gloaming (noun) twilight; dusk
I've mentioned before where I am unsure about running my own Crypts & Things setting vs. using Zarth itself. Both have an appeal for me. Zarth is chock full of fun little adventure hooks, cool flavorful weirdness, and a great "Dying of the Light" vibe that seems one part Gamma World, one part Stormbringer, and a dash of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
Part of me just an't help tinkering though. One possibility that occurred to me was to use the Crypts & Things rule set to bring a fresh take on an existing setting.
For those of you not familiar with Karameikos, it was the initial offering of TSR's "Known World" (later "Mystara") Gazetteers. It outlined one of the nations within that setting: the Grand Duchy of Karameikos.
For some, it is a classic example of a "vanilla" fantasy setting. You have a populations of elves, goblins, and dwarfs. You have villains and heroes and ancient ruins. It's ticks all the regular D&D boxes.
Yawn! Sounds terrible for C&T's brand of weirdness!
Now hear me out. Yes, running a "straight" Karameikos campaign under the C&T rules would be, well, odd. But imagine this: what if some of the events that led to the incursions of the others into Zarth –or events very much like them– happened to a "normal" fantasy world where the PCs lived? In other words, what if the campaign picked up right when stuff went sideways instead of after the weirdness had been going on for generations?
[Minor spoilers: There is even an ancient "slaver" race in Karameikos that mirrors some of the serpent men's role in the setting.]
The nature of the adventures would certainly have a different flavor if the PCs initially saw the incursion of these terrors as an aberration instead of the new norm. Perhaps they could help stem the tide. Or perhaps they'd be the founders of the new cults, given the promises of power that might be offered by the Others.
I think it might be an interesting twist to play out the introduction of the corruption to the world. It might be a bit bleak to some, if it starts to look like "victory" is not likely in the face of cosmic horror, but that could lend a fun "Call of Cthuhlu" tone to things as well.
Just a thought, anyway.