For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

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For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:37 am

Hello to one and all!
Found out about the project on TGN and decided to share my idea for what I hope to be a unique and interesting fantasy world. I've had this idea for a while now and was wondering how nothing simmilar has been tried before in the gaming industry. I understand this industry has to cater to an audience with wide expectations, so naturally things tend to get somewhat generalized in terms of archetypes present, historical settings emulated and the agendas of the fighting forces. I think such a community project has a chance to cut those restrictions, as there is no start capital to worry about, no shareholders to demand instand financial growth. Therefore I have high hopes, that even if my own work is not voted by the community, that we'll see something new, something fresh and uniquely innovative.

Disclaimer; I'm a big fan of 18th century (also of all lovecraftarian and darkly humorous. Of weird and unique as well, but here I'll let you read on and decide for yourself Smile ). Also of what came a little before it and what was shortly after. I like pirates, ridiculous vanity and self-proclaimed sense of aesthetics, adventures in the time when the old age had officially ended and the triumph of reason was celebrated, while the old beliefs were not truely challanged, especially amongst the general folk, and this cry of the intelectual, proclaiming himself the king of the universe seemed with little more sense then the latest Paris fashion. Times when more than half of the world was yet to be charted, when only a few kilometers on the map could get you from a place of a historic scientific discovery to a village where a witch process was about to commence. It is snowing outside as I write this. It gives magic to my thoughts. I picture this winter land, a figure wearing tricorne and a long coat is riding through a blizzard. It is our dear Baron Munchhausen. He carries a coil-musket, the latest in aethero-electric engineering. And look, there, behind him, a body of men in red pantaloons and turbans; why it's the unit of Turks the Sultan has lent him, all armed in a simmilarly modern fashion! And what are they dragging with them, chained and somewhat unwilling? Is it ...? Surely not! Could it be ... the mythologic beast of ...
If all this seems strangely agreeable, I warmly welcome you to read further. If not, then more so. Nothing builds the character as reading utterly capital nonsense.

The situation is as follows; I firmly believe that in fantasy wargaming, it has all been done already. Well, most of it at least. The ancients infused with magic. The "dark aged" fantasy. The middle ages of fantastic. The renaissance of the Olde World of fantasy. And then the classic victorian steampunk and beyond, to the science fiction. Now all this is not bad per se, but where I see untapped potential for fantasy wargaming is in the following; completely different and largely unantrophomorphic, as with ZombieSmith's Quar line and the Hasslefree's Twilight. OR with "historical" base that has not yet been explored before.
I hope my suggestion lives up to the noble goal of providing new and interesting;
Somewhere in the second half of 17th century, something came to Earth as we know it. What exactely it was is a thing of great debate everywhere from universities to salons and the dwellings of simple folk. It has, however brought curious changes with it. What was found remaining of it, was researched by man with great zeal, if somewhat less success to understand it. It has, however, had undenied impact on the modern sciences, giving birth to whole new disciplines. But at the same time, it is as if it would have awakened something quite as powerful and strange, but much more terrible and from this world (though if from dark places or dark nightmares is as well a thing of debate, if somewhat more hushed one).
Long story short; world supperpowers got new toys to play with, as the artefacts/remains of the Visiting Occurance are being studied. As the border skirmishes threaten to grow into full wars for imperialistic domminance, the one taking it all again on his shoulders is the Johnny Common. Ravaged lands and fear of tomorrow are all the pay good people get for feeding the King's ranks. But as the times are hard, there is talk of things of their ancestors, taking shape once again in the dark woods and misty swamps. It is said that the land itself has been awakened by the Visiting Occurance. That if one looks hard enough into the night, one might just see strange figures gathering in weird places, things of folk lore and dark dreams. Things that were supposed to be dead and those that never truly lived. The gossip can not be merely looked down at by the officials when road wardens start disappearing and the villagers form nearby are as frightened. Their childern go missing in the night as well, even if some say the young ones are better off with the fae.
Man would have not been himself if he'd take care of the obvious trouble first and so the conquest of the far lands continues. What is advocated as a polite and enlightened way to demonstrate one's imperial supremacy, are in fact bloody skirmishes with the indigenous for their land. What was thought to be a short job for the new coil-muskets and steam carriages has turned out to be a nightmarish venture into the unknown, where it seems that the tales of locals who can call on powers previously thought of only as of ceremonial importance are not entirely untrue.
As this whole picture slowly takes shape, the so called enlightened countries seem to be blinded by their own splendor. As if the flamboyant uniforms, brass detail on the weaponry and gilded decorations of the electro-generators they haul around would prevent them to see the obvious. As if the petty squabbles, overdue expeditions and disappearances in their own forests would make them forget what it was that has started it all. But It has not forgotten why it came. It lays dormant in the earth and the ocean. It lays hidden, waiting, gathering it's power. It matters not if these pitiful men collect small pieces of it and pretend they understand them. For soon the time will come to rise.

As you can see pretty much anything goes. To somewhat sum up the fighting powers; first you have the kingdoms of men, who have made these cool discoveries in steam and high-voltage electric technologies, resulting in some rally spectacular weaponry that is prone to malfunction and is only slowly making it's way into the ranks armed with muskets and the honest cannonade. They fight amongst themselves, but at the same time there is the ever growing threat of something completely unreasonable and repulsively unfashionable; the creatures of old, the monsters from woods, lakes and mountains. Whatever was that came to Earth gave the things of imagination and nightmare enough power and substance to materialize. And now they prey in dark places and hunt for souls, though why, is beyond anyone's guess. As man tries to ignore the trouble at home and goes poking overseas, he finds people who were there first. And though they seem savage, it appears as if they know things that our learned westerner would have gone mad, just trying to contemplate. It is as if they, dressed in simple rags and weilding simple spears would mock him for his ignorance. As if their curious tatoos would carry more knowledge than whole trunks of finest books from european universities. And amongst it al is the thing that brought it all; is it a host of demons? A llife form from beyond Earth? Whatever it is, it is gathering it's own in order to do what it came for.
I think an important aspect of a community-based wargame that doesn't have an official line of minis, is to make it usable with existing stuff. That's why I've tried to make my "powers" as broadly defined as possible. The humans are your cca 18th c. powers. They can be left as they are, but they should be a dream to convert; adding coils and wires to muskets, building steam-powered carriages and horse-drawn lightning generators, painting the uniforms in whatever colours ... (I can see even using minis of medieval knights, equiped with steam-packs to make some sort of a powered armour). The "monsters" cover a really broad spectrum; from undead and zombies to dwarfs, elves, fearies, creatures etc. They could be further divided into the "light" and the "dark" as per actual folk lore, where the difference is only superficial but in truth both sides have their own wicked goals that include the poor man. The indigienous cover most of the non-western people and are something of a mix; they are obviusly human, but you can use anything from Zulu to Inuit people, Indians and Arabs. Weaponry is also mixed; from spears and swords to stolen muskets. What gives them the edge are individuals who seem to be able to call on the powers of the nature and universe, the unspeakable rituals bringing the doom to all who dare tread their sacred lands. The last "faction" is something of a mistery at this point. I see them as the extraterrestrial visitors. From a 18th c. man's point of view it wouldn't make much difference to call them either deamons or E.T. Their technology is so advanced it borders on magic and though the great minds try to unravel the misterious artefacts, much is beyond understanding. They are also a potential playable race, somethign that would bring much weirdness into the game; tripods, flying contraptions, etc.
All in all on could call the spirit of this setting "Baroque punk". When you take a time that was all about excess and take it further, with a goal of bringing to life something new, colourful (and dark), interesting and above all fun. And war baloons, tripods, zombies, tricornes, muskets and witchdoctors all seem like fun to me. Smile

If anyone finds themselves interested enough, I'd be more than happy to discuss further detail and options.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:15 pm

Excellent, I like it. I quite fancy a pre-revolution Russian force now.

Whilst still early days, we have not fleshed out enough ideas to say how we shall proceed with regards to Universe development - but what the initial thinking is to focus on developing one at a time (to a workable level) - which one being open to the public vote. I was thinking of the first games-system to be fairly scalable and cross-genre, but to release it with a "plug-in" universe to let players fully appreciate it. This is a democracy though, and what I think may not always come to pass.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by sucramreverse on Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:02 pm

You're quite the writer lucas, the amount of text in your posts is blinding Shocked . It looks like you have some great idea for a world and I'd just like to point out to SW, there doesn't necessarily need to be a limit on how many universes are able to be "plugged in" to the rules set and be developed by the community. IMO the more the merrier.
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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Kane on Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:08 pm

Gotta agree with Sucramreverse that I don't think we necessarily need a single setting. Just a set of rules that can cover all the basics and each setting can have its own "special rule" plug-ins. Depends on what kind of balance system we end up using. I'm guessing points.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:41 pm

I think that might be the sensible way to go. First - the system will win over people who will want to "import" their own fantasy worlds into the game. And second, I won't be quite as sad if a better setting would have been chosen as "official". Smile

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:53 pm

Oh yeah, not just one universe - but to unveil the fruits of our labors at some stage, it'd be nice to have a "better than most commercial offerings" publication, including a fully fledged gaming world to base it in. No waiting about for Army list A, B, or C. Not to discourage anyone from developing other settings, more to focus our limited resources on getting a whole complete and tested ruleset out the door for general consumption.

The idea is that we take a vote on what we develop for the next couple of months or so, and focus our attention on, not by exclusion of all else, but as a flagship. It wouldn't be that impressive to have a fairly decent gaming system and a myriad of half finished world plug-ins. It'd be nice to be have a fully playtested set of army rosters, rules and shiny graphics. Make people wonder why they've been buying all that other nonsense.

Just my thoughts. Keep everything going, and release as and when ready afterwards. We could possibly introduce an Alpha and Beta-testing numbering system. Give the releases 0.1a type numbers for "testing" products, and full releases with full numbers. Everything'd be available, but we only "sign-off" full releases for competitive play and such. It'd be like a guarantee of its balance and fairness. Third parties could ask us to "sign-off" their expansions/plug-ins as being fair/balanced.

On a side, I'm currently seeing Lucas' as being the stronger candidate so far - for a start, it's something quite unique, it wouldn't require a totally designed from scratch map, and people could get their teeth into the armies very easily - I'm sure everyone can think of a country/faction they'd want to Steampunkicise! (Ooh, would steampunk cowboys be too much like Wild Wild West?)

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Kane on Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:14 pm

On topic, had time to read that whole post and must say I like the idea. My only worry is availability of miniatures. I see you mentioned conversions, but for someone like me who is...shall we say...old fashioned, how would one explain a traditional fantasy undead army? I suppose their would be small, undeveloped nations who could not afford electro-guns or even black-powder weapons, but I honestly don't have enough historical background to know for sure. I am thinking something east European (Romania).

That said, several armies from the 400lb gorilla would work BEAUTIFULLY in this setting. Such as lizardmen being from a tropical setting or rats being a long forgotten menace from beneath the cities of old Europe. WM/H would also work well in this type of setting, I think, as some return to a more feudal/tribal society.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:51 am

The traditional undead are easy. You like the new Mantic skellies? Well, they've died a few hundred years ago and have been rised only now, still carrying medieval weaponry. The actual effect of musketry on a bunch of bones (not that effective) should nicely offset this "historic gap" in arms. I imagine this line of troops shooting frantically at the closing undead army, only to realise it's "break out the bay'nets or run". The undead, after all, do come from fairy tales. Smile

I've been thinking about the "traditional", end of the 19th century steampunk setting at first. But I think there is less suitable minis for that; you have the historic colonial superpowers, some Zulu, occasional actual steampunk stuff (Malifaux, other small producers, all slightly on the expensive side) and that's it. I've gone for the 18th c., because I thought it can bridge a wider gap; it was late enough that people knew steam might be used for something else than just making tea, as mentioned you can use traditional fantasy and it wouldn't be out of place according to what people believed at the time (i.e. 18th c. vampires were monsters, 19th c. were romantic gentlemen) - most of the 18th c. Europe was no different than 200 or 300 years before - it was just the big cities that gave the image of a gilded age. You can use medieval knights and just glue a rod for a smokestack on their back, paint them brass and you have a steam-armour. Electro-muskets should be easy; just glue a piece of wire going from the weapon to somewhere on the soldier's belt (say a powder pouch or knapsack). Then you paint their uniform differently (and suitably outladish) to make them out from the rest. On the other hand, one could use pretty much the same profiles for a 19th c. setting (i.e. steampunked American civil war and the West) and extend it to a "propper" steampunk (agreeably my setting isn't quite that and I understand some people want six shooters and real steam powered land ironclads Smile ).
The lizzies and rats would certainly find their place.
To give some face to the whole idea and to show you the stuff that has inspired me;

Plates of the actual armies of the time (and call me pansy, but I love this stuff - it's absurd how they managed to import so much aesthetics into the business of war); http://leuthenjournal.com/leuthenjournal/Armies/Armies.html

Pirates of the Spanish Main - the now OOP Wizkids' game of pirateering, set in a quasy historical anachronistic setting where Vikings fight 18th c. privateers and Nautilus-like submarines; http://www.boardgamegeek.com/images/boardgame/10653/page/1

Le Pacte des Loups - a bloodthirsty monster therrorizes a backwater French province in the 18th c. and the King's gardener, a man of military experience and of analytically sceptical mind is tasked with catching it; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoWVsE7IWCM

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - our favourite 18th c. nobleman, who speaks nothing but the truth; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuqBKiKycbA

This (words can not do it justice); http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/zombie.html (and then these http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/leon.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/caravan.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/ghoul.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/babayaga.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/cossackcav.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/cossack.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/flamedance.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/town.html (observe the shadows of the two figures), http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/saracen.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/wicker.html , http://keiththompsonart.com/pages/cart.html - it's a ton of stuff but I guarantee you it's all worth the look, the guy is Capital)

The Pirates of the Carribean film series

Edit; adding a few more;

The Plunkett and MacLeane (repulsively underrated film) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH_QY6vFCDE

Sleepy Hollow with Depp

Vidocq - a french steampunk-ish movie (France after Napoleon) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeF3xySes2I (sorry I couldn't find one with English subtitles)

The Sharpe and Hornblower series for Napoleonic period (search Youtube - all the episodes available)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke - basically a story about how magic returns to Ye Olde Britain at the start of the 19th c. and plays a major role in the Napoleonic wars.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:43 am

Ok, just a quick and dirty set of sketches I did playing around with the whole electricity idea ... it's just a couple of ideas, all open to critique. Smile

An Electricannon; the generator could charge the ball before shooting, so that upon impact it causes a massive discharge, hopefully upon nearby enemy.


The NCO for a unit of electric fusiliers, weilding a sparkly pike (and hoping there won't be a storm);


And a furious electric fusilier himself, his gun still sparking after a discharge;


The "tubes" (wires) for the last two are supposed to go somewhere on their backs - the way I picture a quick and simple mod for existing historic minis.


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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:45 am

A steam knight - a quick mod, that can put on the table even something for the fans of heavy cavalry in shining armor. Oh, and why would one even need the armoured troops in the age of black powder? Because some of the artefacts mentioned above have been (for lack of better understanding) re-cast as super-strong plates for armour. Oh, and because it's effectively a Faraday cage, protecting the bearer from electro-weaponry. Smile

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:33 pm

Just thought I'd link this up for those of us too lazy to see the sheer amount of stuff available in this period. It'll help us plot some of the unique world-changing events as well. When do our events take place?

Has the Bastille been over-run? Or are we gonna have the French being run by the aristocrats? Is America yet to be tamed? Did Scotland and England ever sign the act of union in 1707, and are still fighting a twisted and bitter war (leaving the colonization of the world to another nation)

Some say that the 18th Century "began" with the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. Which saw the death of ancient monarchy led "monarch as head of state and church" countries in Europe, with parliamentary-led and religious tolerant ideals. Not to say that this event was as brilliant as it sounds, but it started down the path of unpowering the monarchs, and the beginnings of democracy.

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:36 pm

Sorry for the black-out on my side; the dues of this time of year, I'm afraid.


I'd like to work the events a bit furhter later, but for now just a couple of ideas. Very welcome to debate, suggest and otherwise contribute. I have not gone too "historical", I wanted to leave things vague - if someone wanted to use undead not as an oponent, but as the regulars in say Austrian army, I think they should be able to do so.

-The "Visiting Occurence" took place somewhere before the end of the
17th century.

-Louis 14th took a profound interest in things he called science but of which
great minds of the period rather wouldn't speak. Now it's 18th century and he's
still rulling the France, vigorously as ever, though noone has seen his face
for quite some time now, hidden behind a golden mask. His lavish experiments
and "scientific" set ups (which none have seen but all seem to know
something about) take a substantial part of the imperial treasury and as
the plebeian dissatisfaction grows, the golden sun-wearing troops quell the rebellions in blood. The aristocrats remain in power, it's not 1789 yet. More and more expeditions are being sent over seas armed with the latest weaponry, searching for the artefacts of which the court seems to have insatiable apetite for.

- There is probably no need to say the indigenous nations are not so willing to let these troops tread their sacred grounds. The Americas thus remain largely untaimed, even if there are settlements that have grown around military posts and forts. It's a no-man's land from the european perspective.
- I was thinking the central Europe (Germany, Hungary, ... ) should have suffered a plague that gave raise to the nightmares, soldiers of old walking again.
- The Swiss provide their services to anyone willing to pay. It is said their clockwork soldiers look like and fight almost like the real (paint your regular minis in brass and gold Smile).

- I have avoided the subject of church in all of this, because it might be somewhat awkward. It could remain a "force" with it's own agendas (and troops). Weather they preach the Occurance to be or an angleic visit or a sign of End Times ...


(more to come)


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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:25 pm

Your description of the sun-king has got me all arty feeling.

Lights in the sky as Louis rides to war. May take a while, but off I go to digitally emulate some 18th century oil paintings. Talk about visions of grandeur!

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Lucas on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:38 pm

Can't wait to see your work! Smile

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Re: For your kind consideration - my idea for a fantasy setting :)

Post by Kane on Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:59 pm

"The Visiting Occurence" could easily be applied to a lot of ther things as well. Say for instance, the Native American tribes. What effect could a visit by an opposing "Visitor" have done to possibly make them a counterpoint to European Aristocracy? Did the visitation have far reaching effects on countries not "visited"? Say wild energies released by their mere visit...or by the "science" done by Louis. EXCELLENT ideas and great posibilities.

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