Monday, July 7, 2014

Lacuna Locurae

I've been pondering what I should run for my face-to-face group, after they completed Sailors on a Starless Sea, and I think I've finally come up with something.

After escaping from the Starless Sea, the longship emerges, eventually, from a crack in a cliff, into a river. I'm thinking I might try the whole OMG WATERFALL! thing right off the bat, just to set the tone. We'll see. The more interesting thing is that this campaign will be in a realm outside of the "normal" DCC world.

What the party discovers is that they are at the base of some very high cliffs, above which are mountains surpassing even the Andes and Himilayas. Below them, foothills stretch toward a large coastal city, ocean and distant islands to the horizon.

The city itself is a colony of a distant kingdom, and a crossroads for trade. Tech levels are early colonial--ships capable of intercontinental travel, muskets, maybe the rudiments of heavy industry, etc. The city fathers are wealthy merchants, and the colonial governor is an ineffectual figurehead. There is a small colonial garrison in place to keep the peace; its leadership is competent and just, but their numbers are too few to do the job. The colony is becoming less and less like its original kingdom, and slipping slowly but inexorably toward independent-mindedness.

Culture is somewhat... unenlightened. Abject poverty exists alongside almost unimaginable wealth, and indentured servitude is common (outright slavery extremely rare, but not unknown). The city a rough and tumble place, and parts of it are entirely uncivilized. Witchcraft is a capital crime, and witch-hunters are respected figures, among most of the population, and especially among religious adherents. Executions are a popular form of entertainment for many in the lower classes, there not being much else to occupy them but drinking, fighting, and fucking. The demographics are entirely human (well, almost entirely so, but I can't go into that yet), but there's a pretty large degree of diversity among the human population, what with all the ships from far-off lands making portfall in this place.

I'm calling the campaign Lacuna Locura (Catchy, huh? I hope nobody did this already. Mr. Google says it hasn't been done, but...).

What is it? Let's start with some definitions.

Lacuna:  a gap or blank space in something; a missing part.

Locura:  insanity, madness; crazy thing, folly

There's an oddness that underlies the setting, things that aren't discussed, things that make people very, very uncomfortable. Those mountains above the city? Nobody goes there. In fact, nobody even talks about them. If the party tries to claim they are from there, people won't believe them. Nobody is from there. There's nothing beyond them. This is a Known Thing. Nobody here thinks differently. It's as if some part of reality has been removed from their minds. This is the lacuna, the missing knowledge. My thought is that a veil of magic separates the realms and keeps the population ignorant of this separation, and the very existence of a place "outside." Attempts to make claims to the contrary, or to demonstrate that the possibility, is provocative in the extreme, and could bring violence (even official notice) down on the party. The party, in contrast, knowing what they know, would be perceived by the citizenry as completely mad, by the city's officials and religious leaders as potentially subversive and dangerous, and by certain unnamed others as a dire threat. This is the locura, the psychosis afflicting this place.

I've yet to come up with a name for this city, but don't want to force it. It'll come eventually

The ruleset I'll be using is DCC RPG, the firearms rules from +Dak Ultimak's Crawl! (the original DCC RPG fanzine), possibly some elements of Transylvanian Adventures by +Scott Mathis, some bits of Lamentations of the Flame Princess style weirdness, and probably some other stuff that I'll make up along the way (mostly to do with the reasons behind this madness of missing memories). This is intended to be city-based adventure, but I could certainly see plenty of opportunities for adventures on the high sea, investigation of the mysteries of the mountains, etc., depending on where the players want to take it.

I think this should be fun, and a departure from the kinds of games I normally run and play in. Maybe it will end up being a good setting, as well. The Metal Gods campaign has set a pretty high bar in that regard, so my expectations for this will be high as well.

UPDATE

Thanks to +Adam Muszkiewicz for helping me with my Latin. Locura Locurae is the correct genetive form.