Pointcrawling in a Generation Ship Campaign, Part 1

Within a couple of weeks I’ll be starting my first online campaign (through Google Hangouts and Roll20) as a GM. I’m kind of nervous but mostly excited. We’ll be using the Mutant Future rules from Goblinoid Games (the same who made Labyrinth Lord), while the setting will be a Metamorphosis Alpha-inspired generation ship of my own making – the Mutual of Omaha Spacecraft Vonnegut.

As the ship name might tell you, it’ll be a milieu of quasi-gonzo existential horror (in spaaaace!), but when it comes to world-building, I’ve got no worries. I trust myself, but with regards to actually running the game, I’m a bit less sure of myself. This is particularly in the case of how to handle the subdecks, or what might be more accurately named inter-decks – those more spaceshippy decks with futuristic corridors and haunted maintenance tunnels between the massive biome decks traditionally known in Metamorphosis Alpha.

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But I think I’ve come upon a solution: Chris Kutalik’s posts on pointcrawling. (I recently joined Chris’s Tuesday night Hill Cantons campaign.)

At first, I imagined the subdecks as massive dungeons, seeing as how their tunnels span same miles of the biome decks, and nearly panicked. But clearly pointcrawling is the answer. Sprinkle in a few important sites across the deck, narrate some corridor travel, roll for random encounters, and voila! everything looks great. I plan on combining this with a traditional hexcrawl format in the biomes, but we may handle exploration of these decks as a pointcrawl, at times, too. I’ll just see what works best. Additionally, whenever the PCs arrive at a subdeck site, we’ll switch over to dungeoncrawling.

Most of this is probably pretty obvious to some who’ve run a Metamorphosis Alpha campaign before, but I’m glad to have worked out what I hope is a good plan of action. I’ll write future posts talking about how this worked out. In the meantime, does anyone else have any experience with running pointcrawl/hexcrawl combinations or Metamorphosis Alpha campaigns?

Gamma World/Metamorphosis Alpha/Mutant Crawl Classics Westworld-like Amusement Park Module/Setting [sort of Monday Map]

So I’ve begun working on an module. I don’t want to call it an “adventure,” necessarily, because my design philosophy on this one is pretty nonstandard. It will be structured more as a sandbox inside this far future amusement park facility and players and GMs will be given opportunities to approach the setting (and scenarios within) from several different angles.

The basics: The PCs will begin play as enslaved clones who basically serve as NPCs for the amusement parks patrons. The clones can be from one of five distinct settings. So far I’ve only decided on a Western setting, a prehistoric setting, and a noirish city setting. Two more are forthcoming. At the beginning, the PCs will be playing this as if they are actually living in these time periods and if it fits their playstyle, GMs will be encouraged to play everything else close to the chest, not letting their players know who or what they really are. After some initial plots involving these settings, an instigating event (determined from a random chart) will cause the facility to malfunction (further than it already has), revealing the truth of their reality to the PCs.


Map in Development (Four whole sheets of paper!)

There’s a lot more to this than I’m able to go into right now (including but not limited to sociopathic tram systems, antelope chutes, and a Nudelreich fast food franchise with its megalomaniac Nudelführer mascot). I ran an entirely improvised version of this some months ago and it went amazingly well. I enjoy it because it lets me merge my satirical scifi fiction-writing tendencies(which I don’t really talk much about on the internet) with my game-writing. The setting and scenarios are hugely inspired by PortalMetamorphosis Alpha, and a post about Dyson Logos’s R-AN (Northcott) Sociological Research Domes, probably to the point of bordering on plagiarism. Hopefully, this will be distinct enough to serve as an “expansion” of those ideas, though, and he won’t sue me.

Stay tuned!

Two Classic Dungeons

I drew these because I realized that I have very little in the way of, what I guess I could call, “digestible” dungeon maps–ones you might could go through in a single gaming session. One of the problems I have as a GM is running way too large of dungeons and getting stuck in the crawl for a few sessions instead of moving the story forward. The map on the right belongs to a style of dungeon architecture I’m going to start calling Stairmaster Revivalism.

Anyway, here they are.
aug 11 (small map 1) aug 11 (small map 2)

In other news concerning me, I’m working on a couple of comics, writing one and drawing/writing the other. Fortunately, my abilities in the drawing area have improved some since the last go at it. The blog will still focus on game material, though. A few things on schedule in the next couple of months include a non-0-level character sheet and barbarian class for Dungeon Crawl Classics and perhaps a campaign journal from my 5th edition D&D game accompanied by custom material I’ve created for it.

Billy Longnio