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:
In my current Midderlands game the player started off in the City of Lunden but–seeking a cure for a virulant plague–they were part of an expedition to the Island of Emeraude. In Glynn Seal’s excellent Midderlands setting Emeraude serves as a placeholder for another OSR setting, the mystical forest of Dolmenwood as created by Gavin Norman of Necrotic Gnome.
My PCs have been in Dolmenwood for a while and we’ve been using the following map (drawn by Brian Richmond) as our Roll20 map of the area:
This is great however it does have a number of things listed on it that I’m not too sure I want the players to necessarily know about straight away.
Recently Gavin has released a preview of the upcoming map from the in-progress Dolmenwood Campaign Book, you can see the article on the Necrotic Gnome website by clicking here.
Now this map looks amazing (having be drawn by the expert cartographer Glynn Seal) and I’ll be one of the first in the queue to buy this book when it comes out; however–given the current circumstances–and the schedule of these things it’s not going to be for a while, and I could do with a slightly funked-up player map for my game in the meantime.
So–having some extra time on my hands–I decided to have a go at drawing my own version of the Dolmenwood Map, combining elements of the original and the preview map.
Please note: I am most definitely no Glynn Seal or Gavin Norman (probably more like Ronseal or Barry Norman TBH), but–given it’s the first map I’ve properly hand drawn in over five years I was pretty pleased.
So to start of with I sketched out a rough version of the map in pencil and then I looked at a couple of tutorial videos from WASD20 and QUESTING BEAST on Youtube:
I then broke out my pens and went over the pencil outlines (before erasing them) to create the black and white map below:
Next I scanned the map into my computer and used Photoshop CS 3 to colour/shade in the various areas:
I’m pretty chuffed with the result, it’s not going to win any awards and there’s still a lot of stuff missing from it like roads, towns, etc (although I may put the towns in as tokens in Roll20 i’m not sure yet), but it turned out better than I expected.
P.S. My apologies to Brian Richmond, originally this article said that Gavin Norman drew the player’s map pictured, this is not the case it was Brian’s work. I have now amended the article.
P.P.S. Gavin has been kind enough to provide a Google Drive link containing other player map versions:
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.
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
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.
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.
Omm’n Half-Goblin MIDD/146
Pets & Associates
Fire Beetles BXM/8
Carcass Crawler BXM/10
Giant Centipede BXM11
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.
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.
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.
Pets and Associates
Giant Pill Bug OPU/87
Fire Beetles BXM/8
Carcass Crawler BXM/10
Crab dogs TNU/327
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.
Continued planning for my current Midderlands Game
Anyone who knows me will be aware that I’ve fallen heavily for the OSR side of the Force (it even replacing my once-beloved Fate in my affections). I’m also much enamoured when people talk about how they’ve run D&D for a million-years in the same campaign setting – okay, I exaggerate slightly but you get the idea?
I also think that have a long-running campaign world offers some more tangible benefits, these being:
You get to know the material better over time.
Your world builds up a personalised history with it’s own heroes and villains you can pull on for inspiration.
The actions of earlier groups can become legends for later groups.
I certainly known that my friend Rob Davies has run an awful lot of D&D games in his own campaign world and–as a result–has developed it a great deal, adding more nuances and material as time has gone on. I’ve always fancied doing something similar, there’s just one problem though:
I get bored easily
Here, the sage example provided by Rob comes to the rescue, I know from my experience of games he’s run, that Rob often–when dealing with a new group–will turn them lose in a previously unexplored region of his game world. This has the benefit of allowing him all the good stuff listed above, whilst also giving him license to expand/tweak that area of his world to try something a little different.
Well I was thinking about this recently in terms of the OSR and all the various different source books that I’ve got, and it occurred to me that I could do the same thing but by using the different sourcebooks for different areas of my campaign world.
This is what I’ve got so far:
Main World – Principle Game Area: Midderlands by Glynn Seal of Monkeyblood Design
Main World – Ireland: Dolmenwood by Gavin Norman of Necrotic Gnome
Main World – Eastern Provinces: Yoon-Suin by David McGrogan
The Middergloom/Underark: Operation Unfathomable by Jason Sholtis of the Hydra Collective, Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch and Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart.
The Moon: Carcosa by Geoffrey McKinney
I’m planning to start working on collecting some material shortly for creating the Middergloom in my game (because that’s where my PCs are at the moment) and will be collecting the information on the blog as I go forwards.
If anyone has any cool suggestions for other sourcebooks I can use please let me know.
In the fifth session of our Midderlands campaign, our heroes head into the foul depths of the sewers below Bishopsgate, seeking the lost love of Lieutenant Richard Uffington, but they find more than they bargained for in the fetid deeps.
You can watch the edited version on Youtube:
Or if you want the uncut version, you’ll find it on Twitch: