Aesthetics and Corruption
So, I’m a bit late because last week I got a Beta code for the game in development, Card Hunter. I’m finding it really fun, even when the AI does something completely frustrating (like monsters baiting my characters to move towards them then moving away). I need to post on the forums over there a couple of buggy things I’ve encountered over the past few evenings.
But I’ve managed to do some thinking about some of my ideas for StarSea. Mainly I’ve been thinking about the aesthetics for the different factions, in regards to armor and color scheme. For example, I’ve been thinking that the Divines should be more regal, as the successors to the previous empire (who are now the undead throughout the StarSea). The Arcanists might have armor that makes them look as intimidating as the creatures they bargain with for their powers. That leaves me wondering what the armor of the Psionics and Primals looks like.
One of the books I looked at in regards to other stuff I’m thinking about was the Dark Sun Campaign Guide. It kind of got me to thinking about the possibility of different armors for the Primals. Bone or giant insect chitin might be interesting, as might unusual animal hides. But that book led to other ideas as well.
I also started considering what the corruption of the StarSea actually is. An argument could be made that most corruption starts as hubris in the Real World, so why could the same be true in the StarSea. This is also often true of fiction. Anakin/Vader and Palpatine both display a pretty significant amount of hubris at various times. As does Raistlin and other villains. I’ve looked into the systems for Dark Sun defiling (and found them wanting) as well as the systems for the Dark Side in both Revised and Saga Edition versions of the Star Wars RPG. Again, I found Saga Edition wanting, but because the handling of Force points in general is flawed by being tied to level. But the general rules ideas are solid. But they’ll need adaptation for other game systems.
Other thoughts I’ve had about the corruption/hubris element is that, with some of my other ideas, maybe the Divine and Arcane orders are the villains I want them to be. It also says that maybe characters of those orders have default levels of corruption/hubris to start off with, and that the orders have their own levels of corruption. This does give me ideas for DM tracking of organization level corruption/hubris, and having the campaign possibly revolve around changing levels of order corruption/hubris.
However, all of this thinking gets me to wondering: If the orders aren’t monolithic, does this mean there are villainous and heroic versions of each order, or is each order fighting corruption within? Frankly, I don’t like this idea, because it simply increases my work, but this is a question that has to be asked, and I need to determine how the orders work and how to keep my creativity under control. However, I can see how this idea could easily force changes in how the world works and the numbers of orders, maybe forcing a reduction in the orders down to two, one heroic and one villainous. I really don’t want to do that, as it smacks too much of Star Wars…
Finally, I also thought about colors and symbols for the Orders. Do the Divines carry crosses or some other symbol? Of course, they should, as it’s fairly typical of religious types to have some specific sorts of dress. What colors? Royal purples and golds for color schemes? Should the Primals follow the expected greens and browns, or something else? Do the Psionics use the colors of the D&D 3.5 Lords of Madness organizations colors of cerulean and topaz? These are things I’m thinking about, as well as my own knowledge of how colors affect how we feel about things.
Right now, like everything else, I’m sort of up-in-the-air as to what where exactly I’m going with the aesthetics and the systems of corruption or hubris. The world I’m building will be fairly complex, and I have quite a bit to make decisions on.