Friday, February 3, 2017

B1 The Shadow Into The Unknown or Another Commentary of B1 In Search Of The Unknown

When we begin to look deeply into the sword & sorcery drought that is weird fiction in the tradition of Weird Tales.Connections to the roots of our hobby become obvious, I've written extensively about the connections between Robert Howard's Beyond The Black River & Keep On The Borderlands. But what does this have to do with B1? A bit of everything especially when we look into how we can customize B1 & this ties in with the feel  of B1 that  'There are places that adventurers shouldn't go.' Done correctly I've played through B1 several times where the feeling the players got was that the keep in B1 was almost like the city in Robert Howard's Red Nails. An isolated adventure location where something had gone horribly wrong or a place where some ancient evil was just lurking. Perhaps it is. And all of this can easily be married into Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. 

If we look at the basic plot it can see its beginnings; "Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. From this base, they conducted their affairs away from the prying eyes of civilization. While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals. Eventually, they gathered their own army and went on an expedition against said enemies, where they met their demise." Alright Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown specifically built their castle above the the Caverns of Quasqueton for a very specific reason, these guys were adventuring scum & ruthless outlaw adventurers. This places the complex of  the Caverns of Quasqueton close to the centers of Hyperborean civilazation possibly in some minor mountains or other hidden valley location not too far from the borders of the B2 Keep on The Borderlands.

 We get a really good snap shot for such a place in the AS&SH Referee's Manual & there are number of possible locations. But in my opinion its some little out of the way backwater whose location has disappeared into myth & legend during the time of the Green Death. Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, weren't stupid and its very unlikely they died at the hands of their enemies. Instead I think they went elsewhere.
 The reason for them building the castle & complex upon the Caverns of Quasqueton is because there was already a structure there build long ago by one of the most advanced Lovecraftian Races. I'm talking about The Great Race Of Yith. It all fits, these masters of  time & space had built a weapons or relic cache above  Quasqueton. Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, were adventurers in their own right. They stumbled upon this tid bit of knowledge & used it build themselves a hidden little piece of Hyperborean paradise. But even they weren't entirely ready for some of the forbidden secrets of time & space. We know that from HP Lovecraft's Shadow Out Of Time that the Great Race had dealings with Mars & other interstellar bodies during their time of empire. Well in my campaigns there is a time space gate in the Caverns of Quasqueton & it leads straight to Old Mars.

There are several reasons for this & why it makes sense to use B1 as a DIY D&D custom adventure:
  1. B1 is easily customizable sword & sorcery adventure & it makes an excellent stepping stone for adventures into other places & times. As well as an excellent domain location for adventurers as a base of operations as they advance in level.
  2. The module proves a great point to add in whatever monsters the DM wants allowing for far more AS&SH flavor 
  3. The back story of Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown can be made to fit AS&SH or whatever retroclone or system your using. 
  4. While its not even close to a perfect adventure B1 allows treasure, objects, relics,etc to reflect the DM's own campaign goals & guidelines for PC's. This allows for better game flow. 
  5. B1 is short sweet & in places quite dangerous, many the time that a jaded player's has met their demise in B1. This has been at both my hands and with others I've played with.
  6. Dangerous adventurers, the biggest hazard in B1 isn't the traps, tricks, & monsters its sometimes the players themselves bumbling head long into danger that can move the DM's plot along for them. This is very true with B1 where a clever DM can use 'discoveries' to fill in their background for them. 
  7. 'Adventurers like us' is one of the things I've seen players say about Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown 
  8. Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown also make excellent NPC villains because even though the PC's have been rooting around their place they actually don't 'know' them per say. This unknown quality makes them dangerous & useful to the DM
  9.  The Caverns of Quasqueton can also be another hidden prison for the Fly Polyps, those nasty & highly dangerous predators of the Great Race. There might be reasons why the Caverns of Quasqueton were abandoned in the first place. Perhaps the NPC's abandoned the place after these horrors broke out from down below & legend has earsed this detail as it seems to happen frequently with Lovecraft & Howard stories. 
  10. The Caverns of Quasqueton make an excellent base of operations for PC's but so does the Keep On The Borderlands as well. With the right amount of players its easy to see how this could be turned into a jump point for whole campaign operations.
So what does all of this have to do with Warriors of the Red Planet? Quite a bit with a little slight of hand on the dungeon master's part  the Caverns of Quasqueton could be time & space gate linking both games with pre Green Death Hyperboreans & Atlantians being progenitor slave races for Old Mars. One thing about B1 In Search of the Unknown & Keep of The Borderlands, it will take PC's from first level to third or beyond putting the PC's right in the middle of their adventuring careers for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. We'll get to where they go from their on Old Mars & what adventures can be used once they get there.

Note that this is for personal use only and is not an attempt to violate the copyright or trademark of The Warriors of the Red Planet rpg or The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Neither is this an attempt to violate the trademarks nor copyrights of the authors named. Sword and Stitchery would like to thank the Elder Dark Website for their continued work on the behalf of Clark Aston Smith. All material herein comes under the heading of fair use.

Ideas & opinions to follow are the copyright & trademark of the author & Dark Corner Productions

No comments:

Post a Comment

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