Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review & Commentary of Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook #1

Here's the over all description of Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook #1
"How do you open a portal to another place? How do people use proto-dimensions for rapid movement to a location miles away. If there is such a thing as a doorway to another reality, can it be locked? Why is it easier to dimension walk from Demonground? Are there safe havens in the proto-dimensions? Where did the proto-dimensions come from? Are there other worlds in the proto-dimensions, other races -- allies or enemies? What are the Plaguelands?

These questions, and many others, will be answered in the Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook, Volume 1. There are rules for proto-dimensional travel by means of empathic power or by the use of technological devices far beyond the ability of humans to create. All the details of dimension-walking are covered, telling how to stay alive while doing it. Players will learn how to build an interdimensional portal -- or how to destroy one.

Further, the Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook describes 12 different proto-dimensions, ranging from tropical paradise to a sulphurous hell, from the vastness of a perpetual sky to surreal landscapes populated by creatures from out of a nightmare, from a world where everything is normal except for the color to a world where nothing is as it seems.

If you are a Dark Conspiracy referee, you will be able to incorporate the proto-dimensions into your campaign with relative ease. If you are a player, your character can now take the battle to the enemy's backyard."

1993 ... Ted Kocot & Loren Wiseman ... 140 pages ... GDW 2109 ... ISBN 1558781145" 

From Wayne's Books Rpg Reference. The description doesn't  tell you anything really like many table top rpg descriptions of their products.  So really what is the book?  Who does it tell you about, more important what's in it & where does it want to take you as a Dungeon Master or player?

So really what is the book?  The book describes the various proto dimensional realities & how to get there from point a to b. 
The book came out in 1993 & there's been lots of changes to both the horror film & role playing industry as a whole but over all its still works as an addition to a DM's arsenal. 
The book really tweeks the rules for proto-dimensional travel by means of empathic power. The rules are pretty standard stuff for dimensional & planar travel & have a sort of pseudo AD&D feel to them.
The empathic powers have always been a favorite of mine. They gave the class of empathic or psychics in the game something more to do then simply be window dressing. The players weren't simply travel agents to get from point A to B. They were really vital team members. DC always had the feel that the players were part of a rebel cell. America had turned into a wasteland of filth & degradation under its alien & corporate masters. 

The book gives all sorts of in game art with lots of little organizations & about 12 locations in different  Proto-Dimensions which are described in terms that range from horrific to weird. These were written in the 90s. The golden age of horror films & television. They have a distinctive "Twin Peaks", "X Files" & cheesy horror feel to them. That's not a weakness but a strength. From the machine hell of the film Virus to the pseudo Greece/alien mythology its pretty much all here campers. 

The authors also included a bunch of different technology & whatnot for dimensional travel. The problem was/is that most of it will end PCs life. However this is a horror game & those DM's wanting a Giger style pulp piece of technology should look here for inspiration. 

 Is it still relative & revilant to DM's today? The book is extremely well written. It offers a bunch of different options for a DM looking for an alternative to usual inter dimensional Manual of the Planes AD&D tropes. 

 The book is one which allows a DM to create a myriad of proto dimensions which for all intents & purposes are demi planes from AD&D with sharp differences defined.
The book is more then simply an addition to the DC universe. Dark Conspiracy wanted players & DM's to buy their books & the background really shows this:
"Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook #1 describes 12 different proto-dimensions, ranging from tropical paradise to a sulfurous hell, from the vastness of a perpetual sky to surreal landscapes populated by creatures from out of a nightmare, from a world where everything is normal except for the color to a world where nothing is as it seems."
Yeah there is this but they also have each of these 12 worlds as part of the background to the overall arching DC meta verse. The monsters, NPCs, etc are all there in some detail but to really flesh them out a DM is going to need the monster book, the empathic book, etc.
Well not really. There's enough there that a DM with some brains is going to grab the book, fill in what's needed, & then run the hell out of this mother. 

Is the book still relevant? If your still reading all the way down here then the answer is yes & here's why. Say your a Mutant Future DM & you go this wonderful waste land campaign but you don't want to wreck the whole thing with a great side idea mega dungeon.
Grab this book create a few Proto-Dimensions for your setting, grab your monsters, & presto your done. Need to show your players life before everything went to hell? Here's your chance to allow players to raid Logan's Run style worlds or reverse the trope.
Your mutants, etc are all trapped in a dimensional wasteland & only their empathic abilities can save humanity from the alien monsters that await just on the other side of the mirror.
What about horror fantasy? God knows there's been lots of it out there. The Proto-Dimensions Sourcebook #1 is your answer. Create your Proto-Dimensions fantasy world, add suitable dungeons & then trap your PCs in the modern world.  Let the fun begin as AD&D style bounty hunters come to hunt them down.
For even more fun create a dimensional extension that goes to Carcosa & allow the PCs to deal with the results with "no way" back.
And now the bad news the book sells for way to much money from time to time. You've really got to keep your eyes peeled for this one & grab it when you can.
The book is a keeper for anyone looking to get into dimensional horror & wanting something that doesn't stomp down the usual D&D trope hallways. This one has a more pulpy, horror filled feel to it
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