Tuesday, April 06, 2010

if I were to run 4e

I don't own any of the books for Wizards' new edition of D&D.  I don't plan on getting them and I don't plan on running or playing it.  But I do have a campaign idea that I think would work better for 4e than the versions I prefer, so I thought I'd share.

The basic deal is that I would set the campaign in Jack Kirby's Fourth World.  The PCs would be adventurous young lads and lasses from Supertown, the floating techno-capital of New Genesis.

Phase one of the campaign would center around the Bug Mounds, strange underground edifices in habited by hyper-evolved monster people.  Agents of Darkseid have turned the class resentment of the Bugs into a brushwar against Supertown.  It's up to the PCs to set things straight, preferably by flipping the Bugs to the side of good.  Phase two of the campaign would take the cold war between New Genesis and Darkseid and turn it hot on modern day Earth, just like in Kirby's comics.  Imagine the awesomeness of a laser-powered D&D fight at your favorite landmarks.  Fireballs over the Statue of Liberty, mutant dragons rampaging on the White House lawn, that sort of thing.  Phase three would be kicking ass and taking names on Darkseid's hell-planet Apokalips.

Feel free to steal this idea.  I'm sharing it because I doubt I'll ever use it.

PS: If you haven't answered my quick survey from earlier today, please do so!


  1. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I would run the HELL out of this.

  2. I would probably use Savage Worlds but yeah, if we're limiting it to D&D, then the fourth incarnation would be a good fit, perhaps better than its emulation of bog-standard fantasy, even.

  3. Great idea, but I think BASH would be a better fit- and I do own the 4e books. I don't think 4e would give you the spread of unique powers and wahoo that Kirby's 4th world would require.
    Also, I want to play Kirby's version of Jimmy Olsen; he's a total motorcycle gang leading badass and takes no shit- not even from Superman.

  4. don't start talking crazy

  5. Seems more like Gamma World/Mutant Future or Encounter Critical to me.

  6. I have a pile of Heroclix minis and I keep trying to figure out a not-too-much-work way of using 4e to run a supers type game.

  7. Dude!

    My favorite 4th-Worlders are the Hairies (the guys Superman told to "learn to dig peace, like, now, man"). I am totally going to try to convince my 4e-ers to let my try a little bit of this.

    You are a genius, Jeff.

  8. Somebody needs to create a pure Kirby rpg played in the bombastic Kirby style.

  9. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Mutants and Masterminds, maybe? I mean, it is a d20 superhero system...

  10. Dude!
    There was talk a few months ago about my group switching to 4e for a while. I pitched a campaign that was heavily inspired (stolen, actually) from my Fourth World Omnibus collection, along with the comprehendible parts of Final Crisis.

    Thankfully, that mutated into a Gamma World/Mutant Future game that kicked off on Easter, complete with Atomic Knights [of Genetic Purity]. I was just about to type up the session report when I saw this post!

    I still haven't decided how to write up the Anti-Life Equation (or if I even want it to be rules-based). It was gonna be charm-based, but I'm not sure if that's what I want. Any thoughts?

    Also, have you checked out Jersey Gods yet? I kinda dropped it after the fourth issue, but it's basically Fourth World combined with Sex and the City. I'm serious.

  11. I've been toying with an idea to do Masters of the Universe using FASERIP for a while. It wasn't until I saw your post today Jeff, that I realized Kirby and MotU are practically kissin' cousins!

    Great, so I guess my brain is stuck on this channel for a while! ;)

  12. Sovereigneternal4:02 PM

    Last summer a ran a mini-campaign based on the New Gods using Mutants ans Masterminds (1st edition). I took several scenes and encouters directly from vol 1 of the comic and even used frames from the comic as hand-outs. A few months ago I started tossing around the idea of using M+M1e to run MOTU or Thundarr when it's my turn to DM again.

  13. I would run this, though likely as a Superhero RPG campaign story arc.

    I loves me some Dark Seid.

  14. Shit, 4e wished it could kick it like Jack Kirby!!!

    I can think of a lot of other systems could work better, but for all the flash and splash seen on the 4e art, it all musters down to a lot of safe-and-sane NERF-ing!!! If you what a game that is structured like a CCG, and plays out like a MMO, then play 4e! What you noted sounds so awesome, that its going to need a system that is so cool, just to compete with Jack's awesomeness!!!

  15. This is a cool idea, though I don't see why you would choose $ed over some home brew S&W or OSRIC.

  16. Great idea! Where did the Ed Hannigan art come from?

  17. Swiped from the Wikipedia page on New Genesis, actually.

  18. This utterly rocks.

    I'd love to see more Kirby-inspired gaming. His characters are so strongly iconic and defined that they're perfect. He's especially good at creating unique, instantly identifiable, enemies, and I think that's an area where the 4e rules work well -- the 4e monsters are designed to have 2 or 3 Cool Powers built on a single shtick.

    If you're interested, my Earth Delta WIP (http://www.mrlizard.com), is very heavily influenced by Kamandi. Or, more technically, I want it to evoke the same feeling I got back when I played 1st edition Gamma World and read Kamandi comics for ideas. :)

  19. 1. So stolen...I've had 4th World ideas for a long time too.

    2. You'll like a post I'm finishing about comics and rpgs and that steals from your Alchemical Formula last year.