There's more to come but here are my notes so far.
The modern age is upon is and the center of the modern world is MoBu City, a teeming, dense metropolis built on the grief, greed, hatred and faith of ages past.
MoBu city is ruled by three distinct groups that the table will need to define.
The Figurehead: This is the face of the government, possibly with little power - only existing to give the populace someone to look up to or with governmental power but with severe checks and balances to other branches or interests.
The Figurehead is (choose one):
- A God
- a Demi-God (made via the Magic Burner)
- a Corporeal Spirit
- a 6+ lifepath character from Human stock
- or from the Monster Burner
- the Dragon
- the Ancient Seneschal
- the Querub
- the Martikhora
- the Raksha
- or a different monster created by the group via the Monster Burner
Choose the Figurehead's title and name: Lord/Lady Mayor, Prince/Princess of MoBu, Doge, Pope, Heirophant, The Oracle
The Council: A group that has significant power over the city. They must walk a delicate balance, appeasing the factions who call MoBu their home.
The Council is made up of some combination of the following elements from the following stocks, mix and match to taste:
- Citadel Elves
- Wilderland Elves
- Dwarven Artificers
- Dwarven Guilders
- Human City Dwellers
- Human Religious
- Human Soldiers
- Human Seafaring
- Human Outcasts
- Servant of the Dark Blood Orc
- Cavedweller Trolls
- Wild Pack Great Wolves
- Roden Below
The Shadow Council: These are the powers behind the throne. They give power to either the figurehead or the council or both, helping them control the city's population in secret or they are a powerful beast that the council and the figurehead somehow control together.
Choose one of the following to be MoBu City's Shadow Council:
- Burn up 3 Elves one of whom should be a Dark Elf
- the single baddest ass orc, elf or dwarf at 6+ lifepaths
- or from the Monster Burner
- a group of Great Eagles
- a trio of Ophidia
- 7 Satyr
- the Grayman
- the Giant, Daemon
- the B'hemah
- the Amoeroth
- 13 Red Caps
- Great Wolf - Ghost of the Deeping Wood
- or using the Monster Burner the group should burn up a monster together
Talk over with the table how these three competing powers interact in the city. Fifteen minutes or so should do it. If you find yourselves talking for more than thirty minutes, you are going on for too long and should stop, burn up characters and begin playing.
If you find that somehow you have made a city where everyone get's along just great, go back and change your decisions. The figurehead, the council and the shadow council should all be engaged in a tangled mess of political in-fighting and intrigue.
The sub-sets of the different lifepaths are in one of three states in this setting, they are either flourishing, rare or dying:
These are the lifepaths that have adapted to city-life successfully.
Dwarven Lifepaths: Clansman, Guilder, Artificer
Elven Lifepaths: Wilderlands
Human Lifepaths: Peasant, Villager, City Dweller, Religious, Professional Soldier, Seafaring, Servitude and Captive, Outcast
Orc Lifepaths: Chattel, Servant of the Dark Blood
Roden: Field, Below, Exile, Society
Great Spider: Sea Lord, Great Undernest, Outcast, Servant
Flourishing lifepaths can access the following trait as if it is within their lifepath:
Flourishing in the City: die trait for Resources
Vassals No More: c/o for Persuasion or Intimidate (choose one) when in a Duel of Wits against anyone with a noble title.
These are lifepaths whose ways of life were rare even in the olden days but now, without noble lords and vassalage these are the lifepaths that are not growing.
Dwarven Lifepaths: Dwarven Host
Elven Lifepaths:Protector, Citadel
Human Lifepaths:Noble Court
Orc lifepaths: Black Legion
Great Spider: Masters of Orb, Masters of the Hunt
Troll: Wild, Cavedweller, Pit
Great Wolf: Spirit Hunter, Ghost of the Deeping Wood
Rare lifepaths can gain the following traits as if they are in their lifepaths:
Last Vestiges of the Old World: These characters are artifacts of a world that no longer truly exists. These servants tend to seek each other out, if for no other reason than to talk about their glory days when life was clear-cut and simple. Character gains a 1 die Affiliation: Servants of Dying Courts.
Ruling by blood has fallen to the wayside. Coin, steel and bullets are the roads to power now but still, many look on noble titles with romance and even some remaining reverence.
Dwarven Lifepaths: Dwarven Noble
Elven Lifepaths: Etharch
Human Lifepaths: Noble, Noble Court
Orc Lifepaths: Great and Black
Dying lifepaths can gain the following traits as if they were found in their lifepaths:
Titular Reverence: die trait for Command or Oratory (choose one) People in the city are forgotten what it means to be a feudal slave and many have forgotten what it means to be a vassal, as such, titles still carry weight in their minds in many ways, despite the overall decline of dukes, princes and etharchs.
Players start the game with 1 Fate artha and 1 Personna Artha but they must earn each:
For 1 starting Fate:
Choose from the list of names and name one of the five Borroughs of the city. Who lives there? What is the architecture like?
More names needed
For 1 starting Personna:
There are scars on the land from thousands of years of magical strife and feuding. The landscape around which the city is built has been irrevocably changed. Name one relic from the arcane past that exists in the city, from the remains of an ancient monster that looms over the tallest buildings to a river that still runs with blood during the full moon to commemorate the deity murdered there.
There lots of things that bring people together in the MoBu City (don't worry about the name, the last step of the pre-play process is to re-name it, if you have not done so already).
All manner of stocks from the books can gather together simply because they grew up near each other. Perhaps they are a neighborhood gang that has grown into a full organized crime family, relying only on each other where their blood let them down.
To be added later
If everyone is cool with playing the same stock, this is a great option. And if someone wants to play something outside of the family, perhaps they were adopted in.
Your first Belief is about something about the city that needs to change and what your character is willing to do to make that change happen.
Your second Belief must be about someone your character loves or hates in the city. Is it a romantic entanglement, a cross-borough rivalry or loyalty to a troubled friend.
Your third Belief must be about doing your job and what you are willing to do to make money.
Further rules tweaks:
Resource cycle is ramped up to show high speed city life. Maybe out in the country, Resource checks are seasonal but in the city it is a monthly check.
What MoBu City is NOT:
This is not a place where magic has faded and the great epics are over. This is not a city that wears scars of past magical events in order to illustrate to the players that the greatest arcane feats were in the past. The scars of past magics are created to illustrate that sorcery is dangerous and has left its mark.
The only thing fading is the vassal system and the systems of government rising up to replace it could easily be worse.