Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More on WWI Dungeon Crawls--Don't Go Outside

Okay, so I was thinking some more about WWI style dungeon crawls which I posted about recently.  I got to thinking about the larger setting for the fortress-dungeons.  You don't really need a detailed larger setting, just a series of huge fortresses to explore and some random shell-cratered, gas-haunted wasteland in between to traverse.

Or, you could make the traversing of the shattered landscape part and parcel of the "experience".  I'm thinking that it would make for a great hexcrawl type of game.  The players have a map of the area--too bad it's an old one from well before the war with just some penciled in recent notes.  That village?  Just ruins.  Is the quaint stone bridge still up?  The grand cathedral is just a shell now, but it's tall steeples still stand tall--and hide snipers.  There are tainted lakes, trench mazes, bunker complexes, lost patrols, drifting gas clouds, mutant things hiding in the mists, snipers, random artillery barrages, and deep shafts swallowing the unwary.  Yeah, they definitely made a mistake coming out here.

WWI style forts are built into the landscape, painted in camouflage, and covered in netting.  They're hard to find even if you have a general idea where to go.  And then you have to find a way in.  It is a fortress after all and in an era when they understood concrete and steel.  Climbing and crawling around the outside of the fort is a hazard in itself.  There will be occasional snipers, patrols, watchers in the steel observation cupolas, pop-up mushroom turrets, wide ditches with high walls, and moats.
Then there's the question of the larger setting, the continents and planet.  Who exactly is warring?  Humans versus humans?  Lots of room for roleplay and interesting NPC interactions with the enemy.  Or perhaps the enemy is all mutants and zombies created by science gone wrong.  But you could run it more like Gears of War, where scary things erupt from deep beneath the earth.  Or more like invaders from space, possibly hatching out of a swarm of crashed meteors; the Zerg of StarCraft or Tyranids of Warhammer 40K are examples to work with.  Or you could start with a relatively normal human-vs-human conflict and have the creatures appear in the midst of everything.

There's a good amount of room for variation while staying with the basic concepts of WWI and huge fortress complex dungeon crawls.


By the way, the cool art in this posting is by spacegoblin and ARKURION on www.deviantart.com.  There's more related art work by both terrific artists so check them out.

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