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.
- 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.