Some time needs to be spent mentioning the overly elaborate and almost Byzantine random encounter tables for both inside and outside. It is regretable that most of them are just creatures, with no other details added, but to Chandler’s credit, a FUCKING RANDOM TABLE is added so you can generate complex encounters between multiple parties (and inter-relationships since these encounters are always between pairs of creatures, and interesting idea). Nothing is left out, from treasure to additional circumstances, creatures or encounters. I’m kind of impressed.
The Temple of Ages that are not is the central dungeon in Rafael Chandler’s weird/pulp sandbox. By central I mean that it will have to be tackled eventually if players ever desire to leave the Plateau. In doing so the forcefield will drop, the inhabitants of the plateau will no longer be contained and Khrimia will be destroyed, because this is Lotfp and there is no loving god. The temple is an ancient alien research outpost still diligently maintained by mentally unstable robots and the silver is used to repair its alien machinery.
Anyway, the Temple of Ages that Are Not is a fairly well designed and interesting dungeon, despite the fact that it is A) Symmetrical and B) has only nine rooms (identically laid out to Khrimia, a nice callback). It’s all about the way it’s been set up.
Lame dungeons have doors, The Temple has a 50′ shaft leading into a 110 ft^3 cube. The central room is connected to the other rooms via simple hallways. Each room holds some sort of device, an environmental hazard, robotic guardians and, of course, a device of alien manufacture and purpose made of the purest silver, worth thousands of sp. Naturally the devices do not simply lie in treasure chests but are usually suspended within some sort of containment field, around 50 feet up. Removing them disrupts the function of the room, with possibly disasterous effects. The abunance of hazards even prompted Chandler to provide us with a sort of player-shenanigans rule to calculate the chances of players tricking enemies into certain objects.
What of random encounters? The Temple of Ages that are not has some fucked up space-time-shenanigans going on since it has been abandoned by its creators (purposely left anonymous) untold millenia ago, and thus it is periodically invaded by things from the future/past. Chandler recommends using his weird embedded mp3 file so that around the 50 minute mark the alarms go if, which coincides with a temporal intrusion. The time travellers are quite diverse and some are formidable indeed. 22nd century soldiers, hominids, advanced future humans (with giant heads ah la the Talosians from star trek, fucking perfect), borg-like future invaders, temporal duplicates of the Pcs, dinosaurs, post-apocalyptic humans and, of course, hideous Lovecraftian horrors from the End of Time. Each group is provided with a random table so it has a motivation, a disposition towards the PCs and some random abilities (so few encounters feel the same way twice).
The technology itself is well done, too advanced for the PCs to make sense of in a sort of 50s/star trek way. You have yourself an artifical gravity room (or a having fun with gravity chamber depending on who you ask), a force field chamber, a magnetism chamber, a room with an artificial world (touching it will transport you to Narcosa is there something you are trying to tell us Chandler?), a room with creatures held in stasis and so on. Most of these rooms have hazards which may be used against any party of hostile time travellers or guardian robots, which I believe is the idea. One room controls some sort of orbital death ray and fiddling with the (extremely valuable) device in there can result in some part of a continent being denunded of all life. Oh Lotfp.
Anyway, Players will likely fuck around with the rooms and get themselves some really heavy, really valuable treasure. There is no sign that fucking around with one of the devices will turn off the forcefield so this is something the players will have to discover afterward, but if they are a curious sort they should eventually figure it out.
The rest of the book is taken up by a truly astonishing number of stats for common animals, dinosaurs and other prehistoric fauna (the fucking Yi Qi?!? Chandler forgot to take his anti-autism meds that day), each as short as it can humanly be. Means of generating bands of Exiles, Pteramen (did I mention you can mutate into a Pteramen if you do this adventure shittily enough, you can, it’s neat), Plasmics (each colour having different immunities and personality traits), Ogbanje (you can take the garden variety which drains XP by touch or the asshole variety), MUTANT MEGAFAUNA, Hybrid dinosaurs, robots etc. etc..
In a way, World of the Lost is like a combination of Isle of the Unknown and Carcosa, only far more playable and probably, a better product.
Fucking Verdict time. Several points. Why the fuck do OSR author-faggots have the tendency to demand that you, the lowly GM, may fill in this thing that they came up with? That pisses me off. How about I write the entire adventure and you go suck cocks instead? Leaving the odd opening somewhere is fine but there is waaay too much of that shit going on in this adventure. This is, however, my ONLY gripe with World of the Lost.
World of the Lost is a staggeringly large, intricate, fun and complex sandbox. It’s pulpy roots make it accessible to muggles whilst it’s depth and scope ensure that the GM is well prepared for a variety of situations. The faction play adds depth to a classic premise turned into a pretty great adventure.
A lot of Lotfp adventures have shit something: Air-headed Player commentary, those fucking goofy dicerules and content on a fucking blog that could have been fitted on a single page (fucking Vornheim) experimental or Impractical horseshit ideas (FUCK YOU JAMES RAGGI), shitty adventure seeds to padd out the adventure (Kelvin Green I am eyeing you sternly), terrible execution of otherwise brilliant premise (FUCK YOU GEOFFRY MCKINNEY) or something disgusting that has a decent chance of getting first time players to desert your game (FUCK YOU JAMES RAGGI). This is not one of them. This thing is great. Chandler is a huge gorehound and his adventures and most of the things he writes are very fucked up but this one is both on the edge of tolerable (for a normhull audience) and really well done. It’s huge, it’s not padded (with the exception of the normal/dinosaur bestiary), the tables could be stolen or adapted to another game and there is so much bang it is kind of intimidating. Anyone looking for a gigantic pulp sandbox with a thin veneer of historical fantasy and a triple serving of weird need look no further. I award World of the Lost 8.5 out of 10. Not brilliant, but robust, deep, well-thought out and overall very solid. Would recommend.
6 thoughts on “PrinceofNothingReviews: World of the Lost (lotfp) Pt. III; Barrier Peaks Redux”
Anti-autism meds you say? You mean there’s something that works better than drinking heavily and writing “THEY’RE ONLY ELFGAMES YOU PLEB” on the wall above your monitor?
This sounds fun out of 10. To bad you only run games rated 5.5 or lower.
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Just stumbled on this review–I like your review but I really don’t like the homophobia. Saying “faggot” is gross. I know the internet does it a lot but it’s still gross. I’m not going to read any more.
Don’t be such a faggot Brad.