Friday, January 2, 2009
Its in the Eyes
The setting for Valley of Snails will be easier in some ways than doing the rules. I have an agenda in mind so it is simply a matter of hashing out the details and making it compelling enough to warrant play. The core elements will be as follows:
Mythology based upon Finnic lore - With a mishmash of other mythology thrown in as well. Notably I want a World Tree which periodically drops fruit, acorns and other less savory things. I want the underworld with a fallen World Tree which will drop even less savory things which will be Tuonela. Gods are mainly based upon natural forces but the Finnic lore has some interesting outlooks on things like souls, death, wilderness, and the supernatural.
Mid-Magic - The world will not be particularly low or high magic. Something along the lines of the default B/X world where a magic sword is rare but not unheard of. Things like flying castles will definitely be rare but can exist. I will have an emphasis on supernatural events; things like if you do not make a token offering to the river Väki before crossing it, you could likely expect to be swept down river. Also a persons eyes can ward against supernatural events; so simply gazing into the river unblinking while crossing would bypass any bad events - however when you sleep you are particularly vulnerable to supernatural events.
Bloodline of Eyes - I will create an event in history that will form a group of strong bloodlines (maybe something to do with the World Tree), which will link up with some of the supernatural events above. The bloodlines are relatively rare and denote some power above the norm, so folks with the bloodlines are naturally a cut above. Many of the leadership positions are occupies by the bloodlines ala Birthright. This is dying trait however since only pure-blood marriages breed the power so taboo stuff like incest is not uncommon to maintain a bloodline. Also the bloodlines are delineated into families so different lines will have different abilities/persona ala Vampire Clans to some extent and some war with one another. The bloodline powers do not manifest in all in the bloodline, only those who are strong enough (lets say when XP is first gained), so there are issues with proving a bloodline and odd occurrences like a child killing an orc and manifesting a bad-ass bloodline. Someone with manifested bloodline will have a supernatural power having to do with sight and the eyes will change when it is used so it is very apparent who the bloodlines are. PCs are meant to be of this crop.
Politics - There will be some civilized areas with realms, nations and empires intermingling. This will be interjected with the ebb and flow of the wilderness which applies a constant pressure of the supernatural threats that overtake the unwary borderlands. I do want some strong realm identifiers with a long history so some areas will be civilized for quite some time. There will definitely be some deep wilderness areas as well with the standard plethora of D&D caves, ruins, lost isles, lost valleys and so forth.
Of Races - I am most unsure about races at the moment. I am very tempted to just remove Humans entirely and create a collogue of other humanoids which are fairly amicable to one another. Then another layer of humanoids which are undesirables but not necessarily hostile, and then of course the downright loathsome ones. I am still thinking it over and I am hoping it will become apparent once the setting gets a bit more solidified.
Inclusion of Animals - Animals I will probably place in a much more visible role other than livestock/labor. I doubt I will actually uplift some of them, but I will at the least make them staples of many villages, cities and craftsmen. I don't see why a moose could not be a mount, a bear could not work the billows at a blacksmith or an Otter could not work as a sewer cleaner. So at the very least I am thinking animals will be very trainable and perhaps semi-intelligent. I do not want animal PCs or animal 'realms' however, no Narnia here please.
So that is what I have in mind off the top of my head. Expect some adjustments in the near future as I detail out certain areas.