Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: The Dark Elves of the Wasted Lands

 The Wasted Lands Kickstarter is up and moving along nicely.  As you can imagine from my posts here, I do have a campaign in mind and potentially my own setting. BUT that is far off and in no way official yet.

But I can play around with ideas. One thing I need to overcome first is this:

How do I get my D&D 5e players away from D&D and into the Wasted Lands?

Wasted Lands > D&D 5

Look. I love D&D, I do. But in the last six months, I have been turned off and looking for other options. I have presented some of those options here and I do have more. One today is can I use the Wasted Lands as a Dungeons & Dragons replacement?

Jason has touched on this topic on his blog; Will Wasted Lands Be a Retroclone? But I want to go a step deeper. And in particular, can I use the various races/species that my D&D 5 players are wanting to play? Again, Jason touches on this, Races (Species) in Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, but while his rationale is to move WL away from D&D (and a good rationale it is too) I am using the same logic to give my players a D&D experience with better rules.

To do this I want to start out with something on my mind a lot this month, my Shadow Elves.

The Wasted Lands has al sorts of human-like species running around and to be clear these humans are not the humans like you and I. They operate in and occupy the same ecological niche as do humans and maybe, just maybe, they pass on something (DNA, Collection Unconsciousness, the Akashic Records) down the millennia to us. This is why we remember them as gods. Though not all characters will become gods, as I pointed out yesterday

So to kill a few birds with one stone, I want to talk about the Dökkálfar of the Wasted Lands today.

The Dökkálfar, or the Dark Elves, are not to be confused with the D&D Drow, though obviously, there are connections. Since elves, the fae and other near-immortal creatures have drifted into myth and legend there is no reason not to assume that they once lived during the Dreaming Age.

Appendix 1 of the Wasted Lands Core Rules gives us examples of how to make other species. This might change a bit, but here is how I'd implement a Dark Elf, or more to the point, one of my Shadow Elves.


Size: Medium (5 feet tall)
Vitality Die: As class.
Saves: Dökkálfar gain +1 to Persona saves, +1 to Agility saves, and +2 to save against spells and effects that read or transmit thoughts or emotions.
Move: 30 ft.
Senses: Dökkálfar have darksight, enabling them to see in near-absolute dark for up to 60 feet. This sight functions in all but the most absolute darkness; so long as there is any ambient light, they can see, albeit fine details may be difficult to discern in the darkest caverns.
Weapons and Armor: Dökkálfar are proficient with all bows and swords. They can wear armor up to chain mail.
XP Cost: 1,750

Urnu and Runu

All other details are, in a sense, cosplay.

Do they have pointy ears? What color is their skin, hair, eyes? What sort of society do they have?

None of that needs to be handled by the rules. It can be determined at your table. The rules are "old school," but the spirit is "new school."  Want to play Dragonborn? Aarocka? goblins? orcs? SURE! come on in. The rules are not going to stop you.

Are these Dökkálfar the Chaotic Evil Drow that everyone loves? Maybe. Are they my Lawful Evil Drow? Could be. Are they my Shadow Elves? Again, it could be. It will depend on the campaign at hand. 

Likely I will make them similar enough to my Shadow Elves so that when I finally get done with my Tomb of the Vampire Queen adventure, I can use these Dökkálfar in place of the Shadow Elves.

Tomorrow I'll put this into practice and convert some Spellcraft & Swordplay characters to Wasted Lands.


Venger Satanis said...

If a guy like you, with your particular tastes and politics, is abandoning mainstream WotC D&D, then "6e" is doomed... as far as paper & pencil tabletop RPGs go.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I'll buy the core books, always have, but I have so many other games I want to play that D&D doesn't need my energy/attention/love. Last time I did this was near the end of 2e.

Who knows, maybe 5r/5.5/One will win me back. But it will take an awful lot of rebuilding goodwill.

Venger Satanis said...