One thing I have noticed about creeping middle age is that milestones leave me increasingly asking, “when the hell did that happen?” Recently I ran over the 400 posts mark (really now 420 but why quibble).
Even more astounding has been the continued march of my unpublished draft posts—hitting 300 this month also. That's a lot sitting idle on the cutting floor. Granted about a quarter of that yawning hole in my draft folder are just plain technical misfires, another fifth of them are good, healthy, interesting posts that I just ran out of time in my two-hour window for gaming-related writing I ration myself each day.
The rest...well the rest...live on the Island of the Misfit Toys; stunted little dwarf posts that either were too clumsy, too polemical, too badly-timed, or too just damn weird for me to release them into the light of day. Of course these I secretly love.
A for instance, these I group under the title of Malformed Campaign Seeds (and this mind you is only the coherent half of them):
Evolving System World. This idea evolved out of discussion of the familiar rules-detail/crunch arc—that is you start playing a rules lite game only to want more and more layers of rule complexity to the point that you actually start either jumping systems or creating Frankenrpgs. In a nutshell the campaign would codify this.
The PCs start playing with a completely free-form game with few formal options. Each campaign year we would port the game to a new rules system of varying complexity. So after the faceless mooks in grey jumpsuits storygamed their way through that year they'd go on to be OD&D characters the next year would add Greyhawk so on down the line until they were playing Rolemaster or someother bat-shit complex system.
A truly stupid idea, somewhat akin to saying: “I hate smoking. Too get it out of my system I am going to start smoking five Camel Lites a day eventually working my way up to a carton of Pall Malls.”
Literary Tower of Babel World. A variation on the last one, really. In this one each “land” in the campaign world is dominated by a single theme heavily based on a particular fantasist's work. So you are booging around in Zothique with a bleak range of S&S-like options and then the next day you crossed the mountains and were tooling around Gondor with yet another. Each land would have totally different emulative mechanics for it. Oh it hurts.
Polish “Time of Troubles”. Campaign set in the vast borderlands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 17th-Century. Cossacks, feathered hussars, sabre duels, empty steppes, spooky wetlands, all the works. I planned on converting the Polish RPG Dzikie Pola still sitting on my desk for the project.
It's the last part that makes it a bad campaign idea—any idea that involves you learning a new language and then doing a translation of part or all of a 318-page book is a truly, truly terrible idea.
Pan Chakan Defiance (or Jews with Guns..In Tekumel). A recent joke that almost became a post. Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber lead a band of Jewish partisans through a nexus point into the vast jungles of the Chakas in Tekumel. Guns ablazing they hold off the combined military forces of the Petal Throne, the Red Hats and the Pe Choi. Bad in-jokes makes for worse campaigns.
Now I know very well that many of you have harbored Bad Campaign Ideas (I read your blogs after all, ha). Let your hair down, here's your chance to share. What's lurking in your closet?