Sunday, October 10, 2021

Straight Up Villains

A potential buyer of the new book, started a discussion thread at DriveThru with this:
"Information on running a villainous campaign for aspiring champions of evil" How does this part work? Does it provide a structure or sandbox tools for a campaign of forces of darkness besieging the "points of light"?
Figured I might as well turn my answer into a blog post while I while away the early (Sunday) morning hours.

COMES CHAOS as a B/X supplement, provides rules (game systems) for ripping apart the fabric of your campaign's "reality" with incursions of chaos. It's not Rifts (though some sort of mash-up of B/X, Comes Chaos, and Mutant Future would make for an interesting game), but there are tears caused by the worship of demonic powers that allow access to a different dimension: the Chaos Realm. As people do "bad things" these tears/rips open wider allowing the stuff of Chaos to blight your regular D&D world, creating mutants and monsters and wrecking the joint, as well as allowing demons to enter and cause more mischief and misery. 

That's the "default" idea behind the book: that you're going to use the rules to run a blighted campaign, where the PCs get the chance to fight back against the spread of Chaos, attempting to stem the tide. DMs can make the campaign as heroic or as hopeless as they want. You want this to be Elric and Moonglum fighting a losing battle against the forces of Pan Tang and the might of the Chaos dukes? You can do that. You want the PCs to be inquisitors and witch-hunters rooting out secret covens in the heart of the kingdom? You can do that, too. 

Of course, B/X is (generally) a game of looting crazy dungeons and hauling off tons of treasure; with Comes Chaos, you have a reason such places exist as towns and regions conquered by Chaos become havens for insane monsters chaos worshippers, hoarding the treasures of their terrorized (or converted or eaten) subject peoples. PCs that liberate such dungeons not only help beat back the blight, but can also get rich in the process!

Art by Kelvin Green the question asked. It is perhaps inevitable that folks will want to use Comes Chaos to play individual Chaos champions in the old-timey Warhammer fashion. While the book provides rules for creating NPC champions (including the gifts of their patron demons, the mutations that will eventually consume their bodies, and the minions that will serve as their slaves), these same game systems can be used for player characters wishing to be straight up villains. Such a campaign would involve the PCs working "cooperatively" (I use the term in the loosest of all possible senses) to spread blight themselves by conquering regions of Law and order. Scenario ideas are provided, x.p. adjustments, rules for several Chaos powers (which could, of course, be expanded upon by the enterprising DM), in addition to the systems needed to gradually transform player characters into hideous monstrosities or (even worse) mindless NPCs!

It's all good fun, and I imagine it would probably work in conjunction with the mass combat rules found in my B/X Companion (not sure, as I haven't tried doing so). Such campaigns, however, require participants to approach them with a different perspective than "standard D&D," as bits of player vs. player conflict are bound to crop up in such a game. For some groups this is a boatload of least in the short-term. But it does not make for good, long-term gaming, and the rules in Comes Chaos are written to ensure such forces of evil don't last. Chaos champions have a built-in shelf life, and even should they survive the challenges and conflicts that pervade their existence, their careers will eventually, spectacularly flame-out...generally in mutation and madness.

Hope that all makes sense. 
; )


  1. SEE

    Look for his free game Warband. 1 to 12 tweaks and Bam - Fantasy Chaos Marines errrr Knights.

  2. Mike's Warband! game is pretty cool (the artwork is especially awesome)...I list it in the acknowledgments of Comes Chaos, along with Steven A. Cook's "Hordes of Chaos" and Chris Hogan's SBVD.

    Warband! would, however, probably take MORE than "1 to 12 tweaks" to make it work with a B/X game...but then Comes Chaos wouldn't work as well for a space-hulk-plunder game. They fill different niches in that regard.
    ; )

  3. Cool! I've been busy with real life stuff and totally missed you had a new book coming out! I will definitely be picking up the print version when available!