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So it's the middle of the night and I'm rewatching Gankutsuou on my recently reconnected dvd player, and the thought hits me- I really want to make a D&D campaign inspired by the Count of Monte Cristo.  I've loved the (admittedly few) adaptations, mentions of and sideflings to it I've seen, and it finally occurred to me how I could perhaps draw inspiration off of it without railroading players down a predetermined path.

The premise- all your characters are of noble or otherwise important families in a large and prosperous country.  Each family would have some secret it was hiding, perhaps a level of which the character would know, and a deeper level of which they might discover in the course of the game as various dangers begin to unfold, family missions begin to take on certain themes to protect interests or ignorance, etc. 

All these secrets, of course, lead back to the main big-bad, who's been manipulating things to get his vengeance from behind the scenes, and may or may not be publicly very friendly with the PCs.

While this goes on in the background, I want there to be plenty of swashbuckling, urban adventure going on in the forefront.  Nights at the opera with daring highwaymen and saving people who fall from balconies, receiving invitations from various important nobles as the young players navigate their way through high society of a fantasy kingdom.

So- I need a setting, most likely homebrew but with heavy borrowings from things because I'm equal parts rebellious and lazy; a big bad who's screwing with people from behind the scenes (and perhaps hiring the PCs at some point to go to the island of lost treasure, just because I figure our Island of Monte Cristo-equivalent is going to be a cool location that should be seen and used); and a bunch of people in high places who could have done him wrong.

Edit- hnn.  Perhaps I could use this to make use of that one campaign setting I kept thinking off back in the day, with the empire and the creepy fae and the orcs and such.  And the halflings who were some strange fusion of Japan and Ancient Greece, who might have slaves, including orcs, on barges, which is where that orcish equivalent of Ching Xi could come from, whose descendants are all urbane and cutthroat and interesting in owning large portions of the coast and hanging on to that turf and market.  Is a thought.
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-or at least dice bag. I have others, but the pics came out too blurry- I'll try again tomorrow with the tripod.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is another of my oddities- shiny dice-bags, for the gamer whose dice appreciate a pretty home. Eventually if I get enough of'em on hand, I'll sell them, possibly on etsy (not sure where else to put them where they'd get fair price, not without making my own site and advertising hard in all the nerd hangouts I know). I'm also going to be working on some more masculine (but still shiny!) designs, as soon as I can get my Singer in for a tune-up- it's starting to make funky noises and jam, and I don't like the thought of sewing leather under those circumstances.

Shiny Dice Bags- Grapes
by ~weirdlet on deviantART
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Last thing today, I promise- Atom Heart Mother, the evil counterpart of Apple Macintosh in the Champions game.

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Gene had mentioned surprise that I hadn't done up pics of the Champions characters' opposite numbers from our dimension-hop to Opposite World, where our heroes are the villainous, despotic rulers of the city-state of Chicago.  Here's the first up of the lot- my boy Devildog, werewolf superhero, as Devildog, wild hunter and eater of cowed citizenry.

Big version here-

Next up- Apple Macintosh, as Atom-Heart Mother.

weirdlet: (Default)
Just read some interesting stuff, going from blog to blog starting at Shakesville, which I orginally came to sideways from avatar_fans- speculation about a male sidekick to Wonder Woman, a Wonder Boy. 

Lots of things were brought up )

What was the other subject I was thinking of... hm.  Oh yeah!  I got to talk to Gene-who-runs-my-Champions-game t'other day, at Terry's birthday celebration.  It's still up in the air whether or not the game restarts this Saturday or not, but he's promised that he has horrible stuff in store for my guy (I cannot help but think this may be in response to an email I sent him mentioning a dark secret that had occurred to me that tied up some threads of my character's background, but who knows, it could have been in place beforehand). 

I take this as a gleeful good sign^^  If your character is suffering beyond just being kicked around in combat once in a while, it means you're plot relevant

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The thing about the WALL-E/HB II crossover idea is that I need to figure out what it is in that world that people would want to play.  Is it supposed to be leaders directing troop movements?  Is it characters as colonists on the ground making the initial discoveries and experiencing the initial rejections, characters as galactic citizens either exploring or being sent to find what went wrong?  Is it playing fey knights out to defend home and hearth against the humans who first overtook the world and then abandoned it, only to return once more just as things were starting to return to normal?

That's the kind of thing I need to think of before I can really develop the setting more.  D&D has adventuring parties.  Shadowrun has teams looking to steal corporate secrets.  Most settings have a default niche that the player characters tend to fall into, and I've yet to figure that out for here.  Space marines, colonists, magical fey tribes, elf-kings' armies?  Are they explorers or assassin teams?  What kind of missions or adventures are there to be had, aside from all-out war?
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Been thinking about D&D game ideas again- I'm in the middle of running a short campaign for my highschool friends home from college, but as ever there's a number of other ideas muddling into my headspace and wanting attention.

For now- The Big Strange Unholy Lovechild of WALL-E And HB II: The Golden Army.

I want to play with this world, which is basically- the humans have left, leaving their desolate world behind- only to come back and find that it has renewed itself and been reclaimed by the creatures and beings that were older than man when they first became a power.  Huge parts of the world are totally new and wild and primal again, while others are junky post-apocalyptic wastelands, and there are places where the two blend together. 

The factions- there's the human explorers/recolonists who are back to see if Earth is ready to be populated again, and then there's the wild fey and monsters that have taken over the earth again, the myths that had faded grown healthy again and run wild.  I'm not sure if there would be a Seelie/Unseelie divide.

The big conflict- well, clearly there's going to be a major conflict between humans and fey, but I'm not sure an absolute, all-out war is the best setting to plop a story in.  Nor is it really fun when it's totally clear that both sides will annihalate each other as soon as they figure out how.

I guess what I need to really figure out is what sort of stage things are at for this.  Is this after the recolonization efforts, when things have settled into a pattern of 'humans live here, fey live here, there is war for territory in these places and a pattern of trade/conquest/slaving going thus'?  Is it the initial, explosive 'first contact'?  Is it set on Earth, humans fighting to recolonize and fey fighting to keep their retaken home, or out in space, with adapted fey and mythical figures fight amongst the stars?

I guess I want a 'mythology meets scifi' feel- I want it to be epic and post apocalyptic and space-operatic and frontiersy all at once.  I'm just not sure how to execute it. 

I'm also unsure of the system- I'm wondering if this is something that should be one of the D20 Modern variants, at least for the human side of things, and I definitely want a more mythical feel for the elves and things than standard D&D does- when I say HB II for inspiration, I'm not kidding, even if I'm not copying straight out of their book.  I want high-LA, unique, mythical lords of Faerie walking the earth and playing kings to their people in the old, mead-hall fashion when a kingdom was a tribe of warriors and a country was a stretch of land from hill to hill until someone challenged your borders.  It's prehistoric times all over again, and the First People (as they would think of themselves) are spreading out from their places of origin again- right until they bump into the expanding human populations once more.

And then it's on.

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I'm working on bio's to get in on the ground floor of a new multi-fandom RP, and it occurs to me again, just how much I loathe trying to summarize.  I can usually get things out in a million words or two, but actually getting the relevant information into the format of, say, a few paragraphs when it just doesn't seem to be anything less than an essay in my own words (I have to show my work!  I can't shake the feeling that I'll be refused if I don't show my work!  Damn you, middle-school math!)- a Herculean task.

Zuko, you darling bastard, and your sister beside you- stop being so bloody complicated.  Every time I think I've distilled the entirety of your histories into something, I realize there are yet more aspects that need filling in.
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It occurs to me that there's been some upheaval in the state of my gaming lately, and it's a good thing to address.

See, there's been some disruption in my regular group- the one game that we've got going has a lot of players, and there's been a lot of stress and some burnout going on amongst the players/dms who've gotten sick of others in the group.  There was a bit of a blow-up, but that's hopefully going to not shatter things completely.  The only thing is, I think some of the other irritants, who weren't called out in the explosion, are being a bit clueless.  The big game that's been the source of the major irritations is the only one left running right now- Champions has been put on hiatus on account of the GM having a class, and the one where we're all Vikings fighting werewolves has evaporated stillborn due to burnout.

So- I'm really hoping this all works out, but I'm worried that putting more stress on top of an explosion isn't going to do anyone any good.

Warnings about background aside, other gaming stuff on my mind- I still need to work up the orc encampment for my next Barbarian Princess installment, and I was going over a thread in our gaming board today for "Campaign Ideas" and it got me to thinking about what to suggest.  My latest obsession is Avatar: the Last Airbender, and I found that website where they did a D20 adaptation of it- and it occurred to me, just how much I want to be able to play it.  Not run it- but play.  I would love to get a chance to build a character from the ground up and just go exploring in the Avatar universe under a competent GM who knows and loves the material.  I know that there are RP boards for Avatar online, but when there's powers and such to be thrown around, I tend to like table-top more than online, at least to start.  Lemme roll some dice!

Anyone in the Chicago area doing so with said system, lemme know.

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Just putting this where I'm sure I'll remember it-

My Champions game, where the system is point-buy everything and you can get more points to spend on powers by taking disadvantages.  Every character in this game has a custom 25 point disadvantage, GM's discretion.  Some have made more progress figuring theirs out than others, and I, for one, haven't got a bloody clue as to what mine is.  But as someone wanting to occasionally be important to the plot and as an immensely curious, story-hungry player that I am, I *want* to know.  To scrabble out some hint or clue.

Tonight, Gene the GM said it was something I had asked him directly about, and that I've touched on it already.  I'll know in full time when it comes to fruition.

Things I've spoken to him directly about-

My band- (Tim's a superhero to salve his conscience about fooling around trying to start a band, instead of being an upright contributing member of society as his mother defines it.  He puts it as, if he's going to shamelessly indulge himself doing what makes him happy, he's also going to make himself useful *somehow*.  And they're both pretty exciting, you have to admit.)  He tries to balance time between superhero work and working with his band, and he's strongly considering/may have already told Angeline, the tough chick who keeps things together, about what it is that causes him to occasionally disappear.

My family- (Tim comes from a clan of werewolves, long established and having immigrated from France in the 1700's to escape the 'Gevadaun' incident, when eighty, ninety people got killed because some damn fool thought fur, fangs and endurance made him king over the monkies.  His mother, for some reason, was purely human.  Didn't change, didn't want to.  She moved into town away from her trashy/feral relatives, and married the big man in town.  She's been deadlocked in battle with her son because he is a werewolf and refuses not to be.)  Malachite already fucked with his family once before, set a little 24-hour plague on his mother and father, same as Sentinel's parents, that went away when we toed the line and worked with him.  I'm not sure, though.  It could have more to do with the clan of werewolves on his mother's side, who I haven't yet established if they're magic, genetic, or just one of those things that a world full of superheroes is going to have on the edges of the night. 

Secret ID- he may not have been taking as much care as I had assumed with the secret ID thing, although I certainly tried to think of these things.  It only recently occured to me that I hadn't specified some facial obscurance for the human form- I'd been thinking something like deep eyeliner/paint that outlined the eyes in large triangles, kind of emphasizing the leanness and pointiness and feralness of those wolf-eyes.  Think ElfQuest and Timmorn Yellow-eyes.  But I'm wondering if that's going to be what screws me in the end, or those I love.


I dunno.  I was thinking of something else earlier, and I can't for the life of it remember it- ah, now I recall.  I'd recently been wondering just how is it people go from decision to actually being superheroes, in a world where superheroes actually exist and are a common thing.  I kind of know motive- it's the opportunity that escapes me.  How does a young man from a little Georgia town where half his family is That Bunch In The Hills who just want to be left alone, wandering the US to get away from his mother, and playing music with his scuzzy rocker friends in Chicago get from the idea that he needs to do something, to actually being picked or applying for the position of Junior Member on the Sentinals of Justice team?  It's the picked/applying thing that's gnawing on my brains, unless he started by just busting up crime on some lower level, on his own.  How does one move up to that level?  If there even is a 'level' system?

That was my last major thing I'd emailed him with.  Don't know entirely how that would involve a 25-point Disad.  Still- the possibilities are endless, and I hope I don't feel like an idiot when I find out- mostly, I just want it to make good drama without too much inherent shame^^  Shame for things like trying to do too much or being careless in a way that leaves others vulnerable to being hurt, is what I/Tim would worry about.

Edit-  !!!!  That scar!  That's another thing I emailed and asked about!

See, there was an incident early on in the campaign, where we were rescuing a one Doctor Arcane from the captivity in which his more evil daughter had bound him- there were little imps/fire elementals guarding the pentagram that kept him locked in, and that was our introduction to killing attacks.  One of the things that happened was an imp scoring a critical hit and essentially punching its magma-y arm up under my werewolf's ribs.  That hurt.  A lot.  And most unusual for my little regenerator, it left a scar, a bald spot in the wolf-form's pelt and just a bit of odd skin that twinges occasionally.

Could that be something?  Not worth 25 points, surely, unless it's some major demonic taint/possession stuff to go with the name Devildog oh my god that would be horrible and yet kinda cool but not what I had intended for my character...


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January 2015

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