Saturday, October 12, 2019

Back This: City of Solstice: A Setting for OSR Fantasy Campaigns




I'm a big fan of Charles Rice's RPGs and, in fact, his was the first blog I followed as he pulled back the veil of game design and shared the development of the projects with his fans.


He's made some great stuff, especially for the OSR, including the Akhara setting, OSRIC Unearthed, Old School Psionics, Old School Magic, and Old School Class: Necromancer.


The other day, his Apocalyptic Games launched his first Kickstarter, City of Solstice: A Setting for for OSR Fantasy Games.


I'm a big fan of using an urban setting to play DnD or OSR games from Lankhmar to Sanctuary to Sigil to my own Jarlsburg.


And after reading the Quickstart, which easily breakdowns the City and its movers and shakers, I'm pretty anxious to use it as soon as possible.


Backers get access to the Quickstart, which is a 51 page PDF that goes over the Cities' history, the five rival criminal organizations that rule it, new Classes, new Magic Items, and an Adventure.


First, the PDF opens with this: "You are not adventurers.They’re dead."


I really appreciate that statement. It sets the stage for the locale and the type of campaign it's designed for. Solstice is broken, decadent, and well past saving. And the Players take the role of members of the Vigilant, the cities' corrupt guards who are not "adventurers" but "have a duty" to carry out.


Ten years ago, Solstice experienced the Black Night, when a hight priestess of the Moon rallied 4 other criminal organizations to storm the Earl's castle and he trades his life and that of his life, spared the lives of his brother and daughter, and handed over the city to those organization, known as the Star Society.


Since that night five proclamations have been issued: First, weapons are restricted. Second, armor is restricted. Third, magic is restricted. Fourth, religion is restricted. Fifth, criminal organizations will be killed on site, well, all except those that are a part of the Star Society.


Those proclamations certainly cover the four "core" classes and set the tone for how bleak this place is, in my opinion.


The five members of the Star Society are: the Church of Mother Moon which is dedicated to the Moon Goddess, the Nizari are mercenaries, the Sagittarius Sect were an embattled thieves guild that now operates publicly as the bowyer's guild, the Order of Antares which was formed by saboteurs and assassins, and the Five Forms who are ascetics from the East.


New and altered Classes are presented, as well: the Anti-Paladin, the Arcane Channeler which doesn't use vancian magic and neither does this setting, a new version of the Bard, the Divine Channeler which, like the Arcane Channeler, doesn't use vancian magic, the Martial Artist, the Mercenary Captain, the Mystic, the Noble, a variant Thief class, the Zodiac Channeler (specialist magic-users), and the Zodiac Knight.


Solstice spellcasters don't have "spell slots" they draw their power from their environment with the aid of certain magic items specific to the class.


Several magic items are also introduced and is followed by the Wards of Solstice, which gives a great overview of each part of the City and some of it's notable inhabitants.


The Quickstart ends with an 11 page adventure to introduce your group to Solstice and I can't wait to run it.


I won't lie to any of you, I've been a big fan of Charles' work for years, from Modern20 to this OSR stuff to AZ: After Zombies. But this is a great setting and I've only seen 51 pages of it. I think it's a great concept and respectfully channels Lankhmar and Sanctuary, while also separating itself in the process.


I urge you back Solstice here.

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