Thursday, May 28, 2020

Jojiro's Twenty Questions for Centras

Here's the cool link! I've done this once before but wanted to give another a try! In particular I've tailored answers to an area called The Jeweled Coast.

1. What is something that players can interact with that inspires wonder in your setting?

  • Skylands! They are floating islands and dungeons and ruins of ages past that float through the sky before being shot with anchoring chains shot from giant ballista and raided by adventuring crews! They can be HUGE or TINY or anything in between! There are also BUG-CITIES that roam around mortal-engine style on the backs of giant beetles.

2. How does one religion in the world work? What rituals and observances are involved, and how does this religion play with other religions out there? Are gods real?
  • The Godclaw is more or less the "official" pantheon, made up of the five hero-gods who saved the realm. While each god maintains their own church with it's own power structure and rituals, overall the Godclaw Council works to maintain order amongst the larger cities and settlements in particular, acting as a social and military resource for citizens. However, the Godclaw does not tolerate open worship of other deific beings or cults - while there is no inquisitor-like force rooting out corruption, the Godclaw's resources are so ingrained in communities that they tend to self-enforce against anyone practicing heretical worship, as all the Godclaw would need to do is withdraw their resources once finding out about heretics to cause irrevocable harm. Gods might be real.

3.How does one get access to goods and services in the setting? Will items always be available, will trade routes be jammed up by bandits, are their commissions for things, are magic items sold in regular stores, are hirelings available for hire or do we have to find them in the world?
  • There's a rather large variety of crafters and shops of all sorts. Both guild and non-guild businesses are in abundance, and enforcers of the church of Artosis called The Invisible Hand does a good job at rooting out anti-consumer practices and preventing complete monopolistic takeovers. Trade Routes can be jammed up by weather, monsters, or bandits as usual but these rarely prevent goods to be completely unavailable, as businesses tend to overstock. Prices still fluctuate though. Magic Items can be commissioned by Wizards or Wizard Academies, though they are quite expensive and typically require monster parts in addition to esoteric favors. Hirelings are usually available for hire, most commonly as guides, trackers, or the occasional out-of-work adventurer.

4. What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would be wary of in-setting? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner could trounce without worry? What are some examples of people and creatures a commoner would trust?
  • Humans don't like Elves because of a long history including two apocalyptic events. In forested areas there's lots of fae, so strangers tend to be treated with a mix of caution and distant politeness. Wizards are rare and people treat spellbooks and wands/staves like modern people would treat bazookas. In general any creature with a skull-pattern on it can be killed without fear of any sort of reprisal. 
5. Name a heroically slain dragon, or something comparable in threat. How was the creature slain, according to stories? How was it actually done? Was it a fluke or a well-executed slaying of a monster?
  • The great dragon-tyrant WRECKNAUGHT was killed by a veritable army of heroes and sky-pirates in an epic battle that brought about the end of the Age of Weeping Oil and ushered in the Age of Heroes. According to stories it was a pair of roguish heroes named Mitsuu and Kaizoku, a birdfolk and fox-folk who organized the attack and dealt the killing blow. The exact tactics are lost in the two ages past but the mythos places a great emphasis on teamwork.
6. How do people who adventure (if there are even such people) get jobs and contracts in this setting?
  • Nothing prevents four friends from just deciding to explore a dungeon or go try to hunt a big monster, but most either start or join an official Adventuring Company, complete with a sponsor. An Adventuring Company will have several adventuring members and handles the administrative tasks involved in sourcing and vetting profitable excursion. Open contracts still exist though, and Wytch-Guard Companies in particular can only be joined after completing a Wytch-Guard contract.
7. How do people convey their station/caste if such things exist? In particular, what intersections do station/caste have with the adventuring lifestyle (whatever the players are in the setting…guards, tomb raiders, bounty hunters, etc.)?
  • Lots of adventurers have some sort of noble or wealthy upbringing actually - station is usually conveyed through fancy clothes, etiquette, and displays of wealth.
8. What privileges and prejudices exist in your world, if any do at all? For example: How does the world view LGBTQ identities, ethnic identities within each fantasy “race”, and race relations?
  • LGBTQ identities don't have any taboo attachment, Race relations between humans is strained a bit though, due to the complications of an ongoing Cold War and a refugee crisis. Elven families are rare and tend to just stay within their own communities, though there is tension between rare meetings of Elves from the The Lineage of Days and Elves from The Lineage of Night. Dwarves have subcultures but these aren't well understood by outsiders - in general they are quite collectivist in nature and this has suited them well.
 9. Distal View of the Political System?
  • There is technically a monarchy, though it's somewhat removed.  Elected City Councils, who tend to be representative of settlement populaces, take care of local laws and governance fairly well. Basically any given city might do things totally differently.
10. Proximal View of the Political System?
  • King Markhus is well liked but elderly, and rumored to be in worsening condition. His three children include Lothric, Myrna, and Halfred, though his daughter Myrna is slated to next take the throne due to the ancient customs of the Monarch's Cycle. Lothric is talented with administration, Halfred is a somewhat famous and well-liked Naval hero who helped fight off some undead pirates, and Myrna is somewhat reclusive and lacks the charisma of her father. The Royal Family has a bloodline that traces back to the god Ka'Thon and his bride, Queen Night-Vale of the Summer Court.

11. Do your players even need their rations and torches?
  • Yes, unless you want to starve or be eaten by things who can hunt in the dark.
12. How do you become a Ruler of Many?

  • Being well-liked by a group of people, or be born into royal blood. Adventuring Companies can comprise "many" to the point of being small militaries, and their leaders are the most cunning and successful of adventurous types. If you want to lead an actual army or nation though, you'd have to go somewhere else or try to stage a coup.
13. Are there social consequences for necromancy or other forms of forbidden magic? Do these consequences differ in the view of the common man vs. other people?
  • Necromancy is openly practiced by the church of the goddess Valora, but forbidden magic or worship that clearly is meant to cause harm is brought down with extreme prejudice
14. What is the common man’s capability to distinguish the following things: a werewolf’s tracks vs. wolf tracks, a manticore attack vs. a lion attack, a demon attack vs. a gargoyle attack?
  • Any tracker could tell a wolf doesnt walk like a werewolf, but a non-hunter peasant wouldn't. Manticores leave spike wounds. Most people don't believe in demons and have never heard of gargoyles.
15. What is the social position of rogues, within both history and in the current day? Within both thieves’ guilds and within the world at large?
  • Thieves Guilds are winked at but not typically acknowledged (sometimes they even pay taxes!) and Assassin's Guilds are real but considered to be fake by most of the populace. Socially you would just introduce yourself as an adventurer or archaeologist since there's skill overlap and leave it there.
16. What is the role of dungeons within the world – are they a place where MacGuffins have been hidden, ruins of lost civilizations, unexplored caverns extending deep into the earth, Zelda-like puzzle dungeons that are more a player challenge than something that makes sense in-world, or something else entirely?
  • The three types of dungeons are Vaults, Skylands, and Ruin Bugs (fortress beetles who's population has been wiped out or moved). They are all actively sought out and competed over by rival adventuring guilds, and all tend to have some sort of treasure from either recent or ancient history. The challenge each can present vary wildly though.
17. How common are dungeons, how deep or large are they, and how much treasure might be expected within their depths?
  • Dungeons of all three types are relatively common, but vary wildly in size and profitability.
18. Explain, if you could, the differences between magic-users in the world. For instance, how would wizards, sorcerers, miracle-workers, warlocks, witches, medicine-men, stage magicians, and the like differ from each other? Do all of those categories even exist?
  • "Wizard" is a term reserved for the officially sanctioned bunch who undergo training to learn how to read the arcane language and house spells in their brain. This takes most of their lifetime. "Witches" vary in reaction from village to village but petition nature spirits and the land itself for spells. 
19. What are two examples of food culture in the world? Even if food isn’t a part of play, what dishes are people consuming in the world around the players, and what messages can be conveyed through food and drink?
  • Dwarfs brew all sorts of exotic alcohol. "Shiner Flasks" are used as an all-purpose dont-ask-whats-in-it alcohol by adventurers. Cities tend to have food-markets and street stalls that serve culinary dishes from all over the world, including exotic cheeses, dumplings, name it.
20. What is the internal logic of the game world you are running, as far as players are concerned? When the players act and the world reacts, what principles do you hold to?
  • I'm not actually sure I like this question, but is somewhere between 'maintaining realism' and 'rule of cool' on a sliding scale a proper answer?

Quick Review:

Overall I liked these and thought they were fine, I just don't quite like them as much as Jeff Rients? They seem more suited to a worldbuilding guide rather than a player guide which is less useful to me personally. A big thank you to Jojiro though for putting them together.

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