World Burning: Luke's 14 Questions
We started off the game by deciding what kind of play we wanted to see. The group decided that an adventure was in order. A “Save the Country, Cross the World” sort of adventure.
So we started with Luke’s Burning Questions!
1. What’s the Big Picture? What’s going on in this setting that makes it ripe for adventure. What’s changing, evolving, declining?
The Singuard, an ancient and unpredictable elven people who have become obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge, have once again begun to mobilize out of the Dales toward the kingdom of Børeas. War rages in the North-East, and attacks on major interior cities and towns have caught the Børeasi completely off guard. The city of Neuenheim has been lost, despite being so far from the war front. It’s fate is unknown to those smart enough to stay away.However, the Singuard, despite having the upper hand, do not seem set on total invasion. Attacks have slowed in the past couple of years, and the war has stagnate, and the people of Børeas have once again come to a period of uneasy respite.
Until King Aldric was murdered by his eldest son, Eirik, who fled the country. Now the kingdom is ruled by the youngest son, Arvik, not yet sixteen years old, under the guidance (and manipulation) of the castle seneschal, Evian Vurl.
2. What’s the world’s culture? What are the cultural analogs? Analogs can be taken from historical earth, current events or fantasy works.
Børeas and it’s neighbouring nations (Vørnden, Drueden and Falkland) are based off of medieval Germanic/Scandinavian culture. The continent of Hookfall could be compared to the Northern parts of Hobb’s ‘Realm of the Elderlings’ or Northern Middle-earth.
3. What’s the conflict in which the characters are involved? What are the sides? What’s wrong?
Eirik Arlstone stands accused of Regicide, and has fled the kingdom. The PCs are all Arlhaven Keep regulars, and are extremely loyal to Prince Eirik. Truly, they believe that he could not have done such a heinous crime.
The castle archivist and supposed miracle-working chaplain, Father Audgisil D’Lembert received a note the night of the king’s murder. In Eirik’s hand, the note claimed he had nothing to do with the murder. It also said that he had to leave
-rather early and unprepared now- on his quest to find the hallowed and holy Sanneth before the Singuard finished their work with whatever they were trying to gain from Børeas. His goal was the fabled library in Edelweiss to find more information on the Sanneth’s whereabouts.
Audgisil then brought the note to Siegfried Sonnenjäger: Thane, war veteran, and childhood friends with Eirik. Siegfried was a nobleman of Neuenheim, and was staying in Arlhaven Keep hoping to gather support to take Neuenheim back. Over the next coming months he summoned his and Eirik’s other childhood friend, Asmund Foltest, Warden of the Blacktimber.
The archivist then discovered some information very pertinent to Eirik’s quest. The holy Sanneth was the very cause of the Singuard; the very fall of the Dwarves and their kin. Eirik must not go near the Sanneth, or it could mean doom for the kingdom. Audgisil then searched for more information: He gathered the lineage of the Holy Prophet, Elysia. The divine were the only ones who could touch the artifact without destroying all they hold dear. The line of Elysia’s succession was obscure, but many months later, he traced it to Cyrena Silvanus, Eirik’s personal Royal Guard. With this new information, the four planned on how to find their Prince, and left one night to seek him out across the land.
4. What physical place does this conflict take place in? What ecology, environment, place?
The cold North; Spanning across plains and forests, lakes and seas, and deep ancient dwarven passages
5. What’s the name of the most important place in this setting? Not the capital or any dumb shit like that, but THE PLACE where all the action goes down?
Across all of Hookfall. This is an adventure, remember! Action goes down in the North-East war-front, but trouble follows the PCs where ever they go.
6. What’s the name of a faraway place that folks talk about, dream about or mutter under their breath about?
Därfunlund, ancient homeland of the near-forgotten dwarven people
7. Who are the antagonists? Who is opposing the goals of the characters?
The Singuard; The Seneschal and his minions
8. Imagine all of the characters are standing a room/ruin/field with the antagonists or their minions. What do the antagonists want from that meeting? What do the characters want from that meeting?
Vurl would obviously question the PCs to answer for aiding a fugitive, and find out where the fugitive is. The PC’s would wish to somehow remove the seneschal from power and try to convince the King that his brother did no such crime.
9. Alternately, imagine the characters standing at the scene of some great disaster or calamity clearly caused by one of the antagonists. What’s the disaster? How did it happen? What are the characters going to do about it right now?
The Singuard have begun an attack on a town the PCs are in. The PCs, rather than stand and fight, would have to flee in order to continue their mission.
10. What type of magic exists in this world?
Primarily, the miraculous magic of The Purifying Light or the nefarious swells of the Black Sea God, Othuum. Also unknown and hidden magics of the West. Other magic is considered low or just practical. Casting spells is just a rumour that children tell eachother. Real magic does exist. Just not in s traditional “Fireball” sense.
11. What character stocks are in play in this world? Which are restricted and why?
Initially, character stock was limited to Man. When and if the PCs discover new races, they may become an option.
12. What cultural traits apply to the characters of this game world? Pick three character traits for each culture.
Boreasi are Hardy; they have Facial Hair for men and Braided and Beaded Locks for women; Hospitable
Nordfalk are Hardy; they Openly Worship the Black Sea God; Hospitable
Singuard are Arrogant to Lesser Beings; They have Knowledge Avarice; Relentless
13. What’s your Resources cycle? 1 month, seasonal, 6 months, annual? What’s the game world’s currency? Who collects the taxes? What do people do for work? What’s the major economy?
We set the cycle at 1 Month to make it feel that the characters were now on their own, desparate and destitute. Currency is called Gold/Silver Counts. No taxes for adventurer-hobos. Work involves everything in a typical medieval setting.
14. Material world: What weapons and armor are available? Are some weapons and armor restricted to certain cultures or character stocks? What property is available? Are resources and gear otherwise restricted?
Crossbows are a relatively new invention. Full plate armour and swords are very uncommon. Primarily available weapons are axes, hammers, spears and bows.
Then we made maps. I (John) put together Hookfall and it’s names, where it was a collaborative effort naming all the major cities and towns in Boreas. That was it! We were ready!