Saturday, May 19, 2018

From Bohemia To Zothique With B1 In Search of The Unknown By Mike Carr - A Massive Pulp Commentary


"Dire was the Silver Death; and none knew the secret of its contagion or the cure. Swift as the desert wind, it came into Yoros from the devastated realm of Tasuun, overtaking the very messengers who ran by night to give warning of its nearness. Those who were smitten felt an icy, freezing cold, an instant rigor, as if the outermost gulf had breathed upon them. Their faces and bodies whitened strangely, gleaming with a wan luster, and became stiff as long-dead corpses, all in an interim of minutes.

In the streets of Silpon and Siloar, and in Faraad, the capital of Yoros, the plague passed like an eery, glittering light from countenance to countenance under the golden lamps; and the victims fell where they were stricken; and the deathly brightness remained upon them."

Isle of the Torturers Clark Ashton Smith.

Its been a very long time since I've cracked open B1 In Search of the Unknown & I've gutted Mike Carr's classic creation over & over again. Tonight I wanted to do another shadow of the Caverns of  Quasqueton. Some of this material in tonight's blog entry is a twisting of this entry that I did back in 2017.

This entire adventure campaign element is going to hinge on combining HPL The Shadow Out of Time with Isle of the Torturers Clark Ashton Smith. This marriage is then going to use certain old school sources with OSR published materials to create a pulpastic whole.

The idea here is that someplace in the central highlands of Bohemia overnight with the rising sun a ruined castle that hasn't been seen in centuries has appeared! Several locals have reported seeing what officials might think is an optical illusion or perhaps to the better informed a window into the past. The thing isn't really in the local space time just yet.

There hasn't been a lot of hoopla over the appearance of yet another ruined castle in Prague.
The event hasn't made the papers really but as a curiosity on some back page that only some adventurers would be of interest. The legend is a local affair & dates all the way back to Arthurian times.

"Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. From this base, they conducted their affairs away from the prying eyes of civilization. While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals. Eventually, they gathered their own army and went on an expedition against said enemies, where they met their demise."
So why are the tales of the Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown important to the people of Bohemia?  Because these adventurers were closely tied into the legends surrounding "The Crown of Saint Wenceslas". This is closely tied into the myths & legends of the book  "The Arthur of the Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German"
This mythological tradition is given weight in the chapter;"
King Arthur and his Round Table in the Culture of Medieval Bohemia and in Medieval Czech Literature"

Crown of Saint Wenceslas By
K. Pacovsky

The royal Bohemian crown jewels have some particular seasonal & time constraint conditions that have been ritualistically placed upon them. These are attached to the royal mythology & legends that surround them.

"Unlike many other European royal treasures, the St. Wenceslas Crown is not displayed publicly, and only a replica is shown. Along with the other Bohemian crown jewels, it is kept in a chamber within St. Vitus Cathedral accessible by a door in the St. Wenceslas Chapel. The exact location of the chamber is not known to the general public. The entrance to the jewels is locked by seven locks whose keys are held by the President of the Czech Republic, Chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament, Chair of the Senate of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, Mayor of Prague, Archbishop of Prague and the Dean of Metropolitan Capitule in Prague. The jewels are only taken from the chamber and displayed for periods of several days on notable occasions approximately once every five years. The crown was exhibited in May 2016 to mark the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, and in May 2013, celebrating the inauguration of a new Czech president."

All of this ties ties into the legends of
(Saint) Wenceslaus I & his legendary  legacy;

"(Saint) Wenceslaus I (Czech: Václav [ˈvaːtslaf] (About this sound listen); c. 907 – September 28, 935), Wenceslas I or Václav the Good[1] was the duke (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935. His younger brother, Boleslaus the Cruel, was complicit in the murder.
His martyrdom and the popularity of several biographies gave rise to a reputation for heroic goodness that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and came to be seen as the patron saint of the Czech state. He is the subject of the well-known "Good King Wenceslas", a carol for Saint Stephen's Day."

" According to legend, one Count Radislas rose in rebellion and marched against King Wenceslas. The latter sent a deputation with offers of peace, but Radislas viewed this as a sign of cowardice. The two armies were drawn up opposite each other in battle array, when Wenceslas, to avoid shedding innocent blood, challenged Radislas to single combat. As Radislas advanced toward the king, he saw by Wenceslas side two angels, who cried: "Stand off!" Thunderstruck, Radislas repented his rebellion, threw himself from his horse at the Saint's feet, and asked for pardon. Wenceslas raised him and kindly received him again into favor.
A second enduring legend claims an army of knights sleeps under Blaník, a mountain in the Czech Republic. They will awake and, under the command of St. Wenceslaus, bring aid to the Czech people in their ultimate danger. There is a similar legend in Prague which says that when the Motherland is in danger or in its darkest times and close to ruin, the equestrian statue of King Wenceslaus in Wenceslaus Square will come to life, raise the army sleeping in Blaník, and upon crossing the Charles Bridge his horse will stumble and trip over a stone, revealing the legendary sword of Bruncvík. With this sword, King Wenceslaus will slay all the enemies of the Czechs, bringing peace and prosperity to the land.[15] Ogden Nash wrote a comic epic poem—"The Christmas that Almost Wasn't", loosely based on the same legend—in which a boy awakens Wenceslaus and his knights to save a kingdom from usurpers who have outlawed Christmas"

Wenceslaus' assassination: the duke flees from his brother (with sword) to a church, but the priest closes the door. (Gumpold von Mantua, 10th century)
"An old Czech legend says that any usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year, as the Crown is the personal property of St. Wenceslas and may only be worn by a rightful Bohemian king during his coronation. During World War II, Reinhard Heydrich, the Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, is said to have secretly "crowned" himself while inspecting St. Vitus' Cathedral, and was assassinated less than a year later by the Czech resistance. Although there is no evidence proving that Heydrich did so, the legend is widely believed."
The crown is the key to unlocking the legacy of Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown.So what's happening?
"Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton." Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown chose the location for the Caverns of Quasqueton on purpose to take full advantage of the location because they weren't the first the use the cavern complex. Eons ago The Great Race of Yith used the Caverns of Quasqueton location as a laboratory & mining facility.

The Errol Otus depiction of the Great Race of Yith from the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition. Deities & Demigods remains a personal favorite

The Great Race of Yith used the various shadows & alternative Earths as laboratory for their grand experiments. Down in the lower unfinished levels are some of the pre-filled rooms which include a museum, an arena, and grand cavern all of which points to incredible construction possibly started by others before our two adventurers moved in and took over. Many of the monsters & other residents that moved in speak of laboratories & other underground facilities. Lizardmen, troglodytes, fishmen all point to some very high level Lovecraftian racial experimentation in the Caverns of  Quasqueton.
The Caverns of  Quasqueton were actually build over a  old Great Race of Yith R&D laboratory. Deep within the caverns there is evidence that speak to the fact that
Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown drove back a barbarian invasion with a proto version of the Silver Death & gained the support of locals. Their interference in politics helped to turn support into fear & they were destroyed for their efforts.
Could a proto version of the Silver Death  have been created deep within the bowels of
Quasqueton & its still waiting for other adventurers to find?! In a word yes.
So what is 'The St. Wenceslas Crown''s connection to all of this? "The St. Wenceslas Crown is made of 21 to 22 carat (88 to 92%) gold and decorated with precious stones and pearls. It contains a total of 19 sapphires, 44 spinels, 1 ruby, 30 emeralds and 20 pearls" The arrangement of the gems is more then merely symbolic & has deep supernatural connections to the Great Race of Yith's ability to swap minds from across time & space as well as their abilities in matters of energy. Those wearing the crown can stand the proto Silver Death's effects easily. The Isle of the Torturers however is part of the  Zothique series & is set in the far distant future of Earth. At some point way in the future the Great Race comes back & takes possession of the Caverns of Quasqueton again. The mechanisms of the caverns were tripped taking the whole affair out of view & out of time.

"[T]he Great Race ... waxed well-nigh omniscient, and turned to the task of setting up exchanges with the minds of other planets, and of exploring their pasts and futures. It sought likewise to fathom the past years and origin of that black, aeon-dead orb in far space whence its own mental heritage had come – for the mind of the Great Race was older than its bodily form. . . The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to house them – the cone-shaped beings that peopled our earth a billion years ago.
— H. P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow Out of Time""
The Silver Death from Clark Ashton Smith's Isle of the Torturers is exactly the sort of a soft kill weapon that they'd employ against their enemies. The appearance of the ruined castle of Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown isn't really a surprise at all. The castle has been sitting in a higher dimension in Bohemia all this time.

"The concept of dimension is not restricted to physical objects. High-dimensional spaces frequently occur in mathematics and the sciences. They may be parameter spaces or configuration spaces such as in Lagrangian or Hamiltonian mechanics; these are abstract spaces, independent of the physical space we live in."

"The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets" may not have been breaking physics as may have suggested but have been using various laws of science to their advantage using alien techniques. We could be living with a wide variety of Great Race of Yith constructs & buildings right now & not even know it.
All of this ties in with the fact that in my own alternative Earth 1904 campaign setting various dungeons & ruins 'suddenly' appear across the surface of the Earth. This has connections to the Lion & Dragon Rpg  where the Tarot might be used for viewing these dungeons & ruins existing higher dimensions remotely & perhaps safely.

"Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are not played, tarot cards are used primarily for divinatory purposes.[1] The Trump cards and the Fool are sometimes called the Major Arcana, while the ten pip and four court cards in each suit are called Minor Arcana. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century."

In fact Rpg Pundit has recently released RPGPundit Presents #31: The Arcana (Medieval-Authentic Tarot) From Precis Intermedia which could be used for exactly the sort of thing.
"The Tarot was a late-medieval invention. Some say that it was created as a tool for magic, while others claim that it was merely a game. This issue focuses on using the Tarot for magical techniques, from reading the cards for divination to invoking the trumps, and even to pathwalk--visiting the planes to which the trump cards are linked in order to interact with spiritual beings"
I'll be doing a review of this pdf coming up soon but for now this use of the tarot is exclusive to only  the most learned of modern occultists & inner circles of supernatural societies.

The entire idea of using B1 In Search of the Unknown as a modern Lovecraftian OSR Pulp Victoriana adventure isn't something new. Many of the design elements presented here are my brain storming with the Amazing Adventure! rpg Companion.

You can bet that the second that B1's ruined castle appears that many occult & supernatural societies are going to be rushing to claim its secrets.Yes they will kill for them but these same modern occultists & inner circles of supernatural societies are not going to bargain for the secrets already lurking within. Can you own adventurers move in and take possession of Caverns of Quasqueton again?! The race is on for fortune & glo

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Night of the Bastards - Actual Pulp Era Campaign Event Eight

Strange lights have been seen over one of the richest neighborhoods in Long Island, strange rumors abound of the weird creatures roaming local mansion grounds, & there are whispers of the missing Count Turck is somehow involved!?

Last night's game got a bit more complicated as the player's PC's stumbled into the Long Island mansion/facility of Desmond Turck. Already outside the manor house was a Little Green Bastards abductor saucer? This game picked up right after the pitched game of last week's familial betrayal & almost coup in New York?!

The PC's used the tractor beam on their sky ship to disable to the saucer but there was no resistance. They boarded the ship & found the pilot hard wired into the ship & a cryo tube aboard the ship along with piles of precious metals, jewels, etc. But no crew aboard?!
Any crew was scattered by the sky ship weaponry of the PC?! Scientific instruments were dropped and the crew made for the mansion.

Inside a running battle with a few guards here & there happened but mostly the party mopped up any crew that was present. But except for a few guards here & there a room by room search has turned up nothing?!
That was until they came to one of the side rooms where a series of large scorch marks on the hard wooden Oak floors & wall showed LGB's glyphs of occult power showed that a dimensional gate had been opened & then shut. All of the furniture in the room had been abruptly ruined & then pushed to one side of the room?!  The PC's came across a black glowing brick of a device under the pile of ruined furniture. Seething with esoteric power the device seemed like a threat waiting to happen to the party?! 

Artwork copyrighted & trademarked to Dark Wizard Games

Desmond Turck has shacked up with a despicable group of trans space mercenaries?! The Little Green Bastards view themselves as the only real inheritors of the Grey's technological greatness. Hidden in the room are papers that point a possible alliance between Desmond Turck & Thomas Edison?! Edison's  Arkcon Electric industrial laboratory in New York State were key in analyzing the 1898 War of the Worlds war machines. His historic taking of Mars later that same year was also key to establishing permanent early colonies on the still wild & untamed planet.
Arkcon Electric has in the past had several shady dealings with military & alien technologies in the past but to actually invite full blown industrial espionage and worse makes this a very dicey situation. Is all of this connected with  the secret work of Guglielmo Marconi,[1] Nikola Tesla, Harry Grindell Matthews, Edwin R. Scott, and Graichen?!

Dark Wizard Games Secret Machines of the Star Spawn adventure was key in designing some of the elements in last night's game adventure. It played rather well with Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu! The fact is that the pulpness of the campaign is really going well and I can't wait to incorporate more of these elements in my retro pulp Renegade Heroes, Tyrannical Conquerors, & Wasteland Kings game!

Many of these sources come down to the fact that Adventurer,Conqueror, King is as much an OSR tool kit as it as retroclone rpg system. Many of these games echo with the Appendix N goodness of original Dungeons & Dragon's pulpy origins.

Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
has exactly the sort of feel that works as OSR tool kit with other OSR & more classic old school resources. 

But what does all of this have to do with the looming June 22 deadline?! Don't forget to tune into the next exciting part of our cliff hanger serial!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Using & Abusing Judge's Guild's Frontier Forts of Kelnore By Judge's Guild For Your Old School Campaigns

"This book provides a basic, modularized map of a border fort (all Kelnore forts were designed to these specifications).  Since their construction, the forts have been populated by various monsters and tables are provided to put in random groups of creatures and individualize the forts on these basic designs.  There are three sample forts, filled out according to die rolls on the tables, to illustrate their application.  Using them, the Judge can easily create on the same basic map a different "dungeon" every time his players get together; this provides the maximum playing time with a minimal investment of the Judge's money and design time."
I received an email today from 'The Masked Dungeon Master' asking how I would go about adapting an old Judge's Guild product called
Frontier Forts of Kelnore. This is a thirty page adventure location system in Judge's guild style. It has a wide variety of applications for OSR & old school  games.
Frontier Forts of Kelnore is a supplement for fantasy role-playing games published by Judges Guild in 1978."

The supplement was written by Dave Sering who did a number of JG products  & this book provides everything a dungeon master needs to generate any number of weird or odd fortresses for explorers & adventurers to stumble upon.
Multi-level adventure generation system; tables & charts to build scenarios; traps, monsters, treasures, maps; three complete examples given."

Frontier Forts of Kelnore isn't the usual Judge's Guild products that that gets tons of fan recognition these day. But its one that I own & have had lots of experience using it for generating large networks of fortresses & ruins in wilderness adventure  settings. My most recent brush with Frontier Forts of Kelnore is using the fortresses is for a network of Hyberorean forts that were abandoned during the Green Death in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.
In Lamentations of the Flame Princess Europe the fortresses were abandoned during the Black Plague & were being used by a cannibal cult of demon worshipers.
Frontier Forts of Kelnore was also used as staging ground for an interstellar invasion for or dangerous aliens in Star Ships & Spacemen second edition by Goblinoid Games.

These same forts were also used as stand ins for several Roman Empire style forts in Spain & Germany in LoFP. These same forts also were stand in ruins in Dark Albion's England and parts of Europe. They make excellent dungeon adventure locations. Judge's Guild material depends on a very vivid imagination to employ it constructively.

For pulp & super hero games
Frontier Forts of Kelnore is a great resource for creating abandoned Spanish ruins & dungeon locations along the trails of the Wild West. These can serve as everything from vile villains lairs to bases for PC's who need a secure location for their adventurers. Several of Marvel Science Stories use this exact little trick to highlight some of their heroes adventures & it works quite well.

These types of fortresses also make excellent locations for various cults of Chaos to operate out of & for many a would be conqueror to stage his or her operations out of.
I've also used this product for the Gangbusters rpg as a smuggling location to stage various operarations for gangsters and outlaw gangs operating up the California /Mexican deserts. For Amazing Adventures! the pulp adventure style games are not at all limited except by the dungeon master's imagination. 

All in all there's a lot of things that can be done with
Frontier Forts of Kelnore with some time & patience.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Goblin Fueled Rage Of Erlkings & Elverkongens Datters - A Very Different Goblin OSR Ecology -

Goblins are ubiquitous in Dungeons & Dragons & in B10 Dark's Dark Terror adventure they're some of the central antagonists. But where are they coming from?! Well I turned my attention back to Dark Albion & the Lion & Dragon rpg once again.

Each & every time a gate way to Fairyland opens along with the waves of unreality there are Chaos impregnated fungal spores that enter our local space time. These spores eventually grow into malevolent life forms that pick up the local psychic vibrations & dreams of nearby humans with abandon. The goblins  take on the characteristics of humans in a twisted & evil mockery of  humanity. They are the shock troops & cannon fodder of Chaos & of Elven kind beneath notice.

Wiki's goblin entry provides the fodder;

"Alternative spellings include gobblin, gobeline, gobling, goblyn, and gobbelin.
English goblin is first recorded in the 14th century and is probably from unattested Anglo-Norman *gobelin,[1] similar to Old French gobelin, already attested around 1195 in Ambroise of Normandy's Guerre sainte, and to Medieval Latin gobelinus in Orderic Vitalis before 1141,[2][3] which was the name of a devil or daemon haunting the country around Évreux, Normandy.
It may be related both to German kobold and to Medieval Latin cabalus, or *gobalus, itself from Greek κόβαλος (kobalos), "rogue", "knave", "imp", "goblin".[2][4] Alternatively, it may be a diminutive or other derivative of the French proper name Gobel, more often Gobeau,[5][6] diminutive forms Gobelet, Goblin, Goblot, but their signification is probably "somebody who sells tumblers or beakers or cups".[7] Moreover, these proper names are not from Normandy, where the word gobelin, gobelinus first appears in the old documents. German Kobold contains the Germanic root kov- (Middle German Kobe "refuge, cavity", "hollow in a rock", Dial. English cove "hollow in a rock", English "sheltered recess on a coast", Old Norse kofi "hut, shed" ) which means originally a "hollow in the earth".[8][9] The word is probably related to Dial. Norman gobe "hollow in a cliff", with simple suffix -lin or double suffixation -el-in (cf. Norman surnames Beuzelin,[10] Gosselin,[11] Étancelin,[12] etc.)
The Welsh coblyn, a type of knocker, derives from the Old French gobelin via the English goblin.[13][14]
The term goblette has been used to refer to female goblins"

There are far darker connotations of goblins in both golden age horror comics  & German folk lore in the form of the Erlking. For me the great Eighties film with David Bowie Labyrinth has far darker connections with German mythology. Jennifer Connelly's character has far more in common with the
Erlking's daughter then we see in the classic dark fantasy musical film.
According to Jacob Grimm, the term originates with a Scandinavian (Danish) word, ellekonge "king of the elves",[2] or for a female spirit elverkongens datter "the elven king's daughter", who is responsible for ensnaring human beings to satisfy her desire, jealousy or lust for revenge.[3][4] The New Oxford American Dictionary follows this explanation, describing the Erlking as "a bearded giant or goblin who lures little children to the land of death", mistranslated as Erlkönig in the late 18th century from ellerkonge.[5]
It has been suggested,[by whom?] that the term may derive not from "elf-king" but from the name of Herla, a figure in medieval English folklore, adapted as Herlequin, Hellequin in medieval French, in origin the leader of the Wild Hunt, in French known as maisnie Hellequin "household of Hellequin" (and as such ultimately identical with Woden), but recast as a generic "devil" in the course of the Middle Ages (and incidentally, in the 16th century also the origin of the Harlequin character). Sometimes also associated is the character of Herrequin, a ninth-century count of Boulogne of proverbial wickedness.[6]
Herla is cast in the role of a king of the Britons who ends up spending three centuries in the realm of the elves and thus missing the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in Walter Map's 12th century De nugis curialium. The origin of the name Herla would be erilaz ("earl", Old Saxon erl), also found in the name of the Heruli (so that German erl-könig would literally correspond to earl-king)
Alternative suggestions have also been made; in 1836, Halling suggested a connection with a Turkic and Mongolian god of death or psychopomp, known as Erlik Chan
Robert Howard often used the cult of Erlik Chan as the central villains behind many of his modern tales most dangerous outings.

What does this this all mean? It means that that there are far more to goblins & witch cults then might first appear. The Elf King's Daughter might well be a head of a coven or cult of chaos with an army of goblins backing her. Remember the name says it all ;

"female spirit elverkongens datter "the elven king's daughter", who is responsible for ensnaring human beings to satisfy her desire, jealousy or lust for revenge"
In my own 1904 New York City campaign the maisnie Hellequin "household of Hellequin" is a group of  murderous & necrotic Elven cults I developed using Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos & the  Amazing Adventures Companion

These cults are strongly connected with the other Le Fey sister from Arthurian literature and these familial ties weave their way from England all the way to the Kaiser's Germany. There's far more to the groves of druids & witches then at first one may think. And that lack of knowledge may get one killed!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Atlantandria Port City To The Stars Phase II - OSR Setting Commentary

"It seems to me that I have lived alone—
Alone, as one that liveth in a dream:
As light on coldest marble, or the gleam
Of moons eternal on a land of stone,
The days have been to me. I have but known
The silence of Thulean lands extreme—
A silence all-attending and supreme
As is the sea's enormous monotone.
Upon the waste no palmed mirages are,
But strange chimeras roam the steely light,
And cold parhelia hang on hilt and scaur
Where flowers of frost alone have bloomed. . . . I crave
The friendly clasp of finite arms, to save
My spirit from the ravening Infinite."
Desolation  (1922)
by Clark Ashton Smith

Across the vastness of the many shadowed worlds there is a former glory of
Atlantandria Port City To The Stars. Between the sinking of Atlantis and the time when mankind reach for the stars there existed Atlantandria Port City to the stars. Atlantandria is a place where super science & magick co exist in an uneasy truce because it has seen the fall of mankind's greatest follies while reaching for the stars. A place whose skies and sea rest with the gleam of space craft. And a place whose ports are crammed with the wares from worlds the likes of mankind has not seen on earth since the time of when the oceans drank Lemuria, Mu, &  fabled Atlantis.

The city is built quite literally on the bones of the Old Atlantis colony city itself; its remains lay beneath its streets, a twisting maze  of strange catacombs, ancient dungeons, and worse lay just below the gleaming city streets. While out in the deserts Elven slavers on their magnetic relic cities ply the sands in search of slaves for sacrifice to their pagan heathen gods!

"For there are worlds beyond worlds, as Kull knows, and whether the wizard bewitched him by words or by mesmerism, vistas did open to the king’s gaze beyond that strange door."
Robert Howard 
"The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune" 

The wares of a million worlds are traded here and the seas are alight with the sails from ancient and decedent kingdoms. The power of trade is only now reestablishing itself as tribesmen still wield the relic armor and energy weapons of Mu and Lemuria.
Long guns are common among the tribes of the wastelands and mutants, monsters, and worse roam there. Ancient Atlantian battle machines still prowl these places, some only a few hundred miles from the city itself. In the ancient jungles the degenerate remains of a thousand cults & mystery religions have filtered themselves into a wide array of man eating monsters & mutants! These sometimes trade or kill but the alien lizard men are far more human.

 The ancient Valleys of the God Kings are filled with thousands of ruined cities, alien weapons, & the forgotten treasures of when men walked & traded with gods & much worse.
When Atlantis sank beneath the waves there were many ruins left within the wastelands. An entire country full of the ancient remains of this once spectacular ruler of not only this world but the once might colony worlds of Mars and Venus as well.But now only the jade lined ruins and gleaming stone works remain above ground.Below are mazes of corridors, dungeons of horror, and far more.These wastelands are the home to roving tribes of barbarians, desert dwellers, and inhuman monsters.

The wastelands of the god kings is the home to numerous ancient pyramids, ruins, and far worse wonders for time itself is broken in these places and many strange things come through the once stable gateways.

The Valleys of the God Kings are places of mystery where tribes of huldra ("hidden being") lead a nomadic life as Lovecraftian demons & horrors harvest & plot their subject's destinies. Heroes rise up grabbing artifact weapons & magic swords to save their pieces from the inhuman appetites of their people's 'masters'.
Hundreds of wizards rule these desert domains and ancient ruined palaces, doorways to a thousand universes open and close with the spinning of the stars. Ancient cults to Lovecraftian entities wander its trails and knights do battle with beings from beyond time and space in the shadow of wrecked space craft. 

From across the wastelands ancient alien traders and mutant adventurers travel with barbarian warriors and knights of old. Atlantandria Port City To The Stars wares leak onto Earth carried by alien traders, black wizards, & jaded royals. The alien technologies & artifacts have been the starting point for a million costumed adventurers & heroes on Earth who save the day!

Atlantandria Port City To The Stars is reborn! My ancient campaign setting  of super science, strange adventure, & sorcery gone wrong is back as part of my on going games! The decision came after a chance encounter with a reader who took issue  with my using & adapting  Troll Lord Games Amazing Adventures! rpg with several classic Dungeons & Dragons TSR adventure modules. 

Well guess what I'm going to be using these adventures with
Atlantandria Port City To The Stars especially ACK's  Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition

 The Greys & the Martian Marauders of HG Wells War of the Worlds book assumes the upper strata of 
Atlantandria Port City To The Stars alien technologies in this setting. These
races have a vestige interest in this alien world & routinely set down bases & other operations there.

Atlantandria Port City To The Stars is a type four market of alien wares & other wonders. The vassal states around the city are type three & two out in the wastelands respectively.
Since this is a test bed setting I'm going to be publishing a wide range of articles & material to support it! So stay tuned!

Atlantandria Port City To The Stars is a part of the
Renegade Heroes, Tyrannical Conquerors, & Wasteland Kings game!
Atlantandria Port City To The Stars is copyrighted & trade marketed to Eric Fabiaschi's  Dark Corner Productions . All artwork used in the blog entries are public domain. All rpg's discussed in today's blog entry are trademarked & copyrighted to their respective holders. This blog entry is not an attempt to violate the trademarks or copyrights of these rpg systems.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

B10 Night's Dark Terror By Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, Phil Gallagher For Your Old School Pulp Adventure Campaign

"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?

Way back in the early Eighties I read a lot of X men comic books & I noticed that the group did a ton of wilderness based adventures. In fact if you begin looking into super hero comic books & graphic novels there's tons of lost world & such settings thrown into the mix. B10 Night's Dark Terror.  B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) was made  the TSR UK brain trust of Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher. 

B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) is an old school adventure that I've used time & again with a wide variety of old school & OSR retroclones. Dungeon mastering B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) includes OSR systems like  Dark Albion & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd edition recently.

But I can already hear the groans from the reading audience, what the hell does one module have to do with two OSR game systems  & does this tie into the Thirty Year War?
Wherever Chaos touches or washes against reality we've got mutation, supernatural issues, and the old Elven hills & pagan groves in some places are still opening upon Fairyland."The characters encounter a town under siege by goblins, a ruined city, and a lost valley" The Elves are doubling down on taking over a wide variety of realities & Fairyland is basically using old fairy rings & ruins across the planes. How does this work?
Fairyland is a rolling planar demi realm accessed as a higher parasitic dimension that touch on other realities.

For my purposes of 'The Otheworld' is another aspect of the realm of Fairyland that reflects the weirdness & the dangerous occult chaos of the other dimensional realm of the Elves. Each & every time these
higher parasitic dimensions touch a reality they bring the subtle energies of chaos with them. So essentially each time a cult accesses an aspect of Fairyland it brings these places back into the world along with the chaotic ecological system. Dungeons are not simply created their borne of the chaos of the realm of Fairy.

D&D Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes
(1976), by Rob Kuntz & James Ward, is the fourth of four supplements for the OD&D game. It was published in July 1976 & has a solid roster of Celtic gods & heroes who have fought the powers of Fairyland to a stand still.  The 'Otherworld' is also an origin source of kings, heroes, & the destiny place  of warriors, knights, & wizards.

The Otherworld was also seen as a source of authority. In the tale Baile in Scáil ("the phantom's ecstatic vision"), Conn of the Hundred Battles visits an Otherworld hall, where the god Lugh legitimizes his kingship and that of his successors.[1]"These various rolling dimensional aspects of  'the Otherworld' empower both the adventurers & heroes as well as fuel the whole of Fairyland. The original purpose of the place has been perverted.
B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) is a perfect pulp adventure to use because  this is a transition module and takes PC's into the big leagues! That's right set B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) in some back part of Europe in middle of the Pulp Age or  the Golden Age of Superheroes and they're going to get noticed big time! 

Modern weapons are not going to be a huge deciding factor if your adventurer or pulp hero is looking down the business end of an owl bear! Way back in the Eighties many of the independent comic book companies had their own super hero & pulp teams encountering & recruiting wizards, clerics, thieves, etc. from Dungeons & Dragons style worlds into their ranks.

No one batted an eye & the number of Arthurian heroes that Marvel & D.C. used is numerous. The fact is that dungeon masters back in the Seventies & Eighties used whatever mythical or  fictional characters they needed as NPC's.
B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986) is a stepping stone module & even with modern pulp style adventurers is going to be a challenge. With the Amazing Adventures! rpg from Troll Lord Games the challenge will be keeping the PCs alive to get to the back bone of this adventure!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

'B4 Tom Moldvay's The Lost City As Pulp Campaign Base' - More OSR Campaign Commentary

"Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands. Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventures inside and ancient pyramid ruled by a strange race of masked beings"

So last night I began the task of thinking about moving historical events around in a pulp or supers style campaign world. What would be a good beginning B/X adventure to get the ball rolling on a group of super hero adventurers?! The answer would be of course be 'B4 The Lost City' By Tom Moldvay. There are a number of reasons for this & number one is adaptability of B4 The Lost City. The module is extremely customizable & perfect for adding into a pulp Earth. I've used 'The Lost City' multiple times & talked about it many times.

Lost city settings are some of the most enduring pulp backbone & comic book setting set pieces in the genre. There are some solid reasons to use this adventure for a more modern campaign.
"The module is described as a low-level scenario, in which the only hope of the player characters' survival can be found in a ruined city slowly rising out of the sands.[3] The adventure is set inside a huge step pyramid, with the lower pyramid only sketched out and the city itself described with a list of the major areas and a map. The adventure’s main villain is Zargon, a giant one-eyed monster and his minions. The entire double pyramid, not including the city, contains over 100 rooms."

The adventure is pure location & factions but its pulp location and factions that be ported into your own home campaign. The faith of Zargon is a slippery & dangerous one to boot. There are several cursed items that can turn the PC's from adventurers to mini Zargon monsters themselves in the adventure. The fact is that the PC's might spread the seething corruption of Zargon to the surface themselves! This is the perfect opportunity to bring in a group of mercenary heroes to tract the PC's down.
The ancient ruined city of Cynidicea is a perfect faction of a subterranean species of humanoids  to introduce the a home campaign world. 
"The inhabitants of  Cynidicea are addicted to narcotics and spend most of their time in drug-induced reveries, wandering around in costumes and masks." Don't let this fool you folks, these are very dangerous and evil adversaries to unleash upon a group of pulp adventurers or super heroes.
Personally I'd place the module in the deserts of Mongolia or the Rub' al Khali desert & let the corruption of Zargon cover the whole place!
Now I've talked about using Clark Ashton Smith's The Invisible City which

first appeared  in Wonder Stories June 1932. But be very careful with it. The occult technologies & artifacts of these peoples are extremely dangerous & can be campaign breakers.

The cult of Zargon itself is another matter & an extremely dangerous chaos cult but slow & subtle. Cults need time & patience to work their wiles on society & to flesh out Zargon's faith I suggest Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos.
Its got all of the tools needed to really bring forth the true under current of seething hate that echoes through the demonic monster's faith. This same chaotic  portrayal ties in nicely with the ACK's
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu

Alright so let's talk about the three thousand pound elephant in the room the fact that B4 The Lost City doesn't have all of its levels filled in. There's a thread over on Dragon's foot B4 Lost City expansions that could be used as a starting point for this.

Troll Lord's Amazing Adventures! has some interesting ideas for bring pulp adventures to life. B4 The Lost City is a perfect location based adventure to help do this. But how does one go about actually using super hero adventurers or pulp heroes with a D&D or B/X Dungeons & Dragons game? I've got a bit of experience in that dungeon mastering in that direction.