Thursday, March 26, 2015
WotRP - Exploring Your Own Red Planet
Its your Red Planet
One of the most important sections of the Warriors of the Red Planet is the "Playing the Game" section, starting on page 39. This is where we can delve into the heart of Sword & Planet gaming - the world you're gaming in. Rules for characters and combat are all well and good, but what often makes a campaign unique is its environment. A good table top RPG takes place predominantly in what we like to call the "Theater of the Mind", and years later, when you're bragging about the exploits of your 9th level Mentalist, its the images your GM evokes during play that make the adventures memorable.
A Weird & Wild Ride
Warriors of the Red Planet divides its attention into 3 primary locales: the Wilderness, the Underworld, and Urban Settings. In most Sword & Planet settings, the vast, untamed wilderness serves sort of the same purpose the Oceans serve in more traditional, Medieval Europe type games - its a vast emptiness, best traversed in ships (the aerial sort, in our case), with wild ports of call to stop in at, strange islands of vegetation and isolated enclaves, and beneath it all a dark Underworld of mystery and deadly hazards.
Warriors of the Red Planet encourages GMs to let the players stop and smell the roses at bit - not every interesting aspect of an adventure happens at the end of a sword. Make a big deal out the of the landmarks and oddities of the alien environment. Over there are towering spears of Violet crystal, their razor-sharp tips poking nearly a mile into the sky. Over here is the domed edifice of a lost civilization, its ancient machinery still sending throbs through the bedrock of the desolate wastelands.
When the Well is Dry
While plenty of inspiration for your Red Planet is to be found in the books of authors like Burroughs, Kline, and Moorcock, the true joy of Sword & Planet gaming is coming up with a world of your own. And for those times when the creative juice just aren't flowing the way you'd like them to, WotRP is packed with page after page of random tables to get your creative fires lit. From random encounter tables featuring more than 100 new monsters, to tables allowing you to generate names, ruins, adventure hooks, monuments, artifacts of Weird Science, flora, relics, settlements, vehicles, buildings, and the straight-up "unexplainable".
My Red Planet
For my own corner of the Red Planet, I came up with the Cerulean Rift - a mile-deep, two-hundred mile long rift in the surface of the planet. Getting there takes some doing - either hire or buy some expensive airship transportation, or risk the long and costly overland journey. The Rift itself is a microcosm of what the Red Planet used to be before its rise and fall - humid jungles, seeping swamps, and deadly cave complexes. It has its share of lost cities, wondrous ruins, and hidden treasures, and even its own fragile political structure. Built into the cliffs at one point, overlooking the rift floor, is a noble city - Thorium, capital of Nar Harak, the Red Warlord. From Thorium, adventurers can indulge in political intrigue, mount expeditions into the untamed wilderness of the rift floor, or venture into the unmapped mazes of the Underworld.