What’s the Big Picture? What’s going on in this setting that makes it ripe for adventure. What’s changing, evolving, declining?
The Aurum, the lifegiving sun of the world is dimming and no one knows why. Days are starting to get darker, weather more unpredictable and dangerous. And yet in this dark time, the greatest civilizations of the Aquasphere have recently advanced in technology to a tipping point, spurring a new age of discovery and trade. It is a world of new contact with strange creatures, the rediscovery of lost civilizations and ancient magic.
What’s the world’s culture? What are the cultural analogs? Analogs can be taken from historical earth, current events or fantasy works.
It is an age of discovery, therefore there is a vast difference in technology level between the most civilized cultures of the world and the most primitive ones. The major high tech players are the Xelosans, analogous to the Mediterranean cultures of Spain and Portugal, Greece, and Italy in the middle ages and the Maioragerans, analogous to the English, Germanic, and Scandinavian countries in the middle ages. There is a heightened cultural importance to seafaring and sea farming in all cultures of this world, except the dwarves. The dwarves are great machinists and engineers who live in the Chains of Magmo, and are rarely seen outside their world. Minor islands and communities are too numerous to count and represent various indigenous populations drawing analogues from native America, Polynesia, Africa and Asia. Elusive creatures known as Elves are but a distant whisper, but they may still exist — living on the Aurum’s forested satellites or somewhere in the sea.
What’s the conflict in which the characters are involved? What are the sides? What’s wrong?
It is a race against time, a great mystery that must be unraveled in order to save the world. While most of the world is oblivious to this urgent quest — there are those who see hope and are taking action, and there are also those who would see the dimming of the Aurum come to pass and plunge the world into death and darkness. And then there are those who would use the conflict to their own profits and ends.
What physical place does this conflict take place in? What ecology, environment, place?
The Aquasphere, a vast tropical sea on the inner membrane of a planet-sized air bubble floating inside the Elemental Plane of Water. It is lush, verdant — blue and green every where you look. The seas of the sphere hold many floating islands and lands and the conflict ranges across a region called the Ostward Seas — but may go beyond, into the utterly unknown.
What’s the name of the most important place in this setting? Not the capital or any dumb shit like that, but THE PLACE where all the action goes down?
The ship owned by the player characters, The Adventure. It is their mobile base of operations and must be managed and looked after if any of their other goals have any hope of being accomplished.
What’s the name of a faraway place that folks talk about, dream about or mutter under their breath about?
The Aurum is the light, warmth, sun and rain of the Aquasphere. It is all important in the lives of every living being in this world. But what is it? To most, it is god itself, right in plain view. Every culture has its own beliefs and legends, and great wars have been fought over differences of opinion.
Bamzoanga City, a colorful and mystical city of merchants that travels around the Aquasphere upon the back of Tortanis a giant sea turtle many miles in breadth. To some regions of the Aquasphere, Bamzoanga City is nothing but a legend, since it hasn’t visited the coasts near them for hundreds of years.
Who are the antagonists? Who is opposing the goals of the characters?
An evil sorceress, Lilit, seeks to harness the waning power of the Aurum for her own (and surely there are other evil cults and individuals that must be stopped.) Pirates attempt to raid the Adventure in dangerous waters. Fantastical threshold guardians protect ancient treasures which the characters must recover. Port authorities and island governments attempt to delay and extort the characters when their voyage is in danger.
What type of magic exists in this world?
It is a very fantastical world, and most cultures have magic of some sort or another in play. Weather witches are common fixtures on seafaring vessels. Death Art, Corruption, Folk Magic, Sorcery, Summoning, Spirit Binding and Enchanting are all fair game.
What character races are in play in this world? Are there races other then human? If so what are they?
Humans and Dwarves are allowed for player characters. Elves are mythical but may exist. Orcs come from far off lands to raid and pillage in their black ships. Trolls and Spiders inhabit lost islands, waiting for prey in small groups. There are rumors of civilizations beneath the sea such as fish-men and intelligent crustaceans.
If Sorcery is used, what’s it’s idiom? Does it require speech? Gestures? If Sorcery is used, what spells are available? Which spells are inappropriate to the game world?
Sorcery is of the hermetic, academic, black magic sort. It requires arcane syllables and gestures, and ready access to laboratories and libraries. The Xelosans welcome and accept sorcerers in positions of power and government. In Maiorager, they are shunned and live in cabals of outcasts. Many exceptions apply.
If is Faith used, what is the Faith idiom? What are the religions? Is Faith universal or does it only affect believers?
Faith is universal, and without exception every religion and folk belief on the world has some sort of theory about the nature of the Aurum. Most of them believe this is where their power comes from. Others may focus on great underwater deities both benevolent and otherwise, which dwell below the seas.
What’s your Resources cycle? 1 month, seasonal, 6 months, annual? What’s the game world’s currency? Who collects the taxes? What do people do for work? What’s the major economy? What’s the black market economy?
Every three months, with the general abstraction of “after a really long voyage” being the base unit of resources measurement. Currency is in traditional metal coins: gold, silver, and jewels. Most taxing by civilized nation occurs as import and export taxes at various ports. Many ports are wildly divergent in how they apply their local laws. Most trade involves metal and exotic spices. In a lush, tropical world food is rarely a concern for trade.
What weapons and armor are available? Are some weapons and armor restricted to certain cultures or character stocks? What property is available? Are resources and gear otherwise restricted?
All weapons and armor are allowed as per the BWG standards. Gunpowder, cannons, and pistols however are made and tightly regulated exclusively by the dwarves and will sell for exorbitant prices.