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87

Somewhere between 250 and 950 people, assuming that you don't need to run it for more than a couple of watches. Your best option is a crew of droids, as they don't need the downtime a normal crew does. This presumes that normal PC-centric options (social engineering, being Jedi, being Sith) are out of the picture and that the party actually wants to be able ...


49

I would do the following. Note this is also found on my blog here . Using one page sketch a world or continent mapLabel important regionsWrite one page of background giving no more than a handful of sentences to each region.Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 milesGrab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 ...


45

If you can get them to read novels in the setting, that's ideal. But it may take some time and I've never met a full group that would all read the same books, even when bribed with XP. Here's more of a quick and dirty method. A few games ago I gave the players cheat sheets about the city they were in. I limited them to a page each because the more I give ...


42

You've got a blank sheet of paper, and you want to play ASAP. Excellent. This is what I've done successfully: Decide with your players what kind of setting it should be. You can skip this if you're playing in the assumed setting of your game. Otherwise, find out what elements your players want to explore. Should there be firearms? Political machinations? ...


40

My first encounter with a D&D sorcerer class was 3E. The 3E PHB says on p51: Sorcerers create magic the way a poet creates poems, with inborn talent honed by practice. They have no books, no mentors, no theories -- just raw power that they direct at will. In religious studies, "charisma" sometimes refers to the inner personal power in an ...


24

Look for ways to introduce exposition into your flavor descriptions of scenes, and your mentions of characters and objects. Try not to restrict it to plot-relevant stuff for your game, but this can definitely become a way to put 'common-sense' information into your players' hands unobtrusively. Consider: "You are traveling down a road between Atowne and ...


22

"Show, don't tell" is always the most relevant advice. If the background is important at all, then it should surface in the real world via books, statues/ruins, cultures and common sayings, etc. You know, how we find stuff out about our world and real life. Instead of infodumping, have it come in from various directions - someone shooting the bull in a ...


22

Anything you find in the SRD is Open Gaming Licence content and thus free to use so long as you abide by the terms of the OGL. You'll note that it does not contain XP or Wealth-By-Level rules, and you'll also notice that it doesn't really contain fluff; those rules (and the fluff) are still WotC's property and cannot be used. Beyond that, you're perfectly ...


22

In real history, almost no land except impassible mountains and deep desert wasn't settled, and there are exceptions even then. The population of the world during the European medieval age was much lower than today, but widely spread out in all the known habitable regions of Earth. Take that, and now add powerful, inimical monsters to the wilderness. ...


21

Looking at the cleric as a bundle of resources for a moment: Both wells and clerics generate water. A well accesses underground aquifers* and can generate larger and smaller volumes of water depending on local circumstances. Furthermore, most liquid intended for human consumption is vaguely alcoholic as a purifying measure. A human will consume 3-4 liters ...


21

I think it was not uncommon for druids – and other mystical figures in folklore – to appear before others in magical disguise. Glamour, after all, is heavily associated with the fey, which are in turn tied to the natural world and the same sort of mythological background as druids. Further, as protectors of the natural world, druids have to ...


20

Start with what you know you and your friends like. You should establish a basic setting and campaign focus, depending on the themes you know your players will enjoy. Decide if its going to focus on combat, investigation, exploration, etc, and if the setting fits or inverts that style of play. For example, a campaign that takes place in Rome during the ...


20

Eberron changed far less then other settings. The following are just a few changes I can remember off the top of my head: Xoriat being moved out of orbit, and placed into the stars beyond. Baator being added to the cosmology "Siberys" planes becoming part of the Astral Sea. This includes: Daanvi, Irian, Syrania, Lamannia, Mabar, Baator, Shavarath. This is ...


19

They give a very good impression of the setting, and they also give a pretty good background for understanding how the rules work. The game was designed to very closely emulate the fiction of the books (Evil Hat and the author worked closely together for about a decade, and much of Evil Hat's work on developing and refining Fate over the years and multiple ...


18

Well, there's always the option of setting it "today" and beginning the power divergence ten years ago. Besides that, just posit there's a couple small and not that important developments as a conceptual sop. Between 2001 and today there's not a lot of big changes that are that interesting from Joe Cop's level. Our cell phones are spiffier, mainly. Take a ...


18

Most everybody else is focusing on the cleric creating water; I'll focus on the military tactics then. Especially since I played not too long ago in a 3.5 campaign that heavily used -- in my opinion -- rather clever and realistic tactics that made use of spell casters. Basically, it all boils down to one simple principle: Think of offensive mages as siege ...


18

Points of Light Yes, it does. It’s called “Points of Light,” and my understanding is that it’s basically Greyhawk (Gary Gygax’s original setting for Dungeons & Dragons) with the Gygaxian serial numbers filed off so Wizards can avoid paying them royalties, or something like that. The core books use this setting. Most ...


18

Nothing unusual (which is good!) From The Gentleman Gamer interview with Mark Rein·Hagen and The Gentleman Gamer Interviews Justin Achilli, developer of Vampire: The Masquerade, it is clear that White Wolf have always used a really standard game design cycle: Create a prototype Play it, and let it fail Learn with the prototype failure Go back to step 1 ...


17

Telephones began arriving at the start of the century. At first, they were strikingly modern, available to the rich and well-connected. For example, in Connecticut in 1901, a hotel advertised "a telephone in every room" as a luxury. (That "telephone in every room" is a nice marker. A hotel in London was advertising something similar around 1920.) For cars, ...


17

Medieval peasants and most tribal cultures... Typically, children under age 1 were nursed by mothers who nursed them frequently whilst doing other work. Children aged 1-2 might still be nursing, or might already be transitioned to the next group... Ages 2-4 were supervised by aunts and grandparents, and had as much play as they would ever see; the basic ...


17

I like to work like this: I give the basic information to the players. One single page of 8.5 x 11 with all the info they certainly know. I tell them everything that is outstanding. How many moons, color of the sky, name of the main constellations if they are relevant. Any info about the basic religion, main genesis myth everything relevant for the first ...


17

From my experience, the best way to do this for the group (or, in most cases, individual players within a group) that refuses to read is to give the background in segments as required. For example, during character creation, monitor carefully for things that don't jive with the setting. Something as simple as "the warriors of this tribe are known for their ...


16

Some very simple things first...Understand the differences between 'deity' and 'religion'. If your character sheet has the listing, 'deity' on it, it is not doing you any favors. Cross it out and replace it with 'faith' or 'religion'. A religion is normally the man-made, socially organized, interpretation of the place of the gods or philosophy in that ...


16

Run a one shot during the "better days" you mention. Tell the players it's just to get them used to the system. Give them pre-made characters who actually do know a thing or two about their technology. Then it'll actually mean something to the PCs when the characters they make 200 years later are less skilled, less powerful, and wonder how their ancestors ...


16

A real lot depends on the campaign/setting/genre/system… and on the players -- indeed, as @valadil notes in a great comment on the Q. If your setting/campaign allows it, you might want to try an "oscillating" solution. Introduce (carefully and cleverly) a parallel universe or some alternate plane to which your PCs can eventually travel and have a short ...


16

Things I would emphasize in an Iron Age setting: Lack of information. In medieval settings, while peasants might know rather little of anything beyond the next town over, scholars at least have a pretty good idea of "the big picture". Just one example: Maps of the continent you're on exist, and while usually being pretty bad as far as scale is concerned, ...


16

Would adventurers arise if treasure was about... To your first question, yes. Though it is more about "dungeons filled with treasure" then necessarily the magic or the monsters. People tend to seek ways to make profits, especially if those can be made quickly. People are willing to take on risky endeavors to do so. Today, in the "First World", we tend ...


15

In Spelljammer and Planescape there's the "Mercane" (aka "Arcane" in pre-3e writeups) that are interstellar and interplanar magic merchants. They have writeups in the Manual of the Planes and the Epic Level Handbook and are in the d20 SRD.


15

Childhood is a modern invention. In medieval times, children were treated as little adults. So, the idea of "play"? That's a modern invention, too, and especially a Western one. In medieval times, children were expected to work as soon as they could. In some non-Western cultures today, the same applies. The child gets involved in cooking and caring for ...


15

There is no smooth, gentle way to introduce players to a truly alien setting. You have three choices as a GM who wants to successfully run an alien setting: make the players aliens to the setting, and let them explore it. (gentle means of introduction) make them study up prior to play. (smooth play, but heavy handed) Play with people who already know the ...



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