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Author Topic: [Lendrhald] Hostile fantasy setting  (Read 30634 times)
David Berg
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Posts: 612


« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2006, 01:03:45 PM »

The really brilliant thing in Unknown Armies is that the "trigger event" is made up as part of character creation: The player comes up with it, not the GM (although the GM has input), and it's already happened. So instead of the player making up a "normal" person and the the GM guessing at what might make an interesting "welcome to the world of adventure" kick-off, the player makes up something that he (or she) finds interesting and the character's already in motion when the game starts.

My co-creator is familiar with Unknown Armies, I'll ask him about this. 

We were thinking that characters should start off more or less like everyone else, to encourage identification with Humanity and "regular people".  It's important to our thematic structure that PCs not feel a class apart.  If we can come up with a way to do that and to give PCs personal reasons to plumb ickyness at every opportunity then I'm all for it...
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David Berg
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Posts: 612


« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2006, 01:51:07 PM »

As a player, I would find it cool if there *were* big-picture things that were meaningfully unknown.

I have plenty of big-picture things that are unknown... but meaningfully unknown?  Perhaps not.  There's not currently a lot of incentive to investigate the origins of the Orcs, the shape of the world, the fate of the Ancients, the nature of the force in the Crater, etc.  Partly, I think things that are large-scale in space or time are inherently difficult for a handful of guys on horses to really solve.  But making them try anyway, and giving them enough clues so that it isn't totally frustrating: I'm totally down with that.

In my current game, an unknown (weird-acting werewolves many miles away) became meaningful (something destroyed an Imperial ship, we must blame someone!) and the adventure was born.  But I also like the idea of longstanding mysteries, which people in this world might wonder about for their whole lives.  Umm...  I think my brainstorm batteries are running low right now.

See, this is emblematic of how you're approaching the problem -- please, give me more lists of weird things to stick in the setting.

Yep.  That is how I'm approaching the problem in this thread.  It should be noted, though, that that also includes "please, give me more lists of elements and processes to help GMs create weird things to stick in the setting."

I'm going to talk a bit about the generation system, which I *do* think will be hard to get right, and will actually prove to be the crucial part of the system.

No problem, if that's the part that interests you, go for it.  Try to work with what I'm giving you, though.  I can't really respond to any of your specific ideas (e.g. "characters create a bunker") because they hinge on me changing my philosophy to your philosophy first.  Discussion of why my philosophy is what it is can be found here.  I will respond to some of your more general arguments there.

Thanks,
-Dave
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David Berg
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« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2006, 02:42:34 PM »

Okay, I lied.  Sorry Threlicus, I couldn't find any place to address your suggestions.  I've already got 3 threads going:
- setting material
- types of rewards systems that could work in my game
- specific rewards systems that could work in my game

I don't want to start a 4th, "types of content-generation systems that could work in my game."  I liked your idea of finding some way to ensure that world-consistency was a priority in generation, but the best way I can think of to do that is by providing world-consistent elements to use in that process.  (Brainstorm lists!  Brainstorm lists!)

Turning the generation system into a rewards system probably wouldn't work in my game (pending discussions in the middle thread above, linked for your convenience*), and just leaving it in the hands of GMs/players without providing any elements probably amounts to a "Feel free to make stuff up but try to make sure it fits!" note.


*To anyone checking out that thread, please read replies 15 & 16 and then scan prior arguments before responding.  It's really hard to discuss a lot of this stuff without people being clear on the details of my current position.
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stefoid
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« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2006, 11:49:08 PM »

just wading in with 2 cents.

someone psoted that medaevil peopke (and superstitious people in general) fear the unknown.  the more unknown there is, the more fearful they are.  This sounds right to me.  and when something bad happens and they cant work out why, they invent bad things, because 'better the devil you know...'

But in your world, the bad things are real I suppose.  This makes them known, which makes them less fearful.  so how do you have known bad things and at the same time have the unknown?  I think you hit the nail on the head before - you might know 'what', but you dont know 'how' or 'why'.  how do the bad things make bad stuff happen, and more importantly, why do they do it.  So I think that although you are trying to write a setting, maybe you shouldnt set motivations of the bad things in stone.  If you leave that to the players, then you are giving them soemthing to do in your setting besides defend themselves against attack.  Youre making it investagatory.  There is scope there for a number of motivations for players other than pure defence.

have you played 'Paranoia' recently?  I have fond memories of this game.  Your character could be killed at any time, but of course you had 6 other clones.  how fun was that game? the constant threat you talk about was there, because the players were always in a perpetual state of confusion, being knocked from pillar to post and doing stuff under orders and threat of death, but without understanding the whys and wherefores. 
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Warren
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« Reply #49 on: June 27, 2006, 01:47:51 AM »

We were thinking that characters should start off more or less like everyone else, to encourage identification with Humanity and "regular people".  It's important to our thematic structure that PCs not feel a class apart.  If we can come up with a way to do that and to give PCs personal reasons to plumb ickyness at every opportunity then I'm all for it...
I think you may struggle with this. "Regular people", when presented with ickyness, would try to do anything to avoid plumbing it. If you want players to create characters that want to plumb ickyness at every opportunity, then those characters aren't going to be regular people.

Personally, I think the Unknown Armies way is a winner here. They are everyday, humdrum people until something happened. And now that has happened, they are everyday, humdrum people who are driven - by this something - to go headlong into ickyness.
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greyorm
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« Reply #50 on: June 27, 2006, 01:51:34 AM »

One complicating factor is that I want human beings and human culture to feel familiar and real.  Thus, if the PCs had the same experiences as everyone else, they would be in the middle of some daemonic struggle etc. only very infrequently.  So, why do the PCs have different experiences than regular folks?  To date, my answers have been:
1) because the PCs are more risk-taking and thrill-seeking than regular folks  (I've been operating under the assumption that the players are curious and the characters will go poke at anything supernatural-seeming.)
2) because given an undefined inch of the world, the GM is more likely to put something interesting there if the PCs are entering it

I am getting the sense that many posters here believe this list ought to be supplemented in some way, perhaps via:
3) a Character Creation process that demands change and encourages exploration
4) a suggestion that GMs start games with some dramatic event (possibly related to larger cosmic forces and plots)

Other ideas are welcome...

David,

I'm going to do an about-face here and retract my statements about using the mythology and putting the characters into the center of that. If you want your game to be about subtle fear of the unknown, about cold-war style paranoia, then...I don't know, throwing the characters into the stuff I mentioned constantly will make the game more about fantastic realities than it will make it about your original vision for play.

Stories about weird phenomena rely on the fact that the characters only encounter it in snips and glimpses, behind the efforts of daily life, to be effective as "weird" and create fear responses to it. Subtlety rather than blatancy.

The reason everyone was afraid of nuclear war wasn't because it had happened and we knew what it would be like, but because it never did, and yet...it could. All too easily. That's what was terrifying about it. The possibility, the real concrete possibility, rather than the reality.

Let me know if I'm off-track.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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David Berg
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Posts: 612


« Reply #51 on: June 27, 2006, 11:13:31 AM »

Man...  Plenty of takers for theory discussion, but no one wants to add to my brainstorm lists...

I'll happily continue to clarify my positions (see below), but let me reiterate that my hope for this thread is to get specific suggestions for stuff in the world.  If anyone wants to put forward their opinions on a general strategy, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd accompany those opinions with some usable examples.

But in your world, the bad things are real I suppose.  This makes them known, which makes them less fearful.

Well, once you're hitting a monster with your sword, yeah, you know what that monster looks like.  Please note, however, that because most monsters (and other types of Evil encounters) will be unique (thematic similarities over physical ones), knowledge of one does not confer knowledge of all.

I think you hit the nail on the head before - you might know 'what', but you dont know 'how' or 'why'.  how do the bad things make bad stuff happen, and more importantly, why do they do it.

Right.  Make the players feel threatened without understanding why or exactly how -- any suggestions of ways this could be pulled off?

So I think that although you are trying to write a setting, maybe you shouldnt set motivations of the bad things in stone.  If you leave that to the players, then you are giving them soemthing to do in your setting besides defend themselves against attack. 

The Evil Threat does have some defining characteristics (alien to this reality) and goals (destroy this reality and humanity).  So, for now, assume that a given Evil Thing has motivations that are known to the GM but not the players.  Giving players control over that sort of thing is part of the larger "players creating setting" topic in another thread.

Youre making it investagatory.  There is scope there for a number of motivations for players other than pure defence.

I think being threatened by Evil is probably the best incentive to investigate it... though obviously some types of threats (regular abductions) lend themselves more to that than others (random attack by crazed abomination that fights til death).  But I'm certainly open to other incentives as well...

"Regular people", when presented with ickyness, would try to do anything to avoid plumbing it. If you want players to create characters that want to plumb ickyness at every opportunity, then those characters aren't going to be regular people.

It's a potential issue, certainly, but I don't think it's an automatic problem.  I like to climb fences, as I think the fun is worth the risk, while many other people think that's a terrible trade-off.  This doesn't mean I have no connection to or identification with those people in any general sense; it just means that in certain situations they'll think I'm crazy and I'll think they're wimpy.

It would be nice, of course, if characters had the sense that there was something to be gained by plumbing ickyness beyond just thrills and useless knowledge.  Just some little extra incentive, more on the practical side.  "If I learn about where monsters come from, I can get money / jobs / influence / allies" etc....

Personally, I think the Unknown Armies way is a winner here. They are everyday, humdrum people until something happened. And now that has happened, they are everyday, humdrum people who are driven - by this something - to go headlong into ickyness.

I still like this idea, and encourage people to think about specific ways to apply it to creating characters for my game.  What happened, such that the characters now have some different motivations from regular people, but are not totally alienated from them?

The reason everyone was afraid of nuclear war wasn't because it had happened and we knew what it would be like, but because it never did, and yet...it could. All too easily. That's what was terrifying about it. The possibility, the real concrete possibility, rather than the reality.

And there were reminders that it could happen.  Missile tests, remote armed conflicts, diplomatic breakdown, subtle and overt threats.  The news media brought all this home to the American people, and Lendrhald has no news media, so the process will have to be very different.  Mythology, cultural tradition, slowly-spreading word of mouth.  Processes that demonstrate the subtle but deeply-affecting knowledge that Bad Stuff Is Out There and May Come To Get You.  Such processes are one world feature I've been hoping for input on.

Let me know if I'm off-track.

The cold war parallel works better as a very general comparison than it does for any specifics... but I think you're on the right track.
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NN
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Posts: 93


« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2006, 03:13:55 PM »

I think the horribleness of the enemy is going to give rapidly diminishing returns. Theres more mileage in despair.


Make civilisation dependent on some MacGuffin that holds back the Dark.

Then show the characters that their corner of civilisation has only 6 months (or weeks, or years etc.) supply of MacGuffins left.
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Telarus, KSC
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« Reply #53 on: June 27, 2006, 05:01:39 PM »

Hey David,

I really like the idea of this setting, which is why I keep coming back and checking on it. I think you may want to check out Earthdawn, origionally by FASA, now with an edition by RedBrick in New Zeland (earthdawn.com link), and another by Living Room Games in the US. You could look up Earthdawn in wikipedia for a good overview of the setting. Much more fantasy than you may want with elves/orks/windlings (little faerie type people), etc. But one of the best aspects of the game is that it's set in a post apocalytic "re-emergence" from hundreds of years of underground hiding while "things" (Barsaivians call them Horrors) ravaged the surface during a surge in the magic level of reality. Many Kaers (hidden cities) were sumarily cracked open like freshly cooked clams, to various icky ends. One of the main premises in the setting is that Horrors "Mark" their victims, most of the Marks establish a form of telepathic communication, domination, feeding on feelings, etc. One of the recognizable side effects of being Horror Marked is that you will fail to create works of art. Any creative endevour is twisted by the Horror, consciously or unconsciously. There-fore, every Name-Giver in the land is taught at a young age at least one creative skill ("Artisan Skill"), and it has become a common ritual, that you must perform your Artisan Skill before they'll let you past the gates of any city/town. This is a great example of the "McGuffin" mentioned in the last post. And there's always the paranoia of "what if I can't see the corruption in this person's art"? The text give an example of a character accusing a fencing master of being "Marked" and the court demands an Artisan Test on the spot. He performs a massively complicated sword dance, twirling and cutting, exquisite foot work, masterfull handling of the blade, etc. Once finished, the lord looks to the accusing character, as everyone in the hall was really impressed at the Master's skill. The character (A Swordmaster Adept) non-chalantly replies, "While that may have fooled the court, and even some of my fellow Swordsmasters, and while excelling technically, you did not fool me. Each of the techniques and cuts you used would not have led to a clean death. Your opponents would have slowly, and with excruciating pain, bled to death. Some of them may have taken _days_ to die."

Earthdawn also has some really good Horror powers that you could add variations of to some of your BrainStorm Lists.

Namaste,
Joshua
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Joshua AE Fontany, KSC
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« Reply #54 on: June 27, 2006, 05:08:20 PM »

So after reading though this thread I think Iím ready to add what may be inconsequential but may add some flavor to the setting. Recently Iíve been doing some research on the Black Death, a most notorious plague in our history and Iíll come back to this in a minute, but keep it in mind.

First starvation, one thing that stuck from me early on was magic seems to be only though pacts with dark forces and some (most?) dark things in this land have the ability to or work towards defiling the land. When another poster brought up the value of food I thought the idea was great and fit the setting perfectly. When encountering such a creature whose very presence spoils the land if the characters are far from home starvation is quite possible even if they survive the encounter. No matter how great a warrior you may be without food or water you will die.

Now back to plagues and other fun things. As I was reading though various commentaries on the Black Death one thing that was mentioned was loss of faith in the church as they could do nothing to help the dying. This can mean a few things in game terms. First, there hasnít been much talk about government, they are unified and man tends to group in large walled cities. Itís been mentioned that legends and myth are to be prevalent but the subject of religion has not been broached. What are the power structures in the realm, how do they protect themselves from the threat of evil? Have they too become tainted to grow their power before the inevitable fall? How do the commoners see the structures of power with a threat that at best can be only kept at bay for a time? What are the views of the political rulers towards the evil beyond the walls and who supports them? Have people become disillusioned with them as they continue to fail and if so who can they turn to? The moral of troops cannot be good when they know facing this evil can lead to fates far worse than death.

Ok thereís what I have to add, but I like to say I like this concept.
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sean2099
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« Reply #55 on: June 27, 2006, 06:52:14 PM »

As I have read through this thread, a lot of people have spoken about tension but IMHO, not a lot about letdown.  I use this term to refer to the normal moments in the PC life.  I see a couple of related issues...

1.  How does the player know what is normal?  I ask this because if there is too much horror, I would be wondering why the PC isn't living under a rock and being extremely xenophobic.  My association with this would be a desire to isolate themselves from contant with the outside world.  This tendency would counteract curiosity to some degree.  I guess this would relate to the technique of making a safe haven only to destroy it later.

2.  Does the player needs to know what safety is?  i.e. do you need sessions where mundane things are done in order to balance out the extraordinary?  In other words, I see some people (not necessarily anyone here) so worried about the horror that they end up making the horror "normal."  The game world can't be too horrifying, otherwise (again this is just me) there is a sense of "why aren't these people either wiped out or prepared for "horror encounters."

In other words, don't let the pursuit of horror destroy the verisimilitude of the rest of the game.

My 2 cents,

Sean
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David Berg
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« Reply #56 on: June 27, 2006, 08:33:20 PM »

In other words, don't let the pursuit of horror destroy the verisimilitude of the rest of the game.

At various points in this thread, I have chimed in to remind people that the intent is for the feeling of Threat to be a persistent background phenomenon that doesn't much distort everyday life.  Thus, whenever the PCs aren't actively seeking ickyness (or being sought by it), "normal" actions and interactions in a medieval setting should occur.  Nice to know you're on board with this intent.
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stefoid
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« Reply #57 on: June 27, 2006, 08:57:29 PM »

Quote
Man...† Plenty of takers for theory discussion, but no one wants to add to my brainstorm lists...
I'll happily continue to clarify my positions (see below), but let me reiterate that my hope for this thread is to get specific suggestions for stuff in the world.† If anyone wants to put forward their opinions on a general strategy, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd accompany those opinions with some usable examples.




Quote
I think you hit the nail on the head before - you might know 'what', but you dont know 'how' or 'why'.† how do the bad things make bad stuff happen, and more importantly, why do they do it.

Right.† Make the players feel threatened without understanding why or exactly how -- any suggestions of ways this could be pulled off?

well, as for the 'how', I was thinking of stuff like the milk going bad for no reason.† obviously caused by nasty evil things.† how did they do it?† why?† Thats the kind of medevil mindset.† In your setting, things are probably a little more upscaled.† you want something a little more threatening than curdled milk.† but the principle is the same.

option a)† characters wake up to a commotion and find a monster in the cow shed, eating cows.† a fight ensues, they kill it and go back to bed.
option b)† characters wake up in the morning and find the village is encircled by neatly seperated cow halves (length wise).

the second option is more what I was thinking.†



Quote
Quote
So I think that although you are trying to write a setting, maybe you shouldnt set motivations of the bad things in stone.† If you leave that to the players, then you are giving them soemthing to do in your setting besides defend themselves against attack.†


The Evil Threat does have some defining characteristics (alien to this reality) and goals (destroy this reality and humanity).† So, for now, assume that a given Evil Thing has motivations that are known to the GM but not the players.† Giving players control over that sort of thing is part of the larger "players creating setting" topic in another thread.


err yeah, bad language on my part.  Im thinking the GM is a player, but you the setting writer are not.  So you the setting writer dont carve in stone exactly what the motivations of the Evil Thing are, and how it might accomplish them.  You just give a few examples of the types of things that might happen in your game (supporting the background dread thing) and encourage the GM to come up with more of his own, and the motivations behind them.  I mean, you can say the Evil Thing wants to destroy humanity and this reality.  OK, but obviously its going to take a  long time and its grand scheme involves many, many complicated sub schemes performed over a long time, otherwise why hasnt it just succeeded already.  So any scenario in thi sgame is going to involve just a few of those little subplots in the grand scheme, and those subplots are not defined by you the setting creator.
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David Berg
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« Reply #58 on: June 27, 2006, 11:17:53 PM »

I think the horribleness of the enemy is going to give rapidly diminishing returns. Theres more mileage in despair.

Agreed, facing weird atrocities over and over, even if they vary a good bit, will get old.  In many circumstances, the impact of Evil Forces should be felt only indirectly.

Despair I like as an element of human culture, but overcoming that despair in order to fight on is also key.  Not sure how best to present these...

Make civilisation dependent on some MacGuffin that holds back the Dark.

Then show the characters that their corner of civilisation has only 6 months (or weeks, or years etc.) supply of MacGuffins left.

I like this.  I wouldn't want to have a large population clearly aware of such a thing, as that society would become pretty extreme pretty quickly.  But there are still plenty of options:
1) small, isolated settlement that knows Evil will soon destroy it (of course, they'd have to also be incapable of convincing other humans to come help them)
2) small, isolated settlement that fears Evil may eventually destroy it, but doesn't know the specifics -- specifics the PCs may unearth, discovering the End Is Near
2a) same, but settlement oblivious -- PCs led to truth while pursuing something that initially seemed relatively unthreatening
3) larger area of human civilization full of disparate takes on the Evil Threat, with relatively few people in any state resembling panic -- PCs discover evidence that MacGuffins will run out in a few weeks / months / years

The cosmology I have set up actually does say that all reality will be destroyed if certain things occur, including the failure of Humans to perform certain seasonal rituals.  But no one (or almost no one) in the world is supposed to know for sure how this works, so I envision the PCs only gradually piecing together a vague idea of it over extended play.  (Must be a reason why no one knows; don't want to snap PC perspective from grounded to cosmic too early or too quickly.)

some (most?) dark things in this land have the ability to or work towards defiling the land. When another poster brought up the value of food I thought the idea was great and fit the setting perfectly. When encountering such a creature whose very presence spoils the land if the characters are far from home starvation is quite possible even if they survive the encounter. No matter how great a warrior you may be without food or water you will die.

This is an excellent idea that I can see working in a number of ways:
1) monster lays siege to a town without ever physically attacking anyone or even revealing its presence, working instead by making all the farmers' crops die
2) large area spoiled by corruption, PCs must make it through quickly before running out of food
3) smaller spoiled area, but time-consuming to leave (climb up? climb down? navigate magical confusion? maze?)
4) monster that tracks PCs, spoiling the land around them, hoping to eventually starve them

On the subject of complex methods of assaulting travelers, a monster with the ability to erase roads / trails would also be cool.

Itís been mentioned that legends and myth are to be prevalent but the subject of religion has not been broached.

Religion is another tool I hope to use to convey the desired tone.  Thus far, the only efforts I've made on religions have been to:
1) drop disparate pieces of the true nature of the world (including Evil) into disparate faiths
2) make general beliefs in keeping with the cultural influences I've used (the Viking-esque men of the Northwest have some elements of Norse mythology in their religion)
3) state that varying degrees of religious adherence exists, with both complete zealots and complete atheists in the extreme minority

What are the power structures in the realm, how do they protect themselves from the threat of evil?

The Empire defends various borders against various static sources of Evil (Orcs in the South, pit daemons in the Northwest, etc.).  The independent nation of Palatine shares a fluctuating border with the Orcs, with constant fighting.  As for protection versus unknown or transient threats, I've had no thoughts to date on governments' possible recourses...

Have they too become tainted to grow their power before the inevitable fall? How do the commoners see the structures of power with a threat that at best can be only kept at bay for a time? What are the views of the political rulers towards the evil beyond the walls and who supports them? Have people become disillusioned with them as they continue to fail and if so who can they turn to? The moral of troops cannot be good when they know facing this evil can lead to fates far worse than death. 

Most people don't envision their community or society being wiped out in the near future.  But for those who do (see responses to NN's "despair" idea above), yeah, ruler-commoner tensions would be a cool direction to explore.

In general, morale should be both bad (look what we're facing!) and well-fortified (we must fight on, for the continued survival of Mankind!).

The impact of "ability to protect people from Orcs" has already been heavily factored into the story of who came to power when on a large scale.  Perhaps some smaller-scale examples should be added too, of commoners who outright revolted against their rulers due to some Evil (non-Orc?) problem... Evil driving or influencing human communities to destroy themselves is good stuff... such a thing would serve as an example for brave stalwarts to say, "Have courage, stick together, don't be like Community X!"
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David Berg
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« Reply #59 on: June 27, 2006, 11:21:23 PM »

I think you may want to check out Earthdawn, originally by FASA, now with an edition by RedBrick in New Zeland (earthdawn.com link), and another by Living Room Games in the US.

Is all the cool stuff you mentioned in the FASA edition of Earthdawn?  A friend of mine has it.  I looked through it long ago, and don't remember any of this (though that could just be a reflection on my memory)...

one of the best aspects of the game is that it's set in a post apocalytic "re-emergence" from hundreds of years of underground hiding while "things" (Barsaivians call them Horrors) ravaged the surface during a surge in the magic level of reality. Many Kaers (hidden cities) were sumarily cracked open like freshly cooked clams, to various icky ends.

A history of humans and human societies meeting awful fates at the hands of Evil is a must.

World mythology already includes a First Age, which was great until Evil got in and broke it, forcing the world to be re-created for the Second Age, which is the era that current humans understand and identify with.

The history of the Second Age is largely concerned with humans alternately spreading and being beaten back by Orcs, with an overall pattern of Orc progress and human defeat.  The whole Southeastern Kingdom has fallen to the Orcs, and some good stories should definitely be tied into that -- frightened humans huddling in hidden cities in the mountains is already one piece.

Beyond what I've already created, though, I think I see the potential for a lot more good stuff in this direction, using distinct eras, memorable fates of significant populations, and scourges other than Orcs.

Brainstorm:
1) periods of having to protect yourself vs Evil in extreme ways
1a) nighttime deadly unless you're surrounded by light (shadow daemons?)
1b) outdoors deadly unless you're covered with cool mud (monster with infravision?)
1c) poisoned air - purify breaths with charmed masks
1d) poisoned water - purify with holy vessel
2) some period when a major city was abandoned because some powerful Evil took up residence there
3) non-farming societies (hunter-gatherers/fishermen?) who were forced to be nomadic, because some Evil followed them, catching up whenever they settled in a spot
4) non-farming societies (hunter-gatherers/fishermen?) who were forced to live in awful conditions (swamps? underground? desert? coastal caves? barren mountain peaks?) as a form of hiding from Evil (flying monsters? burrowing monsters?)

One of the main premises in the setting is that Horrors "Mark" their victims, most of the Marks establish a form of telepathic communication, domination, feeding on feelings, etc. One of the recognizable side effects of being Horror Marked is that you will fail to create works of art. Any creative endevour is twisted by the Horror, consciously or unconsciously.

Yeah, it's been discussed that perhaps fighting an Evil Thing (winning? losing? regardless?) should affect you in some subtle way.  Wandering into the wrong place or looking at the wrong object may also curse you. 

What manifestations (testable or not) of being tainted by Evilness could be fun?
1) can't create works of beauty
2) can't perform holy rituals
3) blessed items burn you
4) sunlight and/or moonlight hurts your eyes and/or skin
5) choke on particularly pure water or air
6) have no shadow / reflection
7) can't perceive works of beauty (singing is garbled noise, perfume reeks, paintings are chaotic nonsense, etc.)
8) certain sigils appears on certain body parts
9) anything in continuous contact with you for X time begins to rot / melt / corrode
10) animals run from you
11) those with sensitivity to Evil can see darkness / mark / sigil that is above / around / covering you
12) various other signs that tell you more clearly that something is wrong (inability to keep down food, awful smell, can't sleep, etc.)

There-fore, every Name-Giver in the land is taught at a young age at least one creative skill ("Artisan Skill"), and it has become a common ritual, that you must perform your Artisan Skill before they'll let you past the gates of any city/town. 

The idea that some places test you for some forms of taintedness is cool.  Maybe:
1) a town that's had too many cursed people enter and somehow endanger the people there, and has devised some mostly-accurate way of identifying a certain curse / all curses / any contact with Evil
2) a town that's simply superstitious and administers "witches float"-type tests (superstition lent weight by myths / history / knowledge of town #1 above)
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
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