"And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling, and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that generation after generation creeps upon them.
And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?
The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety—their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours—and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Had our instruments permitted it, we might have seen the gathering trouble far back in the nineteenth century. Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet—it is odd, by-the-by, that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war—but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well. All that time the Martians must have been getting ready.
During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature dated August 2d. I am inclined to think that the appearance may have been the casting of the huge gun, the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions.
The storm burst upon us six years ago now. As Mars approached opposition, Lavelle of Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet. It had occurred towards midnight of the 12th, and the spectroscope, to which he had at once resorted, indicated a mass of flaming gas, chiefly hydrogen, moving with an enormous velocity towards this earth. This jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter past twelve. He compared it to a colossal puff of flame, suddenly and violently squirted out of the planet, "as flaming gas rushes out of a gun.""
Chapter 1. The Eve of the War
So my latest blog posts about H.G. Well's War of the Worlds & Godzilla over the last couple of days has been getting me quite a bit of flack in my local antiquarian OSR circles.
The War of the Worlds Godzilla 1898! - A Troll Lord Games Victorious rpg Campaign Set Up, War of the Worlds Godzilla 1914 - The Opening Salvo A Troll Lord Games Victorious rpg Campaign, & War of the Worlds Godzilla 1914 - Years Zero 1912 -1913 A Troll Lord Games OSR/ Victorious rpg Campaign blog posts. The reason appears to be because I used the Siege Engine from Troll Lord Games as the basis for this OSR campaign set up. Gotta say I'm in a bit of a state of shock about this development but I can show you how to do this same campaign set up with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons resources & OSR systems easily. So let's assume here for the sake of campaign setting easy that Europe has had during its existence many of the tropes & clitches that we take for granted in Dungeons & Dragons. Dragons, dungeons, wizards, Elves, Dwarves, etc. And lets assume that the occult, supernatural, mythology, etc. is real & true to history for the campaign's setting.
So assuming all of the above let's quickly review the video that inspired this campaign above. Now without missing a beat, we've got the crown heads of Europe starring at each other & ready to go toe to toe with each other over a series of interlocking alliances & conflicts. Everything boiled over in World War one from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. But its seeds go back to the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the post-1848 rise of Prussia under Otto von Bismarck. And here's where the seeds of this campaign really start with the moves of Stephen d' Amberville against Otto Von Bismark. Stephen d' Amberville is an undead arch lich & not taking it lying down! He's been going move for move against Otto Von Bismark. X2: "Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" (1981), by Tom Moldvay, takes center stage as the arch lich established by Tom Moldvay isn't resting peacefully. He plays human chess with real royals & the crown princes of Europe.
But where's Godzilla?! Well if we assume that ancient dragons & tarrasques are real then it stands to reason that maybe that 'King of the Monsters' title isn't for show. He & his species has been been battling these bastards of the Earth for eons. Here's where you grab that copy of the Monster Manual II for stats kids on the tarrasques!
All that weird radiation, strange magical energies, & incredible raw power that's been released into the Earth since the time of the dinosaurs? How ever will we as dungeon masters be able to play this?! Well there's Goblinoid Games Labyrinth Lord & the Advanced Labyrinth Lord Companion. But what about the 'modern' weaponry of WWI & the kaiju mutations?! Well Goblinoid also has Mutant Future to take care of all of that.
Now personally I'd be using Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg system for doing pre WWI Dark Europe. And as for the stats for Godzilla himself? Well I'd be using Chris Van Deelen's City Killer Mark I for the stats needed for Godzilla. I'd also thrown in a healthy dose of Realms of Crawling Chaos for any Lovecraftian bits as well and for some really nasty fringe cults & relics.
Now if you really wanna add a bit of that old school D&D weirdness have many of the smaller houses competing against each other ala Frank Herbert's Dune but add in a Ruritanian romance element to this campaign; "Ruritanian romance is a genre of literature, film and theatre comprising novels, stories, plays and films set in a fictional country, usually in Central or Eastern Europe, such as the "Ruritania" that gave the genre its name.
Such stories are typically swashbuckling adventure novels, tales of high romance and intrigue, centered on the ruling classes, almost always aristocracy and royalty, although (for instance) Winston Churchill's novel Savrola, in every other way a typical example of the genre, concerns a revolution to restore rightful parliamentary government in the republican country of Laurania. The themes of honor, loyalty and love predominate, and the works frequently feature the restoration of legitimate government after a period of usurpation or dictatorship"
Fictional countries are established only to obliterated in the shadow of the on coming war & the invasion coming up. PC's could be working hard to avert the on coming horrors by globe trotting & trying to get a handle on both the espionage, saving heads of Europe, dealing with hidden witch covens, & trying to survive against the monstrous spawn of Kaiju. This is the perfect time to add the Lion & Dragon rpg, Dark Albion, & Cults of Chaos to the mix.
In fact much of the history of the Lion & Dragon rpg could be used as leverage for ancient rivalries between modern national powers. There could be a modern witch hunting campaign in the works.
The ACK's Heroic Handbook is the perfect companion to this campaign with the ancient dragons being incredibly dangerous adversaries & opponents on the world stage.
The Martian invaders are not absent during this time frame at all they have H.G. Wells Crystal Eggs scattered across the Earth. These eggs have made their way into occult societies, shadowy terrorist organizations, & the hands of dangerous Fey across Europe. Details on the Crystal Egg were written up by The Old School Heretic Blog back in 2012.
In fact many of the dark & sinster cults detailed in ACK's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu could be operating on the fringes of Earth during this time frame.
Next time the Fey, the Fairies, & the Fated!