Saturday, February 20, 2010

The New Old Campaign Design - Part 3 - The Fiendish Plot Revealed

So, having been spurred by Jeff's real-world map idea, and going back and looking at my 4E Legendary Greyhawk notes, I have decided to nail down my Retro campaign to using a real-world map. That said, I originally had no intention of placing it in on Earth, I was just borrowing some convenient geography. If I want to put pyramids in Mongolia than I can do that because it isn't Mongolia, it just looks a lot like Mongolia. With pyramids.

Then I came across some old campaign notes where I wanted to put some sci-fi into an AD&D game. Picture a sci-fi universe where humans and mind flayers were at war. During one space battle, two ships are fighting, there's a misjump and both ships end up crashing on a habitable planet and originating the human and mind flayer races on the world where elves and dwarves etc already lived. The ship's main computer and an auxiliary power source and some fabrication facilities survived. Intelligent swords were living metal nanite-infused constructs linked back to the computer, some stone and metal golems were basically nanite-controlled robots, etc. Illithids were going to be the major bad guys of the campaign (a change from demons and drow). The climax of the campaign would be discovering that ship and the origin of humanity (and illithids) and then gearing up and wiping out the illithids (or not) and making the world safe for humanity (or not).

A lot of this was fueled by reading GURPS Ultra-Tech as I was thinking about a new campaign but I liked a lot of the ideas and they stuck with me for a long time. Reading Mutant Future last year got me in a post-apocalyptic mood for a while and the retro fest I've been having this year reminded me of the D&D-scifi connection.


I'm going to use a US-based real-world map for this campaign.

Just as I would use one for Mutant Future/Gamma World.

Guess which one represents the farthest future?

Yeah, I'm going that way. Instead of going backwards and making some kind of alternate distant past Hyboria West, I'm going forward a few thousand years after hell is unleashed and making D&D a super-post-apocalyptic game. After the radiation has largely died away, mutations have settled into mostly stable lines, and the tech has mostly run out of juice, a new world rises from the old*.

I'm leaning towards 3 regions right now

  1. Seattle - I already talked about this and I still like the geography of it. Call it the "Kingdoms of the West" campaign as several smaller states fight it out around the sound and the islands as the mountain of fire looms over all. Lots of woods for the elves, lots of mountains for orcs and giants, a good reason to have war galleys ramming sailing ships in the bays... looks pretty good to me.
  2. Great Lakes- Call it the "Five Seas Campaign". This has lots of interesting terrain too but not as many mountains. Lots of ruined Ancient cities to uncover though. Plus a lot of Gamma World time has been spent around here and I don't want to telegraph what's going on just yet. This might be good as a second old-school campaign or for when/if we go to AD&D or Hackmaster or some other slightly different system. it could eventually be linked to Seattle with an epic expedition to find the legendary "Great Sea" - some say it lies to the east, others say it lies to the west. One group of adventurers sets out to find out once and for all. (Then another party sets out the other way and you can have a whole other campaign going in the other direction)
  3. Pensacola-Mobile Bay-New Orleans - call this one the "Southern Kingdoms" campaign. I was thinking about Florida but I think it's too recognizable even on a small scale as the peninsula is just not that wide. So I reconsidered and thought this region looked interesting. Again, not a lot of mountains right close by but swamps can be very interesting too.
More tomorrow.

* Yeah, Thundarr. More Thundarr ain't a bad thing.

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