Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Land of the Lost" Campaign

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I'm about to launch a campaign based on the old TV show Land of the Lost.

The show was pretty crazy, and some would say dreadful. However, episodes were written by well known SciFi authors such as Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon and David Gerrold, so there's some real gems in there amidst the rough. I have a strong fondness for the setting, stemming back to childhood, and I must admit I bought all three seasons on DVD a few years ago. Dinosaurs, Aliens, Time Travel, Magic. Like Firefly, it's got everything.

This will be a one-player campaign. Sarah will get to develop a character over time, while I (as GM) get to riff all over the thematic map. If she does get sick of her character, but we're not sick of the setting yet, she can escape via Pylon Gate and be replaced by a new PC. I told her that as long as she doesn't abuse it by retiring characters every third session, I'll let her retain accumulated XP whenever she makes a new character.

And boy are there character options. In the series the main characters were just 1970s average joes, but supporting cast included Cavemen, Ape Men, Dinosaurs, Lizard Men, Medusa, a Yeti and a Unicorn, a Psychic Alien and his Robot pet, a Civil War Confederate, a NASA testpilot, and Talking Skulls from a long-collapsed civilization.

I had a bunch of dinosaur and megafauna minis I'd used for Og a while back, so I figured I'd want to do a version with minis for combat/chase scenes. Savage Worlds pretty much assumes miniature-based combat, and it mixes genres well, so it was a natural choice. It also gives me a chance to test out my proposed 1 Hit = 1 Wound rule, which should make Savage Worlds less dangerous for one-player. I don't expect it to be combat heavy, since that would conflict the themes of the source material - not to mention T-Rex's are pretty nasty in Savage Worlds.

Knowing we'd be using minis, I told Sarah to flip through the figs we have and pick any 25-30mm humanoid figure to base her character on. She picked one with wings, which complicates things mildly, but should be fun. She took the Flight Power from Savage Worlds for the character, so it's not permanent mundane wings it's more like magical Flight. More importantly, that means she can only fly short distances/durations, with long recharge times, so the various dinosaurs aren't completely without threat.

Speaking of Og, that's actually what made me realize I wanted to run a Land of the Lost game. I threw several Land of the Lost references into my Og one-shot. As I researched and prepped for Og, though, I just kept thinking how much fun it would be to do something more serious in the setting. After all, the concepts in Land of the Lost were awesome, it was technical faults of the special effects and child actors that made it silly and not stand the test of time. Well, in an RPG, there's an infinite special effects budget and my wife's certainly no child, so this has some potential.

There's several different themes in Land of the Lost, which I'll be flipping between as I plan/run sessions. The following list is more for my benefit/brainstorming than your entertainment:
  • Survival. Food is a little odd, and there's all those darned dinosaurs.
  • Pakuni Shenanigans. Sa, Ta, and Cha-Ka sure caused some headaches in the series, with their tribal magic and niavete.
  • Sleestack Sneakiness. The tribal magic and ignorance of the lizardmen leads to many of the same issues the Pakuni can generate, but Sleestack are conveniently sinister badguys.
  • Malfunctioning Pylons. Throughout the series, it seems that perhaps the pocket dimension is falling apart. Pylons can do all sorts of metaphysical and scifi craziness.
  • Time Travel. NPCs can be sucked in from period in history, and even other worlds or dimensions.
  • Rampaging monstrosity. Not only do normal dinosaurs walk the valley, but there's also fire-breathing and/or two-headed dinosaurs, and a variety of Mythological creatures show up, so that's Carte Blanche for anything. I may order Dinosaurs That Never Were to see if it kick-starts any ideas.

I'm psyched for this. We start Wednesday night.
Update: Things came up Wednesday that prevented us from playing. The game has been pushed back to Friday.


rbbergstrom said...

The new movie scares me. Looks like it's being played for laughs.

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