Thursday, July 9, 2009

Death And The Devil

I'm pleased to report that my Dragon Warriors play-by-post campaign is chugging along quite well. Our band of heroes is now probably about two-thirds of the way through the introductory scenario, "The Darkness Before Dawn". They're holding their own quite well so far, and the players all appear to have gotten a good grasp of the feel of Legend very quickly.

I'm surprised at how well running a game via an internet forum is scratching the Dragon Warriors itch. Sure, it's not exactly like a face-to-face tabletop game, and real life can slow down people's ability to participate regularly, but the PBP format has certain strengths. Foremost for me is the encouragement for players to stay in character more consistently.

You see, I find that during my face-to-face game everybody tends to, well, bullshit a lot more than I'd prefer. I'm as guilty of it as anybody else. It's largely because it's the only time many of us hang out with each other "IRL", and so we naturally want to goof off and joke with each other, since we don't get much of a chance to otherwise. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I do often miss the deep roleplaying one could find themselves getting into in the old high school days. PBP largely removes my temptation to quote Ghostbusters and ramble about Saints Row 2 when I should be getting into the game at hand.

The other day I was thinking about future Dragon Warriors releases and what they might entail. I know the game's current steward, James Wallis, has mentioned possible books on the Fay and the Church, but for whatever reason I ended up pondering what a DW-based megadungeon might look like. I thought back to William Cobbett's disparaging nickname for London, "The Great Wen", and felt that it would be a pretty cool name for an underworld site: a great swelling of the earth, like a massive boil caused by some sort of subterranean malignancy. A place where Hell seems not far from the world. Frame it in terms of a Crusade, and have adventurers drawn to it for the same reasons people took the cross in medieval times - some for glory and profit, some for religious fervor, some because they seemingly had nothing better to do. You could have your usual shanty town - complete with camp followers, apothecaries, blacksmiths, and sellers of indulgences - sprung up around the site, to cater to those that come to ransack it.

Okay, yeah, it's vague, and possibly not entirely in the spirit of the game or its setting, but if there's any game where you could make a dungeon and put the Devil at the bottom of it, it's Dragon Warriors.


  1. Your Great Wen idea sounds a lot like GW's Mordheim, a game rich with apocalyptic (often Dürer-derived) imagery and themes. Mordheim's bleakness, hair-trigger all-against-all violence, and cynical scrabbling for riches in the ruins is a great fit with Dragon Warriors.

  2. You know, I kind of thought it sounded more WFRP than DW, but hadn't articulated to myself just how much of a Mordheim ripoff the idea really is. Ah well, they can't all be original...

  3. Originality is over-rated. (I think I heard that somewhere...) ;)

    WFRP + DW have something of a family resemblance anyway, in that they're both part of the 80s NWOBCF (New Wave of British Cynical Fantasy).

    Seriously, the Great Wen idea is a cool one, I wish I'd thought of it first ('dungeons as cancers' is a hell of an evocative image), and I'd like to see what you do with it.

  4. "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." - Albert Einstein

    Words to live by...