Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Clark Aston Smith Old School Twist On B4 The Lost City By A Tom Moldvay B/X Dungeons & Dragons Adventure For Your Old School Campaigns

"Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands. Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventures inside and ancient pyramid ruled by a strange race of masked beings"

Last night I turned the internet 'off ' & began to do a bit of deconstructionist reading about B4 The Lost City. Yeah I van hear the groans from the OSR crowd, oh Gods he's not going to cover that module again is he? Well, yes and no. My question became what happens after the 'The Lost City' adventure is done? There are are so many potential threads that run through this one its pregnant with ideas. Sure the adventure is pure location & factions but its pulp location and factions that be ported into your own home campaign. The faith of Zargon is a slippery & dangerous one to boot. There are several cursed items that can turn the PC's from adventurers to mini Zargon monsters themselves in the adventure. The fact is that the PC's might spread the seething corruption of Zargon to the surface themselves!
The ancient ruined city of Cynidicea is a perfect faction of a subterranean species to introduce the a home campaign world. "The inhabitants of  Cynidicea are addicted to narcotics and spend most of their time in drug-induced reveries, wandering around in costumes and masks." Don't let this fool you folks, these are very dangerous and evil advesaries to unleash upon a campaign world such as Hyperborea. In fact the inhabitants of Cynidicea make perfect Hyperboreans from before the Green Death. In fact there's an article by Christopher Richard Davies  

that outlines a Known World Adventure path that can be used as an outline for an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea excursion. Another idea is to make the inhabitants as mirrors for the Nithia people of The Hollow World and tie them in as possible lost Hyperboreans. This was an idea that Havard talked about but it takes some of the elements away from the obvious Robert E. Howard 'Red Nails' connections of B4. And while these are now well known and obvious to the OSR crowd & in general the D&D crowd. I'd love to take the The Lost City in a different direction.

Once again I think about turning to one of my favorite writers of old Clark Aston Smith! There's an old tale of his I haven't thought about in ages called 'The Invisible City' that has many of the 'lost world' elements of the pulps that I love but isn't that well known & dovetails nicely with B4 The Lost City. Here's a long synopsis from The Eldritch Dark The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith site;"Two explorers, wandering in the Gobi desert, lost, and searching for water, come to a series of strange, regular-shapen pits in the desert floor. Examining these, they find to their amazement that the pits are covered with an invisible, solid substance, that they are walking among unseen walls, on unseen pavements, in what appears to be a maze of buildings wrought of an ice-cold substance absolutely permeable to light." I don't want to spoil it but with a bit of reworking this city might be one of the lost levels of Cynidicea. Simply connect up the Invisible City with one of the rooms of Cynidicea and away you go.  First appearing in Wonder Stories June 1932, this story makes a nice connection to the undercurrent of former super science found in AS&SH. Be warned characterization is not on the mind of CAS in this one.

Many of the inhabitants of the 'Invisible City' could simply be another faction of B4 & give that precious weird pulpy super science jolt that I so often seem to be looking for. B4 The Lost City might appear close to the edge of the Diamond Desert in Hyperborea.
The Invisible City could also be used for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game adventure set in the Age of Exploration or as fodder for a Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts adventure arch but then it might connect back into Mongolia as the setting for B4 The Lost City. But that my friends is another blog entry to come!

You Can Download
Wonder Stories June 1932 Here  Which Contains Clark Ashton Smith's Invisible City Here

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