Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ancient Alien Power Source

Where do dungeons come from?

If you are swayed at all by Gygaxian Naturalism this is a serious question. While I enjoy games that have weird stuff in them I find that if things don't make some sort of sense, if there is not some reasonable verisimilitude, I find it hard to suspend my disbelief and invest my imaginative powers in the game.

So where do dungeons come from? Ruins, crypts, and caves seem to account for many of them. Well, why are they full of monsters? What percentage of such things end up being full of monsters? How do they supply themselves and where does their material culture come from? These sorts of questions lead to a Gygaxian Madness of maps full of lots of latrines, bedrooms, and kitchen. How many goblins to a latrine? How much grain do the giant rats need access to? The dungeon master can easily spend enormous amounts of time worrying over this sort of minutia that ends up being quickly forgotten flavor description. Basically not a good use of time worrying over, but if you are a logical sort of person who thinks about these things you will probably spend a lot of time thinking about why exactly some dead become undead, and why certain places are infested with this or that and others aren't. Some of these things are important back-story considerations and others (e.g. how many weeks of rations can you reasonably retrieve from the goblin storage-warehouse, and where did all of these barrels come from?) are just distractions.

How come all of these monsters have managed to exist, survive, and even thrive alongside humans? Humans may have become agrarian because they wiped out all of the mega-fauna they hunted in the paleolithic, so how come we have a world full of crazy beasties alongside professional monster-slaughterers? It is either a crazy game of evolutionary arms-race, or they must be coming from somewhere.

Ancient Alien Power Sources:

In the before time, otherworldly beings visited, lived, fought wars, and died on the planet. The ruins of their technology can be found here and there, particularly if you delve underground where the ruins are protected from the elements. In these places one can find crashed starships, factories, and even cities built out of strange materials and exhibiting wondrous qualities. Most dangerously though one can also find the long-decayed power sources of their civilization.

These power sources, large and small, have lasted across the eons but have decayed and become uncontrolled. Their strange emanations twist the matter and energy of the universe itself. In their vicinity strange creatures roam and the earth itself can become deformed. Sometimes alien sites no longer hold any trace of their true nature other than the power of source. These places hold wondrous unearthly riches and terrible dangers. The power sources themselves, (which have through the ages mutated and changed into many forms) are a miracle and a disaster, bringing both power and corruption to those sorcerers and heroes who attempt to harness their powers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated 0th level character sheet

I have updated the 0th level sheet, the new sheet can be found here.

My next DCC projects:
  • Make a 1st/2nd level sheet. I am thinking it should probably be two characters per sheet.
  • Make some sort of marching order tracker, maybe something as simple as little character nametags that can be pushed around as characters die change march order.
  • Spells record sheet. Instead of printing out gobs of text about each spell I think a simplified cheat sheet for players to fill out would work well. One stop shop for all of the relevant information (mercurial magic, manifestation, brief summary of spell effects, etc.).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Religion on the Isle

Three religious groups account for most of the believers on the Isle: the Church of the One True God, The Holy Order of the Eternal Void, and the Righteous Path.

The Church of the One True God

Before the base world there was pure law, truth is law and all else is illusion and corruption.

The state religion of the Isle and by far the most popular. The Church is responsible for many good works around the Isle including insuring (comparative) safety on the roads and shipping lanes, charity to the poor, and the championing of righteous causes. The Church rejects the notion of other deities, denouncing other powers as devils and tricksters and stamping out other religious sects when able. Encountering the healers and holy warriors of the Church is a boon or bane depending on ones outlook as they are equally quick to help allies and destroy enemies.

The Holy Order of the Eternal Void

Before law and chaos was the void, pure, holy, and unattainable. Seeking the bliss of the void is the only true path.

In secret enclaves and remote temples one can find the Holy Order. Despite cultural, theological, and material encroachment from the Church, this ancient mystical order remains. They quietly and patiently seek out converts among the mystically oriented. The Order claims that they are a peaceful, intellectual sect, but the Church claims that they are in league with evil forces from beyond space and time.

The Righteous Path

Before the coming of the great powers there was only freedom. Freedom is power, slavery is death.

The Righteous Path has no organization or assembly but is rather a loose association of like-minded mystics. They believe that the purpose of the powers of law is to enslave and that the void is a mere shadow of law. Freedom is the true path of humanity. Some say though that the worshipers of the Righteous Path seek only their own freedom regardless of cost, consorting freely with terrible enemies from Outside. The Church hunts the Righteous Path with obsessive fervor.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Horror at Ilio

As I add things to flesh out the Isle of the Unknown I will post a summary here along with the hex it is in. Generally I will post the descriptions, plot hooks, etc. but leave off the game statistics (unless there is a desire for game statistics?).

Hex 0506

On the southern shore of the bay sits the town of Ilio. The town relies heavily on fishing (along with vineyards and some farming).

Over the past few weeks a strange red ooze has been filling the bay corroding the hulls of ships. Some fisherman have disappeared. The ooze can be traced to a small cave along the shore. The cave can only be entered at low tide.

Behind the ooze lies Yapesh, a wizard who, having been taunted by his peers as a scrawny boy in Ilio now seeks revenge against his persecutors. He has sworn allegiance to a terrible brine demon in exchange for his wizardly and alchemical powers. The brine demon takes the form of a giant bipedal shrimp with a blue crystalline rhombus instead of a head. The demon attacks with a powerful psychic attack that enslaves those it does not kill outright.

Yapesh's cave is full of alchemical and magical traps of his own devising, along with the carnivorous shrimp-spawn of the brine demon, psychically enslaved fisherman, a dangerous brine elemental that takes the form of an enormous, iridescent snake, and treacherous portals to a watery extra-planar domain. Beware high tide.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DCC RPG 0th Level Character Sheet

Update: I have made some minor changes to the character sheet based on player feedback. Here is the new 0th level record sheet.

So, my few readers, the blog has obviously been not doing much since I started my new job this fall. Projects begun and largely abandoned. I am okay with this I think. I've run a fairly good Swords & Wizardry campaign, which I am now throwing overboard to begin a long awaited Dungeon Crawl Classics game. I am going to be running the game on the Isle of the Unknown to get me past the world creation point I always get completely stuck at: the basic map.

My resolutions:
  1. Actually work on fleshing out my game world. I have always enjoyed this but have gotten flummoxed since my return to gaming with the whole map thing. Having removed the map from the equation I should have no more excuses.
  2. Work on creating things that I wish I had access to. For example a 0th level character sheet for Dungeon Crawl Classics.
  3. Post the crap I create for my game.
  4. Post no more random ramblings.
I have wanted a good character sheet for funnel play in DCC. Full character sheets are a waste at this phase and you can go through a lot of index cards.

So I made one: 0th Level Record Sheet. Link updated 2/18/2013.

Feedback is welcome, this was my first time using Scribus (or any layout software for that matter).