A Demon Haunted World

Yesterday I wrote about using the background of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, specifically the show’s ancient history, as the setting of a Swords & Wizardry game. I specifically discounted the idea of using S&W for a modern world game in the setting.

Well, today I’m partially turning my back on that on that idea. I think a S&W supplement in a modern day world where the characters move in a shadow world populated by the last vestiges of the Old Ones is a great idea. I want to create a modern fantasy game not of the de Lint/Bull school (as much as I love War for the Oaks and similar novels) nor of the strictly horror genre but a modern swords and sorcery game of demon hunting, forbidden magics, and a parallel magical culture. Touch stones for such a game would obviously include Buffy and Angel. I would also add Neverwhere and the Harry Potter novels. For those wondering about the latter, it wandered in from discussions my Trollsmyth and d7 as well as here about appealing to Harry Potter fandom.

If nothing else I think such a project is an excellent response to the twin questions: how far can you stretch Classic D&D and will the OSR create something new or just repeat the past.

Thus, I’m announcing my S&W project, tentatively called A Demon Haunted World: Swords & Sorcery in the here and now. I’ll present pieces as I create them here at Places to Go, People to Be with at least one new piece every Thursday. I already have a character class, The Chosen, to replace clerics (and modeled on Buffy herself obviously). I also have some ideas on the economy of the magical world based on gold but with different values and uses for different alloys and colors. Some fairly common (and some less common) rules for wizards already running around will be in, such as Light/Dark wizards, counter-spells, and wizard dueling. Finally, new races are already on the drawing boards with men divided into four kinds and half demons giving five racial options. Half demons will be a character class by themselves but the four types of men will have different class options (and advantages at certain classes).

The long term (Christmas 2010?) goal is to actually write this up as my entry into the pdf/print product market. I’ve been looking for something that spoke to me in a way that made me want to publish. Given my love of modern fantasy of all types I think this is it.

2 thoughts on “A Demon Haunted World

  1. The idea is intriguing. I think it would be fun to play in such a world and experience the interplay between modern and myth.

    I'm curious though as to why you choose Swords & Wizardry as your base system to build upon. Being a retro-clone it was designed to bring back the feel of old school D&D and in my mind fill a need for nostalgia.

    Do you think you can get it to bring about a new feel–a feel of A Demon Haunted World?

    Are you taking it up as a challenge to stretch OSR as you state:

    If nothing else I think such a project is an excellent response to the twin questions: how far can you stretch Classic D&D and will the OSR create something new or just repeat the past.

    I like the idea of your project so I wish you luck.

  2. Actually, a common topic of discussion in the OSR is where it should go. One point that comes up again and again is that if we are to be more than a nostalgia movement we need to expand the boundaries of OSR play while maintaining the same feel/style.

    A fear that has arisen is that in the end we'll merely recapitulate the history of the hobby. To do more than that requires taking inspirations compatible with the OSR's key ideas that either weren't followed or weren't present in the late 70s.

    Urban fantasy is much more a product of the late 80s on. In finding in this Buffy quote and a couple of other places a pace to hang OSR assumptions on I'm hoping to do just that.

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