Random Campaign Idea: Potion Miscibility

This is a little different than most Random Campaign Ideas. Instead of a fleshed out idea it’s more framework for creating your own.

Two frameworks already presented in blogs that I know of are Jeff Reint’s Alchemical Formula and Scott’s interesting thought experiment. Lacking the creativity of either gentleman I present my mix of the two. I hope you find my miscibility roll to be a good one.

You get three pairs of game items and three pairs of inspirations and all campaign material must derive from them and you and your player’s imagination. However you only start with one pair, add one when your first PC reaches 3rd level, and then add one when your first PC reaches 14th level. This brings together the limited palette of both ideas and casts it in terms of the B/X tree Scott used.

What are those pairs:

Level 1 Gaming: Moldvay Basic and any single B module published by TSR (except B1-9 combined). It could also work if you opened it to “any TSR, JG, or Mayfair module for levels 1-3” or but limiting to TSR B series is “purer”. You could even open it up to modern OSR modules if you like. The key idea is pick one thing in the 32-64 page range.

Level 1 Inspiration: Any one single book from Moldvay’s list and any single movie or three episodes of a TV series.

Level 1 Reasoning: Instead of a pure Moldavy boxed set I allow for a roll your own with limits. Like Scott I think B2 is a bit too straight jacket if part of your required inspiration. I know in the review in White Dwarf the reviewer of Palace of the Silver Princess recommended it replace B2. Also, for many of us B2 is something we’ve used a lot. While I’m a big fan of writing sources of inspiration for roleplaying being able to show your players a movie and say “like this” can help get them up to speed.

Level 3 Gaming: Cook Expert and any single X module published by TSR or B10, Night’s Dark Terror (which was designed as a transitional module). As with Level 1, opening it up to any single module for levels 4-14 from any source would work if a little less pure.

Level 3 Inspiration: Any one single book from Moldvay’s list and any single non-fantasy novel or year of one comic book.

Level 3 Reasoning: As with the “roll your own Basic Set” I like to let those of us who have used X1 a bit too much although I don’t find it as restrictive as B2. The move to a written medium for inspiration two here is an attempt to get something different: a detective novel, ancient astronaut book, or a Jack Kirby comic is to add some spice to the fantasy staples already in place.

Level 14 Gaming: The new B/X Companion and any single rpg supplement of any kind no longer than 64 pages letter/A4 (scale for other sizes).

Level 14 Inspiration: Any one single book from Moldvay’s list and any single source including modern fantasy novels.

Level 14 Reasoning: The Companion finishes the rules set while the second book gives me Jeff’s “third book” of RPG material. The ability to pick any game book, not limited to a module, and the option to pick any text as the sixth non-gaming inspiration reflects the advanced age of the campaign. At this point, your world should have it’s voice and adding something very open or heavy won’t disrupt it much.

One suggestion if you do decide to use this formula: pick your pairs as you get them…don’t pre-decide. Let where the campaign has gone decide what you’re going to add to the journey. Preconceived notions of what is coming at level three are liable to sink you.

For full disclosure if I was to start doing this tomorrow I’d add the following to my Moldvay Basic:

1. B7 Rahasia
2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
3. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

Island as dungeons could easily become a theme here, but the module choice could balance it.

Monday Pointers: Minotaurs and Argonauts Edition

Since moving to Atlanta for the new job I’ve been staying with friends while waiting to move into my apartment. They have an eight year old daughter and a ten year old son. Last night the daughter was interested in the Mazes & Minotaurs book I was reading and I explained it. A quick check of Netflix showed the classic Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts could be seen on demand. I told her the game was like the movie and she and her brother not only agreed to watch it but were fascinated by it. Their mother couldn’t believe how into it they, especially the daughter, were. There might be some classically influenced gaming tonight.

So, for the long awaited return of Monday Pointers I’ve decided to do something different. Instead of an assortment of links that had interested me throughout the week I thought I’d choose a theme.

D4:Mazes and Minotaurs
What if Arneson and Gygax had been playing with hoplites instead of knights? What if they’d enjoyed The Dancer from Atlantis more than Three Hearts and Three Lions? What if they’d read more Mary Renault than Lovecraft and thrilled to Tros of Samothrace more than Conan the Cimmerian? This might have been the game we’d be playing.

D6:Jason and the Argonauts
Stop motion animation including a giant bronze statue, Hercules played by someone other than Kevin Sorbo (not that I dislike his Hercules), and Pussy Galore doing a turn as Hera Queen of the gods combine in this fun adventure movie. How good is it? A modern 8 and 10 year old whose attention span often can’t last a half hour show on Disney sat enthralled for 103 minutes and wanted to know if there was a sequel or TV series.

D8:The King Must Die: and The Bull from the Sea
Of course, if we have minotaurs we need the Labyrinth and that means Theseus as well. The closest thing to a C. S. Lewis for the ancients is Ms. Renault (to Robert Grave’s Tolkien) and these two novels should inspire any classical game.

D10:The Argonautica (English Translation at Project Gutenberg)
Our major source on Jason and the Argonauts is an epic poem, The Argonautica. The only Hellenistic epic to survive it would serve as a source for another Roman poem on the same topic. At least one English translation (of many) can be found as a free e-book.

D12:Hercules, My Shipmate
If Graves is Tolkien to Renault’s Lewis then we have to include his version of the story of the Argo and her crew of heroes as well in any M&M series of links.