Runequest Thursday #39 - Savage North Update!

Clint Staples

A while back i posted about starting up a Runequest solo game set in The Savage North setting. I started this game as something that my wife Penny and I could play when we felt like it, or when other games fell through, etc. Savage North is statted for Openquest, which is a RQ derivative and very easy to port to RQ. Since the RQ system is a favorite for us both, and since the Savage North was a nice sword and sorcery setting, with a lot of open space to customize, it fit well with what we wanted.

I later mentioned that my wife had jumped in as  a co-GM to run games for a PC of mine. Since I have not had a chance to play as much as I would like, I was thrilled. I still am, and we are having a blast with that game too.

Well, last weekend, a friend of mine was over and we started a third solo game in the Savage North. We had thrown the idea around for a bit, and so we worked out a character and played.

Now there are three separate solo games, run by two different GMs, in the same setting. This takes a bit of managing.

Because we did not want to have characters treading in each other's footsteps, Penny and I had already decided to stake out different sections of the North. Her character Aquilla, an imperial scion with northern connections but raised in the Empire, was the first character. I had intended to run her through the adventure path in the book, Sellswords of the North. When we decided to both GM in the same world, we quickly came to realize that wouldn't work.

Savage North contains much of its setting material within the adventure path itself. As an intro campaign for a single group of players  this has a lot to recommend it. Each scenario in the Path contains a significant amount of detail and background for the world, its gods, etc. The players can then discover the world a piece at a time as they need the info or background. Unfortunately, as a shared world, this structure would mean that I would need to keep bunches of info from my player; and that meant that she as GM, would not have that info either.

So I went off book. I abandoned the Adventure Path after a truncated version of the first scenario and started introducing my own stuff. My wife could then read the scenarios and use the background info contained therein.

Now, getting back to staking out our own turf [you can see a map of the Savage North in the image panel at the top of this article [copyright D101 Games], as I mentioned a couple of paragraphs back. Since I had begun Aquila from Newcastle, the heart of the Imperial Enclave in the North, and sent her from there further into Nordland, I decided that that would be the focus of her adventuring for the forseeable future. She saved a trading post from a terrible fate at the hands of the Wild Folk, a race of yeti-like creatures who inhabit the mountains of the Dragon's Tail, and discovered that they were being driven to attack though the influence of a group of Blood Mages.

Meanwhile, my character, Donnan Corag, a Bogdanan [read 'Cimmerian'] hails from south of Griffin Pass. He is of mixed parentage, and is quickly drawn from Bogdan to Sonderland, nicknamed Sunderland because of its current political fragmentation. So Donnan will be busy in the south and east of the Savage North for some time, working to save his mother's people from the Wodemen attacking under the domination of more Blood Mages.

With the above in mind, I set up Tom's character, the most recent, on the Ice Isles, off the coast of the mainland of the Savage North. Tom had asked about playing a 'King Kull'-esque character, so I wrote some background for the Isles that is a little outside of the short paragraph in the book. You can read the page of text I came up with as an attachment to this post, but essentially, the Islemen are the descendants of a group of Bogdanan who colonized the Isles and developed a maritime trading empire there several centuries ago. With the rise of the Empire in the south, Isleman fortunes have sunk somewhat, but thry are still a significant power. Kael is young nobleman and sea captain, who, on returning to his home, finds himself embroiled in a covert infiltration and attack of the Isleman Council by a pair of powerful Blood Mages.

So we have three separate campaigns in diverse sections of the world, all with Blood Mage activity driving them. In case you have not twigged to it, the Blood Mages are some of the main villains of the setting.

Below, you will find the Ice Isles Write-Up, as well as pdfs of Kael and his Seaborne pal, Aleid. The Seaborne are a re-skin of the sorcerous Order of Thalassomancers, slightly tweaked into a cabal devoted to protecting the Isles from magical intrusion. Also included is the Heart of Frost, A jewel that Kael found in caverns that, unknown to anyone, writhe and twist below the surface of the Ice Isles. Yeah, he will probably be going back there once or twice.

And of course, eventually there will be an inevitable crossover that brings Aquilla, Donnan, And Kael together to thwart the Blood Mages! Kinda hoping I get to GM that. And play in it!