Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Greeks, trilobites and giant mechanical crab cities

Savage Worlds is one of those game which you can pretty much co-opt to run any genre you like. I guess that's why it is in my top five RPGs, those games I'd take with me to a desert island.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with hay fever, as the weather has been dry but windy here in Sussex, and I guess there must have been a wind blowing from inland, bringing with it lots of lovely pollen. So I took an anti-hystamin pill at about 4.30 in an effort to go back to sleep. The only problem with these are that, firstly, you then find it very hard to get going in the morning, and secondly, you can have some fairly bizarre dreams.

Mind you, the latter can be quite useful as a source of inspiration for fiction and / or game settings.

In this case, I had an idea for a short campaign which really sounds something Studio Ghibli might have dreamed up. It could have been because I read that there is a Studio Ghibli retrospective being screened in London next weekend, or because I'm currently reading the Gianni Riotta's Prince of the Clouds, which is constantly reminding me of Porco Rosso.

Anyway, the idea for the campaign goes like this. The world has been drowned under water. There are a few mountain peaks left as islands, but most of them are inhospitable. Some pockets of humans have been saved by technology / magic, and continue to live on in underwater communities, although unable to travel far without oxygen.

The Fallen Realms, once might city states, lie ruined under the waves.

The players are all members of the crew of an enormous, mechanical crab, also powered by magic or some kind of advanced technology. This thing is the size of a very large ship, say 700-800 metres in diameter, and about 100-150 metres draft. The crab is captained by the Last Emperor, a mysterious, Nemo-esque figure who is scouring the sea bed for the artefact which, they say, can once again freeze the poles and bring the sea level down again.

As with Star Trek, the campaign is one of traveling from place to place, seeking clues to the artefact in question. The crew of the Karkinos, the mighty steam-powered iron leviathan, are primarily concerned with making sue the thing keeps moving and they have enough to eat and drink. Some of them are slaves and some are citizens of the Fallen Realms. The Karkinos carries somewhere in the region of 150 crew, occasionally replenished with captives / new recruits. It also has the capacity to crawl up onto those small atolls that remain above water.

The explorers have access to magic, arcane diving suits and small submersibles that look like iron trilobites, that crawl along the surface or can swim for short distances, carrying about 10-15 people (remember the Eagle transporters in Space 1999?) Heck, I might even make them organic, actual critters that cling to the bottom of the Karkinos, and carry water-tight cabins on their backs.

The culture is probably going to be Hellenistic in flavour, with Greek names and gods, and possibly Greek-style armour and equipment / clothing. I'm still pondering that. Early days, but given I'm about to take three weeks off in the Adriatic, I may find further inspiration there.

The Last Emperor - Captain Nemo in sandals?


  1. I like this. A sort of post-apocalyptic but less cynical Rogue Trader perhaps.

    As for Ghibli, you may be interested in Golden Sky Stories.

  2. sounds great fun. When are we playing it? One shot at Winter StuCon 2013/14? :)

    1. Are you allowed to play games any more Mr Ferguson?