Thursday, November 8, 2012

Strangers With Trains

Even if you don't play Risus: The Anything RPG, there are a mess of campaign setting ideas over here, thanks to the Risus One Page Challenge.

Periodically they'll throw out a topic - this time was 'steampunk' - and give people two weeks to submit a one-page version of a campaign setting riffing on that theme.

Now, I've never played Risus, although I've read it, and it's very very basic.  That's a good thing - it means folks who aren't deep into a game can still play along with these kinds of challenges.

My contribution was Rule the Rails, a little setting about psychic revolutionaries and their sentient steam-trains.  It will surprise exactly zero readers of this blog to see that Rule the Rails is a little comedic and draws inspiration from children's lit and TV...


"Crank up the speed!" cried Billy Zero, goading Slaughtermouse with a psionic shove.  As Engines went, Slaughtermouse was small and meek, but Billy had spent years training him.  He could hear the little Engine's cogs whir inside its brain-box, even as he hung his head out the window to see if the Syndicate train was gaining ground.

Billy quickly uncrated the steam-powered semi-automatic multi-harpoon he had bought from the Trenchcoats down at the docks.  This thing had better puffing work, he thought, as he wrenched the feed hose onto Slaughtermouse's auxiliary steam output.  The weapon hissed and jumped as it came to life in his hands.

Rounding the turn, a hail of bullets stuttered across Slaughtermouse's flank - the Syndicate kill-train known only as Black Seven was closing in.  Wiping a sooty sleeve across his goggles in a vain attempt to clear his vision, Billy Zero leaned out the window and brought the multi-harpoon to bear, waiting for the precise moment when he'd have a clear shot at his pursuer's cabin.

"Peep, peep!" shouted Slaughtermouse, eager for a kill.


It's silly and stupid and I kinda want to run some version of it.  That's normal, right?

All in all, the Risus One Page Challenge was great fun.  I saw the specs, had the idea at work, and just typed it up that night.  Looking back, I should've edited better, and I think I could have fit more 'stuff' on one page if I had layout options.  But pretty fun stuff.


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  2. I just saw this and had to find your blog. I thought it was inspired :) and love the idea of thomas and friends going 'off the rails' in a kind of steampunk mad max setting. thanks for writting it./