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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    So I get a bit crazy when I start new campaigns, and this time I bit off a bit much. I decided to tackle 'can I make the player feel excited about getting their character killed in interesting ways?', and I ended up with this thing that right now I'm just calling 'Dynasty'.

    The basic idea is that each player controls a Guardian Spirit that ties everything together. That spirit can only influence the world through special people with the right connection - mystic, genetic, whatever. Those people are the Heirs, the characters that the player actually plays most of the time. The Heirs can begin to build clans around themselves and their exceptional abilities, and so you have the third element - the civilization-building bit.

    The point is, if an Heir dies, the spirit gets their XP and their soul. If the spirit really likes a particular Heir, they can bring them back by cramming that soul into the poor, unsuspecting new Heir and basically over-writing them. If they (the player, that is) want to try something new then every couple of games they get a chance to make a new persona and a new character. The character building system is designed to make creating an Heir very quick - pick an archetype (which you create as the guardian spirit anyhow), a hobby, and a magic and you're basically done. At the same time, you can get long-term advancement by buying things on the spirit side.

    I've just about got it to the state where its complete enough for me to run the first game, which I scheduled in advance to force me to finish it. There's still some incomplete things (like magic, for example).

    Anyhow, if this sounds interesting and you'd like to take a look, here's the PDF.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    I love the premise (someone played Crusader Kings?).
    The rules look cool, and I imagine it could be easily converted to d20...

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    CinuzIta's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    I like what I'm seeing as well! I don't think I'll ever be able to try this (I don't even play d&d very often by now), but I'd really like to! Good work!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Yeah, Crusader Kings was a strong influence for this, as was Dominions, with a touch of X-Com and various Japanese VN-cross-strategy games that try to integrate character-level plot with map conquest. Also books like Black Company, and a bit of China Mieville.

    I'm a bit dubious that this would be very easy to convert to d20. The two main issues are that there's a LOT of mechanics detail in the waza lists that would probably have to be redone from scratch, and the 'Bolster' mechanic is pretty central to the feel of the game (it keeps individual attacks extremely lethal, while at the same time managing the lethality of combat as a whole). With a d20 system, there might not be a wide enough variance on the die rolls to support it. If you want to give it a shot though, be my guest!
    Last edited by NichG; 2015-01-23 at 10:08 AM.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    I love this.

    Most RPGs tend to focus so much on small-scale personal combat that they completely ignore social interaction/political powers or large-scale military combat in any nuanced way.

    Tell me, do you know Exalted by White Wolf? Some of the things in this reminded me of it, mostly the idea of spiritually empowered super-people and how you have things like Storytelling and War as skills.

    I like how you have what amount to two characters and how the game can flow into legacies. All in all, this looks really neat. I'd definitely play this if I had time.

    Eagerly awaiting more information on Magic.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    So, I ran the first session of this yesterday. The players really liked 'generating the starting provinces', which I did through a sort of bidding mini-game.

    I set up six starting scenarios such as 'bandit camp', 'religious outcasts', etc. Then, I had their spirits wake up in the spirit world and see threads of fate leading to six provinces in the mortal world which they could mess with. We went around with the spirits adding properties to each province like 'forests' or 'boiling rivers' or 'ancient ruins' or 'pit to hell', and then the spirits faded out, waking up again untold eons later. When they woke up, the spirit who had assigned the fewest points got first pick of their starting province, and so on.

    After that, it was a bit slow to get each player's clan up and running, because we basically had to do each player's clan origin story as a separate side-quest. It took about an hour to run each of them, which in this case was sort of okay because one player was still reading the rules and needed the delay, but it still felt like a bit of a sluggish start. I had it so that the other players could jump in and take over NPCs as they felt like it, but its clear that we quickly want to get the Heirs together into a more traditional party structure for most of the session. I'm going to do this with external pressures, but in general maybe its a good idea to make sure that all of the players represent clans within the same 'kingdom' or 'empire' or whatever so you can get them together quickly.

    Edit: I am familiar with Exalted, but only indirectly. I played in a big White Wolf mashup campaign that involved Exalted for part of it.
    Last edited by NichG; 2015-01-25 at 03:10 AM.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Just uploaded a massive update, including stuff that my players have been inventing over the course of the campaign.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    This sounds very interesting, I'll try giving my opinion on it once I've given it a read.
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    qazzquimby's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Maybe I haven't read thoroughly enough, but I'm not sure how the game is supposed to play out. Are they primarily leading their domain or adventuring or something else? Are their rules somewhere for determining the actions of your subjects (in case of revolt, for instance), or of foreign powers?

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Quote Originally Posted by qazzquimby View Post
    Maybe I haven't read thoroughly enough, but I'm not sure how the game is supposed to play out. Are they primarily leading their domain or adventuring or something else? Are their rules somewhere for determining the actions of your subjects (in case of revolt, for instance), or of foreign powers?
    In practice, it depends on what the players find interesting. It's possible to run the game very zoomed out and abstract, focusing on the nation development, building, etc aspects. Its also possible to zoom in and have the heirs be more directly dealing with the rise and fall of their family within the nation. You can have Guardian Spirits whose goals are different than their heirs if you want to play up that kind of tension, or you can just have the Guardian Spirit brainwipe the heir and upload their own personality into them if you want to play it as a god-game.

    One thing I found is that there's a strong push to have everyone do their own thing during game, so either you need to have a very small number of players or you need to come to an agreement that the uptime games will focus on cooperative actions that concern threats to all of the nations (or to the Guardian Spirits), and then have a system for downtime actions for each player to expand and detail their nation. We ended up with the rule that uptime games were collaborative adventures - things like finding and binding nodes, infiltrating foreign powers, etc. But then each player gets two 'downtime actions' per week that they post on the campaign forum.

    The game requires a lot of DM creativity and involvement. A big part of what makes it have a more tabletop-y feel as opposed to board-game or computer-game is that there can be weird scenarios where suddenly things on a personal scale can matter on the nation-scale. So that's how I'd handle revolts, foreign nations, etc.

    I found actually that once the game gets underway, its a good idea to set up a sub-DM system. Essentially, each player is empowered to DM internal affairs type happenings for one other player in exchange for a bit of extra Spirit XP income. This was really successful in my game, and helped the nations feel less like an extension of each PC and more like a big place with all sorts of different movers and shakers trying to stir things up. If you know that two players are rivals, of course its good to not have either DM for the other, so you do have to be aware of your players and their goals when you set that up.
    Last edited by NichG; 2015-05-23 at 09:22 PM.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Milo v3's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    That doesn't really answer the question though. What do the characters actually do. I find that a lot of games struggle in actually making that clear, and it ends up being an issue in my group with some games.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    So, for example, we've had...

    Character Scale:

    - Exploring ruins of an ancient civilization to hunt for technological marvels or access to magics
    - Leading armies in defense of a province against a giant monster
    - Breaking a tyranny by luring its demigod leader (another Heir) who was ruling through an army of automatons into an ambush and capturing him, then stealing the access codes from him
    - Travelling as diplomats to a foreign theocracy to negotiate exchange of troops and technology, as well as mutual defense
    - Exploring off the edge of the continent in search of a fabled lost land that was once home to one of the Guardian Spirits
    - Acting as the point of contact between one of the Guardian Spirits and a sentient coral reef that has massively distributed thoughts.
    - Infiltration to steal the secrets of coffee production from an island nation in order to bribe a council of advising scholars and gain influence over a militarily superior nation
    - Flushing out a secret society whose intent was to resist the rapid advancement of technology
    - Solving a time-loop in a phantom province that appears once every 60 years, where the nobility essentially murdered, schemed, and executed themselves all down to a single surviving child, who would then reset everything to try to fix it and cause the cycle to repeat. They evacuated key nobles who would set off chains of vendettas, and destroyed the time-loop artifact.

    Nation Scale:

    - Dealing with hostile foreign powers, both militarily and through forming alliances and gaining leverage
    - Integrating the various cultures and beliefs of nearby smaller settlements in order to expand and to remove weak-points for invasion
    - Trading technologies for mutual advancement
    - Developing new ways of life or organization: in one case moving from feudalism to a corporate structure by voluntarily being annexed by another nation and then controlling them from within; in another case, developing beacons and mass transit systems to make it easier to access far-away or isolated lands
    - Quashing a rebellion caused by overly rapid technological advancement and estrangement between the mortal populace and the nearly-immortal ruling families of one nation
    - Evacuating a nation of dwarves from lands that were being used as the battlefield for other nations' conflicts.
    - Construction of a resource exchange treaty for excess resources in order to speed the economic development of smaller nations

    Deity Scale:

    - Creating an afterlife for clan-members
    - Figuring out how to ascend new Guardian Spirits
    - Figuring out how to stabilize the spirit realms against the Dimming that occurs between conjunctions
    - Dealing with spiritually infectious magics spreading through the land
    - Magically forcing a civilization to advance 1000 years at once
    - Raising and lowering land to make more space for people to live
    Last edited by NichG; 2015-05-23 at 11:20 PM.
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Milo v3's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    I'm only skimming because of time restraints but I must say, I do like how there are so many non-adventurer skill uses there are for a change in a RPG.

    Edit: There seems to be an issue with the second column of page 77.
    Last edited by Milo v3; 2015-05-24 at 07:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Do all heirs rule somewhere?
    This is naturally without any experience, but I think it might be interesting, and help the game be more centralized and less independent, if one heir ruled an area, and the others had positions inside it, giving voice to the people. One could run a guild, and aggressively try to to control the market, and another could try defend the downtrodden.
    I'm not sure if it would make play more unified. Everyone would be doing something more different, but one player's decisions would probably effect another player more often.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dynasty: Multi-generational civ-building hero-adventuring god-game

    Quote Originally Posted by qazzquimby View Post
    Do all heirs rule somewhere?
    This is naturally without any experience, but I think it might be interesting, and help the game be more centralized and less independent, if one heir ruled an area, and the others had positions inside it, giving voice to the people. One could run a guild, and aggressively try to to control the market, and another could try defend the downtrodden.
    I'm not sure if it would make play more unified. Everyone would be doing something more different, but one player's decisions would probably effect another player more often.
    In my current campaign, one of the heirs is basically the pope of a theocracy, one is the inheritor of a Japanese-style zaibatsu which doesn't actually hold any land but has influence (via the Sway mechanic) over almost every province on the map, one is the leader of a cult of death-worshiping fire goblins, and the last basically is the leader of a small province that basically controls the rest of a large country by virtue of being the ones responsible for grooming their governing council. They're kind of an alliance of nations, and forming a single unified empire has been discussed, but they've been going back and forth over it.

    The original design was to make a game where PvP would be possible but not create too many bad feelings (because heirs die of old age anyhow, and having your heir die is the only way to get XP as a spirit), which was why the focus on independent action. But a given group of players may decided to squabble over advancement or work together depending on the group's social dynamic. I think it can work in the way you describe too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    I'm only skimming because of time restraints but I must say, I do like how there are so many non-adventurer skill uses there are for a change in a RPG.

    Edit: There seems to be an issue with the second column of page 77.
    The '...'?
    Travelogue has been Greenlit, thanks for all your help!

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