Monday, 23 February 2009

Where We're Going

The big decision when deciding what game to run is to ask 'where (on which world in this case) will it be set?'

This is a huge decision affecting everything that comes after it - the big power plays and conflicts, the dominating cultural dynamic (in Fading Suns, noble Houses are also nations in the sense of having their own culture), the look, feel and even slang words.

In this case, I plumped for Rampart. Part of my reasoning is that I'm a mild asiaphile - I like games with an asian slant, such as the table-top RPGs Legend of the Five Rings and Qin: The Warring States, and think that an oriental mashup would make good scenery, as well as adding social controls thta help enhance the games' exoticism.

My other reasoning is that Rampart was once a Merchant League world that was taken by the Li-Halan during the Emperor Wars (at the bottom of the page). This instantly sets up a conflict that people can understand, that of the (broadly) freedom-loving Guildsmen who see themselves as oppressed by the Feudalist (and highly religious) Li-Halan nobles. This is a massive dynamic that a good storyteller can use, taking the imposition of Li-Halan values, the gradual move from democracy to religious feudalism and the demographic shift (with the Li-Halan bringing in serfs their own freemen to lend weight to their power) to create many dramatic conflicts.

There is also a mystery in the world's setting. Somehow the relatively low-tech noble fleet bypassed the Guild's deep space sensors and planetary defence grid, catching the technologically superior forces by surprise. There is a lot of space to put all kinds of speculation here, from demonic pacts (once the houses' speciality although it has since reformed) to traitors on Rampart.

And, of course, there is the question of the future. Will the house rein in the world's technophilia, or will they compromise themselves and use that technology to take more power for example? What will the Guilds themselves do about the occupation?

Here is more information on House Li-Halan

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