Our Scum & Villainy Inspired Downtime & Content Generator for Midderlands

I’ve spoken in a couple of recent episodes of our podcast about the DT and Content Generation system that myself and Johannes Paavola adapted from Scum & Villainy for use in our ICRPG Midderlands game:

I wrote up the notes on this after our discussion in a form that I’ve been using for a couple of sessions in the Midderlands campaign, it’s not perfect but I wanted to share it here in-case anyone was interested:

You can see the sessions that we’ve played thus far using this system on our Youtube channel:

Band of Blades Session 0 – Part 1

We’re starting up a Band of Blades game following the conclusion of our recent Scum & Villainy campaign, I’m often asked about session 0s and preparing for games and so–with the kind permission of all involved–I’m putting our session 0 on this podcast, splitting it down into a number of episodes.

CBP Worldbuilding #3: Water Sources

This is the third post using Angeline Trevina’s book 30 Days of Worldbuilding (available on Amazon), the book provides 30 prompts/exercises to help guide world-building.

One of our readers Alistair suggested in the comments of a previous post that perhaps some of the swampland could take the form of bayous, have to admit I didn’t know much about bayous (beyond pop-culture references) so I had a look at a few websites including the following:

Thanks for the suggestion Alistair, I’m a big fan of the OSR module/sandbox Fever Swamp and love the idea of the bayous; that dovetailed nicely with the third prompt in the 30 Days of Worldbuilding book which is to draw the main bodies of water on your map.

I’ve already done a bit of this but decided to expand it a bit, in addition to adding some more water sources I’ve stuck some crude labels on and have added a couple of forests.

Additional water sources, some labels and forests added.

CBP Worldbuilding #2: Draw Your Map

This is the second post using Angeline Trevina’s book 30 Days of Worldbuilding (available on Amazon), the book provides 30 prompts/exercises to help guide world-building.

Day 2: Draw Your Map – the author advises us to draw a map to prevent us getting lost in our world.


Colonial Blackpowder

Since my setting is based very loosely on American colonisation I decided to use a map of North America as my starting point, I downloaded an antique map from Google.

I then printed the map and–using the old-school technique of tracing a drawing whilst holding it up to a window–I created the following outline map.

I scanned the outline map back in, using Photoshop to darken it and correct a few errors.

Next I filled the landmasses in a solid colour, using Photoshop.

This looked cool but the map was still very obviously North America, after some time I decided to rotate the map and use the shaded section as the sea rather than the land. I printed out the map and extended some of the bits on the right hand side of the new picture.

Next I scanned it in again and filled in any areas of sea that were still unshaded.

Finally I changed the sea colour to blue and shaded the land green, putting a simple colour effect, making the sea lighten nearer the land.

Finally I added an outline around the landmasses.

As you can see from the image above I’ve still got some work to do on the map and there are a few bits and pieces I’ve missed out (I’ve also not decided on scale or things like that), but–in about an hour–I’ve got a promising map that I’m pretty happy with overall.

Streets with Number: First Draft Rules

Here are my first draft rules for Streets with Numbers, my kludged Faction Rules for my OSR Midderlands, Greater Lunden game (although I’ll probably work for other games). Please give them a go, play around with them and let me know what you think.

Faction Stats

Influence: A measure both of the Faction’s size and control over their surroundings.

Might: A measure of the Faction’s ability to cause change through use of physical force.

Cunning: A representative of the Faction’s ability to monitor and block others actions through subterfuge.

Resources: An abstract representation of how wealthy a Faction is, each resource point represents approx. 5000 gold pieces.

Goal: A summary of the Faction’s main aim at present.

Assets: Distinct assets possessed by the Faction, they grant particular bonuses or abilities, based on their nature.

The Faction Turn

At regular intervals the GM carries out a Faction turn.

This is a mini-game that the GM runs between sessions (we recommend a Faction Turn every 4 sessions or so, but this may vary if you have downtime periods).

When the Faction Turn is completed the GM should drop hints/news into their sessions about what is occurring in the wider arena of their game world.

Each Downtime Turn a Faction may perform 1 action per 5 points of Influence it has.

A list of potential Faction Actions is offered below.

Faction Actions

– Attack Another Faction: May attack a faction with not more than 5 influence above them. Both attacker and defender roll 1D6 and add their Might. If attacker wins they take 1 influence or 2 resource (their choice) from the loser.

Expand Influence: Increasing Influence costs 5 Resource points per point of Influence gained. Only one point of Influence may be gained this way per Faction Turn.

A Factions with a higher Influence can block this action by roll 1D6 + Cunning, if the result is 6 or more, the Influence is not gained but the money is still lost.

Earn Resources: If unopposed the Faction earns 1 resource point. This can be blocked in the same way as Expanding Influence.

Purchase Asset: Spend Resources to purchase an asset, each purchase is one action (a list of assets will be provided in a future post).

Use Asset Ability: Use special ability of an asset.

Next Faction Rules Post >>>

Campaign Kludge: Leader of the 13th Legion

My next Campaign Kludge post will be continuing providing some further details on the factions in the Upper Middergloom of my version of the Midderlands campaign setting, the next group under the spotlight will be the 13th Legion, a Goman expeditionary force that met an ignominious end at the hands of the barbarian tribes that occupied the Havenlands in the distant past. Not satisfied with simply killing those who had sought to destroy them, the shamen of the ancient tribes bound the leader of the Legion, Quintus Petillius Cerialis to the site of his death as a guardian of the place he had failed to conquer.

Since that time the influence/power of Cerialis has extended, allowing him to raise his men as undead.

Historical Inspiration

The 13th Legion is based lightly on the historical 9th Legion who–according to legend–disappeared in Britain. At one point they were lead by Quintus Petillius Cerialis. Besides the name change I have taken some massive liberties with the historical data, changing or ignoring it as I see fit and suits my game.

Quintus Petillius Cerialis

In my campaign Quintus Petillus Cerialis was a popular Goman senator who helped spearhead the Goman campaign against a warrior queen who was rousing the Havenland tribes to rebel against the Goman incursion. After being defeated, cursed and raised from the dead, Cerialis was bound to the area of his defeat as the ultimate punishment, forced to watch over the land he had failed to conquer.

Power & Limitations

I’m planning to have Cerialis start the game as a Death Knight, double-hard undead hombres who are capable of raising/commanding other undead and can dish out some serious punishment. That said, I wanted a good IC reason for him not just rising from the Upper Middergloom and romper-stomping over Lunden with his undead hordes, the curse laid on him provides a handy means of doing this.

If the players just run straight into the tomb of Cerialis and engage in combat, they’ll almost certainly get stomped. However the Death Knight cannot leave his tomb, and his ability to control undead beyond it’s confines is extremely limited. I’m hoping that these factors–and the fact that Cerialis has definite goals (free himself of the curse)–means that the players can interact with him in ways other than combat, he also has the potential to be recurring villain/anti-hero/unlikely ally depending on how the players interactions with him go.

Why have a character like this?

I’ve touched fairly lightly on the leaders of the various factions thus far in the Upper Middergloom, mostly because they’re goblins and other primitive humanoids. It’s good to have a few “personalities” to interact in an extended fashion with the players.

Cerialis also provides a “living” link to the past, his mind retaining much knowledge lost to the world at large.

Death Knight
Stats are from Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters.

no. enCountered: 1
size: M
hd: 9(d10)
move: 30’
AC: 20
AttACKs: 1 (by weapon)
sPeCiAl: See Below
sAves: P / M
int: Genius
AliGnment: Chaotic Evil
tyPe: Undead
treAsure: 6
xP: 2000 + 3

Death Knight

Next Campaign Kludge post >>>

Campaign Kludge: Savage Mountain

Description

The Savage Mountain is a large tribe of Goblins whose ancestors occupied the surface of this area prior to the Goman occupation of the Havenlands, they were eventually driven below ground by the violence of the conflicts between the Gomans and the human barbarians who previously lived in the area. The Goblins follow an ancient druidic faith that over time has adapted to their new underground, worshipping spirits of rocks and water.

Many of the Hook-nosed Wart Goblins who currently occupy Greater Lunden are actually descendants of the Savage Mountain who managed to carve themselves a niche on the surface world and adapt.

Leader

The leader of the Savage Mountain is an eccentric Goblin druid known as Troggoz, who has a strange affiliation with the insects and vermin of the Middergloom.

Troggoz sees the surface world as something of a promised land, if convinced that the surface was now safe for them, he would seek to reconnect with his Wart-goblin kin.

Relationship with Other Factions

The Savage Mountain are hostile towards the Claw Horde who often raid them and capture their members as slaves, however the Horde is much stronger so the Savage Mountain have become cunning, making great use of traps and camouflage to hide themselves.

The Savage Mountain has a strangely symbiotic relationship with both the Cluster and the Spawn of Yicnathrurh, both factions see the Goblins as too small/puny to be worthy of attention and the Goblin tribe often lure people into their feeding grounds so they are more than happy to leave them alone for most of the time.

Members

  • Goblin BXM/21
  • Omm’n Half-Goblin MIDD/146
  • Kobold BXM/27

Pets & Associates

  • Bats BXM/7
  • Fire Beetles BXM/8
  • Carcass Crawler BXM/10
  • Giant Centipede BXM11
  • Rats BXM/35

Aims & Goals

The Savage Mountain do not have an ultimate aim save that of being left alone by the other factions of the Middergloom and allowed to practice their faith. Although lacking the mechanised-industrial knowledge of their Wart-goblin kin, the members of the Savage Mountain display a natural cunning and sly intellect.

Campaign Kludge: Claw Horde

Description

The Claw Horde is a large tribe of Trolls and Ogres who have enslaved many of the Goblins that lurk in the Upper Middergloom below Greater Lunden. The Horde worship a huge, crab demon known as Klipoth and make their lairs in an area of caverns full of pools, turned salty by nutrients from the rocks.

Leader

The Horde is lead by a large troll named Gac Tuskhand, Gac is a large troll mutated by prolonged time spent in the Gloomium tainted ‘Mother Pool’ where the Horde keeps it’s bone and chitin shrine to Klipoth. Gac has armoured skin and one of his hands resembles a dark green crab claw.

Relationship with Other Factions

The Claw Horde raid the hovels of the Savage Mountain Goblin clan, taking them as slaves, they attack the 13th Legion when they can but are superstitious of the dead things and largely avoid them.

Claw Horde view the Spawn of Yicnathrurh as traitors, something of a religious war is brewing since the Horde believe that the Tentacled Horror who commands the Spawn is a false god seeking to steal worship from Klipoth.

Members

  • Troll FAM/67
  • Ogre OSR/208
  • Goblin BXM/21

Pets and Associates

  • Giant Pill Bug OPU/87
  • Fire Beetles BXM/8
  • Carcass Crawler BXM/10
  • Crab dogs TNU/327
  • Gloomcrabs MEXP/155
  • Giant crabs BXM/12

Aims & Goals

The Claw Horde’s eventual aim is to see the Great Thameswater flooded so that their god can rise to rule over the surface world.

Campaign Kludge: Upper Middergloom Factions

As mentioned in my last post, I’m going to be talking about factions in the Middergloom in my game. Now, I don’t mean factions in terms of game mechanics (such as those used in Kevin Crawford’s Stars Without Number), although I may bring in some sort of mechanic for this at some point in the future, I’m simply using the terms to refer to group/organisations of like-minded individuals with a set goal.

Continue reading “Campaign Kludge: Upper Middergloom Factions”

Campaign Kludge: Underworld Monsters

As discussed in my first Campaign Kludge post I’m trying to weld several of my favourite OSR properties together with the emerald-hued core of the Midderlands by Monkeyblood Design. At the moment I’m focusing on the Middergloom (effectively the Midderland’s green-coloured version of the Underdark) since that’s where the PCs are in my game.

In the Midderlands setting the Middergloom is broken into a number of discrete levels:

  • Upper Middergloom
  • Lower Middergloom
  • Deep Middergloom

Things get increasingly bizarre the deeper you go as you draw nearer to the spinning hunk of radioactive Gloomium that lies at the centre of the campaign world.

I’ve decided that I want to create some random encounter charts for the different levels, but to do that I need to choose which monsters and creatures are going to be most prevalent on the different layers, I’ve made lists below:

Upper Middergloom

Creatures

  • Greater Horned Groat MIDD/110
  • Slitherling MIDD/119
  • Short-horned ratdog MIDD/134
  • Ommatophorian Half-Goblin MIDD/146
  • Six-headed Sewer Gripe MIDD/179
  • Gloomgool MEXP/156
  • Gloomium Dragon MEXP/157
  • Tentacled Horror MEXP/169
  • Devil Lurefish MGL/190
  • Midden Horror MGL/193
  • Bandits BXM/6
  • Bats BXM/7
  • Fire Beetles BXM/8
  • Carcass Crawler BXM/10
  • Giant Centipede BXM/11
  • Goblin BXM/21
  • Grey Ooze BXM/22
  • Green Slime BXM/23
  • Insect Swarm BXM/26
  • Kobold BXM/27
  • Ochre Jelly BXM/33
  • Purple Worm BXM/35
  • Rats BXM/35
  • Rhagodessa BXM/35
  • Skeleton BXM/39
  • Spiders BXM/40
  • Yellow Mould BXM/47
  • Zombie BXM/47
  • Ogre OSR/208
  • Dark Creeper OSR/279
  • Mongrelmen OSR/296
  • Misshaped animals FAM/47
  • Troll FAM/67
  • Giant Pill Bug OPU/87
  • Science Fungoid OPU/88
  • Beastmen TNU/320

Key

  • MIDD = The Midderlands
  • MEXP = Midderlands Expanded
  • MGL = Greater Lunden
  • BXM = BX Essentials Monsters
  • OSR = OSRIC
  • FAM = Frost-bitten And Mutilated
  • VOE = Veins of the Earth
  • OPU = Operation Unfathomable
  • PSS = Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
  • TNU = The Nightmares Underneath
  • CAR = Carcosa
  • TSL = The Stygian Library
  • TGY = The Gardens of Ynn

Lower Middergloom

  • Fire Beetles BXM/8
  • Carcass Crawler BXM/10
  • Giant Centipede BXM/11
  • Mongrelmen OSR/296
  • Misshaped animals FAM/47
  • Troll FAM/67
  • Firebomb Beetle OPU/83
  • Psychephage OPU/88
  • Science Fungoid OPU/88
  • Pod Man PSS/15
  • Shroom PSS/15
  • Vampiric Moss PSS/16
  • Gloomgool MEXP/156
  • Gloomium Dragon MEXP/157
  • Tentacled Horror MEXP/169
  • Beastmen TNU/320
  • The Cavemurdered TNU/324
  • Ogre spiders TSL/47
  • Neurovore TSL/54

Deep Middergloom

  • Mongrelmen OSR/296
  • Misshaped animals FAM/47
  • Troll FAM/67
  • Archaens VOE/26
  • Cambrimen VOE/35
  • Fossil Vampire VOE/53
  • Pyroclastic Ghouls VOE/
  • Vampiric Moss PSS/16
  • Gloomium Dragon MEXP/157
  • Tentacled Horror MEXP/169
  • Changelings TNU/326
  • Crab dogs TNU/327
  • Faerie Nobles TNU/334
  • Spawn of Shub-Niggurath CAR/245
  • Sidhe TGY/66
  • Neurovore TSL/54

Those are my idea for now based on my OSR books I could easily lay my hands on, I’ll probably tweak the lists and create similar lists for the City and for the Sewer system. In my next post I’m going to start looking at creating factions for my version of the Middergloom.

Image used is Slitherling in the Tunnels by Glynn Seal, used for non-profit purposes, no challenge is intended to copyright.