Wednesday, 15 March 2017

All Things Under Heaven: Announcement & Introduction

All Things Under Heaven is a D&D 5th Edition sandbox and hexcrawl campaign in the tradition of Ben Robbins’ Grand Experiment, and Rollplay’s previous West Marches and ongoing Court of Swords campaigns.

I have been running it IRL for my home group since August of last year, and I am pleased to announce that starting this week I will also be running an online campaign via Twitch.

All Things Under Heaven will run weekly on my Twitch channel on Saturday 10am-2pm AEST (Friday 7pm to 11pm Eastern; Friday 4pm to 8pm Pacific; Friday 6pm to 10pm Central), and will be accompanied the following morning by a GM Turn in which I perform upkeep on the setting and ensure it is reacting dynamically to player actions.


All Things Under Heaven is a campaign that is very much in the weirder and more wondrous/inexplicable vein of fantasy that was common before responses to Tolkien became formulaic and neatly “high fantasy”. 

It features a strong emphasis on exploration and investigation, characters acting to change the world and being changed by it in turn, deep and layered lore that the players can peel back as far as they desire, and characters struggling against great danger to navigate a world that holds endless opportunity but is wilder, fiercer, older, and far stranger than they are.

I would like to acknowledge the brilliant work of Stephen Lumpkin on Rollplay’s West Marches, which was a major inspiration for the feel and mechanics of this campaign and some of whose ideas about character motivation I have adopted.

All Things Under Heaven is set in a mythic Asiatic-influenced world that draws inspiration from China and neighboring regions (Japan, India, Korea, Thailand & Vietnam, Indonesia, Hokkaido & Siberia), but does not attempt to present a coherent fantasy analogue to any one country or period.

It is a response to the diverse cultures and mythologies of Asia, one that is informed by my background in anthropology and history and aims to come from a place of respect and informed research and avoid appropriating or exoticizing traditions from that area.

It is inspired by the legendary history of China presented in the Bamboo Annals, the series of novels The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart, recent works of media that respond respectfully to Asian cultures and mythologies like Avatar: the Last Airbender and Kubo and the Two Strings, anime that include Princess Mononoke, Mushishi, and Sword of the Stranger, and wuxia films like Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Another major inspiration is the work of Adam Koebel on Rollplay’s Court of Swords, which provided an excellent example how to respectfully invent a fantasy world that blends but does not misrepresent or appropriate the mythology of another set of cultures.


I'm very keen to share this with you all. 

My test stream last weekend went well, and I think the audio/video should be nice and clean. The overlay looked fantastic, especially for something made by a novice (me) on GIMP. 

My new players for this incarnation of the campaign have cooked up a fantastic set of characters (far more ambiguously-motivated than the IRL group, too...) and I look forward to sharing their adventures with you.

See you on the stream!

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