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Luther Arkwright: how to travel the parallels (and other Q's)?


g33k

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At a recent gaming session, one of my players mentioned the idea of a "world-hopping" game:  THIS adventure in a pseudo-medieval/Tolkieneque world, THAT adventure in a ModernUrbanFantasy world, the NEXT adventure in a Victoriana-Steampunk world, etc etc etc.

So my thoughts went straight to Luther Arkwright (naturally); I don't own the supplement, nor have I read the original source material, so I have a few questions.  I don't think we want to play in exactly the LA multiverse, though, with  zero-zero, Valhalla, Disruptors, & all the rest ...  Still, it'd be silly of me to ignore LA if we move in this direction!

As to the questions: 

  • Am I correct in understanding that LA is "only" a supplement, and needs RQ6/Mythras to play?  Can we get by with Mythras Imperative?  RQEssentials?
  • How many (if any) of the Parallels are detailed (to a ready-to-play level of detail) in the core book?
  • How do PC's travel between parallels (e.g. tech "gateways" or psionic planewalkers or...)?  Is the method of traversing the parallels deeply-embedded in the system (such that Stuff Breaks if you alter this), or could I equally-well handwave whatever method(s) I preferred?

I'm sure other questions will come to me, but this should be enough for me to get started with ...  :D

Edited by g33k
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To answer the questions in order... :)

  • Am I correct in understanding that LA is "only" a supplement, and needs RQ6/Mythras to play?  Can we get by with Mythras Imperative?  RQEssentials?

Yes, it's a supplement and not a standalone game. You should be able to get by with RQ6, Essentials or Mythras Imperative. Arkwright makes use of Mysticism, but it has it's own rules for psionics, sanity, vehicles, weapons and unique character abilities (and flaws).

  • How many (if any) of the Parallels are detailed (to a ready-to-play level of detail) in the core book?

Three or four parallels are offered in overview, but not to detailed world-building depth. That simply isn't the way Arkwright missions tend to work. We do have a separate campaign book with 8 linked missions in a  variety of different parallels ranging in historical eras.

  • How do PC's travel between parallels (e.g. tech "gateways" or psionic planewalkers or...)?  Is the method of traversing the parallels deeply-embedded in the system (such that Stuff Breaks if you alter this), or could I equally-well handwave whatever method(s) I preferred?

Characters use a device called The Van, which can traverse the multiverse. Some individuals have a psionic ability that lets them plane shift without technology. But there aren't portals or gates scattered all over to just stumble upon; travel to and from planes requires planning and coordination.

Arkwright really is emulating the graphic novels, so if it's a Planescape type of experience your characters are after, Arkwright might not be it - although it does offer some great ideas that could be easily plundered. It does have a heavy steampunk influence, and several of the scenarios in 'Parallel Lines' reflect that - and because each takes place on a different parallel, you get a good flavour of plane hopping. You can also ignore the Disruptors if you want to: many of the Parallel Lines scenarios have baddies that are themselves ignorant of the Disruptors or the scenario isn't tied to them.

Edited by lawrence.whitaker
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On 12/10/2017 at 6:21 AM, lawrence.whitaker said:

To answer the questions in order... :)

  • Am I correct in understanding that LA is "only" a supplement, and needs RQ6/Mythras to play?  Can we get by with Mythras Imperative?  RQEssentials?

Yes, it's a supplement and not a standalone game. You should be able to get by with RQ6, Essentials or Mythras Imperative. Arkwright makes use of Mysticism, but it has it's own rules for psionics, sanity, vehicles, weapons and unique character abilities (and flaws).

  • How many (if any) of the Parallels are detailed (to a ready-to-play level of detail) in the core book?

Three or four parallels are offered in overview, but not to detailed world-building depth. That simply isn't the way Arkwright missions tend to work. We do have a separate campaign book with 8 linked missions in a  variety of different parallels ranging in historical eras.

  • How do PC's travel between parallels (e.g. tech "gateways" or psionic planewalkers or...)?  Is the method of traversing the parallels deeply-embedded in the system (such that Stuff Breaks if you alter this), or could I equally-well handwave whatever method(s) I preferred?

Characters use a device called The Van, which can traverse the multiverse. Some individuals have a psionic ability that lets them plane shift without technology. But there aren't portals or gates scattered all over to just stumble upon; travel to and from planes requires planning and coordination.

Arkwright really is emulating the graphic novels, so if it's a Planescape type of experience your characters are after, Arkwright might not be it - although it does offer some great ideas that could be easily plundered. It does have a heavy steampunk influence, and several of the scenarios in 'Parallel Lines' reflect that - and because each takes place on a different parallel, you get a good flavour of plane hopping. You can also ignore the Disruptors if you want to: many of the Parallel Lines scenarios have baddies that are themselves ignorant of the Disruptors or the scenario isn't tied to them.

Thank you!

I don't think anyone is overtly wanting a campaign along "Planescape(tm)" lines... for one thing, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the group who knows what that is!  :P    I just wanted to make sure that if I use the LA sourcebook, but violate LA setting-norms (by (e.g.) giving all players plane-shifting magic / psi / cheap gadget / etc; or scattering a few portals/gates hither or thither (though probably not yon); or place a curse on them that makes them shift outside their control; etc) it will only violate those setting norms themselves... there aren't deeper mechanical/design issues that might cause things down the line to break unexpectedly.

Honestly, though, it's not clear to me WHAT the vision is here:  it was a casual remark expressing interest in a dimension-hopping game.  I think the interest was in setting-variety, but I'm not sure & need to ask further (but I suspect the Disruptors as-written will be right out (and speaking of them -- is anyone else struck by similarities between Arkwright's "Disruptors" & the "Eddorians" of the Lensman series?)).  Or we may end up sticking with our current Ars Magica set-up; or launch a Glorantha game with RQClassic & an eye toward RQG next year... or something else entirely.  Historically speaking, this group hasn't really "settled" to any long campaign.

I've got RQ6 & will likely go ahead and buy the LA supplement, but I doubt I could get anyone else to buy Mythras (or LA), so being able to use (e.g.) Mythras Imperative for at least SOME of it appears to be a requisite...  But your idea of "offered in overview, but not to detailed world-building depth" may be more than enough for me... FrEx, I find "Anathym's Saga" in the RQ6 core-book quite adequately colorful & detailed enough to run at least a mini-campaign on just that content (plus NPC's & stories I'd create, of course).

I just need to get a handle on what my resources are (or will be) before I blithely offer, "sure, I can run that!" to my group of players.  :D

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