Sitting Down and Reading “The Atlas of the Latter Earth”

A Quick Summary of a “Worlds without Number” Campaign Setting

This morning, I sat down and started reading The Atlas of the Latter Earth 📖, a Worlds without Number (WWN 📖) supplement. What struck me was Kevin Crawford’s guidance on how to approach the book and a campaign setting in general.

Every author likes to imagine the reader lingering contemplatively over every jeweled syllable of their prose, but authors like to imagine a lot of things. This book is for your own entertainment, and you should read it exactly as carefully as you like.

His instructions are:

  • Skim the World
  • Scan the Bestiary
  • Read the New Rules and Classes
  • Make a Location Shortlist
  • Talk to your Players

The assumptions of the Latter Earth are:

  • Humans Don’t Rule the Earth
  • Science is Futile
  • Adventurers are Recognized

Pages 4 through 19, which includes half-page art and maps, provides an overview of the history, lands, and the current nations/regions.

Reading further, what really struck me is the regions that had a two page spread for adventuring. Each spread gave ideas for exploration adventures and dungeon adventures, the possible antagonists, adventurer concepts, random names, and example tag elements. These elements provide region specific details to possible enemies, friends, complications, things, and places.

I didn’t read the regions too deeply, as I don’t have a campaign in mind.

I skimmed the bestiary, unique and somewhat familiar. What stood out: Dragons. These creatures are destruction incarnate with potent surprises. Where Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC 📖) provides a random dragon generator, we instead get “the following traits have been commonly observed. Individuals doubtless vary.”

Having just listened to Fear of a Black Dragon 📖’s review of The Academy Chrysalis You can purchase The Academy Chrysalis 📖 on Drive Thru RPG. , I think about knowledge as Experience Points (XP 📖). And how vital knowledge of dragons and other creatures would be.

And last came the new classes and rules. In this chapter we get mundane alchemy, modifications to healing and damage systems, slower magic, low magic, and primitive firearms. These rules, and the guidance, help you adjust the genre emulation and levers of your campaign.

And the four partial classes:

a tainted lineage or patron pact Partial Mage class.
a performer and folk-lorist Partial Expert class.
a witch-hunter anti-magic Partial Warrior class.
a low-magic witch, soothsayer, or priest Partial Mage class.

Last in this chapter are additional Foci categories for each class type (e.g. Expert, Mage, and Warrior). These Foci are a bit more “powerful” but have constraints or additional costs.

The Character Tags chapter provides a high-level concept, as well as ideas for the related ambitions, powers, and dreads/dooms. A nice take on the random Non-Player Characters (NPCs 📖).

And last is the Naval Adventuring chapter. We get rules for naval procedures, crewing and maintaining, as well as ship to ship combat. The ship combat system echoes the Stars without Number: Revised Edition (SWN 📖) system.


I love the structure of this book. As I’ve come to expect, The Atlas of the Latter Earth focuses on delivering a high utility book and tools to support Game Masters (GMs 📖) and expands the options for genre emulation.