Upside Down, I have heard of this. I hope to never go there.
The multiverse is already a confusing concept. Now, couple that with the concept of parallel realities? Your hurting mind now roars in a throbbing migraine at the thought. But, believe me, such things are fact. Many can attest that traveling through time is just the creation or accessing of a different reality.
Author’s Note: Oh boy, here’s a complicated concept I’ve been eager to tackle. Also, here’s a chance to pay homage to various What If articles/adventures as well as fan-created takes on settings and lore. Also, what if The Grand Conjunction succeeded? Strahd and Azalin aren’t even the worst of it! And, save for one published article or concept; all these make homage to some work of sci-fi or horror.
“Take me home, country roads!”
Just beyond the veil of reality exists an entire bestiary worth of wretched things. These monsters and entities lie beyond our grasp, waiting for the right moment to strike. Many of these creatures are quite similar to the everyday and mundane aspects of life we take for granted, while others are incomprehensibly alien. While in the comfort of our homes, we take much for granted. But, on the road? We are much more vulnerable. The elements, wildlife and even fellow people can prove to be potential hazards. But, even more troubling is the strange and supernatural sights that we all hope to never encounter…
Author’s Note: If there’s one thing I love in a ghost story, it’s encounters on the road; when you’re traveling, far away from home and quite vulnerable. And worse yet? Many of the things stalking you take up the guise of something far from insidious at all. While some predators will fight head on, others are bit more crafty. And some? They’re just quasi-mindless masses of hunger.
Also, special thanks to Ian for helping to create the Haunting Traveler. I shall inform you on how many people it kills, I promise!
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.
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.)
WELCOME TO PURPLE VIOLET! (Don’t sue me, Green Ronin!)
We’re back! Once again, the weirdness lifts off the material realm… or so it seems. We lose one of our dysfunctional heroes and gain another and more things seem off… if a tad off track entirely!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yes, Utopian-Orvaldt is a slight spoof on Blue Rose, with the fashion and style of Hirohiko Araki to boot, even though players didn’t have a chance to explore the utopia too much. No, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder towards Green Ronin, even though I don’t particularly like Blue Rose. The idea was based on old notes I had sitting around for the sake of a light-hearted plane hopping game. I might do something more with that soon enough. Also, I’m sorry for killing off your character super quickly, Evan! Really, I am!
That’s right, Moon Nazis…
“Their initial strikes have left us vastly crippled. We never saw them coming, legions of men fitted with advanced armor and weaponry; adorned with the symbols of a diabolic looking empire. They eliminated our troops quickly and many of our civilians even quicker. There is little hope for our world.” – A letter found in a burnt down house
The planes hold countless universes and endless possibilities. Among them is a dystopian world where a brutal regime managed to take hold of the world. However, one planet proved to be not enough for them. Their empire was forged on persecution and bloodshed; hatred and genocide. Their global domination campaign cost the lives of billions, causing irreparable damage upon the world as a result. Unsatisfied with controlling the entire world for many years, they eventually turned their cleansing campaign towards the planes beyond. Thanks to their high tech moonbase experiments, they were able to rip open a portal within the fabric of reality itself. Achieving planar transport, waves of these augmented super-soldiers unleashed hell upon anything unlike them.
Countless realities did their best to hold back the waves of soldiers and generals, armed with strange technologies. Some succeeded in pushing their evil back from hence it came. Others were conquered and their resources exploited until only dirt and death remained. Some realms were enslaved and only the worthy preserved… or recruited. With an ever present grip, those who manage to slip through the cracks continue to hide in fear, well aware that their attempts at sabotage or spying aren’t enough. Many of these realities require a hero now more than ever, a rebellion to turn the tides against a dystopian cancer that seeks to infect all walks of life.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I wanted to revive my Wolfenstein themed post because the first version needed a touch up, plus I promised I’d come back to it. Plus, I love the of Iron Sky… Alien invasion plus an alternate-history nazi menace. So, what if the horrors of Wolfenstein invaded the worlds of D&D? Well, in the name of over-the-top pulp science fiction, I give you the chance to find out! Also, as I had done with the previous post, I’d like to apologize for poorly translated German.