What are your hopes for Calidar?

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What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Thorf » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:36 am

Only a little information has been released so far about Bruce Heard's new setting, Calidar. But from his first announcement, Bruce has made clear that he is building it from the ground up to appeal to Mystara fans.

From his interview in Issue 1 of Threshold:

Bruce Heard wrote:Copyright limitations prevent me entirely from using names, geographical features, or elements particular to Mystara and the Princess Ark; however, general analogies should help maintain a familiar feel and an easy transition. The Calidar series remain non-game-specific to avoid issues with the D&D product in general. The project follows the same approximate structure as the one from the Princess Ark stories in Dragon Magazine—a narrative followed by a world supplement, maps, and illustrations.


With this in mind, what are your hopes for Calidar?

For Mystara fans (such as myself), what features of Mystara will you most be looking out for an equivalent of in Calidar?

For fans of other settings, what features are you most hoping to see in Calidar?

For fans of the original Princess Ark, what do you think about the idea of having a longer, more detailed story, but with the same story/gazetteer format? For reference, Bruce wrote in the first Calidar thread that:

Bruce Heard wrote:You'll recognize a lot of the original flavor in the new releases, with the exception that they won't be limited to four magazine pages or less. We're talking good art, lots of internal maps, twenty of thirty times more text, and possibly even poster maps. That's more than three-years-worth of Princess-Ark-like articles.


I'll hold off a bit before posting my own answers to these questions. Let's hear from some other people first! :x :geek:
Last edited by Thorf on Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Yaztromo » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:18 am

I hope it won't be a straightforward nostalgia operation, but a truly new adventure.
Of course you can't forget where you come from and that will always stay with you, but I'd like to look forward.

Having a production that *just* dodges intellectual property rights would miss the point.
Of course in your campaign you can always shoehorn what you want where you want, but I would be a bit disappointed if there was a kind of "easy shoehorning toolkit". I think that Bruce is much better than that.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Thorf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:19 am

Yaztromo wrote:I hope it won't be a straightforward nostalgia operation, but a truly new adventure.
Of course you can't forget where you come from and that will always stay with you, but I'd like to look forward.


Absolutely, I agree with you. I don't think there's much risk of it just becoming a nostalgia clone of Mystara - Bruce is a very creative guy, and he has shown us in his blog while developing Alphatia that he has a ton of new ideas and is not afraid to play with them, even while remaining true to the spirit of the setting.

Having a production that *just* dodges intellectual property rights would miss the point.
Of course in your campaign you can always shoehorn what you want where you want, but I would be a bit disappointed if there was a kind of "easy shoehorning toolkit". I think that Bruce is much better than that.


I think so too. :D

Incidentally, Morfie made a comment about hoping to be able to shoehorn Calidar into Mystara in the first thread, to which Bruce replied. Here's the conversation:

Ambreville wrote:
Morfie wrote:I wonder if we can find a way to shoe-horn Calidar into Mystara, unofficially.. :twisted:


The other way around, unofficially. :twisted:


Add to this Bruce's slightly cryptic comments on the same topic in his interview in Threshold Issue 1:

Bruce Heard wrote:During concept stages, I focused on the rationale for converting characters, not from a game mechanics point of view, but from a plot- driven one. The supernatural directly governs who or what enters this universe, for which reasons, and in what form. It enables characters to remain fully aware of their journey into another reality and the changes that affected them, while other visitors can only sense their transformations (which may be substantial) without remembering their prior existence. Flashbacks help characters piece together some of what happened to them without revealing too much, as needed by circumstances, providing them with the impetus to go on a quest to find out more.


...and I think you can start to get an idea that this concept is being integrated into the overall setting design. That's all that's been revealed so far. Anyone care to speculate further on this?
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Thorf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:21 am

Another throwaway quote from the Threshold interview seems relevant here, too:

Bruce Heard wrote:The Calidar series remain non-game-specific to avoid issues with the D&D product in general.


Also in reply to you, Yaztromo:

Ambreville wrote:
Yaztromo wrote:By the way, are you planning to make Calidar linked to an existing ruleset, adaptable to any ruleset or will you make your own ruleset as well?


It's not linked to a specific ruleset, but because of this it should be adaptable to anything. Considering my background and general experience, Calidar is likely to be D&D-friendly. No, heroes aren't semidragon/cyberinsectoid-assassin/paladins talented with the Force. :P


Given what we know of Bruce's past writings for Mystara, and how much he has referred to game statistics, I'm sure you'll agree it's going to be interesting to see how this pans out. :D
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Yaztromo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:54 am

Absolutely, I do.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Chimpman » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:02 pm

I'm definitely looking forward to that feeling of exploration. The excitement of watching a new crew journey to new places and get into all kinds of trouble there!
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Justinov » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:12 pm

I would like also to see a real in-depth character building of the crew.
So you could play on internal tensions between the crew members, when making the journey.
Nothing like a good crises when you are all in the same boat and far from home.......

Ernest Shackleton-like leadership or more like William Bligh at the helm with a rich trouble makers like Fletcher Christian stirring things up. That would really spice it up for me.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby night_druid » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:48 pm

Not sure if it matters or not, but Calidar is pretty close in name to the 2nd planet of Realmspace, Coliar. ;)
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby ghendar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:09 pm

I hope Bruce makes it different. Mystara is great and I'd like to see new Heard material for Mystara but that's not going to happen, so let's have something new.

Besides, Mystara belongs to the DMs now. Modify it to your personal use and give a great big middle finger to WotC.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Big Mac » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:51 am

Thorf wrote:With this in mind, what are your hopes for Calidar?

For Mystara fans (such as myself), what features of Mystara will you most be looking out for an equivalent of in Calidar?

For fans of other settings, what features are you most hoping to see in Calidar?


What am I hoping to see? Calidarspace* perhaps! :lol: ;)

* = I am contractually obliged to say that I want to convert all campaign settings to Spelljammer. ;)

Joking aside, a setting that did not have a buy in price set by eBay bandits would be nice.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Nevermore » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:51 am

I hope something spiritually connected to Mystara, but at the same very different (like Dragon Age Origins for Baldur's Gate). Many players like me born in the nineties were too much young to have played Mystara setting. So I think to Calidar as a second chance to role-play in that classic feeling.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:57 pm

Yaztromo wrote:I hope it won't be a straightforward nostalgia operation, but a truly new adventure.
Of course you can't forget where you come from and that will always stay with you, but I'd like to look forward.

Having a production that *just* dodges intellectual property rights would miss the point.
Of course in your campaign you can always shoehorn what you want where you want, but I would be a bit disappointed if there was a kind of "easy shoehorning toolkit". I think that Bruce is much better than that.



Going back to earlier posts, I'll try to answer some questions that might have gone through untouched.

Edit: I love getting interrupted. I managed to not answer the above post. So. . . moving right along.

Calidar is designed to offer a number of analogies to Mystara and the Known World. By looking at the map of the Great Caldera, some basic analogies can be surmised. I'll get into these in another post. But that's where Calidar stops. It's what comes in addition that makes Calidar stand apart. The link between magic, Calidar's nature, the Dread Lands, Seitha, space travel, the lunar empires' rivalry and conflicts, and dichotomy of deities and their mortal creators all contribute to pushing Calidar beyond simply dodging intellectual property. So, yes, you can shoehorn Mystara in Calidar, but I think it would be best to use both settings side by side, because a means to travel between them (and any other universe/reality--including real Earth) has been worked in to allow convenient "conversions".
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Big Mac » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:43 pm

Ambreville wrote:So, yes, you can shoehorn Mystara in Calidar, but I think it would be best to use both settings side by side, because a means to travel between them (and any other universe/reality--including real Earth) has been worked in to allow convenient "conversions".


Sounds good to me. That seems like people would get a chance to do what the Star Phoenix does and explore.

For Mystara fans, it might allow them to run an adventure starting in the Known World and then travelling through space to Calidar. But for a non-Mystara fan (or for someone who is interested in the setting but unable to pay the sort of high prices that the eBay bandits have driven the second hand market to) they would be able to ignore Mystara and go directly to Calidar. I think that will give Calidar the chance at pulling in fans that have not got access to your older work. I think that is a good thing.

I'm not sure what your travel mechanic is, but there are plenty of TSR and non-TSR worlds that people could hook up to. I know that Pathfinder put out a solar system in a product called Distant Worlds and there was also a product called Sailing the Starlit Sea that was being prepared a while ago. There are also Spelljammer worlds to raid and adapt.

I would probably want to go the other way and raid Calidar and its moons (and any other celestial bodies you create for the Calidar system) to add into a Spelljammer game (not because that is "better" but because I am a Spelljammer fan at heart). But I can imagine fans of the Star Phoenix raiding from various sources, including SJ while they wait to see if you will send it to other worlds and create sourcebooks for them.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:58 pm

Justinov wrote:I would like also to see a real in-depth character building of the crew.
So you could play on internal tensions between the crew members, when making the journey.
Nothing like a good crises when you are all in the same boat and far from home.......

Ernest Shackleton-like leadership or more like William Bligh at the helm with a rich trouble makers like Fletcher Christian stirring things up. That would really spice it up for me.


Indeed.

In VotPA, IIRC the crew had been thrown together with little forethought. Character depth came solely from the adventures, but there was very little conflict or friction between the protagonists. I spent more time working on the new crew (and their nemesis), with an eye toward depth and character development. One thing I can say now is that the choice of races and ethnics has made the object of greater focus. Here's what we have so far:

Captain d'Alberran: in keeping withe the spirit of VotPA, he's somewhat similar to Haldemar--a swashbuckling wizard. His challenge is to come to grips with the mysterious power that erased all memory of his past and brought him to this world. He sees this as a personal challenge and intends on addressing the issue head on, no matter what the cost. He senses that he and his crew were led into Calidar for some specific reason, and behaves accordingly, as someone who refuses to be manipulated. Like Captain Ahab, he fears neither cosmic beast nor god and dares to challenge their will.
First Mate Ennia Daggart: she could be described as an Afro-Celtic warrior babe, with a few tattoos reminiscent of ancient Celts or Maori on her forehead and temples. This tough character actually runs most of the activities on the ship. There's some rivalry here with the captain. To begin with, the crew knows that they came from different realities (though none can remember which), and that they were gathered on the strange Star Phoenix for some mysterious purpose. This leads several crew members to question authority aboard. With a skipper (and a First Mate) who do not tolerate insubordination, you get the picture.
Master Arabesque Starward: she's the blonde-dreamy-blue-eyed elven navigator/cartographer/priestess/surgeon aboard, and probably the single most valuable character on the Star Phoenix. She and the captain discovered mutual feelings for each other, but question whether these are genuine or "implanted" by whatever power that brought them together into this mysterious universe. The captain fights pretty hard to ignore his own feelings for Arabesque, because of his function aboard. He fears they would jeopardize his ability to command. Arabesque, grappling with her sudden inability to communicate with her spiritual patron, also has her own internal conflict.
Captain-at-Arms, Wu Yuntai: he's a Chinese-style elven warrior who commands the ship's marines. Yuntai is very loyal to his captain, though he does not remember why. Although not yet apparent, he may develop feelings for the First Mate. Early on, he's nearly killed in combat and makes it a personal quest to best he who almost defeated him--the commander of the Draconnic Knights, Captain d'Alberran's nemesis.

Other characters include Purser Waessail Barrooney (actually a fellfolk with thieving abilities and somewhat of a coward), Rivven Cripplegate (a red-head bosun with a short fuse), Master-Artificer Ebben Philoneas Rugwittle (a spell-casting gnome in charge of the ship's magical engineering), Master-of-Engines Hoyk Pebbleborn (a blunderbuss-toting dwarven artillerist who has every intention of acquiring dwarven cannons for the Star Phoenix), Bugles “Ol’ Babblejack” Belzer (the helmsman, a salty old seadog), and--last but not least--Gumboyle Teabaggy, the fellfolk cook (part head-hunter and voodoo priestess, with a wooden leg, a killer frying pan, a homunculus familiar, and a crush on the Captain-at-Arms).

More will be added as some characters die off and others are recruited.
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Re: [Calidar] What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:24 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thorf wrote:With this in mind, what are your hopes for Calidar?

For Mystara fans (such as myself), what features of Mystara will you most be looking out for an equivalent of in Calidar?

For fans of other settings, what features are you most hoping to see in Calidar?


What am I hoping to see? Calidarspace* perhaps! :lol: ;)

* = I am contractually obliged to say that I want to convert all campaign settings to Spelljammer. ;)

Joking aside, a setting that did not have a buy in price set by eBay bandits would be nice.


Calidar is designed specifically for skyships, and this implies space travel as well. Although flight mechanics employed here are vastly different than those introduced in Spelljammer, the general goal is similar. This becomes evident because of the existence of three lunar realms: three competing empires of rather nasty people (at least at first sight). Alorea's leadership is partial to the Draconnic Knights, at least in their dictatorial ideologies. Alorean elves are somewhat reminiscent of tree-hugging Romulans, using a Star Trek analogy. Meanwhile, the dwarves of Kragdûr look more like Klingons--a warrior culture to be sure, and one set to fully exploit natural resources conflicting with the elves' desire to do exactly the opposite. The dwarves also consider dragon hoards natural resources to be plundered at will, which obviously doesn't sit well with the Draconnic Knights. Humans of Manaan are religious types, trying to play the elves against the dwarves to further their own interests. All three empires compete for Seitha, which increasingly appears only on Calidar, the central world. Their former colonies there oppose imperial attempts to obtain it. Add to all this other worlds, such as Lao Kwei, Kumoshima, Draconia, and the Fringe (an asteroid field where everything else "fits"), as well as interesting folks such as the Space Vikings and the mysterious starfolk.
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby agathokles » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:09 pm

Interesting characters and plots! I look forward to reading the book(s) :-)

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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Le Noir Faineant » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:16 am

I hope for this to become the Next Mystara, if you want to understand the pun. :)

As in, as beautiful as the vintage settings are, the community that gathers around them becomes smaller and smaller.
Either we get reeditions some time soon - because casual gamers don't venture on dndclassics all too often, I'd wager - or, we need spiritual successors.

This role, Calidar could well take. :)
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:14 am

Let this be more than wishful thinking. Pass the word. Gather as many backers as possible so we actually have a new product to build from :).
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Birchbeer » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:49 am

Bruce - I was wondering if the three moons are dominated by one race each or if each moon has a mix of races?

Will Lupin or Rakasta be able to make a re-appearance?
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:39 am

Birchbeer wrote:Bruce - I was wondering if the three moons are dominated by one race each or if each moon has a mix of races?

Will Lupin or Rakasta be able to make a re-appearance?


The three moons are heavily dominated by their native races, although all feature internal dissent, frictions, and rivalries among their cultures. Kragdur also is home to spell-casting gnomes, but they've been largely dominated/enslaved by the dwarves. Some half-elves form communities on Alorea, often persecuted if subtly so (it's an elven thing). Manaan is largely human, although many different ethnics and appearances can be found there. Calidar is where the races mix. Lupins and rakasta will of course be part of the makeup of Calidar's universe, although new names and a slightly different rationale (than for Mystara) for their existence there will be needed. So, let's start a contest:

What shall we call these two special races in Calidar?
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Le Noir Faineant » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:40 am

Ambreville wrote:Let this be more than wishful thinking. Pass the word. Gather as many backers as possible so we actually have a new product to build from :).


If I may be so blunt, yeah, of course I will, but also please take care, Sir:
Simulacrum games or settings, or items promoted as such, have never been huge successes, and the market is right now pretty saturated, to say the least.
Of the entire OSR, the only two items that have had more than niche success, it C&C and "Lamentations of the Flame Princess", because both games, or rather,
their creators, managed to emancipate themselves from their source of inspiration.

Likewise, I am pretty sure most people don't want to read about "Mirror Mystara"; to be frank, the simple notion of the idea held me back from checking Calidar until recently. If this is something entirely new (as it does in fact seem), though, you will have my support. :)
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:40 pm

Le Noir Faineant wrote:
Ambreville wrote:Let this be more than wishful thinking. Pass the word. Gather as many backers as possible so we actually have a new product to build from :).


If I may be so blunt, yeah, of course I will, but also please take care, Sir:
Simulacrum games or settings, or items promoted as such, have never been huge successes, and the market is right now pretty saturated, to say the least.
Of the entire OSR, the only two items that have had more than niche success, it C&C and "Lamentations of the Flame Princess", because both games, or rather,
their creators, managed to emancipate themselves from their source of inspiration.

Likewise, I am pretty sure most people don't want to read about "Mirror Mystara"; to be frank, the simple notion of the idea held me back from checking Calidar until recently. If this is something entirely new (as it does in fact seem), though, you will have my support. :)


Correct. Although Calidar maintains a certain commonality with Mystara and features mechanisms facilitating the transfer of individual characters or possibly entire cultures from one to the other, it is indeed a new world. It has its own uniqueness while developing concepts that originated elsewhere. The dynamics of Calidar and its plot drivers contribute to creating a different setting than Mystara's, while accommodating aspects from the grand old setting to a useful degree. Looking at the map recently released will infer as much. Whatever lies beyond the Great Caldera's shores, however, is another story. :geek:
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Yaztromo » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:29 pm

Can I now turn tables and ask Bruce what are his hopes for Calidar? 8)
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Re: What are your hopes for Calidar?

Postby Ambreville » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:27 pm

Yaztromo wrote:Can I now turn tables and ask Bruce what are his hopes for Calidar? 8)

Seeing these books in brick & mortar shops within a reasonable future...
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