Setting themes

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rabindranath72
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Setting themes

Post by rabindranath72 »

So, all we love C&C for its flexibility and ease of how. But what about campaign themes? I would love to hear about how you would fit a setting around C&C (or the other way round), with the restriction that NO major overhaul of the rules is allowed. For example, discarding a race is OK, changing the magic system is not. Ideally, there should be next to no rules tweakings to make the setting "run" under C&C.

I will start with one of my favorites: Sword & Sorcery (a la Howard). The following may be read as a "synopsis" of the Hyborian Age "filtered" through the C&C lenses. Please share your views!
Theme

Conflict between barbarian and civilised cultures
Technology level

May vary depending on places/cultures. From bronze age to medieval.
Races

Only humans allowed. Barbarians must have at least a Physical Prime, Civilised must have at least a Mental Prime.
Classes
Fighter: allowed. Most common among civilised cultures.
Barbarian: allowed. Most common among barbarian cultures.
Cleric: allowed but only evil gods/demons grant any real powers. The world is a bleak place, Good supernatural entities do not exist, or if they do, are far removed from the affairs of humans. Evil, on the other hand, exists in a very tangible form. All clerics are assumed to have entered some demonic pact. Clerics are not known as such; the term "priest" is usually applied to any spellcaster attached to a religion (this includes arcane spellcasters). They are also known as sorcerers.
Druid: allowed, but only evil spirits and gods of nature grant any real powers. Nature is not seen as benign, but is the representation/expression of the uncaring (at best) nature of the universe. Bestial gods and obscene fertility principles are revered by druids. These are mostly found in barbarian cultures. They are commonly known as shamans or sorcerers.
Rogue: allowed. Most common among civilised cultures.
Assassin: allowed. Most common among civilised cultures.
Wizard: allowed. The pursuit of sorcerous knowledge is seen as blasphemous and dangerous. Sometimes they are attached to religious cults, and in these cases they are called (lay) priests. They are also known as sorcerers.
Monk: allowed. They come from civilised, far cultures, and embody a possibly completely different philosophical view.
Paladin: possible. The existence of the Paladin cannot be justified "tout court" with the existence of good entities. If they exist, they may represent a vanishing order of warriors devoted to some ancient and long forgotten philosophy/religion, who derive their power from inner strength and contemplation.

Alternatively, they may represent the seeds of new things to come, perhaps a real power for good which is slowly acting in the world in subtle ways.
Illusionist: allowed. They usually come from civilised, far cultures, and represent a different philosophical attitude towards sorcerous lore. Many illusionists are also monks (if multi/dual classing allowed). They are also known as sorcerers.
Ranger: allowed. Rangers from civilised cultures represent the borderer and scouts who drive civilisation into unexplored wilderness areas, and protect the colonies which are slowly built there.

Rangers from barbarian cultures represent experts of outdoor survival, hunters, and the protectors of the way of their tribes/groups.
Knight: allowed. They mostly come from civilised cultures, who are just developing rudimentary codes of honour.
Bard: allowed. Warrior-poets and heralds of civilised cultures; tribal chanters of the barbarian ones.
Equipment

Generally, all equipment in PHB is allowed, but its availability depends on cultural and technological level.

Gold is much more valuable than standard settings, however. All prices should be read as silver pieces, but metal armor and weapons still retain their value as gold pieces. As a consequence, armor and weapons cost ten times more than normal.
Monsters

Monstrous humanoids as races do not exist, except possibly for individuals which represent degenerate humans, or pre-human civilisations.

"Heavy artillery" monsters also should not exist except as individuals.
Magical treasures

They exist, but are rare, and usually guarded by powerful individuals. Magic weapons should be rare or non-existent.

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Post by CharlieRock »

For a low-magic, "low fantasy" setting I would recommend that magic items be on the powerful, yet rare side. Casters are about a dozen per culture tops. Characters cannot trade magic items to NPC merchants ("What?! Do I look like a fiend from the pits of Arallu! I have no need for a sword that alights itself on fire. Begone, you vile demon conspirator. And take your devilish blade with you.")

Adapting published stuff I would replace lower level casters with sages, spies, or priests depending (basically, the caster class sans spells).

As always PCs are free to be whatever class, with the addage that wizards did not "graduate" from a magic college.
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Beyondthebreach
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Post by Beyondthebreach »

I think there are some things that you might conidier. To begin, the premise that all Gods granting power are evil seems to be flawed. There are a few "Good" gods and many that would be considered "Neutral". Of course, this list can be expanded depending on how many additional Hyborian sources you invoke beyond Howard (i.e. future authors, Marvel comics, etc.).

From Howard alone, though, there is Mitra, partron God of Nemedia and the Nemedian Chroniclers. If any God can be considered "Good" it would be him. I imagine his clerics focus on Scholarly pursuits, the advancement of knowledge, historical and mystical research, etc. If fact, they would probably make an ideal adventuring PC Cleric.

Other Shamanistic/Clerical examples can be found who do not necessarily draw their power from evil sources. N'Yaga, the Shaman who travelled with Belit might be an example of such. There are many other Gods that probably wouldn't be evil: Crom of the Cimmerians would is an indifferent God (Neutral), Bori of the Hyperborreans a God of Battle. There are other examples, but I start to loose track in my head of what is Howard and what is derived from other sources. At least from the "Marvel Hyborian Universe" there is Ibis and his priests - definitely not evil and wielding Clerical powers (see. Conan #115 and other issues). I believe Ishtar is also a creation of Howard (again, not an evil power and possibly Good - at least relatively speaking for the Hyborian World). Hanuman is based on Hindu Mythology and also not an evil power and introduced by Howard.

As for Monstrous Humanoids - there is the race of Ape-people from which "Thak" was taken. There are also several examples of Serpent People - in fact, there is a Serpent Headed race, though I think this is just from Kull (however, if they existed in the time of Kull, they probably survived the sinking of Atlantis/Lemuria and made it to the Hyborian world. Why not?

Nagas have made a few appearances in Howard stories (i.e. The God in the Bowl and Red Nails). Creatures like Dragons are not uncommon, but they are more akin to massive, stupid reptiles (see Red Nails again for a powerful Dragon like creature).

As there are not demi-humans, it might be best to consider different cultures as different races and assign them ability modifiers and special abilities as appropriate. For instance, Cimmerians might have a +1 to Str. and Con, a -1 to Int and Wis, the ability to endure harsh cold temperatures far better plus an innate +5 bonus to climb checks.

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Post by CharlieRock »

Beyondthebreach wrote:
As there are not demi-humans, it might be best to consider different cultures as different races and assign them ability modifiers and special abilities as appropriate. For instance, Cimmerians might have a +1 to Str. and Con, a -1 to Int and Wis, the ability to endure harsh cold temperatures far better plus an innate +5 bonus to climb checks.

This I would agree with. An Argossean would have sailor skills while a hyrkanian or turanian would have riding skills. As far as attribute modifiers go, I wouldn't do that. Just set a minimum requirement. Like Cimmerians need a 10 STR and a 12 CON or a Hyrkanian would need a minimum 13 DEX. If someone manages to roll under their first and second choice minimums just allow a reroll. To me it seems a more organic way of reflecting ethnic norms then a straight modifier. But, it's more work too.

I like to lump all the Hyborians together as far as attributes go (skills, as mentioned, differ). Really who can tell is more dextrous from an Aquilonian and a Corinthian.

Renaming certain gear also adds flavor. Instead of a halbred it is a Gunderman Pike (and widely recognized as such by NPCs). Or Nemedian Mail for a full chain suit.
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vegabond
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Post by vegabond »

Really you should just check out the new printing of the Conan RPG by Mongoose, all the work has already been done for you. :)

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Post by Fizz »

I always thought a prehistoric fantasy game would be fun. No civilized classes, but fighters, rangers, barbarians, druids, etc. Maybe a wild-monk class. And they're struggling to survive a wild jungle against dinosaurs and other ancient beasts. "Magic dinosaurs? ACK!"

I don't have it all fleshed out, but you get the idea there...

-Fizz

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Post by Treebore »

My world is a hodge podge of "official" D&D settings. Blackmoor, Faerun, Greyhawk, Erde, Wilderlands, and others.

So other than making changes for PC's who actually started out in those various areas as per their respective setting "rules", I don't have to do much.

When they go to, or get sucked into, the Ravenloft area is when the biggest "modifications" get implemented.
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rabindranath72
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Post by rabindranath72 »

Beyondthebreach wrote:
I think there are some things that you might conidier. To begin, the premise that all Gods granting power are evil seems to be flawed. There are a few "Good" gods and many that would be considered "Neutral". Of course, this list can be expanded depending on how many additional Hyborian sources you invoke beyond Howard (i.e. future authors, Marvel comics, etc.).

From Howard alone, though, there is Mitra, partron God of Nemedia and the Nemedian Chroniclers. If any God can be considered "Good" it would be him. I imagine his clerics focus on Scholarly pursuits, the advancement of knowledge, historical and mystical research, etc. If fact, they would probably make an ideal adventuring PC Cleric.

Other Shamanistic/Clerical examples can be found who do not necessarily draw their power from evil sources. N'Yaga, the Shaman who travelled with Belit might be an example of such. There are many other Gods that probably wouldn't be evil: Crom of the Cimmerians would is an indifferent God (Neutral), Bori of the Hyperborreans a God of Battle. There are other examples, but I start to loose track in my head of what is Howard and what is derived from other sources. At least from the "Marvel Hyborian Universe" there is Ibis and his priests - definitely not evil and wielding Clerical powers (see. Conan #115 and other issues). I believe Ishtar is also a creation of Howard (again, not an evil power and possibly Good - at least relatively speaking for the Hyborian World). Hanuman is based on Hindu Mythology and also not an evil power and introduced by Howard.

As for Monstrous Humanoids - there is the race of Ape-people from which "Thak" was taken. There are also several examples of Serpent People - in fact, there is a Serpent Headed race, though I think this is just from Kull (however, if they existed in the time of Kull, they probably survived the sinking of Atlantis/Lemuria and made it to the Hyborian world. Why not?

Nagas have made a few appearances in Howard stories (i.e. The God in the Bowl and Red Nails). Creatures like Dragons are not uncommon, but they are more akin to massive, stupid reptiles (see Red Nails again for a powerful Dragon like creature).

As there are not demi-humans, it might be best to consider different cultures as different races and assign them ability modifiers and special abilities as appropriate. For instance, Cimmerians might have a +1 to Str. and Con, a -1 to Int and Wis, the ability to endure harsh cold temperatures far better plus an innate +5 bonus to climb checks.

Well, for the setting I described above (which is NOT the Hyborian Age, although it would run quite close) I would say that only evil gods exist, in a very Lovecraftian way. This is by my definition of the setting. Other "good" or "neutral" entities may well exist, but as I wrote "they are far removed from the affairs of humans".

If one wants to go very "Howardian", sure "good" entities "exist", but perhaps only in the minds of men. I would allow priests of Mitra or Ibis, but they would be wizards, not clerics. According to the above definitions, clerics are those who enter a demonic pact. Entering a pact with a good entity does not seem very Howardian, IMO.

Hanuman is worshipped in Zamboula, and he is represented as a bestial ape-god of an extremely ill repute.

Cheers,

Antonio

rabindranath72
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Post by rabindranath72 »

vegabond wrote:
Really you should just check out the new printing of the Conan RPG by Mongoose, all the work has already been done for you.

Thanks for the suggestion! Actually, I know that game, I even have credits in the book if you search
The problem is: it has some of the worst characteristics of 3.x, plus they added a heavy dose of further complexity. The net result (for me): the game is not playable.

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Post by CharlieRock »

rabindranath72 wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion! Actually, I know that game, I even have credits in the book if you search
The problem is: it has some of the worst characteristics of 3.x, plus they added a heavy dose of further complexity. The net result (for me): the game is not playable.

*pshew*

Thanks for the warning. I was actually planning on trying this version.
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Post by Keolander »

Treebore wrote:
My world is a hodge podge of "official" D&D settings. Blackmoor, Faerun, Greyhawk, Erde, Wilderlands, and others.

Yea, I kind of have the 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach as well (Greyhawk/Yggsburgh, Blackmoor, Azeroth, Eberron etc). Of course, I also have it so that the players will be traveling between worlds on occasion, much as they did in Gary and Rob Kuntz's campaigns back in the day. I kind of have them all linked by the portal beneath The Comeback Inn in Blackmoor (my 'default' world). The populace of the areas linked are generally rather blase, as they've seen Draconians, Shifters, Warforged, Changelings, Forsaken etc all before.
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Post by Fizz »

This reminds me- has anyone done a conversion of Blackmoor for C&C?

-Fizz

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Post by rabindranath72 »

CharlieRock wrote:
*pshew*

Thanks for the warning. I was actually planning on trying this version.

It is actually good just for the magic chapter, and some general flavour. But if you want to use it for actual play...good luck! Take D&D 3.5, double the number of feats, add combat maneuvers, add THREE kind of armor classes (dodge, parry and defence), add armor damage absorption, add another stat for weapons (armor penetration) and you will start to get an idea of the bloat that is Conan d20.

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Post by serleran »

First thing I do, when deciding what to do for a theme... define the core elements. Then, pick what matches the core elements without tweaking (ie, fighters and rogues exist in practically everything, but surprisingly, humans do not.) After that, its just a matter of making what you have meet what you want.

So, if it were me doing what Antonio wanted, I would probably, after selecting what classes and races exist (and whether I would use alignment at all), start with the technology... likely by giving every item a "tech level" and then each culture/society one as well. Anything 1-2 TL below is readily available; if the item is more than 2 TLs off, it is considered primitive and likely to be thought as a curio, or research, and not something the average citizen would want. -- Then again, this might have something to do with a project I'm working on... so, it just might be my unconscious desire to get that damn thing done.

Depends how much effort one wants to indulge in to create the setting, really. Not doing that much depth is great if you're planning on just testing it out, but if its a long-term plan, it might be best to do s much as possible (or, let the players help.)

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Post by Keolander »

Fizz wrote:
This reminds me- has anyone done a conversion of Blackmoor for C&C?

I'm working on mine. Hope to have it done before the Sun goes Nova.
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