Atlas Reckoning in fantasy land

OK, I've been slacking at keeping my journal updated, but hey, work and life and such. I'll get there. There's a D&D 5E campaign I started playing in, and more than a few Story Games Glendale meetups... I'll get to those eventually. But first...

Atlas Reckoning...

I've written about the game before, but it really does have something I really dig. A combination of that collaborative world building that happens at the start of many PbtA games, combined with battletech imagery, and giant monsters, and great archetype characters, and the flavor of so many animes. The last two story game meetups I've brought it at the ready, and this time I got to play it.

...with Dwarves, and Goblins, and Wizardly abominations

So, I've had the idea floating that it would be great having a fantasy flavored version of the game, and specifically with dwarves and goblins having to sync together to get things to work. Atlas Reckoning really supports pretty much any setting, as the world building is part of the game. That said, you'd have to do the normal tweaks with some of the technology names, but that's not so hard.

Amazingly enough, just a few months after this thought I found this lovely image on Ray Otus' Google plus stream (in regards to some of his Patreon goals), which sort of captures what I'm getting at:

Only my friend Harry showed up at the last Story Games Glendale meetup, and we spent the first half catching up and talking games and family.

Then we decided on trying Atlas Reckoning in this world. We decided to go for a diesel punk style setting with Dwarves and Goblins being old enemies in the underworld, but needing to work together due to very lethal, bizarre monsters invading their realm. Dwarves are the engineers and have creating large (dwarf-looking?) machinery, and Goblins are the less machine savvy of the two, but are able to harness arcane energies through giant slug-like creatures which they control through massage and mushrooms. I.e.: Dwarves create the robots and power them through diesel and coal-type technology, and Goblins control the armaments and power required to hurt the creatures that are threatening the realm.

It was just the two of us, so this would be a GM-less variant of the game, with the two characters:

  • Harry as The Hunter: Snagrunch (callsign: Jagen) from Birthing chamber 3 under the mountain.
  • Tomer as The Leader: Thurg Strongmead IX (callsign: Mead) from Dwarfhold of Antaris V.

Our Atlas was named Stalag-Might. We setup our initial traits separately, and the overlap was uncanny: Snagrunch with "Disgrace of the goblin queen", and Thurg with "The goblin queen Ragsu stabs my father, the Dwarven King". We both were ready to work together, but it was obvious that we prioritized our race above the other, and would relish the opportunity to destroy our old enemy if the opportunity came.

For the goal of the game, we decided on: Finding the wizards that are spawning these monstrous aberrations. In fact, as we started going down that path, we thought that elven wizards would be a perfect enemy. But we were also comfortable with this just being a theory that the dwarves and goblins had, but who knows where these things actually come from. I was picturing the old AD&D 1st edition Aboleth as a starting point for what these might look like:

Aboleth from 1st edition D&D

Aboleth from 1st edition D&D

Unfortunately we were running short on time and Game Haus was closing shortly, but we were able to quickly setup and mostly resolve an initial, easy combat. Basically enough to give us the thirst for more.

Both of us were very enthused to continue exploring this game. I'm still nowhere near fluent in the mechanics, but the newest 3.0 beta version of the rules aren't nearly as hard to grok as the initial variants. Until next time...