Time Off – Week 1
Posted by docryder
Today, I had a lot of downtime as I took my car in to get a recall issue resolved. I sat in a McDonalds’ down the street from the dealership that is handling the issue, riding the free Internet. I was in that area from 8AM until 2:30PM. I tried to make the day productive…
After last week’s post, I spent a lot of time at work. Except for having Wednesday off, I was at work and behind the wheel all week. In that time, I managed to catch up on my favorite podcast, Major Spoilers’ Critical Hit. Now I’ve started in catching up on others I haven’t listened to since I lost my iPod Nano in 2012. I’ll miss hearing the CH crew everyday when I am driving around the state. I’ve subscribed to a couple of Numenera-oriented podcasts, but now that I’ve lost interest in d20-based games, I’m having difficulty figuring out why I should keep listening to those. I’ll be shuffling my lists around soon, I think.
I did managed to get more RAM for my laptop from my sister’s dead machine. This has been a big help. My laptop can now run a bit smoother, and I’m not cursing at it as much any more. This is a good thing, as you can imagine.
Thursday, while driving, I got hit with a concept for a replacement D&D 4e character for Living Forgotten Realms. This weekend, I started on character creation, and promptly built something other than my concept. My concept was for a character like Jhary-a-Conel, the Eternal Companion to the Champion. Jhary is the guy who understands the Multiverse and the gods and the Cosmic Balance, and sees it as his job to make sure the Champion succeeds at his. I had envisioned a half-elf or Deva Bard, using the Cunning Bard build (basically focused on ranged attacks through a wand) who would be social and be aiding the party through his skills and healing. What I built was an Eladrin Bard who was focused on the wand, but not particularly social. Once I got home tonight, I rebuilt the character as a half-elf Valor bard, using the Half-Elf Emissary paragon path. I think this build will work much better than what I had before. I just need to verify what level I’m coming in at.
This week’s thoughts on the StarSea
(Completely separate note: The WordPress for iPad app pretty much sucks. It freezes up if you add certain tags within your text. I hate plain text. I’m a graphic artist, ferfuck’ssake!)
Artificers – conniving neutrals or faction specialists or both?
So, my thinking on these guys is: Is being an Artificer just a job, like being a healer or a warrior, and therefore just something folks in every faction can learn to do, or is it a group of secretive guildies who control all wyrdtech separate from the factions, and in fact vying with them for power? The first option is the simpler, easier route, as it’s simply a skill/mode choice for players (more on Modes in a minute). The second is more complicated, as I have to figure out these guys’ place in the political system, determine what resources, if any, they control, create a new faction to back them, etc., etc. Those choices could make or break the setting not only for myself, but for other folk who might want to buy my setting. So, I think I’m going to try a middle ground. Instead of a controlling guild that wields power equal to the knightly orders, there is instead a collegium that trains artificers to work in the realms of the factions. Those artificers have their own loyalties to their factions, and only rarely does the Collegium interfere in politics. That way, if a GM chooses, he can make the Collegium a more sinister group, or he can simply make it a place for PCs to gain a special set of aspects and skills/modes.
I think I need to take this mindset to the ideas of kingdoms and empires as well. Making things a little more flexible will be a better selling point, I think. To clarify, I’m debating whether or not A) the orders are governments in an of themselves, B) there is an overarching government that is stable and moderates the internecine strife of the orders, C) there is an unstable government that cannot stop the orders from fighting, such as a kingdom that’s recently lost its ruler or a republic with a senate that’s completely inept. I need to figure out which option works best as a default, and which ones can be used as directions a GM could take that is swaying one way or another, as with the Collegium above.
Orcs – yea or nay?
So, this weekend I got directed to the previews for the next expansion of World of WarCraft, called Warlords of Draenor. In them, the orcs are depicted as the baddest warriors of the multiverse, each warlord being shown as how he became the badass he is. And why Vindicator Maraad is so obsessed with defeating them. All are reasonably well done, storywise, and the art is pretty good. But it got me to thinking about the StarSea and races. At this point, I don’t have orcs or goblins. Well, I’m considering goblins as Corrupted gnomes. My thoughts to present have been that creatures appearing in the StarSea should be mythical Earth creatures. Orcs don’t qualify, at least not directly as we know them now. According to the word origin info on Wikipedia (see here), it’s an extremely generic word that we get through Tolkien more than anything else. In fact, the word is more the origin of the word/monster “ogre” mythologically.
But there is a certain draw to these monsters in gaming. I need to decide if I want them in my setting, or if I just stick with ogres and have done with it. Ogres would be small giants, and the giants are a creation of the Ür. Does the iconic status of the orc trump my intended mythology?
Dwarven funeral rites
I had a brief thought on dwarves and how they might view their dead. Remember, my idea at this point is that dwarves are spirits inhabiting a body of stone and wood.
One of my thoughts was that, as part of their creation, a gemstone develops in their chest analog that is the seat of their souls. (Yes, very spiritual in concept.) The thought that occurred to me was that the dwarves collect these “heartstones” (is that too close to the name of the WoW online card game?) and bring them together somewhere, like their homeworlds. These reliquaries would have a more temple-like feel than a sepulcher feel.
Anyway, it’s a thought. I kinda like it, but somehow, it seems incomplete.
Fate Core and “Modes”
One of the features of Fate is the flexibility of the system. Recently, I picked up and skimmed the Atomic Robo RPG. I noticed the use of modes in character creation. It looked interesting, and was explained in a different way that the use of modes in the Fate System Toolkit. I didn’t look into it any deeper at that moment, but a recent couple of messages on the FateRPG Yahoo Group got me to re-examine the Toolkit presentation. Now that I understand the system a little better, I get the Modes idea present therein a bit better.
Here is a point I will depart of the other system I was thinking of drawing from, the Freeport Fate Companion. That book makes a noble attempt to offer a D&D 3.5 conversion to Fate, but as 3.5 doesn’t codify characters the same way as 4e (my basis for ideas), it doesn’t really work as a character creation system for me.
In the StarSea, I think there will be two or three sets of modes, and each character will choose from each of them. One set of modes will be Species, one set will be Philosophy (AKA 4e‘s power sources), and one will be Function (AKA 4e‘s Roles). That should get me the same feel as 4e, which I want. I realize that this will likely commit me to a full skill list, as opposed to the Freeport/D&D-style ‘attributes are skills” system, which is more like FAE than Fate Core.
Tales of the Dragons
Yesterday, as I was driving around the last car of the day, I got this spark of a story this involves the eldest dragon, and his sacrifice to create the dragon elves. This story idea includes hints as to the creation of humanoid life in the StarSea, as well as prophesies for the future. I’d simply dictate it into Dragon Dictation, but that requires an Internet connection and a quiet environment to dictate in, which I don’t have right not, and didn’t have in the car yesterday. Maybe later.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Later.