Eastmere was a remote town of a few thousand centered around a mithril mine. Then the Silence came – not simply a physical quietness, but a mind-numbing, soul-crushing, total… Silence. It arrived on an utterly black Midwinter’s night. Madness swept through the population by morning.
Within a week, Eastmere was reduced to a pale shadow of its former self. Just over a hundred had survived, the rest either dead, missing, or fled into the wilderness. Tightly grasping the last shreds of their sanity, the few survivors became aware of a faint Song, driving the Silence from their minds. Seeking it out, they found that the Song originated from a human-sized wooden doll lying in the fields north of town. Tracks leading to the doll suggested that it had walked there, then collapsed.
The doll was brought into the town. As the procession approached the mithril-laced statue in the center of town, the doll dissolved and flowed into the statue, with two immediately obvious effects: The first was that the Song had also been absorbed into the statue and became stronger in the joining. The second is that a part of the Song entered the person who had been carrying the statue, transforming her into the first Deva, safe from the Silence and able to protect others nearby as the mithril statue now protected the town.
In the following days, strangers began to arrive in Eastmere, many of them coming from places unlike any that were close enough to travel in so short a time and telling tales of wonders undreamed or horrors unimagined by the people of Eastmere. But the strangers were all alike in that each had been drawn by the town’s Song and each bore an item with a Song of its own. They brought their items to the mithril statue, and the items were absorbed by it, strengthening the town’s Song and transforming the bearers into Devas.
Now a month has passed. The dead have been buried and the town’s Song carries far enough to protect the nearest fields. Several Devas have gathered and the time has come for them to secure those fields, seek out other survivors, find additional artifacts to further strengthen Eastmere’s Song, and push back the Silence.
Savage Marches is a sandbox Savage Worlds campaign in the general style of the West Marches campaign:
West Marches was a game [ben robbins] ran for a little over two years. It was designed to be pretty much the diametric opposite of the normal weekly game:
1) There was no regular time: every session was scheduled by the players on the fly.
2) There was no regular party: each game had different players drawn from a pool of around 10-14 people.
3) There was no regular plot: The players decided where to go and what to do. It was a sandbox game in the sense that’s now used to describe video games like Grand Theft Auto, minus the missions. There was no mysterious old man sending them on quests. No overarching plot, just an overarching environment.
The “overarching environment” of Savage Marches is based loosely on the PC/console game A Valley Without Wind. A magical apocalypse has shattered the timeline, bringing different historical periods into direct contact with each other. While the game will start out in a typical fantasy-themed era, it will become cross-genre as the player characters explore further out from Eastmere and discover regions which are in the past or the future – but, on the other hand, the immediate area is large enough and dense enough that players who prefer to stick with a regular fantasy game will be able to explore and adventure there indefinitely. Visiting other eras will not be mandatory.
The player character Devas each consist of two symbiotic characters, the person who has become a Deva and the Song which transformed them. The person is mortal and will likely die in the course of the game. The Song is immortal and, when the host body is killed, the Song will immediately transfer to a nearby friendly NPC henchman, allowing the player to remain in the game without interruption. However, deaths of Devas and henchmen will harm the reputation of those leading the expedition, making it harder to recruit henchmen in the future. Also, Eastmere’s population is very limited, so it would not be wise to sacrifice bodies without good cause.
Although Savage Marches is primarily an in-person tabletop campaign, meeting in Lund, Sweden, the West Marches structure is designed to accommodate a large number of players grouped into multiple parties with shifting membership, so I am open to also running online sessions for non-local players.