July 2017 Blog Carnival – Conflicts in Dark Worlds and Genres

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Welcome back, gamers!  I usually homebrew stuff and this is a complete change of pace for me.  That said, I’ve been meaning to write pieces examining things within games in addition to homebrew.  As it is, I’ve branched out with gaming recaps and those seem to reach some sort of audience, so I’ll continue to experiment.  That said, homebrewing is still my prime focus.

Back on topic, last time I opened up the carnival by looking at why I think people like darker genres and topics in their games!  Today’s post is deeper focus on dark settings in regards to conflict; whether it’s problems from society, the self, the environment or even forces beyond our control.  One can’t have a darker story without extreme conflict, to the point it’s usually quite oppressive, or repressive in some cases.  Sure, there are more examples than what I’m talking about, but I could go on and on about that.  Also, I like rambling some anecdotes about old games I’ve played it, because I really love sharing gaming stories with everyone when I get the chance!

Author’s Note: I know, it’s a change of pace.  Like I said, I’m not abandoning homebrewing.  I promise.  Also, this one is a little more mature oriented than other posts, touching upon rougher subjects.

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July 2017 RPG Blog Carnival: Doomsdays & Dystopias (Dark Genres and Settings)

Abandoned Environment Concept tutorial by maciejkuciara

While I enjoy tons of heroic settings with noble characters ensuring good in the world, I’ve always loved truly grim and dour settings.  I speak of worlds that fit the “GRIMDARK” moniker that’s been affectionately used.  For those who don’t get the reference, it refers to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K tagline, which states that “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!”  I’m speaking of places blighted by impossible evils, dystopias where any sort of righteousness and passion is repressed, a sinister universe that is out to destroy you, nuked out wastelands where the remains of society struggle to continue or scrap the last bits of the old ones… but you get the point.

So, why is my theme essentially “dark settings and dark themes”?  Sounds depressing, I know.  After all, spending too much time in an overly dark and oppressive world can wear one down, right?  Not exactly!  There are many reasons why dark settings are truly fascinating.  Before I turn the carnival over to you, let’s take a look at why starker settings can be awesome.  (Or if you prefer, skip down to the bold text.)

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Tidings of Grim Darkness Ahead!

larger version of the painting I did for the Fallout Tales #2 loading screen - Leonard Boyarsky

Because of my work schedule being crazy (8 shifts bouncing between night and day) in a row, I just can’t find energy or time to do something for this week.  So, I’m consolidating effort to get ready for the RPG Blog Carnival theme that I’ll be doing for the month of July!  The theme?  “Doomsdays & Dystopias” or rather, dark genres of fiction and dark settings.  WH40K RPG/Wargaming stories, examining bleak subject matter and grim things in gaming, dying quickly in the desert world of Athas, dying even faster in Ravenloft, stark and seemingly hopeless worlds, etc.  All that stuff is good!  Till next time, friends!  Don’t you dare go hollow.

Image Credit: Fallout Tales #2 – Black Isles Studios/Obsidian Entertainment/Bethesda Software

(April Fools!) The Next Plotline for D&D 5th Edition!

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I know what day it is and it’s not the right day to be gullible.  Also, I know this blog is about homebrew and the occasional related topic.  That said, since this blog was started, I have made posts about how I fanboy at the idea of Science-Fantasy D&D!  Seriously, do a search, more than half of the posts on this blog are science-fantasy related!  Hell, I made my own adventure that I’ve also been recording for the D&D podcast I’m on (called FlumphCast, look us up!  We play D&D very drunkily!)  But, I digress.  Wizards of the Coast has earned my love back.  How, you may ask?  Through their next plot based adventure, of course!  So, breaking tradition a little, I wanna ramble about Wizards of the Coast’s next big announcement for the Fall 2017 super adventure!

For some context, I’ve grown to dislike the formula they’ve done since 5E’s launch and often felt alienated by it.  Organized Play bores me, the modules feel long winded and just don’t engage me, the organization in the adventures alone just boggles my mind at times.  Their use of the Forgotten Realms setting felt quite uninspired and bland to me, akin to how Greyhawk was handled during 3rd edition’s organized play.  But, enough ranting about the past, let’s focus on the future!  (Yes, that’s a pun.)

And by future, I mean indeed a Science Fantasy adventure!  And not just any is a source of inspiration, one of the greatest classics is!  I’m talking about Expedition to Barrier Peaks!  I mean, come on, they teased a chunk of it in Volo’s Guide to Monsters!  Many saw it coming!  It was likely cut from Tales of the Yawning Portal due to space, but it’s being fleshed out!  The hints here and there likely imply an alien invasion stemming from a crashed ship in what I can only guess will be either Icewind Dale or the Bloodstone regions.  On top of that, many tiers of play will involve the Xeno Threat as it brings chaos to parts of the Realms.  What’s this, Doc?  You’re ranting about Realms-Shattering Events and misuse of lore?  And here you are celebrating a literal alien invasion of the setting?  HAVE YOU GONE MAD?  Well, kinda.  I dunno, I just love this idea in any capacity and D&D doesn’t do it often enough… especially in recent years.  So, this is one instance that I’m willing to let this sort of things slide.  Plus, just look at the name of the event, “The Assault of Radiant Steel!”  It sounds more like a prog-rock song than a D&D adventure, but I don’t care!  That makes me love it even more!

Read onward for more information, including launch info!  WOOOOOO!

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