I’ve been rushing about lately trying to finish up three or four projects, many of which are due at the end of the month. Also, I am now running a (semi-)weekly Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 game, which requires some preparation. Nonetheless, it’s been a great deal of fun.
I’ve wanted for some time to run a Lost World sort of game, and also to get some use out of all that Mesoamerican training I had way back in my first graduate days. The premise is that a fantasy setting undergoes the equivalent of the discovery of the Americas in the middle of World War I. The major powers simply don’t have the resources to devote to expansion, so they send a ship of supplies and those foolish, insane, or simply in trouble enough to want to start a new life.
The most recent ship was sunk, causing a small group of characters to be cast up on the beach, where I chased them around with a monitor lizard while they tried to pick up their equipment. They walked along the beach for about a hundred miles until they made it back to the colony, where they excited attention for being one of the few groups ever to come back from the forest. (Making D&D characters run every so often ensures they get proper exercise.) They’re picking up a few jobs taking them into the jungle, but right now they seem to be more interested in the semi-illicit dagger fights going on beneath the local tavern.
This has been quite the design challenge. D&D 3.5 has a number of principles on which it is built – levelling, treasures translating to wealth tied to character level – which it’s not good to toss out, but it also has a whole gaggle of motifs – drunken dwarves, underground complexes, piles of coins, and a strange brand of agnostic polytheism. What I’m trying to do is to keep the principles intact while tossing out as many of the motifs as I can. One of the players is convinced that I’m ripping off Avatar. I prefer to see the exercise as a Sergio Leone film suffused with animism and incorporating pit-fighting, hallucinogens, and dinosaurs.
Back to other topics later.