Category Archives: World Building

Welcome to the World of Zoong

I keep talking about my upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics game, so I figured I’d go ahead and create a little page for it here at the old blog. Welcome to the World of Zoong.
With all the other projects (plus a day job that’s really keeping me busy), I’m going to do what I can before things get rolling. But that’s not a problem. My very first campaign world didn’t even have any notes. It was Keep on the Borderlands and just run with whatever the players wanted and what modules I wanted to run after that. Of course, for this one, we’re doing Sailors of the Starless Sea as starting point.
As a bonus, I mentioned to the players that DCC turns things up to 11. Do they want it turned up to 12? It was hearty, “Hell’s Yeah!” Metal Gods, Crawljammer, and Broken Moon. Here we come. To sum up where I’m going to head with demi-humans just see this post. That’s right sexy alien elves, hillbilly dwarves, and mobster halflngs.
Then of course there’s my own wild imagination and my own grognard feeling of nostalgia. If this image brings back memories then you gain 3 Grognard Points.

Curse of the Golden Eyed Medusa

She is older than any written language. She is so ancient that her true name is unknown even to her. She is cursed to turn any living flesh she gazes upon into gold. Every single gold coin, statue, icon, holy symbol, and trinket originated with her gaze. She is the Mother of All Gold. It’s creator. And she is cursed to live forever untill some brave (or foolish) soul slays her and the curse is passed onto that poor sod.

What happens a party of adventurers encounter the Golden Eyed Medusa? She will not tell them of her curse. She will not fight back. She will let them kill her and whoever lands the death blow either blade or spell is the new bearer of the curse.

What happens next? Every bit of gold that was created by her (i.e. all of it) reverts back to original form basically meat and throwing most economies into total chaos.

What happens to the cursed character?
First, the character has petrifying gaze of a Medusa but instead of turning targets to stone. It turns them into gold. The gaze only affects living organisms. However, the character cannot control when the ability triggers. And there is nothing the character can do to prevent it.
Second, the character is nearly immortal and cannot die of natural causes. Only by the violent acts of another. And whoever kills the character gains the curse.
Third, the character can only gain sustenance by eating gold. The character cannot starve to death if they do not eat but they will become emaciated and suffer incredible hunger pangs. The gold tastes like what it originally was.
Fourth, the character poops gold. See above. And yes.

What else happens? Player characters at first will think this is a cash cow. Unfortunately, as soon as they show up in a civilized area with gold, they will be met with anger and suspicion. Because, yes, they did cause everyone’s gold to disappear. They will be the target of every king, warlord, criminal, wizard and dragon in the world. Enjoy that. In some places, gold might be totally valueless now. Who knows that’s up to the GM.

Durth: Lord Skullmancer and The Skelenoids

Remember Not Skeletor. If you go back to early posts on Durth, crazy Saturday morning cartoons are one of the inspirations. The two biggest ones are Thundarr the Barbarian and He-Man. This leads us to our first epic villain, Lord Skullmancer.
Lord Skullmancer is an insane and powerful lich, necromancer and super science sorcerer. He rules the Dead Realm from Black Skull Mountain Fortress (carved in his own likeness by slaves) with his army of Skelenoids. He’s always messing around with some forbidden arcane tome or an insane bit of alien technology. Or to put it more simply he’s lich with freaking laser beams.

Skelenoid Grunt
Armor Class: 6[13]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Laser-Staff (1d6+1) Range 60 feet can also be used in melee
Total Attack Bonus: +2
Saving Throw: 16
Move: 12
HDE/XP: 3/60
Special: Immune to poison, illusions, fear, charm, and mind control.

The shock troops and minions of Lord Skullmancer.

The Dead Realm is blasted, twisted, and barren. An eternal storm keeps the land is state of twilight constantly. No living creature calls the Dead Realm home. This is the land of the restless dead.
Special Rules for the Dead Realm:
Clerics cannot Turn Undead here.
Any character who dies cannot be brought back. Instead they are turned into an undead. The GM determines what type based on the character’s level. Low-level characters should be zombies. Higher level should be more powerful undead.

The Elves of Durth

Here’s another post on Durth. This time the Elves. While Durth isn’t your standard fantasy world, I wanted to keep the standard races but make them a little different and since they’re Elves they should feel a little alien (without changing them mechanically). That way GM’s can easily use whatever rules they want.
The Elves of Durth make their home on the 13th Moon where they use their arcane talents to create ornate castles from the living stone found there. Elves who are found on the surface of Durth are usually exiles, fugitives, or explorers. Most Elves never set foot on the surface of Durth voluntarily.
It is easy to tell the difference between Elves who willingly travel to the surface of Durth and those who are exiled. Exiles have all their fingers. The elves believe that to maintain a connection to their natural arcane abilities, they must have a physical connection to their home. Since their home isn’t even on this planet technically, they have to leave part of themselves there. Most travelers and explorers will sever the little finger of their left hand before they travel to the surface and leave the finger in a specially prepared shrine in the Elven city. Exiles have been know to sever their own fingers in an attempt not to look like an exile.
And for those of you who passed the reading comprehension part this test, yes, Durth has 13 moons. But more about them later.

Welcome to the Shattered World of Durth

It’s about time that talked more about this project. I’m the kind of person that likes having more than one project in the works. If I don’t feel inspired by one thing, I can hope over to the next. I’ve got three other things on the slate right now. Some minor. Some not. And then there’s Durth.
Durth has bounced around inside my head for quite a while now. In a nutshell, Durth is a gonzo post-apocalyptic fantasy setting/supplement for OSR games. Many folks first thought will be Gamma World. Nope. That’s not my intention. The big three inspirations are Thundarr the Barbarian, He-Man, and Carcosa. Sounds crazy but it works in my head.
Why go post-apocalyptic? Because it’s the type of world that can be riddled with ruins, dungeons, and ancient secrets that really makes sense for all those sorts of things to be there. With that in mind, GM’s could easily drop any dungeon they wanted into the world and it wouldn’t change anything.
Speaking of GM’s. Like so many OSR games, Durth is going to be very much take and use what you want and add what you want. There’s going to be plenty of ways for GM’s to customize it to their liking and use about any set of OSR rules they want.
But I’ve said all this stuff before. Some of you out there want to hear some details so here go.
Two new classes: Wastelander and Super Science Sorcerer.
Mutants: Of course there’s mutants. Done as both a race and class. Depending on which way you like your non-humans.
Super Science: Yep. Devices and twisted alien machines.
Twists on some of the classic races and classes.
New monsters and villains
Plenty of tools and inspiration for GM’s to make their version of Durth unique.
Yes, I know this isn’t very much. Just enough to gain a little interest. But this time. Hang on for the ride. As I stumble through writing this, I’ll keep you updated and throw out all sorts of beta previews and random thoughts along the way.

The Valley of Primordial Evil

A crazy and dangerous idea for the World of Yarc.
Imagine an area that is evil. It’s in a key location but nothing can be reallly done about it. It’s like an artifact that can’t be destroyed. A place where even the land itself is corrupted. It beckons to the weak willed and the power hungry. It draws them in and offers them great power.It can turn a peasant into mighty Lich. Corrupt a paladin into being a genocidal maniac.
Situated strategicaly between the Eastern and Mid Kingdoms, The Land of Primordial Evil is a power and dangerous place. Many fools have tried to harness its power with disasterous results.
Well meaning kings have attempted to build a wall around it but only to have some knight or even a lowly laborer fall under the spell of the land. If left alone or ignored. Someone will eventually be drawn in. The Valley of Primoridal Evil cannot be blocked off, guarded, blessed or dispelled.

Humans Are Boring

I thought of this other day. Humans are the most boring race in fantasy RPG’s. Yes, there’s that human diversity, spirit and all that but compared to everyone else they’re kind of blah. So why not twist things up a bit? Let’s make them and their place in the world just a little more interesting.

  • Bottom of the Food Chain: Dwarves are resistant to poison. Many races can see in the dark. Simple things like this don’t exactly make humans the best. So play it up. They’re at the bottom of the food chain. They’re the lowest on the totem pole. You get the drift. They might not even have their own cities and kingdoms. They just hang out with the other races.
  • Invasive Species: Who says humans have to be natives to the setting? Maybe they’re from another world or plane. They showed up, escaped, got exiled or whatever. Anyway, they’re the newest race and they’re breeding like cockroaches or kudzu.
  • Not A Pure Strain: Maybe humans are the result of an odd pairing. Maybe they’re half-dwarf/half-elf. Neither of the ancient ancestors want to talk about and they probably blame each other for the mistake.
  • Wizard Did It: Yes, it’s the go-to, pat answer but it can work. Humans are artificial race created by some ancient and probably alien wizard. Maybe laughs, labor, or experimentation.
  • I’m sure there are plenty more ideas out there. Just run with it, folks. Everything in your setting should be interesting.