A few more thoughts on the “Blanket of Ashes” game idea

I’m not set on running this. Playing a ‘song of ice an fire’ style ‘throne war’ game also appeals.

Just off the top of my head, and aimed at gathering up people’s thoughts.

  • I (probably) don’t want to play “Middle-earth, with all the serial numbers left on, except Sauron won”. Inspirations for the setting include Tolkien, but also:
    • A New Hope, for reasons already mentioned
    • The Black Company (especially the first three books)
    • The Midnight rpg setting, though to be honest it’s too d20 tinted for my taste
    • The Mistborn series… except not the magic, in any way shape or form. Eh. Basically I like the idea of the volcanic ash falls. That’s about it.
    • In my little notebook, I have written: “Big Bad – The Chosen” and, underneath that, “the Five.”
  • I like the idea of magic being unstable/on the wan as a result of the Big Bad winning. Burning Wheel Gold’s changes to sorcery reflect this really well.
  • Magical items ‘tainted’ every so slightly due to most of the big bad’s  power being in an artifact. The constant balancing act of ‘this makes me more of a badass, but also makes me more susceptible to the wiles of the Enemy’ seems fun. Most precious of all would be those items that escaped that taint.
  • I also like the idea that a change to the status quo (magic coming back) likely makes some of the enemy more powerful as well.
  • I like the idea the not everyone (PCs included) think revolution is a good idea, or even necessary.
  • I like Burning Wheel for this especially since they cleaned up a lot of the ‘rim’ systems like Fight and Range and Cover.
  • It’s important, I think, for the events that led to the current state of the world to have happened far enough in the past that the true facts are muddied, if not outright forgotten/supressed. Anyone who was actually around at the time (undead, elf, orc, whatever) is in hiding, stopped caring, doesn’t benefit from the truth being known, or all three.

Would it be worth it/fun to do a Lexicon world-building kind of thing to flesh things out… it amuses me that any entry that says “this is what happened” might/could/would be incorrect to a greater or lesser degree.

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One Reply to “A few more thoughts on the “Blanket of Ashes” game idea”

  1. A lot of what you talk about sounds like the old D&D campaign setting Dark Sun:
    – Arcane magic drains the life out of a caster’s surroundings. All magic users are thus called Defilers, except for a very tiny sect of Preservers that use intense control to not cause ruin.
    – An apocalyptic war in the past has left the entire world a charred, barren wasteland with a sun that’s been kicked into a swelling dying phase by wanton overuse of magic.
    – The villians won: the only civilizations of note in the small amount of habitable land are a handful of city-states ruled by terribly powerful, terribly corrupt sorcerer-kings. Nobody remembers a time before the rule of the sorcerer-kings because they are nigh-immortal beings that have taken great pains to scour the history of anything else.
    – A lot of tropes are non-existent: elves are nomadic desert bandits that shun riding mounts and thus run everywhere, halfings are wild cannibals that hide away in the shred of remaining forest in the world, and many races and creatures were rendered extinct by the events of the past.

    Not everything you’re pointing to, but might serve as a point of inspiration for what you’re aiming for.

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