reverancepavane: (s7s)

One of the things that I expect the kolduns of Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies to do is to attempt to explain how the various gifts interact in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of how stuff works. One of the things I expect that they would do is try to work out how each of the gifts are connected. The following is my second attempt to imagine how a koldun might perceive the interrelationships (the first attempt was a previous version of this entry; in writing it, I discovered further correspondances).

The diagram to the right is the "elemental wheel" of gifts. I'm fairly sure of the base of this wheel, since it emulates the structure of the skies, with the appropriate gift given a central place in each sky. The top part is more supposition. Placing Water/Kappa in the Sky of Mists seems the best fit, given the life-giving properties of water. I felt there was a strong connection between Rock/Kobold and Metal/Cyclops which tends to indicate that they are adjacent. Since this places Metal in the Ghost Sky one could increase the philosophical connection with metal creating ghosts (in the form of weapons). Or metal being the ghost of a rock. Which leads to metal weapons having a spirit of their own. Placing Darkness/Shade in the Sky of Frost pulls in the paler nature of a winter day and the associations with darkness and cold. Besides equating shade and ghost is a linguistic trick of dubious provenance.

The left hand diagram is based on the relationship of the lesser gifts with the hidden gifts, which I shall refer to as the "mystical wheel." A six-fold symmetry was suggested to allow it to emulate the elemental wheel. Beside it allowed Illusion/Faerie to be placed between Shapeshifting/Chimera and Control/Manticore, which I believe is it's proper place. The remaining minor gifts were then associated with the hidden gifts (the pink lines tend to indicate what I feel to be associations). The whole mess was then untangled to provide a 2D-symmetry (since there is a natural tendency for humans to look for symmetry in deep structure).

One wheel lies atop the other, or rather, you could consider the elemental wheel to permeate the mystical.

Anyway, there is no attempt to be canonical with this. It's simply what a koldun natural philosopher (aka physicist) might consider to be the relationship between the various gifts, in situ. Another philosopher might come up with a different arrangement (say, hinging on a 7-fold symmetry). [The Church would probably declare any attempt to categorise the Gifts of Vaoz as heresy (or at least a serious heterodoxy). The Dome isn't at the stage of turning to the Cosmic Watchmaker as yet.]

Although, that being said, at the next conference of my fraternity I attend, where I shall be presenting this paper, I am declaring the missing hidden gift to be called "PERYTON" and shall endeavour to search for it. That should spark some interesting debate amongst my learned peers. <grin>

Addendum: Certain philosphers have postulated that there should also be a central axial gift on the mystical wheel to emulate that of the elemental wheel, and have taken to calling this hypothetical gift "PHOENIX," representing some dubious form of enlightenment. Personally I don't hold with this belief, as there is no evidence for such a state beyond the wish-fulfillment of those who hold to this dubious philosophy.

This post has been brought to you by the state of particle physics in our universe in the 70's and 80's. And the letters τ, μ, α, π, and Ω.

NB: This is version 2 of this entry. [Version 1 was a bit of a mess.]

reverancepavane: (s7s)

Looks like they chose Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. At least to start off with.**

It will be interesting to see what sort of game they wish to play and how they handle the increased player responsibility, as they are refugees from a rather more mechanically inclined set of gamemasters. Then again I'll have to suppress enough counter-revolutionary motivations as is. <grin>

* Now what was the Gift of the Basilisk again?

** I've got a whole bundle of new games coming down the pipeline, not to mention the backlog of games that I really want to try out on people.*** Maybe I should contact the ressurected roleplaying club at the local university (this will be about the ninth reincarnation of such a club, for the record).

*** Hey! I just realised, it should be possible to run Castle Brahvo in the S7S universe quite readily... [No! Bad idea! No biscuit! It's The Mind of Chadu beneath the Blue!]

reverancepavane: (s7s)

The other alternative for an online game was Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies. Rather than setting a premise and having you create characters for it, I'll go with what you want to play. Although I would like outré and unique characters by preference. Such as a Monkeysquid Koldun or aged wingman from Lost Kroyu. If you don't have the S7S rules, a pdf is available for sale here, a wiki full of ideas is available here, and a free set of the PDQ# rules is available here.

There are a couple of changes though.

  • First of all Wealth becomes Wealthy (a Forte that generates Wealth Dice for you).
  • You can take Equipment which gives you access to a wide variety of better gear, provided that that gear is of a mundane nature and only give a "natural bonus" (special items still need to be gained via specific Gear Fortes). Ruqs and Wingcloaks are not considered equipment, since it also grants the skill to use them.
  • Fortes such as Sidekick, Sanctum, and Vehicle don't have free additional Fortes. Sidekicks and Sanctums and Vehicles act more like a skill, albeit one that might be used remotely. Damage falls back to the character alone. [Yes, that does mean if someone captures your sidekick and tortures them you could take the damage for him, if you like. At least until he is zeroes out, at which point they can't torture you through him any more.]
  • There is a separate Skyship Forte. The MOD of the Skyship forte indicates the size of the vessel. [They will gain other traits, but not directly as part of character generation.] The Skyship Forte can be used as a bonus to command as well. Alternatively you could take a larger vessel with a smaller MOD, and be unsure of your command... [PS: Don't feel that someone has to take either a Skyship or Sanctum, btw. If needed, they will be provided. "What do you mean, sky galley slaves?"].

If in doubt for what level of absurd I'm aiming at, go watch Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Even if you are not in doubt, go watch it. It's well worth watching. Again.

Over to you (while I look to see where I hide my dice box so I can roll up that Paranoia character in my other online game). Feel free to ask any questions and talk amongst yourselves as regards to what you want to do.

ETA: And for the people that have so far said they are too busy to actually play (despite the slow turn rate [about the same as a MOD +8 Frigate I hope, although I have a feeling it might actually be the same turn rate as a MOD +12 First Rate Ship of the Line <grin>]) you can always feel free to kibbitz, shout out good form, and earn style points dice by making suggestions that particularly amuse me, especially if your suggestions get the players to earn their own style dice.

reverancepavane: (Default)

Given the poll is currently tied between Old School Paranoia and S7S the following does spring to mind.

Don't worry, I'm almost positive I wouldn't do this to you. )

Nope. It's a baaadddd baaaddddd idea...

But, when you think about it, Cividad Arachnos does have elevators (an essential element of any Paranoia game)...

reverancepavane: (tarrant)

I quite enjoyed Mistborn* by Brandon Sanderson. It is a rather bleak world, with serfs struggling on plantations under the tyrannical rule of the nobles to grow enough food in a devastated landscape. The viewpoint character, a serf thief named Vim, falls under the charismatic sway of the charismatic Kellsier, who is plotting to rob the immortal Lord Ruler of millenialy old The Final Empire. But both Kellsier and Vim have an advantage: they are Mistborn, able to use the full complement of magical powers available in this universe. Others either have no power, or are Mistlings, only able to use one of the magical powers.

This book was recommended to me by someone on the S7S list, and you can easily see the parallels, with Mistlings being Gifted, and Mistborn being Koldun. One couldn't help comparing the two, especially in situations where there were distinct parallels. Both come off quite favourably in this regard; the novel sparks ideas for the game, and you could use the game to play the novel quite easily (although the synegistic use of the magic powers makes Mistborn far more powerful than Koldun.

The magic system is interestingly presented and self-consistent (and, as the protagonist discovers, it is also incomplete). I won't spoil it here, since much of the book is about how Vim learns to use her abilities, but essentially the use of magic require the "burning" of various metals, the nature of the metal granting a specific ability.

Whilst part of a trilogy, the first book is complete in and of itself (albeit with exceedingly vague hints of what is to come), and may be read alone. But it definitely intrigued me enough to seek out the next two books.

* Well, technically the book is supposedly Mistborn: The Final Empire, the first volume of the Mistborn trilogy, but "The Final Empire" got left off the title of the published volume.

reverancepavane: (Omegahedron)

[Playing with game system ideas is dangerous; I now want to run this.]

Staged PDQ )

reverancepavane: (tarrant)

One problem with the PDQ# system as is, when it comes to recapturing the feel of Old School Gaming™, is the lack of vertical extent within Fortes. There is plenty of lateral extent in the game, and, depending upon the kindness of the gamemaster***, it is possible to build an extensive bonus with overlapping Fortes, but for the purposes of this idea it lacks a certain something.

Extending the Sorceror idea to other Fortes )

reverancepavane: (Dr Horrible)

I'm wondering what would happen if I put PDQ# in one end of my mental supercollider and Barony in the other. Would the resulting collision produce something which I can use or simply create a black hole which would destroy the gaming world?

Who am I kidding? I'm an experimental physicist. Let's switch it on and find out!

Now where did I put my copy of Barony? It's probably with Carol Pearson's thesis, hiding in my library. Somewhere. [Twilight Show Theme]

reverancepavane: (Default)

The latest incarnation of my fantasy campaign was unashamedly based in the swords and sorcery genre (with a touch of wuxia for leavening), which is why the principal magical system is a sorcery system and someone who makes use of it, a sorceror (the other two "classes" were, respectively warrior and adventurer). Fairly simple in nature, and something that was filling a yearning for some "Old School" action (as [ profile] robin_d_laws summed up with "boy meets dungeon, dungeon plays hard to get, boy loots dungeon.").

But I am also a fan of the mythic, and it's always interesting to me to run a campaign which features the evolution of the character. This is one of the reasons why I really like Dead Inside (the other essentially being the portrayal of the spirit world). Now the same tripartite system I proposed for sorcery can also be used for any of the classical Jungian archetypes, including using some sort of specific ritual to mark the transformation between the metalevels (the sorcerous circles in my previous example).

The Swashbuckling Forte becomes the Archetype Forte )

I'll have to dig out my old text books and play with this idea some more I think. The only problem if I do so is that I'll simply have to rename the Sorceror the Magician – the Sorceror is the classical name for the Shadow Magician, who uses her ability to name (know) to misname things. And we don't want that, do we.

We shall see.

reverancepavane: (Omegahedron)

Hmmmm. If I divide any potential Sorceror Forte into the three established Circles (Initiate, Adept, Mage), then I can use my old magic system with PDQ# [free PDF download] with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Fitting my Sorcery Philosophy into PDQ# )

Egad, this might actually work. Which brings PDQ# back into contention for my simple fantasy system again.

reverancepavane: (Cavalier)

What do you call a Barathi House with no spies?

A mausoleum.

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action. Unless you are a Barathi, in which case happenstance is a belief of fools; there is always someone plotting the downfall of your House out there, either for sweet revenge, for their profit, or for the joy of seeing someone else fail.

And the first line of defence is the spies employed by each House. So when you discover your House's Spymaster, Vladimir, bleeding out in your townhouse courtyard, you know there is definite trouble afoot. And you were the only one close enough to hear his final words...

"Beware the minotaur..."

This will be a Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies game set in Barathi, with the principle characters being members of a single Barathi Noble House. Deceit, intrigue, romance, wine, and vengeance. Anyone (local) interested?

reverancepavane: (Cavalier)

The limited edition hardcover of Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies is now available for preorder at IPR at the lowly price of A$120 A$90 [I overcalculated postage] or so for a single copy shipped to Oz. Of course, if you buy more stuff from IPR the freight cost reduces, so if any of my Adelaide friends wants a copy (or anything else from IPR for that matter), email me asap and I'll see about ordering extras and splitting the reduced freight cost.

[I really hate how shipping from the US doubles the cost. I really wish they'd bring back surface mail. I'd rather get stuff cheaper in three months than expensively in somewhere between one week and two months (averaging about a month). Rant over.]

Anyway, you'll get a free PDF copy of the rules and the official S7S font too. Although I might have to finesse that through IPR since they've done their standard thing and locked the combined preorder package to single copies only (comments [ profile] drivingblind?).

Anyway, the PDF version looks quite impressive (as a playtester I snagged a free copy), and the game is quite fun. Lots of swashbuckling action (musketeers, pirates, skyships, duels, honour, and high tea with cucumber sandwiches), as well as unique things (fek races, monkeysquids, powerful Koldun magicians) in a really interesting snowglobe world.

If you want to take a look at some of the travellers' tales already collected about the 7 Skies, you can read about them in the wiki and even enter the remix competition for a free copy.

reverancepavane: (Artemidoris)

After running around most of the afternoon I decided I could do without the Fringe tonight. After all, Ollie will still be on next week according to the guide, and the temperature outside was hot enough to melt steel. Seriously, I think holding a popular Arts festival on Venus was a mistake. But would anyone listen to me?

Did some work converting Spirit of the Century into the The Totally Unauthorised and Unofficial Girl Genius RPG, which is almost trivially easy when you think about it. Don't know when I'll get to run it at the moment, though. Also had another attempt at answering the latest Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies beta-playtest question, but my answers appear to be either too abstract or too complicated for my satisfaction. Must remember to mention that skyship keels are really vulnerable, too, but that's just the physicist in me noticing critical system vulnerabilities and the strategist in me going "hit them there."

At the moment I'm killing time while downloading some games PDF from the big PDF games sale. Nothing exciting really. Basically raw materials for the disassemblers. The interesting stuff I got a couple of days ago(Weapon of the Gods Companion, Unlikely Flowerings, Neverwhere, Questers of the Middle Realms, and Runequest Gamemaster's Book (yes, I know I had decided to stop collecting the Mongoose travesty but it was cheap and there may be something interesting to use in there). Neverwhere does look interesting though, especially in conjunction with, Underworld. Very flavoursome.

I do need something interesting to read though. Glen Cook's Lord of the Silent Kingdom (the second book of The Instrumentalities of the Night) is difficult to get into at the moment. Not sure if it's the epic political fantasy nature of the fact that he is culling from history (and only changing the names a little bit) which is putting me off. I think I need something light and fluffy (although I did relax yesterday by reading the entire Matador trilogy by Steve Perry, which definitely isn't, but I like the universe he created, and Khadiji's chosen method of taking it down). Must remember to excavate a path to my library again (Venus, remember, or maybe it's just my flat).

Fringe: Don't think I'll hit the Bollywood Dance Club this Saturday, although I may do it next week if I'm bored enough. Although it would be probably more fun to go with other people. Which means my next Fringe thing is seeing Scod on Sunday, then probably A Record or an OBE and Cyranose on Tuesday, Tripod on Wednesday, and that's me out of the Fringe for this year, and I can return you to my normal silence.


reverancepavane: (Default)
Ian Borchardt

October 2012

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