Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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

This is the second part of the description of the characteristics of the Lost World setting in the Adventurers of the Lost World. You can read the first part here.

10 Characteristics of the Lost World

When setting your game in the Lost World, whatever it might be, some characteristics should be remembered in order to capture the right feel of pulp adventure and fantasy exploration that comes from the stories which inspires Adventurers of the Lost World.

A World of Extremes

This is a land where everything is turned to maximum capacity. The mountains are higher, the jungles thicker and warmer, rivers are larger and wilder. Animals in the Lost World grow larger, stronger and more savage than their counterparts on Our World, and that makes the gigantic dinosaurs a greater threat than they already were going to be. The judge can emphasize this aspect by making sure to describe how much bigger things are in the Lost World. Statues are gigantic, raw diamonds are the size of giants head, the trees are as tall as buildings and the tyrannosaurus chasing them could swallow the titanic!

A World Out of Time

Not only time has its own flow in the Lost World but time itself seems to have forgotten this land. Creatures that should not be alive anymore are, like dinosaurs, mammoths, saber tooth tigers, and other extinct animals and beasts. Civilizations long gone from the face of the earth linger in the Lost Land as if no time has passed. This characteristic can be reinforced by the introduction of these ancient people with which the characters can interact and by putting these prehistoric and thought to be extinct creatures in the adventurers path. Being chased by gigantic blood thirsty reptiles is always fun!

A World of Magic

In the Lost World magic is real as science is in Our World. The natives of that land believe in it and either admire or more commonly fear the ones who use it. Shamans, druids, priest and sorcerers harness the energies provided by sinister powers to bend the reality according to their whim. The most learned occultists from Our World speak about dreaded and powerful rituals forgotten on the walls of ancient tombs of the lost civilizations, just waiting to be rediscovered. Most of them want to recover those writings to use it for their own goals, but the most rational of them comprehend that these need to be destroyed least it gets to the wrong hands. This is probably the easiest element to portray in a game since the use of magic is part of the rules. However a common pulp trope is to have evil sorcerers planning sacrifices to summon higher powers to do their bidding, as well as savage priests, shamans and druids that can control the elements to protect their tribes. In the Lost World where Atlanteans ruins and artifacts are scattered, magic can be part of every adventure.

A World of Mysteries

Not everything in the Lost World has a clear explanation. Mysterious things happen in this land that wouldn't happen anywhere else, and this is one of the reasons some people relentless seek the Lost World. Tales speak of miracles such as people walking again when they couldn't in Our World, terminal diseases that strangely vanished after drinking the pure water of a holy fountain, and blind people recovering their sight once they bathed in the pools of a isolated monastery inhabited spiritualist apes. Monuments, statues and buildings that no human hands could have constructed dot the landscapes of this land. Some of them have runes and sigils not present in any mortal language. Be it from the past or present. The judge can portray this characteristic in his game by putting things that are inexplicable in front of the characters, even if they are not directly linked to the main plot. Statues with the faces of alien creatures mode of solid stones that seem almost alive, a great sphere of obsidian that floats just above a crater inscribed with runes and symbols no one yet can decipher, a pyramid constructed upside down and that does not topple. It's quite possible that the adventurers maybe hired to investigate these affects or even make them happen to their patrons.

A World of Strange Creatures

Even though the Lost World is populated with all sorts of animals, other strange creatures also call it home. Most would call these creature monsters, demons or somethings else, but the natives have their own names for them. Creatures that are half man half beasts. Fungal beings that are sapient and have a huge city underground. Amorphous things with thousands eyes and uncountable tentacles that speaks with the voices of hundreds of people. A game inspired by the pulp literature will surely have this element of the Lost World well represented. The Mythos set by Lovecraft and other influential authors are a great source of inspiration to use. In Adventurers of the Lost World, however, the encounter with these creatures and entities does not have to be so fatalistic. This is an adventure game after all.

A World of Legends

Legends and myths entertain the imagination of most people in Our World. But in the Lost World they are real. The fountain of youth, the river styx, the caverns of time and many more legendary places and objects could very well exist in your Lost World. An entirely adventure or even campaign can be centered around these legends and the quest to find them. Legendarily civilizations also exist in the Lost World. In fact, the Atlanteans are an integral part of this land and are included as a character class that can be used by players if the judge allows. The ruins of their once great civilizations are scattered all around, and inside them the marvelous artifacts created by their ancestors. The judge can introduce this characteristic in his game researching real legends and setting them in their Lost World.

A World of Abundance

Jungles full with rare herbs. A city made of pure gold. Mines encrusted with the most precious gems. The Lost World has an abundance of resources that Out World considers valuable and many seek it to explore them. This puts the powers from outside of it in direct conflict with the natives of this land. Not to mention between themselves. The classic struggle of the protagonist hired to explore the resources of this new land who falls in love in love with a native and now is torn between two worlds is very powerful and can be used by clever judges. A game where the characters are natives themselves, or allied with them, and in which they have to battle evil forces trying to extract all the resources from the land no matter what the consequences might be could be interesting. At the same time, a campaign doing the exact opposite is not impossible either.

A World of Savagery

Although various civilizations inhabit the Lost World, this is still a savage land. Barbarian tribes thrive between the few settlements. Savages hide in the jungles, awaiting the unwary. Cannibals lurk in the shadowy swamps. Beastmen and other creatures fight for survival and dominance, attacking anyone who invade their territories. The civilized men from Our World are out of place there. To emphasize this aspect in your game you will need to present contrasting characteristics from civilization and savagery. Angry cannibals chasing the adventurers through the jungle because they trespassed their holy ground is a staple of the pulp genre and can be used ind adventurers quite often.

A World in Danger

The Lost World is not static. Things happen all the time in there and something dangerous is always just around the corner. Volcanos are always about to erupt. Earthquakes shake the ground beneath out feet announcing greater cataclysm to come. Dead pharaohs awaken from their centuries long slumbers to conquest their empires again. A great warrior unites the savage tribes of beastmen to bring the end of men once and for all. Judges need to remember to portray a live and dynamic world with its own actors and events, independently of player characters actions. While the adventurers are trying to find the legendary idol of the Thousand Eyed Frog, a war among the frogmen tribes might be going on, presenting opportunities for allegiances and social conflicts in addition to exploration.

A World in Dispute

If that wasn't enough, the arrival of inhabitants of Out World changes everything in the Lost World. Powerful countries, organizations and even secret societies vie for power and dominance. The wondrous artifacts of the Atlanteans, the abundant resources and the legendary objects that can be found are all for the taking and violent confrontations will certainly arise. As the animosity between the nations of Our World grows, the possibility of a war erupting in the Lost World and changing it forever goes stronger and stronger. Whole adventurers and campaigns could be centered around the race to conquest territories and relics for the main powers and stopping the nazis or some evil secret society to acquire an ancient and destructive Atlantean artifact.