Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Commentary On Terror Tuesday - Thirteen OSR Folklore & Fairytale Books For Your Old School Games

There's only so far that regular OSR reference & resources can carry you as a dungeon master & sometimes you need that extra edge. Last night whist doing a bit of research I came across this great little page of thirteen free books on folklore.

These are perfect resources for a Dark Albion, Lamentations of the Flame Princess or A Red & Pleasant Land style of campaign. An old school campaign featuring E.Gygax's EX1 Dungeonland & The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror could benefit from some of these resources to help fill in the back bone & certain areas within this classic module.This is a module for characters 9-12 level & it goes above & beyond hard in certain areas. The module is imaginative but has that old school aesthetic of being weirdly violent and very dangerous to PC's health. But what it actually is a way of using classic fairy tale and folklore motifs and settings within an old school campaign.

If we start looking into Dungeonland for a moment we see that the PC's are transported there via any means;"The adventure begins with PCs falling down an earthen tunnel. It is suggested that the portal to Dungeonland be a barrel within the dungeon of Castle Greyhawk, but the Dungeon Master (DM) may work in any premise to get them to this stage." That's it that's the whole adventure background motivator for the PC's. Personally I'm more in line with what one of the reviewers of White Dwarf had suggested, "the player characters (PCs) are plummeted into what White Dwarf reviewer Jim Bambra referred to as "a strange partial plane"" Given the background & setting for these nightmare classics this makes a certain amount of sense.

I've written about using EX1 & EX2 with the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system before.  But what about using EX1 & EX2 with other retroclone systems? Well that's where those free resources actually come in. In Dark Albion the idea of there being a partial plane waiting just on the other side of reality isn't that far off given the background of Chaos & the nature of the Elves. Its also not that far fetched to think of a high ranking social group of royals using such an area as a resource. The White Rabbit Charldos the arch mage is quite close in attitude to the elves of Dark Albion. Nasty, dangerous, & completely immoral. The white rabbit below isn't a rabbit at all but a man polymorphed into a rabbit. That's twilight zone level terror right there. But why add it into Dark Albion?

So what's idea have to do with Dark Albion? Well think about the Dark Albion setting rife with double dealing secret societal cults of chaos based on the black queen, white rabbit, red queen motif's & characters  of Lewis Carroll. Albion already has the War of the Roses going on & its a very simple idea to add in these factions. As things progress & move through your going to see royal players go down like chess pieces. Humans are such fragile things & these players are going to get very desperate as their side loses during the War of the Roses. The gloves are going to come off & forbidden secrets are going to be revealed for better or worse.

Matthew Lewis in his new book about the War of the Roses; "the roots of these dynastic civil wars went deeper and the branches reached further than this time frame suggests." This suggests forces that are in play that are far more dangerous than even the PC's realize.  I think that you could be looking at cults of the Elves of Albion bringing back pieces of fairyland & a possible end game. These folklore resources could be used to expand play in a totally different and possibly unexpected direction for Dark Albion.

The idea of partial planes also suggests an entirely different take for Lamentations of the Flame Princess & A Red & Pleasant Land. Dream planes that while based on human myth & legend are far more dangerous & totally alien then players were expecting. Once again here the idea can be to take the familiar motifs, tropes, legends,etc of mythology, folk lore, and fairytales then turn it into a ballon animal like creation for adventure fodder. Lamentations as a system is ideal suited for this style of one shot adventure where the PC's are at the center of the action. Will they live or die? Well that's where you and your players are going to have to take it too the table to find out!


  Dark Albion, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, & authors sited here are copyrighted & trade marked to their respective owners. E.Gygax's EX1 Dungeonland & The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror are trade marked & copyrighted to Wizards of the Coast. All other ideas & opinions are copyrighted & trade marked to the author as well as Dark Corner Productions. This blog post is for entertainment & educational purposes only. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.