Forming an idea for L5R

In the last week and a bit, I’ve been messing with some ideas for a Legend of the 5 Rings game.

My old 1st edition Unicorn character managed to pick up an ancient Crab katana whilst adventuring in the Shadowlands. For whatever reason, he promised the Hida daimyo it would pass on to the Crab upon his death. Basically, I’m changing the wording of what he said, all those years ago.
“It will pass on to my grandson upon my death. Whether he is Unicorn or Crab is yet to be seen. But I am unwed.”

So yes, the plan is to run some kind of wedding scenario. So far, it looks like I’ll be putting it either in Shiro Ide, since it’s the big Unicorn diplomatic concern, or Shiro Koatsuki no Higashi (Face of the East Castle), which is basically the same thing but for Crab lands.
I have a feeling I might throw it into Crab lands, if only for what I have planned.

So there’s an inter-clan wedding. And since it’s the Unicorn and the Crab, I might be able to manage an excuse for some kind of hunt in the nearby mountains and forests. And maybe a ghost story or something as extra flavour.
There’s also the question of the other sword in the set, which was forged for the Phoenix clan, and that’s where it’s ended up currently. Plenty of room for some more political manoeuvring and stuff.

The big issue I’ll be facing is converting all the things into 4th edition, and making sure the rules aren’t that much different. I have a good hunch as to how to add some neat twists in, and some unexpected surprises.
Luckily, a lot of the NPCs are already made and sitting happily in my head – there’s the two Crab samurai who adventured into the Shadowlands too, the Phoenix clan rival, and I got bored one day and bluebooked some downtime involving the rest of the Unicorn family.

If I actually manage to run this, and I really hope I do, then there’ll be play reports I’m sure. Maybe I’ll write them out as short stories again.
Though last time I tried that, I made the first 5 minutes of a game into 2000 words pretty easily. So maybe I shouldn’t.

If I don’t run it, it’ll have to stay as fiction I think. We’ll see how this works.

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The ongoing projects list

I’ve had a hard time coming up with a decent update here for the past few days. I’ve decided to blame it on the fact I’ve been eating radishes, which I haven’t touched in years.

I’ve also been pretty busy working at my fantasy setting, which I’m hoping will get published through Occult Moon before the end of the year. But that’s a pipe dream at the moment. I’d say the end is in sight, but I know full well how far away it is too.

My d12 system is currently on hold. I need to get some better healing rules in place. It’s currently quite brutal, but I know it could use some work, mostly for natural, non-magical healing.
I think that will get sorted next, but it still more playtesting. Feel free to use the rules as I’ve given them, and tell me what you think so far. Tell me what you needed to mess with, and why.
My fantasy setting will be the default setting I’m using to playtest, although I’ve got a couple of ideas for alternates to check: a sci-fi game about gas miners on Neptune, a wild west idea centred on a town called Copper, Arizona, and a go at the Malazan Empire, if I can manage it.

The second issue of the Lookouts comics is out, and Penny Arcade are running something on the Thornwatch, which also looks very exciting. I’ve toyed with ideas of making a game like this for a while too, and I’m excited to see how the boardgame goes.

Ok, that was plenty of link dumping, what else can I talk about?

I’ve asked a few questions on Google+ recently about Legend of the 5 Rings, specifically 4th edition and how it compares to the version I’ve played – 1st.
I’ve got a few ideas for a game I would run that I’ll likely throw up here soon. Based off a Unicorn character that I ran maybe 5 years ago, the story would involve his impending wedding, and all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds such an event. There will be more than a few obstacles, and hopefully some fun surprises too.

That’s all for now, more in a couple of days, or tomorrow if I need a break from the writing!

More city shenanigans

I’ve been thinking a bit the past couple of days about a game where the players take over a city.

Partly inspired by the Malazan books by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont, and partly inspired by the Kingmaker adventure path for Pathfinder, and maybe even a little bit by Ptolus (from what I can remember of it). Even a bit from the PC game Republic, if anyone played it.
I want to sit the players down, and say ‘you’re going to take over a city.’
The characters are drinking and playing cards and being merry in the backroom of a tavern in the middle of this sprawling mess of a city, full of corruption and waste, a hive of scum and villainy and whatever. They have decided, after many years, that they just can’t take any more, and are out to conquer the city.

I might get them to give me a bit of a brief for the city itself, but I’ve got my own ideas too. And then see what kind of characters they make. Maybe they’re all guards, and they want to take the place back from crime. Maybe they’re all war veterans, and they’re going to stage a coup. Maybe they’re all criminals, and want to run a new cartel.
Whatever happens, they’ll need to secure a base of operations, work up some grass roots support, and maybe infiltrate the higher echelons too. And then of course there’s rivals, other threats from other power players who want to keep the status quo, and maybe threats from without too.

No clue what kind of rules I’d run. I imagine that a good setup would have a relationship map and a few hooks onto locations that the players can interact with, so I might rip an entire section out of the Smallville RPG for that (is it in other Cortex products too? I’ve only seen Serenity and BSG).

Maybe the City of a Thousand Temples would be a good setting for the game? I’ll keep working on this. Feels like it might be a winner for actual play.

City of a Thousand Temples

I saw this post on Reddit, and my mind starting whirring.

What would life be like in a city with hundreds upon hundreds of different temples? Would they all worship the same god in a myriad different ways? Would they all worship a group of gods, but with as many variations again?
How would culture be shaped by this? Would people be more cosmopolitan? Would street fights break out over an imagined sleight, because your god called my god a name, according to some other third party?

I’m going to keep pondering on this. Seems like a lot of ideas could spawn from here.

A brief rethink

Following a read of this blog post, which Zak Smith shared on Google+, I had a rapid rethink of my Ascended and their godhood.
These were mortals who had achieved an apotheosis, and they’d become something more. Why would they stop being as contradictory, as emotional, as invested with mortal concerns?
So now the gods are more like people. The Lady of the Harvest is revered because she fights those who hurt the natural world. and rewards those who work with it. The Stormlord is a champion of warriors, because, if there’s a war going on, he likes to come an watch, or join in. The Great Muse really did write a bunch of those stories so that people engage with each other.

So I’ve spent a few hours re-tooling all of the gods and I’m pretty happy with them.
With my Races and Gods checked off, I need to do some more work on organisations, a little editing of the local geography, and then it’s all downhill hopefully.

Chapter I: The True Accounts and Adventuries of Grozny de Gronzi, Kingmaker.

Chapter I

I shall begin, against my personal custom, at the beginning rather than the end. The story begins better much later on, but I know that some of you prefer it this way.

So.

I was born and grew up in a small village of the Forest of Gronzi. Its name is unimportant to you, but it should be known that I, like everyone else in this village, was gnomish.
This would be an extravagant detail to many of you. After all, to look at me, you would at once see me for what I am. But I tell you it here so that you better understand my life. I grew up around people of normal size, whilst passing visitors appeared huge and gawkish to me. I was told that outside the forest, the people were all of this size, and it was we who were the strange ones. I wouldn’t believe them for years.

As you mark time, I was thirty years old when I said goodbye to my mother and father, my family and friends, and set out to make my fortune.
I had a strong voice, and my father had carved me a lovely wooden flute when I was young. I had played it incessantly of course. I had little else in the world, but upon my departure my mother presented me with the finest clothes we could afford. I had hoped that my luck and my talent for music, as well as the cantrips I had learned in my childhood, would be enough to see me grace the noble courts of the menfolk. The traveeling traders had said that I would be a natural fit, and that they were always keen for a showman such as myself.

That was nearly true. They were always keen for a show. I hadn’t quite learned the subtleties of the courts, and sadly it took me far too long to realise that my personal skills of storytelling and song weren’t to everyone’s appreciation.

Where I grew up, to make light of your neighbours foibles was to lessen their impact. It was what made us thrive as a community. If Old Man Poosk got a little handsy with the maidens when he’d been drinking, that didn’t matter. He knew that everyone knew, and we knew he knew. He knew when to stop, is what I’m saying.
Maybe I never learned where to stop.

I headed northwards, and soon found myself attached to the court of a nobleman, a minor lord of House Orlovsky. He liked to hear me sing songs of the Fae in their own language. When he asked me to sing a song in his own tongue, I surprised him with one about his neighbours in the next county, drawn from a rumour I had heard about the young Lady Medvyed. Whilst he chuckled briefly, his wife’s stern glare caught us both, and I knew I had as grievous an error as I could.
Lady Medvyed being caught with a stableboy and her pants down was perhaps a story to bold to broach to the elder sister of said Lady.

I made my excuses, and fled as fast as I could. A few more gold pieces to my name, a nice set of clothes to perform in.
And then I took over a decade to learn a simple lesson, something which perhaps I could have learned much more quickly, had I paid better attention.
The Lord you are performing for always has a sister married off to someone else nearby. The Lady you’re performing for is invariably the daughter of the Lord and Lady with the interesting goings-on at parties.
I travelled all about, but slowly south and away from the webs of courtly intrigue.
It took me another few years to realise that, whilst the nobles in the south were fewer, and less powerful, and less tied in to the rumours of the north, they were still keener to patronise the artists who didn’t make light of the people that they wanted to be.

And so I found myself out of favour as far as I could easily travel, and ended up taking my songs and stories to the taverns. I managed to make a living, for what commoner doesn’t love the lewdest tales of his lord?
Eventually, even these tales had earned the ire of the local mayors and magistrates, perhaps brought down from above them.

Needless to say, I ended up in Restov, just when they were calling for brave persons to head into the untamed wilds to the south. I didn’t have a great amount of choice in the matter. I was wanted as far away as possible.

And so I went.

About time for an update…

OK, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with a business plan for a gaming store, and some other stuff in the real world, but now I think it’s time for an actual update!

Following David Hill’s recommendation, I’ve had a read of the Smallville RPG, but trying to ignore the setting. I’ve only had a brief skim of it so far, need to read in depth, but WOW. This is a step up from the Cortex system I read years ago in the Serenity RPG. Next, I need to take a look at Leverage.

I was trying to pay attention to a character creation session for Eclipse Phase on Sunday, but I started a job on Saturday Night and was kind of out of it from that still.
But the setting! Exactly what I want to see from a sci-fi setting about the future of humanity, or transhumanity. AIs, uplifts, aliens, some very real unknown terrors, hypercorporations replacing nation states. Just fantastic. The setting’s horror twists are cool too, and definitely entice me in.

I keep telling myself I’ll write something exciting for a post soon, but it hasn’t really come to fruition just yet. I was hoping for something on my School of Magick and Wisardry, but apparently I couldn’t get the players just yet. Roll on Indie+ for that.

I did start a game of Vampire: the Masquerade via Google Hangout. We’ve somehow managed to draft in Mark Rein-Hagen, the guy that wrote Vampire. I would link to the On Air hangout on Youtube, but my brand new headset makes me into a heavy breathing moron for a good portion of it. I’ll link to it when the next episode is up.

I’ve set myself the goal of another post before the weekend. In that I’m going to write something substantial. That is my quest. Now I just have to hope the bridgekeeper doesn’t ask me my favourite colour…