Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Some Notes for a Hammer Horror/Ravenloft/WFRP RPG campaign mashup

I had intended for this post to be part of the May RPG Blog Carnival, "Campaigns I'd Like to Run", but I did not get it wrapped up by the end of the month.

Transylvania, land of dark forests, dread mountains and black, unfathomed lakes, still the home of magic and devilry... Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires, is dead, but his disciples live on, to spread the cult and corrupt the world.

This campaign setting is a fantastic alternate-history horror mashup of the world as presented in Hammer Horror movies, Ravenloft, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The European landscape of this world has some of the fantastic elements found in alt-European settings such as Castle Falkenstein and Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death. Additional inspiration can be found in the Solomon Kane stories of Robert E. Howard, the Ravenloft art of Stephen Fabian, Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night, and GURPS Creatures of the Night.

What is the campaign about?

It is not heresy, and I will not recant!

The world is more that what it appears to be on the surface. Despite the perception that scientific study is bringing forward progress, folk legends and superstitions of the occult are true and very real. Werewolves roam the dark primeval forests, witches brew potions and place hexes on the unwary, ghosts roam the halls of power, sorcerers attempt to summon and bind demons, and vampires prey on the living. When confronted with this evidence, men and women of every station across Europe and around the world meet the challenge of holding back the forces of darkness in a secret war of wills and knowledge.

How does the game do this?

In much the same fashion as Call of Cthulhu, the player characters are ordinary people who find themselves investigating the malevolent machinations of vampire families, gorgons, witch cults, and other fantastic foes. Ingolstadt and Carlsbrück are likely central locations for the PCs to operate from.

I expect that most of what I would lift from the Ravenloft material would be locations and floor plans, general adventure seeds, inspiration for NPCs, and of course the art.

Most of my ideas for setting the tone of the campaign have been in deciding how to plan out the system and house rules.

* Lamentations of the Flame Princess for the base rules system (B/X D&D with some variations, and it already assumes an early modern historical setting).
* Careers from Small but Vicious Dog (B/X version of WFRP).
* Magic would be available as low-level cantrips and at higher levels, rituals. Some magic effects would be available through alchemical potions and devices for mad scientists.
* Either Jim's Death, Dismemberment and Dangerous Damage table or Kirin's Death and Dismemberment Table.
* Jack's Dark Secrets table from the first TotGaD compendium (for character backgrounds and future plot hooks).
* Aspects from FATE - These could be combined with the Dark Secrets to further add a cinematic quality to the characters. Also, more ways to complicate their lives.
* Firearms are tricky. I could cobble together something based on Renaissance d100, or use Dak's firearms rules. The updated printing of LotFP includes firearms rules, although I have not checked it.

Film Inspirations:

Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter
Brides of Dracula
Revenge of Frankenstein
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The Plague of the Zombies
The Vampire Lovers
The Curse of the Werewolf
The Devil Rides Out
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
Blood from the Mummy's Tomb
Taste the Blood of Dracula
Frankenstein Created Woman
Witchfinder General
Blood on Satan's Claw
Horror Express