Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Random Campaign Idea: A Pulpy Hollow Earth...

Good Evening:

I've been thinking lately of other gaming milieus, given that I haven't had my weekly game in two weeks due to illness. My creativity occasionally seeks a lot of random outlets, and this week appears to be no exception. Today, I am going to write about a Hollow Earth setting, inspired by the Pellucidar novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Yes, I know that TSR put out a campaign setting called Hollow World, and truth be told, from all that I've read about it, it sounds pretty cool. However, that's not supported by WOTC at the moment, or even legally available except through used books and such. Also, as I understand it, Hollow World is a lot like D&D in a weird environment, rather than the whole "Lost World" pulp vibe of the Pellucidar novels. Given that a few of the Pellucidar novels are in the Public Domain in the United States (and more elsewhere), I'm imagining a stronger Sword & Sorcery vibe going on with the campaign setting I see in my mind's eye.

Imagine, if you will, a realm built on the concept of a Hollow Earth, where the floors of the oceans of our world become the continents of this new world, and dinosaurs and prehistoric animals are the monsters of the day. Remnants of cultures from our world have established their root in this Hollow Earth, as well as cultures that have never seen the light of day in the world as we know it. Reptilian races and near-men exist alongside humanity, and more savage things dwell in the wilderness between city-states. Add an element of Cthulhu or the power of Set from the Conan novels, and you've got just enough dark sorcery to kick up the vibe to produce a pulpy Sword & Sorcery setting. Yeah, it's probably already been done, or someone is already working on it, or something like that. Still, it's rattling around in my head and so I thought I'd let it out.

Now, what do you think of the idea? Would you play in such a setting? Could you imagine the campaign that might evolve? Please share your thoughts.

More Later,
Flynn

4 comments:

Kobold said...

What time period are you thinking of for the adventurers to come from? Late Victorian as in Jules Verne, or 1920's or 1930's Pulp period (perhaps looking for the Vernean expedition - plot hook, missing relative who was a bit of an adventurer leaves research notes that come to a PC. PC organises an expedition to find missing Uncle/Father/Grandfather and discovers that you can get to the center of the earth through a volcanoe in Iceland.

Trey said...

I dig hollow worlds. You might also derive some inspiration from DC Comic's Sword & Sorcery hollow world series, The Warlord.

I talk aobut an issue on my blog every Wednesday :)

johnarendt said...

"Imagine, if you will, a realm built on the concept of a Hollow Earth, where the floors of the oceans of our world become the continents of this new world, and dinosaurs and prehistoric animals are the monsters of the day. Remnants of cultures from our world have established their root in this Hollow Earth, as well as cultures that have never seen the light of day in the world as we know it. Reptilian races and near-men exist alongside humanity, and more savage things dwell in the wilderness between city-states."

This pretty much is the TSR Hollow World to a tee -- analogues of real-world ancient cultures, with dinosaurs roaming the wilds and lots of lizard men. Definitely the most Swords and Sorcery setting published for classic D&D.

But it has some problems - in order to keep the ancient cultures "static", they're far apart and it's hard to get that 'Hyborian' tour-the-ancient-world feeling using the maps as presented. The genre is ripe for a fresh take on a Lost World!

Anonymous said...

The world you describe is already the setting of "Hollow Earth Expedition", the currently published pulp RPG. Although the PCs are from more modern times on Earth's surface instead of D&D-land. But yes, it's a grand idea for a game! It gives you a nice, convenient excuse to have things from Earth's past that are not beholden to history, and for supernatural elements as well.