In this week I'm devoting to Lamentations of the Flame Princess today I will talk about the adventure Thulian Echoes, written by Zzarchov Kowolski (the same author of Scenic Dunnsmouth (I've already reviewed in this post of the LotFP Week 2015).
This adventure have nearly 30 pages and it's a little special regarding its structure and the great number of influences it's possible to detect in it's creative process so, without wanting to unveil how the plot unfolds, I will analize every one of theis questions coming up next.
The adventure is developed in two historical moments, on one hand we have an expedition to mythic Thule in 2nd century AD in search for a Greek magician named Xenophon (who would have fled to the island after carrying out a century before a heist of a great fortune in silver during the Siege of Jerusalem by future Roman emperor Titus) and on the other the exploreres discovering the tale of what happened to the expedition and decide to follow them. In both cases is expected that Characters for both historical periods to be performed by the same players and, although there's no indication about the origin of the Characters following the trail of the first expedition, theres indications for the main members of it, so in the first pages of the adventure there's enough information reagarding classes and levels, their skills, spells and weapons and equipment for them (but not their characteristics, this must be calculated taking the ruleset used as a basis) and the suggestion of the following character types:
- A Roman Ex-Legionnaire (Fighter)
- A Gladiator (Fighter)
- A rabbi (Cleric)
- A Sorcerer (Magic-User)
- A Pictish Warrior (Specialist)
- An engineer (Specialist)
As I did when I reviewed The Tower of the Stargazer I do not think about revealing details of the plot, as if in that case this could affect the fun involved in playing it now is even more true because the actions of the first expedition and the events that it can trigger will be the ones deciding the nature of the events and encounters which the second one will face.
I can explain you the game mechanism the referee will use to decide the nature and circumstances of these encounters: the use of "tags" or "keywords" which will be trigged on actions of the adventurers of the first expedition and will determine changes the second one will find reaching the island and beginning to investigate following the explanations of the tale, which the same players will have determined with their actions, althoug its nature and far reaching consequences may be somewhat unsuspected...
There's also to be taken in account that, although there's means at metaplot level that some or all members of the original expedition to survive enough time to discover all things awaiting them, there's the chance of all dying before time. Is this situation arises the tale of the first expedition ends abruptly and these will be all the information which the adventurers of the second one will have...
As I said there's a great number of influences converging in this adventure and as a matter of fact Kowolski mentions some in the introduction, so I think it's necessary to give you information about them in case you want to carry out variations of the plot's adventure or use it as a starting point of a campaign.
The Siege of Jerusalem (year 70 AD) occurs during the First Jewish-Roman War (years 66 to 73 AD, also known as the Great Jew Revolt) by the future emperor Titus, during this time ocurrs the sacking and burning of the Jerusalem Temple and the destruction of the main Jew fortre4sses, including Massada, with most of the population of Judea being massacred or enslaved.
Thule is an island with a mythic origin first mentioned by Greek explorer and geographer Pytheas, placing it beyond Great Britain, in modern times it has been identified as Scandinavia or the island of Saaremaa. The German occultist group known as Thule Society is named after this mythic island after being founded in 1918, the society was one of the first sponsors of the future Nazi Party, although Hitler cut all ties with the Society at the beginning of 1920 and this was dissolved before the future dictator rose to power in 1933.
The likehood of Earth being hollow and with prehistoric living beings and even civilizations inside it is a trendy theory during 19th century thanks to novles like Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne and The Coming Race (Wikisource | Project Gutenberg) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, this one describing a subterranean society very advanced technologically and able to manipulate Vril energy...
The existence of advanced societies inhabiting the hollow Earth had been recovered for pulp and fiction entertainment during the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st with tales written by Richard Sharpe Shaver at the Amazing Stories magazine and the universe where the adventures of Hellboy take place, a character created by Mike Mignola. Another of the characters created by Mignola, the pulp hero known as Lobster Johnson find one of the Vril uses in the story The Iron Prometheus (Dark Horse | Norma Editorial)...
And of course, we must not forget At the Mountains of Madness (Wikisource | www.hplovecraft.com) by H.P. Lovecraft...
Thulian Echoes is an adventure I like very much given how the action is set and I can recommend it to any referee willing to direct and adventure with its strange and funny moments mixing pulp fantasy and historical fact, it can also be used as the starting point of a campaign thanks to all the information I give you at the second part of the review.
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