Friday, June 30, 2017

OSR Adventure Location - The Deep Astral Worldlet of Freez'rea For Your Old School Campaigns

I saw a city in a lonely land:
Foursquare, it fronted upon gulfs of fire;
Behind, the night of Erebus hung entire;
And deserts gloomed or glimmered on each hand.






Deep within the astral far from the flaming head of the 'decapitated god' is the frozen world of Freez'rea. A world created by the corpse of a robotic A.I. goddess whose back was broken by an elemental prince of evil. It is a world of frozen technologies & weird relics that attract more artifacts to itself. It is a world of ice and snow  that is fought over by two rival gods deep in the Astral plane. A world of ruins, dungeons, beauty, & lies. This is a world built upon the lie that it is a 'real' world but everything about it is artificial. From its peoples who were transported here upon the destruction of the empire of Atlantis, to the various species adapted with elemental ice mutations born & bred in the labs deep within the world.  



This is a world of magick & sorcery where the ice shamans sing to the planes of ice & the druids of the ice fells conjure up the dragons of myth to help them shape the world. Ice Salamanders stalk the rare elemental powers & feed upon anyone they come across whist scavengers pull relics from the ice corridors of old. Top prices are paid in the temporary city states  of ice and snow while ancient cults pray to the new gods. Empty promises are given to the cryomancers guild by the whispers of the elemental prince of evil & ice. Forbidden magicks, human sacrifice, & worse are lay at the feet of this weird guild.




High over the land the floating ice bergs of the cults of Rlim Shaikorth spread his message of self inflicted destruction saying that all existence is a lie & this cult maybe right even as its members are hunted to extinction. Rival warriors, ice knight orders, & even the wizard warrior orders all try to extinguish this horrid cult. Meanwhile out in the wilderness Mi Go aliens hold court with their own worshipers for certain rare metals & elements from the salvage the cults take in. Promises of immortality in a mi go brain cylinder & the secrets of forbidden mad science fuel this cult.


Human brain by Gaetan Lee





The only permanent structure on Freez'rea is the Reg're Engine Works - A relic given to the humans here by the ice dragons. This is another piece of an A.I. god's brain that is used to create the ether ships so vital to the trade & economies of this worldlet. From the hulls to the mechanisms of the ether ships everything is assembled in this facility. Forty two ether ships are produced a year. Top gold pieces  are  given to salvagers & adventurers turn in the best artifacts that is used in the robotic mini factories for these ships. 'The engine' is another product of this place, a miniature time/space god product used to twist the fabric of the astral to travel anywhere or anywhen across the planes.


Alien species have been coming to the ice world for centuries to bury their dead. The 'green ice mazes' are a famous cemetery across the planes where the preserved bodies of seven million are interned for all eternity. The preserved faces of the dead stare out into the twilight of the underlit ice forever. The ice mazes have become a tourist attraction for those seeking the wisdom of the dead for centuries now.
Many seekers & moaners never leave here and several orders of monk & necromancer come here to mourn their own dead & learn the secrets of the death magick.

1d20 Random Ice land Encounters
On The Snow World of
Freez'rea

  1.  1d8 Ice trolls on their way to war on a rival tribe of human scum and guess whose on their way?! Armed with staves of ice and snow! 
  2. A pack of winter wolves on the hunt and on the look out for some human meat. 
  3. A lone polar bear 
  4. There in the distance a low flying saucer on the hunt for human or near human subjects. 
  5. A caravan of ice traders on its way to their next trading point. They will offer food and shelter in offer for protection and extra swords 
  6. Ice drake family on its way to a ice dragon lair for a meeting
  7. 1d20 Ice newts slavers on the look out for extra merchandise to sell on the planes of ice and snow 
  8. 1d10 ice men tribesmen on the hunt and raid on the backs of giant wholly dogs! Armed with spear and small shields 
  9. 1d10 ice devil dog pack on the hunt! 
  10. Giant death dogs pack of 1d6 of dire hunters 
  11. Shoggoth on an errand for its dark masters! 
  12. Alien CiFal of ice bugs on a strange mission of mercy for an orphanage in one of the big cities. Will grant information in exchange for help
  13. 1d10 coffer corpses of deep ice explorers created by a party of alien necromancers 
  14. Snow enveloper of extreme age that is on the hunt for adventurers, it works for a cult of Mi Go worshipers and preserves the brains of its victims in brine for them. 
  15. Ice Ettercap on the hunt for certain bounty hunter whose cheated it out of a fine catch! The thing is pissed off and very made. 
  16. 1d20 giant snow spiders on the hunt for human prey. 
  17. Ice giant on the prowl for some relic scavengers who picked his lair clean. He's armed with a laser cannon that does 1d8 points of damage per shot. He's asking about if anyone's seen these bastards. He's more then happy to describe them. 
  18. 1d6 Mi Go warriors on the trot to a meeting with worshipers and spare human brains 
  19. 1d10 gibberling ice warriors tribesmen on the hunt! 
  20. 1d6 Hoar fox pack on the hunt for humans or otherwise to eat!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

OSR Adventure Location - The Deep Astral Worldlet of Vr''run For Your Old School Campaigns

From out the ocean's phosphor-starry dome,
A ghostly light is dubitably shed
On altars of a goddess garlanded
With blossoms of some weird and hueless vine;
And, wing├ęd, fleet, through skies beneath the foam,
Like silent birds the sea-things dart and shine.

Atlantis By Clark Ashton Smith


 Deep within the deep within the Deep Astral  &  lit by the flaring burning head of an ancient god is the worldlet of  Vr''run.  A forested paradise that was once a part of the ancient empire of Atlantis. Once the play thing & hunting world of the the royal families & minor nobles of the empire it sank into the astral as the destruction was wrought on the lost empire. The powerful magicks of the land insured its doom as not even a single ether ship escaped the destruction. All were sucked into the swirling astral vortexes & planar warps that surrounded the world. Where once mammoth,dinosaur, and even weirder alien life forms were hunted for pleasure the survivors were then hunted themselves in poetic & ironic fashion over the course of countless centuries. A new world built itself on the ruins of the old! Only a few scattered city states still held the secrets of lost technologies & had the facilities to keep up their ways.


The wilderness spread & warped as its way is with the evolution fires of primal chaos even as the cult of the elk goddess spread among the survivors. Druids,rangers,hunters, and a thousand professions of tradition  took hold even as the wild overran the world & ran riot as the magick of the disaster multiplied by a thousand fold. Mutants & worse stalked human kind day & night, so that only the strongest survived! The elk goddess's cult is still strong. Even as others such as the cult of Tsathoggua flourishes among some of foolish black shamans & sorcerers of this worldlet. A witch queen named Narou'r has arisen to power with her army of  the Astral Raiders. 
It is is known that she comes from some of the lower lander tribes & there are rumors that she sacrificed her entire trip in a demonic pact. 

The devotees of Tsathoggua are as alien to mankind as Tsathoggua itself even as its worshipers have spread across the face of Vr''run. The formless spawn spread below the surface riddling it with a corruption not seen since the destruction of the old world. It is said that Tsathoggua followers have brought Abhoth ("The Source of Uncleanliness") to the young world. A thousand new monsters have been spawned from the unholy source & it is only now that the extent of the threat is being realized.



There are literally hundreds of ancient vaults, crypts, & weird ruins that dot the worldlet of  Vr''run. These are the secret meeting places of the cult of  Atlach-Nacha who use some of the relic technologies to carry out campaigns of terror and chaos among some of the upper tier tribes of the tree men. An ancient religion of druids who are a part of the backbone of
Vr''run and the keepers of the sacred knowledge.

Many planar primitive tribes & some post apocalyptic tribal societies know of the worldlet of Vr''run. They have their tribal shamans & wizards send young warriors, adventurers, etc. on rites of passage to this world and to the temples of the tree men. The rangers & hunters of Vr'run carry a number of relic weapons of the empire of Atlantis. This includes the laser hand bows of Vr'run which have a range of 100 feet, do 1d6+2 points of damage per shot and have energy cells that hold 1d10 charges. There is also the rarer freeze arrows which are found in quarrels of 1d20 +6 arrows. Each time one of these strange metal alloy arrows hits a target there is a 70% chance of it freezing its target solid.

1d20 Random Woodland Encounters On The Forest World of Vr''Run 
  1.  A giant hell dog which is a scout for a pack of 1d8 wild dogs of a deadly temperament
  2. 1d15 tree bullywug hunters on a hunting mission for humans for sport and food.
  3. Giant bombardier beetle whose hungry 
  4. 1d6 cannibal cavemen worshipers of  Tsathoggua hunting for their next sacrificial meal 
  5. 1d4 giant hornets 
  6. Carbuncle out to spread a bit of chaos for its Lovecraftian dark masters! 
  7. 1d6 Flaysnails mating & hunting for anything or anyone they can get a hold of. 
  8. 1d10 gnolls led by a flind of exceptional skill working for a local cult. 
  9. Eye Killer sleeping in one of the  nearby giant trees! 
  10. Ettercap hunting from tree to tree looking for human prey 
  11. 1d8 death dogs in a pack hunting down a lone human whose stolen something from the pack! 
  12. A death knight on a mission for one of the dangerous astral Lovecraftian demon lords 
  13. caterwaul on the trail of a gem merchant whose has some very valuable astral diamonds and Martian jewels. 
  14. Coffer corpse of a lone adventurer/tribesmen on the hunt for his former tribesmen who betrayed him and left him to die in the wild 
  15. cafal alien life form that has been formed out of several colonies of wood beetles that seeks a druid to help its colony. 
  16. Woodland Clubnek on the hunt for human prey. She's very dangerous and aggressive. 
  17. Garbug looking to lay eggs in any humans it runs across
  18. Frostman whose a part of a renegade tribe of northern forest dwellers on the hunt for a wizard who stole a valuable magical gem from them. 
  19. An Osquip pack dead trap built into the uneven ground near a giant tree. There will be 1d20 of these deadly things on the attack
  20. A pack of 1d8 needlemen who are actually guarding a nearby druid's & tree men's scared living grove temple complex

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1d15 Random Ascended Transcomic Encounters Table For Your Old School Campaigns

"Aeons of aeons ago, in an epoch whose marvellous worlds have crumbled, and whose mighty suns are less than shadow, I dwelt in a star whose course, decadent from the high, irremeable heavens of the past, was even then verging upon the abyss in which, said astronomers, its immemorial cycle should find a dark and disastrous close.
Ah, strange was that gulf-forgotten star-how stranger than any dream of dreamers in the present, or than any vision that hath risen upon visionaries in their retrospection of the universal Past: There, thru inestimable cycles of a history whose records were beyond the computation of savants, the dead had come to infinitely outnumber the living: And, reared of a stone not destructible save in the enormous furnace of suns, their cities rose beside those of the living like Titan metropoli whose mighty precincts have begun to overgloom the vicinal villages. And over all was the black, funereal vault of the cryptic heavens - a dome of infinite shadows wherein the dismal sun, suspended like a sole, enormous lamp, failed to illumine, and, drawing back its fires from the face of the irresolvable ether, threw a baffled and despairing beam on the vague, remote horizons, and shrouded vistas interminate of the visionary land.
We were a sombre, melancholy people, who dwelt beneath the palls twilight and silence thrown about the towering tombs and monuments of the Past. In our veins was the chill of the ancient night of Time, with a premonition of the lentor of Lethe: over us, like invisible vampires, brooded the innumerous hours on their sable and unremoving pinions: the very skies were fraught with oppression, and we breathed beneath them as in a sepulcher, forever sealed with all its stagnancies of corruption and of darkness."



Alien beings far older then your memories wander the space lanes & frequent the taverns,inns, & bars of the universe. They come with strange wares, weird equipment, & horrific agendas. These are the ultimate foreigners & visitors to our reality. These are strange, dangerous beings who are corrupt in every sense of the word want nothing more then to murder your PC's or worse. 
These are the 'ascended ones', beings high up on the ladder of transcosmic existence who could be considered demons or worse in the grand scheme of the dimensional & planar underworld.


Victims of these Ascended entities often end up in astral or Outer Darkness hell dimensions to be used as wares or as parts of forbidden demonic technologies. Some of these are bought by the families of victims so to get a glimpse of their former loved ones.


1d15 Random Ascended Transcomic Encounters Table 
  1. Gras' Ta Mercurian dealer in spines, nerves, & the biological intelligence of species. He considers himself a connoisseur of other intelligent beings but many consider him a psychopath of the highest order. He gives the suffering & murder to his ancient alien god thing. Beings are stripped of existence, rendered down as parts, and shipped off to other universes. He is a being of low qualities and heinous desires. 
  2. RAbri The Butcher of Tal - This being is of Deep One & Martian blood stock, he or rather it takes down kings, Jeddacks, and others for his amusement & gives their royal souls to a loathsome aspect of Shubbnitheruth of a thousand spawn. He uses scapels, mystic pins, & hooks. 
  3. Hrus Rel - She who haunts the darkness is the alien ghost of a Saturian princess whose been dead for three thousand years. This being has been in bondage to the Cannibal god for souls since she died! She has been haunting the space lanes for centuries serving the whims of a mad god thing for centuries. She is dangerous, horrid, and very dangerous. 
  4. Ravious Threll - This mad scientist has been extracting the souls and essence of evil for a million years. He is partially a demon now and operates out of a converted medical carrier using his semi demonic servants. He is a monster of the highest order whose consciousness rests in his agents across countless dimensions. This being murders and uses the corpses of his victims to do his bidding while he sells his victims souls in alien hell markets across the dimensions. 
  5. Vr's D - This alien A.I. is the murderer of two million souls & moves his cybernetic consciousness across the planes through illegal cybernetics. Once one of his units is installed this thing takes its victims over and the rampages begin. He is a seller of souls and essences taking his victims to Hellscapes for a price that is paid by demons. 
  6. Btrsu Thru - A Neptunian torturer and pimp of humanoid androids, this being takes on the warped fantasies of his victims and changes it into a virtual reality Hell. The consciousness is then reprogrammed and pimped out to his clients of the lowest demonic standing. 
  7. Jyrus The Many Faced - This being serves a semi demonic god thing who has given his agent dominion and power over the flesh of others. Passing himself off as an alien healer and priest, this being molds the flesh and blood of his victims whist copying the consciousness and soul. These are sold off to alien demonic traders and the body is turned into an agent of an alien underworld power. 
  8. Yuurs The Trader - A trader of existence & immortality who locks his victims into their ultimate forms to be sold on the other dimensional demonic slave blocks. It does not even know its own true form anymore and there are rumors of hundreds of these beings out in the planes. 
  9. TrBr Glub - A blob of demonic essence that travels about in an armored form granting its clients 'playthings' of partial cybernetics & demonic flesh. Its creations are not aware of what they truly are, they are the ultimate victim capable of any abuse and healing from such instantly. Consciousnesses & souls are stolen and only the most evil will do! 
  10. Predous The Black Sorcerer of Saturn - This being is a living demonic blackness and sells bits of itself to its victims. These bits of demonic shadow grant a solitary wish and then twists these wishes into mini Hells. The black sorcerer feeds on this & passes the souls of its victims onto its unknown & corrupt masters. 
  11. The Nameless Apostle - This being has wandered the space lanes for uncounted centuries granting forbidden knowledge & magick here, there, and everyplace. It appears as black figure dressed in the robes of a monk & makes promises of the most esoteric nature. These always end in consumption of its victim's soul. 
  12. Gteu Yu - The triple fiend from Pluto is a being of extremes offering wares from forbidden areas of the galaxy. This being's high technological super science artifacts are lens for magicks of the most forbidden types. It will teach seven levels of black magick in exchange for its years of its victim's life and memories. These are sold on the demonic black markets. 
  13. Thr us Rr u The Thirteenth Hour Wanderer - A strange being of Martian origin who wandered into an other dimensional Hell. This being returned instead. Almost a parody of a Martian, this being is not right in any sense of the word and never appears the same way twice. It sells strange stories and tales to its victims in exchange for a single day of their lives. But it instead takes them 1d20 days later to relive the worst days of their lives. These cycles of time are sold to demonic sultans to extend the lives of their warped technologies. 
  14. Rytui The Vital Fluids Dealer - This being renders down its victims for their life giving vital fluids and their souls. A Mecurian space pirate as well, it takes victims valuables and sacrifices them to its dark demonic masters 
  15. The Treader of Horrid Existence - This alien of Saturnian order comes from three billion years ago and takes on the worst aspects of its victims. These traits are imitated & given to strange androids who become parodies of their victims. These act as agents for the Treader for alien and unknown agendas often of the worst kind. This being is partially demonic & wholly without mercy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The 'Vulth' russ' - The Martian Book of Forbidden Knowledge & Insanity For Your Old School Campaigns

"The two men, apart from their misfortunes, shared an illimitable curiosity concerning all things Martian. Their thirst for the exotic, their proclivity for wandering into places usually avoided by terrestrials, had drawn them together in spite of obvious differences of temperament and had made them fast friends.
Trying to forget their worries, they had spent the past day in the queerly piled and huddled maze of old Ignarh, called by the Martians Ignar-Vath, on the eastern side of the great Yahan Canal. Returning at the sunset hour, and following the estrade of purple marble beside the water, they had nearly reached the mile-long bridge that would take them back to the modern city, Ignar-Luth, in which were the terrestrial consulates and shipping-offices and hotels."



There are relics & traditions on Mars older then life on Earth steeped in forbidden rites & horrid magicks of a bygone age. One such relic is the Vulth' russ or its translated title 'the black tongue of knowledge'. Writ in the blood of Cru' & translated from the deep Southern sea bottoms dwelling place of the renegade Aihai. The copper cored book is more of an instrument then it is a conventional book this device none the less contains some of the most dangerous spells & forbidden alien knowledge of the Aihai. The book contains horrid knowledge of the dying world. Its gods, the spells of knowledge, the lore of the lost gods, the demons of the red sands & how to summon them, secrets of the dead sea bottoms, terrible life forms gone dorment but not extinct, & forbidden rites that the
Aihai refuse to speak about.
"I, who speak, am the entity known as Vulthoom," said the voice "Be not surprised, or frightened: it is my desire to befriend you in return for a consideration which, I hope, you will not find impossible. First of all, however, I must explain certain matters that perplex you
"No doubt you have heard the popular legends concerning me, and have dismissed them as mere superstitions. Like all myths, they are partly true and partly false. I am neither god nor demon, but a being who came to Mars from another universe in former cycles. Though I am not immortal, my span of life is far longer than that of any creature evolved by the worlds of your solar system. I am governed by alien biologic laws, with periods of alternate slumber and wakefulness that involve centuries. It is virtually true, as the Aihais believe, that I sleep for a thousand years and remain conscious continually for another thousand.
"At a time when your ancestors were still the blood-brothers of the ape, I fled from my own world to this intercosmic exile, banished by implacable foes. The Martians say that I fell from heaven like a fiery meteor; and the myth interprets the descent of my ether-ship. I found a matured civilization, immensely inferior, however, to that from which I came.
"The kings and hierarchs of the planet would have driven me away; but I gathered a few adherents, arming them with weapons superior to those of Martian science; and after a great war, I established myself firmly and gained other followers. I did not care to conquer Mars, but withdrew to this cavern-world in which I have dwelt ever since with my adherents. On these, for their faithfulness, I conferred a longevity that is almost equal to my own. To ensure this longevity, I have also given them the gift of a slumber corresponding to mine. They sleep and wake with me.
"We have maintained this order of existence for many ages. Seldom have I meddled in the doings of the surface-dwellers. They, however, have converted me into an evil god or spirit; though evil, to me, is a word without meaning.
"I am the possessor of many senses and faculties unknown to you or to the Martians. My perceptions, at will, can be extended over large areas of space, or even time. Thus I learned your predicament; and I have called you here with the hope of obtaining your consent to a certain plan. To be brief, I have grown weary of Mars, a senile world that draws near to death; and I wish to establish myself in a younger planet. The Earth would serve my purpose well. Even now, my followers are building the new ether-ship in which I propose to make the voyage." Vulthoom By Clark Ashton Smith

Recently 'Unit 13' obtained a copy of 
the 'Vulth' russ' and had the book translated into common intergalactic. The translator went mad with some of the revelations of what really dwells under the red sands of Mars. The book contains ten levels of black magick spells & forbidden truths including the summoning spell from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The book also contains a variation of summon monster for the underworld of Mars. It also contains the spells for awakening the Great Old One Vulthoom, and the forbidden secrets of the Therns. The book is a political lightning rod to certain radical factions of Red Martians & sought out by the anti royal black magicians who meet in certain forbidden space in the Martian underworld. 



A few of the forbidden secrets from the pages of the 'Vulth' russ' include the following:
  1. The rite of preparation for the mnemoka
  2.  The true & horrid nature of the inhabitants of  the Vaults of Yoh-Vombis
  3. That which is the Dweller in the Gulf and the spells pertaining to it.
  4.  Summoning rituals for the Martian Essence or living shadow (B/X D&D shadow of high intelligence) 
  5. How to animate  & control  the Martian zombies of the tombs near the  long dried canals by the ice poles.
  6. Several rites for summoning the servants of  Vulthoom
  7. The forbidden technologies & true purpose of the Sarmak invaders 
  


The Vulth' russ is almost always guarded by ancient interstellar guardian robotoids of a most heinous nature. These robotoids will destroy anyone who invades the inner sanctums of the temples where this work is kept. Prices for a good copy of the
Vulth' russ range between 10,000 to 40,-000 gold pieces for a good copy of this forbidden tome.

Monday, June 26, 2017

OSR Campaign Commentary - Reel II - The Tracks Across The Sands of Mars - A Free OSR Download “The Brain-Stealers of Mars” By John W. Campbell Jr.

“Penton and Blake find Mars a pleasant place to be 
until they run afoul of the thushol, which can imitate anything!”

“The Brain-Stealers of Mars” (1936) by science fiction editor John W. Campbell Jr. &  illustrated by pulp artist Alex Schomburg. This is the precursor to the Campbell's Who Goes There! & has many of the fantastic elements of that novella plus more. I became aware of the story in its reprinted form from the 1952 issue of Wonder Story Annual magazine. I begged my adopted uncle for a copy of it & on my 14th birthday I got it. I've been a pulp head even before owning this piece of pulp history but this is a great space ripper of an issue as my uncle used to say. Alright this a great story for DM's who want to use a solid  old school adventure encounter for their science fantasy campaigns. A quick note John W.Campbell Jr. was a crack science fiction editor but a lightning rod of controversy.


This is the first of the Planeteers series of stories which is perfect fodder for a dungeon master looking for a template of a pulp space crew of adventurers. According to the TV trope website the Planeteers series was:

"Series of five science-fiction short stories by John W. Campbell, published in Thrilling Wonder Stories between 1936 and 1938, and collected in book form in 1966 as The Planeteers.
Ted Penton and Rod Blake have fled Earth in their nuclear-powered spaceship, the Ion, after a mishap involving their illegal research on atomic power (it involved destroying 300 square miles of Europe in an atomic explosion). Since nobody else on Earth is willing to use atomic power, nobody can catch up with them; and so while their lawyers try to sort things out on Earth, Penton and Blake bide their time exploring the Solar System and having adventures.We first meet up with our heroes on Mars, where they encounter centaurs and parasitic shapeshifters. Penton learns telepathy from the centaurs, which will prove useful in future dealings with intelligent aliens. After Mars, the pair proceed towards the outer system, where they start a revolution, fight blob monsters, learn alien languages, encounter high gravity and extreme cold, solve problems with the power of chemistry, etc."

This is an interesting story because not only do you get a great background piece for pulp adventurers but you also get a symbiotic relationship between two species. The proto shoggoth thushol are incredibly dangerous  but also the fact that their alien centaur neighbors have a strange relationship with them. Its almost as if the species were engineered that way.



You Can Download “The Brain-Stealers of Mars” Here


Also note that the centaur like race teaches one of the heroes a few levels of Mentalist ala Warriors of the Red Planet. There are some really unique things about the thushol, the monster doesn't seem done somehow as if its a monster that's a prototype creature although it reminds me a lot in some ways as a Gibbering Mouther. Another shoggoth variation if there ever was one. The monster that appears in 'The Brain Stealers of Mars' is most definitely a protoshoggoth creature. I think that the central Martian location described in the story is an elder thing spawning lab and research facility. A very dangerous adventure location that is clearly in some hidden valley around the Martian poles.



Just as the characters in “The Brain-Stealers of Mars” liberate a number of alien technologies. The characters in Who Goes There do something very similar when they go to finish the Blair thing.
"
Afterwards the trio discover that the Thing was dangerously close to finishing construction of an atomic-powered anti-gravity device that would have allowed it to escape to the outside world.
"No, by the grace of God, who evidently does hear very well, even down here, and the margin of half an hour, we keep our world, and the planets of the system too. Anti-gravity, you know, and atomic power. Because They came from another sun, a star beyond the stars. They came from a world with a bluer sun.""

There was another shape shifting dimensional jumping alien inspired by Who Goes There by Canadian-American writer A. E. van Vogt called The Vault of the Beast. A treasure vault on Mars (once again there's that classic pulp Mars connection);"Beings from another dimension have sent a living plastic "robot" to Earth to find the "greatest mathematical mind in the Solar System," and get that person to open a vault on Mars, containing one of the race of its creators. It is able to imitate any form of matter, and to tap the thoughts of the being it duplicates. The creature kills its way to one man, Jim Brender, who it believes is the man. The creature, in the form of another man, reveals that the Martian vault was built by the Ancient Martians, made up of an 'ultimate metal'. The vault is known as the "Tower of the Beast", located in a buried Martian city. It says that the key to opening it is 'factoring the ultimate prime number'."


You can Read Vault of the Beast Right Here


Vault of the Beast is a perfect set up for an old school adventure with some very strange roots in Mathematics & science fantasy. The other dimensional elder thing or Yithians who control the shapeshifting shaggoth menace are memorable & make excellent NPC's.
 So is this the only connection with the pulpy roots of the alien from John Carpenter's The Thing or John W. Campbell Jr.'s Who Goes There? Umm not exactly. " In 2006 Dark Horse Comics released a pre-painted snap together model kit of the alien as described in the original short story. It was sculpted and painted by Andrea Von Sholly. The model was unlicensed and was simply titled 'The Space Thing'"
A better description appears on the Entertainment Earth website;"The Space Thing Figure. Pleased to meet you earthling, I do not come in peace. This pre-painted figure stands 4 1/2-inches tall and is easy to pop together with a great-looking, Aurora-inspired display box.

Designed by Pete Von Sholly, this monster is his conception of John W. Campbell's famous shape-changing alien from the legendary story called Who Goes There?. He designed the creature during a fact-finding research junket to Alpha Centauri, and, thanks to his new 4-D camera, was able to incorporate details not found in our solar system. Pete's talented wife, Andrea, sculpted and painted the mode."

Ten Ways To Use The Brain Stealers Of Mars For Your Old School Campaigns 
  1. The locations detailed in the story are not the only Martian adventure  locations where
    the proto shoggoth thushol might be located there could me more facilities scattered throughout the solar system & beyond. 
  2. There is an echoing use of alien telepathy throughout the science fantasy series the Planeteers. This makes the mentalist class an essential thing when dealing with these types of aliens and seems to be a design conceit. This is something very similar to Larry Niven's Slaver race which has connections to the Elder Things and the Cthulhu mythos in his Known Space series. Could there be a Hyperborea connection? I think so.
  3.  The proto shoggoth thushol might appear in other forms in the Outer Worlds such as Jupiter's moons or near Saturn. They seem right at home in these worlds that Clark Ashton Smith talked about. 
  4. Some of the super science artifacts described in The Brain Stealers of Mars seem like their straight out of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Could there be more of these connections in your campaigns? 
  5. The proto shoggoth thushol make perfect guardians for science fantasy ruins & facilities and might hold certain super science treasure vaults hostage. 
  6. Are there other powers holding sway over the places where the
    thushol were developed? Ancient curses similar to some of the alien weirdness we've seen in C.L. Moore's North West Smith series? An adventure hook if there ever was one! 
  7. There are a number of transcosmic alien presences in the Planeteer stories. Could these actually be The Great Race of Yith in disguise keeping tabs on a wide variety of eras? 
  8. The proto shoggoth thushol seem almost a not fully developed weapons system or defense could these monsters be some of the cannon fodder used in the wars of the Elder Things against their enemies? I think so. 
  9. There seems to be a sense of pure menace that hovers over these stories & a sense of the forbidden. Are there other far more hostile lifeforms waiting for PCs to discover? 
  10. The Brain Stealers has quite a bit to offer if a DM is willing to look into its weirdness and danger. Remember man is the warmest place to hide.

OSR Commentary- Patterns In The Snow The Horrors of The Shoggoth Legacy In Old School Campaigns

"The steady trend down the ages was from water to land; a movement encouraged by the rise of new land masses, though the ocean was never wholly deserted. Another cause of the landward movement was the new difficulty in breeding and managing the shoggoths upon which successful sea-life depended. With the march of time, as the sculptures sadly confessed, the art of creating new life from inorganic matter had been lost; so that the Old Ones had to depend on the moulding of forms already in existence. On land the great reptiles proved highly tractable; but the shoggoths of the sea, reproducing by fission and acquiring a dangerous degree of accidental intelligence, presented for a time a formidable problem.
They had always been controlled through the hypnotic suggestion of the Old Ones, and had modelled their tough plasticity into various useful temporary limbs and organs; but now their self-modelling powers were sometimes exercised independently, and in various imitative forms implanted by past suggestion. They had, it seems, developed a semi-stable brain whose separate and occasionally stubborn volition echoed the will of the Old Ones without always obeying it. Sculptured images of these shoggoths filled Danforth and me with horror and loathing. They were normally shapeless entities composed of a viscous jelly which looked like an agglutination of bubbles; and each averaged about fifteen feet in diameter when a sphere. They had, however, a constantly shifting shape and volume; throwing out temporary developments or forming apparent organs of sight, hearing, and speech in imitation of their masters, either spontaneously or according to suggestion.
They seem to have become peculiarly intractable toward the middle of the Permian age, perhaps 150 million years ago, when a veritable war of re-subjugation was waged upon them by the marine Old Ones. Pictures of this war, and of the headless, slime-coated fashion in which the shoggoths typically left their slain victims, held a marvellously fearsome quality despite the intervening abyss of untold ages. The Old Ones had used curious weapons of molecular disturbance against the rebel entities, and in the end had achieved a complete victory. Thereafter the sculptures shewed a period in which shoggoths were tamed and broken by armed Old Ones as the wild horses of the American west were tamed by cowboys. Though during the rebellion the shoggoths had shewn an ability to live out of water, this transition was not encouraged; since their usefulness on land would hardly have been commensurate with the trouble of their management."
HP Lovecraft At The Mountains of Madness

Looking back through the annals of Weird Tales & pulp science fiction its not hard to see the connection between John Carpenter's The Thing & HP Lovecraft's novella  At The Mountains of Madness. But there are far deeper connections here then at first meets the eye.



There have been suggestions that 'The Thing' is in fact an advanced form of shoggoth. The Thing has some similarities to the shoggoths from At the Mountains of Madness, which Lovecraft  described as "Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes". Another thing about the shoggoths is the fact that they have been growing more intelligent as time has gone on. So could the thing actually be an advanced weaponized shoggoth that was simply returning home over 100,000 years ago? I think so. John Carpenter's The Thing was a pretty faithful adaptation  to John W. Campbell Jr.'s Who Goes There?. The Thing seems to have had an agenda having crashed the saucer in the opening credits. Could it have been reacting to a homing instinct built into its design by its creators? I think so but 1982 wasn't the only brush that the Earth had with a shape shifting alien species.


In 1958 in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, a protoplasmic alien blob landed in a meteor and began a reign of terror happens again in 1972 in a different part of the United States. But what exactly is the Blob? Well there is fan speculation that the blob is in fact a form of a proto shoggoth. A prototype of  Elder Thing weapons system that has come back from deep orbit. Although it lacks the intelligence of the Thing, the blob is a different subspecies of shoggoth.The blob is an absorber where in the 'the thing is a copycat or imitator organism. In other words the blob is a proto shoggoth or a completely different configuration of the shoggoth organism.
"He has on rare occasions whispered disjointed and irresponsible things about “the black pit”, “the carven rim”, “the proto-shoggoths”, “the windowless solids with five dimensions”, “the nameless cylinder”, “the elder pharos”, “Yog-Sothoth”, “the primal white jelly”, “the colour out of space”, “the wings”, “the eyes in darkness”, “the moon-ladder”, “the original, the eternal, the undying”, and other bizarre conceptions"
HP Lovecraft At The Mountains of Madness.




In 1951  a United States Air Force crew is dispatched from Anchorage, Alaska at the request of Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), the chief scientist of a North Pole scientific outpost.


At first Howard Hawks The Thing From Another World doesn't seem like a likely candidate to include here. But the alien carrot as its described in the film has many of the characteristics of the Elder Things. The alien of this film has many of the same same features as the Elder Things in humanoid form:
  1. The alien is humanoid but bears many of the characteristics of mankind. Its biology is vastly different then our own having many of the characteristics of plants. This is very similar to the Elder Thing's make up.
  2. Its an incredibly patient organism & spends its time picking off crew members. Also its an organism that seems to be yet another variation of the profile we've seen before.
     
Its concerned with food, shelter, and reproduction. Also its another alien organism with a grasp of advanced alien technologies & a tremendous agenda for Earth. So what does this mean? The Howard Hawk's alien monster could be another product of Elder Thing radical biological genetic engineering. Surely, this radical fan theory violates the shoggoth/At The Mountains of Madness. Not at all this alien might be an advanced shoggoth entity prototype.


So what does this all have to do Dungeons & Dragons & Swords & Sorcery? The fact is that in Deities & Demigods Shoggoth's entry there's a clue about the D&D connection. It is stated that Shoggoths are often found in out deserted ruins &  areas often helping other Mythos races. The Elder Things prints are still found in a wide variety of places where their technologies are still in place. This goes back all the way to the ancient marshes of Mars as told in
John W. Campbell's Brain Stealers of Mars.


In D&D terms the Elder Thing's bio- technological legacy using Shoggoth tissues are evident all around certain dungeon & ruin locations.
 



These shoggoth based monsters  include the gelatinous cube, doppelganger, mimics, trappers, lurker above,  a wide variety of oozes, jellies, including the infamous Green Slime, and many more.
All of which are simply minor applications of the advanced biological mastery of the elder thing race. The spread of these creatures comes from certain cults & monsters as well as the preprogrammed behavior of the shoggoths themselves. Adventurers should be ware of the lower levels of certain dungeon locations.

"It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train — a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.
— H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness"

Ultimately the source of all of this is of course  Clark Ashton Smith's ' Ubbo-Sathla. Ubbo-Sathla ("The Unbegotten Source", "The Demiurge") or he who dwells in Y'quaa from which the dire arts of the Elder Things created the shoggoths themselves. This Old One is directly connected to  Abhoth ("The Source of Uncleanliness") for they are one in the same.


"There, in the grey beginning of Earth, the formless mass that was Ubbo-Sathla reposed amid the slime and the vapors. Headless, without organs or members, it sloughed from its oozy sides, in a slow, ceaseless wave, the amoebic forms that were the archetypes of earthly life. Horrible it was, if there had been aught to apprehend the horror; and loathsome, if there had been any to feel loathing. About it, prone or tilted in the mire, there lay the mighty tablets of star-quarried stone that were writ with the inconceivable wisdom of the pre-mundane gods.
Clark Ashton Smith, Ubbo-Sathla"

There is an indication among Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith fans that many of these shoggoth based life forms ultimately no matter how intelligent or advanced must return to the original source of their creation at some point in their life cycle. This might have been a built in biological instinctive safety feature or a preprogrammed behavior. Or simply a flaw in the design that not even  the elder things could remove. Regardless this life forms and its attendant side creatures are ultimately some of the most dangerous horrors adventurers will encounter both in the dungeons and in ruins!


Ten Ways To Use The Shoggoth Legacy In D&D & Retroclone Adventures
  1. If all of these various traditional dungeon monsters have their basis in shoggoth tissues then it might indicate that there is a telepathic thread running through all of them enabling someone or something to use these monsters as a complex spy or communication network across time & space. 
  2.  Ubbo-Sathla is an incredibly potent Lovecraftian entity with a myriad of worshipers and cults that might appear across the dimensions and planes. If ultimately it has its own agenda then entire planets could be in incredible danger. 
  3. Shoggoth based life forms might appear in any epoch or era and might be a primary foe in a post apocalyptic or other planetary location such as a failed interstellar colony world. 
  4. The monsters & life forms we've seen could only be the tip of the tendril DM's should create their own versions of these classics 
  5. Could the elder things return to take charge of their renegade creations There have been rumblings among certain D&D Lovecraftian fans that PC could be in real trouble if this was to happen. 
  6.  Could the blob simply be a worker proto-shoggoth run amok? What would the long term conditions be of such a world where this has happened?
  7.  DM's shouldn't be afraid to create entire ecological systems in dungeons based around one shoggoth life form to give a base line to players as to how powerful one of these entities might become.
  8.  Why are shoggoths helping cults of Mythos worshipers what's in it for them? Whose agenda are they really furthering
  9. Powerful shoggoths might be worshiped or rule  as gods or demons in their own right. Could  Juiblex of  AD&D fame simply be a powerful primorial shoggoth that has become a demonlord countless eons ago
  10. What is the ultimate goal of the shoggoths & what will happen to a campaign world when these things come from out of the snows?!