Monday, September 5, 2016

Future Campaigns

Despite Facebook and Blogger polls, sometimes it's just better to go over things in person... and with emails afterwards. 

With Masks complete and an agreed upon hiatus on the Cthulhu game, it was time to figure out what we'll be playing for the near long-term (meeting once a month means the next short game is a 6-9 month investment.

Here's a copy of the email/Facebook message I sent the group pertaining to the options I was proposing. 

We do have a few options to cleanse the palette of Cthulhu and  do something different.  Each one allows storylines sufficient for short and long-term (more than 6 session) play. 

OPTION #1:  Hackmaster, 4th Edition, "Burning Trogs Redux"
Here's a link detailing the development of HM:

We are playing the original "4th Edition."   The Player's Handbook is all you need and starts around $15 + S&H on Amazon for decent copies.  It is a beast of a book.  We could have up to five copies of the PHB at the table to start, so buying a book isn't a top priority.

PLOT: The Year is 1148. It is twelve years since the War with the Master ended, almost 100 years since the exploits of Echellon, Talis, and Company, eight years since the short lived Hackmaster campaign.

The Mer Kasp is a large sea, bordering twelve might nations, as well as a few minor entities.  It is an essential and efficient transportation system for a good portion of the World of Georic.  Barbarians, halflings, sheiks, Vikings can all be found sailing their vessels on its water. 

And within the last ten years, almost everyone is aware of "Zorin's Folly"

Zorin Redrock was a Gnome-Titan hero of the Southern Orc wars, an Ambasador-General of the Empire of Barthey, and a two-time savior of the Kingdom of Marakeikos.  His exploits and accolades would earn a normal man an early retirement in perpetual luxury. 

But Zorin was no normal man.  He was a Gnome Titan. 

His former adventuring company, the Burning Trogs had befallen a tragic bit of bad luck at the hands of the Slavers of Roark.  The slavers had managed to capture and enslave a number of notable members.  About half of them made it back alive.  His greatest regret was that Trogs could never exact vengeance onto the slavers. 

Two years after his The War with the Master war ended,  he left his estate for the final time and travelled back to the Gnomish City States.  He convinced the City-States military to sponsor a pirate and slaver-hunting expedition throughout the Mer Kasp.   Unfortunately, Zorin wasn't much of a sailor, as are most other types of gnomes, and the slavers secret bases remained hidden.   

Six years on the sea taught Zorin a lot about sailing, and an utter disgust for human and gnome sailors.  Despite the finest armament on the Mer Kasp, his lack of naval tactics resulted in more than a few crews nearly getting wiped out from pirates.    The City-States decided to recall the ship and its crew from the mission. 

Zorin sank his small fortune into three new ships and tried to outfit them with proper crews, but his reputation for confusing independent merchants, and sometimes naval frigates, for pirate ships preceded him. After a few disasters, a few sunken ships, and a couple of replacements along the way, his two remaining ships are crewed by a swarthy, gung-ho band of halflings. 

This year, the twelfth since he "retired," his haphazard networks of contacts, spies, and informants have uncovered a tiny cove that's almost impossible to navigate.    Only the skilled, or the well-organized could get through, so that means only a treacherous overland march is required to reach it, and possibly even rappel down some cliff faces.  Even worse,  this information could be time-sensitive, and Zorin's flagship, is far, far away.  His second ship is nearby, and it's up to its scrappy halfling crew to do the recon, and possibly assault the pirates there.  

BACKGROUND:  Every player will start with a 1st level Halfling character of any legal class, to get everyone's feet wet (it has been 10+ years for some).   We would be reintroducing pre-existing characters into the campaign. 

DISCLAIMER:  Although most are welcome to jump in at any time, with this game, I'll open the door a little larger to accommodate for former player (Dalcin, Kelley, Scott & Family, and Hoyce/The Woolevers, if available).

OPTION #2:  Omni System:  "Within the Sacred Gates of Abaris"

PLOT:  When the sky caught fire, your grandparents fled underground.  Or perhaps it was their grandparents.  Regardless, they had a great king by the name of Abaris, who foretold the coming disaster and had spent considerable time and money to build an underground city to save his people.  Thousands managed to flee underground, protected by the earth and the sealed Sacred Gates of Abaris. 

The fire still rages in the sky above, and life is shorter beneath the rock.  People live into their thirties, but soon succumb to debilitating physical and mental injuries soon after their teen years   It has been the responsibility of the children to support the community with children as young as four starting to learn a trade.  As they reach the level of master in their mid-teens, they are allowed to breed/marry slowly begin their downward spiral.  The only respite from this anguish lies in the Priest of Zenobia, the lead worshippers of the goddess that Abaris himself worship.  They provide the salves and powders that allow someolder citizens to still work.   They control the militia, they provide food when the harvests occasionally fail, and their head priestess, Bethach, is rumored to now magics that have kept her alive until the nearly ancient age of 45. 

You still have a few years until you reach the title of Master of your profession.  Groups of potential husbands/wives have been chosen to represent superior breeding traits, and for some of you, you already begin feeling the aches, the pains, the mental instability that will crush your spirit in a few years.   And even if the fire  in the sky extinguishes itself, it may be your children's children time before the world "up there" can be inhabited. 

But you recently caught wind of something that's opened your eyes somewhat.  There are rumors swirling about that Zenobia diedYou don't a real god should just die, but you know notice the Priests are quite nervous around the citizenry.  And when they do speak, they're keeping a hand on their weapon.    No one else is paying attention, but this might be your chance to save what's left of your people, just like Abaris saved what he could of his kingdom.

BACKGROUND:  OMNI is a simplistic d20 based fantasy system, variants of which have been used with the Talislanta and Atlantis/Arcaneum RPGS.  All materials would be provided.

Option #3:  Savage Rifts
Combining the heroic system of Savage Worlds with the gonzo Post-Apocalyptic World of Rifts

Those things called ley lines?  Those crackpot wiccans were right, they do exist, criss-crossing the world.  All those mystical spots (Stonehenge, the Sphinx). had a reason to exist where they were.  Magic existed through theses lines, and from time to some a rift could open up and some entity from somewhere else could emerge into our world.  Legends of dragons, vampires, and werewolves weren't just real, they were visiting!  

As technology advanced, ley lines were forgotten by many.  It could be debated that the technology itself hampered the use of the lines.  However, when a nuclear strike in the future kills millions created a wave of their Potential Psychic Energy (PPE)  that essentially jump-started the ley lines.  What is already a huge release of mystical energy is multiplied as a result of several special conditions: a rare multi-planetary alignment, occurrence during the Winter Solstice, and all at midnight. The deaths of millions at this time amplifies these already high psychic energies, triggering many powerful natural disasters across the world, including the return of Atlantis.
The energy release from the deaths of millions more in turn releases even more mystic energy, causing more disasters in a vicious cycle. Ultimately, the total destruction brings an unprecedented energy release of billions. Ley Line networks that crisscross the globe are energized as never before, causing rifts to open both on Earth and throughout the Megaverse. Untold numbers of alien beings are pulled from their own home worlds, while Great Powers of the Megaverse are alerted of a new and valuable planet to conquer.
For hundreds of years after the holocaust, many creatures, both mythical beasts and alien beings, come through the Rifts - some of them now permanently opened - to wreak additional havoc. The old world gone, a new dark age dawns and humanity's shrinking population is reduced, due to catastrophe and domestic failure, immeasurably
This is one way of viewing the world now:

Robot armor, fantasy creatures, alien races, augmented humans dependent on drugs and/or tech, mystical warriors and wizards,

... and among all of that, a heavily armed group that wants to make humans great again, with enough skull imagery that makes the Nazis look like nice people, if anyone remembered what Nazis were.

OPTION 4:  Star Frontiers
Yes, I went there.  Because (a) it's nostalgic to some of us (b) it's simple and percentile (c) there's a load of material available even beyond my own collection.  and (d) we can expand it in any direction we want using a ton of conversions. 

OPTION 5:  Whatever You Guys Suggest: 
If I'm forgetting something obvious, let me know.  Tom, who's not on Facebook, just threw Basic D&D, Vampire, and L5R on the table as games he's got interest in playing for nostalgia's sake.    If we go down that road, I have ideas for African Bush Wars using RECON, straight up Talislanta, Mouse Guard, a Frostgrave League, and of course, the much maligned "Home" Polynesian Game.

The Process
The goal is for everyone to vote for their top two choices.  Once we're ready to start up, I would take one of our sessions and run the top two choices as short vignettes, providing a decent overview of system mechanics, settings, etc.  After that (and some more discussion) we would choice our next game. 

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