System Ideas

Current topics of thought:

  • The Weyr is placed high up in rather rugged terrain. News - Climate suggests that the actual availability of harvestable foods at altitude is rather light. The valleys are pretty much the only real sources of supply beyond cotholds and the Hold itself. This has certain implications:
          • The Weyr is terribly politically indebted to the Hold and crofters. They cut the food supply, the Weyr suffers horribly. And outside of a Fall, there's not bloody much the Weyr can threaten them with anyway.
          • The Hold's logistical train between stores and Weyr are going to be hugely precarious outside of the best weather in Summer. In Winters, the passes and streams freeze, and the only real transport will be dragons — which might drive up the amount needing to be moved by simple dint of the energy burnt moving Between. In Spring and Autumn, the passes and roads such as they are will be a mess, from frequent flooding or mountainside shifts. Both Weyr and Hold will invest heavily in people to both act as drovers for carts, etc, and as scouts and on-spot engineering crew to keep the ways clear and flowing.
          • Given the above, the Weyr's going to be publicly beholden to the Hold the vast bulk of the time, but not less so, to the crofters and other incidental folk who live in the surrounding valleys and forests who'll do the bulk of the work on maintainability of that logistical path.
  • Farming is going to be of magnificent importance to anyone trying to keep the Weyr in proper responding form, in case of Threadfall. There won't be much in the way of FarmCrafters in the Weyr itself, lest they're studying the forests for lumber that can be put to other use or researching high-yield/low-space tech-assisted agriculture in the high valleys, which would be great places for it; isolated, fertile, somewhat protected. The Hold is going to be obsessed with farming. The whole focus of their society is going to be on bringing in crops from the rocky soil and birthin' babies to help bring in crops from the rocky soil.
            • We know from Pernese history that this Weyr essentially goes under and becomes uninhabited before too long. The issues with supplies and tensions between Hold and Weyr seem like the obvious reasons for that to happen. Farmers are going to be huge influences in Hold politics, particularly with the Weyr. Speakers, representatives, merchants who are constantly haggling for better margins. Big, heavy, crucial stuff.
  • Still undefined is how long it's been since last Threadfall. That'll give a better idea of how much the logistical mess is going to get in the way of the inevitably political mess.
          • I'd end up suggesting somewhere on the other of 200 years since Thread if that fits with other bits. Two eldest generations, roughly four short-lived generations, short enough that its no joke that the Weyr's there for a reason, even if they don't know exactly why or when.
          • Threadfall again could be as soon as ten in-game years if its desired. I'm not above disturbing the Oort cloud.1

I've been looking at some mechanistic lifting from the real pen-and-paper RPG Beast Hunters, which might look like an odd choice on the face of it, but the system is low mechanics, focuses on the interaction between only a couple of characters at a time with a GM (which really matches what most group-run games are really like for special events), and has a character generation systems that hits our particular focus on social, familial, and personal truths and verities up front. Definitely worth thinking about. I'll try and put together an actual example sheet tomorrow, or at least after I sleep a bit.

Core truth, there needs to be some kind of way to help guide the resolution of conflicts somewhat more interestingly than "I make up something," and "No you don't!" Been there, done that, there's a reason I'm obsessed with system design. :)


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Added a description and discussion of using Beast Hunters for the core mechanical system of resolution. In particular, discussing chargen. You can check that out over on my personal blog.

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