Friday, August 30, 2019

Doctors of Lisbon - Campaign Intro

When I start DMing a new game, I always write a little intro blurb so I don't have to repeat myself over and over. Here is the intro blurb for our current campaign.
Doctors of Lisbon
It's 1488 and everybody is sick, their lives are dull, and their food is bland. Happily for the wealthy upper crust of Portugal, certain agencies exist that specialize in procuring the rarest of spices and finest of medicines. The brave men and women of the adventuring corps risk life and limb for immense wealth in the tiniest packages - assuming they make it back hale in body and mind.

Are you up to the challenge that these adventurers face? Creep across enemy lines for Coriander, brave the temples of Brazil for certified pure Mummy dust, and acquire ethically sourced organic bezoars from disreputable farmers as you quest on behalf of the doctors of Lisbon!

The Setting

DoL is based on 15th century earth, but I'm taking a lot of liberties with the history. The fantastic is never far away, but don't assume that you already know the tropes.

I'm specifically focusing on Portugal and the empire of Portugal, which was the second largest empire at the time. Portugal occupied Brazil at this time and had a strong influence in the spice trade.

The Story

All the characters are part of an adventuring franchise corporation or soon to join - You get contracts, choose contracts, accomplish the objectives, bring back the loot, and get paid.

The Flavor

I think of DoL as fusion cuisine - you take old stuff and mix it with modern stuff to make something with the best of both worlds. If you are new, it is important to know its going to be different than many D&D games, but if you are familiar you are going to get a different vibe depending on the version of the game you play. It's easier than 1st edition D&D, but harder than 3rd, 4th, or 5th edition.

For players who want to play ‘hardcore’:
CAUTION: In my role as DM, I might kill or maim your character, but I might also reward your characters with immense wealth. This game is high risk, high reward. :)

For players who want to play ‘softcore’:
CAUTION: In my role as DM, I might incapacitate or maim your character, but I might also reward your characters with immense wealth. This game is high risk, high reward. :)

The Players

This game is played ‘West Marches’ style - basically, I have 4-5 open slots at the table and the first people to jump on board get to play. If you miss the call, you get top priority on the next game.

Q & A

Virtual tabletop or face to face?

Face to face

How do we get started?

Read the Houserules, maybe reference the races doc, and then build a character as if you would in D&D 5e with the houserules in the houserules doc taking priority over the rules in the book. Glance over the social contract if you want.

IF YOU ARE NEW, you don’t have to do this alone - chat with me or another player to talk over getting started.

But I don’t have a copy of the D&D 5e rulebook!

Thats no problem - here is a free, legal PDF version: It doesn’t have all the rules in it, so we can make up some more. If you want to be a crossbow herbomancer or a faithful hound dog we can work something out - just talk to me about it. I’m very flexible about ‘homebrew’ rules.

Ok, I made a character, what do I do next?

Tell me about your character, and let me know when you are ready to play. I’ll include you when I notify everyone of the next game!

Accolades from the Dungeon Terrier: Hack & Slash

When I wrote the mysterious Quest for the Dungeon Terrier, I leaned on the resources, tricks, and techniques of my fellow OSR geeks. One of my favorite OSR luminaries is Courtney C of Hack & Slash.

Oh man, Hack and Slash is how I found the OSR, I think. One of my favorite blogging DMs, Courtney's content is top notch and has deeply influenced how I run games.

When writing dungeons, I'm always consulting reference works for inspiration and to help me work my way through sticky problems. Courtney has published two critical reference works for dungeon design:

Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design
This vital work describes a practical methodology for dungeon design taken from the ODND DMG, then builds tables and categories of rooms, curiosities, and hazards. I love this book for the tables of rooms alone. I wish the hazards got a bit more airtime, but what is there is a great jumping off point, and getting too far into traps gets into the whole 'skill subsystem' issue.

Now published as part of Blog Compendium II, Treasure almost completely solves the boring loot problem. As a bit of a 'Monty Haul' DM, I love treasure and seeing the players figure it out. I don't think I've given the players a single +1 sword or bag of unnamed gemstones since getting this book.

Finally, Courtney is writing something new! As I write this, he is at 20x his funding goal on a Kickstarter campaign for his next work: On Downtime and DemesnesI'm backed, the work is promising to be great, and I can't wait to see Courney's future success!