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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 08:45 PM
Sebecloki Sebecloki is offline
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The Secrets of Cinsex (5e, very complex hombrew setting with some house rules)

Game NameThe Secrets of Cinsex (5e, very complex hombrew setting with some house rules)
Game SystemDnD 5e
Themeurban exploration and intrigue, spy thriller
FlavourEspionage, Palace Intrigue, Cloak and Dagger, Sword and Sorcery
Plot SummaryHey forumites,

I just signed up here, but I've been playing PbP for several years. I love world building. DnD is an excuse to make maps and develop imaginary places.



Cinsex is the ill-reputed capital of the Kingdom of Ghyfe, a sprawling lakeside city famed for its hundreds of 'topless towers' -- this spires constructed by the nobility and other grandees that can reach hundreds of feet in height. Cinsex began life as a trading post, and later resort city, of the former Ghedron Empire. The latter role commenced in earnest after the healing properties of the local springs were discovered by enterprising dowsers of the Hidden and Unseeing God Ethulylius. The Red Era that ended the Ghedronian Empire brought greater prominence to the resort city as many noble houses of the former heartland sought a refuge from the violence that had consumed the ancient and expansive imperial realm. These transplanted nobles became the core of the Council of the Crown that appointed the first king and First House of Ghyfe, and that continues to hold significant influence in the realm.

Cinsex has since become the sprawling capital of the Kingdom of Ghyfe, one of the dozens of Ghedronian successor states that dominate the southern coast of the Continent of Sairla. In the present year, the royal house is under threat from internal divisions and rivals, and several enterprising mercenaries and sell-swords will soon become involved in the politics of the city's numerous thieves guilds and their hidden war with the upstart guild of assassins. The thieves of the city are largely organized into nine substantial guilds known as the 'Nine Knaves'. The new guild of assassins, which has recently begun to impinge upon the historical prerogatives of the thief guilds, is rumored to have some connection to a mysterious sect of the kingfisher goddess of the moon, one of the two major divinities of the current state religion.



More information: this is going to be DENSE description and worldbuilding. I'm a 'walls of text' kind of narrator -- lots of fluff information about the religions and cultures of the setting, in-setting names for different customs and positions, lots of details about architecture, common customs, etc. Walls and walls of text on stuff -- practically every NPC will be spitting out long monologues of information that you'll have to track and keep up with to understand all the complicated political machinations in the city. For instance, a conversation with a local priest might involve him referring to a theologian from three centuries ago. This historical figure might have seven polysyllabic names, as well as a couple of religious titles. The priest might refer to this figure's theological publications on the question of the elemental nature of the First Principle -- whether it is the flame of the Sunspark of the Phoenix which began the universe, or the Dark without Color, the deepest abyss of the primordial ocean from which the Kingfisher arose at the dawn of time. This might be in the context of advising your characters whether to perform an act of reconnaissance during the day or at night. I'm looking for players that would appreciate that level of worldbuilding detail -- it will also be an insurmountable obstacle for those who cannot embrace that style. There will simply be too much background information if you're just looking for something along the lines of an WoTC published module.

I'm looking for 4-6 players who can embrace this style. I'll want to see examples of posts in games you're in to establish we're on the same page. The ideal player is one who can easily spit out a couple of paragraphs, has a large, pedantic vocabulary, and that wouldn't have trouble spending 100 words describing the act of turning a door knob. It is helpful to think of this game as a midpoint between a D&D game and writing a novel together. If you're familiar with the Malazan Book of the Fallen or the Prince of Nothing Series -- that's the kind of narrative this is going to be.





If you're interested, tell me a little about your background w/ play by post, and give me some examples of posts that will make me think you're the right player for the kind of game I want to run.

I need to emphasize this about the worldbuilding again to establish what kind of player community will make this campaign work. It will be important to not only be able to write long posts, but be able to interact with a specific kind of dense and frequently elusive worldbuilding. My approach is more like the Malazan series or the Prince of Nothing than something simple like the Belgariad or the Sword of Truth series. There will be references to bevies of names, places, and events, and it's not all going to be spelled out like a textbook or reader's manual, but will be picked up by inference and context -- your character can always follow up on details, but I'm not going to write three paragraphs about an offhand reference to a city in another country that a caravan came from, but instead simply mention "the sinister tales of ill-rumored Mastolar and the seven whispered pits of its "imbricated catacombs""; it may not be significant to the immediate story, but there will be tons of little world building details like that.

Additionally, the set up will not be simple -- the main city has 9 different thieves guilds, and they're not all just bog standard examples of that concept. One was previously a temple of a god of merchants that fell out of favor and they transformed into a thieves guild as their patron took on a different portfolio -- they have their own form of thieves cant that's based on the sacred language of their scriptures, and which originated in another country.

Every aspect of the setting will have lots of worldbuilding details like that -- lists of 30 languages spoken in the city environs, names of flowers distinct to this world, customs for naming ceremonies for children, etc.

The Elder Scrolls is also a major inspiration that will guide my approach -- there's no 'one version' of almost anything. Even well known historical events will be interpreted different ways, or exist in different accounts, depending on who you ask.



Religions will not have one doctrine, but rather a major creation story in 3-4 different recensions of different ages, and differing interpretations of those texts. The major religions will have dozens of sects with their own histories, hierarchies, interpretations, and initiation practices. For example, the dominant religion is a dualistic faith with two major goddesses -- a phoenix sun goddess and a nightingale or kingfisher moon goddess. Some believe they are one entity, others that they are sisters, others that one is the daughter of the other, others that they are unrelated; there are sects that worship one or the other, or another progenitor force that is believed to have created both. The faith has an 'official' holy text that has at least 7 different major versions with different books or versions of books, and each of the sects has their own editions with additional writings or an abbreviation of the larger canon that somehow accords with their own theological perspective. You'll meet characters with different interpretations of these concepts, or characters from other realms, like the Theocracy of the Sacred Ankh, which worships the phoenix goddess as a monotheist deity, and has its own canon and hierarchy and apostolic succession concept, who will reject almost every element of the state religion's interpretation of their deity.

Even some fundamental concepts will be blurry -- the Kingdom of Ghyfe appears to be somehow larger in actual dimensions than it's depiction on a map would indicate. There are different experiences of this phenomenon -- like reports of traveling to an isolated village, along the same route, with the same means, traveling at the same rate, taking between a week and a year. The wilderness areas in particular appear to be somehow much larger than their cartographical depictions would indicate. There are multiple descriptions of this phenomenon written in different time periods and from different perspectives, offering different explanations about whether this is true and, if so, what the reason for this reality might be.

You'll have to be comfortable with not only long posts, but lots of information, and not a railroaded experience. I have two advanced degrees in ancient history, religions, and languages, and my worldbuilding reflects that background. In the real world, not all names are based on the syllabic patterns or common phonemes of American English, philosophical and religious systems have dozens of interpretations that change over time, and history is a contested arena that is rewritten from different perspectives in every generation. Cities have thousands of buildings and dozens of guilds and factions.

I have a general plot outline, but a lot of the fun for me is the worldbuilding and scenery chewing, and I'm not in a huge hurry to move through combats or get to a specific narrative junction.


Character Rules:

Level -- 5th level.
Attributes -- 27pt buy.
Classes -- no tech or magitech type classes -- this is a medieval setting. Everything published is otherwise acceptable, and I'll look at 3pp. on a case by case basis.
Races -- elves, half-elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, humans, and furry animorph races -- lupins, catfolk, raccoon people, otter people, badger people, otter people, etc., and kobolds are the primary races. The animorph races don't include half-humans/half-animals such as waifu catgirls. The model is instead anthropomorphic animals like in the Red Wall books. I don't have stats for all those already located, I'll probably just google some homebrew if someone wants to play one of those.

Other Rules:

I'm going to add a subskill system with several hundred subskills you can get additional bonuses to. These are particular uses of the skill system. For example, you might have another +2 bonus to linguistics checks with a specific language.

I'm also going to add 'talents' from a 3pp. publication (they're basically like half-feats).

For maps -- I'm going to post maps and images of the places you are, but I've increasingly questioned whether it's worth the effort to use battle-maps extensively for online games. I do enjoy maps and have city maps with 1,000s of buildings and hex maps with millions of hexes. I'm not sure it's worth the effort to actually load all the battle maps onto a VTT and move the tokens around during combat. It's very hard to get players to concentrate long enough to make, upload, and move tokens, and that whole process doesn't always seem like a good use of time given the payoff. I do think it's important to have maps with scales available so you know the layout of the areas and how big spaces are, and I can certainly provide that in spaces, but I might use a combination of that and theater of the mind, or discuss positioning in a fairly hand-wavey way. This isn't going to be a satisfying game for wargaming-minded tacticians or those who want to combat optimize as I'm going to handwave a lot of relevant details.

The application process will involve several additional pages of fluff questions about the character's background -- stories about the tools they wield, their history and outlook, etc. It's going to involve a lot of writing.

I'm happy to wait several weeks to get the right player group -- this isn't FCFS. I don't want to set a firm deadline yet since I need to see what interest I get first. If I get a ton, I may cut it off earlier.









Here's an example of my writing style:



Another unsettling period of profound quiet ensues, the passing seconds seeming like ages, and then the strange voice intrudes once again upon the individual consciousnesses of the other occupants of the offering chamber -- the voice assumes the same unnerving, intermittent modulations, descending to the nadir of a baritone and the heights of a counter tenor within each word, changing now faster, syllable by syllable,

::::"Know that you have trespassed upon the sacred premises of the True Master of the Consuming and Undying Flames of the Purest Fire -- only the sacrificiants and those who shall be offered unto the Great and Terrible Lord of the Seven and Seventy Heats are permitted to enter this Offering Chamber. I have no knowledge of any of your persons -- the servants and slaves and offerings, living and dead, of my master have departed from the Chamber of Offerings, but your strange bodies have come upon this sacred place. You will justify your presence, or I will destroy you for this act of desecration."::::

Last edited by Sebecloki; Aug 13th, 2022 at 09:55 PM.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 06:41 AM
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First of all, welcome to the Crossing.

This looks like a very interesting concept, but I have a few questions:

- How medieval is the setting? Dark Ages or a bit more advanced?
- Is literacy limited to the clergy and higher classes or is it more widespread?
- How about education? Are there Universities?
- What is the state of science (Flat globe, earth-centric or post-Galilean?)? Medicine (4 Humores from Hippocrates, leeches, barbers, herbcraft, midwives, higher education, apothecaries,Ö)? Alchemy (greek fire, philosopherís stone, Ö)?
- How does magic work in your world? Similar to the Weave or with Warrens? Spellbegging? Rituals? Summoning powerful entities to do your bidding?
- A more game-mechanics question: only WOTC-sources or would you allow Spheres of power? I find the Spheres allow for more diverse characters.
- What would be the posting frequency? Quality posts do take time.

Greetz

BC
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 02:46 PM
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And one more thing: is necromancy an inherently evil act in your world?
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 03:09 PM
Sebecloki Sebecloki is offline
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- How medieval is the setting? Dark Ages or a bit more advanced?

I'd say it's about late 1300s, but the impact of the fall of the previous empire didn't have quite the civilizational impact as that of the Roman Empire. The Ghedronian Empire wasn't invaded by horse archers like the huns and mongols, it was a purely political dissolution from a civil war. The parts basically split up, and engineering and mathematical knowledge was not lost -- so they didn't forget how to make concrete or build arches and multi story buildings. There's not a regression in these areas you'd see, for example, between roman era and anglo saxon era Britain.

- Is literacy limited to the clergy and higher classes or is it more widespread?

There are several levels of literacy -- there are several forms of the Ghedronisian tongue of different registers. These are only studied by scholars and clergy. There is another ancient language that can be compared to avestan, which is called Sunscript and Moonscript, and is believed to have origins across the sea. When it is used to write sacred documents it glows with an inner light, but disappears then until chanted by a properly invested cantor. These more esoteric languages contain magical and religious knowledge. The common tongue is called New Ghedric or Ghyfurian -- and literacy, writing, reading, and speaking, are far more prevalent than historical earth because of the existence of an order of priest/magi of a god of knowledge who are dedicated to spreading literacy.

- How about education? Are there Universities?

There are a few major wings of the educational system -- one is the temple school of the state faith of the phoenix and kingfisher. Another is that of the aforementioned god of knowledge. There is a hold over from the Ghedronian Empire known as 'Mage Fabricators" who were architects and engineers, and one of the guild halls survives in the city. There is also a university of alchemists/confectioners.

- What is the state of science (Flat globe, earth-centric or post-Galilean?)? Medicine (4 Humores from Hippocrates, leeches, barbers, herbcraft, midwives, higher education, apothecaries,…)? Alchemy (greek fire, philosopher’s stone, …)?

They don't have germ theory -- their science is sort of a new age concept based on the idea of chakras and elemental ley lines within the body. Healers mostly subscribe to the state cult, and are concerned with 'hot'/'cold' forces representing the balance of the two goddesses within the soul of the individual person. Even if they're not pious adherents, that basic framework impacts most of the culture, and you can even have healers that worship other gods basically use some form of that hot/cold theory.

- How does magic work in your world? Similar to the Weave or with Warrens? Spellbegging? Rituals? Summoning powerful entities to do your bidding?

There are several forms of magic --

One is 'possessing magic', which is psychic magic which derives from the most ancient times, millions of years ago, and was practiced by the Anadia halflings who were the first sentient species to create a civilization. The ancient mindmasters passed their consciousnesses down through different forms, and still exist in the present age. Their hosts practice a form of psychic magic that is corruptive for the mortal vessel their mind inhabits. These hosts also, throughout history, conducted experiments in summoning and alchemy that produced other corruptive arcane practices that are in some respects 'daughters' of the possessing arts.

There is also something like a division between wizards and sorcerers. 'Wizards' -- gnosticans, learn magic as a form of advanced philosophy and gematria, and this is the kind of magic that is behind the 'imperial fabricators' and similar orders. They are rigid schools that have formal curricula and degrees.

The other kind of magic is innate and is more like the magic of incarnum -- those with a special 'spark' that can manifest the powers of the earth soul.

The faiths of the phoenix and kingfisher goddesses also teach that there is the 'Sunspark' and 'Moonglow', and that these are special mantles endowed on blessed individuals that are different from normal divine arts. They consist of elemental powers that can be infused into substances.

- A more game-mechanics question: only WOTC-sources or would you allow Spheres of power? I find the Spheres allow for more diverse characters.

I'm open to spheres, especially custom casting traditions.

- What would be the posting frequency? Quality posts do take time.

I was thinking 1/day monday-friday. We can discuss what would be doable. I'd rather have fewer, longer posts that developed more, than more frequent, more perfunctory material, but it has to be consistent enough to keep the game going. It will depend partly on the group.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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In regards to necromancy, it is not universally considered evil. The faith of the kingfisher goddess has elements of 'white necromancy', though also the traditional, evil forms as well. There's also a sect that worships the phoenix goddess as a phoenix of cold white or invisible flame, and that is considered a quasi-necromantic entity.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 03:39 PM
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Thank you for the information. So it is possible to make a healer-apothecary character who went to the Alchemy-university and uses his concoctions to restore balance in the hot/cold duality. And from his belief in the Kingfisher and to restore the balance in power between the gods, he/she is the major poisoncrafter of the new assassinís guild.

A posting frequency of once per day is impossible for me to uphold (job, family with 5 kids, other rpg-games,Ö). Once a week is more achievable.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:06 PM
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Your list of races, I assume that is the only races allowed?
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:10 PM
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BattleChaser, the spheres of power looks cool, never heard of it. How do they work?
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:24 PM
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Well, I mostly use the pathfinder spheres, but it boils down to this. A class get a certain amount of talents they can buy as they level up. First you buy the base sphere which grants you a certain ability. For example the barroom sphere grants you the ability to use improvised weapons better or get drunk. Extra talents improve your ability to fight with improvised weapons or grants you extra abilities when drunk (for example a pseudo-evasion). Extra talents can be bought with feats or by taking drawbacks. Itís very cool and Iíve found it makes it easier to incorporate the little quirks of your character or what you think your character can do in the build.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:28 PM
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In terms of races, I'll entertain suggestions, but that's basically it -- I'm unlikely to go far outside of that for stuff like centaurs, fairies, drow, etc. For example, no Kalashatar, Warforged, or other setting specific things that aren't a part of this world. kobolds take the place of dragonborn as the 'dragon like' race.

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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:32 PM
Sebecloki Sebecloki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battlechaser View Post
Thank you for the information. So it is possible to make a healer-apothecary character who went to the Alchemy-university and uses his concoctions to restore balance in the hot/cold duality. And from his belief in the Kingfisher and to restore the balance in power between the gods, he/she is the major poisoncrafter of the new assassin’s guild.

A posting frequency of once per day is impossible for me to uphold (job, family with 5 kids, other rpg-games,…). Once a week is more achievable.
I hadn't made this clear -- but I'm also expecting/open to, the players making a lot of their own material and additions -- I don't really organize my setting material like a campaign guide. You'll give me a concept like this and I'll help you develop it based on my own material so it's in line with my vision. My own notes are more notes in word docs of concepts that can be expanded on, or miscellaneous details that aren't in any particular order. Mostly, I'm working with 'seeds' of concepts that can be expanded or delineated further. Like, I don't have a list of what noble house owns each of the 'topless towers' -- I know that there are hundreds of them, approximately what kinds of things are in each, and I can quickly whip up a history of one if I have to. I'm also working with the Elder Scrolls model that there's not necessarily one canonical answer about anything, so having completely consistent notes about everything isn't a huge issue for my world development. Everything can have multiple names or stories.

Last edited by Sebecloki; Aug 14th, 2022 at 04:33 PM.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Battlechaser View Post
Thank you for the information. So it is possible to make a healer-apothecary character who went to the Alchemy-university and uses his concoctions to restore balance in the hot/cold duality. And from his belief in the Kingfisher and to restore the balance in power between the gods, he/she is the major poisoncrafter of the new assassin’s guild.

A posting frequency of once per day is impossible for me to uphold (job, family with 5 kids, other rpg-games,…). Once a week is more achievable.
For post rate, we'll have to see what the other players want. 1/week isn't undoable with a very specific kind of group, but I could also see it being too far of a gap where the game falls apart. I think we'd also have to have a virtual 'session 0' discussion about expectations -- in that format, I think you'd have to be able to assume a lot more about the actions of others and give players more world control/semi-DM agency to keep things moving.

I think in that format things would have to be changed to be a little more like a FATE game -- players can establish narrative elements themselves, and we work on a 'yes, and' model for narrative development. I'd probably have to do things like just post enemy stats so people can roll all the dice themselves for their turns, and resolve attacks and reactions without back and forth posts. That's all theoretically doable as long as its clear to everyone how it's going to work, and everyone's clear about it and on board with it.

Last edited by Sebecloki; Aug 14th, 2022 at 04:37 PM.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sebecloki View Post
I hadn't made this clear -- but I'm also expecting/open to, the players making a lot of their own material and additions -- I don't really organize my setting material like a campaign guide. You'll give me a concept like this and I'll help you develop it based on my own material so it's in line with my vision. My own notes are more notes in word docs of concepts that can be expanded on, or miscellaneous details that aren't in any particular order. Mostly, I'm working with 'seeds' of concepts that can be expanded or delineated further. Like, I don't have a list of what noble house owns each of the 'topless towers' -- I know that there are hundreds of them, approximately what kinds of things are in each, and I can quickly whip up a history of one if I have to. I'm also working with the Elder Scrolls model that there's not necessarily one canonical answer about anything, so having completely consistent notes about everything isn't a huge issue for my world development. Everything can have multiple names or stories.
So if we follow the example of my character, I could expand on his university, his apothecary and the neighborhood he works in and flesh out the guild and some of the belief-tenets they are following?

Edit: and the cures and poisons he is using?
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 04:55 PM
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So if we follow the example of my character, I could expand on his university, his apothecary and the neighborhood he works in and flesh out the guild and some of the belief-tenets they are following?

Edit: and the cures and poisons he is using?
yup -absolutely -- I may expand upon or lightly edit some stuff. You can also ask me more questions if you need clarification on things as you're brainstorming.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 05:09 PM
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yup -absolutely -- I may expand upon or lightly edit some stuff. You can also ask me more questions if you need clarification on things as you're brainstorming.
This is so cool. Consider me hooked.
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