The world of Ultima, from a LARP perspective

Discussion in 'The Kingdoms of Old' started by Lord Tachys al`Fahn, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

    Lord Tachys al`Fahn Avatar

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    Well, for some time now, I have been wanting to do something like this, but from a perspective similar to what you started at in UO: As one of the people IN the world, rather than as some splinter persona of the Stranger.

    With my kids getting interested in LARPing, we decided to cobble together some rules governing magic and combat, skills to use in all situations, and a framework for character development, and I set it in the world of Ultima 1, as it was occurring. The overriding idea being that while the story of Ultima is progressing, the kids' characters are a group of people who come from the realm itself (and pulling their background from that world and its own history), and are approached to perform certain tasks that may just be "for fun" and others that will support other story items from later episodes.

    This presents one with some problems. For instance, if you go back and play Ultima 1, there really... isn't... much.. there.

    Yes, you have the bit that is in the manual, which is great, and you have the map and the different towns, but there are so many holes!

    For instance, you can play as one of four races, yet there is no mention of them in the world at large. No towns or castles that apparently belong to a dwarf, elf or bobbit, and no real mention of holdings or history or anything else that fleshes them out. I still haven't sorted this one out, but this is the least of the problems when one is looking for inspiration.

    The next problem is a minor one, but is kind of humorous in a retrospective way. Have you looked at some of the dungeon names? I won't belabor this point, but just take a minute and go back and have a chuckle at it!

    Anyway, I have more or less surmounted these issues, and have chosen to set the LARP world on the continent of the Lands of Danger and Despair, as I have ideas on Shamino playing a major part in the story the characters will be experiencing, and also because it is the only other continent from U1 that has any story items that flesh it out in the later Ultima games (that I remember... it is possible others have some footing in there as well, but I don't remember them right off the bat).

    The first thing that came up was money, as in Ultima 1 world type money. As I wanted this to be memorable in a variety of ways for the kids), I didn't want to be going with either dime-store plastic coins (even those have been used to great effect elsewhere), and trying to either duplicate the coins shipped with the U1 box or acquire a significant quantity of the real coins was distasteful (replicating) or prohibitively expensive (acquiring). Seeing as there are eight warlords in the game world, each jealously guarding what little of the land they can control (for the most part), it was safe to assume each would have their own currency. Thanks to Denis Loubet, and his Shapeways shop, I had already been inspired to use Solidworks to design some trinkets and fun things such as 1.5" diameter runestones for the virtues, so I designed a coin press and some interchangeable plates to stamp out the coins in Sculpey craft clay, bake them, and paint them the appropriate color.

    Well.. the paint idea worked... and it didn't. While the base coat of black water-based acrylic did well enough to primer it, I think the problem I ran into was using metallic spray paints to color the coins without sealing them with the sculpey lacquer. The result was a handful of sticky "coins" that were still wet even after being left to dry for a week!

    So... while I was working through that, I had (as you can see in the coin press pic) already created a facsimile of the virtue symbol to use as a coin plate, and had used them to test out another method of coloring the coins: gilding wax!

    Back:
    [​IMG]


    and Front (yes, I know it is backwards *grins*):
    [​IMG]

    But, since that was more RG's work and less mine, I came up with a currency system that would mirror the one used in the game (a pretty standard D&D setup), but have coins unique to the lords ruling the continent on which the kids would find their characters. So, we have the Gold Chalice, Silver Dragon (1/10th chalice), Copper Common (1/10th Dragon), and the Copper Pith (1/5th Common, and named to allow for all kinds of slight puns... like pith poor, something costing a pithance, and so on *grins*). While I have the designs already worked out in my head, the only plate I have designed and printed is the Chalice:

    Front:

    [​IMG]

    Back:
    [​IMG]

    (Thanks to dafont(?) for the runic font! (acquired through HOBLOTH III Quest Framework page))

    Edit: Just in! I have the plates waiting for me to get off of work and try them out!!!

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, the idea was Chalice for honor and pursuit of the quest, which seemed to be things that I associated with the old White Dragon who helped Shamino construct his castle in the LoD&D, backed by the Ankh, with which Shamino would be associated.

    The Silver Dragon is a nod to the White Dragon directly, and will have a stylized dragon's head on one side, and a crossed shield and sword on the other. The Copper Common is the common man's coin, and will have a sheep depicted on one side, and two or three sheaves of wheat on the other, which were two of the most common units of barter prior to the coin's minting, establishing the coin's intended value. The pith will be the smallest and simplest coin, with the value noted on one side (One Copper Pith) and a tree on the other, a nod to the tree of life that lies at the core of existence.

    Finally, while I have been going on about all this, the thing the kids would be most interested in is the things they will be doing! In true Ultima fashion, there will be no shortage of things to do to fill up the time that may or may not tie in to the major quest line planned, but that storyline will be the meat of the matter.

    To quickly cover it, it seems that (Lord) Shamino has uncovered something that his friend British will need should the world and its peoples weather the current and coming storms, a light to brighten a dreary and beleaguered soul. And it begins with eight small, but powerful artifacts that have strong ties to those things virtuous. He knows where one might start looking, but due to the predations of Mondain and his minions, he can't spare the manpower to send a squad of soldiers out hunting for them, which is where the players come in. He is willing to generously reward those who may recover such artifacts, that his friend might study them and their uses for the future.

    (Yes, I know I am playing fast and loose with the lore, but its a larp ;) )

    Anyway, now that I have accidentally posted this and then doubled it, I will let you all know I edited and see what you think! *grins*
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  2. HoustonDragon

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    That's pretty cool; I'd be happy to discuss Ultima lore with you, if you want to PM me about specifics, and the original game manuals are great for background stuff. :D

    I'm busy working on my stuff for HoBLotH this year (Yay for costuming and stuff!) , and there are some very creative folks out there on Etsy and other sites that can also make some really nice stuff (depending on your cost)

    Awesome leatherworking! :D
    [​IMG]

    Shields! :D
    [​IMG]

    Flying Monkeys! (Ok, not exactly Ultima stuff, but for someone who wanted them) :p
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    I've seen some of this already! Fantastic stuff! I already have some leather and access to some punches and such to try my hand at it for the very same reason! :D

    Btw... I added more to the post, as I had accidentally hit "Post" before finishing what I started! :p
     
  4. HoustonDragon

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    One of my favorite things with Serpent Isle was the throwbacks and seeing the changes from the original Ultima 1 Lands of Danger and Despair :D
     
  5. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    Same thing as I had with Ultima 5 and the shadowlords. The difference between that and Ultima 4 was a very Chronicles of Thomas Covenant moment for me, as the differences in the land of Britannia between those two were almost directly analogous to the differences between the Land of the first Chronicles, and the Land under the Sunbane in the second Chronicles.
     
  6. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    (Harkens back to the first post) Speaking of Runestones:

    Valor:
    [​IMG]

    Compassion:

    [​IMG]

    I may strip and repaint that one... the paint isn't doing it right.

    Of the eight, I have those two finished and printed, and three others (Sacrifice, Humility and Honesty) uploaded and waiting to test.

    Something I want to try, however, is hollowing these out and by printing them in two parts, combining them with some hot glue, a button battery, resistor, reed switch and LED, and seeing if I can make a magnetically activated glow effect! :D
     
  7. HoustonDragon

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    Those are hella cool :D
     
  8. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    Thanks! :D

    The ones I haven't printed yet:

    Sacrifice:
    [​IMG]

    Honesty:
    [​IMG]

    Humility:
    [​IMG]

    All would be the same size as the first two, as will the Justice, Honor and Spirituality stones.
     
  9. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    I'll post some pics of the coins once I try out the press... on a totally related note:

    I was at the Bristol Renaissance Faire last summer, and there was a company there presenting a minting demonstration with a guillotine-style drop hammer press, one hit, one coin. I said to myself, "Self, that would be awesome to try one day!"

    Fast forward to this weekend, where I decided to see if I could find any companies that made custom punch and die sets for minting coins... I can only find one, and when I visit there website, what do I see?

    Quicksilver Mint

    *laughs*
     
  10. StrangerDiamond

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    Amazing idea and work !!! :)
     
  11. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    Another small story detail: Clerics in the Ultima world are finding their gods increasingly unresponsive, just as traditional mages are finding their spells less and less powerful... there are rumors of another form of magic that is on the rise that makes less use of purchasable charms, relies on gods not at all, and combines the energies of the natural world with the spoken word! Some players may need to seek out the source of these rumors in the "years" to come to be able to continue in their chosen profession! :D
     
  12. HoustonDragon

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    You might even poke @Sir Frank for helpful minting advice :D
     
  13. HoustonDragon

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    And since it arrived today :p
    [​IMG]
     
  14. StrangerDiamond

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    Nice ! Is this shield all molded foam ? ready to LARP ?
     
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  15. HoustonDragon

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    Yup :D
     
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  16. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    First run through, tried simply gilding it without the black undercoat:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    Yes... the "front" (with the standing stones and the Ankh) needs some work.. back to the drawing board on that!
     
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  18. StrangerDiamond

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    You could try a clear water-based lacquer such as the SAMAN brand used for hardfloors... maybe not take the ultra glossy kind because it will look a bit strange, but that should make them much more durable with 2-3 coats :)
     
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  19. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

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    Well, for right now, 1 brick of sculpey ($3), and the very smallest portion of a 1 oz tub of gilding wax ($3, again) makes about 25 gold chalices, which makes the cost about $0.12 per coin to make it (note, I didn't even figure the cost of the wax into it, because it might contribute a penny to the cost for each coin... but I don't know yet, as I haven't used a large enough amount to estimate how much it affects the cost *laughs*). If I use a coupon, and buy a 3 lb brick (30x the $3 loaf of sculpey) at half off, I can knock that down to $.02 per coin for the largest of them, and even less for the smaller coins as I would make more per brick.
     
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  20. StrangerDiamond

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    I think the lacquer is 10$ for a big, big quantity... you can possibly make thousands of coins with it and its reinforced for people walking on it with some aluminium technology. And being water based means no mess and no ruined brushes.
     
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