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Vile

AEON:underworld™

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I've been grabbing spare moments here and there to work on what will probably be the first book in this line to make it to publication, AEON:underworld™. The original idea came from a thread on the Dragonsfoot forums, Holmes Basic D&D as a complete game. You may know that I have something of an interest in Holmes D&D, and I want the first AEON:engine™ book to be a basic, simple, fantasy game - and you don't get more basic and simple than Holmes.

A:u doesn't use the OGL, but the entire game world is built only around the Holmes Basic D&D book. There are no classes, but there are 4 organisations which dominate adventurer backgrounds: the Thieves' Guilds, the Fighting Bands, the Magician's Colleges, and the Church. The only spells are the ones in the book, barring spell research by characters themselves. The only creatures are the ones in the book, though there are quite a lot for such a small book. The only magic items are the ones in the book (again, barring unique creations). You get the picture.

Skills are few in number and broad in application, and are not intended to be players' first recourse - if someone describes in detail just what they are doing when looking for that secret switch in the carved wall panels, there's no need to roll against their Sense skill. Neither would you roll when riding a placid mount along a road, or climbing an apple tree.

Edited by Vile
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1 hour ago, Vile said:

 

I've been grabbing spare moments here and there to work on what will probably be the first book in this line to make it to publication, AEON:underworld™. The original idea came from a thread on the Dragonsfoot forums, Holmes Basic D&D as a complete game. You may know that I have something of an interest in Holmes D&D, and I want the first AEON:engine™ book to be a basic, simple, fantasy game - and you don't get more basic and simple than Holmes.

 

 

Good luck I hope it gives you joy and others as well.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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Thanks, Bill, that's why I'm doing it. 🤓

Magic (Magicians, as opposed to Templars): It's a point system, but not as we know it. Magicians go through their rituals with the aid of their massive, fragile, too-expensive-to-take-adventuring magic books, and impress spells into their mind. Spells are skills, and a roll needs to be made to get the spell in one's head. Failure doesn't cost points or waste spells, but it takes time - maybe something like 1/4 hour per spell. Rather than casting them at need what they're really doing is releasing them.

Holmes is a 1st-3rd level book, and in the spirit of this exercise that's the power level I'm aiming at. That means characters would be able to cast no more than 4 spell "levels" per day. I haven't worked out the spell points yet. Also in the spirit of Holmes, only rank amateurs would rely on their "in-mind" spells for anything but an emergency, that's what scrolls, potions, and wands are for.

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In keeping with limiting the source material to the Holmes Basic book, the setting for A:u is built around a small coastal city built around trade, a Port-town if you will. Most of this will only appear in adventures, I don't intend to include overt setting material in the rule book and I won't produce a gazetteer.

It is a northern city, with a somewhat chilly climate, and the only safe port on a wild and rocky shore. The city is the interchange between busy caravan routes and perilous but profitable sea lanes. Piracy is rife in the area, and all sorts of hazards lurk among the small "uninhabited" islands offshore. There is a fishing industry, but mainly as a cover for smuggling. Going to sea in these parts requires courage, wit, and strength. There are some farms huddling close to the city walls, but most food is brought in by caravan. The city council knows this is a risk, and maintains its own stores (on which it makes a handsome profit).

Portown boasts two Magicians' Colleges, the College of Khan and the College of Dokhon. Khan claims to be a neutral seat of learning but everyone knows several of their prominent have leanings (at the very least) towards Chaos. Dokhon claims to be a bastion of Law but everyone knows that by far the majority of its students are mostly interested in money.

The Church has far less power than it would like (because it would like total control), but it does have a fairly powerful voice within the city council due to the rivalry between the two Magicians' Colleges which prevents them from dominating the proceedings.

There are three major Fighting bands, and many minor ones. The Portown Guard is one, whose main work is in patrolling the land and sea about the city to keep it free from undesirable threats to commerce. The other two are the Silver Daggers are mercenaries who specialise in caravan security, and the Flying Buccaneers who provide marines for merchants plying the dangerous maritime routes.

There are several gangs in the city, but only one real Thieves' Guild. Their eyes and ears are everywhere so those in need can always contact them, even though no-one knows who they are or where their stronghold is - or even if there is one. More entrepreneurial than most, there are few jobs they won't consider if the price is right. Locals and regular merchants who pay their protection monies are generally safe from mundane larceny, but strangers or unusual treasures are fair game. Everyone suspects they are in league with the pirates.

There are several relatively well-known entrances to the Underworld within the city walls, but they are all controlled by the city council who tax any adventurers going in and take a share of their loot coming out. Entrances outside the walls are kept a closely-guarded secret by those who know about them.

I am using old city of Chania as a map base for Portown, as has been done before by several Holmes fans.

chania-3d-map.gif

Edited by Vile
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