Sunday, 24 January 2010

New Year (sort of), New Campaign Setting

I'd like to fire up more OD&D-style gaming this year at Stourbridge, and almost certainly with the Swords and Wizardry White Box version. Everyone liked the rule-lite (by modern standards) oD&D and it's attendant gaming style and I appreciate the better organisation of S&W, along with the fact that it resolves a few things that are really missing from oD&D such as a proper XP system.

After some rumination I came up with the following campaign backdrop.

Our campaign world (still unnamed) is a mostly-human civilization of the usual pre-Industrial Revolution setting. According to myth the people were brought to this planet by their masters, a race of skeletal robots. The people believed they were brought here as servants to the robot masters and to protect them from the wars that were ripping the skies apart but, to their bafflement, no sooner did they arrive then the robots constructed massive tombs under the planet's surface and retreated in their millions to lie down and die within.

Much of the planet's religions and philosophy is trying to make some sense of this and to determine if the masters will return in the future to act as mankind's saviours or not.

Since then the people of Planet Unnamed have fought wars against the Creatures of Chaos that stalk the surface of the planet and this continual state of siege that the people find themselves under has prevent their culture from advancing past a medieval state.

In the past few decades though, tectonic activity has started to unearth the tombs of the ancient masters and reveal that much-derided myth and religion has some element of truth to it. The people are only just starting to discover that robot tombs span the entire planet's crust (a sort of Ecumenopolis Necropolis if you like) and below these tombs - the laws of physics are breaking down completely.

The reality is that the people were never intended to be servants of the robots, nor were under their protection. The planet exists in the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy and is a Necron tomb world. Being on the losing side of a Galaxy-wide war that ended in the bleeding of raw chaos stuff into the universe, the Necrons hid themselves away until the day when the galaxy's "cattle" recovered from this chaotic holocaust and spread across the stars. The people from which our PCs are drawn were just intended to be the first wave of cattle consumed in the Necron's rebirth and conquest.

But something went wrong on this planet. As the universe shuddering and warped under the catastrophe that ended the war between the Necrons and the Old Ones, a tiny cancer of chaos leaked through into the centre of the World. Slowly growing and growing, it is now a mass of roiling chaos stuff and only the decaying crust of the planet holds it back from vomiting forth into space. It's warping effect creates more and more Creatures of Chaos, things that should not be and should not live.

So when are the Space Marines going to turn up and burn the campaign world?

They are not.

The Necrons have won the war. We are at the end of times now when the Gods of the Necrons, the voracious C'tan, have consumed whole star systems and eradicated the young usurper races. Only those areas of the galaxy quarantined off by the Necrons exist untouched, avoided due to their danger but soon the last C'tan will have consumed the other C'tan and the last, edible stars and as an unholy hunger for energy sets in it will start to look at the quarantined worlds and be unable to suppress the ravenous need that consumes it.


  1. I have a strange feeling that this chaos blob in the center of the planet is basically last best hope of the universe :D

    nice twist I like it!

  2. While I don't like having the C'tan being the ultimate winners, this setting sounds really cool. Possibly have some orks or tyranids still running around in old dungeons.

  3. I'm trying to keep the 40k background a bit subtle - in an ideal world it would be the sort of thing slowly hinted at over months of gaming but realistically the best I can hope for is for the true nature of the world to be an "open secret" amongst players.

    I'd love for someone to come to it not knowing what all the hints about the history of the planet implies and then suddenly get the jolt of recognition a few months later when they think "Shit! Those are Necrons!" and then all the other little bits fall into place. Can't see it though :(

  4. well, it is obvious that greenskins will be the ultimate winners but let's indulge the man :p