A Post-Apocalyptic Caravan Campaign Using Worlds Without Number

Drawing Inspiration from Reading and Listening

, I’ve made a decision to read more fiction and listen to more podcasts. I no longer have 2 hours of commute each day, and have found it hard to prioritize listening to the podcasts I love. , while on the road, I was listening to Fear of a Black Dragon 📖’s episode reviewing Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier 📖. Listen to “Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier” episode on “Fear of a Black Dragon”.

I love the FoaBD podcast. And the Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier episode’s Expert Delve pulled me in: caravans. During the Companion Adventures they mentioned HBO’s Station Eleven, based on a book that my daughter recommended I read.

I’ve been noodling on a Worlds without Number (WWN 📖) campaign and the idea of a caravan sounds fantastic. It is the backdrop of adventure; an abstract character moving with the Player Characters (PCs 📖).

One of the topics they discussed was regarding pacing. For a caravan there’s almost a fictional need to show the passing of time.

And FoaBD delivers on a framed in procedure:

Namely, the Game Master (GM 📖) sets the first scene; maybe describing the embarkation. Each player receives a card and we shuffle the deck. The GM draws a player card and that player frames the scene with their PC. When the deck runs out, the GM frames the next scene. In this way, the players can have little moments throughout the caravan’s travels.

There are three rules, as play-tested by Tom McGrenery host of Fear of a Black Dragon :

  1. You may not pass.
  2. When it’s your turn, others may not offer advice unless you ask for it.
  3. The scene must include your character.

The caravan provides a pool of recruits and replacements. It might also make for an interesting framing for a West Marches campaign. And for a sizable caravan, it makes sense to use a rule for finding people. For example, the Circles in Burning Wheel Gold 📖 or the Connect skill in Stars without Number: Revised Edition 📖.

Further, the above procedure is something that can interplay with the Journey mechanics of The One Ring (TOR 📖).

In the Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier episode they also mention mechanisms for populating the caravan with Non-Player Characters (NPCs 📖). Well worth a listen.

My addition that I think is helpful is to sketch out the drive and desire of the caravan; that is treat the caravan as it’s own organism, the collection of people moving in “concert”.

This is more than the drive and desire of the “leader” of the caravan. This drive is how the caravan “takes care of itself”. It is, in essence, a slithering worm across the landscape.

The caravan is one aspect, but there’s also a consideration of time and space; where is this caravan wending. Something like Ultraviolet Grasslands and the Black City (UVG 📖) would provide a solid framing. And accounts of Marco Polo. And reading the The Citadel of Forgotten Myths 📖 gives ideas.

I also think the GM tools of WWN would help create an exotic freshness to the journeys through odds and unknown lands.