Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things I want to yak about:

1. Thieves: why the 0e community is wrong
2. What's good from later editions of D&D
3. What's bad from both endsof the editions.(hint: COMBAT)
4. Why skills were bad, but feats rule.
5.  What mouthy prussians and gaming pundits might be right about OSR; and what the OSR got right.

Maybe I'll just change the name.  Say, to Obsessive gamers asylum or workshop.  Or maybe Crustacians and Dragons.  Who knows?  Not me !  Heck, I still haven't decided if I like that no-one is reading this......

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The current goal is to create a swords and sorcery setting for....Traveller !

The first draft idea is that the players have a nasty misjump somewhere in SOL system, and end up in a decaying orbit around a nasty world with a dense tainted atmosphere(X/E859XXX-3).

They can break orbit and try for repairs, or land, but not both. The system has some kind of brioadcasts -on a very non-standard band and unitelligable; and what may be a cleared landing area, which on observation seems to have a badly overgrown wreck of a huge ship of antique design. In fact, and IW period experiemntal Jump colony ship.

There are ruins concentrated on the mid coastal area, and around the landing area -which is now above the anoxic level, although it wasn't originally. At least one ruin is on the plateau.

What has happened:
The planet is earth in the perian era, at the height of the mass extinction/ecocollapse. The misjum they experienced has happened before -possibly more than once. An experimental colony ship -one of the first equipped with the new J2 drive, misjumped just after the 3IW (the bombardment); and ended up here. It was designed to reinforce an existing haven colonywhich was already established, so it had limited colony equiptment -although it had some, intended as upgrades or replacements for the haven.

The players will be able to figure much of this out without trolls if they have access to any kind of historical database. The actual ship identity and mission was highly classified, but became a mystery after the wars, so a difficult task resolution will be required, unless they land and explore.

The ship is stripped and badly eroded - it is clearly older than even the gap between the players time and it's fateful launch.

Clearly the survivors were able to set up a colony, starting with an initial settlement near the hul; however, it is clearly abandoned and stripped. No bodies, very little except for permanent buildings, and obvious abandoned farms and even parks. Suggestion is that at the time it was abandoned .the survivors maintained a TL2-3 with some higher TL in weapons (4-5), agriculture(5) and filter tech (5)-it also shows signs of long term habitation; Cached records and plaques as well as general remains and detritus(classic citry on a hill issues as in , say Ur) will be found suggesting at least 500 years occupation, with considerable cultural divergence across this time. Settlements spread to the area around the plateau, and boomed.

At the end the players will descover unmistakable evidence and records of some kind of attack.....and suggestions that the city has been abandonded for at least another 2000 years.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And that floridly purple prose is in fact only a mildly dramatized description of earth, our earth, the real one, at he end of the Permian period -well before dinosaurs, the age we mostly associate with the big fin backed psedoreptiles. No kidding, everything multicellular nearly died then -from 80-95 % of all species, land and sea, large and small, snuffed it in a much bigger extinction than the one that did for the dinosaurs. And life took a Loooooong time to recover.

Temperatures were suddenly forced to rise in the middle of an already catastrophic glaciation by massive volcanic activity...massive: tens of thousands of square MILES of lava erupting. Google "Siberian traps"; they may have raised the temperature as much as ten degrees over a few centuries -which did nothing to improve an already fragile ecosystem. Weather went crazy, and massive glacial melts poisoned the already vastly reduced coastal areas with cold fresh water, which created anoxic conditions and disrupted the atmospheric oxygen cycle -O2 levels dropped dramatically to the point where sea level O2 was equivalent to modern O2 concentration at 10,000' elevations -from a baseline what was 20-25% higher than a few centuries.

The remainder was polluted with Co2 and Sulfur dioxide; and then the Methan mats on the seabed started melting -in some cases explosively -driving up the methane levels. Things were dying everywhere. Even the coal beds are interrupted at these geological strata -suggesting that the forests were dead all at once,with little regrowth, and likely being broken up by high levels of decay fungus rather than creating the coal producing loam that an active forest would.

And then, for the cherry on top, speculation is that a massive asteroid or comet hit the planet, creating the Gulf of mexico and starting the breakup of the supercontinent. Perfect, no ?

Bad time to live, easy time to die. And so, I naturally thought, why not stick the PCs there ?

Friday, February 19, 2010

...and, in the death.......

The sun glows sullenly behind ochre clouds in a grey and green sky. At noon, there is but a twilight that slowly seeps out of the world as the sun slides toward the horizon, finally fading out before it sets. The night sky is inky black, with the occasional glowing patch of the moon. To the far north, the horizon glows, and launches sparks to the sky. Turn your face towards the fire and know where the north is: a wall of heat and a sea of molten rock.
Stand upon the shore and smell decay; look to the sea and all is murky , choked with slime and seaweed, a net tangling the corpses of innumerable sea creatures, frothing as the long frozen gasses melt on the dead seabed. Look to the land, see a belt of fecund jungle that all too soon gives way to an arid interior and eventually the burning seas of sand, where only bones abide.
Breathe: the air is thick, vile smelling, and strangely unsatisfying. The wind can change from a parchingly dry gale to a bone chilling blast in the space of a day, dropping snow that melts and steams on rocks still cooling from the mornings searing winds. Beasts of strange provenance wander through the murk, fighting for food that is all too hard to find, and all too often a fellow; fallen, unmoving except for great convulsive gasps of the foetid air. Beyond, great glacier encased peaks thrust up where continents collided - raw, sharp and uncrossable for lack of the unwholesome air.

Two ancient and enfeebled races war across the land for millenia, throwing gouts of unimaginable energy and incomprehensible science; they are locked in the final battle, all but extinct, an endless clash that will take the world as grave offerings.

And between them, in a small land, the race of vermin. Men, the exiles from the future, bred to serve their new masters, twisted by whim and need, they have forgotten all of who they are, and who they once were. Fleeing the senile lords, they escape and hide, founding kingdoms of terrible beauty and savagery amongst the ruins of the world, fighting amongst themselves with blades and stolen wizardries for the right to attend upon the final death of the tyrants and inherit the corpse of the earth.

These are the last days of Pangaea, the one continent; adrift in fire, ice and decay. The end of the Permian age, and the climax of the great death.