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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Worldshards: A Factionalized Setting

    Okay, so Iíve lately gotten an idea for a card game, not unlike Magic: The Gathering or its estranged cousin Duel Masters. The basic premise is that thereís four factions, plus a number of neutral combatants, battling for dominance and occasionally making alliances with forces of the other factions to achieve their goal. There are two steps to this thread: One step will be building the factions, the other step will be building the world, and the conflict of the setting. This particular thread will not be able building the actual rules for the card game, except as they pertain to worldbuilding.

    The reason Iím posting this here is because I want input on my worldbuilding Ė and help with keeping it from being too derivative of MtG.

    The Four Factions:

    Each faction is marked by a color, and named after a gemstone: Diamond (white), Onyx (black), Ruby (red), and Sapphire (blue). Neutral parties go by green. Each faction is based off a different core philosophy, much like in MtG. This philosophy will be the founding principle of their culture, and the faction-specific races.

    Diamond:
    Diamondís core philosophy is civilization. They represent the principle of refinement, community, purity, and complexity. They are the most civilized of the four factions, and their races and aesthetics reflect that Ė they have a lot of magitek, of sorts Ė as well as complex magical constructs like golems.

    Onyx:
    Onyxís core philosophy is chaos. More than anything else, they represent the primeval, the chaotic, the individualistic. They represent nature in its purest state Ė unbridled chaos. They donít rely on technology as much as the other factions, instead turning to pure magic for their societyís needs. Their races include shadowlings (creatures born of dark magic itself), vampires, and undead.

    Ruby:
    Rubyís core philosophy is emotion. Ruby is founded on feelings, pure and simple, from empathy to ambition. They wear their hearts on their sleeves with pride, and let their hearts decide their actions. Like Onyx, they donít always rely on technology, instead using magic to charge at a problem head-on. Their races include demons as well as beasts.

    Sapphire:
    Sapphireís core philosophy is logic. They let reason and rationality decide their course, often with much deliberation. Itís with the core principle of thought that they build their empire, with some of the most advanced technology in the realm on their side, often with a lack of reliance on magic altogether. Their races include angels as well as incorporeal beings who have transcended physical desires.

    Neutral:
    Not all races of the world are bound to a single faction. Some freely associate with all factions, or else remain neutral in the ideological divide. These include humans.



    Iíve tried to make it so that each faction could potentially ally with any other faction, and Iím not sure if Iíve succeeded. Input? Does this black and white, blue and red dichotomy work? Should I perhaps swap neutral and Diamondís colors, making neutral white and having a nice triad of blue-green-red plus black to work with?

    Now, the world itself. The conflict, I feel, will revolve around the mysterious worldshards, crystals of immense magical power. Each of the four factions has a single massive worldshard that they have long used to provide their society with power, but recently lesser worldshards have been falling to the world. Now, the question is, what purpose do they serve? Do they merely provide magical power, or are they somehow crucial to the operation of the world? Perhaps the world is a series of floating continents that need the worldshards to stay afloat, or perhaps a tide of evil forces or destructive magic is looming which can only be held back by the worldshardsí power Ė and each faction wants to be the one to stay safe.

    Iím open to suggestions on this, and hopefully some brainstorming will occur.
    Last edited by Dusk Raven; 2014-08-30 at 01:21 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Avaris's Avatar

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    Default Re: Worldshards: A Factionalized Setting

    Ok, so at the moment I feel this is far too close to mtg in the factions: the colours mindsets line up rather closely to their associated magic colours, which is bad if you want to avoid being derivative. Some of the creature types have shifted around, which is a good start, but I feel it could do with finding more distinction.

    The use of gems as distinctions is a good idea though; you should focus on this rather than the colours to give identity.

    Maybe you could look at the gemstone qualities? The mohs scale of hardness is a good start... Diamond is the hardest mineral, so gives the strongest magic? Yet maybe is hardest to shape because of this? Not sure where the other gems lie on this scale, but might be a good place to start. Or look into their 'spiritual' qualities: anything to avoid using the same split as mtg.

    I'm going to go away and see if i can come up with anything more concrete/ helpful!
    Evil round every corner, careful not to step in any.

    I'm a world builder, but have no worlds of my own. If you have a basic concept and want ideas to flesh it out, I can help! Pm me!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Worldshards: A Factionalized Setting

    The gemstone qualities is an interesting idea, though I'm not familiar enough with the properties of gemstones to come up with much.

    I have, however, come up with an alternate set of four colors/cultures that I can use, which I hope are slightly more original.

    Animus, the Magitek Kingdom
    Animus is based in the green forests and fields of the world, and it is from these lands that they draw their strength. They have built a mighty kingdom of stone and wood, and enchanted it with powerful magics. Golems of all sorts walk their streets, and beings of light call the kingdom home. Their key color is green.

    Technus, the Machine Republic
    Technus is the most technologically advanced of the four cultures, with steam-based technology and alchemy abounding. They are based in the rivers and lakes of the world, and build their cities along the shore. Their fertile lands and technology have not made them soft, however, and they are a force to be reckoned with. Their key color is blue.

    Primus, the Feral Tribe
    Primus is the most feral of the four cultures. The people of Primus live in the badlands and mountains, and they have become a tough, resilient people. They have survived under natureís harsh tutelage, and trust heavily in the magic of the earth. Using their powers and their skills, they have managed to tame both land and beast without diminishing the fire burning inside. Their key color is red.

    Umbra, the Shadow Empire
    Umbra is the land of darkness, where the people live in harsh swampland and bogs. To survive, the people have to dark magic, consorting with dark spirits and fell powers. The result is a twisted land where dark energies swirl and creatures of chaos walk. Despite this, the denizens of the so-called Shadowlands are not evil, merely different, though their powers are oft-misunderstood by others. Their key color is purple.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Worldshards: A Factionalized Setting

    Certainly further from MtG! A few comments:

    I would personally sever the link to the land: quite close to mana bonds and land you have in mtg, so emphasising 'Animus is forests', 'Technus is sea' etc in the first sentence of the description immediately draws me to that. Frankly, a distinction you can make with Mtg is that it is not the land that it is important, but the people. Have magical power stored in crystals you find and carry, but give me Technus taming the swamplands, and Animus exploring the mountain wilderness!

    Of the 4, I'm least enthusiastic about Umbra. Having 'dark' or 'shadow' magic as the stereotypical evil of a setting is a trope I really dislike. I like the evil abilities, I dislike tying them to darkness and shadow all the time!

    Thinking about it, it seems each faction could have a different approach to their 'weapons' of war that serve them, which leads quite nicely into a different take on Umbra you might want to consider:

    Animus: Magical might and stone. Our Golems do as they are commanded.
    Technus: Skill and artifice. We are the finest warriors, because we have the tools to make us so.
    Primus: Raw and unyielding power: We will not be contained.
    Umbra: Charisma and negotiation. Fight because we offer something in return.

    So Umbra is about making something want to fight for you. They deal with anything: dark spirits yes, but also more benign forces. Everything has its price. Purple is a regal colour, so would still work for them.

    Now, on the Worldshards/crystals themselves. As said, I don't want to tie things to the land too much... so maybe separate the 'shards' from the physical land? How about dreams?

    Once, long ago, we all dreamed together. Most were unaware of it, but sages knew that by gathering together enough of the strange gemstones found all over the land they could control their interactions in the dreaming world. They could communicate over vast distances, shape the reality of the subconscious to their whim: together they created a utopia. The gemstones then were iridescent, sparkling with every colour of the rainbow in constantly shifting hues.

    And then the dreamworld shattered. Dreams became nightmares, and shards of thought cut through the mind. Peace could be obtained only by dreaming alone... or so it seemed at first. In time it was realised that the more like-minded the sages were, the calmer their dreams together were. Those who shared in dreams became convinced that theirs was the 'correct' dream, for only that dream could bring peace. Over the years, this led to the creation of the Shards of today, minds who dream alike and seek to impose their own reality upon the sleeping world, to restore that proud utopia once more. The gemstones now reflect this: alone they are pale and lifeless, but in the presence of a sentient being they sparkle with the colours of their dreaming world, the colours of the paradise they wish to create.
    Evil round every corner, careful not to step in any.

    I'm a world builder, but have no worlds of my own. If you have a basic concept and want ideas to flesh it out, I can help! Pm me!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Worldshards: A Factionalized Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Avaris View Post
    Certainly further from MtG! A few comments:

    I would personally sever the link to the land: quite close to mana bonds and land you have in mtg, so emphasising 'Animus is forests', 'Technus is sea' etc in the first sentence of the description immediately draws me to that. Frankly, a distinction you can make with Mtg is that it is not the land that it is important, but the people. Have magical power stored in crystals you find and carry, but give me Technus taming the swamplands, and Animus exploring the mountain wilderness!
    I actually like the connection to the land, but that stems more from my own beliefs as to the importance of the land. It's also a result of me thinking of the "floating continent" setting, whereby each culture has its own place on the small, precious amount of land they have. I'll see about distancing them from the land, however... except for Primus, which is essentially a culture of druids anyway.

    Of the 4, I'm least enthusiastic about Umbra. Having 'dark' or 'shadow' magic as the stereotypical evil of a setting is a trope I really dislike. I like the evil abilities, I dislike tying them to darkness and shadow all the time!
    Umbra is actually my favorite of the cultures. I never said Umbra was evil, in fact I specifically said they weren't evil. The problem may lie in a bit of a miscommunication - their powers aren't demonic in nature, merely alien. Think less demons and more Lovecraftian beings.

    Thinking about it, it seems each faction could have a different approach to their 'weapons' of war that serve them, which leads quite nicely into a different take on Umbra you might want to consider:

    Animus: Magical might and stone. Our Golems do as they are commanded.
    Technus: Skill and artifice. We are the finest warriors, because we have the tools to make us so.
    Primus: Raw and unyielding power: We will not be contained.
    Umbra: Charisma and negotiation. Fight because we offer something in return.

    So Umbra is about making something want to fight for you. They deal with anything: dark spirits yes, but also more benign forces. Everything has its price. Purple is a regal colour, so would still work for them.
    An interesting notion. I do like the depiction of Umbra in this, as darkness is something I've always associated with subterfuge. It also sets up Umbra and Animus as the proxy fighters while Primus and Technus take on problems head-on.

    Now, on the Worldshards/crystals themselves. As said, I don't want to tie things to the land too much... so maybe separate the 'shards' from the physical land? How about dreams?

    Once, long ago, we all dreamed together. Most were unaware of it, but sages knew that by gathering together enough of the strange gemstones found all over the land they could control their interactions in the dreaming world. They could communicate over vast distances, shape the reality of the subconscious to their whim: together they created a utopia. The gemstones then were iridescent, sparkling with every colour of the rainbow in constantly shifting hues.

    And then the dreamworld shattered. Dreams became nightmares, and shards of thought cut through the mind. Peace could be obtained only by dreaming alone... or so it seemed at first. In time it was realised that the more like-minded the sages were, the calmer their dreams together were. Those who shared in dreams became convinced that theirs was the 'correct' dream, for only that dream could bring peace. Over the years, this led to the creation of the Shards of today, minds who dream alike and seek to impose their own reality upon the sleeping world, to restore that proud utopia once more. The gemstones now reflect this: alone they are pale and lifeless, but in the presence of a sentient being they sparkle with the colours of their dreaming world, the colours of the paradise they wish to create.
    Hmm... I'm not sure I like the dream connection, but that's personal preference. I do agree with shifting focus away from the land. Dreams are certainly an interesting direction to go in (just ask the Australian Aborigines), but I want the crystals to have power over the tangible as well.

    ...That's all I can think of at the moment. Note: I also considered adding a fifth faction, yellow, which would essentially draw their power from the gods. I think I like the number four, though...

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