Friday, December 05, 2008

Hador, Opara, and the "Rule of Cool"



I was on Skype with Ryan Shelton last night and we had a great discussion about Hador and gaming in general. We discussed The Rule of Cool and how it applies to Hador.
Saying that Hador is Pulp in concept and tone allows me a great deal of leeway in what I want to present. Pulp usually takes the form of a short story, and because it often deals with fantastic elements, fans tend to forgive the author if he happens to gloss over scientific inconsistencies or any weakly structured motivations. Thanks to the "rule of cool" we can dismiss the specifics if the premise is cool and leads to more fun during the game. Of course I realise that there is a fine line between cool and just plain silly. SpellJammer, as a concept was cool, giant space hamsters were just silly.
In Hador I'm asking for a lot of suspension of belief in order to create a setting. I'm asking the players and the GM not to delve too deeply in some of the inconsistencies that may arise. And as much as I try to work them out, any setting that mixes cultures from different worlds, tech levels, and time periods is gonna have inconsistencies. My main challenge is to make them either small enough to gloss over or cool enough so it doesn't matter-

The Habeshan warriors have domesticated giant bats that they ride into combat? Cool- I want one!

I have a dominant race of technologically advanced beings known simply as the Ancients. They keep the rest of the races on hador from advancing technologically, basically keeping everyone at pre-gunpowder level (see Priest-kings of GOR).
Now if they are so technologically advanced why not just leave Hador?
I don't know yet. I'm working on it. But I need a way to keep the playing field between the various cultures somewhat level and give the stranded PC's a chance.

By virtue of the setting i have a bit of a mish -mash of races and cultures. Most I added cause I thought it would be cool. some I removed cause they just didn't fit, even though they were cool, but explaining them would have been a stretch even by pulp standards. As desperate as they are, I have many of these cultures interacting, fighting and establishing trade.

Here are some notes on a locale I named "The Valley of the Moon".
I wanted a place with Huge sexy women (Salama Hayek, Linda Carter, Lucy Lawless, etc.)reminiscent of of the movie Abbott and Costello go to Mars Or Fire Maidens from outer space (check out the MST3K version).

Valley of the Moon
Opara is from the race known on Hador as the Ancients. Opara was a member of the ruling council that oversaw the development of Hador. Due to her opposition of the council regarding the creation and “seeding” of the Beast men on Hador, Opara chose self-exile rather than submission to the councils dictates. Opara left the ancients compound with a handful of technicians and followers and established a home in a distant mountain valley named the “Valley of the Moon”. There Opara has continued her research in genetics and the creation of synthetic life forms. Her dream is to find a way to extend the already long lifespan of the ancients to the point where they are virtually immortal. Amongst her experiments are a race of Beast men, stone skinned “rock men” who guard her valley, and a genetically enhanced race of women.

Maidens of the Valley

Opara has created a race of genetically superior human females. They are 6’5” tall, robust, and have twice the strength and endurance of a human male in peak physical condition. Opara decided on creating a race of super women because of the females higher tolerance for pain, greater dexterity and natural protective instincts, she also found the female form much more pleasant to look at than the male. Opara’s Maidens are completely loyal and make the perfect companions and bodyguards. They form the elite of the valleys defense force and are trained in a variety of archaic and technologically advanced weaponry.

The rock men


Another of Opara’s creations are the Rock men. Rock men serve as Oparas army. These being are somewhat larger than the average human male and have a thick mineral skin that is all but impervious to most weapons (swords shatter against it and bullets bounce off). The rock men aren’t very intelligent, but they are loyal and relentless. They will follow a command to the letter.