Monday, February 7, 2011

Further OSR Adventure Path Brainstorming - The Sea of Spices & Napalm Death on Children's Programme

Abraham Merritt 
Age Of Fable
Barbary Corsairs
Cargo Cults
Clark Ashton Smith
Dream Park
The Dream Quest Of Unknown Kadath
Jack Vance
Kumari Kandam
Nidus !!! (funny how things come full circle..Ouroboros!)
The Odyssey
Orientalism !!!
Pre-Spanish Philippines
Sinbad the Sailor
Skull Island
Southeast Asia
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"The "Sea of Spices" may be considered a misnomer, as in actuality it consists of an uncounted legion of islands and islets, the remains of a submerged mountainous continent, in the cyclone lashed midst of the tropical region of the great ocean, isolated from the other continents of the world; legendary for its wealth in spices, fragrant gums, narcotics, feathers, furs, gems and precious metals."
One though I've come up with in regards to a theorhetical OSR adventure path is that there could be multiple "paths"; you have the pulp fantasy, greed motivated Treasure Hunt; but you could also incorporate a "Save The Heir/Princess" as alternate or additional "path," one that could appeal to altruistic or roleplay motivations ("Dude...I'm going to make that princess fall in love with me!); and a third "evil" path such as "Summon mini-Cthulhu to serve the party as an empire building war beast."

You could use the same setting and materials for three very different could run multiple parties through the different "paths" (or on the same path for some competition!) for a dynamic campaign experience.

Anyways, so The Sea of Spices is the location of this thought experiment; as I'm directly referencing many elements of our world's cultures in this, that means I get to use the classic rpg standby of "ham-handed interpretations of real life historical cultures with their serial numbers filed off."

I imagine the Sea of Spices being well-isolated from the continental landmasses; interlopers from these far away regions may be bold explorers, colonial powers, or merely those blown of course/very very lost. From my list of influences the following "faux-cultures" emerge as being non-indigenous people, with all of them being filtered through an inaccurate, Orientalist lens:

Faux-Ancient Greeks - WASP-ish dudes with British accents in fancy bronze armor that act like classical Greek heroes & philosophers.

Faux-Arab/Berbers - Dudes that wear giant turbans and eyeliner; upper class & sorcerer types have British accents.

Faux-Dravidians - Hindu mythological epic style warlords and priests.

Faux-Southeast Asian Types - Dudes with Ankhor Wat style architecture that ride elephants into war

I like this mix...four different cultural groups, four languages, a nice mix of ethnicities to keep things from being too whitebread. Now I need to come up with names for these peoples/cultures. (Iskanders, Sindhus, Kumarikantams & Ankhors?)



  1. Sounds spectaular! You might be interested in badass historical Thai war epic Bang Rajan for a bit of flavour.

    I love the name Iskander for the Faux-Greeks - It has a kind of decadent-scions-of-the-great-conqueror kind of vibe. I also very much like the use of Orientalism as a means of describing the cultures. I think Weird fiction was essentially derived from Orientalism with its opium-dream imaginings of the other. Also the tendency to genericise and essentialise the other makes things easy to handle in rpg scenarios.

    Also, late eighties grindcore. What a quaint form of music. I'd forgotten what that was like.

  2. Looks like fun. I'm curious what you see as the primary differences between an OSR adventure path that's not pathy and a sandbox?

  3. @ Tom: Thanks! BTW I'm missing your Middenmirk material and I loved your weird gods!

    Bang Rajan is pretty much exactly what I'm imagining the for The Sea of Spices..I dig the dude with the awesome mustache! Thanks for the tip!

    Grindcore is FOREVER, I still listen to it ALL THE TIME...and I'm almost 40 :)

    @ Trollsmyth: It's a wavering distinction...I guess it's not a sandbox is that there is explicit support for paths with the expectation that they would be followed in some capacity.

    Yeah, I'm digging Iskanders...well in keeping with the Orientalist drag theme.

  4. Sounds spicy! ;)

    And thank you for the inspirational links! There could be some interesting material for my own setting. :D

  5. The faux-cultures - fun inspiring idea, I like it.

  6. Of course, that wasn't actually the first time that Craig Charles had appeared on TV with Napalm Death except they were known as Smeg and the Heads back then...

  7. @ Logan: Hohoho...great pun!

    @ Geordie: It's something I've been conciously avoiding for a while, so it should be a nice change of pace; I think I'm going to have to continue with made-up Vancian names however :)

    @ Coopdevil: Napalm Death (the Skins hessian/ballerina date episode!), Carcass, Motorhead...UK Television has a great history with great metal bands, as opposed to the way that North American television has ignored or ghettoized them.

  8. @ Coopdevil: Also, the apparent connection between Craig Charles and Napalm Death/Carcass certainly explains his crusty dreadlock mullet on Red Dwarf! ;)