Saturday, July 29, 2017

World Primers - 3 OSR Settings

Ever since I got into OSR style tabletop gaming, my appreciation of both rules and game design has grown. But in the tabletop gaming community that I have been in for a bit longer then that, I really enjoyed the worldbuilding aspects of the hobby. It's also one of the hardest parts of the hobby.

As experts will tell you; don't sit down and just worldbuild. It's better to discover or create the setting through play, fill out random tables and see what happens. Hell there is an implied setting based on the campaigns, rules, and monster encounters from the oldest of old school D&D. Even with that said though, I have a great love of creating interesting worlds.

However, unlike other people, I'll arrogantly declare that my method of creating the 'outline' of a setting is superior to the nitty gritty. I'm not too great with the details outside of play, I'd rather just make something very general with some interesting ideas, paint wide, and let the details fall into place, or let people imagine them themselves. This is more of a help to organize X content then anything else, that's essentially what these settings are. Generic fantasy ideas go in this setting, weird gonzo modern fantasy stuff go in this one, etc. Maybe you think this is a bad method of worldbuilding, or maybe you've never thought about it before. Either way.

As of right now, I have three primary settings that are focused around OSR style games. These are the ones I'm focusing on in terms of developing and creating content for, more or less, because I only create worlds for games and to set them in, not for the act of creating itself.

Atria(?) - Generic High Fantasy

The roads and wilds are dangerous places. Once the world was a formless place of creation and destruction, the Archons who inhabited it. As they danced and endlessly created and destroyed, a force called the Heku began to bind everything together in symbolic law, the wordless agreement on how things 'should' be. There was a great war between the Archons, who eventually split into Demons, Fae, the Gods, and other beings as well, greatly spent and weakened and fractured. The winner of the war was the Red God an evil God of control and power. The Gods created mortal beings, who could exist and live free under the Heku, not within it.

The mortal races change every other day I work on the setting, and mostly worship the Gods and other lawful Archons. The Red God is the darkest, most powerful God and ruler of all monsters. The Night of Sacrifice is one of his rules, and is core to the folk's beliefs, though not by choice. People live in small fortified villages and within carefully patrolled woodland areas; man must fight with the monstrous unknown constantly. Recovering treasure from dungeons is considered a great act; status and land and leadership are thrust upon those who prove themselves with steel, daring, or magic.

Recovering these stolen treasures from the Red God's children is the object of dungeon-delving. The people who dive them include three general classes. Dangerous include monsters, magic, cursed items, traps, and dying from boredom at this generic fantasy adventure-land.

Garden - Gonzo Modern Fantasy

Set in a city outside space and time, “Garden” as it has come to be called is the home of things lost and never found. Everyone came to Garden by accident. Long night driving on a forest road, and they suddenly ended up in an electric city in the trees. Depressed young people sometimes just wake up on its park benches- in a new city of opportunity. But once you're in Garden, you can never find your way home. The sun never comes out in Garden, it is a land of eternal night, but yet the native plants still grow. The darkness of the night hides terrifying monsters and the enigmatic members of the Torchlight society, insane men who prefer the woods to the calm electric lights of the city. Nobody knows where the power comes from.

Garden's level of technology is fiercely independent and anachronistic. People rumble around the city streets in tesla-coil powered hover cars but computer technology is essentially nonexistent. People fight with scrap metal weapons, called Chimneys, and without a true leader ruling the city it is essentially a libertarian anarchist paradise. As long as you got the money, the cars, and the guns you can control some of the city's neighborhoods; but nobody has united the whole thing. Garden itself is the only known place of safety and civilization in the dark alternate world it resides- its refugees from other worlds are alien and strange as well as human. Psychic powers awaken here, and those born in Garden have never known what the sun feels like.

Finding treasure and navigating gang territories are core to the gameplay. 'Sweeps', the slang term for adventurers due to the fact they tune their own guns and clear buildings floor by floor, use arsenals of weapons and some have psychic abilities. Dangers include mad psychics, weird technology and animals “imported” from other dimensions and lots of very mean people with guns.

Perfected Tyranny – Soft, Pulpy Science Fiction

In the vast oceans of space, the greatest minds of some long dead race or world came together to create the perfect form of government, the one thing that could keep biological life alive forever; they created Perfected Tyranny. The BICOs (Biological, Intelligent, Communal, Organism) had banded together to create the one thing that could protect them from the terror of the galaxy, the SICOs. (Solar, Intelligent, Communal, Organisms). SICO is pronounced 'psychos', and these faceless star beings hate all other forms of life, and so we went to war.

It is only through Perfected Tyranny or P.T. for short that the biological races can hope to wage war against such powerful energetic foes, and it is the only way for so many different races and worlds to be united. Using Hyperwave engines, you can create starships that travel many times faster then the speed of light, to explore the galaxy and to keep the peace between the BICOs. As best one can, anyway. Enforcers, space pirates, explorers, merchants, all exist and all swim the stars just to live, forever living in fear of the solar evil.

Going from planet to planet and achieving objectives, enforcing the law of PT or delving derelict ships and space stations are all goals that star explorers might go for. Those who ride the hyperwaves through the galaxy include a myriad of beings and backgrounds, scrabbling whatever technology they can. Dangers include depressurization, hostile worlds, alien tyrants, and light-beings read to cook you outside-in with their heat rays.

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