Choosing a Campaign.   Posted by the Creator.Group: 0
the Creator
 GM, 3 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Mon 18 Jul 2016
at 03:03
Choosing a Campaign
Maybe "campaign" isn't the right term, but I would like to discuss the general concept of what sort of game we would like to play within the SenZar system. Are we saving the princess from the dragon? Are we saving the dragon from the princess? Are we dragons hunting wild princesses?

I have a few ideas, but I am very open to suggestions.
the Creator
 GM, 7 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 04:40
Choosing a Campaign
Here are some options based upon previous games of SenZar that I have run.

#1: The Legends Game
This idea is ripped directly off of the plot for the first SenZar novel. All of the player characters were heroes on the alien world of Senzar. --or perhaps they were villains. They lived in different ages and developed different powers. Then, they died. Instead of being dragged into one boring afterlife or another, the intelligence of the universe decided to send them to our world where they were reincarnated as magic-blind humans. They live on the world of Terra in the local year of 2016, but their minds are liberated here. Free of the Codes and religious dogma which restricted their behavior in an earlier life, they are reborn as practical beings with very modern minds. Old enemies will soon reach through the Dream Wall into this world. Old abilities and forgotten lore will be remembered, and the fate of two worlds will be determined.

Basically, we will make basic SenZar characters. Then, we will decide how our own PCs died during their first lives. We will begin roleplaying as contemporary reincarnations of these characters on Earth. Regardless of their previous racial templates, everyone will be a human during this early part of the roleplay. Perhaps we roleplay as ourselves, or maybe our PCs are all musicians in the same rock band. When trouble arises, past lives will be revealed.

#2: The Accelerated Epic Campaign
SenZar is geared for quick advancement. In one table top campaign I ran, characters advanced from 1st to 16th level in a matter of months. I was being generous, but I stuck with the rules. In a play-by-post environment, we could never do that. Let's do some sampling instead.

We create basic 1st level characters with racial and profession templates. We roleplay a brief adventure involving these neophyte adventurers. Act 2: Then, we skip ahead through five years off camera, and we advance our characters to 5th level. A 2nd profession template is available, so every character is effectively double-classed. We play a second adventure which draws these same characters back together and pits them against more dangerous hazards. Act 3: 10th experience level veterans, 10 years into the campaign timeline. They can also pick up a Freak Template at this point. Instead of a Freak Template, they can optionally pick up a 3rd profession template. Act 4: 15th level legends. Bring on the big monsters! Act 5: As the characters reach 20th level, they are on the cust of divinity. If they survive -- but I won't make it easy -- they have a solid chance of joining the ranks of gods and immortals.

#3 A Saving Remnant
At the end of an Age, the civilization of city-states on the Dragon's Peninsula faces collapse. Invasions from three fronts squeeze inward. The gods have turned their backs. One wise ruler, however, has a plan. Survivors will be evacuated across the sea to uncharted lands beyond. The PCs are officers of the crown, authorized to select and secure anything worth saving in order to bring it for the long journey into the unknown. What will you save?

This concept is an idea from game designer Kenneth Hite. I just reworked it to fit the world setting of SenZar. Kenneth based his high fantasy horror concept on the political situation of Western Europe circa 1000 A.D.

#4 Knaves of the Round Table
We run a round table campaign. I promote all of the players to admin-level status. Then, we take turns running the game. Each of us runs the game for -- say one month in real time -- then the next player takes over as GM and builds on what has happened recently. The campaign events develop in a more organic way than following any certain outline in this way.

#5 Pitch Me an Idea
The best concepts are those which I have not thought yet.

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:10, Wed 20 July 2016.

Morty
 player, 3 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 15:42
Choosing a Campaign
somehow, I think #2 set in the actual SenZar world could be the most fun(ny) choice.

#3 is interesting as well. Troy is burning, what will you take with you to Sicily? :) There are moral conundrums for all kinds of moralities. Come to think of it, I just might steal the idea ;)

Once we get eachother, $4 would be a winner, with campaigns running in parallel.
Smithy
 player, 3 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 15:51
Choosing a Campaign
2 and 3 are cool, maybe even something along the lines of a Conan-esque world?
Morty
 player, 4 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 16:00
Choosing a Campaign
Conan has the race problem. Nonhumans are monsters there ;)

Hmm. How about a world drawn by Frazetta? Like Ice Age?
the Creator
 GM, 11 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 00:07
Choosing a Campaign
Groovy, there seems to be equal interest in suggests 2 and 3.

The Accelerated Epic Campaign is something I feel confident about running effectively on RPOL.

The Saving Remnant would be fun, but it will almost certainly take longer. Again, the bulk of the credit for this concept goes to Kenneth Hite. He introduced the idea as part of his Suppressed Transmission column in Shadis Magazine. In Ken's version, it was Europe being invaded by Werewolf Raiders from the North, Lizard Mages from the South, and Orc Barbarians from the East. It's pretty easy to figure out which group relates to which faction in real European history.

I feel the temptation to combine #2 and #3, but I know that wouldn't work right. Players in the Saving Remnant would want time to explore and hoard whatever it is that they attempt to salvage. The Accelerated Campaign handwaves those sort of things.

A Conan-esque setting would be most like Senzar during the 1st or 2nd Age. Senzar history is divided into eight Ages (and yes, that word is capitalized) each lasting a few thousand years. The Ages are separated by a time of cosmic strife called the Weirding which lasts for about two weeks, radiation from the third moon baths the surface of the planet, and particularly nasty monsters roam the world. Accept for the 4th Age in which the bad immortals ruled the world, there isn't a lot of difference in canon between the Ages. The designers left history loose like that on purpose, I suspect.

For my own satisfaction, I divided the Ages into genre pieces.

1st Age: Stone & Copper Age
2nd Age: Bronze Age
3rd Age: Medieval Age (steel, chivalry, all that stuff)
4th Age: Dark Age (emphasis on gothic horror)
5th Age: Enlightenment Age (rebuilding empires & some Post-Apocalyptic themes)
6th Age: Renaissance Age (Golden Age of Sail & exploration, alchemy)
7th Age: Steam Age (steampunk)
8th Age: Digital Age (options for Space Opera & Cyber-Punk themes)

Those descriptions are just my head canon, and I am not devoted to them.
Shadowsmith
 player, 3 posts
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 00:17
Choosing a Campaign
My preference would be 2; the Accelerated Epic Campaign. As far as the Age goes, I prefer 2nd with 3rd being close behind. The 5th Age has its own appeal and could be lots of fun so list it as my third choice.
Manticore
 player, 3 posts
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 00:35
Choosing a Campaign
The 5th & 6th Ages fit my thoughts better than the rest do, but I'm thinking art, performance, and mystical creativity rather than battle.
the Creator
 GM, 14 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 01:03
Choosing a Campaign
I count three votes for the Accelerated Campaign. That is what we'll do.
Smithy
 player, 6 posts
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 02:38
Choosing a Campaign
well, accelerated it is then :)

I still think a Conan-esque world would be cool, that's my first choice.

actually, I'll go 2nd Age, 3rd Age, and 4th Age for my top three picks.
Morty
 player, 7 posts
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 06:17
Choosing a Campaign
Age-wise, I'm with Smithy. 2nd, 3rd, 4th.
the Creator
 GM, 16 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 22:16
Choosing a Campaign
I have thought about it, and I decided to veto the 4th Age. The Shadar Lords who rule the planet during that time would intervene and greatly restrict your character growth.

2nd, 3rd, & 5th seem to be the remaining popular choices. The 2nd & 3rd are somewhat straight forward. 2nd Age has a little more of an Illiad or Wild West feel to it because the city-states are spread apart with wilderness between them and borders are not clearly established yet. Khazaks are major political powerhouses but Humans are organizing. The beast races like Tygor and Shivaki are still common. The most common forms of magic are Astromancy and Divine Magic with Nature Magic and Witchcraft being not far behind.

In the 3rd Age, things are more organized. Feudal kingdoms have alliances and rivalries which have lasted for thousands of years by this point. Think more Ivanhoe or even Don Quixote. The Elven races dominate politics. Goblins are common in every Age. Wizardry comes into its own as the preferred magic, and Spellsinging is established.

The 5th is when the human empire of Rel is established and starts getting corrupt; the Dragonslayers begin to turn into bad guys. Alchemy is established, but Divine Magic and Mysticism make major comebacks as common forms of magic.

Again, the differences between the Ages are my own head canon. I just use this system as a way of judging what themes interest you guys. Would anyone like to voice an opinion as to specifically why they would prefer one of these over the others?
Smithy
 player, 8 posts
Sun 24 Jul 2016
at 12:15
Choosing a Campaign
I like Conan, that's all. I'm good with any of the ages as far as that goes.
Morty
 player, 8 posts
Sun 24 Jul 2016
at 20:13
Choosing a Campaign
It seems most votes are 3rd age, no?
Shadowsmith
 player, 5 posts
Mon 25 Jul 2016
at 18:28
Re: Choosing a Campaign
the Creator:
2nd, 3rd, & 5th seem to be the remaining popular choices. The 2nd & 3rd are somewhat straight forward. 2nd Age has a little more of an Illiad or Wild West feel to it because the city-states are spread apart with wilderness between them and borders are not clearly established yet. Khazaks are major political powerhouses but Humans are organizing. The beast races like Tygor and Shivaki are still common. The most common forms of magic are Astromancy and Divine Magic with Nature Magic and Witchcraft being not far behind.

In the 3rd Age, things are more organized. Feudal kingdoms have alliances and rivalries which have lasted for thousands of years by this point. Think more Ivanhoe or even Don Quixote. The Elven races dominate politics. Goblins are common in every Age. Wizardry comes into its own as the preferred magic, and Spellsinging is established.

The 5th is when the human empire of Rel is established and starts getting corrupt; the Dragonslayers begin to turn into bad guys. Alchemy is established, but Divine Magic and Mysticism make major comebacks as common forms of magic.

Again, the differences between the Ages are my own head canon. I just use this system as a way of judging what themes interest you guys. Would anyone like to voice an opinion as to specifically why they would prefer one of these over the others?

I prefer 2nd age due to the wilder aspect of it. City-states surrounded by wilderness give us a wide range of adventure possibilities. Plus during this time, an exceptional man can rise high in the ranks of power. Merit is far more important than birth in this sort of setting.

3nd age adds more social options while retaining lots of potential combat. Less wilderness adventuring is a downside. Political alliances and petty intrigue would likely abound. Formal combat such as jousting provides less lethal combat options.

5th age lets us fight against a decaying empire. We could carve out a place for ourselves but doing so will result in backlash from the entrenched nobility.

Off the top of my head that's how I feel about the three ages as described by you.
Swordchucks
 player, 2 posts
Tue 26 Jul 2016
at 00:14
Re: Choosing a Campaign
I guess I'm weird in that I like technomagic stuff kind of a lot.  I'd enjoy something later on, though the 5th age seems alright, too.
Manticore
 player, 4 posts
Tue 26 Jul 2016
at 17:30
Re: Choosing a Campaign
While I might hope for Alchemist as my future second profession, the state of the fine arts (dance, theater, painting, etc.) means more for my character concept.
the Creator
 GM, 21 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Tue 26 Jul 2016
at 23:37
Re: Choosing a Campaign
Shadowsmith, your interpretation is spot-on.

Okay, let's mix them all together. The second age is the most Conan-like option.

Technomagic (which we call sorcery) is rare before the 7th Age but accessible due to relics left behind from prehistory. In the Pre-First Age, Senzar was settled by a civilization of intergalactic pirates called the Death Horde. They imported most of the playable character races to the planet as slave populations. Relics left behind by the Death Horde and what can be learned from them are most common in the 1st Age but still available in the 2nd Age.

Alchemy will likewise be available but less common. None of the magic forms are actually off the table in any age.

There will a good amount of culture happening in the city-states. Think classical culture from ancient Egypt, Greece, China, or Japan. Egypt = Rotath, Europe = Dragon's Peninsula, Japan = Moa Yen, et cetera. Manticore, if you give me a little more of an idea of what sort of arts you have in mind, I'll pick out the best fit on Planet Senzar geographically. Otherwise, you may just make up your own kingdom. There are plenty of unspecified regions on the map, especially on the largest continent, Kurg.
the Creator
 GM, 45 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Thu 4 Aug 2016
at 06:30
Where?
Okay, where on planet should be game begin?

I do not expect you guys to know anything about the world setting. Let's look at the world from the perspective of these PCs...

The Vyshe are outsiders. As inhabitants of the Astral, they are only visiting the physical world (also called the Prime Sphere or sometimes simply the Prime). Vyshe can show up anywhere.

Likewise, Sidhe can show up anywhere. They have no specific homeland because they are fey who are descended from nature spirits. You are as likely to find a Sidhe at the bottom of the ocean as you are in the harshest desert.

Akir do have a specific homeland. They inhabit the frozen tundras near the planet's northern pole. Their civilization is divided among cities (in canon), Akirak and Fisthold. These cities are traditional rivals. Our game is taking place quite early in history, so we could do a thing in which one of these cities is being first settled.

Just south of the tundra is the Sea of Stars. Among many other things, this sea is home to the island of Nazar Eth. Basically all Nazar Ethans are from this place. Due to the island's curse, it is surrounded by an impassable wall of magic fire. The best way in or out of Nazar Eth is to go underground through the Midnight Realm, but that's an adventure in and of itself.

We have one Nazar Ethan noble, so I am thinking that this character's status will likely determine where things start. Either the PC is at home and looking to get out, or he was born away from the island and is trying to get in. What do you think would be more fun, Smithy?

Btw, I am uploading some maps tonight.
Smithy
 player, 14 posts
Thu 4 Aug 2016
at 11:27
Where?
I'm thinking, if everyone is on board, we are on my island trying to get off the island. Would make sense for me as he wants to learn everything he can about the martial arts. Somewhere someone has a secret he doesn't know and needs to know, or a weapon that will help him etc.... just seems more appropriate for me. Can we work with that?
Morty
 player, 13 posts
Mon 8 Aug 2016
at 05:12
Where?
My Vyshe could help with that, for a price (that being, alcohol, drugs and girls... not necessarily in that order). So supporting he foppish noble on a stroll while collecting the spare coinage sounds like a good story seed.
Swordchucks
 player, 11 posts
Mon 8 Aug 2016
at 14:36
Where?
It's been a while since my Sidhe was at her own home, so assisting someone else in leaving the island would fit in there.  She probably came to the island seeking artifacts of some sort, for lost sorcerous lore.
Zen
 PC, 2 posts
 Nazar Ethan
 Zen Master
Mon 8 Aug 2016
at 14:39
Where?
Those both fit nicely with my concept!
Shadowsmith
 player, 11 posts
 Akir, Gladiator
Mon 8 Aug 2016
at 18:54
Where?
Herleifr was believed to be cursed due to his unnatural hair and eye color. On his first raiding excursion, his fellows sold him into slavery as they feared his curse turning on them if they simply killed him.

Due to his size and strength, Herleifr ended up fighting in the gladiator pits. Over the decades he won fame and fortune eventually being able to buy his freedom. Now he is looking for companions with whom he can make his way into the world.

He could have been a gladiator on your island. Now he joins up with you for a chance to get away.
the Creator
 GM, 47 posts
 gamemaster
 a.k.a. Chupa Bob
Tue 9 Aug 2016
at 03:45
Works for Me
It seems like we are all in agreement. Now, I can begin making your virtual lives miserable.

Morty messaged me and told me that he would be returning from vacay soon. I suggest we start roleplaying in earnest then.