Age of Legends gets a Makeover - General Discussion Discussions on Obsidian Portal Community Forums
Age of Legends gets a Makeover
Gaaran I just realized how tactless and smarmy my remark must have sounded. I apologize, that really not how I meant for that to come across. In fact, that remark was really pointed at my own struggles with _Tales of Darkmoon Vale_ TDMV which, as I mentioned earlier, is set in my own campaign setting _and does_ make heavy use of pre-published materials. I've always sort of had reservations about this decision (even though I _love_ both the modules that we have been using, and the collaborative story that have resulted from them)!.
You make two good points. First, perhaps my distinction between campaigns and campaign settings isn't all that helpful after all since they sort of bleed together in the "history" or "chronicles" part of one's setting. Second, you point out that my unfortunate choice of words, "Creative Blemish", can be evaluated from different stand points. If one's intention is to create their own wholly original campaign world, then importing third source materials might not be the best choice, especially if one would like to one day publish anything from that world. However, if one's purpose is simply to create a fun and exciting setting to game in, then whatever contributes to this at the table is fair game. World building might be part of this experience, but it's not incompatible with utilizing pre-published materials as well. Hence, far from being a "creative blemish," utilizing such materials can actually be a "Creative Boone"! In fact, one might even go so far as to say that it offers its own creative challenges. The DM is challenged to learn how to seamlessly graft in the pre-published story elements with their own overall vision of the world, thereby making it their own. If done well this can result in some really cool collaborative story telling.
I think there is allot of merit to both approaches. The first approach is a bit more original, and that's a good thing. The second approach is more flexible and open, and that's a good thing too. At any rate, while I respect the second approach, it's not the one that I have chosen to take for _Age of Legends_ and hence my somewhat mixed feelings about TDMV.
No offence taken, as I hadn't thought you intended that as a "smarmy remark," but I still felt I should clarify my position. It seems that we in fact more or less agree and that my original thought, that there is no "right or wrong" way to build a campaign world. Simply different goals :). I can now see why, given your goals in the creation of your _Age of Legends_ campaign, you are hesitant to include your _Tales of Darkmoon Vale_ as canon, verbatim.
I know it is just semantics, but could you benefit from a simple name swap? Perhaps instead of Darkmoon Vale, you call it Valley of Ebonmoon? I am seriously considering making a few semantic alterations and making the Groosalugg something else, like the Garaoth, and rename Pylea something like Ylaeis.
I know it is kind of like treating a broken rib with Children's Tylenol, but it's a start I guess. I hate retcons, but I suppose, for the good of the campaign setting...
I love the look of your pages Arsheesh and the character sheet is mind blowing!!!
I am amazed at how some of you fellow OPers are able to use HTML and CSS to create such magnificent layouts for your pages. It shows time, effort, care, and creativity from all of you.
Thanks for sharing, I'm looking forward to seeing more in the future.
Again and again, I am thoroughly impressed by the candor of our forumgoers. Rather than resorting to slings, arrows and mud, it's nice to be part of a community that has the intellectual stability to harbor discourse amongst friends and peers where all opinions are respected.
In the end, I think it all comes down to ends and means, as such things often do. If the end is to create a thoroughly enjoyable story, and that is solely the purpose of the playing, then whatever means are necessary should, and must be implemented to accomplish that goal. This is a highly desirable trait, in fact. However, if one finds that the ultimate end is to create a thoroughly enjoyable story without the use of pre-created materials, with an ancillary end of hopefully, one day, being published, this goal is also to be cherished. The means will be different, but the ultimate end, happiness for all who play, remains the same. Some delight in the creation of the new (And I love Arsheesh's rant on what exactly may constitute new - "modern" art indeed..), while others relish in taking the old and bending it to their whimsy. These two means are more than equal, and to be greatly respected. Ultimately, they enrich us all with the lessons learned: in taking the old and bending it one gains a better understanding of what has worked, and will know what will work in the future; in forging the new, one likewise discovers what works. I view it not as a apples and oranges comparison, but as two things which have equal merit, for different reasons, and both should be applauded.
_Dusk_, depending on your tolerance for pain, sometimes Children's Tylenol is all you need. And setting a broken rib is tricky business to boot.. It's not necessarily a retcon, or a revisionist view of history, but should be seen as something that enhances the story as a whole. For example, there was recently a very bloody betrayal in my campaign: an NPC became evil and ultimately (figuratively and literally as well), tore out the heart of one of the PCs. When I took a longer view of the campaign, I discovered that it really made sense: the seeds of her betrayal had been sewn from the beginning of her introduction. It's well within your right, and ability, upon discovering something that does not work in the greater context, to wonder to yourself "Does this fit? No, I don't think it does... but what are the circumstances by which it can change?" For me, it was the simple realization that people change, and people lie. In truth, this infuriated the players in the best way possible, because it made sense to them. Their erstwhile companion had been lying to them for weeks, whilst pursuing her own, selfish goals.
In your case, the name is not permanent, nor should it need to be. How often have we changed our minds after the fact, wondering why we named that third NPC "Bob" like his predecessors before him, and come to a point where his true name is revealed to by "Tidius Maxwell VII, The Grand Inquisitor of Pelor", but he was just masquerading for "Bob" for perhaps years? Names are the least permanent thing, and messengers often get things messed up, especially if they can't write: typos certainly aren't a thing of the present. They've been around for as long as writing. I imagine that there are some Egyptian Heiroglyphs that read "Bird Wheat Elephant" instead of "Bird Wheat Bird", because the stonecarver was making a joke, or perhaps forgot what he was writing, was hurried, harried, or a herring. I recall a bit of advice you may have mentioned elsewhere on the Forum, where the PCs wake up to find that all of the good deeds they had been doing have been vile, reprehensible acts: why can that not be true in this case? Perhaps there had been an enchantment that prevented the true name of Garaoth from being known, and it twisted itself in the mouths of those who spoke it? Hiding the name of a nation is a relatively easy task as well. I truly believe that that influence on your campaign is in name only, rather than the actual essence.
I hope my input helps out in this matter!
Rase, I like the cut of your jib.
I think that any solution has to be drastic. If I am changing the names, I have to excise the old names permanently, without acknowledging that I have ever used them, which while helpful to my ultimate desires, leaves me feeling a bit dishonest. I do appreciate your input, though. In fact, I would be lost without it, and that of the rest of our noble Obsidian Portal crew.
I'm somewhat alarmed to know that someone has cut my jib without telling me! (Regardless, thanks!)
It's not dishonest at all: in fact, if anything, it's more honest than leaving them in. It's more honest to yourself, and to the campaign as a whole, in that situation. It's more like you misspoke when those names were first mentioned and are now saying "Well, I really meant this instead - I had a cold and couldnt pronounce it correctly." That kind of thing. ...I remember introducing an NPC in one session, and in the next, he had a completely different name and mannerism. Why? I forgot his name. Completely erased it. So I just pressed on, feeling a bit sheepish, but the campaign was better for it!
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