5% Of Sales Benefit Gamers & Grognards

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Midderlands and Why You Should Jump On This Kickstarter

Hey folks! I'm writing today to share with you a Kickstarter that I want to see fund. I'm talking about "The Midderlands" campaign from +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). Glynn recently gave me a preview copy of the book and let me tell you, this thing hits a lot of the right spots for me, which I will talk about shortly. First, let me share some blurbs directly from the KS.
"The Midderlands is an old-school game setting with bestiary for use with old-school role-playing games. It is based on Swords & Wizardry Complete, but could easily be used with other old-school systems and even non-OSR systems such as D&D or Pathfinder.
It is a green-hued, dark-fantasy, late-middle ages, early-renaissance view through grime-smeared spectacles. The setting itself is based on an area in the middle of England near where I live called The Midlands. Many of the locations are loosely based on reality, but others are pure fantasy from an addled mind.
The setting part of the book contains something I call "game-juice". Not heavy of history and monotonous detail, but enough to get the game-juices flowing and let the game master twist and tweak as they need to in order to fit their campaign."

Now for some of the setting fluff:

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.
In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.
There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.
All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.
As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.
Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.
The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.
There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.
Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.
All is not content in the Midderlands."
So, if you're still with me, it's time for the list of things I like about this, and why you should be backing this.
1. The genre. It is NOT genre fantasy/D&D. This is not going to be just "another Forgotten Realms or Middle-Earth." Not that there is anything wrong with that, but genre D&D tends to saturate retro clones. LotFP WFRP and DCC are different in the way they set themselves apart with their implied settings. This could help S&W do the same. Not being genre D&D, even if you don't use this completely as written, there will be many things to rip out of it that you won't find in any other sourcebook. The feel of this setting is very much a Weird Fiction meets D&D meets Dark Fairy Tale meets Hammer Horror. It's a good mashup.
2. The systems. This is made for my favorite system, but fits well with my other favorite system. It's not secret that I love Swords & Wizardry, and this is written for that system! I like that, it draws attention to Swords & Wizardry. That, of course, makes it easy to use with any version of D&D, but especially other OSR games. The other system that I mention is Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role Playing. The feel and tone of The Midderlands makes this a good product if you want to run LotFP about 100 years earlier than the implied setting that +James Raggi has set up. It takes place in a fictional England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Elspeth in the book.) The feel and tone fit the feel and tone of the earliest LotFP products such as Death Frost Doom, People of Pembrooktonshire, No Dignity in Death and Tower of the Star Gazer. Other LotFP titles can easily work here as well, but the tone of these four in particular would work with in The Midderlands. So, if your a Swords & Wizardry fan, or an LotFP fan, this should be up your alley.
3. The setting portion is ideal, in my eyes. See, I don't have the time, as a single father, to devote to fully fleshing out a homebrew world anymore. I also don't have the time or desire to fully use a campaign as detailed as "Forgotten Realms," for example. Products that are bogged down with too much history and canon are not up my alley. Hell, I prefer modules that are a little more bare than "boxed texty." I want a setting that lays things out in a short and concise manor but gives me tons of room. Something with basic info for at the table inspiration that can easily be used in play. Judges Guild's Wilderlands comes to mind. The Midderlands hits that nail square on the head. Each location, including towns and cities give two to four paragraphs to give the referee a good dose of atmosphere and inspiration to run with, without bogging them down with minutia and canon that won't make a lick of difference at the table. If you're like me, and this is your thing, this product is definitely for you. Here are some sample pages to show you the level of detail to expect:

So, if any of these things are your thing, back The Midderlands. At the time of this post, the campaign is just under $4000 away from funding! Help make this a reality.

Note, purchasing through affiliate links to OBS, etc. help the blog out. Gamers & Grognards receives 5% of every sale made through links on this blog.