View Full Version : PBEM Ideas wanted

graham anderson
04-08-2011, 09:46 AM
I liked the idea in Frontier of Steel to use colonies on a group of islands to get away from some of the problems often encountered in PBEM's.

I think some of the ideas are worth looking at with the aim of maybe running PBEM down the line.

Why would people be trying to colonise these islands from Cerilia?

There could be benefits for each human group trying to colonise the area. What sort of benefits would Rjurik get for example? A bonus season at the start of the game and or first choice of colony site might be an example due to using longships.

There could be types of colony. Sponsored and free men for example. There could be benefits and drawbacks to each option. Sponsored could get a bonus in gold but what would the drawback be. Maybe limited trade would be an idea.

Each player could begin with a gold amount to buy ships, colonists, equipment, etc.

If someone wanted horses they would have to import a horse resource.

What sort of locals and environments should there be? Goblins, sidhe or something new?

Maybe it was colonised at the height of the anuirian empire but the old colonies are mysterious ruins.

I would like to see what sort of ideas the community comes up with.

04-08-2011, 11:35 AM
Why would people want to colonize islands?

One of the Anuirean lords may be looking to expand their reach that they might not be able to achieve in Anuire proper.

Erik Danig or one of the other Brecht kingdoms might be looking for a shorter trade route to the east. They send out an expedition and find a group of islands rich in resources (gold, silver, copper, exotic woods or animals, etc...) that are more plentiful or may not exist in the Great Bay.

A Rjurik raider may find the islands ideal for executing raids on neighboring continents or another Rjurik noblemen, might just be looking for a new place to call home away from monsters and the Anuireans/White Witch/Elves, etc... But they might find something else that can be of great benefit or worse than their darkest nightmares.

Climate depends on which Island group you're thinking about. The same thing for what might be there.

In our campaign, we took the "expanded" world maps for Aebrynis created by another contributor, and began populating the large island chain of the western coast of Cerilia. We had on two of the smaller islands of the chain as home to a mix of Pirate Lords who would use the islands as a staging ground to waylay merchant ships that were trading with Lurech. The same pirate lords also engaged in slavery, taking the indigenous people of the islands and either using them on their own estates or selling them off to far lands on Aduria and Cerilia.

One one of the other islands, that are uninhabited, a cold water variant of the Kua Toa exist and use the beaches as hatcheries.

On the northern most large island we have a bronze age kingdom. They are very extremely xenophobic.

On the island closest to Cerilia,we've placed a Rjurik settlement.

The islands are rich in timber, furs, and ideal for hunting game. The waters off the islands are abundant in sea life and peoples of the sea.

Maybe it's the home of the Pegasus (see Blood Enemies).

We always look to history to try to find interesting ideas...truth is often stranger than fiction.

04-08-2011, 06:24 PM
One could consider a civilization-like game.

Make an area mostly unpopulated, some small NPC realms, some rivers, mountains lakes etc.
Players got a province each at start. Expand, rule up your provinces, migrate population to get settlers. Some wandering awhnsheglien who starts realms aswell, some areas are infested with goblin orog or troll tribes and so on. Could be interesting. Could build the size and amount of players according to your preferences.

Build points for the domains would still be used, but used to buy lieutenants, store of gold, bloodline/power and boost your start province only.

04-09-2011, 04:22 PM
Islands could be handy 'stepping stones' - a source of fresh water and foodstuffs for seafarers - or simply a good bay and wood in which to make repairs. I'd expect the Brecht to have any number of small islands for use as outcrops along the north coast for ships that can't get home before the winter ice closes in or which are damaged in battles or by reefs, etc.

In terms of natural resources to harvest you have wood, fish, perhaps bird/bat colonies - which could lead to mountains of guano for use as fertiliser. I wouldn't expect much mining except on the largest islands, but if the island is volcanic who knows what rare riches well up from the volcano every once in a while? You could have local wildlife but I'd expect it to be hunted out fairly quickly if the island is small but often visited/settled.

In terms of mystical stuff, old monastic orders/etc who wanted to get away from civilisation could have settled the area and over time passed on leaving handy ruins, or perhaps a mythal-like area where some lingering magic could provide surprising benefits. Or of course the monks/etc could settle to found such a site away from casual visitors from corrupting civilisation.

Living space is another obvious possibility, the island is naturally defended from any large land predator, and likely to small to have any of its own naturally. Sea predators are a threat to fishermen but not to other settlers. Pirates/slavers may be a risk but no more than elsewhere on the coast so a moderate island may be seen as a nice safe home for settlers.

Pride is another reason for settlement, big fish in the little pond syndrome could lead a minor noble to 'found their own kingdom' well away from a lord who could dominate them.

04-09-2011, 04:30 PM
In terms of encouraging settlement, there is always freeing slaves from pirates - they may prefer to settle with the PC's rather than make their way home alone. Alternatively the PC's could decide the way to free a village from oppressive taxation is to encourage the villagers to emigrate rather than try to defeat the taxing lord.

As a starting option the PC might buy a friendship with a slaver so that unsold or worthless 'stock; find its way to them while slavers avoid the PC isle. Or the PC might have a letter of marque allowing them to raid some shipping, claim rewards for slain pirates/sell captured ships/right to seize and enslave pirates.

Starting points could also buy unusual resources for islands, a fleet of ships, rights over a trading route, knowledge of settlers who will settle once land is clear - or friendship/vassal to a lord who can encourage emigration.

04-09-2011, 04:33 PM
In terms of what might be there, one advantage of islands is that they are small - groups and monsters which would not survive in the big bad world of giants and dragons and the like can survive and prosper in their little home until the cruel world encroaches on their domain.

That makes them great starting places for low level PC's who can have a fighting chance of clearing land and keeping it safe without risking running into the dire bear, hydra, etc that would end their adventuring career early.

It also makes them great for remnants of civilisations past, exiled lords, and other people who can be conquered without a wider impact allowing the PC realm to grow fairly quickly.

07-01-2011, 01:34 PM
I ran a game like that once, and the "natives" on the "new world continent"(I know, you said islands...) were dragon-worshipping kobolds. Some were good (Bahumut) and some were evil (Tiamat), and one of my players lost his paladinhood for making the wrong assumptions.

Ships would come in every now and then, and colony owners would buy and sell goods to the ships, sometimes settlers came over. I used Sid Meier's colonization PC game for some of my economic schema ideas, specifically, guilds produced trade goods that could be sold to the ships (un-abstracting the "trade route" holding a bit). So a level 2 guild in a tobacco province produced 2 units of tobacco and 0GB. Selling the tobacco, that was an adventure :)

07-05-2011, 07:04 PM
Another reason to found the colony is wizard's situation in anuirean mainland. Most sources are controlled and guarded, there's not much areas for even level 2 source. But if he can find unpopulated island to build his stronghold... dreams, sweet dreams. :) And if there are some unsettled areas nearby, to provide wealth to pay his troops - it will be even better.
Fisherfolk have their own interests - if they cleared known areas for fishing/ whale hunting, their boats must travel further into the sea, and newfound isles can be ideal new base for them.