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The D&D multiverse is a pretty friggin’ cool thing to role play in. With Wizards of the Coast’s rebranding of D&D with 5e’s pseudo-retro focus and feel, it’s tough to ignore what’s happening with their products. As a hard core Savage Worlds’ fan, it’s fun to keep abreast of the 5e stuff while at the same time thinking of opportunities and methods of Savaging 5e.

Several weeks ago I created a team of elite Eladrin (Elves from the Feywild) who were a commando team that were being sent into the Shadowfell. I created both 5e and SW versions of the four-person team.

As I was reading about some background on the Eladrin, I discovered an entry in the Dungeon Master’s Guide on the Eladrin as a race.

So, I went and updated the 5e sheets to reflect the feature of Fey Step.

Ranger 7

Paladin 7

Druid 7

Bard 7

I really don’t like page 2 of the D&D sheets, so I printed these and replaced them as page 2.

Quarion Pg 2 D&D

Paelias Pg 2 D&D

Ivellios Pg 2 D&D

Anastrianna Pg 2 D&D

For their basic backstory and the Savage Worlds character sheets, see this post.

The only Shadowfell-set story that has been released for 5e is The Curse of Strahd, so that would be the natural product to Savage, but let me throw out a couple of ideas.

The only product outside of 5e I’ve counted on for this campaign is the Shadowfell Campaign 4e book. The amount of information and the great map of Gloomwrought are worth using it just for that content, but the book has even more awesome stuff to help you expand beyond the valley of Barovia.

The box also comes with the equivalent of a fear deck that is great to use with 5e. You’ll need to convert from 4e to 5e, but this should help.

In Savage Worlds, it’s best to use the Horror Companion’s rules for Fear and Psychosis. You can adjust the timing of when the group has to make checks to be more-or-less in the background, or you could give difficulties and increase frequency to make it grittier.

Either way, if you use the Tarokka deck, you’ll be using a couple of decks of cards in Barovia. You could even use the Tarokka deck to deal Action cards in SW.

I thought it would be a cool storyline to have the Eladrin team travel back and forth between the Shadowfell and a location in Faerun that serves as a base of operation. My pick for this is Baldur’s Gate, which has been statted for 5e under the title of D&D Next. The campaign guide for this is robust. The campaign takes place earlier in the timeline than all of the D&D 5e book products, but remember, time flows differently in the Shadowfell; so, a long campaign in the Shadowfell after The Murder at Badlur’s Gate campaign could cause the characters to return to Faerun during the time of another, later campaign (like Tyranny of Dragons, e.g.).

The possibilities are endless with areas to explore when the bases of operation become Baldur’s Gate and Gloomwrought. A possible connection could be a portal in both cities linking the two.

And finally, here are numerous monsters from the D&D multiverse statted for SW. My go-to places to find monster stats before I wind up making them from scratch are the various bestiaries from PEG’s line-up – especially the genre-specific companion books. I also like Zadmar’s Savage Stuff and this wonderful bestiary.

Hopefully, I’ll one day run these campaigns in BOTH systems just to compare the experiences.

My last horror collection I wrote is entitled The Other Side of Despair. It was inspired by my studies in Psychology as well as the classic weird stories of Robert W. Chambers that was The King in Yellow.

I was posting a link to the book in a thread and happened to see a review. It was refreshing to see someone get the book as I intended it!

Here is the review by Arnstein H. Pettersen with many thanks from me, sir! I’m glad yo enjoyed it:

Using the science and art of psychology to descend from the ledge chiseled by Lovecraft, further into that dyscognitive abyss.
(Also containing the short story collection that amass to the tale of ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’, which firmly resides within the Cthulhu mythos.)

The horror genre often bring psychology into the mix as it plies its trade; dread does after all reside within the limits of our minds. Yet only rarely does one find an exemplar of the genre as The Other Side of Despair, where the matters of the psyche is at least nine-tenths of the tale. Its eclectic assortment of short stories persists in pitching the perceptions of the fantastical against the fabrications of the mind, leaving the reader lost for answers in a dilemma akin to that of figuring out which one initiated the (seemingly) etrnal cycle of causality between the chicken and the egg. And to present this dilemma as vividly as possible we have to gain a most intimate insight into the cogitations of the perceiver – or if you prefer the imagery: to observe the prancings of the Devil through the eyes that behold him. It is clearly no coincident that the stories consist mostly of monologues, excerpts of diaries, and personalized letters; ways of narration that are tightly bound to the core of the narrator’s world and interpretation thereof. Yet, despite their differences, they belong to a common literary universe, amassing the information of the individual story into something larger, perhaps even into something resembling answers.

The first monologue is titled ‘Shockley House’, and it is these 18 pages who serve as our introduction to the overall theme of the book. It details an attempt to research hauntings as a psychological phenomena – “Ultimately, it falls into the psychological realm because a statement of belief about witnessing something supernatural, […] is a statement about the psychological state of the person’s belief in what their senses have conveyed to them.” – where the researchers utilize a house rumored to be spectrally inhabited in order to coax their patients into believing the haunting to be real. It is a tale that goes to great lengths in attempting to give a scientific rationale for the phenomena, postulating that it is indeed made from mental fabrications; and much of it is, unexpectedly, quite persuasive. Yet, after wholeheartedly attempting to win the reader over to its logic – going so far as to make nearly testable hypotheses – the tale changes. The aforementioned dilemma begins to form as the rationale begins to shows its cracks, through which the fantastical seems to seep out into reality. The resulting horror results as much from the questioning of the world fabric as from the happenings themselves, making it a truly Lovecraftian experience despite lacking a common mythology.

The following short stories do an even greater job of muddling the dilemma, bringing such vagaries as shadows and dreams into the deliberation. Especially difficult is the tale called ‘Children of the Wasteland’, which bases its premise on Zhuangzi’s butterfly conundrum: “Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly […] unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened […] Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” (In fact, the tale is so convoluted that a tip is in order to facilitate the reading. It is not a spoiler and the reader will still have to do much puzzling to make sense out of that one. The hint is: Put to mind Brother Humphrey’s prayer.) Also, the tales are in a sense interwoven through a common world although the clues we are given to this lie discretely placed. The most obvious one is that several of the tales take place in Rathbone Asylum, but closer inspection will reveal others too. This is without a doubt one of the most intriguing works of horror which I have ever come across.

The bonus tale, ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’ – which is quite some bonus since it covers nearly a hundred of the two-hundred and twenty-four pages of the book – has no connection to the tales of The Other Side of Despair. It is constructed from several short stories, each of which present its own part of the narrative; it builds upon H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, not to mention the works of several other authors who have continued his legacy, but most importantly it builds upon ‘The Colours from Outer Space’ to such a degree that the reader should be adviced to read that short story before embarking upon it. Indeed, this tale could be considered a continuation of the excellent tradition of fanfics (a tradition ancient compared to the term ‘fanfic’ and its modern stigmas, even predating our Current Era/Anno Domine), or, if one prefers to describe it as thus, it is a honorific towards one of the inspirations and thus co-creators of any current work of penmanship. Yet, it goes beyond this and brings to light obscure bits of history and actual conundrums, with notes carefully added with the information on what is accurate and what is embellishment, so as to avoid corruption of the facts. I was particularily fascinated by how little embellishment was needed for the author to connect the fictitious cult of ghouls to real historical events. In my opinion, this is a very welcome addition to the Cthulhu mythos. Also, since it consists solely of letters, clippings, recording transciptions, and similar, it would be an excellent piece of source material for game masters planning role-playing forays into the mythos universe.

Before ending the review, I’d like to note that David Maurice Garrett is not just a writer but also a musician (not to be confused with the violinist David Garrett) with currently six releases behind him, all of whom relate to the horror genre and Lovecraft’s works in particular. There is even a soundtrack for ‘The Scourge of Wetumpka’ among them. Whoever intends to delve into this book would clearly do well to check out these releases as well (the soundtrack in particular, of course).”

 

The story entitled “The Children of the Wasteland” that Arnstein mentions was featured on the Podcast Random Transmissions.

David

In the previous couple of posts, I wrote about running a Zombie Apocalypse game. One of the arguments made against running a long-term zombie game is that the mindless horde of zombies becomes predictable and boring. One way to change things up is to include a variety of zombies, as I did in my last post. But, as I thought about it, I thought it would be cool to have the virus mutate into a different strain that created vampires. This idea is inspired by the great book by one of my favorite horror writers, Richard Matheson. Of course, I am talking about I Am Legend. In the book, the apocalypse produces vampires instead of zombies. These vampires are some nasty, feral vampires that resemble rat-like creatures more than bats.

At the end of the last “episode” I presented in the game I ran. I thought it would a good cliffhanger for Dr. Frank von Stein to say as he’s leaving the heroes to fight his altered zombie, “Good luck! If you do survive, I’ll give you some advice. Watch out for nightfall and the Sundowners”.  Then he pops back into his armored car and drives away. Then you just let the players slowly figure out that there are vampires as well as zombies to fight.

Here are the stats I created for the Sundowners as well as their king.

Sundowners

I also created stats for Dr. Frank von Stein and the next iteration of altered dead he’s working on.

Dr. Frank von Stein

 

 

The Savage Zombie Apocalypse game I ran while camping was a hit. In the last post I mentioned that I would share some of the products I created for this game.

To begin with, I created 4 pregenerated characters and my roster of zombies to throw at the group:

Zombie Apocalypse Characters

Zombie Stats

The setting I chose was The Walking Dead (TWD). While Rick, Daryl, Michonne and the other characters from TWD T.V. series are in the Southeastern USA fighting zombies, my game was set in the same universe, but in Colorado.

I added an additional Derived Statistic to the characters’ sheets that I got from Rodney Orpheus here:

The Savage Dead

This stat is called Humanity and I like that a person can lose their humanity as they encounter or do horrible things in the game with actual mechanics tied to it. I think this adds tension to scenes where a friend gets infected and the other characters have to struggle with whether or not they will put the person out of their misery with a potential for it to affect them. Sanity can be handled many different ways, but I chose to just stick with the Horror Companion’s method of dealing with it.

Because TWD zombies have certain characteristics associated with them, I customized my basic zombies to match them exactly. However, I did savage some extra zombies because fighting the same old types of zombies becomes predictable. Each zombie lists in their Special Abilities the rules I used for how to handle infections and the chance that a wound could result in being turned into a zombie.

In TWD, everyone is a carrier of the virus and if they are killed, they will become a zombie. Being bit only accelerates the process of turning.

The other zombies I created beside a basic zombie are:

  • Hardy Zombie – similar to the basic zombie but a little faster and tougher.
  • Mutated Zombie (Frenzied) – these are more like the zombies in World War Z.
  • Mutated Zombie (Slimer) – a zombie that has additional effects because of the mutated disease.
  • Mutated Zombie (Chubbo) – a Slimer Zombie that has become “ripe”.
  • Mutated Zombie (Wailer) – basically an annoying zombie that attracts other zombies.
  • Mutated Zombie (Big Boss) – a Frenzied Zombie that happens to be a huge badass.
  • Mutated and Altered Zombie (Frank von Stein’s Monster) – the toughest mother trucker on the block.

 

The Mutated Zombies are taken from the board game Zpocalypse 2 (see previous post) except for Frank von Stein’s Monster. He came out of the WWII A!C/Dust game I’ve been running.

Before I lay out the plot it’s important to point out that I didn’t give the players any details on the world they were playing in. They had to discover for themselves that all zombies need to be taken out with head shots for them to permanently die. They had to discover the nature of the infection. It really wasn’t until they encountered Dr. Frank von Stein that they realized they were in TWD universe.

For this setting I used Gritty Damage. This also actually helps the players because there is a chance they’ll get a head shot without doing a called shot to the head.

The story opened with my In Medias Res Rules for Savage Worlds example of the pawn shop lock picking task. The only information I gave the players was that they were the only four survivors of a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains and they had exhausted their resources in the small town. They had decided to venture into the city of Castle Rock for more supplies.

After they completed the task, I used the Interlude Results Table (found on page 49 of Savage Tales 6 Zombie Run). This is a good player facing method that encourages the players to craft the backstory of how they came together.

After the pawn shop heist the characters were free to do some more exploring. A good tool to facilitate this is the scavenging tables found on page 40 of the Apocalypse Campaign Guide as it is customizable to the size and type of store the group is exploring.

During this part of the game I only threw Basic Zombies at them. After scavenging a couple of stores, I threw a couple of Hardy Zombies into the mix and they began to realize that not all zombies are cookie cutter zombies.

Then I threw a hoard at them. Many of the zombies were held back by fences that had been erected in the city. The great thing about this is that the fences have a Toughness rating and the zombies pressed up against the fences have a chance of knocking down a section of fence and funneling through.

As the action progressed, the characters found themselves in a section of the city surround by fences and a massive hoard of zombies pressing in. By this time I had introduced several Mutant Zombies.

And that’s when Dr. Frank von Stein arrived in an armored car blasting a swathe through the zombies. The vehicle pulled up just outside the fence and he emerged from a hatch in the top. The Doc led the players to believe that the cavalry had arrived. As they talked, he divulged that he had come from the South and the players finally gathered that they were in TWD universe from this conversation. The entire plague was all the machinations of this one, horribly mad scientist. Since starting the plague in the South, he had journeyed through the midwest to Colorado and was now creating new mutated and altered zombies more ruthless than before.

The Doc then backed the armored car up to the fence, opened a gate, and lowered the back hatch. Into the area where the players were trapped was released Frank von Stein’s Monster – the Doc’s newest creation. And the final battle was on!

Feeling particularly inspired by the posse from the Wild Die Podcast and their recent episode on Zombie-themed games, I decided to put together an on-the-go zombie game to take camping this weekend so I could introduce a few new people to Savage Worlds.

Wild Die Podcast Episode 27

To begin with, I chose the following products with which to build my game:

Apocalypse Campaign Guide for Savage Worlds (Daring Entertainment)

Campaign Guide

Savage Tales 6 Zombie Run (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

Classic Zombie Run

I must mention a couple of other good sources for your zombie game:

The Quiet Year (Avery Alder)

Quiet Year

Wrath of Zombie (Mike Evans)

Wrath of Zombie

I also stopped by my two favorite gaming stores to find some materials. My first stop was by Gamer’s Haven where I found a board game to totally savage.

Zpocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs (Greenbrier Games)

Zpocalypse 2

It has some great tiles, wild dice, and minis to use on the fly. I threw in my zombie-themed deck of cards and dice. The dice bag and tiny Bennies came from Hobby Town.

I also liked that Zpocalypse included Wild Card zombies to use as well. I created their stats and can share those later.

And, I threw in some extra miniatures just in case I want to add more baddies to the mix.

The last thing I wanted to do was make everything compact. I went to Staples and found a nice binder with pockets.

It also has a nice front pocket just right for my Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition and The Horror Companion.

I also threw in the graphic novel Zombies: A Brief History of Decay (Insight Comics) because I like for players to have some visuals for inspiration.

The final on-the-go game is very light and easy to pack for camping!

Today we were supposed to start the Achtung! Cthulhu/Dust campaign but the session turned into more clarification on Walker combat – plus a lot of history on the settings of both Achtung! Cthulhu and Dust. So, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. In fact, because someone had the Rifts core books, we were able to further refine Walker combat. So here is version 2 which is much better having read The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide and having played through various situations with four Walkers.

Savage Worlds Walker Rules for A!C Dust v3

Basically, Rifts (which calls Walkers Robot Armor) does away with Top Speed and replaces it with the option to run using 2d6. This is much simpler and it is what we used for our test skirmish with T-Rex!

The stats for this T-Rex comes from here, page 39: Free SW Bestiary

Our battle began with the Mickey pilot, Lt. Percy, doing a Death from Above maneuver. It was highly successful and way cool! T-Rex didn’t go down without a fight, though. He was stomped on and suffered 3 wounds. He Soaked 1 wound and I spent another Benny to remove the Shaken status. He still had 2 wounds but he has the Improved Nerves of Steel Edge, which just so happens to eliminate 2 points of wound penalty. T-Rex tore into the Mickey and actually left Lt Percy Shaken.

Unfortunately, the battle did’t last long enough for me to attempt to swallow either Captain Miner (who is a Major select, so he is technically Major Miner, ha ha) or Bodine, who were on foot. It was still a fun battle and everyone is completely up to speed on how we are going to be running Walker battles.

We also came to a consensus on how the Blood and Guts Benny will work. It can be used for one of four benefits:

  1. It can be spent as a normal Benny, or
  2. It can be spent to re-roll one Damage roll, or
  3. It can be spent to roll 1d6 to add to either a Trait or Damage roll in addition to other rolls (not replacing a die, but adding to), or
  4. It can be spent to gain one completely free additional Action (doesn’t incur a Multi Action Penalty but other penalties still apply).

Finally, I created a spreadsheet with three new Walkers for use with Savage Worlds. They were made to match the exact Walkers and their configurations that I have miniatures for.

Dust Walker Specs SW

So, I ran the skirmish with the Eldrazi Ruiner and I quickly realized that using walkers in combat requires a little bit of rules clarification. Thanks to the Savages on Facebook and Google+ for steering me in the right direction. Specifically, Rich Spainhour and Jon Mullenax for citing sources.

To begin with, you’ll need to fully read the section on Vehicles on pages 113-117 in the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition (SWDE) and the section on Walkers on page 58-59 of the Science Fiction Companion (SFC). Walkers are considered Vehicles and use Piloting instead of Driving. The pregenerated characters in Secrets of the Dust (SotD) use Driving, so I simply changed their skill to Piloting.

Parry for a Walker is not exactly explained in the SWDE or the SFC but the consensus with citations from Savage Rifts is that it is half of the driver’s Piloting or Fighting skill +2, whichever trait is lower. I’m not sure why it has to be the person’s Fighting skill, though. For A!C/Dust, I will be using Piloting to calculate the Walker’s Parry because it’s much simpler. Besides, I feel like a Walker Pilot in this setting would be consumed with piloting the Walker in an effort to avoid the melee attack. I could see in a futuristic setting where the Walker is piloted more like a giant exoskeleton (e.g., like in the movies Aliens and Avatar). Then their Fighting prowess translates more directly to the action of the battle and the Walker’s movements.

The next issue I encountered was how to handle deceleration. The SWDE explains that a vehicle can decelerate at twice its acceleration speed with normal braking and three times its acceleration if doing a hard stop. This doesn’t really make much sense. I think it should be that a vehicle brakes twice as fast as it accelerates, which would actually be half the distance of its acceleration speed, not double. For example, a Walker that accelerates 7 on its first turn could brake to a stop in a move of 3.5 (we’ll round to 4) on its next turn. Why would it take 14 squares to brake if it was moving at 7, yet a hard stop would take 21 spaces. The wording is confusing. This is important because Walkers might use a tactic of running, stopping, and firing from a stand-still in order to prevent the Unstable Platform penalty that firing while moving incurs. So, for the Light Assault Walker (LAW), which has an acceleration of 7, it can brake at 4 (half acceleration rounded up) and hard stop at 3 (a third of acceleration rounded up). The LAW has a Top Speed of 15; what happens if you want to apply the brakes normally to slow down? Then it seems like our numbers don’t quite work. But the principle of halving the speed does work. We’re moving along at 15 and want to brake on our next move, halving 15 and rounding up gives us 8. I have to move at least 8 spaces on my turn. I can’s choose to only move 3 or 4 yet because I have too much momentum. Then, on the subsequent turn, I can stop in 4 spaces as that is my half acceleration number. Otherwise, if you keep halving each turn, you’ll encounter one form of Zeno’s Paradox and never stop.

For the campaign presented in SotD we’ll only be using Light and Medium Walkers. Even though the Walkers aren’t Heavy class Walkers, they are all still Large as regards rules that use the term “Large”. This means that where the SFC talks about Large Walkers can never take more than 2 wounds from a single attack, this applies to the Walkers in SotD.

When a walker is struck, the attack has the potential to knock the Walker over. When a Walker suffers a hit that meets or exceeds its Toughness, the first thing a Pilot does is make a Piloting roll. If they fail this roll then they have to roll on the Out of Control table (SWDE pg 117). Even if the Pilot succeeds, this still qualifies as a Shaken result. The Pilot is momentarily stunned from the attack and has to make their Spirit roll. Technically, though, the Shaken is applied to the Walker.

If the attack entails wounds, then the Pilot must make a Piloting roll for each wound or else the Walker falls over. In addition, each wound entails a roll on the Critical Hits table (SWDE pg 117). Each wound also inflicts a -1 penalty to the Piloting rolls so long as the Walker is still upright and functional (much like the penalties for wounds affect Pace and Trait rolls).

Also in the SFC is an entry on Ejection Systems. For our WWII Walkers, we’ll be ignoring this futuristic feature. The Light Walkers are open cockpit and are ridden more like a motorcycle than being in an enclosed cockpit. For our purposes we’ll be having the Pilot take falling damage when one of the Walkers goes down. But, there are two types of falling damage: high speed (1d6 per 5” of speed, SWDE pg 115) and low speed falling damage (1d6+1 per 10”, SWDE pg 101). To make this easy to use we’ll be using the Walkers Top Speed. If the Walker is moving more than half of its Top Speed up to its Top Speed, use high speed; if it’s moving at or below half of its Top Speed, the damage is low speed. This should take into account the height of the Walker too. For all of the Light and Medium Dust Walkers it’s much simpler to just use 2d6+2 for all of their low speed falls. When a Walker does fall, use a d12 and read it like a clock face to determine which direction it topples. A Walker also suffers Xd6 damage to itself (where the X is its size) when it falls over.

Some common modifiers that come into play with Walkers includes:

  • Walkers in motion are Unstable Platforms and incur a -2 Attack penalty (Firing a machine gun from a moving Walker incurs a -4 penalty. The Edges of Steady Hands and Rock and Roll would offset these penalties).
  • Moving targets incur a -1 penalty per 10” of speed.
  • The LAW has a Top Speed of 15 which incurs a -2 handling penalty (none of the other Walkers in SotD can go fast enough to incur this penalty.
  • Driving through rough terrain at over half of Top Speed requires a Piloting roll at -2 per round.
  • A Walker can move up to half its Top Speed in reverse. Driving rolls while in reverse suffers a -2 penalty.
  • Every difference of 2 in Size between Attacker and Target affects the Attack rolls by 2.

Some maneuvers of note that come in handy:

  • Hard Stop: No penalty but Piloting roll must be made in order to stop at a third of the current speed.
  • Bootlegger Reverse (-4): Stopping while pivoting the Walker around 90-180 degrees.
  • Avoiding an obstacle (-2 or -4 for difficult turns or pivots).
  • Stomping: Any creature or vehicle half a Walker’s size or smaller can be stomped upon. This is an opposed roll using the Attacker’s Piloting skill versus either Agility, Piloting, or Driving. If the Walker Pilot wins, the damage is Str+2d6. (Size and strength are given in the SFC as Light is Size 6 with a Strength of d12+4 and Medium is Size 8 with a Strength of d12+6).
  • Death from Above: The Allied Medium Walker (Mickey) is the only Walker in SotD that can perform this maneuver since it can jump. This, again, is an Opposed roll. A success equals damage to the target but a failure means the Walker suffers damage (see SFC pg 59).

Using this quick sheet in conjunction with the tables on page 117 of the SWDE should be sufficient to run the Walkers in SotD.

After reading through “Secrets of the Dust” (SotD), I couldn’t wait to jump in and start playing. Before that, however, I need to talk about prepping the campaign. To begin with, there are a couple of issues that pale in comparison to how cool and pulpy the first adventure “Perchance to Dream” is. There is another adventure called “Destroyer of Worlds”, but I doubt my group will play it. The reason is because the setting goes back in time to before WWII and I really want to get from the Dreamlands in the first part back into the happenings and intrigues of WWII. But this will largely depend on which direction the players wish to go. Plus, SotD doesn’t present any of the Dust baddies like Frank von Stein and the Blutkreuz monsters and I will likely start statting out some of those guys.

Blutkreuz

The even more minor issue is that there is one plot hole. At the beginning of the adventure, the A!C investigators are supposed to go to the Dust universe and then into the Dreamlands, but the book also says that the only connection between the Dust and A!C worlds is through the Dreamlands. That’s okay, though. We’ll correct this in our plot.

For a fuller review see this: A!C Dust Review

In my campaign I’m having my players have two different characters at the outset of the game – one in each universe (A!C and Dust). Play sessions will go back and forth until the two groups meet up in the Dreamlands at which time the players will have to decide whether or not to continue this or mix the groups somehow. For the Dust characters, players will choose from the six pre-generated Ranger characters that are presented in the SotD appendix.

The A!C investigators are going to be German double agents that are recruited to help Majestic. For this first couple of sessions for these characters, I will be running the A!C supplement called Kontamination. It is an interesting adventure that requires very little alteration for our purposes and also presents pre-generated investigators that the players can choose to run.

The plot includes a Nachtwolfe plot using the machine invented by Crawford Tillinghast in the Lovecraft story “From Beyond” to drive Allied soldiers mad. The only change we’re making is to have the visions of the Beyond be of the happenings of a future as presented in the portion of SotD called “Congratulations! You’ve Brought on the Apocalypse!”. This should clue the investigators into a reason to warn the A!C version of Dr. Lowbeer. We’ll cover this again later on, though.

To begin things, I wanted to give the players a test of the world and show them the vibe that using Dust miniatures on Lovecraftian-type horrors brings. In order to do this, I created an encounter with an Eldrazi Ruiner from the Magic the Gathering universe. This actually comes from the miniatures board game called “Arena of the Planeswalker” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. This can be used within the Dreamlands as a random encounter if the Keeper wishes. Here is the set-up with four Rangers (2 on foot and 2 in walkers). They are ready to roll their Spirit dice as they first behold the Eldrazi Ruiner.

And here are the stats for the Eldrazi Ruiner and the spawn Eldrazi Scions.

Eldrazi

The road map for the first several sessions of the campaign are as follows:

  1. Begin in medias res with players using the Ranger team from Dust up until where the group enters Celephais (Episodes 1 -3 in SotD).
  2. Plot shifts to A!C universe in 1944 in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge with players using their A!C investigators (Kontamination entire adventure). At the end, the characters will be recruited by Sergeant Miller (Majestic agent) which leads to Dr. Lowbeer sending the investigators into the Dreamlands to meet up with the Dust Rangers in Celephais.
  3. After the 2 teams meet, the NPC Mironim-Mer will be encountered in Celephais in order to add more sandbox-style opportunities for the group to choose from. This encounter is called “Lemon Sails” and is included in Call of Cthulhu’s Dreamlands supplement. The group could very well split back into two groups: one group helping Mironim-Mer and the other group continuing to search for the USS Eldridge elsewhere.

Coming up next will be the summary of play through these initial stages of the campaign.

Having finished a rather long campaign and design project called “Call of Kungfulhu”, which is a Wuxia adaptation of High Fantasy and Cthulhu Mythos mash-up, I found myself looking for my next campaign design. I picked up the A!C/Dust mash-up and was pleasantly surprised to see that a large part of the plot takes place in the Dreamlands – a setting that I have been completely immersed in with Call of Kungfulhu. This allows me to further utilize the amazing map created by Jason Thompson which I had posted about previously.

Dreamlands Map

For the next several weeks I will be posting my campaign design notes and game play sessions in case there is anyone looking for ideas and tips on running this rockin’ campaign!

Let’s begin with the resources that I have compiled to launch this campaign:

  • Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Investigators Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Secrets of the Dust
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreamlands (Call of Cthulhu product)
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Kontamination
  • Lovecraftian Horrors, 7th Edition

 

The Dreamlands resource book contains an adventure called “Lemon Sails” that I used as a side adventure in Call of Kungfulhu. It’s such a weird, bizarre adventure that I wanted to add it to this campaign to make it more sandboxy. Plus, I want to see how differently it plays out in this setting versus how it played out in Call of Kungfulhu.

I also printed out both world maps as there are two different timelines that will be interacting with each other. The A!C map is pretty close to actual history (top middle), but the Dust map radically changes WWII (lower right).

For Bennies I will be using regular poker chips for standard Bennies, but I created what I call “Blood & Guts Bennies”. They are plastic dog tags. These Bennies can be spent to re-roll Trait or Damage rolls. The player also has the option of spending this Benny to add a d6 to either Trait or Damage rolls.

I will be using a set of military Tactical Field playing cards for my Action Deck.

And here are the Dust figures I’ve purchased so far to get things rolling. More are on their way. The Dust minis are just awesome products!

Mickey Walker with Rangers.

I will be using the Pre-Generated characters included in Secrets of the Dust for the Rangers coming from the Dust universe. For the investigators coming from the A!C universe, I will be using investigators from Kontamination (more on incorporating this next post).

And, just as a warm-up for the campaign, I decided to create a quick skirmish with my squad against an Eldrazi Ruiner and 3 Eldrazi Scions from the Magic the Gather universe.

These figures came out of the “Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. I’ll be providing the Savage Worlds stats for these creatures next post.

Stay tuned for more details on turning this adventure into a sandbox campaign that journeys through some exotic locales in the Dreamlands.

This serves as the first adventure for the four Elven heroes who must eventually sneak into the Shadowfell on a secret operation. The first four missions are not in the Shadowfell. They are designed as missions to retrieve four magic items that each Elf will find beneficial on their future missions inside the Shadowfell.

This first mission utilizes Dyson Logos’ map and background called “Wygralak’s Hole”.

For the full keyed dungeon as well as a Random Encounter table for the surrounding lands, see here:

Wygralak’s Hole Revisited v2