Feedback sought...

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Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:00 pm

Right.

So I've been inspired to start putting a new setting together - something of a "Borrow from a past GM" scenario. All I've written so far is the Introduction .. the "grab their attention by the short-n-curlies" bit. And I'd like to hear the opinion of some of the gamers hereabouts, as to how effective it might be at inspiring people to play.

Once, we were a great People.

The Kingdoms stretched from the shores of the Great Sea in the west to World's End in the East, from the icy wastes of the Eternal Winter in the north to the sun-burnt Endless Sand in the south. The lands were fertile, the game plentiful, and the People prospered.

Our warriors tried each other's strength in battle, and both Glory and Honor were earned by many. The Kingdoms built great wonders - Temples to honor the Gods, channels to bring water to the driest wastes, Keeps to protect the Kingdoms and house their warriors.

Once, we were a great People.

Then the strangers came, out of the setting sun and across the Great Sea. At first but few, and only a curiousity ... soon their numbers grew, as more and more came to our lands. As their numbers grew, their camps spread and grew like mold and rot ... sprawling, stinking places of noise and filth.

And still they came. The Kingdoms nearest them tried to push these invaders back into the Sea which had borne them to our Lands, and were broken . The invaders did not fight with honor; they cared nothing for glory. All they sought was slaughter, and plunder. When the warriors who had challenged them all lay dead, the invaders did not stop their slaughter. Women, children, the old ... all fell before their swords, their axes, and their foul magic.

Even then, that was not the end of it, for the invaders then defiled the bodies of those they had slain - infusing their polluted magic into the dismembered corpses so that they rose, and walked, and ... hungered. These abominations, they then sent against the remaining Kingdoms.

Each Kigndom stood alone, arrogant in their pride, sure of their strength and certain that they would prevail, where their brothers had fallen, for such was the way of the People. None survived. None could stand against the growing horde of invaders and the un-dead abominations they made from the corpses of our fallen.

A single scion of a single Kingdom's High House survived, an infant in swaddling cloths spirited away as his father's Great Keep burned, a funereal pyre for all the People. Into the World's End mountains he was taken, along with the very few Warriors who survived that final battle, and a ragged collection of common-folk, most with only the torn and soiled clothes on their own backs.

The war was over, and we had lost. Everything was unmade; the invaders tore down our Temples, desecrated the Altars of our Gods, looted our treasuries, and claimed the Keeps, Great and Small alike, as their own. And their blight spread further across the land, until there was no place in the Hills nor Plains where one could stand, and not see the smoke of ten thousand fires, all around, proclaiming the invaders' victory.

The land was despoiled, and we were made homeless ... vagabonds wandering in the wilderness at the Edge of the World.

Once, we were a great People.

It has been thirty full years since we were made to flee our homes. Thirty full years of grief, and suffering ... and preparations for War. For we are not yet dead, and until the last of us breathes no more, the Land will be OURS. We will return to our rightful homes, and we will make war upon these invaders such as has not been seen, nor even SUNG, for eight thousand years.

Where once there were nine Kingdoms, now there is only one Empire. Where once nine flags flew, and clashed, and in their ignorance stood each apart, now we will be one People, and we will take back what is ours.

And then?

Then there is the Great Sea, and whatever stinking pit spawned these invaders. We will go to their home, and cleanse it with fire, and with death. And we will salt the earth, so that nothing may ever again grow there, and no threat to the People ever arise from that place again.

WE WILL BE GREAT ONCE MORE!


...

...

...

Now, the next bit is the basic premise, which is: turn D&D on it's head.

The "foul invaders" aren't orcs, drow, or whatever. They're Humans, dwarves, halflings, and the like. The People? GOBLINOIDS, chiefly Orcs. The setup is basically to put the "green skins" into the historical role of real-world Native American peoples ... but give them a more common cultural origin, and a unifying leader motivated to forge them into a single, unified whole, and CRUSH the invaders. (Or so the plan goes; who knows which side will do the crushing, and which will BE crushed. As Sergeant Schlock once said: "Sometimes you have fun, sometimes the fun has you!).

So, all the goblinoid tribes will be Good-aligned in this new world - mostly Chaotic good, but still Good. The Invaders wil tend towards Lawful and Neutral Evil. Some part of both factions will be "monkey in the middle" alignment-wise, so there's a possibility of enlisting aid even from some Invader settlements ... if both sides can overcome their mirrored prejudices. OTOH, some of the remaining greenskin settlements may side with the Invaders (out of greed, out of a belief that doing so is the only way to survive, out of fear, etc), so the PCs may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to bring their War down on the heads of the People themselves.

...

...

And, this is the point where I shut up and wait for some feedback, including ideas and suggestions that might fit in with the premise outlined roughly, above. :)
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Lothmar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:41 pm

I've noticed a growing trend in the 'green races' esque games actually, especially those who seem to go against normal convention of thier species just being another entry in the monster manual. Even in normal DnD I enjoy exploring various cultural depths and aspects of the demihumans / humanoid/ monsterous humanoid races; usually im the only one in those cases since I often go the route of party enchanter but sometimes dont have the tongue to fully pacify most of the low level situations.

However back to the game itself, the cultural mix seems strange but acceptable I suppose. Perhaps you should go for a more central american tribe feel rather then native american tribe feel since you described alot of temple / fortress work that seems out of place for me, unless im simply imagineing something excessive etc when you meant fortresses that were more like giant earthen ramparts, pallisade walls, etc.

I'll think a little more on this when I have some free time and post something later.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:21 pm

Lothmar wrote:However back to the game itself, the cultural mix seems strange but acceptable I suppose. Perhaps you should go for a more central american tribe feel rather then native american tribe feel since you described alot of temple / fortress work that seems out of place for me, unless im simply imagineing something excessive etc when you meant fortresses that were more like giant earthen ramparts, pallisade walls, etc.

I haven't finalised my image fo the culture yet, but there will definitely be a strong influence from Central and South American cultures. :) Definitely, I was picturing Aztec and Mayan architecture when I mentioned Temples. Also, I was thinking of those cultures when mentionign the channels to bring water from A to B in order to support crops. The Keeps or Fortresses would be ... well, I was going to borrow a bit of the Anastasi theme, and go for Cliff-dwellings, albeit durable and somewhat warlike-looking. Maybe in canyons, mesas, and atop rocky hills. Which would also fit the "cave-dweller" aspect of the goblinoids. Thus, definitely a primarily Central/South American motif for the structures, belnding towards the south-west and south-central North American cultures. And I'd like to try and work in some Inuit / northwestern stuff, for the northernmost Kingdom perhaps. (Or, well, it's survivors!) It shouldn't be too difficult, I hope, to blur the two together; strong animal iconography is a common trait between the two cultural regions. Mostly, the differences are in building materials, and very specific stylistic changes. For those? I can throw historical accuracy out the window.

Not that I'd've had a lot of that to begin with, anyway; I'm only using the history of North, Central, and South America as a very loose framework to begin with. For example, the invaders will be a very odd - but, if I do it right, believable - blend of European and Asian cultures. Elven conquistadores with mempo, dwarven infantry with Chinese-Imperial-Dragon-motif arquebusses (complete with red and gold lacquer-work), halflings in turbans and lamellar armor, that sort of thing. A nice odd mish-mash of non-Native cultures and cues, set up to be internally-consistent and plausible for the setting, yet, still lend an air of incomprehensible alien-ness to the invaders. (And those're REALLY good images there, so I think I'll make note of them for the campaign, HA!)

But, yeah, nonetheless ... perhaps I should have clarified that when I said "Native American", I was referring to the strategic position I had in mind, rather than using their culture (although some elements may prove "borrow-able" nonetheless).
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Raigne » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:42 pm

To me the history you presented seems a little generic. You just happen to be playing the other side this time. The way it's presented is a bit info dumpy, but I can't imagine how else to fill people in on what they should already know if this was where they grew up. It reads well and I didn't have a hard time getting through it.

I would be careful about which cultures you choose to draw from if all the tribes are supposed to be good aligned. The Mayans and Aztecs were brutal cultures. Enlightened, sure, but brutal. The Mayans in particular had practices and a culture that I'd more easily identify as being lawful neutral at best and lawful evil more likely (come on, we're talking about virgin sacrifice and self mutilation here). Their cultural ideals don't conform to the alignment system of D&D easily, since we don't identify them as evil from a cultural standpoint, just different, but every race in D&D with similar practices is of an evil alignment.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:47 pm

Once I had a railroad...

made it run. Made it race against time.

Once I had a railroad...

now it's done.

Brother, can you

I WILL HAVE A RAILROAD ONCE MORE!
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:11 pm

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote:[...]

I'll ... um ... chalk that up as a negative review, thanks. :?
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:29 pm

No, it just tickled me.

I actually found the thing to be fairly well-written. As far as the concept, it doesn't jump at me as revolutionary, but it's certainly more creative than your average tavern-to-dungeon slasher, or even a dungeon-to-tavern slasher. It seems like a big undertaking, and I'd be interested to know how the odds are stacked against the heroes. (Their rabble vs an entire continent of cruel invaders).

It would certainly be easier if the invaders had split into squabbling factions.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Raigne » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:44 pm

I'd even argue it likely they'd have split and begun squabbling, since it's written into the lore that the elves and the dwarves dislike each other, and everyone's got their prejudices, both ethnic and cultural.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:47 pm

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote:No, it just tickled me.

Oh, okay. I just couldn't figure out what you were getting at. :)

Raigne wrote:I'd even argue it likely they'd have split and begun squabbling, since it's written into the lore that the elves and the dwarves dislike each other, and everyone's got their prejudices, both ethnic and cultural.

Ah, ah. Discard ALL lore of that nature which you know or think you know.

While, yes, I plan on at least three major factions among the Invaders, maybe four ... don't count on the Elves and Dwarves disliking each other because they are Elves and Dwarves. They might be the best of friends, instead.

This is growing, in my mind, beyond merely "a campaign", and into a full-blown Setting. :) Which is good, because I've been lamenting the relative absence of my Creative Urge of late.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Lothmar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:00 pm

I always loved using my bards 'suggestion' since my save was so high that the elven and dwarven fighter in the party couldnt save against it. I had a halfling outfitted in the best Elven and dwarven masterwork gear, it was a hilarious contradiction. XD When we got into the higher levels a rumor started to go around where people always just assumed I was thier spoiled bastard child since one was a guy and the other a girl and I loved it! Possibly due to someone with glibness in the party that could have been spreading those rumors... ~Coughs and points to self~
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Winged » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:01 am

it is a fair option but now comes the stuff tat realy makes or breaks it, how about details?

I know you have not given a whole lot of depth into this yet, so I will just throw out some questions to think about

1) What greenskins are we talking about spicificly, do they get along well, sure they may be allies now, but they can still dislike each other, is there a clear chain of command?

2) Why now? So they have been biding their time, but why can they win now after they where beaten before?

3) How close to the tribe theme are you going to stay? Will you be adding other cultural elements? Will there be any traiding of ideas between the greenskins and their foes, it's not uncommon historicly for invaders to borrow things here and their from places they capture (rome assumeing greek gods for example)?

4) This sounds a bit like the hoard from WoW, how is it clearly different?

overall this seems to have potential, please keep updateing us on it as time goes on.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:02 pm

Winged wrote:1) What greenskins are we talking about spicificly, do they get along well, sure they may be allies now, but they can still dislike each other, is there a clear chain of command?

Orcs, goblins, maybe Kobolds. Nine Kingdoms / tribes / clans worth of races and the like. Alternately, the Kingdoms may be all Orcs, but I'd prefer a bit more

2) Why now? So they have been biding their time, but why can they win now after they where beaten before?

It took that swaddling infant a few years to grow up, at least to adolescence, before he could begin trying to forge an alliance, to turn the Nine into One. Also, it's become possible for the Invaders' habits to be observed, and studied, and for possible weaknesses to be discerned.

Also, because it helps set up the story better. :)

3) How close to the tribe theme are you going to stay? Will you be adding other cultural elements? Will there be any traiding of ideas between the greenskins and their foes, it's not uncommon historicly for invaders to borrow things here and their from places they capture (rome assumeing greek gods for example)?

Oh, there'll be some adoption of ideas, for sure. Cavalry, for example ... although the Greens might choose different riding animals than horses. The Invaders will largely be given an air of arrogant superiority, and be secure in the idea that there's little if anything to be learned from the "uncouth savages skulking about in the hinterlands".

4) This sounds a bit like the hoard from WoW, how is it clearly different?

Well, it's not like WoW was the first to think of that idea, after all. :) Heck, WoW wasn't the first to think of almost any of it's ideas, to be honest. (And I'm not just slamming - I'm a current subscriber.)
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby shneekeythelost » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:52 pm

Actually, the People listed in the OP sound more like Feudal Japan and an invasion of Europeans with magic. Each Shogun had their 'kingdom', and each was slaughtered, one by one, until only a few survived. Shunted off to the mountains, they formed a single nation. Now, when they go back, they will have the Emperor and a single banner for their entire race!

Romance of the three... er... Nine Kingdoms?

Sounds like fun.
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Re: Feedback sought...

Postby Pax » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:37 am

... I hadn't (consciously) drawn that connection, but thanks for pointing it out to my conscious mind. More fodder for thought, detail, and (hopefully vivid) imagery!
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