Lords of Creation (1983)

There really is no shortage of weird ass games out there, but Lords of Creation (1983) is definitely in the running for the weird ass-est crown. This is the work of Tom Moldvay, he of B/X D&D and Isle of Dread. It is billed as a “Role-playing adventure game of travel through time and space.” Mechanically, it feels very 1983, with a percentile skill system sitting on top of a D&D-like framework. This is supplemented by a variety of strange powers — some are available to all characters relative to their level, some are selected from a pool. At 10th level, you become a demi-god (similar to the Immortals of BECMI, actually). All the skills and powers are tiered, which establishes some odd truths about the game setting — every Wizard starts out learning Animal Control, then moves on to Necromancy; everyone who knows how to Teleport also knows how to manipulate Gravitational Fields? None of the systems are unified, so the rules are pretty high density. You know, like you’d expect from 1983.

Philosophically, though, this game is 90s all the way. Even though the rules really only account for making characters in the modern era, the game obviously wants to run the gamut from fantasy to science fiction, making it the first real attempt to my knowledge at a cross-genre RPG. In trying to do that, it become wildly unhinged. You can see it from the box’s monster booklet — most of the pix are taken from there. Cowboy dogs and fascist mantises and pipe-smoking T-rexes from the future are the easy ones to explain. I don’t know where to start with woman-whose-face-is-a-snake or whatever it clinging to that guy’s back or the octopus war machine. This is not Rifts, but you can feel the same punchy spirit in Lords of Creation.

Oh, and Dave Billman does all the art for the entire line. I haven’t a clue who he is outside of this, but I love his stuff, super clean and bold.

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