Wednesday, February 21, 2018

OSR PC Workshop Or Pulling in OSR Sources To Help Create PC's in Your Old School Campaigns

 Today was a character workshop with one of my players, he had some ideas for a half Elven PC. But I had some ideas already in play in my current OSR campaign. Here's where events for the PC's took a bit of a different twist in development.


 I had a long talk with one of my players about porting over the Cyrmic race from Dark Albion instead of the usual half Elf PC race. Cyrmic are the descendants of human slaves who worked for the Elves in ancient times in Europe in Dark Albion.  
I've already had different elements & hints bubbling up across the board when it comes to the identities of  Elven kings. There are indications in some ends of Arthurian literature & mythology that he might have been a Merovingian king & sorcerer. In my own games he sold his soul for immortality & gained godhood merging with the previous king of the fairies of which there are many. His connection to  connects him with the Norse of AS&SH second edition

The Reconciliation of Titania and Oberon by Joseph Noel Paton

"Oberon's status as king of the fairies comes from the character of Alberich (from Old High German alb- "elf" and -rîh-, "ruler", "king"), a sorcerer in the legendary history[which?] of the Merovingian dynasty. In the legend, he is the otherworldly "brother" of Merowech, whose name is the eponym of the Merovingians but whose actual existence is unproven. Alberich wins for his eldest son, Walbert, the hand of a princess of Constantinople.[citation needed] In the Nibelungenlied, a Burgundian poem written around the turn of the 13th century, Alberich guards the treasure of the Nibelungen, but is overcome by Siegfried." There is also a huge Arthurian & French connection with the character of  Oberon. 
"The name Oberon is first attested to in the early 13th century chanson de geste entitled Les Prouesses et faitz du noble Huon de Bordeaux, wherein it refers to an elven man of the forest encountered by the eponymous hero. Huon, son of Seguin count of Bordeaux, passed through the forest inhabited by Oberon. He was warned by a hermit not to speak to Oberon, but his courtesy had him answer Oberon's greetings, and so gain his aid in his quest. Huon had killed Charlot, the Emperor's son, in self-defense, and so he must visit the court of the amir of Babylon and perform various feats to win a pardon. He succeeds only with Oberon's aid.
This elf is dwarfish in height, though very handsome. He explains that, at his christening, an offended fairy cursed him to dwarfish height (an example of the wicked fairy godmother folklore motif), but relented and gave him great beauty as compensation. Alberich features as a dwarf in the Nibelungen; the dwarfish height was thus explained.[2]
The real Seguin was Count of Bordeaux under Louis the Pious in 839, and died fighting against the Normans in 845. Charles l'Enfant, a son of Charles the Bald, died in 866 of wounds inflicted by a certain Aubouin in the circumstances of an ambush similar to the Charlot of the story. Thus, Oberon appears in a 13th-century French courtly fantasy that is based on a shred of 9th century fact. He is given some Celtic trappings, such as a magical cup (similar to the Holy Grail) that is ever full for the virtuous. "The magic cup supplied their evening meal; for such was its virtue that it afforded not only wine, but more solid fare when desired", according to Thomas Bulfinch. In this story, he is said to be the child of Morgan le Fay and Julius Caesar.
A manuscript of the romance in the city of Turin contains a prologue to the story of Huon de Bordeaux in the shape of a separate romance of Auberon and four sequels, and there are later French versions, as well."

So what your looking at is a royal NPC with deep connections across history whose been manipulating events across worlds for centuries. He's been putting his own bastard children into key points in human history & across worlds.

Illustration of Oberon enchanting Titania by W. Heath Robinson, 1914

Here's one of the the things that helps keeps  Dark Albion in OSR play; " 80% of the book is system neutral, so can be used with most role-playing games. " This means that a good percentage of the setting book is usable with other systems especially games such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.

Over the course of the last couple of years here & there I've indicated the presence of weird ruins & other dangerous adventure locations all belonging to the Elves of the ancient empires. We did a lot of cross comparing of the PC material in Dark Albion with existing OSR retroclone systems such as Swords & Wizardry & Labyrinth Lord to see what's going to fit our PC's needs. Bardic material in the setting was especially enlightening as to how to fit the PC class  into an existing campaign. For example we talked at length about how the PC might have had interaction with the Midderlands campaign setting.

Since the expanded setting's kickstarter ends in a few days, I figured now was a good time to get a bit of the green tainted Gloomunion laden action.
"The Midderlands setting gets bigger, expanding out into Havenland (the country that The Midderlands is set in) and its bordering lands, in a dark, twisted, and viridian version of the British Isles." This U.K. setting ticks all of the boxes of  OSR weirdness that I'm looking for and it appeals to the Dark Albion setting with abandon. So now its a matter of taking full advantage of the cracks in the Midderlands to marry it up with the back waters locations of Albion.

Given the strong & deep connections between Merlin from the Arthurian literature & mythology with Wales. There is no doubt in my mind that there is more then a bit of Elven blood mixed strongly with Merlin's demonic parentage that needs to be exploited far more then humanity suggests. Merlin is a very useful NPC that can help to explain more of the gaps in the Albion setting.

So now two PC's in my home game are from Dark Albion, it makes for a different & somewhat interesting wrinkle. I'll have to let folks know as this second leg of the campaign develops. There are lots of variations of system to go over yet even while the setting itself sets some of the tone. I will keep everyone abreast as to how things within the game continue to develop.

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