Across the wastelands and into the mega-cities, all sorts of people dwell in truly dark places. Many fall to corruption, whether from inside of or outside of its “protective” walls. Many adventurous folk are not merely content with a mediocre life as a drone or even the life of a delivery courier. While the latter explores the world outside, they are still tethered to a track, lest they quickly find themselves in over their head. The rest who make their way across the strange and bleak world? Thrill seekers, mercenaries, civilians on a vital but deadly mission, absolute maniacs! But, haven’t adventurers always been this way?
Author’s Note: Yes, I know my RPG Blog Carnival is done. But, I’m still quite inspired! With that, here’s a couple of new backgrounds and how to incorporate them into a more average fantasy setting… and not so average settings. Dark Sun, Ravenloft and other darker worlds might make for good fits.
While I got a fair bit more last year, I still enjoyed this theme quite a bit! The GRIMDARK theme might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps less than science-fantasy. But, oh well, this was a theme I wanted to do for a long time. None the less, this has been a learning experience. All the same, some of the bloggers who participated last year weren’t able to join in for this year. But, to those who were able to join in? You have my thanks! Thanks for making this celebration of the dark and dreadful a truly fun one! That said, onward to other things. But in the meantime, here are this month’s contributors for my theme! Please, check out what they have to offer! And as always, give the RPG Carnival a try yourself! It’s tons of fun and well worth the effort!
Anyway, enough babbling out of me! Here are the contributors for “Doomsdays & Dystopias”:
Stay tuned for Kobold Press and their theme of “Magic” for August 2017! You can find out more here! Again, a big thanks for everyone who was interested in the darker side of gaming fiction! Till next time, gamers!
IMAGE CREDIT: Wasteland 2 Promotional Image – Obsidian Entertainment
“It’s time for New Oerth City’s favorite game show pastime! ‘Killer Cars and Motor Murder!’ It’s the only game show that combines demolition derby, gladiatorial combat and modern popular culture! Strap on your helmets and visors, it’s carnage time!”
In several dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, games and movies; technology hasn’t so much improved our lives so much as modified how we do things… whether it’s in the name of everyday convenience or horrible acts of violence. In the case of today’s post? We’re reinventing the former to do the latter! Twisted game shows, a new form of combat among road warriors, an armored carriage against an unrelenting wasteland, improved assets for both warfare and public suppression, you get the idea. I’m talking about stuff like Death Race 2000, Twisted Metal, Blood Drive, Mad Max, Cel Damage, Car Wars, stuff like that! So today, we dedicate this post to decked out and weaponized automobiles!
Author’s Note: I’ve been wanting to update vehicles for a while! Plus, this is an excuse to write up some ideas for vehicular combat, in terms of more modern machines. Jousting with motorcycles, fuck yeah! And yes, I realize that some of the ideas below are somewhat sparse notes, but I’ll probably come back to this later. After all, I promised someone something on racing, something on jousting and even mecha battles! GIANT ROBOTS!!
They shouldn’t have existed, mistakes of nature and mistakes of humanity! These abominations were the accidents as a result of careless experiments and deadly warfare. And the result? Worse than we could have ever feared. Confused, angry, resentful, hateful! These things seek to destroy both their creators and the world around them. Much like the forces that spawned them, destruction is usually their goal. But, these creatures are no villains, but the consequences of arrogance, apathy, discrimination and violence.
Author’s Note: As a continuation of my theme, here’s a plethora of horrible mutants and mad experiments. While much of it is revisiting old monsters, there’s a good amount of new goodies to toss into your wastelands, super secret labs and other such locations.
Most creations of the apocalypse are accidental.
The end of the world happened as we expected, too many people squabbling over too many things. And with their super weapons, a new breed of terror was unleashed. Not only did the radiation spread, it became aware, it gained its own life. And what followed? I dare not say… All that is certain is the horrors of this war spawned all of them. Protect yourself at all costs, should you run into such a mockery of life.
The post-apocalypse, a staple of darker science fiction. There are few greater fears than not only one’s own death, but the death of the world we live in. Or at the very least, the death of civilization. In most cases, we wouldn’t have roaming raiders, so much as starved out and depressed barbarians. But, since science fiction gives some leeway, we’re able to explore the grittier side with the likes of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to the more gonzo like Mad Max and all of the bootlegs and homages that it inspired! (And ’70s/’80s Italian post-apocalyptic bootlegs are simply incredible.) Or go even further with the likes of Adventure Time, especially in the more recent years as the old world was further expanded upon. Even if settlements are rebuilding the old world and some semblance of stability comes to the wastes, there are still many hazards that roam the blasted out reaches. Just like the dungeon crawls and treks of D&D fantasy, the world has regressed into an age of buried secrets, monstrous threats, lost knowledge and high adventure!
With that, today I’m going to focus on retooling some old ideas I’ve had for post-apocalyptic settings. Effects of radiation, as well as enfeebled equipment and ruins of buildings are given some spit and polish. Plus, I wanted to bring back a fair share of gruesome and ghoulish creatures I had worked on in the past. Whether it’s an elemental power of radiation itself or the many mutants that is probably created, there are tons of familiar faces. While I wanted to make a scrapping based craft mechanic, I couldn’t really settle on a base craft mechanic. To be fair, neither has core D&D really. And until we have an expanded idea, there are tons of concepts floating throughout the web. So, I’ll likely come back to that in the future.
Author’s Note: Here’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while! In fact, it’s part 1 for that matter. Expect a heaping helping of horrifying mutants within the next couple of days to next week! Stay glowing, my radioactive muties!
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.
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.)