Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shadows Over London, A Pathfinder Campaign of Gothic Fantasy

What awaits these adventurers within the
tomb of this ghostly maiden?
On the 29th of this month, Paizo will be releasing Occult Adventures, a hardcover supplement that will give Game Masters mechanics for implementing more occult elements into their games (like chakras, possessions, mindscapes, etc.). The book will also include six new classes that utilize a new power source called "psychic magic".

Anyone who's been following this blog for the past year or so should know that I'm already a big fan of these classes and have been excited for this book since it was announced. Now that it's only a few weeks away, my mind has started to contemplate new campaigns that will allow me to use the information and mechanics presented within the book in interesting ways.

That's where today's post comes in. During my short hiatus from the blog last week, I had an idea for an interesting campaign. What if I ran a game that used the six psychic magic classes as its sole spellcasters? This little idea gave birth to what I'll be referring to as "Shadows Over London".

Like the old Masque of the Red Death sub-setting for Ravenloft, Shadows Over London would be set on our very own Earth during the late 19th Century. As the name implies, the game would most likely lean towards Gothic Horror or Dark Fantasy genres, with the characters the dark corners of Victorian London, fighting terrifying beasts many people believe to just be fairy tales meant to frighten children.

As I said earlier, arcane and divine spellcasters would not be allowed. The only spellcasters player can use would be the Kineticist, Medium, Mesmerist, Occultist, Psychic, and Spiritualist. Players could also use the Alchemist, Barbarian, Brawler, Fighter, Gunslinger, Investigator, Rogue, Slayer, & Swashbuckler classes as well. I might allow the Ranger, but they will have to use the Spell-Less variation found in Kobold Press' New Paths Compendium. I could also see allowing the Vigilante as well, but the Warlock & Zealot specializations would have to be heavily re-themed to better fit the idea of the campaign. Obviously the only racial option would be the Human. At least, at first.

Since armor would seem somewhat out of place, I'd probably use the Defense Bonus idea from Unearthed Arcana so people could still have decent ACs without having to worry about armor. I'd probably also cap the game at 12th level, which I feel would create a power level that better fits the tone I'm going for. I'd also be using the automatic bonus progression from Pathfinder Unchained so I could make magic items more rare, mystical, and most likely cursed as well.

The exact nature of the game is still kind of fuzzy since this is currently a very rough sketch. However, I have a basic idea for how the characters come together and begin investigating the supernatural. Each PC would have had some interaction with the paranormal, which brings them into contact with a shadowy organization that exists to fight monsters while keeping knowledge of them a secret from the rest of the world. Kind of like a Victorian BRPD, but more along the lines of a secret society than a government organization.

This idea will probably remain sitting on the metaphorical shelf for awhile since I'm currently in a few games at the moment. However, I'll probably be using that time to brainstorm some new ideas, scrub away the rougher edges, and get some of my ideas in order. Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments below and go ahead and use the idea yourself if you want to. I won't claim this is an original idea (it's not), so go ahead and use this as a starting point for your own games, I won't mind.