Campaign Concept Buffet

The possibility of an on-going roleplaying campaign has come to light. I’m psyched enough about this to start thinking about any number of campaign premises I’ve been hit by over the years. Here are a few that are the top of my brain at the moment. Some are new; others I’ve had in mind for a few years now.

Which would you like to play, given the choice? Vote in the poll behind the jump; feed readers will need to click through to

Across the Multiverse

This is, essentially, the “In the Cube” campaign framework from GURPS Infinite Worlds. The PCs are the first full team of explorers to travel across timelines via Van Zandt’s projector. Unfortunately, something goes awry in the recall process. Mission Control can’t bring the team home; they can only continue to push them from one dimension to the next, hoping either to bring them home through sheer luck or find superior parachronic technology to do the job. For the players, this is an episodic trans-dimensional road trip, regularly shifting from one genre to another, one time period to another.

Against the Burning Eye

In the WitchCraft cosmology, the Mad Gods are bizarre entities from beyond the nine sephiroth of Creation. They constantly scrabble through the cracks in the universe, trying to spread their corrupting influence, turning Essence, the life force of everything, into their own Taint.

Unsurprisingly, the more persistent Mad Gods have engendered a few foes in the history of Creation. The activities of one in particular, dubbed Balor for its habit of manifesting as a single flaming eye, provoked the creation of an entire covenant dedicated to eradicating its presence on Earth, the Brotherhood of Argus. The Argosians, when they don’t have immediate leads on Balorite cults to root out with flame and shotgun, also take a generally disapproving stance against supernatural beings preying on mortals, deleterious crossovers from the other worlds of Creation and general social disorder.

All the King’s Men

In 1880, mortally wounded in a mystical conflict, Norton I, Emperor of the United States, Godwalker of the True King, was laid deep below San Francisco, to sleep until his time came again. His mourning followers pledged their lives and their descendants’ lives to their liege lord. One hundred nineteen years later, the pledge comes due.

Time has not been kind to the bloodlines of the king’s men. Harried by his foes, they dove deeper and deeper into the hidden strata of American society, including the occult underground. It is a motley crew who find their dreams haunted by a haggard man in worn regalia, exhorting them to come to San Francisco and fulfill their ancestors’ pledge. The king must be woken, his castle rebuilt, and his lands reclaimed. In this task, he depends on his followers for aid and advice, for times and society have changed.  Take up arms against the forces of darkness and ignorance. Defend the weak from the unseen forces that toy with their lives. Answer the True King’s call.

Side note: when I first wrote this one, I pictured it as an Unknown Armies game, so there’s some of that game’s cosmology and terminology. In retrospect, it doesn’t really fit, so I’d just run it in a more general urban fantasy sense, probably using Angel‘s flavor of Cinematic Unisystem, including those nifty organization rules. Suddenly I am struck by the notion that Norton’s enemies are the titular coven of nasties in GURPS Cabal.

Known Spheres

It’s a little bit Spelljammer, it’s a little bit Traveller. Skyriggers ply the luminiferous ether between the spheres, carrying goods and passengers. Nations spanning the stars are slowly growing and coming into conflict with each other. It’s a big sandbox to play in, with plenty of opportunity for open-minded spacefarers with a large loan to pay off on their slightly-used hammership.

I ran one session based on this idea a couple years ago. That night taught me that the execution needs to be worked through more, particularly when there’s little mechanical underpinnings to fall back on, but I still would like to run something that has the feel and ethos of Spelljammer.

Prometheus Squad

The war rages across Europe. Daily, the OSS receives increasingly disturbing reports of artifacts, places and things encountered by Allied forces. President Roosevelt orders the creation of Prometheus Squad, a team whose members are uniquely talented to bump back against the things in the dark. It’s a weird war and these people are just the ones to fight it.

This idea metamorphosed into a B.P.R.D. adventure framework after the first Hellboy movie came out, which I’ve run twice since. I think I’d go back to the original Prometheus Squad conception for a campaign, because it carries less baggage.


6 thoughts on “Campaign Concept Buffet

    • It’s something I would love to run. Mythic America is something I always have trouble explaining in a way so the players get the genre conventions, such as they are. I think a successful game would rely on people having read the source material like Last Call and American Gods.

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