What would an RPG become?
Would it be a game most fine?
If every time you did something
The action had to rhyme?
Can you slay a dragon
When wordplay comes so hard?
At least there’s finally a reason
To play the part of bard
Any fantasy game with a slightly more whimsical turn.
Art by Alexander Shatohin
I tend to enjoy darker themes in my games, primal themes, moral themes, ethical dilemmas and the sort of layered plots that have ‘Aha!’ moments where the players finally piece everything together. I like to bring some horror elements into other games, emotional and relationship entanglements, investment and betrayal…
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This is the last entry in this monthly challenge, so I’m not paywalling it. We’ve mapped out the basics of the world and have some idea of the rules. Eventually, I’ll get around to turning them into an actual book! As regards this question though… I think short of roughly mapping the world and – perhaps – ‘hex crawling’ a section of the world as a starting area, I’d like to leave things rather vague. Talk of distant nations and lands without anyone being truly, entirely, sure of what is out there. A less defined world leaves far more room for Games Masters to add their own material and leaves room free for supplements and definition as good ideas occur.
Some things will be defined of course, and those have already been covered, while the ‘bottom page text’ – as with Machinations of the Space Princess, will contain plenty of rumours and story seeds.
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Karakala is known for garlic, cleanliness, health and sausages. There’s just one blot on their record, the Olemerick festival. Contestants must eat as much sausage as possible. The losers disappear in the mysterious black ooze beneath the town, the winners showered with wealth.
D&D, Retroclones, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
For the most part particular seas and oceans are not fantastical per se, but rather locations within them are. Given some of my inspiration is going to be taken from pre-christian European mythology, wells, ponds and lakes are more likely to be individually magical and to be the dwelling places of fantastical creatures. Locations in seas or things that live within them may be fantastical, but as to magical bodies of water themselves? Not so much…
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I’m not really very fond of having powerful, self-insert characters in heroic worlds or games. They tend to ‘Mary-Sue’ it up and to ride roughshod over the actions and impact of the players. Carrying things over from your home campaigns can descend into ‘in jokes’ rather easily, or become obscure and opaque to anyone who doesn’t personally know you…
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I want to evoke the ancient, the old and the bloodier, more raw, pre-Christian mythology that I want within the setting of the game. In other fantasy games I have written I have played around with languages, mixing and matching from different roots and etymologies to find interesting sounding and plausible names and terms. In Cloak of Steel, for example, I use the name ‘Tierplana’ to describe the flat, rectangular world upon which that game is set. For the terminology of other things in that world I translated the term across languages with different roots and mixed and matched to create interesting words…
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