Category Archives: World Building

The City: Its Core

It’s time to start throwing around ideas for specific areas of the City and the best place to start is the Core. I like doing things with bullet points. It’s easier to reference and gets right to the point without lots of other flowery text getting in the way. Probably on the first pass, I’ll stick the main points and move onto even further detail as time goes on.
*The Spire: Lone tower that pierces the clouds. No one goes in or comes out.
*Temple of Justice: HQ of the Judges.
*Heavily Patrolled: Judges routinely watch the streets for any type of trouble.
*”Good” Temples abound.
*Monstrous races are rare and watched very closely.
*Law and Order are facade. There’s still a seedy underbelly.

I know not a long post but I’ll make up for it.

The City: How/Who You Going to Eat?

I don’t often pay close attention to economy and population density and so on. It’s one of things that I usually hand wave during the planning of a campaign. But The City is a little different. There is no farmland. There are no forests or seas. So what do the inhabitants eat?
For the more evil and monsterously inclined. There’s always the slower less powerful inhabitants.
The City does provide a bit with the Gruel Fountains. Sure it’s pretty much a tasteless porridge but at least it’s food. Of course, the fountains usually come under control of a local gang. That is until they rousted out by the Judges or an angry hungry mob.
Then there’s where most folks get their food. As with most fantasy settings, the solution to any problem is MAGIC! So enter Gastromancers. Magic-Users skilled in the art of summoning food and/or ingredients. Since I haven’t decided what system that I’m going to use I haven’t written up Gastromancers yet. But then I’m also envisioning them as an NPC class. We shall see.

The City: Who’s In Charge?

I continue on my rambling construction of that weird city setting. I still don’t have a good name for it. But I’ve still have lots a little things to get organized so there’s time. This post is all about who’s in charge and basically what keeps some powerful being from stomping the place into oblivion. So who’s in charge and protects the place. Well that depends but first an foremost, the City protects itself.
Yep, that’s right. The City does react to to threats in sentient fashion which at times can seem random to the casual observer. The City has three main tactics for defense. First, districts can move. This was reflected in the earlier posts and done randomly. Now imagine try moving an army or even attacking a target when the path to the battlefield is constantly changing to your disadvantage. The second is “Voiding”. The City can cause a whole building to cease to exist temporarily. This can anywhere from hours to centuries. For anyone inside the building, no time passes. For those outside the building time passes normally. Once again, this can screw up villian’s evil plan. And third, “Swapping”. The City can cause two beings to switch bodies. Once again, this can play havoc.
The Judges: Think of them as a cross between Judge Dread and Lawful Neutral Paladins. In this case, they are granted their “divine” powers by the City.
But there’s more and let’s go down the food chain.
The Gods: Yes, there are gods who walk the streets of the City. While quite powerful, most have learned to cooperate with the City. It really hurts to have your temple taken away.
The Elders & Their Followers: These are the mysterious leaders of the City. Generally, each district has its own Elder or Boss if you will. They wield power on the streets and so on. As long as they don’t overreach then..
That’s today’s rant on The City. More to follow.

Tweaking Old Skull Stuff

Once again. No Secret about which games I like and I’ve really gotten the bug about the stuff from Old Skull Publishing. They really have hit my itch on the game front with an old-school feel, rules efficient, and implied settings that are just different enough to make them interesting.
So why am I doing this post? Well, I had some extra time to think about how easily hackable they are and came up with a couple of ideas that would on take some minor house ruling.
I’ve been working on a campaign for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets to run it more urban fantasy type vein. But of course I also got to thinking if you dropped Gifted characters then you’d have something along a traditional horror game (and probably a large PC body count but that comes with genre). So instead Slayers like Buffy, you’d have character more like Kolchak. Plain old mortals fighting against the darkness.

I can’t write this post without also mentioning Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. This is a real roller coaster of a game. The implied setting is very much like Heavy Metal. It’s crazy gonzo and just a bit out there. The Chaos Grenade did a take on Dark Sun (of D&D fame). So thought to myself what else? An idea came to mind and my google fu may be week but it would make a great Thundarr campaign!

This really would take hardly any house ruling and you could easily grab some stuff from Mutant Future and peg on there.
So many ideas. So many games. So little time.

The City: What Lies Beneath

So here we go more on The City. If you remember from last week I ranted about moving around The City itself. This week it’s about traveling beneath the city and it’s even more strange. Basically, there are three levels/regions beneath the city.
The Undercity/Sewers: Pretty much what it says. Sewers and even stranger things lurk here. It’s shady and pretty bad place.
The Catacombs: A labyrinth filled with undead, ancient crypts, and the occasional eldritch thingie.
The Ancient City Ruins: Insert ruins and pretty much any dungeon type crawl you want.
These three levels pretty much follow the same pattern as the surface. So use the same basic map if you are looking from above.

However if you traveling up or down between levels, it’s crazier. And where you end up may be determined whether you going up or down. Here’s the rough idea complete with “spell checking”. Hey it’s still a draft!

Yes, this makes traveling between various areas of the map difficult and dangerous. But then that’s the whole idea. So now I just need to come up with over 100 interesting hexes and some NPC’s. And yes there’s some more ideas bouncing around inside my head. But that’s to come.

The City: Concept Map.

Here’s the second post and my crazy City idea. So I played around with some rather simple ideas, ran with it, and here’s what I come up with.

Let me explain this map a bit. The numbered hexes, I’m calling boroughs. Each of these will have their interesting places, people and things. While they have relative positions on the “map” it’s more for easy reference in my own brain and some sort visualization. For this post, I’m dealing with those bands of gray and moving around in the City. Each of those bands, I’m calling a District. The Core is in the center (dimensionally stable area) and radiating outwards there is the Antumbra, Penumbra, and Umbra. Each growing more alien and dangerous as you move from the Core.
Moving from borough to borough within a District and moving between Districts is handled the same way. Roll that die type as on the map and that’s where you end up when moving to the next hex. Also remember that the city “wraps around” so characters attempt to walk off the map, they just end up somewhere else in the Umbra. That’s why that map is more of random table than actually a map. I know that this will be a pain in the ass when the player characters try to go any where. So depending on the game system, I’m thinking of throwing some of modifier or other adjustment to have a better chance at navigating around.
I’m also playing around with moving this into the third dimension and add levels (sort of like a dungeon) to the City. So far I’m thinking about four levels. The City proper, The Undercity, The Catacombs, The Ancient Ruined City. With this I’m possibly throwing around the idea that places may “move” up and down. Like the districts the further you get away from the City Core, the weirder things get. So the Ancient Ruined City under the Umbra is a pretty freaky place.
And yes, I’m thinking about crazy other stuff too but more on that later.

Vampires & Werewolves. Oh My!

If you’ve been following along I’m converting/resurrecting the old New Bay City campaign for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. The first time I ran this setting it was with World of Darkness then I ran with the Dresden Files RPG. Each time I’ve made some tweaks to the universe based on the game mechanics. This time it ain’t any different.
Vampires and Werewolves are pretty much stock creatures and sometimes even player characters. One of the things that they usually have in common is that they were once regular mortal humans and then something happened. Some fight against their respective supernatural natures and others may relish or even be consumed by it. Plus each of these types has a buckets of folklore attached to them. So how I am going to throw this into Dark Streets & Darker Secrets? Corruption.
OK, I already did a rant on expanding the Gifted Class and in a way this is an expansion on that. Lets’ take a very common example and run with it. Vampires and sunlight. In most games/factions, young vampires poof if they even smell sunlight and older/ancient vampires can tolerate it. In this iteration of New Bay City, the opposite is true. That young (low level/HD) vampire has some of the strengths but those weaknesses are the result of Corruption. A Vampire has lots of hang ups that probably means that they are a bad ass and be thankful for those weaknesses. However, that extra that plays into why there is so much different lore out there. Each is sort of unique in their set of disadvantages.
This is only something that would apply to the “Blooded” types as I rambled about in The Gifted Expanded post not anything that’s purely supernatural. I may do some specific charts but I also grabbing something that seems most appropriate to the specific situation when things go horribly wrong. So here’s the lists of that I’ll be using for inspiration by type. And is no way complete and other changes/tweaks will be based on specific characters.
Vampires: Animal Antipathy, Aversion Holy, Addicted Blood, Allergic Sunlight, Allergic Garlic, Need to be Invited, Aversion Mirrors, Smell of the Grave/Cadverous.
Werewolf/Lycanthrope: Animal Antipathy, Allergic Silver, Addiction Raw Meat, Full Moon/The Beast Within, Feral Appearance
Changeling: Allergic Cold Iron, Need to Tell the Truth, Aversion Holy, “Alien” Appearance.
Cambion: Animal Antipathy, Aversion Holy, Addicted to Sin, Smell of Brimstone, Demonic Features.
Nephilim: Overzealous Virtue, Aversion Unholy, Angelic Features.
And that’s this week’s rant on New Bay City. Enjoy! Oh and here’s my scribbled map of New Bay City.