Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Lost World on the Adventurers of the Lost World - Part I

What follows is the draft for the description of the Lost World I've written in the upcoming Adventurers of the Lost World Setting for DCC RPG. The goal is to be evocative but to leave blanks and details to be filled by individual judges. The book will contain genetal ideas for the Lost World and a lot of resources to help the judges to run games in there. Below is he first part of the general description of this unknown land.

The Lost World 

The Lost World is a land forgotten by time and memory. A land far away from Our World, that does not appear in any map men can remember. Here prehistorical animals that vanish from our world still roam the land and the civilizations long gone still thrive as if not a single day has passed. In this land the laws of reality are not absolute and strange things happen for mysterious reasons. Here, men can find its salvation or its doom.

What is the Lost World? 

The Lost World can be anything the judge decides it is. Is it a isolated exotic Island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean that only appear to the rest of the world once every century for some arcane reason? Or is it a land in the center of our hollow world where the ancient civilizations have fled to survive? Maybe the Lost World in your game could be the same world as our own, but in the past, and the characters travel back in time to it. Who knows? Maybe the Lost World in your game is another world entirely and the adventurers travel to it by a dimensional door or a rocket ship created by a mad scientist!

The important thing to remember is that the Lost World is a isolated land, unknown to the majority of the world population and really hard to find. It's hard to get inside of it and even harder to get out. In this land there are prehistorical creatures, ancient civilizations and much stranger things. Magic is real in the Lost World and legends of magical places, powerful artefacts and strange creatures can be too. Is this primeval land the characters can face all sorts of perils coming from our Own World and from the Lost World while they try to find ancient artifacts, save damsels in distress, find a way out of the hellish place or any other thing they might want to do.

One of the best things about the Lost World is that you can pretty much put anything in it. It can contain civilizations from any point in history, maybe even from the future. Who knows what sort of strange rifts in reality a place like this can contain, specially with lost and damaged Atlantean technology lying around? Prehistorical creatures like dinosaurs are a given, but nothing will stop you to populate his land with monsters from mythology or your own creation. Who knows what kind of creatures live in a land forgotten by time? Maybe they can even be creations of the Atlanteans or creature brought to earth by aliens a long time ago. In Adventurers of the Lost World nothing is out of place!

How to Get into the Lost World? 

Depending on what is the Lost World in your campaign there can be various ways into the Lost World. Characters could find these entrances on purpose, following lost and ancient maps, rumors and legends or even trying to find missing vessels that disappeared in the middle of the ocean. Others however find the Lost World unintentionally, when the ship they were traveling on is sucked by a gigantic whirlpool in the seas, when the ground beneath their feet crumbles while they were running from savage apes in an ancient Mayan temple or maybe simply when they make the wrong turn while hiking in the mountains. For all we know the Lost World may have a will of its own and choose whoever gets to find a way in or out of itself.

The fact is that entering the Lost World is not an easy task and doesn't happen all time. Some people may spend their whole life and all their resources trying to find it. Another point to remember is that once inside, getting out might me much a much harder deed. The way back might be blocked or lost. The machine used to get to the Lost World might be broken now and the cavern tunnels that lead there might have collapsed. In essence, getting inside and outside of the Lost World should be their own adventure goals.

Geography of the Lost World 

What can one see once they get to the Lost World? Well, pretty much anything you want them to see. The classic approach is to have it covered by primeval jungles, with swamps here and there and volcanos on the horizon. However, this is not the only landscapes you can put in the characters path. The geography in the Lost World can be as varied as our own, maybe even more, since this is a land that does not follow the same rules and rationale as Our World.

Could a  rugged frozen tundra be right next a steamy hot primeval jungle? Sure, why not? Maybe an ancient Atlantean artifact keeps this land frozen, or maybe an ancient and forgotten supernatural entity lies asleep in and underground and its cold heart froze the region. The judge should not feel limited to the classic jungle environment of Lost World stories and is encouraged to explore new possibilities, specially because lost civilizations lived in diverse terrains. An Egyptian city could still live in the banks of a large river in the desert, using its waters to irrigate their fields. Vikings could live in the vales of the cold mountains, fighting a tribe of legendary yetis, who live in a complex of caverns where an alien ship crashed thousand of year ago.

Nothing is stopping judges to even create their own crazy geography. There could exist forests made of living crystals that storage the souls of the dead, mountains made of pure metal or precious gems that are sapient with alien minds, swamps with lakes of deadly acid populated by a mass of living fungus with psionic powers and much more. The Lost World is a strange land, forgotten by time and hard to comprehend to the mind of men.

Time in the Lost World 

In the same way, time passes differently in the Lost World than it does on Our World. Normally, day and night come at the same rate as it usually does anywhere else but that may not happen all the time. For some unknown reason, maybe linked to the fact that many creatures and civilizations endure in the Lost World even when their equals have vanished elsewhere, time is distorted in these lands. Sometimes days takes months to turn into nights, and long and freezing nights persist for more than many could survive. These events, however, seem to affect more whoever comes from outside the Lost World than its native habitants and creatures, as if even the dinosaurs have become used to the long and cold nights of this land.

The sun and the moon of the Lost World could be the same as ours or completely different, depending on what the Lost World is exactly. If it's an island or isolated land on the surface or Our World, they are the same ones we see everyday, even though time can move slower or faster there. However, if the Lost World in your campaign is the interior of a hollow earth, for example, they are something else, maybe even stationary objects in the sky, which would make the notion of time completely alien to natives, at least as we perceive it.