Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Primal Fantasy

A couple of weeks back, I had a thought that Apocalypse World might be hackable to run a savage, primal fantasy setting inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs (The Land/People that Time Forgot), Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World) and others - a prehistoric world where people live side by side with megafauna such as sabretooth cats and dinosaurs.

I think the AW engine is a reasonable fit for this genre because they are at the opposite ends of civilisation. Apocalypse World is set 50 years after civilisation ends, and a primeval setting occurs an untold time before the first true civilisations rise. There are similar themes and issues - savagery, scarcity, and the chance for larger-than-life characters to have a real impact on their surroundings.

So far I've just started mulling things over, and throwing some ideas into a document for later fleshing-out. I started with a brainstormed list of Playbooks:
  • Thunder Hunter - specialises in hunting megafauna.
  • Beast-Dancer - trains large dangerous pets.
  • Archer - hunts at a distance, from the shadows.
  • Shaman - wields spiritual influence.
  • Chieftain - responsible for the tribe.
  • Lorekeeper - draws on tribal and ancestral memories.
  • ??? - gathering and scouting.
  • Warrior - specialised in fighting other people.
  • Trapper - sets snares, pits, logfalls, builds stuff.

I also came up with a list of Stats, although they're pretty much just reskinned copies of the Apocalypse World stats. I suspect this may be because, at their heart, both settings are so similar. I may end up modifying some of the Basic Moves, though, which will alter the flavour of the game a little.

  • Savage - brutal, violent.
  • Wild - instinctive, unrestrained.
  • Draw/Allure? - personality, charisma.
  • Keen - senses, intellect.
  • Lore - connection to the ancestors.

I'll post updates when I get around to working on the Moves or the Playbooks. I'll also need to work out the best way to represent dinosaurs and such.