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.
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.
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.
This is the first 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 1: Genre & Setting: in the first prompt the author advises us to describe the genre of our world and write a brief description of it.
Colonial Blackpowder will be a mixture of Gunpowder Fantasy and Historical Fantasy; although the campaign world I intend to create won’t be a strict re-creation of Colonial American history, it will be strongly influenced by it.
The discovery of the New World has lead to many of the Human kingdoms of the Old World sending colonists and explorers in search of new resources, they are joined by deported criminals, religious exiles fleeing persecution and others. Along with the Humans come the Uruch, a race with a once rich history of shamanic worship and legends, beaten in war by the Humans and enslaved, much of their history forgotten.
But the New World is not unoccupied, ruined Ziggurats and idols dot the mountains and jungles of the new continent, inscribed with the legends of the Eld and their Gods who came from the stars. Although most Eld left with their gods, some outcasts remain, drawing on the sustaining energies of their holy sites, energies that prove ruinous and corrupting to others.
A Happy New Year to you all, as we kick off 2020 with Season 3 of the Red Dice Diaries Anchorcast we’re Overjoyed to See RPGs, I’m excited to talk about my plans for creating a Colonial Blackpowder D&D campaign setting in 2020.
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.
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.
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.