Thursday, June 21, 2018

Operation Middenlands - Marrying Jason Sholtis Operation Unfathomable & Monkey Blood Design's Middenlands Setting

So I've been thinking about the Advanced Labyrinth Lord  Kickstarter & playing around with using Swords & Wizardry adventures & settings with it. I read about Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design's bad news tonight; "Okay, so my pickup truck failed its MOT test.To get it through, the running total is now at £920 GBP. Holy shit! I've never had a failure that bad... and I need my truck.

It turns out this year was the wrong year to go freelance.
If anyone wants to empty their wallet buying MonkeyBlood Design stuff, or commission me (although I'm tied up for a few weeks at the moment), or just share this around, please feel free to do so and thank you in advance!"

But this also got me thinking about Glynn's Midderlands mini sand box setting which is really weird because its for Swords & Wizardry. But it takes very little to convert on the fly from one OSR system to other.
Part of the idea of the Midderlands mini setting is that the deeper down you go the further you get into the green tinged Gloomium & primal chaos of the setting. This idea of primal chaos also got me thinking of Jason Sholtis's Operation Unfathomable.

Seal's Midderlands has a completely different feel then Shotlis setting. The Midderlands is completely fantasy United Kingdom on acid with splashes of dark fantasy scattered throughout. While Sholtis's setting that has a mix of dark fantasy comic book meets high weirdness with touches of Lovecraft & they had  a dungeon setting love child. Operation Unfathomable is weird & bizarre OSR adventure.
There would seem to be very little in common between the two product's settings except for the fact that both have a miasma of chaos madness  tinged in the center of their respective underground worlds. 
Its in the dungeon underworld where the two settings can be completely hooked up. The Middenlands could be an isolated & comparatively idyllically stationed backwater of a campaign world. The rest of the world however is a stinking mire of  dark fantasy typical an old school or OSR game Europe.
There are a few ways that marrying these two settings can easily & painlessly done in my mind:

  1. The Operation Unfathomable world elements are on the other side of the campaign world. It takes a mounted expedition or two too get to the high weirdness. 
  2. The dungeon underworlds of both the Middenlands & Operation are deeply connected because of the strain of primal chaos seething through the core of the campaign world. 
  3. The solar system of this campaign world is of great importance to certain alien  factions in both  settings. They've been at war for a very long time & neither side wants to give up. 
  4. Neither of these worlds is cosmically important but the wheels were set in motion billions of years ago. The chess board has to be played out. 
  5. Glynn Seal's Demon Stones adventure   has several setting design options for bringing in Gloomium Outer Darkness goodness right out of a clear blue sky into a campaign. 
  6.  Lots of Operation Unfathomable's factions are ripe to exploit the chaos laden goodness of Gloomium especially those bastard mushroom scientists of Sholtis. 
  7.  The human race in both settings is completely & utterly expendable in the face of some of the factions in both books. They really do need heroes & adventurers to survive. 
  8.   There's something very uniquely unsettling about the thought that in some libarary in the Middenland  is a  book & map from a failed expedition to the dungeons of Operation Unfathomable. Mounting an expedition would take lots & lots of money, time, treasure, ships, resources, etc. The PC's are perhaps going to be a part of a much larger operation.
  9. The natives of  Operation Unfathomable are not friendly & should they become aware of the Middenlands Europe, then all bets could be off for those poor people. Or maybe they are aware of these folks & they don't care because their completely & utterly unimportant to their alien plans. 
  10. I keep thinking of a campaign world where the world is much weirder & far more dangerous then the provincial fantasy Europeans think it is. The expansion of the West into the lands of Operation are going to be an eye opening experience.
Stefan Poag's artwork from the Operation Unfathomable book  quickly illustrates the exact sort of a situation that I'm speaking of.
The above illustration shows an ‘Underworld ranger’ discharging his lightning pistol at a perfidious mind-bat while another ranger reels from the psychic attack they have already suffered — all creatures and situations from the dark corners of Sholtis’ fertile imagination."

I really can stop thinking about marrying this up with the back story of Henchmen Abuse's the Anomalous Subsurface Environment  ASE1 & ASE2&3 world.  Everything is completely in place for a massive campaign world. The factions, the science fantasy high weirdness, the world churning events, etc.
The whole affair would be massive undertaking with three or more dungeon masters handling the gonzo & completely dangerously insane world affair. This is why I'd run the whole thing with
Labyrinth Lord.
 The question is are the adventurers of the Midderlands mini sand box setting ready for the high weirdness awaiting them in the greater world or underworld?!

Highcastle Guard
Under the command of Sir Hestel Vinethorn of Brignorth.

I think that both OSR settings have a lot of campaign milage to offer the players & the dungeon master. This is a sweet little chaos laden campaign affair that could have players coming back to the table for many years to come!
 Next time back to Arduin on the blog tomorrow!


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