And here we are, at the end of the primer. Some final thoughts on the setting in no particular order.
- Despite being an atheist I wanted to respect the Judeo-Christian religions as much as possible. Yes, I don’t believe, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk about it in game.
- Each PC was to be special. Whether this specialness was some sort of bloodline, power, or whatever each PC should be special in some way. They could even be special by NOT being special – they do what they do because that’s what they do.
- The theme of family is of ongoing importance. Families connections make the campaign go round and tie things together in a nice neat pattern.
- Skepticism is built into the campaign via my rules from Mask of Humanity. Lots of urban fantasy fiction doesn’t have this sort of mechanic – I wanted one. It was definitely influenced by Werewolf the Apocalypse’s delirium rules. Having a in-system mechanic to keep mundanes mundane and the awakened awakened was extremely important to me.
- Liminal energy (using my rules from Safe as Houses) is a unified way of representing the whole supernatural “Must be invited inside” trope that crops up everywhere in folklore.
- Heaven vs. Hell as a giant seemingly eternal cold war is a favorite trope of mine and it’s baked right into the setting. Angels vie for souls as much as demons do, but for different reasons.
- The idea that sin and the weight of your deeds mattered was another important part of the setting. I’ve been keeping track of major character actions in a separate file and then applying modifiers to encounters against angels, demons, and others who can sense sin.
- Fallen angels as the root cause of vampirism, lycanthropy, and being a succubi was something of an inspired idea from my better half. The idea that their sin was transmittable was too much to pass up.
- Magic being essentially the echoes of creation is another idea that was just too amazing to pass up.
- Ley lines got to play a big role as well since they can offer power to casters who know how to use them.
- The 13 Laws of Magic while not exactly novel were applied (I thought) in a novel way. Having extrinsic magic basically summed up by these laws provides a good constant system.
- The highly codified nature of supernatural powers makes them a bit less mysterious in some ways, but more understable and thus easier to play and adjudicate.
- I went with a Victorian feel to psychic abilities which involved a little deconstruction, but I was happy with how they turned out.
- Monster hunters being kind of the supernatural equivalent of the middle class and thus the most populous was an idea that took me at the very beginning of the campaign’s creation and I’ve tried to keep that front and center as much as possible.
- I included the idea of a supernatural United Nations (i.e., the Conclave) as a) that’s pretty popular in fiction these days and b) as a way to tie everything together in a way. It’s a little over done I’ll admit, but that’s because if done right (and I think I have done it right) it works. My particular version is extremely old dating back thousands of years even though the current iteration is number three or four since it’s reinvented itself. The last time it reinvented itself was during the American Revolution and that was intentional. The ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were heady stuff to members of the Conclave and they wanted to start over without all the corruption the current system was bloated with.
- I also included groups of sorcerers and magic users (Powers great and smol). These groups included Cabals (groups of casters gathered together for a purpose), Houses (groups of magic users under a single powerful family or rarely a couple of families), and Covens (casters gathered together temporarily for a reason). These groups all jockeying for position and power also adds extra depth to the supernatural landscape.
- I provided a way for those with the capability to access it could go from the east coast to the west coast in the blink of an eye. The Autumn Road was this device and I created rules for how to find the right path to get the user where they wanted to go.
- Temporal scope and history were also things that I wanted to keep in the forefront. Having supernatural links to real world events and how real world events mesh with the supernatural history were all important things. This also applied to groups as a whole as well – there is some bad blood between certain groups in the Ceteriverse and linking them together with real world history helped keep things fresh and vital.
Picking Over the Bones
Overall, this is the campaign setting I’m most proud of, that has had the most work put into it, and that feels “alive” in the sense of a working and breathing setting. That’s not an easy thing to do and I think I’ve done it with the Ceteriverse. Multiple teams with multiple fronts of action has helped to shape this into something I can be proud of despite the setting itself being over as decade old. I personally think the fleshed out NPCs are what makes the campaign what it is, but I cannot deny all the ties to history and events having helped shape it as well. As I go into my second season of the current incarnation of The Chronicles of Ceteri I’m hopeful that I can maintain the high standards my places and I are used to. Moreover, I hope I can continue to entertain them and myself as well. And that’s all she wrote, folks.