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?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Races of the Old Crown

Well, I've more or less finished the races. Here's some blurb on them. I hope they whet your appetite some.

Menfolk are a youthfully active and opportunistic race, and a great many empires and kingdoms that cover the face of the world are led by Menfolk.
They make their homes in all terrains, among all other races.

Menfolk vary plenty in size and complexion, though normally fall between 5 and 6 and a half feet tall, ranging in skin tone from a deep rich brown to an almost alabaster pink. Their hair ranges from black to white, through various shades of brown, though their eyes show the greatest diversity.
This diversity is perhaps one of their greatest strengths, and (though far from unknown) they tend to be the least xenophobic of all the races of the world.

Sometimes seen as brash and impulsive by the more stoic and pensive races, they are nonetheless useful to the world, each other, and the other races in countless upon countless ways.

Renowned as warriors, and raised from a young age to follow a millenia-old culture of warrior nobility, the Draken resemble nothing is not upright lizards. Their ancient Draken Empire was one of the first to form following the fall of the Oon, but is now also long since gone itself.

Adult Draken stand between 6 and 7 feet tall. Their leathery skin is covered in fine scales ranging in hue from green to gold to red to blue, often mottled with patterns of other colours. The scalles are noticeably larger in a ridge from the nose to the back of the head, and on down the back.
Draken have a short tail, and their three-toed feet end in claws. Occassionally, elder Draken grow a bony protrusions from their cheeks, and behind their flat ears.

Known as a proud and noble people, they often cut an imposing figure through crowds. Questioning a Draken's honour will usually result in a brief but brutal physical attack, and sometime death.

Notable NPC Draken:
Candle, Sheriff of Kingsmead

The Giantkin are a race of hardy, muscled and above all tall beings with a connection to the primal forces of nature.

Usually dwelling in mountains and scrubland, the scattered tribes of the Giantkin vie with each other for territory, when they aren't engaged in similar struggles with neighbouring tribes of other races.
They thrive on their competitive nature in almost all things; a Giantkin marketplace is rife with angry bickering and bartering.

Standing between eight and ten feet tall, their skin is the colour of their mountain homeland - mottled brown and grey. Their skin is thick, and leathery, and their frames are always tight with muscles beneath it.
During puberty, the lower canines of males tend to grow to become small tusks, whilst the upper canines in both sexes become much more pronounced.
They typically wear their hair in long braids, and wear the warpaint of their clan upon their faces (warrior or not).
Giantkin have life spans comparable to those of Humans.

Anything that can be conceived as a challenge invites Giantkin to keep score, tracking their progress against both their comrades and themselves. A sellsword might remark on how many times he has drawn first blood in battle, and he’s certainly mentally tracking his own performance in open warfare against those stories of his tribal ancestors.
This competitiveness can take the form of good-natured rivalry or of angry, spittle-driven argument. As a race they have no patience for cheaters, gloaters, or sore losers, but can be very hard on themselves when they fail to measure up to their own past accomplishments.
Daring that borders on foolhardiness is also a common trait.

They have no fear of heights, climbing sheer mountain cliffs and leaping great chasms with ease. Their nomadic lifestyle of hunting and gathering instills in them an inquisitive interest in whatever lies over the next ridge or at the head of a canyon. To a wandering hunter’s mind, that curiosity can lead to better hunting grounds or a good water source that would otherwise go undiscovered.

Whilst they have no real track with the worship of gods, they revere the spirits of nature and their ancestors, honouring them in songs and sagas that date back hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Their wise men, called spirit-speakers, seek to bring them closer to the natural world in every way that they can.
Their chiefs lead from the fore in battle, although most of their warriors seek to lead in this manner.

The Wode are a furred, horned race, somewhat shorter than Menfolk. They are often seen as primitive, and their tribes squabble for resources both among themselves and their neighbours.

Wode are as prolific as Menfolk, but as a people they’re less creative and more prone to warlike behavior.
Wode live in the wild places of the world, although they are also prone to staying close enough to settlements; they like to prey on trade caravans and unwary travelers.
The chieftain of a Wode tribe is usually the strongest member, though some chieftains rely on guile or mystical might more than martial strength.

A Wode's skin is often sallow, with eyes ranging the same gamut as Menfolk. Big, pointed ears stick out from the sides of the head, and prominent sharp teeth sometimes jut from the mouth. Wode have coarse, wiry hair across their entire body, ranging from dark to light brown.
Their horns can be similar to deer, goats or rams.

In recent centuries, the Golem have appeared in and around the Old Crown. Whilst not frequently seen, they are at least known.
Constructed from articulated plates of metal, wood, or clay, the Golem seem to be ancient servants of the Oon, who after millenia have awakened to the potential of sentience. Most modern scholars believe an Ascended must have had a hand in this sudden change, though they do not know which, or whether the god continues to exist.

They stand at about 5 feet when made of wood, 6 when made of clay and 7 when made of metal. They have eyes that are glowing points of light, of varying hues. They repair naturally over time, in the same way that other races heal, though like other races the process is not perfect. A buckled metal leg may heal crooked, and a severed limb seldom grows back as more than a stump.

Originally arriving from the City of Festivals, the Golem have integrated into the Old Crown easily. They vary in personality, but are usually seen as friendly enough, if a little lacking in personality.

Notable Golem NPCs:
Captain Truth, Queenstown Guardsman

Friday, 27 April 2012


Based on this post over at Campaign Mastery, I've suddenly started thinking about a card game in game. Plenty of other stuff to think on, but I'm an odd duck like that.

So there's four houses, made of nine cards each, for a total of thirty-six cards.
The four houses are swords, shields, coins and cups, with cards numbers 1 through 7, and a Lord and Lady. There may yet be a thirty-seventh card called the Fool, but I'm still thinking on that.

The aim of the game is to control a hand of one house, with the Lord and Lady presiding, along with three 'retainers' (other cards of the same house). Higher retainers equal a better overall hand, though the players can call the rounds to an end and judge the best hand earlier. Players are free to judge they have the best hand and 'present their house' at any time - having the 5, 6 and 7 is the ideal hand - however they must replace at least one card per round if they do not present.

I had an idea for a Mage version of the game that involves the elements as houses, but only uses one Magister as the Lord of each house. There would only be thirty-two cards in a Mage's deck (thirty-three if the Fool is invoked).

What exactly the fool would do I don't know. Perhaps he mimics other cards, allowing you to fill the Lord space if you haven't been dealt the card, or he might bump a hand - the equivalent of two 7 card retainers.


Monday, 23 April 2012

A History Lesson

What I have written so far for the general overview of my setting history. Most of this is beyond player knowledge, but the very highly educated will know snippets certainly. Characters would need to quest to find out anything about 'Origins' or the creation of the Wode and Menfolk.

The true history of the world is vast, but a short version is presented below.

In millenia past, there dwelt a race known as the Oon. Born with an inate magical ability, they were able to travel to other 'Origins'  and meet the people who lived in these parallel planes. At some point, the Oon decided that their abilities made them superior to the other races they met, and they began to enslave many of them. Further magical experimentation further turned the races they found into shadows of their former selves.
The Draken and Wyvings were their footsoldiers in their wars of enslavement, or during the petty squabbles between the Oon themselves. The Wildfolk were a servant class, filled with butlers, court messengers and handmaidens. The Stonekin were manufacturers of those tools and insturments which the Oon deemed themselves too superior to create. The Giantkin were their outdoors labourers, tasked with farming and construction.
At some point, they used their magical abilities to create an amalgamated slave race, mixing the blood of various races with that of beasts. What they created were the rebellious Wode, able to follow simple orders but incapable of complex tasks. Their next creations were Menfolk, pulling together the most useful traits that they could, but this time instilling a small amount of themselves into their creations. Whilst Menfolk were able to complete complex tasks, they were resentful of their enslavement, and surreptitiously began a movement to overthrow their powerful masters.
Of the other races, various theories are put forth as to their nature as slaves of the Oon, though none can be said to be truly accurate. The Golem may be an earlier creation, or may be an alternate project. The Darklings exhibit traits similar to the Wildlings, but also wildly different. It is clear that the Oon were able to shape the various races with their magics, but how many are shaped and to what degree will forever remain a mystery.

The Oon ultimately fled following the slave revolt, though it is not known to where. All that was recorded was that some could not be accounted for.

The Draken and Wyvings established an empire some centuries later, still thousands of years in the past. They formed a series of vassal states about them, though in time this empire also fell. It is widely believed that the Draken and Wyvings fell apart due to their command by two opposing forces, led by the newly Ascended Dragon King and Usurper respectively. This is however untrue, and there are still cadres of Wyvings living in isolation who are loyal to the God of Justice (and coincidentally, many of the Usurper's followers are Draken...)

Around the time of the Draken Empire's fall, and for centuries after, the area of the Old Crown was dominated by the Moorish, the name given to the tribes of Wildfolk in the area. They were driven out and north by Menfolk invaders from across the sea, eventually forming the Northern Imperial Republic amidst the steppes and tundra. The Old Crown then enjoyed several centuries of prosperity, centred upon the capital of Queenstown, before the disappearance of the Queen. In her stead, the Margrave took over general ruling, whilst a search was made for the Queen, and later any royal line of succession. Despite many noble houses professing possible heirs, this search was ultimately fruitless. The Margrave title has been passed down the generations since, effectively ruling the region.

The Old Crown itself has begun to fall in upon itself, first falling back from its holdings in the Southern Swampland, and later losing its place as the largest trading port in the known world to the City of Festivals, east across the sea. Some say it only continues to function due to patronage by various of the Stonekin noble families, nearby trade links with the Northern Imperial Republic, and the decent relationship with the (effectively independent) Raethmoore Mage Academy situated at its northern border.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Kingsmead update and a new system!

Well, since I haven't managed to post anything here since January, and since ignoring those two short posts, since October, I suppose it's only right I update here again.
Especially since I've run another bit of a playtest, this time with a new rules system that I've been working on. One which emphasises the roleplaying aspect over the fun with mechanics aspect. You know, sensible stuff. And originally for d12s, but I tested using d8s. Much fun was had by all. More on that in a moment.

First: Things that are gone.
Gnomes. Check.
Halflings. Check.
Warforged? Decided to keep them for now, calling them 'Golem'. But I may change my mind as yet.
The Tieflings became Devilkin, but I may remove them entirely yet. For now, they're an infrequent birth among wandering humans, similar to gypsies. I haven't exactly worked out the reasons for them yet, although I may through in the equivalent of Aasimar being born among them too, as well as perhaps stranger things. Genasi things maybe? Again, they're in danger of removal.

Second. Things that are changed:
Dragonborn/dragonkin are now simply Draken. They used to have an empire, they don't any more.
Dwarves and Elves are slightly re-skinned as Stonekin and Wildfolk.
Shifters are also re-skinned as Weretouched, although much rarer, and infrequently born among humans in a certain tribal kingdom.
There's a kind of Monkeyfolk wandering around. I'm not comfortable with them as player characters yet, but they're going to run the gamut from the gorillas in Planet of the Apes (the Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch version) to Hanuman in the Ramayana.
The Darklings are currently something like Drow, but live in foggy swamps. I see them as something like Elves, but from another source.

The character archetype usually filled by a cleric or paladin in D&D is now taken up with the Godsworn. If you want to be even a little bit more of a warrior than a normal priest, you're a Godsworn. They wander the land, espousing the teachings of their chosen god in all that they do.
The element wheel is a thing in my head now. A four-spoked wheel, with an element at each joint in the path. The central hub is taken by mind magic, so illusions and so forth. A mage may learn more elements, but must follow the path around the wheel - they can't jump an element. Of course, they could start as a mind mage and have access to all the elements from the start. Mind magic is a lot more subtle for the most part, less forceful.
Mages from the Raethmoore Academy are taught at a young age to focus upon a single element. Fire Mages and Earth Mages abound. Mastering more elements is rare, but does happen.
Sea witches may be trained, or may have an inate talent. Their magic mixes water and air elements, but in specific ways, and certainly not upon land.
A class of semi-magical artisans and alchemists, the Tinkers are now added to the game. Inspired by Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind, they are the magewrights and expert crafters, who know enough about magic to sense it and to invest the occasional item with some magical power.
I've introduced magic and holy items as being 'soulwrought', that is their makers have fashioned a part of themselves into the work. The maker invests part of their magic, or blessing, into the item itself. However, a completely mundane person could create a soulwrought item, such as a great work of art, or a particularly well made piece of equipment.

Third. Things I'm working on:
Goblins and Orcs need a better name. I'm tempted to fold Orcs in with my Giantkin: large, seven-feet tall behemoths that exist on the D&D spectrum somewhere between Goliaths, Half-Giants and Hill Giants. I like the idea of Goblins having horns. I may make them a cross between the traditional Goblins and Satyr, something like that.
Kobolds are a bit difficult. As they are now, they're similar to Draken, but shorter, more wiry, and more wiley. I also don't like the name at all. Closest ideas at the moment involve the Dray or Dreaks or something along those lines.

Four. Finally, on to a play report:
I pulled together four people, and we ended up with a crowfolk Tinker, a Fire Mage turned wandering minstrel, a sellsword and a lucky thief.
The group travelled to the village of Kingsmead for the early-Spring Planting festival, when the local farmers are blessed with a promising harvest at the end of the season, and one of the few times the village really gets wild and celebrates. There's a market with travelling vendors, a ceremony, and a lot of merriment.
So far the group have noticed that there's something magical about the village well, that the blacksmith is very good at his job and occasionally invests his wares with power, and that there are plenty of alleyways and rooftops to escape into.
Also, that a crow cannot drink easily from a standard tankard, that Clarice is a lovely name for a violin (but maybe she doesn't need to be introduced to everyone 'she' meets), and that poor Tim never really recovered from his accident, poor little guy.
More soon, when they actually hit a plot item!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Queenstown part 4

The pseudo-district of Outwall is a shantytown built up along the main approaches to the city, as well as around the walls themselves. By far the largest outpouring is along the Old Kings Highway, west towards Kingsmead, also close to the Midlands River.
The poorest of the poor and those scraping the bottom of the barrel of their luck are to be found hereabouts, though some residents work inside the city walls and choose to stay by choice (or in some cases, coercion).

The place has none of the amenities of the city - no sewage system, no space for cellars or the frosthouses sometimes built within them t store food, and certainly little to no militia presence. These shortcomings are somewhat made up for by a can-do attitude of many of the residents, as well as beings able to openly bear arms without a formal writ. This loophole is what has let various streetgangs flourish, and it is ironically these and an overarching guild of thieves that keep the streets of Outwall safe (or as safe as anywhere without real law can be).

Hidden within the piecemeal markets, stench of tanners and crash of forges (for there is much industry in Outwall), there are several landmarks hidden away.
The Kingsroad Gate is among the grandest pieces of architecture in Queenstown. The Pit is an illegal coliseum, frequented by the rich and poor alike. The Thieves Guild operate out of Scabber's Den, a secret safehouse-cum-bar-cum-marketplace. The Riverwitch's Bridge is an old, now collapsed bridge that crossed the Midlands River at a wider but shallower part of its estuary, and some say the crumbling ruins are haunted.

The characters encountered in Outwall are some of the most colourful in the city, if also the least clean.
Shadrack is a scruffy beggar, often mistaken for a pile of rags when he sleeps. He also seems to know the in and outs of what goes on in Outwall, and in Queenstown itself, though he rarely converses with anyone who isn't a beggar.
Scabber runs the Thieves Guild with an iron fist, and any who cross him soon find themselves joining the ghosts at the Riverwitch's Bridge.
The Raven is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. A vigilante, he is only known by his raven-feather calling card, left upon the unconscious bodies of the crooks he encounters.
At any time, a wandering priest of the Traveler will minister to those that will listen, and sometimes more naive priests of the other gods and goddesses will attempt something similar.

That's all for now, next up will be the nobles and their houses.

Monday, 16 January 2012

A long gap in updates

First off, a quick apology. It's been almost three months since I last wrote something here. I've been busy toying with ideas over at my other blog, and doing various other projects, with the Old Crown sat on the back burner whilst things stewed over in my mind. I'll be resuming regular service soon. Today I'm focusing on some overall setting information that's been stored up, and I'll be back to more specific details shortly.

I've been toying with converting the setting to FATE but I think that most of that conversion should be handled by player. It shouldn't just be up to me how different races and powers interact. The Legends of Anglerre has rules for everything from siege warfare to guild political machinations, so I'm sure there's an easy resource to tap there, when I finish reading it all.

The different flavours of magic in the system have had a bit of a change, and therefore so have some of the adventurer archetypes.
Elementality was the magical style that directly manipulates the classical elements of fire, earth, water and air. I've recently been thinking that it made less sense to have Chi representing only the warrior monk archetype, so an idea of Chi being expressed internally and externally formed.
Internally focused Chi is what makes the warrior monk so powerful, making his fists more powerful, his muscles able to leap further or run faster. Externally focused Chi is now the expression of an individual's connection to the world around them, and is always attuned to one element most strongly (therefore the element there are able to manipulate). The rules I had been working with come from a D&D 4E fan document of an Avatar: the Last Airbender setting, so I might be less stringent and allow multiclassing or hybrids of two elements, but not opposites (no air/earth controllers, no fire/water controller, but certainly space for earth/fire or earth/water etc.)

Next, I think some of the races might need to be culled a bit. Gnomes are gone entirely, since they barely registered at all, as are warforged. I may remove halflings from the Margravate too, but have them mentioned in passing as living in the Northern Imperial Republic, or appear among some crews of trade ships. They were going to include all manner of oddities like the now displaced warforged, mermen and dogmen (I may enjoy the film Treasure Planet a bit too much...)

Since there's little to no extraplanar contact to any but Ascended beings (at least for the start of any adventures I had in mind), there's a case for fauna to be touched in other ways. I had thought of any wild animal encounters to be warped by magic in some cases, perhaps dire animals, or perhaps oddities like owlbears or chimerae. I haven't quite decided how that plays out, though I've a feeling I will when I develop the Raethmoore area in more detail.

And that's it for that update. Next I'm going back to Queenstown to detail Outwall and the poorest parts of the city, and characters all over the place.
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