West Marches Influencers


Here’s where my imagination goes when I think about the setting for Into the Mad Lands.

Baalgor Wastelands I still have my old 1st edition book. This setting moves me still. It takes place in the aftermath of the Elf-Dwarf war. Both sides have totally devastated the land with magicks and dark infernal powers through arms escalation. Generations later it’s still irreparably scarred. Other planar entities summoned for war and now trapped here. Dangerous relics abandoned and ownerless.

Ruins of Greyhawk I’m a Mordenkainen fan! There’s something magical about exploring the ruins of Greyhawk castle to me and then Vincent Baker’s The Seclusium of Orphone always comes to mind!

Symbaroum This setting is beautiful, wild, strange complete with Elves as bad guys. Corrupting magic, play also as goblins or changelings. It’s got a strong D20, OSR lineage with some new RPG tech integrated in. It works for me.

Agone It’s out of print but the link takes you to a well written overview and if we’re talking about strange.. I’d love to get this to the table, but I’m sure it would break my heart. I don’t think the system holds up. sigh but that Twilight Realms setting ‘tho!

Cadwallon I stumbled into this minis RPG back when I refereed Confrontation wargames. It’s set it the same world as Confrontation, a large city founded by mercenaries and independent of the politics of the rest of the lands in conflict with each other. Baroque is the word, not strange. Nice compelling setting. It was the translation that prevented me accessing the rules, so I don’t know if the system here works. But the world is beautiful.

In his essays about layers of history in West Marches games, Robbins mentions setting up three or four independent historical events that impact the West Marches region. I’ve got a couple. There is a Great Elf war. Then the Godsfall event. I plan to play some microscope to build out the details. These things will form the Mad Lands game bible so at least I know what’s what out there in the wilds.

I find the Forbidden Lands comes system ready to go. B/X needs more prep than Forbidden Lands, which I think is a feature for B/X.

Got any baroque or strange fantasy games to share?