Welcome to the first installment of Let’s Do A Homebrew! Hereafter referred to as LDH. I’m going to use this little series to like showcase building a homebrewed setting. As time goes on I may venture into different homebrew ideas, or just like idea dump in this series. I don’t yet know. What I do know, though, is that for the foreseeable future I’ll be using this series to showcase a homebrewed fantasy setting. But the Grell! you say, will you still be doing your game reviews? I need them to LIVE. Of course I will. I just feel like this blog can and should be used for more. Plus I doubt you actually need my reviews to live. Seems a bit hyperbolic. I appreciate the sentiment though. I really do. You’re simply too kind.
So, the first thing to do when deciding you’re going to make a homebrew is to have a game in mind. You can make your own. And one of these days the Grell will showcase some of her very own systems. But for now, let’s just assume we don’t want to do all that work. Pretty much any favourite system works. I know a lot of people love to use D&D, for example. I am going to use Fantasy AGE. If you’re unfamiliar, you can read my review here (although now I am sceptical that you really need my reviews to live…). Anywho, like any good homebrew, I’ll be making a bunch of my own stuff and tinkering and adding house rules. Who doesn’t love world building and setting specific rules?
So, when coming up with your homebrew, it’s good to kind of think about what sort of setting you want to do. Fantasy AGE presumes high fantasy, like many role playing games that are based in Tolkienesque faux-mythology. So wizards and warriors, dwarves and elves and all that. Standard High Fantasy is really a fine model, but it’s not the one I want to use right now. So the first thing I am going to decide on is that there won’t be any of the standard fantasy races. Goodbye elves, dwarves. For now, I will be taking humans as a given, and I don’t know at this phase if I even want other people to populate this world.
I also know off the bat that though Standard High Fantasy loves an armchair historian version of mediæval Europe, I don’t want to be heavily influenced by that so much as other cultures from other parts of our own world, and of course my imagination. If you’re thinking about homebrewing, but your only real points of reference are other table top role playing games or mediæval Europe, you might consider taking some time to learn, really learn, about other fascinating histories and cultures our own world has. Be careful to not just slap a Japanese veneer on that faux-mediæval Europe, though. If you’re going to draw from other cultures, be appreciative, not appropriative. I mean, yes, on one hand it’s a game, but on the other hand, if you’re drawing from the real world for inspiration, it’s always best to be respectful of the actual folks and myths you’re drawing from. For example, outside of my own culture, the best working knowledge I have is of Chinese history and culture (I minored in it, I’d better have a decent knowledge, haha). But for this Fantasy AGE setting, I think I want to assign myself a lot of homework. So I am going to initially look at the histories of East Africa (specifically the Swahili coast), the Sassanid Empire and the Mughal Empire. But of course, this will also first and foremost be a fantasy setting. So just as popular settings like Greyhawk draw on Europe but aren’t bound by it, I too will draw from the places mentioned but not be bound by them. And these inspirations are subject to change or be further defined as I go. But for now, that gives me the kind of feeling I want to begin with. Perhaps my first city will be something like mediæval Zanzibar.
I’ll be sticking to Fantasy AGE’s core classes pretty closely. So players will have the option to play a mage, rogue or warrior. I will, however, reflavour and change a little bit about each. I know that I don’t want to have a lot of gunpowder weapons, so I know there will be some changes made to the core book’s weapon groups. I have some ideas on magic, which are more from my imagination than from any one specific worldly culture, so I’ll get into that as I detail the world more. I’ll kind of fluctuate between giving advice and giving a behind the scenes look at how I am detailing this fantasy world as I go.
So to recap, we’re going to have:
‣ Humans and maybe some other, non-standard fantasy races
‣ Mages, rogues and warriors
‣ No gunpowder tech
‣ Inspiration from the Swahili Coast, Sassanid and Mughal Empires
So yeah, I hope you enjoyed this introduction. I’ll post the next installment soon. Any and all feedback is highly appreciated, as always. Game on, game players! Grell Out! (I’m trying to find a good tag line)