Monday, November 26, 2012

Dungeons & Dirigibles

 I know this has been done, but leave it to my DIY nature to reinvent the wheel, I think that's much the nature of the OSR, is reinventing the RPG wheel. While reading Frankenstein I began imagining what D&D, I mean original D&D, would be if Appendix N where composed of Shelley's Frankenstein, Stoker's Dracula, the Jules Verne catalogue and 1001 Arabian Nights.

First, the list of classes would be slightly different. There would be the traditional Fighters but they might be renamed Soldiers and magic users would be heavily focused on alchemy . All clerics would be Christian, Masonic, Muslim or Egyptian. (Gotta throw in the Masonic and Egyptology hooks.) Since Frankenstein is based on a scientist that recreates life, there would have to be a class called Professor, Surgeon or Scientist. (I like Surgeon.) There would have to be a rouge, scoundrel or beggar class and a specialist class that all classes could adopt, we'll call it Adventurer. The Adventurer subclass would allow characters to focus on weapon specialization, fine tuning their profession and/or exploration.

The weapons list would be different too, focusing mainly on cutlasses, rapiers, flint lock firearms, torches and pitchforks.

 Since Frankenstein was the source of these ideas I'll focus a bit more on the Surgeon class. In Shelley's tale, Frankenstein's creation was the central problem or obstacle of the plot. Within the scope of an RPG, the nature or personality of the creation, or Flesh Golems, could be variable.  V. Frankenstein struggled with the moral nature and responsibility of his creation and this wouldn't be the case with all, if any, player characters. The player character surgeons could, possibly, create any number of socially functioning Flesh Golems.

Now I'm thinking that this idea, which I'll call Dangers & Dirigibles, is most likely to become a set of rules for Encounter Critical. Which brings me to the obvious point that I'm way past any reasonable deadline for producing Phasic issue 5.  To be continued...


  1. Cool point of departure. I've heard that Van Helsing was one of the original inspirations for the cleric class -- or at least its "Turn Undead" ability. I recall some interesting discussions down in the comments here.

    I initially wondered what the "beggar" subclass was all about... then I remembered Marty Feldman's Eye-gor! :-)

    I've never read Bulwer-Lytton's Zanoni, but I think it might fit into this particular Appendix N pretty well, too.

  2. I could have used "servent" just as easily as a subclass for thieves and I try to remember this if I develope this idea further. Thanks for you comments!