The Gearcast Episode 6: Templating

Hey there, everyone! Back from our short hiatus, cohost Cat and myself are here to talk about Templating in games. What templating is, and why its important. We had some strange microphone gremlins this episode, so bear with us. We’ll have them all exorcized from the equipment next time.

Show Notes:

Making Magic by Mark Rosewater


Mu: Age of Adventure — The Humans of Tradewind!

Hey everyone! Today, we’ll be taking a look at the 4 most common groups of humans that are seen in and around Tradewind in Mu: Age of Adventure. We’ve gone over the other intelligent species, so now it’s time for a quick run down of the oldest group on the block.

Craglanders — Seen as “western barbarians” in the times of the Pelagian Empire, the fair skinned and dark haired Craglanders held off being subsumed by the Empire until late in its life. Since the fall, the strong willed and charismatic people from the grassy plateaus of the west have enjoyed relative stability unlike their neighbors to the east and south. The laws and customs introduced to the Craglands by the Empire have brought a unity to the previously disparate tribes, who now live as a part of a centralized magistracy that oversees all things great and small. The magistracy views itself as the pinnacle of modern governance, and while willing to work with the various kingdoms and regencies that exist on its borders, finds those methods of rule archaic and stifling. The magistracy uses a system of appeals and rulings to constantly update the law to best serve the people. The heavy emphasis on self-representation in this system has lead to a much higher rate of literacy in the Craglands than the surrounding nations, which is something the magistracy greatly prides itself on. Cragland scholars and lawyers have a very strong presence in Tradewind to make sure the magistracy is well aware of what goes on past their eastern borders.

Pelagians — While the old Empire is gone, broken into many smaller nations, the people of Pelagos, Avellais, and western Lachlan all greatly resemble one another and owe a lot of their current cultures to their rule under the Pelagian Empire. These individuals are of swarthy complexion with dark curly hair and dark eyes. Most of the human population that lives in Tradewind is of Pelagian decent, and are what most mim think of when humans are mentioned. Pelagians have a highly shared religious culture, and many carry symbols and trinkets of the Church of the Divinities with them. The arts and sciences have come in vogue with the well-to-do Pelagians lately caused by the influx of wealth from the modern trade Accords, and has been slowly working its way down to the peasantry. Modern prosperity has lead to a pervasive optimism, which leaders have been quick to capitalize on, and are loathe to let go.

Lachlanders — The stern, powerful features and thick, dark hair of the eastern Lachlanders cause them to stand out amongst the rest of the humans in Tradewind. Long, well kept beards are a common theme among the men, and both men and women traditionally wear their hair long. Theirs is a rough history, from one of the strongest seats of power in the old Empire to a kingdom divided. While the nobility from the east seem aloof and assured of their eventual victory over the populist forces of the west, those caught in the middle bear many tales of strife from the warring kingdom. Not all Lachlanders who make their way to Tradewind are refugees, but certainly a great number have come to the town to seek a more stable life for themselves and their families. This has caused some friction between those of western Lachland origins, but to those unfamiliar with the strife in their nation this animosity is largely ignored.

Tradelanders — Across the Sea of Voyages to the south lie the Trade Principalities, or as they’re known to those that live there: the Pelagian Empire. Despite their claims and strong ties to the old Empire, the Trade Principalities are not quite the military and cultural powerhouse that the Empire was. They are certainly in contention with their economy, however. The tall, dark skinned, kinky-haired men and women of the Trade Principalities are an increasingly common sight in Tradewind, as the wealthy merchant families from the Principalities have been sending envoys and negotiators north with increasing frequency, trying to get as big a piece of the pie as they can. Their strong ties to the Church of the Divinities has engendered them with a great deal of the Pelagian populace, and despite the sometimes haughty attitudes of the nobility, those who have made it to Tradewind seeking work find it easy to integrate into the city. The coleops are well acquainted with Tradelanders, and usually think of them first when humans are mentioned.

These aren’t all the human groups in Mu, merely the most common ones you’ll see in the setting’s main city. Next week I’ll be back to talk about some of the more uncommon groups, who don’t always make it to town. Until then!

Mu: Age of Adventure — A look at the Coleops!

Hey all, it’s Nick again, and this monday I wanted to take a look at the third non-human playable species in Mu: Age of Adventure – the insect like coleops!

Coleops are on average smaller than most humans, with the largest specimens standing as tall as if not a little taller than the average human. Their faces are vaguely humanoid, with wide set eyes that have large dark pupils, two lamellate antennae in middle of their forehead, and small mouths flanked by a set of palps. They do not have noses. Unlike their smaller cousins, the coleops do not use their palps to eat, but rather to cover or expose small holes in their cheeks to create different reverberating tones as part of their language. Coleops possess six limbs, two legs and four arms, but two of their arms are much smaller and serve mostly to assist them with tasks requiring very fine motor skills. They have four wings, two of which function as a thick shell that protect the other delicate, membranous wings. Of all the intelligent species on Mu, the coleops are by far the most sexually dimorphic. The women are upwards of 50% larger than the men, and have much sharper features, larger antennae, and brighter colors to their shells.

In the modernizing world, the coleops are at an unfortunate disadvantage when it comes to competition with the developing powers. Coleops society is largely nomadic, as the great swamps where they live flood regularly throughout the seasons, creating great stretches of mire which are uninhabitable for months at a time. This has lead to very few stable, large cities and governments, and leaves most coleops part of smaller, wandering tribes. The decentralized nature of the majority of coleops society has lead to a great deal of opportunistic, and some would say predatory, treaties and trade agreements with non-coleops explorers and merchants. While the swamps are a hassle to perform tasks such as mining or industry in, they produce a great deal of sought after plants and fungi, for use as food, recreation, or medicine the world over. Over harvesting and plant poaching operations are becoming more common, as news of the various “wonder” plants have reached the far corners of the known world.


The rumors of the wondrous properties of the plants are not exaggerations, however. The swamp with its rapid turnover of life, death, decay, and rebirth, wears thin the veil between the living world and the spirit world. An entity known as Great Grandmother Swamp has watched over the Great Southern Swamps for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years, and has a special fondness for the coleops. She has imbued much of the swamp itself with her latent powers, and the foliage and fungi that grow in it reflect this. This has given rise to the unique Mushroomists, shaman and gardeners who hold positions of importance in coleops society. Although their positions as envoys and ambassadors to the outside world, and to roving bands of adventurers, have become the metropolitan face of the coleops. Great Grandmother Swamp is bound to the geography of the swamp itself, so it is up to her more adventurous children to keep her aware of outside goings on.

To most members of the other species the coleops appear alien and awkward, but despite this the strange beetle-folk from the south integrate exceptionally quickly into most human towns. While it is almost impossible for non-coleops to pronounce their language, they are capable of producing a great number of sounds and have a knack for picking up foreign languages. This has made coleops liaisons and translators very popular among various noble houses who find novelty in their “exotic” nature and well spoken mannerisms. However, almost the entirety of the coleops who leave the swamp are men, and many human and mim nobles mistakenly believe the women must then be smaller and mild mannered, and are often greatly surprised when they encounter the brazen, gruff, and imposing women folk of the Great Southern Swamp.

The coleops round out the roster of the non-human playable species for Mu. They seem strange with their exoskeletons and antennae, but are just as heroic as their mammalian and amphibian counterparts. Until next time!

Mu Beta 1.1 is here!

Phew, sorry this took so long. Been trying to get layouts ready and a whole slew of other things all set, and while it’s not quite in super pretty condition, this new version has a whole new Setting section, written by lead setting designer Ian Auger-Juul, new rules for Extended Combats and Hearthkeeping,  some revised and updated perks, and a variety of small readability edits. Check out it right here:


Beta Delays…

Sorry folks, but it looks like beta 1.1 ran afoul of some technical problems, and won’t be ready for another couple days yet. But rest assured it’s coming! If you want to know exactly when beta 1.1 will be out, why not follow the official twitter? Check it out @NickAcheffGHG. This does also mean unfortunately that the Gear Stream and Gear Cast will be taking the week off. I was hoping to get the Gear Cast out this week, but it looks like that won’t be possible. See you on Monday though, for Beta 1.1.

UPDATE: Things still aren’t quite up and running, but we’re working as fast as we can to get things going! Hopefully we’ll have things ready next Monday! Sorry for the delays, everyone.

The Gearcast Episode 4: Outcome Mechanics

Hey everyone! Welcome to the fourth episode of the Gear Cast! This week, join myself and special guest Cat once more as we discuss outcome mechanics in games! What we think of perennial favorites such as d20s and d6s, and some more non-traditional mechanics such as cards and bidding!

Discussed on the show: — For dice probabilites. — For all your card game probability needs.

Law’s Out — A bidding wild west game from Liberigothica Games


Mu: Age of Adventure — A look at the scharr!

Hey there! Nick here as usual, and this Monday I wanted to give a brief overview of another of the playable species in Mu – this time the burly, aquatic scharr.

scharr_headshotStanding a full head and shoulders taller than a human on average, the scharr are an immense, muscle bound amphibian species. While roughly humanoid in appearance, their faces are streamlined and simplified with broad chins and foreheads, flat almost non-existent noses, and small, beady, shark like eyes set in shallow sockets. They lack eyebrows and body hair in general, but do have a small patch on their heads that is straight and wiry and often worn long. Their skin is smooth and tough, much like a shark’s, and ranges from light blue to muddy red. Scharr have much sharper teeth than humans, and their diets are almost entirely fish but a variety of seaweed based dishes compliment their largely carnivorous meals. Scharr display very muted sexual dimorphism and the men and women very closely resemble one another, with the men being on average slightly larger. Their most unique physiological difference however is their lateral system. Special sensory nerves line the sides of their bodies allowing them to sense minute water pressure differences and electromagnetic signals over short distances while in the water.

Most scharr live on the large archipelago chain that starts at the mouth of the Pelakos Sea, where its equatorial climate and warm waters can keep their semi-cold blood active. It is on this island chain that the two great scharr empires live. The Southern Imperial kingdom, which resides on the tail end of the archipelago and maintains a vast empire of colonies along the Broken Coast of the southern continent where they control a great deal of iron mines. The other being the Divine Empire, which while it maintains fewer of the islands than the Southern Imperial kingdom, controls the waters in around around the mouth of the Pelakos Sea. This gives them a tremendous amount of control over many trade routes. So much that despite the Divine Empire’s small size, they are one of the wealthiest nations in the known world.

Both empires are feudal in nature, and have a rigid social hierarchy. Marriages are seen as being solely political, and marriage for love is an awkward concept many scharr don’t quite understand. Many of the smaller islands function as vassal states of the larger, chaining back to the capital islands of both empires. While fealty is considered exceptionally important in both empires, this functions as somewhat of a double edged sword in cases of political consolidations or annexation. Often when islands are annexed the populace retains fierce loyalty to their previous lord, with disdain for the new lord goes as far as to create vast numbers of self-imposed exiles. This has lead to a great deal of scharr diaspora making their way into the surrounding nations. Many infamous scharr pirates have their origins as self-imposed exiles during bloody annexations. These exiles often still fly old banners of dispossessed lords and nobles in a sign of undying loyalty to their lord and burning hatred towards those who dispossessed them.

great_wallMany of these exiles who don’t turn to piracy however find great success as adventurers. Their size and strength make them imposing comrades and the world renowned Great Wall bodyguards from the Southern Imperial Kingdom are always able to find work. The scharr languages are deep and resounding, to match the extremely low registers needed to project words underwater, and as such their words and by extension names are exceptionally difficult for the other intelligent species to pronounce. Most scharr use loan names when dealing with others, but will try to get close friends to learn how to pronounce their actual names as a sign of respect.

The scharr are loyal and strong companions, ready to jump to the aid of their smaller companions. That’s it for for this Monday, but come back next week for Mu: Age of Adventure beta rules 1.1! We’ll have some updated formatting, some new background, and hopefully some new art for the rules! See you then!