The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
– the traditional opening line of the Ven Heroic Cycle,
an opera linked to Gilead’s golden age under the high kingship of
Arthur Eld, King of All-World, guardian of the Dark Tower
The following text was unearthed at the King dig site, linking the ven culture to the Dark Tower epic cycle:
Ven is an ancient word meaning fire-handler and person. Perhaps in the old days the ven were the sorcerer-kings’ servants, the ones who held their torches and lanterns so they could study their foul and arcane arts, calling forth monsters from out of the thinny and beyond the prim. I wouldn’t set my watch and warrant on that. Today ven is the old-fashioned word for gunslinger.
The ven made their houses based on the guardians of the beam: the Bear, the Elk, the Falcon, the Fox, the Serpent, and the Wolf. They represent the attributes that make for a gunslinger, someone who can help us all survive Shanri. We need their steel, their ability to deal out death in order to preserve life because make no mistake, Shanri wants us dead. Some say the Sorcerer-Kings left their mark on the land and so it hates us. Others will whisper, if you get them good and drunk, during a trusted palaver, that the Sorcerer-Kings brought us from somewhere else, someplace down the beams and this land wants to expel us.
But we aren’t set to leave anytime soon. We have our parties in the Riddle Houses, watch/compose/sing our opera and even though it is illegal, we ply our sorceries, yes we do. Mayhaps we are just roont children, playing in our parents’ clothes while they have left us home alone. But if they do come back, the Sorcerer Kings, I mean, if they do return, I somehow do not believe that we will cry pardon and fall back into holding fire for our former masters. We’ve learned too much from the beams’ virtues and have not forgotten the face of our fathers.
I’ve always been interested in running a game wherein the PCs were demons using the houses of the blooded system, cast from heaven into a land of curious magics and fell beasts from before time (hell as a pre-existing land ito which the demons were cast). I’d probably switch up the character rules slightly so there were 7 sins which were exalted – probably the cause of one’s fall would divide you into choirs to give you your attribute bonus and house equivalency. Each demon would also bear within their heart a weakness which they would have to hide from others lest it be used against them – someone with the virtue of justice might need to accept the laws that everyone else can give lip service to for instance. Play up that whole do you rule in hell, or are you trapped there. Do you seek absolution for your rebellion, or rage against the heavens.
I think it would be interesting to run, I’m just not sure I could do it well.
Why do you think you couldn’t do it well, Matt?
It sounds keen to me.
Mainly it’s a question of time. I am currently a bit over booked. 2nd weekend of june, I’m running a freeform at a games convention in canberra. 3rd weekend I’m running one of our bi-monthly game then club night things – both of which I have to write and arrange for. About 10 nights a month I’m gaming.
it’s an interesting idea, I probably will begin writing it up at least, but not until late june, early july. Then in August I’m flying over to the US for Gencon for work (if you’re going to be there I’d totally offer to buy you a drink – I’ve really enjoyed your writing and the Sons of Kryos) so that’ll probably put a cramp on it – long flight times for typing, though, I guess. Then two weeks holiday in the US, so I’ll have to train someone to write up orders.
But: basically, quite busy at the moment.
Each aspect a PC gets should also get them a new title I feel – or perhaps a new syllable (maybe an enochian sigil?) in their name (so Zelak becomes Zelakim (or Zelimak) or so Adron gains the aspect “beauty of heaven” and now becomes Adron the Fair)
On topic – will you be playing with people who know the Dark Tower cycle, or not? or a mixture of the two?
I don’t have any plans to play this at the moment, Matt. My dance card is full.
But I reckon since this is a mash of two settings, I reckon familiarity with either one wouldn’t matter too much.
As someone who’s seen a recent dark tower game (using Reign as a base) the most confusion happened with different levels of setting knowledge within the same group. This can really be a problem with any liscenced property, I guess, and how much of the implicit themes you make explicit.
How’d your players do with the setting, Matt?
Had everyone read the books?
I must admit – I didn’t run the game (I’ll see if I can direct the ST here). People came off having played Abberant (as a starting point, with divergences) using Wild Talents 1st ed. so everyone was fairly experienced with the system.
I believe that at the start some people had read the books, but I know that some hadn’t. By the end, however, everyone had read the full series of novels.
I think it helped that the ST used some of the random creation rules (from reign / ORE – e.g. page 36 of the Reign Enchiridion) with completely rewritten charts. Gave an immediate idea of what kinds of characters inhabited and what kinds of events occurred in setting, as well as leading to some really interesting character backgrounds which were fleshed out in play.
duuude. Rip out HotB’s hundreds of pages of setting stuff, and give me that. I’m good to go. That’s all you need.
I think you could play Blooded with some bullet-pointed bits from the setting, allowing the players to read what they wanted.
I’d want to make sure they understood:
– the significance of colors
– love and revenge are the same word with different inflections
– Shanri is out to destroy the ven.
– something about the fall of the high king and the sorcerer-kings
see, that’s even more useful: ripping out the most important setting/culture stuff and being able to bullet-point it. Great.
All setting-heavy books should do the tl;dr single page version at the beginning of the info-dump.