First post of the New Year
So, my last substantial post was on the 10th of December, and I reported on some progress on the StarSea and the translation into Epic Level of my current 4e game, which I’ve dubbed “Invasions.” There were a couple of other posts of somewhat less substance while the winter holidays raged around. Now that those are mostly over, I’m back to posting.
I did manage to go through my NaBloPoMo posts and index them where StarSea is concerned. Today, I started an outline of what I currently feel I need to cover and flesh out. It’s a couple of pages of subjects in a nice neat outline, thanks to the freebie OmniOutliner that came with my computer. Now I’ll be going through and comparing this with my hand notes and the NaBloPoMo index to fine tune it and start writing up things. Eventually I’ll export it and turn it into a campaign.
I did make some decisions on some of the setting elements. I’ve gone back to the idea that the worlds of the StarSea are encircled by a ringworld-like band that holds the sun and moon for each world in place. There will also be “beacons” that point to a limited number of worlds, so there will be a network or lattice in between worlds. I’m also thinking the player character races have colonized the rings to some extent. There will also be “ring giants,” creatures who seem to be caretakers of the suns, moons, and the beacons. There may be other critters on the rings as well. Pirates can easily settle on the farther parts as well.
I made this decision once I realized that one of my arguments against the rings was no longer valid. I had originally wanted eclipses and comets and other phenomenon that freaked out the ancients of Earth, but I realized that they would never hold the same mystery for starfaring races. That realization freed me up to change my mind. And after watching the Masks episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, I realized what function comets could serve, if not others.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend and we were discussing the stagnancy of the typical game world, as well as the lack of truly variant societies. Most worlds are based on European/Tolkien societies and leave it at that, and those societies rarely change. I’ve been thinking about that since, and some of my article readings have kind of pointed me to a reasoning. Beyond that most gamers are of European descent (not good or bad, simply so), the huge amounts of work it takes to build truly organic societies is mind-boggling, as I’m discovering. The amounts of research one would have to do is probably prohibitive.
Also, I believe part of it is simply so that everyone playing the setting is on the same page, and so that you have an easy bible for new writers to work from. Metaplots tend to get in the way, as I’m certain the Classic World of Darkness writers eventually figured out. (CWoD is what WWGS/Onyx Path is calling the setting now.) I have no doubt that for more casual CWoD players, the metaplot was a turn off. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I was a more dedicated player. I’m fascinated by the plot ideas I found in the planar books for 4e, but WotC wisely presented those ideas as plot seeds rather than a metaplot pushing the products.
In the past few weeks, I’ve also been reading articles about other folks doing modern era and sci fi games with 4e. Most have chosen 4e for many of the reasons the OSR gamers don’t like it: ease of use, lack of accounting for everything, and character competence from 1st level. I’m find the article very interesting, and it’s making think again about systems. I’ve been thinking either 4e or Savage Worlds, or maybe the new Iron Kingdoms RPG, or a few others, mostly those that are cheap and easy to learn. These articles are putting more weight on the 4e side of the scale, but time will tell. My game group may be bored with 4e by then, or they may still be up for it. Either way, I’m more or less creating the setting system neutral (not agnostic, but neutral), and I’ll be able to fine tune it when I’m ready.
Well, there’s 750 words on what I’ve been up to for the past three weeks. I think that’s enough for now. Besides, my head is getting a little cotton-filled, so bed time approaches.
Happy New Year, Gentle Readers.