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  1. - Top - End - #331
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    The OP has a new image:


    I am sure I will write a .pdf at some point for this setting, and this will be the cover image. This is exactly what the higher regions of the Way look like!

    Also, after looking through the OP, there's some stuff I need to add. I'll try to get everything updated by the end of the weekend.

    Also also, I went to the Art Institute a few days ago, and took a bunch of notes on medieval and chinese art and culture. I'm going to type those out on here at some point, but in the mean time they inspired this description of New Bannon, a typical village in the Blackwood. It's basically a village-size siheyuan.

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    Around them, the quiet bustle of the main grounds of the village continued it's normal morning pace. Elder Haupt, the foremost voice in the village council, emerged from his cottage near the Celebration of Unity, itself a humble structure--if Brother Johan's attestations could be believed. He made his way through the main grounds of the village toward the front grounds, past the traveler's fire that burned when foreigners slept in the village along their way. In the front, near the gate, sat his wife's tea house, the village kitchen with a small seating area outside, and offered wisdom and council to anyone who might have need. It was always kept as clean as it could be, though there was rarely paint in the caravans enough to keep it as colorful as it had hoped to be, and it was cracked and chipped in a few places.

    And Brand, a hunter with hair the color of a fallen leaf, came out from the lodge where many of the hunters gathered in town for food and camaraderie. It faced the front grounds, as did the fletcher and--further off--the tanner. It stood opposite the goatherd's pen, as well as the weaver, seamstress, and a teacher who was already chivvying the children to an attentive position.

    The yard itself was not muddy, but nonetheless well-trod. It was different enough from the main grounds, which in truth was a small wheat field, and the grounds only for harvest festivals. A small, curving path lead to a small shrine to Baur the Tiller, the elder who planted this wheat almost a decade before. Most of the villagers lived in this part of New Bannon, and loved to walk past the greens each day.

    It was where Brother Johan spent his days, tending to the wheat and offering wisdom and council to anyone who had need. His wife saw to the maintenance of the Celebration, which held the ashes of the dozen or so people that had passed away over the village's years. A Sun Cross of Mareal Turi was nestled amongst them, though it was the only relic of the Unified in the Celebration.
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  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So! The Art Institute. It's a sweet place, and while I wish they had more of their armory on display, it's still a cool place to get ideas for all kinds of stuff. Let's jump on in!

    This fountain
    is outside the building in this cool little courtyard. It is now also in the Aduna, the capital of Cerai, in a place called the Pavilion of Cleansing (working title). The fountain depicts the moment when Saint Helene cleansed the sick with the legendary Clamshell Basin. She felt the plight of the diseased, and so prayed to Mareal Turi on the rocky northwestern shores of the Central Sea for a way to help them. Mareal Turi hallowed a great clamshell with His Light, and forever after it poured the holy, healing waters whenever held high in Mareal Turi's name. No one know what became of the Clamshell Basin, though quests in its name a started often.

    I think Cerai--Aduna in particular--is ruled by some kind of badass council. Conveniently, there are 5 realms within Cerai, and all I need to do is tweak their virtues (I made some up awhile ago, but I don't think they're very good). So far, I know that the leaders of the Council will be ordained into the Unified faith, so they will be high-ranking church members. I also know that they will need to look after the business of Faith, History, Commerce, Justice, and War. I'm thinking they will all have the honorific "Lord," though I'm open to suggestions for cool french/bedouin-esque titles.

    In Vindland, wind-tossed hair is highly-prized. There is no lack of wind on the island, Vindlander warriors will often keep their hair unbound and untangled, so that they might better intimidate their enemies.

    In the Blackwood, they believe that the spirits of their ancestors keep them safe from the wiles of the Wood. Because of this, even small villages have a place of memory for their ancestors, though most will go so far as to keep the ashes of their ancestors in shrines. Unlike traditional graveyards, these shrines are often scattered throughout a settlement, usually in places of peace, beauty, or happiness. Many people leave offerings at these shrines, whether or not they were related to the deceased.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-09-06 at 08:57 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I don't know if I was thinking about my Boy Scout years or what, but survival whistles popped into my head a few days ago, and then (inevitably) I thought of the Blackwood.

    Whistle of the Lost
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    "There is no greater sorrow than to lose a child, and no greater fear for a child than to be lost," he said to his son, eyes full of love. "When I was your age, I used to whistle this tune, and my father always said he could hear it wherever I went. Learn it well, that I may always find you in your hour of need."
    Circle 1st
    Mana 1
    DL 5
    Effect When whistled, this 3-4 note tune reaches out over the wide lands to the ears of a designated person, usually a loved one. The target of the spell immediately knows the direction of the whistler, and the distance that lays between them (e.g. "Five miles south-by-southwest.") It reveals no more information than direction and distance (e.g. not "in this direction, near a dead tree and a stagnant pool"), though the target will know when they arrive at the exact site where the spell was cast.


    Thoughts? It's a pretty simple little spell, but I feel like the flavor is perfect for the Blackwood.

    One of my players, sdream, mentioned that the spell can be used for much more than simply letting someone know where you are. It can allow someone to act as an alarm ("Whistle when the trolls pass by"), or could be used for any of a wide range of similarly short, predetermined messages. It could even work in reverse ("I'm not lost, but I'm going to go to this place, whistle, and then you'll know how to get there")!
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  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Another idea! I was reading a master list of homebrewed martial disciplines over on the Homebrew Design section of the forums, and I saw this logically devastating discipline. Way back when I started this setting, I wanted to incorporate political intrigue, and I this discipline gave me an idea.

    In an attempt to make use of the magic mechanics of the Warrior, Rogue, and Mage--and to provide non-magic options in the game--I think I'd like to come up with a few "spells" that are flavored as rhetoric, and can be used to persuade and maneuver in a court setting. The character that would get the most use out of these spells would be some sort of court official, but they could just as easily be used by a witty combatant or a trickster character.

    I don't have any specific examples at the moment, but I'll be thinking about this for the next few days. I'll post my ideas here.
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  5. - Top - End - #335
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Guys. I have been leaving out a vital piece of information.

    The whole idea for this campaign setting started because I have always enjoyed wuxia movies, and got an idea to combine them with elements of Grimm tales. Thus far, I've been throwing a lot of Grimm-esque stuff at my players, but I've been leaving the most important ingredient of wuxia implied!

    The world of Jianghu!
    As best as I can tell, the word translates roughly as "lakes and rivers," which is the whole reason why the Blackwood has so many lakes and rivers. I guess I thought it would be acceptable to leave that implied, but I don't know what I was thinking. Here, at least, at last, is an in-universe explanation of the idea behind this word.

    The Blackwood, a land of Lakes and Rivers
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    Foreigners might look at the Blackwood and see a strange people clinging to life along well-traveled routes in an otherwise dangerous wilderness. They may see the stout walls of the river cities, hear the tales of bandits and worse things, and condemn the people of the Blackwood for persisting in such a life. They may also hear its people refer to "the world of lakes and rivers" and think it to be an ancient name for the realm.

    They would be wrong on each count, but most importantly on the last.

    The folk of the Blackwood speak of "the world of lakes and rivers," but they do not refer merely to the geography of their wooded land. For some, they speak of the many tales, legends, and myths of their land when they invoke these words. This is well and good, for even the wildest myth was born from the seed of truth, and each of these seeds came about because of the nature of life in the Blackwood.

    Others use the term to refer to the political alliances and squabbles between the cities of the Blackwood. They hold hands with the truth also, for the tumultuous--and often ineffective--government of the region is a major cause behind the truth.

    However, beyond both these kinds of people, there are those who call the Blackwood the land of lands and rivers with authority. They know that beyond the walls of the cities, law is determined by the strength of steel long before the strength of the quill. Too many factions eke out their existence under the boughs of the Wood for the authorites in the cities to extend their control more than a days' march in any direction.

    These last folk know that the Land of Lakes and Rivers is the world beyond the walls, courts, and temples, though it may spill into that world from time to time. It is beyond the reach of corrupt officials. They know that the Land of Lakes and Rivers is the wilderness of virtue and villainy from which all tales spring. It is the world of the Wood, from the most exemplarly Sentinel to the simplest village farmer.


    Woodfolk and Riverfolk
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    The old distinction is that if someone makes their home on the Way, they are Riverfolk; if someone makes their home in the Wood, they are Woodfolk. This meaning grew out of ancient histories, and while it may be accurate to use the terms in such a way, that is not what they originally meant.

    Once, the Way was the sole source of law and order in the Blackwood. Decrees would pour forth from the Elder Kingdom, and the folk that clung to the shores of the Way would reap the benefits of that government. They prospered, and built the first cities. Today, these cities are the seats of great powers. It is in these places only that one could be called a Riverfellow in truth.

    Riverfolk are part of the world of courts and temples, heeding the decrees of men and women of authority, and trusting to those powers that they might be safe from harm. They are subject to the wax and wane of that authority, and the corruption and cleansing of rule. Theirs is a life of laws, and those laws issue from a government that is ever in flux, and may not keep their best interests at heart.

    Outside these cities, along the shaded byways and watery passages of the Blackwood, everyone from merchants and hunters to bandits and heroes understand that they are part of a different world. For one reason or another, the laws of the cities are no good for them, and they must live according to their own code. These folk--who know themselves to live at the whims of virtue and vice--are the truest Woodfolk, though they may live in the deepest grove, or on the shores of the most well-traveled lengths of water.

    Almost all Woodfolk live in villages, and go about their days praying to the ancestors that they might find a patron to protect them from the Wood's dangers. These patrons come from the world of warriors, a world full of virtue and villainy all its own.

    Those who follow the path of virtue are the Righteous, who walk the Wood righting wrongs according to their own moral code. Each code is unique to the individual, though all strive to do good deeds, and to take revenge against those who do not.

    Those who follow the path of vice are the Wicked. They too are doughty warriors, though they prey on the weak for their own benefit. Wickedfolk may have a code of their own, but it is often a thing tainted by the darkness found in only the deepest reaches of the Wood.

    The Righteous go by many names, and have different codes. Sentinels are the shining blades in the darkness, issuing forth from great cities and protecting those that are beyond the reach of law. The Spearwood Brothers shun those they protect, dwelling in the far east and holding off a tide of great beasts from the forest's unknown reaches. The Classicists hail from the Elder Kingdom, and use the authority of their birth to marshal sorties and forays of great heroes into the Wood, laying to rest any Wickedfolk they should find.

    The Wicked have many names as well, though the wide world sees little different between them. Most famous among these are the bandits of the Bracken, who live in impenetrable depths, and strike in force with their thorny banners held high.


    This, then, is the way of things. The Righteous and the Wicked contend for the lives of their fellow Woodfolk, each according to their own paths of virtue and vice. Woodfolk live by their own code, and Riverfolk follow the laws of city authorities. They are a separate people, though they may be joined even by blood bonds. The world of the Woodfolk is the Land of Lakes and Rivers, and the world of the Riverfolk is that of Courts and Temples. These two worlds are at odds, though heroism and villainy dwells in both, and dwellers in each must often travel to the other.

    ---

    So to sum up, there are two distinct cultural "alignments" in the Blackwood. Things get a little hazy, because both of these cultures are informed by the same parent culture--The Elder Kingdom--but they remain distinct in their ideologies. The people of the cities hold trust at the center of beings: trust that the rulers are just, and trust that the rulers are powerful enough to protect them. Their woodland cousins are also a trusting people, but theirs is a trust that their neighbors will help rather than harm them. There is less authority under the eaves, which allows men and women to live freely, but at the cost of danger around every corner.

    To look at it another way, Woodfolk concern themselves with virtue; they believe that the right thing should be done simply because it is the right thing. Riverfolk, on the other hand, concern themselves with law; they do what they have been told to do, and trust that what they have been told is good for them. Both of these mindsets come from the Elder Kingdom, which has the wisdom to know the paths of virtue, and the authority to codify those paths for the masses.
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  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I just updated the OP with the spells I've created for the setting. At some point, I'd like to upload all of the members of the Bestiary that I've created. I don't anticipate the players in my campaign encountering any of the elves or forest creatures during their urban adventure, so I'll definitely add those, but I may also include the various NPCs that I've created, like a basic Sentinel and Spearwood Brother. Stay tuned!

    Also, this is the beginning of the process of transferring all the stuff I've written from Google Docs over to this forum. It will be a long process, and--sadly--it will probably mean starting a new thread. I think what I'll end up doing is creating a final draft thread for the Blackwood, then rename this thread to Zap's Workshop if it's not too late for me to rename it. This will become the thread where I work on the rest of my stuff, and the new Blackwood thread will be solely for finished work.
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  7. - Top - End - #337
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I just updated the OP with the spells I've created for the setting. At some point, I'd like to upload all of the members of the Bestiary that I've created. I don't anticipate the players in my campaign encountering any of the elves or forest creatures during their urban adventure, so I'll definitely add those, but I may also include the various NPCs that I've created, like a basic Sentinel and Spearwood Brother. Stay tuned!

    Also, this is the beginning of the process of transferring all the stuff I've written from Google Docs over to this forum. It will be a long process, and--sadly--it will probably mean starting a new thread. I think what I'll end up doing is creating a final draft thread for the Blackwood, then rename this thread to Zap's Workshop if it's not too late for me to rename it. This will become the thread where I work on the rest of my stuff, and the new Blackwood thread will be solely for finished work.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I'd suggest keeping people from posting in the Blackwoods final draft, and instead directing them over to this thread for responding. Also, I like this format, since it lets you start addressing some of the other "mini" settings. Which, by the way, they are not mini.

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    I'd suggest keeping people from posting in the Blackwoods final draft, and instead directing them over to this thread for responding.
    My thoughts exactly. I won't be able to completely stop them, but I'll have a note at the very top of the OP with a link to this thread.

    Also, I like this format, since it lets you start addressing some of the other "mini" settings. Which, by the way, they are not mini.
    Hahaha, yeah... I thought I was going to stop things with the Blackwood.

    Also: I got a new avatar, everyone! This one (like the first) is made my Ceika, who makes better toys than the Christmas elves!
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  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    COOLEST IDEA EVER!

    I was sitting here thinking about Cerai, wondering what combat looks like amongst them. I want Cerai to evoke images of knights in shining armor and cavaliers, and I want it to come off as the shining peak of civilization. I thought about rapiers (to emphasize the whole "courtly elegance" thing, but rapiers are too far ahead for the time period I'm thinking of. I was considering including the estoc, but then I started thinking about lances.

    I figure the Cerai are descended from African-esque tribes, so they've probably fought with a spear more than a sword throughout their history. The lance is a natural evolution of that, and it fits in nicely with my vision for the setting.

    THEN I started thinking about those early Cerian spears, and how they were probably light, agile-looking things. Then I thought, "why not combine one of these with an estoc?"

    It's called a Cerian Lancing Sword. Picture an estoc, with a thick, main gauche-style blade sticking out the other end. It's shorter than the rapier blade, but is weighted in such a way that the weapon's point of balance is in the exact center of the grip. It is an extremely agile weapon, and can even be thrown short distances.

    Standard and reverse grip are both popular choices, the former because it increases one's range, and the latter because it is already in the ideal position for throwing. Because the long blade rests against their forearm, proponents of reverse grip rely more on slipping past defenses and striking from tight range.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So essentially a sword with a pommel spike?

  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    So essentially a sword with a pommel spike?
    Yes! But the most regal pommel spike ever. I picture the grip being situated about 1/3 of the way down the full length of the weapon, so it's a looong spike.

    Over the course of the next 10 months, I think I'm going to start an avatar collection of iconics for the various regions in my campaign setting. I'll need a Blackwooder, a Cerian, a Vindlander, a Kossian, and a Kareid. I figure I should space my requests out by about 2 months each, to keep from being annoying.

    In unrelated news, I got on the CTA this morning, and noticed a guy in front of me reading a GITP comic. I was this close to going up to him and asking what his forum name was.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Yes! But the most regal pommel spike ever. I picture the grip being situated about 1/3 of the way down the full length of the weapon, so it's a looong spike.

    Over the course of the next 10 months, I think I'm going to start an avatar collection of iconics for the various regions in my campaign setting. I'll need a Blackwooder, a Cerian, a Vindlander, a Kossian, and a Kareid. I figure I should space my requests out by about 2 months each, to keep from being annoying.

    In unrelated news, I got on the CTA this morning, and noticed a guy in front of me reading a GITP comic. I was this close to going up to him and asking what his forum name was.
    I know it's more of a double weapon than a sword-with-pommel-spike, this sounds slightly unfeasible but awesome enough that I don't care.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    I know it's more of a double weapon than a sword-with-pommel-spike, this sounds slightly unfeasible but awesome enough that I don't care.
    I can picture combat with it, but I don't know that I could describe it in a meaningful way. And for the record, only about half of my mental image is flynning. It might also be the case that the Cerians--who have always fought with spears--became this world's equivalent to roman legions when they were absorbed into the empire. Maybe they carry small shields in their off hands, and the Lancing Sword is a combo of pilum and gladius as much as the lance and estoc.

    Iconics

    How does one go about creating iconics? Especially when you're working with a system that has no classes, and in a setting that doesn't have strictly-defined races? As for the latter question, I hope that my cultures are different enough that I can substitute them for races. As for the former... well, let's see.

    The way I see it, there are three different ways to build a character in WRM.
    1) You specialize in one attribute, making you a dedicated Warrior, Rogue, or Mage.
    2) You strike a balance between all three, become a jack of all trades.
    3) You specialize in two attributes, giving you room to flex but still keeping a strong character concept.

    Of the three, I feel like my own personal preference is a little bit of a blend between 1 and 3. I like having one primary attribute, but because of the way attribute caps work out in the game, you still have enough points to give something else a sizeable preference.

    That said, I want my iconics to be good examples of what the system is capable of, so I don't think they're going to be brand-new characters. They will have advanced a few times, so I'm thinking about a standard attribute array of 6>4>2. However, I'm also seriously considering 6>5>1. Thoughts?

    As far as characters are concerned, I want to provide for a nice spread in terms of mechanics, but it's more important to me to have a good representation of the storytelling and character concepts that fit in well with the setting. In the interest of my workload, I think I'll be sticking to 3 iconics from each region. This might be ideal, because it will force me to zoom in on what's most important about each region.

    Here are the factions I've got so far for the Blackwood:
    • Elderfolk - Study the Ancestors
      • Classicist: a scholar with magelike powers.
    • Riverfolk - Respect the Ancestors
      • Sentinels: Chivalric order devoted to protecting the Blackwood.
      • Traders: Merchant guilds responsible for keeping the Blackwood fed.
      • Nobles: Ancient family lines charged with the government of the Blackwood.
    • Woodfolk - Worship the Ancestors
      • Hunters: Villagers responsible for finding food and protecting their neighbors.
      • Bandits: Outcasts who prey on the weak, sometimes to survive, other times to make a profit.
      • Pagans: Tribes and witches who think civilized folk have ignored the gods and are ignorant of the Wood's true malice.


    I feel like a hero and a bandit belong amongst the iconics. The hero could be a Riverfolk, but the hero is most likely to spend a lot of time in the Wood. The Bandit probably should be a Woodfolk, but could easily be in the cities.

    As for the third character, I know they ought to be magical in some way, but I'm torn between a Classicist and a Witch.

    Now that I think of it, the easiest way to handle it might be for each iconic to have some kind of Alfred/Chewbacca-esque supporting character. The Blackwood Hunter might have a Woods Witch that he goes to for info on pagan movements, and he's used her brews on occasion. The Cerian Knight might have a courtly noble as a patron, introducing the politics of that region. The Vindland Thane might have a skald following him around, telling tales of his deeds. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

    So:
    Blackwood
    1) Reluctant Swordsman Hero (Warrior/Mage) with Rogue (hunter?) supporting
    2) Wily Bandit King (Rogue/Warrior) with Mage Witch supporting
    3) Erudite Classicist (Mage/Rogue) with Warrior (Sentinel?) supporting
    Cerai
    1) Passionate Holy Knight (Warrior/Mage) with Rogue Politician supporting
    2) Slick Blackmarket Trader (Rogue/Warrior) with Mage Priest supporting
    3) Gentle Simple Priest (Mage/Rogue) with Warrior Knight supporting
    Vindland
    1) Runic Scholar Blacksmith (Mage/Warrior) with Rogue Merchant supporting
    2) Dutious Bodyguard Thane (Warrior/Rogue) with Mage Jarl supporting
    3) Spiritual Assassin Monk (Rogue/Mage) with Warrior Sensei supporting
    Koss
    1) Bright Summer Warrior (Warrior/Mage) with Rogue (???) supporting
    2) Seditious Scheming Villain (Rogue/Warrior) with Mage (???) supporting
    3) Wise Winter Guru (Mage/Rogue) with Warrior (???) supporting
    Central Sea
    1) Terrifying Barbarian Warrior (Mage/Warrior) with Rogue Fisherman supporting
    2) Garish Pirate Terror (Warrior/Rogue) with Mage Advisor supporting
    3) Decadent Noble Scion (Rogue/Mage) with Warrior Bodyguard supporting
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-10-01 at 09:41 AM.
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  15. - Top - End - #345
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I took a look at the content I've already got for the Blackwood, and did some thinking about where I'll need to leave room for expansion. I'm pretty confident that I can fit everything I'll need for the setting on 7 forum posts, so I'm dangerously close to starting up the finished draft thread!

    Before I do, though, I need to give it a title. Here are some ideas:

    The Blackwood - A Folkloric, Randomized Setting
    The Blackwood - Folklore meets Wuxia
    The Blackwood - A Randomly Modular "Mini" Setting

    Thoughts? I'd like to find a concise way to point out that this setting relies heavily on random generation, giving each campaign a "new" feeling, and also giving tables a way to customize the world to their liking.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not very good with snappy titles.
    The Blackwood - Folklore, Wuxia, and Dice

    You explain the randomness in the introduction, the title is to catch people's attention.

  17. - Top - End - #347
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not very good with snappy titles.
    The Blackwood - Folklore, Wuxia, and Dice
    Hahaha, exactly why I asked for help! Thanks!

    I think I might end up going with "Folklore, Action, and Dice." In the same way that I'm calling it "folklore" instead of "Grimm," I'd like to avoid the direct reference to wuxia. That will be another thing to make clear in the introduction.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I'm trying to decide exactly how I want to lay out the final draft for the thread.

    Do you folks think it would be better to organize things the traditional way (races, classes, magic, etc.), or to organize things by what I perceive to be the different worlds of storytelling in the setting (The Wood, The River, and The Elder Kingdom), including relevant class, race, and magic information in those sections?
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Go by the areas, and put all of the crunch in posts after you finish the story aspects. Have links to the various bits of crunch as they come up in the story section. That way you can read the world lore uninterrupted, but are able to go back to the crunch at any time, and all of the crunch will be collected in one area.

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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Go by the areas, and put all of the crunch in posts after you finish the story aspects. Have links to the various bits of crunch as they come up in the story section. That way you can read the world lore uninterrupted, but are able to go back to the crunch at any time, and all of the crunch will be collected in one area.
    This is how I prefer organization when reading as well.

  21. - Top - End - #351
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So I'm coming to the end of my current adventure in the world of Genara (it will be another month or two, but still), and I'm also coming to the end of the major work for the Blackwood Setting.

    I had talked about moving on to Koss next, but I'm just not getting any ideas for it at this point. Most of my work has been in the direction of the Petty Kingdoms, but I've got a lot of work left before that's ready to start putting together.

    I've also been thinking a fair amount about Cerai, the wide-reaching kingdom that's focused on the Unified faith. I picture this land being fairly cosmopolitan (with a lot of territory and several different cultures that have all been absorbed into the unifying (pun intended) whole), but the major elements that I'd like to draw upon are The Matter of France, Hebrew myth (behemoth, leviathan, basic religious structure), and a couple of african cultural elements.

    As I mentioned way back when, I'd like to focus the development of this setting on Aduna, the capital of Cerai, which is sort of a microcosm for the realm-at-large. I have every intention of using Microscope to build this city in collaboration with a few people, and I intend to use these alternate rules to do it.

    With this in mind, I'm extending some early feelers for interest in this project. Ideally, I'd be looking for 2 people (3 max) to pump out interesting ideas, and build a city that really feels like the capitol of the civilized world. Microscope is a really fun system, and I think it will adapt itself beautifully to PbP.

    Any takers?
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  22. - Top - End - #352
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    What do you bloody well think? I'm in.

  23. - Top - End - #353
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    What do you bloody well think? I'm in.
    Haha! Good! The ride will continue to be fun.

    I've been looking for a good representation of a firecat for the Blackwood. This could be a good one, but I keep changing my mental image of the Blackwood. Which reminds me...

    A final draft of the following will be in the new thread:

    What Does the Blackwood Look Like?

    This?...
    Spoiler
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    ...or this?...
    Spoiler
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    Well... kind of both!

    The Blackwood is a setting with a very clear goal: focus on action through the lens of folklore. Trying to hearken back to the early days of tabletop gaming is another part of it, those first two points really drive it home.

    The thing is, the Blackwood is also designed to cater to the needs of the table. Just as much as the random generation has been checked for balance, the flavor text has been crafted in such as way that this setting could hold many kinds of games. Maybe your table would prefer to downplay the fantasy, going instead for a deconstruction of those folklore stories and focusing on the human stories within. Maybe your table would rather go full throttle with the myth, where magical creatures live on every mountain (which are cartoonishly beautiful) and in every glen (which are covered in floating lights and mushrooms).

    So long as the core ideas are maintained, both of these are valid interpretations of the world. The fun of this setting comes from suffusing the mundane with the magical, and doing it in ways that simplify your mechanics. Do this, and sending the setting in almost any direction can bear fruit.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-09-27 at 11:08 PM.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Both image links are broken. But the intro is good.

  25. - Top - End - #355
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    Both image links are broken. But the intro is good.
    Weird... they're working fine for me. I edited them just in case.

    Another thought:

    In one way or another, each of these settings is about the relationship between Self and Other. In the Blackwood, the Self is characterized by Dark Age Suspicion, and the Other by the Elven Darkness of the Deep Wood. In Cerai, Self is Loving Devotion and Other is the Shining Harmony of Paradise (and the Black Pits of Hell). In Vindland, Self is Willful Effort and Other is Frigid Supernatural Destruction. Or something like that. No matter what, there should always been a strong element of mystery with the Other. Does it seem like explaining things in these terms would be helpful when discussing the concept of the setting?

    Also: been reading this and this. Getting tons of ideas for the Petty Kingdoms. I didn't want them to be totemic, but now I'm think their ancestors have to have been.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    I've got some thoughts that I'd like to tease out regarding the cosmology of Genara and its relationship to the "Self and Other" business I discussed earlier, but life's been pretty busy lately, and I can't find time to sit out and solidify the thoughts beyond my own notebooks.

    In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of brainstorming trying to imagine how the armor worn by the Vindlanders has changed over the past several centuries. I know that I want it to look like a hybrid of Norse and Japanese armor styles, and I know that I want it to look more-or-less like 14th century European armor in terms of the technological advancements it represents. Considering that I'm anything but a scholar on armor etc., it's been rough going.

    I'm thinking that it will probably end up looking a lot like the armor of Lannister guards in the HBO Game of Thrones series:
    Spoiler
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    ...But I'm not too thrilled about that. I've been looking at a lot of images of viking and samurai armor, and I think I can do better. I like the torso armor here, and the general look of the bottom armor in the third image here. The first link in this paragraph is probably what Vindlander armor would have looked like 100-150 years before the current time in the setting, and the second link is helpful if only because it's a good example of what armor technology looks like in the setting at the moment.

    Also, I'm trying to schedule a time to stop thinking about this so hard, but I can't seem to find space for that either.

    Also also, I think I've posted this before... but I don't care. This is exactly the kind of agility I expect out of Vindlander armor. It needs to have a reputation for being light, sturdy, and mobile as hell.
    Last edited by Zap Dynamic; 2012-09-29 at 03:23 PM.
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    So I watched Willow tonight for the first time (so good), and it got me in a mood.

    Tale of Lake Echo, of an old musician at a famous inn.
    Spoiler
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    Johan the Fiddler was one of the most legendary patrons of the Stag and Dragon, greatest of the inns along the Forest Road. Heroes and villains alike could be found under its wide eaves, but from time to time this aged musician seated himself by the fire and ordered hot mulled wine. He would produce his lap fiddle, and weave a sad song over the heads of all in the room.

    He pulled his hood down, and without fail he said "Once, when I was a younger man, I traveled far from paths and roads. I sought the Blackwood, and the things within it. During my travels through the southern mountains, I met a man who showed me the sublime truth of music, and I turned myself to its study forever after.

    "It was high in a mountain pass, with the mountain's firs hung heavy about me, where I met him. I had lost my way, and stumbled blindly upward. I found a stream trickling down, so I traced it to its source. I climbed a waterfall and skirted a pair of trolls to do it, but I came to a great and beautiful lake. Like a hound, it was wrapped around the feet of the mountains beyond, which rose into the morning mist and left sight. The lake was still as the forest around it, and quiet settled over all.

    "That's when I saw him, a man of noble dress seated on a stump at the water's edge. He held a lap fiddle in his arms, and he looked out on the water in equal stillness. I approached him, blade bare, but never did he glance at me or move one inch. He merely picked up the bow of his fiddle, and began to play.

    "The fog pressed in around us in those first, mournful notes. I felt the burden of a heavy heart, the kind that only lost love can create. I seemed to see her in the mist, and hear her melancholy in the lap fiddle's song. She cried, but no solace came, for her light, my light, had left. It left her in a world of rain and misery as she walked, jostled by every passerby, beaten but unbowed.

    "Then the song changed, and the abiding sadness was swept up into a fiddler's passion. I felt all the thrill of life from every leaf and branch, the lake cleared like air and I saw its every depth, and the call of every bird seemed to be held in the fiddle's vital playing. It was sturdy music, timeless as the trees themselves, and I saw the frivolity of the lives of men.

    "But finally, a third movement arrived. This one combined the first two, with a third theme that was forever transfixed between them. I felt the need to choose, to reach out and grab hold of something, anything, but my own nature would not let me. Lacking this, I wanted to make my life a monumental bridge between two worlds, to sway between them until the world's end."

    The music would stop, and the patrons would be spellbound by the song he had played for them.

    "With his last chord," he would say, and only then would the patrons realize he had not spoken for some time. "I understood the power of music, when before I had only heard its beauty. I cast my sword into the lake, fell at his feet, and from that day these hands have held nothing but this lap fiddle."

    And then he would drink his wine and watch the patrons from a snug corner. From time to time he would play a new song on his lap fiddle, but never did they have the same effect on patrons as the Tale of Lake Echo.


    Johan the Fiddler is one of the old legends of the Blackwood. He's been an adventurer and singer for decades, and many tales are told of him. He learned the craft of music from a mysterious, powerful figure at the fabled Lake Echo. There are those who go looking for it, but few of them ever return, and those without success.

    The Fiddler at Lake Echo has been one of the major NPCs for awhile now (kind of a Caterpillar-type from Alice in Wonderland), but I had never thought to introduce him this way... NPC DOUBLE FEATURE!
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Also also, I think I've posted this before... but I don't care. This is exactly the kind of agility I expect out of Vindlander armor. It needs to have a reputation for being light, sturdy, and mobile as hell.
    At :21-ish, we call that Shomenuchi Sudori, in Aikido.

    :34 Looks like some sort of Koteoroshi art. Also awesome.

    I love it.

    Also, that story is fantastic. Well done indeed.
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  29. - Top - End - #359
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Thanks! All I know is that the fight looks really pretty.

    Blackwood Fashion
    Riverfolk
    Charlemagne and his cronies are a good example of how popular robes and gowns were at one point. Turns out robes had their European heyday more than 100 years before where I'd like to place this along an equivalent timeline, but that's ok! The Blackwood is slow and steady in its cultural progressions, and I think they're definitely cool with robes on dudes. Of course, they'll have a little bit more of a Chinese robe feeling than something strictly European, but that's just a given.

    Robes in the Blackwood are popular all along the river, and to wear one is to imply rank, education, or taste. The most expensive robes are silk embroidered with fine patterns, though most robes are woven of wool, with linen layers beneath.

    Woodfolk
    The clothing of the Woodfolk is generally more practical than the clothes of Riverfolk. They are most commonly seen in trousers, and robes (or even cloaks) are rare amongst them.

    These clothes are most often made from supple leather, and more valuable clothes might be lined in fur (the second guy down in this image is not far off).

    I believe this provides for Li Mu Bais, Richard the Lionhearts, and quiet hunters left and right! And they'll look pretty cool doing it!
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    Default Re: The Blackwood - A Folkloric "Mini" Setting (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Where'd you find this? I tried to go through the url but deviantart is weird about that.

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