Campaign of the Lost
Campaign of the Lost
Imagine a world that was formed from Lost things. Every item, every molecule, and atom of the place is here because it was Lost from somewhere else. The world exists outside our universe, outside any universe, at the end of a metaphorical drainpipe. Things that go here are Lost (with a capital L), not merely misplaced or forgotten, and are never, ever seen or heard from again.
This is the world of Lost of Atlantis, the 9th Legion, the army of Cambyses, Flight 19, Roanoke, the crew of the Marie Celeste, and millions of Lost things so trivial that history can’t record them all. Not everyone who lives here are Lost. In fact, most were born here, descendants of previously Lost people. Those native born may develop psionic powers, the city-state of Atlantis keeps Lost magic alive, and the colonials of Roanoke have developed many fascinating things through science and steam.
The Lost Universe contains a star (called “The Sun”), a planet (called “The World”), and a moon (called “The Moon”). The day, month, and year are familiar. Gravity and atmosphere are quite similar to Earth. The day sky is blue, the sun is yellow, and the moon is silver. More or less. In broad strokes, it is very like Earth, but there’s enough obvious differences that it could never be mistaken. The night sky is pitch black except for a webbing of fine lines, which glow and occasionally pulse with colors. This universe is expanding, slowly, and the cracks of the shell are near enough to be visible. Light from beyond bleeds through the cracks.
Things fall down the “drainpipe” (in reality wormholes that connect the Lost Universe to countless alternate versions of our own universe) and end up on the World. With each Lost item the Lost Universe grows and expands to accommodate it. The wormholes are temporary and exist only long enough to make an item Lost, and then they collapse.
In the known part of the World, there are two competing political superpowers: the City-State of Atlantis and the Colonial Union whose capital city is Roanoke.
The City-State of Atlantis sits in the Dust Plains, an arid region of the World where sandstorms are common and the topsoil is fine silt. As a former island, this presented almost insurmountable problems for the early Atlanteans, but over a few centuries they persevered and today, Atlantis is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the World. It is ruled by a King (not Elvis… he’s dead, not Lost), the culture is derived from both Greek and Egyptian elements, and there’s even a few wizards around, practicing Lost magic. Because sand and silt are ever-present most people wear scarves and head wraps which may have been made from Lost socks.
Language in the Atlantis is a kind of mish-mash of ancient Egyptian and Greek.
The Colonial Union is a (mostly) agrarian community spread across the Highlands to the east. Roanoke pulled the various townships (which are called “Colonies”) together to form a politico-economic union which has come to be a real threat to Atlantean influence. Roanoke has resources and technology, but lacks a metropolitan population. They are ambitious and feel choked under Atlantean dominance.
Language in the colonies is primarily English.
Religion is widely diverse across the World. People of all faiths have fallen down the drainpipes for millennia. The oldest (and most mysterious) is the Cult of the Unspeakable One. The clergy are called Murmurs and they collect the dead. Curiously, they even pay the families for the privilege of collecting corpses. It is rumored their high priests (called Monitors) are the resurrected dead.
Pre-messianic Judaism is alive and well in most parts of the World, thanks to the arrival (in years past) of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
The youngest religion in the World has been gaining followers since the lost book of Manichaeism (titled the Arzhang) fell down the drainpipe. The basic tenants of Manichaeism teaches a dualistic view of good (light) and evil (dark). A key belief is that the powerful (though not omnipotent) good power is opposed by a semi-eternal evil power. Each person (and even the natural world) is seen as a battleground for these powers: the soul defines the person, but it is under the influence of both light and dark. Neither the Earth nor the flesh were seen as intrinsically evil, but rather possessed portions of both light and dark. Therefore, the Manichaean worldview is of a flawed creation containing good and evil in equal measure. This philosophy, when applied to the World, has attracted a number of followers from Buddhists to modern Christians.
Psionics & Magic
Psionics are mental powers that a character is born with. It needs nothing more to work. Telepathy, telekinesis, mind attacks, charms, and mental manipulations all come from within the practitioner’s own mind. Simple as that. The only real restriction is that only folk native born in the World may possess psionics.
Magic, on the other hand, can be learned. With application of study, magic can be used as easily as science and technology. This means that the newly Lost will not simply stumble upon the secrets of magic, but with a mentor and study she may learn it.
Things to Know About the World
● A few common things are found all over the World: ballpoint pens, socks, umbrellas, keys… the usual minutia of things Lost never to be found.
● The Dust Plains are a harsh environment for the unprepared. It is hot, it’s dry, and most things are made out materials scavenged from Lost things.
● The most common vehicle on the Dust Plains is the silt skimmer, a large giant-wheeled, sail-powered land barge.
● There is no gasoline except what gets Lost in our world. It’s a rare commodity. Automobiles run until their tanks run dry and then they are far more valuable for their steel content.
● Magic is real but there’s considerable confusion between psionics and wizardry. The Cult of the Unspeakable One has legitimate magic, as do some Atlanteans. Wizardry and Sorcery are Lost knowledge, so it makes sense that it works here. People born in the Lost Universe are capable of possessing psionics.
● Science and technology also work. Firearms work. Steam engines are common, especially in the Colonial Union. There is a kind of steampunk aesthetic in the Colonial Union, but there is advanced technology available.
● Things get Lost and appear in the World, but in a very timey-wimey way. The Jupiter Observation Orbiter (Lost in 2076, presumed destroyed) fell to the World almost 200 years ago. Flight 19 (Lost in 1945) has yet to arrive.
● Most things come from Earth (or an alternate universe Earth), but not all. Asteroids and space debris fall through. Just like dogs and humans, even more alien things have been known to show up from time to time.
● Things have fallen through for a very long time. Pterodactyls have been fruitful on the World and are common in the Highlands, and have even been seen soaring over the Dust Plains. Likewise, other long extinct flora have found purchase in the World. It’s possible some of them are even from the far future.
● Barter is the currency of the World. In Atlantis there is a permanent bazaar called the Odd Market where just about anything can be traded for anything. Think you have something worthless? It might not be to the right person. Someone Lost a receipt once and you picked it up on your travels. To a paper collector, that could be worth a sandwich. Murmurs are always buying corpses, and they never ask where it came from.
● There’s other places in the World. For our purposes, the Dust Plains and the Highlands are enough to get started. Eventually, we might just find out what happened with the Mayans and what do the Murmurs do with all those corpses?