Knights of The Hidden Sun January 2013 Update – Reverence To The Lady In Black

Given Christmas/New Years I didn’t get too much done on KoTHS. That being said there was some progress.

Giving Reverence Where Reverence Is Due

In my November 2012 update I stated I needed to ‘tweak the Knights chapter. The current one is a little disjointed so a cleaning up and clarifying is in order. This will take a moderate amount of work.’ This is no longer the case.

The lion’s share of KoTHS background is written in IC. The first four chapters are nothing but history, news, personal experiences and advertisements from the game world. I found this cut down on dryness and made KoTHS hella fun to write.

The Knights Chapter was written as senior Knights handing down history and tradition to new recruits. I wrote it in a casual tone.

When Malcolm developed it, he changed the tone. The Knights became less casual and more reverent to their cause and Goddess. This irked me on first reading so I made a note to fix it. I reread the chapter again over the holidays and decided to leave it as is, here’s why;

My first rpg character was a 2nd Edition AD&D Cleric named Thohammer Folly. I chose a cleric because I wanted to A) kick ass and B) cast spells. I actually rolled a non-cheating 18 for one of his stats and I put that into Strength rather than Wisdom, because ass-kicking was Thohammer’s top priority, spells taking second place. As for exploring what it meant to be a disciple of Tamora, such a thing wasn’t even on my radar.

In my experience that’s how Clerics are played. They’re ass-kicker, healers and spell-slingers who give lip service to a deity.  The closest to displaying reverence these worshipers get is calling out the name of their God before smiting an Orc or sanctifying an area so pesky undead don’t rise. Some players don’t even pick a deity, they worship Lord Generic of the Coin and Hammer.

You know what? That’s is absolutely fine. My friends and I have had much fun running clerics in this fashion.

That being said, over time I found that I wanted to explore aspects of faith in my rpgs.

  • Why did my character choose his religion?
  • What’s her stance on her church’s dogma?
  • How does this faith manifest?
  • Is his Deity infallible?

So I wrote up  doctrine for each Cleric and occasionally  got into theological arguments with other PCs. Still, despite this, my Clerics never met their deities or even walked into one of their temples. There were no holy quests, no one seeking guidance, no machinations within the faith. The focus of these games were always killing monsters and treasure hunting.

Still fun but I wanted more.

I’d like to clarify this isn’t the material’s fault. I primarily played Forgotten Realms which has a TON of information on in game religions and cultures. I don’t think it was the fault of my DMs either; while I tried to throw in a rich, theological tapestries, I only did so IC and did not run any of these ideas past the people running the games.

Back to Hidden Sun. In Hidden Sun you play a Knight who serves a Goddess; the Lady In Black. The pact you’ve made involves trust as opposed to dogma, you can use her gifts for anything you want but your soul goes to her when you die. Both sides trust each other to do the right thing.

While this relationship is casual the major conflict in Hidden Sun stems from this Goddess acting against her brother, the God of War. Also, I specifically mention that meeting the Goddess is a BIG event that changes a character forever AND the Goddess, this ancient being of wisdom and power, regularly visits her followers throughout their lives.

So OF COURSE the Knights would speak about their faith and cause with reverence. Having contact with one who existed at the creation of the universe is something to be reverent about. Malcolm simply picked up on this and changed the Knights chapter to match.

This doesn’t mean all PCs in Hidden Sun are zealots. The Goddess demands nothing, not even worship, one can even have grown hate her and she’ll still lend her strength. What it does mean is that the GM is encouraged to make her important; to throw at the feet of the PCs Gnostic quests, audiences with higher powers and crises of faith. All the things I had hoped for long ago.

Hence I’m not changing a thing with the Knights Chapter.

That being said if your group just wants to run Hidden Sun as ass-kickers with divine powers, please feel free to do so; it can be most fun.

The Headaches of Star Travel

From an OOC prospective getting from planet A to planet B in Hidden Sun is easy: The GM says ‘It takes x amount of time, now onward to more interesting stuff.’ There’s no botching a navigation roll and having your ship collide with a rogue star. Granted, such things would happen in any Sci Fi/Fantasy universe but, at least as a player, I find such things annoying so didn’t include the possibility in my game.

That being said I needed to describe, in IC, how interstellar travel works. In Hidden Sun space travel is chaotic and hard to describe therefore Malcolm left it as a hurdle to tackle later. I’ve ended up tackling it.

Long story short I added a page and a half on Jump Gate theory and travel time to Chapter Three. I’ve tried to keep it short and descriptive so folks know how gate travel works, what it looks, sounds and feels like and how long it will take to get to the major worlds. I don’t think it drags on but the proof will be in the pudding when you lovely folks buy the book. 🙂

What’s Next?

I’m going to meld my character creation tweeks and further playtesting discoveries in the rules and GM chapters. After this it’s just some minor double-checks, one more read through, and it’s off to the editor.

Wish me luck.

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