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Monday, 4 August 2014

Setting Seeks System


I've played a lot of games. Ask anyone. If I don't own it I either have owned it or played in it or at least read it. There are a few gems that I'm still interested in checking out and there's always some cool new kid on the block to take for a spin. Especially with the advent of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general, allowing creator owners to reach an audience that would have been impossible before the digital publishing age.

Most of the games I play in have some degree of original IP in them, usually adventure content, often setting content that is totally new and only of relevance to the players at the time. I love to improvise and react to what the players are doing so even if I'm using a scripted module I'm off script within the first few lines.

I've also mashed up homebrews and mods on systems for years, mainly when I don't like a rule or I want to apply an original take on a setting to a ruleset that is a near but not quite perfect fit. In all this tinkering though I've never really found a system that I like for dealing with magic in a fantasy setting that doesn't over or undercook the utility of the magic using classes. I suppose the closest I've come is either the urban macabre "Dirty Street Magic" that I started writing for Fate or Earthdawn. As has been discussed in gaming communities and blogs previously system is setting though so Earthdawn only really works for, well, Earthdawn.

It hardly ever gets written down though. Recently I've been doing a better job of that with posting actual play, some background material and occasionally part mods or conversions for Fate to this blog. The thing I'm always least happy with whenever I write though is the system. So this time I'm not going to bother, at least not to start with. I'm going to just set to and write the best setting that I know how and then put out a lonely hearts classified for
"Beautiful, mysterious young setting seeks sympathetic, innovative system for long term relationship"
The nominal title for the setting is Drowned Metropolis. Here's the dust jacket.
A huge, ancient city crumbles about a defeated people. Majestic structures once filled with light and laughter are overwhelmed by an aggressive, hostile wilderness. Strange, unnatural creatures haunt the fringes of what society remains, preying on the weak and the unwary. Desperate people cling to what little remains, the metropolis acting as a focal point for refugees from the wild lands beyond. The driven and ruthless carve out fiefdoms among the poor and the dispossessed. Itinerant scholars pick the bones of the great city, seeking to preserve the knowledge of the past before, too soon, it is lost. Isangi distill Jaan in their hidden places, selling them for protection or other favors. Black tongued cinders prowl the edges of the city, alert for danger from without, their pale skinned syphons never far away. Beautiful, deadly, mysterious. This is the drowned metropolis.