So a while back I was working on DM Steve's Godbound Campaign & I was supposed to be getting paid for it. Steve ran into some fianiancial difficulties & I totally get that. Since that's the case I'm continuing to work on it but I'm gonna use this material for my own games.
When it comes to settling into Kuntz & Ward's Dieties, Demigods, & Heroes especially the Conan mythos section. Its ineresting looking at this book after a couple of months & then stumbling upon the Cobra Crown entry;
"COBRA CROWN A mind control device able to work on 1-1000 beings at once. The wearer cannot be surprised and can read minds at any distance."We're not talking about the Serpent Crown here from the Marvel Submariner comic books but the Cobra Crown. Who created the Cobra Crown?
According to Marvel Fandom.com entry on the crown;
"The Cobra Crown was created by L. Sprague de Champ and Lin Carter as part of the novel, Conan the Buccaneer, and was later adapted to the Marvel Universe by Roy Thomas and John Buscema as part of the Savage Sword of Conan magazine series."
The Cobra Crown was created by Set back before the time of the Serpent men. But Set has always been problematic at best in the Robert E.Howard & Marvel Conan comic books & magazines. There's always been this connection between Yig Father of Serpents & Conan's Set. These two entities have almost always been two faces of the same serpent deitic coin. Hell, even Kuntz & Ward's Dieties, Demigods, & Heroes explains it this way; "SET The God of darkness and the Lord of Shadows. This being is wholly dedicated to evil. Take the information from the Egyptian section for his powers"
Let's see the Egyptian god stats in Kuntz & Ward's Dieties, Demigods, & Heroes;"SET GOD OF EVIL AND THE NIGHT Armor Class — 4 Magic Ability: (See Below) Move: 18" Fighter Ability: 17th Level Hit Points: 275 Psionic Ability: Class 6 Set is a scaled humanoid with the head of a fierce jackal. He is totally dedicated to the spreading of evil and has attributes to match. He can change any being's alignment from neutral and lawful to evil (saving throw applicable) these changed beings becoming Minions of Set. He can shapechange, make all light turn to darkness, and call on 2-200 Minions of Set. He enters battle with a Javelin of Darkness. This night black shaft has a plus 4 hitting ability and does 9-90 points of damage. There is a 5% chance that Set is watching when a being does a highly evil act (judge's option) and if he is he will give the being 2-20 Minions of Set with no strings attached being confident that the being will only do evil with them. MINIONS OF SET Armor Class — 2 Magic Ability: (See Below) Move: 12" Fighter Ability: 10th Level Hit Points: 25 Psionic Ability: Class 6 Minions are able to transform themselves into giant snakes. They also fight as 10th level lords. They appear in plate armor and use a broadsword. They are fully intelligent and often act as gobetween for Set and man. These beings never check morale."
There's a lot to unpack here Set has been a thorn in mankind's side since we first crawled out of caves! This isn't your normal Great Old One & Set could well be an aspect of Yig given its nature. "The Curse of Yig" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop in which Yig, "The Father of Serpents", is first introduced.Native Americans in Lovecraft's story, Yig is regarded as "bad medicine". According to Lovecraft's story, Yig is also alluded to in western American folklore: he is identified with the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl, and may be a prototype for that god and other serpentine gods worldwide. Some authors identify him as the Stygian serpent god Set from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, and also with the Great Serpent worshiped by the Serpent Men of Valusia from Howard's Kull stories."
Now if we look at the Cobra Crown from Jason Vey's original Dungeons & Dragons hacks he did of Conan under his nom de plume of Grey Elf. Then the crown is a very lethal artifact from the age beyond even King Kull.
Basically the Cobra Crown survives the storming of Heaven in Godbound & begins to set up serpent cult cells & covens as its passed from owner to owner. The artifact not only creates initiates, priests, etc. it corrupts them bringing them under the will of Set.
This is the perfect opportunity to pull out Rafael Chandler's Obscene Serpent Ritual or as one observer wrote "This is a write-up of a serpent cult, suitable for old-school D&D-alikes. It details the cult's aims, goddess, holy quests, and the like. But there are six options at every turn: six different goddesses, six different sacred sites, six different divine blessings, so you don't get just one cult, you get many potential cults. Provided you follow the instructions ("Roll the dice. See what happens.") you will have a totally adult secretive, violent, creepy, Obscene Serpent Religion in your fantasy game."
Still not enough well then what about using a modern super hero or Pulp villain group after the Cobra Crown? How about Light City Foes Cobra by 'A pay what you want' book of serpent themed villains perfect for a low level D&D or OSR pulp game.
Basically Set/Yig survives as a parasite god on the Earth of a Godbound prime material plane. Its been using its influence as a god to rebuild its cult's bases across the globe as well as space time. His mate Yidhra helps to emass his influence in several sub cults & the cobra crown's influence continues to spread. The evil of the Great Old One can be encapsulated in the children of Ayi'ig. These are the dragons of Amazing Adventures! rpg Manual of Monsters, these dragons are spread throughout the California, Texas, Mexican, & South American regions of North & South America.
Now the next question is are the towers of set going up in your home games? The minions of set might be seen among the local cult posing as regular members just waiting for adventurers & the trouble that they bring. There are several reasons for this:
- The cult of Set/Yig is still techinically in a position of vulnerablity & might become unseated quite easily until the full influence of the Old One comes to bare.
- The cult has been in operation since the time of Conan's Hyborian age & have access to all sorts of twisted magics. Their influence should not be under estimated.
- Minions of Set are only one group of enforcers of the cult of Set, he has many more. There are many options to use from the AD&D first edition Monster Manual, The Fiend Folio or the Monster Manual II any of these monsters should work with out modification
- Custom magicks, minor items,etc. for the cult should reflect the serpent motif but the cult could appear more of a conspiracy then simply as yet another cult to strip for treasure.
- Horror is their tactics & M.O. they excel at it.
- The cult will cause chaos when & where it needs to be the most effective. Even the gods hesistate around this type of cult.
- Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos can be very useful here. Moral & ethical corruption are areas that these cults use to expand their operations with campaigns.
- Cults in both ancient & modern settings may have access to the advanced & weird technologies of Valusia
- Several options for dragons, serpents, and other very dangerous servants of such a cult should be on the table for a DM
- The cult could operate right out in plain site such as store front church or other fringe religion within a campaign.