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Nifft the Lean material


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Has anyone done up any rpg material based on Michael Shea's Nifft the Lean stories? The Chronicles of Future Earth got me to thinking about them. I think they would make a superb setting for a role-playing game and certain events in some of the stories make me think BRP. As I remember there are at least two continents, several large island chains, and a gigantic and very hostile underworld described (albeit sketchily for the most part). It is also very far in the future and it is uncertain to me whether or not it is on this planet. The underworld is essentially full of 'demons' with 'vents' like old mine shafts here and there from which they issue forth to the surface from time to time and they can be summoned by sorcerers. The narrator (the main book is a series of short stories and novellas and there are two full novels, The A'rak and The Mines of Behemoth) at one point speculates that the demons exist because of the negative emotions of humanity over thousands of millenia. With the inclusion of a few ancient beings from the depths of space, it has a Cthulhu vibe without being as negative.

The stories have any number of rpg hooks that would make for a superb setting with a lot of work...a Vampire Queen, a spider god that lives under the city where it is worshipped and has 'children' which infest tunnels through out the city's territory, a city state that exists by mass production of weapons called 'Anvil Pastures', powerful witches organized enough to rule whole island chains, the underworld which is essentially a planet wide 'dungeon', giant insect like creatures whose 'nectar' is harvested for great riches (for those who survive the harvesting, as they lair deep in the earth near demon infested regions), warfare between the surface dwellers and incursions of underearth demons, and so on.

Anyone know about these and perhaps done some work toward BRPizing it?

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I know and love Nifft!

Although I have never formally BRPed this world, I have drawn on it a great deal over the years. I don't know how exact you could go with it as the author does not give a definitive geography but it does have some wonderful ideas. Supposedly there are maps in the limited edition leatherbound edition, but I don't have it!

As for the demons, I found Stormbringer to be the way to create the denizens of the upper layer of the underworld which are the only ones anyone encounters. They are so widely varied in appearance and in power, it is a very useful tool. The Secondary or tertiary demons do match up in scale and in how you deal with them very similar to Cthulhu etc now that I think about it (why didn't I make that connection before?).

The magic from Stormbringer is also useful for Nifft. A lot of calling up demons and making them do stuff for you, doing rituals, etc. matches how some of the magic worked in Nifft.

Everything else is pretty much straight up BRP. I tried incorporating stuff from Nifft in AD&D many moons ago and, not surprisingly, the system wasn't flexible for it. When I switched to Runequest/BRP not long after that, the Nifft stuff went in seamlessly, especially after Stormbringer came out. I have been using some of the ideas from Nifft in campaigns now for a long time.

I never got a far future vibe from the Nifft stories. Did I miss something?

There are three kinds of people in the world; those that can do math and those that can't.

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Hi! I am glad someone else knows who Nifft is.:D

Stormbringer fits like a glove for the most part. The magic is perfect, also the combat. Remember what Nifft could do with a spear or javelin?

So there is a printed map? I will be looking for it. I was going to ask if anyone might be interested in creating one from the references in the book, but maybe that won't be necessary. I might try again anyway.;D

There are various references to a very long past history of mankind scattered about mostly in Margold's prefaces and interludes. Nothing really specific, just inferences and hints.

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Ah, Michael Shea - the best evoker of Hell since Heironymus Bosch! I'm a fan of his work, and I have always had a soft spot for thief/rogue characters in RPGs. Like bigandy above, I've never tried to run a strictly Nifft-based campaign, but I have cheerfully plundered the products of Shea's prodigious imagination for adventure ideas.

I also agree that a Stormbringer-meets-CoC version of BRP ("Storm of Cthulhu"?) seems like a very good fit for Nifft's world, with its numerous pores to teeming demonic subworlds.

That's it, really. Just wanted to add to the Nifft-love here. :)

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