Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spotlight on...D&D Basic, part four

Since I am now compiling a setting-specific version of the BX (Basic-eXpert) rules for my campaign setting, it seems a good time to stray from the established blogram (as I am inclined to do) and give you a peek into my process...such as it is.

I have always been a DM that values creativity and detail over rules and structure. It is an approach that makes more work and frustration for me - but, there it is. I will jot down an outline for an adventure set in my campaign setting (which I know very well) and mostly wing-it from there. Do I create things that don't work as I'd hoped? Yes - but, rarely. Do I forget some details and decisions if I don't write them down? Sometimes - but, if the players have been paying attention, they will often recall.

See that graphic of the green pseudo-Basic Rulebook rough? That is the tentative design for the rules I mentioned at the start of this entry. Why green? Well - two reasons, no - three, really. First: To distinguish it from the other rulebooks in the BXCMI series. Second: Because the Shattered Sky (my campaign world) setting is very much covered by forest wilderness. Third: I really like green.

The SSS book (Shattered Sky Setting) will have a lot of house rules and changes to the BX rules. Some of these will be familiar to players of later editions of D&D. Why bother, when I can just use a later edition of D&D? Flavor - and laziness. I want the style of adventure that BX encourages and I don't have the desire to write up a 125-page or 300-page book for a game I'm going to run at home. Nobody is paying me for this.

So - instead of working my way through the Basic Rules, I intend to share my development of the SSS book instead. That is kind-of staying on topic, as my book tries its very best to emulate the structure and flavor of the BX Rules. The main difference is you will get something more than a fanboy reminiscence and review of a book that has been around for almost as long as I have. You will get to suffer through a fanboy re-creation of an established and classic game, done in ways that might make your teeth itch, or your knuckles crack.

But, it will be something different - and that's what I'm all about. I'll be back soon with the first installment of the SSS process. Until then, here is a preview.

What The Shattered Sky Setting Is All About

Long ago, in an age nearly forgotten by history and shrouded now in myth, there was a great and final conflict between the forces of Light and Dark.

Light lost.

So did Dark.

Centuries passed without a sign of the gods. It was a time of fear and chaos. Ways beyond the physical world opened to allow passage to and from planes of existence both strange and deadly. Creatures beyond imagination intruded upon the world and forever changed the course of fate. The legends and lore of many races tell of a cataclysm that turned the world upside-down. Seas rose and landmasses were swallowed. Entire species and races disappeared - though some re-emerged centuries later. They were very much changed.

Human history begins near the end of this time.

During this time of turmoil, humankind rose to prominence and entered into a terrible conflict with the native elementals and fae of the land. This was The Harrowing and, in the end, humanity lost.

But the gods had returned and they intervened on behalf of humankind to broker a peace between Man and Nature. The treaty called the Winterbind Compact set down the terms of peace and stands to this day, nearly 500 years later.

Today, human civilization survives in isolated pockets among the great and primal wilderness of the land. The fae and the elementals granted limited stretches of land to humankind, but these are islands in a sea of green, and Man is already starting to feel confined. There are discontented rumblings of conquest and empire that many fear will plunge humanity into another costly war - this time, ending in the extermination of the human race. Many believe that an answer lies in the uncertain and fragmented past, while others feel that a true land for humankind lies beyond the leafy horizon.

As an adventurer, you may help shape the destiny of entire nations - or even the whole of humanity.

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