Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Unfocused Thoughts: A Barbaric Age

The Great Cities have risen and fallen,  civilization's grip on mankind has grown weak and arthritic, dark powers seek to renew forgotten covenants, and primordial beasts reclaim the wilderness. -- Korgoth of Barbaria, "Pilot"

Ah, another setting destined for the creative detritus of my wandering mind.  Hopefully this will get it out of my system and I can get back to Dark Country and Uz* related things.  The impetus for the idea came from this post by another Evan** whose blog appears to be defunct.  Anyway he points out that OD&D using the Outdoor Survival map is a rough place to live, and it's filled with roaming bands of armed humans.  That's saying nothing of the castles.

Anyway, that reminded me of Korgoth, 80s S&S movies, and the Greek Dark Ages for some reason, so here are some setting notes.
  • The map is (obviously) the one from Outdoor Surival.  Ponds are castles, buildings are towns, deer are probably going to be villages and the little wolf-looking things (I can't really see what they are from the maps online) are probably what Scott would call an "8 page module" dungeon.  I may cut the villages out or make the monster layers if I want to make it very "barbaric," which I do.
  • Basic premise is, as stated above, our civilization has crumbled and a civilization that looks suspiciously like pre-modern Earth has risen in it's place.
  • Rules would be OD&D plus some classes and monsters from the supplements and probably some copious house rules.
  • Part of the idea would be to develop things (house rules, setting info, monsters, etc.) through play and the needs of play.  I want the setting to have an overall flavor, but it's a bit closer to baseline D&D than is say... Uz.
  • While I want to retain some of the barest Tolkien elements, I want to emphasize some of the other source literature a bit more.  If orcs are in it then they'll be the pig-faced guy from the three Deathstalker movies or something equally stupid.
  • Since it's a far-future Earth I plan to make good on OD&D's promise of Robots.  Ray guns are probably but not a replacement for magic items in the way they will be in Uz.
  • I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet with alignment.  If I go with a REH style split between barbaric and civilized people I may use it to get that across; however, it seems like this setting is going to be pretty barbaric all around, so I dunno.
  • I wanna go back to using some mythological monsters I haven't gotten to use with Nightwick Abbey or Uz.  I miss Minotaurs.
  • If it looks like I'll run this at some point -- which seems unlikely right now -- I'll probably work up some kind of "underworld" for beginning play.  OD&D's wilderness can be rough on level 1 characters.
  • On that note, I may steal a page from Scott and use the CSIO 4 Level dungeon for that.  I wouldn't have to draw many maps right away and it seems like it would be fun to stock.
  • Speaking of the underworld: I need more dungeon NPCs!
  • I'd generally take the "whatever you want to play" approach to PC races, but I think I'd like to work up some writeups for things like lizardmen and other weirdos.  I swing back and forth between human only campaigns and campaigns where you can play minotaurs.
  • The basic culture of the area would probably be movie-style-medieval, with a thick layering of bronze age and classical crap over it.  Some clerics might worship God, while the next one over is a fan of Apollo, and that wizard is totally a Satanist.
  • The various castles on the map would be generated using the rules for such things in Underworld & Wilderness adventures.  I'll probably also add a few fighting men whenever that seems appropriate.
  • The towns will use a combination of the guidelines for determining population in the Greyhawk Folio and in the Ready Ref Sheets.
  • Place names will be a mix of historical place names and shit I like spelled backwards.  Expect the return of Vennax the Mauve.
That's it for now.  Hopefully the idea will stop bugging me now.

*More on that later

**There can be only one!


  1. This is totally just the prehistory of Uz

    1. I endorse this option :) Oddly enough, just earlier on Wednesday I had a bout of setting-fever which resulted in me spending my blogging and blog reading time on coming up with twisted nomenclature and depraved details.

    2. The distant past is surely a highly potent source of radiation-free DNA for goop-slaves.

  2. This sounds like a fun mash-up of things. I'm very interested in how it turns out.

    1. Sadly I don't know if you will see how it turns out. It's largely a project that requires play to define -- which is the point -- and that means that it'll probably be a while before I do anything with it.