Monthly Archives: February 2013

Just a general update.

So, since the last post, I’ve been doing a lot more towards job hunting than thinking about the StarSea. Having an income again is simply more important.

However, I have done some thinking about it, as well as a couple of other things. I am thinking about going to Savage Worlds more. This may be an aftereffect of this weekend’s gaming, but I’m finally feeling what others have commented on about 4e, which is how slow 4e combats are. I ran two encounters this weekend, and both ran around 2.5 hours. Now, one was the climactic combat of an Encounters season I’ve been rerunning as our “D&D for Kids” Game at the FLGS, Crazy Squirrel Game Store. It was a tough battle with few players (four), and being kids, all of them were more concerned with personal actions than true teamwork, so that slowed things down. The other combat was a standard encounter based on Monte Cook’s imfamous “Pactlord Enforcer” encounter for the Banewarrens that was published for 3.x (a mind flayer riding a beholder). While tough, the battle went relatively quickly in game time, but in real time it seemed grossly long. Admittedly, I was running on fumes from personal stuff which caused me to get little sleep. But the combat just seemed too slow to run. However, I’ve got quite a bit of campaign to go, so I’ve got plenty of time to think about how I’ll be running StarSea.

In regards to other aspects of the StarSea, I’ve been trying to work out how the worlds, suns and moons will work together, and I’m not entirely happy with the rings-and-bands idea. Something about it just irks me, and until I get past that, well, I won’t move forward on that aspect. What I kind of want, as I’ve mentioned before, is something like this:

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but also including the sun, the moon, and gateways to other nearby worlds. I amy have to reconsider the size of worlds and some other bits and pieces before I get what I really want.

I’ve also been thinking about the knightly orders, their histories and their leadership. Since the orders are the primary factions, in my mind, that means they are also the governments, or strong proponents thereof. So the leadership of the orders will be more important than I had originally thought. Not a big deal, but something I need to consider. And of course, I’m thinking more of the rings/bands are populated by ring giants than PC races. But I’ve also thought of the suns and moons as satellites with portions that the giants live on. Not that this is yet another thing that can’t wait until further into the process.

I’ve also had some ideas about the Ür, or maybe the race that caused them to fall, or had some other negative effect on the StarSea. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about bad guys other than the Arcanist Order. Of course there are other evils. I’ve also got some ideas on dragons… }:-D

One last thing I’ve been thinking about is increasing the pacing on my posts. Starting next month, I think I may try to pace myself into once a week. I don’t think I want to try to go back to daily, like NaBloPoMo yet. I may someday, but not right now. I need to build up to that, I think.

That’s all I’ve got for now. See you next time.

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Influence: Michael Moorcock

After the last post, I started going through some of the various bits and pieces of old artwork and writings I’d made over the years that I’m planning to incorporate into the StarSea. Eventually, I stumbled on a couple of pieces that made me think of some of my old influences. It’s made me strangely reminiscent. (Remember, I don’t get the whole attraction to Old School rules, which I tend to associate with a fondness for the play style of 30 years ago.)

One of those influences, since high school, was Michael Moorcock and his Eternal Champion series. While my fellow D&Ders were reading Tolkien, I was reading Moorcock, thanks to Jeff Dee’s artwork in the original Deities and Demigods. I started with Elric, Moorcock’s most well-known creation, but I eventually moved on to the other Eternal Champions, at least in part thanks to my high school art teacher, Nadan Ben-Calif Chiladoux. (As an aside, I always liked that name. I love the way it flows off the tongue. He said it was French-Arabic. He retired after my senior year and I expect he’s now passed in to the Undiscovered Country.) Mr. Chiladoux gave me a number of Moorcock’s books he had, as a gift. I devoured them at the pace of a book a day. That really wasn’t that difficult, as they were only about 175 pages each, and I’ve always had a pretty good vocabulary.

For the uninitiated, Moorcock had a number of fantasy and sci-fi characters, each with their own setting, but connected in a metaphysical sense. Each character was a different incarnation of the same being, the Eternal Champion. The Champion served the Balance between Law and Chaos (the original names for Good and Evil in the oldest versions of D&D), and the Champion was always joined by an “eternal companion.” There were additional unifying elements, including the gods of Law and Chaos, as well as dimensional travel, and high tech that was mostly so fantastic that it was largely “weird science.” I have a feeling the upcoming “Monte Cook’s Numenera” will work great as a system to play the worlds Moorcock, even Corum’s worlds, which are more fantasy oriented.

Corum Jhaelen Irsei was the focus of my thinking the other day. His nom du guerre is “The Prince in the Scarlet Cloak,” called such for his, well, scarlet cloak. That and the other entities known only by an appellation in Moorcock’s stories inspired me with an idea in the mid-80s for a game element. In that game, the guy playing a paladin started acting more Lawful than Good. To atone (as he’d started loosing his powers), he of course had to go on a quest, and that quest was given to him in a poem-riddle that named “The Giant in Red.” I had planned on him becoming a part of the party, indirectly (more on that in a minute). However, for whatever reason, it didn’t take. It’s been 25 years, so you’ll forgive me. However, the Giant popped up again as part of the legends of another setting I developed in the late 90s/early 2000s, in a game I ran about the time The Camarilla fell apart, after my Mage game had become impossible because of The Camarilla (to many of us were involved in LARPing to meet for Mage tabletop). The Giant was again going to become part of the party, as this figure of legend turned out to be a spirit attached to a red cloak who added to the power of the hero bearing the cloak. That game fell apart before I could get the cloak to the player I wanted to have it, a half-orc fighter. So again, the Giant in Red was put on the back burner.

What I found recently was a bad attempt to clone the Warhammer 40K Space Marines, who I dubbed the Red Giants. Will the Red Giants, or the Giant in Red, make it into the StarSea? Only time will tell, but it’s unlikely without some transformation. They might make a good name for a faction of martial characters in one of the knighthoods, but I’m just not sure at this point.

Moorcock’s writing is full of imaginative, Burroughs-like elements. In fact, Moorcock’s Kane of Old Mars books were a direct homage to Burroughs. I expect some of Moorcock’s Sword and Sorcery and Burroughs’ Sword and Planets fantastic worlds will show through in StarSea. I certainly hope so.