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Author Topic: [Charnel Gods] Questions and Musings  (Read 9919 times)
hardcoremoose
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2004, 08:08:47 PM »

Hey guys,

First thing's first...

The http://charnel.innocence.com/">Charnel Gods Resources page is live.  Not much there yet, but you can change that in a hurry!  Look for me to post some new stuff there soon, maybe even scraps that didn't make it into the main book, or setting stuff from the GenCon demos I've ran the past two years.  And give Bryant Durrel some love for hosting and designing the whole thing.


Scratch,

Thanks for listening to my little rant and then being so smooth as to gently roll past it.  Occasionally that subject comes up and I just want to tell people: "Play the damn game before you try to change it, or go find a different game."  But I don't want people want people to go find a different game really, and if Charnel Gods does in fact inspire, that's a huge compliment.


Dan,

Thanks for the kind words; a review would be great!

Raven's got it right with the first question.  What I typically do, as part of the chargen session, is have the players narrate to me - and each other - how they first encountered their Fell Weapon, and what they did to Bind it.  It's pure oral storytelling, and depending on how well they entertain me and the group, I give them bonus dice to that initial Binding roll.  Now, that's not typical Sorcerer for you, but it helps mitigate the Power discrepancy on the first Binding, gives me (the GM) a whole lot of extra content to play around with should I choose, and allows us to get right to the good stuff without ignoring the characters' noble pasts.  It's worked great so far.

As for the number and power level of NPC sorcerers...you got it right.  Some Epochs may have one or two sorcerers total, while in another just about everyone might be one.  In play, I lean more toward the former than the latter, but the Epoch you reference was my attempt to play around with the concept of institutionalized sorcery, and I think it ended up being my favorite in the book (although I have yet to use it as a setting for a game...maybe this year at GenCon).

Thanks,
Scott
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Bryant
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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2004, 09:38:24 PM »

Quote from: hardcoremoose
Raven's got it right with the first question.  What I typically do, as part of the chargen session, is have the players narrate to me - and each other - how they first encountered their Fell Weapon, and what they did to Bind it.  It's pure oral storytelling, and depending on how well they entertain me and the group, I give them bonus dice to that initial Binding roll.  Now, that's not typical Sorcerer for you, but it helps mitigate the Power discrepancy on the first Binding, gives me (the GM) a whole lot of extra content to play around with should I choose, and allows us to get right to the good stuff without ignoring the characters' noble pasts.  It's worked great so far.


Yeah, Rob did that in his Asian setting Charnel Gods game that he promises he's gonna keep running any day now, and it was just about perfect. We liked it a lot.
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DannyK
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2004, 07:26:38 AM »

So, it's sort of like the prologue of a Vampire game, where player and GM work out who the character was in mortal life and how they came to be Embraced.  (Sorry if that analogy makes you grit your teeth).  I can see how that would work.  Between that and the Kicker, the GM has quite a bit of player input to work off of.
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Secondlaw
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2004, 08:48:21 AM »

I just bought Charnel Gods, and haven't run a game of sorcerer yet (my group tends to be a bit gun-shy around new systems, but now I’ve got my chance), so I was just looking for a bit of advice on how Charnel Gods works out mechanically. While the fell weapon stats definitely seem powerful, to me they don’t seem “harbinger of the apocalypse” powerful. I know mood and imagery are going to present this image better than a couple of game stats (and I plan on hiding most of the game mechanics from my players anyway. Some of they tend to get rules-lawyerish) but after I set up the whole “you are the avatars of long dead gods” motif I don’t want to get anticlimactic. In actual game play do the fell weapons come off larger than life? Could anyone throw a couple tips or examples of past games my way?
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hardcoremoose
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2004, 10:17:11 AM »

Secondlaw,

Mechanically, Fell Weapons break down this way:

With the average Power of a Fell Weapon being around 9 or 10, you're going to win a straight up fight just about every time* (unless you're fighting something really nasty, like Gutterblax).  Groups of opponents are somewhat nastier, but in Sorcerer, a big advantage goes to the person who acts first in a given exchange, and in fights against lesser opponents that'll almost always be the sorcerer.

Outside of combat, 9 or 10 extra dice and a nice Ability set will allow you to perform some truly astounding feats.  Like being able to influence armies and whatnot.

As far as being anti-climatic, I guess that depends upon your expectations.  Your sorcerers are still mortal, and there may be times when they find themselves in real mortal danger and fighting for their lives.  That's just one of several seemingly contradictory motifs that were written into the game; there's lots of bluster about how powerful the sorcerers are, but at times in play they're going to seem kind of fragile.  That's on purpose, to create a game where the myths don't quite ring true (which pretty much sums up my experience with real-world religion).

But the game should still feel epic.  The rules for establishing tone are there for that reason, and should not be ignored.  And once a Harbinger is crowned, the power structure entirely shifts in the game, so if the game feels anti-climatic, the players have only themselves to blame.

- Scott

* Regarding Fell Weapons, the biggest question often isn't whether you can or can't do something, but whether the Weapon is on the same page as you.  For me, that's where the best drama comes in, and the GM should really play the Weapons to the hilt (nice pun, eh?).  They're the most important NPCs in the game, period.
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DannyK
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2004, 11:12:59 AM »

I still haven't played the damn game, although I may be in a online game which lets me try out the system, so take this with a grain of salt:

I think the conferred Cover is the really mindblowing part of the Fell Weapons.  I mean, if you've got that evil dagger, you're automatically just about the best spy in the world, even before you add in the funky powers like Cloak and Perception.  

The neat thing (from a GM's perspective, anyway), is that if the Demon gets pissed off, your character goes from John the Master Spy to John Q. Normal, just like that.
EDIT: duh, the author of the game just said the same thing.
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hardcoremoose
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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2004, 07:39:58 PM »

Hey Dan...I'd rather have you guys talking up the game.  You know, being the author, I'm obviously biased and all.

- Scott
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Secondlaw
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« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2004, 08:46:16 AM »

Ok, i think i fell into the whole DnD mentality for a minute ("Wait, you mean the One Ring's just a cursed Ring of Invisibility? laaame...") This isn't Greyhawk, with a uber-wizard on every corner. Now the real challenge is going to make sure my players avoid the same pitfalls, which may be tough. My group is pretty much right out of Knights of the Dinner Table. Are there any game write ups of Charnel gods here in the forums? i didn't see any in Actual Play. I'l look again. Thanks for the advice!
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hardcoremoose
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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2004, 11:43:08 AM »

There are a couple actual play posts out there, including my original playtest posts (in the Actual Play forum).  Here's a link to a short discussion about a game Alan ran and Clinton played in:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5940&highlight=charnel+gods">Beastmasters

- Scott
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Old_Scratch
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« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2004, 01:08:42 PM »

Forgive me for returning to an older thread, but there's still a few more things I'd like to hash out here...

I’ve been thinking of some of the tweaks I’ve been doing to my own setting, and some of them have prompted some further speculation on my part. I thought I’d share them to see if anyone plays off of any of the ideas or has anything they’ve thought of they’d like to expand upon.

Epoch Telltales
The Fell Weapons are one of the features that defines an Epoch, but it seems to me that there’s another thing that could be used to define the feel of each epoch: the fact that the Epoch itself is born of a particular cosmology: a world built upon the dead. What if a GM thus introduced “Telltales” for each Epoch, some very subtle in origin, others perhaps more dramatic to help define the unique nature of Naur Tier? Thus an Epoch Telltale would be something that betrays each Epoch’s unnatural origin and nature.

   
    *Perhaps in one Epoch, those who die all utter the same last words in a language none understand; these very last words were those that the gods themselves spoke during the ritual creating the Fell Weapons.

       *Dig deep enough and one hits giant maggots that squirm beneath the soil, betraying the nature of the Carrion Fields beneath. However, the people of that Epoch merely believe that the maggots come from hell beneath, and to ensure that their loved ones do not go to hell, they cremate the dead and scatter their ashes.

       *Perhaps the draw of the void is strong in this particular epoch, and it resonates in the minds of the living, and the religious practices sprout up around it – some welcome the void, believing all things usher from it and will return to it, taking up trance meditation to touch the void, while others see the void as an absence of life and meaning and fear it. Then there are those cults who have heard the voices in the void and have learned that the void itself is not empty…

       *Historically some ancient hero, like Prometheus, may have wandered into the Carrion Fields and returned with fire or the first weapon from which all other weapons were copied and duplicated. The story has not attained mythical status, but the truth is unknown to all but that first hero and perhaps a band that keeps his secret.

       *The earth is torn and rent, islands slip into the sea and new mountains force themselves up. The nomadic peoples of the world believe that the gods are warring in the heavens and the earth and each people chooses a side. In truth, the earthquakes are the rumbling caused as the Nameless dig their way up through the corpse blockade from reality.

       *All the saltwater oceans are blood, the blood of the gods shed in battle.

       *A Nameless lies trapped beneath the earth dreaming and calling out to the minds above. Consequently most people have tormented nightmares, claim to hear voices even in the daytime, and many people have gone mad. Thus when anyone dreams, there’s a good chance they touch the alien mind of a world eating monster. Sleep is thus feared and nightmares perhaps the words of the gods or premonitions of the future.

       *The earth itself is fraying and thinning, and only shallowly covers the gods, thus many of the mountains and features appear organic in nature. Hills have faces, mountains appear like outstretched arms, and rivers seem to cut out the forms of bodies in the earth.

       *Sometimes what are called “Dragon Bones” are unearthed and used as talismans or ground down for herbal preparations, offering something akin to magical potions or deadly poisons?

       *Perhaps when sailing to the ends of the earth, one discovers that the oceans tumble off into the battlefield below, and near the ends of the ocean are the wreckage of countless ships and dead sailors who fell to their death as they sailed off the world.

       *The Nameless near the mouth of the void, biding their time, have the power to command and awaken the dead, and thus using Perception and their command of the dead to fulfill their own dark designs, and thus the dead walk and wreak havoc on the living. Thus all dead are immediately beheaded upon death and carefully disposed of. People with terminal illness are killed and destroyed as quickly as possible. The dead are considered contaminated and there are all number of rituals of purification conducted.[/list:u]

Sorcerer and Fell Weapon Telltales
   Why don’t the players bear Telltales of their transformative experience in the Carrion Fields or their relationship with their demons? I’ve requested that each character in my own game come up with a character telltale in addition to their weapon’s telltale.

Fleeing to the Carrion Fields
What happens if someone is hiding in the Carrion Fields when the world ends? Are they crushed in the rubble, do they witness the appearance of the Nameless and get devoured just as the reality crashes down upon them? Do they starve to death waiting a hundred thousand years for the next Epoch to slowly progress? Can they lead a small band of disciples into the Carrion Fields and re-emerge in the next era?

What if the Carrion Fields are discovered and viewed as hell – couldn’t people be exiled there and there be communities – wouldn’t it be possible to play a couple of sessions as Sorcerers in the Carrion Fields and the weird communities that appeared in the Carrion Fields?

Death of the Gods?
   What if not all the gods are dead? What if one is mortally wounded, asleep or unconscious? What if one of the gods is somehow awakened as the undead? What potential consequences would this have for an epoch. What if there is a god still chained to some unholy anvil and still forging fell weapons?
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