More Info On Frank Mentzer's Worlds of Empyrea
  • More Info On Frank Mentzer's Worlds of Empyrea

    Frank Mentzer has spoken a little more about his upcoming Worlds of Empyrea Kickstarter, due to launch on October 2nd for 5E and Red Box. For previous news, see here and here.


    Let's start from scratch.

    My name is Frank. A long time ago I worked for TSR and Gary Gygax, and I wrote some things.

    Now it's 35 years later, and most tabletop hobby gamers don't know me. Many have never heard of me. There are a lot of great games out there, and it's hard to pick one.

    Thank you for your time and interest.

    When I was Gary's Creative Aide, we talked about my Campaign. We decided to publish it, but Gary wanted it very distant, with no active connections to his continent. That's what he wanted so that's what I did. Earlier plans didn't materialize, so the time is now, sadly 9 years after my friend left us.

    Empyrea is based on three premises: magic instead of Technology, a sentient but indifferent Planet who knows how everything can be in balance, and royals who place quality of life (for all) above unbalancing mass whims (like war and wealth).

    These premises have far-reaching consequences, and I have spent decades extrapolating the results and applying them to an entire continental society. (I have over a thousand chatroom game logs, i.e. my laboratory.)

    Our story is about Empyrea at its height. It is geographically constrained on all four sides, and Evil wants to spoil the party. But at the moment it's a comfortable Realm, the sort of world in which your current player characters have thrived. They'll find a second home in Empyrea.

    We plan to release the core set by next Summer (Kickstarter in October). If it is well-received, we'll offer a whole line of supporting products. We're trying to make Empyrea available for various Fantasy RPG systems, and a science fiction interface for the offplanet setting. These are plans, but only the future will reveal the results.

    SPOILERS: Additional sub-plots involve orcs trying to be civilized, dragons deciding not to be adventurer-fodder any longer, an undersea race of giant squid who actually rule the planetary ocean, a Lost World right next door, giants who may have an offplanet heritage, and Immortal beings who might just erase everything and start over.
    But that's all in the background, and won't affect you... much.

    Why will this take 9 months to produce? Because Loxley is assembling fantastic talents from all fields, but few are doing it full-time. You'll soon see 30 names. These tremendously talented people work with many companies. We just have to deal with the logistics.

    Thanks again for your interest. More to come soon.

    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Barantor's Avatar
      Barantor -
      I'm going to keep an eye on this, could be interesting.
    1. SMHWorlds's Avatar
      SMHWorlds -
      This would suggest it is not on the same planet as it was originally? I am still curious as to what if any reaction / conversations have been had with WoTC.
    1. M.T. Black's Avatar
      M.T. Black -
      I'm looking forward to backing this! It looks like they have wisely dropped any reference to Greyhawk and Oerth.
    1. rknop's Avatar
      rknop -
      The answer to "why will this take 9 months to produce" suggests that 9 months is a long time. I might have asked "will will this take only 9 months to produce?".
    1. Polyhedral Columbia's Avatar
      Polyhedral Columbia -
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      I am confused. I sat in on Frank's talk at Gary Con and he was very confident he would be able to place Empyrea on Oerth as he had a letter from Gary stating that both Empyrea and Greyhawk were on the same planet. The text above seems to contradict that, stating that Gary wanted it to not be located on Oerth.

      I guess it matters very little in the big scheme of things, just strange the statements are contradictory.
    1. lkj's Avatar
      lkj -
      Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
      I am confused. I sat in on Frank's talk at Gary Con and he was very confident he would be able to place Empyrea on Oerth as he had a letter from Gary stating that both Empyrea and Greyhawk were on the same planet. The text above seems to contradict that, stating that Gary wanted it to not be located on Oerth.

      I guess it matters very little in the big scheme of things, just strange the statements are contradictory.
      If I understand correctly, he's saying Empyrea is on the world of Oerth, but that it is on a different continent than Greyhawk and the lands around it.

      The fact that it doesn't have direct connections to Greyhawk (despite being on the same planet) presumably makes it easier to detail Empyrea without getting in trouble over WotC IP.

    1. Barantor's Avatar
      Barantor -
      Yeah, I'm sure they want to avoid all direct links to Greyhawk (even though WotC seems to ignore it as a setting now) because of IP issues.
    1. Lord_Blacksteel's Avatar
      Lord_Blacksteel -
      I'm sure the toning-down of the name dropping (Gygax, Greyhawk, various other TSR IP mentions) is for legal reasons but I'd like to think it might also have to do with things like "a sentient but indifferent Planet" or the sub-plots have nothing to do with any aspect of Greyhawk published thus far. That doesn't make them bad and some of that stuff could make for a very interesting setting, but if it's going to be wildly different from Greyhawk stop tying it to Greyhawk! Frank's name alone is probably enough for the old school crowd.
    1. Septhaka1's Avatar
      Septhaka1 -
      Not producing a Pathfinder version is dumb.
    1. JohnnyZemo's Avatar
      JohnnyZemo -
      Quote Originally Posted by Septhaka1 View Post
      Not producing a Pathfinder version is dumb.
      Please go back and read the article.
    1. jedijon's Avatar
      jedijon -
    1. jedijon's Avatar
      jedijon -
      The communication on this feels very disjointed, but I know I've been thinking about this maybe 35 minutes vs. your 35 years so if that's an interesting perspective - keep reading. Here's the gist of what I get after reading this post>>>>>

      The opening line; "Start from scratch" = screwed up the last communication.

      Yeah, likely. After skimming the prior announcement all I know so far is an employee said; 'Trust me, this is awesome!!! While the creator is too busy, I can conclusively prove this must be awesome or there wouldn't be so many people hired to work on it and when I say "this" or "it" that's as specific as I can be'.

      So this time around:

      • Empyrea has 3 elements; magic / living planet / nobles who enforce the planet's desires
      • Empyrea has "4 sides" and on each side is evil, just waiting to spoil that sweet 2D party
      • A core set kickstarter is showing up next month and the sky is the limit from there
      • Somehow after 35 years, 9 months is a LONG TIME

      I think it's very cool that you're in a position to go after something you think is interesting. And, probably kickstarter is the best format for you. It combines marketing with research, which should answer questions about how many folks are interested at the same time as it gets your message out there.

      It's definitely a concern that decades of gestation will prevent the ability to prune out what is weak. Add to this at least 30 part time collaborators and it seems impossible to anticipate the end result.

      A sentient planet may be cool and a little campy and different--you'll need your niche. The "spoilers" section feels like the kitchen sink. A place named "Empyrea" would appear to be based on the word empirical, meaning logic. That would typically be science - i.e. the opposite of magic. Word-play maybe? I know you definitely said magic. Although that's kind of an assumed fantasy trope, no?

      What really catches the attention is the emphasis of breezy and evocative syntax at the expense of clarity. Knowing that this is ultimately a rulebook puts some focus on this area.
      • You said you've got thousands of logs that constitute your laboratory - the chatroom might be the lab...the logs = data
      • "Unbalancing mass whims" means something like, peons are passionate--albeit fickle, and this somehow causes the planet brain pain?
      • Said whims attributed to these unwashed masses include "wealth" so somehow wealth is upside down here??
      • I think you're trying to be cheeky at the end about how immortal beings could wipe the words right off your rulebook but given the above, it's hard to tell???

      See you in 9 months when your baby is finally born!
    1. pming's Avatar
      pming -

      I'm subscribed to the "eNewsletter", and waiting for the kickstarter. Sounds like an interesting campaign setting!

      As an aside...Palladium did a Rifts supplement/world/thingie that they do called "Wormwood". it was based on a graphic novel iirc. "Wormwood" I picked up before I even bought Rifts...I just thought it was a cool idea. The planet is alive and various groups/items/spells can communicate with it to get it to do stuff for produce water (a small gash opens in the earth and spring water comes out, or a mushroom-like protrusion erupts from the ground forming a 'basin' on the top, and it slowly fills with clear, fresh, cool water...stuff like that). Now I'm not sure how Empyrea is going to go with the whole "living planet" thing...but with Wormwood there are some really cool...and really disgusting...things in it! (re: the 'priests' who communicate directly with the planet are called "Wormspeakers"; they have living worms infesting their mouths and the worms 'talk' for the planet...really weird stuff!).


      Paul L. Ming
    1. Khisanth the Ancient -
      jedijon: "Empyrea" appears to be more likely derived from "empyrean" (meaning celestial or fiery, or the highest heaven) rather than "empirical".
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