I have been reviewing Amethyst: Foundations for a bit over a week now I think. It takes me quite a while to get through a setting bible like this one. It is really detailed and has some awesome content. I really liked the images and content they presented in the vehicles section. Awesome stuff.
But, getting onto my World Building Journal for the day, I wanted to go back to the Mount issue that I brought up when I went exploring World of Warcraft. I love mounts, and I love having players that use them. I really think that Mounts open up the world for the players and having cool mounts really adds flavor to the character himself.
World of Warcraft has some steam/mechanical elements built into it. If you take the Engineering Profession, you can build yourself a bag-of-holding full of mechanical mounts. Just off the top of my head, you can get yourself a Motorcycle as well as a Gyrocopter. I have always wanted to take a character to the maximum Engineering profession level just to get my hands on those mounts. But wait! Are those really mounts at all? In the typical D&D world, Mounts are intelligent, and often Mystical/Magical. Giant Birds, Dragons, Gryphons, Flaming Horses, etc. are mounts, but a Motorcycle?! That isn't a mount, its a vehicle!!
In my Amethyst review this week, I brought up the Organizations section that players can join and talked about how much I liked that setup. These Organizations give the PC's a reason to be together; the benefit that you get for this sometimes comes in essentially loaner vehicles that you get from the Organization to which you belong. In WoW, you can earn all kinds of different Mounts by gaining Reputation with certain groups. Some of these Mounts essentially mark you in the world as an incredibly lucky, or dedicated individual, but in general, they are just a more flashy way to get around.
So, what I arrive at is an idea. Since I am building a sandbox world, that I honestly want my players to be able to explore, I would love to give them exceptionally speedy mounts at or around their first level. I want them to be able to experience open world content in a Table Top game. But, just giving my players really fast horses seems a bit underwhelming. If at all possible, giving them some type of conveyance which not only is awesome, but also adds flavor to their character and the game world in general, is something that I feel I should be aiming for.
So, where am I? Well, I think going the way of Amethyst and WoW and allowing my players to either join or work with a particular organization at 1st level is a great idea; the benefit for joining one of these organizations: a vehicular style mount. Since my world isn't pure fantasy, but falls somewhere in the steampunk/cyberpunk categories, I feel that 1st level characters with Motorcycles, or Jeeps, or Ornithopters, would not only be a very cool way to give flavor to the characters, but also give me the opportunity to open up the world and make travel more realistic.