Monthly Archives: July 2013

This Week’s Thoughts

I ended up only working a couple of days this week, and was busy the rest. I didn’t get as much thinking in as I would have liked. But there were some notes made…

One of my first thoughts this week was the linkage between the undead and hunger. Ghouls and vampires both have horrific appetites, mythologically. As the undead in the StarSea are the result of Corruption, I started thinking that, if I include these particular undead (maybe even to the exclusion of others), a linkage might exist between Corruption and Hunger. I was also spurred to the thought that certain races might exclusively be transformed to specific types of undead (for example, ghouls might rise from corrupted elves), but I’m thinking that will not become part of the setting, or it will be a limited part, a set of possibilities. I think it’s a little limiting of my options if it’s the only way these transformations happen.

I couldn’t find the Guild Wars 2 articles I was looking for, except one, a video about the Sylvari. The Sylvari are akin to being the elves of Guild Wars 2, but they’re a plant-based race, with plant matter forming humanoid parts. Unlike the 4e Wilden (which I personally detest, along with the Shardminds), the Sylvari look fully humanoid. That was one of the ways the developers of GW2 shook things up and change expectations. And it took me a while to start breaking up my thought process and consider some other possibilities.

One of the first things I thought about was who the elder race should be. For a long time, I’ve thought that an elf-like race should be the elder race. That’s what’s always been done. So I’m thinking I’m going to shake things up. For clarity, when I refer to elder races, I’m referring to races that seem to have a better foothold on what’s going on in the setting than other races. Some few have used giants, and that’s a possibility I’m considering. Or I may go a different route. It depends on what I do with the ancient history.

I did do some writing down of my ideas on that. I’m thinking that said history needs some more work. I wrote up a chunk of it this week, but I’m thinking it needs some editing. I’m just not happy with some of what’s there. Some of what I wrote this week just isn’t as strong as I want it.

Anyway, that more or less covers last week. I’m beat from a trip to Santa Cruz yesterday, and work comes early in the morning. I’ll have more for you all next week, if not earlier.

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Thinking about Iconics and Races

So, in the middle of last week, while sitting around in a van on my way to one of the many satellite locations throughout the Central Valley, I decided to start creating iconic characters for the StarSea. Unfortunately, that requires me to start making some decisions about races.

One of the things I’ve started to do in that direction is to get out my 4e Preview book, Races and Classes, and re-read the sections about the various races and why they were chosen, and what roles they play. I’m less looking at the specific races than I am what roles the races play in the game. I’m thinking I also need to go back by the Guild Wars 2 web site and re-examine the articles by Ree Soesbee about the design of the races for that game. I remember reading some of them before, and thought they were very well thought out.

One of the races I already know I want is an elder race. Elder races are those like elves in most settings, the ancient race that seems inscrutable and knows a lot more than they’re telling, etc. That role has been played by Vulcans in the Star Trek series, and the Minbari in Babylon 5. I had such a race in my old versions of the setting, but I’m feeling they need a bit of a redesign. I want them a bit more alien in appearance, and I want a lot more background to the race, as I did very little before, no more than a page, as I didn’t want to overwhelm my players with data for a short run campaign. They’re currently very derivative, and that needs to change.

And then I want to develop at least three more races (and preferably a couple of more), and have more than the simple background I currently have for the current elder race. I’ll need fighter races, a sneaky race (who will also be tricksters?), a tinkerer race, and maybe a couple of others. These ideas are the kinds of things I’m looking for in the other articles: What sorts of races do I need for interesting play?

So, more work cut out for me. Not that I wasn’t expecting that, but just adding to the count. I think I’m at a point at which I’m starting to make setting decisions that will likely hold throughout the rest of the world building. I think I’m at the point which the setting itself will get built, and then I’ll be porting it to one game system or another for actual play. And I’m happy for that.

Work is good for the /StarSea/

So, last week after my marathon Tuesday, I had almost as good a Wednesday, and both were work days. Most of five pages Tuesday, and four and a half Wednesday. I spent Friday driving my whole shift, so I had no free time to actually write. As I wrote Tuesday evening, I wrote some basic notes on how computers might work in the StarSea, as well as how I should map the StarSea (flat or three-dimensional?), how space combat should be handled (boarding actions or FASA Star Trek style?), weird features of the StarSea, including possible Ür artifacts, what StarSea ships might look like (ancient ships, or flying cathedrals and such, or both?), are some of the ideas I have necessary, or am I just adding in something like a kitchen sink? I wrote some textural descriptions of the weapons carried by the various knightly orders.

Last night, I got out some old notes and today I rewrote portions of them, but once I was done, I didn’t know where I was planning on going with them. After some thought, I realized that the exercise showed me that the empowered character types are going to be rare in the bigger picture, but that their powers place them in positions of power over the normals and martial character types. Which is fine, because I’ve seen the empowered as a sort of nobility anyway, so I can live with this.

Well, with my computer’s age making this take many times longer than it should have (memory issues causing the computer to bog down and need to be rebooted), it’s time for me to go so I can get to work in the morning. Laters.

Busy Day

My new day job is as a hiker for Hertz. What that means is that I transport cars, by driving them, from location to location, essentially warehousing to rental office.

I woke up this morning after some oddball dreams which about my high school gaming group and some sort of weird golem that we could transfer our minds into. It inspired me to think about computers in the StarSea. They will likely exist, as they’re part of Sci-Fi. On the way to work, I had some flashes into ideas about how the StarSea itself should exist, as a fantasy space, not just the space we know from reality.

Once I got to work, I ended up spending most of the day sitting in cars, going to various locations out of town to pick up cars. Thirty minutes to an hour at a time. So, I had lots of time to think about ships and things in the StarSea. I ended up writing three or four pages of notes over the course of the day.

I get to work again tomorrow. I hope I’m not chase (the guy who chauffeurs the other guys around). 🙂

An Ending Announced…

So, this week I spent a lot of time working, which means a lot of time napping in the evening, so little time thinking on StarSea. While driving, I find myself too busy watching out for idiots to let my mind wander into the StarSea, but I have done a little thinking on this new world, but I had some slightly more important thoughts, in their way.

I announced last night that we’d be ending my current campaign, which I call Invasions, in our 100th session. Last night was Session 87, so we have 13 more to go. This will take us to early January, assuming we have no interruptions in our schedule. I’ll be dumping the XP system for the end of the game, letting the PCs gain a level every couple of sessions so they can get to 30th and play with all the epicness that they will have available.

Part of my reason for ending the campaign on a specific schedule at this point is my own loss of momentum. I’m getting bored with the campaign, and I want to move on to StarSea. We’ve had a good run. I started the campaign just after my dad died, in October 2009. In three months, we’ll have gone for four years, longer than any other campaign I’ve ever run. I’m usually bored in three years. So I’m due.

I’ve had it in mind to run to 30th level and have that the end of the game, so I’ll be sticking to that. This will be the first time I’ve actually gotten to the end of a campaign, as my last three all petered out due to scheduling issues, whether the Camarilla, our troupe LARP, or simply player issues. I look forward to closing out the game, and I have the final scenes in my head, providing nothing comes along to derail my train of thought. I think it will be satisfying and suitable epic (as I have a pretty cosmic end in mind).

I have thought a bit about the StarSea this week, though. I thought about the names of the orders. I don’t want to keep calling them Divine and Psionic, although “Knights Arcane” has a certain ring to it. I was thinking about “Knights Spiritual” for the Divine Order. I thought about using Noetics for the psionics, as that has popped up recently in other games. While I like the definition, I’m not fond of the word in and of itself. It’s a little too alien. I’ll hunt around more later. I like the Latin (and pseudo-Latin) used by the Earth forces in WH40K, but I don’t want to be too derivative or imitative. I don’t want to reuse “Quantum Knights” as it sounds a little too modern and sci-fi for a fantasy game.

I was also thinking that there won’t be a Primal “Order,” but more of a commonality of thought, which might be related to the activity of the spirits that give them their power, or some machination of the Ür. I really don’t want to have to create a huge number of variations of barbarian knights.

I think that’s all I have for tonight and this week. I’m feeling the day. Laters.

Aborted Tests and Video Game Inspiration

So, I’ve been writing up lists of things I think I’ll need (at least at this point) of house rules and such that I’ll need for adapting different games to use for the StarSea campaign. Right now, Savage Worlds looks like the easiest, and 4e looks like it might be the most complicated, simply because, I think, 4e is a much more complicated rules system. Bare Bones Fantasy is coming up in between.

I tried to get the kids to do a playtest of BBF with me this weekend, but anyone with kids knows that getting them to do anything is often like herding cats. Many excuses were made and gaming was put off and put off and then it was bed time. I may just have to find a few adults to help me run a session or two to find out how the game runs.

This weekend, I stumbled across some stuff for a video game called Monster Hunter 3. In it, apparently as players kill off monster mainly of the draconic sort, they can take bits of them and make special weapons and armor. One of the interesting things about this was it inspired some ideas about how Primals might work in the StarSea. Basically, some of the armors available are very much inspired by Native Americans, Eskimo, and African cultures made fantatical. So, I can see possibilities for how they Primals of different worlds can look. In the past, I haven’t seen truly fantastic versions of Earth cultures. Most non-European fantasy settings seem to slavishly follow the real world, and only focusing on the fantastic creatures in those settings. Admittedly, I’ve never been especially interested in most of the non-European fantasy settings in general, so I might have missed something.

Not much more to speak on this week. Even though I typically only work two days a week, my evenings after work tend to be me sleeping a lot, or digging through the day’s Facebook posts and interesting links. God, do I ever need a portable Internet connection. 🙂