Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-16-2016, 12:11 PM   #1
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

So I couldn't sleep last night and got a concept for a Dungeon Fantasy setting with a mega dungeon and lots of lovely tropes.

---

There was once a great Empire that stretched over much of the known world and was constantly at threat from the dark lands in the north. Every so often the Dark Lord would muster his armies and cross the world spine mountains. Generally when he did this he came through the Darkmouth pass, along the side of Mount Firestone as it was closest to the Tower of Darkness where he lived.

The forts at the south end of the pass, in the shadow of the smoking mountain fort of various incursions. Some creature of darkness would come through but over time the forts were upgraded and more magical defenses were added. Soon they were joined together in a network of walled routes to a larger town, Trevallis, over time this fortified outpost became the key defensive structure in the Empire and many of the magical discoveries made there became used across the empire.

The dark one was contained in his lands (the other passes were much harder to use and easier to defend). Small raiding bands of orks and the like would occasionally make it through but generally the empire was in a golden age.

Then Mount Firestone erupted, the side closest to Tevallis blew out spraying the town and its fortifications with ash and earth before a wall of lava poured out over them.

One of the core defences the city had was a series of Utter Domes that could be maintained for up to a month but switched off and on quickly. The defenders were trained in firing mass volleys of arrows and magical attacks in the periods the domes were dropped. And the first reaction the defenders had to any situation was to turn on the domes.

The stopped the lava, and the ash, but the heat poured in and the domes could not be dropped. Soon the air became foul and the everyone died. The domes stayed up until their power sources depleted. By which point the lava had cooled and was solid. Leaving the town and it's forts buried but pristine under domes of rock.

After the lava had cooled enough to walk on the armies of the Dark Lord marched unopposed into the Empire cutting large swathes before the now lax armies could be raised. Then the war of attrition began. The armies of the Empire built defensive position after defensive position. Slowly falling back at the cost of thousands of lives.

The Imperial Generals knew that time was on their side. The Dark Lords horde had no supplies except that which they stole (and where possible retreating Imperial forces burnt fields) eventually the Orks would run out of Goblins to eat and the Ogres would run out of Orks. Given enough time the Dark Lord would be stopped and forced back. Years of magical trench warfare, defensive lines being thrown up by battle mages over and over again but the tide turned.

The plan was working. The Imperial Armies were well fed and supplied, the empire had moved itself to a battle footing. The loss of life had been terrible but the Horde and ground to a halt...

Then the Dark Lord sacrificed the ten thousand prisoners he'd been holding (the Imperials thought they had been for food, and in a way they were). The Dark Gods gave him the power to raise all the dead in the whole Empire and give them one command. A command to walk to the Imperial city and kill everyone in their way.

And so the Empire fell and the time of darkness began.

The southernmost of the fortified villages where on a river and were least covered by lava. But had been layers with ash. The zombie here easily heeded the call. Trevallis itself had been almost completely covered leaving a hole at the top over the central tower that was the cornerstone of the defences. By the time of the raising this had been filled with detritus making it easy for the zombies to climb out and leave. (Those not stuck in buildings.)

But the rest were left in under the ground scrabbling at rocks walls trying to get out. Then the Imperial City was destroyed but the Dark Lord and the Zombies now only had one command "Kill anything that gets in the way".

The time of darkness was almost 300 years. Until the descendants of the few Imperials who had escaped by boat across the ocean where they had found a new world returned to reclaim their homeland in the name of the Unified Republics. The Dark Lord was toppled, some think he had died or just left years before. But the forces of darkness fled from the reclaiming forces of the Republic. Hardened warriors who had grown up taming a foreign land and taught that one day they would reclaim, what was rightfully theirs.

The Seconds Republic stretches across the lands of the Empire. Scores of fortified towns and city states held together in series of shift alliances. And far to the north the small town of New Trevallis sits on the south shore of the great river. To the north the land is poked with caves in which dwell dark creatures that fled to this hiding ground...

--

Now I'm thinking I might start work on some maps.

Jeers and comments welcome :)
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 01:38 PM   #2
Nymdok
 
Nymdok's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

A few thoughts----


Plot -
Good Villains are priceless. Work on the Dark Lord and what he wants, and why he went away. Maybe to rustle up more sacrifices?

Firestone Mountain at the border of the Frozen North sounds like a PERFECT fit to plug in the old White Plume Mountain module from TSR.

As always get a good idea of what you want your Orks to be like. This is a non-trivial question as lo, there are many flavors of Ork.

A Concave wall of smooth obsidian where the lava cooled against the utterdomes sounds gorgeous.

Human sacrifices for the Dark Lord's evil purposes? If that isnt a ready made Hook I dont know what is. Thats an entire adventure in itself.


I'd prolly also throw in some Lost Tomb of Martek type 'glassea' just because Im a sucker for the classics. :) I like the idea of a sufficient amount of snowor water could case an earthquake the way cold water can rupture a hot pyrex dish.


Monsters - Im sure the new DF boxed set of monsters is gonna be just the thing, but to add a few of your own.


Because the Volcano plays such an important role in the stories formation, you're gonna need a few ice elementals, fire elementals and stone elementals. I know this sounds crazy, but flip through a pokemon book for some idea combinations.

Go nuts with the Chimeras. Kitbash any REMOTELY mountain, snow, tundra, or volcanic monster. The level of magic and magical research that has been done in the surrounding area essentially writes you a blank check that is clearly signed 'a wizard did it'.

You mention a few different undead, Id go with these
Ash Zombies/Skeletons/Wraiths/Spectres
Heat Zombies/Skeletons/Wraiths/Spectres
Not that you need one of each type, but go through there and see what pings your creativity. Bonus? Depending on how deeply the downs are covered by Stone, that could very well be a 24hour vampire zone like 30 Days of Night.

Who on earth would willingly live underground inside the dome of Rock/Obsidian left by the utterdomes? Goblins, Orcs and anything else that generally shuns the light.

That oughta get you going, at least a bit.
Nymdok
Nymdok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 02:03 PM   #3
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

So I have a lot more of it bobbling around in my head. The idea is I can't just run random dungeon fanstay without SOME kind of setting.

My current theory of the Dark Lord is he'd got bored ruling the ashes of the Empire years before the Republicans returned and had wandered off. Where he is now is anyones guess.

The the dark races are pretty much the standard tropes.

Quote:
A Concave wall of smooth obsidian where the lava cooled against the utterdomes sounds gorgeous.
Thanks. That was the core idea that woke me at 4am and wouldn't let me sleep everything else rolled out of that. And it means I can make dungeon crawls out of underground cities.

And yes, the easily accessible ones are populated by Orks and Goblins and the like who found them the perfect place to stay. Especially as the magical clouds the Dark Lord kept permanently in the sky were dispersed andthey needed to hide from the sun.

The other idea I had was the Empire was mostly Dwarves and Elves, Humans were second class citizens who were "looked after" by there betters. Only those who proved worthy were allowed to breed to stop them getting out of control. But this all broke down in the new world. There were more Humans there than the other and the magic keeping them sterile didn't work any more. Also the new land had halflings, simple folks who lived at peace with the land. Luckily for them the settlers needed allies and had no chance of support from afar so they had to be friends.

The idea is the Republic is much more about personal freedom and the like. But there magic isn't as good. Oh and a lot of the old empire is still untamed and full of nastiness.

Tomorrow I may make some maps.
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 02:31 PM   #4
dcarson
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

The Suspend Animation spell could have left survivors in the old fortifications until the adventurers find them and use Awaken or such. Gives them potential allies who have different ideas on how things should be run but know old magic and where things are hidden in the forts.
dcarson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 02:42 PM   #5
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

A few thoughts:

The Dark Lord would have needed some sort of supply of food to raise his army of monsters - and "other monsters" wouldn't have cut it. If you want the Empire to have tried to starve out his troops, you'll want to either note that he didn't bother to have logistics going alongside his troops or some brave heroes destroyed his supply train.
Alternatively, for a bit more nuance, the eruption actually ruined his farmlands, and he had to push forward or his army would have turned on itself.

Golems or similar automated defenses would make a good deal of sense, and would be interesting to encounter - be it as traps, enemies, or even allies.

If Utter Dome is insufficient to block heat and toxic gases, I'd expect the cities would have had spells to protect against those threats as well. Perhaps, instead of the cities being lost due to those effects, they instead expended most of their mana reserves powering the Utter Dome long enough to avoid getting cooked, but then were unable to dig their way out (or eventually were able to do so, but by then the Horde had already crossed).
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 03:41 PM   #6
Refplace
 
Refplace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

Its a cool idea.
__________________
Looking for group in my area
REFPLace GURPS Landing Page
My List of GURPS You Tube videos (plus a few other useful items)
Refplace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2016, 02:12 AM   #7
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
A few thoughts:

The Dark Lord would have needed some sort of supply of food to raise his army of monsters - and "other monsters" wouldn't have cut it. If you want the Empire to have tried to starve out his troops, you'll want to either note that he didn't bother to have logistics going alongside his troops or some brave heroes destroyed his supply train.
Alternatively, for a bit more nuance, the eruption actually ruined his farmlands, and he had to push forward or his army would have turned on itself.

Golems or similar automated defenses would make a good deal of sense, and would be interesting to encounter - be it as traps, enemies, or even allies.

If Utter Dome is insufficient to block heat and toxic gases, I'd expect the cities would have had spells to protect against those threats as well. Perhaps, instead of the cities being lost due to those effects, they instead expended most of their mana reserves powering the Utter Dome long enough to avoid getting cooked, but then were unable to dig their way out (or eventually were able to do so, but by then the Horde had already crossed).
These are all good points for a standard GURPS fantasy campaign. But the point is this is supposed to be a back story rationale for a PC's to be living in a small town a few days journey from a bunch of underground towns full of death traps, zombies and other assorted nastiness.

I WANT everyone in the cities to have died because they didn't realise there defences would kill them. Because it means MORE ZOMIBES! Also it means there's lots of coll magic items lying about. :)

At least one of the towns should not have been breached with the players being able to find a map the shows to locations of the outlying forts that they can then use to mount an expidition to loot it.

The details of the history are notably sparse because they should be enough for me to wing it if required.

(Golems are cool... I'll have them ;) )

Basically the recent kickstarter has reignited my love of GURPS that was dampended by my ex wife, the fact it was very hard to get printed 4th ed material and that I didn't like PDF's. (And I've got a tablet now so I am warming to them, still prefer books).

Thanks for reading it and commenting everyone :)
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2016, 02:26 AM   #8
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

Just remembered another idea I had. In a earlier post I said

Quote:
The other idea I had was the Empire was mostly Dwarves and Elves, Humans were second class citizens who were "looked after" by there betters. Only those who proved worthy were allowed to breed to stop them getting out of control. But this all broke down in the new world. There were more Humans there than the other and the magic keeping them sterile didn't work any more.
Nah. The Humans sterility was removed by the Empire once Trevallis fell in order to start building up a fighting force. The longer lived races figured their defensive stance (and some judicious Age spells) would let the get a sold fighting force together in double quick time.

"Congratulations on your fourth birthday young man. You're drafted."

The more I think about it the more the Empire becomes a bit nasty. Magical Technocracy ruled by Unaging overlords who viewed Humans as pets at the best of times.... yeah. Sure it was full of wonders and effectively TL 4+3 or so in some areas (with the 3 being Magical) but stagnant and stifling for the humans. (Though many didn't realise, fish and water and all that).
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2016, 04:42 AM   #9
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

Oh and here's the basic version for players who just want to get into the looting.

Quote:
"400 years ago your people fled and colonised a new land. 100 years ago they came back and ousted the dark lord. You've come to the town of New Trevallis in search of the fabled treasures that lie in the buried city that was it's namesake."
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2016, 05:27 AM   #10
scimon
 
scimon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Kent, England
Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Campaign Idea

Map of the New Republic

Just a little something I whipped up in Campaign Cartographer this morning.
__________________
"If it's not broke... hit it again."
"There's only so much Munchkin a man can demo."
EX MIB. Kent, England.
scimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
campaign, dungeon fantasy, gurps

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.