Erucidar (AKA Dinoland) 

T._rex_old_posture
Charles Robert Knight

Yep, Erucidar is a Gabe-ism of Pellucidar. As soon as I decided I wanted dinosaurs in my campaign (because of the prehistoric nature of a land existing inviolate beneath a glacier ever since Earthfall, and because of at least one player character who is really into dinosaurs) I took some time to read Edgar Rice Burroughs’s At the Earth’s Core. (Mini-critique: I couldn’t believe that at one point of the novel the heroes flay a dead Mahar — a dragon-type — crawl into its body, and make their escape by puppeteering their Mahar-suit with poles and whatnot!)

What did I do with my players in Dinoland? Well, I had them fight dinosaurs, of course! That’s what Rahjin’s player really wanted to do, and that’s why he really didn’t want to have to play a different character for three weeks or so while his troll got body modifications. But when I, Jurassic Park-style, beset their camp one early morning with a rampaging herd of prehistoric camelids being pursued by raptors who were in turn being pursued by a T-Rex, the troll promptly learned that he wasn’t up to facing a T-Rex. He ended up within the T-Rex’s jaws. He was about to be swallowed whole. Some quick internet research revealed that he would not survive this — the carnivore’s stomach acid would knock out the troll’s regeneration. Tabi, the Kitsune “Order of the Beast” Cavalier/Hunter, cast a spell that made the T-Rex able to speak the party’s language. Then she spent a Hero Point to change his attitude from Hostile. Reeling from the effects of having consciousness suddenly invade his reptilian brain, the T-Rex sought answers from the party. Then it decided to pack up with them for a bit.

There were encounters, one of which I showcased in a GM’s discussion earlier in this blog. But the jungle exploration didn’t get real interesting until I gave the players a scroll of “Tree Stride” as loot in a Giant Tarantula’s den. Dromar Hero Pointed the ability to learn it, transcribe it into his spell book, and then create scrolls for everyone in the party, including the NPCs, to traverse the jungle as far as it would go (this proved to be as far as a giant chasm separating the jungle from volcanic mountains). Narrative-wise, I was okay with this development: the Irminsul, which dwells at the center of Erucidar, blesses the whole land with the spores of Erastil’s Shot; mushrooms in some theories account for the origins of consciousness; information transfers readily in this realm but not outside of it.

At the edge of the jungle the PCs were noticed by Apemen sentries. Their alarm brought two Girallons. Of course Dromar wanted to go talk to the Girallon leader. The Girallons brought him into the center of the jungle while the Apemen and two additional Girallons looked over the PCs who didn’t seem as inclined to evil as Dromar and therefore were not as well received. Continue reading

A Childhood Escape: My Third Grade Teacher and “The Chronicles of Narnia”

Narnia_Lamp
By EJ.Culley

I find it difficult to remember–or conjecture–just when I first encountered fantasy fiction. I like to think that it was something I needed, something I desperately sought after, without quite understanding that I needed it or even that there even was something to need. I like to believe that even at my earliest age I had a bit of “sehnsucht.” Sehnsucht is a German word meant to convey intense yearning after a lost or nonexistent ideal or parallel existence. Something like this has been used as a Christian idea (often attributed to C.S. Lewis) that, if there is no such thing as “heaven” (however one might choose to define such a concept), then a majority of people should not yearn for one as if it does exist. The argument propounds that every human desire has some complement–a thirsty person will be satisfied with a drink of water, a hungry person with food, a lusty person with sex. So it follows reason that a desire for heaven must in kind be met by heaven. This argument is additionally supported by the proposition that humanity would not feel any sense of “wrongness” or injustice in the state or organization of the existing world if there wasn’t in fact some way that it actually was supposed to be. In other words, a fish in water shouldn’t feel “wet.”

In like reasoning, it may be supposed that those yearning for fantasy worlds must have that desire met by no less than the possibility of a “real” fantasy world. Of course, we will leave aside the consideration that, once fantasy becomes “real,” then, well, it no longer is fantasy then, is it. We also will willfully blind ourselves, for now, to the overwhelming beauty and wondrous nature of all that truly is. Why the world cannot “be enough” (becoming less true for me personally as I get older) is a supreme mystery. But so it is, evidenced by the ennui of many first-world citizens in their modern lives.

As I said, I like to imagine that I felt this sehnsucht at an early age. My parents say that, when I was very young, I used to do little more than sit in a corner and cry. I guess I was old enough to speak, for when they asked me what was wrong, I wouldn’t–or couldn’t–articulate what it was. I simply was sad. They took me to a child psychologist who told them that I was lonely; if I had a friend or a sibling with whom to play, the therapist said, I would be better. My first sister was born soon thereafter; I am told I got better, so that must have been the problem. Continue reading