[Tsoy] About the development of Near?

Started by Simon JB, September 18, 2008, 10:37:26 PM

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Simon JB

I'll keep adding threads here, if you don't mind! .D

Eero, in the stickied thread you ask for links to Near material for your work with writing a new canon text about the World of Near, but I was wondering if you'd like to tell us a bit about how you're planning to go about your work? Specifically if there's any kind of new input about the world you'd be interested in seeing here?

Eero Tuovinen

Oh, I'm very interested in everybody's ideas. I'll write about my own notions in more length, too, later when I start working on the project for real. Practically speaking, my goal is to get the new book written sometime during the winter. I have one other big project on the stove (Eleanor's Dream, a game I've been wrangling with for a couple of years), so I might not start the actual writing of the TSoY book this year yet. But it could be done next summer, if all goes well.

The basic ideas I'm working from right now are something like this:

  • I want to lay out the book into an easily accessible reference work that is locally coherent - each shortish chapter presents one topic comprehensively, and references others explicitly when necessary. Like a dictionary, one might say. Dictionary of Mu, and the way Judd recommends it to be used, is pretty close to what I've been planning in some ways. I want to make it explicit that a given campaign will, by necessity, focus on only a part of the material instead of trying to roll everything comprehensively into one big pot.
  • I want to include something like 50% more material (cultures, races, crunch etc.) as compared to the old book. Part of this is because there are some pretty nice ideas floating around and I want the new book to reflect the ideas of the people playing the game; part is because some of those cultures could stand a teeny bit of expanding; part is because of the next point, below.
  • I'm going to write an extensive discussion of how variable the notion of Near can be in practical campaigning. In practice this means writing up several campaign frameworks that spotlight subsets of the material - this might mean different geography for Near, somewhat different crunch and such, all depending on what, exactly, a given campaign wants to address. You could say that I'm going to take the spotlight off the old Maldorean empire a bit, by allowing an individual campaign to slide a bit geographically and culturally. (Blame Josh for the development, he inspired me with his southern continent initiative.)
  • The end-product will, I hope, be a nice-looking rpg book with something like 100-150 pages. I have a teeny bit of traditional rpg fan ambition for making a graphical, traditional rpg book, but mostly this is because I'm hoping for the game to attract some new audiences from among old roleplayers if I work a bit in dressing it up. I'll be selling the book coupled with the Solar System rules-booklet, so there will be no basic rules material in it, only setting-related crunch.
I'm not shooting for any sort of conceptual completeness (which I feel the need to point out because that's very typical of second editions of roleplaying games: the new editor wants to lock down the material and answer the open questions left by the original author): if anything, I'm going to point out some new questions for individual campaigns to explore.

Hmm... something like that, anyway. I'll lock down things in more detail when I get to actually writing the book. For now, if anybody has any ideas or simply areas of interest in Near that you think should be explored in more detail, let me know and we'll work it in there.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.



Near isn't quite dead! This is good news. Can we pick up here where the CRN forum mysteriously croaked, or what is the idea?

Yours, Troels

Eero Tuovinen

Quite so. Feel free to post the same sort of stuff you did on the CRN forums, I enjoyed those threads.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Heh heh heh. Doom! Doom, I tell you! You bring your own doom...

Which is my way of saying "Prepare yourself, forum, for just as Near had an unexplored frozen south, it has an unexplored arid north!"

For some reason, I'm feeling terribly over-dramatic today. I think perhaps I'm watching too many "Invader Zim" reruns of late.

In any event, huzzah to the new forum. Just when I was feeling blue, and missing the old CRN Forum, I stumble across this.

I've got somewhere between 3-4 new nations I sometimes play with but have never really talked about here, in my signature content-over-producing style. In a lot of cases, they are me playing with elements that have been explicitly not featured elsewhere in Near. They include:

  • a goblin-dominated mercantile culture gone mad, in which humans are slaves, everything is for sale, and one of the great constants is that everything changes. Inspired by my fascination with goblins as prolific progenerative little monsters who are so darn adaptive. "How come they don't just overpopulate and take over?" Here's one example where they have.
  • a barren wasteland populated by stilt-walking, mask-wearing penitents, who so offended their "gods" that they must eke out an existence in their harsh scrublands, and carry the curse of their deities with them everywhere they go. Don't worry, despite the concept, it doesn't violate TSOY's "no gods" rider. What these folks are worshiping, and the ramifications thereof, remains highly terrestrial. Inspired partially by watching bits of, but never playing, the video game "Shadow of the Colossus".
  • a glimpse of where the Qek come from. What if they were nothing but a remnant of a much greater culture to the north, which is ruled by Sasha-Kings and the priests who attend them, and glorifies death in a whole different way. My answer to the whole "What kind of twisted culture would keep elves as slaves?" question posed waaaay back in TSOY's 1st edition.
  • a theocratic culture with a Middle-Eastern/desert flavor to it. As a counterpoint to Maldor, which acts as if the Year of Shadow and the coming of the moon was the worst thing to ever happen to it, here's a culture which was only liberated in the post-Shadow era, and has built its nation-state and religion accordingly. Essentially me shamelessly riffing off of elements I like in Al-Qadim and other Arabian Nights-esque fantasy, and also elements of D&D's Dark Sun. This is the one that's been the most revised over my 2+ years of working on it, and probably will go through the most revisions again once Eero and other people get to comment on it. There are elements I love, and elements which are still me hanging on to pieces which we should change and/or let-go-of to make a better setting.

More later, when I get a chance to write some of it all down for you all.

-shadowcourt (aka Josh)

Eero Tuovinen

Excellent, Josh. You'll leave me nothing to do at this rate, except cutting and editing.

I adore that goblin idea, it's gold. The rest are also cool - I've myself been thinking of stealing something from Shadow of the Colossus, too, for instance. And as for those pre-Qek kingpriests and their ziggurats, the Finnish TSoY has some pretty interesting notions about them. Lay it on whenever you're ready!
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.