As my father warned us – in success, we shall find seeds of despair. – Cafal, son of Humbrall Taur
This Fantasy Sandbox is a loose adaption based off Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Erikson’s PC group was the Bridgeburners, an elite squad of the Malazan army. Erikson’s roleplay was different than standard fantasy. Their sessions had a political and anthropological bent, instead of the more typical mega-dungeon plundering. The Malazan series is considered high epic fantasy, and is complicated and massive in scope. I’ll be adding stock fantasy elements arbitrarily, for example changing 7 Cities to be Gnoll inhabited.
This campaign is in the very early planning stages, and everything is subject to change.
A rubble-strewn plain beneath a dead sky. In the distance to his right, the groan of massive, wooden wheels, the slither and snap of chains, countless plodding footfalls. In the air, a pall of suffering that threatened to suffocate Paran where he stood…. Leaning figures, stretched chains. Beyond them, a hundred or more paces distant, loomed the terrible wagon, massed with writhing bodies, clunking and shifting over stones, swallowed in a haze of mist. (MoI, UK Trade, p.730)
Regular D&D is Dark Fantasy, if you think about it. When I was young, I thought of it as a horror game. Think about it; a bunch of hardened mercenaries get together, and w/ only torches and swords in hand, descend into dark and terrible places in hopes of finding treasures looted from the bodies of the dead. Some of these mercenaries are specialists in occult lore, chanting ancient words to conjure dark spells. Some of them whisper fervent prayers for aid to strange and inhuman pagan gods.
Generational gaming: I think this has the potential to add a lot to the game, as well. The first generation of hunters start out in an utterly bleak world. They fight as best they can, but realize that the task is too great for them alone. So they all pledge to raise their kids as monster hunters, too. 18 years later, the kids are all standing around awkwardly in their hand-me-down armor, looking at each other with scorn, suspicion (and/or lust – they are teenagers, after all) while the proud parents beam in the background. The adventure continues! And one of the best parts will be seeing how the world has changed in the interim. The tiny hamlet that Pappy saved twenty years ago? Now it’s a bustling village, full of slightly-less-terrified peasants! The village they didn’t save…? Well, now it’s a haunted deathtrap full of the walking dead and ghouls. Better get to work, kids!