Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Colonial D&D

I'm not going to lie: a couple of months ago, I read this article at the Tao of D&D.  Since that fateful reading, the idea of Colonial-era D&D has been in my head.  Admittedly, it doesn't help that I have friends who consider this stuff a current event, or that I'm inundated with fourth graders studying Colonial history, or that my friends have been discussing this trailer:

(It further doesn't help that delving back into Unknown Armies, with its clockworkers and ritualists, tends to bring up modernism, and as noted in the Constitution article linked above, modernism falls outside the scope of most role-playing games.)

Will I ever run this?  Will I ever have time?  Who knows?

But like the Carcosa ConstantCon game I'd like to run, I might throw down some notes.  Maybe I'll use them, or maybe they'll inspire somebody else?
  • It's the American Colonial era.  Maybe it's skewed like Jeff Rients' Caves of Myrddin, or maybe it's relatively true to the source material, but it doesn't matter.
  • I'd probably use Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing.  I still haven't decided if I'd use non-human classes or not, but if I did, they'd probably be really rare.  Like, you're the only elf in the Colonies rare.
  • The thing I find the most interesting is the prospect of being caught between two mythologies: the colonists certainly brought their old mythologies with them, but the wilderness has all the old American Indian stuff in it, too.  That way, you could fight a pack of vampires in old Philadelphia but then encounter a spearfinger out in the wilds of Virginia.
  • Dungeon-delving would be American Indian-themed.  This is the weird, exotic flavor of the setting — as a European settler, you really don't know what to expect when you find an old Indian ruin.
  • The whole shebang could also be tied into the Revolutionary War — the gold and treasures gathered from dungeon delving are what help fund the war effort.
Really, the setting seems rife for the Weird.  You can have mundane politics (or even spy plots!) in the cities, or you can have weird European legendry.  You can have mundane wilderness encounters in the forests, or you can have weird Indian legendry.

Plus, Deist mad scientists with their alchemical and clockwork constructions seems like a necessary component.

Addendum: Mr. Robertson on Google+ posted this story about Mayan ruins in North Georgia.  It seems relevant.  Then again, this article suggests the first is bunk.  Nothing is ever clear-cut in science, although those gaps are good places to throw Weirdness.  Just ask Tim Powers.


  1. I know there are the ever present restrictions of, "Dear lord, where do I find the time to do all this?" but I would play the hell out of this game. Mostly because I don't know nearly as much about Native American mythology as I do European, and I imagine this would be a really fun way to get more exposure.

  2. This sounds kind of awesome. I've got more "time, what's that?" but it definitely sounds like fun.


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