Thursday, May 18, 2017

Adapting Leigh Brackett's The Jewel Of Bas To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting


Alright its been a long while since I've returned to The Old Solar System campaign setting, but I've been a bit busy & I want to dive right into the deep end of The Jewel of Bas. This is where we get into the Outer Darkness of the micro worlds of the asteroid belt between Jupiter & Mars. The tagline doesn't do this novella justice.
"A quest to the Mountain of Life to save what remained by humanity from the machines that were bent on destroying them." So someplace in the Outer Darkness is a small world lit by super science sun balls and two thieves trying to survive against the backdrop of a small world with a big god. This is the story of a god, his world, people trying to survive against the backdrop of the cosmic. Mouse and her husband are down on their luck thieves who are moving amid the world of Bas. This is one of those stories that points out exactly how PC thieves are going to survive on a world controlled by 40's super science & sorcery.
Everything about this novella is perfect fodder for an old school campaign & its such a great story. There's a bit of everything here from non typical main characters, to interesting fodder for adventure campaign locations, to uses of factions, and a bit of how the semi divine immortal might interact with PC's.

Weird alien worlds, classic sword & sorcery references, memorable characters, and more are found in The Jewel of Bas. Yet unlike other Brackett novellas everything is keyed to the human scale and not the epic. You get a real sense of a quest with the Jewel of Bas set amid the rubble of divinity within a world unto itself. This is a perfect OSR setting for all kinds of weirdness something we'd see much later on in other Brackett efforts.

"The Jewel of Bas" appeared in  Planet Stories, Spring 1944 made quite the splash as it presented something quite different from the usual material. This novella must take place after the Big Jump .

This is when humanity is settled into a number of minor planetoids & has found some of them inhabited by ancient god like beings. There's plenty of super science to loot especially when  the Cochrane family, are willing to pay 10000 to 50,000 gold pieces per relic depending on where, when, and how its found in the Old Solar system. Bas is the sort of a cosmic entity or minor god that Adventurer, Conqueror, King or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers talks about using as the focus for an adventure. There are several factions vying to take him out and the adventurers are going to have to help stabilize the situation. Their world is going to depend on it and so is their survival. There's also plenty of opportunities for the factions depicted in the novella to have their way with the PC's so they might want to tread carefully.

The Jewel Of Bas

 But what's really going on out there in the Outer Darkness as the Boreas winds blow? Its the Outer gods & their larva that really scares the hell out of the Terra government, the Mars Coalition, & other solar system powers. They've made the big FTL jumps and they've seen what's really out there. The various alien minor Lovecraftian factions don't need humanity awakening any of the greater horrors between the stars. Bas is a very minor player in the grand cosmic scheme. This novella shows the unique place of such beings against the greater backdrop of  Lovecraftian space opera. Hyperborea is unique because its cosmology is both on the ground for Swords & Sorcery and the grand pseudo cosmic that we find in Sword & Planet literature. There are other connections that The Jewel of Bas novella  feeds.

Master of the Asteroid by Clark Aston Smith is a great resource for some of the minor and more benevolent aliens that might lurk among the remains of the Old Solar system.
This story also gives some insights into CAS's Mars and more. The Jewel of Bas offers a unique opportunity for PC's who reach higher levels as they might take the place of the minor godling's place and carve out their own cosmic domain.

Tomorrow we'll be returning to Mars & the inner worlds! Stay Tuned!
This post is not an attempt to violate the copyrights or trademarks of any 
of the films nor properties named in this post. All ideas are for a 
private table top rpg campaign. None of the ideas or opinions expressed 
in this post are meant to violate the trademarks nor copy rights of any 
of the table top rpgs discussed nor are they in away responsible for the
 thoughts or opinions of the author. The writing, ideas, and opinions 
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