Skotos Forums  

Go Back   Skotos Forums > General Skotos > Articles > Former Columnists > Other Columns & Articles

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 16 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
  #31  
Old 01-17-2001, 01:52 PM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Thanks for responding to my earlier comments, Jeff. Just from letting it all sink in and reading some of the earlier posts, I came up with a few other questions, comments, and ideas.

Are there going to be any other (human)minority groups that exist outside the existing social structures? I guess I was thinking mostly of peoples like the Ba and Wei minorities in China or the "untouchable" class that is in semi-existence even today in Japan. Those could even offer creative players or StoryHosts the opportunity to create their own little mini-societies with their own rules and cultural norms.

I was also wondering about your plans for the magic system (which you may have covered before, I didn't have time to read all the postings). I assume you're going to try to include a lot of the trappings of Eastern mysticism (external alchemy, internal alchemy, qi manipulation, communion with the spirit world, feng shui, astrology, the search for immortality, and maybe even reach backwards to things like the Shang oracle bones), but I was wondering how in the world most of that was actually going to have in-game effects. I mean, the way some designers have gone around it is to include more of the Hong-Kong-action-movie style of "magic," with monks throwing fire-balls around and sorcerors zapping lightning bolts. However, since you seem to be trying for more of an authentic feel, I am interested in how you are approaching it.

How important will religion be in the world of Chan-la? Does each "race" come with its own religious background or are there more universal thought systems that have followers from every aspect of society? I guess I started thinking about it when you brought up the Warring States period. I can understand how it would be difficult to set up that kind of philisophical atmosphere with the "100 Schools of Thought" and all that. Since conflict among the various religions has always been a central theme in Chinese history, with the current Dynasty or Emperor usually favoring one over the others, I was wondering how you were planning on sticking that in.

Thanks again.

Later.
Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 01-17-2001, 08:19 PM
JeffCrook
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ahhhh.

Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
Are there going to be any other (human)minority groups that exist outside the existing social structures?
There are the Han. I haven't posted the timeline, but it will eventually be available. In brief, the Han are a subpopulation of the Chan. Before the Chan empire, they betrayed the Chan nation and sided with the Xao. Once the empire was founded and the Xao driven out, they even managed to establish a brief dynasty. Now, they are mostly relegated to the extreme north. But they are still around.

In addition, there are ten regions in Chan-la, and each is culturally distinct. Of course, on a smaller scale, there is all kinds of room to for former and present noble or guild families, not to mention boxing schools.

Quote:
I was also wondering about your plans for the magic system. I assume you're going to try to include a lot of the trappings of Eastern mysticism (external alchemy, internal alchemy, qi manipulation, communion with the spirit world, feng shui, astrology, the search for immortality...
I have both. There are monks flying around shooting lightning bolts. There is also feng shui and astrology, plus alchemy. Magic, which I call Pei Shi, requires the use of talismans of all sorts, from jade dragons to iron rings, so most of the craft skills have their own magical esoterica. But the fundemental aspect of Pei Shi is qi manipulation, either through yourself, or from a living victim, or the life force of the surrounding terrain.

Quote:
How important will religion be in the world of Chan-la? Does each "race" come with its own religious background or are there more universal thought systems that have followers from every aspect of society?
Again, I will cover this in later articles, but in general:

I started from an esoteric Taoist base. I have the Eight Immortals, literally the Eight Emperors of Heaven. These are largely Chan gods, and include the Chan hero Li Chan, but most everyone worships them in one way or another. Quin Quan is the most popular. In many ways, they are quasi-western, with others being pure dualist gods, representing concepts of yin and yang. The Fong have their racial deity - a horse goddess, as do the Xao - a moth in a cocoon. There is also a forgotten god, who Li Chan supplanted. There is worship of the Tao, a type of earth religion. And there is worship of demons. There is emperor worship (more a civic activity than a spiritual one), and ancestor worship, which is the single most important spiritual activity of the average person in Chan-la. And there is strict animism, with road, bridge, river, stream, mountain, etc., shrines all over the place. I hope to be able to integrate this all into the game, so that if you cross a bridge without first paying homage to the bridge spirit, your chances of something bad happening while crossing the bridge will increase. It is very complicated, but if I can fully implement it, it will make for a beautiful system. The average player will become quite aware of his or her religious obligations. These can be ignored, but only with consequences.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 01-23-2001, 10:28 AM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Hey Jeff,

I liked the regional descriptions and definately think they should be a vital part of the character creation process. I just have a few thougths and suggestions about this, though:

I think people who are making their first character (who know very little about Chan-la, itself) aren't going to want to skim a ton of text to decide on a home province. My suggestion would be to set up an atlas of Chan-la as an image map, where you could click on the various provinces and see a short summery of each. I think a visual interface would win you more fans. You've probably already thought of something like this, but I just wanted to throw my thoughts in.

Also, I think it would be extremely impressive if you could come up with a way to incorperate region family names into character creation. Y'know how there's that neat little thing where if you have a certain surname in China, say "Kong" for instance, everybody assumes you're from Shandong province? Once a player had picked a home province for his character, it's be great if you could list a bunch of surnames to pick from and indicate which ones were native to certain parts of Chan-la. Then, the player could choose to be from one of the majority, powerful families of the province, or part of another family that moved (however long ago) into the area.

Then, the really great thing would be that characters would come into the game with family and provincial ties already established. Since Kangdao is going to be such an melting pot, you would be almost sure of finding another character either from the same province or with the same surname. Once the game gets really large, there might even be a whole clan of "the Tien Shan branch of the Sui family" in the city.

Anyway, just some thoughts. I'm beginning to get more excited about the possibilities of you setting, as you can probably tell.

Later.
Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 01-23-2001, 01:20 PM
JeffCrook
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
My suggestion would be to set up an atlas of Chan-la as an image map, where you could click on the various provinces and see a short summery of each.
An excellent idea, and not just because I thought of it, too. I even started to build just such a thing with Flash, before the game was chosen as one of the Skotos Seven. Maybe once we start working on sites for each game, we'll be able to do something like this. But I am afraid my html abilities are not equal to this task. It would be a nice addition to the character creation process.

Quote:

Also, I think it would be extremely impressive if you could come up with a way to incorperate region family names into character creation.
I hadn't thought of this, but it is an excellent idea, one I will incorporate. Thanks!

Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 01-24-2001, 09:40 AM
KathyN KathyN is offline
Nice And Weird
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Around here somewhere
Posts: 999
Looking forward to this more and more with every new installment! The latest descriptions help somewhat in thinking about a charactor although there seems to be more info on the Shangxao thus making them more interesting. I am wondering; would a practioner of an animist relegion be more or less a shaman? And more rural? I would be leaning towards that sort of charactor, although I want to consider all the possibilities. I definately like the idea of family names and clans to immediately establish the charactor as part of a group.
Kathy
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 01-24-2001, 11:17 PM
JeffCrook
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Quote:
Originally posted by KathyN:
I am wondering; would a practioner of an animist relegion be more or less a shaman? And more rural?
It could be played as a shaman or druidic type character, if you like. As for rural, the dividing line between rural and urban is literally just a wall. Within that wall, things can be very sophisticated, the very highest of art, culture and philosophy. But within sight of that wall might be a village that is as rural as any, its people living lives as uncomplicated by ritual formality as they are materially poor.

I was trying to decide what I will cover in my next article. Perhaps I should do religion.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 01-30-2001, 04:39 PM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Jen-Pang symbol?

I giggled for a long time after that, only because of a phonetics thing, which you may have done on purpose. If you treat that like Wade-Giles you get "Zhen Bang" in pinyin.

The "Really Great" symbol?

I love it http://www.skotos.net/ubb/smile.gif
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 01-31-2001, 06:03 AM
JCrook JCrook is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
The "Really Great" symbol?
"So, you have broken my secret code. It will avail you not, Mister Bond."

To be honest, it wasn't intentional. Just one of those happy chances. In the Chan language, it means 'circular way'. This arose from the very first playtest session, before I had begun developing a dictionary. One of the characters was named Jen Ju. As the guy playing Jen Ju studies Ba Gua IRL, I thought it would be cool to have his character's name mean 'perfect step'. So I made 'Jen' mean 'step' or 'path' or 'way'. Later, Pang became 'circle' or 'ring', and when I was deciding on a name for the symbol, I chose 'circular way', or Jen-Pang.

Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 01-31-2001, 10:37 AM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Okay, I decided to post a more serious question.

How much is your "tao" going to be like the Dao (Tao) of RL philosophy? I mean, are they basically identical? I kind of got the sense that you were leaning a little away from that and emphasizing the naturalistic and earthy aspects of it.

Later.
Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 01-31-2001, 10:52 AM
JCrook JCrook is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:

How much is your "tao" going to be like the Dao (Tao) of RL philosophy
The Tao philosophy of the game is more druidic than traditional Taoism. Thursday (I think), the other half of the religion article will post, and there you'll find something more akin to Taoism with the balance philosophy involved in the reverence of the gods Tien and Tan.

Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 02-02-2001, 07:02 AM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Cool, Jeff.

I like your gods a great deal. They're interesting and unique enough that priest characters and storytellers are going to have a blast inventing legends about them (based, of course, on the information you provide for the game). I was especially found of the non-humanoid ones, the dragon and spider-god, which I don't think are seen often enough. I missed not having Monkey, though, or does he come later? http://www.skotos.net/ubb/smile.gif

The only thing that surprised me was the way you set up Tien and Tan. Since Tien sounds like the Chinese word for "Heaven" I was sure that "he" was going to be the Yang equivilent, but you flipped it on me. Also, having the male god represented by black (the color of Yin) and the female by gold (definately a Yang color), flipped it again. At first I was annoyed in my self-righteous, purist little way, but I've decided that I really like it. It means that you're not going to be treading on the same stereotypical ground and are free to do what you want with it, not worrying about keeping things "accurate."

Anyway, good show. I can't wait for next week's character preview.

Later.
Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 02-02-2001, 07:21 AM
JCrook JCrook is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
It means that you're not going to be treading on the same stereotypical ground and are free to do what you want with it, not worrying about keeping things "accurate."
Thanks

I figured that there was no way I was going to get everything right and please everyone by trying to make things match perfectly, so it would be better to not try at all. If some things match, that's fine, but trying to create an exact mirror of Asia was not my goal.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 02-07-2001, 12:55 PM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Hey Jeff,

I hate it that I'm the only one who ever seems to respond to your articles, but I'm not going to stop even if I'm by myself here. Here's some more thoughts on classes:


Wandering Sage/Teacher

These guys would go back that Warring States period that you were talking about. These "masters" would be people who could easily get a position as a minister, advisor, or teacher as part of a government system, but choose not to for their own reasons. Maybe they were exiled from their home province, maybe they don't think any regional rulers would heed their advice, whatever. Everyone who's ever had "zi" attached to the end of their name would fit well in this category (Lao-zi, Confucius, Mencius, Mo-zi, Xun-zi, etc.). They would be part self-righteous rebels and part humble teachers of whatever path they ascribed to. I don't know, you could even add "hermit" to this catagory, but you wouldn't get much action if you played one of those.


Borderland Official

Historically, if you ever want to get rid of an official, you send him out to some far-away border province and hope that he is either forgotten about or massacred by barbarians in good time. However, _surviving_ as a public official on the edge of barbarian country takes skill. "Barbarian handling" is a dangerous job, trying to keep various tribes fighting each other instead of attacking the heartland. Officials often may have to learn barbarian languages and customs, even marry into powerful barbarian families by taking additional wives or sending daughters off to live on horseback with their uncivilized husbands. Also, when the power balance shifts, and the former "barbarian" tribes become the rulers of the empire (as would be the case in Chang-la), old friends and allies, such as the Borderland Officials, end up in the strangest places ...


Just to list some other ones I thought of: Opera Star, Musician, Tong Leader (thug), Triad Member (gangster), Calligrapher/Scribe, Painter, Mortitian ("the Oven Man"), Laborer (contruction, agriculture, whatever work you could find), Messenger (Imperial or otherwise), Revolutionary ("bring down the dynasty!"), Animal Herder, Barbarian (of course, they wouldn't call themselves this), Translater, Hired Guide, Prostitute (the oldest profession), Hired Killer (the second oldest), Forger, Astrologer, Midwife, Poet, and I'm sure I can come with some others.

Also, given the infinite possibilities availiable, is it going to be possible to just select a bunch of appropriate skills and then title yourself whatever you want, or are you going to have to choose a specific "class?"

Later.
Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 02-07-2001, 01:15 PM
JeffC JeffC is offline
Senior Dismember
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 112
Good ideas.

Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
Also, given the infinite possibilities availiable, is it going to be possible to just select a bunch of appropriate skills and then title yourself whatever you want, or are you going to have to choose a specific "class?"
Ah, no I wasn't trying to build the idea of classes in the traditional game sense. Instead, I want to provide templates from which to build your own character. This came about when people looked over my skill lists and panicked - they didn't know where to begin, and generally said things like, what skills should I take to be such and such type of character?

But you can choose any assortment of skills you desire and call yourself whatever you will. You could be a drunken philosopher beekeeper, if that's what you want to be.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 02-12-2001, 06:33 PM
jwalton jwalton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oberlin, OH, USA
Posts: 74
Drunken philosopher beekeeper? Don't tempt me http://www.skotos.net/ubb/smile.gif
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:51 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.