Why Underwater?





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    ø Ignore Aeolius

    Why Underwater?

    When I recently mentioned my campaign, in the Greyhawk folder over at WebRPG, someone asked why I chose to use an undersea setting. While the lure of the sea is strong, for me, I find it difficult to explain that fascination to others. I did, however, take the opportunity to reflect upon my online gaming background. It made for an interesting timeline, at any rate.

    Why did I choose to set a campaign not only in the World of Greyhawk, but also primarily underwater? Good question. My D&D experience having begun in 1980 or thereabouts, I'm a GH fan by default.

    In January of 1995, a brief weekend campaign known as “Isle of the Unknown” (IoU) was born. It had been five years since I had finished college and one year since I had married. A high level adventure loosely based on "B1: In Search of the Unknown", the game was designed to rekindle the waning imaginations of the players and DM. There were but five of us that weekend and time passed all too quickly, leaving the adventure unfinished but the imaginations fueled.

    Attempting to keep the campaign alive, though great distances separated many players from one another, I began to devise the means to run the game by alternate means. In February of 1995, I began investigating the possibility of playing AD&D by mail, fax, e-mail, and AOL. Alas, my efforts did not come to fruition.

    In February of 1995, I became an online chat host for TSR. In May of 1995, I began a new campaign, “Into the Land of Black Ice” (LoBI), a message-based game in the RPG Forum of America Online. I moved the game to TSR’s message-boards on AOL shortly thereafter.

    While both campaigns utilized the older First Edition AD&D rules, LoBI was meant to be diametrically opposed to IoU; an arctic clime instead of tropical, a frozen wasteland in place of the sea. Also, as the Land of Black Ice was uncharted territory, I could do as I pleased with the setting. While researching the region, I became enamored with both the "Mysterious Places" of GH.

    It was at this time that I began my obsession with night hags, starting with Nigel Findley's "Ecology of the Greenhag" in DRAGON #125 (Sept '87). Xaetra, a night hag NPC, made her first appearance in LoBI in January of 1996, as the mother of one of the PCs (an alu-demon). As I began writing about hags, I discovered that Nigel had passed away eleven months earlier (2/19/95).

    In September of 1997, TSR left AOL and established their own website, complete with chat-rooms and message-boards. The message-boards were delayed, in coming online, so I ran the game via e-mail for awhile. The TSR message-boards, an iChat program, proved to be slow and cumbersome. They crashed frequently, causing my players to complain.

    In November or 1997, lobi.com was born. Having hastily researched web providers and the discussion groups made possible by MS FrontPage, I took my meager knowledge of web page design and made the next step; running my game on my own site. I started a second Message-Based Game, “Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor’Alq” (BPAA), in March of 1998.

    Again, BPAA was meant to be an extreme opposite of my other campaign. I decided to use a second "Mysterious Place", the Pinnacles of Azor'alq, as the setting. Almost on a whim, I decided to set the game underwater. I had started keeping saltwater aquariums and my campaigns already had a reputation for being somewhat unorthodox, so it seemed a natural fit; the perfect amalgamation of my interests in writing, D&D, and marine aquaria.

    In July of 1998, I left the TSR team. Their direction and focus seemed quite different than my own, at the time, plus I wanted to spend more time with my own games. In May of 2000, LoBI fell apart, mainly due to player disputes. A five year run for an online game was not too shabby, after all.

    In November of 2000, I did something completely unpredictable, for a 1e AD&D diehard old-timer. I converted BPAA over to 3e D&D.

    Now 2003 has arrived. BPAA will celebrate its five year anniversary this year, while my marriage will be celebrating its tenth. I now have 765 gallons in saltwater aquariums in my house. The background for BPAA, which began as a one page blurb, has grown to fifteen pages in length. Xaetra is still around, albeit as a spectral hag.

    Feel free to peruse my recruiting notice for BPAA, at:
    http://www.lobi.com/bpaa/recruit/

    Or the campaign background at:
    http://www.lobi.com/bpaa/background/

 

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    ø Ignore KingOfChaos
    Interesting, Aeolius..I always thought you were just a Sahaugin :P

    Damn, your website won't load.
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    ø Ignore dave_o

    !

    Aeo, you KNOW Pennace of the Damned will remain my favorite. I'm Superman743, I was in that campaign...

    ...as a mere larva. Who was almost drowned his first session.

    To resist despair is what it is to be free.

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    Re: !

    Originally posted by dave_o
    Aeo, you KNOW Pennace of the Damned will remain my favorite.
    I suppose I should have mentioned PoD up there, eh? Larvae are a bit different, in the 3e MotP.

    For those out of the loop, PoD was a 1e AD&D chat-based game run on AOL. The PCs began as larvae in Hades, were collected by the night hag Iryaek, traded to a lich known as Kubus, and were then charged with the task of collecting thirteen Gloomstones. To help them on their journey they were accompanied by the souless simulcacrum named Canopea, her nightmare steed, and a sentient erinyes dagger.

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    I always thought your underwater campaign was incredibly cool. I'm envious.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now Kickstarting TimeWatch, a time travel game - please go check it out!

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    ø Ignore dkilgo
    What kind of stuff did you use to aid you in your research for the underwater campaigns?

    I would really want to run one, but I am unsure of how to go about it.

    Also, do you have any house rule creatures, races, classes, and the like that you would like to share with the rest of us?

    Thanks.

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    ø Ignore Aeolius
    Originally posted by KingOfChaos
    Interesting, Aeolius..I always thought you were just a Sahaugin :P

    Damn, your website won't load.
    Have you tried loading them again? I am also working on a new home page for BPAA. I'm testing one like this: http://www.lobi.com/bpaa/testindex2.html


    Originally posted by Piratecat
    I always thought your underwater campaign was incredibly cool. I'm envious.
    Sometimes it helps to be stubborn...err...focused. LoBI lasted 5 years, I am determined that BPAA will last at least twice that long, if not longer.


    Originally posted by dkilgo
    What kind of stuff did you use to aid you in your research for the underwater campaigns?

    I would really want to run one, but I am unsure of how to go about it.

    Also, do you have any house rule creatures, races, classes, and the like that you would like to share with the rest of us?

    Thanks.
    You can look at the various aquatic-themed d20 supplements, such as "Seas of Blood", "Seafarer's Handbook", "Broadsides!", and "Hostile Climes: Depths of Despair". Future publications include "Skull & Bones" and Mystic Eye Games' underwater supplement (which they have mentioned elsewhere on the enworld boards).

    Or, put the rulebooks away and go visit your local public aquarium or pet store that carries saltwater selections. Look for reef tanks filled with sponge-encrusted liverock, varicolored soft corals, and delicate stony corals. Then look closer. The nooks and crannies in the liverock are not unlike those of a dungeon, albeit obstructed with crabs, bristle worms, and the like. Alternately, look at some of the websites that sell marine livestock, such as http://www.ffexpress.com.

  • #8
    Originally posted by Aeolius


    and Mystic Eye Games' underwater supplement (which they have mentioned elsewhere on the enworld boards).
    The book's cover and "blurb" are being done as we speak and this book wil be out around the middle of 2003. We are doing something different with this book as well as had to move things around a bit BUT you will not be dissapointed, it is all about beneath the sea not just a page or two. With new races, feats etc...people have been asking for this and it looks like we will be first to have a plug-n-role play underwater enviroment for d20 in a published form, since Aeolius is doing one now

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    I thought it might be entertaining to do a six-year update for this thread.

    Now it is December of 2008. My current campaign is “Heirs of Turucambi”, an undersea chat-based (IRC) game set beneath the surface of the Oljatt Sea on Oerth, the World of Greyhawk. The game began in July of 2007.

    We’ve been in our new house for two years, now. It has been almost two years since my largest tank, 240 gallons exploded 2 weeks after we moved in. My 92-gallon tank was damaged in the move. I lost interest in saltwater aquariums for almost a year, but have been slowly setting them back up again. Last week, I got a new 240 gallon tank and a shallow 80 gallon “hands-on tank”.

    My wife and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary and now have 7 children; 3 birth, 3 adopted, and 1 foster.

    Xaetra, the spectral hag, was gravely weakened in my last game. She is now a spirit hag, inhabiting the dreams of those she knew in life. For more about her current state, read my EN World blog .
    Last edited by Aeolius; Tuesday, 30th December, 2008 at 05:47 PM.
    My Games

    Into the Land of Black Ice (retired) - An arctic PbP adventure in the mysterious frozen lands of Oerth
    Penance of the Damned (retired) - A planar chat-based game, set in Hades, where the PCs began as larvae
    Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor'alq (retired) - A mid-level PbP campaign set within the Dramidj Ocean
    Heirs of Turucambi - An entry-level chat-based game set within the waters of Turucambi Reef in the Oljatt Sea
    Nature of the Beast (in design) - A sylvan adventure where the adventurers are forest animals.

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    Very admirable. I think you offer more than anyone I've ever heard of when planning an undersea adventure. Glad to hear you're still going.
    Playing a game is a study. Storytelling is personal composition.

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