There's aover the mountains. The people call it the .
In the daysyour great-grandparents it was rich and proud and prosperous. Traders thronged its streets. Coloured lamps flared in every window. Gold poured through the silk-gloved hands its laughing lords.
In the daysyour grandparents the caravans from the west stopped coming. The roads were all closed, and could not be reopened. The 's markets fell silent.
In the daysyour parents the started to crumble. The wealthy fled. The poor whispered strange sights in the twilight. People said that the was under a curse.
In the daysyour youth, war came to the . Faction rose against faction, house against house. The palaces burned. At last a great iron serpent tore its way out the earth and destroyed all before it until only its masters remained, preening self-crowned kings a ruins.
Yesterday the local lord rode into your village with a retinuemounted soldiers. He said that your hovels were equally fensive to the eyes and to the nostrils, and had furthermore produced no tax revenue worth collecting for the last nine years, so he was going to knock the whole place down and turn it into a game reserve instead.
Where shall we go?' the people asked him. And he shrugged and gestured down the road that leads to the.
As I mentioned in my last post, for the last year I've been running a (modified) B/X campaign called 'City of Spires'. We're currently thirty-something sessions in, with something like a hundred hours of total actual play behind us. It is not yet a campaign on the same scale as my previous 'Team Tsathogga' game, which ran for seventy-odd sessions over the course of three years: but it still represents a pretty considerable amount of gaming, and I'm very happy with the way it's run so far.
'City of Spires' was my attempt to put my ATWC material to use in an actual game, and as such it's prompted me to think about the differences between writing setting material and actually using it. When I started this blog, back in 2015, I was between gaming groups, and I wasn't really writing for anyone except myself: in fact, if I'm honest with myself, the reason I wrote about a campaign setting was because I wasn't getting the chance to run one. As a result, I wrote my early ATWC material without ever having to confront the key question: 'nice idea, but how exactly can I use it in this week's game?' This isn't any kind of repudiation - I don't think any of the stuff I've written for the setting over the years is unusable - but it is an explanation for why what I initially wrote and what I ended up running ultimately turned out to be two quite different things.
When the 'Team Tsathogga' campaign finally ended due to some of the players moving away, the remaining players and I agreed that we should start a new campaign at level 0, in some other region of the same campaign world. I saw this as a chance to finally use my ATWC material, but I immediately faced several problems:
- Some of my players had read the blog, meaning that they'd know all about the setting (including lots of things they really shouldn't know) right from the start.
- ATWC assumes an animist cosmology with little or no standard D&D magic. But the world of Team Tsathogga, which the new campaign was going to be set in, was already established to be a science fantasy setting with standard D&D magic all over the place.
- ATWC is a fairly high-concept setting, and requires a high level of player buy-in. But I knew that some of the players would be new to gaming, and didn't want to shove them into the deep end any more than I had to.
- It's just too fucking big.
|'Sorry - which faction are you guys from, again?'|