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Author Topic: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")  (Read 387 times)

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Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

I'd like to run a group game in a fantasy setting about a small group of people who travel the land and solve problems large and small. I hope some writers here will be interested enough to join me in telling some interesting stories based on that concept. Before I get to the setting, a few details for the players, to address what could be deal breakers for some (but skip down to "The World" if you like):

The Meta-Gaming Stuff

Who can play: Ladies, Lieges, Lords are all welcome
Character gender and sexuality: Doesn't matter. The setting is a fantasy world that has about the same attitudes towards LGBT issues as our modern western world. That means there might be people who take issue with gays or lesbians, but no more than you might encounter today, and some people will be quite tolerant.
Sexual content: This isn't intended for sexual roleplay, but rather to be a story about traveling adventurers. If two characters have sex that'll be up to their players, but it shouldn't become the focus of the game. That said, there is nothing stopping players from taking characters developed for this aside, so to speak, for a one shot post about their horizontal activities.
Post length: Post length doesn't matter to me, as long as a post tells something about the character or what's happening and gives the other writers involved at least a little to react to.
Posting style: Third person, past tense.
Posting frequency: It would be great if you had the time to manage a post every one or two days (at least), but we all know the muse can sometimes be uncooperative and real life has to take precedent. There will be an OOC thread where players can post away notices.
Group size: 3-4 players.
Game category: While I'd like to keep the sexual content low (or in the "fade to black" category), violence may happen. When people hack and stab at each other with swords and spears, nasty things can happen. For that reason the game might end up in the Extreme category, but we can discuss this before the game starts.
Character creation: There will be a questionnaire to fill out, but aside from a few aspects like skills and magic it will be fairly generic (description, background, personality). I'll post that here if there's enough interest in the game and will be happy to work with anyone interested (by PM) to assure they have a character they like to play and that also fits the setting.

What It Says On The Tin

"The Witcher": If you never heard of the computer games or the novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski they are based on - no problem. As long as you are familiar with the general trappings of fantasy or can just imagine a medieval world where magic and monsters are real that's more than enough. If you have played the computer game(s) but never read the novels: Think more of the "secondary quests" here than the main quests. If you have read Sapkowski's works: My inspiration comes far more from the earlier, shorter stories than the novels about Geralt and Ciri. Also the game will be set in a different part of the continent, to spare me the headache of dealing with potential continuity problems.  ;D
Fantasy: I would call the setting non-epic high-fantasy. There will be magic, monsters, perhaps even dragons in a world that's not our own, but the stories I have in mind are more localized and less epic and world-shattering than, e.g. Lord of the Rings. A single werewolf terrorizing a village, or a ghost haunting a castle can be more than enough of a problem.
Episodic: The characters will find themselves in a certain village, town, region and deal with a problem there, then move on. There may be a larger plot brewing in the background, but the focus is on "problem of the week" episodes. This way players can also change characters if they like. Perhaps you changed your mind and would rather play a different character? Then just make one and introduce him/her at the start of the next episodes. Characters don't have to constantly travel together, as long as they run into each other if and when the plot requires it.
Freeform: No dice rolls. There will be a sort of diceless system working in the background, but players will not directly interact with it. During character creation you'll fill out a little questionnaire and be asked to pick a few skills (from a list of broadly defined categories) your character is good at. I'll use that to judge the outcome of certain situations by comparing "skill ratings" for PCs and NPCs. But those outcomes can be changed through writing things into the story. Anyone familiar with the Amber diceless roleplaying game should know what I mean, and I'd be happy to give some examples, should there be any questions.

The World

Long before the arrival of humans on the continent, the Conjunction of the Spheres, a cosmic cataclysm, trapped many monsters and unnatural creatures on the world. Back then, about 1,500 years ago the continent was populated by the elder races - elves, dwarves, gnomes, dryads, and a few others. Then the humans came, small in number at first, but more and more over the years, arriving from beyond the ocean. As their number grew they pushed further and further inland, settled the continent, cut down ancient forests to make way for farm and towns, pushed the elder races out of their ancient lands by sheer force of number. To help fight the numerous monsters that stood in the way of human civilization, humans created the first Witchers - monster slayers trained from early childhood and enhanced through magic and alchemy to provide them with almost superhuman abilities.

But nowadays much of the lands have been settled, or at the very least been claimed by humans, and before long human kingdoms were at least as much fighting amongst themselves for land and power than they were fighting with unnatural creatures and the elder races. And so, over the course of many centuries, the number of Witchers dwindled, for they were less and less needed, those few who remain often being called "freaks" or "mutants". The number of the elder races also fell, many of them forced to eek out a meager existence in wild and inhospitable places at the fringes of the human lands. Some still fight back, some have assimilated, living among the humans, but, more often than not, as second-class citizens, always blamed for whatever misfortune befalls the humans.

Life for many of the humans isn't much better. Simple peasants go hungry when the crops fail, suffer from plagues and the armies of warring kings laying waste to the land in their fights for power and wealth. In the towns one always has to be on the lookout for cutpurses and muggers - and someone emptying their chamberpot into the street. A small fire can spread fast, burn down half a city, and heaven forbids a plague comes to town. And yet alchemists and scholars make great strides in their pursuit of knowledge, unraveling the mysteries of chemistry, geology, astronomy, while dwarven printing presses produce books for the few who can read.

Interested?

Then just post here. And ask away if you have any questions.  :-) I realize there are some things I haven't covered above, but I hope the above is enough information to get at least a few people interested nonetheless.

Offline Purple Dusk

Big fan of the Witcher and the dark, almost dismal, take on fantasy.  Definitely be interested in this.

Question: will this be about ordinary (relatively speaking) people or does it feature Witcher characters?

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Question: will this be about ordinary (relatively speaking) people or does it feature Witcher characters?
Nice to see I'm not the only one interested in the setting.  :-)

Witcher characters will be allowed, but I don't think I'd want more than one of them in the group per adventure. If more than one person wants to play a witcher, my idea would be to work out something about taking turns. That is someone plays a witcher in one "adventure", then makes a second (non-witcher) character for the next episode, to allow someone else to play a witcher character for that new episode. At least that's my current plan on how we might handle it. It's a bridge we'll cross if, and when, there's enough interest and we get some idea who might want to play what.

Offline Sirian Eve

I'm not to familiar with this, but it sounds fascinating. You have my interest.

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

I'm not to familiar with this, but it sounds fascinating. You have my interest.
Great.  :-) If there are any aspects of the setting you have questions about, just post here and I'll try my best to answer.

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Perhaps I should go a bit more into what kind of stories I would like to tell in this game, what might make this a little different from your "typical" fantasy adventure story. Lets take a fairly generic scenario as an example:

The characters arrive in a town and one of them is a healer or a priest who is asked by the locals to treat their sick baron. It turns out the baron is slowly dying from poison and the only antidote is a rare plant that grows only in a monster-infested part of the nearby forest. The heroes set out into the forest, slay a lot of monsters, get the plant they need and return to town. On their way back they are confronted by the poisoner who has decided only direct action can bring his plans to fruition, now that the heroes are involved. Big fight, the heroes win, the baron is cured, everyone is happy.

But ... what if the baron is a real nasty piece of work, a vicious tyrant who beats his wife green and blue just because he can and whips the peasants for the smallest (sometimes only imagined) mistake? Still, you can't just let a poisoner get away with murder, can you? And the locals pay well for your help. Besides, it's not your problem, is it?

And on top of that the poisoner isn't confronting the characters on the way back from the forest to fight them. He wants to persuade them to just be on their way and not heal the baron, because everyone will be better of with that nasty piece of sh** out off the way. What do you do now? Report him to the authorities, but perhaps give him time enough to make a run for it? Do you make up some excuse why you couldn't get the cure and let the baron die? Or perhaps cure the baron but keep silent about the poisoner's identity, knowing full well that he will make another attempt at the baron's life soon?

Mind you, not all scenarios will be like that. But, in general, you shouldn't expect good and evil in this world to always be clear-cut and easy to identify. Good people can make bad decisions and vice-versa and sometimes there just is no 'right' or 'wrong' - even when it comes to the so-called "monsters". (Actually there are enough monsters in this world who are hardly more than mindless beasts, but some may surprise you.)

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Started a little something about the setting in the Worldbuilding board https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=227856

It's hardly complete yet, but I'll try to add to it over the next few days. If anyone interested in this game wants something specific addressed in that "world thread" (religion, languages, heraldry, whatever) just PM me or post here.

Offline Ontan

Notwithstanding the fact I know almost nothing about the Witcher franchise, Id definitely interested.

Its a little strange, but the non-epic element really, really appeals to me. Somehow, saving the world never interests me, but saving a city or even just a struggling village feels a lot more compelling. Ill be keeping an eye on this!

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Notwithstanding the fact I know almost nothing about the Witcher franchise, Id definitely interested.
Sweet.  :-) And don't worry about lack of background knowledge. Familiarity with the stories or games will definitely not be required.

As I think this game can work with three players I'll try my best to add all that's needed to the worldbuilding thread over the next one or two days, and perhaps we can then start working on characters over the weekend.

Its a little strange, but the non-epic element really, really appeals to me. Somehow, saving the world never interests me, but saving a city or even just a struggling village feels a lot more compelling. Ill be keeping an eye on this!
Yes, the whole world is a rather abstract entity. Dealing with something a little smaller can make things feel a lot more personal.

Offline FwuffyKittenz

I'll pin down my interest. Can't say I've heard of The Witcher, but the game sounds cool enough. Can you squeeze in a fourth person?

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 05:17:13 PM »
I'll pin down my interest. Can't say I've heard of The Witcher, but the game sounds cool enough. Can you squeeze in a fourth person?
I am sure I can manage it. Welcome aboard.  :-)

EDIT: If anyone else is interested, just say so.Don't be shy.  I would like to run a small group of 3 or 4 characters, but that doesn't mean I can't run more than one group. If there is enough interest I am sure I can find more than enough scenarios to run more than one group and perhaps mix and match characters from two groups playing in the same setting one day.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 04:19:11 AM by Cassandra LeMay »

Offline Ontan

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2015, 06:53:34 AM »
On that note, can characters retire / take a break between chapters?

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2015, 08:59:50 AM »
On that note, can characters retire / take a break between chapters?
That's a definite yes. Taking a break or making a new character for a new chapter because you'd like to try something new is perfectly fine with me. Just don't ask me how long a chapter will be, i.e. how long it will take in real-world time to play out, as that's pretty much impossible to predict.

Offline Ontan

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2015, 05:20:19 AM »
Just checking. Can't wait for this to get started!

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2015, 05:59:30 AM »
Good timing.  ;D

I think the Worldbuilding thread has enough information to give at least a somewhat useful impression of the world and I have just started a character creation thread here: https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=227964

Post anything character-related there and don't be shy asking questions large and small. I want to make certain that everyone plays a character she/he likes and if that means taking some time for character creation we will just take that time. Best to make sure everyone will be happy with their character instead of starting something half-baked.

Offline Ontan

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2015, 07:27:56 AM »
Expect a draft character sheet and some general character related chitchat to start appearing there soon  ;)

Online Cassandra LeMayTopic starter

Re: Interest Check: Fantasy, freeform, episodic (inspired by "The Witcher")
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2015, 08:15:38 AM »
It looks like we might have room for one more player, so if anyone else is interested don't be shy and join us. We are still in the middle of character creation, i.e. there is still ample time to join.