17 April 2013

Campaign Pitch: The Dungeon Apocalypse

I enjoyed putting together my last campaign pitch, so here is another one that brings dungeon crawling to a broken Earth. This pitch is inspired by the tradition of megadungeons and what little I know of a Japanese RPG called Meikyuu Kingdom.

The Dungeon Apocalypse

People thought they knew what what the apocalypse would be, that they were ready for it. Some thought it would come in the form of nuclear warfare, gray goo, viruses, climate change or divine judgment. They were all wrong. The apocalypse, when it came, was something that nobody could have predicted.

The world warped. Buildings twisted and groaned as they were forced into new arrangements. Earth, trees, and even people were caught up in the rearrangement of everything. There was no stopping whatever unseen force molded the world into its new form: a labyrinth that spanned entire continents. The walls were made from whatever was in the area. Cars, bricks and bones were smashed and crammed together into the thick, tall walls that wind across the world.

Survivors scavenge what they can from the labyrinth walls. Those that are lucky might be able to find or fashion a tool they can use to bore through them and begin constructing some form of civilization, but the maze fights them at every turn. Whatever force reshaped the world didn't stop at just making a titanic maze. Something lingers, something that changes animal and man alike. The farther from other humans and what remains of civilization you go, the more people change. The labyrinth twists men and beasts as surely as it twisted the world, changing them into monsters. Those that get lost in the labyrinth lose their humanity.

Google Maps + The GIMP + Maze

Life Behind The Walls

People alway find a way to survive and that is just as true in a giant, world spanning labyrinth. The world population was reduced by the crushing creation of the maze, but enough men and women survived to create small pockets of civilization. They tunnel through walls to increase their living space and search the twisted rubble for useful items.

The Lost

Those that tray too far from what remains of civilization become as distorted as the world they live in. They become The Lost and their bodies change into monstrous forms a they wander the maze. The Lost are more than just the remain of humans. Animals, plants and anything else living that manages to live isolated in the labyrinth becomes lost and transforms into something both more and less than it was before.

The Lost are constant threat to survivors. Scavengers may be stalked or stumble across something dangerous or predatory Lost may even prey upon survivors while they are gathered in their homes.

Reclaiming The Earth

So you want to be a hero in this world of dungeons?  It can be done, but it won't be easy.  Destroy the walls of the labyrinth and bring back a world without walls. It is a bigger job than any one man can hope to accomplish, but there may be a way other than forcing the walls down with manpower and hammers. Scattered around the world are Origin Points, locations where the labyrinth seemed to grow out of as it bent the world to its design. Someone brave, skilled and very lucky might be able to make their way to these points and discover a way to bring down the walls.

How Would I Run It?

I would use D20 Modern or something like it to run the game. A nice medium crunch system that would make the actual dungeon crawling satisfying. As far as actually starting the campaign goes, I think I would fast forward a generation or two after the apocalypse happened, give it enough time for some communities to be built and monsters to be created. I would start the game with the PCs discovering a dying man while out scavenging and with his last breath he tells them of an origin point and passes a tattered map to them.

The mood of the game would be heroic. This might be a post-apocalyptic setting, but it won't have the depressed mood or as much of the horror element. This game would be about the quest and the growth of the heroes, a very traditional fantasy journey style of play.


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