Random Campaign Idea in Pictures

So, lately I’ve been listening to this:

Which lead to me reading, for the first time, this:

While thinking about running:

Yet at the same time I’d like to run:

Where this:

Has always been associated with:

And I’m really excited to get this soon:

Now, post holocaust after the Martians is nothing new. The Aftermath rules suggest it and a later return of the Martians was the ruin for one of their playtest games (even including the human hunters of men the artillery man envisions). Still, the idea of a devastating Martian war where humanity, but not civilization, is saved by monsters and magicians could be fun.

Base on The World After and this, among others, it’s clear I’ve internalized the D&D is the apocalypse trope. It’s also clear that I prefer it not be nuclear war and have a strong bent on the Devil did it (the multiple images above, for those who don’t recognize them, are from Prince of Darkness).

Playing with History

Influenced by a old Jeff Rientspost and prompted because the third has been on my mind today and the second the past week (actually about a week ago, but just finishing the post) here are some pseudo-historically based campaign ideas I’ve had:

Period Campaign Idea Notes Probable Rules
About 110,000 Clark Aston Smith’s Hyperborea set in Sangamonian interglacial period Greenland When reading about Greenland after reading The Tale of Satampra Zeiros I found this map; it’s been the primary inspiration. Of all the ideas this is the one most likely to have me drag out AD&D and believe it or not, second edition. Second edition seems like plays much closer to what I’ve called Intermediate D&D which is the style I played in the early 80s. Also, I’ve never really played second.
871 AD The Viking conquest of Britain during the reign of Alfred the Great. I long had an SCA persona who was a pre-Conquest Saxon. For years he actually bridged the Conquest and afterwards went on the Crusades. Over time I got more interested in earlier periods of Anglo-Saxon England such as Alfred’s reign. Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories would be the major literary influence. Lamentations of the Flame Princess because only the fighter advances in combat and the very magic is very dangerous. Magic would be the hallmark of the invading Vikings in contrast to the clerics of the Saxons.
late 1400s The Valley of Mexico just before the Spanish Conquest (and possibly during). This is the most recently inspired, by the pyramids episode of Out of Egypt which I watched on Netflix. I didn’t realize that Teotihuacan was not of Aztec origin but in fact predates their culture. That alone sounds like an excellent megadungeon. Plus, Aztec culture, even the poor “I read Wikipedia and a overview book plus watched some TV” cultures that characterize D&D games (even ones based on the Middle Ages or Roman), is alien enough for most of the people who might play in my games to make it interesting. While part of me wants to do straight OD&D with this one I suspect Runequest of some form (I’ve got 2nd and 3rd edition as well as BRP and GORE on the shelves and I’m open to either Mongoose version, 6th edition, or Open Quest). More than the other three I’d like to use An Echo Resounding with this one. The Valley of Mexico is perfectly sized for it at 3816sq miles. Remember, in Pre-Columbia America there are no beasts of burdern or riding animals so distances will always be driven by foot speed.


RPG Free Association

Matt’s excellent Pars Fortuna includes all new spells. Reading them to build a list of 1st level spells for a new game that includes no stock spells I came across Miner’s Nose which is described as “This spell grants the target the ability to magically smell precious metals and stones within 30 feet.”

I immediately thought of this:

From Comics.org:

Once upon a time, there was a prince who was born in the shape of a donkey. He was the most beautiful, delightful, lovable little donkey in the world. But he was the saddest little donkey, too, for his greatest wish was to become a real human prince. Though he did not know it, there was one way he could become a human prince. But would he ever find the way?

The reason he was born that way was his father hired a wizard to help the barren queen give birth. When payment came due the king put copper at the bottom of the sacks of gold and the wizard smelled the different. Then the wizard cursed the child.

Outside of Scott at Huge Ruined Pile I don’t see a lot of OSR people taking a lot of deliberate inspiration from fairy tales (this particular one is found in Grimm among other places). I don’t know if Matt did here, but certainly his spell reminded me of a fairy tale (and wistfully…this particular comic was a favorite as a child).

Perhaps as much as Howard and Lovecraft we need to look at Grimm, Anderson, and Lang.

Monday Pointers, July 2, 2012

D4: Everchanging Book of Names
One of my favorite pieces of GM support software (in fact, one of only two RPG specific programs I use) is the Everchanging Book of Names. I have yet to see any OSR mention of it so I wanted to list it today. You can setup name parts and patterns that fit your world and let it generate away. Several books (sets of parts and patterns) are available include one for Greyhawk as well as other popular settings and literary sources. My favorite is, of course, Glorantha.

D6: Detailed Hexcrawl Rules
Justin has an interesting series of rules for running hexcrawls designed to keep the hexes behind the screen while players react to the environment.

D8: System Matters in the Sandbox
Ravencrowking has a multi-part discussion of why system aspects are needed for a sandbox to work. That he concludes the system in D&D 3.x and Type IV aren’t conductive to sandbox play isn’t a surprise. What I do find interesting is his conclusion on what currently available game beats out any version of D&D or retroclone for this position. By the reasoning he gives a retro-clone plus An Echo Resounding and Adventurer, Conqueror, King would meet the “best of show” standard as well.

D10: Nine Minute Campaign Design
Another one of those quick questions to get your setting down post that I’ve found useful.

D12: Crowd Funding by the Ton
Lamentations of the Flame Princess is trying to crowd fund 19 separate adventures. There are bundle options where you can get all that fund for much less than buying print plus pdf for each individually. If you are a Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society there are discounts on the bundles. It is Indiegogo, not Kickstarter, which means you pay upfront and get refunded if they don’t fund. Given my two favorite OSR companies (LotFP and Sine Nomine) are effectively teaming up in it I’m most interested in seeing The House of Bone and Amber by Kevin Crawford (of Stars Without Number and Red Tide fame as well as the afore mentioned An Echo Resounding) although I’ll be buying the bundle.

D20: Magical Pacts and Worshipful Machines
Speaking of Kevin Crawford we now have small free releases for Red Tide and Stars without Number.