Monthly Archives: February, 2013

I Want Some New Gods: GreyKnight thoughts

I like having GreyKnight around. He’s good at making sense of weird ideas (including one time devising a god for whom afternoon tea is a sacred ritual when I commented that the idea of a steam domain didn’t do much for me). After I split the new gods into eight groups, he spammed me in IRC with some ideas.

IRC Conversation

I’ll break these down by groups he discusses, in the order he presented them. I’ve embedded some commentary outside the conversation (indented).

Group 2

Name Alignment Primary Domain Secondary Domains
TN Earth Weather, Darkness, Destruction

<GreyKnight> Oh, I also have a vague sort of idea of the Group 2 cultists worshipping this perpetual elemental storm thingy that slowly travels the world obliterating things.  It’s not communicative (and anyone who approaches the eye of the storm is never seen again) but they have decided it’s a deity anyway

<kjdavies> “never seen again” is always good

<GreyKnight> in fact, scratch that, one guy passed through the eye and survived to found the cult based on a revelation he had.  Anyone who tries to repeat the feat comes down with a bad case of sudden and gratuitous complete existence failure

<GreyKnight> *implied* that they are obliterated, but who knows? :-)

<kjdavies> “you only say we won’t survive because no one ever has”

<GreyKnight> for bonus points, a splinter cult has decided that doing this is actually the route to a paradise dimension and is arguing vehemently with the original cult over it.  The latter won’t let them near it to try

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I Want Some New Gods, Part 2: Divisions

I started a new pantheon this morning, resulting in 44 gods (or at least, 44 sets of domains, to be described as gods with portfolios and the like). First, I’ll start by splitting them up into groups of gods that are related somehow. I don’t particularly want them to be related by domain sets, nor even by ‘which polyhedron they started on’. For expediency, I simply rolled d8 for each one and dropped it into a group based on the result. I’ll see if I can make sense of them after this.

Random Division

Group 1

Name Alignment Primary Domain Secondary Domains
LE Healing Evil, Law, Repose, Death
NG Destruction Good, Glory, Liberation, Earth
TN Water Trickery, Nobility, War
TN Void Strength, Luck, Plant
TN Knowledge Strength, Hunting, Travel
TN Glory Fire, Darkness, Destruction

Clearly Strength, Glory, and Destruction play significant roles in this group of gods, but otherwise there is no real coherence or repeated domains. I don’t have a feel for this yet. I’ll come back to it.

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I Want Some New Gods

It seems I enjoy creating new pantheons using the Polyhedral Pantheons method. I liked how the last one was shaping up, but it’s based on the older dodecahedron model.

I started looking into an alternate model based on 2d10 rather than a single die, and that looked like it had more potential (and more slots to put domains in). Since I now have a need of a new pantheon, I figured I’d start over with that model to see how it turns out.

So far, it has good alignment coverage (three gods have Law and Good domains, three have Law and Evil, three have Chaos and Good, three have Chaos and Evil; four have just Law, four have just Chaos, four have just Good, and four have just Evil; 16 have no alignment domains) and symmetry. This was on purpose, but it would be very easy to have it less balanced.

By domains granted, so far I have the following:

Six-Domain Gods
# Name Alignment Primary Domain Secondary Domains
1 LN Law Rune, Hunting, Nobility, Plant, War
2 CN Chaos Strength, Trickery, Luck, Magic, Travel
3 NG Good Fire, Prophecy, Air, Destruction, Community
4 NE Evil Weather, Sun, Darkness, Healing, Artifice

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Worldbuilding: Generic or Specific?

When building setting elements to be shared with others, or at least significant elements of such a world, do you think it is more useful if they are specific and ready for use, but perhaps harder to adapt, or more generic and easily adapted?

For instance, if I were to do a series of gaming supplements describing setting elements (cities, organizations, religions, that sort of thing) I expect they would be quite specific internally (all the major characters specifically named and described, for example). In joining the setting elements together, though, would it be more useful to have their relationships integrated or left more loosely coupled?

That is, in a supplement describing the Abbey of Los Litha I could mention a relationship with “a wizards’ guild in a nearby city”, “The Academy of Ter Liatri”, or even “The Academy of Ter Liatri, a wizards’ guild in a nearby city”, all for much the same effort. Would it be valuable to integrate them more closely, perhaps to the point where the current supplement covers the detail specific to the setting element being focused on, with links to other setting elements that can’t be fully understood without looking to the linked setting element? Or would be easier to not have that additional detail, which will make it easier to remove or replace the links?

Megadungeon Contest?

I am pleased with the work I have done on my node-based megadungeon. I intended to outline the megadungeon, and an outline I do have.

However, Gus’ post yesterday got me to thinking — it would be nice if the megadungeon was actually finished and playable. I estimated it would take me some 300-350 hours or so to finish it to the level of detail I would want in order to publish it.

Frankly, I don’t have the time to do this, and unless I’m actually using it, I would not be likely to complete it.

By the very nature the megadungeon design is modular at this level. The comments and suggestions I’ve seen from people about how various regions could be completed have been quite consistent with the original description, while veering sometimes wildly from each other, and it occurs to me that this suggests a wonderful opportunity:

Perhaps you could help finish the megadungeon.

I designed the megadungeon with the intention that each region would have different tone and feel. I think this lends itself well to having multiple designers, potentially a different designer for each region.

There are eleven regions identified in this megadungeon. I am thinking of running a monthly contest, each time focusing on a different region starting from the outside (Abandoned Tower, Wolf Den, and Goblin Warren) and working in. I have not worked out the details yet, but I envision something like:

  • Each round focuses on a single region, identified at the beginning of the round.
  • The region is to be detailed in a manner sufficient for play. The style can vary: keyed maps are obviously acceptable, map and supporting random tables can be sufficient, and so on.
  • The region should remain consistent with the original description, but is not required to conform to the original description. That is, changes may be made as long as they remain true to the spirit of the original description. Design is an iterative process, and as details are developed it may be found that previous decisions are no longer sensible.
  • New regions and other entities may be identified and proposed, possibly outside the megadungeon. These may be considered for inclusion as extensions.
  • It is not necessary to conform to any particular rule set, but assume something OSR-friendly/FLAILSNAILS (they tend to be interoperable enough). Identify which rule set is being designed to for context reasons. OSRIC, Blood & Treasure, Labyrinth Lord, etc. are all fine.

I figure there will likely be a small panel of judges (possibly just me, but I’d prefer to have three — I have a couple of people in mind, but I suspect one of them at least might want to take part).

On my own I can afford some small prizes, more or less nominal awards for being chosen as the best for each region. It is not certain at this point, but I am considering bundling the results and putting them on OBS (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow), with proceeds to be split between prizes for successive contests and art resources for further publication. I imagine each region being published in turn with all entries, and at the end the ‘winning entries’ bundled together, polished to fit and adjust any discrepancies introduced between regions, and published at the end.

I am not particularly interested in pocketing any cash out of this, though I would still have access to the art resources for later use. I’d like to see contests like this basically become self-sustaining, with larger awards than I can afford myself.

Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph

Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph

Gus’ Megadungeon Thoughts

Gus wrote a thought-provoking article about the node-based megadungeon I developed a few months ago.

I agree entirely with his post. As an adventure, the node-based megadungeon I presented is woefully incomplete. At the least it should include the elements he describes (maps, monster tables, etc.).

What it really needs, I think, is to have the various identified nodes expanded on. I would be inclined to apply the same techniques as I have so far, but at higher resolution. The method I use is more or less fractal — just as I started with about a dozen high-level nodes identifying the regions, then broke each region down into areas, those areas can be broken down into encounter locations (‘rooms’, if you like, though an individual encounter location may span several). I might expect that different encounter locations have monsters or other things to interact with (set pieces) while the regions have the encounter tables and the like (including entries to pull from other regions — when in the Clockwork Hell you might run into Aristothanes or something else from his Sanctum, you might run into the dwarves or something else relating to the Dwarven Safehold, and so on).

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