Source Photo: Migrant Workers of China by 枫彩

Adventuring is big business, dealing routinely in sums otherwise the province of small nations and nationwide merchant companies. This can have an inflationary effect on communities as adventuring companies pass through, spending more in a fortnight than would otherwise be spent in a season. Places where adventurers congregate develop specialized economies catering to the needs of adventurers with goods and services not generally required in common society. Hirelings One industry that has grown up in the periphery of adventurers is that of the hireling. These are individuals who lack the stomach, skills, or will to be adventurers themselves, but who are brave enough to accompanyRead More →

When a new dungeon is discovered, merchants and craftsmen who specialize in providing goods and services to Adventurers will flock to the area, followed by merchants and craftsmen catering to the first group of entrepreneurs. These men and women will either swell the population of an existing settlement in the event that one exists within a day’s travel. If not, they will establish a semi-permanent camp of their own. Both cases are generally referred to as ‘Boomtowns.’ What a Boomtown Offers There are, generally, two classes of service offered in a Boomtown; those geared towards Adventurers, and those provided for the entrepreneurs. Prices are generallyRead More →

Dungeons in Practice Contrary to expectations, Adventure sites – Dungeons – are very rarely discovered by Adventurers. Most of the time they’re stumbled upon by some hapless hunter, or livestock start disappearing, or the local wizard stops coming into town for supplies. Whatever the cause and whatever the nature of a Dungeon, Adventurers typically encounter it late in the site’s lifecycle. Commoners are usually the first point of contact, for good or for ill. A farmer turns up a strange cave in their field, something tunnels into the basement of an inn, a woodsman discovers a tower that wasn’t there last season. Sometimes investigation ofRead More →

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We’re building a setting where Adventurers mount expeditions into dungeons. Last post in this series covered who Adventurers are and how they fit into the world. This time we’re going to take a look at where they’re going. Dungeons. What is a Dungeon? For our purpose, it’s any place a group of Adventurers might go to have an Adventure. Dangerous places inhabited by fierce creatures, filled with fiendish traps, and, ideally, some kind of treasure. The treasure might be monetary, or it could be information, or just anything else the PCs want. There’s room for unlimited variation in what form the Dungeon can take, fromRead More →

So, here we are, designing a setting to accommodate dungeon crawling with a bit of a spin on standard FRP tropes. Let’s open it up with our protagonists. Brave Adventurers In the default scenario, the players are professional dungeon crawlers. Adventurers. Let’s start from the mechanical assumptions that Dungeons and Dragons (and other similar FRPG systems)  implies about our characters. They start out more capable than the average peasant and only become more powerful with time. They routinely deal in sums greater than those dreamed of by most merchants. They kill more creatures in a single adventure than most non-adventurers will ever see. They haveRead More →

While some people engage in worldbuilding as an end to itself, most of the time when we’re coming up with a new setting we’re doing so for a particular purpose. We might need a setting for a game that we’re designing, or we might be writing a book. The process in both cases is similar. Decide your worldbuilding parameters If you’re reading this blog post, chances are that you’re at least open to the idea of approaching your design considerations consciously. The first step is to be aware of what it is you’re doing. You don’t need to decide all of it now, but theRead More →

Adventurers are, in their purest form, heavily armed parties of personally powerful individuals who amass great personal fortunes very quickly, and have a tendency to disrupt the status quo when it offends their somewhat arbitrary and often inconsistent sensibilities. What’s a despot to do? What a despot is to do The first instinct of many a ruler is to prevent the formation of the adventurer class by outlawing the activities that lead to their creation. It becomes illegal for adventuring companies to form, and trespassing in ancient ruins becomes forbidden. However, this is an insufficient measure in two respects. Firstly, there are many other cruciblesRead More →

By 2034 Chicago was surrounded by a dense suburban sprawl to a distance of at least 30 miles in every direction. Residential neighborhoods, smaller towns, and commercial centers all blend together into endless concrete foothills before the city itself. It’s more spacious than the metropolis itself, a buffer between it and the more natural farmland and regrowing prairie of Illinois. Overview The years following the collapse haven’t been kind to the ‘burbs, as the native prairie has done what it can to reclaim the concrete, aided by the frequent super-storms. Much of it is in ruins, and much of it has been picked over, butRead More →

As presented, post-apocalyptic Chicago is a fine setting but we haven’t touched on the other elements required for a campaign. This is intentional, as the purpose of these posts is to provide you with the tools you can use to run your own games. Part of it is simply the nature of the sandbox. Players drive the action and set their own goals. However, if we provide some sort of more specific context, we can save the PCs from the dangers of decision paralysis – a goal, even nebulous, gives them a direction to plan in. G-Men The framework I had in mind while conceptualizingRead More →