Thursday, January 26, 2012

Next Project - Codenamed Avian Knights

Now that IHW: Pigboats has gone out to betatesters, I can start blocking out my next project. Right now, I'm calling it Avian Knights, but that's a codename that will most likely change if I can think of anything better.

AK is set in a world of floating skylands and no mountains. When a hill range gets too big, it rips away from the land and floats up into the sky. The land below is full of monsters, so the people live in the skylands. When they can, people capture new skylands and tie them onto their own, to make their skylands bigger. The largest skylands are the size of France, includng their captured territory, but most are much smaller. All are mountainous, and over time become terraced.

People travel through the air in one of two ways. One way is by shuttlecock ships. these are long, decked vessels with a keel of Shipstone. Shipstone is a straight-grained stone that floats, but wants to go in the direction of the grain, and resists moving in other directions. The keel is jointed about two thirds of the way back to form a rudder, but the deck continues on straight over the rudder. There are six or eight pole masts arranged radially around the nose of the ship, hinged so that they can fold back along the keel. They each have a vane sail flaring out each side to the end, then rounded over, so that the ship looks like a shuttlecock. Beneath the rudder stone is a big spined fin reaching down. The shuttlecock ships have a limited altitude range, and cannot do down to he surface.

The second way is by riding big birds. These riders are the Avian Knights. They are equipped with a limited number of weapons - lances, javelins, swords, crossbows, daggers, and maces. These weapons can be of several different ranks of quality. Normal weapons are just that - normal. Ancestral weapons draw strength from association with a family, and only members of that family can wield them as anything more than normal weapons. Holy weapons have been consecrated by a particular religion, and only members of that religion can wield them as anything more than normal weapons. If wielded spectacularly enough, for long enough, Ancestral and Holy weapons can become Legendary weapons, which are more powerful than either.

The birds are large and varied, belonging to different species and breeds of those species. Each has different qualities, and the breeds can refine these qualities. They are non-sapient, but intelligent, like a parrot or raven. They can carry one heavily armed and armored knight each, or two lightly armed and armored knight. The air combat system will be adapted from In Harm's Way: Dragons!

The people of each skyland will be different - like a nationality or ethnicity on earth. Some will tend to be larger, some smaller, some stronger, some more dexterous, and all will have different cultures. Individuals will - of course - vary. All the people will be human.

The game will use the StarCluster 3 system, with a short, broad skill list. The only magic will be that inherent in the setting - the big birds, the floating stone, etc. - and no-one will have any spells or magical powers. Chargen and advancement will be by training packages & background templates only - Mod your culture's average stat's, pick a background template and a training package, and you are good to go. you earn access to different training packages using a variant of the IHW Notice system. You put your Notice into two pools - one to buy skill packages, and one which accumulates, called Renown. Renown can be used in game as well - you get famous, songs and poems are written about you, impressionable members of the public will swoon... you become a celebrity.

Any comments?



  1. Awesome. I ran a game, and someday will write it up and run a FULL campaign of it called Majestic Wing: Excelsior. Using S.john Ross' Uresia and their floating stones, and Gryphon riding knights. I went with only a few basic melee weapons since gryphons are more useful at melee in close combat, and let their riders be the magical and ranged (Crossbow) support.

    There main enemies were Wyvern riding people who use evil magics and floating "fortresses" that used zeppelins to hold them aloft. They also used magical "hexguns.."

    It be awesome to put to its own system and setting, it worked alright for Uresia, but could be brilliant as its own anime-ish game.

    The knights themselves were a mix of knights and pony express riders.

    1. @Tim:

      Sounds remarkably like AK! you could probably run your old game with this and a few minor changes.


  2. Clash! Touching Fantasy? What's up with you man ? ;)

  3. This is as far as I go, man! There's this scary old dude shouting "Thou shalt not pass!" at me...


  4. I do think you might want a touch of magic. Stones float, perhaps there is some Geomantic discipline that can use that. Nothing fireball and lightning bolt style. Instead things like predicting stone movements, shifting them with great effort, reshaping them.

    Something a bit more like Star Wars "Force" than D&D magic at the end of the day, drawing a bit of power from a few stones of a different sort they wear?

  5. No, Tim - Klax and I both like a no-magic approach for people. The world may be magic, but the people are normal. This means religion too. Religion will give real benefits, but they may be thought of a psychological or psychosomatic rather than overt.