Game plan 2017

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2016 was an abysmal year for me game-wise.

New leading position at the university, with loads of administration and putting out fires all the time diminished my free time as well as my energy to use the little free time I have for creative RPG projects, i.e. writing and publishing game stuff.

Instead, I’ve allocated that precious time to preparation and planning for my own game group, and I’ve had to reduce prep time as well, running things more “on the fly”.

I will keep my work position this year as well, but since I’m no beginner this time I suspect that things will be a tad easier this time around and hopefully I will manage to write at least some short things for publication.

On the game side of things I have some visions of what I’d like to accomplish.

We play Call of Cthulhu now (Masks of Nyarlahotep) and as that is a very long campaign I want to break it up into “seasons”in order to be able to run other games, also in seasons. That way we can get to play multiple games/settings but only one at a time.

Those other games I’d like to kick into gear this year is:

  • Curse of Strahd (5e Ravenloft)
  • The Thousand Thrones (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e)

Judging my player’s preferences I’d say we’ll go with Ravenloft first. Planning that classic I thought it would be cool to start in a standard fantasy world and have the PCs drawn into the Mists classic style. Which led to thoughts on what setting to use. I’ve now decided to combine an old campaign that I started on long ago with Curse of Strahd.

That campaign was set in Greyhawk, so Greyhawk it is for my 5e games. I was never a big fan of Forgotten Realms and to be honest, the new 5e FR has done nothing to convince me otherwise. So, the “base world” will be my version of Greyhawk, but I also want this to be a multiverse kinda over the top game over time, so I plan to incorporate elements from Planescape as well.

It will be a weird, crazy and pretty cool ride I think. Greyhawk Dawn is afoot again!

Greyhawk Dawn kopia

Now, back to the drawing table…

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Planning games: Greyhawk Dawn

Greyhawk Dawn kopia

“Logo” for my new 5e Greyhawk game

Soon it is time to take a break from “Season 1” of our Lost Lands game and move to Curse of Strahd.

As I was thinking of how to introduce the players to Ravenloft this time I decided to have them drawn into the mists, old school style. And then I need a world to draw them from.

As I have mentioned before, Forgotten Realms isn’t really my cup of tea. One thing I dislike is the extent of canon for FR. Another is the generic high fantasy feel of the FR books as well as the assumption of a vast quantity of magic items on the market as well as all those high level NPCs that are running around.

Also, I wanted to move this game to a new setting that I can use for future 5e games and I wanted to play in one of the TSR classics: Mystara, Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk.

So I have been digging out my old TSR world-boxes and read some as well as studying the maps. For me, Forgotten Realms fell away at once (I have the 2e box set as well as the 3e book). Then, Mystara was discarded as well (I have the 2e box set) despite my old love for the Known World setting, which I disliked more and more as I read the official Mystara books.

Which left me with Greyhawk. I have the 1983 box and a bunch of 2e stuff as well as the 3e Living Greyhawk book. And the Paizo maps on top of that.

Funny thing is, that back in the day, we never used the Greyhawk setting in any of the groups I played with. It was all home brew back then.

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Das ist ein groovy combo, yes?

I think that it will be fun to try out 5e D&D in this classic setting. This is also where all the old classic modules are located. Maybe we’ll try out one of the converted classics after our foray into the Mists…

After playing through Curse of Strahd, I might also go for a pure Ravenloft game based on the Domains of Dread tome in combination with the 3e Ravenloft books from Arthaus.


Anyway, when deciding to use Greyhawk as my material plane world, I decided to check if there’s any online resources usable for 5e Greyhawk, and it turns out that there are some: 

World of Greyhawk for 5e (very good base site for 5e GH)

Canonfire 5e Greyhawk forums

From the Sorcerer’s Scroll blog

Greyhawk Grognard blog

Anna B Meyer Greyhawk Maps

Paizo Greyhawk map(s)

Classic Modules Today (about converting classic modules to 5e)

 

 

Awesome book of artefacts and occult history

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Cool book

Yesterday, I got this book from one of my players (also GM in our Pathfinder game and the designer of said book).

It is an occult history book by the fictive Dr. Cagliostro – investigator of the unknown. Although not a game book per se, this book oozes of cool inspiration for your Call of Cthulhu or Ravenloft games.In fact, it is very much in the style of Van Richten books from Ravenloft. You will find cool stories, steampunk style artefacts (locally built by the author I think) and general gothic feel within the pages of this book.

Good news are that although the book is written and produced in Sweden, it is in English, so you don’t have to take Swedish class to get to it’s goodies.

Here is a web page with more info:

http://www.cagliostro.se/in-english/our-collections-685496

 

 

 

On ghouls and abandoned mansions

That Souragne feel

We had a good session today, the 3rd in order playing the Ravenloft module “Night of the Walking Dead” with the OpenQuest/Renaissance rules. All players except one was present and in for gaming.

The session started with a recap that I wrote yesterday, mainly to remember what has happened this far. Last time, we left off just after one of the players had witnessed the bizarre funeral with the chained coffin. After that, he went to the Vodoun church to take a look and met a strange three-eyed raven…

I thought that this session would be mostly investigation in the village, but the characters went to (a) the blacksmith, to buy weapons and (b) to the general store, to buy adventuring gear and new clothes. Our Caliban “Dashing Rogue” took the role-playing prize by burning all his meagre funds on foppish clothes. From the blacksmith’s wife they learned that her son had been missing for five days, after never having returned from his work at the d’Tarascon plantation.

After walking through abandoned sugar cane fields they arrived at a silent mansion with dark blinds covering all windows. The locks were too powerful to pick, but they climbed to the second floor and smashed a window. I hadn’t planned for this, but had a cool mansion map prepped just in case (aenglum.blogspot.se, see oldest post in the portfolio). I saw a perfectly good horror scene here, so I went with the flow. The dark, eerie mansion with all the rooms and doors really made the players up their paranoia, and I threw in strange sounds just to keep them nervous. It worked 😉

Then on the second floor, they heard a gnawing sound behind a door. Two of the characters stormed in, to witness a woman in a maid’s outfit sitting over a very bloody week-old corpse, feeding on the dead flesh. Two missed sanity checks. Two massive sanity losses. Two temporarily insane characters.

With some crossbow and machete work they managed to defeat the evil ghoul maid, but they were really shaken. That’s when sounds of lots of shuffling feet started to emerge all over the place, and a panicky scramble to get out started! No more combat, but I must say that the scare factor was high!

The characters went back to the village to speak to the Constable, but managed to aggravate him to the point of nearly being thrown into jail on account of being “foreign troublemakers”. They also learned that the d’Tarascon family have a townhouse in the village. We left off outside the townhouse, when they after several missed lock-picking attempts started to work at the front door with a crowbar, and the Constable along with two deputies arrived in a really crappy mood.

I must say that my OpenQuest/Renaissance amalgamation works really well with the Ravenloft setting. One thing however, is that the standard D&D trope of attacking head on is ill advised with these rules. Bodily harm and insanity will follow, and much faster than with D&D.

Awesome game today. And I will prepare the townhouse as well as some weird red herring stuff in the village. This adventure can be expanded a lot without damaging the “core story”. I’ve decided to go with the flow here and spin on the players’ ideas. Great stuff for stories!