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Please ask questions about my setting


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


Technology Level:

18th Century Magitek

Tropes I want to include:

Spoiler:
Wooden Ships and Iron Men

Regency England

Darker and Edgier/Bloodier and Gorier/Grimmification (I prefer to get a bit more graphic than 3.5/Pathfinder generally assumes. I am not writing dark fantasy or horror here, as I don't want that pessimistic a campaign setting, but I do take in some dark fantasy and horror elements.)

Anachronism Stew (This is austensibly an 18th century setting, but it is magitek, and if I find a theme from another century I like (looking at you, 19th and 20th centuries), I will include it. This is high magic fantasy, so I say screw period accuracy.)

Values Dissonance (I prefer cultural disagreements over a concrete alignment system.)

Tropes I want to avoid:

Evil Overlord

Black and White Morality

Death is Cheap


Iconic Creatures:

Spoiler:
Werewolves: Animals can be born with sorcerous blood. They cannot utilize it consciously, however. To become a werewolf (or other werecreature) you must hunt and kill one with nothing but a stone knife, skin it, and wear the hide. This will give you some traits of the animal (depending on the animal, it can be things like strength, speed, endurance, durability, cunning, stealth, and so on) and it's sorcerous bloodline.

Vampires: In real life mythology, they come in more breeds than you can imagine, and they don't all fight the same. Going against a Filipino vamp is nothing like fighting Dracula. I have done the same for my campaign setting. There are a lot of different types with very different stats, weaknesses, and special abilities, most (but not all) based off of real life vampire myths.

Zombies: A zombie is defined in my world as an unintellegent reanimated corpse. This corpse can be completely dead, or braindead but still with a pulse. When a necromancer creates a zombie, they choose the attributes it should have. This means that, depending on who created it, a zombie can be slow or fast, easy or hard to kill, infectious or non-infectious, and so on. There are almost as many types as there are necromancers. Add in some types of zombie that don't even need a necromancer, and things get even more diverse.

Other:

Spoiler:
Spells: Nothing above 3rd level. You will be compensated with a new metamagic system.

BAB and armor: Both nixed. It's a guns everywhere setting, and I don't see the need to replace armor just to keep BAB, which I view as needless extra math.

Magic items: Weak ones are common, but anything stronger (including a +1 weapon) is very rare. I want such things to be legendary. Magic is common in the world (it is magitek), but a powerful enchantment is very hard to do.

Damage and healing: Fewer hitpoints, and a dice based description system so that you can hear exactly what you did to your foe. Healing magic is present, but in large amounts will make you sick. Resurrection magic ALWAYS brings back a damaged soul, not a whole one. On the other hand, brain death takes a good 5-10 minutes after hitting -Constitution hit points (which is when your heart stops), and the soul does not depart the body until the brain has died, so healing magic can bring you back if you haven't hit brain death yet.

Countries: (I use real world countries as a way to show examples of what my countries look like. Think of it like how Ferelden is rather British in Dragon Age. This is not a complete list, and only covers two continents at the moment.)

Spoiler:
Korvallis: Take New England. Mix in many Gothic things, a German speaking population, and a long history of having to deal with magical misbehavior.

Markkheim: The Vikings got to Canada first, and they never left.

First Nation Confederacy: Extending from Washington and Oregon to the Great Lakes, this is a nation ruled by a coalition of native tribes and nations. It is 75% American Indian, with the rest being mostly Tribal Celts, viewed as primitive and backwards by the more mainstream British and sent to settle Confederate lands to get them out of British hair, where they eventually allied with the natives against the British.

Corpais: Culturally, geographically, and geologically inspired by Brazil, Corpais is a nation recently lifted out of poverty by the policies of a coup installed tyrant. Now a rich country trying to settle wether to stay with the fascist ways that lifted it out of poverty or move into a new era of democracy.

Primary sources of inspiration:

Spoiler:
Pirates of the Caribbean

Master and Commander

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Magic: The Gathering (a lot of the art on my cards gives me ideas)

Victorian Horror (Dracula, Frankenstein)

Early Colonial Witch Hunts

Zombie books and movies

Could I get some questions about this setting? They help me think of details I haven't considered yet. I do have some more stuff to include (more tropes, more assorted stuff under other, and some important races and nations of the setting), but I have to wait until later, but I'm posting a bit at a time do to time issues.

Andoran

what races you using


ForgottenRider wrote:
what races you using

I use humans, who are divided into numerous races. The largest is the Magni, who are like normal people. Then there are Merfolk, who dominate the underwater world.

Angels and Demons were the rulers of humans thousands of years ago, but lost the powers that gave them this dominance long ago after the Overpower (It's kind of like a collection of deities, but different in that it exists to write the rules of the world and tweak them if absolutely necessary, not to interfere in day to day events. It has only gotten involved in the world a few times in written history.) decided they should not be trusted with such power. Each belongs to an Animistic or Elemental lineage (the same is true of beings that make up the Overpower), with lineage effecting physical apperance. Some examples of Angels and Demons would be Catfolk, Kitsune, and Nezumi under the Animistic lineage and Oriads, Slyphs, and Tritons under the Elemental lineage.

Those three are the worldwide races of human. Due to their worldwide status, it is incredibly difficult to generalize them, as there are hundreds of different ethnic groups. There are also numerous races that are native to specific regions of the world, not the world as a whole. These races, do to their smaller numbers and homelands, tend to have unified cultures.

The Elves are native to Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Northwestern Europe. They are a people insatiably curious about the natural world, preferring to live in small villages inside wild eras they can explore, and are known for pulling off amazing feats of alchemy and herbalism using what is available in the wilds. They tend to be semi-nomadic, having two or three homes, usually a few hundred miles or more apart, and switching between them throught the year, as they like living in permanent structures but also like a wide variety in their surroundings. They are also skilled sailors and ship builders, and were the first pioneers of European exploration of the Americas.

Dark Elves are elves who bred with African and Indigenous American slaves during the era of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in the Americas. Elves, do to their wilderness lifestyle, are both hardy and disease resistant. These traits are highly desired in slaves, so the Spanish and Portuguese paid elves to come and breed with their slaves. The resulting childrenlooked like brown skinned elves, and were bred together, creating an entire race of slaves that were prized for their endurance and resistance to illness. Now most (but not all) of the countries involved have banned slavery, but they remain a poor underclass. They are generally an urban people, as they moved into the cities looking for jobs after being freed. The exception to this is those unfortunate souls who live in countries where they are still held in the bonds of slavery. They are mostly found in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dwarves are a people best known for their skill at building things. This manifests most obviously in their homes, which are built in architectually difficult areas such as underground, in the sides of cliffs, in treetops, in giant city-ships, and so on. They are also good at building weapons and tools, and make a fair amount of money selling them. They are native to Scandinavia, and are almost never seen outside there.

Skinwalkers are a race of people who can assume animal shapes, and are native to North America. They mostly assimilate with the local magni, serving as either respected shamans or warriors or as distrusted rogues.

The worldwide races are set in stone, but I am not oppossed to adding more regional races. I think I could use some more. It should also be noted that I do not give any race a predilection towards good or evil. All races are equally capable of both.

Andoran

I notices you got werewolves under Iconic Creatures and was wondering if you were going to use any other lycanthropes. I think it would be cool to have a war between wererats and ratfolk under the streets of London or some other big city.


ForgottenRider wrote:
I notices you got werewolves under Iconic Creatures and was wondering if you were going to use any other lycanthropes. I think it would be cool to have a war between wererats and ratfolk under the streets of London or some other big city.

I have werecreatures (the term lycanthrope bugs be, because it derives from the Greek for Wolf, making a non-wolf lycanthrope not make sense) other than wolves, but not rats, because a single rat does not produce a pelt large enough to wear. Ratfolk do exist as Angels and Demons (there is little functional difference between the two), but not in the sewers. Nothing really lives there. Too small and too toxic. Catacombs, however, have inhabitants, and depending on where they are you could find ratfolk there.


The trait system determines class skills instead of your class.

The trait system is composed four trait groups, with everyone having one of each: ethnic background, childhood events, hobbies/interests, physical. Each adds a small bonus and three class skills chosen from a pool of five.

Andoran

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

The trait system determines class skills instead of your class.

The trait system is composed four trait groups, with everyone having one of each: ethnic background, childhood events, hobbies/interests, physical. Each adds a small bonus and three class skills chosen from a pool of five.

That is genius.

Edit 100 Posts


Your setting sounds fun and interesting and I like how you are using traits to determine skills. As far as the angels and demons go, are they playable races? and how do they react to certain spells (spells like dismissal, spells that target "humanoid", etc) are they just treated like outsider(native)?

Also, have you thought about what kind of campaigns you would be running? Even in a single setting, the campaigns can range from exploring a new unsettled continent and setting up a colony to tracking down a mad scientist in the city.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Your setting sounds fun and interesting and I like how you are using traits to determine skills. As far as the angels and demons go, are they playable races? and how do they react to certain spells (spells like dismissal, spells that target "humanoid", etc) are they just treated like outsider(native)?

Angels and Demons are playable races. In game terms, they operate just like Aasimar and Tieflings, and are native outsiders.

The role of Angels and Demons (I place Devils and Daemons in this group) as presented in the Bestiaries is assumed by Demigods that the Overpower cannot strip of power or exile. The stats are the same, except the little cannon fodder creatures aren't around, just the bigger guys.

Quote:
Also, have you thought about what kind of campaigns you would be running? Even in a single setting, the campaigns can range from exploring a new unsettled continent and setting up a colony to tracking down a mad scientist in the city.

I want to be able to run high seas adventure, darker sea tales, swashbucking adventure, crime drama, ghost tales, monster hunting, war, and exploration of new lands.


You might want to consider if there's any Lovecraft here, if you're going the darker and edgier route. It could also explain the merfolk.

There are also other things to consider, such as whether the expanding Earth theory is correct in this universe and how it might manifest. If it is, it could give you a lot more Earth to explore.

I could see Dwarves coming from Neanderthals, and thus being more likely to be the ones in Europe, but since your races are set in stone, I'm really not sure about commenting on them.

You might want to consider what sort of magitek you want to exist on a day to day basis. The 18th century was also the industrial revolution and this could also lead to things like in Eberron.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Also, have you thought about what kind of campaigns you would be running? Even in a single setting, the campaigns can range from exploring a new unsettled continent and setting up a colony to tracking down a mad scientist in the city.
I want to be able to run high seas adventure, darker sea tales, swashbucking adventure, crime drama, ghost tales, monster hunting, war, and exploration of new lands.

I forgot political intrigue. Can't forget that, especially with all the political craziness going down in Corpais and the Confederacy.


Indagare wrote:
You might want to consider if there's any Lovecraft here, if you're going the darker and edgier route. It could also explain the merfolk.

I do want to borrow some dark stuff from Lovecraft. I'm not making full blown Lovecraftian horror, but I can take a few things.

Quote:
There are also other things to consider, such as whether the expanding Earth theory is correct in this universe and how it might manifest. If it is, it could give you a lot more Earth to explore.

Never heard this theory before, but I like the idea of it being true in my world.

Quote:
I could see Dwarves coming from Neanderthals, and thus being more likely to be the ones in Europe, but since your races are set in stone, I'm really not sure about commenting on them.

I could think on it. Worldwide races are set in stone, but Dwarves are a regional race, so I still have some room to work on them. They are a minor race, however.

Quote:
You might want to consider what sort of magitek you want to exist on a day to day basis. The 18th century was also the industrial revolution and this could also lead to things like in Eberron.

Eberron is a feel I'm getting pretty close to.


Are there airships?


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I do want to borrow some dark stuff from Lovecraft. I'm not making full blown Lovecraftian horror, but I can take a few things.

Okay. The weird stuff from Lovecraft could be true here too. There were a number of stories that dealt with devolution of some kind, not to mention the idea that the Elders/Old Ones/etc weren't good or evil, simply too alien for humans to understand.

Quote:
Never heard this theory before, but I like the idea of it being true in my world.

Cool.

Quote:
I could think on it. Worldwide races are set in stone, but Dwarves are a regional race, so I still have some room to work on them. They are a minor race, however.

The build of Dwarves somehow makes me think of Neanderthals.

Quote:
Eberron is a feel I'm getting pretty close to.

Okay. You may want to consider whether conquests or other things happened as they did on our world. There are already major differences and if the Native American tribes fared better, some things might not have happened. Colonization, for instance, would be very different if its at the suffrage of natives who have the wherewithal to enforce their wills on settlers.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Are there airships?

Yes.


Indagare wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I do want to borrow some dark stuff from Lovecraft. I'm not making full blown Lovecraftian horror, but I can take a few things.
Okay. The weird stuff from Lovecraft could be true here too. There were a number of stories that dealt with devolution of some kind, not to mention the idea that the Elders/Old Ones/etc weren't good or evil, simply too alien for humans to understand.

I'll do some looking.

Quote:
Quote:
Eberron is a feel I'm getting pretty close to.
Okay. You may want to consider whether conquests or other things happened as they did on our world. There are already major differences and if the Native American tribes fared better, some things might not have happened. Colonization, for instance, would be very different if its at the suffrage of natives who have the wherewithal to enforce their wills on settlers.

European colonialism still happened, but it was a harder fought and bloodier period than the real thing. The natives had more resistance to disease, so they fared better, but they were at a disadvantage in weapons and magical knowledge. The Confederacy relied heavily on knowledge gained from whites, economic and technological support from rivals of the mainstream Celts [British], and tribal Celtic spellcasting in order to come out victorious. The Aztecs, Maya, and California tribes, as well as most New England tribes, came out of the fighting with a partial victory in that they didn't get annihilated or assimilated, but didn't throw out the colonizers.

Also, Asia got in on colonizing America. They weren't as successful as Europe, but the west coast is very noticably Asian in a great many areas.


Will there be gun-casters like in Outlaw Star? (Basically guns that shoot magic bullets)


Mind sharing this trait system? Sounds like a wonderful idea.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Detect Magic wrote:
Mind sharing this trait system? Sounds like a wonderful idea.

+1 to that!


Detect Magic wrote:
Mind sharing this trait system? Sounds like a wonderful idea.

Give me some time to hammer it out, and I can do so.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Will there be gun-casters like in Outlaw Star? (Basically guns that shoot magic bullets)

There are enchanted musket balls for special needs such as incendiary rounds, and guns are made with magic assisted actions to speed loading and firing.


If you haven't already checked out these resources I think you should. I got both the Pdfs and they are awesome.

http://paizo.com/store/downloads/atlasGames/northernCrown

Has something like 18 playable PC's, a huge gazetteer and a cool take on the colonization of North America.

Take care!


I found this to be quite helpful with the darker gothic types of campaign elements: Masque of the Red Death.


Update:

Spoiler:
I need some help with my Pathfinder rules overhaul (I’m starting with Pathfinder, and house ruling it so heavily that it is barely recognizable) and campaign setting. I have an idea of what I want to do and how I want it to play, but it needs to be fleshed out more and I’m kind of burned out at the moment.

First off, I want to use a technology level loosely based off of the 18th century. Firearms have become the main weapon to carry, with swords, knives, axes, and other melee weapons being secondary weapons and armor being nonexistent. Firearms are smoothbores loaded with spherical rounds alchemically fused to a solid propellant, opening from the breech and loading fairly quickly. Artillery breech loads as well, but with separate round and charge.

Sailing ships rule the seas, using bound air elementals if the captain has the money and wind and current if the captain does not. Air elementals allow the existence of airships, which lack the durability or carrying capacity of ocean ships but have the advantage of being able to go almost anywhere, and generally a bit quicker. Railroads powered by lightning elementals dominate long distance land transportation, lightning elemental powered streetcars dominate transportation within large cities, and draft animals dominate transportation elsewhere.

One of the biggest rules adjustments I want to make is with magic. In my world, the ability to use magic is an inborn talent. If you are born with this talent, you can understand the glyphs used to write down magic and the invocations and rituals used to cast it. If you are not born with this talent, you will never be able to understand these things, no matter how long you look or listen to them. It will make no sense what so ever, and you won’t understand why it doesn’t make sense. You’ll be able to see what the spell does, but never how it was done. Having the talent does not give you the ability to use magic. What it does do is give you the ability to understand the makings of magic, which is a requirement for anyone wanting to learn to use it. The talent usually manifests between 6-7 years old and the start of puberty, though it has been known to manifest later on in life (but never earlier).

Do to the fact that people without the talent are unable comprehend how magic is done, there is a sizeable faction of people who fear it and it’s users greatly and are suspicious as to how they get their power. Accusations of pacts with infernal powers and the like are not uncommon from these sorts of individuals. This attitude is by no means universal, and whether it is the majority attitude depends on the region, but any spellcaster should be wary of the risk of witch hunts and lynching, because these things do happen.

Magic itself is rather different. There is no divine magic (do to a lack of involved gods and goddesses), and divine spells not directly related to religion are folded into arcane magic. Healing spells are Necromancy, not Conjuration, as the magics of death and life are intertwined together rather tightly. Healing magic makes you feel euphoric at first, but if you have a lot in a short time to start to get lightheadedness and nausea, with symptoms getting steadily worse the more healing you receive up until you pass out and die. Healing magic isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that too much of any medicine can hurt you. Resurrection magic ALWAYS brings back a damaged soul, not a whole one, as people are not meant to return from the abyss once they pass on. On the other hand, brain death takes a good 5-10 minutes after hitting -Constitution hit points (which is when your heart stops), and the soul does not depart the body until the brain has died, so healing magic can bring you back with soul intact if you haven't hit brain death yet.

Weak magic items are common, but anything stronger (including a +1 weapon) is very rare. I want such things to be legendary, so I degree that a powerful enchantment of an item is very hard to pull off.

The difference between the Wizard and the Sorcerer is that the Wizard, who gains the talent necessary to learn how to use magic from the same place a Sorcerer gains magic, doesn’t put much focus on their bloodline, and a Sorcerer does. The Witch class no longer exists, and it’s features are folded into many other spellcasting classes as class options.

Spells are cast off of a spell point system, and spells above third level don’t exist. Metamagic is easier to apply, requiring nothing other than the expenditure of some extra spell points. You don’t even need a feat. However, Mages (including Wizards, Alchemists, some Bards, and some Magi) must specialize in one spell school (gaining bonuses in this school), and ban another school. Sorcerers (including Sorcerers and some Bards and Magi) don’t have to ban any spells, but they gain bloodline special abilities instead of a specialized school.

If you take damage while casting a spell, you lose the spell.

Base attack bonus isn’t used, and neither is the accumulation of hit dice, skill points, or magic items with level. I see this as something that only leads to bigger numbers at higher levels, and I don’t see the need for bigger numbers. When you level up, you learn more, learning new tricks with the skills you already know or new skills, and doing the same with weapons, spells, and everything else. You gain versatility and knowledge with level, not out and out power. This means that, while a higher level character still has the advantage over a lower level character, it isn’t as pronounced as in true Pathfinder, and a lower level character is most definitely a threat worth considering to a high leveled one.

The Barbarian, Cavalier, and Ranger classes no longer exist, and their abilities are folded into the Fighter as class options. Some Ranger abilities are folded into the Rogue as class options. Sneak attack is a class option for the Rogue, not something they automatically receive. Archetypes are retained by this rule system, and I personally like them very much.

I use humans, who are divided into numerous races. The largest is the Magni, who are like normal people. Then there are Merfolk, who dominate the underwater world.

Angels and Demons were the rulers of humans thousands of years ago, but lost the powers that gave them this dominance long ago after the Overpower (It's kind of like a collection of deities, but different in that it exists to write the rules of the world and tweak them if absolutely necessary, not to interfere in day to day events. It has only gotten directly involved in the world a few times in written history, and it raises no Clerics or Paladins.) decided they should not be trusted with such power. Each belongs to an Animistic or Elemental lineage (the same is true of beings that make up the Overpower), with lineage effecting physical appearance. Some examples of Angels and Demons would be Catfolk, Kitsune, and Nezumi under the Animistic lineage and Oriads, Slyphs, and Tritons under the Elemental lineage.

Those three are the worldwide races of human. Due to their worldwide status, it is incredibly difficult to generalize them, as there are hundreds of different ethnic groups. There are also numerous races that are native to specific regions of the world, not the world as a whole. These races, do to their smaller numbers and homelands, tend to have unified cultures.

The Elves are native to the northern woodlands and seas. They are a people insatiably curious about the natural world, preferring to live in small villages inside wild eras they can explore, and are known for pulling off amazing feats of alchemy and herbalism using what is available in the wilds. They tend to be semi-nomadic, having two or three homes, usually a few hundred miles or more apart, and switching between them through the year, as they like living in permanent structures but also like a wide variety in their surroundings. They are also skilled sailors and ship builders, and were the first pioneers of overseas colonization.

Dark Elves are elves who bred with dark skinned Magni slaves during the colonial era . Elves, do to their wilderness lifestyle, are both hardy and disease resistant. These traits are highly desired in slaves, so elven slave owners bred with their own slaves or were hired to do so by Magni slave owners. The resulting childrenlooked like brown skinned elves, and were bred together, creating an entire race of slaves that were prized for their endurance and resistance to illness. Now most (but not all) of the countries involved have banned slavery, but they remain a poor underclass. They are generally an urban people, as they moved into the cities looking for jobs after being freed. The exception to this is those unfortunate souls who live in countries where they are still held in the bonds of slavery. They are mostly found near the equator in places where imported slaves were once common.

Dwarves are a people best known for their skill at building things. This manifests most obviously in their homes, which are built in architectually difficult areas such as underground, in the sides of cliffs, in treetops, in giant city-ships, and so on. They are also good at building weapons and tools, and make a fair amount of money selling them. They are native to the northern mountains. (This race is still under construction. When finished, it will look like a mash-up of Dwarven and Gnomish ideas.)

Skinwalkers are a race of people who can assume animal shapes, and are native to the western lands. They mostly assimilate with the local Magni, serving as either respected shamans or warriors or as distrusted rogues. (Under construction.)

The worldwide races are set in stone, but I am not opposed to adding more regional races. I think I could use some more. It should also be noted that I do not give any race a predilection towards good or evil. All races are equally capable of both.

With this setting, I want to be able to run games based around high seas adventure, darker sea tales, swashbucking adventure, crime drama, ghost tales, monster hunting, war, exploration of new lands, and political intrigue.

The trait system determines class skills instead of your class.

The trait system is composed of four trait groups, with everyone having one of each: ethnic background, childhood events, hobbies/interests, physical. Each adds a small bonus and three class skills chosen from a pool of five.


You mentioned Asia hit North america and fared well... what about the Russians? In San Francisco there is a place called "Russian Hill" -- so named because it is the site of an ancient Russian Graveyard, which sadly was found intact enough to get a good impression of the russian characters/language, but not intact or recent enough to be preserved well -- some people think it was a failed colony or otherwise ill-fated operation... but in your world could they have fared better?

Maybe they can be the backstory/inspiration for an undead faction/civilization -- all these russo-type folks who succumbed to necromancy in the new world, and now they've carved their own kingdom out and their numbers are occasionally bolstered by people from their homeland who've come looking for them. Might give you an interesting basis for some of those cool undead you have in mind.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

You want to avoid Death is Cheap? That's simple. Remove all ressurection and raise dead spells (including reincarnate) from the setting. Just about every other RPG on the market that's not descended from D20 does not include a standard ressurrection mechanic. In most RPG's once you're dead, that character's story is OVER, period.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Could I get some questions about this setting? They help me think of details I haven't considered yet.

First, that sounds like a very cool setting.

But if I were to join that game, I would ask whether you mean to give it more of a Georgian era feel (since you mention 18th century, first phase of industrial revolution) or more of a Victorian era feel (which is really 19th Century, seeing the second phase of industrial revolution). I understand that you meant to keep it purposefully anachronistic (or at least do not want to restrain yourself by historically-correct chronology), but I know it would have a big impact on how i would create my character and imagine the world.

For example, if I made a British-inspired soldier, would I look like these Georgian Soldiers or these Victorian soldiers?

For fantasy Georgian era, think Howl's Moving Castle (debatable as Victorian...) or Girl Genius (which you *must* read if you don't know already).

'findel


Vicon wrote:

You mentioned Asia hit North america and fared well... what about the Russians? In San Francisco there is a place called "Russian Hill" -- so named because it is the site of an ancient Russian Graveyard, which sadly was found intact enough to get a good impression of the russian characters/language, but not intact or recent enough to be preserved well -- some people think it was a failed colony or otherwise ill-fated operation... but in your world could they have fared better?

Maybe they can be the backstory/inspiration for an undead faction/civilization -- all these russo-type folks who succumbed to necromancy in the new world, and now they've carved their own kingdom out and their numbers are occasionally bolstered by people from their homeland who've come looking for them. Might give you an interesting basis for some of those cool undead you have in mind.

Russia made inroads into Akaska, but got crushed fighting the Vikings over possession of western Canada, and lost Alaska. Other than that, they did no colonization of the Americas. They were too busy trying to exert military dominance over the Balkans, which ended badly for them after many, many years of struggle.


LazarX wrote:
You want to avoid Death is Cheap? That's simple. Remove all ressurection and raise dead spells (including reincarnate) from the setting. Just about every other RPG on the market that's not descended from D20 does not include a standard ressurrection mechanic. In most RPG's once you're dead, that character's story is OVER, period.

I considered it, and almost did it, but I like the flavor of resurrection being possible, but irreparably and cripplingly damaging to the soul. Any ressed character will be so brain damaged from the unnatural journey from the other side that they will be useless as a player character. I think it fits my world's "be very cautious with magic" theme well.


Laurefindel wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Could I get some questions about this setting? They help me think of details I haven't considered yet.

First, that sounds like a very cool setting.

But if I were to join that game, I would ask whether you mean to give it more of a Georgian era feel (since you mention 18th century, first phase of industrial revolution) or more of a Victorian era feel (which is really 19th Century, seeing the second phase of industrial revolution). I understand that you meant to keep it purposefully anachronistic (or at least do not want to restrain yourself by historically-correct chronology), but I know it would have a big impact on how i would create my character and imagine the world.

For example, if I made a British-inspired soldier, would I look like these Georgian Soldiers or these Victorian soldiers?

For fantasy Georgian era, think Howl's Moving Castle (debatable as Victorian...) or Girl Genius (which you *must* read if you don't know already).

'findel

I'm leaning more towards Georgian, because, while I love steampunk, I want to do this particular setting without it, and Victoriana is very strongly related to steampunk to me. Also, while one of my sources of inspiration is Victorian horror, another four sources are Georgian.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I'm leaning more towards Georgian, because, while I love steampunk, I want to do this particular setting without it, and Victoriana is very strongly related to steampunk to me. That, and Pirated of the Caribbean is one of my major influences, and is Georgian.

...then i'd be even more willing to join!

Fantasy Georgian is not often done, but it has great potential! While Victorian Steampunk (and 'though i love that too) has more exposure.


I am making some changes. I may have gone too far to manage with the house rules (specifically, loss of BAB and levelling out instead of up), and I am considering reigning things in a bit to be closer to Pathfinder and maintain a degree of cross compatibility.

As for countries, I am way, way too dependent on the IRL world in writing them, and need to get a bit further away from it (but not so far as to be totally alien).


Another good idea is to ask where the "Underdark" fits in in your world. In Pathfinder the Underdark is several levels deep with vastly different ecosystems and is largely out of the sight of most people and most games, but it still has an impact/influence (for example many trade routes from Xian Xia come through the under dark...

One thing You might want to consider is the carribean islands being bastions of underdark races or evil humanoids, and where they have been successful they may even have started colonies on the mainland. An argument for this would be that underdark civilization has a tendency to only grow upward towards the surface if it cannot first grow outward (due to paths of least resistence, and it both being easier and more practical not to intentionally expand against gravity. As such, on the mainlands where there is plenty of ground (above and below the surface) the underdark is VERY VERY deep below the surface, scattered bastions if any may be present between the surface and the under dark -- but in the carribean isles, you might have had races that found themselves expanding up-up-up the stems of land growing up through the ocean to the islands above, because they could not grow out once these people started expanding into these underwater spires lest they flood their own tunnels. Commerce between Mer-folk and the Humanoid races that grew up into the carribean could have been going on for centuries, perhaps even great mer-folk kingdoms that have enabled the underdark to climb up into Isles like Cuba and Hispanola by either helping those races to keep their spires air-tight as they rose to the surface or perhaps the spires/slopes/shelfs leading up to the islands themselves became the foundations of merfolk kingdoms that encorporated the orcs/goblins/bugbears/etc. into their gov'ts or empires.

The idea that the carribean is a twisted weird place where the under-dark has boiled to the surface covered in alien foliage, algae, and fungus that is normally never seen above ground could give your world some of the distinction from history that it needs. Perhaps the mer-folk kingdoms of the spires used to keep the humanoids as slaves, but when the underdark finally broke the surface and the merfolk could not threaten flooding them to death, they slipped out of control of the merfolk masters and instead they ejected them from the sides of the "spires"

I use the term "Spire" to indicate what the island looks like if you disregard sea-level and you are an underdark culture... you expand through the land parts and avoid trying to ascend the sea-parts. This could make the carribean a very scary place to be, and the coast near offshore islands particularly dangerous from tribal underdark humanoids and their alien/subterrainian war-beasts/pets/etc.


I still think the failed russian endeavors would be better served worked into undead kingdoms -- the Russian interests failed, but the most powerful of them embraced necromancy, hid in the shadows, and re-animated their lessers and whomever they could pounce upon.

But if It doesn't capture your imagination, so mote it be. Pathfinder has undead ruled kingdoms like Nex and Geb, and at one point Ustalav... you might want to adopt an analog of such things in your world. (then again maybe not!)


Here is a document that asks at least 100 questions all fantasy writers should ask about their setting... that should help!

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions-peoples-and-cus toms/#0.5_gestures


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Something to also consider is that Native Americans were quite diverse in lifestyles and religion. It might be more realistic to have multiple nations spread out throughout North America rather than one Celtic-Iroquois League empire.

IF you still decide to go with one enormous empire, I would definitely try to develop some sort of uber-charismatic Genghis Khan type conqueror into their history, to unify the tribes. And I would even then still expect quite a a bit of friction between different tribes within that alliance, which could provide good adventure hooks, especially when some tribes seek help from other European powers, the Vikings, and the Chinese.

Also I admit to having a bit of trouble imagining Vikings expanding west to Alaska. Viking strength was limited to some extent to coastal areas...there are not really any good ice free stable seaways connecting Alaska to the Northeast, and Europeans that tried to head west via the Arctic ocean often faced severe hardship if not death. I don't think the Vikings would be able much a threat to Native Americans in western Canada, and Russia would have the advantage due to easy access to supplies via the Bering Sea. Also, from an economic perspective, their really isn't much to fight over across northern Canada, except for perhaps furs. Agriculture is a no go, and most of the natural resources can be gotten cheaper from the south. Expanding south along the eastern seaboard would make more sense for Vikings.


MMCJawa wrote:

Something to also consider is that Native Americans were quite diverse in lifestyles and religion. It might be more realistic to have multiple nations spread out throughout North America rather than one Celtic-Iroquois League empire.

IF you still decide to go with one enormous empire, I would definitely try to develop some sort of uber-charismatic Genghis Khan type conqueror into their history, to unify the tribes. And I would even then still expect quite a a bit of friction between different tribes within that alliance, which could provide good adventure hooks, especially when some tribes seek help from other European powers, the Vikings, and the Chinese.

I do take into account the wide variety of Native American tribal cultures, but I lack a strong unifying figure. I prefer to have the natives in an alliance of convenience that is necessary in order to have the power to command respect of native soviernty. As a result of this lack of strong unity, there is a metric ton of friction between the tribes, especially those tribes from outside areas controlled by the nation (there are a LOT of native immigrants from tribes outside the nation's borders) and natives from tribes that are from within the nation's borders. The government calls any new native immigrants valuable additions to the nation, and some members of the tribes native to the nations don't like this, thinking that it should be their land only. A lot of blood has been shed over this dispute, and in the most violent areas soldiers have been mobilized to protect immigrants. The professional army is predominantly Celtic (the native tribes provide warriors as needed, not on a permanent basis, while the Celts maintain a small professional army and fairly well drilled militia forces), and the anti-immigrant natives often resent being policed by white people, especially since Celts tend to be pro-immigrant because of their culture's history.


Quote:
Also I admit to having a bit of trouble imagining Vikings expanding west to Alaska. Viking strength was limited to some extent to coastal areas...there are not really any good ice free stable seaways connecting Alaska to the Northeast, and Europeans that tried to head west via the Arctic ocean often faced severe hardship if not death. I don't think the Vikings would be able much a threat to Native Americans in western Canada, and Russia would have the advantage due to easy access to supplies via the Bering Sea. Also, from an economic perspective, their really isn't much to fight over across northern Canada, except for perhaps furs. Agriculture is a no go, and most of the natural resources can be gotten cheaper from the south. Expanding south along the eastern seaboard would make more sense for Vikings.

This is mostly an academic issue. I'm backing away from IRL geography and nations a little bit to give room for a more fantastic world view, so a lot of these issues that don't make sense aren't present any more.


Vicon wrote:

Another good idea is to ask where the "Underdark" fits in in your world. In Pathfinder the Underdark is several levels deep with vastly different ecosystems and is largely out of the sight of most people and most games, but it still has an impact/influence (for example many trade routes from Xian Xia come through the under dark...

One thing You might want to consider is the carribean islands being bastions of underdark races or evil humanoids, and where they have been successful they may even have started colonies on the mainland. An argument for this would be that underdark civilization has a tendency to only grow upward towards the surface if it cannot first grow outward (due to paths of least resistence, and it both being easier and more practical not to intentionally expand against gravity. As such, on the mainlands where there is plenty of ground (above and below the surface) the underdark is VERY VERY deep below the surface, scattered bastions if any may be present between the surface and the under dark -- but in the carribean isles, you might have had races that found themselves expanding up-up-up the stems of land growing up through the ocean to the islands above, because they could not grow out once these people started expanding into these underwater spires lest they flood their own tunnels. Commerce between Mer-folk and the Humanoid races that grew up into the carribean could have been going on for centuries, perhaps even great mer-folk kingdoms that have enabled the underdark to climb up into Isles like Cuba and Hispanola by either helping those races to keep their spires air-tight as they rose to the surface or perhaps the spires/slopes/shelfs leading up to the islands themselves became the foundations of merfolk kingdoms that encorporated the orcs/goblins/bugbears/etc. into their gov'ts or empires.

The idea that the carribean is a twisted weird place where the under-dark has boiled to the surface covered in alien foliage, algae, and fungus that is normally never seen above ground could...

Your idea of some underground communities in the Caribbean has merit, as does the inclusion of some twisted weirdness, and I will think on these things, but I am not planning on a full underdark. Perhaps a regional one.

One issue with an underdark is that the only underground race as of yet are dwarves, who do not live in the Caribbean and who are only partially subterranean. Drow would be necessary for a proper underdarkm and as of yet drow do not exist, and I am debating their inclusion. On the one hand, I like drow, on the other, I do not have any races predisposed to good or evil, so they'd take a lot of work.


Vicon wrote:

I still think the failed russian endeavors would be better served worked into undead kingdoms -- the Russian interests failed, but the most powerful of them embraced necromancy, hid in the shadows, and re-animated their lessers and whomever they could pounce upon.

But if It doesn't capture your imagination, so mote it be. Pathfinder has undead ruled kingdoms like Nex and Geb, and at one point Ustalav... you might want to adopt an analog of such things in your world. (then again maybe not!)

I'm rethinking my position on Russians in my world at the moment. As for undead kingdoms, some shenanigans with war Necromancy have part of the world heavily infested and a haven for further Necromancy, but there is no undead ruled nation as such.


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Vicon wrote:

Here is a document that asks at least 100 questions all fantasy writers should ask about their setting... that should help!

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions-peoples-and-cus toms/#0.5_gestures

Very useful. I have much of it on my laptop.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Vicon wrote:

Another good idea is to ask where the "Underdark" fits in in your world. In Pathfinder the Underdark is several levels deep with vastly different ecosystems and is largely out of the sight of most people and most games, but it still has an impact/influence (for example many trade routes from Xian Xia come through the under dark...

One thing You might want to consider is the carribean islands being bastions of underdark races or evil humanoids, and where they have been successful they may even have started colonies on the mainland. An argument for this would be that underdark civilization has a tendency to only grow upward towards the surface if it cannot first grow outward (due to paths of least resistence, and it both being easier and more practical not to intentionally expand against gravity. As such, on the mainlands where there is plenty of ground (above and below the surface) the underdark is VERY VERY deep below the surface, scattered bastions if any may be present between the surface and the under dark -- but in the carribean isles, you might have had races that found themselves expanding up-up-up the stems of land growing up through the ocean to the islands above, because they could not grow out once these people started expanding into these underwater spires lest they flood their own tunnels. Commerce between Mer-folk and the Humanoid races that grew up into the carribean could have been going on for centuries, perhaps even great mer-folk kingdoms that have enabled the underdark to climb up into Isles like Cuba and Hispanola by either helping those races to keep their spires air-tight as they rose to the surface or perhaps the spires/slopes/shelfs leading up to the islands themselves became the foundations of merfolk kingdoms that encorporated the orcs/goblins/bugbears/etc. into their gov'ts or empires.

The idea that the carribean is a twisted weird place where the under-dark has boiled to the surface covered in alien foliage, algae, and fungus that is normally never

...

Perhaps troglodyte creatures, similar to the ones in the book The Descent?

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