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  • Ideas for Dynastic Chronicle

    So with the DB book, Realm book, and Heirs to the Shogunate coming out in the next few months, probably, my group was thinking about having a game of Dynasts. We all want to try out the charms, giant pile of merits chargen, intrigue and all that. The problem is that nobody really has a good idea of a specific character to play, and I have no ideas for specific story points or themes or events that could happen. Normally I could tailor an environment to suit the PCs and their skills and stories, or they could build PCs to fit a theme of a game. Like I dunno a straight Wyld Hunt game where the PCs go around slaying raksha and demons and stuff, but maybe have some internal crisis when they realize that the Hunt might not always be doing the right thing.

    So then I thought, "Hey, there's a bunch of smart and creative people on the forums!" and here we are. If anyone has played DBs, what worked, what didn't, what was cool, what did you try to make work but couldn't? All that. This applies to character concepts and NPCs and story beats from the other side of the screen too. Any help at all would be appreciated, even if it's just a vague idea that could be a jumping off point.

    Also I do recognize how hard it might be to come up with ideas in the midst of Lunar HYPE but that's part of the reason we have to do this now before we decide we have to play Lunars, hah!

  • #2
    Hmm... well, you know your group best. Would they prefer a strong unifying throughline, a real firm basis for the party existing, or something a bit looser that kept plenty of concepts viable?

    My first temptation is to simply have the PCs be a group of dynastic friends in the Realm, people who meet regularly and who an adventure happens around. Like, they're a group of various officials who all hang out in the same tea shop in the Imperial City, and something either befalls them as a group, or it hits one of them and the others volunteer to help. The idea of a party being friends with normal social lives in a wider society is reasonably unique to the Dynasts in Exalted and I think it's got some potential.

    Alternatively, if you want a bit of a firmer throughline, I'd advocate the Imperial Legions over the Wyld Hunt. This rules out a few concepts, but still lets your PCs play heroes from any house. Perhaps they're in the Vermillion, perhaps they're part of a different Legion that's still in the Threshold for other reasons. Loyalty to their squadmates and fellow officers is a bit of a stronger way to keep the party on the same page, and the Legion gives the party a bedrock of support right out of the starting gate, while still leaving them with room to grow that powerbase..

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    • #3
      I guess my first question is: do you want a game that features dynastic politics or not? If so, how cutthroat do you want them to be? If one player’s house asks them to betray another player, is that over the line or just expected play?

      Then you have a few standard options:
      Newly Graduated Heroes traveling the Satrapies doing “Good.”
      School based Relationship Drama.
      Team of Agents of the All Seeing Eye, doing spy stuff.
      Political Intrigue as you try to Avert (or Cause) the Realm Civil War.
      Satrapial Leaders trying to keep things Running.
      Fighting over the Caul.

      I will say that we’re probably going to have the Realm book in a few months so building a DB game should be much easier then.

      At the moment, I would probably run with the PCs being the ones in charge of a Satrapy because there’s lots of potential drama there. Their Houses can demand that the locals pay more than they can afford or get PCs to divert shipments to their own coffers. The locals are probably not thrilled that you’re here. You could have a new Lunar trying to stir up trouble. And so on.

      Granted, if you don’t like building/running a nation, that’s probably not for you. But that’s where my mind is at right now.
      Last edited by BrilliantRain; 02-24-2019, 08:59 PM.


      ....

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Croakamancer View Post
        Alternatively, if you want a bit of a firmer throughline, I'd advocate the Imperial Legions over the Wyld Hunt. This rules out a few concepts, but still lets your PCs play heroes from any house. Perhaps they're in the Vermillion, perhaps they're part of a different Legion that's still in the Threshold for other reasons. Loyalty to their squadmates and fellow officers is a bit of a stronger way to keep the party on the same page, and the Legion gives the party a bedrock of support right out of the starting gate, while still leaving them with room to grow that powerbase..
        Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
        At the moment, I would probably run with the PCs being the ones in charge of a Satrapy because there’s lots of potential drama there. Their Houses can demand that the locals pay more than they can afford or get PCs to divert shipments to their own coffers. The locals are probably not thrilled that you’re here. You could have a new Lunar trying to stir up trouble. And so on.

        Granted, if you don’t like building/running a nation, that’s probably not for you. But that’s where my mind is at right now.
        Thanks for the responses! I could even do something around the middle of these. In charge of a more dangerous Satrapy, or at least in charge of guarding it with the local garrison. The game wouldn't be starting for a little while yet anyway, but then it could include both visiting dignitaries from outside the Realm and other houses. Maybe somewhere in the Eastern Threshold, relatively close to the Imperial City so we could have some good visits back to the capital for some intrigue.

        I like the idea of being called back to the Imperial City to maybe help deal with some kind of civil war thing that they get wrapped up in. It would add some nice tension where they're actually concerned about what's happening, but they've got problems of their own back at their Satrapy that they need to go deal with. Yeah I think this is shaping up...

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        • #5
          A game like this would in my opinion be something that starts off better for the pcs if this is a few years or decades before the start of the setting. You get to explore the nature of the beast before the looming civil war that way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
            A game like this would in my opinion be something that starts off better for the pcs if this is a few years or decades before the start of the setting. You get to explore the nature of the beast before the looming civil war that way.
            OOH! That's a fantastic idea that I hadn't even thought of. Then we can actually play out the "Oh holy fuck the Empress really might be gone for good this time?!"

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            • #7
              Two Terrestrial games I’m dying to run:

              1) Heptagram game, which will probably feel like R-rated Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones.
              2) Wyld Hunt game in the style of a horror movie, with the PC’s as in over their heads, on the hunt for the glory/because mom has been asking when you’ll finally mount an Anathema head next to the one she mounted in her youth. Exorcism style Solar/Abyssal exaltations, and/or Lunars stalking the party...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                In charge of a more dangerous Satrapy, or at least in charge of guarding it with the local garrison.
                I'd say that something that can be more flexible to suit a more typical play style is the idea that the players are functioning more as a kind of trouble shooting group. That may or may not entail being on an official payroll, but otherwise involves the satrap or the garrison commander being somebody who assigns tasks that require a bit more mobility and flexibility than is afforded by the normal imperial apparatus, in order to get some things done. Maybe also entrusts them to act according to their own initiative, possibly after having demonstrated some skills or value.

                Like, the satrap starts by having the Hearth go attend some important social event like an aristocratic party or a big festival, start insinuating themselves into society and get a feel for the local moods, from which they could uncover... not a major plot or anything, not something directed right at the satrapial office, maybe start with something like the local powers agitating amongst themselves in a manner that could disrupt imperial business if left unchecked. Or a garrison commander could start with a problem of budgetary shortfall meaning that they need to find a new supplier quickly, and a bunch of fresh new Exalts are ideal for heading out to borrow, bully or beg their way into something to make up for it.

                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                Maybe somewhere in the Eastern Threshold, relatively close to the Imperial City so we could have some good visits back to the capital for some intrigue.
                I'd say those would need to be oriented around significant social events, as those trips aren't exactly convenient.


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                • #9
                  Back in 2e I was thinking of running a game where the PCs are part of a secret society of disgruntled sorcerors who are plotting to forsake their houses & claim the throne. I was thinking I'd just give everyone Terrestrial Circle Sorcery & a few spells on top of whatever they pick for their usual character creation stuff.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                    I'd say that something that can be more flexible to suit a more typical play style is the idea that the players are functioning more as a kind of trouble shooting group. That may or may not entail being on an official payroll, but otherwise involves the satrap or the garrison commander being somebody who assigns tasks that require a bit more mobility and flexibility than is afforded by the normal imperial apparatus, in order to get some things done. Maybe also entrusts them to act according to their own initiative, possibly after having demonstrated some skills or value.
                    Very true. And yes part of the tension during their recall back to the deeper empire would definitely be that it's no small trip. That works both ways because the family who wants them around in case house Sesus makes a break for their holdings in the mountains can't afford to let them go back, and the heroes also need to start their return trip ASAP because the round sea voyage already takes over a month at the best of times. Sounds like good fodder for a few episodes at sea where they run into trouble too. Trying to get back and stop an insurrection before the Satrap decides to make an example of the rebels.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Khal Matt View Post
                      Two Terrestrial games I’m dying to run:

                      1) Heptagram game, which will probably feel like R-rated Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones.
                      Originally posted by Katamari_Naneke View Post
                      Back in 2e I was thinking of running a game where the PCs are part of a secret society of disgruntled sorcerors who are plotting to forsake their houses & claim the throne. I was thinking I'd just give everyone Terrestrial Circle Sorcery & a few spells on top of whatever they pick for their usual character creation stuff.
                      Might be a bit restrictive, but also that's definitely a story that's going to be difficult to tell with Lunars when they come out. Unless you want to go study under Raksi as kind of a Lunar sorcery academy thing. It's not quite the same though. It's a hard choice since this might be our only terrestrial game for a while.

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                      • #12
                        I don't understand, I think I missed something. Why would it be hard when Lunars come out? Why would Dynasts go study under Raksi?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Katamari_Naneke View Post
                          I don't understand, I think I missed something. Why would it be hard when Lunars come out? Why would Dynasts go study under Raksi?
                          Oh sorry, the implication was that when Lunars come out we're probably going to try and run a Lunars chronicle, and they don't really have a Heptagram equivalent. The closest thing I think Lunars have to a multi tiered magical school is Raksi, and it's really not the same thing. So if we want to do it we'd better do it now while we're all still wanting to do DBs.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                            Very true. And yes part of the tension during their recall back to the deeper empire would definitely be that it's no small trip. That works both ways because the family who wants them around in case house Sesus makes a break for their holdings in the mountains can't afford to let them go back, and the heroes also need to start their return trip ASAP because the round sea voyage already takes over a month at the best of times.
                            I'm suddenly picturing a whole session consisting of being holed up with House leadership (are they all part of the same House?), amounting to a series of conversations and negotiations concerning the terms for where and when the Dynasts are allowed to be. Presumably under circumstances where the characters might have gained a bit of prestige, enough to respond to the matriarch with counter offers rather than immediate obedience.

                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
                            Trying to get back and stop an insurrection before the Satrap decides to make an example of the rebels.
                            Maybe with an edge of subterfuge concerning the matter of where exactly their priorities lie.


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                            https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                            • #15
                              I played in a DB game where the PCs were all warstrider pilots assigned to a troubled satrapy as part of the garrison. We were mostly there as a show of force, but then a mysterious warlord with warstriders of his own started raiding from out of the desert and recruiting peasants into his army, virtually depopulating whole villages. We ended up in charge of the defence after most of our superiors were taken out while we were on a mission. This was all going on against the backdrop of the looming civil war, and there were people from multiple houses present in the garrison and satrapial staff, so there was a lot of intrigue balanced with the need to unite against an external threat. Plus, cool mech battles.

                              I've talked before about my plan to run an inter-generational DB game following the fortunes of a house through the centuries, with each player playing multiples characters of different generations and power levels. Frequent time-skips, lots of "empire-building". Requires all your PCs to be from one house, but I plan to have them design their own house before chargen so they have some control and ownership of it. My plan was to start with an exiled Dynastic house in the early years of the Realm's formation, but you could do it with a threshold bloodline.

                              I guess the first question is, do you want the game to be anchored to a place or institution, or to be more free-roaming like a lot of Solar games? Because the only real way I see to do free-roaming with DBs is a Hearth of Outcastes or a bunch of Dynastic secondary school graduates on their gap year(s) before settling down into real jobs.

                              If you want military themes, the Imperial Legions could be interesting, particularly with all the politicking going on as they're restructured as house legions. It's also worth considering the Seventh Legion of Lookshy for a more techno-shogunate aesthetic, or Prasad's campaigns of expansion for more exotic Dreaming Sea weirdness.

                              If your Hearth is part of an organisation, like an army or the All-Seeing Eye, all the PCs are going to be expected to have a base level of competency in the area of that organisation's main purpose, but that can still allow for a broad range of character types. Armies need spies, scouts, logistics officers, craftsmen, diplomats, etc. And nothing says you can't have hobbies or a previous career that broadened your experience and skillset. Plus you can have people from different houses and play with the tension between professional loyalty and house loyalty.

                              For more diversity of character types you could all be part of the same house, united only by that common loyalty, and trying to navigate your family through treacherous times with your diverse skillsets. You probably have less experience working together because you've led different lives since childhood, and might still have conflicting loyalties with the institutions you're part of outside the house.

                              Secret societies are fun. Maybe a hidden evil has taken root at the heart of the Realm (or Lookshy, or Gloam, or wherever) and you're inducted into a shadow war against a cunning and well-resources foe that most people don't believe exists? Or you're all planning some grand reform to the broader society you're part of? Maybe even a revolution? Your secret society could have secret techniques like spells or martial arts, or secret resources like artifacts with unusual utility or a honeycomb of secret passages leading everywhere in the city. You could have secret identities and lead double lives and have running parkour-battles across darkened rooftops.

                              You could play Heaven's Dragons and have Celestial Bureaucracy Drama instead of Great House Drama. Heaven is a wonderfully bizarre and bizarrely wonderful setting. Maybe you're contracted by one of the heavenly bureaus to push their agenda in the human nations by posing as terrestrial Terrestrials.


                              "Measure of Hope is right about everything." - Wise Old Guru

                              Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.

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