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Official updates will be down in the Q21 forum (and I may see if I can get a sub-forum for it) and I built a page for it on my website. Nothing is there yet. However, for the foreseeable future I imagine I will be spending time here, answering and asking questions. I want the MW community to feel a part of this. Here are five things about ABaB thus far.

  1. Intentionally Multi-cultural. There will certainly be Welsh and Finnish influences, however we are drawing inspiration and ideas from across the full spectrum of human experience and myth. It will not be typical sword n sorcery or typical high fantasy even though certainly those tropes will be covered.
  2. Four main Species. For now we are using species and this may stick throughout. I suspect we will find an in-universe term for it. The four are: Humans, Frost Giants, Fire Giants, and Gek. The giants are not huge, they are about 7' tall. The gek are not humanoid at all, but a lizard folk who are powerful magicians.
  3. Vast and Dangerous Inland Seas. Without a doubt this may be one of the most important aspects players talk about. So we are embracing that. A wide ocean and at least two inland seas. Plus wide rivers and other things. 
  4. Social Tension. The class of people (player characters) who still seek adventure are a dying breed. There is still work of course and dangerous sorcerers and greedy alchemists to battle, but people are tired of them as traditionally societies become tired of mercenaries and soldiers when there is no looming threat. This will isolate characters in some ways from the every day folk. 
  5. The Gods are Unknowable. The divine beings who made the world are long gone and were never really knowable in the first place. There is no divine magic. The gods do not have proper names, but descriptions "He who lay beneath the seas" or "She who is the air you breathe" and stuff like that. Cults will exist of course, because cults are more social constructs than anything. They are built around either people of great power, others (demons and elementals), "beasts" The Beaver of Dark Rive!, or items that may or may not be powerful in some way.  No one gets actual powers from cults, but they can be sources of information and obviously, conflict.

 

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37 minutes ago, tooley1chris said:

My first question would be when did the apocalypse occur? After more modern times? Will there be machines?

Great question. There will not be machines as we understand them. More akin to something Davinci might have come up with. The apocalypse hit during a Renaissance / Golden Age of the world in terms of technology. So no guns or machines. No printing press. We will draw not just from European renaissance, but equivalent periods and golden ages from around the world. It took place 1000 to 2000 years in the past? It has become almost a legend, like the Flood mythology of our world: many cultures mention a great flood. 

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Okay, I like all of it but there are two things that make me extra happy. #1 vast inland seas. Any adventure hooks that revolve around sailing are much appreciated. #2 Four main species that do not include dwarves and elves! Nothing against dwarves and elves but nearly every fantasy setting has them. Human, Frost Giants, Fire Giants and Gek are perfect!

Also looking forward to what you do with magic. The few tantalizing tidbits you mention sound interesting.

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57 minutes ago, rsanford said:

#2 Four main species that do not include dwarves and elves! Nothing against dwarves and elves but nearly every fantasy setting has them.

This is very important to me in many of the designs I am working on. Plenty of other games and settings do dwarves and elves great. 

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12 hours ago, Sean_RDP said:

This is very important to me in many of the designs I am working on. Plenty of other games and settings do dwarves and elves great. 

Sounds reasonable - especially since dwarves and elves are in the MW rulebook, anway, so it's easy to re-introduce them if you want them in your campaign.

Regarding species: does "main species" mean that these four are the only playable species? Or will we see all kínds of cultures and creatures as viable PC choices besides those? I always felt that BRP lends itself perfectly to the latter, even though it hasn't been done that much.

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1 hour ago, Jakob said:

Sounds reasonable - especially since dwarves and elves are in the MW rulebook, anway, so it's easy to re-introduce them if you want them in your campaign.

Regarding species: does "main species" mean that these four are the only playable species? Or will we see all kínds of cultures and creatures as viable PC choices besides those? I always felt that BRP lends itself perfectly to the latter, even though it hasn't been done that much.

So let's talk species and cultures for a moment.

For the moment we will have the the three species as playable: humans, giants (frost n fire), and gek. So four playable species or sub-species int total. That number may go up as we work, as the various cultures unfold. For example, there will be at least two more kinds of giants, but they are destined for the bestiary portion of the book. There will likely be either a sub-species of gek or a related species. Humans are humans and they can just sod off. 

However, when it comes to culture there will be a greater variety of those, several of which will be home to at least two maybe all of the playable species / sub-species. There will be very little mono-culture, though the gek culture will be the most alien.  There will be some mono-species cultures, at least one for each giant and the gek of course. Humans don't have a specific cultural template, though as is mentioned in Babylon 5, humans do build communities.  Those communities, the "hive" (working term) cities and hill fort cultures being the most prevalent. 

The world may have once held a full spectrum of "playable" (its a scientific term) species, but when civilization collapsed, many did not survive the aftermath. Again though, as we work through the setting we may add more playable species. Right now the four are, at least in our heads, balanced for what our setting needs. 

Edited by Sean_RDP
Forgot a word
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In MW Culture terms, there will be several Bands / Clans that will be mono-species (and one or two that won't be limited), many Tribes with more multi-species than mono-species characteristics, and several chiefdoms that have several species sharing the space. There will not be many States and those that are will be exclusively multi-species as they are relatively new and were formed in the crucible of conflict. 

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:22 PM, rsanford said:

Nothing against dwarves and elves but nearly every fantasy setting has them

I prefer human-centric settings myself, but I can definitely get down with giants. In fact, my favorite race from modern D&D are the Goliaths. My least favorite (in any fantasy setting) is probably Halflings or any other Hobbit analogue.

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16 minutes ago, tobarstep said:

I prefer human-centric settings myself, but I can definitely get down with giants. In fact, my favorite race from modern D&D are the Goliaths. My least favorite (in any fantasy setting) is probably Halflings or any other Hobbit analogue.

Me too. In my current game the only races available to the players are human. NPCs can be human, serpent person or Myrh (person with dragonfly wing). By the way Sean your setting sounds great! Tell us more!

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11 hours ago, rsanford said:

By the way Sean your setting sounds great! Tell us more!

Hrmm, well there will be a whole continent / region that will be forever a blank slate for the GMs to put their own area in the world. Of course there will be plenty of well stocked lands of adventure as well.

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I think Wednesdays will be teaser day and Fridays official updates? This works for now.

Five (MORE) Things about Ashes of Blade & Bone

  1. It is NOT Earth. I am not sure if I said this somewhere else, but this world is definitely not Earth. There are a few reasons for this and to be honest, it works out better this way. We are able to create a world from whole cloth, to make it as fancy fish as we want, and not have to worry about Earth geology, geography, and cultural identities. It also helps us (try) and redefine fantasy and Sword n Sorcery a little. At least in terms of relying on literary IP directly or indirectly.
  2. Dragons, Wyverns, & Wyrms. For the moment I know there will be dragons and (if you read the official thread) creatures known as wyrms. Wyverns are one of my favorite dragon like creatures so if I can find a way for them to make sense, I will do so. This is actually a hard question for me to answer, because if you say "no dragons" that definitely pushes the boundary of fantasy, but does it zero out some of the fun? So I decided there would be dragons and dragon like creatures.
    1. Wyrms. These are smaller, maybe no more than 4 meters long, 6 meter wing span. They will have some kind of sorcery inherent to their being and in that case, their use as spell components will make them desirable to hunt. How intelligent will wyrms be? Maybe they get smarter as they age or have some kind of inherent understanding of the world. 
    2. Dragons. Here is where I want to go to new places. Dragons will not be as large as say, a Gloranthan dragon, but certainly I want them big. Instead of a lair and followers, I want each dragon to have its own ecology. Birds or animals that live around or follow the dragon. Parasites that clean its skin. Influenced by Godzilla, more like forces of nature than mere creatures. Perhaps each dragon is unique in form, similar, but each has features that are its own. 
    3. Wyverns. If they end up as part of the ecology, I am thinking they do not fly, but glide. They will be very fast when running. A poison stinger obviously. 
  3. Sea Serpents & Krakens. In the great world ocean the last children of the gods live on in sea serpents and krakens. There are also parts of the world open for exploration if the GM wants to send the players on a sea voyage. I am sure the krakens do no mind. 
  4. No Orcs; but Interesting enemies. It is easy to dress up an orc up in new clothes and give it a new name and say "hey look!" If you want orcs, put orcs in your game! The question you have to ask is what niche does an orc or orc-like fill in the ecology of your world? Do I need that niche and if so, where can I find something else to fill that niche. Have not decided yet, but I know we are going to stay away from some fantasy tropes. 
  5. Why do characters adventure? One of the most important questions to answer is where does conflict come from? Society is trying to change, but the world has not healed from its apocalypse and it may never recover. There are strange forces constantly trying to destroy or warp these societies and the tension is palpable. And even though the various societies are looking to gain some stability, the roaming and aggressive adventurers do have their place. At least for now.  Of course what happens with Allegiance will also affect the reasons and conflicts. Stay tuned. 
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A day late, my apologies. This week we talk more about magic and how it is perceived. And how color interacts with the lore of the world

5 MORE Things About ABaB

  1. The "11 Fundamentals" of Magic. There are 11 fundamental elements that make up the universe. They create the the basic language of magic and spell casting as well as affecting Allegiance for those who are not sorcerers or alchemists. 
    1. Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Light, Dark, Law, Chaos, Life, Death, and Void.
    2. There was once a 12th Fundament - Infinity - but it is gone now that the "gods" are gone from the world. As we know, the gods are unknowable and when they left, they took their "magic" with them. 
  2. Colors: Sorcery & Alchemy. Color or the lack of has a powerful relationship to magic, both sorcery and alchemy, Sorcery mutes color and alchemy enhances color. So as a sorcerer gains in power, knows more spells, gets better at spells, he or she will start to become color blind. They will also begin to lose hair, skin, and eye color. The ultimate sorcerer is practically an albino or like looking at a Sepia toned individual. It is obvious. The upside to this is that they see clearer details since they eventually see only in shades of grey. The opposite is the alchemist, who begins to see a ton of colors and vibrant colors and becomes very colorful. The ultimate alchemist might look like an over saturated watercolor. They see vivid colors, but the downside to this is that they suffer headaches and migraines from always seeing some intense color. Magic has consequence
  3. Drakes. A fourth dragon type has been added.  They are small, winged, have camouflage, are intelligent enough to speak and act as messengers much as a parrot might. 
  4. Lore. I wanted to talk about some of the Lore of the world itself.
    1. The world was in a golden age and sorcery was pursued in its more powerful forms. Several of the most powerful magicians of the time sought this knowledge and their experiments began to draw color from the world. This began to kill the world itself, not taking its life force but removing the fundamental color and vibrancy of the world.
    2. This began a holy war that ultimately lead to the gods abandoning the world altogether and the Infinity Fundament no longer workin for magic. 
    3. People had to return color to the world on their own and this gave rise to Alchemy. 
    4. It is rumored that there is a being known as the Ageless Seer from the Golden Before who is both the ultimate sorcerer AND the ultimate alchemist. 
  5. Dangers in the World. The world is full of dangerous people, places, and things. 
    1. There are colorless zones and saturated color zones. The Saturated zones are physically dangerous and the Colorless zones are mentally and emotionally dangerous.
    2. There is a piece of the ocean known as the Colorless Sea. It is very dangerous to go there.
    3. The old (Davinci) machines are still lying around in the badlands. Retrieving them is not as easy as it sounds. 
    4. There is a cult that has infiltrated every society and every species that seeks to create another Ageless Seer. 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Nick J. said:

I don't know why, but I'm getting a "Wizards" vibe?

I am not saying it has a Jethro Tull inspired musical theme, but lots of Tull is played while writing it :)

Seriously, Wizards does have some influence here. In fact I have an old (non-d100) set of concepts around here about a post-apoc world where everyone plays a Wizard of some kind. So do not be surprised if some aspects find their way. Mostly some of the weird. 

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I barely have 5 things this week, but I may have something on the Quest21 forum this weekend. So a few more things...

  1. Blindness - This is a mixed bag for Sorcerers & Alchemists. In the short term it can be a benefit if the Sorc/Alch can handle the shock. For a very powerful magician, one that has the ability to control their environment, it can be a great boon and the most powerful magicians may eventually let themselves go blind. However, for new or middle of the road magicians it can cause madness as they are forced to internalize their relationship to color and magic. Many fanatics blind themselves, thinking it will grant great power but they inevitably go mad.
  2. There is a spirit world - There are spirits and the Gek are adept at seeing and contacting them. However, any shamans are not using spirit magic; they are using sorcery or alchemy or the Gek weird combination of the two. Especially in Gek culture, but also among the giants, worship of ancestors is a thing. 
  3. Spirits & Shades - Speaking of the spirit world, all spirits are non-threatening, unless you anger them. They are those ancestors who have moved on with no issues. Shades are those spirits or parts of spirits for whom death was not a release or relief. Undead will be built off of these ideas. 
  4. Hive Cities - Generally the humans live in cities that are called hives. Think about the most crowded looking Warhammer Fantasy or Zweihander city and the add two more levels and smoosh it together. That is the hive cities. Weird, anime and (European) renaissance inspires styles. Add in some Asian and African accents. The land between is far less crowded and the towns tend to be two horse communes. 
  5. Adventure Design - GM Advice - Part of the GM advice section will talk about four part story structure instead of three; trying to shake up the standard story constructs and adventure ideas. 

 

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