CEPHALOFAIR DESIGNER DIARY ISSUE 7: GLOOMHAVEN RPG

April 30, 2024

CEPHALOFAIR DESIGNER DIARY ISSUE 7: GLOOMHAVEN RPG

Greetings Mercenaries!


I hope you’ve had a wonderful April, and are looking forward to this month’s update. I am so excited to share some of the work I’ve been doing with you! As you may remember from last month, we’ve been busy updating class powers, and I’ve been compiling the book into a manuscript format. We haven’t yet sent the manuscript off to editing, but it is extremely close, and I think I’ll be able to send the first set of files off as early as next week.

So, with that in mind, my update today is going to be a bit of behind the scenes on how the development process goes, along with a sneak peek at some WIP setting information. 

Development of a project is fun, because you take the words a bunch of different authors have written, and you put them together in a way that makes it look like a single narrative voice. It takes a bit of style, and a firm understanding of the scope and desires for the project to do, so if you ever hear someone talking about the development process being difficult, believe them. For me, I’ve spent the past month compiling chapters, filling in holes in the text, and moving things around. I’ve also been consulting with Wilting Moon, our official lore keeper here at Cephalofair. This process has been extremely helpful and enlightening, and the amount of information and lore I’ve put into my brainpan in the past month or two has been extreme. The setting chapter alone is huge, and it covers a brief history of the world (including things that are major spoilers for the Gloomhaven board game), a detailed district guide for the city of Gloomhaven, some setting information for all the places nearby to Gloomhaven, and a bit lighter information on places further afield, such as Vair-in-Sul, the valrath nation, and Cyrgen, the eastern continent where quatryls and orchids hail from.

We’ve also got a whole chapter on the different factions that are active in Gloomhaven, and what it’s like to be a part of them. Your faction is a part of your gameplay just like your ancestry or class, and informs the kinds of things your mercenary cares about along with the kinds of side quests you’ll have to do while out on missions. These factions set up the political atmosphere for the city, and your mercenaries can engage with them as much or as little as you want. Speaking of, I think the idea of factions and how you interact with them is extremely cool. So, I’m going to share a little excerpt from the Merchant’s Guild to give you a taste of what those look like.

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Merchant's Guild

In the human nation, the Merchant's Guild is literally the government. Composed of the richest of the rich across the nation, this group of oligarchs exerts a total stranglehold on commerce and politics nationwide, with only one exception: the city of Gloomhaven. Guild rule is very hands off. They control and finance both maintaining city infrastructure and law enforcement but little else. Private businesses handle everything else, and even non Guild businesses must tithe for the public fund. This often creates tension with the Keepers of the Great Oak, as the Guild explores new sources of profit that deplete or displace natural resources. It also creates a predatory economy of private business concerns. 

Despite devoting extensive resources to it, The Guild has failed consistently to replace the military leadership of Gloomhaven. Bribes, mercenaries, spies, and assassins have all proved distressingly ineffective at destabilizing the Shields. So far, that is. 

When it comes to its membership, those driven by a lust for money and power are usually drawn to the unvarnished avarice of the Guild. Likewise, those with a talent for paperwork and bureaucracy see Guild work as prestigious as well as profitable. Ambition and avarice join hands in its membership. 

Faction Goals

The Merchant Guild’s goals always boil down to creating or protecting profit on one hand, and working to take Gloomhaven on the other. Everyone in the Guild works towards these goals. Starting agents  serve as guards for Guild resources or VIPs, or acting as thugs against The Shields’ interests. Respected agents are trusted to  "remove impediments", be they people or evidence,  negotiate trade deals, and mediate business conflicts. All agents of The Guild within Gloomhaven find themselves engaged in espionage and sabotage against The Shields on a frequent basis. A number of them are also in place at The University, positions assured by Guild donations to the school. 

Possible Missions: Protect or deliver a shipment of goods, kill or weaken members of the Shields, eliminate someone blocking the advancement of a new business venture.

Faction Alignment

Allies: Needle-Eyes Freebooters prove to be reliable middlemen and information-brokers. The Sin Ra Syndicate is a valuable investment when things have to get messy to secure profits.

Enemies: The Shields are the last bastion of militaristic resistance in Casskia, and it is only a matter of time before we overthrow their power. Those entitled whiners in the Weavers Guild Trade Union are a pathetic, if not persistent, thorn in our side.

Reputation Tier

Debtor: Thankfully, the Guild’s loans department likes gold more than swords. Gain no Faction Benefits.

Goon: Prove your trustworthiness as an asset. When in a city, you may pay a Merchant’s Guild Banker 5 gold in ‘apprenticeship’ fees which gives you access to the Guild Bazaar. The Guild Bazaar contains one Concealed Dagger.

Promotor: You’re considered a reliable asset to the Guild. Gain a 20% gold bonus on top of your share of mission rewards. The Guild Bazaar now also contains an Opulent Robe.

Investor: Congratulations, you’re officially an employed mercenary. Gain a 20% gold bonus on top of your share of mission rewards. The Guild Bazaar now also contains a Merchant’s Insignia and an Exceptional Hat.

Mogul: You’ve made a real name for yourself in the bizz. Gain a 20% gold bonus on top of your share of mission rewards. The Guild Bazaar now also contains a Guild Signet Ring. In addition, whenever you are targeted by an attack, you may make an opposed Finesse check with an adjacent ally to have them suffer the damage instead.

Hostile: Seeing your face on a poster wasn’t the best feeling. Possible consequences: A gang of bandits attempts to bring your head in. You are given a sizable debt to pay. Corrupt Guild agents in the city guard attempt to arrest or frame you.

And that’s all I have for you this month. Until next time!

 





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