NaBloPoMo 2015 – Entry 16 – World Building History Part 2
Continued from yesterday…
Later in the ’90s, Mage: the Ascension was published, and while I tinkered with the Twenty Spheres a little, mostly they were set aside for MtA. I pretty much became obsessed with MtA for years. It wasn’t until about twelve years ago that I picked it back up, when my friend Roger returned to town. But really, a new branch had been created.
In the mid-’80s, like most gamers, I’d noticed Warhammer 40,000. I first got connected to it through Adeptus Mechanicus, the giant robot combat game. I didn’t like their robots, but I discovered Space Marines, etc., and I started exploring that setting. I enjoyed it, and even tried to turn Rogue Trader into a roleplaying game. I bought quite a number of the books, that were as expensive then as they are now, adjusted for inflation. The idea of the Marines as knights was something that stuck with me, although I’m not sure I was aware of it at the time.
About the time Roger came back to town, I had been following the Games Workshop products through White Dwarf Magazine, and in one series of articles on Fantasy campaigning, they mentioned using 10mm figures as markers for tracking who controlled what regions. There was also a picture of a minis diorama in which a 28mm figure was using a 6mm as a similar token on a model battlefield (basically, a mini playing a minis game; very meta). I got involved in both games, Epic 40K and Warmaster, the 10mm WHFB game. In tinkering with Warmaster (which is, frankly, a brilliant expression of the game and setting), I started developing SciFi factions for the game. Those factions had been also inspired by my attempts to do a Sci-Fi version of Chainmail I had dubbed Armorweave and another game I’d found while poking around the Internet called VOID, another European minis game.
This setting that I kept working around included the heroic Knights Arcane, basically psionic knights, and the evil Black Star Legion, their renegade counterparts. There were others, but they didn’t stick with me as much. Except the Starborn and Voidborn, my versions of the 40K Eldar, which are basically space elves.
When Roger did finally arrive in town, he asked we play some D&D. I threw together a setting based on what I was tinkering with at the time: The Knights Arcane. In that game, I had a shattered world full of islands more or less arranged like the WHFB “Old World” (a fantasy version of Earth, with the Americas full of Elves of various stripes and Lizardmen, and Europe being the focus. I had flying ships (which I’d already had an idea for in the minis game), and the two factions, along with an undead faction. The Knights were more religious (even with the name “Arcane”), and set solidly against the undead.
The StarSea has become a fusion of the Knights Arcane and the Twenty Spheres settings. But there are plenty of ideas in there I don’t want to use, as they just aren’t interesting enough. Of course, in the usual setting, there’s plenty of stereotypical stuff. It’s something to think about.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll try to get back to why I’ve been interested in the Ultima VII Ophidians and the morality system associated with them.