Something that I’ve seen happening with increasing frequency at my gaming table, in the last years, is new campaign worlds becoming old news very fast.
Probably it comes from the players being old hands, after more than twenty years of gaming together.
Or maybe it’s because some of them have set up their own games in those same universes, and know them inside out.
Or who knows, maybe they know by now that their keeper is a sucker for pirates, old pulps and retro-tech, and they start second-guessing him (me) instead of just playing the game.
Or maybe we’re just getting too old for all of this and should go back to Risk! and Clue.
Whatever the reason, old gamers tend to become complacent, or jaded.
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
So I started giving them the Big Switcheroo.
The first time was when they started yawning and playing too-cool-for-the-room as we were playing Pirates of the Spanish Main
Yes, I know, I told you – sucker for pirates, right?
Character creation and some piracy were all right, but after the second boarding, the guys were starting to play distracted.
So I slipped in a Mysterious Artifact (R).
I got the obvious knowing looks.
This was going to turn into a fantasy/horror campaign. They knew all about how such things worked.
So when things went Bang! and suddenly they were fending off savage white apes in the middle of a desert, under a red sky, they suddenly were
Whaddyamean this is Mars??!
Silencing the hard science fiction fans at my table thanks to a handy little bit of conceptual arms waving (as in “interdimensional portal, Tunguska-like event, you know, spacetime distortion, Isaac Newton playing with alchemy shut up and roll those dice”), I simply landed my Pirates of the Spanish Main characters on Savage Mars.
And it was a hoot of a campaign.
Clearly, using a generic set of rules does help a lot – the campaign switch game is a lot easier when you don’t have to rewrite your characters in order to change universe.
Savage Worlds settings allow for quite a few options, from the obvious
- Pirates of the Spanish Main into 50 Fathoms
to the why didn’t I think about it
- Weird War II into The Day After Ragnarok
to the less than obvious
to the didn’t Harry Turtledove write something like that?
- Weird Wars: Rome into Beasts & Barbarians
to the do you feel lucky, punk?
- 50 Fathoms into Pirates of the Spanish Main into The Savage World of Solomon Kane1
If the thing can be pulled with a modicum of class and elegance – and what is roleplaying without class and elegance – it’s a simple way to inject new life in a campaign showing signs of fatigue.
- and yes, this time it’s you that Kane’s hunting! ↩