Author Topic: [Pitch] City of Marvels  (Read 2583 times)

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Cartheon Offline

[Pitch] City of Marvels
« on: April 28, 2017, 05:40:37 PM »
Name: City of Marvels (working title)
Core Theme: Intrigue
Sub Theme: Politics, Exploration, Adventure, Trade, Research
Elevator Pitch: Think Houses of the Blooded, Kill 6 Billion Demons, Earthsea, 7th Sea, and the Lords of Waterdeep board game

Setting: The game takes place in a fantastical ocean world dotted with islands and archipelagos with the largest land masses being the size of Greenland/Australia. Most of the islands are wilderness with a few tribal societies; though, there are also a few societies that are also developing to the same level and may become rivals.  The setting has multiple species (fantasy “races”) that have started filling into the city, granting players customization options for their characters and allowing some exploration of themes of racism and alien mindsets to human thinking.  I have yet to decide if slavery will be allowed for PCs but I do lean on the side of it being a part of the setting.

This will be a high magic setting with a low magic outlook.  I dislike how magic is handled by most settings where magic is something separate from the natural laws of the universe, i.e. the D&D method where an anti-magic field means that everything works as ‘normal’ inside the field, normal being how the real world works.  Magic is the normal in a magical setting.  Iron turning to steel is a magical process for instance. Magic becomes intertwined with science and technology.  By a low magic feel, I mean that, while magic suffuses the setting, it is not trusted, much like science and technology in a luddite/anti-intellectual society. In this setting magic will be everywhere but people using it is not trusted.  There will be a mage’s guild devoted to the ‘proper’ study of such things.  However, unsanctioned use and study of magic will be prosecuted fully.

Location:  The city itself is a growing metropolis, the capital of an up and coming bronze age civilization, much like Rome.  Also like Rome, the City is governed by a Senate; however, the senators are not elected.  Instead the senate is held held by nobles, with the number of votes a noble has being determined by the title of the noble and the title is determined by the amount of territory controlled by the noble.  Essentially think Dune only in a fantasy setting.

Feature List: Exploration and adventure, magical research, PvP, RvR, multiple sphere interaction, crafting, and macroeconomic system.  The macroenomic system which will be utilized by the nobles is something I have bandied about before on MU soapbox and will work a bit like a card game.  Nobles will control a number of lands based on their rank.  Each land will produce the same number of resources but the specific resources will vary by land.  For instance each land will produce 3 resources, but one of my lands may produce fish, lumber, and iron.  another of my lands produces cattle, sheep, and spices.  Each resource is a card and goes into a deck, so in my example, I would have a deck that consists of fish, lumber, iron, cattle, sheep, and spices.  Every harvest interval, a player draws a number of cards equal to some stat forming their hand of resources that their lands produced enough of for their to be excess.  The noble can then trade, sell, or use those resources to accomplish goals.  Whatever cards are left in their hand at the beginning of the next harvest interval are discarded.

Playstyle: The game is focused on a combination of exploration and intrigue.  Areas of play include the nobility who are focused on politics and top-level management.  Mages will be exploring the potential and limits of magic, while also hunting down those who practice it without license.  There will not be one unified religion; rather, much like Rome, the city may have its original religion, but with the influx of other cultures, multiple religions have flooded into the city, fighting with one another for preeminence.  There is also the underworld to engage in both with the other factions coming to them to utilize their covert abilities, but also amongst themselves, fighting over territory.  Finally, there are the merchants and explorers, ranging out to find new lands to exploit.


ALTERNATIVE FLAVOR

Turn up the dial on the Kill 6 Billion Demons feel and mix in a little Mystic Empyrean.  Instead of an island world, the setting is more fantastical with the city existing on its own plane of existence.  The nobles are instead gods/powerful mages.  The mage’s guild is even more limited, and the unsanctioned practice of magic is persecuted not through general fear and superstition of the populace but because the nobles don’t like competition.  Instead of traveling out to other island, explorers venture out to other planes of existence, establishing footholds for the city.

Many Faces Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 03:08:27 AM »
I have some concerns with this pitch.  To avoid swinging wildly, could you tell me how you imagine a non-noble player's typical experience will be?  I mean, how does a player go from chargen to experienced ranging, as an example?

Cartheon Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 03:46:50 AM »
Experienced ranging?  That's not a phrase I am familiar with.

As for the non-nobles, it depends on which sphere the character is in, as was touched on in the Playstyle section.  Mages will be focused on research, keeping the populace from turning in them, and hunting down apostates, as in Dragon Age.  The religious groups will be similar to that but from the angle of theism and spirits goading them on to spread their worship.  Also they will be less unified than the mage's guild, as the differing cults fight amongst themselves.  The underworld practically writes itself.  Gang wars, thieves breaking into the other spheres' areas, assassin's getting hired by the other sphere's to kill their rivals, smugglers sneaking illicit goods into the city, courtesans seducing the powerful and selling their secrets.  For explorers, basically it will be D&D murderhobos only.on boats.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 04:08:15 AM by Cartheon »

Jeshin Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2017, 03:54:41 AM »
From being a newbie in character creation to being a veteran character. What kind of example of that play progression or experience can you provide. Is the question i think was being asked.

Cartheon Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2017, 04:03:37 AM »
Ahhh, there is no differentiation from new player to veteran player in this.  I come from a MUSH background, and I am against xp advancement, preferring skills to tick up based on character age. You are what you are what you are.  A 20 year old will have the same amount of XP invested as any other   20 year old, no matter if the first 20 year old just came out of chargen and the other 20 year old started play at 18 years old two RL years ago.  Want a character with better skills? Chargen them older.

So if a player wants to play a 50 master thief running a gang in the underworld and there is a slot for one, chargen that character and play it.

Many Faces Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 01:43:42 PM »
Experienced ranging?  That's not a phrase I am familiar with.
Sorry, you'd used "ranging out to find new lands to exploit" so I was also using ranging as a verb and meant being experienced at it.

Basically, say I have never played your game before.  I decide I want to play a ranger and go exploring.  How do I, as a player, get from chargen to the point where I am good at playing a ranger who goes exploring and my character has the resources to do it?  I'm not looking for a general description of the end-goal for everyone who plays one of these; I want to know how you see the game playing for a new player in this specific scenario.

Cartheon Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 03:55:16 PM »
I understand now.

Ideally, there will be multiple pushes for exploration.  The nobility will be looking for new lands to claim.  The mages are going to want to find new things to fuel their research.  The underworld and merchants are going to be looking for resources to exploit.  Also, it's the quick but risky way to fame and fortune, much like the conquistadors.  So hopefully there will be a strong impetus from many fronts to engage in it.  This heavy demand will in turn lead to many openings to be filled.

As a new player there should be several companies (old style term not corporation meaning) that they could join.  When the companies feel they have enough bodies and financial backing, they will submit a request for their adventure to be run.  The characters are taken from the main grid to the area to be explored hexcrawl style with a GM.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 05:37:51 PM by Cartheon »

Many Faces Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 04:41:24 PM »
Okay, I see.  So there will be some staff coordination involved.  I was previously concerned about how the game would go from no players to your end vision because I was thinking in MUD terms rather than MUSH terms.

Cartheon Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 05:39:24 PM »
As great as it would be to somehow automate that, it wouldn't be all that feasible I think.  Not with the populations that most MU*s have.

Cartheon Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2017, 03:40:19 PM »
As the forums are a bit quiet, I decided to put some of my ramblings on this pitch here to see if I can provoke discussion.

I might swipe some of the systems from the Birthright Campaign Setting for 2nd Edition Advanced D&D.  They used to have a wiki up with all of the rules, but it has since disappeared sadly.  For those who never came across it, Birthright had a unique D&D setting focused on rulership of realms and nobility that contain sparks of godhood from the great war between gods.  Controlling land and having the populace respect them empowers that divine spark giving them small divine magical powers.  They also had detailed mechanics for managing lands and holdings, moving armies and ships, the development of buildings and fortifications, etc.

The nobility would function a bit like the Holy Roman Empire mixed with the post-Meiji Reformation Kazoku.  In these systems one's title did not correspond to the number of vassal lords under them but rather to the prominence of their lands.  A count was simply one with a smaller land than a duke.  The nobles in this system would work similarly.  A baron would have a minimum of the smallest unit of land (we'll use a hex to keep it simple) and one vote in the senate.  A count would have a minimum of three hexes and two votes.  A duke would have five hexes and three votes.  A prince would have eight hexes and five votes.  None of the nobles would be vassals of the other nobles, but alliances would be encouraged.  A baron allying with a prince for defense is a wise precaution, for instance.

Lore Offline

Re: [Pitch] City of Marvels
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2017, 12:41:21 PM »
I might swipe some of the systems from the Birthright Campaign Setting for 2nd Edition Advanced D&D.  They used to have a wiki up with all of the rules, but it has since disappeared sadly.

There's a fan-made 3.5 version here for those curious: http://www.birthright.net/forums/showwiki.php?title=BRCS:Main_Page