I have been thinking a bit about different fronts that would be good additions to the campaign. That has really started getting me to think about some of the things that have been emerging about the world the stories are taking place. The mythology of the major human religion (The Keepers of the Flame) is one of hero worship and mystical initiation. Their found is said to have created what humanity calls its first civilization by carving out a world from the nightmare chaos that made up the world at the time. He created the first kingdom and expanded it into the empire that would eventually take on his name. This view comes to humanity across a chasm of time and lost knowledge after the fall of the empire. It is also a distinctly human view of the history. There are Elves and Dwarves living among humanity, with quite distinct cultures, but their own histories also seem to only go back as far as the beginning of the empire.
Much of the empire has fallen and reverted back to what it was before humanity took it, but what does that mean.
Does it just mean it is frontier lands where people lead precarious lives when they can be found and the cultures of the elves and other fey folk are just so different that it was easier for the early human empire to call them “chaos”?
What if instead there is a hard kernel of truth to the myths. What if the countryside is a chaotic magic fueled nightmare realm of beauty, horror, and majesty. Is this the same magic that humanity wields?
What is the churning borderland like?
Are there pockets of “other” sanity within the wilds?
How is it creeping back into control of the fallen empire?
What do the remains of the empire look like in this realm?
How do the other sentient races (such as lizard-men) survive?
Do they create their own pockets or are their ability to survive in their current forms because they live in the semi-sanity imposed by the remains of the human empire?
What about things like the fallen pre-historical Lizard-Man civilization?
Did they create the chaos? Did they fall to humanity?
So many questions.
I am going to make it a regular part of game sessions for players to spend some time on helping me with the world building for the game. I have some very broad strokes in place that are meant to facilitate they strange way the campaign is being built (random players and such), but hope that I can leave the details up to them. That seemed like it was going to work quite well right up until my expectations ran headlong into reality. I very much am in favor of breaking away from the common tropes often seen with things like character races. Tolkien looms large in our hobby even today. My least favorite trope is the “standard” elf. I usually approach player world building with the attitude of “yes and”, but I had a really hard time doing that when it was proposed that elves be pretty bog standard elves from your classic D&D world. I really want the players to get to play in the world they want to play in, but that is really hard to weigh against my desire for doing something new. I don’t really have an answer yet.
I am planning on using this blog to chronicles my efforts to create a semi-persistent gaming world out of the weekend Dungeon World games that are taking place at https://www.knightwatchgames.com/ in San Antonio. There isn’t really going to be a consistent group of players as most of the games are open gaming. I am going to use The West Marches as a model for it.
One of the challenges is going to be finishing adventures that span more than one game session with it being almost guaranteed that there won’t be the same set of players at the table for future sessions. I am going to use a system where if enough of the original players attend at once, they can choose to continue a previously started adventure. New players for that session will “upgrade” one of the mandatory followers characters that set out with the player’s adventurers in the beginning. Characters that are currently on an adventure are not available to be used on a different adventure until they have returned home alive.
There are a lot of other details I have been mulling about with, but that is basic premise for the project. In future posts I will put together some information about the world and the parts that have started to get fleshed out by the players.