Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All's Quiet on the Western Front

Real life has overtaken blogging, so consequentially, you'll likely be receiving mostly Deadlands replays for a little bit.

I do have something to share with you, though.  I recently discovered a game produced by Mongoose Publishing called Infernum; my impression is that it's out-of-print, although one can still find the game secondhand.  Additionally, Mongoose has pdfs on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and the core book is apparently free-to-download.  It's based on the whole 3.x/OGL thing, and so uses a variation of the D&D 3e ruleset.

The Buzz: This is a sandbox campaign set in the Judeo-Christian Hell (heavily influenced by the Divine Comedy, among other sources).  Lucifer is missing, and the demonic Houses of Hell have settled into an uneasy truce.  Of course, with a truce so uneasy, anything could tip the balance and cause the quiet sniping and cold war to burn into a full-blown war among factions...

Adding to this mess is the fact that angels still occasionally fall into Hell, and humans are there, too.  (How do humans have any power at all in the hierarchy of Hell?  Demons are bound by covenants and human magic.  Humans aren't.  How do you get rid of a sorcerer binding you into service?  Hire another human to stab him in the back.)  In fact, there's an entire order of human paladins called the Knights of the Harrowing; when their citadel fell into Hell during the Crusades, they said, "Well, looks like we have a mission from God," and decided to wage war on Hell itself.

I've only had the chance to skim the first volume, but it gives an overview of Hell as well as three race-as-class options: demons (the default choice), humans, and fallen angels.  Since Hell is fueled by suffering and exists outside of rational time, there's neat stuff, like weird magic and Hell-crafted engines of destruction (mundane guns and such fall into Hell, too).  Later volumes introduce variant rules and such, as they often do — I'm told one of the books features pregenerated characters, and one of those characters is a human marine whose base fell into Hell; he carries a shotgun and a chainsaw.

So far, the concept is pretty neat.  Turning Hell into a sandbox-style hexcrawl would be a huge undertaking (the landscape is pretty big), but certainly not beyond a dedicated GM's scope.  Additionally, while the aspect of levels might be a turn-off to some, the fact that it's OGL means that a whole bunch of resources are out there for GMs to use (and it could be easily used for a FLAILSNAILS-style campaign, too).

Anyway, I recommend checking it out, especially because the first volume is still free.

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