Monday, 29 November 2010

Planescape - The Update

So, I now have my full complement of players for both my games.

Recruiting over the internet poses its own problems - it's a lot easier to tell someone in person that they're behavious is disruptive to the group, for example, without sounding aggressive. You also attract a less... predictable group of people. The guys I have seem to be great, and have provided a lot of interesting material to work with in the game.

In the corner, we have:

Bilal, a Fire Genasi (built as a Fire Elf) Duskblade, mixing spell and sword. Brought up in the City of Brass, son of a hooker and a Djinn. Known for his wit and desire to attempt to procreate with most things...

Tam'lin, an Erinyes devil (built using a customised version of the Tiefling, which was worked out between me and they player...) who has been cursed to have a heart (and, in the process, stopped being evil)...

And Tik-Tok, a Rogue Modron (creatures of Law) exiled from Mechenus, becoming a Wizard and studying life on the Planes.

Like I said, lots of cool things to work with, depending on what I saw as the main points in their background. Moral problems for Tam'lin, problems of heritage and the seedier side of life for Bilal, and perhaps metaphysical questions about the (demi-)human condition for Tik-Tok.

As for GiantitP, we have:

Sol'Kanar, Ice Genasi Wizard, descendant of Cryonax, one of the Princes of Elemental Evil, and his younger cousin, Ja'Kanar (the player homebrewed a cohort Feat, we'll see how it turns out).

Xybapi, who was just another basher, until he was kidnapped by a group of demons and transformed into an Incubus, somehow managing to keep his old personality and memories. Looks like David Tennant...

Jon, a Champion ("homebrew" class created by Rich Burlew) who calls upon his Celestial ancestry to kick all manner of ass.

And Alliana, a Lillend travelling the Planes to find the perfect song.

So, Alliana already has a built-in quest - find the perfect song. A lot of encounters with a variety of weird and unusual musicians and performers (as well as maybe some... unique sounds) across the Planes should keep her going, questions of faith for Jon, wheelings and dealings with Devils and Demons for Xybapi, and questions of the nitty-gritty of the streets for Sol.

The two games started similarly enough, but are starting to diverge at a rate of knots... we will see which group comes out of their first adventure the worst!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


So, I've ended up setting up two different Planescape games - one at, and one on the the Giant In The Playground forums.

For those of you not in the know, Planescape is a fantastic D&D setting, based around the idea of numerous (somewhere between "many" and "lots") planes of existence, held together by The Great Wheel. Right at its centre is Sigil, the City of Doors - a "hub" where many of these planes overlap, and you can find anything down the right back alley.

Planes can represent the building blocks of creation (Like The Elemental Planes of Fire, Earth, etc. and the Para-Elemental Planes, where they overlap to form things like The Plane of Ice (Air+Water) or Magma (Fire+Earth)), concepts like Life and Death (the Planes of Positive and Negative Energy), or can be afterlifes according to what you believed in in life - if you were all sweetness and light and Boy-Scouted your way through things, you would reach Celestia (fluffy-cloud Heaven) - if you raped and pillaged and kicked puppies every day of your life, it's The Abyss for you!

This is the kind of game that doesn't allow you to pull out old classics like "Bugbears are attacking the next village over!" as plot hooks - Planescape is all about the character's motivations, exploration, spirituality in a place where you can go and see Heaven and Hell (and possibly wander into either while trying to find the loo!), politics amongst the Factions that populate Sigil, interactions amongst all the races of the rainbow you'll find spread across the Planes (the monastic Githzerai, the demon-blooded Tieflings, the Elementally touched Genasi... the list goes on) or, in some spectacular cases, the politics between these races (the millenia-long Blood War between the Lawful Evil Devils, and Chaotic Evil Demons, provides a brilliant in-depth background for a thousand campaigns, or just general fluff for others).

Pretty heavy stuff. But fun, none the less! And of course, sometimes it's still the case that bugbears are attacking the next plane over.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

NPC Relationships

So, for me, part of building a world for an RPG is knowing how the world worked before the players came along, and how it'll work after they go. Yes, some places will be greatly affected by the presence of the PCs (current fantasy homebrew has several "Mixed-Race" settlements, humans are a minority - several of the distinctly non-human settlements will treat any newcomers with suspicion and interest), but I hate the idea that, no matter how large the city you want to portray is, it'll always come down to existing when the players need it.

One of the main cities in the Human/Halfling settlement will be a classic Hive Of Scum and Villainy - the kinda place where the Big Bad has a strong influence, the bars are dirty, the magic black, and a trip down the right back alley can net you anything. This seems to me to be the definition of a bustling metropolis, and I'd hate to see it stagnate and bore my players, or worse for somewhere I pictured to be so vibrant and chaotic to end up revolving around their actions.

I want mystery, intrigue, politics and more, all for the players to dip into if they wish - but I want it to be about the city, not them.

In an effort to make this happen naturally, I plan on wholesale lifting the Relationship mechanic from West End Game's Smallville, except for the dice-ing part (that might be silly). However, by having a chart of who interacts with who, how, why, etc. I can make the place seem way more... alive, I suppose.

So, yeah - I will post up the first draft of the map when it gets worked up!