Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Introducing: Blazing Spear

High time to pull back the curtain, I think.

Blazing Spear is the tentative name for an original bronze age weird fantasy setting I and two others have been working on since early 2011. There are numerous influences (from 300 to Fringe), but a particular handful best capture the kind of stories we'd like our world to help tell. Fullmetal Alchemist. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Matthew Woodring Stover's bronze age fantasy trilogy. Girl Genius. A relatively obscure new comic called Black Fire. And above all else, Princess Mononoke.

These are stories of badass individuals caught up in the physical & ideological confrontations of different cultures, and in the goals of colorful power players whose means far exceed those available to "mere mortals."

These are stories in a world that is changing and evolving, where there is no option to maintain a “status quo”.

These are stories where numerous other characters are just as badass, just as competent- and not just among those fighting on both sides of the conflict, but also those "underfoot" who are just trying to get by. The crucial factor that distinguishes the player characters isn't superior strength, or even necessarily virtue; it's their role as individuals, as people who involve themselves in the conflict without cleaving to any the goals of any one faction that's involved.

I'm as busy as ever, but I'll do my best to share more about this world we've made (and perhaps some original game mechanics to go with it). My goal is to update on at least a weekly basis; I'm terrible as I've always been at posting into a vacuum, so any honest feedback & commentary you can offer will be a huge help. Have I gotten your attention so far?


Mildra: The RPG Monk said...

sounds interesting to me, though I am curious about a few things:

1: how would you answer "Jared's 3 questions" when it comes to this game? (i.e. What is your Game about? how does your game do that? What behaviours does your game reward/punish?)

2: if you were presenting this just as fluff and no crunch, what would be a few games that would be a good fit (besides universal ones and fantasycraft)?

3: compared to common folk, how far up the badass scale are PCs at the start? (i.e. Scion badass or Exalted badass).

That's all I can think of for now, don't feel you need to answer all 3 questions, just keep them in mind.


vazor said...

Sounds interesting. I'd be interested to see what unique mechanics you come up with for this kind of world. :)

Godless Paladin said...

Well, I drafted an answer to your many questions, but I realized my answers might be a bit misleading. For example, in your third question you say "compared to common folk," and yet it would be worthwhile to note that the common folk in Blazing Spear are typically a heck of a lot more competent than in, say, D&D. These are strong, self-reliant people who live in a harsh, fantastical bronze age where wild gods walk the earth and alien-minded monstrosities hold court in the forest just over there.

That said, I assume that when you say "at the start" you mean "at the lowest character level" (since, after all, a GM can start you at whatever level he wants). If that's the case, I would say that the lowest rung on the PC ladder would be comparable to a resourceful military conscript, rather like the heroes of "Black Fire." Who, I might add, took on hulking mystical monstrosities, scheming ghosts, and an immortal god.

So, it's not like starting in Exalted, but you don't need to be able to throw horses at people to be a badass. Not that you won't be able to do that later... it's just that Thorkell the Tall has a couple of sessions under his belt.

Godless Paladin said...

Likewise, "a military conscript" needs to be put in the context of the military... and in Blazing Spear a military clash is going to look more like this than a more familiar medieval clash of armies. Magitech, mutants and monsters, complete with lances raining from the sky.

1: As for the first two questions, Dagda actually wrote up a really neat outline for what Blazing Spear stories are about and what characters do in them. I am not sure if he's ready to post that yet.

However, I will say that one of the themes at the core of Blazing Spear is exploring new, fantastical, or outright alien cultures and perspectives. That's actually why it's a bronze age setting... there's some exotic new tribe that thinks nothing like you just over that hill 20 miles over. And maybe a sleeping eldritch horror under that hill for good measure.

As for what's rewarded and punished... The game actively encourages "team combos" and creative implementation of character capabilities that isn't expressly spelled out for you by the rules (That is to say, the rules for what the abilities do is clear, but the implications of how you can apply said abilities might take some thought). So, a resourceful player who can use lateral thinking will be substantially rewarded. This is done through the nature of the abilities themselves. For example, consider the degree to which a Portal Gun is made more effective by its user's ingenuity.

2: I don't really feel I can answer this one well... most of my actual TTRPG experience is limited to various incarnations of D&D and Legends of the Five Rings. And you already ruled out versatile systems (like Mutants and Masterminds) and Fantasycraft. Anyways, if there were already a system that embodied what we wanted really well, we wouldn't be making a new one!

3: I guess I kinda answered this one already.

Anonymous said...

Holy fuck.
That sounds absolutely awesome. Damn word's used too much.

Anonymous said...

There's not much to go on here, but it sounds interesting. I'll definitely keep an eye on this.