Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

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Asyme
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Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Asyme » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:48 am

Slightly odd question but I'm busy working up a campaign world for a legend game that's starting in the next couple of weeks.

Its going to be based around two main areas, one which is very magical (with typical spirit summoning and access to common magic) and the other where the very essence of magic has burnt away and been replaced by technology so advanced that examples of it are treated as artefacts or copied ritualistically (a la warhammer 40k). This latter area is almost sword&sorcery at times, with nomads, feuding city-states and a slightly conan-esque feel but their cults control powerful machines.

So basically a magic vs/alongside weird tech (oh and there's no widespread common magic. Some people teach it as one offs but its very rare).

At the minute I have two groups of religious cults. The first, in the magical areas works exactly like standard legend ones. They offer access to higher magic (both divine and spirit based) and a few rare skills.

It's their opposite numbers I'm trying to figure out how to detail. I want them to be a technological equivalent. These religions might have access to a few common spells but primarily their higher magic and divine spells would be replaced by access to tech-lore.

Has anyone ever done anything like this or know of a book that might give me an idea how to proceed? I vaguely thought about Hawkmoon for some ideas but haven't looked at that line in years.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Verderer » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:33 am

Maybe Clockwork & Chivalry, it's got rules for making 'stuff', and the ideology behind this tech is kinda religious- the engineers are called preachers and so on. Although I am not sure if the tech is exactly what you want (wheels and wound springs powered mechanisms), probably not? But it enables you to design both huge & small apparatus.

What exactly do you need in the way of rules? And what sort ot tech you need, archaic (pre industrial revolution), or lasers (futuristic), or something in between?
Asyme
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Asyme » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:12 am

Good suggestion - I could check out the renaissance rules which I believe are fairly cheap at the minute.

As for the tech levels they're effectively replacing magical spells so closer to the fantastical. I was doodling around while looking at some orientalist paintings and thinking about that branch of sword and sorcery where technology is virtually indistinguishable from magic items. I've always been a big fan of the set design from the original Dune film with it's brass, wood and general feel of craftsmanship.

My quick notes were something like:

'The South. A land of plateaus, cold open plains and dark storm lashed skies. The darkness of the deserts are broken by warring cities. Barbaric with a slightly islamic or Hyborean feel but with cults that control access to much higher tech. Examples include Guns, cannons, communication devices, alchemy, maintenance of transportation gates that they don't fully understand and a playable race of golems who recycle their parts from previous versions slowly wearing out and getting fewer in numbers. No one invents, they simply build according to fixed schematics they barely understand. No computers. Technomancy'
Olaus Petrus
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Olaus Petrus » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:41 am

Some suggestions for technology:

Elric has rules for automata and Sign & Portents 57 (you can find it here http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/signsnportentsarchive ) gives plenty of examples of mechanical devices and creatures. Unfortunately it's for first edition of Elric (MRQ1 rules), but converting it to Legend isn't very difficult and you can easily use those stats as a basis for creating other mechanical things.

Arms of Legend has rules for black powder weapons, but Design Mechanism recently published free supplement for RQ6 which gives stats and rules for black powder, modern and sci-fi firearm. You can find it from their page and conversion to Legend is again very simple.

And while I don't have Hawkmoon books I assume that the Granbretan book gives stats to weird devices of the Dark Empire. I really hope that at some point Mongoose will make Legend conversions of those books.
Asyme
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Asyme » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:57 am

Good suggestions.

I think I'll probably go with a few types of machine crafting. One for mundane items like blackpowder guns and the other for devices and automata a la Elric. I was thinking of borrowing an idea I saw in another RPG and having them effectively be powered by magic points which are harvested from the life force of things. Not necessarily human sacrifice but more alchemical ethers and essences gathered from plants and animals which would imply a certain level of corruption and pollution to the proceedings especially for the larger devices.

Cheers for that!
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Olaus Petrus » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:12 pm

Asyme wrote:Good suggestions.

I think I'll probably go with a few types of machine crafting. One for mundane items like blackpowder guns and the other for devices and automata a la Elric. I was thinking of borrowing an idea I saw in another RPG and having them effectively be powered by magic points which are harvested from the life force of things. Not necessarily human sacrifice but more alchemical ethers and essences gathered from plants and animals which would imply a certain level of corruption and pollution to the proceedings especially for the larger devices.

Cheers for that!
In Elric automata are powered by magic points and once they run out the juice they need more magic points to power up again. Blood Magic book has rules for harvesting magic points via sacrifice. Human sacrifice, mutilation, life force (taking it from living beings and spirits or sacrificing youth i. e. you age when you give your life force) and such. You might find that interesting.
Asyme
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Asyme » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:26 pm

I did think about that (and Blood magic is a great book) but am keeping it back for another more malicious race elsewhere in the world.

I figured the moment I started killing people to power 50 foot tall war machines the players would assume this was a 'bad thing' and probably assume they were the bad guys.

While not legend I was more inclined to borrow from a recent game called Shadows of Esteren. Confusing in places but had the idea of a thing called Magience which worked by extracting essences from living things or the world around you. Blood or living matter worked a treat (it was about 2 pints of blood a point) but you could pull the same amount from trees or rocks (for roughly about 300-400 pounds a point).

It made the machines more like walking despoilers rather than walking murder machines which made a nice contrast with the more standard magical cults. I'm inclined to try to give each of the southern cults access to this Techurgy and a list of schematics appropriate to their nature. For example giving the upper ranks of the Death God a kind of 'Liche-harness' which keeps the dead sorcerer alive and empowered as long as they feed it.
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Fonso » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:17 pm

You could do something similar to Weird Science in Savage Worlds.

Magic & Superscience use the same mechanics in powers, but change its trapplings, the way they seem and function in the game world. Por example, the bolt power, similar to Disruption in Legend:

A wizard makes magic. He move his hands, speaks in weird languages and cast an spell. Mechanically, he roll his magic skill (Wizardry), reduce his Power Points (Magic points in Legend) and make damage, 2d6.
A mad scientist uses technology. His bolt power "is" an specific sonic gun that he (or anyone) can use with his magic skills (Weird Science or Shooting if a gun is something common in the setting). That gun have is own PP, but make the same damage (2d6) than the wizard's bolt and recharges its PP at the same rate than the wizard (1/hour).

Use the same spells in both cases but do that they "seem" different in use in the world.
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Lemnoc
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Lemnoc » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:46 am

Seems like the Gloranthan cults of Issaries and Lhankor Mhy could yield some ideas. For a RW example, check out the Stoics and Pythagorean mystery schools.
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Re: Campaign advice for technological cults in Legend

Postby Mixster » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:17 pm

Fonso wrote:You could do something similar to Weird Science in Savage Worlds.

Magic & Superscience use the same mechanics in powers, but change its trapplings, the way they seem and function in the game world. Por example, the bolt power, similar to Disruption in Legend:

A wizard makes magic. He move his hands, speaks in weird languages and cast an spell. Mechanically, he roll his magic skill (Wizardry), reduce his Power Points (Magic points in Legend) and make damage, 2d6.
A mad scientist uses technology. His bolt power "is" an specific sonic gun that he (or anyone) can use with his magic skills (Weird Science or Shooting if a gun is something common in the setting). That gun have is own PP, but make the same damage (2d6) than the wizard's bolt and recharges its PP at the same rate than the wizard (1/hour).

Use the same spells in both cases but do that they "seem" different in use in the world.
Yeah, this could be generalized into a "Divine Magic"-Esque system.

Blessing - Well it's an ability enhancing drug (or for stealth, a stealth field generator).
Shield - It's a forcefield.
True Weapon - A lightsaber.
Amplify - Magic Enhancer A/S.
Etc. Etc.

The players "Pact" skill could be how good he is at manufacturing and maintaining them, the "lore" skill could be how good he is at handling them.
The pacted points are magic points he's put into creating them, and they work (once for their duration) until re-charged.
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