Nerd Night

Brainstorming

For a moment there, the feeling of being back in college hits me. Books lie strewn upon my bed, each opened to a different chapter but roughly offer me the same ideas. A composition book rests open besides my journal; notes scrawled upon their pages that extend past the margins. Several tabs are opened on Chrome. And I skim each of them in hopes that the next offers more insight on the subject matter than the last. Thing is, I never placed this much effort in my college studies. Or my high school studies. Junior high? Maybe. Elementary? Possible.

Opened on my bed are the books Eberron: Campaign Setting, Complete Divine, D&D Player’s Handbook (fifth edition), and Maze of the Blue Medusa. This doesn’t include the books opened on my tablet: a 4th edition companion book that moves the D&D world into a futuristic setting and Ultramodern 5. The opened tabs hold suggestions for race/class creations. Articles that document campaigns set in the modern world. Ideas for alternate histories and futures. Amalgamated cyberpunk worlds that borrow ideas from Warhammer 40k and other RPGs. A plethora of information available for me, and it gets my blood excited.

My idea? Create the perfect setting for Zak Sabbath and Patrick Stuart’s Maze of the Blue Medusa. I didn’t want to hand off the book to Duckie after reading the first few pages. While it’s perfect for a medieval setting, I wanted something much darker and grim than that. Reading the maze’s history, images of a dystopian, cyberpunk future began to push forth in my mind. A character named Trashcan came into being. An e-mail set to the heroes began to write itself. (O.k., I haven’t thought it all the way through, but there aren’t any scrolls in the future; I figured that there’d be something resembling e-mail than a paper message.)

As I continue reading the book, the more the ideas spring into life. Originally, I was going to follow the cyberpunk system presented in a forum. Now I’m thinking of stealing bits of it, but keeping races found in 5e. And one found in 4e. And one found in the modern companion for 4e. Plus ideas from the 3.5e books.

It’ll be months before any of this is ready, I’m sure. So while we play the Book of Malor, I’ll be working on this campaign. I’ll be creating player ready characters (unless I create a micro manual for the players), lovable NPCs (Trashcan can’t last forever—yes, I already wrote his demise which will happen soon or way later, depending on when creature responsible for his death makes an appearance), and situations to put the heroes in that will cause them to get lost and separated from each other.

Doldrums

“We Have Such Sights to Show You”

Adding new games into game night is difficult to say the least. The past week, I busied myself by reading tremulus by Sean Preston. Never having heard of tremulus before, its selling point wasn’t hard to pinpoint: it’s a storytelling RPG that incorporates Lovecraftian horror.

Our main game is Dungeons & Dragons in which Duckie holds the title of Dungeon Master. And I have no intention of usurping and dethroning him (not any time soon, anyway). Now that we have new people playing with us, I think incorporating tremulus into our game night might help with Duckie’s Book of Malor.

Unlike D&D, tremulus only requires two dice (per player). While the Keeper creates the premise and hazards, it’s up to the group as a whole to craft the story. This has been a sore spot with our D&D sessions. Most of the onus is placed on Duckie’s shoulders and that’s too much of a burden to keep to story going.

I’m not saying that this game will be our saving grace for our D&D nights; I think it’ll just help open and ease players into wanting to partake and add to the game.*

I haven’t finished reading the guide yet, but it’s great so far. I’ve been building ideas as I go along, hoping to create an omnibus of tales to send the characters into such a fright as we explore the deepest, darkest recesses of the mind.

*This actually happened during the last D&D session, when Crissy decided what the fortuneteller would say.