Monday, January 14, 2013

The Alwyn Campaign

Brother Alwyn Macomber of the Anla'Shok
My friend Rachel invited me over for a Babylon 5 viewing party yesterday, as she has embarked on a reviewing of the entire TV series. We watched the last episode of Season 4, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", and the first three episodes of Season 5. Rachel had a great idea for a B5 campaign based on this episode, which I present with some embellishments here.

Cover by George Sottung
First the background. With a strong nod to A Canticle for Liebowitz, the story setting is neo-Feudal Earth in the year 3262; this is 1,000 years after the founding of the Interstellar Alliance. In 2762, a quasi-fascist 1984 newspeak-wielding Earth state precipitated a nuclear war. The resulting Great Burn (for which Mr. Garibaldi bears a certain amount of responsibility) reduced Earth to post-nuclear war ruins, upon which a medieval society with a church once again dominated by Rome is the dominant social force.

Familiar figures from the B5 setting, such as Sheridan, Ivanova, and Lorien are revered as saints. (Does G'Kar finally assume his rightful status as The Green Knight in this setting?) Humans understandably distrust technology, but members of the Anla'Shok or Rangers are hidden among the monastic orders and are gradually reintroducing lost technologies through faked serendipitous "discoveries".

Humanity has apparently been left alone to its own devices on Earth, but the Earthbound Anla'Shok dutifully report-in on their advances and can make requests for material aid from their Ranger comrades in the skies. Their goal is to rebuild the Earth, but also make it a better Earth than the one that was before.

The Alwyn Campaign 

The PCs are a mixed party of Anla'Shok and others seeking to rebuild the Earth and build a better Earth than the one destroyed in the Great Burn. The campaign could be centered on a monastery and its surrounding ruins, or have a more itinerant or even sandbox model. Another idea might be a pilgrimage to Rome, perhaps the order's attempt to convince the church to endorse new discoveries.

"A Prince in Waiting" cover art
by Emanuel Schongut
I would probably use Legends of Anglerre and Starblazer Adventures to run this campaign as the feel would be closer to historical fantasy, with some of the trappings of magic (i.e., Psi powers and some technological artifacts), rather than having an SF feel. There might even be a few aliens here and there, and maybe a sovereign or two under the sway of a Keeper. There could even be a few mutant creatures in the wild areas, although the overall feel of the setting would be more similar to John Christopher's The Sword of the Spirits Trilogy than to Gamma World .

Here's a sample campaign structure:

Current Issue: The Order leaves the monastery. The PCs play itinerant Anla'Shok who wander the ruined Earth disguised as a group of knights, their retainers, and their confessors. They help the communities of the Western Rim Kingdoms on the shores of the Great Dry Ocean, protecting them from barbarian invasions from the Great Dry Ocean, from the depredations of their own feudal lords, and from periodic anti-technological persecutions and witch-hunts by the church, peasants and commoners. Along the way, they scout the ruins from the time of the Great Burn for technologies that can be salvaged to rebuild the Earth.

Impending Issue: A predatory and powerful new alliance invades. Newly unified barbarian chieftains of the Great Dry Ocean invade the lands of the Western Rim Kingdoms. They express the ambition of unifying the Western Rim Kingdoms under the rule of a single great king. The chieftains for the first time have access to ancient and powerful weapons, and are rumored to be in league with devils. They have also begun raiding monasteries in search of prohibited technologies. Most of these acquisitions are being taken to a great fortification deep within the wastes of the Great Dry Ocean. A number of the most insightful and gifted monks are taken there too.


  1. Roy Brocksmith was one of the funniest people I ever knew. You hadn't lived until you heard his version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"!

    yours, Chirine

  2. Very well developed! That would be a great campaign. I love the idea of using both Legends of Anglerre and Starblazer Adventures in the same game, and I already have an idea for a character: an astronomer who dreams of going to the stars.

    1. After I posted this I realized we could also run this using Blade & Crown!

    2. That could certainly work, too. Ooh, now you've got me thinking of running it myself...