Friday, August 5, 2016

Six Free Public Domain Resources Perfect For The Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rpg System or Your Old School Campaigns

I was doing some research earlier today and ran across six wonderful public domain review resources that are perfect for either Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Dark Albion or your old school campaigns. First up is Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865) "A book of Victorian hi-tech ghost conjuring which allows the reader to summon, as the sub-title proclaims, “ghosts everywhere and of any colour”. Accompanying the set of wonderfully gaudy images, are directions on how to use them, and a more detailed scientific description about how the illusion works" Just the thing to have your wizard or dark conjurer unleash upon an unsuspecting party of adventurers someplace in the Alps during the Hundred Years War or upon the forgotten plains of the Rose War.

Next up is the book From India to the Planet Mars (1900) which basically details a medium's contact with Mars and some of her other 'visitations' with other worldly entities. "She also claimed to have contact with people living on Mars and to be able to speak their language which she wrote down during her seances, as well as sketches of the landscape she witnessed" Perfect material for a star cult for Dark Albion or as a side project for a wizard in Lamentations of the Flame Princess's dark version of Europe. Much of the material here reminds me of Empire of the Petal Throne and other weird alien OSR landscapes.

Another piece of artwork is the wood cut from Japan about the legendary sea monster known as the sea monk. This is the sort of horror that would easily fit in with the Mad Monks of Kowtoon or Qelong according to the account from the piece;"This ukiyo-e woodblock print, by the late Edo period artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), illustrates a story involving the “Sea Monk” or Umibōzu, a spirit in Japanese folklore. The ocean dwelling spirit — so called because of his smooth monk-like round head — is said to capsize the ship of anyone who dares speak to it. Kuniyoshi’s woodblock tells of a sailor Kawanaya Tokuzo who, despite it being considered unlucky in the world of seafaring, decides to go to sea on the last day of the year. A terrible storm breaks out, and the giant figure of the Umibōzu appears. Against the roar of the waves the apparition asks, “Name the most horrible thing you know!” Tokuzo yells in reply, “My profession is the most horrible thing I know!” The answer apparently satisfies the monster as he then disappears along with the storm." Maybe the thing could be used as a part of a funnel for DCC which the contact with the monster is enough to jump start the fighting spirit of a fighter, the evil of a thief, and the brush with the supernatural enough to cause a wizard to be birthed into the world.

Need some other worldly races or something different for PC races well  Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing  has you covered. "Images from an illustrated version of a 13th-century Arabic treatise by Zakariya al-Qazwini titled ‘Ajā’ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt (Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing). The text is probably the best known example of ‘ajā’ib or ‘jā’ib al-makhlūqāt literature, a genre of classical Islamic literature that was concerned with “mirabilia”: cosmographical and geographical topics that challenged understanding. Al-Qazwini’s treatise explored an eclectic mix of topics, from humans and their anatomy to strange mythical creatures; from plants and animals to constellations of stars and zodiacal signs"
This is a perfect resource to pull from for those weird occult items, monsters and people encountered. Bits and pieces of this book could also be printed out and used as player handouts for your games.

Along the same vein is the The Dream-God, or A Singular Evolvement of Thought in Sleep (1873) which is;"A short and curious work recounting an extremely vivid and elaborate vision while under the influence of morphine. The tale seems to be based on a true story, an experience of the author John Cunningham who explains in a “Letter to My Friends” that “Although requested by a number of you at various times to write this condensed narrative of an event in my life, associated with much misfortune, sadness and suffering which have continued for some years, it was not until during a lonely period of quietude at Brooklyn, N.Y., in the summer of 1872" This is perfect fodder for HP Lovecraft  dreamlands  or visionary OSR style adventures. "The morphine-addled “Sleeper”, as he is referred to throughout, then proceeds to accompany the “Spirit” on a long and winding flight witnessing a range of strange and marvellous natural phenomena – such as a window at the North-pole down into the fiery core, and 500 foot primordial lizards – as well as a whole host of spiritual and philosophical encounters with the likes of Confucius, Cleopatra, and Zoroaster." Talk about NPC random encounters and the idea of a party out to help awaken some poor soul trapped in the dream world would be a truly epic quest.

Finally what about a mysrterious real world occult book about the powers of Hell itself! Talk about your great player handouts and adventure hooks;"The Clavis Inferni (“The Key of Hell”) by Cyprianus, is a late-18th-century book on black magic. Written in a mixture of Latin, Hebrew, and a cipher alphabet (namely that of Cornelius Agrippa’s Transitus Fluvii or “Passing through the River” from the Third Book of Occult Philosophy written around 1510) the book has remained rather mysterious due to its unknown origin and context. It is said to be a textbook of the Black School at Wittenburg, a supposed school somewhere in Germany where one could learn the dark arts." This is a perfect book to find in the library of a wizard or black magician.

But apparently there wasn't only one author but a slew of wizards who used the title or name  Cyprianuses:" Benjamin Breen writes in The Appendix of how the existence throughout history of various magically-inclined Cyprianuses – from “a Dane […] who was so evil that Satan cast him out of hell” to the Greek wizard St. Cyprian of Antioch (who later converted to Christianity) – led to the name becoming a popular pseudonym for “people at the edges of society who were trying to do real black magic”." Just the tid bit to use as an adventure hook for either Lamentations or Dark Albion. Print out some of the pages and get rolling on seeking out the author or the black school of dark magick.  

Many of these resources would make perfect additions to England Upturn'ed especially in the libararies of some of the NPC wizards or scholars.
I already did a complete review of England Upturn'd right over here and I think its a damn bloody good piece of thunderously nasty book for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system.

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