Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Watching a roundtable of bloggers talking about their D&D settings has inspired me to jot down a quick rundown of what my D&D setting is comprised of. In its simplest terms, what you have is the D&D I imagined before I learned of things like Vancian magic, divine magic, alignments, & other such things that really confused the hell out of me when I first started playing because they seemed to be products of something other than literature and mythology.
If there's any interest, I may continue this as a series or split it off into it's own blog. I could probably elaborate on & give my reasoning for every bullet point on this list before even concerning myself with posts about locations, creatures, NPCs, adventures, etc. I know such is really popular amongst the OD&D bloggers, which I enjoy reading, but I wouldn't call my bag OD&D. Sure, the aesthetics tend to be similar, but whenever I actually look down at a page of OD&D rules I tend to feel like the citizen who says the king has no clothes.
But I digress...
Genre: 60's-70's style Sword & Sorcery
Low Power (Not "epic," personal stakes)
Late Iron Age (Steel exists, but is uncommon)
Influenced by Abrahamic & Germanic folklore
Warhammer Fantasy with less Tolkien, lower tech, & it's defining Chaos element
Game of Thrones with less political intrigue
Elric with less Lovecraft
Conan with less pulp
- No "Fantasy Races" (though not everyone is entirely mortal)
-No Tolkien plagiarized Elves, Dwarves, etc. (Respecting IP is the sincerest form of flattery)
-No arcane/divine magic division (in that one does not differentiate between divine/arcane)
-"Mortal" men are essentially mundane, & can not "cast" magic
-Immortal beings; gods, demons, & fairies, are essentially magical & the source of magic on the mortal plane
-Gods are active participants in the world, with desires, whims, & emotions, and can't be taken for granted
- Men can petition gods & lesser immortals for miracles & other magical boons, as it pleases the immortal
-As a result of the active participation of these immortals, "tainted" bloodlines exist. Such people; including Demigods, demonic Cambion, and Changelings, command a small vestige of natural immortal power
- Small scale. There are only a handful of cities, each with its own personality, the rest is farmland
Who You Play
-"Fighter," & "Rogue," types of course. Anything mundane & European fits.
-"Cleric" types, the "divine caster" role. One may pray for and receive divine boons. This is independent of class. A rogue can pray to and receive blessings from their god. However, one who devoted their life to their cult would, logically, receive more attention from their god. They've earned it.
-"Sorcerer" types for those with blood lines tainted by demonic, divine, or fairy influences.
What You Do
- Earn your fortune through perilous exploits (because farming's for suckers)
- Promote the agenda of your cult
- Defend your community from the influences of demons & fairies
- Seek out sources of immortal power for yourself
- Discover what lies beyond the known borders of your homeland
Where You Are
"The Kingdom," is such only in name, as only one of its major cities remains within the full power of its regent. Despite a history of wise leadership throughout their lineage, the benevolence of the royal line has allowed its subjects to choose the liberty of self governance. Though the rural folk still refer to the land as "the Kingdom," little effected by political upheaval, the larger urban centers have established independence from the crown.
The Royal City, though much reduced in influence, remains a center of culture, and diplomatic relations
The Crossroads is centrally located trade hub in the region, wherein the free market drives policy
The Port is a place of liberty & equality, where every man has a voice
The University is a modern institution, where a man's station is equal to his qualifications
The Garrison is a place of war, its mercenary army fed on tribute & the spoils of foreign foes
The Barbarian lands are wild places for those that reject the yoke of civilization
- Your community has appointed you as a representative for some cause in an envoy to demand further freedoms from the King
- A military threat faces your community. The Garrison demands too high a fee, and none wish to compromise their independence by appealing to the crown
- As a resident of the crossroads, you earn your keep any way you can or starve
- A local crossroads trader is suspected of breaking the one law, disrupting fair trade
- The crossroads is home to professional mercenary, thieves', & assassins' guilds that are never out of work
- A resident of the crossroads has, while travelling, committed a criminal act & now seeks to be hidden within the walls of his own lawless city
- You were abandoned by your parents in the crossroads before your own recollection, but now that you've become successful your birth parents wish to congratulate you and welcome you back into your life
- Born into a successful family of the crossroads, you have been privileged all of your life. But, as you have reached adulthood, your father has informed you that you will soon be relinquishing all of the possessions he has provided you, leaving home, and making your way on your own from now on.
- An important vote is coming up, you fear the wrong decision will be made, and know of no representative with the knowledge and charisma capable of garnering support for the cause
- On the eve of an important vote, a powerful representative bearing the rings & votes of many citizens has gone missing
- A vote has been cast but, upon audit, has been found to contain more rings than the city does citizens. The source of this corruption must be discovered and weeded out.
- The Port is a place of equality, for citizens & foreigners alike, yet something about the presence of rich Crossroads traders rubbing elbows with representatives in the halls of power is making you uneasy
- You are a young perspective student, desiring to leave your homeland and earn a place in the University
- You were born in the University, but have never had a knack for study or a keen hand at any trade. How can one who's good at nothing survive in such a competitive environment?
- A rogue researcher was removed from the University years ago, but word has reached the provost that he may have continued his unethical practices in secret somewhere else in the kingdom. This must be stopped before he can hurt their reputation. (A sadly prevalent problem, it is not uncommon for a woodsman to wander across the hidden towers of disgraced academics. The experiments of such men create no shortage of horrors for the unsuspecting rural folk.)
- Envoys from the Port & University have begun reaching out to foreign lands in the hopes of making peaceful relations that could jeopardize the livelihood of the Garrison
- Members of the Garrison know only warfare, and see much of it
- The Garrison has not been paid full tribute by one of the cities, risking an armed response lest the others follow suit
- Spoils have been poor for the Garrison as of late, and there is talk that their may not be enough fighting to fill the stores for winter
- As a "Hunter," of the barbarian lands, you must fight the land for your survival on a daily basis
- Though you wish nothing to do with them, the city folk of the Crossroads & Garrison tread far too often on the freedom of the Barbarian lands, & one of them has now invited himself into your community.
- Today you become a man within Hunter society. You must first complete the initiation ritual, however, and only then will you be able to hunt for your first trophy.
- Unwelcome in your home city, you set out for a place you feel you will belong - only to find that noone wants you there
- While travelling through the woods, you stumble upon the overgrown shrine of some old forgotten god. What power may lie within? Why was this place abandoned? If he still lives, might he reward you for freeing his shrine from obscurity?
- While on the hunt, you glimpse a golden mane, the mark of a creature which survived pursuit by The Great Hunter, the greatest trophy one can ever hope to bag
- Etc. Etc.