I started a short mini-campaign of Dungeon World (Homebrew World) a few nights ago on Variant Roles called “From Us Came Dusk”. We play on Tuesday nights at 7pm US Central for two or three hours; the game will run for three more weeks. Players include Cole, Forta, Jessie, and Jimmy.
One of the nicer bits of HW is how “race” is just a “look” and I emphasized to the players that, as this game emphasized a science fantasy aesthetic, they didn’t need to feel restricted to humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings. They took the advice and started with an incredibly eclectic group of an imp, gnome, troll cyborg, and… elf/dragon/cloud person. I also asked them to create characters from the same village or at least the same basic area.
I kicked it off placing them at the entrance to an ancient vault near the village of Ikall. A “blue ghost” normally patrols this area, but no one has seen it lately. This worries the local elders. The surrounding forest apparently contains spherical spinning robots with claws, plus mechanical bees.
Once they entered, they dealt with a few maintenance drones (that actually presented no threat whatsoever) and got introduced to the vault systems which seem interested in testing biological specimens. They later dealt with a chaos spawn ambush, destroying it (upon which time it melted into black ichor) and repaired the “ghost” which was really just a robot with a metallic skeleton and a hologram for a body, which shifted from a bear to an angel.
Nettle: An antlered imp Ranger with the Forester background and a wolverine “pet” named Saoirse. (apparently the creature that raised her). She has a hilarious voice and demands to know what everyone else is doing in her forest.
Piper: A gnome Cleric with the Servant background. She’s more of a folk healer, really, who wears big hats with flowers in them and worships a goddess of the downtrodden who provides prosthetics.
Lucious: A cyborg troll Paladin who belongs to a Sacred Order that seems to engage in some sort of undisclosed technological research against the wishes of their neighbors.
Leuca: An elvish dragon Bard with some cloudy bits around their legs who is a Scholar. They engage in some technological research to figure out where they came from, but this appears to be separate from the Paladins’ research.
For this session, we used the “Vault of the Blue Golem” by Dyson Logos. Honestly, that was 90% of my preparation: choosing the dungeon and picking out a few monsters or other dangers inside it. From there, the hook questions practically wrote themselves.
Within the dungeon, I decided that the puddle on the map was a Chaos Ooze that excretes Chaos Spawn, and the spawn itself got a fresh description:
This spawn was once something living. Now it is unspeakable, a writing mass of flesh, tentacles, and bone, writhing deep in the earth. It does not speak, instead ululating hoarsely to share its pain with all those unfortunate enough to hear. Instinct: To unravel
(Even in my non-grimdark games, bits of this stuff still leak through. I can’t help myself…)
The hologolem’s secrets are not yet revealed – maybe in Session 2, though! I’ve written up an adventure front, though the steading of Ikall still needs details. Those things won’t be published until after Session 2 at least.