Monday, March 15, 2021

OSR Review & Commentary On Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan Campaign Setting By Terje Nordin For The Warriors of the Red Planet Rpg

 "Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan is a campaign setting for use with the Warriors of the Red Planet Roleplaying Game.

New character races: Mutant, Robot, Rogue Formian, Rogue Formiankin, Lizard Folk.

Rules for Psychic Combat and Super-Science Research.

Wyrd Stones, mysterious artefacts that let you manipulate the matrix of Matter, Energy, Time and Space.

18 new creatures including Spectral Walkers and Winged Squid.

Seven strange Alien Godlings.

Campaign map with 100 detailed hexes.

The city state of Yankara.

The Vaults of Illumination, a 22 room starting dungeon."

Its been over a week since Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan crossed the gaming table & now the piper is coming due. This Sword & planet campaign setting crams in forty eight pages what has been seen in other game systems drawn out over two hundred or more pages. The fact that  works with the Warriors of the Red Planet rpg & gives that rpg system an alternative setting to play in. There are so many good things about Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  where to begin?!

Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  evolved straight out of a home campaign morphed into a full on Sword & Planet adventure setting. And it brings the planetary heat straight out by giving us a straight in your face planetary setting out of the gate Xuhlan was the seat of a instellar  empire. But the Fall came hard; "Then came the Cataclysm. There are few facts but many myths and legends regarding the fall of the Primordials. Most accounts are vague and they seldom agree with one another, but many speak of apocalyptic wars, entire star systems being destroyed and a plague of madness forever eclipsing the minds of those few Primordials who survived. Zeenu (or Xanu or Zano depending on which source one consults), Devourer of Stars, glorious Conqueror of the Galaxies, Eternal Hegemon of the Primordials was deposed by his subjects and imprisoned in a black hole (or went into self-imposed exile outside the common space-time continuum, again depending on the source). Mankind, brought to Xuhlan by the Primordials to satisfy some playful whim or other, fought with many other sapients from across the universe for survival in the ruins left behind by their fallen masters. Millennia passed, empires rose, only to degenerate and crumble and come crashing down into barbarism again. Nearly a thousand years ago the surface of Xuhlan was under the hegemony of the Celestial Domain, the greatest human civilisation the planet has ever seen. But as the dynasty of the Aether Lords declined the domain was torn between the competing factions of the Guild of Noetic Engineers and the Ascended Masters of Unspace until the conflict escalated out of control. The human scientists had but learned fragments of the esoteric secrets mastered by the Primordials, but the destructive capacity of their technology was enough to extinguish the majority of human lives on the planet and lay their empire in ruin." 
The players start with several major races right out of the gate Mutant, Robot, Rogue Formian insect antmen, Rogue Formiankin former thralls of the insect men, Lizard Folk. Then mutations & psychic combat which is cleaned up a bit as well as being a real boon to Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan . There's superscience research as an add on system to Warriors of the Red Planet & its needed folks. There's really an orginal Dungeons & Dragons feel to Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan . Then we've got Wyrd Stones which are essentially 'infinity stones'  of Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan . But these stones are more in keeping with the Pulp magazine Sword & Planet stories that inspired this setting.  The Beastery is one of the best parts of Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  because you get a real nice smattering of additional monsters. And if you're into the Warriors of the Red Planet rpg's weird monsters these are some fantastic creatures. 

The world of Xuhlan is straight up Pulp goodness right from the get go as you get into the hex crawl of the world setting with over a hundred encounters. The cartography is very well done. And this blends right into the city state of Yankara. And there's even a starting adventure right in  Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan called The Vaults of Illumination. Theres 22 rooms & its all set ready to go play! 
Is there any downsides to 
Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan ?! Honestly no in my humble opinion. You've got everything you need to really blow the doors in for an original B/X or original Dungeons & Dragons Sword & Planet campaign. 
Gotta say that in addition to Warriors of the Red Planet Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan would also work as an excellent setting to BX Mars. All of the material in  Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  can easily bolt on to BX Mars so that the players & DM have an additional world setting to play with. 

And this is really one of the strengths of 
Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan. The fact that it can easily be adapted to any number of OSR systems. For example using Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  with Adventurer,Conqueror, King's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu allows the DM to bring another instellar planetary setting into their ACK's campaigns. 

And this interstellar planet setting could be easily used as a weird science destination for Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg or as a Carcosa subsetting. 
Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  does takes its ques from planetary romance, Pulps, & Sword & Planet Science Fantasy. The sum here is far greater then the parts as Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan  stands on its own assumptions. 

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