The Shady Campaign
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Welcome to the Shady Campaign.
This campaign is a play-test of an unreleased universal TTRPG system.
I, TheShadyGM and co-creator of this system, will serve as Game Master.
Each session will be run in RI as either a 1-on-1 with my co-creator, Mick, or with a small group of local players. He thinks we’re just testing our system: but in reality, I’ve employed a few of our out-of-state friends to control NPC actions and collaborate with me between sessions. Basically, we’re kinda playing a trick on Mick – let’s see how long we can make it last, I think it’s gonna’ be pretty entertaining (especially his comments on your characters, whom he believes I’ve made).
When you become a player in this campaign, by utilizing this site we will be able to all communicate. It is here that you will tell me the plans for your character and I will respond with what happens. We’ll do this through basic narrative, or just simple requests from you. The more you contribute, the more power your character will have to shape the world.
The Shady Campaign: Where there’s more than one BBEG and they’re all controlled by players.
After the first session, which will be a large battle in space, the game will fast-forward to the beginning of human history and then jump between time-periods. What this means, is that the things you do in one session may greatly impact the next. For example, if in ancient Egypt you create a cult based around you, and make sure they have the resources to survive, when the game jumps a few hundred years in the future, you may have a legion of followers ready to do your dark bidding.
This is a game of world domination, super-science, and unspeakable horrors beyond space and time.
You win if…
All of Mick’s characters are dead.
You destroy the world.
You awaken Azathoth and bring an end to existence.
I’ve loosely adapted a few concepts from the works of H.P. Lovecraft to build this setting. I’ve used only a few passages from his work and this genealogy tree purportedly from the man himself.
Keep in mind, your characters have no knowledge of the following information. But this is the basis of the setting.
It begins with Azathoth.
An artist’s rendition of Azathoth (from Wikipedia).
An alien king of some distant reality, Azathoth ever craved for more power. In a fateful decision, he destroyed his universe in an attempt to create a new one completely under his control.
He succeeded, but at a great cost. Azathoth lost all things that made him an individual in the process: he became one with all space and time in the creation of this universe, his universe. A universe created through chaos, greed, and sacrifice. He is now the most powerful being in the universe, but he is unable to comprehend the vastness of existence, and so is “blind”, “deaf”, and insane. At the center of the universe, there is the great chaos, Azathoth.
Azathoth seeks to destroy this existence and put an end to his torment and insanity. But the forces he created and brought to this world want to live, and so Azathoth has been kept sated by an infernal chorus since the beginning of time. If Azathoth were to awaken, the cosmos would cease to exist.
The Nameless Mist
The creation forges from which the forces of Azathoth are brought into this world. We refer to them as nebulae.
It is from the Nameless Mist that…
Yog-Sothoth is made manifest.
Yog-Sothoth is a force of potential-energy, and exists in all time and space, like its creator, Azathoth. However, Yog-Sothoth was never an individual, and so is not driven mad, for Yog-Sothoth has no mind to go insane. Unlike Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth desires creation, not destruction.
From The Dunwich Horror:
“Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth.”
From Through the Gates of the Silver Key:
“It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self – not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence’s whole unbounded sweep – the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike.”
Yog-Sothoth sometimes makes its self manifest tangibly in our reality by using the Nameless Mist as a womb. In this form, the avatars of Yog-Sothoth appear as iridescent globes of energy. Connected, but separate from Yog-Sothoth, his avatars each have a unique individuality. It is through his avatars that Yog-Sothoth fuels creation.
In their early form, the avatars of Yog-Sothoth are akin to “energy eggs”. These “eggs” meld with beings they encounter, giving the being immense power, and in return, gaining a personality derived from the individuals they encounter.
This is what will happen to the characters.
In this first session, Mick’s pirate crew and your characters will have the choice to meld with two different avatars of Yog-Sothoth.
The first avatar will be aboard The Olympus, which is described below. This avatar has melded with an ancient emperor, spending centuries alone feeding from a nebula, and seeks order and peace.
The second avatar is on Earth. This avatar has melded with a vicious primitive creature that rules most of Earth from a stone pyramid. This avatar seeks power and destruction, for prayers and sacrifices have brought Azathoth’s whisper to this creature, and has driven it mad. However, its connection and taint from Azathoth gives it additional power over space and time.
There is no “good” or “evil”.
There is chaos, power, creation, and destruction.
There is more to this setting, but you’ll have to discover that through play.
Alright, where do we start?
Floating derelict on the outskirts of a nebula, The Olympus silently waits. The relic of a long-dead empire, stories of this colossal ship’s mysterious fate have long entertained the imaginations of spacers across the galaxy. Her captain’s chair was throne to the steel fist of the combined systems: a merciless, tyrannical empire spanning hundreds of worlds.
But then she disappeared…
Without its emperor and his ship, the empire shattered. Minor warlords banded behind generals, territory lines were drawn across the stars, and war erupted amongst the vicious rulers. The empire fell, and its proponents died away. Now, only the Olympus remains.
Your ship’s initial scans face interference from an unknown source. The Olympus’s outer hull is dotted with impact marks: large holes expose parts of her interior to the harsh vacuum of space. Many of her sub-systems are powered, yet her engines are inactive. Scans for life-signs are inconclusive and give anomalous readings. You have come upon the discovery of a lifetime.
The Story Begins
This first encounter will set the stage for the rest of the game. All of the characters that I am given will happen upon the Olympus at nearly the same time. This conflux of personalities is designed to create conflict (and an enjoyable story!). Think of it like a prequel movie: the events that transpire here will forever change the fate of the galaxy.
Who am I?
Your character is a space traveler. For centuries, disparate species spanning our galaxy have acted in a cosmic society. The setting that this takes place in is original and yet to be developed: so, no ideas are off the table. The specifics of your character’s story are completely up to you. Any alien species, any sort of profession: a lone wolf bounty hunter or a science vessel crewed by hundreds – your options are open and endless.
And design someone you’d want to see on a TV show or read about in a novel.
Unlike the usual case of TTRPG character creation, you don’t need to know anything about the game system. I, as the GM, will manage the numbers and how the game-rules work. That means you are completely free to create any sort of character concept you can imagine. If you’re not sure what I mean, please look at the Wiki to the left. Here you can find the descriptions of the characters that have already been added to the game. These examples should help you get started.
So, we’re playing, but not playing?
In order to better explain what I’m trying to accomplish, I’m going to reveal some of the story-elements that will be a surprise for Mick.
The game begins with The Olympus, but the events that transpire there will transport all of the characters to a little blue planet far, far away.
Maybe you recognize it?
The characters will appear in orbit around Earth right before the Permian–Triassic extinction event. They will find that their ships are mostly inoperable after the event that brought them here, and be forced to make a crash-landing somewhere on the world.
The events that transpire here will result in all of the characters becoming, essentially, minor deities. Then, they are all put to slumber…
The game will then fast-forward to a time where human civilization exists, probably ancient Egypt. Your characters will awaken from their slumber to find a world ripe for manipulation. In this setting, eldritch power can be gained through creating worshipers, summoning monsters, and sacrificing humans (you’re a bad guy, remember?)
I think it may be fun to put some sort of game mechanic in here to measure your character’s relative power – so I picked up this game.
We’re not going to get into it quite yet, but here’s the basics.
The game is played with cards and a field of stars.
By utilizing the cards, you manipulate the star-field to create specific constellations that you need to summon monsters and perform rituals. This will be a competitive/collaborative game between you, the online players.
This is how you will bring nasty horrors from beyond space and time to Earth to destroy Mick. It takes some clever manipulation, but through this game you can awaken something like, oh, Cthulhu, to devastate the world.
I think that sums it up.
I’ll be posting my first requests in the Adventure Log. These are questions I need answered for the first session. If you don’t answer them, I’ll make the decisions for your character myself.
Thanks for reading! Let’s have some fun!
Disclaimer: As seems to be OK here, I employ a number of images that I do not own the rights to. When this is the case, I will provide citations for the artwork. These pictures are not generally meant to be taken as literal representations of the story elements, but are instead intended to engage your imagination. This campaign is for personal entertainment and in no way provides any sort of monetary gain. If you see your image on here, and you’d like it removed, I will gladly do so.