Gathox Vertical Slum

Verticality. It’s a jargon mouthful yes, but a powerful concept in building non-boring dungeons. Throwing in a vertical dimension—a shaft, sinkhole, down-sloping cavern , etc.—can “sex up” a relatively straightforward horizontal crawl. Instantly you are confronting all kinds of new play choices and challenges in exploration.

Coming out of the DIY/old schoolish side of the hobby the Hydra Cooperative loves its experiments so. If you look hard, every product we come out with has some beloved notion clawing for game design life.

So we were pretty happy to have Slumbering Ursine Dunes and Strange Stars artist David Lewis Johnson pitch us his manuscript for a gonzo city campaign, Gathox Vertical Slum, with a heavy emphasis on the vertical–and a rather clever downtime system based on the Savage World of Krul. That it features Dave’s own quirky art is just gravy.

But hey let’s hear about it from Dave:

Gathox Vertical Slum is a gonzo city campaign setting for classic fantasy games inspired by Kowloon Walled City, American Kitsch, and David Cronenberg. The city itself, a transdimensional slum crammed full of human and alien cultures, vertical dungeons, gangs, and conspiracies, rides on the back of a world-hopping godling. 

Useful as both a one-off setting and a long term campaign site, Gathox Vertical Slum features:

  • A fully-detailed, hook-laden setting which can host its own series of campaigns or quickly slot into virtually any existing game.
  •  43 new monsters, from one-eyed hyper-capitalist alien fascists to dream stealing godling antibodies.
  •  Campaign frames for starting and building gangs, including a reputation system, growing a criminal empire, and turf wars.
  •  A simple class system tailored to the game, featuring Militants, Mentalists, and Mutants, with new gear and a simplified substitute for skills.

1 - The God That Grows And Grows small for web1 - The Grand Stultified Energon small1 - Goddess That Balances On Narrow Precipices small1 - Dzak Molu small1 - The Goddess Who Speaks In Red Tongued Truths small for webslumlife