Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Setting Ideas

So I occasionally get ideas for settings, places where I'd love to run an adventure or two, do a little world-building or just think about a bit.  Below are a few that have got me amused lately.

1) Mystical Realms of Tropeliche - Really bad high fantasy played for laughs.  Every place,NPc and Monster would have ridiculous names.  There would be dwarfs that were all beards and axes (literally a dwarf is a beard, somehow holding an axe and a mug of 'strong brew', also very susceptible to fire and mange). There would be dragons everywhere, underfoot even, little vicious things all with names like "Flameterrior the Nightmare of Fire".  Into this mess where every damn day some doe eyed elven queen is asking a random strong jawed goatherd to take up a quest for "The Lost Sword of Pointedness, forged for the Great King Thronin Wharmer the Metaphorical in the ages before Mu sank beneath the waves" and bearded wizards are entrusting every hedge dwelling half-goblin with a dangerous journey into the heart of the "Dread Lands of Evil" come the players - who are of course Little Brown Book 3D6 in order hoodlums who only gain XP from gold.  Gold gotten however really. Mostly what I need for this is some ridiclous naming tables as the rest of the content has written  itself.  Things like "Orc Bandits are raiding the Villagers' swimming hole" and "Unwashed villagers are Swimming in the Orc Refugees only source of fresh water".

This, but with Mutants
2)  Zanzibar Green - Total 70's dystopia.   Paternalistic social science in the distant past and technological abundance created a society with so much wealth and so little work that people were simply warehoused in sealed self sufficient arcologies.  Of course several hundred years of ennui and an existence without challenge has resulted in complete disaster.  Primitive thugs living in crumbling pastel colored modernist tower blocks and feed off eachother for a change from perfectly balanced nutra-meals, dispensed at your whim (in five flavors!).  Everyone beautiful (except the mutants), everyone healthy and everyone reduced to such uselessness that they mostly stopped breeding or bothering to interact with each other.

The characters would all be young delinquents, trying to find something interesting, a way out or a functional society that exists among the scattered enclaves of lotus eaters, fascistic pocket states, nests of cannibal mutants and kill crazy muckers.  equipment would be junk mostly, no weapons in the arcology of course, so spears and bows ground down from parkland trees run wild would be high technology. Idea is real simple dungeon crawl D&D, but with a Logan's Run (except more desolate) veneer. 

3) Regressive Conflict - Starting something like a military sci-fi campaign and ending as a dungeon crawl amongst the slagged ruins of future earth - done as a series of one shots.  The party starts out as a squad of high tech soldiers in space armor and what not, newly awake from stasis and entering the front lines of an interstellar war.  Lasers flash and such.  If they survive the first battle/adventure they go back into cold sleep.  When the adventurers awake the ship has moved on, but there's no resupply in Eisensteinian space.  The stores are depleted, the weapons not as good.  Slowly the tech winds down or is replaced by random junk the party has scavenged on alien worlds.  The enemy sometimes suffers the same fate, but sometimes the party (now armed with swords and a single laser rifle that works 1/2 the time) is asked to raid a technological alien enclave for ship parts by a ship AI that is slowly going mad to further a war that may be over for 1,000 years due to time dilation effects.  Ultimately it becomes a quasi swords and sorcery thing, but the characters are the same Stars Without Numbers party, now playing low fantasy pirates.


  1. Good ideas, all. I particularly like the last 2.

  2. Replies
    1. Hmm maybe aesthetics wise - I mean it's hard to resist putting folks in red plastic jock straps. Feeling I was thinking more a grotty clockwork orange - society gone of the rails post-apocalyptic kind of thing, but cleaner than Zardoz and indoors.

    2. I meant the ennui & existence without challenge part. The immortals living within the vortex (vertex?) needed the possibility of death to truly live.

  3. I really like 3 as a series of one shots

  4. I kind of dig how number three is essentially losing levels as the high-tech equipment is gradually used up.

    Is Stars Without Number D&D compatible?

  5. @brendan, yes with little effort its kinda future lab lord with bolted on skills

  6. Zanzibar Green reminds me to the Eloi in Well's 'The Time Machine'.