General Info.   Posted by JQuacker.Group: 0
 GM, 11 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:41
General Info
A faraway world. An iron age.

This is a map of Sanctuary, an island realm battered by storms:

Surrounding Sanctuary is the Half World Ocean. You know this because you crossed it, chased from your home by marauders. You drifted for a nearly a year living on seaweed and whatever you could catch, and the sight of land at last seemed like a trick of the eye.

But this is a new life for your clan. This is a fabled place. You may explore it, exploit it, control it, destroy it, defend it. You can even leave it, but it is a long and lonely sail to the other side of the world.

Important note about the map: The lines are one "mark" apart, which is a unit of measurement used by the locals. It is a distance of about 50 kilometers or 30 miles in our uncouth ancient terms. One mark is roughly the distance that can be traveled overland in a long day, moving in a straight line over flat ground. Sea vessels in these turbulent waters fare somewhat better at about 5 marks per day of constant travel. For the purposes of this game, we will refer to all distances in marks.

Travel times are highly dependent on the terrain, weather, and the traveler's knowledge. You will rarely be able to travel at the full speed of one mark per day unless there is a straight paved road over flat ground, or perfect conditions on the open water and a seasoned sailing crew.

The most important rule of play is this: Don't cooperate with other players behind anyone's back. If I sense any sort of coordination between players -- anything that suggests that you are sharing information you could only get from another player without my permission -- I will drop you from the game right away. I may consider an appeal based on strong evidence, but the main thing to remember is Don't Cheat.

Also, Keep Everything Secret. If there's a good reason for two clans to be in close communication, then I'll arrange for some information sharing between players. Until then, assume that every stranger is a potential enemy.

Players in this game can invent fantasy names for their characters, or use this approved Sanctuary Name Generator for inspiration:

There is a Twitter account for this game. On it you will find facts about the world and hints to help you survive. You'll also see game updates and reminders about upcoming deadlines. Players are not required to follow this Twitter account but it is strongly recommended. Non-playing observers are welcome.


Would you like to join this game?
To apply to join the game, send an email to with the words "Sanctuary RPG" before 2300 PST 6 May 2012. I'll let you know within 24 after that deadline has passed if you're accepted, and let you know what to do next to get started.

If you have general questions, ask them in this thread so that everyone can see the answers and I don't have to repeat myself in private messages. (Thanks for playing nice!)

I can cover a few questions that you might have:

What's the climate like here? Subtropical and very rainy. Much of the land is covered with rainforests, jungles and extensive swamps. There are also grasslands and wide river valleys, and even some dry areas in the northern islands and in the lees of tall mountain ranges.

What are we going to be doing in this game? In the first phase of the game, you'll be in control of a clan of survivors trying to establish itself in a foreign land. I'll ask you questions and you'll give me answers and ask me questions, and pretty quickly we'll just start telling a story together.

Later phases of the game may take gameplay in new directions, but roleplaying and crafting/portraying your culture's identity will always be an important part of the game.

Are there elves, goblins, etc.? No, just humans, like on Earth. You will see some of the same animals, vegetables and minerals you'd see on Earth. But you might see some new things, too.

Is there magic or anything? Many believe in magic, the power of gods, the truth of superstitions, but really these are nothing more than illusions, delusions and myths. Never the less, each clan is likely to have its own strong set of beliefs, cosmology and pantheon. These will be left for you to create if you like, and might be affected by the things you discover in Sanctuary.

How many people are in my clan? I'll let you know when I reply to your territory and leader selections.

What does my clan start off with? Not much more than fishing nets, reed boats, a few simple tools and a small number of weapons of wood, stone, bronze and iron. I'll let you know if you know if you possess anything more elaborate than that.

Is this going to be just like Risk? Not really. This will be more like a clan-scale tabletop RPG. I want to see each clan develop into something unique and memorable. As the game's creator and game master I'll provide the world, the NPCs and the weather, and some obvious plot twists. The other players may be your allies, rivals and enemies.

Will there always be deadlines for posting my clan's latest move? Yes. I will give you a tight but reasonable deadline to post (email) your next turn. You will usually have 3 to 5 days to respond to my most recent post to you.

If you know you will not be able to meet a deadline, you must inform me as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made.

If you miss two deadlines for any reason, even if you notify me, you will be dropped from the game. (I would still appreciate being notified, even if it's just to acknowledge your resignation.)

What if I want to quit playing? You may quit at any time. We'll clean up after you.

How many people are playing right now? 7, not including the game master.
 GM, 12 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:41
Re: General Info
Why You Left Home

Before your clan arrived here, Sanctuary was just a legend in your minds. The island chain where you come from, halfway around the world, is overrun with the fiercest, foulest, most loathsomely brutal people imaginable. The Marauders move from island to island, burning down every home, defiling and slaying everyone in their path, eating their flesh and even wearing the skin and scalps of the dead. They are ravenous, insane and unstoppable. When trapped, they attack and feed on each other like rats, but they are uncannily clever and seem to have boundless energy. There is no army strong enough to resist the Marauders, and it would be stupid pride for a small clan to stand and die fighting against them. You simply could not stay and let your own people's bones be sharpened into weapons in those filthy hands.

So you set out on the Half World Ocean in rafts and boats, lashing them together into a tiny floating village. And you drifted out into an ocean that was thought to be endless. You expected to die at sea, a better fate than being eaten alive. But you hoped and prayed for sanctuary, any dry land, as you tried to catch enough fish and gather enough sea-grass to avoid starvation. Many of your people perished. After big storms, entire boats or rafts would go missing, whole families lost in the waves.

You drifted so long that the stars and moons moved to different places in the sky. When you finally saw land, it was like a miracle. To you, it is an entirely new and uncharted place. You may not be the first humans on Sanctuary, of course. After all, the Marauders attacked many islands, and many clans probably did the same as you, including most of the tribes that lived near you back home. Some of those clans might be here already, or on their way now. There might even be Marauders here, gods forbid.
 GM, 13 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:41
Re: General Info
Human Longevity

Life is harsh here, but for those who survive infancy they can expect to live a healthy 60 years or more. Accidental injuries and diseases are the most likely cause of death before then, but people have even been known to live to be 100.

On a related note: In most clans, one is considered an adult and accountable for oneself by around age 15. "Able-Bodied" clan members will be between the ages of 15 and 60, and comprise roughly 2/3rds of your population. The rest are children, the elderly, the disabled, the sick and heavily injured.
 GM, 14 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:41
Re: General Info
A Bit of Strategy

It does matter what roles you assign to your people, and different people will have different skills. Dedicated warriors and hunters will certainly fight harder and more effectively than dedicated farmers. On the other hand, farmers will farm better than warriors.

The number of people you assign to a certain task is a good way to punctuate the clan goals you describe to me.

You don't have to assign everyone in the clan to a job. I'll assume that unassigned clan members will be doing something productive (farming, fishing, gathering, maybe even exploring). A few people will be up to no good, but that's true in any community.

Level of Detail

Some of the details you provide will not affect the overall story, but they do provide a richer context. While I'm usually focused on keeping track of resources and big-picture stuff, you should get opportunities to do some zoomed-in, slowed-down scenes. In those cases, the details you've established before then will be very useful, and maybe even very important.
 GM, 15 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:42
Re: General Info
Technology and Culture

To some extent, I've let each player define their clan's level of sophistication. We're certainly exaggerating the rate of technological advancement. The people on this world are very much like us, but generally speaking they're a bit more adaptable and innovative because it's in their nature. There's some in-game logic behind that, but I can't say more about it now.

There's an out-of-game logic behind this, too. Players don't want to play dumb, and they want to do cool stuff with their characters and clans. By starting your clan with very little, you have some control over what your clan eventually becomes -- you get to determine some of your own cool stuff. Some of it will come down to luck and randomness, too.

The Name Generator

I don't mind "fantasy" names, especially if a player uses a consistent and authentic-sounding kind of naming system. But most names start as ordinary words, and this world is set up to be rather primal.

For the Name Generator, there's a definite Native American inspiration (also a bit of Werewolf RPG and a lot of my own weirdness thrown in). I wanted to offer names that were "native" in the sense that "this is what that name means in the language in which it's spoken." I also wanted to create names that help paint a picture of the world. You don't have to use them; they're entirely optional.

Here's the Sanctuary Name Generator link:
 GM, 16 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:42
Re: General Info

It rains often in Sanctuary, usually several hours each day. This can create miserably humid conditions. It is also very windy and breezy here, so the humidity usually doesn't cling to the land for long. One hour you may be soaking wet and miserably hot, the next hour you may be chilled and chapped by the blowing winds. These rapid changes in temperature and moisture aren't good for humans, creating a perfect environment for disease.

The best solution for surviving here is to use waterproof or water-resistant materials, lightweight materials that can be aired out and dried quickly, or none at all.

Many animal pelts are waterproof, so it would be common to see fur hoods, hats, capes, mantles, wraps and boots. Tanned leathers are another good choice. A combination of these, in particular fur layered over leather, gives the option to adapt to the changing weather.

Clothing made of beadwork, shellwork, woven grasses or fibrous plant husks such as coir can also be used. Wide-brimmed hats made of straw or reeds can take the place of a hood for keeping the head and face dry.

Bare skin dries rapidly, and it would not be unusual for a clan to strip down to nearly naked following a downpour to allow themselves and their clothing to air out in the wind.

Applied waxes, fats and oils also provide a degree of waterproofing for porous materials such as smoked buckskin, cotton, hemp, silk or similar textiles. There are many kinds of wax and grease found naturally in plants and animals. Varnishes and some resins can also be used in this way.

Moisture-absorbent fabrics such as wool and linen are best reserved for indoor use only. They are most suitable for rugs and blankets. These can be very heavily waxed if meant to be worn as clothing.

Most bird feathers are not naturally waterproof, but there are exceptions. Some sea-diving birds and certain kinds of waterfowl native to Sanctuary have extremely oily feathers. These remain waterproof even after plucking, and can be used as decoration or sewn onto sheets fabric that can be worn as clothing.
 GM, 17 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:43
Re: General Info
The planet on which our game is set is known simply as the World. It orbits the star 54 Ori, roughly 28 light years from Sol. It is somewhat warmer than Earth, and almost completely covered by a deep ocean. It has no ice caps. There are two known island groups. One is in the northern hemisphere, and the other is on the opposite side of the world just south of the equator.

It is a storm-wracked world, rainy and windy at all latitudes. Its warm seas and powerful currents constantly churn up hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons that can roam for many weeks.

This World's history is very different from the Earth's. Its star was once much larger, and was changed drastically some 30 million years ago, stripped of its outer layers by another passing star. Only its white dwarf core remains. This transformation shifted the World's orbit inward, collecting four moons that had been scattered and released by other planets during the star's passing. Once a distant ice ball, the thick crust melted into the globe-spanning oceans we see today.

Its family of moons twist its molten core in unpredictable ways, and this is thought to have split the ocean floor into several large and active tectonic plates. As the planetary system has settled the faults have calmed considerably, but massive earthquakes and undersea volcanic eruptions are still common.

Geologically speaking, organic life was introduced here only recently, all of it based on Earthly stock. But the details of that process are for your GM's eyes only.

Classification: Terrestrial/oceanic
Atmosphere: 75% nitrogen, 22% oxygen, 2% argon, 1% trace elements
Radius: 6,051km
Axial Tilt: 2.4
Gravity: 1.03G
Length of Day: 28 hours
Length of Year: 320 days
Typical daylight surface temperature at equator: 29C
 GM, 18 posts
Tue 25 Mar 2014
at 17:43
Re: General Info
There are five moons around the World, though most of its inhabitants count only four.

The Seeker
This is a tiny bright object closer to the World than all the others. It's more of a curiosity, and isn't considered a true moon, and certainly not a great moon. It is just called the Seeker. It passes overhead several times a day, traveling west to east.

Broken Moon
The nearest of the great moons is the Broken Moon with its distinctive cracked side. The deep rifts were probably caused by rapid temperature changes as this tiny moon was hurled far from its original orbit. It rises in the west and sets in the east, each moonrise about 13 hours 15 minutes apart.

Black-Eyed Moon
Next out is the Black-Eyed Moon with its obvious dark crater. It tumbles through the sky and the position of its eye is difficult to predict. This moon orbits about once per day, moving west to east. As viewed from Sanctuary, it is a reliable timekeeper, rising around midnight and setting around midday.

Blood Moon
The third great moon is the Blood Moon, so named for its red patches and the lakes and rivers of glowing lava visible on its night side. This moon has an elliptical orbit that makes it appear larger and smaller as it makes its rounds. It moves east to west, with about 30 to 40 hours between each moonrise.

Silver Moon
The fourth and most distant is the Silver Moon, the greatest of them all. It is more than half the size of the World, but does not exert the tidal forces and gravitic force that would be expected. Very likely, it is composed chiefly of a porous material or possesses a counter-rotating inner core. None the less, the World's ocean tides and rivers typically rise and fall 10m to 15m throughout the course of a day.

It's possible that this was once a planet in its own right, captured by the World as it made its journey inward to the sun. When this moon is visible in the night sky, it provides a great deal of ambient light. It rises in the east and sets in the west, each moonrise about 31 hours apart.


Many cultures attribute significance to eclipses and other alignments of the heavenly bodies. These occur on a daily basis, giving astrologers and sky-watchers a variety of ominous signs to guide them.

From Sanctuary, full and solar eclipses are a frequent occurrence. This is because the World has only a slight tilt to it, and Sanctuary lies just south of the equator. This places the orbits of the moons almost directly along the sun's path across the sky at all times of the year.

The Broken Moon and Black-Eyed Moon are responsible for most eclipses, but double, triple and even quadruple eclipses are possible. The near moons regularly pass through the shadow of the World, and these eclipses are so common that they are of no particular interest.

Sometimes, the moons cast shadows on each other as they orbit the World, and these can be interpreted as signs as well.

Conjunctions of the moons are common events, and seeing two or three moons in close proximity is not unusual. When all four of the great moons share the same corner of the sky, there can be high tides, tsunamis and even earthquakes. For this reason, most sky-watchers dread conjunctions of more than two moons.
 GM, 65 posts
Sun 6 Apr 2014
at 01:04
Re: General Info
To make trading as easy as possible, I'm going to handle your clan trades automatically, for the most part. You'll just have to let me know which goods you're offering, and which goods you want.

We'll handle trading this way:

First, each of you will post your list of offerings. (Please label your post clearly.) Just list the names of the types of goods you're offering. You don't need to list the amounts -- I'll handle the trading amounts automatically, and you'll only make a trade if it's advantageous to you.

Then once you have seen the other clan's offerings, each of you should make a new post listing your wants. Again, I don't need to know the amounts, just the names of the kinds of goods you're interested in. If it's very important that you acquire a certain type of good in a certain quantity, you can make a note of that here or in your private room.

Then I'll conduct the trades automatically and you can get back to thinking about your clan goals.

Important: Make sure your trading is concluded before you post your clan goals for this turn in your private room. That way, you'll know what materials and goods you have to work with.