Monday, November 16, 2009


A post today by James Maliszewski reviwing C. J. Cutliffe Hyne's classic novel The Lost Continent got me thinking about how seldom it's been used as a setting for FRPG's. You'd think people would naturally be attracted to this major, fantastic continent of folklore when imagining fantasy geographies. Instead, almost everyone prefers to frolic in the fields surveyed by Tolkien.

The only RPG line based on Atlantis was Bard Games' Atlantean Trilogy stuff that came out back in the mid 1980's. There was the The Arcanum, The Lexicon, and The Bestiary. All of it was recently re-edited and released by Morrigan Press as Atlantis: The Second Age. A nice effort, and by all accounts a very detailed treatment. But even so they couldn't avoid the Tolkien derived pseudo-medieval fantasy species such as trolls, faeries, and elves. I'd rather have seen creatures from classical mythology in this setting. Or the completely original creatures they later went with in Talislanta.

Aside from the odd superhero/occult investigation module touching on Atlantis the only other supplement was GURPS Atlantis. In addition to giving a good account of the Atlantis myth, it covers the fabled continent from three angles. The Orichalcum Age which gives it a high fantasy treatment; The Heirs of Minos that gives details for use in conspiracy games; and Lords of the Deep, that gives presents a fantastic background for steampunk or superhero games.

The only other serious coverage of Atlantis is Hero Game's The Atlantean Age setting book for Fantasy Hero. It approaches the mythic land from a high fantasy direction as you might expect. The book provides detailed coverage of the continent's history, culture, religion and magic. The monsters are suitably colorful, with things like war apes, battledons and Atlantean Dragons. Basically it's a focused and detailed treatment of the sword-and-sorcery aspects of the myth.

All of these supplements have something to offer, though the Hero Games version is my favorite. In large part that's because it matches what I imagine the lost continent to be. I see it as a place of high adventure and fabulous magic like the realms depicted in the pages of Weird Tales. Hopefully we'll someday see more gamers exploring fabled Atlantis and discovering it's wonders.


Robert Saint John said...

Atlantis has been on my mind as well, lately. Watching what's been going on with settings like Algol and Athanor has given me the itch to do something similar. I'd been re-reading some Tekumel material and Mongoose's Conan fluff, then saw the George Pal movie "Atlantis, the Lost Continent" and thought "heeeyyyy..." Atlantis would be a great opportunity for "old world" plus "weird science".

Jerry Cornelius said...

That's the great thing is you can take it in any direction like that. Just look at that wild Atlantis calendar the Brothers Hildebrandt did.

Robert Saint John said...

Whoah, I have never seen that! Thanks!