Monday, January 01, 1990

The Sea of Mist

[Chapter 2]
(Back to In The Beginning...)
(Forward to The Citadel)

It begins with the sea. Standing on the shore, you find yourself surrounded by the mist. It ebbs and flows before you, washing like waves crashing on some terrestrial shore. Yet it is unlike any ocean that you have ever seen before. There is no roar of the surf, no seagull’s cry. All is silent. All is still. If you are very quiet, you can faintly hear the distant rumble of thunder in the depths of the Sea of Mist. An occasional flash of lightning illuminates the swirling mist, but for just a moment.

It is not always like this. Sometimes furious storms hurl themselves from the Sea to batter the land. Then lightning and thunder rage throughout the sky, and the rain lashes against all who would stand before it. And the wind… The wind screams its rage and bellows its anger as the storm’s blast pummels the land. Then no one is safe. Those on the land take refuge, and the sailor trapped at sea begs for mercy from the uncaring elements.

Yes, sailors. For wherever there is a Sea there will be those that sail it.

Giant mist ships voyage across the surface of the deep. Some bring trade goods to the Citadel from an outlying province. Others carry soldiers to war. And some turn their bow towards the unknown, sailing, sailing, sailing away, seeking adventure. Sometimes, they even return.

Little is known of the Sea of Mist, and questions and rumors abound. It is said that the dragons live beneath the surface of the Sea of Mist, still scheming and plotting to regain the world that they have lost. It is said that other strange creatures roam the Sea, creatures made from cloud. It is said that sailors go mad on their voyages, their minds destroyed by the swirling, swirling, swirling of the mist. It is said that other lands await the conquest, that the world is so much bigger than believed. It is said that the ocean opens its arms wide to welcome sailors to its misty embrace.

So much is said, so much is believed. And yet, in the face of the awesome, stunning reality of it all, the questions halt, the answers cease clamoring, and you are left in stunned amazement, lost in the wonder and the fury.

(Forward to The Citadel)


Blogger hix said...

I've often wondered how you introduce players to all the cool elements of Alyria*. I know there's no 'map', but maybe if you take a huge blank piece of paper and read out some of these descriptions and draw them on ...

I guess it strikes me as better right from the start to have your legends focus on stuff the whole group is into rather than on a particular element the Narrator (or person who's bringing the rules to the group) wants to explore.

* Assuming that they don't want to read through the rules

8/24/2005 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Seth Ben-Ezra said...

My apologies for not getting back to this sooner. Between a newborn and having a sickness roaming the house, I've been somewhat distracted from my writing responsibilities.

Part of my advantage is that my players have generally been familiar with Alyria, since I've designed it around them. When introducing a new player, I generally give a five-minute overview of the setting, emphasizing that we should only pick one or two setting elements to focus on. The sneaky reality is that, each time a group sits down to create a storymap, they are designing a custom setting for their game. Inevitably, the group will be forced to make decisions about items that aren't spelled out in the book and, when they do, they are beginning the process of carving out their own niche in the world. (As an aside, it is precisely these sorts of decisions that I'm interested in seeing reported here at the website.)

Something that I also intend to do is create a series of short overviews for the various setting elements of Alyria. I figure that each one would be a brief description and a collection of bullet-points, taking up no more than a page. This way, prospective players can review these sheets and then turn to the rulebook for detailed descriptions of items that interest them. When I'm finished with these, I'll put them up on the site.

9/08/2005 02:17:00 PM  

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