Jump to content

The Turakian Age is Seriously Underrated


Recommended Posts

33 minutes ago, Nolgroth said:

The Second Epoch is where I start to have some disconnects with the setting. The biggest disconnect is the Hargeshite splinter. I skimmed through the section on the gods and whatnot, but it seems to me that the gods, in general, are very present in the lives of the faithful, what with miracles being provided and all that. So that brings up the issue with Hargesh. If his tenets were the new ones that the followers of the gods are supposed to follow, why are traditionalists still getting miracles granted to them? If Hargesh truly is a heretic, why are the Hargeshites getting miracles granted? I may have missed something in there, but there is little to no information beyond the differences in regards to the Grey gods and a nice little patriarchal oppression of women. It just seems counter to the idea that the gods are actively involved in the events of the world.

 

  

On 11/28/2019 at 6:20 PM, Lord Liaden said:

I also appreciate how Steve chose to work in the issue of faith, which would seem to be irrelevant in a world where the gods manifest their presence and power directly every day, so there can be no question of their existence. In TA the gods derive their sustenance and strength from worship, but faith -- the belief in that which cannot be proven -- adds savor to what would otherwise be a nourishing but "tasteless" meal. Hence the gods don't answer all their worshipers' questions, and permit or even encourage different interpretations of their nature, without weighing in on which is valid. Faced with related but differing theologies, all of which are apparently validated by the favor of the gods, a worshiper has no alternative but to choose on faith which one they hold to be true.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 401
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Did someone say artist?  

I love the setting and was curious if there's anyone else on these boards who do too?   Steve did and amazing job with the book and I think it deserves more supplements.  Although the base b

While Aarn has the reputation for being the largest city in Ambrethel, for big-city adventure I find the Free City of Tavrosel, in Mhorecia, to hold more interesting potential. Tavrosel is described a

Posted Images

On 12/6/2019 at 8:02 PM, Nolgroth said:

Beating the Dead Horse, Finale: Humans and Drakine; those are the two main species. The section on Barbarian tribes gets 3x the word count that the elves do. Same with the section on Knights. Well, maybe 2.5 times the word count. Dwarves fare no better and it only gets worse from there. There is a bit about the religious schism of the elves but really, to me it felt like a desperate attempt to make the elves interesting. I see this as a feature to the setting. The Drakine history hints at being descended from an even more epic age. I see no reason why the Elves and Dwarves could not have had their heyday during this previous age. Now, there are remnants of the two species left over during the First Epoch. They can even muster a fairly decent fighting force. But the battle with the Lord of the Graven Spear is their last hurrah. From then on, they gradually fade until disappearing completely. The dwarves retreat into their subterranean realm and eventually cut off their interaction with the surface world. You can still have those kinds of characters, but the closer you get to the official present day (5,000), the fewer of them wander the world of Men and Drakine.

 

 

The rest of the species, can similarly be of limited numbers. To me, their inclusion is just a check box checked. They certainly have no compelling place within the setting. This will also be the last time I mention that little tidbit in my re-read commentary.

 

I have a sense that  there were a few design considerations that went into TA which contributed to the impressions you have (which are certainly reasonable). Some of those would not be visible up to the point you've read. It's true that Ambrethel in this era is clearly human-centric, which is pretty common in D&D-esque game settings. I also suspect that Elves, Dwarves, Halflings etc. are so familiar to fantasy gamers that Steve deemed much elaboration on them was unnecessary. But Steve also decided to scatter more details about those races through other sections of the book, which add a little more depth to their cultures and world-views. Some of those appear in sections devoted to generally-applicable topics, such as non-human iterations of the High Faith, or burial customs, or societal attitudes toward women or slavery (nothing meant by the juxtaposition of those last two). ;)

 

Of the various concentrations of Elves and Dwarves across Ambrethel, Steve chose to focus most on the major Elven realms of Elvenholme and Shularahaleen, and on the above-ground Dwarven kingdom of Azarthond; but there are quite a few other communities of both races, although where there are descriptions of them they're usually appended to the human realm or region they're closest to. Often those descriptions add some interesting details, like the close alliance between the Men of Brabantia and the Dwarves of Korregdar; or the Elves of Melurashondar's Retreat who fortified their woods to defend against Vashkoran religious persecution. We even get considerable info on Thordar, the kingdom of civilized Orcs, and a rugged, outdoorsy variant of Halflings, the "Mountain Halflings" of Khrisulia.

 

Then there's the "GM's Vault" part of the book, which adds a few really juicy details. :sneaky:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good replies. I look forward to reading more about them (elves and such). I just can't shake the feeling that these extra species were more of the "you need this to have a high fantasy rpg setting" kind of thing. I will keep an open mind and hope that I am proven wrong. 

 

Humans in other settings are the dominant species, but you might be excused if you didn't immediately grasp that. The descriptions of other species and their sub-races are quite often more detailed than that of humans. All too often this comes at the expense of making humans boring. If anything, Steve has gone above and beyond the call of duty by detailing the human nations, barbarian tribes and ethnic groupings in TA. It is actually one of the better treatments on diverse populations. I think that, had Steve just stuck with the really generic flavorless text that most settings/games use for humans, it would not have made the non-humans so bland in comparison. He sort of did the opposite of most world setting designers and that makes TA stand out all the more. For me, that is definitely a feature of the setting.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

Good replies. I look forward to reading more about them (elves and such). I just can't shake the feeling that these extra species were more of the "you need this to have a high fantasy rpg setting" kind of thing. I will keep an open mind and hope that I am proven wrong.

 

I actually expect that was a consideration. If you decide you were right I wouldn't blame you.

 

6 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

Humans in other settings are the dominant species, but you might be excused if you didn't immediately grasp that. The descriptions of other species and their sub-races are quite often more detailed than that of humans. All too often this comes at the expense of making humans boring. If anything, Steve has gone above and beyond the call of duty by detailing the human nations, barbarian tribes and ethnic groupings in TA. It is actually one of the better treatments on diverse populations. I think that, had Steve just stuck with the really generic flavorless text that most settings/games use for humans, it would not have made the non-humans so bland in comparison. He sort of did the opposite of most world setting designers and that makes TA stand out all the more. For me, that is definitely a feature of the setting.

 

As I mentioned elsewhere on the thread, human diversity is also one of my favorite things in this setting. I haven't seen it dealt with to this extent in an RPG since the original Greyhawk books.  But as I also remarked earlier, I didn't always see the logic behind how Ambrethel evolved to the ethnic and cultural distribution it has "today." For my own games I did a lot of tweaking the timeline, transplanting a few populations, changing languages spoken, and the like, to give it a clearer through-line.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the subjects of eras before the Turakian Age, declining "elder races," and whatnot have come up, I'd like to point out a free PDF document Steve Long put on the website not long after DOJ Inc. bought Hero Games. Titled, The Hero Universe, that document laid out the whole meta-setting into which their various setting books would fit. Not all of those books materialized, and Steve revised some details as it came time to actually write them; but the broad outlines held throughout.

 

I'll Attach that document below for anyone who's interested; but will transcribe the description of the pre-Turakian age here.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FANTASY PRIMEVAL (100,000 TO 75,000 BC)


The first civilizations of men arise in this period (as well as the civilizations of other races, such as Dwarves and Elves, though Men remain dominant).


Initially, many of the dreaded Elder Races (some of whom came to Earth from other parts of the galaxy, or other dimensions), control much of the planet, and dominate most of the races of men either directly or through fear. These include the bizarre and deadly Kings of Edom, and the terrifying Elder Worm that long subjugated so much of humanity. However, many of the Elder Races are on the decline, or gradually leaving Earth after warring with each other for millennia. Eventually humans throw off their shackles and take their world back.


Mankind creates its first civilizations. The remnants of alien and extradimensional technology still remain on Earth, and mingle with the strange and powerful, but primitive, sorceries arising in the wake of the Elder Races. The gods evolve, and many walk the Earth, oft using humans as pawns in their interminable wars with each other. Wild magic, bizarre alien superscience, and the influence of strange gods abound, though the general level of technology for most people is Bronze/Iron Age.


During this time, gods are commonplace, and come to Earth often. But this leads to struggles between them, over differing beliefs or control of worshipers. Eventually, divine politics breaks down into divine wars. At long last, the wars of the gods come to a head, and in a tremendous clash they break the world. Disasters both natural and supernatural wrack the planet. Realizing they could destroy themselves by destroying their worshipers, the gods depart Earth for other dimensions, leaving the planet to settle down and the few surviving humans to rebuild their shattered civilizations.
 

Hero Universe.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also have to add one criticism about the Drakine: the description of their reproductive issues, on TA p. 31, makes no sense. It could not be natural for most female Drakine to "give birth but once in their lives, and often die in the process." If that were true, a given population of Drakine would be cut at least in half with every generation. Not only would they have gone extinct very much earlier than stated, they could never have reached substantial numbers in the first place. For their role in Ambrethel to have held for all those millennia, this birth rate either could not have been the case, or it's a recent development, perhaps the result of some disease or curse. (Kal-Turak, anyone?)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Been a long time since I read the Hero Universe document. Thanks for posting it. At the time, I was vehemently against the idea that every Hero product was shoehorned into a semi-contiguous timeline. Even now, I have my problems with the idea but I also understand that need for a sense of continuity between settings. It can be very rewarding for the person(s) creating these settings to have that continuity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I certainly understand why someone could have issues with the unified timeline, for both personal and practical reasons, I find that it adds great depth to the setting; depth which can also be mined for plot lines and character concepts.

 

As I've mentioned elsewhere on the forums, the Hero Universe being a hobby of mine has led to me becoming kind of a "lore master" to the Champions Online MMORPG role-playing community, frequently answering questions about the official Champions Universe and helping people develop PCs derived from it. One brainstorming session I had with a player named Jon Sils -- himself a veteran Hero gamer -- led to a PC directly relevant to this thread.

 

As Jon explains it: "At his height, during the Turakian Age, Kilbern Skyfather was the chief of the gods, but bound most of his power into his sword Auralia in order to seal the tomb of Takofanes the Undying. He'd retired to a quiet corner of Elysium, slowly losing power as his worshipers died out... Then, in 1987, the Tomb was opened. Kilbern could feel the disturbance as Auralia was removed and the Lich-King's tomb opened. He spent most of his remaining power crossing the Elysian fields against the wishes of the other gods there, leaving him weak enough to evade the Ban. He manifested directly on Earth, but with only the power of a beginning superhero. Now he strives to become famous enough (the modern equivalent of worship) to gain the power to defeat Takofanes permanently."

 

Kilbern.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

Fame as the modern equivalent to worship.

 

Your modern pantheon, according to Instagram:

 

1. Cristiano Ronaldo  (190 million worshippers followers)

2. Ariana Grande (167M)

3. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (162M)

4. Selena Gomez (161M)

5. Kim Kardashian (151M)

6. Kylie Jenner (150M)

7. Leo Messi (136M)

8. Beyoncé  (135M)

9. Neymar Jr.  (128M)

10. Taylor Swift  (122M)

 

Anybody want to stat these out?

Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Okay... got word from my GM that I AM SUPPOSED TO READ the Turakian Age before the game starts, so I may have further comment later.

 

Damn, that seems like a lot to expect from a player lol.  Maybe he would be nice enough to point out the parts that would be pertinent to you as a player instead?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. Unless your group are all starting out as demigod world-savers, there's a lot about Ambrethel outside of the region your campaign is set in that, realistically, your PC probably wouldn't even know about, never mind not having to know it.

 

Is the GM making you read the "GM's Vault" stuff too? Because as a player that would seriously spoil my fun.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/10/2019 at 10:02 AM, Scott Ruggels said:

Okay... got word from my GM that I AM SUPPOSED TO READ the Turakian Age before the game starts, so I may have further comment later.

 

Wow. Back when I hung out on WW's Exalted forum, we regularly saw new posters asking, "My gaming group is about to play Exalted, can you tell me everything about the rules, the world, and anything else I might need to know, for free, right now?" Because actually buying a game and reading it is so 20th century.

 

(One thing I don't miss about the Exalted community.)

 

Dean Shomshak

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I certainly understand many of your feelings concerning elves, dwarves and such, fantasy without them - for me, strictly - is not fantasy. Heck, I don’t even read a fantasy book without them, usually - I especially need them in a high fantasy setting, cliched or not. So that’s the other side of the coin.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...