Living Forgotten Realms, the current ongoing public play campaign for Dungeons & Dragons 4E, is a heck of a lot of fun, but the Living aspect is a complete farce. Every week you get together with a random cast of other people that you've probably seen before, but you don't have any particular reason for getting together with. You then condense the vivid, exciting backstory and detailed appearance you have made up for your character down to a single-sentence introduction. You will be lucky if the other players remember your name, class, and race. (Even if you tell them otherwise, they will assume your character is the same gender as you unless you give them a name like Ovaria Birthgiver or Mansong Crotchgrabber.)
D&D has a fine tradition of bizarre, useless magical items. Here's a collection bizarre, slightly useful ones with non-obvious applications:
- Sling Bulettes
- These smooth stone spheres look like normal ammunition for throwing from a sling. Once launched, they transmute in mid-air into a landshark. It is fully alive, and rather angry about having been freeze-dried and stored in your backpack. It is advisable to leave the area before it is done taking out part of its anger on the target of your sling, as it still has more anger left.
A while back, I ran The Secret of Poison Gulch, a one-shot adventure using Six-Guns & Succubi, in which the PCs are government troubleshooters sent to investigate the disappearance of an agent that been investigating illegal activities at the silver mine in the titular town and stumbled into something far darker. I don't have any real notes on the whole thing, as I mostly just made it up as I went along, but here's the pregen characters I passed out, in case you find them useful.
Let's consider how dwarves are portrayed in D&D 4E: Stereotypically short and strong with a penchant for building and craftwork, yet they live above-ground, without any sort of ability to see in the dark, and were once enslaved by the giants. Let's riff off that. Modern dwarves are, in fact, a slave-race bred by giants for manual labor, selecting them for strength, hardiness, and ability to do tedious work (and losing darkvision in the process). They eventually revolted and won their freedom, spreading out into the world.
Weapons of the Gods is an RPG based on a wu-xia comic. Its basic resolution mechanic is very similar to ORE: Roll a variable number of d10s and look for matches. A set of matching dice is converted to a numerical result equal to width*10 + height. Thus, for example, a 3x1 is read as 31. (Sets of only one die are allowed and 10s are read as 0s, so the worst possible result is a 1x0, which is read as 10.)
As is typical, the dead rise up from their graves and shamble around, seeking to slay the living. Civilization collapses and chaos reigns. After a few months of this, the survivors see three great glowing presences in the sky, which identify themselves as Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the gods of humanity. Long ago, they used to visit the Earth regularly and do battle with the dark god Lucifer, but that ended when all swore to a pact to leave humanity to its own devices.
So, two recent threads on the Technocracy have combined in my head with wishful thinking regarding Victorian Age Mage and my current reading of Castle Falkenstein to produce a total trainwreck of a setting idea: Alternate universe steampunk Mage, with the Technocracy as actual good guys.
So, in one of my random insane musings, I had a flash of insight regarding a new setting for Paranoia. It would take place inside the Omega Complex, where all Comrades work loyally for the good of the people's collective. (Remember, the Collective is your family.) Everyone is ever wary about the threat of Capitalist agents, who can often be identified by their lack of furry hats and/or mustaches. People without mustaches might also be throwbacks who do not possess proper mutant powers.