The Dark Underbelly of West Brundiland

So I’ve began working on a setting that is actually going to be two firsts for me: My first Savage Worlds home-brewed game, and my first game to run over Google Wave. ((If ya don’t know wtf that is, here’s the brief rundown.))

The setting itself is nothing spectacular that hasn’t been done before, but I’m hoping we all have a blast with it. The setting itself is a port city in the Duchy of West Brundiland, in a fantasy kingdom that has all of the usual Tolkien/Gygaxian races.  The actual era feel comes off more Renaissance-esque as there is a presence of Black Powder, noble aristocracy and the like. You have your dying race of Elves who adventure out in the world bent on leaving a grand final legacy to the world, a godless nation of Dwarfs who rely on Weird Science and Gun Powder over Magic and Faith, and a Kingdom of Man that is now cast in turmoil with the murder of an important political and economic figure with conspiracies abound.

Screw Dungeons, this is INTRIGUE! *dun dun dunnnnnn*

Even though I decided to let this game stick with typical fantasy gaming concepts, this is definitely NOT Dungeons & Dragons.  Every character has their own interests for who murdered Balthazaar Von Keimler, a wealthy RWS-01-MagicianMerchant Lord who is one of the most powerful business men and dignitaries for the King. The streets of the city are riled with conflict and suspicion as rival Merchant Houses try to accuse the others for the Murder, and some even go as far as to accuse the Duke of West Brundiland out of jealousy of Von Keimler’s favor with the King.  It’ll be up to the Wildcards to find out the dangerous truth behind the murder and their decision on what to do with that knowledge.

The feel of the story is to be very Pulpish-Noir feeling with an element of HUZZAH! I wanted the characters to be full and colorful, and I wanted to take advantage of Savage Worlds’ system for combat as a method of using lots of flair and taking out mooks like no man’s business! And so far, it appears the party is as full of color as I could ask, if not more. We have a stage Magician who practices a little bit of the real thing, focusing his trappings on illusions and style. We have an Elven Opera singer, hoping to leave her mark on the world with her (literally) enchanted vocals, but has become caught up in these turbulent events. We have the Gambler, who watches the cards dealt like fortunes of fate, zen in the art of the cards. And to top it all off, the masked crime fighter. Bonus points: How cool is it to have the Masked Vigilante played by Tim Kirk of Silverlion Studios, writer of Hearts & Souls? (Answer: Very.)

With the Savage Worlds rules, it’s nice to break out of classes and alignments for character concepts.  Sure I could probably easily run the same style of story using Eberron, but then we’d have to pigeonhole the character concepts into existing classes which may or may not stick true to the feel.

Setting Up The Wave
The tricky part about all of this is figuring out how to use Google Wave to the best of our advantage. So far I’ve setup a main page that links to other waves where I cover the background information, character creation guidelines and the like. With one of my players, we’ve actually kept a Wave between each other as she developed her character concept and she fleshes out her background, allowing her to leave questions at certain spots and allowing me to go in and give replies. The editing functions and the “wiki-feel” of collaboration really shines in this department.

I’m still trying to figure out the best layout for the actual game; my thoughts are creating waves for the scenes/chapters I run,  played through narrative scripts between me and the players, with combat handled in their own waves. We’re going to be using the Random Lee Twenty dice bot, since it has special functions that support Savage Worlds’ dice mechanics. I’ll probably also keep an OOC wave for the players to converse, as well as a way for me to distribute experience points throughout the campaign. One thing I’m wondering about is how to handle Initiative using the SW:EX card system. I want to keep it, as I feel it’s a flavorful part of the system not to mention the Wild Card rules and the fact there’s no ties make it awesome in my book. There’s a great extension for Playing Cards on Wave; I’m thinking for tracking purposes I will draw the cards myself for each player but use the app to show them the order drawn.

I’m also looking for possible battle grid extensions; so far I’ve found Fighty which uses a Google Maps service to load the boards but is clunky for my tastes. It could work but I’d like to use icons and templates like a low-budget Gametable or Maptools-esque extension if I’m going to even bother. If not, I’m fine running combat more loosely without boards/minis.

Of course, I would’ve never found this information on my own!

Google Wave discussion group at Role-Play Media Network
Savage Worlds discussion group at Role-Play Media Network
Pinnacle Entertainment’s Download Page (You can snag the Savage Worlds Test Drive and the Wizards & Warriors pdfs for free!)

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