As I mentioned earlier, I mostly swipe other peoples’ stuff and mash it together for my games. In the case of the Black City campaign, the obvious primary source is Dan Arendt’s Black City Project, from his Dreams in the Lich House blog. (Go check it out; it’s an amazing inspiration!)
However, I’ve also spliced in a heavy strain of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH), by Jeff Talanian. My Black City campaign is linked to my previous Hyperborean campaign; in fact the titular city itself is a reflection or alternate version of Khromarium from that setting.
And in terms of ruleset, I’ve been using the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) by Autarch Games. Specifically, I’m using material the playtests version of the Heroic Fantasy & Barbarian Conquerors Collection. To this, I’ve added Eldritch Artifacts from Realms of Crawling Chaos.
Adventure Sites & Modules:
The Black City is a perfect playground to mix and match material from a number of different sources (and even genres) in a single campaign. The core “Vikings in an alien city” concept ties together all the elements into a strongly-themed and highly-gameable package.
Before starting the campaign proper, I ran a prologue session set a millennia earlier based on Thulian Echoes by Zzarchov Kowolski for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This fit surprisingly well with the rest of the game and set up the Tolberts’ backstory.
In an early session, I inserted By Esophagus Brood (with some modifications). It’s one of several one-page dungeons that I’ve picked out to use “on the fly” if I need something quick.
Then I swiped part of the sample adventure from Chthulhu Dark Ages for the Mi-Go Monument. This was the first significant dose of Lovecraftian darkness in the campaign and also marked the first session featuring eldritch artifacts.
More recently I’ve been using playtest material from Alexander Macris in the Undercity (and the PCs are getting closer to discovering the true origins of the Hyperboreans). I may post more about this as play develops…
My Black City campaign is player-driven, so it’s up to the PCs to decide what to investigate further. Between each session I supply a number of adventure seeds that they can choose to follow up on (or ignore). I think we’ll continue playing in the Undercity for a bit, and perhaps discover what’s up with the “wormy” Vhuurmis.
But I’ve also got some “setpiece adventures” that I’m itching to try…
- The first of these is the Spire of Iron & Crystal by Matt Finch, which I’ve wanted to run ever since it was released almost a decade ago.
- Next is People of the Pit by Alphonso Warden. This one slipped under a lot of peoples’ radar when it was released, and I think its brilliant.
- Finally is the The Mysterious Crystal Hemisphere by James Maliszewski, found in Fight On! #4 as part of the Darkness Beneath megadungeon.
Anyhow, that’s enough rambling for today. As you can see I’ve been building the campaign by mashing together a number of sources. The strength of the Black City concept is that the Vikings “ground” it to something more relatable, but the alien angle lets you splice in all sorts of weirdness.