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Tasha
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That's what I figured, its basically what I am trying to do but with a better budget and more people :)  Maybe once I get everything done I can do a kickstarter for a box set or to launch the full set.  Each book takes me a year or more to do though, so it may be a while.

 

Based on the material you have published and I have bought I believe this will be a very good project.  Please continue to plug away at it.

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Some thoughts possible settings.

  • A compelling Urban Fantasy if that boat hasn't passed
  • Tekumel, Empire of the Petal Throne
  • Glorantha
  • Maybe Harn or at least an adaption of its magic system

The last three may be too old school. But Tekumel rivals Middle Earth in richness. You would have to look at why the licensing for Glorantha keeps changing and how that recent product sold.

 

Apparently Time Travel is one of the hot trends in Young Adult right now.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-parkin/5-exciting-ya-book-trends-to-look-for-in-2016_b_8328078.html

Urban Fantasy could be interesting, but you would probably do best if you could licence one of the more popular Urban Fantasy Series. (ie like Evil Hat did with The Dresden File).

 

EPT is an intresting world. Just recently revived in some Kickstarter or the other. Also it's a "weird" Fantasy world and as such isn't as accessable like a Tolken homage fantasy world would be.

 

Glorantha is ACTUALLY being published by a resurgent Chaosium again. Greg Stafford bought Chaosium back from the folk who owned it and have brought Runequest back>

 

Harn is a pretty quirky, gritty Fantasy. It's slightly better than EPT for accessability, but you probably won't attract many folk away from D20 (meaning all Non D&D games, not just Pathfinder), or D&D. Not to mention that the IP is all ways of fracked up between Columbia Games and the Estate of Robin Crossby (Harn's Creator, which I think was Robin Crossby).

 

If Hero had the clear licence to Western Shores, I am pretty sure they would have published something with it by now. I hear that the Various campaign Hero did for 5e are pretty good despite having shitty titles (ie Valdorian Age and Terrakian Age).

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I don't know about Valdorian Age, but Turakian Age fits the bill as a "generic high fantasy world." I think its biggest failing, as a product, is that it tried to condense all of the world into a single book. By trying to divide attention (and page count) between all of a very large world, it ended up doing service to none of it. I wish he would have focused his attention on a smaller portion of the world (perhaps the Free City of Aarn and surrounding environs). I can tell that Steve Long has a lush world hidden in there somewhere, it is just going to take some effort to coax it out and provide enough details to make those playing in the world identify with it. An individual GM, if willing to put a lot of work into it, can use the Turakian Age as a basic framework upon which to build a memorable campaign.

 

I think it would be neat to see a whole slew of smaller books, sort of like the Forgotten Realms supplements or the Basic D&D Gazetteers, that break down the world of Ambrethel into smaller, digestible chunks. I'd also remove the ties to the 5th edition Hero Games timeline. I wonder how that all plays out with the sale of the Champions IP anyway?

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I don't know about Valdorian Age, but Turakian Age fits the bill as a "generic high fantasy world." I think its biggest failing, as a product, is that it tried to condense all of the world into a single book. By trying to divide attention (and page count) between all of a very large world, it ended up doing service to none of it. I wish he would have focused his attention on a smaller portion of the world (perhaps the Free City of Aarn and surrounding environs). I can tell that Steve Long has a lush world hidden in there somewhere, it is just going to take some effort to coax it out and provide enough details to make those playing in the world identify with it. An individual GM, if willing to put a lot of work into it, can use the Turakian Age as a basic framework upon which to build a memorable campaign.

 

I think it would be neat to see a whole slew of smaller books, sort of like the Forgotten Realms supplements or the Basic D&D Gazetteers, that break down the world of Ambrethel into smaller, digestible chunks. I'd also remove the ties to the 5th edition Hero Games timeline. I wonder how that all plays out with the sale of the Champions IP anyway?

That was the 5e timeline. I think that 6e started to ignore it. Since it was conceived as a way to tie all of the published worlds together, I don't know if it is an issue. If it comes down to it the Modern Supers could just be listed as Superhero Age..

 

I think that the core supplement would have sold better with the World of Ambrethel than the Age of... moniker. It would be nice to see something like The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book (or Pathfinder's Inner Sea World Guide) as a core book. Then quickly followed by books one that is a plot point style (Adventure path style) campaign, with a book supporting the immediate area that the campaign takes place in. The Paizo model.

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If Hero had the clear licence to Western Shores, I am pretty sure they would have published something with it by now.

You mean back when HG was actually publishing products? I think that ship has sailed.

 

I kind of feel that at this point, Nolgroth has a far better chance of reviving and publishing a new Western Shores product line than HG.

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I kind of feel that at this point, Nolgroth has a far better chance of reviving and publishing a new Western Shores product line than HG.

 

Well thanks for the vote of confidence! :)

 

Actually, I am working on something but it is not for Western Shores. I don't even know how to get permission to use that and I no longer have my copy of Fantasy Hero (2nd Edition?) that it was included in. I am really at the preliminary stages and have been taking copious notes (I love OneNote). I am thinking about using my blog to detail the process. It is going to take a while, as I have a full-time job to put bread on the table, but we'll see in a few months where I am at. Lots of research to do yet. More than a little scary.

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I don't know about Valdorian Age, but Turakian Age fits the bill as a "generic high fantasy world." I think its biggest failing, as a product, is that it tried to condense all of the world into a single book. By trying to divide attention (and page count) between all of a very large world, it ended up doing service to none of it. I wish he would have focused his attention on a smaller portion of the world (perhaps the Free City of Aarn and surrounding environs). I can tell that Steve Long has a lush world hidden in there somewhere, it is just going to take some effort to coax it out and provide enough details to make those playing in the world identify with it. An individual GM, if willing to put a lot of work into it, can use the Turakian Age as a basic framework upon which to build a memorable campaign.

 

I think it would be neat to see a whole slew of smaller books, sort of like the Forgotten Realms supplements or the Basic D&D Gazetteers, that break down the world of Ambrethel into smaller, digestible chunks. I'd also remove the ties to the 5th edition Hero Games timeline. I wonder how that all plays out with the sale of the Champions IP anyway?

 

Whereas, after some resistance, I've come around to thinking that placing the Turakian Age within the framework of the larger Champions Universe works. In fact, in the end, I don't think that Steve went far enough. (Something that's even more true of Atlantean Age.) Consider: Robert E. Howard, after having indifferent success with a generic "ancient past" fantasy universe with Kull, went full-pseudohistoric with Hyborian Age. 

 

Conan's Hyborian Age actually happened. Sure, it ended with a vaguely defined "catastrophe," but a comparison of the Hyborian Age map with the conjectural early-Holocene map early in H. G. Wells' Outline of HIstory tells you where Howard's mind is. His Picts are the real, historic Picts, and he borrows Wells' map because he considers it a significant issue, as Wells does., that the "pre-Indo-European" Picts be got onto an island without inventing boats. The peoples of the Hyborian Age are, generally, broad stroke caricatures of actual people, in locations not far off where they are historically, given the changed map. 

 

This comparison is a bit weak with respect to the Champions Universe, in that it is Valdorian Age that is supposed to have the everything-in-decline vibe that naturally ends with a catastrophe that wipes everything out. I've outlined my solution to this before (flipping the map upside down, localising it to Australasia and putting an "Aboriginal" skin on top), and I won't go there again. 

 

Turakian Age, as high fantasy, would work differently, and obviously you don't want to carry on the specific tradition of race-science history. That said, you've got a map to start with --and Ambrethel is a modified Eurasia-- the idea of local continuities to ground your regional treatments,  an actual, real framing device, and a tradition of ending ages of high fantasy with some kind of sea change, as in Lord of the Rings. There really was an actually, historical catastrophe ("genetic bottleneck") in about 70,000 BC that nearly wiped out the human race. 

 

Now, I understand that ending everything in the last battle with Kal-Turak/Takofanes makes everything that came before seem futile. (And, incidentally, isn't it a bit strange that the age is named for its great, evil overlord? One of the conventions of the genre is that you don't say the name of your store-brand Sauron, because it attracts attention. That's why I like to use "King of Ivory," and Old Red Age/Aeon. And, yes, I'm stealing from Chris Rowley and actual geology, but it's theft in a good cause.)

 

So you don't end things! Sure, Oh, sure, catastrophe, end of things, but. . .

 

i) In the actual Champions Universe, we have several elven survivals. The Dark Elves go off and live in Faerie; other elves move to an island off the south north coast of Valdoria Australia (Tasmania, damn it!) and turn into Melniboneans.

 

ii) "Lost cities" from the times before are a staple of pulp in generall, and there's already one in the Campions Universe --Arcadia-- with no reason not to add more. In my imagination, Venghest is leading her army in a hard march on the Doomspire and the last battle when the horizon to the north is lit by the cyan flare of mighty magic. Arriving on the evening of a lost battle, she never knows that the Empyrean host has fought and lost there that day, never again to interfere in the world, but when she launches her charge at the assembled host, she is able to cut through to the throne of the King of Ivory because of the sacrifices made that morning. But, hey, that aside, no reason not to have other lost cities. Shamballah, for example?

 

iii) Back to the elven well again, but for a different inspiration. Elfquest is a good example of a genre of elven survivors of an ancient catastrophe, surrounded by primitive humans who hate & fear, etc....The Shire is another one, and, now that I think about it, so are a lot of other Young Adult "starting settings." The World is a tiny region surrounded by a mysterious wall/underground city/ valley surrounded by impassible mountains, and you are the first to go out and see what happened Outside in the Great Catastrophe so long ago. Turakian Age heroes could fight to create an enclave that will survive the coming catastrophe.  Even better, from some points of view, it turns out to be a time-travel thing, so you can move easily across the ages. Also, furries.

 

iv) In M. A. Foster's "Ler" books (Gameplayers of Zan, mainly), the space-elf "Ler" start out in an enclave, where they turn out to be. . . Anyway, they end up being carried away in a spaceship. Just because it's a fantasy campaign doesn't mean that the same thing can't end up happening in Turakian Age.

 

There is the issue of fluctuating magic, and I understand that the idea bothers some people. It's like Vernor Vinge creating this huge, wonderful setting in Fire Upon the Deep and then just wiping it out. If that bothers you, though, just make it part of your metanarrative somehow. Perhaps revisit the idea, as Vinge did (but hopefullly with more spider-people and fewer obnoxious Tines).

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Now, I understand that ending everything in the last battle with Kal-Turak/Takofanes makes everything that came before seem futile.

 

 

I'll just quote that one line as it is the basis for my response. This was part of the reason I hated the inclusion in the overall Hero timeline. Inversely, it disallowed anything that the characters did or could do to affect the outcome of the setting. It was pre-ordained that Kal-Turak would destroy the world and usher out the age that was named for him. 

 

You make some very valid points in your post and with the passage of time and some perspective, I will agree with most of it. I won't lie and say that the inevitability of the destiny doesn't irk me, but I also realize that a world has to change. Every single epic fantasy I've ever read revolves around that. The passing of the Third Age and the beginning of the Fourth Age in both Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time are perfect examples, for instance. There are so many examples of this trope that I'll just leave those two as my go-to examples.

 

I can also lampoon this particular fate by having it mean nothing to the current time period in Ambrethel. That destiny is so far off that even most Elf characters won't see it. I will just not tackle the issue and therefore, within the context of any game I create in Ambrethel, it is a non-issue. Pretty simple stuff actually.

 

So yeah, being part of a larger timeline and having an event that is going to happen no matter what, irks me somewhat still. It just isn't going to stop me from exploring and enjoying the world in that pre-Armageddon time.

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Can't the Champions Universe, as published, merely represent the future as it would become if heroic PCs didn't (don't?) sufficiently alter the world in a previous age?

Well, sure. But what if you want to use time travel to combine your supers campaign with your high fantasy one? Like, the two parties meet when Captain Chronos sends the Des Moines Defenders back from 1996 to help the Flashing Bec du Corbins when it looks like they're hosed in a battle with Tamarr the Time Tatterdemalion. Comments about the sad tragedy suffered by Colonel Columbia leads the Flashing Becs use a Wish to travel forward in time to save the Colonel from the Nazi subsea base so that he can hook up with his best girl, leading the Defenders to not be judged strong enough to participate in the battle until 2016, at which point. . . Uhm, and then there's a parallel universe, and some time zombies show up, and dinosaurs and. . . 

 

I think I'm going to have to flow chart this some more. But what if?

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I would expect that any time traveling forward is sending characters into a potential future, one of an infinite number of possibilities, none of which necessarily represent the exact timeline the characters were on before jumping forward, nor the timeline they will be on when they return (assuming they do).

 

Why make this more complicated than it has to be?

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Can't the Champions Universe, as published, merely represent the future as it would become if heroic PCs didn't (don't?) sufficiently alter the world in a previous age?

 

Well, yes it can. The official canon will always be the Hero Timeline, but any GM is free to make whatever changes that they want to. If I were to run it, Ambrethel would be its own fantasy world and the name Kal-Turak might never be known during the course of the game. In fact, that name would probably not be uttered ever when discussing the game, unless somebody familiar with the setting brings it up. Then I tell that person to shut their cake hole. 

 

Now if, and this is entirely hypothetical, somebody were to provide official support to an official Hero licensed game world, a nod toward canon would be expected. Even if the name Kal-Turak never shows up during the course of the written materials, one wouldn't want to stray too far from the sourcebook. At the very least, an author should understand that there will be an unavoidable doom coming to Ambrethel. It may not have a practical application but it would still inform their writing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Western Shores would be awesome. It is exactly the right size for an introductory set kind of product. I just wish I knew who the IP holder is.

 

The Author of the Western Shores is listed in FH4e as John Brunkhart who also did the World building and the Setting Up a Fantasy Campaign Sections. My guess is that it was a version of the Author's FH campaign.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just for giggles, do you have any alternative concepts that you'd like to suggest? It doesn't have to be a pre-written 250 page campaign guide replete with full-color, 8x10 glossy battlemaps, just a simple sentence or two high concept.

 

I realize you weren't addressing me, but how does, "Spelljammer/One Piece/Firefly mashup" sound? :-)

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