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Author Topic: 3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas  (Read 620 times)

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« on: June 30, 2020, 09:12:28 PM »
In 1492, Columbus sails the ocean blue, and he lands on a Caribbean island, instead of Indians he finds elves, a kingdom of merfolk, dragons, dwarves, orcs, halflings, goblins, wizards, clerics, gnomes, lizardfolk the whole fantasy gamut, knights in armor, a pagan religion with a bunch of gods being worshipped and granting spells to their clerics and druids. There is an invisible line halfway across the Atlantic where this greater concentration of magic starts. So how does the historic old world of 1492 and beyond interact with the high fantasy New World?

Slipshot762

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 10:55:24 PM »
D&D style magic introduced to a medieval world and then subjected to logical extrapolation causes that world to cease to be medieval in a hurry.

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 11:18:57 PM »
What is it that makes it medeaval, and why would 3.5 style magic end that? Would there be a flying carpet or broomstick in every garage, as in Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson? By the way Operation Chaos would make an interesting premise for a campaign setting, but that's for another thread.

Magic in a D&D campaign is limited by those who can use it. Gunpowder on the other hand can be used by anyone. So a wizard can cast fireball, or one of Columbus's sailors can light a barrel full of gunpowder on fire and then toss it with a catapult and have their own fireball. Fantasy magic could make a battle three dimensional, as could flying mounts such as pegasus, griffins and dragons.

TJS

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 11:46:44 PM »
They'd probably just trade with them.  Given what medieval people believed could be found in far off lands it probably wouldn't have been too surprising.  If they come across Gnolls they'd just say "Ah here is the land of the dog headed people" and then ask them where the people who use their feet as sun shades or have their faces in their chests live.

If colonialism is an actually valid possibility they'd probably still try it, but I imagine that the existence of magic would make that too difficult.  They'd send priests across however to convert them to christianity.  A lot of the big questions would probably be based around religion.  Is the magic the power of the devil?  Are they christian?  Do they have souls? Can they be converted and saved?

A big question is could magical devices created in the new world be brought back to the old and still be functional?

Given all the magical creatures they'd probably also wonder if they had found the land of Prester John (In fact I bet that would Colombus' first assumption - after all the kingdom of Prester John was full of magical creatures and was supposed to be somewhere in Asia).

Razor 007

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 12:29:50 AM »
Can we work Cthulhu into this?
I need you to roll a perception check.....

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 08:08:41 AM »
Quote from: TJS;1137323
They'd probably just trade with them.  Given what medieval people believed could be found in far off lands it probably wouldn't have been too surprising.  If they come across Gnolls they'd just say "Ah here is the land of the dog headed people" and then ask them where the people who use their feet as sun shades or have their faces in their chests live.

If colonialism is an actually valid possibility they'd probably still try it, but I imagine that the existence of magic would make that too difficult.  They'd send priests across however to convert them to christianity.  A lot of the big questions would probably be based around religion.  Is the magic the power of the devil?  Are they christian?  Do they have souls? Can they be converted and saved?

A big question is could magical devices created in the new world be brought back to the old and still be functional?

Given all the magical creatures they'd probably also wonder if they had found the land of Prester John (In fact I bet that would Colombus' first assumption - after all the kingdom of Prester John was full of magical creatures and was supposed to be somewhere in Asia).

The New World is a big place, there is probably somewhere the Spaniards could colonize, a few islands perhaps. Standard fantasy has a medeaval level of technology, the Spaniards of 1492 are slightly beyond that, they have cannons and crude muskets, they still wear armor, so it's a transition period, their ships are probably better than those coast huggers of standard fantasy. The natives could probably copy the Spaniards guns if they worked hard enough on it. Kingdoms in standard fantasy will be less centralized and more feudal than Spain. The purpose of Columbus's voyage was trade in the first place, it was only after they found no civilized partners that they tried colonization. Spain will still try to conquer a few kingdoms, maybe the Spanish Empire won't get as large in this New World. In the Amazon river basin in South America, they might find actual Amazon warriors, probably some dinosaurs too, fantasy setting often keep dinosaurs in their tropical regions. Portugal would probably have a lot of trouble with those Amazons.

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 10:33:29 AM »
North America will be interesting. Just forget everything you know about native Americans, under the standard fantasy model, North America will be organized into a bunch of fantasy kingdoms, let's make Manhattan Island into the equivalent of Waterdeep, there are a bunch of coast hugging sailing ships that play their trade up and down the coasts of the Americas, let's call this the Republic of Manhattan, it is a city state with some arable land area for growing food for its populace, its territory includes the entirety of Long Island, and what in our world would be Westchester, Orange, Rockland counties and much of northern New Jersey, their are farms villages and castles in this region, there are a mixture of fantasy races here, but the population is about 70% human, an elven kingdom is nearby in upstate New York, ships travel up and down the Hudson River (here called the West River) to trade with the elves.

There are dragons that live in the Adirondacks and in the Appalachians. Everywhere in North America, the Common language is spoken, it is about 70% to 80% similar to English, though the actual English don't know why! The people of North America worship a pantheon of gods and goddesses that are similar to those of the ancient Greeks, Roman's, and Norse gods, the pantheon is more disorganized than those with each deity going his own way, with no real equivalent to Zeus or Odin to head the pantheon. Since the Spaniards colonies in this New World aren't as extensive as in our history, the English get in on the trade a bit earlier, as the Spaniards have no control over who these fantasy kingdoms trade with.

Oh did I mention, there is lots of copper, silver, gold, and platinum here, much of it coined and used as a common medium of exchange, these precious metals are more valuable in Europe and much of it will flow across the ocean to Europe causing precious metal inflation.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:37:20 AM by Tom Kalbfus »

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 11:22:53 AM »
I think I will merge this world with the Traveller/D&D World I am doing my play by post in. This world is in the OTU, a shimmering gate in the mid Atlantic allows for European ships to come across from a historic parallel universe, and an Illusion spell hides the planet from the Traveller Universe. The year on the fantasy America setting is 480 days long. On the European side it is 365 days long, the shimmering gate connects two physically identical planets, one magical the other not.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 12:02:39 PM by Tom Kalbfus »

Innocent Smith

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 08:21:53 PM »
Quote from: Tom Kalbfus;1137318
What is it that makes it medeaval, and why would 3.5 style magic end that? Would there be a flying carpet or broomstick in every garage, as in Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson? By the way Operation Chaos would make an interesting premise for a campaign setting, but that's for another thread.

Magic in a D&D campaign is limited by those who can use it. Gunpowder on the other hand can be used by anyone. So a wizard can cast fireball, or one of Columbus's sailors can light a barrel full of gunpowder on fire and then toss it with a catapult and have their own fireball. Fantasy magic could make a battle three dimensional, as could flying mounts such as pegasus, griffins and dragons.


Really the only thing separating D&D's technology from 1492 Europe's is gunpowder.

TJS

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 09:30:27 PM »
Quote from: Tom Kalbfus;1137375
Oh did I mention, there is lots of copper, silver, gold, and platinum here, much of it coined and used as a common medium of exchange, these precious metals are more valuable in Europe and much of it will flow across the ocean to Europe causing precious metal inflation.
Historically a lot of the silver from South America actually got shipped across the Pacific to China where there was a silver shortage.

(Although I guess in this setting they would have to ship the great silver trade fleets around Africa instead.  - They'd probably be running into the West Coast of Australia a lot more)

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 08:48:58 AM »
Quote from: TJS;1137479
Historically a lot of the silver from South America actually got shipped across the Pacific to China where there was a silver shortage.

(Although I guess in this setting they would have to ship the great silver trade fleets around Africa instead.  - They'd probably be running into the West Coast of Australia a lot more)

If they sailed from fantasy America across the Pacific Ocean they would reach either fantasy Asia or Australia where there would be also magic and monsters, it would be a different Asia that is over there. You would have to sail through the magic interplanetary gate which extends 1 mile above the oceans surface from the mid-Atlantic ridge under the ocean. This looks like a shimmering curtain of light that fades away to nothing as one gets closer. The curtain of light doesn't quite extend as far north as Iceland, so the Vikings visited the historic North America by going around the curtain to the north.

Over fantasy America, the seasons are different on the other side of the gate, as the year is 16 months long or 480 days, each season takes 4 months instead of three. Each month is about 30 days long. The rotation of the two planets is synchronized, the day on average is the same 24 hours over all, but the length of daylight for each day varies because the sun appears in a different position in the sky, and also fantasy America has a second sun, a more distant second sun which is dimmer which produces a kind of twilight level of illumination when the main sun isn't up.

Also the moon looks different, this moon is actually a fantasy Mars, called Ares, it appears the same size as our Moon in the sky because it is further away, about 750,000 kilometers instead of 380,000 kilometers as our Moon is, and Ares also rotates has an ocean, an atmosphere and weather patterns on it and it takes 70 days to complete an orbit instead of 28 days as our Moon does. The fantasy Earth is called Gaia by the way. Both Gaia and Ares exist in a Traveller T20 Universe in the relatively uninhabited portion of the Alpha Centauri system, the other main planet orbits the second star and is called Prometheus. The inhabitants of Prometheus don't know about the existance of Gaia and Ares because it is cloaked in an illusion covering a spherical area 1,000,000 km in diameter, both Gaia and Ares are rendered invisible and undetectable by human eyes and instruments from outside this radius. As few starships travel in this part of the star system, few realize these worlds exist. One starship has landed on Gaia, and its captain has been captured by a band of orcs, this is part of a play by post adventure I'm currently running, though the PCs don't realize this yet.

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 09:04:35 AM »
Quote from: areallifetrex;1137475
Really the only thing separating D&D's technology from 1492 Europe's is gunpowder.

And better sailboats and navigational instruments. The armor value is halved when dealing with guns and cannons. So a suit of full plate provides only 4 points of protection against gunpowder and modern guns. Since the gunpowder weapons aren't all that accurate and are slow to reload, after a shot has been fired, you can run up to your opponent and engage him in melee combat while he is trying to reload his musket, crossbows and bows are still much in use at this time as well. What the gunpowder does is make Armor less useful, so it is not worn as much. Helmets and partial plate armor is still typically worn by the Spaniards and other colonizing powers at this time though.

Ghostmaker

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 09:39:09 AM »
I think D.J. Butler's got a series of books (Witchy Eye is the first) in this vein... I may need to go back and reread them.

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 01:34:02 PM »
Quote from: Ghostmaker;1137538
I think D.J. Butler's got a series of books (Witchy Eye is the first) in this vein... I may need to go back and reread them.

Kind of, but I'm not trying to hook native americans or the colonial empires of the new world onto it. This is 1492 or shortly thereafter, just your standard Fantasy campaign world in the shape of the Americas. You take these two continents and you put the stuff you would find in your standard fantasy setting there, no "Injuns" or anything like that. If you would put a standard European Fantasy setting with modern sensibilities there, what would you put? The climate is the same, the culture is not in other words.

Tom Kalbfus

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3e campaign idea: Magic in the Americas
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 02:41:32 PM »
I decided to reel Ares in to about 420,000 km orbit radius which gives it a 28 day orbital period, this version of Mars is about almost 3 times as dense as the real Mars. Low gravity isn't much of an issue here, the gravity is around 85% that of Earth. Lots of precious metals here to mine as well, and some artifact technology