today is the day of Chivalry! As hinted at in the past days, today we release Kingdom of Equitaine: Tales of Chivalry, the second in a series of background supplements intended to support the beginning of LABs workings (yes, expect VS and SA to follow, we're going full speed now and getting up past lateness).
Now, before going into the reviews the guys from the Community Engagement did for this brand new product (and please remember to subscribe to their channel), we would be happy to spend two words about the Lore of The 9th Age, as official answer to several questions the community presented through the forum.
Lore? Why a new lore? My shiny soldiers already had one, even more than one, I don't need another one!
The 9th Age is not only a rules set. As explained in the about us section, the Founders entrusted the strategy for the future to the Executive Board, which is itself the core of the top management of the project, supported by a body of advisors, collectively called "red tags". While at the very beginning of our long journey the plan was to be IP safe only, the management decided that to ensure the longevity of Fantasy Battles, a rules set was not enough. The game needed its own identity and become an entire project including its own fantasy setting in which not only Fantasy Battles could live, but can even be supported by secondary products. It needed an identity, a brand, showing its unique nature in which old players can accomodate their armies, but also new players can find inspirations to forge their new tales, being them casual or tournament tales.
But you're changing things! I cannot recognize my army
Our "bards" never introduce changes for the sake of change. In the past we've decided the world of 9th age should be based on specific characteristics, among them geopolitical dynamism, realism, not-so-high magical impact and internal coherency. Shortly, it means that each faction should be coherent and globally projected, theoretically sustainable (so no, there are no civilizations in which everyone kill everyone and mysteriously do not extinct themselves), magic is a strong weapon and instrument, but it cannot sustain entire cities, all the factions are more or less dangerous for the world and their rivals, no one is on the brink of extinction, everyone can win the day.
It means the guys from the Background team had to work out the basics of each faction on several levels, from reproduction rates to lifespan, from social and economical structures to cultures allowing the factions to be alive, active and to work in a proper functional way.
And all of this had to contribute equally to develop a distinguished, unique, easy to identify faction, possibly keeping its coolness. For 16 factions, plus several other "non playing" (for now... auxiliaries anyone?) factions, plus the "space" in the very same world for the stories and cities and nations and tribes created by the community itself.
Not an easy task.
Ok, but where's everything of this? You keep mentioning things, but apparently you don't listen to us!
This is not actually true. Since the very beginning the Background team has been created from community members and progressively it added depth to the structure of our lore, often taking their time to read things written by community members in the forum and even chatting with their fellow hobbysts of local communities.
Of course this great work started a long time ago and we're not going to restart it from scratches every time a new feedback reach us. Even the apparently smaller change in your eyes in the reality of the structure built until now can affect it at deeper levels, and that would only results in longer times to finalise factions (and release them).
Well, I don't like it, or maybe I will like it, but the point is that we don't see that structure because we see only small bits of background!
What we noticed - and we of course expected, and consequently try to mitigate - is that some people can over-react on these bits of lore, without having a complete oversight on a specific subject. That happened with the orc ages issue and now is happening with the Caimans. The point is that everything is more complex and deeper, and we're asking you to wait for the complete picture before deciding you do like it or not. Many of you asked why we don't show you the structure and more background. Well, to explain it the short way:
This is the structure we've built:
If we give it directly, without shaping it properly, you maybe read it as this:
(we know some people like @lawgnome likes it, which is why generally we try to leave space for your creations, of course)
Or like this:
When in our mind, the final result should be this:
So, keeping it short: be patient, our world and lore will not please everyone (that would be impossible), but we can grant you the final result will have its own coherency, coolness and strong identity. Take the chance to be surprised!
And now, let's go practical with the reviews of KoE's Background supplement:
From Proxy Table Gaming
From T9A in Bayern:
And finally, Tales of Chivalry!
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