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A D&D4E Setting Idea

Why are you going into that dungeon?

Because the “dungeon” was the home of humans before we fell, the city-states of the Precursors. The traveling auspex from the Spire-City of the North came to our village last year and told me that I’ve got a Precursor’s soul. He hates me. Everyone hates me.

Whenever I’m near the Door, I hear strange words in my head: “Weakly posthuman descendent.” “Autonomous biological defence agents.” I can do fantastic things with a sword and a bow, things no other man can though he trains for years. The history of the World and the secrets of my soul are through that Door. Three others walk with me. One can call fire from nothing. The past awaits.

I hear "Points of Light" and this is where my brain goes. And it's damn easy to frame, as well.



Jan. 20th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
The fire in question is from overclocking the airborne nanites that help maintain Dungeon homeostasis? Conan has an AI-possessed sword and doesn't know it? Something like that?
Jan. 20th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Kinda. Take Clarke's Third Law and apply it to D&D.

The basic setting conceit of 4E is "points of light", a small bunch of walled settlements in amongst an unknown wilderness; a great empire used powerful magic to unite the world and know the unknowable; dungeons are their strongholds, long since lost. So the ancient empire was a posthuman civilization, but nobody remembers more than dangerous stories about the Precursors. Heroes have a fragment of their posthuman ancestors by whatever means (memes that can breach the Planck barrier between ideas and matter?) and delve into dungeons in order to reclaim their heritage.

I've got random ideas about six space elevators leading to asteroids—the Spire-Cities with their tethered moons. Thing is, only two remain connected. One's gone completely, the remaining three are in orbit.

...yeah, I'm jonesing to run D&D but can't be fucked with boring default fantasy settings.
Jan. 21st, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I like where this is going.
Jan. 21st, 2009 11:11 am (UTC)
General theory: Heroic Tier is all about discovering the secret history by uncovering lore in Precursor ruins, and ends with re-activating a Sentry-City (each Spire-City has eight Sentry-Cities dotted around, maybe a 500 miles distant. Spire-Cities are about the physical size of New York City, Sentry-Cities are satellite colonies each the size of Tokyo. All the urban metropolises are now carved up into a handful of actual cities and a shitload of urban wilderness) as their home-base. As such, they also stick two fingers up at the Auspices of the Spire-Cities, and have to deal with the fallout.

Paragon is the PCs inheriting their birthright, dungeon-diving to activate lost systems and fast-tracking the world to a post-industrial society that's still based on magic (Clarke's Third Law) and with a mindset that's thoroughly Mediaeval Fantasy. So Factory-Cathedrals churn out golems to take on manual labour, and the PCs might activate a Circle of Creation that can summon any mundane object the owner desires (not magical objects, of course). End with them travelling to one of the Tethered Moons and activating the Sentry program (one fuck of a boss fight, natch).

Epic involves handling the fallout from the other two tiers. Sure, they're badasses but they've got to handle the sociopolitical ramifications of their actions. They're pretty much the only heroes who haven't been co-opted by the Auspices, so they're going to face similarly uplifted heroes who just want tomorrow to look a lot like today.

I've half a mind to write this up properly. All these parenthesis-as-I-think-shit-up gets annoying after a while. Also, terminology subject to change.
Jan. 21st, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
That's very awesome. I get sick and tired of default fantasy settings as well, and enjoy ideas that are still close enough for familiarity but throw something new in the mix.

Although I'll admit half of my beef with default fantasy settings is that most of the local gamers never actually want to talk about the world or history of these settings... just the 30 years' worth of novels I'm expected to be familiar with to play in said setting. (In particular, I have yet to be privy to a conversation about Dragonlance that hasn't just been wanking over the novels.)



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