Tuesday, June 29, 2010

back to work - religious thoughts

Well life has gotten in the way, again. But back to developing Bryn Mawr.

Thoughts about the gods
1. They do exist, but they manage the affairs of world with minimal direct actions.
2. They do not fight amongst the family but conflict between the family and the old ones is rather common
3. The family represents different aspects of a general philosophy, which is one of reasons honor is viewed relatively similar between races.
4. There is no afterlife in the land - the tribute a person has after they die is how they are remembered
5. Priests of the family are common and popular among the human tribes, but priests who serve a single diety are respected but considered odd.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A different way to play

In the massive amount of podcasting, much of it gaming related, I listen to to get me through the work day I've come across the concept of play by comment. Kind of similar to forum based play by posts, play by comment has the DM make a blog post setting the scene and the players respond by comments. This is a really interesting concept

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We're all one big family or the Gods of Bryn Mawr

Well it seems that my plan to post something short every day is not going quite as planned. It is interesting to notice that the blog is turning into a development blog for my world building experiment - which I may have to split into a separate blog.

Anyways onto the meat of the post

The Gods of Bryn Mawr
One of my problems with most traditional fantasy games is how the gods are handled. In a game where clerics can perform miracles, which when you read the oldest versions of games like D&D is what clerical spells should be like, the religion and gods they serve is barely explored. These divine beings that give the power to change the world are reduced to minimalist descriptions that seem to exist in a vacuum from all the other divine beings. And I dont like that...

An idea I do like is from the novel the Curse of Chalion, where the gods are 4 members of a single family with one being outside the group who is responsible for everything that doesnt fit into the portfolios of the 4 main gods. So blatantly stealing that concept I'm going to write the religion of the core humans of Bryn Mawr as a collection of 5 divine beings; mother, daughter, father, son and the outsider.

Axla, the goddess of Flesh and Change - goddess of all the aspects of flesh like; healing, illness and mutation.She is directly inspired by this article by Zac over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars then just shifted some into my vision of the world I want to present. Oh and yes the blog has the adult content warning for a reason.So I plan to shift her a little towards milf status, so she'll be beautiful but not in a girlish way, but very much the ripe, fertile woman image of the traditional fertility goddesses.She'll most definitely rule over the growing season.

The Allfather - Im going to draw heavily from Odin here, so the Allfather is as much feared as worshipped, even the goddess of war is more well liked than he. He will have power over the winter, which should make him atleast somewhat a death god, in addition to covering those things which are expected but unpleasant. However to maintain the double edged theme I want to stick with he will also be the god that gives a man his courage, much like Crom does in Conan stories.

Master of the Hunt - The young man of the divine family, Im most unsure of what I want with this god. I want to cover either hunting, farming or trade and push him towards covering the spring season, the time of rebirth, not in creating but rather renewal.

Goddess of War - I just enjoy the image of the young female goddess who is the image of blood thirsty patron of blood and conquest. A major influence will be the Morrigan of Celtic legend, perhaps even as far as including the dark and disturbing images that go with that. The goddess will be ruler of harvest (much like war can be thought of as the harvest of man)

The Outsider, Hoarden The Other Seer-

Among the dwarves is a practice of ancestor worship. More tonight

Kobolds have their own pantheon, but it bears a suspicious similarity to the human pantheon

Kerpans are an animistic people with ancestor heroes

And there will be dark and terrible beings that some of the evil races worship.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Master listing of ponderings

Here is a break down of my ponderings into major topics to attack
  1. The effects of magic
    1. How does magic directly affect the economy?
    2. How does magic affect agriculture?
    3. How does magic affect food sources?
    4. How is magic like polymorph treated in the legal system
    5. Someone who wants to do you harm counts for the protection from evil scrolls
    6. Are there any special rules or folk lore on how magic might or might not work?
  2. What are the real world parallels of the cultures of the races? 
    1.  What are the grains and staples of the races?
    2.  what are the clothes of different groups like?
    3.  What sort of architecture does each race favor?
  3. Food
    1. Ice houses - how is food preserved among the major races of the world? How is it prepared?
    2. What sort of drinks (especially alcoholic) do the different races make or brew? For example Rat Lager of the Dwarves
    3. Are there any cows or are deer, elk and fish the main sources of meat?
    4.  What founder crops are there for each race?
    5.  What are the unifying cultural meals of the races
    6. What spices are in the land?
    7. Does millet or sorghum exist?
    8. what is drinking like
    9. Do fish ponds exist in the land?
    10. Whats Breakfast or Childs ale like? How common?
    11. Do people eat seafood? How often and what sort?
    12. Are there deer parks?
    13. Building a deeper story through the judicious use of food
    14. How does food and drink differ among the races?
    15. are there religious taboos involving food, like Islam and alcohol or Judaism and pig products
    16.  Whats food like? What sort of food?
  4. Natural Events
    1. Is there an Aurora in the world? How far south does it show, what colors?
    2. How common are tornadoes?
    3. are there Equinox ceremonies?
    4. are sacrifices offered in times of natural disasters
  5. Religion
    1. The gods as a family unit in BM
    2.  offerings and sacrifices to the gods
    3. Is there an incarnation of the memory of the land?
    4. What is the religions of the land like? Dualistic, monotheistic, or pantheistic?
    5.  Is Borron treated as a great betrayer or a cleanser of iniquity? Are there differing views? Does anyone worship him?
    6. are there sacred mountains?
    7. The cunning man of a town lives beside a sacrificial tree, on which hangs animal sacrifices and tokens
    8. How common is Human Sacrifice?
    9. What is the role of Anchorites in the land?
    10.  do the gods need appeased or hornored
  6. Government
    1. What are the standardized units of the kingdoms?
    2. Are there city states in the world?
    3. Are there any military colonies?
    4. "He will keep who can" philosophy amongst humans
    5. What sort of mines are in the land?
    6. Are imperial gifts, ala the Chinese, in the world? Gifts that are part bribe part grease to maintain the government, known as pander diplomacy
    7. What is the link between crafts and government?
    8. What role do titles have in the land?
    9. What are taxes and dues like in the land
  7. Economy
    1. Carved items as treasure
    2. what is the basis of the economy of the the land? Barter, coin or a mix
    3. What amount of the houses in the world are also storefronts and shops?
    4. Are there fairs in the land?
    5. How are markets handled?
    6. How rare are diamonds?
    7. Cattleraiding in BM
    8. Symbols found on coins - perhaps marking purity and weight of coins
    9.  Are there merchant houses?
    10. Are there bloodfines?
  8. Game specific
    1. Division of control in BM - players control the story and the DM controls the setting
    2. How are words found in BM pronounced? Pronunciation guide for BM
    3. How is family treated mechanically
    4. Allegiances instead of alignment
    5. Could BM be on a ring world?
    6. What is the feel of BM?
    7. Are there any dungeons that are not normal, for example a crashed spaceship in the ringworld idea, but no one knows of it as a ship
    8.  do props have a place in BM games? Propinomicon blog
    9. How are family feuds handled?
    10. How heroic are PCs expected to be?
    11. the importance of genealogy and who you are related to
  9. How big are the fields of the world? Perhaps the size of an American football field
  10. Is there Ergot? do people know what it is?
  11. The "Town Cryer of Carnegie Towers" as an NPC.
  12. Mental illness, how common and how is it treated?
  13. How common are taverns? Are they just places to drink or something more
  14. How is death and burial treated by the races
  15. Skiing in the land?
  16. Where are the canals from the Great Empire?
  17. What is know about the lake that exists at the site of the former capital of the Great Empire? What is weird?
  18. Do the Nephillum have a place in the game? The children of man and angel.
  19. does the fairy realm exist?
  20. Do chariots have a role in the world?
  21. whats paper like in the world?
  22. Are there healing wells? Is there worship at these wells?
  23. Are there fae and do they live in the hollow hills? What lives in the hollow hills instead?
  24. What symbols are worn by different groups in combat to avoid fraticide
  25. Do swords tell of their achievements and uses when cleaned?
  26. Is there a Plain of Pillars from some ancient battle?
  27. Are there faerie doctors?
  28. What is the role of the giant in the land? Are they in decline, have they become corrupted?
  29. Is there an equivalent to the Fomori? No
  30. What role do Doorkeepers have in the land?
  31. Cave filled with pictures of headless beasts and dancing figures - what does it mean and who made it?
  32. A Cutter goes to kick a rock down on adventurers and stubs his foot instead. As he hops around in pain his companion laughs and then brains the wounded Cutter, throwing his body down at the adventurers.
  33. statuary of the past in the land
  34. tendays instead of weeks
  35. ceremonial weapons in the land
  36. roads

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ponderings on Bryn Mawr pt 3

Wow... I really need to start writing on the previous ponderings before I keep adding more to the list...

Anyways, here's some more thoughts;

  • Cattleraiding in BM
  • The gods as a family unit in BM
  • Symbols found on coins - perhaps marking purity and weight of coins
  • statuary of the past in the land
  • Carved items as treasure
  • what is drinking like
  • what are the clothes of different groups like?
  • what is the basis of the economy of the the land? Barter, coin or a mix
  • tendays instead of weeks
  • ceremonial weapons in the land
  • roads
  • offerings and sacrifices to the gods
  • How does magic directly affect the economy?
  • How does magic affect agriculture?
  • How does magic affect food sources?

One of the reasons I keep trying to pound out these short posts is to get in the habit of posting, and consequently writing, a little bit each day during the week. Let's see how that works

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ponderings on BM pt 2

A short list of more random thoughts on the setting
  • Building a deeper story through the judicious use of food
  • How does food and drink differ among the races?
  • are there religious taboos involving food, like Islam and alcohol or Judaism and pig products
  • The cunning man of a town lives beside a sacrificial tree, on which hangs animal sacrifices and tokens
  • "He will keep who can" philosophy amongst humans
  • do props have a place in BM games? Propinomicon blog
  • Cave filled with pictures of headless beasts and dancing figures - what does it mean and who made it?
  • Could BM be on a ring world?
  • What is the feel of BM?
  • Are there any dungeons that are not normal, for example a crashed spaceship in the ringworld idea, but no one knows of it as a ship
  • A Cutter goes to kick a rock down on adventurers and stubs his foot instead. As he hops around in pain his companion laughs and then brains the wounded Cutter, throwing his body down at the adventurers.
  • Division of control in BM - players control the story and the DM controls the setting
  • How are words found in BM pronounced? Pronunciation guide for BM
  • How is family treated mechanically
  • Allegiances instead of alignment
  • Someone who wants to do you harm counts for the protection from evil scrolls

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cutters pt. 2

More on Cutters

  • Cutters reproduce rapidly, grow unnaturally fast and if unchecked will pour forth in hordes periodically
  • They can live on virtually anything, even stones for a short period of time
  • They worship the Dark Mother, the Goat of the Woods
  • their worship of this dark god(dess) centers around the slow ritual cutting of a victim, siphoning away their soul in small increments
  • Victims of this sacrifice are then hung as trophies or totems on the edge of the area considered cutter territory
  • these victims also do not rejoin the endless turning of the wheel of time as far as anyone can tell

Origins of the Cutters

Just one post this morning

Well the story with cutters begins 250 years before the game time. An invasion of orcs (think Uruk-Hai) was threatening to sweep aside the Great Empire that was in Bryn Mawr. The most powerful mage of the empire, his name was Borron, bargained for access to the Grand Library of the Dwarven capital. As the Orcs shattered the last defensive line that the Empire had created Borron cast a massive spell. It struck down every orc in the world, wiping the species from the world. Mad with the power he had drawn on to cast this spell, or as they whisper because it was his actual goal, Borron strove to become a god. No one knows exactly what happened but the upper half of the tallest known mountain in the world, and the site of the capital of the Dwarven Underkingdom, detonated. A rain of raw magic fell as the clouds blocked out the sun, and a star fell from the skies and struck the capital of the Great Empire, believed to be a punishment on those people from the gods. All the holiest sites of Dwarfdom, thier entire recorded history and most of thier leaders were all destroying in an instant.

But the rain of magic changed the world the most. Most creatures that it felt on were changed. For example, Kerpans were created from squirrels doused in this warping rain. However Cutters were once normal forest goblins. But something more than just the rain affected them. As they started to warp their bodies stayed much the same but thier heads shifted into horned goat heads. At first this was believed to be the result of the rain, until evidence of sacrifices to the Dark Goat of the Forest, an ancient god like being thought long dead or gone from the world. Even more frightening, none can contact the souls of those sacrificed, as though they were consumed by some other being...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dwarves in Bryn Mawr

more notes written down as I think of ideas at random times
  • Dwarves are now a xenophobic, bitter race, still shamed by the loss of capital in the Sundering War that destroyed the Great Empire.
  • The actions of the archmage Borron during the war, which obliterated the royal lineage, the Great Library, and the holiest sites of Dwarvenkind, have made all dwarves deeply mistrustful of all humans
  • The only dwarves who leave the Underkingdom are the traders and those who are desperate or misfits.
  • Two main things drive these dwarves, the desire to obtain that which can not be grown or mined beneath the surface, or the desperate urge to earn glory and acceptance by recovering a fragment of what was in the Great Library.
  • Finding a runestone or memory crystal will guarantee status for the desperate and acceptance for even the most undwarfish dwarf.

Kobolds in Bryn Mawr - part 1

Kobolds - in the land Kobolds are a playable race that is trying to find its place in the world.
  • It is a time of great change for the scaled children of the earth. Their intervention in the Dwarven Civil war, in a "humanitarian"role, and thier role in the peaceful solution to the war has brought them new respect among the civilized peoples. Combined with their experiment in constitutional government and an upswing in industrial production has made the Federated Kobold tribes wealthier than any time before
  • Apparently the push for more freedom originated with one of the few dragons to enter the affairs of mortals in recorded memory as anything but a conqueror. During one of the many periodic "culls" that the gnomes devised before the fall of the Great Empire a group of kobolds forced to flee the slaughter stumbled into the lair of a powerful dragon. Flinging themselves upon her mercy the warriors begged the dragon to take pity and protect their young as they were going to attempt to lead the gnomes away at the cost of their lives.

Campaign Ides

Just posting a list of campaign ideas sitting in my head at times, in an effort to keep blogging at least one post each day.
  1. Bryn Mawr - this is my baby of a fantasy world, heavily based on Dark Ages Europe and Britian, that Ive already mentioned (multiple systems)
  2. Gamma World - science fantasy in the ashes of the Apocalypse(Gammaworld 2e or Mutant Future)
  3. Rambling Stars - Mechwarrior rpg meets Serenity, PCs are part of the crew of a Free Trader dropship (Mechwarrior RPG 3rd ed or A Time of War)
  4. Under a Blood Red Sky - post apocalyptic fantasy ala Dark Sun (Barbarians of Lemuria or Barbarians of the Aftermath)
  5. Ashes of London - a Victorian Sci-Fi/Steampunk game set in the aftermath of the Martian Invasion (BRP, New World of Darkness or Savage Worlds)
  6. Wasteland - a very Fallout/Mad Max inspired Post Apocalyptic game (BRP, Savage Worlds)
  7. Dark Heresy - In the Dark Grim future life is cheap and your the new guy
  8. Another Day at the Office - Mechwarrior special ops game
  9. Future Imperfect - near future paranormal game - think X-Files, Dark Angel, and all those Tabloids at the supermarket
  10. A Cold Day in Hell - your military unit survived WW3 just barely - now all you want to do is go home... (Twilight 2000, d20 Modern, BRP)
  11. Kicking it Old School - original D&D game, original rules, and whatever you want to add in
  12. Aviking in Vinland - alternate history set in the age of Piracy - is there such thing as magic? (nWoD, Gurps)
  13. Ice Station Zebra - one shot/short campaign - Something has gone wrong, go find out what
  14. Veterans of the Psychic Wars - you did your duty, you mustered out, but did you leave the war behind? and did it leave you behind?
  15. Welcome to Hell - what was that strange mist and where are you? Or should you be asking how do you get out of here? (maybe Ravenloft)
  16. Eyes like Lasers - you live in the Sprawl and its the only life you know - but thats going to change (Cyberpunk ish)
  17. Metal Dreams - Once you were merely flesh and bone, and now your more, but at what cost?
  18. Ramblin on the Verge - your way out There, maybe for a reason, maybe to hide, maybe just cause your bored - what will you do, where will you go, what will you see?
  19. Og - because cavemen and dinosaurs are always fun
  20. Guns of Londonium - alternate history game set in AD 250 as the 13th Legion tries to maintain peace in Britannia, in a history where the Romans developed gunpowder
  21. War Beneath the Stones - your people are calling upon you to brave battlefields and warrens that the sun has never touched, are you brave enough to go into the depths?
  22. Captain Tripps - The superbug tore through the world, killing 80% of all humans. Now we're all that remain - left to pick up the pieces.
  23. "Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink" - A game of adventure on the high seas in a world of islands and vast open seas and the ships that ply them.
  24. Pirates, Privateers, and Pieces of Eight - Adventures in Spanish Main with more in common with Jack Sparrow than history.
  25. Skies of Glass - hard science post-apocalyptic inspired by the guys at Fear the Boot
  26. Call of Cthulu - what dark unknown things really do go bump in the night?
  27. Those Majestic Ships of the Sky - a game inspired by Catalysts Leviathan game
  28. D6 Star Wars - it is the iconic Space Opera pulp game

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Orcs in Bryn Mawr

  • Orcs are all dead
  • they were wiped out by the epic spell that Borron cast
  • The reason for Borron's access to the grand library of the dwarves was research into the foe threatening the Great Empire. From across the sea to teh southwest the orcish horde came, slaying or enslaving all who stood before them. It was only at teh shores of what is now Bryn Mawr, near the current location of the Great Mere, that the Orcs were stopped and even by only the barest margins. This was in time for winter to make the sea impossible to an armada of such size.
While orcs themselves are gone the stats will live on as one of the major tribes of natives that still inhabit the land even after humans have taken control of it.

The Sidhe in Bryn Mawr, or where did the elves go

As an experiment Im going to try and list some of the material Ive pondered up already in little bites that I can go back and expand later.

So first up are the Sidhe, the elves of my world.
  • the Sidhe are mysterious and insanely powerful
  • common folk leave them offerings to appease them
  • immortal except for violence
  • cant lie, but they have thousands of years experience manipulating the truth
  • non Sidhe life is viewed like animals
  • very much like nature spirits, linked to the land and showing the condition of the land
  • spend most of their time living in their own lands/little world
  • occasionally they steal children, leaving changelings in their place