4 Jul 2012
A good story starts at a specific place and ends at an equally specific place. There might be other stories about these characters, and those of you who know my ongoing love affair with Allan Quatermain have no doubt about my approval of that if it’s done well, but each story begins and ends on its own.
6 Jun 2012
I literally had no idea how easy it was to hold my own against a sighted opponent while blindfolded. I’d never done it before, it wasn’t a part of my training. But not only could I readily block almost everything that came at me, I could also consistently strike for my desired targets.
But let me repeat an important part of that: I hadn’t done this before. It was not a thing I’d trained to do.
30 May 2012
I love the start of a new campaign. I love new characters who don’t quite know who they are yet and a new setting where everything is fresh and full of promise. I love seeing how people choose to play characters who are more and less like previous characters and how those characters interact.
What I hate? Is how campaigns start.
7 May 2012
In case you didn’t know, I am best known through my work with the game Dungeons & Dragons, either as an editor for Dragon back when it was still a paper magazine or as a contributing author of numerous D&D books. I’ve written elsewhere about my general falling out with high fantasy, but even a cursory look at the Ingressa reveals my D&D roots and attachments.
Whether directly addressing or rebuking my various pet peeves with the game’s assumptions, it is clear that parts of this shared universe were created to encourage or shut out the game. Since January, I’ve been running a little series of articles that, frankly, encourage the game’s use in the Ingressa.
The last time I visited this world, I drilled down to present a high-level overview and outline of a campaign on Dar Hamaak. Now that I’ve outlined the four fantasy worlds I created for the Ingressa, along with the recent announcement of the open playtest for D&D Next (for which I am quite excited!), I’m going to revisit Dar Hamaak this week to provide a little more information about setting an RPG campaign there.
20 Apr 2012
Ah, the itoks. They’re one of my favorite species running around the Ingressa. It’s true I’m probably biased on the subject since they were originally my creation, but I’ve loved watching what other people have done with them, especially in the context of the Wàiguó Liánméng. I’m proud of them, but mostly because the other authors working at Royal Archivist think they’re shiny enough to take out of our toy chest and play with them every now and again.
The concept of the itoks sprang from a desire to create aliens with biology that was, well… alien. The eventual result–a species that breeds using corpses, can hide among humans, and sporadically absorbs both memories and skills from its “host”–is a wonderfully upsetting concept, potentially right at home in a horror film. And yet, this species is perfectly capable of perpetuating itself without harming living humans, meaning that if the two species open lines of communication and break down their cultural barriers, a symbiotic relationship is possible.
Crafting a peace between itoks and humans could be the center of many stories and adventures, and their appearances in RA’s products so far have supported this type of arc.
Oh, but what lovely monsters they make.
27 Feb 2012
This is the third of a semi-regular series taking a fairly detailed look at a world (or just part of one) created specifically to support fantasy stories. All of the worlds explored in this series are appropriate for use with fantasy roleplaying games, which was always my intention. The first of these, the world of the Obsidian Queen, provided a dark-fantasy setting, where humans band together despite their petty differences to fight off an external threat that dominates their world. The second, which focused in on one small part of Dar Hamaak, presented a more generic epic-fantasy take.
Four sapient species compete for dominance on Ucaylar, none of which ally themselves with one another. Of these four, the native chulth continue to reign supreme over most of the world. The chulth dominate the planet’s damp lowland forests, bogs, fens, and wetlands. Dwarves–as much legend as people–delve deeply into the world’s tall mountains. Kdarr hunting bands hunt across Ucaylar’s steppes and grasslands. Humans survive where they can, often living in the less desirable parts of the world where the other three species do not covet.
Here is a brief overview of the primitive and savage world of Ucaylar in five sections.
1 Feb 2012
Morgan, son of Athrwys, was called “the Wealthy” or “the Benefactor.” Well, except that it’s a bit more like being called by just one word that means both those things. I suppose most benefactors are wealthy, at least compared to the recipients of their largesse, but I always find it interesting when the words so obviously overlap.
Bran the Stingy is apparently not the same guy as Bran the Blessed, which is good because I don’t really want to think overmuch about connections between a drinking horn and a talking severed head. The images just aren’t pretty.
Instead, Bran the Stingy is more generous than the three most generous men in Britain, or so Taliesin said. I’m not aware of any particular commentary, but one can assume that there was once a joke along these lines involved in his byname: He’s so stingy that when asked for a horse, he only gives twelve.
But maybe not.
I’m a sucker for a good magic item. Heck, I’m a sucker for bad magic items, when we get down to it. Magic items can be the best part of a roleplaying game, or the worst. And as you’ve undoubtedly figured out by now, I’m also a sucker for a good mythic history, where one is likely to find a variety of interesting magic items.
And so, this week I’m starting an ongoing series about the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain. For the time being, I’m going to ignore the bit where Myrddin may have run off with all of them, and just play with the items themselves, but I promise I’ll get back around to Myrddin, his twin sister, and the Glass House.
I’m not starting with my favorite, the white sword, because then I’ll try to get out of writing the rest. So instead, let’s start with Gwyddno Garanhir’s Picnic Basket.
Get your name in lights! (Well, the credits page, anyway.) Help make the universe a better place! (Or at least the Ingressaverse a more interesting one!) We’re pretty dedicated to the idea of making the Ingressa an interactive place, but maybe that seems a mite bit intimidating. Not everyone is a professional writer or game designer, right? Well, there are many ways to contribute to the expansion and ongoing health of the Ingressa—some easier than others. Want some examples? How about five…