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Thread: Burning MoBu City

  1. #1
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    Default Burning MoBu City

    There's more to come but here are my notes so far.

    Burning MoBu

    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
    • Koscista-Noga
    • 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.

    Lifepaths

    The sub-sets of the different lifepaths are in one of three states in this setting, they are either flourishing, rare or dying:

    Flourishing:

    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.


    Rare:

    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.


    Dying:

    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?

    Suntroll Square
    Etharchton
    Woven Heights
    Guilder
    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).

    Neighborhood

    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.

    Job

    To be added later

    Family

    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.


    Beliefs:

    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:

    flintlocks?

    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.
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  2. #2
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    Judd, this is fucking awesome.

    I am really groking the Flourishing, Rare and Dying lifepath traits. Plus the belief guidelines are perfect for that Perdido Street Station feel and is the type of stuff that I really like in a game to begin with

    If we were not already playing 2 BW games I would be selling this to my players for tonights game.

    - Colin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
    Judd, this is fucking awesome.

    I am really groking the Flourishing, Rare and Dying lifepath traits. Plus the belief guidelines are perfect for that Perdido Street Station feel and is the type of stuff that I really like in a game to begin with

    If we were not already playing 2 BW games I would be selling this to my players for tonights game.

    - Colin
    Thanks, Colin.

    It is taking shape but it isn't quite there just yet.

    I think it needs a whole lot more somethin'-somethin' linking the players to the ruling powers of the city and perhaps a mappish thing of some kind and lots more ideas for names.
    Last edited by Judd; 08-27-2009 at 11:37 AM.
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    Since the players are all writing a belief about changing something in the city, what about requiring each of those changes to be pointed at one of the ruling powers?

    - Colin

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    I like the overarching structure. I disagree that the players should be intrinsically linked to the powers that be. This feels like Lankhmar-on-a-fantasy-LSD-meth-bender. It's pastiche injected raw into the vein.

    Let the players be pawns, shadows and wastrels in this setting. Let the city be harsh, alien and strange. Let them experience it. Let them see its inner logic and decide if they care about it.

    In service of that lofty aspiration: you need something like the Blossoms burners for this. Sure, you can play in the halls of power, but how do you be just plain vagabonds in Mobu city? What goes on at street level? What neighborhoods are unsafe to walk in? Who has a blood feud with you? Who's inexplicably intermarried? Who are the latest wave of immigrants? Who are the unquestioned establishment? Who are the thugs?

    Them's me thoughts!
    -Luke
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    In service of that lofty aspiration: you need something like the Blossoms burners for this. Sure, you can play in the halls of power, but how do you be just plain vagabonds in Mobu city? What goes on at street level? What neighborhoods are unsafe to walk in? Who has a blood feud with you? Who's inexplicably intermarried? Who are the latest wave of immigrants? Who are the unquestioned establishment? Who are the thugs?
    Hells yeah, and like in Blossoms, I think that these type of questions should have corresponding instincts.

    Not sure about ignoring the rulers though, a set up like this calls out for rebellion/counter culture/activist games in which the players are trying to make the city a better place even if it only ends in blood. Or at least have some stake or interest in the way things could be.

    If the players are going to be making beliefs about changing the way things are, then the people in charge are going to be involved on some level, even if they are just the evil fascist overlords who control the thugs and crooks the players actually interact with.

    - Colin

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    And I'm saying that if you're going to have an urban fantasy, be true to its roots. Urban stories are romances and adventures set in neighborhoods, incorporating urban legends, crime, immigration, and trying to make a nickel without selling your soul.

    "Young white kid overthrows the oppressive state" is another kind of story for another place and time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    And I'm saying that if you're going to have an urban fantasy, be true to its roots. Urban stories are romances and adventures set in neighborhoods, incorporating urban legends, crime, immigration, and trying to make a nickel without selling your soul.

    "Young white kid overthrows the oppressive state" is another kind of story for another place and time.
    I think what Luke is saying is quite true to the New Crobuzon roots that inspired MoBu City.
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    I don't disagree with any of this, though "white kid vs evil government" is not what I want. I was thinking more along the lines of Union organizing stuff, underground printing presses, scientists sleeping with bug headed artists, voting and the like. That is the stuff from New Crobuzon that interests me, and there is a cool vibe from the notes about the old feudal system dying out and new stuff rising up that may be way worse. Though I am definitely thinking this is the sort of stuff that is comes when you burn something up and is something I will push for in my MoBu city.

    Back to the burner, since the focus is on a neighborhood/community level perhaps a portion of the burning should focus on the powers that be in the neighborhood the players are in?


    - Colin

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    Judd:

    Sweet. Thank you.

    Personally, I'd like to take this, add flintlocks and take it in a Warhammer's City of the White Wolf/Power Behind the Throne idea.
    -Ken.

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