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  #16  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 06:27 PM
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Awesome, looking forward to it. The list has been updated.

From yesterday to now it seems like many people checked out the ad and the campaign folder/threads, so we may be finally breaking the seal here. As I said above there are already some people that might join a little further down the line, but that's when all the juicy clan design may have already progressed quite a bit. That's going to shape the actual story a lot, so it's worth getting in early!

Last edited by Phettberg; Aug 18th, 2021 at 06:28 PM.
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Old Aug 18th, 2021, 07:10 PM
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I am also interested but I don't feel like I have much feedback to give on the clan building.

Here's my character concept though:

CharacterPlace in the clan: I am interested in playing a mononoke sorcerer. The way I see that playing out is as a sort of advisor to the ruling family with a spiritual/religious witch-doctory kind of bent. Could play out either as an outsider hired for their knowledge to serve the family, or a relative with a unique spiritual experience.

How the character influences Power: This character would have the respect of the leaders of the clan due to their knowledge of magic and spirits as well as their intuition. Basically, I'm imagining like a tarot reader (for illustration, not literally) who is good at guessing what people want to hear and their motivations and uses that info to feed them advice or manipulate things in their best interest.

Personal Goals: I would want to hang tight on this until I had a better idea what the clan goals are, but I think in general I imagine this character to have a strong curiosity about the natural/spirit world so they would want to travel and see new things. I also think they would be interested in mysteries of all sorts.
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Old Aug 18th, 2021, 08:13 PM
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Sounds good morgantha! You're on the list too now.

So about the clan building - that's something you can of course opt-out of, but it will occupy us for a few days from the 23rd onwards. Though I think even if you don't have concrete wishes for the clan right now, as we discuss specific options you can still serve as a tiebreaker (and you might get more into it then anyway). In that sense, I don't think you'll get altogether bored, and if we really put our heads together it should not take much more than the week.

Just about playing a Mononoke in what may be a Human Clan: That's not really an issue. The character will be capable and could have been hired because of that. But as you said, they can also be a relative, having married into the clan. As a human there aren't generally many "worries" (read: prejudices) there, as the offspring will always be human. Either option could give us a tie-in with a Mononoke Protectorate, which is something that we should totally keep in mind when placing the clan.

I think a magical advisor is an exciting idea. I haven't written up any guides around the sorcery in this game yet (because I was waiting to see if anybody was interested), but there will be time to talk about this in detail. It bears repeating what I said a few times previously though: There are few spells, the more powerful of which can only be used x times per thread, or x times a lifetime for the most potent varieties. There are only four arts (schools) - benediction, divination, malediction and warding. It sounds like divination is a definite for your character, though you may want a second for variety. Having up to two arts available for a starting character should no problem, though I wouldn't generally recommend opting for more than that.

Basically, when you say witch-doctor I'd say you nail the feeling of the mechanics and scope quite well. Low-key and giving you that edge on top of your mundane skills, but nothing extremely flashy. In fact, all spellcasting is tied to a mundane skill depending on the art anyway - for example, divination is tied to awareness, maybe unsurprisingly, while malediction is tied to will. Now that's the day to day spells in your repertoire, but that's not to say that having a sorcerer in the group won't open more doors in terms of story that aren't on the sheet.

Let's just say sorcery can't be relied on as the instant easy way out, but that's just as well for us - your character will shine through the things you mentioned, a lot of knowledge, a strong intuition and maybe a manipulative tongue. The magic can then supplement this to set you apart from the mundane advisor.

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  #19  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 12:36 AM
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Thatís very cool Morgantha! I like the concept a lot.

Canít wait to see what Dark Star is going to come up with.

Iím really looking forward to the clan building section and putting some touches on the setting and everything. Should be pretty cool.
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  #20  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 03:40 AM
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Regional InformationRace: My clan will be a vast majority of Yōkai with small spillover of Mononoke, that is slowly growing due to being their region and kind of a stopping point before the capital. Their forms are that of amphibian creatures, frogs are the main kind that live there and are the ruling species of my clan, but there are also turtles, geckos and snake like beings. Frogs and geckos consist of the majority of the population, as the turtles and snakes are rarer. The Mononoke also take on lizard like/amphibian like traits, with scaly, shiny, pale, wet skin, long tongues, protruding large sharp teeth, etc.

My character is a Frog species and the first born son of the lord that runs this clan, he has seven other brothers and sisters below him, and if he completes the trials that are placed before him, he will attain the right to become heir to lead the clan. If he fails, it will most likely end in his death, and his brother or sister will become next in line to take on the trials.

Location: The clan is located in the Yukiyoko Mononoke Protectorate, living very close to the capital of Fuza on the western side, with access to the other regions, known as the land of rain and fog, their home is deep in the thick forest, protected by that very fog, as well as constant rain and swamp areas. It seems isolated to those that don't know the lay of the land, but for his kind and those that have lived in this region forever, they are easily able to navigate it and travel to and from their home.

Goals: First and foremost, their goal is to gain an eligible heir to leadership, now that they are close to having one, their focus is to ensure that he is trained well enough to pass.

The clans first long term goal is to become a major clan, they are close at this point in time, they just need to decide if it is wise to gain favour from the capital to become one, or take over one of the seven that exist now, this may include marrying into a Mononoke clan that could get them into a better position to do so. If that is successful then their bigger plans would begin to go into motion, from there, they would gain enough allies and support from the other major clans to take over the capital. If that becomes a reality, then their ultimate plan would go into motion to overthrow and rule, or, at least, control the emperor.


Character InformationPlace in the Clan: He is the first born son of his family's clan and is expected to take on the trials soon, these trials would decide if he is fit to be leader one day, for the moment, he is being trained in politics, early on learning to think like a politician and how to read people if they are being honest or not. Because of the location that he is in, some martial training has been taught to him, mostly to use a crossbow to take down targets before they can get to him, but also with using daggers in order protect himself, if someone were to get too close.

He is willing to do what is needed to do in order to achieve the goals that his family has set, that includes marrying someone that has been chosen for him, in order to secure an alliance, or merging of clans.

How your character will be influencing power: My character will be influencing power by using the skills that his clan is well known for, which is mainly through gaining knowledge through their web of spies. Using the information given to them to their advantage, and using his martial skills in the case that a duel is initiated. Those that are closest to him, are not only his guards, but his advisors as well and will often ask favours of them when a challenge is too great or out of his skillset to complete alone, with promises of future gains if they are to succeed.

Personal goals: Right now, his focus is to be prepared for the trials that are coming towards him, in order for him to become the rightful heir, he must complete these things (which we can discuss if I am accepted) or he will die trying, in which the next up-kin will become eligible to take on the trials.

If he succeeds, he will get to work in becoming a proper leader, he may not take the seat as soon as he does, but, he will do whatever he can to ensure that he is prepared when the time comes.


Edits were made to make the location more appealing for the group to decide.
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Last edited by The Dark Star; Aug 19th, 2021 at 04:51 PM.
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  #21  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 05:07 AM
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Great! let me have a look at this.

Clan: The first thing that I noticed here is the phrasing of "my clan". I just want to make clear here again that all characters will serve and must be loyal to a single clan, they don't each have their own one. That also means the group needs to reach a consensus on all of these options. You want to go for Yōkai, which could be fun. As I said many a time, it does not particularly lock other people into what race they play even if it determines the circumstance and style of the family a lot.

Placing them in a Mononoke Protectorate is good too, though it feels like they could eventually become Mononoke too, as the Clan would marry and intermix to become more like the locals. As I said the protectorates were drawn up according to population trends, so the Yōkai in the far east commonly have the traits that define what a Mononoke is. The distinction is not overly important though, so don't worry about it. All Mononoke are Yōkai, not all Yōkai are Mononoke.

The Yukiyoko Protectorate is exciting in general, though I would at least consider going for a placement at the western edge of it, just so there is more opportunity to interact with another protectorate. Otherwise, you set yourself up for a game that is by its conception only focused on happenings within one protectorate, and it might take a while before that scope changes if it ever does. There is Kyōkkaku of course, but the connection there is altogether more difficult when it has to happen by boat, in addition to them being more introverted in the first place.

So anyway, we don't have to find the consensus on the race and the placement immediately (right now everybody is just stating their first preference), but after Sunday we'll start to discuss it more in-depth. While morgantha may provide that vote to get it to two to one in either direction, it's a very important decision, so that's one where I'd like to talk it through as much as possible so that nobody is entirely unhappy with what we land on.

The plans for the clan are entirely reasonable btw and would make for a good early game I think.

EDIT: I see now that you also included suggested Clan stats - as I say in the ad these are rolled for already, so the resources included in the first post is what you will have available. Though they can be spent for various things, which we'll get to in good time.

Character: I'm very much in favour of you playing the heir so that somebody is born into the centre of power. What we will have to finaggle with is trying to square that away with this character being a ninja/Shinobi at the same time, and how that would fit into the group.

There is a general and a specific concern when going for this. Firstly, ninja generally work alone or with other Ninja as they do what they do. In a group, this commonly means splitting up, as only those with top skills in stealth could attempt true ninja operations since by definition they are always extremely dangerous with no room for failure. Not succeeding would lead to death or execution, or at the very least to major disgrace for the entire clan (which is also the reason for the splitting up - you have to leave these things to the professionals).

That is different from being "just" a spy. If one disguises themselves to go listening in to drunk retainers at an inn for intel, or goes snooping around a hall when already properly invited inside (at a wedding or other reception, for example) - those are somewhat dishonourable things, but not the kind for which one is executed, in addition to the fact that if one got caught doing them one could probably come up with a reasonable excuse. Ninja do the dirtier work, generally murder.

It is a conversation I had prepared myself for anyhow - Ninja is a thankless job that comes with a lot of baggage in the way of mortal danger and restrictions.

That leads on to the second point. As the cultural aspect is lifted from real-world japan, we know that employing ninja is disgraceful and dishonourable. Therefore it's unsurprising that it's considered beneath a samurai to do it, and the Clan as a whole would be samurai. Even with this protectorate being far away, the lands are handed down to warrior clans like this in the expectation that they are honourable, and if they aren't there is nothing stopping their liege or the emperor himself to take away their ("leased") holdings. There are no openly ninja families - individual groups would have hideouts tucked away someplace, which they may have to change frequently. So an heir could only be a ninja in secret and against the wishes of their family.

It's not to say that there aren't clans that use ninja heavily, but they would never admit it, and they always cover their tracks. A ninja is a disposable asset like that.

Let's look at a scenario: If somebody believes that the thwarted assassin sent to kill Magistrate Y was sent by Clan X, it might damage their reputation a bit if it was credible, but without evidence, nothing else would happen. The ninja himself would have usually been an unknown person, a mercenary contracted through indirect means, so evidence leading back to the employer would likely not be forthcoming either - that's part of their job. Now if that thwarted assassin were the heir of Clan X, the situation would be altogether different. Identifying them would be easy enough, as heirs are declared and presented to the world, so would be known around the land. So it would be a major disaster that would likely spell the ruin of the entire line and a major scandal that most of Heike would hear about. The ninja wouldn't have to deal with the mess, having been executed summarily or at the least imprisoned under constant guard.

Basically - while the idea of a public figure being a covert assassin is an exciting one, the character might not prove very long-lived, and it could send the whole clan on a very troubled course. That being a ninja usually means splitting from the group to do their thing is neither here nor there (depends on whether it bothers you having to solo things really), but for the sake of the other players, I would recommend to either be "just" an Heir (maybe with a spy bend, but definitively not ninja), or a low-born Shinobi.

Last edited by Phettberg; Aug 19th, 2021 at 05:58 AM.
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  #22  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 02:32 PM
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I’m definitely happy to be a tie breaker, and I’ll jump in with any thoughts when I have them, I just found myself not having many strong opinions yet.

I love the idea of my character having married in as part of a political alliance with one of the mononoke protectorates. I’ll probably take divination and warding as my two types of sorcery.

Can’t wait to get started!
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  #23  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 04:30 PM
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I have read through what you said and must have been that I was reading it pretty late, but for some reason I was thinking that we were making our own clans and our characters would meet kind of deal, so with the information above, I had made some changes.

I like the idea that we are becoming more mixed with Mononoke, and that in the future, my character may need to make a decision to wed with a clan that is mainly Mononoke in order to become a major clan. Also, yes, having an entire clan of ninjas seems a bit out there, so we will go that they are a clan of samurai like you suggested, but have ways of espionage in that army in order to aid in their quest for domination.

I also changed my own character, no longer the spy, assassin from before, I will be making him more political based, the face of the group, with training with bow and arrow, as well as smaller, agility based weapons to fight if need be. If he does fight physically, it would be duel based.

He is loyal to the clan and will do what is necessary to achieve their goals, he trusts those closest to him with his life, which will become the group, and often lean on them when he needs to.
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Last edited by The Dark Star; Aug 19th, 2021 at 04:52 PM.
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  #24  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 05:18 PM
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Not a problem at all, there is a lot of information to read through.

As I said, I like your conceptions of a clan, and we will start to talk about it some more from Sunday on. We will have to find one version that appeals to everybody, so the final version could easily involve some sort of compromise. I will always try to take as many ideas from everybody in at the same time. At the top of my head, maybe we can square away both your and Lightning Lad's idea by making it a Yōkai Clan in a Human protectorate, for example. Keep an open mind for now in any case.

I think the changes to the character are sensible, and they will also mean that everybody more or less has their own "lane" to shine in. I reckon LL's will the more Brawn than anybody, morgantha is highly knowledge-focused, you will be best at leadership and stewarding. That's just a broad generalisation, I am aware that you will also dip into some combat skills and be knowledge oriented too. There is always going to be some overlap.

Speaking of overlap - I saw that you will also tap into sorcery. We'll talk about sorcery in depth when we get to character generation, but as there is a very narrow scope of effects I would very much recommend not taking any arts twice. Morgantha is currently interested in divination and warding, which would leave benediction and malediction - so broadly cursing or blessing things/people/places. That's again a thing we don't have to settle immediately though, as many things will change between now and when we firmly settle the character sheets.

To all Lurkers:
Please declare interest by Saturday, as I would like to start bringing things over to the game thread on Sunday.
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Old Aug 19th, 2021, 11:49 PM
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I had just seen that when I finished that post, we don't need more than one, especially with Morgantha is going with, I will take that back and be more martially adept.
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Old Aug 19th, 2021, 11:58 PM
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Excited to get started! Certainly open to compromise on the clan situation. Should be pretty cool.
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Old Aug 20th, 2021, 01:59 PM
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Hello! I'd like to express interest, though admittedly, this has been a lot to take in, and I am unfamiliar with the system.

ClanRace: I'd actually prefer a mix of Yokai and Human if that is possible. I mean.. I'm sure it is, right?

Location: The swampy island in the southwest of Tsu territory.

"Listen, lad: I built this clan up from nothing! When I started here, all of this was swamp! All the lords said it was daft to build a shiro on the swamp. But I built it all the same, just to show 'em!"

You want a nice defensible location? This is very ideal! Mostly because most other people don't want it. The island is so small, our clan might have free reign of the entire island and could have fortifications in key locations! ...assuming they don't sink into the mud or something.

Well, I'm not joking and would actually like to be on that island. I like islands. And I like hot weather, and jungles. I even like mud too. ...but I don't like mosquitos. Yeah, I don't think anyone does. All of this prime real estate is probably worth getting bit dozens of time a day though.

Goals: I'd say our clan would like to be taken more seriously by the others in the Tsu Yokai Protectorate. We can gather prestige and power. I don't exactly agree with the whole idea of "ruling over all other clans", but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. And let's not underestimate our position. There are many trade opportunities and political opportunities. We could become a bastion of trade and commerce and, should the location of our clan be on that island, it may even be possible to enforce blockades and embargos via the sea route between Tsu and Akiba.


Had two character concepts in mind:

The geisha/courtierPlace in Clan: Someone high up that has the clan leader's ear. Well-educated in knowledge, and the arts of song, instrument, and conversation. She could be a favored daughter, perhaps even in line for succession, but such an event is highly unlikely.

Influence: Simply having the clan leader's ear could be enough. A geisha is well-respected as an entertainer and artist, and a conversationalist. One could easily influence another who sits and listens this way. A courtier could do the same, but more with sage advice. And as for being related.. sometimes tugging on the heartstrings with emotional arguments does the trick too.

Goals: To continue living comfortably (or as comfortably as possible). To bring honor to the clan. To accomplish those goals with minimal effort (just sitting there and looking pretty). But when push comes to shove, selfishness and indulgence is set aside, and the good of the clan, and her family, comes first.


The waifPlace in Clan: Just an orphaned child, serving as a squire.

Influence: Pretty much none.

Goals: To survive another day, but one day, become a great hero.

Last edited by DrowNinjaPrincess; Aug 20th, 2021 at 02:01 PM.
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Old Aug 20th, 2021, 05:07 PM
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Welcome! I've put you down on the list.

First of all - I agree that there has been a lot to read, which is why it might not be surprising that it took a bit to get interest in. So thanks for making the effort, I'll try to reward you with a good game! I guess the size of the geography thread is misleading, however, as in truth only ~20% of it will be relevant when we actually start to play. It's not likely to matter who the ruling family of protectorate x at the other end of the world is when we get into it.

And we'll take it slow getting into the system, don't you worry. The bottom line is that it has fewer moving parts than D&D, so it is hopefully not going to be a chore.

Let me also jot down some thoughts about your suggestions.

Clan: A Clan of mixed species is perfectly fine actually, and in fact, many families would probably have some people that married in from another race among them. However, since Human Ancestry is generally dominant you could theoretically end up with no more Yokai being born after a generation or two, which could be a worry for some Clans. Therefore families might have rules about succession and marriages that take this into account to make sure that the successors remain Yokai. No doubt there are many Clans that seem just like Humans, but have a huge amount of Yokai/Mononoke/Oni blood in their line.

The positioning would certainly be interesting, though we'd have to think about whether it would be that in a good way.

In a mechanical sense, only having wetlands can be difficult, locking you out of certain holdings that simply can't prosper there. However, there are many types of industry - instead of fields, you can just rely on fishery - so that's not necessarily an issue. There are wetlands in many other places too though.

On this island in particular I just wonder if you wouldn't place the Clan into too much obscurity. It's at the periphery of all of Heike to begin with, and in more or less inhospitable terrain to boot, so that would be challenging for creating stories with a far-reaching effect. At present all trade goes past this little island without landing, as it produces little and has no settlements above 500 people (those are the ones showing up on the map). We can finaggle with this, as you can decide to introduce a settlement, but it would still always be fairly isolated - therefore it would take effort on all of our parts to make relevant. I don't disagree that it could be defensible, but there would have to be a very good reason why anybody would want to take it.

I suppose that would be the aim of the game having picked this island - make the location matter - but it's a question of whether that's what we want. In that sense, the location coupled with an introverted outlook may not make for exciting stories as such, or at least it would take a lot of effort from everybody involved to not just be sitting around the swamp. It'd be an island all for yourself either way, as it is really not particularly large, so interacting with anybody else would require a boat ride every single time. I had similar worries about being in the south of Yukiyoko - being locked into only interacting with only a small variety of other families, but it's even more pronounced here.

So just food for thought, we can discuss it in detail from Sunday onwards. I've recorded your wishes as they are of course.

Character: I think both ideas are very good actually. An entertainer has overlap with some of the other characters, but it really something else in and of itself, and an orphan has a lot of development potential - more so if we make it extra dramatic (presumed lowborn, but really not - or something along those lines). Both has a lot of merit that I would even think about combining the two: for example a lowborn courtesan in the favour of the present lord for mysterious reasons, raised as an orphan but maybe really an illegitimate child of the main line. There could be a lot of drama that way.

Last edited by Phettberg; Aug 20th, 2021 at 05:08 PM.
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  #29  
Old Aug 20th, 2021, 06:57 PM
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Fascinating!

About the races of the clan: so when human is "dominant", does this work sort of like eye or hair genes, with dominant and recessive genes? It could be interesting if there are pairs of genes from each parent. Like human/human, human/yokai, yokai/human, yokai/yokai. Out of these 4 combinations, only the last would produce someone who is actually yokai, however, the last always will transfer those genes, and the middle two have a chance to. If it worked this way, there could be families comprised of mostly humans, but every now and then a yokai is still born among them, because the hidden genes happened to match up and both were yokai.

And I really do like the idea of rising from obscurity, being the butt end of jokes from other clans, and yet somehow rising to prominence. Imagine like in the flavor text I provided, we had some eccentric clan leader or something. Always wondering why no one wants to come over for a visit when invited...

To me, few neighbors isn't a bad thing. That could let us start off slow. Hopefully, all the neighbors we interact with aren't jerks. However, I think that thankfully the southern clans are.. perhaps at least sometimes a compassionate lot? The idea of watching over small rural communities, traveling by boat everywhere sounds kind of romantic.

I wonder, are wetlands ideal for growing rice? Sugar cane? You could probably go crazy with silk too, as I'm sure the moths would be breeding constantly.

And I'm glad you like the character concepts. I guess I can decide on Sunday.

Last edited by DrowNinjaPrincess; Aug 20th, 2021 at 07:19 PM.
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Old Aug 21st, 2021, 02:32 PM
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Yes, it is genetics adjacent, though since we are dealing with fantastical species it's not reliable like clockwork. And in-setting the thought process would more often than not be magical rather than scientific. As such, when an oni/yokai/mononoke is born to two humans it might rather be taken as a portent of some variety, though it does not always have to be an ill omen.

Well yes, rising from obscurity is a great theme - but then you have to have a path or plan for it. If nobody likes to visit and the nearest port is 50 miles away in any case, not counting the journey through swamp to the coast, how would it be done? It affects not only your "projecting power" in all meanings of the word - political, diplomatic, economical - but also slows down communication with even your closest neighbours, let alone the wider world. I'm just trying to point out that picking this particular location would likely set yourself up in a very difficult place for what you want out of the game. It might sound more fun than it would actually be.

Anyhow - the island is 100% wetland, so almost permanently flooded, which is no surprise given it's only up to 29 feet above water - it's even lower in the north and the east. Rice farming (often) takes place in wetlands, but in very controlled ones. Here, you don't really have a means to stop anything from overflooding, as you are almost literally sitting in the ocean. In fact, they may actually be saltwater swamps. In mechanical terms, the game won't let you have most agricultural holdings on such a domain, including food, herbs or textile (which silk would fall under). You could fish, keep animals appropriate to the biome or trade in furs. Timber is not technically out of the question either if it is more a bayou/mangrove forest than a saltmarsh.

So well - wetlands are not ideal for many things really, at least not as far as the game is concerned. It's the cheapest type of terrain for a reason.

One could argue about this a lot, as not ideal does not automatically mean impossible, but it's important to keep in mind that what you can or can't buy as a holding on a terrain represents what you can do in significant quantities. Surely there may be the odd hectare or so where one could grow a bit of rice even here, but nothing making a significant impact.

I think I may open up discussion on it all today, as we won't be rushing through it all anyway. So we can see what the others think. We'll have four players, so it's not likely that anyone will get everything exactly how they wanted it. We'll just try to make everybody as happy as possible.

Last edited by Phettberg; Aug 21st, 2021 at 02:34 PM.
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