After BZPower's Bara Magna got started, I thought to myself "what other settings could work for these kinds of games", and I eventually settled on the original Mata Nui as being a potentially workable location. I'm working on a modified map, which I'll add to this once it's done.
The biggest issue I had with both BZPGOT and BZPBM (I mean no offence to the creators of those games when I say this), was that there was usually an obviously-evil NPC faction that everyone was forced to side with or against, rather than players being completely free to make their own decisions. While this probably made the games easier to run overall, it also meant that (especially in regards to BZPGOT S2) certain factions and characters got screwed over pretty badly between seasons.
With this game, I wanted to create a situation where each village had its own strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, and leave players free to their own machinations. Obviously, there are still some subplot elements that people will uncover as the game goes on, but nothing quite as blatant as an entire faction of nigh-unbeatable NPC villains.
So, without further ado, I present:
(Similar to Tex’s BZPGOT, and Trijhak and Voxumo’s BARA MAGNA, this story will take place in a drastically alternate timeline. The game will largely ignore most of the GSR stuff and forced genders, among other things, and focus on the more mystical aspects of the early G1 story. If seeing the early years of Bionicle distorted like this isn’t your cup of tea, back out now.)
THE STORY SO FAR
Long before Bara Magna, and even longer before Okoto, there existed an island mired in mystery and malice, an island where the forces legend and destiny were almost tangible, an island where two great spirits warred for centuries over the hearts and minds of the populace.
The island of Mata Nui.
For millennia, the island had existed in a delicate balance between good and evil, with the benevolent Mata Nui (after whom the island had been named), and the malevolent Makuta, fighting in an endless stalemate over the souls of the Matoran inhabitants. But, as time went by, the people lost faith in their legends, and Makuta was able to cast the weakened Mata Nui into an endless slumber, giving himself the freedom to wreak havoc across the island.
All was not lost, though, as seven prophesised champions, the Toa, rose from obscurity to combat Makuta and reawaken Mata Nui. However, fate played a cruel trick on these heroes. The stories foretelling their destiny had been misconstrued, distorted, and skewed. Under the direction of the Turaga, the Toa ventured into Makuta’s lair beneath the island, and slew him.
They never returned.
Their mission had been to reawaken Mata Nui, and restore balance to the island. By destroying Makuta, they had instead destroyed what little balance remained, bringing about a disaster more catastrophic than anything Makuta alone could’ve managed. The island underwent an immense tectonic upheaval, the Mangai Volcano erupted, and, as a result of Ta-Koro’s attempt to redirect the lava flows away from destroying their own village, the jungles of Le-Wahi burned.
With almost half the island incinerated, Ga-Koro soon came to hold the monopoly on water and food. With only limited land available to grow food and crops, they struck up a partnership with Po-Koro, who worked to maintain farms and fields on Ga-Koro’s behalf. However, ten years ago, Ga-Koro caught wind of rumours that Po-Koro was planning to invade and seize sole control of the food and water trade, and pre-emptively poisoned their next water shipment, slaughtering half of Po-Koro’s population. In the aftermath, the rulers of Ga-Koro made it clear that they would do the same to anyone else who crossed them, and even threatened to burn the fields and poison the water stores if they were invaded… a threat that, if carried out, would likely doom much of the island’s population to starvation.
Now, change is on the wind once more.
The villages have slowly recovered from the ravages of the cataclysm, their defences repaired, their populations growing, but resources remain just as scarce as always. Ko-Koro, having been quiet for years, has begun rapidly militarising, while the people of Onu-Koro have become even more elusive than usual, retreating into their defensive tunnels. Most concerning, Ga-Koro has recently undergone some manner of internal conflict, resulting in all of their leadership being replaced. Only time will tell if these new leaders will continue to threaten and extort the other villages, or seek a more peaceful path.
HOW IT WORKS
Although I imagine that most of you will be somewhat familiar with how these games work by now, I’ll give a quick rundown of the basics nonetheless.
The game will consist of ten rounds, known as Episodes. These episodes will last 3-5 days, depending on how much is happening, and I will announce in this topic when each episode begins or ends. Over the course of each episode, players will use PMs to travel between locations, interact with other players, and a wide variety of other actions, which will be elaborated on further below. When each episode is concluded, the actions that occurred across the various PMs will be combined into a scene and posted in this main topic.
Keep in mind that even if you, the player, knows something from reading the scene, that doesn’t necessarily mean your character will know those same things in-game.
In regards to PMs, there are two kinds: OFFICIAL and BACKDOOR.
An Official PM is any PM that I have been added to. Anything you say or do in these PMs may or may not find its way into the scene, so be careful. Actions and moves made in Official PMs are the only ones that will be acknowledged in episodes, so if you wish to travel, or communicate, or do anything that will actually happen, it needs to be declared in an Official PM. Each player and village will have an Official PM, and others will be established as the game goes on. (So please ensure you have room in your inboxes for multiple PMs).
A Backdoor PM is any PM that I’m not included in. These are the PMs where you can form secret alliances, communicate covertly with other players, or whatever else you wish. Keep in mind, though, that anything you say or do in a Backdoor PM will not be acknowledged as having actually happened. Keep in mind, also, that information gained in a Backdoor PM can’t be used in-game unless your character has another way of learning it.
There are a great many actions you can take over the course of an episode, and very few limitations to what they moves can entail, but here’s a brief overview of some of the more common moves you might choose to make.
- Communication – The simplest and most integral of moves, this is the simple act of talking to another player. Obviously, you need to be in the same PM as the other person for this to work, but aside from that, there aren’t many limitations to this. Remember, only conversations that occur in an Official PM will be included in the episodes.
- Messages – Each Koro also has access to a limited number of small Kewa birds. As scavengers, they’re easier to feed and care for than most other rahi species, and serve well at the task of delivering handwritten messages between villages. Due to their small size, there is a slight risk that they can be intercepted by larger bird species, but they still provide the best way of delivering anonymous messages. (In other words, if you send a message by bird, your name won’t be explicitly mentioned in the scene unless someone sees you, or you include your name in the letter). In addition to this, certain roles also have the authority to send NPCs to deliver messages instead.
- Combat – Depending on how you all choose to “negotiate”, this might happen a lot, or not at all. How it works is fairly straightforward – you describe your action, then the other player/s involved will describe their response, and counteraction. You might choose to ask me to roll for certain stats to better your chances of landing or evading a hit (more on stats later), in which case you’ll need to wait for me to determine the outcome of the dice rolls before proceeding further with the battle.
- Travel – Another straightforward action, this is the simple act of travelling from one location to another. How long this takes will depend on where you’re travelling, who you’re travelling with, and what might happen along the way. As a baseline rule, though, it takes roughly 24 hours IRL to travel from one Wahi to another in sequence (for example, if you went from Onu-Koro to Po-Koro), and 24 to travel further than that (such as travelling from Ga-Koro to Ko-Koro). It’s also possible to travel by boat, which will take roughly the same amount of time, but is generally a little safer overall. Of course, a boat can’t sneak past guards…
- Other – There are plenty of other things you can attempt. If you can think of it, and justify being able to pull it off, it’s probably worth a try.
- Turaga – In a slight divergence from canon, Turaga is simply the name given to the Matoran who’ve been appointed to lead each village. They get the final say in most decisions, and can potentially overrule the commands of other roles. As wise, experienced rulers, they also get slight buffs to their Perception and Intelligence stats.
- Captain – Serving as both Captain of the Guard, and Admiral of the navy in certain cases, this role oversees the protection and defence of their village, and is expected to take charge during combat operations. Should the Turaga be killed or incapacitated, it may fall to the General to lead the Koro in times of crisis. As a combat-oriented position, they get a small buff to Speed and Endurance.
- Diplomat – These guys handle trade, negotiation, etc. with the other tribes. Much of their time is spent travelling across the island, speaking with their counterparts in the other villages. Should something happen to the Turaga, the Diplomat may be forced to take over that role, depending on circumstances. Should a Diplomat be eliminated, or deliberately sever trade, it will take three episodes for the other villages to run out of whatever resource that diplomat was dealing in. As their primary duty revolves around mediation and compromise, they get slight buffs to Intelligence and Luck.
- Scout – A more polite word for spy, their jobs are to gather intel, infiltrate villages, listen in on conversations, and much more, depending on the agendas of themselves or their Turaga. While they hold no official place in the chain of command, they answer only to their Turaga, and have been known to take over as military leaders if the Captain is otherwise indisposed. As a stealth/espionage-focused position, they receive a minor boost to Speed, Perception, and Luck, but also get a small penalty to Endurance.
Please post in the topic which village you would like to be assigned to, then send a PM to me entitled BZPMN: [Your Username]. Include in this PM your stat sheet (see below), your character’s pet (if they have one – see below), a short description of your character if you wish, and their name (if you want them to be called something other than your current username). Once all spots have been filled, I’ll gather everyone into their village PMs, where you can decide on your roles.
These village PMs will also feature some information that isn’t included in this post, including a few Goals (these are suggestions only, and there are no penalties for failing or ignoring them), and a single Secret that may prove to be a decisive factor somewhere down the line.
After roles have been settled, I’ll create a short, introductory prologue episode, and then the game will begin in earnest.
The stats below will help generate more divergence between players during actions and encounters. You have 30 points to distribute between the five categories, although you are limited to a maximum of 10 points for any given stat (the bonuses for different roles are exempt from this limit). Whenever an action occurs that requires a roll, your stat will be combined with a RNG roll out of 10, resulting in a total value out of 20.
Please note, while you may feel that some actions require you to use multiple stats, please refrain from trying to spam all of your stats at once. This inevitably results in such wonderful exchanges as “I roll all of my stats to kill you”, followed by “I roll all of my stats to not die”, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having a stat system in the first place.
- Speed – This category pertains to any actions involving speed, agility, finesse, or quick reactions. Depending on your preferred combat style and choice in weaponry, you may use this or Endurance to decide attack effectiveness and damage. In addition, this value can also be used for stealth-based actions.
- Perception – This particular stat functions somewhat differently from the others, as it functions passively. Any time you enter a new area or situation, I’ll automatically roll for Perception, and detail what you see or discover, based on the result.
- Intelligence – This stat covers anything involving wisdom, charisma, manipulation, strategy, and much more. Basically, it encompasses anything that relates to planning something complicated, or trying to persuade someone of something. This is also the stat you use when trying to aim with ranged weapons, such as knives, bows, spears, or launchers.
- Endurance – This value relates to physical strength and fortitude. Whether you’re trying to overpower or pummel someone, or fight on past the pain of an injury, Endurance is the stat you’ll need. Again, dependant on your choice in weapon and type of attack, you may deign to use Speed for attack rolls instead.
- Luck – Can be used as a saving or aiding throw, to help your chances of accomplishing a complicated or risky manoeuvre, or mitigating the outcome of unfavourable rolls. It may also be used by me, alongside your Perception stat, to determine the likelihood of you finding, or being found by, something while you’re travelling.
While resources are somewhat scarce on post-cataclysm Mata Nui, there are nonetheless some Matoran in positions of power who can afford to own and care for rahi companions, which can provide certain benefits. Players are limited to only one rahi pet, which will share the same stat sheet as their owner, and are just as vulnerable to fatigue and attack. This is a bit of an experimental addition on my part, so we’ll see how it goes.
- Brakas – Annoying, noisy, ape-like rahi, these creatures are extremely dextrous, adept at climbing trees and walls. While not the brightest animals around, they do understand simple commands, and can be instructed to fetch objects and the like. However, they’re not the most stealthy of creatures, and are therefore better suited as distractions.
- Dikapi – Well acclimated to a desert environment, these creatures are known for their strong beaks, and heightened endurance. A Dikapi is capable of carrying two Matoran, or one Matoran and additional equipment, without reducing travel time. A Dikapi can make multiple trips across the island without needing any sustenance or rest, making it an ideal mount for those who plan to do a lot of frequent travelling.
- Ussal – Similar to the Dikapi, Ussal crabs can be used to carry two Matoran, or a single Matoran with extra gear, without impacting the time it takes to travel. As well as this, many of them have been trained to serve as mounts in combat, particularly in the Great Ussalry of Onu-Koro.
- Gukko – Graceful, four-winged birds, these creatures were frequently used as mounts in Le-Koro. The few that survived the inferno have found new homes in the other villages. Riding one reduces the travel time between any location by half, but once the destination is reached, the Gukko will require 24 hours IRL to rest before it can be used in this way again. The Gukko can still fight and travel during this cooldown time, if need be.
- Hapaka – Agile, dog-like rahi, these bipedal creatures are known for their sociable, curious nature, and sharp, barking cry. They understand basic commands, can track scents, and make for amiable companions or guard dogs.
- Kavinika – The bigger, meaner cousin of the Hapaka, these vicious lupine beasts are hard to control, and are useful for little else except as savage attack animals.
- Kahu – Cunning, hawk-like rahi, (for the purposes of this game, think of them as being more like a bird of prey, big enough to ride on your arm or shoulder), these intelligent avians have been trained to follow simple commands, and are even capable of intercepting and grounding their smaller Kewa cousins, without harming them.
A veritable fortress of stone and metal, Ta-Koro is encased in towering fortified walls, and surrounded by a moat of lava, with a retractable drawbridge to prevent enemy access during a siege. They primarily trade in metal and other goods mined from within the volcano. The village’s total population numbers at around 200, with 50 of those serving in the guard, and 50 more divided between Ta-Koro’s five military ships.
Making judicious use of the natural defences at their disposal, Ko-Koro is situated beneath a colossal block of ice that separated two glaciers, and is surrounded on all side by crevasses. The village has only a singular entrance, guarded at all times by a heavy contingent of Sanctum Guards, although there are rumours about a tunnel that leads somewhere out into the Drifts. With a population of skilled rahi hunters, they trade heavily in sophisticated animal traps, as well as various captive rahi and other animal goods. Their population also sits at approximately 200, with 50 serving in the Sanctum guard, and a further 50 divided between their ten navy vessels.
Situated on the vast, open plains of Po-Wahi, this village lacks the imposing natural defences possessed by most of the other villages. The Po-Matoran are skilled carvers and masons, however, and have managed to establish a high stone wall around the village, with the surrounding landscape dotted with statues and monuments that are both visually pleasing, and make for decent cover in a firefight. Their population remains low after the poisoning, with many houses remaining empty, and their total population numbering at only 100. The majority of these work as labour in the farms and fields, with a measly 25 operating as a defensive garrison. With so many empty buildings, and the guards stretched thin protecting the city, and the workers out in the fields, Po-Koro has become a den for criminals and other unsavoury sorts.
Hidden away in a cavern deep underground, Onu-Koro suffered greatly during the cataclysm, with much of their tunnel network being damaged, or destroyed outright. With the subterranean highways connecting them to the rest of the island cut off, Onu-Koro initially struggled to re-establish trade, until they were forced to overcome their sensitivity to light and establish overland trade routes like everyone else. Their exports include minerals and metals mined from beneath the earth, although it’s rumoured that their engineers also have some kind of exclusive trade deal with Ko-Koro. Their population sits at around 150, with 50 of them serving in the Ussalry.
Nestled in the heart of Naho Bay, Ga-Koro is built atop a network of giant lily pads growing up from the seabed, connected by sturdy bridges and walkways, and held aloft by a series of pumps. With access to multiple waterways, the area around Ga-Koro remains extremely fertile compared to the rest of the island, and is home to a prosperous rahi population… including a significant number of tarakavas, which pose as much of a threat to the locals as they do to everyone else. Beyond their trade of food and water, their other goods include fish, rope, and bamboo. They have a sizeable population of 250, 100 of whom serve in the Ga-Koroan Navy.
As each episode occurs, it will be linked here.
So yeah, that's the rough draft of what I've got so far. I've been weighing up whether I should change the stats and bonuses and whatnot, I just didn't want to outright copy the systems used in previous games.
Any suggestions, feedback, etc. on the game concept as a whole would be appreciated.