Artistic Inspiration: Nemo/The Cave

In searching for an inspiration to post about today I was amazed I haven’t posted this music video yet.

In the player handout first campaign in the World After I said:

A random selection of inspirations for the game: The novels Black Easter and The Day After Judgement> by James Blish (a few years ago available as The Devil’s Day in a single volume). The Nightwish album Once and the Within Temptation album Mother Earth. Memories of many Tunnels and Trolls sessions in the early 80s. Three on-going urban fantasy book series one of which is Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty novels and the others would be telling. Ken Hite’s GURPS Cabal and many columns from Supressed Transmission. The movies Heavy Metal and The Warriors of the Apocalypse (oh, and a tiny touch of Night of the Comet…well, not really but if you’re renting bad movies to get ready for the game it’s a classic). The various Horseclans books. The full range of D&D (not AD&D, which 3rd and 4th edition continue without the A), Judges Guild, Arduin Grimoire, and modern simulacrum games designed to fit the 80s vibe. Dragonfoot.org, The World of Thool (and it’s predecessor Wilderlands of OD&D), Grognardia, Lair of the Flame Princes, Monsters & Manuals, Philotomy’s OD&D Musings, The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope, and RPG.net.

While some of those have fallen by the side others have remained constant. The Blish books have clearly remained as does one of the urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files. Ken Hite’s work is seminal in making my interests gel and are included. Most of the others have not.

However, this video is very specifically what I was referring to about Nightwish. This isn’t the official video but includes scenes from the movie The Cave. I’ve never seen the movie but the video influenced my initial ideas for a mega-dungeon. I later abandoned them but they have come back full bore for Santuario Nero. The idea of a hidden complex with monsters sealed over by an abandoned monastery fits the World After very well.

Flood Relief Package

DrivethroughRPG follows last year’s Haiti relief bundle with a Pakistan Flood Bundle.

What jumps out at me are:

Hot War: I’ve long wanted this narrow, indie game about a post WWIII London, where WWIII included Nazi mystical WMD as well as nukes. It’s bleak and ugly and just the thing I want.

Starblazer Adventures: “Traveller” for the Fate system, a broad sci-fi game drawing from the British comic of the same name. It might just provide the implied setting that allows “You play Luke Skywalker, I’ll play Captain Kirk, and we’ll fight the Cylons on Arrakis”

Don’t Rest Your Head: Not being able to sleep means knowing the Truth. Knowing the Truth means things can eat you in your sleep. Insomnia is its own punishment as you use exhaustion to fuel you ability to keep the real nightmares away.

Dhanurvidya & Varman: The Arms and Armor of India: India is, to my mind, an underused inspiration for gaming so seeing a product featuring it always makes me happy.

Monday Pointers: October 18, 2010 Edition

D4:It Was Only Due to My Years of Drinking I Defeated My Foe
A while back I got thinking on the one problem with 1GP = 1XP in my mind: it means by level 3 or 4 money is meaningless to adventurers. This track neither medieval history or Conan in most of his stories so needs work. The traditional answer is training but I’m not big on that alone. There is also the ever popular carousing rules. Hill Cantons introduces something I might play with: variable ratios depending on usage. While his chart isn’t all I’d do it gives me some ideas.

D6:Plus, It’s Technically Regency
Meanwhile, the Greyhawk Grognard has been watching a lot of Hammer Horror and concludes the 1830s are an untapped period for RPGs, specifically in Eastern Europe. Combined with my recent decision to move The World After to Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplaying this really struck me. LotFPWFR has a more 18th-early 19th century feel than D&D. I think moving the culture of my setting from bog standard pseudo-medieval with lots of renaissance ideas added to a Regency era feel has a lot of potential.

D8:Tales from the Dusty Vault
I just found this blog of OSR reviews. Very worth reading.

D10:Stupid DM Tricks
Zak gives us an aftermath report on an adventure based on every random idea we could post.

Inspirational Art: The Harrowing of Hell

About five weeks late the next round of inspirational items for the World After and the one that drew a content warning.

As I have pointed out in the past, the changes between The World Before and The World After are inspired by the novels Black Easter and The Day After Judgment by James Blish (available in a omnibus called The Devil’s Day). The books use a good deal of medieval imagery and seem to draw heavily on both Dante and Milton (especially the second).

The final chapter of the second book is called “The Harrowing of Heaven” as a parallel to The Harrowing of Hell. The Apostles’ Creed mentions Christ’s decent into Hell for the three days prior to the resurrection. Depending on the source (religious or literary) this may have released souls dead before Christ, but the interesting part to me is from Dante. In The Inferno Virgil tells Dante of the Harrowing and shows him damage to the structures of Hell, specifically the destruction of the bridges that connect that span the ditches where the sinful are punished in the Eighth Circle of Hell.

It is from these two sources I drew my inspiration for The Harrowing or more properly The Harrowing of Creation. One of the simplest but to me very interesting thing is the destruction of bridges: literal in Dante and metaphorically in Blish. One has a harder time traversing Hell or contacting the creator. Now, 23 times 25 years after the Harrowing the world is still assorted city states, vast and very hard to traverse wastes separate people from each other, much that was known was lost, and fewer and fewer people can touch the divine. The Harrowing of Creation seems to have destroyed travel and communication. This includes the communication of knowledge…no one knows where the elves came from and even the Hierarchy, which predates The Harrowing knows few details of it.

The question is how to translate this to my game. The first thing, and easiest, is lack of roads and other structures of travel. The more complex some travel structure, the more creative effort required to built it, the less likely it is to exist and the more vulnerable it is to entropy. Reading and writing have fallen to medieval European levels in most places. Spells of travel and communication are rarer and perhaps of higher level.

Finally, the way around this transport problem is The Demon Ways that connect the parts of the megadungeon. People just need to remember demons aren’t among The Fallen.

Art notes: the two illustrations of The Harrowing of Hell are by Pieter Huys and Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburg.

Monday Pointers: Unemployed Edition

D4:Starting Like a Kid with a Sears Catalog
Scott at Huge Ruined Pile suggests building a campaign like you just had the Moldvay Basic set and addiing the Cook Expert set when someone reaches level four. I’ll discuss changing this to a more recent boxed set later this week.

D6:But What if I Added Harry Dresden and Dr. Who, then where are we
I’m actually linking to a comment, not a post but riffing on Jeff Rient’s excellent description of D&D: “You play Conan, I play Gandalf. We team up to fight Dracula.” in describing what a true sci-fi game in that vein would be: “Luke Skywalker and Spock team up to fight Cylons.” James Mal would add “on Arrakis” and change Spock to Kirk but either way it is a goal worth shooting for if I ever get back to Space Monks.

D8:What Fits in a Session
A new blog gets to Monday Pointers: Telecaster’s Receding Rule has a great little bit about dungeon design and what will fit in a session. Although I’ve been playing (and DMing) a long time my dungeons aren’t the greatest. So I love collecting bits and pieces to help me get better.

D13:Yep, I’m Looking for Work
As the title says I’m out of work. My employer had large layoffs the first of September and that accounts in part for my absence for September. I have another month of severance and good leads.