Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blood, Power, & Violence Using D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth By Gary Gygax As War Campaign Foundation

"The final confrontation with the giant, King Snurre, and the entry of mighty adventurers into the cavers under his stronghold discovered that Dark Elves, the Drow, had instigated the giant alliance and its warfare upon mankind and its allied races."

So I'm thinking tonight about one of the all time classic modules Descent Into The Depths of the Earth by Gary Gygax. I'm thinking about how I would use D1-D2 as a template for a Dark Europe derived from Dark Albion but without the Albion part of setting. But the adventure would be set in a quasi mythical/ historical Europe none the less. Perhaps during the chaos of the Hundred Years War.
The  Against the Giants series events have already played out and humanity is at full stop war against itself as Europe is burning in the fires of conflict. Meanwhile behind the scenes a sinister force is pushing buttons of local conflicts. All across Europe the Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra has been stirring up the fairy race's cults after she's come out of stasis. The war between human kind & the various giant races hasn't worked out in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, etc.  This is a high level campaign race with the PC's tackling head on the war & its problems behind the scenes. Because everything hinges on the Elves! 

I've been out most of today & I've been thinking about Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos especially their version of Elves. Elves are a low down terror straight out of European mythology. The baby stealing, murdering in the night,slavers of humanity, & those who consider humanity as nothing more then slaves. In other words these Elves are monsters and beasts of the highest order. They form cults, create havoc & chaos among humanity especially the various royal families of Europe. The Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra 
has been setting up various cults within royal families making alliances & setting humans against each other's throats.  This 'underdark' isn't the one of Forgotten Realms fame but the far more alien & weird underworld of European myth & legend where the underworld literally touches the realms of the dead. Descent into the Depths of the Earth I've seen described as the outline of an adventure which means that you as the dungeon master are going to have to dip into the occult mythological traditions to flesh out the monsters, encounters, & put a very different spin on events.

Here the cults of the elves are going to take center stage because there isn't a single 'Dark Elf' to get in your way. Simply these are going to be the alien elves of legend whose legacy is reaching back through the mists of time to put a collar of slavery back around humanity's neck. There are no half elves here but there are Elven blooded descendants who know far more of the horrors of their former masters. Thinking about it perhaps Dark Albion might have far more baring on this sort of a campaign.

This is a very high level adventure module couple this module with the events of the Hundred Years war & you've got the makings of a very lethal campaign. There is going to be desperation writ large across the events of Europe. The PC's are going to be coming straight into the historical remains of the Elven civil war below the Earth & the war of humanity raging above. So instead of D1 being a primer for the Drow its now the primer for the various bits & pieces of Elven history left behind in the underworld including factions & encounters.

There's also the fact that French frog princes & kings have been for centuries trying to check the English power & expansion. But could there be far more to it as the frog princes know what's really behind the throne of England?!?
"The French kings had endeavored, over the centuries, to reduce these possessions, to the effect that, roughly, only Gascony was left to the English. The confiscation or threat of confiscating this duchy had been part of French policy to check the growth of English power, particularly whenever the English were at war with the Kingdom of Scotland, an ally of France." Scotland was once a seat of Elven power on Earth and one of the sites of humanity's rebellion against the Elves.

The Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra is beyond dangerous in this adventure as adversary. She's on the run, at the height of her power, and is crazed prone to almost any action.  She is basically a party of adventurers worst nightmare. She's a survivor of the Elven civil war from the dawn of humanity & a renegade worshiper of the death god to boot.

The PC's in this campaign are beyond a low level annoyance they're merely a hindrance and she's got the power & numbers of Elves to back it up. She's treading on the ancient inheritances of the Elves.
Descent Into The Depths of the Earth assumes a large party of players. I've run this adventure as a convention set up;  a large party of 7-9 characters are really need. Otherwise smaller parties should enlist the help of local human adventurers if possible. Anyhow this is just the initial set up for a completely different take on D1-D2 Descent Into The Depths of the Earth. 

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