Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Into The Fire Game Session Report One - Eldritch Wizardry & The Sword of Kas

Deep in my heart, as in the hollow stone
And silence of some olden sepulcher,
Thy silver beauty lies, and shall not stir—
Forgotten, incorruptible, alone:
Though altars darken, and a wind be blown
From starless seas on beacon-fires that were—
Within thy tomb, with oils of balm and myrrh,
For ever burn the onyx lamps unknown.
And though the bleak Novembral gardens yield
Rose-dust and ivy-leaf, nor any flower
Be found through vermeil forest or wan field—
Still, still the asphodel and lotos lie
Around thy bed, and hour by silent hour,
Exhale immortal fragrance like a sigh.
Sepulchre  (1918)  by Clark Ashton Smith

If you've been keeping up with my Cha'alt/Godbound Las Vegas campaign then you might have found out that last week that my player's PC's got sucked from the campaign fantasy world into the vast alien desert right in the middle of the Cha'alt rift!

What no one realizes is that since I took a bit of time off I've been rereading my original Dungeons & Dragons collection. One of my favorite OD&D books is Eldritch Wizardry. The Original Dungeons & Dragon's Eldritch Wizardry rule book by Gary Gygax & Brian Blume which hit the book stands in 1976. This book has an amazing array of artifacts  &  these would later be republished in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. 

The player's PC's are about to run smack into a horde of zombies summoned by one of the factional villains of my game. The Sword of Kas has for its host a Godbound of dangerous aspect. The Sword itself has control of its host body. For those of you not familiar with the Sword of Kas here's the updated history of it from the Wiki entry;

"Kas the Bloody-Handed was the most trusted lieutenant of the despotic lich Vecna, and wielder of the Sword of Kas.
After many years of loyal service to Vecna, Kas eventually betrayed his master. It is said that the sword itself whispered to Kas, convincing him to slay his master and usurp his power. The battle destroyed Vecna's Rotting Tower, and cost the lich his left hand and eye. Kas himself was flung across the multiverse to Vecna's Citadel Cavitius on the Quasielemental Plane of Ash. The time he spent so close to the Negative Energy Plane changed him into a vampire, and he decided he would be called "Kas the Destroyer".
The first edition of Dungeon Master's Guide does not specifically state that Kas severed Vecna's hand and eye, only that they, and the Sword of Kas, were the only objects that survived the battle. Vecna: Hand of the Revenant depicts the lich losing his left hand and eye to destructive magic casts by priests of Pholtus (presumably to be restored at a future point in the story). Numerous third edition sources state with certainty that Vecna's hand and eye were severed by Kas's blade. Sources are also not in complete agreement as to when or how Kas became a vampire, as some state he gained his dark gift before his betrayal, while others state that he gained it after.
When Vecna was defeated during his bid for control of Oerth, Kas was freed from his centuries of imprisonment, only to find himself facing a shapeless wall of mist. When it cleared, he was master of the domain of Tovag, across the Burning Peaks from Vecna's domain of Cavitius. Kas waged an endless war of attrition with Vecna's forces in the hopes of retrieving the Sword of Kas from Vecna's citadel, where he erroneously believed Vecna held it.
The Burning Peaks cluster did not appear in the 3rd Edition Ravenloft Campaign Setting, because White Wolf Game Studio did not license characters that are explicitly tied to other D&D campaign settings.
When Vecna escaped from Cavitius, both realms were destroyed (explaining, in-fiction, their absence from 3rd edition). Kas was caught up in the destruction and very nearly obliterated; he survives only as a vestige, a soul outside time and space whose powers can be used by binders.
Kas is known to have authored Legendry of Great Arms and Fabulous Heroes.[83]
In the adventure Die, Vecna, Die!, a death knight calling himself "Kas the Bloody-Handed" serves Vecna in the deity's palace in Ravenloft. This death knight is not the true Kas, though he believes himself to be, and his real name is not given. This false Kas seeks to redeem himself for "his" betrayal of Vecna centuries ago."

The Sword of Kas has its own agenda & has been brought to Vegas because of the blood, violence, bloodshed, slaughter, & mythological divine battles. Let's also not mention the two Greyhawk quesi divinities walking around. Can Vecna or Orcus  be far behind?! There are rumors about the powers of the Sword of Kas & according to the Dungeons & Dragons fan wiki ; "In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the Sword of Kas was the mighty blade used by Kas the Bloody-Handed, the dreaded lieutenant of Vecna. It was by this blade, some say, that Vecna lost his Hand and Eye.
The sword, variously described as a short swordlongsword, or greatsword, was crafted by Vecna. The blade is said to have been magically honed to a razor's edge, enhanced the wielder's strength, and could be used to call down lightning bolts from any storm clouds that might be overhead. The sword itself is intelligent, possessing a vile and murderous spirit."
The sword has its own agenda & is in possession of a vile & murderous spirit plus its able to shape shift from short sword, to long sword, or great sword. If you've been paying attention then you know that I'm using 
Eldritch Wizardry which means that I can randomly fill in the powers of the Sword of Kas myself. 

The Sword of Kas is more then capable of slaying a godbound or god all on its own. The question is whom has the sword possessed & what evil agenda is the sword following? The Greyhawkery blog goes into a very solidly done & well researched blog entry on the various incarnations of the Sword of Kas. The fact is that I might crack open Vecna Lives by David Zeb Cook after the suggestion of the Greyhawkery blog.

What's so damn important about WGA4 Vecna Lives! a 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons box set from 1991? We have Vecna going from mysterious background lich to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition villain of renowned. The whole plot hinges on events in Greyhawk; "and so, after the Rain of Colorless Fire, the One-Named-In-Whispers ascended to the Spidered Throne. In the third year of his ascendancy, Burgred, King of the Mara, refused the tribute of heads the Whispered One demanded. The One-Named-In-Whispers took only himself and Kas, his evil counselor, and devastated the land of the Mara with his magic. Burgred paid with his own head.
Upon their return, Kas struck against his master, so that he might become the master of the Spidered Throne. In the end, both were slain and good people rejoiced.
It is said that not all of the evil Lich was destroyed. So great was his power that his Hand and Eye have lived on, working evil over the centuries....
For centuries, Vecna - archmage, despotic tyrant, the most fearsome of all liches - has been nothing but a fearful legend to the honest folk of Greyhawk. Once the supreme master of all undead sorcerers, even today his Hand and Eye are objects of immense power.
Now something evil is stirring in the lands around Greyhawk. The Hand and Eye of Vecna have been found - and Vecna wants them back."

The pot is just starting to be stirred now with the players in the cross hairs of the Sword & the undead hordes making their way across the desert. Yes this blog is back but because of work my blog entries are going to be sporadic at best for the next couple of months. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Horror Beyond Halloween - The Black Plague & Gary Gygax's The World of Greyhawk

Halloween is fast approaching but for me as a sewing machine repair guy its already passed. The hobbyists & sewers are already looking beyond to the next round of weddings, baptisms, birthdays, & million other holiday projects. I snuck in some time away from social media to sneak in some quality time with Dragon magazine#138 '88 Halloween issue. Its an iconic Jeff Easily cover & I've seen it grace a million D&D memes, social media posts, etc.  This issue has the classic Call of Cthulhu rpg  'The Black Book  & The Hunters' article. Which goes into a huge background on 'The Black Book of Shub-Niggurath'. Some invaluable information running a campaign where Shub-Niggurath is a central & main force of the Mythos. But I digress.

Regardless its an old favorite art piece  of mine by Easily.  But I want to speak about horror beyond Halloween & specifically about two articles that make Dragon issue#138 a stand out issue. The first one is the classic Tom Moldvay's 'Ungrateful Undead' Expanding the Ranks of the Ghostly Undead. Moldvay covers skeletons, zombies, & ghouls. The author pulls out all of the stops covering many major undead sub types that wouldn't be seen till the  3.5 Dungeons & Dragons days again. 
But the one article that never get's mentioned is ''The End of the World' by  Eileen Lucas 'Got an ailing fantasy campaign? Cure it with the Black Death.'  Yeah, this is where I want to pick up the campaign conversation. Basically this article is a tour de force for running a fantasy plague through a Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or other rpg  campaign. Not only did the Black Plague kill half of Europe's population but it continues to exist & flare up even today. Horrifying doesn't even cover the basics here of the Black Death. Ms. Lucas does a fantastic job in four pages of laying the ground work for bringing in the Black Death into your fantasy campaign; "Maybe you have an old, tired fantasy game campaign that’s going nowhere, one that you and your players are really sick of and seems to be beyond hope. But you hate the thought of trashing it altogether, after all the work you’ve put into establishing cities, terrains, weather, etc. What can you do? Well, perhaps a plague can help. In a fantasy campaign, a raging epidemic (a disease which descends suddenly upon a community, burns itself out, and goes away) or pandemic (the worldwide occurrence of such a disease) can eliminate unwanted NPCs en masse. Political, economic, and social systems can be totally restructured. Countless new adventures with interesting twists for PCs can be introduced. Then, too, the physical aspects of the campaign that you like will remain unharmed, and your favorite NPCs can be miraculously saved with your intervention, of course."

Sure Halloween is for the kids but let's face facts, its just as fun for adults to get in a bit on the spooky action. Especially the fact that this bit of history is unparalleled in the modern era so far. But what if  
'The End of the World' by  Eileen Lucas wasn't the end of a campaign but the beginning?  What if the adventurers could actually save the world as things started going around them in flames. New England & especially in Connecticut where ghost stories are told around the home fires. Christmas time is the right time for this tradition but horror shouldn't end at the stroke of midnight on Halloween.  Instead the black plague comes roaring into a campaign such as Greyhawk or even dark Europe. But this time Tom Moldvay's  'Ungrateful Undead' Expanding the Ranks of the Ghostly Undead variants begin churning the soil & roaming the streets. 

The PC's in this one are given the powers of demi gods ala Godbound  to deal with the coming plague. The campaign follows the cycle of infection, death, rebirth, undeath, & then the reveal of the NPC villain. In this case the personification of Edgar Allen Poe's 
The Masque of the Red Death

"The dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet". From Tales of Mystery and Imagination ... Illustrated by Harry Clarke, by Edgar Allan Poe. London : G. G. Harrap & Co., 1919. (British Library item 12703.i.43). Illustrating The Masque of the Red Death.

The outbreak of the plague attracts the god personification of evil & disease itself. Sure there's been the famous 2nd edition Masque of the Red Death box set. But this is completely different with the red death striking & crippling another version of Greyhawk. Here the focus shifts onto the player's PC 
"quasi-deities" which are where the party comes in. This types of divinities first appeared in the  March 1983 issue (Issue 71) of The Dragon. Gary Gygax defines them as follows; "quasi-deities," defined as "characters who have risen above the status of heroes, but who are not quite demi-gods."

There are endless ideas for PC's for this sort of a campaign but one of the best insights into an interesting bit of inspiration is Castles & Crusades Adventurer's Backpack. There are several reasons why & let's take a quick peek in: 
  • 13 new classes
  • New Non-derivative spells
  • A new approach on counter spells and canceling spells
  • 34 different backpacks offerings an easier and faster way to equip
  • A fresh easier to use approach to Unarmed Combat
  • Magic Items for classes who have few to choose from

If we start looking into a black plague campaign the reasons for this become obvious. The PC classes can easily be applied to both a dark Europe & a C&C Greyhawk campaign. If we wish to go past the incubation, infection, the rebirth, & the full on set of a plague of undead & into the realm of the gods or the world ending. Then look no further then Mayfair games Apocalypse box set. Written by Johathan Tweet (yes the Over Edge Rpg guy). This box set lines right up with the Demon & Sentinels box sets to give the dungeon master all of the tools to run the end of the world as we know & still feel fine.

So what does any of this have to do with the Godbound rpg or a campaign? Well let's go over that shall we? The godbound will have a heavy impact on a campaign world or setting especially with one like Greyhawk. Greyhawk is designed to be a gritty Sword & Sorcery style world of Gary Gygax action & adventure. The Godbound are literally going to impact the factions, the world setting, the NPC's, because the OSR game is designed to take full advantage of this factor. Luz & his cronies having access to the words, miracles, etc. of Godbound given their cults is giving the literal Devil the details?! Should Luz become aware of the PC's he's gonna stop at nothing to murder every last one of the PC's.

Not only is he going to want to see the black plague run its course but Luz would take full advantage of the chaos. Given Luz's history this isn't surprising because he'd begin to take over far more lands;
In 479 CY, a warlord in the Howling Hills left control of his land to his "son". By the end of his first year on the throne Iuz had assimilated the three surrounding fiefs. In less than three years, that territory was expanded, creating a small kingdom.  Refugees from his conquests told tales of a road of skulls leading from the hills to the capital of the land, Dorakaa.  They told tales of Iuz being the son of a demon and a necromancer, being a 7ft tall demon driven by destruction
This sort of a campaign might take years to resolve & would keep players going with all kinds of mayhem & carnage! 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Cha'alt / Godbound rpg - Session Zero Character Workshop Part II & Lovecraftian Adventure Location - The Winter Realms

What do you as a dungeon master do if things go a bit too well for your zero session?! One of my players right now is going over & making his PC with Godbound/Cha'alt. I've got another possible player coming up for this campaign. Originally I planned for this to be a one shot mini campaign to explore the system & create some adventures for a few months. Well that plan seems to have gone to crap! I kept staring at the cover of issue #42 of The Dragon magazine. That cover got me thinking about the Godbound product line & a specific book. 

I began to think about Godbound's Ancalia: The Broken Towers adventure/source book. This book is really interesting with some very different OSR takes on undead, fae, etc. I'd say that its one of the core books for Godbound in my opinion.  Its got a very different African Middle ages mythology feel about it. But its the book's take on the Fae that has me interested. Basically the Fae in Ancalia: The Broken Towers are the humans who have evolved into Fae during the time of the storming of Heaven.
So yeah these are not Fairies in the traditional sense but something else. The Dragon issue #42 has articles about adventuring on the inner planes. I've already mentioned the Tolgey Wood on this blog. The endless woods that are under the realms of Fairyland & connected with the lands of Fairy. Realms of dark woodland, endless forests, shadows so deep that they allow nightmares from the  the plane of Shadow to haunt these same woods.  The Tolgey woods are so vast that they are part of the endless Winter Realm of the kingdoms of ice. Places where the winds of the para plane of ice blows through the trees & its only Summer for one day of the year.  This is the realm of the immortal kings & queens of ice & snow. Some of these border the wastelands of the great wastelands of Cha'alt but these were blown open during the War of the Great Old Ones. 

John Elwood BundyWoods in Winter 

Royals whose power comes from the heart of the plane of ice & whose kingdoms are constantly raided by the chaos  forces of the Great Old One The Wendigo. These kingdoms are the realm of the frost kings & queens. Many of the richest dungeons & ruins are within the territory of 'Old Man Winter'. Glittering ice jewels full of mystic power & dripping with darkness tempt many a foolish adventurer.

Winter – Night – Old Age and Death (from the times of day and ages of man cycle of 1803)By Caspar David Friedrich

The minions of Old Man Winter also constantly look for the souls of mortals at the edges of the Winter Realm. They drag them off to the edges of Hell to bargain for occult power & hell fire to keep warm against the elemental storms that rage through this region. Yeti stalk the edges of these storms for man flesh to eat.

Yeti Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual first edition

So this adventure setting comes from the New England tradition of telling ghost stories in Winter & around Christmas. The Winter Realms are directly inspired by Castle & Crusades 'Monsters & Treasure' book & the Castles & Crusades 'The Codex Slavorum' book both of whose monsters, classes are converted over into Godbound for all intents & purposes. C&C has to be converted completely over to make it usable & this is one of the strengths of Castles & Crusades in its flexibility.

A dungeon master has to use one system to take care of all the needs of the campaign & this is why I'm sticking with the Godbound system. The whole affair is me using some of my older campaign notes & stretching some of the D&D elements into a usable whole of a campaign setting.
How will the player's PC's fare? Only time will tell folks but I've got plans within plans coming up! 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Deeper Readings Into Dungeons & Dragons - The Ranks of The Succubus

Now I've spoken about the Wraith of the Immortals box set before but I've been quietly on the side tracing a particular favorite type of demon that I love to use. The Succubus has been a staple of Dungeons & Dragons going all of the way back to Eldritch Wizardry:
"The succubus appeared under the demon entry in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement (1976)" Then they appear in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Monster Manual in 1977.

 But its when we get into the release of 
the Wraith of the Immortals box set that things get interesting for me ;"This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the succubus, which is known as the whispering demon, first appearing in the Immortal Rules set, in the DM's Guide to Immortals (1986).[4] The whispering lesser fiend appeared in the Wrath of the Immortals set, in "Book One: Codex of the Immortals" (1992)"
The name 'whispering demons' describes a phenomenon on two levels of the name. The idea that these demons whisper forbidden secrets of magick & the occult to drive men mad. But the other idea that comes to mind is the idea that these demons whisper into the ears of rulers & kings. They whisper things to sew chaos, bloodshed, insanity, & insanity. A concubine or seductress ( or male paramour)  that shares the bed of a ruler or king's adviser could cause untold harm. Even the folklore & mythology behind the succubus supports this ; "
As depicted in the Jewish mystical work Zohar and the medieval rabbinical text Alphabet of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam's first wife, who later became a succubus.[3][unreliable source] She left Adam and refused to return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with the archangel Samael.[4] In Zoharistic Kabbalah, there were four succubi who mated with the archangel Samael. There were four original queens of the demons: Lilith, Eisheth, Agrat bat Mahlat, and Naamah.[5] A succubus may take a form of a beautiful young girl but closer inspection may reveal deformities of her body, such as bird-like claws or serpentine tails.[6] Folklore also describes the act of sexually penetrating a succubus as akin to entering a cavern of ice, and there are reports of succubi forcing men to perform cunnilingus on their vulvas, which drip with urine and other fluids.[7] In later folklore, a succubus took the form of a siren.

Throughout history, priests and rabbis, including Hanina Ben Dosa and Abaye, tried to curb the power of succubi over humans.[8] However, not all succubi were malevolent. According to Walter Map in the satire De Nugis Curialium (Trifles of Courtiers), Pope Sylvester II (999–1003) was allegedly involved with a succubus named Meridiana, who helped him achieve his high rank in the Catholic Church. Before his death, he confessed of his sins and died repentant."

Right now I've talked about one of the more forbidden aspects of the succubus but their ability to reproduce could cause all kinds of havoc with the forbidden aspects of royal birth lines;

According to the Kabbalah and the school of Rashba, the original three queens of the demons, Agrat Bat Mahlat, Naamah, Eisheth Zenunim, and all their cohorts give birth to children, except Lilith.[10] According to other legends, the children of Lilith are called Lilin.

According to the Malleus Maleficarum, or "Witches' Hammer", written by Heinrich Kramer (Institoris) in 1486, succubi collect semen from men they seduce. Incubi, or male demons, then use the semen to impregnate human females,[11] thus explaining how demons could apparently sire children despite the traditional belief that they were incapable of reproduction. Children so begotten – cambions – were supposed to be those that were born deformed, or more susceptible to supernatural influences.[12] While the book does not address why a human female impregnated with the semen of a human male would not produce regular human offspring, an explanation could be that the semen is altered before being transferred to the female host. However in some lore, the child is born deformed because the conception was unnatural.[citation needed]
King James in his dissertation titled Dæmonologie refutes the possibility for angelic entities to reproduce and instead offered a suggestion that a devil would carry out two methods of impregnating women: the first, to steal the sperm out of a dead man and deliver it into a woman. If a demon could extract the semen quickly, the substance could not be instantly transported to a female host, causing it to go cold. This explains his view that succubi and incubi were the same demonic entity only to be described differently based on the tormented sexes being conversed with. The second method was the idea that a dead body could be possessed by a devil, causing it to rise and have sexual relations with others. However, there is no mention of a female corpse being possessed to elicit sex from men"

I want to go back to the origin point of original Dungeons & Dragons Eldritch Wizardry for a moment. Succubi are some of the most dangerous NPC villains a group of adventurers can encur the wraith of. These beings of the Abyss use every single trick in the book to sew the seeds & fruits of chaos within the hall of power & in the bed chambers of the elite. There were scores of these succubi in the Abyss according to the original demons entry in OD&D's  Eldritch Wizardry book. But where are these demons actually coming from?

What would happen if the endless planes of the Abyss are merely the production facilities for the demonic evil for all of the multiverse of the prime material  planes? The manufacturing point for every demonic entity that exists? These demonic horrors are traded & modified among the evil entities & overlords of the multiverse. While doing research into the succubi I remembered my Dante's Inferno & the Malebolge.  The Abyss could be thought of as the factory or production area for Hell. Hell is the main attraction for the damnation of man across the planes. The succubi & incubui are created from the lustful, the murderous, & the damned from the Malebolge; "In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, part of the Divine Comedy, Malebolge (/mælˈbl/) is the eighth circle of Hell. Roughly translated from Italian, Malebolge means "evil ditches". Malebolge is a large, funnel-shaped cavern, itself divided into ten concentric circular trenches or ditches. Each trench is called a bolgia (Italian for "pouch" or "ditch"). Long causeway bridges run from the outer circumference of Malebolge to its center, pictured as spokes on a wheel. At the center of Malebolge is the ninth and final circle of hell." 

Succubus often find themselves traded among demons, devils, gods of evil, etc. but their loyalties always belong to the Abyss. Why? Because the so called 'Prince of Demons' is their lord & ultimate master. Demogorgon might not seem like the likely creator of the Succubi. Make no mistake the Lord of the Ninetieth layer of the Abyss craves power & knowledge above all else. The succubi & incubui are hand picked from the most twisted souls of men & women his demonic lords can find. Then the bizarre & humiliating process of demonic transformation happens. I said his but in reality Demogorgon is beyond our human understand of sex or gender; "
In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, Demogorgon sometimes goes by the ancient name "Ahmon-Ibor", or "the Sibilant Beast". He is responsible for corrupting the paladin Sir Kargoth and transforming him and thirteen of his fellow Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom into Oerth's first death knights." And within Mystara, "Demogorgon is described as female in the 1986 Dungeons & Dragons Immortals Rules."

All of this corrisponds to Demogorgon's place in the Abyss & his alien demonic horror nature;

Demogorgon lives on the 90th layer of the Abyss, known as Abysm, the Brine Flats, or Gaping Maw. This is a layer consisting of a great sea of briny water broken by tall, sharp, ugly, rocky prominences rising out of the endless murky water into a sky of yellow mist. Demogorgon's palace is two twin towers shaped very roughly like tightly coiled serpents that are covered with sharp, ugly fin-like features and spines, and crowned at the top with skull-shaped minarets. The two towers are linked by a bridge near the top. Beneath the fortress are reefs and caverns where aboleths, kraken and ixitxachitl dwell, constantly warring with each other and worshipping Demogorgon in his palace above. His towers are said to extend so far beneath the sea that they connect to the layer beneath him where he speaks with the obyrith lord Dagon.
Numerous isles dot the layer, but they all resemble Demogorgon's palace: twin rookeries rising straight out of the sea and into the sky. The only significant landmass of the layer is a vast jungle-covered continent. Here, Demogorgon's capital city of Lemoriax is located."

What's really happening is that Demogorgon's heads are in telepathic contact with his vast spy network across the multiverse & planes. It rather enjoys spreading its own sinister brand of mayhem plus chaos where & wants to. In fact it loans out succubi to many other powers including various Great Old Ones & Outer Gods. 

DCS Demogorgon from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 
Monster Manual..

With such a demonic  spy network in place across the multiverse is it any word or turn of a phrase is instantly at the beckon & call of the Abyss. Suddenly those tidbits of information add up to nothing but trouble for those adventurers who come under the  baleful eyes of the Prince of Demons. For no good reason the succubi not only are in the bed chambers of the powerful but in the halls of damnation spying on the very essence of their prey. 

The Veneer of Dungeons & Dragons In Old School & OSR Campaigns

Michael Weaver's cover for Dragon magazine #162 screams to Ravenloft second edition setting to me. 

So the character workshop went alright folks but I've down with the Autumn sickness that seems to go around here in my neck of Connecticut. Its a very gloomy Sunday which is in keeping with the Halloween season. One of the things I want to talk about is using the veneer of Dungeons & Dragons while using OSR systems. This is an issue I think that's very important for maintaining a consistent campaign feel. It really doesn't get discussed all that much. Dungeons, characters, etc. should feel as if they stepped right out of the original Dungeons & Dragons set of books or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. 

Of course this isn't always the case if your running say other campaign settings with other table top rpg systems. But the best way of using the varnish of original Dungeons & Dragons or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Using the Godbound rpg I've come to the startling conclusion that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Deities & Demigods is a solid resource for this campaign. But there's a lot of conversion work needed to  bring the mythology of the book to life within  the bounds of the setting for play. 

 The plane Prime is the chess board of the gods why? Because humanity is the resource of the gods & monsters across the multiverse. This is the 'bread & butter' of the prey vs hunter dynamic behind many of the monsters of Dungeons & Dragons. A game of divine heroes the perfect vehicle to bring the characters into the fray. 

The incomplete pantheons of both books point up to the fact that there have been battles of cosmic importance in the past this is one of the central axis of both Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Deities & Demigods. This can & should be used to the dungeon master's advantage when prepping & constructing adventures. We find a solid old school resource in The Dragon issue #57 'Modern Adventuring' by Ed Greenwood.

This brings me to Venger Satanis's Cha'alt & the war of HP Lovecraft  Great Old Ones. The war cycle is simply another part of the ever continuing alien weirdness of the Great Old Ones but what about the vaulted Elder Gods? These are some of the more wholly  alien aspects of conventional gods that were introduced by August Derleth & his ilk. More information right over here. 

Cha'alt itself permeating modern culture would be extremely dangerous as the influence of the Old Ones weaves itself into the modern landscape. The whole affair smacks of Clark Ashton Smith's far future Zothique cycle. The Old Ones are still active on Zothique but to far greater extent then say Cha'alt. 

The influence of CAS's Zothique just feels like Appendix N's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide but the whole cycle feels like a solid old school Dungeons & Dragons campaign to me: 
  • Black Abbot of Puthuum, The (1936)
  • Charnel God, The (1934)
  • Dark Eidolon, The (1935)
  • Dead will Cuckold You, The (1950)
  • Death of Ilalotha, The (1937)
  • Empire of the Necromancers, The (1932)
  • Garden of Adompha, The (1938)
  • In the Book of Vergama (1934)
  • Isle of the Torturers, The (1933)
  • Last Hieroglyph, The (1935)
  • Mandor's Enemy (1989)
  • Master of the Crabs, The (1948)
  • Morthylla (1953)
  • Necromancy in Naat (1937)
  • Shapes of Adamant (1935)
  • Tomb-Spawn, The (1934)
  • Voyage of King Euvoran, The (1931) [Illustration "Quest of the Gazolba" By Boris Dolgov]
  • Weaver in the Vault, The (1934)[CAS Illustration]
  • Witchcraft of Ulua, The (1934)
  • Xeethra (1934 [CAS Illustration]
  • <Zothique (1951)

  • Any of these settings really need parties of adventurers, heroes, & nay demi gods are needed to combat the darkness that seems to push the edges of existence. Dungeons & Dragons vineer is both pervasive & very compelling to pull players into the game.