Posted in Settings

Australiana Apocalyptica

A few weeks ago I started up a solo game of Apocalypse World with my wife. We liked it but decided we wanted something different for a solo game and would wait for another month or two to play Apocalypse World with our main group once we’re done with Prime Time Adventures. This post has some custom moves that we were planning to use and probably still will – feel free to do whatever you like with them. I’ve also written up some brief setting details for an Australian apocalypse.

I knew I wanted our Apocalypse World to be in Australia, where we live. Even ignoring Mad Max, this country is a pretty amazing place and I have lots of ideas about what it could be like after the end times. I’m sure Vam has even more, very specific ideas, but that’s a post for another day perhaps. I presented three settings to my wife and asked her which one she wanted to play in. Here they are:

  • Overpopulated skyscrapers overgrown with relentless rainforest in the wild northeast cities
  • Slimy labyrinthine docks at the clogged, poisoned harbour by a rusting once-great bridge
  • Clusters of peeling corrugated iron buildings, caked in red desert dust under a cancerous sun

She said, “the first one” then added “…but we’re not just in the skyscrapers, are we?”. I told her no, we wouldn’t be, it was just an image evocative of that part of post-apocalypse Australia. So, of course, that was the one I had the least ideas about but we both made a pretty good go of it and the setting came together. Here’s a brief run down:

Setting: Bane

Bane is a huge city extending outwards and upwards, remnants of civilisation overgrown by relentless rainforest. There was enough food here when the world ended, water too. And it was out of the cancerous sun, thanks to the Canopy. So everyone came. Everyone.

Bane is big, but the rainforest claims back more and more each day and there’s less and less space for the booming population. Towering office buildings have turned residential. Dozen people to a room, hundreds lining hallways. And the Canopy: so many trees – some bigger than the buildings – that only the highest floors of the highest skyscrapers ever see sun and feel the breeze.

Everyone below lives in the Canopy’s sweltering eternal darkness. Pitch-black sauna, 24/7. Tensions run high, tempers thin. Fans are prized, ice is killed for. Vines get into everything, messing up what juice still flows through strangled wires. Then there’s the dream sap that pries open your mind, the bloodthirsty rainforest predators, the unpredictable cabal of brachiators, and hundreds of plants ready to kill you in any number of ways.

It’s not a matter of if you’ll die a sudden violent death, it’s when and how, and why anyone should care. It’s what you’ll do with your short sweaty existence before life kills you.

Moves

So, that’s our happy little apocalyptic world. For playing there, we’ve got two custom moves so far:

When you consume the dream sap, you open your brain to the psychic maelstrom.

When you wander around without light in the endless sweltering darkness under the canopy, roll+sharp. On a 10+, all 3: you get where you were going without incident. On a 7-9, choose 2:
– you don’t run into anyone you’d really rather not see right now
– you don’t get turned around, lost and delayed
– your scent doesn’t catch the interest of any rainforest predators

Feel free to use or change or do whatever to any of this. We’ll use it eventually, but if you use it first, I’d love to hear about it.

Posted in Settings

Setting: Spark of Youth

Here’s an outline of another campaign setting I’ve been working on. Feel free to use and alter it as you wish. If you do use it or have some ideas about it, I’d love to hear them.


Inspiration: Ender’s GameLord of the FliesDark Angel, Neon Genesis Evangelion

It is said that the spark is in all of us, yet by the end of puberty it is gone. It is not known why, but children have a strong connection to the power of the spark. It flows in them in ways still not fully understood by adults.

Very young children use the spark sporadically, for play and their own simple purposes, without thought. As children grow older, they begin to understand their powers better, using them consciously and with more control. Around age 10 for girls and 12 for boys, Transition begins.

Children undergo many physical and psychological changes during this stage and it is when their spark is at is peak, very powerful and unpredictable.

Transition is a stressful and strange time for children and many lose control of their magic as the power flares and fluctuates, burning brightly before it is snuffed out entirely. Girls usually complete the Transition by ages 15-17, while boys usually complete it by ages 16-18. After this, the spark is dead forever.

Because adults are unable to harness magic, children are highly valued for their abilities. Many children do not utilise the spark effectively and are more dangerous to themselves than others, or are merely an annoyance. However, children of particular talent and power are recruited into harsh military programs to perfect their control over the spark and harden them into tools of war. Children are taught from a young age that fighting for their faction is the highest honour and the greatest deed that one could hope for. Propaganda floods the schools, homes and streets, and armies recruit children as young as 8 to train to fight their horrendous battles.

Every year, new drugs are trialled in attempts to keep children young and keep their spark alive for as long as possible. Experiments are conducted upon children’s brains, leaving many permanently damaged or worse, in attempts to unlock the secrets of the spark. Some believe that it is the mental state of children that is the key to their power, and so they experiment on the mentally disabled as an alternative route to the answers they seek.

Schools are hotbeds of propaganda but some children catch on or have different ideas and sow the seeds of rebellion. Such children meet in secret after classes to discuss what the adults are really up to, what the war is all about, how they are developing in their talents, and what they will do to avoid being recruited. Groups of children roam adult cities and towns as rebels, vigilantes or criminals, using their powers however they see fit.

Rumour has it that there are hidden towns out in the wilderness populated entirely by children. Gangs of teenagers rule these child towns and the children live however they can free from the control of adults, but left to their own devices to learn about the radical changes they are going through.

Growing up is hard enough, but children must deal with the normal trials and tribulations of puberty – sexuality, friendship, bullying, and growing up – as well as the great unstable power that they wield, its consequences and the reality of life after the Transition: when their power fades and they find themselves as young adults in a world that considers them past their use-by-date.

Posted in Settings

Setting: Hang Ups

Hang Ups is a random idea I had for a campaign setting. I haven’t played any or read much of InSpectres, but I have the feeling that Hang Ups could serve as an alternate setting for that system. Primetime Adventures, Spirit of the Century, Savage Worlds, or Otherkind Dice would work really well too. I’m looking forward to playing this one with my group this year for a few sessions.

Here’s the elevator pitch:

Emergency services are inundated with calls that they terminate because they appear to be pranks or non-emergencies. Stuff about aliens and werewolves. That kind of thing.

That’s where Hang Ups comes in.

They’re an independent (and not technically legal) group that intercepts these abandoned calls and sifts through them for seeds of truth. Armed with their knowledge of the paranormal, they respond to potentially legitimate calls to help those that the authorities ignore.

Hang Ups is a rag-tag group of people with various reasons for chasing after crazy-sounding emergency calls. Some might be bored, some might be slackers in this for a quick buck (ha, good luck!), others might be UFO nuts, disgraced scientists, or former law enforcers or agents who got kicked to the curb for looking too deep. I imagine that you’d have a very diverse group of people at Hang Ups. Also, they probably just work out of a warehouse, apartment or basement.

Getting the Call

I see this game as a good one for getting players involved in building the story. I plan to begin sessions like this: first, I’ll ask who’s the Operator for this game. This position will rotate through all the players. The Operator roleplays listening in on the emergency calls. In-game, it’s a pretty boring job and the character will probably be sitting there for hours on end until they find a call that might be true. But out of game, it should be a lot of fun.

What happens is, each player roleplays some NPC placing a call to emergency services. As the GM, it’s your job to ask a few questions to dig for a little information, and then brush them off as a prank caller. It’s the privilege of the Operator to select which call to take. Get a few calls from the players, and then when the Operator has heard them all, or hears one she really likes, she should jump in and “pick up” the call.

After this, the player who placed the call gets to fill in some sketchy details from the NPC, who is likely frightened/drunk/dishevelled/etc. The Operator gets to ask questions. Other players can offer questions, but it’s up to the Operator whether she asks them now or not.

Here’s an example of Getting the Call:

GM: “Okay, so it’s Joe’s turn to be the Operator this week”
Joe: “Sweet! Okay, I’m on the couch, kicking back with the headphones on”
GM: “Alright. Montage time. The calls are rolling in. There’s the usual junk, but a few perk your interest…”

[GM looks around the table for anyone with an idea. Clara puts her fingers to the side of her head like she’s on a phone.]

GM: “Emergency services. What is your emergency?”
Clara: “Uh… hi. Um… there’s something outside my house making these weird noises”.
GM: “Could you describe the noises?”
Clara: “Yeah… like, um… growls. But they don’t sound right.”
GM: “What do they sound like?”
Clara: “I don’t know… it’s not a dog, I don’t think. Maybe a bear? But it sounds sick or something. I can hear it moving in the bushes! My neighbour, he’s been working late nights on something in his garage. I see smoke and light and stuff coming from there and sometimes I hear animal noises. Wait… there it is again! Please send someone, quick!”
GM: *click* [Hangs up]

Joe: “Ooh, is he making a monster? Hmm…”

GM: “Emergency services. What is your emergency?”
Gavin: “Yo, dude. Dude! They’re, like… everywhere, man! Seriously!”
GM: “Sir, could you please explain the nature of your emergency”
Gavin: “Everywhere, man. All these… like… cocoon things, you know? Some nights they’re there. Some night’s they’re not. They’re there now, though. They glow and stuff. Oh… no way! No way! Some of them are hatching or something! What the hell is that!? Dude, you gotta get someone over here! Hello?”
GM: *click* [Hangs up]

Joe: “Haha, these are great!”

GM: “Emergency services. What is your emergency?”
Beth: “They’re in the computer!”
GM: “Madam, could you please explain the nature of your emergency”
Beth: “Beings… of electricity. I see them, crackling. It’s stormy tonight. That’s when they come out. It’s like… glitches in the computer screen. But also, my lights go on and off. Uncle Mort says it reminds him of something, the way it flickers. He’s been having dreams, he says, in the storms. My phone rings and I hear crackling. I feel like they’re watching me. I just got home and saw my lights flicking on and off. I can’t find Mr. Fluffy… what’s that burning smell?”
GM: *click* [Hangs up]

Joe: “Awesome, guys. I think I’m gonna go with cocoons. I wanna know what’s hatching out of there!”

Gavin: “Yes!”
Clara: “Cool. I liked that one too!”
Beth: “Aww, we’ll have to wait till some other time to find out if Mr. Fluffy is okay. I’m in though. Sounds good!”

GM: [in a recorded-sounding voice] “Please hold, you are being transferred to Special Priority Emergency Services Unit”
Joe: “Special Priority Emergency Services Unit. Sir, could you tell us more about these cocoons?”
Gavin: “Yeah, no worries, man. You really gotta see this…”
[Here, we ‘fade to black’. It’s assumed that the caller keeps explaining what little he knows about the situation, but it’s the GM’s job to come up with these details on the fly to keep the players excited and guessing. That’s half the fun for everyone: players make the seed of the story and the GM improvises as the game progress.]

Answering the Call

After you get the call, you respond. Here is where the real fun begins. Who knows how legitimate the call is? Can it be explained with science? Is it really something supernatural? Will the real authorities end up on the scene too, having never heard of this ‘Special Priority Emergency Services Unit’? Is the threat a physical danger? Can the Hang Ups take it down with whatever weapons and tools they legally (or not) have managed to get their hands on?

Most importantly, how are they going to get paid, this time? Are they going to ask for a ‘call out fee’? Will they take something valuable as ‘evidence’? Will they admit that they’re a group of vigilantes who need to keep food on their table?

Once the mission is done, the Hang Ups head back to base, swap Operators and do it all again.

When I present this to my players, I’ll explain most of this as we go. If you know of a system that’d be good for Hang Ups, or if you give it a shot, feel free to chime in below. I’d love to hear any other comments too or potential calls. I think I hear the phone ringing…

Posted in Settings

Demonsea: Ships of the Demonsea

Avast maties! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! To celebrate we be postin’ a piratical article about the colourful characters ye be likely to meet if ye be so bold as to venture into Haulshore: a treasure-hunter’s paradise in the Demonsea campaign settin’. We’ve even got a big campaign seed for ye, and hooks for each o’ the captains. Ye could also use this here article for some other world, but if ye arrren’t privy to the secrets o’ the Demonsea, cast ya eyes yonder to read of a world of demons, pirates and adventure on the high seas!

Haulshore is a sunny bustling seaside town in Darbrin. It has auction houses aplenty that pay good coin for all manner of exotic artefacts brought in from the sea and far away lands. Pirates, explorers and adventurers consult maps at taverns such as the Jolly Dagger and recruit crew members here for daring expeditions. Such crews often bid on items at the auction houses too, as many of these artefacts – be they engraved shields, horned skulls, battered journals or what have you – also serve as maps to even greater treasure for those who know what to look for. You won’t always find the same ships at Haulshore – they’re usually off on adventures – but it is a frequent port of pirates.

Right now, some very notable captains have docked in Haulshore and are looking for new crew members. Everyone seems interested in a secret auction in the back rooms of the Jolly Dagger – something too precious to be shown in the auction houses. It is an ornate shield known as Sarrek’s Voyage. Engravings and threads of gold depict the ancient hero Sarrek at various stages in his epic voyage: the Battle of One, the Battle of Many, Respite, the Ascendancy, the Stranded and so on.

Exact locations of the events depicted on Sarrek’s Voyage are unknown, but it is said the ancients built a temple at each point. Rumour has it that taking the shield to each temple will show the way to the next location and ultimately, the final resting place of Sarrek: a mythical holy city of treasure and wonder lost for thousands of years!

Broken Shackle

Captain Hodric ‘Red’ Bragg is a ragged portrait of a cutthroat pirate. His gut is heavy with grog, his thick black beard full of lice, his teeth yellowed or replaced with gold and his reddened skin leathery from sun. His crew is a bunch of murderous criminals with nowhere else to go and no moral compass to guide them.

Very few women ever join his crew and those that do have to be tough as nails to survive, and even then the Broken Shackle is not an inviting place for females – or for civilised males. Below deck, the three-masted black and brown galleon smells like grog, piss, blood and sweat. It has a large filthy brig for any foe who survives an onslaught from the ship. On deck there perches a black cannon that has obliterated more than a few enemy ships.

Bragg’s crew has some good divers who quickly loot their sinking foes. The crew also contains one incongruous man named Lorne. He is well-dressed, well-spoken and seems very out of place here. Whispers say that he may have once sailed with the Fierce Sharai, but there is bad blood between them now and Lorne is the recruiting officer for the Broken Shackle.

The Broken Shackle’s crew pillage and plunder. Their average missions include raiding unfortified towns, scuttling or capturing courier and merchant ships and generally causing havoc that reaps rewards of gold, grog or women. Lately, though, Bragg has been sending his crew on more and more raids against smugglers. What do they have that he wants so badly? The Red Captain has been getting redder recently, it seems – some say it’s not the sun at all, but that Bragg has been hiding an addiction to Ambrosia – the red liquid rumoured to be made of demon blood – and has fallen off the wagon. Perhaps now is the perfect time for mutiny?

Seventh Chance

Captain Jenny ‘Fishnet’ Shemmer is a strikingly beautiful woman. Her lustrous red hair, long legs and good looks are the talk of the town whenever she comes ashore. However, she is as dangerous as she is pretty. It is said that Fishnet got her nickname when she strangled to death the former lascivious male captain of the Seventh Chance with her stockings.

It is well known that Shemmer sails both ways and seems to only recruit attractive and alluring people. Because of this, her entire crew consists of beautiful men and women who are also deadly in combat – if they weren’t before joining the crew, they quickly learn to be under Shemmer’s harsh and domineering rule.

Shemmer likes control and hates being showed up. She holds a grudge like no other and will commit considerable resources towards vengeance. She loves her ship, the Seventh Chance, and since winning it from the previous captain she has made the two-masted galleon into a work of beauty. Polishing and painting the ship are common chores for the crew and the vessel is flawless, save for one massive scar down the side of the ship that reaches so high it mars the railing on the bow itself. Shemmer sometimes sits and strokes the splintered wound on the railing, thoughts of revenge dancing behind her eyes.

The Seventh Chance favours bounties of jewellery, artwork and other beautiful things. Whenever they can, these are the prizes they seek. Beautiful new crew members are also sought out and any ships or even towns that strike Fishnet’s fancy will often become the target of ruthless and relentless attacks until she has what she wants. Most of the rest of the crew’s time is spent tending to the ship and tracking down those who have wronged the crew and captain.

Freerunner

Captain Seth ‘Breezer’ Tallow is a lanky young man, spry and full of wit and good humour. He is incredibly laid back for a pirate captain and other crews sometimes call the Freerunner the ‘Party Ship’. His people are relaxed and spontaneous, making them unpredictable in combat and allowing them to excel in unexpected situations. However, their attitude means that they don’t plan ahead a whole lot and just ‘breeze’ through life taking advantage of opportunities that come their way.

Breezer’s crew could probably achieve great things if they put their minds to it, but few of them ever bother. Most are highly intelligent, but bored with lives of discipline. Breezer offers a life with hammocks on deck and tropical drinks and card games most of the day. Because of Breezer’s lax policies, his ship is a haphazard vessel patched together and barely staying afloat. It is one of the fastest ships on the waves due to it’s design, but after even a short skirmish there is a chance of sinking.

Being an opportunistic captain, Breezer has made a lot of enemies. He’s avoided many more thanks to the quick thinking and glib tongues of his crew during short cons. Breezer’s even pulled one over on Shemmer a few times – he doesn’t think she’s on to him, but he can’t be sure. Whether Shemmer is involved or not, one particular mark Breezer struck at long ago has teamed up with a more recent mark, tracked him down and is about to start some trouble. Meanwhile, the ship is in desperate need of repairs.

Fierce Sharai

Captain Dasharah ‘Ransom’ Kalkaran is a fit, bald Kalrashi man in his mid-thirties, lean, tall and looming. Dasharah is a serious but friendly and reasonable man who understands the importance of structure and discipline, but also knows that people need to cut loose every now and then – especially when hunting demons. The Fierce Sharai – meaning Fierce Queen in Kalarashi – is dedicated to protecting the world by hunting down demons, cultists and artefacts that could be used to strike back against the demons in the Burning War back in Kalarash – or securing those that could be used by demons.

Because the captain is Kalarashi and the ship’s cause is close to his people’s hearts, many other Kalarashi are drawn to this multicultural crew. Dabrish are the minority aboard the ship, but not by much. Generally, the crew is very accepting and there is little racial tension as everyone has much greater threats to contend with, in the form of demons. Criminals find their way onto the Broken Shackle, but many outcasts have a home on the Fierce Sharai, as the captain has a soft spot for these people, being an outcast himself.

Dasharah’s nickname, ‘Ransom’, comes from the fact that he is more likely to ransom prisoners back than kill them. Some say, however, that the true origins of his nickname are much more intriguing. The Fierece Sharai, golden in colour, was originally a royal Kalarashi treasure ship and rumour has it that Dasharah stole the large swift vessel – laden with a sharai’s ransom in valuables – and fled his homeland. It is unclear what drove Dasharah to this course of action.

Perhaps he was banished for committing some horrible crime or maybe he discovered a dark secret during his time as a royal guard and could no longer bear to serve his sharai. Whatever happened, everyone – especially rival captains – have their own opinions of the event and scandal surrounds his departure. Regarding nicknames, it is said that Shemmer finds Dasharah quite appealing and has given him a second nickname: ‘Handsome Ransom’.

The Fierce Sharai’s missions are much more dangerous and exotic than some of the other crews, due to their frequent encounters with the demonic. In Darbrish waters, they are more likely to come across cultists or demonic artefacts than true demons, but they have sighted a hellship or two in their time.

One member of the crew, a waif of a woman named Esmala is demon-touched and receives prophetic visions, though some say the demons can see through her eyes. Sarrek’s Voyage supposedly leads to a place that holds a mighty weapon that could be used for or against demons. Dasharah wants to get there first to use the weapon to fight against the demons, but he knows the other captains have their eyes on Sarrek’s Voyage too.

Bloodwave

Captain ‘Bloody’ Bertha Harding is a hardbitten fearsome woman who makes Shemmer look like a kitten. Bloody Bertha is burly, battleworn and stout. She is not short, but not towering. She is middle-aged at least, but her exact age is hard to determine and anyone who has dared ask is now dead. Bertha is widely known to be heartless and ruthless. Her crew are crazy, bloodthirsty monsters too, and she is the only one who can control them. Nobody messes with Bloody Bertha.

Her ship is a massive cannon-laden heavily-armoured vessel, painted red – rumours say that the paint is the blood of her enemies and “Bertha will paint the ship with you!” is a common warning to fellow crew mates or a threat to enemies. The Bloodwave is so well armed and armoured that ramming other ships is definitely an option and the scars on its hull are testament to the battles it has won.

Nobody knows how new recruits are chosen for the Bloodwave, but what is common knowledge is that the ship’s recruiter is also an infamous and effective torturer, possibly an outlaw inquisitor wanted for treason. Rumours told by men now dead at Bertha’s hand proposed that one of her rival captains was actually her child. Dasharah is out of the question, but could Bragg, Shemmer or Breezer really be related to Bloody Bertha? If so, nobody is letting the secret out and they all seem just as terrified of her as anyone else. Or is that just a show? Could one of them be working with her? Or is their relationship even more fuel for the fires of rivalry?

Bloody Bertha is a woman obsessed, it seems. Her ship, the Bloodwave is the toughest ruddy ship on the sea, but she isn’t satisfied. Word has it that Bloody Bertha is looking to capture herself a Hellship. Only she would be crazy and ballsy enough to try to board and take a hellship: these ships sailed straight out of Hell, lashed together from flesh and bone, leaving a trail of sulphur-smelling steam in their wakes.

Some believe the hellships are colossal demons themselves, and more than one half-drunk half-insane sailor has told tales of catching a fleeting glimpse of a hellship through a thick blanket of steam and swearing that a huge yellow eye peered back from the bow. How much of this is true is unclear, but it’s all damn scary and Bloody Bertha doesn’t seem phased in the least.

Casting Off

PCs starting off in Haulshore have plenty of opportunities for adventure. Which crew will they join? Do they admire the ship’s captain or share his or her goals and desires, are they just there for the riches, or are they joining as spies or so they can mutiny? Do they have any ties with the other ships’ crews? What trouble and advantages will this lead to? How interested are they in Sarrek’s Voyage? Do any of them have connections to demons? Maybe one has seen a hellship before or perhaps they are inquisitors or demon-touched.

You should make sure to let PCs make knowledge checks and talk to the ships’ recruiters, because whichever ship they end up on, it will make quite a difference – even if all the captains are after Sarrek’s Voyage. Pirate ships are great, because they are mobile adventure locations. Don’t think of them just as a means of transport from one adventure to another. Lots of exciting things can happen in the middle of the ocean, thanks to the variety of interesting NPCs stuck together in a relatively small area.

The descriptions above talk about the crews in general, but there are always crew members who break the mould – there might be some nice people, like Lorne, aboard the Broken Shackle, surely Shemmer can’t be a task master all the time (right?), maybe there are a few really dedicated long con grifters on the Freerunner, there are definitely some nasty people on the Fierce Sharai amongst all the other accepting crew, and who knows what really goes on behind the fortified hull of the Bloodwave?

Remember, too, that pirate crews are large and the PCs might not meet everyone straight away. That allows you to introduce new NPCs later, even in the middle of a voyage. Pirates die too – especially in Savage Worlds – and recruiters will need to gather more crew, meaning new NPCs – good and bad – will be joining the established crew from time to time. Connections with other ships also make for interesting hooks when you inevitably run into a rival pirate crew.

Whatever you do, make it fun and exciting! That’s the spirit of adventures on the Demonsea!

Posted in Settings

Victorianasaurus

I don’t know how it happened, but I got this idea for a campaign setting in my head recently that wouldn’t go away.  The basic premise was Pride and Prejudice meets Jurassic Park. I just had this image of a parasaurolophus pulling a slightly steampunk carriage through Victorian London. This is a London where regular animals have died out and genetically resurrected dinosaurs have taken their place, both as pets and in the wild.

I envision prim and proper ladies drinking tea with “fancy dinosaurs” on their laps, and gentlemen having a flutter at the gallimimus track. I imagine a tyrannosaurus rex or spinosaurus or some huge predator stalking an English wood nearby the upscale mansions.

I don’t know how much traction the concept has, but I wrote a few snippets of conversations overheard in this world. If this inspires you to run a Victorianasaurus game I’d love to hear about it.

“Did you hear the news regarding, Mr. Jameson’s cousin, Mr. Boothridge? Terrible news, just terrible. Word is that Mr. Boothridge is involved with some rather unsavoury business. It turns out that he has a most loathsome taste for deinonychus pit fights. Reprehensible! Some say he even organises the wretched events!”

“Petunia has won best in show for the last two years running. She is quite the specimen. New breeders often believe that the crest is the key to success. Now, while Petunia has a magnificent crest, I must say that it takes more than that to make a champion parasaurolophus. Grooming is important and training must begin straight out of the shell if one is to be truly successful. But colour, colour is the real secret. It takes years of careful selective breeding to get just the right texture and a dignified yet striking complexion of greens and browns punctuated with brighter spots of orange. Petunia’s pink stripe is particularly special and there are more than a few competitors of mine who would pay dearly for one of her eggs”.

“I spent my childhood on a farm, you know? It was quite a different life, but a good one. Crisp air and rolling hills. I remember feeding the compsagnathus flocks each morning. Dozens of the little things would gather around the edge of their run, leaping and slashing at the wire fence. I would throw scraps of meat from the feed bucket and laugh as they scrabbled amongst themselves eagerly eating up their breakfast. Sometimes after a storm the run would be tipped over and they would escape into the triceratops paddocks. We lost more than one calf from the herd to starved flocks of escaped compsagnathus. Still, it was a good life and I do miss those times.”

Velociraptor hunting is the quintessential coming-of-age activity for any young man of note. It allows one to bond with other men, for one thing. But the thrill of racing off after the deinonychus as they pick up the scent of the quarry, leaping fallen trees and pounding through the forest astride your own utahraptor – nothing matches that. It is exhilarating!”

Posted in Settings

City of Steel: Coinage of Crenmar

Crenmar – the City of Steel – mints its own coins, which are used in the city, all over the Sequesterd Sea region, and beyond. Crenmar’s currencies are as follows:

Fonts are gold pieces, bearing on one side the face of Clint Fontaine in profile, the first person to discover resources in Crenmar. On the other side is a depiction of Fontaine Hill, the first mining camp in the city. Fonts are accepted in most middle- or upper-class places in Crenmar, but stars are often preferred. One font is worth ten stars or one hundred picks.

Stars are silver pieces, bearing a five-pointed star on one side, representing Crenmar’s founding members. It is joked that these are the only stars one is ever likely to see in Crenmar, due to the smog blacking out the sky. On the other side of the silver piece is a depiction of the Crenmarian Mint. Stars are the standard unit of trade in Crenmar, and are more widely accepted than fonts. One star is worth ten picks.

Picks are copper pieces, pressed with an anvil on one side and a crossed pickaxe and hammer on the other, the symbol of the city of Crenmar.

Posted in Settings

Setting: City of Steel

Crenmar is a city of danger, wonder, greed and industry. The city is the leader in Storvia’s iron and steel mining and manufacture industries, as well as being very progressive in the field of clockwork, possessing its own mint and being home to one of Gahn’s largest banks.

Coupled with its impressive industrial achievements, the Rhodoran city-state’s prime location on the coast of the Sequestered Sea and the Golden Road intercontinental trade path secures its position as one of the largest trading nations in the world.

Thanks to the sprawling catacombs beneath the city, Crenmar also draws its fair share of scholars, explorers and the followers of the occult who flock to the city to investigate its relics, ruins and archaeological mysteries, inadvertently uncovered in the day-to-day work of the city’s miners.

Crenmar’s hundreds of miners are vital to the city’s prosperousness and many spend weeks at a time underground, breathing recycled air pumped in by complicated and expensive machinery. When shifts finally end, labourers come flooding out of the earth to pour their hard earned coin back into Crenmar through its taverns, drug lounges, brothels, strip clubs, gambling halls and other dens of vice.

Like any large settlement, Crenmar has its unsavoury and criminal elements. It is infamous for its dozens of gangs – some brutal mobs of murderous thugs, and some little more than groups of scared children. Crenmar’s poorer and less fortunate districts are particularly plagued by this scourge, but the gangs are many and widespread, fighting for control of territory across more than half of the city.

Crenmar’s merchant-class nobility and mine manager council represent some of the city’s hidden dangers, with backstabbing and intrigue commonplace as long as there is coin to be made. Guards are often hindered by selfish laws put in place to benefit greedy council members, and even officers who aren’t in the pocket of a merchant, mine manager or gang may find themselves bending or breaking the law to see justice done.

Famously, rumours persist of a highly-organised thieves’ guild operating in and around Crenmar. If the whispers are to be believed, these so-called Caretakers controls several of the city’s gangs, has guild members and allies in public office, and manipulates an untold number of businesses from its place in the shadows. If such an organisation does indeed exist, is it more influential than all of Crenmar’s gangs combined, and that should be enough to terrify anyone who dares cross the Caretakers.