Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Game Store: Floodland


Inspirations: It can't have escaped your notice that much of the UK is currently, not to put too fine a point on it, soggy as hell. Combine that with my known love for gothy dirges and here we are. Yes, it is another scenario about rain. What did you expect? I'm British!

Systems/Genre: Let's keep the fantasy focus for a while; this is good for any game where killing everything you can reach isn't necessarily the wise option. Blue Rose or Novarium immediately spring to mind, or - if you ratchet up the darkness and situation-as-puzzle quotient - Lamentations of the Flame Princess. And, of course, any situation which starts with "so it's a fantasy world and everything's gone to crap" is perfect for Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. For your conventional 'murderhobos' game (this would really work for Iron Kingdoms or Pathfinder in that respect), I suggest statting out the Witch in more detail and going for a straight up 'wizard's tower with a twist' approach.

Which Witch?

This Witch.

I swear I'm not just looking for excuses to post pictures of Chelsea Wolfe.
The Witch moves seemingly at random through flooded forest and foetid fen, flitting from field to field in a semi-submerged sandbox environment. Low buildings are uninhabitable; taller ones are slums and shanties dwelt in by the desperate and despairing; life is a matter of fish-snatching mushroom-gobbling subsistence, treading carefully over wet rot and carnivorous oozes, fighting off swamp goblins and existing in uneasy co-existence with the local ghouls. What? Those corpses have to go somewhere and it's not like we've been able to bury them for six months.

Six months? Yep. Long enough for people to adapt to this way of life, even if it's not quite normal; long enough for things to have settled down into drudgery after the first sudden manifestation. Or maybe it's always been like this; maybe your campaign world has room for undiscovered pockets, isolated sub-communities - if it's Iron Kingdoms, dump it in the Thornwood, if it's WFRP, head for the Wasteland or the deep Drakwald.

Anyway. Back to that Witch. She's flooded and isolated the lands for miles around as a punishment. Maybe she's a druid who wants to reclaim the land for the sake of the Balance; maybe she's a new twist on the Dark Emissary, a figure of beauty as well as horror; maybe she's just powerful and lonely and scorned; maybe she's feuding with your Novaria. The floods won't go down until she sends them down, but of course, you have to find her first.

The Floodland is not easy to move through. Progress will be slow, and hazards plentiful. Oozes, goblins, ghouls, Gatormen, Fimir, carnivorous plants, shambling bog-horrors, myconids allied with the Witch who like everything all dingy and wet thank you very much - she doesn't have 'minions' as such, but she stirs up hazards wherever she goes.

And how does she go there? Maybe she's on a simple, spartan raft, unknowing and uncaring of the havoc that's wrought in her wake as the monsters are riled up and unleashed. Maybe she's on a steamboat - a ramshackle, unsteady environment that collapses under the PCs' feet as hostilities begin. Maybe she has a floating house pulled by a dozen 'tame' alligators, or lashed to the back of an immense and hungry water-worm. Maybe she's gone all Baba Yaga and her home moves on stilts.

'Stopping' the Witch could - and in my opinion should - be more about finding out why she's done this and what she wants than about simply smacking her over the head with a guisarme and checking out her loot table. I really think of this as a Blue Rose scenario; someone's done wrong by her, she's over-reacted, and if you can just persuade her that there's another way, she'll settle down and dismiss the waters before moving on or coming quietly. In something like Novarium, it's more about eliminating her rivals; once she feels safe, no longer pursued and hounded by her former peers, whether because they're dead or because they've been persuaded to reconcile, the waters will be suffered to fall. Of course, you could just peg her as 'overzealous minion of the Devourer Wurm' and shoot her, but I happen to find that sort of thing a little dull.

Besides, who'd shoot someone who looks like Chelsea Wolfe?


  1. Exactly my response when I first saw that video!

  2. You've never met my tabletop group. Oh, we're polite as hell when things are calm... but threaten us and ours and we'll do more than just wrong her, pretty or not. Nothing says 'I disapprove of your actions' quite like an entire party mobbing the perpetrator.

  3. Okay, Toastrider is reading and commenting... this article series is now officially successful. ;)

  4. You absolute FIENDS. You'd be thrown out of the Tragically Nice Liberal Kingdom of Aldis for sure.

    Hey Erin, think I should repost the thing where Hark and I rip it out of Blue Rose for several hundred words? ;)

  5. Yeaaaah, my group is barely two steps above mercenary. We've got a elf rogue expy of Captain Jack Harkness, a half-elf fighter who keeps all sorts of trophies (you'd think he was a 'big game hunter' for crying out loud), and a sorcerer specializing in magical shaped-charge artillery (he took the Selective Spell feat; he's been known to launch fireballs that only hit -one- guy in the middle of his party).

    I like Blue Rose, but it needs a little more dirt smeared on it.

  6. Man, I didn't even know this product existed. Cool stuff, and as someone who's already determined to buy another mosin, I'm always on the lookout for more crazy crap I can do to one. Though for the $140 price tag, I may just spring for one uh dem fhancee archangel stocks I keep hearing about.

  7. You won't save any money that way. Archangel stocks cost around $200, and only come with a five-round magazine -- 10 rounders will cost you around $25 a pop.

    So instead of paying $140, you pay $225.

  8. Yeah, the MSRP sucks, but most places 'round my neck of the woods offer it and the mags for a lot cheaper that what they list it as (about $160 or so, and $15 for mags).

    That, and I'm totally down with shilling out a few extra bucks for a whole new stock. Seems like that could be a fun project in and of itself.

  9. Ah, okay. I misinterpreted your "though for that price tag" comment.

    Let me know how the new stock works for you. I haven't talked to anyone who has actually used it yet.

  10. Very nice card. Hope you have fun.

  11. If I am unable to make it to NRACon, I still want a few of your cards. :) I have a feeling soon they will become collectors items and you'll soon be too famous to acknowledge us other peons. ;)

  12. You have more faith in me than I have in myself! Do you want me to autograph the back, too? ;)

  13. I have an Archangel on a Chinese 53 carbine. Not only does it look amazing with the folding bayonet, but the balance and feel of the weapon is far improved. I also installed a Timney trigger kit... So, yeah, I have over $300 in my Mosin, but the performance is far beyond anything you can buy off the shelf for the same price. The savings on ammo alone make it worthwhile.

    I am going to cerakote the business end OD green, add a bipod and scope for a sniper-scout setup, and generally make it more awesomer!


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