Some people claim to have been abducted by aliens. Some of them claim to have been tested or examined. And some of them disappear forever. So do cows, pets and a thousand other animals no one ever realizes.
The Lost Lands are a recursion that appears, initially at least, as a broad African veldt, dotted with loose groves of acacia and baobab trees, streams that swell and shrivel with the seasons, and rough, rocky outcroppings that bake in the harsh sun and offer shelter at night. In the perpetually hot weather, reptilian megafauna roam the Lost Lands, herds of smaller herbivores graze alertly, while larger ones can be found in small family groups. Large solitary hunters compete with smaller predatory packs for the herds, while even smaller bipedal mammals use cunning, tools and tactics to hunt the game. Feral, primitive humans eke out an existence amongst the giant dinosaurs and the smaller, clever raptors, taking shelter in the safety of caves and using their skills of tool making and knowledge of fire to survive in the hostile recursion. Life is grim and difficult but the intelligence of the human natives gives them the edge they need to compete against much larger predators or the smaller, more numerous raptors. That is, until the Greys arrived.
Greys are a shy, scientific race, driven by an insatiable curiosity. Some have learned to travel between recursions in their sleek, saucer shaped vehicles and some of the more daring have even learned how to operate their ships in Sub-standard Physics environments by carrying a micro-recursion ‘bubble’ of Mad Science wherever they go. As yet they have not been able to insert themselves into Magic based or other exotic recursions.
The Lost Lands are amongst the recursions known to the greys. Humans have always been of particular interest to them, although the primitive cultures of the Lost Lands provided disappointingly little data for them. Seeing opportunity, the Greys have turned the Lost Lands into a living laboratory for their ongoing biological and anthropological studies.
Where active on Earth, Greys sometimes abduct people from remote areas for temporary study. Since their discovery of the Lost Lands however, more and more abductees are never seen again on Earth. When delivering their abducted specimens to the Lost Lands, some remain fully clothed complete with Earth artifacts like cell phones (which quickly decay in the substandard physics of the recursion), while others are stripped during the Grey’s tests and dropped in a similar state near the native humans’ dwellings.
In addition, the Greys collect various Earth fauna which, through the Grey’s advanced bioscience and genesplicing technology, are biologically transformed into humanoid versions of the original creatures. Their hybrid experiments usually include increased base intelligence while retaining many of the evolutionary advantages they enjoyed in their natural form. Lizard men (equivalent to degenerate Serpent People – Strange Bestiary) and hyena men (equivalent to sark) are the most dangerous due to their higher than normal intelligence and group hunting tactics. Besides the constant reptilian threats, human colonies must now also fight these ‘not-men’ for control of the cave systems that provide shelter from the Tyrannosaurs and other carnivorous megafauna.
The Axe the Flame tribes represent the two largest clans of the Lost Lands, jealously guarding their respective secrets of tool making and fire use from other intelligent humanoids, and from each other. The Flame Tribe has historically enjoyed a measure of superiority over the Axe Tribe, mainly due to their control of the Tar Pits (see ‘Places of Note’) along with the understanding of how to exploit tar. Recently though the Axe Tribe has welcomed into its fold families of genetically modified wolf-people whom the tribal elders have recognized as having a natural affinity for working with the tribe. Animosity between the tribes prevents them from cooperating except in rare situations where hordes of the Grey’s unnatural creations pose existential threats.
Oral legends of both tribes tell of the Cloud Caves, a glittering, round mountain that floats high in the air, wanders the veldt and then disappears as abruptly as it came. Pale human children inhabit the Cloud Caves and use magic to bring confused humans or ‘not-men’ to the Lost Lands. The Tribes hate the children of the Cloud Caves, as their appearance invariably leads to danger and strife. Many tribesmen look forward to the day that they can climb to the Cloud Caves, claim the caves for their own, and toss the children to the raptors.
Places of Note
Shard Pits: an eroding cliff side that offers raw materials for both flint and tool-stones. Both tribes gather raw materials from here and frequently fight over the resource. They are however united in the understanding that they need to prevent any of the hybrid not-men from learning the value of the Shard Pits.
Tar Pits: a number of small pools of tar exist near the south edge of the recursion deep in Flame territory. The Flame Tribe has learned to harness the combustible nature of the tap but the pits themselves also are also a potential food source from beasts that become mired in the thick muck. Many other beasts know that easy food can be found in and around the pits, making the area particularly dangerous and from the danger of the pits themselves. Only the Flame Tribe knows the value of tar and guards this knowledge carefully.
Watering Hole: a small central pond that is the sole source of water during the dry season. Most of the time small rivers can be used as sources of fresh water, but during the dry season the rivers run dry and the tribes must risk themselves at the hole. At the peak of dry season, all of the recursions other creatures gather for the same reason making the area exceptionally dangerous as desperate humans, hybrids and beasts compete for the scarce resource. Dry gourds are filled with water but typically must be refilled each day.
Characters of Note
Lasting Ember is the current leader of the Flame Tribe, a large powerful man with a creative mind. He is generally loved by his tribe, respected as a warrior yet thoughtful as a leader. For months now he has been considering the value of tar as a weapon. His Flame Wielders have demonstrated the power of tar when thrown but Ember is convinced that it can be used on a greater scale, perhaps against beasts, or maybe other tribes. He’s just not sure how this might happen or what tools the tribe would need, but his intuition has convinced him that this is crucial the future success of the tribe.
Leader of the Axe Tribe. A man who, despite the short comings of the simple proto-language used by the tribes, has managed for the first time in living memory to convince a tribe of non-humans to align and work with the tribe. Many in the tribe feel that the wolf people should be slaves or subservient in some fashion, yet Water Speaker sees greater glory for the tribe by accepting them as equals, perhaps using their example to entice other groups of ‘not-men’ to join their cause and eradicate the Flame Tribe once and for all.
Focus: Makes Tools
1) Toolmaker. You know how to chip a stone blade or use a blade to sharpen a spearhead. You are trained in building stone equivalents of a light axe and javelin.
2) Superior Javelin. You know how to choose lighter, better balanced shafts to build javelins. You can throw a second javelin in the same round but at two steps more difficult.
3) Dangerous Combatant. You are trained in combat with axes or javelins. You are specialized in building axes and javelins.
4) Superior Tools. You can build (trained in making) axes (med weapons) and spears (med).
5) Tool Master. You are specialized in making med axes and spears. You do 1 extra point of damage with all weapons (excluding fists).
6) Lethal edges. (2 Might points) You do 2 extra points of damage with any weapon (not fists).
Focus: Understands Fire
1) Fire Maker. You understand (trained in) the principles of fire making and can, with your flint and suitable fuels, make a fire in two minutes.
2) Animal Tamer. You understand the effect fire can have on animals. Using a torch, you can mesmerize (freeze) or scare (make flee) and creature on a successful Intellect attack. Can be attempted against Not-men at a one step increased difficulty.
3) Burning Spear. You know how to wrap a spear in combustible material and can light it on fire prior to throwing it. The burning weapon does 1 extra point of damage on a successful hit and 1 extra point of damage for the next two rounds (2 extra points per round if the target is inflammable, like covered in fur.)
4) Defeat Fire. You know how (trained) to destroy fire either by quenching it or smothering it.
5) You understand that smoke is another dangerous element of fire and can be used to asphyxiate, if used in the correct manner or to communicate simple messages over long distances. You also know to avoid smoke by breathing from the lowest point in a confined space.
6) Molotov. Tar is a precious fuel and can be fashioned into a dangerous weapon using a dried gourd and a burning taper. If it shatters (successful Might attack), all targets in immediate range are splashed with burning tar for 3 points of damage the first round, 2 the second and 1 on the third. One extra point of damage per round for inflammable targets.
Focus: Hunts Beasts
1) Long Spear. Trained with Long Spear (equivalent to Lance). +1 damage against large (double human weight or more) opponents
2) Long Reach. Throw Long Spear up to long range.
3) Spear defense. When armed with Long Spear, can be used as an asset for Speed Defense.
4) Specialized in Long Spear. +2 damage vs. large opponents. Trained to build Long Spears.
5) Elusive. Trained in Speed defense vs. large opponents, Specialized in Speed Defense vs. giant opponents (5x human weight, or more)
6) Slayer. +1 damage against all opponents, +3 damage against large, +6 damage against giant
Tyrannosaur hide: Level 1 armor that has no encumbrance or speed penalties.
Grey Ray Emitter (depleted): the exotic (metal) material of the hand gun remains surprisingly intact, possibly as a side effect of the Grey’s micro-recursion technology. It can be wielded pistol-whipping style as a light weapon that does +1 damage and is (virtually) indestructible. Only one is known to exist and is in the possession of Takak, leader of the Axe Tribe after he found it in the lair of a group of Lizard people.