Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Northern Crown

When you step back and think about it for a moment, some honky in the Midwest of America running faux-European D&D is only slightly less ridiculous than that same honky running an Oriental Adventures campaign. So when Don McKinney introduced me to Northern Crown from Atlas Games, I thought maybe I could make such a setting work. Northern Crown is a D&D campaign set in alt-history America, circa 1666. Great premise, especially for this kid raised in the far western wilderness of Illinois. And the ability to play a Freemason in the New World would allow me to really buy in to Lawful Good and paladins and such.

Unfortunately, the author has seen fit to trim things that ought to be included for Northern Crown to work as a D&D setting. Gone are the non-human PC races, replaced by 17 sub-varieties of humans based on regional, ethnic and political divisions. Similarly, I could find no references to orcs or dragons in the two published Northern Crown hardbounds. The dealbreaker, though, is that the author excludes the following classes from his campaign world: barbarians, fighters, rangers, monks, and rogues. WTF? Viking-occupied Vinland appears on the map, but you can't play a barbarian? Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed are real people in this setting, but you can't play a ranger? No fighters or rogues?!? I am boggled. (Monks I'll give them. Kung fu monks only snuck into an otherwise occidental game thanks to David Carridine and weekend chop sockey TV.)

Not that I need a new campaign setting. I still haven't run Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Evolved. If I do some sort of alt-D&D game, that really ought to be my first priority.