Tab Creations

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Age of Ambition: The World of Trystell

Age of Ambition is set in the fantasy world of Trystell. It is a world that is in the process of evolving beyond sword and sorcery, advancing culturally and technologically into a new age. It is home to a number of different peoples—from human and minotaurs, to ogres and gnomes. It is also the moon of a gas giant, with a hostile sister moon that once tried to colonize the world.

Most of all, Trystell is a world that’s facing its future. It’s beholden to shades of gray and intrigue. No one knows what this new era will bring, but with it comes great peril and great promise.

In this post I want to take a deeper look at the world and the sort of adventures it offers.

If you're not familiar with Age of Ambition, you should know that it's coming to Kickstarter on January 21, 2020 and its blurb is below:

Age of Ambition is a roleplaying game set on a world rapidly leaving the traditional fantasy milieu behind. It's the game of forward-facing fantasy! Where the heroes guide the world into a brave new era of promise or peril.

So strap on your breastplate and pick up your pistol. There are discoveries to make, wrongs to right, tyrants to overthrow and new social orders to trial.

Overview

Trystell is a large moon, orbiting a gas giant and inhabited by several intelligent peoples, ranging from humans and dwarves, to minotaurs and ogres. In this post I want to take a deeper look at the world and the sort of adventures it offers.

It is home to two magical traditions, one involving the extraction of magical energy from creatures called kalids, and another which derives its magical energy from enigmatic devices left behind by the Lunar Occupation.

Socially and culturally, Trystell is rapidly advancing from its equivalent of Earth’s Middle Ages, into what might be called the Early Modern era. This is giving rise to new ways of thinking, and to advances in both magic and technology.

In many ways, Trystell is intended to be a recognizable world in the fantasy gaming tradition. This allows players and GMs to draw on common fantasy tropes and to push past those tropes, asking the question: What comes thereafter? Groups may choose to play these out in a self-aware manner, or they may subvert these tropes to confront serious questions about social change and technological progress.

Player Characters

The world is in a state of flux. The old certainties are being thrown aside, while a new social order rises in its wake. The player characters are at the forefront of this change. They don’t just raid tombs, they foment rebellions, establish new colonies, fight the institution of slavery, break the power of guilds and invent new technologies.

In Age of Ambition, the player characters work together to make their mark on the world, or at least some corner of it. They might be escaped slaves, leaders of an expedition, members of a town council, partners in a new merchant company, a band of city watchmen or even an archetypal adventuring party.

Peoples

The world of Trystell is home to six intelligent peoples, some of which are divided into different sub-groups:

  • Dwarves: A short but durable people with an ancestral memory that passes down knowledge and prejudices through the generations in the dwarven subconscious.
  • Elves: A long-lived and graceful people with keen olfactory senses and many secrets. Divided into: sea elves, true elves and wild elves.
  • Gnomes: A small, impulsive people known for their quirks and prophetic dreams. Divided into: aqua gnomes, handler gnomes and tinker gnomes.
  • Humans: A widespread people known for their hope and optimism.
  • Minotaurs: A towering people with horns and fur. Known for their sense of social harmony and hard mentality. Divided into: canny minotaurs and brawny minotaurs.
  • Ogres: Many diverse peoples with a fierce sense of independence and adaptability. Divided into: goblins, high orcs, hobgoblins, orcs, trolls and true ogres.

Careers

Each of the careers listed below represent an archetype in Age of Ambition. Frequently player characters will be styled after several of these, as life takes unexpected turns.

  • Agitator: Agitators loudly call for social, religious or political change. Towards this end, they frequently organize protects or utilize skills in public speaking and printing.
  • Captive: Captives spend some portion of their lives imprisoned, whether literally locked away in a dank cell or enslaved and made to perform forced labor.
  • Engineer: Engineers are prized specialists who design and build mechanical devices and complex structures, such as mills, bridges, canals and siege engines.
  • Entertainer: Entertainers range from circus performers to established troupe actors, and from court jesters to wandering minstrels.
  • Laborer: Laborers pursue a simple, fulfilling and well-rounded life. It might include getting married, working a farm or seeking a job in one of the bustling foundries.
  • Mage: Mages study either the arcane tradition of kalid magic or lunar magic, learning to extract magical energy and cast spells.
  • Missionary: Missionaries go out into the world to proselytize, do good works and spread the faith.
  • Ne’er-do-well: Thieves, tramps, con artists or any other sort of scoundrel. They make a living by virtue of guile and stealth, leading a life of crime and shady dealings.
  • Pioneer: Skilled at hunting, gathering and keeping alert for signs of danger, they survive in the wilderness where few would manage to eke out a life.
  • Scholar: Scholars are experts in one or more academic fields. Most study at one of Trystell’s many universities, but a few work independently or have wealthy patrons.
  • Sellsword: There are always those who make their living by the sword. They could be mercenaries, soldier, bandits or sometimes all three.
  • Tradesman: Tradesmen are the middle class of Trystell’s bustling cities and civilized countrysides. Merchants and artisans, each is skilled in a particular trade.
  • Zealot: Zealots are uncompromising in their ideals and fanatically champion a cause, whether religious, political or philosophical.

Society

Trystell is a world of intrigue and social change, street corner agitation and masquerade balls. Life has changed significantly in the past few decades, as the world evolves beyond the medieval into a new era of gunpowder and industry.

Many societies on Trystell are highly stratified—with the nobility desperately hanging on to their ancient privileges, with an upsurging merchant class displacing the power of the nobles and with teeming throngs of the common folk increasingly downtrodden and rebellious. The three strata are as follows:

  • Noble: Royalty, nobility or other rulers of society, or the independently powerful.
  • Gentle: Merchants, tradesmen or those in professions requiring skilled labor.
  • Common: Peasants, laborers, ne’er-do-wells and those in unskilled professions.