Monday, July 10, 2017

More Retro Commentary & Actual Play On Judge's Guild's Tegel Manor By Bob Bledsaw Sr. For Your Old School Campaigns

After last week's game the PC's made it into the road of Tengel Village. But then this week they had an encounter with the underbelly of the village itself. The PC's were hot on the trail of Sir.Tristan & co but didn't even make it into the village when they saw a party of Tsathoggua cultists & attacked.  They've had dealings before with these bastards & it hasn't been pretty. The cultists had some poor soul staked out by a fire & were preparing knives when the party of cutthroat erm adventurers attacked them. All of this took place in the fields just outside of Tegel village.

The village is this small late Roman era village affair with the landscape dotted by ruins, strange hinges, weird stones sticking out of the ground & fields that surround the place. They made short work of these low ranking cultists & freed the captive who turned out to be the man servant of one of the local low ranking last of the Rump clan living just outside of town. Servant thanked the characters and they were on their way to the local boarding house where the other party of adventurers had stayed. They had the uneasy feeling of being watched as if someone had walked across their graves.
They got a good rate while the boarding house owners were fixing some damage to the roof of their establishment supposedly done by a relic from Tegel Manor itself. One of the PC's began to search the room of Sir Tristan himself & found half a dozen notes about the manor, maps of the back gardens, astrological charts copied from the works of Klarkash-Ton who gave the time and appearances of the village & the manor across Hyperborea.

The party has no idea of the depths of the corruption in Tegel village nor the entire history or family secrets of the Rumps.  As one of the PC's was down the tavern at closing time just as the locals were spinning rumors, tales, etc. he caught a glimpse of a ghostly fisherman watching him from a side room.

Cover of the pulp magazine Ghost Stories
(February 1930, vol. 8, no. 2) featuring "Stronger Than Death."

This was as the tavern boys were loading more grog from the wagons. Rumors of a sea monster surfaced as well after Sir Tristan and his party had been to the manor. But Sir Tristan had been back to the manor house secreted some of his belongings and then went back to join his party. What the hell gives?! What's the knight's agenda with the old haunted megadungeon & what's going on with the Rumps??
Part of the answer lays with the Return To Tegel Manor entry from the incitiescom site and a quick note on monster ecology of Tegel Manor. The second reason why I'm viewing Tegel Manor in a late Roman period viewing glass is the The Babylon Broadsheet blog entry  on "Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent, England." Knole House is part of the National Trust of England & a visit to their website is not only informative but highly inspirational. It dovetails in with the Three Dee Romansque thread about the manor on the OD&D forums. 

Dragon's foot has the  Tegel Manor 1977 or 1989? thread with some really good opinions & in game byplay comments for those wanting to run the adventure. 

I've talked about the fun and games with Tegel Manor with its connection to Disneyworld's Haunted Mansion, The Adams Family, & even the original Ghostbusters

But I want to talk about a film that seldom gets mentioned today and that's Stephen Speilberg's Poltergeist from 1982. Its got that same weirdness that E.T. had & that Stranger Things plugs into today. What Steven Spielberg captured perfectly was the row-house, suburban normalcy juxtaposed with the eerie question, "What if this was happening next door?" The ghosts, the horrors, the monsters, etc. all perfectly fit into the 'Old Earth' vibe of Tegel Manor. 

At first glance the themes of the film don't seem to fit Tegel Manor but look again. A pile built upon the bones of a haunted house with far deeper corruption going right down into its foundations. Good old fashioned horror & supernatural depravity wrapped right around a fun house dungeon. One of the difference is that Tegel Manor could take a very long time to get through if the PC's survive the experience.

Ten More Ways To Exploit Judge's Guild's
Tegel Manor By Bob Bledsaw Sr. 

  1. Tegel Manor can function as the campaign glue that holds a campaign setting together its haunted history infecting all sorts of areas of an adventure. 
  2. Objects, things, items from the Manor can lend credence to its legend and mythology within a campaign showing up in the oddest places. 
  3. The pull of the mega dungeon is very strong providing a magnetic attraction for all sorts of ill fated treasure seekers and adventurers. 
  4. Gonzo roots of Tegel run deep and can appear in other old school adventures such as B/X D&D's Isle of Dread or other places. 
  5. Ghosts of Tegel might have had other roles in life foreshadowing their legacies in death. The could be true of some members of the Rump family appearing in other adventures or even weird places or ages such as a Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure. 
  6. I've mentioned using  Ghosts -- The Incorporeal Undea From  James Mishler Games to flesh out many of the minor ghosts and ghouls. 
  7. The undead of Tegel manor have both form and function enabling a clever DM to rework them into a load of unexpected area. 
  8. There are several big Clark Ashton Smith angles that can be fully taken advantage of to wretch up the spook factor of Tegel Manor 
  9. Tegel Manor is form,function, and deadliness incarnate with lots of adventure plots for the DM to take full advantage of.
  10. Tegel Manor is just as much a relic from another time as the treasures and artifacts it houses. The location has a history all of its own and can cast a very long shadow over a campaign world. 

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