Saturday, May 12, 2018

'B4 Tom Moldvay's The Lost City As Pulp Campaign Base' - More OSR Campaign Commentary

"Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands. Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventures inside and ancient pyramid ruled by a strange race of masked beings"

So last night I began the task of thinking about moving historical events around in a pulp or supers style campaign world. What would be a good beginning B/X adventure to get the ball rolling on a group of super hero adventurers?! The answer would be of course be 'B4 The Lost City' By Tom Moldvay. There are a number of reasons for this & number one is adaptability of B4 The Lost City. The module is extremely customizable & perfect for adding into a pulp Earth. I've used 'The Lost City' multiple times & talked about it many times.

Lost city settings are some of the most enduring pulp backbone & comic book setting set pieces in the genre. There are some solid reasons to use this adventure for a more modern campaign.
"The module is described as a low-level scenario, in which the only hope of the player characters' survival can be found in a ruined city slowly rising out of the sands.[3] The adventure is set inside a huge step pyramid, with the lower pyramid only sketched out and the city itself described with a list of the major areas and a map. The adventure’s main villain is Zargon, a giant one-eyed monster and his minions. The entire double pyramid, not including the city, contains over 100 rooms."

The adventure is pure location & factions but its pulp location and factions that be ported into your own home campaign. The faith of Zargon is a slippery & dangerous one to boot. There are several cursed items that can turn the PC's from adventurers to mini Zargon monsters themselves in the adventure. The fact is that the PC's might spread the seething corruption of Zargon to the surface themselves! This is the perfect opportunity to bring in a group of mercenary heroes to tract the PC's down.
The ancient ruined city of Cynidicea is a perfect faction of a subterranean species of humanoids  to introduce the a home campaign world. 
"The inhabitants of  Cynidicea are addicted to narcotics and spend most of their time in drug-induced reveries, wandering around in costumes and masks." Don't let this fool you folks, these are very dangerous and evil adversaries to unleash upon a group of pulp adventurers or super heroes.
Personally I'd place the module in the deserts of Mongolia or the Rub' al Khali desert & let the corruption of Zargon cover the whole place!
Now I've talked about using Clark Ashton Smith's The Invisible City which

first appeared  in Wonder Stories June 1932. But be very careful with it. The occult technologies & artifacts of these peoples are extremely dangerous & can be campaign breakers.

The cult of Zargon itself is another matter & an extremely dangerous chaos cult but slow & subtle. Cults need time & patience to work their wiles on society & to flesh out Zargon's faith I suggest Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos.
Its got all of the tools needed to really bring forth the true under current of seething hate that echoes through the demonic monster's faith. This same chaotic  portrayal ties in nicely with the ACK's
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu

Alright so let's talk about the three thousand pound elephant in the room the fact that B4 The Lost City doesn't have all of its levels filled in. There's a thread over on Dragon's foot B4 Lost City expansions that could be used as a starting point for this.

Troll Lord's Amazing Adventures! has some interesting ideas for bring pulp adventures to life. B4 The Lost City is a perfect location based adventure to help do this. But how does one go about actually using super hero adventurers or pulp heroes with a D&D or B/X Dungeons & Dragons game? I've got a bit of experience in that dungeon mastering in that direction.

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