30 June 2014

Low to High Fantasy: Goddamn This is Hard

Running megadungeons is hard.

My usual campaign is generally a low fantasy affair- think Game of Thrones, Elric of Melnibone, Warhammer Fantasy, and Norse mythology smooshed into a single world. It's a world of strife and mystery, see, a world where lowly peasants fight off bands of trolls while the lords plot and scheme in their castles. Where stone-faced priests root out demon cults, and where shades of black and white play out. It's a game of unearthed mysteries, of herculean and futile struggles, and of half-glimpsed horrors in the night. 

I'm doing the exact opposite of that this game.

In the Megadungeon, where Black is the deepest Black and White is a beam of light cutting through the night. Hideous and hateful monsters bellow challenges and when the heroes win, the world rejoices with them. They tell stories at inns, and people gather to cheer them on and wish well. The monsters, once defeated, band together in darker corners, cowed, and the shining heroes go forth once again. The ugly monsters are naturally horrible and easily manipulated by a greater evil, which is why they need to killed. There's no rehabilitation, because their minds are too corrupted by shadow. So go in there and clean the place up! We're in danger here!

It's a massive transition, and I'm not sure that I'm doing it right. It's second nature to have corrupted villains and shadowy plots to work with an enemy of an enemy but you know what? I'm trying to listen to some power metal to get my brain in the right place, and I'm going to try and read some Good vs Evil high fantasy stories to do better. One of my players said he'd like to be able to kill monsters and loot things without feeling bad about it. I can do better than that. I want the party to say "Fuck yeah, we stopped the Goblin Horde from burning Rakelia to the ground!"

But first I need more. If anybody has any suggestions of really good high fantasy novels, or power metal (or any similarly upbeat music) they want to throw my way, please do so. I need inspiration to make this game larger than life.

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