Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Campaign Building: Title Needed!

I am drawing a blank on the title of this campaign. I have ideas bouncing around in my head, but I still have not decided the mood of the game. Mainly, I don't know how serious I want to take this. After my blog post I had some friends express interest in the Swords and Lasers campaign idea so I thought I would put some effort into developing the idea and see where it goes. For an experiment I plan to catalogue the development process on the blog.

The level of seriousness depends a lot on my mood at the time. I am currently leaning more toward a very gonzo barbarians and lasers style of game and less of a serious game. I still want there to be a drama, action and danger I just want this to be a game where we can get drunk while playing and it will only get more fun.


The working title at the moment. Some other ideas: Savage Lands, Blood and Rust, Forgotten World, and Spaceships and Savages. Of course the content of the campaign, the setting and the adventures I can run in it are the most important details here I really want a strong name that allows me to convey the mood and themes of the game to the players as well as myself.

Setting Elements Brainstorm

My first step when creating a new campaign - after picking the name if I can come up with one - is to come up with some elements for the setting. This is usually just a brainstorm of ideas that I would like to incorporate into the setting. Not all of these will make the final cut, but may be picked up again later for story ideas. Here we go:

Rusted Cities - The world used to be more technologically advanced. No one knows how to make any of the high tech stuff anymore. Working technology is rare and is usually in serious need of repairs.

Uneducated - Most people are uneducated. Reading and writing is rare. City folk tend to be tradespeople who practice family business.

Life is cheap - The strong take what they want from the weak.

Slavery - Captured enemies are enslaved in the city states. Roaming gangs of slavers prey on the weak.

Magic is real - Magic was discovered some time ago, but comes from an external source. The Gods grant power to a very select group of devote followers. Wizards are rare, and must make deals with exotic beings for their power.

Magic is feared - Common people fear the power of magic.

Falling Stars - Crashed ships litter the world. Crafts from the great beyond which have crashed on the dying earth. Strange alien beasts roam the wasteland. Not common, but they are out there.

The Mythic Underworld - The depths of the earth is a place where the laws of reality are weak. Living dungeons that treat invading people as foreign bodies, with traps and monsters being sent forth as it defenses. Dungeons are born from cracks in the surface of reality. The universal laws are breaking down and chaos is leaking through from another dimension.

Things grow more chaotic - The world is dying, reality is cracking. Chaos is reigning supreme. The forces of law lie dead on the higher planes of battle. The blood of their wars drip down driving the men of the world mad with rage.

The Land is in Flux - Things don't stay where they are supposed to. Distances between places are not set in stone. As more chaos leaks into the world things become fluid. The wastelands grow more dangerous.

The Gods are Petty - The Gods seek worship. They demand strange service. They are not kind to their followers. Wars between religions are commonplace.

Putting It Together

So from the brainstorm we have some common themes. The forces of Chaos are winning in this world. As the world nears it's end, the barrier between the world and other realities are growing thinner. Darkness, chaos and madness creeps in to the forgotten corners of the world.

I really like the idea of there being some great war between Chaos and Law, and the metaphorical "Blood" dripping down on the world is responsible for some sort of growing bloodlust or rage. Maybe there are tribes of barbarian savages that have been taken over by the complete death of law - agents of destruction that seek to tear down the rusted cities, the last bastions of decaying law in the world.

Magic is very rare and dangerous. We can assume that magic is a force of Chaos, and perhaps it's discovery led to the walls of reality originally growing weaker. Now with each spell cast the forces of Chaos grow stronger. The only way to fight them back is with more magic.

Technology will be around. Rusted metal walls, cracked domed cities and non-functional vehicles. What does work will be more valuable than gold in the right hands. Technology and magic with both be feared. Some technology, things that were made to be simple and function for a long time - like growing vats for crops and the like, probably still exist enough that they are in common use. Things like lasers and vehicles are much rarer.

Key Locations

Now we come up with a few locations to incorporate some of these elements in them. I know I want a main city to base this game out of. Playing around with some German words in google translate, I come up with something I like - then mash those words together, remove some letters and come up with our first location.

Rotenstrad - The City of Rust

Rotenstrad is situated along the Blood Coast. The largest inhabited city of the known world. Called the City of Rust by most, named so due to the many abandoned rusty metal towers and collapsing metal walls of the old city. The city is sprawling, and has long ago outgrown those old walls. Most of its inhabitants live in squalor under the dangerous red-orange glow of the sun. Food is scarce, as the subterranean food farms aren't able to support the growing cities' bloating population. Even with imported foodstuffs people die of starvation in the streets every day.

The city is most known throughout the world for it's famous Arena of Blood. Where slaves, prisoners and gladiators battle every day for the entertainment of the populace. Gambling on these events is the main source of entertainment for those who can afford it. The combatants that die are drug off to be made into food for the poor.
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