Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Primeval Thule

About a month ago I was perusing DriveThruRPG for a 7th level D&D adventure. That's when I came across The Watchers Of Meng, an adventure for characters of levels 5-8, written by Robert J. Schwalb. This adventure was written for the Primeval Thule setting from Sasquatch Game Studio. I'd heard of Thule before but I never really looked into it. Before purchasing the pdf of the setting book, I asked over at the Nerds-International G+ page if anyone was familiar with this setting. Within a few minutes of posting my question I got several replies from those fine folks. My main concern was whether or not I could use this setting for the player characters already established in 5th edition of D&D with minimal translation involved. I was assured that I could indeed just drop the player characters into the adventure without any problems.

So, what exactly is Primeval Thule I asked. The majority of replies I got were if you're looking for a true sword & sorcery setting for D&D, this ain't it. This is more like a lower fantasy setting with Lovecraftian influences. Hmmm, Lovecraftian influences you say. Now I'm more intrigued than before. My first thought was how can they make D&D feel like Cthulhu? Of course I should have looked in the Dungeon Masters Guide. There are madness rules on page 258. There are also rules for adding an Insanity Ability Score on page 264. Wow, I never knew that was there! Ok, time to look at this setting more closely.

Looking around some more, I found a free teaser pdf called Primeval Thule Travelers Guide. To my surprise I discovered that this overview supplement is also the entire first chapter of the campaign setting book with minor changes made to artwork and layout. This chapter definitely sets the stage for a more savage land with danger lurking outside the city as well as within. In fact, the city is described as being just as deadly as the wilderness. This land called Thule is also not as magical as it once was. There are only a handful of magic users at any given time inside a major city. Ever since a catastrophic event occurred in the city of Atlantis, magic has been on the decline. Since "the world’s ancient empires were founded on occult learning and lore", it is my understanding that most magic is actually alien in nature and feared by most.

"Because Thule is an ancient setting, many of the tropes common in more conventional fantasy settings are not necessarily present. This is a world of barbarians and gladiators, not knights or lords. Temples are ziggurats, not cathedrals; people dress in loincloths and leather fighting harness."

The map of Thule is a fantastic pdf and when printed it comes out to a big 30 x 25 inch poster. So far there are 3 adventures in the campaign setting book, 3 stand alone adventures, and an anthology book containing 3 more adventures. Unfortunately that's where the adventure supplements end. It also appears that support for this setting is pretty much done. Its also worth mentioning that if you're a Savage Worlds fan, there aren't any published adventures for that rule system. The only Savage Worlds support is the campaign book.

All in all, I think this is a fantastic setting and I really like the feeling of lower than normal magic for D&D. It's not quite at the barbaric level of Conan but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 Jalizaran Moons.

One of my friends JC Locke, The Jolly GM, is going to be posting some videos on his Youtube channel at about 6mm figures and how to paint them. You can also check out his blog at