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12 February 2014 @ 05:56 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom  
Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Adventure Island and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Liberty, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars -- Hyrule, with its pointy-eared women and towers of octorok-haunted mystery, Sosaria with its chivalry, Charlock that bordered the pastoral lands of Alefgard, Castlevania with its shadow-guarded tombs, Makaimura whose knights wore lance and armor and boxers. But the proudest kingdom of the world was the Mushroom Kingdom, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Mario the Plumber, black-haired, sullen-eyed, shell in hand, a coin-thief, a box-basher, a goomba-slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the game under his booted feet.
-From this thread on RPG.net

Ever since I read that thread years ago, I've thought this sounded like a great idea, but it's always been on the backburner. At least, until recently. And now I'm trying to figure out how I want to do it.

It's more about mood than system. I've found a netbook someone wrote up for Savage Worlds, and the original thread points out people who have used nWoD, D20, BRP, FATE, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. I'm probably going to use Novus because for me it's the new hotness, though I could be convinced by Savage Worlds since all that work is already done. Anyway, that's less important than tone, or, as I phrased it on Facebook, do I want sword and sorcery with Mario frosting, or Mario with sword and sorcery frosting?

I'm currently leaning towards the former. If you've read any of my blog entries over the last while, you know I'm a fan of gritty, low-magic fantasy RPGs, and I'd love to take that to the Mushroom Kingdom. Humans speaking to the spirits of the land and sky. The kingdom's nobility on the run, hiding from the forces of the Dragon Emperor and working their floral sorcery in secret. Ancient cults with the power to take on the aspects of their patron spirits. The Dragon Emperor's armies oppressing the commoners with a brutal hand. Fungal forests with "trees" hundreds of feet high. The ancient ruins of the Predecessors and the pipes that link them together. A mile-long bridge and the carnivorous flying fish that hunt the waters nearby. Terrible monsters, like brutal worms, carnivorous flora, hungry ghosts, and monsters from beneath the earth multiplying now that the Mushroom Kingdom's army isn't actively pushing them back.

I haven't done much work yet, but I've fleshed out the playable groups:

  • Humans: From Earth. I'm sure I don't need to describe these people. I did have the idea that being from Outside, humans can see the native spirits of the land, sea, and sky, based on how Mario always sees eyes on the hills and clouds.

  • Mandragora: The nobility of the Mushroom Kingdom, who look essentially humanlike. Their floral sorcery let them keep the kingdom safe for generations, but the united kappa tribes and their mycon allies finally overwhelmed them and cast them from power. Now, they're either quisling traitors or hunted refugees.

  • Amanita: The commoners, who are much shorter and much less humanlike than the Mandragora, the amanita have suffered terribly under the Dragon Emperor's rule. While they were typically simple farmers and crafters, amanita alchemy is famed throughout the known world, and their herbal prodigies and elixirs are still found in caches all over the Mushroom Kingdom.

  • Kappa: The footsoldiers of the Dragon Emperor, the kappa tribes of the badlands have fought each other and all others for time out of mind. Never more than a nuisance to the Mushroom Kingdom in the past, the warlord now known as the Dragon Emperor united the fractious tribes into a mighty horde and took the kingdom's defenders completely by surprise. Now the kappa rule and the amanita serve, though a few kappa believe the Dragon Emperor's changes to their traditional way of life are a betrayal of their ancestors and the ways taught by their shamans, and they work to undermine his dominion.

  • Mycon: Possibly related to the amanita, the mycon have been a thorn in the side of the Mushroom Kingdom for nearly as long as it has existed. Most of them lived as hunter-gatherers or bandits, raiding amanita settlements for food or worked goods, until the Dragon Emperor made them a simple offer--serve or die. Most of them agreed, but some value their freedom more than the thread of death, and some even fight for the Mandragora.

  • The Silent Ones: Mysterious travelers who are always robed and masked, the Silent Ones have stayed neutral in the war but are happy to tell their technology to both sides. Some of them also work as mercenaries. Rumors whisper that they're refugees from another world that suffered some mysterious catastrophe.

  • Raptok: Dinosaur-like inhabitants of the tropical islands south of the Mushroom Kingdom. They tend to live as hunter-gatherers, but occasionally they traveled to the kingdom and forged a partnership with a warrior, serving as a mount and battle companion. They are sensitive to magical energy, and through long research and experience, they have developed special diets that can grant them magical powers.

I was going to include ninji too, but I like them better as horror movie monsters from the depths of the earth.

Novus isn't a super popular ruleset, but I might post the fluff I come up with here if people are interested.
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Podcastle
Bendrydem on February 13th, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
Hey, if you're taking names, count me as interested.
dorchadasdorchadas on February 13th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
I shall keep you in mind. (^_^)
Ryuoddsboy on February 13th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
1) This is Ryan, and apparently I found my old LJ password. 2) Count me down as well, schedule permitting.