Monday, October 18, 2010

The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps

In addition to a recent Rainy City game, which I'll try to post about eventually, we've lately been playing The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps, inspired by a post by "Josh Roby" at Story Games nearly four years ago. I'll give you his pitch first. Then I'll follow up with some notes from our game.
For thousands of years, the Kingdom has beaten back the monsters lurking in its darkest corners, raided the abandoned dungeons where they dwelled, and slaying the beasts wherever they were found.

With the ascension of Good King George, however, we have seen the dawn of a new day. Guided by his new bride, the drow queen Sabine, the King has outlawed violence against monstrous citizens of the kingdom and established an order of diplomats to visit the dungeons and collapsed castles where they dwell in order to make amends.

It is George's unique wisdom to understand that the so-called "monsters" really are people, too, driven into the inaccessible reaches of the kingdom by fear and ignorance. Millenia of war have only served to oppress these poor souls, denying them the opportunity to own and till fields and raise their spawn in as much comfort as they could. The only permanent solution to the situation was not annihilation and genocide, but coming together in the spirit of peace and understanding.

The job of George's Diplomats is not easy. Generations of mistrust have turned the hearts of the monsters cold and hard, and what few stop to listen believe that a human king would extend an olive branch to their kind. The situation is made even more difficult by the actions of a few diehard "adventurers" who refuse to let go of the ways of the past. But still, no matter the history of violence or the continuing remnants of hatred, the diplomatic corps stands ready to create tomorrow by building bridges of hope, understanding, and mutual respect.
We're three sessions into a Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps mini-campaign here at Superhero Necromancer HQ, and so far it's lived up to its promise. Intrepid diplomats have been offered a number of possible sites to visit on diplomatic missions, and two negotiations have been completed. Successfully? (By some measures!)

The following diplomatic assignments have been completed so far:

  • Winterpeak, home of the Winter Witch, as well as the nearby Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. Diplomats have successfully made contact with the Winter Witch, though unfortunately they also awoke her father, a very old god from a different age: the North Wind. She was not very happy about this! He is a cold, uncaring god, but the diplomats did manage to make a deal with him: he would allow them to worship him and build his church within their kingdom. For although he does not need worshippers, he likes them! Now, there will still be the matter of dealing with his ten sons, who are sure to invade the kingdom to slay him when the next winter arrives. But that is months away! Plenty of time.
  • Dungeon Skull Mountain (I couldn't resist), a vast megadungeon fortress where the Dark Lord dwells, along with his nine. The diplomatic corps has made contact with the Dark Lord and his nine, and they have made a deal with him. Admittedly, in the process, one of the diplomats did quit the corps and join the Dark Lord (better job prospects, in terms of promotions, you know). On the other hand, one of the nine, the Vampire Lord Lightbane, quit the forces of Dungeon Skull Mountain and joined the diplomatic corps. So some progress was made! Now the Corps need only find the location of the god of death so that the Dark Lord can kill him. Before the end of the year. As stipulated in the contract.
Other sites which await visits from the Corps include:

  • The Spider Swamp, where numerous expeditions have been sent in the last six moons since the founding of the RSDC. None have returned, yet. But now that the training has been doubled to two full days, the leaders of the Corps are really quite certain that the next group will meet with success.
  • Crater Town, where a star fell some hundred years ago, and where miners now dig for strange and precious metals and stones. Many miners have over the years fallen prey to strange humours and have begun thinking... gelatinous... thoughts. Diplomatic relations must be opened with the entities behind these thoughts.
Finally, the following sites can also be seen on the map of the kingdom, but no diplomats have been sent to them as yet:

  • The Pit of the Necromancer
  • The Black Duke's Fortress
  • The Mines of the Mountain King
  • The Valley of the Unicorns
  • The Desert of Cosmic Horror
  • The Shire


  1. You have no idea how pleased I am that somebody has an actual place called "Dungeonskull Mountain" (or something close to it) in their campaign. Cheers!

  2. I'm glad to hear it! It is, by far, my favorite name for a dungeon, bar none. I've been waiting for a chance to use it in a campaign since the first time I saw your blog!

  3. There's just no reasoning with them Shire folk, but best of luck to 'em.

  4. Thanks, Timeshadows! It's been fun so far.

    Very true, crazyred. They will need all the luck they can get! Indeed, the players seem to be a bit wary of the shire, moreso than other sites. With the Winter Witch and with Dungeon Skull Mountain, you know what you're dealing with: good, honest evil. Dependable evil. You know where you stand.

    With the shire, well... as you say. They're a strong-minded, people, the halflings. And content to be left alone, thank you very much...

  5. Just read this, what a great idea for a campaign. However, I don't think that the diplomatic trip to the Desert of Cosmic Horror is going to go so well, perhaps three days of training is needed for that one?

  6. Funny you should mention that. This very weekend the diplomats chose to venture into the Desert of Cosmic Horror. They had... um... a bit of a rough time in the desert itself. As you say, kind of hard to negotiate with incomprehensible beings from outside space and time. On the bright side, once they went into the underworld to speak to the dead civilization that had existed there before the coming of... the elder things... uh, they met some very reasonable dead folks.

    They even made it out of the underworld and the desert alive!

    Now they just have to figure out what to put in the report...