This article is the first one in a series that will present the Titans from the roleplaying game Facing the Titan. And the first to be showcased will be … Jahadoo !
Jahadoo was one of the first Titans to come to my mind. At first, it didn’t have a name. It was just « Magical Jellyfish ». Some months prior to the time I wrote the draft of Facing the Titan, I stumbled back into Magic the Gathering during the Shadows over Innistrad period. And a card/creature stuck into my mind. Emrakul.
This was the picture I used in my playtests, before I even contacted Roger about illustrating the Titans. The illustration guided me through the creation of Jahadoo.
First, I put down the core concept. A magical entity full of ethereal tentacles, coming from another plane, moving through planes, and corrupting everything it touches. Then, with this concept came the Tones. In the first versions of the game, Jahadoo got those three Tones : Magical, Mutant, Corruptor.
And that was it. In the first version of the game, there was no setting or no context for any Titan. It was … different (and it didn’t work well). But Jahadoo never saw that version, and lost its Corruptor Tone before it could use it. It got Ethereal instead. And then I started developing the Titans : Mysteries, Threats and dedicated Settings.
An erratic threat
At that point, while rewriting Jahadoo, I decided to change the Mutant Tone by the Erratic one. I thought that Mutant was too close to Magic. And I saw Jahadoo as a mindless creature, wandering with no purpose (or at least no purpose in the eyes of those witnessing it ). Thus the Erratic tone.
This Tone went very well during one of the playtest. While depicting Vignettes in the Titan Phase, one of the players described how a small town went crazy as the Titan was approaching. People fleeing, looting properties, and others just waiting to die/be consumed by the Titan. And a few meters before it reaches the wall of the town, the Titan went another way. Ignoring the place.
It’s exactly what I was intending with this Tone. This Titan is from another world, and doesn’t think like any other creature. It’s intelligent, but it has its own plans.
I’m really happy with this change. The Mutant/Mutatrix aspect of Jahadoo is already expressed in its names, in its description. The duet of Magic and Ethereal is already linked to the Mutant aspect, and I wanted to show another facet of the Titan with that Tone. It also brought new ideas for the Setting.
A land of sand
During the process of playtesting the game, it became clear that I needed each Titan to get its own setting. A setting suited to that Titan, where its presence has influenced the world. And where its Tones are dominant. Looking at the Tones of my « Magical Ethereal Erratic Jellyfish » (it didn’t have a name yet), I settled on a land full of magic. Where magic users are the dominant caste.
As I did with each of the Titan, I looked for a culture and a language I would use as a basis. The Land(s) of Magic(s) is based on a mythical India/Persia. My daughter was watching (and re-watching, and …) Aladdin at the time. It influenced me. I used Hindi as a basis for the names from the setting. And I tried to put some multiverse strangeness in it. If you look closely, you’ll find things related to India, in the Places, Factions and Events. I added the Tones to color these elements.
The Great Ocean of Sand was one of the last. There was some Mad Max: Fury Road still roaming in my brain, and the faction The Trail derives from there too. But there are only three items that relate to that aspect of the setting :
- The Great Ocean of Sand, which surrounds the peninsula and whose dunes move like slow waves.
- The Trail, a matriarchal society living on the great ocean of sand aboard giant sailboats and the only one able to find their way there.
- A race in the Great Ocean of Sand, from which half of the participants do not return.
In my mind, while designing that Setting, I was writing about a city-centered setting. The dominant caste of magicians ruling over a strange kingdom where magic is everywhere. Other realms appearing at the corner of a street.
I played one game in this setting. I watched another one. The two of them took part in the Desert. One starting within the Oasis provided as a Reunion Site. The other one held on a ship from the Trail. I put ideas on these lists, and they didn’t grow as I intended to. But those two games were great and didn’t evolve similarly.
To end with this presentation, let’s look at the illustration by Roger Heal. What struck me when Roger sent me this was the pitch-black mass center of the Titan. And all that multiple white spots that featured like stars on a door to somewhere else. The tentacles are abstract, and that’s what Jahadoo is : something strange, from another world/place.
If you play with Jahadoo, or if you read it and want to share some thoughts or questions about it, the comment section or my message box is open for you!