Monday, May 31, 2010

What is Bryn Mawr, or why do I keep babbling about this stuff? Pt. 1

I've mentioned ideas for Bryn Mawr without describing what Bryn Mawr actually is, so rather than keep babbling I'm going to take time to define it.

Bryn Mawr is a fantasy roleplaying setting that has been rattling around my head for years. At its core Bryn Mawr is intended to be a land inspired by what is now the United Kingdoms during the Dark Ages with a bit of the culture of the Vikings blended in. Blending some of the legends of the lands with some fantasy races should provide an interesting sandbox for players to explore. So here's some of the most important facts.
  • The land is intended to have a distinctly Celtic/Viking world view, without the baggage that the Christian monks and priests brought to the islands of the UK.
  • The major races that exist in the world are;
    • The old human tribes - heavily influenced by the Picts and early Celts
    • The humans in power - culturally this folk is based on a slightly more agrarian version of the Vikings, mainly in the sense that their farms are a little more productive and the forest provide more food than usual.
    • The Dwarves - the dwarves are heavily influenced by Warhammer Fantasy and Terry Pratchett's Discworld. This puts a different spin on Dwarves while mostly still being familiar
    • Kobolds - Kobolds are a race trying to claw their way into respectability as a people that stand on their own.
    • Kerpans - Kerpans are a anthropomorphic race of Squirrels that were created by a magical disaster. Living in hunter gather tribes, these are the "people of the woods" in the game.
    • Elves - Elves in Bryn Mawr are the Sidhe rather than Tolkien's elves, terrible and haughty in their grandeur and power Elves thankfully rarely are involved in the life of everyday people.
    • "Cutters" - Goblins that were horribly twisted by the same disaster that created the Kerpans.
    • More will probably be added as I expand the land but this will still primarily be a human dominated land with Kerpans and Dwarves as common as Elves and Dwarves in classic D&D worlds like the Judge's Guild Wilderlands and Gygax's Greyhawk.
  •  The land will intentionally be less fantastical than some retroclone game worlds but still with an old school bent, as thats what I enjoy playing.
  • Characters will be presented with a world that exists independent of them, but that they can influence through their actions.
  • Personal honor is more important than anything tangible
  • The old traditions of hospitality will be important, as Inns will not really exist as people are used to them
  • Family bonds will be really important, Im just not sure how to make it happen in mechanics terms
 The world was originally inspired as running under Classic or Original D&D, however I'm planning to focus on systemless description and make rules appendices for the following;
  • Classic D&D (Mentzer, Holmes and Rules Cyclopedia)
  • Savage Worlds
  • Hackmaster Basic
  • Harp
  • potentially Gurps and Castles and Crusades
My eventual goal is to create a PDF of the game world thats sytemless and several appendices with the different rules systems and how they handle the world.

    More later....

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    The Grand list of Ponderings on Bryn Mawr, Pt1

    Before Ive mentioned briefly that I have a fantasy RPG campaign world that Ive been thinking about a lot called Bryn Mawr. If Im listening to a podcast or reading a book some part of my mind is wondering; how can I apply this to Bryn Mawr, what can I learn from this?

    So here's the current list of things Im pondering for Bryn Mawr - and the more interesting will probably become blog posts as I mentally delve into the political and social traits of the the game world, perhaps to the point of splitting the posts off into thier own blog. But thats all in the future... for now I just need to get the ideas out of my head and into some sort of physical form. So with no further ado...

    The grand list of ponderings
    1. What are the real world parallels of the cultures of the races?
    2. Ice houses - how is food preserved among the major races of the world? How is it prepared?
    3. Is there an Aurora in the world? How far south does it show, what colors?
    4. What sort of drinks (especially alcoholic) do the different races make or brew? For example Rat Lager of the Dwarves
    5. How big are the fields of the world? Perhaps the size of an American football field
    6. How common are tornadoes?
    7. Is there Ergot? do people know what it is?
    8. The "Town Cryer of Carnegie Towers" as an NPC.
    9. Mental illness, how common and how is it treated?
    10. How common are taverns? Are they just places to drink or something more
    11. Are there any cows or are deer, elk and fish the main sources of meat?
    12. What are the standardized units of the kingdoms?
    13. How is death and burial treated by the races
    14. What are the unifying cultural meals of the races
    15. What spices are in the land?
    16. Does millet or sorghum exist? What are the grains and staples of the races?
    17. Are there city states in the world?
    18. What founder crops are there for each race?
    19. Are there any military colonies?
    20. What amount of the houses in the world are also storefronts and shops?
    21. Skiing in the land?
    22. Where are the canals from the Great Empire?
    23. What is know about the lake that exists at the site of the former capital of the Great Empire? What is weird?
    24. What sort of mines are in the land?
    25. Are imperial gifts, ala the Chinese, in the world? Gifts that are part bribe part grease to maintain the government, known as pander diplomacy
    26. What is the link between crafts and government?
    27. Is there an incarnation of the memory of the land?
    28. What is the religions of the land like? Dualistic, monotheistic, or pantheistic?
    29. Do the Nephillum have a place in the game? The children of man and angel.
    30. Is Borron treated as a great betrayer or a cleanser of iniquity? Are there differing views? Does anyone worship him?
    31. Are there fairs in the land?
    32. How are markets handled?
    33. How are family feuds handled?
    34. How is magic like polymorph treated in the legal system
    35. Do fish ponds exist in the land?
    36. Whats Breakfast or Childs ale like? How common?
    37. Do people eat seafood? How often and what sort?
    38. Are there deer parks?
    39. How heroic are PCs expected to be?
    40. are there Equinox ceremonies?
    41. does the fairy realm exist?
    42. How common is Human Sacrifice?
    43. What is the role of Anchorites in the land?
    44. Are there any special rules or folk lore on how magic might or might not work?
    45. What sort of architecture does each race favor?
    46. Do chariots have a role in the world?
    47. How rare are diamonds?
    48. the importance of genealogy and who you are related to
    49. are sacrifices offered in times of natural disasters
    50. do the gods need appeased or hornored
    51. whats paper like in the world?
    52. are there sacred mountains?
    53. What role do titles have in the land?
    54. Whats food like? What sort of food?
    55. Are there healing wells? Is there worship at these wells?
    56. Are there fae and do they live in the hollow hills? What lives in the hollow hills instead?
    57. What symbols are worn by different groups in combat to avoid fraticide
    58. Do swords tell of their achievements and uses when cleaned?
    59. Is there a Plain of Pillars from some ancient battle?
    60. Are there merchant houses?
    61. What are taxes and dues like in the land
    62. Are there faerie doctors?
    63. What is the role of the giant in the land? Are they in decline, have they become corrupted?
    64. Is there an equivalent to the Fomori?
    65. What role do Doorkeepers have in the land?
    66. Are there bloodfines?
     And this is just what is partially rattling around my head...

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Delays, distractions, and new games

    In what seems like almost nothing and forever a month has passed since my last blog post, not a good thing. On the positive side much of the lack of posting has stemmed from either time spent with the girlfriend or hobby related projects.
    1) Ive got a small friendly commission to paint 1:700 scale minis of the Tirpitz, Prinz Eugen, HMS Hood and the USS Essex. Ive never worked in this scale or on naval minis before so its become a learning experience as I work with figuring color schemes that work for each vessel and fiddly little things like what color an aircraft carrier deck really would look like.
    2) I'm pushing myself towards some conversion work that involves sculpting, and being reminded how pitiful my sculpting skills really are. On the project desk is a knight for the girlfriend that is inspired by an Osprey color plate of a Saxon or Norman knight of the 1100's; a scratch built Battletech Hover pickup technical, converting a Battletech Raijan to the new Raijan 2 configuration, replacing the forearms of the reseen Maruader that lost bits, and heraldry work on some pre Heresy World Eaters for 40k.

    3) It looks like Im going to be running Battletech games on Saturdays for a while now, except for GASP games days. 

    More on this all later