Monday, July 19, 2010

Blog Inspiration and Campaign Setting:Wonderland

I have bandied about the idea for a campaign for a long time, but really only had one idea. This one idea is pretty serial in nature, and when the plot arch ends, the campaign is over. That idea has me reluctant to start a game- knowing that for sure, it would end within so many runs. So I've tabled the idea and held off for a long time.

Sometime very recently, I came up with Wonderland. It's a group of about 10 cities spread over a semi-continent. If one were to connect the dots on the map of this not-quite-a-continent from city to city, they would be laid out in roughly a teardrop shape, but one on its side.

Wonderland is a place where everything is possible, just not at the same time. Magic, mystics, superpowers, steampunk, cyberstuff, horror/noir and several other themes are present in the world in one place or another, at various times. They also exist with varying degrees of reliability. Some places things always work, and others are a little more chancy.

The two main cities are Miracle City and Locaville, on essentially opposite ends of the shape from each other. Other towns include Magnifica, Dodge, Metropolis, and Junction. There are a couple I have not named yet. Information travels slowly and strangely from town to town, due to time being a very flexible thing outside of proper cities. Distances that look as if they should take a days' travel on a map have been known to take a week, and in some instances much longer. Singular travelers often leave, but never arrive at their destinations.  Most travelers go between towns in caravans not to prevent raiders, but to prevent becoming "lost" between places.

What is known is that each town had strange, but understandable behaviors. Psycics could reliably use their abilities in Magnifica, and Cyber ususally worked in Dodge. While the residents of Wonderland did not know why things were, they did know that things were such a way and accepted it that way.

Recently, something or someone has started to change the rules. Suddenly, superpowers work in the yet-unnamed town where only magic works (and rarely at that). Horrors escape into Metropolis (the quiet, mundane Suburbia) and more. No one knows how or why this is happening.

My idea for the campaign would be to put together a group of various types and set them to finding out how the Wonderland works and why it has suddenly changed.

I would most likely use Savage Worlds for this game, but I'm still working the kinks out of the idea. I still have to define what's outside of the "defined" areas, as PCs are notoriously curious. I need to come up with town structures, guilds and/or apprentice groups, NPCs, a money structure and a few other things. I also need to consider deities and prayers because those might be affected by this strange place as well.

I like the idea- a lot. It's interesting and allows me to make up the rules to my desires. It also lets me tell a PC "no, it doesn't work that way" if the situation calls for it. It allows for a great deal of "Wild West" style exploration, with dungeons, cyber ware and Lovecraft all for good measure. I am excited to get the idea more firmed up so I could actually run it!


  1. Have you ever looked into the 40k-themed RPGs by Fantasy Flight Games? I don't play RPGs and I don't think that they would work for this campaign, but you had expressed some interest in the 40k universe. The latest (Rogue Trader) is much about exploration, but in space.

    The themes you mention here (Wild West, cyber ware, and Lovecraft) mesh with another game - Malifaux. I have been able to resist the urges to get into this game, but it sounds great and has a cool back-story.

    I like to imagine the stories and backgrounds of the characters I create in model-form much in the way a role-player builds a character sheet and works out their characters' background. This makes 40k more fun for me, and a little like an RPG.

  2. If I didn't have about 20 million projects going, Malifaux and Rogue Trader would be on my "Awesome Stuff I Am Doing" list. I love the skirmish aspect of Malifaux- super easy to get into and not too hard to learn. I really love the figures too- gorgeous!

    I'll fully admit I love the FLUFF of 40K but the figure/combat rules throw me for a loop every time, so Rogue Trader/Dark Heresy are very appealing to me.

    I might think about playing - there was a great group that went "foof" lately.