Friday, October 15, 2010

The "Lost Lands" (need a new name)


The following post is about a setting I worked on when I first found the OSR a few years ago.  It was my attempt to do a setting based off of some of my favorite pieces of source material.  This post does not represent any interest in renewing the project, or dropping Nightwick Abbey, this buggar has just been on my mind recently and I need to get it out of my system.  I dropped it for a reason, but here it goes.

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No one knows how Orontes, last son of Troy and father of the Illionians, truly came to the beaches where the pearly white domes of Illion now loom over the surrounding jungle.  Here, along with his crew and their wives, he built the first building in what would become the City of Sails.  He and his sons learned to harvest the strange jungle fruit which all men of the Lands know now make the turquoise wine which may be found in any port.  They learned to hunt the scythe-lizards whose beautiful feathers adorn the helmet of many a hoplite.  They learned to ply the sea for the great dragon fish whose meat now blesses the tables of the nobility.

For awhile they believed they were the only inhabitants of this mist covered isle; however, they soon found the night-black ruins that have lain for time immemorial in that forest which has no name.  There they found the scrolls which told how to summon the creatures from the Demon Moon which circles the Never Setting Sun and bind them into service. This, and other magics, they used to build gleaming edifices of marble and gold.  Then they found the dens of those pallid almost-men with their fanged maws, golden eyes, and beautiful queens.  These they called the Atlanteans, for they knew that these were the degenerate remnants of that great people.  Ever since have the Atlanteans led their raids, only to be stopped by the skilled archers of Illion who are blessed by the god Apollo.

They traded with the swarthy men of the desert who call themselves the Aram.  From these sorcerer's whose onion-domed cities lie amongst the ruined pyramids of the Black Pharaoh did they gain knowledge of this land of the Never Setting Sun.  They claimed to have learned these secrets by sacrificing captives to their terrible fire god, Moloch, in great pits beneath their temples.  Aside from sorcery, they are men skilled in the assassin's arts, and are known to cut many a throat and purse when the sun dims and winks out for the hours the people of the Lands call night.

From a northern land of giant trees and monsters came the Thulians.  Men of red and blonde hair of strong will and body whose longboats prowl the wine-dark sea, looking for unwary merchant vessels to pirate and prosperous villages to plunder.  Their one eyed battle god is said to bring fearsome storms and doom to men.  Some say that they fled their forested home to escape the giants which haunt that place.  Though they often bring slaughter, they also have brought trade to Illion on many occasions.  Illionians love nothing more than coin.

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To explain what you just read, the Lost Lands is a Hollow Earth setting.  I've often described it as the land of "things that were but are no longer."  This is a pretentious way of saying that it's where Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad fight Cthulhu on Skull Island. 

I was only going to allow humans as PCs.  All animals which currently live on Earth are not in the Lost Lands. Instead they are replaced by extinct animals and weird fauna of my own design.  Excluding exceedingly powerful beings, creatures "of the Demon Moon" would be built using James Raggi's Creature Generator.  Everything else is either from Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, Leiber or Burroughs.

I planned to make the thing be a hexcrawl along the lines of the Wilderlands, but gave up on the project because I had problems focusing its direction.

There is already an RPG called Adventures in the Lost Lands.  I don't know if it's any good, but it means I need a new name.

If there is any interest I'll occasionally do articles about this setting, but for the foreseeable future I'll be focusing on Nightwick Abbey.  I have a much better idea of what it is and it pushes more of my buttons than the Lost Lands did.

7 comments:

  1. Hollow Earths are always good.

    Need it be either/or? Couldn't there be a passage into Lost Lands from Nightwick Abbey?

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  2. I've thought about the Lost Age. I'd probably move it to the outside world during the Cretaceous, but I'd have to change some things (the Trojans couldn't actually be Trojans).

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  3. Why not simply call it "Underworld". Greek heroes were always visiting such a place (it was a poetic way of saying Hades) and most portals to it were in such things as caves and deeo ravines.
    Since your human culture is going to be from the Aegean in any case, it would continue the theme.

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  4. @ Dangerous Brian,

    I think we have a winner.

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  5. Sort of like Matthew Slepin suggests, I could see a deep level of the abbey containing a stairway to...THE UNDERWORLD

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  6. I kind of like Matthew and Cole's ideas. Perhaps when there is no more of the abbey that can be plunged the adventuring party could find a stairway that they hadn't noticed before. Though I know strange portals are not your cup of tea, and that they have messed up your game in the past.

    Don't know which campaign idea I like the most, to be honest. Nightwick Abbey is deliciously dark and traditional to me, while Underworld (formerly known as the Lost Lands) is thrillingly exotic. I hope I'll be able to play in both campaigns eventually.

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