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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Phoenixes:
    Firstly, hi! Welcome to posting in the thread, we're glad to have you!

    I mean, I can see the parallels that might encourage the church to be somewhat more accepting of the phoenixes' continued existence, but they blamed arcane magic and magical creatures for the creation of the Black Plague, the biggest biological disaster in european history (well, that depends if you count the diseases they brought over to the new world as part of european history). Even if the phoenixes weren't being actively hunted or interfered with, they would likely not be actively cooperating, either.
    I do like the idea of there being an actual report of what really happened in at Vesuvius somewhere in the archives, though. It's possible church officials might be sympathetic to the phoenixes' plight, but unable to make an exception to the policy for fear of opening the door to more and more exceptions.

    Merlinic Oath:
    I do definitely like the biography you posted, and I believe I said as much when it first came out. I haven't had time to run down names or similar to make it work properly.

    - I definitely like this provision. I think it might be ignored in some cases, but I think this would definitely have to be a binding principle under most circumstances.
    - I like this one too.
    - As soon as able? Seems rushed. I think being a wizard would be kind of like being a martial artist. A long apprenticeship period of ability training and mastery of the basics, until you reach 'black belt'. In a wizard's case, that would be learning first-level spells. And from there you get into the REAL study.
    -Explain this one to me. I mean, he's not doing anything deeply personal.
    -Perhaps a geas/quest of redemption from the high wizards?

    Non-Empire Groups:
    The great basin is just really arid desert-like terrain. I figure the fusang probably wouldn't have reached that far inland yet beyond some scouting.
    WWDNH is closely related to the history of the mammutchadinne, but it's not actually part of their land.
    I think the Mayans are integrated into the aztatlan region the same way the other nations are.

    Anasazi (Hisatsinom)
    Okay, two things I just learned. One, the Anasazi were way more north than I had thought they were. Two, while we can use Anasazi for discussion purposes (since it's a word everyone already recognizes), It's not a really accurate term. The Anasazi were one of four coexisting ancient pueblo peoples, and the term itself is less-than-sensitive. Instead, I will encourage the use of Hisatsinom, the Hopi word for the ancient pueblo peoples as a whole.

    The Hisatsinom are a tricky issue. Initially the idea was shut down because we didn't want to keep all the civilizations that died out in the 13th century alive. We are keeping the tuniit, and cahokia, and the mayan states, after all, and the continued advancement of all these people does have significant potential to change things.
    But you do raise a number of convincing points. It's no more unlikely that these people would survive the little ice age than any other group would, and if the cahokians can do it, so could they. And the ancient culture dying out thing has certainly been done before. I suppose it's a question of likelihoods and how cool it would be.

    I gotta admit, the idea of a massive cliff-city in the grand canyon sounds AMAZING.

    Percussion Caps:
    Oooh, good point there. Hadn't thought of that.
    Little research says they mention black powder and water, but not anything about wet weather. I suppose it's a question of if the weapon should be unusable, or if it should just be weaker in such conditions. Without some sort of magical effect/protection in place, at least.

    Egyptians in the Grand Canyon:
    ...I'm seriously torn on this one.
    On one hand, it does sound pretty awesome, especially in a fantasy setting. An underground city full of egyptian artifacts, gold, jewels, along with the various nasty beasties that may have moved in, ingenious traps, and freakin' warrior-mummies? I mean, come ON, you can't make a more perfect dungeon setup.
    On the other hand, it does have implications in regards to the whole cultural progression of the region and similar, and I can't find ANYTHING from a credible source about it. I mean, one place mentions it in the same breath as lizard overlords and claims it's been converted into a museum for shadow-government officials, and another is from a site that supports the hollow earth theory.
    What does the rest of the thread think?

    Races:
    Alright, I'm very nearly done with the little folk, I just have to add a little more fluff to the kinds of folk. Also, I more-or-less finished the mechanical aspects of the yilong (dragon descendants) for fusang and china.
    My next plan is to work on the tonal idea I posted, unless anyone has any comments/objections on them.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Thanks for the welcome!

    And yeah, I guess the Church would avoid directly helping Phoenixes, but I just don't think they should be actively opposing the Phoenixes' ash quest. There could always be some group of renegade scarred monks or something that actively help the Phoenixes. And sorry for being stuck on Phoenixes-they're my favorite mythological creature. =)

    About the Pueblo-dwellers, I thought someone earlier had the idea that they found a link to Mars or some other planet, which I thought was a really awesome idea. It adds a really unique and eerie sense of mystery for players exploring their abandoned observatories. And the same person who suggested this idea had a cool little excerpt of a native talking about "star-people," way back in the first thread.

    About the Egyptian idea, I'd vote against it. As cool as the dungeon could be, I think that would be pushing the envelope of credibility, and it would probably seem like you were just trying to stick Egypt in somehow. It seems out of place, and they would need some ships that they just didn't have back then to cross the Atlantic. Of course there's magic, but if the Egyptians crossed around 30 BC, then others who were better equipped and motivated would have as well.
    Last edited by Sir Augusta; 2014-05-08 at 08:52 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    OK, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not dead and I haven't abandoned the thread, I've just been really busy lately (work is KILLING MY SOUL) and struggling to find time to catch up. I sat down to read everything that's been written in the new thread as soon as I got home and ate dinner, but unfortunately I got sucked into a Wikipedia thingy about alchemy and science and religion and stuff. So I'm still not totally caught up.

    However! I can at least contribute one useful element to our research: it's a list of every major historical person* who was alive in 1750! If you think of someone and you're not sure when they were alive, you can look 'em up here and find out if they were alive when our setting takes place, and even how old they were. Neat, huh?

    I pretty much agree with everything I've read so far, and I think the new thread looks really, really slick! Just two minor things: 1) why is the image for the Spirit World hidden behind a spoiler, when all the other regions have their images out in the open? I feel like they make the thread much easier to navigate when scrolling rapidly. And 2) at one point you spelled their name as "the dorsest culture", Admiral.

    I'm not sure how useful the Little Folk will be in combat if they're Tiny instead of Small, but it does fit the mythology better. I guess we'll see how they playtest, and make adjustments as necessary.

    I like the ideas for the Tonal and the Vision-Serpents, but I say drop the Dragonborn (they're a little too 4e for my taste ). I agree that the Tuniit need a name-change, but we can't call the Giant-born or Giant-blooded because that would sound too much like the Sprit-Born and Witchblooded. I might need to get back to you on this one, actually...


    *by which I mean "people in the English-speaking world who have plaques dedicated to them in modern-day Britain", but hey, it's the best I could do for the moment.

    Edit: I just consolidated our Literacy Feats into a single post, and added/updated some of the feats with more detail. Hope I didn't step on your toes, zabbarot!
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-05-08 at 10:51 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    About the Egyptian idea, I'd vote against it. As cool as the dungeon could be, I think that would be pushing the envelope of credibility, and it would probably seem like you were just trying to stick Egypt in somehow. It seems out of place, and they would need some ships that they just didn't have back then to cross the Atlantic. Of course there's magic, but if the Egyptians crossed around 30 BC, then others who were better equipped and motivated would have as well.
    OK. My understanding on what America Unearthed had said about this theory is that it was feasible if you were crazy and desperate enough to do so, and those devout supporters of Mark Antony (as well as his and Cleopatra's surviving child) were desperate enough to do so. As for them not having enough of an impact, it could be that they only lived 3-4 generations at the most before dying out, as they kept to themselves. However, further research shows that Alexander Helios did not disappear (the legends surrounding the "Egyptian tombs" state that he had done so) and was under house arrest until likely being assassinated on Augustus Octavian's orders. So there isn't much need for it. A Grand Canyon dungeon would still be pretty neat.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    The idea behind this would be that Cleopatra and Mark Antony's son fled with followers to the Americas.
    There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this, and I agree with Sir Augusta that trying to include something like this would only detract from the historical feel of the setting.

    There are any number of absurd theories about the Romans or the Carthaginians coming to the New World after this or that lost battle or catastrophe. The fact that you tend to find them on websites discussing lizard overlords should tell you something about their reliability.

    Now, there's good textual evidence, or at least strong inference, that a Phoenician mission circumnavigated Africa some three thousand years ago. This is perfectly plausible; they were excellent seafaring people and they would have been coasting all the way, keeping within sight of shore whenever possible.

    But the ships of the ancient world simply weren't up to the challenges of a transatlantic crossing--and more to the point, no one in the classical Mediterranean had any idea that the Western Hemisphere existed at all. One expedition may have gone a short ways into the Atlantic, but they found nothing and turned back, and that was the end of it.

    Trying to incorporate Egypt or Rome or any other classical civilization into the Crossroads setting would be sharply out of place. There's a grand wealth of material indigenous to the New World, and I think that needs to remain the core inspiration for the setting.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Merlinic Oath:

    - As soon as able? Seems rushed. I think being a wizard would be kind of like being a martial artist. A long apprenticeship period of ability training and mastery of the basics, until you reach 'black belt'. In a wizard's case, that would be learning first-level spells. And from there you get into the REAL study.
    -Explain this one to me. I mean, he's not doing anything deeply personal.
    -Perhaps a geas/quest of redemption from the high wizards?
    - Alright, maybe not as soon as able. How about "a wizard should strive to take at least one apprentice during his lifetime. Preferably more."
    - Depending on the spell a wizard could do some very personal things. Wizard heals the warts on your bum? Personal. Wizard divining your future? Personal. Wizard casting a restore corpse spell so that the children can see their mother instead of her mangled remains? Personal. Blacksmith asking for a crafter's fortune spell so he can make a special piece so that he wont fall in disgrace? Personal.
    Those are a few examples of things that could be very personal. That's why i think this would fit in the merlinic oath.
    - Geas sounds good. Quest of redemption sounds good as well but i think they'll need to put a geas on the offender anyway to make sure he does what he's supposed to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Non-Empire Groups:
    The great basin is just really arid desert-like terrain. I figure the fusang probably wouldn't have reached that far inland yet beyond some scouting.
    A quick search tells me that the people living there were the Shoshone, Ute, Paiute and Mono tribes.
    Do you have something in mind for them?

    Oh, and Yellowstone is relatively close to the Great Basin. Well, on the map it seems relatively close. The Arches national park is there as well. And Bryce Canyon national park. And Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. And some others.
    In fact, looking at this list there are a lot of national parks around the Great Basin area, most of them for a good reason. Maybe do something with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Percussion Caps:
    Oooh, good point there. Hadn't thought of that.
    Little research says they mention black powder and water, but not anything about wet weather. I suppose it's a question of if the weapon should be unusable, or if it should just be weaker in such conditions. Without some sort of magical effect/protection in place, at least.
    Making it weaker would be weird. Either the black powder ignites and you shoot the gun or it doesn't ignite and you don't shoot.
    Maybe make the shot take longer? In wet weather shooting a gun goes from a standard action to a full round action or something like that?

    Egyptians

    I'm with Palanan and Sir Augusta on this one. I vote against Egyptians.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I'm with Palanan and Sir Augusta on this one. I vote against Egyptians.
    I am throwing my vote behind it. Most of what I had heard of this concept came from someone else reading of it, so I thought that it would be an interesting way to do a dungeon in the Grand Canyon. After looking further into the story, I agree that it wouldn't work.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    So, a couple of thoughts on Columbia, in particular a suggestion about New Amsterdam. Ordinarily it would have long since changed hands to the English, but I'd suggest keeping it as New Amsterdam--perhaps a free city-state on the island of Manhattan, surrounded by English holdings.

    This occurred to me because I've just picked up an intriguing book: The Island at the Center of the World, which examines the early colony of New Netherland. Here's the quote that caught my eye:

    Founded by the Dutch, this tiny community on the edge of the wilderness supported a staggering array of peoples--Norwegians, Germans, Italians, free and slave Africans, Jews, Bohemians, Mohawk Indians, and more.

    According to the book, New Netherland followed the lead of Amsterdam, described as "Europe's most liberal city," and placed a premium on free trade and personal liberty. This would make for quite a contrast with the more straitlaced English colonies, and as a cosmopolitan trading port it would stand out as a place where a hodgepodge of languages, races and cultures coexist in a sort of freewheeling tolerance.

    It would be a great city to set stories in, or to design a character who calls it home. I could see it being the leading city in Columbia, powered by free trade and holding its own against the larger colonies all around it.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-05-10 at 05:45 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I have actually been thinking something along those lines. Not the part about your New York changes, but the part about breaking the English monopoly on the east coast. I'd love to see Nieuw Nederland (New Netherlands) and Nya Sverige (New Sweden) in this setting.
    It would make Columbia a much more interesting place, an east coast dominated by English colonies is a bit too much of the same flavor.
    I'm not sure on making Nieuw Amsterdam (the correct Dutch term) an independant city state though. It's a bit early to start for a revolution. And if it were time for a revolution it would be much more interesting to let the players actually take part in these revolutions. Columbia could be firmly in the hands of the colonial powers and the colonies of several nations are working together against some of the Native threats, but because they start working closer together and learning from each other they also start to wonder why they are ruled by people from across the ocean.
    Et voila, instant boatload of plot hooks.


    Oh, and something interesting i found out today: the Knights Hospitaller of Malta also owned a couple of Islands in the Carribean. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a catholic military order doing their thing on those islands? They have their roots in taking care for poor, sick or injured people. That would make them fit in nicely with the natives and their problems with European diseases.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post
    I have actually been thinking something along those lines. Not the part about your New York changes, but the part about breaking the English monopoly on the east coast. I'd love to see Nieuw Nederland (New Netherlands) and Nya Sverige (New Sweden) in this setting.
    It would make Columbia a much more interesting place, an east coast dominated by English colonies is a bit too much of the same flavor.
    You know, I think I actually did refer to it as "New Amsterdam" when I drew the map of Tuniitaq. (I'm not sure why I put it on that map, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
    I totally support the idea of tossing more European powers into the mix. I was actually wondering if people would want to play in Columbia, since it's got so little to set it apart from actual history.

    On a related note, how does the thread feel about referring to the European colonies as "Nova Europa" or soimething similar, to avoid confusion with the modern-day country of Colombia? Just a thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post
    Oh, and something interesting i found out today: the Knights Hospitaller of Malta also owned a couple of Islands in the Carribean. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a catholic military order doing their thing on those islands? They have their roots in taking care for poor, sick or injured people. That would make them fit in nicely with the natives and their problems with European diseases.
    I like this a lot. I feel like the Scarred Monks (and by extension, the Church as a whole) have kind of been relegated to "villain" status, and these guys could be a nice counter to that.

    Percussion caps
    Maybe weather-affecting spells just increase the likelihood that the gun will misfire? I'm willing to bet there will be magical ways to counteract this, too. They could be cast on the weapon itself, to make it unaffected by the ambient weather; or there could be an alchemical gunpowder that works fine in all weather; or there could be enchanted powder-horns which keep all powder stored in them nice and dry, even for a few minutes after it leaves the horn (potentially allowing it to be fired underwater?).

    Anasazi
    At first I wasn't sure about the idea (I was pretty attached to my "Barsoom" plot-hook), but I've grown fond of the idea. It definitely has merit, and whoever-it-was had merit when the pointed out that the Tuniit and Cahokia survived, so the Anasazi might, too.
    Oooh, what if they built spider-silk suspension-bridges across the canyons, or wove it into rope-ladders, after they learned the trick of spinning it from old Spider Grandmother?

    Non-Empire Groups
    I feel like a lot of these could be covered under the posts for other regions. For example, the Iroquois could be covered under Columbia, because they had more trade with the French and English than the Cahokian League, and they had a significant influence on early American government.
    We could give the non-empire groups their own post/thread, but then we're just arbitrarily grouping a lot of unrelated groups from totally different regions together because they're slightly smaller than other groups. I feel like geography is the only way to organize this, even it we have to draw some arbitrary lines in the sand to do it.

    Tuniit
    What if we refer to the culture as "the Tuniit", and to the giants (not all of whom are part of the Tuniit culture) as "the Giant-blooded"? (I know I said that sounded too much like the witchblood earlier, but I really can't think of any other name for them, other than "the Big Folk", which doesn't sound quite right to me.)
    The Tuniit would be a blend of proto-eskimo shamanism, Norse technology, and French language, or something along those lines. They're really like a big, cultural sponge.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    On a related note, how does the thread feel about referring to the European colonies as "Nova Europa" or soimething similar, to avoid confusion with the modern-day country of Colombia? Just a thought.
    I'm in favor of changing the name.
    For me it reminds me too much of the country Columbia. Not the state: i'm Belgian, i didn't even know there was a state named Columbia until a few months ago.
    I'm not sure about Nova Europa though, it sounds a bit weird. And i don't see a reason why people would want that name.

    One other thing i wanted to bring up about Columbia (i'll use it as a working-title): the Papal States.
    The Popes used to have a sizable part of Italy under direct control and fought several wars with other Italian states for control of the peninsula.
    But in Crossroads the church has a lot more power, so maybe they are able to win some more of those wars. Or they have some more diplomatic control over the peninsula. Whatever the reason, the Papal States can definatly be powerfull and rich enough to start some of their own colonies.
    That would put the influence of the Pope very close to the people of the new world. The pope could appoint a representative to rule in his place.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    I like this a lot. I feel like the Scarred Monks (and by extension, the Church as a whole) have kind of been relegated to "villain" status, and these guys could be a nice counter to that.
    I did some more research and it turns out they only held the items for 14 years (1651 - 1665) until monetary problems forced them to sell the islands to France.
    We can still make this work though, with a little monetary aid from the pope they can probably hang on to those islands.
    Or, if we decide to add Papal colonies, they could be partly ruling those colonies. That might even fit a bit better. They sell the islands like it happened historically, but are later asked by the pope for support in the new Papal colonies. Their knowledge in treating wounded and diseased people would be very valuable in Vespuccia.
    After the Knights reach Vespuccia they somehow find out about the Midewiwin and start dealing with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Anasazi
    At first I wasn't sure about the idea (I was pretty attached to my "Barsoom" plot-hook), but I've grown fond of the idea. It definitely has merit, and whoever-it-was had merit when the pointed out that the Tuniit and Cahokia survived, so the Anasazi might, too.
    Oooh, what if they built spider-silk suspension-bridges across the canyons, or wove it into rope-ladders, after they learned the trick of spinning it from old Spider Grandmother?
    The bridges sound nice, they probably would develop some sort of elevator system as well if they have access to strong rope.

    Another idea i had that we could use for them: Wind Mages.
    The Anasazi build something in their cliff cities (A monolith perhaps?) wich allows them a great deal of control over the winds in that canyon. That's what makes their cliff cities almost impenetrable fortressess. Stones dropped from above or arrows shot from above at the city will just be blown away. Even cannonballs can be somewhat deflected, but not by much.
    The Anasazi man the rope bridges and because of their life on the bridges they are able to stay on them in very strong winds while potential invaders will be pushed off.

    During droughts they often use their power over wind to call down moist air into their canyon where it forms a fog that drips down the rocks and into large water reservoirs. It's how they survived the little ice age.

    Anasazi raiding parties often venture into the Great Plains. They usually go during tornado season and stay around the 'Tornado Alley' area. There they read the winds and either influence them to become tornadoes or predict when tornadoes will form.
    After that they can roughly direct the tornado in the diretion they want. They send the tornado ahead of them to blow away potential defenders of camps or cities. After that they swoop in and start looting.

    I'm somewhat tempted to have them kill Dire Bats for their wings and use those as a way to glide through the canyons that have a monolith. And i mean only through those canyons, as soon as they fly above the canyon they start losing control over the wings and either crash or glide to the ground.
    I'm not sure this would fit with the theme since all fly spells have been removed. Wich is something i love about the setting and i wouldn't want to see changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Non-Empire Groups
    I feel like a lot of these could be covered under the posts for other regions. For example, the Iroquois could be covered under Columbia, because they had more trade with the French and English than the Cahokian League, and they had a significant influence on early American government.
    We could give the non-empire groups their own post/thread, but then we're just arbitrarily grouping a lot of unrelated groups from totally different regions together because they're slightly smaller than other groups. I feel like geography is the only way to organize this, even it we have to draw some arbitrary lines in the sand to do it.
    The Iroquois, sure. But doing things like placing Russian Alaska under Tuniitaq where it would fit geographically is probably a bit weird.
    Or grouping the Anasazi under some other place wich would give the impression that they are part of that area while they are a fiercely independant people locked between 3 larger neighbours.
    Making a post that says 'Unaligned' or something like that would probably work. They aren't arbitrarily grouped together, they just happen to be listed under one title but it's pretty clear they're not allied to each other.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    I'd love to see Nieuw Nederland (New Netherlands) and Nya Sverige (New Sweden) in this setting.
    Agreed, on both counts. They'd make for an interesting contrast with the surrounding English colonies.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    I'm not sure on making Nieuw Amsterdam (the correct Dutch term) an independant city state though. It's a bit early to start for a revolution.
    Not sure what you mean by the second sentence. A revolution wouldn't be necessary, not for what's essentially the continuation of a substantial period of historical settlement. We're extending the lifespan of Cahokia and the Mayan states (among others) by many centuries, so keeping New Netherland around a little longer isn't that much of a stretch.

    As for rule by the Dutch, I could see the city itself as developing much like Venice: an island-based, trade-driven economy, which owes nominal fealty to the Netherlands--much as Venice considered itself part of the surviving Roman empire--but in practice self-governing and essentially independent.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Columbia could be firmly in the hands of the colonial powers and the colonies of several nations are working together against some of the Native threats, but because they start working closer together and learning from each other they also start to wonder why they are ruled by people from across the ocean.
    And an functionally independent New Netherland colony could lead the way.

    Really, I wouldn't think your idea of intercolonial cooperation would conflict at all with a multi-ethnic, anything-goes freeport on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. New Netherland would be the perfect place for representatives from the other colonies to meet, formally and informally--and naturally it would be a hotbed of espionage and skullduggery as well. Talk about plot hooks, yah?



    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Oh, and something interesting i found out today: the Knights Hospitaller of Malta also owned a couple of Islands in the [Caribbean]. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a catholic military order doing their thing on those islands?
    Very interesting indeed, and I'd love to know which islands. My first question, though, is why they weren't doing something like this in actual history. Did they simply not pay much attention to their Caribbean possessions?

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    On a related note, how does the thread feel about referring to the European colonies as "Nova Europa" or soimething similar, to avoid confusion with the modern-day country of Colombia?
    Columbia actually sounded fine to me, very evocative of that alternate-history feel I enjoy so much.

    But if you really want to change it, I'd avoid Nova Europa. It sounds a little too strained, and I agree with Steckie that there's no clear reason why anyone living in the colonies would want to use it.

    Besides, whatever happened to Vespuccia? That was the name which first drew my interest to this project, and it was used for about the first 25 pages of the first thread. Is the continent still known as Vespuccia, at least to the Europeans?

    If not, for whatever reason, there are other names to try--such as Verrazzania, after Giovanni da Verrazzano; or Terra Nova, which was the early Portuguese name for Newfoundland, and which could have been extended southwards as a conveniently Latin-sounding term. Or, something like Santa Mariana, since the Spanish had named the Chesapeake as Bahia de Santa Maria, which might have spread north--or perhaps simply La Florida, which for the Spanish originally encompassed the entire Atlantic seaboard from the Florida Keys clear up to Newfoundland.

    There are a lot of historical options to choose or extrapolate from; but absent any strong argument for any of them, I'd say Columbia is fine.

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    Sorry for the long silence, with mother's day weekend and all the cooking/baking/visiting family, I haven't had time to really make any serious posts.

    Little Folk
    I didn't have time for postings, but I did have time to finish the Little Folk race!
    I'm really proud of these guys, but there are certainly a few things I'd like the thread-people to weigh in on, so go check out the thread and comment there!
    some of the topics:
    Wind Folk and their limited flight ability.
    The 'Strong as a Dwarf' Ability. Should it be universal?
    The little folk language 'Fae'.
    I will say, I really, really wanna play some of these dudes. A wiing hunter, a lady menehune brute...

    Phoenixes:
    No need to apologize for what you like, dude.
    I could imagine a sort of 'don't interfere' general policy around the phoenixes.
    If there are no objections, i will declare it finished.

    Hisatsinom (Anasazi)
    Man, this is stirrin' up a bunch of ideas.
    Okay, so, we'll say the hisatsinom culture survived into the modern age. We can either have them exists as a distinct cultural region around four corners and west to nevada, or we can merge them with the existing pueblo cultures and have them occupy the entire southwest region. A lot of the modern pueblo tribes are descended directly from the hisatsinom groups.
    We could still have a particular tribe or group that did the whole 'barsoom' thing, it just wouldn't be the entire civilization.

    Spiders
    I really like the idea of bridges spanning canyons to allow for multilevel and dual-faced cities, and I think the only way to have that accomplished is either through spiders or through imported incan ropes. and I doubt the incan traders are that generous.
    Now, I see two ways for spiders to work out.
    Option one: giant spiders, about medium size, that live and work with the hisatsinom groups, either via domestication or by being intelligent, independant organisms. I could see them working sort of like llamas, they're not strong enough to be ridden, but they can carry reasonable loads and they can leave silk ropes for the people to climb after them. It may be a challenge to feed large carnivores like that, though, particularly because the pueblo cultures are mostly agricultural, not animal-raising.
    Option two: Regular spiders. The hisatsinom sanctify spiders and live in close proximity with them to manage insect populations. Then some priests develop the ability to control swarms of the spiders, and start to use them to create silken fibers. They can make rope this way, out of thousands of individual strands, that's stronger and lighter than anything previously known. The new ropes allow them to make bridges across the canyons they call home and stronger ladders to go up and down the walls. Oh, and there may or may not be traditional spider webs spaced between the vertical ropes on the bridges, to feed the large populations of spiders that are needed to make all this rope.

    Winds
    I think you're looking in the right direction, but you may have just taken it a little too far down the road. I could certainly see their priests regarding wind and air very highly. I could imagine one of the standard city defenses being a wind wall cast over the cliff face to deflect arrows and bullets. I could even imagine using magic to fill reservoirs, though I'm not certain about using fog to do it. But conjuring tornadoes as part of regular warfare? Flying through the valleys on severed dire bat wings? Monoliths of control winds? Takin' it a little far. I mean, we're already considering giving them a major technological advantage through the spider silk, you may just be asking a bit much.

    Egyptians
    Alright, no Egyptians. It's decided. If we still want to have something like that, though, it would be easy enough to have some hisatsinom group leave something similar with different overtones.

    Dragon Descendants (Yilong)
    I'd like to reiterate these guys are not just going to be half-dragons or dragonborn. At the surface, they're just gifted humans who have some unusual abilities depending on their dragon ancestor. However, they have a pretty extensive feat-set that allows them to unlock portions of their draconic heritage one at a time. So, for example, scales of the dragon. You take it, and you get a +1 natural armor bonus to AC, or you can activate the feat to gain a bonus equal to the number of yilong feats you possess. But while that's active you couldn't activate an of the other yilong feats, and there's also the discretion angle on it, too.

    Tuniit
    Yeah, giant-blooded just sounds weird. I would say we could get something translated, but there's no dorset language to use... Stupid history.

    Merlinic Oath
    -Ehh, now that's just too vague. Maybe there's a set point, like second-level spellcasting? Ooh, perhaps the level of spell you can use is used as part of your rank among merlinic wizards? Like, 'mage of the 4th circle' would mean you can use 4th level spells. so you'd be required to take an apprentice upon reaching 2nd or 3rd circle. Could go the other, way, though, so 9th-circle is 1st level and 1st-circle is 9th level spells.
    -I don't think wizards have the spells to cure the warts on yer bum. But I suppose I could see something about not divulging client's names. It probably wouldn't be as strict as it is with doctors, though.
    -Probably true enough.
    -Oh, how should the merlinic wizards deal with violence? Is it wrong to use your magic to attack or kill? What about self-defense? Maybe they can only use magic to attack nonhumans? What about getting involved in warfare?

    Independent Groups
    It seems to me like there's points on both sides of the argument. We've got... five areas, I think, that would go in an independent area post.

    Percussion Caps:
    I don't really see how it would take longer for the shot to go off. If it's wet enough to slow the powder's ignition, it would be too wet to fire at all. There's a minimum speed for the powder to go off at in order for the explosion to be powerful enough to propel the bullet.
    So, I suppose wet weather would just make it impossible to fire a firearm. We should have an enchantment that makes the gun maintain an air bubble effect, for just such a reason.

    New Amsterdam
    I would have to agree, I don't think that it would be completely independent from the dutch at this point in history. It could be largely independent of it's owner-state, but it wouldn't be truly, officially independent at this hour. I do definitely like the idea of the city itself, being very diverse and multicultural.

    More European Powers
    Well, it's certainly an interesting addition. I'm not certain how realistic it is, but it's something to think about. Where would these areas fit into Columbia?

    Columbia Rename
    Hmm. Well, I'm always open to new ideas. I'm not sold on Nova Europa, though. What else do we have?
    There isn't a US state called Columbia. There's the District of Columbia, but that's not technically a state.
    I think we eventually decided that Vespuccia was a bit nerdy for the setting name as a whole, since only history-nerds would get the reference. Plus it was euro-centric. I suppose it could be re-purposed as a collective name for the colonies as a whole.
    We could just call it 'The Colonies', too.
    I like Columbia just fine, though. I mean, if we really want to change the name, I'll do it, but I think this works fine.

    Papal States/Knights Hospitalier
    Hmm, a church-controlled state seems like it would definitely fit into the setting. So, around the end of the black plague, funded by donations from every nobleman in the continent that was saved by their priests, the church takes official control over the Italian states, uniting the peninsula under their control. Not only do they have the full resources of a sizable country, they have funding from donations all across europe, and great deal of influence on their neighbor's leaders. Though, would the church still have this influence if the other leaders actually viewed the church in the same light as they do their rival countries?
    Still, the church is rich enough to start founding colonies here and there. I don't think they'd be able to afford any real land on the mainland, but they could probably buy a couple of Caribbean islands. Perhaps one could still be run by the knights hospitalier. Could be something of a destination, even, where they absorb medical knowledge and techniques from all sorts of different sources, even native groups, and can dispatch healers all around the new world to deal with outbreaks or powerful figures who become ill.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Maybe set up the Knights as a force within the Church that is opposed to the Inquisition? To the Knights, the Inquisition and the Scarred Monks are power hungry, ambitious, and far too influential.

    Hrmmm...gimmie a bit and I'll think up some backstory for them.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Okay so.

    The Knights Hospitallier are the last of the great Knightly orders founded during the crusades. After Constantinoples fell to Saladin's armies it seemed like it was inevitable that the Ottomans would continue westward. The Holy See ordered the Knights to stand as a bastion to defend Christendom against outsiders. The Knights steeled themselves for a great battle that never came. However, over the years they have grown powerful. Noblemen are fond of donating wealth, soldiers, ships, and even their children to serve the Knights. The Knights studied how to fight all sorts of foes, both human and monstrous, magical and mundane.
    The idea was that, when the Ottomans DID begin a full scale invasion of Europe, the Knights would lead the armies of Europe against their enemies.

    However, as the years wore on, the great war never came.The Knights did their part, serving as advisors and lending elite troops to the frontlines, but before long the Knights settlted into a different role. Although the Tear above Pompeii was weakened, powerful monsters still roamed the lands, and the Knights took to the front lines to contain and defeat these dangerous beasts. The Knights also became adept diplomats. While they had been founded to battle the Ottomans, more and more they found themselves brokering peace.
    And then, the Inquisition came. While the Knights would intervene to defend people from magical creatures, the Inquisition actively hunted them. While the Knights would advise kings and lords, the Inquisition sought to control them. Especially distasteful to the Knights were the Scarred Monks. The Knights were not fanatically anti-arcane magic. In their early days (before the Inquisition banned arcane spellcasting) the Knights even counted many powerful mages among their number. The Knights were especially unnerved by the Scarred Monks, who the Knights saw as embodying the Inquistion's fanaticism and Ambition. However, by the time the Inquisition rose to power, the Knights were too weak to stop them.

    Unlike the inquisition, the Knights are capable of directly holding territory and raising troops. Knights frequently serve as bodyguards for Missionaries, seek out and slay especially dangerous beasts, and always remain vigilant for signs of Inquisitorial excess.


    The Knights view the inquisition as power hungry madmen. The Inquisition views the Knights as little more than toothless old dogs, as an order whose time has long since passed, and are no longer capable or willing of doing what they must.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    So, I just read the entire wikipedia article on the knights hospitaller, from the founding to the loss of Malta in 1798. I sort of assumed they were in the business of hospitals because of the name...
    Despite being initially founded to run a hospital to care for the sick and injured pilgrims in the holy land, the knights expanded into armed escort services, then became the largest religious military force next to the knights templar. they hung around, even after the templars got disbanded, and hopscotched around the Mediterranean from place to place, fighting ottomans. Eventually, after they got granted the island of Malta (for the rental price of one maltese falcon presented to the king each all saint's day), they fell into a slightly less dignified role. They declared themselves the police force of the Mediterranean, and began seizing any ottoman or barbary ships they found, and selling both cargo and crew, many growing rich and corrupt in the process.

    Now I'm no longer so sure where they would fit into the setting.

    So, let's say we keep most of the history intact. However, in our world, we have the papal state takeover. After the siege of Malta (1565, 40000 ottomans attacked the island, which had 700 knights and 8000 troops. They killed more than half the invading force before the ottomans gave up. There were only 600 men able to bear arms on the knights' side when the invaders surrendered) , they pledge their naval force to the papal state, which rapidly cements the church's control over the peninsula. The knights join the papal state as a sort of autonomous state. They're under the sovereignty of the pope, but they have most of their internal government intact. With the church's resources at their back, they don't run up into the money issues that drove them into the massive raiding/seizing/slaving operation in 16th and 17th centuries. They become the state's naval force. In 1651, they buy some islands in the Caribbean, and start using them as naval bases. After they get the deed to St. Croix, they step it up and start converting the island into a Malta-style naval fortress. This becomes the main seat of papal naval power in the region, and they take a number of the virgin islands, making several attempts on puerto rico, but the spanish maintain their hold.
    They are an extremely proud group, who view themselves as naval paladins, honorable and strong. They have a longstanding disagreement with the inquisition. The inquisitions fanaticism and methods repulse the knights, who view them as cowardly and abandoning the true principles of the church. The inquisition thinks they're dinosaurs, an out-of-touch band who are stuck in the past and unable to see the true nature of the battle against evil.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    That works fairly nicely.

    The Inquisition and the Knights both have Papal authority. Technically, the Knights are supposed to be guarding the church from external threats, while the Inquisition is supposed to be rooting out heresy, but those lines of jurisdiction are increasingly muddled, especially in the New World. Politically, the Inquisition is more powerful, but the Knights are well respected, and even Inquisitors are wary of leveling accusations against the Knights.

    Most people have a deep respect for the Knights. If an Inquisitor starts accusing Knights, then people are likely to begin doubting the Inquisitor.
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-05-13 at 08:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I would have to agree, I don't think that [New Amsterdam] would be completely independent from the dutch at this point in history. It could be largely independent of it's owner-state, but it wouldn't be truly, officially independent at this hour. I do definitely like the idea of the city itself, being very diverse and multicultural.
    This works for me, and the nuances of upper-level government aren't as important as the freewheeling diversity and the emphasis on trade, free thought and personal liberty. It makes for a dynamic city at the heart of the Atlantic colonies, sited on an excellent natural harbor and serving as the crossroads for every nationality and culture in the region.

    It would be pretty raucous down at the quays and jetties, but the local elites would want to show off their wealth by supporting cultural and intellectual endeavors, and the city would be a hotbed of scientific and philosophical inquiry.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I think we eventually decided that Vespuccia was a bit nerdy for the setting name as a whole, since only history-nerds would get the reference. Plus it was euro-centric.
    Maybe not for the entire setting, but there's no reason why European colonists wouldn't use a eurocentric name.

    Really, that would be their outlook. Bringing civilization to the savage wilderness and so on. It may not jibe with today's sensibilities, but that was very much the fundamental tone of the period, and those attitudes will be part of every colony on the Atlantic seaboard.

    And Vespuccia would make sense from their perspective, as a term for the landmass widely popularized by Vespucci. Most of the native peoples they encountered wouldn't have a competing term, because they wouldn't have the same concept of the continent as a whole. Local placenames, yes--but most of the Indian cultures were very localized, and only had a hazy idea of the geography more than a few days' travel away. For the Europeans coming from the east, Vespuccia is as good a name for the continent as any.

    As for a name for the colonies themselves, "Columbian colonies" would probably work fine for English daily use, which would be modified as needed by other languages--the Portuguese would likely call them "os Columbos", for instance. The term for all the settlements--English, Dutch, Swedish, probably French and maybe Spanish further south--would really depend on who's speaking, but some version of "Vespuccian colonies" would probably cover everything on the Atlantic coast.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I like the idea of keeping New Amsterdam Dutch. We'll need a good reason why the British have not taken it, but it works.
    IIRC, the Dutch basically ran all their new-world colonies like trading posts, which was fine when it was a few merchants and a small garrison, but it did not provide enough infrastructure to handle a city as large and complex as New Amsterdam. That could explain the semi-independence, the colonial government was forced to build it's own bureaucracy and infrastructure,It's been a few years since I wrote that paper on the fall of New Amsterdam, but I could try to do some research and concoct a narrative about why the colony did not fall.


    Also, fun fact, I'm apparently descended from Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor of New Amsterdam.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Not sure what you mean by the second sentence. A revolution wouldn't be necessary, not for what's essentially the continuation of a substantial period of historical settlement. We're extending the lifespan of Cahokia and the Mayan states (among others) by many centuries, so keeping New Netherland around a little longer isn't that much of a stretch.

    As for rule by the Dutch, I could see the city itself as developing much like Venice: an island-based, trade-driven economy, which owes nominal fealty to the Netherlands--much as Venice considered itself part of the surviving Roman empire--but in practice self-governing and essentially independent

    And an functionally independent New Netherland colony could lead the way.

    Really, I wouldn't think your idea of intercolonial cooperation would conflict at all with a multi-ethnic, anything-goes freeport on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. New Netherland would be the perfect place for representatives from the other colonies to meet, formally and informally--and naturally it would be a hotbed of espionage and skullduggery as well. Talk about plot hooks, yah?.
    What i meant to say is that they shouldn't have a formal declaration of independence yet. I may have been a bit unclear about that.
    I agree with you that they should owe nominal fealty to their mother country, but act mostly independant. They probably still pay a substantial amount of taxes. That way they still have the protection of the Dutch navy.

    And despite not liking what i've heard about New York, i already love Nieuw Amsterdam

    Hisatsinom

    Probably best to merge the pueblo tribes, things would get very confusing if we didn't.
    Maybe base them a bit on the Greek city-states?
    Let's keep it historical until the 1200's when they historically died out. They survived but a lot of tensions started to arise between the various Cliff Cities. Somewhere in the 1400's things got really bad and the many wars led to a few famines. Out of desperation the Cliff Cities started working more closely together, signing peace treaties left and right. Things became peacefull for a while, but after a few decades there were new tensions over who was to lead the Cliff City Alliance.
    War was averted by a great priest who declared that the spirits have told him they should all work together and found a city in the holiest and biggest canyon there is. Each city sends a group of colonists and builders to help with the efforts and marriage between people from different cities is encouraged.
    They build a huge council chambers and each city sends a councillor to represent them. After a while the voice of Grand Canyon City starts becoming the voice people listen to. Their population increases until they are by far the largest Cliff City. Every Cliff City is still independant, but very much tied into the political system through alliances, trade agreements and marriages.

    We do need a better name for Grand Canyon City. Ongtupqa is the Hopi word for the Grand Canyon, maybe use that?

    And i like the second spider option, the swarms.

    Wind Mages

    I see your points, and i agree that the bat wing flying took it too far.
    Oh, and i meant to use those monoliths as a means to fill up the reservoirs, that's where the fog comes in. The monoliths are a tool the priests use to draw moist air down into the canyons where it forms a fog. That fog makes water drops on cliff walls, where it follows the paths carved out by the city builders into the reservoirs. A monolith doesn't control the winds, it is a form of climate control. It could even be the source of that wind wall spell over the city.

    Conjuring tornadoes probably took it too far again.
    But how about directing existing tornadoes? Not in a very precise way, they can't turn one around, but they can deflect it a bit in a certain direction.
    Maybe they 'farm' something from those tornadoes?
    Sorry to go on about the tornadoes like this but i'm imagining a group of players in a 'storm chasers' scenario where they roam the plains while avoiding Cahokian war parties. They 'hunt' down storm systems that look like they are forming a tornado and then either 'farm' the tornado on the spot or herd the tornado back to a place where it can be 'farmed'.

    Merlinic Oath
    - The circles sound good.
    - You're right, it shouldn't been as strict as a doctor's oath. But they should still be considered discrete.
    - Violence is probably pretty common. I assumed Merlinic wizards are often used in wars. Or as protection against Church wizards. Why not make them subject to the normal laws about violence and murder, alhtough their punishments should probably be different.

    Knights Hospitaller

    I like the story so far. But maybe 4 islands isn't enough for them to have an effect on the setting? Maybe some more islands? Or a small part of Mainland Vespuccia?
    And how about they sell their rights to Malta to the pope entirely? They use the money to bolster their army and navy. They also go back to their hospitaller roots of protecting and healing christian pilgrims in a heathen land.

    One question: if these guys are some sort of naval paladins, who are their main opponents? And what effect will they have on the Mainland?
    We could move the end date of the Golden Age of Piracy a bit. The European powers have less control over the coasts surrounding the Carribean, so pirates have a much easier time to hide or resupply.
    That would give the Knights something to hunt. And it gives DM's a chance to run pirate campaigns, those are pretty popular.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steckie View Post

    Knights Hospitaller

    I like the story so far. But maybe 4 islands isn't enough for them to have an effect on the setting? Maybe some more islands? Or a small part of Mainland Vespuccia?
    And how about they sell their rights to Malta to the pope entirely? They use the money to bolster their army and navy. They also go back to their hospitaller roots of protecting and healing christian pilgrims in a heathen land.

    One question: if these guys are some sort of naval paladins, who are their main opponents? And what effect will they have on the Mainland?
    We could move the end date of the Golden Age of Piracy a bit. The European powers have less control over the coasts surrounding the Carribean, so pirates have a much easier time to hide or resupply.
    That would give the Knights something to hunt. And it gives DM's a chance to run pirate campaigns, those are pretty popular.
    Just because they only hold a few islands does not mean they don't have considerable influence.

    I see them working like the inquisition, operating within the borders of other nations. They're seen as a neutral party, a Knight's ship will be just as welcome in a French or Spanish port. Heck, if they managed to stay neutral through the Reformation, they could easily be welcome in Dutch or English colonies as well.

    The Knights don't really claim territory, and have little in the way of a larger political agenda (besides "Keeping an eye on those Inquisition types" and "Protecting the faithful") they can set up outposts more-or-less anywhere without getting into too much trouble. Plus, they're out there serving as bodyguards to missionaries. Generally speaking, the Knights are non-threatening, perhaps even comforting. They're not going to usurp your power or conquer your villages.

    "New Malta" or whatever serves as a training area and staging ground for the Knights. Individual Knights are welcome just about anywhere (Except the Triple Alliance, and perhaps some of the more intensely puritan English colonies).

    Their power is more in respect and reputation than in massive armies. The Knights don't make demands of Governors or generals, but when they speak, you listen. Politically speaking, refusing the counsel of a Knight Hospitallier is a bad move. The Knights themselves won't mention it, but everybody else will wonder why you refused the assistance of the stalwart defenders of the faith.

    They're generally seen as being "Above" the games of politics and power, and that reputation is what makes them such effective players.

    That said, they walk a fine line. If they're too passive, they risk being forgotten and losing their influence. If they're too aggressive, then they are seen as just another group of politicians pushing their agenda.

    A big part of the Knight's success in the new world is that, while they do guard missionaries, they are not missionaries themselves. They obey the local laws to the best of their abilities and within the bounds of their mission, regardless if those laws are written in Spanish, Latin, or Chinese. The Knights are one of the few groups that can go just about anywhere unmolested by local authorities, and while they may be viewed with suspicion, they're generally welcome as long as they don't cause trouble, which they rarely do.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Ahhh, I love the smell of new posts in the morning.

    Little Folk
    Just reminding folks they're posted, and I'd love some commentary on them.

    Knights Hospitaller
    Man, these guys are a popular topic!
    I like the idea of the knights being sort of 'above reproach' by the inquisition. They've served the church faithfully since the crusades, fighting the good fight. Their leader was at one point (It may have just been the one guy, or it may be attached to the leadership position), both a prince of the holy roman empire and a religious authority equal to a cardinal, and at least one was declared a Defender of the Faith by the pope. This is pretty much what a D&D paladin order would look like in the real world.

    I don't think the number of islands is all that important. Saint Croix is aout 2/3 the size of Malta, and they did a dang fine job operating out of the one island.
    I don't think they would sell malta. Firstly, because they've been there for like 200 years, and a lot of them have native wives and families there. Secondly, I don't think they would be allowed to by the terms of their agreement with Sicily.
    I had considered taking them back to their roots, but I find it unlikely that they would just abandon the military tradition that's kept them alive so far. We could have a resurgence of the three branches, though. Originally, they were divided into three distinct classes of brother. There were the military brothers, the brothers infirmarians, and the brothers chaplains. New Malta could have all three groups represented in their numbers. There could well be a great hospital within the walls of New Malta, or perhaps they established it on another pone of the islands.
    As to their opponents, they order had big rule about not going to war with any other catholic nation. so, they wuldn't be fighting Spain or France, though they might clash with the English, though it's less likely. They could certainly fight native ships and pirates. I am definitely in support of extending the age of piracy, because hell yes, pirates.

    The nights were pretty tolerant of other branches of christianity, it seems, as they were still on friendly terms with the English after the reformation. Though, that could well be different if they became part of the papal state.
    The knights do have territory, though they probably wouldn't be taking it from other european forces. They're not an invasion threat (unless you happen to not be a heathen) so they would be relatively non-threatening in european ports of all kinds.
    I could see the nights continuing their escort operations, their ships providing escort to cargo ships and anything from the papal state, and actual knights on the ground to escort priests and holy men in the new world.

    A side note: I think an awesome thing to add to these guys would be falconry. Like, every full-fledged knight gets a maltese falcon companion. We could even make these falcons extra-awesome, with some sort of unusual features. Maybe they're even a little divine, like a celestial falcon or something. Hmm. Perhaps it's a feat, or part of a prestige class? Or perhaps you need the feat 'Oath of the Hospitallers' to get into the prestige class later.

    New Amsterdam
    I really like the idea of the city, but as mentioned, we will need a reason the english never took it. I look forward to hearing what you come up with, BRC, I'll do a little research myself and see what I can find.

    [B]On Vespuccia[/B
    Hence why we changed the name of the setting.

    I'm not arguing it's not a suitable name for the continent for european use. Perhaps they use Vespuccia to refer to the continent, and columbia to refer to the European-settled portions. Or, you know, whatever their language would translate that as. I think we'll stick to calling them Columbia in the thread, and just assume auto-translate is applied, the same way we refer to Jade Harbor, not Feicui Gangwan.

    Hisatsinom
    History
    I could see it going something like that. So, independant city-states, small wars until 1400, peace treaties are made to stop all-out war. Tensions grow as some states begin to act against the treaty, dissatisfied with their lack of a voice. They decide they need a singular leader, but nobody will agree to let anyone else hold the seat. they're on the edge of war, then they agree to create a new city. Marriages, agreements, everyone sends a few craftsmen to help build the city, and a few families to settle it. The new city elects a leader, and he becomes the head of the council. Initially, he's just leader in name, but as his city grows more and more populous and powerful, he becomes a much more powerful leader.
    Now, here's a question: Why doesn't this group join the cahokian league? Is it just pride? Are they simply that independant? Do they fight the cahokian league?

    Spiders
    The swarm idea does sound the more plausible of the two. Now, another question. Is this ability specific to the hisatsinom, or are they just more focused on it than other groups? Could anyone with a Summon Swarm spell use the spiders to make ropes? Is it a spell on its own? Or can you only do it with a particular prestige class?

    Wind
    I get the monolith was supposed to use the fog, but I'm saying I don't think the fog's a valid way of doin' it. I mean, even modern science struggles to create structures that can harness fog into significant amounts of drinkable water, and they use fancy devices that air flows through, with hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials. A simple fog pushed against a solid stone surface is an extremely inefficient way to do it. Even if they had a system to channel all the fog-water into a single reservoir with no loss along the route, it would still only be gathering a tiny fraction of the fog, as 90% of it would never hit the surface, being held back by the compression of the air that does hit it.
    I could see the monolith doing the wind wall, though. That would be the sort of thing you'd want a magic item to do, rather than having a caster with variable strength do it.

    I think directing a tornado is still a bit much. Even control weather, a 7th level spell, doesn't let you do that. You'd need a near-epic caster to do it, and what would you do with it? What would they 'farm' from the tornadoes? Wind energy? Some sort of spirit? Elemental air? I mean, I can't think of anything worth the risk of putting an epic caster in the path of a tornado.

    Grand Canyon
    I did a little research on this one. While the top parts are as much as 18 miles apart, there's a much narrower inner canyon, which could be close enough to bridge with the spiderweb bridges in places. It would still be quite a gap, hundreds of feet. Researching the inca bridges, says the most impressive one was 148 feet or so. Now, spiderweb bridges could probably span further than that, but there's the issue of repair. I think the main ropes could just be maintained by a once- or twice-annual casting of the spider-control thing to make them reinforce it. But they would have to replace the wooden sections that are walked on, which would probably be quite dangerous. Maybe it could be done in concert with the spider-reinforcement, as I believe the wooden slats would have to be webbed into the structure, rather than just slid into holes in the web-rope.
    We should really try to find an actual spot in the grand canyon where we would place the city. I'd LOVE to be able to get some artwork of it sometime. Plus, there are certain features that would dramatically alter the way the city works. What if one is on a southern edge? That half of the city would never get any sun exposure. The width of the valley would also have an impact on just how separate the two sides are.
    Another point: Where do the farms go?

    Merlinic Oath
    -I don't know about warfare, though. I mean, their whole thing is about using their spellcasting to serve the people, and fighting for one of the nobles and using their magic to wipe out an army that consists of mostly drafted commoners would probably run counter to that.
    -You bring up a point about laws. This has potential. Is assault with magic a more serious crime than regular assault? Is a magic a weapon, or is it it's own, worse category? Are wizards even under common law, or are their crimes to be handled by a merlinic council of some sort?
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  23. - Top - End - #83
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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    The Knights are useful, because right now the only Church-aligned group is the Inquisition, which is a difficult option for heroic players.


    Anyway, as I imagine it. The Knights, and their oath to defend Christendom, predates the Reformation, and the Knights themselves have persevered over schisms and conflicting popes. As the Knights see it, while they are Catholics themselves, their oath applies equally to Catholics and Protestants. They don't wage war on Protestant nations, and will intervene to protect them from outside threats if need be. They serve the Papal State, but they see themselves as servants of God above all else.

    Also, in the New World, they have a strict, and well-known policy of Non Aggression when it comes to established powers. They are here to serve the will of the almighty, not fight the wars of men. They will intervene to defend Christians or preserve holy relics, but they are defenders, not crusaders. They'll gladly do battle with pirates, bandits, and monsters, but they do not seek conflict with legitimate powers, no matter the faiths involved. As they see it, declaring war against the Cahokians, or the Fusangese, or the Tuniit, on issues of faith alone would put far too many people in danger. The Knights see their role as defensive, they will not join in anything they see as an act of conquest or aggression. So, while they WOULD intervene to defend Spanish settlements from Aztec attacks, they would NOT join the conquistadores in their attempts to take Aztec cities. However, they WOULD attack the Aztecs in order to rescue christian prisoners, or if they felt a pre-emptive strike was their best option for eliminating the threat.
    Generally, their policy is that the best way to protect their charges (all Christians) is to avoid war when possible. Only Active threats (Pirates, Monsters, Bandits, Hostile armies) are their targets.
    They don't start wars, but they DO end them.
    Of course, this policy has only furthered the divide between the Knights and the Inquisition. The Knights see the Inquisition as turning Christians against each other in order to gain power. The Inquisition sees the Knights as neglecting their duties by tolerating heathens and heretics in order to keep their own hands clean.

    This policy is well known throughout the new world, and generally respected. I group of far-flung Knights could ride up to a Cahokian Mound, or a Tuniit Lodge, and not worry about being treated like an invasion force.

    The purpose of this is so that a PC Knight dosn't have to worry about being attacked as they wander the New World.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    On Phoenixes, yeah, that'll work. Maybe the Knights of Malta would be more inclined to work with them, though still rarely.

    On the subject of the Knights of Malta, everything put forth sounds great, especially the Maltese falcon animal companion and their primary role as diplomats rather than crusaders. Would be the type of character I'm naturally drawn to. It'll be nice to have some Church good guys.

    With the Pueblo-dwellers, the Grand Canyon would work, but I think it would be really cool to have one tribe that vanished. Someone mentioned abandoned observatories in the Rockies, which would be an awesome place to explore.

    As for the names of the land, I agree with the 'Vespuccia is the continent, and Columbia is the European-settled coastline' notion.

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller
    Man, I really like all the stuff that comes out of these guys. They're just a surprisingly cool group. Well, they are in this version.

    I do like the idea that the knights would be relatively welcomed, though I have to say I don't think they could go QUITE everywhere and expect to be treated warmly. I don't think the mexica would be overly fond of them, and cahokia would probably let them in like they would any other trading group. I don't think they would have had enough time to really make an impression on the fusangren, though, at least not much further north than San Diego. They've only really been in the seas for a hundred years or so, a much of that was trying to cement their presence in the Caribbean.

    I'm quite fond of the maltese falcon idea. I don't know what it would do, other than just being a fancy familiar, but it seems like it has a lot of potential! Apparently they were peregrine falcons, or rather, a subspecies thereof.

    I wouldn't say they're primarily diplomats, though. They seem to be taking on the role of defender more than diplomat. though, they probably have a fair number of those, too.

    Hisatsinom
    I beleive we can make the one tribe that vanished idea work. Plus, with a living culture still around, we have somebody who would actually be a ready-made quest giver. Instead of just poking around out of curiosity, now you're checking it out on the request of the local chief.

    Now, to unprompted topics:
    Columbia
    Since the conversation RE: fusang has more or less dried up for the moment, I'm willing to call it provisionally done and move on to Columbia as the official topic, since that seems to be where the conversation is headed anywho.

    So, we have a few steps. For one, identify the major players. We've gotta have England, France, and Spain. Portugal, too, though their holdings took a beating after getting expelled from Brasilia. The papal states have a presence, either through the knights or their own, official holdings. Then who were the two new suggested peoples? Dutch and Sweden? Starting to look a bit crowded, here... That's seven countries with various holdings in the new world, even if some of them are rather small.

    Races
    Well, with the little folk done (Just gonna leave that link there...), I'm turning my attention to the yilong and the tonal. I think I have a pretty solid concept for the tonal, but it may need a little extra to sweeten the pot a bit. Anyone got ideas? And I'm still not certain that people like the yilong idea in the first place.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Oh, I just looked at what. I'd typed. I meant to say that the Maltese Knights are not as aggressive as other groups, but I didn't mean to say they're primarily diplomats. I agree that they are mostly defenders.

    As for the Yilong, the dragon-descended people, I actually like the idea of a character who slowly develops draconic characteristics.
    Last edited by Sir Augusta; 2014-05-14 at 10:13 AM.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    As for Columbia, Portugal and the Papal States could have only a few islands, with nothing on the mainland. Maybe Portugal would focus on coastal African and Indonesian colonies instead. Spain would have Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Florida, and some more islands. France would have Quebec and (kind of) New Orleans, while England would have most everything in between Florida and Quebec. The Dutch would have just NYC (NAC), and iirc New Sweden was a small colony somewhere near the Maryland-Virginia border. I think it'd be cool if we kept it small, maybe one small city and a handful of towns and villages.

    On a related note, Maryland might have a stronger Church presence, though it would still probably be British.

    As for the vanished tribe, you could have the other tribes request that the players investigate their "star-gazing neighbors" who disappeared several decades (or even centuries) ago.

  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I think the French also have Haiti, and we can give the Spanish some mainland colonies in South Vesspuccia (perhaps competing with the portugese)
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  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Without Brazil, the Portuguese would focus on their long string of trading posts along the coast of Africa, leading to their trade and possessions further to the East. They would certainly have an interest in trading with the Columbian colonies, but likely no possessions on the Vespuccian mainland.

    Spain, on the other hand, might well hold territory from today's Miami up through Charleston or beyond, which they would refer to as La Florida. The Spanish were extremely aggressive about their territorial rights along the Atlantic Seaboard, and without dominance of Mesoamerica they would likely cling to as much of La Florida as possible, mainly from stubborn pride and a refusal to relinquish their last mainland holdings in the New World.

    It's worth mentioning that in the late 1580s, the Spanish had every intention of establishing a fortress on the southern mouth of the Chesapeake and claiming the entirety of the Bahia de Santa Maria for themselves. They had already explored much of the Chesapeake well before that time (many years before John Smith and the Jamestown colonists) and it was only the disaster of the Armada in 1588 that changed their plans. If the Armada never sailed in this timeline, then the Spanish might well have gone through with their plans to fortify the mouth of the Chesapeake, preventing the establishment of the Jamestown colony and establishing their own control over the Chesapeake instead.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-05-14 at 01:00 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    That could explain why New Amsterdam is still Dutch.

    Fears of Spanish aggression cause the English and the Dutch to sign a non-aggression (and perhaps even Mutual Defense) pact in the New World.

    In the Real World, the French and Indian war cost the English greatly, requiring them to take out massive loans from the Dutch.
    Perhaps in Crossroads, the agreement is that if the Spanish make a play for the Columbian colonies, the Dutch will finance the English war effort. In exchange, the Dutch get to hold onto New Amsterdam, and perhaps even get around some English taxes and embargos.

    In terms of Spanish holdings, I think we can give them an expanded hold in La Florida up to Charleston, with eyes on the Columbian colonies, and their profitable Tobacco fields, to the north. This means giving the Spanish two of the 13 colonies. However, I don't want to wipe out the English presence in the region.

    Mind you, just because the Spanish didn't take Mexico, does not mean they were not trying. They've been plenty focused on the ongoing wars with the Aztecs (Especially if the Inquisition was egging them on to wage war against the arcane-magic using, human sacrificing, guided-by-undead-kings super-heathen Aztecs).


    Edit:
    Or, here's another idea.

    So, England and the Netherlands were allies in the War of Spanish Succession.

    What if the English DID take over New York back in 1664, their ships sailed into the harbor, Peter Stuyvesant surrendered, ect ect.

    However, in the War of Spanish Succession, the Spanish launched an attack on the English colonies in Columbia (this is referred to as "Queen Anne's War", even though it's part of the War of Spanish Succession). The Spanish wanted more mainland presence, and with the War on, they saw the opportunity to seize the cities and tobacco plantations of Columbia for King Philip. In Crossroads, this meant the Spanish and French forces were both more numerous and more aggressive. Especially since the Natives are more powerful here, the French would not only be attacking from Quebec, they could be bringing in native mercenaries and allies to assault the English colonies.

    The English needed money to raise troops and ships in the New World, hire Mercenaries, bribe Native tribes away from the French, ect ect.
    They turn to the Dutch, who are already bearing the brunt of the war in Europe, who agree to give the English the support they need in exchange for New Netherlands, Now New York, Now New Netherlands again. With the additional support, the English are able to hold onto their colonies. While under Dutch Control, New Amsterdam is still culturally an English colony in many ways, and has close cultural and economic ties to the other English Colonies.

    Relevant Wikipedia Articles
    Queen Anne's War
    War of Spanish Succession


    Edit Edit: Alternatively, rather than selling New Amsterdam back to the Dutch, the English GIVE it to them, thus giving the Dutch a stake in Columbia, motivating them to get involved in Queen Anne's War.
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-05-14 at 01:32 PM.
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