CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Neither Rain, nor Sleet, nor Snow

Messengers in Your Game

The world is a big place, even made-up worlds like Pathfinder’s Golarion. Despite the fact that many fantasy worlds are analogous to anywhere from early medieval to the renaissance timeframe, there seems to be contact between regions that are separated by hundreds if not thousands of miles. Although some folk may be able to afford magical means of transferring messages across such great distances, others cannot. Because most people of the world cannot, this means there must be some form of messaging service available to them.

Today we are going to look at messengers, messaging services, and other resources to get correspondences back and forth across a fantasy world. We will be using Golarion for our examples and even outlining some possible services you might make available to your players. We will also explore how messaging services can be a part of your player’s character’s lives.

One of the most common places you’ll see messengers is on the small scale in cities and towns. In anything smaller than a village it’s usually easy enough to go deliver a message yourself. In a metropolis like Magnimar, Almas, or Egorian depending on your location it could be a full day’s walk from where a message is picked up to where it is delivered. The rich in these cities are probably able to hire an official service dedicated to delivering messages. The poor may well just throw an urchin on the street a few copper to run their missive to someone.

The problem comes when you get to the larger scale. How does one send letters to the other side of the country let alone the other side of the continent? What about getting a missive to an entirely different landmass altogether? Without magical means, the travel time from Korvosa to Egorian is a week by boat. It could take two or three weeks to get from Magnimar to the capital of Taldor, Oppara. Hitting land locked areas like traveling from Riddeport in Varisia to New Stetven in Brevoy could take upward of a month maybe two.

So when thinking about where the messengers in your world should come from, the first thing I think of is that they work for messenger gods. On Golarion there really only two gods of messengers or messages. Pavnuri the daemon harbinger of secret messages whose followers I see, not only charging exorbitant amounts to ferry the messages of the criminal underworld and spies, but also probably perusing any notes for blackmail material. The other is the Empyreal Lord Sinashakti, whose purview is definitely messengers and her church is probably one of the most trusted group of messengers around.

I imagine that other gods of travel might have messengers. Abadar in particular, who is also a god of merchants and wealth, seems like his church might supply the service as a means of income generation. Desna, Hanspur, Wadjet, and Ng might also provide messaging services through their clergy and followers. In my own write up for possible sects for the elven god Ketephys I added a group of messengers.

One of the other major ways that messages may get move on a global scale is by organizations that have business all over. The most obvious example is the Pathfinder Society. Members of the society travel all over the globe and it would be easy enough for them to take correspondences for people outside their ranks for a fee. The other large organization on Golarion is the Aspis Consortium. Since their endeavors are usually more nefarious, delivering mail would be a perfect cover for their more unscrupulous deeds.

Trading companies might also take letters from place to place. Caravan masters can help fund their trips by taking messages to and fro. Those caravans that travel a regularly scheduled route can be a reliable source of moving information from one locale to another. Just imagine the local populace when they know the traders are coming through, everyone hoping they get a letter from loved one.

So how can messages and their delivery become a part of your players’ lives? Starting an adventure as the actual messengers is one way to go about it. But what happens when the person they are supposed to be delivering the message to has disappeared? Maybe your players are expecting a message but it doesn’t arrive. Do you players going hunting down the messenger? And if so, how?  That’s just two of many ways to get an adventure started with a message.

There are a million more ways to get a message across country. How do correspondences get delivered on your world? Is everything done magically, or are there mundane methods of transporting letters? Are messengers loved? Reviled? Ignored?

The CRB is all about getting the message of examining all aspects of your game. You can help keep the correspondences flowing by contributing to my Patreon. Check out a video message for you, the readers, when you visit my Patreon page.

The CRB has begun to get its message across all over social media. Check me out on Google +, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Join the growing community of folk who read the CRB and interact with like-minded gamers. On each platform my inbox is always open for comments, questions, and requests.

No comments:

Post a Comment