Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Elaboratus: Sifting through the Thought Cloud

Bipolar Mixed mania includes some benefits, especially when it comes to the Manic side of things. For some its an aspect that they enjoy the most, but regret later when you realize that you aren't indeed flying any more, but instead are falling deep into a pit before the inevitable crash. Up till now, I've been trying to curb these Manic episodes, but during these times I find that I have some really interesting ideas for games. Only problem is, theres often times too much to sift through and most of which never really get realized.

In this installment of Elaboratus, I'll be going into detail about the various Campaign settings that I have been able to at least get a semi grasp on and what I've done to fill in the blanks.

The worlds I've put together thus far include the world of Valanas, the world of Atlas, and Neptunia. So far, I've only explored Valanas in complete detail, though as I progress in piecing things together, I hope to introduce my current gaming group to Atlas. Neptunia is something of an odd gem that at some point I'd like to try to introduce once I find a system that would really suit it the best, as detailed below.

The World of Valanas
The biggest Campaign idea I ever started with was basically a twist that I put on making an educational game for a group of friends of mine which I named Valanas. The game was centered around a civilization of Humans and Elf-Like humanoids that were contesting over technology to travel into the stars as the world itself was becoming overpopulated. The world itself was the size of mars and had a large expanse of water and was frequented by asteroids that bombarded the planet once every 10,000 years. Seeing as how some of these asteroids were also parts of comets, the planet itself eventually evolved to include a lot of tropical environments, a magnitude of bodies of water, and a large collection of craters across the planet's surface.

The game itself though started with me taking the introductory game in the Mutants and Masterminds Core Rule book and turned it into a small academy of gifted Humans. Each of the humans had somehow been gifted with a unique "Gate" that allowed them to tap into magical abilities that emulated mutations. When designing the gates, I had the the Elf-like humanoids, named the Ugandi, have mastered what they believed to be the Master Gates, which I based around the Japanese 5 Elements, with Chi representing the Heavenly Gate that provided the cardinal gate that governed all the other elements. I then decided that i wanted to make the gates a bit more dynamic, so I put together another table that combined each of the 4 greater elements to create 4 lesser elements. Ice was combined of Water and Air, Electricity was Air and Fire, Metal was Earth and Fire, and Nature was Water and Earth. This provided a solid framework for the players to build off of.

After making the framework that the players were going to build off of, I created characters that had tied into the history of the discovery and creation of these gates and before I knew it I had the framework for an entire campaign, when my only original intent was to put together a short adventure for the group. A campaign that the players explored fully as they made unique choices that pushed them beyond the basic core mechanic practices that were introduced in the MnM book.

These days though, I'm working on yet another variation of this story, placing the Campaign to a point when all the humanoids were discovering each other and the overpopulation was not an issue. In future installments of Elaboratus I plan to include details as to the different races and their specific histories.

The World of Atlas
The world of Atlas was an idea I cam up with after having looked at the various books that my players had been in and who I had hoped to introduce to the world of Comic Book Role Playing. Instead of building it around a core mechanic though, I looked at the various comic books out on the market right now, and I like the various elements associated with XMen and to an Extent Heroes the TV Show, so I thought "what would it take to make my own version of that?" The world we live in is a great setting for a Mutants type game where there is some level of urgency to the group dynamics of the game.

To do so, I took the concept from XMen's Xavier and created a unique character that had the ability to stop time completely and see into the past and perceive things in the future. For the most part, this character would never really have direct access to people he'd otherwise perceive as troublesome, and if so he would use time to either escape or even freeze an opponent in time. With his unique traits, I perceived the group that would work with him as being somewhat similar to the Matrix, having each character having met the Time controller as if destined to. Each one would have experienced in some way a monstrous force, people around them changing in ways they couldn't explain.

So far I've devised the main characters, the main NPCs, and have even located a place to host most of my adventures. Since I designed this campaign entirely around the various NPCs and PCs that I'd be expecting in such a game, I can easily make just about any adventure I want, as the enemy can be anyone and the troubles can be very dire indeed. As I'll detail in future posts, I'll go into detail about the various dynamics of character relationships and how they impact this particular story, as well as how I plan to guide character creation and how I plan to use Caper like adventures in the event a player disappears for a week or two.

This particular world was my attempt at something that was purely beautiful that had been partially traumatized by a natural catastrophe. This particular campaign setting I designed around the environment, having it based around a Oceanic Utopia with a collection of unique magical and spiritual elements. The various creatures in the world are based around various creatures found on our own earth, along side some more Elemental inspired creatures. The world consists of various types of water types and only an extremely small portion of the landmasses are above sea level.

The characters in this type of setting I plan to be more realistic, using a progressive system that makes the characters have a clear set of characteristics that they adapt as they gain experience, rather than having a class based system where everything is focused around combat. Instead, the challenges exist as combating the environement, solving puzzles, and dealing with internal conflict. The only thing I can imagine to fit this mold easier than others is the system known as GURPS, and as I explore the various ways of implementing environmental challenges, I hope to make this particular setting enjoyable for any hard core Role Player.