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smoke prism
2013-05-07, 03:31 PM
This is my first community campaign setting (So if I make a mastic pleas inform me :smallsmile:)

Background
Essensaly a steampunk metropolis in the middle of an arctic wasteland.
input Needed

Size
Name
Population
Recourse
Power supply
religion
goverment
laws
Views on magic

Wilderness
Harsh and unforgiving. The only people out here a: Barbaric tribes, exiles and explores. The other natives to the wilderness are savage and deadly.



So all input is welcome (also if im doing it wrong pleas pleas tell me.

Baj
2013-05-07, 04:46 PM
Sounds fun!

In my opinion, I think the first two things we need to settle is the size of the city and why this metropolis is in the middle of the Arctic in the first place.

1: Since you're using the term "metropolis" I'm assuming we're talking about a pretty large city. The city of London had a population of 1 million people by 1800, but that sounds really high for a city in an arctic environment. How about a population between 500,000 and 800,000?

2: A large city would obviously be very difficult to maintain in these conditions so there needs to be a very good reason to have one there. What if they're there for resource extraction? There's something valuable here that's worth establishing a large operation to obtain. The city grew up and around this original settlement.

How isolated from the outside world are you imagining this city? Based on your description of the surrounding wilderness it sounds really remote.




Random quick question:
Are you just looking for ideas and suggestions from us or do you want us actually establishing elements of the setting, like I just did above? (I'm really sorry if that's not what you wanted! :smalleek:)

smoke prism
2013-05-07, 05:28 PM
I love to see what other people come up with, so im looking for actually elements of the setting

FallenEco
2013-05-09, 07:45 AM
I'd give it a geothermal power supply and I'd even go so far as to make the resource be mined. It solves a lot of problems.


By mining the base metal ore, you have your required resource
said ore can of course be smelted and turned into the various alloys used to construct the steampunk tech
As the city grew, it needed more power
as you mine you closer to a magma flow thanks to the world's core
Once you hit the magma flow, you can't mine in those tunnels but nothing is stopping you from using the heat as a power source
Plus it makes the city warmer than the surrounding area by virtue of being closer to the lava/magma
Which in turn makes the city a more desirable place to live.

Xallace
2013-05-09, 12:13 PM
I second geothermal power, and taking advantage of local volcanic activity. There's relevant discussion in this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=279622).

What with the volcanoes, it would be pretty cool to see obsidian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian) worked into the setting as a resource. That might be the original resource suggested by Baj, but it could also just be something the locals take advantage of while they're extracting the actual resource.

You could pick out one of the special materials from the DMG as the resource - perhaps the area is plentiful in adamantine or mithril, or something even more exotic than that. Blue Ice from Frostburn is a possibility, if you're digging into a glacier.

One thing to consider about the city is: who put it there? Is it an independent city state that became viable after the discovery of the chosen resource? Was it originally a colony of some other empire? It might still be, essentially constructed as a home for the miners/extractors and the workers in munitions/automata factories who ship the end products to the homeland.

atomicpenguin
2013-05-10, 12:48 PM
I'm just gonna spitball this, so feel free to shoot it down if it isn't what we're looking for: The metropolis (and based on what was said earlier about large populations in this climate, I like the idea of that being more of a relative term) was founded by a man who was deemed both brilliant and possibly mad. He lived in another nation (it doesn't matter what necessarily, it can just be some far off nation that the metropolis trades with occasionally, but doesn't really enter the setting in a significant way) and pioneered the technology that would allow people to tap into the geothermal energy of the earth. However, this technology was unstable and he was unable to convince his government or any other to accept and adopt his project. So, rather than fade back into obscurity, he set out to the North, where he would be bothered only by the scarce, nomadic tribes that lived there. He broke ground and established the geothermal generator, with the help of the steam-powered clockwork men that he created to assist him. After doing so, he was able to make a small base, self-sustainable and heated from the energy of the earth itself. In his expansions, however, the scientist accidentally discovered a new kind of mineral (either one that produces energy more efficiently than coal or a metal or alloy that is stronger than iron). He began an excavation project and told the world of his successes and discoveries. This news drew many a person to join him in his base and thus the metropolis was born, a self-sustaining colony of people mining this resource and living free of the laws of the other nations.

This is the official story. It would be interesting to have the scientist have some other ulterior motives for the metropolis that the players are not made aware of.

Tridax
2013-05-10, 02:46 PM
I'm just gonna spitball this, so feel free to shoot it down if it isn't what we're looking for: The metropolis (and based on what was said earlier about large populations in this climate, I like the idea of that being more of a relative term) was founded by a man who was deemed both brilliant and possibly mad. He lived in another nation (it doesn't matter what necessarily, it can just be some far off nation that the metropolis trades with occasionally, but doesn't really enter the setting in a significant way) and pioneered the technology that would allow people to tap into the geothermal energy of the earth. However, this technology was unstable and he was unable to convince his government or any other to accept and adopt his project. So, rather than fade back into obscurity, he set out to the North, where he would be bothered only by the scarce, nomadic tribes that lived there. He broke ground and established the geothermal generator, with the help of the steam-powered clockwork men that he created to assist him. After doing so, he was able to make a small base, self-sustainable and heated from the energy of the earth itself. In his expansions, however, the scientist accidentally discovered a new kind of mineral (either one that produces energy more efficiently than coal or a metal or alloy that is stronger than iron). He began an excavation project and told the world of his successes and discoveries. This news drew many a person to join him in his base and thus the metropolis was born, a self-sustaining colony of people mining this resource and living free of the laws of the other nations.

This is the official story. It would be interesting to have the scientist have some other ulterior motives for the metropolis that the players are not made aware of.

Sounds good. What if the scientist is in fact a quite peaceful man who wants to use this new tech to make the world better? And he is quite surprised when he realizes that his own friends (a group of them) uses this technology to produce warmachines. And they want to try them out on the barbarians before invading the nation which neglected the ideas of their friend. Makes them not-so-evil, more like Good-intentioned Extremists.
Since this metropolis is inhabited mostly by workers, it would be interesting to add some conflict between them. What if there were some traders from other nations who would like to buy the technology, promising the scientist they would use it for good? And some workers would be against it, vowing for the tech to be used only inside the metropolis.

zlefin
2013-05-10, 02:57 PM
A key question you have to answer is food: a metropolis is very large; and by the sound of things there isn't good farmland nearby. That means either the population is all machines; or you're shipping in a LOT of food from somewhere. The local nomads wouldn't be organized enough or have the scale to actually feed a metropolis of people.

atomicpenguin
2013-05-10, 04:33 PM
What if the scientist is in fact a quite peaceful man who wants to use this new tech to make the world better? And he is quite surprised when he realizes that his own friends (a group of them) uses this technology to produce warmachines. And they want to try them out on the barbarians before invading the nation which neglected the ideas of their friend. Makes them not-so-evil, more like Good-intentioned Extremists.
Since this metropolis is inhabited mostly by workers, it would be interesting to add some conflict between them. What if there were some traders from other nations who would like to buy the technology, promising the scientist they would use it for good? And some workers would be against it, vowing for the tech to be used only inside the metropolis.
Good ideas, but I'm not really a fan making the scientist quite that perfect. Maybe this is the story the public knows, but I like the idea of making him more morally gray in reality. Sill, I propose a compromise: Maybe the scientist had partners, either during his original expedition or after he established the base camp and found a profitable export. These partners would be the "friends" you are referring to. This would cause the leaders of the metropolis to have conflicting visions, which would allow for multiple factions within the city and make the metropolis a more colorful place.


A key question you have to answer is food: a metropolis is very large; and by the sound of things there isn't good farmland nearby. That means either the population is all machines; or you're shipping in a LOT of food from somewhere. The local nomads wouldn't be organized enough or have the scale to actually feed a metropolis of people.
I'm thinking that the metropolis would be closed off from the outside environment via a dome or making the majority of it underground. This would allow the inhabitants to make farms in this closed off environment. I like this idea better than only obtaining food through exports as I like the idea that the metropolis is self-sustaining (at least to a point) and doesn't entirely rely on any other nation.

Baj
2013-05-10, 06:30 PM
A key question you have to answer is food...

I was thinking about that. I agree with atomicpenguin that the metropolis should be mostly self-sustaining. My vote is for either massive greenhouses, or underground farms lit by artificial light. I realize that both of these have their own significant flaws, but I think they're flaws that could be put to good use as potential sources of conflict (also, they're probably the most "realistic" options, flaws included).

Geothermal power? Yes please! :smallbiggrin: I think we've already outlined all the reasons why. Easy and awesome way to make steam and heat.

I don't think the city should be completely underground, but it should have a significant underground area. I (personally) feel like having the entire city underground really limits what we could potentially do with the city as a whole. Maybe as the valuable resource is extracted, tunnels that no longer produce material are converted into useful space for the metropolis. Also, above ground buildings are connected to a tunnel network so the residents don't have to venture outside in the dead of winter. This network also has larger halls to serve as public squares and markets.

I like the scientist and partners backstory. I also like the idea of the civic leaders now having several different visions of which way to take the city. Maybe have the city be ruled by a council made up of descendants of each of the founding partners?

I really don't like the idea of having the metropolis planning an expansionist war, mostly because it doesn't make much sense (please don't take this personally, I just don't like the idea). Why would they fight? Revenge for the scientist's ideas being rejected? That sounds a little too "mad scientisty" to me, and if the scientist himself isn't around anymore I don't think the current inhabitants could really be motivated by that (I'm imagining the city having been there for a while now). It's true that the metropolis could use the resources, but the city itself is very isolated, making it a pain to get the resources there and a nightmare to enforce the rule of the metropolis in other countries. Also, if they conquer these other nations, who are they going to trade with? Remember, it doesn't matter how awesome the resource you're providing is, if there's no one there to buy it (and the metropolis can't survive just selling it to itself).

What we could explore though, is the relationship between the metropolis and the surrounding barbarian tribes. How do they view the city? Does the city's presence enrich their lives as a valuable trading partner, or do they view it as an intrusion on land that has traditionally been theirs?


Also, let's finally settle what "valuable resource" the metropolis is there for. The best I've got right now is an ore that refines into a material that is stronger then steel, but much lighter. I know, it's not very original, but it's useful and would allow the metropolis to build some pretty cool things. All-in-all though, I think we can do better. Any ideas?

atomicpenguin
2013-05-11, 10:35 AM
First of all, I kind of like the mad-scientist vibe that the story has so far. I think "science is an immoral force that can be used for good or evil" would be a good theme for the metropolis. Also, in line with this thought and because it doesn't seem apparent whether or not the scientist who founded the metropolis is still alive, I like the idea that the scientist is officially dead but one of the secrets of the metropolis is that the scientist's body (or maybe just his brain) is being kept artificially alive and is secretly pulling strings politically through puppet leaders.

I'm not particularly a fan of the expansionist war idea either. However, I do like the idea that there is a faction in the metropolis that wants to make bigger and better weapons and maybe start conquering other nations. This would not be a popular group in the metropolis, but their influence is growing and could lead the metropolis into an all-out war. While this would eliminate trade partners, this would mean that the metropolis (which would need a new name then) would control all of the resources they used to have to trade for.

As far as the barbarians (who should probably be more of the focus for this setting than any other nations), I would think that they hate the metropolis. These foreigners have come out of the blue and dropped a big city, that probably spews air pollution of some kind, right in the middle of what they considered their territory. Also, I like the idea that these tribes are nomadic and follow some sort of mammoth-like food source that travels in herds around the ice. You could say that the metropolis sits right in the middle of one of the major migration routes and it is disrupting the lives of both the mammoths and the barbarians who feed on them. I would imagine that at least one faction in the metropolis wants to make these barbarians an ally and trades machinery or the key resource for food or whatever the barbarians can obtain that is useful, but I would expect there to be some barbarians that consider just associating with the metropolis to be some sort or culture-treason.

Lastly, I want to try to answer the religion question. I think it would suit the barbarians best to have their own animistic religion, with a pantheon of nature-based gods and some mystic practices and maybe even a form of magic that the people in the metropolis just can't grasp. The metropolis, however, would be largely atheist, I think, or follow whatever religion is most popular in the other nations (probably a loose Christian-analogue). But I like the idea that there is a new cult that is growing in the metropolis, similar to the religion in Whitechapel Gods, that worships the gods of clockwork, steam, and science. I think it would be best to keep this pantheon very finite and pull from the occult culture that cropped up in Victorian England.

Alexkubel
2013-05-11, 05:07 PM
hers some thoughts, this metal is Stronger for the mass (i.e. for the same weight your getting a better material) but heavier for the volume (so it is heavier then steel if you where measuring it by size). this mans that you don't get the classic super metal scenario but a case of is it worth it? also it seems the best way if people want a war is to have another faction interested in taking the resources but for now is content with just being the main buyer but if things go sour war is a likely option (like what probably happened with Troy). I like the idea that the scientist is still alive but officially dead, pulling strings to avoid something (presumably war) and only one side or the other knows it (I like the idea of this other nation knowing the scientist is alive and think not telling the city would be better for mankind). a council ruling seems a good idea to give the players an non combat option for a campaign, barbarians for a battle. and a bloody trade war.

Other nation
Imports:
Metal
luxury goods
tech
Exports:
Food
stupid ideas
less accessible resources e.g. wood

I could see the other nation only mentioned rather then being central to the entire thing. the only thing I want to see is trains.

Avaris
2013-05-11, 05:28 PM
My first idea on hearing the concept was 'why should it be that this was always an arctic wasteland?'

It could be that the world has grown considerably colder over the space of a few decades/centuries, and that the now arctic wasteland around the city was once a prosperous and fertile nation. Most people retreated south to warmer climes, and came into conflict with those who already lived there, some adapted and became nomadic tribes eking out an existence (the 'barbarians'), and then there are those who refused to leave. A brilliant, some say mad, scientist spent his life finding ways to fight the ever increasing cold, building greenhouses and advanced machinery to keep a once glorious city alive in some way.

Advantages of this approach would be:
- an interesting twist on the traditional 'outsiders planting a city in the wasteland' style of setting you might expect
- a chance to explore the wasteland more: a once mighty kingdom lies under the ice
- chance for conflict within the city, as some wonder if things are getting too bad to continue, and they should flee south, while others think the barbarians have the right idea and that they should try and live with the conditions rather than preserve what they have

Just an idea I had, feel free to ignore/adapt to the setting you guys are making!

Mutazoia
2013-06-04, 02:22 PM
I'm thinking that the metropolis would be closed off from the outside environment via a dome or making the majority of it underground. This would allow the inhabitants to make farms in this closed off environment. I like this idea better than only obtaining food through exports as I like the idea that the metropolis is self-sustaining (at least to a point) and doesn't entirely rely on any other nation.

SOILENT GREEN IS MADE OF PEOPLE.....IT'S PEEEEEEEEPOOOOOOLE!

(Actually this reminds me of "Logan's Run"...except the Dome in the movie is near Washington DC. no set in the Artic)