Back in the Office Chair Again

The fellow’s name is Ed Anderson. I know him through Facebook, but he doesn’t appear to have a web site of his own. Ed is the guy who has encouraged me to get back to work on the Dangerous Journeys SRD. At the moment I’m making progress on the Persona chapter, having gotten up to the start of the section on determining statistics. There is tons more to do, and it will get done. If you feel like helping you can make a donation using the button just below.

Donate

Please?

They would help with my getting an iMac, which is designed for artistic types like me. Expect the Persona chapter to get posted here soon.

My Thinking

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series On DJ

But first please note that what follows is how I see things, you don’t have to agree with me.

Dangerous Journeys

Preface

This is a set of mechanics. Not for a game but for a guide. For I don’t see these as games, but as guides. Guides to adventure so I call them adventure guides. I know, so I’ll explain what I’m talking about as best as I can.

Here a guide is a set of written instructions on how to do a thing. In this case on how to present and run an adventure for a group of players. They and the Guide, the person running the adventure, are known as “participants”, and each has a role to play in the adventure. In the case of the Guide very often a number of roles. The AG (Adventure Guide) also presents a setting where the adventure takes place, and most often that setting is placed in a world where people live and events occur.

In a sense an AG presents a fictional version of the world we know. So you could call it a “virtual reality”. While what happens during an adventure isn’t really happening, you can pretend that they are, and since they are, sort of, you can treat what is going on as actually occurring within the context of the adventure. In a sense what you have here is a sort of imaginary life and not a story in any sense.

For unlike a story in an adventure guide events are not set down. In fact they haven’t even been done yet and won’t be done until they get done. And what happens depends on what the participants decide to do, how they decide to do it, and chance. Nothing is guaranteed, success or failure.

This is how I see things, we’ll get into further detail as this work continues.

Forward

I first encountered Dangerous Journeys in 1992. After delaying after too damn long I’ve decided to at least make the basic mechanics available to a general audience, in case there are those out there who would want to use them in one of their adventure guides. This is not presented as a game in any sense of the word, for DJ (as I like to call it) is just to damn busy to be any sort of game. As I understand the term, a game is really supposed to be something simple and straightforward, presenting a limited milieu where the options are limited, the playing pieces are limited, and events don’t take long to play out.

This is the core system reference document for adventure guides. As such it is rather basic and each guide that uses it while most often present an expanded version of the mechanics. As an example the Abyss AG presents a far future world where Humanity is poised on the brink of interstellar space and the intention is to present a space opera for the players to take part in. In contrast Unhallowed gives you a guide to horror adventures, in a world where ancient maladies are rising from whatever they were forced down into way back in the day. While both have magick, and both use the basic magick mechanics, how they work specifically differs between them, and how their worlds treat the subject differs as well.

Now to get into some detail.

Introduction

Dangerous Journeys is a set of mechanics for what I call adventure guides. I call them adventure guides because that Is how I see them. They are guides to adventure where one person, called the Guide, guides a group of players through adventures set in a world where adventures tend to take place.

The DJ system was designed to mode, emulate that is, the worlds of story where adventures take place. Only instead of you telling a story set in that world, you are having an adventure while playing the role of a person living in that world. Whether it is the Urth of Changeling or the Ærth of Mythus it is his home, and how he fares in his life and adventures is up to the person playing him.

His success is not guaranteed. Neither is his failure, and it is quite likely that what happens as a result of his actions will surprise him and his fellows. An enemy may become a friend. A friend may become as enemy. A traitor may become the savior of his people, while a hero can be later named a traitor.

Those who participate in a DJ AG assume a role in an adventure. The Guide presenting the adventure to the player very often plays a number of roles. How player or Guide participates is up to him, though I do hope they at least participate willingly and with some flair.

As I’ve noted before the worlds of Dangerous Journeys are meant to model the worlds of adventure stories, from the tales of culture heroes of the past to modern day entertainment. Only here what happens to the participants depends on what they decide to do, and on how the fates turn out for them.

The Players

For the players their role is to participate. To take part. To use what skills, knowledge, and abilities they have, whatever they have, in support of the others in the party. It may not be much, it may not even be entirely relevant, but at least do something for you never know just how you might influence events.

The Guide

The role of the guide is to participate, to take part as much as the players do. In addition, he needs to present the world the players are adventuring in.

But one thing he should never do is make any attempt to present any sort of balance. For reality is quite unfair and how one fares depends a great deal on how he handles the unfairness. All participants are encouraged to take advantage of their advantages, and to use those advantages to take advantage of the others. For an adventure guide is not a level playing field and how one fares depends a great deal on what advantages he has and how he uses them.

In Summation

Dangerous Journeys as a system reference document presents the basic system for use in adventure guides. It presents a model of reality, or of how things could work if they could work. The mechanics presented here are not entirely realistic, nor can they be realistic for very often what is possible in a DJ AG is not possible in reality. What you do, what happens in a guide such as Changeling depends on you, what you decide to do, and fortune. You may succeed, you may fail. You may be named a fool or named a hero. It all depends on what you do, on how it turns out. And on how others react to it. Load your pack, strap on the tool belt, and get ready for whatever happens. Adventure awaits, but before you start first make sure you’ve visited the facilities.

Definition

Adventure: A series of uncomfortable events happening to some poor schmuck a long ways away.

Alan Kellogg, March 28th 2019

A Consequence

Speaking of the Mythus Cosmology, it has occurred to me that one could look at the traditional 2d representation as being of the vertical, with a second schema showing the horizontal. And just to be different, instead of using the old 360° rose, I’ll be using the 400° rose from Star Fleet and the US Navy.

In addition, the horizontal plane will use the Egyptian compass, where North was going up the Nile, and South down it. Which means that when you’re facing North, West will be to your right and East to your left. 

Now with a Cosmos like Ærth’s you can do something you can’t with ours. In short, cheat. Because we can’t see our universe from the outside we can’t really tell where we are. With Ærth’s we can, and we can decide which is the vertical plane and which the horizontal. For my purposes I’m going to say that the location of Ærth’s galaxy is 394° vertically by 62° north by 376°. That should give you a picture of what it looks like.

I think that makes sense.

Mythus Cosmology

Introduction

Gary based the cosmology for Mythus in large part on his old DnD cosmology. Which in large part he got from a proposal from Stephen R. Marsh. Now Gary did present his cosmology in a 2 dimensional form, but it has occured to me that in that existence is 3 dimensional, then the cosmology would be 3d as well. In addition, that the various planes would not necessarily be separated as represented in the illustration. So I’m now going to give you may version of affairs.

But First

In my scheme of things the reality we know of as the worlds of Dangerous Journeys covering modules such as Mythus and Changeling, plus whatever else is out there, is three dimensional. Or it can be described as having two axis, the vertical and the horizontal. The core is a sphere, with the outer planes constituting a shell.

The Core

At the heart of this cosmology is what we call the Prime Material. In all honesty, the Physical is but part of it, but it is the part most readily apparent to us. In total there are the Mental (Astral), Physical (Material), and Spiritual (Ætherial) planes. Each corresponds to an aspect of life. In addition there are the planes of Ærth, Air, Fire, and Water, but in worlds such as Changeling and Abyss these are understood to be more in the nature of natures than in actual things. To a Changeling Scholar or Abyss Scientist the terms used are Solid, Gaseous, Plasma, and Liquid respectively, and even on Ærth that is how they are seen as well.

The Outer Shell

Here is where it gets a bit more complicated. The outer planes are more abstract, more conceptual than is the core. By and large those below tend to be unpleasant places indeed, while those above seem rather nice. But keep in mind that in as much as good and evil are not seen as things, you can still find higher powers doing ill, while lower powers can be charitable.

The Positive and the Negative are found here, as are the Celestial and the Abyssal. Indeed, while connected to the Mental or the Spiritual the Astral and Ætherial planes extend here as well. (It’s also said that the Physical has it’s presence here, but most consider that wild speculation.)

Connections

Still doors and gates between the planes are known, and used more often then one might think. The Blessed and the Accursed are known to hold conferences on empty alternatives to Earth, with powers and potencies going slumming in cities such as Ys and New York. Though even the Accursed have banned visiting certain Ys locations, just too dangerous.

Finally

It must be noted that the worlds of Dangerous Journeys are not our worlds no matter what Mr. Grumbolt may have told you.For the DJ reality has one property our reality can’t. Namely that Magick can exist there, for the nature of spacetime is such as to allow the disturbance in spacetime that can be manipulated by those with the talent. But that’s a subject for later.

If you feel like doing a 3d model of the DJ Cosmology and adding to what I wrote here, go right ahead.

A Variant

Source: What Do I Know?: Radioactive Square Pegs in Round Holes–D&D, Inspiration, and Context (Alignment)

It’s not just D&D, other guides have it as well, or something like it.Though with but few exceptions they aren’t as strict,

One exception I can think of is in the Dangerous Journeys System. But there they are known as Ethoi, and evil and good as things are not included. At least not on a formal basis.

The conflict here is between order and disorder (control and liberty if you like), with two of the Ethoi being of the nature of top down while the other two are more bottom up.

Then there is the Ethos of Balance, which is the closest of the 5 to a DnD alignment. Here the goal is to ensure that things are balanced, and that there is no need to “redress” an imbalance. Prevention instead of reaction.

In addition, no Ethos is required of a Persona, except under certain conditions. Essentially, it is only those who qualify for and take the Vocation of Priest who must take an Ethos, and follow it religiously.

Though the Vocations of Witch, Witchcraefter, and Sorcerer do have to agree to a pact to promote evil, though that’s not quite the same as an Ethos.

In any case, the prospective Priest must then align himself with a god or goddess of the same Ethos and uphold that deity’s teachings. In return the cleric is restricted to what the god allows, but he does get benefits.

The Ethoi of Sunlight and Gloomy Darkness are both dedicated to order. To Law if you want to think of it that way. And while one (Sunlight) is a hopeful Ethos with Gloomy Darkness a despairing one, both do tend to see the common man as something needing direction and control.

In contrast the Ethoi of Shadowy Darkness and Moonlight see freedom of action as being desirable, though Shadowy Darkness does tend to take a pessimistic view of people.

Though one should note that a Persona is not expected to take an Ethos, or to follow it unfailingly should he do so. Unless a Priest, and Priests do need to be highly dedicated to the Vocation to have any real impact on the society they live in.

Of course when you read up on how Gary handled the matter in Mythus you’ll note that he took a rather simple, strict interpretation of matters. Were we talking of “real life” we would have to note that kindness can come from cruelty, and cruelty from kindness. But to the young (say college age) such subtlety can make their hair hurt.

So in DJ how Gygax handled ethics (and morality to a small extent) does differ from how he handled alignment in DnD. In this sense Mythus is more realistic than his earlier work, and thus more open.

And before I go, I have more posts to read up on at What do I Know?

I Got Inspired

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series On RPGs

This inspired this.:

Hiram is a middle aged gnome merchant from Falcondonia. A member of the Alfstein gnomes, his home is in Gettysburg and he mostly does business in Cherokia or over seas in Lyonessse.

He is currently 76, is married to a wife 5 years his senior. They have 3 children, of whom the oldest is married and has given Hiram two grandchildren. Hiram is said to be part troll in that he heals fast from injury even at his age. He does have angina.

He is known for his honesty in his dealings, and even the Seneca listen to what he has to say. An old notebook he once wrote in is often consulted as a source of wisdom by the Inca of Amazonia. How he got it is the subject of a story/

All the above is the result of my knowledge of the world in question and the system in question.Armed with that knowledge and a hint from a random die roll you can come up with most any background. What have you done?

Looking Ahead

On Monday my room gets cleaned up. I’ll also be providing blood for testing at my clinic, after which I’ll be going to the park to read while Roxane (my maid) tidies up the place. BTW, insurance is paying for her, which means you are paying part of it.

I’ve also start work again on the DJ SRD. Not much done as of yet, but thanks to a plugin I can do it on this platform.

And speaking of the SRD, I have a question. At present I’m thinking that should you either fail or succeed you would then roll a d10 to see if you got the maximum result or the minimum. One a “0” you would get the maximum, on a “1” a minimum. So a low roll would mean success, but the “1” on the follow up roll would mean you just barely succeeded. While a high roll would mean failure, and a follow up roll of “0” would mean a spectacular failure. How you handle this is entirely up to you.

That’s it for this post.

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