[Fantasy Craft] Darker Days, A Gothic Fantasy Campaign Setting

Posted: May 22, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Campaign Design, Fantasy Craft, Roleplaying Games

Last year, I put up a quick campaign setting sketch for “Darker Days” as a Beer and Pretzels style game run with 4th Edition D&D. With the recent release of Diablo 3, I’ve been thinking about it once again, and I think that with a little more work, it can be transformed to be something more interesting. That said, I decided that I might as well run this setting in none other than Fantasy Craft.

So how do we go about this? Well, let’s take a moment to break it down according to Fantasy Craft’s campaign world building chapter:

Genre: Action /Dark Fantasy – Darker Days is at its heart, a game about striking out against evil. As such, I’m seeing a lot of action in a setting that is bleak to start with. The player characters are the last embers of hope in the setting, and they take center stage in the fight to bring light back to the darkness.

Era: Reason – I was sitting on the fence on this one. The standard trope was to go for Feudal, but I figure that pushing it up to the age of Reason was a valid point, as many works of Gothic Horror are set here, including Ravenloft and Solomon Kane, which are both excellent inspirations for Darker Days.

Paths? No – I was also thinking about this a bit, but I figured that having Alignments and Paths meant that there was a tangible manifestation of the divine. To that end I decided to remove it. This fight was for mankind to win by his own hand, the Gods might be there somewhere, but they’re not about to grant miracles.

Spellcasting? Yes – While miracles are out of the picture, spellcasting exists. It’s an imperfect and dangerous art to those who use it, but it provides an interesting weapon against the forces of darkness.

Campaign Qualities:

  • Complex Heroes
  • Dead Means Dead
  • Dramatic Pacing
  • Hewn Limbs

As for backstory, the player characters are part of a secret organization of knights known as the Torchbearers. Their organization exists in secret, and is devoted to finding and recovering the ancient lore necessary to undo the curse that has sealed away Heaven from earth, leaving the dead to be trapped forever in the mortal realm. Along the way the Torchbearers fight a never-ending battle against the forces of darkness, as demons and other foul creatures have begun to carve out their place in the myriad kingdoms.

It’s a race for the player characters to travel the various kingdoms to recover the necessary lore (and artifacts) to undo the curse and restore peace to the land. I’ll try to accommodate all the Classes in Fantasy Craft for this campaign, though I’m probably keeping it as an all-Human game for the time being. In homage to Diablo 2, there will be various environments as well, as each of the kingdoms will come from a different biome and culture, which should be an interesting change of pace from my usual urban campaigns.


  • Solomon Kane
  • Ravenloft
  • Castlevania
  • Diablo
  1. dbro36 says:

    Yeah man, sounds like something I would play!!
    Speaking of Castlevania, I have actually been thinking (a lot) about a Castlevania themed campaign for Chronicles. Turns out the “Basic Actions” work wonders to emulate some of the platforming action found in the game.

    While you’re at it, writing the campaign, you might also like to think a bit about Resident Evil 4, especially the village part and the castle part. Especially the village part, you can’t get it much bleaker than that.

    Good luck with writing.

  2. […] Articles, Campaign Design, Fantasy Craft, Roleplaying Games 0 Remember when I was talking about Darker Days as a Fantasy Craft Setting? Well, I figure it’s about time I run […]

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