Category Archives: Dungeoncraft

Dungeoncraft: Ad Astra!

Spaceport by Goro Fujita (www.area-56.de)Although Asecia is still on hiatus, my Dungeoncraft column is back. And this time we venture into the great void aka outer space. I thought about changing the title of the column to make it more compatible with the SF genre, but in the end I decided to keep “Dungeoncraft”. Some people may also argue that alien planets are some kind of dungeons too…

As I posted before I am very interested in writing a Science Fiction setting. Over the holidays I started playing EVE Online again and since then my head is filled with images of strange new worlds and huge space ships and bold adventurers who boldly go where no one has gone before!

In order to create a believeable SF setting we have to make some basic assumptions that are extrapolated from current technologies, societies, et cetera. The farther we move away from the 21st century the more free you are in developing your world. If you want a galaxy-spanning human civilization in 2050 you really have to come up with some extraodinary ideas to make this plausible. If you place your setting in the 41st century, things become much easier to swallow

Ok, let’s give our new child a name. What about “Ad Astra!”? It’s short, simple and to the point. Now everyone knows it’s about travelling to the stars. I agree, the name might be a bit clichéd but I like it nevertheless. Since the focus is on space exploration “Ad Astra!” must have a few elements that are not strictly “Hard Science” like FTL (Faster Than Light) travel and everything that comes with it. Realistic space travel is not very fun, I tell you. And since everyone likes having some cool powers the setting will also allow some psionic abilities. To make it more science-y psionics will probably need some special equipment that enhances human psionic potential or genetic modification.

Next time I will give you some details on the the history of “Ad Astra!” universe. Stay tuned!
As always I am interested in your thoughts, comments and critique. So please use the comment section below or contact me via the contact form on the “About” page.

Dungeoncraft: Asecia reboot

During the last few months I have been working on a campaign setting called “Asecia”. The development of this world has been documented in my Dungeoncraft articles. But recently I was starting to get discontent with some of the decisions I have made and I am not entirely happy on how Asecia turned out. I had introduced some radical ideas to the world and in the end I had some trouble to get it all together.

So I decided to try some kind of reboot. I took a sheet of paper and wrote down all the things I liked and what I didn’t like and thought about how I could emphazise the strong points of the setting while eliminating the things that just didn’t work out.

On Magic
I’ve made some major changes to get the mood of the setting more in touch with what I had in mind when I started working on it. Although I really like the idea of the sorcerer marks and all what came with it, it doesn’t exactly fit the pseudo-victorian feel of the short story I wrote. And I had some trouble on how to make the avatar idea more than some nice fluff for gamemasters and players to read. So I decided to go another route with magic. In the “rebooted” version of Asecia magic was lost for a thousand years. Before the fall of magic, there were powerful magicians and they ruled over the world, but suddenly the magic winds subsided and all wizards, sorcerers, witches etc. were robbed of their powers. For a long time magic was thought to be a myth. Then, shorty after a industrial revolution was in full swing, magic suddenly reappeared. Now, a century later, Mankind tries to harness this new power source and a few magic academies have started training new wizards all over the world. It’s a time of change.

On Religion
The religions of Asecia will change a bit because of the lack of magic for a thousand years. The Brotherhood of the Three Sisters was created during ancient times, when there still was magic all around. When magic came back they found out that the rituals they repeated in their worship were actually working magic rituals. Several people that started to dabble magic have also started to pray to the Sisters, so that they may help them with their magical development.
The Church of St. Michael still exists in the rebooted version but it’s quite changed. In the “rebooted” version of Asecia, Michael d’Arellien was the second son of a noble from the Western Isles that chose the life of a monk in the Church of the Architect around 300 years before the return of magic. During that time church has become corrupt and many high churchmen were more interested in the gold in their coffers than in spiritual affairs. He became abbot of a monastery and started to preach against the corruption of the church. He started a movement that lead to a split of the Holy Cerynian Church of the Great Architect. The Michaelites, as they were called, finally converted most of populations in the Western Isles and western Cerynia. Today the followers of the Great Architect are still split into the Cerynian part of the Church and the Church of St. Michael.

Both the Church of the Great Architect and the Michaelites are wary of magic and the clergy if forbidden to practice magic, but the Brotherhood of the sisters fully embraces the magical arts.

On Technology
For over two hundred years the industrial revolution is in full swing. There have been major improvements in technology that lead to steam driven trains, airships, steamdriven ships, modern ways to wage war, like firearms and cannons. With the recent comeback of magic the industrial revolution was not set back. Some inventors have successfully combined magic and technology. Magic driven warmachines, called Wargolems have appeared on the battlefields and the armies have started recruiting wizards and sorcerers.
Since most practitioners of magic treat their art like just another scientific field, most people see magic as nothing else as some fancy new technology.

On the World
The world from a geographical standpoint will not change that much. And there will still be the same countries I wrote about before, but they will all be quite different because of the major changes when especially magic is concerned. My current plans is to start an Asecia campaign using FATE rules soon. The focus of the campaign will be the city Cerynia, home of the Holy Church of the Great Architect, center of learning and art and home of the Cerynian University of the Sciences, Arts and Magick.

Dungeoncraft: The Future of Asecia

In the last few weeks I wrote about my campaign world Asecia, its people, nations, history, magic, religion, secrets and even provided you with a short story to set the mood. Currently everything is at a turning point, as I am still unsure to where I want to go from now. There’s still the open question of which roleplaying rules I should use for example. D&D 4th Edition could worth a try but I am not sure if I can bring the fluff I’ve already written together with D&D’s crunch. Savage Worlds is another possibility, so is Mutants & Mastermind which never ceases to amaze me. I also thought about using the d20 SRD as a basis for my own OGL rules for Asecia.

The main problem is that I currently don’t have the time to make the necessary next steps. So I am thinking about putting all my work into a neat box and wait until I have enough time to finish the work. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to have another look at the “World of Asecia” in a few weeks and make some adjustments. While I was writing one article after the other I noticed that my image of the campaign world shifted a bit with each post written. And some ideas that I were very excited about when I first wrote them down now look bland and uninteresting to me. They probably just don’t fit my current idea of “Asecia”.

One plan I currently have is to focus on a smaller area of Asecia and set my campaign there. A perfect place would be Cerynia. It’s a big city with several districts, industry, a magic university and a long history. And urban campaigns are pefectly suited for the genre. I also think about scrapping the avatar idea and changing some of the religions. And then I will have to convince my gaming group that they ever wanted to participate in an urban steamfantasy adventure in a place called Cerynia. And that’s probably the toughest nut to crack…