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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170719


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Setting: Pirates of the Seven UnderSeas
Number 30 in the 101 Fantasy Setting/ Campaigns.

People always say that Dwarves aren't sailors and they don't do water. The Dwarves admit they don't do deep blue water under the high blue of the sky. Yet, they do water... just not blue. They do black waters. Black waters are those that move through the underground caves and megacaves that Dwarven Civilization thrives in.

These surface Halls and small cities are not real Dwarven Civilization. They are "country cousins" of Real Dwaven society. However, they have too much pride to say they are "lesser folk", besides a low dwarf is still greater than any surface dweller.

Dwarven Oarships, Bireme, and Triremes, move resources and good between the various Dwarven Citystates. They have a shallow draft as black water tends not to run thick (deep means something else to the Dwarves). These ships, owned by the clans and some independent captains, ply the underground waterways, mostly underground rivers, but it includes the underseas and lakes. It is a brisk way to do business.

The UnderCrowns rule their lands with chainmailed gloves. They are firm in their power and staunch in their traditions. Yet their power is slipping some.

There are those that have found ways "around" the runes of law. Well they have found a new loop hole, not prohibited by the runes.. and even supported by them (if you read them a certain way). These are the New Powers now. These new "houses" - empowered by money, grants, and these runes of incorporation - are expanding out to the new caves, taking these new caves and their resources, and demanding control as the nobles of these caves.

This is against all spirit of The Traditions as defined by the Runes of Law. The traditional path is for rebels and pioneers go out to these new caves, build things up, then become the new nobles. Now these New Powers are sending "employees" with wealth and weapons to the new waters and caves... expanding faster than is customary. They are taking a Great Worm's share. They are making correct and honest folks in these new caves, literal serfs to these new "corporations" - capturing them via wage slavery and controlling the means of travel.

Many Dwarves thnk these New Powers are wrong. They have spoken their cases in the Great Halls. They have ritually read the runes to make their case. The New Powers have blocked them at every turn, both with the interpretation of the law and the application of the Law of Gold (he who has gold makes rules). They are taking an unfair share of wealth and power. They are pushing Dwarven society, a very traditional society, in new ways.

Many of the noble lines and clans are looking to find New Ways of their own. They will show their displeasure in ways that the UnderCrowns and the New Power nobles will understand: by taking their wealth.

They have borrowed the Human word: Pirates.

These "pirates" will take the wealth from the New Powers as they are moved from the New Caves to the Old. As well as strike against those black water ships that bring weapons and things to enforce their rule. They will watch the "New Power"s falter.

Pirates are currently clanless because they are outlaws who have "appropriatde ships", even if it was done with a wink from a clan leader or six. If they are successful, they will be reinstated. If not, they are disavowed. Still it is a way for those that don't fit the mold to serve the Traditional Community and be rewarded.

This campaign was actually pretty well received. It takes a traditional fantasy element and turns it on its ear. People never think about Dwarves that live too deep for us to contact. They are probably a very different kind of society.

The mix of dwarves and pirates (and pirates of a slightly different variety- Dark Water) gives the game an interesting hook. Every setting or chronicle needs a hook or something cool or new or different to ensure the interest of the players. The juxtoposition of Dwarves and Sailing - things that most gamers do not think go together - is what helps make the Hook interesting, or at least novel. What helps make it interesting is all the depth you can throw at the hook, the details that make it seem well thought out and interesting.

Every chronicle/ setting should have an innate drama in the setting. That is to say, there should be something going on that the players can be involved in. (This is the pirates vs New Powers.)

Every chronicle should have a character framework or three. This ensures the players actually have something to do. Now we expect you to be pirates. But other frameworks such as pirate hunters, nobles trying to work their way around the rules, and colonists-freedom fighters, are all suitable frameworks for the setting.

Do you see how this becomes a good chronicle? It has a good hook, some basic drama, and some interesting ways to put together characters.
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