Posting this myself so that Humva does not double post.
Ever since the collapse of the First Ones, humanity has been scattered and lost over the land of Elorena.
Two thousand years of chaos and warlords reduced a once grand civilization to a motley collection of towns and cities that could scarcely be called civilizations. It would be fittingly known as the Age of Chaos, with the foul creatures that roam taking advantage of humanity's fractured status. Alliances with fellow sapients would be made and broken with every breath of the wind across the land. The Age of Cities would start when Emperor Kámen Meč unified the three cities of the Worlds Crown. During this time, humanity would cease its chaotic scrabblings, formalizing war to an art and sport rather than senseless violence. The land would be tamed, and the fantastic creatures that wandered it, subjugated. Soon, sapients began to live amongst humans, intermingling co-existing in the new nations that sprung up from the ashes of the old age. Half-breeds became common, man learned how to wield the power of the earth and create refined metals, and the art of diplomacy was perfected by the kings of the land.
Nearly six hundred years after the Emperor Mečs unification, the Fountains of Mana were uncovered. Ancient shrines from the Age of Legends, these fountains were filled with mana, a strange magical substance. It was discovered in short order that when exposed to mana for a long period of time, one gained magical abilities, capable of doing wonderous things with a mere thought. It was from this the first Council of Warlocks was formed, wizards from around the land who sought to institute a noble endeavor to grant all the ability to use magic and to bring humanity closer together. The Age of Magic had begun. It would fail with the declaration of war between the Southern Ithu States and the Great Sea Cities. The conflict tore the Council apart and made its vision little more than a pipe dream as humans and their sapient citizens continued to exist as their own, independent, entities. Warfare had changed now, however, with magic being used to destructive effect unheard of before the Age of Magic. It would be two hundred years more until the present day arrived. The nations have more or less become stable, but now, the rulers of the land look towards the future. No empire has ever stretched the whole of Elorena, but for the first time, an opportunistic ruler could very well achieve it. The emperors of the past would be shamed by the abilities now possessed by humanity. Someone will rule the land; the only question is who.
Fountains of Mana Hosted by Alex Humva Co-hosted by Silvan Haven
The Game Itself
This is Fountains of Magic, a low-fantasy RTS RPG that involves players taking the role of guiding their civilization through diplomacy, military action, and cultural struggles. Rather than role play an individual, you have the daunting task of role-playing a nation. Its surprisingly easy skill to get the hang of though, so don't worry. Something of note is that, due to the size of this sort of game, the opening post simply cannot hold every wonder and curiosity. As such, in the accompanying discussion topic, there will be an FAQ post that will allow you to browse through questions that have been brought up.
The World We Live In
The world this RPG takes place in is some unspecified Earth-like planet; our slice of the action takes place in a small subcontinent area. The climate varies somewhat, with the southern-most parts experiencing more moderate temperatures and the northern-most bits experiencing harsh winters. As such the environment is more or less a consistent gradient, with a few isolated areas experiencing different weather patterns. Geography can be explained by this handy map:
[Territories controlled]-[World Regions]-[Region Glossary]
The civilizations of this world are approximately in the early first century AD, for a parallel to our own world. Bronze and iron are the mainstays of the day, with steel in its infancy but still not quite perfected by civilizations at large. Travel is as you'd expect, horses and feet making up your primarily means, allowing you to travel the world at 5 MPH. Farming does still take up a large portion of the population, with only around 20% of the population engaged in other activities. Please keep this in mind when doing your day-to-day affairs. Fantastic creatures are an occurrence in this world, but not to the degree you see in something like high fantasy. Some creatures, like dragons and treemen, still roam this world free of human interference, often secluded away from civilization in remote places. Almost all others have been incorporated into the expansive human civilizations. Sometimes these are half-breeds, combinations of humans and other races, but often they are simply another species all-together, coexisting with the human majority. As it stands there is no nation with a non-human majority, but there do exist nations with significant non-human presences. As a player you are welcome to create your own race(s) to have exist within your nation. The mechanics of running a whole nation can be daunting, and indeed, if everyone had to manage every mundane task wed be here all day figuring things out. As such, there are a few systems in place to help players and GMs alike keep things straight. A core feature is the Economic Point (EP) system: this is how you handle things like buying armies, settling new lands, building important buildings, and maintaining your wizardry stocks. Your civilization produces a set amount of EPs based on the land(s) you currently control AND what you have done with that land. This system is cumulative, as in your EPs can build up over time to allow for larger purchases. You produce EP once every quarter year, or every 14 days in real life. You can then spend your EP on whatever you will. For you more visual learners, look at it this way:
- You begin on day 1. You have 10 EP.
- You build a dam for five EP. You now have 5 EP.
- You hit day 14. You gain 20 EP. You now have 25 EP.
- You build two dams. You now have 15 EP.
This can then be made more complex by maintenance; that is, some things cost money over time, and deducts EP out of your budget immediately. Take this example:
- You begin on day 1. You have 10 EP.
- You commission a hundred man army. This costs you 1 EP per pay cycle. You now have 9 EP.
- You hit day 14. You gain 20 EP. You deduct 1 EP for your army. You now have 28 EP.
Simple enough, right? How you manage your finances is often a significant factor of play, and will require you to make decisions on what to buy and, potentially, what to conquer to pay for your expanding army. But one might ask "ok Humva, so I produce EP based on the land I own, but how do I make more cash?" It's a good question; you have the ability to make economic improvements by submitting your improvement to a GM. Tell them what exactly you want to improve and how, and they will give you an initial price and what EP increase that will net you. Keep in mind, however, that some improvements are better than others in some places. If you live in the mountains, increasing your farming production will have a far lesser gain than, say, building more mines. Take this hypothetical example: you live in the Mythic Mountains, and your province makes 20 EP/cycle. You decide to make three economic improvements, effecting farming, lumberjacking, and mining. You devote 5 EP each to improving these. The farming increases your EP/cycle by 1 EP, the lumberjacking by 4 EP, and the mining by 8 EP. As you can see, lumberjacking and mining are the ways to go for proper economic improvement in that region. Provinces Themselves First of all, an important distinction must be made; regions are areas on the map that detail specific climate areas and facilitate the placement of nations. Provinces are nation based, though still decided by the GM. A province is an area that produces EP, and where improvements can be made. Everyone starts off with one province, their Capital Province, which produces their starting EP. As your nation grows the GMs will decide when to do redistricting and create a new province. This will be reflected in a specialized province map. The tl;dr of this all is that a province is a chunk of land that produces EP/cycle and the GMs draw the borders for them. Take this example scaled down and entirely hypothetical province map:
Province 1 makes 10 EP/cycle, province 2 makes 5 EP/cycle, province 3 5 EP/cycle and so forth. If you were to build mines in province 1 and make it produce 15 EP/cycle, then province 1 would be the only one that benefits from the mines. As stated before, everyone starts with one province, their Capital Province. This will produce a base 30 EP/cycle when you join the game, subject to change as the game progresses.
War is inevitable in these sorts of games, and indeed, is a crucial part to expanding as a player. The backbone of any war is the army; for the sake of balance, theres some standardization to army costs and upkeep. A company of men, consisting of a thousand soldiers, costs a flat 1 EP to produce and 4 EP to upkeep. They take 14 real days to train. This is, however, a company of professional soldiers, equipped with some form of good armor and weaponry. You can choose to, instead of professional soldiers, rally together a levy force. These levies are the common folk, armed minimalistically and trained little. They cost 1 EP for three thousand soldiers and cost 1 EP to upkeep. They take two real days to train. You are able to, of course, upgrade the equipment that your army uses via commissioning projects, something talked about later. Maybe you produce some more swords, maybe you make a never-ending supply of bread with magic, its really up to you. Alas, for soldiers that deviate from the standard foot soldier, you will have to request the pricing specifics for that particular soldier type. Do this by talking to your local GM. In addition, units will keep their veteran status; for instance, if you rally levies up and then disband them after the war to return to their farms, you have the option of specifically calling those levies up again in the future. They will benefit from the experience and be better than stock levies. Now, knowing how to buy your troops is all well and good, but how do you actually fight with them? This is a contentious area in RTS RPGs, and one that often produces the harshest of feelings. Often fights will devolve into "my guys shot your guys! no, mine did!" As such, its requested that civility is exercised, and to keep in mind that at the end of the day its just a game. How a typical battle should go down is player A initiating the attack, player B responding to the tactics presented, and then this will go back and forth until a victor is decided. A GM will be there to give a causality report. If the battle cannot be decided in a reasonable span of time, a GM will declare a victor in it. Above all else, use common sense when battling. The tl;dr of this section:
- Professional soldiers (1,000) cost 4 EP to train and 1 EP/cycle to upkeep. They are trained soldiers who remain soldiers.
- Farmers-made-soldiers (3,000) cost 1 EP to train and 1 EP/cycle to upkeep. They are farmers with swords.
- Units keep their veteran status.
- Battles should be conducted with some form of civility and common sense.
This game has magic, as evidenced in the opening post. You might ask, how do I get my wizard army? Well, in order to do this you must control a Fountain of Mana; all players automatically start with one, but random ones are scattered around the map as well. You post something along the lines of I sent a guy to become a wizard, and then you wait. It will take seven real life days to create one wizard; its a very long process in-universe. Alas, you can only one one guy bathe in the fountain at a time, so you cant just pop out an army at once. Obviously, if you control two fountains then, you could make two wizards at a time. This creates some strategic drive to hold fountains. But how does your wizard work once you actually have him? Well, magic can be placed into three categories; you decide which your wizard will be and bamft, hes that type. This is a one time deal however, you cant change it once you have your wizard made.
- Creation: These wizards are creators of life , who make creatures to do their bidding. This exists in two types;
- Golems: Creations made from the materials of the world itself, these are crude but cheap things, raw material held together by a creator's willpower and granted minimal intellect. They are weak, requiring minimal effort to shatter their magic and reduce them to a pile of garbage. They are also capable only of following simple orders, and must have a commander, magical or not, to guide them. They are, however, capable of being made out of literally anything, and can be mass produced by a creator/many creators.
- Creatures: Creations made from a combination of raw material and a base, living, animal. These do not rely on any magical force to keep them together, but exhibit the needs for food, water, and other amenities possessed by all living things. The only limit to the monstrosities that can be made are the amount of creators involved, the materials used, and the time creating it.
- Battlecraft: These wizards are battlemages, specializing in the art of battle. They manipulate earth and fire to devastating effect, pummeling their foes with rocks, setting things alight, or in more complex methods, raining down fiery meteors from the heavens or causing the ground itself to eat advancing troops.
- Alchemy: By far the most diverse field of magic, these wizards are alchemists, specializing in the making of special potions to imbue effects to living things and enchantments to imbue effects to inanimate things. To define what potions and enchantments can and can't do, potions are effectively magical chemicals, causing reactions and various effects you'd expect from an understanding of chemistry. Enchantments can be placed on inanimate objects and enhance their pre-existing traits.
Wizards will likely form one of the core features of a players production base; creators can create quick armies and elite units, battlemages are obviously useful in battle, though their skills can also be used in the construction of fortresses, and alchemists obviously can do a wide range of things, from enchanting weapons to never dull to making potions that allow your soldiers not to sleep. How doing these things will work is you will fill a little form out specifying what you want to do with your wizards and send it to the GM, who will ship you back a time to produce and a cost associated, if there is one. After all, you cant create your golem armies instantly. Managing Your Civilization Now, we've discussed EP, but so far we've only touched on the warfare aspects of using it. You can also use it for civic improvements, and indeed, is likely what you'll be doing a large amount of the time. Civic improvements consume EP to do all manner of things, from investing in better farms to building entirely new settlements to reinforcing your walls, so forth and so forth. This is done primarily on a case to case basis; you say "hrm, I think Ill build more farms," and send the GM the specifics of how many more farms you want to build and where. The GM then gives you the necessary information and bamft youre chugging along. Some improvements will also help your EP, costing initial EP to build but then producing extra EP as you go along. This is pretty handy for when you need to expand your economy without going on a conquering spree. You can also do things like build more smitheries, to help with weapon production and such things. Settling is a bit special: when you commission a new settlement, you need to tell the GM were specifically its going be. Depending on how far it is, you'll get a time to completion on that. You can issue only one charter of settlement at a time, however, and you must keep in mind that new towns provide no initial EP bonus, nor do they follow any sort of set formula to making EP. Often, towns are used to claim areas of the map, or to provide a place to station soldiers to guard a vital resource.
Rules of the Game That You Should Follow
1-Remember that you're still on BZP.
2-Common sense. This cannot be stressed enough in a game like this, common sense is perhaps the most important rule of them all. Just think about things before doing them, ok? It creates a lot less problems that way.
3-Do not metagame. This is where you allow things outside of the game to influence your actions inside of the game. It can be innocent enough at first but very quickly ruins the game. Do not do it.
4-Going god mode, wiping out whole armies at once, not approved of unless you have the means. Being crafty, setting up an ambush, and crushing the enemy is all well and good. Sending three hundred men against three hundred men and saying you came out unscathed while they all died is rather terrible, though.
5-The GMs ruling on something is final. Continuing to pester them about it results in a slap. If you think you've been wronged, you can take it up with the other GM and things will get resolved via private decorum.
6-Speaking of decorum, be nice. Yes, these sorts of games often require a significant time investment and yes, losing horribly never feels nice, but it is at the end of the day a game. Its not healthy to get too stressed out about things.
7-Funsies apply, so go do cool stuff.
Various Bits of Paperwork
You'll find all the forms you need here for getting things done. Fill them out as required, shouldn't be too confusing.
Profile Submission Form
Nations Name: [Whats your nation known as?]Nations Characteristics: [What are some characteristics of your nation?]
Nations Society: [Hows your society?]
Nations Perk: [Heres where you put your chosen national perks, which can be found here.]
Nations History: [What have your guys been up to?]
Nation's Starting Units: [Ok, so you get to start with some pre-existing military stuff. You have 60 EP to spend here, anything you don't spend will start in your EP bank when the game begins. Keep in mind that you only start with 30 EP production in your capital province, so be careful as to not go over budget. Remember that you can have projects and specialized soldiers in here. In addition, you can start with some wizards, who cost 5 EP each to start with but have no upkeep costs.]
Spell Submission Form
Spell Description: [Yeah really I just need a basic description of whats going on]
Spell Cost & Time: [Ill fill this one out]
Project Submission Form
Project Description: [Whatcha be building]
Project Cost & Time: [Ill fill this one out]
Specialized soldier Submission Form
Number of Soldiers: [How many troops are in one unit?]
Soldier Description: [What sets these guys apart from your levies?]
Unit Cost: [I'll fill this one out]