Does your Aventuria vary?

DreadDomain
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Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby DreadDomain » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:48 am

Reading the thread “Create a Pitch for The Dark Eye” made me reflect a bit on how my Aventuria differed from the official setting and it led me to think about what settings influenced my tastes over the years. Other settings have had an influence, but I’d say the main ones have been RuneQuest’s Glorantha, King Arthur Pendragon, Conan’s Hyborian Age and Fighting Fantasy’s Titan. I would add to that a dash of Warhammer’s Old World

In a setting, I like political and cultural entanglement (Glorantha and KAP), religious tension (Glorantha, KAP and the Old World), mysterious and corruptive enemies (the Old World, KAP and to a lesser degree Glorantha), a human centric but not necessarily exclusive setting (Titan, Hyborian Age, KAP), magic that is not flashy but mysterious or even dangerous (Titan, Hyborian Age, KAP and to a lesser degree the Old World), down to earth rather than super-heroic (Titan, Hyborian Age, KAP), a deep sense of history and myth (Glorantha) and vast patches of wilderness where one can discover the remnant of ancient civilizations (Titan, Hyborian Age, Glorantha).

Ok, that was a mouthful… How does Aventuria measure to these criterions and how does it influence my own vision of the setting?

I’d say Aventuria scores very well against most of these KPIs. Culturally and politically, it does not have the broad diversity of Glorantha but certainly offers more political and cultural entanglement than any other on my list. Behind a veil of religious monolithism of the Twelve, Aventuria has religious tension in spades. Again, only Glorantha would score better in that regard but there is still plenty of opportunities for inter cults fighting or internal infighting. When it comes to corruption and mysterious enemies, the Old World (and again Glorantha) immediately comes to mind but again, with the Nameless One and a whole suite of demons there is quite a bit to play with.
Of the bunch, KAP and the Hyborian Age are the most down to earth, human centric settings where magic is the most mysterious, but I would compare Aventuria to Titan. When you read the rulebooks, it gives the impression elves and dwarves and what not are frequently met but when you look at the numbers, the population of the continent is composed 95% of human. Magic is potent but generally limited in scope and certainly not world shaking.

So far so good!

So where does Aventuria fall short for me? While the setting has a rich and deep history and mythology with many collapsed, ancient civilizations, it really lacks endless vistas in between civilized polities. When you read stories and scenarios, it feels as if the continent was huge but when you look at the scale on maps, it isn’t. On the positive side, it has a very low population density leaving quite a bit of empty spaces between cities, towns and villages.

In the end, my Aventuria differs in only one significant way: size and population. To suite my tastes, 1 middenmiles should roughly be 2 km. It makes the distance between Lisbon and the Russia border roughly equivalent to the distance between Brabak and the northern border of the Empire. The northern part of the continent is then roughly the size of European Russia. To make the population match with this size, the official numbers need to be multiplied by 10 which would still make the whole continent very sparsely populated (a good thing). Of course, none of these numbers really matter in game (except for travel time) but it still sits better with my own preferences and enables me to envision patches of untouched areas with bizarre phenomenons and mysterious piece of past history.

You, how does your Aventuria vary?

Thrar
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby Thrar » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:59 am

Your setting criteria are quite interesting. As you say they're addressed by Aventuria in various degrees, which is worth considering for a pitch or a quick setting introduction to potential players.

My approach to game world fidelity has changed over the years. In the past (in other games) I usually tried to stick to established canon as much as possible because I saw it as "that's the way it is". More recently, in part due to influences from narrative RPGs, I've taken a more flexible approach.

For me, the role of the game setting is to inspire and support interesting narratives. Narrative is central, everything else is secondary.
If the game world is super detailed and complex, but plots and players are restricted in their options at every turn, that's not fun. On the other hand, a game world that's too fluid can become unpredictable and feel arbitrary to players where they can't make informed choices.

In our game, the world size is basically defined by the plot. Where distance matters, consider things like difficult terrain and obstacles: Something that's 50 miles on the map can be a 1-day journey on a well-built road or a 1-week slog through dense forests and swamps. Which one it is depends on what best supports the narrative we're looking for.
In general I would say that I tend to stretch out distances a bit further than the map suggests as well, and I've seen the suggestion of making everything 2x discussed somewhere before. For us having absolute measurements wasn't important so far, but if it was, I could see ourselves adopting the 2x measure as well.

With other game elements, I try to stick to the broad strokes but freely adapt or relocate smaller elements. For example, our narrative involved finding a dragon lair on a mountain, and Tales of Dragons and Thieves has an adventure that fit very well. So I went and moved it to the Windhag mountains where our narrative took place. I don't care whether there are Ferkinas in the Windhag according to canon (probably not), but in our world, there are now. I think this is an example of how the setting inspires narrative (by using the module) and shouldn't restrict it (by moving it to where it was needed).

Another example is how one of our players wanted to play a dwarf warrior from a tribal, nomadic culture. I don't think that's canon, but it doesn't seem like it clashes with what's established either. So in our world, there are now dwarven tribes living in the Troll Peak mountains who have a culture similar to the Ferkinas. We use the elements we like from the setting (dwarves and Ferkina, in this case) and adapt or recombine them to form the narrative we are looking for.

DreadDomain
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby DreadDomain » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:49 pm

I'd say we have very similar approach. I am all for allowing dwarf warriors from a tribal, nomadic culture or moving a scenario around. For me having a setting that is very detailed like Aventuria with vast unexplored patches facilitate these additions to the setting.

Dany40
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby Dany40 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:36 am

One important thing to say : we don’t have for The Dark Eye the numerous background books you can find for RPGs like Runequest.... this books only exist actually in german version.
When the setting is deeply described, like the excellent Warring Kingdoms, you can play with a deep fidelity.
One big advantage is that TDE world is based on clear cultural references... Easy to understand and adapt.

DreadDomain
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby DreadDomain » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:04 pm

Dany40 wrote:One important thing to say : we don’t have for The Dark Eye the numerous background books you can find for RPGs like Runequest.... this books only exist actually in german version.
When the setting is deeply described, like the excellent Warring Kingdoms, you can play with a deep fidelity.
One big advantage is that TDE world is based on clear cultural references... Easy to understand and adapt.


True, the english version does not have the amount of published supplement the german version has and by extension, not the same depth. Having said that, wen you read about Aventuria from a 20,000 feet perspective (like in the core book), one might end up with an impression that the setting is very blocky. A big european empire, a big arabian nights area, a big empty north and a pantheon of twelve gods that is universal to everyone. Once you start delving deeper in the Almanach and in regional books like The Warring Kingdoms, you realise it is not the case and that the setting has a lot of texture. The pantheon is not monolitic and far from being universally recognised, the empire is not as united as one would assume, there is a lot going on in the "empty" north and the arabian nights label on the Tulamydes lands is just a label. Tulamydes are not Arabs, Aranians are not Persian, Bornians are not Russians, Horasians are not Italians nor French. These are only useful references to help the players connect with the atmosphere of the setting.

If Aventuria was based on cultural references that are too clear and too direct, I would see that as a drawback, not a feature.

Dany40
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby Dany40 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:48 am

I totally agree with that. Cultural references provide comfortable archetypes to help you find your way around and facilitate immersion... but when you dig there is much more to discover

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HEX the Dark
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby HEX the Dark » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:39 pm

It's generally accepted that the moment you start a game with your group, your game starts to divert from the official avanturia.
How much... well that is up to you in the end. ;)

That aventuria is generally too small is a known problem, but it was waaay back then deliberately designed like that, so that your heroes could experiance different settings within days of travel and not weeks or even months. I would prefer it to be bigger, too, but many like it like that, too.
I see distances as... fluid, when it suits the plot. Helps immensely...
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Bosper
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby Bosper » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:17 am

My Players failed a few campaigns, so there are some Big Bad Evil Guys running around or running parts of the continent, which shouldnt be there. Apart from that i like what the game is. Many people spend countless hours to make aventuria the living world it is, and we try to take advantage of this as much as possible.

Dany40
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby Dany40 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:22 am

In my campaign the famous merchant Stoerebrandt is the head of a secret organisation called « The Eye ».
I’m constructing the story so far, but thanks to fellow french TDE fans I’m using the official story of this character (gone to find eternal youth to uthuria and secretly returned)

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HEX the Dark
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Re: Does your Aventuria vary?

Postby HEX the Dark » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:19 pm

Dany40 wrote:In my campaign the famous merchant Stoerebrandt is the head of a secret organisation called « The Eye ».
I’m constructing the story so far, but thanks to fellow french TDE fans I’m using the official story of this character (gone to find eternal youth to uthuria and secretly returned)


I'd like to say something about that, but there is no spoiler function here :C
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