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2/02/2011

Hidden Planet: Design Notes

The Drune, who along with School Master manages the short-on-name-but-long-on-weird blog ix, asks:  

"[W]hat system or systems do you run
or plan to run each setting with?"

The plan -- as far as I can wrap my head around it just now -- is to run a slimmed-down version of AD&D with a few idiosyncratic house-rulings tacked on for good measure. So a race/class, level-based system with some weird flourishes in the tradition of Empire of the Petal Throne. The add-ons and alterations vary among the three settings. 

Here are some of the specs for Hidden Planet:
  • No dwarves, elves, hobbits, or half-orcs. Instead there's the Yeumen. Yeumen resemble humans in most respects. They have several organs that have no correlation with anything in our bodies, but like us they evolved from ape-like ancestors. [There's a background teleology to the Hidden Planet universe -- totally unnecessary info for the player, but it's useful to me as a setting designer. Basically I've applied the process of convergent evolution to the cosmos-at-large. So just like the American raccoon and the Japanese raccoon -- two species that bear more than a passing resemblance but have no direct common ancestor --  human-like creatures pop up all over the universe where conditions are suitable. It's not so much that they resemble us -- it's the formula (one head, two arms, two legs, sex junk in the middle) that we have in common that seems to be a generic offering in the cosmic supermarket.]
  • Classes include the Fighter, the Thief, the Wizard, as well as the Mountebank (a hedge wizard or magical charlatan), the Beggar, and the Fungalist. Those last three have a particularly Vancian bent.
  • Alignment only applies to monsters. It's more of a method for me to characterize their relationship to the PCs in a really general way. The three alignments are Inimical, Neutral and Benevolent. These are not the cosmic properties alignments represent in D&D.
  • Experience rewards are based on monster kills/subduals and time spent in the field. This includes the concept of training but works a little differently. Essentially each year of campaign time during which the character worked at his/her profession, he/she is rewarded 1,000 XP multiplied by 1.x, where x is the number of campaign achievements that occurred during the course of play. A generic example of an achievement would be the fulfillment of the old rescue-the-princess scenario.
  • Magic is memory-based/Vancian. I'm working on a Memory Tree diagram that will be part of every Wizard's PC records. The tree gets bigger (more slots) (a) as experience increases, (b) when the Wizard consumes magical drugs like yggoa, (c) after risky surgeries intended to augment the memory or repair damaged slots, and (d) when the Wizard utilizes certain magical implements. I think Mr. M at Grognardia may have suggested the idea that when a spell is in-memory it produces certain side-effects. I'm going with that idea. Spell access is based on membership in magical coteries and lucky finds while in the field. A coterie has a distinct focus -- think AD&D's schools of magic but with weird, obsessive twists.

4 comments:

  1. Nice. I need to steal the inimical alignment for Humanspace...

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  2. Steal away! It's based on the alignment system from EPT.

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  3. hink Mr. M at Grognardia may have suggested the idea that when a spell is in-memory it produces certain side-effects.

    IIRC Trollsmyth did a compilation of secondary* and side effects** for the iconic D&D spells (levels 1-6, OD&D?). That may be relevant to your interests.

    * You can do thematically appropriate and largely cosmetic minor magic without actually firing off a memorized spell.
    ** The memorized magic leaks in inconvenient and embarrassing ways.

    Essentially each year of campaign time during which the character worked at his/her profession, he/she is rewarded 1,000 XP multiplied by 1.x, where x is the number of campaign achievements that occurred during the course of play.

    XP awarded per year? Am I seeing some "Pendragon" influence in there?

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  4. @Chris: I missed that post from Trollsmyth, thanks! Any 'Pendragon' influence is probably subconscious. I purchased it last year but have yet to break it out.

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