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.
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!
The Stuff of Childhood Nightmares
While we have all grown up and have faced many of our fears as youth, that haunting sensation of encountering fear as a child always rings true. That dreadful encounter with the grotesque, the macabre, the evil, the horrifying. Many the psyches of many children, the experience can be outwardly traumatizing. For some, that’s just part of the adventure. Many adventures alone came with twists that surprised and shocked us in ways we would never forget. In creative and interactive mediums, the chance to experience a story first hand allows us to take it further. Tabletop games enable us to experience the truly wretched and twisted; inducing madness, terror or revulsion. One medium grew out of the tabletop hobby, video games.
The world of the video game shows us visuals to help capture the world, allowing us to see a world and interact with it. While more limited than humans, as computers are the game master, they still give us that illusion of freedom. Back to the original idea, they can help to instill horror through a variety of creative visuals and audio. Maybe the intent was to scary us like crazy, perhaps it was something the developers thought they made an amusing gag… and it turned out wrong. (WARNING: TV TROPES LINK) No matter the intention, these interactions stick with us, they fascinate us, they disturb us, they chill us. Something that truly scared us leaves us not only horrified, but in awe. With that, I thought I’d break the usual take on things and revive some classic horrors from the gaming world that stuck with many of us. Or at the least, revive some encounters that stuck with me.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Have a little classic gaming nightmare fuel. I wanted to do a theme like this for a while, so here we go! Also, I’ll put up a disclaimer here. I wanted to get a little more experimental with this, meaning I’ll have to clean up the resulting mess I make. I was more eager to make homages to classic baddies, so this will probably be polished over the next couple of days. Stay tuned!
When magic is involved to experiment with life, the results can be horrifying and sickening. So-called Freaks are born from careless tinkering with supernatural forces. These “freaks” are often driven to madness and hostility by either their inability to grasp the world around them or reacting to a harsh and judgemental society. Those who lack sentience tend to go mad from their tormented existence. Most of the time, their creators have little care for their warped creations. Those who do seem them as the perfect meat shield, whilst they continue their depraved and disturbed experiments.
While many are the result of mad scientist, evil alchemists and deranged wizards; some are victims of corrupting powers and incomprehensible forces. These powers greatly vary. Forces like abyssal underworld hexes, maddening voids of realms beyond, places of raw and untamed energies. Creatures born from such mysterious planes and domains are often thralls to their mad overlords. Those who break free often became chaotic and destructive forces prone to rampage, much like material plane “freaks”. These planar-blighted beings were often enslaved as living machines of destruction. They serve as pawns in warfare, conquest or acts of terror.
Author’s Note: Many of these are original with the help of some of my friends (Thanks Bobby, Centaurpede will give me nightmares!) Also, the creepy horse mask inspired some of the flavor text… In the case of some of the others, they are homages. The Cosmicoid is both a nod towards Alien and the equally inspired Wanamingo from Fallout 2. The Hulking Mutant is a more clear reference towards the Super Mutants from Fallout. Meanwhile the Atomic Beast was my translation of Keith Thompson’s Pripyat Beast and Psi-Zombie is Zombified Stalker from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. meets the Witch from Left 4 Dead. Also, Atomic Beast and Centaurpede are conceptually very similar… Granted, one’s alive while another is a From Software staple.
Here’s another sampling of all sorts of items for science-fantasy D&D games! This time around, it’s an assortment of sci-fi themed vehicles as well as drugs and medicine.
“The Super Mutant is the next advancement in human evolution. To save the world, we will convert all the worthy individuals. Simple, efficient, glorious.” – Lou Tenant, Fallout 1
Some mutants excel when exposed to horrible toxins and vile filth that would destroy most beings. It fortifies them into something stronger and more dangerous. This is the case with the Super Mutant. While most of these beings trade off incredible physical feats with degraded and stupid minds, they are a force to be reckoned with. Their physical attacks heavily rival those delivered by mundane and non-mutated beings, as their resistance to horrific radiation is truly astounding. And for those with their sanity and intellect in tact? You are surely doomed!
Based off my Mutations post, found here.