Hollow Earth – Demihumans

De-Ro (Dwarves)

Clothed in rags and dirt, hung over with scrap; an ill-shaped body, a humped back, their hair long, coarse, matted.  They are creatures of the Titans, stunted and warped by improper and reckless use of machines left to rust in the deserted, subterranean cities of their long-fled masters.  They die of age, cannot read or write, but they know the ancient warrens of this Hollow-Earth well and they preserve and manipulate the antique tech-junk of the Titan cities with pious purpose.

Atlans (Elves)

Once the ever-youthful, ever-living companions of the Titans, they are now the sun-touched and degenerate remnants of a star-spanning culture.  Abandoned, no longer immortal, they nevertheless see themselves as heirs and custodians of their lost civilization.  Still long-lived they cling together aloof in scattered enclaves, vainly striving to maintain their dwindling authority over the Hollow-Earth, pathetically aping the grandeur of their forbears.

Barinneans (Halflings)

A diminutive offshoot of the primitive human species that inhabit the Hollow-Earth, they infest forest and jungle-canopy alike.  They care little for the Titanic remains that dot the landscape, less so for the civilising delusions of the abandoned Atlans.  Frivolous, gluttonous, and self-absorbed, they crave celebrity and seek fame and fortune with a complete disregard for consequence.

Cheers, Bogeyman

Characters & Character Generation

Initial ideas only:

PCs are generated as per Holmes, except that of course they will be stone-age, primitive versions of Clerics, Fighting Men, Magic Users and Thieves (and obviously equipped as such, with an X% chance of possessing some arcane technological device of the Titans).

Demi-Human classes remain the same except for the following:

  • Halflings are primitive pygmies
  • Dwarves are albino troglodyte types
  • Elves are remnants of the Atlans

Alternatively, PCs may elect to be a Stranger in a Strange Land.

The premise:

  • All hollow-earth stories involve a visitor: someone who, either by accident or design finds themselves thrust into the earth’s core and subject to frequent and harrowing adventure.   Thus, the Stranger.

  • These Strangers may be drawn from the past, the present or the future (historic or imagined).
  • In ERB’s Pellucidar time is non-existent: the sun doesn’t move in the sky therefore a continual noon prevails.  I’m not sure I want to take my hollow-earth to that extreme, but I do want to impose temporal divergence and distortion between the inner and outer world (years in one world equal mere seconds in the other and vice-versa, i.e. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Consequently, and with a nod to Holmes, the Strangers to the hollow-earth may be from any time period – Roman legionnaires, nineteenth-century prospectors, Elizabethan occultists, Byzantine cataphracts, Tech-city gang members, Tibetan mystics, or whatever.

Strangers may be of any human-class but may not be demi-humans.

Strangers come equipped as a ‘normal’ example of their type (to be negotiated between player and referee), but with restrictions:

  • Ammunition for any firearms carried will be strictly limited and the chances of finding more are slim (but not impossible…).
  • Any advanced technological equipment has X% chance of being broken/malfunctioning during the Stranger’s arrival in the hollow-earth.
  • Strangers will be at a disadvantage in terms of languages (a ‘common’ pidgin-tongue can be learnt fairly swiftly) and local knowledge (‘what is that hairy thing and why is it chewing on me?’).  I’m yet to decide if I want to pin these restrictions down or just deal with them on a case-by-case basis.  It may just be simpler to provide the primitive PCs with a ‘local knowledge’ skill advantage.

Considering how lethal Holmes seems to be I’m not too concerned about giving players a few initial perks.  Your semi-automatic will soon be nothing more than a funny-shaped club, and that fine suit of armour is only a bad case of heart-burn for a T-Rex.

Stranger-Fighting Men and -Thieves should work without too much trouble.

Stranger-Clerics that come from the outer world will need to carefully reconsider their faith: only Zeus, Crom, Set and Cthulu have any traction down here.  Otherwise, they may have to try atheism.

I’m still thinking about Strangers as Magic-Users and magic-use in general. I’ll get to this in a later post.

Cheers, Bogeyman

My Hollow Earth

With their scions the Atlans, the Titans dwelt long beneath this inner-sun.  Ageless and immense they prospered in their subterranean cities– experimenters, engineers and inventors.  Life, evolution, and perception were their playthings.

‘Ere the inner-sun aged and its clean heat became a disintegrating fire: plumes of discharged radium brought pollution and black-death upon the Titans.  Tainted beyond repair it was the Titan Set who, reduced to insensible spite, roused Cthulhu from his slumber in dead R’lyeh and released his dreams into the hollow-world.

Those Titans still whole fled the contamination and nightmare of this broken earth to find a young, fresh sun under which to dwell, taking with them their Atlan allies.  Their creatures they discarded, to prosper or perish in the ruined remains.

Two yet remained to thwart the Old One and the tainted Titan: Set’s vat-brother Zeus – resentful, proud, manic and protected by the Aegis – and their inert father/forger Crom – vast, ancient and unyielding.

Now, amongst the remnants of the hollow-earth, the uncorrupted fight those poisoned in body and mind, while those writhing in the tendrils of Cthulhu’s dream conspire to unleash true horror into the world….

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Cheers, Bogeyman

‘H’ is for…

Holmes, Hollow Earth and Hobbes

My baby steps into D&D.

Holmes

As a newbie to the the whole D&D lark I’ve made the decision to use  Holmes as my introductory rule-set.  I’m attracted to the simplicity of early edition D&D and Holmes obviously has that in spades.  My understanding of the Holmes edition is that it can also be dangerous and unforgiving, another appealing characteristic as I grew up with the gothic grimdark of the Warhammer world and it’s an atmosphere that I’m quite attached to.  Additionally, Holmes is open-ended enough to allow all sorts of additions, bolt-ons and amendments to the rules, and I think I may eventually want to tinker.

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There are two great resources available for Holmes: the rigorous research of the Zenopus Archives and the friendly and ever-helpful community at the OD&D Discussion forums.

Hollow Earth

From suggestions raised in the OD&D forums I was led to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pellucidar, and the possibilities offered by a Hollow Earth setting.  Pulp goodness, dinosaurs, prehistoric humans, reptilian overlords, and a region called the ‘Land of Awful Shadow’.  Awesome sauce.

I don’t think I’ll use Pellucidar straight from the box, but it will provide a great basis to work from as a setting (more on this later).

Hobbes (Thomas)

Is for this: “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  (Leviathan, ch.xii).  A little extreme, but kinda what I’m aiming for in a campaign.

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Cheers, Bogeyman