Jan 3, 2017

Live Settings

I like to do a review and update of the various settings I'm running, planning, designing, etc. This is partially for my benefit, partially for the sake of those interested in them.

Fantasy:

Moragne (Mongoose Runequest 2)- Dead (since 2009!) and cannibalised for the Old Lands. I took a few of the story-ideas and setting elements from this, but left the Anglo-Norman trappings behind. I ran one single-shot adventure and one campaign in this, and felt I'd done the bulk of what I wanted. The was the final campaign of the group I ran this for (my old university group) and it disintegrated as we moved onto other phases of life (only one other guy and I still play RPGs).

Emern (Swords and Wizardry) - Dead since 2012, when I ran the last campaign in it. The group I ran this for has basically dispersed as well. There are elements of this that have made it into most other D&D campaigns I've run or planned since, but I don't think I'm coming back to it any time soon.

The Wolf Sea (Openquest)- Dead and cannibalised for the Old Lands. This was basically a map and some notes, so I mostly reused names and a few setting elements. The work I did on this was as much about learning how to use Hexographer to create child maps properly as anything else.

The Dawnlands (Openquest / Mythras) - Still alive, but I haven't run a campaign in it since 2013! I'm converting it over from Openquest to Mythras and revamping the setting extensively to remove some of the D&D 4th edition-isms from it and replace them with other weird fantasy and Central Asian elements. I'm working on turning this into a setting book, in fact, which is why a lot of what I'm writing for it isn't turning up on my blog right now. I think I'm going to aim to run another campaign towards the back half of 2017, when a rough draft of the new and revised material will require some playtesting.

Necrocarcerus (Swords and Wizardry / Into the Depths) - Still kicking. I was running a campaign of this as recently as the end of 2015 / start of 2016, and ran an adventure - Ribshack of the Demon Prince - in summer 2016 using Into the Odd. I took a break from running to free up the time slot to play in Courtney Campbell's Perdition game. In hindsight, what was slowing me down was writing a huge house-rules document that quickly spiraled out of control without adding a ton of fun to the game. I wrote Into the Depths as a chassis to run Necrocarcerus and the Old Lands, and killed the giant house-rules document. Over the holidays, I also read the Doomed City by the Strugatskys, which is surprisingly Necrocarceran, though I'd never heard of it prior to seeing it in the book store. Reading it got me a bit fired up to work on the setting again in a public-facing way. I'm going to go back to writing fun, fluffy content for it. Expect more Necrocarcerus content for the blog, but I don't think I'll start working on a book for it until 2018.

The Old Lands (Into the Depths) - Living and currently under development. Basically a garbage-can setting in the good sense. Necrocarcerus is a high-concept setting in a lot of ways, and running an adventure that assumes you're dealing with a medieval village full of living people doesn't quite sit well within it. So I created the Old Lands to let me run modules, pre-written adventures, megadungeons, etc., and to recycle the best ideas from Moragne, Emern and the Wolf Sea into one setting. It's an early-modern setting with weird and dark fantasy elements. Expect to see it pop up from time to time, but probably as actual play reports. I'm hoping to start a campaign set in it sometime in February and run it for at least the first half of 2017 (hopefully longer).

Science Fiction:

The Tellian Sector (Stars Without Number) - My 40K / Stars Without Number mash-up is effectively dead. I haven't worked on it in years (though I still get a few hits a day of people looking it up). I worked on it originally because I really disliked the original Dark Heresy rules, and when I looked at 2nd edition, I liked them even less. I think I've also had my fill of fantasy translated to space settings, and want to run some (slightly) harder science fiction. If anyone wants to finish this, the only things it really needs to be a complete conversion are a weapon and gear write-up, and a consistent way of converting Spike Phases and their effects into Void Shields (plus, I guess, Space Marine rules if one must).

Unnamed Transhumanist Post-Apocalyptic Star Trek Thing (Openquest - River of Heaven? / Stars Without Number?) - I've been reading Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space books, Peter Watts' Blindsight stuff, Transhumanity's Fate (the FATE conversion for Eclipse Phase), Feersum Endjinn and a bunch of other semi-hard transhuman sci-fi stuff of that ilk. I've been having an itch to run a science fiction game for some time that would focus on a small group of post-human post-scarcity explorers sent out to recover and enrich the beliefs and ideas of the devastated star systems around them. That sounds boring, but the idea would be to delve into ancient space hulks to recover encrypted data libraries with the cultural production of entire clusters, to encourage and assist the masses of crapsack worlds to overthrow their feudal masters by smuggling them cornucopia machines through cyberpunk hijinks, and beat back interstellar imperialism through cool space battles. I'm still thinking this one through, and it'll probably be 2018 before it's ready to go.