Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Domain Labyrinth Lord Playtest

So, I jumped into the Domain LL Playtest with a bunch of online players.  It hit me right at the time that I was wondering about Birthright, A Game of Thrones, and Houses of the Blooded.  I had just played some of the old Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance on the old junker PC, and the fire of ruling kingdoms was in my belly.  So when I saw the post on the LL forum, I jumped at the chance.

Yeah, I needed another gaming project like I need a whole in the head, but I just couldn't resist.  A rules-lite domain level game?  Man, that just sounded like an amazing thing to be a part of.  If this ever becomes a product, my name will be listed as a playtester as well.  :)

The guy that is putting this all together, and running the playtest game has a blog:

Like some of my other gaming projects, and fantasy settings, I'm going to be using the Sumerian language to name everything.  I'm also going to have some Sumerian cultural influences when I make this new kingdom.  I will try to designate what each word and name means in Sumerian.  For a link for a Sumerian Lexicon, go here:

I'm having a lot of fun weighing all of the possibilities of running a new territory, and working my way towards making a society that can fend for itself, without still leaning on the old kingdom.  The idea was that there was this portal that went to some strange land with a redder sun, and that the old kingdom wanted some new territory in this new place.  That is where my main character (a 4th Level Cleric) and his retinue come in.  We are there to put down fresh roots, and to carve a place for our little band there.

I came up with the name Gibilki for the name of the Domain, which means New Land in Sumerian.  It just seemed to fit, and had a weird sounding name, so I went with it.  

I find myself laying awake at night planning ahead for the next turn of the game.  We have only had one turn, consisting of 4 weeks in game time.  Each turn will be every 2 weeks in real time, so we have time to weigh our decisions, and tally up all of our costs.  I've built a large stone Ziggurat (Temple) to the four gods of my culture, did some planting of crops and holy white Elammakum trees, carved out some tunnels and rooms for the miners to live in, and built some crappy lean to structures until we can take the time out to make better structures.  The miners have been churning out stone for the building of the Ziggurat, and for other building projects down the road.  I'm hoping to build roads, walls, and other stone buildings for my peasants to live in as well.  It all costs money, and takes time however.  It would be really nice if those Dwarven Miners found some silver or gold, to help with my income, but only time will tell.

My culture is a mix of Dwarves and Humans, with a heavy religious flavor.  There are Dwarven Infantry that fight in small units called Balgi (which means Turtle).  These Dwarven Infantry units have shields and fight mainly with spears, though they have swords as well as a back up.  They fight in small knit units that move simultaneously together.  Other units of Human Archers called Tirah (which means Shoot) fight behind the infantry units and fire their arrows at oncoming enemies.  I want to have some cavalry units eventually as well.  It costs a lot of money to give them improved equipment, but that is exactly what I eventually would like to do.    

The one thing that I'm not sure of in the game, is income.  A LOT of things have monthly costs, and I have to make sure to be able to feed everyone.  I want to eventually have Yaks (yes Yaks) be some sort of  bad ass cavalry.  It makes sense to have War Yaks as well, but that will be out of my price range for a bit.  Since they are the same costs as Draft Horses, and War Horses in the LL rules.

I want to extrapolate on the religion and the culture as time goes on.  Depending on what other cultures and races I bump into, will probably alter how my culture looks at the world, and what kind of culture they become.  If my culture bumps into nothing but cultures that want to kill them, then they will become more militant.  If they bump into cultures that want to trade goods, my culture might become more productive and trade more (and probably build a lot of roads).  What is cool, and yet frustrating, is that I need to wait to hear what happened in the last turn, before I can make too many plans for the future.  I also get the feeling, that some unexpected problems will begin to arise that I will have to deal with.  My lofty goals might be put off by attacks, diseases, natural disasters, etc. 

Perhaps people would like to see the four deities I would like to flesh out as the game progresses?  Well, here they are:

Adhalid [SECRET RIVER] (Add-Ha-Lid) - God

Domains/Portfolio/Specialties: Insanity, Luck, Lust, Prophecy, Rivers, and Secrets

It is said that Adhalid dwells in the rivers and streams of the land, and gathers unto himself all the secrets that people want to keep hidden. He is a master of gossip, betrayals, illegal business dealings, and secret sins. He has seduced many a chaste couple into the throws of passion, especially when they were near a river. It is said that Adhalid is a mad god, and at times he bestows insanity on those nearby. He likes to influence the ways of the world, or change the odds in favor of a mortal he admires, and in so doing, he lost some of his sanity. 

Barakara [UNKNOWN] (Barra-Karra) - God/Goddess/Force

Domains/Portfolio/Specialties: Cold, Death, Fate, Sorrow, Vengeance, and War

Not much is known of this deity. It is an enigma, and it is surrounded in mystery. None knows if the deity is a male or female, or perhaps an impersonal uncaring force. Many philosophers and theologians speculate on the properties of this deity, but the only thing that is known, is that eventually all come to feel the presence of this thing before the end of life. 

Diĝirama [DIVINE MOTHER] (Dij-Ear-Amma) - Goddess

Domains/Portfolio/Specialties: Childbirth, Fire, Harvest, Love, Nature, and Wisdom

Females that give birth call on Diĝirama most of all, but husbands also seek to ask her favor for their loved ones. She is called upon during auspicious events in life such as the birth of children, harvest time, marriages, and appointments to public office. It is said that every drop of blood that falls to the ground was once in Diĝirama's veins. It is also held to be true that Diĝirama and Adhalid's lust brought forth the mortal races, combining both flesh and the spiritual flame within it. 

Imhul [WIND] (Imm-Hull) - Goddess

Domains/Portfolio/Specialties: Air, Archery, Art, Birds, Knowledge, and Judgment

The worshipers of this goddess hold birds as being the carriers of inspiration and the muses of artists. Killing birds is forbidden, and dead birds that are found are cremated in honor. It is believed that the goddess Imhul travels through the air and only reveals herself through birds. A pleasant cool breeze on a hot day is attributed to her, and vicious storms are sometimes attributed to Imhul being exceedingly angry at something. 

The religion has a hierarchy, and the way Labyrinth Lord handles Clerics and levels works well with that.  So far I've described the religion as having lots of animal sacrifices on the altar in the Ziggurat.  I may be open to letting the culture sacrifice captured enemies (bug again, it all depends on how rival cultures interact with mine).  They sing lots of hymns, chant, burn incense, and the peasants and soldiers all take part in religious ceremonies and festivals.   

The government is going to be mainly a Theocracy, but with a heavy Military leaning.  The General can veto anything the High Priest says, if he thinks it is a stupid idea, or if it will cause problems.  It is normally the soldiers that institute the High Priest's orders, so they just can not follow through with the orders that they don't agree with.  So taxes in the territory, will be more like tithes, and gifts to the running of the temple, and to the territory as well.

It has been exciting to plan out how 65 people are carving out a new life for themselves, and I get to do a little bit of world building as well with the culture.  I'm very excited to see how the rules we are using change and are modified as time goes on.  The playtesters questions are making the author of the rules put more flesh on the skeleton as we proceed.  I'm having a lot of fun.  :)

Here is my Human Regent/High Priest that rules and controls the operations of the Ziggurat, and the Dwarven General that heads up the military branch of the government.

Lesser Noble Daramuš (Dare-ah-Mush) [RED FACE]
Human 4th Level Priest
(Leader/High Priest of the territory)
(Rolling 4D6 straight down, dropping the lowest, 2D6+6 for Cha)
Strength 9
Constitution 13
Dexterity 13
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 10
Charisma 13
“You will start at 10,001 exp and maximum hit points. Assume that you have all the mundane equipment list.” Needs to get to 12,501 to reach 5th level.
Hit Points 4D6 + 4 = 15HP
AC = 5(Chain Mail) -1(Shield) -1(Dex) = AC 3
Breath Attacks 16
Poison or Death 11
Petrify or Paralyze 14
Wands 12
Spells or Spell-like Devices 15
To Hit Armor Class Zero = 18 (and then down the line)
Uses a mace, and shield to fight.

Dwarven General Girdušia (Gear-Dush-Ya) [WEED STONE]
Dwarf Soldier
3rd level Dwarf
(Rolling 3D6 straight down)
Strength 13
Constitution 13
Dexterity 11
Intelligence 5
Wisdom 14
Charisma 11
Hit Points = 3D8+4 = 18HP
AC = 5(Chain Mail) -1(Shield) = AC4
Breath Attacks 13
Poison or Death 8
Petrify or Paralyze 10
Wands 9
Spells or Spell-like Devices 12
To Hit Armor Class Zero = 18 (and then add in the +1 to hit from Strength = 17)
Uses a Spear, Short Sword, and Shield to fight, like his soldiers.

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