Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Blood & Bone Isn't

Blood & Bone is name I'm giving to Dark Sun like campaign I'll be running using old school rules.

As important as to what is Blood & Bone is. It is also good to know what is not B&B.

As mentioned before. No player wizards/defilers, they are the enemy. No player halflings, they are they enemy. No thri-keen, they are stupid IP. Almost no metal, even less than seems to be implied by Dark Sun. No lakes or forests/jungles. No paper, cotton, hemp rope, or many other common plant products.

No Free City of Tyr. No good Defiler Tyrant. No happy place were the "good guys" have won. No powerful, influential, or widespread source of aide/good. There are tribes of escaped slaves. But they struggle for survival and are less Spartacus / more raiders from Mad Max. There are "resistance movements" but they are scattered, disconnected and weak. More likely to be in desperate need of the player characters help than in position to provide assistance.

Low magic. "Arcane" magic aka Defiling magic is rare due to requiring living sacrifices. There are almost no new magic items being created. Herbal brews, concoctions, fetishes, charms that replicate low-level spells. But real magic items are rare and most are ancient. Obviously, no mages guild, colleges or the like.

No Gods, Demons, Devils, Angles or pals in the "traditional" D&D sense. No planes, planar/astral travel. The world is cut off and abandoned by these extra planar beings. This also means the Law vs Chaos or Good vs Evil themes/conflicts do not exist. Replacing them are struggles vs environment and Preserver vs Defiler. May or may not have ethereal equivalent "The Gray" but frankly there already is enough "new" to explore don't think there will be need.

No undead. At least not the common ones. Not a "type" of monster. Some or all the Defiler Tyrants will be liches and/or vampires. And there might be the odd mummy in ancient tomb predating world getting burnt or unique "ghost" as the end boss of big dungeon. But, no skeles, zombies, wights, specters, etc. No clerical turning. No Animate Dead. Cutting out this major element emphasizes that Blood & Bone is a different world. Psychic "monsters" fill this void.

No dragons. There'll be "drakes" and "serpents" and other big dumb lizards. But not the intelligent, top-tier, uber monster role that Dragons usually perform. And the Tyrants aren't all attempting to "evolve" into dragons. Whacking this iconic element reinforces B&B is not just D&D in the desert.

Few "common" monsters. And few monsters in general. Most of the world is empty and desolate. Wilderness encounters with creatures will be rare. More environmental encounters; heatwave, sinkhole, silt storm, dried up wells, falling rocks. [Have to make these less events that happen to players and more "encounterish" that can be solved, avoided, exploited.]

No humanoid "threats" to civilization. What civilization exists would enslave humanoids. Besides the ecosystem can not support hordes of things living in the wilderness. The environment and other city-states provide all the threat that is needed for adventure seeds.

No vast subterranean underground, underdark, etc. If it did everyone would move down there as it would be less hostile than surface.

No technological ancients. No UFOs, no ray guns, no robots. This will be tough cause I really like ray guns. It's tempting to reskin all this to ancient magic from before defiling burnt the world. It fits; post apocalyptic world, mostly nonworking ancient "tech". What does work is unreproducible, hard to understand, dangerous and uber powerful. But it's too easy and same as this shouldn't be D&D in the desert, it shouldn't be Mutant Future with mages (in the desert).

No wars, not any more. Just not enough people or food to feed them to waste on that. The Defiler Tyrants are all in a sort of mutual self destruction détente. Any one of them has the magical power to wipe out several of the others. But the defiling required would suck the life out of all their lands and subjects. Leaving them without "wealth" or power and vulnerable. Raiding and skirmishes occur. Also common is influencing "adventurers" into (indirectly) harming ones enemies ;)

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