That image above is the best illustration possible for what Thulian Echoes is all about. If you were ever wondering why I turn to Lamentations of the Flame Princess, that is why. I can turn to James and make a pitch like "How about an adventure where Romans may end up screwing with an Air Loom in Iceland". Anyone else would assume I am either drunk or trolling them, but James is willing to see where this crazy train leads.
And that is not some form of unrelated art either. That very scene is something you are very likely to encounter exactly as depicted if you play this adventure.
But, this is not a mind bending gonzo adventure. At least not at first, but you know how slippery slopes are. The adventure actually has a much more mellow opening. When I first jotted this down way back in 2008 I wanted to make a death-trap dungeon where the players had the notes of a previous failed expedition to aide them. Who didn't think it was cool when Indie is trying to decipher notes in the last crusade?
But, man was that ever a boring info dump to write. And who on earth wants to read through 20 pages of text before going on a treasure hunt? So I had an idea and ran with it.
The adventure seed is the journal of the failed expedition sure, but it isn't an info dump. The players are given pre-gens and play out the previous failed expedition. It isn't magic, the current PC's aren't being sent back in time or anything. It is purely a mechanic to let the players gain an understanding of the death trap without needing to read thirty pages. And because they know the original characters all die, people are a bit less cautious. If you like to see characters get murdered in hilarious ways but feel at all bad about "screw you!" style traps, you will have a blast murdering these disposable historic PC's. Their entire point is to die horribly so the players can know how the traps in the dungeon function.
And when they are all dead, the book ends. Then the current player characters, armed with general knowledge from over a thousand years ago can prepare their own expedition will all the proper tools they know of. Hopefully the previous party made it at least somewhat through the dungeon.
Of course a lot can change in a millennium, sometimes the smallest actions can have wide ranging changes given enough time. The adventure also spells out exactly what long term impacts these small casual acts by the historical party might have on the far future.
Murderous traps, fabulous treasure, prehistoric monsters from the center of the earth, the ravages of time, and paranoid conspiracy theories come to life in BRILLIANT TECHNICOLOR!