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Do I see guns and gunpowder ? I hope not :S


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On the subject of guns in fantasy worlds, Arcanum would like a word with all the naysayers.

 

I doubt that's going to convince any naysayers. Some people here, in keeping with the fashion of the times, just seem to have turned rapidly, ferociously anti-steampunk, as that trend waned, and consequently react to that downtrending of steampunk by essentially enforcing the view that anything which isn't 100% pure Tolkien-inspired AD&D 2E doesn't belong in fantasy (a rather silly overreaction, but there it is).

 

Throwing a steampunk game in their faces is not going to convince them.

 

What one ought to do is try to convince them that just because they've gotten tired of steampunk doesn't mean that everything which isn't exactly reminiscent of the Tolkienian subset of Forgotten Realms lore must therefore be precisely the kind of steampunk stuff they've gotten bored with.

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When people get so set in their notion of 'fantasy' that the simple idea of a weapon they're not immediately familiar with from prior 'fantasy' becomes profoundly uncomfortable, I think it ceases to be fantasy altogether.

 

If someone's idea of the 'fantasy' genre is so strictly defined as that, I want nothing of it. I'll instead go to authors and artists whose writing offers invention and imagination. Not authors who don't stray too far from what elves are supposed to be like or what fantasy weapons are supposed to be like or what fantasy creatures are supposed to be like.

 

That's just the dirty sense of 'genre' at work. When everything becomes generic. When an imagined world doesn't exist any more to stimulate the imagination, but just to retell a tale we've heard before, with characters we've seen before, in a setting we've visited before.

 

Worse yet is the idea that if the chronology of a fantasy work's history doesn't exactly reflect the chronology of the history of medieval Europe, it's in error. I'm fond of alternate history and historical fiction. But so far as I am aware, this is not a historical fiction game. So for those who object to the characters of Project Eternity's world using firearms because the Dutch weren't using firearms until 50 years later, or what have you, I just have nothing to say at all. It's hilarious, really.

I find the phenomenon of a "shared fantasy" (or, in the case of those who believe in it a little too strongly, a "mass delusion" might be a more accurate term) to be fascinating, personally. It's easy to see how it can come about, with (for example) papa Tolkien ultimately being one of if not the single most influential creators of modern fantasy, and with media of every stripe conforming to the general ideas laid out (some elves have big droopy ears, some don't, but Elves Have Pointy Ears!!!), but I also find it vaguely disturbing at how many people buy into it without even realizing... until someone comes along and tries to change one of the more basic tenets of the faith. We see it with elves, with guns, with Monks... even with how magic is supposed to be, of all things.

 

For the record, I'm loving the slightly more modern take on fantasy that PI appears to be taking, for precisely the reason you mentioned above: the conventions of the genre have been used and reused to the point where they're getting stale.

 

As a side note to the writers, it seems as if the setting will be home to what are (according to the genre) conflicting forms of power: magic vs. science. Am very interested in seeing what if any elements regarding this conflict are put into PE from a philosophical PoV. Or even if PE's world will HAVE this conflict, as such. Arcanum dealt with this line of thought, but that setting had the two sides both well entrenched and well developed.

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I'm all for firearms. I also love the fact that it looks like the era will have rapiers! After all, what's a highwayman without his sword and rapier?

 

I don't get all the firearm hate. Forgotten Realms & the planes are filled with mad scientist gnomes and such making flying ships, tanks, beams, golums, robots, crude cloning machines, etc, all made from mixtures of magic and engineering. What's a dueling pistol or two?

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As a side note to the writers, it seems as if the setting will be home to what are (according to the genre) conflicting forms of power: magic vs. science. Am very interested in seeing what if any elements regarding this conflict are put into PE from a philosophical PoV. Or even if PE's world will HAVE this conflict, as such. Arcanum dealt with this line of thought, but that setting had the two sides both well entrenched and well developed.

I would enjoy seeing magic being a PART of science. In a world where magic does exist, why would science oppose it? It would be a part of the world that science is studying. If it exists, studying its nature only makes sense. As does experimenting with its uses. Magic home heating systems? Summoner run meat farms and physical labor companies?

Edited by ogrezilla
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As a side note to the writers, it seems as if the setting will be home to what are (according to the genre) conflicting forms of power: magic vs. science. Am very interested in seeing what if any elements regarding this conflict are put into PE from a philosophical PoV. Or even if PE's world will HAVE this conflict, as such. Arcanum dealt with this line of thought, but that setting had the two sides both well entrenched and well developed.

I would enjoy seeing magic being a PART of science. In a world where magic does exist, why would science oppose it? It would be a part of the world that science is studying. If it exists, studying its nature only makes sense. As does experimenting with its uses. Magic home heating systems? Summoner run meat farms and physical labor companies?

 

I would actually prefer science attempting to explain/integrate magic and largely failing. I feel that if magic can be explained as a biological process with clear constant rules, it's not magic anymore, it's just another scientific principle.

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When people get so set in their notion of 'fantasy' that the simple idea of a weapon they're not immediately familiar with from prior 'fantasy' becomes profoundly uncomfortable, I think it ceases to be fantasy altogether.

 

If someone's idea of the 'fantasy' genre is so strictly defined as that, I want nothing of it. I'll instead go to authors and artists whose writing offers invention and imagination. Not authors who don't stray too far from what elves are supposed to be like or what fantasy weapons are supposed to be like or what fantasy creatures are supposed to be like.

 

That's just the dirty sense of 'genre' at work. When everything becomes generic. When an imagined world doesn't exist any more to stimulate the imagination, but just to retell a tale we've heard before, with characters we've seen before, in a setting we've visited before.

 

Worse yet is the idea that if the chronology of a fantasy work's history doesn't exactly reflect the chronology of the history of medieval Europe, it's in error. I'm fond of alternate history and historical fiction. But so far as I am aware, this is not a historical fiction game. So for those who object to the characters of Project Eternity's world using firearms because the Dutch weren't using firearms until 50 years later, or what have you, I just have nothing to say at all. It's hilarious, really.

I find the phenomenon of a "shared fantasy" (or, in the case of those who believe in it a little too strongly, a "mass delusion" might be a more accurate term) to be fascinating, personally. It's easy to see how it can come about, with (for example) papa Tolkien ultimately being one of if not the single most influential creators of modern fantasy, and with media of every stripe conforming to the general ideas laid out (some elves have big droopy ears, some don't, but Elves Have Pointy Ears!!!), but I also find it vaguely disturbing at how many people buy into it without even realizing... until someone comes along and tries to change one of the more basic tenets of the faith. We see it with elves, with guns, with Monks... even with how magic is supposed to be, of all things.

 

Keep in mind though, you have a subset of LARPSers (Or "Roleplayers" as they increasingly call themselves), with an extremely unhealthy attachment to their interpretation of medival times. They think it's like movies, everyone's clean, no one has bugs covering them, everyone has enough food and isn't starvation thin, everyone has teeth, they all speak in olde english unless they're 3ft tall in which case they speak in scottish, etc.

 

This subset is fantastically intollerant of anything that breaks their fantasy. I've seen tantrums at RPG games and LARPS events where someone literally flips out because another person didn't speak in Olde English and they're "Breaking my immersion!". I saw one guy in Star Wars Galaxies go on such a epic profanity spewing tantrum because he accidently learned the wookie language that he was permabanned on the spot. I remember reading about an Ultima Online server where you weren't allowed to log off if anyone else was on the screen because they might see you disappear.

 

It's a disportionately noisy subset that generally misrepresents their real issue, which is "Immersing" themselves in their fantasy, generally trying to hide behind some other explanation. The only way to really identify what the issue really is, is to engage them in a discussion of the boundary between Character and Player, at which point you'll discover that their goal is self-insertion and not playing an RPG.

 

Magic actually is a playstyle issue, not a "Holy Cow" issue. You generally have two groups, one who wants a mage to be contributing at all times and the other who wants the mage to be the tactical nuke brought out only when needed. If you work your way down to people's root problem with the systems, that's really where most of it ends up.

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As a side note to the writers, it seems as if the setting will be home to what are (according to the genre) conflicting forms of power: magic vs. science. Am very interested in seeing what if any elements regarding this conflict are put into PE from a philosophical PoV. Or even if PE's world will HAVE this conflict, as such. Arcanum dealt with this line of thought, but that setting had the two sides both well entrenched and well developed.

I would enjoy seeing magic being a PART of science. In a world where magic does exist, why would science oppose it? It would be a part of the world that science is studying. If it exists, studying its nature only makes sense. As does experimenting with its uses. Magic home heating systems? Summoner run meat farms and physical labor companies?

 

I would actually prefer science attempting to explain/integrate magic and largely failing. I feel that if magic can be explained as a biological process with clear constant rules, it's not magic anymore, it's just another scientific principle.

I'm fine with that. My point is that science should at least try to understand it instead of being "against" it. If it blatantly exists, scientists would try to study it and try to use it.

Edited by ogrezilla
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As a side note to the writers, it seems as if the setting will be home to what are (according to the genre) conflicting forms of power: magic vs. science. Am very interested in seeing what if any elements regarding this conflict are put into PE from a philosophical PoV. Or even if PE's world will HAVE this conflict, as such. Arcanum dealt with this line of thought, but that setting had the two sides both well entrenched and well developed.

I would enjoy seeing magic being a PART of science. In a world where magic does exist, why would science oppose it? It would be a part of the world that science is studying. If it exists, studying its nature only makes sense. As does experimenting with its uses. Magic home heating systems? Summoner run meat farms and physical labor companies?

 

I would actually prefer science attempting to explain/integrate magic and largely failing. I feel that if magic can be explained as a biological process with clear constant rules, it's not magic anymore, it's just another scientific principle.

I'm fine with that. My point is that science should at least try to understand it instead of being "against" it. If it blatantly exists, scientists would try to study it and try to use it.

 

Agreed. I think we'll get some delving into this topic. Using the printing press comment as an example, I really think this world is being thought out which means exploration of all sorts of 'if this happen then this would be the cultural reaction' topics.... This game really just gets more exciting to me each time I hear more about it's lore.

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I'm not generally into "steampunk" or modern weapons in fantasy games, but I *do* like the explanation/story around why they're created and used in P.E. (anti-mage anti-mage-shield). To me that makes sense, within the framework of magic fantasy...to have researched/developed a tech in response to a magical defense that is/has become troublesome to troops. So I'm cool with it. I don't think we'll be seeing "guns, guns everywhere" or anything.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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They are going to have flintlock guns. One shot and takes long time to reaload.

 

Wheel locks actually--more primative and less reliable than flintlocks.

http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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So my barbarians can't duel-wield machine guns?

 

Only in Detroit. :p

http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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I just want to make a few general points.

 

Re: all fantasy games until now were set in the Dark Ages:

 

I wish. ;( The only games I know of that have taken inspiration from the post Roman Age of Migration, or the later Viking Age is the Japanese Valkyrie Profile series. Most fantasy seems to be more or less analogous to Norman era England, (or, well, Norman - era Normandy). You'll typically see kings of large kingdoms in stone castles, with knights and a landed aristocracy, rather than the wooden mead halls and tribal chieftains of 6th century Denmark. In fact, given the enduring popularity of the Robin Hood stories and ballads, Norman - era England and France is likely exactly what "fantasy kingdoms" are based upon.

 

Re: Guns and "fantasy":

 

As far as I know, gunpowder driven weapons have been used in China since the late 10th century. Also as far as I know, they are not popular in Chinese historical drama or historical fantasy films (or TV series.) Then there are examples of games like Jade Empire, where the one firearm in all of (ersatz) China is provided by an Englishman. I think the objection might come in the change to "warrior culture" might necessitate. Consider the old phrase "God created man, and Sam Colt made them equal," referring to this weapon:

 

MVC-174F.jpg

 

You are not going to have a culture of lifelong warriors like Knights or Samurai as long as anyone with average visual acuity and motor control can learn to use one of these in a few weeks. The lack of a warrior mystique (or the obvious fact that such a mystique is going to be completely incongruous with the rest of your setting) is going to be taken as a negative by some. I believe that there is more to be gained rather than lost, so long as this is done well.

 

Re: Fanboy hysteria:

 

Some of this may just be irrational hatred or fear of the new over the comfortable, but I hardly subscribe to a magic collective hive mind somehow started by Tolkien (in spite of him only being part of a literary tradition that predates the publishing of his work by 60 years). Some of it might just be the fear of having changes made for the sake of being different, rather than because of some overall narrative plan.

 

That may seem irrational as well, and it certainly can be, but consider this: wizards are described as wearing armour in this setting in order to stop bullets. Even the most robust medieval armour would not be ideal, to say the least, against firearms. Do you want to subvert the wizards-don't-wear-armour trope in this setting? How about this: wizards wear armour in spite of how useless it is on modern battlefields because they are a bunch of stogy traditionalists. They, along with classes like the paladins, are the only ones who start off with heavy armour proficiencies because they cling to their tradition. Sure it makes them safer than average in back alley muggings or tavern brawls, but at the expense of looking like a bunch of ren-fair cosplayers to the rest of society (see how Don Quixote stood out.)

 

It's going to hurt my head if my wizard can put on a chain hauberk and stop a point blank arquebus blast that hits (if his magic is involved in protection, then why can it do most of the job, but not that last tiny fraction that the chain hauberk would provide?) It's going to hurt my head, but that's what I saw written in an update and I'm uneasy of this particular use of firearms making it into the final game.

 

That doesn't mean that the concept won't work, and I'm sure that a playtest or two of cannon balls bouncing back before bucklers will mean that damage and protection mechanics - along with the setting - will be evened out.

 

In short: I think people see the guns element for the first time, and worry that it will be handled poorly. It might not be fair to Obsidain, but in the context of how adding gun elements or deliberate contrarian setting details to RPGs have meant the slow death of more traditional game design styles, perhaps it is more understandable.

Edited by Vargr Raekr
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Let's be real, in all likelihood, these arquebuses are likely to be expensive as hell ... I seriously doubt we'll see every other character walking down the lane packing heat.

 

A well made arquebus is MUCH cheaper then a well made sword. Guns are a hollow iron tube with a small hole for powder attached to a wood stock (sometimes).

 

Now the wheel lock mechanism is fairly hard to produce as it is essentially clockwork. But your bog standerd match fired arquebus is incredibly cheap

 

Not to mention that maintenance of such weapons is not something everyone can do (untrained).

So, in order to use firearms, I see some skillpoints/dexterity/price prerequisites.

 

It is about as easy as maintaining any other metal weapon

 

I just want to make a few general points.

 

Re: all fantasy games until now were set in the Dark Ages:

 

I wish. ;( The only games I know of that have taken inspiration from the post Roman Age of Migration, or the later Viking Age is the Japanese Valkyrie Profile series. Most fantasy seems to be more or less analogous to Norman era England, (or, well, Norman - era Normandy). You'll typically see kings of large kingdoms in stone castles, with knights and a landed aristocracy, rather than the wooden mead halls and tribal chieftains of 6th century Denmark. In fact, given the enduring popularity of the Robin Hood stories and ballads, Norman - era England and France is likely exactly what "fantasy kingdoms" are based upon.

 

Re: Guns and "fantasy":

 

As far as I know, gunpowder driven weapons have been used in China since the late 10th century. Also as far as I know, they are not popular in Chinese historical drama or historical fantasy films (or TV series.) Then there are examples of games like Jade Empire, where the one firearm in all of (ersatz) China is provided by an Englishman. I think the objection might come in the change to "warrior culture" might necessitate. Consider the old phrase "God created man, and Sam Colt made them equal," referring to this weapon:

 

MVC-174F.jpg

 

You are not going to have a culture of lifelong warriors like Knights or Samurai as long as anyone with average visual acuity and motor control can learn to use one of these in a few weeks. The lack of a warrior mystique (or the obvious fact that such a mystique is going to be completely incongruous with the rest of your setting) is going to be taken as a negative by some. I believe that there is more to be gained rather than lost, so long as this is done well.

 

Re: Fanboy hysteria:

 

Some of this may just be irrational hatred or fear of the new over the comfortable, but I hardly subscribe to a magic collective hive mind somehow started by Tolkien (in spite of him only being part of a literary tradition that predates the publishing of his work by 60 years). Some of it might just be the fear of having changes made for the sake of being different, rather than because of some overall narrative plan.

 

That may seem irrational as well, and it certainly can be, but consider this: wizards are described as wearing armour in this setting in order to stop bullets. Even the most robust medieval armour would not be ideal, to say the least, against firearms. Do you want to subvert the wizards-don't-wear-armour trope in this setting? How about this: wizards wear armour in spite of how useless it is on modern battlefields because they are a bunch of stogy traditionalists. They, along with classes like the paladins, are the only ones who start off with heavy armour proficiencies because they cling to their tradition. Sure it makes them safer than average in back alley muggings or tavern brawls, but at the expense of looking like a bunch of ren-fair cosplayers to the rest of society (see how Don Quixote stood out.)

 

It's going to hurt my head if my wizard can put on a chain hauberk and stop a point blank arquebus blast that hits (if his magic is involved in protection, then why can it do most of the job, but not that last tiny fraction that the chain hauberk would provide?) It's going to hurt my head, but that's what I saw written in an update and I'm uneasy of this particular use of firearms making it into the final game.

 

That doesn't mean that the concept won't work, and I'm sure that a playtest or two of cannon balls bouncing back before bucklers will mean that damage and protection mechanics - along with the setting - will be evened out.

 

In short: I think people see the guns element for the first time, and worry that it will be handled poorly. It might not be fair to Obsidain, but in the context of how adding gun elements or deliberate contrarian setting details to RPGs have meant the slow death of more traditional game design styles, perhaps it is more understandable.

 

While the near faceless mass combat of the late 17th and entire 18th and early 19th centuries is ineed damaging to the idea of the warrior ethos, the time bordering that is not. Albeit the gunslingers of the mid 19th century are of a different character then the medieval warrior. But a knight on horse back is still a, if not the, dominent force of an open battlefeild for the entire 15th century, and most of the 16th. And even into the 17th. Battles usually came down to cavalry to decide them as pike and shot formations would lock horns and whomever won the cavalry fight would be able to turn ones flank. This means you need a skilled and elite cadre of cavalrymen. The death of the warrior ethos in Europe was a centralisation of power choking out a lot of the nobility, so they were just less noticeable. And in Japan it was the fact that the nation underwent several centuries of peace. You don't need samurai when there's no one to fight.

 

Also, in the early days of fire arms, the high quality plate was proof from shot. In fact a pistol would usually be discharged at close range into a breast plate to prove it. As guns got better, this became less true (Which is why heavy cavalry abandonned full plate in favor of heavy breastplates), but at the presumed time era of PE, this will still be the case.

 

In fact, wearing super heavy full plate makes FAR ore sense in a society were early guns are common (enough), because you really don't need that much armor to stop a sword, axe, or arrow.

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