Facebook
 
Free Shipping to USA for orders over $50
 
 
 
 
I recently finished the original 5-book Well World series by Jack Chalker.

The Well World is essentially a global zoo created by an ancient race's superscience. The world's surface is evenly compartmentalized by hexes that maintain specific atmospheric compositions and technological limitations, and populated by a unique sentient race. The southern hemisphere's hexes have a bewildering variety of alien life, but all are carbon-based, living in mostly familiar atmospheric conditions. The northern hemisphere hosts the more bizarre aliens and exotic "worlds".

The most fascinating part of the series is, of course, the Well World. The hexes, while perfectly maintaining their unique environment, are permeable. There is some cross-border travel and trade, but mostly the races keep to themselves. 

Each hex also has a technological development ”cap” which frustrates cross-hex conquest: A highly-technological race invading a non-tech hex will find their tools to be mostly inert, for example. But there are clever workarounds which make for fun reading.

The ancient race, the Markovians, not only created the Well World, but also left ruins scattered around other systems. Many had portals that would draw in unsuspecting individuals, transporting them to the Well World, and then sending them to a hex, transformed into one of the local inhabitants while still possessing memories of their previous life.

I felt this was the most compelling part of the tale: The Well World, its unique biomes, and the interaction of its races. Unfortunately, after the first two books, Chalker spends too much time away from the Well World, instead detailing the Com – the local human star civilization - which is less interesting. There are some bright spots here, such as a super sentient computer, and a frightening alien race composed of microscopic life. But the series would find its stride each time it returned to the Well World.

There is an obscure roleplaying game based on this setting, “Midnight at the Well of Souls” (Reference Site link), authorized by Jack Chalker. Its strengths and weaknesses echo the fiction series in my opinion, best when it focuses on the Well World, but undercut by wasting ink on starship blueprints and yet another space combat system.







Comments

Post a comment

Enter word displayed.

If you can't read the word above, or no word appears, click here

Previous comments



GAME SYSTEMS  2300AD | 7th Sea | Aftermath | Albedo | Alternity | Amazing Engine | Amber Diceless | Ars Magica | Atlantis | Babylon 5 | BESM | Bloodshadows | Boot Hill | Buck Rogers | Bushido | Call of Cthulhu |Car Wars | Castle Falkenstein | Central Casting | Champions | Changeling: The Dreaming | Chill | Chivalry & Sorcery | Compleat supplements | Conan | Corum | Cyberpunk | Darwin's World | Daredevils | Dark Conspiracy | DC Heroes | DC Universe | Deadlands | Delta Force | Dr. Who | DragonQuest | Dream Park | Dune | Earthdawn | Elfquest | Elric | The Fantasy Trip | Feng Shui | FTL: 2448 | Fringeworthy | Gamma World |GangBusters | Gear Krieg | Ghostbusters | GURPS | Hackmaster | Harn | Hawkmoon | Heavy Gear | High Fantasy | Indiana Jones | James Bond | Jorune | Justifiers | Kult | Legend of the Five Rings | Living Steel | Lost Worlds | Lords of Creation | Man, Myth & Magic | Marvel Super Heroes | Mechwarrior | Mekton | MERP - Middle Earth Role Playing | Midkemia | Millennium's End | Morrow Project | Mythus - Dangerous Journeys |Nightlife | Nobilis | Other Suns | Palladium | Paranoia | Pendragon | Phoenix Command | Powers & Perils | Price of Freedom | Privateers & Gentlemen | PSI World | Recon | Renegade Legion | RIFTS | Ringworld | Riddle of Steel | Robotech | Rolemaster | Runequest | Savage Worlds | Sengoku | Shadowrun | Shatterzone | Sovereign Stone | Space 1889 | Space Master | Space Opera | Spycraft | Star Ace | Star Frontiers | Star Trek |Star Wars | Talislanta | Talisman | Tekumel | Terminator | Thieves' Guild | Thieves' World | TimeMaster | Toon | Top Secret | TORG | Tribe 8 | Tunnels & Trolls | Twilight: 2000 | Unknown Armies | Villains & Vigilantes |Warhammer | Whispering Vault | Wild West Witchcraft Wizards Ysgarth

AD&D  Classic  Al-Qadim | Birthright | Dark Sun | Dragonlance | Forgotten Realms | Greyhawk | Lankhmar | Monstrous Arcana | Kara-Tur | Planescape | Ravenloft | Spelljammer | Miniature (A)D&D Box Sets ORMiniature AD&D Rulebooks

D&D Classic Gazetteer | Hollow World | Mystara  Early non-TSR D&D  Small Press | Judges Guild | Role Aids | 

OSR/Retro  OSR Castles & Crusades Labyrinth Lord | OSRIC | Swords & Wizardry

D20 System  D20 | Dungeon Crawl Classics Mongoose | Pathfinder

STAR TREK  FASA | Last Unicorn Games Decipher Jackill's (Star Fleet Reference Manuals & Data Sheets)

STAR WARS  West End Games (D6) | Wizards of the Coast (D20 & SAGA)

TRAVELLER  Traveller | MegaTraveller | Traveller: The New Era | Digest Group Publications GURPS Traveller Mongoose Traveller

GAMING ACCESSORIES Free RPG Day | Calendars Miniatures Endless Quest Books

COMPANIES  3W | Alderac (AEG) | Atlas Games | Avalanche Press Avalon Hill Bard | Chaosium | Columbia Games | The Companions | Dream Pod 9 | Dwarfstar | Eden Studios | Fanpro | Fantasy Games Unlimited |FASA | Flying Buffalo | GDW | Gamelords | Gamescience | Games Workshop | Guardians of Order | Judges Guild | Kenzer | Leading Edge Games | Mayfair Games | Metagaming | Pacesetter | Pagan Publishing |Paizo | Palladium | Ragnarok | SPI | Steve Jackson Games | Task Force Games | Tri Tac | Troll Lord | TSR | Victory Games | West End Games | Whit Publications | White Wolf | Wizards of the Coast | Yaquinto

GAMING MAGAZINES Adventurers Club Adventure Gaming | Alarums & Excursions Autoduel Quarterly | BattleTechnology | Challenge | Different Worlds | Dragon | Dungeon | Dungeoneer | Earthdawn Journal |Future Wars | Gryphon | Imagine | Journeys | Judges Guild Journal | MegaTraveller Journal | Polyhedron | Shadowland | Sorcerer's Apprentice | Space Gamer | Stardate | Tales of the Reaching Moon | Traveller Chronicle | Travellers' Digest | White Wolf | White Dwarf | Wyrms Footnotes

WARGAMES/STRATEGY  Advanced Squad Leader | Ambush | Battletech | Command Decision | Cosmic Encounter | Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective | Star Fleet Battles | Supremacy

GRAPHIC NOVELS


Copyright©2017. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by ChrisLands.com

 

 

cookie