Saturday, September 18, 2010

Labyrinth Lord and a World Building Exercise

So, my son's interest has wandered back to Labyrinth Lord, which is where we started our RPG journey.

He told me he wanted to play a dwarf. I had him roll six times and apply the results as he wished. This way he was assured a dwarf. A bit latter he told me he wanted the dwarf to be a prince and wield a bone long sword. He was worried about rust monsters, he explained. I could see making his character a prince but I had reservations about the bone sword. I thought that in order to be a sturdy sword the bone sword, or 'Bone Sword' as I started thinking of it, should be a magic sword. And I wasn't going to give a starting character a magic sword. So I decided he needed to go on a quest for it. But why? I determined that I would have to work it into the background of the campaign world somehow. Then I realized that I needed to create a campaign world, which I haven't done in 30 years.

And here is the result:

From the Granite Shield Mountains in the East to the Greycap Ocean in the West, the land of Kalonin was peaceful and happy. The Three People lived in harmony ruled by the Council of Three Kings, a dwarf, an elf and a human. They reigned with the assistance and advice of the Gathering, an assembly comprised of representatives of each of the Three People. The land was prosperous and few knew want. But this golden age was fated to end. Dark forces began to gather in the wastelands beyond the Granite Shield Mountains. A Necromancer of enormous power began to weld the fractious Orcs, Goblins and other vile creatures into a powerful army. To prepare his way, the Necromancer sent twisted humans, dark elves and greedy dwarves into Kalonin to spread the tendrils of Chaos. The agents did their job well. Soon dissension and distrust began to split the peoples and the Kingdom. The evil ones preyed on the weak and greedy of all the races. The land was on the verge of civil war when the Necromancer struck. The hordes of Chaos poured through the mountains and into Kalonin. The battles swept across the verdant land leaving destruction, ruin and anarchy in their wake. The armies of the Three Peoples fought valiantly but, because of the dissension, separately. The lack of unity hampered the defence efforts and prolonged the war. Both the Dwarf king and the king of the Humans fell in battle. The Elf king also fell fighting the Necromancer but with his dying breath he unleashed a powerful sorcery which allow him to vanquish the evil entity with the Bone Sword. Without the Necromancer's leadership, the remainder of the forces of Chaos were destroyed or dispersed.

Kalonin was devastated. The end of the war saw none of the breaches between the Three Peoples heal. Each group shunned the others. The Elves disappeared into the Great Northern Forest and the Dwarves withdrew into the valleys and tunnels of the Granite Shield Mountains. The Humans had been the most populous and had suffered the greatest loses. To this day they have not been able to refill the land and many abandoned towns and other ruins dot the countryside. There is still a Human king but his power is much diminished. He controls nothing beyond his shrunken capitol. The rest of the land is ruled by local lords and other strongmen. The Dwarf king still rules but the Elves did not replace their fallen leader and live in independent bands in their forest fastness.

And this is the background for my son's character, who as yet is unnamed. The character's father is the son of the Dwarf king's youngest son. Thus he is a prince but not a powerful one. His father has been charged with running an isolated iron mine. The work is important but not glamorous. A large band of orcs attack the mine, a prelude to a larger invasion. The Dwarves fight valiantly, but in the end, futility. Just before leading the remaining warriors in a final stand, the character's father tasks him with taking the news to the Dwarf king. He also states that he believes the Necromancer is somehow behind the attack. It is a harrowing journey but the character makes it and delivers the message. His grandfather, the king, is greatly troubled. He tells his grandson the story of the Bone Sword and that the sword disappeared after the final battle and no one knows its location. Then he sends him on a quest to find the sword.

I have a map of the kingdom in mind and will post it if I can create decent rendition of it.

What do you think?


  1. Sounds like a good, solid fantasy setting. You've got enough to drive soem good stories and everything seems to have a definite spot there.