Archive for the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Category

Behind the Scenes: The Shrine of the Antediluvian

December 23, 2012 4 comments

The final Session log will be up tomorrow. Here’s a quick preview:

The location of the final Confrontation

The location of the final Confrontation

This was actually the map I used for the last area. Obviously it’s a lot bigger than that in its original form.

I wanted the Antediluvian to have a different art style to everything else – it’s a gargantuan spirit of creation, it doesn’t look like things that are alive, but it should resemble them. As such it’s a lot more cartoony or even sketchy in order to suggest a kind of abstractness. There’ll be more on the Primordial next time, but I want to note that of all the ideas I had for this campaign, it was pretty much the most constistant, with its function staying the same throughout every draft. And while that sounds pretty obvious, I need to emphasize just how little this campaign resembles my original plan.

Originally the plan was that Ferrosa was the setup for a murder mystery and the party would only spend a session or two on it. The assassins were the main bad guys, Ceylon Tuatha was a kindly questgiving type and the overarching icon drama was to do with the Matrairch Wyrm trying to destroy the Psiontist’s political standing while he was away, starting with his apprentices. At this point Ceylon would have tried to play both sides for profit, and the party would essentially be lead on a quest chain culminating in a meeting with the Huntsman, who knew where Faraday had gone and was interested in preserving the delicate balance of power between the Icons.

Speaking of which, the Huntsman is really one of my favourite icons to write, because he’s a being entirely of mysteries. His capabilities and motives are never known, he mainly exists to do implausible and unsettling things that make people question the security of their belongings and induces paranoia without ever really having a central role in the story. Something I truly regret about not going with the original plan is the fact that he would’ve gotten more screen time. Instead he was very much sidelined, and I never had much opportunity to let him shine. In keeping with his total irrelevance my plan was to drop hint after hint that he was involved and up to something sinister, then at the end there would be a reveal that one of the characters they had met was the Huntsman in disguise and he was basically just messing with everyone. He’d leave immediately after and never be seen again. Pacing basically killed that idea, but you’re free to guess which one of the characters he was.

I’m not likely to confirm the actual identity reveal though, because I’ll probably still use it somewhere down the line.

Here is a hint: A Huntsman is a type of spider – a codename rather than a job title. It doesn’t necessarily indicate he’s a ranger or a rogue or anything.

Categories: Behind the Scenes

Interlude: The Night After

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Once the dust had died down, the broken colony was kind of serene.

Once the dust had died down, the broken colony was kind of serene.

The Arcanauts didn’t have the same kind of aerial view of the colony the night after it was shattered. But if they did, it might have looked something like this.

Mainly, I thought it looked better without the dust cloud hazing things up.

This takes place a few sessions ago, while they were setting up camp. I’ll have a picture of the following night later. With two additional seals broken, it looks quite a bit different.

Categories: Behind the Scenes

The Cast (Sketch)

October 30, 2012 11 comments

Left to right: Knostril, Crias, Julie, Lachlan, Zasahl, Aladraian

Here’s a very simple depiction of the party. Stuff like shading, colouring and backgrounds might come later if I get the time.

Most of the characters were based on the portraits supplied by the players, while I filled in the blanks. Neither our rogues, nor cleric have portraits so their appearances are made up from whole cloth. So if I’m way off how you pictured your character looking let me know.

Categories: Behind the Scenes

Footnote: 13th Age

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Given I mentioned the use of a 13th age mechanic in terms of the icon relationships, I thought I’d explain basically what I’m doing and what exactly the game I got it from is.

Basically it’s an RPG by some of the designers behind 3rd and 4th edition. It has a focus on role playing above combat and it’s got a lot of mechanics I like that can be ported into those editions without much alteration. If any catch your eye I have a beta version of the sourcebook (not everything’s there and its unreleased, so not something to be shared around) copied to the shared folder for more information. If you want to use any of these mechanics, let me know.

A quick rundown of some of the mechanics it uses are:


Adventurers don’t live in a vacuum – they have relationships to the powerful forces of the setting that they can call on over the course of their adventures. This I thought was simple to port and hopefully makes the world feel a lot more alive – a Galaxy’s a big place, might as well have recurring characters. besides, I love reputation systems, so I’ve done so verbatim. Weeeelll, I say verbatim, but I took a few creative liberties with who they are and what they do. They roughly correspond with the outlined archetypes, but none as obviously as you might think. So don’t worry about spoilers is what I’m saying.

Backgrounds instead of skills.

You put points into different elements of your background then when you need to make a skill check you roll 1d20+relevant ability modifier+relevant background. It’s a really flexible system that rewards cunning role playing. This kind of replaces the entire skill system, so if anything it’s something to keep in mind when thinking about your skills, not something that necessarily needs porting.

One Unique Thing

Each character has one non-mechanical unique thing about them that defines them, and differentiates them from the rest of the population. The only reason this isn’t a thing I’ve ported is you can totally already do this yourself. It’s non-mechanical, so feel free to go nuts with it if you want.

Escalation Die

As combat progresses, a d6 increments, adding onto attack rolls as the party learns their foe’s tactics and how best to defeat them. This seems easily open to being added, but with a party this size, you’ll probably have no trouble with combat, at least until I figure out what you guys are capable of.

Incremental Advances

As you complete encounters you can earn a potential feature of your next level up as a kind of try-before-you buy system. Be it a minor ability, attribute bonus, skill increase etc. You don’t have to keep it, but it means as you go on, your learning and experience is represented, and you get to test out how new abilities work with your build. This is usually a reward for excellent role playing, but 13th age only has 10 levels, compared to 4th edition’s 30, so there’s really not any reason it needs to be included – you have planet of opportunities to respec anyway.

Gridless Combat

13th Age is a very flexible system and wants to keep the action open to interpretation. This can’t be ported to 4th edition for obvious reasons.


The system isn’t finished and they’re still working out the kinks, hence why this is a 4th edition game, not a 13th age game, but I’ve said before, this campaign will have a role playing focus, so these can be seen as optional systems to help  you do so.

None of this has to go anywhere and I was totally not payed by the creators to include this stuff (I wish – I got this from their kickstarter) but these are some options on the table so to speak.

Categories: Behind the Scenes