Leveling Up Caliburn

Posted by Labyrinthian in , ,

As I mentioned yesterday I'm resuming work on my Caliburn game.  For those of you unfamiliar with it I'll save you some time digging through the archive and give a basic explanation.

Essentially the game takes on the Western continent of a world called Lothian.  This western continent is known as Caliburn and until recently was ruled by a wise and benevolent king who united all the land and brought peace after centuries of war.  Shortly before the opening of the campaign the King is killed in battle fighting one of his cousins  who was once one of his closest allies.  In the wake of the rebellion and the death of the King the once united Kingdom shatters into many smaller kingdoms much as it was prior to his rise to power.  This is the world in which the characters find themselves.

The main influence for the game is the Arthurian legend, specifically the computer game Spirit of Excalibur which I loved when I was a kid.  The King who united the land is my King Arthur equivalent, his cousin who rebelled is my Mordred figure, and there are parallels to other characters like Lancelot and Merlin as well. However, most of the major figures are gone by the time the game begins.  Caliburn is sort of a land for the taking, waiting for a new strong figure to emerge to take the Kings place. 

The more I worked on the game previously the more divorced it became from the Arthurian Legend.  Looking through the Basic version of the game that I made for my group's camping trip in September I see strong influences from GRRM's ASIF, Tolkien's LoTR, and since Religion plays a large role in the setting there are also very strong influences from real world religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.

My work on Caliburn Basic was fairly comprehensive, far more so than it needed to be given the fact that the game was only meant to be played over the long weekend while camping.  The Basic game is my jumping off point, my rough draft for the final Advanced Caliburn game.  As you might have guessed Advanced Caliburn is meant to be an Advanced Hackmaster game.  Since Advanced Hackmaster is not out yet (nor has Kenzerco announced a date for its publication) I can only work on the "fluff" of the game, the setting, not the mechanics.

To that end I did some work this morning on shields.  Heraldry plays a very important role in Caliburn, it is a land of Knights and Kings after all.  For the Basic version I used this free design software to create the shields of the various Kings and Knights of the land.  For a free Java program it is great, and fast which was important as I was working on a limited schedule.  The first shields I created were of the King and his two cousins (Mordred and Lancelot parallels). Because their families were the three most powerful in Caliburn prior to the King uniting the land I wanted their to be a simplicity and straight forwardness about them.  These banners would have been universally recognized and carried such a reputation as to make decoration and other such fanfare totally unnecessary.

Plain, basic, straightforward, simple, and almost primal.  The charges for each are popular symbols of heraldry and say something about the families.  The Dragon for wisdom and power, the Wolf for cunning, and the Lion for bravery.  Many of the other Kings and Knights had shields done for them as well, most had animal or mythical creature charges that similarly represented their nature in some way.  All were created using the same program mentioned above, though had a field (the background of the shield) that was more complex than the ones to see to the left.

For the advanced game I wanted something a bit grander than the generic shields I used for the basic one.  So I set out using Photoshop to create something a bit more involved and complex.  Compared to the few seconds it took to created the basic shields those created for the advanced one took forever.  I was, however, pleased with the end result which can be seen below.



Not perfect, but certainly better.

These are the kinds of things I will be working on in the near future so you can expect to see more of my progress in the coming weeks. 

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 09, 2010 at Saturday, January 09, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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