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Author Topic: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check  (Read 3447 times)

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Offline DhiTopic starter

Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« on: April 03, 2016, 01:44:34 PM »

I'd like to bring the immersive steam-powered fantasy world of Iron Kingdoms to Elliquiy and share one of my passions with you, but before I start breaking down a decade-old fantasy world into bite-sized chunks I need to know there will be an audience suitable for sandbox style play.

It must be freeform.

I'd like to set the story in occupied Llael. The decadent Llaelese people have had the rug pulled out from under them by soviet Khador invaders, and are under the empire's thumb. Those who survived the razing of Riversmet have mostly settled in the town of Bexlyfe, which itself is under the hold of the Protectorate of Menoth's Nothern Crusade seeking to convert nonbelievers and establish a base out of the ruins of Llael.

On the fringes of this conflict are also the Umbrean people, who are reuniting families after long years of being divided by Khador/Llael lines, and who as second class citizens may actually benefit from the upset to the status quo. The other minor players to be featured would be Sinari river gypsies finding new opportunities among the chaos.

On the whole the theme would center around the three factions and two outliers, and conflicts whether internal or supernatural in a beautiful historic river city on the brink of catastrophe. I would be open to unrelated characters and nonhuman races, but players taking that road would need to forge their own stories as there is no elegant way to make trollkin or satyxis pirate babes major players in the overarching theme. But, if you even know what those are, chances are you won't be looking to me for a writeup on what they are or how they fit, you will already be familiar with Iron Kingdoms.

For those completely clueless about the setting, I hope to be able to present it in a way with clear real-world parallels (World War I trench warfare, French, Russian, and Islamic analogs, the Berlin Wall) such that you feel comfortable weaving your own story thread through a town on the Black River.

But, it will be a major undertaking.

Offline 1SAZ

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2016, 01:53:46 PM »
Always one for the Iron Kingdoms, and this particular concept is one I've personally been toying around with for my local group to play through, so color me more than interested. I have a few ideas for characters that could have some fun in Llael during the occupation.

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2016, 02:40:25 PM »
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!  Love Khador.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 02:45:42 PM by Crash »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2016, 02:46:03 PM »
:: raises hand::

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2016, 02:46:39 PM »
:: raises hand::

::Raises her other hand too::

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2016, 02:47:32 PM »
meep..I didn't do it!  I swear..I'm innocent!  err..well..I mean...of whatever those charges are.

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2016, 03:34:31 PM »
Dhi - Are you thinking of allowing Blackclads?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 03:42:43 PM »
This would be run on the forums I assume?

Offline ShadowFox89

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2016, 03:45:24 PM »
 Yay Iron Kingdoms! Which system? Any system? Would probably look at playing a Cygnarin storm mage.

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2016, 04:06:46 PM »
This would be run on the forums I assume?

I am almost positive this is a yes.

Yay Iron Kingdoms! Which system? Any system? Would probably look at playing a Cygnarin storm mage.

No system. Free-form.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2016, 04:57:23 PM »
Yep, a freeform group game for here on the forums. The IKRPG system game I run elsewhere is a separate entity.

Blackclads are favorites of mine but if I get too greedy with theming we'll end up with a convoluted mess. Iron Kingdoms has too much going on to cover in one story. If you want to bring in some Blackclad stuff on your own though that would be very cool.

Offline Ollumhammersong

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2016, 05:30:44 PM »
What would the CC guidlines be? I assume we can't just make any kind of character. Like warcasters or protectorate Exemplar. Those would probably be really out of place.

What would be considered too far up the power org chart?


Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2016, 05:51:11 PM »
Hopefully the setting and location inspire characters at home on level of dramatic human stories. The specific combat power level of those characters is hopefully immaterial. Very powerful characters probably come with expectations that would be difficult to engage in a freeform sandbox, and very combat-oriented characters would probably have short careers as even in the system version of Iron Kingdoms combat is brutal to the point of needing to describe how long you have to live after losing a leg.

Offline ShadowFox89

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2016, 06:03:19 PM »
 Actually, Ionian investigator might be interesting.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2016, 08:33:17 AM »


Llael

The dominant race of Llael call themselves Ryn, a people of slight build and small stature who made up the majority of that nation's populace. Much of the Llaelese nobility were of Rynnish blood. According to legend, the first Ryn were nomadic shepherd tribes who dwelled in the rolling hills and interbred there with a vanished elven people. There are certainly echoes of the idea in Llael's romantic courtly culture and elaborate architectural styles, both of which are now under threat. They consider themeselves the inheritors of a long and esteemed history and are proud of their language and culture but now face the fact that their nation lies divided, most of it conquered by Khador, while the east has fallen to the Protectorate's Northern Crusade. The Ryn take credit for inventing the firearm and refining the arts of pistol dueling in particular but were a shrewd and well spoken people with a fondness for intrigue, fine art, and alchemy.

In truth, Llael was a failed state well before the Khadorans marched on their shared border. The last strong Llaelese king died of old age almost ten years before the onset of this war, and his death plunged Llael's nobles into a frenzy of self-consuming plots and politics. This includes the assassination of all teh former king's heirs as well as a number of duels and assassinations further thinning the ranks of the nobility. The small and poorly funded Llaelese Army was further reduced in favor of mercenary contracts and overreliance on its allies. It is widely believed that members of Llael's own government conspired with Khador by weakening the nation.

Llael as a kingdom no longer exists, yet its people and much of its culture persist. No one can predict how ongoing conflicts will reshape the region; it is in a state of flux and its people have accepted that life offers limited stability. Survival and adaptation are the rule. Llael is divided into three distinct political territories, though the exact borders of these areas shift as fighting continues. It seems unlikely all three will endure, with those Llaelese who consider themselves "free" being the most at risk of extinction.

The party line on...

KHADOR: A scheming, opportunistic enemy! Everyone has lost friends and family to the voracious Khador war machine. We won't forget the destruction of Riversmet or the cruel generals who starved our people from their homes.

PROTECTORATE OF MENOTH:
Zealots from the east have thrown peaceful Llael Menites into a religious frenzy. Now we see the true face of the Menite faith in the their false prophet, a harbinger of human slavery and oppression.

Offline Rel Mayer

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2016, 08:34:02 AM »
I'm not super familiar with the setting, but totally interested!

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2016, 08:59:18 AM »


Khador

North of Llael, the Khadoran Empire is dominated by the second-largest culture in western Immoren, that of the Khardic people, descendants of the empire that ruled the north before the coming of the Orgoth. Over a thousand years ago, the Khardic Empire and its western horselords conquered many small nations, city-states, and tribes, and the Khards of the present day descend from the strongest bloodlines of those times. Like the other people of the north, they tend to be tall and physically robust on average, mostly pale, with dark or reddish hair. At its height the Khardic Empire stretched across a sizable portion of western Immoren, including all of what is now Llael.

Khador is a land of sweeping expanses, fertile plains, imposing mountains, and dense forests. Her people are the stalwart inheritors of an ancient civilization that once dominated the continent. This history is ever present in the minds of the Khadoran people, as every generation repeats the tales of the legendary horselords. These fierce warlords banded together, conquered the weaker tribes, and fashioned the proud Khardic Empire. Some say the empire never truly fell but simply endured a dark age until it could emerge and evolve into the modern nation of Khador. Two years ago, bolstered by sweeping military conquest, Khador's sovereign declared herself Empress Ayn Vanar, becoming the personification of their nation, the Pervichyi Rodinovna, "Prime Daughter" of the Motherland.

Tensions with conquered Llael have hit an all-time high as the Protectorate of Menoth's Northern Crusade penetrated into eastern Llael and took the city of Leryn from its Khadoran occupiers. This has become the seat of the Protectorate of Menoth's new hierarch, who is expected to bring his armies to bear and challenge Khador over its newly conquered lands. The Khardic people are not troubled by this new adversary; they know their empress will respond with characteristic strength and ferocity and that her army will ultimately prevail.

The party line on...

LLAEL: Rebel terrorists should look to our kayazy as an example of how hard-working people may flourish under Khador rule. We do not and will never recognize the claims of the Llael who occupied our territory in the south and allowed the enemy to march to our doorstep. We are bringing peace and stability to the region.

PROTECTORATE OF MENOTH:
The Menite faith is older in Khador than it is in the east. This Protectorate is political, not religious. Like before, a weak nation moves in on the hard won conquests of Khards to steal away scraps. When they witness the might of the Motherland, they will reconsider.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2016, 09:40:34 AM »


Protectorate of Menoth

Under the unification of Immoren's newest nation, two distinct races share a dream of government and devotion to the Lawgiver. Sulese, or Sul-Menite people, tend to have cream-colored complexions and lighter hair. Idrians, on the other hand, typically have olive skin, dark brown or black hair, and almond eyes. Intermarriage between Sulese and Idrians is relatively common, contributing to further subtle changes over the last several generations. The Sul-Menites and Idrians of today were once made up of a number of diverse tribes native to the eastern region known as the Bloodstone Marches. Across bloody crusades, these tribes were brought into the faith of the Creator of Man, giver of the Flame, the Wall, the Sheaf, and the Law.

Over the last century, the Protectorate developed a unique culture centered on a strict caste-based theocracy. While the Menite priests like to think of their role as an extension of ancient beliefs, their theocracy is a uniquely modern invention and includes many reinterpretations of sacred text. The leaders of this nation are both more fanatical than Menites of the recent past and pragmatic when it comes to making use of developments such as mechanika. The Protectorate is noted for extremely strict laws controlling virtually every aspect of its citizens' lives. Within the walled cities and fortress temples of the Protectorate, Menoth's will is the Law meant to govern all mankind, honored above all else and followed without question or hesitation.

Five years ago, the Creator showed his favor by sending the Harbinger of Menoth, embodied in a young woman from a small town who channeled the god's will. Though great prophets had been known in ancient times, none had appeared for many centuries. Those who saw her knew immediately the veracity of the power and responsibility with which she had been blessed; she floated serenely above Immoren, her feet too holy to touch unclean earth. Although her appearance was met with skepticism at first, a series of miracles have changed hearts and minds and fueled a Great Crusade which has come as far north as Llael and shows no sign of stopping.

The party line on...

LLAEL: Bravely our brothers and sisters in the Llael Resistance fight the invaders, and with our help they can win. A brighter, stronger Llael will emerge from the flames, cleansed of old impurities and prepared for a new dawn as a subordinate state.

KHADOR: The false empress builds arsenals while using corrupt politics to keep Menite people disarmed and weak. Our cousins in the Old Faith should feel compelled to cast off the shackles of the dictator and embrace oneness under Menoth, for are we not all His children?

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 10:48:25 AM »
The Nationless



Umbreans

Several other distinct cultures have survived in Khador amid the trackless wasted and vast wilderness that naturally divide the nation. In southeastern Khador and western Llael are a once-divided people, only recently unified under Khadoran rule after the Llael invasion. Umbreans are comparable in size and build to that of Khards, but they usually have darker complexions and dark hair. Heirs to the ancient eastern horselords of old, the Umbreans once contested with the Khards for domination of this region, and distrust and animosity persists between them. Tales of the ancient battles fought between Khards and Umbreans are still told, particularly near the grim battlefields where generations of blood have been spilled. Umbreans have intermingled with many other groups but retain a strong sense of cultural identity.

After being divided for centuries, western and eastern Umbreans are encountering the differences in their cultures, and only time will tell if they can be reconciled. Both Khador and Llael Umbey would have preferred an independent kingdom rather than a subject-state of the Khadoran Empire.



Sinari

An ancient and proud people with dark skin and black hair, the nomadic Sinari travel primarily along the rivers of Immoren but may have originated far to the south and east, beyond the territory now claimed by the Protectorate of Menoth. They are sometimes mistrusted because of their refusal to put down roots, and clans of Sinari often travel with other nationless outcasts and pocket tribes in ornate and colorful wagons.

Sinari are craftsmen, weavers, woodworkers, and jewelers who make their living through barter. This is a people who pride themselves on storytelling and songs, and they know a diverse array of lore handed down through the generations. To the Sinari, the primal mother they worship has a complex and troubled relationship with Menoth, whom they acknowledge but do not pray to. They are among the few humans with a significant understanding and appreciation of the trollkin goddess Dhunia, and have ties to other wilderness peoples including bog trogs and gatormen. Many Sinari have been absorbed into other regional groups over the centuries. The small number of tribes that retain their old traditions disdain those who have given up their way of life.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2016, 10:53:26 AM »
I'm not super familiar with the setting, but totally interested!
Awesome! I hope this is helping you and others to get a feel for the setting, or at least the small part of it I'd like to sandbox. If the interest is there, I'll continue posting on magic and mechanika, two driving forces within Iron Kingdoms.

Offline Ollumhammersong

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2016, 11:27:17 AM »
As a huge fan and player of the protectorate I will of course need to make something connected to that. Maybe an idrian auxiliary travelling with the crusade. But I am thinking a knight errant may not be as out of place as I originally thought.

 What exactly will our characters be doing again?

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2016, 11:44:32 AM »
Much of the point of a sandbox style game is that ultimately what your characters will be doing is up to you. I'll provide a setting and NPCs and move events forward within the town, and you decide how and where your story fits into any of it. What interests you might be something other players are doing or something you decide to add to the sandbox, like a Blackclad duty bound to retrieve an artifact from a fallen Llaelese academy and bring all hell on her heels, or a Cygnaran storm mage suddenly boxed in by enemies on both sides but determined to weather the storm for love or money. You probably have your own story wanting to be told.

I believe the Iron Kingdoms setting works well this way. The alternative, when you look at the disparate character options and how almost none of them should ever be in a room together, is a party of mercenaries. Not real interested in running that.

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2016, 11:49:16 AM »
Depending on how characters go I will make a Khadoran or Llaelese. 

Offline ShadowFox89

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2016, 12:28:00 PM »
 Juggling ideas between a storm mage or investigator. Will probably use the PP roleplaying book to act as a bit of a guideline for building a character.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2016, 01:10:08 PM »
That's probably safe to do. I find the IKRPG books hew too close to what's already established by canon characters and don't give players enough space to embrace their inner special snowflake. Like why can you not be a Tharn Blackclad? Don't let yourself get too limited by what those rules cover, or by some really specific lore from some novel only eight people ever read.

Crash, any thoughts on trollkin?

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2016, 01:20:01 PM »
Dhi - In general or anything specific?

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2016, 01:40:56 PM »
Of all the nonhuman races trollkin seem the most unique and well liked, so I go back and forth on giving them a writeup. As the only trollkin player I know of here, what's your feeling on featuring them? Are they a good fit?

Offline Ollumhammersong

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2016, 02:07:46 PM »
Personally I wish privateer press would do more with the dwarves in this setting. They could make a cool faction in their own. They would probably work for this rp as well.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 02:08:53 PM by Ollumhammersong »

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2016, 02:27:05 PM »
If anything I would give them a small write up so people unfamiliar would know what they are, but I don't think they are big in Khador/Llael if you are focusing on a city/town game.  There would be a few kicking around but I don't think that have  major population in the cities.

Offline Ollumhammersong

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2016, 02:34:45 PM »
Well I was more thinking because of their penchant for being mercenaries in human wars. I would imagine mercenary companies would be flocking to a powder keg like this one and all sides invovled would probably be trying to secure what extra firepower they could for the inevitable conflict.

Offline DoYouLikeCurves

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2016, 03:09:40 PM »
Love the fiction int his setting, I would love to be involved here!

Offline Crash

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2016, 03:15:31 PM »
Well I was more thinking because of their penchant for being mercenaries in human wars. I would imagine mercenary companies would be flocking to a powder keg like this one and all sides invovled would probably be trying to secure what extra firepower they could for the inevitable conflict.

I was referring to Trollkin.  I think Dwarves were slated for Core book 4 for the RPG.  I think Dwarfs are the largest non-human race in Khador, but I could be wrong.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2016, 10:47:21 AM »


Mechanika

Though many innovations came with the advent of blasting powder and Immoren's industrial revolution, true mechanika is a synthesis of magic and technology. The creation of clockwork-and-piston golems, given life through rudimentary magical brains called cortexes, began in secret under Orgoth occupation. The first such mechanika were towering monstrosities known as Colossals, created to lay siege to the Orgoth enemy. Over centuries of advancement, cortexes have become small enough to hold in the palm of the hand, and most modern mechanika- called steamjacks- have settled at a comfortable size of about nine to twelve feet and three to eight tons.

While these iron giants are expensive to manufacture, their industrial applications are so varied that all the nations of western Immoren consider them indispensable. Laborjacks are the backbone of logging, freight yards, docks, and construction throughout western Immoren, and every citizen of the Iron Kingdoms is familiar with the fearsome warjacks- steamjacks armed with dedicated military weaponry and possessing the highest grade of cortexes.

In Khador, the tireless creations work in massive forges pounding metal plates and other parts for locomotives, steamjack manufacture, and other heavy industry. While the Protectorate has prioritized producing warjacks over laborjacks, the latter can still be found assisting in construction efforts and other heavy tasks.

The artificial mind of a cortex can give life to a steamjack, allowing it to respond to commands, respond to visual and auditory stimuli, and slowly learn over time. But for military applications, unleashing a mechanikal behemoth with the mind of an infant is nearly useless; tighter control is demanded. For this reason the militaries of western Immoren prize a highly sought type of arcanist called a warcaster. These rare few are born with an innate ability to mentally contact and control the cortexes within steamjacks. While not all who have this ability are eager to join the military, warcasters enjoy a revered station in any army. The militaries of the Iron Kingdoms expend considerable resources to equip their warcasters with steam-powered and mechanically augmented armor, which affords them far better protection than most soldiers.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2016, 01:33:37 PM »

Town of Bexlyfe (pop. 30,000)

The Llaelese town of Bexlyfe, located on the northwestern edge of the Territory of the Northern Crusade, was until recently a prosperous township with strong prospects in both mining and river trade. Now locked in a stranglehold by Protectorate occupation and contested by Khador, Bexlyfe is in the midst of a downward spiral marked by widespread unemployment and escalating civil unrest. The town's tenuous economic position has, at least for now, also led to an increase in petty crime despite the Protectorate's harsh policies against thievery.

Weather for the second week of Tempes (April):
8th: Cloudy, a chilly morning with drizzling rain until afternoon. First day of Tempenfest.
9th: Cloudy, thunderstorms overnight; minor flooding and fog dockside.
10th: Cloudy, scattered showers throughout the day, hot and humid evening.
11th: Clear sun with a high wind.
12th: Clear, hot and humid; Vernal Equinox and first bloom of Spring wildflowers.
13th: Clear, warm, final day of Tempenfest.
14th: Clear, cool; Calder and Artis moons are not visible, but red Laris moon is prominent in the sky by afternoon. Night of Laris eve.

*Tempenfest: The second week in the month of Tempes is a six-day celebration called the Festival of Tempes, or more commonly Tempenfest, observed by hundreds of communities and cities across Immoren. It is a celebration of winter's end and a time for revelry, crafts, song, dance, and feasting. Colorful cavalcades, dance, and theatre performances, wedding feasts, and banquet parties are commonplace throughout the week.

*Night of Laris: On the eve of the 14th when the red moon Laris is full and menacing, the Night of Laris begins. Participants don masks and wear blood red outfits, women often wear veils of dark lace or satin. Revelers prowl in shadows, tell somber tales, drink dark spirits, have illicit meetings, keep trysts, and generally comport themselves like beasts. In troubled places like Bexlyfe, arson is a problematic tradition.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2016, 01:40:03 PM »
It looks really good, but my availability is limited for a while.  How open is the game likely to be for late arrivals?

Either way, have fun with it all.

Offline DhiTopic starter

Re: Iron Kingdoms sandbox interest check
« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2016, 01:52:00 PM »
Currently there's not enough interest to launch.

If I can inspire some ideas with these posts and draw in new people to IK, that would be awesome. If I can't, unfortunately this won't float. Half of players drop out of a group game almost immediately. At the two month mark, half again have dropped out. What you have left is pretty much your core, but everybody is just human so things happen regardless of what anybody plans.

But if we can't get it rolling for this summer, I'd like to try again in the future. Sometimes it's just a matter of timing, and I'm already putting in the work, so why not?