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[& Sword] Pangaea: Man vs. The Dinosaur Kings

Started by Prince of Thieves, February 16, 2005, 05:37:15 PM

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Prince of Thieves

Pangaea: Man vs. the Dinsaur Kings[/u]

Here is the recent Pulp Fantasy setting my players and I created for our first Sorcerer and Sword story! Hope you enjoy reading it and if you have any question or insights, I'd love to hear them. I'll spare you the footnotes of the discussion that created this setting. (Though that was SO entertaining in and of its self)

The world is an ancient earth, called Pangaea (of course named after the hypothetical supercontinent and yes we know this would of been just the beginning of dinosaurs and not their end but who cares!)

The world is experiencing the decline of the Dragon or Dinosaur Kings (the Old Ones of this setting) and the chance for the subjected humans to claim their world and destiny. The Dragons Kings are still around and very powerful, they have ruled over men for untold ages and all the trappings of civilization, metalwork, aqueducts, roads, and massive monolithic cities are all of the of the Dragon Kings creation, if not actually their labor. The Dragon Kings themselves have become incapable of producing TRUE offspring for the last couple millenniums or so and are beginning to become concerned that their time is waning. Some Dragon Kings still rule their towering cities filled with humans who live by their draconic master's whim, other are hidden away languishing in despair or opulence while their lands are ruled by proxy, generally a royal family of weak and cruel human-dragon hybrids.

Necromancy was created/discovered by the Dragon Kings and is powered by the Souls of Men. Of all the beasts under the Dragon Kings, humans alone can supply the Dragon Kings with the essence needed to power their dark and deadly magic. So loss of human life (i.e. humanity) is needed for any necromancy rituals which can be performed by creatures other then the Dragon Kings. Tokens are all old and horrible tools crafted by the Dragon Kings for such rituals (anything from sacrificial altars to ritualized utensil that prepare a human to be eaten.)

Demons are derived from the essence of man-souls or dragon souls.
Some examples demons
Object = Ancient and terrible things enchanted by a Dragon King with some of his own soul.
Inconspicuous = A dangerous and angry amalgamation ghost of souls lost to feed draconic necromancy.
Parasite = Could be the awakening draconic essence inside a (near) human sorcerer, filling him with power and terrible draconic whims and needs. A full human sorcerer could perhaps try some reversed necromancy and consume a Dragon's blood to "steal" their power.
Passer and Possessors demons are very rare in this setting. Some quick ideas a possessor demon could be a Dragon King's consciousness hoping about through his half-mortal progeny. A Passer could be an inconspicuous demon gaining enough power to become real or a mortal ghost summoned and made whole.

Immanents = Primal and Elemental Spirits, some of which almost worthy of being counted as Old Ones themselves. Perhaps the only chance to encounter something older then the Dragon Kings.

Beasts = Failed Dragon breeding (lesser non-magical dinosaurs or nasty hybrids) as well as some other ancient fauna or flora things, such as giant insects, fish and flesh eating plants.

QuoteOne of the players mentioned the possibility to have half-avian-half-man beings, a failed cross-breeding attempt of the Dinosaur Kings. Which might help against the humans and could be fuel the audience to speculate on the origins of angel myths. We may introduce them in a story and see how that works

Some Themes and such
A parable of mammal vs. reptile, expanding into Humanity vs. Dragon Kings, Freedom vs. Control and largely chaos vs. order
Comfortable (if cruel) Order vs. Frightening Chaos/Freedom.
Most of the "civilized humans" have lived under the protective, if merciless, talons of the Dragon Kings for so long they can imagine little else, the idea of living as free savages without the comforts of their cities is unappealing if not altogether terrifying. They are generally a broken lot comfortable living diminished lives as near slaves. (Hardly worth saving, which is the point, the characters struggles are there own and damned be the weaklings who aren't ready for it. This isn't about being glorious freedom fighters but about accepting a hard bloody road because you're certain its correct)

Humanity represents the very struggle against draconic dominion.
The below is used in addition to the suggested pulp theme of gaining and losing humanity for helping or harming an ally/friend/fellow-combatant.

Gain 1 = Removing/Hindering Draconic authority. In a larger sense increasing freedom/chaos
Check 1 = Ignoring or helping Draconic authority. In a larger sense increasing control/order. May even be triggered passively, by refusing to fight against order.

Why Sorcerer = humanity loss. It applies control, it uses methods/techniques created by the Dragon Kings and lastly it relies on entities, which are directly or indirectly draconic (non-human).

The characters are fighting to speed the end of the Dragon Kings. This will be achieved at the "end" of the story/world when the last Dragon King is slain and their creations (including cities, technology and sorcery) are left behind. Humanity must begin anew, returning to its savage roots to regain its destiny. Only play will actually determine what shape this end takes when it arrives.

Thats enough for the moment. I may expand later with note of the two PCs.
Ironic humor dragged down all the twilight minarets he reared, and the earthy fear of improbability blasted all of the delicate and amazing flowers in his feary gardens.
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Key

Valamir tying Humanity gains to freedom / anti authority with total disregard for whether the general populace agrees with your sense of've basically created a setting where Terrorists would be the "high humanity" characters and ordinary law abiding citizens the "low".

Granted, you've run it through the fantasy filter to take the edge off, but: Terrorists as Sorcerers, Terrorist Cells as Covens, and Evil Capitalist Pig Imperialists as the Dragon Kings makes for quite a little metaphor.  Especially when you frame humanity so that the "good guys" (so to speak) are the Terrorists.

I applaud chutzpah behind it...even if largely unintentional.

Prince of Thieves

Ummm... well assuming this is actually a thoughtful comment and not one seeking to be sensational and perhaps even insulting: I'd say, to a point, yes. However the "law abiding citizens" are not honest folk living good lives, in this pulp setting they exist either as the exploited or the exploiter, living in the niches the Dragon Kings have set for them. In essence they are comfortable with a diminished existence and have abandoned human (theirs and by sympathy our own) destiny to their inhuman masters.

The protagonists, the PCs, are of the rare sort (but not wholly unique in this attribute) they wish to see the cold-blooded Dinosaur Kings over thrown thus allowing for humans to self govern and determine their own destiny.
Ironic humor dragged down all the twilight minarets he reared, and the earthy fear of improbability blasted all of the delicate and amazing flowers in his feary gardens.
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Key


I look forward to seeing a list of descriptors.  The world sounds like fun.

Prince of Thieves

Are descriptors the identifiers for Stamina, Will and Lore? If so I'm sorry to disappoint, being our first bout with Sorcerer we just went what was listed in the Sorcerer and Sword supplement.

Here are the two PCs though to maybe give you a tiny peek at things, hope you enjoy.

Varlan Tosh
Stamina 3 - Healthy
Will 6 - Brush with the Unknown; Vow: Depose the Dragon Kings
Lore 2 - Naive
Price - Unlucky in love
Humanity 3

Varlan was a servant living a shelter life under a cruel (near) human master. Until an accident outside his master's protected compound lead to Varlan being separated from civilization. While alone he encounter the Red Maiden, who helped him perceive the crux of human destiny lost to the Dragon Lords. When bloodthirsty opponents of his master showed up the Red Maiden draw him away to safety sparing his death and giving him the chance to live free. He has now vowed to continue his conquests against the Dragon Kings, the mostly for pursuit and love of the mysterious Red Maiden who still guides him.

His demon
The Red Maiden - a collection of human souls lost to feed draconic necromancy
Type - Inconspicuous
Appearance - a pale and lovely maiden, who appears sad and is clad in red raiment of flowing silk.
Tell - The occasional rustle of silk or the sight of red streaming out of view.

Stamina 2
Will 5
Lore 4
Power 5
Desire: Ruin
Need: Witness tears of despair/grief
Abilities: Cloak, Travel, Daze, Link and Hint

Stamina 6 - Inhumanly Vigorous; Elite Soldier
Will 4 - Righteous Anger
Lore 4 - Half-breed
Price - Ophidian Features.
Humanity 1; Max of 4
Destiny: Crux of the conflict. Baratax personifies the very conflict he is (or will be) leading, his diminished humanity struggling to put things right as his draconic natures sends him to new heights of ruthlessness in his quest for revenge against the ancestors he regrets to claim.

Baratax was the pride of his father, the Dragon King Baratriarx. For his father believed he could be the future of the Dragon Kings: a reborn Dragon Lord, in a hale (if lesser) body with a sound and cunning mind. Baratax was schooled martially and mentally drilled to near perfection in his every action. By adulthood he was awarded the position of Captain of his father's elite guard. Also on reaching adulthood his father wanted to start perfecting the next generation of his progeny. Baratax was giving a harem and more importantly commanded to stud with humans and his lesser hybrid sisters. When these liaisons bore no worthy children the Dragon King Baratriarx in a flight of rage slew the majority of his lesser children sparing only Baratax, who grief stricken rose up and slaughtered his father.

His Demon
Metriarx - An evil tooth-sword thing crafted by one of Baratax Dragon ancestors for making war on other Dragons. Now after a very long time it gets to kill dragons again, starting with Baratax's father and it hopes ending with Baratax himself.
Type: Object
Appearance: A great fang like sword
Tell: Occasionally Drips venom
Stamina 8
Will 8
Lore 7
Power 8
Desire: Corruption
Need: Blood of non-men. (Anything non human and magical)
Abilities: Boost Stamina, Armor, Protection vs. Poison, Special Dmg: Sword, Special Dmg: Poison, Vitality and Taint.

The players and I left things somewhat vague on the character's beginnings, we plan to return and tell that story after we enjoy some intermediate ones.

Some thoughts for the future,

Varlan converting other people to the Red Maiden's cause and perhaps allowing the Red Maiden transforming into a Passing demon. Maybe giving Varlan a physical object for his confused affections.

Baratax matures and his dragon essence awakens in the form of a parasite demon.
Ironic humor dragged down all the twilight minarets he reared, and the earthy fear of improbability blasted all of the delicate and amazing flowers in his feary gardens.
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Key


Prince of Thieves

Thanks for the interest Paka. :)

Well the kickers only really apply to the story we sat down to tell that night, which we only just got started, hopefully going to finish it up this weekend.

Another thing to keep in mind, this is only our first stories as authors it is not the characters beginning. We'll like go with a story flow of 3rd, 1st, 2nd. And then go from there...

Here was my story setup as described to the players.
QuoteSetting: While traveling around the region looking for support in their fight against the Dragon Kings they have meet resistance, in the form of Soldiers from the city of Tavax, a city which is not thought to be ruled by a Dragon King. So the characters have arrived in Tavax to investigate.

Notable Characters
King Tavax (I love kings with the gall to rename their cities after themselves)
Prince-General Mand Tavax
Princess Calia Tavax
Malkos, Priest of the Hallowed Earth
Xia'tear, Priestess of the White Flame.

Two decades ago Tavax took control of the city with the assistance of the twin temples of the City which worship Elemental Spirits (Immanents). The King has become lax in the last dozen years or so after the passing of his wife.

Another note: Tavax, like most all human royalty, does have a trace of Dragon's blood, not much, but a trace and more then enough to convience him of his right to rule lesser men.
Thus ends my set up for the players. Now they had to think of Kickers while I jotted down some notes for a basic relationship map, back-story and a few bangs to get me started.

Here are the Kickers:

Baratax - After a brisk reception at King Tavax's hall, Baratax returns to the scourer the Streets for information, when, under cover of night, his is attacked by a group of armed and hooded men. After he has slain them he discovers they are the King's men and they were being lead by the King's Councilor Drogin. (hehe the PC introduced and killed an NPC all by himself)

Varlan - While masquerading as a new minstrel in King's Tavax court he discovers a mysterious message left for him which reads, "We need to speak, come to the East Wing at Midnight. Alone."

Baratax's player took his Kicker and just ran with it. He actually decided to take Drogin's head back to the King and demanded an answer! That was great.

Varlan's kicker sort of put the ball back in my court so I pulled out one of my bangs to try to push him to make a choice. His mysterious meeting was with Princess Calia. Who confessed her father, the King has grown weak and her brother gather's power every day. She has been sent dreams by the slumbering Dragon King Mavatriz, the ancestor of her entire family, which showed her of his coming and the kinslayer's arrival (which is Baratax). But she doesn't seem to know they are working together, she has basicially asked Varlan to help her return the Kingdom to her dragon grandsire. Also she's slightly smitten with him because she's been dreaming of his face alot. :P

Wow this post is getting sort of long! I'll stop here. I'll share my rough outline and some of my bangs later. Maybe at the time I'll also be able to tell you how it ends.
Ironic humor dragged down all the twilight minarets he reared, and the earthy fear of improbability blasted all of the delicate and amazing flowers in his feary gardens.
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Key