Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

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Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 19 Nov 2012, 19:54

http://torian.djgamer.net

Here's a copy of the first article I've put together for the wiki I'm constructing:

Torian's Creation

Before the world began, there were only the raw elements, moving about in a chaotic state and occasionally crossing paths. During one of these elemental crossings, the First Gods were suddenly brought into existence. It is unknown which exact combination of elements created them, but the result was beings of great intelligence with the power to manipulate the elements by binding their wills to them. After a time the First Gods decided to use this power to create the world, which they named Torian, and eventually all life and things which reside on it.

There was one First God, whom named himself Chaos, who was against the idea, believing that the elements were meant to exist in their natural chaotic state. He was of course overruled but given the position of ensuring that the elements are never entirely harmonious-unlike the others of his kind he was not bound to any elements directly. Over time he watched Torian, growing more and more to despise its very existence. It was only a matter of time before he would snap and attempt to take matters into his own hands.


Creation of Life

The first sentiment creatures to be created on Torian are believed to be the Elementi (similar to the Genasi of D&D's Forgotten Realms setting), the product of early experiments involving raw natural elements. Soon after came the Fey, magical beings and creatures more closely connected with ethereal elements. Some of the Fey eventually evolved into the various Elven races whom over time migrated northwest to the isle of Elerel. Men, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and so on were among the First Gods' last sentient creations and are the product of much more diverse and dynamic weaves of elements than those who came before.


The Age of Chaos

Chaos soon grew tired of the compromise he'd been forced to make and began murdering other First Gods, which eventually escalated into an all-out war amongst the First Gods. Although Chaos hand only a handful of allies he was still incredibly powerful and with a number of the First Gods dead and others fighting in the war the elemental weave of Torian was starting to slowly unravel, resulting in a growing state of chaos in the world.

The counter this, the First Gods created the dragons-some to help stabilize the elements, others to take part in the war and some to simply help maintain some general order in the land. Unfortunately Chaos and his followers managed to create their own legion of dragons as well and as a result there was much confusion amongst the people of Torian as to the dragons' true nature and alignment.

The war ended when in a final battle the Supreme Goddess Sereni plunged Chaos hard into the earth, forming a crater in the middle of the ocean which she subsequently surrounded with a powerful force field to prevent his escape. A massive whirlpool formed around this crater, as if trying to fall into the sink hole but unable to. This whirlpool continues to spin even in the present day and most vessels traveling those seas make careful note to avoid it.

During the time of the Age of Chaos, many great heroes emerged and some were chosen to replace the deceased First Gods. The friends of these heroes went on to serve as priests or avatars to these new Gods, helping build new churches and to aid in the overall recovery process.


The Age of Dragon-Hunters

Meanwhile, the practice of dragon-hunting began to emerge. Unfortunately, the evil dragons were what people most remembered and the general assumption became that they all were evil. Of course, even the good dragons fought back in self-defense and most did not possess the patience to explain themselves, if they were even given an opportunity to do such to begin with. Eventually the dragons became an endangered species, but just before they could be driven entirely to extinction a great and renowned hunter encountered an especially wise and powerful white dragon, one whom claimed to have been created by Sereni herself. He explained to this hunter the origins of dragons and of their true nature. The hunter was no fool, his mind as sharp as any weapon he possessed and he was also taken aback by the fact that the dragon was making an effort to speak with him (some dragons were known to speak, but most had only used harsh words). He could tell the dragon's words were sincere, and was in a position thanks to his great fame to tell the people of his encounter and ensure that dragons from this point forward would no longer be actively hunted. Instead, dragon hunters would only pursue those dragons reported to have attacked settlements and farms or engaged in other clearly evil deeds.

By then, unfortunately the damage had already been done. Nearly all good dragons had become reclusive and distrustful of mortal creatures. On the flip side, most evil dragons would refrain from any substantial attacks, instead acting more in secret-some posing as Gods and gathering small cults of mortal followers to do their bidding. Their population has managed to increase only somewhat over time, and encounters with them are fairly rare.


The Present Time

The world is changing, and some followers of Sereni are beginning to feel that her power is somehow waning. Meanwhile, there are rumors of some kind of floating fortress appearing near the Chaos Crater and some have event spotted airships from the Torian Empire coming and going from it. Some are also coming to believe that Chaos is not only making plans to escape his prison but also has devised a means in which he will be able to destroy Torian itself once and for all.

--------------------------

I'm of course looking for some feedback on the ideas I've developed so far. Note that there are numerous other ideas I've come up with, some of which are touched upon briefly here. Feel free to also ask questions about anything mentioned in the article.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 28 Nov 2012, 19:07

Here's an article I'm sure you've been waiting for. Putting it here before posting it to the Wiki.

The Mad Gods

Sheoth

Sheoth is the name of both the First God of Madness and a number of his successors. By binding himself to the Element of Madness, he allowed himself to gradually be consumed by its influence. Over the course of only just over two centuries his condition became progressively worse until he ultimately lapsed into a catatonic state. At this point, the other First Gods became understandably concerned, and immediately sought out a replacement. Without a God to keep the Element in line, Madness gradually becomes more and more unstable in the world-causing more and more mortals to fall under its influence.

The first replacement was another First God since there were a few spares who had not found an Element to bind themselves to. The First Gods hoped that the original Sheoth was simply weak-willed, but ultimately the same thing began to happen. This time Sheoth and the First Gods turned to the mortal world for a replacement, partly in hope that a mortal-turned-God might have a better chance, but mostly because they’re much easier to replace. Fortunately the then-current Sheoth was still in a state where he could help with the selection process, and from that point forward a sort of cycle was established.

Every few centuries, well enough before the current Sheoth’s condition would pass a point-of-no-return, he would select a suitable mortal to ascend to Godhood and take his place, allowing him to retire before his mental condition degrades further. This process repeated for well-over a millennia until a particular man, an elf named Junrin , was selected as the next to replace Sheoth. There’s always a period where the mortal individual is allowed to live in the mortal world as his essence is transitioning into the divine. During this time, Junrin became married and had twin children, a boy named Darin and a girl named Marinda. It was only a few years after they were born (hardly any time at all for an elf) that he was called upon to ascend properly into his place as the new Sheoth. His wife, knowing this day would come, had accepted it and was willing and prepared to raise the children on her own.

Mani and Dementus, the Twin Gods

Marinda, the daughter grew up to be a Bard and general patron of the arts. She possessed a rather cheery disposition and a penchant for mischief and general silliness. Darin became a rogue of a sort, and was in many ways a polar opposite to his sister, being more dark and brooding. He was also mischievous in his own way, but that way tended to involve people being hurt in the process.

Junrin/Sheoth, meanwhile, watched his children with great interest until an idea suddenly dawned upon him. The weight of all Madness was too great for any person, regardless of divine or mortal origin, to bear on their own. However, if that weight were to be divided, in equal measure, between two individuals then, like a bed of nails, it wouldn't cause significant damage. He presented this idea to the First Gods and they agreed, both with it and the consideration that his son and daughter would be uniquely suited to the roles, each having already inherited some of his divine essence. When approached by their father, after a bit of convincing, they agreed to jointly take up the Mantle of Madness. Ever since that time they have remained in their positions, breaking the cycle of replacements.

Marinda became Mani, the Chaotic Good Goddess of all things manic. Her sphere encompasses most of the more positive aspects of insanity. Creativity, eccentricity, genius and unrestrained hedonism all fall within her domain. In her view, everyone is already somewhat insane, and simply need to embrace that aspect of themselves in order to live a more fulfilling life. She encourages people to free themselves from the shackles of what is deemed socially acceptable and be truer to their feelings. Many of her followers engage in wild parties and extensive drug use, usually holding such celebrations well outside of populated areas and often near shrines dedicated to her. There are few churches dedicated to her, and only one located within an major settlement. This particular church doubles as an insane asylum and is located within a special closed-off district. Only certain individuals are allowed to come and go from this district freely, and others are only allowed to leave under close supervision.

Mani herself appears to people as a wild jester, wearing a short dress with pink, cyan and red colors and occasionally an elaborately decorated mask. She is also known to frequently be carrying her favorite instrument, a trumpet. She likes to speak to people in cryptic poetry, meant in some ways to mock some of the other Gods who seem to like to speak in riddles, but also to confuse those who hear it. Her symbol consists of her mask and jester’s hat.

Darin became Dementus, the Chaotic Evil God of all things demented. His sphere encompasses most of the darker aspects of insanity. Paranoia, depression and frenzied rage are just a few of the things which fall within his domain. As opposed to his sister’s view, he believes that his brand of madness needs to be spread across all corners of the world and his followers of course aide in this goal. He takes pleasure in messing with people’s minds in various ways, at times getting creative with it making people who are not obviously crazy or people with a split personality of some kind. His garb is a more masculine jester’s outfit with dark purple colors, he also wears a cool-gray mask in the shape of a skull, with red-glowing eyes behind it. His symbol, much like Mani’s, features his mask and jester’s hat.

While the twins aren't in agreement over a great number of things, when it comes to the impending war against Chaos they are mostly as one. While they are both clearly chaotic in nature and though Dementus is evil their sphere is tied closely with the mortal world, which would be destroyed if Chaos succeeded in his plan.

The Church of Sheoth

The Church of Sheoth is partly a remnant from the time when he was the sole God of Madness, however it continues to exist to this day, albeit in a slightly different form. While the majority of the members of the church acknowledge that Sheoth himself is retired, they all hold the belief that all aspects of Madness should be embraced equally. In essence, it is a church of both Mani and Dementus, though their overall doctrine is somewhere between the two.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 22 Dec 2012, 19:49

Finally incorporated the info on the Mad Gods into the Wiki along with info on Sereni. Will probably expand upon it further in the near future.

One thing I'm having a little difficulty with is explaining the overall concept of the "Meta-Game".

Basically, there's a God named Domminiq (sometimes Dom Miniq or Gom Miniq), and if you can see where I'm going with this given the alternate names-well in case you can't he represents the Dungeon/Game Master. but also in a broader sense he represents me as the creator of the setting.

A player can pick up a special ability called "Metagaming", which allows them access to information that the player might know but the character does not. They can also access details on enemy stats, as if they were looking in the monster manual (though for the sake of efficiency they would be given to the player directly).

The catch of it all is that when they pray to Domminiq, they "go out-of-character", and metagamers have learned how to retain some of the information they learn from that time-BUT in addition to the information itself, they also learn bits an pieces about "the game", and consequently begin to go gradually insane trying to wrap their heads around the concept. Some may become obsessed with the idea while others might suffer existential despair. Either way, they'll find it increasingly difficult to convey whatever information they learn.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 23 Jan 2013, 02:00

Sorry the website's down right now. I've run into a bit of a hurdle and I'm procrastinating finding a solution because it'll probably mean going to their forums-and well that sort of thing I tend to put off doing.

In the meantime, I'll just share some other ideas here.

Something I came up with just today is that as a Vampire you absorb the essence of whatever you feed on-simple enough concept, however in many ways more literal than the common interpretation. Basically, Werewolves actually originated as a group of Vampires attempting to avoid feeding off humans by instead feeding on the nearby wildlife, which contained an abundance of wolves-and as such they became their primary source of blood.

However, because vampires absorb part of the essence of what they feed on ("you are what you drink"), they ultimately evolved into what are now considered werewolves. At this point, the effects became permanent and also took an interesting turn-in order to maintain any vestige of being human they must not only feed on their blood, but their flesh as well-partly as a result of the carnivorous nature of wolves.

On a related note, Vampires who feed more frequently appear more human and also have more human urges due to the circulation of hormones and such. As in Skyrim, they don't burn in sunlight and become more powerful the less they feed. The reason for this is because they are somewhat Lich-like, with their blood serving as a sort of phylactery containing a portion of their soul. The more they feed the less concentrated this portion of their soul is.

Additionally at a certain point vampires will become so blood-starved that they go feral. Hence the most powerful vampires must learn the best way to balance their hunger.

Turning back to were-creatures, vampires in Torian are not naturally connected to bats-though there are "werebats" and many of them actually retain their vampiric nature and still consider themselves vampires.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby The Khan » 28 Jan 2013, 13:59

I love it! :P Good job, it's well thought out and have covered very interesting parts of the lore. It seems like an awesome world. Some more info about the races and factions and history of those such groups would be cool though.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 28 Jan 2013, 19:54

I don't have any particular factions in mind at the moment. Maybe a few ideas for vampire clans.

I think I might have posted some info on some of the races on the Wiki but since that's down for the moment I might post some of it here.

One of the more interesting races is the Kurofey, or Dark Elves. They're a bit like the Drow in the sense that they mostly live in isolation but rather than being underground they're in the middle of an island surrounded mostly by sheer cliffs.

They also live by a philosophy of "pure neutrality" based upon the true nature of Sereni as the Goddess of Balance (to the rest of the world, she presents herself as Lawful Good to counterbalance Chaos' Chaotic Evil in the minds of the people). For every evil thing they do they must do something or things of equally good nature-likewise for every good thing they do they must do either one evil thing of equal value or several that add up to it.

This is not to say that there is no variation in the moral values of the Kurofey-some for instance may be more inclined to do good or evil for it's own sake and the opposite only for the sake of balance. Some may prefer to do evil deeds only when they gain a clear benefit for it.

The isolated nature of their society allows this way of thinking to flourish more-or-less because the Way of Balance is the norm. However, if any Kurofey wishes to travel into the outside world they are offered instruction on how to best conduct themselves.

Due to their nature the Kurofey have earned quite a negative reputation with the outside world which, as with most prejudices, may not be fully warranted. A Dark Elf may not be the most trustworthy companion, since you never know if they're doing a good dead to make up for something really evil they did prior-or worse something evil they're planning on doing. Of course, the Dark Elves that are most remembered are the ones who do really evil stuff without enough discretion. A popular tale speaks of one whom rescued a large number of workers in a collapsing mine and subsequently burned down a small orphanage. Due to their poor reputation, most Dark Elves are forced to disguise themselves in some fashion to avoid unwanted attention.

There are a fair number of their kind who restrict themselves to minor evils-and technically crimes such as theft can count towards their "evil quota" as well.

Kurofey can also sense their place in the "Great Weave" and are able to determine their "karmic balance" intuitively through this ability. The majority of them who are out in the world are actually more inclined towards good and only do evil when it benefits them in some way or if their balance is far out of alignment.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby TerrifyingDaedricFoe » 28 Jan 2013, 21:08

That balance of good and evil is quite interesting. It sounds like it would make quite a good mechanic for a rpg.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 29 Jan 2013, 17:26

This is actually a nice opportunity to segway into my In-Depth Alignment system. This is copied from a text file I wiped up a ways back, but you can probably see that this is partly where the concept of the Kurofey originated.

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Alignment Key

0 - Pure Neutral
1 - Slightly
2 - Fairly/Less than Commonly
3 - Commonly
4 - Very
5 - Extremely

The Standard System: Based off of Dungeons & Dragons' alignment system, the Standard System mainly determines your character's day-to-day moral conduct. In other words-how would your character morally behave in most situations? For some players, it is enough to establish this much, but for others the In-Depth option may be helpful.

The In-Depth System: An extension of the aforementioned Standard System, it helps to determine how your character would behave when faced with a moral dilemma or, in other words, a difficult moral decision. In a nutshell, this system helps determine how much your character may be willing to budge from their standard alignment. For neutral characters, it determines how much they may be inclined towards a particular alignment.

The Neutral Spectrum: Most people aren't entirely neutral, even the description of neutral in regards to good and evil usually says something like "generally good". The In-Depth system, in this regard, actually strengthens the status of "pure neutral" since you can indicate whether or not you are inclined towards good or evil actions. The spectrum has two points toward either side-slightly and fairly. Slightly indicates that you are somewhat inclined towards a particular alignment but still almost as likely to go the other way when the situation calls for it. Fairly is, as you'd expect, a step above that but at this point you can actually declare yourself part of the alignment you're inclined to, in which case you can describe that alignment as "less than commonly". The difference between "fairly" and "less than commonly" is most a matter of how your character views themself OR how they wish to portray themselves to others.

Pure Neutrality: As mentioned earlier, the in-depth system helps to avoid characters who are pure neutral in one or both categories falling into the idea of being "generally good" or "generally lawful" by default. A pure neutral character may not care about which category their actions fall into, may be motivated by primarily by self-interest (but not to the point where they don't consider the benefits of good deeds), or may view such labels as artificial and/or arbitrary. Some pure neutrals may even be dedicated to neutrality in some religious or philosophical way, feeling the need to balance their deeds evenly between the two sides, to the point here an especially good deed will require an equally evil deed to balance it out. Such karma-driven pure neutrals might also simply consider an especially good deed to give them the liberty to commit several smaller evil deeds.

Non-Neutral Alignments: If you wish to not concern yourself too much with In-Depth alignment, you may choose to go with a "commonly" alignment, meaning your character is roughly as good/evil, lawful/chaotic as most people who consider themselves to have that alignment. You can also of course mix a common alignment in one category with a non-common or Neutral Spectrum alignment in the other. Beyond common there are two additional categories-"very" and "extremely". Very indicates that you are unlikely to compromise your moral beliefs but still might in situations where there may be little choice (such as life-or-death scenario). Extremely indicates that you are dedicated to your moral beliefs on a zealous level and would rather die than even think of so little as compromising them. Of course, a very or even commonly aligned character can still choose death over violating their beliefs, but an extremely aligned character won't consider any other option unless it happens to fit with their moral point-of-view.

For DM/GMs

Use for Character Alignment Conflicts: For the most part the In-Depth system is intended to be used between players to determine how willing their characters would be to budge in a moral conflict. In this spirit, it should encourage role-playing, allowing players to make compelling arguments to each other and consider how easily they would be convinced by such arguments. In very rare instances where it seems the argument is at an impasse or that it is simply taking too long, a DM may force one or more players to roll persuasion checks with success rates based upon In-Depth alignments.

Use for NPCs: Certain NPCs may be given an in-depth alignment to help determine requirements for persuasion checks based upon the sorts of things they're being asked to do. I.E. An NPC that is commonly lawful good may need some convincing to do something that might not strictly be legal or ethical.

------------------

Despite being based on the concept of the "Pure Neutral" character, the Dark Elves really fall into the overall neutral spectrum, as I touched upon in my previous post.

As far as it being a gameplay mechanic, I honestly consider it to be more of a roleplay mechanic-though a DM/GM may step in every now and then to remind the player of their karmic balance if for instance they've done a number of good deeds without doing anything evil.

They don't necessarily bring down the wrath of God if they fail to keep things balanced but most of them are so committed to it that they feel really bad if they suddenly realize that they've done too much good/evil and not enough of the opposite.

Also, I don't think I entirely brought up the idea that they're mostly "chaotic" in regards to law. The reason for this being that in their society justice is mostly handled by the individual(s) whom have been wronged. In a way, taking revenge can also fill your "evil quota" as well. Basically in a society operating under such principals a justice system really wouldn't work. As such, they view the concept of "law" to be somewhat arbitrary or even unnecessary. At the very least it is a hindrance to them when trying to follow their beliefs in the outside world.

To say the least, the law/chaos equation doesn't fit into their overall concept of "balance". As mentioned in my previous post, petty crimes such as theft can count as "evil" because they involve wronging someone. As such, a Dark Elf more inclined towards good may frequently resort to thievery though it is rarely enough just to steal one thing to make up for one particularly good action.

I should also mention that the religion was founded by Kinsei, the dragon of Sereni, shortly after the conclusion of the Age of Chaos-and she serves as the High Priestess of their church. She also happens to be the one dragon who managed to convince the dragon-hunters that not all dragons were evil and convinced them to only go after those whom make their evil nature clear. It was a bit of a hard sell, since it's pretty much asking them to wait until one attacks a village but by this point dragons had become something of an endangered species anyway.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby StoneFrog » 30 Jan 2013, 00:04

This is really cool, DJ. A while ago I started developing a setting for a pen and paper RPG ruleset of mine and there's just so many bases to cover that it can get daunting.

Have you played Planescape: Torment? The concept of pure neutrality makes me think of Dak'kon from that game. :P

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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 12 Feb 2013, 18:04

StoneFrog wrote:This is really cool, DJ. A while ago I started developing a setting for a pen and paper RPG ruleset of mine and there's just so many bases to cover that it can get daunting.

Have you played Planescape: Torment? The concept of pure neutrality makes me think of Dak'kon from that game. :P


I've played a very little bit of it-though I think I understand more about the Planescape setting from Spoony's Counter Monkey series than from the game (enough to know not to fool around with the Lady of Pain, at least).

Moving right along, there is a sort-of faction I've developed, though I've yet to really come up with an idea for what their overall goals should be (any suggestions are welcome).

The Kagefey (Shadow Elves) are a race who are naturally adept with the use of illusion magic to disguise their appearance. If running on the D&D system, I'd suggest using the Shapeshifter race from Ebberon as part of the basis for their rules, but the concept does require a tad bit more than a simple bluff check most of the time.

The concept of having it be illusions rather than actual shapeshifting both removes limitations and adds new ones. The exact limitations depend on which "pseudo-class" you fall into-the Kagefey have an organization known as the House of Shadows and two of these "classes" are officially part of it:

Infiltrator: Actually replaces individuals in key positions either to gather intel or manipulate a situation. This is achieved through careful study of the individual by the agent assigned to impersonate him/her over the course of several weeks. They learn that persons appearance and mannerisms as well as a considerable amount of info on their personal history. They then spend up to a whole other week focusing their mind on that information and firmly creating the illusion until they can sustain it for nearly an entire day without faltering. Once this is achieved, the original is either captured or killed and replaced with the infiltrator. The infiltrator must continuously focus on the illusion, though when dealing with people familiar with the individual's appearance they can relent somewhat and rely more on those persons' own mental images of the individual. Regardless, they usually need to "rest" for at least three hours or so each day before resuming the illusion.

Impersonator: This class often possesses something like a photographic memory and can disguise themselves as anyone who they've had a good look at. At the same time, like the infiltrators, they can also rely on "mental images" as well, though these can sometimes be less effective. Unlike infiltrators, their illusions can only be maintained for short periods and they are therefore more suited towards quick information-gathering. They often aide infiltrators in attaining the knowledge necessary to avoid scrutiny when asked certain questions.

Pretender: This third "class" is not officially part of the House of Shadows, though individuals in this category are on occasion hired to carry out certain tasks suited towards their particular talents. Pretenders rely less on specific illusions and more on invoking "mental images" based on general ideas. This can work in their favor in many situations but also against it just as easily.

A male pretender walks into a bar projecting the image of the "handsomest man alive" and takes a seat between two women. The first compliments him on his flowing blonde hair but the other becomes suspicious as he clearly appears to her to have short, black hair. As a pretender hones their skills, they may become capable of projecting more specific illusions-such as "handsome man with black hair" to help avoid such complications. They can also use mental images to impersonate particular individuals, sometimes without ever having seen them. As mentioned earlier, mental images are less effective in general but pretenders tend to be slightly more adept at invoking them.

To be more specific, a "mental image" is the memory someone has of a particular person's appearance. For instance, a pretender could project the illusion of "head guard" to get into an evidence locker. To some extent, it can work just as well if not better on people who haven't even seen what the Head Guard looks like. In essence, pretender is the ultimate con man.

Pretenders are looked down upon in general for being untrained and mostly consisting of rogues and other less desirable types. What they lack in ability however they make up for in versatility.

-----

As for things to note about the Kagefey as a whole, there are a couple things worth mentioning. Firstly, most of them are able to see through (or at least detect) each other's illusions and have a chance to see through illusions in general. Secondly, not every member of the race is part of the House of Shadows or even a pretender. Those who display particular aptitude with illusion magic are usually recruited into the HoS at a very young age as honing such abilities requires vigorous training. It is rumored that sometimes individuals are recruited against one or both of their parents' wishes and some have fled to avoid such things occurring.

One Kagefey of note is named Arixen Arcina, whose mother fled with him in just such a situation. She ultimately died, however leaving him to be raised by a group of fairies. When he became older, he was forced to flea his new home by an assassin sent by the House of Shadows, Celeidin (whom unbeknownst initially to either of them, happens to be his half-sister). He ended up taking residence in a city along with his fairy companion Miki (whom fancies herself to be a bard despite being completely tone deaf). There, he used his illusion abilities to become a rogue "pretender", playing both sides of the law.

His philosophy is that "a man you can bribe is a man you can't trust", anyone can give a man money, but not everyone can provide the services he can. As such, certain guards will owe him favors which he might eventually cash in on and they also are generally more aware of his actual abilities than any of the criminals Arixen occasionally involves himself with.

Celedin eventually catches up with him, however, forcing him to leave his new home. Presently he's taken to freelance adventuring and doesn't stay in one place very long.

-----

Originally I'd come up with the concept of this race as a fleshed-out version of the Dark Interlopers described in Twilight Princess' backstory as the ancestors of the Twili. The idea went far beyond what was described (for instance, they never explicitly stated that they were shapeshifters) but I have run into a bit of a hiccup with one detail-what are the House of Shadows after?

In my Hyrule Isle setting, they're pursuing the Triforce, like just about every other faction. In Torian, it seems like I'll need to develop some sort of McGuffin to explain the overall goal of their infiltration operations. One concept is that it may have something to do with an item that is capable of dealing "Mythic Damage", the only thing that can break through a God's initial defensive barrier. At first I thought they might be siding with Chaos, but it's hard to consider almost anyone siding with him given that his goal is the complete destruction of everything. It's not like he can reasonably offer "Side with me, and I'll spare you," since unless you're a complete idiot that would be incredibly hard to believe.

It also may be obvious to some that Arixen was originally designed as a character originating from my Hyrule Isle setting-hence the fairy companion. Originally he was going to have been raised by the Kokiri, but I couldn't come up with a way to translate that without it being an obvious copy so I just dropped the Kokiri altogether and had him raised by faries so I could keep Miki as a character.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 20 Feb 2013, 18:04

My vision for Torian as a campaign setting, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before-is to have it be this sort of universal thing that can be adapted to multiple tabletop RPG systems-D&D, GURPs, etc. There are also at least three "time periods" that can be used:

The Age of Chaos: Doesn't have to necessarily be set immediately during the time-could be slightly before or after if a DM/GM doesn't wish to deal with the meta-story implications, though it would have to be set after if they want dragons involved. It's very classic swords and sorcery little to no real technology.

The "Core" Setting/War Against Chaos: A period where some basic technological advancements are beginning to emerge (including prototype "guns" that fire magic, though they are difficult to come across and also difficult to learn how to properly use). Mostly steampunk elements with a few airships and some use of electricity, either drawn from lightning elemental fissures or steam engines. It's definitely not contemporary to the point where one should expect things from modern-day Earth to be everywhere-it's very early industrial revolution-type stuff but while retaining the fantasy tropes.

The meta-story here is Chaos' re-emergence as a powerful threat to the world and it should be much easier for DMs/GMs to deal with since its mostly happening in the background until near the very end of it. It wouldn't make much sense to set things up "slightly before", since this period has no definitive starting point, but a campaign set after the main events have concluded could potentially work.

Future/Post-Apocalyptic Setting: I would best describe this as a sort of Cyber-Steampunk crossed with Fallout and perhaps a little bit of the new Battlestar Galatica (though I've never really watched it, I know enough about the premise). Basically there are these androids who were created through a sort of necromantic process-drawing raw energy from the Soulweave and using an artificial brain as a reliquary. At first, they were only somewhat more intelligent than your average zombie but like all robots in these types of scenarios they evolved and eventually rebelled (a bit like the Geth from Mass Effect which I've heard are a bit like the BG Reboot Cylons).

There was a large-scale war that destroyed much of the world and many "humans" (as a broad term including Elves, etc.) were driven underground. It's not quite as bad as Fallout but I'd imagine there are places filled with "Elemental Radiation" and such. Eventually the humans and machines called a sort of truce and have begun to work together to rebuild though there are of course still tensions between them.

There's also a "fourth" side-setting called Limbo. The origin of it is that the Weave of Time operates in such a way that with certain events if things could go different ways it splits off, but they're all still connected in a way. This becomes a problem however, given Chaos' goals this becomes problematic. If there's even the remotest chance of him succeeding, it threatens to destroy everything. In other words, even if a group of heroes defeats Chaos in one universe, if they fail in another it results in the destruction of all other timelines.

Here's where it gets a bit complicated since the deity whom manages the Weave of Time is Domminiq, who is basically an avatar of myself and/or anyone DMing/GMing a game in the setting. Technically I invented this whole idea that Torian would be destroyed regardless so the "simple" solution would be to drop it entirely. Instead, I used it as a catalyst to create "Limbo", a universe based on the possibility of Chaos' victory, but where Domminiq steps in and changes the rules so that he merely destabilizes the universe rather than destroying it and the effects are also limited to that particular universe. In a way, it might be interesting to explore the implications of the idea that Domminiq technically created the whole mess to begin with.

Limbo is a realm where everything is a bit topsy-turvy and things can get incredibly surreal. There are areas that are more-or-less stable but even there the laws of physics might be radically different or vary from place to place. Some individuals who grew up in Limbo might actually find the physical laws of the "real world" to be strange and bizarre. Limbo can be an incredibly dangerous place to venture through and even more to venture to from a normal Torian universe-though it can obviously make for a very interesting and unique quest line.

I briefly touched on the concept of "Meta-gaming", which allows the player access to knowledge possessed by their "player" at a cost to their sanity. In Limbo, due to a the conflict between Domminiq and Chaos, the former has slightly altered the rules, making Metagamers into a class of holy warriors who've achieved a sort of enlightenment. They undergo a spiritual journey in which they sort of "become one with their player" and gain a complete realization of their nature and the nature of the game. A key aspect to the loss of sanity that normally occurs is that the meta-knowledge comes in bits and pieces. The journey doesn't always end in success, however and there's still a risk that the individual will driven to insanity.

Because the barrier between Limbo and our world is a bit thinner a Metagamer in that realm can attain information almost instantly. However, this also means that they'll have a bit more trouble if they end up traveling to a normal version of Torian. The whole Metagamer concept is interesting to play around with and I think that in a place like Limbo there's less of a risk of it being overpowered.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 18 Mar 2013, 18:47

RPG Maker VX Ace was recently on sale for $35 on Steam (50% off) so I got that and I'm now working out plans to make Torian into an actual game of some kind.

First thing I'm working on is setting up a new site, likely powered by phpBB/Board3 Portal-I'm more or less going to abandon the Wiki format though I will likely have a forum or series of forums set up in a similar fashion (with links connecting to various topics for easy navigation). It will also give me more control (or at least easier control) over which content can be seen by the public vs. people working on the game.

I would appreciate it if some of you could check out the "style" I've developed for the forthcoming website: portal.php?style=11

I'm considering whether I should also work on a "dark" variation similar to what we have here but first I'd want to know whether the default scheme bothers some people's eyes or not because developing an alternate color scheme can be a bit painstaking.

As for how I plan on developing the game, well RPG Maker VX Ace allows for legal owners of the software to develop commercial games with it-and it's been my intention to find some way to make the whole concept of Torian profitable to me in some way. However, the obvious problem is I don't quite possess the skills or resources to make the game the way I want to have it on my own. So there's a few ways I could go about this:

  • Save up money to be able to hire artists/writers/other talent up front.
  • Make something using default resources and/or whatever I can manage to put together on my own as a kind of demo to attract interest.
  • Use Kickstarter or IndieGoGo to crowd-source funds to develop the game. Ideally, I should still have something to show beyond just the basic concepts before taking this route, however.
  • Convince some people to help me develop the game with a promise to share the profits in some manner.

What I'd personally like to do is a bit of a combination of some of the above ideas. I'd seek out some talent to help create the "first chapter" of an episodic game which would subsequently be released free of charge and publicized as much as I can manage. Shortly after and if enough interest has been generated I might turn to Kickstarter (or a similar service) to generate funds for future episodes which would be more commercial in nature. I'd use the money to pay the current team and recruit additional talent as necessary. The paid episodes would obviously have more content and better quality.

Through I haven't yet formed a team I'm currently titling it Schismogenesis Studios. The story behind that is a word I saw written on a white board when in a classroom rehearsing for a play several years ago. It sounded like a cool word and I eventually looked up what it meant, basically "Creation of division". I'm not sure the term would apply to the studio literally but it wouldn't be the first name for something that was chosen just because it sounded cool. :scamp:
----------------

Edit: Just remembered this-the main image in my head I want to recreate is an elvish treetop village spread across giant bioluminescent birch cherry blossom willow trees. On top of that, elvish architecture in Torian has a bit of an Asian element to it.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 31 Mar 2013, 17:45

One concept that I'm radically rethinking given the fact that certain things might need to change given the possible commercial prospects I'm entertaining is the idea of the "Elementi".

Originally I was going to include the Genasi from Forgotten Realms as a race in Torian with an alternate origin-being early "prototypes" of the sentient humanoid races using combinations of elements. Everything in Torian is made of a combination of "natural" and "ethereal" elements, the Genasi would have been a slightly more primitive example wherein their design is based more closely on particular natural elements. When I started to split off from the idea of this being exclusively a D&D campaign setting I changed their name to "Elementi", but was still quite wary of the fact that besides their different origin story they're nearly identical to their Forgotten Realms counterparts in concept.

A spin-off idea was the concept of "Quasi-Genasi/Elementi", individuals who have been exposed to elemental fissures, cracks in reality where raw elemental energy seeps through. Some towns, cities and other settlements take advantage of these for various purposes, such as wells with an infinite source of water or a power source for that relatively primitive electrical devices that exist at the time of the "core setting". Special protective gear needs to be worn when approaching the fissures as exposure can be fatal, though if one manages to survive the encounter they'll come out looking a bit like a Genasi/Elementi.

The idea originally was that their skin would change to look Genasi-like and they'd get the racial bonus of stronger spells for that element. They'd usually keep their hair (thought people exposed to a fire elemental fissure might have it burned off) and all the physical characteristics associated with their race. To balance things out, they might loose one or two racial bonuses due to the change. They can also acquire a "secondary manifestation" by exposing themselves to another elemental fissure, though this can be dangerous-maybe not quite as dangerous as it was the first time they were exposed-but there's still a notable risk of death or serious injury.

Of course the problem of the similarity still exists, and what makes it somewhat difficult to just drop is that a key character in the story I have planned is meant to be a Quasi-Elementi. So the first thing I've done is dropped the idea of the Elementi themselves-I had a concept for them having a homeland with a bunch of elemental fissures everywhere and I might still keep the concept to some extent but perhaps instead featuring beings made of more pure elemental energy that are unplayable.

More recently, I've also decided to reduce the similarity in appearance. Instead, based on the particular element they may have a glowing scar or scars where a burst of energy from the fissure hit them. For example my character Mialee was stuck by a lightning elemental fissure when she was a child-which left her with a glowing scar in the shape of a lightning bolt (DAMMIT, now I'm going to be accused of ripping off Harry Potter instead!). Ideally though it would be designed and positioned in such a way (probably still on or around her face) that it wouldn't resemble that certain other work of fantasy fiction too closely.

The rules are also somewhat expanded from the Genasi origin: In addition to being able to cast stronger spells in the element they were exposed to/being stronger against them, they have a weakness to spells of an "opposing" element/are less capable of casting them. It's also likely that if they attempt to acquire the opposing element as an alternate manifestation (an idea I'm also keeping), there will be a greater threat of death involved.

In addition to the natural elements, the "Element Touched" (as I'm tentatively calling them) can sometimes receive alternate manifestations based on "ethereal" elements, which are generally based on emotional states or abstract concepts. It's very rare for anyone to actually absorb such an element into themselves but it can happen. The only particular one I have in mind is the element of Mania-which plays a role in part of Mialee's story. Basically, it makes any spell intended to confuse or otherwise do strange things to an enemy's mind more powerful when she's manifesting that element. However, initially she has little control over when this manifestation emerges and goes into a sort of "berserker" state when it does.

I'm hoping that at this point the concept has evolved to point where although the inspiration for it is clear, I've changed enough of it to where it's more than just a blatant rip-off.

The most recent changed I've made was in regards to their appearance. Though in the grand scheme it's sort of a little thing it's actually quite substantial since, like they say "appearances are important". Also, making it into a scar or scars allows for more creative character designs as opposed to a uniform change of skin tone and glowing "power lines". One idea I've imagined is that people who were exposed to a fire elemental fissure would have burns on them which glow as if there were still embers burning underneath their skin.

I've also considered the idea that depending on where the scar(s) is/are would determine where the magic can be sent from for the added effect. For instance, if their left hand is burned they can only throw more powerful fire balls from that hand. However, this might complicate the idea a bit too much (I.E. if the scar is on their face would that mean they can only shoot fireballs from their head?). Also given the fact that I'd like Torian to work under multiple RPG rule systems I doubt many of them account that much for which part of your body you're sending spells from. I'd also rather have players be able to have the scar be almost wherever they want it without having to concern themselves with how it will affect gameplay.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 01 May 2013, 18:32

I've been thinking up a new alignment system that would either be a replacement for or extension of the in-depth concept. Probably more of a replacement given the nature of the overall concept. Basically it's a "hierarchy of values" indicating which things you give priority to. I'm dividing it into various categories though they can obviously be mixed and matched.

Conduct

Law: Trying to follow the laws of the land, whatever they may be.
Chaos: Refusal the adhere to any particular code of conduct.
Good: Striving to do the right thing whenever you can.
Evil: Dedication to various forms of immorality.

Neutrality

Politics: Refusal to take sides on most issues and/or conflicts.
War: What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
Morality: Viewing good and evil actions as having equal or potentially equal value.

Loyalty

Allies: The people you're working/adventuring with.
Friends: People you've gotten to care about.
Family: People related to you, be it by blood, marriage, adoption or otherwise.
Country: The laws and customs or your land of origin, as well as it's ruler(s).
Race: Likely applies more to non-human races.
Religion: Dedication to ones' chosen deity and the moral beliefs associated with them.

Self-Interest

Wealth: Accumulation of money and other items of value.
Romance: Be it monogamous, less so, or much less so.
Knowledge: A desire to learn new things.
Power: Political, magical, physical or otherwise.

I'm not sure whether or not I'd establish any particular limitations to how the hierarchy would be used-beyond the obvious idea that it has to make some degree of sense. Possible limitations could include organization into tiers (three to five seems sensible) or even a limit to how many can be applied to a character. My preference I suppose would be to leave it open ended and also allow for players to also place two or more things as having relatively equal value. There would also at least be rules requiring certain things being included on the list-for instance law/chaos good/evil/moral neutrality.

The basic idea of the concept is to help establish how a character would behave in various situations (obviously)-for instance would their pursuit of knowledge override their concern for their allies or their sense of good and evil? Would you be willing dabble in the dark arts to lift a curse that has been placed on a friend?

Of course the values can be shifted around as the character evolves over the course of an adventure and/or campaign.

I'm also open to suggestions for new values or ways to refine this system I have in mind.

Edit: Another thing I've considered is that this could just be a set of guidelines/suggestions for character creation rather than necessarily being a rule set-though there would still be certain rules to it.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 15 May 2013, 00:59

http://torian.djgamer.net is back up and running with a new phpBB forum and theme. There aren't any major public forums open yet since I'm focused mostly on putting together the "Book of Fate", which will essentially be a wiki inside a message board. Wiki's are too data-intensive an honestly there isn't quite enough material to even warrant a full wiki to begin with. I'll probably be adding my custom bookmark BB Codes to help make it work better, though.

Feel free to sign up for the forums. I'm thinking of adding a forum for discussing Book of Fate content since that's all that's there atm.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 22 Jan 2014, 14:41

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The tentative logo for the game company I'd like to try and start up. The website is still up and I'm updating it semi-regularly. The main thing to note is that I seem to be completely incapable of blocking SPAMBots without the use of something like NuCaptcha so registration is sadly closed until I can get all of that sorted out. I also need to update phpBB and Board3 which is always fun, though at least this time around I think I know how to backup the database in case I screw something up.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby SamirA » 23 Jan 2014, 02:16

That thing is harsh on the eyes. So many angles and black and white. Ouch! Nice to see you around though!
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby Scamp » 23 Jan 2014, 16:21

Good luck with that project, DJ!
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby DJGamer » 27 Jan 2014, 05:28

SamirA wrote:That thing is harsh on the eyes. So many angles and black and white. Ouch! Nice to see you around though!


It think it looks a little better when it's either filling the whole screen or surrounded by black and/or white. It stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of an otherwise colorful website. I did design an alternate version of the logo which is based more on 90 degree angles than 45-I just sort of prefer the lightning bolt look.
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Re: Torian - A Fantasy Setting I'm Developing

Postby SamirA » 27 Jan 2014, 05:37

It not the angles, they are fine, its the combination of them with only black and white that make it tough on the eyes. I don't mean tough as in it looks bad I mean it literally hurts.
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