You Crazy S.O.B; You Blew It Up!
The ancient civilisations have fallen, leaving the world in chaos and a scattering of city-states and bandit kingdoms bickering over the scraps. There are no ‘true princes of the blood’ waiting for the right moment to gather up a motley band of followers and restore the glories of the old regime. People are isolated from one another by mutual mistrust, envy, and by tracts of untamed wilderness full of wild creatures, hostile tribes and strange phenomena. The desperate, the brave and the foolhardy scrabble in the ruins for lost objects of power. You’d better secure those for the greater good before vile miscreants loot them all.
The Gods Are Many, Strange, And Have The Best Candy
Gods rise and fall over the ages. Sometimes they disappear; sometimes rival gods, abominations, or adventurers kill and supplant them. The fallout of all this god-on-god violence is that there are various godly artefacts (Mjolnir, the Aegis, the Nemean Lionskin, etc.) scattered about the world waiting to fall into the right(?) hands.
The major faiths are:
- The Pantheon of Twelve – A pantheon of fifteen (…or possibly 16, but who’s counting?) godlings. Some few are native to this world; but most have entered it either as a refuge, or as a new power base.
- The Cults of the Demon Lords – Exactly what it says on the tin. They hate everything and want to burninate the world.
There are Cankers In The Skin Of The World
There are weak spots in the fabric of reality. Dungeons are not merely lairs or oversized basements: they are strange places, foci of arcane energy where the laws of the surface world gradually break down. Travelling deep into a true dungeon is almost like walking into a waking nightmare. For those with the knowledge and power it is a simple thing to slip from one layer of the multiverse to another. The Deep Ether, Astralspace, and the Shadowland are all open to the initiate. Be warned that portals to other planes, eras and dimensions (genres) are everywhere.
Magic Always Has A Cost
Beyond a certain level characters are capable of the patently impossible. They have invariably found a way to tap into the inherent magic of the world and have gained abilities that make them something more than human. However, using magic to force change on the world also inexorably changes the person using it. All power has a price, and being “Cursed with Awesome” is still a curse.
Destiny is For The Weak
There is no plot immunity and no guarantee that you will face ‘fair’ opposition; so pick fights carefully. If you face overwhelming numbers or creatures immune to normal weaponry there is no shame in bravely running away like sissy little girls. You can always come back later with reinforcements and heavier weaponry. Characters will suffer and some will die. But they will have the satisfaction of forging their own destiny through their own choices, words and deeds (I’m reliably informed that adversity just makes eventual triumph all the more satisfying). As Mike Mornard, who has played this game since 1974, put it:
“Remember the Conan story “Tower of the Elephant”? Remember the guy who went up the tower with Conan? Well, he thought HE was the hero of the story…right up until the giant spider killed him.”