Saturday, October 8, 2011

State of the Dandy: 10/08/2011

Some of you may have noticed that posting frequency has dropped significantly of late. I originally intended to update the thing at least a few times a week. That later dropped to once a week, and from there, it's gone steadily downhill. The main reason for this is that I've taken on a second job. While this has improved things on the "being able to pay the rent, start paying off student loans, and not having to stockpile ramen" front, it's definitely thrown a damper on things as far as rhapsodizing on the theory and practice of pretending to be an elf goes.

"Believe me that's the last thing I'd like to throw."

But anyway, I'm hoping to get things moving again, with more frequent posting, and more interesting content. Here's what's currently in the works:

I'm planning to run a regular "mini-sandbox" campaign on Google + set about a generation after the death of Alexander the Great. While this is set in a specific historical context, I'm going for a looser, sword-and-sorcery feel than a strictly historical one. I'll be using Paul Elliott's excellent Warlords of Alexander along with a custom version of BRP consisting of elements swiped and modified from RuneQuest 2nd ed., Stormbringer, Elric!, and Call of Cthulhu, as well as bits of Pendragon and WFRP. This mutant hybrid, under the working title "Hellenistic FrankenQuest" is my current pet project. Luckily, a lot of the work has been done for me, and what I'm left with mainly consists of choosing which parts to scrap, which to tinker with, and which to keep whole. I'm definitely keeping hit location, for instance, but replacing the multiple rolls with the WFRP method, which reduces to-hit and hit location to one percentile roll (you roll under your score to hit, and then flip the number to find the location).

The nice thing about using BRP is that Elric! and Call of Cthulhu spells (of which there are a great many) can be freely inserted into the game with minimal fiddling. Pendragon's Glory rating (here renamed Kleos) charts your PCs growing fame and importance. Eventually, a character with high enough Kleos can achieve godhood, though your sphere of influence may revolve around a particular city and might only take effect posthumously.

I intend to make this campaign based on a location, rather than a consistent party, as Jeff Rients is doing with his Caves of Myrddin game. This means a lower commitment from those involved, and an ever-shifting cast of characters, with perhaps a couple regulars. The city of Trapezos, on the Black Sea, is the most tempting candidate right now. There are pirate raids at sea and along the coast, monsters in the hills and ruins outside the city, all manner of intrigue within, and innumerable petty kingdoms to the south.

2. The Tekumel- LotFP conversion is temporarily on hold, as I'm still waiting to hear back from the Foundation re: some questions I had. Also, I'm having a blast running and playing EPT right now, so I'm a little less interested in rules- tinkering with this particular setting at the moment. The next Tekumel thing I do will probably be the Jakalla Encounter Table.

3. City- State of Galbaruc - This began as part of an entry for Chris Kutalik's Nautical Contest, but the more I thought about it, the more potential I thought it had for a setting of its own, and the perfect place to bring together a lot of setting ideas that had been bouncing around without a fixed abode for some time. I ran an IRC game several years ago set in a city I half jokingly referred to as "Venichmar" (Venice + Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar). Eventually, it became something a bit more interesting and complex than the derivative name would suggest, but the game folded before I had an opportunity to really work out much of the detail. I'll deal with more of the particulars in a future post, but here are a few of the influences I'm drawing on, here:

- Mediterranean islands like Malta, Sicily, and Sardinia
- Over the Edge's Al Amarja
- Ahistorical, but leaning toward an Early Modern period feel (16-18th centuries) as opposed to Medieval.
- William Blake's cosmology and pantheon (Los, Urizen, Orc, etc.,) intermingled with other strange local gods.
- Pirate Havens
- The Saragossa Manuscript
- Ancestor-worship among traditional nobility
- Jacobean revenge tragedies


This isn't so much a concept for a single, discrete setting as a toolkit for running sci-fi games in a trippier vein suggested by early Heavy Metal comics, Metabarons, Jodorowsky's abortive attempt at Dune, stoner metal, psychedelic rock, (Hawkwind's Space Ritual, etc.) movies like Zardoz, etc. Still really vague, but it's something I'd eventually like to do.

5. Even more nebulous at this point, but I have a broad concept for a LotFP adventure with conquistadors in not-South America called Dreams of Blood and Gold. Still needs a lot of work even to bring it up to the outline stage.