Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Evolution of the Map of Jadepunk

Earlier I ran into an online conversation about the map of Jadepunk. Namely, did we have one? Technically we do not have a map. However I do have a rough map that I worked up over time while I was writing stuff.  Now the map I use is not the final map. It is not cannon, nor is it finished. Things can and will change as we move forward with the project. I just thought it would be neat to show you what my Jadepunk looks like. Your Jadepunk may vary.

It came about because during the creation of Jadepunk the landscape changed quite a lot. When I first teamed up with Ryan to make the game we even went back and forth for a little while on whether we should just make it our world and do an alternate history. We quickly decided against that for a number of reasons, the main one being that we wanted to do something new and interesting(here's hoping we succeeded, yeah?).

I based a lot of the surrounding terrain and climate on Hong Kong and Shanghai, though I did have some constraints on it. It could not be in an easily accessible piece of land. Otherwise some one would have discovered black jade much earlier. Also it needed a large mountain range near it as that was where most o the mines were. Also it needed a large bay, because it needed to be able to ship out the jade mined there. At one point Ryan and I thought about having something like the silk road, but with jade instead, working its way through all of the lands terminating at Kausao City. But again, the need for it to be cut off and isolated nixed that plan. Though I did add a little something like that into the Red Jadetech book.

I knew that Aerum and Naramel would be to the west of Kausao, we had that nailed down fairly early. I also Knew that Aerum would be an island. I always saw it as being as large as Australia, and the west coast of it being heavily inhabited as the mountains and hills along the sea were far safer that the inland deserts and volcanoes in the burned lands to the east. Though I think Ryan and I still disagree as to the location of the Burned Lands. He wants them in the west I want them to the east. I am sure that will get sorted out soon enough though. I saw Naramel as the massive nation that does not rules the whole of it's continent directly, but still exerts control through economics and small wars. They control the massive river valley through most of the desert regions, as well as the surrounding deserts.

Tuyang was always going to be north of Kausao. It has the most direct land route to the city which gives it an edge. Back when we first started the project Tuyang was going to be a conquered nation and Kausao was going to be its capital. We moved away from that as it was less interesting that the situation we now have set up in the city. On a side note, there is a contradiction in the books. In some parts we say that only Tuyang is on the same continent as Kausao, and then in others we say that Naramel is on the other side of the Xibu Bati Mountains. As I said, your Jadepunk may vary. I kind of work it like this, Tuyang has the only mountain pass that, while difficult and dangerous, is the only true land connection to Kusao while Naramel might have a land connection it cannot use that.  Kaiyumi was always to the east of the city, it was kind of a mix of the Philippines and Japan, so it was a huge nation of thousands of islands. beyond that was a couple of continents that had just recently been discovered(within the last hundred years or so). As you can see I had the rough directions of the major nations and what their land kind of looked like. Using those directions and my inadequate understanding of geology, meteorology, and science in general I set about to rough out a map. This was the first hand drawn map I used.

Admit it, you are jealous of my L33T drawring skills. :P
Starting with that I then roughed out something a bit closer to the map I had in my head using my very very limited understanding of photoshop. And thus we get the final rough draft of how I see the world of Jadepunk. Mind you it is not to scale. Those oceans should be a lot bigger and the contenents a little more spread apart. I did say this was a rough draft right?
Best map ever...provided you ignore how crappy it is. 

So there you go. You get to see a bit into how I think and how I design. I hope it was of use to you, or at least entertaining. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rethinking Stress and Consequences(sort of)

I have been mucking about with stress and consequences for a while now. I have played with the idea of not having stress, or only having stress when certain conditions are met, using alternate tracks and simplified tracks. I have never been all that excited about the two stress tracks listed in the main Fate Core book. It just always felt off to me. In analyzing my issue with the stress tracks I came up with a thought on a solution to my problem, or at least a solution to one corner of the nebulous issue I have yet to fully comprehend(on a side note, I hate it when I have a problem but I cannot properly define the problem).

OK so here is the thought:

Conflict and stress tracks work as normal..sort of. You can take multiple stress boxes to absorb stress. You cannot take consequences during the conflict. I would probably increase teh number of stress boxes by one or two, or perhaps grant more lower tier stress boxes in order to make the characters more durable.

At the end of conflict you only get your stress back if you take a consequence that is worth as much as the highest level of stress box you have marked.  So consequences allow for refresh of stress and provide lasting impact for stress in a new(ish) way.

This would require some rejiggering of the stress and consequence mechanics, but would be interesting. During a conflict you may not notice the damage you are taking(mentally or physically) but after wards when you have a chance to reflect and notice things you will find the damage. Or you could not do that and just repress, however that makes it easier to stress you out in the future. This would allow for some different trade offs and tactics in play, while giving stress tracks a little more focus in play. Heck you could then get a stunt that allows you to refresh stress during a conflict by taking a higher consequence.

That is that idea. Pretty simple, not all that novel, really. However I like the concept and would like to discuss it. What do you think? Would it work? What are some problems you see with it? What might it work best for?