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Author Topic: 9W: Setting & rules "Pilgrimmage"  (Read 2403 times)
Matt Snyder
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« on: September 10, 2003, 08:02:35 PM »

I’ve consolidated Pilgrim’s excellent questions here into one thread to which I can offer answers as I have time to answer them. -Matt

RULES

Banking Tricks
Can Tricks be banked without allocating them to a Muse? i.e.: be stored and used for other things after the conflict scene?

Talismans
OK, what are Talismans? And what rules are you pondering for them? This could be important since I've discovered players are frequently delighted by the stuff their characters have.

SETTING

Setting Ætherports
Ætherports - what do they look like? I ask since PC's will be moving through them pretty often and I suspect a fair number of their adventures will take place among them. And if you can't give a description, can we at least get some common features?

Uses for Orichalcum & Quicksilver
Orichalcum and quicksilver have been established as part of the setting, but what other magical materials and metals exist in the setting? And aside from being useful for compasses to the Axis Mundi, what else are orichalcum and quicksilver used for?

Unit of currency and basis
Dumb question what is the basic unit of currency called? And what is the  basis of the currency - Orichalcum? Or something else?

Awakening
How are people awakened in this setting? And can you help make clear the difference between an awakened human and an Archon?

What is Mars like?
What is Mars like physically? I know its made up of warring city states and kingdoms, but are there forests, jungles, swamps, oceans, etc.? And how much can Ares (and his allied gods (Deimos, Phobos, Eris)) vary it to according to their whims? Heck, can the Eternals vary their worlds at all?

Slavery
Slavery - Ancient Greece, heck, most of the Mediterranean world, made no bones about slavery. Does it exist in the 9 Worlds or not? And is it common?

How long to travel between worlds
Trip lengths between the various worlds? I know dramatically appropriate is the actual, but I wouldn't mind an idea of how long it takes to travel 'tween the worlds

Communications
Setting - is there a means of communicating among the 9 Worlds that's the equivalent of radio? Or is it all messages by æthership borne couriers?

BACKGROUND
Recommended reading for fiction and reference? This can make life much easier and convenient for GMs and players.

SUGGESTIONS & EDITS/CORRECTIONS

* p2 Apollo – that should be ambitious, not ambitions.

* Using Cosmos Urge – include the Power rating of the Aegis complex.

* P22 - “I'm using 2 Tricks to lock Alexander's Hubris in place. Last phase I raised his Arete to 8, and I plan on keeping it that way for a while.”

There's an oops there one of those Virtues is incorrect, as I'd figure he'd want to keep up the Arete which he raised last phase.

* Cosmos Example 2 – p19, 3rd  - “Note that Alexander may still participate...” I'd make that “Note that Alexander's player may still participate...”
Similarly, I'd change “...even though he's...” to “...even though the character is ...”

I strongly suggest keepin player and character separate.
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Matt Snyder
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"The future ain't what it used to be."
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2003, 08:18:08 PM »

In "phase 1" of my replies, I'll answer these rules quesitons:

Quote
RULES

Banking Tricks
Can Tricks be banked without allocating them to a Muse? i.e.: be stored and used for other things after the conflict scene?


No.

Quote
Talismans
OK, what are Talismans? And what rules are you pondering for them? This could be important since I've discovered players are frequently delighted by the stuff their characters have.
player and character separate.


Talismans are the term for a variety of "entities" that a character can control. In effect, these entities become a "sidekick" character the player operates. They have a Power rating, and Urge ratings, but no Muses. A talisman could be: an actual character sidekick, a retinue or crew, an aethership, an artifact or weapon, a permanent enchantment, etc.

The talisman draws from the player's own Fate deck, which may drain his available cards for the scene, and therefore require some shuffling. If so, I prefer the "costly" shuffling rules wherein a player must spend a Muse point to shuffle in mid-conflict.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Pilgrim
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Posts: 76


« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2003, 10:37:12 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder

RULES

Banking Tricks
Can Tricks be banked without allocating them to a Muse? i.e.: be stored and used for other things after the conflict scene?

No.



OK, I was a bit unclear on this. Anyone else? Or am I a minority of one?

Quote from: Matt Snyder

Talismans
OK, what are Talismans? And what rules are you pondering for them? This could be important since I've discovered players are frequently delighted by the stuff their characters have.

Talismans are the term for a variety of "entities" that a character can control. In effect, these entities become a "sidekick" character the player operates. They have a Power rating, and Urge ratings, but no Muses. A talisman could be: an actual character sidekick, a retinue or crew, an aethership, an artifact or weapon, a permanent enchantment, etc.

The talisman draws from the player's own Fate deck, which may drain his available cards for the scene, and therefore require some shuffling. If so, I prefer the "costly" shuffling rules wherein a player must spend a Muse point to shuffle in mid-conflict.


This makes sense keeps the rules fairly simple and works with what's available.
Now, how do they add to a character's rating? I've been curious since you'd mentioned the possibility elsewhere in the forum.
And how do they pay for obtaining these powerful things?
And last, but not least, are they available for starting characters?

Thanks again,
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2003, 11:06:30 AM »

(EDIT NOTE -- Sorry, Trey, I acidentally edited, rather than quoted, your post just now. I think I have recovered your post. My response follows here . . . )


Talismans do not add to the characters ratings. Rather, they act as "separate characters" under the player's control. Therefore, they can add to the players TRICKS, which may indeed add to his characteristics after the fact.

Players must complete a muse to earn talisman. They retire the Muse, and "remove it" entirely from their sheet (going from 9 Possible Muses, to 8, for example). I haven't decided yet whether its possible to get the muse back if the talisman is lost or destroyed. I'm inclined to say yes.

Talismans really shouldn't be allowed for starting characters, but a group might wish to leap right into epic conflict right away with some high-powered Archons. The rules as written, however, will make it clear that starting players cannot yet have Talismans.
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Matt Snyder
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Pilgrim
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Posts: 76


« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2003, 11:30:03 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
(EDIT NOTE -- Sorry, Trey, I acidentally edited, rather than quoted, your post just now. I think I have recovered your post. My response follows here . . . )


No problem at all Matt.

Quote
Talismans do not add to the characters ratings. Rather, they act as "separate characters" under the player's control. Therefore, they can add to the players TRICKS, which may indeed add to his characteristics after the fact.


This may be the source of my original confusion. So, if a Talisman achieves victory in a conflict, the Tricks it won can be added to those of the controlling character?

Quote
Players must complete a muse to earn talisman. They retire the Muse, and "remove it" entirely from their sheet (going from 9 Possible Muses, to 8, for example). I haven't decided yet whether its possible to get the muse back if the talisman is lost or destroyed. I'm inclined to say yes.

Talismans really shouldn't be allowed for starting characters, but a group might wish to leap right into epic conflict right away with some high-powered Archons. The rules as written, however, will make it clear that starting players cannot yet have Talismans.


Well, given the restrictions (retiring a Muse), that pretty much eliminates the option for starting characters.

A related question on that: Can a character retire a Muse, get the one point to their choice of Urge or Virtue and then mark off the possibility for that Muse and still get a Talisman?
Yes, I know its a rules lawyer question (and I'd be inclined to disallow it in my game), but I'm curious as to what you think about it?
Thanks again,
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2003, 11:39:30 AM »

This is not allowed. You have a choice. Talisman or permanent increase.
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Matt Snyder
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"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Pilgrim
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2003, 11:48:47 AM »

Thought so. To restate fot those just joining us, a PC can get a Talisman OR increase Virtue or Urge. Not both.
Thanks again.
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Pilgrim
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Posts: 76


« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2003, 02:16:34 PM »

Matt,
I'm not sure whether to post this one as a reply or a new thread.

So far in the playtest Aegis and Aquarius have been mentioned in the playtest. Aegis is explicitly mentioned to be Zeus' secret police and spy agency, but what are the Aquarians? What is there goal? And what is there primary area of operations?

And what other notable organizations are there out there? It might be a good thing for the setting material to have a small section on organizations and their worlds might be a good idea. Or a noteworthy organization for each world? The same questions I asked about the Aquarians also apply to any other organizations.

Also, if Zeus has a spy and security agency, then I'll lay odds that most of the other powers have them as well (especially Apollo and Ares, possibly Hermes).

I'll also bet that no few modern Archons have attempted to bring their own beliefs and values to the wider 9 Worlds as well - can you imagine some form of the Underground Railroad among the 9 Worlds?

Another and not insignificant question is are the Eternals worshipped? I know only a few pagans on Earth still hold with the old ways, but what about the other populations in the 9 Worlds? And while I doubt its beyond the level of Hercules and Xena worship (temples as backdrops, places to invoke/communicate with the Eternals, sources for the week's mcguffin (item, pilgrims, festivals), etc.) I think it might be a worthwhile question.

Thanks again
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Pilgrim
Member

Posts: 76


« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2003, 02:46:31 PM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
Players must complete a muse to earn talisman. They retire the Muse, and "remove it" entirely from their sheet (going from 9 Possible Muses, to 8, for example). I haven't decided yet whether its possible to get the muse back if the talisman is lost or destroyed. I'm inclined to say yes.


One more question - how do you decide what the starting power and urge levels of a Talisman are? And can the power level be increased through play and experience?
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Pilgrim
Member

Posts: 76


« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2003, 06:47:01 PM »

A thought: Titans & Eternals have died in the second Titanomachy, but its also been thousands of years since the Eternals strode the Earth (and nearly a hundred years since the Titans escaped) and if the myths tell us anything, the Eternals (Gods and Titans) are a randy bunch. Because of this I suspect that there are a new crop of minor Eternals, demi-gods, demi-titans, mythical beasts, new 2nd (& now 3rd) generation Titans for Archons to interact with, fight and oppose. Add in the time for the Eternals to enact new myths, echo old ones and new races similar to the Myrmidons may emerge (imagine ones from bees, wasps or hornets).

And speaking of the opposition...
Just rummaging through mythology websites (not even touching books and game resources), here's a partial list of things for PCs to encounter and deal with.

Spawn of Typhon and Echidna: Cerberus, Chimaera, Orthus (a two headed dog that fought Hercules), The Hydra, Nemean Lion, Sphinx, Caucasian Eagle, Crommyonian Sow. I think these are worth mentioning if only because these two were the source of so many famous classical monsters. And while most were killed, there is always the possibility of less famous offspring...

From other sources: Centaurs, Cyclops, Dragon's Teeth, Dragons, Empusae, Flesh Eating Horses, Giants (with 6 arms, or 3 upper bodies, or the tails of serpents, hundreds of eyes (Argus), or the ability to breathe fire), Giant animals (I've seen crabs and scorpions mentioned, but that doesn't mean there are other possibilities), Gorgons, Gryphon, Harpies, Hecatonchires, Hydra, Kraken, Ladon (the dragon that guarded the golden apples), Lamia, Lemures (bloodthirsty and frequently vengeful ghosts), Manticore, Minotaur, Mormo (half snake, half wolf), Pegasus, Phoenix, Satyrs, Sirens, Stymphalian Birds, Taloids (bronze golem or more sophisticated creatures - IIRC, Hesphateus made some equivalents (beautiful women) to help with his work), Unicorns (but not the medieval kind - these are more terrifying).

All in all, a full list of potential foes, allies and obstacles.
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2003, 05:40:35 AM »

To answer a couple recent questions in this thread:

Quote
Aegis is explicitly mentioned to be Zeus' secret police and spy agency, but what are the Aquarians? What is there goal? And what is there primary area of operations?


The Aquarians are an activist organization, a kind of "fourth estate" who act to unveil truth to humanity. Their belief is that humanity is best served by stopping ignorance of the truth of reality. They wish to sleepers the the universe as it truly is (i.e., reveal the Nine Worlds). Think of them as CNN meets Greenpeace. The Aquarians operate in many areas, having "cells" of agents and activists across the worlds. However, recently, Apollo has taken them under his wing in an effort to undermine Zeus. The Aquarians have largely agreed to this politic arrangement because, basically, they need the resources. And, besides, this Apollo guy doesn't seem that bad . . . .

Quote
It might be a good thing for the setting material to have a small section on organizations and their worlds might be a good idea. Or a noteworthy organization for each world? The same questions I asked about the Aquarians also apply to any other organizations.


Yes, the game will cover several organizations, including Aegis, the Aquarians and others. Other organizations include the conspiratorial Order of Hermes (whose job it is to profligate conspiracy theories on earth, thereby obfuscating the true conspiracy), and an order that is, basically, the opposite of the Aquarians. They seek to keep Earth's human ignorant, and therefore safe from otherworldly terrors. You'll simply have to wait for the game to find out more about these and others, though!

As for worship, largely the Eternals are not. Certainly, the people on a given Eternal's world are reverent to their lord. They may even worship and sacrifice, but more often the Eternals are viewed as a kind of monarch or even more modern "presidential" ruler. On Earth, however, worship of any Eternals is negligible to non-existant.

Quote
One more question - how do you decide what the starting power and urge levels of a Talisman are? And can the power level be increased through play and experience?


You channel all the points of the Muse into the Talisman, designating up to 5 characterisitics: Power, Chaos, Cosmos, Metamorphosis, and Stasis.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2003, 02:08:37 PM »

I'm finally getting to some of Trey's other questions about setting:

 SETTING

Quote
Setting Ætherports
Ætherports - what do they look like? I ask since PC's will be moving through them pretty often and I suspect a fair number of their adventures will take place among them. And if you can't give a description, can we at least get some common features?


Aetherports vary widely. On earth, they are hidden or illusory, assuming the guise of some "mundane" place, like a forgotten warehouse on the docks, for example. Or maybe an old crop duster landing strip in Kansas. Or, simply a portal, like an archway or rock.

Elsewhere, aetherports might be similarly "natural" OR they might be obvious bustling stations akin to the Paris Metro or Grand Central Station. All with Art Nouveau décor, of course!

The only real common feature required is that the place be a passage of somekind -- boat dock, doorway, tunnel, lift, river, etc.


Quote
Uses for Orichalcum & Quicksilver
Orichalcum and quicksilver have been established as part of the setting, but what other magical materials and metals exist in the setting? And aside from being useful for compasses to the Axis Mundi, what else are orichalcum and quicksilver used for?


There are no other "magical" metals, though certainly things like gold, silver, platinum, copper bronze, etc may have special, if not magical, use in the game. A given talisman might be a man made of bronze, for example. It is the Power stat, and not the metal itself, that make the bronze man magical. Actually, this is true for orichalcum and quicksilver as well. In game terms, these metals aren't really special either. It's all about the Tricks used to empower them that matters. They are, however, good for "color" and for explaining the setting in interesting and plausible ways (meaning, the setting just "works" better if there is some commodity in demand like orichalcum, and it fits nicely into the "mythic" setting).

Quote
Unit of currency and basis
Dumb question what is the basic unit of currency called? And what is the  basis of the currency - Orichalcum? Or something else?


There is no standard rate of currency between worlds in terms of coinage. Each world has its own economic model. Mercury and the Sun have quite sophisticated economies and currencies, while Mars and the Moon have very primitive economies, with little or no actual currency. Rates vary greatly, and, yes, trade of orichalcum and quicksilver have become the "gold standard" and "silver standard" by which trade operates.

Importantly, the specific rates of monies, etc., aren't likely to matter a whole heck of a lot in the game. The in-game conflicts may indeed revolve around money or themes like greed, but the game operates at a level far about specific details like "1.4 Drachma per 1 American Dollar." (By the way, drachma is a good common term for money on civilized worlds like Jupiter, the Sun, Mercury, etc. It's a good "colorful" term to use without having to worry whether Jupiter uses drachmae while Mercury uses Talents or whatever.)

Quote
How are people awakened in this setting? And can you help make clear the difference between an awakened human and an Archon?


Archons are awakened to their power by Prometheus and his loyal Archon devotees. Note that this is different than simply being an awakened human. An awakened human does not possess the ability to challenge the gods, nor even to exemplify their rules as champions. They are plain ol' mortals, who cannot work the astounding feats and amazing supernatural works that Archons can. There is little in-setting explanation for why Archons have this ability while other (most) humans do not. It remains a mystery why certain mortals are "chosen" by the Demiurge to be Archons.

Quote
What is Mars like physically? I know its made up of warring city states and kingdoms, but are there forests, jungles, swamps, oceans, etc.? And how much can Ares (and his allied gods (Deimos, Phobos, Eris)) vary it to according to their whims? Heck, can the Eternals vary their worlds at all?


Mars is predominantly a desert planet. It has large citystates that vie for control of mining resources and water resources. The world is a red desert with (small) pockets of life, water and vegetaions. These are often the site of villages or whole citystates. Nomads are also common. Due to its rough environment, the world is generally less advanced than others (like Mercury, the Sun, Jupiter, and certainly Earth). Many citystates are quite primitive as compared to the cosmopolitan domain of Apollo, for example. They cannibalize technology, but usually rely on tried and true tools (i.e., tools of the ancient world, for example)

I have no plans to include Deimos, Phobos or Eris specifically, though players are welcome to expand the mythology at their whim. That said, yes, Eternals can (but rarely do anymore) vary their worlds. Players who "capture" a world for their own can do much the same.

Quote
Slavery - Ancient Greece, heck, most of the Mediterranean world, made no bones about slavery. Does it exist in the 9 Worlds or not? And is it common?


Slavery is present, but it is not common on most worlds. It IS common on Saturn, where the Titans have enslaved many mortals to mine the world of resources and provide labor, etc. Most worlds, however, are more advanced. So, there is rarely outright slavery. More common would be a kind of indentured servitude. Mortals on Mercury, for example, would work for Hermes' multi-world corporations. Coporate wage slaves! Similarly, Zeus' people on Jupiter toil under the heavy hand of a police state. It is much like an early industrial police state, akin to, say, the U.S.S.R., complete with overwhelming red tape. Mars would have outright slavery more commonly, and often the slaves would be captured enemies from rival citystates -- as in prisoners of war.

Quote
Trip lengths between the various worlds? I know dramatically appropriate is the actual, but I wouldn't mind an idea of how long it takes to travel 'tween the worlds


Time doesn't work properly in the aether. It is fluid and confusing, and therefore often unpredictable. That said, on average it may take what "feels like" days to reach a given planet. Perhaps weeks for long distances (like, going from the Moon to Jupiter, for example).

You have, of course, nailed it. What is dramatically appropriate is the most important consideration!

Quote
Communications
Setting - is there a means of communicating among the 9 Worlds that's the equivalent of radio? Or is it all messages by æthership borne couriers?


There are no "wireless" communications of any kind. Message by aethership bourne couriers are indeed the only means of sending messages across worlds. This makes traveling the aether both necessary and dangerous. What if that message falls into the wrong hands.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Pilgrim
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Posts: 76


« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2003, 07:28:06 AM »

Quote
Quote:
Trip lengths between the various worlds? I know dramatically appropriate is the actual, but I wouldn't mind an idea of how long it takes to travel 'tween the worlds

Time doesn't work properly in the aether. It is fluid and confusing, and therefore often unpredictable. That said, on average it may take what "feels like" days to reach a given planet. Perhaps weeks for long distances (like, going from the Moon to Jupiter, for example).

You have, of course, nailed it. What is dramatically appropriate is the most important consideration!


Understandable and valid. However, I'm not trying to suck the variability and vitality out of the setting. I am looking for a more concrete idea here. And for dramatically appropriate trip stretchers (aether storms, Atlantean corsairs, pirates, encounters with monsters or beguiling sorcereresses, wrath of the Titans/Eternals, and strange societies) can work rather neatly to lengthen trips. Add in that in the Odyssey, the Argonauts and Aeneid that many of the interesting bits (and conflicts) took place on the islands they laid over on, and the most memorable voyages can be the relatively quick and straight forward ones.

Quote
Quote:
Communications
Setting - is there a means of communicating among the 9 Worlds that's the equivalent of radio? Or is it all messages by æthership borne couriers?

There are no "wireless" communications of any kind. Message by aethership bourne couriers are indeed the only means of sending messages across worlds. This makes traveling the aether both necessary and dangerous. What if that message falls into the wrong hands.


OK, that I like, but couple it with the weirdly variable travel time and unless Hermes has an incorruptible agent for his affairs back home, his running the business while running around the 9 Worlds is much more difficult. So, if you keep both, may I suggest that Hermes has a multitude of trusted agents in the 9 Worlds? Or is rumored to have some secret form of communications? Or simplify matters, issue some rough guidelines on travel times and let him run it like a super merchant from the Renaissance?
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Bowden "Trey" Palmer | trey DOT palmer AT Golf Mike Alpha India Lima DOT Charlie Oscar Mike
Exos integro, sugiliato curatio, y femellas amo cicatrix.
Matt Snyder
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Posts: 1380


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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2003, 07:44:28 AM »

Quote from: Pilgrim

OK, that I like, but couple it with the weirdly variable travel time and unless Hermes has an incorruptible agent for his affairs back home, his running the business while running around the 9 Worlds is much more difficult. So, if you keep both, may I suggest that Hermes has a multitude of trusted agents in the 9 Worlds? Or is rumored to have some secret form of communications? Or simplify matters, issue some rough guidelines on travel times and let him run it like a super merchant from the Renaissance?


You can suggest it, but I'll do one better. Hermes not only trades and communicates, he travels on the aether constantly. He is one of the few Eternals who actually ventures out into the aether for business (and pleasure). And, yes, he does indeed have a multitude of agents to do his bidding, spying, and marketing! Hermes is Ted Turner meets Richard Branson (of Virgin fame).
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
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