View Full Version : Swail: Fantasy Role-Playing in a Diverse World

03-02-2010, 04:51 PM
The CreaTheater project is now closed, defunct, but not kaput--it will continue to be developed as the fantasy role-playing game Swail (http://swail.wikispaces.com/). Swail takes the most promising elements of CreaTheater and will build from there. The magic system will be different than many other FRPGs, and has been inspired by this article, "Breaking Out of Scientific Magic Systems" (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/magic/antiscience.html). Briefly, magic abilities will be acquired as a character gains in power and increases the secondary abilities of mind and soul. The class system, if one is used, is likely to allow characters to be built in an open-ended way. An alternative to a class system, one allowing all characters open access to all skills, may be used instead. If you have a strong preference for a class-based system or a skill-based system, please vote in the poll (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15231).

I never really cared for the name CreaTheater (I thought I was being clever at the time I coined it, but was wrong), but aside from that, my plans for the system quickly grew too ambitious, with a sprawling set of classes (http://creatheater.wikispaces.com/classes). Also, the PC races were mostly warmed-over rehashes of standard FRPG fare. I was struggling with an innovative way to approach magic until I read John H. Kim's article (linked above).

Along with the mechanics of the game system, Swail will also provide a detailed fantasy setting, which is a departure from my goals with CreaTheater, which I had intended as an "open-source" project and a generic role-playing system for use with user-created campaign settings. I'd still like Swail to be a system that is open enough for game masters to create their own campaign settings; however, I think the game will be a better and more coherent project if it has a setting of its own to live in.

Those are my plans. The pace of production of game material will continue to be slow, but I do hope that you will check the Swail wiki (http://swail.wikispaces.com/) from time to time to see what is developing, and post feedback in this thread.

03-10-2010, 11:59 AM
Okay, for those of you who are more interested in setting than mechanics, the world of Swail has taken shape. The view from above is one of a sea, here churning, there placid, interrupted by the shapes of continents and islands. At the far western end of the sea, just before it dissipates into storms and stars, a ginormous mountain swells. This is Swail, the mountain that births the world. East from Swail spills the land of Nokh, a wild continent with a spine of central mountains that appear as playthings made of clay when compared to the enormity of Swail. At the eastern end of Nokh, the land collapses in crumbling cliffs and waterfalls: this is the Drain. Miles below, in the Drain, are other lands, shrouded in mist, barely visible. East of the Drain, we pan to Kimerica, a roughly diamond-shaped island larger than most islands. It is here, in Kimerica, where the people have stirred up the ground of being and become restless. In Kimerica, tangled politics, street gangs, insular families, and recruiting tribes all compete for control of cities and resources. And dang if the supplies of wood and coal on the island nation aren't nearly depleted.

What's that over there? Oh ho, the camera swings hard to the west, past the Drain, a bit to the south, and fixes its gaze on an area near the dissipation of the sea. Here, a miasma of electric colors and fire stirs, mingling with noxious-looking clouds and other unknowns. These, oh roleplayer, are the Powers. It is these that the striving Kimerican Nation pulls towards it, it is these that are attracted towards the desperate activity running amok over an island that is becoming a desert. But what are these? Where do they come from? What do they mean? ... Do we care? They allow us to do marvelous things!

The Powers empower a selection of archetypes (http://swail.wikispaces.com/Character+Archetypes): beasts, elementals, enchanters, soul healers, shapeshifters, spirits, summoners, tricksters, and warders. And there are archetypes that are not dependent on the Powers, but rather on wits (scholars), combat prowess (warriors), or technics (erm, technics).

But we have become mired in details of this other world, and surely you should return to work. ;) Yet... if you have been intrigued, please continue to compulsively check these forums, for Swail swirls with possibilities. Details, don't worry, will continue to be posted.