Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mythic Wilderlands

I'm a bit excited about ckutalik's Slumbering Ursine Dunes.  I've been reading Chris' Hill Cantons material for some time, and he's had a number of very inspiring; his news posts are always entertaining, I've linked his pointcrawling posts before, and I discovered world-engines through him (one of the things which I believe would make living worlds more viable to run).  But most recently he's put 'mythic wilderness' on my brain.

I think mythic wilderness is probably a very useful concept for a number of reasons.  First, the required degree of simulation fidelity is reduced for the judge (moi), because Out There is fuzzier than In Here, by the nature of Out There.  It has rules, but they're not quite the same rules as the woods out back in real life.  This works for my playerbase, too - we're not Boy Scouts, survivalists, and ecologists.  We're computer programmers, and we know about as much about real wilderness as your average ecologist knows about perl (if that), except maybe for our one guy who does orienteering.  We are, however, substantially more familiar with European mythology, so that's might provide a common set of expectations around the table.

Finally, the mythic wilderness offers me a nice chance to move away from 'black chaos' to 'green chaos.'  One of my players once told me "Every game you run is actually Warhammer.  Traveller, ACKS, 3.5, whatever - you can run Warhammer in any system."  And it's fairly true; I've been stuck in a thematic rut.  It's all about the ineffable demon gods and their cultists, piles of skulls, devouring horrors from beyond space and time, good guys who are bad, and bad guys who are worse.

So perhaps it is time for a change, from "man against the darker parts of his own nature" to "man against nature", as a theme.

But while the Ursine Dunes are tempting, they're also some months out, probably.  As a result, I am considering rolling my own.  I think the Wilderlands of High Fantasy would suit - there's a lot of the titular Wilderlands near the City-State which, for all its storied grandeur, stands as one of a handful of bastions of civilization in the region.  To the south lies jungled Altanis, and to the west the Tharbrian steppe.  Plenty of space for the fey to cavort and the wolf-men to howl. 

1 comment:

Chris Kutalik said...

Hey thanks for the kind words. Drop me an email at kutalik at the gmail dot com, I have something for you.