Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Unmade World

Robert Vaughn in Teenage Caveman (1958)

Nearly every D&D setting I know is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The archaeological evidence for this is as clear as the graph paper it's drawn on. At some remote point in history, someone had to lay the first stone in the Huge Ruined Pile your PC is meant to suffer though.

That's hardly a knock against post-collapse settings. The concept is as solid as they come. There's a good reason it's all over Appendix N. But it's interesting to think what the opposite would mean for a game. I don't recall too many RPG settings taking place in young or pseudo-prehistoric worlds (though the Lost World trope is fairly well represented). Is there a Hok the Mighty RPG? Fire & Ice? It seems like a missed opportunity. What's not to love about playing a Primitive Savage fighting in a world ruled by thunder lizards? More interesting are the stakes of your survival, which may also mean the survival of your tribe, even your entire species.

Seems like you could do a kind of Sid Meier's Civilization take on the D&D endgame, where instead of building a stronghold and attracting followers at 9th Level you're growing and advancing your tribe from your very first adventure. Experience points could be cashed in to raise tribal stats like Culture, Resources, Military Strength, etc. Almost like Settlers of Catan, but instead of drawing for resources you go on adventures to get them. Grab your obsidian axe, Grodd. Tonight we steal sheep!

Tomorrow: Serpent Men and the Hollow Earth

EDIT: There's something in the water, because Jeff is talking about this today too.


  1. I'd never heard of Hok the Mighty before---awesome!

  2. Kesher: it's not Wellman's best but it's still a good time.

  3. Surely, with the existence of Serpent People, there's still a remnant of (pre-human) civilization in the equation? Unless these Serpent People are in competition with Ur-Humans for the planet?

    Looking forward to reading more.

  4. I'll seoond the Hok the Mighty recommendation. Of course there are some comics with this setting: Devil Dinosaur, Tragg and the Sky-People, Anthro, Kong, Tor etc.

  5. @Jayson: That's a good point, and one I'm trying to reconcile. I've been thinking of them kinda like the Sleestaks in Land of the Lost. More like secretive alien operatives.

    @Trey: Devil Dinosaur was the prime motivator here. I've always thought of the Sky Demons from that comic as a race of outlaw, bastard Celestials. Somehow I've never delved into Tragg, though I have many other Gold Key titles.