So begins the classic S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax which is for PC's levels eight through twelve. According to Wiki there are reasons for this;"Expedition to the Barrier Peaks was first played at the Origins II convention in 1976, where it was used to introduce Dungeons & Dragons players to the science fiction game Metamorphosis Alpha. In 1980, TSR published the adventure, updated for first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules." So this was another convention module that was supposed to challenge & kill off PC's as they solved tricks, traps, gathered technology, & moved through the Warden.
" It takes place on a downed spaceship; the ship's crew has died of an unspecified disease, but functioning robots and strange creatures still inhabit the ship. The player characters fight monsters and robots, and gather the futuristic weapons and colored access cards that are necessary for advancing the story."
What you basically have is the remains of a few countries & nation states fighting over a smoldering pile of rubble while the real far more alien threat is out in the world. When we begin looking into the backdrop of A.Merritt's take on his world setting its a place filled with some very strange cults, stranger technological life forms, & a very alien A.I. that is one part emperor & one part very megalomaniac life form. This stuff makes Saturday morning Thundarr look tame. Dr. Walter T. Goodwin is A.Merritt's professor Challenger & Goodwin's old friends Martin and Ruth Ventnor, brother and sister scientists are his helpers. This whole affair takes place back in the Trans-Himalayan mountains to the world. The expedition comes across the lost city of the artifical A.I. Monster God. Ruth Ventnor is slowly reprogrammed to take the priest Norhala place. Norhala commands the power of lightning and controls strange metal animate Things, living, metallic, geometric forms; an entire city of sentient cubes, globes and tetrahedrons, capable of joining together and forming colossal shapes, and wielding death rays and other armaments of destruction.
They are able to escape and deal a bit of a crippling blow to the technological forces of A.I. God monster of the valley. But this is only one of many valleys scattered cross the face the world.
You can listen to the Metal Monster By A.Merritt here
Much of the alien technology of the Metal Monster sounds from its description exactly the sort of alien weirdness that the people of N'Kai from "THE MOUND" by H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop would originally have been using. But their studies in necromancy & the mythos have moved them beyond it. The unique and very dangerous alien technologies of the Metal Monster would have left Gamma Terra or any number of worlds in shambles. In a Mutant Future style game this is exactly the sort of alien technology that we've gotten hinted at again and again. Perhaps the collecting of artifacts is actually the instinctive gathering of unaltered technologies to fight against the A.I. cults that have sprung up across the world. The threat of these cults and their masters might make an isolated country or city state have an entirely different spin. The really big equalizers might be magick & mutations. The side of chaos might take the upper hand from Law run amok ala Michael Moorcock in this sort of world . Machines & A.I. can evolve & change very quickly possibly leading them to time when it was the opportune time to invade the Earth.
This is exactly the sort of world that perhaps Old Earth from AS&SH broke away from. Were these A.I. hive mind cults on of the starts of the epic war that took the Hyperboreans away from Earth? I think so. You've got a very dangerous & disastrous pattern for high scale & high level campaign world with technological artifacts gone riot.
You Can Download The Metal Monster From Here