Sunday, 14 October 2012

A brief rethink

Following a read of this blog post, which Zak Smith shared on Google+, I had a rapid rethink of my Ascended and their godhood.
These were mortals who had achieved an apotheosis, and they'd become something more. Why would they stop being as contradictory, as emotional, as invested with mortal concerns?
So now the gods are more like people. The Lady of the Harvest is revered because she fights those who hurt the natural world. and rewards those who work with it. The Stormlord is a champion of warriors, because, if there's a war going on, he likes to come an watch, or join in. The Great Muse really did write a bunch of those stories so that people engage with each other.

So I've spent a few hours re-tooling all of the gods and I'm pretty happy with them.
With my Races and Gods checked off, I need to do some more work on organisations, a little editing of the local geography, and then it's all downhill hopefully.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Publishing et al

A current update:

I've started collating into one document, which is currently being stored over at Occult Moon, who should be helping me get this thing published soon.

The current page count (which is still needing a bunch of additions, never mind some editing) stands at 24. I'm hoping it'll be around 30-35 before we get art into the product.

Hopefully I can make a bit of a buzz about this thing before we get to there. The setting is currently rules neutral, so I'll be dropping some updates about system conversion on here, as well as in a document or two for free. Hopefully people will enjoy that.
The current line-up is DnDNext, FATE, my own DiceBenedict system, and others subject to time restrictions and whether I can feasibly do it!

Any ideas for systems you think should be in for consideration?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A touch of local flavour

I've been considering some elements for immersion in the setting. Here's some stuff I've thought of, food-wise.

I already know that Kingsmead itself is a bit odd. They keep long haired rabbits the size of dogs, providing food and material for clothing. I know they make goats cheese and cider, and a lot of flatbread. And savoury porridge. I seem to recall adding that.

Queenstown though, I haven't considered as much. It's a port town, so fish must be a big feature. I've talked about the Queenstown Ruby, which is the kind of beer brewed in the city.
So maybe they make Ruby Stew, with saltfish, onions and carrots. The port itself is a haven for small squid, and the Seawitches have a habit of spit roasting it with chunks of ginger.
Pepper-crusted chicken is also popular, thanks to the imports across the Spice Sea.
The nobles of course eat all kinds of odd concoctions, and the golden roe of a boonfish is particularly prized.

Raethmoore is even more different, trading with the Republic further north. They eat a lot of wild onions and garlic, but also a lot of mint and sage. There's plenty of game in the area, and more than a few goatherds.
I think, since the town sits in the hills, a fortifying drink on an evening is likely. A minted pheasant stew served with a hard cheese, or a dry sausage made from goat flank, crabapples and moongrass.

The Darklings in the Southern Swampland eat a lot of tubers and other root vegetables, coupled with fungus of all kinds. The local fish swim in brackish pools, but there's a few small mammals that can be stewed easily. During a certain time of year, before the puffballs spore, there's plenty of the ripe white balls being eaten by the various tribes.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

It's all coming together

Quick time news burst!

Stonekin (dwarves) removed from the setting (for now)!
Wildfolk (leafy elves) now do even more, with feathers too!
Crowfolk and Ratfolk removed from the game! Partly folded into Darklings (swampy elves).
Draken and Wyvings renamed - now two colours of Lizardfolk!
Wode renamed Beastfolk (though the Wode will be an example tribe name).

Trying my best to describe roughly each area of Queenstown and the Old Crown, with little snippets of names for flavour to hook onto adventures.
Kingsmead is now a sample town, replete with plot hooks and secrets and fiddly bits. There will be something similar for the Outwall area of Queenstown.

Everything else is just rumour, hearsay, and nuggets of fun so that someone can take what I've given them and craft their own world.

Partially inspired by Zak's post here, I want people to have fun in my setting, but make it their own. That's why I'm leaving so many blanks.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hidden mysteries and secrets unspoken

I've promised that there are hidden secrets dotted throughout everything that I've already done. I hope to highlight a handful of them below.

Whilst items may be invested with a person's being, and made soulwrought and magical, there is a further level of power. Godwrought items are those gifted by the ascendants themselves, or which were associated with them in there previous life. Needless to say, these items are precious, and evil ascendants like the Fiend actively seek them out, as they can be used as conduits to the god themselves.

A colony of Toadfolk secretly lives in the sewers of Queenstown, and continues to serve the Queen as if she was still on the throne. Why they are there, or why they serve her so diligently, is anybody's guess.

The Oon not only visited distant planes of existence, they also travelled extensively across the mortal world. Looking closely enough, the ruins of their empire can be found. The most ancient city of the old Draken Empire was one such ruin. Parts of Kingsmead even show some of their construction - the well in the centre of the town, and the Kingsmead Gate - a ruined gateway at the south edge of town - are of their construction.
At some point, the well was godwrought, presumably by the Lady of the Harvest, and now gives enough water to quench the thirsts of everyone within several square miles, no matter how many people that might be.
The great depth of the harbour in Queenstown is also thought to be Oon-made, although how deep it is and why it is so deep is a great cause of debate to the small number of Oon scholars.

Centuries ago, a great plague devastated the world, but the bodies of the deceased refused to give up their life. This was one of the earlier plots of the Fiend. He had somehow removed the god of death at that time and usurped his power, using it to reanimate the dead as his army. Only a new ascendant, the Darkling Queen, was able to stop the tide of undeath, and this is why her agents now seek out any remaining vestiges of the undead.

The well of Kingsmead actually leads down to a small portal to a different Origin, somehow still lingering. It is perhaps where the water in the well is drawn from.
If anyone is unlucky to fall down, they may find themselves pulled through this portal. It leads to a cave system filled with freshwater, and the long lost tomb of a half-forgotten god. Though it might be lost, it is not without guardians.

Whilst it is widely believed that all Oon perished in a great uprising, some escaped. The differences in their escape are numerous however. One or two were spirited away by loyal menfolk servants, and were able to continue their bloodline with them. The Wanderers, a strange group of menfolk with purple eyes and haunting voices, are their descendants.
Another survivor, if you can call him that, is the Burned Man, a mad god of vengeance and hate. Gone is his sky blue skin glowing eyes. Every visitation he has made to the mortal realm has described him as a walking burned husk, roughly man shaped, with burning fire for eyes, and a maniacal laugh.

Not all the different races hail from different Origins, and are instead from the mortal realm. There is a reason the Crowfolk resemble the common crow so much, and the same can be said for the Toadfolk. Clearly the Oon were skilled in the magic of life.

It is possible for some godsworn to communicate directly with their gods, but it is rare. Rarer still is the relationship between the high priest of the Lady of the Harvest, Peony Thatcher, and her ascendant. Upon taking office, usually following the death of the previous incumbent, the Lady of the Harvest imbues part of herself directly into the successor. Peony Thatcher is effectively a godwrought being, although part of this binding makes the magic a lot more subtle.

The Margrave at the time of the disappearance of the young Queen was responsible for her abduction. This is a secret passed down in the Hawksmoore line. A lesser known secret, passed down directly only to those who become Margrave, is that the Queen escaped and disappeared. The appearance of an ascendant in the new decade called the Darkling Queen was cause enough for the old Margrave responsible to suffer a painful death, and it has been such for a great many of his successors.

The Hanu, the monkey-like men of the Spice Islands, refuse to let outsiders into some of their temples, and have killed intruders. The fact that their gods seem to all have blue skin and glowing eyes was a great surprise to early visitors, but not as surprising as finding out that 'Hanu' was an old Oon word for 'loyal'.


Well, there's a good few of the secrets bottled up in my head for the setting. I'm sure a good few playtesters will be even more intrigued by the Kingsmead well now.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Essential updates

Because updating my other blog wasn't enough for the awesome week of Indie+, I'm also making some form of progress here.

I'm currently storing all the information I've written so far in a design doc on Google Drive, which I think has really helped, since it's now off the custom wiki I had been using. I can see where my gaps are and what to move on to next.

Sadly, the thing now looks so riddled with holes that I don't have a sizeable chunk to show you. But that will come by the end of the week, I am confident.
I've already talked plenty about different races in the setting, and the geography, and some NPCs I've used in playtests, as well as some examples of the pantheon of ascendants. Is there anything people are excited to see in the setting? More on some outlines of history and legend, some more on various races, or should i drop some secrets that abound in and around the areas I've already mentioned?

Please feel free to push in any direction, I will try and oblige.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Nobles and their houses

I've been saying I'll do this for a while, but I never got around to it. No time like the present.

So far, the only Noble households I've bothered with are Hawksmoore, Foxworthy, Mandeville, Wenlock and Dabbler. A great many of the nobles are resentful that upstarts with money are now able to buy themselves power and a title, but such is the way of the world.

The Hawksmoores have been the hereditary heads of the city of Queenstown, culminating in the current Margrave, Thomas Hawksmoore. They are also responsible for the manufacturing of any weapons and armour that the Queenstown Militia may need, and own a number of foundries and blacksmiths.

The Foxworthys made their money decades ago, and are heavily invested in the shipping and banking industries. Roughly a quarter of all ships coming into Queenstown are something to do with the Foxworthy family, and they own and lease a great many of the warehouses that merchants use.
Alistair Foxworthy is the current head of the Queenstown Bank, and a great many people are in his pocket because of this. His wife, Melody, is a portly woman with exotic and expensive tastes in food and clothing.

The old warhorse that is Lord Mandeville is an aging old coot, but his much younger wife is the real powerhouse of the family. She manages to keep the family well to do despite little or no industrial connection. Rumoured to be involved in the vice trade in some way, the Mandevilles themselves have no idea the levels that their matriarch has fallen to in order to keep their political clout. A great many of the Queenstown Senators are in the Mandeville pocket.
(A certain barmaid in Kingsmead may or may not be the missing daughter of Lord and Lady Mandeville, as their youngest ran away from home several months ago...)

The Wenlocks officially own the Northwood, the woods outside the North Gate of Queenstown where the nobles do all of their hunting. They own several lodges within the wood that can also be rented.
Always well educated, members of the family do have a habit of long stretches without being seen. It is thought that they travel about the world, and this is true. However, there may or may not be a connection with the Circle, a group of thieves and assassins that prowls the town at night, particularly the rooftops. There's even a rumour coming out of the port that a similar group operates in the distant City of Festivals, and in the capital of the Northern Imperial Republic.

The Dabblers are a family of new money, having traded their way up to the Noble Estates in the past few decades. Their money comes from various businesses including tanning, shipping, the silk and spice trades, even tinkering and magical services.
Most other nobles resent them and their ability to do well with money. They owe a lot of their success to good dealings with Stonekin both in and out of Queenstown. Their presence in the Senate is still lacking in numbers, despite such a large amount of financial control of the city.

How's that folks? Sound fun so far?
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