Friday, November 30, 2018

Kids Create Worlds #2

I had another world-building session with a different, older group this week (mostly sixth graders). The previous world was fun, but this one. Wow. It's some hardcore psychedelic sci-fi stuff if I say so myself! Naturally, the little devils had me sign a contract that 50% of the XP and treasure generated by running this setting will go to them, so keep this in mind if you ever use this in any of your space games!

A note on the names: The kids didn't name anything so I've taken the liberty to give temporary names to all races and locations until such time as the young game designers come up with more proper names. If the names sound silly, that's on me.

The System
The planet Reim is located in a binary star system inside the deep core of a distant galaxy. The only way to reach it is through a wormhole that may or may not be bi-directional. Navigation is difficult due to the presence of both a star and a black hole that cause celestial objects to move erratically, and an asteroid field that includes giant space monsters (like any good asteroid field should). An ancient spaceship of unknown origins is hidden inside one of the asteroids. It's possible that the builders of the vessel have also created all life in the system.
Reim's moon is a gas dwarf that can help newcomers refuel after the arduous journey. It has another moon that's mostly covered in lava. There is nothing of interest on it.

The World
The planet of Reim has an elliptical atmosphere that makes some regions of the planet uninhabitable due to high pressure or near total lack of air. The atmosphere shifts on occasion, forcing entire nations to have air shelters in the same way people on earth have bomb shelters. The planet is mostly dry, but has occasional geyser outbursts than can drown (and cook) entire regions.

The Natives
All creatures on the planet can crossbreed regardless of genetic compatibility. Because of this, the planet has an incredible diversity of sapient species.
Nehashim are the dominant species of the planet. They are a race of winged snakes separated into two hostile superpowers. While both nations appear from the outside to be progressive democracies, both are in fact secretly ruled by sinister aliens (see below). Nahashim randomly evolve into various fantastic shapes as they grow older. (Sort of like Pokemon...)
Pilim are low density animals that are miles tall but squeeze to the size of mice when scared. This helps them survive rapid atmospheric shifts and the occasional boiling geyser.
Atalefim are blind flying mammals that can control gravity, which they use for locomotion, combat and orientation. They also have an aquatic and an underground variety, who appear very different but are in fact closely related.
The Uberton is a hivemind of microorganisms that can steal some (or all) of the brain power of sentient creatures to increase the memory and processing of a biological super computer. It it is the most intelligent being on the planet, but its objectives are unknown and unknowable.

The Western Nehashim nation is secretly ruled by an alien brain implanted in the body of a small cat-like animal possessed of unspeakable telepathic powers. The Eastern nation is ruled by a giant underground monster that can influence people by injecting them with various chemicals through a network of mono-molecular tentacles spread all over the state.
The Atalefim have two states that speak different languages. Both consist of a single word that means everything. Because of this, no universal translator can help foreigners to communicate in either language, nor can one nation learn the language of the other.
There are also three hostile religions which are really just fronts for powerful crime organizations that deal in weapons and drugs that are sold to the faithful in fake religious ceremonies. One of these organizations has strong ties to the government of the Western nation.
There are also several small countries that compete over who will breed the most perfect citizens by use of cosmosium (see below). They are nominal democracies controlled by ruthless scientific and/ or business groups.

The Rewards
  • Reim contains a unique chemical known as cosmosium that allows ordinarily incompatible creatures to crossbreed. It is an artificial and alien creation, but it is unknown who has created it and why. Since it's naturally occurring on Reim, many creatures consume it by instinct, not knowing its amazing properties. 
  • Deep under the surface of the planet there is an ancient workshop that allows anyone to create new forms of life by feeding data into an alien super computer. It's possible that this workshop is the source of all sapient life on the planet.
  • The asteroid field is rich in minerals. However, this isn't rare. What is rare is that one of the asteroids is alleged to hide an ancient ship of the same race that has brought the cosmosium and crafted the workshop of life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The giant giant adventure

I wasn't in the mood to run any games today, so instead I decided to exploit the brains of ten kids in order to create a campaign. I quite like what this reluctant committee came up with.

None of the kids drew anything, so here is some generic art...

The PCs are people trapped inside a huge giant (the "giant giant" in their words). His massive organs conceal entire kingdoms of magic and technology, where most structures are sentient and many are also sapient. Even new buildings, once completed, soon become animated and eventually gain sapience. While the kids didn't specify the size of the giant, I took the impression it's around 700 kilometers high, quite fat, and incredibly flatulent/ seismic.
The campaign can go in two directions: the PCs can either battle various threats to the world's health, or they can try to find an exit from the giant's body and flee this odd prison. Below are some nice encounters and side quests the PCs can have along the way:

  • Evil exterminators who wish destroy everyone who isn't part of their cult in order to prevent the spread of disease in the giant's system
  • Massive tapeworms roaming the giant's body
  • Crazy snipers who kill everyone they see for no reason at all
  • A place with magical milkshakes, including secret shakes that can turn you into a a god. Several people already had such shakes, which is why there is a religious war inspired by preference for different flavors. Each flavor now has its fanatics who roam the area and attack anyone with the wrong taste in milkshakes
  • A secret elevator that can take you anywhere but always eats one of the passengers
  • Destructive bodily functions (the kids were very graphic about them, but I will spare you the details...) that can lay waste to entire communities with tremors, floods, and poison gas
  • A forest that only good people can pass through, but the guardian of the forest is a crazy killer
  • A huge pool of sapient milk that can be used to create magical milkshakes, the pool is aware and hates impure and dirty things
  • Roaming perverts and "teenagers of loose morals"

The kids have suggested many side quests for this campaign. Most were just kill this, kill that, kill, kill, kill... Below are some of the nicer ones. The last two were presented to me as boss fights that need to be won in order to complete the campaign:

  • Locate the holy diary of a man who discovered how to leave the giant but was eaten by the elevator
  • Have a lesbian marriage so that the gods give you more power
  • Help a very nice witch, who curses anyone who helps her to work until they die
  • Destroy a kraken that's turning into a cancerous tumor inside the giant's body
  • Defeat the evil king of worms and sickness who wants to murder the world

I asked the kids what characters they would like to play in such a campaign. These are the replies I got:

  • Werewolves and werehedgehogs
  • Cockroaches from the sewers realm
  • Giant butterflies that drink blood
  • Living milkshakes from the milk pool
  • Mimics that look like food but actually eat people
  • Wizards and shamans from the forest realm
  • Smurfs. Just smurfs.
  • Living floor tiles
So, here is the campaign. Looking forward to give it a test run!