Thursday, April 28, 2016

Under-Urth some thoughts

   So recently I got caught up in some nostalgia, a bit of wistful imagining of when D&D was the "devil's Game" and the lure it had on me because of this. Thinkgs like Jack Chicks Dark Dungeons and Tom Hanks silly movie (which I loved and even wondered what it would be like to flip a lid like he did....HEY I was a outcast nerdy teenager in the 80's leave me alone, I also loved Black Metal too...shesh....) But yeah that "evil" feel of delving into something taboo or forbidden by society, which I feel this campaign setting kind of grabs a hold of....weird sentence, I don't think I said that right....


The same problem also is stemming from this image of a book I wanted as a kid, but my mom flipped about it...I can not for the life of me remember the book....but man I remember it was kewl....

So maybe we need to get on the right page before we go deeper into this evil fantasy game idea....

  • First if anything this idea stems from the idea of the Anti-Hero, where the characters are doing what they "feel" is "right".
  • Next party backbiting is fine, as far as story elements go, but straight up derailing the campaign, and pissing folks off....no go....
  • Last of all, acts of extreme gore or sex are not welcomed (even depictions of discussion of sex, I would find pointless and uncomfortable and undesirable as well as torture and such). Yeah, this isn't about rape fantasy's, which is sick. And you are not welcome at my table.


Evil is evil, and if we can agree, eventuality you end up being taken down, by your own wickedness our by the "Heroes". And yes some Evil folks never really pay for their wickedness but their legacies are remember, and empires eventually fall....

So with that in mind what is a successful Evil Campaign? Survival? Wealth? Power?

Yeah all of these, as much as any other Adventurers goals, just coming from a different moral compass....

The Idea that the Lawful Evil tyrant is well Lawful first and genuinely concerned about his goals or family or even people, much like Doctor Doom...

Or the Neutral Evil scoundrel, selfish to the core, but he sends money home to Mom every week, 'cause everyone loves their mother...

Or even the Freedom loving Terrorist, bitter to the end, but hey its not his fault he's Chaotic Evil, the ends justify the means and he would never harm a child, or those a part of the "FIGHT".

This fall all under the idea that a Characters motives are shaped by his Alignment, but Alignment isn't a handicap, it's a tool for Role Playing.

A group of Adventurers that grew up together, trust each other and served together in some war, may be total Tyrants to all around them and even have suspicions about each other, but know unity increases the chance of survivability (why doesn't Spellcheck like this word?).

The main aspect for the Players developing and telling the stories of these Anti-Heroes, like Elric, the Black Company or even Tarrant form the Cold Fire Trilogy. Here's a kewl list of Anti-Hero stories....


Maybe the image above kind of represents our dilemma:

  • Scenario One: The "Thief" is Chaotic Evil, he has no remorse for the Goblin and wants nothing more than the creatures death. The "Old Guy" is Lawful Evil and knows the Goblin hold valuable information in regards to the strength of the Goblins Tribe as well and seeing value in enslaving the creature. And the "Slacker" doesn't care as long as the ends justify the final pay off.
  • Scenario Two: The "Thief" is Lawful Evil, he knows this Tribe threatens the lives of the Village the group now controls and killing the Chief will properly instill fear in the Tribe without wasting resources or time, and may even pay off as a new Slave resource for the Mines the Tribe currently inhabits. The "Old Guy" is Neutral Evil and secretly knows the Chief is the only one that knows the Location of a Treasure the "Old Guy" intends to keep for himself, and the "Slacker" is Chaotic Evil, he cares doesn't care if the Goblin Dies, nor does he see any real Value in the Slaves, but would be more than happy to see the possible Chaos being born from the two others fighting over the Goblin.
  • Scenario Three: The "Thief" is Neutral Evil and is merely using the Goblin as a hostage, in hopes of getting out alive, the "Old Guy" is Chaotic Evil and knows that sparing the Goblins life is a good tactic in gaining the trust of the Goblins later, so appearing to be the "Good GUY" the "Old Guy" hopes to return later to use this to his advantage and start raising a private army. The "Slacker" is Lawful Evil, and noticing the tow others in a seeming conflict of this silly Goblin plans to sit by and use the outcome to his advantage....
In all three cases a unity of sorts exists between the members of this evil Party, they all have their own goals long and short term, and will generally work together, but also in ways reflect the same attitudes "Good" adventurers may have and with many of the same arguments...of sorts.

Under-Urth is a harsh and unforgiving world, were Righteousness and Goodness seem to be hidden away if not utterly unknown. Darkness and Deceit lie around every corner, and the Strong always seem to conquer the Weak.

Maybe "Goodness" has never existed in the bleak and Dark realm, maybe the Powers here never saw Good equivalents rise to care for the primitive life eons ago, but for whatever reason, it is a Dark and Evil place.

Under-Urth has no known Surface, not as far as anyone is aware of it is a realm of eternal Stone and Earth, riddled with Caverns that vary in such ways and sizes that entire weather systems can be formed or so small that even the smallest of creature feels trapped.

The idea of Stars or Planets as well as the concept of a "sky", is utter alien to Under-Urth's denizens but Forests and Oceans are as common as any "normal" world. Vast Caverns simulate much of a Surface world with the largest even having a weather system of sorts...

This environment encourages races like the Drow and Illithid and such to be the primary movers and shakers as well as other powerful beings and creatures. Under-Urth has a varied system of Faiths and Pantheons that divide along racial lines mostly, but seem to struggle with keeping worshipers as Abyssal and Infernal Cults offer quick paths to power. 

We have a system of City Nations instead of vast Nations as extreme centralization ensures a greater degree of control of a populace, while larger nations may exist they never last very long, and in my Chaotic societies these Nations change hands so often it's almost comical.

A since of apocalyptic doom pervades most life, with one's very well being, is threaten daily, if not hourly, players need to understand that death will be a part of the game, your character's chances of surviving will be slim.

That's a step outside my comfort zone, but I feel to grasp the nature of the setting it needs to be enforced.

Which begs to ask would this be something to use Dungeon Crawl Classics with in some form? Or maybe some other earlier version of D&D or it's clones?

I tend to bounce around a lot, but running a game using BECMI/Dark Dungeons or the White Books really makes me happy....Even a hybrid of one of the clones and DCC would be kewl....



I have been think a lot about running my new group through a campaign using one of the BECMI clones like LL or Dark Dungeons just because that was what I started with, and it has a huge bit of nostalgia for me, and well it's just a good set of rules.

So the possibility to do this is strong.

It may even fix the idea of the "Evil" campaign, in that you are just Chaotic, which would work just fine with my idea anyway.


ERIC!

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