Alpha Polis campaign (in potentia)

Discussion in 'BOARDANIAN ROLEPLAY GROUP' started by Garner, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Anyone interested? Roman's definately up for it. i'll discuss more on what kind of focus on rules we might have after i know if we've got enough for a group.

    for right now, it can be something mostly freeform, so no worries about any previous role play experience. all that's required is an imagination, modest writing skills, and the ability to play well with others.
  2. OmKranti Yogi Wench

  3. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    Please include me.
  4. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    need a minimum of a fourth before i feel we've got enough for me to put together a game
  5. Ba Lord of the Pies

  6. OmKranti Yogi Wench

  7. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    okay, for those new to the concept... ask questions and we'll try to answer. for those used to the concept, here's the basic structure of the campaign so you can think about potential classes or just character concepts. expect some uncommon races to be common, and some common racial choices to be non-existant, by the way. too many people play humans these days... it's just trite and cliche.


    steam punk-ish setting. no magic, as such, but instead there'll be Psionics. functions just about the same way, but a slightly different aesthetic. there will be gods, and a limited amount of divine magic.

    there will be noble knights, there will be daring rogues, there will be powerful psions. there will be cultists and barbarians and rangers. there will be inventors and spies and schemers.

    there will also be exploration, discovery, conspiracy, and danger!

    if you've got any inkling of a character you might like to play, go ahead and lemme know, and i'll try to make sure it's a viable option when i finalize some rule choices.
  8. Sounds interesting. I'll play.
  9. Watchman New Member

    Ooh, looks enticing :) Was beheaded on the pirate RP so fingers crossed for a happier ending here :D
  10. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    this'll be D&D style, so apt to be a bit different from the pirate game kinda thing.

    incidentally, an update on the list of class options: i'm planning to include Incarnum at this point.
  11. Garner Great God and Founding Father


    Top 10 Races most likely to be included in the Alpha Polis Campaign! I'll list the name and a brief description of the race, along with a mention of what supplimental book they can be found in for those who've got D&D libraries of their own

    Humans - Humans are the most common race, since they built the original Alpha Polis and made it what it is today. They're quick to master new things, and able to specialize in almost anything imaginable. Versitile, well rounded... You really shouldn't need to ask too much about what they're like ;)

    There are a number of 'near human' species as well!

    Illumians (originally appeared in Races of Destiny, altered to fit the campaign) - Illumians were once humans, but their ancestors completed a powerful psionic ritual that forever changed them and their descendants. Supposedly they've unlocked the 'true alphabet of the mind' and are slowly learning the language it comprises. They look mostly human, but are constantly surrounded by glowing sigils and characters that appear in the air and spell out words in this 'mental alphabet'... neat!

    Azurin (originally appeared in Magic of Incarnum, probably not going to be altered from that) - Azurin are humans that have been fused with Incarnum energy. Incarnum is, essentially, 'soulstuff'. limitless energy from everything that's living now, ever lived in the past, and possibly even everything that ever WILL live in the future! Most folks can learn to tap into this stuff, but Azurin already have that ability born into them. Their eyes glow blue as a result.

    Elans (originally appeared in Expanded Psionics Handbook, i think. unaltered from that) - Elans were once human. then they got changed through a secret ritual that no one but the elder Elans knows. they're functionally immortal, but their ultimate goals are unknown (even to most newly created Elans!) and their very existance is not entirely certain. For all intents and purposes, they might as well be human to a casual observer. They've got some inherent psionic energy in much the same way that Azurin have inherent incarnum energy.

    There's another 'near human' race that isn't human at all, or really even close to it...

    Synads (originally appeared in Complete Psionic, may be adjusted ever so slightly. not sure yet) - Synads look like humans in bright light, but in darker conditions, you could almost swear you can see other faces around their face... sort of ghostly not-quite-there faces. Synads have three minds, all psionic, and this gives them some funky powers. Synads are quite rare, and possibly herald the fulfillment of some apocryphal prophecy or something... all that's certain (and this aint certain at all, since no one really knows if the elans are real) is that they seem to hate Elans with a vengance.

    Now, onto the clearly not human races.

    Raptorians (originally appeared in Races of the Wild) - Raptorians are unique in that they can fly without needing to waste time building experimental and crash-prone powered flight craft, or praying for a favorable wind in a lighter than air machine. Raptorians have their own wings. they can't really use them to do more than glide or hop until they've really matured and grown, but they can still execute some nifty stunts with them while they're young. just picture something that looks like Elrond or Legolas with a feathery jetpack leaping off a cliff and pelting you with arrows while they glide away to where you can't reach them! neat! most of these guys live in the South Wood, but some of em have moved into Alpha Polis. They tend to live in the upper floors of the taller buildings.

    Goliath (originally appeared in Races of Stone) - Goliaths are big. really big. and tough. they're also more or less living stone. think discworld trolls, but more like olympic atheles than lumps of rock. they're also not particularly dumb, as a rule. Goliaths have a fairly primative society, they live as hunter gatheres in the Mountains of Sleep and the badlands beyond. Because of their terrific size and strength, they often find work in the rural districts to the north of Alpha Polis, and of course within the city itself.

    (name to be determined) based on the Rilkan and Skarn (both appeared in Magic of Incarnum, this one will have some heavy editing) - This will be a reptilian race of creatures that have a natural affinity for Incarnum. their homelands are a pair of large islands off the coast of the main continent, but they're not part of the Great Ring of small islands that surrounds it. they're a fairly cosmopolitian race, despite not having their home in Alpha Polis. they can be a bit aloof, but they're exceptionally hardy and fearsome foes when their anger is roused.

    Thri-Keen (no idea where they *originally* appeared, so we'll go with the Expanded Psionics Handbook for now. they'll be quite seriously modified though.) - Thri-Keen are insect peples from the Mirelands. They stand a great deal shorter than most other races, and have four arms. they're a bit alien in most outlooks, but they do have a sizable colony within the hive that is Alpha Polis. They're natural hunters and survivors, but many of them are also naturally psionic.

    Warforged (originally appeared in Races of Eberron, name will likely change) - warforged are quite rare in this day and age. occasionally some farmer digging in his field will uncover what looks like an old gauntlet or something, and it'll turn out to be the hand of an inactive warforged. the engineers at Alpha House have tried their best to duplicate the construction of Warforged, but to no avail. the best they've managed are cheap automation copies. Warforged are living machines. when activated and running propperly, they last nearly forever. they're big, heavy, and clunky, but they're also patient and hard working. warforged tend to congregate in ever shifting groups that eventually break up and scatter about the place, forming new groups when they meet other wandering warforged.

    Lastly (i know, i know, i said ten races... shut up), i'm planning on something that i haven't named yet.

    they're a (in so far as anything a fantasy setting is ever original) original race. smaller than even thri-keen, with big ears and lots of black hair all over. i'll have more of a write up on them once i've got a name and some more details ironed out.
  12. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Character classes:

    from the player's handbook, we'll be retaining the Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin (modified), Ranger (modified), and Rogue.

    We'll also add the Psion, Wilder, and possibly the Psychic Warrior from the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and the Divine Mind from Complete Psionic.

    We'll include the Scout from Complete Adventurer. I expect to include the Knight from the Player's Handbook II.

    the Artificer from the Eberron Campaign Setting may or may not be included, but if so it will be heavily modified. There will be some equivalent for this role if the Artificer class is not used.

    lastly, there is a possibility of the Noble class (from Dragonlance and/or Star Wars, NOT the NPC class) being revised for the setting.

    Oh, silly me... we'll also be including the Incarnate and Soulborn from Magic of Incarnum.
  13. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    couple of points...

    i'm moderately inclined to say we could do this one as a freeform role play now; no rules or game systems, just character role play. maybe a smidgen of rules for fights and such? dunno yet. lemme know if anyone has any strong feelings either way.

    also, an old friend of mine from back stateside shall be joining in the campaign, most likely, so that brings us up to a roster of:

    Something Clever
    Andy - who hasn't registered here yet.

    anyone else interested?

    edit: sorry, Watchman, forgot to include you in that list! I'm assuming you're still interested, that is
  14. Watchman New Member

    Certainly still interested, though increasingly befuddled. Sadly I've never found the time or opportunity to get into D&D, though I used to be very active on a Warhammer Fantasy RP site. Not much use rules-wise but by the sound of it that shouldn't be too much of an issue, if I can plead ignorance and have somebody help me with any fights!
  15. KaptenKaries New Member

    Is it too late to join, and if I were to join, what's expected of me? I've never played Dungeons & Dragons so I don't know how that works. I've played some Swedish roleplaying games though.
  16. KaptenKaries New Member

    Here's a suggestion for my character. Feel free to change any details to fit with your world, Garner.

    Wilhelm Silverhake

    Background: Coming from a noble family, Wilhelm was disgracefully thrown out of the Royal Academy of Malmhem, a northern city-state, when he was 24 years old. His fascination with things that go boom had introduced him to the shady dealers of the Old Town, who had provided him with bang-powder. After a routine search of the dormitories Wilhelm's bang-powder was found and he was dispelled for possession of illegal substances. Wilhelm was forced to leave his home lands both by his father's rage and by his growing depts to the city's organised crime. He has since then travelled the world as an adventurer, and have to this day not returned to Malmhem or spoken with his family.

    Appearance: The clothes Wilhelm wears were once lavish and impressive, but are now black from soot, stained with burn marks and patched with sewn-on pockets and belts containing various engineering tools and reagents. His head is bald and his face is hairless, save his singed eyelashes. The marks and wrinkles on his face suggests that he is around 50 years old.

    Skills: Wilhelm is a skilled engineer with the ability to fix most things broken, and with a genuine interest in mechanics. Wilhelm knows basic blacksmithing but prefers to drill cogs and sprockets rather than smith horse shoes or cast iron knives. He also knows some chemistry, but this knowledge is limited to how to make things as flammable and explosive as possible.

    Behaviour: Having led half of his life on the road, Wilhelm has lost almost all traces of his noble ancestry, and certainly his sense of etiquette. At first appearance, Wilhelm seems to care more about skillful inventions than the people around him, but those who spend more time with him will find he has a big heart.

    Weapons (if needed): Wilhelm travels with a heavily modified six barreled flintlock musket. He rides a gray fat mule "What? Yeah! Searched for years til I found the deaf lil devil! Bangs don't scare him y'see!" that has a nasty kick but "Bastard's only ever helped me out once, and daemons knows I could've used that devillish kick more often! See this golden tooth here? That's him alright. Bloody tooth hurt for weeks til he kicked me in the mouth!"
  17. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    if we go freeform, then the rules and stuff won't matter much at all. it'd be minimal focus on rules, maximum focus on collaborative story telling. i'll have grace explain it a bit better when she gets home.

    definately not too late to sign up, as i'm no where near ready to get started.
  18. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    cap'n, there'd need to be a few major changes, if only cause this is a world with one massively huge city. no northern city states, just Alpha Polis. if you wanna be an engineer, though, that'd be groovy.

    i'll talk to you more about it when i'm closer to knowing what kinda game we're gonna play ;)
  19. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Right, here's my current thinking of hwat the game play could be like...

    similar to what we're doing in ba's campaign, but with a heavy dose of collaborative story telling which grace will explain for us in a moment.

    we'll use D&D d20 character generation to a limited and minimal extent. we'll have stats, maybe skills, and that's about it. this is only to keep characters on a level footing, and when one character wants to shoot another, we can roll a d20 to see if it hits.

    based on what grace is going to describe for us in a moment, i may decide not evn to go that far! i do reserve the right to be the DM and introduce story elements as and when necessary, but i'd hope that the 'teasers' i've posted have given folks a decent idea of what kinda setting we're looking for, and they can invent what they like as well. maybe.
  20. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    no earthly idea why this topic got locked. should be fixed now.
  21. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    I'm going to answer a few questions from Watchman over here, now that the topic is unlocked.

    Magic - is it commonly used? Does it go by another name?

    magic, as such, doesn't exist. some people, mostly the churches, have access to 'psionics', telepathic powers of various sorts. basicly, magic but more new agey. telepathy, psychokinesis, etc. truely powerful psychics can achieve amazing results. Hiegal was killed by psionic power, for example.

    for those who've never played games with psionics in, think basicly of stuff jedis can do.

    Weapons - read in one teaser they were using guns(Repeaters and Dragoons), yet there are 'knights' so I was wondering would the common run of equipment be pistols or swords.

    this was going to get addressed in a future 'teaser', but i'll spell it out now: there are firearms, but they're generally illegal within Alpha Polis proper. most firearms are handguns, as they're easy to conceal. rifling is not yet used for firearms, at least not on anything a civilian would be able to get ahold of.

    armor is pretty outmoded, but the various Knights do use it. swords and especially knives are common possessions. someone who's walking around town with a large rifle slung over their back is going to get stopped and asked for permits. someone with a sword would just be given a bit of respectful distance on the street. someone with a giant double headed war axe would be assumed to be a barbarian from the islands, and people would try to sell you beads and things, while others would avoid making eye contact.

    someone who goes around town in heavy plate armor and doesn't have the livery of one of the Knight orders would be very much akin to someone going around in military body armor in your neighborhood.

    What is Incarnum? Saw it mentioned in a few of the character descriptions but the word meant nothing to me.

    Incarnum was a new 'magic' system introduced for the latest edition of D&D. as i'm now looking at going for more of a free form game using mostly original content, i think we can skip that.

    still, to explain it properly, in case anyone is interested, Incarnum is 'soul stuff', the essence of souls of creatures living, dead, or merely 'en potentia'. those who are skilled in manipulating it can summon incarnum into various items such as weapons or armor that will give them bonuses on things. say on monday, you decide that you'll summon magic gauntlets that let you punch through rock. on tuesday, you think you'd be better off with magic boots that let you run away from guard dogs. on wednesday, you do better off with funky nunchucks.

    that's the rough gist, anyway. as its not open game content, i'll only be using it if someone really wants to and/or if we take a heavy focus on the rules.

    technology level - Ornithopters, guns and engineers. Could you name an equivalent period of real world history I should be considering it roughly parallel to? 1890's? Or should I be leaving such heretical thoughts at the door and just see what crops up and what can be gotten away with in the cause of narrative effect Smile

    there is, unfortunately, no direct equivalent. we'll see clockwork automatons and mechanics, powered flight, derigibles, firearms... all alongside medieval armor and suchnot. i don't picture steam power being in place yet.

    Oh and one last question, what sort of starting level are the new characters going to be at, slightly better than peasants or more developed?

    if we stick with a focus on D&D rules, we'll be starting at level 2 or 3. this puts you well above the average peasant, but still pretty green around the edges. the Master Empath could easily read your thoughts and flatten you like a pancake. the average Knight Sargent would be able to cut you down in a fair duel, and shrug off a sneak attack if you tried to fight dirty.

    peasants and townspeople would probably stay out of your way for the most part, if you were looking for trouble, but a decent gang of street rangers would provide a surmountable challenge.

    anyway, the more 'freeform' we go with this, the less that'll really matter in rules terms and the more it'll be up to you to decide what your character is really like.

    i'm gonna try and get another week's worth of teasers up before i'm really ready to get started on planning the campaign, by the way, but please ask any and all questions, as that way i can cover a lot more without having to dress it up all pretty as a story.
  22. Watchman New Member

    Most excellant, thanks for the expansive explanations :)
  23. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    okay, i'm really unhappy with how the last two teasers turned out, and i won't have much time to work on redoing them, so here's a few tidbits of info for teh setting that i was going to have explained in the narrative by now, but haven't gotten around to!

    Firearms - common firearms on the streets of Alpha Polis (remember, they're all illegal, but of those that can be found, these are teh common ones) include the single shot Dragoon and a wide variety of revolvers known as Repeaters. most repeaters are 'pepperbox' weapons, they have several barrels and the barrels rotate to the firing position. they have the inherent risk of detonating every barrel at once. this has been refined in recent models, and can even be triggered deliberately. the other, more modern variety of repeater is close to what we'd think of as a revolver. there is a chamber loaded with shot and the chamber revolves to bring each shot up to the barrel one at a time. a front guard piece covers the extra chambers of the revolver so that they can't detonate by accident. the dragoon is a lethal weapon, most commonly used on the street with a load of shot or scrap metal or even needles. they tend to spread a massive amount of distruction in a wide area, but aren't any good at picking a single target. very much a terror weapon. think sawed off shotguns.

    duals amongst firearms enthusiasts would, in a sense of perversity, often take place with dragoons loaded with single heavy shots. they're still wildly inaccurate, so both parties stand a decent chance of living to tell the tale, even at ten paces.

    the only large firearms that can be found on the streets of alpha polis are Wolfmuzzles, larger scale versions of the dragoon, usually with two barrels. they're not so much terror weapons as hunting weapons, common amongst the forest patrols. but, a few get smuggled into the city and command a high price on the street.

    there are rumors of repeating rifles having been developed, again basicly just a repeater pistol, but with a rifle's barrel and stock. no one's seen these on the street yet, but some gunsmiths are willing to talk of hearing rumors or seeing prototype designs.

    warforged since we're moving away from a basis in the D&D campaign settings, we'll find a new name for these chaps later. basicly, as was already mentioned, people have occasionally found inanimate metal men that, with a bit of work, can be restored to animate functionality. they appear sentient and can display free will, but most of them are bonded as property to the people who rebuild them. there's a bit of a grim slave trade in refurbishing the old wrecks and selling them on to new masters. within Alpha Polis, an android must be paid a wage and must be allowed to buy itself free at a price equal to its value when first activated. there's a Governance body that tries to regulate this stuff, but the sad truth is that many owners manage to prevent it from ever happening by charging repair and maintainance against the android's 'account'. there are some that are free, though. but these are a rarity.

    yes, it's a bit like golems in discworld. but just a bit. shut up.

    knights knights are the law enforcement of Alpha Polis. there are three varieties of knightly order. the most common variety are the least prestidgeious. Knights of [district name] are found all over alpha polis. each large neighborhood or district of the massive city has its own local branch of the civic knights. equivalent to police preceints. Knights of [flower name] are the more prestidgious variety of public knight. these orders have jurisdiction over the entire city, though they don't have as much strong coverage on the local level as the district knights would. Knights of the Rose, Knights of hte Lilly, etc. each order typically has its own focus on law enforcement. lastly, there are Knights of [lord's name], these are the private regiments of the last of the city's hereditary nobility. these are small but usually elite bodies of well equiped soldiers. they have the narrowest jurisdiction, and don't even have absolute authority within their grounds, but they're usually the worst buggers to cross.

    religion as i'd hoped to convey in earlier teasers, the churches of alpha polis are interconnected and byzantine in their heirarchies. ultimately, religion is monothiestic, as such. the concept of 'god' is redirected inwards. there's a great 'divine mind', an all powerful super consciousness that is comprised of a bit of the psyche of every faithful worshiper. the stronger you are in the various telepathic/psionic fields, the more your mind contributes to the divine mind. the priests of the various churches try to gather followers to increase their sharehold, if you will, of the divine mind.

    various sects are almost always named with a color, again almost always a shade of blue or violet, and a descriptive adjective or physical name. the Midnight Temple, for example, or the Cyan Shrine of Lucidity.
  24. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    oh, and noms...

    Noms - pronounced with a short O, rhyming with 'bomb'. Noms, regardless of what tribe they're from, are little more than half the height of a human. They tend to have wavy or curly hair, but only on the tops of their heads. some males can grow sideburns, but that's the closest they get to a beard. all noms have a particularly thick patch of hair over their pubic region, and this is insultingly known as a Nom's Beard.

    noms come from a variety of tribes, some of which are almost feral, but most of which are rather cosmopolitan these days.

    playing a nom will allow you to pick something ethnic and exotic, even if your character grew up in alpha polis, because even city-raised noms from the more 'exotic' tribes have a very strong indoctrination of their tribal culture.

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