Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Lust for Lustria

You know what I'd like to see?

Richard Halliwell's Lustria written up as a campaign background.

Originally springing forth from a jokey play upon the title of Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods - which became Chariots of the Frogs in GW injoke speak - Lustria was a weird mix of ancient astronauts, once-advanced-but-now-degenerate amphibian beings, punk Amazons and, for no apparent good reason, Norse settlers and adventurers.

(I say was, Lustria still is, but it goes without saying that I'm talking about the days of Warhammer 2 and 3 and WFRP and not modern Warhammer)

It goes like this.

Once upon a time, the ancient Slann arrive on an obscure blue/green planet and shift it's orbit closer to it's parent star in order to alter it's climate, and then genetically engineer a bunch of helper/servant races. Once part of a great cosmic Empire, the World has two great warpy-teleport gates at it's poles through which interstellar traffic passes.

Then as a result of an unstated galactic catastrophe it all goes tits up and raw Chaos-stuff splatters through the warpgates, spiritually, morally and physically polluting the globe. Reality breaks up and goes all Moorcock at the poles, the Slann civilization collapses and everything goes a bit post-apocalypse.

Wind the clock onto the current year of the Warhammer World and it's South America analogue is a sprawling mass of Meso-American ruined cities once inhabited by the amphibian scientist race of the Slann that is now a primitive tribal race dying out at the hands of human settlers.

The human settlers are at war with the Slann and also with the remnants of their servant race, the Amazons, all of whom look like Toyah Wilcox in her prime, reproduce asexually via chemical means and have access to a bunch of Old Slann technological weapons such as, errmmm, bolt guns and bolt pistols. Also lobotomised and castrated human slaves with shaved heads.

So, lots of dungeon bashing in Chichen Itza, except that all the decor depicts humanoid batrichan super-scientists not Meso-Americans with bad haircuts. Unfathomable ancient technology, fallen civilization, ancient astronauts, jungles, disease, Norse homesteads, Toyah Wilcox and Christ knows what hiding in places where no White Man has ever been and underneath it all, the radioactive fallout of the dreaded Warpstone.

If only GW had chosen to write this up in campaign background setting back in the WFRP days.

As it happens, I'm not sure that WFRP would really be the best ruleset for Lustria. WFRP is so wedded to a low-fantasy, Germanic, urban game (the old "you start in an alley full of shit between two half-timbered buildings with double-headed eagles on their shutters" thing) that I don't think it would suit this pulpy, post-apoc goodness. It would really call for a White Box D&D treatment.


  1. Perhaps some sort of Runequest/BRP variant. Or else Advanced Fighting Fantasy, since the Titan setting itself is also a sort of melange.

  2. *applauds*
    Sounds like a fit for summat like song of blades and heroes, considering wh1 was very dungeon/small skirmish-ey...
    This guy - http://teasgettingcold.blogspot.com/ - was talking about something similar as well...

  3. That sounds pretty dang awesome.

  4. There's nothing really in the ruleset that necessitates "the old 'you start in an alley full of shit between two half-timbered buildings with double-headed eagles on their shutters' thing." so I think WFRP would work fine. I was briefly involved in a PbP game with this very premise, though it collapsed for other reasons.




  5. I have to agree. WFRP should still be able to do the job.

  6. That said, something really over the top and pulpy might work even better if you're going to go properly gonzo. What that would be though, I'm not sure.

    Oh, hang on. Old School Hack. That'll do it.

  7. 2012 is the year of the Mayan apocalypse, we need some amphibian skygod madness.

    A heavily house-ruled version of WFB 1/2 + 40k:RT + Mordheim / Necromunda will do the job nicely ;-)

    Also I dropped a hint at Steve Buddle's site a while back, he seemed up for it!

    Meanwhile have a look at Freebooter miniatures Amazons. Especially this "Yolcameh" WIP...

  8. Definitely a very cool idea.
    I'd use WFRP or BRP... maybe drag out the old D&D 'Tamachoan' module and Slann it up.
    I'd sex it up with some miniatures, like those Freebooter minis and the Maidenhead Amazons.
    Pigmies and Slann somehow as well.

  9. please forgive my ignorance, but where is that picture from? was there a separate history book published way back when i was too young to know?

  10. the one

    It's actually the rear of a Fighting Fantasy gamebook slipcase from 1983. It isn't officially Lustria but that figure and the spacecraft just screams Lustria to me.

    The full thing is here

  11. thanks coopdevil :)

    i got into warhammer/40k in the 80's. when i saw this lustria post i thought i must have missed some great back history to the old world.


  12. I don't know that I agree with that 'nothing in the rules says it's Imperial' bit. Many of the careers (more so in the Black Industries edition, for sure, but many of them) are framed as part of Old World society and culture. Can you do it? Sure. Does it need some hacking? Absolutely. Is there a temptation to say 'sod it all' and use Savage Worlds/AFF/something else Von likes that's more easily disconnected from its social machinery? Probably.

    The pile of mid-2000s White Dwarfs next to my bed is making me sad too. There are small warbands of Lustrian things, there's the Albion and Lustria campaign material, there's a definite sense of 'here's some of that old stuff fed into the sensible sixth/seventh edition rules'. And I think they wrote it up as a Mordheim supplement at some point too, which might be fun to try out (I loved Mordheim).

  13. I vote for Dragon Warriors. It already has several adventures set in ruined temples in 'Mungoda', and it's pretty rules-lite and deadly enough to get a WFRP vibe (it's deadlier, in my opinion). One of the books has extra rules for catching jungle disease.

  14. Maybe I've been watching too much Ancient Astronauts on the history channel, but the old school slann are getting more and more appealing to me. I've got some serious lead lust for the palanquin being carried by the shaven headed slaves - if only it didn't cost an arm and a leg on ebay.

  15. @ Von - I was the writer on the mid-2000s Lustria material, and I dug as deeply into the old (old) material as I could. Anyone familiar with the Second Citadel Compendium reading the 2005 Warhammer Realms: Lustria supplement will have a few chuckles if they know their stuff ;-)

  16. There's a lot of suggestions for rules-sets that don't have any laser guns. Lustria has laser guns.

    Could use AD&D and just rename Wand of Magic Missile as Bolt Gun. The Slann could be the Slaad and Bullywugs.

  17. This sounds like a perfect setting for Risus. Partially on the grounds than anything is a perfect setting for Risus ;)