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Lords of the Middle Sea Update: Inspirational Sources

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 13th Sep 2022

Lords of the Middle Sea: The Roleplaying Game is in development. Based on Lynn Willis's 1978 futuristic proto-Steampunk board game, set in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a flooded North America, the tabletop RPG utilizes a streamlined version of the Basic Roleplaying system.

Jason Durall, creative lead for the project, writes:

For anyone curious about what influences might be going into this game, here's a preview from the appendix:


The following references may be of interest to Lords of the Middle Sea players and gamemasters. All provided inspiration and influence years ago or during the development process, whether profoundly or only peripherally. Some items on this list are controversial and/or contain outdated attitudes and concepts. Their placement here is not an endorsement, but merely an acknowledgment of their influence on the creative process.


  • A Boy and His Dog (original short story), Harlan Ellison 
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz and Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, Walter M. Miller 
  • The Chrysalids, John Wyndham 
  • Damnation Alley (novel), Roger Zelazny 
  • Deus Irae, Philip K. Dick & Roger Zelazny 
  • Dhalgren, Samuel Delaney 
  • The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard 
  • Exodus, Julie Bertagna 
  • The Flood, Maggie Gee 
  • I Am Legend, Robert McCammon 
  • The Labyrinth, Simon Stalenhag 
  • Logan’s Run and Logan’s World, William F Nolan 
  • The Nomad of Time, Michael Moorcock 
  • Oryx & Crake, Margaret Atwood 
  • The Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler 
  • The Penultimate Truth, Philip K. Dick 
  • The Postman, David Brin 
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy 
  • Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky 
  • Sand, Hugh Howey 
  • Wool (trilogy), Hugh Howey 


  • Killraven 
  • Saber 


  • Babylon A.D. 
  • The Bad Batch 
  • A Boy and His Dog 
  • Annihilation 
  • Book of Eli 
  • The Day After Tomorrow 
  • Damnation Alley 
  • Destination IO 
  • Doomsday 
  • Escape from New York, Escape from LA
  • Extinction 
  • Firefly (television series) and Serenity (film) 
  • How it Ends 
  • Logan’s Run (film and television series) 
  • Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Mad Max: Fury Road 
  • The Planet of the Apes (film series) 
  • The Postman 
  • Radioactive Dreams 
  • The Rain 
  • The Road 
  • The Rover 
  • Shadow in the Cloud 
  • Six String Samurai 
  • Stalker 
  • Until the End of the World 
  • Waterworld 
  • What Still Remains 
  • Zardoz 
  • Zombieland 


  • Lords of the Middle Sea (original board game, by Lynn Willis)
  • Airship Pirates 
  • Aftermath 
  • Dogs in the Vineyard

And Jason says, "And by all means I am still open for suggestions about new potential influences!"

Art: excerpt from 'Bella Dama crew line-up' concept art by Ossi Hiekkala.