Just haven't the focus to post that much, but I got like 3 posts in draft and had some of a afternoon to full one out.
So I've been playing a bit of Magic: The Gathering , mainly Area, to try and learn it well enough to explore its Cube Format , a format that addresses a lot of what deters me about Magic.
Won't be getting into that today, instead talking about using one particular element from Magic in D&D.
|(And not the card art , though that is a deep and heady well )|
The Colour Pie . That's the 5 dots thing, or more specifically the assignation of traits ,elements, abilities , themes, mechanics , and psychologies, to the 5 colours of magic.
Actually it's even more specific , its the "allies" and "enemies" concept that came along with it.
This that the two colours directly opposite a colour on the star are its enemies , and the colours clockwise and counterclockwise to it are its allies.
So Red magic has Green and Black magic as allies, and White and Blue magic as enemies.
While White has Red and Black as enemies and Green and Blue as enemies. Hopefully you get the picture. If you don't, there's a considerable amount written elsewhere about it.
Anyway I don't really care about these specific groupings of stuff and how they framed towards each other as I do this particular framework as a default model for putting together factions in D&D.
I think it's fucking neat in that regard because it makes everyone just one degree of separation from their enemies which is the type of "extreme volatile yet currently stable" setup that makes for good d&d potential in your world building.
You wouldn't have to slavishly apply it , but its a nice default to work towards.
Think of a faction, think of two enemies for that faction then think of two allies . Then pick an enemy and an ally to also be allied. The remaining ally and enemy will then be grouped up by default.
|Patron of The Nezumi by Kev Walker|
Here's a example of this be used to array the following fellows:
Picture a swamp , dense with bald cypress, festooned with spanish moss, with a wide slow river winding through it. Somewhere in the green is a haunted stone city, its only remnants the upper stories , the bulk of it swallowed by the mire.
In this swamp is a Dragon , Talking Eels, Frog People , Ruin Shadows and the River Nomads.
The Swamp Dragon is more sly than he is greedy but more lazy than he is sly. If Crocodiles exalted anything other than hungry and sloth, they would exalt this dragon as their rightful king.
The Ruin Shadows are ghosts of little power but reasonable number. The were the most useful servants in life but weren't prized enough to be included into the afterlives of their rulers unlike the musicians and concubines.
The Frog People have migrated from many other swamps. They lost their swamps to the expansions of civilizations and the depredations of monsters. The are an inharmonious blend of a dozen or so different tribes but all agree on that there is no-where else left to go. They have been here long enough for the River Nomads to respect their laws and the Eels to resent their appetites.
The Eels or "The Talking Eels" are Eels that can talk. The Ruin Shadows believe they are descended from the peasants of their city , cursed for their disloyalty. The Eels however consider the sinking of the city a gift from their Eel gods.
The River Nomads could be said to be less "Nomadic" and more that they have a river for a home. Some constantly move up and down the river in small trade, others stay put , and hunt or fish. They all bound by a custom to make no home but a home on water.
As to their relations:
The Swamp Dragon is allied with the Eels. They give him information and gossip while waiting for tasty giblets of meat to fall from his maw as he devours a cow or four.
The dragon was believed to be an agent of their gods and the still make ritual offerings to him so he will keep intruders and looters from their necropolis.
The Frog People are an enemy of the Swamp Dragon, he eats their youngest , oldest and bravest alike.
The River Nomads also plot against the Swamp Dragon, as the toll he demands for passing through the flooded forest is steep.
The Eels trade with the River Nomads too, but have long grievances against the Ruin Shadows and Frog People who both eat them (or have eaten them)
The River Nomads are nomads only because in times passed the ancestors of the Ruin Shadows destroyed their lands and drove them to be ever moving on the rivers and seas of the world.
This shaping event makes ever cautious about the creation of new enemies , and their way of life forces them to treat lightly on the many lands they pass through, so their relationships with the Frog tribes and Eels is careful and considered.