Author Topic: Outline of a campaign  (Read 3927 times)

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Outline of a campaign
« on: December 06, 2015, 02:08:58 am »
So I am going to run a GURPS campaign, still quite a ways away, but I am going to use this thread as a way to organize some of my thoughts and put stuff that is general player knowledge up.

The campaign multiverse is a modified form of the standard GURPS infinite worlds setting, there are two primary cross dimensional organizations that are reasonably friendly with one another and act as protaganists and there are a few others that are generally antagonistic to them.  Player characters can either be from one of the two protaganist organizations or they can be people from one of the many planes those organizations visit who has been recruited, swept up, or brought along by accident.

The protaganist organizations are infinity unlimited, a company that has discovered cross dimensional travel using technological means who now works with  department of the UN to try to keep order, of a sort, across the multiverse, and the invisible college, a hidden college of magic that teaches a wide variety of traditions and is able to travel through the dimensions. The two factions are quite aware of one another and do not always work to the same ends but are both generally benevolent.  The antagonists that both are aware of include the Reich, Nazis who have mastered planar travel, the cabal, a rather more diverse and somewhat more sinister group of mages than the invisible college, and the swagmen, dimension jumping con artists and swindlers who use their ability to change planes purely for their own betterment.

The commonly known worlds, at least among planar travellers include the following.

Homeline, also known as Canada, this is the base of operations for infinity unlimited and as far as they are aware the only plane on which projector technology works.  It is called Canada by those from other dimensions because the Infinity Patrol's base is in Alberta and that is usually the only part they see.  It is a no mana plane, TL is early 9/ late 8.  The world is very similar to the one we are familiar with, up until the development of cross planar travel, that was a couple decades ago at this point and is something pretty much everyone is aware of, but most people have not taken part in.

Assiah, sometimes called Venice, the home plane of the invisible college.  This world is in the enlightenment era, similar to our familiar world it includes a race of sentient fish men, who live in relative peace with humans.  Physics are different here and technology above TL 4 does not function, this means that the conveyors that Infinity Unlimited use cannot get out if they have gone in.  The Invisible College is headquartered in Venice, thus the name.  The world is low mana, with the college occupying a pocket of normal mana.

Reich, Germany, or Deutschland is the world of the Nazis, they were victorious in the second world war and moved on to consolidate their wins and discover cross dimensional travel.  Their methods are not as refined as infinity's and is not something most citizens, or the fuhrer, are aware exist.  The world is roughly the same TL as home line, extermination camps are not commonly seen, since their work is mostly done, but a few still exist.  No Mana

Zebu, A world in what seems to be an endless mideval era.  Technology does function here, although sometimes unreliably.  It bears very little resemblance to the world we are familiar with, with different geography, languages, and so forth.  The fantasy races people are familiar with are here, elves, dwarves, orks and so forth, as well as the strange magical race known as glurons.  Normal mana, the world is considered a barbaric backwater by both infinity unlimited and the invisible college, but things keep happening there with potential consequences beyond the borders of the world.  TL 3

Redemption,  A world that at first look seems to closely resemble ours in 1884, however there are an awful lot of strange things going on.  Schools of ritual magic wield real power, including the traditions of America's native tribes and physics seems to be subtly different in ways  that allow ideas that turned out to be wrong in our world to work after all.  Early TL 6 Normal mana but with quirks to the magic system.

These worlds all have a certain gravity, random errors that throw travellers to a random plane seem to end up on one of them more often than other places and they also seem to have a higher proportion than most of travellers born there of planar travellers.  The knowledge archives in Infinity's research department and in the library of the invisible college include many more worlds which have been explored and categorized, but these are the ones that most who have travelled between planes are aware of without further research.

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2015, 11:33:31 pm »
Homeline discovered interdimensional travel relatively recently, the theory was worked out by Dr Walter Bell who was a post doctoral student funded by a grant from Microsoft.  he realized he could put his theories into practice but was unable to get the attention of Bill Gates or any of the other subordinates he attempted to talk to.  Finally he managed to talk with Paul Allen, who took a slightly more active role in continuing microsoft activities in Homeline than he did on our world.   Paul didn't take a much more active role so he had more time and he was in a risk taking mood.  He funded the first prototype and on December 21st 2012 the first interdimensional jump was made.  It took about a year for things to be formalized and publicized, with careful work by Walter and Paul to make sure that governments would not simply seize the means of production of interdimensional conveyers but by 2014 they had established Infinity Unlimited as a international corporation and worked with the UN to create the infinity patrol.  Dr Bell is the face of the company, much as Bill Gates is for Microsoft while Paul Allen works in the background to vigorously prosecute patent infringement and pull political strings.  The current time is 2025 (exact date to be determined later) and Infinity Unlimited has become a world shaping company.  Everyone knows about interdimensional travel and those in the upper middle class have probably taken vacations on paradise worlds.  Travel is still expensive though and a bit out of reach of the average man or woman on the street.

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47228
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 12:12:50 am »
This is awesome and exactly the sort of storytelling that GURPS is best at. I particularly like that Homeline and Assiah are both effectively one-way trips for the opposite "team's" method of porting. That's a mighty fine plot complication.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2015, 02:19:52 am »
heh, well, the teams are nominally allies, partly because they tend to be interested in different qualities in planes, also because the limitations of the other's plane makes direct conflict difficult.

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47228
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2015, 08:24:44 am »
The Nazi world existing alone provides a very fine reason such folks might be inclined to get along. A lot of stories play with the idea of the Nazis winning, but a powerful transdimensional cabal in such a world working in secrecy so deep even the leader has no idea it exists is really cool twist. A global fascist dictatorship born out of protracted secrecy and warfare could easily get heavily fractured any number of ways and maintain the appearance of unity superficially.

A thought just struck me. Imagine what a fanatical racial purist might do if he was threatened with a horrific "dirty bomb" scenario over all of Germany very late into a protracted campaign to take the North American continent as a last ditch effort by the Allied remnants to halt the advance. What if he thought that they were bluffing and was dead wrong? Now the Reich would have a reason to seek new worlds to preserve the dwindling bloodlines now seeing ever more mutation from a global fallout event.

Guess what I'm saying is your stuff got me thinking and it's pretty darn cool!
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2015, 06:12:49 pm »
I'm glad.  A fair amount of what I am using is lifted straight out of the GURPS infinite worlds source book, but I am adding my own stuff along the way.  I'm gonna put up a history of the college shortly here, it was bouncing around in my head.

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 09:01:48 pm »
The invisible college had it's origins in the famous body snatching of Saint Mark.  Venice was just starting to become a real city at this point, in the early 800's, and the doge, Giustiniano Participazio, faced some doubt as to the legitimacy of his rule. He had succeeded his father without a proper popular affirmation of his rule.  He needed something to cement both his reputation and that of Venice and found it in a story he was told by a merchant, who was also a student of the mystical arts.  Saint Mark, during his evangelical travels, had landed on Rialto and, apparently, been informed by an angel that his body would rest there.  He proceeded to become the bishop of Alexandria where he died and where, at this point, his body still remained.  The doge commissioned the merchant to recover the body, which he did with the help of others who had also trained in magic.  Upon returning the body to the city he asked the doge to be granted a patch of land, in a location where he had already determined that the mana level was higher than normal.  Magic was unreliable in Assiah for the most part, requiring a great deal of natural talent and also training to be able to harness.  The merchant, whose name was Giancarlo Assizi, established a retreat on the granted land where he and the others who had retrieved the body of the saint could continue their studies. As they each brought on apprentices the informal society slowly evolved into a more formal college.  The place Giancarlo had found was in a swamp, somewhat north of the city but as time went on the city grew over it. The college, by that point well established, put a lot of magical work into making the location inconspicuous, while also ensuring a canal was dredged right by their door.  Situated on the south bank of the Cannaregio the area has, at this point, been largely filled with the palazzo's of important families, there is also the Ghetto Vechio, directly across the canal.  The Ghetto led to the most important development in the college's history, they had been studying the magic of other cultures as much as possible gaining various insights, but it was not until an enlightened chancellor decided to allow Jews to study within the college, and one particularly open minded Kabbalist chose to share some of his secrets, that the great discovery was made.  By combining kabbalistic techniques with others previously uncovered by the college they were able to break through into another world, and shortly after than another and another.  The breakthrough was made nearly 100 years ago, but is still considered to be the greatest achievement of the college and the number of Jewish students has swelled greatly.  The tradition, started at that time, of educating social outcasts has grown as well and the college welcomes Fishmen, Gypsies, Africans and others, always asking that their traditional knowledge be shared as well.  This has not always gone in ways appreciated by those sharing the knowledge, as for instance, the college happily teaches Kabballah to women and those under 40.

The college has been exploring other planes far longer than Infinity Unlimited or the Nazis of the Reich.  However they are limited by being a small facility which must remain secret from the world around them.  There are other magical colleges and societies in the world of Assiah, most of which have found their own spots of normal mana.  The college enjoys friendly relationships with many of these but the spells to reach other dimensions are a jealously guarded secret. Anyone sharing that knowledge will be hunted relentlessly by the college and their memories of magic completely erased.

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47228
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2015, 04:39:54 am »
Dig it!
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2015, 08:26:57 pm »
I'm going to explore Character types a bit before going back into backstory.  Characters will fall into 3 types.  Infinity, College, and other.  Infinity recruits from other worlds as well as from homeline.  Infinity is officially egalitarian, with promotion being available regardless of race r gender.  In practice they are an American company run by two white men, and as such there is definitely some paternalism and racism.  It's not overt enough to count for disadvantage points, more for flavor.  They do recruit non humans as well, but those are relatively rare.  The college is incredibly progressive for their era, teaching women, non Italians, and non humans and giving them tenured positions as professors.  This is partly due to magic being a great equalizing force.  Being a woman or a disadvantaged race does count as a disadvantage worth points for characters starting in Venice as outside of the walls of the college they face considerable discrimination.  Humans come in all the flavors that we are familiar with from our world, although in Venice humans who would not normally be in Venice in the late 1600's are rare.  Zebu will be a fairly important setting and players are welcome to have characters born and raised there, these could be people recruited by the college, or infinity, or simply swept along by the course of events.  Zebian humans come in 3 basic flavors.  Narians are members of the former Kvetch Nar empire, they can be citizens of Kvetch Nar itself or one of the many breakaway duchies.  They speak Narian as their native language.  Zarians and Azizm share a language and a culture with the gender roles reversed.  Zarians are extreme female supremacists, Azizm are extreme male supremacists.  Zar and Azi are small and relatively unimportant countries and players originating there should have integrated to some degree with either Narian or Zugi culture and moderated their views on gender somewhat.  Zugi is separated from the Narian land by an impassable wall, which was breached fairly recently in Zar, there is very little traffic between the two areas and most Narians are unaware of Zugi, and vice versa.  Zugi is Asian in character, but with more gender equality.  Kvetch Nar is mideval European, but again, with gender equality.  Zebu also has dwarves (including duergar), elves (including drow), gnomes, halflings, orks and ogres.  Orks are more similar to warcraft orks than Tolkein orks, they are not stupid and although there are a lot of barbarian bands that are quite violent and cruel there are also orks living and working in Narian lands and a couple of bands which pay allegiance to the king of Kvetch Nar.  Ogres are stupid, although there is one group which is not, who are capable of using magic.  They also eat people.  Azrak are the traditional enemies of humans, large horned people with hooved feet, they command the allegience of azra, which are small people built on the same basic body plan.  Azra are not very intelligent, but they are biologically obedient to the Azrak and breed quite profusely.  Glurons are an extremely long lived magical race, with green skin which sags much like a melted candle.  They are not very physically capable, and have a tendency toward insanity but are quite formidable mages.  Theyare also genderless until an extremely advanced age, at which point they breed and die.  infant glurons are raised as parasitic leechlike things on a younger gluron who was friends with the infant's mother or father.  Fishmen are present in both Assiah and Zebu, but have rather different characters on the two world.  Frogmen are known for making a vital ingredient for hashish, and live in many of Zebu's swamps and rivers.  Fishmen on Zebu generally worship Cthulhu and are outsiders to human society.  Trade is conducted with them and they are found in coastal cities, but they are not integrated into society the way that other races are.  Fishmen on Assiah are integated into human society, although they are in a second class position, restricted from many professions and not treated as fully human.  They follow the same religions as humans do.  There are numerous worlds with other intelligent beings, so options are wide open, I just went into the more common ones here. 

The gods are actively involved in the world, although their motives are a bit inscrutable.  They seem to be most active on Zebu, but there are people with powers granted by the gods, and those powers work in other places as well, indicating the gods are present there as well.  Any god that you have ever heard of from Earth mythology has a place in the multiverse, and can grant powers to devoted followers.  Many go by different names on different planes and Zebu includes some who are not from Earth mythology, including Karzak, the cruciform god of evil.

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2016, 08:20:33 am »
The first adventure will take plane in the world of Mao.  Cold war era, things developed rather differently here.  Before World War II Chairman Mao managed to bring dragons back to the world.  The Russian revolution had failed and Lenin was hiding in China advising Mao.  China rather quickly rose to dominate the world with imperial Russia as a neighbor and rival.  Europe followed the Chinese lead, with communists sweeping to power, Hitler never rose.  It is now 1985 CE, America and Russia are uneasy partners in Capitalism, Russia still has a Tsar.  Europe is mostly socialist with Great Britain as a capitalist holdout.  The presidency has been for life since Nixon, who is still in office.  There have been no atomic weapons so far, but there have been some unleashing eldritch horrors.  China did quite a number to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, quelling the emperor's ambition.  China and America skirmished briefly in Vietnam and Korea, with China firmly dominating both.  Two promising reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, died in the 70's under circumstances deemed magical.  Vietnam has become an important, vibrant sattelite state of China.  Korea is a bit backward but not as bad as Japan which is attempting to cling to an antique glory.  The party will be in Ho Chi Min city.  Common languages are Vietnamese, Mandarin, French and Cantonese.  The city is vibrant and sprawling, a bit like Hong Kong or Singapore in real life 1985. 

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2016, 09:23:03 am »
Nixon came into power with the evangelical vote, and has been annointed the holy American emperor. Communist Europe is run at a community level and although their standard of living is higher than average in China or the capitalist powers they are not terribly influential in international affairs. 

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47228
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 12:04:46 am »
Nixon came into power with the evangelical vote, and has been annointed the holy American emperor. Communist Europe is run at a community level and although their standard of living is higher than average in China or the capitalist powers they are not terribly influential in international affairs.

This was all great, but this particular bit has me wondering how Rome fared as China took the continent.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2016, 06:13:03 am »
Nixon came into power with the evangelical vote, and has been annointed the holy American emperor. Communist Europe is run at a community level and although their standard of living is higher than average in China or the capitalist powers they are not terribly influential in international affairs.

This was all great, but this particular bit has me wondering how Rome fared as China took the continent.

Germany had the first communist swellings in Europe.  The Weimar republic was a mess and after the Russian revolution failed a lot of Russian communists ended up in Germany.   They declared various different communities to be autonomous and the republic did not have the resources or will to do anything about it.  The Nazis were unable to get the wide popular support they got in our world because the communist parts of Germany were doing fairly well.  Italy had a more familiar fascist state, but it withered away as different groups formed autonomous communist communities.  China lent support, but their approach was never as directly interventionist as the USSR in our world.  Franco in Spain didn't have the German backing he did in our world, meanwhile his communist enemies didn't have the USSR behind them, so the CNT-FAI was much more successful in our world.  France got caught up in the general enthusiasm, as did Scandinavia.  The Catholic church and Mussolini held onto Rome, and some of the surrounding area, working together to hold onto a tiny remnant of Italy.  That along with the UK and Ireland represent the only parts of Europe outside of the communist sphere of influence.  Rome however has been slowly socializing as time goes on and is treated by most as just another European city state.

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47228
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2016, 03:03:20 pm »
Nice!  :)
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Outline of a campaign
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2016, 06:37:46 pm »
An important technological difference between Mao and the world we are used to is that without the Nazis and World War II rocketry was never as developed as it was here.  There was also not the rivalry between the US and Russia to get into space.  This means that there is no web of sattelites in the skies.  Man has been to space, including the moon, but the means were magic as well as technological and there are no permanent structures in space.  One effect of this is that telephones are a bit more limited than they were in our world in the 80s.  The consumer models are the same, but there are no cell phones, and telephone service is a bit more easily interrupted because it all flows through cables.