Monday, July 10, 2017

Adapting Wonder Stories Quarterly v02n04 (1931 Summer) & Clark Ashton Smith's "Amazing Planet" To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting"

Time for another amazing adventure with that “that thin,austere mariner of the interstellar gulfs, who had dreamt of circumnavigatingspace and thus becoming the Magellan of the constellations."  with Captain Volmar & his intrepid interstellar crew of space explorers!

Time for another the Captain Volmar story & this time its from Wonder Stories Quarterly v02n04 (1931 Summer).  I love everything about this issue from the original appearance of Vandals of the Void By Jack Vance to the retro future look of Wonder Stories Quarterly's layout and interior artwork. Clocking in at one hundred & forty pages.  There is a lot of the classic Star Trek vibe echoing throughout this issue. Starting with a classic Frank R. Paul cover piece of artwork for the Clark Ashton Smith novella  & some really top drawer stuff in this issue:

These are the Outer Solar system & beyond explorers that guys like Northwest Smith are going to be following in their interstellar foot steps. In each and everyone of these novellas & stories in this issue mankind is the later comer to the interstellar Lovecraftian party. There's enough interstellar old school background setting in Jack Vance's Vandals of the Void to fill two or three adventures easily. But its"  The Machine of Destiny • novelette by Ulysses George Mihalakis " that some very nasty ideas in it for a relic or artifact that PC's could come across in the space dungeon.
""The Man from Mars" • novelette by P. Schuyler Miller (variant of The Man from Mars)" has some solid ideas for adding a bit more background to that random alien encounter in the wilderness for an NPC with some of his own motives and ideas for the PC's he comes across.
But its the " The Amazing Planet • [Captain Volmar] • novelette by Clark Ashton Smith (variant of A Captivity in Serpens" that this issue really shines. Here Smith takes his creation up a notch or two on the space adventure rung. We begin to really see the remains of the Hyperborean empires & colonies in this novella. There's a consistence to Smith's interstellar crew that comes across here. The alien dwarves featured in this novella remind me of some of the creatures that we see in Leigh Brackett's Mars. 

I was also reminded of The Dancing Girl of Ganymede by Leigh Brackett & C.L. Moore's Shamebleu. Alien races & things left behind by long departed Elder Thing, Hyperborean & Lumerian empires.

picture by Jean-Claude Forest

Finally we get to the "The Great Invasion • short story by Sidney Patzer" which has some great elements of monsters & adventure circumstances that can be added into an old school adventure or mini campaign.
"Outcast in Space • novelette by Arthur G. Stangland"  has all of the makings of a beginning old school space adventure with elements of the fantastic built right into its background. This is a great jump off point for an old solar system style of campaign.
There's this feeling throughout Clark Ashton Smith's " The Amazing Planet" 
that there are ancient things just waiting on the edges of the ancient Black Void for our PC's and that this is a very old section of space indeed.  The implication from this issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly is that there a ton of space dungeons and forbidden interstellar space dungeons just waiting for a crew of fools ermm space adventurers & explorers to blaze the way into sanity blasting danger! More old school sword & sorcery space adventure coming up!

You Can Download
Wonder Stories Quarterly v02n04 (1931 Summer) Right HERE

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