Campaign Idea 001 –
The Road Warriors
Everyone who has ever seen Mad Max knows that it would make an incredible campaign setting – the extreme environments, the limited resources and the never ending struggle to survive make this the perfect concept for a low fantasy campaign with a few twists. While the source material is not a perfect conversion, it inspired me to create a campaign concept that I really enjoyed running and the players really dug, some even volunteering to help me convert it into a standalone campaign setting.
While I am not here to pitch a product (Never made one), I would like to share how this campaign came to be and how the concepts of Mad Max led to one of my most fondly remembered games.
The first thing my campaign needed was a disaster of global proportions. In a setting like Dungeons and Dragons any old maguffin will do. Battle of the gods? Sure. Never ending rain? Alright. Invasion of demons? Whatever. I went with something just as cliche. In my campaign the weave of magic was torn apart when the goddess of magic was destroyed. Waves of wild magic tore across the world, bringing fire and brimstone, utterly devastating the world, turning it into a barren wasteland from the northern mountains to the southern jungles. Everything was gone, including the use of magic, except in the rarest bloodlines.
After the initial destruction, what was left of humanity came together in small pockets and villages, struggling to survive, but as Jeff Goldblum would have us remember – “life, uh, finds a way.”
28 Days Later
As the sentient species coalesced into groups, hideously warped creatures began appearing across the world. Smaller settlements were destroyed by these rampaging monstrosities forcing the races into ever more condensed societies until only a few dozen major settlements remained in the world.
Each settlement became known for its “economic” focus – much like Bullet Farm, Bartertown and Gas Town but with distinctly more fantasy names like Mithril city, The Hot Mines and Wellspring Oasis.
Each city did their best, but as settlements grew, they began to feel the pressure of limited resources. In fighting, rioting and more led to each location becoming a dictatorship, as the strong corralled the weak. Even with cruelty and domination keeping everything together by a thread, there was only one thing that would keep the settlements alive.
Trade with the other settlements.
The leaders of the settlement where your campaign begins have decided to send able bodied warriors to trade with another settlement. Your players are now Road Warriors, taking steam or coal fired wagons across the wastes to another settlement to trade. Along the way your players encounter roving gangs of raiders with sick names like Flayer Jack or Bloody Baron. Your wagon functions like an airship, with players modifying it in unpredictable ways until they truly have an engine of destruction. They give it a fun name like the doom buggy or lady murder. It becomes a sixth character that the players love almost more than their own character.
War of the Worlds
Eventually the players will want to be more than couriers, maybe even become warlords themselves, who knows! In my campaign they destroyed the leadership of 5 different settlements then took over the entire world. Each player took up the role of ruler over their own settlement. It was a beautiful story told through the eyes of a misanthropic society. There was no great evil, no saving the world and restoring it to its former glory. Just a rough and tumble campaign that left the players fulfilled and ready to move on after it had reached its logical conclusion.
Honestly, I could have pushed it longer, perhaps bringing them to face a threat bigger than warlords, but it just didn’t feel like it needed to go any further. It was a proper adventure, with plenty of the old ultra-violence, dark humor and a happy bunch of players.