A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coming Soon: The Dark Tower, a Campaign Setting

Astute readers will already know that I'm a big fan of Milton Bradley's Dark Tower board/electronic game. Since 1981, I've incorporated elements of the game into many D&D games/worlds I've created; but I've never created an entire game world/campaign setting specifically based on the game.

Until now, that is.

I'll admit: some of my best ideas come from fevered journeys of the imagination that occur during my semi-frequent bouts of insomnia. This one is no different. Unable to sleep a few nights ago, my wandering mind locked on to the idea of doing a full-on old-school campaign in the world of Dark Tower. Of course, the game itself has no real background, so it's - IMHO - the perfect starting point for me.

So, in the moments when I've been able to spare a few cycles of the cranial processor, I've been mentally plugging together the pieces I need to flesh out the setting. I've also swiped an hour from my over-loaded schedule to build a map - usually the first piece in place on my way to assembling such a puzzle.

It may be a while before all of the pieces fall together, but I thought I'd give you a little teaser of what I'm up to. It's not in the "old-school style," but this was what my brain saw that night The Muse came to me:

Stay tuned - the best is yet to come!
. . . . .

12 comments:

  1. lol! I about shit myself thinking it was an adaptation of stephen king's book series...

    I'll live, meanwhile, a cool new board game needs exploring :)

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  2. I will be following this project with intense interest. :D The art on the gameboard was extremely evocative, and very much the sort of thing to inspire neat gaming content.

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  3. wow, talk about a blast from the past. I had forgotten all about that game until you mentioned it. Now I vaguely remember playing it a few times though for the life of me I can't remember what you did.

    On a related note, I found my old Dungeons & Dragons electronic game last summer in my mom's cellar and amazingly enough it still worked perfectly. Since then I've played it dozen times or so with my 6-year-old who loves the beeps & blimps it makes.

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  4. @Donny: I thought for a second that I should change the title, in case someone were to get the wrong impression before reading the post. But then I figured: Why bother? They'll figure it out soon enough. :P Sorry.

    @trollsmyth: I agree. My first thought was to attempt to copy the board as closely as possible. But since I don't have easy access to my copy of the game (and eBay copies run in the $200-$300 range) I went with my second idea, which was what you see before you.

    @MJ: Ah, the D&D electronic game. I recall drooling over that in the Sears Wishbook. But for some reason, it remained elusive: to this day, I've never even seen one in person. I almost think I'd like to keep it that way, lest the actual game-play not live up to what I'd imagined it to be - and disrupt my nostalgic fondness for the game. :P

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  5. I've thought about doing this with the first edition of Talisman in the past. I still might! In the case of Talisman, it might be a great place to start higher level characters in (to deal with all the gnarly shit therin).

    For Dark Tower, I wonder most of all how you are going to deal with that bastard, bazaare closing merchant. He's pissed a lot of people off in the past with his hard haggling - he better have some damn good bodyguards...

    Also, will there only be bandits for humanoid cannon fodder? And will the dungeons and lands be swarming with them, as they seem to in the game?

    Anyway, I fun idea no doubt!

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  6. "For Dark Tower, I wonder most of all how you are going to deal with that bastard, bazaare closing merchant. He's pissed a lot of people off in the past with his hard haggling - he better have some damn good bodyguards..."

    When I read this comment aloud to my fiancee (because I found it amusing), she was cursing at me before I was even done reading. Seems she knew, even before I did, where this would end up - a knowledge I confirmed a moment later when I mused: "That's a good question. I'll have to come up with rules for haggling with the merchants." :D She even saved a few choice words for you, since it was indirectly your fault that I'd even considered it. LOL

    "Also, will there only be bandits for humanoid cannon fodder? And will the dungeons and lands be swarming with them, as they seem to in the game?"

    I'm using Dark Tower as a basis for the campaign world, but not limiting myself to canonical elements. Therefore, there will of course be the ubiquitous brigands; but there will also be all manner of other strange and wonderful (and deadly) beasties roaming the lands. I'm currently crafting (in my head - nothing's on paper yet) a cosmology for the world that will allow for some truly exotic - if not downright bizarre - creatures and locales scattered across the world.

    (You'll note that the map displays only the four kingdoms as depicted on the game board. This is not because this is the "known world," but because this is the entire world. More explanation of this to come in future posts...)

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  7. Okay, I give: What program are you using to generate that map?

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  8. @Michael Bugg: I created the flat hex-map in Photoshop. Then - since I decided late that I was going to do a 3D image - I exported the shape of the map as a JPG, imported that into Flash to turn it into a vector image, and exported that as an Illustrator file. I imported the Illustrator file into 3D Studio Max and extruded it to get the "platform" for the hex-map to sit on, and mapped the hex-map onto the top of it. I picked a nifty space image from NASA as a background, tilted the camera angle to get a 3/4 view, and rendered it. *whew* (Still with me?) Then, I brought the render back into Photoshop, where I tweaked the background a bit and rendered the lens flare.

    Et voila! It was all very simple. :)

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  9. Oh, and the brief answer to your question is: Photoshop, Flash, and 3D Studio Max.

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  10. Great idea! My very first mega-dungeon (circa 1981-2) was a rip-off of Dark Tower in the sense that it was a quest for the three keys culminating with a big encounter to defeat an evil warlord in his tower.

    Best of luck!

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  11. Hey, did you ever finish this? I was poking around on your site and couldn't find anything. :/

    (Word verification: crown ;) )

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  12. @trollsmyth: Unfortunately, my Gamer ADD came out of remission and I moved on to other projects. I really should get back to this, shouldn't I?

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