Sunday, October 30, 2016

Challenge of the Star Knights: Ruminating on Rules Part 2

Part 1: The pitch
Part 2: Rules discussion part 1

There was only supposed to be one post on the rules mods I would be looking into for my game, However when writing up the last post I finding or inventing so many interesting ideas that I decided to split the post in two. In this one I will be delving a bit further in to rules mods and trying to explain my mindset a bit as I go through my options and choices. Lets get started, yeah?

Attributes and Skills
I could just go with one of the standard groupings of attributes and skills used in the various iterations of the D6 system throughout its long history. In looking through them, I found that I did not care for how they break down so much and I feel the need to work on a set of attributes that will fit my game a bit closer than the current sets do.

I ran across this post from the Walking Mind, and it is a fascinating look at how attributes are chosen and what that can mean for your game. I want to keep the number of attributes manageable, so I want less than seven, however I am not sure that three or four would do enough for what I want. I wan a game of rollicking space adventure focused around a group of students coming together to save the galaxy, or at least their section of it. Social stuff will be very important in that kind of game gaining and losing influence, the ability to work well together, and building networks of friends, rivals, and enemies all seem important. However at its heart the game is about playing Star Knights, so I think that there would be a lot of physical obstacles and confrontations as well. Though it is a school setting, I really don't see a need for a boat load of mental skills, as that is not really core to any activities they will be doing...maybe. So I think the breakdown on attributes that I want is two social attributes, three physical, and one mental. SO here are the ideas I have for the list:

Physical: Strength, Speed, Endurance(will probably change all of these names, but this gives me a solid starting point)
Social: Social Awareness, social control(less sure on these ideas)
Mental: Education(any Traveller fans out there?)

That is my current thinking on attributes, now to skills. Skills are both easier and harder for me. On the one hand I could just use them as they exist in the system and I know that will work. However I have had a few thoughts on this for a couple of different options for skills rather than just using the existing method.

Option 1: Don't have set skills but instead use something a little more freeform, like backgrounds. When a background would be useful in a situation add its level to the attribute dice for a roll and there you go. I am not sure I like this method, but it could lead to a lot of interesting stuff. I thought it worth mentioning.

Option 2: Instead of skill dice, you just have a rating with the skill which alters the difficulty(either subtracts from the difficulty number, or reduces the opponents die pool) of the roll. Again not sure if I like this, but it is interesting and would alter the way in which people look at the game...maybe.

Option 3: You have a maximum skill level(three or four dice) and you skills can never go beyond that. This is just a way to get around that huge dice pool people have mentioned many many times. Not sure I like this either.

Point of fact I am leaning toward a standard skill list with this game, though I will definitely be altering what skills are in the list and all that. I want the skills to feel more futuristic and also more school oriented. So any ideas on how to make that work by renaming existing skills would be appreciated.

The Basic Sketch on Ikhai Powers
This is currently very sketchy as I have a couple of different ways I could go with this and I am not really sure which is best or if I want to do any of the ideas I have had yet. My current thoughts are:

1. You have an Ikhai attribute with 4 skills however you choose one skill as your primary two as your secondary and the third is your opposition. Primary  skills cost the normal amount to advance and master. Secondary cost twice that to advance. And your opposition skill costs quadruple to advance.
Sense/hide energy/minds/thoughts
Manipulate objects
Create energy constructs

2. Your Ikhai abilities are an add on to existing skills and allow those skills to be temporarily boosted beyond what is possible. This is more nebulous even that the previous one as I am less certain how this would work other than increasing the scale in which that skill operates and maybe using skills without the needed tools...though that could get weird with stuff like vehicle operation...

I would love any thoughts on how to implement this as I think this particular facet of the game will be my biggest hurdle.

In standard D6 there is a bit of an issue with vehicles. The maneuver rating is added to the pilot's skill roll for dodging fire. By itself this is not such a huge issue, however it can lead to a massive disparity between the attackers roll and the defender's roll as the attacker does not get the same kind of equipment bonus. I have a solution to this that should work(I think).

When under attack you compare the maneuver ratings for each vehicle. If the defending vehicle has a higher rating then it gains a bonus d6 on the roll. If it has a lower rating then it has a penalty -d6 on the roll. That should reduce the number of dice added and all the odd results that follow while still allowing for maneuver ratings to matter.

Damage and Consequences
With  the D6 system there are currently two methods of handling damage, that I am aware of. Body Points and Wound Levels. After playing with them for a while I really dislike body points. They just feel off to me, and so I will be sticking with Wound Levels. Though I will be making some modifications to how damage works.

One of the issues that comes up with the wound system is that high strength characters can soak most damage, especially if they are wearing armor. I have a couple of thoughts on how to handle that:

1. When attacking  an opponent every die that is rolled that would be beyond what is needed to hit are added to the raw damage. So if you have four dice for attack and you need a twelve to hit; if three of your dice cover that 12 difficulty, your fourth die would be added to damage.

2. At the beginning of the attack action players may divide their dice pool into "to hit" pools, and "added damage pools", i.e. A character with 6d in Blasters can roll all six dice to hit, 4 dice to hit and add 2 dice to damage, or any variation of those 6 dice. The decision to divvy up between the two pools, gives it more of a tactical consideration.

3. This idea is a little further out there: Steal from Mouseguard and have a set of conditions that a character can mark rather than taking damage. This is kind of nebulous at the moment, but I think there is something to be said for it. It might also allow for social conflicts to have a little more tactical weight without having to construct a whole system for them.

Some Ideas that just didn't fit anywhere else
I had a couple of random ideas that I thought might be worth discussing, but didn't really seem to fit anywhere else so I will put them here.

If I wanted to add in something like Body Points, but I still wanted to avoid them on a systemic level I could add in force fields, like from Dune. Your force field can absorb a certain amount of hits and then it shuts down. I could even have a mystic Ikhai power that does a similar thing so that users of that could spend a turn making themselves tougher. Just a thought, and I will probably not use it. As soon as I did every Player Character would want to get a force field or that power, and the game would rapidly begin to revolve around that. Though perhaps the force fields shunt the damage into the environment and so cause hazards and problems for the heroes? As I said, just a thought that occurred to me.

I would like language and culture familiarity to be handled differently than skills. Perhaps a three tier system that lets you pick up familiarity rather quickly. You would spend CPs on it during the session. You may spend them(one per session) to gain the benefits of it in the moment. Once you have done that for three sessions(or something) you gain familiarity. And if you keep focusing on it like that you can eventually go native. Mind you, his would only be for games where people cared about different languages. Most gaming groups would not, and in fact that would be seen as a useless time sink.

A crazy idea: Seriously this is a crazy idea. I most likely won't use it, but it occurred and wanted to share it. So, if I choose to go with roll dice count successes(rather than normal roll dice add them up) I could do something like this: When you have increased your dice pool to ten(or whatever arbitrary number) rather than increasing it further you your skill drops back to 1d but your threshold for success goes up. So instead of a success on a 4+ you no get a success on a 3+. this would keep the dice pools lover and add in a sense of master(like in Heroquest/wars and Burning Wheel). Just a thought.

And that is the end of m first pass through the rules and the changes I will be making(or might be making) to the game. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as I am still on the fence on a number fo issues. Comments, critiques, and ideas are always welcome. That is it for mechanics for the moment. The next post will be a bit more on the universe the star knights inhabit and how I see that. Sounds like fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Challenge of the Star Knights: Ruminating on Rules Part 1

In my last post I laid out the very basic pitch for the game I am working on.
Part 1: Da' Basics

 In this post i will be digging into the mechanical changes I will be making to the D6 System in order to make that fit better with the setting I am devising. that means that I will be constrained somewhat in what I can do, as a great  advantage to working within the framework of an  existing system. this also means that there is a certain amount of fan expectation for how the game should work and the changes I make will not please everyone. If I were working on a brand new system I could avoid this because those preexisting expectations wouldn't exist.

Dice Rolling Conventions
There are a number of ways we could handle dice rolling in this game. I will go through the methods I have thought about using and what their strengths and weaknesses are(as I see it). Please let me know your thoughts on the matter as this is very important to the feel of play and I am not fully decided on the matter.

Standard d6 Method: Add skill level to attribute level and roll that many dice and add them together. This can lead to too many dice being rolled and everything slows down. Especially because adding together pools higher than seven or eight can get a bit tiresome. However it is a tried and true way and adding up the numbers is a minor inconvenience. Also, I run and play most of my games online for the last few years and online dice rollers can do all that adding for me.

The Mini Six method: Used in the phenomenal game Mini Six. Very similar to the standard method, but it uses static defenses and thus lowers the number of rolls in total. I may go this route as I think it is the easiest to implement. It also leads me to an interesting idea...

The Apocalypse World fix: The seed for this idea started in this thread post over on It reminded me of how Apocalypse World handles dice rolling. Other games have used similar rolling methods, but Apocalypse World was the first time I encountered it, so that is where my mind went when I came up with this. Only players roll the dice.  All of the GM's stuff is handled with static difficulties based on the character sheets of the NPCs.  This would allow for interesting things, like say take the dice total times three for mooks and low level minions, or multiplied by four or five for named villains and such to give you an interesting differential. This would allow the GM to set a basic campaign difficulty or allow the players to have a sense of how tough their opponent is going to be. It would make for a more cinematic feel...I think.

The 5d6+whatever method: Offered as a way to cut down on the number of dice used. Every die over five is converted to a +3 bonus to the roll instead. I find that this can lead to huge modifiers and the dice become somewhat irrelevant...or at least that is how it felt to me the few times I have tried it.

The d6 Legend method: Roll as normal, but count the dice showing a number above a certain threshold. I have seen this use in a lot of different games(Shadowrun and World of Darkness spring to mind). I know it works, though it has its own feel. I think I might go with this method as it lets me do all sorts of interesting things, like scaling the campaign from Super Gritty(only count sixes as success) to Super heroic(2+ is a success) without altering number of dice. the issues with this come up with making it still feel like the D6 system that I fell in love with lo those many years ago. Though I am not so sure, as I am rather fond of all of the methods shown.

Character Points
You must spend them before you can use them to advance. This gets allows for a more freewheeling use of character points. in the old days when I would run the game, i would have this issue where my  players would all spend a great deal of time going back and forth on whether or not they should spend character points. the reason was that the more character points spent in the moment the less powerful the character would be long term. the character that horded them would become more powerful as time went on, and this would lead to those less powerful needing to burn more CP to keep up and thus actually fall further behind. It became a weird sort of death spiral.

A really weird add on to that: At the end of every session the number of character points remaining must be spent on on advancement downtime actions, like building up contacts, wealth, and influence with a specific culture. Not sure if I want to go this route but I really like it, and the more I think on it the more I like it. Something that +James Etheridge pointed out to me was that I might want to lean away from concrete growth in this manner and instead focus on these points belonging to a team pool that can be spent in team specific ways. Though I am still unsure on the exact limits and options that could be used in this case. One idea I had was to use it a bit like Team is used in Masks. Though I would need to make adjustments in order to make that work in this system.

I also want to come up with a better name for them than Character Points, but I am sure that will come with time.

The Wild Die
I do not have an issue with the wild die as it stands. However I have seen enough arguments about it to be convinced that an issue does exist for many. I would like to look into some possible solutions to the Wild Die conundrum and maybe come up with something that will please people like me, who like the wild die, and the people who do not care for it.

Methods I have thought about using:

The standard method: The wild die explodes on a roll of a six and on the roll of a one it either subtracts the highest other die from the roll or causes a complication. All other numbers are treated as normal die rolls. I like this as it adds that sense of chaos and awesome when that guy at the table rolls seven sixes in a row and just drops the mic.

Variable Success method: The wild die does not explode. If you get a 6 on it something good happens to benefit you in addition to the success or failure of the roll. If you roll a 1 something complicates the scene whether you succeed or fail. I kind of like this as it allows for a bunch of different outcomes to a die roll. Critical success(success with a 6 wild die), Normal success(success with the wild die on neither) Success with a caveat(Success with a 1 wild die), Failure with a caveat(failure with a 6 wild die), normal failure(failure with no wild), and critical failure(failure with a 1 wild die). There are, no doubt numerous problems with the system that would need to get ironed out, but it is an interesting idea.

Opportunity Method:  The wild die allows for an opportunity to do something amazing. When you roll a six you may spend a character point and have it act as a hero/fate point(or something). When your wild die is showing a one the GM will offer you something bad happening instead of the roll proceeding as normal, if you accept you gain a hero/fate point, or something equivalent. I kind of like this one as it always puts the choice in the players hands. However this would need a lot of playtesting a tweaking in order to make it feel right, and I would need to devote a lot of words explaining what it is and how to do it properly.

Aspects and Keys: Gaining Character Points
I would like for the gaining of character points to be a little more character facing than it currently is. I am heavily influenced by three games in this regard: Fate Core(I know, shocker), Cortex Plus, and Lady Blackbird.

I like how aspects(Fate Core) allow for an iconic character while also allowing for change. However compels can be tricky and are enforced from outside of the player's control. The GM compels and the player decides to accept it. The player can let the GM know that it would be a good time to compel, but the decision to compel still rests on the GM's head.

Distinctions(Cortex Plus) on the other hand are entirely player driven and allow the player to give themselves a negative by rolling the smallest die type(d4) rather than what they would normally get from the distinction(d8). When they do this they get a point. I like that it is decided by the player, but I find some other parts of the system in Cortex Plus not to my taste.

Then we get to Keys(Lady Blackbird). I love keys, they are absolutely fantastic at causing the players to drive play and putting their experience gains in their own hands. However, Keys work toward building a dramatic arc for your character, where they start out with a problem and as they go along that problem keeps surfacing until they face it and either embrace it or expel it. With this game I am looking for a more Iconic and procedural arc, and so I am unsure if keys will do what I want.

However I think that I have laid out the groundwork here for what I want, if not exactly how I want it. I want players to gain Character Points through their own choice, and not have it forced upon them by external sources. I want the source of Character Points to be able to shift and grow as the campaign goes on, and I want the core of the character to shine through. I want that, "Believe in yourself," moment to feel good and make the world better. I want growth and exploration without changing the core of the character too much, or making changing that core too difficult. Hmm...Will need to think on this some more.

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these topics. Comments, critiques, and ideas are totally welcome. This post kind of got out of hand. I was also going to go into Attributes and Skills, as well as gear and the basics of how I see Ikhai working. I guess I will have to leave that for part 2. Huh, I guess there is more depth to this than I initially thought. That's a thing.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Challenge of the Star Knights: The Basics

The Elevator Pitch
In the distant future you play students at the lowest ranked Star Knight academy who discover the secrets of their order and the threat that will soon come to the universe.

Expanded Concept
Ten thousand years ago, during the fourth extinction war the three ancient peoples formed an alliance to drive back the forces of the Maggedon, servants of the unmaker. Through their unity and the creation of the legendary Star Knights, the drove back the forces of the Maggedon and saved the universe. Their legend grows with every telling, though few believe in any of them. The Star Knights yet survive,  though the ancient technologies have long been lost. They still uphold justice and peace as best they can with what they have left.

Now we stand on the precipice of the fifth extinction war and once more the Star Knights are needed. The forces of the unmaker on on the move once more. Only those trained in the methods of the Star Knights, those who can use the techniques and technologies of the Elder Peoples, can save the galaxy from annihilation.

You are students of the Delta Academy, one of the fifteen Star Knight Academies spread across the cosmos. The academies train students in the use of Ikhai(inner breath) to awaken the soul and power the ancient technologies and techniques passed down by the elder peoples.  Delta is the lowest ranked academy, filled with those applicants who were too poor or not good enough to get into the other academies. Delta Academy sits on the edge of the Marconi Traverse, a vast mineral poor area of lawless space.

Only one percent of applicants make it to becoming a full star knight, most fall by the wayside. But even a failed knight applicant is a skilled and knowledgeable person. Many go on to be quite famous and influential in the galaxy at large. All those who pass the challenge become something more, a Star Knight, defender of the Galaxy.

Things that inspired me.

Voltron: Legendary Defender: OMG so good, also it had a huge influence for how I see the technology working and how I see the force of the Maggedon working. I especially like the evil space druids who give the evil forces their power. I really want evil space druids...or something.
Titan AE: Mostly for the visuals and the idea that the earth was blown up. The movie itself is sort of all over the place and not very well written.
The Last Starfighter: This whole project sort of stemmed from my desire to see the first class of new Starfighters being trained by the last remaining.
Mass Effect: The SPECTRs and Reapers are very close to how I see the Star Knights and the Maggedon operating in the wider universe.
Star Wars: specifically Rebels and the Young Jedi Knights series of books, I like the whole kids who have powers and must be trained in responsible use.
Lexx: Mostly for His Shadow and the Insects. Though the Time Prophet is cool too.
the Deathstalker Series of novels: I find the series immensely entertaining and I love the Madness Maze, and other things like that.
Harry Potter: specifically Hogwarts as a concept where kids go off to learn strange abilities with the hopes of becoming meaningful contributors to society.
Metroid Series: The universe is so interesting and Samus is just the coolest character ever. She was the inspiration for a lot of the technology I picture for the setting.
Phantasy Star Online Series: I really like the look and feel of the games.
Hunter x Hunter: I really love this show, I only recently discovered it, and I think it is fantastic. It makes the characters look for solutions that are more complex than mere direct action. It shows them succeed and fail, but they earn their successes and failures.
Naruto: the ninja schools and the Chunin exams specifically interested me when looking for inspiration. Although the character of Naruto is also inspirational as the guy no one thought would amount to anything.
Legion of Superheroes: Super powered teens saving the day in space. Yup.
The Bad News Bears: I love me a tale of the lovable losers finally doing well.
The Goonies: Lovable losers must find an ancient treasure to save their home. Set it in space and you have the elevator pitch really.

This is to be a game, and as such I need to decide on a system. Of late I have become more and ore fond of the D6 System. It has been used for a lot of great games(Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Metabarons, and Men In Black). I will be making some modifications to the system as I go along, as there are a number of things I would like to see changed from past experience playing the game. Most notably I want to change how character points work in play, but I will get into that as we go. The D6 system was the first game system I played in my youth. I was introduced to RPGs through the Star Wars Role Playing Game. It was very fun, Ewoks in Airspeeders kind of fun.

Much of my focus when designing the mechanics will have to focus around teh technologies of the setting and the use of Ikhai to do amazing things. It is a bit like the force but more expansive and less mystical. I am still toying with what it can and can't do, but I was heavily influence with how Nen works in Hunter x Hunter, so I am likely to do something along those lines.  I want the system to be diverse and yet not over take the whole game. I have a couple of ideas on how that will work, though I am not sure if they are simple enough to suit me. We shall see.

That is the pitch, I will be digging into this more in future posts and nailing down the mechanics and the setting in a lot more detail . What do you think? Let me know. I am always interested in comments, concerns, and critiques.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

World Building Part 7: Monoculture, Mindset, and Meandering

This one is going to be a bit looser and more like brainstorming than actually nailing down specifics of the world. We have a reached a key point in world building that needs some thought. Its hard to say when exactly in a given process this point gets reached, but for this project it is time to dig into culture, nationhood, and societies. Yay!

If you are unsure of what is going on in this post here are the links to the previous posts in the series:
Part 1: Initial Arbitrary Ideas
Part 2: Airships and Implications
Part 3: People and Purposes
Part 4: Basics of Magic
Part 5: A brief History
Part 6: Deeper Magics

Back when I started this project all I had was the very basics of each people, and so it would be easy to keep them that way, as two dimensional stereotypes. However I think we can get into more detail and have a bit of fun by showcasing a bit more diversity of thought and deed within each people. Sometimes when working on a world you can stick with those basic stereotypes for a while, but if you wish for your world to feel more real you will need to deal with the issue of Monocultures.

Now what I mean by that is not something about agriculture methodology or computers. Though like those issues monculture can lead to collapse of plausibility.  What I mean by monoculture is the idea that all Klingon are warriors, all elves are aloof archers who live in the woods, or all dwarves are greedy makers of metal-craft, things like that. Monoculture is the idea that within a given species, people, or nation that all beings share the same traits.   In the real world this leads to all sorts of unpleasantness and badness, but in world building this is an issue as well. Even when you have a really solidly built world it can be easy to leave some cultures as monocultures. Its easy, and sometimes people won't notice. And because they won't notice it is even easier to do.

Whether you wish to really develop the culture in full is directly proportional to how relevant the culture is to the events that occur. Whether in a story, game, or just your own head. The more you believe in your world the more fun it will be to play with, and the more interesting problems will crop up and offer chances for interesting solutions.

Again I like to steal from the real world's history for help in this. No matter how deep you dig into a historical event there is always more complexity and nuance, so I try and emulate that. Back in part two I asked, "what the people eat?" I find this to be a useful question for world building, because if you can't answer it that shows a problem that needs fixing. I have a similar set of questions for societies, nations, and cultures. How do they get rid of their trash, and how do they get what they want? These questions are not as simple and direct as, "what do they eat?" but they are useful in giving you a sense of what their society look like and how the basic get done.

Also at this point I will need to name the world. Well, maybe not need, but I kind of want to name the world and the nations and such so that I have some dang ol' proper nouns when talking about stuff. I am leaning toward naming the world something based off the word cosmos, as it must encompass all the elements rather than just earth. Though that might be a bit on the nose. I would love to hear from any of my readers on this, what are some good proper nouns for all the various nations, societies, and the planet? Until then, to work:

 I think I will start with humans, as they are the most widespread and the driving force behind the current political climate(trying to conquer the world will do that). Also i need to bear in mind the nature of societies in the world. There is a great deal of natural seclusion, with loads of mountains, valleys, canyons and such and not a whole lot open ground. Then there are the large number of monsters and such in the wilderness. I think that most societies and nations would be highly centralized and closely linked, otherwise they couldn't stay in contact with each other or protect their citizens.

So back in the day there was this empire, and it fell. This is known. I figure that humans probably ended up with a couple of small kingdoms that tried to hold with the ideals of the empire, but the dark age demanded such from them that they only managed to hold onto the idea of empire. so we have a couple of kingdoms that are both somewhat feudal in nature(kings and barons and such) while also trying trying to appear more cultured and cosmopolitan than they really are. They maintained a senate of Peers(wealthy landowners) that ostensibly had similar power to the king. Due to the state the countries of humanity were in those senates rarely held much actual power. Since the fall of the empire humanity was seen as a non-issue, a bit of a sad joke. And then one of the nations gets airships and declared itself the New Holy Empire and began conquering everything in the name of the God-Yet-To-Come.

Now the New Holy Empire controls nearly all the lands of it's former rival human nation(which I need to name) as well as most of the lands that were controlled by the Bit-bit Alliance of City States and the Fa-chia tribes.

The Holy Empire has grown decadent and corrupt, it is only their armies and technology which hold them in power. Their are a bunch of factions within the empire that are trying to gain control of the empire(the names re just place holders):

  • The romantics - see the past as pure and simple, before the corrupting influence of this current religion and outside forces. They are anthropocentric and anti religion, they want to get back to nature while still driving out all outside influences. Within this movement are a number of distinct opinions on precisely how change should be gained and what they should do with the power. A number of famous poets and actors have espoused this ideology and it has gained a lot of traction in recent days. 
  • The Militarists - believe that the empire is not pushing hard enough and that the military should run things. They see their failure to take the last Bit-bit city and their lack of any territory in the lands of teh Njan as a direct affront. Some within the moment push for the emperor to become more militaristic, while others wish to overthrow the emperor and take power.
  • The royalists - hold that the senate has too much power and that things would be better if the emperor were to get rid of them.
  • The Populists - hold that he royals are an anachronism and that pure democracy would serve the people better(well pure democracy to the rich, the peasants should know their place)
  • The Church - want to see themselves as the greatest power in the nation so that they may finally compete the great working. though there are several different views on exactly how to bring about the God-Yet-To-Come.

The Bit-bit city states used to be the most powerful alliance in the world. Their use of Sky Knights and War Gelves allowed for communication and military unity the other nations could not employ.  While they bickered among themselves their shared religion and the impartiality of the Sky Knights led to an enlightened peace for nearly a century. The the New Holy Empire crafted Sky Ships. Now only one city state remains, the Sky Knights are nearly wiped out, and they stand on the brink of losing everything. They are the most unified people, not due to some higher calling but to their lack of options. Their hubris and lack of care has cost them much.

Njal are barely held together states unified only by their desire to remain free.
They are separated into various bloodlines who are all allied with other bloodlines and have enmity with other bloodlines.  They are extended family based and will unite only when facing outside forces. They have firm laws on vendettas and feuds, for in the past feuds have led to vicious wars that hindered their growth as a nation. These rules are enforced by the Unblooded.
Unblooded - orphan children are taken and raised in monasteries to be warrior judges who travel from clan to clan and hold impartially to the law(at least in theory). They are sterilized  so that they may not start a new bloodline and thus confuse the political landscape.
There is also the tale of the exiled bloodline who claimed that all gods were false and were exiled due to their strange madness. They wandered off into the wilderness to pray to the world spirit, though that is known to be a fruitless endeavor.

Fa-chia: tribal peoples, unrelated and hey have never really needed to gather in large numbers. I don't really have much for them just yet, I will need to do more research and more thinking on what to do with them.

OK, there it is the basics of my brainstorming on how to make cultures stand out a bit more and be a nit more complex than just a simple stereotype. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear and comments, suggestions, critiques, or whatever.