02 03 Nerd Lunch: Oddly Shaped Dice: 999 A.D. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Oddly Shaped Dice: 999 A.D.

Well, I’ve been taking a good look at the recent Star Wars RPG Saga Edition, and I like a lot of what I see. A clever fellow over on the Enworld message board came up with a set of house rules to adapt the system to Conan-style swords-and-sorcery...low magic, no demihumans, etc. That sounds like a nice change of pace to me...the “Christmas Tree” aspect of D&D (where every character is expected to have all sorts of magical doo-dads) has never sat right with me. I just finished a great little book called “The Year 1000" which talks about everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England back in the day. And it seems to me this would make a great RPG campaign.

So...the campaign would be called 999 A.D., and it’s about a band of warriors traveling hither and yon at the turn of the last millennium, seeking fortune and glory. This might work best with a mixed party — Normans, Picts, Vikings, Celts, Britons, maybe something more exotic like an Arab (a la The 13th Warrior) or a Native American (a la Pathfinder). In the background of these adventures is the looming threat of the End of the World, which would probably take the form of a semi-pagan reading of the Book of Revelations...or it could be some kinda crazy Lovecraftian thing, or a straight-up Norse Ragnarok, or something weirder.

The starting adventure would be “The Magnificent Seven” homage — the monastery has been hit by Viking raiders once too often, and so the monks go out and hire some warriors, and wackiness ensues. This would also set up an interesting PC if one of the young monks decides to take up arms and then has nowhere else to go...that gives you a tremendously learned character who has led a sheltered existence (and who needs to take some levels of Fighter a.s.a.p.)

Could you do “Enter the Dragon”? Of course you could. A wealthy king could hold a contest of champions, offering a great prize and a spot on the royal bodyguards to the victor. You could even make this unarmed combat...the Interweb tells of many crazy people of European extraction obsessed with reviving the lost art of Viking wrestling or Celtic boxing or whatnot.

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