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  • Kingdom-Building

    So, I'm going to be running a new campaign of Exalted 3e soon, set in the East. I'd like to have a nice combination of intrigue and combat, and by best idea so far is to have the PC circle be invested in trying to broker a peace between three kingdoms on the brink of war, in the face of an outside force (or forces, at least one of them will probably be a Deathknight) who want to see the war happen. The only issue is that when it comes to making said kingdoms, I'm at a bit of a loss. Is there anyone that could help and would be interested in doing so?

    I'm intending to create quite comprehensive kingdoms, so things like geography, economy, their status with regards to gods, the Lunars and the Realm will be important and so on - I'd like to bring in a Lunar or two at some point, although all the PCs will be Solars. A cast of important characters would probably be a good idea as well, leaders, prominent personages and such.


    Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

  • #2
    I've found this helpful: http://nobilis.me/quotes:designing-c...e-shomshak-way

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    • #3
      My question is what is the central conflict of the three kingdoms - economic, political, religious, cultural or a mixture of reasons? Then build on that - did one state abolish slavery, and since it controls the main trade routes to the other two, the slave trade has dried up? Has one kingdom's ruler died and the other two see a chance for expansion? Has a famine occurred and all three are just trying to get enough food to survive?


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mr.Jaxus View Post
        My question is what is the central conflict of the three kingdoms - economic, political, religious, cultural or a mixture of reasons? Then build on that - did one state abolish slavery, and since it controls the main trade routes to the other two, the slave trade has dried up? Has one kingdom's ruler died and the other two see a chance for expansion? Has a famine occurred and all three are just trying to get enough food to survive?
        I'm really not sure. This is what I was asking for help with. It would probably be some kind of ideological thing. How about one of the kingdoms suddenly permitting a largish tribe of Beastmen to settle on the borders of their lands without military reprisals? One of the other kingdoms has some kind of religious thing against Beastmen, which causes them to drop a three-way trade negotiation between the kingdoms, beginning what starts as a war of skirmishes and caravan raids but which is set to escalate, encouraged by the machinations of an Abyssal Circle (probably a Moonshadow, a Dusk and a Daybreak) who seek to harness the conflict to create a new Shadowland.


        Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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        • #5
          One useful thing to think about, when it comes to your conflict, is whether the three parties are in a "line" or a "triangle" when it comes to their goals.

          A "line" arrangement means that there are two basic "poles" in the conflict - Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark, butter-side-up vs. butter-side-down, and so forth - and the parties are arranged with one group at each extreme, and the third lying somewhere in the middle between them.

          A "triangle" arrangement generally needs at least two different axes of conflict - a religious struggle between two rival faiths and a dispute over economic systems, for instance - and each of the three parties differ from their neighbors on at least one of the axes.

          The benefit of the line arrangement is that it's pretty simple, both in explaining the setup to the PCs, and in how they deal with it - the obvious solution is to set up with the group they agree with most, try to influence the "middle" group more over to their side and then, once they've done that, their group and the middle group can team up and defeat the third. The drawbacks of this setup are pretty much the same, though - it's very simplistic, and you may not want that. There's going to probably be an obvious group to team up with, and not a whole lot of nuance. Even if the dispute doesn't have a moral resonance for any of the PCs, the strategy is still the same, and that can get a little boring.

          The triangle arrangement's benefits are that it's inherently more complex and nuanced than the line, and the strategies are commensurately more varied too. Even with just two fundamental disagreements, there's probably only going to be one group that perfectly lines up with the whole party's beliefs (and it's even more likely that no-one will line up perfectly with the whole party, which can generate some interesting drama). Even once the PCs pick a side to back, the groups to simply attack, as opposed to convince to switch over to matching the PCs' current group, will be less obvious, and it's thus much more likely that the party will choose the harder, but, in my opinion, more interesting route of "try to convince both our opponents to switch".

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          • #6
            Wow, great post Kelly!


            Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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            • #7
              Steal from other rpg source materials. Given the sheer breadth of material published I bet you could find a suitable scenario. File off the serial numbers, changes some names and bodge it together.

              D&D all editions, Rollmaster, Palladium fantasy, Chaoisum (Elric/Stormbringer). Any and all fantasy fiction.

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              • #8
                Here's a couple of questions to help narrow your scope a bit:

                Do you have a preference on direction? A conflict between three random kingdoms in the Hundred Kingdoms region of the East looks very different from one between three island nations in the West.

                Do any of the canon locations sound cool to you? Even if you don't want to have, say, Chiaroscuro as one of the sides in your conflict, knowing that you like a southern port city that's built on the ruins of First Age New York will help you figure out what you want to do.

                Do you want the Realm involved? The Realm is the 900lb. Gorilla of the setting, so you should decide whether you want to use them or not now. You CAN opt to have relatively little involvement from the Realm if you want, because the impending civil war is great justification for why they can't do anything you don't want them to do, but, if they've been involved at all, they probably had a huge impact on these nations at some point.

                You said you wanted Deathknights involved, so which Deathlord are they working for? Note that having the Deathlord actually show up is almost certainly unnecessary, but which Deathlord you pick will have an impact on where your kingdoms are (and vice versa) and on the character and goals of your Abyssals.

                How are the PCs going to get involved? Are you assuming they'll be from one of the nations? Are they drifters from random other places and, if so, why are they trying so hard to help these nations? What ties do the PCs have to these places? If you discuss that in advance, the PCs might well end up creating a good chunk of these Nations for you, especially if you let one of them be a prince or princess.

                What's stopping the PCs from going to the nation with the biggest military, lopping off the head of the King, and then staging a bloody war of conquest until all three nations belong to them? Because some players would rather go with that game. Making sure everyone is down with the peace brokering and intrigue plot in advance is probably the best way to nip this problem in the bud.
                Last edited by BrilliantRain; 08-27-2017, 03:14 AM.


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                • #9
                  Another possible reason for war is that one of the nations just found some kind of important natural resource, like silver, jade, copper, tin, Orichalcum, unmelting ice, firedust, an artifact cache, etc. and now the other nations want in on that. This sort of goes in the "line" Kelly suggested, in that you now have two Nations who want what the third nation has, but you can turn it into a "triangle" in the following ways: (Note: Nation A found the resources, Nations B and C are the other nations)

                  1) While Nation A is the weakest militarily, Nations B and C distrust each other completely and neither want the other to gain complete control over the resource, so, ironically, Nation A might be able to broker a deal where it shares the wealth equally. Well, provided no-one blows up anyway.

                  2) Nation C is the strongest of the three nations, but it's not stronger than the might of Nations A and B combined, so all three need to tread carefully before they start a war. If the Abyssals convince the rulers of Nation C that they can provide enough extra troops to turn the tide in a war, that might do it, so whoever is currently in charge of Nation C needs to be ideologically opposed to zombie troops so the Abyssals don't have things too easy.

                  3) Nation A doesn't currently have the strongest military, but, with the extra resources they've just uncovered and some time to build their military up, they could probably take both other nations combined. Nations B and C are hearing rumors about this and may be getting their own armies in gear for an Alpha strike while they can.

                  4) Nation B has a longstanding trade agreement with Nation A which would give them plenty of access to Nation A's newfound wealth. Nation C will only be able to watch as the other two nations become more prosperous and they fade away and they'll do anything to keep that from happening, but they don't have enough troops to attack both nations. Thus, sabotage and Guerilla Warfare are the order of the day.

                  5) Nation A might well have an ideology claiming that they're the rightful rulers of the region and view the discovery of these resources as a sign that the time is right for conquest, so all B and C can do is to work together and try to hold A off until they can mobilize their own forces and maybe some allies from further away.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KFinigan View Post
                    Steal from other rpg source materials. Given the sheer breadth of material published I bet you could find a suitable scenario. File off the serial numbers, changes some names and bodge it together.

                    D&D all editions, Rollmaster, Palladium fantasy, Chaoisum (Elric/Stormbringer). Any and all fantasy fiction.
                    Also, books and shows (if you choose ones your players also know, that can be fun but it's less serious because they know where you got it, if you choose them from ones only you've read, it seems more serious), or historical world settings.

                    Me and some of my players like history, so it's pretty simple to take an unusual historical place/time, change the name, change a few features, and go with that.
                    Not super original, but it's easy for the players to understand, and any questions you get about the setting can be easily answered.


                    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                    • #11
                      This is usually a good problem to have! I love creating cultures in Exalted! Personally I like to have culture progress across an area rather then have each separate group of people be as different as 900 AD Swedish neighboring 1600 Lakota, next to 2000BC Egyptians. I smooth it so maybe its more the difference between Bengal and Tamil, and then a bit farther out you get a Siamese like culture and a bit farther out Persians. Though I always have each new culture be more then just one culture cloned into Exalted, it may have one culture be the biggest influence on it, but I sprinkle culture and language from other real world cultures, as well as incorporate things that are influences from other Exalted Cultures.


                      But a fun thing to do is maybe give all or most of the 3 Kingdoms the same Ruler titles, so maybe you have a Khagan, a Khagan and a Malik having a three way war. Or all of them have a unique title for Emperor that is their traditional nations title when they rule the Area. So Nation A wants to become a Samrat, Nation B wants to become a Badshah, and Nation C wants to become an Ard Ri.


                      It is a time for great deeds!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        Another possible reason for war is that one of the nations just found some kind of important natural resource, like silver, jade, copper, tin, Orichalcum, unmelting ice, firedust, an artifact cache, etc. and now the other nations want in on that. This sort of goes in the "line" Kelly suggested, in that you now have two Nations who want what the third nation has, but you can turn it into a "triangle" in the following ways: (Note: Nation A found the resources, Nations B and C are the other nations)
                        You make an excellent point.

                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        1) While Nation A is the weakest militarily, Nations B and C distrust each other completely and neither want the other to gain complete control over the resource, so, ironically, Nation A might be able to broker a deal where it shares the wealth equally. Well, provided no-one blows up anyway.

                        2) Nation C is the strongest of the three nations, but it's not stronger than the might of Nations A and B combined, so all three need to tread carefully before they start a war. If the Abyssals convince the rulers of Nation C that they can provide enough extra troops to turn the tide in a war, that might do it, so whoever is currently in charge of Nation C needs to be ideologically opposed to zombie troops so the Abyssals don't have things too easy.
                        I kind of like the idea of combining these two, because you could have both delicate international negotiations, and all the while you've also got to find out what's going on with Nation C and, once the Abyssals are found out, work against them while they're working against you. Mind you, my players would probably want some action, so maybe an assassination plot or two?

                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        5) Nation A might well have an ideology claiming that they're the rightful rulers of the region and view the discovery of these resources as a sign that the time is right for conquest, so all B and C can do is to work together and try to hold A off until they can mobilize their own forces and maybe some allies from further away.
                        This could also be quite cool, although it would be very polarising. On other hand, I can see the Abyssals playing both sides of the conflict, arranging everything for maximum death as opposed to a one-sided slaughter.


                        Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                          Here's a couple of questions to help narrow your scope a bit:

                          Do you have a preference on direction? A conflict between three random kingdoms in the Hundred Kingdoms region of the East looks very different from one between three island nations in the West.

                          Do any of the canon locations sound cool to you? Even if you don't want to have, say, Chiaroscuro as one of the sides in your conflict, knowing that you like a southern port city that's built on the ruins of First Age New York will help you figure out what you want to do.

                          Do you want the Realm involved? The Realm is the 900lb. Gorilla of the setting, so you should decide whether you want to use them or not now. You CAN opt to have relatively little involvement from the Realm if you want, because the impending civil war is great justification for why they can't do anything you don't want them to do, but, if they've been involved at all, they probably had a huge impact on these nations at some point.

                          You said you wanted Deathknights involved, so which Deathlord are they working for? Note that having the Deathlord actually show up is almost certainly unnecessary, but which Deathlord you pick will have an impact on where your kingdoms are (and vice versa) and on the character and goals of your Abyssals.

                          How are the PCs going to get involved? Are you assuming they'll be from one of the nations? Are they drifters from random other places and, if so, why are they trying so hard to help these nations? What ties do the PCs have to these places? If you discuss that in advance, the PCs might well end up creating a good chunk of these Nations for you, especially if you let one of them be a prince or princess.

                          What's stopping the PCs from going to the nation with the biggest military, lopping off the head of the King, and then staging a bloody war of conquest until all three nations belong to them? Because some players would rather go with that game. Making sure everyone is down with the peace brokering and intrigue plot in advance is probably the best way to nip this problem in the bud.
                          It would be in the Hundred Kingdoms region. The PCs will all have some kind of tie to the kingdoms, some favourable some less so. For example, one of my players is toying with the idea of a Night Caste noble-turned-assassin (think kinda like Corvo Attano from Dishonored) an attempting to track down and punish the ones behind his family's disgrace and murder.

                          For the Deathlord, they'll be working for The Unspeakable Eightfold Obsidian Queen, which you can see here. http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/LiOfOrchid/U8OQ


                          Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                            It would be in the Hundred Kingdoms region. The PCs will all have some kind of tie to the kingdoms, some favourable some less so. For example, one of my players is toying with the idea of a Night Caste noble-turned-assassin (think kinda like Corvo Attano from Dishonored) an attempting to track down and punish the ones behind his family's disgrace and murder.

                            For the Deathlord, they'll be working for The Unspeakable Eightfold Obsidian Queen, which you can see here. http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/LiOfOrchid/U8OQ
                            Ok, Hundred Kingdoms. You'll probably want these three nations to be somewhat geographically isolated, to keep them focused on each other instead of trying to get allies from elsewhere.

                            What other ideas have your players been considering? Take those, think about what ramifications they have, and go from there. Also maybe tell us their ideas too, so we can suggest things that will work better.

                            Ok, so sneaky Deathlord that could be up to anything. Maybe she should try to hedge her bets by getting agents on all sides? Also, assume she has several plans in place, and goals she can profit from even if she can't turn this place into a Shadowland. You don't need to know what the plans are yet, just assume that she has them.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post

                              Ok, Hundred Kingdoms. You'll probably want these three nations to be somewhat geographically isolated, to keep them focused on each other instead of trying to get allies from elsewhere.

                              What other ideas have your players been considering? Take those, think about what ramifications they have, and go from there. Also maybe tell us their ideas too, so we can suggest things that will work better.

                              Ok, so sneaky Deathlord that could be up to anything. Maybe she should try to hedge her bets by getting agents on all sides? Also, assume she has several plans in place, and goals she can profit from even if she can't turn this place into a Shadowland. You don't need to know what the plans are yet, just assume that she has them.
                              Well, for the geographical isolation they're in the (comparatively) far East, so barbarian-and-bandit-and-who-knows-what-else-infested forests are far from beyond the realms of possibility. Add a rumoured Lunar or two in the woods for added superstition...

                              Well, in terms of ideas the game's still a while off, so we've only got vague concepts at best. There's the aforementioned 'noble assassin', who's serving as the bodyguard to our resident Eclipse who's vacillating between some kind of ambassador or just a noble of some kind, probably a family friend of the Night. One of the other players watched Mulan recently and was inspired, wanting to make a crossdressing war hero, the war presumably being against some barbarian tribe or something. She'll probably be a Dawn, although the player is also considering a Zenith. The rest don't know yet. I have asked that all the characters be connected to 'high society' somehow, though, whether though blood, wealth or deeds.

                              I definitely think that The Unspeakable Eightfold Obsidian Queen would almost certainly have agents on all sides, although not all of them would be Abyssals. Majoritively mortal spies, patsies and bought or threatened officials, possibly with the occasional spying ghost or similar if we end up with an Occult-focused character.


                              Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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