D&D as a setting for Yellow Dawn?
A global apocalyptic event or a regional phenomenon
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for Yellow Dawn (RPG). I had my first game session for 2013 last month, where we concluded a brief, eerie and brutal “character killer” scenario written by Simon Brake, called ROOTS (read session notes). It’s pure H.P.Lovecraft. Great piece of work from Mr Brake. Dark goings-on in a remote landscape: easy to adjust to the “new wilderness” concept in post-apocalyptic Yellow Dawn. The scenario itself was perfect for this point in the life-cycle of the character group, which had been in existence since I first drafted and ran beta test sessions of Yellow Dawn as a game system (back in 2007).
So a poignant moment, seeing a lot of familiar faces either dying horribly or being driven close to total insanity by the unyielding, corrupting force of the Mythos. One character actually changed entirely, physically and psychologically to finally embrace the pure spirit of the Great Old One that had come to dominate so much of his waking life.
It was an especially satisfying example of a Mythos orientated scenario working really well within Yellow Dawn.
Note, I wrote Yellow Dawn specifically to be adaptable to a number of scenario flavours: Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk and Shadowrun were at the forefront of my mind. These were the games I grew up on. These are the genres I write my novels within. But I’ve since found Yellow Dawn adapts itself well to other flavours. Westerns, where the Wilderness of post-apocalyptic Earth can be swapped in for the plains, prairies and mountains of the Wild West that spread along the Oregon Trail and Gold Rush fevers; the brutal treatment of The Changed can be compared to some examples of what happened to Native American Indians when conflict erupted between the new and old.
I reckon it could work with D&D, too. Michael Tresca and I exchanged emails some time ago about an RPG campaign he was hoping to set up for his players, using Yellow Dawn as a setting:
MT: I’ve been pushing hard for my next campaign to be set in your universe, a post-apocalyptic horror taking place at the start of Yellow Dawn when the robots begin eliminating everyone who is infected…
But it seems his players just wanted to stick with D&D.
Which led to this idea.
Having Yellow Dawn taking place within the D&D Universe.
Rather than robots attacking everything as Day Zero unfolds… it is warforged, operating under a council edict to remove a dangerous “magickal” infection from spreading through humans. Throw in a totally unknown aspect of Hastur (a D&D version ) which begins to take hold of reality. It would be a wonderful twist to the usual hack and slash D&D experience, with characters finding their physical and magickal prowess undermined by the brutish, bone-crushing onslaught of warforged: these things actually leave the characters be as they’re not Infected. Followed by the madness of the King in Yellow’s entry into this medieval realm of fantasy. As to what could have caused Yellow Dawn to happen in a D&D setting. No such thing as a corporate merchant cruiser crashing into the atmosphere as it hurtled in from Deep Space… but perhaps the very human architects of this insane scheme sent something up into the atmosphere (a version of a meteorological balloon?) with the required items attached ready to – detonate. A chaotic medley of alchemical, organic, necromantic and Mythos compounds, fused and scattered by whatever was loaded onto the ascending device as an explosive catalyst.
It’s totally untested and could be blowing smoke out of my arse, but I reckon it would be great to hear from any D&D folks who fancy giving it a go. Get in touch if you do.
Great Southern Land
On another front, I’ve had the pleasure of striking up dialogue with a chap in Australia called Joshua Hanson.
He’s taken a wonderful depth of interest in the Yellow Dawn universe and is now working on the first draft of an Australian sourcebook for the game. Working title: “Great Southern land”.
Early days yet. But it’s likely to contain:
- Some new weaponry and additional modern combat techniques
- Use of drones with smart / AI emulation software
- Dramatic destruction of extreme weather caused by the meteorological shifts the followed in the wake of Day Zero, with Australian suffering some of the more brutal weather reactions
- Notes on Mythos infestation(s) in the badlands away from the Living Cities but perhaps disturbingly close to remote survivor settlements
It all promises to be rather exciting. For me, there’s just a huge pleasure and grinning anticipation in waiting to see the output of another mind that is engaging with one of my creations. It will be the product of Joshua Hanson but couched within a setting that is familiar, couched in the language of Yellow Dawn.
I’ll post updates over time.
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