Monday, January 29, 2018

Unfathomable Variations

The digital version of Operation Unfathomable is now in the hands of Kickstarter backers, inching us closer to the time when anybody will be able to buy it. Having played OU in a game run by its creators, I can attest to it being a solid adventure, and one I could see using in more contexts than just old school D&D. Jason's vision seems to be informed by pulp fiction (when the boundaries of science fiction and fantasy where not so clearly delineated), B science fiction movies, and comic books. While some traditionally-minded epic fantasy campaigns might need to do some tweaking to content and tone, their are other genres where it would work with about the same amount of effort.

Here's what I've come up with with just a little bit of thought:

Post-apocalyptic: Put the Underworld beneath a Gamma World or Mutant Future. The monsters become weird mutants or alien incursions. The Chaos becomes literal radiation, or some reality warping residue of the biggest super-weapon the ancients had. Or the malfunctioning drive of an immense alien saucer. Whatever.

Call of Cthulhu or similar Pulp Horror: Tweak the tone a bit, and Jason's Underworld is every bit as much a lurid place of weird menace as K'n-Yan or red-litten Yoth. It already Great Old Ones and their cults lurking around, too, though it would be easiest enough to substitute known mythos horrors like Eihort or Tsathaggua. Turning lurid up to ultraviolet, I invite you to contemplate the potential parallels with the Shaver Mysteries.

Superhero: This will seem the most unlikely of these suggestions, and it certainly won't be for all campaigns, but I would point to the Silver Age strangeness of Cave Carson (recently rebutted for modern psychedelic strangeness) and even the Mole Man and the various subterranean cultures of the Marvel Universe. Obviously, the parameters of the mission might be different, and the previous force that cleared the path the PCs followed, might will be the campaigns next major villain. (Or the original X-men to your team's New X-Men, if you get my Giant-Sized X-Men #1 drift). You might also want to Kirby up the monsters a bit, too.

1 comment:

Gus L said...

I find it is almost a perfect fit for the world of Anomalous Subsurface Environment - same pulp Science Fantasy gonzo feel and even a fair bit of the Thundarr vibe.