Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

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Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Tim Beach » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:39 am

[Moderator's note: as requested, I've split the Black Steel discussion from its original context.]

From agathokles:
The remaining would have been all very interesting -- Hule being especially important as the link between Savage Coast and the rest of the world.
Exactly -- It would have been a transition to allow crossover campaigns.
I'd also liked to see what ideas would have been developed for the Inheritor Orders and their connections to the aligned societies from the old Savage Coast adventure.
That would have been a lot of fun. I have a history degree, and drawing the links from past to present is something I've really enjoyed. The whole alignment issue is also intriguing; in OD&D (red box), it was law vs. chaos. Was there some event, like those we've seen in the Forgotten Realms, that switched how things worked? Did good and evil become the dominant conflict? Or is law vs. chaos more important? Are elves typically lawful good here? (In OD&D, they were lawful.) Do we see alliances of lawful creatures across the good/evil divide, to promote order, against chaotic creatures, also good and evil, who support personal freedoms?
P.S.: I'd really like to read Black Steel, and I guess the Ravenloft crowd would also like it.
Well ... I've been thinking about something like that, a setting which would fit into the general Red Steel paradigm. There are a couple of directions I could go. On the fan side, I could perhaps put together the original Black Steel island for Ravenloft. Even a rough outline, 8-16 pages maybe, which might not take terribly long to do, could be worthwhile.

On the more mercenary side -- well, I do like the idea of making a living by getting paid for writing. I decided a few months ago that I should start publishing my own work, and I'd like to have some income come from it, if for no other reason than it would allow me to pay good artists and continue publishing.

It sounds like you're more interested in the original idea, which makes sense, but for the mercenary reasons, the latter is somewhat more interesting to me. However, putting the Ravenloft/Red Steel crossover on paper could help me more clearly define what I'd need to avoid, should I publish something separate. I'll give it some thought. And I'd be interested in what other people think about the Black Steel idea.

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:53 am

From Ashtagon:
Tim, I am kind of curious. How much material is there that you created for the setting, but are contractually bound not to release?
How much material? A fine question. I don't know. There's probably not a lot more than was published, except for the paragraphs describing the proposed releases.

"Contractually bound not to release"? Another interesting question. My trade secrets agreement with TSR said a few things. The gist, as I remember it, was that I couldn't take their intellectual properties to other companies, and the stuff I created while working for them, belonged to them. On the other hand, posting information to a fan site won't make money for anyone, so it's not competing with their business, nor is it challenging their trademarks or copyrights. So ... I think the short answer is, I can post with relative freedom. (But if you have any lawyers that stop through the forums, I'd be happy to hear an opinion.)

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:02 am

From Dave L:
Wow - that's really cool, being able to point to a finished product and say "hey, that's me!" :)
Well, yes and no. It is a cool feeling, yes. On the other hand, it looked very much like me -- and then it was used five or so times on the product (the box cover, the book cover, inside the book, on the CD cover, and on the CD -- I think that's all). It was actually a little embarrassing at the same time. I mean, a writer has to have a certain amount of ego, or he'd never think he was good enough to be published -- but that kind of made it look like I had a really big ego.

I have always liked a certain aspect of the painting, though: it looks like the big creature is a minor annoyance, a little distraction from whatever I'm looking at in the distance.

From Eric Anondson:
The Grand Campaign would likely have to be something like a final product for the line if the result is curing the Red Curse, depending on what the effects of the cure are on the "ecosystem" of the Curse that produces red steel, <-- name of the darned setting! :shock:
Well, it would culminate in the final product, but ideally, pieces of it would be spread throughout all releases, so you could build towards the climax. And red steel would still be there -- you just wouldn't be able to get any more (presumably). It would become an even more valuable commodity.

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Havard » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:03 pm

Tim,
first let me once again thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here. It is really fasinating to hear about how our favourite products were created. It is nice to see that they were labours of love.

I'd be interested in hearing about your thoughts on Hule. What do you think would be the closest R/W equivalent of that nation? Would it be presented as a truly evil nation, or simply one ruled by evil individuals, yet with forces of good in there too?
Tim Beach wrote:Well ... I've been thinking about something like that, a setting which would fit into the general Red Steel paradigm. There are a couple of directions I could go. On the fan side, I could perhaps put together the original Black Steel island for Ravenloft. Even a rough outline, 8-16 pages maybe, which might not take terribly long to do, could be worthwhile.
Wow, that would be awesome!

On the more mercenary side -- well, I do like the idea of making a living by getting paid for writing. I decided a few months ago that I should start publishing my own work, and I'd like to have some income come from it, if for no other reason than it would allow me to pay good artists and continue publishing.

It sounds like you're more interested in the original idea, which makes sense, but for the mercenary reasons, the latter is somewhat more interesting to me. However, putting the Ravenloft/Red Steel crossover on paper could help me more clearly define what I'd need to avoid, should I publish something separate. I'll give it some thought. And I'd be interested in what other people think about the Black Steel idea.
It would be nice if you could give us some more hints on what this would entail. I think an actual published 'Black Steel' product could be interesting to this community too though. Would this be a game product or fiction? It would be cool if it was close enough to Red Steel that we could actually make use of it for our games. This would be the closest thing we could hope for to actually published Red Steel/Mystara products!

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:34 am

It would be nice if you could give us some more hints on what this would entail. I think an actual published 'Black Steel' product could be interesting to this community too though. Would this be a game product or fiction? It would be cool if it was close enough to Red Steel that we could actually make use of it for our games. This would be the closest thing we could hope for to actually published Red Steel/Mystara products!
I will try to give a brief overview of what I'm talking about -- without giving too much away just now. A year or two ago, I started thinking a lot about a fantasy setting with superheroes. It occurred to me that Red Steel had, in many ways, already introduced the idea. However, I wanted to make the idea more overt, with super-powers more rare. In my home campaign several years ago, I was using lupins and rakastas, but around 3 or 4 years ago, I decided I wanted to publish my home campaign (despite Wizards having rejected it in the search that gave them Eberron). With this in mind, I shifted to make my home setting more mine. I kept the ideas of the lupins, rakastas, and aranea, with significant changes to their physical, cultural, mental, and arcane natures.
It's also worth noting that I wrote the Thri-Kreen book for Dark Sun, and it was another book that I liked quite a lot -- so I wanted something like them in my setting. Further, I didn't want the standard fantasy archetypes, so no elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, orcs, goblins, etc. As the home campaign developed, something came about that could provide changes similar to those caused by the Red Curse.
So, the elements are available, and with a slight shift in the way things work overall, I could make my superheroes-in-a-fantasy-world game.

We should take a look at the legal aspects of things. There are essentially four options, though two of them are far less attractive (and one of them has a choice of two paths, with one more attractive than the other). It should also be stated at this point that while I like 3rd edition (and 3.5) -- I was reluctant at first, but I converted -- I'm not interested in writing material for 4E. It's a fine game, but it's too much of a departure from the D&D I grew up playing. Further, the license for official use is highly restrictive.

More in next post.

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:34 am

Options for publishing a variation on Black Steel:

Option 1: License Red Steel and Savage Coast from Wizards of the Coast. Not going to happen. First, I'm not a big enough fish to be able to afford a license. Second, I'm reasonably sure they would want it done in the current edition of the game, in which I am not interested.
Option 2: Write new Red Steel anyway. There's a certain amount that can be done without worry: you can report on Red Steel in a news-like fashion; you can satirize it (usually); you can have a fan site (this is a bit of a gray area, but is generally viewed as acceptable). I could theoretically make new Red Steel as a free product (fan use)). Unfortunately, for the amount of work involved, it isn't practical. Because I've chosen writing as a career, writing large projects for free is a money-losing proposition for me. Now, I'm going to create and write whether I get paid for it or not; I can't help it. And I recognize that there are both altruistic and marketing reasons for doing free stuff, and I am opposed to neither of those. What it comes down to is this: the more time I spend on free stuff, the less time I have for the stuff that might generate income. And it's a sad reality that I have to make choices like that. My day job is pretty secure, but in the current economy, even that isn't a guarantee. Ultimately, this option isn't really viable.
Option 3: Write under the OGL using a mix of new content and Open Game Content. This is quite viable. Aranea are open content, as are many of the other basics, like elves, dwarves, etc. It's possible that I could get away with using some of the terms associated with Red Steel, like Inheritor, Legacy, cinnabryl, and, well, Red Steel. But it would be exactly that: getting away with it. I'm not interested in that. So, I would use some OGC, but would substitute my very-much-altered versions of the rakastas, lupins, and (probably) the aranea (the former because they aren't OGC, the aranea because they're very iconic in association with the Savage Coast). The main advantage here is that I could use elves, dwarves, and so forth with a clear conscience, and thereby retain, theoretically, more of the flavor of the original setting.
Option 4: Write under the OGL using primarily my own material (using OGC rules, but very little in the way of races or cultures). Under this option, I could even set it exactly the same world as my home campaign, but that's not an ideal option, for reasons I'd rather not go into. I could set it in one of two related worlds, one that I've developed some background for, or one which would be new. There are advantages and disadvantages to either, and most of those aren't worth going into (it would take a lot of explanation to get to that point).

Here's the thing: I'm happy to write something designed to appeal to Red Steel/Savage Coast fans. So, how about an opinion poll? (And maybe this would be an offshoot topic?)
Assuming I were to publish a variation of Black Steel -- arcane superheroes in a dark fantasy setting -- here's what we know:
1. I would publish under the OGL, using a version of 3.5.
2. I can't use lupins, rakastas, tortles, and shazaks.
3. I would use heavily altered substitutes for at least lupins and rakastas. The rakasta-substitute will also fill in for elves.
4. I wouldn't talk about Inheritors, Legacies, cinnabryl, or red steel.
5. I would use a variety of cultural archetypes and keep at least some of the swashbuckling feel.

Here's what we can decide:
1. Should I use aranea, or my alternate? (One thing you should know: the alternate allows me to bring in some elements of thri-kreen, and of Dark Sun in general.)
2. Should I use dwarves and humanoids (goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls)?
3. Would you like to see substitutes for tortles, phanatons, wallaras, enduks, and ee'aar?
4. What about the shazaks, ators, and caymas? Substitute standard lizardfolk? Or something of my own creation? Or ignore them?
5. Do firearms stay?
6. Are there any cultures that people would like to stay or go? Or show up?

Thanks!
Tim

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:02 pm

Tim Beach wrote:Here's what we can decide:
1. Should I use aranea, or my alternate? (One thing you should know: the alternate allows me to bring in some elements of thri-kreen, and of Dark Sun in general.)
This is a tough one. I am inclined to vote Aranea, as I would like this not to stray so far away from Red Steel it will be useless for me. OTOH, you seem to have some exciting ideas about the Thri-kreen so that's getting me curious.
2. Should I use dwarves and humanoids (goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls)?
Out of the above, I find the Native American-style Gnolls the most interesting.
3. Would you like to see substitutes for tortles, phanatons, wallaras, enduks, and ee'aar?
Yes please! Especially ee'aar.
4. What about the shazaks, ators, and caymas? Substitute standard lizardfolk? Or something of my own creation? Or ignore them?
Lizardfolk would work.
5. Do firearms stay?
Another tough one. I prefer firearms to hand crossbows.
6. Are there any cultures that people would like to stay or go? Or show up?
Hmmm...I would like to see something resembling Hule :)

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Havard » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:48 am

About Black Steel and 3E. I think it makes sense that you intent on using that ruleset. I've grown tired of it myself, but at least it will be a system that most people will be familiar enough with to port it to whatever system they are using. What do you think about making it fairly rules light though? Since many people might want to convert it to another edition or game, the book might be 3E, but could stay clear of unneccessarily long lists of spells and PrCs? Instead you could make room for actual setting contents, which will be useful regardless of editition. This is something I feel is missing in current 4E material BTW.

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:07 pm

In response to Havard:
About Black Steel and 3E. I think it makes sense that you intent on using that ruleset. I've grown tired of it myself, but at least it will be a system that most people will be familiar enough with to port it to whatever system they are using. What do you think about making it fairly rules light though?
I think that's a fine idea, generally speaking. The most important thing to include in a published version would be an alternative-to-Legacies system (how the powers are acquired, how they operate, that kind of thing), but there's no reason why that can't be written in a subsystem-neutral (and portable and replaceable) way. I could also shift how some things are addressed, like saying "improves armor class by 3" rather than either "+3" or "-3." Thank you for the suggestion.
The feat system in 3E, however, is an unfortunately good way to handle some other aspects, but I'll give some thought to how that might be generalized.
If I can ask -- and suggest the answer go into the Q&A topic -- what is it about 3E that makes you tired of it?
Since many people might want to convert it to another edition or game, the book might be 3E, but could stay clear of unneccessarily long lists of spells and PrCs?
I assume that when you say "lists of spells," you're talking about a long list of fully described spells. I would be inclined to make a list of spell names, probably, but including the full descriptions would be a waste of space. However, to aid the switch in edition or game, a short description of the spell would be useful, especially for the more obscurely titled ones.
In regards to Prestige Classes, I'll tell you something of a secret: I don't like them. First, they're all over the map in terms of power. Second, the it seemed to me that Prestige Classes were, first and foremost, different ways to role-play a character; in many ways, they were culture-specific archetypes, and in some cases, archetypes that should define your character from the first level. I have been working on an alternate system, and I think you'll like it.
Instead you could make room for actual setting contents, which will be useful regardless of editition. This is something I feel is missing in current 4E material BTW.
I'm afraid I have to agree with you there. It feels like they've sacrificed some story substance for ease of play (especially combat). You can still role play, but that's not where the emphasis seems to be (and maybe it never really was -- a lot of people do play according to their ability to fight).

Incidentally, I am putting off your questions about Hule until I can check some older source material, to see if it agrees with my interpretation in Red Steel.

Tim

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Havard » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:18 pm

Tim Beach wrote:In response to Havard:
About Black Steel and 3E. I think it makes sense that you intent on using that ruleset. I've grown tired of it myself, but at least it will be a system that most people will be familiar enough with to port it to whatever system they are using. What do you think about making it fairly rules light though?
I think that's a fine idea, generally speaking. The most important thing to include in a published version would be an alternative-to-Legacies system (how the powers are acquired, how they operate, that kind of thing), but there's no reason why that can't be written in a subsystem-neutral (and portable and replaceable) way. I could also shift how some things are addressed, like saying "improves armor class by 3" rather than either "+3" or "-3." Thank you for the suggestion.
The feat system in 3E, however, is an unfortunately good way to handle some other aspects, but I'll give some thought to how that might be generalized.
If I can ask -- and suggest the answer go into the Q&A topic -- what is it about 3E that makes you tired of it?
I answered your question about 3E in the Q&A thread as you asked. *Lol* I thought the Q&A thread was going to be mainly us asking you questions, but I guess it works well the other way too :) BTW: With your permission, perhaps we could ask Agathokles to split this thread so that we could have a separate thread about Black Steel?

I don't think you need to go to extremes with the system neutrality, but your ideas are definately interesting! I agree that the Feats are a good way of handling Legacies. I like that better than the Classic D&D version actually. I'm sure we can come up with conversion rules here that doesn't need to take up published paper.
I assume that when you say "lists of spells," you're talking about a long list of fully described spells. I would be inclined to make a list of spell names, probably, but including the full descriptions would be a waste of space. However, to aid the switch in edition or game, a short description of the spell would be useful, especially for the more obscurely titled ones.
Fully described spells yes. I mentioned alot of specifics, but my main point is actually just to keep the rules to setting contents ratio in favour of the latter, which it seems like you are thinking as well :)
In regards to Prestige Classes, I'll tell you something of a secret: I don't like them. First, they're all over the map in terms of power. Second, the it seemed to me that Prestige Classes were, first and foremost, different ways to role-play a character; in many ways, they were culture-specific archetypes, and in some cases, archetypes that should define your character from the first level. I have been working on an alternate system, and I think you'll like it.
Interesting! I like the idea of PrCs, but now how they worked out in actual play. I guess what I was hoping for was something like AD&D Kits, but without the unbalancing features some kits had. I am looking forward to seeing your system!
Instead you could make room for actual setting contents, which will be useful regardless of editition. This is something I feel is missing in current 4E material BTW.
I'm afraid I have to agree with you there. It feels like they've sacrificed some story substance for ease of play (especially combat). You can still role play, but that's not where the emphasis seems to be (and maybe it never really was -- a lot of people do play according to their ability to fight).
Yes. I was always more interesting in exploring the setting than memorizing rules and the tactical aspects of the game so this new direction does not appeal much to me :(

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:04 pm

I think splitting Black Steel into a new thread is an excellent idea.

Tim

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Hugin » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:46 pm

Tim Beach wrote:In regards to Prestige Classes, I'll tell you something of a secret: I don't like them. First, they're all over the map in terms of power. Second, the it seemed to me that Prestige Classes were, first and foremost, different ways to role-play a character; in many ways, they were culture-specific archetypes, and in some cases, archetypes that should define your character from the first level. I have been working on an alternate system, and I think you'll like it.
I've never been a fan of prestige classes myself either. Some Mystara fans had worked out which PrCs are suitable for particular regions or nationalities on Mystara, and I think that is by far a better approach; making PrCs linked to culture or race.

However, I'm very much looking forward to seeing your alternate system!

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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Ashtagon » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:37 pm

One of my long-standing projects is to take the prestige classes, melt them down for raw material, and assign the various abilities from them to various base classes as optional abilities at mid-high levels. This could possibly be kind of like BECMI's 9th level options, but on steroids.
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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by NPCDave » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:04 pm

Tim Beach wrote:Options for publishing a variation on Black Steel:


Here's what we can decide:
1. Should I use aranea, or my alternate? (One thing you should know: the alternate allows me to bring in some elements of thri-kreen, and of Dark Sun in general.)
2. Should I use dwarves and humanoids (goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls)?
3. Would you like to see substitutes for tortles, phanatons, wallaras, enduks, and ee'aar?
4. What about the shazaks, ators, and caymas? Substitute standard lizardfolk? Or something of my own creation? Or ignore them?
5. Do firearms stay?
6. Are there any cultures that people would like to stay or go? Or show up?

Thanks!
Tim
I recall the Thri-kreen supplement for Dark Sun mentioned that the trin(sp?) which are cousins of thri-kreen live I think in the Yazak Steppes. Or somewhere close to that.

Answers for this Black Steel setting.

1) Prefer aranea
2) Dwarves and humanoids are optional
3) If you are using aranea phanatons should be around, and tortles would be good. Enduks and ee'aar are optional.
4) Some kind of lizards should be present, your choice.
5) Firearms preferably, or at least those repeating crossbows

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Eric Anondson » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:44 am

Tim Beach wrote:In regards to Prestige Classes, I'll tell you something of a secret: I don't like them. First, they're all over the map in terms of power. Second, the it seemed to me that Prestige Classes were, first and foremost, different ways to role-play a character; in many ways, they were culture-specific archetypes, and in some cases, archetypes that should define your character from the first level.
Kits have been derided for being over-powered too, only more so! Al Qadim was praised as the shining example for how 2e campaigns should be done with Kits. IMO, Red Steel rises to Al Qadim's tier in its successful execution of Kits in a campaign. PrC's could be arbitrarily limited to culture choices chosen at level 1 as a campaign feature. No big deal.

I firmly believe that if the effort was put in to it, a 3.x iteration of Red Steel could follow the same example as 2e Red Steel by preemptively filtering regionally and culturally appropriate PrCs.

That said, I think the problem with PrCs was not the uneven power from one to another. They were generally better balanced with other PrCs than Kits were with other Kits. The problem with PrCs was with the multiclassing system of 3.x opening up abusive mix and matching of multiple PrCs. By grabbing a level here a level there a player could build a far better character than one who stuck to a single class or even a single PrC.
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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Gawain_VIII » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:52 am

Eric Anondson wrote:That said, I think the problem with PrCs was not the uneven power from one to another. They were generally better balanced with other PrCs than Kits were with other Kits. The problem with PrCs was with the multiclassing system of 3.x opening up abusive mix and matching of multiple PrCs. By grabbing a level here a level there a player could build a far better character than one who stuck to a single class or even a single PrC.
Well said!

While I don't have play-time experience with kits, as I never extensively played 2e--I fully understand the PrC problem. In my own games, I limit multiclassing to a max of 2 core and/or 1 prestige. However, in the development side, I've learned designing PrC's for M3e, that finding a balance between PrCs is quite often drastically at odds with developing the proper cultural theme of the PrC in question.

In my own examples, compare the Gladiator with the Hin Knoght-Hero--if I took away the Gladiator's power and added to the Knight-Hero's in order to balance them, I'd have to sacrifice the elements of gladiatoral combat which I wanted. At the same time I'd have to add elements to the Knight-Hero which don't fit the motif of a halfling paragon.

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Havard » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:46 pm

NPCDave wrote:I recall the Thri-kreen supplement for Dark Sun mentioned that the trin(sp?) which are cousins of thri-kreen live I think in the Yazak Steppes. Or somewhere close to that.
Whoah, there is a Mystara reference in a Dark Sun supplement? :ugeek:

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Eric Anondson » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:07 pm

Havard wrote:
NPCDave wrote:I recall the Thri-kreen supplement for Dark Sun mentioned that the trin(sp?) which are cousins of thri-kreen live I think in the Yazak Steppes. Or somewhere close to that.
Whoah, there is a Mystara reference in a Dark Sun supplement? :ugeek:
TKoA page 84, "Where the Kreen Are" sidebar:
Tim Beach and Dori Hein in Thri-Kreen of Athas wrote:Karameikos: Thri-kreen are unheard of in the "Known World" area of the MYSTARA (TM) setting. In the RED STEEL (TM) campaign setting, a vast territory known as the Yazak Steppes (north of the Savage Coast) might be a good place for the thri-kreen; however, other races occupy their ecological niche, so kreen should be limited to a few scattered packs of trin. Other continents of this world are better suited for kreen. Wandering thri-kreen individuals or clutches from these areas might be encountered on rare occasions.
I always felt Davania was the perfect continent for the kreen. Would really feel right down around the Vulture Peninsula and vast arid regions in the center of the continent. The TKoA book really expanded up the Dark Sun theme of a vast alien horde just beyond the human-settled city-states, just waiting for the right reason to blitz south and overwhelm civilization.

[Here comes another thought experiment! (and sorry for the thread drift) :P ]

I could see this theme of the kreen being developed upon, with normal races living along the coasts of Davania. Only ancient myths describe lost ancestor civilizations in deeper into Davania's heart. No nation exists there now except for the kreen hordes that have hunted those other nations out of existence.

Where'd the Mystara kreen come from? Well, Mystara has a long developed history of creatures coming from space. Maybe hundreds of--or maybe a couple thousand--years ago a kreen craft crashed deep in the heart of Davania. Centuries have passed and the surviving kreen have bred and spread outward ever since. Maybe the crash site even holds some special significance to all of the descendant tribes of kreen?

How could kreen have moved across from Davania to the Yazak Steppes of Brun? I dunno, kreen hate pools water larger than even a small pool. They can't swim, can't float, and if water comes into contact with their breathing holes then drown quicker than a human. They wouldn't have sailed across, that's for sure. Mystara has enough other plausible opportunities though that another way wouldn't be difficult to make up.

Then again, there is no hard rule that says one must use Dark Sun's unending horde aspect of kreen everywhere kreen get used. I just happen to think it would really fill out a vast swath of Davania's emptiness. :)
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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by agathokles » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:08 pm

While Davania is probably the best place, I wouldn't discard the Yazak Steppes or even Skothar as a Thri-kreen homeland on Mystara.
Note that in Davania, other Dark Sun elements such as the halfling "biotech" could be used (for the Emerondians).

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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:26 pm

agathokles wrote:While Davania is probably the best place, I wouldn't discard the Yazak Steppes or even Skothar as a Thri-kreen homeland on Mystara.
Note that in Davania, other Dark Sun elements such as the halfling "biotech" could be used (for the Emerondians).
I would be interested in including Thri-Kreen in my Mystara. I also like what you are suggesting for the Emerondians. The art of stealing stuff, while making sure it feels Mystara. Very nice! :)

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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Eric Anondson » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:06 am

To bring this back to Black Steel :D, I wonder if there could be enough room in a Black Steel iteration to make room for the Kreen? If it is something of a Domain of Dread like was done in Ravenloft, then no, those domains seemed to cramped.

However, if a Black Steel was done like a dimension such as LaTerre, where one could find Clark Ashton Smith-inspired source material all over the planet--and Black Steel was one more region on the world--then there could easily be enough room for kreen and much else. That said, I wonder if LaTerre and Black Steel could go together . . . hmm.
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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Tim Beach » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:30 am

Eric Anondson wrote:
Tim Beach wrote:In regards to Prestige Classes, I'll tell you something of a secret: I don't like them. First, they're all over the map in terms of power. Second, the it seemed to me that Prestige Classes were, first and foremost, different ways to role-play a character; in many ways, they were culture-specific archetypes, and in some cases, archetypes that should define your character from the first level.
Kits have been derided for being over-powered too, only more so! Al Qadim was praised as the shining example for how 2e campaigns should be done with Kits. IMO, Red Steel rises to Al Qadim's tier in its successful execution of Kits in a campaign. PrC's could be arbitrarily limited to culture choices chosen at level 1 as a campaign feature. No big deal.
Thanks for noticing and appreciating what Red Steel did there -- it was also the first use of kits that crossed over multiple classes, and I was pretty pleased with that.
I firmly believe that if the effort was put in to it, a 3.x iteration of Red Steel could follow the same example as 2e Red Steel by preemptively filtering regionally and culturally appropriate PrCs.
I'd like to think so, whether it's Red Steel, Black Steel, or the other setting I've been working on.
That said, I think the problem with PrCs was not the uneven power from one to another. They were generally better balanced with other PrCs than Kits were with other Kits. The problem with PrCs was with the multiclassing system of 3.x opening up abusive mix and matching of multiple PrCs. By grabbing a level here a level there a player could build a far better character than one who stuck to a single class or even a single PrC.
I agree with Gawain_VIII -- nicely put. The core PrCs tend to be balanced against one another, but once you get past those, it's kind of a hit or miss proposition (but base classes are kind of like that too). And while I'm very fond of the ability to smoothly multiclass in 3.X, it's a slightly broken system, mathematically (though there's actually a simple fix).
Whoah, there is a Mystara reference in a Dark Sun supplement? :ugeek:

Havard
Considering that I wrote them both, yes. :) You'll also find a Red Steel reference in Factol's Manifesto for Planescape, and the Killian character also shows up in a handful of other places (including the Forgotten Realms, in the Elminster's Ecologies I did).

From Eric Anondson:
To bring this back to Black Steel :D, I wonder if there could be enough room in a Black Steel iteration to make room for the Kreen? If it is something of a Domain of Dread like was done in Ravenloft, then no, those domains seemed to cramped.

However, if a Black Steel was done like a dimension such as LaTerre, where one could find Clark Ashton Smith-inspired source material all over the planet--and Black Steel was one more region on the world--then there could easily be enough room for kreen and much else. That said, I wonder if LaTerre and Black Steel could go together . . . hmm.
I've recently stopped by some of the other forums here in the Piazza, and I'm thinking that an expansion to the Black Steel idea is in order. While it would remain, in many ways, like Red Steel, I think there's room to expand with some other elements, similar to Maztica, Al-Qadim, and Dark Sun, all settings that I also like a great deal. And I'm very much inclined to use Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, etc.

Eric, I'm not clear on your LaTerre reference -- could you clarify a little?

I think I'm going to bed now, but I'll check back here fairly soon.

Thanks!

Tim

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Re: [AD&D]What would have been the next SC supplement?

Post by Eric Anondson » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:29 pm

Tim Beach wrote:Eric, I'm not clear on your LaTerre reference -- could you clarify a little?
LaTerre is what a lot of Mystaran fans term the world where some of Glantri's families originated from. It is the world where the d'Ambreville's from X2 Castle Amber came from. There was a thread on it in the main Mystara forum here recently, and it pops up again every now and again.
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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Tim Beach » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:25 pm

I think I'm ready to make a clarification here.

I would like to do a small fan piece called Black Steel, which I'd plan to release here in the Piazza. It would be the piece we've discussed that would combine elements of Red Steel and Ravenloft.

Second, I've become really intrigued with the idea of a setting with some similarities, but done for publication. I've got a name I like for it:

Darkkensteel.

I'd use it as a contraction of "dark ken steel." "Ken" is used in the sense of the old Scottish work for "know," so, "steel that comes from dark knowledge" or "dark knowledge and steel."

If you like the name, please let me know; if you think it sounds silly, please don't kick me too hard, but I'd like to know. And if you think one "k" should go, that's worthwhile for me to hear as well.

It started when an arthropod race, rulers of their world, summoned strange powers and creatures from beyond space and time, and became the first of the beings now known as the Elder Chuul.

I'll write up a preliminary setting description -- after a break in my current project -- and post it here.

Tim

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Re: Tim Beach's Black Steel setting

Post by Plaag » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:03 am

I like the name, but think one 'k' should go.

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