Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dead Iconic

Totems of the Dead by Gun Metal Games. Its a Savage worlds game right now but I wouldn't be surprised if it got the Pathfinder treatment too at some point.

A bit busy for the cover IMHO
Better? Very evocative!!!

What a strange idea from which to bring forth lots of cool - Vikings sail to America and settle in Vinlund (historical fact) and Native American tribes are warring with Wedigo's and Atlantis.  In Matt Kisser's words the games dev "I was daydreaming about how cool it would be to have a fully fledged fantasy setting based not on the standard European and Asian mythological fare, as cool as that stuff can be, but rather one loosely inspired by the rich history and mythology of the native peoples of the Americas".

Essentially the setting is a Sword and Sorcery not high fantasy setting which will scream Conan or Kull to you if your like me.

I've only just got my hands on this lovely book the "players guide" and now I really want to get the GM's guide too but I'm disappointed it does not contain a full plot point campaign - which at one stage it was going to. Still the Player guide is so good I'll be ordering the GM's book too.

I'm still getting into the background of the game. I've always wanted to do a Last of the Mohicans type game and that has attracted me to game like Colonial Gothic, Witch Hunter, Northern Crown/Septentrionalis, The Savage World of Solomon Kane etc.  This give that type of feel, but is set much earlier in an alt-history Earth the time of Viking and the first empire-cultures of the world.

A Map of the "Untamed Lands"

I'll post more on my impressions of the game once I've read more. However even now I'm thinking this would make great source material for a sandbox game and it would be easy to use it as a setting for  an OSR game. This will be easier if a Pathfinder version does come out.

The essential conflicts of the games setting are:

1. The Arrival of the Skadians: The Skadian (Viking) settlers who came to the Untamed Lands had to conquer and displace a number of tribal peoples to establish themselves. While many of these conflicts have simmered down, many of the Skadian’s neighbors still nurse a grudge over the land forcibly taken from them. Meanwhile other Skadian groups, known collectively as the Sea Wolves, still raid the coastline, pillaging native communities and Skadian villages alike.

2. Spiritual Turmoil: The Skadians did not come to the Untamed Lands alone. A slower immigration of linnorm dragons, frost giants, and other such creatures followed them to the Untamed Lands. Like their human counterparts, these mythic beasts have disrupted and displaced local monsters and spirits, sparking conflict in the supernatural world that often bleeds over into the human realms.

The Skadians also seem to have brought with them the mysterious ‘Spirit Mist,’ a supernatural fog that blankets the land and weakens the barriers between the physical world and the spirit realms. When the Spirit Mist rolls in, one must beware of ghosts, illusions, and supernatural terrors lurking within the ethereal vapors. Of course this much upheaval in the spiritual world allows evil sorcerers to work black magicks and dark rituals hitherto undreamed of.

3. Environmental Decline: For unknown reasons, the crop yields across the land are falling. This famine is causing food shortages where there was once surplus, and has served as a stressor on inter-tribal relationships. Old enmities grow fiercer and new rivalries are igniting across the land. Landlocked tribal confederacies must go to war to expand their territories and feed the people of their shining cities. When supply runs short, some needs can only be answered with blood.

4. Foreign Invaders: Foreign invading forces now beset the Untamed Lands on both coasts by. The Atlanteans, a bizarre human culture ruled by Sorcerer-kings and possessed of advanced magic and technology, are invading from the eastern ocean. Their last attempt to conquer the Untamed Lands might have succeeded had their troops not been recalled to squelch a slave rebellion in their homeland. Now a second wave of Atlantean invaders threatens sweep over the land. Meanwhile the fierce Ruskar have descended from the frozen Northwest. These warriors are as cold and fierce as their frostbitten homeland, and they bring with them strange magics and terrible war-beasts. These vodka-fueled warriors weave webs of death with whirling steel blades and stain the arctic snow red beneath their booted feet.

5. Ambitions of the Aztlani Empire: A third battlefront threatens in the south, as the great Aztlani Empire completes the massive Coatyl road, linking several strategic oases to make the Great Barrier Desert far more passable than any point in history. With the ability to march their forces northward through the desert, the Aztlani now cast their imperial ambitions on the lands to the north.

6. Revenge of the Serpent People: In the background an ancient reptilian race plots from the shadows. The remnants of an ancient pre-human empire, the Sheti serpent people bide their time with cold-blooded patience, coiled and waiting to strike the heel of the embattled human civilizations. They vow in the names of forgotten gods to take back a world that was once theirs.

If ever the land needed heroes, that need is now.

I'll leave you with some art so you can see just how imaginative the game is :Be Warned: this will probably make you want to pick up the game and play it.

Atlantis. Decadent. Decaying. Deadly. The Big Stick of the setting.
A major Viking settelment in the Untamed Lands i.e. NthAmerica
Zipacan (Mesoamerican) Empire "Dungeon" Deadly!!!

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