Wow, almost a month since the last post. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the After the Fall game, but haven’t yet gotten a new pdf version ready. I should have one in a couple weeks, though. I’ve gotten most of the rules stuff worked out, but I have a few elements of the game world I’m still mulling over.
One of the things is steam power. The world is a post-apocalyptic fantasy world similar to our 18th or 19th century. Should I keep it pre-steam age, with older style ships and the highest level of technology being clockwork, or would it be more fun to have steam-powered vessels (albeit rare ones, due to the effects of the apocalyptic events)? I like either idea, so I’m having a hard time fixing on one. It’s mostly just an aesthetics thing, but I’ll have to make a decision sometime soon.
I’ve also expanded the cultures slightly. There is one technologically advanced culture, the Basgoth, who are similar to Victorian Europe, or maybe the era just before that. They have turned down a different path from the other cultures found on the continent, embracing magically-influenced technology. Controlling the world instead of being a part of it. Something like that. The Basgoth cities that survived did so by not having fallen under the sway of the seven Sorrows (archdemons/evil spirits that oppose the more benevolent gods/goddesses), and through powerful magical or natural defenses. Underground cities, flying cities, ones englobed in magical barriers, that sort of thing. Many members of the other cultures of the continent harbour a strong resentment of the Basgoth, blaming them for the apocalypse. While it is true that the Sorrows were able to take over or influence the leaders of several Basgoth cities and turn their armies on the other cities and towns, it was the actions of a corruptable few that lead to the events that took place, not those of the Basgoth people as a whole.
The other four cultures are less technologically advanced, but strong in their own ways. The Vermagra are a northern people whose close link to certain animal spirits gives them the ability to become those animals at will. They live predominantly in villages and small towns. The Vermagra clans that survived the demonic assault did so with the help of their animal spirit allies.
The Roataka live on islands off the eastern coast and sport magical tattooes that link them to their village and allies and allow them to draw on the strength of others when needed. Distance from the main continent helped the Roataka island towns survive, but many still fell to the few demonic armies equipped with ships or other ways to cross the ocean.
The Kolku live in the southern jungles and are closely linked to powerful nature spirits. With the assistance of these area spirits many of the Kolku survived the cataclysmic events. Lastly, the Ongar are a nomadic horse-riding people who live in the uncontrolled areas between the other cultures. I’m thinking they may have knowledge of magic that links them to an animal that assists them in their occupation. The Ongar survived due to their lifestyle of packing up and moving on when the armies came. Many died, but the demons preferred to hit cities that couldn’t get away. Those last two cultures haven’t been fleshed out as much yet, so that’s all I really have on them.
One thing to note, these cultures are not nations. The closest to nations would be the Basgoth city-states, but there was no overall leadership uniting them. In effect there were several Basgoth nations, each centered on a Basgoth city and controlling whatever surrounding territory they could exert influence over. The other cultures are mostly separated into individual towns, villages, or clans, numbering in the hundreds, and controlling only that territory that they could defend. After the events of the demonic apocalypse there are far fewer towns and villages and most of the continent is uninhabited.
I have also been looking at magic. All magic in the game is based on runes. The in-game reason being that it is the language of the spirits that created the world, the language of magic. Anyone who can use magic, even the small charms/tricks most people know, uses a spoken or traced rune to generate the effect. There are several ‘schools’ or classes of characters that have greater knowledge, and I’ve been thinking it over to see if I may be missing one that should be in the game.
So far I have:
Troubadours: Singers who have been trained in the few remaining runic songs still known from the birth of the world. Their songs mostly cover enhancing or altering things within range of their voice. The duration is however long they keep singing, but they can only use one song at a time (for obvious reasons). Some troubadour songs are just a single word and simple effect. They are found in all cultures.
Runesmiths/Engineers: Originally blacksmiths and crafters who are able to carve runes into items they make, empowering the runes with gemstones. Engineers are a fairly new variant found in the technologically advanced Basgoth culture. They work the same way runesmiths do, but tend to focus on clockwork-level technology (and possibly steampunk technology if I go that far with it). Runesmiths are found in all cultures.
Shaman: Practitioners of magic who focus on magics involving spirits, the natural world, and the mind/soul. Medicine men and elders found in all cultures except the Basgoth. Part doctor, part psychologist, part leader.
Alchemists: People who know how to reduce a material or body part to its essence and use that essence to empower a potion, dust, or other one-use creation with a magical effect. Found predominantly in the Basgoth culture where they learn chemistry and geology as well. Some members of the other cultures learn a little alchemy, but usually alongside shamanism rather than on its own.
Priests: People with a connection to one of the powerful spirits of the world. They do not perform much magic themselves, outside of charms or tricks. Instead they perform duties for their god or goddess and, in return, the spirit uses its magics to aid them when they ask, provided it fits within the purview of the spirit’s powers. Priests are found in all cultures.
Those are the five primary ‘magic user’ types in the game right now. Two ‘crafter’ types, two ‘casters,’ plus priests. Do I need a more generic ‘sorceror’ type? I prefer ones that specifically fit in the theme of the game, but some people just want to play a D&D style generic caster. Additionally, is there an area of magic that would fit a ‘post apocalyptic steampunk/clockpunk’ game involving more and less technologically advanced cultures together on one continent?
As always, thoughts and ideas are welcome.