#Dungeon23 You In?

Who: Magi Elves, two dragons, armies of cohorts.

Where: Massive underground complex aka Mega Dungeon.

When: Centuries before the group discovers them.

Why: The Magi Elves wanted to isolate and exclude themselves.

What: Establishing a more perfect society underground under their control.

How: Via magic, diplomacy, engineering, and intimidation.

Designing a Mega Dungeon one room at a time.

Some have suggested 12 levels, 365 rooms. It’s a mega dungeon to rival The World’s Largest Dungeon. A writing exercise for some, an art challenge for others. I’m giving it serious thought as 2022 grinds to a close.

I picture a “thriving” necropolis with no fewer than two separate dragon encounters, demons, and scores upon scores of undead. I’m also picturing tons of traps. I mean 365 is a lot of rooms to fill. And think of all the loot!

But why would such an awful place exist?

Maybe an ancient breakaway civilization went underground? Perhaps a society of magic-using elves grew tired of being badgered by other elves, humans, dwarves, and halflings. These magic-using elves began to explore darker, frightening, some would say evil magic.

In time these Magi Elves became increasingly reclusive. They began actively using Necromancy and abusing magic to extend their already long lives. They cut deals with dragons, gnolls, lizardfolk and even goblins. As decades grew into centuries they journeyed farther underground, expanding their civilization from underground catacombs into an underground city. The only time they would interact with the surface (even then only by way of their servants) was to secure food and supplies that could not be replicated by magic.

Now that we’ve established why, let’s discuss the how.

Everyone asks me how large underground surfaces could be carved so quickly. Elves are generally very smart when it comes to engineering, architecture, planning, building and most of all; magic. They’re also smart enough to know when they need help underground. In exchange for magic and gold, deep dwarves could act as mining guides. The undead, even humble skeletons, can bore through dirt, rock, and the underground hazards at twice, maybe three times the speed of a regular work force.

Yes, undead are the ultimate workforce. They can see in basically any light conditions. They don’t breathe, eat, sweat, complain, or tire. They never sleep and follow orders to the letter every time. But, the Magi Elves also knew a diverse workforce is a powerful workforce.

For the stuff too intricate or difficult for the skeleton crew, the Magi Elves pressed earth elementals into service. Earth elementals and their ilk, creatures capable of boring through almost anything underground also make very efficient miners. On the off chance they ran into other civilizations underground, the elven masters retained a fighting force of mages, undead, goblins and a dragon. Fortunately, any other beings they encountered were more than happy to either join or move out of the way of the burgeoning civilization.

Let’s get meta for a minute.

Now that we’ve answered the basic questions of

  • Who: Magi Elves, two dragons, armies of cohorts.
  • Where: Massive underground complex aka Mega Dungeon.
  • When: Centuries before the group discovers them.
  • Why: The Magi Elves wanted to isolate and exclude themselves.
  • What: Establishing a more perfect society underground under their control.
  • How: Via magic, diplomacy, engineering, and intimidation.

All we need are game stats. #Dungeon2023 is looking like it might be a lot of fun. I’m going to see how far I can get. Some if not all rooms will appear here on the site somehow. I want a sort of design journal to accompany the dungeon rooms themselves. It’s a pretty big project now that I look at it.

We’ll see what happens. Planning anything in 3D is difficult, and this is definitely a multilevel project. Not every single day might be strictly another room. Boss encounters and critical NPCs need to be considered. Random patrols and loot need to be considered. The Magi Elves and their governance need to be considered. Some rooms will be duplicated, such as living quarters and offal/carrion pits. (Although don’t put it past the Magi Council to pipe in running water and sewage tunnels.) I’m also going to be creating some new species, spells, creatures, and loot for this game. It should all balance out.

This should be a fun project if it comes together. I think the real challenge will be to stick to it. I know a lot of us, even in other professions, sometimes plan a huge project and then life happens. Maybe we get behind or have to quit altogether because of circumstances beyond our control.

Alas, I cannot take credit for this brilliant idea.

Sean McCoy, who created the Mothership RPG and other games proposed #Dungeon23. It has since caught on with YouTubers Roll 4 Initiative, Questing Beast, and The Dungeon Coach among others. You can read more about #Dungeon23 on Sean’s blog, Here.

Thanks for stopping by. More on Dungeon 23 for me as it progresses. Have a great day.

Promptober Day 8: Deep Forest

The setting is a jovian-size planet with about 60% covered in water, otherwise Earth-like. Nature is a vibrant force in the world and unused or forgotten vestiges of civilization are rapidly reclaimed. Fauna and flora are abundant as are dragons and other monsters. Life is everywhere.

Just a quick pitch for a world setting on this one.

The setting is a jovian-size planet with about 60% covered in water, otherwise Earth-like. Nature is a vibrant force in the world and unused or forgotten vestiges of civilization are rapidly reclaimed. Fauna and flora are abundant as are dragons and other monsters. Life is everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by. That’s the kind of D&D, Dungeon Crawl Classics, or Old School Essentials campaign I want to start. More details to come eventually.

A (New?) Space Game.

Anything tremendously new in mind? Well, not necessarily. I mean, there are scores of games that do space sci-fi action. There are more space RPG titles than easily fit on a typed page. Everything from old school 1950’s rockets and rayguns all the way up to super-futuristic psionics and world ships is represented somewhere in TTRPG form. Do I have a completely new take?

Here we go again. Again…

I love space games. My all time, number one favorite without a doubt is still West End Games’ Star Wars. The D6 system is still one of the best of all time. But, time and trademarks being what they are, I’m not comfortable doing another Star Wars game although I do miss chopping up battle droids with a lightsaber.

I’ve noticed most space game franchises have a pretty specific universe mapped out. Babylon 5, Aliens, Galactica, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, and Star Wars are all super specific. The same is true of RPGs set in space. Look at Star Frontiers for example. There are almost as many named planets and lore for it to have its own movie franchise.

Reinventing the space wheel, so to speak.

I have a kind of interesting take on a setting that really hasn’t been done yet. It’s based loosely on modern Ufology with a little bit of anime thrown in. I don’t know exactly how unique my whole crazy plan is, but I’m going to take a stab in the dark at it. I’ve always been enamored with deep space mecha such as Robotech/Macross and the Clan storyline from Battletech (which is a riff on Robotech.)

Anything tremendously new in mind? Well, not necessarily. I mean, there are scores of games that do space sci-fi action. There are more space RPG titles than easily fit on a typed page. Everything from old school 1950’s rockets and rayguns all the way up to super-futuristic psionics and world ships is represented somewhere in TTRPG form. Do I have a completely new take?

Bits of other game concepts loosely joined.

My desire to create a brand new space RPG came from love and disgruntlement with multiple systems. Some games are too crunchy. Ever build a starship for the PCs in Traveler? May as well build it in my backyard. It would be easier. Anything Palladium? Miles of d00% skills and endless MDC vs SDC debates.

Some games don’t go far enough. I love Star Frontiers for its simplicity, but the skill system doesn’t quite get the job done. It’s good for beer-n-pretzels blowing off steam in the OSR, though. The skill system in Star Frontiers leaves a lot to be desired, however. The revision of the game in Zebulon’s Guide to the Frontier just didn’t quite go far enough for me. That, and I prefer the Marvel d00% CS system for that RPG.

ICRPG is great, but same lack of skill system. I love FUDGE/FATE, but if I’m going to design my skills from scratch anyway? Yes, FATE has a solid Space sourcebook. It’s cool, but then I have to mash in all the mecha components, too.

I’d go the Anime route with BESM or something similar, but it’s more mecha and less a space game at that point. I dunno. I could go on ruling out systems and settings for days. I want a game that takes the BEST components from all of these other RPGs and settings and combines them for something truly amazing.

That actually gives me another idea for Arpeggio of Blue Steel meets Space Battleship Yamato, but we’ll come back to that later.

So, here’s going to be the start of my as yet untitled space game.

By the time I’m done, it will cover all the things one might expect in an action/space opera game with mecha. Seems a tall order. My kids may have to finish it twenty years from now, but I’m going to give it a solid attempt.

I’m going to build it on the site here as I go as a sort of portfolio project and then compile/format it into a full pdf for better distribution, possibly Print On Demand. I’m going to try to keep the price as low as reasonably possible for the finished product.

More to come as I post the design blog. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you!

See you among the stars!

Only Show Respect.

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

I wish I’d thought of this one.

I’d been kind of kibitzing with Tom from TableTop Taproom in his YouTube comments about doing a “No Hate in the OSR” logo. I had one that I was working on, but I’m not maybe as artistic as the folx Tom has access to. I’ll start using this on my OSR content as soon as I can. Love it!

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

“We’re here to game.” – Tom/Jedion.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com
The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

Due to some seriously negative horse crap in the RPG community, a lot of us older fans really want to drive the point home that we’re NOT HERE TO HATE! I agree entirely. I’ve rallied behind this movement. Everyone is welcome, so long as they do no harm in the real world.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that a lot of us older gamers were raised in a different era. An era when treating some people with disdain, disrespect, and even hate was considered okay. Now, culture in the US and other countries has evolved. Some of us OGs are still evolving with it.

We’re taking charge of a narrative with this.

It’s no secret there are people in almost every community that hold some kind of bigoted beliefs or some personal ideals that seem a little sketchy. I shamefully fell into this category at one time. People can change! People are capable of opening their hearts and minds.

You don’t have to be a bitter, spiteful, Old Grognard forever! There is love in all of us. Open your heart and hopefully your gaming table up to new people. Leave ego and politics at the door and roll some dice together. It’s easy.

It’s not “Woke” culture.

Keep it warm and fuzzy out in the real world.

Please be respectful. Please be kind to others. Play nice. This is not new information. We didn’t just wake up one day in a world where people expect to be treated the way we want to be treated.

If one finds oneself on the receiving end of “Cancel Culture,” maybe it’s a signal that mistakes were made. In other words, if someone is getting pounded on social media for being rude, insensitive, or acting like an ass- some reflection is in order. That’s simple matter of social sanctions within a community against someone who is violating an unwritten or even sometimes written code of moral conduct.

Lovingly submitted, it’s not 1983 any more. The cultures we live in are changing. What was once considered socially acceptable is changing. It’s not a written law, it’s what others find ethically and morally acceptable now.

Hot take: What was acceptable in 1776 United States might not be so popular now.

They did what, exactly?

The Founding Fathers of the United States weren’t exactly angels in some respects. Some of them owned slaves, committed various crimes by today’s standards, and did some pretty reprehensible things back then. If someone acted that way in 2022 and got caught? They’d be going to jail for a long time.

I’ve seen many similar lists to this one from Ranker.com. While the history books paint pretty pictures of the Founding Fathers, they were not all sunshine and rainbows. My point is: what we think of as “right” and “wrong” today looks nothing like what it did in 1776, 1863, or even 1983.

RPGs written in 1980 or earlier are pretty cool, but remember from whence they came.

Even RPG designers of yesteryear are guilty of having some sketchy ethics and beliefs. I’m not going to name anyone specific. I think we all respect and admire certain RPG royalty in much the same way we admire the Founding Fathers. (Sorry, gotta go with what I know. I’m sure Canada, Great Britain, and other countries have their own versions.) None of our heroes are completely untarnished.

Pathfinder 2E (Paizo) and D&D 5E (Wizards of the Coast) are even changing what they are doing with what we called races back in the early days of gaming. We can change the way we look at our hobby and still have fun. Conflict in one form or another still drives a lot of RPGs. Those older games are still great, but we have to remember that morals and ethics were different when they were written. Things that would be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and ableist now were overlooked as the norm then.

The disclaimer that has caused so much uproar in the OSR RPG community.

That’s not to say that being a jerk is okay any time.

The “Old Grognard” in me wrestles with some these concepts regularly. Sometimes ethical and moral dilemmas are at the very heart of RPGs as well. I like a little deeper roleplaying when I’m not slugging it out with superheroes or blasting giant robots. Some of these very deep concepts can lead for epic storylines in RPGs assuming everyone at the table is cool with it.

Just because there’s literally a race reaction table in the Unearthed Arcana AD&D 1E, doesn’t mean we have to play it that way in Old School Revival. Part of the beauty of OSR is that it’s a revision or even a rewrite of the old rules. We can have the nostalgic old school feel without the messed-up old school racism, sexism, -phobia, etc.

Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

I’m all about that OSR way of doing things because that’s my generation’s way of gaming.

Heck yeah! Let’s go romp through some dungeons the old beer-n-pretzels way! Slay that dragon. Grab some cool loot. Just leave the negative stuff toward other people out of the games we write and the way we play.

Then carry that attitude to our Friendly Local Game Stores. Let’s bring the fun with us to conventions. Let’s bring people into the hobby and show them how awesome roleplaying games can be. Please convey that positive, welcoming message everywhere we go.

O.nly S.how R.espect.

Thanks for stopping by!
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