Ok. So it’s been a minute since I posted. I’ve been busy shit-canning the old game and getting started with the new.
A couple of months ago, some of my players came to me with the idea of running a RPG “blind”, which is to say no numbers. For them. They have descriptions of their characters, their basic capabilities, their equipment, and so on. When I was a kid, I played in a game very similar and LOVED it. So I told them I would run it for them. In a few weeks, that will be a thing.
No funnel this time either. I have yet to run the funnel but I have every intention of doing so at some point. It looks cool.
DCC is my obvious choice for this experiment largely because it’s the game I am currently enamored with. Black Hack was a suggestion and when I have some spare cash, I will look into it. Meantime, I have prepared a spreadsheet to keep all of the characters organized. It will be a WHOLE LOT of work on my part to run this and I hope I don’t burn out mid-campaign…
My Appendix N
For this round, I am going with the following inspirations:
- Mordheim, City of the Damned/Warhammer Fantasy (this includes Zweihander, which I will discuss further down…)
- Malazan, Book of the Fallen (by Stephen Erickson)
- The Black Company (by Glenn Cook)
- The Thirty Years War (by … Humans)
I am sure other influences will seep in, but these are the strongest, to my mind.
My House Rules
- I have begun house-ruling DCC. I do this for fun rather than any perceived inadequacy in any given system I play. DCC is fantastic as is. I want a certain feel for this game, so I will be using the following:
- PC Hit Points will NOT go up as they level. They will have their starting 1d4, their class Hit Die, and their Constitution score. That is all. If they run out, Good Night Irene (I will be using the roll the body rules, healing, and so forth. I will likely adjust some of the high damage attacks in RAW from spells and monsters, without wrecking their terrifying damage capacity).
- I will be co-opting the alignments system from Zweihander with some potential changes. I have yet to look deeply into the system, but at face value I feel it will enhance the game.
- Damage from firearms. I like the Transylvania Adventures damage squared from firearms, but it may be terrible in application with Hit Points forever locked for PCs. Still chewing on this one.
I want to keep this short and evocative.
The campaign is actually set in one city, an ancient ruined city surrounding a massive tower. The basic idea is various factions have taken control of portions of the city, fortified them, and are running their enclaves while also pushing into the ruins or into the warrens beneath to hunt the artifacts left behind by those who once occupied/built the city.
In the center of the sprawling city The Sinister Tower of Vul-sherrod stands, its corrupting influence mutating inhabitants of the city in body and/or mind.
The Inquisition is in the city looking for a way to end the tower’s corrupting influence.
Supplies are filtered through the city by couriers who meet caravans at the city’s edge and take them in to deliver them to the various enclaves, for a price.
That’s the short of it. So, here’s the VERY brief history of the world and that’s mostly for flavor, to really lock in the themes, whys and wherefores:
“The wars have raged for decades. When the orc tribes were put down, man turned upon itself. Elves withdrew to their realms. Dwarves delved deeper. Good halfling folk went back home to mind their business. And humans built their empire and now wars with itself.
The church and the kings of the world are set against one another with intrigues and invasions. Plague and starvation are rampant. Nobles and rich men play their games while the common man lives in misery and the lucky ones die. There is no goodness in the world. There are no heroes. Hope is lost.
Quietly, mothers pray the gods will wipe clean this wretched land.”
I will need to make the characters, so I figure I will sketch them all at first (see below), to give the players an idea of what I am looking for when they make their own. I will give them a selection of ideas, they choose the ones they like, I then fully MAKE the characters and add them to the spreadsheet.
They are not locked to just one character. They can select more from my pile or even make their own using the guidelines set forth on those I present. Following is the first batch:
Adolf Grynwold, Warrior
Free man. Six months ago, he lost his wife and five sons to plague. He literally lost the farm because he could no longer maintain it. He took to his grandfather’s zweihander for a violent and meager living, taking blood money for grudge kills.
Saltus Reed (Formerly Conrad Wilde), Wizard
Unmarried burger who dabbled in sorcery. When the witch hunts came to his hamlet, he fled and has been on the run for months. He is wanted by the inquisition on suspicion of witchcraft. The hunters are right. He sold his soul for power.
Sacris Moor, (nothing yet, probably an assassin-flavored thief)
Cormac Wells, Cleric
While he hasn’t exactly lost his faith, this ever-inebriated man of the cloth sees the pervasive futility in the world. He is loathe to tend to the injured unless they convert to the True Faith. Most, he just kills, sometimes to end suffering, other times to appease his god.
Kalam Greev, Warrior
A veteran with “veteran’s foot”. What the grizzled soldier lacks in mobility, he makes up for in pure grit. He has seen atrocities and fears nothing. Fear leaves a man once he’s convinced himself he’s already dead. His past is blood-soaked. His future promises to be no different.
She traveled to the city with her father in search of riches. She told him it was a fool’s journey, but he wouldn’t listen. Now his bones litter some rubble-strewn alley and she has little choice but to remain, scratching out a living on the gains of others. She steals out of necessity, isn’t a member of any guild or gang, and tries to keep a very low profile.
Arlo Ruffcote, Dwarf
One of the city’s numerous and varied courier guards, Arlo has a symbiotic relationship with “Preen”, his heavy crossbow. The weapon is his prize possession, won in a drinking contest with a dwarvish prince. In his misadventures, he lost an eye but seems to have no trouble hitting his targets using his uncanny ability to sense metal. While Preen is his mainstay, he also keeps a wheel lock pistol in his belt…for close encounters.
Mish Lawr, Half-demon
Mish is the hooded horror in the shadows, ever hunted by the inquisition for the crime of demonic heritage. She is no heretic, but rather an affront to the human gods themselves. With spells, she can mask her appearance and live among them, hiding in plain sight. From there, she can slowly, quietly wage her war on the witch hunters and their false church.
Grupp hungry. Grupp break mens and beasts for food. Grupp hate breaking but Grupp hungry. Grupp find safe place? Maybe eat rat? Or dog? Grupp sad to break mens. Once Grupp ate broken man. Grupp sorry.
There will be more to choose from…