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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Strange Things in Bloodied Wyvern Peaks Adventure Report: Part 4

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“Where are we?  When are we?”

It has been a bit of a hiatus, but we’re back!  Hooray!  The lands beyond Qvosfeir await, as our team etches closer through the rugged terrain of the bloodied wyvern peaks.  And by lands beyond, I mean quite beyond!  As always, things are about to get even weirder!

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Even more DOOM Monsters!

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Even more evils of the underworld invade your games!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: My last offering was kinda sad, so let’s finish off the rest of the monsters from DOOM I and DOOM II!

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Strange Things in Bloodied Wyvern Peak Adventure Report: Part 2 & 3

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“THEY ARE AMONG US!”

At long last, the players are ready to embark into the mountains ahead, unsure of what strange things await them within the jagged lands beyond.  What dangers will they face?  Will their ranks thin?  Will some go mad?  Will they awaken new horrors upon the land?  Only time will tell!

Author’s Note: Due to a handful of things, part 2 was cut very short.  As such, I decided to merge the recap with part 3.  Stay tuned for more after the jump!

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Planarsoldaten – A Dimensional Menace for D&D 5th Edition

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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.

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Taking Inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Dungeons & Dragons

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Admittedly, I’ve been away from the boundless realms of graphic novel and comic books.  Whether it’s because I’m hesitant to try new series or because money is always tight, I haven’t really gone too deep into comic books, especially nowadays.  Now, I’ve caught up on a few series and read many of them after the fact, but I’ve never really gotten active within any fandoms… unless a handful of defunct and finished web-comics count for anything, that is.  That said, I’ve been slowly been brought back into the fold thanks to Disney and Marvel teaming up for the relatively recent series of films that have been mostly pretty damn good.  Save for a few sub-par installations, the films that have been released (sometimes more than) once a year have been fantastic.  At the best, an excellent journey of action and heroism… and at worst?  A good way to spend an evening, none the less.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has allowed theater goers to observe all parts of the expansive realms of Marvel; past, present and future.  We’ve had stories jam packed with all sorts of adventure… and all sorts of adventure inspiration.  These are mostly big stories full of drama and conflict, the righteous and the malicious, worlds thrown out of balance due to someone’s corrupt plans; worlds in need of great heroes, where said heroes rise up to the occasion.  On top of that, they have a variety of moods and styles to them.  The stories can range from world threatening menaces to stories about a struggling family to a conspiracy that seeks to intertwine itself with the very companies and governments we associate with.  All around, there’s more than enough to work with.  With that, let’s take a brief look at taking from MCU to enhance and inspire your games.

Editorial Note: Wait, what is this?  Well, I wanted to shake things up a little.  Considering it’s game related, I posted it here rather than on the original review blog.  But, don’t be alarmed, I’m still going to produce as much gaming content as I can.  But, I’m hoping this article will still be useful for you, at least to spark some ideas.

I was originally planning another theme, but Doctor Strange (and the rumors regarding Wizards of the Coast’s next release) revitalized my planar/multiverse theme!  So, a bit off the cuff, but whatever!  In fact, this article is very off the cuff and not really planned at all.  Also, Marvel did not pay me to write this.  I wanted to write this.  I might just like the Marvel movies… a lot.  Also, the following focuses more on the recent movies, for the most part.  None the less, enjoy.

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Super-Science and Sorcery Roundup

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For starters, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to this month’s theme.  While many themes have come and gone through carnival history, I’m not too sure many have really tackled this idea in depth.  Perhaps it’s due to the fact the genre hybrid of science-fantasy isn’t as popular as it once was.  Perhaps people just wanted to tackle something else that tickles their fancy.  Both are very fine reasons.

At first, I was hesitant to make the theme about science fantasy.  The reason was that it’s very much a niche flavor within a niche hobby.  I love it, but I figured not too many other people shared that same love.  None the less, plenty of fans came out of the wood work to support a pretty cool concept, if I do say so myself!  Mages and dragons meets techno-crafters and giant robots!  I mean, come on!  That’s pretty darn cool!  Also yes, RIFTS was one of my favorite settings way back when… how did you guess?

Anyway, I’m gonna stop prattling here and get to showcasing this month’s RPG Blog Carnival posts.  Here are the posts for the August 2016 theme, “Science Science and Sorcery!”

EDIT: Added missing links

 

 

6d6RPG: The Monster in the Machine – jfoster merges machinery with the strange and supernatural to create some fascinating and unsettling new monster ideas!

Anarcarnivàle: Any technology sufficiently advanced… – Clark proposes ideas on fusing magic and technology together with the help of historical scenarios.

Brynvalk: Cold Iron Corruptor – Faith from Brynvalk mashes classical fantasy creatures of the Fae with Sci-Fi elements such as cyborgs and mutants.

Crossplanes: F@NE For Savage RIFTS – Mark from Crossplanes creates a creature for the science-fantasy world of RIFTS, now compatible with Savage Worlds.

Daemons & Deathrays: Expedition to Barrier Peaks – Brian (Me) of Daemons & Deathrays has devoted the month to converting a classic module to D&D 5th Edition.  These posts consist of:

Forgotmydice: Astounding Tales of Science Fantasy – Grynning examines Clarke’s Third Law in its relation to the Sword and Planet genre, as well as figuring out how to run such games in D&D.

Forgotmydice: Warlock Patron of Interest – Griss makes a pact with a new warlock patron, The Machine.

Forgotmydice: ‘Tis New to Thee – Trevor transports people from a Modern world into the realm of Fantasy thanks to a new background!

Forgotmydice: From the Red Hills of Mars – Robert channels John Carter in the blog’s August 2016 finale by creating Green Martian stats.

Forgot my dice: Allons-y! – Trevor makes an intellectual and scientific sub class for the Ranger.

Mythus Mage: Are You Sure? – Alan dissects genre and treats magic as a science.

Notes of the Wandering Alchemist: Science-Fantasy Trinket Table – Based on the PHB, John has made a table of random trinkets you can incorporate into your games.

Rollcall: Reskinning to Maximize a System’s Range – Rollcall shows how simple it is to reflavor fantasy RPGs into science fiction.

Tales of a GM: Serpentfall in Heroquest – Phil takes from “The Day After Ragnarok” setting to build an epic interlude with a helping of science-fantasy!

Temple of Ravens: Super-Science and Sorcery – Anthony of Temple of Ravens ponders Sci-Fi series like Star Trek and how to run them within the realms of D&D and beyond.

 

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