Friday, December 9, 2016

Commentary On Misty Isles of the Eld By Chris Kutalik & Robert Parker From The Hydra Cooperative For A Dark Albion Campaign Twist

I had a beer with some friends tonight and we were talking OSR settings the Misty Isles of the Eld reared its head. Here's how this happened.

I was rereading The Misty Isles of the Eld From Hydra Cooperative & Dark Albion's The Rose War plus Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos .
When there were several demented thoughts rushing through my head about the cults on the fringes of Dark Albion. What if the cults of Elves were really Eld  & the Misty Isles existed on the fringes of Dark Albion in all of their glory with Vatmen,etc. It got me thinking long & hard about the effects of the occult technologies of the Eld. Perhaps the fact the various dungeons presented in the  Misty Isles might exist on the edges of the Dark Albion setting just out of reach of the borders of reality. This might mean replacing the Elves out of Dark Albion but there are other reasons for this as we shall see. First of all the Eld are complete & utter jerks make no mistake about that. They might have isolated isles of unreality in the form of their misty isles that sometimes drift into the reality of Dark Albion. I know surely there can't be any historical prescient for this? Well not so much historical but mythological that ties directly into the setting of Dark Albion's alternative Earth.

In the Celtic tradition there are the various vanishing islands such as Brasil, which according to Wiki;"Brasil, also known as Hy-Brasil or several other variants,[1] is a phantom island said to lie in the Atlantic Ocean[2] west of Ireland. Irish myths described it as cloaked in mist except for one day every seven years, when it became visible but still could not be reached." An isle in the mists that can only appear every seven years?

Journeys into the 'other world' were chaotic, dangerous, & often times really weird sounds similar to the Misty Isle to me. But the chaos index of the isles really does it for me, a sense of unreality that causes normality to go out the window just waiting to take over? Yeah that could be very dangerous if you've got cults of vatmen within the structure of Dark Albion society. So why haven't the Eld simply taken over England and Europe? Well besides the usual magick issues, incompatible realities, and legendary guards against this perhaps there hasn't be the needed blood shed?

Well that's where the War of the Roses (15th century) comes blazing in full guns with violence & desparate people willing to cut deals with the Eld for favor, occult technologies, & all of the corruption that the Eld can bring to Dark Albion. But the problem is that the Eld are straight up nasty when it comes to dealing with humanity. If they can get more then a toe hold in Europe and Albion then your going to see lots of chaos ensuing.
Or will you? The fact is that the inquisition of Albion may have had more then its fair share of dealing with the cults of the Eld. Perhaps this isn't the first time they've seen these jokers on Albion soil. The church of the Unconquered Sun has the tools to deal with these upstarts but it will take valuable manpower and time. These are two things that the Rose War is going to eat up in equal measure.

When it comes to the Eld eying Albion there are several reasons why including slave stock, resources, and pure expansionist empire building. They also a perfect fit for the 'Celtic Other World' But the Eld are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to that other world there could be many menaces that could potentially cause all kinds of harm to parties of Dark Albion adventurers.

"In Gaelic and Brittonic mythology it is usually described as a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty, health, abundance and joy.[1] The Otherworld is usually elusive, but various mythical heroes visit it either through chance or after being invited by one of its residents. They often reach it by entering ancient burial mounds or caves, or by going under water or across the western sea.[1] Sometimes, the Otherworld is said to exist alongside our own and intrudes into this one; signaled by phenomena such as magic mist, sudden changes in the weather, or the appearance of divine beings or unusual animals.[2] An otherworldly woman may invite the hero into the Otherworld by offering an apple or a silver apple branch, or a ball of thread to follow as it unwinds" Misty Isles of the Eld fits quite nicely into the dreamlike weirdness of the Celtic Otherworld.
But the Eld are not the only menace that is going to trouble adventurers, alright let's suppose that some minor noble has made contact with the Eld & has a chaos cult of these bastards in some hidden swamp, manor glen, or ruined temple in the English countryside.
The Frog men just might have something to say about the incursion of the Eld back into the local time space continuum.

Margaret of Anjou
through human agents and their witch cults would be able to keep an eye on the situation if such an incursion were to occur. The real world ruler had an extensive spy network was extremely well connected & would have her fingers on the pulse of such a situation. All of this leads me to believe that one of the rival houses would most likely be the ones to cut a deal with the Eld. Most likely ending up on a gallows, dead or most unlucky being dragged away into the not so forgiving clutches of the Eld themselves.

The Frog men might make an alliance with the Eld to make full war on Albion
Why not take full advantage of the blood shed & silly wars of the humans? Lesser Boglings II - Wilderness Encounters - Otherworld Miniatures (x3 figs)

What about the Eld themselves could their reality be simply one more in the onion layered madness that surrounds  Dark Albion? Could the Ursine Dunes reality be the actual Russia of Dark Albion? A place blasted beyond the pale of mankind where the story book like reality has subplanted the true reality of Dark Albion's Europe? The mind boggles with the possible implications of this sort of a weird cross politicization of OSR settings.

A variation of the Eld are featured in Dwimmermount  perhaps that great mega dungeon's location might be in Siberia. Its fell siren call beckoning adventurers across the centuries to their doom.

Could one of the factions of the Rose War send off a expedition to the legendary megadungeon in search of some occult advantage during the civil war? A mythological wonder weapon hidden away for centuries?

This sort of a mix lends itself to half violent fairy tale, part pulpy old school adventure, & high weirdness under the alternative light of the history of Dark Albion indeed it is a heady mix folks!

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