Ask The GM!   Posted by The First And Last.Group: 0
Alasdiar Cromartie
 player, 5 posts
Wed 3 Jun 2015
at 21:16
Re: Ask The GM!
How far was the Ocean's Ember from the coast... any coast.
Ian Hightower
 player, 3 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Thu 4 Jun 2015
at 09:08
Re: Ask The GM!
Question, do we need to keep track of ammo and powder? Like, would I have to keep track of my paper buck and ball cartridges, or my powder horn and lead balls? How much does firearm ammo cost? Are they interchangeable between pistols and muskets/rifles?

Also are all equipment standard priced, or given the setting's tech level, are some things cheaper? Like the spyglass, is that still 1,000gp? Does pocket watches exist? That sort of thing.

This message was last edited by the player at 09:08, Thu 04 June 2015.

The First And Last
 GM, 34 posts
Thu 4 Jun 2015
at 13:44
Re: Ask The GM!
Alasdair

The Ocean's Ember was pretty far from the coast--out of sight certainly--and your character wasn't a part of the crew so it would be reasonable for him not to know. At the very least you can figure that you are closer to the eastern coast of the Bloodwood Peninsula than anything else-- so west would be the closest land. Maybe.

Ian

You should track ammunition; for ease of tracking you won't need to track powder and ball separately. It is 3 gp for 10 shots of both.

Spyglasses are indeed very expensive. Pocket watches would cost you about 100gp. They are luxury items.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:50, Thu 04 June 2015.

Captain Vargas Valejo
 player, 3 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 07:04
Re: Ask The GM!
How is the navy of the Kingdom or how are the navies of the different regions organized? Is there a guild or a royal office that oversees and licenses mercantile sailors?
The First And Last
 GM, 40 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 14:30
Re: Ask The GM!
The Kingsmen is a catch-all for the whole military of the Kingdom-- Army and Navy alike. It is organized from Highgarden House in the Capital, where you can find the Offices of the Admiralty, the Grand Marshal's Office, etc.

Each Province receives a certain number of Writs of Commission from the Capital every ten years; these give ships that carry them certain advantages and permissions unavailable to others. For example, a Royal Writ allows you to "rent" Kingsmen marines to help protect your ship, carry goods on behalf of the Kingdom (munitions and supplies) which generally have an excellent rate of return, and birth at ports usually unavailable to other ships (forts and military instillation). The flipside is that, during times of war, Royal Writs will be "called in" and either conscripted into the regular Kingsmen Navy, or used as troop and logistics transport.

All other ships are registered with the Province of their commission; the proof of which must be kept aboard at all times. Each ship also has a Deed which shows who owns it-- not necessarily the Captain, but it will list the current Captain on the Deed. Crewmen are supposed to be logged by the First Mate, but many ships neglect that since the "lower decks" crew will often come and go port-to-port. Officers on a ship--the Bosun, Master Chief, etc.--are better documented simply because their pay is higher and they may or may not have a stake in the Deed (aka, get paid out of the ship's profits).

All ports will have an office in which you can update your Deed, obtain a provincial commission, or the like. Their paperwork eventually goes to the Provincial capital and its Office of the Sea.

I'm sure that's more than you were asking for but I hope it answers your question.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:30, Fri 05 June 2015.

Ian Hightower
 player, 5 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 14:31
Re: Ask The GM!
Given there are no fantasy sophont races like elves and dwarves, are there fantastical creatures like dire animals and things like that?

Just to make sure.
The First And Last
 GM, 42 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 14:45
Re: Ask The GM!
Dire animals, yes ("touched by the Father"), but otherwise no. Fantastical creatures like beholders, displacer beasts, phase spiders, and all manner of fiend may exist in the world but are commonly known only by legend, myth, and story.

Mother help you if you meet one in the flesh.

Edit: To expand on that-- aethericists may know more than most about what creatures are possible, especially since Doctor Phineus Rourke published his theory about trans-aether cosmological doubling. Or in common parlance "alternate worlds". He proposes that the world Midland inhabits is but one plane abutting the common Aetherspace which all worlds share. Some think he is utterly insane, while others think he is utterly terrifying.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:47, Fri 05 June 2015.

Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 7 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 15:54
Re: Ask The GM!
By Alasdair estimation, is there any saving the Ocean's Ember?
Ian Hightower
 player, 6 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 16:16
Re: Ask The GM!
Question, what's the policy of characterizing and storymaking? Like, is it okay for us to add details here and there?

Like, I am making a post, and I am unsure if it is okay. I might be taking too many liberties. It seems like this Colm character is a close old friend of Ian's, and this dinner sort of thing is something they'd do often post case.

I will post it, and if it is a problem, I will edit things out, or just delete and repost something else.
The First And Last
 GM, 43 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 17:26
Re: Ask The GM!
Alasdair

There is precisely 0% chance of saving the Ocean's Ember. Even were it not as full of holes as Swiss-cheese, the ship is large enough that one man working alone wouldn't be able to patch it up in time to reverse its slow descent into the water. The question isn't "if" for the poor girl, but "when".

Ian

The general rule of thumb is that if it is not posted in an IC thread or one of the informational threads, you have fair game to embellish and add. In fact that's what I'm hoping for-- there is nothing in my notes that I'm unwilling to change a PC has come up with something neat.

If there is some issue, I'll address it, but otherwise go wild.
Amelia Salazar
 player, 12 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 08:41
Re: Ask The GM!
The Vingians are intended to have strong bardic and warlock traditions, but is that all they have? Specifically, do they have a cleric analogue? (Obviously warlocks serve the social role, but does that strain of magic exist? Honestly asking to see if they have access to one low-level cleric-only spell in the society.)

This message was last edited by the player at 08:51, Sun 07 June 2015.

Zama Yenev
 player, 9 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 08:49
Re: Ask The GM!
What would pass for traditional physical traits among the various peoples?

What about clothing? Or is it so varied as to not be distinctive?
The First And Last
 GM, 50 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 17:18
Re: Ask The GM!
Amelia

Clerics are a Seubian thing-- the Vingians do not have them. Similarly, Wizards are a Midland thing. Vingians do not have them.

Unless a Vingian came to Midland, studied at a seminary or mancery, and returned home, they would be practically unheard of in the Old Country.

Zama

The following are the stereotypes of each ethnic group, as often presented in plays and literature. In practice, there is enough variety that a Varlander and a Ybarian will have more in common than different-- but there is some truth to the stereotypes nonetheless.

Varlander's tend to have darker hair--brown or jet-black--and are taller than average. Their traditional garb includes kilts and the 'Varlander slouch cap', a beret whose color will often signify which Estate the Varlander belongs to. Any Varlander wearing a powder-blue slouch cap is professing loyalty to Varlander sovereignty and is likely to have seditious or rebel leanings.

Caelish tend to have fair hair--red, blonde, light brown--and especially in the Tela Heath are said to have fine features; striking green or blue eyes is a good way to identify a Caelishman. Physically they are typified by their slighter, frames. In the Tela Heath, fashions are more often adopted from other cultures-- it is a fad driven area. The more traditional people of the Vinwarde Hills will wear muted greatcoats and fur-lined cloaks.

Seubians almost to a person have black hair--dark grey or brown can also be found--and distinctive aquiline noses. They are stereotyped to be as broad but not as tall as Varlanders, but by reputation are equally as hardy. The joke is that traditional Seubian garb is simply a coat of mail-- this plays off both their cultural militarism as well as the greys and blacks that Seubian clothes seem to prefer. Among Seubian nobles there is a long tradition of 'ring-lending'; if one is calling on someone else, you send your ring ahead. The type of ring is important-- silver denotes that you consider them a peer, gold that you consider them a superior, metal that you consider them an enemy, and bone implies that they are family. Consequently, wearing someone else's ring will denote friendship or that one is an ally-- it is rare to see a Seubian noble who is not bedecked in rings.

Aldonneans are typified as having light blonde and brown hair, and being the shortest peoples of Midland. Distinctively, many Aldonneans have hazel eyes-- the phrase "pale-eyed Aldonnean" used to be an idiom for "mysterious religious figure". Their garb is often the most fashionable and most complicated-- brocade vests, fine-lined coats and large-feathered hats are the norm.

Ybarians are stereotyped by their dusky skin--olive or darker--and wide range of hair color; fiery red, jet-black, strawberry blonde. Their physiques are like the Caels typified as slender. Their traditional garb includes an all-purpose scarf whose color can denote region of birth or even specifically one's family-- it is used as a headwrap, a mask, a belt, or anything else. It is called a zapi. Ybarians also favor billowing pantaloons and vests. A fez is no longer considered fashionable among the nobility, but it is still seen on sailors and common folk.
Ian Hightower
 player, 13 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 17:20
Re: Ask The GM!
Question, if Greenleaf coast is the "nice" coast where you vacation, comparatively how much "worse" is the Ybarian coast and Cadiz Bay?

Like socially, how big of a pile is Ian stepping in?
The First And Last
 GM, 57 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 03:14
Re: Ask The GM!
The Greenleaf Coast is a small part of the Caelish coastline-- not even half the size of the Ybarian coastline. It is gorgeous; verdant green fields and several striking varieties of flower that are rare everywhere else. It sits comfortably in a very temperate climate so the weather is usually excellent.

That is not to say that Ybaria is unpleasant--far from it--but it is much larger and much hotter. It tends to have a stark, wild beauty compared to the idyllic and somewhat cultivated Greenleaf Coast. But during the storm season it is wracked with rain, during the summer it is baked under an unforgiving sun.

Socially, Ybaria is wild and passionate and progressive and a lot of things Cael is not. Should be quite a change.
mxsmith
 lurker, 1 post
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 18:40
Re: Ask The GM!
Hello, friendly lurker here with random question.

Mostly I'm curious about what kind of technology does exist in the world.  I know it's early 1800-ish, so what about: Hot Air Balloons?  Steam Engines?  Railroads?  Gas lighting?  Tin cans?  Photography?  Typewriters?

There are a few other fun inventions but I am going to assume most of them are further down the line; those are the ones that I thought might actually fit into the world to some degree.  I am assuming everything is before the discovery of electricity?

Thanks!
Game is looking very good you all.
The First And Last
 GM, 61 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 19:34
Re: Ask The GM!
This was actually something of a sticking point for me when worldbuilding-- I had the initial idea to set it in a 1500's analogue. The classic Pike & Shotte formations of that time period--"tercios"--were this wonderfully strange mix of what we'd consider medieval (full plate armor was still frequently used, along with pike formations) and what we'd consider early-contemporary (massed musketfire, professional rather than levy soldiers).

Ultimately, I couldn't figure out a way to mechanically make a flintlock rifle--whose reload time was obscene, comparitively--at all useful or relevant in the 5e ruleset. They were not personal weapons, and so if I set the game in a 1500's analogue it wouldn't feel all that different.

Really, the game is set in a 1700's analogue using 1800's blackpowder technology and 1500's political science. From the get-go your question, while well-intentioned, may be a bit misaimed.

Electricity, for example, may be a ways off (in real life it didn't see wide or prolific use until the late 1800's, almost 1900's) while ubiquitous steam-power may be right around the corner.

- Hot air balloons: likely exist as an oddity or some novel way to spend an afternoon. Undoubtedly Crucible Keep has been pioneering their use in warfare as a means of reconnaissance-- but in a world where you can simply train someone to cast a spell to the same effect, it won't catch on.

- Steam engines: likely exist in industrial centers--Seubian munitions factories, for example--where they are exceedingly useful. Broader applications probably haven't cropped up yet, but will eventually.

- Railroads: are not a thing until steam engines start taking off outside obvious industrial applications.

- Gas lighting: rich houses and cosmopolitan cities likely have these. They are largely a matter of being able to afford to make and keep them fed with the right fuel.

- Tin cans: likely exist.

- Photography: hasn't been developed (rimshot) even with all the requisite technologies in place. Aetheric studies are a bit too popular and one of the struggles of Cudd Lygrall is keeping people interested in sciences that don't involve things spontaneously combusting.

- Typewriters: a novelty for rich folk. In real life they were expensive, and so too in this world. Literacy is still not very high in Midland, which hasn't helped push its development along.
Ian Hightower
 player, 16 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 19:57
Re: Ask The GM!
The First And Last:
- Tin cans: likely exist.


And I am guessing the contents are likely very, very horrible? Over cooked, over exposed, and tin-flavored everything? :P

Hmm...if I recall, the can opener was invented way later then the can itself. I am guessing all us grunts, be it naval or ground, have to get at it with bayonets and daggers?
mxsmith
 lurker, 2 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 21:24
Re: Ask The GM!
Makes sense to me.  Magic has made some of the advances unnecessary or redundant.  All great information - thank you.

Next random question: Are there no republics or democracies?  Did I miss it?  Even in the past before the lands were conquered I do not see any mention of one.  Is that even a political concept in this world?  Or strictly feudalistic?
The First And Last
 GM, 62 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 21:50
Re: Ask The GM!
The History thread in this game is broad-strokes and not remotely comprehensive. My notes have a bit (thirteen pages) more, but since almost none of that information is relevant to the PC's or even set in stone (if a PC comes up with something cooler, my notes go bye-bye).

So, for example, the "Caelish Kingdom" was not a strict feudalistic monarchy for a long time; the Caelish nobility ("The Council of Thegns") elected one of their own to be an absolute ruler for life. That ruler held little influence outside military matters-- the nobles themselves dealt with economic issues between themselves, and the Druids were more central to old Caelish culture than any autocratic figurehead. It wasn't until Seubian influences that the Caelish King was able to pass his title as a hereditary thing-- the Seubian rulers wanted to ensure that the "Caelish Prince" stayed in a family that was least amenable to sedition.

The Ithers tribe was theocratic, the original Seubic tribes were organized around warlords, essentially (the King was simply a tradition of who the other warlords/clan leaders looked to during times of strife and was not formalized as a central authority for some time). I've cut out the references to inter-Seubic warfare in the early days both because it is not truly relevant and because many in-game history books would have glossed over that time period. No one likes to talk about how one's culture was filled with bloodthirsty barbarians who butchered one another relentlessly, especially when the cultural line is "the Seubians run the Kingdom because we are the most civilized'.

The Old Country is more likely to be more diverse; though the Vingian Empire is politically dominant there are some cultures that have not been absorbed. Moreover, while vassal states are dictated to from the Imperial authority they are otherwise self-governing.

I'm not going to expound on them simply because Midland has had little to no contact with them, and they may become relevant in the future. So I'm not going to spoil things.
mxsmith
 lurker, 3 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 22:40
Re: Ask The GM!
Awesome.  That's all I had at the moment; thanks for taking the time.
Victor Valejo
 player, 7 posts
 Also known as
 Captain Vargas Valejo
Sat 13 Jun 2015
at 04:41
Re: Ask The GM!
1) How are the quarters aboard the Saint? I was about to write something about them in my post when I realized that a frigate might not have much in the way of passenger cabins -- especially ones fit for a proper lady.

1b) Speaking of the Saint, how many guns does she carry? Is she a newly built ship or an older but recently renamed vessel?

2) Have you given any thought to how the arts have developed in Midland? If so, what seems to be in these days?

3) I'm always a bit wary of using mechanical details to describe a setting, but in terms of spellcasting power it might be worth asking -- how powerful are the most expert spellcasters in the present day of Midland? And how common are magicians in general, really? How are arcanists and other spellcasters employed in the military? Or, if they're not, why not?
The First And Last
 GM, 68 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2015
at 19:23
Re: Ask The GM!
1) Since it is primarily a privateering vessel, accommodations are less than ideal. The Captain, of course, has his own quarters beneath the quarter deck (the raised platform on which the steering wheel is). Below that deck is the "Gallery deck", which mostly holds crew quarters. Many officers (First Mate, Master Chief etc.) may have their own rooms--though they would likely share--below the Captain's own. Amelia would appropriately displace at least one of them. The Kingsmen would likely get afforded berths on the gallery deck, rather than with the ship's crew.

 As a frigate, all of the Saint of Cadiz's guns are on the main deck-- what would be the "gundeck" on a larger ship is instead given over to the common crew's berthings. this is below the gallery deck. Below the "berthing deck" is cargo, ballast, and the like.

1b) The Saint of Cadiz is not a new frigate but one of older-but-still servicable design. In a fight, it would be at the disadvantage of any newer ships-of-the-line in the Royal Fleet; but for hunting pirates she is more than up to the job. She carries ten 18lb. guns to a side, with two mounted near the bowspit as well. 18-pounders are the general standard; only the big shisp-of-the-line can mount 24-pounders.

2) I've got a lot of thoughts here, but I'll truncate it as usefully as I can. In Ybaria, opera is the big thing-- an emotive people enjoying an emotive art. In this they share some culture with the Seubians, but you'll find few people who can compare the blood-and-thunder themes of Seubian opera with the transgressive romances of Ybarian opera.

The Aldonneans are thought to be premier playwrights--it is even popular religiously to put on "morality plays" which use stock characters to portray sins, vice, and their comuppance. Many an actor has cut his teeth in the Aldonne Region playing one of the Father Below's horned minions. Of late, Aldonnean plays have fallen out of vogue-- though the Aldonnean dialect of the Seubian language is still preferred for certain poetic forms. The Caelish tradition of plays cleaves very close with their rustic sensibilities and how in-touch they are with the weirdness of the world. Caelish plays are really only popular in the Vinwarde Hills--everyone else finds them too odd. The Tela Heath has a thriving poetic tradition and also produces some fine examples of the budding novel forms; travelogues, penny-dreadfuls, and accessible reading topics have flowered there.

3) Most people go their whole life never meeting someone who does magic. Most you are likely to meet don't exceed the 5-8 level range. Most teachers at a mancery or the like would be 5th level, with those at Cudd Lygrall University or the Crucible Keep being closer to 8. In the last 500 years, there have only been two who arguably broke the 10th level.

That said, level 1 arcanists are popular in the military (the application of "Guidance" to keep the rate of fire of a line of infantry, for example, is well documented). Being that they are in such high demand, there can be fierce competition to get a competent spellcaster in one's Regiment or Company. Learning magic can be a great way to earn a stipend-commission.
Victor Valejo
 player, 10 posts
 Also known as
 Captain Vargas Valejo
Wed 17 Jun 2015
at 01:36
Re: Ask The GM!
Hmm. With twenty-two eighteen pound guns the Saint would be a very light frigate, though the lack of guns could simply be due to the belowdecks being cleared to make space for the marines, or perhaps it's a former merchant/merchant escort vessel that's been bought by the navy and refitted as a marine transport.

Alternately, is it possible that, without the competition that occurred between European and American powers in the Age of Sail and inspired bigger and bigger warships or the need for larger cargo capacity in the cross-Atlantic trade, Midlander ships aren't quite as massive as the vessels that were built during the real-life Age of Sail (yet)?

Also, I have to say I find Basque an interesting choice of language to use to represent Ybarian (it seems to crop up in many of Vargas' lines); I would have expected Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, possibly some north African languages (the Caztalans immediately made me think about medinas and by extension Al-Andalus when first reading about them). Did you have this or any other particular language(s) in mind when imagining Yberian?
The First And Last
 GM, 72 posts
Wed 17 Jun 2015
at 13:12
Re: Ask The GM!
All those are entirely plausible explanations but ultimately not the reason I gave you such a low number of guns; this was another arena where historical verisimilitude cleaved to mechanical ease. It should become clear when/if the Saint of Cadiz gets into a fight.

Ybaria was originally conceived as a Spanish-analogue. Caztalans = Catalan, Ybaria = Iberia. But I ended up going with Basque for a language simply because it is much less common than Spanish-- and so in a fantasy setting I hoped would seem appropriately different. I've stuck to Spanish, Italian, and a bit of Greek for many of the Yberian NPC's, at the least.