, strong religious motivation and metamorphosis, areas of intense physical struggle as various societies try to rise above a moral, "technological" and spiritual collapse of a previously "Golden-Age" that wasn't all that golden.

I am rarely interested in a supplement beyond its collection value (not future monetary value but simply collection "I've-got-them-all" value); yours however, has piqued my content interest. I most enjoy my players role-playing and dealing with such situations in game-play that go beyond the common encounter and dice resolution. Not everyone's cuppa tea, I know, but one my players have been willing to come to the table for (...at least until the advent of WoW and AoC--but that's another story :ohwell:...). I must confess, I look forward to reading how you handle both the theme and philosophical bent of your work as much as I look forward to BRP itself.

Hack and slash, sword and sorcery I love but a mind bending, debate inspiring dilemma or two never hurt :)

Cheers!

Sunwolfe

Present home-port: home-brew BRP/OQ SRD variant; past ports-of-call: SB '81, RQIII '84, BGB '08, RQIV(Mythras) '12,  MW '15, and OQ '17

BGB BRP: 0 edition: 20/420; .pdf edition: 06/11/08; 1st edition: 06/13/08

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It is out as of today in .pdf, which can probably be downloaded to Brazil. :D

I wrote all this junk and accept full credit or blame:

Mortal Coils:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1216

Out of the Vault: http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=395

The Primal State:

http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=7056

Ashes, to Ashes (& soon, Dust to Dust):

http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14290.phtml

Lost in the Lights (coming soon):

http://yog-sothoth.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17334

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So has anyone got the PDF? How is it? What are the production values like? Are there any bits you found particularly interesting that have not been covered by the authors description? How prevalent is demonic influence? Is it a lot different in feel to say WFRP or Evernight?

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