Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism


    Introduction

    The world of Lanon is a world torn by war and marred by colonialism. Eleven nations across the world have decided to expand beyond their borders, colonizing and subjugating new lands across the seas. Their actions bring them into constant conflict with the natives of these new lands and with each other, with bloody and brutal result. Meanwhile, a brutal war wages across the continent of Lamelia. Monarchies fight democracies in battles that will shape the political future of the world for generations to come. Across the sea, the island nation of Shenran is conquering nation after nation on the mainland continent of Ashat. Its more prosperous neighbors watch, horrified, too weak to act directly against the warmongering state but too afraid of being next to do nothing. Finally, in the exotic continent of Kash, the natives must adjust to their new place in the world after having been “discovered” by explorers from Shenran.
    Explorers from each continent sail the seas in search of new lands or sea routes, hoping to support their own nation’s struggle for victory. Adventurers search through the most inhospitable regions of the world, hoping to find riches or powerful artifacts that can change their fate or that of the world. Will you take up the cause of independence or democracy? Will you fight for the traditions that have kept your nation strong through the ages? Or will you join the side that pays the most? That is for you to decide.
    Last edited by Whitersnake; 2013-09-04 at 04:58 PM. Reason: New Format!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Hi guys! Long time lurker, first time poster. I've got a couple of campaign settings under my belt, and I'm just starting work on yet another one. For once, I'm not planning on making use of it myself; if anyone DMs a campaign in this setting anytime soon, it will be my roommate, not me. Since that's not a sure thing, and since I don't want my work to go to waste, I will be posting it here as I go along! We'll see how far I get before real life gets in the way, but I'm feeling pretty hopeful

    Anyways, lets get started! I'll be writing down notes as I come up with ideas and then post them here. This first post will link to other posts throughout the thread, which will contain the material; I've seen others do it this way and it seems like a good idea for me. I already wrote up an introduction in my notes and will be keeping the post-editing to a minimum, so instead of saying everything twice, I present to you... Frigates and Flintlocks!

    Introduction
    Spoiler
    Show
    Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism
    This project is not, I am sad to say, a community world-building project, nor am I certain it will ever be completed. Instead, it is my attempt to create a world for use in my own personal campaigns. Since I tend to write things down when I work on this sort of thing anyways, I figured I may as well polish it up and post it here on the internet. If you want to use the stuff I come up with for your own settings, feel free; if you have any suggestions, feel free to post them as well.

    So! The world I want to build. I want a world that I can use, of course; that’s my number one priority. I already have a fairly standard High Fantasy world, so I want something different. Pretty much all campaign settings run between the High Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance, so I want to avoid that period. I’ve done a number of earlier settings before; Classical, Bronze Age, and so forth. So I’m not too interested in going backwards. Which raises the question, how far forwards can I go before the world isn’t really Fantasy anymore? I think the Industrial age sets a hard limit on fantasy. Sure, there are “Urban Fantasy” worlds, but they are a different genre. I think the Colonial age is probably as far as I can go. Which is fine by me; there are lots of awesome themes to draw on in the Colonial age. Stories like Pirates of the Caribbean, King Solomon’s Mines, and any of the dozens of Fountain of Youth or El Dorado stories are perfect for D&D. It also means some major changes to the way parties work. Less knights in shining armor and more musketeers; major battles will involve cannons, pikemen, and riflemen rather than swordsmen and archers. But I like that; decent stats for rifled guns, coupled with their single shot nature and long reload times, will mean all sorts of exciting changes to standard battles.

    Before we get into that, though, let’s think of major themes for the world. The most important thing for a good campaign setting is a source of conflict; I can come up with a number of good ideas just based on what I have so far:

    1) Colonizers vs. Colonized
    2) Old vs. New
    3) Magic vs. Industry
    4) Democracy vs. Monarchy
    5) Tradition vs. Rationalism

    I think that’s plenty for now. I like all of those options, and I think I can make a good world that explores each one. There will be a few strong nations, or rather groups of nations. In the real world, the colonial powers were pretty exclusively European; I think a little more diversity is in order. Especially if magic is involved, I can imagine multiple groups of nations, all of whom colonize heavily. Each of these groups will come into conflict with the other, of course, but only as competition; that isn’t the interesting part. What IS interesting is their interactions with the natives. In real life, many traditions and beliefs were lost or changed when natives were assimilated (or wiped out by) Colonial culture; in a Fantasy world, this could be taken a step further. This ties into the Old vs. New and Magic vs. Industry ideas; as the Colonial powers are heading off into the Industrial Age, Magic turns from a mystical, wondrous thing into another field of science. The Medieval Sorcerers and Warlocks give ways to Rationalist Wizards, as it were.
    The only conflict that I am (heh) conflicted about is that of Democracy vs. Monarchy. This is certainly something that came up during this period, but I want to avoid making clear good guys or bad guys. If any setting deserves grey and grey morality, it is a Colonial one, and I want to show that in the game.


    Next time around, I will discuss the power groups I want in this world. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to read them; otherwise, stay tuned!


    Just realized there's no time limit on Edits...

    Part 1: Nations!

    Spoiler
    Show
    I just realized that I haven’t actually mentioned anything about mechanics yet. So, first off, I am making this setting for the only game I play: D&D 3.5. Of course, it should be very easily adaptable to Pathfinder, 4e, 2e, or d20 Modern; I don’t know enough about any other system to tell how well it will work. So use this world freely for any setting, but just remember that if I say that the frost giants are a major threat and your system has them as cannon fodder, just know that I mean 3e D&D frost giants.

    Races. D&D has lots of them; just the PHB has seven. I am conflicted about how I want to handle them in this setting. On the one hand, they’re a major part of the D&D history; on the other hand, they detract from the Colonial idea. The reason stories about natives rebelling against the oppressive colonialists in their land are powerful and moving is because both sides are human; if the Elves are colonizing the Goblins, the message loses a lot of its strength. Not to mention that any conflict involving a human nation on one side would likely have players automatically siding with the humans, which I don’t want them to do; remember, the idea is to play on the idea of grey and grey morality. At the same time, the standard D&D races give players options. A half-orc, for example, makes a stronger barbarian than an elf. But a half-orc wizard allows great role-playing opportunities, or unusual builds like an axe-swinging wizard.

    Before I return to races, I think I need to look at how I want to handle nations. In the real world, Europe had pretty much dominated the Colonial area. In the centuries leading up to it, many nations participated in Colonialism; notable non-European colonial powers include Japan and China, among others. But by the time period this setting is concerned with (1700s), Europe started intruding in Japan and China, along with the rest of the world. So a Colonial setting wouldn’t be complete without powerful Europeanesque colonial forces. But in a world of magic, it’s easy to imagine Europe’s conquests being far less complete. The European powers conquered South and Central America, for instance, mostly because of disease. If the Aztecs had had powerful priests who could combat the spread of disease, perhaps they could have held off the initial Conquistadores, acquired their horses, steel, and guns, and learned to fight back. Not to mention the fact that while musketeers and cannons are dangerous, fireballing wizards can do just as much damage.

    That gives me an idea. Three groups of Colonial powers; one modeled after European nations, one modeled after East Asian nations, and one modeled after Mesoamerican nations. The European analogues would possess the most advanced rifles, cannons, and ships, but fall behind on Arcane magic. Like in the real world, their homelands will be on a crossroads between continents in lands frequented by war, which would explain why their technology is so advanced. The Mesoamerican analogues would be the most isolated, have the smallest population and lowest technology, but be by far the most powerful magically. They would also likely be the least aggressive colonists; they’d sooner inhabit their own lands than conquer others. But after defeating a European-ish colonial force through use of their mighty magic, they would decide to expand in order to survive. Finally, the East Asian analogues would have a balance of technology and magic (perhaps, like in our world, they were once the most advanced; but a lack of wars and somewhat isolated environment means that their progress shifted away from wartime technology and towards things like paper, or the printing press).

    Each of these blocks would represent a number of nations; between 2 and 7 major nations each sounds pretty good. Enough variety, without being overwhelming. So 8-12 or so total Imperial Powers, which leaves room for local powers and colonists. There would be independent or semi-independent colonial powers, much like the American Colonies. Perhaps a localized empire or two, like the Turks, who spread out to neighboring lands instead of across the sea. Finally, there is room for a number of smaller nations or coalitions of tribes who struggle for independence from both colonial powers and the local colonists; for example, India in the 1800s or the Iroquois League.

    The more I think about it, the more I dislike the idea of different types of humanoids. The things that happened in this time period have the emotional impact they do precisely because they were done by humans to humans. D&D’s 200 flavors of Elf seem to hurt this quite a bit. So the only race is Human; Elves and Dwarves and Orcs don’t exist, and more exotic humanoids like Gnolls or Lizardfolk are nonplayable, exotic, and rare. The stuff of myths and legends… Or nightmares. To allow some variety, every player will get 5 Regional Feats for free at levels 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20. Every culture will get at least one feat chain, and these feats will serve to differentiate characters.

    This is just a rough idea, of course, but I’m thinking players won’t have to take all 5 cultural feats. To use an example from our world, a British colonial hunter who takes the 1st level British Hunter feat before travelling the globe could take a feat from the American Colonies at level 5 when working for the governor there, a Native American feat at level 10 while exploring the West with a number of local guides, a South African Colonial feat while hunting for ivory at level 15, and an Indian feat while retiring in those colonies at level 20. By looking at a character’s regional feat tree, it will be possible to guess his history.

    So, all Human world; colonial powers modeled after Mesoamerica, China and Japan, and Europe; and local nations modeled after the rest of the world. Up next: I draw a map and try to shove all of those ideas in there!


    Update 2: Messin in Mesoamerica
    Spoiler
    Show

    So, it turns out that making maps is pretty easy. I spent an hour or so with a piece of paper and a pencil, drawing shapes that I eventually turned into what I would say are fairly realistic continents. They follow all the simple rules of plate tectonics, however. It was only after I was done that I realized, my map was pretty similar to the real world! There were five continents, and by chance they happened to look like a very distorted upside down view of Earth. I decided to roll with it, and added Australia too. So the campaign world will be a (very) distorted version of Earth. The various analogues of the different countries probably won’t be anywhere near their real-life location, though, since the shifting map caused some oddities, like Europe being
    almost entirely in the Tropics.

    So map making is easy… Why aren’t I posting a map, then? A good question. See, drawing a map on paper is easy; transferring it into a computer program that makes it look good isn’t. So until I work that out, I think I’ll work on fleshing out some of the civilizations in the world. Now, as I’ve said, I want to have three regions of Colonial power; one based on Mesoamerica, one based on Europe, and one based on East Asia. Since Europe and East Asia were both home to multiple Colonial powers at some points in their history, I have a lot more material to work with. Consequently, I think it’s best to start with Mesoamerica so that I can establish the details least grounded in history first. That way, when I get to Europe and Asia, I know what needs to be changed around.

    Of the Mesoamerican civilizations, the most instantly recognizable are the Maya and the Aztecs. While both nations have amazing and fascinating lists of historical achievements, what is more relevant to the fantasy world is how they are viewed in popular culture. Before I look at what this means, though, I need to decide if I want to include other nations from the region as colonial powers. While they are geographically fairly distant and enormously isolated from the Maya and Aztecs, the Inca are usually associated with the first two. However, they aren’t nearly as prevalent in popular culture. Still, I do want to include them somehow. I think what I will do is include the Maya and Aztecs as major colonial powers, while the Inca are another powerful nation who focuses inwards instead. This gives me three nations for the Mesoamerican block, which should be more than enough for now. There are certainly many other interesting cultures in the region, but most of them were absorbed into these big three or had simply disappeared by the time Europeans discovered America. So while I may include aspects from those cultures, I will roll them into one of these three main groups instead.

    So, it’s list time! I will list the characteristics that go with each of the nations I am creating (at least, according to popular culture) and we’ll see what happens. Since these themes will bear very little similarity to the real cultures beyond cosmetic themes, I’ll give them nicknames instead. We’ve got 3 cultures, and I shall designate them Warrior, Scientist, and Merchant. I need to choose two colonials and one domestic; the simple choice is to have the Warrior and the Merchant expand, while the Scientist stays at home. But I don’t like that; it seems way too obvious. The Scientist culture is, if you believe Hollywood, not exactly science; it is a mix of religion and science, astronomy and astrology, prophecy and calculations. So, the Scientist is more of a theocratical cult; advanced in science (though not necessarily technology) and magic, and devoted to a cause. Something makes them want to expand; we’ll figure out what later. What about the Merchant culture? They have a clear reason to expand, and at the same time rich-but-isolated has been done too many times. King Solomon’s Mines, anyone? So I think I’ll keep them as a colonial power as well. Which means that the Warrior is left at home, which seems to make no sense at first. But, think about it! What if there were originally five nations in Mesoamerica, the Merchant, the Scientist, and the three Warriors? For years, the Merchant and Scientist nations lived on opposite ends of the region, with the three Warrior groups fighting over the center. Occasionally, one of the nations would attack the Merchant or Scientist, but through superior technology and defenses they managed to hold off. I’ve established that I want the Mesoamerican colonial movement to be reactionary, which means that at some point an explorer from either Europe or Asia discovered America. Like the Conquistadors in our world, the discovering nation tried to colonize this land. Unfortunately for them, disease is much less of a concern in a fantasy world, and the three Warrior nations united and beat off the foreigners. They discovered that being united actually worked out fairly well for them, and so forged a new nation; together, they conquered most of the small kingdoms and city-states in the region. The Scientist and Merchant nations, desperate to prevent their own doom, turned to colonialism to bolster their home forces in case the Warrior alliance ever attacked; meanwhile, the Warriors pressed out overland into the frontier, expanding their borders into mostly tribally controlled lands.

    Alright, I think I’m on a roll; forget the list; let me just keep this stream-of-consciousness going. There’s five nations, in a jungle-themed land that’s supposed to be quite mystical. D&D adapted the region’s feathered serpents into Coutals, which I have to admit are pretty cool; but they’re also a bit too obvious. Instead, I think I want to use dragons. Chromatic dragons are very European and Metallic dragons are very Asian; I’m gonna toss that out the window and stick dragons in America. Or rather, I think I’ll create a new type of dragon. Asia’s dragons tend to be benevolent and smart; Europe’s are bestial and ferocious. I think that D&D made a mistake when they tried to do both; I think I’ll try to fix that. I’ll have three types of dragons; European (Chromatic) dragons, who will be bigger, stronger, tougher, and much harder to kill; but they’ll also lose their spellcasting. Asian (Metallic) dragons will be smarter, more mystical, and more magical; but they won’t be as strong in a melee fight. And American (Plumed) dragons, which I will probably have to homebrew from scratch, will be the rarest of the bunch. As strong as a European dragon and as skilled with magic as an Asian dragon, they will be almost god-like. In fact, maybe they are so rare that there are only five of them left. And each one is the patron of one of the original civilizations in the region: the Merchant, Scientist, and three Warriors. The dragons don’t leave the continent because doing so risks the destruction of their city by an enemy; they don’t directly participate in war because that sort of escalation is a bit of a “nuclear option”. They do, however, rule over their cities as all-powerful god-kings.

    I like what I have so far; there’s a lot of potential here. Stay tuned; next time I either post a map or look at Asia.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Hey guys; I'd love some feedback and suggestions! The more you guys give me, the better this setting will be.

    Part 3: The Far East
    So we’ve got the colonial powers hailing from America down. What about Asia? In the real world, I can think of two major colonial forces that hail from East Asia. First are the Imperial Chinese, who in their time extended their sphere of influence pretty darn far. Second are the Japanese, who did lots of conquering and occupying from China to New Guinea. I think I like those themes for a starting point, so let’s have one huge mercantile and exotic nation, filled with goods like silk, spices, and strange fruits or animals. The second nation will be an island nation with a large number of occupied territories. That is as far as I’m taking the historical aspect, though.
    A confession: I love the Mongols. Whether it’s a game of Civilization or Age of Empires II, or a history book, I have always been fascinated with the conquests of Genghis Khan. While the Colonial age is too late to include a true Mongol analogue, I have another, more subtle idea. A hundred years ago or so, a great warlord united the tribes just outside of the Giant Merchant State and proceeded to conquer half of the known world. While he was eventually defeated and his great empire fell, the dynasty he set up in Giant Merchant State lasted. On the other hand, that means that I miss out on the Immortal God Emperor theme that Imperial China seems to have in pop culture… So to make up for that, let’s split the Giant Merchant State in two. Half of the Empire fell to the horde, while the Emperor and his powerful subjects managed to protect and hold the other half. The more traditional Empire and the younger Settlers (because they were nomads who settled down) are in conflict with each other, but neither wants to revive the war. Both are expanding to new shores in order to secure their position in the world.
    The Warrior Islanders, on the other hand, have a very different strategy. They have a strict system of honor and nobility, but the home islands are filling up; a long peace brought on by a strong Emperor who ended internal wars has led to more and more nobles, all of whom want their own lands. As a result, the Warrior Islanders expand outwards, conquering smaller kingdoms that surround the split Giant Merchant State. While the Giant Merchant State doesn’t like this, especially since many of those kingdoms were under its protection, the split empires cannot really afford to go to war with the Warrior Islanders.
    Internally, the Warrior Islanders need a strong Emperor. A common fantasy trope involves the strong emperor’s kids, who split the kingdom between them; I think there’ll be room for that sort of thing in Europe, so instead the strong emperor just took over recently. With an iron fist, he united the Warrior Islanders and proceeded to conquer offshore. Instead of distant foreign colonies, the Warrior Islanders will control nearby kingdoms. Since the conquests are done to give the nobles land, these kingdoms will be split up between said nobles; their traditional ruling systems and ways of life will suddenly be under attack, leading to much conflict. To let the Warrior Islanders have a little frontier fun, I think I’ll let them colonize a few small, uninhabited or tribally controlled islands around the area. Nobles who have fallen out of favor with the Emperor will be sent off to those places instead.
    Technologically, I want these nations to be more advanced than the Mesoamerican analogues, but behind the Europeans. So while Europe has muskets, cannons, and frigates, Asia has caravels, harquebuses, and bombards while Mesoamerica has trebuchets, cogs, and archers. Of course, Mesoamerica has high-level sorcerers and favored souls; Asia has moderately powerful wizards and wu-jens; and Europe has a few clerics and adepts. I’ll come back to this idea when I work out the default class list for each region.
    Finally, I think the explorers who discovered the Mesoamerican lands should be from Asia, not Europe. There are a couple of reasons for this: First, it’s different from the real world, which almost enough of a reason by itself. Second, the Europeans are going to have more advanced ships; if the Mesoamericans get a jumpstart in technology in order to get oceangoing ships, the lower the technology level those ships are at, the better. Third, this way the spoils of war from Eastern technology will give the Mesoamericans a boost, but still leave them behind technologically.
    Up next: Europe!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Still no responses, I see? No matter; I am determined to finish this setting, even if I'm the only one who will enjoy it!


    Sidebar: Warfare in the Colonial Age

    My apologies for taking so long to return to this project; as usual, real life got in the way. But now, here I am, ready to discuss some more ideas!

    Before I move on to Europe, I’m gonna take a quick sidebar to talk about war. How would war work in a world with magic, undead, and muskets? Europe in the 1700s involved pretty constant war, at least according to media perception. Different nations would ally, fight a war together, then turn on each other and ally with their enemies. If paintings from the era are to be believed, soldiers would line up in rows, fire their muskets upon each other, and eventually charge to fight with bayonets. Devastating cavalry charges could wipe out musketmen whose armies did not yet adopt the bayonet; pikemen and bayonet-wielding musketmen could counter a cavalry charge. Some armies combined muskets and pikes to a devastating effect; the Spanish Tercio is a prime example of this method. Cavalry adapted by lessening its dependency on lances (which require the units to actually charge into melee) and replacing them with shortened muskets or rifles. Battles were rarely ended at range, however; eventually both sides would charge. Artillery at the time was usually used for siege; bombards simply weren’t built for field use.

    All of this changed during the 1800s. The development in the late 1700s of rapid-fire weapons spread, so that by WWI machine guns and superior artillery gave the defenders a clear advantage. Machine guns and artillery pieces were big and difficult to move, much less attack with. However, once in place, a machine gun could mow down charging enemies with little difficulty. Early tanks and better grenades were certainly useful on the offense, but the staggering advantage for the defensive side led to the stalemate of trench warfare. So again, how does magic affect this?

    I think magic would hasten the effects that more deadly weapons had on the battlefield. Armies could march longer and further thanks to the creation or purification of food (a good-aligned cleric working as a medic would prepare spells like Purify Food and Water, Create Food, Create Water, or Gentle Repose in every one of his slots, substituting them out for Cure spells if needed). Alternatively, they could also live in a bunker longer. Wizards and sorcerers would be absolutely devastating to low-level grunts; a fireball is much more accurate than a mortar, delivers far more damage to a larger area, and is delivered from a much more mobile platform (a wizard who can cast Fireball can also cast Fly). Of course, the advantage lies with the defensive team more than ever in the case of a wizard; an artillery piece can fire from the other side of a hill, while a wizard needs line of sight. And while muskets had relatively short range, a 5th level wizard’s Fireball only reaches 600 feet, placing the unfortunate wizard just out of “accurate” musket range. Of course, a single lucky shot from one of the dozens of musketmen who will undoubtedly retaliate is probably enough to shoot Mr. d4 HD out of the sky. A wizard in a bunker or trench, on the other end, can wipe out charging ranks with a gesture and a phrase with little to no danger to himself. Anyone hit by a fireball is likely to be killed, but even the lucky soldiers who made their Reflex save aren’t out of the woods just yet. The fireball would undoubtedly ignite whatever gunpowder they carry with them and has a decent change of ruining their musket or at least their (soft, low melting point) lead rounds.

    Another thing to consider is magic weapons. While a +1 musket for every soldier would be out of the price range of any nation, equipping a few elite soldiers with magical muskets is not out of the question. Magical muskets would be far less likely to misfire as well, meaning multi-barrel designs are feasible. A multi-barrel musket modeled off of the repeating crossbow is entirely possible; self-loading muskets are also feasible. Combine the two, and you have a repeating weapon that can drop multiple enemies per round. More feasible for mass production is magical ammunition; 50 +1 Spell-Storing bullets cost 8,000 gold pieces, but allow a wizard with enough downtime to cast Fireball 50 times to turn even a 1st level soldier into a deadly artillery unit.

    Golems and the undead bring another interesting factor into the equation. Both are at least somewhat resistant to bullets, and zombies or skeletons are probably cheaper than soldiers to send into battle; a soldier costs 3 SP a day to hire, which means that after about 3 months a 1 HD undead costs less than a soldier. Of course, a zombie can start marching the day it is created; a soldier needs at least some training, during which he must be paid. Zombies cost twice as much and have a penalty to dexterity, but skeletons have less hit points. With their bonus to dexterity and fragile body, it is likely that skeletons would be given muskets while zombies would be equipped with melee weapons. Both would be used as shock troops, or to provide cover while the infantry charges.

    So, to summarize, I envision war in this world to be a grueling affair. Grunts sit in trenches and take potshots at one another, knowing full well that at any moment they could be obliterated by a Fireball. Casualties would be enormously high, leading to the use of the undead in battle. While Clerics make it far more likely that the wounded will survive, Wizards make it far less likely that there will be any living wounded in the first place. Adventurers would be an enormous boon in this sort of war, able to infiltrate or fight their way behind enemy lines to destroy objectives such as groups of wizards or heavy artillery pieces. A Heroes of Battle style Victory Point system will be very handy in this setting.

    Of course, if your group dislikes the idea of a gritty trench war, there are many other ways to adventure in this world. The battles between colonial powers and natives, for example, would be very different; with much of the world unexplored, delving into unknown dungeons or exploring jungles or mountains is certainly possible. While the Europe-analogue part of the map will be war-torn and bloody, the rest of the world contains great opportunity for adventure.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Part 4: Europe!
    So, when we left off, I promised to get into Europe, and now get into Europe I shall! There were more European colonial powers than any other type. To continue with this theme, we’ve got two Asian colonials and three Mesoamerican colonials; let’s have five Europeanesque powers. There are a number of themes in European tradition; a major theme during this era is the struggle between traditional monarchies and revolutionary democracies. Monarchies were mostly losing this battle by the Colonial era, so let’s have just one traditional monarchy. Being traditional, they are probably also more religions; we’ll call them the Holy Imperial Nation. The HIN is a powerful force, probably possessing the strongest military in the world and the most influence in whatever continent the European nations are planted on; however, they were slow to adjust and so have the fewest colonies. Next, and opposite them, is the Naval Merchant Empire. These guys have a ridiculously strong navy (which means I’ll probably be sticking them on an island) and more colonies than anyone else. They are heavily dependent on colonial commerce, as their homeland is simply too small to allow them to exert much influence.

    While the HIN still have powerful knights and cavalry forces, strong units of pike- or musket-men, and powerful artillery brigades the NME has ships that can outmaneuver and outgun any other naval unit in the world. For a third concept, I like the idea of a totally different nation, and not exactly a realistic one. I like the idea of one nation who’s way behind the rest, both technologically and socially. Realistically, that sort of thing happens because of a geographic disadvantage; so I’ll stick these guys in a frozen wasteland. Unlike the rest of the world, they’re stuck in the Feudal age; maybe because the ruling class is a powerful and strict theocracy whose religion is based on a feudal system. They do need some advantage, though, if only to explain why they haven’t been conquered by the other Euro-analogue nations yet. So I’ll make their land really, really big. The more I think about it, the more this nation sounds like the Russia in Monster Planet, so I think I’m going to roll with that; the country is ruled by a powerful lich king. Or Tsar, I suppose. Undead are, as part of the religion that rules this country, respected honored by the masses. The leadership, on the other hand, treats them as disposable mooks. Even though this nation is mostly a frozen hellhole, the use of undead for labor and soldiers allows its human population to survive and even prosper; and when they die, they are raised as undead. Those with a natural talent for spellcasting join the clergy as vampires, liches, wights, or other intelligent undead. Those who cannot cast instead have a duty to preserve their bodies for reanimation; dying in a manner that prevents rising (such as dismemberment, disintegration, or simply falling in a river and never being found) is considered a great dishonor. Note that just because this nation involves lots (and lots and lots) of undead does not make all of its citizens Evil, though the Lich Tsar certainly is.

    Both the Holy Imperial Nation and the Undead Theocracy are not very big on colonization; they mostly do it to compete with the rest of the world. The Naval Merchant Empire is a colonial giant, on the other hand; they need someone to compete with. Let’s throw in an Exploratory Empire; their navy isn’t quite as big as the NME’s, but it’s certainly a major force on its own. Unlike the NME, the EE doesn’t found many of its own colonies. Instead, it conquers foreign lands and keeps their populations mostly intact. Over generations, the EE’s colonists mingle with the locals, until they form a new, distinct population; until then, the EE rules over the natives with an iron fist. The EE’s monarch is much more powerful than the NME’s king, who is mostly symbolic by this point. However, he or she is nowhere near as influential as the Undead Theocracy’s Tsar or the HIN’s Emperor. The EE has fewer colonies than the NME, but competes over the colonies fiercely.

    That leaves one last colonial power in Europe. Continuing my theme of no good guys or bad guys, I think these people will live in a democratic nation; however, they achieved democracy through a bloody revolution, and while the leader they elected has his people’s best interests in mind, he believes the way to achieve this solution is a bloody war of conquest. A World War, in fact; Eberron’s world war just ended, and that’s a common theme in many campaign settings. I think in my world, a major war will just be starting. The European-like nations have already aligned themselves against one another and shots have been fired; their colonies wage war as well. The Asian-like countries each have their ideas of who to support, but they haven’t joined in quite yet. And the Mesoamerican nations are officially neutral, but everyone realizes that this isn’t likely to last. In the “Old World”, war is the bloody Trench Warfare affair described above. In the “New World”, the population is too small to support such a bloody war; guerilla warfare of the sort common during the American Revolution is much more prevalent. Explorers are racing around the world, trying to find places to plant new colonies in order to more effectively leverage their nation’s navy; whoever is the first to accurately map the world will have a major advantage. Adventurers delve into ancient ruins to find artifacts of power that will give one of the sides an advantage; patriotic adventurers hope to push their home to victory, while more mercenary ones plan to sell their loot to the highest bidder. And at the very same time, minor powers around the world struggle for independence from their colonial masters.

    I'm going to reformat things to make this easier to read, along with add a snippet of my new concept to the first post. Hurrah!

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ForzaFiori's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    I am very interested to see the rest of this. So far it seems pretty dang awesome. No real comments so far - I can't find any obvious paradoxes or problems with your reasoning, and your countries seem pretty interesting. Consider me subscribed for now.
    Avatar by Lycunadari

    Go Tigers!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Oh wow, someone beat me to it and is doing a better job.. I'm working on an 1800s inspired world, with colonialism being a major theme, too.

    Thought I was being original, anyway this is cool man keep it coming.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Religion, Magic, and the Ecology: Rambling time!

    So I tend to find that stream-of-consciousness writing really helps me keep track of my thoughts when brainstorming. Since I’ve been too busy to post anything lately, I’ll just put this ramble down in the comments and later go up and edit a summary into the first post.

    So, I’ve already decided that I want the only playable race in this campaign to be Human. That still leaves a lot of room for decisions. What sorts of creatures inhabit the world? Are magical creatures a natural part of the ecosystem, or is the supernatural somehow separated from the “normal” world? Are humans the only playable race, the only humanoid race, or the only sentient race? These questions all need to be considered before the world itself takes form. Then I must consider the place of religion in this world, and the setting’s cosmology. But before I tackle any of these considerations, I think I need to decide on the nature of magic in the world.

    So, magic. What is it? Is it a natural force that can be studied and harvested reliably, or a manifestation of supernatural forces like “force of will” or “divinity”? Does it follow strict rules like another type of physics, or is it something completely different? I need to decide what I want magic to do. So I need to consider the world I am trying to build. The colonial era was, for the West, a time of rationalism. Science, correct or flawed, was used to justify almost everything that people did. In the industrial world, logic was key. So a scientific, rigorous approach to magic seems like a good idea at first. My only problem with that idea is, it’s been done before. But I don’t want to toss that idea; it fits the setting very well. Instead, I think what I need is a bigger split in Arcane spellcasting. I’m still not sure exactly how I will achieve this, but I plan to separate those classes who study and manipulate magic (such as the Wizard or Artificer) from the classes who channel magic (namely, the Sorcerer and Warlock). I won’t ramble about this tangent for too long, since it’s behind the scope of this section of this work; instead, I’ll suggest that I may end up combining the Artificer and Wizard into a “Magic as Technology” type class and the Warlock and Sorcerer into a “Magic as a Primal Force” type class. But we’ll get back to that in another chapter.

    So Arcane magic will be split between those who channel it and those who study it. I have a bit of bad news for fans of symmetry; I don’t think I’ll do the same for Divine magic. So, where does Divine magic come from? I like what Forgotten Realms does in eliminating the “Cleric of a Cause” idea. Power needs to come from somewhere, and if it’s just coming from the environment it might as well be Arcane power. Divine magic should be different; it should come from a concrete, well-defined source. Note that this source doesn’t have to be “godly”. For example, I think the five great dragons of the Mesoamerican region should be able to grant divine spells. Whatever religions are followed by the other regions will also grant powers. Which brings up a problem. Either everyone in the world follows the same religion, or they worship different gods. A single religion is boring and unrealistic; multiple religions lead to the classic problem of D&D’s deity gallery. If each region follows their own gods, then there are five or six Gods of War or Gods of the Sun or Goddesses of Love. Or if there isn’t any overlap, then each religion will be missing certain domains. A good way to get around that is having numerous pantheons, but I did that in my last campaign setting. I want to try something different. So instead, I think the varying members of different pantheons should just be different aspects of the same being. For example, Anur is the Egyptian god of War, and Mars is the Roman god of War; each is worshipped differently and upholds different values, but both are really the same being.

    This leads nicely into religion. I’ve already established that the Mesoamerican cities each have a patron Serpent; their religion will be based around that, with the five dragons splitting the core domains between them. That leaves Europe, Asia, and everyone else. I want to establish a contrast between Europe and Asia, so I think Asia will be polytheistic, which each domain getting its own deity, while Europe will have some sort of duality that splits the domains along equal lines. Normally, the Good/Evil split is a bit clichéd; but the European nations should probably be the most familiar and similar to our modern culture. With that in mind, the Evil side of the Duality will have some of the most important domains; because of this, Good, Neutral, and Evil people both worship both sides of the Duality. Evil wouldn’t necessarily mean murder and rape; instead, Evil refers to destruction while Good refers to creation. Fire, for example, is immensely useful; but due to its useful properties, it will fall under Evil’s Domain. Finally, colonized areas or non-imperial nations will either adopt one of the three colonial religions or have their own system of belief.

    What sort of impact will this system of belief have on the world? I imagine that with clerics of all sorts of religions running around and working miracles, the devout of one religion will accept the validity of another religion. Instead, they will believe that other religions are flawed in their method of worship. For example, a European cleric will not understand why the Asian cleric perceives the god of Fire and god of War as two different beings, when the European cleric KNOWS that they are, in fact, just different jobs of the Evil side of the Duality. Meanwhile, a Mesoamerican cleric won’t understand why the European cleric lumps each serpent’s domains into just two groups; further, he would be horrified by the heresy that is asking these forces for power directly, as opposed to working through an intermediary (namely, the Feathered Serpents). Meanwhile, all three clerics will find the shaman of a tribe that only worships a single domain to be short-sighted, while he won’t understand why they spend so much time trying to please the various deities when, clearly, the only one who matters is the chief deity of Strength.

    While I wanted to get to cosmology and ecology in this rambling rant, I’m out of time for now. I will add more as soon as I can. As always, feedback is welcome!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ForzaFiori's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Few bits of feedback: With your magic classes, have you seen what Gnorman has done with his E6 classes? If you wanted to have two arcane classes (learned and channeled) but still allow for the differences between say, Worlocks and Sorcerers, you might consider something like his Archetypes.

    With the religion, while I realize that this is just a thought stream, I would suggest shying away from calling the split in the European side "good/evil" if possible - not only does it bring some bad connotations with it - I don't think I'd be wrong to say that, when confronted with a good/evil duality, most people in the world would probably immediately think of some form of Abrahamic religion, which isn't what you want if you want both gods to be worshiped equally. Instead I'd go with your creation/destruction distinction, maybe getting some ideas from the Hindu faith (I think there are branches of Hinduism that have 3 major gods - a creator, sustainer, and destroyer).
    Avatar by Lycunadari

    Go Tigers!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    So when you say humans are the only race does that mean there won't be differing human races?
    Probably a sensibly sensitive thing to do in this day and age, but the thing is "race" was a huge topic in the 1800s, I think to pay homage to the era you have to have race and also racism. But that's just my opinion, in the 18-hundredsy world I'm making race is at the forefront of everything, it's always an issue, the reality of the world will almost be like a caricature of the racist ideologies of the time, but then also prove them wrong as well.

    For me personally the project is actually primarily a statement about racism, and the 1800s is simply a perfect vehicle to deliver that point, being such a race-obsessed racist time.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    [QUOTE=ForzaFiori;15537222]Few bits of feedback: With your magic classes, have you seen what Gnorman has done with his E6 classes? If you wanted to have two arcane classes (learned and channeled) but still allow for the differences between say, Worlocks and Sorcerers, you might consider something like his Archetypes.[quote] You mean his five colored mage classes? While I do like single-list casters, I hate how they erase generalists (my wizards are almost always generalists) so I'd rather not use those. I might keepthe Wizard and Artificers as they are and remove the Sorcerer, replacing him with fixed-list casters who basically channel power in a certain way... Yes, that could work. But I'll come back to classes once I finish the setting, I think.
    With the religion, while I realize that this is just a thought stream, I would suggest shying away from calling the split in the European side "good/evil" if possible - not only does it bring some bad connotations with it - I don't think I'd be wrong to say that, when confronted with a good/evil duality, most people in the world would probably immediately think of some form of Abrahamic religion, which isn't what you want if you want both gods to be worshiped equally. Instead I'd go with your creation/destruction distinction, maybe getting some ideas from the Hindu faith (I think there are branches of Hinduism that have 3 major gods - a creator, sustainer, and destroyer).
    Regarding religion, I actually want to provoke that theme. Specifically, Christianity. Of course the religion doesn't need to actually be anything like real Christianity, just like the Eastern and Mesoamerican religions are only loosely based on real-world religions; but since the Western world should be the most familiar to the players, I want to evoke Christian themes. If that means abandoning the "both sides are equally worshiped" part, I'll do that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sneaky Graham View Post
    So when you say humans are the only race does that mean there won't be differing human races?
    Probably a sensibly sensitive thing to do in this day and age, but the thing is "race" was a huge topic in the 1800s, I think to pay homage to the era you have to have race and also racism. But that's just my opinion, in the 18-hundredsy world I'm making race is at the forefront of everything, it's always an issue, the reality of the world will almost be like a caricature of the racist ideologies of the time, but then also prove them wrong as well.

    For me personally the project is actually primarily a statement about racism, and the 1800s is simply a perfect vehicle to deliver that point, being such a race-obsessed racist time.
    I briefly touched on this much earlier, but yes, I think I'm not going to do something like "People from continent X get +2 Str and -2 Cha". Certainly a European from the 1800s would be happy to say that, but it just doesn't reflect reality. Instead, I'm planning on going with regional feats. These feats can only be taken in their own slots, and those slots cannot be used for anything else. So at level 1, a character chooses one of, say, 3 regional feats appropriate to their homeland. These regional feats will also determine some other aspects of the character, such as starting equipment (if the game begins at level 1), literacy or lack thereof, languages spoken (I doubt this setting will have Common!), and maybe even class skills. Later on in the game, every few levels, characters receive more regional feats. As they travel around the world, the regional feats available to them will change. So an African shaman with the "Jungle Upbringing" feat who left Africa to go to America would, at level 5, be able to choose between the second tier of the Jungle feats, or an American regional feat, or maybe even a specialized feat available only to tribal characters who spent most of the time between Tier 1 and Tier 2 regional feats in a western country. Obviously the concept will require a lot of work and balance, but it should be enough to differentiate characters both by region and by their adventures.

    I'm getting an idea for an Explorer based class. They'd be low on class features, maybe like a nerfed version of the Factotum, but will receive a bonus regional feat every level. Hm... I'll have to look into that.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    My apologies for disappearing for so long; I've been away on vacation, and then started a new job. But now I'm back! I'll have another chapter posted in a bit.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Yet Another Ramble: Creatures of Magic
    One thing I touched on but didn’t quite get into in the section on magic was the nature of creatures. This being a D&D setting, monsters certainly have their place in the world. But what, precisely, is that place? Join me as I make my way through D&D’s list of types and decide where each creature belongs!
    To mix things up a notch, I’m going to take this list from the bottom. I’ll be skipping the types that I don’t have much to say about (for example, Plant). So, first up:

    Vermin
    This type includes insects, arachnids, other arthropods, worms, and similar invertebrates.
    There isn’t a whole lot to decide about giant bugs; the only real question is, is a 10 foot tall spider a mundane creature, or a magical one? While giant bugs certainly break the laws of physics, they don’t really seem inherently magical. This being a fantasy world, there’s no reason for Vermin to not be a natural part of the ecosystem.

    Undead
    Undead are once-living creatures animated by spiritual or supernatural forces.
    Undead are, clearly, a supernatural type of creature. The question is, do they occur “in the wild”, so to speak, or only when animated by casters?
    There is a lot of potential for spontaneously-arising undead in Colonial mythology. A haunted lighthouse, a tribe of cannibals who refuse to stay dead, or a vampire living in a manor outside the village… These are all common tropes of the era. So spontaneously arising Undead are in.

    Outsider
    An outsider is at least partially composed of the essence (but not necessarily the material) of some plane other than the Material Plane. Some creatures start out as some other type and become outsiders when they attain a higher (or lower) state of spiritual existence.
    Outsiders… Their place in the world really depends on the cosmology I decide on using. So, to keep this short: Will this campaign setting have other planes? The answer is yes, although travel to them may very well be impossible. Summoning, however, is almost certainly in. So Outsiders will exist in the world. There do, however, need to be rules. I want to keep the role Outsiders play limited; this will be a very human-centric setting. So I think I will impose a hard limit of 24 hours per year that an Outsider can spend on the Material Plane. Details will come with Cosmology.

    Monstrous Humanoid
    Monstrous humanoids are similar to humanoids, but with monstrous or animalistic features. They often have magical abilities as well.
    I’ve said it before and I still maintain my position: The only playable race in this campaign will be Human. What does that mean for Monstrous Humanoids? Well, I still want them around. But rather than having minotaur dockworkers and ogre bar bouncers, I want sentient creatures of non-human varieties to be rare and exotic. But what could explain this? Why would Krag the Minotaur stay in the forest instead of moving into town and getting a job as a laborer? I think the main reason for that should be that monstrous humanoids are just DIFFERENT. They simply aren’t human enough to join human society, and so live on their own in the forest, or in their own subterranean or isolated cities.

    Magical Beast
    Magical beasts are similar to animals but can have Intelligence scores higher than 2. Magical beasts usually have supernatural or extraordinary abilities, but sometimes are merely bizarre in appearance or habits.
    Magical Beasts. Ah, these are probably the most common supernatural creatures that will be wandering the world. I think the best way to handle them is to ignore the distinction between them and normal animals. Like Vermin or Animals, they are part of the natural world; their supernatural powers don’t set them apart from other creatures any more than a snake’s venom sets it apart from other reptiles. As for their actual place in the world, I think magical beasts should live in the region analogues to their mythological origins. For example, a Basilisk is a European creature; therefore Basilisks would be native to the continent containing the European-analogue nations.
    Another idea I want to explore with this setting is a return to mythology. To use the above example of the Basilisk, European alchemists believed that a basilisk could be bred by allowing a toad to hatch a chicken’s egg. (Or is that a Cockatrice? I always mix those two up). In any case, I’ll be going through some of the more common beasts and seeing what I can do to improve their mythological relevance.

    Humanoid

    The humanoid type is the one which will need to be changed the most. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I’ve decided that I don’t want to simply declare that humans are the only humanoids that exist; there’s too much potential in creatures like Lizardfolks or Gnolls. So instead, I am going to rule that all Humanoids except Humans are now Monstrous Humanoids with their own subtype. Any Monstrous Humanoid with a subtype that was once a Humanoid subtype still follows most of the rules for Humanoids, with the only exception being that it is no longer considered a Humanoid for the purpose of spell effects. (The creature may still substitute a single Racial HD for a class level). What does this mean, practically? It means that spells like Hold Person only effect humans. This serves to set humans further apart from other creatures.
    The next question is, which creatures exist in the world? I think that, aside from Orcs, the Player’s Handbook races all must go. No more Elves (or Drow), Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes, or half-versions of any of the above. Orcs, I think, are monstrous enough to stay in the game. But the remaining Humanoids—Orcs, Goblins, Gnolls, and the like—will have the same place as Monstrous Humanoids: Rare creatures who live far outside of society, closer to monsters than humans. With very few exceptions, none of them are more advanced than the early Stone Age.

    Giant
    A giant is a humanoid-shaped creature of great strength, usually of at least Large size.
    Giants serve a role very much like Monstrous Humanoids. I think instead of benevolent Cloud Giants and such, all giants (as a race; individuals may vary) will be bloodthirsty, uncivilized monsters.
    At the same time, if there are ANY monstrous civilizations in the world, I feel like giants make better candidates than most. Since the only civilization I currently have in the tundra is the undead-heavy Tsardom, I think I can stick a frost giant kingdom up there. I’ve already established that the Tsardom is less powerful than other nearby powers; perhaps they have a deal worked out with the frost giants. The empire allows the frost giants and their Jarl to reign over the frozen reaches of the tundra and does not intrude. In return, the frost giants move as far into Tsar territory as the icy grasp of Winter allows them (since Frost Giants shouldn’t be able to survive in warm climates) when the Tsardom is under attack. This means that in times of conflict, the Tsar’s army is able to retreat until catching up with snowfall, at which point the giants can move in to help fight off any invaders.
    I also wouldn’t mind a jungle-based hill giant empire; but we’ll see. The rest of the giants, I think, will remain savage and monstrous.

    Fey
    A fey is a creature with supernatural abilities and connections to nature or to some other force or place. Fey are usually human-shaped.
    Fey are, I think, really underused in standard D&D. I plan to remedy that, homebrewing more fey if needed. Personally, I love the idea of a Winter Court and Summer Court of fey, along with unaligned creatures; I also like the concept of fey having their own, coterminous plane. I’ll go deeper when I reach Cosmology, but what that means in terms of gameplay is that fey will be Banishable. However, hailing from a coterminous plane instead of a distant one, Fey will have fewer restrictions on their time in the Material. Additionally, I think giving fey a higher DR and more of a vulnerability to Cold Iron is really in touch with the classic mythology. Perhaps, like Trolls, they will lose their DR and gain Regeneration instead.
    If I’m going to have Fey, I think I can bring Elves and Drow back, not as humanoids but as fey. That really puts elves closer to their mythological roots, I think.

    Dragon
    A dragon is a reptilelike creature, usually winged, with magical or unusual abilities.
    Dragons are going to be a lot of fun, I think. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be overhauling dragons quite a bit. I think the simplest way to do this is as follows:
    Asiatic dragons will include the Gold, Silver, Copper, Brass, and Bronze dragons. Their stats will remain relatively unchanged from the Monster Manual version
    European dragons will be far more bestial and ferocious than Asiatic dragons. The black, blue, green, red, and white dragons will all start off with an Int of 2; only Adult or older dragons will achieve an Int score of 3. All Chromatic dragons will also lose their spellcasting ability. To compensate, they will have far more hit points; a much higher spell resistance; more supernatural abilities and natural weapons; a higher fly speed; and increased physical stats. European dragons will be to Asiatic dragons what Dire animals are to normal animals.
    Mesoamerican dragons may or may not receive stats. In any case, these Plumed Dragons will be unique creatures; there will only be five of them in the world. Their mental stats and spellcasting abilities will dwarf even Great Wyrm Gold Dragons; they will all be Epic-level casters. Physically, they will be less impressive; about on par with the strongest Asiatic dragons. If this campaign setting will use the Deities and Demigods rules, they will have at least Divine Rank 0.

    Aberration
    An aberration has a bizarre anatomy, strange abilities, an alien mindset, or any combination of the three.
    Aberrations are another interesting creature type. I really liked what Eberron did Aberrations, having them come from another plane. While this setting’s social and technological level is about 200 years earlier than the time during which most of H. P. Lovecraft’s works are set, I can definitely see aberrations fulfilling the same role as the monsters of his stories. I think I’ll have Aberrations hail from this setting’s equivalent of the Far Realms; I’ll work to combine Aberrations, the Pseudonatural template, and the Alienist prestige class into a strange and terrifying mixture that will haunt this world.
    I think that while Fey and Outsiders are limited in their actions within the Material, the rules of reality simply do not function where Aberrations come from. As a result, there is no time limit on their stay in the Material, and their summoning is very dangerous and irregular.

    Well, that’s that for the creature types! Hopefully I can get my map working soon… Until then, I’m signing off!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    In front of my computer
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    This is developing to be quite interesting.

    From a mechanical standpoint, I like that you're making a few slight changes (regional feats) to fit the world without overhauling the whole system.

    The Mesoamerican nations are quite nice, nothing much for me to say about them. The Far East nations are very historical. Perhaps you could give the whole Immortal God Emperor thing and a bunch of Chinese culture to the Island nation, while moving the themes of honour over to the land nation?

    As for the European nations, I like the Undead Theocracy a lot. It's usage of undead and pact with the frost giants are interesting, and avoiding that with other nations makes them seem less modern somehow, which seems to be what you're going for.

    For Outsiders, maybe have familiars be an exception to the 24 hour rule? Like Argent from OotS, that kind of thing. And maybe it could be 24 hours per level, or some other level based system. That would seem more natural and unpredictable, and make for interesting situations if the DM doesn't tell people the level.

    Also, maybe you could have the monstrous humanoids be kept as slaves by nobles, monarchs and wealthy merchants, or have their horns be prized trophies?
    Hero of Oakvale, Reach, Installation 00, The Black Family Estate, Malta, Atlantis, Brightwall, Lumbridge, Mom's Basement, Bowerstone, Falconreach, Battleon, Korthos Village, WW3, WW2, Pacific City, The Ark, Arkham City, Varrock, The Dwarvern Mines, the Warsworn, Aleroth, Canneroc, the Companions, the Dark Brotherhood, Whiterun, Skyrim, Tamriel, Korriban, the Rebel Alliance, and gods only know what else.

    Proud owner of:
    2 Cookies

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Doomchicken View Post
    This is developing to be quite interesting.

    From a mechanical standpoint, I like that you're making a few slight changes (regional feats) to fit the world without overhauling the whole system.
    Thanks! I agree, D&D 3.5 has tons and tons of potential (sure, it also has balance issues, but to be honest those have never bothered me). Learning a new system is just so much effort that I almost always feel it simply isn't worth it for me; if I want to play a zombie apocalypse game, for example, I'd rather improvise an infection system for 3.5 (or maaaaaybe d20 Modern, which is really D&D 3.5: Generic Mode) than try to learn a totally new system, even if in the long run it could be a little more fun.
    The Mesoamerican nations are quite nice, nothing much for me to say about them. The Far East nations are very historical. Perhaps you could give the whole Immortal God Emperor thing and a bunch of Chinese culture to the Island nation, while moving the themes of honour over to the land nation?
    That's an interesting idea; the honor nation is really based on Japan, so switching up could be creative. But on the other hand, doing that means that I can't really use the dual-kingdom idea; how would a horde-type nation take over an island kingdom? The real-life Mongolians could never conquer Japan.
    As for the European nations, I like the Undead Theocracy a lot. It's usage of undead and pact with the frost giants are interesting, and avoiding that with other nations makes them seem less modern somehow, which seems to be what you're going for.
    Yep, that's the idea. They contrast with the rest of Europe: The Naval Merchant State is ruled by a Parliament, and their monarchy is mostly symbolic; their power is in the sea, not land. The Explorer nation looks towards the future, investing in technological innovation and overseas colonies. The revolutionary democratic nation is probably the most different: Their cultural paradigm will be very similar to our modern Western Democratic ideals. Their bloody emperor and brutal war in the name of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness will be very, very different from the Undead Theocracy's embrace of death.

    The Holy Imperial Nation is, at first glance, the most similar: Both are heavily religious, and both are ruled by strong monarchs. The contrast here is in religion: While both the HIN and UT follow the same religion, they do so very differently; uniquely among the European nations, they only worship one side of the Duality. But while the HIN follows the Creation side, the UT follows the Destruction side. Paradoxically, this leads the HIN to seek to destroy the UT, while the UT use their religion to create (IE, undead who craft items and grow crops).
    For Outsiders, maybe have familiars be an exception to the 24 hour rule? Like Argent from OotS, that kind of thing. And maybe it could be 24 hours per level, or some other level based system. That would seem more natural and unpredictable, and make for interesting situations if the DM doesn't tell people the level.
    I think a good way to handle familiars is, Outsiders can be bound to the Material Plane, but only if their essence is given a form to inhabit. There are a number of spells and rituals that can create a body for an Outsider. The physical form created by the spells or rituals is bound to the Material Plane for good; an Imp brought there by the Improved Familiar feat becomes a Native Outsider and can never leave the Material Plane again. If he dies, he is completely and utterly destroyed.

    Actually, maybe all Calling spells (such as Planar Binding or Planar Ally) work this way, meaning that all Called Outsiders will be even more hostile than usual (since they will know that they can never return home) and far, far more dangerous (since they cannot be Banished).
    Also, maybe you could have the monstrous humanoids be kept as slaves by nobles, monarchs and wealthy merchants, or have their horns be prized trophies?
    I think slaves is the wrong word here; even the most human-like of the Monstrous Humanoids, such as Orcs or Goblins, are treated as animals. The wealthy might keep them as pets, or hunt them for sport; efforts would probably be made to tame or domesticate some species. I imagine many nobles would have a minotaur or ogre head mounted above their fireplace.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    In front of my computer
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitersnake View Post

    That's an interesting idea; the honor nation is really based on Japan, so switching up could be creative. But on the other hand, doing that means that I can't really use the dual-kingdom idea; how would a horde-type nation take over an island kingdom? The real-life Mongolians could never conquer Japan.
    Didn't you say the horde nation was unified from a powerful merchant state? Surely merchants would have lots of boats, and be able to invade overseas?

    EDIT: Or just say "a wizard did it".
    Last edited by Doomchicken; 2013-07-30 at 06:32 AM.
    Hero of Oakvale, Reach, Installation 00, The Black Family Estate, Malta, Atlantis, Brightwall, Lumbridge, Mom's Basement, Bowerstone, Falconreach, Battleon, Korthos Village, WW3, WW2, Pacific City, The Ark, Arkham City, Varrock, The Dwarvern Mines, the Warsworn, Aleroth, Canneroc, the Companions, the Dark Brotherhood, Whiterun, Skyrim, Tamriel, Korriban, the Rebel Alliance, and gods only know what else.

    Proud owner of:
    2 Cookies

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Doomchicken View Post
    Didn't you say the horde nation was unified from a powerful merchant state? Surely merchants would have lots of boats, and be able to invade overseas?

    EDIT: Or just say "a wizard did it".
    No, the horde nation conquered a powerful merchant state. But only half of them; the war taxed them quite a bit (especially as they were fighting on two fronts, and expanding quite far towards Europe). They conquered half of the rich merchant state, and once the horde empire crumbled assimilated into it, creating a new dynasty ruled by mortals of horde descent. Meanwhile, the half of the empire that survived is still ruled by the immortal emperor god-king. (I think a good idea to enhance the conflict here is to put the original capital in the conquered half; the emperor was forced to flee to his winter palace, which he resents. Meanwhile, the conquerors rule from the old palace).

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Whitersnake's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Frigates and Flintlocks: Age of Colonialism

    Part 5: A Treatise on Religion

    I’ve established before that I want all of the religions in this world to be related. I want all of them to focus more on the domains than the beings they believe are responsible for those domains; but at the same time, Clerics of a Concept just don’t work for this setting. So, since the Asian religion has a god or goddess for every domain, I think I should start from them. I want to use all of the Core domains, of which there are 22; I like some of the Additional Domains from the SRD, so let’s make it an even 30. That way, I can easily split them five ways for the five Mesoamerican dragons, and two ways for the European Duality. For DMs, I’d recommend not allowing domains beyond these; if they choose to do so, however, new gods or goddesses can be added to the Asian pantheon easily, while the new domains can simply be tacked onto one of the dragons or sides of the duality. Characters who hail from lands beyond the reach of the three main religions will find broad strokes regarding possible religions when I describe those regions later on.

    (Some of the feedback I’ve gotten regarding the European has led me to rethink the idea of Good/Evil, and so I’ll focus more on the Creation/Destruction theme. So, which domains go where? That’s the first step. So let’s decide which domains go where while we’re at it.)

    So the domains we have are:
    1. (C)Air – Air brings life to the world. I suppose that makes it Creation.
    2. (C)Animal – The Animal domain seems to represent nature and life more than the animals themselves, so I’ll file that under Creation too.
    3. (D)Chaos – This one is a little more complicated. Chaos destroys, of course; Chaos causes things to fail, leading to bad results. But Chaos also creates. Many geniuses have minds that could be described as Chaotic; ecosystems thrive at the brink of collapse. Of course, these counterexamples have something in common: They involve an order behind the Chaos. The D&D Domain seems more like raw, uncontrolled Chaos; so let’s file this under Destruction.
    4. (D)Death – Death, being the end of Life, is clearly a destroying force.
    5. (D)Destruction – Do I really need to explain this one?
    6. (C)Earth – Earth itself is, again, fairly neutral. But for growth to exist Earth is nearly always necessary; plants grow in the ground, cities are built out of bricks, etc. So I’ll file Earth under Creation.
    7. (D)Evil – Evil is a lack of morality; a fundamental wrong that causes man to harm others. Harm is a destructive act, so Evil falls under Destruction. Note that this does NOT mean that Destruction falls under Evil; there can be no Creation without Destruction.
    8. (D)Fire – Fire brings us warmth and light; it preserves civilization. But at the same time, Fire consumes and burns anything it touches. So is Fire Creative, or Destructive? I think Fire is a force of Destruction, but can be harnessed for Creation. For example, cooking involves destroying wood and using the byproduct of that destruction—heat—to Create something new. The same applies to forging; a smith destroys coal in order to create a sword.
    9. (C)Good – Good is a force of Creation more by its opposition with Evil than by its own merits. While Good does not necessarily Create on its own, it stands between Evil and the innocents that Evil wishes to destroy.
    10. (C)Healing – Healing is, simply put, the restoration (or recreation) of injured flesh. Therefore it clearly falls under Creation.
    11. (C)Knowledge – Knowledge can lead to either Creation or Destruction, but as a concept it involves the formation of ideas in the mind. Therefore, I will file it under Creation.
    12. (D)Law – I put Chaos under Destruction, which implies that I should put Law under Creation. But is Law really a Creative force? Chaos destroys through lack of order, but Law is, by its nature, a limiting factor on potential. With no laws, anything can happen; so Law destroys possibilities. Note that this argument does not imply that Law is Evil; a Good and Just law will destroy only bad possibilities. A law against rape is Good, as it destroys suffering.
    13. (C)Luck – Luck determines which outcome of a set of possible outcomes will occur at a given time. The Luck domain focuses on ensuring that the set of outcomes you face is the ones most favorable to you; that seems like Creation to me.
    14. (C)Magic – Magic can be Creative or Destructive, oftentimes more so than any other method of Creation or Destruction. But at the same time, all magic relies on the channeling of energy. Whatever ends this energy is used for, its creation is a Creative endeavor.
    15. (C)Plant – Plants are special among the living beings because they create their own food from the rays of the sun. This, along with the Plant Domain’s association with growth, is enough to place them under Creation’s portfolio.
    16. (C)Protection – Protection, like Good, doesn’t necessarily have a whole lot to do with Creation; rather, it stands between Destruction and its targets.
    17. (D)Strength – While Strength can be used for many purposes, what it does best is Destroy.
    18. (C)Sun – The Sun provides all the energy which powers the natural world. Possibly, it is also the origin of magic; I will need to think about that when I reach Cosmology. Either way, it is a force of Creation.
    19. (D)Travel – Travel isn’t necessarily linked to either Creation or Destruction. However, Travel is often brought on by Destruction: Persecution, famine, disaster, or war often lead big groups to travel. So Destruction gets Travel.
    20. (D)Trickery – Trickery involves deception, or the destruction of truth.
    21. (D)War – War, justified or not, involves two armies who destroy as much of each other as possible.
    22. (C)Water – Water is necessary for almost all life.
    23. (D)Charm – The Charm domain is not concerned with natural wit and charm. Rather, it is concerned with spells that force one creature to like another, bending its will. The Charm domain destroys free will.
    24. (C)Liberation – Liberation frees from Law and Tyranny, thus Creating more options for those liberated.
    25. (D)Madness – Madness is the Destruction of the mind.
    26. (D)Weather – Weather, while good and necessary, falls under the domain of Destruction. Certainly, Weather brings water to crops which need it; but it does so by tearing at the oceans with ferocious winds. Weather once again proves that Destruction is necessary for Creation.
    27. (C)Greed – Though Greed often ends in the Destruction of those who feel its lure, it is nothing more than the Creation of a lust for something. Therefore Greed falls under Creation, proving that not all Creation is Good.
    28. (D)Retribution – Retribution, even when just and fair, involves the Destruction of another.
    29. (D)Tyranny – Tyranny, like Law, limits options. Tyranny, however, is much more severe, often limiting only Good options.
    30. (C)Psionics* -- In the same way that Madness is the Destruction of the mind, Psionics is its growth and extension beyond normal limits.

    *I hate Psionics. I’ve never played a Psionic character, I try my best to encourage players in any campaigns I play not to choose a Psionic character, and I’ve never finished the Psionic Handbook. I think it’s finally time to change that; so in this world, Psionics will have its place. I normally hate the flavor, too, but I think of that as a challenge: How can I work in an entire system of powers in a way that I am satisfied with?

    Now, while I did say that I wanted to model this pantheon off of the Hindu religion, the truth is that Hinduism is so complex that it doesn’t lend itself well to a roleplaying game. Someone who wants to play a cleric from one of the Asianesque countries needs to be able to have a basic understanding of the mythology so that he can convincingly play a character who understands it. So I think while I model the individual deities on Hindu figures, I will use a pantheon structured more like the Greek one: A big, dysfunctional, extended family. I’ll make up some of these deities and steal others from various mythologies when I have more time.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •