Free Haven– Adventuring into a World of Portals. Part 1 – Introduction.

Greetings, in this installment of my blog I introduce another setting project. I just can’t help myself as it a curse. I will likely begin picking projects that I discuss here that I really enjoy and expand upon them and create fanzine size mini setting pamphlets to sell. If a setting expands large enough to warrant it and there is a desire for it, I’ll combine the series into a DIY crafted hardcover guide. These will be reorganized to fit together based on subject into a unified whole.

They will also come with maps tied to each pamphlet and each hardcover with come with the individual maps, as well as a combined wall map of the complete “Known World“, that can be expanded upon by enterprising referees. I will likely create a Patreon to help raise funds for this project, to pay for a professional blog for my publishing venture, to hire a competent editor and commission art from select artists that fit the given project.

But enough of this blather, lets get to what you came here for, my project introduction; shall we?

Free Haven– Adventuring into a World of Portals

Introduction

Free Haven – Adventures into a World of Portals, is a mini setting of magic, wonder and adventure. It shares a magic rich setting common to Dungeonpunk but isn’t as cynical. Sure, danger and evil abound, and yet there is great good, beauty and wonder to also be found. Technology and magic work in tandem, often fusing to create magically powered technology. Free Haven lies in a world of various cultures centered in numerous the city-states and tribal villages that dot the vast expanses of primal wilderness and wastelands. Travel is often by airships and portals that dot the world, or by fantastic mounts.

Civilizations have come and gone over the millenniums and they have left nary a lasting mark upon the world. Once they have fallen, they are then swallowed by the local wilderness or wastes again, hiding their lost lore, magic and treasures to be discovered by intrepid Ruin Delvers. Strange creatures both great and small haunt these ruins and the wilds and wastes in which they lie hidden.

I will use a variety of languages as I develop this setting, though both English and German will be the initial languages I will use, that said I will be adding Japanese, Hindi and Korean languages as well. This setting, much like most of my other settings are deeply inspired by languages and art that I adore. Also like a few of my settings horses, cattle and such don’t exist as they do in our world, but are called similar names as they fill the same role in the setting.

Humans are a rare folk, as they newcomers to Mundo Portas – World of Portals; as such they make up most of the adventuring Ruin Delvers, though far from all. Most of the sapient folk of Mundo Portas are tribal anthropomorphic animal folk who dwell in small fortified villages, only visiting Human, Elf or Dwarf City-States or their subject villages and towns for trade. Again, I am only using convenient terms for races, that humans have given these races based of similar characteristics they share with mythological beings of Terra Prime. There are also other rare sapient beings that dwell in the world that mingle with both the natives and other new comers to Mundo Portas.

Magic comes in arcane, nature and psionic based kinds of Art. There are no magic using priests in the more “traditionalD&D/Fantasy TTRPG types. You mainly have animists among the tribal non-human sapient folk and temple/shrine bound priests. Though the world is rich in magic, most magic is utilitarian in nature and not directly combat related, though there are exceptions. Arcane magic can be destructive and corruptive in nature, as can be psionics; though is a more insidious manner.

Many fantasy “purists” hate psionics in their fantasy, but I come from the school of thought is that fantasy and science-fiction are kindred speculative fiction genres and should mix freely. Psionics are rare as they are far harder to master compared to both arcane and nature magic, that can be gathered, given form via formulaic invocations; whereas psionics are abilities that are inborn within individuals that have the potential. Like Arcane and nature magic it takes a lifetime to master, but there are no invocations to cast these spells, as they are more like supernatural abilities locked in the Psions DNA. Psionics effect either the mind of others or bodies of others or themselves in phantastic and oft times horrifying ways, but this can be discussed later in a chapter devoted to Magic.

System-wise I will be using a limited skill and class-based system. Most new skills will be hard to learn and take time to develop, and yet a character’s initial skills can more easily be developed to show greater mastery. That said I want to keep the system simple and fast in play, so things will need to quick to reference for play – so no character sheets bloated with unnecessary information. There isn’t a level system, characters instead progress by developing their skills, abilities and spells. Also, a character’s initial skills will be based upon their culture, training as an adolescence and a few hobbies they may have developed.

Combat will be deadly and quick; armor simply reduces damage and chances of critical strike landing. While melee combat will be opposed rolls between an attacker’s melee attack roll and defender’s defensive skill roll. Multiple attacks are based on weapon size and the character’s quickness and agility compared to the defender’s weapon size and quickness and agility. All this will be added together on the sheet for easy reference. Fatigue and wounds will affect this as well as all roles taken by fatigued and wounded characters.

There are no feats or combat maneuvers to bog down combat, you simply describe what you want to do. Combat is largely abstracted and thus unless you have a desired outcome specified, “multiple attacks” are simply greater chances for attacks to hit home and cause damage or wounds.

Example: Gunther wants to charge an opponent standing near the side of a bridge and wants to knock him over the edge. Gunther’s player describes the action, the referee determines if the opponent is aware of the impending attack or not and assigns whatever penalty or bonus to said action. The player rolls a strength test against his opponents’ strength if they are unaware or agility if they are aware. On a successful attack Gunther slams into the opponent knocking them over the edge to their doom. If the fail, depending on their opponent’s awareness of the impending attack – Gunther either slams into causing some damage or the opponent can instead dodge the attack and potentially assist Gunter over the edge instead.   

A simple combat maneuver without need of a bloody Feat or Combat Maneuver. I want attributes to mean something in the game beyond a simple bonus or penalty generator. Attribute tests are taken when an action or outcome in play doesn’t have a defined skill tied to it. A poor city soldier most likely won’t have been taught to ride, so may need to roll an agility test to stay on their mount’s back and a wisdom check to figure out how to ride the mount effectively, whereas a trained rider, just rolls a Riding Skill test. 

But this an introduction not a system summary, so I will close it now so you can get to the bulk of the system guide. Fin.

Free Haven – Adventures into a World of Gates is a Gonzo setting, where nearly anything is possible. Do you have the courage to enter such a perilous and yet wonder filled world?

Though several of my other setting ideas still intrigue me greatly (Undertown, Grimmwilde, Fréohæfen and Sanguinis et Gloria – Tulli in Saeva Mundi) I really want to dive into this setting as it has so much potential and can easily a connection point in a multiverse all my other settings share.

Also I really want to dive into the classes, magic, creatures, religion and technology of this setting. I don’t take lightly labelling something Gonzo. If it’s Gonzo, it should be strange and wonderous.

One thing one may notice is that I didn’t mention alignment in my introduction – it simply doesn’t exist in this setting. I didn’t feel that it fit the feel I was going in this setting. The clash between Chaos and Law doesn’t exist in the setting. Though I love the Law-Neutrality-Chaos Alignment Axis, I just don’t see it in the confines of the setting of Free Haven.

One thing that ties all my settings together, beyond the inspiration of language and art, is somewhere in the setting is a Free Haven City. Though they are not the same city, they are one of the uniting features of each setting. Somewhere hidden in each Free Haven, lies a mystical portal that connects to Free Haven in Mundo Portas. It is hidden by magic and only those with a “Key” and the knowledge can open it and enter into Free Haven and thus Mundo Portas.

Well I’ll end this installment of my blog so I can get it published and and shared via Twitter and hopefully get some sleep. Ugh, I shouldn’t have drank all that caffeine. Take care as always and stay safe. Fin.

Note: Sorry for my previous readers, I should’ve posted this after I awoken.

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