Try, Try Again

I feel that last night’s post rambled and was too wordy.  What I wanted to show, with that post, is how I have used non-Dungeons and Dragons and non-fantasy systems, tropes, and objects in Rilmorn.

Time Travel – I took Time Lords from Dragon issue 65 and modified them into Chronasarians, a subclass of Psions as a Player Character Class.  I ran a whole campaign with a time travel subplot running through it.  The first player to run a Chronsarian in my game often asked “What’s my T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time And Relative Dimension In Space)?”

Species Interfertility – There are seven primary races on Rilmorn – Diavla, Dwarves, Elves, Humans, Idré, Kularin, Orcs.  Collectively, they are called the “Seven Races of Marn.”  A member of any of the marn races can produce viable offspring with a member of any of the Races of Marn.  Thus, an elf could be ashamed that his great-great grandmother was an orc or a dwarf could be amphibious because his mother’s father was a water-dwelling idré.  Orcs are a special case and they can have children with any hominid species; ergo orc/trolls, orc/hobgoblins, orc/humans, orc/lizard men, orc/troglodytes, orc/etc.

Space Ships/Science Tech – I already talked about Gamma World and the Legion of Gold, but that is not the only “sciency stuff” I used in Rilmorn.  The ship map out of the City of the Gods became a buried city in my Tharsi (i.e. Viking) campaign.  The PCs never entered the city, but they did encounter a group of nomads that wintered on the surface of the buried spaceship in the Forest of Spinning Leaves.  The nomads were fearful of the Golden Gods that sometimes came out of the ground to drive them away from the warmth and protection of the forest.  The Golden Gods were the androids from Legion of Gold and the Spinning Leaves were the solar collectors from the Terran space stations in StarCraft.  The Jirai, a society of tree-revering magi, were based on the Jurai from Tenchi Muyo—they also came to Rilmorn in a crashed spaceship.  A colony of illithid on Selune, the middle moon of the three moons orbiting Rilmorn, makes and uses tech from Gamma World (7th edition), E3 trading company took some of their tech, when they fought them

Guns – As I mentioned in the last post, some PCs came back from The Keep with firearms.  I let them keep them and magically retroengineer ammo.  Decades later Monte Cook gave us Ptolus and now E3 Trading Company sells black market weapons smuggled out of Ptolus.

These are just some the ways Rilmorn is different than “Traditional D&D.”  I don’t think they’ve ever broken the game, but I do think they’ve added some unique moments to play in Rilmorn.  Game On!


“But, That’s Not DnD!”

Rilmorn is a D&D world.  It started as a dungeon with a wilderness map.  In time, I added a city map, then came the BIG continent map.  I stole gods and pantheons from history, mythology, and Dragon Magazine.  I lifted names and words out of Tolkien’s Silmarillion (“Rilmorn” translates into “Bright Darkness”).  Witch World and Gwynedd were the bones upon which I applied the flesh of Rilmorn.  For many years, I ran a pseudo-medieval, Euro-styled, fantasy game.  Yet, even in those early days, I couldn’t help but stretch the boundaries of my world; it got more extreme.

Dungeons and Dragons was originally about exploring underground labyrinths and strongholds, while battling monsters.  I was fairly standard and followed those guidelines, when I first began, but I wanted more for my game.  Dungeons and cities existed in places with cultivated and wild lands.  I built very a basic ecology to explain what the bigger monsters fed upon.  I tried to build societies in which the PCs could interact.  I attempted to provide my players with the illusion of a living world in which they could suspend their disbelief while we played our D&D games.

Because I knew that I didn’t have all the answers on how to do such things, (Truth be told I did not even know that that was what I was doing) I took from other sources to make what I hoped was a better game.  I added names for magic weapons and items from the role playing game Bushido.  I dropped the Gamma World module Legion of Gold into one game.  I used magic effects tables from Man, Myth, and Magic.  I loved the Middle Earth Role Playing Critical and Fumble tables.  Some of it worked, some didn’t.  Then I began to let my players design things both in-character and out-of-character.

Suddenly, I had monster teleportals hidden in caves under my main city of Kardon.  Some of my PCs were humans mixed with giant blood.  I got a square lake on my main continent, Moytonia, when my ideas of world building clashed too much with a friend’s ideas.  An PC elf rolled up a merchant family empire from tables  in Oriental Adventures.  PCs began running around with World War II style guns, after we played The Keep from Mayfair Games.  A pro-psionic PC founded a psionic monastery and warrior order, built massive weapons using psionic power, and established a culture that was pro-psionics and anti-magics–all of which led to the Wolf Wars that redefined the nature of my world.

Years have passed. My PCs have been vikings born in a world, whose dangers have included cities of robots, undead kingdoms, and tribes of wolfmen.  Others have been desert dwelling heroes, who fought against weapons left over from the Wolf Wars and defeated a version of Acererak that was attempting to meld the heroes reality with one that would have given Acererak nigh unlimited power.  Still others were an all elven musical band that defeated an invasion from the Far Realm.  Now, I have PCs that have gone from simple adventurers exploring ruins and getting gold to merchant lords traveling the world in a flying,  steam-powered ship, while attempting to continue building the city that they founded and restoring a mystical wood hidden in another dimension.  Other PCs have decided to become gypsies and are enhancing a magical network that allows them speedy travel from one place to another.

Deviating from the D&D Standard, sure has given me a fun world.  Game On!