PDA

View Full Version : Planets of Magic (Spelljammer, PEACH) - Now with 50% More Lycanthropy!



FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-11, 04:04 PM
Planets of Magic

Recent Edit: Just finished an article on Lycanthropy (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zb3b9vGHAW4BhXISdtvCa2EsxZAkXEx2meOHJ7F4r1A/pub) in Planets of Magic; probably won't get added to the main index until I do articles on a few other worlds, but it's in the links below.

Planets of Magic is a fantasy universe spread across multiple worlds, in a manner reminiscent of Spelljammer. Hundreds of years ago, Dwarven ships spread humans throughout the starves, using the primitive race as slave labor in their mining camps during the Clan Wars. In the centuries since, humans have developed and returned to the stars on their own terms, taking numerous alien species with them - some of whom now threaten human domination of the cosmos.

Today, nations and private enterprises spar for control over the resources of the cosmos, their conflicts and explorations fueled by an ever-advancing understanding of magical theory. The greatest minds of entire planets take to the stars to seek each other out in universities, shipyards and enchanteries, where their discoveries put more and more powerful magics into the hands of those seeking to explore and control the skies.

The bravest explorers take their ships into the denser regions at the center of the cosmos, where the stars are so close and so many that even sunless worlds blaze as bright as day. Some of these explorers return with powerful artifacts from forgotten civilizations; others return mad, or not at all.

Meanwhile, at the very edges of space, dark Chaos Gods brood within vast nebulae, while from the very center of the universe even older forces watch and manipulate the growth of the mortal races, waiting for the day that they advance enough to take their place in the unending conflict that has defined the universe itself.

Planets of Magic includes:


A detailed magic system, based heavily in real-world science.
All of the most common races and monsters of D&D, altered and adapted for the galactic scale.
Myriad planets and cultures, each with their own unique flavor and interests.
A rich and complex history, running from thousands of years before the rise of the oldest modern races and including two galaxy-spanning wars, with innumerable smaller conflicts woven in between.
An unapologetically high-magic setting, with the strength and stability of local magic making the difference between wealthy civilizations with all the conveniences of modern technology, and primitive backwaters where survival in the face of nature remains a challenge by itself.
A unique take on magical war, with enchanted objects and mages providing many of the advances of modern warfare in terms of strategic options, even as the bulk of actual fighting is carried out with medieval weaponry.


The main index can be found below; Below that is a list of links to the more interesting or robust articles, added as I complete them. This setting is very much a work in progress, and I'm collated and organized only a fraction of the material I've created. Comments, positive or negative, are very welcome.

Planets of Magic - Main Index (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fWN6qgN0pIgocCKzOtQNNQabU95hZgqMUyLjT8B4xE8/pub)

So far, the published materials include:


An overview of the major and minor factions.
Preliminary articles on each of the sentient races.
Bare-Bones Timeline
Full article on Dajerbyjul (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IiyD4ameWWiMKK7WNR94HYt7OTAS84PKxYMGNG6UmiQ/pub), a highly volcanic planet, sort of a cross between Arabic and Italian Renaissance culture.
WIP Article on Ogtheria (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1seChUxEE5sfjmJBjo7B7w7F5NA8O40qp4NCh-KyWklE/pub) - Vampire-run planet, former seat of a major empire, now deep in decline.
Magical Theory (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LmD_VPfJEB0647jaLc5vtcdI-y0UibYuQIXDZ99o9U4/pub)
Schools of Magic (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GhQLdQMZH-nqs19stSY9BCjf6Px_TR52iHZcqVsl_Wk/pub)
Lycanthropy (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zb3b9vGHAW4BhXISdtvCa2EsxZAkXEx2meOHJ7F4r1A/pub)



Don't feel like you have to read the entire thing - there's a lot to it, and I certainly wouldn't want to read over all of it in one sitting. However, I really do want to know what people think of this, so if you could read and review at least a little bit, I'll be very grateful.

This is my first time sharing a world-building project beyond my own friends and family, so anything you have to say - negative or positive - is appreciated. Even if all you have is complaints about the layout, presentation or writing style, I'll appreciate it.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-11, 06:15 PM
Added WIP article on Ogtheria. It doesn't have the more recent history (Since the start of the Liberation Wars), but it should give some context for the older stuff, and the planet has an interesting history by itself.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-13, 02:49 PM
Added Schools of Magic (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GhQLdQMZH-nqs19stSY9BCjf6Px_TR52iHZcqVsl_Wk/pub) and Magical Theory (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LmD_VPfJEB0647jaLc5vtcdI-y0UibYuQIXDZ99o9U4/pub)

Magical Theory covers the actual description of what magic is, where it comes from and what it takes to use it. Magic in my system is highly tied to the concept of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The "Schools of Magic" article ties that one to the actual effects casters can create - fire/lightning/healing/gravitational fields, etc, and a little bit about how these will work in gameplay.

If you like strictly-defined or sciency magical systems, give these a read.

C.J.Geringer
2013-02-16, 09:22 AM
So, it is essentially a spelljammer setting?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-16, 10:00 AM
So, it is essentially a spelljammer setting?

Yes, although I hadn't heard about spelljammer when I started.

Doomchicken
2013-02-16, 12:11 PM
I think the thing turning people off might be the sci-fi feel what almost everything else on these boards is fantasy. That's a shame, because you've clearly put alot of effort into this and it seems good to me from what little I've read (up to the factions at the moment).

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-16, 02:10 PM
I think the thing turning people off might be the sci-fi feel what almost everything else on these boards is fantasy. That's a shame, because you've clearly put alot of effort into this and it seems good to me from what little I've read (up to the factions at the moment).

Thanks, that makes some sense. It is sort of a weird sci-fi/fantasy thing, even though there's next to no actual technology (Rifles are as far as anyone's gotten.)

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the rest?

C.J.Geringer
2013-02-16, 04:01 PM
another thing that may be turning people of is that the re is no good summary in the first post, you just link right to an index without an intro.

You should expand the first post to give a more friendly intro, saying what is special about the setting, besides a simple "star trek with magic nstead of technology"

For example, the fact that humanity spread a trough space by being the favored slave-labor of the dwarves is a differential for the setting and yet it is only mentioned as a footnote in the dwarven entry. the "dwarven age" does not mention slavery, only that the dwarfs "seeded" humans.


I will take a deeper look and share my thoughts. later tomorrow

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-16, 04:40 PM
another thing that may be turning people of is that the re is no good summary in the first post, you just link right to an index without an intro.

You should expand the first post to give a more friendly intro, saying what is special about the setting, besides a simple "star trek with magic nstead of technology"

For example, the fact that humanity spread a trough space by being the favored slave-labor of the dwarves is a differential for the setting and yet it is only mentioned as a footnote in the dwarven entry. the "dwarven age" does not mention slavery, only that the dwarfs "seeded" humans.


I will take a deeper look and share my thoughts. later tomorrow

Thanks for the advice - re-did the main post. Better now?

Doomchicken
2013-02-16, 04:41 PM
The spell casting if quite well explained, and you've drawn a good line between spells and enchantments. The factions seem varied and all have their own history, however I think I need to know more about the technology to really get a grasp in the setting.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-16, 04:50 PM
The spell casting if quite well explained, and you've drawn a good line between spells and enchantments. The factions seem varied and all have their own history, however I think I need to know more about the technology to really get a grasp in the setting.

I'll add a bit on it, but it's next-to nonexistent. A few planets build rifles, but past that, everything's done with magic.

C.J.Geringer
2013-02-16, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the advice - re-did the main post. Better now?

Much better

C.J.Geringer
2013-02-17, 06:14 PM
I like it, you wrote quite a lot and it is well organized.

You did well putting your own spin in the standard races too.

I specially liked how you organized the magic system. I would recomend it as a read to people interested in fantasy and sci-fi or in spelljammer

what kind of adventures do you have in mind for the setting?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-17, 06:48 PM
what kind of adventures do you have in mind for the setting?

I have a number of different ways players can get involved with this setting - listing a sampling here.

To support lazy modular adventures, there's a faction known as The Middlemen - they basically exist as adventuring subcontractors. Factions want things done (and they don't always want the world to know that it's them that want the things done), they pay the Middlemen, the Middlemen take a cut, work it out with the local adventurers. Middlemen are also responsible for posting and collecting bounties, so it pays to keep them on your side.

Those types of jobs would include a lot of involvement in the shadow war - sabotaging operations, stealing prototype whips or enchantments, protecting installations from attack, attacking other installations, etc.

For more independent wealth-seeking, there's a lot of piracy and salvage operations, or exploration of planets towards the core. The latter includes a lot of worlds with populations of undead, insane fey, constructs, etc; I've been working on a race of sentient humanoid monsters, but I haven't come up with one yet.

There are also opportunities for more significant work or do-goodery, but those are rarely clear-cut. For instance, there is a general resistance movement against the exploitation of poorer planets by the major factions. This resistance is well-intentioned, and the major factions do some bad stuff on colony worlds; however, the resistance also has a brutality born of desperation. So, players could align themselves as freedom fighters and try to throw off the corporate yolk from assorted planets, or they could decide that the resistance are just terrorists, and work to protect against them.

At least one planet is in the throes of a major lycanthropy epidemic - the human population has retreated to a handful of city states, while the numerous lycanthrope tribes live in the wilds. Some of the lycanthropes raid the cities for food and supplies; the cities respond by sending out hunting parties, who tend to be indiscriminate in their killing. So, again, players could go either way - some might decide that the lycanthropes right to life is more valuable than the stability of the city - states, and work to fight the hunting patrols or even the cities themselves. Other players might decide that the Lycanthropes are a lost cause anyway, while the cities actually have a chance of a good future.

Doomchicken
2013-02-18, 07:42 PM
The lycanthropy intrigues me. How is it spread, what are it's effects, is there a cure? I wish to know more.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-19, 01:31 AM
The lycanthropy intrigues me. How is it spread, what are it's effects, is there a cure? I wish to know more.

Your wish is granted. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zb3b9vGHAW4BhXISdtvCa2EsxZAkXEx2meOHJ7F4r1A/pub)

Short version: Lycanthropy is were-wolfism, only for more creatures than just wolves. On most planets, it's a pretty rare thing, with occasional infections in a community and one or two were-creature packs in the wilderness. On one planet, Theese, it's spread to a full-blown epidemic, and has actually defined most of the history and civilization of the planet. No cure as of yet.

Doomchicken
2013-02-19, 01:39 PM
Pure strain lycanthropes sound scary. I wouldn't want to meet one of them in a dark alley. Or anywhere, really. Combining vampirism and lycanthropy through research is a nice touch, and you really worked lots of science explanation into lycanthropy, and got rid of the full moon thing. Overall, pretty good, however, which kind of lycanthrope is the kind that attacks human settlements, or do both do so?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-19, 01:43 PM
Pure strain lycanthropes sound scary. I wouldn't want to meet one of them in a dark alley. Or anywhere, really. Combining vampirism and lycanthropy through research is a nice touch, and you really worked lots of science explanation into lycanthropy, and got rid of the full moon thing. Overall, pretty good, however, which kind of lycanthrope is the kind that attacks human settlements, or do both do so?

For the most part, pure-strain lycanthropes are solitary creatures, and act a lot like the base animal. They're more aggressive and less scared of humans, so they're more likely to consider humans prey than normal animals, but on the whole, they keep to themselves.

Human lycanthropes are the real threat. Their populations tend to be much higher- as so many fewer die from the disease - and they aren't as well-adapted to living as pure animals. So, they sort of end up in an uncomfortable between state, too human to survive as animals, too animal to really function in society.

Organized attacks and raids by lycanthropes are rare on every planet except Theese, where lycanthropes form barbarian tribes outside of the walled city-states.

Doomchicken
2013-02-19, 04:54 PM
Ah, ok. I understand now. Thanks.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-23, 09:59 PM
Ah, ok. I understand now. Thanks.

No problem - if there's anything else I should be expanding on, let me know. Otherwise... sometime soon I should really get around to writing up all of the timeline.

It is a very long timeline.

*Shudders*

Doomchicken
2013-02-24, 09:28 AM
How long, may I ask?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-24, 11:47 AM
How long, may I ask?

In terms of years? Haven't really decided, but my placeholder number is 50,000 years. Not much was happening for a lot of that, though; planetary histories go back a couple of thousand years, and interplanetary history is only a couple of centuries.

Problem is, a lot of those time periods are crowded, and I still have some decisions to make regarding the latter sections. Right now, there are... *counts*

Ten. Ten eras, each with their own histories and events.

Old Society & Cataclysm
Chaos Wars
Dead Years
Clan Wars
Planetary Development
Subjugation Wars
Liberation Wars
Inter-Bellum Period
Exodus Crusade
Modern Era

The first three I haven't really fleshed out, but I don't need to - they're meant to be mysterious and apocraphal.

The Clan Wars need some more development, especially to make the Dwarves make sense.

Planetary Development is really a planet-by-planet thing, but I have the important events figured out.

Subjugation and Liberation wars need fleshing out, but I know the general story.

Inter-Bellum Period... needs work. There's about a hundred years in there in which stuff was happening, but I've yet to decide what.

The Exodus Wars I have a vague notion of, but I need to really nail things down, to keep the conflict realistic - it's a very important one (WWII equivalent.)

And the Modern Era... is pretty well developed, but huge. Only a few decades long (I'd like human veterans of the Exodus Wars to still be alive today), but a lot of things have happened during it.

Doomchicken
2013-02-25, 12:30 PM
That sounds like a lot of work. Good luck.

TheWombatOfDoom
2013-02-25, 12:35 PM
Speaking from one world builder to another, I'd drop a zero for timeline years. 50,000 years is an INCREDIBLY long time in which too little happens. Think of what happens in 100 years on earth, and how much changes. 500 years ago, we were in medieval times. That means we went from that to modern in half a millenia. Even with tons of wars and such, recovery would be fairly quick, especially the more technological you get.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-25, 04:01 PM
Speaking from one world builder to another, I'd drop a zero for timeline years. 50,000 years is an INCREDIBLY long time in which too little happens. Think of what happens in 100 years on earth, and how much changes. 500 years ago, we were in medieval times. That means we went from that to modern in half a millenia. Even with tons of wars and such, recovery would be fairly quick, especially the more technological you get.

So, the "Mortal" races (Not Fey, Sirens, Chaos Gods or extinct super races) weren't active during that time; they hadn't really evolved yet. Actually, the reason that period is so long is that evolutionary processes had to have time to work. The factions from before - Fey, Sirens, Nebulae Gods and similar - either went extinct, or had an entirely different perception of time.

TheWombatOfDoom
2013-02-25, 04:26 PM
So, the "Mortal" races (Not Fey, Sirens, Chaos Gods or extinct super races) weren't active during that time; they hadn't really evolved yet. Actually, the reason that period is so long is that evolutionary processes had to have time to work. The factions from before - Fey, Sirens, Nebulae Gods and similar - either went extinct, or had an entirely different perception of time.

Gotcha. Ok, carry on. I can't really read you google doc's here, but I like you're bredth of work. You sound like me in how you create a world - from the ground up. Refreshing to hear another like mind.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-25, 08:35 PM
Gotcha. Ok, carry on. I can't really read you google doc's here, but I like you're bredth of work. You sound like me in how you create a world - from the ground up. Refreshing to hear another like mind.

Thanks - by the way, what prevents you from reading google docs? I've heard a couple of people who have problems with that.

TheWombatOfDoom
2013-02-25, 08:54 PM
Thanks - by the way, what prevents you from reading google docs? I've heard a couple of people who have problems with that.

Work. I'm home now, but I'm generally on while I'm at work.

Xuc Xac
2013-03-01, 09:52 AM
So, they sort of end up in an uncomfortable between state, too human to survive as animals, too animal to really function in society.


What does this mean? I can see how someone with a lot of animal traits would have trouble functioning in human society (you won't impress anyone at the spring cotillion if you're urinating on the buffet table to mark your territory), but how can they be "too human to survive as animals"?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-03-01, 10:44 AM
What does this mean? I can see how someone with a lot of animal traits would have trouble functioning in human society (you won't impress anyone at the spring cotillion if you're urinating on the buffet table to mark your territory), but how can they be "too human to survive as animals"?

Surviving as an animal is difficult and brutish - getting food, keeping warm, preserving enough food to last through the winter, surviving an injury, raising kids... animals have a lot of evolutionary benefits that help them with that (Insulating fur, natural weapons, hibernation cycles, young that can fend for themselves from a younger age), but animals still lead difficult, painful and often short lives. Even if the human lycanthrope comes from a strain of social animal, they're still stuck at the level of hunter/gatherer, which is not a great place to be.

Xuc Xac
2013-03-01, 12:43 PM
People can survive in the wilderness just fine. They have a lot of advantages over other animals and they do pretty well. Your lycanthropes don't really lose anything. They gain a "little speed and muscle mass". How does that hurt their chances of survival compared to a normal human? When they transform, they can single-handedly wipe out a whole squad of armed soldiers. How is that less likely to survive in the wilderness than a group of hunter-gatherer humans?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-03-01, 12:53 PM
People can survive in the wilderness just fine. They have a lot of advantages over other animals and they do pretty well. Your lycanthropes don't really lose anything. They gain a "little speed and muscle mass". How does that hurt their chances of survival compared to a normal human? When they transform, they can single-handedly wipe out a whole squad of armed soldiers. How is that less likely to survive in the wilderness than a group of hunter-gatherer humans?

Most of them can't control their transformations - they have a lot of power, but only once a month or so, and with no ability to control it. It doesn't really hurt them, but it doesn't co much towards letting them eat the rest of the month, either.

Not all lycanthropes are social, and *individual* humans have a tough time surviving in the woods. Some people can do it, even for extended periods of time, but they're the exception, not the rule.

The ones who are social do live as hunter gatherers - which is really not all that pretty an existence, depending on the region. Low life expectancy, high childhood mortality, disease, environmental conditions, malnutrition, predation...

It isn't that lycanthropes do worse in the wild than normal humans - it's that normal humans don't do all that well in the wild to begin with.

Afool
2013-03-08, 08:12 PM
I'm curious about how exactly magic works, I've read the googledocs but I'm unfamiliar with Spelljammer and I don't know how the setting uses spells and whatnot (I only know of Spelljammer's reputation for everyone being/making, oh what was it *checks TV-Tropes* cyborgpirateninja dragons with lazer everythings :smalltongue:) More seriously though, how do you plan on specially dividing the spells and have you already worked out how spellcasters are going to be reworked/the new spell casting class?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-03-09, 05:50 PM
The only things my setting really has in common with Spelljammer is "Pure-magic setting in space" and "Weird looking magical space ships." I only mention it in the title because every time I talk about the setting, people bring up Spelljammer, so it seems relevant.

Mechanically, the game I'm designing has very little in common with D&D. Mages will be able to store up a certain amount of power - mana, basically - when out of combat. Individuals spells will have a power cost, but mages may not have to pay it out of the stored power - they also have a level they can channel for free. (So, if a mage can channel 3 power, and want sto cast a 5 power spell, he only has to spend 2 units of stored power.)

Beyond that, the chance system will give the mage some number of successes or failures when he actually casts a spell; these are a combination of his ability to cast the spell at all, his ability to overcome the target's defenses, and how of an effect the spell has. (So, casting check, attack roll/save DC and damage roll, all in one.)

As far as classes work, the game uses a very weak class system - everything is point-buy, and your "Class" is just a pre-determined point buy from first level (so, anyonce can buy in to anyone else's class features, as they level.) Once they have the prerequisite spellcasting ability, they can choose to learn to cast in new schools of magic, learn more advanced spells from the schools they already know, get bonuses to specific schools or, sometimes, get bonuses to spellcasting in general.

Does that answer your question?

Afool
2013-03-09, 08:50 PM
That answers my question(s) very well, the entire system idea makes much more sense now :smallsmile:

This entire project is very interesting and I can't wait until you release more about how you are crafting this new setting.

LPlate
2013-04-05, 08:48 AM
Looks interesting. I've read about Ogtheria, lycanthropy and magic at this stage. I like how it's fitting together.

How did Ogtherians reach halflings before they'd Nameless Ship?

How much are you going to try to develop the overall picture before running a campaign there?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-04-30, 12:48 AM
Can't believe it took me this long to respond to this.

So, for Ogtherians reaching the Halfling home world of Ba'amba'ut - the halfling home world was in the same system as Ogtheria (orbiting the same sun.) Ogtheria alone had the resources for interplanetary flight, as did a few others (Dahl and the Hosh-Taal system) - what they didn't have was one particular element that warps space around it, allowing ships to reach the sort of speed needed for interstellar travel to be a thing.

Already ran one very brief campaign, and running another (solo) campaign right now. Honestly, the setting is developed enough for me to be comfortable running in it already - it's mostly just that it doesn't really mesh with 3.5, so I'm working on a home brew system that's gonna take all of the time, ever.