by Ramanan Sivaranjan on January 03, 2014
The world described in Geoffrey McKinney’s Carcosa is very open ended. The Dungeon Master must extrapolate from the brief descriptions in the book what their version of Carcosa will look like. It’s a big change coming from the overly detailed TSR-era campaign settings like Dark Sun. McKinney stresses in the book and in interviews there is no canonical Carcosa.
Jeff Rients of Jeff’s Game Blog has a list of 20 questions he suggests Dungeon Masters answer. The goal is to provide players with information about their game, but avoid boring them with too much detail. These questions also provide a simple approach to world building: answering them would flesh out enough of the game world to start playing quickly. This is a simpler alternative to playing J.R.R. Tolkien when it comes to this sort of thing.
The 4th question in this list asks, “Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?” I could of course make up my own mighty wizard, but there is one described ever so slightly in Carcosa that is perfect for the role:
0614: Village of 500 Purple Men ruled by “the Icon of Judgment,” a chaotic 16th-level Sorcerer who is immune to age, infirmity, and contagion. The village has an array of impressive defenses, including several high-technology cannons and a handful of battle armored warriors. Vast riches are rumored to be stashed within the village’s vaults.
This fellow comes to us from Chris Robert, who provided the additional hex descriptions in the expanded edition of Carcosa. An immortal chaotic 16th-level sorcerer protected by a bunch of Mech Warriors? That’s what I’m talking about.
Now, I am left wondering if all Purple Men evil. Carcosa doesn’t provide any clues. Their are 13 races of men, but there is nothing particularly interesting about any of them. Besides being different spell components the races of men are all interchangeable. I’d like to make them more interesting and unique, but I’m not sure how to start just yet. Perhaps this is the sort of thing to let the players sort out.
Re-reading Carcosa confirms my initial feelings about the book: I am a huge fan. Whenever I read Carcosa I want to play some D&D.
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