Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Campaigns I've Dreamed Of.

Here are some very raw notes jotted down in my "campaign thoughtpile". None of these have caught my imagination enough for me to develop, yet.

Stone Age Apocalypse - Bio-engineered "neutron" bacteria was suppose to destroy equipment/weapons. Ends up eating all refined metals and most ores.
* Chaos, but the wars continue for awhile.
* Humanity left in stone age but with otherwise modern science/education/tech.

The Gods Themselves - Any sufficiently advanced tech == Magic. Characters are sci-fi race on primitive world. They have set themselves up as gods. I've played many hours of this.

The Grind - Sleeper colony ship with crew in "suspended animation" but their minds are playing ship wide MMORPG (required to avoid insanity while suspended for centuries). They never wake up and are stuck in MMORPG. Characters/Players must figure out that they are in virtual world and somehow escape to reality. MMORPG things like guilds, racial homelands, safe areas, pvp between factions.

The Grind v2.0 - Follow on game to MMORPG Grind. Characters manage to turn off game but fail to awake. Problems arise and the ship never arrives at destination and crew is not thawed from "suspended animation". Thousands years later a few people(players) thaw. Most others are dead. On truly gigantic ship, should be sessions before they figure out it is a ship. Everyone has cyroamesia and some mental disease (manic-depressive, delusions, catatonic-narcolepsy, split-personality). Stereotype mental illnesses, not a game on psychiatry. All sorts of aliens, robots, AI's, evolved things (cat from Red Dwarf), degenerate crew members, etc are roaming around ship for players to find.

- Highlander / Dark Crystal kind of thing. Powerful heroes are created in duplicate one "black" one "white". The players are one or the other and must find & unite or avoid union with their other half.

Wizard's Lab
Mutantworld/Gammaworld fantasy setting. If I had time/energy and players I'd totally use LL/MF to run this one.
* Huge sprawling underground lab The Wizard used to conduct countless bizarre and arcane experiments. Summoning, construction, morphing, mutating, breeding all sorts of things.
* The Wizard is gone now and his creations have run amok.
* Wizard's experiments provide mutations and lots of devices to mess with and get hurt by.
* Golems as robots

Fantasy Rails Based loosely on Iron Dragon and greatly inspired by a game I played in at the Seattle Game Con. I was really excited about this one until Eberron & everyone else did steampunk.

Steampunk tech, powerful but semi-rare magic. Powerfull wizards, items, dragons, mystical and fantastic creatures. Only five wizards around, 1 known dragon, rare to even see magic.

Players operate a train, hauling cargo, taking odd jobs, slowly building up their train's capabilities and power. If "Firefly" was cowboys in space this is Firefly on a train in steampunk fantasy land.
* Start with used simple engine, used simple caboose, and funds to customize/buy some rolling stock.
* Alternative characters have to take jobs as crew/guards until they save enough to purchase their first engine.

Adventure Hooks
* train race, long long distance with specific deliveries
* deliver valuable cargo
* deliver mundane cargo but has secret hidden cargo and several factions want it
* deliver circus full of mystical beasts with challenging requirements and they totally escape along the way
* patrol border / area with monsters, bandits, etc for local authority
* train refit/upgrade vacation
* train stolen! must pursue and take back
* support/protect train crew expanding track

* Ye olde train robbery
* railblock and bandits with toll demand
* missing track, repair crew, bandits, bridge out
* track goes into magical mist/portal
* bridge flooded out, lava!
* rampaging beasts up ahead over track
* train from behind law/noble/wizard demands right of way
* head on train but single track
* giant picking up and looping tracks turning train around back the way it came
* unexpected switch sends train wrong way
* gypsy/bandit/pilgrim/crusader/humanoid camp along tracks
* fire forest,brush,plains up ahead either side of tracks
* dead animal on tracks. trap or not?
* car detaches
* weather screws with boiler / makes track slippery

Cyberpunk with technology replaced by magic.
* life is cheap
* haves (those who can use magic) and have nots (the other 99%)
* most aren't better off despite all the magic that is available
* super high level Magi and their vast retinues replace corporations
* failing kingdoms == failing nation states
* cyberspace == dream/spirit world (pushing metaphor?)
* Practitioners == net jockeys. Can manipulate magic but not create it. Only Magi can create magic.
* Magi almost never interact directly too much risk of permanent damage. Instead the manipulate world through their apprentices, practitioners, monsters, cults, kingdoms, etc.
* One "corporation" is a group of weaker Magi that have banded together. They are not nearly as strong as the Magi but in a way they are stronger cause they can risk a real Magus to achieve their goals. They are willing to and have sacrificed members to compete against other Magi.
* Magi compete over leylines/arcane research/having most slaves/lives/mana.
* Lots and lots of relatively cheap magic devices the masses "slave" in Magi mines/farms/"factories" to obtain.

In the following days I'll blog about a couple campaign settings with enough content for their own post "Hacksalot" and "Fleet" and two campaigns I've actually run, "BuffyPunk", and "Dirt".

Image credits: fantasy rail, magipunk, wizard's lab

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