Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A campaign on my mind....

Let me preface this by saying I have absolutely no intention of shutting down my AD&D1 game, which is only about a month and a half away from it's first anniversary.

That being said, sometimes other campaigns percolate in my head, floating around until I get a chance to run them. The record holder for this is my Kindred of the East campaign, which began taking shape during my freshman year of college and was not run until my sophomore year was nearly done.

A campaign has been taking shape in my mind, tiny bits and pieces, for some time now. I first started thinking about it when I read Sun of Suns, by Karl Schroeder, during the summer of 2008. The world Schroeder has created is fascinating. I started to read the second book in his Virga trilogy, but I didn't care for it and quickly abandoned it. I never tried to read the third, but the imagery in the first book stuck with me, popping up in my thoughts these two years hence. To sum it up: an artificial world of gas, wooden cities that spin to give themselves gravity, airships, pirates, jet bikes, and mini, artificial suns that towns surround. The society is much like a feudal system, with loyalty based around access to one of these suns (and thus heat/light.)

Recently, I started replaying Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magcik Obscura, a delightful (if somewhat buggy) computer game published around six or seven years ago. The game takes place in a traditional fantasy world (elves, magic swords, orcs, dark necromancers, etc) in the midst of a rapid industrial revolution, leading to a pseudo-Victorian society where magick (I hate it when games/books spell it with a k) and technology rub elbows. Arcanum has my gears a'churnin'. 

These two things are jelling inside my mind. I'm envisioning a pseudo-Victorian world with steam tech an airships, and perhaps one or more airborne nations. I'm thinking that a disaster on the earth's surface below necessitated the exodus into sky-cities, which may be a magical, technological, or both. Top hats, airships, clockwork golems, and perhaps some kind of mysticism, but probably no elves, orcs, and other "bog standard" races. I have some very clear images in my head. 

As far as system goes, I want something light, most likely Savage Worlds (if I can fix or get over my gripe with the damage system) or Fudge. I could do it with GURPS, but I'd rather not. I suppose the Engines & Empires source book for Labyrinth Lord could be another route, or I could just kitbash basic D&D. System selection can wait until this congeals further.

This seems like a good summer project, and summer is fast approaching. I had intended to try and master Shadowrun 4E, but I find that idea becoming less appealing daily. We'll see, I guess.


  1. I've always wanted to play in a steampunk-style campaign. Being a gentleman adventurer would be so great.

  2. And don't give up on Shadowrun 4e. You could pick up a copy of Lancer's Rockers and convert it. It would be awesomely bad.

  3. Dar- I do not have BRP. I can get it online for $26, but I'd rather run it with something I already own and am familiar with. I'd like to try BRP (and I suppose I could with GORE), but I'm not sure if I want to commit this idea to an unfamiliar system.

  4. I should have left a link.

    I need an excuse to buy the core book!

    I've used it to play CoC and stormbringer and probably a few other games that I don't remember from way back in my history.

  5. Oops just saw your post.

    Yea, I get that.

  6. Dude, can I play? That sounds awesome.

  7. Of course.
    Just give me another year or so to get it out of my brain and on paper.
    (Maybe I should try rereading Virga books two and three...)