Friday, May 8, 2020

Weird Revisited: The Strange Stone Age

This post first appeared in May of 2015...

Or maybe forward to a remote future? Whichever, it's a time where prehistoric humans do battle with monsters--both known to history and unknown--and with incursion of aliens or ultraterrestrials, part Kirby and part von Däniken. The actions of the aliens create sores in the skin of reality where the normal laws are warped and disrupted.

Some humans have benefited (or so they believe) from alien technology and even interbreeding. They view themselves as superior to the others and hunt them for slaves--or worse. But humans have allies, too: the gregarious Small-Folk (Halflings, pakuni, homo florensis), the hardy and aloof Stone Folk (dwarves, T'lan Imass, Neanderthals). And then there are the spirits, made stronger since the aliens rent holes in reality, with whom the shamans intercede through the use of sacred, hallucinogenic technologies--their "passkeys" into the operating system of the universe.

Comics: Devil Dinosaur, Tor, Tragg and the Sky-Gods, Henga (Yor), Turok, anything New Gods by Kirby or Morrison (for the "magic as technology" aspect).
Fiction: Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories (mainly the implied pseudo-scientific background), Manly Wade Wellman's Hok, Roadside Picnic (the portrayal of zones and alien artifacts)
"Nonfiction": alien abduction stuff and forteana, "forbidden history" stuff, Chariots of the Gods.


JB said...

I love this kind of stuff.

Any particular reason you're revisiting it at the moment? Just a tie-in to the He-Man stuff (as HM was originally portrayed as a stone age hermit)?

By the way...pretty good podcast you hipped us to. Thanks!
; )

[and is "Manly" Wade Wellman a real person?]

Anne said...

A stone age setting seems like one of two pretty easy ways to communicate that you're in a setting where the PCs are weak, incompetent, and have little in the way of magic or quality equipment. (The other way, I think, is PCs as goblins.)

The idea of playing cave people in a post-apocalyptic far future seems even more tempting than playing cave people in an actual stone age setting though.

Tallgeese said...

This is just great! You could do this with either Wurm or Paleomythic, or with a bunch of other RPGs.