Necrocarcerus is the new S&W game with the Emern crew, though we've recruited some new people and are back up to 7 people. This is post is purposefully a little vague, since some of my PCs read this blog and I don't want to give too much away about the setting.
The inspirations are mainly Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Wraith: the Oblivion, and Bas-Lag, plus all those weird fashion photos I've been posting for the Dawnlands, though there's the usual grab bag of other weird stuff in there that'll come out over time.
The basic idea though, is that Necrocarcerus is where the souls ("pneuma") of people go when they die. There, they are sorted based on their moral qualities and passed onto a final destination appropriate to that quality. Those who are of "mixed" natures (being neither entirely good nor evil) are let loose in the City of Necrocarcerus to "live" until one tendency, either good or evil, predominates. Their memories of their former lives are vague, allowing them a fresh start to choose which way they will go. That may take centuries, or even aeons. Everything in Necrocarcerus is composed of pneuma, including plants, animals and equipment, and killing things lets you absorb some of their pneuma into yourself (i.e. XP) and turn the rest into equipment (a creature or person can be turned into an item with a cost equivalent to or less than their XP value).
So yeah, a lot of the tropes of Wraith: the Oblivion done using D&D. I never played Wraith except online once, but I always liked it. Each session until I get bored with doing it, the PCs will be drawing cards with various personal characteristics on them, representing the memories and tendencies of their past life returning. Some will provide XP for following them, some grant powers, and some will just be weird shit they can incorporate as they please. Because this is all stuff from their past life, they can choose to follow or not follow it as they please.
The first cards I handed out were vices, which was a misstep but with hilarious consequences. With seven PCs, I wrote up the seven vices, plus one "You're a perfectly decent person" card. The guy who got it asked to draw another, and did. This meant that the first session involved puke-bukkake, backbiting, and a discussion about who they should murder to turn into their first sets of equipment. After the session, I set a limit on claiming the XP reward from your vice to once per session. Morality started to rise to the surface and they decided to kill someone who had killed or harmed a child for their first gear, and the session involved penetrating the outer grounds of said kid-killer keep, which included a giant acid-spewing dog, some half-dead looking guys, and a charm person spell cast on a guy with no skin on his face. Nobody perma-died this session (outside of the set-up, I mean), though two PCs were dropped to 0 and had to make saving throws to avoid death.
I knew one of the new guys (first time roleplayer) was a natural when I said "You all have only vague memories of your past lives. You can't even remember your gods..." and he interrupted to say "Not me! Rogar worships Lupo the Wolf. Look, I wrote it down," and showed me where he had. I was beaming with pride.
Sarah Beard, Assassin, who "is basically you as a woman" and wears a fur bikini
Rogar, Fighter, who "has a wolf-head hat" and worships "Lupo the Wolf" and carries a partisan
Logan the Huge, Paladin, who is "dressed like Bane from the movie"
Bathsheba, Wizard, who wears "a catsuit with a strapon"
Bruce Cocksucker (pronounced "Kosher"), Cleric, who "wears red robes and jewels and shit"
Carlos, Thief, who "is a fifteen year old kid and a pirate"
Dathun, Paladin, who "is dressed like Logan but with a yellow coat" and has a harm touch
Last session they were equipped with daggers, saws, hammers, a partisan, and some drills for handweapons. They managed to kill enough guards, stirges and acid-breathing giant dogs to get some swords and armour, and 500 ft. of rope.
Gonzo, here I come.