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  • #16
    The keep them geographically isolated idea is in reference to keeping the war concentrated on the three kingdoms rather then the many nations of the Hundred Kingdoms. I agree it's a good idea to have this say separated from most others by maybe mountains or chasms or hell even volcanoes.


    It is a time for great deeds!

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    • #17
      Here's another idea to help distinguish between your kingdoms. Rather than think in terms of specific things they want ("this kingdom wants jade, that kingdom wants refugees banished", etc), think in terms of broad motivations. So, for example, you could decided that one kingdom is motivated by greed, one kingdom is motivated by naive idealism, and the third by tradition and conservatism. Then, you can supply multiple disputes, each driven by those core motivations. This has three main benefits. First, it means that you can continue the plot for longer, because it's not any specific dispute that keeps the kingdoms apart, it's these broader motivations. Players can fix an unfair trade deal, but they'll have a harder time "fixing" greed. Obviously, you shouldn't drag this out to the point where the players feel it's interminable. But it does let you draw things out longer by having new problems crop up at least a couple of times.

      Second, it makes it relatively easy to determine what sort of corruption and trickery the Abyssal/Deathlord will try on each kingdom. If one of the countries is motivated by greed, they'll use bribes, offers of resources, and promises of loot. Against the one motivated by naive idealism, they'll present themselves as good, honest people, and make plausible offers to improve people's lives. And so on.

      Finally, by using broad-strokes motivations, you've created a natural theme for your story. In addition to the broad conflict between the three nations, you can reinforce this by using those motivations (in various guises) whenever you need a conflict between some individuals. Don't over-use this, mind, or it'll become trite and obvious, and I would definitely say not to tell the players the specific motivations of the nations in the first place. Letting them figure out things on their own gives them more of a sense of accomplishment, and lets you use the general theme for longer without it risking being repetitive.

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      • #18
        Alternately, create a Ruler for each nation and three to five Nobles/Advisers/Councilmen/Rich Merchants/Other Power Players for each nation. For now you don't need stats, just a name and a rough motivation like Kelly says. This way, rather than having "Northland, full of greedy people" you have "Northland, ruled by a greedy king" which means that the players have a person they can go after, rather than just dealing with rampant greed all over.

        Not that the nations shouldn't have their own culture or whatever, but it should probably be a bit more nuanced than a stereotype.

        If coming up with between 12 and 18 power players sounds intimidating to you, pull your players into it. Ask that noble assassin for the names of the three nobles to blame for his disgrace. Or come up with them together. Ask the other players what sorts of nobility they want to be. Heck, maybe they're the power players in one kingdom.


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        • #19
          Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
          Alternately, create a Ruler for each nation and three to five Nobles/Advisers/Councilmen/Rich Merchants/Other Power Players for each nation. For now you don't need stats, just a name and a rough motivation like Kelly says. This way, rather than having "Northland, full of greedy people" you have "Northland, ruled by a greedy king" which means that the players have a person they can go after, rather than just dealing with rampant greed all over.

          Not that the nations shouldn't have their own culture or whatever, but it should probably be a bit more nuanced than a stereotype.

          If coming up with between 12 and 18 power players sounds intimidating to you, pull your players into it. Ask that noble assassin for the names of the three nobles to blame for his disgrace. Or come up with them together. Ask the other players what sorts of nobility they want to be. Heck, maybe they're the power players in one kingdom.
          Yeah I often go with this. I find it helpful to take the Crusader Kings route, and have a Ruler, and form his Council out of a Chancellor (Guy in charge of diplomacy), Steward (economic Specialist), Spymaster (self-explanatory) and Spiritualist (the religious leader, priest, shaman, Guru, or even Learned Savant). These roles can be filled with lesser rulers like vassal chieftains, or with talented specialists like say the Guru of the Sovereign who guides his spirit as well as teaches him. I also sometimes have a few other specialists like Royal Physician(head healer for the ruler, and I personally often make them a secret witch kind of like Stephan Strange was the Queen's John Dee, and a Seneschal which acts like the lead personal Retainer to the Sovereign's court. The ruler balances out choices for his council based on appeasing his vassals which rule the regions, and talented individuals, and just the phenomenally loyal.


          It is a time for great deeds!

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          • #20
            Thanks for all the advice.

            Another concern, though, because it's Exalted, would be what the prominent gods in the area do, and what they are. I have an idea for the main storm-goddess in the area being a renegade Storm Mother who brews up storms in her sky-cauldron before tipping them out into the valleys, but that's just me.


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

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            • #21
              Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
              Alternately, create a Ruler for each nation and three to five Nobles/Advisers/Councilmen/Rich Merchants/Other Power Players for each nation. For now you don't need stats, just a name and a rough motivation like Kelly says. This way, rather than having "Northland, full of greedy people" you have "Northland, ruled by a greedy king" which means that the players have a person they can go after, rather than just dealing with rampant greed all over.
              For the record, that's actually more or less what I was thinking. Sorry to be unclear! Definitely don't do the "all the citizens of this nation are [X]", that's both boring and dips into some very unpleasant stereotypes.

              Actually, if you want to be even subtler, it's possible to have the motivations of a country fit a particular type, without actually have any particular individual in the country fit that pattern. Using the greed example, if the country is experiencing trouble feeding its citizens and chooses to attack another nation to get more food, rather than redistributing the food supplies it has more equitably, that's essentially greed, despite the fact that the actual ruler of the country (who wants to feed their people, and just can't afford, politically, to alienate the rich by redistributing existing food), and everyone commanding the armies they send to conquer their neighbour (who are mostly motivated by a sense of duty to their nation or their military comrades), isn't motivated by greed at all.


              On the topic of gods, some other obvious candidates to be interested in the fortunes of the countries and get involved in the politics would be:
              • "Small gods" of the people, the ones who would lose worship or even their whole portfolio if a bunch of the common people were killed. Field gods, gods of roads and such, and so on. And their immediate superiors would probably get involved too, if all their underlings were pushing them - if there's a god of harvests whose domain covers most or all of one nation, and all the field gods start saying "please stop this war!", it will probably get involved.
              • Conversely, there's probably similar low-level gods who see the potential of war or conflict to boost their portfolios, and their superiors will tend to get involved to encourage any fights. Gods of things like war, diseases that commonly spread on battlefields or from refugees, and so on.
              • Gods of any major cities in the region might get involved, and not necessarily on the side of the nation they're in. A city father/mother might very well weigh the odds of their city getting conquered and getting a boost in commerce or something under the new regime, vs. the chance that their city would be completely destroyed, and come up thinking that the former is more likely - cities are founded in spots for a specific reason, usually, and that means they're unlikely to completely end. And a city god doesn't necessarily care particularly about the specific residents of their community, just that there is a community.
              • If any of the countries themselves have been around long enough, they could have had a god assigned to them, who will be interested in expanding that nation's fortunes, probably at the cost of the others. They'll be the most reliably partisan of the gods involved, probably, but they'll also be difficult allies when it comes time to make peace. At that point, they may very well try to keep the conflict going in order to secure a complete conquest of the other nations.

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              • #22
                Don't forget gods of natural landmarks and locations! the local King of the Wood and his stickmen allies are probably an important factor.


                I made some MAs! PEACH: Red Locust Style, Emerald Wasp Style, Thunder on the Precipice Style, Graceful Humming Bird Style

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                  Thanks for all the advice.

                  Another concern, though, because it's Exalted, would be what the prominent gods in the area do, and what they are. I have an idea for the main storm-goddess in the area being a renegade Storm Mother who brews up storms in her sky-cauldron before tipping them out into the valleys, but that's just me.
                  Storm Mothers seem to be about oceanic storms. I think it'd be fun to create another order of spirit associated with storms who might provide the archetype that the storm-goddess of the area takes from.


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

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post

                    Storm Mothers seem to be about oceanic storms. I think it'd be fun to create another order of spirit associated with storms who might provide the archetype that the storm-goddess of the area takes from.
                    Unless there's some minor local sea that separates the involved nations from the rest of the Hundred Kingdoms, for example. One could have a big isle or archipelago divided in nations, sort of like Japan or Great Britain in feudal or more ancient times.

                    Also, unrelated but sort of related anyway.

                    Anyway, my suggestions are, at least for now, don't worry overly much about laying the motives behind the war for each nation, that kind of thing can wait until the plot gets a little more traction and stuff has happened in the story. Exalted is the name of the game, where Creation through an undreamed time of savage adventure - let them deal with bandits, corrupt guild merchants or other greedy people using the war as an excuse to capture and enslave people to sell in other places, battle a demon, angry old spirit or hungry ghost engorged in killing aroused from its slumber in a pillaged ruin, try to neutralize or negotiate with a band of refuges turned robber band/cult by the accidental discovery of a sorcerous wonder during their exodus, a plague of locust or mass migration of some other animal caused by a forest spirit angered by the sudden increase in logging by or all of the groups, a sinister pale rogue of an army-killer with no loyalty beyond loot, sacrifices & killing (deathknight, coff, coff) and so on.

                    Go for imagery and making evocative beings, things and places for the PCs to interact with - mine your players' ideas, get whatever catches your fancy in the book, tweak to taste and have a go at it. Colors, symbols, flags, banners, military standards, prefered types of arms & armor, animal companions, all of those can be used to give the forces in conflict distinctive looks and particular identities, depending on who uses what or not and how.
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 08-30-2017, 10:53 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Creation is a dangerous world. Most places where people live are probably going to be walled or defended in some way, rather than the very spread out farms our world has had. People live inside the wall and go out to their section of land to farm. Your kingdoms might actually be more akin to city states, largish walled and defended cities that can project force out on the surrounding area and control a certain number of subsidiary walled towns and fort villages who provide food for the city.

                      I think that a wide river on one side of the region and a ridge of low mountains on the other might be a good way to go. The mountains can have passes that are only open at certain times of year, which limits external trade and gives the nation who holds them extra power since they get to control the majority of said trade.

                      The nation farthest to the East could have a border forest with some "barbarian tribes" with which they alternately trade and fight. This could be a good place for a Lunar.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                        Creation is a dangerous world. Most places where people live are probably going to be walled or defended in some way, rather than the very spread out farms our world has had. People live inside the wall and go out to their section of land to farm. Your kingdoms might actually be more akin to city states, largish walled and defended cities that can project force out on the surrounding area and control a certain number of subsidiary walled towns and fort villages who provide food for the city.

                        I think that a wide river on one side of the region and a ridge of low mountains on the other might be a good way to go. The mountains can have passes that are only open at certain times of year, which limits external trade and gives the nation who holds them extra power since they get to control the majority of said trade.

                        The nation farthest to the East could have a border forest with some "barbarian tribes" with which they alternately trade and fight. This could be a good place for a Lunar.
                        You make excellent points.

                        Also, I have a couple of new characters from the players. One is a God-blood of the cat-goddess Kyphur, who is closely involved with the royalty of one of the kingdoms. The god-blood was therefore raised alongside the younger royals as a playmate/ally/favour to Kyphur. The other is a sanxiang player who practices the Silver-Voiced Nightingale style.


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

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                        • #27
                          In my version of the Hundred Kingdoms, the actual Kingdoms are heavily based on Sengoku Jidai-era Japan, Warring States- era China, and Feudal Europe (mainly on the German Principalities and the Kingdom of England).

                          Outright wars, assassinations, diplomacy, byzantine politicking, all in a region that is relatively self-contained and isolated. Banditry abounds.

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