Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette.   Posted by JaJH.Group: archive 1
JaJH
 GM, 7 posts
Mon 18 Apr 2016
at 15:58
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
For setting up the basics.
JaJH
 GM, 8 posts
Tue 19 Apr 2016
at 14:06
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
I know life is crazy, but I figured I'd throw out some ideas. Let me know if any of them work for you, or feel free to suggest any that come to mind. Right now we're just trying to nail down a genre and a short 1 or 2 sentence summary phrase for a history.

1. The god of the underworld has vanished and the dead have begun to escape and return to the land of the living. (genre: Sword and Sorcery/Sword and Sandal)

2. The Apocalypse comes to a fantasy medieval kingdom (because I have Diablo on my mind)

3. The people of an island archipelago arise from tribes to form kingdoms and, eventually, a great empire. (genre: Sword and Sorcery/Sword and Sandal, Fantasy, Asian fantasy, etc.)

4. A vampire lord, after ruling for a millennium, is brought down.

5. Two empires collide (genre: pretty much whatever we want)

6. Fantasy Kingdoms discover a new world, and build colonial empires

7. Humans colonize an isolated planet

8. Having used up the Earth, humanity departs in search of a new place to call home.

9. Superpowers begin to manifest in ordinary people (ala X-men, Heroes, Sense 8, etc.)

10. "Freelancers" bring down an evil MNC
Cloudy
 player, 2 posts
Tue 19 Apr 2016
at 15:40
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Okay, I haven't yet read "How to Play" or had a look at the rulebook itself, but I've been feeling really guilty about not contributing more so I figured I could at least weigh-in on the "Big Picture and Palette".

For the options you bring up, here are my thoughts:

#1 & 2: These two set-ups seem like they'd dovetail neatly together, so I'll consider them as a whole unit. Fantasy settings always strike me as the easiest for learning a new system and for world-building (most anything can be handwaved as "magic"), plus I'm a pretty big Diablo fan myself.

#4: The end of a Vampire Lord's reign sounds like it has loads of dramatic potential for world-building, and it's actually one of the set-ups I had in mind for my own Monster Hunters/Urban Fantasy setting. Did you have a particular time in mind for when the Vampire's reign ended (medieval, modern, future)?

#6, 7 & 8: I'm drifting between Horror and Sci-Fi these days, so you know I'm interested in these guys. That said, sci-fi doesn't strike me as being as forgiving for a new player/narrator as fantasy does - I always feel more scientific depth is required (can't just say "magic" when you need an explanation) and I seldom appreciate "aliens" standing in for "monsters" (there are exceptions, obviously).

#10: What's an MNC?

Looking over that list, I think I'm most confident about #1 & 2, but #4 seems the sexiest. Those would be my preferred choices as of this moment, but if you have additional ideas or different Palettes in mind I'm totally open.

Okay, now I'm going to try and spend some time reading up!
JaJH
 GM, 9 posts
Tue 19 Apr 2016
at 15:47
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
You can post over here, this thread is to kick ideas around and stuff. Also, take your time, no rush and don't feel pressured to read or get posts up or anything. Real life always comes first.

For #4, I was originally thinking Fantasy, maybe something like Ravenloft, but modern could totally work too. If we do go modern, I feel like the Vampire Lord would be ruling more in the shadows, yeah? While in a Fantasy setting I'd assume he'd just be out there ruling openly.

Another thing to consider for #4 is where we'll start. We could tell the story of how he's brought down. Or, we could tell the story of what happens after he is deposed. Assuming he's ruled a fantasy kingdom for 2,000 years, the people might not have any idea of what self governance might look like.

Sci-Fi can work just fine, I think, if that's the route you want to go in. If we're a couple centuries in the future, you can swap "magic" for "technology" for pretty similar results. We're also relating a history of something that already happened, so it's just as easy to focus on the people and events, and leave tech in the background.

An MNC is a Multi-National Corporation. Something like you'd see in Shadow Run or some other Cyberpunk story.
Cloudy
 player, 3 posts
Tue 19 Apr 2016
at 17:11
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Okay, I've read "How to Play" and I think I'm getting a better idea of what we'll be doing. I like where this is going so far!

It sounds like we're looking at either #1/2 or #4, so let's focus the conversation there; if I'm reading you wrong, or you'd just rather do a Sci-Fi or Neo-Noir (thank you for explaining "MNC" to me, by the way) we can do that, but I'll focus my thinking on the earlier options for this post.

#1/2: Fantasy is a very flexible genre, and a Fantasy Apocalypse sounds cool; plenty of opportunity for epic events, and we've both got a handy visual reference in Diablo, so there's a natural sort of familiarity there that we could exploit. Most Fantasy settings tend to be Tolkien-esque or else dungeon crawls with little significance to the setting at large, so the Fantasy Apocalypse seems a unique idea (I've certainly never done anything like it).

#4: If we go modern, then yes I absolutely think the Vampire Lord should be ruling from the shadows; depending on how the history plays out though, we might find ourselves in a Modern Supernatural setting (the Lord dies and the Monsters come out of the woodwork) or else keep the supernatural secret (the Lord dies, but the status quo [mostly] remains). You mentioned "ruling for a millennium", so we could play with real-world history or events going back to, say, AD 1016, or if you did want to stick closer to Ravenloft we could maybe roll a bit of this idea into #1/2 (or vice-versa).
JaJH
 GM, 10 posts
Tue 19 Apr 2016
at 19:09
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
For setting #1 I was thinking something like Sword and Sandal. Like Clash of the Titans or what you'd see in Greek myth, ancient heroes and civilizations going up against monsters and gods and stuff.

#2 I was thinking Medieval fantasy, something like Diablo. But we could shift that up into, say, a Warhammer-esque type genre

#4, I hadn't even thought about going alternate history, that's pretty cool. So would Gothic Fantasy too (which I think would be my preference between those two options)

Did you have any thoughts or ideas? we definitely don't have to go with one of the ten I listed.
Cloudy
 player, 4 posts
Thu 21 Apr 2016
at 15:54
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Oooh, I hadn't even considered the Sword & Sandal version... that would be pretty cool.

I think it would be best if we went with one of the ideas you've already listed; I'm not sure how long these "campaigns" or "adventures" (or whatever) tend to go for, but there's nothing stopping us from starting another one after or even during the first.

Going from just #1, #2, or #4, I think I'm most drawn to #1 and #2. I'm pretty easy on either of those, but if I had to chose a preference I think I'd go with #1; I'm totally open to another option if you'd rather though, especially since I'll be following your lead.
JaJH
 GM, 11 posts
Thu 21 Apr 2016
at 17:44
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Each game can last for as long as we want it to, but yeah, they're pretty light, and we can always start up something new if this gets old, or if we just want to do another alongside it.

Lets do #1 then. The next thing to do is to Bookend History and establish a starting and ending Period, and build a palette. I'm thinking the easiest thing to do, since there are two of us, is for one of us to do the starting period and the other the ending period. Here are my thoughts. Remember you have veto power over any of this:

Focus: n/a

Time: Starting Period

Type: Period

History: Amhotep-Ra Returns to the land of the living at the head of a skeletal army, intent on reclaiming his throne.

Tone: Dark


Palette
As a quick reminder, the Palette are things we want to see, or be able to introduce, and things we definitely don't see or want to be introduced. This does not have to be a comprehensive list. A good rule of thumb is to introduce something to the "Yes" column you might not necessarily expect to see in this genre. Something in the "No" column could be something you'd normally expect to see, but want to ban for the purposes of our History. We alternate placing things on the Palette. As soon as one of us doesn't have anything else he'd want to add or restrict, then the Palette is set. Make sense?

So for me -

No: Iron

Other metals are fine (Copper, bronze, brass). But no iron or steel swords, or tools or anything like that.
Cloudy
 player, 5 posts
Fri 22 Apr 2016
at 15:18
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Okay, I think I follow you so far. Right now, we're just going to build the "character sheet" for the Starting Period of the setting, right? When we've got the Palette to where we want it we'll start putting narrative into the "Starting Period" and then, when that's finished, I put up an "Ending Period" or do we have like a "Middle Period" or two in between?



For the here and now, Palette stuff.

No Iron is fine.

I'll add No Psychics. Magic - whether divine or arcane - is fine (unless you add it to the No Palette), but no mind-melters; if Cassandra can see the future, it's because one or more Gods wants her to.
JaJH
 GM, 12 posts
Fri 22 Apr 2016
at 18:33
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
We actually set a start and end period now. Then, once play starts, we're free to jump around in history between those two points, developing other periods and stuff, or developing the starting and ending periods. Whatever we're inspired to do, does that make sense?

I have a question for you, would you rather base this on the real world (the Greeks are the Greeks from our antiquity), a sort of alternate reality or earth? or something entirely new and made up?

Also, full disclosure, my daughter's named Cassandra, your post really threw me for a second until I realized you meant the Trojan Cassandra :)




I like No Psychics. 100% behind that. Clarifying question, though. What about Oracles? Some Oracle abilities kinda overlap with traditionally Psychic things.

For me:

No Goofiness

Occasional humor is fine, but I want the tone, overall, to be serious.
Cloudy
 player, 6 posts
Fri 22 Apr 2016
at 19:45
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
I'm a little lost on how I set the End Period. I'm going to take a poke at it; please feel free to correct me as hard as you need to.

Focus: ?

Time: Ending Period

Type: Period

History: Following massive war and destruction, a new God of Death is recognized and  takes the throne of the Underworld.

Tone: Dark, with themes of Duty

Is that even close?



I think just to keep things flowing more easily we should base this on real world stuff in an alternate reality Earth; so, like, Zeus is still Zeus and there is still a place called Athens, but we shouldn't have to worry about geographic, historical, or even mythological accuracy necessarily. You follow me?

And that's such a lovely name for your daughter, sorry if I gave you a shock. ^_^



No Iron
No Psychics: to clarify, Oracles totally make sense for what we've got so far and I think they'd be a great fit, but their abilities are never understood to be a trick of the mind or fluke of genetics; Oracles are either delusional, frauds, or are genuinely in communication with a Higher (or Lower) Power.
No Goofiness: 100% agreed, and I think I'm starting to understand Palettes a little better.

The palette is getting a bit negative, so I'll add Yes Other Pantheons, meaning that though we're taking Clash of the Titans for our inspiration there's nothing stopping, say, Thor from showing up and sharing his opinion.
JaJH
 GM, 13 posts
Fri 22 Apr 2016
at 21:09
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Yup you pretty much nailed it I think. You don't have to specify any tone beyond "light" or "dark" but I think that extra note provides some more depth.

Also, to clarify, the time between the start and end periods is significant. The war I mentioned in my Starting Period likely isn't the war you reference in your end period.



Your Palette choice fits in pretty well with my next one:

Yes: Barbarians By Barbarians I mean cultures outside of the Mediterranean/Fertile Crescent area. So if we want to introduce a Conan equivalent, as some epic hero, we totally can.
Cloudy
 player, 7 posts
Mon 25 Apr 2016
at 14:55
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
I think I see what you're saying; if it isn't too late and won't screw up the flow, I'd like to amend my history to just "A new God of Death is recognized and takes the Throne of the Underworld".



Cool idea for the Barbarians, I'm right there with you. How in-depth do we need to get with our palette, and about how many things do we have to/want to put on it? Like, at some point does it just extend to the obvious or ridiculous - "no anthropomorphic cartoon animals", "yes violent conflict" - or can we just assume a certain standard between us?

For now, my own addition will be Yes Magic, both Divine (magic powered by or through the Gods) and Arcane (magic powered by or through ambient mystical energies). See, I'm not sure whether or not that was obvious or implied, y'know?

No Iron
No Psychics
No Goofiness


Yes Other Pantheons
Yes Barbarians

JaJH
 GM, 14 posts
Mon 25 Apr 2016
at 15:46
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
That's totally fine. We're both feeling this out.




Also, It doesn't have to be comprehensive, no, just stuff that you'd feel might just kill your fun if it was, or wasn't, included in the game.

Personally, I can't think of anything else I feel like needs to be added. So, unless there's one more thing you feel is important to specify, we can move on.



Next phase is "First Pass". Where we each create a Period or Event to add to the Starting and Ending Periods we've already created. Here's mine:

Focus: n/a

Time: Amhotep-Ra Returns to the land of the living at the head of a skeletal army, intent on reclaiming his throne.

Type: Event

History: Anubis himself joins the fray at the battle of Thebes, resulting in a victory for the Pharaoh, and a significant setback for the Skeleton King.

Tone: Light
Cloudy
 player, 8 posts
Tue 26 Apr 2016
at 14:40
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
Okay, First Pass. This could be really shaky, so if you have to edit or correct me (even extremely so) don't hesitate.



Focus: NA

Time: Amhoted-Ra returns to the land of the living at the head of a skeletal army, intent on reclaiming his throne.

Type: Period

History: Following his initial defeat at the hands of Anubis the Skeleton King seeks allies among lesser gods and powerful demons, who unleash their combined horrors upon the World of Men.

Tone: Dark.
JaJH
 GM, 15 posts
Tue 26 Apr 2016
at 17:15
Starting A New Game: Big Picture and Palette
I think that works, only clarification is that would be an Event, since it's taking place during that starting Period. does that make sense?

I think that completes set-up, I'll be closing this thread, and moving over to the "Making History" one.