A Brief Welcome

With the death of G+, there’s an opportunity to start in the blogosphere for OSR and tabletop adventure games. As it happens, I’ve been running an open-table Maze Rats game for a couple of weeks now. So, I’ll be writing about that one and showing off the supplement crap I’ve tossed together in a fruit bowl and topped with BBEG juices.

Here’s the pitch for the game that I read at the beginning of each session “Star Wars opening crawl style.” And that’s not where the similarities stop, stay tuned.

In a time fondly remembered, King Duncan the Just ruled the peaceful city of Bastion, a bulwark against the darkest evils. Then LORD SKORNE broke through the walls with his deadbone soldiers, murdered King Duncan, and devastated the land. For thirty years now, the tyrant Skorne has been rebuilding the city in his image, oppressing its citizens, and indulging himself in the spoils of his victory.

You live in this downtrodden city. By day, you keep your head down and avoid the cruelty of Skorne’s minions and the demands of the dreaded Lords of the Districts. By night, you are a MAZE RAT, a scrappy, devoted hunter of artifacts and allies to aid The Reclaimers of Bastion in their efforts to save the city from total enslavement. The world is bleak and full of death, but there is hope on the horizon.

Can our heroes overthrow Skorne and save the world? Or will darkness overtake them?

The game is “a rebel cell of Indiana Joneses making frequent escapes to the wilderness to retrieve powerful artifacts to stop Emperor Palpatine (Lord Skorne) and his team of Darth Vaders (Lords of the Districts) from crushing a fantasy city into complete and total submission.”

This is the Campaign of Skorne.

It uses the Maze Rats RPG system by Ben Milton of Questing Beast and Knave fame. I can gush more on that later…

As I’ve mentioned before, the game is an open table game, meaning the group changes from session to session. Players that didn’t play in the previous session have higher priority. I simply put a call out for the next game (usually Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons) in a Facebook group and then it’s first come, first serve. I put the player cap at a hard five.

Sessions run for two hours. This works for the college lifestyle. Pitching the game is also much easier with small time increments. I explain to most people that a two hour session is roughly as long as a movie, and suddenly they’re much more onboard with the idea. We college denizens watch a lot of movies. A blog I read compared this “lower time commitment” style to playing catch instead of jumping feet-first into a baseball league. It’s easier to sell to people, that’s for sure.

As the title crawl says, the players have a common goal: eliminate Lord Skorne. The best shot they have of this is to aid the Reclaimers of Bastion in their efforts to recover precious Artifacts from the wild and prepare for the eventual confrontation to bring evil to its knees.

Each game session comes in two tight one hour sections, two major modes of play:

17 thoughts on “A Brief Welcome

  1. This sounds great! The premise is just different enough from the baseline to be interesting, while still easy to understand, and I’ve been interested in how to give a single final goal to an open table game.

    What’s your plan for how they’ll finally defeat Skorne? Will they fight him directly? If they do, how do you make sure the people who weren’t there aren’t left out?

    1. I have an idea for how it will transpire: the players will continue collecting Artifacts until they’re powerful enough to attempt an overthrow of the regime. Will it be Skorne that they kill? Or will they simply do enough damage to collapse his control over the city? OR will they start an uprising and lead it to victory? Lots of possibilities…

      I also have a few “Schrodinger’s Cats” in the air as to how they COULD take down Skorne.
      Possibility 1: The Lords of the Districts each possess a piece of his soul, Voldemort-style. Find the pieces and destroy them to make him vulnerable.
      Possibility 2: Skorne has a secret weakness that the players will have to discover. Who holds the the information to his demise?
      Possibility 3: The Artifacts unlock some “mega-weapon” or “magic key” that will bring about the end of Skorne.

      Short answer, we’ll see…

  2. Wow, kinda crazy how ideas can be so similar. The city of my dark fantasy game is Bastion, it’s ruled by the ultra powerful and adventure is based around city or wilderness. Mine’s for DCC however.

    No skorne in my city though heh.

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