I've often wondered in the past why we frequently see the "Monster Manual" for various D&D settings well before the release of the actual setting and/or rules. I think I'm beginning to figure it out now. The mood and tone of the game is largely determined by the NPCs that the players encounter in an adventure. Or to put it another way, a building isn't sinister but the people in it might be. People being easier to personalise than organisations allows you to get a coherent feel for the thing that you can expand upon easily and develop into a proper feel to the game as a whole.
What I was finding before this was that I would write up an organisation one way but when it came time to populate it I found that the people in the organisation clashed with the theme as previously written.
The upshot of all this is that the best logical order I can come up with for writing the books is
Player's book - rules and whatnot
Enemies book - the people in the game world
Game master's book - the background material
In theory, somewhere in between the enemies book and the game master's book there is room for a book detailing the main personalities that exist in the game. For now the stuff I'm coming up with is mainly villains who work in various circles (from serial killers to businessmen to politicians) but the good guys define the background as much as the bad, I just like bad more. The target I have set myself is one hundred personalities - ten broad categories and ten in each category. The categories are:
Business men and women
Guns for hire
Cleaners (think Nikita)
Misc (international jewel thieves, Lord Lucan types, blackmailers and so on)
Any ideas gratefully accepted.
I took a look through my notes earlier and found my wishlist of thing to write for the game.
Games Master's Guide
Human Resources (The Monster Manual)
Enemy Territory (Unusual or dangerous places to fight)
The Almighty Dollar (The Company sourcebook)
For King and Country (The Establishment
The Powers that be (Secret Senate, Spooks and Government sourcebook)
In Nomine Padre (The sourcebook for the Church and New Crusade)
Greed is Good(The sourcebook for the Syndicate)
The Shop(The sourcebook for the Shop)
The Black Book (The Black Book sourcebook)
Blood in, Blood out(The organised crime sourcebook)
Develop your Psychic potential today!!(The Psychics handbook)
Abra Kadabra(The Magic sourcebook)
Before I kill you... (The Villains of Unholy Wars)
Children of the Revolution (The Heroes of Unholy Wars)
The little people (Independent investigators, Small groups, cults and gangs for Unholy Wars)
There are two new groups in there (well, one new and one with a name and theme change) which brings the total up to seven, a number I was always aiming for since they fit thematically with the seven deadly sins, something I'll get back to another time, it doesn't mean anything right now and might never.
So now we have (aside from mundane government or criminal organisations we all know about)
The Establishment - dedicated to the protection of the interests of the british monarchy.
The Company - A group who dictate how the economy works.
The Syndicate - A younger version of the company, far more direct and unsubtle in their methods and concerned with money far more than power or influence.
The Shop - a philanthropic mercenary organisation. Imagine if the A-team started a private army of like minded individuals.
Black Book - the polar opposite of the Shop, very loosely organised and while it isn't entirely malicious it IS entirely amoral.
The New Crusade - The secret splinter faction of the Church out to save souls at the cost of their own.
The Secret Senate - A Shadow government consisting of Illuminati types, Skull and Bones members and the like.
Anway, thematically (my new word of the day) speaking, they match up to the deadly sins like so. Some might not entirely make sense but hopefully they will once I pad out the background a bit for the various organisations.
The Establishment, Pride
The Syndicate, Gluttony
The Shop, Greed
Black Book, Lust
The Company, Sloth
The New Crusade, Wrath
The Secret Senate, Envy
With any luck I'll get a few thousand words done tonight, I've not had many opportunities lately so I'd like to get a few hours at it and at the very least compile all the junk so far into some sort of cohesive whole.