Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning



  • Keeping my fingers crossed this goes well. It sounds very promising thus far.



  • @surreality we can finally play together!



  • @lordbelh I know, right?! I do have an alt on BITN. I think you've met my partner in crime IC, but we haven't run into each other yet, I don't think. We gotta fix that some day.



  • @Apos I still feel like the original "baby with the bathwater" complaint stands, here. Deus ex machina level magic is not the only level of magic possible by any stretch.

    @Kanye-Qwest A setting with magic and no system is still rather close to no magic at all for people that want to play magic users.

    I think you can look at almost any Brandon Sanderson book for ways in which magic can still be an integral part of setting and theme without being the solution to everything. Some of his magic systems are a bit higher powered, but I'm also a fan of actual magic in a fantasy setting.


  • Pitcrew

    @Glitch I love Brandon Sanderson's magic systems! Really love them. They make me overlook his sometimes questionable and very chipper plotting.

    I love a lot about Arx and Apos's design, I truly do, and I'm excited to see how players like it.



  • @Lithium said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    Everything devolves into wild sex romps, because sex sells. Sex and Violence.

    You have a point there, but I'm still kind of an optimist about this. While sure, a lot of players will always have their sexy fun times, I still feel that a lot of people fall back on relationship RP and fooling around as just something to do because they don't have much else going on game wise, and I would feel that would be a failure on my part to provide meaningful story and an accessible metaplot. I kinda feel it's just on me and other GMs to make sure players have enough to do.

    As for high vs low fantasy, there is magic in Game of Thrones, it's just very rare unless you take into account the corpses turning into zombies and babies being turned into white walkers and the dragons and the sorcerers and... well nevermind.

    And you kind of hit it right there in what I was getting across by low fantasy. When someone describes the fantastic elements of Game of Thrones, "Well it's a medieval political drama but has dragons, undead zombie hordes, plant elves, giants, shadow demons, resurrection..." it wouldn't really sound low magic whatsoever, as you pointed out. But I think most fans would agree that Game of Thrones and similar settings followed the narrative approach of using fantastic elements sparingly early and gradually increasing the prevalence and significance of those elements to the story.

    Which brings me back to @Glitch and the "baby with the bathwater" complaint, which I think is very valid and I definitely don't want to give the impression that Arx will be magic free. Oh god no it will not be magic free, it will be (and mostly is) coded, and it's intended to be used by players and not just NPC deus ex machina. But yeah, much like those same narratives, the metaplot is designed in a similar way to increase prevalence slowly over time, and cause a significant change in fundamental theme throughout the game's lifespan. From a game runner's perspective, I think it's a dangerous idea- we'll change theme slowly through the game, meaning some people that loved the start will hate it later, and vice versa, but I think in terms of actually telling a story and letting players go nuts with it, will be an awful lot of fun.

    A better way to phrase a core thematic element of Arx would be: "What would it be like if a high fantasy world became a low fantasy one, forgot it ever was a high fantasy world, then started to change back?"


  • Pitcrew

    @Apos said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    A better way to phrase a core thematic element of Arx would be: "What would it be like if a high fantasy world became a low fantasy one, forgot it was one, then started to change back?"

    From a taste perspective the heavily coded part does not appeal to me. But if that was a teaser line for a book or movie I would buy it in a second. Hope your game is a lot of fun and you and your players enjoy the telling of what promises to be an interesting story.



  • @ThatGuyThere said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    From a taste perspective the heavily coded part does not appeal to me. But if that was a teaser line for a book or movie I would buy it in a second. Hope your game is a lot of fun and you and your players enjoy the telling of what promises to be an interesting story.

    Thank you, I appreciate that.

    I'm hoping a lot of die hard mush players won't find the code as off-putting as they fear it would be. For me, the greatest appeal for mushes is how free form it is, and how much opportunity someone has to really make their own story. And in direct contrast to that, a lot of RPI's try to code everything and limit characters just to that code only, and force characters into narrow decisions that don't really fit what a character would do, removing decisions from players. Some players really enjoy that MUD feel, but I fall way closer to the mush spectrum for storytelling.

    So while I don't think I can please everyone (as you said, it's taste), my goal is definitely not to remove the storytelling strengths of mushes that I think most people on here really enjoy, but to try to provide a few more tools to players so they aren't as reliant on GMs to take actions that can be very consequential.



  • Personally the code you're describing is a huge selling point for me -- I miss toys!! -- but I fear that I am not going to be able to sustain three games. >.>



  • @Apos said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    And in direct contrast to that, a lot of RPI's try to code everything and limit characters just to that code only, and force characters into narrow decisions that don't really fit what a character would do, removing decisions from players.

    I think this is the biggest negative for me in RPI Muds. You show up first time on the grid and are forced to RP being naked because you forgot to type 'wear all' or something. For being RP 'intensive' its already a negative because it ignores character knowledge as opposed to player knowledge and the character would probably be dressed even if the player doesn't now how to wear clothes or get stuff from the newbie dispenser. I prefer my muds with less RP and more grinding.

    And you already addressed this when you pointed out no one will be shouting at new players for being naked in public.

    Hope your crossover project is successful, sounds like a lot of work melding two potentially drastic cultures in regards to what constitutes 'RPI' and what it means; assuming you're trying to draw in Mud folks towards the free form or mush versus reliance on full code to account for everything.



  • @Lotherio said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    Hope your crossover project is successful, sounds like a lot of work melding two potentially drastic cultures in regards to what constitutes 'RPI' and what it means; assuming you're trying to draw in Mud folks towards the free form or mush versus reliance on full code to account for everything.

    I don't think it's as hard as it sounds, since I think most people are pretty forgiving with adjusting a little to different environments just as long as the game is giving them fun things to do, the game's format isn't infuriatingly difficult to learn, and they don't feel like their own RP ideas and stories are being shut down. Don't think we can appeal to everyone, but I think most roleplayers are generally pretty okay with new formats as long as they are enjoying the RP.



  • @Apos said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    I think most roleplayers are generally pretty okay with new formats as long as they are enjoying the RP.

    I don't know about that. I know more then a few people who MUSH on only MUX or Penn and the idea of playing the other is almost unthinkable, so thrown are they by the relatively minor differences (compared to, say, muds vs mushes) between the servers...

    People like habits and breaking them can seriously chase someone away.

    That said, I hope you succeed!



  • @ixokai You do have a point there, though I suspect a lot of this is people trying to use a familiar command, finding it's not there and getting a, 'I have to learn everything again? Well, screw this' reaction. I don't even think that really makes people lazy or anything like that, so much as MU formats can be really arcane and downright annoying to learn. For command type stuff, that might not be so terrible since we can try to replicate a lot of different formats with heavy command aliasing so it feels more intuitive to players. Can't fix all of it, since a lot of games have mutually exclusive commands that do wildly different things with the same formats, but hopefully enough where just logging in and getting started doesn't feel like work. An alpha tester saying, 'GOD WHY CAN'T I <command I've never heard of>' basically has me scramble since it's that immediate gut reaction that I worry about.

    And of course on the huge fundamental storytelling differences between games, that's a whole other animal and set of challenges to worry about.


  • Pitcrew

    @ixokai said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    I don't know about that. I know more then a few people who MUSH on only MUX or Penn and the idea of playing the other is almost unthinkable, so thrown are they by the relatively minor differences (compared to, say, muds vs mushes) between the servers...

    Bah. Just because I throw a fit doesn't mean I won't actually play on these other things.

    This game sounds pretty much awesome and I will try it, though heavily coded isn't generally my cup of tea.



  • @Sunny said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    Bah. Just because I throw a fit doesn't mean I won't actually play on these other things.

    You're sensible and work through these things. Some people aren't. :)

    This game sounds pretty much awesome and I will try it, though heavily coded isn't generally my cup of tea.

    Generally speaking, heavily coded isn't, BUT, they seem to be wanting to take cues from MUSHes that the coding isn't for RP things but instead stuff like crafting and direct combat, which I'm more okay with.



  • @ixokai said in Coming Soon: Arx, After the Reckoning:

    Generally speaking, heavily coded isn't, BUT, they seem to be wanting to take cues from MUSHes that the coding isn't for RP things but instead stuff like crafting and direct combat, which I'm more okay with.

    Mushes are pretty much my favorite storytelling format for any kind of role-playing, so I definitely don't wanna detract from that. Just give a few more tools that might be useful, rather than would get in the way.



  • A little lore intro that might be helpful, since I've gotten asked for a little more about the theme/lore:

    An excerpt from Scholar Tobias the Dubious's "A Brief History of Arvum":

    "Early histories, before the founding of the great capital city of Arx, are poor enough to drive any dedicated scholar to drink. Incomplete at best, maddeningly vague, contradictory, and written in a poetic style far more concerned with the weave of a good tale to make a better song, not a one before The Reckoning can be relied upon.

    A scholar then relies only upon what we can be reasonably certain is true, rather than being another small voice contributing to the great cacophony of dubious history. We know this to be true: the great noble houses of the realm predate the Reckoning by at least centuries, and we can place the time of the Reckoning at roughly a thousand years ago.

    "What was the Reckoning?" A question only a child or foreigner from outside of Arvum might ask, since every man or woman grown in the Realm knows the tale. A thousand years ago, men had grown arrogant enough to ignore the warnings of the gods to not meddle with the dark realm beyond the Mirror. Magic, the writers of the time tell us, was too strong a lure and the gods were forgotten in the face of the great power the dark forces on the other side were willing to bestow upon willing petitioners. Scholars should remain skeptical of these tales. Much and more of this is surely poetry, the metaphor and allegory of the writers of the day to represent man's hubris, since we have little evidence that magic or demons or any of the like ever truly existed. None the less, the tales tell us that the practice of dark magic grew so wide-spread, that the demons were finally able to cross into our world in a great sundering we all call the Reckoning. The new invaders had little interest in being the minions of mere mortal men, and set upon a great war of subjugation, exterminating all in the realm that refused to bend the knee before the demonic onslaught.

    We scholars can presume that such a great war did happen, though were they demons? It seems wiser to presume that the invaders were some great host from another continent, men of a fierce sort certainly, but men none the less. We can likewise agree with the tales that the houses fell one after another, outmatched by these invaders, whatever their nature. And we can find some veracity in the claims of what happened next. The great noble houses, finding themselves pushed to the brink of extinction and annihilation, banded together in one great last stand, creating the fortress of Arx.

    The priests tell us that the gods themselves defended in the final battle of the Reckoning, throwing back the demons. Each great house has their own heroes that echo back to those halcyon days, with their own tales of valor and final victory as they threw back the demonic host from Arx. We can imagine there is a grain of truth in all the tales, if only the great battle of Arx was made of mere men fighting other men of a fiercer sort. We do know the traditions that arise from the founding of Arx as the last bastion that saved the realm; the family of each of the great houses traditionally live in Arx, even if though the seat of their power still resides in the capital city of their homelands. At the time of the Reckoning, the Compact was not as we know it today. One of the kings spoke as first among equals, but power was still equal between each of the houses, and the Compact lost all meaning in the centuries of rebuilding that followed the time of the Reckoning, even if Arx grew and prospered as a central hub between each of the five kingdoms of Arvum.

    All five of the kingdoms of Arvum had been ravaged during the Reckoning, with few men surviving outside of Arx's protective walls. Some descendants of those survivors still harry and trouble the kingdoms today, uncivilized clans that cite a thousand year-old grievance of being abandoned and left outside of Arx's protection, and do not obey the Compact's right and proper ban on the practice of witchcraft and magic. The Abandoned, as they call themselves, are hardly a threat to the great houses and their kingdoms, but are a sad reminder that not even our greatest victory came without cost.

    We can presume it was one of these sad tribes that harried our ancestors terribly during the centuries of rebuilding. Commonfolk and legends will call these new enemies the elves, but wise scholars are advised to take such names with a great deal of skepticism. Riding on beasts of the forest, creating great living siege weapons of earth and tree, wielding fantastic magic- all these are the stories that are told of the elves, who had grown furious that the expansion of man resettling the lands lost during the Reckoning threatened lands they now claimed. Skirmishes led to small wars, which were settled in fragile peace treaties, and so it went for generations during rebuilding. A particularly bloody war led the soft hearted King Alaron Grayson to seek a lasting peace with the elves, bringing the heads of the great houses to meet with the elf king at a great peace summit under a flag of truce.

    Unfortunately, the King of the Compact was more kindly than wise, and the peace summit was an elaborate trap, where these treacherous so-called elves slew the king and most of the great leaders of the day, then proceeded to launch a devastating war against all of the kingdoms of Arvum, intent on wiping out men for good and all.

    The king left no sons, and the great houses were in chaos from the deaths of their own leaders, with a number of the heirs unprepared for the ferocity of the unexpected attack by the elves. The king had left only a daughter, and every great house followed male primogeniture, which left all in doubt of the young woman's capacity to rule, and the elves did not take her seriously as a threat. The elves mocked the very notion, sending to Arx the defiled remains of the king, with his head to be delivered to his daughter. But that young woman would go down in history as Queen Alarice the Great, known as the Elvenbane, First of her name and the greatest ruler House Grayson ever produced.

    It was Queen Alarice that rallied the great houses, invoking the almost forgotten Compact for mutual defense that had not seen the houses fight as one since the days of the Reckoning, starting the count of the calendars we still use to this day. It was Queen Alarice that led the armies of the Compact, taking back the lands of Arvum inch by bloody inch. And it was Queen Alarice that killed the Elven King in single combat, driving out the so called elves for good and all, and founding the Elfbone Throne. Many of the traditions we still honor, such as the right of the eldest child regardless of gender to inherit are derived from her reign, and the High Kings and Queens have often been seen as the true ruler of Arvum rather than just an arbitrator of disputes between the greatest of houses. Sadly, in the last five hundred years, few of our rulers could prove her equal.

    It is in one of these troubled times that we now live. The young King Alaric Grayson, Fourth of His Name, has fallen ill and is unable to rule. The regent Bisland is torn between the different competing interests of the Great Houses, and the young king has no issue of his body, with no obvious heir remaining. In times of old, this would mean the Compact elects a new high king of their number, but no election has been forthcoming. We face not the myths and dangers of the past, but the ambitions of all those mighty enough to wield power in Arx. Those ambitions are dangerous indeed."


  • Pitcrew

    I made a map of the continent of Arvum. Arx is on the east coast, and the distance from Arx to Sanctum (on the other coast), is around about 1700 miles.

    alt text


  • Creator

    WHOA
    Beautiful map!



  • @Kanye-Qwest Nicely done! That is really, really great work!


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