Heritage On the Frontier

Originally I was going to start writing up some capsule descriptions of the various human cultures in Cradle, but I wanted to explore something on a slightly higher level. Out of some of the discussions about the last post came the awesome idea of allowing players define details of their character’s heritage. Originally my thinking was that because the setting’s focus is going to be the colonies in the new continent and the challenges there that it meant not having to detail the old continent. That still holds true, kind of.

To supplement the very high level overviews of the human cultures, the players would fill in the specifics. My intention was for the old continent to be about the size of Europe, so there’s plenty of room for player-driven additions. Collaborative worldbuilding is certainly nothing new, and I’m definitely not intending to come up with something novel (in fact, I have a backlog of games with a focus on collaborative setting that I haven’t picked up yet). In Fate terms, the characters are likely going to have a Heritage aspect or something similar that they can refine from one of the larger cultures (or redefine entirely), and possibly a “free” heritage-related stunt.

One of the things that was suggested was making the ties to the old world relevant or useful in the new…such as, “If we go back to the old city, we can retrieve this artifact which we know will help with this problem we have now.” I’d like to extend that by taking a page from Blades in the Dark, specifically flashbacks. Having flashbacks to a character’s time in the “old world” is an awesome way to keep those parts of the setting in play as well as allow those heritage elements to remain relevant. In fact, the use of flashbacks helps solve a problem I’ve had with other games where characters have a new life (such as Tribe 8, where the characters are outcast from their tribes). It’s such an amazing tool and I’m totally grateful for the suggestions to keep the old world in focus in the setting, even if it’s indirect.

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