Author Topic: A thing  (Read 19027 times)

LordVreeg

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Re: A thing
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2014, 01:23:06 PM »
Quote from: Steerpike
Luckily it seems like my stuff gets used by others beside me, including some GMs, which is awesome - there've been at least 4 Cadaverous Earth campaigns not run by me, I think.  But, in general, I agree that if you're not deriving pleasure from world-building intrinsically (i.e. writing it for yourself - the prime motive for all good writing) then it can seem rather pointless, unless you're world-building as part of another project, like a novel or comic.
Similar.

Celtricia started when I and most of my PCs were in High School, so three of the players ran Celtrician Campaigns when they went away to college.  And I think my model for worldbuilding was more Tolkienesque, with the history and dynamics fleshed out in public information and even more in private notes.  So there are reams of notes still scribbled away and in wikipages called DMonly, to SA's point of how much is meant to be read by PCs.  However, as Steerpike mentions, I get satisfaction out of creating the thing, of fleshing it out, in and of itself. It multiplies later, especially when it starts to build momentum from the game (when I have to extrapolate from it and add onto it) and when the details move into the game.  Because after every game I have to add in the newly-fleshed out details so as to maintain as much integrity as possible.

Now, every group and every player is different.  But I tend to end up with readers and researchers for players.  So there seems to be a strong feedback loop in our games.  For instance, the Steel Isle game started on an island with a good amount of big-picture stuff known and some detail, but we added detail after every session, until we had the areas around the island and the neighborhoods and areas around Steel Isle Town and the ruins and the detailed histories all backstoried.

I also end up with less glossed over time than a lot of GMs.  The economic and political and social details come up and are played through in detail.  My Igbarians have been playing in town for the last 13 sessions, almost a full year of real time.  And much of this has been dealing with the details mentioned above.  And because my players do keep up with the info, so an area like Igbar that has been played for 30+ years of real time has been added to continuously, to the point that it is not only more fleshed out but details have changed and time has moved on.

And again, I am just ruminating and describing how this has worked for me.  Every game and GM and dynamic is different.
VerkonenVreeg, The Nice.Celtricia, World of Factions

Steel Island Online gaming thread
The Collegium Arcana Online Game
Old, evil, twisted, damaged, and afflicted.  Orbis non sufficit.Thread Murderer Extraordinaire, and supposedly pragmatic...\"That is my interpretation. That the same rules designed to reduce the role of the GM and to empower the player also destroyed the autonomy to create a consistent setting. And more importantly, these rules reduce the Roleplaying component of what is supposed to be a \'Fantasy Roleplaying game\' to something else\"-Vreeg

SA

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Re: A thing
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2014, 05:19:04 AM »
What humans fear most in monsters is not their unnatural bodies but their alien minds. These two peoples are fundamentally unalike and cannot help but harm each other, so that one or the other is always imperiled with extinction. Blind to this pattern and its cause, the humans of this world have almost exterminated monsterkind, driving the last of them under ground and into the cold wastelands and under the sea. Those monsters languish in darkness and solitude, and have dwindled, and their minds have fermented.

Copokiasti
When Moon-Emperor was young, the lords of the great plain scoffed at his commands and flouted his interdictions. He demanded from his goddess that she provide an instrument with which he might compel their obedience, and she came before him and they coupled and she begat a child. That child was not human but it was not a god. It was the colour of stirred coals and likewise shapeless, and its touch set flesh alight and melted stone. Copokiasti hunted the obstinate lords of the plains. It dragged them from their horses and roasted them alive. Soon no-one defied the will of young Moon-Emperor. When Copokiasti had been exhausted as a weapon, Moon-Emperor, who had no other use for such a creature and would never call it "son", imprisoned it within the Ancient Brazier to gutter and diminish over long eons. The Empire of Night does not exist any more. The age of horse and bow is long extinguished and Moon-Emperor is no more than a ghost. But Copokiasti still burns.

Foutu-Beet-Bahba
The Last Kingdom drove her from her native forest with huge silver cannons. Their weapons could not kill her, but they tore her scales away in jagged green cascades and great bloody showers that stained their kingdom black. They drove her all the way to the ocean, and into it, and saltwater filled her wounds and agonised her such that she flung herself out again, and was bombarded and repelled again, and so on until she had been made ragged and hollow and insane. Before her trauma she had wings like the sails of whole armadas, and the stamping feet of a thousand horses, and towering tangled horns like a venerable meranti. Now her body is all but vanished and her horns are extended across the ocean floor like grasping coral. I cannot say whether fear or patience or some other force restrains her, but she is not dead.

...and others

OOC
Don't actually expect others. Be realistic
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 08:49:15 AM by SA »

Steerpike

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Re: A thing
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2014, 10:12:47 AM »
Quote from: SA
Be realistic

What is this "realism" you speak of?

Foutu-Beet-Bahba is intriguing, like a weird Dunsanian Godzilla.

SA

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Re: A thing
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2014, 03:12:14 AM »
They used to be our gods
They commissioned the destruction of nations and the extinction of entire races. A few errant men did not follow such commands (they molder even now in the oubliettes of your rejuvenated cities), but I was not among them. Do not judge us. Without our oaths we were nothing. Should those majesties revisit the world I will execute these selfsame instructions.

I know that you sing the names of great deities in order to invoke their power, but you should not speak these names aloud. Such creatures are jealous of their titles and may seek to do you harm.

Pathame
She exhorted our species to shed the ungainly instruments which nature has endowed us. The cities that loved her best were not filled with men and women, but with chimeras of disparate flesh and a thousand animal types intermingled. Her servants were exultant xenophiles whose extremity I will not pretend to understand. Though we were not so in love with our own natures as you are, I do not know that we could have taken our transformations far enough to satisfy her.

Lubjigett Sartent
Your propagandists have doctored the holos that depict him so that he appears conniving, malicious and insane. Yes, he was all of these things, but we did not know this at the war's commencement. He was more beautiful than any woman I have known and may in fact have been partway through a transition between the sexes, as others of his kind have transformed before. His siblings loved and feared him equally and his subjects adored him utterly. Even had we known how much he would diminish by war's end, we might have followed him regardless. How else could we have come so close to glory?

Maiden
An ironic euphemism. I do not know her true name. This carnivorous deity had no place in our monastery and the boys who crept into cankerous Okrum to partake of her mysteries would not explain them to us.

Quhaiha
The pearl city Zagint was among the last to fall. Many of the war's most horrible stories take place here, because we were not permitted to bombard it and had to advance on foot. For five days my company besieged a temple that was already half destroyed and none of us knew - or cared - which deity inhabited it. At last we overcame its defenses and discovered that its goddess was one of ours. A priest had mercifully cut her throat so that we could not rape her, but some vengeful comrade had then impaled her lengthwise on his spear. None of us knew why that temple had defected, or if other temples had followed suit, because we lost the war soon after.


OOC
This occupies the same universe as "and you, ARRUNTULLA!"
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 11:46:58 AM by SA »

Rose-of-Vellum

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Re: A thing
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2014, 09:34:33 AM »
I love your writing. It's like a vivid, surreal dream: evocative, haunting, alluring, yet unfathomable and ephemeral. Hard to grasp as a player or would-be-GM, but definitely beautiful and inspiring to read. I hope for more, and am especially glad that this is part of the Arruntulla universe (but not the same world, I presume?). 

SA

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Re: A thing
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2014, 11:08:55 AM »
Thank you. This is not the same world, but another planet that the ancient worldship verdigris has seeded with humanity. The short-lived green world stories describes yet another such planet.

Rose-of-Vellum

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Re: A thing
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2014, 01:28:33 PM »
Cool.

Pareidollhouse

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Re: A thing
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2015, 02:52:02 PM »
OOC
I'm preparing this document as a setting kernel for me and my gaming group to develop into a fully fledged universe. We won't be getting together for a month, and I'll flesh it out considerably before they get their hands on it, so in the meantime any thoughts and commentary are welcome.

The setting will occupy the same multiverse as "and you, ARRUNTULLA!"


THE CONVOCATION AT DEMONHEAD


...where the reluctant alumni of numerous disreputable traditions commingle: nurturing conspiracy, trading arcana, and reaffirming their masters' old alliances.


THOSE PRESENT

sweet eater - lips sticky with human issue, belly distended with unmatured monsters. she burbles courteously in the corner and goes unregarded

worm's mate la-ima - when the contests and transactions are complete, she will fossick among the day's detritus for fresh portents

pekku the obtuse - his name is as ironic as his magics are precise

provost zumabtiter and his lackeys - conceit and stupidity have always compelled the leaders of this school to appear as themselves, unrepresented and undisguised

the original grimgehemmen? - we may assume that she has sent a simulacrum in her stead

kotis bounder - a restless and incorrigible mummer. do not trespass the margins of his phantasms

oam's unremarkable apprentice - jotting hurried minutes in her squirming hagskin journal. already she bears the many scars of her master's inhuman tutelage

tulpa lanj - the flickering gestalt of destitute chapterhouse weirheig. by what treachery have they contrived entrance to our august convocation?

igrit's carnifex: the illimitable suplum yih - that stentorious raconteur, that faultless charmer. he is undoubtedly scheming murder even now

the lovers owl and kite - do not inquire after these erotomaniacs

...and others


A MARVELLOUS DESIGN
pages from
THE INFERIOR BOOK OF IMAGES


each nation develops its own interpretation of the cosmic images, and its diverse schools supply further specialisation and refinement, but the underlying forms are (theoretically) constant across all realities


ORIGINAL ICONS

when these six comprised the entirety of our undesrtanding we simply called them "icons".

impending - what is the PLAN OF HEAVEN?

bellicose - with what harsh instruments is it enforced?

transigent - what laws did humankind invent for themselves, and who interprets them?

threaded - what nations first composed the CULTURE?

serous - what was humanity's original shape?

irrational - what are the priveleges of personhood, and what are its obligations?


UNNATURAL ICONS

Subjects that are farther from our universe are more difficult to imitate with familiar science.

velar - what are the human and transhuman tongues?

obscure - what are their taboos and their exceptions?

flensed - what are the human sciences?

liminal - what are the divisions and categories of universes?

cruciform - what are the human nations?

delinquent - what are the darkest human sins?


NATURAL ICONS

certain images were degraded by overuse long before we knew where to find them.

analgesic - who are the CULTURE's lauded heroes?

bespoke - who instructed the first artisans?

neuronal - what form does the intellect assume when separated from flesh and circuit?

languid - what people are at once human and unfettered by humanity?

incongruous - what are the CULTURE's great moral conflicts?

defamed - what are the CULTURE's worst abuses?


ASCENDED ICONS

these are not described in any record but our cosmogony implies their existence.

pineal - who guards the boundaries between perceptible worlds?

unknown

faithful - who were the first sorcerers, and what became of their altars?

demotic - what fellow cultures flourished before the FOUNDING, and how were they destroyed?

unknown

unknown


OOC
Each of the named icons will be developed, but the unknown icons are just that.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 10:54:17 PM by Pareidollhouse »

Rose-of-Vellum

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Re: A thing
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2015, 09:19:47 PM »
I have no idea what any of this means, but I'd sure like to -and like to hear more.

Pareidollhouse

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Re: A thing
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2015, 09:30:33 PM »
The Convocation section should have at the very least mentioned that all the participants are powerful sorcerers. It's like the most important thing and I somehow managed to omit it...

I'd better fix that.

Pareidollhouse

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Re: A thing
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2015, 07:32:54 AM »
OOC
An all-female freshman witch clique, in desperately over their heads somewhere between worlds with circumstances spiraling disastrously out of control. This occupies the same universe as the first post in this thread, and we'll probably play it in February.

GAYNOR
AND GREED

...have vanished into the sky screaming, and with them the Mythopoeia. Without the witch and her sly demon we might sleep easier, but without the book we have no point of reference - between the countless outer cosms and within our own histories. These last disordered minutes have already stripped us of our homes, our cities, our friends, our schools and our own last names. The only thing left is the Circle, whose magic has preserved our mutual familiarity and trust, and therefore our power. We will need a new book if we want to make it back to Earth before Carter finds us again, but first we must find someone to write it. (who is Carter? Concentrate! We have to remember)

The Circle

Mathilda - who carries the Prophet's Touchstone somewhere we cannot find it.
Bethany - to whom a great Cinder City lord bloodily 'bequeathed' a fragment of his antler.
Dee - who learned the Ode to Withered Things from the crones of New America, and nearly became one of them.
Joyce - who cannot banish the goblin athame from between her fingers, and so is always drawing those creatures to us.
Imogen - who once held the Goddess' jaw, but will not tell us what it showed her.
Gaynor - who fell in love with a demon, went mad (or feigned madness), and disappeared into the sky.

Friends, Enemies and Others

Carter - whose face we can't recall, and who wishes us all terrible harm. (but why?)
Sulayman - the feathered wolf and assassin. We did not want to use him, but it was the only solution that we could see. Now we don't even know why we needed him, which might be the worst part.
Whisper - 'the voice of all serpents' and a crone of New America. She might know where a mythist can be found, if only we could find her.
Coitjke - a goblin ealdorman and one of our first enemies. Some of the goblins we glimpse in the shadows are his agents, but many of them serve his rivals.
Vice - who rules the cold alleys of Cinder city, and so is its lowest lady.

Cinder City

Faeries learned industry from humans, just like they learned language and warfare and love. Their imitation was calamitous: they set fire to their infinite forest, which is god-fed and therefore inexhaustible, and now their city's huge machines are powered by that inferno.

New America

We have not figured out if it is part of our own future or from a different history altogether. People there are schooled in magic from a young age, which means even children are more practiced than us. We are definitely not safe there, especially now we've lost our memories, but maybe the crones can help us.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 05:38:47 PM by Pareidollhouse »

Pareidollhouse

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Re: A thing
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2015, 05:23:54 PM »
HELP ME TORMENT WITCHES

Imagine it's the umpteenth book in the MYTHOPOEIA saga, a series of teen horror fantasy novels about a sextet of adolescent suburban girls who team up for edgy high magic adventures beyond the looking glass. All the POV characters have had intimate soul-altering encounters with gods and monsters, and now the series metaplot is nearing its crescendo. EDIT: It's worth mentioning that none of this backstory actually exists, and none of this has been played before. The series is being invented whole cloth for this one adventure.

In the previous post I hope I gave a sense of the tone of the tale, and of the circumstances the girls now find themselves in. They don't remember their histories, except the magical one that they share; one of their number is gone, possibly for good; they're lost in a labyrinth of occulted and demented and parallel worlds without the instrument that has steered them safely for numerous novels; and someone named Carter, possibly a wizard, possibly a wrathful god, possibly their own former friend, is trying to kill them.

Here are some questions I'm asking myself, and anybody is free to contribute any kind of suggestion or insight about this stuff or any other damn thing (I'll be getting my player's own opinions in February, but I'm asking you first):

Are the Mythopoeia and Touchstone literal objects? What does the space between the outer cosms look like and how is it traversed? Are the goblins more comical or horrific? What status do crones hold in New America? Do they reside within its hierarchies or beyond them? Why is New America so dangerous? How do humans survive in Cinder City beyond the cold alleys? What is it like in a Faery workhouse? What did Gaynor do that was so terrible (besides, you know, the demon), and where has she gone?

I'll have a bunch more questions ready for myself after Christmas, and I'd love to know what y'all think (and as always, feel free to steal anything that you like).
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 05:48:29 PM by Pareidollhouse »

Rose-of-Vellum

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Re: A thing
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2015, 11:11:01 PM »
As typical, your writing is evocative syrup poured straight into my brain.

I might add more later on, but I'd suggest making the crones all wear suits and bizarre corporate attire. Make their circles function as board meetings where they rule business conglomerates from atop their towers (i.e., skyscrapers). Because, you know, it's America. And when the crones legislate or create binding contracts, they are legislating and binding reality itself (or realities), which makes hostile mergers and monopolies all the more menacing.

As for the Mythopoeia, perhaps make it marginalia scribbled on the world, like graffiti. One snippet under a crone's shoe, another spray-painted in a cold-alley, another tattooed on Coitjke's left buttocks. You have to find it, transcribe it, then steep your tea in the ink of said note, and the circle drinks said tea such that the Mythopoeia becomes part of them, allowing them to 'read between the lines' of reality (realities!) and travel between worlds. But Gaynor (and Greed) have absconded with the circle's tea set. Which is all terribly upsetting.

As for the goblins, perhaps they begin as comedic, but as the circle gathers more of the Mythopedia, they become more terrifying entities, bogeymen guardians of the hidden gateways and cracks between reality (realities!). With each marginalia found, the circle in essence opens those cracks more and more (for themselves at least) and so are able to see more and more of the true nature and power of the goblins.

Nomadic

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Re: A thing
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2015, 01:49:46 AM »
Here's everything the reversion trashed

Quote from: Pareidollhouse
I like your vision of the crones, except I imagine they're like industry freelancers, fixers and powerbrokers, and the big magical corps bring them in to deal with mucky, controversial problems. At first the Circle had very little understanding of what a crone's life actually entailed, and they may even have aspired to be like them. Because crones exist outside of conventional hierarchies and they're regularly courted by powerful interests, they appear glamorous and unfettered, but like all the movers and shakers in New America they're walking the knife's edge, and unlike most movers and shakers in New America they have no safety net whatsoever. The Circle understands this a little better now, having sought advice from a few in their travels, but they won't develop a true (and truly devastating) appreciation of a crone's hardships unless they seek one out after the flight of Gaynor and Greed.

The idea of "the world's marginalia" really appeals to me. Now I'm thinking when the girls first travelled between worlds they used a borrowed mythopoeia, then sought out their own secrets in order to compose one for themselves. Their mythopoeia is an object that holds significance for all of them (the players can decide what form it will take), and they will have whispered each magical secret into the object to enliven it with some notion of the occult universe. Unbeknownst to the Circle, the person who taught them how to do this also deceived them by instructing them to whisper a great secret from each of their own earthly lives. This imbued the mythopoeia with uncommon power for an instrument of its kind (which proved vital on more than one occasion), but also entangled the girls' mortal identities with the mythopoeia, so that now, in its absence, they cannot remember their identities, or the roads that lead back to their own Earth (normally, a witch or wizard knows the way to their own world even without a mythopoeia).

Next question

Quote from: Rose-of-Vellum
I like it.

Might Carter be the entity that tricked the Circle into instructing them to whisper personal secrets into the Mythopoeia?

Quote from: Pareidollhouse
I like it.

Might Carter be the entity that tricked the Circle into instructing them to whisper personal secrets into the Mythopoeia?

Quote from: Rose-of-Vellum
Maybe the grand unremembered secret that both binds the Circle and is doomed to break it is that each of them loves Carter? The mythopoeia hid/stored that love like Baba Yaga storing/hiding Koschei's soul inside an egg. Since we're talking about strange magiks, Carter wouldn't have to be strictly one person either: he/she/it/they could be an amalgamation or foci of all their mad pubescent passions/loves/dreams/longings.

Either that, or Carter's an author, their author, who's chasing after characters and plots that ran away from him, and it's all a wild, semi-lucid dream. When and if he catches them, the dreamer will awake and imprison them in ink or cage them in keystrokes in his novel.

Maybe the two ideas are actually one and the same.

Quote from: Pareidollhouse
Both ideas are fucking WONDERFUL, but unfortunately wander quite a bit from our intended focus. While we chose adolescent girls for a reason (and often do, weirdly; more often than teenage boy protagonists), I want the players to decide through play just how relevant adolescence and femininity are to their experience, and in what ways. If I could offer the first option to the players at the outset and let them see how they like it, I would, but Carter's identity is to be discovered in play, and this is not the sort of thing I'd spring on PCs mid game by fiat. I still very much like the idea, though, and I might see if I can work a variation in somehow.

As for the second idea: we've done "the PCs are fictional characters" before, and it worked, but they'd hate it as a twist. Especially since we've already determined that the story takes place in an established roleplay universe.

This gives me much to think about!

Quote from: Rose-of-Vellum
Totally understandable. I recognized that the first idea makes major assumptions of, or impositions on, the game's treatment of adolescence and femininity. And if you've done the 4th wall characters, it makes total sense to avoid a redux.

What if Carter is basically the antithesis of the goblins -i.e., an entity that wants to rip down the curtains between different worlds. Thus, Carter would have been keen to help the Circle gain the ability to travel between worlds and might have influenced them to taint/empower their mythopoeia such that each time they travel to another world/reality, they leave a tear, a crack, a wound that isn't healing, since their mythopoeia is tied to their home world, such that a portion of each world they travel to slips into their home world. Which would make for a nasty, surprising trip home. Carter would thus want them to recover their mythopoeia, not create a new one, and not undo its work. Is Carter an angel? A supra-physical entity that was quartered and imprisoned across different realities?
The cracks are allowing Carter to rejoin/reassemble? Maybe that was the original purpose of the goblin-princes, to protect the liminal prisons of the angels twice-bifurcated spirit? If Carter becomes whole, will it destroy realities or save them from some flaw?

Pareidollhouse

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Re: A thing
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2015, 06:52:26 PM »
Thanks Nom! You're the hero we deserve.