Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thinking About the Third Continent Campaign

I've been thinking and doing some brainstorming on two rpg campaigns (I think I've mentioned both before). One is for our Sunday group (currently on haitus following the wrapping up of "Season One" of Scion) and the other is something to try out with my niece (currently in HS).

The first will be a high fantasy campaign. I haven't figured out what I'm doing mechanics-wise (I keep going back and forth between several ideas). But the game is set on the third continent of my world, the one most dominated by the influence of the Gods. It draws a huge influence (and directly borrows from) the Glorantha setting. I've run three campaigns in that place (and Sherri ran one there for a time). I've pushed the second continent timeline ahead significantly, but I don't think I'm going to do that with this one. I'll probably take up a couple of generations after the last campaign there, rather than several hundred years.

One of the plot points will be a massive change among what passes for the 'Celestial Bureaucracy*'. The senior-most gods have passed on and the second tier have moved into their places but still haven't settled into their new roles and stories. I'm imagining that the group will start by making up very young characters, something like early teens. They'll come from a shared community and go on an adventure, but something will happen to shatter their community, forcing them to flee.

Now one of the other devices I'm going to impose is that each player will also make up a God to go with their character. They can come up the God and its story from whole-cloth. They don't have to fit it into the niche of a pantheon, but they'll have been raised in the service of that God.

Now here's the trick, we'll time-lapse forward after that prologue scene. We return to the characters in their late-teens/early twenties. They escaped the disaster which befell their isolated community and have found a new place to live and to hide. To reflect the changes which have affected them in the years between, players will draw from a deck of random events which might have shaped their experience in those years. I'm imagining things like: Abusive Master, Learned a Trick, Developed a Fear, Turned Away from Faith, Scarring Injury, Found a Wondrous Thing, Unlucky in Love, and so on. I'll have the players work those things into their characters as the spend the points necessary to take them from adolescence to adulthood. I might break the cards into a positive, negative, and neutral deck.

The game will take up then with the players forced to answer a call to action and reaffirm their earlier bonds of friendship. In this they're partially driven by their Gods. They'll essentially be the last (or among the last) of their particular God's worshippers. They need the PCs to enact stories and adventures to help them regain their place and power. As the PCs do epic things, they'll gain some new abilities based on their God and on what they've done. The PCs actions and attitudes, will-- over time-- change the Gods and move towards the creation of a new pantheon with new relationships.

That's what I've got in my head so far on that front.

(Out of time I've set myself for this-- I'll talk about the other campaign tomorrow).

*That's literally the first time I've ever managed to spell that word right on the first try. I have a weird block with it.

I have a pretty full rss feed of things, but I'm not as big a fan of linkdump posts. That's a personal preference, so I'll try not to do it too often. I do have a couple of things I found interesting recently:

I mentioned the Persona series of JRPGs before. This article has a nice examination of the differences between the games and some of the core thematic elements.

Valerie d'Orazio is a comic book blogger and writer. Her posts are uniformly interesting and worth reading, especially those concerned with the state of women in comics and the comic industry. She recently put forward some arguments about the depiction of underage comic sexuality, particularly revolving around a recent conviction of a person for possession of materials depicting the Simpson kids in sexual explicit situations (among other things). I don't know if I completely agree with d'Orazio's position-- but I have a hard time reconciling my free speech views and my feminist views with something like this. It is the slipperiest of slopes. her comments certainly complicated my reaction and I'm still not sure where I fall on this. In any case, she got a lot of backlash for her opinions. She's decided to stop blogging about her opinions on controversial matters, which I think is a tragedy. We needs smart and literate voices from across the spectrum who can write without being abused or subject to ad hominem attacks.

Sweet Agatha looks like an interesting rpg.