Holy Cow! I don't get on FB much so I really appreciate you posting this here
. This is fantastic news
There is far too much there to explain everything that is happening, but we were looking at a future Kickstarter based on a new Talistlanta product called The Savage Land:
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Doug, you're right about Jerry having other commitments, and about his approach to Kickstarter campaigns - also that this is mainly a discussion about concepts for a possible new Tal product. On the other hand, the discussion here has definitely gotten me thinking about the Savage Land idea, about what it might consist of, and about what might be entailed in getting a product like this out. It might be possible to produce SL the way Midnight Realm was produced: i.e., I wrote a fairly detailed outline of the milieu ands did some design sketches, then contacted a handful of writers and artists to help develop the product, which Shooting Iron then published. It's possible that a product like Savage Land could be written and (roughly) designed without a lot of involvement from a publisher like Jerry. A solid first-draft of the product and some good design sketches could then be used as a basis for a Kickstarter campaign, which if successful would then allow Jerry to focus on completing the actual product. The timeline for an approach like this is not short, but neither is it exceedingly long. More about that later.
I believe this is supposed to work as a new entry point to Talistlanta, for people who have not played before. I believe it is going to be zero-magic or low magic. But things are not set in stone, so this may change. But here is the current overview:
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Talislanta: Savage Lands overview -
I'm definitely leaning towards the Savage Land idea, as I think it offers many potential advantages over some of the other ideas that have been discussed here. The biggest plus, I think, is that SL would be all-new material: I think Tal-fans have had more than enough recycled art and text , and for all they've put up with over the years, they deserve better.
Another plus: SL would have numerous connections to the original Tal milieu and mythos, which I think will be interesting to experienced Tal players and GMs. There are a number of mysteries/legends/rumors that were hinted at in the original Tal that will be incorporated into SL. For instance, SL would have connections to the Unknown Lands (thanks to the folks here for that idea). Conversely, players and GMs wouldn't have to know anything about Tal to play SL - it would be a self-contained world and game, which would make it easier for new players to get into it.
Another plus: I think SL would take a lot less time to develop than another version of the original Tal game, for the reasons explained below. That's important, as a really big project like Tal 4 or 5 could take many years to put together, and would probably cost a lot, too.
Here's a quick overview of the projected contents of the Talislanta: Savage Land book, derived from my old notes plus some new ideas proposed by folks on this list. Much of what follows is speculative, and subject to revision.additions/deletions - so far, these are just ideas. More detailed explanations of the overview can be found below:
- intro to the SL milieu - overview of the post-Disaster world of Talislanta, with a rough map of the known world and a description of the immense magical maelstrom known as the Gyre
- game rules - as brief and simple as possible
- Encounter & Event Tables (explained below)
- Peoples of the Savage Land - the main tribes and humanoid races, with illustrations and a brief but (hopefully) vivid explanation of each group's appearance, mode of dress, customs, traditional allies/enemies, and general worldview.
- Artifacts - a listing by category of numerous items that may be found in SL, including magic items and weapons.
- Places of Note - a listing of some of the many ruined cities, plus topographical features
- Bestiary - extensive section on SL flora & fauna
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Steve Sechi PART 2
The SL Game System
As I envision it, SL would have a simple rule system, likely using the Action Table, customizable archetypes, a smaller number of Skills (non of those civilized skills in this milieu), no Magic system per se (more on that in a sec), and possibly a Level-based advancement system (I like that old idea). Ideally, I'd like the SL game system to be one that could easily handle anything from basic individual actions to at least a basic form of mass combat - all using the Action Table and the simplest of modifiers. That's the goal, anyway.
Compared to the original Talislanta, the SL milieu would also be a lot easy to get into. Because it's a post-apocalyptic setting, there would be no nations, cities, or civilized cultures. Accordingly, there would also be a lot less archetypes, as SL will be populated by the "root races" who later branched off into the many peoples of the Tal New Age.
This would also make SL a lot easier for potential new players and GMs, many of whom have in the past been more than a little intimidated by the huge number of archetypes in the original And having less archetypes to deal with will also allow those "root races" to be developed in ways that just weren't possible in the original Tal game.
Magic in SL
It was my original intention to leave out spell casting altogether, as I really liked the idea of making SL like the medieval Dark Ages, when so much of what had been known before was lost and forgotten. Also, Magic was always somewhat problematic in the original Tal, which went went through several different Magic systems in various editions. Some people liked one system, and some liked others. So the idea of removing spell casting from SL seemed like a good idea.
I still feel that way, but thanks to some of the comments posted here, my thinking has changed some. While I don't want to include an actual Magic system (with magical professions and spell lists) in SL, I think I want to make it possible for characters to cast spells, but only from written materials like books, scrolls, etc. I think this would be cool, because: 1) characters would need to find those materials by hunting for them in ruins, bartering for them, stealing them, etc; and 2) to even attempt to use such materials, characters would have to know how to read, an extremely rare talent in a post-literate, post-apocalyptic setting. And as with any Skill, attempting to read a spell from a book or scroll would entail a roll on the Action Table, with possibly unpredictable results.
I also liked the suggestion that there could still be some "lower magic"-type abilities practiced by the shamans of certain tribes. I see these being more along the lines of primitive magical rituals and the ability to concoct certain types of potions, antidotes, etc, rather than spell casting per se.
One more thing about Magic: even though there wouldn't be much spell casting in SL, there would be a LOT of enchanted artifacts, weapons, and the like, including many that were not in the original Tal - for example, battle golems, iron dragons,and other mechanical constructs dating back to the sorcerer wars at the end of the Archaen Age. There are a lot of ruins to explore in SL, including some of the fallen sky cities, which unlike in the later New SAge haven't yet been scavenged by hundreds of generations for Talislantans.
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:PART 3
The SL Milieu
The actual world-setting of SL would be a lot bigger than Talislanta, as it would incorporate territories that later later sank into the sea, were inundated by rising ocean levels, or (possibly) broke away from the mainland and drifted out into some other part of the Omniverse. And yes,this could include some of the Unknown Lands.
Unlike NewAge Tal, however, the SL milieu would be almost entirely unmapped and almost entirely unknown to the average character in the game. Only a sketchy map would be available, most of it showing uncharted regions, the territories of various tribes & creatures, and even some possibly legendary locales. Starting characters would know the area around where they were born, and where they lived and (possibly) traveled. But the only way for them to learn more about their world would be to get out and explore.
In game terms, the same would apply to both the players and the GM; i.e., they wouldn't know much about the SL milieu either, because that information wouldn't be in the sourcebook. In place of a detailed map of the continent, I would substitute a series of flexible and creative Encounter and Event Tables (remember those?), covering encounters with living beings or creatures (including various tribes, flora & fauna, monsters, etc), territories (terrain types and features, ruins, natural resources, obstacles,etc),weather (a big deal in world of SL, which is even more prone to magical anomalies than New Age Tal),and various types of discoveries (artifacts, tools, enchanted items/weapons, writings of various sorts, etc).
These Tables would have to be extremely well-designed, with hundreds of entries and secondary rolls that would allow each result to be unique, unpredictable, and entertaining, rather than repetitive and boring. Results would be keyed with page numbers allowing the GM or players to find more detailed information on any entry.
If done well, I think this simple system would:
1) make it easy for GMs to create adventures in advance, or to run games on the fly…
2) let the players go wherever they want to and do whatever they want to do…
3) have the players fill in the map of their world as they go…
4) make each gaming group's "campaign" unique
5) and also even have the potential for solo-play
Of course, GMs would not have to use the Encounter Tables if they didn't want to. They could ignore the Tables and just create their own adventures from scratch, using the considerable information on Tribes, flora & fauna, magic items, legendary artifacts, etc that would be included in the Sourcebook. And the rough map provided in the sourcebook would show a number of known/major terrain features and territories, so they would have at least some solid info to go with, if they prefer.
The reason I think an Encounter Table system would be well-suited to SL is that the milieu itself is so permeable and even chaotic. With no cities or major settlements, most of SL's humanoid and animal populations are nomadic or transient by nature. Most are constantly on the move in search of food and resources, or to hunt, or to avoid being hunted. Even when they do seek to establish settlements or strongholds, these places are inviting targets for the hordes of war-like tribes and creatures that roam the continent.
Another factor is the Gyre, a massive magical maelstrom that moves in a random fashion across the continent. The chaotic magical forces of which the Gyre is comprised are capable of altering the nature of almost anything it comes in contact with, from tiny creatures to vast stretches of terrain,with utterly unpredictable results (the Gyre may have its very own Random Event Table). Taken all together, these factors make the SL milieu a place that can change dramatically from year to year, or even minute to minute.
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:
The main goal of SL would be to include as much cool stuff as possible. First off, the look of SL is going to be very important. As was the case with the original Tal, the visual elements will need to be vivid, colorful, and evocative. If we do SL, it's my intention to handle the art direction, as I did with the first Talislanta books. While SL will definitely be influenced by Tal, it will have its own look. And if done well, that look will reflect both the savage nature and faded glory of a post-apocalyptic version of Talislanta.
There will be a long list of things for players to explore, from legendary places to mysterious peoples, including:
- the locations of the Unknown Lands of Celadon, Temesia, Draknar, and the Midnight Realms…
- the Drakken ,last of the giant dron-men of old…
- the existence of the last floating city to survive the Disaster, which some say still drifts on the winds (thanks to the comments on the list for that idea)
- the Withen, who live in a vast labyrinth and are said to be the only race who still know all the secrets of the lost art of Magic…
- the Vandar - ancestors of the Thralls…?
- the Drune - ancestors of all the nomadic tribes of Talislanta…
- the Undermen - pale-skinned humanoids who live far below the ground, coming out only at night to snatch unwary prey from he world above…
- War Golems and Siege Golems, and the legendary Collossus, massive metallic constructs left over from the Last War...
- Radian crystals - fiery-colored stones from the Volcanic Hills, sued by the Archaens as power sources for their war-machines…
- Archaen Biomantic vats - remnants from the age of sorcerers, these vats were used to grow artificial and hybrid lifeforms., and can sometimes be found in the ruins of the fallen sky-cities. Many were damaged,and their contents destroyed during the Disaster, or by scavengers or would-be tomb-robbers. But others may contain viable lifeforms, such as prototype humanoid peoples (presenting an opportunity for the GM to add races to SL that are not currently extant in this milieu but are present in the New Age milieu), mutations (benign or not), or monstrosities.
There is a team!:
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:Happy to announce that we have started to put together the TSL creative team. Here's the list of writers and editors so far :
Doug Bramlett: editor
John Harper: game system
Mark Williams: Writing, Cartography
me - Creative Director, art direction
The Savage Land is go!:
Steve Sechi at the Facebook group for Talislanta wrote:BTW, I spoke to Jerry Grayson of Khepera Publishing today,and it's safe to say that we can remove the word "proposed" from our discussions of a new Tal-based product. TSL is officially on, baby.