Monday, January 13, 2020

Preparing Sewer Rats, Part 1 (Base Premise & Prep Tools)

I think it's vital to have a filler game - something you can easily set up and run when you're missing people from your campaign, have to run on short notice, or have a schedule too unreliable to make a campaign work.

In my group, Libra has been serving as our filler game, but it takes longer to prep than I'd like (reading Delta Green shotgun scenarios can only get you so far), and everyone's starting to get bored. So, with the new year starting, I began:

Sewer Rats

Sewer Rats is an idea largely stolen from this D&D Wiki post, where someone created a premise for a low-fantasy dungeoncrawler, and promptly ruined everything by deciding to run it in 3.5e.

This series will be comprised of 4-ish posts, probably completed within the next month:

1: Base Premise and Prep Tools
2: Bestiary
3: Equipment and Progression through Self-Debasement
4: Finishing Touches
X: Play Reports

Base Premise

Sewer Rats is an Into the Odd campaign where the players work as repairmen/pest control in the sewers and other under-places of a fantasy metropolis. They're underfunded, underequipped, overstressed, and have learned from experience that everyone who outranks them is dangerously incompetent at best and actively malicious at worst. (If your underlings die, you get to report "unusually high danger", netting you a nice raise thanks to your "increased responsibility".)

The gameplay loop is simple - enter the dungeon, complete your Objectives, realize the map your superior gave you is wrong, nearly die, get rewarded with new equipment from the Ratcatcher's Guild, repeat. It's a nice, simple dungeon crawl with as little extraneous nonsense as possible.

Everything is going to be done entirely as-written in Into the Odd - I know that if I start changing anything it'll just end up as a classless GLOG hack, and I want to try another system for a

Prep Tools

One of the main reasons I'm transitioning to this campaign is the ease of prep: with a bit of work now, making dungeons later will be quick and easy.

The first step here is maps, where there are 3 standard options:
1. make your own map because you're not lazy
2. grab premade maps
3. use a random map generator

Now, all of these options have some problems: I'm not going to make my own maps because I am lazy, eventually I'm going to run out of premade sewer maps, and random map generators don't know how to make a decent map and I'm too grumpy to deal with it.

So instead, I commit heresy.

Instead of any of those normal reasonable options, I decided to do all of them at once. I went over to Dyson's Dodecahedron, searched for "sewer", grabbed all the maps, and frantically cut them apart into vague shapes, before rebuilding them to make horrid monstrosities like this.


Next, we have to put things in them; monsters will be coming later, but for know the most important thing is Objectives - things (other than "kill kill kill clear the dungeon") you have to accomplish before you leave. I'm splitting these into Primary (not completing your primary objective makes the Ratcatcher's Guild "somewhat irritated"), and Secondary (completing secondary objectives gives you rewards in the form of extra equipment).

1d6 x 2 Objectives
  1. Primary: A group of Guildsmen went down into the sewers and haven't come back. Rescue everyone still alive. Secondary: Bring back the bodies and equipment of any casualties.
  2. Primary: A pipe's shattered. Escort a repair team down and protect them while they fix it. Secondary: Keep all of the repair team members alive.
  3. Primary: Some kind of monster has killed the last two teams we sent down there. Get rid of it. Secondary: Capture the monster and bring it back up to the surface.
  4. Primary: Bring down this giant pile of volatile explosives and detonate them here. Secondary: Go through and clear out the area on the other side.
  5. Primary: Make a map of this area. Secondary: Prep the area for others to come through (disarming traps, building bridges).
  6. Primary: We think one of the other Guildsmen parties is "losing" their equipment down in a sewer, then retrieving it to sell. Follow them on their next mission. Secondary: If our suspicions are right, capture them and bring them up to the surface.

1 comment:

  1. I'm into this idea. I want to do this except the party are the Super Mario Brothers or knockoffs. Gives me a bit of a Goblin Slayer vibe as well.


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