While not technically an adventure log, I intend to jot down some of the development process for this system so that I can look back and see just how crazy I was.
I started developing the Tegami Bachi campaign a few months ago when a friend jokingly asked if one of our characters was going to solve a quest by sending an angry letter to the evil lord. At the same time, I started watching an eponymous anime which featured magically empowered messengers called Letter Bees. They risked life and limb to traverse a dangerous, dark landscape to deliver the post to isolated villages. I also drew on inspiration from Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, a novel about a man who was basically possessed by the motive force of undelivered letters and compelled to, “Deliver Us!”
The setting attempts to ask the question, how, in a world fraught with danger, do people talk to each other. The original idea was to set the story in the traditional D&D setting, but when I looked at what I had written, I realized that the classical fantasy world was fundamentally opposed to the idea of communication, at least on the scale that I needed it to exist on.
So I turned toward the Steampunk setting, partially because I recently became intrigued by the Iron Kingdoms setting for 3.5, and because Victorian era Steampunk is all about adventure from civilization to civilization via the wilds of a shrinking world. So I merged the Iron Kingdoms with a more stable set of societies redesigning things here, and leaving others the same.
I also started putting some thought into revising IK’s setting into a 4.0 compatible shape. There are still a few inconsistencies, such as the radical addition of the Steammen and my Philip Pullman style Victorian/Greek uberstate, but I am fairly pleased with how the world is turning out.
I consider the process up to this point to be the 1st and 2nd Phases. Concept and Rough Cuts have been made and now the careful process of refining can begin. At the same time, I’ve gotten started on Phase 4, NPC and storyline generation.
On that note, I am going to attempt to create an ambient world, rather than a direct world. The players will be able to take on the quests they want to, and shape the ultimate destination of the campaign. Rather than starting with a goal in mind, I would like the party to create a goal from the miasma of politics and dangers that emerge on their journeys. I have tried to do this once before, but this time, I have a lot more confidence in my ability to visualize a truly living world and have it grow and evolve.
If you’re interested, keep watching the Wiki as I start to move Phases 1 and 2 into storage there and check back here for more updates.