Archive | October 2013

Fantastic Locations

I’ve been wanting to make portable pieces of setting for a while, either as a campaign starter or a campaign supplement. The point was to make them very high fantasy, with no totally mundane sites or locations, because the dramatically fantastic is way more engaging. We are not playing Medieval World, and portraying a fantastic world is part of our Agenda!

In this regard, I want to pitch a piece of setting that I’m currently creating as a part of my Storium game, and I hope it will inspire you to make your own fantasy settings more fantastic!

The Tempest Islands

In the Sea of Eternal Storms rests a marvel of the world; the Tempest Islands, a subtropical paradise, wild and untamed. With the exception of the marvelous Port Stillwater, there’s not many settlements here.

Above each of the twelve islands floats a Storm Monolith, an immense structure of unknown origin. These monoliths attracts and absorbs the violent lightning, turning the individual islands into serene paradises, if you do not mind the rumbling sound of the eternal thunder. Every few seconds lightning strikes the monoliths and they gleam with a blue light, shedding a soft light on the islands even by night.

Port Stillwater was founded a few decades ago when a ship was wrecked in the storm, and the surviving crew was thrown into the sea. They found refuge on the marvelous islands, and discovered remnants of a lost civilization. Empty houses were carved into the solid rock, and longer up the mountain they found a mine brimming with silver.

They claimed the city as their own and built a harbor and a shipyard. They sent word to near and far about their discovery, and with their newly gained wealth they bought soldiers to keep the peace. Soon after, a portal system was discovered that connected the islands, making it easier to travel between them as you did not have to brave the storms by ship.

They started hiring adventurers to explore the rest of the islands, hoping to amass more wealth. The few that responded have yet to return from their excursions, and most fear that they never will.

The rumors soon reached the mainland and adventurers stopped arriving until recently, when Lord Magdos of Stillwater declared that any wealth found on the other islands was rightfully to be kept by its discoverers. The bold and reckless was quick to heed the call.

These islands are dangerous places, filled with monsters and ruins of civilizations past, as well as wealth unimaginable. It will take some fierce and courageous men and women to reach out and take it.

Aftermath of Bard Week

During Bard Week I created six compendium classes of varying quality, each representing a different kind of performance. The concept was that the entry move should be a boost to Arcane Performance, and the rest should just be related to the type of performance, even if only vaguely.

The compendium classes are, in order of creation:

  1. The Wardancer
  2. The Rhymer
  3. The Godsinger
  4. The Bongó el Monte
  5. The Alpine
  6. The Headbanger

Formatting style is ruthlessly stolen from Tim Franzke, the guy who normally makes all the compendium classes. You should check his content out as well! You can find it here. Don’t forget to bookmark!

If you are going to use any of them in a game, or already does, then give me a message and tell me how it plays!

Celebrating Bard Week!

So, yesterday Bard Week started on The Dungeon World Tavern over on Google+. In honor of that, I have made a compendium class for Bards who include breakdancing in their Arcane Performances. You can see it below, but first I’d like you to see this on air hangout I participated in as a kickoff for Bard Week along side Tim Franzke (the host) and Joe Banner! We discussed the class in depth, both the fiction and the moves!

Athosian Wardancer

When you have been tutored in the secrets of the wardancer, you may take this move the next time you level:

Dazzling Wardance
When you make the dance of war as a part of your arcane performance, on a hit you can move between foes without endangering yourself and you get +1 hold next time you defend in this battle.

Once you’ve taken “Dazzling Wardance,” the following moves count as class moves for you. In addition to your normal list of moves, you may choose from this list when you gain a level.

Air Flares
When you make the “air flares” dance move roll+CON. On a 10+ you can briefly fly and can carry a nearby ally into an advantageous position. Your GM will give you a choice between two such positions. On a 7-9 you also get slightly dazed and take -1 forward as you vision keeps spinning for a while.

The Windmill
When you make the “windmills” dance move roll+CON. On a 10+ you create a wave of repulsion that will blow back any enemies at close range. On a 7-9 it goes out of control and you blow away all allies as well.

Street Cred
Your mad dancing skills attract all the b-boys and flygirls in town. When you make a street performance showcasing your latest and most difficult moves roll+CHA. On a hit you attract a group of fans. On a 7-9 they can introduce you to some useful and influential people in the city’s underground. On a 10+ one of the fans has some influence in the city’s underground milieu and is willing to pull some strings for you.

The inspiration for the windmill and air flares was harvested for this neat site, so check it out! It’s a list of the 25 craziest breakdancing moves that’ll be pretty awesome to see even if you don’t normally have any interest in breakdancing.

Back to the tavern…

If you care to celebrate bard week with us, then join us on the tavern! I have a vote going about what other Compendium Classes I should make, so come on in and join the party!

A Matter of Choice

I read a post on a GM’ing community about choices in RPG’s. It was inspired by an episode of Extra Credits with the same theme. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it right here. There’s more videos in this EC series, but the link directs to the first one.

Meaningful choices in RPG’s is kind of a pet peeve for me. Choices are important, because it is the thing that makes our medium relevant. We can make choices and make reasonable assertions about the consequences, but a computer game can’t. A computer game is scripted. When playing an RPG our choices are limitless, because we can improvise.

The beautiful thing about choices in an RPG is that we can make them about literally anything! It is not only about how to solve a problem, but which problems to solve, which conflicts to engage in, what to say to people you meet, literally anything that can affect the situation at hand or future events in the game world.

That is a thing I truly love about RPG’s, and it is why we can play the exact same scenario with two different groups and have two extremely different outcomes. It is also why I dislike railroading, because railroading is all about removing meaningful choices in order to script the future.

To me, RPG’s are not at all about problem solving. They are about meaningful choices and how they affect the fiction in ways you can’t possibly foresee. It’s beautiful, really.