Monday, January 04, 2016

New settings...

Over the break, I saw a few things that have prompted more incipient setting development ideas in my mind.  Some of these are not necessarily new, but some of them are.

First off, let me do a quick round-up of my settings so far.  Some of these are relatively well developed, some of them are about at the level of the d20 mini-games in Polyhedron back in the day, and some of them are little more than a high concept in need of nearly all of the setting development necessary to make them playable.  That said, here they all are:

  • AD ASTRA: Superheroes in a space opera.  Think Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Starjammers of X-men comics fame.
  • CULT OF UNDEATH: Kind of a Ustalav (from the Pathfinder setting of Golarion) remixed for use in an abbreviated and less SJWish Carrion Crown adventure path for m20.  Also doubles as a slightly more detailed look at an area of my main setting.
  • DARK•HERITAGE: The main setting of the blog, one that's been developed via literally hundreds of blog posts by now—although it's still a far cry from the level of detail that something like, say, the Forgotten Realms has accrued...  Described as part swashbuckling pirates, part spaghetti western, part picaresque crime story, part Yog-Sothothery.
  • EBERRON REMIXED: This should be self-explanatory; it's the setting of Eberron from Wizards of the Coast 3.5 era game.  Not only is it adapted via rules into the m20 system, but the setting itself is somewhat modified to better fit what seems to be the direction of the setting, rather than it all being shoe-horned into a D&D paradigm.
  • DREAMLANDS REMIXED: Originally called HYBRID DREAMLANDS, since it's the Dreamlands setting, hybridized with some other notions.  Taking Lovecraft's Dreamlands, mixing them up a bit with some Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard stuff, giving it a more overt sword & sorcery tone and playing it like a straight sword & sorcery setting, rather than a place you go when you dream.
  • MAMMOTH LORDS: The concept of the Hyborian Age (i.e., taking real cultures, giving them new names that make them different, yet still transparently the same as your real life historical culture and slapping them all together into a fictional map that somewhat resembles the real world) but focused more on Viking era settlement of the New World.  Add in Ice Age megafauna for extra fun, and lost Atlanteans, etc. to make it well and truly sword & sorcery rather than alternate history.
  • MYTHS REVISITED: Ancient pagan gods and goddesses of classical, Norse, and other mythologies converted into pseudo-science superheroes.  Think of the comic book versions of Mount Olympus or Asgard, and you're most of the way there already.
  • ODD D&D: Using all d20 D&D rules to run a game that eliminates almost all of the standard D&D tropes.  In place of magic, you have psionics.  There are no elves, dwarves, halflings, etc. The continent is ruled by reptilian cultures—lizardmen and yuan-ti—and the mammalian races are forced into the fringe of the continent, fighting for the freedom and even their very survival.  Also; big, gnarly dinosaurs wander the land, making travel especially perilous, even if you can avoid the lizardmen or snake-men.
  • REALMS TRAVELLER: If Star Trek was pitched to the network as Wagon Train to the Stars, this is Wagon Train to the Planes.  Rather than the Great Wheel, the cosmology is like a road, using elements from Beyond Countless Doorways, Distant Worlds and some layers of some planes from regular D&D thrown in for good measure.  This makes it almost a "setting of the week" kind of game, as the PC party travels from one plane to another over the course of the campaign.
  • SOLNOR: Named for one of the large oceans in the Greyhawk setting, this is D&D except completely under the sea.  Only aquatic races are available, and the game literally never comes up for air or broaches the surface the entire time.
  • STAR WARS REMIXED: Started long before the new movie came out (and I'm pleased to note that nothing in the new movie invalidates my remixed setting)—this is Star Wars 1,000 years after Return of the Jedi, where the remains of the Empire and the Republic both have fragmented and balkanized.  There are a number of knightly orders, some of claim the mantle of the Jedi, the Sith, or others, while other orders make no claims on being anything other than themselves.
While I don't yet have names for the new ideas that I had over the break, here's what they are in capsule mode:
  • Hatari! plus Jurassic Park (especially the scene from the second one where they're all driving around in wicked cool off-road vehicles and catching dinosaurs) plus planetary romance a la Barsoom.  In an alternate history world in which the Seven Years War is interrupted by the discovery of gates to other worlds, where strange wildlife, and even "archived" past Earth wildlife faunas exist, bands of adventurers, settlers, colonists and others go to harvest resources, establish colonies, or catch crazy wildlife for zoos and menageries back on Earth.  Eventually, it becomes a planetary romance alternative to the Scramble for Africa and the American Revolution itself... except it isn't the American colonies who rise up in revolt for freedom against monarchy; it's the interplanetary colonies of Great Britain, allied with some from Prussia, Austria, France, Sweden and the other Great Powers.  This is actually an idea that I've kicked around for quite some time, (originally as two separate ideas, in fact) but I watched Hatari! again recently, and it made me want to see what I could do with it again.
  • I watched my son play his new copy of Destiny just a bit over the holidays, and at an extremely high level, I could envision a setting that caters to some similar tones and themes by combining, to an extent, Halo, the Leigh Brackett solar system, and Thundarr the Barbarian.  Humanity formed a solar-system spanning civilization in the (relatively) near future, including terraforming to a greater or lesser extend Mars, Venus, the Moon and maybe some other bodies in the system.  Now, hundreds if not thousands of years later, that civilization has broken down.  Genetically engineered people or animals, and/or outright aliens have taken over, and put the solar system into a post apocalyptic dark age.  Bringing what's left of civilization back from the brink, and reestablishing it via Reconquista of territory claimed by alien invaders, etc. feature strongly in this setting.

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