If you’ve been following the blog then you know I’ve ranting about two possible campaigns. First, there was New Bay City using Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. It’s a modern horror/urban fantasy setting that I’ve run before just with different systems. And then there’s my sudden love affair with The Blight. Well, just follow the link. I put forth both to the gaming the group. They decided they wanted The Blight. And for system? Well, just like the survey I recently posted, they decided to try Swords & Wizardry. By coincidence, I’m also working on my YARC (Yet Another Retroclone) project which is basically house ruled Swords & Wizardry. So there will be a bunch of house rules.
With all that being said, I just can’t leave things alone plus like many GM’s I like to put my own spin on things. I base this on what I like and what I think the players will like. So I’m going to put a few little tweaks to make it a little more fun for us at the table and easier to use for me since the book is nearly 900 pages. Most of the changes are going to be player facing. By that I mean opening up some classes and races that aren’t normally an option. So stay tuned for all that. While the work begins now, it’ll be a couple of months. They’ve got a couple more adventures to survive in the Labyrinth Lord game.
Yes, I know I didn’t get any blog posts done last week and I was hardly around on social media. Things were busy but I wasn’t idle on the gaming front. I almost have Back Alleys done for Dark Streets and Darker Secrets, I did some more brainstorming on YARC, and the whole reason for this post more mulling on The Blight.
Right now, I mostly messing around with the gods and Gods of Castorhage and thinking of how to make the various game systems. So I figured what the heck, throw out to masses and see what happens. Of all the games I have at my disposal I’ve narrowed it down to these (in no particular order).
1. Swords & Wizardry: It’s easy to do NPC’s. It’s flexible. It’s readily available in PDF form and the players can buy the book if they want. And there’s already a ready made version of it by Frog God Games.
2. Fifth Edition: It’s the elephant in the room. The players are already familiar with it and they already have their own books. It’d be a little tougher to run improved NPC’s off the cuff. The PC’s do have a lot more umph than in the other systems so make it a little grittier will take some house ruling.
3. Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar: Why? Well, DCC is cool and I should have my physical copies from the Kickstarter soon. The players are already familiar with it. The Blight is a city-based campaign so in my mind’s eye, it would make a good fit using the DCC: Lankhmar rules. Yes, I know no clerics and I would have house rule the partrons. So more prep type work on the DM’s part. I’m also aware of how crazy the magic can get. The players are already familiar with DCC and some have the books already.
4. Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Well, you can go weird and gritty without thinking about LOTFP. The players should be able to pick it up quickly. The art-free version is still available. It won’t take much to convert the Swords & Wizardry version over to LOTFP.
5. Something else? Oh. There’s plenty of other games out there. But the above are really my main choices.
So here’s a poll. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.