The Unified Theory of the Errant Road Universe

For the Rules, Character Workshop, and other general discussion of the game.

The Unified Theory of the Errant Road Universe

Postby Imp-Chan » July 22nd, 2009, 11:51 pm

In the interest of making them easy to find and making sure that any newcomers can quickly be on the same page as the veteran players, I am starting a new thread to review the rules and course of play, as well as any other relevant information I could think of to include.

The Rules

1. Whether participating or just watching the game, by visiting the RPG section of the board you're agreeing to follow our rules. Even if Caffeine Angel Studios later needs to refine or change the rules, you are still promising to follow them forever and ever, amen.

2. A review of the board rules will remind you that by participating in the forum you granted Caffeine Angel Studios an unlimited license to use anything you produced here, but here especially it's important to stop to recognize what that really means before you get started playing. Further, any characters, settings, storylines, etc. that are created for this game may not be used anywhere else, by anyone else including the player that creates them, only by Poe or his legally authorized agents acting on his behalf. There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is that Poe already has a lot planned for future stories within the same universe as Errant Story, and someone at some point is bound to come up with something similar for the game. It would really suck if he had to worry about being sued for using an idea he already had that has to do with his world and his plans for it, so we have this notice here to protect him as he continues to write and create new stories for the Errant Story universe. Just to be extra certain about where his ideas come from, Poe will never read the game or the threads associated with it. That way, we all KNOW any future similarities are just great minds thinking alike.

The second reason for this policy is to protect you, the players, since this is to be a collaborative game and it would not be pleasant to try to resolve any future squabbling over creative rights. This way, it's a moot point from the start and all rights are just assumed to belong to Poe.

3. Since this game is taking place on our board, it would be nice if you reviewed the regular board rules. However, we also need to make a distinction between what's expected of the players and what is expected of the characters. Players have to follow the board rules and generally play nice with each other. The characters, being fictional, don't. If it makes sense for your character to stab someone in the back, you can do so without fear of breaking the rules, so long as you also accept the in-game consequences for that action. Playing this game means committing to being good sports who recognize that character interactions aren't the same as personal interactions, and not taking them personally.

4. In the interest of keeping the board relatively work-safe, we do need a little bit of self-censorship over the course of play. Graphic violence, to some extent, is permissible in this game. Try not to go overboard. Also, please fade to black rather than incorporating any sex, as that's much more likely to ever get us complaints than violence is, and I just don't want to have to deal with it.

5. Any other rules the board mods or game players choose to add will be appended to this, provided they do not contradict anything else I've already said here.

Game Structure

This is a cooperative free-form game, so there are no turns. Instead, each player just posts whenever they have something to add, though frequently people do conspire to go in a particular direction with the story.

New characters are first created in the Character Workshop. That way the player has a chance to iron out any kinks in the cooperative OOC environment, rather than just running into a previously undiscovered issue mid-game. Once the character is created, it is up to the players how and where to incorporate that character.

In this game, new major places generally generate new threads, while minor places would be played within the larger thread. For example, Mindi's Tavern would not be a thread by itself, but the characters could visit it while in a thread for Taberna. Large non-city based events, such as finding an abandoned temple in the woods while walking from point A to point B, might also warrant their own threads, depending on how much time is spent there (and how likely it is to be used again at some later point).

IC and OOC: If you've never RPG'd on a forum before, IC (In Character) and OOC (Out of Character) are ususally used to determine if it's you saying something or your character saying something... a typical post might go:

Trogdor walked across the bar, picked up the table, and flung it with all his strength through the outer wall. The table sailed straight and true, hitting the trio of bards square on and sending them flying.

(OOC: We did this once in my AD&D campaign... except it wasn't a table, it was a dwarf.)


Inside a RPGing post, all things are normally assumed to be IC, so you don't have to specifically declare you're In Character unless it's following an OOC like this:

(OOC: Does anyone know where Forrest went? We sort of need his character to move this story along...I'll fake it for now.)

IC: Trogdor picked up Forresta, the beautiful (but unconscious) half-elf and started running for the gates...


Settings

This game is set in an alternate universe, based on the Errant Story universe, but taking place before the events of the comic by at least a year. That way there's some time to go around and look at things before they start burning, exploding, disappearing, or otherwise meeting their doom. Locations will generally be based off the information provided in Errant Story and will reference the Heretic Knowledge Vault whenever possible for "historical accuracy," but since this is a creative endeavor it is still entirely possible to discover locations which have not yet been discussed (and may never be discussed) in the comic. For example, there is an entire Southern Continent in the Errant Road setting that has not been even alluded to in the comic.

In short, while themes and plot elements may be similar and characters or places or events that appear in one universe might appear in the other, they aren't necessarily the same, and actions in the game universe don't directly impact the "real" Errant Story universe or vice versa.

Characters

On the theory that we're eventually going to have to iron out character creation in some depth for the inevitable player guides and world books which we will someday no doubt create, I'm going to go just a little overboard now in talking about what's what when it comes to character creation.

Races: So far in Errant Story, we've seen humans, elves, half elves, trolls, dwarves, paedagogusi, and hints that there will be at least one half troll at some point in the future. The dwarves are believed to be dead or gone in this time period, half trolls are so improbable that the one in future stories is likely to be the only one in a good long while, and paedagogusi probably shouldn't be player characters. The trolls historically tend to avoid human society, so while they can be played successfully, it becomes difficult to integrate them effectively into a group. That leaves humans, half elves, and elves as the most common playable races. Since that's a pretty narrow range of choices, albeit a range that encompasses near endless possibilities, we came up with a few additional options, all of which are RARE in the Errant Story universe, namely Ghob, Blue Golems, Cat People (as yet unnamed), and Imps. At some later date I will draft a more thorough description of all of these and the standard races as well, but for now please refer to this thread as a starting place.

Classes: While there is no formal class system in Errant Road, characters do have nationalities, jobs, experiences, and loyalties that might be expected to shape their background, abilities, views, and choices. For example, a Veracian character will most likely believe devoutly in Luminosita and have little to no experience of magic let alone any magical training. In contrast, a Tsuirakujin character will probably be a godless cultural elitist with at least some magic ready to hand, even if it's only in device form. When determining your character's background, try to keep their upbringing and probable experiences in mind and make sure that it makes sense in the context of the specific Errant Story world, rather than your typical generic RPG. It will make them that much easier for the other characters to interact with if you don't go too bizarre. The Heretic Knowledge Vault is an excellent reference for this.

As for character vocations, it's a pretty open field. Of course, it's all well and good to have Ensigerum, Assassins, Mercenaries, Smugglers, Priests, Mages, Bartenders, Tour Guides, Pirates, Librarians etc, but keep in mind that not everyone needs to be an incredibly badass high-powered freak of nature. Meji would have gotten nowhere if the librarian hadn't shown her how to find that second half of the book, and it can be highly entertaining to play an average nobody suddenly confronted with an Adventure. Plus, high-powered badass adventurers tend to blow stuff up a LOT, and it'd suck to lose the joy and novelty of it right off the bat.

Abilities: While there's a near infinite variety of skills that might be both plausible and useful, characters in Errant Story (much like the real world) tend to be specialists. And just like in the real world, acquiring those specialties takes time and energy and focus, and tends to exclude acquiring more than an average understanding of anything else. So just as a doctor is probably not also a truck driver and a master chef, a mage that's great at healing probably won't have had time to master teleportation or exploding potions (Amwar's Discount Healing Potions aside) as well. Even great multitasking characters tend to be really good at only one thing, and at best just competent or lucky in everything else. That's why, while you could theoretically have a character that shapeshifted, you probably couldn't have one that shapeshifted then did anything else useful for the next day or so (like, say, going to the bathroom on their own), and they probably wouldn't know how to do any other magic or anything either.

So in conclusion, your characters need to be a good and realistic fit for both the Errant Story universe and the group you're putting them in. They should have both strengths and weaknesses, and those should make sense with that character's background in order to really get the most out of the game.

And now, as I'm very tired of typing, I think that's probably enough to get you started. If more stuff comes up, I'll try to add it here as needed, especially the race summaries and an explanation of the magic system(s?), for which I will need to consult Poe first.

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Re: The Unified Theory of the Errant Road Universe

Postby Graybeard » July 28th, 2009, 10:24 pm

Thanks, Impy; that's really excellent, and it gives a marvelously complete yet concise summary of what we're up to here.

One thing may be worth pointing out.
Imp-Chan wrote:Classes: While there is no formal class system in Errant Road, characters do have nationalities, jobs, experiences, and loyalties that might be expected to shape their background, abilities, views, and choices. For example, a Veracian character will most likely believe devoutly in Luminosita and have little to no experience of magic let alone any magical training. In contrast, a Tsuirakujin character will probably be a godless cultural elitist with at least some magic ready to hand, even if it's only in device form. When determining your character's background, try to keep their upbringing and probable experiences in mind and make sure that it makes sense in the context of the specific Errant Story world, rather than your typical generic RPG. It will make them that much easier for the other characters to interact with if you don't go too bizarre. The Heretic Knowledge Vault is an excellent reference for this.

One regard in which the Errant Road-verse does differ significantly from the Poe-verse (at least what we know of it) is that in Errant Road, the Veracian Church isn't completely monolithic, but rather has branches -- "denominations," if you wish -- that broadly follow/worship Luminosita, but differ considerably in some of the details. By far the dominant denomination is the "Orthodox" branch, corresponding to the Veracian Church that has appeared in Errant Story (e.g. what Meji invaded to get the book and meet Ian, what summoned Luminosita to fight and get dispelled by Ian, etc.), and Impy's description fits its adherents to a tee. However, several "splinter" denominations have been mentioned in the game, and two of them, the "Reformed" and "Millenarian" branches, are quite important there. Adherents of these sects, several important game characters among them, aren't necessarily so straitlaced, and may offer some room for creativity in character play that might not be there for a mainstream Veracian.

Again, these branches don't exist in the Poe-verse, and their presence in this game is a nod toward plot development and character playability. They do offer some opportunities for players, however, and there are similar, lesser "tweaks" to the Farrelite and Tsuirakuan cultures in the interest of fostering creativity. It's best if they remain minor tweaks, however; we do try to stay broadly within the Poe-verse...
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