Friday, September 16, 2016

"The Mound" By HP Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop As Campaign & OSR Menace For Your Old School Campaigns

When I was a zit faced teenager I was big time into all kinds of high weirdness, I was always looking for something different to throw into our AD&D game. Things were getting very generic & a bit  stale in 1985 because everyone was really hardcore into Dragonlance (this isn't any disrespect to those who love Dragonlance but it was never really for me.Also our dungeon master really didn't do the setting any justice but that's a story for another time.) Everything changed when I stumbled upon a copy of Morning of the Magicians. The Morning of the Magicians by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels, 1964, BCE. was a book that had an review of everything weird in the world of the Swinging 60's;" a generalized and wide ranging overview of the occult or paranormal, the book presents a collection of "raw material for speculation of the most outlandish order",[1] discussing conspiracy theories, ancient prophecies, alchemical transmutation, a giant race that once ruled the Earth, and the Nazca Lines.[1] It also includes speculations such as German occultism and supernatural phenomena conspiracy theory that the Vril Society and the Thule Society were the philosophical precursors to the Nazi Party".
Basically this was like pouring gasoline on a young mind, suddenly another late night  movie on HBO with Doug McClure made a whole lot more sense. Warlords of Atlantis 1978 British science fiction/fantasy film  always seemed to be on. I dearly loved that movie & still do.

Morning to the Magicians led me straight into 'Vril The Coming Race 1871 novel. "The Coming Race is an 1871 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, reprinted as Vril, the Power of the Coming Race. Among its readers have been those who believed that its account of a superior subterranean master race and the energy-form called "Vril" was accurate, to the extent that some theosophists, notably Helena Blavatsky, William Scott-Elliot, and Rudolf Steiner, accepted the book as being (at least in part) based on occult truth.[1] A book, The Morning of the Magicians (1960), suggested that a secret Vril Society existed in pre-Nazi Berlin. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a society."
Suddenly those Atlanteans didn't seem so far fetched but I was going to need more. More came in the form of a very pretty & spooky girl from England who was a foreign exchange student at my school at the time. I had a crush on her but she wanted to be friends but she gave me a copy of HP Lovecraft's The Horror In The Museum & Other Revisions. She moved away & I had a really nice copy of  HP Lovecraft's Horror In The Museum & Other Revisions. After making my way through Vril, the Power of the Coming Race & The Mound by H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop.

The Mound's menace of K'n-yan was a home grown horror right here in the United States it was a lost world built upon other even older lost worlds. It was one of three of Lovecraft's alien world settings that he had fleshed out. Warlords of Atlantis was important to me because it showed that these Lovecraftian alien influences brought with them their own monsters and special horrors with them. They also create their internal mini societies and that makes all of the difference for the flavor of the campaign.
." K'n-yan [1] is a blue-lit cavern beneath Oklahoma. It is inhabited by a human-like race that resemble the Native Americans of the area, though they are actually extraterrestrials who arrived in prehistoric times. They are immortal and have powerful psionic abilities, including telepathy and the ability to dematerialize at will. They are also technologically advanced, using machines that employ principles of atomic energy, though they have largely abandoned their mechanized culture, finding it unfulfilling.[2]
The most populous city is Tsath, the capital of K'n-yan. It is named for Tsathoggua, a deity once worshiped there, but later deprecated after the inhabitants found out the true nature of the god. Other deities include Shub-Niggurath, Nug and Yeb, Ghatanothoa,[3] and the Not-to-Be-Named One (a title sometimes used to identify Hastur). The two most important ones, however, are Tulu (Cthulhu) and Yig. The denizens of K'n-yan often place idols of these deities in near proximity, as in the following passage from "The Mound": "[In] a pair of vast niches, one on each side, [the] monstrous, nitre-encrusted images of Yig and Tulu squatted, glaring at each other across the passage as they had glared since the earliest youth of the human world."[4]

In ancient times, the people of K'n-yan traded with the humans of the surface world. But when geological calamities caused the continents of Atlantis and Lemuria to sink into the ocean, the people of K'n-yan "sequestered themselves below ground, thereafter having no further dealings with the outer world."  It was the perfect group of vile villains to tie in with Vril, the Power of the Coming Race. This also helped to tie a loose end of mine that had been bugging me since 4th grade. How were there two sets of Atlantian ruins in both 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea & Journey To The Center of the Earth could exist. Kid's brains work in weird turns & all of this gave rise to the K'n-yan Empire becoming a threat in my campaigns to this day. Back then Raiders of the Lost Ark was all you needed to help get an AD&D 1st edition gaming going. The ruins of Atlantis, the power of the Vril, the cults of K'n-yan, and more made tying together game campaigns a snap. There hasn't been a recent game in memory where a necromancer from K'n- yan has been in the background of a cult. They're the main bad guys in both my Warlord of the Outer World campaign & Accursed Atlantis.
Recently I've used Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for fleshing these menaces out. Dark Albion Cults of Chaos  to create several cults from K'n-yan with their heads being minor nobles and deep connections to the Elves of Dark Albion. Lamentations of the Flame Princess Lost World is great for creating colonies  of the K'n-yan Empire and many of the weird prehistoric menaces as well as rebel tribes who live right on their door step.

Realms of Crawling Chaos is perfect for generating fast & weirdly dangerous Lovecraftian K'n-yanian black technology. Most of this stuff has weird auras & puts off strange radiations which a save vs device or wands must be made or a mutation check will result. Dark Albion has a number of nice systems or Mutant Future can be used as well.

So what does this have to do with my Beta Max Black Litchfield County  Pellucidar Campaign? Everything is perfectly set up for a gonzo over the top adventure movie style campaign. A few minor bugs remains but you can easily place the various OSR hazards within the inner Earth and still have room for more for your PC's to go prehistoric hex crawling if they survive.

All of this comes down to the fact that the Empire of K'n-yan retreated into the inner world and along with many of the Cthulhu mythos menaces has been biding its time till mankind tries to destroy succeed to destroy itself. They rise up from the inner world to take over and put man under their yoke once again. All of this is actually in the 'Mound' novella. We'll get into how all of this relates & fits into AD&D 1st edition next blog post.

Free Campaign Resources
You can find the Coming Race HERE

You Can Find "The Mound"  horror & sci-fi novella
By  H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop HERE 

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