Here is my latest thinking about the ‘stuff I’m itching to run someday’. Interesting how things evolve: see my posts in late 2020, early 2020, early 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2014 of things I was itching to run in prior years.
My top settings (and associated game systems) I’d like to run someday (or play in) as long-term (30-75 game) campaigns are:
Pulp / Historical
- Gangbusters (d100) — 1920’s Pulp Noir crimefighting in the era of prohibition, gangsters, and noir detective mysteries. Run as a co-GM’d campaign, possibly using the original game has five game modules but with an updated ruleset. One cool possibility would be to include a murder board (see my post on that here).
- Boot Hill (D&D 5e or 2d6 / Rider RPG) — Use Cepheus Engine ‘Rider’ rules with Liberty town setting. Can be used in Wild, Weird, or Future West.
- Star Trek: The Original Series [Investigation/Sci Fi/Stellar Enigmas/Starship Battles] (Fate or Traveller RPG) — Despite continuing tensions with the Romulans, Starfleet remains focused on its mission of exploration. A key area in achieving that end is a massive swath of unexplored territory at the edges of known space within the Beta Quadrant. Informally known as the Shackleton Expanse, this remote region spans dozens of sectors containing hundreds of uncharted systems. Until recently, little was known about the Expanse save for what little data long-range sensor probes had collected and the stories and legends that were culled from independent traders who claimed to travel in and near the Expanse. You are Starfleet officers who explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no one has gone before. Could alternately set in the Taurus Reach, the Lucanii Drift, or The Triangle, and use Shackelton Expanse, The Triangle, and/or the Lucanii Drift setting books.
- Firefly [Space Western] (Firefly/Cortex or Fate RPG) — Find a crew, find a job, keep flying. A post-Unification War space western using either the Firefly RPG (using a slightly older version of Cortex, but 95% the same as Cortex Prime) with a couple of house rules imported from Cortex Prime, OR the Fate RPG.
- Shadows of Redmark [Dark Sandbox Fantasy] (D&D 5e or Dungeonworld) — Levels 1-8 game set in city-state of Redmark. Characters start poor but have an opportunity to gain favor from Redmark’s Empress, and as reward they gain a commission as a member of the Ministry of Moribund Malefactions, an X-Files type organization which gives them ‘dead’ (moribund) and under-investigated crimes or mysteries to pursue, which would seem innocuous but which would turn into bigger adventures. Outside these jobs PCs could run around and get into as much trouble as they want, with sandbox freedom. One-page dungeons, Trilemma adventures, and Candlekeep Mysteries are great resources to run these adventures. We could do a shared DM setup, and optionally to a Mouseguard style Adventure Phase / Player Phase type structure to ensure player spotlights.
- Eberron Inquisitives [Fantasy Noir] (D&D 5e) — Eberron is a war-torn world filled with magic-fueled technology, airships and lightning trains, where noir-inspired mystery meets swashbuckling adventure. We’d have multiple GMs and could use use the highly-rated 13-session Convergence Manifesto series of adventures produced by Eberron-creator Keith Baker. These D&D 5e modules run 4 hours each and form a connected story arc. Alternatively, we could use Candlekeep Mysteries. Setting book has great sandbox tools, I have most of the minis I’d need, lots of organized play adventures but lacks 1-sheet adventures.
- Acquisitions Incorporated [“Office Comedy” D&D] (D&D 5e) — I’ve not heard the Acquisitions Inc. actual play games, but the tone of an “Office Comedy” D&D campaign sounds pretty fun! Would be interesting to run a less serious, comedic campaign (although, like The Office, you can still have meaningful character arcs). The included mini-campaign takes you from levels 1-6 which (if married to some custom player-focused side quests) is in that sweet spot of below-level-10 adventuring. The downtime and henchmen/employee rules are supposed to be solid. Also, the franchise-oriented downtime mechanics would be of particular interest to one of our players who already likes to write up rules for stock and business plans in our campaigns 🙂
Gaslight Heroes [Steampunk Supers] (Marvel Multiverse or Fate RPG) — Mid-30’s alternate reality superheroes noir setting, this time set in NY City. Game system TBD.
- Trinity [Teen Superhero Drama] (Masks RPG) — A Smallville inspired superhero setting set in the small town in Texas named Trinity, probably in the 80s, back in the days before cell phones. This setting would use something like a Dresden-styles Pathways exercise (I like the mechanics in the Primetime Adventures RPG with their Set rules] to collaboratively build the setting and thereafter would be a sandbox with a lot of player-driven roleplaying and interpersonal drama in addition to supervillains. See my earlier post in 2020 for additional details.
- The Great Pendragon Campaign — The epic campaign using the prize-winning King Arthur Pendragon roleplaying game. Eighty years of campaign detailed year-by-year provide the background, on-going events and adventures that define structure of King Arthur’s glorious reign.
One-Shots and B-Campaigns
Things to run when the main campaign games don’t have quorum or we’re needing a pickup game.
- Solomon Kane [1600’s Fantasy/Horror/Monster-Hunters] (Fate RPG) — Cut a righteous path in a world of evil! You have seen the path to redemption, a road paved in the blood and bones of the evil you must defeat to save the world from its unholy taint. Face that which preys on men’s dreams, their fears, and their very souls. Walk The Path of Kane. Your enemies span the globe, reaching out from every shadowy corner of all four continents. Men, magic, and monsters of the darkest hearts and basest desires threaten the very world you tread. Humanity is lost without the will and steel of good folk like you. Not a sandbox, but 100+ one-sheet adventures and a plot point campaign. Great for episodic adventures. Simple conversion.
Here is a list of other campaigns that I’d potentially be interesting to run at some point, but not just yet. In particular, I am quite sure I’ll be doing another Middle-earth campaign!
Sandbox City Campaigns
- Mage Cops™ (Fate) — Wizard constables tackle crimes-of-the-week in NYC.
- Dresden Files (Dresden Files Accelerated or Dresden Files RPG (older Fate edition)) — Original Dresden Files universe characters in a city TBD. (Holding off till I read more of the books).
- Crimefighters (2d6 or Marvel Multiverse) — Mid-30’s alternate reality Super Noir setting, this time set in NY City. Also listed under the Alt-History section.
- Shadows of Redmark City Campaign (D&D) — See above.
- World of Greyhawk City Campaign (D&D) — Levels 1-8 game set in the World of Greyhawk, perhaps run as a campaign with shared GMs.
- Eberron Inquisitives [Fantasy Noir] (D&D 5e) — See above.
Pulp / Space Opera
- Steamrunner (Fate RPG) — Inspired by Airship Pirates, this is a post-apocalyptic steampunk Firefly-style setting. You play scoundrels with good consciences who do heists and missions in big neo-victorian cities, floating air cities, and the skylanes with airships. I’d pull in flashback style heist mechanics like you see in Leverage and Blades in the Dark.
- John Carter of Mars: Phantom of Mars (Fate or Modiphius 2d20 system, simpler than the Star Trek 2d20 system) — Uncover the nefarious conspiracy of the mysterious organization known as the Eidolon as you adventure your way across Barsoom to save the people of the dying planet. Phantoms of Mars will take your heroes on a journey full of pulp-action, intrigue and heroism as they race to uncover the Eidolon conspiracy and see just how far it has spread. (Would be great for theater-of-the-mind and podcast Actual Play).
- Firefly: Civil War (Firefly or Fate RPG) — Epic mini-campaign conclusion to a Firefly campaign Todd, Mason and Stan were running a few years back.
- Firefly: Sandbox (Space Western) — (Firefly or Fate RPG) [Great for sandbox adventures, no minis needed, great for podcasting, 15+ page adventures but no one-sheets] A Post-Unification War series of adventures where the heroes get a ship, find a job, and try to keep flyin’. It will feel a lot like the Traveller campaign but the rules are more like Fate with a focus on fast-moving story and less on hard science.
- Star Trek (Investigation/Sci Fi/Stellar Enigmas/Starship Battles) — (Fate RPG) [Sandbox: Low, Recurring NPCs: Medium, Campaign Module: Yes, Minis Prep: No] — See above.
- Middle-earth: Gondor Campaign (The One Ring 2e)— Using the upcoming campaign setting by Gareth Ryder.
- Middle-earth: Moria Campaign (The One Ring 2e) — Using the upcoming campaign setting by Gareth Ryder.
- Middle-earth: Eriador Adventures (The One Ring 2e) — A new campaign, but this time westward in Eriador, other mysteries await. Delve into the ruins of overgrown Fornost, walk amidst the cairns of the Barrow-downs and venture to the lair of the Witch-king of Angmar himself, the ancient city of Carn Dûm — if you have the courage!
- Middle-earth: 4th Age Quest (The One Ring 2e) — Adventure in Middle-Earth a millennium before the Lord of the Rings. “Know this, people of Gondor: were it not for the selfless souls in Arnor who with flashing blades and spilled life-blood fought against the Witch-King and his foul blight in Angmar, our free lands would not have known peace, and our bright cities would long ago have crumbled into forgotten ruins.”
- Middle-earth: 2nd Age Adventures (The One Ring 2e) — Adventure in Middle-Earth in the 2nd Age, inspired by the upcoming Amazon Prime series.
- Middle-earth: The Shire Starter Set (The One Ring 2e) — Running the 5 part adventure in the starter set, where all the PCs are Hobbits in the Shire.
- Middle-earth: Rohan (The One Ring 2e) — Convert the 6 part TOR 1e adventures.
Fantasy (D&D 5e)
- Acquisitions Incorporated (D&D5e) — See above.
- World of Redmark: Caress of Steel (D&D 5e) — New sandbox D&D campaign based on the 80’s Rush albums ‘Caress of Steel’ and ‘Fly By Night’. (Not on the table for now due to work required to run this)
- World of Redmark: War in Welcant (aka ‘Green King’s War’) (D&D 5e or Dungeonworld) — New sandbox campaign inspired by Game of Thrones.
- Wuxia (The Art of Wuxia d100 system) — You play martial artists, using custom moves such as ‘Drunken Monkey Fist’, to do Wuxia style adventures in a fantasy asian universe. Battle corrupt Asian overlords, kung fu masters, dragons, unique evil asian monsters, while perfecting your martial arts.
Horror / Urban Fantasy
- Solomon Kane [1600’s Fantasy/Horror/Monster-Hunters] (Fate RPG) — See above.
- Rippers (Victorian Era Monster-Hunters with Superpowers) (2d6 or Fate RPG) — [City-based campaign to some extent (in London), 50+ one-sheet adventures and a plot point campaign, great for episodic adventures, more complex conversion.] To the ordinary people of Victorian society, monsters are but silly superstitions or the cheap fiction of the penny bloods sold on the streets. But you are far from ordinary. You have seen horrors fearsome enough to stop a brave man’s heart, and you have lived to tell the tale. You are a Ripper—one of a secret band of monster hunters dedicated to saving humanity—and the horrors that stalk the night are your prey. To aid in this struggle, Rippers extract the essence of these monsters’ powers and use them to enhance their own abilities. But be warned, by taking such horrific measures you risk losing your mind…or worse. Torn between the need for greater power and the threat of terrifying insanity, you must choose how best to fight the creatures of the night. Choose well, for if the Rippers fail humanity is lost!
- Blood on the Trail [Vampires in the Wild West] (Fate RPG) — You’re on a wagon train braving the perils west, only with vampires! This is a West full of difficult days and hard nights, where deprivation can kill you before the bloodsuckers in the night can. Wagons creak and in the dark, something screams. That’s Blood on the Trail.
- Arecibo [‘Stranger Things’ in Puerto Rico] (Fate RPG) — Stranger Things and the eldritch meets Puerto Rico in its darkest hours. In the municipality of Arecibo, frogs and crickets fell quiet, bringing stillness to the night. Slowly but surely, the children started to understand that something far worse than animals dwelled in their tropical paradise. You play kids who wind up encountering creatures and eldritch powers of other dimensions.
Historical and Alt-History
- Boot Hill (2d6 or d100 RPG) — See above.
- Heroes of Britannia (2d6 or d100 RPG) — A continuation of the setting introduced in this one-shot set in historic England in the 790s. You play Saxons struggling to survive amidst politics, feuds, and the rising invasions of the Danes. If I am running this, I’d prefer to use my own D6 home brew rules including Mass Battle rules, which I think played well in our one-shot.
- Greek Campaign — A Greek inspired setting could be cool, using either the WOTC ‘Mythic Odysseys of Theros‘ (also see here) or ‘Odyssey of the Dragonlords’, with some inspiration from Evil Hat’s ‘Agon’. Also see this.
- Reich America: The Shadow Covenant (2d6 RPG) — Resistance fighters uncover a terrifying secret about the Final Reich.
- Crime Fighters (2d6 or Fate RPG) — Mid-30’s alternate reality superheroes noir setting, this time set in NY City. Game system TBD.