We have written some info about how to start and run an RPG for a New Horizon setting. We want to create a Starter Guide for it later.
Please, let us know if this info is enough to do the job or if we have forgotten something to make it easy for GMs to start and run a game...
How do you prepare a game for the New Horizon setting?
When you are preparing for a game of New Horizon, first and foremost you need players and a GM. If you do not have these, then go out and kidnap some if you have to. At this point, the players can sit back for a moment and let the GM do the work. If you are the GM of the group you are responsible for deciding the overarching story of the game. This story can be anything that want it to be, and is only limited by your imagination. We all know how hard it is sometimes to come up with an idea for a game, so here are a few pointers.
If you have no idea what story you want, you may get some ideas by checking out the different areas around New Horizon where players may find themselves. Assuming you are familiar with the Campaign Setting Guide, you can chose any place you like. If you aren't familiar with this guide, we will give you a few examples. More information can be found on our site.
Selecting a location
Are you interested in exploring the mountains and caves of the Azuremar Mountain Range, or do you have a soft spot for western styled action? Then you should start your adventure in the Walk of Man, a collection of cities such as the capital city of Trapper Town, Crane Hill, City of Cork, Bleeding Hill or perhaps Red Feather's Rest. Each has a western style with their own unique locations.
If you want to explore the ice cold regions of the north, to feel the harsh bite of the freezing northern wind, and discover the mysteries hidden away in caves, forests and the ice cold tundra, then you can start your adventure in Aquilon's Reach. There is the capital city of Aquilon, buried deep within the ice of the perpetua glacier, the surface city of Glacier Run City, Beloreas Port or any of the Five Towns of Rime Cairn. These cities vary from ultramodern affairs, to places with what seems a blending between Norse and Inuit cultures. All are united by the trials of the frozen land.
If you yearn for jungle adventure, wanting to explore the deepest jungles of the world, finding unknown and perhaps alien ruins, or discovering hidden and amazing treasures, then look into the Narehl Jungle. You could start your adventure in The Port of Narehl, or any of the other jungle towns such as Hermes Drowning, or even Owl City.
While the GM is designing the adventure, the players are responsible for designing the characters that they will play throughout the course of the game. Some GM's want a party with close connections such as friendship, occupation, or place of residence. Other GM's are open to almost any concept under the sun. When designing a character, it is wise to check with the GM first and see if they have any stipulations. Perhaps your character can have a background event that connects them directly to the adventure the GM is planning, or any other little quirk they think of.
Characters come in all types. They are differentiated by the six races, and further defined by their chosen occupations. There are soldiers, hunters, Knights of Narehl, spies, rogues, assassins, and many more. GM's will set the starting values for characters, giving them a set number of geodites (New Horizon money) and points. A recommendation is 50,000 geodites and 40 points.
Select an adventure for your players, or make one up yourself
You can create different kinds of adventures, e.g. exploring mountains and deep and dark caverns, infiltrating the stronghold of a rogue and former Warhead general, searching out the secret hideout of the Sphecius Assassins, or helping a town protect itself from raids from the crazy Faenorr's or the fearsome and vile Wildways.
A helpful tool for designing characters can be found on the New Horizon site. We have gone to the trouble of designing a character generation tool that takes care of all the legwork. You simply plug in the values you want and it does the rest. http://www.newhorizonrpg.com/volt/ch...tion/index.php
There is a sample adventure available here. . . I would say link to PDF with the Train adventure.
The Website also has more information on the world, the people in it, and the game in general.
Open for input
The Ghost Train
Background: News often travels slow in the Walk of Man once one gets outside the boundaries of the larger cities. Most news comes in the form of rumors brought in by train passengers and hunters returning home after expeditions on the plains. The latest rumors have taken a dark turn. Smaller settlements across the Walk have been found deserted. Most look as if the people just packed up and left. Nothing of value has been left behind, except for the larger permanent buildings. Three towns have disappeared so far with no one left dead or alive, and no one seems to have any clue as to what is going on. Smaller towns are getting scared, and the citizens are arming themselves more than usual against whatever strange events are taking place.
Story: The adventure begins just after the disappearance of a fourth small town. This time there were witnesses. A few people were on their way to the town when they caught sight of an unmarked train. The train itself was an older model, the kind that went out of commission at least fifty years ago. There are no markings on the train, and no sign of a driver. Witnesses claimed the passenger compartments were black as night, and strange smoke billowed out of the wheels. Some witnesses claim that the train wasn't even following the railway.
Where to start: The most likely spot for this adventure to begin is in Trapper Town. Disappearances of this scale always find their way back to the local law enforcement. Players can hear about the disappearances in any number of ways. The rumors are spreading through the town in everyday conversation, with wildly exaggerated stories that run the gamut from attacks by the Rusty Stars to grim stalker. However they find out about the disappearances, the players should eventually make their way to Berrik the local Rail Marshall who will direct them on their way. The two most likely paths to Berrik are talking to Alabaster or Kaleb. Alternatively, the players may just decide to seek out Berrik on their own. See the NPC section for information on these three individuals.
Alabaster: As High Marshall of the Walk of Man, Alabaster is concerned for the safety of his people. These strange disappearances threaten to put people in a panic, something he doesn't need right now since he is already dealing with the everyday issues of enforcing such a large faction and dealing with the Rusty Stars threat. He can be found at the sheriff's office where he will give as much information as he can to anyone willing to help. His information consists mostly of population size and possible armaments in the towns that have disappeared. Alabaster doesn't know what to believe about the rumors of a ghost train and supernatural phenomena. He admits there is a possibility, but would rather see this as the work of criminals. He will eventually send the players to talk to Berrik for more information.
Kaleb: As a former outlaw himself, Kaleb has no doubt in his mind that this is the work of some very clever outlaws. Though he can't guess as to what their overall plan is, he applauds the ruse, and in fact may seem a little envious. Kaleb can be found at Captain Booze's Bar where the local color is constantly discussing the disappearances. Kaleb doesn't have much information beyond what the players can get from Alabaster, but he does mention that there are a lot of old rails out in the foothills that lead to dead towns and mines. He will eventually send the players to talk to Berrik for more information.
Berrik: Berrik lives a few blocks from Captain Booze's Bar, in a house that is entirely decked out in train memorabilia. The front door has a sign taken from an old train depot and the inside is home to a massive model train set that runs through every room in the house. Berrick can be found sitting at a table in an outfit reminiscent of old train conductors back on earth. He is meticulously constructing a new train set. Berrik is a friendly, though socially awkward, individual. He is nervous around females, but can talk forever about anything related to trains. The information he has to give involves the train in question.
There was a project at one time for automated trains, allowing them to be guided by transmitted signals. The project didn't meet with wide success as there were too many variables without linking the entire train network wirelessly. A few of the prototypes were bought by private collectors, and have since disappeared from most people's knowledge. The system can be rigged to take commands from a short wave radio transmission.
As they talk, the conversation should eventually turn toward the towns which have disappeared. At this point, Berrik will point out that his model set is a scale replica of the entire Walk of Man rail system, complete with every rail line that he knows. Examination of the towns that have disappeared shows that they are all within radio range of an abandoned line that leads off into the foothills of the Azuremar mountains.
On The Trail: Players can take the next train and get off a day's trek from the abandoned rail line. The GM is free to change their method of transportation to whatever they wish, and possibly sprinkle in some side adventures along the way. Possible encounters include a run in with ravagers. If the GM feels like throwing in a sign the players are on the right track, the ravagers can be feeding on the remains of settlers from the towns that disappeared.
Whatever happens along the way, the players eventually find themselves at the end of the rail line, or at least the original end. It appears that sometime recently, someone has added new rails and extended the line into the hills. Following the line leads to what appears to be a mining camp. Portable buildings, probably taken from the towns, serve as shelter and living space. The mine looks new, with fresh ore and tracks out front. The Ghost Train is currently absent.
At the mine: If they can stay out of sight, the players will be able to see that the people who disappeared have apparently been chained together and forced to work in the mine. The individuals holding them hostage look like a ragtag band of paramilitary types and rabble-rousers. The GM is free to extend this scene as much as they wish. The more guards they put around the place, the harder things will be for the players. Different areas where encounters may happen include: Narrow streets between the buildings, in areas of new construction with dangerous unfinished work, the mess hall, labor barracks, guard barracks, and the mouth of the mine. There can also be multiple levels in the mine, each with guards watching the workers. Freeing the workers may result in some help for the players.
Ending the Mission: When the Gm wants to end the mission, they simply have the Ghost Train make it's appearance. The train is back from harvesting fresh workers, and brings with it the brains of the operation. The final encounter will likely take place on the train itself, and can vary from in the cars to outside on the ladders or upper railing. The entire operation is masterminded by a vanir by the name of Rykus. If the players manage to stop him without killing him, Rykus confesses that he and his men were once Rusty Stars, but they defected when they found a rich charonium deposit and decided to go into business for themselves. If Rykus is killed, players can find out this information from a different source, such as a soldier or someone's journal.
Rewards: Standard criminal bounty, plus daily wage of 100 geodites, plus a completion bonus of 1,000 geodites.
NPCs: Listing for Alabaster, Kaleb, Berrik, Rykus, Generic Bandits and maybe some of the workers that are willing to fight back if freed.
Monsters: Listing for ravagers