Make Your Own New Crobuzon

From this thread on S.G.

So, to make your own N.C.:

1) Take your three favorite human-ish monsters out of the Monster Manual and they are minority citizens in the city. Detail how they get along, how being in the city has culturally changed them and what niches they fill in the city. How do the powers that rule the city keep them down?

2) Take three really bizarre fucking monsters and figure out how they exist in the nooks and crannies of the city and how the powers that rule the city keep these beasts from doing unacceptable amounts of damage?

3) Um…play?

So, I’ll do one.

1) 3 monsters: Githyanki, Minotaur and …something not quite so martial…maybe…sprites.

Githyanki: These Githyanki are refugees, AWOL soldiers from countless planar wars and whole military companies who were cut off from communication with the Liche Queen’s grace. Some still worship her and pray for her to make contact (or even take this plane ever in a barrage of silver swords and red dragon fire) and others in an attempt to rebel against their upbringing and actually have adopted their own approximation of Githzarai meditation techniques.

The Githyanki are forbidden from carrying any weapons larger than a knife, due to a paranoia that their Liche-Queen will one day contact them and they will rise up and attempt to take the city by force. Due to this, many carry silver knives on their hips, in memory of the silver swords of their past.

Minotaur: The minotaur have built many of the winding alleys of the city, leading it to be almost unmappable and very difficult to navigate. This pleases the minotaur aesthetic, as they not only lived in labyrinths in their home country but their religion worships the winding roads that life leads you on. The city’s powers are slowly starting to elevate minotaurs into civic posts, especially as more and more Githyanki refugees are moving into Minotaur neighborhoods. The minotaur are being cast in the role as the city’s valiant defenders against the vile foreigners.

Sprites: As the city has overcome their groves, the sprites have adapted. They treat building roofs and water containers as their groves now and refuse to live indoors. Their inability to live indoors causes the city’s elders to treat them as illegal immigrants from the land of Faery. Many rich folk even use hawks to hunt sprites as they are seen as sub-human and not fully sentient.

2) Illithid: The city’s elders have a deal with a cabal of Illithid in the sewers, discreetly sending down those in poverty, orphans or homeless who they assume none would miss to feed their brain-hunger. In return, the cabal keep to the sewer deeps and send word of rebellious thoughts from above.

Otyugh: These beasts are use to consume garbage, tamed by those who collect trash and utilized by the underworld to devour bodies.

Dragon: There is a dragon sleeping in the Boiling Bay, and has slept there since the city’s founding. Every season, treasures are put into the bay and allowed to sink to the bottom so that the dragon’s hoard will be great, giving it sweet dreams and deep sleep.

If someone could make their own N.C. using the above method, that’d be keen.

Dark Sun 4e: The Hard Parts

I’d think with the bad magic and good magic you’ll just have to make two brand new classes and ban any other arcane classes. But this is where we run into my block on Dark Sun 4e.

The original boxed set had character trees to deal with the extremely high rate of character mortality in the setting and in the game and it mixed up the D&D “races” quite a bit and then there was the Brom art. Great stuff.

Discussing the game with Thor over IM has made it apparent that it isn’t a game about tweaking a single character to be powerful. The powerful unit in 4e is the party. This is a game about tweaking your stats and feats and powers to that you can better highlight the powers of the other characters. Character trees would allow for that kind of play throughout the campaign, which is really neat.

There was a whole lot of powerful thematic stuff going on in that original boxed set. Evil being the easier road and environmental destruction coming from magic being the big two. I don’t clearly see how 4e can pull those off and still be 4e.


Alright, what if the environmental stuff wasn’t just wizards. All psionics-capable folks (with lots of neat psionics powersy multi-class options available) can opt to reach into the earth and take some of its power for themselves. However, in doing so, it isn’t just a little black splotch on the ground or some nearby plants withering. In doing so, it is a cataclysm and it pushes the world towards the brink of destruction.

Dungeons have goals and if those goals are reached, again, the doomsday clock ticks off and the world comes close to ending. With character trees, TPK’s are possible and if they occur, the players pick up their characters and play through the follow-up dungeon in a world that is that much worse for wear.

So, basically, the world of Dark Sun has a doomsday mechanic, inspired by Conspiracy of Shadow’s Doom mechanic and the boardgame, Keep Cool (thanks ) . You can get your Daily or Encounter powers back when you need them but in doing so, you bring the world that much closer to ending.

The doomsday mechanics, as the world creeps closer to the end, has concrete consequences in game. Monsters get more brutal, the Veiled Alliance get’s squeezed harder. With these kind of mechanics, Dark Sun becomes a game where the players could fail to save the world, where the players very possibly lose.


That is kinda neat.

Dark Sun 4e

Yeah, I’ve got D&D on the brain.

Some vague ideas about D&D using 4e:

– Skill challenges for travel between cities

– Dehydration: not having enough water eating up healing surges

– Jim’s nice one: Sorcerer King Epic Destiny

– Psionic Encounter Powers for everyone!

– Obsidian weapons that shatter when you…I dunno: roll a 1, roll a 20, do too much damage, hit certain kinds of shelled critters?

– Explicit remnants of a fantasy world gone very wrong that was eventually sealed off by the gods and left to the elements…or, OR, there is some way to link Dark Sun’s planar isolation to the war with the Primordials. That would rock.

Running from Orcus

It is absolutely the D&D equivalent of the run out of Moria.

The 1st level characters, investigating an ancient vault that was recently found with its door open, have entered to see what is within and seal the door. In gaining the key to seal the door, they awoke an Aspect of Orcus, left here ages ago.

Maybe they find a Paladin of the Raven Queen, killed in battle against a ghoul who had opened the vault in order to awaken the Aspect. That way it wasn’t their folly that woke the beast up. But in order to lock the door, they need to take the key off of the statue of the Raven Queen that keeps the beast asleep.

It is a skill challenge to get the eff out of there before the Aspect, with two rooms at the end that they must fight through. Every skill challenge the lose means an encounter that could very well slow them down and put the Aspect in front of them.

Thanks to Thor for the idea!

Whatever happened to the Disco Mutants?

I want a Dazzler mini-series. That’s right, Dazzler. It starts with a VH-1-style, Where Are They Now style documentary as she re-visits old haunts and tries to track down the mutants and super-heroes who called Studio 54 their home. The series is told partly in flashbacks as the excesses of the 70’s spill into the present.

Luke Cage in his old yellow silk shirt and a tiara, the Queen of Greenwhich Village, a 7-foot tall transvestite who can deadlift 70+ tons (in heels!) and young Matt Murdock/Tony Stark/Ben Grimm in bell bottoms.

Agon Quest Ideas

Looking over my ideas it occurs to me that my main interactions with Greek myth has been Homer, Clash of the Titans and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series:

An army made up of the statues that were turned by the Medusa’s gaze needs to be taken down before they get to a temple with a god’s statue and gain their first deity.

A town is going to be destroyed by the Furies and the Heroes must protect it (think The 7 Samurai but Homeric).

The Kraken has broken from its prison and Poseidon wants his beastie back before the monster can destroy anymore cities.

Bahamutmas and the Night of a Thousand Ravens for starters

A thread about D&D pantheon’s holidays.

Bahamutmas: The date of Bahamut’s birth, or perhaps the day of the birth of his first children with Tiamat. The chronicles are unclear and the dragons aren’t clarifying.

The Night of a Thousand Ravens: This is the night in which the Raven Queen herself sees to each of the dead personally, as her servants are given the night to their own pursuits. Ravens flock the streets, imitating people and stealing shiny bits. Angels with black wings are said to seek romances forbidden on any other night, leaving half-angel children who can talk to the dead in their wake.

I do love these toys.

Daredevil lately

I took Daredevil off of my pull-list after the Lady Bullseye issue but the order didn’t go into the computer in time, so I got three more issues with my last batch. And Lady Bullseye kinda sucks but the plot is all ninja-y and such. It isn’t as good as the Bendis run or the first Brubaker arc in prison with Kingpin, Bullseye and Punisher locked up with Murdock but it passed some time on the toilet for me.

There is one way this comic can get me back. If we see Matt take control of The Hand, declare himself Kingpin and rule Hell’s Kitchen as the Grand Master of a band of ancient ninja, then they will get me back.

C’mon, Grand Master Ninja Kingping Daredevil, it almost has a ring to it.

Tinkering with Warlock Corner

I have been tinkering with the urban magic in Warlock Corner, thinking of bringing an Ars Magica verb + noun vibe but with a Solar System spin.

So, the verbs and nouns are bought like Secrets, 5 XP a shot.

The verbs are Destroy, Create, Heal, Talk, Change, Travel, Summon

And the Nouns are: Dead, Living, Art, Buildings, Crime, The Man, Subway, Utilities, Streets, River

There will be a touch of Mortal Coil with a price for each spell and failure will likely mean the GM get’s to choose between a heavier price, a success but with a serious wrinkle or a total arcane mess.

There’s something else in my head about being able to cast spells through City Saints, thus giving the failure some color to it. The City Saints being The Performer, The Cop, The Politician, The Hellion, Old Scratch, The Hobo as kind of Unknown Armies archetypes who see over the city’s magical going’s on.

It’ll all be congealed by Dreamation.

Campaign Seeds

I love coming up with little campaign seeds. It might be my favorite forum activity other than accessing information and benefiting from others’ wisdom.

There is a Story Games Thread.

Here are mine so far…

Some D&D stuff:

Githyanki Silver Swords – Red Dragon Riders scout over prime material worlds and get into adventures, seeing worlds as extended dungeons filled with treasure.

Siege to Hell – A tight posse of paladins and priests gather their holy symbols and weapons in order to destroy hell once and for all, a 1-30 D&d 4e campaign.

Darkpages? With Great Power…? Capes?:

Punch the World – Iconic high powered super heroes punch newspaper headlines, making a better today.

And this one’s obvious:

The Last Watchdog Over the Faithful – A solo campaign in a wild west that never was and has moved on, starting off in a ghost-town called Bridal Falls, winding through what is left of the Desert Territory and ending Back East.

Man, I really want to run this last one. I dig on that a whole lot. The Last Dog…