I have yet to run the Winnie the Pooh adventure I advertised on RPGGeek. Nobody signed up, and when I went to the gaming store on a Saturday afternoon, it was empty. Not a nerd in sight: No Pokemon, no Magic the Gathering, no board gamers. It was an odd sight. I hung out for a period of time. Some customers came in to look at board games but left without so much as exploring the play room.
So I left, a little dismayed, but encouraged in the fact that I braved meeting new people. As fate would have it, no people were available.
So I got to thinking that Blood of Pangea might be a better fit for this hybrid Winnie the Pooh/Alice in Wonderland adventure than Pits & Perils. Rather than squish characters into archetypes, I could let them define themselves. After all, in the bizarre world of Wonderland, and for that matter, the Hundred Acre Wood, there’s bound to be interesting characters that defy traditional race/class archetypes of OSR games.
That’s not to say that you can’t improvise traditional classes and give them flavor. Bloody Basic – Mother Goose Edition does just that with traditional OSR classes but uses European fairy tales as its inspiration. For example, one of the races you can pick are Little Pigs, which are a stand in for Halflings. They get bonuses when doing stealthy stuff, because little pigs are always pursued by hungry predators. Little Pigs also get a bonus for setting traps, such as the infamous boiling pot set in the chimney of the house made of bricks!
There is a Maiden subclass of cleric that has poor fighting skills (using only the simplest weapons). In place of turning undead, she has an affinity with beasts that lets her charm or calm monsters of all kinds.
This kind of creative use of fiction is the stuff that Blood of Pangea is made of. I want a slightly dark spin on these modern fairy tales, and therefore BOP seems to be the right Operating System for this kind of program.
While Winnie the Pooh won’t be an active NPC in the adventure, I’d like to try and define him a bit, just for fun. I’ve been reading a collection of Winnie the Pooh stories, in an effort to learn more about the fictional world the characters live in. So here’s my first attempt to BOP Winnie-the-Pooh:
Winnie the Pooh is a living stuffed bear and best friend of Christopher Robin. He is very fond of honey and eats just about anything he can get his hands on. Sometimes he ends up eating his friends’ food, but not out of malice. In spite of that, he doesn’t get any fatter, or at least he thinks he doesn’t. He’s somewhat dull witted, but he is quite the poet: thinking up rhymes and songs about whatever situation he finds himself in and involving his friends in singing along. He’s quite good at climbing (to get bees’ honey!), and loyal to his friends. He invented a game called Pooh Sticks, and his friends enjoy playing it.
Here is a bear with charisma. If there’s a Bard in the Hundred Acre Wood, his name is Pooh. If there’s someone to keep a party together, it is Pooh. If it came to tasks such as climbing and helping to motivate disheartened friends, or finding food in an environment where he would easily find food, I would give Pooh an advantage.
Tigger is a playful, bouncy stuffed tiger and friend of Christopher Robin. His bounciness gets him in trouble with his friends. He’s a lot more energetic than most other animals. Tigger can easily find his way home when lost. He is a picky eater, but has a taste for Malt Extract.
As of the time I write this, I’m not yet finished “The House At Pooh Corner.” (In fact, there appears to be a prior collection of Pooh stories, title unknown to me, that I’ve yet to read) There may be more to learn about Tigger. Tigger’s bounciness plays into the introduction of my adventure, where he crushes a rat warrior (but sadly pays the price for it with a severed leg. Not to worry, he can be repaired!) Tigger, the happy-go-lucky navigator.
So I’m thinking the PCs can define themselves however they like. It’s a fairy tale. If they say they’re knights, then they’re knights. If they’re anthropomorphic animals (such as characters from The Wind in the Willows), then that’s great! If someone is a magician, witch, warlock, hermit wizard, then we can play with that too.
I still like the idea of magic being costly and dangerous. Casting a lot of spells may have consequences beyond spent Might. Basic cantrips are probably mostly harmless. If you start messing with the laws of physics then you will get noticed by something or someone.