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  1. #51
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    ° Ignore Wolfwood2
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    This is some pretty awesome stuff, but I think it may be a little overwhelming. There are so many plot hooks that you risk ending up with PCs who don't have much reason to be together.

    I'd suggest going back through and talking about some of this in a more player-centric context. Like, here's things that might be tackled by a group of 5 to 6 individuals of disparate talents, here's things that might be appropraite for paragon tier, and here's the epic stuff.

 

  • #52
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    ° Ignore Tal Rasha
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwood2 View Post
    This is some pretty awesome stuff, but I think it may be a little overwhelming. There are so many plot hooks that you risk ending up with PCs who don't have much reason to be together.
    Not so. There should be as many plot hooks as possible while still maintaining overall quality, tone, setting, themes, motifs, what have you. Then you can have players play in a cooler world. It doesn't overwhelm you because the DM chooses as appropriate to his group. One group will just have a linear story, while another will have one plot line that sometimes intersects with another, players being able to decide where they go, while yet another group will have a network of plot lines that they can navigate at their leisure. Now the last type is hard to do, but makes for some awesome stories, IMHO.

    So Mallus, carry right on .
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  • #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal Rasha View Post
    Not so. There should be as many plot hooks as possible while still maintaining overall quality, tone, setting, themes, motifs, what have you. Then you can have players play in a cooler world. It doesn't overwhelm you because the DM chooses as appropriate to his group. One group will just have a linear story, while another will have one plot line that sometimes intersects with another, players being able to decide where they go, while yet another group will have a network of plot lines that they can navigate at their leisure. Now the last type is hard to do, but makes for some awesome stories, IMHO.

    So Mallus, carry right on .
    Talking about setting in a player-centric way is always a good idea. The game should be cooler than the setting, not the setting cooler than the game.

  • #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwood2 View Post
    I'd suggest going back through and talking about some of this in a more player-centric context. Like, here's things that might be tackled by a group of 5 to 6 individuals of disparate talents, here's things that might be appropriate for paragon tier, and here's the epic stuff.
    Those are good suggestions, but that's also the harder and more time-consuming work. Let's just say we haven't done that yet, but will.

    On a related note, I just asked our another collaborator --shilsen around here-- to start statting some of our creations. He's going to run some of our campaign set in the port, and he's a genius when it comes to adventure/plot design and tactical considerations. I'll see if he can drop in here and offer a more practical perspective on the material so far.
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  • #55
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    A ne'er do well:

    • The Deacon of Crook Street is the crime boss who runs the Stagger. He's in love with the adventuress Ingenue Santos and wants her for his bride. People assume this is so he can use her airship for piracy, particularly to rob the Great Train, though this may not be the case.

    • The Deacon gets his nickname from the Stolen God, who is rumored to be stashed in a basement somewhere in the Swagger, or lashed to a barge hidden off the coast. Some folks assume the Deacon has unresolved verb-tense issues and that he's actually a deacon of the God of Stealing. This is, of course, wrong. The Deacon stole a god. From where and from whom is a matter of intense speculation among criminals and theologians.

    • It's entirely possible that the Deacon is looking to sell the god. Again, to whom is a matter of some speculation. Perhaps he's interested in Ingenue Santos because of her proposed expedition deep into the Interior.


    And pirates!

    • To put things bluntly, the Crimson Orb is a beholder pirate. He wears a patch over his central eye because his gaze is like "a spiteful blast from a canon in Hell". He is not only captain of his ship, the Balor, but it's chief armament. The Orb only removes the patch in battle, where he's raised above the mast on a covered platform like some ocular cannon, or lashed to the prow as if he were his own baleful masthead, shooting deadly rays as a prelude to ramming.

    • He is also known as the "Mad Eye of the Aster".

    • For a time in the port it was in vogue to use magic to reanimate the corpse of your recently deceased child, in lieu of preserving their image using more conventional means such as portraiture or photography. The children looked as they once did, if more pale, and had the personalities and memories that they did in life, but they were still very much Dead. And unaging. They got to watch their loved one grow old and die, while they continued to endure. Forever. It made them bitter, and twisted, and they found that only those like themselves could really understand.

    • About 100 years ago, they quietly boarded a ship in the dead of night, slaughtered the crew, and set sail in what was now The Memento Mori. They've done well for themselves. They're small, but much stronger and more experienced than they appear....

    • Captain Roux is the master of the Shifting Rose, a trireme that plies the seas near the Port. His crew is composed entirely of skin-changers and shape-shifters, all of whom have been somehow recovered from the sea over the years. It's been a matter of luck each time, as the Rose happens to be in the right place to find the were-rat who was thrown overboard, or the doppleganger who was the sole survivor of a shipwreck.

    • Roux claims that a goddess lives in his cabin, and it is She who guides him to his crewmen and She who keeps the ship afloat upon the Aster when the Rose ventures that far from the Port. There is, he says, a connection between the ever-changing ocean and those who can change their own shape, and since She is a goddess of the sea, well...she protects her own.

    • The goddesses name is Luna and her domain is the Sea of the Moon, which she keeps inside herself.

    • Captain Roux has the rest of the crew blindfolded when the Rose sails upon her waters, so as to keep Her secrets. To outside observers, it seems the Rose simply vanishes when she enters the Sea of Moon, only to reappear somewhere else upon the Aster.

    • Roux's secret is that he is a learned man, and he suspects there is some connection between the sea inside the goddess and the Interior.
    Last edited by Mallus; Tuesday, 29th July, 2008 at 07:46 PM.
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  • #56
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    ° Ignore Mercurius
    This is an impressive thread (and setting) of ideas. In addition to some of the other influences mentioned I'm getting touches of Everway and Maelstrom rpgs, as well as the haunted Silvanesti woods of Dragonlance.

    Mallus, have you thought of trying to publish this for 4E? This is the type of setting that I'd like to see developed, as long as the Interior wasn't totally random and had some kind of deeper (archetypal) patterning to it, perhaps a gestalt of individual souls and the fallen kingdoms that caused the Calamity. You could also play with the idea that the Interior is actually the mind of a (mad) God turned inside out, made manifest into landscape.

  • #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
    This is an impressive thread (and setting) of ideas.
    Thanks!

    Mallus, have you thought of trying to publish this for 4E?
    Only jokingly. I just asked my friend John, who's the other half of the "design team", if he knew any (cheap) artists this morning. A book needs art.

    You could also play with the idea that the Interior is actually the mind of a (mad) God turned inside out, made manifest into landscape.
    The Interior was always supposed to be the interior of God's mind, even though it also contained the skeletal remains of God inside it. That was all part of the mystery.
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  • #58
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    ° Ignore Raven Crowking
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    (1) This is an extremely impressive setting. I would enjoy playing in your game, I think!

    (2) Why the heck aren't you writing novels? Or are you?

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  • #59
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    ° Ignore shilsen
    Quote Originally Posted by Mallus
    On a related note, I just asked our another collaborator --shilsen around here-- to start statting some of our creations. He's going to run some of our campaign set in the port, and he's a genius when it comes to adventure/plot design and tactical considerations.
    Thanks. But I'm just lazier than you two, and probably a little more focused on the game-play angle, so I tend to think of that first and filter the flavor through/towards it. That's all.

    I'll see if he can drop in here and offer a more practical perspective on the material so far.
    Actually, the stuff which you guys have put up all has tons of potential, and I've got dozens of plot hooks and ideas for short- and long-term adventures in mind from reading them. As far as practical considerations are concerned, off the top of my head here's what I recommend doing:

    1) Pick some particularly interesting/salient elements of the setting and stick it in a short player handout (I'll handle this, as we discussed) and give it to them.

    2) Have the players build their PCs and come up with reasons why they know each other and are working together and to what end (I like the Injustice League idea, personally).

    3) Start the first session with "Roll initiative!", dropping the PCs into a fight designed to give the players a sense of 4e elements.

    4) Drop a dozen plot hooks on them and let them go after whichever one they want and, if they desire, tie a couple together.

    5) Run with the plot hook(s) they picked, adding/developing others as needed, some from their choices, some from their backgrounds, and some random ones. Use these to slowly add more and more of the setting flavor without overwhelming the players/PCs.

    6) Weave the plots they're involved with forward and backwards into an overarching plotline. (Note: Do not start with an overarching plotline. I personally find campaigns without those better, and with three DMs, starting with one will be even more problematic than normal).

    7) Bask in the applause and adulation of the players and pretend we had everything planned from the beginning.

    Or something like that.
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  • #60
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    ° Ignore Mallus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven Crowking View Post
    (1) This is an extremely impressive setting. I would enjoy playing in your game, I think!
    Thanks, RC. Now if we can pull off actually running it...

    (2) Why the heck aren't you writing novels? Or are you?
    Not yet. And I'd better be collaborating when I do; a lot of best stuff in here is my friend John's work.
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

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