Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Shelzar Shadizar Lankhmar Waterdeep

Listen --




Somethin' about 'em, I dunno what. The people, the bustle, the energy, the architecture. I really dig it. Faithful readers of this blog most lofty will recall, with a warm glow in their eager bellies, that I have spoken before of Mexico City and how much the place moves me. Aye, thou hast!

Er. Hath! Umn. Which-...whichever. Anyway, I like cities, and I have a thing about the ones that don't really exist.

In fact, about 8-10 years ago, I had a series of dreams about a city in particular, unnamed and out of space and time, modern and beautiful and alive with its own character despite being no more than a night's subconscious fancy. Almost like a a dream-city out of a Lovecraft story, but, you know, not malevolent and madness-inducing. Like, no doom, or seaweed.

I also like running micro-campaigns for my wife. She's partway through a ten-day work week and she deserves a little somethin' to blow off steam as soon as that jag is over. Ergo, I'm thinking about running such a game for her pretty soon, and sticking it squarely in an urban setting. I'm opting for fantasy as my genre of choice, if for no other reason than that I feel like it, so there.

Although I've created (or, at least, started to create) several FRPG cities in the past, I'm in no mood to futz and fumble with that particular honey-trap; my fingers will get sticky with layout and street names and concepts ad guilds and so on and so forth and nothing will get done. Screw that. I'm shoppin' off the rack.

Four ready-made fantasy cities come to mind. All four are well-established in one form or another, with lots of info available for the harried (or lazy) GM.

I just gotta pick one.

This...won't be easy.

SHELZAR: City Of Sins

From White Wolf's "Scarred Lands" line. Definitely influenced by Howard's Shadizar, full of naughtiness and peril. Right on.

Pros: I have the book; Amber's been wanting to do someting in the Scarred Lands; if I decide to use Microlite20, the stats are all ready to go.

Cons: I dunno that I'd actually use some of the stuff, like the sex constructs and the gibbering mouther employed for...uh...naughtiness.

SHADIZAR - City Of Wickedness

The original, from Robert E. Howard's typewriter! Lusty, pulpy goodness -- a language I speak well enough.

Pros: Hyboria!; kind of open to interpretation, as I don't have too much reference material; nice map from Mongoose Publishing.

Cons: I don't have the boxed set, so I'd have to make up a lot of the stuff myself (not so bad, but again, the goal is to use existing stuff, not go hanging myself up in the throes of creation).

LANKHMAR - City Of Adventure

More pulp from the mind of Fritz Leiber. Nexus of craziness!

Pros: Lots of info available; Thieves' Guild a plus; some old TSR adventures in the closet; underground city of sentient rats!

Cons: I don't have a map; I don't have a main reference book; I don't have a lot of time to re-read a buncha Leiber, as much as I'd like to.

WATERDEEP - City Of Elminst- uh, Splendors

The Forgotten Realms: Everything, The Kitchen Sink, Ten Brands Of Dish Soap and Another Sink Just In Case.

Pros: We have the old, big-ass AD&D 2nd Ed. boxed set, complete with big-ass map and big-ass info; Realms allows for transition to other types of themes and adventures if we feel like it; Amber likes her some Faerun.

Cons: Big-ass boxed set to read.

Good options all, and you can see why it's tricky. But my quest ends not there: two other things must be decided.

One is what system to use. I'm thinking easy, so it's either gonna be M20, D6 or Stories System. Low-prep is the key, but I still hafta decide.

The other...does she even want to play?

Hey! Look! A phone!