Welcome to Walpurgia, a system-neutral adventure setting designed to introduce a splash of sci-fi into a fantasy campaign.
The Kingdom of Walpurgia was like any other kingdom. A noble king did his level best to protect the land and ensure the prosperity of his subjects (while living lavishly, of course). Fields of golden wheat waved in the wind. The seven legions of the Walpurgian military protected their designated areas.
Then, one day, a royal astronomer spotted something strange in the sky. A moving star, crossing through the constellation of the Great Tree. Then the Spider. And then he noticed it was getting bigger, and bigger…
This was no star. This was a vessel from beyond the sky, and it slammed into the ground mere kilometers from the Walpurgian capital. The force of the impact destroyed the capital’s walls, even at that distance, and soon strange creatures in metal suits spewed from the ship, accompanied by an alien fog.
That was three years ago. Now, Walpurgia is entirely under the control of these strange creatures, and the only remaining faction of the Kingdom of Walpurgia is the Seventh Legion, who are fighting a guerilla war against the mad conquerors.
The creatures from beyond the sky, called “Beyonders” by the locals, are strange, even by fantasy standards. They’re slug-like creatures, roughly four feet in length, with four nubs in place of limbs. Their form makes them weak and slow, but they are rarely seen like this.
The Beyonders often wear six foot tall iron suits that look like a headless, hunched-over person. The Beyonders themselves ride in a chamber in the upper portion. Two arms on either side can be swapped for various tools, like pickaxes or hoes. These suits make them formidable combatants, but a well placed blow to the Beyonder’s driving chamber can disable them. And also kill the Beyonder inside, obviously.
A particularly clever artificer may be able to engineer something that would allow a local to pilot one of these suits, perhaps a saddle with some complex levers that interface with the nub-holes inside the driving chamber, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
What the Beyonders want is simple: They want a home. The fact that this planet is already occupied, and coexistence is probably impossible, is just a minor inconvenience. They will slowly spread their toxic gasses and strange plants across the world, unless they are stopped or a better solution is found.
The Seventh Legion
Before the invasion, the Seventh Legion was in charge of defending Walpurgia’s southern border. This made them the furthest from the crater. One by one, the other legions were defeated, and the Seventh eventually retreated to an ancient fortress in a nearby forest. Now, the remaining members of the Seventh, along with a few new recruits, wage a guerilla war against the Beyonders.
The Seventh’s employs several alchemists and blacksmiths, all of whom spend their days studying captured pieces of Beyonder technology in the hopes of finding weaknesses or, even better, turning it to the service of the Seventh.
The Seventh’s new fortress is a piece of history. Built from stone long before the current Walpurgian kingdom, it has been so overgrown by plants that a passerby could mistake it for a simple hill. The top floor is occupied by the War Room, where Mihail T’chmil surveys his maps and updates them with information from scouts. Below that is the sleeping quarters for most of the Seventh, and on the ground floor is where the blacksmiths and alchemists ply their trade.
- Capture Beyonder technology and corpses for research.
- Recover Walpurgian artifacts to boost morale; banners from fortresses, holy items from churches, royal regalia from the capital.
- Repel the Beyonder invasion.
Mihail T’chmil, Legion commander. Mihail is an old man with perpetual gray stubble and a deep, booming voice. He maintains a brave demeanor, but has his personal doubts about if the Beyonders can really be defeated.
Jana Birca, scout. Young Jana stands at a mere five feet tall, and uses her small size to conceal herself while outside the fortress. She also has a very keen memory, allowing her to accurately report back whatever she’s seen.
Beezer Raileanu, soldier. Beezer is a black-haired lad with a longsword and a shield bearing the Seventh’s emblem. He does his best to lead what is now a fairly rag-tag unit, but he sometimes freezes in combat.
Veronica Ceban, fighter: Veronica is a burly woman who used to be a baker. Now she wrestles machines from beyond the sky. When not prowling the countryside, she makes most of the Seventh’s rations.
Sevrin Sturza, royal guard. Sevrin Sturza is a black-haired 20-something man with dark eyes. He was ordered to take Prince Ruslan as far from the capital as he could, when the Beyonder attacks started. He obeyed dutifully, and eventually ran into the Seventh. The guilt of leaving everyone else behind has been slowly eating at him.
Prince Ruslan. Ruslan was only five when the world turned upside down. Now he’s eight, but anyone can see he’s not much like a typical eight year old. He spends a lot of his time in the War Room, never touching anything, but seeming to read everything and hear everything that’s said. Whether this is a trauma response, a deeply ingrained sense of royal duty, or some combination of both, is anyone’s guess.
Kevin Topal, alchemist. Kevin is a young man with unusually large eyes. He uses a combination of ancient texts and intuition to craft rudimentary explosives and other such things. His most recent invention is a “spore mask,” something you put over your face that will allow you to breathe in the more heavily xenoformed areas… for a while, anyway.
Saveli Stratan, armourer. Saveli is a young man with biceps the size of his head. He keeps his red hair short, and has a small amount of patchy stubble on his face at all times. He’s deaf, but he and Kevin Topal have developed a rudimentary form of sign language after spending a lot of time together.
Not everyone feared the invaders. A small group of people saw them as saviours, and decided that they would win their favour by slaughtering their countrymen. They called themselves the Vanguard, and many Walpurgians met their end at their hands. The Vanguard wear bright blue marks, as they believe that the Beyonders can see that color the best.
Niku Stratan, a red-haired man with a bright, blue headband. Distantly related to Saveli Stratan. He carries several throwing axes, for both ranged and close combat. He’s fully convinced that he and his allies can win their way into the Beyonders’ good graces by turning on other humans.
Elizabeth Chicu, a black-haired woman with a blue headband. She carries a longbow and a knife. She and her sister were the daughters of servants at the Walpurgian capital, and witnessed the might of the Beyonders first hand.
Melina Chicu, a black-haired woman with a blue armband. She carries a shortsword and a kite shield bearing the emblem of the royal family, which has been painted over with a thick blue V.
Tigran Malai, a short man with black hair and a blue armband. He’s very light on his feet and prefers to fight with a knife. Furthermore, he prefers ambushes to fighting face to face. A fair fight is one you can lose, right?
Areas of Interest
Xenowheat Farms. Fields of writhing tentacles. The fields occasionally spew out viscous, orange fluid. Farmers come by and scoop it into buckets. The fields are dense enough to be snuck through. The farmhouses on these properties have been coopted by the Beyonders and turned into their own living quarters.
The Mine. An iron mine has been taken over by the Beyonders, who have built a smog-spewing refinery nearby. The beyonders here have large pickaxes. The refining equipment has been hastily “upgraded” by the beyonders, making it far more efficient AND far more polluting. One of the warehouses nearby has been converted into some sort of Beyonder nest. The lake below the mine is an unnatural red, poisoned by mine tailings.
The Church of Par. Daphne the Holy, Paragon of Perserverence. A church dedicated to Paragon Daphne sits on a country road. High above its alter sits a shield, once held by Daphne the Holy herself. A corpse is sprawled in front of the door, a medal of Par. Daphne still clutched in its hand. Beyonder plants have slowly begun to creep onto the church’s grounds, and vines are wrapped around the corpse’s left leg.
Haulers. Though not technically a place, these are certainly notable features of the landscape. Hovering vehicles used to haul cargo from place to place, most commonly from xenowheat fields to further in the territory. They operate on programmed routes, and can be stowed away on.
Located a few miles from the capital of Walpurgia, a giant spike of metal sticks at an angle out of a deep depression. This is the source of all the nation’s misery, the terrible ship from beyond the sky. From it, noxious gas constantly spews, and Beyonders go in and out at all hours.
The gas that spews from the ship is full of bacteria meant to make the atmosphere of this planet more like something the Beyonders can breathe. They also plant tentacle-like alien crops to help with the xenoforming, as well as producing food.
The Beyonders, in the long run, simply want a large place to live and flourish. Unfortunately, they believe that their needs outweigh those of the locals, and so the locals must be eliminated. It might be possible to work out an agreement of coexistence with them, but it would take a lot of work. Or a wizard that can huck the whole thing into a demiplane. One of the two.
|Roll 1d8 (or use at your own inclination)|
|1: Egg Clutch. A tree whose branches have been covered in sticky white orbs, eggs of the beyonders.|
|2: Beyonder work patrol. Beyonders in farming equipment. If they see the party, they’re more likely to run than to fight, but they will definitely report the encounter.|
|3: Hauler. The party hears the low drone of a Beyonder hauler, headed in the same direction as them.|
|4: Refugees 1. A mother and her children. The mother is walking stiffly, carrying one child, while a young child walks nearby. The walking child refuses to make eye contact with the party.|
|5: Refugees 2. A mother and her children being pursued by Beyonder suits.|
|6: Grizzly Bear 1. A large male eagerly eating a deer corpse. Won’t attack unless approached, and will perform a bluff charge (charging but stopping before actually hitting the target) before actually attacking.|
|7: Grizzly Bear 2. The party rounds a corner to see a cute brown bear cub. And then they get attacked by the mother.|
|8: Grizzly Bear 3. A grizzly bear beating the absolute tar out of a Beyonder suit.|
The Walpurgian Capital, known to the locals only as the Capital or the City, is a walled city split in two by a river. Unlike many such cities, the river is unprotected, as the government relies on the river’s dangerous currents to deal with any intruders.
Capital City Encounters
These encounters are ideal for a group wandering the city, or for when the party takes a rest.
|Roll 1d6 (or use at your own inclination)|
|1: Local Forager. A man skulking from doorway to doorway, carrying a bundle of misshapen fruit. If followed, he ducks into a basement which contains his wife and three children. The wife is missing her left arm, but the wound has long since healed.|
|2: Dogs 1. A pack of hounds walks slowly through the streets, sniffing the air as they go. They’re skinny. Anybody with animal experience can tell that they’re malnourished. If the party is carrying fresh food, the hounds will likely attack.|
|3: Dogs 2. A pair of black and brown dogs sit obediently in front of a Beyonder suit, as if waiting for something.. The suit shifts uneasily on its feet, before one arm reaches towards the central body and retrieves a glob of orange goop. It holds the goop out to the dogs, who devour it gratefully. Neither the dogs nor the suit are paying much attention to the area around them, so this would be a great opportunity to take out a Beyonder, if the group is willing to break up this moment. If they do, they will surely be attacked by the dogs.|
|4: Beyonder Construction. A pair of Beyonder suits slowly repair the city’s wall, one lifting stones into place and the other spraying them with some kind of blue gel that quickly hardens.|
|5: Supply Wagon. A Beyonder suit trudges through the street. Behind it is a wagon that has been crudely hitched to the suit. The wagon carries several metal boxes, and those boxes contain a mix of Beyonder weapons, gizmos and food.|
|6: Egg Bakery. What looks to be an old bakery has had every interior surface covered with sticky white orbs, roughly the size of a human fist. These are, once again, Beyonder eggs. The bakery provides sturdy shelter and some expired flour that may be useful as nutrients. The Beyonders mostly leave these places alone, until hatching time approaches.|
On the north side of the river sits an imposing stone castle. This is the seat of rule for all of Walpurgia… or it used to be. Years ago, the Beyonders stormed this place and slaughtered most of the inhabitants. Now, they use it as their own base. The castle has undergone extensive modifications: All of the windows have been sealed up with some kind of hard, blue material, and all of the doors have either been replaced with strange, metal ones, or sealed up like the windows. These changes allow the Beyonders to pump their preferred mixture of atmospheric gasses into the Castle, allowing them to roam around without suits.
However, unbeknownst to them, there are several secret passages in the castle. For example, there’s a hidden entrance in a riverside cave that eventually leads to the backside of a painting of the late King Grimnal II in the Great Hall. Another passage leads from the princess’ room to a storage room just off of the kitchen, filled with sugar, eggs, flour, butter, cream and strawberries, all of which have of course gone bad.
Other Landmarks of the Capital
The Taseckwan River. The Taseckwan is a fast-moving river that cuts the Capital in half. A clever party may try to enter the city by swimming along the river, but the currents of the river are very swift, and getting back to the shore may prove quite difficult.
Sola Plazas In the center of the south side of the city sits a grand, stone-paved market square. In better times, vendors could often be found hawking their wares here. Now, it’s little more than a square strewn with wreckage. Or at least, it looks that way. In truth, a small group of survivors have been eking out a meager existence here, coming out only at night and sleeping in safe areas of the rubble piles at night. At the very center of the plaza is a statue of Vasilos Sola, a warrior, holding a sword high.
The Boulevard of Honour. A wide street leading from the city’s northern gate to the castle. Historically, returning troops would march up it with their spoils of war while singing bawdy songs. Now the Beyonders use it for hauling supplies to the castle.
Token & Map Downloads
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I love it!! I am running a campaign that's reminiscent of Treasure Planet, and a splash of sci-fi is exactly what I need. Thanks!