Welcome to the Jungle.
Whoever you are, you’re probably a long way from home. You’ve come to Port Barsoom like all the other Pathfinders, seeking fortune and glory the likes of which most people only ever dream about. And you think you can find it out there in the swamps and jungles that lie beyond the banks of this river.
I’ve heard tales about what lies out there. The native goblins tell stories of a mighty lizardfolk empire that had once enslaved them long ago, before it awoke the wrath of a great dragon. They say the forest canopy conceals the overgrown ruins of this civilization along with the priceless treasures and artifacts it produced. But these are just stories. Few people have ventured into the wilderness, and nobody who’s gone very far has come back to tell about it. Who knows what’s really out there in that gods-forsaken jungle?
Well stranger, if you think you’re hard enough to head out there and look for whatever it is you’re looking for, then I hope you’re at least smart enough to take some friends along. You’ll need all the help you can get.
About the Game
The Python River Basin is a homebrew pulp-fantasy setting for what I hope will grow into an ongoing tabletop RPG campaign. One could describe the setting as “Dungeons & Dragons meets Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Carribean” — we’ve got your usual Tolkien-esque elves, dwarves, and wizards along with Renaissance-level technology, set in a world where the empires of the Old Continent are just beginning to explore and colonize new lands.
On the technical side, I’ll be using the Old School Hack system to run the game. The rules are free to download from www.oldschoolhack.net if you want to read up ahead of time, but players are not required to do so. Everything you need to learn and play the game will be provided during your first session, and honestly there’s not that much to learn — I picked OSH precisely because its rules are so streamlined. All you need to bring to the table is a vivid imagination.
Players assume the roles of adventurers from the Pathfinder Society, a globe-spanning organization dedicated to the exploration of the remote locales made newly accessible by recent technological advances in trans-oceanic navigation. Pathfinders risk their lives to explore the savage places of the world for a variety of reasons, some more noble than others — see the Sample Character Goals page for examples.
The way I run this campaign may be different from the way you’ve played tabletop RPGs before:
- There is no regular party: each game session may consist a different group of players. You can play as often or as infrequently as your schedule allows. If you miss this week’s expedition into the wilderness you can always ride out with the next one. New players may join at any time.
- There is no regular plot: the players decide where to go and what to do during each session. If your group wants to search for the lost temple of a forgotten god, that’s great. If you’d rather negotiate with some mountain-dwelling natives for the mineral rights to an abandoned gold mine in their territory (or just take it by force), that’s fine too. I have no desire to frogmarch your characters through some linear batch of quests to save the fictional world; if I wanted to do that I would have simply written a novel. The Python River Basin is your sandbox and you can muck about in it as you see fit.
- There is no regular time: I can run pick-up games at The Hobby Habit’s game night each Saturday from 5 to 9 PM, but a group of players can also contact me to schedule private game sessions elsewhere.
About This Web Portal
If this campaign takes off like I hope it will, then there will be a lot of information for us to keep track of and share with different groups of players. The Obsidian Portal is a tool we can all use to keep track of characters played and met, locations visited by different expeditionary parties, and the events that went down each session. I emphasize the “we” — any player can create or edit a page. In particular I encourage you to contribute to your character’s profile page and the Adventure Log. As the GM, I’m not above bribing players with in-game rewards for their contributions.
If you want to join this game, leave a comment on this wiki or send a private message to my profile (requires an Obsidian Portal account; don’t worry it’s free). You may also inquire in person at The Hobby Habit’s Saturday game night as mentioned above.