NaNoWriMo / NaGaDeMon planning

What I think was great from the last one was the very modular format of "one X a day". That gives lots of small ideas that can be picked up and modified/moved and used.

I really like the ideas of before/at start of the Order and Schism War. It could be done as "Scenes from the Schism War/Ancient Times" and would enable good modularization. Historic tie-ins, small scenarios, characters, bestiary entries etc.

I'm no author but I'm really looking forward to Autumn if you brilliant writers get this together (or do it on your own.)

This would be a good poll topic. I'm interested in what the forum at large think we should tackle.
I, however, don't know how to make a poll on the forums.

Matt Ryan

I don't know how to create polls either, but I agree one might be a good idea at some point during these discussions - I'm not sure it's needed yet though. We can get a lot further with sharing ideas, brainstorming and making spinoffs of the ideas of others.
I for one could see a combination of two of marlawfords ideas:

  • A source book of four completely NEW Houses - Just pretend we had four brand new Houses to play with, what would they look like?
  • A source book for the fourteenth century - how mundane politics, institutions, and philosophical understanding develops

Idea Outline
Imagine the Order rethinking their role in a future Mythic Europe (maybe 1320). Maybe kings, nobles and other rulers have changed their options and altered the scales of power or maybe magical havens and resources are scarcer than ever. Or what if the church is growing ever stronger and some consider direct retaliation the only option while others vote for conversion to Christianity, and still others call for decades of total isolation. Initiating this decision (whatever the Order chooses) - or directly following this choice - the Order gets reconstructed. A Grand Tribunal is held, where some Houses are left weakened as a result of their actions during the conflict and some might even be destroyed completely. If open conflict was the climax, maybe the Tremere, Tytali and/or Flambeau failed to play the part expected of them against the True Faithed, divine adversaries... or maybe the Jerbiton sided with the mundane or the Church. Or if isolation was the chosen action, maybe one House couldn't keep a low profile or refused to be cowed and thus endangered the Order through exposure.

However dire the outlook, some event saved the Order from total destruction in the 12th hour, and many political positions, alliances and privileges are questioned or outright broken as a result. More than one Primus died or disappeared during the conflict, or chose to retire because of pressure, lost beliefs or for reasons more intimate or mystical reasons. Death, twilight, coups and disappearings effectively halves the average age of the Magi in the Order – making some naming it a rejuvenation. A few of the new strong Magi that performed well during the conflict, call for a rebirth of the Order. They claim that through prosperity and peace the Order has grown fat, lacy and overconfident placing their faith in self-centered Archmagi and twisted Winter Covenants. Through near-worshipping of the beliefs of Founders that have been dead for centuries, the Order has become out of date and alienated. Instead they request a new founding to take place immediately, starting with a total nullification of all grants, with individual Magi claiming to represent and lead the new Houses of the future Order of Hermes.

The ReFounding
At this so-called ReFounding many of the earlier Archmagi and Prima will defend the actions of their respective Houses and attempt to make arguments for their future role in the Order. Thus, most of the original Houses will remain, but maybe slightly altered in scope or ambition - maybe with newly gained respect or alternately with diminished power. A few new Houses will be formed, however, by ambitious Magi seeking power, prestige or with more lofty goals such as the growth of the Order on a grand scale. Also the Magi might agree that new measures should be taken into account, and new tools need to be forged to meet the requirements of the future, and thus an entirely new House with a very specific purpose might be created as a result of a request made through common vote. Perhaps some events showed that an Order of secretive, stealthy sorcerer assassins are more usefull in this ‘modern’ context than battleforged conjurers of lightning and fire. Or maybe a House is created with some of the renounced elderly Magi, swearing oaths of pacifism acting as Lorekeepers of the Order with the role to observe, record, analyze and give counsel. The design of such new Houses would depend highly on the nature of ‘The Conflict’ and how it is absolved.

In terms of writing tasks and division of workflow, some might describe ‘The Conflict’ in greater detail prior to the actual launching month as a kind of ‘setting’. Then during the 30 days, some will create material explaining what effect this has on the existing Houses, and the major changes in Mythic Europe. Maybe one of the Houses are completely destroyed or abandoned – or maybe the Diedne finally return from their hiding saving the Order at large. Others will help create some of the choicest small pieces of an imagined greater work similar to HoH: Houses ReFounded (insert cool name here) – where 4 new Houses are detailed, ready to meet future challenges. This includes design and descriptions of Houses, important Magi, history and story hooks, spells and devices etc. Lots of room for many author’s and a wide enough scope to include many different themes and to fit almost any writing style.

Click on New Topic, scroll down below the writing field where you have posting options and click on Poll Creation.
Thankfully it´s quite easy and not like on some forum software that makes it an outright arcane process...

As said before it will be a nightmare trying to keep everything that is written concise and to avoid stepping on each other's toes. For that reason, I think what would work best is something fairly broad in scope, in which anyone who wished to participate could take wild strokes that would not necessarily need to make sense as a whole.

Take Mythic India (the example that is being passed around). Say I want to write about a tradition of hedge magicians based on Shaivism, well that's what I'll do. Another write might be interested in exploring another aspect of Shaivism, perhaps aligning it with Faerie or the Infernal, and that is all fine. In the end we would have dozens of ideas somewhat well explored (it's only a month!) to chose from should any of us decide on running any game that is set in India or in which the troupe just travels to India.

The most we might want to do, other than setting a "theme" to be followed, is to have a master list of sorts, where people can post what it is they are working on, so we don't end up with 20 versions on Shaivism, only 1-2.

I'm always in favor of High Fantasy Ars Magica. This could include a setting, or a remaking of a tribunal (greater alps?), or detailing a tribunal/setting that hasn't been detailed yet (Ireland?), or just isolated covenants, spells, magi, mythic companions, regiones, and so on and so on and so on. Lots of room for individual, unconnected contributions.

To build on YR7's idea. A look into what would happen if you have a few thousand Magi unbound by "no interferrence" clauses? A high fantasy setting where mages are integrated and powerful movers and shakers in the society?

That makes me think of Great Ones from Raymond E. Feist's books, the Tsurani magi.

As a reader, I loved the old "Mythic Places" and "More Mythic Places" books from older editions. Just a bunch of fully-fledged mythic places and regiones of any kind you could use in your saga with little or no adaptation. Maybe that would be a good option if you look for individual contributions.

Also, I would find useful some samples of fully (and I mean "fully", not just sketched) developed Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter covenants. I know any worthy SG could do that, but having some original, ready-to-use covenants in reserve can be quite handy, and add color to any saga. Specially if some of them are focused on some kind of theme.

(And well, Mythic India sounds delightful... but it also sounds quite tricky).

Some really nice ideas coming out. I'd buy them.

I thought I'd send this to the top of the list, since November is (only) two months away.
Is anyone still interested in NaNoWriMo planning?

I'm hoping to write something, but never really know where to start...

I'm interested...

Lacking anything else...we could start on Rome. Each take a city and see what we get?

If that is the way the wind blows, and I'm as happy with that direction as any, I want dibs on Florence.

Matt Ryan

I'll be busy on my own NaNoWriMo project, but I hope to read along with interest.

Having recently written a one-shot scenario for the UK Grand Tribunal, I was thinking of an idea that would be open to collaboration - one-shot scenario in a week or two, then repeat.
One shot scenarios tend to need characters who are tailored to the scenario, the encounters and the stats needed for what they encounter.
So, you announce a theme/story seed, people kick the idea around for a couple of days, then you have people take on character creation (each do a character that will be interesting, playable and relevant to the scenario), people take on fleshing out the encounters and statting them, come back a few days later with what you have, then back for rewriting characters and stats to match a bit better and avoid obvious pre-playtest flaws.

It could work.

As for Mr Ferguson's idea - are you talking one chapter's worth for each city, or trying to do a whole month's writing about a city and see how far you get?

I hope it's not about Bronies...

(PS Google it if you have to - but don't say I didn't warn you)

Last year I jumped the band wagon with " A Story Seed a day" because I was fired from my job and thought I had lots of time...Little did I know I'd find a new and better job within 1½ weeks, and was consequently challenged for time. It was fun though, and if even one person got a little inspiration from just one of my Seeds it was worth it.

But I don't think I have time and surplus mental energy this year.

But I'm eagerly awaiting what people think to do this time around.

Thinking of an Ars equivalent to the Great Pendragon campaign, I'm looking at the latest one with the reverence due to a holy tome of St Gregory of Stafford (I believe CJ wrote him up for last November's saint a day project) and pondering - it lists some adventures by year, and some are left at the end of a chapter as story seeds for that rough time period. Is that the best way? The alternatives are more strictly timetabling (this occurs, then Y, and if the players aren't proactive the timetable marches on) or going much looser with a set of story ideas and plot points, several of which must happen in sequence but the rest can be dropped in as needed (as an example, see the "murder of supplication" scenario/campaign for 7th Sea free on the AEG website).

What I'll probably end up doing though is either:
an item a day (The Verditius catalogue! Yours by redcap order! Call now, stocks are strictly limited!)
or a spell a day, maybe including some experimental variants on the regular designs.

For someone coming into this conversation late, what is NaNoWriMo and NaGaDeMon?