Flavor and Fit
A Clash of Cultures is designed to have a particular feel and play that I enjoy and it may not be for everyone. I find that having players with a similar mindset and desire in the game makes for a better game. With that in mind here is my perspective of this campaign world.
Mire-Brissay has four main elements to its flavor. This elements are interlocking and build upon one another to make up the whole experience.
The first is that this is a low-magic fantasy world. While magic is known and almost everyone accepts its existence magic is not an everyday occurrence and few people have seen magic performed. Magic is also something that requires dedicated training to master. The implications for players is that magic is not just lying around to learn. Most sources of magic are controlled by some group and there may be implications to learning it.
The second is the fact that combat of any kind can be deadly and magical healing is limited. In particular ‘raise dead’ is an almost mythical feat and very, very rare. Therefore caution is a valuable survival trait and running away might be the smartest strategy in some cases.
Third is that the characters are usually not supermen, i.e., invincible. They are more likely to be extraordinary individuals finding their way in the world and dealing with setbacks. Many times their options are also limited, meaning that they cannot be or have everything they desire. Overcoming obstacles is what makes them great. However they need to earn their way to the top and getting there takes experience. Very few people become ultra-powerful.
And lastly, Mire-Brissay is embroiled in conflict, both overt and covert, between cultures. It is this conflict that drives the overarching history of the world. At the same time, there may or may not a clear delineation between black and white, good and evil. Each person must decide for themselves. Which means that each character’s viewpoint and with whom he or she aligns with will have a major impact of his or her life.
Given these four flavor points, and my own GM style, players that would best enjoy Mire-Brissay are likely to have the following characteristics.
- Story driven and role-playing
The story will eventually come to the characters, but having well-developed characters with their own goals makes it easier to do this. There may be times when no grand adventure awaits the characters and no stepping stone along an adventure path is visible. Being comfortable with forging a direction without a lot of pointing is invaluable.
Options are limited for characters both to drive the story and keep the flavor of the world consistent. A player needs to be accepting that the character’s goals may not be achieved and may likely need to change. Having a character grow from her experience is a great thing to see. Ultimately to even accepting a character’s death.
- Conflict resolution
Conflict between beliefs is a big part of this campaign. This may even occur within a character party given the diversity of options available to each player. The ability to handle this gracefully within the game without overstepping the boundary of party fratricide is important.
Not a Fit
The following are characteristics that wouldn’t fit well in this game. I think most of you know what they are.
There are many options in D&D 3.5 and a studious individual can find combinations that are much more powerful than a standard option. I don’t want individuals to need to pick the perfect build, but I have found that the game is less fun for the casual player if one person is taking advantage of every best option. That why I have consciously limited options and tweaked some rules.
- Rules lawyering
I’ve seen too many games slow down to a crawl while insignificant judgments are debated. In a game I will make a decision based upon the rules I’ve laid out and my best judgment. I don’t mind a quick disagreement with sound reasoning, and I may change my mind, but going too long doesn’t help the story or make it more fun.
I believe that the main session of the game should be focused on progressing the group’s story. At times the focus may be on one individual or another, with a reason. Sidetracking a session to enhance one’s character or overly roleplaying a secondary characteristic while others do nothing is not what I mean by this.