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Author Topic: Campaign: Falkenstein  (Read 38077 times)
Christopher
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« on: September 03, 2009, 02:43:33 PM »

Since we have one of these threads going for our other campaigns and one-shots, the need has arisen for a general Falkenstein thread, where we can discuss issues that aren't specific to the Tarot Magick that has its own thread.
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In working on my character and reading through the Falkenstein book, I can't seem to find details on the appearance of the actual castle itself and the ramifications of that. It isn't really clear how long the magical elements have been present and at what point our real history diverges from the Falkenstein history.

So what date did the castle appear? What dates did Tod Olam get snatched from and to? And although Tod has posted this, it'd be helpful if he repeated it here, what date does our one-shot take place in and what's the later date of the potential campaign?

What are the political ramifications of the Castle, and its location on the southern border of Bayern?  Would this be a site that the government would want to protect from falling into the hands of the state to the south?

Also, is there a better map than the ones in the book? Something a little more specific and political-style.
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2009, 07:30:18 PM »

Also, where is our adventure set? I recall reading London and talk of Stone Henge being the localized mana source. Will we be playing in London?

And are we to have some idea of our reason to be together and the nature of our mission?  And what point value are we using to construct our characters?
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tshiggins
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 07:55:57 PM »

Since we have one of these threads going for our other campaigns and one-shots, the need has arisen for a general Falkenstein thread, where we can discuss issues that aren't specific to the Tarot Magick that has its own thread.
=====

In working on my character and reading through the Falkenstein book, I can't seem to find details on the appearance of the actual castle itself and the ramifications of that. It isn't really clear how long the magical elements have been present and at what point our real history diverges from the Falkenstein history.


Castle Falkenstein is a much larger and more sprawling version of Neuschwanstein Castle, and it's located on a hill outside the town of Wilgartswiesen, in what would be the Rhineland-Palatinate of modern Germany. Basically, if a sane version of King Ludwig II had enough magickal power at his disposal to build any castle he could imagine, it would be the gleaming white immensity that is Castle Falkenstein.

Because he has Falkenstein, he never had to build Neuschwanstein.

As for the point of divergence, there have been little ones here and there, throughout history. However, the setting assumes that the timeline mostly paralleled ours, since the even distribution of magick pretty much gave no real advantages to anybody. I've also put serious limitations on healing magick, to support that assumption.

The magickally phenomenal Pterodraconis Sapiens actually evolved 65 million years ago, just before the DK asteroid hit. However, that all but wiped out their race, even then, and forced them into a slow decline because of a genetic bottleneck. By the time humans began to spread in any numbers, only a few hundred nearly-immortal dragons survived. While their existence is significant, their initial disdain for the primates, and their small numbers, didn't really impact human existence, much.

Faeries have existed for longer than human history records, have frequently meddled in human affairs, and continue to do so. However, the two courts remain balanced in power, and for some reason the Adversary doesn't unleash all his power against human kind.

The single greatest point of divergence actually took place in 1866. Pretty much on schedule, Prussia declared war on the Austro-Hungarian empire and its allies, the small southern German kingdoms and principalities, of which Bavaria was the most significant.

Prussia hammered everybody at first, just as in our history. They met the Austro-Hungarian forces at the fortress of Konigsgratz, commanded by aging Austrian Gen. Benedeck, just as in our history. However, unlike in our history, Bavarian aerocruisers showed up in time to destroy the Prussian military machine, and the southern alliance won the war. That's the key point of divergence, right there.

So what date did the castle appear? What dates did Tod Olam get snatched from and to? And although Tod has posted this, it'd be helpful if he repeated it here, what date does our one-shot take place in and what's the later date of the potential campaign?

King Auberon, with the help of Ludwig's visions, magickally erected the castle in a single night, in 1864. Tom Olam was spellknapped in 1865.

The one-shot will take place in the winter of 1867-68. The actual campaign (if we decide we want to do it) will start in 1870. So, the major point of divergence took place less than five years ago.

What are the political ramifications of the Castle, and its location on the southern border of Bayern?  Would this be a site that the government would want to protect from falling into the hands of the state to the south?

The state to the south is the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it is Bayern's most staunch ally. Moreover, the problems that made the empire seem weak enough to attack in our timeline exist in the Falkenstein setting, too. The empire's most faithful subjects are the germanic folk of Osterreich. However, the magyar Hungarians violently agitate for independence, egged on by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, leaders of the World Anarchist Brotherhood.

Also, the largest proportion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's slavic subjects are Romanians, who live in the southeast extremity around the Carpathians and the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. They want to break away from the empire (and the magyars) and create their own nation. However, dreadful supernatural forces stalk that isolated part of the empire, and Romanians sometimes must fight so hard to survive that it's tough for them to create any revolutionary momentum.  The lack of assistance from Vienna (which has other concerns) only embitters them against the empire.

Bayern's other major ally is France, under Emperor Napoleon III, nephew of the deceased Napoleon Bonaparte. The only other nation close to Castle Falkeinstein is Switzerland and (as always) they remain neutral in all Europan conflicts.

Basically, the international scene plays out as follows:

The Grande Alliance is France, Bayern and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has a technological advantage, due to the existence of the Bayernese Aeronavy and the Verne Cannon. However, it is primarily defensive, because the Austro-Hungarians are so weak that expansionistic policies just aren't practical.

That alliance is opposed by a much looser arrangement between Great Britain (which recognizes the threat posed to its core by the Aeronavy and Verne's giant cannons), Prussia and the Ottoman Empire (the weak member of that group). This alliance is more expansionistic and much more wealthy. The British Empire has neared its zenith in the percentage of the world it controls, and its economy is much more open and industrialized than any other. Prussia has technological parity with France (but not Bayern), as well as the finest army in the world (though the Americans come close). The Ottomans are propped up by their partners.

Prussia's Kaiser is Wilhelm I (the Great) as in our world, but Chancellor Otto von Bismarck actually exercises even greater control than he did, here. Wilhelm actually became kaiser much earlier than in our world. His older brother, Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm IV, was shot by an old Berliner in March 1848 as he addressed a crowd, during the revolutions that swept Europa, that year. Wilhelm earned his nickname, "The Grapeshot Prince" (Kartätschenprinz) when he turned his cannon on Berlin and destroyed the insurrection by force (as well as much of the city).

The experience of the 1848 revolutions made Wilhelm I far more reactionary than he was in our world, where he took the throne in 1861, after his brother died from complications of a stroke. In our world, Friedrich Wilhelm handled the revolution adroitly, didn't get shot in the head, and allowed his brother to mature while providing an example of politics by finesse. In the world of Falkenstein, Kaiser Wilhelm I devotes himself to suppression of liberal movements, and support and training of the army. Otto von Bismarck works closely with the kaiser on domestic politics, and commands Prussian international and economic policy.

As for Russia, the memory of Napoleon's invasion remains fresh, and a few Russians alive today fought him 50 years ago. Therefore, Tsar Alexander II considers conservative Prussia the least of evils and post-revolutionary France the greatest. He recognizes that a strong Prussia keeps France at bay. However, the Russians vie with the British Raj for control of southern Asia in a contest that features constant intrigue and low-level violence. The tsar also hasn't forgotten who the British backed in the Crimean War. Relations between the United Kingdom and Russia remain tense.

Also, is there a better map than the ones in the book? Something a little more specific and political-style.

The book, Comme Il Faut, has a close-up map of Europe that shows major political boundaries much more clearly, as well as the major cities (it marks the railroads). Poland doesn't exist, at all (it's divided between Russia and Prussia); Russia controls the Baltic area (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia); Sweden and Norway are unified under Swedish King Charles XV; Finland remains frigid and independent; Bayern extends up the western coast of the Innersea; Holland controls the entrance to the Innersea (with territory on both shores). Belgium and Luxembourg have the same borders, as does France, Spain and Portugal. Italy shows as a single state on the map, but that's the major flaw -- it remains a chaotic mish-mash of principalities and city-states. Ireland is just as big a political mess as in our history, and is plagued by more Faeries than the rest of the world, to boot.

I'll bring copies of the map, next time we meet.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 12:43:03 PM by tshiggins » Logged

"Our problem is, our plans never survive contact with US!" -Christopher Denny, veteran gamer, incorrigible punster.
Christopher
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 08:02:11 PM »

I think I mentioned that this was the land of "my people."

Well, I'll just leave this here.... um yeah, that's LESS than a mile.
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tshiggins
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2009, 08:03:34 PM »

Also, where is our adventure set? I recall reading London and talk of Stone Henge being the localized mana source. Will we be playing in London?

If we do the main campaign, that will begin in London. The one-shot will take place in South Africa.

And are we to have some idea of our reason to be together and the nature of our mission?  And what point value are we using to construct our characters?


The one-shot will consist of an expedition funded by a group of investors in Great Britain, who have heard rumors of an investment opportunity in South Africa. They need a group to engage in a fact-finding mission, but they need it done discretely. Therefore, the party will travel to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as a group of friends on a safari holiday, and then proceed inland.

I'll provide a letter from the investment group, this weekend, which will provide more detail. I should also have finished the character templates (man, converting those is a pain...).

Assume 125 character points, and 65 points of disads, and no more than 5 points of quirks. As a rule, I rigorously enforce disadvantages, just so you know.
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Brian
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2009, 08:18:45 PM »

Assume 125 character points, and 65 points of disads, and no more than 5 points of quirks. As a rule, I rigorously enforce disadvantages, just so you know.

So does this mean that characters will be a total of 195 points?

~Brian
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tshiggins
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2009, 08:30:06 PM »

Assuming you max out the disads, yeah. You don't have to do that, you know...  Wink
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tshiggins
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2009, 09:16:44 PM »

The character creation file is now on the meetup site, as is the Modest Proposal for Saturday's one-shot.

As for character creation, I've provided plenty of general rules, I think. I've also converted the existing templates in GURPS:CF to the 4e rules. However, the conversions are straight-forward translations from 3e to 4e, with cost adjustments and some tinkering. I did NOT re-think the templates, completely, which means you guys may note some oddities. For instance, the Secret Agent, Demimondaine and Diplomat templates would all benefit from the "Smooth Operator" talent, but I didn't include it.

Frankly, the conversion process itself took a week and a half, and that was enough. It would've gone even longer if I'd re-created all those character types from scratch.  Tongue

One more thing, for Jonathan. When we discussed characters last weekend, it was late and I hadn't considered the fundamental difference between the Fae Dwarves of CF, and the more traditional fantasy-race dwarves. As you will note, they differ substantially from any fantasy-race version, and that may alter your character concept, fairly significantly. If so, and that's a problem, I apologize for the misleading information.
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tshiggins
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2009, 09:24:22 PM »

Assuming you max out the disads, yeah. You don't have to do that, you know...  Wink

Okay, I've been thinking about this. The point-costs of dwarves means this really isn't enough to play one of those.

Everybody kick base character creation up to 150 points, with no more than 75 points of disadvantages. That's not too awful, and probably reflects the power-level of the setting a little bit better, anyway.
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"Our problem is, our plans never survive contact with US!" -Christopher Denny, veteran gamer, incorrigible punster.
tshiggins
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 05:50:09 PM »

Hi, everyone. While I frequently fail to do this, myself as a player, as a GM I'll ask that everybody get a copy of their character to me, by noon or so Saturday.

Thanks.
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zorper
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 08:16:22 PM »

I think I mentioned that this was the land of "my people."

Well, I'll just leave this here.... um yeah, that's LESS than a mile.

What is that, "Chicken coop Landau"?
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tshiggins
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2009, 10:03:06 PM »

Also, I forgot to mention it, but the exchange rate is £1 equals $5. So, to purchase equipment with your initial expense stipend, multiply by five and use that to buy stuff out of the books, with the prices appropriate to the time period. Mind the dates, i.e., don't by an 1887 Winchester in 1867. Dwarves are an exception -- they can have dwarfish-made equipment that effectively TL 7, but are expected to exercise discretion.

The passage on the ship to South Africa will come to £50 for a first-rate, private suite on the top-deck of a steamer (also, you are guaranteed one dinner at the captain's table -- interesting chaps and lovely ladies will get more); £35 for a first-class cabin (will likely dine with the captain once); £20 for a dual-occupancy second-class cabin; £10 for steerage.

The session will start with the group's arrival in Port Elizabeth.
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"Our problem is, our plans never survive contact with US!" -Christopher Denny, veteran gamer, incorrigible punster.
Matthew
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 12:49:00 PM »

Sounds like I'm missing out in regard to this game. I might be able to attend the next session for a little while as a fly on the wall. ("Help me... help me...")
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Christopher
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 01:09:40 PM »

The Journal of Johann von Landau

A persistent shoulder injury has delayed more regular contributions to this manifest, but I fear that imminent events, however remotely, posses the possibility of my demise here in the deep depths of inhospitable Africa. I endure the pain to put pen to paper lest my heroics be forgotten.

The extensive due diligence performed prior to our departure from London proved efficacious. Specifically in the manner of firearm necessary to fell the famed African Lion (it also did the job on a magical multi-dimensional feline beast with vicious fangs, raptor claws, a disposition as black as a nightmare and eyes as fierce as the Sun).  One member of our group, a veteran from the American South whose disposition towards Africans is decidedly egalitarian, proved twice to be suitable bait for these creatures.  On both occasions I saved the life of this gentleman, and perhaps the entire party, with expert use of the behemoth 4 bore.

In the first instance, a well placed head shot managed to not only down the charging beast in its tracks, but practically skin it as well.  In the second, the mere thunder of my first shot so paralyzed the beast that it was easily dispatched. In that instance, our charming guide was so kind as to stabilize my shot as depicted.



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Christopher
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2009, 09:28:16 PM »

Victorian Gun Reference for GURPS:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/High-Tech/victorian_guns.html

Some recaps from this weekend's action:

First, our Good Old Boy had this happen to him:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CNgwZgoKFc

Then, our Good Old Boy had this happen to him:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEIGqD80N6U

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