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Author Topic: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed  (Read 3255 times)
Daniel36
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Posts: 63


« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2011, 12:10:55 AM »

Oh, one last thing I want to mention that might affect your design of the setting.

There is a very big difference between what a religion is about and what the clergy is about. The clergy don't necessarily do what their religion asks of them.

Why am I saying this? If players design a religion they feel good about, a religion that is in essence good, it is easy for a GM to create "evil" clergymen and give the players missions that are morally difficult for the players, saying it's what their religion asks of them, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the players designing their own religion if you are not careful to make sure they understand the distinction between religion and religious leaders. Just a small tip, I suppose.
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gtroc
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2011, 01:35:10 AM »

Oh, one last thing I want to mention that might affect your design of the setting.

There is a very big difference between what a religion is about and what the clergy is about. The clergy don't necessarily do what their religion asks of them.

Why am I saying this? If players design a religion they feel good about, a religion that is in essence good, it is easy for a GM to create "evil" clergymen and give the players missions that are morally difficult for the players, saying it's what their religion asks of them, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the players designing their own religion if you are not careful to make sure they understand the distinction between religion and religious leaders. Just a small tip, I suppose.

that is definitely something to consider as I go forward.

As I go forward I am thinking about making the religions be predesigned. perhaps the players design their sect/cabal/faction within it. I think that will be easier for me to design, as I am still at a loss how to do full on religion design. perhaps as i go along, an idea will strike. fingers crossed.
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Daniel36
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« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2011, 02:09:12 AM »

I suppose you could create several. Honestly, if you are going to create a setting, I wouldn't do more than three religions, at least not ones that are in a religious intergalactic war. You can hint at other religions, but making it too broad will just make it convoluted.

Give them three distinct religions and associated faction. Within these religions, give them distinct paths that they can follow personally.

So you create the religion "Blue" and within that religion players can choose a path "Exorcism" or "Healing" or whatever, and you create another religion "Red" and they can choose paths there. Maybe some paths can be in diferent religions but with subtle differences.

So you give the group the choice of which of the three religions they wish to follow (as a group) and give them a choice as to what their role individually will be in the paths.

Not sure if that will work well but I am just randomly blurting out ideas here.
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gtroc
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2011, 03:53:07 AM »

I suppose you could create several. Honestly, if you are going to create a setting, I wouldn't do more than three religions, at least not ones that are in a religious intergalactic war. You can hint at other religions, but making it too broad will just make it convoluted.

Give them three distinct religions and associated faction. Within these religions, give them distinct paths that they can follow personally.

So you create the religion "Blue" and within that religion players can choose a path "Exorcism" or "Healing" or whatever, and you create another religion "Red" and they can choose paths there. Maybe some paths can be in diferent religions but with subtle differences.

So you give the group the choice of which of the three religions they wish to follow (as a group) and give them a choice as to what their role individually will be in the paths.

Not sure if that will work well but I am just randomly blurting out ideas here.

Yeah, i have been having a similar thought as well. I would have to limit the amount of major religions(the ones involved in the war). I can have minor ones, and they may even be useful, but they would be system wide at the most, not interstellar. of course mystery cults and secret societies allow for all kinds of intrigue. so I will probably have some of those as well. So i think I will have three major interstellar governing bodies. And something has changed recently to make them all on the verge of war. maybe they found a planet that could be earth...or something. probably have a couple of independent systems listed as well. they would need unique resources, so that they are still important to the war effort. I'll have to think on that some more.
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Zachary_Wolf
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2011, 06:03:17 AM »

I like the idea of precreating some of the religions, but I thought your idea of giving the players the ability to create their own was awesome. How about this? Precreate two of the religions and the leave the third as "a mysterious newcomer". The third religion could be a burgeoning faith, small but powerful and gaining momentum. This way, the players have two 'stereotypical' examples, and if they choose to, they can decide to claim the third religion as their own and give it their own flavor. With two examples for potential religion builders to look at, this means you can trim down the amount of hand-holding neccesary for religion creation. In other words, you just say, "do something similar to the two examples above!" with some extra suggestive notes to inspire the players.

I love the idea of earth being the holy grail. Very cool, nuff said. Let me know if you want to collaborate a bit more closely on your game. I'm tired of working on games alone :)
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Zachary_Wolf
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Posts: 25


« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2011, 07:11:15 AM »

Hey Jake.

I read all your entries on your design blog. I know one of the entries was older and you may have come to conclusions on some of these points, but here are some ideas that sprang into my head:

- FTL Travel: Consider the "Event Horizon" style FTL. The Event Horizon was able to momentarily bend space in half, causing a point in space that was 1000 light years away to temporarily exist only a few miles away. Sort of a different take on a wormhole - a singularity.

- Generation Ships: For history reasons, since earth is holy-grailish, consider the idea of the three factions originating as a fleet of generation ships fleeing earth. Midtrip, the three ships quarrel and decide to split up, going their own seperate ways. Just a thought. (Sounds like you already came to a similar conclusion).

- Size of Ship vs FTL Capability: There's no reason you can't just say fighters craft are built to be light and fast, and don't provide the hull integrity to survive a trip through a worm hole. Larger ships (Falcon, Serenity) have been specifically outfitted with heavier hulls capable of traversing a hole.

- FTL Communication: Definitely no interstellar instant communication, but intersystem communication might be helpful for narratives, even if it takes hours or days for a message to be sent.


Also, as for your reference to not wanting Vision to be so secular, I forgot to mention it doesn't have to have anything to do with religion. Each character will have varying degrees of devotion, so one character's Vision could be to become the most awesome pope evar, while another character might want to be reunited with his lost love. It's completely individual and not specifically tied to religion.










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Daniel36
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Posts: 63


« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2011, 07:55:39 AM »

I don't know if you have any experience with Warhammer 40.000, but they have some pretty cool religious themes you can draw inspiration from.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Emperor The Emperor of Mankind, revered as a god but nothing more than a vegetable. Pretty cool idea.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Primarch Then there are the Primarches, genetically engineered sons of the Emperor. Some cool inspiration there as well.

Anyways, I was thinking a bit more, and as Earth sort of disappeared off the map, why would they want to revisit it? So perhaps all of the major religions have religious texts. They could be about the New Earth or whatever, they could all stem from the same base religion but have all taken a very distinct different path within that and now they are like "we are the true church", "no, we are"... I guess Zachary_Wolf has the same ideas about that... but why did the war start now?

Maybe, and again just spurting out ideas, someone has re-discovered that Earth holds an item of immense power, a Relic so you will, that can give them the power to rule over the universe (and all other religions). Whether this holds any truth is of course irrelevant. It could be a good starting point for the war.
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Zachary_Wolf
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2011, 09:46:09 AM »

Tagging along with Daniel's idea, what if the three factions had some kind of general peace amongst each other for a while, until a prophet emmerged claiming that the ancient world of earth would soon be discovered, and whoever discoveres it would rule all of mankind. This prophecy might spur the war that the game revolves around. The prophecy could have been spoken years and years ago and the war has just been raging on ever since. Maybe they'll never find earth and the prophet was just a kook? Just some food for thought.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2011, 10:05:46 AM »

Hey guys,

Let's allow Jake to process through all the suggestions and figure out what he wants to do, before continuing to pile on inspiration. I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm being shown in this thread, and I'm not shutting down discussion, but let's slow it a little.

Best, Ron
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gtroc
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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2011, 03:26:29 PM »

Wow. That is a lot of interesting Ideas, thanks guys! It is going to be a while to process all of it, but here are my first impressions/thoughts on what you have said.

Tagging along with Daniel's idea, what if the three factions had some kind of general peace amongst each other for a while, until a prophet emmerged claiming that the ancient world of earth would soon be discovered, and whoever discoveres it would rule all of mankind. This prophecy might spur the war that the game revolves around. The prophecy could have been spoken years and years ago and the war has just been raging on ever since. Maybe they'll never find earth and the prophet was just a kook? Just some food for thought.
I don't know if you have any experience with Warhammer 40.000, but they have some pretty cool religious themes you can draw inspiration from.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Emperor The Emperor of Mankind, revered as a god but nothing more than a vegetable. Pretty cool idea.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Primarch Then there are the Primarches, genetically engineered sons of the Emperor. Some cool inspiration there as well.

Anyways, I was thinking a bit more, and as Earth sort of disappeared off the map, why would they want to revisit it? So perhaps all of the major religions have religious texts. They could be about the New Earth or whatever, they could all stem from the same base religion but have all taken a very distinct different path within that and now they are like "we are the true church", "no, we are"... I guess Zachary_Wolf has the same ideas about that... but why did the war start now?

Maybe, and again just spurting out ideas, someone has re-discovered that Earth holds an item of immense power, a Relic so you will, that can give them the power to rule over the universe (and all other religions). Whether this holds any truth is of course irrelevant. It could be a good starting point for the war.

I had an idea of one of the interstellar nations run by an immortal god king type figure. I am currently calling him, Sovereign. I am leaning away from the helpless emperor from 40K and more towards something like His Shadow from Lexx, or The Master from Doctor Who. basically he maintains his immortality by changing bodies.

I really like the thought that the idea of Earth would be enough to spark a war. maybe they have long bouts of cold war. each side seeking to convert/control more systems through subtle means(missionaries, diplomats, and spies). then, when a new system is found the war heats up, as there is always the fear that the new system will be Earth. I also really like the ideas of prophesy. perhaps there are certain people who can see the future. they only appear once every hundred years or so, and maybe only to a specific culture/system. maybe they bargain the systems freedom with access to the prophets. I will definitely be working on that. as I think it is rife for player characters to play with.

Hey Jake.

I read all your entries on your design blog. I know one of the entries was older and you may have come to conclusions on some of these points, but here are some ideas that sprang into my head:

- FTL Travel: Consider the "Event Horizon" style FTL. The Event Horizon was able to momentarily bend space in half, causing a point in space that was 1000 light years away to temporarily exist only a few miles away. Sort of a different take on a wormhole - a singularity.

- Generation Ships: For history reasons, since earth is holy-grailish, consider the idea of the three factions originating as a fleet of generation ships fleeing earth. Midtrip, the three ships quarrel and decide to split up, going their own seperate ways. Just a thought. (Sounds like you already came to a similar conclusion).

- Size of Ship vs FTL Capability: There's no reason you can't just say fighters craft are built to be light and fast, and don't provide the hull integrity to survive a trip through a worm hole. Larger ships (Falcon, Serenity) have been specifically outfitted with heavier hulls capable of traversing a hole.

- FTL Communication: Definitely no interstellar instant communication, but intersystem communication might be helpful for narratives, even if it takes hours or days for a message to be sent.


Also, as for your reference to not wanting Vision to be so secular, I forgot to mention it doesn't have to have anything to do with religion. Each character will have varying degrees of devotion, so one character's Vision could be to become the most awesome pope evar, while another character might want to be reunited with his lost love. It's completely individual and not specifically tied to religion.

Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate your insights. As to the FTL issue, I am going with a gate system, build by an ancient and unknown/unknowable civilization. I like your thoughts, but I want the gates to be a mystery. I think that I will leave it as unknown how it works, all that is known is that it does work. I can't really give a reason for that other than personal preference. but your idea is neat. the generation ships are one thought, and I think there will definitely be some of that in the history, but i also really like cryogenics. I like it because it allows my Luddite civilization to exist, I know I haven't really talked of them but I have had this thought floating around for a while. basically Luddites decide to leave Earth. They use a ship and cryogenically freeze themselves for the journey. they manage to get past the technology use, justifying it as necessary. they come to an alien world filled with life, and manage to thrive. the first few generations are definitely into the full anti tech mindset. but little by little it gets subverted. they replace  machines with domestic animals. eventually flying through space in designed organisms. they would be one of the small free states that the others must court. Generation ships will also work for some of the cultures.

I like your thoughts on durability and travel through the gate...that is a thought. also there is the idea I had about the gate driving you mad. basically pilots would either be insane to some degree or so drugged up that the are functionally insane for the trip. this would lead to fighter pilots not wanting to enter the gate. with no idea whats on the other side you would need your wits about you in a fighter craft.

I like the idea of precreating some of the religions, but I thought your idea of giving the players the ability to create their own was awesome. How about this? Precreate two of the religions and the leave the third as "a mysterious newcomer". The third religion could be a burgeoning faith, small but powerful and gaining momentum. This way, the players have two 'stereotypical' examples, and if they choose to, they can decide to claim the third religion as their own and give it their own flavor. With two examples for potential religion builders to look at, this means you can trim down the amount of hand-holding neccesary for religion creation. In other words, you just say, "do something similar to the two examples above!" with some extra suggestive notes to inspire the players.

I love the idea of earth being the holy grail. Very cool, nuff said. Let me know if you want to collaborate a bit more closely on your game. I'm tired of working on games alone :)

I agree that it sounds awesome, allowing the players to build a religion. the reason I am leaning away from it for now, is that I have no ideas on how to implement that mechanically. basically it would be phase one of character creation, and that would be the seed that the characters grow from. but I am at a loss on how to do it. If I say to the players, "do something similar to what I have shown you." I will get one of two things, the players building a carbon copy of my religions, or the will get frustrated and give up and demand the GM do it. I realize there are some groups out there who can do what I want easily and well with no, or little, support structure. however, My current group is not one of them. And if I can't get my group to play...well there ya' are then.

I guess I would be open to the idea of working on the game with someone else. My past experiences have not been good. I have worked with partners before and it usually ends poorly. Hell, game design was what caused my podcast to pod-fade(not that that is a bad thing, it wasn't very good). But we could discuss our goals and see if they are compatible. if so I see no reason we couldn't partner up.
Hey guys,

Let's allow Jake to process through all the suggestions and figure out what he wants to do, before continuing to pile on inspiration. I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm being shown in this thread, and I'm not shutting down discussion, but let's slow it a little.

Best, Ron

thanks for looking out, Ron. I appreciate it.
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Zachary_Wolf
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Posts: 25


« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2011, 06:35:47 AM »

No worries Jake. Don't want to cramp anyone's style.

As far as designing the game so your current group can get the hang of it, I can totally relate. I have the same problem when designing my games. I want to design them for someone with as much role-playing intuition as me, but I know that my players would need quite a bit more explanation than I would.

Oh, and sorry for overposting. I wanted to get my ideas down for you, Jake, while I had them in my brain.
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Daniel36
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Posts: 63


« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2011, 07:47:30 AM »

Well, I don't think he minds our posts. After all, they are just there for him to take inspiration from. If he doesn't like it, he doesn't have tp use it. If anything, he has got us both enthusiastic enough already, so he knows he is on the right track.
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gtroc
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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2011, 03:16:24 PM »

Well, I don't think he minds our posts. After all, they are just there for him to take inspiration from. If he doesn't like it, he doesn't have tp use it. If anything, he has got us both enthusiastic enough already, so he knows he is on the right track.

I don't mind the posts really. the last batch was a lot, and it took me a minute to think my responses through. I really do appreciate the enthusiasm you have shown. Thank you.

so here is the short list of the setting pieces so far. I want there to be an empire ruled by a god king, who swaps bodies to maintain immortality. I want there to be one run by benevolent AIs. I was thinking that they have no bodies and so need humans to do physical things for them. this could be a specific design of the original creator, to keep the balance of power in check. and I want tehre to be a third major set piece, but culturally I don't have any idea on how that will work.

then there are the minor powers, i have the Luddites with their amazing animal domestication to replace machines. I am thinking they have symbiotic suits that make their soldiers powerful, or something. I also want there to be pirate clans, I am thinking something along the lines of the Nietzscheans from the tv show Andromeda. very survival of the fittest. I would like a few more lesser powers to populate my setting, but I am unsure on what to use.

I have been working on the fluff for a few days now, and I am having difficulty coming up with religions. perhaps I need to develop a system that will allow for religion creation, as apparently I need it as well.

I think I am going to leave the fluff behind for a bit and concentrate on the system for the next couple of days. I have a strong thought on what i am seeking, and i think I can see a way there, but it is going to be tricky.

sorry just kind of running at the mouth there for a bit. that is one of my bad habits, my mind wanders.
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Daniel36
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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2011, 12:58:21 AM »

It seems each of your factions have a very different take on pretty much everything.

Will that reflect on character creation? It will take more work, but if it were up to me, I would give players the choice of what faction to play, and from there on out give them specific character options. So if the group wants to follow the god king, they get a choice of characters that are different to what they get if they want to play pirates (Arrr). Does that make sense?
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gtroc
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« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2011, 02:29:38 AM »

It seems each of your factions have a very different take on pretty much everything.

Will that reflect on character creation? It will take more work, but if it were up to me, I would give players the choice of what faction to play, and from there on out give them specific character options. So if the group wants to follow the god king, they get a choice of characters that are different to what they get if they want to play pirates (Arrr). Does that make sense?

I am planning on doing something along those lines, yeah. I really got into that aspect of HeroQuest, and so I am planning on modeling the cultures a bit like they did it in that game. My focus will be different, I think. And if you have read my most recent post then you know my system(should it ever work, is very different. but I think it is doable, though I agree it is far more work. Also, I still haven't completely given up on the whole, "PCs make their own" concept. though again, at a loss as to how to implement it.
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