Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Dark Beneath

Along the lines of Behold, thy Matron! the new campaign is getting started. Rolls have been made on yesterday's Creation Tables, and the decision that the dice have given me is: Beetle-like Creator-deity, earth-diver creation tale, Lord of the Underworld Chief of the Gods. Thus, let it be known!

The game will begin in the gloomy twilight-world of the Beneath, under the auspices of Utus the Maker, the Beetle-Lord of the Underworld. A small island, pulled from the great and endless shallow sea, represents the home of Mankind, a slave-race to Utus the Maker. They were crafted from the dung and mire, and given life with the breath of the Maker himself.

The Shallow Sea is a domain of monsters, titanic and ancient, old as the Maker. They war with Utus constantly, seeking to pull back his realm into the ocean. There are other gods of Utus' ilk, out in the darkness, with servitor-races of their own. All of these deities are available to ally with or repudiate Utus.

First, Life in the Earthly Paradise will represent the pre-civilization phase of the People of Utus. They will live with direct access to their God upon the Blessed Isle Beneath. This period will see the foundation of their beliefs, customs, and social systems. I will studiously record all the choices made on how to treat others, shaping the very nature of their society. During this time, the basic cast of the People of the Beetle will become apparent.

The falling of the Heavenly Ladder
In every myth-story, there is a falling away of an older, greater world. At some point, the existence of the People of the Beetle will be disturbed: the direct presence of Utus will vanish, they will be cast out, or otherwise find themselves exploring the world beyond the sacred precincts of the Blessed Isle Beneath.

Survival will become the next real challenge; having left a place where the God provided all the necessities of life, social organization will be forced from the fleeing People of the Beetle. They will exit the great mytho-poetic world and enter the real one. No longer will they dwell in the half-twilight of the Underworld, but rather they will be transported to the world of dust, of sweat, and of labor. This phase will focus on resource-gathering, building, and social control.

The First Civilization
Once the People of the Beetle have successfully transformed their ragtag tribe into a city, the game will shift radically into the period of the First Civilization. I have yet to design this far, because it is hard for me to know what the shape of the game will look like at this juncture. Suffice to say, interaction with other cities will be a prominent feature of this phase.

There's no time to waste thinking about what happens in the fourth phase of the game. We may never reach it! By the time we do, my ideas for the game will be so altered as to be unrecognizable from this basic design document.

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