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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Review

I spent much of the last year moving from personal crisis to personal crisis, then I got settled in to my new life and neglected a lot of the things I wanted to do this year. I didn't work out, I didn't lose weight or any of the “normal” things I'd wanted to do. I started a bunch of projects that I didn't finish, not really new for me, but it seemed worse this year than before. I wasted a lot of time screwing around on the internet when I could've been working on something constructive or reading or literally anything else. I guess I lost a lot of focus when my wife was diagnosed with cancer last December, she seems to be doing fine by the way, and I couldn't even really focus on the stuff I was using to keep myself busy so I wouldn't be in constant fear for her life.

We moved. That kind of screwed things up for me with regard to working on things for my newly launched “Great Khan Games”, which is just really an excuse for me to maybe make some coffee money off my hobby. I started playing some D&D (and a couple of other RPGs and a couple of board games, and a couple of different card games) and made a new friend- which is about statistically impossible for a man my age.

I am facing the possibility that I am suffering from some kind of weird DM burnout, despite not actually playing that often. I am having trouble keeping things going. I just called it earlier this month on our meandering and somewhat poorly run (my fault) AD&D campaign, and started a new AD&D OA campaign the last time we played (2 weeks ago this coming Saturday- we had to cancel last week when my entire family got sick), and I am sorry to say I am already losing interest in it. I've no idea why. Just an overwhelming feeling of “Meh”.

Mike has GMed here a couple of times and I had a great time. I still haven't tried gaming online. Various anxieties are keeping me from it. I really should play a game online, just to see what it's like, so I will attempt to do it within the next month. I am pretty sure that I won't want to DM online, because the amount of prep and the mastery of the VTT software seem like too much of a bother.

I guess we've reached the end of the review. Gaming wise, I have published 2 character classes (1 for AD&D/OSRIC and the other for B/X-Labyrinth Lord or AD&D/OSRIC), crashed and burned an AD&D game I was running, and started an AD&D OA game that I am hoping I can re-inspire myself for before Saturday. The list of shelved/abandoned projects is a lot longer, but sadder to me.

Aside from gaming I am doing pretty well. I live in a nice, new place, it's big. My wife's entire extended family is around and I mostly like them. Met and befriended a local(ish) gamer. My oldest daughter got engaged, and my youngest is a senior in high school. I wasn't disappointed by the new Star Wars movie. I got a bunch of cool OSR stuff over the course of the year (White Star, Yoon-Suin, A Red and Pleasant Land, Vornheim [I only had the pdf before], Petty Gods, Castle Gargantua, Silent Legions- just off the top of my head).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Another Taste

Here's another little taste of my new campaign setting, also from the gazetteer, the city that was supposed to be the "home base" for the first party that I ran a game for in this world. They actually quickly fled the city to avoid suspicion for the ritual murder that the party's cultist cleric performed shortly after arriving.

Dusk- The port city. 

Dusk is an ancient city, predating the Empire, back to the days of the Great Migration. Now it is in it's decay, having lost it's chief sources of revenue, the Grand Canal, when Hilltown sunk. Dusk is ruled by it's Lord Mayor and his council of Aldermen; they, in turn, are greatly influenced by the Knight Commander of the Imperial garrison, and the criminal organizations “The Family” and the League of Gentlemen Rogues.

Sites of interest in Dusk include the Theological Seminary of Dusk, located just to the west of the city proper; the Imperial garrison at Fort Dusk, located on the north of the city, just to the west side of the harbor overlooking the harbor mouth; and, during the summer months, both the Market of Dusk, which is run every week on Thursdays, and the Dusk Hippodrome, where, against all odds and reason, the Empire still hosts weekly chariot races, and one week long festival of chariot races to end the season each year.

Lesser known sites include the semi-legendary Undercity Tunnels, which may predate the building of the city itself, where dark things are said to lurk, guarding vast riches for those foolhardy souls that are willing to try and take them; and the Raider's Market, held on private land belonging to “The Family” just to the west of the Theological Seminary of Dusk, where more illicit or unsavory goods are bought and sold.

Details- Dusk has a permanent population of, roughly, 6500 souls. It's chief trades are fishing, it's markets (both official and unofficial) and it's many taverns and brothels serving the transient community of merchant sailors, traders and Imperial soldiers.

A New Campaign Setting

I have been working on a new campaign setting, on and off, for much of the last year. I intended that it should be used for my Swords & Wizardry campaign that never quite got off the ground, before I moved across the state in July. I call it "Shattered Empire", and it's a setting that could easily be used for "Lamentations of the Flame Princess", due to it's human-centric nature and it's semi-Lovecraftian feel. I almost went with LotFP when we started play, but jumped back to S&W because that was my starting point when I began the design. I also made fairly extensive use of Delving Deeper in the design, especially with regard to the monster list. Some bits of Carcosa were an inspiration too. I guess this works pretty well with any iteration of (A)D&D, with an emphasis on the original edition; or any retroclone, with a minimum of refitting. Anyway, here's a bit from the gazetteer for the primary campaign area- the most fleshed out part.

The Empire-

Official Name: The Manifest Empire of Divine Providence

The Empire was, at one time, a vast continent spanning entity; at the time of the Apocalypse the Empire was essentially destroyed and devolved into numerous small successor states. The heir to the old Empire that is considered the most legitimate is the one that still bears it’s name and it’s original title; even the other"mini-empires" that make up the bulk of the continental land-mass will grudgingly admit that “The Empire” is the one with it’s capitol at Whitehall and controls the great city of Neopolis. The Empire, for it’s part, still puts on airs like it is an immense entity, but in it’s darkest moments will admit that it is a shabby version of it’s ancestral self, unable to exert real control any further than the reach of it’s armies.
Despite having once been a republic, most positions within the empire have become hereditary – at both ends of the socio-economic spectrum. The powerful have become Dukes, Counts and Imperial Electors, the peasantry are attempting, without much success, to stave off the steady encroachment of hereditary serfdom.
The society of the empire has evolved to have a distinct split between it’s urban and rural components, with power largely residing in the rural and prestige with the urban. The urban citizens of the empire consider their rural brethren to be uncultured, uneducated, rude hicks. The rural folk consider the urbanites to be effete, lazy, corrupt fools. They are both essentially right.

Think of it like a cross between the late Roman empire and any decadent bit of Hyboria, only with extra-dimensional and cross-time pockets leaking in and the elder gods starting to sleep less deeply. I also had recently supported the Kickstarter for Silent Legions just prior to starting on this and my wife was diagnosed with cancer, so it is a bit dark.

I have a lot more, I just thought I'd float this tiny bit to see if it was of any interest.