Friday, July 21, 2017

Mini OSR Fall Campaign Idea Using - B10 Night's Dark Terror By Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, Phil Gallagher & Some Free Old School Appendix N Downloads

"Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at night are far worse than any dungeon.

But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the will is strong. Will you answer the call, or are you afraid of the dark terrors of the night?
Fall is almost on us & already I'm planning for the fall campaign season for my Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea campaigns. I'm planning a series of one shots, extended mini campaigns I noticed something very interesting about Night's Dark Terror in the Wiki entry;"
Night's Dark Terror is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game written by British game designers Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher. It was designed specifically for campaigns transitioning from the D&D Basic Set to the D&D Expert Set."
The fact that the module  specifically designed to translate between B/X & Expert makes Night's Dark Terror a perfect candidate for the weird fiction/ post apocalyptic treatment of Old Earth. There's  a weird proto Russian feel to Night's Dark Terror that we can exploit for campaign use here.

"Night's Dark Terror
is a wilderness scenario in which the player characters travel by river and over mountains, from the Grand Duchy of Karameikos to the chaotic lands. The characters encounter a town under siege by goblins, a ruined city, and a lost valley"
There's a very interesting article by Andrew Theisen on  Mystara Modules and Placement which actually can be used to build a picture of where to place modules within a post apocalpytic wasteland as well.  This helps to build a picture of where monsters, peoples, etc. might go in the wastelands.

So right off the bat we've got traditional D&D monsters such as humanoids,boatloads of goblins,etc. that can be easily converted over to mutant humans. I'm sure there's already a bunch of purists having heart attack because there's no way that this whole module could be converted into a campaign. Well actually Night's Dark Terror could be set in the centuries  leading up Zothique's existence there were eons of other worlds in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953 some of this is outlined;"Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth. The continents of our present cycle have sunken, perhaps several times. Some have remained submerged; others have re-risen, partially, and re-arranged themselves. Zothique, as I conceive it, comprises Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago. A new Australia exists somewhere to the south. To the west, there are only a few known islands, such as Naat, in which the black cannibals survive. To the north, are immense unexplored deserts; to the east, an immense unvoyaged sea. The peoples are mainly of Aryan or Semitic descent; but there is a negro kingdom (Ilcar) in the north-west; and scattered blacks are found throughout the other countries, mainly in palace-harems. In the southern islands survive vestiges of Indonesian or Malayan races. The science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped; and sorcery and demonism prevail again as in ancient days. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, arrows, swords, javelins, etc. of antiquity. The chief language spoken (of which I have provided examples in an unpublished drama) is based on Indo-European roots and is highly inflected, like Sanskrit, Greek and Latin."
So what lead up to this world being created? Were there ages undreamt of before Zothique? In my estimation yes and at sometime the stars came right. We get a hint of this theme in the Clark Ashton Smith story,'The Black Abbot of Puthuum.' 

But if the regions of Alaska in North America & Russia were rejoined we might have something very similar to the world of Night's Dark Terror. The stars might have come right with the emergence of the horrors from the fringe & lost places of the world.

"THE MOUND" by H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop really does give the feel for these sorts of preserves where the true masters of the cults of Cthulhu dwell. But there's another faction one that worships the evil Kraken named Khalk'ru. I'm speaking of  A. Merritt's Dwellers in the Mirage first published in book form in 1932 by Horace Liveright.

The plot is straight out A.Merritt's work from the lost world, to the weird peoples, and a Lovecraftian god thing that wouldn't feel out of place from a post apocalyptic wasteland world preserve;"

The novel concerns American Leif Langdon who discovers a warm valley in Alaska. Two races inhabit the valley, the Little People and a branch of an ancient Mongolian race; they worship the evil Kraken named Khalk'ru which they summon from another dimension to offer human sacrifice. The inhabitants recognize Langdon as the reincarnation of their long dead hero, Dwayanu. Dwayanu's spirit possesses Langdon and starts a war with the Little People. Langdon eventually fights off the presence of Dwayanu and destroys the Kraken.
There are variant endings of the work. In the original, Leif's love dies, but the publisher inartistically has her survive. The original tragic ending has been reinstated in some/many recent reprints."
This one has a bit of everything including a tacked on happy ending but it also has a number of sword & sorcery elements to it. The plot is a perfectly preserved glass Lovecraftian mini world with added elements of super science & sorcery to boot. The perfect place to hatch a faction or two for a completely different take on Night's Dark Terrors.
. "The module begins in a beleaguered farmstead. The PCs then explore more than 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2) of wilderness, with eighteen locations, including a number of mini-dungeons, a ruined city, a riverside village, a frontier town, and a lost valley, with the minions of the Iron Ring waiting for the PCs at every step." So is the Iron Ring one of the power blocks behind bringing back  Khalk'ru to the PC's dimension.
The DM gets the best of all possible worlds with this approach. Several mini dungeons & devilishly delightful mini wilderness encounters along with a mini dungeon crawl at lower levels that set's everything in the heat of the moment with a Lovecraftian twist or two. 

You can read Dwellers in the Mirage With The Happy Ending Here From Fantastic Novels v03n03 (1949 09)

 The above commentary & opinions are copyrighted & trademarked to the author.

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