Across the Sea of Storms: Dal Riada

We will only briefly touch on the subject of Dal Riada in this blog for now. It’s what remains of pre-destruction Scotland, and what makes it interesting in the context of the setting, is that Dal Riada is rapidly modernizing and becoming an important player that also gazes toward the Baltic.

For the longest time, Dal Riada remained a loose confederation of towns and villages eking out a living in the Highlands, keeping one eye on what used to be England and one eye on the Irish. A national revival had brought back Lairds and clans, though the historical pedigree for them was not very convincing in many cases.

When the Pomeranians opened the wool trade in the late 23rd century, a new faction arose to dominate the economy: the Crannogmen. The Crannogmen were a group consisting mostly of coastal traders and fishermen who had set up shops wherever one could build a port. Much like Gotland, they ended up controlling a significant amount of trade without even making the effort. Skirmishes between inland groups and Crannogmen were fought occasionally, with Pomeranian traders bringing mercenaries from Riga and Bornholm to fight for the Crannogmen.

In 2301, a leader appeared among the Crannogmen. A tall man called Rafel Shaugns took control of several important ports and rivers, collecting information about how the world looked overseas. Of the continent, no one knew much, but the Baltic region seemed vibrant enough. Shaugns found himself an ally in Kirkoslet.

Now the Crannogmen and Kirkoslet have allied in secret. The Kirkosletian military advisors are modernizing the forces of the Crannogmen so Rafel Shaugns can unify Dal Riada for himself and his Crannogmen. In exchange, Kirkoslet gets access to Dal Riadan mercenaries and the wool market.

Shaugns rejects the title of Laird or King. Instead, he’s called The Boss of Bosses.

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2 Responses to Across the Sea of Storms: Dal Riada

  1. Karoliina says:

    I hope it’s okay to post a general comment here? I leafed through to blog to get a good view of the project. I think your setting is very interesting and has great potential! However, there are currently no rules to support it. Character creation (I understand it’s an early design and likely to change) has too many attributes, traits etc. that make it hard to grasp the core of the character. There seem to be no other rules yet.

    Why don’t you make a setting book? I see you have great passion to write about the setting and have really intriguing snippets of information that give it depth. I, as a roleplayer, am always looking for inspiration and interesting worlds to use in my games. I don’t feel the need to have rules with them, I’ll choose a system that supports the story I hope the game will tell.

    Your current take on design philosophy seems to elude the connection between the rules and the setting and the type of gameplay you want to support. Have you come across the Power 19? It’s list of questions meant to help you focus the design. You can always skip the ones that have something to do with shared narration, if that’s not a thing you want to include in your game. Here’s a link to the list: http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-are-power-19-pt-1.html

    All in all, I feel that you don’t currently have thought enough about the mechanics that will produce the type of stories you want this game to tell. I’m curious as to the gender role approach, I personally don’t feel like there are big problems with how females are presented in roleplaying games. There are silly illustrations, but they don’t bother me much, and in the games I play characters’ gender mainly affects some roles they can take, but every character has things to do. Then again, I play mostly games with shared narration and the only thing important about a character in those is if it is interesting and can advance the plot in some interesting way.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your setting and seeing how the project processes!

    • kemper2011 says:

      Hi!

      Regarding the rules: I have most preliminary rules done but so far I’ve decided to not post about them, but there’s going to be more stuff coming out about them soonish. Here’s a brief introduction: the system is called No Maths Land and it uses D10 dice exclusively. It’s a dice pool system inspired by One Roll Engine, which means you have a dice pool you roll and try to get matching dice. I call it No Maths Land since I don’t want a system where you need to think about adding and subtracting bonuses and maluses while you play.

      The central way to connect your character idea to the numbers on your character sheet is through traits. For example, if your character is a mapmaker, instead of having a cartography skill, you have the “Mapmaker” trait which you can apply whenever you do something related to that. For very narrow areas of expertise you get disciplines which allow you to excel in a narrow field.

      I prefer to keep the system as simple as possible myself. One thing I haven’t mentioned is that the special thing that comes from traits is inspired by FATE: the gamemaster can for example invoke your “Gambler” trait when you get to a tavern where there’s a card game on, representing your character’s urge to play games of chance. If the gamemaster invokes a trait, it’s up to you to decide if you follow that urge or not, but if you do, you’re rewarded with a story point. Story points are used when you really need to succeed at something or when you want a bit more narrative control.

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