Thursday, 28 April 2011

Fiddlers on roofs

NetherWerks have made their inventive Rooftop Encounters idea a living table at DM Muse.

The question behind the project is why more games are not set in the attics and eyries of buildings and on their rooftops. If we have the 'dungeoncrawl', why not the 'roofcrawl'?

Here's my contribution, another 20 entries, making 61 and adding some more mundane.

  1. A vast mound of bird droppings lie beneath a popular perch, likely an excellent fertiliser, though the ancient layers within may require a Save to avoid disease.
  2. A compluvium looks down into a dimly-lit atrium where figures chant.
  3. This sheltered hollow is filled with smoke from a line of chimneys, reducing visibility to a few feet... is something moving there?
  4. A dead end, but an ornate and slightly rickety drainpipe leads upward...
  5. On a stretch of roof a pale body lies prone - sunbathing?
  6. A bricked-up doorway, mortar not yet dry, overlooks a set of tools.
  7. A barricade blocks progress, made of old timbers and broken brick, and overgrown with weeds.
  8. The narrow stretch of flat roof here is a well-tended herb garden.
  9. Weeds of all kinds grow thick in the fissures of ancient planking and brickwork, obscuring 1D6 gems.
  10. Creepers make it possible to attempt a climb here, downward and up.
  11. An undulating plateau runs on into the haze, a near-closed world populated with strange flora, and, yes, fauna too: an odd creature stands watching.
  12. A sloping glazed roof here provides light to a thriving orangery.
  13. A grubby window looks in on a cramped garret, the sill lined with dead potplants.
  14. A tile shatters on the ground far below, echoing around the rooftops - but where did it fall from, and how did it come loose..?
  15. A sniper!
  16. An arcane symbol has been painted, or formed with detritus, on this flat roof, a bizarre sign directed up at the sky - but for who, or what?
  17. A pile of rusting sheet metal; 1D4 sheets at the base are in good condition.
  18. A signalling mirror lies here on a ledge.
  19. A pump of some kind chugs away, almost out of fuel.
  20. What is this? A vast, bulbous, metallic object stands silent on a trio of spindly legs. Some form of magical skycraft..?

I've added them all and they should be ready to roll soon. Feel free to add your ideas too - anyone can - or even start a table of your own.


Paul´s Bods said...

The ideas remind me of a picture i once saw of a street in beirut that had been abandoned due to the fighting and nature had moved in, trees growing through cars etc. I´ve always wanted to get a house with a garden and just seal it off and see what would happen to it over the years, no a coming to life art installation. Badly off topic now...:-D

christian said...

I'm not sure why you don't see more urban games. I'm one of those odd birds who finds dungeons to be rather dull. I love urban environments with their colorful neighborhoods, diverse populations, seething intrigues and rich political dramas. I find all of that to be more compelling than kicked in doors and lotting the bodies of dead orcs.

But I'm a freak like that. ;)

netherwerks said...

Good to see your contributions to the Living Table. Number 20 just about sent coffee through our noses--those darn Tripods are everywhere...

We're not against dungeons, not by any means, but they can't be the end-all, be-all of a campaign-style game, unless you're doing some sort of riff on Farmer's World of Tiers or Zak's Gigacrawler, or something along those lines perhaps. We just are very interested in what is 'up there' and how the environment, ecology, and terrain up on those rooftops and within those attics and shuttered rooms might affect the development of a game, a scenario or a 'roofcrawl'...

It certainly makes designing a village or citystate more interesting.

Porky said...

@ Paul's Bods - That's a powerful image. I think this is one of the attractions of post-apocalyptic settings, the sense of time sped up and surprise combinations of elements. Have you read The Secret Garden? It may be even more powerful as an adult.

@ christian - No freak. I see the attractions of dungeons, but I'll admit I prefer an unusual dungeon to a more generic, and one that moves back and forth between interior and exterior most of all. Urban environments definitely have a lot going on, and can even have dungeons too of course, and sewers. There's a lot of mileage in a single city. The beauty of the roof crawl is its being a kind of halfway house, especially if it's more lofts and crawlspaces.

@ NetherWerks - That sense of an ecology is something I really like about the idea, and the impression of interrelationships you got into your second batch was an inspiration. As you say, it's about adding another textured layer to the landscape.